* Posts by W4YBO

288 posts • joined 6 Jan 2016


Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?


"ran like a three-legged dog"

Being from the southern US, I never really gave this phrase much thought until a few weeks ago. That's when I saw my neighbor's three-legged Malinois (missing left front leg) run down a 30-35 mph bicyclist in front of our house.

Yes, I'm that guy that counts seconds while speeders traverse two utility poles. If I lived in town, I'd be yelling "Get off my lawn!"

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...


Re: Put a heater in the safe then ?

Most contemporary safes have a 3/8 inch hole drilled into the lower right rear to pass a power cord through. My Heritage safe (6' x 3' x 2' interior) uses a 3 watt heater, and I've never had any condensation problems, even with a damp basement. The hole equalizes air pressure so you can open the door after barometric changes, too.

Bad weather, baulky booster keep ISS 'naut snacks on the ground


No Tang?

Don't mean to alarm you – but NASA is about to pummel the planet with huge frikkin' space laser


Re: I'm not worried...

"laser breams"

Brilliant! Thanks for a good laugh.

Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn


The Replacements...

New owners operations manager essentially told me I wouldn't have a job in a couple of weeks, and that he'd make my life hell until then. His best buddy was taking my position, and I needed to go push-mow the six acre tower field in the meantime. I'd already been looking, and had a couple of possibilities, so I said goodbye with the anticipation of a short vacation while interviewing.

FNG (the New Guy, you guess what the F stands for) decided he was so happy with his new job that he hadn't shown up for yet, and that he'd celebrate with a bottle. Then hurricane Hugo hit. Old oak tree came down on the outer guy point, and snapped the 400 foot tower like a twig. FNG gets bagged for drunk driving before he got out of his home state. Never did make it to his new job.

Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again


"...all the dust that gets blown around..."

I didn't quite see it, but I felt and heard the explosion of a flour mill (actually the grain elevator, but the mill disappeared when the elevator did) around three miles away. I hope no one allows that much dust build-up in their data center, but I've seen one that had to be close.

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


Re: It's a sound salvation.

I had my five year old godson convinced that the round hay bales out in the fields were unripened marshmallows. They shrank to size as they dried.

Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops


Re: Great outcome, but what about over here?

God made Man. Sam Colt made men (and women) equal.

Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally


Re: This post is a screw up in more ways than one.

Honeytrap for the obsessive-compulsive.

In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying


It may just be in the USA...

but June is Accordion Appreciation month.

Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside



The three (that I know of) gradations of FUBAR...

SNAFU - Situation normal, all effed up.

TARFU - Things are really effed up

FUBAR - Effed up beyond all recognition (or repair.)

Off with e's head: E-cig explosion causes first vaping death


Re: Obviously the wrong drug...

I love the smell of Latakia in the morning! I cleaved to the pipe as well in my early twenties as a backpacker (trail name - Freight Train. Guess why.) Works wonders repelling black flies and mosquitoes. Add more Latakia, and it'll repel most people, too.

I wonder if vape liquid scents attract black bears?

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



I was jangled awake dark and early one spring morning by my bedside telephone. The main transmitter was off the air, the backup was on, and oh yeah, the smoke alarm at the transmitter site is alarming. Hour drive to the site, but the backup stayed on-air for the whole trip, so the building's probably not burning down. No flash fire when I opened the building door, so that's good.

When I entered the transmitter building, my first thought was "bar-b-que!" That was the weirdest smelling melted transformer or vented capacitor I'd ever encountered. Smelled a hell of a lot better than a fried selenium rectifier stack.

Start diagnosis with the power amplifier (4CX15000A tube) power supply, so I drop to my knees (aah, those were the days) in front of the PA rack, and begin unscrewing the panel screws. I moved the panel off to the side, and there he was; a two foot long copperhead! I stood up like a ninja!

I didn't really need to worry. Cool night, warm 22 kilovolt transformer. He crawled on top of the transformer and bridged the output terminals. He wasn't going to move again without help. So I helped. Cleaned up the mess, ran fans to ventilate the building, and got the main back on-air. But I never did figure out where he got into the building.

My PC makes ‘negative energy waves’, said user, then demanded fix


Better Call Saul!

Is the users name Charles McGill?

UK regulator bans slasher-flick parody ad for OnePlus 5 mobe


"an unanticipated amount of gore"

With the title of "Lake Blood," you didn't anticipate gore?

Hold the phone: Mystery fake cell towers spotted slurping comms around Washington DC


Re: "...not aware how it would detect such technology..."

