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* Posts by Stevie

6389 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Boffins build bugged bees bearing backpacks

Stevie
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Bah!

Blimey!

Dine crime: Chippy sells deep fried Xmas dinner

Stevie
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Re: battered?

Just tried to read tha IAS comment to my wife. Couldn't make it past the third sentence and pulled a muscle in my chest I was laughing so hard.

Stevie
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Re: battered?

Well done IAS. Laughed so hard I started making Mutley noises and crying.

On my morning train.

Your work is done.

Did you know that iOS ad clicks cost more than Android? These scammers did

Stevie
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Bah!

Yes, Apple clicks are more expensive than Android ones, but that is because the user experience is better.

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it

Stevie
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Re: The problem is that critical thinking is still not taught

The problem is that people who can hide behind anonymity behave like gits.

Trolling, cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, swatting; all made attractive because no-one knows whodunnit.

Stevie
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Bah!

How to fix the internet?

Turn it off one week in four.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Stevie
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Re: One of the things Carmack will pay for at the perly gates

"Decades"?

Lenovo tells Asia-Pacific staff: Work lappy with your unencrypted data on it has been nicked

Stevie
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Bah!

"Fortunately, the laptop in question was running the vary latest patched version of Windows XP SP3."

Seriously, how is it even possible that a Leonovo staff member possessed an unencrypted laptop in 2018?

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

Stevie
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Later models had a disabling microswitch when you opened the case.

"This then made it difficult to work on the insides of the PC when it also needed to be powered up."

Pfft!

I have this exact same set-up and need to see the works in action with the lid off on my antediluvian clothes dryer and I figured out how to jumper the switch even when the panel containing it was removed in seconds, and built a reusable jumper to do the job in minutes. I guess they didn't have wire and crocodile clips in your "shop".

HashtagUrDionItRong

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Nope. Fluent in US English and not blind or color-blind (I edited out about two thirds of the questionnaire for brevity).

I've never figured it out.

I had another guy call me after I was relieved of ticket duty.

Him: "I need to speak to Consultant McQuitface"

Me: "I'm sorry, he no longer works here."

Him: "Well I need to speak to him about an urgent ticket."

Me: "Well, as I said, he no longer works here."

Him: "This ticket is urgent!"

Me: "Well, I haven't worked the ticket system myself for six months and he had a backlog of another six, so it can't have been that urgent"

Him: "I really need to speak to Consultant McQuitface"

Me: "He doesn't work here any more."

HIm: "I Really need to speak to him."

Me: "Mr Consultant McQuitface no longer works here. He quit. He walked offsite with no warning."

Him: "...are YOU Consultant McQuitface?"

I was so blindsided by this I completely neglected to do what I normally do in such situations and yell "YES! YES I AM AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" and slam down the phone. All I could do was hang up on yet another Call from the Twilight Zone.

Stevie
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Re: Children of the Resolution

Years ago I deployed a print workstation and browser solution to an enormous distributed enterprise. We managed things from the helpdesk using PC Anywhere, and I only got involved when there was Trouble Up At Mill.

I get a call from he helpdesk asking if I can have a word with the staff at a particular site who were changing the resolution of the desktop from whatever it was (I forget) to something they could presumably see with old eyeballs.

The problem was this meant that it was a nightmare trying to troubleshoot with PC anywhere because of dreadful resolution mismatch issues. This, combined with the slow network response to make life utterly miserable for the helpdesk staff.

So I called after hours one day when all my office colleagues had left and spoke to the two older ladies who were the entire workforce at that location. I told them I had trouble seeing the text myself, wondered if that was the reason they were altering the screen resolution, and that I could show them something that might make their lives very much easier.

I took control of the workstation from my desk and demonstrated the print browsers in-built "zoom" feature by zooming in until the screen held only a single, giant letter. Then I zoomed back out again until the print was too tiny to see (talking them through the process as they watched), and finally, I demonstrated the single hotkey "default size please" reset.

