* Posts by ICPurvis47

73 posts • joined 15 Jul 2009

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Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

ICPurvis47
FAIL

Running on the Spot - Begin!

While I was working in a large chemical factory in northern Germany, installing some new cell line shorting switches, I witnessed a potentially dangerous, but extremely amusing incident. My Boss and I had finished the installation of the twelve switches along the side of the Castner-Kellner chlorine producing cell, and the local operatives had lowered the tank lid into position and clamped it down with several tens of large plastic G-cramps. I was intrigued as to why they were using plastic cramps and not metal ones, I presumed that it was for electrical insulation reasons, but it was soon to become obvious why. I was in the control room observing as the switches we had installed were opened by remote control to divert the electrical current through the brine in the cell to begin producing Chlorine gas by electrolysis, and my Boss was outside on the production floor watching the operatives as they moved around on top of the tank making fine adjustments to the depth of the electrodes into the brine solution to equalise the local voltage drops. Suddenly, an alarm went off in the control room, and the Controller made an urgent sounding announcement (in German) over the Tannoy on the production floor. Every one of the operatives on top of the tank dropped their adjustment keys and turned towards the door into the refuge room. At that moment there was an enormous WHOOSH, and the tank lid, about 100 feet by 30 feet, lifted two feet into the air, firing the plastic G-cramps out sideways, and propelling the operatives vertically into the air, where they all commenced "Running on the Spot" in mid air, before landing in full panic mode back on the tank lid and scarpering towards and through the refuge room door, slamming it behind the last man in. A large brown cloud of Chlorine gas rolled across the production floor after them, engulfing my Boss and the Production Supervisor, who were not fast enough to reach the Control Room door before it did. The extraction system kicked in and soon cleared the gas out into the atmosphere outside the factory, and Boss and Prod Sup staggered into the Control Room and sat down to regain their breath. Although this was an extremely dangerous situation, resulting eventually in the untimely death of my Boss some weeks later, it was obviously well planned for by the Production Staff of the factory, and was, at the time, excruciatingly funny to see several blokes all swivel as if magentically attracted, start running in mid air, and, on landing, all make it to and through a narrow doorway into the refuge.

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

ICPurvis47

Re: Only cracking I have done is

Whilst on the Isle of Skye, I took my disabled wife to visit a seal watching hide overlooking the estuary. The road from the car park was barred by a gate with a combination padlock, and Blue badge holders were invited to phone an Edinburgh number to get the combination to allow them to open the gate and drive about half a mile nearer to the hide. I looked at my mobile phone - no signal. No land line anywhere in sight, so I looked at the four digit rotary barrel lock. Applied a bit of tension and twiddled the barrels until each went slack, and opened the gate. I don't know how the RSPB expected anyone to contact them from a signal deadspot, unless one was expected to return to civilisation to get the combination, but by then, the moment would probably have passed.

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

ICPurvis47

Re: Hills

...and there is a river in Dorset called the Piddle (or Trent). It runs through Piddle Trenthide, Puddletown, and Tolpuddle (among others).

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HostingUK drops offline after losing Farmer vs Fibre competition

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Re: A common problem

Back in the early seventies, when I was working for a very large electrical engineering company in the Midlands, we were all beavering away making Arnold's Millions for him, when the whole site went dark. A construction company was improving the main road out from town out towards the motorway and a very big digger had cut right through the main incomer to our site. In the resulting explosion, the bucket and outer half of the arm had melted, and the molten metal had cooled and fused into a solid lump in the resultant hole. It took most of the week to reinstate the high voltage supply to the factory, but the offices were given an emergency supply by means of a couple of diesel generators in the car park. ( Icon because that's what it looked like from our office).

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Sysadmin's PC-scrub script gave machines a virus, not a wash

ICPurvis47
Happy

Virus attack thwarted by crashing the network

When I was Deputy IT Manager for a Technical Publications company near Birmingham (UK), the IT Manager and I instigated a procedure whereby every incoming and outgoing floppy disc was run through a virus checker (I forget which one) on a sandbox machine that was not connected to our office network before being allowed to be used on site. This procedure was supposed to be used across all eight sites, no exceptions. One afternoon, as I was checking the outgoing discs for that day's production, I suddenly received an alarm that one of the discs was infected. I rang the IT Manager, who was at a different site that day, and he basically said to stop anyone using floppies until he got to our office. I disconnected the Thin Ethernet cables at the back of my computer, thereby freezing the entire network, and stood up on my desk to make the announcement. I then had to go round every computer, armed with the Silver Bullet disc to check them for infection, and also run everyone's discs through the sandbox computer. It turned out that only one computer was infected, the user was from another of our offices (Coventry), and had thought that, as he was still inside our organisation, he did not need to have his floppies checked (oo-er missus). I then phoned Coventry office to inform them that they were the source of the infection, and the IT manager went there next day to help their Deputy sort it out. I then reconnected the Thin Ethernet at my computer to bring the network up again. Earned my salary that day.

