* Posts by ICPurvis47

112 posts • joined 15 Jul 2009

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Who's watching you from an unmarked van while you shop in London? Cops with facial recog tech

ICPurvis47
Devil

Re: ...following on

I was fined for entering a bus lane in Coventry. I came in from the ring road, following the large orange signs to one of the multi-storey car parks. The sign directed me to turn right, and after I had done so, I passed a small blue text on white background sign that said "Busses Only". I didn't see that sign as I was concentrating on finding the entrance to the car park. After I received the summons several days later, I revisited the scene, and only then did I find the small sign, attached to a lamp post. I took photos and video, but the council refused to accept my defence, and fined me £30. I wonder how many other innocent drivers, unfamiliar with the area and following the orange signs, have been stung in this way. Nice little earner for Coventry City Council, my advice is to steer clear.

Forget your deepest, darkest secrets, smart speakers will soon listen for sniffles and farts too

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Re: It would be inundated in our house!

I am trying to retrain my ring (no, not the doorbell) to only emit the silent but deadly brand of farts. That'll confuse them, unless they add smellyvision TM to it.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Re: Get a keg

When I was a kid, my dad used to brew Elderberry Wine (and other assorted tipple). He didn't have a proper air trap, but used to open the valve on the keg every day to let the pressure out. One time, we went on holiday, and he forgot about the brew, which was on top of the airing cupboard at the top of the stairs. When we returned after four weeks in Scotland (staying at a Granary where they malted barley for whiskey), we discovered that the plastic container had burst, and the downstairs hall ceiling was a patchy shade of purple. Worse was to come when Mum discovered that the whole of the contents of the airing cupboard, linen, towels, and her best undies, was dyed bright purple.

Also, my Uncle once brewed a 55 gallon oak barrel of cider. He used to draw off a pint or so every so often, "just to see how it's coming along". Of course, it was never deemed to be ready, so no-one else was offered a taste, and long before it was ready, he'd drunk the lot.

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

ICPurvis47
Thumb Up

Beyond Economic Repair

When I was working for a small publishing house, I was friendly with the IT guy (George). One of the Field Reporters returned his 386 laptop with the complaint that only the right hand side of the keyboard worked, the other half was completely unresponsive. George spent quite a long time booting and running some diagnostics from floppy, and declared that it was BER. I said I was looking for a laptop, so George gave it to me. On getting it home, I opened the case and found that only one of the two keyboard ribbon cables was connected to the motherboard, the left one had snapped off just above the socket. Teased the broken stub out with needle nosed pliers, stripped back the insulating varnish off the broken cable, and plugged it back in. I still have that 386 laptop, but don't use it, even though it gave me good service for several years until I could afford a better one.

The dingo... er, Google stole my patent! Biz boss tells how Choc Factory staff tried to rip off idea from interview

ICPurvis47
Pirate

Stolen PhD

When I was approaching the end of my MSc., my tutor suggested that I might consider going on to get a PhD., and that he knew the perfect project for me. I went to see the development team at a large Nuclear Power company, who explained that they had a problem, but could not simulate it mathematically. I took the information they provided and went back to college. I spent three months developing a FORTRAN program to do a three dimensional finite element analysis of the problem, and reported back to the company. By this time I had gained my MSc. and intended staying on to do the practical experimentation to support and refine my theoretical work, which should have been financed by the company concerned. At that meeting they thanked me for providing them with the answer to their problem, and that was that. My PhD. lasted three months, I was not paid a penny for doing the groundwork, and they had all the answers they needed to further refine the FE program in house.

When selling security awareness training by email, probably a good shout not to hit 'reply all'

ICPurvis47
Boffin

Reply to All button

It is simple in the extreme to remove the Reply to All button from Outlook Express, simply right click on the blank portion of the toolbar, click on Customize, scroll down the list at the right hand side and highlight reply to All. Click on Remove and Close, and voila! no more reply to All button in the toolbar. Did this years ago on every computer I have come into contact with that used OE of any version.

