* Posts by Alien8n

740 posts • joined 15 May 2007

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Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button

Alien8n

Re: Not quite IT

Unknown, but I do know the band that was playing at the time was not amused.

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Alien8n

Not quite IT

Just last week a council jobsworth decided the best way to shut down a music event held in the market square was to pull the plug on the generator powering everything. Apparently someone had complained about the noise (for an event that happens every year) at about 6pm.

End result, several thousand pounds worth of damage to the PA system that was running all the sound.

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IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

Alien8n

Re: Best mentor ever!

Not quite the same but when Marconi did the switch over from defence to telecoms they managed to retain most of the defence engineers and sales droids. As a result when the telecoms side was bought out by one of my previous employers they had a conversation something like this:

Engineers: "You should look at the IP that came with the business"

Management: "Why?"

Engineers: "You now own these (MMIC)"

Management: "What do they do?"

Engineers: "They make profit"

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Alien8n

Not the first time

Not the article I was looking for, but another El Reg article looking at IBM's attitude to older staff had a link to a story where an ex-IBM employee got $1.5M for age discrimination:

Lexisnexis story here

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Alien8n

Re: Take the money

@AC fairly sure I recall an El Reg story a few years ago where IBM effectively ripped up all the sales droids' contracts and rewrote the bonus clauses. Exactly because of the level of bonuses that were being given. That resulted in them being sued by a former employee that time as well if I recall.

[Edit - As someone else has pointed out, bonus and commission are 2 separate things, it may have been the commission clause that was rewritten]

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The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

Alien8n

Re: Reception

Nope, but I have noticed much worse reception in Abingdon and surrounding villages.

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Alien8n

Reception

My biggest gripe with DAB is reception. I live in Oxfordshire and my journey to work is a Russian roulette as to whether I can listen or not. Usually I get about 5 miles out and then it gets patchy, some days I can't even get out of my street before reception goes. Not an issue with the BBC stations, only the commercial ones. I get a better reception switching to the radio app on my phone.

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Alien8n

Re: The economics??

From what I understand Team Rock were paying close to £1M a year for the DAB license. One reason why they were in so much trouble (that and the fact they borrowed the money to acquire everything, much like how Man Utd went from being one of the richest to one of the most in debt clubs overnight when they were bought by the yanks).

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US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

Alien8n

Re: Well, it's just about FEAR

@Jellied Eel

"Curious thing about the IRA would be who bankrolled it" - am I the only one who read this and who's first thought was why are Russia funding Northern Irish terrorists? I had to read up a bit to remind myself it's a different IRA, must be a generational thing...

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BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave

Alien8n

You'll notice in this episode Simon has setup the boss nicely should there be any repercussions. All traces of carpet fibre and quicklime will now be found in the boss's car and somewhere there will be CCTV footage of the BOFH and the PFY clearly enjoying a pint or few in their local.

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In a touching Monty Python tribute today, Microsoft's Office 365 makes everything spam

Alien8n

Re: TITSUP

All back up after about an hour of issues. Another fun day at work then...

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Alien8n

TITSUP

Would be good if this was the only email issue today, but it looks like all the whole email system has melted. Unable to send or receive any emails and accounts that are still active are being flagged as not existing when trying to send to them with some emails generating bounce backs as undeliverable.

(edit - test email from our service supplier finally arrived after over 15 minutes. So could be a repeat of the issues we had the other week)

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The tech you're reading these words on – you have two Dundee uni boffins to thank for that

Alien8n

Re: Wonderful.

Which goes to show where the patent process is broken. Unfortunately they created the physics behind the technology but the patent is for the process of creating the technology. As they had no process they had nothing to patent and by the time they worked out the process they'd given the Japanese enough time to work out and patent the process before they could.

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Oh dear... Netizens think 'private' browsing really means totally private

Alien8n

They used that in a show recently (Deception?). Basically they had been trying to track some Russian gangster and only got a line on the guy when he accidentally dropped his burner phone down the toilet forcing him to use someone else's phone. By some quirk of story telling this phone was being monitored and hey presto they tracked him down.

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Super Cali health inspectors: Tesla blood awoke us

Alien8n

Re: Why California?

