* Posts by PM from Hell

81 posts • joined 24 Mar 2017


All good, leave it with you...? Chap is roped into tech support role for clueless customer

PM from Hell
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Re: (Jokingly) I have no sympathy...

I'm used to be a tech support manager and if anyone outside the family wanted a 'favour' I would tell with disdain that I only worked on 'Big Boys Computers', Nothing less than am IBM ES9000 lol ( and doesn't that show my age). If I want my pc fixing I use a professional I'd tell them.

PM from Hell

Re: Went for a coffee - stayed two weeks

it could be worse a colleague of mine was persuaded to go to Zimbabwe for a 5 day consultancy visit and was kept there for 6 weeks by the Zimbawe division's manager he used the ' i'll look after your passport' ruse. My colleague saw nothing but data centres and a hotel room as it was too dangerous to leave the hotel, he even had to fight for the overtime he accrued as the Zimbabwe division only paid for the first 5 days.

Microsoft changes DHCP to 'Dammit! Hacked! Compromised! Pwned!' Big bunch of security fixes land for Windows

PM from Hell

Disable TFTP services

TFTP (Trivial/Telephone File Transfer Protocol) is a very insecure protocol from the depths of time, the only valid (back then) use I have come across for it was to download telephone configurations into early 'smart' handsets. Most servers shouldn't be running a TFTP service at all, no authentication. Ironically I only came across it again a couple of years ago when a young developer found this 'new' file transfer process which was easier to use and didn't rely on passwords. Needles to say he received a bit of mentoring on security by design rather than obfuscation and relying on the fact nobody would be looking for the huge security hole he had just introduced into my infrastructure.

Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

PM from Hell

Lake district gravel paths

I had a similar experience many years ago in the lakes, my freind and I , both experienced hill walkers with climbing skills as well were descending into Windermere after a hellish 5 hour walk through sleet and heavy rain, we had had some very scary moments coming down paths which were little more than sheep tracks alongside mountain steams. As we got to the valley the weather cleared and we came across a couple of older people in pacamacs and street shoes who were convinced that the walk to the top would be a doddle because the lower path was gravel ( to reduce erosion, not to indicate it was a walk in the park). Despite our soaked and bedraggled appearance they would not believe that it was dangerous to go any further.

Freelance devs: Oh, you wanted the app to be secure? The job spec didn't mention that

PM from Hell

Who on earth would use Freelancer.com for this task

If I was asked to manage a project like this I would insist on the right to interview all hires, any social media site has a huge attack horizon and will end up containing sensitive data, the idea of just outsourcing any of the internet facing security code or infrastructure design to 'some bloke off the internet' appals me, Whilst I might be open to using Computer Science students there would need to be a properly experienced lead dev in place to provide mentoring, skills transfer and Quality Assurance roles.

One warning about this approach is that it is not cheaper than employing experienced developers unless the engagement is going to be at least 6 months. If this is a quick and dirty implementation I would build a team from existing, proven contacts whop could hit the ground running, the $112 would pay for one hour of one of these dev's time, I can deliver it quick and secure or slower but lower cost and secure but not cheap. Don't forget that the level of fines available in case of a data breach in the UK can reach hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The other worry about anyone who would even consider this approach would be that they would almost certainly use a cloud based service and assume that the infrastructure was also secure by default. I wouldn't consider starting development work until the architectural design had been produced and signed off by a web security specialist I knew and trusted.

What happens when security devices are insecure? Choose the nuclear option

PM from Hell

government security advice

Very amusing Mr Dabb's, you've obviously been too busy to watch much TV recently or you would have seen Her Majesties Government's latest advice on cyber security. Keep your systems patched and all apps up to date recommend HMG.

This advice will royally confuse any non technical users of Android phones which are older than 6 months. If only they had the power to pass some kind of law to enforce manufacturers and network providers to update device software for a reasonable period after purchase. I don't know they could call it a 'law' or 'legislation'.

they'll be asking us never ever to register our personal details or credit card numbers with pornography suppliers next (oops did I get that the wrong way round).

I predict the next huge consumer data issue will be from users of 'free' VPN services trying to avoid the smut registration process.

I could suggest that this was imposed at the network endpoint by the ISP or phone providers, I distinctly remember having to opt in to see adult content a number of years afo, but to be fair I had to opt in to even let my 7 year old daughter research her history homework as some of the sites she needed to look at were classed as adult.