Microsoft sysadmin hired for fake NetWare skills keeps job despite twitchy trigger finger

ICPurvis47
Holmes

Sounded too good to be true

When I had been working for a large electrical manufacturing company for a few years, I was faced with redundancy. I neatly sidestepped this by applying for (and getting) a position in a different section of the company (insider knowledge as my wife worked in that department), but just to be on the safe side, I fired off my CV to a couple of agencies. Some years down the line, I suddenly received an invitation to an interview with a large diesel engine manufacturing company, based on the fact that years previously I had obtained an MSc. in Diesel Engine technology. At the interview, I was informed that the position was for a Purchasing Standards Manager, responsible for ensuring that all turned parts used by the company, sourced from all over Europe, met and continued to meet the company's standards. The starting salary was ten percent lower than what I was already earning, and my present job had little or no responsibility attached to it. I respectfully declined the offer, and pointed out to the interviewer that they would be hard pressed to find a willing candidate at so low an offer. I saw some time later that they were then advertising the same vacancy at a much higher salary, but, knowing the level of responsibility involved, I was not tempted to reapply.

Bloke fined £460 after his drone screwed up police chopper search for missing woman

ICPurvis47
Headmaster

Re: Teacher Icon (was Hunting season)

Teacher Icon is actually Jimmy Edwards (actor) starring in an old black and white TV comedy called Whack-O!, based on the shenanigans of the staff and pupils at a fictitious Public School called Chislebury (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/whacko/). Quite what it has to do with being a Grammar Nazi (guilty as charged), I have no idea. Used to be a good laugh, though.

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, Hickey 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 "Oh! God! I'm hit", at which point Governor Connalley 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 Connalley 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, Hickey 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 6.5mm 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 Hollow Point ammo used in the Secret Service's weapon. (Edited to correct factual errors caused by senile decay. )

Want to hack a hole-in-the-wall cash machine for free dosh? It's as easy as Windows XP

ICPurvis47
FAIL

Re: insurance

Soon after we were married, and were very hard up, we went to the local supermarket (Bishop's) and bought the absolute minimum amount of food to get us through. The checkout came to £10 approximately, so I wrote a cheque and we took our shopping back to the car park and thence home. A few days later, I received a letter from Bishop's telling me that they had been robbed, and that my cheque was in the cash bag that had been stolen. They then asked me to re-issue the cheque to cover their loss. I replied that I would not do so, as I had completed the transaction in good faith, and that I was not responsible for what they did (or did not do) with that cheque subsequently. I posed the question that, if I had been mugged in the car park, and our £10 worth of groceries had been stolen, would they have expected to allow me to replace those stolen goods for free? I think not. The cheque was never presented, and we never heard any more about the matter. My only regret was that it was only £10, if I had known, I would have kited a lot more.

Scam or stunt? It's looking like the latter... Xiaomi so sorry for £1 smartphone 'promo'

ICPurvis47
Childcatcher

Free offers

About a year ago, Anchor Butter started giving away stuffed squeaky elephants as part of their Christmas campaign. They stated in the Ts and Cs that only one per household would be awarded, on a daily basis, with winners selected from that day's list of applicants by random selection. Unfortunately, the advertising campaign started four days after the website went live, so no elephants were won during the first three days, and only eight (I think) on the fourth. At the end of the campaign, the website was still live for part of the day after it was supposed to have closed, but no elephants were awarded for that extra day. I wrote to their winners address and received a complete list of winners. What do you know? Several elephants were dispatched to members of the same family, presumably at the same address, and four other individuals each had multiple awards. I wrote to complain about these discrepancies, and was assured that they would be corrected. How were they intending to resolve a discrepancy once the elephant had been delivered?

DBA drifts into legend after inventive server convo leaves colleagues fearing for their lives

ICPurvis47
Pint

Re: Why? Just why?

When I was a student at a midland College of Engineering Technology, we had an "understanding" with the Teachers Training College in a nearby village. Whenever we had a disco or similar function, we used to invite the girls over to share in the fun. One very snowy night, some of the lads built a huge snow "man" in the driveway, so the coach could not leave. Coach driver became very annoyed and called the police. Two young coppers arrived in their Moggy panda car, and were absolutely wetting themselves laughing as they supervised the (male) students removing the obstacle. "Right ho lads, lets just roll this bollock over onto the grass". "Now the other one". Eventually the central shaft was pushed over and cleared away, so the girls could be chaperoned back to their dormitory. I still have the photographs if anyone wants a good laugh. Icon because a goodly amount of that had been consumed during the evening.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

ICPurvis47
Boffin

My personal recommendation.

