* Posts by Stevie

6096 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Microsoft: For God's sake, people, cut down on the meetings!

Stevie
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Re: firing off emails at anti-social hours

It's bad manners to do so and expect an answer by overnight pony express.

It's bad manners to do so on a Friday and expect an answer on Saturday morning.

It's just stupid to do that when you need someone to do something quickly.

If you have a problem and need me to help you fix it out of normal working hours, overcome whatever mental/social impediment you have against activating your phone *as* a phone and call me.

If you disturb me at dinner, or wake me out of a sound sleep, expect curtness for the first few minutes. Call it the "someone else's problem" tax.

If you get voicemail, I'm either doing something more important to me than work on my own time, or my phone is hors de combat and you are SOL.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Real convo:

"Didn't you get my email? The service was down!"

"What time did you send it?"

"2am! It's in your inbox!"

"Along with about 850 other mailings. Wait; 2am? I was asleep. Why didn't you call?"

"I sent an email!"

"And sat and waited for me to wake up. Oh well, your call. Or not, as it happens."

"I'm going to report your attitude"

"You must do what you feel is best. On an entirely unrelated note, were you aware there is legislation underway to make forcing people to read email out of office hours illegal?"

later

"You must read your email and be responsive!"

"Sorry, boss. I don't do email in my sleep. But I do answer the phone when I'm called."

"I expect better from my people."

"Well I copied you on the original email and explained why it wasn't actioned in a timely manner."

"When?"

"This morning. Didn't you see my email?"

"I get a lot of email."

"I know how you feel."

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Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested

Stevie
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Re: Back in my day

My Swiss army knife, bought with my first week's wages as a trainee computer programmer, was laughed at for years by colleagues. I bought the Champion, the biggest one Victorinox made then, and people thought all the nifty blades like scissors and corkscrews were superfluous.

Of course, none of them were above my using said blades to fix a problem they were having.

One bloke asked to borrow it to open a can, and then proceeded to rubbish my knife. I took it from him and showed him - with equally loud verbal commentary - that the sharp part of the opener was at the front so if he walked the opener forward around the can instead of trying to hack backwards using the unground side, not only would the opener work perfectly he would see there were no jagged edges to rip open his hands when digging into the can's contents like there would be with the old jack-knife type opener.

One time in the mid 80s I was riding a NY subway train and people were complaining about the loose pole rattling in its socket. I whipped out the SAK and tightened the screw in a trice. "Can you do that?" asked one snotty bloke. "I just did" I replied with a smile.

These days I carry a Leatherman Wave, a bunch of flattened bits for the driver thingy it has, and a Leatherman Crunch (fantastically useful tool that belies the ludicrous set-up needed to deploy the "Mole Grips"; if you only have money for one Leatherman, this is the one I'd recommend). But I still carry the Old Lady around. Everyone laughs at my "utility belt" until we are in a server room with no toolkit and a piece of kit that needs swapping out. Then they get quiet very quickly.

Sometimes I have to deal with a clever young thing telling me it's not a real SAK because it doesn't have the gold sigil in the handle. That fell out years ago due to normal wear and tear, and I still have the etched brass fret somewhere. I show them how you really tell if it's a genuine SAK (the hallmark stamped into the base of the long blade) and move on.

I bought one for my Dad when I got mine. His still looked like it came out of the shop last time I saw it, in its original red shiny box.

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Microsoft adds subscriptions for SQL and Windows Servers

Stevie
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Bah!

Didn't see this coming.

Oh, wait ...

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It's mid-year report time, let's see how secure corporate networks are. Spoiler alert: Not at all

Stevie
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Re: Internet Cannibals

OBBOT:DR

(One Big Block Of Text: Didn't Read)

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Spidey sense is literally tingling! Arachnids detect Earth's electric field, use it to fly away

Stevie
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Bah!

I disbelieve the electrostatic levitation of spiders.

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Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Stevie
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Bah!

