* Posts by ricardian

153 posts • joined 12 Jan 2016


He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended


Re: Static

I used the CBM PET as an introduction to 6502 assembler and bought Raeto West's invaluable book "Programming the Pet/CBM". I think I paid about £5 for it in the early 1980s - now Amazon are selling copies for over £60 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Programming-Pet-Cbm-Raeto-West/dp/0942386043). I must have a dig around the attic to see if I kept my copy.

Finally, that cruel dust world Mars proves useful: Helping scientists understand Earth's radio-scrambling plasma


Re: Jackbootstrapping

You didn't sign the OSA, Betty Windsor signed the OSB which made it the OSA. You signed a bit of paper affirming that you understood the penalties of infringing the OSA

Amazon spies on staff, fires them by text for not hitting secretive targets, workers 'feel forced to work through pain, injuries' – report



Sun welcomes vampire dating website company: Arrgh! No! It burns! It buuurrrrnsss!


Re: Thanks For The Mental Image\Flashback

Those string vests were issued by the RAF when on exercise in Germany during the winter months

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN


Re: took his hammer and smashed it to very tiny pieces

The English Electric Lightning was a fine fighter aeroplane but it had one annoying habit. After landing on a wet runway the spray and mud built up in the nose-wheel bay and eventually prevented actuation of the microswitch which indicated that the wheel had retracted. The time-honoured method of fixing this problem was to take a six foot length of scaffold tubing and lump hammer, place the end of the scaffold tubing next to the microswitch and give the tubing a hefty wallop thus dislodging all the accumulated mud & rubbish. My friend was performing this remedial action one day when the station commander was paying an unannounced visit. When he asked my friend what he was doing with the lump hammer and scaffold tubing my friend replied "Adjusting a microswitch, sir!"

The station commander was not amused!

Someone please have mercy on this poorly Ubuntu parking machine that has been force-fed maudlin autotuned tripe


Whilst scrolling through these comment I inadvertently did a right mouse click and was presented with a menu one option of which was "Translate to English"

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault


Re: Ahh yes the

Are roller skates still available?

Smile? Not bloody likely: Day 6 of wobbly services and still no hint to UK online bank's customers about what's actually wrong


Latest updates from https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/news/2020/smile-service-information.

8am, Saturday 11 July:

Following emergency maintenance on both our smile and Co-operative Bank systems, we have been able to restore access to smile online banking and the smile mobile app for our customers. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this issue has caused as we know this is not the standard of service expected from us. Thank you for bearing with us.

We will work to support any of our customers who have experienced any detriment whilst smile online banking and the smile app were unavailable and we encourage any impacted customers to contact us to discuss their circumstances.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time


Re: Way back when...

In the old BBC Radio series "Journey into Space" (https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/sci-fi/journey-into-space) a "Martian" is discovered to be just a computer. The sound effects for the "computer" seem to have been recorded in an old Strowger exchange - probably the best they could do in the 1950s.


Re: I called the cops

The lightstraw site is a handy collection of information but it perpetuates one myth - "all employees sign the Official Secrets Act". No they don't. HM Queen Elizabeth II signed a Bill that became the Official Secrets Act, mere mortals like us sign a form like this https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/346762/FOI201404093_Official_Secrets_Act_Form.pdf.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails


Just one word from the mid 1980s - Multimate

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes: UK man gets 3 years for torching 4G phone mast over 5G fears


Re: nutters

The BBC put in a temporary 5G link last year


So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise


Re: Ah, customers.

Them as can't teach join Ofsted


Re: Ah, customers.

My grandfather was a railway signalman before he retired in 1954. He once told me that a fellow signalman had rung him to tell him that a special train carrying a newly appointed railway bigwig (fresh out of university) had just gone by the large group of freight sidings a few miles away and the new boss had not spotted that there were unsorted wagons in the up reception yard – and this was a sure sign that the railways as he knew them were finished! I think he regarded senior managers who were not railwaymen as pariahs

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo


Re: Pure 'Carry on ' gold.

Another handy site for old radio programmes https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/sci-fi/journey-into-space


Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!


Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?


Re: Only way

There is a skip in the yard bearing a notice which says "empty when full"

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style


A colleague and myself signed up for a course in "C" at a technical college in Gloucestershire. The notes for the course appeared to have been written in the pub the night before and the IBM PCs were on a flaky network which served the whole campus. We quickly discovered that quitting the editor in any way other than the approved method (which involved half a dozen key strokes) would crash the server

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate


Re: Saws

Who else had to Google Mjölner?

