I had a similar doorstop in the early 90s, not gold but one of the first CD-ROM burners to be released. It was the size of a modern standard desktop PC and wrote at single speed. It became obsolete almost instantly but my boss wouldn't let me throw it out because "it cost 3 grand". So it was relegated to holding the workshop door open.
297 posts • joined 9 Jul 2007
"One iMac we needed a hard drive upgrade in. Apple wouldn't do it - they had no option or facility to do so. The only third-party who could do it told us why - he has to smash the screen to pieces, remove all traces of the glass, replace the drive while the computer is open, then re-fit a new screen with special glue and pressure-equipment."
Which model was that? I'm trained to repair Macs and I don't recall any model that required the screen to be damaged to replace the hard drive. The current iMacs require cutting of the special tape that holds the display to the rear housing and the tape needs to be replaced to stick the screen back on again, but there's no need to break anything.
Brings back some fond memories of exploiting issues for fun and then reporting them before getting into trouble.
Discovering the lpr flag that (incorrectly) didn't check file permissions so you could print anything that you knew the path to without read access.
Discovering that the brand new Sun workstations and existing unix systems had overlapping userID numbers.
Escalating email auto-reply wars that filled the system storage.
Swapping around the serial cable connectors that were all jumbled up in the corner of the room and making people's sessions jump to a different terminal.
Same for me, an ex Genius. The interior cleanliness of the machines I repaired entirely depended on the environment they had been used in. The range was wide and we could and did refuse service on more than one machine including one that had some insects living inside it.
As for removing the glass to clean it - 2012+ iMacs have the glass bonded to the LCD to allow the machines to be thinner, so the whole assembly needs to be replaced.
Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again
Re: Old school
Back in the distant past when I worked for a year at Thames Water, we would regularly get duplicated orders from RS. The issue was that the accounts department would insist on sending an order in even if it had been made by telephone and despite us writing "telephoned order" all over the form that went to accounts, they'd invariably process it as a standard order. This was the same accounts department that wouldn't let us buy computers because the computer budget had been used up.
We instead purchased a number of "electronic logging machines".
Back in the early 80s, we went on a family holiday to the Channel Islands.
One day, on a beach on Herm island, we met another family with a little girl called Emily.
Important plot point: Emily had cerebral palsy. Now, being the early 80s and my parents being the type of people who would make friends with random strangers, we stayed in touch.
Back home, my father was thinking about Emily and (I think) her problems operating switches and came up with an idea - he would design a torch that could be switched on without having to operate the switch.
The solution was simple - take 1 classic Ever Ready torch, glue a base to the bottom that would allow it to stand upright and fit a mercury switch - the result being a torch that could sit on a bedside table in the off position and be turned on simply by turning it to point downwards. Perfect for reading in bed and perfect for Emily to operate
Having perfected his design, my father packed the torch up to send to Emily's family. To prevent the torch from coming on whilst in the post, he removed the 2 C size batteries from the torch and taped them to the outside.
He then posted the torch with an explanatory letter, but crucially didn't give them any advance warning.
Emily's mother wasn't expecting a parcel. Emily's mother wasn't expecting to see batteries taped to an unknown object, so Emily's mother called the police.
Police turned up, one of them noticed the letter sticking out of the parcel, so bravely pulled it out as carefully as he could. Luckily for Emily, the package wasn't blown to pieces and she reportedly loved the torch.
I grew up in the west of Reading, directly under the flight path and my lessons were regularly interrupted by the sound of Concorde passing over my school in Theale.
As a computing student at Bristol Polytechnic (now UWE), I was extremely fortunate to get the chance to pilot the simulator at Filton. So technically I have "flown" Concorde (although I needed some "help" with the landing*). The simulator sans hydraulics is now at Brooklands where you can pay £199+ to have a go yourself.
*crashes, even in simulators are generally discouraged (but remember that a good landing is one you can walk away from, a great landing is one where the plane can be used again).