I've carried a written record of all my passwords in an address book tucked into my Moleskine diary's pocket for years.

Good luck using it if you aren't me.

They are encoded. As in not-a-cypher, "the matador shall dance with the blind shoemaker" style code.

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Cops suspect Detroit fuel station was hacked before 10 drivers made off with 2.3k 'free' litres

Stevie
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Re: Outrageous!

Tee-hee.

Drive into the small towns south of the Mason-Dixon line and it gets even cheaper.

This was one of the reasons I decided to stay here rather than return to my increasingly expensive homeland.

Here in NY people like us (earning a middle-class wage) can afford to do a Clark Griswold job on their houses at Christmas if they want, because energy is cheap. It's even cheaper down south, but they don't get much snow. Gotta have snow for that "twinklin' in the glow of the house" effect.

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Stevie
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Bah!

2.7 K << 3 K.

I've told you lot a million times not to exaggerate.

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GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

Stevie
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Re: That boring grey is good for your eyes!

Not according to my eyeballs.

If I use say black on grey for my terminal emulator when working late, sand-in-the-eyeballs syndrome starts fairly early in the work schedule. Yellow on black for high contrast, low eyestrain gets the Stevievote.

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Stevie
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Re: You've never used a Linux GUI, have you?

I've used several now, and have to say that if one must use Google to find the trick on *this* specific GUI for making multiple desktops then right there is a fail (Mint devs, I'm looking at you) if only in the "new features and changes" section of the help. "What new features and changes section of the help?" you ask. Fail two.

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Stevie
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Re: "mobile first"

But gosh, weren't all you clever young things supposed to use CSS to make the content work properly with whatever consumer platform the readers wanted to use?

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Stevie
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Re: Cue fireworks and a victory parade

Whereas I needed a change to a stored procedure which no-one claimed to own, in order to make it read a directory from the database instead of a hard-coded variable value >8o(

I tried the obvious code difference but nothing worked. So I sent out a more general call for help and was told to report to one team leader, who now claimed the code and snottily told me he would take care of it and not to touch his stuff and so on and so forth.

He erased my code, then called me upstairs again to show off the changes he had made. I took a look and told him it wouldn't work. He asked why I thought that. I answered that he had simply re-written the code I had put in - that didn't work. (I at least had the excuse that I am not a PL/SQL programmer; he was hired as an expert PL/SQL developer).

I went away and noodled around for a bit and more by luck than judgement hit upon the way this tech was supposed to be coded. I wrote a test proc and ran it with all sorts of fail scenarios to make sure I had m'facts straight.

I sent back my findings by email. Mr Expert then said I should make the change in the proc. I did so. He then insisted I move it over to the test system (despite my telling him I had already tested the file access code) and "test it". This involved creating a dataset from live data and about two hours hard work. When I was done, he snottily grabbed back his code and took the credit.

Fast-forward a couple of years. There's a problem with the process this proc drives. Devs are speaking pompously to DBAs about "what are they going to do to upload the data". I am out sick that day, but get a phone call. I tell the DBAs to answer "Nothing. We do not upload this data. It is processed by code owned by Mr Expert. We have been expressly forbidden to touch this code or modify its working in any way. We stand ready to assist the developers in any way we can in the solution they devise to their vexing problem."

Apparently the look on Mr Expert's face was classic as his make-it-someone-else's-problem strategem belly-flopped. And I laughed all the way through the four day remediation that resulted in Mr Expert losing much sleep. Fuggim.

About six months after that we did a DataGurad switchover and another proc started bleating about directory access. It was clear another hard-coded variable value was to blame. I was called to task for changing the directory name, but pointed out that in fact that had not happened, and that I had placed a soft link as a temporary fix and professional courtesy on the old primary system to make everyone's buggy procs work the last time we had switched over, and that I had said that this was asking for trouble and that it was eventually bound to cause the exact problem we were seeing.