While cost of living may be high land costs in California are actually ridiculously cheap for industry. Wafer fabs in California are some of the only ones built in a linear fashion, similar to car plants. Everywhere else builds them in a daisy petal design with a single photolithography room in the centre. When I was doing semiconductor engineering the wafer fab was based in El Segundo, California for this reason. To get around health and safety laws though the usual trick is to relocate the more labour intensive work to Mexico where the health and safety laws a re more relaxed. Thankfully for the workers in Mexico the supplier of the testing equipment refused to supply the test kit without the safety cut-off switches in place. The company wanted them removed to save 5000 dollars per machine, but the manufacturer pointed out that left nothing between the operator and a potential 10,000 volts. When the company still insisted on not having the safety cut-outs that was when the manufacturer dug in and refused to sell without them, and quite rightly so.

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No, Sierra Leone did not just run the world's first 'blockchain election'

Alien8n

Re: So what was blockchain used for?

Sounds like a proof of concept prior to entering the realm of voting machines.

As a concept it actually looks very good. Even today voter fraud is brought up in every election in the world. Now imagine a world where you can vote online via an app on your phone from anywhere in the world? And the result is 100% guaranteed correct. No postal fraud, no "hanging chads", no "spoiled" ballots. Where the cost of actually holding a vote becomes marginal enough that people can actually be allowed to vote on things that matter to them instead of expecting their elected representative to vote how their constituents actually want them to vote and not how they're told to vote by party leaders.

Mind you, even when we do get offered a referendum it's loaded towards the government or just based on blatant lies and idiocy.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

Alien8n

Re: Support from Maplin ?

@Alaiin you may want to re-read the OP. That was the exact point made...

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This job Win-blows! Microsoft made me pull '75-hour weeks' in a shopping mall kiosk

Alien8n

Re: Wait... What?

Usually it's compensated for by more holidays, higher salary. However I have known a few places where they've taken the piss and the working hours become more like shift work with no compensation and a "salary" lower than some hourly rated jobs I've done. Strangely enough that business no longer exists.

It's also a kicker when you get told "no one gets a bonus as you're just doing your jobs" and then you're both expected to do silly hours, sometimes 7 days a week and find out that actually the senior managers also get tens of thousands in bonuses. Where I am now is much better. Time off in lieu and above inflation pay rises. But then they've earned the extra hours I put in and when I do put in silly hours I get to determine when I clock off. Hard to tell which is my favourite company to work for, but it has to be a close thing between this one and my first IT role.

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Facebook gets Weed-whacked: Unilever exec may axe ads over social network's toxic posts

Alien8n

Re: Money Talks - This is all bullshit!

A brand can turn sour overnight. Just ask Gerald Ratner.

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Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin

Alien8n

Re: Live Steam

One company I used to work for had an unwritten rule. In the event of an actual real fire the fire assembly points were to be completely ignored and everyone should just get as far away from the building as possible. Such as the next village. Something to do with the large tank of hydrogen below the factory...

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

Alien8n

Server rack

Installing a new phone system at a previous place and dislodged a wooden panel at the base of the server rack. Panel dropped into the floor space under the rack and managed to land perfectly on the single power switch hidden underneath the rack, resulting in the whole rack going down. Turns out the 2 large UPSes had been disconnected as well by a previous person so there was no UPS backup for the servers. Took 20 minutes before everything came back up again.

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Alien8n

Re: Just finger trouble

@DJV and how many throws of the book at the cat before it learned the error of it's ways?

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Watt? You thought the wireless charging war was over? It ain't even begun

Alien8n

Re: RFI

Energous is FCC certified as of Dec 27th.

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Samsung topples Intel as semiconductor top dog, but lead 'literally built on sand'

Alien8n

Built on sand?

Aren't all semi-conductor businesses built on sand? Silicon is after all what they make...

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the data centre temp's delightful

Alien8n

Some electronics engineers shouldn't be allowed anywhere near electrics. When we moved into our house the kitchen had been re-wired by the previous owner, an electronics engineer. It was a death trap waiting for an accident. 5A under cupboard lighting was wired to an open connection box situated directly under the taps of the sink. From there to the light switch. From the light switch back to another box behind the cooker. From there wired direct to the cooker main. Yes, 5A lights connected to a 30A fuse. Needless to say those lights didn't work for very long after I discovered what he'd done.

