* Posts by derfer

30 posts • joined 4 Jan 2015

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike


This nothing new by HMRC

A couple of years ago I received a letter from the tax man stating I owed him around £5,500 for previous underpayment and had three weeks to pay up. As the letter didn't give any details as to where the underpayment came from, and as I've only ever worked PAYE I was a touch confused.

I rang them up and, after 90 minutes on hold before I spoke to someone, they confirmed 'the letter was an error and shouldn't have of been sent - sorry'.

I asked for another letter confirming the first was in error and they said no.

FYI: NASA has sent a snatch-and-grab spacecraft to an asteroid to seize some rock and send it back to Earth


If the probe is going to 'settle into a steady orbit a few miles above the surface' surely the TAGSAM needs to be a bit longer than 11 ft to pick some bits off the surface?

Vodafone emits new wearable ... kid-trackers


How can I hide this story?

If the missus sees it I'll be wearing a V-Pet by the end of the week!

Tired sysadmin plugged cable into wrong port, unleashed a 'virus'


Network related

I used to work in an office that had a huge MS access database shared by lots of people, that would invariable fall over at least once a day resulting in ten minutes of recovery by the IT peeps whilst the rest of us had a break.

When they took smoke breaks off us (as it wasn't fair to the none smokers) I found a handy correlation between database crashes and the network socket my PC was plugged into. All I had to do was 'accidentally' unplug the network lead whilst a query was running and could then have as many smoke breaks as I wanted!

Gemini goes back to the '90s with Agenda, Data and mulls next steps


The original

All this reminiscing led me to the loft to dig out my original 3c. Sadly dead now, I probably shouldn't have of left those batteries in when I put it away 15 years ago.

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual


Re: Only cracking I have done is

I work across lots of different types of sites, with lots of different levels of security. Many of these sites use the combination door locks.

I was shown a trick by a locksmith whilst working on a police station to bypass some of the basic types of these locks. I showed him my trick that works with about one in five of the locks (including the none basic ones): the code would be written somewhere near the door, often on the door frame.

The locksmith claimed I was exaggerating so we walked through the police station and stopped near every code door lock we saw. I managed 2 out of 5 on that site, including the code lock on the door of the evidence room!

Who fancies a six-core, 32GB RAM, 4TB NVME ... convertible tablet?


10 TB of total storage?

I'm sure there are fringe cases but how many people really needs 10TB of local storage on a laptop/tablet?

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button


Not me for once...

But I've been told similar versions of this story by two unrelated people that worked for the same bank so I think it may be true:

A large new data centre for a UK bank opened mid nineties just outside the Yorkshire town the bank was named for. It had new fangled doors with swipe cards to get through, though sometimes there was a 'push to exit' button at the side of a door to get it open.

A new cleaner was working at the site one evening and walked up to one of the secure doors. Looked at both sides for a card reader but didn't see one, though there was a big red button to one side.

Pushed the button to open the door but it was still locked? Apparently they got all the systems back up and running by close of business the next day!

One of the guys that told me the above also told me about the time they tested the fire suppression system for the archived paper storage at the same banks head office (a large office building in the middle of the town the bank is named for). They had installed a new halon suppression system in the basement, and the final test was of the extract to clear the halon if someone got caught in the area being suppressed (so they didn't suffocate). To do this they fill the area with smoke then turn on the extract to see how long it would take to get all the smoke out. They did this and the smoke cleared nice and quickly.

Walking out of the building, on the way to a liquid lunch after everything had gone well, there was lots of noise and fuss outside. It turned out the basements ventilation system was linked to the modern art statue in front of the offices, and for the last 10 minutes plumes of smoke had been poring out - obviously the fire brigade had been called.

The Splunk that got sunk: Log-lover ends support for mobile apps


Re: I know there's always Google, but...

It obvious what they do, just to clear it up for everyone:

'Splunk gives you the real time answers you need to meet customers expectations and business goals.'

Your welcome


Software changed the world, then died on the first of the month


That's why I always write the brief myself as well - tell the users what they need and give them that!

Great news, cask beer fans: UK shortage of CO2 menaces fizzy crap taking up tap space


A friend of mine works for a well known soft drinks company. She had to cancel a trip to test some new production equipment this week as the site in question didn't have enough CO2 to run the plant.

Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally


I'm sure we've all had at least one oops moment!

My biggest was when I was fitting a bench in the back of a brand new van work had gotten me (we used to work out of the back of the vans).

I measured carefully and cut the worktop to size then went to put it in behind the seats, resting on the existing framework in the back of the van. It was a little tight to lay down so I just knocked it in with a spare bit of wood, I though this was perfect as if tight it wouldn't move around when driving about.