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


Re: A long time ago

St Olaf's Episcopalian church in Kirkwall, Orkney has a wooden hut that is used as a meeting room. The hut was erected during World War 1 (1914-18) and has been in use ever since

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills


Re: Interference ...

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in the RAF the maintenance manuals for vehicles contained phrases like "Every 3 months give this nipple 2 squirts of a grease gun". This was quickly changed to "Every 1,000 miles give this nipple 2 squirts of a grease gun" when a large number of vehicles developed blown seals because the vehicles were in storage and only travelled brief distances every month or were even stored up on jacks.

Police drone fliers' wings clipped to prevent them bumping into real aircraft


Re: Mixed measurements


A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT


Re: Truely

Why did I read "beware the leapord" as "beware the teapot"?

It was VERY early in the morning.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so


Commodore Pet and 6502 assembler programming required THE handbook by the imaginatively named Raeto West.


Thanks to that I got two Pets talking to each other via IEEE488, each Pet thinking that it was the master thanks to a cobbled-together token system

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots


I was quite alarmed to discover that the guidance system for the nuclear-tipped Thor missiles in the 1960s was designed and built by the AC Spark Plug Company

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Re: 125 million Indians speak English

Or "my hovercraft is full of eels"


Re: Weird English...

It was several years before I became aware that MS Word underlined in red or green. To me, a red/green colour blind chap, it was just an underline!

Internet Archive opens National Emergency Library with unlimited lending of 1.4m books for stuck-at-home netizens amid virus pandemic


About 15 years ago there was a small company called "Oecumuse" which produced out-of-copyright music. The owner started the company because he was a choir-master who got fed up of music companies claiming that work was "out of print". He bought a couple of state-of-the-art photocopiers and set to work producing and selling bound copies of music to order; he had an extensive catalogue of pipe organ & choral music. One of his innovations was "de-turdification" - the removal of tiny specks of fly crap which seem to accumulate on old copies of music.

Sadly, he was last seen circa 2004 leaving his office in Ely, Cambs and getting on a train.



What is it with hosting firms being stonewalled by Microsoft? Now it's Ionos on naughty step


Microsoft still blocking outlook/hotmail/msn emails from my IONOS hosted email accounts. IONOS provided this unhelpful response

"Thank you very much for reporting your issue on 27.02.2020. Your support query has been logged with the appropriate team, and we will contact you directly as soon as we have new information."


And Microsoft have blacklisted IONOS again! No response from support@ionos.co.uk as yet


5 Nov 2019 - spamhaus have blacklisted Ionos as an ISP. I reported this to Ionos who have passed the problem to their Security section. I await feedback


Once again all appears to be back to normal now. And once again there is nothing on the Ionos site to say that the problem is fixed but the previous updates have been removed

Cabling horrors unplugged: Reg readers reveal worst nightmares


Re: A long, long time ago...

I moved to a new office in a very secure building in Cheltenham. The networking was brilliant, lots of clearly labelled sockets and plenty of mains outlets. There were also lots of telephone sockets but whoever installed them had most definitely NOT labelled them very clearly, if you were lucky there was a barely legible pencil scribble on the plastic socket.

Your McDonald's demo has expired. For full functionality, please purchase a licence or try another fast-food joint


Re: Demo food

Google "machine recovered meat" !

You'll never select all and mark as read again after this tale of peril... Oh, who are we kidding? Of course you will


Re: and it was said to rip the keys from your trousers.

Policeman's revolver pulled into the machine AND fired a round


Take DOS, stir in some Netware, add a bit of Windows and... it's ALIIIIVE!


You haven't lived until you have tried to load Multimate from a vast number of 5.25inch floppies

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


Yes, the Commodore PET had IEEE-488 routines hard coded into its ROM. Very handy when using 6502 assembler - a bit confusing though with calling all the TALK, UNTALK, LISTEN, UNLISTEN routines etc. My triumph was to get two Commodore PETs "controlling" the same pieces of equipment over IEEE-488 by using a collision detection system in 6502 assembler. Happy days - and then we got the IBM PC running at a staggering 8 MHz and the Aztec C compiler. I was told that our lords & masters chose Aztec because it was being used by the CEGB in nuclear power stations - but that could be an apocryphal tale.

There's something fishy going down in the computer lab


Re: Crabby comments.

I'll just snoek a final bit in

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable


Re: Printer drivers: still cruddy after all these years

About 30 years ago I was working for a large Government department based in Cheltenham. I began to receive complaints about slow response times on 2 or 3 programmes but not from all users of the programmes. It took a while but I discovered that using drive letter "F" was the culprit. Apparently Microsoft had decided that drive letter "F" was the one to use for debugging any software and thus anything on drive "F" ran slowly because of all the various hooks that could be used to debug software on that drive. For how long this situation persisted I know not because I moved away on promotion and no longer had to endure Microsoft.

