* Posts by Anonymous Tribble

69 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Feb 2016


BOFH: I get locked out, but I get in again

Anonymous Tribble

So I'm swapping the M and N keys

In the old days when we had DOS based PCs, I used to edit the keymap files to swap some keys on my cow-orker's PCs. Somehow they always guessed who had done it, as well as when I redefined the font files to make all the characters look blurry on a Monday morning.

The 'nothing-happened' Y2K bug – how the IT industry worked overtime to save world's computers

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Yeah but…

I was on call (at ten times my normal rate) for one customer for the two days of the New Year changeover. I didn't get any calls - partly because the software had all been updated and partly because there was no one working at the time. It was a nice little bonus for no effort.

We didn't have any serious problems, only one bit of software that didn't recognise 2000 as being a leap year and got into a loop trying to process data for 2000-02-29.

For laughs I salvaged a Unix system that was being scrapped as non-Y2K compliant to see what it would do. Mostly it was fine. But I did see a few date go from 1999 to 1900, one went from 1999 to 19100 and one went from 99 to A0.

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

Anonymous Tribble

I once edited my desktop wallpaper and added copies of some shortcuts. Then got our local windows support guru very confused when they didn't do anything when clicked on.

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

Anonymous Tribble

Wifi connection

Octopus are trialling something that they hope will make the 2G/3G connection irrelevant with their Home Mini device. It replaces your IHD with something that connects to your WiFi and shows you your usage figures on their app. It means they would be able to get up to date readings directly from the meter without all that messing about and delay on the current system.

They hope to be granted permission to use those readings instead of the normal method by TPTB.

If it works and they are allowed to use them it means a tiny inexpensive device will mean that most SMETS2 meters don't need to be upgraded when 2G/3G is switched off.

I'm getting one soon, so will see how it goes.

Clingy Virgin Media won't let us leave, customers complain

Anonymous Tribble

I had to hunt for ages to even find any information about leaving on their website. I'm looking to leave them now as I've found a supplier that will offer more than twice the broadband speed for a lot less. Virgin prices are ridiculous and the inflation+3% at a time when inflation is so high is unbelievable. My broadband bill is my second largest single monthly bill.

Virgin Media email customers enter third day of inbox infuriation

Anonymous Tribble

It's ironic that VM use their email service to try to stop customers from leaving them "Ah but if you leave us you'll lose your VM email address and all your emails...".

I do have a VM email address, but I don't use it. I got my own custom email address through a job a long time back, and also set up my own email server and more email addresses some years back. I keep backups and archives, just in case.

Scientists overjoyed after DART smashes into asteroid Dimorphos, contact lost

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Should have flung a sheep

Shirley you can't have a sheep in a vacuum. There should be at least one Baa of pressure.

OK, boomer? Gen-X-ers, elder millennials most likely to name their cars, says DVLA

Anonymous Tribble

I'm not really one for naming my cars, but I have named a few. One old Talbot (I forget the model) was called Baldrick, because it was dirty and unreliable. I had a blue Ford Fiesta that I called "Sonic" after a cow orker said he saw me me go past him at high speed.

That's about it. My current car has no name.

Oh the humanity: McDonald's out of milkshakes across Great Britain

Anonymous Tribble


So, Brexit was promoted by Farrage in order to rid the country of milkshakes so he can walk the streets safely?

Having trouble getting your mitts on that Raspberry Pi? You aren't alone

Anonymous Tribble

Re: I love a little Pi[e]

Probably a 2012 Pi. They had "(c)2011" screen printed on the boards.

Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Surprised it took this long

I heard he's taken up landscaping.

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

Anonymous Tribble


I worked with a database in the early 1990s which had a lot of names with double Os typed as "o0", like "Go0d", for example.

All I can think is that one of the people entering the data wasn't very good at typing, located the "o" and pressed it, then looked for "o" again and couldn't see it because their finger was still on it. So they pressed the "0" because they couldn't tell the difference.

A hotline to His Billness? Or a guard having a bit of a giggle?

Anonymous Tribble

The best I have is that the Raspberry Pi Forums were having a hiccup and I reported it via the usual links with a mesage and got an email reply from Eben Upton.

Need some chips? The Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 is heading to a channel near you

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Expensive part

"$1 is expensive? For a 32-bit CPU? What a weird world we live in."

That's two 32-bit CPUs, plus a load of dedicated IO processors and stuff. All for 85p (inc VAT) in the UK.

Helsinki Syndrome: Ubuntu utterly fails to boot on metro

Anonymous Tribble

"Let those who never pondered a trip to the Isle of Wight for a last hurrah aboard its dodgy old 1938 ex-London Underground rolling stock raise their hand now. Just us then?"