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Police block roads to stop tech support chap 'robbing a bank'

ICPurvis47
Facepalm

Accidental Bank Robber

On holiday in Buxton, we were intending to visit one of the museums (musea?). As I was short of the readies, I told wife and kids to go to the museum, and I'd meet them there after I'd "robbed the bank". Went into Barclay's and withdrew a few notes, and on leaving, was passed by several very red-faced puffing coppers going in the opposite direction. I realised later that someone must have heard me say "rob the bank", and called the police. Strolled nonchalantly away hoping I'd not feel the heavy hand on the shoulder.

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Hitler 'is dead' declares French prof who gazed at dictator's nashers

ICPurvis47
Black Helicopters

Re: Conspiracy Theories?

Kennedy was shot - accidentally - by one of his security guards, who was riding in the Cadillac following Kennedy's Lincoln. He shouldn't have been there, but as the rostered security detail went out on the piss the previous night, and were unfit for duty, Kelly was press-ganged into riding shotgun. Oswald's first shot was deflected by a street sign and hit the kerbstone, sending up a shower of stone fragments, some of which hit Kennedy in the face. Kennedy said "I'm hit", at which point Governor Connoley turned in his seat to see what was going on. The second shot entered through Kennedy's neck and exited through his voice box, then hit Connoley in the shoulder, passing through and eventually lodging in the back of the front passenger seat. When he heard the first of Oswald's shots, Kelly stood up to see what was going on, grabbing the .22 repeater as he did so. When Oswald's second shot rang out, he swung round and the gun went off, shooting across the top of the windscreen of the Caddy and entering the back of Kennedy's head, disintegrating inside his skull and blowing his right temple off, complete with about a third of his brain. Oswald was using 9mm Full Metal jacket ammo, which would not have caused the quarter inch hole in the back of Kennedy's skull, that was made by the .22 Dum-Dum ammo used in the Security department's weapon.

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Tech support made the news after bomb squad and police showed up to 'defuse' leaky UPS

ICPurvis47
Flame

Re: Well

I had a car battery explode - on my first date with the lady who eventually became my wife. Took her to Santa Pod Dragway, and on the return trip the battery started smoking, so I stopped the car and opened the bonnet, to see jets of smoke squirting out from where the plastic had melted around the terminal posts. Quickly disconnected and removed the battery, but luckily a passing fellow drag racing enthusiast stopped to help. Used his battery to start the car and raised the idle speed so that the alternator kept it alive on the drive back. Had to drop GF outside her parents' house and scoot back home as I couldn't stop the engine or it would have needed another battery to start it again.

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Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it

ICPurvis47

Re: RE: "Design or accidental protection?"

I recently bought a very second-hand wheel balancer, but there was no power brick supplied with it. On investigation (RTFM), it became apparent that it would accept either 10 volts AC or 12 volts DC, but as the input went first to a bridge rectifier, the DC polarity was immaterial. A wonderful piece of kit, and a well designed power input system.

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Noise from blast of gas destroys Digiplex data depot disk drives

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Re: After a particularly long liquid and curry lunch.....

Didn't you fit a silencer, then?

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Data watchdog fines Brit council £120k for identifying 943 owners of vacant property

ICPurvis47
Holmes

Slight corrections.

Shadow Systems said "Like if you make a request to know whom owns the vehicle with plate $XYZ123 & the department of motor vehicles sends you not only the owner's name, but address as well." Not any more, here in the UK. I asked for owner information for an historic vehicle I was restoring back in 1990 and was given chapter and verse, names, addresses, dates of acquisition, MOTs, etc. etc. This January I asked for the same information regarding another vehicle, but was met with a firm refusal, all they are willing to supply me with is the anonymised dates of change of ownership.

AK Stiles said " The council will know this from the council tax record for the property (single occupant pays less than multiple people occupying, zero occupants pays less again I believe)". Again, not true. Single occupancy attracts a 25% discount on Council tax, but a vacant property is only exempt from CT for a limited time (two years I think). My next door neighbours fell foul of this when their mother died, they left the house empty for a while, intending to do it up and sell it, but after two years they were presented with a bill for double Council tax. The council explained that this was to dissuade owners from leaving property empty and thus reduce the number of families looking for property.

