* Posts by Alien8n

855 posts • joined 15 May 2007


If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Pesky microwaves

I recall on a trip to Whitby being told that the tourists would often complain about the large mast over Whitby Harbour. At least up until it was pointed out that without it the whole North Sea coast of Yorkshire would be without TV (would have been mid 90s)

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Re: Pesky microwaves

Except of course reindeer are colour blind so must have picked on him for a different reason... maybe they were just assholes.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

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Re: Brexit just gets better?

@Phil O'Sophical

I'll assume you're now being deliberately obtuse just for the sheer bloody minded stubbornness of it.

Everything entering and leaving the UK will now be subject to WTO rules on trade. That means duty to be paid at either end. On everything. So straight away everything we buy is more expensive, and everything we sell is more expensive.

Now there are options here, we could unilaterally drop all import tariffs and quotas. That wouldn't help much though as that just makes the UK the dumping ground of every cheap manufacturing country in the world. You can't say "well let's drop tariffs just for goods from the EU" due to most favoured nation status, you drop a tariff for one country you drop them for all, unless you've negotiated a trade deal with them that grants you most favoured nation status. And this cuts both ways, without that deal no other country can drop their tariffs without dropping them for every country.

So let's look at an industry where we both import and export. Cars.

The EU is without doubt our biggest buyer of British made cars. WTO rules state duty on imports of cars is 10%. Because of this every car sold in the EU overnight becomes 10% more expensive. However, most of the components that go into making a car come from the EU. These will need to have duty paid on them, so that gets added to our 10% as well.

This could be offset by producing more components in the UK, but it's actually more expensive to make them here, which is why they get made abroad in the first place.

So say you're BMW, with proven manufacturing capabilities elsewhere in the EU, what are you going to do? If I was them I'd start ramping up capabilities in Poland, it gets around the issues of import duty and will also put money into Poland's economy while simultaneously lowering the cost of production given the cheaper manufacturing costs in Eastern Europe. It's an easy win.

Now look at the other side of this coin. We're a large part of the EU's trade, a significant amount of the cars made in the EU are also sold in the UK. But due to WTO there's still that 10% duty to pay. Now the UK government isn't going to be too bothered about this, it is after all just an import tax and so will go to the Treasury. But all of a sudden every car that's imported becomes 10% more expensive to the consumer. BMW doesn't care that you now have to pay more, after all you're just paying the same as before to their bottom line, it's not their fault you now pay the same price that the USA have to pay for an EU produced car.

So taking just car manufacturing you've lowered your GDP and increased inflation overnight. This is generally seen as a Very Bad Thing.

Of course you could keep manufacturing here in the UK. You just need to break the £ by enough that even with 10% import duty the car made here is cheaper than the one made in the EU. But that will mean everything else that's imported is more expensive, which will increase inflation and lower GDP. Which as we've seen above is generally seen as a Very Bad Thing.

Now multiply that across every industry that is reliant on import or export.

This is why a Deal is so important. Without it we lose access not just to the EU on Free Trade terms, but also to every single other country that has a deal with the EU. We lose access to Canada, Japan, European countries that aren't part of the EU but are part of the EEA. None of these countries will be allowed to unilaterally trade with the UK.

Sure we can sign a deal with the USA. But at what price? They've already stated that in order to have a deal we have to give them our food standards, renegotiate drug prices for the NHS, and give them full access to every government project going, including the NHS. We are NOT in a good negotiating position. Especially when it's countries like Moldova that are holding the knife to our throat.

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

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Re: WHAT? Mythbusters

I keep forgetting that El Reg is the home of Pedantry (although it still has some way to go to reach the epitome of Pedantry that was AFP).

Okay, prior to the invention of transistors most "electronics" consisted of convoluted vacuum tube valve affairs whose functions were later replaced by transistors.

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Re: WHAT? Mythbusters

Take apart a radio from before the miniaturised transistor was invented. Lots of valves in that. I'm talking about the big bulb like valves here, not the kinds that direct water flow. In fact you could also take apart some earlier audio amplifiers, same thing. Or what did you think they used before silicon?

