* Posts by Chairman of the Bored

933 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Apr 2017

Racing at the speed of light, Sage superhero bursts through the door...

Chairman of the Bored

And then there are...

...company shirts

I have a relative endowed with some fairly large breasts, at least a DD cup but I am neither interested in nor authorized for more information about specific geometry.

She works for a nursing school and the school had some tee shirts made for a picnic. When she tried hers on there were peals of laughter and some mild language. Emerging from her room we all saw displayed - far more prominently than she wanted - St Mary's SCHOOL OF NURSING. With the all caps part stretched across the relevant parts.

Not cool!

The eulogising of The Mother Of All Demos at 50 is Silicon Valley going goo-goo for gurus again

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Inappropriate calls across the office....

Nice specs on Wayne Kerr's LCR meter. Seems that he is tossing out some good stuff.

I served with a guy named Richard "Dick" Holden. Wonder how he is doing... afraid to Google it from work, though

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Telefunken invented the balled mouse?

Shaved! Now that's an idea. One thing that really pisses me off about getting yanked into the head shed is that I'm so old, so married, and seen so much weird ship in the service that it's physically impossible for me to care less what two consenting adults do with their I/O ports.

Just don't scan each others ports with company resources, because we do not budget resources for it. Keep your connectors clean and put them in your drawers when you are done. Simple.

On a related topic, we will know when AI is truly here when my "RF Connectors" and "Waveguide Caharacteristics" wall posters are considered pr0n and have to go away. I guess my DB-9 and -25 pinouts will be considered 'classic pr0n'

I miss my Rigid Tool calendar.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Inappropriate calls across the office....

You should introduce her to Mr. Wayne Kerr.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Telefunken invented the balled mouse?

Hands off my dongle!

Only recent one we had was a tech sending out a mass email complaining he cannot find any aerospace-grade nuts in his drawers.

This is why natural language processing is hard! Oh, I didn't mean it that way. It just slipped out...

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Telefunken invented the balled mouse?

The Chairman has to get sensitivity training?

Um, yeah... I did, just last year. Now I'm bitter and vaguely hostile.

Last year a woman got "triggered" by my snack. I was late and rushed into my office. I absentmindedly grabbed my fruit supply out of my messenger bag, chucked it on my desk, and started logging into all my desktops.

Didn't realize my banana was resting on top of a couple of mandarin oranges in a way that was "sexually suggestive" "repulsive" and "triggering".

Oh fsck me! If I'd had been going for that effect I would've used a long Chinese eggplant and a couple of coconuts.

I won my appeal. But after all the publicity, sometimes a subordinate brings me two mound-shaped cupcakes with a perky lookin cherry on top of each. Hmmmm....

Chairman of the Bored

Wait, you had 4" balls?

Daaaaamn! I will take back everything I ever said about Air Defense Artillery units...

Chairman of the Bored

Telefunken invented the balled mouse?

I just learned something! Thanks!

War story - a rotten, horrible, no-good day in the life of the Chairman:

Back in the days of unreliable Microsoft ball-based mice I was the sole mechanical tinkerer in the office. Naturally I ended up maintainer of all rodents, and had an impressive collection of dirty, fuzzy balls in my drawers.

Upon opening my *desk* drawer one morning I found someone had, ahem, pinched my balls.

Enraged I called out in an open-plan office: "Damn it! Who has seen my balls?!" Unbeknownst to me there was a small gathering on secretaries a few meters away who damned near wet themselves with laughter. I was dating one of them at the time... Worse still, for weeks every time I went for a whizz someone would put on a concerned face and ask me, "How's it hangin'?"

From then on I always kept a weather eye on my balls. Does that make me a visionary, too?

Postmates plans rollout of autonomous delivery robots in US

Chairman of the Bored

Defensive weapory...


Good point. It would just not be appropriate to have a cell or other electronic device on your person when you interact with one of these for personal gain. Might suggest a Guy Fawkes mask and hoodie. But a roving personal arms chest is rather tempting.

