Feeds

* Posts by Lee Dowling

1188 posts • joined 28 Mar 2007

Virgin Media spanked for 'we've already cabled up your house' mailshot

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: recording calls

I believe you do not have to state that you're recording a call so long as you are a party to it. Thus, by definition really, you don't have to tell them if you're recording a call that you're making or receiving. Companies do because the rules are slightly different and most of it is in fact optional backside-protection. So no, you don't have to tell them you're recording a phone call that you are part of.

And most mobile phones nowadays have options to record the call. My Nokia did ten years ago, you literally had a record button on the screen when you were in a call and it recorded an MP3 of both sides. I did it and caught out a hosting firm - I was making websites for local businesses and one of them wanted to use their own hosting outfit that they already had. No problem, I just knocked up some HTML and back-end programs so they could update the data and I FTP'd it to them.

Two years later, I get a call that the website's "been deleted". Turns out it was right - the FTP was empty. Only I and my client (a good friend who didn't know ANYTHING about computers) had the password and she swore that she'd not touched anything because she was running her business off it successfully for all that time. She'd called the hosting company, who told her that someone had logged in and deleted it. It sounded VERY fishy as the password had only been given to myself and my client, was manually chosen (no email records) and was quite secure.

Obviously, I had an irate customer who was blaming me for it because the hosting company were effectively blaming me. So I phoned up, and recorded the call. Where they told me they *had* suffered disk failures lately. Where they told me they kept no FTP logs whatsoever. Where they told me they have no backup systems. Where they told me they'd DEFINITELY change the password on the account right away on my insistence (just in case someone had got hold of it).

It was ten years ago now, and I still don't think they've changed the password on that account. Fortunately, I had a copy of the data that was quite recent and just re-uploaded it, but to this day I still have the MP3 recording from my phone of them basically saying it was probably their fault and they had no way to tell if I'd even logged in, let alone anyone else. The customer was happy (with me at least), but the hosting firm was changed soon after. But I don't think I'd have got them to admit those things if they knew I was recording.

Most phones have the option or, at worst, there's an app that will do it for you. After all, it's just a matter of storing data that it's already having to process and send anyway. The nice apps are literally just a "record" button when you're in a call but it varies.

0
1
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Oh, and never agree to anything on the phone. Ever. Same goes for the doorstep.

Watch what happens if you ask them to call you back about their "wonderful offer". They won't want to hang up or call you back because then someone else will get the commission. Their commission = greater than your custom.

Watch what happens when you ask for a month to think about it. You will either a) get bombarded with pressure-selling calls, or b) never hear from them again. Both great indicators of how much they value your custom and your ability to make your own choice.

Watch what happens when you say "It's great, send me the paperwork and I'll review it". Same thing.

All they care about is you saying Yes, so they'll tell you any lie to get you to say Yes on the phone and hand over details ASAP. That's *not* how you do business with companies. Reminds of a Dragon's Den episode where Peter the Plonker said "My offer expires in 30 seconds, so you better decide who you want to go with" and then started counting down - my response would have been "Okay, I'll go with the person who lets me think carefully about a huge business decision, not the idiot that tries to panic me into selecting them".

Had a guy talk to me for 20 minutes at the door about a charity. Seemed good, was a cause close to my heart, I was willing to part with money. So I said I'll go onto the website and sign up. No, he wanted me to do it there and then on *his* bit of paper, with credit card / bank details and sign up there. 1) Not going to happen, I have no idea who you *actually* are. 2) He stormed off when I refused to do it that way. Nice way to care about the charity you're working for, there. And I don't donate to charities who pressure-sell like that, and don't donate to charities who waste money on idiots like that and I don't donate to charities that aren't *auditing* their salesmen (that's what they are) for things like that.

12
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

The magic words are "Can I have that in writing?"

Because until they are willing to do that for you, it means nothing and is an empty promise.

And if they do that for you, you have instantaneous cause to cancel the whole contract + get compensation for their failure to live up to their contract.

See how many "speed claims" go out of the window when you ask for it in writing and take that as a warning - they have NO idea what they will give you, but the lackey the other end who gets minimum wage topped up by the number of people he manages to sell to will tell you ANYTHING.

The school I work for are currently revelling in this. We wanted a leased-line installed. We had loads of quotes, negotiated on them all and selected the best. Which happened to be a Virgin Media leased line reseller. Who'd undercut Virgin Media's own price by 30%.

