back to article How many Reg columnists does it take to turn off a lightbulb?

I became old this week. My birthday is still eight months away but time waits for no homo sapiens bearing the DNA stamp of either/both X and/or Y-chromosomed gender fascism. (Sorry about the second half of that last sentence but I have learnt to be careful when reciting old proverbs that can be interpreted as bearing …

  1. Tom Paine Silver badge

    That was a very splendid and worthwhile Willie Rushton cartoon that used to adorn the top of the Street of Shame column for many years. I see they've put it on one of those instant-snap-gram things: http://privateeyenews.tumblr.com/post/53200714716/new-technology-baffles-pissed-old-hack-the-old

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Tumblr

      Their cookie & data gathering is evil. I also get a sign-in screen for Tumblr instead of Privateeyesnews account.

      Why don't people have their own web sites instead of using Toxic so called "Social Media" sites?

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Tumblr

        Yeah, I don't know why Private Eye has a Tumblr. I didn't think they knew what Tumblr is

      2. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: Tumblr

        "Their cookie & data gathering is evil."

        You can give them the finger by using the Tor browser, as I just did.

        Everything Oath related is: a) Evil and b) Not GDPR compliant, so I don't feel bad for showing them the aforementioned finger.

    2. livin' thing
      Unhappy

      Unfortunately the cartoon was too small for me to make it out.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Long way around the barn!

    Geesh, after one round of light flicking, I would have unplugged every light in the room from the wall sockets... next step is unscrew every light bulb. But then there would have been no story for me to write!

    1. hmv

      Re: Long way around the barn!

      I have a feeling that you're talking about an entirely different class of hotel from the rancid flea-pits I wind up in. Which usually have such features as hard-wired lamps, and inscrutable light-emitting things that don't resemble light-bulbs and don't look removable without a special set of tools (or a wrecking bar, which I rarely take on a trip).

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        I had exactly this in Tel Aviv last week - one particular bulb which required a specific setting across three different switch panels to actually get it to turn off. But oddly it was the only one of the many illumination sources in the room which had it, all the others seemed quite normal.

        Combined with a TV whose IPTV box decided to turn it on (at quite loud volume) via CEC at random intervals, it was an interesting first night stay. Although the latter was quickly dealt with by removal of the HDMI cable and replacement with my Firestick instead.

        Didn't of course help with the curtains that didn't quite fit the width of the window, letting in just enough light to be annoying and wake you at dawn, but not enough that you could actually then see what you are doing.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        I recently stayed in a "pod" style hotel room that promised a level of technical sophistication for the social media generation - this would normally be enough to keep me at a safe distance, but the alternatives were at least double the price. The lights were all controlled by a glass panel on the bedhead which managed simultaneously to be touch-insensitive to fingers, but extremely responsive to the nearby motion of head on pillow.

        While you could disable the lights completely by removing the key card from its wall-switch captivity, it was a little tricky to find it again in the darkness of a winter night, particularly since the room offered by way of accessible horizontal surfaces only the floor and a narrow shelf from which everything was destined to fall into a small crack between the bed and the wall. And of course, if I had been of the social media generation, I would have been devastated to find that the ability to sleep in uninterrupted darkness was directly and negatively correlated with the ability to charge my phone and tablet (and those of my imaginary partner) from the single USB point that the double room offered as an incentive to "leave your chargers at home".

        And almost none of the promised "exciting" digital TV channels actually worked, which is perhaps just as well as I find it increasingly difficul to rise to the challenge of being "excited" by a stream of advertisements interrupted by people with alarmingly unnatural teeth.

        And it was clear from the flecking of the grouting and sealant in the bathroom that the cleaning staff were having great trouble fighting the mould that resulted from putting a high-intensity "rain" shower into a poorly-ventilated space the size of a telephone box.

        Oh, and the deadlock on the door didn't actually marry up with the keep on the jamb. But being purely mechanical, who was going to be interested in that anyway?

        1. livin' thing
          Facepalm

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          Oh God, I've stayed in one of those awful "pod" hotels too. The toilet and shower (thank God even Millennials still want separate hardware for these) were in some sort of creaky Portaloo-like thing in the corner. And everything had cutesy labels. Everything: "It's great to have a good view on things, so we've given you a window!", next to the... window; "come and go as you please, it's your life!" next to the f**king door, and so on and so on.

          I hit the roof, then hit the bar. There was no reception desk, only grinning children with tablets (they were probably labelled, "you miss your pet, so here's one, only more stupid!"). Awful!

          I'd rather pay any amount of money than stay there again.

          1. David 18

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            "I hit the roof, then hit the bar. There was no reception desk, only grinning children with tablets (they were probably labelled, "you miss your pet, so here's one, only more stupid!"). Awful!"

            So you have stayed in the Liverpool Ibis too then?

        2. matthewdjb

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          My smartwatch (a Pebble) has a backlight with just enough brightness to safely navigate the most trap laden bedroom. And 4 days battery life.

      3. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        There are better hotels? Who needs them? Really, a clean bed, clean room( non smoking), functioning bathroom is all that is needed. Hotels are such a ripoff, why would you pay 1,000's a night just to sleep? When I need a hotel, it's because I'm not at home, and probably wanting to see something besides a 1000+ hotel room. You know, the sights in the city, or activity X which brought you to a hotel in the first place.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          No idea who would pay 1000s a night. At least in any currency I've used since the £ (IT) became the €.

          But I'd add a modicum of peace&quiet to your wishlist. And a window that opens, so I'm not at the mercy of some probably-dysfunctional air-torture system.

          1. AK565

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            IIRC, the lack of opening windows was a major contributor to the Great Telephone and Ventilation Riots of SRDT 3454.

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        and don't look removable without a special set of tools (or a wrecking bar, which I rarely take on a trip).

        You don't?

        I find that just having my Leatherman on me reduces the possibility that a stubborn bit of hardware would be giving me grief to near-zero, and the few that still do either get compliant PDQ or they just fail to live to regret it. It also gave a receptionist at the Natural History Museum the full-on heebiejeebies, but that's another matter (I wanted to leave it at the reception desk like I had done several times in other museums around London, and he wouldn't even touch it to put it in a ziploc bag in a locker)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long way around the barn!

      Maybe it's just me, but I would sweetly ask reception to choose between telling me how to kill all lights (by someone coming to the room, to prevent any "mistakes" in instructions) or have the card charge recovered. That tends to deliver results pretty quickly.

