* Posts by Contrex

108 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Oct 2014


Lawyer guilty of arrogance after ignoring tech support


Re: Worst case I ever saw ...

Did you copy this, or was it you that posted it the first/last time?

CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it


Rigor or rigour?

Arm grabs a slice of Raspberry Pi to sweeten relationship with IoT devs


Re: No! No! No! No! No!

Why would Arm want to 'extinguish' the Raspberry Pi?

Excel Hell II: If the sickness can't be fixed, it must be contained


Before I retired, I worked in a large public sector finance office, that paid fees and expenses to thousands of individuals each month. The payroll process consisted of emailing Excel spreadsheets monthly to the outsourced payroll provider. The emailed spreadsheet was made by copying over rows & columns from individual spreadsheets maintained by different sub teams. I was responsible for the final upload. One month I was on leave and came back to turmoil. My line manager, the office leader, who was always banging on about paying attention to what you are doing, had managed to paste the amounts payable to each of 6,000 people one row below where they should have been. Everybody got the amount due to the person above them on the sheet. Not to mention the tax and NI. What fun. How do you think the matter was fixed? Yep, another spreadsheet!

Raspberry Pi 5 revealed, and it should satisfy your need for speed


I have a Pi4 4 GB running Libreleelec (Kodi) and connected to a TV via HDMI. It sees a mounted drive shared using Samba by another Pi4 NAS on my home LAN. The NAS is connected to the router with Ethernet; the TV Kodi one uses wi-fi. I can stream even 1080p x265 material stored on the NAS with NO glitches or any noticeable problems at all. I get a lot of stuff by putting on an eye patch and going -oo-arrr me hearties'.

Chap blew up critical equipment on his first day – but it wasn't his volt


Re: It doesn't always smoke though

Did you have DC mains at that location?

Polishing off a printer with a flourish revealed not to be best practice


Re: Stories from Grandad

Style guides generally advise using words for numbers smaller than some limit, often 11. So a six-day war, but a 21-gun salute.

Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business


Re: Good old Pirate Bay

Works OK for me. Also a decent Usenet subscription is a handy thing.

UK health service has £1.5B to put toward Digital Workplace Solutions 2: Electric Boogaloo


When I saw the headline I read the capital B as a figure 8 and thought 'the NHS has £1.58 to put towards...' and thought 'Christ, the Tories have screwed us over even worse than I thought'.

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway


I wouldn't equate liking film photography with being an audiophool. You can see that a decent photo is good, but a lot of audio nonsense is just hocus pocus woo-woo.

Family-owned aerospace biz throws a wrench in Boeing IP lawsuit


Re: Using the right tool for the job..

In the 1970s I worked for a motorcycle dealer that sold XXX brand machines made in Japan. It was one of a network of XXX Main Dealers, who were the only ones allowed to sell official XXX branded spare parts, everything from complete engines, frames, down to headlight bulbs, brake cables, gaskets, etc. Even screws, nuts, bolts and washers were listed and stocked. The contract with the XXX Motor Company (UK) Ltd stipulated that only genuine maker's spares were to be sold, and any infraction could lead to withdrawal of the contract. XXX company inspectors could in theory arrive unannounced to perform inspections of the warehouse and retail stocks. They never came on Sundays when the whole business was closed!

A big seller was brake shoes for a number of smaller motorcycles. The official XXX Company margin on these was not enough for the company owner. Unofficial Sunday overtime was sometimes available to unload the truck bringing 'pattern' brake shoes round the back of the warehouse, and to discard the incriminating packaging. They were stacked along with the official versions, and sold at the same high price.

At the time I just thought (I was young) how devious the very self-important owner and founder of the company was. I now strongly suspect that the potential 'inspections' would never come, and the reasons might have been contained in brown envelopes, and also that the brake shoes were exactly the same as the ones that XXX Company wanted us to sell.

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: Unique keys

There is a bloke with the same first and last names as me at my NHS GP practice in Bristol. I was once handed his meds at the pharmacy. They are supposed to ask for the first line of your address but one time they asked for my name

Posing as journalists, Pink Drainer pilfers $3.3M in crypto


A fool and his money....

