back to article Field technicians want to grab my tool and probe my things

There’s a woman at the front door. She has come to twiddle my knobs. Here we go, you’re thinking: yet another puerile SftWS column opening with cheap sexual innuendo. Well, not this time, young Bucky. It’s been four years almost to the day since I first began writing these weekly rantings, so it’s about time I put an end to …

  1. WylieCoyoteUK
    Coat

    OOh missus!

    Sorry to mess with your stereotype, but these days, engineers carry tool cases or even briefcases, not boxes, and rarely wear overalls. They may even wear a smart suit.

    Except on TV of course, where an engineer always wears a stained boiler suit and a woolly hat and carries a clanking cantilever toolbox, even when working on advanced electronics.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OOh missus!

      ...and is often accompanied by an unseen funk band pumping out some chicka-wah grooves before the housewife that he's visiting finds that her clothes have accidentally fallen off.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

      Technicians carry tool cases. Before he departed for a country that actually valued engineers my brother used to say to people "I'm an engineer - and before you ask, I've never used a spanner in my life."

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

        People who fix washing machines, and TV's etc are not Engineers, in the same way the person ringing up the till in Boot's is not a pharmaceutical scientist.

        Anyway I am starting to wonder whether we will see a lot more repairman, the future is looking like you may be better of being low tech on a lot of things, IOT seems eminetly hackable at the moment, can't see the advantage of that over a good mechanical lock for example.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

          They're repairpersons now.

      2. YetAnotherLocksmith

        Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

        If you claim to be an engineer and have never used a spanner in your life, you likely aren't much of an engineer, truth be told.

        If you've never had the inclination to follow the life cycle of your product from cradle to grave, & play with, or even build, the machines that make your machines, you'll never be best at what you do.

        It's like saying you are a computer guru but never in your life touched a hard disk.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

          "If you claim to be an engineer and have never used a spanner in your life, you likely aren't much of an engineer, truth be told."

          Depends. I'm a civil engineer. I use spanners when I tinker with my motorbike, but I never had to use a spanner at work. For the kind of engineering work I do, my most used tool is a HP 48GX.

      3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

        On this side we call them monkey wrenches. One time I was working with German colleague and I handed him a monkey wrench. He said: "Ja, ein Englaeder". The Germans do not have a very high opinion of anybody else' engineering skills.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

          That would be an Engländer, which is one of several types of adjustable spanners or Verstellschlüssel. The name probably derives from the fact that a tool like that can save your bacon when you've got a complete set of metric spanners but suddenly have to deal with the odd non-metric screw*. Which would have happened quite a lot during the early stages of the industrial revolution - for example the first steam locomotives used in Germany** at the time were imported from England***.

          Another type of adjustable spanner is called Franzose (Frenchman), which is quite like an Engländer, but symmetrical.

          However, what most people (wrongly) call an Engländer these days, is actually a Rollgabelschlüssel - which was invented in Sweden by Johan Petter Johansson. IKEA has a litle set of tools that includes one of those. Very handy, actually.

          Another adjustable spanner is the Excelsior-Schlüssel, which combines features from the Engländer and the Rollgabelschlüssel. As the moving jaw can be fixed, the Excelsior can handle a lot more torque. I don't know whether Stan Lee owns one, though.

          Yet another type of adjustable spanner is the good old Rohrzange, which comes in so many shapes and sizes that I'm going to stop now.

          *Sounds like a fun way to spend the weekend, but that's neither here nor there.

          **At the time, i.e. at any given time before 1871, "Germany" technically didn't exist yet, except as an idea. The reality was a heterogeneous conglomerate ot several kingdoms, dukedoms and independent city states.

          ***The first steam train ran in 1835 Between Nürnberg and Fürth. The engine - Der Adler (The Eagle) was built by Robert Stephenson and Company in Newcastle.

          1. Mike Taylor

            Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

            That is more interesting than I care at admit at this stage of the day. I need a Franzose to complete my set.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

              Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

              Mike, you should also get a Rohrzange or several, but make sure it's from the KNIPEX brand. I've seen how they make them and yes, they are really, really good. The sort of quality stuff you can hand down over several generations.

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

            @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Handy, yes, but I have also seen them called "nut killers" and "knuckle killers" for obvious reasons. I would be very surprised if I saw one used in my local garage. One reason is ,of course, that they often take up too much space when used.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

              Re: OOh missus! - engineers carry tool cases

              Lars, I meant the IKEA tool set, that really is handy around the house for little jobs, and I don't have to go three flights of steps down to the basement/garage just to get a hammer or a screwdriver.