      Alternatively, I'd unscrew every bulb I could get my hands on and stick some duct tape* on the cupboard sensor.

      * If you don't travel with a bit of duct tape you're not a real engineer :).

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        "If you don't travel with a bit of duct tape you're not a real engineer :)."

        Being a former rugby player, I have a preference for insulating tape as it doubles as a first aid kit. Often used to see my fellow players in Woolworths (yes, it was a few years ago) buying 5 rolls of insulating tape for a pound which was then used for athletic supports (crepe bandage and tape, none of your high-faluting neoprene supports there), holding socks up and a myriad of other uses. Any cuts after the game, the tape was used for them too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          So you've been an an actual real scrum then? Unlike the bearded man-children all standing up in the room behind me.

          1. Franco Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            I have, and have also both dished out and received a shoeing for being on the wrong side during a ruck without anyone receiving a yellow card.

            Anyone who referred to themselves as a scrum master in that environment may was well have painted a target on their back.

            1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
              Childcatcher

              Re: Long way around the barn!

              scrum master... I actually saw this on a job description earlier this week. My first reaction was WTF?! I looked it up because I didn't think it was a real thing, but that just served to cement my first reaction as my permanent one.

          2. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            I think "scrum" is an amazing analogy for that type of "agile working". You have two teams of people who push constantly against each other, 4 out of 5 times it collapses in upon itself, no-one has a clue why it fails, someone always has the people propping it up by the balls and there is always one or two snarky little gobshites who have nothing to do with the scrum arguing with the ref about why its not their teams fault it went down.

        2. Mephistro Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          I always take with me some superglue, that I use to patch small cuts in my fingers* (doing this allows said cuts to heal faster than with any other method), and many other uses**.

          * A common occurrence when you have to open computer cases.

          ** E.g. unscrewing screws with eroded heads.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            I always take with me some superglue, that I use to patch small cuts in my fingers*

            One day way back I was installing some wiring in my dad's house. Lacking stripping pliers I resorted to using a Stanley knife to take off the isolation; press down wire onto cutting edge with thumb, roll it around a bit. With the blade rather dull one needed quite a bit of force to cut through the isolation.

            Then came the moment I got to look at the inside of my thumb, as someone had put a new blade in. It was a nice clean, almost surgical cut, with almost no bleeding. So I held it closed, grabbed the superglue, put a drop or two over the incision, added a sticking plaster to keep out the dirt and went on working. It healed without a problem, although the misalignment in the fingerprint is still visible after forty years.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        I'm just impressed you can make the internet do the small text thing at the bottom of your comment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          I'm just impressed you can make the internet do the small text thing at the bottom of your comment.

          You have no idea how much duct tape that required..

          :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        If you don't travel with a bit of duct tape you're not a real engineer

        Interestingly, we have just been told at my company that duct-tape counts as a “textile” according to Customs/import regulations, and so cannot be included in any international shipment. Which has led to the frankly ludicrous situation of us shipping PCs etc to exhibitions, and then having to schlep out upon our arrival, to the nearest Home Depot / B&Q equivalent to buy the essential duct tape.

        I suspect that someone is mis-reading the regulations, but what would I know?

        Anon because I’ve given enough clues to the identity of my employer in my previous posting history and I don’t want them to be publicly embarrassed...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          "I don’t want them to be publicly embarrassed..."

          Go on. Just a little.

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Long way around the barn!

      1) Insert keycard in slot beside door to switch on all lights

      2) Make sure that bedside light is switched on

      3) Remove keycard from slot.

      4) All lights now switch off, including the blasted bedside light

      5) Stumble across room cursing the name of Marriott and all related kin.

      6) Stub toes on edge of bed, now cursing every employee of Marriott and swearing revenge.

      7) Finally fall into bed just as I realise that I have not put the iPhone on to charge.

      8) F*** it.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        iPhone wouldn't have charged anyway, as removing the card switches off the sockets too.

        Unless you cunningly plugged it in instead of the fridge.

        1. DevelopingMadness
          FAIL

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          Assuming that the fridge is also not connected to the power cut off from the room card...

          (having stayed in a hotel last year with this very problem)

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            Possibly due to a previous occupant playing around with the plugs and sockets to keep something running when the lights are off, leaving the fridge in the wrong type of socket.

            I once had a room with such a mis-wiring. It ended up with a fridge that was turned on and off by one of the light switches beside the bed due to being plugged into a socket designed for the standard lamp beside it.

            As the temperature outside was in the high 30's it got re-arranged so the bottles of water in the fridge were nicely chilled for rehydration after a long day at work (before being topped up with a beer or few).

      2. yoganmahew

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        Start at red light from TV for an hour.

        Get up, try and unplug TV.

        Realise there's no plug, it's wired into the wall.

        Duct tape to the rescue again! (Or an open book with one cover up to cover the light.

        And that in a room that proclaimed itself to be optimised for sleep for the weary traveller...

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          You sound like my bloody missus! If so much as a single photon ventures into the room after nighty night, she's up out of bed tweaking curtains, closing doors and putting things in front of illuminated clock displays.

          She seems to regard the suggestion to simply sleep WITH HER BLOODY EYES CLOSED some kind of affront.

          Me, if I get relegated to the spare room for snoring, the curtain there hasn't closed for months, if not years and I can sleep just fine

          1. herman Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            Well, next time, suggest putting ductape over her eyes.

      3. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        [smug mode on]

        Which is why I carry a torch.

        [smug mode off].

        Of course this doesnt stop the hookers from slipping their cards under your door.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the hookers from "slipping their cards under your door"

          well now, that's an interesting euphemism... :-)

          1. Ian Emery Silver badge

            Re: the hookers from "slipping their cards under your door"

            No, seriously; kept having hookers push their cards under the door of my business hotel room in China.

            The romantically names "Peoples Liberation Army Supply Depot and Hotel".

            Another hotel had an even better way to get ALL the lights out; gently move one of the anglepoise lamps over the bed; the wiring would fuse and take out the breakers for the entire floor (also in China).

        2. paulf Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          For some odd reason, that I've not quite got to the bottom of, I've got in the habit of taking my railway bardic with me when I go away. It means I can find the toilet in one of three authentic signalling colours (or white) without turning on lights and waking TOH. The red option might make it a bit hooker like though.

