* Posts by Somone Unimportant

31 posts • joined 14 Sep 2015

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Somone Unimportant

Mac pascal -> Lightspeed Pascal -> Think Pascal

Started using Mac Pascal (interpreted, no less) on a Mac 128 way back when, then graduated to Lightspeed Pascal on an SE and Mac II, before finishing off with Think Pascal v4 (post-Symantec acquisition). The last "4.5" release lives on in emulation on my iMac...

And my copies of "Think Pascal: User Manual" and "Think Pascal: Object-Oriented Programming Manual" sit on my bookshelf next to my copy of "Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs".

Pascal was a great language for teaching and exploring data structures, and with object libraries was powerful (and easy) enough for commercial-grade releases.

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

Somone Unimportant

NLM's weren't THAT bad

Well, unless you were running ARCServe - those NLMs were as buggy as hell.

Having spent two years before NetWare 3.0 was launched working with NetWare 2.11 and VAPs (Value Added Processes) that had to be bound into the kernel during the NetWare 2.x NETGEN process, the ability to LOAD and UNLOAD an NLM from the command line was amazing.

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals

Somone Unimportant

Ahh yes - the Netware "SEND" command. First thing I removed from every SYS:PUBLIC folder on every server I ever built from Netware 2.1 to Netware 5.0.

Not sure I agree with the writer's description of NDS as being as painful as that - for the site I worked with it allowed us to establish login accounts for 25,000 students - and this was in 1995 running Netware 4.11. By mid 90's everyone should have been running Netware 3.11, release data I believe was Valentine's day 1991, after 3.0 came out in late 1989.

We regret to inform you there are severe delays on the token ring due to IT nerds blasting each other to bloody chunks

Somone Unimportant

Ahh - the joys of token ring.

Used 4Mbits/sec on the wonderful clunky old IBM connectors to genuine IBM concentrators right through to 100 Mbits/sec on Cat5 just before Madge Networks disappeared for good.

warning - Gratuitous TR joke coming up.

"We have a token ring network because we can't afford a real ring network".

The delights of on-site working – sun, sea and... WordPad wrangling?

Somone Unimportant

Once used Norton diskedit.exe to let me remove all security from a netware 3.11 server so that critical files could be read.

Just edited server.exe, found the name of the file that stored security information and changed it. Restart server, new security file is empty. Walk on in.

Y2K, Windows NT4 Server and Notes. It's a 1990s Who, Me? special

Somone Unimportant

notes, y2k and nt 4

Potent mix that saw me get three hours at triple time on Saturday January 1st 2000.

Donated it to charity but got the tax deducton.

Them were the days...

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

Somone Unimportant

the worst unstoppable sound...

Playing an old version of a Star Trek game on a Televideo terminal connected to a Northstar Horizon running CP/M back in the early 1980's, every time a torpedo or phaser hit a vessel, the software would send CTRL-G to the terminal to play the BELL character.

After playing a few games, my father popped the lid of the Televideo terminal, cut the speaker cable and silence reigned supreme.

After a few more games, I got into the CBASIC source code with Wordstar of all things, removed all the CTRL-G prints from it, recompiled it (well, converted it back to its pseudo-code - anyone else remember typing "CRUN237 STRTRK.BAS"?), reconnected the speaker and lo - my father never knew.

It's also what started me off in my career of reverse-engineering other's code.

Trying to log into Office 365 right now? It's a coin flip, says Microsoft: Service goes TITSUP as Azure portal wobbles

Somone Unimportant

Yes, we had quite a few people affected by this ourselves.

Took out One Drive, Azure portal (but not our Azure hosted services thank heavens!), Sharepoint online and Outlook, and got services back just over 2 hours into our working day.

OWA appeared OK and thankfully our primary file storage is still on-prem so it wasn't affected.

With 200+ staff, that's 400+ lost hours of productivity, so a conservative $20,000 loss to our business.

So Microsoft - where's our refund cheque?

Backup Exec console goes AWOL

Somone Unimportant

WSUS also got borked

Patch 3210132 also borked my WSUS server with "failure to contact database" style errors.

Only the second time this year that WSUS has been killed by its own patches.

It's time for Microsoft to revisit dated defaults

Somone Unimportant

I think that the biggest difference was that the original version of AD would synch a group change by synching the entire group, whereas NDS only ever synched deltas, and did so from day one. By AD 2003 I think this was resolved and it became less chatty and less of an issue.

Though I think that AD 2000 had options to replicate directory data by SMTP didn't it?

NDS always had far better tools for directory querying and consistency checking - good old DSREPAIR.NLM would do for most things.

Anyone remember selecting "Cancel all timestamps and declare a new epoch?" - guaranteed to fix any and all NDS problems, provided you ran it from an NDS server that was healthy. Kind of like saying "You WILL replace what YOU know with what I have".

‘Inflexion point’ BlackBerry washes hands of hardware biz

Somone Unimportant

Re: Yup

My 5820 was made in Canada I think.

My 7230 was made in Hungary

My 8210 and 8220 were both made in Mexico

My Classic was made - you know, I have no idea where it was made.