              With the bike it's always the proper spanner/ratchet/bit so the nuts and bolts don't get warped. Changed the Phillips screws of the cowl panels for Allen screws because the screws started to wear out. As I mentioned in the recent thread on 3D-printers, despite the crash bars I have reclassified the plastic panels as wear parts, sort of.

    3. Number6

      Re: OOh missus!

      Sorry to mess with your stereotype, but these days, engineers carry tool cases or even briefcases,

      So she turns up with a briefcase. Is that where she keeps her briefs?

      I have to admit when I saw the picture and the implication of in-your-end-o, I had flashback to some Star Trek comedy sketch where someone shouted "Scotty's been grabbed by the Klingons!"

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I see what you did there.

    TV repair men... got sick of technology repeatedly ruining their careers and ended up retraining as licensed taxi drivers.

    As well as enough innuendos for Matron and Dr Tinkle to go at it for half a Carry On film.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I see what you did there.

      Some of us founded computer repair departments during the home computer boom and moved into IT full time when we saw the writing on the wall for telly fettlers.

      Or at least I did.

      Never been short of a double entendre or, in an opportune moment, a single entendre.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: a single entendre

        Just a small one then?

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: a single entendre

          As the actress said to the bishop.

  3. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Only four years?!

    God it seems longer...

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Only four years?!

      I'll second that

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Just wait

    Until there is a rogue repairperson at the door. Harry Tuttle anyone?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Just wait

      If there's a lot of stairs to your front door you might end up with a rouge repairman.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just wait

      Tuttle or Buttle?

  5. Franco Silver badge

    For some reason the distress call from the IoT devices reminded me greatly of the episode of Red Dwarf where Kryten is due for replacement by the manufacturer. I hope you didn't tell the device there was no silicon heaven.

    1. Chris King Silver badge
  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    There really is no excuse for innuendo. Someone needs to be given a talking to. A good long stiff one.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "There really is no excuse for innuendo."

      In Dabsy's case no excuse is needed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An old business associate and I used to joke about setting up as 'Pitz d'Orf Home electronics repair'

    We were definitely Pitz d'Orf but we never put the name to use.

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
  9. DavCrav Silver badge

    You say to not wear a red boiler suit, but since IoT technicians are The Next Generation of repairmen, remember that red and yellow have switched. Don't want anyone to die out there.

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    BTW: Scotty wore a red shirt but he didn't die. Why? Because he was a proper engineer. Real engineers are badass.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Yes they are, and Kaylee is the living proof. Well, for moderate amounts of "living"...

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        I thought she had a rather nice ass.

    2. Chris King Silver badge

      Real engineers also know better than to beam down with the Captain while wearing a red shirt.

  11. 0laf Silver badge

    Ubiquitous Father Ted quote

    Mrs. Doyle: "Father Crilly, Pat wants to know if he can put his massive tool in my box."

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Father Ted quote

      Feck off IOT.

      1. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Father Ted quote

        "Feck off IOT".

        I love my brick(ed Revolv) !

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. regadpellagru

      Re: Ubiquitous Father Ted quote

      "Mrs. Doyle: "Father Crilly, Pat wants to know if he can put his massive tool in my box.""

      Was about to make the same comment. This Father Ted scene was awesome. The dude's wrench was absolutely massive. I don't think I've seen anything like this before.

      1. x 7

        Re: Ubiquitous Father Ted quote

        "The dude's wench was absolutely massive"

        disgusting language. She was simply well-endowed

  12. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    It's cold outside...

    Hell will freeze over before a company named TekRpr or, GajFix gets my business but a one man band repair outfit named BggrAyshn might well get a call.

    Of course this will be the second ice age in hell as the first one is needed before any IoT tat enters chez iShit and not just for the reasons Revolv demonstrates.

  13. Novex

    The Trouble is...

    ...that there won't be IoT repair men, there will be IoT replacement people who will come and simply take away the broken thing and replace it with a newer model at a price. Repairs seem to have gone out of fashion.

    But, maybe your repair woman could have a go with my 'thing'. It could do with an MoT*. But if it fails the MoT I'll need a new one...

    *MoT = Manipulator of Things

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: The Trouble is...

