* Posts by rhydian

412 posts • joined 6 Aug 2008

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Blighty bloke: PC World lost my Mac Mini – and trolled my blog!

rhydian

There's a special way to shop at PCDixPhoneWhorehouse...

1: Don't

2: If you have to get a laptop form there (usually a cheap HP laptops for Aunt Mabel) reserve a device online and then send said person in to the shop to collect it, having instructed them not to take *any* add-ons like a warranty or "backup". If you do that the prices for standard HP kit isn't too bad, and as its branded kit the quality should be no different from the same model sold by other retailers.

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User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired

rhydian

"Without 'half' an IT dept, how did the company get by? "

Maybe the other half of the department simply carried on as normal with less gaming?

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Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO

rhydian

Re: Genius

"I quote: "oh! I'm used to ISA slots and the components facing the other way" "

What gets me is they always go for the "baffle with bullshit" argument rather than admit a simple mistake.

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rhydian

Re: Not a PC

Running 5A kit on a 30A fuse is essentially the same as not having a fuse at all, as the 5A kit would be on fire well before it pulled enough current to trip a 30A or 32A breaker. Even PA Testing monkeys get taught that!

Yours, PA Testing trained monkey

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Hold the phone! Crap customer service cost telcos £2.9 BEEEELLION in 2016

rhydian

To be fair to the telcos for a (brief) second...

...They do end up taking the blame for issues that might not be their fault. Remember all of a customer's interaction with OpenRetch (missed appointments, crap cables and poor maintenance) goes through them and therefore any blame sticks to them, not Openreach. Also, "slow broadband" could easily be down to congestion on 2.4 GHz in tower blocks/dense housing or similar.

Of course, any billing and upstream networks issues are 100% their problem, and they should sort it.

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IT guy checks to see if PC is virus-free, with virus-ridden USB stick

rhydian

Re: Not work but...

Back in my younger days I'd always try and "rescue" a near-dead Windows install rather than nuke from orbit, but these days unless there's some vital software where the user doesn't have the install media or licence keys any more its a case of erase and rebuild. The only offputting issue is the number of windows updates a new PC needs...

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Emergency Services Network to be hit by delays, warn MPs

rhydian

This does seem to explain why my folks' village...

...which doesn't even have terrestrial TV service (narrow, steep valley) now has a shiny new 4G tower under construction and ready to commission. The site was previously identified for TETRA/Airwave but they never got round to building a tower, but it looks like ESN does actually need one there.

As long as the locals get 4G mobile (which will be better than the 0G coverage they get now!) they'll be happy.

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I've got a brand new combine harvester and I'll give you the API key

rhydian

Re: "I've got a brand new combine harvester and I'll give you the API key"

I'd imagine El Reg was going for this particular beauty...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb63PdPweDc

Oooh Arrr!

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rhydian

Re: Whats the point of an autonomous tractor?

@Chris G

I remember seeing you could get most of the medium/large Massey Ferguson tractors with data logging type computer terminals about 15 years ago. They Used an SD card for storage I think.

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rhydian

Re: Whats the point of an autonomous tractor?

Self driving combines and tractors can steer a much straighter and truer course than any human operator, and can do so at a reasonably high speed. Its not a big deal if you've got a small field, but in places like the Ukranian Steppes a tractor can travel 10s of miles in one direction sowing seeds, spraying weeds or harvesting grain, and not wasting fuel, seeds or weed spray with "wonky" driving means having to use less spray, fewer seeds and less diesel for the same output.

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What's the biggest danger to the power grid? Hackers? Terrorists? Er, squirrels

rhydian

Re: re: when you REALLY need it?

Many a company has found out that simply switching the power off to the server doesn't replicate a power cut properly. There's always one rack, router, switch or other minor bit of kit (NTE for fibre or EFM lines are usually good bets) that someone's plugged in to the unprotected mains "just for now" that doesn't stay up when the supply goes off.

The other classics are generators that only have enough diesel for a few minutes running (because some berk forgot to wire the fuel lift pumps to the UPS) or having the whole IT infrastructure hooked up the generator, but not the air handling plants...

