* Posts by Bob.

34 posts • joined 1 Sep 2015

I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst


Re: No fair trial in the US

I was the Wanno One (meaning 3 months in HMP Wandsworth)

Two trials to get me there. Domestic Violence Assault charge

In fact my female partner was the violent one, I just defended myself.

And they were just minor incidents. Although she nearly killled me by trying to push me backward down the stairs then pushing me backwards over a child gate and chopping at my face with the loft pole.

I was upside down and kicked her in the face (not too hard) at that point

For first trial the CPS didn't know whether to go with Common Assault or ABH and asked for a deferral.

1st trial not too bad. 2nd trial you would think I was the worst wifebeater in the world.

I was just totally disbelieved and crucified.

My police statement and 2 x testimony was the truth.

My ex girlfriends was wildly different

She later made up stories about other men, one of whom didn't get to see his kids for two years.

I didn't see mine for ten.

I was waiting till they were 18 but they jumped the shark at 14 and 15 and took their Mum to court and won.

Early twenties now and we are in regular contact and visits. Tough years though, for them and me.

They were badly neglected.

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far


In the late 70s, we only had one computer for the whole County (Aberdeenshire).

It toured the schools in a Mobile Library Van, specially converted.

While the operator got a VDU and a keyboard, we got punched cards and teleprinter output.

Still, I fell in love with technology and my first 10 card program also included an 11th. PRINT "Hello World"

Later I moved to England and we even had a Computer Club (with one computer at first in the Maths Dept)

I joined and spent many happy hours there. We had a couple of great teachers too who joined in.

A band of happy geeks who were considered odd but learnt a lot for later life/careers

Actually we played games whenever we could, loaded via cassette tape.

Anyone remember Colossal Adventure? Google it

Or we wrote our own simple games

But most of us did become social, settle down, have kids, became non-geeks(ish)


Re: Colleges vs. Real world.

I learned PASCAL at Manchester (one Term in the Electrical and Electronic Department)

I even bought the text book. £16? My weekly rent on my room was £13

I wrote my first simple Pascal program. It would not compile! Just said Error in Compiling with no further details. I wasn't a novice to programming, been messing with BASIC and Assembler for some years.

My instructor(s) were baffled too. The Code was perfect.

After some days/sessions, we realised we had a newer version of Pascal that required the program to start with a semicolon.


I also did a Ferranti CAD package course connecting the internals of their chips for our projects. Wireframe green screen graphics. 450 NOR gates.

A cross between programming a ROM and PCB layout design.

This also needed 'compiling'. But us students had the lowest priority on the system and it usually took 24 hours.

I don't know who was hogging all the processor time, or maybe the system was buggered.

Still I had a great 3 years in Manchester. And it has a great reputation. Many parts being better than Oxford and Cambridge.

Lots of famous names came out of there. Not me, I'm just a decent engineer.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?


I had 2 laptops, joined the Insider program got two free W10 Pro licenses and could tinker, and do pretty much anything under the hood.

Everything unwanted was locked down or disabled.Even Windows Update and Telemetry.

But the motherboard on one failed.

It was easiest just buying a 'new' 3 yr old laptop.

Strangely it came with W8.1. But it's a decent HP Beats Pavilion with Touch screen and looks fairly modern and 'snazzy'

I have never got around to putting W10 on it. Nor do I have the desire to do so.

I have lost all interest in tinkering, reinstalling for major updates and then putting right everything that gets reset.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'


I recently had a couple of weeks convalescence in a Care Home. I was pretty locked down and my dodgy mobile phone charger cable decided it would become permanently dodgy. I couldn't charge my lifeline.

My sis sent me a new charger but it came without a cable. Just the socket outlet power supply.

I asked around for any spare USB chargers and cables. Only one Health Worker could help me.

But he referred to it as a Samsung Charger. Knowing if it was reasonably modern it would be fine and it was, I said yes please.

(Strangely, we both had the same Huawei Y6 phone)

Apparently, all phone chargers are known as Samsung Chargers these days :)

According to him and a couple of others.

Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero


Best fixed with a Lump Hammer. Don't forget to remove them first.

My best ever earphones, still used by choice, were the Sony Megabass Walkman ones.

Although they don't fit in my ears quite as well as silicone straight-in cheap things.

The jack and wires don't crackle with physical contact noise either.


It still works too. I use it while gardening, cutting the lawn. Well, the FM radio bit. Fed up of the few surviving cassettes, chez moi.

For the majority of my hours, I have never liked isolating myself from the world around me.

