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How do you call support when the telephones go TITSUP*?
Friday, 03 December 2021 19:31

HTTP/2 200 date: Sat, 04 Dec 2021 13:00:13 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/78f942e1b20d3190378301f8e5c98d8b4d345599/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/7f6a81a3baf9720dc4cec3aa19f32c7a078c0795/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/7f6a81a3baf9720dc4cec3aa19f32c7a078c0795/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Sat, 04 Dec 2021 13:00:12 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy01us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines x-content-type-options: nosniff cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 6b853761ef7d5ac8-MEL alt-svc: h3=":443"; ma=86400, h3-29=":443"; ma=86400, h3-28=":443"; ma=86400, h3-27=":443"; ma=86400 On Call: Printer stopped phone system working • The Register

Fix the printer, fix the phones


On Call A story with a difference from the On Call vaults today. Who do you call when the phones stop working? A Register reader reveals all.

We're back in the 1990s for a tale from "Frank" (obviously not his name), who found himself dealing with a problem when all the phones in his company failed. Sure, it meant the On Call phone was quiet. Too quiet.

The company had its own PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange), enabling users to call each other and, most importantly, place calls to the outside world. Except for some reason that morning phones were dead.

"And in those days," Frank explained, "that meant the company was defunct. No email existed except internal."

Although nobody could directly place a call for help, Frank's team immediately began investigating. It took half a day, during which time those used to having handsets welded to the side of their heads had to find other ways of looking important (doubtless via the clunky mobile telephones of the day), but the issue was eventually discovered.

"The problem we found after half a day was..." said Frank, pausing for effect (dun, dun, dun), "the protocol printer for printing all calls and the fees being generated off them had run out of paper."

A delightfully low-tech problem, and one that the team had taken a while to understand because, quite frankly, it hadn't been fully understood that this was how accounts tracked people and just how significant the printer was. Someone used the phone and the call was logged and the cost spat out by the printer. However, if the logs could not be printed then the designers of the PABX had made the decision that it was better that nobody be allowed to use the phone at all.

Pop in some more paper, and everyone was happy. Sort of.

There was a flaw in the system, one Frank discovered quite by accident. As he inspected the printouts from the recovered printer, he found no record of his own telephone activities. Even after a particularly expensive call (he did not elaborate), there was no record.

It transpired that while the PABX would stop working for all phones if the paper ran out, it would only actually print fees for the first 100 phones in the company (requiring an expensive upgrade to do so). Phones beyond that first 100 would still work (assuming the printer hadn't dropped offline). But there'd be no incriminating printout. Frank's phone was one of the lucky over-100.

"I kept that to myself, though."

After all, nobody wants to make the walk of shame to the beancounters' office.

Ever fixed one problem, only to find another that you kept very, very quiet about? Or summoned support without access to phone or email? Tell us all about it with an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . ®

*Total Inability To Service User Phonecalls


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The RPGGreetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition onNew World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

Continue readingAmerican diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

"Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

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The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

"We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

Continue reading

The US Attorney's Office of Arizona on Wednesday announced the indictment of two men on charges that they defrauded musicians and associated companies by claiming more than $20m in royalty payments for songs played on YouTube.

The 30-count indictment against Jose Teran, 36, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Webster Batista, 38, of Doral, Florida, was returned by a grand jury on November 16, 2021. It accuses the two men of conspiracy, wire fraud, transactional money laundering, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to steal YouTube payments.

"In short, Batista and Teran, as individuals and through various entities that they operate and control, fraudulently claimed to have the legal rights to monetize a music library of more than 50,000 songs," the indictment [PDF] alleges.

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With the days of the International Space Station (ISS) numbered, NASA is looking to maintain an uninterrupted US presence in low-Earth orbit. Although Axiom Space has plans to build from the ISS, the $415.6m award is about developing space station designs and "other commercial destinations in space."

Blue Origin, which has partnered with Sierra Space to develop the Orbital Reef, received $130m. Nanoracks, which is working on a commercial low-Earth orbit destination called "Starlab" (with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin), received $160m, and Northrop Grumman's Cygnus-based station received $125.6m. The Cygnus currently does duty as a freighter for the ISS.

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HTTP/2 200 date: Sat, 04 Dec 2021 13:00:13 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/78f942e1b20d3190378301f8e5c98d8b4d345599/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/7f6a81a3baf9720dc4cec3aa19f32c7a078c0795/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/7f6a81a3baf9720dc4cec3aa19f32c7a078c0795/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Sat, 04 Dec 2021 13:00:12 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy01us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines x-content-type-options: nosniff cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 6b853761ef7d5ac8-MEL alt-svc: h3=":443"; ma=86400, h3-29=":443"; ma=86400, h3-28=":443"; ma=86400, h3-27=":443"; ma=86400 On Call: Printer stopped phone system working • The Register

Fix the printer, fix the phones


On Call A story with a difference from the On Call vaults today. Who do you call when the phones stop working? A Register reader reveals all.