Raspberry Pi production rate rising to a million a month


"Upton told Geerling that Raspberry Pi users tend to horde their machines, keeping several in the back cabinet for a rainy day."

I have accumulated quite a collection of Pis, but I have not tried to form them into a large unruly crowd.

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse


Anyone who's tried to run a Raspberry Pi 4 on a random phone charger will tell you that they don't necessarily provide a stable 5v at all loads, and they'll tell you that the official Raspberry Pi power 4 supply is rated to provide 5.1v up to 3.1A.

An important system on project [REDACTED] was all [REDACTED] up


Re: The Italian Job

Or Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon?


Re: The Italian Job

Is that an Irish relative of the actor Michael Caine?

Psst! Infosec bigwigs: Wanna be head of security at HM Treasury for £50k?


I used to work for a UK government ministry and the guy in charge of a very important system came to visit us. A lovely bloke. Beforehand we had been told by a very hierarchy minded manager that he was a 'Band A' grade and we should mind our Ps and Qs. I told him that when we were alone, and he rolled his eyes and said 'they had to give me that grade to make me stay - I'm no different from you'. A band A was on around 50k at the time.

How Arm aims to squeeze device makers for cash rather than pocket pennies for cores


Re: I can see how this will work out...

But what about how much Gordon Ramsay pays?

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …


Re: pizza is the perfect food

People who sarcastically write 'Elf N Safety' or variants thereof really grind my gears, having seen or heard of accidents resulting in injury, disability and in one case, death, all from ignoring H & S requirements in some way. Most safety rules are written in peoples' blood.

Texas mulls law forcing ISPs to block access to abortion websites


Won't Tor get around this proposal?

Service desk tech saved consultancy Capita from VPN meltdown, got a smack for it


I see Crapita hasn't changed much since I left them in 2006. There was, and apparently still is, a culture of bullying that seems to extend from top to bottom.

PC tech turns doctor to diagnose PC's constant crashes as a case of arthritis


Re: South don't work in the North

Sony Trinitrons came first, around 1968 but generally colour CRTs with the 'delta gun' arrangement were displaced by 'precision in line' (PIL) tubes during the early 1970s. RCA introduced theirs in 1973 and Thorn marketed the design in the UK. Philips/Mullard had their 20AX around then too,

Learn the art of malicious compliance: doing exactly what you were asked, even when it's wrong


As I get on well with my line manager, and her line manager as well, I would ask, in a constructive way, whether she really meant what she had just asked for, and outline what I thought the drawbacks might be. I would regard it as silly and unhelpful to compound the foolishness by just blindly charging ahead, and might expect, if I did, at a subsequent post-mortem, to be asked why I hadn't said why it was a bad idea, considering I was paid to use the material between my ears, and the tongue in my head. This sort of this has happened, and I regard navigating such obstacles as a a key skill. I'm sure, given the tendency of toxic management to take credit for underlings' sucesses, and to blame them for management's errors, that I'd come off worse. If the management was toxic, I'd be off anyway.

No more free love: Netflix expands account sharing restrictions


Yes. Raspberry Pi running Tor proxy, browser using that for access to search sites, same Pi running miniDLNA, 10 year old Samsung smart TV.

Software engineer accused of stealing $300k from employer was 'inspired by Office Space'


Re: Code review is for wimps

I also read about such a case, and that it was detected when bank staff wanted to demo a search function to some visitors and chose to see the first and last accounts (by some metric) and the thief had created his fractional-cents-dump account to be the last one, and the transactions looked distinctly odd.

Non-binary DDR5 is finally coming to save your wallet


Re: Non-binary memory?

What is a 'gammon'?

Miniature nuclear reactors could be the answer to sustainable datacenter growth


Re: What waste

Will they have to have Cockroft's Follies? The ones that saved Northern England from catastrophe?

FCC calls for mega $300 million fine for massive US robocall campaign


"US regulators want to fine the operators of a claimed massive robocall operation almost $300 million that made more than 5 billion pre-recorded calls over three months" - doesn't anybody proof read on here any more? Or is this American English?

