back to article Not so smart after all: A techie's tale of toilet noise horror

Ah the perils of a connected society were evidenced once again this week when some techies we know took on a pimply faced, smartwatch clad youth as an apprentice. The lad, it was explained to The Reg, had synced his fitness bauble to his laptop and turned up the volume so all could hear. The young chap was working on a desk …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    *Reaches for the MindBleach*

    *Sticks head in the keg & begins to inhale*

  2. DailyLlama
    Facepalm

    Mind bleach?

    Try Mental Floss for better cleaning power!

  3. Alistair Dabbs

    Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

    Isn't this one of my columns?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

      Well it's certainly abuse of someone's 'column' they're talking about at any rate.

      1. JulieM Silver badge

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        Would you be the same Martin Summers who was working at Aston Uni about 1991 or 1992?

        1. Martin Summers Silver badge

          Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

          "Would you be the same Martin Summers who was working at Aston Uni about 1991 or 1992?"

          Hi Julie, no not me. I was still in education at that time rather than educating!

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

            Good, though, to be asked if you are the Aston Martin Summers. Top down, wind in your hair...

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

              Isn't this one of my columns?

              ...and an Aston Martin

    2. DubiousMind

      Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

      Dabbsy, after all these years, you're clearly starting to rub off on the other Reg reporters!

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        Was it because yours is a small column in comparison and you're paid by the inch?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

          His missus is French - so, measurements will be in centimetres. A win win situation.

      2. PerlyKing
        Go

        Re: starting to rub off

        Ooerr missus!

      3. brotherelf
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        Be careful, rubbing off on coworkers can lead to a very sudden dishonourable discharge.

      4. Steven Raith

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        Rubbing off on his coworkers is why they prefer him to work from home.

        Steven "Obvious joke" R

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        "Dabbsy, after all these years, you're clearly starting to rub off on the other Reg reporters!"

        that explains why he's speaking to HR rather than writing then...

      6. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        I believe HR have talked to him about that and he's no loner allowed to do it.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: I believe HR have talked to him... Didn't you mean...

          I believe HR have talked to him as he clearly has good HR skills.

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

      I wouldn't want to cast aspersions, but yours has yet to appear in my feed.

      1. Jedit
        Pirate

        "I wouldn't want to cast aspersions"

        I'm not sure this is the forum for you.

    4. LDS Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

      Maybe because your today column had none of them, so they needed to keep the Friday page balanced?

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

      I must admit, I was expecting to see your by-line when I opened the story...

      Standards are falling, old boy.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        I'm sure he will rise to the challenge.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

          One should always stand proud when meeting the challenge. I'll leave now... Hopefully, the subject of this article left the building also or at least got a good talking to.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

      "Isn't this one of my columns?"

      Dunno. Do you have a talking watch?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Toilets, health trackers, sexual innuendo

        I thought it was this weeks On-Call, which I almost missed as a result.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Computer sound is on in an open space ?

    As far as I'm concerned, that will last exactly one update before either it gets muted or it's keyboard-to-the-face time.

    Computers have no business making noise in a business environment.

    1. quxinot

      Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

      Important notifications are acceptable.

      For example, if there's a fire in the building and the BOFH has disabled the alarm horns, a discreet beep suggesting to all that it's time to leave would be appropriate.

      Of course if the big alarm is disabled, I'm sure that the BOFH wouldn't be warning the lusers of their impending doom.....er... of the possible hazard.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

        `echo "Fire!" | wall`

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          If there is working audio ...

          echo 'Fire!' | festival --tts

    2. DailyLlama
      Mushroom

      Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

      This a million times!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

        More than one person in an office is "Open Plan" in my book. It' *is* a cardinal sin to have the sound up, especially if they insist on listening to grime & dub step, but it's the work experience experiences like that which are the very reason these pimply faced youths are sent out there in the first place.

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

      BING "You've got Mail...Genitalia in your hand"

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

        BING? It might have been micro but I don't think it was soft at the time.

      2. Bob Wheeler

        Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

        Year's ago I had the email notification as 'Oh no' in a low moan kinda sound. The big boss asked me to change it.

        Bob (retd)

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

          "Year's ago I had the email notification as 'Oh no' in a low moan kinda sound"

          Did anyone else read that in the voice of Consuela the Maid (Family Guy)?

          1. Siberian Hamster

            Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

            Worms was the first thing that sprang to my mind!

