* Posts by sandman

606 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009


Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k


Re: Unfortunately predicable

Sometimes you can get away with it. I was the IT analyst on a large eLearning project. As such, I wrote the specs for the project - comprehensive specs, very, very, comprehensive specs. This was in the days when the differences between browsers was a real problem. So, to cut a long story short, a director hands the project build over to an external design company and everything proceeds. Six months later, I'm invited to the unveiling in their building. During the presentation the designers of the quasi-3D environment (it was a trend, even though users hated it) proudly stated that it only worked on IE5 (could have been 5.5). I pointed out that the client only used Netscape and banned IE... The director turned round and snarled "Why wasn't that in the specs?" At this stage I lost my temper and replied "It was, I wrote them, did you read them?" and stormed out before I started using unfortunate language.

Later that day, back at base, I was called into his office. Mentally clearing my desk I was more than a little surprised when he offered me a job in his own department. I politely refused, mostly on the grounds that he hadn't got a clue what he was doing really. After that I always produced a PPT with the mission-critical specs to present to those with short attention spans, as well as the full document.

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers


The other side of the coin

In one company I worked for, I was on a small panel that evaluated any software we were thinking of buying. The scenario was always the same, the super-confident salesperson would spout about the ease of use, the huge productivity gains to be had and the miraculous ROI. Then the poor bloody techie would attempt to demonstrate the miracle software... To be fair, after much sweating and naked panic, something would usually appear on screen, at least temporarily. It was fun, in a perverse way, to watch the salespersons eyes as the prospect of a juicy commission slinked away.

I am just a mapper: Solar drones take to the skies above Blighty



"The vehicle has a 38m wingspan but weighs little more than a typical sysadmin: 149kg (328lb)."

'Numpty new boy' lets the boss take fall for mailbox obliteration


Re: 100% honesty 90% of the time

I once worked for a company that had a total blame culture (one of the reasons why I suspect it failed later).Not realising this when I started, I made an error when configuring the settings on a new LMS. When it was noticed, the cry went up "Whose fault is this!!!" I turned my chair round and said "Whoops, I screwed up." You could have heard a pin drop... They were so shocked that nothing else was said. :-) Mind you, in the same company I did threaten to defenestrate (from the 9th floor) a colleague who tried to pass the blame for a really critical error on to me.

Millennium Buggery: When things that shouldn't be shut down, shut down


Re: God Bless written instructions

Documentation rocks - particularly when dealing with directors who could be described as "marginally sane". I once specced out a very large elearning project and sent it to said director for sign-off. (This was something like 140 pages long). It duly came back, signed by his own fair hand. This was a multi-partner project, originally planned to work in pseudo-VR and developed by a third-party company. The great day comes for the first live demo and the director goes utterly ballistic - it simply doesn't do what he wanted. He barks at the whole room, "This wasn't in the specification!" Unfortunately I lost my temper a little bit and snapped back. "Yes it was, I wrote it and you signed it off, did you read it?" Silence... a long silence. My career was floating away in front of my eyes. Luckily he was mad, but fair, and back at base apologised for his outburst - he hadn't read it. This was the day I learnt to provide executive summaries of specifications, in PowerPoint, using a lot of very simple pictures and diagrams.

Brexit-dodging SCISYS Brits find Galileo joy in Dublin


Re: Merry Brexmas ...

"Haha, suck it up Englanders: you'll be up shit creek, with high unemployment, a fleeing populace and civil unrest like third-world, shit-hole countries under WTO rules like... USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand."

WTO - ha, ha, ha. More like NAFTA, CETA, ANZCERTA and TPP.

Countries sign trade agreements for a reason.


Re: Sadly with May running the clock down...

Outside Context Problem.

No not THAT kind of Office Wizard! Roll a diplomacy check to win the election: Vote tie resolved by a D20


I love D20s - nice and smooth if you stand on one in bare feet. D4s however, make Lego bricks feel like feathers!