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Even at work I sometimes have to tell people how to turn on the wifi on their laptops. Usually one of either function key that's been hit by accident or a physical slider that's shifted when being shoved in a bag

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Re: Mythbusters

That as well, back then most transistors were valve affairs as well so everything tended to be just straight mechanicals. Pilots also tended to be trained to fly by sight as well in case of equipment failure.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Mythbusters

Not really, remember that most older planes were still metal shells, so would be naturally shielded (to a degree) from external interference. The issue is more the interior shielding.

Almost as good as the episode when they tried to use a mobile phone to ignite petrol (testing the mobile phone causing petrol station fires myth). Turns out it's not the phone that causes the fires, it's the constantly getting in and out of the car while the fuel is being pumped, building up static electricity. Not an issue for the UK as you have to hold the handle while pumping. However, some UK pumps were found to be affected by mobile phone signals, resulting in inaccurate readings on volume.

Made the attempt by the Glasgow bomber all the more ridiculous. His plan? Doused the back seat of a car in petrol, added calor gas cylinders and a mobile phone. The idea being that he'd ring the mobile phone, which would ignite the fuel vapour and then make the gas cylinders explode. Except...

Mobile phones are not detonators in themselves, you'd have to do some serious damage to the battery first in order to make it spark when you rang it, which more than likely would have made the phone unusable anyway. The mix of fuel vapour to oxygen in the car was wrong, so it couldn't ignite. And finally, calor gas cylinders have a relief valve, so in the event of pressure from heat build up it trips the relief valve stopping the cylinder from exploding. Instead they just let out a stream of gas, so instead of a bomb you have an uncontrolled flame thrower.

Alien8n Silver badge


Reminds me, there was an excellent Mythbusters episode that looked at the myth of phones being able to crash planes, hence why mobile phones have an airplane mode. They actually came to 2 conclusions:

1. Mobile phones generated enough EM interference that they could in fact knock out a plane's navigation systems. If the cabling in the plane was unshielded.

2. Modern planes are so well shielded this is not a problem.

So the no phones rule is more to do with historical issues with older models of planes than new, but given how many old planes are still in circulation it's a "better safe than sorry" approach.

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Re: Memories

When I switched to optical engineering we had a load of Compaq PIII 500s that would now and then fail due to faulty power supplies. Ironically I knew the exact cause of the failure as the issue was with the power rail chips, the PIII 500s maxed out the capabilities of the MOSFETs in the power supply that my previous company made. At the time the replacement MOSFETs that could handle the power requirements were still in development. This was the same chip that kept failing in one of the test rigs we had, the solution was to replace it with the development chip.

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Re: Memories

I had the pleasure of flight testing a new simulator at Gatwick that was about to be shipped out to Seattle. 737 cockpit if I remember correctly. That was when I learned that planes are actually incredibly easy to fly given the right weather conditions. Given just a few hours I was able to land the simulator without any issues, and also found out that every plane could, even back then, be programmed to fly completely computer controlled without any human intervention. The only reason they didn't was that people still prefer a real person to be handling the take-off and landing (although seeing how well autonomous cars are doing that's probably not a bad thing)

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Re: No interference?

First engineering job the company made MOSFETs, diodes and IGBTs, these are the ones that have 3 prongs embedded into about a cm and a half square of plastic. In the failure analysis department they kept photos of all the fake chips that had been sent back by customers that had failed. 2 main failure causes in each case (the silicon was fairly resilient regardless of the source).

1. Wires that crossed over one another joining the silicon to the prongs (so when encapsulated the wires were squashed together close enough that enough current would cause it to short).

2. Wires bonded with gold to aluminium. A well known issue back then as gold - aluminium bonding deteriorates over time (look up purple plague). Fine for a couple of years, but would fail pretty much every lifetime test you could throw at it. Automotive standards set the lifetime of a MOSFET or IGBT to be 25 years.

The company's best achievement? A chip that was certified for 6 months (the expected lifetime of the mission) that lasted about 2 years rolling about the surface of Mars.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

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Re: Mortgage brokers

@'s water music

Rather short sighted. My credit rating took a bit of a hammering several years ago and is still recovering (6 month looking for work and your credit rating would also look like a pay day lender's wet dream unless you're fortunate enough to have a small inheritance to fall back on). However I do earn enough to be more than capable to repay a mortgage (which I do).