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'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

ICPurvis47
Boffin

NTLworld email address

I joined NTL when they first put a cable down my street back in about 1997 or so. I mainly did so because BT refused to take me back after I had transferred both telephony and dial-up internet access to Screaming.net, who then sold the business to another POS organisation, who promptly dropped the telephony part and left me with a dead phone line. Fast forward several years, and NTL became Virgin, all well and good, I had all the connectivity I needed to run my business and personal life. Then I was forced to give up my home, and decided to move to the Wild West (well, Wales, actually), and Virgin's tentacles don't reach that far, and they refused to utilise LLU from the BT box just half a mile away. I am now back with BT, but V said that I would lose my NTLworld email addresses after 3 months, as I had chosen to leave them. I argued that no, I hadn't chosen to leave them, I had asked them to continue my service, but they had refused, stating that I was outside their service area. We eventually reached an agreement, I can still receive incoming emails through my NTLworld addresses using POP3, but I can't send through SMTP, and I can't access the email service online to make any changes. How long this will continue remains to be seen, but in the meantime I am migrating everything to my own .co.uk domain name and using hosting for both website and email provided by a relative's ISP service.

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Happy 100th birthday to the Royal Air Force

ICPurvis47

My Grandfather was in the RFC

My grandfather was an ostler in an artillery battery in northern France during the early part of WW1, in charge of a team of six or eight horses hitched to a limber used to drag the guns to and from their firing positions and keep them supplied with shells during barrages. He was invalided out and, after recuperating, joined the RFC as a "Labourer", ie, ground crew. On the 1st April 1918 he was automatically transferred to the new RAF with the rank of Private, 2nd Class. He was demobbed in 1919 and returned to his previous occupation as a tea roundsman with Lyons' Tea Houses, delivering tea and other supplies around east London from a horse drawn van, later replaced with a motorised van. He often used to reminisce about his active service on the Front during 1914 - 1915, but never told us anything about his time in the RAF, we only found out about that when we found his medals after he passed away. They were the War Medal and the Victory Medal, inscribed "Charles Purvis, 238950 Pte 2nd class, RAF".

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User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

ICPurvis47

Typists' mistakes

A long time ago, when we used to use Dictaphones to dictate our documents and then send them to the typing pool for typing up and posting, one of the engineers was dictating a specification for an electric train controller. The controller was used to regulate the amount of electrical current through the traction motors by switching in or out different amounts of resistance, a technique known as "Notching Up". What he said was "The controller must pass 1000 amps on the first notch", but what the typist heard and subsequently wrote was "The controller must pass 1000 Amps on the first of March".

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New South Wales ponders post-mortem data protection laws

ICPurvis47
Coffee/keyboard

Keeping it in the family

One would have thought that if you make a will leaving everything to a family member, that this would include such details. Of course, if you die intestate, then these questions and problems will arise, and someone will have to go through the courts to obtain probate. Moral of this story, make a will and keep it up to date before you get into a condition where you cannot do so.

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Sysadmin held a rack of servers off the ground for 15 mins, crashed ISP when he put them down

ICPurvis47
Boffin

Diamond Trapezoid

Not IT related, but when I was working as a development engineer for a very large electrical manufacturer in the Midlands, we had a rush job to refurbish two cabinets of circuit breakers for BR Southern Region. The final assembly was being done in a bay we called "The Elephant House" because of its high lift capability, by our two Elephant Trainers, Sid and Sam. Because of a delay in procuring some vital parts, the build was not completed until late on Friday afternoon, and Dispatch and Transport were waiting impatiently outside with the Commer TS3 (sounded lovely, ever heard one on full song?) low loader. Eventually, Sid and Sam completed buckling up the cabinets, which were about four feet square and eight feet high, and lifted them with the overhead crane onto the low loader. Without waiting for any strapping down, the driver (who was anxious to get home) drove off down the yard to D&T. Everything was fine until he started to back it into their loading bay, which involved negotiating a slight ramp up from ground level to the building floor level. As he was approaching at a 45° angle to the threshold, one side of the semitrailer rose and tipped both cabinets off the other side, where they crashed to the ground, destroying all of the circuit breakers inside and distorting the cabinet frames. They were eventually lifted back onto the low loader and returned to the Elephant House, but, needless to say, they weren't delivered that week (or the next, either).

