Most Secret War
Anyone interested in WWII boffinry should track down a copy of "Most Secret War" by R.V. Jones:
23 posts • joined 3 Dec 2019
In about 2005 I was network admin for a big print manufacturer and I had the SETI client running on all our servers and desktops. One of the Beancounters asked about power consumption of the PCs being on overnight (even though the factory consumed so much electricity that we literally had our own substation onsite) but I appeased him by using group policy to set the monitors to power off - he didn't know the difference between the PC being off or just the monitor.
About 6 years ago I was involved in procuring a pager system for a new-build NHS hospital, and I worked alongside the winning vendor (Multitone) to implement it. They were the only sensible choice, and were a pleasure to deal with. Their system is robust and feature-rich, and to label it "archaic" is missing the point. The hospital was covered by dual redundant transmitters with dedicated cabling, analogue line as well as VoIP connectivity, and the devices themselves also supported WiFi IP connectivity. There were interfaces to the phone system and SMS links to staff mobiles as well - this thing was the absolute definition of belt and braces. To hear some muppet link Hancock say we need to get rid of it because it's obsolete like faxes is ridiculous. If I was going to go into cardiac arrest in the middle of a huge steel-framed building I know I'd rather the crash team was called on a Multitone pager than some Android app written by the lowest bidder.
A few years ago I was on a tour of NPL and jolly fascinating it was too. The tour guide gave a talk about the standard kilogram, how it's calibrated against the other other ones in France etc. (including the time the boss left his backpack, containing the UK kilogram, on the Eurostar and had to dash back to find it). The highlight for me was the fancy high-tech plasma machine they use to clean the kilogram to remove all the atmospheric pollutants that sink into the surface, especially compared to the French solution - one particular old chap gives them a run down with a chamois, and only he is allowed to do it so they are all the same!
They keep pushing it as being "sysvinit vs systemd" because sysvinit is old and not perfect, but completely ignore the existence of OpenRC, S6, runit... I use Artix Linux, Gentoo, GhostBSD, all on OpenRC, works perfectly, simply and understandably. You want to use systemd, fine, but don't try and make everyone else use it.
If you want a shiny Debian-based distro that's as neat, tidy, fast, well-supported and full-featured as Mint but without Canonical interference there's MX, which also has the bonus of choice between systemd or not. For a purer Debian-but-no-d experience Devuan is getting pretty good these days - I keep an ASCII partition as it's the only way I can get my organisations outdated Pulse Secure VPN client to work.
A firm I worked for many moons ago "splashed out" and upgraded the office network cabling to CAT-5E, but refused to put any spare cabling in to allow for growth - to keep costs low they only put in exactly what was needed at the time. Fast forward a few months and a bunch of new starters are announced - all needing PCs and phones. I could install small switches by the clusters of desks to handle the extra data connections but the phones were analogue, so I'm ashamed to say I ended up splitting CAT5 cables to connect more than one phone through, with a similar mess at the patch panel. This was in place for at least a decade before they went VOIP.
My late father-in-law was a TV repairman in the 60s and 70s, and he used to have the apprentice distract the owner whilst he gave the box a smack to break the tin whiskers! Often he could then just furtle around drinking tea for half an hour and declare it fixed (got to make them think they are getting value for money).
Worked in PCW as a tech when I was a nipper, many moons ago. Everyone slagged off the old REPOS terminals but you wouldn't have had a problem with them! I was there when the first Windows-based checkouts arrived - Eclipse, I think it was called. Queues to the back of the store when the things went wrong (which was, in the words of the now-legendary Tom Jones, not unusual).
Yep, I use 4G at home (with a Teltonika router) because wired broadband is crap in the area (rural Durham) and it's OK for that. Never use 4G on my handset though; I always set it to 3G because it's fast enough and I'd rather have the battery life.
Yes, if you're going to get back at the shitty company that laid you off because you wouldn't suck up to the boss and lie to customers, by maybe deleting the firmware from all of their switches and routers and scheduling a reload, you'd best do it from the library or something. I imagine.
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