* Posts by Chairman of the Bored

932 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Apr 2017

BOFH: I'd like introduce you to a groovy little web log I call 'That's Boss'

Chairman of the Bored

Twitter derived from twit?

Nope! Most are written by twats.

Customers in 'standoff' with SAP over 2025 end of support for Business Suite: Who'll blink first?

Chairman of the Bored

Re: SAP be Damned...

Have a drink, it may help

Chairman of the Bored


My current employer is ten years into a SAP ERP rollout. It's still not fit for purpose, and that's even after abandoning SAP's repeated attempts at customization. We now contorted our business processes and organizational structures until they fit ERP's inbuilt, mainframe era business rules and processes. I'm starting to curse in German. The only people making money at this point are our legal firm, we are in round two of litigation.

Should have stayed with IBM. And, yeah, they suck too.

Five years to migrate? Most days it feels like five years just to print out an effen financial report!

Escobar Fold 1 snort all it's cracked up to be: Readers finger similarity to slated Chinese mobe

Chairman of the Bored

They seriously missed a marketing trick

While the scantily clad women are a marketing trope, yet possibly still effective, I think they could have done better:

Have photos of sad looking, heavily tattooed men doing hard time, with expressions that say, "I used to own the world but now life sucks."

Put a caption underneath: "Secure phones. If I'd had one of these, I wouldn't be here."

Chairman of the Bored


...daaaang! That's quite a sales, er, site. Now I've got to fix my keyboard

Register Lecture: Can portable atomic clocks end UK dependence on GNSS?

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Wonder if I will have to send it for calibration?

Yeah! Turtles, er I mean documents, all the way down! When your team starts stamping each other's foreheads with property management stamps before the inspectors come in, and labelled every toilet in the men's room "This container is not authorized for the storage of sensitive information" ... and "report any information spillage to your security officer!" on the floors under the urinals ... you're approaching compliance.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Wonder if I will have to send it for calibration?

Agreed, but for that If just ship it to NIST in Gaithersburg. My guys just did not have any reasonable explanation for what they were going to do with it.

Chairman of the Bored

Wonder if I will have to send it for calibration?

I worked in a firm that became ISO-9000. A worthy cause, but some bureaucrats become a little too aggressive.

I had a caesium primary time reference in my electronics lab, adorned with a good half dozen ISO-compliant inventory tracking stickers, but no Cal Lab sticker.

Cal lab: "You have a piece of equipment we need to cal! And you refuse to send it to us! Waahhh!"

Me: "It's ... A primary standard. You, uh, should know already that by definition we Cal other crap off it IT! Given that you don't grasp that, I'm ... concerned."

Cal lab: "Bad boy! It has stickers on it. That means it can be cal'ed! You're just being a poopyhead!"

Me: "!..!"

Chairman of the Bored


From what little I know about atomic clocks, the typical caesium and rubidium clocks work off the microwave lines from hyperfine transitions. Electronics transitions allow use of light wavelengths and correspondingly higher precision. For higher precision yet one needs to cool the atoms. All this is established art.

What I'd like to know more about are what specific claims are made for these clocks and how they differ from the chip-scale rubidium references NIST is publishing on. Specifically, what's the root Allan variance? Settling time? Time transfer methodology?

The real neat trick is time transfer from device to device and handling the bookkeeping appropriately as one transfers time from stationary devices to moving devices such as aircraft. At caesium stability, relativity becomes apparent even for modest accelerations.

Mines the one with the 100 gram atomic clock in the pocket: https://www.orolia.com/products/atomic-clocks-oscillators

I'll give you my Windows 7 installation when you pry it from my cold, dead hands (and other tales)

Chairman of the Bored

XP on a radar...

Some years ago, around the time Windows 8 was pinched off, Sperry Bridgemaster navigation radars ran XP. In all likelihood doing to was some combination of bespoke drivers and stability. Their excellent application software meant the user never had to interact with the OS anyways, and I'm sure the OS had been stripped to the bare minimum.