            1. Criggie
              Mushroom

              Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

              Nah its Lemmings, when you click the "blow them all up button" and get a polyphonic "Ohhh Nooo" <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop> <pop>

          2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

            Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

            Reminds me of something that happened in around 1991. We had a Mac in an office otherwise filled with Sun Sparcstations etc - I cant recall why now. But it was a noisy beast, always pinging and beeping and bonging and generally showing off it’s audio skills. I found that there was a way of changing some of the sounds, and there was a built in microphone, so... a couple of us changed a couple of things. Anyway, by about a week later, nobody had even turned the damn thing on, and we’d all forgotten about it. Cue the boss’s wife and two young kids come in. They promptly sat down at the Mac and turned it on. Now this being the early 90s, computers did have even more of a tendency to crash, get stuck, get into loops and so on than they do now. And stuck in a loop it got: over and over again it repeated out loud “I wish this fucking Mac would stop making all these damn stupid fucking noises”. Really loud. And unstoppable. No button would stop it. In the end, after 60 cringeworthy seconds of this, I pulled the plug.

            Luckily senses of humour were in abundance - all of us just burst out laughing and no harm was done.

            1. Nick Kew Silver badge

              Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

              Around 1991 our sparcstations were particularly loquacious, powered by pranks like

              cat very-silly-fragment.wav > remote:/dev/audio

              By the mid-90s that was all gone, as remote sounds were disabled by default, along with opening applications on a remote machine's display.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

                Indeed ... I remember a 1990's London tradefloor, hundreds of SS20s and the like, all fake orgasming in unison ... thanks to a 'When Harry Met Sally' clip. HR wasn't as big back then.

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

          I worked for a media firm where there was always plenty of noise. I had my new email notification set to various different things. Some of the most memorable included:

          Kenneth Williams saying "Frying Tonight" from Carry On Screaming

          " I Love My Brick" and "Small...Far Away" from Father Ted

          "Open Channel D Please" from The Man From Uncle (sadly no clip on YouTube)

          The bloke who sat opposite me started off hating them but after a couple of days had his own one going.

        3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

          Slightly niche, but about 15 years ago I had my workstation's SIP client ringtone as the brain from The Mighty Boosh saying:

          This is, my friends, an outrage!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBCq8XDgrP0

          I think that might be the exact video I ripped the audio from.

    4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

      I'd extend this to checking voicemail with the speakerphone. Doubly so when messages are stacked up upon returning from a week long holiday.

    5. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Computer sound is on in an open space ?

      Indeed - my own personal rules are no music, whistling, singing, humming, tapping or similar annoyances.

      There is a small exception for a portion of the recognised Christmas repertoire strictly between the months of November and January, but all other offences are punishable by payment to the User Error Fund (also contributed to whenever the fault is not that of IT but the user themselves) or a large thump.

      If you must - put on headphones. But if I can hear the tsch, tsch, tsch, then the same rules apply as above.

  5. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Fitness trackers can be tricky

    When I was working for Yahoo, Marissa Meyer decided to give the entire company fitness trackers from another company of which she was a board member and institute a "100 mile" challenge for employees: we needed to walk at least 100 miles a month. Some people really got into this, with my director winning with 25+ miles a day by dint of fitting a treadmill to his desk. I was cycling to the office anyway, but the 18 mile round trip only ever showed up as 6 miles of walking, until I took to fastening the tracker to my ankle instead of my wrist, which caused the mileage to double.

    Still didn't win any prizes though!

    1. Diogenes

      Re: Fitness trackers can be tricky

      We did one of those stupid challenges (the rules said the numbers recorded on the device, not the steps taken)which my project team won by a country mile , but we were disqualified for cheating...

      One of my guys taped his to a metronome, another constructed, what in impolite circles would be called a reciprocating rod (think the bit on a steam loco connecting the cylinders to to wheel) and we attached all 8 in the team, we just had to be careful not to exceed the roll over from 99999 steps to 00000

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fitness trackers can be tricky

        Thumbs up!

        We had a similar challenge, and did try building something as well. We used a floor standing oscillating fan with a weight attached to one of the blades to make it wobble - and put the pedometers on the outside.

        Didn't work that well, and no one wanted to be in the same room as it.....

        In the end, just clipped it to a sock and jiggled my foot while sitting.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Fitness trackers can be tricky

      They are just sensors ... the "fitness tracking" is in the back-end and the money is in the marketing to the users based on recorded activity estimates.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Fitness trackers can be tricky

        the money is in the marketing to the users based on recorded activity estimates manglements who have nothing better to do with their time and the company's money.

