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

Welcome again to On-Call, The Register’s Friday forage through readers’ memories of tech support jobs that became FUBAR*. This week meet “Robin” who back in the 1980s had a bit to do with a company called “Lion Systems Developments” – or LSD for short. Robin was around when LSD “won the contract to supply the communication …

  1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    The good old days

    Back when PPP over ATM meant someone had pissed on the cash machine.

  2. Roger Greenwood

    Ah FUBAR

    Reminds me of the many shortcut descriptions in the techy field.

    As a young apprentice I worked with a guy referred to as Fubsy. His real name was probably Dave, but everyone said "See Fubsy about that ... Fubsy has the key .... Borrow one off Fubsy etc". Took me months to find out FUB meant effing useless bastard.

    Surely along with the list of El-Reg standards we should have a list of these many useful acronyms.

    A friend of mine has one he calls the WHIP syndrome when he has trouble working out what has gone wrong with some electronic gismo. (What haven't I pressed).

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      I used to work with someone known to all and sundry as "Spof". I assumed that it was a play on "Spock" until I'd worked with him long enough to realise that he was a Single Point Of Failure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        SPOF should refer to the Customers.

        Back in the day, way way back, I was being cross trained on old IBM (IIRC) Cash Machines in a well known High Street Bank.

        The Banking Hall had the kit walled off in an enclosure with large mirrors above so anyone could see what was happening inside.

        TL tapes an put of order note over the card reader (A4 so noticable.)

        As we haul the back off off the cash chutes he points up and says "Watch this."

        Cue Customer walking up to said cash machine (powered off) who duly ripped off the A4 and inserted His card.

        Much cursing later we retrieved said card and handed it to the Banking Staff who happily expalined that they would need to log an Engineer visit.

        PEBCCAC - problem exists between cussing Customer and card reader.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        My manager sometimes refers to me as a SPOF. The team always panics when I book holiday time!

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        In the Civil Service we used to classify as Khaleef, Keep Him Away: Likely to Erase Every Fing.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      I like the military moniker NFG for equipment that is no good.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        The FNG is NFG :)

      2. paulll Bronze badge

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        "Not FunctioninG," if anybody asks...

      3. David Roberts Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Ah FUBAR - NFG

        I recall an apocryphal tale of a bus driver who signed off his vehicle as NFG.

        Cue a manglement bollocking and his response that it stood for No First Gear.

    3. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      A boss i had long ago accused me of suffering from CRAFT disease. Can't Remember A F@#$ing Thing"

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        Yeah, you've already told us that a few times...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        I suffer from that

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah FUBAR

          I am currently suffering from FARAABA syndrome - Feeling As Rough As A Badger's Arse.

    4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      From my scale company days: Failure Under Calibration, Known Error Detected.

    5. W4YBO

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      The three (that I know of) gradations of FUBAR...

      SNAFU - Situation normal, all effed up.

      TARFU - Things are really effed up

      FUBAR - Effed up beyond all recognition (or repair.)

      1. Blofeld's Cat

        Re: Ah FUBAR

        I know of two more variants:

        FUBAR - Fscked Up Beyond Any Recovery

        FUBAB - Fscked Up Beyond All Belief

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues
          Devil

          Re: Ah FUBAR

          Don't forget this one:

          FUBAR - Fscked Up Beyond All Reason

    6. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Ah FUBAR

      I had an incident at an ATM one Sunday that caused me to invent an acronym. I had £200 cash that I needed to be in my account urgently. I was going on holiday the next day and wouldn't be able to get to the bank before the flight. So I was using the deposit point to put the money in and after using my card I received an envelope for the money. I put the money in the envelope and put that in the ATM, so far so good. Then the machine asks if I need more time to make the deposit and I realised that it hasn't registered the cash going in. So I called the phone bank and told the bloke what had happened. He said not to worry about it he could see that the money was in the account. I said that this was only because the transaction hadn't finished. Once I said No to the more time question the system would reconcile the lack of an envelope and remove the money. "It doesn't work like that sir" is the reply so I asked to speak to a supervisor. This bloke said the same thing as the initial advisor and I gave him the same reply. He told me I was clearly not aware of how things work. I said I was fairly confident I understood but if he knew better I could let the transaction finish. As soon as I did he became very excited because the £200 had just vanished from his screen. He was most apologetic and said he'd put my complaint in immediately. Fortunately I had an old number for the branch and was able to call them from Heathrow before my flight. I knew the lady that answered the phone and she told me she'd have a look for the missing cash. It was credited to my account that day.

      I christened the phone banking staff as a Feckingly Annoying Technologically Challenged Support-staff.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    have plenty where I work. Mainly of the type Computer Users Non Technical

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      We have a dropdown list for 'reason for closing ticket'. One of those reasons is PEBKAC.