We're back in the 1990s for a tale from "Frank" (obviously not his name), who found himself dealing with a problem when all the phones in his company failed. Sure, it meant the On Call phone was quiet. Too quiet.

The company had its own PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange), enabling users to call each other and, most importantly, place calls to the outside world. Except for some reason that morning phones were dead.

"And in those days," Frank explained, "that meant the company was defunct. No email existed except internal."

Although nobody could directly place a call for help, Frank's team immediately began investigating. It took half a day, during which time those used to having handsets welded to the side of their heads had to find other ways of looking important (doubtless via the clunky mobile telephones of the day), but the issue was eventually discovered.

"The problem we found after half a day was..." said Frank, pausing for effect (dun, dun, dun), "the protocol printer for printing all calls and the fees being generated off them had run out of paper."

A delightfully low-tech problem, and one that the team had taken a while to understand because, quite frankly, it hadn't been fully understood that this was how accounts tracked people and just how significant the printer was. Someone used the phone and the call was logged and the cost spat out by the printer. However, if the logs could not be printed then the designers of the PABX had made the decision that it was better that nobody be allowed to use the phone at all.

Pop in some more paper, and everyone was happy. Sort of.

There was a flaw in the system, one Frank discovered quite by accident. As he inspected the printouts from the recovered printer, he found no record of his own telephone activities. Even after a particularly expensive call (he did not elaborate), there was no record.

It transpired that while the PABX would stop working for all phones if the paper ran out, it would only actually print fees for the first 100 phones in the company (requiring an expensive upgrade to do so). Phones beyond that first 100 would still work (assuming the printer hadn't dropped offline). But there'd be no incriminating printout. Frank's phone was one of the lucky over-100.

"I kept that to myself, though."

After all, nobody wants to make the walk of shame to the beancounters' office.

Ever fixed one problem, only to find another that you kept very, very quiet about? Or summoned support without access to phone or email? Tell us all about it with an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . ®

*Total Inability To Service User Phonecalls


Other stories you might like

The RPGGreetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition onNew World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

Continue readingAmerican diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

"Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

Continue readingUtility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

"We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

Continue reading

The US Attorney's Office of Arizona on Wednesday announced the indictment of two men on charges that they defrauded musicians and associated companies by claiming more than $20m in royalty payments for songs played on YouTube.

The 30-count indictment against Jose Teran, 36, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Webster Batista, 38, of Doral, Florida, was returned by a grand jury on November 16, 2021. It accuses the two men of conspiracy, wire fraud, transactional money laundering, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to steal YouTube payments.

"In short, Batista and Teran, as individuals and through various entities that they operate and control, fraudulently claimed to have the legal rights to monetize a music library of more than 50,000 songs," the indictment [PDF] alleges.

Continue readingHot not-Spot-bot spot: The code behind Xiaomi's CyberDog? Ubuntu Your four-legged open-source friend? CIMON says 'Maybe'

Linux fans rejoice: the smarts running behind Xiaomi's Not-Spot, CyberDog, emanate from none other than Ubuntu 18.04.

The Register asked Canonical why not something a little fresher, such as 20.04, and were told by robotics product manager, Gabriel Aguiar Noury, that "the operating system is running 18.04 rather than 20.04 because they are using Jetson, and 18.04 is more compatible for the approach the team had in mind."

The CyberDogbounded onto the global stage in August and represented the company's first foray into the world of quadruped robotics.

Continue readingWhat will life in orbit look like after the ISS? NASA hands out new space station contracts The end is coming, and nobody wants a homeless 'naut

NASA has splashed the cash on design contracts for space stations and a multibillion-dollar job for more Artemis boosters.

With the days of the International Space Station (ISS) numbered, NASA is looking to maintain an uninterrupted US presence in low-Earth orbit. Although Axiom Space has plans to build from the ISS, the $415.6m award is about developing space station designs and "other commercial destinations in space."

Blue Origin, which has partnered with Sierra Space to develop the Orbital Reef, received $130m. Nanoracks, which is working on a commercial low-Earth orbit destination called "Starlab" (with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin), received $160m, and Northrop Grumman's Cygnus-based station received $125.6m. The Cygnus currently does duty as a freighter for the ISS.

Continue reading

Source: https://bit.ly/31qPDia