I did it again, giving the ladies time to write down the hotkeys, asked hem if this would be an acceptable way of making the print readable and was assured it was perfect.

They were delighted. Hotline staff were delighted. I went to drink beer. Everybody won.

Stevie
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Re: The other moral is that assholes are assholes.

I had a colleague who asked me to help him manage a system he'd put together in which reports were mailed to a server that used procmail to trigger a script that reformatted them and pidgeonholed them for display on a webserver - the pidgeonholes were how the dynamic stacked hyperlink index of documents was built. Crude, maybe, but hard-wearing and easy to administer.

There were three classes of report, but only two were being displayed as intended. The third had "some bug I never had the time to properly sort out - probably an OS patch needed or something". It had been broken for years.

I procured Martin McCarthy's excellent book on procmail from Amazon and two days (prime membership for the win) and a short read to get up to speed later I dug in and spotted the typo in the recipe almost immediately. New pair of eyes and all that.

I fixed the issue and asked if I might not take over that admin chore, as I could see a couple of new applications for the technique.

Within four hours the server passwords had been changed, locking me out. He didn't speak to me for a couple of weeks after that either.

So I guess the answer was "Thanks for fixing the problem but I don't think we need an admin for that specific application".

Stevie
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Re: Had similar call

Back before PCs I would get a call once every three weeks from "Bob" which would have he rest of the office howling with laughter as I ran the script.

<MODE=bob_newheart>

Ring ring

"Hello."

"Oh hello Bob."

"You can't log onto the system?"

"Can you see a poll indicator?"

"In the bottom right corner of the screen. The word "poll" flashing on and off."

"Pull the keyboard forward and look at the panel under the screen. Can you see any lights?"

"Do you see the rocker switch on the right hand side of the panel?"

"Good. Press the side of the switch marked 'on'."

"Can you see the word 'poll' flashing on and off?"

"Good. You're good to go."

"No problem Bob".

Word for word. Every three weeks. It was high comedy for the other buggers in the office.

Stevie
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Re: The right attitude 4 phuzz

Not only do you have to explain things well enough that even the least technically-savvy can understand, they also have to f**king listen to what you say.

Ha! Ask a specific question on any technical forum and get back witless answers from our own lot.

"I need to know how to do x on the new Raspberry Pi O/S. It apparently has changed since Wheezy" gets back "Check out the FAQ and you'll see that Wheezy has a widget for that".

"How do I do y on Oracle RAC running on Solaris?" gets back reams of useless information about configuration options that only exist on Linux.

"What options are available on package z on AIX" gets back dribble about package !z on Linux.

All drawn from real life. It would seem IT is rife with people who cannot read for comprehension. I love getting back an RTFM response when I point out that I wasn't asking the question they answered too.

Stevie
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Bah!

I had one quite like that, but with the surreality knob twisted up to 11.

I had inherited the trouble ticket system from a consultant who abruptly quit, and was told "get rid of all these old tickets!" by my boss, so I started to reach out.

I called my first (and as it happened, last customer), whose ticket was almost seven months old.

"You've taken your own sweet time getting back to me!" said the customer.

I explained that on the contrary, I had started work on the ticket backlog only that day and he was my first call.

"Well this ticket was URGENT!" he said in aggrieved tones.

I opined that it couldn't have been that urgent since the ticket had lain fallow for half a year with no attempt to escalate by the requestor.

"I'll transfer you to the user with the actual problem" the nice man said. I never found out who he was so I could enact vengeance for the alternate universe experience he dropped me into.

Me: "Hello. Can you tell me what the issue is you are experiencing?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "No. My terminal's not working"

Me: OK, let's see if we can figure out why. Are you sitting by the terminal now?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "Yes".

Me: "OK, what do you see?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "I don't know."

Me: Are you sitting in front of the terminal?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "Yes."

Me: "Can you see a menu?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "I don't know."

Me: "You can see the screen?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "Yes."

