* Posts by Cpt Blue Bear

455 posts • joined 2 Aug 2010

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PayPal's pal Venmo spaffs your pals' payments – and yours

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Weasels

Or a nice passive aggressive "If we caused any distress".

I'm becoming thoroughly sick of these statements getting no push back from reporters. What I'd give for spokesmorons / politicians / whatever to be confronted with questions like "Your actions show the complete oposite, how do you explain that?".

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UK taxman outlines its CHIEF concerns for customs IT systems

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: The fallback position SHOULD be...

Its not saying how much you have to pay that is the issue. That is easy. You can do that with a piece of paper pinned to the notice board at customs.

Its enforcing it that is hard.

Hardest of all, and most important, is proving you have paid.

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Brit privacy watchdog reports on political data harvests: We've read the lot so you don't have to

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: interesting

And we'd have got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky unelected bureaucrats and their stupid dog.

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Fs#king Pisa Airport!

"So tell me - how many litres to fill the tank of this Fiat I've rented, based on the tank being 50L and the needle on the dial (which is of unknown accuracy and non-linear scale) showing somewhere between E and 1/2?"

About 30l will be fine. Now do you want me to cut up your eggs, too?

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Fs#king Pisa Airport!

"cash only works if you know how much you need and it is exactly a note"

Or maybe you could just fill up to the paid amount? A radical idea I know...

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: What pumps need is an

They have 'em here in Oz too. Doesn't stop some people doing the opposite: when I worked for transport company one of the drivers put 200 litres of unleaded into the tank of his truck before noticing...

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Might be the compass

I've had one and seen several that went spastic* at some point. There is (or was) a thing on the store called GPS Tools that can force a recalibration. All worked perfectly after that.

* Before anyone takes offense, I feel this is a perfectly accurate description of the device at this point. It is thrashing about due to internal problems beyond its control.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: *shrug*

Walking a mate's dog one night the thought crossed my mind that cutting across the park near his place might not be the smartest move. Then I thought: I'm a big lad wearing a motorcycle jacket, a black beanie and walking a big, black dog. The scariest looking pedestrians out tonight are probably us.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Similar experience in the USA

"They're especially evil if you have a motorcycle."

They're a bugger when you don't know they even exist. Last time I filled a bike in the US the "attendant" had a old towel with a hole cut in it for the filler that he put over the tank before even lifting the filler. That was somewhere in south east LA below the foothills where the locals speak a patois of english and spanish (something I thought was a movie cliche until then).

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Similar experience in the USA

My experience of the USA is, along with much of the world, to keep your credit card for the hotels and tourist shops.

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Sysadmin shut down server, it went ‘Clunk!’ but the app kept running

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: My shop a long time ago had a rather large outage

A mate worked for a (read only) hosting centre in this one horse town. One morning the sparkies come in to test UPS batteries. They take them offline and test each and all is good. Then they decide to test the failover. Only issue is they didn't put the UPSs back on line first...

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Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Entering New Zealand

"I had taken a break to do a bit of travelling. While walking through New Zealand airport pre-border control I was stopped by two police."

I heard the following story from a guy I met at a party in Sarf Lundun some years ago. It was mostly ex-pats and the topic of Customs and Immigration was hot at the time. The teller was a slightly dodgy Canadian "security consultant".

He arrives at Sydney airport early one morning having just skipped out of somewhere in Central or South America one step ahead of the authorities or death squads or somesuch, slightly hung over, very jet lagged and with a passport that may, or may not, have been completely genuine. At Immigration they take one look at the passport, one at his face and invited him for a private interview. He's expecting the third degree, a couple of days in lock up and summary deportation to Canada. Embarrassing but could be a lot worse, eh.

Instead he got ten minutes of general questioning, a cup of bad coffee and a half hour wait before being told he was free to go. A nice man from the AFP even walked him down to baggage claim, out to the taxi rank and expressed the wish that he should "enjoy your stay in Australia, Mr Mattheson".

Half way to his hotel he twigs that Mattheson is not the name on his passport. Its his real name. They had held him just long enough to work out who he was, that he was no risk, then sent him on his way with a subtle tip that his card was well and truly marked.

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Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: many chop up their corporate distribution for legal reasons

It occurs to me that the GDPR along with pretty much every other data protection law contains a clause banning transfer of data to jurisdictions with weaker protections than their own. This law gets California into that club.

I wonder if this might have occurred to anyone else?

