* Posts by ricardian

80 posts • joined 12 Jan 2016


Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign


Now where did I put that big box with all the Multimate installation diskettes??


If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home


Re: Bah!

Put your servers in a metal container then lower that metal container into the sea! That's what Microsoft did.


You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files


Here's something to bring back memories!


Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame


Re: Access Denied

Or Penistone

Azure, Office 365 go super-secure: Multi-factor auth borked in Europe, Asia, USA


Re: Naturally there is a refund...



Issues connecting to Azure resources in Europe, Asia and the Americas regions using Multi-Factor Authentication

Summary of impact: Between 04:39 UTC and approximately 21:30 on 19 Nov 2018, customers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the American regions may have experienced difficulties signing into Azure resources, such as Azure Active Directory, when Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is required by policy.

Preliminary root cause: Requests from MFA servers to Redis Cache in Europe reached operational threshold causing latency and timeouts. After attempting to fail over traffic to North America this caused a secondary issue where servers became unhealthy and traffic was throttled to handle increased demand.

Mitigation: Engineers deployed a hotfix which eliminated the connection between Azure Identity Multi-Factor Authentication Service and a backend service. Secondly engineers cycled impacted servers which allowed authentication requests to succeed.

Next steps: Engineers will continue to investigate to establish the full root cause and prevent future occurrences. A full Root Cause Analysis will be published in approximately 72 hours. To stay informed on any issues, maintenance events, or advisories, https://www.aka.ms/ash-alerts and you will be notified via your preferred communication channel(s): email, SMS, webhook, etc.

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank


Re: Consoleer

Back in the 1980s I worked for a large Government department in Gloucestershire. The local tech college (not Gloucester) ran a course on "C" programming so our boss signed us up for it. The "notes" looked as though they'd been written in the pub the night before and the machines were on a flaky network where you had to quit the editor in the "proper" way otherwise the whole network crashed. We reported this to our boss who managed to get the course fees returned to his acount.

Bouncing robots land on asteroid 180m miles away amid mission to fetch sample for Earth


Re: Easy to do

A review of 50 years of "Tomorrow's World" - on BBC Radio 4 Extra this morning (Saturday)


Sysadmin misses out on paycheck after student test runs amok


Re: "Snoopy characters"


Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway


Re: Reminds me of ...

and Penistone.

'A word processor so simple my PA could use it': Joyce turns 30


Hitchin BID manager Tom Hardy tweeted Lord Sugar this lunchtime to say: “Your Amstrad computer has been printing our Hitchin Festival tickets for 25 years! Still going strong with 50,000 tickets printed over the years. Is this a record?”


Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work


Re: The Smell....

I had to look up "tranga", I am sure you did not mean "dying salmon"

Police block roads to stop tech support chap 'robbing a bank'


This is a true story because I was living in Scarborough at the time (1980s) and received one of the publicity leaflets from BT praising their new domestic fire detection system which would sense a fire and automatically alert the fire brigade. I received the leaflet a few weeks before a catastrophic fire destroyed Scarborough's main telephone exchange which was only manned during office hours and did not have one of their wonderful new fire detection systems. The local paper had great fun with that story


Apocryphal story from the 1960s when a brand-new high-tech factory opened with great ceremony. The MD was boasting of his state-of-the-art fire alarm system which dialled the XXX fire station which was a couple of miles away and a tape loop continually broadcast a message "There is a fire at Bloggs & Co factory". This was, allegedly, to avoid delays inherent in the 999 system and get the fire brigade to the scene more quickly.

One night there was a fire at Bloggs & Co factory and it burned to the ground before the fire brigade arrived. The subsequent investigation discovered that the fire alarm system had worked perfectly. However, when the automated "There is a fire at Bloggs & Co Factory" was being sent over & over again the local telephone exchange's automated system broadcast a taped response "The telephone number for XXX fire station has changed to 01234 567890, please replace your receiver and re-dial"

Sysadmin hailed as hero for deleting data from the wrong disk drive


Re: Personal Tragedy

About 25 years ago it seems that Microsoft decided that drive F: was special and could be used for all sorts of fancy debugging procedures. The result was that any drive allocated the letter F ran extremely slowly. I can't remember how I discovered this information but it quickly became well-known in the large Government where I worked (and had just scrapped OS/2 in favour of MS Windows).

Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park


Re: Re:Victorian railways had a few exploding boiler incidents

And more recently as in the case of the SS France in 2003.