      ...that there won't be IoT repair men, there will be IoT replacement people who will come and simply take away the broken thing and replace it with a newer model at a price

      So yet more business for Sky Engineers then?

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Things To Come

      Goodness, why would the Thing Replacer be a person? Either there will be a Thing made for the purpose of bringing you a new Thing and taking away the old one, or your Things themselves will do it: those that are mobile anyway or supposed to be. Your front door will have a Thing-flap so they can let themselves in and out - or rather you will have your own app for control of your flap.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Things To Come

        Your front door will have a Thing-flap so they can let themselves in and out

        Which will then break down.

        It also will not allow other vendor's IThingReplaceThings through or have it replaced by another IThingReplaceThing, never mind Third Party IThingReplaceThings, so each of those will require its own proprietary IThingFlap, which will evidently require an extension to your house consisting entirely of doors in which these IThingFlaps can be mounted.

        You won't have control of these flaps, otherwise how can IThingReplaceThings come in and replace IThings when you're out? They don't want to disturb you have you around when they're "upgrading" your IThings.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Things To Come

          Stoneshop, I think you're getting into a bit of a flap.

    3. Blitheringeejit
      Alert

      Re: The Trouble is...

      And this brave new world shall be called "Things As A Service", and will include free OpenThings, pretty but expensive "iThings", and flaky "Things365".

      And these Things will monitor your every activity, and report your metrics back to Things Mega-Corp Inc, who will agglomerate everyone's metrics into a world domination strategy, and will therefore need to be regulated by the Ministry of Things.

      Or possibly OfThing.

      Please shoot me now.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... it’s about time I put an end to such smut"

    Oh?

    Hmmm.

    Nice column you have there, Mr Dabbs. It would be shame if something was to happen to it.

  15. frank ly Silver badge

    An innocent explanation

    "My house is full of IoT devices, ..."

    We're all hoping that this is because of your techno-journalist interests. (See many previous comments on IoT articles.)

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: An innocent explanation

      I don't have any IoT devices. I was imagining a future in which I might have some, possibly whether I want them or not.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: An innocent explanation

        You were imaging a future in which the IoT repair lady cometh? Perhaps they'll make a series of films about that in ten years time.

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge

          Confessions of an IoT Repair Lady.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: An innocent explanation

          > IoT repair lady cometh

          T'was on the Monday morning that the IoT being came to call,

          The tweedle wouldn't turn and I had no sprung at all

          It tore out the innards to try and find the cause

          And I had to call an engineer to put them back again

          It all make work for the working^Wjourno man to do

      2. frank ly Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: An innocent explanation

        I'm sorry Alistair. I didn't realise you were in story-telling mode.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: An innocent explanation

          I hope you realise I make all of this up. I don't even work in computing. I live in the countryside and grow parsnips for a living. My real name is Doris.

          1. x 7

            Re: An innocent explanation

            "I live in the countryside and grow parsnips for a living."

            Be careful

            Parsnip stems and leaves can give you a heck of a rash. Best to wear long sleeved rubber gauntlets when handling the plants

            1. hplasm Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: An innocent explanation

              "...Best to wear long sleeved rubber gauntlets..."

              Don't you wear these at all times? I do...

  16. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    TV Repair Shop

    There is one on the corner of my street. I did drop in once to see if they could fix an analogue oscilloscope but the chap behind the counter showed no enthusiasm for doing so.

    I imagine it is actually some sort of money laundering outfit, kept running for tax purposes, or simply an 'advanced garden shed option' for a man who really doesn't want to spend much time at home.

  17. GrizzlyCoder

    Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

    As an ex-field TV engineer of the 1972-1985 vintage I can tell you that you are way off even for then. We did NOT "align electron guns", we converged the beams by twiddling potentiometers that subtly affected the waveforms of the current in the scan coils.You may remember a fold-out panel that the engineer used to do this twiddling while gazing at Carol Hershee (or, more accurately, the edges of the screen around her). This was quite a scary thing to do as it also involved setting the static convergence which shifted the RGB images as a whole so that one overlaid the other (this was what the cross was for on Carol's tic-tac-toe board -- it was dead centre of the screen) by twiddling magnetized discs around the neck of the tube whilst simultaneously holding a mirror to see Carol's 'X'. These were also attached to the scan coils which were capable of shoving some fairly high amperage current at line-scan frequency (15kHz I think) up yer jumper if you weren't careful.