I would like to put forward Professor Hugh Davson. In the post war period he did ground breaking work on the physiology of the brain, ophthalmic research (leading to the setting up of several Corneal Banks), and other important medical work regarding the Blood/Brain Barrier. Although not IT related, and therefor probably not high on any list produced here, I knew the man and respect him. Most of his work was conducted at the Institute of Ophthalmology on Judd Street, University College on Gower Street, University of Louisville on South Seventh Street, and California Institute of Technology on Wilshire Boulevard.

Clunk, bang, rattle: Is that a ghost inside your machine?

ICPurvis47
Big Brother

Re: I really don’t believe in the paranormal, but

At the bottom of the main staircase in University College London (UCL), off Gower Street, there is a wooden case with twin doors which open to reveal Jeremy Bentham sitting facing you. Only his head is the real, embalmed thing, the rest of his body is a waxworks effigy, dressed in period clothing. It can be really creepy of an evening to come down from my father's lab in Anatomy Department and see JB sitting there looking at you.

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

When I was in the armed forces (civilian division, and therefor unarmed), we were waiting for our new plastic ID cards to arrive. One morning, a large brown paper parcel arrived at Bentley Priory (HQ), but as it had no sender's information on it, the Bomb Squad were called. They cleared the car park and placed the parcel in the centre, and proceeded to blow it up with a small "controlled explosion". The whole car park was covered with thousands of badly scorched and distorted ID cards. Needless to say, we had to wait for a complete set of replacements.

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

ICPurvis47
Boffin

Re: Nah.

I went for an interview for a position as a Technical Writer at a small publishing house. I was accepted for the job. Some time later, the chap that interviewed me (George) introduced me to some bigwigs from Head Office, and said that, when he showed me the PID (Process Interconnection Diagram) of a chemical plant that they were writing instruction manuals for, and pointed to a particular symbol, I was the only interviewee that had told him a) what it was, b) what its purpose was in the circuit, and c) a detailed explanation of how it worked. He later went on to become the IT Manager, and took me on as his Deputy. (see some of my other stories on this site).

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

ICPurvis47
Facepalm

Apparently, I've won the Lottery

I have recently received an email from "maryecampbell@cox.net" with an attached PDF which reads as follows:

National Lottery Office

61-70 Southampton Row,

Bloomsbury

London

United Kingdom

WC1B 4AR.

Attention Dear Winner!

This Is to Inform you that Your E-mail ID have Won a Prize sum of (£)2,700,000.00 GBP) Two Million Seven Hundred Great British Pounds Starlings, a Window’s 10 Laptop from this Year Lottery Promotion Which Is Organized by the National Lottery and state-franchise national lottery in the United Kingdom.

We Collects the E-mail Addresses of the People That Are Active Online email user, among the People that has subscribed to Gmail, MSN, Windows/Yahoo and Web-mail, We Only Select 10 People as Our Winners through Electronic Balloting System without you applying.

Winner Verification Form:

Full Name..................

You’re Tel/fax Numbers..................

Your Nationality/country..................

You’re Contact Address/private Email Address.....................

Occupation/company............

Age/gender.........

Ever Won An Online Lottery? ............

E-Mail Details To: info.nationallotryhq@gmail.com

Await your Prompt responds.

As you can see, it contains at least fifteen spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, and what are 'Pounds Starlings'? I realise that making a few intentional spelling errors would cause anyone who is not themselves illiterate to delete it immediately, but surely, this takes the biscuit.

They are not consistent, three consecutive lines contain two different spellings of 'Your/You're', they give a return email address containing 'nationallotry', and they ask for my 'responds' instead of my response.

I cannot for the life of me see what they hope to achieve by this obvious scam attempt, please enlighten me.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

ICPurvis47
Headmaster

Re: Pet hates.

I'm sorry, Jake, but you are wrong. The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'got' as 'the past participle of to get', and no other definition. Admittedly, some more modern dictionaries list it as 'indicating the imperative', but the OED is the definitive source of the English Language, and as such takes precedence.

ICPurvis47
Headmaster

Pet hates.

