* Posts by Andytug

330 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Apr 2015


BOFH: Lies, damned lies, and standards


Re: Association of Servicepeople for Software and Hardware Over the Lifetime of Equipment.

Many years ago, after every department but IT had changed their name at least once that year, we sugested many rude acronym names for our department. I did win with an acroymn for CLITORIS (Computer Literacy, Information Technology, Original Research & Infrastructure Support) but then said in our managers meeting it would be no good as half the office woudn't be able to find us....

BOFH: Cough up half a grand and we'll protect you from AI


Re: Useful for staging accidents

My neighbour is a first aid instructor for Mountain Rescue and suchlike....he frequently leaves his (pretty realistic) casualty dummies in the back of his estate car on the drive. I'm used to it, but a lot of people driving and walking past do some proper double takes....!

They're the proper expensive ones wiith missing limbs and bits for ketchup to come oozing out of, etc.

Here's how to remotely take over a Ferrari...account, that is


Would be interesting if the ownership of the car could be hacked....

...as that would surely then be tested in a court of law, with potential £££££consequences if proved that it was a securty fail. Rich persons won't like being told that legally the Ferrari isn't theirs...!

Study suggests AI cruise control could kill traffic jams by cutting out the 'intuition' factor


Stick with the lane the trucks are in works for me

Much less stop/start (it's kind of harder to do in a truck so they don't unless forced to), less stress and pretty sure less fuel use. Every time you brake you convert expensive fuel into heat, so if you can avoid braking it saves fuel. In the end you won't lose much time if any, the truck drivers are as keen to get to where they're going as anyone.

Fixing an upside-down USB plug: A case of supporting the insupportable


Magic smoke...

is the answer, as I found out as a kid, to the question "If I wire my Scalectrix transformer to my Lego motor, what will happen?"

It went extremely fast for a second or so, then lost its magic smoke and died forever.

13V at 10A into a 4.5V motor doesn't leave room for any magic smoke :(


We had a whole batch of faulty Fujistus do that by themselves

Auto sensing power supplies, auto sense no workey, sets itself to 110, user presses power button, loud pop and escape of magic smoke, user on desk opposite ges rude awakening!

DARPA seeks portable muon-making machine to see through almost anything


Does this mean....

that sharks with frikkin' lasers on their heads are one step closer to reality?

And petawatt lasers at that!

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day


Good old Novell Networks

...also had a messaging feature, which we used from time to time, sometimes for individual messages and occasionally for group ones.

We discovered one day that it re-allocated system user ID's on the basis of one logged off, next logon got the same ID. How did we find this out? Two of the PFYs were messaging one another from opposite sides of the desk, one logged off to stop the messages. Then we got a phone call from a PHB wanting to know why his PC had just flashed up a message to "Stop it!" as soon as he logged on. Just as well it wasn't something worse......

Microsoft Teams outage widens to take out M365 services, admin center


Downdetector website

Thoroughly recommended for the real picture of downtime :)

UK lays world's longest autonomous drone superhighway


Same as Royal Palaces (including Parliament)

Anyone who dies in a Royal palace is enititled to a State Funeral, so no one is declared dead until outside the palace in question. Thus only monarchs die in palaces...

Happy birthday, Windows Vista: Troubled teen hits 15


Vista could be made to work pretty well

That is as long as you had 2x the recommended RAM, or preferably 4x (which is a general rule of thumb for Windows anyway tbh!).

Then just disable disk indexing and it would speed up no end.

Unfortunately it followed the Microsoft trend of OK/bad/OK/bad versions of Windows, being the bad one in between XP and 7. 11 looks to be contiuing the sequence so maybe need to wait for 12 :)

You've stolen the antiglare shield on that monitor you've fixed – they say the screen is completely unreadable now


Shameless repost, but it fits :)

A student colleague had a summer job in the local leisure park fixing their amusement machines.....the worst ones he had to deal with were the "sit in" type arcade machines (the wireframe Star Wars type ones). For some reason the manufacturers had decided that under the seat was a good place for the mainboard..until a smallchild comes and sits in it and has an accident. Urine and solder do not get on, and there's the smell.........

BOFH: You'll find there's a company asset tag right here, underneath the monstrously heavy arcade machine


Smoke from paper in the fuser...

Way back before the paperless office, we probably had about 4 or 5 HP Laserjet per floor, a 5 Si for bulk prints (built like a tank) and the rest all 4s and 5s. Pretty reliable stuff and I'd never seen a fuser issue......until one day one of the small ones wound a sheet of A4 round and round the fuser roller. Amazingly did not smoke or bursst into flames, but the whole floor stank of "burnt toast" and the paper came out the colour and consistency of an ancient treasure map.

Have also had someone sit a fan heater on top of their desk, then go the toilet....during which time the heater fell on top of the PC base unit, melting the entire plastic casing (one of those white Fujitsu 486s I think). Very lucky it didn't set on fire.