I then went on to add that I would of course add the same soft link as a professional courtesy in the interest of not impacting the production schedule, but that the proc code needed to be fixed as a priority so it wouldn't happen again at the next switchover in six month's time or when we needed to redefine the file system under the directory object for SA reasons.

I then tossed the ball even further into their court by saying that the code needed was already deployed by another dev group, and that Mr Expert had a proc he could show them that would explain how it all should work and that "his code" would be a robust way forward.

No credit for me, but everyone went away, if not happy, secure in the knowledge that the problem could be fixed with minimal effort and I got to avoid another "you own the code for the next four hours" ploy and no need to keep track of stupid soft links to cover dev arses.

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Stevie
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Re: a sort of oversized Meccano.

Or what real engineers call "Dexian".

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Stevie
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Re: easily pick the padlocks on student trunks.

A real padlock, or the security hasp that is fitted to the trunk?

Because anyone can pick those with little more than a plastic comb. They are only intended to keep the lid shut in transit.

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RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89

Stevie
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Bah!

I presume that TAPS was played on a Swanee Whistle to mark the occasion?

Smaller World again.

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Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison ends his short time on Earth

Stevie
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Re: Have not read much of his work

Yes, I have that book. Ellison was enraged at the time (which was if I recall back in the 80s) because Gene Roddenberry had been trotting around Star Trek cons for years bad-mouthing Ellison from the stage, and had just done so in Starlog after promising to stop it. Roddenberry had died and Ellison, who claims he had kept his argument with Roddenberry private until then, decided that it was about time *his* version got to the ST fans.

At least, that was what I remember him writing. As to the row, I dunno. Ellison never seemed to back away from a fight, and Roddenberry was legendarily vainglorious. I think you have to be to survive in the toxic world of Hollywood and TV.

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Stevie
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Re: Ah ...

And The Usual Suspects is still a great movie because of Kevin Spacey, not in spite of him.

Yes there's a difference, and no there isn't.

But Harlan Ellison was a major factor in my reading habits when I was in my teens and Again Dangerous Visions was published by Pan in the UK.

Now I have signed editions of much of his work because he used to come across to New York every two years for I-Con and he was the most shameless shill to ever lift a pen. His desk o' books was the sole reason for my late-developed habit of looking for books at author signing tables rather than at bookstore before the con.

When on a late-night signing line after a full day of intensive idiot rescuing I was asked by Ellison what my favorite work of his was. I answered "Jefty is Five" without even thinking. He then quizzed me for about a minute looking intently in my face for some sort of indication I had spotted something he hid in the story. I think he thought I failed the test, but I was just exhausted, which gives me a gormless expression at the best of times.

And I witnessed something marvelous in that same signing line: Harlan Ellison struck speechless at the generosity of a fan. I've *never* seen him at a loss for words, even in the most sudden ambush situation. I've seen him speechless with indignation, speechless with rage, but never with unlooked for kindness. It made for a memory I will treasure as long as I can ... what do you call it ... remember!

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Stevie
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Bah!

Cordwainer Bird was Ellison's version of Allan Smithee, not a pen-name of choice. It told the world he was disavowing the quality of the final product.

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Stevie
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Ah ...

When I was commenting on HE's irrascible behavoir at a con to author Jack McDevitt, he responded: "The thing you have to remember about Harlan is he was there with the Freedom Marchers."

You have to admire someone who is willing to be cracked in the head with a nightstick for other people's human rights.

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Potato, potato. Toma6to, I'm going to kill you... How a typo can turn an AI translator against us

Stevie
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Bah!

I'm flashing on an old Far Side cartoon with a guy wading ashore on a desert island to be greeted by an obviously marooned for a long-time ventriloquist c/w dummy.

Ventriloquist: Hello stranger, what's your name?

Dummy: Run! He's crazy!

Ventriloquist: Ha Ha! Be quiet Gus. Come and sit here, stranger.

Dummy: Run! He'll eat you! He ate that other guy only last week!

Ventriloquist: Shut up Gus! Haha!

