* Posts by NXM

60 posts • joined 12 Sep 2012


Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers


Re: Design deficiencies

Not just computers.

Our county council decided that fhe paper files should go in the lowest floors to provide much-need premium office space for one of the Nobs. All went will until the offices flooded and all the paper records were destroyed.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


optical mouse problem

I used to work in a industrial unit with skylights, and had a red mouse that was shaped like a ladybird. Every now & again it wouldn't work, and I realised that was when it was sunny outside. The infra-red was passing through my hand, and the red plastic, then swamping the mouse's optical sensors.

Holy crappuccino. There's a latte trouble brewing... Bio-boffins reckon 60%+ of coffee species may be doomed


cross bread

Mmmm, hot cross buns

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito


Density can be your friend

Years ago on a cold night I filled the car with petrol and drove the 20 miles back home. When I got up the following morning it was a lot warmer and the petrol had expanded and overflowed! So I ended up with more petrol than I started with. Not totally on topic I know, but I found it interesting at the time.

What a cheep shot: Bird sorry after legal eagles fire DMCA takedown at scooter unlock blog


Streisand effect

Noooooo! Teaching it would remove all the larfs we've had, and hope to get more of in future. Let the ignorant carry on in their misguided ways so the rest of us can get a bit of a smile in these dark days.

A year after Logitech screwed over Harmony users, it, um, screws over Harmony users: Device API killed off


automation in general

I made the point that heating via an app is a bad idea for many many reasons in a comment on the Grauniad a few months ago. Got totally shot down by fanbois who wanted the toys but didn't care about their own security.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing


Re: Of course there's a market for it

Here's a Juicero:


It's been relisted at least once and was (I think) about $600 last time. Useful for the Dead Format Museum, and as an object lesson in how to fleece venture capitalists.


Re: Beer in the Sodastream?

I tried converting white wine into prosecco/cava/champagne using the soda siphon. Didn't explode, but also wasn't nearly fizzy enough.


Re: Why?

I agree with others - bread machines are excellent. But I don't like the paddle-shaped hole in the middle, so I put mine on dough mode, take it out and put it in the cooker, then leave it to prove & cook on timer. All I have to do is take it out and nosh it. The machine's paid it's cost off many times over.

Similarly with the ice cream machine (a frozen bowl thing for the Kenwood) - makes ice cream that involves cream, not hydrolised vegetable protein and a bucket of E numbers. Don't look at the ingredients in most retail "ice cream" if you're going to eat it, because you probably won't want to.

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


Re: It's 2018

How is that most people?

I'm middle aged. Everyone who went to school after me has had some sort of contact with computers, and absolutely everyone using a computer must know how to sort-of use it, at least. My mum's a dab hand with the things and she's 81.

Using a computer is a life skill now, so if people can't use one it must be deliberate.

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate


Bus timetables

People would've had to look up from their screens to look down the street in case a bus was coming.

My god, the horror.

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


Mini brakes

Fixing a leaky master cylinder I followed the instructions in the Haynes manual to remove it, then got to where it said "using a pair of circlip pliers....". Did I have a pair of circlip pliers? No, I did not.

I had to put it all back together, drive to the shops and buy some, go home and dismantle it all again. Bugger.

Bright spark dev irons out light interference


Re: Have you ever put something apparently useless to good use?

I love greengrocers' apostrophe's. How the hell el'se are we going to get rid of the EU apo'straphe mountain?

Can your rival fix it as fast? turns out to be ten-million-dollar question for plucky support guy


Re: Ancient memories / current practice

I write assembler on PIC's because it runs faster. There's lots of this:

bcf status,carry ; jic

The jic is just in case. There's a lot of that too.

Assange catgate hearing halted as Ecuador hunts around for someone who speaks Australian


Move the embassy

They'd get a nice new embassy with a clean bathroom, and Julian wouldn't be able to either stay or go with them without being accosted by the rozzers. A win for everyone, and the Ecuadorians could keep kitty as their new diplocat.

'This is insane!' FCC commissioner tears into colleagues over failure to stop robocalls


Re: I use a blocker

supervoice.com did this, which came with a dsp-based modem card I had years ago. You could set up multiple voicemail accounts, filters, and all sorts. asterisk does that as well, but you need a proprietary phone interface card.

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice


Re: Can someone please remind of the upsides of a mobile contract...

The bundle is part of the reason for the insane cost of the phone. People aren't going to fork out a grand for the latest iThing when they can gat an 'affordable' monthly payment instead. This allows the manufacturers, with their accomplices the network operators, to hike the price. Win win!

UK.gov: NHS should be compensated by firms using its data goldmine


care.data all over again

I signed myself out of the last 'anonymised' proposal because all anyone needed to identify me was age bracket and postcode - there's hardly anyone here at our postcode. I don't expect any new proposal to be any better, so its up to the government to *prove* my information is safe.

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


Re: Do you want fries with that?

