* Posts by CuChulainn

503 posts • joined 26 Nov 2020


On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... a coding puzzle and it's a doozy

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Rust?

But apart from the vocabulary, European languages, grammar, medical jargon, and the Life of Brian... what has Latin ever done for us? :-D

You are right in your comments about its relevance, BTW.

BOFH: What if International Bad Actors designed the vaccine to make us watch more Steven Seagal movies?

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: brilliant

My favourite comment when they say masks don't work is to tell them to see how far they can spit a mouthful of beer without one, then see how far they can do it wearing one.

That's why masks are of benefit.

I used to be employed in sterile product manufacture and the microbiological aspects involved in process development. It's obvious that a mask will at least catch some droplets instead of allowing them to be expelled in greater numbers.

Most of them got their education on Facebook.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: brilliant

You should partake in the MSN forums attached to news articles once in a while.

A current sample, article title: Face masks MUST be worn in shops and public transport - but NOT pubs. Here's a selection of replies:

masks are for muppets - end of

I'm exempt and no one can ask me why, I laugh

the data confirms none of it is actually necessary, rather a pacification for all you namby pamby's out there

if you think vaccines still work you are truly deluded ,oh the hypocrisy of it ,on to your third experiment as covid is worse than ever says it all !

Masks haven't worked anywhere in the world yet we reintroduce them here, just to increase levels of fear and control for the obvious pre planned lock downs incoming.

Masks do not stop the transmission of this virus

And it just goes on, in virtually every article.

You forced me to use this fancypants app and now you're asking for a printout?

CuChulainn Silver badge


Ditto on that.

Had my booster on Monday this week. Next day, nothing showing on the pass.

Checking now, COVID Booster (Pfizer) is on my pass.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Aaargh! Don't mess with things once they're set. It can only ever go bad if you do :-)

It's bad enough if you follow the system.

I had my COVID booster initially booked for last week. I'd been checking the NHS site, and it told me I wasn't eligible (I wasn't, it was the six month thing). But when I knew I should be, I checked again, and I was eligible, so I booked.

I turned up, played musical chairs for 20 minutes as we gradually moved down the socially-distanced line of the medical centre I was in, and sat down in front of the nurse. They took all my details (on computer), brought out the syringe... only for the nurse to say 'Oh. You're two days early!'

I said 'But my date is on the booking'. She said 'No, you can't have it for another two days - it's 160 days from the 2nd shot'. Damned system never told me that, and it let me book.

They were very apologetic, but I just said 'look, it's not your fault. The system let me book. It's just a wasted journey, and not the end of the world.'

I booked another one when I got home - this time much closer to home, which wasn't an available venue a week earlier. And only two days after my 160-day thing. Had it on Monday this week. This time, I went in (admittedly, having to ask for directions, since the NHS vaccination location map showed one end of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, where it turned out to be the opposite end). This one was predominantly a paper exercise booking in, and I was jabbed immediately after sitting down.

Apart from an achy arm, I am still here - though apparently I am one of the billions who have allegedly died from the vaccine according to certain forums.

Had my flu jab separately at my GP a month ago. They don't do COVID. I even forgot, in spite of remembering the night before, and they phoned me to find out where I was, and did me in the 15 minutes it took me to drive there, 45 minutes after my original appointment.

Overall, our system works, Just not perfectly. I'd give it between B+/A-

CuChulainn Silver badge

"She literally scans the document she has just printed"

Forgive me for having recounted this before in a different topic, but I once taught an ageing lab assistant how to use the new-fangled scanner we'd just installed.

A large part of her job was writing SOPs for the factory, and she'd spend ages cutting up the user manuals and sticking diagrams and photographs on to A4 paper with Sellotape to include in the master copy, which would then be photocopied and distributed to the departments. The master copy would spend the next months silently degrading the glue on the Sellotape in the Master Folder on the SOP shelf, ready to shed all the stuck-on photos and diagrams into a heap if anyone got their working SOP wet and wanted a new copy.