      (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair)

      1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

        re: PEBCAK

        see also PEBCAM/PEBMAC (Problem exists between Chair and Monitor / Monitor And Chair) for display-related issues and the "ID-ten-T" error for problems that are due to neither hardware or software issues.

        1. DuchessofDukeStreet

          re: PEBCAK

          See also PICNIC - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        Another one we have is WOT

        "Waste Of Time"

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Another one we have is WOT

          Also WOMBAT - Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Another one we have is WOT

            I/O error. Incompetent Operator.

    2. jfm

      I've seen problem reports (especially networking issues like "The Internet is down!") referred to as Layer 8 problems.

  4. tip pc Bronze badge

    Staff don’t care about access to the computers

    Staff never used to and in most cases still don’t care about who has physical access to computing systems. Show up in OpenReach gear and ask to be let into the comma room (aka computer or hub room) and in you get, no questions asked, especially in this world of outsourcing where the reception staffed by inter serve have no clue and don’t care who you work for or why you are there so long as they get to charge extra for an unscheduled access arrangement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      That goes back to the old adage that if you are wearing a high-vis jacket you can get into almost anywhere.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Hi Vis...

        ... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Hi Vis...

          Don't forget the clipboard.

          1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Hi Vis...

            Don't forget the clipboard.

            ...and, most importantly, the worried look.

          2. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            and the hard hat.

        2. I Am Spartacus
          Holmes

          Re: Hi Vis...

          The suit and tie are important.

          I was doing an audit of a satellite office in the Far East. We were prepped by being told that no-one wear suits, its al very relaxed. So three of us turned up on Sunday, a day early, wearing suits and carrying smart attache cases. We walked straight past security (Fail 1) in to the CEO office, which was unlocked (Fail 2) and proceeded to mooch around. We found an internal document that even we should not have access to. It was THE most sensitive document that the company possessed.

          We then went to said CEO's home address, disturbed his family barbecue. On being shown the document and our explanation of how we obtained it, you could see the blood drain from his face as he envisioned his pension floating away. The senior auditor just said "We WILL have you full co-operation for this audit, won't we."

          I learnt that day that appearances really do matter!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hi Vis...

          "... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath"

          I used to drive a Range Rover and wear a smart suit - even though I was a techie. When I arrived at one particular company site the car park would invariably be full. To my surprise the security men would usher me to a reserved space. This went on for many months until someone realised I wasn't top brass.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            "I used to drive a Range Rover ... This went on for many months.."

            Yep, REAL top brass would've renewed their lease and upgraded their vehicle by then.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            Had a IBM field guy turn up, he rings me up as hes 5 mins away.

            After 10 mins no show, its Friday afternoon & POETS day for me as I commute back to Devon.......

            5 mins later he rings again he's lost, he's driving around the premises because security let him drive straight on-site without a question (It was raining hard & they could't be arsed to get out of the hut or open their window) & hes using a phone (Big sign by the barrier that security just opened - Saying any electronic things like that are prohibited on site due to risk of Dartford vapourising itself (No bad thing in itself, but not if I'm in the middle of that explosion)).

            This is the same pharmacutical company that opened the barrier at the other end of the site to let internal miscreants steal a pill pressing machine on the premise of moving it to the other site across a public highway, who then got into a waiting vehicle with it.

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Hi Vis...

          ... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

          And you have a clipboard with some official-looking papers.

          And a battered hard-case with tools in.

          1. caffeine addict Silver badge

            Re: Hi Vis...

            ... especially effective if a suit and tie is visible underneath

            And you have a clipboard with some official-looking papers.

            In the late 70s/early 80s my dad was a buildings surveyor for a largish London firm with buildings over looking the Thames in an expensive bit of town. He'd get sent off to a condemned squat one day and Heathrow the the next.

            On one trip to Heathrow, armed with a clipboard and a dictaphone, he found that if he walked up to a door making notes people would go out of their way to let him through. No security checks, just let him through. Apparently it was all fun and games until he found himself airside with no way to get back in to the terminal without a lot of explaining.

            Fast forward 20 years and he was running an odd-job type of building firm and got the job of fixing some lighting at a car hire concession at Stanstead. With arrogance typical of the trade, he rocked up, stopped his car on double yellows with hazard lights on, and went off to work. Thirty minutes later he returned to his frankly fucked Ford Capri abandoned in the drop off point guarded by a pair of very unamused armed policemen.

            1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

              Re: Hi Vis...

              @caffine addict that's class haha. If this were Facebook I'd send you a friend request.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hi Vis...