Why are there never free power sockets when my Y-fronts need charging?

PM from Hell

Re: stuff needs electricity simply to exist

I throw in a power bank that can be used to recharge a phone at the bedside in the UK, I can't remember last time IO had a hotel room where there was an accessible socket on both sides of the bed. I make it part of the routine to plug it in for recharging each time we leave the room.

When outside the UK I use 2 of these rather than packing another socket adaptor and also carry a 4 gang extension with a European / US adaptor on the plug.

I restrict myself to one laptop a windows tablet, my wife's ipad and a chromecast so I can watch netflix even if the hotel room doesn't have a smart tv..

Who needs malware? IBM says most hackers just PowerShell through boxes now, leaving little in the way of footprints

PM from Hell

Re: Not much protection

This supports the argument I have been making for many years that any corporate body should have its own internal certificate authority. whee I have seen this implemented it's not a huge cost but does give you the ability to sign with a self generated certificate which never needs to leave your network boundary. This allows much greater granularity of control and prevents the organisation becoming the victim of an external cheap or free cert provider being hacked.

There are some very specific hardware controls you need to take over the physical root CA server however and I have seen more than one which was hosted in heavy duty steel cage bolted to a concrete floor.

PM from Hell
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Re: Ironic that...

I agree to restricting access to PS for non privileged users and even where there is an exception the scripts should be signed.

making a single users job a little bit easier is not an excuse for opening such a large threat surface

Blue Monday: Efforts to inspire teamwork with swears back-fires for n00b team manager

PM from Hell

Use of Swear words in test / demo systems is never acceptable

The data will always be re purposed for something you didn't consider. It sounds like the guidelines were sensible, I've done similar things but set the challenge for identifying as many characters in a book or series, the Simpsons, the Hobbit etc.

But be aware anything entered into the test system will end up being projected in a senior stakeholder meeting at a crucial demo or will be used in training systems which will usually be cloned from test to save time. If there is anything you don't want them to see that's what will pop up.

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers

PM from Hell

Exec demo's - test and freeze and don't restart the bl**dy infrastructure

Over 30 years of managing projects I have lost count of the number of times I have had to reschedule demo's because there has been a 'minor' change implemented outside my control.

I've also been caught out by 'trial' licences in the past and I won't agree to use them for development platforms, also if I can't schedule a server reboot a couple of weeks in advance of the demo then it gets embargoed. I do work with the infrastructure teams to make sure that my dev and test environments are patched and software is updated in line with production as that avoids issues at cutover, but the period before a major demo changes are frozen. Similarly if I don't have a static demo environment then there is a config freeze on the environment being used for a week before the demo.

Even with these rules in place I was still embarrassed last year as a very senior dev decided to make a 'minor config change to the ruby config which won't affect the UI' so he didn't even bother telling me. Guess what, it completely broke the links between screens and he had to type in the full url to navigate between them. Needless to say the demo was abandoned after 5 minutes and I had to spend the next 2 weeks apologising to numerous managers who had heard that we would not be ready to go live because the system was completely broken. The demo 2 weeks later was perfect but we'd already lost the confidence of the operational business by then and it never fully recovered.

Solder and Lego required: The Register builds glorious Project Alias gizmo to deafen Alexa

PM from Hell

Re: If I was to have one

You obviously have no idea how exhausting caring for someone you love who is struggling can be. I had a small taste of this when my wife was wheelchair bound for 9 weeks after a car crash, re-arranging the house so she could come home from hospital was exhausting enough. We were extremely fortunate that we got 3 carers visits per day while I was at work but, I was still having to get up at dawn, get to work later (so leave later in the evening) then come home pick up the housework and additional care for the evening and then get her to bed. Fitting in shopping for food doing the washing etc and making sure we got out of the house for at least a short trip each weekend pretty much filled my waking hours. An off the shelf solution which just works like nest is a godsend for some carers and getting involved in petty criticism is not helpful. I'm sure the original contributer weighed up the privacy concerns but in this situation I would do exactly the same. If I ad 2 --3 hours spare I would rather have spent it ensuring my wife had a little fun rather than fiddling with tech bits. I do have privacy concerns about this tech and don't use Google Assistant, Cortana or Siri and do not have smart speakers but do use google audio and video Chromecasts as they are extending the life of several thousand pounds worth of hifi and TV equipment.

