* Posts by Richard Gray 1

67 posts • joined 15 Oct 2009


College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Richard Gray 1

Re: Value added installer

I did something similar, but to software with no value.

I wrote a very small Pascal program, that created a text whirlygig (remeber those) that said something like "Updating Database" .

An that's all it did. Cue sit down with cup of tea not having to do anything. Shame there wasn't really any internet back then (Yes I know it existed, but not many people had it) to waste my time more productivly.

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

Richard Gray 1

Before the internet!!!!

I used to work in the Tech department of a certain large store.

Parents would buy their sweet little sh... kids a PC and some games.

These would always need tuning, ensuring that the CDdriver was in the CONFIG.SYS and the MSCDEX.EXE was in the AUTOEXEC.BAT

So we would have to tell the little shi ... kids what to do over the phone. Said phone generally being in the hallway, while said PC was in a bedroom.

Cue the Chinese Whispers of Me speaking to parent, who shouted up the command to shi... child #1 at the top of the stairs who relayed it to shi.. child #2 in the said bedroom...

Beer because I needed one then and I need one now..

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

Richard Gray 1

Re: Lyca Customers

In touch for the very first time?

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

Richard Gray 1
IT Angle

Foodie Friday

Not really IT as such, but since it's about simply fixing stuf....

There was an advert on a local group for one of those really expensive food processors, you know the ones you see on all the cooking shows. saying that it only worked on pulse not properly hence {really low price}.

As She who must be obeyed, washer of socks and cooker of meals wanted one I thought why not..

I bought it, took it home and looked at it. The on switch had a bit of "gunky food residue" (tm) on it.

A bit of cleaning spray, a cocktail stick and a good hard 5 minutes of work, one fully functional food processor and one VERY happy She who must be obeyed, washer of socks and cooker of meals.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

Richard Gray 1

Re: ED-209


Richard Gray 1


A few years back I was working for Scotrail, well not them, but as a sub contractor to the contractor contracted to the contrator with the contract fot Scotrail.

One day we had to move one of the large format printers from a shed on the platform as it wasn't working well ( in a freezing shed on a cold damp platform in the middle of Glasgow who'd have guessed) .

Although we had the key, the door was stuck so badly we had to shoulder charge it open (thinking, we'll get arrested if we are not careful).

We then trundled the thing along the platform out of the gates and into the street, and no one said a word..

When we installed it into the new office inside my 'boss' plugged it in where all the lights came on and beeping like a Glaswegian on Daytime TV.

"It's broken" (or words to that effect) he said.

I told him to unplug it and wait a couple of days (there would be a LOT of drying out and the buidling wasn't THAT warm.

Sure enough a couple of days later powered up and worked perfectly.

A flash of inspiration sees techie get dirty to fix hospital's woes

Richard Gray 1

Re: Poor Barry

You need training on them..

When I was doing my offshore course, they showed us pictures of fingers.

Polished up a treat, shame about the lack of any skin on them.

I won't say it was gruesome, but when a secretary came in to give him a message he covered up the projector lens.

Richard Gray 1

Noisy phone lines in building

While I was fixing specific things in West Africa, I would always try to find if they had any other problems I could fix at the same time.

Turns out the phone lines were noisy. I checked our internal cabling.. all fine. I then looked where the cable came into the building, about 2 m from where the cable landed from the pole. However that was not the route the cable took.

It went all the way around the building, with countless "expert" joins (the wires kind of twisted together). Some of them even had tape on!

One proper join later and the cable length had been reduced by a good 2-300 m, and call quality significantly improved.

Pint because I deserved it going up the REALLY dodgy ladders.

Fast food, slow user – techie tears hair out over crashed drive-thru till

Richard Gray 1

Very Good Answer...

I used to work in the tech department of an electronic retailer, still in operation, sounds like a police office....

Anyway I answered the phone....

"I have the wrong monitor"

"Very sorry sir, was it the 14 inch instead of the 15 inch?" (yes it was that long ago)

"No it just won't fit"

I asked about bend pins on the cable, bent outer shell etc, all the time getting "No it just won't fit"

I asked if he was trying to fit it to the wrong port (the NEW colour coded ports were a godsend!)

"No it just won't fit, I've looked at it and it won't fit"

Aha! thinks I.. "Well sir, it may look like it won't fit if some of the pins are missing, but the VGA connector does not use all the pins so sometimes they just don't put them in, but if you try it it will fit"

"No it won't I've held it next to the port and it's too big"

"Have you actually tried it?" I ask.

"No because I can see it won't fit"

"Will you please try it?"

"No because I can see it won't fit!"

