* Posts by Chris King

475 posts • joined 13 Feb 2009

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Zero-day hole can pwn millions of LastPass users, all that's needed is a malicious site

Chris King
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"Because I've accidently and violently destroyed several of my USB sticks before"

Hello, little USB sticks. I'm Death Incarnate.

Best one had to be the poor little stick that got squished under the wheels of a 20-ton bendy bus.

"Pancaked" didn't even begin to describe the remains.

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Pokemon GO-ZILLA: Safety fears after monsters appear in Fukushima danger zone

Chris King
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If it isn't radiation or minefields, it's railway tracks...

Someone must really hate players, if they want to lure them into Birmingham New Street.

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Uber's dud private dick given a hard time by judge in stiff surge case

Chris King
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Re: Uber is prepared to push the envelope of legality

Sometimes I find myself wondering if they're also pushing the envelope addressed to Common Sense...

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World religions stake out positions on Pokemon Go

Chris King
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Gotta Damn Them All (To Hell) !

So Pokémon is on a fatwa as far as the Saudis are concerned. Does that mean that Pikachu is hiding in Salman Rushdie's spare bedroom ?

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BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

Chris King
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Printer salescritters

I hate it when they turn up with some new shiny that you just KNOW isn't going to integrate with the rest of your network.

One salescritter tried to persuade me to install massive MFP's in student labs, knowing full well that anything with less armour than a battle tank isn't going to survive that environment - let alone a big, fragile white shiny with lots of trays to jam and buttons for people to mash randomly.

The following day, said shiny turns up on the back of a truck.

"Go on, kick the tyres and see what you think", he said to me over the phone - the usual salescritter language for "just print off a couple of test sheets and sign here".

After he rang off, I started moving boxes of paper to where the printer was lurking.

"Are you really going to kick the tyres ?" one colleague asked.

"No. I'm going to smash the driver's window, break the steering lock, hotwire it, take for a few donuts round the car park and then set fire to it !"

Poor critter nearly choked when he collected it and checked the page count.

Hey, I needed a new set of OpenVMS and Cisco manuals, what can I say ?

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Tesla's Model S autonomous mode may have saved a life

Chris King
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"I guess that the car thought the pedestrian was another car in front of us?”

So it sounds like the car slammed on the brakes, but thought there was a car in front ?

Right decision, possibly wrong reason - what if the car was programmed to respond differently if a pedestrian stepped out ? (i.e brake harder to avoid contact at all costs ?)

"We would have sustained no damage whatsoever by striking that animal"

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BT customers hit by broadband outage ... again

Chris King
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Re: "DNS Issues"

You're preaching to the choir here, AC...

Router down - "DNS is broken"

Remote site is down - "DNS is broken"

FOTT (Firewall On Too Tight) - "DNS is broken"

Chain a bunch of CNAMEs together and remove one in the middle - "DNS is broken"

Mail server is blacklisted - "DNS is broken"

Users' favourite cat picture site breaks their database - "DNS is broken"

...and so on. Sadly, routinely arming DNS engineers is not an option. It's not so much a health and safety issue, the cost of ammunition would cripple the business.

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TalkTalk: 9,000 broadband customers did the walk walk last quarter

Chris King
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Re: I walk walk'ed

I'd recommend you do put the boot in before they set debt collectors on you for payment of an invoice you never received.

That advice applies to ANY ISP, telco or mobile phone service.

Make damn sure they've agreed that you don't owe them any more money, and get that in writing. Preferably in triplicate. In blood.

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Chris King
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Re: Chuggers

Is it me or does anyone else find their "street chuggers" overly agressive?

Oh hell, yes ! (Cardiff)

They won't take no for an answer, assume you're with one of the "big four" and assume that you only want to change ISP because you want a cheaper service.

Sometimes, I enjoy watching their brains dribble out of their ears when I try to explain that I've got a TalkTalk Wholesale line at home. (AAISP Home::1) and it's so much better than the crap they're trying to foist on me.

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If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

Chris King
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Re: AC

"I worked for 3Com, designing Token Ring switches...evil things, and almost impossible to get through emissions testing, what with all the ports switching at the same time."

