back to article Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

Everyone is looking at me as I break into a sweat. "Come on, come on," I mutter to my smartphone but already the harrumphing has begun. Why do English people harrumph when they're impatient? They could shout "Hurry up, fool!" or offer to help. But no, they always prefer to make a guttural hissing sound through their noses, …

  1. Ian 56

    Public wifi?

    Might I respectfully suggest, that if security is in any way a concern, that you DO NOT USE PUBLIC WIFI!!1!

    Ahem. Sorry got a bit shouty there.

    Also, there's a fine line between mocking the type of beverages sold in coffee shops ("extra-hot fair trade soya decaf caramel mint chocka mocha focka carbonated Bulgarian snow forest chai espresso latte plus vegan sprinkles and a twist of lemming"), and mocking the type of person that frequents such establishments. I tend to the latter, though I realise there is more than a little element of reverse-snobbery involved. I'm sorry about that too.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Public wifi?

      Certainly no auto-connect, saved password (therefore presumably no password and/or publicly advertised password), hence no useful encryption, public wifi in a public place.

      Sure, things should be TLS nowadays for anything important and throw warnings if the intermediate certs are wrong, but even so. Even DNS hijacking is possible over the air on encrypted things and who deploys DNSSEC? And the easiest way to provide a fake cert for a site? Use a fake DNS record to pretend to be "authoritative" for that domain.

      Wifi off, no auto-connect (except to your own, secured, trusted networks, I'd say).

      To be honest, what kind of prat is trying to pay for a coffee with a phone app? And paying in cash is just as bad in this day and age. NFC payments or a card, people. Stop faffing around with proprietary tech that reinvents a wheel that's been around for over a decade now.

      I literally cannot remember the last time I paid for anything in cash. I have precisely £0 and 0p on my person now. Even the pound-coin in the car for the shopping trolley is a fake one.

      I have never used a proprietary app in a shop (I have PayPal and Android Pay on my phone for office-biscuit-fund-even-out matters, neither can authorise any payment whatsoever as NFC is off and they both need my password to work).

      I haven't even used tap-payments yet.

      I just use a card, like I have for the last 20 years.

      1. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Public wifi?

        Forget coffee, you should try charging an electric car. To use public chargers you need a bunch of apps with logins, a wallet of RFID cards, and cards & direct debits to subscribe, pre-load, top up, or pay on the day. It's a total mess.

      2. TheProf
        Angel

        Re: Public wifi?

        "And paying in cash is just as bad in this day and age. NFC payments or a card, people."

        Yes, I can't recall the number of shops I've been in where they've had a sign reading something like 'No cash. Cards only. Till drawer jammed.'

        It was such a romantic evening in that country pub a few years back. The electricity failed and the place was lit by candles. The beer was hand pumped, and the till made that lovely 'Pink Floyd' cash register noise.

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Public wifi?

          "Yes, I can't recall the number of shops I've been in where they've had a sign reading something like 'No cash. Cards only. Till drawer jammed.'"

          I ventured into a shop with a similarly worded sign recently. I shrugged my shoulders, said "No custom" and ventured straight back out again.

        2. Agamemnon
          Pint

          Re: Public wifi?

          Please accept this for both the story and the reference to the register in Money.

          I use cash. I like cash. It's boring old US cash but no one has ever told me I can't use it, that it isn't welcome, that their shit doesn't work and I can't use it. Work fine in The US, Jamaica, Mexico, South America and some of Canada.

          I was stopped for a search (pre 9/11) in Detroit once and the DEA guy (ATF guy was totally cool and funny) asked if I thought it was odd that I was carrying $1000USD on my person (meaning *he* thought it was odd) to which I replied: "Have you ever tried to get a cab from the airport to the hotel and then a hotel AND THEN a meal in Ogden Utah at 2200Hours when the power as out because of a (really cool) snow-storm, and nothing card related worked? Because I have and because of *that*, I'll just carry a bit of dosh to tide me over for a few *days* when I travel, in case of, you know, winter, storms, Murphy." (The punchline to this story is when I asked the ATF guy who the hell sneaks drugs *IN* to California, which was my destination.)

        3. //DLBL SYSRES

          Re: Public wifi?

          Cash is expensive to bank and bloody inconvenient for retailers.

          "How much for cash?" can and should result in a more expensive bill.

      3. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: Card - no

        Cannot agree to the card alternative unless it is the pay-by-bonk variety.

        People in the queue are usually in a hurry to get their cuppa or at least, justifiably, want to stand in the queue as little time as possible. The customer who holds everybody else up using a card to pay a few quid is the prat against whom the harrumphs will be pointless.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Card - no

          People in the queue are usually in a hurry to get their cuppa or at least, justifiably, want to stand in the queue as little time as possible.

          In the USA, we still have paper checks, which people will write to pay for things. At the supermarket. In the "Express" lane. After the cashier has totaled. Using coupons. Without getting their picture ID ready. After having to get a price check from an employee for a $1 item located at the opposite corner of the store.

          [That's why I don't take my Claymore to the supermarket anymore]

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Card - no

            [That's why I don't take my Claymore to the supermarket anymore]

            Bloody hell.. I knew the gun etc laws were stupid over there but you can even buy those in a supermarket? Or did you mean "don't take" as in that's what you normally use for personal defence?

            (Actually the gun laws are probably fine, it's the damned culture that's the issue!)

            1. Robert Sneddon

              Re: Card - no

              Which kind of claymore, the long pointy stick kind or the gently-curved plastic slab with "this side towards enemy" stencilled on it?

        2. Sadie

          Re: Card - no

          Then you get someone who wants to use Bitcoin with no/min fees, and wait 2 hours for the transaction to confirm

        3. herman Silver badge

          Re: Card - no

          Err... Sorry, only pretty young lasses can pay by bonk - Dabsy gotta use a card or an app.

      4. Jason 24

        Re: Public wifi?

        "And paying in cash is just as bad in this day and age."

        Certain "goods" aren't payable via card, and I'd ideally like to keep a little bit of mystery between my bank and me, I'll keep my cash thanks.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Public wifi?

        "I just use a card, like I have for the last 20 years"

        Were you that bastard who was in front of me in the corner store the other day trying to pay for a bottle of water and a packet of crisps with a bank card that necessitated the stores card machine using dial up to contact your bank , while i was waiting in the queue with a 15 pack of carlsberg getting heavier in one hand and the correct money (a tenner) in the other hand ready to slap on the counter as soon as you got out of the way?

        I'd advise upgrade card to contactless - quicker than slapping a tenner down, but probably only in big shops, like wetherspoons.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Public wifi?

          I'd advise upgrade card to contactless

          So people can steal your money/details more quickly and imperceptably? Fine, if that's your thing..