She'd seen me incorporating scans and digital photos into documents I was writing, and I was asked to teach her how to do it.

It took many, many weeks just to get her to be able to turn on the scanner and access it from a PC, and many more to show her how to use a graphics program(me) to clip the photos and diagrams electronically, and then paste them into documents. And don't get me started on explaining how to use wrapping to add titles or arrows to the clipped images. We had all the episodes of chucking toys out of the pram and threatening to resign. When she'd finally got it, I concluded my task was over.

One morning, I came in only to find her cutting out images she'd scanned and printed out so she could stick them into the documents she was creating using Sellotape.

I got a rollocking from the PHB for laughing.

The ideal sat-nav is one that stops the car, winds down the window, and asks directions

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: My experience

I could never get along with standalone units - too big, too many wires, sucker marks all over the windscreen, and so on (IMO). I hate my Ford satnav, though I will use it at a push.

But I use the TomTom Go app for longer journeys. I prefer it over Google because I can create specific routes on my PC and sync them to the app, and you also have the extra functions you'd expect from a dedicated satnav.

CuChulainn Silver badge

You're On Your Own, Pal

About ten years ago, I went to a gig in Glasgow. It was at the Old Fruit Market.

At the time, I subscribed to Orange Maps (remember that?), and with my phone in its cradle, I set off on the 300 mile journey. All went well until I reached somewhere near Lesmahagow - and my phone lost the connection. Nothing would make it reconnect to Orange Maps, though there was a phone signal.

I didn't have a clue where the Old Fruit Market was, and that side of Glasgow was a mystery, too. But I was still at least 50km away from my destination.

I frantically searched Google Apps for a free satnav app, and even downloaded one painfully slowly, when I suddenly remembered the Google Maps beta (with 3D) function.

Within a minute I was on my way, it took me directly to a car park, and then the 'on foot' feature took me step-by-step through the streets to the venue a short distance away.

I cancelled Orange Maps the next day.

Cruel and unusual IT fail upstages Megan Fox. Transformers: Windows in disguise

CuChulainn Silver badge

...in a little waterproof box...

That made me smile (in a tangential kind of way).

I just bought an indoor security camera (TP-Link), and I noticed in the Q&A on Amazon someone boasting that they used it outdoors with no problem because 'it is under cover where the rain can't get at it'.

Some people haven't heard of 'moisture'.

The Ministry of Silly Printing: But I don't want my golf club correspondence to say 'UNCLASSIFIED' at the bottom

CuChulainn Silver badge

Do as I say, not as I do...

We used to get regular communications warning us against using the then-recently networked printers for personal stuff.

Obviously, it was OK for senior managers to print out reams of stuff about car and holiday prices.

It was also entertaining to see them run out of their office to snatch the results if they saw you heading over to collect your own work,

One click, one goal, one mission: To get a one-touch flush solution

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Is it for prople who don't wash their hands?

I've seen those, but you still have to find a cubicle that is clean enough that you dare sit down (I sometimes take wet towels in to clean the seats because of the scumbags who insist on using cubicles for a Number 1, then do it all over the floor).

But that reminds me of a toilet in a restaurant in Switzerland I was in in the 1980s. It was either Verbier or Zermatt.

The seat had a motorised plastic sleeve. When you pressed the button, a new length of sleeve was pulled around so you always sat on a clean seat.

What a clock up: Brit TV-broadband giant Sky fails to pick up weekend's timezone change, fix due by Friday

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: At AndrueC, re: atomic clocks.

I got one for my dad earlier this year (he has macular degeneration and is almost blind). Well, it's 'radio-controlled', anyway. It was the Verbalise Talking Clock.

It works like a dream, and it changed itself automatically over the weekend (though I was sceptical as I always am about trusting them to do it).

My dad likes to go to bed at 6.30pm and wake up very early, so going by the amount of light isn't really any good to him as the year waxes and wanes.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: By the time I noticed it, it was too late to return.

