* Posts by ralphh

19 posts • joined 29 Jun 2014

Remember the 1980s? Oversized shoulder pads, Metal Mickey and... sticky keyboards?


IBM Model F keyboards

Once upon three and a half decades ago I was installing and repairing personal computers.

Servicing IBM Model F[?] keyboards we'd usually just remove the keycaps, give them a soapy bath and reattach them the next day.

Occasionally a keyboard would be in such a state we'd disassemble it past unscrewing the plastics and by straightening the metal tabs within further disassemble it. We'd then hose it down with a Freon product and reassemble it.

They'd reassemble, look and work a treat but we probably didn't do the ozone layer any favours.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline


Re: Right cable, wrong hole.

I always have to upvote someone calling someone else a smeghead.

Those darn users don't know what they're doing (not like us, of course)


Re: Focus follows intent

Same with IMDb.

It's 50 years to the day since Apollo 10 blasted off: America's lunar landing 'dress rehearsal'


It's amazing what we did

“In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.” - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps


> 640k base memory

I had a 64k card I could map to the address space directly above the 640k and a .com executable ran on startup changing the top memory address to 704k. The same machine also had a NEC V20 replacing the Intel 8088.

User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'


Re: It's all black

Never apologize for a HHGTTG reference :)


It's all black

Sydney, November 1990. As a developer on a OS/2 based dealing room system I was onsite for the first few weeks as the software went live.

Cue a raised hand I went to the assistant of a dealer, the screen was all black. On second look the highlight of the edge of the current control was white.

It turns out the user has decided to see what would happen if he set every system color, scrollbar, menu, title bar, foreground, background and everything possible to black.

Had to use the adjacent machine as a guide to key press my way back to default.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has made a hash of the census


Little Bobby Tables time?

UK.gov wants to fine websites £250,000 if teens watch porn vids


Re: To be honest, who cares?

Yay. Been a while since I've seen that Goodies segment.

Get outta here, officer, you don't need a warrant to track people by their phones – appeals court


Re: Can you keep a secret??

Then place your phone in a Faraday cage. And leave it at home.

Alternatively, forego the illegal activity.

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies


8" floppies have their place

Would you like to play a game?

CPE 1704 TKS

Twitter expands beyond 140 characters



I enjoy working out to fit a movie review into 140 characters.

You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up


First Corollary of Taber's Second Law

Saved this from somewhere a decade ago... "First Corollary of Taber's Second Law: Machines that piss people off get murdered." - Pat Taber.

Hacker flogs '42.5m freshly stolen logins' for seventy-five cents



NASA saves Kepler space 'scope by turning it off and on again


Clever, clever people

"NASA boffins used the pressure of particle streams from the Sun on its solar panels and the remaining two reaction wheels to steady"... clever, clever people.

Sick and tired of modern Windows? Upgrade to Windows 3.1 today – in your web browser


Re: Not that hard actually. @McUser

Not too early for OS/2. I started writing for OS/2 in 1989 and deployed major bank dealing room solution from 1990 on.

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


Re: The strangest call I ever had

This reminded me of being in on-site in 1990 the first week a new dealing room with our software went live. One user asked for help, both screens of his OS/2 system were nearly entirely black. Turned out he'd gone to the control panel and changed every color to black. Scroll bars, foreground, background, title bar, the lot.

Used another system as a reference to keystroke my way back to default colors.

Tell us about your first time ... on the internet


Re: Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

My first time? Email access via cc:Mail on starting work in Melbourne in June 1988, does that count?

After day spent in the lab hearing the dialing to the local node multiple times a day I can still whistle the DTMF modem dials I'd always hear.


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