"Boiler No. 23, located on the starboard side of the boiler room, had ruptured. The boiler contained about 20 tons of water operating at a temperature of about 528º F under a pressure of about 60 bar (870 pounds per square inch [psi]). In the normal atmospheric pressure of the aft boiler room (14.7 psi), the pressurized hot water rapidly expanded in volume about 1,260 times into steam"



Re: Re:Victorian railways had a few exploding boiler incidents



Re: Had the fire brigade called to a five star hotel, in Malta....

There was one of those large toasters with a vertical conveyer belt in the airmen's mess at RAF Driffield (1961 or so). Apart from the arguments about whose slice it was that had just dropped into the collection tray there was the excitement of a piece of bread that became trapped in the mechanism and proceded to cremate itself. Huge quantities of smoke tended to put you off your breakfast but the cooks just took as normal behaviour and carried on as usual. We often wondered what would happen if there was a real fire in the mess!

T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta


As a chap who has seriously defective red/green colour blindness all this talk about magenta (or is it Magenta?) just leaves me somewhat baffled

TSB's middleware nightmare: Execs grilled on Total Sh*tshow at Bank


I got an email from my bank (Santander) at 9pm on Friday 27 April to say that the new debit card that I had ordered was on its way. I was suspicious as I'd not ordered a new debit card. The email was addressed to me personally but the 4 digit number that was supposed to be the last 4 digits of my debit card was incorrect. I phoned Santander and after a lengthy wait spoke to a fairly helpful chap in the UK. He explained that my old debit card had been compromised and they were sending a new one; as to the last 4 digits quoted on the email - they were the last 4 digits of the new debit card which was in the post. He said (in so many words) that the email was a bit of boilerplate that they could not change.

It was only the next day that I realised that I'd been in Kirkwall on Tuesday 24 April and, needing some cash, had used the nearest ATM. Alas, it was the TSB and my card was rejected so I went to the next ATM and was successful. Presumably just using the TSB's ATM and getting my card rejected was enough to get my debit card considered as compromised.

The new card arrived on Tuesday 1 May and has worked OK

NASA dusts off FORTRAN manual, revives 20-year-old data on Ganymede


5 unit tape, last time I used that was in 1967.

Here's a demo from a later time


Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!


An update on 22 March 2018


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


The Commodore PET had a loudspeaker which had its own memory address. You could peek/poke it and create sounds of various pitches and volumes. I created a 6502 machine code routine which produced the sound of a police car siren or a WW2 air raid siren - very dramatic and very loud! I cannot remember whether the first IBM PCs had the same facility or not

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10


My first OU course was PM957 "Computing & computers" in 1977. I lived in Brora, Sutherland and all my coding (OU BASIC) was handwritten and sent off to the OU computer centre where it was keyed in and run, the results (warts & all) was then posted (Royal Mail) back to me. Later I did another OU course in computing which had HEKTOR, a small machine akin to the VIC-20 which fed an analogue TV. Great course, began hand assembly before progressing to a "proper" assembler and finally a version of BASIC).

Later in 1984 I worked in R&D for a large government department which bought a few Commodore PETs. With the invaluable help of Raeto West's hefty handbook I taught myself 6502 assembler and produced some useful programs; some of which included speed-up tricks which avoided floating point operations such as multiplying by 10 by shifting left 3 times and then adding the original number twice. I remember that all the IEEE488 (GPIB) routines were hard coded into ROM and that there were a couple of spare sockets for "home-brewed" EPROMS.

Then we got the first IBM PCs and shifted to "C" using the Aztec compiler. Still good fun though

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


Re: ~~~

I'd been using MS Word for several years before someone pointed out to me that the squiggles under mis-spelt words and bad grammar were different colours - one of the problems of being red/green colour blind

Intellisense was off and developer learned you can't code in Canadian


Re: Boro

No! Pronounced "loch" as in Loch Lomand or Lough Neagh

Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face


Re: Poker face fail

This happened to an Open University researcher who stored several years worth of data on a local machine and had no backup that was remote from his/her office, a fire destroyed most of the equipment but the manufacturer managed to recover most (but not all) of the data from the fire-damaged disk - an expensive recovery process. Alas, I cannot find any record of this event online

Military techie mangled minicomputer under nose of scary sergeant


Re: Color blind

Oh yes! I'm red/green colour blind and it was a long time (several years!) before I knew that Microsoft Word had different coloured underlining to distinguish between grammatical and spelling errors. I was a programmer for a large Civil Service department based in Cheltenham and there was a rule that colour should never be used to distinguish between items/icons on a computer screen

Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin


Re: Aircon Leaks

Another hazard of siphoning


Shopper f-bombed PC shop staff, so they mocked her with too-polite tech tutorial


Re: Bah!

