* Posts by sandman

574 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

sandman

Keyboard ecosystems

I worked for an organisation where I had to provide unofficial IT support. One of the secretaries (it was some time ago) complained that her much loved keyboard wasn't working properly anymore...

Me: "How long have you been using it?"

She: "About 5 years."

Me: "Have you ever cleaned it?"

She: "No, I didn't know you could."

It wasn't just a matter of turning it upside down and banging it on the desk (although that was mildly horrifying). All the keys had to be taken off to get at the thick padding of dead hair, skin and food debris that was stopping them depressing far enough to work. It was alive I tell you, alive!

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Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo

sandman

Yes.

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Five actually useful real-world things that came out at Apple's WWDC

sandman
Devil

The future's bright...

"On Huawei's latest cameras, AI turns grass fluorescent and the Palace of Westminster orange." I thought the DUP had already changed the Palace of Westminster orange.

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Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

sandman

Re: Indeed on the pork ...

When I was taking a metal-working course at a local Tech College back in the mid-70s, wearing a tie was compulsory. Of course, you were wearing it under a boiler suit, but one guy nearly did a face-plant into a lathe doing 1500rpm when his tie got free. Moronic policy.

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The great wearables myth busted: Apps never, ever mattered

sandman

Re: I've got 3 Rolexes!

Been shopping in Thailand, eh?

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Trio indicted after police SWAT prank call leads to cops killing bloke

sandman

Um, because it's a huge and fascinating country where the vast majority of people are openly friendly and generous. Yes it's got some horrible problems (racism and misuse of firearms among them) but that's far from the whole story.*

* Disclaimer: I am not an American citizen, but have worked and holidayed there.

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Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

sandman

Genuine Senior Management Quote

"Our software is so user-friendly that training won't be necessary". That went well. (It actually took about 5 days classroom training to become moderately incompetent with it and a lot of practice and experience to do anything remotely useful).

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No top-ups, please, I'm a millennial: Lightweight yoof shunning booze like never before

sandman

Re: Alternatives

Hmm, I always found the the availability of soft drugs led to an increase in alcohol consumption (or was it the other way round, it's hard to remember) ;-)

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sandman

Side-effects

Ah, the explanation for Britain's falling birth-rate at last!

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Royal Bank of Scotland decision to axe 160+ branches linked to botched IT gig – Unite

sandman

Re: "not that I'm a member of NatWest or RBS now"

I always vote for the top guy with the biggest cocaine and prostitute habit (with the CoOp that is - God knows what my local Councillors get up to).

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Boss sent overpaid IT know-nothings home – until an ON switch proved elusive

sandman

Crazed author

I once had to set up a global conference for a major book launch. (This was in the days when Centra was in wide use). OK, the day comes, everything is set up and tested and I'm waiting... next I get a furious phone call, giving me a total bollocking because nobody can log on. I'm totally mystified, so take the lift up to the executive level. Here I find the author has decided that since there is a consumer version of the software, they won't bother with the already set up corporate instance. Not only haven't they got a clue how to use it, I actually get blamed for their failure. At this stage I threatened to defenestrate the nasty little man (well, we were on the 9th floor). There never was an apology...

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UK gov grilled over massive exposure to struggling outsourcer Capita

sandman

Re: Core competence: getting contracts

You missed out an obvious advantage though - any failure can be blamed on the outsourced provider, not the government department. You'll see the same policy with regard to local councils. Central government hives off responsibility for something like social care to local authorities and makes it a legal obligation, but then cuts their grants. This results in other services being cut, but it's the fault of someone else, not the government.

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UK's Department of Fun seeks data strategy head – experience not needed

sandman

Re: Typical

Sounds about right. I've seen customer software training put under HR - because "It's all just training, isn't it?" Try getting travel budgets to major customers in funny foreign from an HR dept.

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IBM thinks Notes and Domino can rise again

sandman

Flashbacks - not nostalgia

One of those products that creates hideous flashbacks, particularly if you had to train people on it. Please, just let it die quietly. (Or drag it screaming down to hell, I'm not fussy).

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Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer

sandman

Re: Managers?

In one very large company I worked at I had to scan the CEO and CFO's signatures - good job I'm honest! ;-)

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‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’

sandman

Re: Just finger trouble

I had one of those at work. I blame my potty-mouth on the experience.

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Ever wondered why tech products fail so frequently? No, me neither

sandman

Re: Software testing?

Don't tramp city streets in Vibram-soled walking boots - they're really made for tracks/mud/rock/grass, etc. I had the same problem with my walking boots - they're due to be sent off for their second re-soling. :-(

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User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

sandman

Re: If somebody does not understand...

