* Posts by Blofeld's Cat

1107 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010


Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

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Er ...

"Some of our customers are reporting that reservations are outpacing cancellations on their flights for the first time since the pandemic started."

The same effect would be produced when most reservations in the system had been cancelled, as fewer bookings with the potential to be cancelled would remain.

In such circumstances an actual drop in the number of reservations could still meet the stated criteria.

Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies

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I find your lack of face disturbing ...

I've noticed that a number of people around here are starting to wear face coverings with custom designs on them.

Either that or I hadn't previously noticed that Darth Vader (along with "The Joker" and "Bane") shopped at Sainsburys.

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

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Re: User education

"One wonders if black and white would have startled him less?

No, that would have just generated a second "symptom".

"When I click on it, it not only freezes but it also drains all the colour from my monitor"

Papa don't breach: Contracts, personal info on Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John, others swiped in celeb law firm 'hack'

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Paris Hilton

OK ...

Celeb: My personal details have been leaked ! My privacy has been violated. Get my lawyer on the phone - now !

Agent: Er ...

Celeb: OK get me some other lawyer on the phone - now !

Agent: Right ...

Celeb: And make sure the press get every last detail of what was leaked.

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up

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Er ...

Not quite the same, but I worked in an environment where some control hardware was being developed alongside the monitoring software.

Failing to get a response from the test unit usually resulted in a walk down to the engineering workshop to see if the device was actually powered up and connected to the network.

Usually it was simply switched off, but sometimes you would find the safety cage open with bits of the test rig lying on a bench.

If there were one or more boffins prodding it, tutting, and shaking their heads, it was time for an extended coffee break.

Data centre reveals it modeled interiors on The Hunt for Red October sets

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Re: Remodelling

You are Elon Musk and I claim my five pounds (of gold).

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Hmm ...

I suspect that some of electrical installations I have seen are based on the Seaview from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

All they needed were some extras doing the rock-and-roll as fuses exploded in showers of sparks.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

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Hmm ...

require_once('sarcasm'); // Just in case

I can't imagine that anyone in authority would misuse this data. I mean knowing where people were and who they met has no possible other use to anyone.

You might as well suggest that the Parks Department would use anti-terrorist legislation to check on dog-walkers.

I also wonder what will happen when the first person who uses the app gets Covid-19 from a contact, without the app alerting them ?

My guess is "lawyers".

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

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I'm old enough to remember when the tenner came in a little plastic cassette, which you were supposed to return in the slot provided.

The street around the machine used to be covered with them.

You also had to go into the bank branch the next day to get your "cash cards" back.

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Uh ho ...

I have never seen an engineer in a purple haze, but I have seen them turn a whiter shade of pale.

I was part of a QA team testing an office machine that was about to be launched. We discovered it was simple to run the machine with the safety covers open. The chief engineer of the project said this was "absolutely impossible" and that we had made a mistake.

We gathered them around the test machine and opened all the safety covers - the machine stopped and the engineer smiled.

We left the doors open and cycled the power - the machine started and the engineer went white as a sheet.

Facebook's mega-chatbot has 'a persona, discusses nearly any topic, shows empathy.' Perfect for CEO version 2

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Bite my shiny ...

Did anyone else read Blender as Bender ?

Could have been interesting, and possibly slightly more empathetic towards humans ...

ICANN finally halts $1.1bn sale of .org registry, says it's 'the right thing to do' after months of controversy

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Er ...

Hopefully as one of the consequences of this controversy, some light will now be shone on the internal workings of ICANN.

A multi-megawatt laser would seem appropriate.

Tata Consultancy Services tells staff to go to their rooms and stay there, even after the pandemic passes

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WFH ...

A friend of mine has been working from home, and he loves it.

His downstairs neighbours on the other hand will be pleased to see the abattoir re-open.

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

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Re: Genius ...

Had you thought of starting a YouTube channel?

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Genius ...

Excellent improvised engineering "solution".