          1. PC Paul

            Re: Public wifi?

            The first figures I found in a lazy Googling were these:

            "Fraud on contactless cards and devices remains low with £2.8 million of losses during 2015, compared to spending of £7.75 billion over the same period. This is equivalent to 3.6p in every £100 spent using contactless technology while fraud on contactless cards and devices accounts for only 0.5 per cent of overall card fraud."

            That was from https://www.financialfraudaction.org.uk/fraudfacts16/

            I happily use contactless for most small purchases now, even though I am well into cybersecurity and know the risks. Having per-transaction and per-day limits makes a lot of sense and limits the damage that could ever be done.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Public wifi?

          I'd advise upgrade card to contactless - quicker than slapping a tenner down, but probably only in big shops, like wetherspoons.

          Oh I so love those cards! Someone left one beside a machine in a shop a couple of years back. I got lots of goodies off it over the next couple of days! Didn't even mind the extra driving to head to places outside my normal area, because - well, some other poor bastard was paying for the stuff! Didn't even have to take it out of my pocket!

          Ok, I actually intended to be honest and turn the card in and all but I was going to pay for something else out of my account, lifted my wallet to grab the normal card from it, the machine beeped and I'd paid for my stuff accidentally with their card. After that it was just a bit of fun, and a fair bit of money (you can buy a lot of stuff in $90 increments!).

          [Please note that the above is quite untrue, except the finding the card by the machine and turning it in on the spot - it is however quite possible I'm sure. Oh, and the paying for stuff by accident is something that happened but I had the newly issued card for the business in the wallet and when I went to get my own card, the system picked that up and paid for it. After that the business card stayed in the office unless I expected to be using it.

          1. Matthew 3

            Re: Public wifi?

            "...it is however quite possible I'm sure."

            Yes, it is more than possible. Martin Lewis' site reports one victim still finding fraudulent transactions eight months after cancelling a lost card.

            This is possible because banks do not automatically check all contactless payments immediately. Some are processed as 'offline transactions' and are only checked later. One bank told the Guardian that virtually all transactions for less than £15 were not immediately checked.

      6. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Public wifi?

        Cash, never fails. Apps fail, cards fail, jingly coins or crispy notes always get the job done, & with more anonymity.

        1. David Lawton

          Re: Public wifi?

          you are wrong, ive had cash fail ! I had a £10 note to pay for 2 pints and the pub refused to accept it because of the way it glowed under that UV fake note checker thing. So i had to switch to card and then go the bank after to get my £10 swapped.

          I tend to use Apple Pay where possable as its faster than card or cash, then card, but keep a little bit of cash on me for when thats the most convenient or as a backup (we all in IT love backups dont we?)

          The one i dont like is these pay apps, they are slower than anything else we have.

      7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Public wifi?

        I literally cannot remember the last time I paid for anything in cash.

        I literally can't remember when I was interested in faffing around with NFC (either in app form or in the form of a prox-enabled card).

        Oh - yes I can. It was about 3 years ago. For about 5 seconds I was interested until I thought about the security implications. At which point, I went back to using cash and/or chip 'n PIN.

        Stop faffing around with proprietary tech that reinvents a wheel that's been around for over a decade now.

        Oh - the irony. How long has cash been around again?

        I do admit to using NFC one - to pair my new Sony headphones to my phone. Haven't bothered since - it's just as easy to do manual Bluetooth pairing.

        And that's the only thing I use bluetooth[1] for. Nasty, insecure, power-sapping, incapable of proper music streaming pile of drek that it is..

        [1] Although I did use a bluetooth dongle on one of my linux boxes to allow my Nokia 770 to do data. But that was years ago, when I was young and foolish. I'm not so young now.

      8. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Public wifi?

        "I just use a card, like I have for the last 20 years."

        Like my better half then eh? :)

        I *have* to carry cash, as all the women in my life insist that everywhere takes cards, and are shocked (SHOCKED I tell you) when they discover various discount shops, takeaways, bars, food vans and market stalls don't in fact take whichever flavor of card they have.

        Also never had anyone take five grand in cash from me, but have had that happen with a card. You know, with all those security features that allow it to decide that it being used in the Netherlands at 7pm, then two hours later is being used in Jakata. Where the PIN is incorrectly entered nine times, then correctly done....

        Card fraud happens so often that it's often only when you are either on a super tight budget, aren't using your card much, or are doing some detailed budgeting do you notice the various weird and wonderful payments that are disappearing out of your account.

        Nicking my cash at least requires physical access at the time.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Public wifi?

      Personally I prefer to drink coffee.

      Although, to be fair, I remember my first visit to a Star*ucks (one of very few). After staring in horror at their lengthy menu covering half the wall, I just asked for 'coffee please' and they didn't bat an eyelid, just gave me a straight forward black coffee. Didn't taste too bad either.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: "coffee please"

        Sadly, my own experience doesn't reflect that...

        I went to a greasy spoon in a small northern market town for breakfast, and the menu included a pleasant variety of fried-meat-with-eggs options.

        I ordered my food and asked for a black coffee to go with that. The waiter looked thoughtful for a few moments and said "err...I could do you an Americano, if that's OK?"

        My thoughts turned to drawing up a map, charting the progress of caffeine-related poncification across the country...a bit like those grey-vs-red squirrel maps that you see in country parks.

        1. handleoclast Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "coffee please"

          I always ask for coffee-flavoured coffee.

          It confuses them.

          1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

            Re: "I always ask for coffee-flavoured coffee."

            Not maple nut crunch?

            +1 for the Denis Leary reference.

          2. harmjschoonhoven
            Thumb Up

            Re: "coffee please"

            I always ask for a affogato. It never confuses members of the Guilde suisse des Restaurateurs-Cuisiniers.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: "coffee please"

          "Regular Americano, hold the milk and half the water, in a small cup."

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: "coffee please"

            "I'll have a tea."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Happy

              Re: "coffee please"

              In Hoxton: "Nice Apple Watch bro, is that the ceramic one? What beard oil are you rocking?"

              1. //DLBL SYSRES

                Re: "coffee please"

                In Hoxton: "Nice Apple Watch bro, is that the ceramic one? What beard oil are you rocking?"

                Someone on the pull there.

                WTF were you doing in Hoxton anyway?

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: "coffee please"

              "I'll have a tea."

              Indeed. And, preferrably, made with proper tea leaves, in a pre-warmed pot. Not made with Tetley's finest floor-sweepings in a cup that last saw a dishwasher the day it left the factory..

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: "coffee please"

                "in a cup that last saw a dishwasher"

                Toddington services?