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Alien8n

@John Riddoch

Done that. Prior to my IT and engineering days I spent a year working moulding presses. In their wisdom they placed some presses in the side room that had been attached to the side of the existing building. To cut costs they built it with a tin roof. Temperatures in summer regularly hit 40 degrees due to the combined effects of ambient outside temperatures, solar radiation and the fact that the presses were kept heated at 200 degrees C. And one single air-con unit at the far end that had the only use of blowing straight onto the moulding plates of the press at that end causing most of the devices made on that press to fail QA for moulding issues (with the plates being several degrees cooler than they should be the plastic would stick to the plate, causing it to break within the mould and remove large chunks from the devices.)

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Would-be startup crew charged with stealing employer's tech

Alien8n

Re: The cycle of history

What do you mean "now doing"? They've been openly doing this for decades. Back around 2000 when I worked in the semiconductor industry as an engineer it was well known that Chinese companies would buy thousands of devices each month for several months and then just stop buying. When asked why they'd stopped buying them they just openly admitted "we've worked out how you make them and are now making them ourselves". We had samples of parts that even had our logos on them that had been counterfeited in China. On the whole the parts worked, but there were slight design differences where they'd taken shortcuts in the manufacturing process and built in potential failure points. Little things like bonding wires being crossed over (runs the risk of the wires short circuiting when encapsulated).

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MPs draft bill to close loopholes used by 'sharing economy' employers

Alien8n

Re: Best solution ...

We are certainly NOT at full employment. Stop spouting ideological BS Tory propaganda. There are currently officially 1.49 million unemployed. Add to that figure the long term sick, disabled, in education, in training and of course the sanctioned and that adds a considerable number on top of that 1.49 million.

And my argument still stands, you've given no viable alternative to UI, unless your position is the current system is better. In which case state that you think the current system is better.

Or would you prefer no welfare system at all, every unemployed for themselves, let them find work or starve to death without a safety net? While we're at it lets send small children back up chimneys and reintroduce Smallpox to keep the numbers of poor people in check.

My point is this, just because a system has never been tried in the UK doesn't make it shit. It may actually be the case that UI is the best way to solve poverty worldwide. I don't know, it's still being trialled in other countries, so it's too early to throw it out. The one thing I do know is this government isn't making anything better, they're responsible for thousands of preventable deaths by introducing draconian policies that demonise the sick, disabled, and unemployed.

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Alien8n

Re: Best solution ...

The thing I notice about people who are so anti-UI is they never seem able to come up with a viable alternative. "We can't have UI as it rewards people for doing nothing" as opposed to the current system of shaming people for having nothing to do? The fact is we have a welfare system for a reason. It's so families don't starve to death. Coming from the north east I'm more acutely aware of the Jarrow Marchers than most but please, look it up. And stop reading the Daily Mail, the unemployed aren't spending your tax money on holidays to Ibiza while you slave away like a North Korean factory worker.

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Amazon to make multiple Lord of the Rings prequel TV series

Alien8n

Re: Lets hope its better than Shannara chronicles

My biggest complaint was the ruins of old humanity. Everything look too fresh, as if the events of Angel Fire East and the Elfstones Of Shannara were only decades apart and not the thousands of years in the books. To see a good fallen humanity setting play Horizon Zero Dawn, the ruins in that game look hundreds, if not thousands of years old.

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BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

Alien8n

Basements

Reminds me, I think it was Paddington Exchange that took down the whole of the UK's banking systems during the floods a few years ago. Somehow the flood actually caused a fire in the basement exchange. And for some inexplicable reason the exchange was a single point of failure for the entire banking network...

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Hate to break it to you, but billions of people can see Uranus tonight

Alien8n

Re: Herschell's first proposal

@TRT And as they didn't know it was a planet back then that would have made it Ringo Star

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You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Alien8n

Re: Ah, 'booking'

"What is all this saucery you speak?"

No, that's Cooking. With a C not a B. Completely different kind of spelling

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Alien8n

Re: Ah, 'booking'

I think we've spotted the heretic. Death* will be along shortly for you. Sorcery indeed!