Biggest takeaway from pandemic lockdowns for Microsoft? Teams stopped talking to each other


My irony meter

..has just exploded...

When everyone else is on vacation, it's time to whip out the tiny screwdrivers


Beware if your how to video only shows the LHD version of your car......

Simple pollen filter replacement, Renault Scenic Mk3. One pane out under dash, reach up behind heater, find plastic door, 2 screws, door off, old filter out, new one in, reverse steps.

....except if your car is RHD, where changing the pedals to the other side without moving any of the master cylinders etc (as this would cost money) means the entire clutch pedal assembly, hydraulic pipes and all, is in front of the nice little door for the filter. Reaching all this is also hampered by the steering wheel and column, etc.

I've managed to find one video of an RHD car (a normal Megane, but they're the same) and you could tell by the bloke that filmed it's demeanor that he had defnitely been cursing all things French off camera.....

Live, die, copy-paste, repeat: Everything is recycled now, including ideas


Finally, someone else who liked the Game Gear!!

Mine is in a box in the attic, with all the games, the big magnifier thingy for the front and the TV tuner (sadly defunct now due to TV going digital, but might work abroad somewhere maybe). Waiting for the day when it becomes a collectors item.......

Great machine, even got Lemmings for it. Biggest drawback a rapacious appetite for batteries, 6 AAs at a time, 45 mins a set if you were lucky. Though it did introduce me to the idea of having a load of rechargeables and a charger that can do 8 of them at a time, still a boon for cameras and the Xbox controllers..........

Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!


Re: the switch built in and self-detecting

Yes they did...Fujitsu for one, and they had a bad batch we got once that every so often would pick 110 by themselves, which would wake up the staff member on the other side of the desk farly smartly as the main fuse in the PSU popped....

Cyberlaw experts: Take back control. No, we're not talking about Brexit. It's Automated Lane Keeping Systems


Re: How indeed

Simple cruise control is excellent once you're used to it, it means less aches in your right leg from holding it in a constant position. If you are concerned about not having time to react if something happens, it sound like in that kind of situation (busy traffic, close to vehicle in front) you shouldn't be using it - I tend to use it only when the road far ahead is pretty clear, you still have to anticipate a way in advance what might happen in the next 15-45 seconds and act accordingly.

Its best use by far is on dual carriageways with average speed cameras, so you can watch the road not the speedometer!

BOFH: Despite the extremely hazardous staircase, our IT insurance agreement is at an all-time low. Can't think why


Foundation users....proper lol

Very close to a coffee/keyboard interface situation :)

Accidentally wiped an app's directory? Hey, just play the 'unscheduled maintenance' card. Now you're a hero


Be very careful where you click...

Once when fixing a shared folder permissions issue, nice and easy, right click folder, permissions, reset permissions on child objects, job done.

.....except if you have accidentally highlighted the workgroup folder for the whole office, not the single folder at the top that you actually wanted to reset.

Correct folder resets, then it started on the next one......ohsh!t moment. Frantically cancelled out of it....after 5-10 seconds of terror, and it had only got part way through folder 2, which fortunately had no special permissions or structure under it.

Step away from the computer.......slowly. Get drink, calm down. Resolve to be more careful in future.

George Clooney of IT: Dribbling disaster and damp disk warnings scare the life out of innocent user



That is so getting used the next time I present via Teams (evil laugh)....


Re: It is very important to select your victim carefully,

He'd already done the "screenshot destop, hide all shortcuts and icons, set screenshot as background" on me previously (first time I'd seen it so mild panic ensued) so it was my turn :)


It is very important to select your victim carefully,

or the fallout may not be what you wish for.....

Also sometimes good practice to prime those around the victim so they can (a) support the joke and/or (b) won't turn on you if it goes wrong....

Did something similar back in the day with a fake virus checker that moved a person's files off their (3.5") floppy on to the HDD and displayed a message saying a virus had been detected. Panic ensued, until I "recovered" the files after a suitable time lapse and then explained the scam. Person selected was known to be both able to take a joke and deliver one, although even he did suffer a partial sense of humour failure briefly......

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user


Re: if it works...

There's a very simple couple of reasons why companies are trying to push stuff that's Internet-connected.

Monthly subsription

Personal data that can be monetised.

They sell the initial product cheap (e.g. doorbell camera) then rake in the money from subs. If you had to buy the storage etc for your home to keep the videos it would cost more initially, but cost little in the long run. Only benefit in this case is being able to view footage remotely on your phone.

Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles


Re: Uptitling


Window Cleaner - Transparent Wall Maintenance Engineer

The 40-Year-Old Version: ZX81's sleek plastic case shows no sign of middle-aged spread


Still got one in the loft

Although it's in a "proper" (well sort of, rather clunky) full size keyboard case, we got sick of the membrane very early on. Plus the case makes the (non Sinclair) RAM pack much less likely to wobble.