Time to stock up on Passports, Classics and Privs methinks.

Are you sure you want to outsource IT? Yes/No. Check this box to accept Ts&Cs

Somone Unimportant

Ahh cloud computing...

An expensive resource that you have no real control over located on the far end of a network connection that you have no real control over, and if anything does go wrong on the cloudy system at the end of the unreliable link the best you can hope for is a partial credit of your monthly service charge...

What's not to like about that?

'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

Somone Unimportant

Re: BBC Master

1770 DFS was original BBC Micro wasn't it? The Master ran ADFS I thought.

Florida U boffins think they've defeated all ransomware

Somone Unimportant

...or use honeypots

Our file server is pretty much open to write by all (loooong story but we are moving to a new filestore system) and cryptolocker has had a big hit on us in the past.

However I've found that placing honeypot files around the file system and checking their integrity every minute or so by comparing them to a known secure copy of the file and flagging an immediate alert if there are any differences does the trick pretty well.

Some of the cryptolockers are getting smarter and randomly targetting files instead of iterating through a filesystem, or encrypting two or three files and then sleeping for an hour, then waking up and repeating, so this method is becoming less useful.

But if you had enough disk storage I'm sure that you could do something like a disconnected RAID-1 and watch for weirdo changes like the authors propose.

New phones rumoured as BlackBerry cans BB10 production

Somone Unimportant

Re: :-t

Nope, you're not the only one.

I'm using a Classic now myself as my work phone, and will probably buy another one as a spare when the prices drop.

As my personal phone I have a Pearl 8200 Flip Phone. It's a bit plasticky but its in showroom condition because I look after it, and I get looks of "oh wow - is that a new phone?" when I pull it out. Then I tell onlookers that it is from 2006...

This replaced a Pearl 8100 phone that gave me years of sterling service and still does if needed, but the trackball is getting a bit hard to keep clean.

This in turn replaced a 7230 with the weirdo form factor and the funny colour screen. Don't know where that one is, which is sad because it was a quirky phone and was the first phone that someone walked up to me and asked "what is that?" when I got it in 2004.

And in the bottom drawer of my tech desk is a BlackBerry 5810 monochrome screen system that is now 15 years old, yet still holds a charge. It's great for playing snake, or sending SMS messages, or typing mini-essays on. Crisp screen, though the backlight makes an annoying fluorescent hum.

RIP BlackBerry. The Priv just isn't the same.

Thunder struck: Apple kills off display line

Somone Unimportant

ADB was ill-fated?

Just because it wasn't used by any other vendor than Apple does not mean it was ill fated.

It had a very good life - from the //gs in 1986 until the last of the pre-Imac systems 12 years later, at a time when PC compatible devices still required their own connectors (the old Canon keyboard connector) or blue and green PS/2 connectors.

Devices (ok, mice and keyboards - and the damn Quark XPress copy protection dongle) could be daisy chaned and it was a doddle to have a left or right handed mouse because the Apple keyboards had left and right located ADB connectors.

It did the job, and it did it well.

Firewire was, IMHO, way ahead of its time, a pre-USB interface that absolutely screamed along in comparison to others. It too did the job well.

...though thinking about it, "doomed to never be used by other vendors to any real extent" does sound a bit like "ill-fated".

AWS blames 'latent bug' for prolonging Sydney EC2 outage

Somone Unimportant

OK, so they knew that bad weather was coming...

With bad weather forcast some time beforehand, would it have been hard for AWS to have one generator actually up and running in advance?

Would have helped avoid this outage and also provided a test for the UPS system.

If I had stuff on AWS, I'd be spitting chips over this, if the outage was indeed due to a UPS issue. But if I were on AWS, I'd also have systems ready in another availablity zone to take over should one go down.

Microsoft phone support contractors told to hang up after 15 minutes

Somone Unimportant

It's the same with those scam support callers from the sub-continent and such areas

I seem to be able to keep them on the phone for no more than 15 minutes before they summarily end the call.

Next time one of them calls me I'll tell them that I was unhappy with how they hung upon me after 15 minutes as it's not my fault that it took my Windows system more than 15 minutes to boot up. After all, they are calling from Microsoft Windows, so they should know that anyway, right?

Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards

Somone Unimportant

and therein lies the problem for Aussies

The credit card providers have forced tap-to-pay technologies on the Australian banking system, and there is no way to opt of it and demand that only a PIN be acceptable on a credit card.

We've gone from "low" security (a signature that placed the onus on the retailer to verify) to "some" security (a PIN) to no security (just tap here sir) for purchases below $100.

My wife's cards were stolen on a Friday night, the thieves racked up $250 worth of purchases in the followng four hours - mainly petrol, ciggies and late night Maccas - we cancelled the cards at 8am when we realised the cards had been stolen and it took us 6 weeks to get the charges reversed. And because one of the stolen cards was linked to her savings account, we were really out of pocket for that 6 weeks.