              2. Robert Sneddon

                Re: "coffee please"

                "Captain Vimes will have it boiled orange in a builder's boot with two sugars and yesterday's milk."

                Proper copper tea.

            3. TomPhan

              Re: tea please

              Unfortunately that often results in being given a paper cup of hot water and told to take a bag of whichever tisane you want.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: tea please

                "paper cup of hot water"

                Hot? Luxury!

            4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: "coffee please"

              "I'll have a tea."

              It'll probably be served tasting faintly of coffee.

              1. dajames Silver badge

                Re: "coffee please"

                "I'll have a tea."

                It'll probably be served tasting faintly of coffee.

                I didn't know Starbucks were masters of irony ... their coffee tastes nothing like coffee, so why would their tea?

                [Last time I found myself unavoidably breakfasting in a Starbucks I did indeed opt for tea, and got handed a rather hipsterish upmarket nylon teabag stuffed with large tea leaves, and a cup of almost hot enough water. A surprisingly successful outcome, considering.]

              2. michael cadoux

                Re: "coffee please"

                Echoes of HHG's Nutrimatic Drink Machine!

            5. Keef

              Re: "coffee please"

              Dave Gorman would agree with you.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "coffee please"

            "Double Quadruple Espresso with milk & Sugar"

        3. jmch Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: "coffee please"

          " a pleasant variety of fried-meat-with-eggs options" puts me in mind of...

          Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam, spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam, or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "coffee please"

          "I ordered my food and asked for a black coffee to go with that. The waiter looked thoughtful for a few moments and said "err...I could do you an Americano, if that's OK?""

          Odds are that some salesman sold them a push-button machine based on his patter that people no longer drink "coffee", but a whole range different styles of "coffee" which are actually all the same shot of espresso adulterated in different ways. Since said machine doesn't have a button labelled "coffee" and the old filter coffee maker was thrown out, s/he no longer has any other option than to offer you the "list" and hope for the best.

          Additionally, since it was "a small northern market town", I'm going to guess it was in Yorkshire, where a mug of tea is the staple drink if the pubs are shut and coffee is for posh, poncy, hipster southern softies who might be passing through. Did the room go quiet as you walked in while everyone else stared at you?

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "coffee please"

          My wife is Dunkin' Donutsian, so when we come back over to the UK to visit I am reminded, amongst other things, that it is very hard to get good filter coffee with cream in the part of the UK that I visit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "coffee please"

            > filter coffee with cream

            There's your mistake. Nobody drinks filter coffee because it goes shit even standing for 5 minutes in a hot plate. And cream? Where do you think you are, fucking Devon?

        6. whileI'mhere

          Re: "coffee please"

          I remember the greasy spoons where it was instant (powdered, not freeze-dried) Nescafe - black or with cold milk in (and ordinary milk, too, no reduced fat choices, and with a fruit bowl of sugar on the counter, next to a teaspoon with a chain on its handle, and the other end of the chain nailed to the counter.

          Unlike a visit to Star*ucks today, there was no confusion at all. I prefer that. I wish I could walk into Star*ucks and simply say "mug of Nescaff please".

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Public wifi?

      Might I respectfully suggest, that if security is in any way a concern, that you DO NOT USE PUBLIC WIFI!!1!

      Indeed. public WiFi + shit café app with sieve-like security + l33t h4xx0r who sets up their own AP with same name as shit public WiFi = arse handed to you on a plate.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Public wifi?

        "arse handed to you on a plate."

        Don't say things like that. It'll be on the menu in no time at all.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Public wifi?

          ""arse handed to you on a plate."

          Don't say things like that. It'll be on the menu in no time at all."

          It won't be on a plate, anywhere hipster enough to try such a thing would serve it on a breadboard or in a frying pan or something equally ridiculous.

          Kudos also for the Denis Leary reference. That was from 1997 and is well worth a watch although entirely NSFW

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f_dxLiuXuw

          1. ricardian

            Re: Public wifi?

            There's a website for folk who are fed up with food establishments that use ridiculous alternatives to the good old-fashioned place - see http://wewantplates.com which has some photographs of the more gross serving options

    4. Tim Hines

      Re: Public wifi?

      A few years back I was getting a coffee at a station kiosk and one of the longish list on offer was a "Lewinsky". In brackets underneath it explained that this was an Americano with a dash of cream :)

  2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    In the main....

    I agree with you about customer service "priority"; ie, there is no priority given to customer service, but...can I just say...

    "the moment I walked in from the street, my data connection switched automatically from 4G to the café's Wi-Fi"

    Rly? One of two things is true: Either you habitually connect to open Wifi wherever you go (Hint: bad plan), or you've used their Wifi previously, knowing how bad it is (Also hint: Also bad plan).

    Either way....really?!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: In the main....

      Unfortunately it's really hard to delete such WiFi fron your phone, as they no longer list known access points when not in range of them.

      Bastards.

  3. AndyS

    "extra-hot fair trade soya decaf caramel mint chocka mocha focka carbonated Bulgarian snow forest chai espresso latte plus vegan sprinkles and a twist of lemming"

    You should have got the vegan one. You monster.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      “I’d like you to make me a mocha-caramel-hazelnut frappe, with raspberry syrup, whipped cream, and a pinch of nutmeg. Then I’d like you to shove it up your ass and get me a cup of coffee.”

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Geez

        You don't have to ask for all that stuff, what what's it to you if people like to turn their coffees into a sweet? Black coffee is not more many. It's still a flavoured beverage. Guys, get over it.

      2. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

        “I’d like you to make me a mocha-caramel-hazelnut frappe, with raspberry syrup, whipped cream, and a pinch of nutmeg. Then I’d like you to shove it up your ass and get me a cup of coffee"

        Hand-washing is required to be included in the process

      3. Cpt Blue Bear

        “I’d like you to make me a mocha-caramel-hazelnut frappe, with raspberry syrup, whipped cream, and a pinch of nutmeg. Then I’d like you to shove it up your ass and get me a cup of coffee.”

        Enough of this talking! Coffee, woman! My consumption grows ever worse and Colleridges drugs are wearing off.

  4. tqla

    "Actually, to be precise, my phone is fine:"

    Might be worth aiming for a little higher than just fine then....

    Recent-ish androids will detect ropey wifi and use 4G instead. I presume iPhones do something similar too.... after all, they're more expensive cos they're better, right.....?

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      It's something I have disabled on my phone - My 5Ghz wifi is strong in all areas of my house, bar my bedroom. If I'm in there and watching the latest youtube video in 1080p@60fps (because why not?), I don't want it going "oh, the wifi signal to the current network is weak, lets switch to the (admittedly brilliant, because the nearest base-station is right outside my window) 4G connection and consume an entire month's allowance." In cases like that, I would prefer for the connection to die, (and I get a pop-up notification about this if/when it happens) to allow me to kick it onto the 2.4Ghz wifi, as it is somewhat reluctant to switch automatically ("but I can still just about connect to the 5Ghz, lets keep trying to reconnect to that!")