Subprime lending in the USA however was a totally different ball game that involved lending to people who they knew were unable to make repayments.

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?

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Re: Vindicated

My home PCs have always been named after various afterlifes.

The main PC has always been called Hades (this dates back to the early Usenet days and Demon Internet, where you could edit the header information in Demon's DOS email software. I think it returned "HELL@HADES.DEMON.CO.UK" from memory).

Laptops have varied between Pheonix, Valhalla, and Nirvana.

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Re: Network tests

I was always under the impression that if you learnt a little about a lot of different areas of IT you were only good as an IT manager.

Now I am the IT manager it seems I was right...

Alien8n Silver badge

Talking of testing...

I've told this before but it's still worth a retelling. Harking back to my engineering days we had a separate testing room for testing fibre optic transceiver modules. Back then most networks required 2 cables, one for transmit and one for receive, the company I worked for did some fancy optical engineering with shaped silicon that allowed the same fibre to be used for transmit and receive at a fraction of the cost of the standard setup. However, when testing outside of the cleanroom we would get spikes in test failures. Turns out that these spikes coincided almost exactly to 20 seconds before receiving a text message on an Orange networked phone. Solution, no phones allowed within a metre of the test equipment.

As an aside, the test equipment in the cleanroom also had a 1 metre clearance area surrounding it and a big sign saying not to cross into that area if fitted with a pacemaker. Reason that equipment never failed? All phones were banned from the cleanroom.

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow

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Re: Not sure who is more dull...

Or, you know, you could send one in yourself.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

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Re: the number is increasing......


"on a similar issue, I took a train ride last night, train almost empty, but about 2/3 of passangers had their feet in their shoes and boots comfortably parked on the seat in front of them. At least in those 2 - 3 coaches I walked through.


Quite simple really, years of austerity and increasing train fares, no one else can afford to take the train.

Oh, you meant the feet on the seats? Probably just tired

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Re: I wonder if...

@wolftone nothing to do with me...

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

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Re: Good article. Assuming TheRegister is clean with our data.

@ Martin

More worrying is that they will happily copy and paste even the most complete bollocks if it matches their perceived world view, and steadfastly refuse to even contemplate that any mainstream news article could be correct. It's these people that believe even the most absurd Infowars conspiracy, insisting that all other sources are lying when presented with overwhelming evidence.

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Re: Good article. Assuming TheRegister is clean with our data.

You forget, in Bombastic Bob's world Trump is whiter than snow. From what I've seen of his posts he's pure Republican through and through.

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

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Re: Natural 20

I once played a cleric in a party tasked with attacking a vampire's tower. Vampires on every floor.

Cue a series of natural 20s on Turn Undead on every single floor, except the final one. Still destroyed the vampire underlings but the Lord Vampire looked seriously singed and very pissed off at the roll of 19...

From memory there were 5 floors and Sun Clerics got a bonus to Turn Undead (E3.5 prestige classes)

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Re: Statistically speaking

@Joe W strange you should mention that...

When Microsoft brought out their HoloLens my first thought was how good it would be to do a truly interactive Holo table for D&D. Add in some wifi enabled dice so it automatically calculated the results and with graphics for all the spells etc it would look pretty good. Doubt it will ever happen, but it would be pretty cool if it did. Surprised no one's already done it for smart phones to be honest, seems pretty obvious for some sort of VR app.

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

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School computer rooms

Reminds me of school, we had a room full of BBC Bs. The interesting bit though was that I had a full set of keys for the computer room for my entire time at school. Not sure what the odds would be for this but my house keys fit both the outside and inside doors, as well as having another key from home that fit the stores cupboard where they kept the floppy disks. They never did find out about those keys...

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

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Re: Not just O2

Fairly sure the upvotes have nothing to do with that... maybe something to do with "Nigel from O2" perhaps?

