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Showing posts from January, 2021

Review: Drake Car Handle

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It's a pretty vanilla product name and with no overt company branding, but as Ted and Aidan say on ' Whatever Works ', whatever works, works. Very meta. Anyway... What's going on here is a way to get an extra grab handle for getting into or out of a car door. You might know that I injured my back recently (and am still in pain as I write this) - so I was dreading getting back into my car when needed. I saw this on Twitter as an advert, noted the price of £20 and then searched Amazon UK, finding the same item for £15 . Which is about right for a very tough accessory. You may have noticed that most car door 'jams' have a loop of tough steel, this is what the car door itself latches into - and it's tough because it's part of what makes your car safe in the event of a crash.  But someone had the bright idea of making a (also steel) accessory that inserts into this loop and then presents a textured plastic handle at right angles, perfect for using as a brace

On how I became a VAX cluster system manager by stealth!

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Once upon a time I was a tech support chappie in an aerospace company, helping support 3000 people using a Vax cluster (ah, happy mini-computer days!) But a chance 'spot' in the server room promoted me to a viable system manager... Back in the day, users were users, support people (like me) were 'operators' and could do stuff like resetting passwords, restarting printer queues. Then there were 'system managers', very rarified and usually only one of them. With full system privileges, anything could be set up, anything could be deleted, absolute power, mwhahaha, etc!! In the server room (air-conditioned, where the Vax mini-computers lived) there was a 'console', hardwired into the master Vax and with attached printer. The idea was that if all the networking went tits-up, one could enter commands there to reboot everything. And the echoing to printer was part of traceability, should the system manager (or operators) need to proof what they did. One day I w