* Posts by ricardian

181 posts • joined 12 Jan 2016


Heart FM's borkfast show – a fine way to start your day


This https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Active_(radio_series) was far superior to any local radio station that I've encountered

BOFH: You. Wouldn't. Put. A. Test. Machine. Into. Production. Without. Telling. Us.


Terrifying when stuff you used to use is now in a museum! https://www.cryptomuseum.com/crypto/uk/bid610/index.htm.

Then you realise that it was nearly 60 years ago!

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram deplatform themselves: Services down globally


What happened - https://blog.cloudflare.com/october-2021-facebook-outage

Computer shuts down when foreman leaves the room: Ghost in the machine? Or an all-too-human bit of silliness?


Re: Only in a UK domestic application


'Nobody in their right mind would build a naval base here today': Navigating in and out of Devonport


Back in the late 1960s HMS Ark Royal was approaching Plymouth and just past Drake's Island she hit an underwater obstruction, only a minor ding - it was later revealed that the obstruction was a large rock which had been drilled by fleet clearance divers but for some reason (economics?) had not been blasted into oblivion

I would drive 100 miles and I would drive 100 more just to be the man that drove 200 miles to... hit the enter key


1961, an RAF Thor missile site in Yorkshire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Emily) had a USAF supplied, RAF manned IBM data transceiver (https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102645476) used to receive/send 80 column punched cards as part of the USAF high-tech spare part supply chain for Thor missils. One day the data transceiver would punch received cards but failed to print the data at the top of the card. The on-call IBM engineer drove from Alconbury to Yorkshire, walked into the room and flipped the "print" switch from "off" to "on" then drove back to Alconbury

Thanks, Sir Clive Sinclair, from Reg readers whose careers you created and lives you shaped


I never had a Sinclair but I did have a Commodore Pet and learned tricks to overcome the problems of speed with floating point chips. For example multiplying by 10 by shifting right 3 times (multiply by 8) and adding to the resut the original value twice; checking for overflow


Some relevant memories of folk who worked for Sir Clive, who seems to have been quite a benevolent (if somewhat idiosyncratic) employer



Tesla battery fire finally flamed out after four-day conflagration


Re: Flow batteries?

2 MW tidal energy device?


Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum


Re: Calling upon a higher power

The piece of cod that passes all understanding?

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


During my sojourn in the RAF the security officer on one RAF station left a box labelled "This could have been a bomb" in the engineering section. The engineering officer promptly wrapped the box up in brown paper, addressed it to the security officer and placed it in the internal post


Re: Good one !


We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again


Re: The knob......

I once worked in a Government building built in the 1970s. It had a complex environmental control system which had its very own control room with lots of knobs, dials & flashing lights. Alas, it was designed for schools and offices where there was a regular occupation - 9-5, Mon-Fri - but this building housed day staff working 9-5, Mon-Fri plus lots of 24/7 shift workers whose numbers would vary on a random basis. After a few years the Building Maintenance got the system behaving itself after a fashion but my office & associated lab were bitterly cold every morning when we started work. Each time we complained Building Maintenance insisted that all was well and it was all in our imagination. After one particularly cold winter I managed to arrange for Building Maintenance to install a gadget that recorded the temperature every 5 minutes. After a 48 hour period the results showed that the room did become bitterly cold overnight. After some muttering Building Maintenance actually had a look at the ventilation system and discovered that one "door" in the trunking had been left open after new kit had been installed with the result that outside air was admitted directly to out part of the building. The offending "door" was closed and our office became as comfortable as all the other offices

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably


Re: I'm a word wrangler...

It was only recently, after using MS Word for umpteen years, that I realised that MS Word underlines problem words in two different colours to distinguish between spelling errors and grammatical errors. The joys of being red/green colour blind

39 Post Office convictions quashed after Fujitsu evidence about Horizon IT platform called into question


Re: And still...


"Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells has quit boardroom positions at retailers Morrisons and Dunelm as well as her role as a Church of England minister after a major miscarriage of justice."

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


Re: Electronic Sheep.

There was a variation of the Sheep screen which had sheep appearing at the top right of the screen then bursting into flames and zooming diagonally down to the bottom left hand corner of the screen, trailing a cloud of smoke & flames

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


Re: Three ball bearings

Many years ago a friend worked for a Government Department and produced a small computer device to be used by the Armed Forces. It had to be very robust - water-proof, accept input voltages of almost anything under 50v DC and of any polarity. His final task was to find a simple way of destroying it in an emergency. I think he opted for something thermite-related which caused all sorts of Health & Safety problems.

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99


Re: No TV

BBC Radio 4 Extra = BBC Radio 4 until Monday


Re: No TV

BBC Radio 4 Extra is copying BBC Radio 4 schedule until Monday so I missed my episode of "Old Harry's Game" on Friday evening. Fortunately I was able to find the programme on the archive at https://radioechoes.com/?page=series&genre=OTR-Comedy&series=Old%20Harrys%20Game

OVH writes off another data centre – SBG1 – and reveals new smoking battery incident


Re: You get what you pay for

30 years in Scarborough (N Yorks) BT were publicising their new remote sensing option to detect domestic fires. A few days later Scarborough's main exchange, located in the centre of town, burned down; the alarm was only raised because a passerby (at 3am!) noticed smoke coming through a broken window.

OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg – all services unavailable


Re: hopefully Digital Ocean, will be next.

An interesting read is "Ignition!" http://www.sciencemadness.org/library/books/ignition.pdf

Assembly language, arcade games, and YouTube: The Reg speaks to former Microsoft engineer Dave Plummer


For me it was an inspired technical boss in the mid 1980s who bought two of us a Commodore Pet plus Raeto West's invaluable book. We soon moved on to 6502 assembler with a PDMA16 (later a PDMA32) for data input via the user port DMA; what was very handy was that the IEEE488 routines were hard-coded into ROM so controlling devices (like printers) was easy.

'Massive game-changer for UK altnet industry': BT-owned UK comms backbone Openreach hikes prices on FTTP-linked leased line circuits


Re: My experience

OR engineers are very good, it's the management that is faulty. It's now reached the stage that when OR engineers come over on the ferry (2 hour journey each way) to fix a fault they enquire whether anyone else is having problems and will happily try to help. Their management don't like this because "the paperwork is all wrong"


Or on Stronsay, an island with fewer than 350 inhabitants and 12 miles north of mainland Orkney. Vodafone say "Limited coverage of 2G is available" and they are quite correct

It's always DNS, especially when a sysadmin makes a hash of their semicolons


Nobody has thought to mention the joys of using edlin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edlin

(but don't mention the April 1st edition - "edlin for Windows")

Microsoft blocked TSO Host's email IPs from Hotmail, Outlook inboxes and no one seems to care


I am with IONOS (aka 1&1) and occasionally btinternet.com and Microsoft (outlook, hotmail, etc) decide that my bulk emails (100 addressees) are all spam! Very annoying

Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti


Re: Laser canon and sonic death rays.


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


Not for the first time my emails to btinternet.com addressees are being rejected as spam. My email to non-btinternet.com addresses are getting through. As on previous occasions IONOS have suggested that I contact the btinternet.com addressees and ask them to adjust their spam filters.

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




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