* Posts by PPK

34 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Nov 2017

What evil lurks within the data centre, and why is it DDoS-ing the ever-loving pants off us?


Re: That said

Recipe for disaster:

- Late 90's

- Bonded ISDN - mighty 128kbps connection!

- Lotus Notes

- Manager sets OOO email then sends out a message to let customers know

- Customer has OOO enabled....

A few thousand emails later I went down and pulled the ISDN cable out of the wall. Job done!

Three UK does it again: Random folk on network website are still seeing others' account data


Autologin to blame?

If your phone is connected via mobile data and not WiFi, and you use the Three app, it automatically logs you into your account based on some aspect of the SIM information. Clicking through to (for instance) itemised bills bounces you to a web browser, but again automatically logs in to the My3 part of the website - no username or password required.

Likelihood of that first step there (auto identification) being borked at times?

Hands off our phones, says Google: Radar-gesture-sensing Pixel 4 just $999 with a 3-year lifespan – great value!

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Came here for this - leaving satisfied...

Could you just pop into the network room and check- hello? The Away Team. They're... gone


Re: Watch this!

Worked at British Telecom back in '87, doing exchange maintenance. The exchanges had massive interleaved busbars for the 50V DC supply running above the racks, + were copper with insulation, - were aluminium uninsulated (IIRC).

Smaller strips down the height of the rack, with threaded holes every inch or so. To hook up a new unit to supply, poke a hole through the insulation on the +ive, then just screw on terminals. One day my mate Ron was doing just that, using a cable lacing tool that looked like the eye of a really big darning needle mounted on a wooden handle. I saw a bright flash and heard a 'crack!', looked over to see Ron, hand shaking, holding a truncated cable lacer... he'd pushed through a bit too hard, chipped some metal from the rack frame and shorted it. Neat puddle of metal on the floor.

My line manager also had a neat circular scar around his ring finger where his wedding ring used to be...

Exclusive: Windows for Workgroups terror the Tartan Bandit confesses all to The Register


Re: I changed the start up & shut down sounds.

1990 - my student year at a video broadcast equipment R&D group. Most of the machines were Sun workstations.

One day, my boss (Dave) foolishly left his office without logging off. On his return an hour later, it took all of 10 seconds before he called my name and said 'what the bloody hell have you done this time?'

Every command entered into the command line (vi, ls etc.) would result in Douglas Rain's dulcet tones - 'I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that'.

Lovely what command aliasing can do!

A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi


Spleen - yum!

The Japanese have the right idea of using everything but the beak when it comes to chicken. A yakitori bar I went to had the following skewers available:

"Roasted Giblets:

Tan (pork Tongue)

Hatsu (Heart)

Reba (Liver)

Shikin (Gullet)

Nankotsu (Throat)

Chire (Spleen)

Teppo (Archo)

Shiro (Large Bowel)

Gatsu (Stomach)

Komekami (Head Meat)

Harami (Diaphragm)

Kobukuro (Uterus)


Breast Meat "

I tried a few, all good, but balked at the chicken sashimi. Finally tried that on my last trip, very good indeed! (they pasteurise it so no worries about bacteria)

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

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Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

Might I recommend to you "East of Ealing", by the wonderful Robert Rankin:


In which Satanic forces plot to take over the world, cash is replaced by having a barcode on the hand or forehead (which oddly enough is 6...6...6...), and people are disappeared to be replaced by android doppelgangers. Wonderfully bonkers, but is it also oddly prescient?

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90


So long and thanks for all the laughs...

R.I.P. Douglas, your performance as HAL will live on a long time.

I'm still chuffed that you helped me with one of my favourite pranks:

1990 - my student year at a video broadcast equipment R&D group. Most of the machines were Sun workstations.

One day, my boss (Dave) foolishly left his office without logging off. On his return an hour later, it took all of 10 seconds before he called my name and said 'what the bloody hell have you done this time?'

Every command entered into the command line (vi, ls etc.) would result in Douglas Rain's dulcet tones - 'I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that'.

Lovely what command aliasing can do!

Robot Operating System gets the Microsoft treatment


Re: Yeah, but does it come with an APP ?

"more aware of their surroundings, simpler to program and safer to be around"

Your plastic pal who's fun to be with!

Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Runtime installers were built to fail


Re: "I_ wrote an installer >20 years"

Bullshitastic Bobo doesn't know what he's talking about? Say it ain't so!!!!

The future of humanity: A Bluetooth ball hitting your face – forever

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Re: Crikey! This is still a thing?

Three phones? Amateur:


ZX Spectrum reboot scandal biz gets £35k legal costs delayed


Re: Horace goes to Epping forest

To battle!:


Wasted worker wasps wanna know – oi! – who are you looking at?


Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out


Re: English?

In Japan, once you answer their question 'Are you American?' with 'No, English', the welcome gets noticeably warmer. Have met a number of Anglophiles there, one gent (all in tweed) was a 'hair designer' by trade, and a massive Beatles fan apparently.

Given the behaviour I witnessed of an off-duty Marine in a bar in Nagoya, I can't say I'm surprised at this reaction - I don't think you could have gotten closer to the stereotype of loud, arrogant, boastful, slightly drunk colonial cousin tourist if you tried.

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Re: Cash, always

Agreed. Took out a Barclaycard Platinum last year for specifically this reason - 3 years of no foreign cash withdrawal fees, no foreign cash ATM fees, and best Visa rate on the day.

Japanese fashion puts the oo-er into trousers


Speverend Rooner

See also the legendary Cupid Stunt from the Kenny Everett Video Show:

"Her original name, Mary Hinge, was vetoed by the Corporation as too obvious and announcers were encouraged to refer to her as Cupid to prevent mispronunciation."

Four hydrogen + eight caesium clocks = one almost-proven Einstein theory


Re: you must accept the scientific fact that placebo ... works.

"If a homoeopathist came clean and said "look, it's just water, but it seems to be able to create a verifiable improvement in some patients,so lets go with it," I'd have total respect for them."

… but then it wouldn't 'work' as the illusion would have been shattered...



SpaceX flings SES-12 satellite into orbit, but would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack


Re: comprehensively blew it up

They dun blowed it up real gud!


(obvious icon is obvious)

Select few to watch World Cup in 4K high dynamic range colour on BBC iPlayer

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Re: 4K?

I sampled the delights of the NHK theatre at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show last month. UHD2, 22.2 surround sound, with material that featured nature scenes, ballet, and quite stunning views of Tokyo by day and night. Screen was around 350 inch diagonal, so best of luck with a 50 inch home setup.

Impressive indeed: but even the UHD1 (NOT 4k, UHD is 3840x2160, 4k is typically 4096x2160) HDR being discussed here needs:

- to be delivered via a properly signalled compressed format

- to a decoder that understands that signalling

- connected to a screen that displays correctly - and is adjusted properly for colour gamut etc

It saddens me (as someone who has worked in broadcast for ~26 years) to say that the happy conjunction of all of the above is somewhat unlikely in the average home setup...

Is your smart device a bit thick? It's about to get a lot worse


Re: Why do you need to turn your smart watch around to wear it on the other wrist?

I wear my Microsoft Band 2 on my right hand, display on the inner part of my wrist - it's a horizontal display and way easier to read when rotating my hand palm up. As a power saver it detects when you rotate your wrist to turn on the time display - the settings menu allows you to select which hand, and which way you are wearing it (inside or outside the wrist).

Yet another thing Microsoft got right about the Band 2 - shame about the durability of the band itself...

You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened


Re: And that....



Oh, and:


Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why


You can tell it's the weekend...

… when you're greeted by a cracker like "SOMETHING WHICKER THIS WAY COMES". Top notch, have one of these --->

As for self driving cars, the hype is reaching Everest-sized bullshit mountain proportions. I remain unconvinced about any claims of true Level 4 (let alone Level 5) autonomy on real public roads within the next 5 years. So many edge cases and unexpected events that could cause carnage.

Corking story: Idiotic smart wine bottle idea falls over, passes out



It's like when I first read the phrase "leftover wine".

I still can't quite understand what it means...

Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

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He'll always be out there...

Developer mistakenly deleted data - so thoroughly nobody could pin it on him!



A loooong time ago (probably around '93) my old MD was just setting up the small company that I later joined. One of his more technical colleagues came to his house with his PC, in order to upgrade my boss's machine to the (then) latest Win 3.1 build.

