* Posts by apepper

23 posts • joined 26 May 2014

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again


Re: As a dev system?

Yes, I remember that and also that to write programs for a Mac you needed to read 17 manuals, none of which made any sense until you read the other 16.

User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word


Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

Humphrey Littleton was interviewed once and was asked, "I understand you're keen on pornithology?"

When he was driving home, he realised he should have replied - "I'm more of a word-botcher"

Wizarding World of Harry Potter awaits Microsoft Office exam winners


Excel Eramus

Windowdium Leviosa?

I'll get me coat...

'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem


Spookily, I've just heard on the Vote Now Show that 51% of people think that cloud computing is affected by the weather.

Apple wets its pants over Swatch ad tagline


I thought Apple got "Think Different" from the IBM slogan "Think"

Russian hackers got Trump elected? Yeah, let's take a close look at that, says Obama


Это те же самые люди, которые сказали, у Саддама Хусейна оружия массового уничтожения, выборы закончилась давно в одном из самых больших побед в Коллегии выборщиков в истории. Теперь пришло время двигаться дальше и "Make Great America Again".

User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert


Re: "two monitors plugged into each other, a USB mouse plugged in to an ethernet port"

I would guess the monitors had DVI or VGA connectors and someone used a cable to connect between the two.

When personal computers were first coming out I was working in the computer centre of a very prestigious college in London - . I'd installed a CP/M machine for someone who's job title was programmer. So she was a programmer in a professional computer centre in one of the top centres of excellence for technology and science in the UK. A couple of weeks later I got a call saying I must come down "at once" to mend the computer. I was finishing off what I was doing and was about to leave for her office when another call came in; "You don't need to come. Someone spotted it wasn't plugged in."

Academic network Janet clobbered with DDoS attacks – again


Re: Valid excuse?

Back in the day, universities had a 64k link to JANET. Imperial, where I worked, had a 64k bps line for (ISTR 5000 staff and students).

You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors


Re: Lower to uppercase

Sad I know this, but it would be one clock cycle faster to use the AND as opposed to SUB to convert to upper case, we preferred to use the SUB as it made it more obvious. Similarly, we tended to use CMP 0 instead of AND A to check for A containing 0 although it was, again, 1 clock cycle faster. It was 34 years ago...


Great C bug

My favourite C bug was one I read about;

int TestFunc(void)


int *a, *b;

int c, d;

a = &c;

b = &d;



return *a/*b;


At first look, this function looks like it should return 2. However, it may not compile - the *a/*b contains /* - so the rest of the code is treated as a comment.


My "favourite" bug was in Z80 assembler; I'd written a subroutine which converted a string to upper case. Our strings had a two byte length followed by the actual characters, so the routine looked something like this (pseudo code).

toupper: ld len,(hl) ' get the length

inc hl

inc hl ' skip the length

toupper1:ld a,(hl)

cmp a,'a'

jlt isupper ' if not lower case

cmp a,'z'

jgt isupper ' not lower case

' must be lower case

sub a,('a'-'A') ' convert that character

ld (hl),a

inc hl

dec len

cmp len,0

jne toupper1 ' more to do...


The routine worked fine until someone passed a zero length string to the routine; then because the code decremented the length before comparing it with 0 to see if we'd finished, the routine converted the entire 64k memory - including the code - to upper case. By chance, a lot of stuff carried on working, so it took a couple of hours to to realize what was happening.

Microsoft Surface Book: Shiny slab with a Rottweiler grip on itself


Alt Gr isn't that odd

The Alt Gr is used as a alternative shift key; want to type a euro symbol and you press alt gr+4 - on UK keyboards, there's a euro symbol bottom right on the 4 key. I've also got some accented characters that you can access using alt+gr.

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


I suspect it's an exaggeration of real events - I had a call when the caller insisted I came down to look at her faulty computer straight away. However, she called back a couple of minutes later to someone else in the office to admit it wasn't plugged in.

AI pioneer Marvin Minsky dies at 88


Re: He also co-authored an SF novel:

I think he also was a consultant on 2001 about HAL - Clarke cited Minsky in the book as the co-inventor of intelligent computers.

How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?


Re: My personal input.

Well, I was present when one IT manager described a "gadget that moved a pointer on the screen"; I said I thought that was a "mouse" - but that was in 1982 - about a year before the Apple Lisa or the Microsoft Mouse appeared.

UK research network Janet under ongoing and persistent DDoS attack


Re: Guilty

That took me back; I wrote code for X.25 PADs and Switches - the history missed out Green Book - which defined the PAD.

The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning


Re: Businesses don't work like that

Microsoft do have such a system where several (ISTR 4 was shown) screens/keyboard & mice were connected to a single tower - it was designed for educational use where the cost per seat was an issue. Obviously, if the tower breaks down, you lose several seats and you might argue it doesn't save that much money.


Re: Desktop uses?

It's not just the CP power; I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts when editing images, I have a second screen showing the edited image and a third screen holding the list of images - a big keyboard and extra screens aren't that big a deal on a desktop system but they make a big productivity difference.

Obviously it's *possible* to edit images on a laptop - but I'd only do that when I'm away from my desktop because it's so much slower with only one small screen a worse keyboard. Equally, I have Photoshop on my tablet and it's possible to do basic editing with that and I have done, but only when I didn't have my laptop.

To rephrase; if I was employing someone as a photo editor to sort through 600 images and produce 30 publishable images and he pulled out his tablet, I'd have a suggestion about how they could be more productive.


Desktop uses?

"The desktop has been dead for some years, resurrected to an afterlife of video editing and CAD."

A few seconds thought of things that are easier on a desktop gave me:

Software development

Word processing

Photo editing

Data entry


If I was paying for your time to do any of these things, and you pulled out your phone to (say) write a 100,000 word document, I'd suggest a way you might be more productive.

Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too


Re: Once upon a time ...

ISTR that legally BSB took over Sky because Sky wasn't allowed to buy BSB because BSB had the license to broadcast in the UK.

Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes


DAB is on my wish list for mobles

It's struck me as a missing technology in phones; DAB is essentially MP2 - so any MP3 decoder can decode DAB, but I don't know if the radio chip inside phones can tune to the DAB band - but if a phone had DAB, it would certainly make it more likely for me to buy one - at the moment I have to take a separate pocket DAB to the cricket.

DAB isn't going to go away; although people (and I) can listen online at home or use tune-in - on a phone, how do people listen to 4extra or TMS in a car without DAB? Cars are one of the most common places to listen to a radio; does anyone even make a car radio with a 3G card?

Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)


Square monitors, square projectors

Photographers take images in landscape and portrait, but as it's impossible to get a square format monitor or projector, portrait format images lose out.

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