          Mines the anorack with the Ian Allen stock list in it, and a flask of weak lemon drink.

        3. james_smith

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          "Of course this doesnt stop the hookers from slipping their cards under your door."

          I see you've worked in Russia as well. The resident ladies of the night pay the front desk staff for lists of single men in the Moscow hotel I've stayed at.

      4. paulf Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        Not sure if other places have authentication on the card used in the power slot (JHFC that would be truly evil!) but I've spent the last 10 days with a my Boots Advantage card in the power slot of my Hamburg apartment as I like to charge things when I'm not in the room. Also it's the most use that ruddy card has had since I got it about 20 years ago.

        [Thankfully the fridge stays on regardless of the card being present which is good as warm beer may have made me snap, in the way that finding my phone/laptop/camera hadn't charged when I first encountered the abomination that is the hotel key card power slot idea last year in Iceland almost did]

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          Boots Advantage cards also come in handy when you find your 14 month old can out-run you, a store detective and two other members of staff and leg it out of the store with a TY monkey

          Cost me 800 points!!

          (its the cornering, low centre of gravity; that and the decoying us with sunglasses and some Bio Oil)

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            "(its the cornering, low centre of gravity; that and the decoying us with sunglasses and some Bio Oil)"

            Clever toddler. Not only a disguise, but smeared in oil so you can't grab him/her. S/he'll go far! Excellent planning skills and brilliant execution.

        2. whitepines Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          I've spent the last 10 days with a my Boots Advantage card in the power slot of my Hamburg apartment

          Being an EE by trade I figured that one out almost immediately on a business trip in the Netherlands. As soon as I felt the telltale single "mush" of a basic pair of contacts, in went the first convenience card I found (to shops they didn't have of course, so relatively useless). No more worrying about phones not charging, laptop dying etc. for the rest of the stay.

          I get power is expensive, but will the hotel be paying for my overpriced standard fare after my phone dies due to not charging? Or for lost contracts after I don't meet with the clients I'm there to talk with? Didn't think so.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            "I get power is expensive,"

            It's all part the Big Green Machine. By forcing off power to unoccupied rooms, they increase their green credentials. It might even be in the building specs for new builds or when old builds or being upgraded/re-wired.

        3. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          I’ve seen a lot of hotels like that, and always use my Tesco clubcard for that.

        4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          I first experienced one of those in Cyprus 26 years ago, back in 1993. It was my first time abroad. I assumed they must all be like that. Fortunately, the fridge remained on all the time, but the air-con and digital alarm clock didn't.

          I was too stupid to try shoving some other card in.

          1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            I first experienced one of those in Cyprus 26 years ago, back in 1993.

            I concur. In fact, the relatively new hotel I went to earlier this month was the first I experienced for the last 25 years that had no electricity saving system.

          2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

            Re: Long way around the barn!

            Isn't that why you get issued with business cards?

        5. Goldmember

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          Not sure if other places have authentication on the card used in the power slot

          Confirmed... Other places do this. The hotel I am in right now in Manila being one of them :-(

          It's 32°C outside and all sockets go off without the card... Which means warm beer and iced coffee when I come back. Great thinking from someone, there.

      5. SImon Hobson Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Long way around the barn!

        1) Insert keycard in slot beside door to switch on all lights

        Ah, well there was my first stumbling point once, many years ago. I got sent abroad to one of a customer's foreign sites - in a place with lots of sun. Got to the hotel, got given a card for the room, went up in the lift and found myself in a corridor darker than the command centre of a submarine in night combat mode. After a few minutes in the gloom, I got enough vision to find my door, and entered the room.

        Being a hot and sunny place they had full blackout curtains that were automatically left fully closed by the staff - so the room was even darker than the corridor, especially when the door closed itself behind me. By feel I managed to find what felt like some light switches - but they did nothing but make a quiet clicking noise. I managed to make my way across to the window by following the pinpricks of light that got through the blackout like a starry night and allowed some light into the room.

        it was only then that I found this slot thing next to the light switches, and by experiment found that shoving the card into it made the lights work. Yes I know it sounds daft, but I'd never even heard of this sort of "feature" (I'd call it a bug myself) before - I'd always had hotel rooms with ordinary lights, the sort that come on when you switch them on, and go off when you switch them off.

        I did however realise the value of the blackout curtains. Some years before that I'd found myself in a hotel in Stockport during some strange season referred to as summer - "what on earth is this hot weather ?" sort of stuff. Each day I got back from the course, I'd find the room doing a fair impression of an oven - with all the windows closed even though I'd purposely left them open. A little bit of exploration found that the only place in the hotel that was air conditioned was the bar - which made a decent excuse I suppose :-)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          "the only place in the hotel that was air conditioned was the bar"

          To be fair, aircon can be an expensive addition considering the limited use it will get in the UK. Especially in the north west like Stockport. Offering free umbrellas would be a more cost effective and useful add-on for hotels.

        2. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Long way around the barn!

          Some years before that I'd found myself in a hotel in Stockport during some strange season referred to as summer

          Ah, see, it was at this point that I realized you were making the whole thing up.

          I’ve been to Stockport. There is no “summer” there.

          There is the season where the blood falls from the sky, the season where the tortured dead rise from the ground and stagger around, the season where incoherent berserker wrath comes upon the inhabitants, and Winter.

    4. james_smith

      Re: Long way around the barn!

      Back in the 1990s, I was booked into an Amsterdam hotel for work. One too many beers (I don't smoke) and I couldn't work out how to turn off the lights from the multiple switch banks that were like something out of a Resident Evil puzzle. So I wrenched all the bulbs from their sockets. I had a great night's sleep, but the bill included an enormous charge for "breakages".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You should go "Mission Impossible"

    unscrew light bulb (held in cloth) and smash it outside the room to warn you of people coming

  4. GlenP Silver badge

    CorelDraw

    When I first bought it with company money it wasn't cheap (still isn't!) but you could save about 50% of the cost by purchasing an old version of another graphics program (I'll remember the name later) and a CorelDraw upgrade, all perfectly legal.

    Worst thing they did during the acquisitions phase was take of Ventura DTP from Xerox. It was far superior to PageMaker for producing lengthy manuals but of course they tried to make Ventura more PageMaker like and removed all its USPs.