We literally *heard* the shouting on the other end of the phone a few days later but, by then, we had it in writing, in front of us. Backing out would have cost them more than supplying a loss-making line by that time because of their own contract clauses.

You *can* get recompense if you recorded those phone calls too, by the way. They would form an oral part of the contract. But, for some strange reason, nobody bothers to buy the £10 device or use the free setting on their mobile to do that when someone is selling them something.

If it's not on paper, it doesn't exist. If the company knows they can deliver it, they will put it on paper. Then, even if they can't, you don't lose out.

10
0

Kickstarter kindly allows Brits to channel 95% of their money through it

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Hmm...

Yeah, cos that 2bn just paid for a 35-year-old movie franchise - wow, that must hurt so much to take profit from and plough back into up-and-coming films. Especially seeing as the movie cost next-to-nothing to make.

By some magical accounting, some of those films are still supposed to have never made money in its entire existence (which is handy because then a lot of investors, etc. would need to see a percentage of that money).

Record companies and movie companies don't now, and haven't for a long time, financed anything that wasn't guaranteed to make money. There is no risk taking, not because people downloaded something and denied them $5m on a $10m opening weekend, but because why would you when you can make millions on an opening weekend of a film that NOBODY has even seen yet and could be absolutely rubbish (in which case, disassociate yourself from it while taking the profit) or successful (in which case milk the franchise for all it's worth).

Seriously, record companies and movie companies don't need to take risks because they make so much money it's pretty unbelievable and with some fancy accounting pay little tax or dividends to investors (have you not noticed the entire UK film industry being given grants and tax breaks?). Have done for the last 30-odd years. Every "up-and-coming" artist has proved their worth long before the record companies will touch them at all (and most of the time even the damn auditioning process makes so much money you could buy a country, ala Simon Cowell).

They don't fund the industry and never have. They milk it. The funding for it comes mainly from blinkered consumers paying through the nose several times over for the same content. The risk-takers don't exist any more (try sending in a track to a record company nowadays - instant refusal to even listen to it in case they contaminate their precious copyright) because the industry matured to the point of STUPID profits decades ago.

Seriously. Return of the Jedi - $32m budget, $400m income (just on the film, not merchandising, etc.), yet "never made a profit".

It's not a question of a handful of pirates being taking their product. Seriously, a drop in the ocean compared to their guaranteed profit on even the worst films. It's a question of those industries being completely ignorant of anything but profit. Hence the other month where EVERY movie in my local cinema was at least 4 movies into a franchise / sequel / series of films.

1
2
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Crypteks ?

Did you have in writing that they'd deliver your product? No.

Kickstarter is an *investment* strategy, not a purchase. You do it *in the hope* that you'll get something out of it, in place of other investors. And given that said Kickstarter projects have normally exhausted all other forms of investment, it means the quality is usually quite low.

I have invested in precisely ONE kickstarter - Defense Grid 2. I know the team behind it can deliver a game (they did, I bought it voluntarily, and loved it). I know they aren't going anywhere any time soon (recently delivered CS:GO to Valve too). They got nearly a million in private investment first for THE EXACT PROJECT I was invested in but needed a tiny bit more to deliver the full experience. For my investment, I am *guaranteed* a video card worth more than my investment (donated by AMD who were also backing the project). Plus I will get the game I backed if it is ever released. Plus a pseudo-sequel, which is 50% written already. Plus other benefits, that hardly matter.

Kickstarter is nothing more than a donation drive. You have to trust the people behind the project, make them deliver, get promises from them and some legal way to hold them to their promises, and invest only what you can afford to lose anyway. It's not an eBay for new ideas. It's some guy you know nudging you and telling you about this great idea he's had and if you'll give him X amount of money, he'll cut you in. When it all goes wrong (or if he's just a con-artist), you will lose your money with no recourse unless you have guarantees.

99.9% of the things I've seen on Kickstarter have never or will never deliver, and certainly not in the way imagined by the investors (even the big drives for sequels to 20-year-old games by the original authors etc.). You barely have to read about them to find that out. The ones that do are already delivering but just need help to scale. And the projects have NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to do what you want them to whatsoever.

