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* Posts by Chris King

954 posts • joined 13 Feb 2009

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Too many leftover screws? Ikea website backend goes TITSUP

Chris King
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Oh dear...

They've got three copies of the Disaster Recovery Plan, and none of them match what's in the data centre !

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UK.gov to tech industry: Hands up who can help cut teachers' admin

Chris King
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'Can you just pop in to the office and hit the power button?' 'Not really... the G8 is on'

Chris King
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Riot outside my front door...

I used to live near site on my last job - like two or three minutes walk to work.

This was normally a very peaceful, sleepy little rural town, the sort of place you can drive through and miss it if you blink, but one night the high street turned into a riot zone...

One of the local "ASBO families" (getting your first one was a rite of passage for this lot) were celebrating a wedding, and the reception spilled out on to the town's main road.

At the same time, a server died on site, and I decided to wander down to campus to sort it out - I could have done it remotely but I had to pop out anyway to get some milk.

As I opened my front door, a bar stool shot across my line of sight - had I stepped out a second or two earlier, it would have hit me at head-height.

I could hear screaming, shouting, alarms, sirens, and breaking of glass. Okay, I'll nip out the back door and take a different route.

Returning a few minutes later, I saw various family members being bundled into police vans - they had to call in cops from other nearby towns to assist with this mini-riot, and there was broken pub furniture everywhere in the street.

Bride and groom spent the first night of their honeymoon in the cells at different police stations, from what I could gather.

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Uptight robots that suddenly beg to stay alive are less likely to be switched off by humans

Chris King
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Terminator

T-Bot

If there's one 'bot that needs turning off permanently, that pesky little sod on MS Teams is first in line. You would have thought that they'd learned their lesson with Clippy and Bob, but ohhhhh, no...

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Chris King
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R2D2

He must have been *really* sweary - I mean, they bleeped out everything he said !

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Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

Chris King
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Re: Elphin safety

"I admit I got a kick out of telling The Doctor how to resolve his technical difficulties."

I got him to do me a new answer phone message last year - a little perk for backing a play he was in at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He's there again in the same show this year, alongside Robert "EMH" Picardo.

Yes, there is a "Doctor, Doctor" joke in there, and McCoy plays the spoons. Picardo bounces round the (minimal) set like a five-year-old that's had way too many fizzy drinks just before bedtime.

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Chris King
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Re: Sometimes violence is the only answer

"Never underestimate the power of CHRIS especially if he owns an impressive selection of hammers."

This Chris was given a baseball bat as a leaving present from his last job. "We heard you've got more clients in the new job, so we thought this might come in handy - you'll have to add your own razor blades and rusty nails though !"

I have even used it in anger on one occasion - nobody was injured but it made a hell of a racket when I smashed it against a table to break up a fight in my office. Peacekeeping Through Superior Firepower, you could say.

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Chris King
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Re: Sometimes violence is the only answer

THE POWER OF CHRIS COMPELS YOU !!! *whack*

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Chris King
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Re: The laying on of hands

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet"

I'm reminded of the Spitting Image sketch where Pope John Paul II has to read someone the Last Rites, which goes something like "Spiritus Sanctum, de-dum, de-dum... I don't know the rest but hey, no-one ever comes back to complain !!!"

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Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

Chris King
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WTF?

Re: Pictures or....

"Classic or New?"

New. 12 downvotes for wailing on Rufus Hound and bad scripts !

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Chris King
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Re: Pictures or....

"Anyway farming donvotes isuch easier and you can doing that just by mentioning Linux..."

Either that, or have a contrarian view about Doctor Who. Worst downvoting I ever got !

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Chris King
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Not quite redundancy...

...but a cautionary tale surrounding fixed-term contracts.

It you have two employees approaching the end of such contracts and you only have funding to extend one contract, make sure you remember to complete the paperwork for the one you want to keep...

Early on in my career, I found myself in that situation - I had hit the top of my pay scale and the post would have to be re-graded to keep me on, the other person was one point off the top of the scale so they just could extend her contract for a year. Simple financial decision, bye Chris.