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Recent-ish androids will detect ropey wifi and use 4G instead.

      My Android gets it's wifi turned off when I leave the house. I used to use a location-aware app to do it but it started getting pretty flaky and either turning off wifi at home or not turning it off when out.

      So I got SwithPro widget instead and just tap the wifi icon on the lock-screen to turn it off..

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        So I got SwithPro widget instead and just tap the wifi icon on the lock-screen to turn it off.

        Or, no app, swipe down, tap the WiFi icon, close the phone? I've only ever had one Android phone and it's running Cyanogenmod and that's all I do. No apps involved.

        M.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          You can only do that by unlocking the phone first. His does it ON the lock screen.

  5. AndrueC Silver badge
    Boffin

    On the subject of error messages, as a developer I often fall foul of Windows failing to give precise information. The all time offender was when I was working with SPTI (SCSI Pass Through Interface) which unsurprisingly involves some quite complex API calls - you have to go through IOCTL, FFS! - often requiring structures with many members (ooh er missus) some of which point to yet more structures. To say nothing of the fact that you're using it to issues SCSI commands which have their own complexity and in the case of IDE drives are proxied by Windows.

    So when you get error code 87 back from a call there is a tendency to use profanity. From MSDN:

    ''ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER

    87 (0x57)

    The parameter is incorrect."

    1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      My all-time favourite is closely related to this. Windows 9x / NT4, and probably all subsequent versions as well, would offer one particularly opaque message... (OK, one among many, but this one was more opaque than normal...)

      Copying a big directory tree full of files with Explorer, and it gets a sharing violation, and complains that it is unable to open "DOOBLE" (example made up name...) without giving any hint as to which one of hundreds of files that match "DOOBLE.*" it might be trying to copy.

    2. GregC

      Personal favourite error messages? I've probably mentioned this before, but mine was from a web app we used to use a lot:

      'Error:

      There has been an error.'

      Yeah, thanks for that....

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Lol. I once needed to use an internal error code to signify that special processing was required for an anticipated failure. Basically a built-in, behind the scenes try it another way instead. So when it came to defining the corresponding error string in our library I chose "This is not an error.".

        There's no reason I can think of why anyone would ever have triggered that to appear but I like to chuckle and hope that someone somewhere got wound up by:

        ERROR: This is not an error.

        1. really_adf

          > ERROR: This is not an error.

          Are you also responsible for my all-time favourite? Which was, during Windows logon process, an entirely blank screen except for a message box reading:

          Error: No error occurred

          (OK, I guess the real explanation here is either the variable supposed to hold the error number never got set or, more likely, there was another, successful, API call between the failed one and capturing the error code for display.)

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Happy

            Are you also responsible for my all-time favourite? Which was, during Windows logon process

            Me? Work for Microsoft? Sir! I am offended.

            :)

            1. dajames Silver badge

              Me? Work for Microsoft? Sir! I am offended.

              You jest, but I seem to have spent a large part of my life working for Microsoft ... not officially, mind you -- they've never paid me, or anything ... just cleaning up after them and trying to make stuff work on their cranky and underdocumented OSes.

              Never again!

      2. tony2heads

        I remember this one; what ever were they trying to get me to do?

        Error 503 Service Unavailable

        Service Unavailable

        Guru Meditation:

        XID: 1521634984

        Varnish cache server

        I had a small pot of varnish in the shed, but could not find the cache server anywhere on the board.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: I remember this one; what ever were they trying to get me to do?

          Varnish is a web cache server (read: accelerator). They're actually borrowing from the Amiga, which IIRC came up with the term "Guru Meditation Error" while playing with a balancing board one day (where you're supposed to sit yoga-style on it and try not to let it tip).

      3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Error: Not enough resources to display the error message.

        From Windows 3.1 if the memory serves right. Certainly pre-95.

    3. Franco Silver badge

      Personal favourite in Windows comes from RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service).

      If you setup a site-to-site VPN and it can't connect it will offer you the option to check the unreachability reason (spectacular language I know). The most common unreachability reason is that the destination is not reachable.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Windows

        The most common unreachability reason is that the destination is not reachable.

        Back in the bad old days before I discovered the tools at Tweaking.com I had a customer's machine with a problem with the Windows firewall. Couldn't turn it off to put in a better firewall (even an old rusted-out sieve would do better!) either. After some hunting I discovered a FixIt tool from Microsoft that would completely reset the firewall. I downloaded it elsewhere, moved it to the machine, and fired it up.

        "Error. No internet connection".

        Er yes, thanks MS. I wonder under what circumstances someone would want a tool to fully reset the firewall? I'm guessing "when they have a perfectly functioning connection" is NOT high on that list.

    4. eswan

      My favorite-

      ___________________________________________________

      Add Printer Driver

      The files installed are not valid for the selected architecture.

      Retry / Cancel

      ___________________________________________________

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Add Printer Driver

        The files installed are not valid for the selected architecture.

        Retry / Cancel"

        Something you're probably going to see if you attempt to install x86 drivers on an x64 OS.

        1. eswan

          Ahh, but you know what the retry button does? Yes, it really does try to install the wrong architecture drivers again. And again. Oooh, maybe this time they'll work? Nope.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            And again. Oooh, maybe this time they'll work? Nope.

            Well - the Windows Quantum Instability *might* collapse into a working state. I know it hasn't happened yet but still - in an infinite universe there's hope!

            Maybe that's why Microsoft pushed Windows 10 so hard - they were trying to get to critical mass in the expectation that Windows Transcendance might happen and a newer, working version would spontaneously arise.

            I suspect that the Heat Death[1] of the universe will happen first.

            [1] Or Big Bang 2.0[2]

            [2] Or Big Bang N+1

      2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Meh

        One particularly stupid recent one..

        Office 365 when upgrading from the 2013 to the 2016 version. Kick off the installer and you receive:

        "We're also upgrading Office 2013" -- Really? No shit?

  6. chrishansenhome
    WTF?

    The customer is always lying

    I worked for a company back in the late 1980's-early 1990's that had a UNIX version and a DOS version. I was technical support, and got a call one day from a customer running the DOS version.

    "My data run just stopped working."

    "Oh, what is the screen showing you?"

    "Pinocchio".

    "Eh?"

    "Pinocchio".

    I went to the programming department and asked the engineer who wrote the DOS port of the program. She said, "Oh, that's easy. The customer has run out of disk space for their data run. Tell him to delete some files on the disk and run the program again."

