* Posts by Sean o' bhaile na gleann

139 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Feb 2016


One door opens, another one closes, and this one kills a mainframe

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

IBM, too, maybe...

There's an old story - almost apocryphal, I'm sure - about IBM's 3330 disk drives.

A full 'bank' of drives came as four cabinets of 2 disk 'drawers' that were mounted vertically, plus a control unit on the end (pic here: https://www.computerhistory.org/storageengine/track-following-servo-quadruples-hdd-density/ )

The disks themselves were 'exchangeable' - any single volume could be swapped for another by hitting the 'stop' button for the relevant drawer, waiting for the disk to spin down, opening the drawer, taking out ('dismounting') the disk that was there and putting a different one in, then firing that particular drive up again to make the new volume available to the system (and, yes, you could do that while the 'old' disk was actually in use - with predictable results!)

They story goes that while it was possible to open all four top drawers at the same time, it was inadvisable to do so since the entire 'bank' would topple forward (those 3330 disks were heavy.)

An extension to the story says that this problem was fixed by a special IBM part that could be attached - two extendable legs that attached to the front of the bank to provide extra physical stability.

Fuming Tom Hanks says he had nothing to do with that AI dental ad clone of him

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Back in the early 80s, I worked for a film distribution company.

One day, I was with my boss & we were looking at the VCR that had been available to the department, examining it's capabilities and such-like.

If memory serves, VCRs were more-or-less becoming a domestic item at the time.

"This is it," I said. "This is the end of copyright."

"Nah," said boss-man. "We'll protect the stuff with secret codes and such, and there'll be laws to stop people from doing things like bootlegging."

"No you won't," I said. "There will always be someone out there who is just a bit more clever than we are, and if you think a 'law' is going to stop them, well..."

This AI is better than you at figuring out where a street pic was taken just by looking at it

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

One that always made me chuckle was reading a map and giving directions to the driver, saying something like "turn right in about an inch..."

Senator trying to force Uncle Sam to share everything it knows about UFOs

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Give aliens some credit

Can't remember where I read it, but it was something like...

Four reasons why an alien race would want to meet us:

1. Exterminate

2. Enslave

3. Trade

4. Serve (fried or boiled - we're not fussy)

China ends crackdown on web giants with colossal fines for Ant Group, Tencent

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

"... announced a ¥7.123 billion ($984 million) fine for Alibaba's fintech operation, Ant Group, and ordered the closure of its health insurance service, Xianghubao. Tencent 'fessed up [PDF] to having received a notification of a ¥2.9 billion ($414 million) fine..."

Memo to Ofcom, et al... "Learn, Guys".

(with apologies to Messrs. Gaiman and Pratchett)

Bosses face losing 'key' workers after forcing a return to office

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Health aspect

Another WFH upside: lack of colds, flu, etc.

Since 2020 I've had just one head cold - and I had to go to hospital to catch that!

Boffins claim to create the world's first wooden transistor

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

"...leaf it alone".

They might possible try calling Special Branch.

Scientists speak their brains: Please don’t call us boffins

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Paging Ms. Streisand

Indeed so.

'Boffin' for me is an old, almost defunct term - I haven't heard it being used for many a year

The current terminology is 'Geek' or 'Nerd', I believe.

*deep sigh* ... and there, lower down El Reg's front page "Boffins claim discovery of the first piezoelectric liquid"

Just to prove me wrong.

Tech demo takes brain scan, creates a picture of what you're looking at

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: nuclear magnetic resonance imaging

Almost exactly the same here - radioactive juice injected for a PET scan, followed immediately by weight gain.

(although it has to be said that my increase in mass was a work in progress since long before the scan...)

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Similar

Another similar:

The burglar alarm at the local primary school kept going off at various and multiple time whenever the school was locked up and not in use - oftentimes too frequently for any (team of) burglars to be the cause.

The culprit was eventually discovered to be the school's pet hamster doing hamster-y things in it's cage...

Signal says it'll shut down in UK if Online Safety Bill approved

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Post Office

I remember reading (many years ago!) about a case where a doctor had left his car at a repair shop for investigation into an irritating fault.