          I remember at Intel some walked in dressed in a polo shirt and dress slacks and said he was with IT. He walked out with 5 laptops. I was shocked. Mainly because most users complain when you ask them for their computers.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Hi Vis...

            Dropped off ten laptops to the Royal Marines at Lympstone Training Camp, locked in a secure room.

            By the time I got back to offices 15 minutes away 4 of them at least had gone walkines.

        6. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Hi Vis...

          It's how George Osborne got where he is today.

      2. JimHam

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

        Or wearing a chef's hat and carrying a tray of sandwiches.....

    2. wyatt

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

      Sometimes, but not always. Company I work for works for some very large multinationals and without the right access being emailed to the reception/security teams you don't get past them, even if you have the right codes/access arranged.

      First job after leaving the army we had a Fire Maintenance company turn up unannounced. Claiming they wanted to inspect our fire extinguishers. They had no appointment so their company was called and they were turned away from site.

      Some sites yes you can walk on and not be challenged, I would personally say this is getting less and less though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

        On a weekend a lorry arrived at an IT company site saying they had come to take all the lab oscilloscopes away for recalibration. The security guard let them in and helped them with the loading. Oops!

        That was in the days when the buildings were surrounded by lawns down to the street - with no security fence.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

          I was once working for a large financial institution, about twenty years ago.

          We had a call from one of the users that a system had stopped working, around 6pm. Couldn't log into the server remotely, so we wandered into the machine room - where we found the top off the server, and the memory chips all nicked. Someone had literally come in off the street and pinched the memory from a server.

          This was in the days when memory chips were very expensive....

          It was a long time ago, but still - anon for this one...!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

            "This was in the days when memory chips were very expensive...."

            Same thing happened at our office. Overnight someone stripped the memory chips out of many desktop PCs.

            While there was security control of people entering through the main gates - leaving was not regulated. There was some debate about whether they had scaled the perimeter fence to get in to the site - or whether it was an inside job of someone staying behind. The buildings had no external or internal door controls in that era.

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Holmes

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

              Same pharma company just different location (Stevenage) used to have a problem with laptops being walked out of the secure card access storeroom overnight (I was the last man out & the last man in the following day, usually arriving to some more ranting by the stores guy about missing stock) by security.

              Laptops also walked themselves out with people who weren't issued with them in the first place at the same place.

              One time I was stopped by the head of security in the hallway of one of the buildings about how secure Kensington locks were, during the course of the discussion he informed me that someone had got into a locked office over the weekend, by getting into the unlocked office\lab next door lifting up the ceiling tiles to climb over the dividing wall & drop down to get the laptop of their desire.

              They knew that was the MO as the individual did not clean his foot marks off the desks he landed on (unsure if he left the same way as he entered).

              The very best one was on issuing a laptop to a young lady at the same place on a wet Thursday & replacing it with a new one on the Monday.

              Apparently Thursday night both she & her partner (Who also worked at the same place) had their car broken into while they were at Tescos & had both laptops taken from the back seats of their car.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

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

            This was in the days when memory chips were very expensive....

            Late 90's, we had a small but significant number of expensive RAM clips go missing - from a locked cupboard in our stores.

            We had our suspicions as to where they were going and so arranged to get them smartwater-marked.

            Sure enough, the next weekend some more went missing. The police got involved and visited the home of the two contractors involved and, sure enough, a number of smartwater-tagged RAM sticks were found. Said contractors were very good at wangling weekend overtime and had unquestioned access to all parts of the building.

            What's sad was that, even though the RAM sticks were expensive, they were a pittance compared to what the two guys in question were already earning. And so, for a pittance, they threw away a lucrative contract and, since they gained a criminal record, any likelyhood of getting another one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

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

              What's sad was that, even though the RAM sticks were expensive, they were a pittance compared to what the two guys in question were already earning. And so, for a pittance, they threw away a lucrative contract and, since they gained a criminal record, any likelyhood of getting another one.

              Many years ago somebody was dismissed from my office for stealing a bag of coffee-whitener while the vending machine flunky was refilling the machine and had his back turned.

              The ridiculous thing is they didn't even drink white coffee - they just saw this bag sitting unattended and couldn't resist swiping it. One stupid impulsive act cost them their job.

              1. Stevie Silver badge

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

                I worked in one place that was having regular thefts of really stupid stuff - old greenscreen terminals for example - despite having 24 hour security guards and an ID checking turnstile.

                Every day we would be required to open up any briefcases for a "security check" as we passed in or out. What a joke.

                a) All the females of the opposite sex had complained about handbag searches, so handbags were exempt. Cue the carrying of enormous duffels as unsearchable "handbags".