Hold horror stories: Chief, we've got a f*cking idiot on line 1. Oh, you heard all that

PM from Hell

Floppy Disks and staples

In my first role I was a technical support trainee, although I took the job to get trained up on mainframe systems I ended up getting lumbered with building and supporting the new office systems networks. Not On;y did I get a floppy disk with a acknowledgement slip stapled to it same user also sent me a photocopy of a floppy when I asked her to copy the boot disk. She was the departmental IT rep and was paid about twice what I was. She actually complained to my boss because it took me so long to resolve the issue she was having, which was actually that she kept corrupting boot disks because she insisted in leaving them in the floppy drive and just powering the machine off when she went home. (yes this really was that long ago)

PM from Hell

Re: The old Reply-ALL

I have a number of colleagues who agree with you, I ignore virtually all their emails as they tend to include me in long rambling email exchanges I simply don't have the time to read. Unfortunately the unintended consequence of this is that they now need to IM me or call me to tell me that they have actually sent me an email I need to read.

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

PM from Hell

Re: I generate the licenses..

I had to threaten ligation with one vendor when I needed a new licence key for software we owned but had let the support contract lapse on. This was a deliberate act as we were in the process of decommissioning the application because of their piss poor support.

Their annual support cost was so high I used the budget to fund the replacement app and still made a significant saving and the business department affected had agreed that if there was a major incident we would probably be able to complete the commissioning of the new app before the original vendor would respond to the call. We had not used their support service for a couple of years as it was so dire and our own team had learnt how to bring it back to life after its frequent crashing and data corruption incidents.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

PM from Hell

Re: Ex designer of military kit

Having managed several projects deploying CF19 toughbooks I came to the conclusion that 'prepping' the laptops with a 'standard build' is what causes the issues. What really wound me up having spent 8 weeks working with the deployment team aand Pansonioc engineers to come up with the best possible Panasonic build (including new aircard drivers developed for us in japan) was when the internal ITteam decided to remove all the 'Panasonic bloatware' and use the default windows drivers, cue all the problems with connectivity screen rotation etc we had spent 2 months resolving re-appearing. It took another 6 weeks to get authorisation to have a special Panasonic build approved even though we were rolling out 1500 of the them. A couple of years later working on an unrelated project at another customer I found that their own (very small) fleet of toughbooks would not work in tablet mode and the screen didn't rotate, again because the Panasonic drivers and utilities had been de-installed to 'clean up' the build. There is a reason toughbooks cost so muych and only part of it is the hardware.

NASA's Opportunity rover celebrates 15 years on Mars – by staying as dead as a doornail

PM from Hell

Re: A great job of engineering, but next time....

but who would wind up the Trevor Bayliss device?

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

PM from Hell

Re: No, you don't wish you'd have bought it.

or you'll finally decide to take that useless piece of junk you haven't touched for 10 years to the tip and go through with it.

the following week something will come out of left field that would have been so much easier with the device you just threw away. It's happened to me every single time I had a clear out.

or you'll get rid of a niche device because you can't find the interface cable / 13 volt power supply anjd thart missing part will turn up the day after you have skipped the kit.

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown

PM from Hell

Another wall?

We've already had the Antonine wall and Hadrian's what do we call the next one?

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

PM from Hell

Re: the monitor is nice

i use a couple of 24 inch iiyama Prolite monitors in my home office. As a PM I spend far too much time in spreadsheets and project plans. I fond that aligning the edge of the screen with the edge of a column lets my brain completely ignore the bezels in the middle. As I managed to buy these for just over £100 each, I've paired these with a Toshiba Dynadock (new old stock) for £30 and a wireless keyboard and mouse and I'm a happy camper working from home.

I bot the earlier version of the dock which only supports a single monitor ( i need to plug the second into the vga or HDMI port on the laptop. The v10 model supports two monitors connected directly to the dock. I'm probably going to replace that shortly. At present a new v10 dock is going for £45 on ebay. The dynadock is quick enough to handle the keyboard mouse and headset which the lenovo dock in the corporate office struggles to do. As this is a discontinued product there are no win10 drivers but you can download the generic displaylink drivers which work very well

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary

PM from Hell

not unique

I share my name with my son ( a family tradition) but the site didn't find him. Having said that my name is very rare and as the forename is reserved for eldest sons the combination does seem to be limited to no more than 3 or 4 in any branch of the family (one each apparently in the UK, US and India).