I was a guest on a ship's bridge and got to see a Sperry tech interact with a Win 8 bigot who had his laptop and demanded to know why the radar still ran such an ancient OS. Tech points towards the harbor and asks, "Would you rather see shit?". Points towards laptop and asks, "Or see... Shit.?"

Apple completes $1bn amputation of Intel's 5G modem biz, Chipzilla out of mobiles for good

Chairman of the Bored

I'm shocked...

...they didn't go screaming to Congress that their 5G tech is "too big to fail" and "critical to national security". How I was expecting this to roll is that Intel was going to play the national security card, try to get multiple billions of taxpayer dollars in a bailout, THEN try to make a marketable product. Or spend the cash on biz jets, entertainment, and blow.

From July, you better be Putin these Kremlin-approved apps on gadgets sold in Russia

Chairman of the Bored

Gotta love the Russians

No subtlety whatsoever.

I have no doubt the west will follow suit, but obfuscating the raw pwnage through some mixture of British understatement or US Congressional mendacity.

"This app is needed to keep children safe!"

Player three has entered Cray's supercomputing game: First AMD Epyc, now Fujitsu's Arm chips

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Multi-Physics


Quite right. The way I look at it is that Physics is the general case of science. Mathematics is the language of physics. All other hard sciences (bio, chem, electronics, mechanical...) are special cases or simplifications. Unfortunately non-trivial problems are too difficult to handle in their entirety, so must divide problem domains into understandable chunks. Integrating these chunks together is the role of the systems guy/gal

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Multi-Physics

Good textbook definition. Let me give a concrete example: take high power RF system design.

The actual RF propagation in a system can be handled in a number of ways: direct evaluation of Maxwell's equations, Method of Moments, Finite Difference Time Domain, etc. One output of such calculations is absorption in dielectrics and current densities in conductors. These give rise to heating...

Heat transfer will involve a finite element model (FEM) to determine steady-state temperatures, cooling requirements, etc. Given material mechanical properties and loads, FEM will also tell you how much your structure will distort...

And that changes the boundary conditions on your FDTD electromagnetic sim... Maybe you have to change the design and re-do everything, but regardless you have to re-compute the energy deposition. If it's really high power I might do particle-in-cell codes to figure out whether air or other gas will break down.

And so it goes. Iterate, and try to succeed before you blow through your budget. Make sure the system is affordable and manufacturable. (Monte Carlo over mechanical tolerances... Do not specify pure unobtanium...) The ultimate multiphysics tool will do it all. That doesn't exist. Instead you need specialists ... Usually a team of RF people, mechanical engineers, systems engineers, HVAC, etc ... armed with many tools and a big, scary, expensive, fast freakin' computer. That's real-world multiphysics

Chairman of the Bored

Re: It's come a long way...

Bloat... Yes, software is a gas. It will expand to completely fill any volume.

A new hire observed my gray hair and similarly aging HP-12C and -48S calculators and started yapping about the glories of modern software. I told him, "Yes, when I started this game in the 80's, PCs were new. Really new. The only real applications I had were games, word processor, database, spreadsheet, presentation software, and a comms package so I could get my email and hit the bulletin board service - kind of like a web browser, but without the decent pr0n"

And he starts saying, "Uh, today we now have. Hmm. Better pr0n?"


Chairman of the Bored

It's come a long way...

... since the humble Acorn RISC machine. Have a well-earned pint.

Weird flex but OK... Motorola's comeback is a $1,500 Razr flip-phone with folding 6.2" screen

Chairman of the Bored

Re: DIY?

Simply brilliant. Market this as "The Double Ender". Subtext: "A phone that pleases everyone"

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Aspect ratio very odd

Now that we've got a hinge, shouldn't the multiple shakes make the phone automatically get larger? At least if it's not too cold?

Icahn smell money! Corporate raider grabs $1.2bn of HP stock to push for Xerox merger

Chairman of the Bored


...does this mean toner for a Xerox copier will now cost about the exact same as the copier did in the first place?

Google brings its secret health data stockpiling systems to the US

Chairman of the Bored

Didn't Microsoft...

