* Posts by PB90210

42 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Dec 2015

USB Cart of Death: The wheeled scourge that drove Windows devs to despair


The dodgy cart driver had a dodgy cart driver?

User read the manual, followed instructions, still couldn't make 'Excel' work


Had a colleague call me over because Excel was just showing a blank screen. Reopening Excel gave the same blank screen.

It was eventually discovered the the default sheet had been windowed and somehow the window had been dragged out of sight... reloading just 'opened' the same out-of-sight sheet

(View > arrange sheets)

How to give Windows Hello the finger and login as someone on their stolen laptop


Re: fingerprint works <25% of time

At the beginning of the pandemic, I remember seeing an ad for a face mask company that promised to create a mask that would allow you to unlock your device without having to remove your mask as it had a picture of your chin printed on it

Lawyer guilty of arrogance after ignoring tech support


Re: Are you sure, this isn't the plot of an IT Crowd epsiode?

Is your Cisco router one of those with a power LED that is lit irrespective of the position of the on/off switch?

Bug hunters on your marks: TETRA radio encryption algorithms to enter public domain


In other news...

The government want us to weaken public encryption standards...


ICE faces heat after agents install thousands of personal apps, VPNs on official phones


"No evidence of nefarious activities"

Well to be honest, we weren't actually checking... so, yes, we have no evidence

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


And remember that half of the people are dumber than average

Ask a builder to fix a server and out come the vastly inappropriate power tools


Re: Most-Inappropriate Computer Repair Tool

Yes, it was 'cold welding'. The gold in the contacts bond and over time there are enough bonds formed to hold the contacts closed when the relay was deenergised.

A little percussion was enough to break the bonds


Re: Most-Inappropriate Computer Repair Tool

Used to work with signalling unit that used Reed relays. The reeds had gold plated tips they had a nasty habit of 'welding' together if the relay was energised for more that a few months.

The cure... put the card out of the rack to the full extent of the runners and slam it back in to place... contact broken... clear code: reseated card

NASA and Boeing try to chase the contrail clouds away


Won't someone think of the poor foil-hatters!

What will they have to live for... except the lizard people... oh, and vaccines... and the election... and......

Windows 11: The number you have dialed has been disconnected


Re: Built to last

The big problem happens after Win12...

Hmm... Windows 12A... Windows Vista...


Re: Amen

Big pain is trying to get a window to display the scrollbar so you can scroll the sodding screen because the bit you want is always just out of sight

Millions of smart meters will brick it when 2G and 3G turns off


Re: No corruption here.

Linguine reader?


Re: No corruption here.

The ads NOW say user action is required

(I'm guessing ASA mandated)

Google Chrome Privacy Sandbox open to all: Now websites can tap into your habits directly for ads


Susie Dent...

the latest episode of Something Rhymes With Purple ('Auld Reekie' ep) has a bit about semantic inversion, where words flip their meaning.

Susie talks about 'sick', 'wicked' and 'cool'... in Google's case it seems to be 'privacy'

Apple races to patch the latest zero-day iPhone exploit


Re: This was patched yesterday

Gosh, it even made it to MailOnline the same day... as long as you can tear your eyes away from "shirtless Harry Styles shows of toned 6-pack..." in the sidebar of shame

Nearly 1 in 5 academics admit close encounters of the anomalous kind


Re: Sigh

ElReg - "classify them as either explainable or extraterrestrial"

Erm... shouldn't that be explainable or not (currently) explainable... they could be coming from that base hidden under Antarctica ;^)

This can’t be a real bomb threat: You've called a modem, not a phone


Re: Work bomb scare

I would have expected the boys in blue to drag him off the train at some deeply rural station, given him a stern talking to, then released him to continue on his journey on the next available train... at 6:27am on the following Thursday, stopping at all stations

Twitter gives up fight against COVID-19 misinformation


Re: Opinions versus facts (actual, imaginary, and half-truths)

"WHO did send out recommendations early in 2020"

that's early in the pandemic, when people were trying just about anything t get people through it

and most of those people will have already been at death's door

Security firms hijack New York trees to monitor private workforce


all-weather transmitters that communicate with a mobile phone app

Erm... you've got a mobile with 'location services' and you feel the need to (illegally) install transmitters to communicate with an app on that mobile to tell you what the phone already knows?

