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Author Topic: Yellow Peril; The All-Seeing Eye
uilleann
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Icon 10 posted May 10, 2003 13:06            Edit/Delete Post 
(The HellDesk operator has been trying for some time to talk the user through a problem where her inkjet printer cannot 'print' in white, instead the printer is leaving these white areas yellow)
HellDesk: Well, I'm afraid I'm starting to run out of ideas. We've changed your printer drivers, we've changed the ink cartridges, and nothing seems to work. I think you might need to send your printer back to us so our engineers can look it over. Our postal address is...
End User: Oh, hang on, I've just had an idea. Do you think it's worth trying to print onto a sheet of white paper rather than this yellow stuff I've been printing on so far...?
HellDesk: Aaarrgghhh!

- & -

HellDesk: Good morning, Technical Support?
End User: Hello. I've just bought one of your printers and attached it to my PC, but when I try to print to the printer the PC just tells me it can't see the printer. I've even held the printer up in front of the PC screen, but the PC still can't see it!
HellDesk: ?

lmao!!

(from www.helldesk.org.uk; see also www.humournet.co.uk/Jokes/techsupport.htm - lots more tech support fun where those came from :-)

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2003 13:33      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
End User: Oh, hang on, I've just had an idea. Do you think it's worth trying to print onto a sheet of white paper rather than this yellow stuff I've been printing on so far...?

The sad part is, I know users like this.... [shake head]

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get rich and you still die"


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Tut-an-Geek

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Icon 1 posted May 10, 2003 20:06      Profile for Tut-an-Geek   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
PS will love those [Smile]
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 01:11      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My favourites, from the bad old days when I had to take support calls....

1. A user who carefully made 2 copies of a floppy disk as instructed, and when told to put them somewhere safe and seperate, he pinned one to the notice-board in the office, and stuck the other to the fridge with a fridge-magnet.

2. The user who was asked to copy a data file to floppy and mail it to us. The floppy wouldn't fit in a standard envelope, so she folded it in 4.

3. The guy who rang us and complained that the installation floppy didn't work. My workmate tried all sorts of things with him over the phone, and all sorts of strange DOS error messgaes kept being displayed. Finally, in desperation he suggested taking the floppy out of the drive and inspecting it for physical damage. "Oh, you wanted me to put the floppy in the drive first?"

4. The user who did a 4-disk backup onto a single floppy, when asked to insert another disk, she thought "There's already a disk in there" and just hit return. Then one day she needed to restore from her backups ....

5. The user who lodged software bug reports every month for the 2 years I was in the job. "The printouts are too faint" - Every month someone rang her and told her to change her printer ribbon, and she would do so. Of course, by the end of the next month, the 'bug' had reappeared.....

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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uilleann
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Icon 10 posted May 11, 2003 04:30            Edit/Delete Post 
lol, TFD...
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 07:32      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Idiots abound...try doing life support some day. As long as stupid people exist, EMTs and the like have job security. [Smile]

--------------------
And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 09:12            Edit/Delete Post 
I have to wonder why most of them end up on computer science courses. Well, maybe they don't elsewhere, but they do around here ;-)

hm... there are a lot of things I could ramble about here, but, I won't.

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dragonman97

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Icon 4 posted May 11, 2003 10:32      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Some people should *not* be computer science students [Frown] . *shakes head* Some of the people I have tutored have no fscking clue.</rant>

Oh, and I just spent a good bit of time helping a Senior with his thesis because he (and many other people) just don't get the idea of debugging. There is something wrong with the fact that he is graduating with a CS degree, and I can walk up to this program, having never looked at it before, and make it passably functional in 30 mins [and then he whined that it wouldn't do *everything.*].

[/rant] Maybe UBB code will work better.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 11:17            Edit/Delete Post 
*listens to Mesh*

Well, you in particular know a few things about my life that most don't, dragonman, and looking at what is going on in it now, computer science degree courses make even less sense than before.

One guy who didn't do a placement, did his final year last year (mine would be this year), and then went out into the workplace. I have had some really clueless phone calls and e-mails from him. Someone tell me how he'd get any benefit from e-mailing me about some sort of peculiar problem with a company product that I have never heard of (I don't even work there). If he could use a single word of jargon (and correctly) I might have some idea what was going on with whatever this system was, but there was little hope of even finding what he was on about let alone solving it.