Seriously, one project on there was hitting millions in investment when all they'd done was "got word that we may be able to get a famous voice actor" on the HUGE video game project that the investment was for. Personally not only was that just hilarious to be asking for investment at that stage, but also a TOTAL WASTE of invested money. But I hadn't invested. Because I knew I had zero control over it whatsoever and it wouldn't turn out how I imagined or even how they had said.

Getting scammed on Kickstarter is like getting scammed by the dodgy bloke who comes up to you in the pub with a black bag (that he keeps swapping with an empty bag to confuse you), won't let you look in it, asks for money for it, and looks shiftily every time a police siren goes past. YOUR OWN FAULT.

8
3

Valve taps testers for Linux Steam

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: You buggers!

Next he'll be complaining about "berk" - you do KNOW what that's Cockney Rhyming Slang for? I'll give you a clue - a famous hunt.

"Bugger" (and "berk") have been played out on TV so many times (and pre-watershed) that it's virtually part of the accepted language.

0
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: THE PLAN

Dual boot is very 90's.

Personally, I'll have whatever gaming-OS I consider to need full direct access to the hardware as the VM host, hosting VM's of whatever other OS I want to use.

Modern computer with virtualisation instructions in the processor - zero impact. VM visible interface - zero if you use the right software.

Just installed Windows 8 in a VM on my machine (about the 4th / 5th that I've got running on my new laptop). Will use that for work (with VM encrypted with Truecrypt to protect work data), base OS for games and home, and have other OS available at the click of a button for testing / user support.

This is coming from a man who once had a 2000-line long AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS to select from any of dozens of custom, hand-tuned DOS setups, Linux setups (syslinux, etc.) and other things back in the day.

Don't dual-boot. VM. And then you put the computer, the hardware and the security into the hands of a known and trusted OS, and can give things like Windows only what they need, sit them behind the Linux VM host firewall, and run them only when required.

1
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: This is going to be funny

JDX: If you're a professional programmer, using proper techniques, established libraries, and standardised code, the cost of the platform-dependent parts is absolutely minimal compared to the rest of the project.

My point is not that the "second" platform you add to a program is cheap, but that once you have the first, second, third, fourth and fifth already, the sixth *IS* literally just a recompile and you're done.

And Java is the same - so long as you know what you're doing. It doesn't matter the language, actually, it's the way you program that determines that.

But a game, written to run on tablets, iPads, phones, PC's and Macs? Linux compatibility is a couple of weeks work at most and if you're good probably comes for free with a compile option or two. That's *why* the indie bundles are full of multi-platform games - it's literally fire-and-forget if you started off with that in mind.

5
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: This is going to be funny

In case you missed the memo, almost all the indie games released lately are released on Linux at launch too. Cross platform development is the norm and hasn't ever been easier (and if you're intending to sell - as a lot of games do now - on Windows, Mac, Android, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, iPad, etc. then adding another Linux platform is nothing).

Not everything is about the latest FPS - but, hell, just Half-Life 2:Episode 3 on Linux one day early would make me install it just for that!.

All Valve titles, plus a ton of existing indies (and indie doesn't mean "homebrew game" any more but things like Trine 2, Magicka, etc. as well), for how much effort exactly? A recompile of a codebase already multi-platform, changing the Source engine *once* (which has historical roots in Quake-based engines that were already cross-platform) and hitting performance gains of magnitude enough to interest "gamers" (which provides sufficient impetus behind gaming hardware enough to even attract sponsorship from various graphics manufacturers etc. to "optimise" their code for a particular combination), adding in another platform to the database instead of just Windows / Mac, and porting the Steam client code... not a lot compared to, say, a few hundred thousand purchases of a dollar each just to start. In fact, it's profit before you start just by the initial publicity if you have the momentum that Steam have.

5
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Ah yeh, this will be good...

You have to sign in via Steam to enter anyway, which is more a barrier to entry!

That said, you could be using WINE to run Steam (as many do, as it's very well supported), or on a Mac.

But getting "beta testers" who don't know how program is even supposed to work on Windows is a bit more tricky

1
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

One of the questions relates to WINE, so there may not be as much work involved as you think.

Pretty much everything runs in WINE with enough tweaking, and if Steam bother to make nice "bottles" of WINE configurations, it could be point-and-click setup quite easily. As a former user of Crossover Office and other packages, I know it can be quite simple to get a specific app to gold standard if you really have an interest in doing so.