They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. I seem to spend most days either repositioning or trying to erase that line ...

Chinese carmaker behind Volvo and Lotus ships first two satellites for planned IoT ‘OmniCloud’

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Re: Only two?

Mr Musk also has put a car up there.

Want to put a satellite into orbit for US comms? Whoa, says Uncle Sam: Where's your space crash risk assessment?

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Pai in the sky ...

No, no. This is simply a safety issue and complete unrelated to anyone trying to establish an alternative wireless broadband network.

The timing of these new rules is also entirely coincidental.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills

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Interference ...

Many years ago I got called out to a mysterious issue that was bringing down a workshop's servers every Monday morning at about 08:30.

Systems were checked; cables replaced; even one of the power supplies changed, all to no effect. The environment was checked and it was established that nothing out of the ordinary was happening at that time.

Eventually it was decided that I had to go and spend a Monday morning on site to try and catch it red handed. For the first hour everything worked normally and then silence. After a few moments the servers came back to life and started rebooting.

It turned out that the workshop used a lot of air tools and had a huge compressor tucked away in a shed outside. Usually this cut in and out throughout the day with no difficulty to keep the air reservoirs topped up.

Over the weekend the ancient grease in the compressor's bearings essentially set, stalling its electric motor until it overcame this resistance, and stirred the grease back to a normal thickness - which it maintained until the next weekend.

During this period the supply voltage on that one, somewhat flaky, circuit dropped to about 30V, and needless to say, the servers were on the same electrical circuit.

My boss quoted for a complex solution involving UPS and the like, but the workshop simply oiled the compressor instead ...

UK government to take equity in struggling startups with £250m 'Future fund'

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Re: Can I get a mere £1M?

"... I'll blow it all on blackjack, beer, & hookers! ..."

I like that business plan, but I suspect that your application will be unsuccessful as you're neither a multinational nor a major charity.

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Re: WTF! You call that a plan?

I think you'll find that the "greener fields" are currently closed to enforce social-distancing.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

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All the sugar, twice the caffeine ...

"... energy boosting beverages ...

IIRC Most of the projects I worked on in the early '90s were fuelled by pepperoni pizza and Jolt Cola.

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position

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Re: Satelite designers missed a trick

Presumably an advantage of the "space tug" approach over refuelling, is that it can be used where the satellite's propulsion or alignment system has failed for a reason other than fuel, such as reaction wheels stopping.

Given that the tug does not need any sort of cooperation from its target, it could also potentially move (or de-orbit) dead satellites that didn't get to a graveyard orbit.

Academic showdown as boffins biff-baff over when Version 1.0 of Earth's magnetic core was released

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Hmm ...

Was it not created on 23rd October 4004 BC at about nine in the morning, along with the rest of the Earth?

Tribunal halts all Information Commissioner's Office cases because UK data watchdog can't print or organise PDFs

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Er ...

Is there still also the requirement that these "hearing bundles" be buried in soft peat for three months and then recycled as firelighters?

Reg fashion special: Top designer says 'video chat accessories' are in for spring!

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Re: Fashion is easy!

"Police's "I'll be watching you""

May I politely suggest that "Don't stand so close to me" by the same hot-rhythm combo might be equally appropriate in the present climate.

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Re: Fashion is easy!

Fine for the office, but are you going to tone this down a bit now that you are working from home?

If not I suggest adding a bowler hat and a cravat to give it that corporate look.

Remember Tapplock, the 'unbreakable' smart lock that was allergic to screwdrivers? The FTC just slapped it down for 'deceiving' folks

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Re: Great Youtube Channel

Worth checking out the ones from previous years as well

NASA reveals the new wavy Martian wheels it thinks can crush the red planet

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Don't stand so close to me ...

"... The ‘copter is equipped with cameras, too, so hopefully we’ll get some fabulous footage! ..."

I expect the Space Police will also use it to check that the Martians are social-distancing correctly.

My coat? It's the one with the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator in a pocket.