I found myself another gig and moved on, but about a month later $EX_EMPLOYER rings up asking for help. Seems that they had forgotten to do the paperwork for the other person, and she found another job during her notice period.

Apparently she had cleared her desk on her final day, and walked out as though nothing was wrong. They only realised what had happened when she phoned in the following Monday morning to say that she wouldn't be in work that day - or ever again - because she had a new job.

Did I mention that this was a three-person team before I departed, and (my now former) boss was on holiday at the time ?

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Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway

Chris King
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How much do you think Cisco's paying erstwhile Brit PM David Cameron?

Chris King
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Re: pretty baffling

"Presumably, he got this stint through his contacts in cisco who had too much money to burn"

Maybe they're planning to implode and take the internet with them, blaming it on Juniper ?

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Chris King
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Re: Who is interested enough to hear these planks?

Other planks ?

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Boss helped sysadmin take down horrible client with swift kick to the nether regions

Chris King
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Re: Am I missing something?

"How would that help the user remember to flip the switch next time?"

Because the next time he calls out field circus, HE's the one that gets the kicking ?

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Heatwave shmeatwave: Brit IT departments cool their racks – explicit pics

Chris King
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Flame

Re: Why is this even a story?

Those sound like Micropolis disks. No need for a space heater in winter when you've got a couple of those in your workstation.

That, or Quantum Fireballs. The most aptly-named disks I ever used because they always felt like they were going to spontaneously burst into flame after a few hours use.

Icon, because toasty disks - AIIIIEEE !!! hot hot HOT HOT HOT !!!

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East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line

Chris King
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"It took about three hours and I still the guy is a legend."

What you had there was an "old school" engineer who actually understands how telephones work, rather than an "appeasement" engineer who just plugs in a JDSU (the little machine that goes "ping!"), can't find a fault and reports the line as "right when tested".

This happened to me three years ago, when my line got dumped into a "hot" VLAN after an exchange upgrade, and peak speed/latency went down the toilet in the evenings. BT sent out multiple SFI engineers, including some poor sods who didn't even know WHY they had been sent out ("Have you got a problem with your line, mate ?")

Fortunately, I'm with AAISP, and they gave BT a jolly good kicking (as is usual for them). They took it up to High Level Escalation and eventually got it fixed.

Even the MD got involved with that one

Yes, they're bloody expensive, but if something breaks, it gets fixed. Or BT/TT get another kicking.

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Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Chris King
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Trollface

Re: User-generated obfuscation

"Nah just try to read my handwriting..."

My careers teacher suggested I should be a doctor.

"King, your handwriting is so bad, it deserves to poison someone !"

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Hands up if you didn't lose data in the Typeform breach

Chris King
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Re: "(dont google reocn in work)"

"I said I wanted *bits* per second, Chris ! BITS !" Luckily, he didn't ask for NIBBLES per second...

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Chris King
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"(dont google reocn in work)"

Let's just say that www.netsnmp.org (note the missing dash) used to deliver more in the way of flesh tones than you'd expect for a piece of open-source software.

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What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill

Chris King
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Re: Want to chat with a Stork

"Dial 100 and ask to speak to Buzby."

It will confuse the agents from BT Bangalore, if nothing else.

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Chris King
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Coat

"Was it a StorkStork SIM?"

Given that they were tracking the bird, wouldn't it be StalkStork ?

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Chris King
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Chris King
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And the moral of this story is...

...don't use a normal contract SIM for this type of application. This is more of a job for a suitably locked-down M2M SIM.

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

Chris King
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Google don't like pedestrians...

"Why I did this, I cannot say, especially given my poor experience of Google Maps' walking routes in the past"

Preach it !

They've told me to walk directly over a busy roundabout and play Frogger with six lanes of live traffic before now, and they've even suggested dodgy walking routes through several towns in what looks like a deliberate attempt to get me mugged.