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Sage advice: Avoid the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – it knackers our accounting app

rhydian

Sage: Newcastle's revenge on the world...

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Sysadmin sticks finger in pipe, saves data centre from flood

rhydian

Re: A few years ago . .

Its not just Generator controls that sometimes get overlooked when distributing UPS feeds.

You'd be surprised how much telecoms termination equipment (Especially fibre) isn't UPS fed...

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BT internet outage was our fault, says Equinix

rhydian

Re: But it is still BT's fault

If I'm paying BT/Plusnet, then I'll blame them if their service isn't working. How am I to know its the fault of Telecity/Equinix/Teh Lizzerds?

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Database man flown to Hong Kong to install forgotten patch spends week in pub

rhydian

So many downvotes for what is a perfectly reasonable point.

I'm a single chap with no kids, so a week in HK would probably be fine with me

But for someone married/with kids, who can't just pootle off for no good reason? I can see how they'd be nonplussed

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UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

rhydian

Re: BT+EE

BT was only an MVNO, not an MNO. IIRC BT did buy up some 4G spectrum, and if I was in charge I'd look at how the combination of both BT and EE's spectrum holdings affect competition

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BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

rhydian

Dummy Mode...

...You can even hear the click sometimes...

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Hawaiki cable to go ahead with US$300 million Au/NZ/US build

rhydian

Re: Laying cable across an ocean

Infrastructure is rarely headline news, until it breaks...

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Web ads are reading my keystrokes and I can’t even spel propperlie

rhydian

Buying car parts is always fun...

Amazon, for some reason, stock genuine Ford car parts, and usually at a bit of a discount compared to Ford dealers.

The problem is that the malgorithm (copyright the commentard from earlier) doesn't quite understand that your average person will only need (for example) one thermostat housing, and only for the car they own at the time, so there's no point trying to sell me either

A: Another, identical thermostat housing to the one I've just bought

or

B: The thermostat housing for another, totally different Ford because I happened to buy one for the car I own

Ebay's junk email is just as bad. Subject lines like "Are you inspired by LUCAS 6A256 TRACTOR IGNITION SWITCH..." don't really work...

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Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

rhydian

Re: Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

"Hello, you're after FEP Heatcare? I'm sorry, this is EFP CareHeat. FEP Heatcare was my wife's company"

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Osbo slaps down Amazon and eBay – who'll be liable for traders evading VAT

rhydian

May I suggest you take a look at the Laffer curve?

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

rhydian

As mentioned, this is the biggest test of professionalism...

When I do data recovery (both at work and at home) then I will rarely (if ever) go out of my way to look for anything in particular (unless the user has requested a particular file/folder).

However, if I did come across something that was obviously illegal (e.g. opening an image file to check the data was readable and finding child pr0n) then I would report it. Something legal but not my business? Then it isn't my place to judge, tease or generally be an arse so I'll just copy it and say no more.

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rhydian

Re: Unprofessional

"Or you get a builder to build a summer house at the end of the garden: is he supposed to look out for buried bodies or leave a hidden camera in case you plan to use the place to store kidnap victims?"

So imagine this hypothetical builder is replacing a patio and discovers someone who's been Trevor Jordache'd [1] underneath it? Is he meant to just bury the body again?

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT5T5mBg2BU

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Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre

rhydian

"It's called a Lockout Hasp"

Thanks chief, I always wondered what the real name was.

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rhydian

My father works in similar industrial installations and he's supplied with what I can only describe as a swiss cheese padlock. It's a hoop with two plates full of holes to close it, which you then thread a padlock through, locking the isolator in the safe/off position.

If someone else was working on another part of the installation that used the same isolator they'd thread a second padlock in to the plate so that the first person couldn't inadvertently re-start the unit

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rhydian

The problem here is...

...You need to pick your language to suit your audience.

1 in 100 doesn't sound like much to someone non-techical. However if you'd said "if it goes wrong we'll lose £500/£5,000/£50,000" then they tend to sit up and take notice.

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Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

rhydian

@ Super Fast Jellyfish

"Rhydian - So perhaps it was the IT Manager (who was also walked out) who was being the dick, not James..."

Or it could be that he'd also signed it off with upstairs, who then threw him out as well.