    1. magickmark

      Re: CorelDraw

      "you could save about 50% of the cost by purchasing an old version of another graphics program (I'll remember the name later)"

      I'm not sure but I think it may have been Paint Shop Pro, which was a Shareware product that if I recall correctly they brought out?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: CorelDraw

        I'm not sure but I think it may have been Paint Shop Pro, which was a Shareware product that if I recall correctly they brought out?

        Yes, and promptly ruined...

        PSP7 was I think the last version before Corel started to fiddle with it.

        1. magickmark

          Re: CorelDraw

          And yes I agree they did indeed fuck it up!

          I used to use PaintShopPro in some digital photography and photo editing courses I ran back in the day, used to love it as not only was it a great bit of software I could give the students a copy to take home. But once Corel took over it .. yeah fucked it up.

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: CorelDraw

          Yep. Love PSP. Gave them money for it. And I'm still using PHP 7.04 as my day-to-day graphics editor for straightforward stuff. Does everything I need.

          Decided a few years ago that I should upgrade so got CorelDraw v something. I think I've used it about twice. Utter faff.

          1. juice Bronze badge

            Re: CorelDraw

            I've got PSP 5 and 7 sitting on the old hard drive - they were both given away for free, back when magazines still had coverdisks.

            And I'm still using PSP 5 as my main editor of choice - at that point, it was still orientated around editing "pictures" rather than photos, and most of what I do involves trimming, resizing, flood fills, a bit of cleanup with the clone brush and the occasional use of multiple layers.

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: CorelDraw

        I loved PSP. Even sent them money. Then it went to a retail version and sucked.

        1. paulll Bronze badge

          Re: CorelDraw

          Was my photo editor of choice for a very long time. And even though I'd rendered the nag screen much less annoying by amending it in HexEdit to read."you are using a buggered version of Whore Shop Pro;" Once I was mature and responsible enough to have a credit card one of the first things I did after waking up the next afternoon and valiantly not vomiting on the bus ride home, was to give JASC some money.

    2. John Presland

      Re: CorelDraw

      Did Corel teach Microsoft how to fuck things up?

      Skype used to be perfect for contacting my now 91-year old mother. In its latest version she's besieged by incitements to chat and offers to translate our conversations.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: CorelDraw

        More likely MS got rid of whoever thought up that blasted paper clip. Same mentality.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: CorelDraw

          Dammit. never got rid of.

    3. Black Betty

      Cheap upgrade path.

      Remember doing that with MS Works and Office (x10) when migrating an office full of MAC Classics and Pluses to PCs.

  5. Franco Silver badge

    Something to look forward to tonight, I'm meeting some friends for a night out after work and we're staying in a Travelodge. Looks like find the correct light switch whac-a-mole might be on the cards for the late evening's entertainment.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Is Travelodge pretentious enough to inflict cleverer-than-thou technology on its guests? I don't seem to encounter it in the kind of places my budget occasionally stretches to, like Premier Inns.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        No weird lights, but a shower tray that wouldn't drain so you stood ankle deep in dirty water and rather oddly a bottle opener screwed on to the side of the desk.

  6. muddysteve

    Them wardrobe lights

    Once slept at a friends flat which had one of those motion-sensor lights in the wardrobe. I like to sleep with the window open, and every time there was a gust of wind, the wardrobe doors moved, which turned the light on. As it was a friends place, I didn't want to dismantle the light.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Them wardrobe lights

      No-one needs friends like this. Write them a stern letter, explaining why you are immediately cutting them out of your life. Advise them to seek help. Actually, don't. They're not worth it.

  7. msknight Silver badge

    Shouldn't this be titled....

    "How many Reg columnists does it take to turn ON a lightbulb?"

    Answer - One restless, horizontal columnist.

  8. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Trollface

    Lucky you, Dabbsy

    I'm lucky if I can get adequate reception to make a local call without having to lean from the upstairs toilet window

    You've even got an upstairs toilet. With window. Where I come from, we have a shovel and the woods. A good dump is when you don't have to fend off the bears with the shovel.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Lucky you, Dabbsy

      "...a shovel and the woods"

      Eee, you were luc....

      No, don't go there Zog. Go to the pub instead.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Lucky you, Dabbsy

        No, don't go there Zog. Go to the pub instead.

        You have pubs? Kids today don't know they're born. When I were a lad, we had to drink our beer in a ditch.... etc, etc

        (uh-oh, from here it's Yorkshiremen all the way down...)

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Lucky you, Dabbsy

          You had beer? ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lucky you, Dabbsy

      A good dump is when you don't have to fend off the bears with the shovel.

      That depends on what you eat.

      I've eaten in places where later dumps could wilt flowers upwind from me :)

  9. katrinab Silver badge

    Hotel lighting

    "all together filling the room with a blaze of brightness to match the noonday sun."

    Which hotel was this? Every hotel I've been to seems to have the room illuminated by a single 0.00005 mW LED, and I have to pack my own torch to have any chance of being able to see anything.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hotel lighting

      Perhaps you should see an ophthalmologist.

      1. Andy Non

        Re: Hotel lighting

        That's the problem, he can't see to find one. ;-)

    2. David Given

      Re: Hotel lighting

      I don't think I've ever stayed at a hotel which had adequate lighting in the rooms. Why do they never seem to have overhead lights? They all seem to be lit by dim, pointless standard lamps.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hotel lighting

        They all seem to be lit by dim, pointless standard lamps.

        Because some designer, consultant, or exec type thinks that hotel rooms need to be "home-like". But then it's not "home", it's a freaking hotel/motel. Give me a bed to sleep on, a table or desk, and a way to turn the lights on to work and completely off to sleep. Ambiance, or their version of it, is crap.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Re: Hotel lighting

          Ambiance, or their version of it, is crap.

          Well, I for one prefer dim light. Anyway, so far I've seen one hotel room only with good light system. It had a total of four buttons: all on, all off and two sorts of 'ambient' light. Perfect. Especially the all off switch.

          1. The IT Ghost

            Re: Hotel lighting

            Ambiance...bah. I was once in a restaurant where they had the lights so dim (for ambiance) we had to use the light on our cell phones to read the menu.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Hotel lighting

              "we had to use the light on our cell phones to read the menu"

              A missed opportunity to tell the waiter ou couldn't order because you couldn't read the menu. Could he bring half a dozen more of those little tea lights they probably had on the tables.