Tesla driver blames full-self-driving software for eight-car Thanksgiving Day pile up


Surely, if El Reg is now written in US English, the injured people went to **the** hospital?

Epson zaps lasers into oblivion, in the name of the environment


Re: Oh sure, inkjets are "green". Pull the other one, it has bells on it.

In 2015 I decided I wanted a colour laser printer. My Canon inkjet needed a set of replacement cartridges that cost £50. The printer only cost £80. I found that my local Staples branch in Bristol stocked a budget colour laser for £100. I rang them to enquire about stock. The guy said 'Sorry, they've all sold out. Did you want that particular model, or are you just after a colour laser?'. I said 'Why do you ask?'. He said 'We have an HP ex-display model you can have for £50. No packaging, manuals, or driver disks, but it has unused starter cartridges. You'd have to collect it.' I asked 'What model?', He went away and looked and came back. 'It's an m251nw'. A quick Google... List price £200. 'Hold it for me, I'm coming down!'.

It's big, heavy and black, and wife didn't like it until she started her OU course.

With our usage the original cartridges lasted to May 2020. I bought a set of 'compatible' full-capacity replacements from a smelly-sounding UK supplier. Showing 80% remaining.

You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right? Trust... but verify


Re: Socket Tester Plugs

About 60 years ago, my uncle, who worked for a Ford main dealer, told me about a visit to their factory at Dagenham, which had its own steel rolling plant. He said that he was told about an incident not long before his visit. A man needed to get in amongst the rollers, so he removed the fuses for the motors and put a note on the cover. The shift changed, the new operators replaced the fuses and started up the mill, rolling the poor guy flat. They were made to join the crew that had to dismantle the equipment, get all the bits out, and clean everything.

LockBit suspect cuffed after ransomware forces emergency services to use pen and paper


I just uploaded a picture of myself to PimEyes, and it returned two images, one of me, and one of someone who looks a bit like me. The one of me shows me holding up a bit of paper with my partially blurred out name on it!. I think I know when it was taken. I would have to fork out for a subscription to see the full url. Not happy.

Boss made dirt list of minions' mistakes, kept his own rampage off it


Re: Not IT-related

I once had a copy of 'Electrical Safety' by Herbert Swann, in which he talks about substation workers 'blowing themselves up' by putting steel rulers against live busbars.

Data loss prevention emergency tactic: keep your finger on the power button for the foreseeable future


Re: The "half click" and related moves

My latest desktop PC, a Lenovo, bought in March 2022, has a metal case, and it's better quality than my previous 'Zoostorm' one, also metal cased, that I bought in 2015, which used to make a deeply annoying drumming sound.

20 years on, physicists are still figuring out anomaly in proton experiment


Re: A smashing time

And finding out, like Rutherford, that sometimes they bounce back.

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess


Re: Bad design

When I was 14, and my sister was 12, our dad decided to reduce the phone bill by padlocking the dial. Having found out what loop-disconnect dialling was, I just used to lift up the receiver and, now having a dialling tone, tap out the number on one of the little things that held it up. I later found out that this is called 'switch hook dialling'. I was told by someone that in the UK, it used to be possible to make calls from payphones) by tapping the switch hook without depositing coins. Used to be an offence, apparently.

Rookie programmer's code goes up in flames ... kind of


Re: Is this me or not?

"I would frequently remind my late friend about how one time his wife DREAMED he had an affair and was mad at him for like a week because of it."

My first wife had such a dream, about me and one of her mates, and, a decent interval after we separated, it turned out to be prophetic.

Malwarebytes blocks Google, YouTube as malware


I was especially annoyed because my UK bank (Natwest) very strongly suggested I install Malwarebytes Premium and gave me a coupon code to get a free licence until at least May 2024. Today I was OK because I made a VNC connection into my headless Raspberry Pi 4 and used the Firefox on there.