    Another fun job was when the EHT (about 20Kv) connection started arcing due to smoker's gunge settling around the cap. Even with the set off, the CRT acted as a very efficient capacitor that retained this charge even after a couple of 'shorting to chassis with crossed screwdriver' attempts. Because it was deep inside the set, a crack off a charged CRT usually caused you to involuntarily snatch your hand out of the set and gain several parallel laceration scars across the back of it from the soldered joints on the panels.

    In the end I got sick of getting yelled at by customers who had had to spend an evening talking to their spouse instead of vegetating in front of their electronic drug and kneeling in cat-piss behind their tellies (why did cats always choose to piss in the corner where the TV was?) so I took a drop in dosh and gave back the "company car" (a big deal in the day as it was an Escort estate) to go fixing Microvitec monitors and AV equipment at a local college. Thus was the start of my back door entry into the wunnerful world of IT. So now I spend my time fixing software but still for a bunch of shouty numbnuts... plus ca change....

    1. Wupspups

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      Have a thumbs up for reminding me of the joy of getting zapped by EHT. Almost as enjoyable as getting zapped in the ear by 50 volt ringer voltage when jumpering up new lines on the MDF of a 300 line automatic exchange (uniselector not Strowager)

    2. Fixing IT
      Happy

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      That brings back some memories. My (now retired) dad owned a small tv repair & rental business, and I took an interest from a young age and ended helping in the workshop & field repairs from about age 10. My first electric shock came via a careless hand too near a tube base. I remember the joys of convergence, using a cross-hatch generator if the test card wasn't on.

      I never kneeled in any cats piss (that I remember) but at the time I absolutely hated dogs. Think I must have been chased by one, or been a cat in a former life, but either way small yappy dogs I remember being a regular annoyance. Not the dog's fault of course, but owners who just let the bloody things do whatever they liked which mostly involved constant yap yap yap yap or even growls as you were trying to mend their owner's television. Come here Fifi Yapyap the poodle, why don't you have a sniff of this tube base..

    3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      "Even with the set off, the CRT acted as a very efficient capacitor that retained this charge even after a couple of 'shorting to chassis with crossed screwdriver' attempts."

      I'm going to be really pedantic here and note that the problem was that the system was an inefficient capacitor that couldn't discharge in a single hit. This was a big problem with early ceramic and paper capacitors too. I was actually involved in designing lightning strike simulation equipment for telecoms, and finding suitable capacitors at the voltages involved was quite difficult, as was designing the noninductive discharge circuitry.

      I had several conversations with the then H&SI expert on these things, and what it really came down to was that, as with tobacco and alcohol, if the safety rules applicable at the time had been retrospectively applied to TV sets, they would never have been allowed into production. Our kit had to be designed so that opening the lid was guaranteed to discharge the capacitors before the technician could remove the insulation. You could take the back off a colour TV set while it was working - necessary because of the lack of safe remote controls for the stuff on the neck of the tube.

    4. Tam Lin

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      '72? I think that's the year I fixed my last TV. Never did figure out how anyone could actually sit and watch the damn things, though.

      Over the next couple years I installed and repaired (non-TV) equipment in various places, including at least two television factories in the American midwest (Motorola and Philco ; I can't recall if Zenith built TVs in the factories I went to). They later sold out and hobbled up to but couldn't survive Reagan/Thatcher.

      Motorola's old campus (not where they built the TVs) now houses Zurich Insurance's brand-new Cathedral (at least 30% of which taxpayers are paying for but of course don't own) to Default Credit Swaps.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

        Actually, I just fixed my last TV last year, and it was literally my TV - it just refused to turn on at some point and I wasn't going to leave it at that. The CRT discharge thing (which I absolutely refused to do - I'm a chicken for sparky stuff) scared the hell out of me, so I just kept my distance. In the end it turned out to be the PSU mono-chip (clue: half of it found blown clean off, luckily with the markings still readable) but it started right back up nicely once that was replaced. It's not a thing I would enjoy doing regularly for a living though...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

          'The CRT discharge thing (which I absolutely refused to do - I'm a chicken for sparky stuff) scared the hell out of me'

          Pussy.

          Two long screwdrivers, first one on the 'dag, the other rested against the shaft of the first and gently slid under the EHT cap.

          Simple.