What I'm thinking of though is the possibility of using these for societal good. I wonder if police tactics against protesters might become better aligned with their claimed TTPs if they have these high viz robots watching them optically and electronically on behalf of the people and press? Something that faithfully monitors their behavior but is rather immune to intimidation and pepper spray?

Surveillance... it can be a two-way street.

Chairman of the Bored


So I've got a thing that wanders around a city with a 'puter, a large battery, good optics, and some sort of wireless backhaul. With enough cargo capacity for a nice software defined radio, antenna farm, and power amps. Ohhh, yeah.

Goodbye War Kitteh and DoS Dog! I think I found something a lot more useful.

If I'm really lucky nobody will get hacked off, repurpose one as an IED, and send it back.

Godmother of word processing Evelyn Berezin dies at 93

Chairman of the Bored

Another pint over here, please

In addition to a well-deserved pint for an innovator who saw a need and filled it...

...I'd like to raise a glass to the investors and managers who were willing to run with her concept for the years it took to become commercially viable.

These days the attention span seems to be the same as a fruit fly. On meth.

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?

Chairman of the Bored


Heard a rumor that with the first gen Logitech and Microsoft rodents - you know, back when rodents really had balls - used shaft encoders that connected to the PCB through a small four-wire IDC connector. Swap two wires and you invert the affected axis. Just need a small phillips to open the rodent and a paperclip to unlatch wires from the IDC. It's loads of fun watching software guys try to fix a HW problem in SW. Or so I'm told.

Taylor's gonna spy, spy, spy, spy, spy... fans can't shake cam off, shake cam off

Chairman of the Bored


@AC, stupid question- in UK law is a caution in your record permanently?

Of course once we get Chinese-style social credit scores it will probably be indelible. Oh, joy.

Here's 2018 in a nutshell for you... Russian super robot turns out to be man in robot suit

Chairman of the Bored

Cheap producers ...

Cannot be bothered to head over to

Christies, spend some coin, and buy a proper 18th century automaton:


Hole-y ship: ISS 'nauts take a wander to crack Soyuz driller whodunnit

Chairman of the Bored

Who wrote the headline for this article?

I was enjoying my coffee. Now I am wearing it. V good.

Missed a trick though: could have stated that the 'naughts had to beat their way through some thick muff before finding the hole. Only to discover that some bloke had already drilled it.

I'll get my own coat, it's got fresh coffee on it

Google CEO tells US Congress Chocolate Factory will unleash Dragonfly in China

Chairman of the Bored

Poor, poor Congress

Things have really gone downhill if they let Monopoly Man in with sacks of fake money.

Used to be, they would require the man have sacks of REAL money...

Doom: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Chairman of the Bored

Doom, f**k yeah!

I think if I were to look back on my grades in grad school there was a noticable dip when Doom came out.

I think the best way to do this was turn off the music background in the game and put on something totally ironic. Consume some ethanol and then play Moody Blues' "Tuesday Afternoon" while blowing things away. The overall effect is very strange. In a good way.

Register Lecture: Right to strike when your boss sells AI to the military?

Chairman of the Bored

This is meta

Obviously at 15 quid a ticket this conference is not profiting from war like Boeing, BAE, Thales, Microsoft, etc. But another day, another dollar, eh? Call it a second order effect. Not only do people profit from war, we profit from complaining about war. Ain't humanity great?

'Say hello to my little vacuum cleaner!' US drug squad puts spycams in cleaner's kit

Chairman of the Bored

Feeding time!

How to feed the LE troll:

Suppose you happen to know there is a surveillance device in a vac. Get some guys together and start talking about crank.

'Accidentally' bump the vac out of you line of sight and say "hey, guys, I never did push crank. The real money is in selling radioactive IoT connected butt plugs. See? I call this one the dirty bomb...."

Remember... any specific claim on your charging document that is demonstrably false makes it easier for your lawyer to argue the rest is BS

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention

Chairman of the Bored

Another way to skin the cat...