The glorious Brexit uncertainty: The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019

PM from Hell

Re: My prediction is...

The key difference between brexit and Y2K is that Y2K was a well defined issue, whether it was internal microcode, Bios updates or application fixes this was a comparatively simple issue, the fix was well defined, increase any year field to hold the century as well as year number. I was responsible for planning the remediation project in one organisation with 20,000 employees. The overall impact a large pc roll out, many O/S updates, unplanned application upgrades across every department and the manual remediation of several hundred in house written corporate applications and many thousands of user written access and foxpro systems.

The only way we got the work done in time was to stop all non-statuary changes and divert all development and project staff into supporting the project from 1997 until the end of 1999. Many other organisations found themselves in the same boat. Whilst some contingency planning has taken place and some companies have even invested in property and company establishment in the E.U. many thousands have done nothing yet as they are clinging on by their teeth hoping article 50 is revoked.

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow

PM from Hell

Data Center Migrations and application errors

Some of the commentators on this thread have obviously little or no experience of large scale migration projects. When you are migrating several hundred application services there are always errors present in the log files. The apps are often written in technologies you know little or nothing about so you have to rely on the application admins to be honest and knowledgeable about whether reported errors are significant. I always used to ask if the errors had been present during operation a month ago. I soon got used to the answer 'we never check the log files unless there is an outage' These days admins are often responsible for many and with automated event handling many admins no longer know what 'normal' looks like. I this case I place no blame on the poor chump running the migration but lots on the PHB who let any application admins have leave during this period and on the app admin himself for not investigating it further.

Dog with 'psychotic tendencies' escapes home to poop on his neighbours' pillows

PM from Hell

Re: It uses cat doors

Racoons are reliable?

Huawei MateBook Pro X: PC makers look out, the phone guys are here

PM from Hell

Re: I don't like the aspect ration

use a google chromecast in hotels, most hotel tv's have an hdmi port these days so if the tv itself doesn't have netflix I'll stream to the chromecast from my tablet or phone.

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert

PM from Hell

Who are we writing for

If there arethree things I hate in documentation its the use of obscure technical language which can be ambiguous to the reader, the use of over complex language when a simple phrase will do and grammar zealots.

We are not writing works of literature, these are technical guides, process documents and user instructions, they should;d be clear and concise and 'good enough' to do the job.

If a document is clear, unambiguous and correct then it is good enough, I'm not concerned whether the correct use has been made of the Oxford comma, or whether a technical team member who has worked hard to produce a good product has split an infinitive. Also think about your audience, not just in the language you use but also in the length of what you write. whilst a header explaining the purpose of a process may be appropriate for a design document its unlikely to be appropriate for the work instruction to be followed by a harassed agent in a call center who just needs the instructions (or script).

And if you ever do deliver products into a call center be sure to leave enough time for several reviews while the call center manager localises the instructions to suit the team culture. This is not the manager being difficult it is making sure that every thing agents see follows the house style and flow so mistakes are minimised. Your part of the review process is not to try and 'correct' the house style it's to make sure the technical elements remain correct.

OK Google, what is African ISP Main One, and how did it manage to route your traffic into China through Russia?

PM from Hell

Just a reminder

There's no such thing as 'the cloud' it's just somebody else's computer

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90

PM from Hell

Re: Fun IT facts about HAL's song

Back in the days of big iron mainframe CPU's used to have speakers linked to the cpu's. During normal operation you'd hear a vague grumbling from the CPU telling you that all things were happy in cyber space. A good sysadmins learnt to pay a visit to the computer suite (normally next door) as soon as anything was amiss. Silent speaker = no CPU cycles and a stalled system, you might be able to bring it back to life by killing or restarting a couples of system processes. Screaming speaker - looping processor - not just heavily loaded and you need to get in and kill the looping process before it brings down the on-line systems and crashed the mainframe, don't forget it would normally take a minimum of 20 minutes to restart a mainframe but if a hard IPL was required you would be looking at 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

I was a Consultant / Diagnostician for ICL during that period and often went on site to troubleshoot unreliable systems. All too often there was a strangely quiet mainframe because the operators didn't like the fact that the machine kept squealing at them so they had turned the speaker volume off. Turning it back up and looking for high CPU usage normally pointed me at the application causing the problem. It was then either back in the hands of the application development team or I'd perform some code analysis to point them in the right direction. Often half a day on site would resolve a performance issue which had been dogging them for several months. Another case of £5 to fix a problem and £4,995 for knowing how to identify the root cause.