Dummy: He's mad I tell you!

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IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Stevie
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Bah!

My favorite bit is the seat-filling stand-in.

With a bit of retooling one might use this technique to avoid charging against accrued leave.

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Amazon, eBay and pals agree to Europe's other GDPR: Generally Dangerous Products Removed from websites

Stevie
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Re:At least the nose hair was gone, albeit only from the right nostril

Alas, once the conflagration had spread to my moustache the left nostril's hair caught fire too.

On the one hand, job done.

On the other, Stench of burned hair has flooded nasal cavity for days and the tip of my nose is burned and peeling due to once-luxuriant moustache suffering venting with flame.

So two stars off.

Curiously I see that people using the Happy Dragon Vape Pen For The Inhaling Of Heathful Vapours are reporting that on attempting to use that device, flames shoot down one's throat. My guess would be that Happy Dragon's battery supplier has dodgy QA. Thankfully I don't smoke or vape, at least not once the nose hair was extinguished, and so have not give the tonsils, esophagus and lungs a damn good singeing too.

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Stevie
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Re: Dangerous?

Re: Happy Dragon Clipper For The Nose Hair Cutting

Upon inserting battery, device became warm to the touch. Following instructions TO THE LETTER inserted the top into my right nostril whereupon flames shot up my nose setting fire to my nose hair and my moustache.

Three stars.

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Software changed the world, then died on the first of the month

Stevie
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Re: Not quite the end of the month....

"Depending on the version of the 'date' program,"

Undid your own criticism with the salient point. I work with what tools I have.

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Stevie
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Re: Not quite the end of the month....

But why would you complicate the task with perl, when you can complicate it just as much with bash?

Because it wasn't a bash script. Our site standard is ksh with a smattering of grandfathered sh.

I Googled for a solution that would work on our O/S/shell and found nowt. Since I'm reasonably fluent in perl this was a "three refinements of the search, then do actual useful work" use case.

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Stevie
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Re: Data format parsing

Hah! Try using some of the smaller UK business web sites to order stuff for the USA or Canada.

Phone numbers that are mandatory but only acceptable in UK format, Addresses that must include a post code that has had one of those new-fangled "regular expressions" built to make sure that it only works in the UK or, if you are lucky, Canada.

And address text boxes that insist that a county be part of the address that will go on the label when whatever it is is posted.

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Stevie
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Re: Not quite the end of the month....

I was once handed a shell script by a retiring co-worker with the airy "there's some sort of bug that happens only once in a blue moon and shuts down the process, but I've never been able to find it".

The date was used to build filenames that would be found on the system and needed to be processed. On rare occasions the script couldn't find the files and they had to be managed manually, apparently.

Sometimes the date on the files to be found was for "yesterday", but the script could deal with that I was told.

So I took a look. Ahem:

mytodaysdate=`date '%Y%m%d'`

myYesterdaysdate=$mytodaysdate-1

The quickest fix for this "bug" was to pen a quick perl script called yesterday.pl which did all the stuff you have to do to figure out yesterday's date from today's and replace the second line with :

myYesterdaysdate=`yesterday.pl`

My bosses (I have several) couldn't see why I had "made things complicated with perl". I explained that the alternative was lobbying the government to add January the notghingth, July zeroth and August the zipst to the calendar, and perl was faster.

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White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'

Stevie
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Bah!

"Donald Trump Will Protect American Farmers from China’s Trade Retaliation"

Presumably using the same techniques he used to make the Mexicans pay for The Wall.

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Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash

Stevie
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Re: "The crash has caused much soul-searching in the emerging self-driving industry"

E-beer for you, Jellied Eel.

Mind that The Shitters don't jog your elbow and spill it.

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Stevie
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which besides, in the States does not even prove that you can drive

I was with you 100% until you had to add that last dig.

(Pauses to sigh deeply at once again having to explain this to people who have the word "engineer" in their job title and who have pieces of paper from places of Higher Education that say they are certified as clever)

The matter of licensing people to drive is a STATE law thing, not a universal FEDERAL standard.

