* Posts by TSM

47 posts • joined 8 Aug 2007

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer


Re: Yes the users are bad

My ISP's technical support used to be really good, but then they got bought out by a larger firm and now it's back to script monkey level. Fortunately I hardly ever need them so it's not too big a problem.

It was difficult when my 10-year-old ADSL modem died though. It was impossible to get them to understand that a problem with the line would not cause the modem's power light not to come on, nor would it stop the various computers on the LAN from being able to talk to each other. They insisted that I had to try moving it to a different phone socket, replacing the phone cable, etc. before we could do anything else. We even had to have a tech visit to test the line, which unsurprisingly was fine.

When we finally did manage to convince them that the modem was dead, they wanted to charge me $150 or so for a new one - I had to explicitly ask why I couldn't get the "free modem with a 2-year contract" deal that any new customer could get to get them to concede that yes, I could do that and not have to pay for a new modem.

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so


Re: The real mystery is how Paula discovered the clock work around ...

We had a (recent) song called Agnus Dei on our church roster for a while. Except for some reason when our pastor at the time downloaded the PDF from SongSelect, it didn't put the title on like it normally does. So he helpfully wrote it in as Angus Dei for us, which annoyed me every time I saw it. Fortunately it's not in our current rotation any more :)

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Re: Labour/Labor

I remember when the (Australian) Labor Party was indeed the Labour Party, and like you I could never understand why they changed it to the less common spelling.

First impressions count when the world is taken by surprise by an exciting new (macro) virus


Re: I Love You

One of the first times - but far from the last - in which my life was made a lot easier by being in Western Australia rather than the eastern part. By the time we rocked up to work that day, our IT people in the eastern states had already slammed the gates and sent out emails explaining the issue, and giving us clear directions on what emails to delete unopened.

These days I work for a company that has its headquarters (and IT staff) here in the west, so we don't have that exact protection, but then the automated filters are a lot better these days, as well as all the anti-macro protections that have been put into place since those days of course.

The main threat for us now is phishing instead, but I've had far more fake phishing emails from our cybersecurity partner organisation than real ones. It's easy to detect the fake ones: I do a DNS query for the domain name in the link, then do a lookup on that IP and see if it belongs to our cybersecurity partner.

The ones I thought might have been real have so far turned out to be genuine emails from partner organisations. For some reason some organisations think it's acceptable to send you a "Welcome to our portal" link without any warning. That one turned out to be from the firm that was doing our audit - we'd changed auditors since the previous year so I didn't recognise the domain. I never wound up using the portal anyway; I just emailed stuff to the individual auditors.

I heard somebody say: Burn baby, burn – server inferno!


Re: I've been there

If the general air temp of the whole room is 60°C, the temperatures in the parts of the equipment that are genrating all that heat are going to be a lot higher.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago


Re: Hybrid children watch the sea

If you really want to get in on the trend of the moment, call it Coronavirus.

The self-disconnecting switch: Ghost in the machine or just a desire to save some cash?


Re: Single point of failure

"Painstakingly drawn before a live audience". As seen at #14 on


C'mon SPARCky, it's just an admin utility update. What could possibly go wrong?

Paris Hilton

So you can use a tape cartridge for your backup, as long as you don't actually put it in the drive? I'm not certain that this is helpful.

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer


Re: Could be worse

I once had a work machine - can't remember if it was NT4 or 2000 - which completely failed to boot, due to a faulty mouse. The precise details are mercifully lost to time, this being around 19-20 years ago, but I was surprised at the time that such a small issue could have such severe consequences.

The time that Sales braved the white hot heat of the data centre to save the day


Re: Not me either.

I always go to my work's Christmas do. It's a free meal, at the very least.

Nothing says I can't take my Kindle and just sit in a corner reading, when I'm not eating and drinking. And when I've had enough I can head back to the office or home, depending on the time and whether I have anything pressing I want to get done.

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS


In 2013 I had long service leave due and we organised a 3-week trip to go and visit relatives in the north of the state -- basically 1 week driving up, 1 week there, and 1 week driving back. Particularly on the way up, we'd be out of mobile range most of the time. (We went up through the interior, and came down along the more populated coastline; still mostly no signal, but more frequent spots where signal could be obtained.)

Shortly after we set off, I got a text message from one of my colleagues asking for help with something that had broken.