/put hand in fryer/

Don't go there. when I was 16 I made the chips in a chip shop (perk: free chips. nice).

Someone who fried was convinced the fat was cold, but was told by the owner it was still hot. "No it isn't" she said, and put her hand in. Hello, burns unit.

Send printer ink, please. More again please, and fast. Now send it faster


Re: There are so many extarordinary stories

Button fly.

But then your trousers fall down when you're at the pisser.

Swiss sausage sizzler 4.0 hits 200 bangers per hour


Re: 1400 degrees?

I'm not so sure - it looks like the sausages are on prongs, which would also be hot and so cook the insides as well. A bit like a baked potato with a skewer through it.

But instant sausages are not a new thing - look up the Presto Hot Dogger, which connected them to the mains. What? Of course it's safe, dear...

Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us


Re: Fucking Brexit

I don't get why I have to be the victim when I didn't vote for it, and there was only a majority leave result because of repeated, egregious lies paid for with a tax avoider's money.

New Galaxy un-smartphone can’t go online because Samsung's thought of the children


Top pocket

I've got a knife & fork in mine, in case any food turns up unexpectedly

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


How to solve a problem

I used to get calls from my mother whose laptop settings, icon placement, and email account and so on had randomly changed since she used it last. I'd painstakingly help her through it over the phone, and sometimes I'd have to go to sort it out in person - an entire afternoon's worth. Though spending a bit of time with her is always worth it, this would invariably happen when I had no spare time at all.

Then I realised it was always be after my brother-in-law, also a techie, had visited. He'd piss about with the machine to suit himself or kids, and leave it in that state without telling anyone. Then I'd have to fix it. All so he didn't have to bring his own laptop.

I sorted it out by putting a password on it and refusing to tell him what it was.

Penis pothole protester: Cambridge's 'Wanksy' art shows feted


Boost to the economy

I'm pretty sure some clever government economist sees potholes as a good thing. Reduced spending on road maintenance causes increased economic activity in car repairs, which is clearly good for everyone!

Cambridge Analytica 'privatised colonising operation', not a 'legitimate business', says whistleblower


subliminal advertising

I'm certain they're putting blipverts on, but somehow they never appear when I watch it again on catchup. The fiends.

BOOM! Cambridge Analytica explodes following extraordinary TV expose


I really can't stand facebook

Years ago I signed on to it, realised it was an utter utter waste of time, and deleted the account.

Then the other day someone wanted me to communicate via whatsapp, so I installed it. The *very first thing it did* was to slurp all my contacts, send them back to its servers, present me with a list of them who were also users, and presumably also sent the whole lot to facebook (who I'd forgotten had bought whatsapp).

Bastards. Too late, I deleted it.

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


Re: Stationery

A friend of mine reckons he saw a sign on a door of an office he was visiting which said 'The stationary department has moved'. That is just sublime.

Voice assistants are always listening. So why won't they call police if they hear a crime?


No- one sits still on the floor

I've not only stayed still on the floor for long periods, I've actually fallen off after a particularly arduous 'board meeting' at the pub

Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?


Re: Hmmm :(

Not on our Olympus camera it isn't.


Re: Flip phones & their users are evolutionary dead ends?

Top comment, Shadow Systems

We have a new-ish Doro flip phone on the farm. You can't break the shiney glass screen, or dial random numbers while its in your pocket (which used to happen with a 'tough' phone we had), and frankly you don't need to browse Just Eat for a takeaway meal while you're in the cowshed pulling a stick calf out of a cow's backside.

At least without washing your hands first.

In Soviet California, pedestrian hits you! Bloke throws himself in front of self-driving car


Re: Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

Viz comic had a Top Tip years ago which went something like,'save time when crossing one-way streets by only looking in the direction the traffic is coming from.'

On the opposite page was another one which said 'when crossing one-way streets, always look both ways to avoid being run over by a car going in the wrong direction.' It was addressed from Fulchester Hospital.

PC lab in remote leper colony had wrong cables, no licences, and not much hope


Re: Ré causing, not curing chaos

I've used the simple resistor/capacitor drop method successfully. Great for low-current stuff like a PIR but no good at all for anything higher current. But where it works its simple, cheap, and more efficient than you'd think.

The circuit I disapprove of most are the touch-switch lamps which use a 0.5p resistor to isolate you from the mains. Yeah, really safe.

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'


Re: It's too Black and White

The driverless car that takes you home from the pub was invented by a bloke with a horse & cart years ago. The horse knew the way home so all the milkman had to do was lie on the cart and say 'giddy up, dobbin'.

Sadly he was banned from using this system (as far as I remember) by the court which deemed milkyman to be in charge and not dobbin. Killjoys.

1980s sci-fi movies: The thrill of being not quite terrified on mum's floral sofa


Re: CGI is killing sci-fi

But where do you put Eraserhead?

It isn't scifi, or drama, or even 'classic' horror. But imho its one of the very few horror films ever made. And Under The Skin.