I have pondered such a trip. But for a "first hurrah", not a last one. Last time I went to the Isle of Wight was before the 1938 stock was introduced. It was 1923 stock in those days.

Chrome 90 goes HTTPS by default while Firefox injects substitute scripts to foil tracking tech

Anonymous Tribble


Along with localhost, I would also default to HTTP for anything that resolves to a private network (10.x.x.x, 172.16-31.x.x, 192.168.x.x and 127.x.x.x). A lot of localised services won't support https, but as they aren't external it's not so important. Not all photocopiers, toasters and wifi dild0s have valid SSL certificates.

The 40-Year-Old Version: ZX81's sleek plastic case shows no sign of middle-aged spread

Anonymous Tribble

Re: "Some dealt with the RAM pack with..."

I still have my 602P (not working due to damage) and 502P (fully working).

Looking for the perfect Valentine's gift? How about a week of retro gaming BBC Microlympics?

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Who needs an emulator?

"couldn't afford the ARM cheese wedge that came up on ebay a few years ago"

Are they worth something now? I'm starting to regret giving mine away.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

Anonymous Tribble


I was trying to look up train times for a trip to a meeting at another site. The company firewall blocked the train timetable web site for some reason. So I used a VPN to get onto a customer's network and accessed the site from there with no problem.

It turns out a lot of trains had been cancelled that day and the departure times were all showing as 'XXXX'.

Let's Encrypt warns about a third of Android devices will from next year stumble over sites that use its certs

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Counter intuitive?

I've got one I don't even use for phone calls or text messages.

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic

Anonymous Tribble

I used to keep a magic wand and crystal ball in my desk drawer for when people expected me to perform miracles (I had a reputation for them)..

Once I had a call from one of the users. He proceeded to describe at length some problem (I can't remember what it was now). At the end of the call he said "I'm not sure if this is even possible. Do you think you can do it?". I replied "Yes, I can.". He said "Oh good! When do you think you can get it done by?". I replied "Five minutes ago."

He took so long and went into so much detail explaining what turned out to be a fairly trivial change, that I did it halfway through the phone call.

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

Anonymous Tribble

Name of the Game

I had a manager send me a nasty email saying that I had emailed a customer and spelled their name wrong. I responded with "But that is how they spell their name on their emails. Their email address is spelled differently because it was set up wrongly (customer's company's fault, not ours)."

I did eventually get a slight apology.

Borky shark: A deserted airport and a Raspberry Pi feeling poorly at baggage claim. Welcome to 2020

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Not an old Pi

The problem is apparently "a Linux issue" which the Raspberry Pi Foundation don't care enough about to fix themselves.

It was fixed in their version of the Linux kernel, but they are trying to keep the kernel as "vanilla" as possible now that Pi support has been added upstream.

Unfortunately the upstream devs decided that all Raspberry Pis would be recognised as BCM2835 in order to identify the platform. Hopefully one day they will correct that.

Anonymous Tribble

Not an old Pi

Definitely not a BCM2835 based early Pi. The 2835 only had one ARM core, so you'd only see one raspberry at boot time. That picture is showing four raspberries, so a BCM2836/7 Pi 2 or later.

BOFH: Gosh, IPv5? Why didn't I think of that? Say, how do you like the new windows in here? Take a look. Closer...

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Optional

putting hairline fractures in the base of the Boss's chair in preparation for the world's first pneumatic suppository

Assuming the chair is made out of the usual aluminium alloy, just put some gallium (easily available on the usual online auction sites) inside the support. Then turn the heating up a bit. When it hits about 32°C the gallium will melt and slowly corrode the aluminium...

I've been tempted to use that on the wheels of some of the boy racer types who insist on racing around the local streets at midnight.

Get in the C: Raspberry Pi 4 can handle a wider range of USB adapters thanks to revised design's silent arrival

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Power to the Pi-ple

a plain old DC barrel jack

So, what standard is there for a power supply with a "plain old DC barrel jack"? There are a myriad of sizes - length, diameter, hole size... Some have the centre positive, some negative, some are regulated, some unregulated. Some are even AC.

Lets just shove a 48VAC barrel jack into a Pi and see what happens, eh? After all, the plug fits, so it must work. Right?

Much better with USB even if a small design error means some high-end PSUs will fail to power the Pi - but cause no damage to anything (other than a small dent in your wallet to get the very good value official PSU).

Researchers trick Tesla into massively breaking the speed limit by sticking a 2-inch piece of electrical tape on a sign

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Sigh.

"You can literally fail your driving test for "failing to make adequate progress".

Guess how I know"

Yep, me too. Nervous learner drives slowly. Later passes second test and gains confidence. Remembers reason for failing, so tries to drive as fast as possible from then on.

Not that I do that sort of thing now. I stick to a maximum of 30 in a 30 limit.