But he has this almost unshakeable belief that I am omniscient, and I couldn't beat it out of him (he never even got a clue about me being a Mac user, not a Windows user). I think I did in the end, though, at his expense. It's not that I don't want to help, but I am always the wrong guy.

He is a hang-over from the first year, when I was some kind of loner cluebie magnet (then I became a student helper in the second year and actually got paid to deal with people like them (although I think the actual first year CS students were all too afraid of me - I usually got asked to debug code for people on other courses)).


In other circumstances, though, I blame the manufacturer. I've had to explain to two people how to operate a Sagem mobile phone (I don't own a phone!), but they both had some really awful phone with an incomprehsible UI (though with the aid of the manual (doesn't anyone read them any more?) it wasn't that hard to figure out really).


Anyhow, time to eat dinner.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 14:01      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I did actually read the manual for my cell phone, and learned of a really useful feature that is turned off by default - Quick find, which lets you type the letters of someone's name, and it will pick it out of the Contacts list, increasingly more accurate as you add more letters. I think this is kind of better than Speed Dial, since I don't *have* to remember the numbers, though I do have a few in my head, "466" for 'HOMe' comes to mind, and what are like extensions for some friends of mine (the funniest combo I discovered would be "666" for "MOM" [evil] ). As much as I love the voice dial feature that was a key reason I chose this phone (and the built-in speakerphone was *big plus*), it is just too troublesome sometimes.

Manuals used to be incredible resources, and people would actually read them so they would know what to do with the product they just bought. Nowadays, interfaces are just made so that someone can muddle through the software without knowing much, and if they need to know more, they will consult Help (an oxymoron at times), or buy a book on it. I must have a 400+ page book on WordPerfect 4.2 in my basement, and I think I actually may have consulted that way back when I used the XT (which came with its own fabulous binders in bookcase-friendly boxes). What absoutely blew my mind were the manuals for the Apple II that I was looking at on Thursday. I just about broke down and cried at the quality of these things, compared to the junk handed out these days. Just now, as I'm writing this, the thought occcurred to me that what this manual discussed may very well be equivalent to the "Introduction to Data Processing" (3 cred.) course that we offer. It was such a well written manual - I guess only Apple could put something like that out. It really taught you everything about what you had, giving you the background to use your computer, and use it well. Then again, I do wonder how many people read that at length - only people like my friend and I, and our professor, would have done so, I imagine.

/me gets melancholy about the old days of computing...oh well, I have my Linux laptop and servers, O'Reilly books, perldoc.com, HOWTOs, and man pages - that shall have to do :-/.

*sigh* Xanthine - see what happens when I don't have a pleasant distraction... [Smile]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 14:37      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
dragonman97: would you like me to publicize my rant about the biochemistry graduate student who didn't seem to understand the basic difference between DNA and RNA?

/me bangs head against wall just thinking about it

The sad thing is he actually turned that pos in for a grad.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 15:06            Edit/Delete Post 
dragonman97:
Our equivalent to the Apple II, being the BBC Micro, had a nice manual, too - that's where I learnt a lot of basics of how computers worked (that, and the Acorn 1770 Disc Filing System manual (1770 incidentally is the drive controller IC - most DFS chips were built to work with the Intel 8271 controller, which is what I have now)). There's plenty of stuff in there that I never got the hang of or even had a clue about - goes into the basics of assembly, and then into all the IC circuitry in depth (all the different controller chips in there), including the TUBE co-processor system and all sorts. (And this is the general owner's manual...)

Imagine if a PC now shipped with comprehensive instructions for programming an OPL FM synthesis chip or how to write USB 2.0 drivers, or something. Times have a changed a lot, indeed.

(I wonder if the BBC manual covers how to do screen shakes (for gmaes) with the CRT controller chip?)

I later acquired the WordPerfect Works 2 manual when I got said package - now that was a truly useless waste of trees... (didn't even cover how to use half the program)

Online help varies - I don't think I ever succeeded in finding out, from the Windows 98 help, what to hold when inserting a CD to disable AutoPlay. I always thought Wayfarer (the alternate Win 3.11 shell I used) had really sweet online help, though.