Ex-Microsoft manager sues former coworkers and Windows giant over claims of sex assault, gender discrimination

PM from Hell

It is effectively a ban on working in Corporate IT

From the article she worked as a Business Programme manager at Microsoft, looking for another role her skill base would focus her towards environments with a Microsoft infrastructure for their corporate services, target projects would be cloud migrations, moves to office 365, Lync rollouts etc. Being banned from using Microsoft resources would effectively prevent her being successful in that role. Even if she didn't require access to technical resources white papers or marketing materials most of us do require when managing projects if the client was using cloud based services and Azure hybrid id's the ban would seem to extend to that too.

With a Microsoft only CV she would be unlikely to make the interview cut for anything else.

International politicos line up to get shot down by Facebook

PM from Hell

Re: Simples

not quite as simples as it sounds, a lot of us use Facebook as a way of staying in touch with relatives and friends who work overseas. whilst losing access wouldn't be a disaster for me and I'd probably just use a VPN service it would be very disruptive for some people.

Other countries dont all allow access to other messaging services / facetime / skype

This one weird trick turns your Google Home Hub into a doorstop

PM from Hell

Re: Google being rather disingenous

I use a set of wireless switched socket adaptors to control background lighting in a couple of rooms, they are both absolutely dumb and cost approximately £15 for 3 st Wilco's.

They have worked very well so far and have removed the requirement to ferret around behind furniture to turn lamps on and off.

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee

PM from Hell

Is that where the phrase polishing a dog turd comes from?

Mac users burned after Nuance drops Dragon speech to text software

PM from Hell

Re: Hc Sunt Dracones (AND Windows)

As an IT literate PC user who spent literally thousands of hours supporting the families windows xp and windows 7 machines, often being called in to resurrect dead systems I would like to concur with the previous writer. At the point where I needed to replace my personal laptop it came with windows 8.1 which I did hate. I was on the verge of installing windows 10 when my brother in law ho is not at all pc literate bought the same machine, which by then was being built with windows 10. This lead me to upgrade my laptop to win10 purely to support him as the new UI was driving him scatty. I thought this would be a temporary upgrade but ended up staying on it because it was so stable.This is also the first machine my brother in law has had which has not required an urgent cross country visit to rebuild just before a crucial sales presentation. Having managed some small projects deploying both dragon naturally speaking and jaws the product combination does seem to work well for most visually impaired users. The PDF problem is not restricted to windows or JAWS. If the PDF or web page is created with visual impairment in mind both products work very well. If The PDF creator does not create an accessible file or web designed does not conform to W3C standards then both programs may struggle. Within larger organisations there does need to be a culture change to ensure that both these actions happen. I'm still regularly shocked by young developers who have never heard of accessibility standards.

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

PM from Hell

Re: Once in the rain ...

Working in a rural location I got used to new suppliers arriving late as they would not believe they would spend 20 miles behind tractors on a regular basis but also the 'oops I've had an RTA phone call as they ditched the car trying to overtake said tractors.

Funniest occurrence was the salesman who drowned the demo printer he was delivering when he slid off the road into a dyke on an icy road, thankfully he was OK but the printer and the car carrying it both ended up submerged in 5 meters of water.

I would ignore late arrivals for the first visit with no penalty but after that would expect them to listen to me when I would tell them to allow 1 1/2 hours for a 40 mile journey during harvest. Beer icon as its friday.

Microsoft Surface to die in 2019? Not while Redmond keeps making it, er, blush

PM from Hell

Re: Surface phone?

You mean yet another good device launched with a fanfare then abandoned a year later with no mainstream apps working?

I still have a Microsoft Lumia in my bedside table. Occasionally I even power it up to use as a media player. This was the device which finally drove me into the arms of Apple.

Virgin Media? More like Virgin Meltdown: Brit broadband ISP falls over amid power drama

PM from Hell

Steak and Kidney puddings

I can just about manage without gravy at the chippy here in the midlands but have to return back to the northwest on a regular basis to get a steak and kidney pudding fix.

It seems completely unknown elsewhere in the country and the efforts served up by gastro pubs cant complete with a Hollands steak and kidney pudding chips peas and gravy

Indiegogo pulls handheld airport pervscanners off crowdfunding platform

PM from Hell
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Wrist Mounted?