I have three main pet hates in the english language - 'got', 'of', and 'di-sect'.

'Got' is a weed, which worms its way into the cracks in the language. The only valid use of 'got' is as past tense of 'to get'. It has for a very long time become an indication of necessity, as in "I have got to go to the bank". Leaving out 'got' results in "I have to go to the bank", which means exactly the same as the previous attempt. If more urgency is required, try "I must go to the bank".

I blame the Specsavers advertising campaign for the corruption of 'should have' to 'should've', which by back formation has become 'should of'. Several younger members of my family, plus assorted uneducated friends, use 'of' in place of 'have' at all opportunities - 'could of', 'should of', 'would of', 'might of', etc. etc., ad nauseam. I became so incensed some time ago that I even wrote to Specsavers to ask them to desist and have their adverts rerecorded using the proper term 'should have'. They declined for some inexplicable reason.

Where did that abomination 'di-sect' come from? The word is 'dissect', with two esses. Other double ess words do not appear to have been similarly bastardised - dissociate, dissemble, dissent, etc., so why has dissect been selected for this treatment? Many a TV police drama series has been ruined by the Medical Examiner (Yes, you, Ducky) saying that he was going to 'di-sect' the body that has been placed on his table. GRRRRRR!!!!!!

But my overwhelming all time hate is the use of the term 'Engineer' to describe a technician, who definitely does not have the qualifications to use that moniker. The latest offering from British Gas (ptooi!) says that they have 6000 'Engineers' waiting to service your gas appliance. NO they haven't. They may well have 6000 trained gas fitters, but not one of them has a BSc., BA., or other higher education qualification. I am afraid that an NVQ in Gas Fitting does not qualify them to call themselves 'Engineers' Honestly, the country is going to the dogs.

</rant>

Can't get pranked by your team if nobody in the world can log on

ICPurvis47
Holmes

Re: Rotate the monitor

I spent a long time (25 years) in the ROC, and one of the positions I and everybody else had to be familiar with was that of Display A and Display B Plotters. This involved writing information on the back of a transparent screen so that the scientist chappies could read it and work their magic on the front of the screen. Of course, this meant that we had to write everything backwards, and we all became fast and accurate at it.

My day job at one point during those years was as a development engineer in a team that also included a draughtsman. One day he was looking rather glum, he had been asked to write the word OBSOLETE on several hundred old drawings, but in such a way that it could be erased without having to redraw the original content should the part be reinstated. I took a look, all the drawings were on transparent plastic sheets, so I grabbed one and turned it over, and wrote OBSOLETE backwards on the back of the sheet, leaving the front untouched, then turned the sheet right side up again before plonking it on the draughtsman's desk. Cue gasp from Eric, "How did you do that" he inquired. I showed him how to do it, and he spent the rest of the day and part of the next happily writing backwards on the obverse of each drawing.

Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean

ICPurvis47
Thumb Up

Guard dogs

One day we were in a hurry to get somewhere (I forget where or why) and rushed out, chucked the kids in the back seat of the car, and zoomed off. Some time later, when we returned home, there was the front door - wide open. Our Golden Retriever was sitting at attention on the doormat, "I'm on guard, no-one gets past me". Soft as tripe usually, but in this case she knew that something was wrong.

On the other hand, a friend and his wife returned from the cinema to find the back door broken and the burglar sitting on the stairs, mortally afraid of their Alsatian, who had apparently watched as he broke in, followed him around the house in his search for swag, but would not let him anywhere near either the front or back doors. Cops called, and everyone except the burglar had a good laugh. Alsatian was given a police badge to wear on his collar.

Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

ICPurvis47
Devil

Re: Silly first name.

My name is Iain, spelt the scottish way. It really annoys me when cold callers ask to speak to "Lain". I just say "No" and hang up. I suppose they can't differentiate between a lower case L and and upper case I, because the typeface is a sans-serif one on their screen, and their script is all in lower case (as usually adopted by email clients for some reason).

Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work

ICPurvis47
FAIL

Re: Monitor

I recently bought some very expensive, very special, bolts that hold the brake calipers on a classic vehicle I am restoring. When I came to using them, could I find them? I turned the garage upside-down, nowhere to be seen, turned the house upside-down, still no bolts. Eventually used some inferior standard bolts as a temporary fix just so I could complete the next part of the rebuild, and ordered a new set. Next day I went into the garage and found the original four bolts in plain sight on the bench. I KNOW they weren't there the previous day, as I had swept the bench and vacuumed the garage floor, but - hey ho! - there they were. I now have a new set of expensive bolts to sell - anyone interested?

Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra

ICPurvis47
Gimp

Phones in shirt pockets

I keep my Galaxy S3 Mini in the left breast pocket of my shirt. It has a curved back and a flat glass screen, so it only fits comfortably one way - with the glass towards my body. The trouble I find is that when someone rings me, and the screen goes live, I often accidentally answer by swiping with my left nipple. Similarly, if an alarm is set and triggers, for the next few minutes, until it goes to sleep again, every involuntary move on my part results in a series of bleats from inside my coat, which gets me some curious looks and smirks from nearby onlookers.

Convenient switch hides an inconvenient truth

ICPurvis47
Big Brother

Getting your own back

At one point in my varied career I was in Site Services, and was charged with procuring, installing, and running the Energy Management System of a large electrical manufacturing company in the (UK) midlands. Every office and production area had its own temperature monitor that fed a signal back to the computerised control system, which in turn controlled the heating to that department. One day I noticed that one particular office was displaying a temperature that was significantly lower that the others, and that the heating system was going full blast. I took a stroll through the office in question, and pretended not to notice the plastic sandwich bag full of ice cubes that had been suspended in front of the sensor. On returning to Site Services, I logged in and turned the setpoint for that office to zero, thus turning off all their heating. After about an hour, I received a phonecall from someone in that office complaining that it was very cold there, and that the radiators were not even slightly warm. "Oh, yes" I said. "your ice cube trick has caused the thermometer to go off scale, and roll over, it is now saying that the temperature in your office is plus 32 Celcius. If you remove the ice cubes, it will correct itself". A few minutes later the indicated temperature started to rise, so I reset the setpoint to 19 Celcius, and the problem miraculously went away. They never tried that trick again.

MIMEsweeper maker loses UK High Court patent fight over 15-year-old bulletin board post

ICPurvis47
Unhappy

Re: What the patent describes...

"As a direct result of that miscarriage, I am over a quarter of a million UK Pounds out of pocket, I have lost my home of 35 years, and now live in rented accommodation away from my family and friends.

At that point of circumstances, there wouldn't be a "lost home" to be left standing. Certainly somebody would be feeling the pain right along with me."

I am sorry, I can't quite understand your point. Please could you enlarge on it and explain what you mean? My "home" is still standing, is owned by someone else, and has been rented out to itinerant workers. It was valued at £250,000 when I was forced to sell it, at a substantially lower figure to get it sold within the time allowed by the court, and that nearly all went to paying off the mortgage. That, plus the monthly repayments I paid during the 9½ years of the mortgage meant I was out of pocket to the tune of £276,000, and could not afford to buy another property to call "home". That house is still "home" to me, as it was where we brought up our children, and where I nursed my wife through her terminal illness. I thought that I could live out my days in the home that I loved, but now I am effectively "of no fixed abode", because I have no security of tenure beyond a Short Tenancy Agreement.

ICPurvis47
Devil

Re: What the patent describes...

"I've seen more than one case where a judge would simply not understand any of it, no matter how simple or detailed the explanation put forth was."

Although not patent related, I was a victim of a (for me) very expensive miscarriage of justice, which resulted in the loss of my home. The original judge said that I had a very good case, but that she didn't have time to hear the complicated arguments in the time slot allotted for the hearing, and adjourned until a longer slot could be scheduled, along with a 20 minute "Reading Time". However, at this adjourned hearing, a different judge was presiding, he clearly hadn't done the "Reading" that was allowed for, and refused to accept either my Solicitor's explanation, or the fact that there was Legal Precedence for my defence. As a direct result of that miscarriage, I am over a quarter of a million UK Pounds out of pocket, I have lost my home of 35 years, and now live in rented accommodation away from my family and friends.

First Boeing 777 (aged 24) makes its last flight – to a museum

ICPurvis47
Gimp

Re: Feeling old yet?