Telstra hauls in Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper to explain TITSUPs

Somone Unimportant

And let's not forget a patch that Telstra loaded onto their core 4G network switches on Australia Day that resulted in ACKS not being sent during some VoLTE to SIP calls. Took them two weeks to confirm the issue and another two weeks to fix it, during which time we had thousands of one-way only audio calls.

Clients thought it was our system at fault, and so did telstra at first. We lost clients because of this...

The cleverer they become, the harder they fall.

Send tortuous stand-up ‘nine-thirty’ meetings back to the dark ages

Somone Unimportant

Like the "Rockefeller Habits" crap

We started on these "stand-up" meetings after someone at my place of employment read a book called "The Rockefeller Habits" or something like that.

Seems that good old JD held meetings like this, so we would too.

All the time the executives were glowing about how wonderful this all was, I was seething inside.

Sure, JD may have been a good businessman, but he was also a ruthless tyrannical bastard (imho).

And his business practices drew enough attention that Standard Oil was forcibly split-up by the US regulatory authorities.

People take from history what they want to take, and miss the other stuff.

Boeing's X-Wing 737 makes first flight

Somone Unimportant

Did anyone else think "Australia II winged keel side view?" when they saw that picture?

Expanding ads

Somone Unimportant

Yep - the auto play ads are a pain in the arse!

And I'm on a 3g network link, so these ads are costing me $$$ to have on the screen.

Please don't make me switch an ad blocker back on!

KeePass looter: Password plunderer rinses pwned sysadmins

Somone Unimportant

Re: Extremely Dangerous

Three options spring to mind.

1 - run up keypass on an iPhone or Android device and use the file exclusively there. I have a keypass compatible app on my BlackBerry Classic and do just that, then just use my PC as a backup location for the keypass encrypted data file.

2 - run keypass for windows inside a VM on your desktop, and don't give the VM any network connectivity - almost like an air-gap system. It's harder to backup the keypass file but it can still be done - or you can backup the VM that runs it.

3 - or for the completely paranoid of us, just run an air-gap system for some really sensitive stuff.

I'd be more worried about keyboard grabbers intercepting copy/paste traffic as I paste usernames and passwords into fields myself.

Halo 5: Overhyped, but still way above your average shooter

Somone Unimportant

my son returned this game the same day he bought it

He played through it in 3 hours, was very disappointed with the story line and could not understand why they had dropped split-screen mode.

"Not enough horsepower to do split screen mode" - come on!

So he returned it and got a full refund.

Good on him for standing up for himself and hopefully sending a message to 343 that this release of Halo was extremely underwhelming.

It's almost time for Australia's fibre fetishists to give up

Somone Unimportant

I would be interested to see the speeds that these boffins get with their technology on our copper connection. 400 metres to the silver bullet, 3 kms to the exchange, and everytime it rains heavily our phone drops out because the copper is 50 years old and the shielding has rotted.

Oh - and I am 7 kms from a CBD...

While I respect pushing back the limits of what is possible, touting this as workable is as bad as telcos that tell me I should get up to 22 mbits per second because my line is ADSL 2+ capable.

Cisco Australia bumps prices by 12.83 per cent, for second time this year

Somone Unimportant

Here we go again...

Cisco, listen up.

Your gear is good, your support isn't bad, and you may have set the standard for quite a lot of network stuff.

But I've just had a 143% increase (yes, 143%) in maintenance for our Call Manager/UCCX system due to changes in the way that licenses are charged, effective September 15th. That was on top of a 14% increase back in March as part of the annual price gouge. And now you want to go and bump the prices up AGAIN?

The actual amount of the increase is a substantial chunk of what I could put towards hosted telephony with hosted ACD/IVR.

Playboy drops the butt-naked ladies

Somone Unimportant

What goes around comes around...

IIRC, Playboy didn't have full nudity of their monthly models until sometime in the early 1970's.

Prior to that, the angles used for camera shots were always such that the more sensitive parts of the models' anatomy were obscured or just out of view.

Don't ask me how I know. The only clue I will give is that when somewhat younger than I am today, a friend and I discovered a stash of these magazine at a local scout hall in their recycling bin. My friend has gone on to become a pre-eminent biologist (hi Matthew!), but I'm not sure that was anything to do with what we saw that day...

BlackBerry's tactical capitulation to Google buys time – and possibly a future

Somone Unimportant

Re: App Availability

I agree. My BlackBerry has bugger all applications on it besides the core BB10 apps, and I know what data they access.

And the extra apps I have downloaded - mainly games to help pass the time if I need them - and paid for are BB10 native.

However I'm a realist enough to know that I'm probably in the minority of mobile phone users, that small minority who are happy for phone, email and web use, without wanting apps galore.

BOFH: Press 1. Press 2. Press whatever you damn well LIKE

Somone Unimportant

Re: Ah, nostalgia...

That would be "Ye Olde Faerie Queene", with 6 torpedoes instead of 10, wouldn't it?

Ahh Primos...


Confession: I was a teenage computer virus writer

Somone Unimportant

Re: BBC Micro and Arcs

That would have been the *relay command.

This would switch the tape drive relay on and off.

Do it fast enough and you would have a nice mechanical hum.

Do it long enough and it would burn the relay.


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