And as an IT Manager part of my job is to manage expectations. Do I want a mobile phone provider that never goes down? Yes. Do I expect my mobile phone provider to never go down? Of course not, I deal with hardware and software issues all day, expecting a mobile provider to maintain 100% uptime is like expecting politicians to never lie.

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Not just O2

There are reports of it affecting Vodafone and EE (not so much Vodafone from what I can tell).

The Down Detector page for O2 is full of outraged people having a go at O2, but in reality there's nothing O2 can do except wait for it to be fixed. Lot's of "OMG I'M NEVER USING O2 AGAIN". Imagine their shock and horror when they discover these issues affect all mobile providers at some point. Maybe we'll see them shouting "I'M NEVER USING A MOBILE PHONE EVER AGAIN" in the future.

If you want a laugh though there's a chap on there claiming to be "Nigel from O2" who is doing some expert trolling of the outraged masses...


Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

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Re: Automation does have its place

I seem to be a bit of a rarity nowadays, worked my way into IT Management the long way... started out as an operator, moved to engineer (mechanical), then to report designer for the engineers. Then moved to product engineer (emphasis on data analysis), then systems engineer, then systems designer (still technically an engineer at this point). When they realised they needed an IT person with a working knowledge of manufacturing systems they moved me into IT where I gradually worked through several developer positions, DBA roles, and finally into IT management with some networking skills. However I'm intelligent enough to ask the question "what happens if I press this" BEFORE pressing the button, rather than as I press the button.

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

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Re: Hell is other people

We have a lovely Barco presentation system that has now been made redundant due to the fact that if you try to do a Skype call and route the video through the Barco the sound very rapidly starts lagging behind the video. The solution? Remove the Barco and just plug the laptop directly into the projector system. Now everything is back in sync. Weird thing is it only affects Skype.

Sacked NCC Group grad trainee emailed 300 coworkers about Kali Linux VM 'playing up'

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Board HR

I find Board level HR people tend to not know their responsibilities. Had one job where they were making redundancies, Cue the following:

Called in and told we were all at risk of redundancy.

Told if I didn't take job B then job A would be redundant.

Started looking for another job.

Started job B.

3 weeks later offered a job elsewhere.

Handed notice in, and informed them that under the ACAS Handling regulations I was entitled to redundancy.

HR refuses, saying I was never under redundancy.

Legal advice received (just happens one friend of the family was a specialist in company law and the other is an Old Bailey judge).

HR still stonewalling.

Factory Director and HR Director overheard on shop floor:

"He's saying he'll take it to tribunal."

"He'll never do it, ignore him and he'll go away."

At which point a friend of mine chimed in with "you really don't know him very well do you."

2 weeks later I had a cheque for my redundancy payment in my hand. Bastards still refused to pay the full amount, apparently the "bonus" was only for floor staff and not office staff. They put a clause in the redundancy payment stating that the payment was null and void if discussed with any other member of staff. Totally illegal, but enough to stop any of the other engineers admitting what they got. I got the last laugh though, as I was now officially redundant it meant I was no longer liable for any training fees. As the training fees were more than the redundancy I took that as a win.

Seems a lot of HR drones forget that part of their job is to also protect the employees from the company. As soon as they reach the Board they seem willing to break the law providing it means their bonus at the end of the year is protected.

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Re: I know it's unlikely @cream wobbly

"Modern equivalent of striped paint, long stand, etc.? Honestly wouldn't be surprised. Bullies are rife."

One of my first jobs I got given the old "Go and ask Bob for a long weight".

Stood there for about a minute then went back and asked if that was long enough.

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert

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Re: I hate the expression "click this"

If you think technical documentation is bad for PCs try writing process documentation for machinery. There's a reason the document seems to assume the user is a complete moron, occasionally the user IS a complete moron. But if you don't take into account that you need to tell a user not to touch a chrome plate that's heated to 200C and they then burn themselves it's the document writer to blame, not the idiot with no common sense.

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Re: Spoilers in Tech Docs!

While true you have to remember the target audience for any documentation. You'd be surprised how many people ask "what does press button mean?" and when presented with the answer reply "well why didn't you just say click it then?"