I'd love to play like that, even unpaid. Unfortunately, due to the 1986 Electronic Communication Privacy Act, hobbyists aren't allowed to receive cellular frequencies. In the mid eighties, cellular companies lobbied Congress so they wouldn't have to scramble or digitize their, at that time, narrow FM signals. We're still stuck with it, as well as the Satellite Home Viewers Act, which did the same thing for satellite companies.

Personally, I think if their RF energy is striking me, I should be able to do anything I want with it.

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


Re: Speaking of carbon paper...

I keep a half dozen sheets of carbon paper in my shop. Great stuff for finding where you need to file or sand to fit parts properly. Useful for transferring measurements from part to paper as well.

Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs


Re: "Fact is, it's still just cheaper to ditch them in the ocean"

"NASA only ditched one Shuttle in the ocean..."

Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour. Which one?

Hackers create 'ghost' traffic jam to confound smart traffic systems


Re: All I want...

In the late seventies, my southern US hometown installed a new traffic light system that featured a 1"x2"x3" box hanging with each set of lights. Way too small for an industrial camera at the time, but if you flashed a particular speed strobe at it, the traffic lights would cycle. I was in high school. Had a lot of fun with that.

I've noticed similar boxes and tubes on many traffic lights and assumed they performed a similar function.

Or you could drive a firetruck.

My PC is broken, said user typing in white on a white background


When my mother uses a word processor or browser...

I think moms must have a user group to promulgate odd problems so they can chat with their geeky children. Mine called last week because every character she typed was wrong. How the hell did she install and enable a Dvorak keyboard?

Paul Allen's six-engined monster plane prepares for space deliveries


If Microsoft made planes...

...you'd have to have the DVD in the drive to take off.

Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts


Re: Robot manufacturing

Along the same line, I seem to remember seeing a documentary about LunarMax prison.


Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin


Re: Commas are important...

"Commas are important, they can mean the difference between "At the weekend I helped my uncle, Jack, off his horse."

Let's eat Grandma!

Let's eat, Grandma!

Zombie … in SPAAACE: Amateur gets chatty with 'dead' satellite


Mr. Tilly has a pretty cool hobby...

...and has made me appreciate the junked DishNetwork antenna out in the garage. I have to approach this carefully, though. I'm not sure what my wife will think about a radio telescope in the backyard.

Ever wondered why tech products fail so frequently? No, me neither


Emitting a loud "crack!...

"Emitting a loud "crack!" they actually exploded into several plastic artefacts while sitting on my face as I was reading. I dunno, maybe I was looking through them too hard."

I had a freshly ground prescription lens do something similar. New wire-rimmed spectacles, just a couple of hours after picking them up, and I noticed a curved line emanating from a corner of the right lens. Just as I was removing them, POP!, and the right lens was in several pieces on my desk. LensCrafters technician told me the grinding lab probably forgot to stress relieve the lens, and pressure from being mounted in the rim drove the stresses past the point of self-disassembly.

Jocks in shock as Irn-Bru set to slash sugar and girder content


Re: Lateral Thinking

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

- C.S. Lewis

'Twas the night before Y2K and a grinch stole the IT department's overtime payout


Simon, beware busses!

We'd like to keep you around, regardless of On-Call.

And if you hear somebody dismiss Y2K as nothing, remind them it turned out that way because of the how the tech community prepared for it. Hell, I even kissed my wife on the New Year standing next to a running 300kw genset.

Merry Christmas to all, and have a happy and prosperous New Year!




As usual, El Reg scores with the headline. Good one!

'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'


"...changed from one large hole to a small hole and a slot."

Now the drive hub doesn't have to move out of the way for the drawer to operate.

Yes, your old iPhone is slowing down: iOS hits brakes on CPUs as batteries wear out


A Christmas miracle!

"On Wednesday, Apple acknowledged the situation in an email to The Register:"

Republican tax bill ready to rescue hard-up tech giants, struggling rich


Re: It's Robin Hood

Since you apparently haven't read/seen Robin Hood lately, here's a reminder. He steals from the government and gives back to those they took it from, the taxpayer.

'I knew the company was doomed after managers brawled in a biker bar'


Re: "and gloves were forbidden"

"The operators stopped the radar dish sweeping the sky and pointed it at him..."

I hope his cataract surgery went well.

Pest control: Eggheads work to help RoboBees dodge that fly-swatter


Re: Wot about the mice ?

Given time, they'll gnaw through the soda bottle, but this has worked well in my shop...



Danger - Video has typical YouTube music by Roto-Rooter. It'll bore its way into your brain.

Exploding alien bodies' space death-rays gave Earth its radiation cloak


Re: Radiation shields to maximum.....

"which storyline do you prefer for said joyride? the recent one from newish show The Orville or the classic Trek story which seemingly inspired it, For The World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky?"