He'd left a handwritten description of the symptoms on the front seat.

The poor garage mechanic couldn't make head or tail of the scrawl, so he took it to a local pharmacy for translation...

NASA: Yup, thousand-pound meteorite exploded over Texas

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

Nah... Just let Starlink et al close the sky. Anything incoming will then just bounce off.

What's up with IT, Doc? Rabbit hole reveals cause of outage

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Ouch

So true...

I use to live a short walk from Bristol Zoo when it was still at Clifton Downs.

They sold their animal's "output", marketed as "Zoo Poo".

Yes, the smell was quite strong for a while, but it was enough to keep the local felines (and urban foxes!) at bay.

Royal Mail, cops probe 'cyber incident' that's knackered international mail

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Say no more, Squire. Least said, soonest mended, eh?

Yes I see the mask (troll?) icon, but feel a need to stick my oar in...

"...expect it to turn a profit even if it were still in the hands of the taxpayer..."

Sorry, but NO.

If it is in the hands of the taxpayer is should NOT show a profit - and nor should it show a loss.

It should be given just enough of my money to allow it operate, no more and no less.

IBM sues Micro Focus, claims it copied Big Blue mainframe software

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: CICS is still a thing?

The number 66 bus between Romsey and Winchester goes past Hursley Grange

"Get your CICS on route 66..."

Using the datacenter as a dining room destroyed the platters that matter

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Spiv's stock room

A fault in the air conditioning led to the pulling of all the false floor panels in the computer where I worked.

It was then that we discovered one of the operators was running a side-line, knocking out dodgy VHS players.

Guess where he kept his stock...

US Army to build largest 3D-printed structures in the Americas

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: They will need to be able to print around rebar at some point.

I'm fairly certain that was "And He Built a Crooked House", Robert Heinlein, 1941

Tomorrow Water thinks we should colocate datacenters and sewage plants

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: unlike your typical UK green energy project

ISTR reading a short article back in the oughties (probably the in back pages of New Scientist or something like that) about some American company mulling the idea of domestic reactors.

Each such 'device' would take the form of a long spike-like thing, buried 30ft down in your back garden.

Of necessity it would be next-to maintenance-free. Can you imagine asking the guy down the street - the one who 'knows a thing or two' - to take a look and adjust the output or something like that.

Think of the new and interesting varieties of rose you might be able to grow...

Or "Yes, good boy, Rover. Now put the bone back in the ground...'

With 90% COVID-19 vax rate, Intel to step up return-to-office

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Nooo....

Best riposte I've heard so far is "You can see and hear me in Teams - you don't need to smell me as well!"

Dog forgets all about risk of drowning in a marsh as soon as drone dangles a sausage

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: But the question is unanswered

Yup - It's a dog-eat-dog world out there...

Munich mk2? Germany's Schleswig-Holstein plans to switch 25,000 PCs to LibreOffice

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Don't forget a retail stores

... sounds like pure gobbledegook to me...

Amazon hasn't launched one internet satellite yet, but it's now planning a fleet of 7,774

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Nightmare scenario...You just know it will be a constellation of satellites...

See also 'Watch This Space' [Arthur C Clarke 1956]

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

"...international treaties that permit overflying of a country's territory by satellites..."

I'm fairly certain that isn't the case (and, if memory serves, this idea cropped up in a previous thread on these august pages).

As I remember things, the Russians effectively shat on that idea right at the very start by sending Sputnik 1 up without initially clearing such 'overflying' in the first place.

Amazon aims to launch prototype broadband internet satellites by Q4 2022 – without Bezos' Blue Origin

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

If you don't already know about the site, take a look at at https://satellitemap.space .

Kinda puts things into perspective...

Orders wrong, resellers receiving wrong items? Must be a programming error and certainly not a rushing techie

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Seen that face before...

"...dropped a box of the bastards..."

Back in my day, known as a 'floor sort'

Happy birthday, Microsoft Money: Here's a cashpoint calamity for Windows and .NET

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: MS Money and Quicken

I have to say that I never used MSMoney's "advanced" facilities, such as investment planning, etc., but I still use it even now, on Windows 10.