After about 10 minutes of this I start to loose my temper (It took much longer back in those days, about 10 seconds these days)

"Look" I shout "Will you just bloody try it!!!"


Then a sheepish voice on the other end saying "I've been a bit foolish haven't I?"

"Yes sir you have, Bye" and hung up.

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

Richard Gray 1

HP support

I always like the HP "in one sentence what is the problem?" After spending 10 minutes explaining what the problem is.

Apparently the summary "It's fucked" is not valid.

There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Richard Gray 1

Ok I'll admit that perhaps not popular in himself, but the ear worm "ice, ice baby" should be know to people of a certain age, even if we didn't actually like sodding song.

Richard Gray 1

Re: Ah, but the upside


now where's the washing up liquid??

Richard Gray 1

I was sent off by my missus (Thai) to get some shopping for a BBQ this weekend, with the instruction

"Oh and get some ice!"

"Do you want some nice ice baby?" I reply... cue blank look

Turns out Vanilla Ice was not so popular in Thailand back in the day...

Here's another headline where NASA is dragged through the mud for cheap Mars wise cracks

Richard Gray 1

At least...

it's not mud cracks on Uranus

(Someone had to do it....)

Supreme Court punts on Microsoft email seizure decision after Cloud Act passes US Congress

Richard Gray 1

Re: And the real winners are:

Up vote and pint for mentioning Mr Slant.

and please use the proper lawyer term.. lawyers, Demon Spawn of the Seven Pits of Hell, Seeders of Evil, Corrupter of Man and a complete Wunch of Bankers

Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Richard Gray 1

Remote tech support..

Oh yes.....

Many years ago my father was working abroad (either Turkey or India I can't remember which) when I had a call that he had broken his new laptop.

He had saved up for a Toshiba Satellite laptop with windows 95 on it. now there was a "big black border around the screen".

Luckily I actually knew this was a known driver problem (I certainly counldn't have looked it up on the internet in those days). I now just had to talk a new computer user through going into device manager removing the display driver, restarting and letting it find it again , restarting, all from memory as I couldn't afford a PC of my own at the time.

After the last reboot there was a massive sigh and a "I never really what you did until now - Thank you" which was nice.

Scroll on a few years until last Christmas. We had persuaded him that his 12 year old PC was really out dated and should be renewed, which he did (SHOCK!).

I get a phone call Christmas day evening (we had already exchanged the morning Christmas calls) saying the computer was broken and couldn't access the internet.

Turns out my Niece who is "Studying to work in IT" without actually saying what she is doing in IT had "sorted it out for him".

She managed to install McAfee over the top of the original AV to such an extent that it restricted ALL network access.

Cue an hour on the phone to actually figure out what was going on (it was only later I found out about the help), and hour or so trying to talk a user on how to uninstall McAfee manually enough to get some network access, followed by another hour on Team viewer to fix the bloody thing.

Lord preserve us from half trained IT wannabes

Beer for what I needed after I finally got off the phone (Where is the large whisky icon?)

Fear the Reaper: Man hospitalised after eating red hot chilli pepper

Richard Gray 1

Obviously not Thai...

I am fortunate enough to be married to a wonderful Thai lady (met in an Irish pub in Norway.. go figure)

As a Thai, she loves her papaya salad "poc poc" (the name comes from the sound in the pestle and mortar). Her freinds love her salad when she puts in about 5-6 birds eye chilies. I can stomach about 1/2 a birds eye chili ) my wonderful other half likes about 20 of the damn things in..

And don't get me started on her drying and grinding chilies or the dried squid that she warms up as a snack in the oven...

Still both are better than the result of her eating "falang" (western) food specifically baked beans in the great British fry up...

Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

Richard Gray 1

Re: Lost count...

I was referring to the article who said *he* was in the NW of England,,, *I* worked in Scotland, and I well know the difference thank you.

Given a pint rather than explosions 'cos we've all made a mistake once in a while...

Richard Gray 1

Lost count...

I've lost count of the number of times as a service engineer (North West England .. easy mate, my patch was John o' Groats down to Edinburgh, Aberdeen to Fort William and Oban.The muppets who did the planning never looked at how big the Perth or Inverness post code areas are... in the same area my arse! Bastards!) that I had a problem with paper feeding, taking the printer, turning it upside down and giving it a damn good shake...

Paper clips, drawing pins, coins. how they ever managed to fit these things in there is a mystery.

Pint for anyone who has had to suffer admin staff with no idea of geography and that 30 miles away does not always mean a 30 mile road trip, and you can't shouldn't go as fast on twist country roads as nice big roads in the more "civilized" areas. I did get offered much more coffee, cakes, biscuits etc than any of my colleagues from those areas though.