        FTFY

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fitness trackers can be tricky

      "25+ miles a day by dint of fitting a treadmill to his desk"

      I take it this was an electric treadmill that he just left running whilst he got on with other stuff.

      Personally I'd just have fixed it to a wheel of the car. If it didn't score enough on revolutions it'd have added a good few more for the bumps over the pot-holes.

      With CEOs like that it's easy to see why the business ended up where it did.

  6. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Devil

    "Shake more than twice and you're playing with yourself."

    Devil icon because you'll make your hands pregnant in the afterlife if you touch yourself (As one nutty cleric claims).

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      "If you touch yourself (As one nutty cleric claims)"

      The problems with clerics are more related to them touching others....

      1. TRT Silver badge

        The problems with clerics are more related to them touching others....

        Cure light wounds?

    2. Mephistro Silver badge
      Devil

      "...you'll make your hands pregnant in the afterlife if you touch yourself..."

      No shortage of helping hands* in the afterlife, then!

      *: with tiny little faces

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: "...you'll make your hands pregnant in the afterlife if you touch yourself..."

        Àll of Mrs Palm and her five lovely daughters.

        With eternal thanks to Mr Pratchett

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "...you'll make your hands pregnant in the afterlife if you touch yourself..."

          Have an upvote for the Sir Pterry quote.

        2. Cederic

          Re: "...you'll make your hands pregnant in the afterlife if you touch yourself..."

          With all respect to the late pTerry his first book was published five years after the delightful family's mention in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqJHoZBJYxI

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: "...you'll make your hands pregnant in the afterlife if you touch yourself..."

            Yep, Ivor got there first, but I'm not sure he invented it either, I would expect it to be much older than that.

  7. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

    The Chairman was once stuck in a mass of parents at a gymnastics event, waiting for his daughter. The waiting area was near the kid's heads. Inside one was a little girl belting out the "Let it GO!" refrain from the insipid Frozen soundtrack, and a dozen people damn near died laughing.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

      The waiting area was near the kid's heads.

      Was this on a ship?

      (genuinely baffled)

      1. 's water music Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

        Was this on a ship?

        (genuinely baffled)

        You want to view the html source in your browser. All becomes clear:

        <humblebrag subtext="I have a yatch">heads</humblebrag>

        I was puzzled at the first read, then I read it out loud again in my brother's voice and the penny dropped. Third person self-reference was another clue

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

        Well, you don't want to send a kiddie that's disrupting the class by doing the "I need toilet" dance to the Head's Office, if THAT'S what they understand by the Navy slang for the WC.

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

        From the use of "head", it came across as the teller of the tail was former Navy or Marine. I still use the term (former Marine) without really thinking about it.

      4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

        Sorry about the "head" jargon. No yacht, that's beyond my pay grade. In the military you would either go to the shitter, the can, or (in polite accompany) the head. I'm still wired that way. Maybe we can agree on 'place of solitary contemplation'?

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

      Inside a...head?

      waiting near the kids' heads?

      died laughing because of a song from Frozen?

      (also baffled).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Strangest sounds ever heard from the head...

        Head == toilets

        I'm guessing the song help concentrate on the task at hand. Dropping some friends off at the pool....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a good way to hit your daily target when you're coming up short.

  9. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Hand whisks are evil

    Just about alright for beating eggs, but unless they have some mechanical assist, whisking to thicken up the baking or cooking ingredients of your choice will lead to far more wrist strain than an extended hand shandy. Hand blenders are much more effective. Probably easier to clean, too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hand whisks are evil

      More dangerous to lick for the inept, though..

      :)

  10. Southernboy

    Musicians too

    My daughter's boyfriend is a runner and violinist in the local orchestra.

    She spotted the flaw in his claim that his (fitness device had said) he'd run 5k during rehearsals.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Musicians too

      That doesn't sound the manner in which one should conduct oneself

    2. David 132 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Musicians too

      "My daughter's boyfriend is a runner and violinist in the local orchestra."

      Can we agree that for the sake of clarity, a comma would be advisable in that sentence?

      "My daughter's boyfriend is a runner, and violinist in the local orchestra."

      Unless it's a very weird - mobile - kind of orchestra?

      1. VikiAi Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Musicians too

        It's a marching band. With diarrhea!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Musicians too

        "My daughter's boyfriend is a runner, and violinist in the local orchestra."

        At last! A use for the Oxford comma.

