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» The Dirty Secrets of Your Trade

Finger lickin' good.
While in between IT contracts and needing to keep money coming in I got a job as a cook at KFC. I'd worked for McD's before and that place was ok. Crap job but the place was organised and there was not that much to go wrong and ending up serving shit. (no need to fish buns out of the bin, it takes 20 seconds to toast another).

I did a couple of weeks training at a main branch where we were shown how to cook chicken. KFC have discovered that it is much cheaper to get chicken pieces that still have guts and half digested chicken
feed and stuff in. They don't come pre-prepared and they are done on site. The first thing you need to do is gut the chicken pieces. Most of it has been removed but you need to know the pockets where there are still guts. You then need to bread the chicken and shove it in a deep fat pressure cooker. Herein lies the problem. I know at least one of the people working there cooked the chicken without cleaning it of guts first. This is enough to put most people off but it gets worse. When I finished the main branch stuff I was sent to the place that needed the workers (Southampton, under a certain flyover). The woman that managed it had a serious inferiority complex and treated all the staff like primary school children. She went apeshit if someone there so much as swore under their breath bearing in mind that fast food kitchens are powered by vast amounts of creative swearing, southpark and cannabis. She couldn't run the place at all. She put all her staff on selling chicken and none for actually cooking it so the kitchen staff had to go flat out all the time and had no time to clean anything as they went along. The white tile floor of the walk in fridge was totally black. There were crates of chicken left all over the kitchen as the cooks had no time to go into the fridge to get more. The place stank of rotting poultry and I nearly blew chunks several times on the first day there. The break room was full of rubbish and stank. The manager also had a mission statement pinned to the wall that actually stated that her management style was to respect the staff. This was the last insult. Myself and several other cooks all decided to no-show on a busy bank holiday and never came back. Later I get an IT contract at the KFC head office and grass up the manager something rotten. It was worth losing my flat to quit that place. I found out later that the local ambulance station was using the drive through and the paras went down with food poisoning afterwards. They tried to get this branch shut down several times but somehow narrowly avoided it (backhanders). Length? A month too long.
(Sat 29th Sep 2007, 12:17, More)

» Trolls

SoRu is someone I used to regularly talk to on IRC. He is the greatest internet troll I have ever seen. From talking to this guy he was pretty smart but give that man an internet forum with a topical subject and he would perfectly emulate the most annoying 14 year old, post a new thread talking about some completely unrelated subject, and have exactly the right key words in the right places to turn the forum into a giant ball of rage.


For reference the forum was set up to get information relating to this:


This is the only screenshot that managed to survive a hard drive crash I had a few years after I took it. I don't have anything of the apoplectic rage he caused remaining.

4chan in 2004/2005 was a forum that was much less well known than it is today. It was just a 15 year old Christopher "Moot" Poole's hobby site that some people from SomethingAwful knew about. It had a population consisting of some kind of strange mix of anime nerds, like me, and random paedos wanting to access the lolicon board that they used to have before Moot realised that having that on an internet forum is a really dumb idea when you are nearing prison age, and removed it and its admin. Even then, the almost rule-less random forum /b/ was a training ground college/university age internet trolls posting the most disgusting things they could find.

Moot, once decided to add to his forum and /b/ was getting a little unmanageable, and create a new forum board called /z/ and have it moderated by a different person every day, and see what happened. Unfortunately the first person he chose to moderate it was SovietRussia.

In less than a day he had not only turned it into a place that made the infamous /b/ look like mumsnet on 98% cocoa prozac, then completely covered the background in seizure inducing GIfs but he then got other people to start taking over the other boards on the forum and posting the worst stuff imaginable. /z/ was closed down, never reopened, and I'm sure the remaining staff and users from that time will never forget the day SoRu trolled the entirety of 4chan.

I swear the guy was some kind of mentally disturbed evil genius. He is probably sitting right now at a computer in the dark wearing only a gas mask and green pipe cleaners taped to his head, causing people to tear their hair out while telling them he accidentally shat in his rice krispies.
(Wed 25th May 2011, 22:00, More)

» IT Support

More stories from IT support.
OK, lets see what I remember...

First one:

I had one guy where the call notes went as follows:

Helpdesk: User reports PC will not turn on.
...10 minutes pass...
Helpdesk: I think the user is trying to take it apart. Get there quick!