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but when I was working at the fruit store, I told my mother I was contractually prevented from supporting her PC.
When she finally got a MacBook (just before I left), I made her buy AppleCare and deflected all questions with "but you have AppleCare (that you paid for), you can ask them."
Meanwhile, here's a nice summary of what it's like trying to teach a parent about computers from the brilliant Foil, Arms and Hog.
When working in the fruit store, we'd often hear "I've come all the way from <town that is less than 20 miles away>" to which the wrong answer was "that's just one junction on the motorway".
One time we had stock of mains adapters incorrectly packed with Euro plugs/leads instead of UK ones. One customer demanded that we send replacement leads in a taxi to his house, which was a 10 minute walk from the store.
Not fines, invoices
If you get a PCN in England/Wales, the most important thing to do is not to identify the driver.
The recipient of the notice is the Keeper, the person that parked is the Driver. In law they are separate entities.
Always complain to the store/landowner - many managers have the ability to cancel notices.
Always appeal as Keeper and refuse to ID the driver, even if you were not driving.
Ignore Debt Collector letters, even if they threaten further action - they are powerless.
Do not ignore a Letter Before (County Court) Claim.
Do not ignore a claim form.
Parking Charge Notices are invoices for breaching the contractural terms of parking, they are not fines.
It is no coincidence that Penalty Charge Notices (issued by councils/traffic wardens etc. have the same acronym.
Companies deliberately set drivers up to fail - for example using a 0 instead of an O when entering a number plate into their ticket machines when the official number plate font does not distinguish between them.
There used to be a single trade body, the British Parking Association. Their members sign up to use POPLA as an alternate dispute resolution body, which upholds around 50% of appeals.
POPLA is recognised as being relatively fair, provided the appeal is made on contractural or legal points and not mitigating circumstances (which are pretty much always rejected).
The good news is that a POPLA decision is not binding on the appellant.
A couple of years ago, a firm of solicitors working with some parking companies decided to set up their own alternative trade body, the IPC (originally called Independent Parking Committee, now International Parking Community).
They run the mis-named Independent Appeals Service in-house and guarantee their members that 80% of appeals will be rejected. The IAS fails as an alternative dispute resolution service for a number of reasons, not least the obvious conflict of interest.
Unfortunately, the DVLA seems content to allow IPC members to request keeper details.
110V power supplies
I'm sure that there can't be a single PC tech of a certain age who hasn't managed to destroy a power supply by not checking the voltage setting switch before powering on.
Thankfully this is pretty much a thing of the past, although I discovered the hard way that TVs produced for the USA market are shipped with single voltage power supplies.
Back when I worked at the fruit store, I was engaged in helping with a new store opening in Germany. One of the window displays was a giant iPad mockup which consisted of a flat screen TV (mounted vertically) with the bottom part of the screen obscured. (Similar to this: http://www.phoenixstudios.co.uk.gridhosted.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/giant-ipad.jpg)
The complete display had been shipped from Cupertino and the kit included a step-down transformer.
The kit was assembled, placed in the window of the store and powered on, with the transformer still in its box.
I was impressed that the TV lasted most of the day (>8 hours) before expiring. A replacement TV was shipped overnight from another store (at great expense) so that the opening could go ahead as planned.
The actual story is the radio operator broke several rules. First by sending the wheel settings in clear text at the start of the message (HQIBPEXEZMUG), second by resetting back to the same starting position to re-send the message that hadn't been received, third by abbreviating words (the second message was almost 500 letters shorter than the first).
These two messages directly led to the breaking of the Lorenz cipher and the building of the world's first electronic computer.
One of my friends worked for a company that insisted his (Windows NT) machine be switched off each evening and powered back on again the following morning, I forget the reason why.
His daily timesheet had 15 minutes at each end of the working day - 15 minutes for power up and login, another 15 minutes for logout and shutdown. This was not because of some minimum time accounting period, but because that's actually how long the process took.