                2) I asked what they were looking for once and was told "computer tapes". When I asked what a computer tape looke like, they described an old nine track reel of tape. Sitting in plain view in my opened-for-security-check Delsey Slimline Briefcase (dead 70s, me) was a modern (as of then) nine track cartridge tape as used in our site.

                *) I finally lost it when one of the guards made a snotty remark about the thefts.

                "That's insulting!" I snapped.

                "It's my job!" he riposted.

                "No, it's insulting that you think that if I wanted to steal a terminal I would be so stupid as to try and carry it out past the security check in front of the CCTV camera" I counter-riposted.

                "Well, how would you do it?" he snarked.

                "We are on the sixth floor. I could simply tie a rope around the terminal and lower it to a confederate through a window while you are busy guarding the gate. But that would be doing it the hard way. I'd actually probably just do what the real theives are doing".

                "What's that then?" said Mr Security.

                "I'd wait until everyone but security and the PC night shift was gone, take whatever I wanted to steal and put it in one of those huge canvas dumpsters-on-wheels, the ones we use for waste paper. I'd cover up the stolen item with more paper, and wheel the dumpster out through the freight elevator. Where I would be waved through the security check."

                Then I just stood and watched the penny drop. A magic moment.

                1. Rich 11 Silver badge

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

                  All the females of the opposite sex

                  It's nice of you to visit us and say hello. Did you park your saucer at Roswell?

                  1. Stevie Silver badge

                    Re: Did you park your saucer at Roswell?

                    NYC.

                    Don't ask, don't tell.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

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

                  "Every day we would be required to open up any briefcases for a "security check" as we passed in or out."

                  Our site had been having memory thefts from the warehouse in a separate building. That meant a wand type check if you had to go there to do something with their network connections.

                  The main gate also had checks when leaving with something that looked like company equipment. There was a paper permit system that required several signatures - each time. What the system didn't cater for was me lugging an AR7500 monitor behind me on a luggage trolley - going in and out to customer support calls. Security were familiar with me - until a new head man arrived. I nearly missed the train to a customer that day.

                  Eventually I persuaded the company to come up with a permit system that covered my various WAN/LAN monitors for 12 months at a time.

                3. ridley

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

                  I cannot help remembering a book I read on the early days of the SAS.

                  In the beginning they were up to no good in northen Africa, where there was only one use able road the one along the coast. But the SAS wanted to work behin enemy line so had to go into the almost impassible desert to avoid the road.

                  However after a few operations they realised it was much quicker to wait until a Germany convoy was passing and join it in their British marked trucks, drive with them until they got were they wanted to go and pull off the road and out of the convoy. They didn't even bother with Germany uniforms.

                4. Terry 6 Silver badge
                  Joke

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

                  Old story. At night as the staff left the building site one builder would bring out a wheelbarrow load of spoil. The security guard checked through very carefully, but found nothing, Just muck. He eyed the load suspiciously, but couldn't find anything. This went on every night for weeks, every night he checked the load,carefully. Just a big pile of mud. On the final shift he stopped the builder who was, for the first time, leaving empty handed.

                  "OK", he said. "It won't go any further. The job's over. I know you were knocking something off, somehow. Just tell me, for my own peace of mind. What was it.

                  "Simple", he answered. "Wheelbarrows".

                  1. Lilolefrostback

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

                    Sometimes, the rules are just out of date. Mid 90s, I started a new job in Dallas. Being new to the place, I figured I'd take my camera to work and drive around doing some photography after work. But it was hot enough that I didn't want to leave the camera in the car all day, so, during a security briefing from the head of security, I asked whether I could check my camera at the security desk. No such luck. No cameras as they didn't want to risk corporate spies photographing boards or code or what have you.

                    Fair enough. But brief cases were not checked on the way out, so I could have stuffed my brief case with any number of interesting things. And the fax machines were totally unsecured, so I could have faxed documents anywhere on the planet without having to identify myself. So, great. They'd made it impossible for me to use the least effective method of corporate espionage while leaving far more modern and effective methods easy to use. Good job.

                  2. Anonymous IV
                    Thumb Down

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

                    At night as the staff left the building site one builder would bring out a wheelbarrow load of spoil. This went on every night for weeks...

                    It's a good enough story but doesn't hold water - after "every night for weeks" how many wheelbarrows would actually remain left on site? A negative number, I suspect...

                    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

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

                      " how many wheelbarrows would actually remain left on site?"

                      The version I heard took place at a wheelbarrow factory.

                      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                        Holmes

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

                        One story I heard was how one guys uncle was a compulsive thief & they wanted new bikes for Christmas as kids.

                        Somehow this uncle scaled up & down a 20 foot high brick wall at night & back the same way but this time with two new still cardboard wrapped (for shipping) bicycles from the Raleigh factory.

