* Posts by Caver_Dave

259 posts • joined 11 Jul 2018


Intel may spend up to €80bn on chip plants in Europe over next ten years

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: "The auto industry has been hit particularly hard"

You forgot the drought in Taiwan.

A practical demonstration of the difference between 'resilient' and 'redundant'

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Power switch

Caught the bosses son (about 20 at the time) pressing the power switch on the server circa 1990 (so very old story and it took a long while for things to shut down.) I had the strongest sticky tape in the building holding his finger to the switch within 30 seconds. It took about 10 minutes to shut everything down and then I let the boss release his son. It didn't happen again!

Hacking the computer with wirewraps and soldering irons: Just fix the issues as they come up, right?

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Computer O Level

Similar experience here, although I was effectively teaching the O-level class as well as helping the A-level teacher. 'Only' got a B at O-level and C at A-level!

Try placing a pot plant directly above your CRT monitor – it really ties the desk together

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Most common fault was Magnets

Me too. End of line TV, so £230!

Caver_Dave Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Your headline reminds me...

I moved into a house that had both pot and poppy in the garden among the flowers.

Burnt them very soon after moving in.

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Uses two planes...

Go fly an English Electric Lightning! In UK service 1959-1988.

I believe there is still one taking passengers to see the curvature of the Earth from an airport in South Africa, although it only flies to 70,000 feet.

The highest unclassified altitude I've seen for a Lightning was 88,000 feet in 1984, 30% higher than the U2 it was 'intercepting'. (That is Ballistic height rather than sustained which is logged at only 87,000 feet at Mach 2.0!)

British aircraft history: Tiger Moth, Hurricane, Spitfire, Vulcan, Lightning, Harrier, Concorde

Ah, I see you found my PowerShell script called 'SiteReview' – that does not mean what you think it means

Caver_Dave Silver badge
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Perfect job?

Last century I worked for a company making a desk top box Internet access device for connection to your TV and a keyboard.

Fine to start with, but then the boss decided that they needed a filter to reject sites with lots of flesh on display.

We studiously worked out what to do, but we needed someone to test this.

Cue the guy just out of Uni! He was knackered after the first week and one arm was visibly trembling, but he soon got into the swing of things. He left after a month to hook up with someone he met on one of the sites he used for testing!

The icon is to represent the clenched hand that I'm not quite sure he could manage after a while.

BOFH: Here in my car I feel safest of all. I can listen to you ... It keeps me stable for days

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Not reading the text

I got caught trying that sort of thing with my non-English boss. He did says that if I had not used such unusual words he might have just skimmed past the text and missed the intent. (I can't now remember exactly what I wrote but "disinclined to acquiesce" was part of it.) However, the verbiage intrigued him, so he did actually look up the words I had used. I used plain Olde English in my response - "bugger!"

Brit firm fined £200k for banging on about missold PPI in 11.4 million nuisance calls

Caver_Dave Silver badge

CLI and public bodies

I have for years complained to my Dr's Surgery, Hospital, Police Service, Council, etc. for them to provide a CLI number on their outgoing calls (preferably a number specific to the function that is calling, but the main reception number will do) rather than withholding the number.

Most don't respond, but I do get the occasional "we have no plans for that at the moment."

It really is very little effort for them, but would help the poor householders immeasurably.

BOFH: When the Sun rises in the West and sets in the East, only then will the UPS cease to supply uninterrupted voltage

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Reminds me...

Of a carefully curated room of old equipment required to rebuild old software and hardware for certifiable systems - think aerospace, nuclear, various transport, medical, etc. with up to 30 year support contracts. And the nitrogen store for the really delicate stuff and old components.

New owners of company replaced it all with new management offices over a long weekend. They had been careful to get in the shredders who could take a whole PC at a time!

BOFH: Postman BOFH's Special Delivery Service

Caver_Dave Silver badge

My house and contents insurance reduced from £478.78 pa to £429.54 when I told them that I was working from home permanently.

Yet another silver lining.

Hubble Space Telescope to switch to backup memory module after instrument computer halts

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Support contract

I used to work for a company that makes boards often used in the commercial satellite and rocketry world, high-altitude aircraft, etc.