I must admit that even though almost every clock in my house sets itself automatically, I don't trust the bloody things for precisely that reason.

It stems from the time not really that (no more than ten years) long ago when my DAB radio alarm didn't wake me up on time because it had somehow decided not to reset the time at the BST/GMT switch.

It's done it properly every time since, but I still don't trust it (and I check to make sure).

What really pisses me off, though, is that none of my Fords (Focuses previously, currently a Puma) will change automatically. Damn things have GPS and satnav, so it shouldn't be that hard.

A Windows 11 tsunami? No, more of a ripple as Microsoft's latest OS hits 5% PC market

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Do I want Win 11?

Prices have shot up for these TPM modules.

I bought mine some months ago (on the W11 announcement) for my Asus motherboard, and it cost £8.99 (though I had to wait for it to come back into stock as they were selling out quickly on each delivery).

Right now, the same module is retailing for around £40.

Sharing is caring, except when it's your internet connection

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: "What the neighbours made of their sudden disconnection is . ."

I remember one call when I was on tech support. It was from two female students who had suddenly lost access to their internet connection.

They believed it had something to do with 'the boys next door' in their shared house (this was a while before landlords provided Wi-Fi as part of the rental).

It turned out they had set up their router and left 'admin' and 'pass' (or something similar) as the default log in credentials. The 'boys' next door had deliberately logged in and changed all the settings so they had no access.

I simply got them to locate the reset button, and we set the thing up again - changing the username and password this time to something more complex. Dead simple stuff.

But my ego almost exploded when, as I hung up, I heard one of them say 'Oooh, he was good'.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W: Nippy stocking filler for the nerd in your life – if you can get one

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Ordered. Been waiting for this.

I came across PiKrellCam and intend to base my system on that.

I saw an example of it being used in wildlife trail-cams and thought it had potential. Time will tell, but at least I'll have fun along the way.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Ordered. Been waiting for this.

I've ordered mine for precisely the same reason!

Well, almost precisely.

With Ring discontinuing the desktop app and forcing people to use a browser-based interface, too many useful features (such as being able to immediately see who triggered the proximity alert before having to do 2FA to log in) I decided to build my own doorbell system, but as ONVIF so I have full access to the data.

Heart FM's borkfast show – a fine way to start your day

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: For those outside the UK

Planet Rock for me. Listen on DAB all the time when I can, and sometimes fall asleep to it via Sky radio.

It has ads, but - if you opt for the 'supported by the listeners' option - you can get ad-free (albeit only online).

All I want for Christmas is a delivery address that a delivery courier can find

CuChulainn Silver badge

Near me, they built a new bypass across what was previously flood plain/agricultural land.

I was off up North on one occasion to a place I'd never been before, so had decided to set my TomTom up for the occasion (this was when they were like miniature CRT TVs and needed a suction cup the size of a saucer to hold them on the windscreen, hence the reason I rarely used it).

The bypass had been open for over 12 months, but TomTom reckoned I was driving across a field, and it didn't like it judging from how the pointer kept trying to jump across the screen to get on a road it knew about about a quarter of a mile away.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Oh dear

When that happens to me (typically US content in the UK, and increasingly some EU content), I just virtually relocate to an American (or European) city via VPN.

CuChulainn Silver badge

We've Left It With A Neighbour...

That was my favourite one from a few weeks ago.

'You were out when we called. We left your parcel with a neighbour'

Riiight. But which one?

After knocking on three doors, two one side, and next door on the other (who was not at home when I knocked), I discovered it was the fourth neighbour who had it.

Lest this should still seem a minor issue, the neighbour who had it is the one who has previously expressed a lack of enthusiasm for taking in other people's parcels and mail, though they mellowed ever so slightly when we took in parcels for them.

BOFH: You. Wouldn't. Put. A. Test. Machine. Into. Production. Without. Telling. Us.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Hah! New keyboard required!

My biggest concern is that the pebbledash on the outer wall will fall off! Probably unfounded, but a concern, but a much lesser one with an 8mm bit.