That said, I'd hope more than indie studios (currently doing very well in the "bundle" stakes), and a large publisher or two would go properly Linux-supporting (i.e. recompilation) like many of the titles on my existing Steam account already do and hope that the rest of the world would follow suit.

If MS can push Windows on ARM, I'm sure people would be just as happy with Steam on Linux.

3
2

Xbox mod spreads KILLER Borderlands 2 GERM

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Why?

Why would you program it that way?

Why would you leave it in the game?

Just why? Why would a player who joins a game determine game modes that permanently affect other player's (who WEREN'T using those modes) data? I can sort of understand it accidentally being left in the program because you didn't know it was there or think people would find it, but everyone knows the system is hackable anyway.

I just don't get it. Why?

3
2

Volunteers sought to see if anyone actually can hear you scream in space

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: They really shouldn't be holding their breath

It depends.

Though, indeed, the advice is to breath out, that's not necessarily going to do much to save you. The body is inherently containing all sorts of pressures all the time, in an air-tight manner, just while you sit there. You will no doubt burst vessels and other pressure-carrying parts of the body quite quickly no matter what you do if you are exposed to a vacuum but it's nowhere close to instantaneous exploding death.

The air in your lungs will actually probably find its own way out, whatever you do to your voluntary muscles that retain it in there (and only ever temporarily anyway). The air in your blood is really the problem because it will bubble quite quickly without atmospheric pressure on your skin, which means you'll get clotting and the bends almost instantly - and that's what's likely to actually kill you. You won't actually die from lack of oxygen, as such, or exploding - like drowning, you'd just have no oxygen in your lungs to push into your bloodstream and it would take a few minutes to exhaust the blood's dwindling supply.

But, probably, you're ears, eyes and other parts will give you lots of injury very quickly that probably won't be that easy to repair. Then you're likely to enter shock anyway. Then you're likely to die of a clot reaching a critical size. Then you're likely to die of actually asphyxiation. Exhaling won't actually buy you time on any of those, except possibly reducing injury to whatever barrier the air chooses to escape through (which is almost certainly going to be up through your throat anyway - path of least resistance and all that).

And people have been exposed to vacuum. You can go google their fate. Pretty much you sustain the injuries I posit above or die, depending on how long you are there. There's not enough data to suggest whether exhaling is even possible, let alone wouldn't happen physically anyway, let alone would reduce any particular injury, let alone would stop you dying.

1
1

OEMs and sellers must pay refunds on software faults - OFT

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Who would want to be a Microsoft dealer?

Precisely the opposite in fact.

0
0

Intel halves SSD power draw with 20nm chip shift

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: @ Lee Dowling

I think you miss the point.

If a 256Gb costs, say, £100 (ballpark), then a 1Tb drive with THE SAME CONTROLLERS AND THE SAME CHIPS but just more of them in the same space (which is exactly how SSD's are typically constructed - pop one open and see the blank "template" PCB with gaps for extra chips that would be used in the larger capacity drives), then it should cost NO MORE than 4 times the price. Assuming economies of scale and that a lot of the cost is in the PCB's, encasement and the drive controller itself and 2.25 times the price is about right. In fact, it costs nearer ten times the price.

So where does their profit go? To sourcing more chips en masse, assembling them cheaper, giving us larger drives? No. It goes into FASTER SSD's (which are already not selling as many as hard disks because people need storage in a disk, not speed) and where 5% improvement in speed is undetectable. We don't want new designs, new controllers, new boards, new chips, and all the costs of the R&D that goes into that. We want what you were producing 5 years ago for the same thousands-of-pounds it still is today, but at a sensible price. The speed is still stupidly fast over hard disk, the capacity goes past modern hard disks if you want, but the price is still ludicrously high despite being a "proven" technology that you've been making for nearly a decade. And the available sizes? Not changed that much since SSD's first became viable.

Your competition? Hard disks that cost one-tenth of the SSD and manage half-the-speed (or better with appropriate caching) anyway.

This is the point - consumers, like me, WON'T pay £1200 (actually nearer £5000) for a 3TB SSD - something that has the IDENTICAL chips from 6 £150-ish 512Gb drives in a single box. But I'd happily buy lots and lots of 1Tb drive for, say, £150 each, even if the technology was first-generation SSD.