... already fire a few rounds into HIPPA's head and chest? Anyone remember Microsoft Health Vault? I'm sure that steaming pile of database was totally altruistic...

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Nothing surprises me about Google anymore....

I thought that the mythology is that Google loves Obama and Clinton? Oracle supposedly loves Trump... So if Oracle is responsible for Trump getting in, I'd have to say it's about their only success this decade.

Teachers: Make your pupils' parents buy them an iPad to use at school. Oh and did you pack sunglasses for the Apple-funded jolly?

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Universities in US

Software firms not a charity... Quite right.

My exposure to MathCAD and Matlab at school have definitely made me a MathCAD and Matlab bigot. These days, though, my Matlab habit is starting to fade as the open source Octave answers for most needs, and now python + matplotlib + scipy.

But, then, victory goes to the bold. Companies take a real risk putting fully functional software out there, and this takes more guts to do so than - say - corrupting education officials with free holidays.

As a manager I've had to spend some time educating college interns, new hires, and even senior employees moonlighting as college faculty that it is unethical and illegal to use their academic software licenses for work. No matter how bad out organization's procurement processes suck, we cannot abuse license terms. Lately this seems more and more like a novel concept (!)

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Universities in US

Ok, fair enough!

Thing is, though, the First National Bank of Dad (*) is paying almost full freight on this ... Provided of course the major and degree are ones that have value in the real world of employment and careers.

How people can think that getting a fine arts degree financed with $250k of debt will ever work out is totally beyond my understanding. But then if we get in a politician that somehow magically erases all student debt, I guess I will be the fool and not them.

(*) Supplemented by years of, "Oh, you want cash? Get off your ass and work for it!" Kids are not going to take the studies seriously unless there is some skin in the game

Chairman of the Bored

Universities in US

Commonwealth- funded universities in Virginia run the "Dell, Windows, O365, and 'recommended' support package" scam through their for-profit but somehow government owned captive portals. The artsy majors are required to go Apple. Prices are much higher than free market, but not quite as extortionate as, say, the mafia. But the hook is the the monopoly they hold on service on/near campus. If you bring your own, or heavens forbid use Linux, fire and brimstone shall be upon your head.

On the other hand, my daughter's uni has Matlab, Mathematica, MathCAD, SPSS, and other top shelf technical software all on tap for free student use. That's pretty awesome.

SpaceX flings another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit in firm's heaviest payload to date

Chairman of the Bored

Re: 59 out of 60

Space Farce... If it's going to happen, it might as well go big and have it's own service academy. Heck, the US Merchant Marines have their own. But then we will have a set of perfumed princes we can truly refer to as "Space Cadets"

UK Home Office: We will register thousands of deactivated firearms with no database

Chairman of the Bored

Delaminated bow?

I had a solid fiberglass spinnaker pole used on a small sailboat delaminate badly. Size, strength, and flexibility are on the order of an English longbow. As the pole was out of manufacture, the local chandleries had no stock, and eBay didn't answer, I was in a bind.

What I did was rig up a jig to rotate it very slowly and wrap with 550 parachute cord under tension.

About every foot the cord is locked to itself with epoxy, I think 3M DP220 since it's reasonably flexible. Its worked for several seasons and I'm no longer extracting fiberglass from my hands.

Smack-talking overflow: Mining developer sentiment to understand the most popular APIs

Chairman of the Bored

Topics for investigation...

...I wonder what it would be like if one plotted 'Apparent Developer Happiness vs Time' over the life of an API.

My hypothesis is that you would see initial positive feelings because the API will probably be used in a community tightly coupled to the developers. Then if the API hits the big time we have high positivity as people fan girl over the new "shiny". Then will things turn more negative as developers realize an API is a tool, not a fad, and using tools effectively is hard. We then transition to a nostalgic sunset as the bulk of developers move on to the next shiny, while the ones who have used the API very effectively still participate...

OPPO's Reno 2, aka 'Baby Shark', joins the deepening pool of high-spec midranger mobes

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Lexicon otions

Endoscope? Brilliant.