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?


Hand Holding

I used to work for a global company that was trying to specialize in eLearning. Because of the "global" bit we started using conferencing software (Centra for those old enough to remember it). Our CEO found it extremely difficult to use, so during the conferences, I'd go into her office and literally guide her hand and mouse around, pressing on her finger to click. I rather admired her for admitting she was finding it difficult to use and not being afraid that the whole company could see me holding hands with her. ;-) (Reader, I didn't marry her).

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands


I'm so glad that my lightly "humorous" post managed to excite such ire. My day's work is done and done well! Bwah, ha, ha!


Mommy/Mummy - how common, Nanny cleans up after one.

Jacob Please-Mugg

Watchdog sceptical UK.gov's Universal Credit can handle 8.5m benefits claimants



Let me correct the headline for you: Watchdog sceptical UK.gov's Universal Credit can handle 8 benefits claimants.

Silent running: Computer sounds are so '90s


Sorry, I'm a sadist

I used to have the opening bars from 21st Century Schizoid man (King Crimson) as my ringtone. It would make the whole office jump. Sadly it had to come off as it had the same effect on me. :-(

Brace yourself, Britain: Health minister shares 'vision' for NHS 'tech revolution'


We're all doomed (again)

Ah well, having skillfully avoided all NHS contracts last time round, I'll be doing the same again. Most of the people I know who worked on the last round are now clients of the NHS - the psychiatry wing of it.

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange


Re: Considering....

I think that perhaps a branch of the US govt (there are many overlapping jurisdictions) would find it much easier to "pick him up" in Ecuador than even in the UK...

Scanning an Exchange server for a virus that spreads via email? What could go wrong?


Re: Sweet memories...

Yep, that's rekindled a few grey cells. We thought we were on top of it, repeated warnings sent out, 24pt, bold, underlined, bright red, dire threats and all. Then, one person in PR decided to completely ignore all that... When asked, they said, "Oh, I never read messages from IT, you're always just sending out warnings."

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama


Never trust the +

Another lesson in not trusting anything with a + sign at the end:


Canada+ (or++) (or +++)

C++ (you can like this one, but trust, nah).


Re: Google+ users

Me too. Oh, wait, I don't have a cat.

Convenient switch hides an inconvenient truth


I was working in an organisation that finally decided to move into the 20th century and buy some of those new-fangled Babbage thingies. The building dated back to the 19th century and the wiring wasn't much younger. This was all fine until one of the managers decided his office was a bit cold (to be fair, we were wearing fingerless gloves at our desks, very Dickensian). He plugged in his new fan heater - cue 20 screams...

America cooks up its flavor of GDPR – and Google's over the moon


Re: "Consumers"... US still utterly unable to understant it.

You seem to be under the mistaken belief that they actually have souls... ;-)

A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds


I had the opposite experience. Working for a charity, a nice company (OK, it was Autodesk and I bet you haven't heard them described as "nice" before) gifted us a copy of Autocad (last DOS version). They also threw in three days training for two of us. However... the charity wouldn't buy a machine to run it on. Cue sudden panic when the head of Autodesk UK decided to visit to see how their gift was being used. Which is how I ended up with a 386 and an A2 pen-plotter almost overnight. Of course, in the intervening 6 months my memory of the training was a little shaky. As a side issue, rendering and plotting whole very large buildings took a looooong time on the equipment mentioned - 24 hours wasn't unheard of.

Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you


Faulty user

Being cursed with the unofficial IT support role in one organisation, I had a colleague who used to go literally berserk with both her PC and printer. Her problem was deadlines. She'd leave printing large academic papers until, ooh, about 5 minutes to 5 and the postman would come and pick up at 5. So, several times a week there'd be a scream of "The fucking printer won't print!". This was quite often accompanied by impactful sound effects.

Muggins here would wander into her office and say "How many times did you press print?"

