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Evil geniuses and world domination are 2 of our goals... we also like Dr Who

AWTomation Service

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Regular readers of the site might notice that I keep almost deliberately tight-lipped about where I work for real.  That’s right dear reader – Although we live in the bunker – it ultimately doesn’t really pay the bills.  Nope, to do that we engage ourselves within various industries.

 

I’ve always been a little cagey about talking about employers, and I sort of feel that Titanium Bunker is my thing, and I don’t want to muddy the waters between a ‘professional’ career, and the funny little projects I work on at home.

But I’ve recently been working on a project for my employer that I find personally interesting, and thought I’d write about it here.   Now – to clarify : My employer has not asked me to work on this directly, rather this is a project that I am working on because I think that it will ultimately add value to the business, and it’s also an interesting problem to solve.

So here’s that problem.


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Black hole appearing in quahog

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The void swallowing up Quahog.

The void swallowing up Quahog.

So Spooner Street seems to be missing some buildings, and indeed street. Instead there is nothing – a void where nothing exists.

Nice work there Tinyco

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Yes, somehow this quality screen layout bypassed the QA department.

Family Guy Quest For stuff layout that obviously 'escaped' without QA'ing

Looks like QA never get to see this screen layout…

Nice

Cultural Relevancy Pt5

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Following on from previous entries here, here, here and here  about cultural relevancy here’s is an interesting article.

Looks like a Commodore Amiga is controlling the whole air conditioning for 19 schools. Here’s the story on Yahoo:

yahoo front page

The Yahoo Main page with the story .

something strange about the accompanying image. lets take a look at the image:

The image from the yahoo website

That’s right, the picture in question isn’t of an Amiga. It’s a picture of a Commodore 64!

Looks like yahoo, have done a cursory search for an Amiga and grabbed the first image they could find without verifying whether or not it is actually an Amiga,

For those of you born after 1995, here’s what an Amiga actually looks like:

Amiga500_system

“Amiga500 system” by Bill Bertram – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amiga500_system.jpg#/media/File:Amiga500_system.jpg

Now, it could simply be  the case that an honest mistake was made. However I would assume that if you take the time to type a document, spell check it, and pass it to your editor, you might take more than a second to make sure your accompanying image is correct.

Another way to think about this article is that essentially, the article is saying ‘Wow! look at this ye olde tech that’s still running well after 30 years! and what better way of selling old tech than by having a picture of a really old machine.’

Imagine if this machine was running the air conditioning for 19 schools in the Grand Rapids Public Schools:

Bruno Barral (ByB) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Babbages Analytical Engine: Bruno Barral (ByB) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine how impressed you would be. because it’s a piece of ancient technology that still works, and it is not immediately obvious how it actually works.  Looking at the Amiga, its kind of similar to an ordinary PC, there’s a keyboard, a mouse, a monitor – all the main components of a typical user’s PC experience. There’s also a floppy disk drive. The actual model used by the school was a slightly later 1987 Amiga 200.  So what does that look like?

By Trafalgarcircle (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Trafalgarcircle (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Yeah. it kind of looks like a PC. The story is looking less and less exciting now isn’t it? Fudge a photo editing mistake, and show the keyboard of a C64 and suddenly we get that whole ‘Babbage’ vibe again.

The talk is that  the whole system will be replaced, should funding be available.  Costs are being pegged between $1.5 and $2 million

Now before you spit your tea across the room and start raging about the frittering of public money, think about this for a second:

It’s is a fair bet the Amiga was installed into an existing air conditioning/heating system for the 19 schools. What this cost is for is to install new heating and air conditioning in 19 schools and install a centralised mechanism to control them all. It’s probably also a fair bet that as the system has been working for 30 years, that the budget for maintenance of the system has most likely been moved to other departments. How mush does a new mouse really cost? and a monitor?

so this system that was not designed for controlling by an Amiga, was instead powered by another computer the size of a refrigerator. so the initial system has already been Heath-Robinson’ed about a bit. The assumption is that the original computer was probably something like a Pdp-1140 which is roughly the size of a fridge:

"Pdp-11-40" by Stefan_Kögl - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pdp-11-40.jpg#/media/File:Pdp-11-40.jpg

“Pdp-11-40″ by Stefan_Kögl – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pdp-11-40.jpg#/media/File:Pdp-11-40.jpg

That would give us a rough initial installation time of the late 60’s early 70’s. That being the case, the original computer managed somewhere between 10-15 years. it’s successor lasted 200% longer so the assumption is that should a new system be installed, then it should hopefully last at least 60 years.

$200 Million between 19 schools over 60 years suddenly doesn’t look that bad really

The story itself is kind of throwaway. essentially it can be reduced down to :

Well spec’ed system operates autonomously with minimal maintenance for 30 years.

If only all IT Projects where this successful.

you can read more about the story Here.

 

 

 

@Amazon help page

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Lorem Ipsum is an option in Amazon Help

Lorem Ipsum is an option in Amazon Help

So now the Amazon Help page here has 2 menu options in the left hand menu for “Lorem Ipsum”…

Microsoft ASP.NET MVC Free On-Demand Training

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I’m learning ASP.NET MVC, so when Microsoft sent the following tweet :

I thought -‘cool – let’s have a go and see what they’re offering’. I visited the course and had a go at the assessment, and I was surprised to fail on the following question :


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IP Phone error message in the wild

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A friend of mine, sent me this picture while he was on holiday.  All the way from Dubai :

IP Phone error in Dubai

IP Phone error in Dubai

Thanks Adeem!

Contacting Creta Marine Hotel (Iberostar)

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I sent an email to Iberostar Hotels about the issues that I expereicned using their internet kisosk at the Creta Marine Hotel.

 


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Bletchley Park : Security and Secrecy zone update

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I emailed Bletchley Park following my visit, and advised of some issues i had found when visiting the Security and secrecy exhibition.

I received the following the following email this morning.


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Chrome update message in the wild at bletchley park

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wpid-20150525_132456.jpg

 

 The error message moans that chrome needs to be updated