Shortly after we moved to Scarborough in 1987 there was a mass sacking of Plaxton's staff from the local coach-builders followed by several appearances at the local courtroom. Apparently they were walking out of the gates not just with a few nuts & bolts but entire bodywork sections!

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster


Re: It was funny but she did learn stuff there.

I was born in 1943 and first encountered a computer in 1985 when working for a large Government department with HQ in Cheltenham. The computer was a Commodore Pet which, together with Raeto West's invaluable handbook, enabled 2 or 3 of us to produce some useful programs in 6502 assembler - despite all the Scientific Officers looking down their noses as they produced similar programs in high level language on their PDP machines. A year or so later we got the first IBM PC and an Aztec "C" compiler and never looked back!


Re: Reminds me of a story

My late wife took a course "I.T. for the terrified" which ran for six two-hour Saturday morning sessions. The first session was purely about games (including Solitaire) which gave everyone a basic grounding (and confidence) in the use of a mouse. The final session was an introduction to The Internet with dire warnings of what could appear on the computer screen if you made just a simple spelling mistake in your search - using "Ask Jeeves" or similar.

Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI


And now this http://uk.businessinsider.com/hawaii-emergency-agency-password-discovered-in-photo-sparks-security-criticism-2018-1

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


Re: Delivery

Up here there's no next day delivery for Amazon Prime or anything else for that matter. One of the very minor annoyances of living on an island 12 miles from mainland Orkney, far outweighed by the peace & quiet that comes from living on an island with a population of about 300.


Mystery surrounds fate of secret satellite slung by SpaceX


Re: ... the threat of a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea

Have you read "On the beach"?

'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'


Re: That farmer...

Ah, good old Sneakernet


Pickaxe chops cable, KOs UKFast data centre


Re: DR Testing Failure

Why do I keep reading "the UPS is sized" as "the UPS is siezed"?

Hackers spray Reader's Digest stinky feet with exploit kit


Reader's Digest prize draw - updated & failed

I regularly enter the Reader's Digest prize draw (uses my email address and a daily-changing code) - it only takes a few seconds to click on the link from my email and I'm a hopeless optimist. However, for the last couple of days the system has failed. The website has been given a major make-over and the previously reliable easily clicked prize draw no longer works. Initially the email and code were no longer automatically entered when I clicked on the link from my email, entering them manually had no effect. Now there is a 503 error "Service Temporarily Unavailable. The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Web Server at readersdigest.co.uk"

It would appear that the developers of the new website never tried using the automatic entry into the prize draw

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



My first Open University course "PM951 Computers & Computing" in 1977. I was living in a remote village in Sutherland and submitted all my handwritten programs (OU Basic!) to the OU via snail mail (the alternative was to book a session on an unreliable 75 baud link at Thurso tech college, a 2 hour drive away). After a few successful sessions (whereby the OU would type in my program and run it on their mainframe then send me the results, regardless of whether or not the program ran successfully or not) I received an irate, hand-written note saying that they could not find my data. As the data had been created and used on several previous occasions this was rather worrying. After I contacted my tutor it was discovered that the OU had two mainframe centres but the data was not shared.

I did manage a respectable Grade 2 for that first OU course

Support team discovers 'official' vendor paper doesn't rob you blind


Throw away those cheap mains leads...

2 metre mains leads, a snip at just £90 - and for just £91 more you can add these 3 "must have" features.

Only £15 extra for Burn In "Burn-in refers to the process which takes place as a cable is used over time. As a signal or current is passed through the cable, its performance gets better and better. So, although you’ll find that there are some immediate improvements as soon as you plug in the cable, it will get even better over the burn-in period. As the cables burn-in you will find that they start to reveal their true potential with deep, more extended bass, a more natural midrange and a sweeter treble. This means that when you first get the cable it can tend to sound brighter and lacking in bass. That’s one of the reasons we sell them with a 60 day trail – to give you time for the cables to settle down so you can judge how they will sound long term in your system. The burn in process takes up to 500 hours - that's about three weeks of constant use, and it can sometimes longer with silver cables. To burn-in mains cables, they simply need to be powered up; interconnects and speaker cables need to have a signal passing through them (use a tuner or CD player on repeat). To burn-in interconnects you can have the sound turned down; to burn-in speaker cables you should play sound through your speakers, though it can be at low volume. We are, however, able to apply a process to the cables which burns them in over a 3 day intensive cycle. From our own tests we think that this process is actually better than the natural method and allows you to get the full benefits much quicker (though we still advise you to allow the cable to settle into your system for a couple of weeks)."