Astronaut Tim Peake reminds everyone about the time Excel mangled his contact list on stage at Microsoft AI event


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

"Dear Tim

Thank you for your query.

Our customers are very important to us and we hope we can help you with using MS Powerpoint™

To better understand your situation please tell us which Windows edition and version you are using and similarly for your Office installation.

Have you recently installed any other software or made any significant changes to your system?

Have you checked that your Locale is set to Low Earth Orbit and the Date and Time are correct?

Major Tom

Senior MS Advisor Partner

Moonbase Alpha"

Army Watchkeeper drone flopped into tree because crew were gazing backwards


Bollox. Read the Executive Summary of the DAIB report properly

"Both Main Landing Gear [MLG] were on the grass"


From my reading of the el Reg summary, the drone WAS [at least partially] on the grass.

Do pilots on manned flights perform go-arounds from the grass? Hazards are there! Ruts, rabbit holes, signage.Wheels dig into soft ground, throw clods of mud into the engines, etc.

I suggest the drone operators did exactly the right thing, albeit from non-standard input, and are being scapegoated.

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)


Kieran! You are a Moron! Or are you? And actually, ain't we all?

You have actually gained an el Reg story and an interesting/entertaining thread. Add it to your portfolio.

The story may even be saleable to the MSM Features market. What's the going rate for 500 or a 1000 words these days?

Otherwise, just dine out on it.

Being streetwise, or making "risk-assessments", is very necessary in the modern world. Play what-ifs all the time.

What if I am a victim of fire, flood, theft?

Backup, backup, backup. Plan, Plan, Plan.

Do I really want to be out with expensive kit? What if my house is struck my lightning?

What if I get home to find my partner has changed the locks and all my clothes are on the front-step.

Life? It's all good fun.

Security? We've heard of it! But why be a party pooper when there's printing to be done


About 1988, I was sent to the new Dealing Room of a Big Bank in the City cos' bits of it kept crashing.

I had to measure lots of temperatures in the machine/server room cabinets because the room's Air Conditioning and cabinet venting was suspected to be 'unbalanced'.

I was a Design Engineer, not a Field Engineer, and I'd never been On-Site before. But I was young and free that day, so off I went. "Just measure as many temps as you can in various cabinets and various racks and boards". Only 60 cabinets in that room!

I gave the Receptionist my ID and the name of my contact.

"He'll be a few minutes, please wait for him in 1st floor Foyer" and she gave me a visitor badge.

"Sure where's the stairs?"

"The Lifts are just there""

"Stairs are fine", I said (I hate people who take lifts for one floor)

"Stairs are locked without a card, you have to take the lift".

Sealed 1st floor foyer, deserted. But mein Techie host arrived within 3 mins and demonstrated how secure they were.

Card on multiple doors and a teenie-weenie revolving door man-trap, big enough for only one person at a time.

He made a joke about how secure it all was.

We get to the Tech office, and I want a quick chat about the problems they have been experiencing "But first I need the loo"

He rolled his eyes and sighed.

"It's all the way back out again", he said "Here, just take my security card. It's easier"


Re: One rule for you...

I remember the beautiful Art Deco frontage hiding the massive factory behind. I visited quite a few times and talked on the phone too.

I worked as an Engineer/Sales Engineer/Trainer/Liaison/Manager for a Japanese Fibre Optic supplier.

They bought LOTS of our FO sub-assemblies and equipment to build their products.

(possibly £1-2 million over 2 years?)

I grew up in Devon, and it was great to get a panic call or other request to go down there, from SW London, to sort out some problem, shoot the shit and see if they were in the market for some new stuff.

I knew 3 managers, on different lines/products and gave a little training and basically bent over backwards to give them Top Service (actually we did that for all our customers)

I got on well with them, nice guys, and blow me down, all 3 suggested I hand in my notice and come and work there.

I was sorely tempted. Never had an attempt at poaching quite like that before.

It would have been ideal. But my existing job was also good. I decided not, thankfully.

Nortel worldwide almost completely shut down soon after.

Over expansion and recruitment of anyone? (maybe why they were interested in me lol)

And the Telecoms Crash.

We bought some of our equipment back, when they nicely asked (all part of customer relations).

(Value £100k). I think Alcatel or Pirelli bought that at a reduced price.

The boxes weren't even opened from our original delivery months before.

Did I go and collect it? I have a vague memory of some storeroom.

Funnily enough, one of my colleagues spotted some of our/their stuff on eBay a few months later at ridiculous knock-off price.

We tipped off the surviving manager.

Sadly, I have no memory of the locks or general security arrangements.