On our email footer it did say "No off planet support visits will be undertaken."

Japan assembles superteam of aircraft component manufacturers to build supersonic passenger plane

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Well, then the rest of us will just have to work harder on our bit?

Sustainable Carbon-fOotprint-Offset-Policy

SCOOP - to pick up the steaming pile that it will undoubtedly entail ...

BMA and Royal College of GPs refuse to endorse NHS Digital's data grab from surgeries in England

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Practice manager

I filled out both the online and the paper forms. With the paper form I added an extra page explaining why I was opting out. I got a nice response from the practice manager thanking me for explaining about all these things she knew nothing about!

Surviving eclipse season and resurrecting 25-year-old software with Windows for Workgroups 3.11: One year with Mars Express

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Turtles all the way down

I had, in a previous job:

Windows 10 running

Windows XP VM running

Windows 3.1 VM

I tested the backups and main image every year to verify the checksums of the tools and the product software produced by the tools. The media for storing the images has been updated a few times as well.

'Flight' software under a 20 year Long-Term-Agreement.

Man found dead inside model dinosaur after climbing in to retrieve phone

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: I was wondering how they found him.

Up vote for remembering Neil Moss. I've walked past his final resting place a few times and always doffed my helmet.

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: To die for a phone

"Ask any cave explorer."

The air could be fairly toxic in there as well.

Cavers always leave a call-out time with a responsible person, and Cave Rescue Controllers (being reasonable people) will go and check for the persons car etc. first, before launching a full scale call-out in case of telephone issues. (I used to be a Cave Rescue Volunteer.)

The only time I was the subject of a call-out, we were making slow progress on a notorious through-trip (between two cave entrances) as one of the team was having problems with a knee "popping-out". Our local call-out watched the Cave Rescue blue light vehicles go past the Pub window before he thought to look at the time! Luckily, my wife was the responsible person, and she had called from over 150 miles away!

Boffin icon, because the stereotypical UK caver has at least a degree education (University Clubs being the greatest recruiters.)

I used to explore with a guy of very small physique and if he was setting off somewhere too small for me to get down, we used to tie a rope around one of his ankles, so that I could help pull him back. And on another occasion, another small person started making very strange noises as they edged down a tube (feet first) in front of me. It took a while to work out that he was hanging from his helmet's chin-strap (the helmet being the widest part of him) with his feet in mid-air over a 100 foot drop.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Sometimes though....

Acoustic couplers!

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Back door in to the comms systems

Epson HX-20

Broadband plumber Openreach yanks legacy copper phone lines in Suffolk town of Mildenhall en route to getting the UK on VoIP

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: "Living Without Electricity" - Royal Academy of Engineering, 2016

I can assure you that even down at Parish level we do have disaster recovery plans that are checked every year.

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Perhaps

My mobile only works at home because I use wireless calling!

However, I have my router, server, network switch and DECT base-station on a UPS so I have some up-time.

I happen to know that my Gigaclear, village level optical router (for want of a better term) green-box is 2/3rds full of backup battery.

I am confident that I can survive broadband and telephony wise for a few hours without mains power. (Last year my teenage daughter was working from home on a laptop and only knew of the (20 minutes) mains outage when half of her classmates suddenly disappeared from the Teams call.)

Some stayed in Croatian castles. Some hid in cars. We speak to techies who experienced lockdown in very different ways

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Thanks El Reg

Thank you for such an interesting piece.

As someone who works with a global team, mostly who work from home permanently, it is interesting to hear how other people are coping, and by the sounds of it, doing quite well despite the hurdles of working in a pandemic.

File this next to Mars bars under 'things that should not be deep-fried': Marks & Spencer's Colin the Caterpillar

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Pineapple fritter is a personal favourite, but I limit to about 1 every 6 weeks.

But whoever thought that was a good idea to start with?

I agree with the deep fried Creme Egg and the molten core. Don't try microwaving one!

Icon for the Creme Egg core

Caver_Dave Silver badge


I've never seen the strange creations in Scotland, but its Northamptonshire offshoot, Corby, that has Chippies which are very happy to fry anything. Deep fried and battered Pizza anyone?