Evil things... That described a lot of the 3Com kit I had to herd. Especially the NetBuilder II and a LinkBuilder MSH that was the core of our network - I dreamed of using their replacement (a fully-laden Catalyst 5500) to crush them both, but they had to leave the machine room intact because they had trade-in value.

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Chris King
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Re: AC

"I'll raise you 10BASE5 and joy of vampire taps".

All these youngsters talking about the Cat5-O'Nine-tails, pah. A good bit of armoured 10Base5 with a vampire tap on the end was far more durable AND delivered more in the way of blunt-force trauma !

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Chris King
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Re: Backups underwriters and overpriced household furniture

"Which would explain why the bean-counter was getting twitchy and piling the pressure onto someone else".

But three days ? How did they cope with things like Christmas, unless they paid someone to come in and perform/check backups ?!

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Chris King
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"SCO: My preferred OS for running small businesses back in the day. But with Informix".

Reasonable software. Shame about the lawyered-up cockwombles who came along later.

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Chris King
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The mouse might have used a 9-pin D connector but connected via a proprietary card in the PC, aka "bus mouse". Most of the ones I saw back in the late 80's/early 90's were Microsoft InPort devices with round plugs, but I seem to recall some other brands used D plugs/sockets - and some of them used male/female the other way round to serial ports so they didn't get mixed up.

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Chris King
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Re: Backups underwriters and overpriced household furniture

"He told us that if we don’t have a database backup by the end of the third night, the underwriters for the company insurance would pull our cover (including employer's liability) essentially putting the company out of business".

If the insurers are putting in clauses like that, then your bean-counters probably cheaped out on the policy and accepted such exclusions to keep the premiums down.

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Chris King
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Re: Full marks for extra experience!

"Do you have a microscope and polishing kit to hand?"

If they're cutting and terminating cables like that, probably not.

And they probably "tested" the cable by plugging both cables into a barrel connector at one end, then shining a torch down the other end.

This is what happens when you cheap out and subcontract networking installations to the local sparkies, and he subcontracts the fibre installs.

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MPs tell BT: Lay more fibre or face split with Openreach

Chris King
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"It arises because BT appears to be deliberately investing in higher-risk, higher-return assets such as media properties, and not investing in profitable lower risk infrastructure and services through Openreach," said the report.

tl;dr version - Less Footy, More Fibre !

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Gaming apps, mugging and bad case of bruised Pokéballs

Chris King
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UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

Chris King
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Re: A Proposal

If that's meant to be a Daily Heil front page article, you need to add something about it causing cancer, and possibly bonus points for weaving in something about evil false widow spiders because they really hate unpatriotic foreign insects.

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Chris King
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"...this law will complete the transformation of the UK into a third world police state"

To quote Douglas Adams "There is another theory which states that this has already happened".

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Chris King
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Knitting your own crypto...

We've seen plenty of stories where criminals and terrorists have tried (and failed) to use cryptography properly, but you can bet that HMG breaking "normal" protocols will result in someone developing viable alternatives.

All it will take is a few evil (or disgruntled) crypto experts, and the spooks are back to square one.

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Chris King
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Law of Unintended Consequences

And when the rest of the planet stops trading with us because encryption is b0rked in the UK, will we be reduced to paying for everything with Postal Orders ? It's not like we can even guarantee personal cheques any more.

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IBM scraps loyal staffer gifts in favour of... a congratulatory social page

Chris King
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Re: It could be worse

"Logans Run anybody ?"

Except this lot would make you pedal the bikes to power the Carousel, for the folks in the batch ahead of you.

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Chris King
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Re: Gamification of the workplace!

Another obligatory Dilbert...

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Chris King
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"consumer grade IBMer experiences"

"consumer grade", meaning cheap, crappy and featureless ?

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Chris King
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Drowning Dalek commands Siri in voice-rec hack attack

Chris King
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Chris King
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Re: That last command...

But "EXTERMINIEREN !" is not even a real German word - they should have been screaming "VERNICHTEN !"

Of course, they didn't quite get the voices right in the 80's

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Chris King
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Re: drowning dalek ?