Your average user associates "click" with the sound the mouse makes when they press the virtual button on the screen. It's all very Pavlov, but yes, if you want to get your point across to the average user it's safer to say "click button x" than it is to use the more logical "press button x".

Oracle sued by app sales rep: I made tens of millions for Larry, then fired for being neither young nor male – claim

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Re: Corporate Suicide


"Eh? Marconi is one of the original names in wireless (radio), since it was first a thing! Are we talking about the same company?"

The Marconi name has evolved over the years. Back around 2000 it was primarily into telecoms. More on what happened here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marconi_Communications

And this was the press release regarding the buyout of the Marconi optics business: https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/archived/resources-archived/bookham-sees-big-fall-in-revenues-in-cloudy-opto-market-2002-02/

Basically the company I was working for bought part of Marconi's optics division that just happened to also own Marconi's defence IP. Around the same time Nortel also went bust and their optics division was also swallowed up by the company I worked for. This left the company owning the old Marconi Caswell plant and Nortel's Paignton plant. This was all in 2002.I was in charge of integrating the various manufacturing systems used across all 3 sites. The old Nortel site was a thorn in the IT manager's side as it meant his nice clean Windows only network had to include a solitary Linux server based in Paignton as that ran the site's document control software.

Alien8n Silver badge

Corporate Suicide

As a few others have commented, big businesses commit corporate suicide all the time. From the annals of my past I give you Marconi.

Marconi at one point was one of the largest defence contractors in the world for something called a MMIC, a very simple, but highly profitable, piece of silicon. And then the .Com boom happened. Someone at Marconi in their infinite wis^H^H^H stupidity decided they were going to rebrand as a telecoms company and jump on the network silicon bandwagon. Fibre networks were becoming big business so it was assumed a few lean years would soon result in big wins, so they shut down all of their defence contract products. And I do mean all of them. Needless to say they soon went bust, but due to their defence contracting in previous years they were considered too big to fail. That was until they failed, owing billions to the banks.

Cue their buyout by the company I worked for and the sales droids and engineers rocking up to their new management overlords with the IP portfolio:

"Take a look at this."

"What is it?"

"It's a MMIC."

"What does it do?"

"It makes profit."

All the equipment and expertise still existed, they turned on the production lines and for the first time in several years the factory went from loss making to profit almost overnight. Marconi's MMICs were at one point considered the best quality in the world so were able to be put back on the market with the usual defence contractor premium. Helped postpone my old company's own financial worries for another year or 2. The old Marconi plant is now a science park (Caswell Science Park). Not sure I'd want to work there again though, it was literally in the middle of nowhere, with no mobile phone coverage and all the buildings are made of iron stone, meaning the buildings act like natural Faraday cages. Of historical significance as it was the main Spitfire manufacturing facility during WW2.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: We only have her word for it


"You sillly little virtue signaller. I'm sure it makes you feel validated and suits your agenda to put words into other peoples mouths but it also makes you look a fool. But then reading your other posts it seems to me you're early probably 20s so maybe one day when you're a bit older and no longer hold women on a pedestal (probably when you actually start dating some) but realise they can be as scheming as any man you'll finally get a seat on the clue train."

If you'd actually read my comments elsewhere you may have come to the conclusion that I've been around a lot longer than you think. Since 2001 actually. As for holding a woman on a pedestal, are you talking about my wife of nearly 25 years? And there's a definite distinction between believing all women should be treated with the disdain you're showing and knowing that SOME women can be scheming. Something I do happen to have some knowledge of given my sister-in-law could arguably be described as one of the most scheming and manipulating people on the planet given she took my brother for every penny he had, as well as a very successful business when it became clear he wasn't going to die quick enough for her to make a quick buck off his life insurance. That however does not mean that every single other woman on the planet should be tarred with the same brush.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: We only have her word for it


He read the article, he just can't comprehend that a "mere woman" might actually be good at her job, or even, heaven forbid, better at her job than her male counterparts.

In his mind XY > XX (always and in perpetuity).

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Re: We only have her word for it


"Its open and shut if you believe what she says. Where is the proof she was successful? Companies don't generally fire people who are making them money just because they're A) A women or B) old. That would be corporate suicide."