            2. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Hotel lighting

              That's a common experience.

            3. John R. Macdonald

              Re: Hotel lighting

              I know one restaurant where the staff give you a small torch with the menu so you can read it.

    3. M.V. Lipvig

      Re: Hotel lighting

      The more dim the lighting, the less likely you are to complain about the dirty room. Can't see the dirt, no complaints.

  10. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    What is it with hotels?

    I actually now prefer the minimalism of Travelodge, as long as I've figured somewhere to eat. It's not even that the overpriced food in UK, US and Irish hotels is much good. Netherlands, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovak Republic not bad for food in hotels. However all hotels and airports seem to be sourced from the same evil catalogue.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: What is it with hotels?

      Here in the States, Mariot (I think it's them or used to be) do much of the hotel/motel food service. There's four levels from 4-star (super high end and super expensive) to 1-star (prison food). Seems like most of the hotel/motels pick the 1 star because it's cheap.

      1. My-Handle
        Joke

        Re: What is it with hotels?

        Ironically, Mariot also supply the prisons. They pick the 2 star menu.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What is it with hotels?

      "I actually now prefer the minimalism of Travelodge, "

      Back when I was the "troubleshooter", I was usually in hotels at least four nights per week, sometimes 5 if I had to be a long way from home by 9am Monday. I preferred the Travelodge chains and their clones because it was quite rare I'd be in the same one two nights in a row. I might forget which town I'm in when I first wake up in the morning, but everything in the room is where I expect to find it. Likewise, it might not be top notch, but you know what to expect and it'll be clean, unlike booking some random independent hotel which looks lovely in the brochure or on the website and then you find Basil Fawlty's brother runs it.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: What is it with hotels?

        Despite being able to afford higher-status hotels if I wanted to I rarely ever stay anywhere other than Travelodge or Premier Inn. As mentioned above they are usually very clean, comfortable (though Premier Inn tend to insist on HVAC rather than radiators and windows that open), and - here is the kicker - staff who are friendly and helpful. I have never found this in the higher status places.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Arrived at a guesthouse once where the bath faucet was set to shower, No amount of cussing at the lever helped.

    I simply unscrewed the flexible hose pipe going to the showerhead* and filled the bath up with hot water. Luxury!

    *No, not a South African ex-Prez.

  13. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge
    Flame

    Worst thing about hotel room lights

    After you've spent hours figuring out the right switch combination to turn them all off, you come back the next day to realize that room service has turned them all back on! (yes, I know it's part of their job)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Worst thing about hotel room lights

      "After you've spent hours figuring out the right switch combination to turn them all off"

      ...write it down so you'll know next day.

  14. brotherelf
    Trollface

    Quick, find me a venture crapitalist

    "shouting just fucking let me the fuck in you fucking fucked fuck-headed fucker"

    I have long maintained that search engines should give better results based on the invective level of the query. Kind of like a shibboleth.

    OTOH, I can see practical-sounding applications for that. As I recall form my visits to the UK, y'all have buses that require a breathalizer check to turn on, why not have voice recognition do the same? "*pling* I'm sorry you're already late for work, but you sound too angry to maintain road safety. A taxi will be arriving shortly."

    I also have a HTTP response code for that: 420 insufficient chill.

  15. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Karma

    >>>At the hotel reception desk, it all went to pot.<<<

    Having been lulled into a false sense of optimism during your travels, karma decides to even things out at the last interaction with a real human.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I know you love Kickstarter, so...

    ... you should have a look to Neuroon Open, the " the sleeping mask of the future"!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

      Neuroon Open works with other IoT devices: it communicates with Nest to bring the temperature down as you fall asleep while turning on your bedside light as it senses you awaking in the night for a trip to the bathroom.

      So Google gets to know when you get to wake up shivering and needing a piss and you get to break your toe as turning on every damn light in the house still doesn't alter the fact you're wearing a sleeping mask. Great, where do I fill in my card details?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

        Not to forget the fact that in a properly insulated house it takes a long time to cool down once the heating turns off (or the cooling turns down) before it actually cools. And I'm the sort of person that prefers room temps to be on the chilly side (As in, I sleep perfectly fine at about 5 degrees room temp. Might require a shirt or an extra blanket below that point). Turning down the temperature as I fall asleep is too little too late.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

          "I sleep perfectly fine at about 5 degrees room temp."

          Hypothermia?

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

            I didn't say that was without a blanket. But I always prefer lower room temps.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

              Me too. Even more importantly, I have the air-con (yes, in rainy Wales) fan (fan-only mode in winter!) blowing directly at my face, all the year round.

              1. 's water music Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

                ...I have the air-con ... fan ... blowing directly at my face, all the year round

                Now we know you are clearly lying

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: I know you love Kickstarter, so...

                  Or maybe I'm dead? Ha! Didn't think of that, did you? !

  17. Big_Boomer

    Black Duct Tape

    Carried everywhere with me. Great for disabling sensors and in one hotel room I covered over the one remaining halogen bulb that would not die. It subsequently overheated and burned out. Happy days :-)

    As for ageing and software, I am still using a version of Paint Shop Pro 7 I bought in 2001. Works fine in Win10 and does what I need.

  18. Teiwaz Silver badge

    80's Cyber-something

    The first hint of accelerated decrepitude, as Pris famously put it

    Initially confused - I was thinking about the wrong Pris.

    Whoops, I meant the edgier Pris with Asakawa Yuu vocals

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: 80's Cyber-something

      I haven't heard that in years!

      Thanks.

      Is Bubblegum Crisis still available?

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: 80's Cyber-something

        Bubblegum Crisis... I have all those on DVD in the attic. I know this because I wrote the sleeve notes for Manga Entertainment for that particular set repackaged in the mid-Noughties.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: 80's Cyber-something

        I haven't heard that in years!

        Thanks.

        Is Bubblegum Crisis still available?

        On KissAnime or 9Anime it still is. Not that I'd know anything about such sites.

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Windows

    Yes we are old

    We've passed the Star Wars tipping point. The way things are going I don't think I'm going to bother waiting another 40 years, I'm ready to be plugged into San Junipero now.

  20. 20TC

    DIY & Fingerprints

    Fingerprint readers don't like it if you do too much DIY! Specifically the type that involves rubbing your thumb and/or forefinger over something a bit rough (tiling, grouting or sanding, before you go there....)