Death notice: Moore’s Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018

Richard Gray 1

Problem years in the making

The problem regarding the software (in the UK) is that for the past 20 years or so kids have been taught computing in terms of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

They were not and are not (as a rule) taught about how computers function, the components of a computer and how they interact.

Teach Word in English, Excel in Maths and Powerpoint in Art, teach computers and how they work in Computer studies!

For the average kid today (the IT Pro of the future!) computers are Black boxes where the network pixie brings them their you tube videos.

The kids you didn't teach 20 years ago, are the Computer teachers you don't have now to teach the programming for the kids today.

Until teachers with PROPER programming knowledge teach proper efficient coding, it dosn't matter what language you use it will be crap coding.

Rant over now time to deal with my _ing users....

Whizzes' lithium-iron-oxide battery 'octuples' capacity on the cheap

Richard Gray 1

Re: H too, Oh

I always thought Hydrogen would be better in the long run.

My idea would be to have containerized Hydrogen generators near(ish) wind turbines (I saw the generator on Click or something about a year ago), so that any excess energy gets converted into hydrogen, which could be turned back into electricity if demand required it at short notice.

No transporting masses of fuel around the country in trucks, just produce it where it's needed. Ideal for rural economies.

Nvidia: Using cheap GeForce, Titan GPUs in servers? Haha, nope!

Richard Gray 1

" ... NVIDIA does not intend to prohibit such uses,”

yes, but there is no where on the Nvidia site that actually confirms that statement, just the EULA that says you can't.

So do you risk believing the marketing boys or the lawyers?

Richard Gray 1

Re: Why would one want to use Nvidia?

Because for a lot of parallel processing in academic situations the software is written with CUDA in mind. A lot of researchers use the resultant software for their processing (think that photographers don't write Photoshop in order to use it).

Until the same processes can use openCL and non Nvidia cards the researchers are stuck over a barrel and have 3 choices:-

1) pay a FORTUNE for the server grade Teslas

2) pay the similar or a little more for reduced capacity Quadro cards

3) use the GeForce risk getting sued

'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'

Richard Gray 1

Re: Brings back bad memories

Yep the old email system didn't work with the document management system so we needed a different one that would. The lesser of two evils was changing the email system.

Richard Gray 1

Re: Connecting the computer to the printer

But it has to be the correct cable..

I know a customer that bought a nice shiny computer, monitor and printer but "had the printer cable"

after the printer "not working" and being brought back in several times we got him to bring everything in and it worked fine (he didn't bring in the cable).

When we finally got him to bring the cable in it looked like a few bits of wet string in a hosepipe.

One (free of charge to get him out of the store) bi directional LPT printer cable later and everything was sorted

Richard Gray 1

Re: Brings back bad memories

I've tried things like that in the past.

The number of times people have removed the paper explaining the new logon/ email / application procedure with "READ ME" in large letters from the screen \ keyboard before calling in saying the new system is broken and what was wrong with the old way ...

Hot chips crashed servers, but were still delicious

Richard Gray 1

Re: Power Cables...

When it won't start up and I suspect the power cable, that is ALWAYS plugged in, I ask them to unplug the cable from the wall and the computer / monitor etc, "check it" and plug it back in... usually works then

Escrow you, Apple! Ireland expects Cupertino to cough up to €13bn

Richard Gray 1

Tax refund

So does that mean that everyone in Eire will receive a share of that? by my calculations its about 2,708,333,333 euro per person...

Can I move to Eire now??

(No Guinness icon, so this will have to do...)

Computing in schools improved, but still needs major patching – report

Richard Gray 1

School is useless

My son took computing at the local secondary school, and my daughter is now doing the same.

They constantly think that learning word power point and paint is studying computing.

No what is hardware or software , nothing about the history of computing / networking.

Nothing about how the internet works. I'm not talking CCNA I'm talking basic IP, the concept of a default gateway..

Simple diagnosis of simple problems ..

Basic logic and programming, that shows how to break problems down into smaller chunks.

Nope nothing that will help kids become the IT pros of the future...

User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot

Richard Gray 1

Re: Xerox photcopiers

Even worse old washing machines!!

who knew the secret codes of the A wash C wash 1 wash all on the rotary mechanical dial.

Clothes say 40c colour wash

washing machine required the square root of Pi the blood of a virgin in the pre wash tray whichever one that was.

Usually ended up with boiled shrunk laundry soaking wet because it didn't have the spin cycle enabled..

Richard Gray 1

Wrong monitor

Very early in my IT career I worked for PC world in the tech department.