*Well, we may stretch as far as Death Of Rats

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Microsoft Office 365 Exchange issues for users across Europe

Alien8n

Re: Obligatory "Office 365" Joke

To be fair to MS their actual mail servers are still up and running. This is more like the switch the server is plugged into having an issue and not routing the traffic correctly. So from that perspective we shouldn't be just looking at server downtime, but also network downtime. And lets face it, anyone who's used Virgin Media will know how painful it is when an entire network decides it doesn't want to play anymore.

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Alien8n

Re: Obligatory "Office 365" Joke

@Lee D

In short, not that I know of. We're currently running a hybrid Exchange and even that doesn't help with this kind of outage. We have one user still to migrate, but as it's the boss's wife it's easier to wait until she's in the office than try and catch her between business trips and holidays.

We took the plunge to go hosted 365 for a very simple reason, and even with all the issues today that reason is still valid. We have some very mobile users. By which I mean they travel to China on frequent business trips and for some reason there's always been one who cannot get their emails when abroad. The switch to O365 has meant that they no longer need to VPN into the business to collect emails, something which has always been a bit of an issue due to Chinese hotels running their own VPNs.

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Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

Alien8n

Re: I'm touched by the sanity of this request...

@DVA There are other examples as well of books finished or continued by other authors. Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time series was completed by Brandon Sanderson for example. However they all have one thing in common, they wrote straight sci-fi/fantasy. As much as it pains me to say it, no one else could write Discworld the way pTerry did. You only have to read his collaborations to see that he was at his best with his Discworld books. Good Omens is the only one that comes close to capturing that magic, but then Neil Gaiman is rather special as an author in his own right as well.

That's not to say we've heard the last of the Discworld though. He left an awful lot of source material for his daughter to adapt for film, TV and games.

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Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

Alien8n

Re: Note exactly dangerous, but...

Oh the ATOS lot are much more insidious than that. First PIP review for Mrs Alien went something along the lines of:

"Yes, I can see you have a severe disability that leaves you unable to do anything for most of the week"

Followed by the actual assessment that went to the DWP:

"Person is absolutely fine on a good day so doesn't qualify for any points towards PIP"

Which bit of "unable to even get out of the fucking bed without help from a carer on most days of the week" qualifies someone as physically fit and able to work? In case you're wondering, recently diagnosed with MS, and not the mild variety. Managing to stay employed for about an hour day, with the help of her daughter pushing her to work in a wheelchair as it's a 30 minute walk from home.

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British broadband is confusing and speeds are crap, says survey

Alien8n

We actually went with VM's top package because their contention and bandwidth shaping even on the basic 200Mb connection was utterly appalling. Not sure what speeds we were getting, but it certainly was nowhere near 200Mb, felt more like 5Mb (so bad even iPlayer would buffer). Now the biggest issues seem to be the speeds at the other end, banks are particularly notorious for slow loading webpages. They actually offered us a 300Mb line, but it wasn't guaranteed 300Mb so decided against it.

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75 years ago, one Allied radar techie changed the course of WW2

Alien8n

Re: Yoof today

You are aware that these "snowflakes" as you term them are even now fighting in the armed forces and facing prejudice from the top of the armed forces down. And that's before you look at the prejudice and bigotry they have to suffer from the general public in most cases. If I was ever unfortunate enough to be drafted at my age I'd be far happier to be drafted into a company of men and women who feel their assigned birth gender is wrong than a company of whinging chavs who's idea of bravery is beating up old ladies for their bingo money, but only when they're with their mates as most of them would be too scared to tackle a toddler without backup.

Downvote to your heart's content, I'd rather see myself downvoted for speaking up than be a small minded, prejudiced asshole who still thinks it's the 1980's.

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Police camera inaction? Civil liberties group questions forces' £23m body-cam spend

Alien8n

Re: Just because the numbers aren't available.

Having been a witness to an officer arresting a friend of mine I'm strongly in favour of body cams. The officer in question physically choked my friend whilst pulling on his body with his knee against his spine. Not only did the choke hold almost cause my friend to pass out, leaving bruises to his neck, the knee in his spine could have resulted in injuries that could paralyse. Turns out the officer in question had been persuing a long running campaign against the family, to the point they were overheard the next day planning to arrest my friend's brother, despite him doing nothing. Despite witness statements to backup the brutality claim the officer didn't even get a slap on the wrist as the IPCC dropped the case based on his sole evidence. Also handily for him he was positioned in the only camera blackspot on the street.