Bearing in mind what its going to be used for it may need some very very good image stabilisation

US JEDI military cloud network is so high-tech, bidders will have to submit their proposals by hand, on DVD

PM from Hell

Re: How many bidders...

Ironically I have a couple of internal DVD burners in my spares case plus cables, I just don't have a desktop PC to house them in any more

Attempt to clean up tech area has shocking effect on kit

PM from Hell

It's not always the cleaners

I was a newish Tech Support Manager running an established DC where we were getting unexpected disk failures.

Its environmental said my mainframe supplier, when were the floor and roof voids last cleaned. The response from the ops team was 'never' I paid about 10K to get that done.Fantastic not only that mainframe but all the other systems but one became more reliable.

For some reason I had to be in the office at 6:30 one morning so popped into the DC to check everything was OK. leaning against the one system with problems was the ops team leaders bicycle. It turned out when it rained on the way to work he liked to bring it into the DC to let the AC dry it off. Needless to say the AC was also sucking road grit off it and recycling it through £250,000 worth of disk array. One rather shouty conversation later we had another line added of things not to be brought into the data center. Believe it or not the bottom 2 lines above bicycle were Fireworks & Rocket Motors.

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU

PM from Hell

Re: I think some people might have missed something...

There is a world of difference advertising in a periodical which is read by professionals or on a similar website and restricting visibility of the ad's.

Whilst the majority of computer weekly subscribers were male, our female colleagues were not restricted from subscribing and did so. Similarly I'm sure the vast majority of IT job seekers in the up registered with jobserve are male, but my female colleagues also register when job hunting.

It would never offer to me that when Facebook show me a job advert about a PM role that the female colleague at the next desk would not also be presented with the ad.

A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds

PM from Hell

Re: Developer PC

I always try and make sure my devs have the appropriate tools for the project and will go to bat if need be.Sometimes even the PM is at the mercy of the PHB's I took over a project many years ago the week TOAD became a commercial product. Just my luck that it needed to be licensed separately for the farcical price of £1500 per copy. My poor devs were given brand new top of the range machines but were forced to use the Oracle development set and vt100 terminal emulators.

I did have a huge bust up with a dev team manager once when I was a tech support manager. He got hold of an evaluation copy of the COBOL compiler for my IBM VM mainframe (*1 off offer 30 day license) because he appointed a contractor who only wrote COBOL (in 1990 when were were a SQL developer shop). He had the contractor in for 4 weeks developed the code and de-installed the compiler. Then it failed User Acceptance Testing. Unfortunately for him I wasn't willing to pick up the £30,000 PA cost of the compiler licence for one module in one app and one of the other devs had to reverse engineer it in Oracle.

Experimental 'insult bot' gets out of hand during unsupervised weekend

PM from Hell

Re: Feiertage

I got caught out on a contract in Germany. TMobile were booked to install a couple of ISDN lines to put my test centre on the network and the visit was booked on a holiday. I was assured that TMobile would attend even though the business the building was in would be closed. End result 12 hours sat in an office waiting for TMobile who never turned up followed by a phone call to TMobile customer services the following day who told me I should have just ignored the appointment letter, reminder letter and the reminder reminding me we would pay a default charge if there was no access, "because everybody knew the visit would not take place". I then had to re-book the installation and yes that did mean waiting for a new order form to arrive by snail mail, signing the new order and faxing it back. Oh yes, German efficiency cannot be beaten. I was PM on a Euro Conversion project and had my hire car trapped in the city car park for 4 days as they could not take card payments or notes after their conversion (mine went fine) and the car park bill increased slightly faster than my collection of euro coins was growing. I finally managed to retire the car when my hotel received a delivery of coins from the bank.

PM from Hell

Re: Costly? No...

The actual restrictions were CoCom, the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls organized to restrict Western exports to COMECON countries.

During this period I once had to get an export licence from the American Department of Defence for an IBM RD6000 as it was classed as being powerful enough to run ICBM simulations for design purposes. It had more processing power than the combined CPU's of the 7 mainframes I had installed in the datacentre and more total Ram (an incredible 64 MB).

PM from Hell

Re: At Korev, re: tuning a vacuum...

