Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: Bluetooth Made Me Un-picture My Contacts

    Can software become more complicated and yet still be easy to use? It seems that, unfortunately in some cases, it can - and does so whether you like it or not. I just spent two hours trying to fix the Bluetooth connection between my wife's phone and her car, and discovered just how unfortunate it can...
  • Blog Post: An Automatic Upgrade to Uncontrolled Access

    How could they get it so wrong? I've been very happy with all the other Netgear hardware scattered across my network, including ADSL modems, switches, and the NAS box, but I'm beginning to wonder if the WNDR 4500v2 wireless router I upgraded to last year was such a great idea. Especially when a firmware...
  • Blog Post: Re-balanced and Re-routed (a.k.a. Wanna Buy An Old Modem?)

    Maybe it's because I was a boy scout when I was young that I have this need to be prepared for every eventuality. Or maybe it's my default paranoia mode that assumes stuff will just break without warning, typically on a Friday evening. It's probably why you can't move in my office for piles of spare...
  • Blog Post: You Have To Trust Somebody...

    After spending part of the seasonal holiday break reorganizing my network and removing ISA Server, this week's task was reviewing the result to see if it fixed the problems, or if it just introduced more. And assessing what impact it has on the security and resilience of the network as a whole. I...
  • Blog Post: The Network Ate My Shortcuts!

    It's a bit scary when you turn on your computer and it's different from when you left it the day before. I don't mean it's a different computer (though sometimes that would be nice), but that something changed while you were in the land of nod. This happened to me last week. As I sat yawning and stretching...
  • Blog Post: Ultra Paranoid Computing

    Much as I complain about some TV documentaries being dumbed down (for example, showing a clip of an explosion every time the presenter mentions The Big Bang in case you can't remember what an explosion looks and sounds like), I have to admit that a recent episode of the BBC Horizon series was an excellent...
  • Blog Post: Warning! Warning! New Laptop Encountered!

    So at last my new company computer arrived. And, like all competent technology users, I carefully perused the operating manual before starting it up the first time. You never know, it might say something important. And what I found has made me wonder if I actually dare use it at all. For a start,...
  • Blog Post: Re-chromed, But Still Not Shiny

    So here's a question: why aren't our European masters hounding a certain well-known company to stop them installing unwanted software on our computers? Every time a hole in the Flash plugin is fixed they insist on fiddling with people's computers in a way that, if not actually illegal, seems to cause...
  • Blog Post: Talk To The Mouse 'Cos The Keyboard Ain't Listening

    So it's true. Senility had obviously settled in and my addled brain can no longer maintain even the simplest items of information such as a two-fingered keyboard combination. It seems that in future I'll be wandering aimlessly around my server room dribbling helplessly onto the network switches, muttering...
  • Blog Post: I Bet They Wish They'd Called It Facebooc

    Some days it would be nice if things just did what you expected. Like music coming out of your MP3 player when you press the play button, or nice brown toast coming out of the toaster after the prerequisite two minutes. Or Windows Media Center quite happily recognizing that, yes, it does have a TV tuner...
  • Blog Post: The Wrong Type of Electricity

    It's customary here in England to castigate British Rail for their outlandish non-service excuses. As far back as I can remember we've had "leaves on the line". Then, after they spent several million pounds on special cleaning trains, it morphed into "the wrong kind of leaves on the line". And of course...
  • Blog Post: I Can See Your House From Here

    Talking to an acquaintance over email the other day, I was taken aback when he asked me when I'd exchanged my old car for a new one. As I hadn't, I asked what had prompted this inquiry. He lives at the other end of the country and hasn't ever been to my house, but he'd happened to wander virtually down...
  • Blog Post: Fire(wall)fighting Lync and Service Bus

    I once went to a security conference presentation where the speaker explained that blocking ports in your firewall was fine, but developers simply get round this limitation by making everything work over HTTP through port 80. And it seems, in most cases, he was correct. However, I sometimes encounter...
  • Blog Post: Seven Heaven, or Wait for Eight?

    There's lots of comment at the moment about the "post-PC age". Seemingly everyone will just use some Internet tablet or device that installs the O/S and applications from the cloud, keeps all of the data in the cloud, and uses only services running in the cloud. No need for a fast processor, hard drive...
  • Blog Post: Bey0nd Th3 Fr1nge

    So the Edinburgh Fringe Festival ended last week and, as usual, they announced the winners of the under twenty seconds joke category. The winner, it seems, was Nick Helm's contribution of "I needed a website password containing eight characters, so I used SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarves". Oh dear. And second...
  • Blog Post: I Don't Want To Be Remembered...

    I'm probably not the only person who suddenly wondered if my computer had gone funny a few weeks ago when the Windows Live sign-in page looked very different from the one I'm used to. It was only after tracking down the Windows Live team blog and reading the article about it that I realized what was...
  • Blog Post: The Internet is Fundamentally Broken

    Did you know that the internet is fundamentally broken? An excerpt from a recent interview by Emma Barnett with Carl Sjogreen, product manager at Facebook, includes this amazing comment: "The fact that I can go to a site and it doesn't know who I am or what I like shows how fundamentally broken the internet...
  • Blog Post: Tales Of A Paranoid SysAdmin (Part 2)

    "Welcome back! You join us as Alex is trying to decide whether to act out his Star Wars fantasy with an R2 detour (D2-er, get it? Maybe not). With several hundreds of newly acquired gigs in the servers, will he risk upgrading from the so-last-decade Windows Server 2008 to the shiny new R2 edition? Especially...
  • Blog Post: Tales Of A Paranoid SysAdmin (Part 1)

    Oh dear. Here in this desolate and forgotten outpost of the p&p empire it's pretend-to-be-a-sysadmin time all over again. Daily event viewer errors about the servers running out of disk space and shadow copies failing (mainly because I had to disable them due to lack of disk space) are gradually...
  • Blog Post: The Latest Love of My (Programming) Life?

    Is it really possible to love jQuery? It certainly seems like it is from the numerous blog and forum posts I've read while trying to figure out how to make it do some fairly simple things. Many of the posts end with rather disturbing terms of endearment: "...this is why I just love jQuery" being a typical...
  • Blog Post: Joie de VB-er

    Well I'd have to say I haven't had so much fun for ages. Playing with familiar stuff (and some less familiar stuff) has revived my joy of writing complicated algorithms and creating useful utilities. It's almost like being back in the old days of creating COM components for classic ASP web sites to do...
  • Blog Post: The Shadow in the Machine

    There's some ethereal guy called "system" wandering around inside my servers stealing stuff. It's a bit like when you were a kid and your parents hid things from you. When my hamster died, my Dad told me it had gone to live on a farm. Of course, when I got a bit older and my Grandmother passed away I...
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