Xanthine:
Indeed - some things in life really, really do not make any sense.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 15:38      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
uilleann, I agree...and you don't want to get me started on that road. Unless you want to either sob your eyes out or break your ribs laughing.
Within one month of becoming an EMT, I learned that "why?" is not a question that should be asked of human behavior.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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perfectstormy

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Icon 14 posted May 11, 2003 17:35      Profile for perfectstormy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by ilovemydualg4:
PS will love those [Smile]

LOL. I could dish about people ripping the circuit leads off of brand-new inkjet cartridges along with the protective tape,

or the time I found out someone couldn't print because a rat had chewed through the cable...

...but I'm afraid I'd get too depressed and call in sick tommorrow. Somedays I wish the Creator opted for simpler printers and smarter people instead of simpler people and "smarter" printers.

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uilleann
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Icon 7 posted May 11, 2003 19:48            Edit/Delete Post 
Xanthine: You simply have to share it with us now - you have no choice and you know it [Wink]

perfectstormy: There's also www.rinkworks.com/stupid/ - maybe more suffering for you [Wink] but for me some of that stuff there is hilarious. And then you have things like this (in the programming section):

code:
display=`env | grep DISPLAY | sed 's/[^=]*=//g'`
DISPLAY=$display
export DISPLAY

???

(this is a case where you make like Xanthine and just do not ask why...)

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 20:06      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Assuming I read that code correctly, that has to be one of the dumbest pieces of code I've seen in some time.

Heh, never mind some of the coding practices I've taught to my students in the interest of coding efficiency...seriously, you'll never get anywhere by the book.

e.g. Boil this:
int myInt=someFuncReturningint();
String Redundancy=Integer.toString(myInt);
System.out.println(Redundancy);
down to:
System.out.println(""+someFunctReturningint());

This is because if you combine a string and other data types, you can overload the toString() method in Java, and it will automatically convert the stuff to a string [Smile] .
Of course, in Perl, this is no issue, as all scalars are simply scalars, and require none of this silliness [Big Grin] .

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 20:19      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
uilleann: share which? I have many.

/me flips through memory

How about the rather large woman who wore a pair of shoes that were too small. She felt something in her foot snap. Two painful weeks later, she calls an ambulance at 0815 on a Sunday. She then asks if I think it's broken. [Roll Eyes]

Or my friend who asked the lab TAs how to make 0 mM MgCl2 (mM = units of concentration for those who's chemistry is rusty).

Or the student who got wasted and was having difficulty breathing. "No, no, just give me some oxygen...this happened last time I got drunk. I don't need to go to the hospital." Unfortunately, there are about four different protocols that forbid me from releasing people who are underage, intoxicated, and having trouble breathing. So we convinced her to go. She was bitching about how she couldn't pay for it. If she knew the consequences why'd she drink that much??

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 11, 2003 20:22            Edit/Delete Post 
That code snippet is indeed as dumb as you think, and apparently came from a shell script full of repeats of that snippet.

And... hm... that redundant string stuff is a load of bull - I don't think we were ever made to do that - just bundle everything inside of the (). I mean, how about:
- printf ("%d", someFuncReturningint()); /* or %l */
or
- PRINT someFuncReturningint()

Incidentally, I don't recall ever needing to say '"" +' first.

Visual Eiffel is the most clueless language, with "I am 22 years old" being something like:

io.putstring ("I am ")
io.putinteger (22)
io.putstring (" years old")

Argh!


And yeah, ColdFusion, MacASP, PHP and AppleScript all provide untyped (or at the least, "pretend" untyped variables) - very handy :)

Though it feels odd to say 'width="200"' in HTML (or ColdFusion), where 200 is a number and has no business being quoted as a string :-)

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nekomatic
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Icon 8 posted May 12, 2003 01:59      Profile for nekomatic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
Hello. I've just bought one of your printers and attached it to my PC, but when I try to print to the printer the PC just tells me it can't see the printer. I've even held the printer up in front of the PC screen, but the PC still can't see it!

<friendly rant>
Someone explain to me why a computer user should have to understand that 'see' is a metaphor for 'communicate with'? I dunno, some of these help desk stories do make me laugh, but some just smack of the IT priesthood mocking the masses. A Mac user of all people ought to recognise that...

</friendly rant> Sorry, sore point... that and use of consistent person on websites (try Orange for example... "upgrade my phone... find your nearest shop" - who are we talking about here?) - don't get me started!