Someone phoned through saying that they had the wrong monitor.. I politely asked if he had a 14inch rather than a 15 inch (yes THAT long ago)...

No it was just the wring monitor and wouldn't fit on his new PC.

Packard Bell had just come up with the amazing idea of colour coding the the plugs at the back of the PC, so went through the usual:-

correct port -"yes but it won't fit"

correct orientation -"yes but it won't fit"

I asked any bent pins "no but it won't fit"

Aha... not all the pins on the VGA are used so some manufacturers would leave them out...

"no it is not the same size I've held it next to it and it won't fit..."

I asked if he had actually tried it...

"no because it won't fit"

several minutes of asking cajoling before finally demanding he try it later

".... I've been a bit silly haven't I??"

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

Richard Gray 1

Most of these beat my:-

"Cleaner using the server rack as a cleaner cupboard complete with bucket and mop"

right into the hat... Have a pint !

AI slurps, learns millions of passwords to work out which ones you may use next

Richard Gray 1


RE Alternate login scheme:-

Now depreciated .. please see Solar password hacking tool

Richard Gray 1

Password Generator ..

I have suggested to people to use a location to generate long passwords that ARE recoverable by you.

Using the site map.what3words.com you can choose a location memorable to you, your favourite seat in the bar you went to on holiday where you met that ...... anyway... it creates 3 random words that are retrievable, but highly unlikely to be guessed.

For example the centre of St Paul's Cathedral (like I'm going to tell you lot where that good bar is...) is "tamedbeatshangs"

and Voila !!! A nice strong password that YOU can recover but no one else

A todger, a 2.5kg dumbbell, the fire brigade... and the inevitable angle grinder

Richard Gray 1

What a dumbbell end...

Thank you I'm here all week

Would you get in a one-man quadcopter air taxi?

Richard Gray 1

I would use it..

After many taxi journeys is several countries I would definitely prefer this to a local "driving licence through the post" driver.

I was genuinely told that as long as you can see the back wheels you have enough stopping distance. And most of the time you couldn't see the back wheels, all at around 60MPH.

Dolphins inspire ultrasonic attacks that pwn smartphones, cars and digital assistants

Richard Gray 1

Advice from the Great Sir Terry Pratchett

"Never trust a species that smiles all the time, they are up to something"

The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

Richard Gray 1

Bread?? Stottie

There is the option of the full breakfast "in a bun", or actually a Stottie.

A Stottie is a type of large bread-bun-esk loaf around the size of a small dinner plate or a large side palte, and is about an inch and a half thick.

It has a very dense crumb, making ideal to be cut in half (2 semi circles) the sliced carefully to make a pocket to allow your full fried breakfast (bacon,sausage,fried eggs, beans if you wish) of choice to be inserted and eaten on the go.

Ideally with runny fried eggs so the yolk drips down your chin, or "kept for later if you have a beard"

Oh for a time machine to visit that particular Van in Team Valley about 30 years ago!!!!

LHC finds a new and very charming particle: the Xicc++ baryon

Richard Gray 1

Quote of the day

If I could remember the names of all these particles, I'd be a botanist.

-Enrico Fermi

Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Richard Gray 1

Re: Ill play...

"Right across from the nice cool server room. A server room with a door. That is to be kept shut."

and secured. What no lock?

Someone should have had an arse kicking for that alone!

Richard Gray 1


Aside from the e coli 0157 that I caught while on a job in Africa (completely unique sub strain apparently) One of the worse injuries I have had while in IT wasn't even a work computer, but working on a families computer.

The floppy disk had failed and I had one to swap out. The computer was a cheap nasty one with a badly folded edges.

Pulling the floppy cable out, it was a little stiff, so pull a little harder... and harder. then it cam out and I banged the back of my hand on the back of the case, cutting it down to the tendons that I could see moving.

One trip to the hospital later, one set of butterfly tapes and one big scar on the back of my hand.

Turns out some tw@t had used hot glue to keep the cable from coming out.

The 250 mile drive back with a bandaged hand wasn't fun either.....

Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Richard Gray 1

Re: History repeats???

Also something similar in Cambridge



if not full blown hyperloop perhaps revisit something like this???

Richard Gray 1

History repeats???

What Mr Stevenson you think we should connect Stockton and Darlington by steam?

Travel at 15 miles an hour!!

Why would people want to travel that fast?

It will never catch on! people say it can never be done!

I for one think the Hyperloop would be a good idea. Removing long distance driving, Update the rail network for the 23rd Century, never mind the 22nd.

"a small leak would destroy the train" in the same way a leak in a jet airliner would? I don't think so, a rapid slowing of the train but not much more than that.