Me: "Is there a menu of options displayed on it?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "I don't know."

Me: "Is the terminal switched on?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "I don't know."

Me: Can you see a green light under the screen?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "I don't know."

Me: "But you can see the screen itself?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "Yes."

Me: "You are sitting in front of the terminal?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "Yes."

Me: "But you can't see the power light?"

Urgent Problem Sufferer: "I don't know."

A light belatedly dawned.

Me: "I'll have to do some more checking at this end and get back to you."

I hung up and closed the ticket. To this day I have no f***ing idea what that was about.

Note: You may have read that story on The Shark Tank, where it was roundly dismissed as made-up by the commentards. I posted that story, and I swear it is true. No, I cannot tell you what the fsck it was about.

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Stevie
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Bah!

George is a wanker. A rationalizing wanker, but a wanker first and foremost.

"I caused the admins to blah blah blah"

This is like saying deflating the tyres on your car causing you to check the air pressure in them like you should be doing regularly makes up for the fact that you missed your dentists appointment trying to find a foot pump or compressor.

Wanker with a capital wank.

Funnily enough, China fuming, senator cheering after Huawei CFO cuffed by Canadian cops at Uncle Sam's request

Stevie
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Jaywalking

I think a more correct analogy would be that you were caught on camera jaywalking in, say NYC and were arrested (assuming the misdemeanor "crime" was actually a felony) in Wales to face charges back in the USA.

But I don't know for sure any more than you do because the story is self-admittedly short on actual details.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Stevie
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Bah!

It's a good job you guys have that better and faster interwebs you were talking about last week, when you downvoted me for mentioning the small matter of provider uptime.

WhamWham, bambam, no thank you, SamSam: Iranians accused by the Feds of orchestrating ransomware outbreak

Stevie
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Bah!

That Faramir Savandi bloke should be easy to find unless they look only at night. Stands out like a sore thumb.

If you ever felt like you needed to carry 4TB of data around, Toshiba's got you covered

Stevie
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Bah!

Given the behavior of my WD 1tb drive, this new one will never sync and dismount on request sans os shutdown.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

Stevie
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Re: Offence can never be caused

Don't be ridiculous; of course it can. See: Linus Torvald's comments on "offending code".

The irony of being told that offense cannot be caused in a thread that has earned the root post nothing but downvotes is worthy of a phone call to Alanis Morissette.

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

All very good points, but everyone missed mine, which was that those who push their neighbours' buttons may find themselves sleeping in draughty cold houses with cardboard window panes at the start of the spring term if they hit home.

I never said *I* would break any windows. Then again, I never said I would draw things on my walls with fairy lights, things designed to get a rise out of my neighbours.

Because, well, where's the win?

Stevie
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Bah!

"Please do not adorn your house with optimistic depictions of male genitalia as having all the windows in your house broken by passing neigbours can cause offense".

£10k offer to leave firm ASAP is not blackmail, Capita told by judge

Stevie
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Re: Terminology

s/sceme/scheme/

Stevie
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Re: Terminology

The Pirhana Brothers only hit on that sceme on the third attempt.

The dingo... er, Google stole my patent! Biz boss tells how Choc Factory staff tried to rip off idea from interview

Stevie
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Re: US patent history is a weird and tangled jungle.

Yah.

Take a look at your average beam engine in drawings from the 1870s or so. You'll see some mighty odd looking piston/beam connections and oddly complex crank mechanisms.

Why?

UK Patents on those components held by the first arrivers.

Dog with 'psychotic tendencies' escapes home to poop on his neighbours' pillows

Stevie
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Re: brat in this case

No, phuzz, I was thinking of the one with the vindictive sphincter.

That dog needs to be sent to live on a farm tootsweet.

Stevie
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Bah!

Didham advised his neighbours to be kind to Jack if caught in the act, "as if you're mean he comes back and does it again".

Seems to me the best advice is from the Ramones:

Beat on the brat

Beat on the brat

Beat on the brat with a baseball bat

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

Stevie
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Bah!