...oh, sorry, this is not about a hot dog. Horrible thing, that. They are at most only 25pct dog!

Bacon! The fifth food group. Oh, how I love it, but can no longer indulge as much. Good substitute: get yourself some decent local turkey ... slicr think and soak in a lime / pepper solution, then smoke along with some jalapeno peppers. Serve on a skewer with some fresh bell pepper slices and said jalapeno.

Pro tip: do not smoke Carolina Reapers in such a way that the smoke can enter your house. No particular reason for this tip, just sayin'

Adobe Flash zero-day exploit... leveraging ActiveX… embedded in Office Doc... BINGO!

Chairman of the Bored

I just remembered what this trifecta reminds me of...

...I had an engineering ethics text years ago that had a comic poking fun at some issues we had in the 1970's:

...A DC-10 airliner full of Firestone 500 tires loses an engine and crashes into the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. The resulting fire is put out using asbestos blankets...

ActiveX + Flash + MS Office ... same damned thing.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Flash, ActiveX, Office doc embedding/scripting - should already be DISABLED

All the girls in Peanuts seem a little over the line. It makes you wonder if Charles Schultz had some issues with a sister or something growing up...

Now you, too, can snoop on mobe users from 3G to 5G with a Raspberry Pi and €1,100 of gizmos

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Form an orderly queue


Quite right. The rPi is am amazing bit of kit but am uncertain the USB bandwidth is sufficient to handle the >2MSPS rates needed for this sort of work. I'm lucky to get 2MSPS sustained.

I believe the rPi 3 has 'gigabit ethernet' and perhaps an N200 would work, but iirc the GB port is on a USB bridge, so I dont know if it would work any better.

Tumblr resorts to AI in attempt to scrub itself clean from filth

Chairman of the Bored

So Tumblr is no longer...

...the up-and-coming social media platform?

I think these guys need a tall, stiff drink.

STIBP, collaborate and listen: Linus floats Linux kernel that 'fixes' Intel CPUs' Spectre slowdown

Chairman of the Bored


What's he got against fuck? Per this site it is one of the most useful words in the English language:



Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Other screw-ups

@Waseem, aye! Excellent point. Another trick to to have some zero length files in all directories you care about called '-i'

If someone is running a rampaging rm -rf, having defeated the safe alias because of {reasons}, this may force rm back into interactive mode.

Chairman of the Bored

My worst config error?

Been so many, but I think the worst one in terms of financial impact was dd'ing a hard drive image over a live, mission critical volume. An encrypted volume at that.

This was my firm so I couldn't very well fire myself. Backups worked (*), but we were out many man-hours of work.

But I was a late on a deliverable and had to tell the customer it was because I had personally screwed up.

Causative factors: impatience, overconfidence, lacking a questioning attitude. Performing a rather aggressive admin action on a production system. dd is a fairly blunt instrument, could have chosen a better tool.

Things that went well: Having a comprehensive, tested backup. Honesty with customer and staff paid off in the long run.

(*) Wish I had made a binary image of the boot sector and anti-forensic stripes of the encrypted volume key store though, might have been able to save some information

Chairman of the Bored

Ok, we need some beer over here!

Two pints:

One for the OP to have the courage to admit the mistake, and the second for his management to have the wisdom to chalk this up to a learning experience


Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Batteries

Ive said it many times, "The greatest threat to man is an independently wealthy woman with battery operated toys"

Unless you're the one with the batteries I guess.

Mine's the one with the hydraulic apparatus in the front pocket.

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Darned tech!

Was that BA Flight 9?

In an act of truly epic British understatement the pilot announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."

Too much distress? I'd be drinking myself into a coma!

Chairman of the Bored

Darned tech!

A bunch of us were fighting a Windows problem; lots of BSOD. Naturally in the course of fixing it we did an awful lot of rebooting.

Our Windows tech walks up and says, "Hey, you guys don't understand what's going on. Just rebooting the machine won't fix anything."