    I did that, and the program ran correctly. I did not enquire of the programmer why "Pinocchio" was selected as the error message for "Disk full".

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: The customer is always lying

      "She said, "Oh, that's easy."

      What a dick

      what possible reason could there be for that?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: The customer is always lying

        what possible reason could there be for that?

        I guess you've never been a programmer..

        (It's because you can. And one of the few pleasures is messing with the customer's heads..)

      2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: The customer is always lying

        "what possible reason could there be for that?"

        Maybe there was a preceeding dialog that was answered untruthfully, like "make sure you have at least x KB of free disk space"?

        Under DOS it wasn't easy to check it from the batch file. Without involving 3rd party tools that is.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    Let's hear it for Lync/Skype for Business (again)

    What does "<person> is not active on an IM device" mean? How can they be there but not there?

    Of course it means "<person> is currently in a call and has not been using the keyboard or mouse for a while so may not be paying attention to the screen to see your message".

    Only took five minutes Googling to find out. How much productivity is lost in man years with other people doing the same?

    Microsoft, getting error messages wrong since DOS 1.0.

  8. brotherelf
    Headmaster

    Ah, I see that Dabbsie here might like that secret hack where error messages and search engine results become more relevant the more swearwords you add to the query. (Finding the proper swearword shibboleth is left as an effin' exercise for the bleepin' reader.)

    FWIW, I vaguely recall there is a school (probably as in: group of non-mammal meat sacks that would be more useful once tinned) of interface design that thinks the more cryptic the error message is, the more likely the user is to give the exact message. Of course, in reality, they tell you "it didn't work", to which the inner answer is "because you did 'it' wrong". If they ever give me a telephone that leaves the mic on for ten seconds after hanging up, I'm so getting sacked.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "FWIW, I vaguely recall there is a school (probably as in: group of non-mammal meat sacks that would be more useful once tinned) of interface design that thinks the more cryptic the error message is, the more likely the user is to give the exact message."

      The idea is to give the user no room to interpret the problem, as that more often than not leads to miscommunications and the problem not getting fixed. The worst kind of person a tech caller can have is an impatient know-it-all. By leaving the user clueless, they're likely to be lost enough to just follow along for hope of an answer. That may be why that "Pinocchio" error message: to leave the user clueless so they get in the mindset to just follow what the tech says to do and not "interpret" things and go off the rails as a result.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Corporate errors for supported staff can be as cryptic as you like, as long as all all the support staff know what they mean and/or can easily get hold of someone who does.

        But for the millions of users working at home, or in small businesses, there really should, in 2017, be messages that at least tell the recipient where to look for the source of the error.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "But for the millions of users working at home, or in small businesses, there really should, in 2017, be messages that at least tell the recipient where to look for the source of the error."

          No, they're just as problematic as the corporate lemmings. Indeed, perhaps more so since you're more likely to find the "know-it-alls".

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Indeed, perhaps more so since you're more likely to find the "know-it-alls".

            Don't know if I'd prefer them or the 'know nothing at all and don't think logically' ones.

            Over the weekend my aunt had a laptop keyboard die. Suggested she gets a cheap many-name brand wireless one (like less than she'll have spent on coffee since then cheap). She brought it, plugged everything in, put the batteries in, then rang to berate me for the crap I'd recommended to her, wasted money and so in. Eventually I took a trip out to see her (nearly an hour each way, lot of fuel for me) and found that a) she'd not removed the plastic wrapping that held the mouse batteries together (just somehow forced them, wrapping and all, into the space) and b) the 'spare" mouse batteries were the reason the keyboard wasn't working.

            I did take great pleasure in berating her back - after all on the phone I checked that she's put the batteries in correctly and was assured 9rudely, I might add!) that she damn well knows how to put batteries into things. Made sure she covered fuel costs for my wasted trip.

            So glad she's on W10. I'm not rich enough to have a laptop that runs it so can't support it...

            (Icons for mobile users please Mr El Reg webmaster?)

  9. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Re- Wifi "hijacking" had something similar recently trying to get a bus ticket. Turns out the app was trying to access the bus companies wifi and of course it was behind one of those useless login screens- which the app did not present to you and was only evident if you opened up the browser.

    And of course, the error message displayed had absolutely nothing to do with the app failing to get an internet connection.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Actually, I suspect that's exactly what happened in the article too - it's possible the WiFi was knackered but it's even more likely it was working fine but insisted on you registering with them first...

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      First Bus has an "mTicket" app, with cheaper tickets, which "is not designed to work with Wi-Fi only devices such as tablets and iPods" - I haven't yet tried the app, for that reason (and because my phone is antique), but this sounds like it doesn't need Internet access when buying and "activating" a virtual ticket (it says it doesn't), it needs access at random.

      (Or they're just covering their backside, possibly with varnish, or they think it will work but are not 100% sure. Althoughdthat probably goes for any app developer.)

      And, yes, many of the buses do have Wi-Fi service.

      As for using a cafe's app on a cafe's own Wi-Fi to buy the cafe's coffee - they want you to. Maybe you get the free twist of lemming (did anyone else want to ask about that?)

  10. magickmark
    Alien

    Close 'em down...

    Many years ago i wrote a little DOS program (we'd call it an app these days). It was only for internal use at the org i was working at.

    I had seen this posted on a forum somewhere as an obscure and apocryphal error message "CLOSE 'EM DOWN, CLANCY. SHE'S A PUMPIN' WATER"' with some debate about its authenticity.

    I liked it so much I used it as the heading for my error messages along the lines of "CLOSE 'EM DOWN, CLANCY. SHE'S A PUMPIN' WATER: <error message here.>" for two reasons:

    1) because it amused me

    2) so it was a genuine error message

    Every now and then I'll throw it in some code that only I'll see... because I'm a mature adult !!

    1. eswan

      Re: Close 'em down...

      TRS-80 Model 16/6000 running Microsoft XENIX-

      Bring'er up Scotty, she's sucking mud!

      Means the Z80 tried to take over the bus from the 68000.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Close 'em down...

      ++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.

    3. Lord-a-miytee

      Re: Close 'em down...

      In another job, long ago, one of my mature adult team habitually used mature adult language as test data in the product's database. (It's easier to spot than sample batch numbers.) A database escaped to a customer's site, as test data is wont to do. We were censured for using "unprofessional language". Having been in the profession for many years now, I think I could refute that accusation.

    4. Steve Holdoway

      Re: Close 'em down...

      Shut her down Clancy she's pumpin mud. From HP's of the 1980's... HPE I think.

    5. magickmark

      Re: Close 'em down...

      Thanks for the replys and thumbs up!