On a similar note, when I was an apprentice at the Trade School, I was one of only two apprentices that had been checked out on the fork lift and worksaver, so we had to do any heavy lifting and transporting around the school. One day we were tasked with lifting a large (about 500lbs) machine vice onto the worktable of a shaping machine. We completed this task but, as it was tea break, left bolting it down until we had returned the worksaver to its charging station and had our tea break. As we walked back into the machine shop there was an almighty crash. The apprentice who was working on that shaper was rather keen to get on, and had returned early from the canteen. He had placed his workpiece in the vice and knocked it up (ie set it level and tightened the vice), adjusted the tool height for the first cut, and as we walked in through the door, he pulled the lever and the tool hit the workpiece, sending it and the vice off the end of the table. Luckily the operating lever was at the side of the machine, otherwise it would probably have killed him. As it was, it made a very large hole right through the concrete floor, which took several days to get Site Services to repair. We were hauled over the coals for not bolting it down before we left it, but he shouldn't have been in the building on his own either, so we were just given a slap on the wrist each and told to be more careful next time. The lad was moved to a less dangerous machine, but left soon afterwards as he was not really suited to an engineering apprenticeship.

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

ICPurvis47

When I was working for a very large electrical engineering company, building motor control gear for a well known maritime organisation, I also caused mayhem with part of my anatomy. One of the units was in Test, and the testers were doing a heat run, running the equipment at full chat whilst the observers from the customer looked on. I had gone into Test to take some photographs for the Instruction Manual that I was preparing (I was in technical Manuals Department at the time) and I had to scrunch myself up into one corner of the roped-off area in order to get all of the cabinets in shot. Suddenly everything went dark, and the high pitched whine of the invertors wound down the scale to inaudibility. Cue furious shouts from the Test Engineers, I had inadvertently backed onto one of the emergency shutdown buttons that were located at various points around the department, and that had shut off all power to the Test area and surrounding parts of the building. A complete morning's heat run ruined, and the customer's observers were distinctly unimpressed. The heat run had to be rescheduled for the next morning as it had to start from cold. Needless to say, I was NOT allowed into Test whist a heat run was being performed on that or any further equipments.

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So you accidentally told a million people they are going to die: What next? Your essential guide...

ICPurvis47

Re: one more thing...

When I was in the forces during the Cold war, we had three different siren warning scenarios:

Wailing up and down - imminent danger of air attack - as per WW2

Continuous note - All Clear - as per WW2

Intermittent siren at constant pitch - imminent danger of approaching nuclear fallout

This was achieved by turning the siren's handle at constant speed and alternately opening and closing the shutters on the front of the siren.

Thankfully, we never had to actually send out these warnings during the whole 25 years I was in the ROC.

Unfortunately we were "stood down" in 1991 as there was no longer perceived to be any further threat of nuclear war, but maybe with Mr T and Mr K in charge of their respective countries, we should be "stood up" again?

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Thar she blows: Strava heat map shows folk on shipwreck packed with 1,500 tonnes of bombs

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Big Bang Theory

When I worked for a large electrical engineering company, we were installing some contactors at a research installation in Hampshire. The foreman told us to "be very careful because there [was] a reactor on the other end of that cable". To us, as electrical engineers, a reactor was simply a large coil of copper wire with either an iron or an air core, which induces a lag in the phase rotation. No, this reactor was a Nuclear Reactor! One false electrical impulse and it would have been Goodbye Basingstoke.

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Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook

ICPurvis47

Re: THAT Price for one View?

Similarly, the expression "The Devil to pay and only half a bucket of tar" refers to not having enough resources to finish the job in hand. A mixture of hemp and tar was used to seal (pay) the joints between the timbers, and the longest joint on the deck was called the Devil.

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Wannabe W1 DOW-er faked car crash to track down reg plate's owner

ICPurvis47

Re: "a private number plate"

When I was courting, I was using my mother's 100E, but it just didn't cut the mustard as a passion wagon. I put feelers about at the college I was studying at, and soon found an old Austin Princess 3 Litre for the princely sum of £20 from one of the lecturers. After we were married and the Princess failed its MOT, we went to buy a new(ish) Vauxhall. My wife said she liked our old number plate, a second series (ie 3 numbers followed by 3 letters), so we transferred it onto the Vauxhall. It is now on its ninth car, my Classic Range Rover. This goes to show that you don't have to have large amounts of spare cash to own a desirable number plate, just be at the right place at the right time. As it happens, way back in the late Seventies, when the Third Series (3 letters, 3 numbers, and a Year Suffix) was approaching its end, the DVLA ran a competition to design a new system, which would consist of seven digits as previously and allow for more combinations. In the end they opted to simply reverse the Third Series (Year Prefix, 3 numbers, 3 letters), which took them up to the end of the century. I entered that competition and suggested a system which is almost identical with the current system, only the Registration Office letters have been changed from my suggestion. So, if as another commentard has stated, the system is ridiculous, I'm afraid that I'm at least partly to blame. (and no, I wasn't credited with the suggestion, nor did I receive any form of prize).