The drivers that get me are those that do 45 in a 60 limit, then reach a 30 or 40 limit and carry on doing 45! (and vice versa)

Microsoft Teams starts February with a good, old-fashioned TITSUP*

Anonymous Tribble

Certificate Renewal

Some years ago the company I worked for had a new customer with a certificate that was coming up for renewal. They had already obtained a new certificate and sent it to me to be applied to their web server.

I'd never dealt with certificates before, so I set up some test systems with a minimal copy of their web server (just the front page), DNS and a few other things. All in a totally isolated environment with no internet connection. I got it working on that, then told them that I was ready to apply it to their live system. The system was unavailable for about 30 seconds while I put the certificate in place and restarted Apache.

I called them back as soon as I was done. They were astonished. Apparently their previous provider had messed up badly when they tried to renew the certificates and their system was unavailable for over two days.

They were very happy and put in a recommendation that I should get a bonus, which, when it filtered down through the chain in our company, came out as "You did your job. So what.". Never mind that I spent half the weekend of my own time and own equipment at home, unpaid, testing things to make sure I'd get it right first time. :(

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

Anonymous Tribble


Yes, I have been asked for computer help by staff in pubs a few times.

One was having problems with their Windows 2000 (I think it was) PC. I told them I don't use Windows. They replied "Oh, do you use Vista instead?"

At another pub, some years earlier, they were having problems with one of the cash registers not working. I took it home and fixed the problem and took it back the next day. I got a good few free drinks for that :)

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS

Anonymous Tribble

It's always DNS - most of the time

Except when it is the cleaner unplugging the server so they can use the hoover...

Fortunately I'm no longer on call, although I did get called one night about a month after I left that company. I just politely told the call operator that I no longer worked for them and asked them to note the fact. They hadn't been told, so not their fault.

Other calls I've had were things like "Our ISDN connection is dead". Turned out that one of their other buildings had been destroyed in a fire and their management had asked for ALL of their ISDN lines to be cancelled until it could be rebuilt - including the ones in the other buildings that were still in use.

Remembering Y2K call-outs and the joy of the hourly contractor rate

Anonymous Tribble

On call for Y2K

I have some fond memories of the Y2K non-event.

I was asked to be on call to support a customer's systems over the New Year. Normally they didn't have any out of hours support. I was offered 250 quid just to be on call (ten times my usual rate) plus double time + time off in lieu if I did get a call.

I wasn't surprised that I didn't get any calls as that customer was closed for the New Year and none of their systems were being used.

It was two months later that they did get an issue (during office hours) where some of their code didn't recognise 2000 as a leap year and refused to process any transactions dated 29/02/2000.

Also, out of curiosity, I had salvaged one of the old servers that was replaced for Y2K reasons and took it home to see what would happen on 01/01/2000. It kept running, but I found odd dates in some log files, such as the to be expected 01/01/1900, but also 01/01/19100 and 01/01/A0.

El Reg presents: Your one-step guide on where not to store electronic mail

Anonymous Tribble

Ye dogs... I just remembered someone I used to work with who kept every email he received archived. Not only that, but he replied to every email using "Reply to all" and also set the return receipt option - and archived all the return receipts!

He also had a habit of writing very long emails with very little content. Like twenty paragraphs on a support email where he was just requesting for his password to be reset because he'd cocked up a password change.

Oh yes, and there was the manager who sent out a three line email with a 10MB attachment to "All Employees" which clogged up the mail servers for hours.

Then he realised he'd made a mistake... corrected the email and sent it out again with the same 10MB attachment to all 13,000 employees!

Anonymous Tribble

I have many tales about email. Some I just can't talk about.

There was the manager who thought that deleting his old emails was the responsibility of the Sysadmin (me), so never bothered and then complained when his mailbox filled up. Of course I could have just gone in there and deleted everything - but how would I know what was important to him or not?

Also, he assumed that the spam filter should be 100% perfect and stuff in his Spam folder didn't need looking at, just in case it was a £20,000 sales opportunity...

I did manage to delete a few hundred thousand old emails in the sales and support inboxes that dated from long before I joined that company. I'm glad I'm no longer working there, but I still run a mail server of my own and it works just fine. No spam and I clear down my own mail when I need to.

Starliner: Boeing, Boeing... it's back! Borked capsule makes a successful return to Earth

Anonymous Tribble

So basically the timer computer got fed up with the docking computer asking "Are we there yet?" and said "Yes, we're sodding there, ok?"

Cool 'joke', bro, you could have killed someone: Epilepsy Foundation sics cops on sick flashing-light Twitter trolls

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Wrong target entirely

So you should block every animated GIF just in case a stupid person decides to post one that triggers you?