      I've done a little research on Google (about 5 minutes worth!) and its come up with this:

      All-Time Best Error Message

      When a Texas Instruments 990 minicomputer was on the verge of crashing, the error message read: "SHUT 'ER DOWN, CLANCY, SHE'S PUMPING MUD!"

      Here: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2552844/it-management/tidbits-and-timelines-from-the-past-40-years.html

      There are a few other pages that discuss this and seem to agree with this as well but I'll not include them all but one other that is interesting re: Star Trek is here:

      http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/61/messages/332.html

      Now to do some real work!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well I read the first half then gave up as I don't give a shit.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      >> Well I read the first half then gave up as I don't give a shit.

      What a shame. You missed the oh-so-funny screenshots in the second half. And the video of me going to the toilet.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        " I read the first half then gave up "

        Ive done that before (or skimmed a little too quickly) , but this was top notch start to finish Alistair!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re-reading the comment, and bearing in mind where your story ended up, I wonder if it was a joke we all missed.

    2. pxd

      Why not fuck off in advance, then?

      . . . instead of wasting your time reading the first half of the article, and everyone else's time reading your pointless post? pxd

    3. Hero Protagonist

      But you gave enough shit to drop some litter in the comments.

  12. Disgruntled Grunt

    Local bowling club does signs right

    Attending a function at our local bowling club and in the mens toilets im greeted with two signs:

    "Our aim is to please, your aim would help. IF YOU ARE READING THIS YOU ARE NOT WATCHING WHERE YOU ARE WEEING!"

    Followed by an instructional sign:

    "If you are the Dribbler, would you please use the W.C and sit down"

    And you know what, it didnt make one bit of difference to the floor!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Local bowling club does signs right

      I'm always a little bemused by signs in public toilets to the effect of "Please leave this toilet as you'd expect to find it". That depends entirely on your expectations of the state of a public toilet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Local bowling club does signs right

        I can just picture a sign to the effect of, "Please treat this toilet as you would your toilet at home" getting scrawled underneath, "I wouldn't know as I don't have a toilet at home. I DON'T HAVE A HOME!" as well as the expected refuse of a bum who uses public toilets as full bathrooms for lack of alternatives.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Local bowling club does signs right

          "Please treat this toilet as a person who owns a home and is quite houseproud would treat their own toilet"

          FTFY.

          I reckon if I got some managers involved and had a meeting we could go from "just about still comprehensible" and hit it right out of the park and into the "so convoluted you cant even remember why you came in the room" level

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Local bowling club does signs right

            "STILL WOULDN'T KNOW. NEVER LIVED IN A HOME TO KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE."

            Back to you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Local bowling club does signs right

      At a restaurant I visited frequently

      , laminated to the wall above the men's toilet where you couldn't fail to see it.

      "We promise not to piss in your food if you promise not to piss on our floor. If you want US to be sanitary with your food then YOU be sanitary with our bathroom."

      Strange how their bathroom was nearly surgery operating room sterile & every man coming out had well scrubbed hands.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Local bowling club does signs right

        Then someone comes along and pisses-and-misses with the toilet seat down. When called out on ot, he replies, "I'll pisses-and with the seat up as soon as women pisses with the seat up."

        PS. In response to the sign, he replied he came for the piss soup anyway.

    3. AlbertH
      Coat

      Re: Local bowling club does signs right

      Our Local:

      "We aim to please - we'd be pleased if you'd aim!"

  13. Ivan Headache

    I may not have the words correct

    but in the pre-OSX days I used to see an error message on my mac that said something to the effect -

    "XYZ cannot continue as something unexplained has happened.

    Can't remember what the application was now but I saw it quite often.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: I may not have the words correct

      WHO IS GENERAL FAILURE , AND WHY IS HE READING MY DISK?

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: I may not have the words correct

        General Failure is a close relative of General Protection Fault. They both come from a Bad Sector of town, and engage in Illegal Function Calls.

        If/when General Failure shows an interest in your disk drive, you should probably replace the drive as he won't have any interest in the new one - for the time being.

  14. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Tell me. If customer satisfaction is advertised as top priority (over even making money) yet it is not, why does no one take them to court over false advertising?

    1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      The added irony being that the phrase "Customer satisfaction" is most often heard while on "hold."

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Yeah. The "We're experiencing an unusually high volume of calls" that is always heard every time you phone some companies. Followed by "We really value your call....". But apparently not enough to have sufficient staff to answer calls at 11:00 in the morning.Ever.

      2. JulieM Silver badge

        What about ringing your telecomms company to report a problem with mobile data, then being put on hold for half an hour with occasional exhortations to visit their website? And then being asked for the postcode of the place where I was having problems? They've got the ID of the cell tower I'm connecting to them through, and the half-dozen or so I moved through on the way. How am I supposed to know the postcode of a public place through which I'm just passing? I could probably look it up on Google Maps, except I can't get a data signal .....

  15. Fading Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Something went wrong.....

    Frequently suffer the statement of obvious error above which thus far remains one of my favorites. I am hoping to subsequently receive a "something went right" message if ever I am notified electronically of my lottery numbers being picked.....

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Something went wrong.....

      Just check your spam folder - it should already be full of notifications about prizes you won...

  16. earl grey Silver badge
    Pint

    is that oil base, or water base varnish?

    And no, we don't want to see it in action.

    Have one for the weekend.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is that a real poncho?

      Or is it a Sears Poncho?

  17. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    BS 5216C:2005 Proof correction marks (Pack of 20)

    In the nine months between school and university, I worked as a technical editor*. In those days we had to make our own proof correction marks with a pencil. I don't think the option to buy packs of them was available. For much of the stuff I corrected, 20 marks would have been hopelessly inadequate.

    How does a pack of correction marks work? Do you get five carets, five of the loopy deletion mark**, a couple of feet of underlining for bold and italic, and assorted subscript, superscript, caps, lc marks? What do you do if you need something exotic like wrong font?

    * For a company that built nuclear power stations. In the intervening years I've been looking out for a "nuclear accident caused by faulty operating instructions" headline.

    ** Does it have a name?

    1. Hero Protagonist

      Re: BS 5216C:2005 Proof correction marks (Pack of 20)

      "What do you do if you need something exotic like wrong font?"

      The pack includes a number of blank correction marks on which you can write a custom message.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: BS 5216C:2005 Proof correction marks (Pack of 20)

        The pack includes a number of blank correction marks on which you can write a custom message.

        Are they big enough to write "this document was written by an idiot with delusions of adequacy"?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: BS 5216C:2005 Proof correction marks (Pack of 20)

          'Are they big enough to write "this document was written by an idiot with delusions of adequacy"?'