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Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

ICPurvis47

Re: Mini - not really

This was also done by the students at University College, London, about the same time. Engineering department students rigged a sheerlegs on the roof of the Engineering Building during the day, when it was not unusual for students to be up there, and one night they pushed the Austin Seven (about 1928 vintage, I think) up to the blank end wall of the building, hooked the hoist onto its front axle, and winched it up onto the roof. It was then manhandled across the roofs of that and other buildings until it was left perched crossways above the main entrance portico. College authorities had to employ the army and a huge crane to lift it down as they never found out who put it up there.

Many years later, at a College of Engineering in the Midlands where I was studying, one of our classmates woke up one morning to find his beloved Beetle perched on four (empty) beer barrels outside the Principal's Office.

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User demanded PC be moved to move to a sunny desk – because it needed Windows

ICPurvis47

Re: As any good medical professional will tell you

"or the old prank about sending the apprentice to the stores for a 'Long Stand'..."

...or the packet of sparks for the grinding machine.

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Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'

ICPurvis47

Job descriptions.

Back in the early 90s I was employed as a Technical Author and Editor at a small publishing company in a suburb of Birmingham (UK). After I had been there a couple of years, I became friends with the IT Manager (let's call him George) as I was interested in home computing and networking. One day he mentioned that he was having problems extending the office network, so I spent some time at home researching the problem, and came up with a solution, of which I duly appraised him. He thought that this would have to be done over the weekend, as it entailed a complete rewire of the offices' IT cabling, and would I like to come in on Sunday (for double pay!) to help him carry it out. We ripped out the thin Ethernet cables and reconfigured them to take a shorter route, and split the network into two halves with a bridge between them. Come Monday, no-one noticed the difference as everything was working perfectly. About a year later, we (the company) bought our main rivals and merged the two businesses. George was now the IT Manager for all eight offices, and each office had a Deputy IT Manager with George on a roving basis in charge of all eight. He offered me the position of Deputy IT Manager at the original office, which was now Head Office. As part of the re-organisation, we had a new Office Manager assigned from one of the other offices. Everything went along smoothly for a couple of months, and I was then summoned to the new Office Manager's cubicle, where he proceeded to berate me on the fact that my Technical Writing output was down, I hadn't done any editing, and that I was spending too much time "interfering with other Authors' computers", and if I didn't buckle down and improve my productivity he would have to "let me go". I asked him if he had actually read my job description, which he admitted (eventually) that he hadn't. I left the cubicle and printed off a copy, which I returned to him and left him to read it. About ten minutes later, my phone rang, and a very apologetic Office Manager said that he had phoned George, who had scorched his ears for him, and would I accept his apologies, together with a 20% pay rise. We are still good friends, even though I was head-hunted away from there many years ago.

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Virgin Media only adds another 127,000 homes to Project Lightning

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Re: Would love to join

I was a VM customer since the ntl: days (ie, before VM even existed). I have recently been forced to move house, but I chose to move to a small village near the welsh border. VM refused to extend my connection, they apparently don't include Wales as part of the civilised world, and they refuse to use Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) to install their kit in a BT box, despite the fact it is only 3 miles from their nearest hub. I was extremely pissed off that they tried to charge me £30 "disconnection fee", I had a big argument with their Regional Manager and pointed out that it was they that disconnected me, not the other way round, as I was still asking for their service to continue. I am now with BT, but their service is nowhere near as good as I had with VM.

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NEWSFLASH Now even science* says moneybags footballers are overpaid

ICPurvis47
Flame

Stop paying them anything at all.

After all, they are *PLAYING* a *GAME*. If I want to play a game of most sorts (and they definitely do not include football), I have to pay to use the facilities provided for me. If I want to use the local climbing wall in our leisure centre, I have to pay £6.50 for an hour's session. If they want to chase a ball around the pitch, let them pay for their entertainment.

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Clear August 21 in your diary: It's a total solar eclipse for the smart

ICPurvis47

Re: Clouds?

