* Posts by evadnos nibor

15 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Sep 2017

Share your 2024 tech forecasts (wrong answers only) to win a terrible sweater

evadnos nibor

A new management theory catches on

"You know, putting everything in the cloud just puts you at the mercy of someone else. That's a bit shit"

Duelling techies debugged printer by testing the strength of electric shocks

evadnos nibor

Very first batch of a new board, we're all gathered round as board 000001A gets powered up, six pairs of hopeful eyes on the LED that the firmware preloaded into the flash chip was supposed to blink. Plug in the 12v supply and the sacrificial diode pops and smokes: on the schemo the wrong way round and the fabricators had faithfully reproduced that for us. Through the whisps of diode smoke comes the voice of our esteemed Engineering Director, who was not at all a cock-bag: "Software problem: when will you have a fix?"

Citizen Coder? Happiness Concierge? Here come 2023's business cards

evadnos nibor


Something relatively recent (to me, anyway) is the journey down the org chart of the partial title "Director". It used to be just top brass - the people who'd get banged up if the company killed someone - but now we see "Director" in the titles of people a couple of ranks down. Where I work we have a "Director" of our department, who does what my dad would have called "admin". He's alright, nice enough bloke in a horrible job; when he tells you he Used To Be A Techie you can see he dies a little inside each time. But that greasy pole won't climb itself* - onward and upward to the Senior Head Chief Lead First Gold Director of Supervisory Management Direction Oversight.

Self-climbing greasy poles? There's a pitch for VC funding for you!

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech

evadnos nibor

My neighbour's got one

On a warm evening, with the little cylinder of woe on his patio table, he likes to deliver what we think of as an "Alexa punishment beating".

"Alexa! Play Dire Straits..."

That's us off to the pub

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

evadnos nibor

Re: No TV

My daughter complained about "something stupid popping up" on ceebeebies. I thought she'd turned on some tv menu by sitting on the remote,but no: "Important news bulletin on BBC 1" plastered over Sarah And Duck.

It's getting a bit shrill, all this royal overkill.

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

evadnos nibor

Re: late nineties

we didn't have a formal on-call arrangement and "work-related" doesn't mean a lot at two in the morning on a Saturday. I only didn't tell him to fuck off because I liked him and didn't want to drop him in the poo.

Nowadays he would defo *not* have had the number and there aren't enough strong men in the county to get me back on to on-call status ... I've done my stint, some other bugger's turn

All that aside, there's a worrying tendency in modern Bossery to say things like "work-life balance? work *is* life" (that's a quote, and it made my mind up about leaving that job) and to want to impinge too far into your personal life. They pay for your skills and a set amount of your time, anything after that is a separate negotiation, which can usefully begin with what's being offered for the extra work rather than a presumption that you'll do it for nothing

evadnos nibor

late nineties

Working for a small oil+gas services company, softwarev dev, systems admin, All Things Tech. The Boss is over in Saudi hawking our latest changes to $ENORMO_OIL_CO and encounters a licence problem on AIX. I'm at my partner's in St Albans, we're both sleeping off a heavy night in the pub. 02:00 the phone downstairs rings ... and rings ... and rings ... and rings. She goes and answers it, comes upstairs and tips a glass of water over me. "It's your fucking boss" as she falls face first (mostly) on the bed and zonks out. I fall down the stairs - still absolutely bladdered - and gibber down the phone. He won't leave me alone, and somehow manages to persuade me to try and sober up for half an hour and he'll phone me back. Buzzing on mainlined nescafe and satched and cold from the shower and now just pissed rather than palatic, I pick up the phone before it wakes her up. I mumble him through using vi and, yep, the licence file *has* been edited on Windows and has carriage returns in it and here's how to get rid. All working, sale made, Happy Boss.

When he's back in the office I tackle him about it. Fortunately she was too drunk to remember much about it and the relationship survived, but how did the bastard get her number? He smiled "The office manager lives round the corner from the office, so I phoned her and got her to look through the phone bills and find a St Albans number, and it was dialled from your extension so there we are".

Fair dos, he gave me a day off and promised never to do it again.

It's always DNS, especially when a sysadmin makes a hash of their semicolons

evadnos nibor

Re: Guide to religion

ed => em => ex => vi ?


evadnos nibor

Silent minus-to-emdash translation by $EMAILAPP recently got us when emailling code snippets.

The option to mail in plain text is buried deep in the menu system (and seems to change location over the [many, frequent, likely pointless] updates) and it has to be off by default because it messes up the corporate email chains.

NCSC's London HQ was chosen because GCHQ spies panicked at the prospect of grubby Shoreditch offices

evadnos nibor

It's near the Star

Which was (1990s) and maybe still is a decent FS&T pub - can anyone provide more recent info?