When the software was discontinued, MS issued the 'sunset' edition, which I downloaded & installed - and it fulfils my requirements completely.

These days, I'm seriously considering switching over to Linux and ditching Windows completely, so I'm looking around for a reasonable alternative that will be able to take on an MSMoney database stretching back to 1996...

(That last bit is predicated on me being able to install Linux on my PC at all. I keep hitting BIOS problems at this stage.)

Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

The war God went for a ride on day

Upon his favourite filly

"I'm Thor!" he cried

The horse replied

"You forgot your thaddle thilly..."

Try placing a pot plant directly above your CRT monitor – it really ties the desk together

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Your headline reminds me...

When working with an American firm some years back, my favourite phrase "Just going to go suck on fag's butt".

Three things that have vanished: $3.6bn in Bitcoin, a crypto investment biz, and the two brothers who ran it

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

... someone's been reading Joe Haldeman...

UK health secretary Matt Hancock follows delay to GP data grab with campaign called 'Data saves lives'

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Not exactly on point, but...

From the article: "But there was no mention of the fact that those researchers might be outside the NHS or UK public sector, or that their main line of work might be market research for private health companies..."

In a previous related thread (https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2021/06/09/matt_hancock_nhs_data_grab/), I detailed my difficulties in dealing with an e-mail from 'Patient Access', which is the method I used to use to order up my repeat prescription. That e-mail said that Patient Access had updated their T&Cs, and it provided a link to allow the updated documentation to be studied.

That link was blocked by UBlock, which I'd only recently installed, because of a filter identified as "||exponea.com^". The same block screen identified the filter as coming from 'cdn.uk.exponea.com'.

Typing 'cdn.uk.exponea.com' into Google resulted in a number of entries for Exponea, but the one that really caught my eye was "Exponea helps you maximize profits and drive customer loyalty by targeting the right customers with the right message at the perfect time".

It's a case of 'nuff said, as far as I'm concerned. I'm OUT!

Don't get me wrong - I fully agree with the concept of gathering all this data together for the purpose of analysis that might lead to new understanding of health issues and possible treatments or cures. I see this as A Good Thing.

But that's the ONLY purpose for collecting the data that I agree with.

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Not completely

Persoanally I've never had a single real problem with Skype (occasional - vary rare! - connection failures, but I'll live with those).

I see nothing 'bright' about doing away with it.

Space Force turtle expert uncovers $1.2m Cape Canaveral cocaine haul

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

... thus leaving no tern unstoned

(can't remember who originally came up with that one)

'Vast majority of people' are onside with a data grab they know next to nothing about, reckons UK health secretary

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Coincidence?

I just received the same mail myself (today, 10th).

Clicked on the T&c's link - blocked by ublock "because to the following filter: ||exponea.com^"

Same for the Privacy Policy link.

Tried the 'Log in' link right at the bottom - had forgotten the password, so asked for a reset link in e-mail.

Got that, and responded with a new password which was apparently accepted, because I logged in with e-mail id and (new ) password, only to be confronted with a requirement for 4th 8th and 10th letter of my memorable word.

Could not exactly remember that word, so asked for the reminder to be displayed - that led to my remembering the memorable word.

But it is only 9 characters long...

Clicked on the link for a memorable word reset. Was told that e-mail had been sent. It didn't arrive. Requested the e-mail again and it finally arrived.

Another link in the e-mail to get to the memorable word reset resulted in ublock again blocking the page, objecting to the same filter as before.

Round and round we go...

Why why bloody why is it so effin difficult!!??

Space station dumps 2.9-ton battery pack to burn up in Earth's atmosphere after hardware upgrade

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Ballistics Officer

An uncle of mine was in the Royal Artillery back in the day.

He used to refer to himself as a 'nine-mile sniper'...

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

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Who knew data centres were tinder boxes?

Back when I were a trainee operator, one of the first things to be rammed home to me was to keep the computer room tidy at all times - no loose items left on top of various cabinets, desks, etc.

Not because of some OCD tendency of the chief operator, but because of the sheer hurricane-level force of the fire suppression gas being released.