This exact phenomenon happened to me as well. We were on our way to the Black Forest in Germany in 1999, and had planned our route to pass along the Autoroute north of Metz at the correct time. The french authorities decreed that all traffic on the Autoroutes should stop some ten minutes before totality, so we were in an Aire, but it was ten tenths overcast and pouring with rain. We thought that we were going to miss the show, when a small hole appeared in the cloud cover, and we were treated to a magnificent view of the String of Pearls and the Diamond Ring, before the clouds healed up again and the rain resumed. Nearly everybody in that Aire were cheering and taking flash photographs (why flash against the sun?), and ten minutes later the Autoroute was opened again and we continued on our way.

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Virgin Media's profanity warning triggered by chief exec's name

ICPurvis47

Re: Ok ok...

I was at school with a lad called Warren Peace. What were his parents thinking?

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Jesus walks away after 7,000lb pipe van incident

ICPurvis47

Re: Jesus!

I went to school with a chap named Warren Peace. What were his parents thinking of???

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€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

ICPurvis47

Parental Chuckouts

Whilst I was away at Uni, my mother passed my huge collection of Meccano (Put together over many years from my pocket money) and my collection of Dinky and Corgi cars and lorries, to my cousins. The next time I visited my uncle on his farm in Devon, the farmyard was littered with Meccano pieces, mostly rusty and crushed by the passing of the tractor and other implements. Broke my heart. On the other hand, I now regret getting rid of several collectable cars that were, at the time, beyond economic repair but now would be priceless. Such as a 1959 Chevrolet "Gull-Wing" station wagon, a 1961 Van Den Plas Princess 3 litre, a 1947 Austin 10 (the same age as myself), two 1960ish Goggomobils, and a 1961 BMW Isetta bubble car. 20-20 hindsight is no substitute for a glimpse into the future.

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Darkness to fall over North America from a total solar eclipse

ICPurvis47

Re: My home town...

Last time I saw a total eclipse was in August 1999. We were on our way on holiday to Switzerland by car and planned our route to be just south of Metz in France at the critical time. Of course, it was raining heavily, with 10/10ths cloud cover, but as the French authorities imposed a standstill on the Autoroutes for the duration, we were in an Aire (a sort of glorified layby, but not a service stop). We couldn't see a thing until, magically, the clouds parted and we had a glorious view of the Solar Corona. A huge cheer went up from all the assembled multitude, a thousand cameras flashed (why?), and then the clouds closed up again and darkness once again ruled. We didn't get to see Bailey's Beads or the Diamond Ring effects, but it was a truly magnificent spectacle.

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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

ICPurvis47

Re: "a workman had been in"

Some years ago our TV reception slowly deteriorated to the point we started losing channels. I suspected the aerial downlead was damaged, so joined a new length of co-ax to it and pulled it through. The old cable was chewed almost through at one point, where it ran through the roof space. Later that night I heard scrabbling noises in the ceiling, opened the bedroom window and shone a torch up under the eaves. The back half of a large rat was protruding, he was obviously enjoying a feast of the new co-ax. Next morning I fitted a balloon grating over the top of the rainwater downpipe to prevent him climbing up again, problem solved.

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Shooting org demands answers from Met Police over gun owner blab

ICPurvis47

Re: Guns and kids

When I was in Junior School in the mid fifties, one of the boys brought a .303 shell in to show off to his mates. It was discovered that it was a perfect fit in the support wire holes in the concrete fenceposts around the playing field, so it was inserted, and hit with a nail and a rock. Enormous bang, cloud of dust, and the bullet hit the next fencepost in line, causing a large crater in the side. Not as large as the crater in the post that had held the shell, though. The hole on the cap side still fitted the cartridge case, but was about three inches diameter on the other side, with the reinforcing bars bulged outwards into the air, and the brass of the case laminated against the tapered sides of the crater. Damage was still there many years later when I revisited the school before I went up to university. There was a lot of live ammo kicking around during that period, another schoolboy (not from my school though) put a cartridge in the vice and used a hacksaw to try to remove the detonator end, the shell went off and the bullet entered his left forearm, travelled along through the muscle, and exited from his elbow. He recovered, but his left arm was always weak after that. Kids today don't know what fun we had.

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'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss

ICPurvis47

Justice isn't blind to honesty, it just gets a helping hand from whoever has the biggest wallet.

Justice is not for the little person, I too have battled with a large financial organisation for the last four years, and eventually I have had to sell my home of 35 years and move into rented accommodation in order to pay the legal fees. At the final hearing last October, the judge didn't even read my defence deposition, he asked one question about when the mortgage had expired, and in spite of it having been mis-sold on two counts, awarded the building society a possession order. Unless you have unlimited funds or the backing or a large organisation, you are doomed to lose to those who have more money and resources than you.