                      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

                        The wheelbarrow joke

                        When Dave allen told it it was "the docks"*.

                        *Or possibly "the Doc's" if he'd been watching Police Squad".

                  3. Scott 26

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

                    > "Simple", he answered. "Wheelbarrows".

                    The one I heard was an old man riding a bicycle for years through Checkpoint Charlie.

              2. Terry 6 Silver badge

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

                Well, no. If the coffee whitener story is taken a face value then being inherently dishonest is what cost them their job

              3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

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

                Working with one guy at the same Pharma co in Kent, hes having a conversation with a buddy in IT that he knows from elsewhere.

                He puts down the phone & exclaims "The fucking idiot!"

                What! was our collective response to his outburst.

                "Hes just rung me as he's getting married tomorrow"

                Is that why he's a fucking idiot? was the group response

                "No the silly wanker picked up two new LCD monitors in boxes, walked out the site with them at the end of the day & was fired when he came back into work this morning".

        2. Chris King Silver badge
          Facepalm

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

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

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

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

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: lawns down to the street - with no security fence.

          Ah yes.. The old Dowty Fuels at Arle Court in Cheltenham was a veritable walk in cornucopia. ID badges you could spoof with a biro and a public road through the middle of the site. Anybody wearing a grubby white coat or boiler suit essentially had the run of the place.

    3. PickledAardvark

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

      "Staff never used to and in most cases still don’t care about who has physical access to computing systems."

      I have a similar sad experience. I turned up at a hospital to set up some student teaching PCs. I found the IT support office quite easily -- behind a rather thick locked door. Helpfully, there was a notice on the door providing a phone number for anyone wishing to speak to IT support staff. In search of a phone, I opened an adjacent door to find myself in the machine room housing some generic servers and Sun boxes.

      Perhaps the management were ahead of their time, avoiding social engineering attacks by locking up staff who would have been more vulnerable than a physical attack on servers ;-)

  5. wolfetone Silver badge
    Coat

    Did Robin end up working at TSB recently?

  6. ArrZarr Silver badge

    Let’s just keep the bird motif going here and think blue logos, okay?

    Ravenclaw!

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Coat

      I never knew BirdsEye had their own bank.

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        The bank of twitter?

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Pirate

        >I never knew BirdsEye had their own bank.

        Very good Captain

      3. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: I never knew BirdsEye had their own bank.

        I was with them but left as they kept freezing my assets.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Team Mystic!

  7. Little Mouse

    "Don't talk to the ATM..."

    Does anyone else have to bite back the urge to say "Thank you" when taking their cash?

    1. Sam Liddicott

      Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

      "Perform a U-turn where possible"

      Not unless you say please

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

        FEED ME A STRAY CAT

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

          FEED ME A STRAY CAT

          Oi! Leave those stray cats alone - or send them my way. After all, to scale up from 7 cats to 8 is only a small incremental change..

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

            I would, but, I, uh, have to return some videotapes.

          2. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: FEED ME A STRAY CAT"

            "BRING ME A BLUE PAGE!"

    2. Stratman

      Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

      Back when the BBC televised cricket there was a director who would always say "Thank you" to the pre-recorded prompt which said "last ball" as the sixth ball of an over was about to be bowled.

    3. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

      This whole sequence makes me think of the film Point Blank. It's a highly surreal presentation of a guy (played by Lee Marvin) taking his revenge on a crime syndicate.

      Anyway, it was made in the early 60s, well before there were any ATMs anywhere. Side note: it has been reasonably common in the US to refer to an ATM as a "hole in the wall".

      At one point, Walker (Lee Marvin's character) confronts Brewster, one of the syndicate's bosses, about the money they owe him, and the guy says, "You know, I can't just go to a hole in the wall and get out that kind of money." Today, we kind of accept this without challenging it, because somebody in the same situation might say exactly those words.

      But what was Brewster talking about if the film was made (and set) before the existence of ATMs?

      Well, what he meant was a sort of "kiosk" microbranch with a single cashier inside, a bunch of money, and a bank window facing the street. A sort of "MTM" => Manual Teller Machine, as it were. The concept of why you'd go to such a thing was the same as today, and the only real difference was the replacement of a human teller/cashier by a machine.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: A sort of "MTM" => Manual Teller Machine

        You mean the drive-up window.

        Lots of banks have 'em, including my local Chase branch.

        TSB tried this out recently in software, but it turned out to be more of a drive-by window.

        1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Re: A sort of "MTM" => Manual Teller Machine

          You mean the drive-up window.

          Where I heard the explanation of the older usage, no, a walk-up microbranch in a kiosk. (I've used - once - an American drive-up bank window, in the second half of the 1980s. BayBank.(1) Ugh.)