"Sounds more like The Borg...

"We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."

"Hang on lads, it's a Windows Phone !"

"Bugger. Nothing worth pinching from these Humans then".

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Chris King
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"SIri, where do they keep the nuclear wessels ?"

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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

Chris King
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"Ask Eadon. He won so hard he was whisked away to a different plane".

Nah, the mother ship returned for him and beamed him up.

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Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

Chris King
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Re: From comments around the internet

"Hershey is the worst chocolate ever".

Ah yes, the homeopathic stuff. Rumour has it one of the factories has a sealed tin of cocoa powder and they occasionally wave it in the general direction of the production lines.

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YouTube sharecroppers start world’s most useless trade union

Chris King
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Re: Bah!

I just assumed it was Hipsterese for "Somebody PLEASE give me a job".

Thinking about that again, it struck me that we've already seen this method of opportunistic job-hunting in other media.

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Chris King
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Re: Bah!

I just assumed it was Hipsterese for "Somebody PLEASE give me a job". They're usually the same folks who describe themselves as "budding entrepreneurs" on LinkedIn, or just stick their Twitter handle in their bio with nothing else.

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Chris King
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Re: Bah!

Sounds more like an "employee association" rather than a union - you know the sort of thing, run by management shills to give a pretence of "representation" but neatly steps out of the way to push you under the bus when things go wrong.

Been there, done that, almost ended up with a set of tyre marks on my back.

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You Acer holes! PC maker leaks payment cards in e-store hack

Chris King
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Re: Storing CC security verification codes

"Strictly not allowed to store the security code"

They're allowed to store it up to the point the transaction is authorized, but not afterwards - not even if it is encrypted.

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UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Chris King
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Re: Engineer

"The term Engineer has been used to represent technicians and general workers for such a long time that the title has no real status in the UK. As others have stated, on the continent an Engineer is held in high regard to the same status as a doctor or lawyer".

In Europe, "Engineer" is a protected title, but it isn't in the UK. I've been a Chartered Engineer for 18 years but I'll have to sign up with FEANI for that fact to be recognised in mainland Europe.

I've absolutely no idea if Brexit would affect the 30-odd UK engineering bodies who are members, though.

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Microsoft to buy LinkedIn

Chris King
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26 Billion Dollars ?!

Like I've said before about Twitter - those figures only make sense if you mean the Zimbabwean Dollar rather than the American.

26 billion ZWD = a bag of penny chews in any normal economy, and STILL a rip-off price.

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Let's play: 'IT values or hipster folk band?'

Chris King
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Welcome to TalkTalk

Sorry this part of the site is not available right now.

It's probably hiding with the help page that said that IPv6 used six-byte addressing.

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Sysadmin 'fesses up to wrecking his former employer's IT systems

Chris King
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Re: I thought?

Unless you're dealing with a place that's never had to fire a sysadmin before.

I've had to write "exit procedures" for such situations, if only to protect myself when it was time to go - I like to make sure that, even if no-one else thinks about it, that I've been removed from EVERY system before I depart the building the final time.

I also build systems to what I call the "V'ger Rule" - if you've seen "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", you'll understand. Put simply, the "V'Ger Rule" states:

"A System must continue to operate in a correct and safe manner in the absence of its Creator".

Remove my accounts. and it carries on running as though I was never there.

Or, to put it another way:

  • No blowing up any spaceships ;
  • No joyriding in Carbon Units ;
  • Fat, balding starship captains are to be shot on sight, especially ones that follow the "If you can't eat it, drink it, steal it, spend it or have sex with it, blow it up" mantra.

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Developer waits two years for management to define project

Chris King
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Re: "While workers sorted out desks and networks and other niceties..."

My last job was a bit like that... The previous sysadmin/netgod disappeared eighteen months earlier and the whole place had gone to crap IT-wise.

I turned up on my first day, and they said "Sorry, we haven't had time to fit your office out yet..."

Bare walls (by which I mean "Bare Brick"), threadbare, stained carpet, third-hand office furniture, and a PC that burst into flames within a week of me starting. Running out of the computer centre with a burning tower unit after the building was closed DID rather attract the attention of Mr Plod, who just happened to be driving through campus at the time !