Sort of a slow motion "you only need to move faster than blame..."

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rhydian

@Hollerith 1, LucreLout

I understand what you're saying, however given this situation I would of course act in a professional manner and answer any questions or queries raised.

However, in this case, where the plan for using a temporary (expensive) ISDN line until a (cheap) broadband line is available should have been known about (and signed off) at least at the next management level up. Therefore it should not be up to James to remind them of it. At the very least accounts should be keeping an eye on it.

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rhydian

Re: James is a dick...

Professionalism is a two-way street...

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rhydian

@Lee D

"he wouldn't be the ONLY person to know about the existence of such a line - hell, accounting should have queried it a LOT earlier!"

Indeed, considering you're talking about a 50k a month spend accounting should really have been on it, but that isn't James' problem.

"Deliberately not telling them when you're AWARE it's going to go unnoticed until it hits the hundreds of thousands is being just as dick-ish as DELIBERATELY making that happen."

Deliberately not telling James that he's up for redundancy as soon as the project's done is also rather dick-ish. If the firm wanted a proper, mature and open debrief then they didn't exactly go about it the right way.

If I were in the same situation I'd keep quiet as well. If, on the other hand the handover was more mature and, quite frankly, pleasant, then I'd not hesitate in mentioning it.

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rhydian

I wouldn't call it revenge...

...As that would involve planning and could be actionable. Having a massive belly laugh at a bunch of feckwits for sacking you and the boss without finding out if there's anything important they should know beforehand is, on the other hand, perfectly fine!

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rhydian

Re: James is a dick...

James owes this bunch of feckwits nothing.

First off, if the ISDN contract was for £50k a month then someone senior should have known about it. By making both James and his Manager redundant in such an abrupt/backhanded way this knowledge was lost.

Secondly, having been marched out of the building in such a way, I would also not be in the most co-operative of moods.

Thirdly, it sounds like the company had their own "cost management" plan in place. Wait until James and the team get the new system up and running, then bin them off to reduce headcount/save money. To see it backfire so amazingly must have been satisfying.

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Broadband's frequency hunters denied Freeview patch – for now

rhydian

Five free HD channels" is a lot less impressive than "14 free...

Try living within range of one of DTT's "filler" transmitters with only three multiplexes rather than the full 8. A pretty paltry selection of channels with only 6 in HD (BBC1/2/3, ITV1, C4).

Many new builds aren't bothering to install an aerial at all, and simply going for sky/freesat from the get go.

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One-armed bandit steals four hours of engineer's busy day

rhydian

Re: hit pump to get it working again

@Doctor Syntax

SU electric fuel pumps had a set of mechanical contact breaker points (like an old distributor) which liked to stick open or closed which stopped the pump running. Quick bash of the top of the pump and you're away.

(for those who are really nerdy, look at the first item on the 2nd page of this: https://www.holden.co.uk/cataloguePDFs/cat10/Fuel_Air.pdf )

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rhydian

Hands up if...

...You've been the one to have to do a long drive to switch a box back on after you got confused between "Restart" and "Shutdown"

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TalkTalk claims 157,000 customers were victims of security breach

rhydian

Re: Even Jeremy Clarkson could tell them they're wrong

As edge_e mentions, Jeremy Clarkson (at maximum arrogance) said "No one can steal money from you with an account number and sort code!", and proceeded to publish his own personal details in his column in The Sun.

Within hours someone had signed him up for a £500 donation to either Cancer Research or Diabetes UK (can't remember which) via direct debit, which is he took in good humour as he changed all his bank details...

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Sennheiser announces €50,000 headphones (we checked, no typos)

rhydian

Re: From the kind of shop that'll sell you....

Yep, I bet you never realised they were directional did you? I plugged one in the wrong way once and my whole router exploded.

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rhydian
Joke

From the kind of shop that'll sell you....

...gold plated optical cable, or a ten grand CAT5 cable

http://arstechnica.com/staff/2015/02/to-the-audiophile-this-10000-ethernet-cable-apparently-makes-sense/

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Why was the modem down? Let us count the ways. And phone lines

rhydian

Re: Ah, the days of modems...