I'm still waiting for them to plot me a walking route that requires scuba gear and a wetsuit.

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IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Chris King
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Re: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like."

"That's why true entrepreneurs show up unexpected and look at how things really work."

Anyone who declares themselves to be an "entrepreneur", "thought leader" or "visionary" is not the real deal. If you have to claim a title, you are usually not worthy of it.

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Hipster horror! Slack has gone TITSUP: Total inability to support user procrastination

Chris King
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Re: Slack is down! OMG

Maybe they are just Lotus Notes fans an hate anything resembles usefulness!"

That doesn't explain why you got more than two downvotes.

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Chris King
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Re: Nothing to see here

"I don't know, about that- when my slacks are down very significant things can happen..."

And that's how AC ended up with a restraining order.

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UK.gov outsourcers must prove their 'social value' to win contracts

Chris King
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I know it's a crazy idea...

...but how about rating them on competence and ability to deliver on-budget/on-time/on-spec ?

Yeah, I know, stop being reasonable and sensible - this is the Government we're talking about here !

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So you're doing an IoT project. Cute. Let's start with the basics: Security

Chris King
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Chris King
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Am I the only person...

...who wants to smack IoT developers over the head with a copy of the OWASP Top Ten, wrapped round a large brick ?

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Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...

Chris King
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Re: Oh how the might have fallen...

No, we didn't need to. We knew our machine was superior and we knew that you knew that as well.

Games library? Pah.

So why were so many of the BBC Master Race addicted to Chuckie Egg and Frak! ?

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Pwned with '4 lines of code': Researchers warn SCADA systems are still hopelessly insecure

Chris King
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Re: SCADA systems running windows

How long before someone starts talking about PDP-11's and yelling "Get off my lawn, young whipper-snappers" ?

I don't even want to think what 80-year-old SCADA code might look like.

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Men are officially the worst… top-level domain

Chris King
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Holmes

Re: Throw in others and...

For me, it's .rocks, .shop, and .store. 100% spam, with no lumps of anything remotely like ham.

The big boys who bought their brand-name TLD's don't seem to be using them, so hopefully they only bought them to prevent squatting.

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US regains supercomputer crown from Chinese, for now

Chris King
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Re: Mega-Playstations

"I'm wondering where they are on the list now, could they combine them all and get to the top again"

Not a chance. Unless you continually upgrade your kit, you'll tumble down and out of the TOP 500 chart pretty quickly - it's not unusual for a machine to debut in a double-figure position, but be outperformed by the 500th-and-last machine on the list within two years.

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British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update

Chris King
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Mushroom

Re: Pointless emojis

"Top? Tell that to the mosquitoes."

Or the cockroaches.

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Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

Chris King
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Facepalm

Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

A previous employer had a very large plasma TV taken from their board room.

Two blokes fooled the Bursar into helping them dismount it, and to help them put it in the back of their unmarked white transit van.

He even waved them off as they drove away at speed, never to be seen again...

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Crappy IoT on the high seas: Holes punched in hull of maritime security

Chris King
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IoT goes where sensible people fear to tread...

...and PTP will be there to break them !`

I was at a conference the other week where PTP were presenting, and their guy broke out the Svakom Siime Eye as the last victim of the talk.

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UK military may recruit wheezy, alcoholic keyboard warriors

Chris King
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What does a "skilled cyber-operative" do for the UK military? Cyber attacks? Covert espionage? Writing tweets to Russia saying "stop it"?

Maybe they just leave one-star reviews on TrustPilot ?

"North Korea: Hard to get to, no free wi-fi, boss-man is a bit of a nutter. Would not visit again."

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Half of all Windows 10 users thought: BSOD it, let's get the latest build

Chris King
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Re: New Title

"Accompanied by the usual 'This will take a few moments. Do not switch off your computer' message."

Ah, Microsoft Time. A random number raised by a random number to the power of another random number, updated on an irregular basis... Three minutes to go, two, one, 30 seconds, 10 hours, pack a torch and a sweater because the sun will go out first, done !