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Super-cool sysadmin fixes PCs with gravity, or his fists

ICPurvis47

Re: I wonder how many times he bounced the heads on the platters?

I wrote a small TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program in X86 machine code to automatically park the heads on all of our hard disks, as they didn't auto-park but stopped where-ever they had last read. One of our workstations had a sticky drive too, so I swapped it for the one from my workstation so I had the problem, and every Monday morning I just opened the back of the machine and swivelled the HD back and forth (it wasn't screwed in) until I heard the disk spin up. Lasted several years like that until we upgraded.

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

ICPurvis47

Password?

I once had a user who complained that he couldn't log in to his new system as the password he was typing was being replaced by "Blobs". He would then delete them and try again, with the same result. Took me a long time to convice him that the Blobs were there to disguise his password so no-one else could look over his shoulder while he typed, and that pressing the Enter key would let him in.

4
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Want to kick butts? Go cold turkey

ICPurvis47

Re: Everyone in the study used NRT

"Short term, no-one has produced methodologically sound evidence of any serious harm*" Bollocks!

My father smoked all his life, and died horribly, painfully, and slowly from Emphysemia, his lungs turned to a black goo, and he was on oxygen for the last three miserable years of his life.

If you want to see a good reason to give up, go visit someone like my Dad in the last stages of his suffering.

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ICPurvis47

Going Cold Turkey, Old Style

When I was an apprentice, back in 1970, I was off sick with a stinking cold, feeling miserable and dejected. I was sitting at home watching TV (Black and white then) in front of a coal fire, and smoking a cigarette. I couldn't taste the fag, and was deriving very little comfort from it, it was more out of habit than anything else. There was a program on the telly, bemoaning the cost of living, and totalling up the amount of money one would need to survive. I was at that time smoking 30 to 40 a day, and at 4/6d for twenty, I reckoned it was costing me over £150 a year, which was 7½% of my then £2,000 a year salary. I threw the half-smoked fag in the fire, gave the remaining half a packet to my mother, and said "That's it, I'm giving up!" My mother said that she didn't believe me, and that she would put the packet on the shelf against the day that I resumed. The next morning I caught a train and the tube to Tottenham Court Road, and walked the length of that road looking in every electrical shop, until I found the radio cassette tape recorder that suited me. Back at college, and every time I felt the craving, I would scurry back to my Halls of Residence and put on some music instead. Almost 47 years later, I haven't smoked a single cigarette since that day, and I still have the radio cassette. Give it up, it's easy. (And so much more healthy for both your body and your bank balance).

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Fire alarm sparked data centre meltdown emergency

ICPurvis47
Holmes

Strange Coincidence

Exactly that happened to me just yesterday, an aged relative phoned me in great agitation to say that he'd switched on the living room light, and a bright flash had occurred inside the fusebox. I hightailed it over to his place and removed and checked the bulb - blown. Asked him where his spare bulbs were - blank look. Fuse wire? - another blank look. So, into the car and drive to the nearest hardware store (not many of them around these days) and purchased a pack of light bulbs and a card of fusewire. Back to his place and rewired the fuse holder. Didn't put in the new bulb yet, but checked that the fuse didn't blow when switch was operated, so checking that wiring and light socket were OK. Lastly, insert new bulb, and it works. Don't know how old the bulb was, but he now has spares and spare fusewire for the next 'emergency'.

2
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Virgin goes 4G with zero-rated Facebook and WhatsApp

ICPurvis47

Maybe they have their priorities wrong

All very well for the population that are covered by Virgin, but I am being forced to leave this area, and the village where I am going does not have any sort of coverage from Virgin at all, no 2G, no 3G, not even a land line. This means I will have to change suppliers after 18 years good service, and lose all my email addresses (ntlworld). Please persuade Virgin to extend their coverage to the whole of Wales, it's not the end of the earth, and other ISPs and Telcos can do it.

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Hapless Network Rail contractors KO broadband in Uxbridge

ICPurvis47
Flame

"Engineers" - Again!

"Openreach has said its engineers are on site working 24/7 to get the cables fixed"

NO, I very much doubt that any Engineers were involved, more likely Linemen or Wiremen. Engineers are the ones that have studied for four to eight years to get at least a BSc, and are more likely to be developing new tech rather than fixing old tech. Would you refer to your local butcher as a Surgeon? He cuts flesh and gets blood on his hands, but that does not qualify him to rub shoulders with the other person. In some countries (Germany, for one) it is illegal to use the term Engineer unless the correct qualifications are held. Apparently, anyone who gets their hands dirty is allowed to do so in the UK.