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Google leaps on the platform formerly known as Firefox with $22m splurge for KaiOS

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: The Most Dreaded Words in IT

In reaction to all of the above I will simply quote Joseph Goebells via Mission to Burma and Moby: "That's when I reach for my revolver".

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A year after devastating NotPetya outbreak, what have we learnt? Er, not a lot, says BlackBerry bod

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Bollocks

"When hacked companies say things like this you have to wonder how much of that was spend putting in place the defences they should have had all along."

You fail to understand the corporate management mentality. Security is a real and immediate cost which generates no return if it works as planned. Disruption costs are mostly potential and should they become actual, will be covered by insurance. Plus you get to attach your name to the valiant recovery operation thus furthering your career.

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Happy birthday, you lumbering MS-DOS-based mess: Windows 98 turns 20 today

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Memories

"At least some of the Greybeards here, must remember the battles that arose from IRQ confilicts..."

Not if you knew what you were doing and by the time I had a Soundblaster* , a NIC**, a serial card and a "Hi-Speed" IDE controller playing nicely together I bloody well did.

All of which was 10 years before Windows 98 reared its ugly head. By the end of the 90s you really should have sprung for PnP (Plug and Pray) gear, you cheapskates.

* And none of your fancy SB16 nonsense, please. This was an ISA card with jumpers to set.

** A NE2100 clone that came in a white box with a red diagonal stripe or maybe a red box with a white diagonal stripe. I miss the days when PC parts came in small, sturdy plain boxes that looked like spare parts boxes, not huge things full of air with pictures of half naked barbarians and and spaceships all over them. Not that I have any problem with half naked barbarians, they have their place just not on the box for electronic parts.

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Uber's London licence appeal off to flying start: No, you cannot do driver eye tests via video link

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Okaay...

"never knowingly compromise public safety"

Knowingly is the important word in that sentence.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Cough, cough....

"...individually licenced as Private Hire drivers..."

There is the problem. They are not actually licensed.

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Asylum seeker spreadsheet data blurt: UK Home Office loses appeal to limit claimants

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Ripe For False Claims

"I agree with the ruling in part, but I believe this could open up the flood gates for a lot of false claims.

If a lead complainant was to make a claim and suddenly 10 members all suddenly come out of the wood work, where do we stand ?"

A fine piece of What-iffery.

You'll stand exactly where you are. Applicants will still have to prove they are affected by being outed to their murderous former-rulers when their known associates whereabouts were splashed about for the whole world to see. All this ruling does is slap down the Home Office's defense that only those whose names are on the wrongly released documents are to be compensated. Nothing more.

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: tamper-proof screws aren't

Pedantically speaking you are correct but out in The Real World(tm)* you'll find "countersunk" used for any recess at the top of a fastener hole. Most of them are neither "sunk" nor "bored" but cast, moulded or, in the case of almost all I produce, 3D printed. :-)

* A scary place. I recommend avoiding it as much as possible.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: tamper-proof screws aren't

"You don't even need that much torque. A couple passes with a needle file and they usually back right out like a normal screw."

Not if they are used correctly and If you managed it like that than they definitely weren't.

They should be countersunk to stop tampering with the head. They should also be torqued past the plastic deformation point so any serious force applied snaps the head off. For bonus points, make them harder than the case metal so a hand drill tends to skate sideways and break the bit.

Like all security measures, it comes down to how serious an attacker you need to keep out.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: tamper-proof screws aren't

"There are such things as tamper-proof screws."

I hate those feckers. Just drill them out and replace with allen screws. It invalidates the warranty but I'm guessing that ship sailed some time ago.

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Low AI rollout caused by dumb, fashion-victim management – Gartner

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: AI Customer service bots

"From now on, my SOP when dealing with voice-activated answering systems is going to be "I want to close my account, please." That'll get me a human to speak to like a shot."

This sort of thing is exactly what I find so profoundly depressing about the world just now. Find someone who grew up in the Soviet Union or one of its satellites. They will have numerous stories to parallel this of ways people actually got things done in spite of the system.

On the upside, the "Saves Dept" inmates will get their service stats up and probably get a bonus.

Franz Kafka didn't know the half of it.

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Good luck with that.

"I got a desperate call from a blind friend who uses screen reading software to use his PC"

I got a similar call after the big update last year. Fucking thing reset accessibility settings. Fortunately I could talk his daughter through re-enabling them.

"...ordinary just a Realtek HD ..."