Oh, I see... the app is there to track the location of the transmitters in case they get stolen by the parks dept!

(my head hurts)

Twitter engineer calls out Elon Musk for technical BS in unusual career move


Re: Made up Words

Improbable Research (the guys behind the Ig Nobel Prizes) tried to get a 'nonsense' word into popular use years ago


Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware


"CVE-2020-3837 internally referred to and publicly known as TimeWaste"

Or, more commonly, Twitter...

Is VPOTUS Bluetooth-phobic or sensible? The answer's pretty clear


In the case of the Yahoo! CEO!, everybody knew her passwords anyway

Microsoft emits more Win 11 fixes for AMD speed issues and death by PowerShell bug


Windows 10, version 21H2

"choose to download and install Windows 10, version 21H2,"

It said 'preview' version when I looked a couple of days ago

(Win 11 not available for my 'ancient' hardware)

Serco bags £322m contract extension for Test and Trace, is still struggling to share data with local authorities


"the new contract had been awarded after a competitive process"

Carefully skewed to make the obvious candidates like NHS and local authorities, the guys with the skills and knowledge and ability, 'uncompetitive'

Move along, nothing to see here: Auditors say £100k grant to Hacker House was 'appropriate'


Re: An innocent man

"I think there was something recently about a ditch."

Not forgetting the Heathrow Expansion bulldozer to push him into the ditch

Plot twist: Google's not spying on King's Cross with facial recognition tech, but its landlord is


Re: Poor Google employees!

"Imagine being spied on every day by a large unnaccountable company, just because you implicitly agreed to their terms and conditions when you accessed their terrain!"

Like entering a tube station and your Wi-Fi presence being tracked by TfL

"But you just need to turn off Wi-Fi to 'opt-out'"

Firefox armagg-add-on: Lapsed security cert kills all browser extensions, from website password managers to ad blockers


Re: the only add-ons disabled on my Firefox (Linux) ...

"Other add-ons - that didn't deal with privacy - were not disabled. ... I do not believe in coincidences. I definitely see a pattern here"

I had all extensions disabled, even themes, so I see a pattern and it's probably that you have some that didn't rely on the code-signing cert

"since when is Mozilla so certain that they can just disable stuff running on my computer without obtaining my consent first?"

Since they started to take security a little more serious. If code is signed you need to verify the signing and disable the code if you can't. If you simply put up a warning 99.9% of people will simply click OK to get rid of it... as they do with the T&Cs and cookie policies

Techies take turns at shut-down top trumps


Re: Moving disks caused outage

"The machines were too far away, so had the cable coming out at waist height, over the back of a chair, some disks and into the other machine."

I remember a job where a phone guy was given EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS that a line was to be terminated no more than 2 metres from the router. He mounted the socket half way up the wall opposite the rack. He was about 6ft and if he stretched his arms out he could touch the router and the socket with his fingertips... job done!

(we found it was less hassle to specify the 2m gap for these jobs and order 5m cables to connect them)

Forget your deepest, darkest secrets, smart speakers will soon listen for sniffles and farts too


Bond, your mission...

Makes things harder for Bond. Previously he just had to run the bathroom tap/shower while he looked behind pictures and in lampshades... now he has to figure out how to disable Alexa/Google Assist in all manner of (non-Q) gadgets.

All this should be a boost for sales of those Japanese gadgets for masking toilet sounds

Test Systems Better, IBM tells UK IT meltdown bank TSB


IBM... makers of the CASH machines that accepts your CASH card, accepts your PIN, allows you to chose which account to take your CASH from and the amount of CASH you want... and only then to announce that it has run out of CASH!... you've got one job to do...

Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'


I was queueing in Sainsbury's last night behind a little old lady. After they had scanned her goods, she presented her Visa card but it was declined. It was Friday night, I'd just been paid and I was feeling generous... so I helped her put all the stuff back on the shelves...