Well your comment was a bit fishy

GitHub goes off the Rails as Microsoft closes in

PM from Hell

Great more automated non-perfomant code

"There used to be this pride in being super technical and getting into the weeds," he said. "That's kind of not cool anymore. What's cool is getting stuff to your users." ®

I think I'm on cycle 5 of this theory in my career, product after product which allows devs to put together flaky prototypes which are then released into the production environment and amazingly, don't scale. Then one of the less fashionable 'geeks' has to strip out the auto generated code which is making the product I/.O bound, disassemble the queries join the same table 6 times and fix the error reporting so it means something to the end user.

Of course this is normally done at 10 pm on a thursday night when everyone but myself and a couple of old techies are sat in a dark office trying to make sure we can get the app in a fit state to restart by morning.

Why is my cheapo Android red hot and switching off Wi-Fi?

PM from Hell

Move to the dark side

The lack of android updates (without rooting the device and installing a custom rom) was what made me move first to Windows 10 Mobile and then (when most of the apps I wanted had disappeared) to an iphone.

IF we ever see a manufacturer moving to a support model which is network independent and committing to the support cycles Apple do then I may move back but there's no sign of it so far and historically manufactures and networks have never delivered this for Android.

The off-brand 'military-grade' x86 processors, in the library, with the root-granting 'backdoor'

PM from Hell

It may have been built by the lowest bidder but it was the lowest bidder to offer the MIL spec. I managed a roll out to gas and electricity network engineers, the guys who work on the high tension services and high pressure mains. They could destroy an ordinary laptop in days (being thrown around the van, used in wet conditions etc. The MIL grade laptops we replaced them with were just about indestructible and the guys loved the fact that they were washable. I can appreciate that battlefield use is an order of magnitude more extreme whilst our guys needed a lappy that could be perched on the edge of a trench so they could look at valve diagrams etc, drop it in the trench then carry on, no-one was shooting at them .

Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

PM from Hell

Re: Actually back in the 1990s I was at a company...

I think I remember that issue, didn't HP provide a clip on tray to collect the dropped letters

Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design

PM from Hell

Architect Smartitect

I find new build installs are a;;ways a disaster in the making and every time it could have been avoided if the ICT team were allowed to speak directly to the contractors.

Amongst the issues I've experienced were:

A computer suite which overheated as the aircon outlet fed into a dummy clock tower. the builders decide to put plywood panels behind the openings to prevent pigeons nesting there making the tower almost airtight and preventing the heat exchanges working.

The system ran for 48 hours before the heat buildup caused the environmental systems to power down the suite.

A new library with public access computers and staff network on every floor where the inter floor ducting was made by embedding 6 inch waste pipes into the concrete floor. this meant that there was no space for the 100+ cables needing routing thorough the floors and we had to go to fibre, not a bad move but a very expensive option at the time and one which wasn't budgeted for,

Finally getting on site to find the comms room was actually in the roof void and had sloping ceilings, we ended up with 6 different comms cabinets each of a different size and all crammed with equipment rather the 6 full height cabinets.

A university where the comns 'cabinets' were actually doorways into a service void which ran the whole height of the building making installing equipment far more perilous than expected.

Finally every single new build I have been involved in leaked. For some reason leaks always end up directly above racks of very expensive IT equipment, nylon sheeting is not part of my supply list for any new build.

We even had an issues where network cables were laid in a hurry as the building was handed over late, cables were pulled thorough quickly, connected up to network points and tested, PC's installed over night and the room handed over the following morning as staff training was starting By 07:30 all the network points failed ad t turned put the cables had been under tension and had 'shrunk' overnight.

Another item in my new build kit is now a 24 port switch and long Ethernet cable as at the network always seems to fail in at least one room when live use starts.

Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

PM from Hell

Sometimes violence is the only answer

At the opposite end of the scale was a large rogue Laser printer in one of our offices. We had many of these devices and most were loaded by users successfully, having trained them to be gentle, careful about engaging toner cartridges in the right slots etc. The exact same model in one office would only respond to extreme force. Follow the guidance properly and the damned thing would throw errors on every tray, ask you to check for non existent paper jams and insist on the whole rigmarole of opening and closing doors and trays in its preferred sequence before condescending to print anything. The only way to guaranteed instant performance was to shove the toner cartridge in with force, this seemed to cow the thing into good behaviour.

it never once misbehaved when an engineer attended and even an internal investigation failed to reveal any issues. It became the one printer in the building which required a service desk visit to change the cartridge. I assume the annoyance of having to walk 300 yards to slam in a toner cartridge resulted in the appropriate force being generated. Just as well it was in the HQ offices and not at the other end of the county.


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