I suspect it wasn't great with the Boom Town Business and many new employees.

5000 at peak, in Paignton?

World recoils in horror as smartphone maker accused of helping government snoops read encrypted texts, track device whereabouts


Re: Ah, a sunny day at this precise point where I'm standing at this moment

In spite of being very security conscious over the years, blocking and locking down my laptops and phones, OSes and Apps, Somehow my data has leaked. I'm sure everyone in the on-line database world could probably find out my underpant size and preferred type if they wanted. (Medium trunks) and where I buy them (Tesco)

My latest (second-hand) Samsung Galaxy S7 cannot [seemingly] be Rooted (to delete or disable ManufacturerWarez).

I'm not sure I believe that, but if it ain't easy, I'll probably brick it.

Anyway, keeping up with such things takes a lot of time and effort.

I prefer writing innocent rubbish on forums.

Security options, blockers, workarounds only work for a while before being ineffective and countered by the evil ones. I've given up, apart from 'reasonable' precautions.


Current annoyances:

My Facebook Profile pic appears as icon on many sites. I haven't tracked down why.

Phone Upday default news feed is Off, but it still updates and chimes.

I get other bings and bongs at various points in the day too and no idea who is triggering them.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision


Bit more on fingers...

I'm intrigued by operating machines/switches/buttons in high vibration/turbulent or high g-force environments, especially with gloves.

Aircraft/ships/spacecraft (on ascent or re-entry)

I have trouble texting on a train, from my Android phone.

Actually, even from my armchair, and remember, I have slim fingers.


I nearly failed my Electrical and Electronic Eng. degree in the 80s (because I was immature, depressed and got pissed all the time)

I missed half my lectures and practicals in 2nd year, and 80% in 3rd year)

Nevertheless, I got a good (job designing bits of Dealing Room Systems, for the Banks)

We incorporated the early Amber/Orange touchscreens (as used on submarines) to complement normal IBM/PC keyboards.

The software guys had control of that. Fairly simple for them and it worked well.

Except, Dealers get quite upset when they lose substantial money on a Trade.

On numerous occasions, they would smash their screens with the telephone handsets, breaking both.

Prob $2000 damage each time. We stopped using the touchscreens.

The Dealers were a pain anyway. "We want Porsche screen savers". They were Gods, Masters of the Universe, cos' they made millions.

In spite of my crappy degree, I did actually have a brain and taught myself good technical design skills and good engineering and safety practice. I did some [simple] software too.

No Google, but there were plenty of Datasheets, with example circuits and firmware/software books.

In short, I found I was a pretty good engineer after all.

I played What-Ifs all the time and noted that coding take lots of Error Handling and be easy to use, as well as 'pretty'

(To this day, Non-intuitive, Context Sensitive Menus and Options irk me)

I tried to make everything as robust and fail-safe as possible, with redundant options.

Of course, I have also made lots of mistakes, but overall I'm happy with my MTBC (Mean Time Between Cockups)

Finger Troubles...

My first semi biggie was just designing a 96 way patch panel for coax cables in a 19" cabinet. (Several boards needed in each)

Really, I should have insisted on 64 way, space was a bit tight and my manager insisted that more PCBs and cabinet space (or even cabinets) was unacceptable.

But it was fine. Until 6 weeks later when the Installation engineers tried to install the first of several hundred boards (rushed into production from my couple of perfect prototypes).

I have slim fingers. Many of the field guys had sausage fingers. They couldn't get their fingers into the panel bayonet connectors.

Big oops. I'd done well on my other [complex] board designs and I'd expensively messed up on a bloody patch panel.

Fortunately, all was well. The Install/Maintenance engineers designed themselves a special low-cost tool to plug and unplug the cables.

Over my career I've come across engineers from genius to shockingly bad (and Managers/Directors).

Mistakes are human. Multiple mistakes (often the same ones) are unforgiveable.

Sorry this is a bit TLDR


Re: I can't beieive I'm the first...

It's called "XP", isn't it?

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


We hardware engineers are always forgotten. Less money, less kudos and stature but we don't feck around.

Working on Dealing Room Systems (with our custom designed PCBs), many years ago, we had one board that would intermittently and infrequently crash.

Share prices/Currency/Commodity info would freeze on one of the Dealer's screens.

This peeved them somewhat ($ millions trades at stake).

Generally a dealer would have 4 screens and some hundreds of dealers per room. This board was used on each screen.

So 1200 boards per Room, for a 300 Dealer Room.

Thee was a Hard Reset switch on the board, but it required the sysadmin or on-site engineer to wander into the Machine Room (after an irate call from the Dealer) and find Cabinet x, Rack y and Board slot z. Off/On, Fixed. But that took too long.