Plus £51 for Deep Cryo Treatment (DCT) which "involves the cooling of a material of -190°C and is said to de-stress various materials and alter or re-align their structure. We highly recommend the treatment - comparing one cable or power extension that has been 'Cryo'd with one that hasn't is a revelation."

Plus £25 for a 13A SuperFuse "our very best mains plug fuses, which feature a specially-developed version of our Super Burn In process."

That's £181 for a two metre long mains lead!

(See http://www.russandrews.com/yello-power-uk-to-iec)

Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine


Re: At DEC's headquarters in Maynard

Scarborough, early 1980s. A big publicity campaign for BT's brand-new remote monitoring system which would trigger alarms if your house caught fire. A few weeks later there was a catastrophic fire at Scarborough's main telephone exchange - there were no staff on duty over-night and the on-site alarms didn't work...

Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report


Why not fit fridges & freezers with a device that measures the mains frequency and switches them off if the frequency drops below a particular level?


Four techies flummoxed for hours by flickering 'E' on monitor


Re: Also, light bulbs



My first Open University course was in 1977. It was PM951 "Computing & Computers". I lived in a small coastal village in Sutherland and the nearest terminal was in Thurso. It was a 75 baud teleprinter system for which 1 hour sessions had to be pre-booked. It was not unknown for me to turn up (after a 2 hour drive) to find that the link was down.

An alternative to using the 75 baud link was to write out the code (OU BASIC) and post it to the OU who would then type in the code, run it and post the result back to you - warts & all. All went quite well until I got a letter from the OU asking where my data had gone. I was flummoxed! However, the OU eventually realised that they had two data centres which were unconnected and that my hand-written code could be entered by either of the two data centres, hence the "missing" data.

Despite all that I did manage a grade 2 pass

Sysadmin jeered in staff cafeteria as he climbed ladder to fix PC


I once worked for a large government department which had a brand-new building comprising 4 floors and several hundred telephone sockets. BT supplied and installed all these telephone sockets but instead of buying a dymotape machine and using it to label the sockets the sockets were labelled with a standard pencil which soon became erased or illegible

China's 'future-proof' crypto: We talk to firm behind crazy quantum key distribution network


Re: Shared key?

Great idea, just read the stream and the true recipient will never be able to read the message.

.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job


Re: Fitzgerald?

What a shame that they did not have a bunting tosser

Ex-SpaceX avionics tech loses safety certificate-forging wrongful dismissal lawsuit


Re: No problem:

When an RAF passenger plane had undergone major servicing it was common practice for those ground crew who had taken part in the servicing to be passengers on the plane's post-servicing test flight

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


Re: Windows 98

Commodore PET machine code programmers will remember the indispensible handbook by the unforgettable Raeto West. I was SO grateful that the 6502 IEEE488 routines were hardcoded.

And the books is still freely available online https://ia601709.us.archive.org/20/items/Programming_The_PET_CBM_197x_West_Raeto/Programming_The_PET_CBM_197x_West,_Raeto.pdf

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'


Re: Power spikes & surges

Our island is connected to the grid. Orkney has a power surplus but is unable to export the power because the cable across the Pentland Firth is already operating at full capacity. We do have a "smart grid" https://www.ssepd.co.uk/OrkneySmartGrid/


Power spikes & surges

This is something on a much, much smaller scale than the BA fiasco!

I'm the organist at the kirk on Stronsay, a tiny island in Orkney. Our new electronic organ arrived 4 years ago and behaved well until about 12 months ago. Since then it has had frequent "seizures" which made it unplayable for about 24 hours after which it behaved normally. Speaking to an agent of the manufacturer he asked if we had many solar panels or wind turbines. I replied that we did and the number was growing quite quickly. He said that these gadgets create voltage spikes which can affect delicate electronic kit and recommended a "spike buster" mains socket. Since fitting one of these the organ has behaved perfectly. I suspect that with the growing number of wind turbines & solar panels this sort of problem will become more and more noticeable


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019