My friend's crime? Someone who didn't like him accused him of raping his girlfriend. In the street. While surrounded by 20 other people who saw nothing. Even his girlfriend's statement was ignored.

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Antarctica declared world's most volcanic region as 91 new cones found beneath ice

Alien8n

Re: Interesting...

Viruses is the correct plural of virus. The various alternatives of vira, viri and virii being wrongly attributed (the latin vir actually meaning man, not really surprising given the discovery of viruses not happening until 1892)

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

Alien8n

Re: HR Fail

Reminds me of my first engineering job. Company decided to relocate it's manufacturing to Mexico. I'd had a meeting where I was told if I didn't take on a new role my position would be made redundant. The role I was to take on? Someone who was being made redundant. I was cheaper. Eventually they moved me into the new role, at which point I was offered a position at another company. I hand my notice in and then ask for a meeting with HR where I point out that under ACAS rules as I'd declined the new role within 4 weeks of starting it I was still entitled to redundancy. They tried everything to get out of paying it until the factory manager was overheard talking to the HR manager on the shop floor.

"Ignore him, he'll never take it to tribunal"

Followed by my friend who overheard them stating "You don't know him very well then do you."

2 weeks later I'm handed my redundancy payout (half of what it should have been, but more than legal minimum, I took it as a win. There was a bonus to all other employees for staying past a certain date, they claimed it wasn't offered to engineers, despite knowing it was, and the engineers had gag clauses attached to their bonuses)

What they didn't know was I was being given free legal advice from a lawyer that specialised in company law and an Old Bailey judge (who later became rather famous for sending down a mafia boss).

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BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

Alien8n

Some monitors are just weird

As a photographer I'm acutely aware of the deficiencies in some monitors. The ones I use at work have an unusual issue, they look absolutely fine until you open an Excel spreadsheet. At which point you can't see any of the cell borders, the spreadsheet just looks like it's all been formatted with a white fill and white border. Move the spreadsheet back to the main laptop screen and hey presto, all back to normal.

The fix was to fiddle with the brightness, contrast and colour settings manually, but even now there are subtle differences between each screen. Doesn't bother me enough to worry though, I'm not using the work laptop for my photography. For that I use the custom PC I built at home plugged into a 42" HD TV :)

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Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Alien8n

Back when I was an engineer...

One of my roles as an engineer many years ago was doing CPK analysis. Rule 1 of CPK analysis is don't analyse something you have no control over. So imagine my frustration when they started doing CPK analysis of the moulding compound store room. Moulding compound should be kept in a maintained environment to ensure it's not too hot or too cold when put into the moulding presses. All sounds okay so far, but...

It turned out the store room was a shed attached to the south facing wall of the factory, with a tin roof and no air conditioning.

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Boffins' five eyes surprise: Bees correct colour for ambient light

Alien8n

Re: Please

@wonkothesane

Shouldn't that be C|N>K ?

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Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Alien8n

Re: The inward spiral in journalism continues ..

@AC

New here?

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Alien8n

Re: Crazy as a shithouse rat

@handleoclast

"Don't eat the eggs"

"Why not?"

"We put LSD in the eggs"

"We also put LSD in the water"

"But we're drinking the water"

"I know, great isn't it"

*in my defence this is from memory, but it's still a great film :)

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Alien8n

Re: Mobile Phones

The issue with mobile phones wasn't to do with combustion (although that's how it's sold) it's actually the same reason phones were originally banned on flights. The sensors in the pumps that measure flow weren't shielded properly and the phone signal could interfere, giving random readings under or over the actual flow rate and hence giving the wrong cost of the fuel. They did a great Mythbusters looking at mobile phones and planes and concluded that while modern aircraft do appear to be well shielded if you look at much older aircraft that don't have the same level of shielding a phone can seriously affect the navigation systems (they tested this on the ground with a mock up cockpit, but using genuine aircraft parts.)

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Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

Alien8n

Re: Dumb yanks

And not forgetting government short sightedness. We still don't have a railway station in the town/village I live in, despite rapidly expanding population due to house building. All thanks to Dr Beeching*

*Note, the only reason East Grinstead kept its station was the fact his other half needed to still be able to get in and out of London from there. The surprise was that they didn't keep the line going south, obviously she wasn't that keen on ice creams by the seaside...

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