          (1) The bay in question is one of the many on the coast of Massachusetts, but a quick search didn't show up any indication of which one.

      2. Michael Maxwell

        Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

        Speaking of movies, "Three Little Beers" shows that security was no better in the past: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv_Zy9qz4j8

    4. jmch Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

      I occasionally exclaim "Yes!!!! I won!!!!""

      1. Weiss_von_Nichts
        FAIL

        Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

        I once hit in three false PINs while the bank still was open, went to the cashier handed my card over and said: "Jackpot. Three wrong out of three". Blank faces...

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

          "Jackpot. Three wrong out of three"

          What did you win?

    5. fruitoftheloon
      Happy

      @little mouse: Re: "Don't talk to the ATM..."

      LM,

      I usually do thank the ATM after it has dispersed some cash, as it wasn't all that long ago when I didn't have any overdraft left to be used..

      (Now I have a little bit of overdraft left)

      Cheers,

      Jay.

  8. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

    West is best

    I recall working for a company in London. I had to go the West London branch, and duly got directions how to get there. Ages spent fighting various forms of public transport resulted in finding myself at the West End branch. The West London branch was two doors down from head office, where I worked.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FUBAR

    I'm rather astounded that El Reg's usual readers need FUBAR defined for them... Is this just a SNAFU?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: FUBAR

      Maybe an attempt to cater for the unusual readers? :)

    2. onefang Silver badge

      Re: FUBAR

      "I'm rather astounded that El Reg's usual readers need FUBAR defined for them... Is this just a SNAFU?"

      I'm even more astounded that they self censored "fucked". I thought El Reg was more mature than that.

  10. picturethis
    Joke

    Reminds me of JAFO

    From the movie Blue Thunder (Roy Scheider) - at least that's where I initially heard it.

    JAFO = Just Another F'in Observer

    In other words not able to contribute anything and pretty much useless...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Thunder#Cultural_references

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of JAFO

      It's used within the Fleet Air Arm apparently.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Blue Thunder

      "You know he checks his sanity with his wristwatch?"

      "What do you check yours with? a dipstick?"

      That line always cracked me up :)

    3. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of JAFO

      The term Observer dates back to the first military aircraft, the pilot would drive the thing while the Observer literally observed the fall of gunfire and called corrections back to the ship/artillery battery. The RAF used the term up until I think WW2 when they introduced navigators, it generally being felt by those who'd qualified as Observers that navigators were less skilled due to the reduced training involved.

      As stated the Fleet Air Arm still uses the term for the god like being doing all the tactical work and achieving military effect with the aircraft, although there isn't a huge amount of observing the fall of shot anymore. You do get trained in it though which is fun.

      Yes, yes I do have a cap with JAFO on...

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of JAFO

        The term in the first world war was "Artillery Observer", and that was indeed what aircraft were first used for, replacing tethered blimps/barrage balloons for the purpose.

        The apocryphal story is that while on a mission one officer took exception to the bally hun nearby, drew his sidearm and fired off a few shots, starting the process of retasking aircraft for a combat role. Original armament apparently included rocks, dropping on the enemy from above for the use of, and Mills Bombs, which were basically tin cans packed with explosives and set off with a fuse lit, I would like to think, with a cigar.

        The term survives into modern warfare times as "Forward Observer", the poor sod who has to correct the fire of artillery batteries from a closer position to the enemy than is good for the health in an age of high-powered rifles and sniper scopes. They also do the "painting" with laser designators in weapon systems like Copperhead (though they might get a spiffy new job title when doing that).

        The artillery observation role is also how those lucky sods in the UK have such beautiful Ordinance Survey maps. The government, having assembled a crack team of map-makers for wartime use needed a reason not to disband the group and lose the talent, so set them the task of mapping the UK at one inch to the mile, then 1:50,000 when the UK went metric.

        Who knew such beauty could come from shooting the bejayzus out of each other?

        What was the question?

        1. Vincent Ballard
          Coat

          Retasking aircraft for a combat role

          Retasking aircraft for a combat rôle goes back at least as far as 1911, when Italian recon pilots started manually lobbing bombs at Libya.

        2. ridley

          Re: Reminds me of JAFO

          I cannot remember which book it was but certainly a autobi graph of one of the WW2 pilots, maybe winkle brown, but the were assigned as observers to the naval bombardment on D-Day flying above the beaches watching and calling in adjustments to the ships fire,

          All was going well, though the flying tricky as the air was choppy.

          A sudden realisation occurred, when a "shadow" passed by, about WHY the air was choppy he decided to adjust his altitude, sharpish.