Or, looking from an external perspective, Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke.

5 reasons why America's Ctrl-Z on net neutrality rules is a GOOD thing


Re: Great article but I don't think you understand Snowflakes.

My first experience with electricity was when I took the metal key that went to the plastic car dashboard and stuck it in a wall socket. I was two, and I never did it again, at least not until I figured out the wide side is neutral.


Oh, the humanity...

I noticed this morning as I logged on, that my internet is now performing as though it was 2014.

Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar


Masthead change

I just noticed the seasonal masthead change. I like the snowvulture!

YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven


Re: Learning from Experience - flashes and bangs

He allowed me back after our ears stopped ringing, about a month.


Re: Learning from Experience - flashes and bangs

Back in the late eighties, an associate gave me a device that looked like a large firecracker (TP or bog roll core sized) with a short tube and string taped to it. The official looking label stated "Ground Burst Simulator", but heck, it was only a firecracker.

After carrying it around in my briefcase for about two weeks, I finally got out to a firing range. "Hell yes, I wanna see it go off" the range master said. So I jerked the string as the instructions stated, and threw it about 50 feet. We ducked down behind a couple of concrete shooting benches until it started making a whistling noise. As we peeked over the concrete, the descending whistle stopped. Then it went off! We saw the shock wave! We also found a piece of gravel partly embedded in a railroad tie a dozen feet from the explosion.

I've seen flash-bangs set off, and they are dazzling, but I've never heard an explosion like the "Ground Burst Simulator." I later learned, from the aforementioned associate under threat of bodily harm, that it was supposed to simulate an artillery ground burst.

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires


Re: 1980's Technology

"Servicing a VCR was like playing with a Hellraiser puzzle box"

Sony 3/4 inch machines have one particular screw that, when removed, is tantamount to opening a box of live grasshoppers. Stuff flies everywhere!


"a lovely spiral "rope" pattern embossed"

A guy I knew years ago had a similar mark diagonally across his chest from trying to use a retired "Gold Line" climbing rope to pull his dad's car out of an exceptionally large pothole formed from a minor flash flood. Warning: If water is running over the road, it also might be running under the road.

No, BMW, petrol-engined cars don't 'give back to the environment'


Whip it good...

Wow! Treat 'em like they're Volkswagen.

And Audis in my neck of the woods are just considered inverted porcupines; pricks on the inside.

Pokémon GO caused hundreds of deaths, increased crashes


Re: Guns don't kill people...

That's interesting. Over 44 years of shooting, exactly three of my rounds of ammunition have been used to kill something (a rabid raccoon and an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake). I also displayed my pistol once (not drawn) to diffuse a situation in which someone might have been killed.

My vehicles, over a somewhat shorter time period, have slaughtered millions of insects, a bunny, a couple of squirrels, and possibly a deer that ran off after I hit it.

I guess we don't necessarily have to use a device as it was designed.

Chainmail tires re-invent the wheel to get future NASA rovers rolling


Driving through mining country...

in southwest Virginia, you'll see dump trucks with rubber tires covered with a heavy, chain-like mesh. The tires on some of these these trucks are 10 - 12 feet diameter, and cost $20,000 plus.

Several mining companies in the area have only female dump truck drivers because they are so much easier on the equipment.

Shiver me timbers! 67cm Playmobil pirate ship sets sail for Caribbean


"...tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic that finds its way into the oceans through carelessness."

Hardly carelessness. Most of that comes from coastal cities that get rid of their garbage via barge.

User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot



"I never realised some laptops had an actual volume dial."

Watch out for those WiFi slide switches, too.



My better 1/3 (I'm a big guy) and I have been married 27 years, and that's how most of our conversations go. It frightens me that I understand nearly all of them.

The day I almost pinned my tushie as a Google Maps landmark


I'm stealing this!

security rentaquote advocate

Those IT gadget freebies you picked up this year? They make AWFUL Christmas presents


Re: Re-gifting is an art

"I remember when I was 5, they got me a Marks & Spencer gift set for christmas..."

My Great-uncle was a geneticist at Oak Ridge National Labs and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go 'Heels!). Usual Christmas gifts were "thinkers" like a Chess or Go set. The absolute best gift from him was a large capped test tube chock full of his test subjects - fruit flies. Did you know that it's damn near impossible to get just one fruit fly out of a test tube full of them?

For some reason, just gift certificates from then on.

USB stick found in West London contained Heathrow security data


Re: How as this even possible?

I have a Kensington 32 Gig stick that has a nearly gooey silicone coating. Usually it sticks to the bottom of my pocket, even through a laundering, but I've found it sitting in my driveway and buried in the recliner cushions.


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