Corby has other claims to fame:

* The huge Stewarts and Lloyds Steel Works imported most of the original workforce from Scotland

* Biggest Highland Games, outside of Scotland

* Highest number of black cabs, outside of London

* Strangest frying habits, probably

* Persistently reappearing at the top of the "deaths by Covid" charts in the UK

* Highest death rate from preventable disease in the UK

I could go on, but it's probably a little unfair as I know quite a few nice people from there.

Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Boston signposts

My 2nd ever experience of driving in the US was after getting off a plane in Boston, late at night, in a thunderstorm and having to drive up the interstate, on my own, to a hotel in the middle of no-where. And coincidentally, that was where I found a useful sign in Boston - no-where!

I just took a bearing (based on the orientation of the airport buildings and my ability to tell north) and went. Luckily, I had some written instructions for finding the hotel, once I had got off the Interstate at the correct junction. (I got off wrongly once in the sticks and had to do miles to get back on again,) (Pre satnav on mobiles days!)

I had no idea when I rocked up to work in the UK that morning (after an exhausting weekend underground) that I would be leaving for a plane in under 2 hours, and getting to bed at 04:00 UK time in another country that night. I was definitely office based; that was one of only two trips for work in 18 years at that place. Luckily my ESTA was just in date from the first time I had been to the US, for a family holiday.

How not to apply for a new job: Apply for it on a job site

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: LinkedOut.

I only use it for professional stuff.

And I'm only on there because of an incident many years ago.

A friend, in the business, wrote a job add specifically with me in mind. I applied, but heard nothing back, despite my CV being harvested for the job spec. My mate was on holiday, so I called the (small) company owner to find out what was going on. He said that as he could find no trace of me on any social media, then he couldn't find anything about me and had binned the CV. I did point out to him that a CV was the was to find out about a prospective employee!

My mate was disgusted and left a few weeks after, and has been very happy in the new job ever since.

At another company I saw one department head in operation going through a pile of CV's that had been gathered by HR. He took the pile and put the top 4 in the bin and the 5th on another pile and continued through the first file. He then did the same on the second file, etc. until he had only 5 or so left. He would then actually read those. He said he preferred to have lucky engineers than good ones!

I know that my CV had gone to the company a number of times over the previous 10 years, so at least this proved it wasn't personal. That boss was a real dick!

Jackie 'You have no authority here' Weaver calls on the UK to extend Coronavirus Act provisions for online meetings

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: By all means 'extend' it for a short time

Live streaming was performed by some larger Parish and Town Councils before the pandemic.

In my Parish we have never offered it as we've only had "standing room only" on 3 occasions in the last 10 years.

I have recorded the Zoom meetings though, and it's a very good resource when checking the clerks minutes, and anyone can by law record the meetings, physical or virtual.

Caver_Dave Silver badge

And have to undergo a continuous development program (you know, like the vast majority of respondents on here don't, judging from many years of reading the posts on professionalism in IT and software.)

Our clerk works part-time for us and part-time for another parish, and so we can at least share the training costs.

Caver_Dave Silver badge

In my Parish the meeting details are on the printed agenda that is placed into the Parish Council notice boards (we are two villages) at least 4 days before the meeting. Usually on the Friday so that everyone has a chance to look over the weekend, before the Wednesday meeting.

We often have non councillors attend, usually to complain, but that is beside the point. They get their 3 minutes of "Public time" at the start of the meeting, and I will usually ask the meeting's permission to move the relevant agenda item to the front of the queue. It gets discussed in their presence and as by standard procedures (in any meetings) they only get to speak again to answer a direct question from a councillor routed through me as the chairman. Then they all bugger off, and we never have anyone viewing the boring, every month work of the Parish Council.

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Parish Council Chairman

I am also in one of the 8999 Parish Councils that is not Handforth

Caver_Dave Silver badge

There is a requirement to live or work within 3 miles of the parish, in amongst all the other rules.

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Parish Council Chairman

As a Parish Council Chairman, I whole-heartedly support the action to retain the option for remote meetings in the short term. Some of my Councillors have been shielding and do no want to suddenly jump into a real meeting. I must say that I'm not too happy about the prospect either.