And Fokker Friendships

Guess who's still in charge of your gas safety, Brits? Capita

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

And while we're on the subject.....

I'm afraid that I have had several bad experiences with so-called "Gas Engineers" in the past, both during the Gas Safe era and previously under the CORGI system. As a practicing Engineer myself, I would never trust a technician who is licensed under either CORGI or GSR to do a proper job.

In one case, a relative had their gas fire serviced under a British Gas scheme, and afterwards noticed a smell emanating from the fireplace. On taking the front cover off the fire, I discovered that the main gas supply pipe was only finger tight, the fitter had not checked his work after reassembling the fire. A quick pinch up with the right sized spanner rectified the problem.

In another case, a neighbour had a new gas fire fitted by a GORGI registered fitter, and some years later, whilst undergoing a yearly service by a GSR registered fitter (not the same one), it was discovered that the fire had not been fitted correctly, and was spilling Carbon Monoxide into the living room. This second fitter disconnected the fire and slapped a red sticker on it, to say that it had been condemned. After several attempts to get yet another fitter to go and rectify the situation, the fire is still out of service, as no-one will touch an appliance that has been condemned by a different fitter, and the fitter who condemned it won't touch it because he didn't install it in the first place. So my neighbour has been without a living room fire for the last 13 years.

And gas fitters aren't the only ones who can be incompetent. I once had electric storage heaters installed by a registered electrician, but when the electricity company inspector came to inspect the installation, he refused to pass it because it did not have its own Earth Leakage Trip in addition the the existing one for the rest of the house. The installer came and added the ELT, but that was again condemned by the inspector because the installer had insisted on bypassing the ELT with a solid earth, thus rendering both ELTs inoperative. A three week long argument (in Slow Motion) ensued between these two bodies until I took the law into my own hands and removed the offending earth wire. Next time the inspector came, he was satisfied, and passed the system.

I have worked in several different departments of a large electrical engineering company, and unless you know your stuff, you don't last long in that sort of environment.

ICPurvis47
Flame

Gas "Engineers"

They are NOT Engineers. An Engineer is someone who has spent four to eight years studying to at least BSc level in an engineering discipline, and that does not include gas fitters, electricians, and car mechanics. In many foreign countries, including Canada and Germany (where I have worked) it is ILLEGAL to call onesself an Engineer unless one holds the correct qualifications. I'm afraid that a City and Guilds in Gas Fitting does not cut the mustard. It makes my blood boil when I see adverts stating that "One of our Engineers will be with you within three hours". No they won't, a gas fitter or other technician will come and fix your broken down boiler, an electrician will come and replace your blown socket, or a mechanic will come and fix your car engine, but not one of them will be qualified to be called an Engineer. It's about time the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and other regulatory bodies put a stop to this abuse of their qualification, and banned the use of the word Engineer except by those who are real Engineers. It is a pity that I can only add one icon, I would have liked to add a string of them right across the page.

Iain C. Purvis MSc. GMIMechEng.

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

ICPurvis47
Black Helicopters

How to get around the budget

When I was working for a large electrical manufacturing company in the Midlands, I was once a member of a team that was developing a Motor Control Centre for all-electric ships. We were a loose mix of electrical and mechanical engineers, and I was detailed (amongst other functions) to keep an eye on the budget. I could write and sign for requisitions up to £1000, my immediate boss up to £5000, and the Project Leader up to £10,000. One day it became necessary to order a very large, very special, electric motor to act as a surrogate load for the equipment during testing (think 8 feet diameter by 10 feet long, weighing several tons). We approached various other companies, including our fellow engineers in a different division of our own company, and the cheapest quote we received was for a quarter of a million pounds, but no-one was willing to take responsibility for spending that much money, so, as I was the most junior and therefore the least irreplaceable, I wrote and signed the Purchase Order myself. Project Leader was summoned to Head Office and asked to explain why I, a mere Development Engineer, had been allowed to sign the PO. Project Leader points out that, unless we have this motor, all development on the equipment will stop, and the Navy's shiny new Destroyer will be just a floating hotel. We got the motor tout suite.

Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question

ICPurvis47
Unhappy

DMP on loan

Back in the mid eighties, when I first had a Spectrum, I 'borrowed' an old Star DMP from the development lab at work, as it was just sitting on a shelf gathering dust. It was rather noisy, but sounded quite pleasant, and I had it on unofficial loan for a long time. About eleven months down the line I was approached by the Lab Supervisor and quietly advised to return it as they were expecting to be audited quite soon. During the audit, it was declared to be surplus to requirements, and ceremoniously binned, despite the fact that it was in perfect working order. I had to buy a nasty thermal printer as that was all I could afford at that time.

Russian volcanoes fingered for Earth's largest mass extinction

ICPurvis47
Mushroom

And Coventry (please!)

Experimental 'insult bot' gets out of hand during unsupervised weekend

ICPurvis47
Unhappy

Re: Feiertage

I fell foul of a Feiertag whilst on holiday in Austria some years ago. I had very carefully planned an itinerary that took in two steam hauled railways and a long distance tram ride out of Innsbruck, but failed to realise that the Thursday on which I set out happened to be some religious holiday, and there was only a Sunday service on the local and regional railways (the Intercity was still on schedule). Upshot was that the first local train did not appear, so I missed the first regional and the first Intercity, and the whole thing came unravelled from there on. I only managed to catch the lower half of the Zillertal steam excursion back to the main line, and then had to start my return journey in order to get back in time for the last local train, or I'd have had to wait until the following morning to get back to the hotel.

Abracadabra! Tales of unexpected sysadmagic and dabbling in dark arts

ICPurvis47
Boffin

Re: Case sensor

Similar thing happened to me when I was running the Technical Publications Department of a large electrical manufacturing company in the Midlands. We had several Xerox desktop publishing workstations networked on Thick Ethernet, and one of them developed a sticky hard drive, which wouldn't spin up when switched on. I swapped it for the HDD out of my workstation, so I had the task of giving it a slight rotational wiggle every morning, and the other user didn't have the problem any more. I also wrote a small Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) program to install on all of the drives to automatically park the heads after a few seconds of non use, as the HDDs were not self parking in those days. As the whole department was made redundant in 1992, I have no idea what happened to all that equipment.

Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early

ICPurvis47
FAIL

Re: Usually gets worse, the bigger the company ...

My wife used to work in the Collections and Credits Department of a large midland electrical manufacturing company, whose SOP was to pay bills at the end of the month in descending order of size. When the money ran out for that particular month, those small companies who hadn't been paid were pushed on to the next month's list, where, of course, they ended up at the bottom of the pile, so were pushed again next month, and so on, and so on. Another part of the department, which dealt with incoming payments from customers, would sometimes issue threatening letters to those customers which hadn't paid their bills, culminating in court summonses. Three times during the five years my wife worked in that department, they took small companies to court, only to have the court rule in the debtor's favour on the grounds that $BigCo owed them more than the bill in question, and they had withheld payment pending settlement of their own claim. In each case, costs were also awarded. Manglement simply couldn't get it into their heads that they were the cause of their own grief.

'Can you just pop in to the office and hit the power button?' 'Not really... the G8 is on'

ICPurvis47
WTF?

Re: Does a running gun battle to the airport count?

I applied for a job as Chief Engineer in charge of the power station and vehicle fleet in Fiji, back when it was governed by a British Governor. I didn't get the job, but I was very thankful I failed when, a few months later, there was a military coup which ousted the Governor and took over running the country.

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

ICPurvis47
Devil

Re: Sometimes it's the user

When I was a kid of about six or seven, I was given a new Space Watch for Christmas. This was basically a normal analogue watch with two numbered discs in place of the hands, and a stainless steel case with two small holes to view the numbers as they progressed past, in order to tell the time. When I put it on my wrist, it immediately stopped. Put it on the mantlepiece, and it would start working again. On my wrist - stops dead, on the mantlepiece, desk, bedside table, anywhere - starts working again. Sent it back to watch shop, no fault found. Several trips later, they gave up and sent me a normal wristwatch, which proceeded to exhibit the same phenomenon. Other members of my family could wear it successfully, but not me. Gave it to my sister, and was given a pocket watch, which worked OK as long as I kept it in my shirt pocket. I was the only kid at school who wore a pocket watch and chain, much to the amusement of the teachers. Problem went away as I grew older, but never did find the cause.

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.

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.

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).

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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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