“Overconfident Sun SA”.

Redundant phrasing, from my personal experience.

Stevie
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Re: zfs snapshots

zfs? This is some new magic not available in solaris 9.

8o)

Stevie
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Re: Why use a revision control system? 4 phuzz

And I work with people like Wakeem who copy old versions to a new name.

Thing is, there are dozens of us and each has his own preferred naming convention. I hate the mess the filesystems become as a result and end up running a script to dump it all into a new directory called obsolete and zip them all down. Once a year I tar all the zips automagically into a yearly archive.

My director yelled that he wanted us to use a VC tool for this stuff, but refused me permission to deploy git in a hysterically funny and very annoying saga I already told, and the situation is still as it was pre-shoutyboss.

Deck the halls with ... oh, no. DXC tells staff they may not have a job in the New Year

Stevie
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Re: STOP IT!

Doesn't it mean giving someone the finger?

Stevie
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Bah!

Better than the likeable boss I had who confided to me he *wasn't* going to tell a guy he was going to lay him off after Christmas. I begged him to reconsider. The man had a family and needed to know that he would be light in the paypacket come the New Year *before* he splurged on Christmas in the American belief that he could pay off the resulting bills over the next three months.

No, it was "kinder" to let the man have his Christmas unspoiled.

There were a couple of us that were "need to know" and we each had a go at the boss, but his word was final.

After the fact, everyone in the department told the likeable boss what a dick he had been to do it that way.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Stevie
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Bah!

As shown in the next slide, the Virtual Crocodile Clips are attached to the Virtual Nipples and Virtual Scrotum, before applying several thousand Virtual Volts to the other ends of the Virtual Wires, after which it is usually only a matter of time before decryption is complete.

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

Stevie
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Re:Also in my youth all bottles were returnable glass and all take out packaging was paper or card.

And in my youth too. The difference between us is that when the returnable and re-usable glass went out of fashion for plastic, I asked why and paid attention to the answer.

The machine tools used to clean and fill the glass bottles would often need to be shut down because, contrary to popular belief, the glass bottles had a limited lifetime and would shatter after a few trips through the machinery. The machines would have to be stopped and cleaned of dangerous debris before the operation could be restarted.

Not only that, there was a chance of glass shards finding their way into other bottles, to end up being discovered (or not) by unlucky thirsty customers, who were getting more litigious.

The machines themselves were wonders of mechanical invention, and were therefore of necessity very complex with lots of moving parts. Moving parts always wear out (though in most cases the MTBF of machine tools of this type was impressively long), bringing the operation to a halt again.

And there were tougher laws on health and safety in the workplace being enacted, and tougher consumer protection laws being enacted, all making the plant owners very nervous indeed.

So there is a bit more practicality to the switch from glass to plastic than mentioned in your own analysis.

Getting rid of the re-use part of the business meant less money spent on maintenance, smaller business footprint (or more footprint on bottling product) and less exposure to litigation and censure from the government oversight bodies.

Win-win-win-win from where I'm sitting, from the viewpoint of someone not yet familiar with the downsides of plastics.

Stevie
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Bah!

Good to see the linguistic jingoism my father used so effectively to disband the Rolling Stones for using "It's a gas, gas, gas" is still in wide use in the old homeland.

Take my advice and stop using Rubik's Cubes to prove your intelligence

Stevie
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Coffee/keyboard

Do they have to be in his mouth at the time?

You stupid sod! Now I have to attend the weekend strategy and inter-group synergies meeting in a damp shirt reeking of coffee.

Your work is done, caffeine addict.

Well played, sir or madam. Well played.

Stevie
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Re: 1970s?

Good of you to take the time to point that out AC.

Stevie
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Re: 1970s?

I remember there was a flood of young men at parties who would challenge others to scramble their rubik's cube and then attempt to get girls by unscrambling it in record time.