After years of dragging its feet, FCC finally starts tackling America's robocall scourge

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Not so easy in the UK

I would have blocking based on CLI, however, Doctors, Hospitals, Police, etc. (i.e. all the people you need to respond to, especially if you have elderly relations) insist on blocking CLI on outgoing calls. Numerous requests to replace a blocked CLI with the main reception number have been met with deaf ears!

An ex-colleague was actually called by the Police (regarding an ongoing matter, so not out of the blue), but as it was a blocked CLI he didn't answer it., he received a number of similar calls over that afternoon The next day two uniformed officers turned up at his door, asked his wear-abouts at the particular time, asked if he had heard the calls, he answered yes he had heard them, but decided not to answer and they were all for charging him with obstruction and/or wasting Police time! No charges were brought in the long-term, but he has become a recluse as a result (hence ex-colleague).

Why can't these public bodies just replace a blocked CLI with the main reception number?

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

Caver_Dave Silver badge

From personal recollection

I met and chatted with the Duke a couple of decades ago.

He knew his stuff on the subject in question each time, and despite what other people have said, I found that he listened intently before ripping your point of view apart, often based on what you had said (luckily, I was not on the receiving end). But, he always did it with humour and a smile, so I never saw anyone uncomfortable from it.

The first real environmentalist and very much a multi-culturalist (despite his much reported, iffy jokes). Fields that Charles is vey much championing.

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: "using DOB to calculate"

I was involved with the Epson EHT-40 touch screen handheld computer that was used by the Concorde baggage loaders. It calculated how to spread the baggage based on the seating plan and customer weight (scales at the checking?).

The mean weight of passengers on the trans-Atlantic route, was higher than any others.

AWS straps Python support to its automated CodeGuru tool, slashes prices – just don't go over 100,000 lines

Caver_Dave Silver badge

"All lines have to be less than 80 characters in length to fit on a VT screen."

From the last 4 or 5 coding standards that I have worked with.

A floppy filled with software worth thousands of francs: Techie can't take it, customs won't keep it. What to do?

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: F1 and customs

It was the time of limited fuel. The two options where race at the front (which looked good for the driver) and then run out of fuel (which looked bad for the team), or conserve your fuel and get the opposite effects. One particular driver "could not read the fuel gauge" to radio back the values! So a 'spy' (according to the driver) or 'assistant' (to everyone else) was needed in the cockpit.

The display was fed by the ECU and I hooked onto those data lines to gather the data (and as no-one else was doing it) I just sent the data out over a simple radio modem constantly (with error correction). You could get 3 copies of the data received down the pits straight at Silverstone for instance. Different frequencies for each car.

==> boffin icon as it was as simple as I could make it!

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: F1 and customs

I wrote all the assembler code for the Acteltime (the small white timing computer), made the timing beams, in-car telemetry for Arrows (Eddie Cheever and Derek Warwick were the first to use it) and all the ancillaries.

Your probable employer was sponsored by TAG and because of that was the only team I didn't supply.

If you went to the tests, then you would find Dougie (Arrows), Simon (Williams), etc. with their timing beams and computers set up around the track somewhere. Exit of the Parabolica at Monza for instance.

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: The trouble with the British...

As a Chairman of a Parish Council, I can say in my experience that the whole planning process is a total farce.

As an objector (usually, but not always) on behalf of my Parish, I get 3 minutes to talk at the start of the meeting before being cut off (literally placed on mute in these Zoom days). The District Councils' Planning Officer then gets to present all his information (no time limit) and interact with the Planning Committee for the whole of the meeting. We can't even respond to their lies (recently an application in my village was promoted by the PO to help support the local shop and bus service, neither of which we have had for years!)

If the applicant is ruled against by the by the Planning Committee they can go to appeal. If the objectors are ruled against we would have to go to the High Court (£70-80K) and the only grounds we can use is that the Councils processes were not followed correctly - not that the Planning Officer told blatant lies.

Planning Officers hold all the power and even Planning Ministers have been shown (court case last year) to allegedly take bribes (in that case a donation to their political party rather than individually. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53007018 )

Caver_Dave Silver badge

F1 and customs

I worked from the mid 1980's to early '90's for most of the Formula 1 racing teams supplying timing systems, speed traps, the first in-car telemetry, etc. and travelled extensively over Europe (usually in the middle of the night).