A while back I came across a string of cases where Windows 10 was automagically installing the wrong driver for one of the Realteck sound chipsets. A client had a bunch of Asus (I think) laptops that suffered from it and I also saw it on some deaktops. From memory it required manually removing the incorrect driver and manually installing the right one. It sounds like the Windows driver library is still borked.

None of which helps you if don't have access to the PC but.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: MS abandoning Windows??

"Surely you jest about the stability of windows? Experience tend to point in the direction of instability especially with the latest offering."

Your experience must be limited to old and crappy hardware then 'cause stability hasn't been a serious issue for any OS in the last 10 years. Kids today don't know what instability is...

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Amazon can't or won't collect sales tax in Australia

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Counter intuitive

Mate, those have always been the rules. Well, for values of always of about 20 years. Whether they have been correctly applied is another question (to which the answer is a very definite no). My guess is you fell foul of some kind of lack-of-activity purge system. Nothing to do with GST other than BAS returns are are used (incorrectly) as a flag of activity.

But none of this has anything do with Mrs Diogenes who is still not liable to account for GST but is now having to pay it on purchases at the border.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Counter intuitive

I suspect there is more that story than you are telling because as that stands it simply isn't true.

You have to submit the BAS paperwork if you are registered for GST not just because you have an ABN. You have to register if your turnover is more than $75,000 excluding GST. If you don't turn over that amount, then you don't have to account for GST.

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Cpt Blue Bear

"I recommend us Aussies who used to do yearly road pilgrimages to QLD, instead go on a nice OS shopping trip. Maybe this would get reversed pretty quickly..."

It won't because its purpose is to stop Jerry Harvey pissing in the PM's ear about how unfair it all is to multimillionaires and give Scott "Happy Clapper" Morrison a way to claim he's being hard on multinational tax avoidance.

What I haven't seen any sign of is the massive increase in Customs personel and infrastructure necessary to actually enforce this...

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Counter intuitive

"@ Diogenes - in your example, she should pay no GST (or get it reimbursed) on the purchase because she is on-selling. As the final-stage seller, she collects the GST."

That's not how it works.

Everyone who sells anything or supplies a service to anyone and is registered for GST collects it. I then get to deduct any GST I have paid and remit the difference. There is no such thing as a final stage seller, everyone in the supply chain is collecting GST. This is what makes it an administrative nightmare.

In this case it probably moot because I doubt Mrs Diogenes turns over more than $75,000 (excluding GST for some reason) so she should not be registered for GST, submitting a Business Activity Statement or remitting any money. She is also unable to claim any GST paid.

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Cpt Blue Bear

"The problem is a lot of people are addicted to cheap- screw social responsibility, ethical trading, food miles etc. As far as they are concerned, cheap isn't cheap enough."

Bullshit.

The problem is we have a tax system that is based on a last century model of commerce. Its underlying assumption is that there is no retail trade between tax jurisdictions. It is simply no longer fit for purpose.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Counter intuitive

"The government collects from her first. Unless Ali & wish start charging GST & do the remitting , she will receive a card in the mail (instead of her package) , she then has to go to the post office to pay the GST, at which point the parcel will be released."

I pay it by credit card on the customs (or whatever they are called this week) website. It usually adds about two weeks to shipping time.

"This will cost many times the 50c in GST she will have to pay for her average parcel value, and the nett revenue will be negative."

This.

This seems to be the fundamental misunderstanding of all the Level Playing Field (tm) posters. They don't seem to realise that it costs to collect. They seem to think GST is collected by the Magic Fairies and left under the pillow of the Treasurer if he's been good.

Can you tell I'm sick of pointing this out recently [/SARCASM]

"Shades of idiot Keating deciding to tax the ARES expecting to raise 10 million in tax"

Sadly, he was followed by a much bigger idiot in Howard who added a high school level economic ideology. Consumption taxes are a wonderful idea in theory. Sadly, in practice they are a nightmare to administer. You can tell the people who have never had to actually do it, they are ones replying that its simple.

We used to have a pragmatic solution: just don't try to collect where the cost of collection is more than the sum collected. A reasonable solution in an unwieldy regulatory regime. We now have a bunch of muppets imposing an even more massive, costly and unwieldy system in order to compensate for the inequalities of their original scheme. I can only regard it as a form of madness.

The ATO never wanted the GST because it is highly inefficient from a collection point of view. They have to process a vast amount of paper work in order to collect a huge number of small amounts. In reality, the cost of collection doesn't vary much whether you collect 10c or $10,000 Its far more efficient to extract large amounts from a few choke points and they know it. As does everyone except a few economic idealogues.