Chess in 1K of RAM, 3D Monster Maze, Catacombs, etc etc. Even had a Dig Dug in Hi Res by the time it got updated (to an Acorn Electron). No idea how someone managed to get that to work. I remember it being a swine to load from the tape though.

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?


I hate to say it, as I don't like the way they work...

...lack of back button etc, but for the elderly Apple is usually the answer

Yes, overpriced, hobbled in file transfer, etc etc but the volume of "IT Support" calls drops to almost zero once you get them off laptops and onto iPads. And they last a fair while too.

For those who must have a PC or laptop, an SSD upgrade from spinning rust (where possible) is a cheap way to speed up an older PC or laptop.

The older stuff does have an analogy with old cars - the people who can keep those running are the ones with the knowledge, the cupboards stuffed with old parts, and so on.

A word to the Wyse: Smoking cigars in the office is very bad for you... and your monitor


Don't think there's anything worse than the motherboard of a smoker's laptop...yuk

Even one that had had lager spilt into it smelt better.

One possibly worse....way back when I was at college a fellow student got a maintenance job at the local amusement park, sorting out all the arcade machines. It was when the "sit inside" machines like Star Wars and the tank battle one were popular. However the manufacturers chose under the seat as a good place to put some of the mainboards, which is fine until a Very Young Person decides to sit in there, play around with the controls and have a "little accident".

Seems urine is very good at attacking solder, so not only was there a bad smell but the board was trashed..

UK Supreme Court declares Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed: Ride biz's legal battle ends in a crash


Re: Well....

Not only the exploitation of workers, but the even bigger elephant in the room, low prices bankrolled by billions in VC capital, which if a state subsidy would be illegal, and that subsidy provided on the proviso that once competitors are driven out of business then "surge pricing" will deliver a hefty profit for the VCs.

Customers don't come into it, apart from as cows to be thoroughly milked come the day they realise it's too late and they have no alternative.

The wastepaper basket is on the other side of the office – that must be why they put all these slots in the computer


Re: We kept an enormous paper clip (suitably bent) in our toolkit.....

Only ever seen that happen once, with an old Fujitsu 486DX (I think), the sudden bang and silence as the CDR shattered into several pieces was a bit of a shock to the surrounding company.....

Although just like yours, after dismantling and removal of all the (many) shards of shattered CDR, the drive still worked perfectly. CD/DVD drives are built tough......


We kept an enormous paper clip (suitably bent) in our toolkit.....

....specifically for removing smart cards from laptops where the user had managed to insert them fully into the gap between the DVD drive casing and the laptop casing, conveniently positioned just a couple of mm below the actual smart card slot. Thanks HP, great piece of design there.......

We know it's hard to get your kicks at work – just do it away from a wall switch powering anything important


Back in the days when cars had cassette players....

Can remember driving past RAF Fylingdales (missile early warning radar station in Yorkshire) and the music being drowned out by a loud brrrrrrrtttttt for most of the way past. Think the radar interfered with the playback head in the cassette deck.


My favourite one....

A staff member who suspended herself at the login stage and couldn't understand why.....until we discovered that her nice electric rise/fall desk was pushing her keyboard (particularly the enter key far right) into the underside of her bosom. The embarrased IT person explained....the lady in question fell about laughing!

There is also a special level of hell reserved for whoever thought that Ethernet sockets at skirting board level were a good idea, when they are exactly the same height as the ends of the legs on a standard office chair........so many broken/pushed into the socket box :((((((

How do you save an ailing sales pitch? Just burn down the client's office with their own whiteboard


Re: This is one thing...that doesn't always help

Many years ago we had a dud batch of auto sensing PC power supplies that were supposed to set themselves to whatever you connected them to......except every so often one would set itself to 110 on a 240v plug, so when you switched it on the fuse would blow with a nice "pop". Very entertaining first thing i the morning when people are half asleep......

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously


Obligatory Dilbert...


The Novell NetWare box keeps rebooting over and over again yet no one has touched it? We're going on a stakeout


Re: More Mystery Reboots

Put one next to a live speaker with unshielded inputs. Then ring it and listen......

Just under a second before the phone rings you'll hear a buzz as (I think) the handset responds to the base station. Older phones had much more transmit power than modern ones do.....

Same happens just before a text lands but a bit less so.

Can still hear same if you stand near the door in our local chemists, as the call patient intercom speaker is above the door.

The curse of knowing a bit about IT: 'Could you just...?' and 'No I haven't changed anything'


Re: Sorting other people's stuff

Same here, all you need to do is find your local friendly firm that takes ex business laptops at refresh time, fits new SSDs, reinstall W10 and sells them at 1/3 of the original RRP or less. Choice of models etc. Had 5 from our local one and every one a good one. Buying new is stupid in my view,

Everybody's time is precious, pal: Sometimes it isn't only the terminals that are dumb


Re: Reminds Me Of A Customer One Time...