I've weighed up the options of drilling outside-in (up a ladder with the long bit) or inside-out (seated comfortably to lean on the drill as necessary with less risk of falling off and ending up in A&E). I'll try the latter, I think.

One way or another, I'll get it through (and I mean the drill and the cable).

If nothing else, if the 8mm option becomes terminally problematic, at least the hole will serve as a pilot for the 16mm bit I already have.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Hah! New keyboard required!

Actually, after Martin's comment above, I took another look at the possibilities and I'm picking up a 450mm x 8mm SDS bit from Screwfix tomorrow, and I'm just awaiting confirmation from an Ebay seller that the professional EZ ethernet terminators they supply can accommodate my cable width.

Then it's out with the cable cutter and in with the much more amenable smaller hole size.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Hah! New keyboard required!

It's brick cavity.

My plan was to use rolled up overhead chart plastic as the feed conduit - should be able to roll it very small diameter, then let it unroll once inserted without losing any of the bore diameter. And I have silicone sealant at the ready along with a tonne of cable clips and cable ties.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Hah! New keyboard required!

I know. Small cable, bloody big plug on either end.

Having said that, weather-proof cable needed to be solid copper, and that's not the thinnest ethernet cabling in the world, either.

If you use bare cable, you can get away with 5-6mm, but I didn't want to do that.

I was hoping I might be able to get all three cables through a single hole if I threaded them one at a time, but I doubt it.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Hah! New keyboard required!

As an aside, I've got to put some 16mm holes through an external wall of my house to feed some ethernet cables through for a WAP and some external security cameras into a PoE switch.

I'm not looking forward to it, since I'm sure it won't go through as easily as it did through the black box in the BOFH.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Bible and amallet

I remember hearing that one many times when I was younger!

Apparently, "Back in 1743, the German anatomist Lorenz Heister (who invented the word tracheotomy) listed the treatment options for ganglia – wiping the lump with saliva; taking a bullet that had killed a wild animal (ideally a stag) and strapping it to the cyst; or even rubbing it with the hand of a dead man." (Source: BBC)

But it goes on to say, "[In a 1972 study] Some tried the bible-bashing method: at first the fluid dissipated and the bump reduced; but recurrence rates were between 22% and 64%."

The usual method these days is to drain with a needle, but there is no perfect method as it can still return. But most of them disappear within about 6 years (according to that article).

Get real: Say what you like about your app but don't be surprised if I trollsplain

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Ultimate marketing

Funnily enough, I did get that album (from the CD club I was in at the time, but see third paragraph).

It was OK, but hardly 'ultimate'. It was basically the equivalent of a CD mix tape with some stuff on it you wouldn't have picked yourself in a million years.

Of course, since then, there have been multiple 'Ultimate' rock albums that are essentially the same mix tape plus some bands from x years later. It's the 'rock' equivalent of the 'NOW' series of CDs.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Woody

Upvote for 'Bananas'.

'Life and Death' was up there, too.

Computer shuts down when foreman leaves the room: Ghost in the machine? Or an all-too-human bit of silliness?

CuChulainn Silver badge

Off-topic a little, but I went over to Karachi to manufacture a particular licensed tablet (as in drug) for the first time outside the UK.

It was bad enough that the product was hygroscopic, and Karachi is famed for both the humidity at certain times of the year, and the dearth of air-conditioners except in the hotels. I was there during such a period of humidity (I'll never forget the wall of heat that hit me when I walked off the plane).

The factory we had out there was no different as far as A/Cs went, so we pulled in a portable unit to minimise the problems. I finally got several batches made, but then had to get them dissolution-tested to make sure they met the product specification. Since they were a sustained-release product, the test had to run for hours.

And Karachi is (or was) also famed for the reliability of its complete power outages around the same times every day, with a randomisation factor layered on top, which killed the test dead, so it had to be started all over again.

And the factory was so big, generators were a no-no.