The company car was a long-bore Granada and used to attract a little attention, especially to bored customs officials in the middle of the night. Opening the boot for them to find boxes of strange, and expensive looking equipment used to light up their faces. I would just show them the Pit Pass for the F1 test I was going to, to immediately divert their attention and get me a hasty wave through. (Obviously I showed a Ligier pass on the way into France and a Ferarri pass on the way into Italy.)

I did have the carnet and other paperwork, but I can't remember ever having to show it in Europe.

Grotesque soundbyte alert: UK government opens wallet to help rural areas get 'gigafit'

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Alternatively ...

We still have paper insulated wires to our village circa 1940's. All encased in a lead pipe that goes down a steep (1:8) hill into a deep valley and then up the other side to the village with the exchange. With the help of a friendly and knowledgeable OpenReach engineer the pipe sprang a leak at the bottom of the hill and water ran out for over a week! OpenReach upgraded the village with the exchange to FTTC with government money, but didn't have enough to replace our (256Kbps for some people) wires!

The four local villages (including mine) had topped the last 2 County Council broadband requirements surveys (not including the upgraded one above as that wasn't even in the top 20.) I got enough people to sign up in the four villages to get a FTTP company in and we all have 1Gbps capable links.

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams

Caver_Dave Silver badge

On Site

In the late 1980's and early 1990's I wrote lap timing software, the first in-car telemetry link and made various hardware for F1 teams. It was not glamorous for a grunt like me.

e.g. work all day getting last minute modifications made, drive overnight from the UK Midlands to Monza, 3 days of stupid hours at the track and then drive overnight back. The only good thing was that I had the company long-bore Granada and they didn't time you between the booths on the péage, so I did 130 on the empty roads much of the way (mph not kph!) 14 hours from the track at Monza to Northampton including the ferry!

Don't remind me of trips to Jerez in southern Spain!

So, I never got to see the country either.

Delayed, overbudget and broken. Of course Microsoft's finest would be found in NASA's Orion

Caver_Dave Silver badge

And I can assure you that everything crawling on Mars, almost everything orbiting it, and most stuff down here that really needs to work is running VxWorks!

Soft-shell robot uses snailfish features to sail though Mariana Trench stress test

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Genuinely intrigued

There are very few things that genuinely surprise and intrigue me, but this is one of them. Well done!

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: When you say "pants",

In the UK caving scene it used to be that the hardest cavers wore the worst gear. Home-made wetsuits with 3 layers of patches on the knees and the knees still visible, etc!

I had 3 pair of caving pants. I had to wear them all at the same time as they all had multiple holes!

The sooner AI stops trying to mimic human intelligence, the better – as there isn't any

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Wrong day out for the significant other

You take your beer tasting, whereas I ...

I booked a table for the evening as my girlfriend said she needed to go out. How was I to know that she couldn't hit a snooker ball!

California’s net neutrality rules good to go after judge boots Big Cable’s lawsuit

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: A question about cost:value of access in the US

There is also Gigaclear or other similar providers in the rural areas of the UK.

I've had £45.00/m for 300Mbps, symmetrical and completely unfettered since 2015.

All the fibre runs natively at 1Gbps and you can have full speed enabled at £75.00/m (last time I looked)

Chill out, lockdown ain't over yet – perhaps FUZIX on the Pi Pico could feature in your weekend shed projects

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Young people these days...

I was the top technical support in the UK for the Epson PX-4. I knew the OS ROM inside out end even sold them (with the non-qwerty keyboard) to all (but one) of the Formula 1 teams (and many others) for lap timing systems when out testing. That was all written in Z80 assembler, including the fixed point maths required for computing speed trap values collected on the barcode input

NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Re: Linux

Linux was faster to the market with Snap Dragon support and so that is what is on the helicopter.

House Republicans introduce legislation for outright ban on municipal broadband in the US

Caver_Dave Silver badge

Doesn't help us who have to use WiFi calling onthe mobile at home, because of no mobile coverage.

This is despite the claims of the mobile industry that we have excellent coverage and their refusal to come to the Parish Council and demonstrate it working.

They lie at such a level that they may have political aspirations!



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