  11. JulieM Silver badge

    Overheard from the kitchen once:

    "I've been beating it for ages and my wrist is getting sore, but it just isn't getting any stiffer".

    Serves you right for trying to cheap out with single cream ......

  12. Ol'Peculier

    As always, if you have a tale to tell and want to lighten your load...

    Don't come running to us?

  13. big_D Silver badge
    Facepalm

    FitBit is insulting

    I had a FitBit, that is also very easy to "fiddle". Sitting on the couch eating crisps can be good for a couple of hundred steps.

    Chopping a salad and cooking a stir-fry is a couple of thousand steps... All very amusing

    But then the FitBit went too far. I went to bed and the next morning it told me that I shouldn't ride a bike just before I go to sleep! Needless to say, my other half was not amused at being called a bike and the FitBit was banned from "nocturnal activities".

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: FitBit is insulting

      "...my other half was not amused at being called a bike..."

      You can call her "meat bicycle" instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6chxuovrbCI

    2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      Re: FitBit is insulting

      Your bike should be allright as long as your tire doesn't go flat. Just make sure you've got some extra rubber and a pump. Maybe some lube...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: FitBit is insulting

      There's nowt to beat a bike for getting the leg over.

      (Of course, there are different experiences that are neither better nor worse but occupy a different niche in life).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Angel

        Re: FitBit is insulting

        Brilliant! A man's best possible companion in life: bike by day, woman by night!

        (sadly inspired by my own posting).

    4. M.V. Lipvig
      Trollface

      Re: FitBit is insulting

      Tell her it's better than being referred to as the village bicycle (because everyone's had a ride.)

  14. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Joke

    It's not just young kids ...

    An 85-year-old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, "Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow."

    The next day the 85-year-old reappeared at the doctor's office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. The doctor asked, what happened and the man explained. "Well, doc, it's like this--first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing. We even called up Arleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin' it between her knees, but still nothing."

    The doctor was shocked! "You asked your neighbor?"

    The old man replied, "Yep, none of us could get the jar open."

    1. VikiAi Silver badge

      Re: It's not just young kids ...

      A bit like the new dosage-regulating pill bottles: "Take one tablet every time you can get the cap off!"

  15. Valerion

    Ironing

    I used to have a step-counter thing that linked to my health insurance. If you got enough steps in a week then you got free coffee and cinema tickets.

    I found that ironing with the thing on my right-wrist was a sure-fire way of racking up enormous numbers of steps.

    1. Joe W
      Coat

      Re: Ironing

      Ah, that's what Ironman is about? Was wondering...

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Ironing

        It's a real sport - look up Extreme Ironing. It's challenging but a lot of fun!

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Ironing

      >>step-counter thing that linked to my health insurance

      That's... crepy. Genuinely, genuinely creepy

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Ironing

        Health Insurance - Coverage stops when you do.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Ironing

          That sounds like the sort of thing Charlie Brooker would come up with.

    3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Ironing... racking up enormous numbers of steps.

      "Gaming the system" usually means taking short-cuts to achieving an aim. I wouldn't classify ironing as a short-cut.

      1. james_smith

        Re: Ironing... racking up enormous numbers of steps.

        I actually find ironing really relaxing. I think I need help.

        1. The Original Steve

          Re: Ironing... racking up enormous numbers of steps.

          As a fellow commentard, I would be delighted to help you out and reduce your stress levels.

          Let me know your address to drop off my shirts.

          You're welcome.

          1. VikiAi Silver badge

            Re: Ironing... racking up enormous numbers of steps.

            My mum has this strange hot metal thing called an 'Iron'.

            I think it might be some sort of old NetBurst-related thing.

        2. ICPurvis47
          IT Angle

          Re: Ironing... racking up enormous numbers of steps.

          My sister-in-law refers to ironing as "therapy".

  16. Davegoody

    If there was a smartwatch that could be charged by “kinetic energy” there are people in my office that could power a small city .....

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Long ago I used to have a (clockwork) watch powered entirely by kinetic energy. That is to say, it never needed winding: regular life was ample. No wrist action required: any such thing was entirely optional.

  17. DarkLordofSurrey

    Was there a climax to this story?

    Did he get a raise?

    Was there a happy ending?

    So many questions, that I really don't want the answer to.. :)

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      never mind that!

      Has he gone blind, or developed hairy palms??

  18. Trixr Bronze badge

    Aren't you supposed to wear it on the non-dominant wrist?

    Or maybe he was feeling a little lonely and wanted to get the "partner" effect.

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