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US judge won't budge over Facebook's last-minute bid to 'derail' facial biometrics trial

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: There's a little bit of me ...

At the time it struck me as exactly the sort of thing Randy would do. He wanted to watch the circus while while he attempted to tamper with evidence. He could hardly have seen all the shenanigans if he'd been hiding in the back of the car, and by extension it couldn't be conveyed to the reader in nearly so entertaining a manner as this sequence is written from Randy's point of view.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: If they just went opt in

Its worse than that, Jim.

I do not have a Facebook account but a "friend" tagged me in a photo years ago. Every now and again I find I am still getting auto-tagged despite her removing her original.

A shower of bastards.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: There's a little bit of me ...

"... having a daydream about a modified Econoline rolling up to the Dark Tower Facebook HQ, industrious dwarves (for it is they) leaping out and briskly mounting a piece of exotic-looking plumbing athwart the van's roof, and then unleashing a thunderbolt of awesome and richly deserved EMP into the place."

If I recall correctly, that was not a constructive move and scuppered Randy's attempt at more um, subtle action.

An upvote for the Cryptonomicon reference anyway.

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TSB meltdown latest: Facepalming reaches critical mass as Brits get strangers' bank letters

Cpt Blue Bear

"....most people in IT have known this for at least 3 years now"

Three years?! If they are in their early 20s maybe but the rest of us knew this after thinking about the process for about 30 seconds.

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Your F-35s need spare bits? Computer says we'll have you sorted in... a couple of years

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Two for the price of two?

I'm guessing pretty much anything up to the XJs and driving one of those was a sign you were a real estate agent or similar and also best avoided.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Turkey shooting

"I'm the spirit of 'Chicken Tax'-avoiding Utility Vehicles from Turkey"

A big thank you for sending me on that history lesson. That bit of history goes straight into the arsenal.

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Trump’s new ZTE tweet trumps old ZTE tweets that trumped his first ZTE tweet

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Why Brewster?

"Some Australian elections use a method that can be done by hand and allows for preference voting."

By some I presume you mean all except for local government. Voting is also compulsory and we generally get the result before bed time the night of the election.

Yeah, we get all this done in one day but people still say compulsory voting is impossible and proportional representation is too hard.

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BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Hazard creation

My Grandad loved to tell the story about the sanitary orderly of some WWII era camp in the middle of nowhere running out of whatever it was he poured into the long drops to keep the flies down. He has a bright idea: petrol. Enter an unsuspecting victim in search of relief. He lights a cigarette while thus occupied and drops the match into the pit. The result: second degree burns to the bum.

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GDPRmageddon: They think it's all over! Protip, it has only just begun

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Yahoo! Did! it! All! Wrong!

"Not having signed into my Yahoo account in some months I thought on seeing the comments here I'd better go have a look. All the ad stuff was off by default with both per site opt-in toggles and global opt-in toggle.

I wonder why I'm seeing something different to you?"

Call me cynical but maybe management backtracked on the threat to close accounts when they saw how many hadn't responded at all.

The success of services like this are judged by the number of accounts (as a proxy for the number of users). Would you want to be the Yahoo exec responsible for tanking what remains of the share price by owning up that half your "users" aren't really? Its (probably) just as easy to bulk reset privacy options as to batch delete accounts...

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Grilled over failed DoE project, Turnbull's Transformers turn turtle

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Two points

"every IT project needs is a bunch of fucking halfwits with less than no idea telling you how to do something"

Its worse than that. He made it quite clear that they provide no real input and accept no responsibility for the outcome. It seems the DTA's job description is "turns up now again for a cup of tea and a biscuit".

"the PM's interest"

That PM would be the same bloke who gave some Russian fella he sat next to a paid dinner $10,000,000 of public money for, just wait you'll love this, electrostatic rainmaking experiments.

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You're toxic, I'm slippin' under: SCL, Cambridge Analytica file for US bankruptcy

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: 'The former would surely have been to young'

"1925 / 1930 / 1937 - Burton / Harris / Hopkins. Not huge gap..."

You are quite right. I guess I think of Hopkins as younger because his career got a second wind in the late '80s by which time Burton was dead.

Reading the Juggernaut plot summary rings bells for me. The cast is impressive including Bilbo Baggins and Roj Blake.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: What's the odds CA executives see themselves as actual heroes or good guys here

"Modelling themselves on Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Anthony Hopkins reborn..."