Bose shouts down claims that it borked noise cancellation firmware to sell more headphones

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Er ...

"... Bose said that downgrading firmware can "create unexpected behavior in a product and negatively impact or reduce functionality" ..."

I would have thought that, unless the update blew firmware fuses or the like, restoring a product's original firmware would return the product to what the customer originally bought.

The concept that returning the original firmware would reduce the original functionality is puzzling to say the least.

Minister slams 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories as 'dangerous nonsense' after phone towers torched in UK

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Apocalypse soon ...

"... burned her as a witch ..."

Alternatively the pandemic would be seen as a punishment sent by some deity for the unacceptable behaviour of the population at large.

Such visitations could be countered either by the villagers undertaking some farcical aquatic ceremony, or in the case of high-ranking members of society, showering endowments on to the local priests and their church.

The outcome was generally the same.

Smarter people would however send the local priests to intervene on their behalf ...

"Look I think it would be better if you went and had a word with Thor yourselves as you keep telling us he listens to you. The top of the sacred mountain looks like an ideal venue for this - the storm clouds are already gathering there. The rest of us will watch you from down here.

Oh and don't forget to take your ceremonial twenty-foot bronze spears of office with you."

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

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Re: Paris...

"... a problem in a few weeks that necessitated a return visit ..."

Life can be so hard when you get these important clients in exotic locations with their constant problems. Sometimes they even become convinced that you are the only person who understands the thing, and insist that you come and fix it in person.

Just make sure that if the boss goes, he does get booked into the hotel with drug dealers in the lobby...

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It's behind you ...

I was once in a videoconference connecting our development team with the outsourcer's opposite numbers. The PHB, as was his way, led the meeting and asked all the questions, only consulting us when there was something technical to clear up. The outsourcer's team dutifully gave their answers and the boss carefully wrote them down. When the link was over, the boss asked us if we had anything to add.

One developer raised his hand and said "It seems they don't expect to deliver any of the outsourced modules on time, and have not even started working on some of them. They also don't want us to find out about this". The boss looked annoyed and asked what made him think that.

My colleague replied, "The whiteboards on the wall behind them contain notes from their pre-conference meeting. They either forgot to wipe them, or assumed that nobody here would be able to understand them. They were wrong - that is my first language".

Do you want to be an astronaut when you grow up? Yeah, you and 12,000 others: NASA flooded with folks hoping to visit Moon, Mars

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Ah ...

When I was a kid it was generally believed that by the year 2000, going into space would be routine. The comics I read (Eagle, Look and Learn, etc.) regularly featured cut-away drawings of atomic rocket-ships, space-stations and "Moon Hotels".

I can't help feeling something went wrong somewhere ...

How many days of carefree wiping do you have left before life starts to look genuinely apocalyptic? Let's find out

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Re: Don't you have a shower?

So in the words of the song:

"Aha bidets are here again"...

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Safety hint ...

The 16th century writer François Rabelais suggested "the neck of a goose, that is well downed" is far preferable to paper.

If you decide to try this method, it is absolutely essential to remove the neck from the goose first.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

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Re: Excellent

"... spaghetti tree ..."

You are Richard Dimbleby and I claim my five pounds of Parmasan cheese.

UK civil service has a new boss: Alex Chisholm dubbed permanent secretary for the Cabinet Office

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Hmm ...

'... the candidate for CDIO had been chosen but they backed out when they found they had "no budget or clear ownership" ...'

Did they not realise it was a UK Civil Service role?

Delivery drones: Where are they when we really need them?

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Er ...

I suspect that a lot of drones would set off on their deliveries and either fail to arrive or arrive minus their payload.

My coat? It's the one draped over the throwing net and 128 rolls of toilet paper.

Hailing frequencies open, sir... America's Space Force hurls its first military comms satellite into Earth's orbit

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Sending out an SOS ...

The name "Brice Brewington" sounds like a supporting character from a black and white Saturday serial. So with apologies:

"Remember Snowy the enemy will never stop trying to gain superiority from us."