AMD refreshes desktop CPUs with 5nm Ryzen 7000s that can reach 5.7GHz with 16 cores


Re: New desktop is about due

I find it very helpful to talk through purchases like a new PC with my partner, as it can clarify mentally whether I/we really do need them. Like the rubber duck that programmers talk to when they are stuck. Once I did deliberately 'forget' to fix a rattling CPU fan and the associated drumming metal case, even though I could have done, so I could say the next PC would be a quiet one.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up


Re: And don't work too fast either!

While a student I had a summer job at a tyre depot in Bristol. I was set to work loading tyres on delivery trucks according to a load sheet provided. It involved rolling them up a plank onto the flat bed of the lorry. I soon got the hang of it and it was quite fun. After about 30 minutes the foreman called me over and told me to slow down, as 'you make the other fellows look slow, and the drivers won't be happy either'.

Scientists use supercritical carbon dioxide to power the grid


I get a strong smell of bullshit here.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did


If I wasn't the law-abiding type, I'd put Tor and Transmission and a DLNA server on my Raspberry Pi. Or LibrEElec on another Pi plugged into the telly. And subscribe to a Usenet service as well.

We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything


When I worked in a finance office from 2010, we took payments by cheque, postal order, or in cash about 2 to 4 times a week. The process was to photocopy all paperwork, including the remittance item, file the copies in polywallets in a ring binder, notify the relevant other office by email that payment had been received, and bank the payment down the road at the local Barclays branch. If the payment was in cash, one person had to count the notes in front of a witness, then photocopy all the notes front and back (quicker and more accurate than writing all the serial numbers down. Sometimes £1,000 in £20s. The copies were so good on the big contract rented supplied Xerox MFD/copier that we used to stamp 'COPY' over each note's image. The paper would have been a giveaway you'd think. The firmware didn't complain that we were copying currency. We stopped taking cash in person (or at all) in 2015.

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems


I don't want to be an electrician

"what I should have done was an "electrical engineering" course. If you'd told me that when I was 18 I'd have been flabberghasted. "I don't want to be an electrician"

That sort of talk used to drive my dad mad. After the war he took an EE degree as an external student while working for the London Electricity Board. He retired as their Area manager for a large district of London. The Board took power from the national Grid and managed its distribution at 66, 33, 11 kV and eventual supply to consumers, commercial and domestic. It is not a simple task to keep an AC power network running. He ordered the gear and cable, oversaw the management of the network, commissioned equipment, including gigantic transformers and amazing switchgear which he sometimes took me to see ('Don't touch anything!'). Sometimes when people heard he was an electrical engineer they'd offer him a tenner to wire up their new cooker.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made


Re: that jerk with the annoying voice and that other bastard who sniffs all day.

"I did not know "most boomers" was spelt "c**t"." - I did, and I'm a boomer.


Re: And the award for ...

I recently retired. At the start of the pandemic we were all sent home with a Lenovo laptop, mouse. keyboard, 24" monitor, headset. My boss said 'anyone got any problems with this?'. I said my home chair that I'd paid £75 for at John Lewis was falling apart. He said "we'll put your office chair in the back of my car'. £400 Posturite. When I came to retire, he said 'any ideas for your retirement present?' I said 'the chair'. He said, 'Oh, I can just write that off. What else would you like?' So here I am sitting comfortably.

Google calculates Pi to 100 trillion digits


Re: They'd get a shock...

My number theory is a bit shaky, but I didn't think there could be any 'last' digits of pi (that is, it is conjectured that pi goes on for ever, or, if you prefer, that you can continue the expansion indefinitely). I did read a sci-fi story once, that if I recall correctly, involved God hiding a message in the digits that would only be found when an intelligent race developed a certain level of computing hardware. At the time I thought this was quite a silly idea (I still do).

Password recovery from beyond the grave


Re: Not happened to me, but

I've heard of the Khyber pass with a 'h', in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, so I would have tried that and passed on all unawares.

EV battery can reach full charge in 'less than 10 minutes'


Re: Still no answer...

I was born and brought up in a terraced house in Dulwich, it's not all poshos.