Oh God yes, I've been training/supporting people for more years than I care to remember and some of them seem to be utterly incapable of learning - well, anything new. At one company, I used to hold the chief executives hand and move and click the mouse for them when they were video-conferencing. Because they only did it once a month, they would forget how between sessions (no, the printed (large font and pictures) user guide on the desk next to them didn't help). Possibly they just liked me holding their hand of course. ;-)

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UK drone collision study didn't show airliner window penetration

sandman

Re: Missing the point

I'd love to see a new government taking a look around and saying. "Well, everything seems to be more or less OK, let's just kick back and relax unless something unpredictable happens".

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When neural nets do carols: 'Santa baby bore sweet Jesus Christ. Fa la la la la la, la la la la'

sandman

Yes :-)

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Remember the 'budget' iPhone SE? Apple plans an update – reports

sandman

I sincerely hope this was deliberate.

"because almost nobody in China wants anything under 5.5 inches." Fnar, fnar... ;-)

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User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot

sandman

Re: PBKAC

Of course, users can always try this well-known fix: http://newsthump.com/2013/01/28/major-technological-breakthrough-as-man-fixes-computer-by-shouting-at-it/

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sandman

Re: PBKAC

Ah yes, the monitor problem. In the distant past I've had users explode with rage when I've asked them if they'd turned the computer on. Then asked them if they'd turned the monitor (the large TV thing) on - more "Do you think I'm stupid?" The final question, "Is it plugged in and turned on at the mains?" usually resulted in a sheepish silence.

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Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

sandman

No reverse

Had a great deal of fun many years ago with an Astra diesel hire car. Pick up car, drive home, try to park. How the hell do you get it into reverse??? Neither of us had ever seen "the lift the little collar" on the gearstick method before. No manual in the car, no mobile phone, no clue. Had to drive to a petrol station and ask if anyone had a clue - fortunately someone had.

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What’s the real point of being a dev? It's saving management from themselves

sandman

The Fads of Doom

I've had the dubious pleasure of watching senior management adoption of fads damage or destroy their companies. My favourite was "Shockwave is the future of the internet, we are going to create all our training materials using it!" (For youngsters, think Adobe Flash, but bigger and capable of doing more stuff). The few of us with experience went "NO! That way lies madness!" So it proved, instead of an estimated take-up of 3000, only 3, repeat 3, users got on to it (I'm not sure how, even the contact details and help were embedded in it). Not long after, the long-established company died.

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Your data will get hacked anyway so you might as well give up protecting it

sandman

Dungeness

Lovely post-apocalyptic landscape. The nuclear power plant and the power lines just add the final touch.

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I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

sandman

Re: Hmm.

Ah, I see you're trying to start a war. ;-)

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Night out in London tonight: Beer, Reg and platform wars

sandman

Re: I hate each and every platform/language/etc.

That's called being platform agnostic! So, almost an atheist, burn him!

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US Homeland Security CIO hits ctrl-alt-delete after just three months

sandman

CV/Resume

One great advantage with such short-term appointments is that you can explain the gap on your CV by saying you were on vacation. If anyone asks why your hiring/firing were all over the press, you just sneer and say "mainstream media lies, fake news, sad."

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Four techies flummoxed for hours by flickering 'E' on monitor

sandman

Re: Another microwave story

When those new-fangled Walkman thingies came out I was working in Portsmouth Dockyard. If I was wearing the earphones I'd get a repeated "ziiiiip" going through my head when I turned a certain corner - you could predict the interval by watching the radar turning. There was also an apocryphal story about a fitter falling asleep in HMS Victorious's huge bin-shaped radar (long before I worked there - just saying) - and then it was turned on.....

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First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

sandman

Re: So....restore from backup

That's because we ran out of Cathars some time ago ;-)

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Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

sandman

How to blow up a rat

I worked for one organisation that needed a lot of electricity. Everything was controlled from a shipping container outside the building and walking past one day I noticed smoke coming out of the top of the doors. This is generally considered a bad thing.

Cautiously cracking open the door revealed nothing but thin smoke and an appalling smell. Getting behind the control panels revealed small fragments of singed rat everywhere and a tiny paw print on one of the 440 volt bus-bars...

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Murder in space: NASA orders astronauts to KILL cripples – then fire bodies back to Earth

sandman

Dinner table conversation

"What did you do at work today darling?"

"Oh, not much, just broke the legs of 30 mice."

"That's nice darl...wait, WTF!"

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Fancy that – the sharing economy lobby doesn't speak for the sharers

sandman

Re: " Until the "digital era" we've treated humans differently"

"It looks the current idea is to return there...." To be fair, I think we're already there. How many people own what share of the world's total wealth? It's lords and peasants (or serfs, churls, helots, choose your comparison) time again children.

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Omg, that is, like, sooo 2007... Retromania set to grip this year's MWC

sandman

I'm agog with indifference...

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Microsoft ups Surface slab prices for Brits. Darn weak pound, eh?

sandman

Re: Just say 'sod off MS I ain't paying that much'

Apple already put up their prices - MS are just the latest in a long line. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37799235

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/17/apples-uk-app-store-prices-will-rise-25-percent-following-brexit-currency-fluctuations.html

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All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

sandman

Re: When are we goint to stop pretending...