By the time we lost reception, we'd gotten to the point where I'd made a tentative diagnosis and sent him the appropriate procedure. But I didn't get confirmation that it had worked until a couple of days later, when we got to a major town.

No, it wasn't DNS - that would have been a different team and not my problem at all.


Re: No Service

No need for any hijinks here - I do normally spend a week or so down at my dad's place over the holidays, and as they're in a semi-rural area there is indeed no mobile signal either there or on most of the trip down. (If you really desperately need signal, there are a couple of places on the property where you might be able to get a trace of it, if you wave the phone around enough and the wind is in the right direction. Had to call Microsoft for an activation code while I was there once, that was fun.)

It's always interesting heading into one of the nearby towns from their place - and suddenly receiving a whole set of increasingly frantic text messages and missed call notifications, because something broke and my colleagues couldn't figure out how to fix it.


Re: It was a quiet Friday night and I wasn't on call,

Unfortunately there's no way I can forward my alerts (nearly all of which are caused by random Oracle webservice failures, usually returning a 502 Bad Gateway, the fix being to send the exact same request a minute or two later) to the people at Oracle who wrote the webservice code. So I have to deal with the fallout.

A user's magnetic charm makes for a special call-out for our hapless hero


Re: My only memorable incident

Like Alan Brown said in his post: ("It might be important")

About as important as the SMS I got the other day telling me that my online banking access (for a bank I'm not with) has been restricted and offering me a link to click on to restore it.

From Soviet to science fiction icon, the weird life of Isaac Asimov 100 years on


I think you're mistaken here. In "Prelude to Foundation", we find that R. Daneel Olivaw is the one (acting in the persona of Demerzel, the Emperor's right hand man) who sets Hari Seldon on the path to developing psychohistory. And of course he also turns out to be the one who set up Gaia.

I haven't actually read the Foundation books that were written by other authors, so it may be that what you say is true, but if so it would be a massive contradiction with the canon books.

Remember the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dam to save the village? Here's the IT equivalent


Re: From Experience (and In Hindsight)...

For me it's belt loops that seem to be the target. Always rather jarring when you're walking past a door at speed, and then suddenly you're not.

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


Re: my first Y3K bug.

Eh, you're not alone. I have to feed date criteria into a system that is only designed for numbers and strings, so they go into strings in YYYY-MM-DD form. There's always a start date, but open-ended rules get defaulted to 2999-12-31 for the max value.

I started with this company working on replacing a precursor to this system, in 2002. We replaced it again in 2006 and then we replaced that again in 2014. So I'm not too worried about what happens if we get to Y3K and this is still in use. (But if we did, it's fairly easy to change.) There are other end date type things in this system that will cause us much more rework much more often.

The safest place to save your files is somewhere nobody will ever look


Re: No lineage?

The "no mass" → "speed of light" connection requires that it's long enough after 1905 for the basic principles of relativity to be well known.

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool


Re: Cards, Loans ...

I almost suggested "Analytics, Insights, and Data Services" for our team. Discretion won the day though.

When the satellite network has literally gone glacial, it's vital you snow your enemy



Might just be some missing commas. They had two buildings, separated, with a laser link [between them]. It's actually a fairly reasonable interpretation IMO, because if the buildings weren't separated there'd be easier ways to connect them, so the separation is germane. Though "separated by [whatever]" would have been better for scene setting.

Calling all the Visual Basic snitches: Keep quiet about it and so will he...


That could well be true. Even here, the systems I work with for 95% of my job can only be connected to from our office's wired network. I don't usually bother taking my laptop to meetings because the few things I can usefully do with it over the wifi aren't worth having to reconnect to everything.

So when I have to fix things in the middle of the night from home, I have to remote desktop in to my office computer first, otherwise I can't do anything.

I just love your accent – please, have a new password


One time when I was away on leave but still logging in from time to time, I emailed the helpdesk saying "I can send email OK, but I'm not receiving any new email." They emailed me the description of the cause (which was that they'd migrated my mailbox to Office 365 while I was away) and the steps I needed to do to fix it, and were somewhat surprised when I sent in a text message a few days later saying "has anything been done about this? I'm still not getting my emails".

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am


Re: Also, keep yourself current with Google's search operators..