"Only fucking once!!!" would be shouted back. Of course, when you viewed the print spool, there'd be 20 jobs in the queue...

She once threw her mouse so hard at the monitor that we never did find its ball in the pig pen that was her office.

Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?


Re: "Israel should stop murdering Palestinians"

Ah, so like Brexiteers and Remainers but with a longer history and more death?

As Corning unveils its latest Gorilla Glass, we ask: What happened to sapphire mobe screens?


Re: Seems obvious ...

Yep, the first thing I do is buy a case to protect the shiny - one that protects the screen too (Usually before the phone arrives). My phones tend to last until something dies or becomes unsupported...

Boss helped sysadmin take down horrible client with swift kick to the nether regions


Thanks Simon, it's been fun - hope the new job is great :-)

Trump wants to work with Russia on infosec. Security experts: lol no


Why does Beaverton sound more like the sort of hotel Trump might stay in?

United States, you have 2 months to sort Privacy Shield ... or data deal is for the bin – Eurocrats


whoo hoo!

Oh, deep joy, no sooner than I pump out our corporate data legislation training I'll probably have to do it again and in a few months time, probably again. Oh and a few months after that...

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button


Exit the Cleaner

I was working for an organisation that was having a new building designed. Unfortunately the architect was an egocentric &%^$ who designed a building that was totally at odds with our requirements. To demonstrate that the building was unfit for purpose I had to build and render a 3D model of it. In those far off days it could take 12 hours to render and plot an A2 drawing. This drawing had to be completed by 11am the following day, so our CEO could take it to London and show it to our very, VIP President. When I finally left work that night the rendering had completed and the plotting had begun...

You guessed, the cleaner came in and turned off the PC and the plotter at the mains, despite the fact that the plug switch was taped open with yellow and black tape with a large warning sign above saying DO NOT SWITCH OFF!!! End result was obviously initial panic, followed by a painful replotting process and a motorbike courier racing up the A3 just in time to get the drawing to the meeting before it concluded. We never did see the cleaner again.

Not OK Google: Massive outage turns smart home kit utterly dumb


Total Luddite

That's me on the domestic IOT idea. Sorry, can't see the use case for most of the toys (although some may be of assistance to people with a variety of disabilities). "Turn on the lights, well known brand of speaky thing". Get up and do it yourself you lazy git. Fridge "I'm running out of hummus, I'll order some more". Yes, I can see that and I don't want any hummus this week. "Goolexapod, order a 24" deep pan pizza". Cook something yourself you idle toe-rag. IOT - just another way to get obese and have your data harvested. OK, rant over, back to helping the commercial world put all its eggs in the net basket. ;-)

Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops


Re: Psycho creeps will always be with us.

Giving my age away here, I thought DM meant Dungeon Master (from a game for anyone who thinks it might relate to a predilection for whips, chains, etc) and it took me a second to realise that you meant a disreputable publication.

BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical


Re: "I prefer not to answer that but suggest you wear gloves to work."

I had a great boss a while back who said to us: "You all know what you're doing, it's my job to shield you from the political crap." He did - resulting in a happy, productive department while he basked in our success and gained (as we did to a lesser extent, obviously) much in the way of bonuses.

WannaCry is back! (Psych. It's just phisher folk doing what they do)


I've had two of them so far. I think they may be from the same person/group who have been sending the "I've hacked your computer's camera and recorded you watching porn, blah, blah, blah." Same Bitcoin demands, etc. I always find them rather amusing.

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


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!

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


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


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.

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


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.

The great wearables myth busted: Apps never, ever mattered


Re: I've got 3 Rolexes!

Been shopping in Thailand, eh?

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


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.

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


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).

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


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) ;-)



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

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


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).

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


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...

UK gov grilled over massive exposure to struggling outsourcer Capita


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.

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


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.

IBM thinks Notes and Domino can rise again


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).

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


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! ;-)

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


Re: Just finger trouble

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

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


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. :-(

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


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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