          Oh, probably best to turn the telly off first.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      Mhmm, fond memories, setting convergence with test card F from a Video 2000 tape recording that had hardly the bandwidth to show the coarse resolution bars.

      Don't cross the streams

      https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6106/6269915424_efb9f9c811.jpg

    6. Contrex

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      Ah delta gun tubes. Around 1986 I wrote a simple program to use my Sinclair QL as a crosshatch generator, kept on a microdrive (tape) cartridge, handy for when no testcard was being broadcast. The display didn't go to the edge of the screen but most punters were pleased with the results.

    7. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

      The one and only TV repair job I attempted as part of my "sideline business" at Uni involved replacing a transistor and redoing the convergence. For want of a proper test signal generator, I used a BBC Micro running a few lines of BASIC. I got the picture spot on, and without so much as a tingle, but was noneetheless relieved to put the back on. Two weeks later, the set got dropped downstairs.

      And after years frightened of live chassis and high voltages, I ended up getting a job working on gas ignition controllers .....

  18. Peter Simpson 1
    WTF?

    House calls? In this day?

    And a woman?

    You're leading a charmed life, sir.

    Best I can do is a phone call from a nice Indian gentleman informing me that my Windows machine has a virus.

    // kept him on the line for 30 minutes

    // and surely, it was HER tool?

  19. x 7

    "// and surely, it was HER tool?"

    men have tools

    women have toys

  20. Admiral Grace Hopper

    A workmate once asked me for a double entendre so I gave him one.

  21. x 7

    IoT=

    Internet of Toys?

    Internet of Tools?

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      The current internet is already full of tools

  22. breakfast
    Coat

    we used to be visited every now and again by a what we used to call a “television repair man”. He would drive up in a van clearly marked “TV Repairs” and enter the house dressed in a boiler suit.

    The most difficult part of this whole process was dressing the house in a boiler suit.

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Trollface

      >> we used to be visited every now and again by a what we used to call a “television repair man”. He would [...] enter the house dressed in a boiler suit.

      The most difficult part of this whole process was dressing the house in a boiler suit.

      Surely the trickiest part was mum worrying whether dad would notice the uncanny resemblance between the "tv repairman" and one or more of the kids?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I see your TV repairman lookalikes and raise you the Archbishop of Canterbury

  23. Martin an gof Silver badge

    Printer ink

    I’ve always hated the way printers force me to replace toner and ink cartridges that aren’t quite depleted

    I'll just put a word in here for the Xerox solid ink Phaser printers. They do have their own downsides, but the little wax crayons come in tiny plastic yoghurt pots and can be added any time, even in the middle of a print run.

    Solid Ink

    M.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Printer ink

      Yes - and the Xerox system works like this: have you seen the price of that ink? Basically the most expensive Phasers have huge boot sized lumps of reasonably priced ink, while the cheap ones follow the inkjet model of expensive ink. The results are lovely given suitable source material, but I really don't want to blow £2500 on a printer to get cheap ink.

      Early phasers also needed to keep the ink hot 24/7 or they had an ink flush cycle when restarting which used up a lot of both electricity and ink.

      Epson, I noted, are now selling printers with remote tanks that you can just top up at sane ink prices. My new printer is a business Epson.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Printer ink

        have you seen the price of that ink?

        They are not really printers designed for domestic use, though I do have one at home ;-)

        The ink is entirely comparable, print-per-print, with domestic inkjet and laser toner prices, though the latter have come down quite a lot in the last few years. Doesn't mean it's not stupidly expensive, but it is no more stupidly expensive than the other options.

        Yes, the ink has to be kept warm even in standby. It's a lot more than the <1W standby of a typical inkjet, but it's not a huge, vast figure on my model. I did measure it once, can't remember the figure offhand, but IIRC it averaged something under 50W, though this was very "spiky".

        M.

        1. moiety

          Re: Printer ink

          After wrestling with it for years, my conclusion is that the entire printer + ink industry can go and fuck itself with a particularly lumpy cactus. I just don't print stuff now; thus saving the planet; loads of cash and wear on my arteries.

  24. Chris G Silver badge

    Cats are fastidious

    Cats are fussy about what they eat, where they sleep and who is allowed tto pet them.

    When they piss behind the TV , it's a comment on the viewing habits of their pets.