Me: "OK, smartass, YOU fix it."

Tech: "Sure!" He reboots it and it works.

Me: "WTF??? We just did the same @#$&*! thing half a dozen times!"

Tech: "Yeah, but I understand what's going on"

Take my advice and stop using Rubik's Cubes to prove your intelligence

Chairman of the Bored

XKCD 457? In my professional opinion...

...the device depicted in that XKCD appears to have a front clasp. Useful thing, that. Should be fairly straightforward to go base jump into the canyon and avoid having to solve the cube entirely. Just sayin'

Chairman of the Bored

Re: 1970's black-and-white

Black and white? No way, man - I saw all kinds of colors. And smoke. And the smoke talked to me, and the lines were lik... Damn! Time for another whizz quiz? Dude, not mine - I'm just holding it for my mate.

I'm fairly certain I had am amazing time in 78 and 79, but I'll be damned if I can remember it...

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

Chairman of the Bored

Re: If you're going to put up a sign...

Nahh, I never eat and drive. It interferes with my drinking.

Real litter problem around here are massive 18-wheeler garbage haulers shipping waste from the paradise of New York City into my fly-over county for dumping. The law says these loads must be covered and of course they are not, and they leave a vast swath of filth in their path. Those of us who care and try to keep our community clean cannot possibly keep up.

Coppers cannot be bothered to do a damn thing about it. Can see the patrol cars speeding along - doing 20 over - and ignoring a rolling fountain of crap in front of them.

But drive 5 over just after the speed limit drops from 55 to 25 ... you know, right after the hidden sign ... and you've got a court summons. F$cking pathetic wankers.

Chairman of the Bored

If you're going to put up a sign...

...do what this outstanding young lad did:

I had a commute that took me through the kind of community that has a very low speed limit in the middle and derives a large portion of its municipal revenue using radar guns. One beautiful morning there was a young teen with a hand-painted sign "DANGER! ROOKIE COP WITH RADAR 1/2 MILE".

Eventually he put out a tip jar. I paid handsomely, one must reward good enterprise and all that.

Doctors join wombats in sh!tting bricks to help parents relax about kids chowing down on Lego

Chairman of the Bored

Pity the poor pill cam

The Chairman was having some internal faults that endocscopy and colonoscopy could not isolate. So after another day of fasting and, er, flushing my buffers I found myself ingesting a small camera bot with a wireless backhaul. Its a tough pill to swallow. Literally.

Post scan ... it was a tough day for other reasons, and I was feeling a little low. Thoughts of "how can life get worse?" started going through me head.

Alas, upon arising from the Seat of Contemplation, I saw staring at me from the bowl my faithful little robot, its little LED light glowing fitfully. And I thought to myself, "No matter how bad my day has gone, that little robot REALLY had a s#!tty day. No worries."

Chairman of the Bored

So if I'm asked to participate...

...can I legitimately say "no, I don't give a s#!t and keep my job?"

Oh my chord! Sennheiser hits bum note with major HTTPS certificate cock-up

Chairman of the Bored

Gold plated tat ... and star employees

A two part story about some great employees...

Part 1:

An engineer working for me was in a Best Buy (for right pondians, think of an ironically named version of Currys). In this Best Buy he observed a salesman foisting gold-plated HDMI cables on an unsuspecting elderly lady, "Ma'am, you see, the gold plating prevents the audio from having hiss and crackle..." As this was a bridge too far, he engaged the salesman and saved her a load of cash. Actually, after his analog/digital explanation she was so pissed she abandoned her multi-thousand dollar TV order. Our hero got ejected from the store, told he would be arrested (for what?) if he ever re-entered, and called some things I'm not going to repeat here.

Part 2:

He never re-entered. But morale around the office suddenly became extremely high. It turns out that somebody bought some TV-B-Gones (https://www.tvbgone.com/) and clandestinely installed in the store so that the TVs on display would turn off. My people set up a seemingly random succession of "customers" who would rotate out the TV B Gones as they ran out of batteries. Hard to sell overpriced crap when it keeps shutting off, and your employees are running around with their hair ablaze.