Wannabe W1 DOW-er faked car crash to track down reg plate's owner


Best plate I ever saw...

.. was PEN1S on a mercedes in 1988 in Royston, Hertfordshire. I don't think you'd get away with that now.

We translated Intel's crap attempt to spin its way out of CPU security bug PR nightmare



My translation of this is "not paying our taxes or the law".

Damian Green: Not only my workstation – mystery pr0n all over Parliamentary PCs


Nothing to hide

If memory serves, Green knew the police didn't have a search warrant but allowed them to search the office anyway in the interests of transparency. It opened him to the criticism that he'd given the police access to confidential constituents' data.

Why would he have done that if he was aware of anything compromising on his computers?

Back to the Fuchsia: The next 10 years of Android


Sidestep the issue

I have an xperia running Jolla's Sailfish. The OS is paid for, not 'free', doesn't track me, and is updated regularly. Ok, there aren't many fart apps that romp around in my permissions willy-nilly, but I can live with that.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, look out for must-have toys that are 'easily hacked' ♪


Dodgy wiring

A friend of mine bought a house where the entire kitchen including the cooker was connected by a single 1.5mm2 grey twin & earth. He found it when he noticed a groove in the polystyrene - yes, polystyrene - insulation in the loft that the cable had melted its way through.

Boss put chocolate cake on aircon controller, to stop people using it


Secretary syndrome

Years ago when I had my heating & ventilation hat on, a large networked heating control system in Glasgow attracted persistent complains from the building owners that one room in particular was too hot. Whenever I checked it, the heating was off, valves off, vents blowing ambient temperature air.

It was a mystery until the boss went inone day and checked under the desks - the typist ladies were overcompensating for their lunchtime diets by running fan heaters on their legs all day.

One more complaint was from someone who insisted on putting his desk right under the air vent and complained about the 'cold' air (really just recirculated at room temp). Absolutely would not move the desk.

A year or two later I went back on a service visit to find the offices festooned with air con units on full blast, and the heating on at the same time.

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


Fire Hazards

A story about something that looked like it shouldn't have been in the mainframe room, but actually should've, sort of.

Years ago I did sales engineering (ie making excuses to the client about why our kit didn't work) for a protocol converter company that made System/370 compatible printer converter boxes. One day I went to a large electricity board head office, where one of our printer boxes was playing up. The mainframe was sited in a large room, with a Heath-Robinson tent over it made out of wood and plastic sheeting.

I asked why it was there, and the bloke in charge said something like,

"Well, we couldn't afford a proper fire extinguisher system, so if the building catches fire and the sprinklers go off, the tent'll keep the mainframe dry. But if the computer catches fire, it'll burn through the plastic, and the sprinklers will put it out!"

That's proper engineering.

Drone smacks commercial passenger plane in Canada


Don't mess with the drone

This guy found out how dangerous drones (or in this case remote controlled helichoppers) are:


"Freak accident" my bottom. That "elaborate daredevil stunt" was just waiting to go wrong - as many others have pointed out, why raise the risk until its guaranteed to fail? Why not put your hand in the blender to see what'll happen?

Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds


Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"But if you behave like that behind me when I'm out on my bike, I'll certainly be tempted to make a special effort to slow down and NOT let you past. Quite the opposite to how I'll treat the vast majority of road users who behave in a civilised manner."

Bikes? Where did that come from? I never even mentioned bikes, and treat them as vulnerable as pedestrians. If you deliberately block other road users because you don't like something they're doing, on a bike, then you're breaking the law and putting yourself at risk. Not a good idea at all.

No, its the elderly, tourists, or worst of all, elderly tourists. They seem to think that if they're on holiday, everyone else must be as well.


Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

True, but you forgot about them driving down the middle of a country lane for miles and miles and miles, past passing places aplenty while totally ignoring you behind, getting later and later for whatever it was you had to get to, flashing your lights, leaving the indicator on all the time, and fuming.

Selfish bastards.

User left unable to type passwords after 'tropical island stress therapy'


Re: Grooming habits... or lack thereof...

When I worked for a protocol converter company aeons ago, we had a graphics guy who did the manuals for us. Good idea; as a non-techie he needed the techies to explain how to work the kit, then he translated it into user-speke. Really nice bloke.

He was an extremely heavy smoker, because as an end-stage lung cancer patient he'd decided might as well just carry on smoking. When we got his Mac Classic back it was so full of tar it would overheat after a while when running. We couldn't get rid of the grot, and scrapped it.

Made me wonder how he managed to breathe with that sort of stuff in his lungs.

Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist


someone I know..

saw a sign on a door in an office he was visiting which said,

The stationery department has moved.


Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ


Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

Not saying adblue is a bad thing, but a mate of mine had a mitsubishi mpv thing with an adblue tank. It was always going wrong.

Either it would drop to limp home mode because the tank had run out, or completely stop because it had somehow put too much in. It just made the car unreliable.


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