If you're using Firefox - as I am - then there's no need for the add-on. If your text selection looks like a URL Firefox adds the appropriate options to the context menu. Just select the URL, right-click, "Open link in new tab", simple as that.

It will never be safe to turn off your computer: Prankster harnesses the power of Windows 95 to torment fellow students


Re: I remember those files..

You have to remember that multiple users in Win98 were a convenience feature, not a security feature. There *was* no security; everyone had administrator access to the machine because there was no other kind of access. Having multiple users allowed you to have separate document folders for everyone, individual preferences for wallpaper and desktop items and so on, but there was no reason to enforce logging in as an existing user if you didn't want to.

Neuroscientist used brainhack. It's super effective! Oh, and disturbingly easy


Re: This weapon...

It didn't supersede the droud. Wu got his droud installed after being hit with a tasp.

The tasp is a one-off shot. The droud allows continuous use for a set period of time.

Our hero returns home £500 richer thanks to senior dev's appalling security hygiene


Re: Ahhh passwords...

At home, on the kids' computers, I use the same password on each for my account (which is the only admin account on their machines).

The password hint for my account on computer A is "Same as on computer B" and the password hint for my account on computer B is "Same as on computer A".

Greatest threat facing IT? Not the latest tech giant cockwomblery – it's just tired engineers


Re: Truncate... Rollback

In Oracle, at least, a truncate (and any other DDL statement) auto-commits.

Planes, fails and automobiles: Overseas callout saved by gentle thrust of server CD tray


Re: re: "...it's equally likely to shatter in a place where it cuts the wielder"

You need to start from a very early age, so that they grow up just expecting it as a normal part of life, and it doesn't occur to them that it could realistically be any other way.

BOFH: It's not just an awesome app, it'll look great on my Insta. . a. a. AAAARRRRRGGH


Re: Gotta Feel sorry for the Dev

"but cannot be made to exist in the timescale that they have made up" - if you're lucky. Sometimes, it's a case of "cannot be made to exist in any universe where fundamental laws of logic and/or physics apply".

Sure, we've got a problem but we don't really want to spend any money on the tech guy you're sending to fix it


"In 1999, just after y2k day"? I think you might have an off-by-one error there.

I was expecting the story to be that the expense claim was rejected because 31/12/99 wasn't considered a valid date (one of the classic Y2K issues that had to be sorted out before the day...)

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?


Not really, it's right there in the linked definition: "Originally used of the plexiglass covers improvised for the [Big Red Switch] on an IBM 4341 after a programmer's toddler daughter (named Molly) frobbed it twice in one day."

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?


Re: I can believe it!

Very much the case here, since we got fancy "Follow Me" printers - you can go to any printer you like, tap your keypass on the sensor to log in, and get it to print out any jobs you may have waiting. Of course, people tend to want to pick up their print jobs from the closest printer to their location, so it doesn't really provide much benefit over the old model of just sending your job to that printer, and as an added bonus it's now impossible to send off a large print job and wait for it to be processed before you go and pick it up, because you have to do the keypass thing at the printer to start your job actually printing. (I think the rationale is more about security - since you have to be at the printer to print your document, there's little chance that someone else will see it before you collect it.)

But I hardly have to print off anything nowadays (and when I do it's usually no more than one sheet of paper) so it doesn't bother me unduly.

Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question


Re: Still happens

[giving the user an old laptop of the same vintage as their broken one]

> I thought that was standard BOFH policy :)

No, standard BOFH policy is to give them one of the same vintage as their broken one, but with half the memory somehow missing. And probably a special keyboard driver that inserts extra characters about 5-10% of the time.

BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'


Re: Orange Safety Gear.

In the BOFH's company, elevators are definitely more dangerous. Not that there haven't been stair incidents as well, of course, but at least if you take the stairs you're not going to find yourself locked in them for the weekend after having somehow accidentally consumed a large dose of laxatives...

Black hole munched galactic leftovers, spewed stars, burped


Turn it off and on again

So, as I understand it, the galaxy isn't working correctly and someone's trying some basic troubleshooting?

New battery boffinry could 'triple range' of electric vehicles


Re: No one will notice

Yes - but the popular usage is still correct (or at least more correct than your view). The point of a "quantum leap" is that a minimum exists at all - that from 1 you can't go to 1.0001 but have to go all the way to 2. So it is, by definition, a major change as contrasted to a small increment.

BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee


No need to panic

Just do what we do - roll out a bunch of applications, but keep communicating over email like always.

I think there's only one or two people who have ever contacted me over Lync^H^H^H^HSkype for Business. Our team has a Slack channel which I don't think has been used since the initial test messages. There's a conversations feature in our task tracker, but we don't use it (maybe other teams do).

Meanwhile, email continues to work just fine.

BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym


Re: "sycophantic"

Next time you see a word you don't recognise, check a dictionary before just assuming it's not a real word.

Australia's Dick finally drops off


Re: Shame

"My first computer was the Dick Smith VZ-200, brought home by my Dad when I was a little'un."

Hey, me too! I would've been about 7 or 8 at the time. Gotta love that glorious 128x64 four-colour "high-resolution graphics" mode. Did you get that bulky 16kB RAM expansion pack?

I can still remember a bunch of the memory layout and tech specs for that machine. Doubt it'll ever do me any good ever again, but it seems to be in permanent storage.

It's all Me, Me, Me! in Doctor Who's The Woman Who Lived but what of Clara's fate?


Re: Osgood is back !

What's up with that anyway? Osgood got killed off by Missy last season, so why is she back now?

I mean, I always liked Osgood and was disappointed when she was killed, but you can't just blatantly ignore it and shove her back on next time you want to do a UNIT episode.

Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Thumb Up

Re: Long-time e-Reader user, disappointed with current tech

There are times when it's hard to get a well-positioned reading lamp. Such as when you're walking to the bus stop, or on the bus, or off on your lunch break - in short, most of the time I'm using my Paperwhite. Even at home, the screen light comes in handy if (for example) you want to read in bed late at night without waking up your spouse; you can have the screen dimly lit and it will be easily readable (against the dark room) but produce far less general illumination than a reading lamp.

BOFH: Mmm, gotta love me some fresh BYOD dog roll


I could go for a Bring Your Own Diversion day.

BOFH: Licence to grill ... stupid users


I've been using Office 2007 at work for quite a while now and I still have trouble finding things in the ribbon. But once I put all my most used commands into the quick access toolbar it wasn't too bad - I only need to go to the ribbon occasionally instead of all the time.

As I've said on other forums: if the first thing I have to do to make the ribbon useful is put all the stuff I use frequently onto the quick access toolbar, then there's something wrong with the ribbon as a user interface.

There are a few features in Excel 2007 that I like. One that I've been wanting for many years is autofiltering on "Contains" rather than just "Begins With" or "Ends With". Also, the new COUNTIFS and SUMIFS functions are useful. But that's about all. I don't use Word as much, and I haven't seen many differences; certainly not enough to offset the pain of learning the new interface.

At home I use Office 2000, and there's very little I can do with 2007 that I can't do with 2000. I can even handle version 2007 file formats thanks to the compatibility pack. I'm not planning on buying a new version of Office for the home in the forseeable future, especially since I'd need the Professional version to get Publisher etc (which I do use), and that's the best part of $1000.

Oh, the article? Yeah, pretty good, but I think I'll wait for version 3 before I buy it.

BOFH: Hordes unleashed... by a RAM upgrade


Have to agree with John Riddoch

This is the same BOFH and PFY who have a history of stealing the RAM from users' newly-upgraded PCs to use in their own gear. Now they're reclaiming RAM from computers they're getting rid of and just *giving* it to the users? It doesn't fit - unless they're damaging it first in order to rack up the overtime support charges, but that doesn't seem to be where this is going...

BOFH: BOFH vs Bot: Ultimate Smackdown


Electromagnetism FAIL

@LyingMan: " they are electromagnetic opposite poles.. actively repelling each other.."

Opposite poles attract.

BOFH: Made of win


Beyond 2000

I remember watching it when it was called Towards 2000...

Oklahoma offers War on Terror numberplates


@Nick - Re: Why not their own terrorist bombing?

"Gosh, I wonder why the plate doesn't feature Oklahoma City's own terrorist bombing"

They have a separate plate for that, of course:

Oklahoma City Bombing Victims And Survivors


But it's nice to know that anyone can declare themselves a Gold Star Parent with http://www.tax.ok.gov/plates/sp037.html.


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