I will admit though, the idea of holding the printer up in front of the screen ought to have flagged up as dodgy to anyone who's mastered the concept that just because you can see the people on the TV doesn't mean they can see you (I was about three; it took some of my friends much longer) [Big Grin]

quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
If she knew the consequences why'd she drink that much??

That's just... not quite how drinking works...
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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 12, 2003 10:18            Edit/Delete Post 
Xanthine:
I was thinking more of "dragonman97: would you like me to publicize my rant about the biochemistry graduate student...", actually.

nekomatic:
Hmm... if you can find a valid explanation for why someone would believe that a computer would have a digital camera fitted to the monitor, or is somehow sentient, to sit and watch the printer and see what it's up to, then sure.

Granted, the one I posted to the other thread about "writing click" is a valid case of where jargon really doesn't make sense, but it is still a case of someone blindly following instructions without questioning - I think this is part of the problem (what on earth can they imagine "click" would do? Actually, in that case, I will credit them that they realised that something was up.)

I think we're all guilty of putting far too little thought into things at some time or other - just thinking about situations with more common sense will do a lot of good, really. Like, drinking.

That's just... not quite how drinking works...
And that is just a really feeble and pathetic excuse.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted May 12, 2003 11:13      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
uilleann, in your own quotation, you clearly copy the fact that this was a question posed to me [Smile] . I think she got the general point across merely by putting the question out there - I don't wish to impose on her to tell this tale again - and she already summed up the story.

The funniest thing with giving people detailed computer instructions is when I tell people to "left-click" something in the Windows (R) (C) (TM) system tray - it must be a left-click, as opposed to the more typical right-click. 9 times out of 10, they are think because I used a modifier to the action of 'click' that I meant "right-click," when that is in fact, wrong. How am I to convey this point then - must I say Okay, stop what you're doing for a second, and follow my instructions to the letter. Move your mouse pointer over the "Unplug or Eject Hardware" icon. Do not "right-click" it, instead, click once with the normal (left) button, and then choose the USB key. If you had used the right button, you would have had to click through about 4 boxes, so remember to *left-click* it.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted May 12, 2003 12:12      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At my previous job, I had a user call in complaining that he'd bought one of our programs and the CD was defective. I asked him what sort of error he was getting and he said there was no error, it just sat in the drive and didn't spin or run or anything, it just sat there looking at him. I asked him to browse the CD using Windows explorer and we got a message saying the CD couldn't be read. He assured me he had the CD in correctly, painted side up and shiny side down, but said that it was just sitting there looking at him. I had him clean the CD and it still couldn't access it and he continued saying it was just sitting there looking at him. We went around and around like this for about three or four minutes before a light dawned on my mind and I asked "You say the CD is just sitting there looking at you, right?" ... "yes" ... "you mean you can see the CD right now?" ... "yes" ... "sir, push lightly on the end of the tray the CD is sitting on and see if it doesn't close." Lo and behold, the drive closed and everything started working

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 12, 2003 12:54            Edit/Delete Post 
dragonman97:
Depends on the interpretation - for example, I directed that Perl at perfectstormy, despite it also being for you (the Perl Nazi) and, well, everyone else here - use of names can be both to direct a single person's attention, and to just casually comment in their direction. It is a public thread, after all.

As for left-clicking - the one that bothers me is "forward slash" - same thing - makes it sound like something special...

Steen:
Funny, but also worrying - what did they expect a CD sat on a tray to do, exactly? [Smile] Levitate?

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted May 12, 2003 13:42      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ugh! Don't get me started on the slashes! It seems that no one in the non-computer world can remember the difference between slash and backslash. I've seen so many botched URLs with http:\\ at the beginning. "Why won't my page load?!" [shake head]

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted May 12, 2003 14:15            Edit/Delete Post 
Isn't that one of those cases where we hardly offer anyone anything meaningful? Like, does anyone realise http means "hypertext transfer protocol"? That the http: part specifies the protocol of the URL? As for the slashes, I don't even know what they're there for, or why we need two of them. It's not much less gratuitous redundancy than RISC OS file paths...

Someone the other day didn't even realise what "www." meant - I think that is another piece of gratuitous redundancy - even worse when you have a subdomain (e.g. feis.herts.ac.uk) and *still* slap www on (www.feis.herts.ac.uk).

Makes for lots of confusing nonsense for the public to fathom out [Smile]

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