and a whole shedload of brains
or as we know them "the boys in the band"
105 posts • joined 2 Apr 2008
Back in the 80s working for Digital Equipments CSS Graphics group based in Reading, we started work on project Garnet.
Garnet was part of the gemstone programme.
Garnet was to be a 3D workstation with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and 24 bits of colour, groundbreaking for late 80s.
Digital's marketing recond they could sell these to the oil industry and the film industry with a unit price of over $600k and a total market of about 14 units.
The problem was how to move a cursor in 3d space, enter gyrony mouse fitted with a gyro to allow you to move it in 3D space.
Needless to say this project never made it to production and was replaced with Jaguar (Just Another Garnet Under A Rename)
Demon at one stage in my life was the internet,
I can remember writing an SMTP MTA as a TSR on Window 95 system back in 97. This dialed demon ever half an hour to collect/send email.
The mail was stored on a PATHWORKS share that injected/collected mail via VAXMAIL. It worked like a dream.
Although we took some flack from RBS IT for creating it, the business would not allow it to be decommissioned.
Back in 1980 I did some work with a defence contractor in Florida. What fascinated me was that the contractors design team were all ex-Apollo designers. So I got to hear how the system that unplugged the umbilical cord that commanded the Saturn to fire had only milliseconds to unplug after the hold clamps released.
The best story was that when Apollo 13 went wrong Nasa no longer employed a design team as by this time Apollo was considered operational. In addition it no longer ran the CDC 7600s that were required to run the simulators in fact they had been leased to NORAD. In order to get the computer power required to get the simulators back online they had to shut down the West Coast defence system. This required presidential (Nixon) approval. When asked for his approval he considered it and said yes because "The Russians are going to be too busy watching us f##kup to attack us". Don't know if its true but impressed me at the time.
"We're aware of an issue affecting some of our customers when they are using our mobile app and Internet Banking this morning,"
This standard statement really gets me angry. It suggests its not a general problem but a problem suffered by a small group of customers.
I think that when they issue such a statement they should be required to provide hard facts as to how many users can login and how many cannot.
We are having problems that are affecting some of our customers: The online system is completely down.
Our IT experts are analyzing the problem: The guy who knows this particular system is on holiday in Ibiza.
We expect to be back to normal in a few hours time: We haven't a clue whats going on so we made that bit up.
All affected customers will be compensated: As long as you fill out the form and take it to your local branch(LOL)
So I can imagine the sofa talking to the vacuum cleaner:-
Sofa: "I read on the internet that your blaby and will talk to anyone"
VC: "I understand that you let anyone sit on you and your having an affair with the TV"
TV: "Leave my friend alone"
Over the last few years I have found that the amount I/we print at home has decreased to about 10 pages a month. Some months there is no printing at all.
While due to the low volume I use HP ink, I found that getting the printer to start required many cleaning cycles, which requires ink.
Why you would use the most expensive substance known to man to clean a print head is beyond me but HP do.
The final straw was when the cleaning cycle used 70% of the ink. Printer next stop was the tip.
I replaced it with a Dell multi-function colour laser (Xerox re-badge) and some third party toner. In fact the installation toner lasted 2 years.
Printer prints when required and no cleaning clycles.
On the face of it the changes they made should generate more revenue but
"according to the DVLA’s 2015/16 accounts published last month, the department noted an increase in unlicensed traffic of 0.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent of all traffic compared with the previous year."
Well under their old system they got all their revenue up front when you taxed your car. When you sold your car that tax continued. So all the cars in second hand dealership had road tax paid while the car sat in the dealers so they could say "6 months car tax and current MOT"
As a car dealer your now have a car on your forecourt without car tax as it terminated when the dealer bought it in.
New owners also take the view buy the car drive it home tax it later, if you get caught you have a good excuse for driving an untaxed and uninsured vehicle. Stupid new DVLA tax stuff.
Suddenly the old system looks more attractive in terms of revenue than the new one.
At an ISS briefing two years ago it was said that they had dropped two wrenches, into earth orbit, due to a design faults in the tethers.
Each wrench cost more than $million. In fact when astronauts practice in the "tank" they use plastic wrenches as the real ones don't like water.