Here in New York the test is demanding enough (as demanding as the test I went through in England before some of you were born) requiring a written test and driving about in a car test. So demanding in fact that the people you are obviously referencing don't attempt to take one, which is another problem for another thread. I imagine you have the same kinds of idiot in the UK though.

If you've taken the test on Long Island and passed it, you are as able to drive as someone who has done the same thing in, say, Hatfield. i.e. It's a crapshoot. Some people are good at aiming a car, some aren't.

But if you can tamp down on the yank-baiting, I think you might have a cogent argument with much merit. Pity you didn't feel invested enough to add a more personalized name to it.

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Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets from apps to malware

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Interesting that only one in five commentards can tell when another is taking the piss.

I admit that I am not at all sure that the house keys thing isn't an elaborate pun that I am missing.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Is anyone else getting the sneaking suspicion of late that these "research scientists" are just taking the piss now?

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Stevie
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Bah!

Oi!

You can't repurpose BSD in a sentence that includes "Windows" and Linux. Everyone knows that by long-established IT journalistic convention, when those two O/Ss are written side by side BSD means Blue Screen of Death.

I expect better from El Reg.

Harrumph!. Two wars, fought on the beaches, Churchill, rationing, blitz, etc, thrashing too good, more etc.

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits biz after fling with coworker rumbled

Stevie
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Bah!

Insert crass plug/socket "joke" here.

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Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally

Stevie
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Bah!

I had a Production Controller who was less than fluent in English beep me one night in February in the days when there were no cell phones, PCs were so rare that there was no provision for remote service and everything was achieved by spelling the stuff you wanted done down the telephone.

I climbed out of the giant co-ed Jacuzzi that was a large part of why I even played racquetball, wrapped a towel around me and called in, dripping wet, from the pay phone in the unheated foyer to the building. There was at the time about three inches of snow on the ground.

I ascertained what the problem was - eventually and largely despite the efforts of the person who had called me - who in addition to speaking very poor English was unfamiliar with the Unisys 2200 operating system or the processes running on it that he needed me to remediate, and began spelling the commands needed down the phone.

There were several false starts and restarts as he misheard or just couldn't understand what I was asking him to do. He was, for example, not familiar with what we called the masterspace symbol, or "at sign", which begins every 2200 command. All the while, ice was threatening to form on my skin every time someone entered or left the club.

After what seemed like several years but was probably closer to five minutes the Production Controller made a strange noise like a cross between "Oh" and "Aw" and he became unresponsive.

Luckily I had had this chap before and knew that this noise was his local dialect for "I'm unable to understand a word you are saying and have decided to deal with this issue by carefully putting the phone on the desk and walking away very quietly and hiding until I think you've gone away".

I was at the time renowned for being a bit of a pushover in these sorts of confrontations, and I was terribly dedicated to the 24x7 uptime myth, but on this occasion I hung up and went back to the pool for an hour or so.

Then I went home, where my very sturdy built-like-a-tank AT&T answering machine was attempting to melt, made some tea and answered the phone once I was snug and sipping.

Production Control operative was mad. Why had I left this vital process hanging around in a broken state for two hours? The log showed I had been called. Why had I hung up?

I told them that the real problem was that I did not speak the particular third world language in which their earlier employee felt most happy conversing, well, that and the fact that someone so monumentally unfit to be holding the fort had been left to watch the baby. Where, I idly wondered, was the Supervisor while all this was happening?

I also opined that as their own operative had walked away from the phone after calling me, I saw no reason to supposed that the problem, whatever it was, was urgent in any way, shape or form. At this point the caller must've sensed I was in an unusually militant frame of mind, and he moved he conversation from the Blame Allocation Phase to the Actual Fixing Of The Actual Problem Stage.

Mr Walkabout was quietly reassigned to somewhere he wouldn't be called upon to work outside his experience and no more was said.