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Police raid India call centre, detain 500 in fraud probe

ICPurvis47

Re: Spot the clues...

My name is Iain, the Scottish spelling, and that always stumps them, they ask for Lain, whoever that might be. Actually, it's not restricted to Indian call centres, either, I had a call from someone the other day, and when I challenged them and asked where they were physically located, they said Alabama. Oops!

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That's cold: This is how our boss told us our jobs are at risk, staffers claim

ICPurvis47

Three months' notice

When I was made redundant from the company I had worked for for 18 years, they gave me (and all the others) three months' notice. We were told that we were expected to turn up at work, and that the company would support us with CVs, letters, and travel expenses for job hunting, and that's exactly what they did. I spent those three months applying for 88 jobs, had 8 interviews, and was offered 3 jobs. At the end of the three month period, I had a week off, and walked straight into a better paid job with excellent travel and overtime arrangements. Six and a half years later, I was head hunted back into my old job, at a much improved salary, a job which I only left when I had to take early retirement to become a full-time carer. It worked for me, but I realise that I had a lucky experience, one which is not available across the board.

3
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Tesla to stop killing drivers: Software update beamed to leccy cars

ICPurvis47

Re: the ramp

Looking* at the damage to the rear end of the car, it would appear that it first nose-dived into the ploughed field, then went end - over - end in the air, landing on its rear end, before finally landing on its wheels and coming to rest. The lack of damage to the roof or doors points to the fact that they never came into contact with the ground, as they would have done in the event of a rollover, thus allowing the doors, windscreen, side glass, etc., to remain intact.

* Several years as an accident investigator at Ford's Dunton Research facility, in Essex.

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Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

ICPurvis47
Headmaster

Irony

I once bought a pair of ex-US Air Force vehicles from the Redistribution Centre (Center!) on Molesworth Air Base, in Huntingdonshire, and they were described in the catalogue as "Irony Scrap". Rebuilt the two into one functioning vehicle and registered it.

3
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Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree

ICPurvis47

Re: @AndyS

Trees are actually helpful in some accidents, I once had to use one as a ground anchor to attach a winch to when I was working as a breakdown mechanic and had to extricate somebody's car from the ditch that they had driven it into.

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A plumber with a blowtorch is the enemy of the data centre

ICPurvis47

Energy Management

In the 1980s I worked in Site Services department for a large electrical manufacturer, there were three different divisions on the site, two on one side of a public footpath, and my employers on the other. It was decided at very high level that we would install an energy management system to control the lighting, heating, etc, and to read and report energy usage. It was further decided that the three divisions should deal together with one contractor to save costs. I specified that the outstations should be individually connected by fly leads to sockets on a central spine in each of our buildings, and the spines should be run in steel conduit to prevent accidental damage in the factory environment. The other two divisions' Site Services departments thought this too expensive, and simply daisy chained the outstations together using multicore cable strung along the structural steelwork. Once the systems were up and running, we had no trouble, but the others were constantly plagued by disconnections caused by mechanical damage to the cables, rodent activity, and even, in one case, the cable being burnt by a shower of welding sparks from roofing contractors on the outside of the building. Needless to say, a complete reinstall was decided upon, using the same method that I had originally used.

14
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'I found the intern curled up on the data centre floor moaning'

ICPurvis47
Holmes

Transposed numbers

When we bought a house back in the 80's, the phone was already connected, and all was well for a while. A couple of months later, the local cab company had an incoming only phone installed at the local cab rank in North Street, but unfortunately, the number was very similar to ours, so we had lots of calls from people asking for a cab to pick them up from home or somewhere else (the pub?) and take them to town (or home?). We politely informed them that they had the wrong number, and that this was not the cab rank. We occasionally had calls at ungodly hours of the night, but we understood, until at 3 AM on Christmas morning, we were woken by a call. Did the usual explanation, and went back to bed. Five minutes later, same bloke, rather drunk, and extremely irate. Another polite explanation. Five minutes later, same bloke, swearing and threatening us with violence, so I had to go downstairs and unplug the phone line so he couldn't call us again, he would only get the opt-out tone. The very next working day I made a complaint to The Post Office (as it was then), and they issued us with a new number. Blessed peace!

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Cats, dogs starve as web-connected chow chute PetNet plays dead

ICPurvis47
Windows

Re: More dead cats :)

I ran over a snake whilst riding a bike through Epping Forest, didn't stop to find out what type, although I suspect it was a Grass Snake (harmless).

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