Got to take care of your mental health - a couple of lunchtime ESBs should sustain a spook through reading all the mundane stuff we put in our emails.

Windows 10 installation shows shopping centre its sad face – the natural response to finding out you're in Peterborough

evadnos nibor

In one case it's because that's what the developer knows. A firm I worked for developed a Linux based slab like the one in the picture, based on Xine for >large advertising company< and to be similarly deployed. We did it on Linux because that's what we knew - sure, we trotted out familiar arguments about it being superior when talking to investors, but the truth is we couldn't have done it on another platform.

Just as it was being delivered, the company split and this project went to the non-Linuxy splitting-off (PFJ) part of the business and I was tasked with handing all the engineering over to their top techie, who was a .NET developer. We didn't really like each other, but while he was a patent arsehole, he was a *competent* arsehole and accepted that he'd have to look after it. He'd never used make, never written any X software, never used Linux, but took it on, fair play to him. We gave him a monkey-see-monkey-do manual for building the entire thing from parts to product and it's still running, more than ten years later (I saw one in Leeds this year).

His work in the JPF part of the business was developing a similar .NET-based player and I always wondered how I'd have fared if our positions had been reversed and I'd inherited that. Shivers down my spine.

After Cummings' Barnard Castle trip, cheeky Britons started using the word 'vision' in their passwords

evadnos nibor

Martin is a twat

An over-officious BOFH at a place I worked introduced Lotus Notes-level of password changiness on a dev server without notice, to universal dismay. He'd brook no argument, his boss backed him up and was big enough to not be too fussed about physical threats. He and I sat back-to-back with a whiteboard between us, on which I wrote my password in foot-high letters every time I had to change it, always some variant of "Martin is a twat".

The bugger of it is, though, he *wasn't* that much of a twat, he was actually a good guy who wanted things to work, even though he was quite wrong in this case.

If you're reading this, Martin ... pint sometime? Twat.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

evadnos nibor

It's raining *****, hallelujah

At a print-and-mail house I had the job of implementing the workflow for the production of a national building supplier's commercial paperwork. They'd been bitten pretty badly by being tied into SAP, so when they sacked them and took everything in-house for processing, they were very keen on being able to lift and shift print and fulfillment. The bloke running it was very switched on and produced clear and complete specs that were a pleasure to work to, plus he was a very cheerful Brummie who liked cricket and beer ... we got on nicely, which was just as well.

The one thing he couldn't get properly organised was testing, so we had to jump on the opportunities to test that came along at pretty short notice. Everything went well and we were approaching the end, with the monthly reports being the last thing to test - a few Excel spreadsheets FTP'ed over and loaded into their DB with a cron job. Part of the spec for these reports was that the name of the print supplier should be changeable and fit within a range of so many to so many characters. He rang up with the opportunity to test this just after I came out of a particularly unpleasant meeting with a power generation company and our Director-Buffoon, with many decisions going the wrong way as far as I was concerned. He was particularly keen to test the limits of the field lengths and our company name was three characters, so we'd already tested that - could I just make up a name fitting the required number of characters, simulate a print run and generate the reports?

It was half past six, it's raining, the bus goes soon, the pub was calling loudly, the boss had been a complete fool and now this - you can see where this is leading. The limit to test was fifteen characters so I rattled it in, set the job running, I'll look at it in the morning. If I hurried, I'd catch the bus. I hurried and caught it. Pub.

Next morning, my hungover backside hadn't quite settled on my seat when the phone rings and my marra from the building suppliers is sounding a little concerned on the phone. He's got some concerns with this latest test, could I have a look? An email pops up and I open the spreadsheet with him still on the phone. Got it open? I think we have a problem. My eyes eventualy focus and there, in lovely SHOUTY CAPS is the name that I'd rattled into the report and FTP'ed over to their *production* servers.

Print provider: SHOWER OF TWATS

The bastard let me look at that for what felt like ages before he pissed himself laughing and told me he'd been in early, cleared the record from their production server and, since the last test was giong to be sending the reports through to production ... we were finsihed.

A truly top bloke. Back then you could afford to go to the cricket, and we arranged to meet him at the next ODI at Edgebaston and bought him a couple of pints (which you could afford at the cricket, back then)

Stack Overflow + Salary Calculator = your worth

evadnos nibor

Re: No server side development, no Unix

No embedded.


Atlassian kills God, rebrands as a mountain, a structurally unsound 'A' or a high five

evadnos nibor

Flicking the Vs, maybe?

Aren't they an Oz company? That'd mean, from my British-centric point of view, that their V-signs are upside down ...