Our software engineers spent weeks trying to track down the problem and gave up.

When they came to us, we found quickly and easily that we could put a simple hardware Watchdog Timer on the board.

If it wasn't reset every 5 seconds, the board was rebooted.

It worked well and no further complaints.

Obviously for planes, the logic might be a bit more complicated.

If not reset for 100'something hours and stationary on the ground then reboot.

Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink



What is this 40-60C nonsense?

It ain't too hot till it gets to 90C+, with random shutdowns, or sets fire to the curtains.

Tesla’s Autopilot losing track of devs crashing out of 'leccy car maker


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

This self-driving technology has been very, very successful. It's amazing, in fact.

A large workforce is employed in good jobs and the owner is fabulously rich.

The fact that the product may never work and the Emperor has no Clothes is neither here nor there.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update thwarted by obscure tech known as 'external storage'


For non-Advanced Users, the solution is easy. Buy new hardware and software. Get thee to the nearest Computer Store.

To become an Advanced User, learn how to use Google and make full backups (System Images), Iso Boot Discs and USBs.

99% won't and that suits the manufacturers and vendors just fine.

Microsoft debuts Bosque – a new programming language with no loops, inspired by TypeScript


Re: newspeak for software

Don't forget https://www.google.com/search?q=airbus+paris+crash

All automated systems should have a big Red Button to turn them off.


Bad programmers and those who don't implement error handling and commenting and documenting their code have always been the real problem.

Nothing wrong with Loops.


So you've 'seen' the black hole. Now for the interesting bit – how all that raw data was stored


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

Turing got it right [near enough] in the 40s, when he pre-supposed Moore's law and forecast Gigabit memories/storage by the end of the century.

Tape and HDDs have their quirks and amusing stories.

They first did amazing things with paper tape loops and magnetic ferrite core arrays.

And the Manchester William's Tube CRT phosphor dot thing. What was all that about?

I remember seeing an IBM 5 platter[?} removable 5MB 'cassette' at school. Our teacher brought it in from a SysAdmin friend to show us.

Tapes suffer 'Print Through' and stretching and Wow and Flutter.

Ever seen a fingerprint or speck of dust on a hard drive platter?

Probably only after the head has crashed to the surface. They don't like those, which is why they are sealed.

I remember early reports of HDDs popping their seals in unpressurised aircraft holds. Dunno if true.

The technology doesn't really matter in the end. It will always evolve.

Backup, backup, backup. Multiple copies in multiple places and the data should survive. At least for a while.

Whether you can find it in 10 years time is another matter.

Buffer overflow flaw in British Airways in-flight entertainment systems will affect other airlines, but why try it in the air?


Re: So, uhhhmm, why should I care?

Is it the one mext to the Flight Control reboot button?


Re: Entertainment system pen testing

If you fancy diembarking over the Atlantic on the return leg.

Or maybe you can make Goose Bay and hire a car for the rest.


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

Soon to be grounded no doubt, since Boeing can't write bug free, tested code either.

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads


Re: i'm sorry in advance



I'm so glad my kids have now matured into sensible adults and see 'Apple Inc.™' for the cult that it is.

(Apologies for swearing)

The can now concentrate on the real world. Paying exorbitant rent and saving up for their first property purchase, sometime in their 40s.

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network


Aiding Resilience

Additional BBCPs (Battery-backed Communication Points) could be the ideal answer.

It's a bit of a mouthful. Some people know them as 'Telephone Boxes'

Dell forgot to renew PC data recovery domain, so a squatter bought it


40 years of Home and SME computing (Commodore Pet and Apple II) and 'we', most of the General Public and hardware manufacturers still can't get Backup 101 straight in our brains.

The Public are excused, to some extent, but Hardware manufacturers are not.

Fortunately, our saviours started Software companies dedicated to solving the problem.

Macrium, Easeus, Acronis etc

Find them. Learn them. Use them.

MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why


Re: planet is surrounded by spy satellites

Are you sure it wasn't a whale?

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+


Re: re GCHQ and Patches

Many have been so bedazzled by the brilliance of Microsoft's latest all singing and dancing Operating Systems that they enter a Trance-like State where backups are no longer required.

Seek help. Macrium is your friend.

UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late


Can you still get the EPROMs for these Chinooks?

And then you have to remember which dusty cupboard the Programmer was consigned to.

Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches


Re: I was just musing the other day that M$ might do this and low and behold!

I also feel behooven to point out that only cattle low.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020