    Registering my middle or ring finger as an alternative works of course but you look a bit of a pillock if you're trying to unlock your phone or, worse still, hold an NFC phone over the reader :-)

    1. Darryl

      Re: DIY & Fingerprints

      I often find myself presenting my middle finger to electronic devices.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: DIY & Fingerprints

        I often find myself presenting my middle finger to electronic devices.

        A lot of users seem to think their eleventh finger will do for face recognition as well as 'fingerprint reader'*'

        * Ok, not actually a 'finger', but I doubt *elmet readers willy catch on.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: DIY & Fingerprints

          I think you may be taking the request for the reader to "just fucking let me the fuck in you fucking fucked fuck-headed fucker" a little too literally... :-D

    2. Fred Dibnah

      Re: DIY & Fingerprints

      Register fingers on both hands, for when you break your arm and can't twist it to get onto the reader. Learned the hard way. I have also registered my partner's fingers for next time I'm laid up / when I'm dead.

      Optimist, me.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: DIY & Fingerprints

        Obligatory Tom Lehrer song

        I hold your hand in mine, dear

        I press it to my lips

        I take a healthy bite from

        Your dainty fingertips

        My joy would be complete, dear

        If you were only here

        But still I keep your hand

        As a precious souvenir

        The night you died I cut it off

        I really don't know why

        For now each time I kiss it

        I get bloodstains on my tie

        I'm sorry now I killed you

        For our love was something fine!

        Until they come to get me

        I shall hold your hand in mine!

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: DIY & Fingerprints

          Brilliant song, isn't it. I love singing it on my bike on my way to work (that and "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park") to general confusion of other biking commuters.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: DIY & Fingerprints

            I still say learning the lyrics from most of "An Evening Wasted..." was one of the better educational outcomes of my university years.

            And over 20 years later I can still join you in a duet of Poisoning Pigeons, although my voice is arguably enough to do it without resorting to any peanuts or cyanide.

            1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: DIY & Fingerprints

              I came across my parents LP of "An Evening Wasted..." when I was about 10? 12? Papa had to carefully explain "Masoichism Tango" to me!

          2. Arctic fox
            Thumb Up

            @Michael H.F. Wilkinson Re: DIY & Fingerprints

            I have to say the masochism tango takes some beating! So to speak :)

            1. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: masochism tango

              Bugger!

              For some reason I now have Bill Oddie's 'Masochist Rag' running in my head.

              My dad bought me a telly

              But that didn't do the trick

              I stayed tuned to Junior Showtime

              Until it made me sick (the work of a moment)

  21. ChrisB 2
    Mushroom

    This, so very much this.

    "You will be aware that even the tiniest of hotel rooms have multiple light switches on various wall surfaces for the same lamps but in different groupings. In my case, I found that switching some lights off had the effect of toggling others back on again. After spending a minute flicking the switches up and down in alternate configurations but without succeeding in extinguishing all the lamps at the same time, I got out of bed to try the other banks of switches."

    Over the years I have stayed in some of the best and some of the worst hotels in the world and this is their one commonality. FFS! It appears to be beyond the wit of mankind (or even the spark actually wiring the room) to solve this problem. We can (could) send men to the moon but... &etc

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This, so very much this.

      "or even the spark actually wiring the room"

      Look at it from the spark's PoV. Wiring a 1000 room hotel is boring so a bit of creativity with switch logic passes the time.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This, so very much this.

        Let me add a serious point to this. Whoever designs these switching arrangements probably thinks that this is what the customers want, but have never asked them. Whoever here has designed user interfaces for applications: how do you know you're not in the same boat? How do you avoid getting there?

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: This, so very much this.

      Practice makes perfect: apt-get install lightsoff

  22. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    It's not just the technology

    Look around - it's just the way the world works these days, the stock market, starting new companies, politics, dating, eating in/out, transportation, media, Internet, etc ... it's all sold as "technological improvements" but the reality is that it's aimed at being someones "wallet improvements" by persuading everyone to "upgrade" to something that often barely works as well as whatever it's replacing. But it's New Technology so it must be wonderful.

    Yes, I'm an Aliens/Bladerunner fan with a collection of all the versions ever released on VHS/DVD etc ... those movies generally did not end well for technology did they? But at the time we were all excited because we had put humans on the moon, launched Voyager etc. We were actually doing exciting things with science and technology.

    Now what's happening? Oh they just want to ship tourists into space for a few million quid apiece.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good luck with the duct tape, if you travel on aircraft in Australia.

    The "security" personnel decided it was a "security risk" and removed it from my hand luggage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I had a roll of sticky labels refused for carriage in a plane coming out of Dubai as it was a security risk!

      I actually wanted these 'specialist' labels and, as I had time, I requested to go back to put them in as hold luggage. Fortunately a different security guard (who would have to go through the faff of escorting me back outside) decided I wasn't a nutter and ushered me through a different security area (presumably to avoid embarrassing the other chap).

      Subsequently, I've found out that rolls of labels look like an "organic mass" and so often confuse/worry the x-ray scanner operators.

      1. Joe W
        Mushroom

        A good laugh is Norwegian brown cheese, or real goat cheese. Sold in slabs, seems to look like some kind of explosive on the x-ray machine. You always get a good laugh from the (usually quite relaxed and friendly) security guards in Gardermoen or Flesland...

    2. Mookster
      Paris Hilton

      discovered that a grouping of 2-3 mars or marathon bars looks like explosive on the machine

      Paris: likes a mars bar party

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        mars and marathon

        Marathon bars - thank you. None of those millenial snickers things.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: mars and marathon

          "Marathon bars - thank you. None of those millenial snickers things."

          I must admit, I agree with you too a point. But millennial? It;s been Snickers for almost 30 years now you old fart! :-)

          Note. I'm still not sure what a millennial is. Some people say it's those who became adults at the millennial, others say it's those born since then. If the former, then millennials are in their mid to late 30's now, which doesn't feel quite right.

          1. 's water music Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: mars and marathon

            Note. I'm still not sure what a millennial is. Some people say it's those who became adults at the millennial, others say it's those born since then

            The former was the original definition. I think it has now morphed into what hip gammons call young people if they are avoiding snowflake out of a surfeit of politeness.

            I feel similarly discomfited by the thought of millenials being in their mid-thirties. Also by their damn bikes on my lawn.