How he was ever thought to be a good fit for that position I'll never know.

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Developer’s code worked, but not in the right century

Stevie
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Re: month names

"Esperanto Guys"?

Who should've told you that Esperanto is an auxiliary language, not a replacement for the one you speak already.

&&, ! ||

Ne grava.

Ĝis.

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No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

Stevie
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Re: Meh

I'm sorry. I tried hard but I cannot make sense of a single point you made in that post.

The Remainer point seems to have constructed some sort of straw man grouping everyone who is against Brexit into one convenient bag of "yes, but".

The Trump point fails to account for that man just saying shit. He will never acknowledge he has made a mistake, and his supporters will swallow everything he says even when it is directly affecting them adversely in a day-to-day way. You say that tariffs will harm America, he will say they Made America Great Again and there will be a landslide in the next election (assuming we have one) despite rampant economy woes.

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Stevie
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Re: It's far from smart.

This is what you get when you can't make the issues interesting enough for a proper debate. Years of paring everything down to The Soundbite have worked to reduce the already tiny voter attention span to almost nil.

I'm afraid this particular war is lost.

However, a smart government might plan for the future by re-introducing mandatory civics classes in schools. How can people -wherever they were born and whatever their ethnic descent - be expected to participate in a system of government if they do not know how it works?

A simple teaching of how the government gets to BE the government might be the first order of business.

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Stevie
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Re: How on earth did "The Allies" (clue in the name) co-operate

Well, it didn't hurt that quite a large number of them were under the Nazi jackboot at the time, reducing the number of voices at the table.

Brexit is madness from where I'm sitting (in the middle of another mess of rampant isolationism and smashing the clocks to see how they work). Something has turned the western world self-destructively insane.

I'm seriously concerned we are in the opening movement of a symphony called "World War".

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Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

Stevie
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Bah!

There's only one way to settle this: Top Gear (old version) style!

Google and Uber will set their cars off around a track at some pre-determined speed. These will be doing the same job as the little black car did on that first slotless "scalextric-like" racing set back in the late 70s - getting in the way.

Then two of the idiots (Hammond and Clarkson for best comedy) set off in Teslas with autopilot engaged.

Meanwhile, James May will, from the cabin of a hyrdogen-filled blimp flying on real GPS/SatNav-enabled autopilot overhead, attempt to take out each Tesla with a high speed hex-copter drone. Can he do it before either of the idiots hits a block car (or the other idiot in a Tesla), or will his blimp - saddled with a crucial +/- 50 feet margin of positional error, hit the encircling power lines and immolate him first?

Now I'm sure some OCD-riddled commentard will point out that this test will prove nothing useful with regard to the Tesla autopilot feature, but to this I respond "What do you expect? It's a Top Gear test FFS!"

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Kepler finds three Earth-sized exoplanets, but they're too hot to handle

Stevie
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Bah!

I renew my objection, M'lud, that if Pluto is not a planet because it "has not cleared its own orbit", and if, as is indisputably the case, we cannot determine by the current state of the art in telescopy whether or not these so-called "exo-planets" have cleared their orbits, we must regrettably deny them the appellation "planets" by the rules established by the likes of Mr deGrasse Tyson, considered an expert on matters of orbiting body classification those who care about orbit-clearing.

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New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

Stevie
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Re: Bullshit

A Million Upvotes for veti, and an e-beer.

Nail struck squarely on head.

The *issue* is licensing and release permissions. You make a fake porn movie, you owe fees to the face actor and the body double.

This is usually covered by licensing when using other people's footage. (Or music - that's why some DVD collections have different soundtracks to the broadcast/theatre release versions).

I can trace this sort of negotiation back to the use of Smith to record The Weight on the Easy Rider soundtrack, but I bet there are earlier examples to be found outside of my personal experience.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Hmm, Disney weighing in?

I be we'll see their attitude change smartish when a whole new series of cartoons come out featuring such faves as Princess Jasmine and Mulan.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Can we at least ban the use of the term "Deepfakes"?