  25. Disk0
    Thumb Up

    Thread wouldn't be complete without a Yankee Screwdriver

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZD8iVpZPKk

  26. x 7

    timely post...

    Interestingly a story has just appeared on the V3 website today that John Lewis are about to open in-store "Internet of Things" departments.

    John Lewis already have a successful home installation service for PCs (contracted through Orderwork/Empowered), it would be easy to expand that to IoT installation & servicing.

    Dabbsy's jokey article may be more real than he imagines

  27. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    > When they piss behind the TV , it's a comment on the viewing habits of their pets.

    s/pets/minions/g/*

    Or in some households, it's because the big, scary evil one [1] is blocking the way to the cat tray and takes malicious enjoyment in watching lesser beings [2] suffer.

    [1] Cat, not human. We don't qualify in any way other than 'big' (relatively speaking)

    [2] Any other cat than her basically. Other than the ginger, he's big enough and cognitively-challenged enough to not be frightened of her. Plus he's a whole lot stronger and enjoys fighing.

  28. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    extort is such an ugly word

    Perhaps you meant monetary extraction.

  29. x 7

    anyone remember those stupid all-in-one PCs where the motherboard was fitted directly below the CRT and the only was to get at the board was to remove the back and expose the tube?

    Working on those used to make me feel ill - the expectation of a belt off the tube, or the tube imploding in your face after accidentally knocking it with a screwdriver.

    I've seen some bad PC designs, but those were some of the worst

    1. admiraljkb
      Pint

      "anyone remember those stupid all-in-one PCs... "

      @x7 - I've got one in the attic still if you want me to forward it to you. It was a beast indeed, and even more fun to work on when the PC side of the power supply burnt out. Ironically, I didn't use it much after that...

      (actually I'd forgotten that beast was up there, but now need to figure out how to get rid of it, so umm, yeah, thanks for that! The city's tube recycle days are well over, and tubes are difficult to properly get off your hands now... Maybe if I ignore it another 10 years...)

  30. EveryTime Silver badge

    A historical correction here..

    TV repair men didn't change to satellite dish installers.

    Antenna installers changed into dish installers.

    It's an easy mistake to make. Some shops actually did TV repair. Most shops weren't that skill-intensive. They did TV installation, with a sideline of having a tube testing machine and selling replacement tubes.

    TV installation was a real mans' business. Old TVs were very heavy, awkward and delicate. Delivering them often took a pair of burly men. Erecting the antenna and running the antenna cable took time and physical construction. Even if there was an existing antenna, it often needed to be replaced (aluminum and steel exposed to the elements).

  31. admiraljkb
    Coat

    in my final year or so as an onsite Field Engineer...

    I only pulled out the whole tool bag when I had a lot of hardware calls, since carrying the whole bag just slowed me down when servicing 22 stories of a building... Keeping in mind that this was 1999-2000 - generally I just carried:

    * 3 screwdrivers - two small ones for laptops in my shirt pocket, and 1 big long one to screw/unscrew deep inside HP printers primarily

    * A small case of floppies with common drivers/bios/firmware for what was needed in the day, since the majority of my tickets were software rather than hardware.

    * a couple of HP pickup rollers in my pocket to fix paper jams that were due to old rollers. I was happy to see those kinda calls, they were always quick in/out affairs.

    * if going on a lot of HP LJII/LJIII calls (or IBM 3268 and 3274 mainframe printers), I'd carry lube for the squirrel cage fans. Leaving the bullpen carrying lubricant was guaranteed for some remarks on the way out though...

    (Hmmm, and re-reading the above, the innuendo bits above write themselves. It *mostly* wasn't intentional, but there it is, I'll get my coat before HR arrives... Field Engineering is a perverted field...)

  32. G7mzh

    More reliable?

    Modern TVs are not more reliable, if the number of the relatively new ones I've fixed is anything to go by. Granted, we no longer have to worry about PL509s flashing over, or the dreaded Sony SCS's going short, but the power supply modules of many current sets (all bought in on the cheap) are unrelaiable in the extreme, due to a combination of bad design and sub-standard components. Most shops aren't interetsed in fixing them, preferring the customer to send it to landfill and spend more money on a new one (and repeat the process in three or four years), but usually a repair can be done quickly and cheaply.

  33. SeanC4S

    Diabetic rants. The diabetic right. What's the world coming to? Anyway if there is an exchange that will clear some space in the forest for other plants and trees to grow.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019