  24. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Never mind the f**** lights

    It's the air con that gets me. Hotel air con systems are fixed to only apply two pairs of settings

    Freeze/fry and Loud/loudest.

    I've even had hotel maintenance staff stood looking at the controllers, scratching their head and unable to stop the control from fixing at either 14 or 28 C. Or from being on a full blast that makes the room sound like the side of a runway in peak ere we go season. Mostly a combination.

  25. Shady
    Mushroom

    Aliens

    I was a contractor working on an NHS portal about 10 years ago.

    One of the junior devs turned to me and asked "Shall I try to update my local database or start again from scratch?"

    "Take off and nuke it from orbit" I replied "It's the only way to be sure"

    "Huh?"

    "Take off and nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure!"

    "WTF are you talking about, Adrian?"

    At this point, virtually the entire office rounded on the poor lad and meme-bombed him with quotes, ending with "Aliens is arguably the best sci-fi action film ever made"

    30 seconds of googling, and he let rip an utterly contemptuous snort, followed with "I wasn't even *born* when this PoS came out..."

    Gawd, I feel old.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Aliens

      I wasn't even *born* when this PoS came out...

      My kids were brought up watching at least a representative sample of different shows from when I was young. They get most of the jokes from the previous era and appreciate where entertainment has got better and know when it has got worse. I call out this twit's parents as being negligent in his upbringing. Respect the classics!

      My old-timer moment was when I tried to discuss the Tiananmen Square massacre with one of my younger colleagues who had never heard of it. I was there as a tourist immediately prior to that happening. Another coworker, who was a college student in Beijing at the time, and I were talking about it and getting blank looks from our 30-something year-old neighbor.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Aliens

        >>>Respect the classics<<< Seconded! Quality is timeless

    2. Mr Humbug

      This can be solved by proper parenting. My 20-year-old son can quote Aliens, Blade Runner, Terminator etc just as well as anybody else can.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aliens

      > Gawd, I feel old.

      There's a lad on my current project who was born after I started working for the company!

      1. tim 13

        Re: Aliens

        We had two new guys in our team recently. Their combined age is less than mine.

      2. My-Handle

        Re: Aliens

        My -car- is older than a couple of the guys who work for my company.

        ...

        Not sure who that paints a poorer picture of, come to think of it.

  26. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    decrapitude

    I'm old, I don't give a crap and it shows in my attitude...

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

      Re: decrapitude

      Apparently there have been complaints that I have been rude when answering the phone. So now I just don't bother to answer the phone. Result!

      We need a "Why Bother" icon ==========>

  27. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Enterprise

    You'd get better service from your phone obviously if the Starship Enterprise was in orbit. It isn't, so you don't. There are several classic episodes where the Enterprise is somewhere else - or deleted from history or in a different universe or something - and the landing party can only make local calls.

  28. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Very accurate!!

    Interesting project though it was, it was let down somewhat by being slower at text entry than making punched cards with a nail gun.

    I once saw somebody working (or at least trying to) work with that CorelDraw Java monstrosity, and that warned me to steer very clear. Earlier CorelDraw stuff (I still have the installation CD-ROMs of one version somewhere) was pretty good. Later it all went to bits.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Very accurate!!

      Try the latest version. It's quite nice!

  29. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Happy

    Fiat Lux

    I actually like the wide choice of lighting in a typical hotel room.

    The kind of hotels I occasionally use aren't expensive enough to make it impossible to figure out. Though I did once have to turn the telly off at the wall on walking into a hotel room.

    1. CliveS
      Mushroom

      Re: Fiat Lux

      Saw your title and my immediate thought that Brother Kornhoer would have probably made a decent job of wiring hotel lighting, but the monks pedalling away in the corner might be a bit distracting.

      Fiat Homo

      Fiat Lux

      Fiat Voluntas Tua

      As the members of the Albertian Order of St. Leibowitz might well say.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Fiat Lux

        Heh. Leibowitz is quite a highbrow reference: I hadn't thought of it. Mine was merely genesis: dixitque deus fiat lux et facta est lux.

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Fiat Lux

        Fiat Lux

        Friends of my parents had one of those when I was a kid, it had a stereo and electric windows and alloy wheels to distinguish it.

        I believe they paid for it with Fiat currency.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fiat Lux

      "Though I did once have to turn the telly off at the wall on walking into a hotel room."

      Speaking of SF coming true, just wait till you end up in a cheap hotel partially subsidised by the advertisers with a mandated, hard wired, armoured TV that automatically comes on to show you ads.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Fiat Lux

        "armoured"

        All you need is a nearby store that sells big enough hammers.

    3. the Jim bloke Silver badge

      Re: Fiat Lux

      bit over a decade ago, I was visiting a resort hotel in Fiji.

      One of the room TV channels was dedicated to a CCTV image of a normal mechanical digital display alarm clock. We decided they must be trying not to put individual clocks in each room to prevent staff - or the guests - from stealing them.

      It was actually a pretty clever use of resources.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Fiat Lux

        Not so hot the ever so hip hotel I stopped in, must have been turn of the century. Everything in the room was handled by a Mac computer (complete with, wow, flat screen monitor). Amazingly, you could even use it for computing, though it had no way to access any of your own files, so it was really a bit pointless.

        But you could turn the lights on and off, and get the TV and music, and set an alarm clock for the morning. And then you turned off the computer... which turned off the alarm.

  30. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Significant difference

    Surely one of the most powerful examples of getting old is when something you remember as pure sci-fi becomes reality.

    Except that the sci-fi versions actually worked, while contemporary technology is usually utter crap.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Significant difference

      Pretty much spot on - with the exception of Space-x rockets landing like they were in a 50's B movie.

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Re: Significant difference

        50's B movie, bollocks , it's Thunderbirds all the way down.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Significant difference

        ...and Reaction Engines move a step closer to a possible space plane power plant. Although it's looking more like it might be a Boeing space place going up to the "wheel in space" rather than a PanAm </Blue Da nube> :-)

  31. SVV Silver badge

    Corel Draw Clip Art

    You should try the Corel Draw Millenial Edition if you think the clip art selection got too bloated. It only has a choice of one image : a bearded young guy staring at a smartphone, but it is actually sufficient to illustrate every possible subject and situation in their lives.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Corel Draw Clip Art

      "Dear Private Eye,

      I don't think there's enough coverage given to older men who have younger girlfriends. Do you by any chance have a picture that would illustrate this?"