          Nothing like several battleships broadsides passing close by to really wake you up.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of JAFO

            'I cannot remember which book it was but certainly a autobi graph of one of the WW2 pilots, maybe winkle brown'

            That may have been Mike Crosley's 'They Gave me a Seafire' which definitely has a chapter on it, along with getting confused for FW-190s as having removed the wing tips to get a faster roll rate they didn't have the Sea/Spitfire's distinctive silhouette. Definitely worth a read if you haven't already.

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of JAFO

              IIRC, on D-Day one of the ships used their main battery to take out a dispatch rider heading away from the beach.

  11. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Twitter runs a bank?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes...You're only allowed an account if you you're a lefty and aware of your white privilege...

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith

        You've never actually been on twitter, have you, AC?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In addition to having a Twitter account, i also have a Tumblr account. Take a look where all the rabid easily offended millenials hang out and create their constant protests at everything. Heck, the top trending hashtags are always millenial protests of minor/miniscule importance.

          You've never really used Twitter have you Locksmith?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Twitter

            I've never really used Twitter. I'm not a twit.

  12. Psychomech
    Headmaster

    FUBAR BUNDY

    My brother used to work as a paramedic with the West Midlands Ambulance Service and told me about an acronym that they sometimes used when handing over a patient at the hospital. After scraping somebody up off the road, that was in really bad shape, they would inform the hospital staff that the patient was FUBAR BUNDY (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet).

    Just thought i'd share that with you.

  13. Grant Fromage

    In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

    Straying slightly off topic but definitely in Fubar territory.

    There was a book to record bits of kit which failed to repeat alleged misbehaviour even under extreme provocation when moved to the workshop. ( and not just due to being cooler, we used to heat stress them as the last test).

    In most cases it was almost certainly finger trouble ("Ah the FT index is high today").AKA pebcak.

    The book was called the FNS log = Fault not seen, alternatively "Fsking numpty spotted". and the piece of kit got a tiny sticker by the serial no. plate with the fns number, I usually added the initials of the complainant. It certainly flagged up repeat offenders. You did sometimes get genuine intermittent faults which were swines to find and usually took hairdryer and freezer spray to locate and replace/resolder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

      "and the piece of kit got a tiny sticker by the serial no. plate with the fns number, [...]"

      A new comms front end went live. Several fault reports came in. It was quickly discovered that one board's lines' leds weren't showing any responses to polling. The senior engineer decided to take a calculated risk - and replaced the board without powering off the rack. The system picked up the new board and all was well.

      He looked at the board he had taken out - there was a neat tag attached - "NFF". (No Fault Found).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

        "He looked at the board he had taken out - there was a neat tag attached - "NFF". (No Fault Found)."

        I once worked with someone who put NFF onto way too many devices. We decided he was correct. There were faults on the items, but he was too bloody useless to find, identify and fix them.

        1. G.Y.

          The implementer's motto: Re: In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

          "if we can't fix it, it ain't broke"

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: The implementer's motto: In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

            Oh yes. I've had that one through a good(?) few times. Back in the days when stuff wasn't so reliable. An item coming back as "no fault found". But it still didn't f***ing work. And items we sent for repair were always checked out by myself and our full time IT guy to make sure the user hadn't caused the problem.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

      usually took hairdryer and freezer spray

      That's *some* hairstyle!

      1. qwertyuiop
        Thumb Up

        Re: In the days of pen and paper, initials were double edged too ........

        ...hairdryer and freezer spray to locate and replace/resolder...

        That's a very interesting soldering technique!

  14. Grant Fromage

    Voices from Below

    There was broadcast to Europe TV shopping channel, now folded that had had a turnkey server based studio nstallation by a german company, wth 1 metre standoff computer floor for cooling air distribution.

    If you needed to lay cables you could just ferret them in. . Rather than just pull the odd guide tile It was easiest to get in the rough area and via one of the floor cableways by hand wiggling through someone guides you to the right one.

    On server rather than live studio an hour slot of planned work. I started crawling with a cable bundle got to one of 3 possibles and my oppo had not walked there in the time I crawled there.

    " Can you see my hand" repeated several times," can you see me I`m here" nothing.

    I pushed on the tiles until I found an unloaded one and emerged, with a top hat of unaligned carpet tiles in the middle of the transmission gallery,

    The lady on the clip playout desk looked like she was going to faint. The poor girl had heard distantly what sounded very worrying without context coming from the floor behind the desk and thought she was hearing things.

    The lady director thought it was funny in the pub debrief at shift end, knew what we were doing, hadn`t passed it on.