It is uninformative.

If you are proud of your work, whoever is making this stuff, call it what it is: Fakeporn.

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Microsoft reveals which Windows bugs it might decide not to fix

Stevie
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Bah!

Not to pile on, but I read those bullets as:

1) Did we unambiguously say in writing that the product would NOT do what it is now doing?*

2) Can we be arsed to fix it?

* - And we should fire whoever wrote that soonest.

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

Stevie
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Bah!

Not to worry.

The data was encrypted and un-aggregated so mo-one will have their ID spoofed, stolen or sold-on by non-Dixons un-business partners.

What?

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Tech rookie put decimal point in wrong place, cost insurer zillions

Stevie
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Re: Y2K Blither IBM?

I specifically called out the ICL 1900 range. While I worked on 2900s it was in the days when no-one trusted either of the two different flavours of VME and were running four DME "slots" - effectively making them 1900s. I never bothered getting into the internals because I was looking for a Sperry contract by then. ICL were in an obvious sunset situation even I could see a mile off.

I don't know how you weren't swept up in the mad rush to convert from ICL 1900s to Univac 1100/60s when a three-letter blitherer from ICL claimed they were dropping support for 1900/DME codebases*. The stampede was such that Sperry corp in the UK set up a special unit of so-called "1900 experts" to lead people through the conversion required.

Are my bone fides acceptable, or do we need to talk about PLAN, Applications Manager, XKYE, XPJC and DMAP? Can we declare this tackle-measuring a draw and give it a GO 29?

* - This wasn't new. ICL had a special corps of blithering director-level people who would announce things that would cause mass stampedes of customers to other people's mainframes. According to my sources Dataskil was formed as a place to park one such individual who made a remark about the future lack of support of tape in GEORGE** without actually firing him.

** - Best name for an operating system ever. Grown out of a previous thing called "Automatic Operator" and renamed for for obvious reasons*** that make the widely-known backronym laughable.

*** - If you are British, and have a working knowledge of pilot slang.

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Stevie
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Re: Y2K Blither

AC blithers on the subject of Y2K:

It wasn't to save memory. It was because of bad programming practice. A single byte can store 256 years. But it you store each number as a character, you use two bytes and get only 99. Or one and 99 if you use BCD.

SInce only IBM mainframes used that byte structure (ICL 1900s used a twenty four bit word on the ones I worked on, and the Univac 1100 series could chop their 36 bit word a number of ways, including a six, nine or 18 bit "byte"), this is a rather specific bit of misinformation.

In the general case it was because the Cobol library routines of the day returned a two year date when asked to ACCEPT DATE FROM TODAY. Poor programming? Arguably. But done at the compiler/systems programming level.

I have said before, thinking "Y2K" was a problem confined to only recording two digits of the year is to be woefully under-informed. My absolute fave was the bank round the corner where the accounting software had been properly hardened with four-year dates but the ATM vestibule door locks (which used epochal dates) hadn't. New Year's Day: NO ADMITTANCE, NO EXCEPTIONS. Apparently the door lock computer thought everyone's cards were backdated 1999 years or something.

Still, some of you will get your own chance in the trenches when whole scads of legacy "modern language" stuff everyone has forgotten prop up the corporate infrastructure goes nails-up in about 13 years or so. Good hunting.

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Stevie
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Re: As a work experience...

I challenge you, John Brown (no body), to cite a male keypunch operative.

They were called punch girls for a reason. Mostly young, single and not looking to stay there forever.

Some days they were the only reason for going into work.

Yes that is sexist. It was also the reality. See also: Typing Pool.

And before anyone screams and leaps, in that same place of work my boss was a woman.

As for winking in the bit about coding sheet blame, that's why people who came out of that era had distinctive ways of writing the characters 0 (or O), I, G (or is it a 9? or a 6?) and Z (or is it a 2?).

I still slash zeroes and bar Zs out of habit.

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