"But the virus, Brice."

"Steady now man, It's critical we continue our mission during these trying times."

"Yes Sir."

"Good man. You know the motto of the Fourth - 'There's no pandemic in space.'"

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

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Re: Policing by consent

"... The police are getting very bored ..."

Especially those doing the facial recognition trials ...

"And why, Constable Savage, are we holding Mr Cudogo this time?"

"He's a villain Ma'am. I arrested him for wearing a mask in a public place, and moving in a suspicious manner."

"A suspicious manner, Savage?"

"Yes Ma'am, as though he was trying to avoid people."

"I'm taking you off 'face recognition' and transferring you to 'drones', Savage."

"Thank you, Ma'am."

Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo dies aged 92

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If you are travelling in France* don't forget to visit Parc Astérix in Plailly. They have some wonderful roller-coasters and IMHO the theming really captures the spirit of the books.

* When such possibilities resume.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Black hole quasar tsunamis moving at 46 million miles per hour

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Re: Mindboggingly fast

"... El Reg units."

According to my calculations that's approximately 535,342,400 brontosaurus per hour or 146,884,570 linguine per second.

OK I know, but the pub's closed ...

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Quasar tsunamis ...

Aside from being an awesome band name, "Quasar Tsunamis" is definitely the sort of thing that Ming the Merciless would have on his console.

Ming: "Klytus, I'm bored. What plaything can you offer me today?"

Klytus: "An obscure body in the S-K system, Your Majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet Earth".

RIP Max von Sydow

In case you want to flee this wretched Earth, 139 minor planets were spotted at the outer reaches of our Solar System. Just an FYI...

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OK ...

"... 139 minor planets lurking at the edge of the Solar System ..."

It seems that mice are also susceptible to panic buying. I wonder if Magrathea gives refunds?

Google: You know we said that Chrome tracker contained no personally identifiable info? Yeah, about that...

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Re: Just one question

When evangelical persons (of any faith) knock on my door, I have found that smiling slightly too much and then producing a plant-sprayer labelled "Holy Water" in large letters, generally does the trick.

"Don't make me use this!"

Post Office burned £100m in UK taxpayer cash on Horizon IT scandal legal fees, MPs told

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"That doesn't make sense" ...

Surely somebody in the Post Office should have realised that the allegations just didn't make sense. You may get one or two "bad apples", but 550+?

Perhaps the corporate line of "they're all thieves" was easier to believe, (and far less career-limiting), than their own fallibility.

A few years ago, somebody on the accounting side of a courier company decided to try and establish how fuel-efficient their vehicle fleet was.

The records from the company's fuel pumps were matched against vehicle mileage and when the results were examined it turned out that several vehicles from one depot had significantly poorer fuel efficiency.

Somebody high up in the company decided that the only possible explanation was that the depot's drivers were syphoning fuel from the company vehicles for their own use. A list of the people responsible was compiled and legal proceedings prepared, but when the Depot Manager* was notified she refused to believe the allegations and insisted on having the fuel pumps tested.

One pump was found to be dispensing only about 70% of the recorded fuel. The legal action stopped instantly and the allegations vanished without trace.

As she put it; "I could believe that one or two drivers were on the fiddle, but two dozen? That just didn't make sense."

* A cousin of mine.

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

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As a former DOS programmer, I still have the ability to seamlessly pronounce eight-letter words with no vowels.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

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Re: Douglas Adams predicted the future.

"The Arks are ready but we're waiting for the sanitizers"

And possibly some lemon-soaked paper napkins.

BOFH: Here he comes, all wide-eyed with the boundless optimism of youth. He is me, 30 years ago... what to do?

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Re: Cynical is what an optimist calls a realist...

Opportunist: The glass is now empty

Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket

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Er ...

"Hughes had received a substantial chunk of funding from Flat Earthers, who believe the Earth is a flat disk rather than spherical."

Allegedly as the rocket took off, a voice could be heard saying:




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