Now where did I put that big box with all the Multimate installation diskettes??
80 posts • joined 12 Jan 2016
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.
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.
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?”
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"
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).
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"
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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...
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
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
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
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
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