I'll get me coat...


by coincidence, every ad break seems to feature an ad showing just how easy it is to pay for your drinks using a contactless Visa card... or rather for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to offer to pay for your drinks with just a deft wave of his hand over the card reader instead of watching you fumble for the right cash.

Presumably this will be replaced with one showing you arranging a whip-round to cover his slate now his card has been declined

Microsoft vows to bridge phones to PCs, and this time it means it. Honest.


Sounds like MS could be getting ready to launch their own phone.... no, wait... didn't they...

Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage


it's ironic that the pages online telling you how to view/delete things like your FB data tend to be littered with handy trackers for FB, Twatter, etc. You don't have to 'like' a page for them to set a cookie... block a cookie and they still track you a flash object

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy


Re: Plenty of spare time to sit around and drink tea

"equates to three and a third litres per minute, which in turn is a little bit more than your average kitchen jug"

Must be thirsty work round at Vulture Central... most domestic kettles are around 1.5l

Hot chips crashed servers, but were still delicious


Many moons ago we had a customer, a wine dealer by trade, with a leased-line modem link to his head office.Periodically he would report an intermittent fault that had cleared by the time one of our guys turned up. Just about everything got changed out, but the intermittent problem kept occurring. Then one day he phoned up and said he thought he had the answer. He was next to a coffee shop and the problem seemed to occur just when they were opening. We turn up at the crack of dawn with a test set and some very expensive main monitoring kit from our research people, set the kit up to run round a loopback on the remote modem and sat back sipping a very agreeable sherry at 8:30am. Nothing!! The odd error and minor flicker on the mains, but nothing worthy of crashing the modem link... that was until he got out of his chair and walked around the desk... the error counter went haywire!! Yes folks, the cable between the modem and his terminal ran under the carpet and as he walked over to get the same ledger at the same time every day he was treading on the cable. (pint'o'beer icon 'cos yer out of sherry... the vicar must have been round again!)

ATM fees shake-up may push Britain towards cashless society


Re: Link ATM?

Abbey Nat CASH machine - Instructions for use:

1. insert CASH card

2. enter PIN

3. select CASH

4. select amount of CASH required

5. select account to withdraw the CASH from

6. select CANCEL AND RETURN CARD as the machine has just figured it has no CASH

7. move to next machine

8. GOTO 1

You've got one job to do!!!... OK, balances... and payments... and cheque books... but you've just got one job!!!

(got a £25 'Sorry' from them after taking up half a page of their complaints book)

Seldom used 'i' mangled by baffling autocorrect bug in Apple's iOS 11


Re: So Apple have announced their latest product...

Not the 'iBug', it's just A#Bug

Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user


I once had a clueless colleague complain that his mouse wasn't working. I naturally assumed fluff or gunk stopping the rollers turning, but turned round to discover he had the mouse on top of a 3.5" floppy and was sliding the pair round the desk and wondering why the cursor wasn't moving!!

Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre


A colleague phoned a school in the wilds of Scotland to diagnose an IT fault and wanted the guy to reset the modem. "Turn the power off, count 5 then turn it on again." The guy puts the phone down then my colleague heard a distant voice "but he told me to turn it off." Luckily it was a small one-room school!

Once worked in a media broadcast centre where everything ran off DC. We got a job to check the float battery was OK. This was a big room filled with bathtub sized lead-acid cells and to check each was giving 2V we first had to isolate the battery from the rectifier unit in a room across the corridor. We had told everyone what we were going to be doing and to ignore the big blue POWER FAIL light... well we thought we had. We had checked a couple of cells when my mate got that "Oh $#!t!" feelings... he rushed across the corridor to discover the rectifier had been tripped! The one guy we hadn't spoken to had seen the alarm, got to the rectifier and, in a panic, pressed everything in site... including the one that took the rectifier offline. At the 'inquest' they said the power had been off for 27s... another 3s and the mega-bucks compensation clause kicked in!

Then there was the day that London Electricity managed to connect 2 phases across live/neutral and we had to go up and down Edgware Rd with the petty cash buying up all their stocks of 20mm fuses