Here is my marketing pitch for it: "Exclusively from [] ... The Intruder... The world's first smartphones telescope powerful enough to see Uranus.

Oh chute. Two out of three ain't bad, right? asks Boeing after soft-ish crew module landing

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Unconvincing

Aye. Heard an aero engineer say once the reason the Federal Trade Commission permitted the Boeing / McDonnell Douglas merger was to combine the engineering and manufacturing prowess of Boeing with the strong marketing and business capabilites of McD and create a defense and civil aviation superpower.

What we got instead was McD's engineering and Boeing's business capabilites.

Boffins don bad 1980s fashion to avoid being detected by object-recognizing AI cameras

Chairman of the Bored

Sometimes adversarial patterns work on humans, too

I have a red baseball cap emblazoned with the word


No T of course. The orange one's supporters look puzzled for a second, think I'm one of them, and smile a little hesitantly. The Dems look at at, do a double take, and smile hesitantly. So I'm flying under everyone's radar and bringing somewhat good cheer to all...

I cannae do it, captain, I'm giving it all she's got, but she just cannae take another dose of bullsh!t

Chairman of the Bored


The deadliest bullshit is odorless, and transparent. --William Gibson

This makes geolocation of a BS source difficult at best.

£1bn Brit court digitisation scheme would be great ... if Wi-Fi situation wasn't 'wholly inadequate'

Chairman of the Bored

Maybe I'm old...

...But if I wish to truly study a document and retain any information, I find it easier to do so from a printed page than a .PDF - no matter how nice the monitor.

I suspect I'm not alone in this.

So if I'm hoping a jury will exonerate me through careful study of documents, I'd prefer if they have hardcopy rather than a cheap govt issue policy laptop.

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

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Endless recycling

File it? Oh, no... your empty deskers are doing it wrong. When I want a clean slate, I take all my crap, stuff it into interoffice envelopes, and mail it to staffers chosen totally at random. Maybe 50pct of the work ends up getting done, but that is better than average...

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Been there. Done that.

@macjules, when you say, "Horse .. water .. drink ..", I think what you meant to say is, "You can lead a horse's ass to knowledge but you cannot make him think."

That lithium-ion battery in your phone or car? It has just won three chemists the Nobel Prize

Chairman of the Bored

Three pints for three scientists...

...who have achieved more in their lives than most of us could dream. Literally billions of energy dense, non-toxic, containers to carry around energy for purposes vital through trivial.

FBI called in to investigate 2018 Mountain State mobile voting system hacking

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Welcome to the monkey house

A haiku for you then:

Why elect this man?

Sex, money, mountains of blow

Vicarious joy

Microsoft has made an Android phone. Repeat, Microsoft has made an Android phone. A dual-screen foldable mobe not due until late 2020

Chairman of the Bored

Attention correction?

I can see it now.... I'm talking to a key client. After a pregnant pause in the conversation after he asks for my firm's total commitment, I look straight towards him and say, "Absolutely." And immediately the AI decides to modify my expression with a double wink...

Spin doctors: UPS gets permission to expand drone delivery fleet in the US

Chairman of the Bored

Like skeet!

But with prizes!

I wonder if any attempt to patent this will run up against a prior art complaint from prison gangs using UAV deliveries of guns and blow

An unbearable itch to migrate your OS to the cloud? You might have a case of Windows VD

Chairman of the Bored

Tested 500,000 apps?

Or tested 500 apps a thousand times? I'm having a hard time buying that number from a OS vendor who frequently doesn't appear to even test their own patches thoroughly.

Saw an outrageous claim from my company about the effectiveness of a QA function and we found the following haiku on a board:

A number so large

Almost certainly bullshit

But soon we will know

Computer says no: An expression-analysing AI has been picking out job candidates for Unilever

Chairman of the Bored


...so if it's just me and a piece of software, I wonder if gaming the software is in scope:

"Okay, AI. I'd like you to know that the rPi running in my coat pocket's got metasploit tailored just for you. I know where your back office is. I know what your comms infrastructure is. If you ever want to see proper maintenance and upgrades again, let's make a deal..."