I'm married to a photo sensitive epileptic. She usually manages to look away from such images before she can be triggered, as she is aware of her condition. When her friends post images that may be triggering to people on social media she gently reminds them of the damage they can cause and the friends will happily remove the images or put up a warning before they show.

Not so easy when it is some plonker who thinks it is funny to try and kill people.

Anonymous Tribble

"Conversely If I shoot someone in the head with what I believed to be a harmless blank and the person dies because I was ignorant of the fact that the shockwave from a blank is just as deadly as a bullet at close range, I am not guilty of a crime."

Yes you are. It's called Manslaughter. You did not intend to kill them, but you caused their death. You may get off with a light or suspended sentence.

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Revision codes

There are already reports of a Pi 4B rev 1.2 in the wild. No idea what changes it involved.

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

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Ah the good old days

Apricot computers? We had one of those. It was used for accounts and some simple word processing. It had a daisy wheel printer connected. I used it to print updates to the manuals for the software I was working on.

Anonymous Tribble

BBC Networks were fun. We had about six networked Beebs in my office. I had endless fun with taking over the keyboard on the MDs Beeb as he was trying to update stuff. Also randomly switching screen RAM contents from one machine to another so no one had a clue what they were working on :)

Close the windows, it's coming through the walls: Copper Cthulu invades Dabbsy's living room

Anonymous Tribble

Mummified cat5

"Not just in the plaster but behind the bricks, along with the usual lost spirit levels, witch dolls, mummified cats and a chained-up Fortunato."

I just have the usual CAT5e cable running through my walls, but I do know someone who did find some mummified cats in their walls, along with a few other interesting objects.

Right-click opens up terrifying vistas of reality and Windows 95 user's frightful position therein

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Taking the Trash

"On the ninety-ninth floor?"

Level 42.

Raspberry Pi head honcho Eben Upton talks thermals, stores and who's buying the kit

Anonymous Tribble

"Who has asked that question in the last 5 years?"

Someone did ask this question on the Raspberry Pi forums yesterday.

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul

Anonymous Tribble

Re: @gazthejourno

Not everywhere. My mother lives out in the countryside and often sees foxes. Sometimes they're after the ducks and sometimes her chickens.

Where I live, in the suburbs of a city, there is one local fox which doesn't seem to cause any problems. I've seen it a couple of times where it has been only a few metres away from me.

Virgin Media promises speeds of 1Gpbs to 15 million homes – all without full fibre

Anonymous Tribble

I had to use mine in "modem mode" with a separate router because I couldn't change its local subnet to match the range I was using. Also I couldn't disable the dreaded SIP ALG option which was essential for the VoIP phone I was using.

I was happy with the original superhub until it died.

BOFH: On a sunny day like this one, the concrete dries so much more quickly

Anonymous Tribble

"Two days later we have a replacement drive – the major component of the cost being the shipping"

That happened to me, but it was more like two weeks to get the replacement drive.

A disk failed on a client's ancient Unix server. The OS was very fussy about having the exact model of disk with a particular firmware revision. An engineer eventually tracked one down somewhere in the middle of a rainforest in Brazil and we had to wait for it to be shipped to the UK.

The dread sound of the squeaking caster in the humming data centre

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Not Me But...

I used to manage a couple of WinNT3 servers with 256MB of RAM. They took approximately 45 minutes to reboot. Most of that was performing an extended memory test, and no, there wasn't an option for a fast test or to skip it.

That was coupled with a memory leak in IIS that meant I had to reboot those servers every four weeks and that had to be done outside of service hours which meant between 2am and 4am. Nice bit of overtime for a while :)

Buying a second-hand hard drive on eBay? You've got a 'one in two' chance of finding personal info still on it

Anonymous Tribble

Re: Who gets rid of old IT kit?

My wife made me get rid of my ASCII art collection :-(

I'd had it for about 20 years, ever since I rewrote the code in COBOL to print it out on the Bull mainframe at work overnight.

Kids can be so crurl: Lead dev unchuffed with Google's plan to remake curl in its own image

Anonymous Tribble

I don't wget what the issue is here.

When customers see red, sometimes the obvious solution will only fan the flames

Anonymous Tribble

Other issues I've had to deal with were:

"The printer prints out 99 copies of all our reports from the server, but prints normally when I use it from a local PC".

The printer had been serviced and the engineer set the default number of copies of each page to 99 and didn't put it back afterwards. The software on the local machine set the number of copies to print every time. The software on the server assumed the default was 1 and didn't bother to specify it.

"The reports aren't coming through to the printer. I know it's a problem your end because I can ping the printer and it replies."

Cleaner had unplugged the printer, which wasn't directly connected to the network, but went through a print server. The print server was replying to t he pings.

Anonymous Tribble

"We can't connect to your service! Oh, by the way, our internet connection has been down for the last 4 hours. Could that be anything to do with it?"