Imagine a Doctor Who episode that referred to Microsoft Time. The Earth is surrounded by a Dalek invasion fleet, and as usual the bad guys announce their intentions in advance...

AT-TEN-TION, HU-MANS ! WE WILL DESTROY YOUR PLANET IN THREE OF YOUR MICROSOFT MINUTES !

Three days later, they'd scuttle off, muttering BUGGER THIS, AT LEAST THE CYBERMEN HAVE INTERNAL CLOCKS THAT KEEP REGULAR TIME !

(Well, how else would you keep a hive-mind synchronised ?)

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Police block roads to stop tech support chap 'robbing a bank'

Chris King
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Boffin

Re: at least they turned up...

I once went on a trip to the Kelvingrove Museum, and for some reason the coach driver took us through Govanhill.

At traffic lights, a bunch of kids started smiling and waving. Instincively, other passengers smiled and waved back, but something triggered the "what's wrong with this picture ?" part of my brain and I turned to the guy sat next to me...

Me: Do you see what I see ?

Him: Yeah. Piles of stones at their feet.

Me: Big, heavy, sharp ones too. You thinking what I'm thinking ?

Him: Smile and wave, but get ready to duck if they stop ?

Me: Pretty much.

Icon, because possibility of flying glass.

P.S.

No windows were harmed in the telling of this story

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Chris King
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It happened over 20 years ago and besides, the machine is long dead...

Starting at my previous job, I had to stay on late to fix a major network problem, and had closed the student labs earlier than usual.

My PC started to have a bit of a smoke, so I decided to move it outside before things got any worse.

Imagine the scene - the fire alarms go off, and I'm running out of a building with a PC billowing smoke, just as Mr Plod drives through the campus to deal with another incident.

Let's just say that I faced some awkward questions, just as the machine finally caught fire. (It was old and chock-full of dust).

One of the campus security guys then arrived on the scene, ran up to me and asked what had happened. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher and put the poor machine out of its misery, before wandering off to deal with the alarm.

Satisfied that I appeared to have authority to run out of buildings with burning computers late at night, the coppers went on their way.

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Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

Chris King
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Re: Ain't no flies on you!

"I used to work in information security. If I had been asked to do a general review of the security of a location, a ploy was to arrive at reception, and then ask - with some urgency - to go to the toilet. If they were inside the building from reception, this often got you admitted into the building without signing in, without a visitor's badge, and without an escort. FAIL!!!"

I've seem someone use one of these (or a good copy) to gain access to buildings in a similar way.

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Chris King
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That's fine, until some decides to cut budgets and makes this BYOD (Bring Your Own Disinfectant).

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Chris King
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"I half expected to see a whispering, waistcoated gentleman by the door offering to scent me with a range of aftershaves on my way out."

I was reminded of the toilet scene in one of The IT Crowd episodes...

"I just paid a pound not to go to the toilet"

I usually find that the most pretentious companies have the fanciest toilets. Especially in buildings specifically designed for "customer engagement", i.e. "the punters won't seem so sore about that last price hike because they had a lovely time here".

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Tech support made the news after bomb squad and police showed up to 'defuse' leaky UPS

Chris King
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"One of our engineers was gassed by a leaking UPS battery pack, had to be extracted from the comms room by the Fire Brigade and spent 6 weeks in hospital"

I'm guessing hydrogen sulphide, that's a common nasty you get from leaking lead-acid batteries. Nasty stuff.

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You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods

Chris King
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Re: Not UNIX-like? SNU!

It's not clever, but it's the future. From now on, all major distributions will be called SNU Linux. You can still freely choose to use a non-SNU linux distro, but if you want to use any of the "normal" ones, you will have to call it "SNU" whether you like it or not. It's for your own good. You'll thank me later.

And if you have a pair of machines go belly-up at the same time because of SystemD, is that Death by Snu-Snu ?

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Chris King
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I'm guessing that the one person who downvoted you wanted Lennart nailed to the tree first ?

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