  15. strum Silver badge

    Everybody knows that anyone on the other side of a 'Authorised Persons Only' door must be an authorised person.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Authorirsed persons only

      Back in telco days, we were taught to make a point of querying anyone we didn't recognise in such areas, whether or not they had an id/visitors badge showing, but to make the initial approach as if they were lost and needed assistance.

      Most of the time that was the case but there were a couple of "incidents averted" due to such challenges. The most common way of gaining entry was shotgunning through a door behind someone authorised, which ended up in orders that people were to ensure noone followed them in.

      As for the "incidents"? Telcos used to have a lot of readily accessible copper in their buildings. That was a big temptation for certain groups of individuals.

  16. Robert Sneddon

    Pentesting

    One time-honoured method of penetration testing a building is to carry some plumber's tools and mutter into a phone about the toilets as you approach the front desk. They'll call a lift for you, hold doors open for you, get you a cup of tea. Any office building over three stories tall has something wrong with the toilets.

  17. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    fubar

    Friday Usually Brings Amusing Reminiscences?

  18. MadonnaC

    other faults:

    OSI Layer 8 network error

    Loose nut on keyboard

    Wetware error

  19. onefang Silver badge

    As far as lax security goes, I'm always reminded of the Darwin Police HQ, from many decades ago. Some bright spark managed to steal all the security cameras.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Darwin Police HQ,"

      One university town I lived in had a spate of pink bicycles appearing on top of buildings and poles, which the police said they were taking "extremely seriously" in newspaper interviews.

      A couple of days after this statement was published a cluster of pink bicycles appeared on the top of the main police station's flagpole. Said flagpole was highly visible from many office windows inside and outside the police station. Red faces all around.

  20. Dajve_Bloke
    Pint

    Fault description

    One I quite like, and haven't seen in a brief skim through here is "Layer 8 failure".

    If anyone doesn't quite grok this, it helps to remember the OSI reference model.

    Beer, because it's almose beer'o'clock.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Fault description

      'One I quite like, and haven't seen in a brief skim through here is "Layer 8 failure".'

      You might want a less brief skim, it's been mentioned.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

    I remember it well...

    Lion Systems Developments; Stokenchurch, Wythenshawe, Gloucester, Tottenham Court Rd, Knutsford, Leckhampton, Beckenham - brings a tear to the eye...

  22. Celeste Reinard

    No time to waste

    FUBAR went just from zero to one in zero seconds flat in my top ten favorite expressions list to be abused at any occasion possible ... starting this saterday morning 20 years ago.

  23. steviebuk Silver badge

    Always count...

    ...your money when you get any out of a cash machine. And also note how its comes out. About 2 years ago I got some out of an RBS machine via link so not my bank. £100. I noted as the money came out one note was folded in such a way it looked like two.

    I counted. It was £80

    I went in and told RBS who said nothing they can do you need to call your own bank. I hadn't bothered with a receipt either.

    I'd worked out because the note was folded the machine counted it as two notes. So as far as the machine was concerned, it had dispensed £100. A few weeks later, after an "investigation", my bank credited my account by £20.

    What annoys me is how long they took. Surely they should have checks end of every day and notice the machine is up £20.

    I now get receipts when drawing money to make sure it matches what actually came out.

    1. Andy A
      Pint

      Re: Always count...

      I was lucky a few years ago to GAIN by this fault. The folded note had missed the counting system completely.

      Cue bonus pints!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about when a belligerent user keeps typing the incorrect password to login to their computer, gets locked out, gets unlocked, does it again twice more, and between three repeat phone calls to the Tech Support Service Desk, we prove how many times they've typed the incorrect password and locked themselves out, with an Active Directory Audit tool? After documenting that with a screen shot in the Support Ticket, the repeat belligerent calls stopped, suddenly.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "How about when a belligerent user keeps typing the incorrect password to login to their computer, gets locked out, gets unlocked, does it again twice more,"

      these are the same users who can't find the Any key, or swear blind that XYZ software used to work on this machine when it was never installed in the first place.

      Of course there's the other kind of user - where you know there's something odd going on with their machine but no errors are logged on the servers and you can't replicate it on vanilla builds on the bench, so you need to look over their shoulder to see them repeat the fault and work out that the f**k is going on(*) - and they take that as not being believed, so find excuses not to allow the diagnosis to proceed.

      (*)ie: it's probably an interaction between software on their system that's not documented.

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Un-Intelligerent User

      I had a user this week that couldnt type his "reset" password to the parts system web interface, I eventually had to remote in & type it in on his behalf before it was accepted.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ATM????

    It's bloody "hole in the wall" or "cashpoint" if you want to be more formal...

    tsk. tsk. ex colonials....

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: ATM????

      Hole in the Wall is a trademark of Barclays I believe and Cashpoint belongs to the Lloyds Banking Group.

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