The proof that she was successful will be held in Oracle's financial records. Records the courts will be able to gain access to. Which they will then be able to compare to the records of the other team members, to determine for themselves whether or not she was more successful than her other team members.

From the number of names listed (25 according to the article) it sounds like quite a large team. Knowing quite a few sales people myself (we do sell things where I work) I'd find it highly unusual that both of the bottom 2 worst performing members of the team just happened to be the 2 women on the team. Again, her claims will be very easily verifiable in court.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: We only have her word for it


"So because she has XX chromosomes we're supposed to automatically believe everything she says? Grow up."

No, but given Oracle's track record on this, and the fact that everything she's claimed will be verifiable by the court (Oracle will have financial records and disciplinary records for everyone involved in the case and the court will have access to them) then I'm willing to bet that yes she was fired for simply being an older woman. Which just begs the question why you're so willing to immediately accuse her of lying purely based on the fact she's female?

As stated elsewhere, when an entire team is underperforming it's a safe bet the problem isn't the team, but the management. And by singling the women out it's also a safe bet that the prevailing "boy's club" mentality was in full swing and her managers were looking for scapegoats. Also the fact that she was granted medical leave by Oracle's HR department also shows they were aware of the harassment she was getting but refused to intervene to prevent it. All of this will be on record, and all of this will be viewable by the court.

But don't let your hatred of women get in the way of facts ($deity help any women defendants if you ever get put on a jury)

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Re: We only have her word for it


"We only have her word for everything that supposedly happened"

It's in court, and everything she's "claimed" will be verifiable in court. If anything she has claimed turns out to be false she's then open to a counter claim by Oracle which would almost definitely cost her everything she owns plus more. I'm willing to err on the side that she's telling the truth. Especially as Oracle has form for doing exactly what she's claiming. So you can put your misogyny back in it's box and hopefully learn from this experience why you've been downvoted and moderated for your comments.

Oh, I wish it could be Black Friday every day-aayyy, when the wallets start jingling but it's still a week till we're paiii-iid

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Re: Today IS payday...

It's a curious indictment of British pay that pay dates can vary so much. Currently I'm waiting until next Friday for my pay as I'm now paid on the last working day of each month. But historically I have been paid also on the last Friday of each month and on the 25th of each month. This can then cause issues with bills when you align them with one pay date to then change jobs and discover that all your bills now leave the bank the day before you get paid.

Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

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Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

The best lies are wrapped in truth. Think of the Brexit NHS claim.

"We give £350M a week to the EU"

Technically true. All that was omitted was the fact that the majority of it was then spent in the UK on EU science projects, redevelopment schemes and subsidies. So the inference that we could give £350M a week to the NHS was the lie, as after the returns to the UK most of it would no longer be available. It was also predicated on the whole "Brexit Dividend", the idea that somehow leaving the EU would result in a magically better performing economy, since backtracked on by all but the most ardent Hard Brexiters.

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

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Re: The inverse case

Went for a job at a certain anti-virus place based in England. Role was for 3rd line support, they were offering what I'd expect to be offered if I'd literally just come out of uni, but expecting 5 years knowledge of not 1, but 3 different operating systems. Ironically I'm now working in their old headquarters (they moved across the road, our postcode still directs people to their new building).

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Think I've told this one before, but one company I was at was recruiting at such a rate that the R&D manager decided to see if they could get someone hired without ever being interviewed, or even checked if they were real. He succeeded to the point that a desk with name tag was allocated, along with PC and network credentials. For a "Hugh Janus".

Apparently Hugh now works as a spam filter at his new company.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

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Strange you mention that, that's exactly what they're being suggested for as it's being considered for a large multi-national bank to restrict access to "sensitive documents". Sounds like a strange euphemism for "tax dodger's offshore bank account details" to me...

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Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

I still find it amusing that the barcode identifiers you get on goods are the numbers 666 (most barcodes will show the first, last, and middle characters with elongated lines. These lines match the number 6 and are used by the scanner to work out the orientation of the barcode allowing it to be read upside down as well as right way up).