I'm proud of these people but a little upset I wasn't invited to participate.

Chairman of the Bored

Life ain't fair

Now that I've worked long and hard enough to afford network connected, software infested, high-end audio tat...

...my hearing is shot from decades of exposure to cooling fans, screaming managers, pleading customers, and so forth. Maybe the whole 'go to war' thing might not have helped, either.

But, that's why I've got a 100W stack with an ominous subwoofer. To paraphrase Trump, "Crank her up! Crank her up!"

Mines the one with the hearing aids and Metallica tickets in the pocket...

Check your repos... Crypto-coin-stealing code sneaks into fairly popular NPM lib (2m downloads per week)

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Debian vetting & trust

Yes... And I'd also submit that audio under Linux has gone from 'usable' to 'confusing as hell' in the last eight years.

Big data at sea: How the Royal Navy charts the world's oceans

Chairman of the Bored

If you liked the article..

...you will love this podcast:


Seems like the officers and men of HMS Enterprise are a class act.

Great article, El Reg

Pasta-covered cat leads to kid night operator taking apart the mainframe

Chairman of the Bored

Back in high school...

...my friends and I behaved somewhat irresponsibly with a classic piece of kit.

We had some Tektronix 4051 vector displays. We were left unattended, bored, and near an open toolbox. Hilarious outcome. Reversed polarity on the horizontal deflection circuit and got to watch our teachers pull their hair out figuring what we had 'done to the software'

One surmised quickly what we had done and asked rhetorically whether he should congratulate us for coming up with the mod or punish us for being an annoying bunch of cheeky bastards. He went with "both"

Microsoft sysadmin hired for fake NetWare skills keeps job despite twitchy trigger finger

Chairman of the Bored

The inverse case

@interview, paraphrased:

Suit: "Well Mr Chairman, impressive resume. One show stopper is that we really need 10yrs experience designing in $tool"

Me: "Thank you, sir. But consider... $tool has only been out for five years. I should know as I participated in its beta.

Whatever punter tells you they have ten is..."

Suit, skating nicely: "Excellent. This is why we need a man of your..."

Me (internally): WTF should I work for these guys? Oh, wait, mortgage is coming due...

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

Chairman of the Bored

Re: My superiors?

@Dr Syntax,

I didn't discuss anything with SD because the assistant in question is purely a yes man. His only job qualifications are that he is swingin' and looks good in a suit. Every firm's got them.

I just filed it under "ignore"

Chairman of the Bored

Re: USB bricker?

@Duncan Macdonald, you're quite right and rather devious. Combine your reverse bias concept with a small old-school xenon strobe circuit and I will buy you a pint. And keep you the hell away from my 'puter, of course.

Another 3D printer? Oh, stop it, you're killing us. Perhaps literally: Fears over ultrafine dust

Chairman of the Bored

Toner dust?

When I was in college I ran a copy and print shop. A big industrial Xerox machine - which cost the better part of $75k when a $ was really worth something- used these massive containers of toner. I want to say 10kg at a go.

Screwup one: not paying attention I slipped and dropped a tub, dumping about a kilo of powder inside the machine.

Screwup two: not thinking very clearly I grabbed the nearest vacuum instead of the proper HEPA one and touched the nozzle to the powder. The resulting pillar of black filth out the exhaust looked like the ash cloud that did in Pompeii.

I probably should not be left unattended around 3D printers.

French president Macron insists new regulations needed to protect us all from Facebook's claws

Chairman of the Bored

France? Seriously?

So Macron unilaterally disarmed the metadata feeds, IMSI catchers, and other slurp feeding his National Commission for Control of Intelligence Techniques (CNCTR)?American-style knee-jerk legislation passed in 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo incident gave them sudo su power over the French public, and I recall the French public was not impressed.

So Macron is now for privacy? [Crickets] Didn't think so!