* Posts by The curmudgeonly one

23 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Mar 2017

You're wrong, I'm right, and you're hiding the data that proves it

The curmudgeonly one

Slow WAN leads to trouble

Long ago I worked for an organisation which had three issues: a slow WAN, a junior techie who thought he knew everything, and ill-disciplined users (academics).

WAN was slow; sometimes stopped because junior tech "fixed" it. But I got it stable, and locked junior out of the router, which connected us to head office and through them to the world.

Wonderful - break for xmas. Come back to work to a flurry of messages from head office - why so much data use on xmas day? Quick investigation, look at IP numbers and I knew it was "Ulrich's" machine. What was going on? He decided that on xmas day the WAN would be all his, so he went in to the office and spent all xmas day downloading pr0n. I found 100s of gigabytes of it on server and workstation drives.

He was irreplaceable apparently - so he stayed. Under very strict conditions about hours of access.

Months later I discovered that junior tech who was told to clean up the server drives that Ulrich had used had made many copies of really bad stuff for his mates. He was not irreplaceable in the slightest.

Windows 12: Savior of PC makers, or just an apology for Windows 11?

The curmudgeonly one

Re: EU Competition Law - Abuse of Power or Dominant Position Unacceptable Behaviour

> take the average user, and see if they can install linux(this is a no)

Many users struggle to install Win 11 properly. The messes that I have seen with OneDrive alone have turned my hair grey.

Australian bank stops handling cash at the counter in some branches

The curmudgeonly one

Another blow against anonymity

It is increasingly difficult to keep a financial transaction secret. My wife knew what I had done about her birthday long before the day, because of bank statements and so on.

Privacy? Anonymity? Secret Santa? We don't need them.

Amazon to shutter Digital Photography Review

The curmudgeonly one

Not who they want to help.

Not intended to benefit the consumer. It benefits Amazon by removing one way around Amazon's stupidly mismanaged reviews, their recommendations and their prices.

Techie fired for inventing an acronym – and accidentally applying it to the boss

The curmudgeonly one

When I became manager of one IT department I discovered that many, many calls were recorded as 'picnic': problem in chair not in computer.

But unfortunately users would occasionally see the call notesand ask what a picnic was.

An edict had to be issued: no more picnics (or id 10 t errors). Just us TA, which means 'Technical Assistance' or 'Tedious Aresehoe' depending on who is listening.

Excel @ mentions approach general availability on the desktop

The curmudgeonly one

Re: Gerrof my lawn!


I once (foolishly) agreed to provide on-call network support for an accounting firm.

I asked if there was a map of the large open-plan office, so I might know where "jenny's desk" was when told she couldn't log on.

I was given an Excel file. It had a crude plan "drawn" using ascii characters.

FBI and MI5 bosses: China cheats and steals at massive scale

The curmudgeonly one

S IP mple gix

Keep your vital material off the internet. Hit inconvenient, but worth the hassle

Misguided call for a 7-Zip boycott brings attention to FOSS archiving tools

The curmudgeonly one

PeaZip just a front-end

Not a fork.

It requires 7-zip libraries, and a lot of others: from https://peazip.github.io/peazip-sources.html

7z (LGPL), p7zip (LGPL), 7-Zip-zstd codecs (LGPL), Brotli (MIT License), Zstandard (Dual license BSD / GPLv2), ARC (GPL), ZPAQ/LPAQ/PAQ8* (GPL), QUAD (LGPL) / BALZ (public domain) / BCM (Apache v2), strip and UPX (GPL) binaries are needed to support mainstream file formats."

What Microsoft's Windows 11 will probably look like

The curmudgeonly one

Why bother?

I spend all day USING computers, rather than LOOKING at or admiring them. Windows I use grudgingly because of some tricky software.

I cannot imagine that I would even notice that rectangles were no longer rectangles and had rounded corners. All this tweaking the UI is a load of cobblers.

Now if the apps all worked, and in a coherent manner, I'd notice that.

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

The curmudgeonly one

Back in the 80's I had to support an academic library. No networking or anything like that.

A medical literature database was distributed on CDROMs, Doctors loaded CD after CD until they got what they wanted, which was stored on 5" floppies.

You guessed it. And the CDs were very expensive - thousands of dollars a set.. In a floppy drive they dropped into the drive, and more than once had to sacrifice a floppy drive to get the CD out.

I stopped it by labelling the drives "Round Shiny Things" and "Square Black Things". Until a senior academic tore the labels off, ranting about "treating academic staff as morons". Five mins later he had a CDROM in the floppy drive.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

The curmudgeonly one

Was working in an academic environment. I got rung one Sunday afternoon while painting my garage to be told that our mail server was down.