Sorry. I'm going to have to disagree with your use of the word "led". We have some world-class officers and men, expensively trained and very experienced in many cases. It's the political and bureaucratic end (let's not call it leadership) that is sorely lacking.

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Grumpy Trump trumped, now he's got the hump: Muslim ban beaten back by appeals court

sandman

Re: Nah!

That should be "bleeding heart", personally mine doesn't have vocal chords, so "bleating" would be tricky.

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sandman

It's all a media conspiracy!

Damn, should have put that all in CAPS! I'd like to thank the Illuminati who obviously control the media for secretly supporting Trump. Look at CNN's ratings, the massive spike in New York Times sales, etc, since he was elected. You might think his tweets criticizing them are sincere - not so, he's being played like the sock puppet he is.

It's also given the rest of the world a chance to both laugh at and feel superior to the United States - not something that happens very often. The rest of the world's media are raking it in. there's never been a better time to be a satirist or cartoonist, petition sites are booming and every second social media post includes the word Trump.

I rest my case your Honour (ps, please don't send it to appeal).

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sandman

Re: Shame on you all

Nice bit of satire there :-)

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Vapists rejoice! E-cigs lower cancer risk (if you stop smoking, duh)

sandman

Re: Less bad

Of course it's driven by ideology. There's very little policy driven by science unless it confirms the ideology of the ruling party (in most countries, maybe all).

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The Life and Times of Lester Haines

sandman

A very sad loss indeed.

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Brexflation hits Lenovo's Phab2

sandman

More to come

I'll take the role of a hypothetical foreign seller of stuff. I notice that the pound has devalued somewhat, so I charge extra to cover my loss of profit. Of course I'll add a bit, hopefully you won't notice that. (Oh, if I make stuff in the UK I'll be paying more for bits from foreign - so will do the same). Later on, any change to trade policies will obviously affect me (even if they won't, but hey, let's not waste an opportunity). I'll look doleful and put the prices up again. Finally, I'll add that little bit. Since everyone else will be doing the same, you won't even be able to single me out, unless you want to stop buying stuff. Oh, that will include food by the way - just saying.

For those of us old enough, remember the price rises when we switched to decimal currency?

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Microsoft boffins think VR visions will rival drugs by 2027

sandman

Yes! :)

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'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die

sandman

"You're not treading on it right".

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Invasion of the virus-addled lightbulbs (and other banana stories)

sandman

Why Pinky? What are we doing tomorrow?

"Taking over the world as usual, Brains." One internet point for a good Charles Stross reference ;-)

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BOFH: There are no wrong answers, just wrong questions. Mmm, really wrong ones

sandman

Love these tests

I remember going for one job and being given "the Test". I was delighted, it was the standard Myers-Briggs, which for some obscure reason I'd been researching. I just asked HR what personality they'd like me to be and got on with it. Note: These were intelligent HR people with a sense of humour. They knew it was bollocks, they knew I knew it was bollocks and I knew that, etc. Got the job.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/mar/19/myers-briggs-test-unscientific

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Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

sandman

Re: I did it once

I met an old friend from my home town on the Tube, completely by accident. Naturally we got chatting. Getting off (At the station! OMG, how could you even think that!) she lost a contact lens and we spent the next half hour trying to find it. Last time I've talked to anyone on the Tube. I'm the one with the in-ear phones playing metal, reading a Kindle, with the FOAD badge. If you look at me I'll stare back and smile and smile and smile. You have been warned ;-)

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User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

sandman

Is it on?

Before being temporarily diverted into technical support (my admiration goes to just about everybody involved in that, I haven't got the patience) I thought "Have you switched it on?" was a stupid question. After the nth time of seeing just that.... My favourite was. "My monitor doesn't work!" "Have you switched it on?" "Of course I have, do you think I'm stupid?" "OK, is it plugged in to the back of the computer?" "I've bloody checked, I'm telling you, it's BROKEN!" "Have you turned it on at the mains?" "Oh".....

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Pull the plug! PowerPoint may kill my conference audience

sandman

If it can go wrong...

My favourites:

My first ever presentation with an old fashioned slide projector and 200 people. The projector jams completely, took me years to get over my newly acquired stage fright.

A similar presentation, this time with a quick-thinking female colleague. A glass slide jams in the works, so she rushes into the venue kitchen, grabs a breadknife and saws the offending slice in half so it can be removed.

A global webinar to launch an author's new book. I set up a Centra session in advance (as requested) and am ready to rock. Upstairs they have decided to set up a different session which doesn't work (because they have no idea what they're doing). The author blames me, I threaten to defenestrate him.

My brilliant other half is at an international conference. After hours of PowerPoint presentations she wanders on stage with some notes and just talks to the audience. Voted best presentation of the day.

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