The problem: The power switch has come away from the inside of the case, leaving the plastic button on the front of the case still there but with nothing to push against. By the time I got there he had somehow managed to tear out the button, tear out the silver plastic surround to the button, tear off the floppy drive cover and finally tear the whole front off the case: this being a compaq where if you pull the big obvious lever on the side the whole thing comes apart. I had to put the thing back together with superglue.

It turns out this guy had a history: A tech dropped by to do a ram upgrade one day and got an urgent phone call as he got there. He left the packet of ram on the desk saying he'd be back in 10 minutes after he rebooted a server or whatever. By the time he got back the guy had opened the case, laid the stick of ram on top of the motherboard (not actually inserting it anywhere) and powered on, killing the ram and the motherboard in the process...

Second one:

I've had someone with an NT4 workstation box moaning about performance. While he is yacking..

c:\psinfo \\10.fuck.socks.whatever

blah blab blah
Uptime: 200 days 3 hours 17 minutes

I try to tell him to reboot but no, he is a trader and never reboots his machine as he runs shit on it overnight...

3rd one:

I've had a site moaning about network performance and it turns out they are all trying to open a huge MS access database over the WAN. Access reads the entire file on open so 100 people opening a 2 gig file over a 10 meg WAN link was doing some serious havoc.

4th one:

Roaming profiles! Such a fantastic idea for people to download all their settings when they log in, until they go to a site which consists a shed in a field with a couple of PCs on it. This is hanging off a single channel ISDN and when windows tries to download their 1.6 gig PST file and the DVD image on their desktop it may mean that they took hours and hours to eventually log in.

I have some nice screenshots to add here:

Someone in the press office was feeling particularly poetic. It certainly brightened my day :)

The email filter worked on fleshtones so it liked blocking ID card mugshots and baby pictures as well as actual porn. We rarely got requests to release the porn but when we did we then had to explain to the user that we were not releasing "bangbox.jpg" despite the user purchasing 60k's worth of hardware from the sender, and that it certainly wasn't something work safe. He only conceided when we explained what it was a picture of...

I would have thought a PA should know how to open a picture.

The serious bit: The most harrowing day I had at work was when I was working for the company that owns Powerlink. This is the company that provides electricity to the London Underground and sends sparkies into the tunnels to keep things working during the small hours. I arrive for the early shift after being pulled over by the plod thanks to an admin error by my insurance company. I should have taken that as a sign that it was not going to be a good day. I am on a call when suddenly things start going batshit. "Something's happened! We're being told a power cable exploded. Is the (whatever that was a quick fix) going yet? I need to find out what's going on."

It turns out it wasn't a power cable; it was the first of the 7/7 bombs going off.

We did what we could to keep that branch of the company's stuff running as best we could for the rest of the day. I later worked for them directly and heard the stories of that day from the tube sparkies first hand. At least i'll know the answer when I get people asking "Where were you?"
(Mon 28th Sep 2009, 21:35, More)

» I'm going to Hell...

all your base...
When 7/7 happened i went on irc later that morning and told everyone "someone set up us the bangbus"...
(Thu 18th Dec 2008, 9:04, More)

» DIY Techno-hacks

The tronifier
When I was about 16 and spending most of the money I earned in Tandy, I had one of the first laser pointers. It ran of 3 N cells and was rather chunky and hexagonal. Eventually I got annoyed at locating the wierd batteries for it and wired in a power socket. Later on I decided to add a second one to the push button switch as this was starting to get a bit flakey. As there was now a load of unused space in the casing I then decided to saw the battery compartment off and tidy it up with the end cap.

I had a retractable headphone extender that had a circuit board inside with two brushes on it allowing the drum to turn but still keeping the headphones connected. One day I was messing around with the laser, decided to wire it up to this and stuck an old tape deck motor on it to make it turn. I had hoped to make some kind of cool laser display but then noticed it turned much faster than I thought it would and effectively drew a line on the wall. I thought "hey this is neat it makes stuff look a bit like tron when I turn the lights out.

I think I also had this thing in a plastic drum on the front of my bike at one point while riding down dark alleyways so I could do the light cycle thing.

A few years later I notice they now sell the same thing in DIY shops with a spirit level on it so you can hang pictures all in a line. I kinda wish i'd patented the damn thing...
(Thu 20th Aug 2009, 15:45, More)
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