Checked. It was fully functional. So I phone the august academic back. He was adamant that our server was down because the PC in his bedroom couldn't email the PC in the kitchen.

When I told him to check those two boxen before annoying me again he tried to demand a house-call. He only desisted when I told him the chargeout rate.

Someone tried to poison a Florida city by hijacking its water treatment plant via TeamViewer, says sheriff

The curmudgeonly one

For the love of the wee man

Why on earth are critical facilities like this on the internet at all? Previous incidents involved nuclear power and steel mills. Just stop - it's possible.

Did I or did I not ask you to double-check that the socket was on? Now I've driven 15 miles, what have we found?

The curmudgeonly one

Not uncommon

Once in ye olde days of dumb terminals got a call "terminal isn't going", and went through all the questions about power and switches. User was adamant that the terminal was plugged in, switched on, data cable connected etc. And would I "please stop talking to her as if she was an idiot".

The VAX (yes, that long ago) still maintained the terminal was turned off. In desperation I asked "Is there a light on the front?" to be told there was.

When I got to the terminal I found of course that the wall switch was turned off.

What about the the light on the front? Of course there was a light on the front. I hadn't asked if that light was illuminated.

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

The curmudgeonly one

Rudest, Dumbest - same thing no?

I once had the misfortune of supporting the library of a medical school, at a time when PCs, email and the internet were all new.

The 2 i/c of the library was known for being the rudest of the staff. She also turned out to be the dumbest.

Example: I got an email one morning, and I kid you not, it simply said "I can't send email. Please fix?"

Rather than visit I rang her, and pointed out that she had just sent email. This she denied. So after a lot of to-and-fro I simply ignored her. Naturally she complained. To the Dean. Who arrived in my office yelling that I should work harder and fix her problem and what did I get paid for anyway.

Upshot: I showed him her email, he called her a very rude name, and he took me for what turned out to be very liquid lunch.

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

The curmudgeonly one

Not just cleaners

Had a clown laying new vinyl in corridors including the one outside the computer room. Which contained a VAX and a couple of Novell (I'm that old) servers.

JUST stopped him unplugging the VAX to plug in some power tool - his hand was on the plug. I showed him a more appropriate power socket, but his extension cord wouldn't reach it. So while he waited for someone to fetch a longer one he lit a cigarette. Next to an open can of his adhesive, which was providing lots of volatile fumes. He was seriously pissed when I grabbed the cigarette and stubbed it out.

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

The curmudgeonly one

I once spent the better part of a day on the weekend configuring a new home machine and transferring many programs and gigabytes of data for a colleague. My reward: a very small bunch of grapes. She did say she was glad not to have to pay the price quoted by the rogue she bought the hardware from.

Want to know what 2020 holds? Microsoft has a little something for you

The curmudgeonly one

I hope that this skipping forward means that 19H2 doesn't happen. One release per year is plenty.

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

The curmudgeonly one

on a similar note ...

Years ago (early 80s) I had one client whose huge (physically) System Group CP/M box - the fancy one with two 8" floppies - would spontaneously reboot at random times. A few reboots is par for the course for these things. But this was happening about 8 or more times a day.

Eventually I noticed that the thing rebooted whenever someone got milk out of the fridge nearby. That forced the elderly fridge to cycle, and its startup sent enough spikes around the AC circuits to induce a reboot.

Moving the computer's power plug to a three-pin socket on a different AC phase solved the issue. But there was a lot of "you're daft" comments wen I told them that the fridge was doing it.

Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it

The curmudgeonly one

Long ago I went to a demonstration of this new thing called a Macintosh. Allegedly the first mac in Christchurch (NZ) - at least that what the noise was all about.

Cue curtains, protracted un-boxing, "wow, look at that"....

Plug it in, poof! Same issue as in the story.

Ten days later I went to another demonstration, at another company, of the first WORKING Macintosh in Christchurch. Ended up managing at site with hundreds of the damned things.

From tomorrow, Google Chrome will block crud ads. Here's how it'll work

The curmudgeonly one

Why does Google get to lay down the law

Whatever your feelings about ads - and I run adblockers as a matter of course - it must be asked what gives Google the right to decide for me?

Block or not - as you please. But make the decision yourself, don't be dictated to by corporate america.

Microsoft can't give away beta cert exams, so starts charging

The curmudgeonly one

MS Certs are not for the techs....

....they are for the lazy and/or ignorant HR managers the techs need to impress.

Windows Insiders with SD cards turn into OneDrive outsiders

The curmudgeonly one

Industry Std

So NTFS is the industry standard.

Colour me incredulous.

Judge issues search warrant for anyone who Googled a victim's name

The curmudgeonly one

Google - really?

There are people still using plain google searches? How very last century.

startpage.com people. Or duckduckgo.com if you must.