          These days, yes, since there's a Unicode character for that: http://emojipedia.org/pile-of-poo/.

    2. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: BS 5216C:2005 Proof correction marks (Pack of 20)

      "five of the loopy deletion mark"

      It's a (ancient Greek) lowercase delta. If you ever come across a decently involved maths paper, you'll probably need a lie down and a lot of dried frog pills.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: BS 5216C:2005 Proof correction marks (Pack of 20)

      Don't forget an adequate supply of stet.

  18. Gene Cash Silver badge

    You might find this amusing (or not)

    https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2016/03/16/magnets

    What I didn't find amusing was the older version of Google Maps, before it had an official offline mode. If your cell data was switched off it would simply hang forever when rerouting or trying to display the map. No error message, no progress bar, nothing. I'd be stuck at a gas station in the middle of bumfuck trying to figure out where I was, much less how to get to where I wanted to go. I think that was the winner for "cause of most swearing"

    I of course, can't use Android Pay because I'm one of those evil heretics that's rooted his phone. So I get to play the American game of "does it have a chip&pin slot, and if so, is it actually functional?"

    I stopped at a expensive Mercedes dealership once, since they had a electric car charger, and I was severely low on charge. I was vastly amused to find their wi-fi didn't work, just like every other car dealership in the nation. (Strangely enough, the dealership staff were not at all snooty. They were very friendly and encouraged me to use the lounge while my bike charged.)

    I had MS-DOS format say "Formatting 13,04.96M" once.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Alternatively use Here Maps (now unfortunately called Here We Go) and download the whole continent if you like.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Not as up to date. Plus there's the lack of traffic data or automatic detouring. Saves time when there's an accident a few miles ahead and you want to evade the two-mile-long traffic jam you can't see yet and would rather not because then it's already too late.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          I don't know about up to date but the traffic data is available from the menu you get when you tap the bottom-righr button.

  19. VinceH Silver badge

    "My favourite demonstration of customer relations gone bland is when you receive those promotional emails with Mail Monkey placeholder text still in the header."

    This isn't limited to promotional rubbish. Each month at a client, I receive an emailed remittance advice from "mail_server@company.com" - and it's not just the headers of the email; the attached PDF lacks any company details. I know who it's from having been receiving it for ages, but FFS!

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Title goes HERE

    Comment goes HERE.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Title goes HERE

      Once received a spam email that had the (interestingly named) variables still in:

      %Greetings, %Asshole

      [message text]

      %Fuckyou, %Sendername

      Sadly, I deleted it.

  21. Potemkine Silver badge

    Et merde!

    my data connection switched automatically from 4G to the café's Wi-Fi

    Maybe the shit starts here, with a mobile provider who takes the most from its customers by making 4G use limited or expensive, forcing you to use Wi-Fi to save some of your previous 4G bandwidth...

    This side of the channel we begin to have very interesting offers with unlimited 4G for 20 € / months: no need to rely on crappy Wi-fi :woot!:

    For the latter problem, I remember a sign seen in toilets I'll try to translate: "You're too pretentious: go one step forward, it's shorter than you think".

    1. Sadie

      Re: Et merde!

      Yep, this. I stuck with my legacy T-Mobile 3G only Unlimited data because EE wanted silly money for 4G access. Eventually left when they started fucking with my connection speed (ie limiting me to 2G most of the time). Have now gone GiffGaff.

      1. AlbertH

        Re: Et merde!

        All the data plans on UK mobile networks are wildly over-priced. The UK is one of the most expensive places in the world for any kind of connectivity. My domestic interweb connection costs ~£40/month for 70 Mb/s. I get 1 Gb/s in Singapore for ~£5/month!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Programmers should code for failures

    Every programmer these days always codes to assumes the network is 100% up all the time, the server/cloud they are connecting to will be 100% available, & that no data ever goes missing or has bad input or output data.

    Hardware is unreliable. Networks fail. Servers go down. User input and data is unreliable. Other code you are connecting is going to be unreliable sometimes.

    If programmers coded for 'trust but verify' or 'assume A going to B might fail' then systems would be far more reliable over all - instead of the constant hangs, crashes, and data disappearing into the void that is modern application development.

    In the past, coders had to build their own environments from the ground up - hardware, networking, o/s, development tools - all of it made them realise there was a wider world beyond their code-bubble and their delusion other stuff they relied always worked all the time.

    With a greater disconnect between coders and the infrastructure it runs or & the remoteness from others code they interact with, we now have a generation of coders have forgot to DISTRUST the IT and other code accordingly.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Programmers should code for failures

      That won't work because eventually the failure reaches your code, and that's a failure that can't be handled because you're talking failsafe failure: a failure IN the failure handler.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Programmers should code for failures

        A failsafe system always fails by failing to fail safe.

    2. Pedigree-Pete
      Pint

      Re: Programmers should code for failures

      Have +1 Sir. and kindly explain that to my customers who expect 100% HD video conferencing over the Internet with 1080P 60fps content sharing. PP

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Programmers should code for failures

      In the past, coders had to build their own environments from the ground up - hardware, networking, o/s, development tools

      with their bare hands, scratching the required bits from slabs of granite twenty-eight hours a day, while sitting in a hole in the middle of a busy road with only a handful of cold, poisonous gravel for food.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Programmers should code for failures

        Cold, poisonous gravel for food? Luxury. When I were a lad we dreamt of cold poisonous gravel for Christmas dinner. Etc.... Etc...

    4. brotherelf
      Windows

      Re: Programmers should code for failures

      Ah yes, it's almost like the BOFH's excuse calendar in reverse... "the network's always there", "we can always write small amounts of data to local storage", "javascript is always on", "that directory always exists", "a randomly picked number is unique", "but they wouldn't be able to input that with a keyboard anyway", "that can't go negative", and I'm sure I've missed a gazillion.

  23. Little Mouse
    Headmaster

    Frankie SAY Relax

    "Say", not "Says". Tsk.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Frankie SAY Relax

      "Say", not "Says". Tsk.

      You're thinking of the wrong Frankie. He meant Frankie Smith down the pub.

  24. Grunchy
    Flame

    The problem is the Apple iPhone

    This very thing happens to me All Of The Time and I totally blame Apple Operating System.

    It has a nauseating habit of connecting to any old Wi-Fi and disparaging the cellular data connection, causing inexplicable dead comms while it hums and haws "whats that gov? yes I'm looking, just a mo - just a mo - just a mo - just a mo...", and even when I tell it repeatedly "forget this network", it will disconnect for a moment, then the very next nano-second connect right back up to the exact same faulty network. Apple is BROKEN, the only way to defeat it is to shut off the Wi Fi radio completely. I hate Apple - I hate them, I hate them, their smug condescending attitudes. I shan't ever buy an Apple, the only reason I have this junk is because I got it gifted via the Staples recycling bin.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The problem is the Apple iPhone

      macOS has similar problems.