I think you might be confusing Anthony Hopkins with Richard Harris. The former would surely have been to young for the main cast of Flight of the Wild Geese in 1978. From memory he is also still alive. IMDB makes no mention of it but does say that around the same time Hopkins played Yitzhak Rabin in something called Victory at Entebbe, along with a cast that could have been the headliners in The Wild Geese.

It also says he was in A Bridge Too Far, but then looking down the cast list it seems every actor currently over 55 was too.

Its also ironic given that the core of the Wild Geese story of a of an aging soldier of fortune trying to assuage the guilt of his past with one last operation and how it is all undone by his even more mercenary (pardon the pun) paymasters.

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Super Cali goes ballistic: mugshot site atrocious

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: America-Fuck-Yeah

"The Sherrifs offices that originally published this data charged what to take it down?"

Certainly not! The Sheriff's Office charging to remove data would be both an abuse of process and possibly perverting the course of justice.

What individual Sheriff OfficeRs might charge is another matter all together.

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Can't log into your TSB account? Well, it's your own fault for trying

Cpt Blue Bear

"And, when they are at your house, working on your boiler, make sure to supply them with plenty of tea/coffee/biccies.."

One of the secrets to keeping good reliable trades. The other is always to always ask "is cash OK?" while reaching for your wallet.

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Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park

Cpt Blue Bear

Ah, toast!

I have a mate who is a fire inspector and tells the wonderful story of the a building fire caused by such a toaster. Morning crew are well settled into their 12 hour shift and have reached the tea / coffee and toast stage when their alarm goes off. They all leap up, grab their gear and race off leaving one of those old fashioned hinged sided toasters with two pieces of bread on. Cue fire that guts their rec room and causes serious structural damage to the building.

The punch line: they were a fire crew and they burnt down their band new fire station. Oh how we laughed.

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Collateral carnage as ZTE sanctions see Australia’s top telco dump mobe-maker

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Not quite

"Are you, or have you ever been, a customer of Telstra, or are you just spouting off the common, but generally unjustified, bile that seems to be fashionable?"

I'll play. I have been a Telstra customer and we have a large number of clients who are. I reckon we see a Telstra related problem about once a week.

The latest one was 45 minutes on the phone plus a four hour wait in order to reset an email password for a service that is scarily archaic but only six months old.

Most of the customer service problems stem from Telstra being so Balkanised. There seem to be hundreds of tiny departments responsible for hundreds of unconnected services. No one talks to anyone else until forced to when have to go through the same tortuous phone system as outside callers. And woe unto thee who has to contact the Digital Business unit - they simply don't answer the phone even to internal calls.

Wait until your business has been without phones for a week because the service visit was cancelled by another department (WTF?), then see if you think the bile is merely fashionable rather than totally justified.

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

Cpt Blue Bear

Indeed. The quicklime is to prevent decomposition and scavenging animals.

I hear the best thing to do is feed them to pigs [sucks teeth theatrically]...

I also hear that the "lifespan" of a body in the desert is about 72 hours. It seems that things that live in deserts don't let protein or water go to waste...

Neither do undersea scavengers like lobsters, crabs and crayfish. Bear that in mind next time you sit down to a seafood dinner.

Strangely enough I was reading the Bones Don't Lie blog on an unrelated topic yesterday. Totally unrelated, honest Officer.

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My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

"Brings back memories of making lots of nitrogen tri-iodide in high school and spreading it on floors to see the beetles blow themselves up. The explosion makes a nice purple cloud."

The same Chem teacher who gave the advice about home made nitroglycerine taught us to make touch powder (as it was known then). Great fun spread on the window sills in summer to catch out unsuspecting blow flies. Bzzzzz, CRACK, snigger.

Also fun to spread on pathways which lead to the hilarious sight of a friend demonstrating her dance class piece accompanied by a series of bangs and pops. Hilarious as performance art goes. I wish I had a video of it but not of the bollocking we got shortly after.

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T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Lawyers don't hire themselves

"DT hires lawyers and then some senior exec decides to use them."

No, I doubt any company executive was involved.

The way these thing work is the company hires a local lawyer to "defend their interests". Said local lawyer soon discovers the retainer doesn't cover the repayments on a Mercedes and that he actually has to run up some billable hours before he can, well, bill for them. Thus he jumps on things like this. It doesn't matter if its sensible or if he can win, all that matters is he has some hours to bill the client.

As evidence in this case I cite the generic IP related press release. If anyone at head office had any idea what this was about it would reference specifics.

The real problem is that companies pay these bills without questioning the value of the work done.

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