A few days later, I also ended up with an insect infestation as a bonus... Flying ants in the office, bats in the roof cavity above me, and Lord of the Flies waiting out for me on the network.

(Bonus points: Piggy was already dead and the Conch had been smashed)

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BOFH: What's your point, caller?

Chris King
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Re: Gaffa tape

Or how about using it for some... ahem... "gift wrapping" ?

I particularly like the advice in the last frame.

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Bletchley finds Hitler plain text war machine on Ebay, buys for £10

Chris King
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I feel a Downfall pardody coming on...

Anyone who isn't an eBay PowerSeller or Above Standard, leave now.

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING ?! NOW WE'RE GOING TO BE UP TO OUR NECKS IN SODDING HIPSTERS, TELLING EVERYBODY THEY WERE DOING CRYPTOGRAPHY BEFORE IT WAS COOL !

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Blighty's National Cyber Security Centre cyber-reveals cyber-blueprints

Chris King
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'Acts of war in a combat zone are not covered by your laptop warranty'

Chris King
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Re: It's not "Help Desk"

I've done ITIL. Whatever we call it, users call it "Help Desk" and are irritated by other names.

Call it Service Desk, call it Advisory, slap a fancy title on it, it's still the Help Desk to the end user, because they want "Help", not "Service".

I once got my wrists slapped for asking if that was "service" in the way that bulls "service" cows.

Maybe they took exception because someone posted a picture of bovine-on-bovine action into the e-mail thread, I don't know...

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A UK digital driving licence: What could possibly go wrong?

Chris King
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Re: It Bodes

And does having a flat battery count as "failure to produce valid documents" ?

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Chris King
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Re: It Bodes

"So you have a copy of your license on your smartphone, wow, except someone has nicked your phone and their mate who looks a bit like you is now flashing your ID when stopped by Police. That's going to come out well isn't it?"

The same smartphone that's probably full of malware, so not only is it sending off your 2FA codes for on-line banking to its new Russian masters, they've got a copy of one of your ID documents...

"Yes, Comerade Barclays, I am wanting £20,000 loan, £250,000 mortgage and £2,000 overdraft all at once".

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Microsoft shifts Windows 7 and 8.1 fixes to 'rollup' bundles

Chris King
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Oh boy, yet more "Mystery Meat" Updates...

One problem I see with bundling patches like this (apart from forcing us to chow down on the obvious GWX and telemetry "shit sandwich") is that it will be FAR more difficult - if not impossible - to remove individual patches.

Sometimes, somebody has something installed on their machine that chokes on an update (usually something obscure, or Crystal Reports), and being able to pull that update for those individuals can get them working again reasonably quickly - at least until the update (or the offending app) is fixed. Rolling back an entire patch cluster could be a whole different matter.

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Sainsbury’s Bank insurance spam scam causes confusion

Chris King
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It's also not uncommon for companies to outsource e-mail marketing to third parties,who may turn out to be spammers, or who outsource to spammers themselves.

Kelloggs made that mistake, but when I pointed out that I hadn't signed up for "My Special K" e-mails, they cleaned up their lists and I haven't had a single spam from them since.

Saga, on the other hand, did not. They actually admitted to using the services of a well-known spammer-for-hire, and that they had "listwashed" me with said spammer-for-hire - which has since resulted in even more spam for pensions, equity release and funeral plans. Not to mention even more spam from Saga !

An organisation that can't treat me with respect right now is NOT going to benefit from me in old age or death, that's for sure.

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Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing

Chris King
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Re: Sticky platters

"I had that quite a lot with some Convergent MiniFrames with Micropolis disks. Ended up having a rubber mallet in the toolkit. Obviously frustrated kick could work too, but had the risk of being too hard, or causing other damage".

Part of my Y2K preparations included "Retire any old clunker still running with Micropolis disks", the savings on power and aircon alone made that one viable.

Dealing with "stiction" problems on the bigger DEC RA-series and Fujitsu Eagles needed something more substantial than a rubber mallet, and I once "cold-booted" a MicroVAX II quite literally by giving it a swift kick !

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