I think we HAVE lost our way for large projects in this country. For the past 100 years we have been at the front of the development of so many technologies, from rockets, to supersonic jets, to computers and networking, but we then fail to have the vision to do anything about it.

Lets look for a return on investment not for 5, 10 or even 20 years... lets look for a hundred years, two hundred years, like the rail infrastructure (suitably upgraded) has been (if only they kept upgrading it enough).

Lets move the transport projects out of London and into other parts of the UK, and by the way England does not stop at Manchester or Birmingham, and Scotland does not stop at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

As to the guy who only suggested Skype, I'm sure your mother would be ecstatic to have a Skype call on her birthday as opposed to a visit from her children \ grandchildren. This kind of transport is not only for businesses, but, like rail travel and air travel before, for holidays, families and a chance to explore the country without spending 20 hours in a sodding traffic jam!!

That's it rant over....

I need to cut down on my coffee and donuts.

Seminal game 'Colossal Cave Adventure' released onto GitLab

Richard Gray 1

Re-purposed code

I thought that this was used as the basis for *insert telco here* phone menu system..

for sales press 1

for accounts press 2

for support press 3


for home support press 1

for business support press 2


for leased line press 1

for other network press 2


you have encountered a Basilisk... you have died ...

for sales press 1

for accounts press 2

for support press 3

Dell BIOS update borks PCs

Richard Gray 1

Not the first time

I remember a long time ago Dell sent out a server update for Netware that assigned all network cards the same MAC address.

Fortunately a colleague spotted it before the rest of the firm applied it....

Glad to see somethings never change...

It's here! Defence Secretary launches £800m MoD tech creche

Richard Gray 1


Interesting idea, just don't shoot the messenger!!

Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

Richard Gray 1
Black Helicopters

Back in my day

For years we have devalued the induction of the "new boy"!

Back in my day they were someone who did the errands and made the tea \ coffee (up to 12 people mix of coffees teas, strengths,sugars etc and God help you if you got it wrong!!).

These days ask the tattooed, pierced youth to go fetch a pencil from the stationary cupboard they look at you like you have beaten them to an inch of their life then asked them to shovel a wagon load of AOL CDs (or excrement whichever you think worse).

Where are the tea making trainees?

Why are the schools not teaching these valuable life skills?

It's a conspiracy by St@rducks and Costalotta and co !!

Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Richard Gray 1

Joined up thinking....

I have thought that for years that hydrogen was better than the electric powered battery models. (although this one is butt ugly).

Those clever chappies in Japan have made a hydrogen station connected to the grid BBC Click

People have been saying for years that the problem with wind \ wave power is that is produces power when it's not needed.

My idea is this :- install one of these hydrogen producing units close by the wind turbines.

When the turbines can produce energy that is not currently needed by the grid it produces hydrogen available for cars to fill up at, or to convert back into electricity for the grid.

No complex transportation of hydrogen around, no massive new infrastructure, just what looks like a couple of containers worth of hardware, installed around in communities that would benefit from cheap fuel.

I've now solved the energy crisis I'm off for a pint!!

The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Richard Gray 1


In my youth I worked as a tech PC world ( I know but I needed to eat).

I received a call from a shouty man saying that he had received the wrong monitor.

"wrong size ?" I asked

"No it just doesn't fit, the cable won't connect"

I went through the right colour, the right way round, even checking for a bent pin.

"I have looked at the cable and the socket and it won't fit!!"

"Ahh... not all the pins are used so they don't add them, so it MAY look different but it will fit."

"It won't!"

"it will, will you please try it..."

"No it won't!!!"

.... continue for about 10 minutes in a nice voice (I was more relaxed back then)...


.... silence.....

"I've been silly haven't I ??"

"Yes sir you have... Good bye"

Then as a PC engineer going out to replace a PSU in a new home PC....

I get to the house after several hours drive (this was in the Highlands of Scotland) I go to the PC, lift the flap for the power button (it was the fashion in the early 90's to hide the power buttons because it would be always on just in sleep mode to instantly wake... yeah right) .

Turn on, turn off, turn on, turn off

"Is this an intermittent fault?" I asked

"No, but I have never seen that button before...."

"Sign here......"

DEAD MAN'S SOCKS and other delightful gifts from clients

Richard Gray 1

Norwegian food

I was working for the Norwegian branch of an oil support company, and one year they gave us Fenalår.

Basically raw sheep's leg that is cured for several months.

It is often shown on display stands in peoples homes with a knife to help yourself with.

Looks terrible, sounds awful, but is actually really nice with a beer. You just need to remember to cut it the proper way or you need to keep chewing it into the new year..


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