To think when I used Demon I was running Windows 3.1 with Trumpet Winsock which had to be loaded as a DOS TSR.
It was also during this time, as my e-mail grew that using an e-mail address tied to my ISP was a bad idea. I created a domain and email service at www.tierra.net so that all my e-mail is hosted in the US in San Francisco, for $7.95 a month paid quarterly. Oh! and I get US customer service.
It does sound fun, straight from a world war II SOE story. Where the Germans used detector vans to triangulate the transmissions of enemy radio operators.
I hope the vans have a nice big loop Ariel on the top that can be rotated and the inside equipment is housed in those nice big blue hammerite racks with big dials and large bakerlite knobs.
I sort of regret having a TV license as I will miss the fun of sitting in the forest, watching Strictly on my tablet knowing at any time I could be incarcerated like the members of the French resistance before me.
Luckily the BBC are not modern enough to use drones, now that would be 21st century.
A couple of months ago we placed an order for a run of the mill graphics card, nothing fancy just adding another monitor to an office machine.
Before order card in stock. Place order goes into "waiting stock". Web site says in-stock. Call DABS no its not in stock but new stock in a weeks time. Two weeks later, still awaiting stock. Call DABS oh yes we did have stock don't understand why your order wasn't fulfilled.
So it went on 6 weeks later the graphics card arrived and its now in our stock as we upgraded the system with one from Amazon that arrived a day after order.
I remember visiting the head of Operations at General Accident in the days when we were pushing Mini computers to replace mainframes. After a good pitch as to how good these new mid range machines were the Ops Manager said, "you may be right but we will not be getting rid of the Amhdal " asking why the Ops manager looked into the distance and said "because it heats the swimming pool".
So the question is not who designed and built the defeat device but who turned it off
Lets imagine what happens when your Barbie doll gets joined to a zombie network by some specially crafted malware.
Mummy Mummy why does Barbie keep asking to be switched on when Daddy is doing his online banking?
Barbie wants to know your account number and pin number for a game she is playing.
Its OK Mummy Barbie has ordered her own new dress from Amazon
Mummy what is a Jihad?
I have been using prime since it started in the UK and buy more stuff because of it.
I think its good value and would be happy to pay more, but not £80.
I am not interested in LoveFilm poor platform coverage, poor content and not worth the monthly subscription.
So have turned off my automatic renewal of the prime service, hopefully if enough people do this them Amazon will get the message that this is a stupid product bundle.
I think if Windows 8 had maintained compatibility with the existing Windows 7 desktop, but also offered the "Metro" desktop as an alternative. Nobody would have hesitated to upgrade.
Also I note all this guff about Windows 8 is doing great "look at our sales of Windows 8 licences" is because the only Enterprise license you can buy today is a Windows 8 license. So if your going to deploy 2000 Windows 7 desktops, you need to buy 2000 Windows 8 licenses.
I joined the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) in about 1972, which had moved on from Atlas to Control Data 6400, 6600 and 7600. Most of the people I worked with had worked on Atlas.
I understand that many of the patents from Atlas passed eventually to ICL, who let the Atlas patent laps on Virtual memory, after all with machine memory then getting as big as 32K, why would you need it.
In 1978 the VAX 11/780 with a massive 128K of memory supporting 12 interactive users re-introduced us to Virtual Paged memory, and I suspect never paid a dollar in royalties for Virtual Memory usage.
I was driving down the M4 when some 10 miles from any junction my Garmin announced "Turn Right!", given that option would have required me driving into the crash barrier I ignored it. It then went into a "recalculating" and proceeded to allow me to continue on the motorway.
I think it was board!
I had a problem in trying to book into a London hotel from my US HQ. The confirmation kept being dumped by the smut filter. It was so bad that it went straight in the bin without notifying me that it had been filtered.
This happened when I sent the confirmation from my personal system to the company system. In the end we captured the very dirty message and indeed it was just a hotel booking confirmation. It turned out that the designer of the WEB site had named all the image files used to render the pictures of the hotel TIT001.jpg and by the time the smut filter got to TIT003.jpg it was just too many T*Ts for it to take.
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