A 2400' tape reel flying across the room and hitting you in the neck would severely hamper any attempt to get out in an emergency

Prime suspect: Amazon India apologises for offensive scenes in political thriller

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: There used to be...

I'm pretty certain that's one of Heinlein's Lazarus Long-isms

There are two sides to every story, two ends to every cable

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I Believe in Magic

Install Bigger Machine

Panic in the mailroom: The perils of an operating system too smart for its own good

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: 50 years ago ...

Going through the names of the songs that are mentioned in Verity's diagram...

I remember once calling a software supplier to ask for technical support and being presented with a rendition of the Three Degree's 'When Will I See You Again'.

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Glad we've moved on so much in the last 50 years

Shortly after starting employment with an outsourcer, I became a member of the team involved with taking on the IT contract for a large Gas supplier. This was back in the 80's and there had been a rash of red-top newspaper reports of a few of said Gas company's customers being dunned for non-payment of bills for £0.00. These headline-making reports appeared to 'go away' when there was something worthwhile for the respective rags to print.

During the due diligence phase of taking on the contract, we discovered that the problem had indeed 'gone away', but not by means of a change to the billing program. No, the Gas supplier had hired a few low-paid individuals whose job it was to go through the bills and throw away any that featured a £0.00 amount.

US govt ups minimum H-1B tech salaries to $208,000 a year, more than startups can hope to afford, say VCs

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Yeah, but how much is $78K really worth (cost of living, etc.)?

I did a stint in the US at the end of the 70's. Prior UK job was paying ~£4K pa which was low enough to cause me some difficulty.

The US gig paid me $17K - and it was barely enough to live on

IBM to spin out Managed Infrastructure Services biz – yes, the one that was subject to all those redundancies

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

'SB37' love that nickname!

Might change mine to IDC3009I

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: International Standards Organization

I once landed a gig with US-based company. The bit of paper I thankfully had in my hand specified a start date of "1st December yyyy". When I turned up at the office, HR tried to kick me out, saying I wasn't expected until 12 January, conveniently ignoring the change of year number...

Rocket Lab to bounce back from July's orbital fail with bulging payloads and parachuting Electrons

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Don't go to space til we sort out Earth

As far as I can see, this planet is already wrecked beyond hope.

We need to get off it and move to another one as fast as possible, before the inevitable end.

And yes, that does mean that the next one will get wrecked, too. And the one after that... and so on.

But (hopefully) at least some of the lessons we learn might be used to good effect along the way, rather than fighting a lost battle here.

NASA to stop using names like 'Eskimo Nebula' and 're-examine' what it calls cosmic objects

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Whatever happened to "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"?

It's a saying that I learned very early on in life (had to!) and I've no intention of giving up living by it at the latter end.

Or am I just thick-skinned?

From 'Queen of the Skies' to Queen of the Scrapheap: British Airways chops 747 fleet as folk stay at home

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Interesting Wing Arrangement (article image)

I was taught "Port is not right".

I think I prefer yours...

Sean o' bhaile na gleann


I heard that - at the height of the Profumo scandal - it "Bend Over Again Christine"

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Sorry to see them go...

RIP Olympus - sorry to see you go.

Such a shame that yet another well-known/loved brand goes down the drain - for whatever reason.

The camera pictured in the equivalent article on the BBC web site was the same as the first camera I ever bought, and I've stuck with Olympus ever since. (A bit bad of me, not giving any others even a first thought, yet alone a second, but well... 'brand loyalty')

You'd think lockdown would be heaven for us layabouts – but half the UK has actually started 'exercising more'

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

The opposite for me...

At work I have to clamber up & down stairs to get to the loo, or to the kitchen.

Working at home in a two-bedroom flat means that the kettle is fifteen feet in one direction and the bog is the same distance the other way.

Only true boffins will be able to grasp Blighty's new legal definitions of the humble metre and kilogram

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I can't say when Ireland actually 'went metric', but when I was there in early 2004 the area around Cork was still in the throes of conversion.

Road signs giving distances in miles vs. speed limits in km//hr made for some interesting navigation...

Japan to test self-destructing satellite to shrink space junk with string and an inanimate carbon blob

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I sense an opportunity for Steptoe & Son in Space, here...