As I recall he was using a transfer utility via serial cable to mirror his newer system onto the MD's one. Unfortunately an incorrect directional button was clicked, and several hours later he discovered he had just downgraded his own working system...

Another day, another meeting, another £191bn down the pan


Re: 17 Johns

' "John," I began, causing 17 heads to pop up from behind massive CRT displays.'

What about the Bob's?


IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit



Long term archive is a big thing in the broadcast video/audio arena. A good role for the 'mature' engineer can be keeping alive old broadcast kit - 1" tybe B/C reel to reel machines, Umatics, analogue Beta, so that years of material can be digitised.

The funniest thing is that 'tape is dead' has been the mantra for quite a few years, so everything has been archived to files - the US Library of Congress standardised on lightly compressed (J2K) video with uncompressed audio, with harddisks as the storage medium. But most projects I've worked on have archived the files to... tape.

So every <x> years or so, as the LTO5/6/99 drives start to wear out, and the MXF file format becomes the preserve of the keepers of ancient lore, it'll be time to flip it all forwards again - like Majikthise and Vroomfondel, on the gravy train for life! Until someone loses the sugarcube sized multi Exabyte diamond storage down the back of their cyber sofa...


Fax of life

Bravo Alex, I'm out of triple mocha caramel machiattofrappeballs, have one of these instead --->

Oh, and "Fax machine repair engineer" - they've all moved to Japan, fax is still deemed a sensible way of moving documents with signatures there. As per the On Call today, flip phones are still a big thing, and they even still sell those little plastic electronic dictionaries in Yodabashi Camera.

Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

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Re: Am I the only Windows Phone User Left?

Nope - 950XL here, still going strong. Annoyed at Groove being dumped, Spotify is OK for now. The handful of apps I use are all working fine, HTML5 mobile sites work for everything else - including my bank. So many apps were just a simple wrapper around a website (Expedia anyone?) that I don't know why they bothered.

Let's wait and see if a Surface Phone ever happens (unlikely but you never know). Wouldn't mind a replacement for my Band 2 as well, a very capable device.

On the other hand, if I did have to go Android (can't stand Apple kit) this one is giving me Psion 5 flashbacks:


5 reasons why America's Ctrl-Z on net neutrality rules is a GOOD thing


Re: @dan1980

Oh dear, Bob's off his meds again...

User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'


Re: Haunted messages

1990 - my student year at a video broadcast equipment R&D group. Most of the machines were Sun workstations.

One day, my boss (Dave) foolishly left his office without logging off. On his return an hour later, it took all of 10 seconds before he called my name and said 'what the bloody hell have you done this time?'

Every command entered into the command line (vi, ls etc.) would result in Douglas Rain's dulcet tones - 'I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that'.

Lovely what command aliasing can do!

Boss made dirt list of minions' mistakes, kept his own rampage off it


Re: We turned it on its head

Second time? (raises hand sheepishly) I did...

Annual trade show in Las Vegas, mid 90s. Shipped my dev PC to use on the booth - wouldn't power up - oh yes, 110V (flips switch). Shipped it home, got it back to the lab, pop...

Next year - rinse and repeat. The second time I was familiar with the fix - luckily it didn't go full magic smoke, but just fried a fuse mounted to the PSU PCB. Still, lesson finally learned, no Farmer Giles smock for me! (in my defence, shipment arrived back 2 weeks after the show by which time I'd forgotten about it. Yes, I could have changed it before shipping it home, but the amount of alcohol imbibed during said show made it difficult to remember...see icon).

KFC turns Japanese bath tubs into party buckets


Re: When you order in Japan...

Ah, lazy stereotyping, and something of the Bernard Manning school of comedy about it...

But: I've just returned from my fourth trip to Japan, and encountered several instances of the distinctive mispronunciation that gave rise to the jokes of Chinese or Japanese describing something nice as 'rubbery'.

On researching this, the syllabary that the language is based on just doesn't have 'L' or 'V' sounds, instead the closest for them is 'R' or 'B'. A barman in a great craft beer bar talking about a midday meal said 'runch' before correcting himself, clearly frustrated at this (to him) difficult to tackle part of the English language. Ah well, I've only got to learn 46 Hiragana, 46 Katakana (plus diacritics), then heaven knows how many Kanji... easy!

Best instance I saw was signage on a building advertising an internet café called "Rounge"...