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Hotel cards

Spent a week in Blackpool during the summer and had to get the door card replaced every single day. Turns out the security sensors at the festival venue I was covering are powerful enough to wipe them just by walking through them. So common, the hotel staff made it a habit to remember anyone going to the festival and automatically asked for the cards to be fixed when they staggered back into the hotel each morning.

OK Google, what is African ISP Main One, and how did it manage to route your traffic into China through Russia?

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It wasn't the routing per say that was the issue, it was that it was routing to effectively a dead end. A bit like saying Google | Africa > Dev/Null

If Shadow Home Sec Diane Abbott can be reeled in by phishers, truly no one is safe

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Re: Northern Ireland

@ Phil OS you seem to have a rather rose tinted view of the RUC, or are you deliberately ignoring the fact that the RUC in the 60s would regularly attack the homes of Catholics and were ruthless in attacking civil rights activists, even beating some to death? The British troops went in as a direct result of the RUC's actions in Bogside. And this is BEFORE the Troubles. Just because you happen to know some good people who happened to be in the RUC it doesn't excuse the ones who blatantly used their position of power to commit indiscriminate murder.

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Re: Northern Ireland


"I think you mean "You can however blame Thatcher for refusing to negotiate with a bunch of murdering thugs until they promised to stop killing and maiming their fellow countrymen as well as 'the enemy'". Or is kneecapping anyone who speaks out against that sort of thing acceptable to you?"

At no point have I said I supported the IRA. You seem to be inferring that here. Don't conflate support for human rights as support for terrorism. The IRA were (some would say still are) murderous thugs. But it was the oppression of Catholics by the predominantly Protestant government in Northern Ireland, backed up by the UK government's refusal to condemn this oppression that created the circumstances that led to them. The IRA started out fairly non-violent, mainly they blew up radio transmitters in protest. They became the Provisional IRA as a direct result of the violence enacted upon the Catholics at the hands of Unionist terrorists, primarily the UVF. The UVF was responsible for the rise in hate crimes against Catholics, including the bombing of schools, which would eventually lead to the RUC itself running a campaign of violence and terror against Catholics in Derry. It was this continuing violence from the Unionist factions and the RUC that eventually led to the split of the IRA that created the Provisional IRA. When faced with such horrendous levels of terrorism, both from the UVF and the very police that were supposed to protect them is it any wonder that the IRA became increasingly violent in response?

So again I say, unless you've actually studied the history of The Troubles, or actually lived through them in Northern Ireland itself, then don't comment about something you clearly don't understand. Northern Ireland history is a complicated mess and not the black and white IRA = bad, everyone else = good that was spoon fed to the British public by the media over 30 years. It was the culmination of 400 years of oppression in Ireland that saw millions die unnecessarily in the famines of the C19th. It was the realisation in the Good Friday Agreement that these grievances needed to be fixed that finally brought peace to Northern Ireland, that allowed both sides to disarm. We're still left with a few die hard thugs on both sides, but they're now little more than criminal gangs. If you're going to condemn the IRA, then you must also condemn the RUC and UVF at the same time, as it was their campaigns of terror that created the Provisional IRA.

Alien8n Silver badge

Re: Northern Ireland

@Phil you have a good understanding of the issues, I was trying to prece to just the relevant bit regarding Harold Wilson. As you say the reason many Catholics couldn't vote was down to the electoral law stipulating land ownership. As for the troops, while many Catholics did see them in a good light to start with it wasn't long before the troops were seen negatively, especially after Bloody Sunday. The issue was that the British government still saw the Unionists as the legitimate power, the troops were quickly doing the bidding of the Unionist government even as far as assisting the Unionist paramilitary groups.

As for SF, it was no surprise their stance was so hardened given an equally opposed standpoint from the UK government at the time. It's hard to see beyond the terrorism to the root causes, but it's something that became very clear during the 90s. It probably helped that Apartheid in South Africa ended when it did. Thatcher (and all her predecessors) have a lot to answer for for their undying support of a regime built on oppression. While not on quite a scale there were many parallels with Northern Ireland.


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