Margin mugs: A bank paid how much for a 2m Ethernet cable? WTF!

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Civil service

Understand completely, but I'd say the ID10T is much more likely to be in my senior leadership than the system integrator. The integrator for govt work will generally be a third party contractor working a cost plus fixed fee contract... And there is probably language that allows a fixed percentage surcharge of 'other direct cost' language. Driving up costs by buying the base SAP crap on the main document and the charging ODC for every module and nitinoid license entitlement is pure profit. Sowing the seeds of future work packages through an incomplete deployment radically increases profit - especially if the integrator has to buy more licenses or add more bodies to the team in the out years. The integrator typically gets the contract to run the piece of SAP on behalf of the govt.

Unethical as hell, but standard operating procedure for the integrator. No wonder we are trillions in the hole. Bastards.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Civil service

@Stoneshop, aye! "Value addled" ... A lovely turn of phrase that I shall hide in my viewgraphs going forward ... Have a pint

Chairman of the Bored

Civil service

Self inflicted wounds-

R&D lab I used to work at would have to buy electronics parts, and we got them from commercial distributors at competitive prices, and could take advantage of price splits on quantity. So far so good. A typical circuit board bill of materials would be about 150 line items at an avg cost of around $1 each.

But some genius reworked our entire organization with SAP ERP, and every single part gets individually entered into ERP, tracked independently, inventoried, and has to be issued from a warehouse - using electronic forms with multiple signatures. ERP labor per line item (or if you're really screwed, per part) is 15min. At an avg burdened rate of $100 per hour for everyone touching these, you burn $3750 just feeding the EEP database. Add in the back end warehouse ops and this doubles. And that's how your $1 part goes to $51. On a good day. For no value added.

Now that's integrity: Bloke sinks 7 beers, turns himself in. Cops weren't looking for him

Chairman of the Bored

Dated a gal...

...who's dad was a cop, and he had some awesome "stupid inebriated citizen" stories. My favorite is when a crackhead complained that someone had stolen some of his stash:

"How much?"

"Five hundred bucks!"

"Still got some?"

"Yeah! See?"



Runner up... Cop and his partner are parked in a marked car in skid row, doing paperwork. Bum knocks on the window

"Gimme a ride home!!"

"Why the fsck should we?"

"I pay your salary!"

"BS! You don't pay ship!"

"You know how much taxes I pay on booze???!"

"Sir, I apologise. Where do you want us to go?..."

BOFH: What's the Gnasher? Why, it's our heavy-duty macerator sewage pump

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Great, I'm now that consultant

I guess a guy has to put food on the table somehow, so I know people have to engineer products that die quickly and deliberately. But I cannot see myself doing it, and for the most part I've been able to work with firms and organizations that have some commitment to quality. Been lucky, I guess!

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Great, I'm now that consultant

Plan for obsolescence? Absolutely! We can upgrade to a Danaher Motion controller, maybe a GE Automation controller if the problem is big enough. For UK firms, I've heard great things about Motion Control Products, Ltd but haven't played with their toys yet.

Chairman of the Bored

Great, I'm now that consultant

Designing hardware is like having kids. It was fun at the time, but now you're supporting the end product until you die.

Somewhere in my vast collection of abandoned crap is an Intel PROM burner and a matching 386 machine. Every couple of years I have to resurrect it to modify and burn firmware for a 1980's vintage antenna pedestal or two - based on a Z80 - last upgraded in, oh, 1996. Customers think it's too risky to upgrade to something modern, and I think it's far too lucrative to push the point.

World's largest heap of untreated nuclear waste needs more bots to cart around irradiated crap

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Too much information but ...

Bus size reactors... The sub reactors are pretty small in the scheme of things, IIRC in the high tens of MW thermal power versus 2GWish for the larger civil reactors. In order to get the power density up, highly enriched U is used, which makes things interesting for the nonproliferation chaps if done on the civil side.