To increase the SAD factor I would, if asked to scramble, turn away from the cube's owner while scrambling madly, ignoring his smirk. Then, when he cuoldn't see what I was doing, I would give one slice a half-turn, so the middle cubes were over a corner. That done, using the pad of my thumb, I'd gently prise out one edge-middle cube (t'was easy) and invert it, popping it back into place. I'd give the cube another few pointless twists and return it to its owner.

Then I'd make myself scarce.

Gigabit? More like, you can gigabet the US will fall behind on super-fast broadband access

Stevie
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Re: gigabit is not aimed at the likes of you.

I think the point of the gentleman's post was that for most people the existence of gigabit ethernet is superfluous to needs, as implied in the article.

There was no need for rudeness.

I agree with his point. I used to look at what people were doing on their iPads, then iPhones when in transit as I was being assured that these then-new devices were tools of doing useful things on the move. All games, mostly stupid games too. These days it is video and texting/tweeting.

None of these requires gigabit ethernet.

It would seem on he face of it that gigabit ethernet is a solution looking for a problem. I have no doubt that the industry will find ways to fill the bandwidth. They always do.

Stevie
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Re: I feel sorry for the USA with their super-slow internet!

Well, the upside is that our email works most of the time and the last time the internet went away it was due to a hurricane and teh webz came back when I fired up Start You F*cking Bastard, my generator.

Seems like my mum and dad never had a good word for Tellus, and every week we read of lucky gigabit users being hung out by non-functioning ISPs.

Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

Oh my chord! Sennheiser hits bum note with major HTTPS certificate cock-up

Stevie
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Bah!

CDs. Conventional Stereo. Wired headphones.

aka "Air Gapped Music".

T'would seem I am immune to this dastardly exploit. Suck on it, net-aware fadyoofs.

It was a lit CeBIT see, got teeny weeny, world's biggest tech show yearly party... closed its German fest's doors yesterday

Stevie
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Re: English..

I'm with Valeyard. I understood immediately what the headline was trying to do, but I couldn't make the scansion work after five minutes of trying.

I must be pronouncing the words incorrectly.

What now, Larry? AWS boss insists Amazon will have dumped Oracle database by end of 2019

Stevie
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Bah!

Well, to judge by the various obvious database glitches suffered by Amazon over the last few months I wouldn't be crowing quite so loudly.

Heads of multibillion-dollar corporations doing self-marketing junkets. Gotta love 'em.

Great Scott! Is nothing sacred? US movie-goers vote Back To The Future as most-wanted reboot

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

" haven't actually SEEN that movie to confirm it. Maybe I'll get the DVD later, when it comes out"

And here we see why Hollywood won't make the sorts of film you want to watch, Bob.

Comic book movies and nostalgia-riddled remakes are almost always heavy CGI exravagonzos which work better on a big screen and even better on an IMAX in three D than they do on your flatscreen at home.

Change your own viewing habits, fund the movies you want to see made.

And take your meds.

Stevie
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Re: There is plenty of original material

I always thought Samuel R Delany's Nova would make excellent fodder for the big screen.

Stevie
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Suggestions for the putative BttF remake:

Start showing current Doctor Who regenerating into Marty McFly.

What?

Stevie
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Re: what the people want

See: Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Stevie
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Bah!

Given that I was forced to attend a screening of Fantastic Cheek: The Crimes of JK Rowling* at the weekend I'd say that all people wanting to complain about Hollywood also include the crap ideas being fed to it by their own countrymen.

* - A movie with no story and characters recycled from the never-ending HP saga.

Fact is that Hollywood will only make what they think will make money. Come up with a non-comic book, non-remake idea that people will actually go and watch for cashmoney, then you can take the high road and be king of the hill.

Eye-Witness Evidence is that new ideas on worthwhile subjects (eg First Man) are playing to almost empty theaters.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

Stevie
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Re: Sergeant at Arms

Speaker of the House (looks up from papers on desk with face like thunder): "Get me ... The Sarge!"

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