      I recently had to do a full wipe and reinstall of OSX Sierra because it couldn't handle the idea that a Mac might have more than one user (so much for the BSD base).

      It sat saying "About 5 minutes remaining" for four hours.

      Then I gave up, restartes it and the second time it completed the "About 6 minutes remaining" process in a mere 45 minutes.

      I assume it has failed to download something and stopped completely, but there was no indication in the UI whatsoever.

      Even when it was making progress the second time - no hint that it had managed to do anything at all.

  25. Blitheringeejit
    Flame

    You lost my sympathy right here:

    "I am trying to pay for my extra-hot fair trade soya decaf caramel mint chocka mocha focka carbonated Bulgarian snow forest chai espresso latte plus vegan sprinkles and a twist of lemming with my handset".

    Why the fucketty fuck would you do that when you had cash in your pocket? What about all the poor saps waiting behind you for your app/card/touch transaction to authorise, when you could slap cash on the counter and get the fuck out of the way. Money works, and places which don't like being paid with money won't get paid by me - not petrol stations, not <insert preferred supermarket chain name here /> and most definitely of all, not pubs. (Being of a sensible disposition, I never buy coffee from coffee shops in the first place, because it's five times the price of making it at home and isn't as nice.)

    Phew, glad to get that off my chest. And of course I agree with the main thrust of the piece - being ancient, my favourite stupid error message is still that old chestnut:

    "Keyboard missing - press F1 to resume".

    They don't write 'em like that any more. No, wait ...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: You lost my sympathy right here:

      "Money works, and places which don't like being paid with money won't get paid by me - not petrol stations, not <insert preferred supermarket chain name here /> and most definitely of all, not pubs. (Being of a sensible disposition, I never buy coffee from coffee shops in the first place, because it's five times the price of making it at home and isn't as nice.)"

      One, what happens when NO places take cash anymore due to a rash of counterfeit notes being passed around or some other reason like government-mandated tracking?

      Two, what if your home has hard water, making it rather hard to make a good cup of coffee at home?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: You lost my sympathy right here:

        "what if your home has hard water"

        It doesn't. In fact, when we moved here from High Wycombe it de-furred the kettle in about 2 weeks flat.

      2. GerryMC

        Re: You lost my sympathy right here:

        "Two, what if your home has hard water, making it rather hard to make a good cup of coffee at home?"

        My coffee maker has a Water Softener Filter widget - totally pointless where I live, took me a while to figure out what it was for.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: You lost my sympathy right here:

      (Being of a sensible disposition, I never buy coffee from coffee shops in the first place, because it's five times the price of making it at home and isn't as nice.)

      That would mean that after sitting on trains for close to an hour, I would have to retrace my steps and travel another hour before I can enjoy coffee. So no. And the place I get coffee is serving a proper Italian espresso roast, available in fluid form as standard coffee, espresso and ristretto.

    3. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: You lost my sympathy right here:

      The original IBM PC keyboards were actually heavy enough to create a fair bit of vibration, so I would not be at all surprised if a keyboard plug occasionally came loose of its socket. In which case, it just needs to be pushed fully home and then you can press f1 to get rid of the message.

      Sometimes, when writing a set of instructions, it's easy to miss out the first step -- here, "find and plug in a keyboard" -- because it's obvious to the person who has done the job many times. But there will always be somebody who does not think it so obvious. If some bloke in a factory in Stoke on Trent had remembered to write "Unplug the machine from the wall before attempting any of this" on a diagram he scribbled out in his lunchtime for a female admirer once, I would not be here today .....

  26. Lord-a-miytee

    x is null

    Do you mean messages like the one I get when I give up waiting for the urinal video to start? "x is null". Indeed, it may well be. The exclamation mark icon seems to indicate I should be alarmed. Actually I'm quite relieved. As it were.

  27. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Blank white screen

    Isn't it obvious what that means? It's a minimalist hipster icon meaning "nothing there". It's about as obvious as an icon displaying a sunflower for a photo gallery app[1]. Or pretty much any other fecking[2] app (ie most of them) where the icon is not related in any way to the function of the app that's liable to change into a totally fecking different icon with any or all new updates.

    [1] For "app", read any fecking GUI based system of relatively recent vintage.

    [2] Finally got around to adding "fecking" to the spelling dictionary. I'm using it too much nowadays. I'm turning into Victor Meldrew! (not that he said fecking, ever, but you get the point.)

  28. Esme

    Love it!

    "my extra-hot fair trade soya decaf caramel mint chocka mocha focka carbonated Bulgarian snow forest chai espresso latte plus vegan sprinkles and a twist of lemming "

    It was the twist of lemming wot done it for me. Brilliance, Alastair, well done!

  29. herman Silver badge

    "I literally cannot remember the last time I paid for anything in cash."

    Due to card fraud, I do everything in cash. I even bought our cars cash and I never saw a happier car dealer than when I handed over the bank envelope full of notes. Maybe he thinks I'm a Mafia Don, but I get very good service every time...

    1. Jay 2

      After some card fraud I stopped using by debit card (unless it's in an ATM, in a bank if I can help it) and switched to credit card. My reasoning being that the debit card is using my money but a credit card is using the provider's money until I pay them, so they may be slightly more inclined to protect against such nastiness.

      Though if in person, then I guess cash can be king. Also it may provide incentive for you not to spend over your means (or what you've got in your wallet). You can't buy yet another round of flaming sambucas if you don't have enough cash, whereas there may be temptation to swipe that contactless card...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "You can't buy yet another round of flaming sambucas if you don't have enough cash, whereas there may be temptation to swipe that contactless card..."

        You forget the bar tab...

        Also, cash transactions above certain values are increasingly considered suspicious.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sadly, young'uns these days seem quite unable to make proper change, especially if you confuse them by adding some change to get a round denomination back.

  30. herman Silver badge

    I woz wonderin whether a twist of lemming would make the poor weasel go pop...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seen on synagogue restroom wall:

    We aim to please

    You aim too, please

    To which someone had added:

    Sorry, strange ancient religious ritual has truncated my aim

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cos dev staff don't give a fuck

    The designer does the key flows and screens. This is passed off to some farm of fucking dev monkeys in an Indian village. At that point nobody gives a fuck. The project has ended for the design team and the nothing being paid for dev just get you some tard with a can't do mentality. Meanwhile the production team has changed twice and just about to start on something new.

    When you ask why the app is nothing like the original designs and a sack of crap, the person responsible has left the shitty company.

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