I stood back and admired my work, then walked round the side of the brand new van to see a dent all the way down one panel where I had 'helped' the bench lay flat.

I was stuck with that dent for three years until the lease ran out - my boss was OK with it but never let me forget it.

Unclip your pager and bag from your belt: We need to make room for a battery-powered 1TB HD


Is that a 1TB hard drive in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?

Oh, you can't hear the question, as you've got your VR headset on!

Police block roads to stop tech support chap 'robbing a bank'


Also watch out for hidden alarms

I was working earlier this year inspecting behind wall panelling in a government building. The panels lift up and out to give access to the void behind that had various services running through it.

We got to one section of the building where all the panels had been screwed into place with a specialist security screws (all the previous panels had been unfixed and just lifted off). I spotted one panel in the middle of the area that had ordinary screws instead of security screws so undid these and lifted the panel off to look behind. There was an alarm sensor fitted to the back of the panel (apparently to all the panels in this area) and all I could see was a metal sheet with lots of warnings on it. An alarm went off and shortly after there was an armed response.

I can speculate what was behind that metal panel but I'm not going to write it down in case big brother is watching.

Needless to say I didn't remove any more panels that day.

How Google's Smart Compose for Gmail works – and did it fake its robo-caller demo?


Isn't smart compose just the same as when you are typing on your phone and it tries to guess the next word you want (then shows it at the top of the keyboard)?

Am I the only one that has tried to write whole text messages using just the proposed words at the top of the keyboard, whilst trying to retain the meaning of the message and some semblance of sentence construction?

Uni IT man stole £22k of Macs to pay for smack


At least they make it easy to get the stuff back

Back in he late nineties, when I worked for a high street electronics retailer, whenever we had something big stolen from the shop floor we would just wait a couple of days then go round to Cash Converters with proof the serial number belonged to us. They used to give us the stuff right back.

If you didn’t involve the police then you could put it right back on the shelf, if the police were involved then it disappeared into evidence storage somewhere for twelve months.

Brit regulator pats self on back over nuisance call reduction: It's just 4 billion now!


Don’t the telecoms company get a little bit of money for every call they connect? At around four billion a year I’d presume this isn’t chump change, so I’d guess they don’t really want it fixed.

A little like Royal Mail delivering spam through my letter box every week - it helps to keep all those Posties employed

What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids


Maybe coming back

Is it just me or does that trajectory look like it’s coming back to earth eventually?

'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared


Why the assumption that the people searching voted leave?

See title

Most of the world still dependent on cash


I don't get why Chad & Ethiopia are a the bottom of this list. In both those countries you can use credit cards. Right next door in Sudan you can't use credit cards at all (something to do with it being based on American technology), and to use the ATM's you need an in-country bank account so everything is done in cash.

Dixons Carphone to shut down 134 shops


Just like Tandy

Many many years ago I worked for Tandy when Carphone Whorehouse bought them. After two years of being told no stores would be shut, I found out my site was closing.

It was 'ok' though as they offered me a job at the nearby Carphone with the same salary. Problem was the salary wasn't far off minimum wage with a 100 to 150% bonus depending on performance at Tandy, obviously no bonus available at Carphone though.

This way they didn't make any numbers redundant, but unsurprisingly quite a lot of us left.

Pope instructs followers to put the iPhone away during dinner


A little obvious

So using your phone whilst eating ruins family time.

In tomorrow's news: the Pope is Catholic.

Salon Privé: The UK's billionaire-friendly answer to Pebble Beach


Is it just me...

or does the DB10 look a lot like a Ford Mondeo?

Smartmobe app claimed it will improve your eyesight. Now its maker is coughing up $150k


Is there anybody out there

who would really believe an app could improve your eye sight?

Care.data is a complete omnishambles, says study into hated scheme


Data protection

I received the letter telling me about it. In the data protection section it said something like 'we have no plans to share your information...at this time'. I opted out, but to do that I had to go to my local doctors surgery in person.

Pavegen: The Company that can't make energy out of crowds tries to make money out of them


Different design

Wouldn't it be more efficient to manufacture shoe shaped tiles and make people wear them on their feet?

UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists


The other way

I thought truck companies optimised routes to turn left? Less time waiting for gaps in traffic to turn etc. so quicker and more economical?

WIN a RockBLOCK Mk2 Iridium sat comms unit



Test at Altitude Nominal Limitations Involving Normal Equipment

REPORT: UK needs online eBay-style court for civil justice


Headline Incomplete

Is it just me or should the headline be finished off?

"...like a hole in the head"

Hey look! Microsoft's workforce isn't all white men


Out of interest

How many self-identified as Jedi?


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