Sounds plausible, however these days in most domestic situations there's hardly anything cabled up to the router, so the possibilities of down-the-line failures are lessened.

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rhydian

As mentioned you're much better off either getting your current line fixed properly (modems are just as sensitive to line noise as ADSL) or looking at something like 3/4G or satellite.

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rhydian

Ah, the days of modems...

Back in the day (probably about the turn of the century) I was doing some work experience at a PC repair workshop. It was two weeks of tinkering and I learned a lot. Especially after the thunderstorm...

Basically, a large thunderstorm rolled in across the local area one night, and for the next four days the most common job that came in was for blown modems. You could actually see the scorch marks on some of the boards. Usual rate for a V90 internal modem at the time was something like £60 including fitting (except for one poor bloke with a compaq that used an odd half-height card which was something like £70 on its own). I don't think we saw any dead motherboards, but of course it would have been possible.

At least with a DSL Modem/router the unit was usually external so when it went bang it didn't kill anything else.

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Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

rhydian

That would be the way I'd do it.

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rhydian

And how exactly do you identify the owner of a drone? It's not like they carry number plates is it?

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We suck? No, James Dyson. It is you who suck – Bosch and Siemens

rhydian

Re: @x 7

"WTF needs to be technically competent to push a vacuum cleaner around?"

Exactly. We're not talking about a racing car engine or a musical instrument, where constant fettling for reasonable performance is to be expected. I want a vacuum that I simply switch on, use, and then empty every now and again.

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rhydian

Better to faff about with a bag every now and again than have to replace yet another failed part/whole cleaner as with most Dysons I've seen.

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rhydian

Dyson? Wouldn't have one given...

My folks bought a Dyson DC02 (or 01, whichever was the cylinder type one) when they first came out.

Over the years it gradually kept going wrong. Power switch, cord retract and numerous other parts simply failed at quite a young age.

In the end it was replaced by a bog standard Henry. That thing just kept working, despite my mother insisting on using it "bagless". In the end it died due to the motor bearings failing due to dust ingress after my mother managed to vacuum up a hot ember and set the filter on fire (she kept using the machine for years afterwards with a holed filter). It was replaced by a Hoover of such gargantuan crapness that it lasted barely six months before being swapped for another Henry.

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rhydian

Re: Suckers

Another Henry vote here. Nothing else combines simple, robust power like it, and to top it all, it's made in the westcountry.

I'd have one instead of an overpriced, fragile and Malaysian built Dyson any day

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Weight, what? The perfect kilogram is nearly in Planck's grasp

rhydian

But what effect will this have on the Jub?

Will we have to reconvene the Standards Soviet?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/28/additional_reg_standards/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

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Vodafone joins calls to pry Openreach from BT's hands

rhydian

Re: Not in my name...

First of all, is that 31% "BT" market share simply their retail/business arm? Or does it include BT wholesale?

Secondly, with regards to LLU/exchange access, many LLUs will be using BT wholesale backhaul, while others use their own. Remember Vodafone owns the Cable and Wireless network which is quite substantial and Virgin Media also serves a lot of phone masts via its fibre backbone networks. Sky and Talktalk are trialling their own fibre networks in some cities (York springs to mind) and VM are infilling the gaps on their distribution network (i.e. passing more houses).

Thridly, there are no "Normal" customers of Openreach. Openreach's customers are the communications provider. All you're doing is supplying a convenient wall to mount an Openreach master socket. Openreach's biggest failing is a total lack of accountability to the end user. Now splitting it away from BT Group might not change that, however the review will certainly look at it.

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rhydian

Re: I'm all for hiving off Openreach, as long as...

That may indeed be the case, however if NewOpenreach is only an infrastructure firm then the argument is moot.

Personally, I'd model phone/broadband infrastructure on how the electricity supply market is done. You go to a local networks supplier (OK, for phones it would still have to be national) and order your voice/ADSL/VDSL/Fibre line directly from them, and pay them the line rental. Any line fault reports and remedies go straight through them. You get to book engineer appointments directly, and you, not your comms provider, are the "customer".

You then buy your voice/data service from another supplier who runs on top of that line (as happens now). Any billing etc. enquiries or onward routing issues are their problem.

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