The original "Space Invaders" machine in our local sports club was finally removed after many years when the management discovered that punters had for some time been flicking a piezoelectric lighter in front of the screen, which then gave you free credits....

UK on track to miss even its slashed full-fibre gigabit coverage goals, warn MPs


That's this government for you

If it doesn't make money for them ot their mates, it won't happen.

No money in rural broadband, in fact a loss.

Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty


I've seen a spark like that from an old twin tub washer..

which a friend has asked me to look at as "the fuse had gone". Took the back off, new fuse, switched plug on and fizzbang, large spark, fuse gone again. Get someone who knows what they're doing please, I'm out.

Although you are correct that to make an arc in dry air needs 3kV per cm, etc, the presence of dust, metal debris or anything else flying about can make for a larger (if only briefly) spark (I used to make good "fireworks" with a 13V supply as a kid, due to tiny metal bits flying off glowing). Also the image left burned on your retina will probably be larger.....


Even worse with heaters...

…~~~wavy lines~~

Back in the day when the office had lovely white plastic-cased Fujisu PCs, for the important people only.

One Important Person was cold, and placed a fan heater on top of their desk, on a box. Then went to the toilet for some time, during which the heater fell forwards.....on to the PC base, blowing right on it. The result looked like Mr Soft's (from the Softmints advert) PC, only the internal metal casing stopped the whole thing from flowing off the desk like lava. Very lucky not to cause a fire.

There are two sides to every story, two ends to every cable


Re: I was close

That is even more likely where you have the IP phone and PC on the same port, so goes port to phone, phone to PC, 2 patch leads. Twice the chance to do it and have the data go round in circles, presumably!

When even a power-cycle fandango cannot save your Windows desktop


Re: Not quite the same

We had a bunch of faulty Fujitsu base units back in the day which auto-sensed 110/240V and set the PSU accordingly.

Faulty in that every so often one would get it wrong. Picture the scene, 0700 or so, desks back to back, user sans coffee so barely awake, colleague over the desk turns their PC on and "bang" there goes the fuse. User is now thoroughly awake!!

Not sunshine, moonlight or good times – blame it on the buggy


Re: The First Law Of Computing

And to constantly er...er.....er....err.... means you are the Prime Minister...

Right to repair? At least you still have the right to despair: Camera modules cannot be swapped on the iPhone 12


Re: Vote with your wallet

Indeed - then they can also be derided by most of the media and government: "you can't possibly be poor - look, you own a smartphone!".

Need a new computer for homeschooling? You can do worse than a sub-£30 2007 MacBook off eBay


Talk to your friendly local recycler....

We have a local firm that takes ex-business laptops and refurbs them, new SSD, etc. I've kitted the whole family out with them over the last couple years. Start at less than £150 and go up depending on spec, way less than half the price of a new one.

Just got myself a refurb i5 8Gb RAM 14" Thinkpad, and it's great, plays World of Warships no bother at all.

SSDs are what makes an old laptop so much better, wife has a Toshiba she really likes (because of the keyboard mainly), had it about 3 years and it was 2nd hand when we got it, £40 for an SSD and an hour or so to re-install W10, and it's at least 10 times faster. Cheap upgrade that really extends the life of a laptop.

We bought a knockoff Lego launchpad kit from China for our Saturn V rocket so you don't have to


Cheaper alternative to LEGO

Blox - sold in Wilkinsons in the UK and about 30% of the price of the real thing (less if on offer).

Almost as good, my daughter has about 25 sets of the stuff. Not quite as technically correct maybe in some cases but the instructions are good (she started them at 7 years old) and they seem to last as well as the real thing.

Remember the days when signs were signs and operating systems didn't need constant patching?


I saw this one on Sunday and took a pic....

then forgot all about it in the usual fudge of trying to get out, decide which chest of drawers was best, etc :)

It was conveniently right in the main entrance for everyone to see what a PITA Window Update can be......

There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable


Floor tiles can be fun too..

Temporary patching for a roof replacement (don't ask....), 25m patch cables run under the walkway, blockage discovered. Pull up tiles both sides, me one side mate the other, can't even push a rod through. Pull up all the floor tiles, and discover a whole floor box under them! Someone obviously saved money by not re-locating it when they decied that was going to be the walkway.....


Yep, got that in our kitchen

When replacing it after we moved in, took the old wall units off, hmm, why is there an 8mm hole here in the middle with burn marks round it? Stud/wire detector out, wire (in metal conduit fortunately) runs diagonally from top corner to socket in middle of wall.

Wall now has appropriate areas shaded and labelled in big letters, just in case I forget in the future!

I am not a sparky but even I know wires should run vertically!