As an aside, I remember being driven home each evening, and one day a dead donkey appeared on the side of the road. It was there each subsequent day, and I noted that its legs expanded from the carcass a little more each day as it bloated. By the last day, it looked like a Sputnik.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

A friend of mine told me a story years ago about when he'd bought a new-build, having moved from a very old and sturdy brick-build (as in, bricks for the inside walls as well as outside). And I know he embellished it, but it just makes me smile when I think of it.

His wife wanted a cork board putting up in the kitchen, so he got his trusty hammer drill out and got ready to put some screw holes into the wall before Rawl-plugging them.

He told me he braced himself to push, powered on the drill, and next thing he knew he was lying on the sofa in the sitting room, having gone through the dry wall.

Fair enough, he did get a hole both sides, but he did damage the entire wall.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Yeah, we had those in some of the (huge) 1930s-built factories.

At night, it was like being in an Alien film, as the lights came on in blocks as you walked along dark corridors.

Like you say, if you didn't move near one of the sensors for a while - and the sensors weren't on every fluorescent strip, to save money - you'd suddenly be plunged into darkness.

My doctor's surgery has them. If I'm ever in to see the nurse for an annual check up, she has to keep scooting backwards on her chair to turn the lights back on again.

CuChulainn Silver badge

On partitioning, in most of my roles throughout my career at a certain company, I was in buildings that were built in the 1930s (and all that that implies concerning structure).

Over the years, with many reorganisations, offices came and went, but always amounted to a partitioned cube inserted into whatever concrete space was available. And this meant that there were voids between the partitioned bits and the concrete bits - typically in the upward direction above the suspended ceiling.

This void was obviously occupied by air ducts, cables, and pigeons (if there was a broken window on the outside somewhere, and given the state of the buildings externally, there usually was).

One time, my office needed something doing with the cabling in the void, and they chose to do it over a weekend.

When I came in Monday, my desk, chair, computer, etc., was covered with pigeon crap and dander. I itched for a week after, even after cleaning everything up. Apparently, they even found dead pigeons teeming with maggots up there, along with nests of chicks.

2FA? More like 2F-in-the-way: It seems no one wants me to pay for their services after all

CuChulainn Silver badge

What about when somewhere in the distant past you were forced to set it up, and are suddenly confronted with 'what is the name of your pet?' (if that, indeed, was how they decided they were going to do it back then).

Uh-oh. Did I use the cat, or the dog we used to have? And did I capitalise the first letter or not?

My online share dealing account uses such a system, and fortunately I use it often enough to know (but still sometimes forget the first letter capitalisation if I'm in a hurry). But every now and then, another site will ask a question it hasn't asked for a long time, and password recovery is the order of the day.

My Halifax bank account is the worst, though. You have to enter three characters from dropdowns that correspond to random characters in the complicated and hard-to-guess (and equally hard to remember unless you wrote it down somewhere) magic pseudo-word you had to create initially.

And it got worse when I opened an account for my dad during the lockdown, and for some reason left one lower case 'L' as 'l' in the pseudo-word, but got clever with the second occurrence and used a numerical '1' for that. Then promptly forgot I'd done it. Stupid system waited for a couple of months before it wanted that second character, and I was stumped until I looked closely after almost being locked out.

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Weetbix

Weetabix used to be great.

But they messed with it, as they usually do, and it isn't patch on what it used to be. They're too light and airy now.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Weetbix

Absolutely 100 million upvotes for Oatibix.

Oatibix flakes, naturally.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Re: Oreos

They give me wicked heartburn.

CuChulainn Silver badge

Penguin, etc.

The problem is that nothing - absolutely nothing - tastes as good as it once did.

They messed up chocolate by removing loads of the sugar, then messing with the milk content. Then the salt. And the fat.

Last night, for the first time in years, I bought some fresh apple and cream turnovers, and a couple of small strawberry and cream cakes from Asda.

Absolutely tasteless.

They've done precisely the same with biscuits. And everything else.



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