  32. Joe Gurman

    I guess....

    ....there are some advantages to the US chip-and-no-PIN credit cards after all.

  33. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    sat cell

    Surely one of the most powerful examples of getting old is when something you remember as pure sci-fi becomes reality. Don't give me crap about Star Trek communicators and mobile phones, because they are definitely not comparable. Captain Kirk can chat to his crew on the Enterprise from the surface of a planet; I'm lucky if I can get adequate reception to make a local call without having to lean from the upstairs toilet window.

    I usually just point out that the Communicators, even the ST:TOS ones, were able to communicate from surface to ship **by themselves**. Your fancy Apple fadPhone requires a multitudinous lacework of cell towers to work. Not even close.

    1. Conundrum1885

      Re: sat cell

      Thought they used subspace? Though the "upper and lower bands" sound awfully like UHF based on ST:TOS but they clearly work under adverse conditions that would wipe out most radio systems.

      Perhaps the original flip communicator used both? Would make sense.

      The lack of detection on "Trials and Tribbulations" would suggest that the TOS communicators worked differently to TNG/DS9/Voy ones.

      Incidentally a workaround is high frequency gravitational waves (HFGW) as these can seemingly propagate several hundred thousand miles or more depending on wavelength but not go through a planet without external help. To actually generate them is relatively simple but needs specialist components.

  34. Robert D Bank

    hotel schmotel

    One of the more difficult nights sleep we've had was in Laos a few years back where the guest house was a fairly rickety place built on stilts that hung out over the river. There were so many gaps in both the walls and floor that even the weak single streetlight found its way through. You then had the (very loud) sounds of the 'kin gecko's on walls and the splashing of the fish in the river below. Combined with 'bed sheets' that had the sweat of a thousand previous sweaty guests embedded to the extent that they were shiny, could stand on their own, and had to be peeled off if you wanted to get out of bed. Sleeping on the floor and fighting the mosquitoes became more attractive after a point. The kids luxuriated sleeping on our cloths up against the back packs on the floor too. Needless to say we moved on...was only about £1.50 for the night though

    1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: hotel schmotel

      You got what you paid for. Accommodation tend to be expensive in Laos, more expensive than in neighboring Thailand, so £1.50 is stupidly cheap.

      I spent several weeks in Vientiane for work, $45 a night in the hotel, it was nice, quiet, comfortable, clean, great bed, etc. The staff was very friendly, spoke Thai language, would book my room on a simple email as I was a returning customer...

  35. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Password

    It's one thing to forget one PIN among a dozen; it's another to forget the password to your own password manager;

    All the more reason NOT to use Mme Dabbs' birthday or your wedding anniversary as a password

  36. Disk0
    Pint

    Chain Hotels

    Like Casinos, are designed exclusively by people with certification from the Minos Institute of Architecture, best known for it's labyrinthine structures specifically designed to keep subjugated mutant cattle from leaving....

    As to the aging conundrum, I like to take the high ground and blame cheapskate corporations for under-engineering their shiny and overpromising the impossible, whenever I fail to deliver on completing the simplest tasks, like operating a supposed coffeebrewing device that seems to me like it was designed by and for podpeople. Invariably I end up with either several half-brews or one scalding overflowing styrofoam volcano. Even if it was me having a moment, by now technical difficulties of some sort are so commonplace that all you need is a bofh-style excuse-calendar. Something along the lines of: if it's Monday, whatever difficulty I have, I straight up blame on something Microsoft; since they have their finger in just about everything, this makes them a perfect candidate for shifting blame. Tuesdays? must be the evil telecoms having it out for me. The words "This celltower is sending micro-aggressions to my phone" by now resonates with a broad audience. The idea is to pick a random everyday technicality to blame, take a few minutes for percussive maintenance, and take it from the top with the affairs du jour. Hopefully I'm then able to regain my composure, find the damn information I need, or come up with some semi-believable narrative to convince people I am not, in fact, an old fogey.

  37. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Nicer hotel than I was at..

    ..on my last trip.

    My desk lamp didn't work, so I asked for a replacement bulb for it at the front desk, only to be met with a blank stare. A light bulb. Surely you've seen one of these in your admittedly young life at some point? After 5 minutes of explanation, they sent someone up to change it, which was also a struggle, as apparently Hercules had put the old bulb in. Cue the "how many --- does it take to change a light bulb" jokes.

  38. ecofeco Silver badge

    Naw mate, it ain't you

    Control interface design is now being done my marketers or engineers with no business designing control interfaces.

    I mean, they changed the name to UAX. How intuitive is that?

    Yeah.

  39. Montreal Sean

    Wardrobe light

    The obvious solution to the motion sensor problem is to open the wardrobe doors completely.

    The motion sensor will assume you are looking for your socks and helpfully turn itself off.

  40. TRT Silver badge

    On a recent hotel visit, I plugged in the little bedside clock radio alarm... nothing lit up. Shoved sausage fingers at buttons repeatedly... not a glimmer. Gave up and unplugged the little bastard.

    5:30am.... Beep beep beep beep beep right next to my fucking ear. The little arsehole clock only had a broken display. Its brief plugged in period was enough to charge the internal reserve battery. Bastard thing.

  41. Conundrum1885

    Re. Evil clockage

    Hah. I once had a "Full Poltergeist" moment when from the depths of my junkbox an eerie red light was emitted. Turns out a magnet, LED and CR2032 had self assembed into a tiny torch.

    Of course it would happen at 3am when I was right in the middle of aligning some radio or other.

    Incidentally a popular prank by complete swines was to hide about 20 or so carefully set alarm clocks of the Poundland variety in some poor unsuspecting persons room, in hard-to-find locations. Beep.. BeeeeeeEEEEP.... 30 minutes later Beep.. BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP (!)$(*&!)(*$& !!!!

    Normally this fate was reserved for the most disliked member of a work outing, preferably a multi-day one.

  42. cloth

    Lucky he could find the switches !

    For the third time in succession a few weeks ago I was stuck as to where the switches were, never mind the order :-( Turns out that they've started to put smaller and smaller switches on the actual lights themselves - none of this single-point-of-entry nonsense - and you're supposed to walk around each light figuring out the switch location then turn them off individually- sigh.

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