Cheque out my mad metal frisbee skillz... oops. Lights out!


Re: Cheques still relevant... at leastt for someone

My cousin recently retired as a senior person in what was once the Inland Revenue (UK version). As a lowly executive officer in the North of England back in the 1960s he received a very large reward for suggesting that when the office received large (>£10,000,000) cheques from large companies such as ICI the cheques should immediately be given to an office junior who would take the train to London and pay the cheque into the Bank of England thus getting the overnight deposit rate which would pay far more than the daily wage of the junior and the train fare.

Remember the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dam to save the village? Here's the IT equivalent


Not quite so disastrous as some of the things described on here but back in the 90s I was in an R&D environment and the test network had a PC with several hard disks. After a while it became apparent that drive F was very slow so the hard drive was replaced. This had no effect so further investigation began. Eventually someone discovered a Microsoft document which described how every drive F had lots of extra back doors, etc which could be used in development work, these extras caused the drive to run far slower than a "normal" drive. Presumably drive F is now just another drive letter

It woz The Reg wot won it! Big Blue iron relics make it back to Blighty


Re: Big Ideas!

Handy book by Raeto West https://archive.org/details/Programming_The_PET_CBM_197x_West_Raeto

Beware the trainee with time on his hands and an Acorn manual on his desk


Back in the 1980s I took a day release course at the local tech college. It was supposed to teach "C" but the notes all appeared to have been cobbled together during a lunchtime pub session and the network in use was dire. We were forbidden to shut down the editor (think early version of EdLin) in any way other than the "official" way which involved half a dozen key strokes; any other shutdown would lock up the network. Fortunately I discovered another course at a nearby tech college where the instructors knew their stuff, produced decent handouts and the network was (relatively) stable.

That code that could never run? Well, guess what. Now Windows thinks it's Batman


Re: writing a variable twice.

For a brief period we used Commodore Pet machines and used Raeto West's invaluable book to set up the 6502 machine code. Fortunately our leaders then procured the very first IBM PCs

Lies, damn lies, and KPIs: Let's not fix the formula until we have someone else to blame


Re: Building entry log

I worked for a large Government department in a secure building. We logged in and logged out so security always knew who was in the building. In the event of a fire the security staff would print out a list of who was in the building and use it as a check that everyone was out. Alas, the security staff were low in the pecking order and were only supplied with an elderly PC and an even older dot matrix printer. Printing a list of several hundred staff would take longer than it would for the building to burn to the ground - as long as the PC didn't crash, the power didn't fail and the printer didn't run out of paper or ink ribbon

The safest place to save your files is somewhere nobody will ever look


Re: Endless recycling

Just put one document in the photocopier and leave the folder on top of the machine. They will soon disappear


Re: Been there. Done that.

Used PCZ to edit C code for the Aztec compiler package on the very first IBM PC. Never discovered that PCZ was VI until several years later!

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool


The man who wrote the predictive text algorithm has died. May he rust in piss

BOFH: We must... have... beer! Only... cure... for... electromagnetic fields


Re: Glastonbury

Orkney Islands Council and the BBC installed a temporary 5G aerial on our island's only school a couple of months ago. They also issued several 5G handsets and requested that the users report on how useful they were. Two families immediately removed their children (a total of 8 children) from the school because of "radiation". Today the BBC announced that the 5G transmitter will be turned off next week, here's the response from the head of one of the families (posted as it was received, complete with lower case initials, etc):

"Stronsay 5g trial update - all parents have just received an email from the head teacher saying mast will be turned off on monday and removed sometime in October.

I am obviously very pleased that our kids can finally go back to their school. But I think my main emotion that I am left with is sadness. There is something far wrong in orkney if the oic are prioritise using our schools for anything other than educating our children especially when it results in 25% of the kids being withdrawn from the school! I am hopeful that we will have further discussions with oic regarding the trial and the implementation of it.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the folk that have sent us advice and messages of support it has meant a great deal to us over this very frustrating time."

The time a Commodore CDTV disc proved its worth as something other than a coaster


Re: hmm

Similar problem in a new-build house near us in Scarborough. The upstairs bathroom toilet connection had not been made so everything from the toilet went into the gap between the exterior brick wall and interior breeze block - this went on for several months during which time the owners complained of the smell and the builders insisted that there was no problem with the toilet. Eventually the insurers paid for the owners to live in an hotel for several week while the builders sorted out the problem



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