This is my complaint - they are sold as storage devices, they replace storage device, yet in the critical area (storage!) they are lacklustre because of price. Whereas even the most basic and ancient SSD device has a speed that still kicks hard disks into the ground and stomps on them again. So what do they improve for generation upon generation of the device? The speed. Not the capacity.

Just when was the last time a consumer bothered to check the transfer speed of his hard disk? Now when was the last time he bought a new one because he'd filled it up, needed an external backup, or just needed to replace his existing disk? To make him compromise storage for speed is THE WORST pay-off when you have the technology just sitting there.

P.S. I wouldn't play the SSD reliability card in your first paragraph if I was you. In theory, yes, in practice, no.

1
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: 42k IOPS and 52k IOPS...

Because IOPS is about as good a statistics as BogoMIPS.

Operations per second means nothing. Is the operation a 1-byte delete, a 1Mb-read or a 1Gb write? Without further context, the IOPS number means nothing.

Even stating bandwidth - i.e. MB/s - can be deceptive and wrong and vary enormously over time for a storage device.

Same when you state the same for databases - transactions per second? What kind of transactions? Without further context (which is never provided and/or never consistent across manufacturers) you might as well be stating random numbers.

Rule #1 - never buy anything based on statistics without TESTING your workload first.

3
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

I don't want it faster.

I don't want it smaller.

I don't want it with prettier software.

Gimme some damn data capacity on the "old" speeds / form factors / software / prices and I'll buy one TODAY. In fact, I'll have two.

Seriously, SSD is a huge enough leap without poncing about with a 0.1% improvement here and there. But what stops me upgrading is that I'd have to have FOUR of them in my laptop to not lose space. I *do* happen to have a laptop with 2 drive bays, but I'm very fortunate to have that and not everyone has that option. But still both drives I use are 1Tb, so whatever I do I sacrifice huge amounts of storage space, at great additional cost, for a speed increase of the resulting tiny storage space. So I'm stuck with spinning disks for the moment.

The consumer market for these would be HUGE at the right price because you can make a PC appear twice as fast to those inexperienced with computers just by reducing RAM / CPU and slapping one of these in (and those people barely use all their storage anyway). But few target that market with SSD.

The nerd/gamer market would be HUGE at the right price because you make the PC fly, but those people tend to have LOTS of storage that they would need to sacrifice. And few target that market with SSD.

In fact, I can't really work out what the market is for SSD at the current prices. Guinea pigs?

Gimme a 1Tb at something less than my laptop cost in the first place (and no more than 1.5 times the cost of the 500Gb, which should be no more than 1.5 times the cost of the 256Gb - meaning 1Tb = 2.25 * 256Gb) and I'll buy it. Maybe two if it's cheap enough.

People seem to forget that the SSD is a STORAGE device. If it lags behind other storage devices in, well, the storage stakes, then it's a bit pointless. I'd gladly sacrifice 50% of the speed increase of SSD over hard disk for double the capacity (and don't get me started on "hybrid" SSD disks - that's NOT what we're talking about) or even double the reliability.

3
0

Brit 4G live TODAY: At last you can bust your data cap in 5 minutes

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

"data cap"

And then I stopped reading.

It's like having a Cray supercomputer that you can only execute 500 instruction on a month. Sure, you'll execute them faster than anything else, but you'll still not use it for any purpose that it was actually *designed* for, and it will still cost you the earth.

14
0

Your mouse may actually be a RAT in disguise

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

It's clever.

But my first question, as with any malware, is why the OS would allow you to hook and execute code on mouse movement when running as a non-administrative user.

Because if we solve the problem of people not running with rights enough to do this as ordinary users, the malware is useless. And if the malware has access to do this kind of thing, there's several million other vectors it can use to ensure its code gets executed anyway. But, to be honest, if we did separate these privileges properly, most malware wouldn't be able to execute in the first place anyway.

Least-privilege principle. Users, and anything short of a signed device driver with user-verification, do not need to intercept mouse hooking messages.

2
5

Hackers deface 'sinful' French Euromillions site

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: On the one hand

Welcome to the universal vicious cycle.

Most of us break out of it by a) getting a better job, b) reducing expenses or c) luck. (Though I don't claim you're NOT doing those things, or are lazy or anything, it's just the only way to break out). There's no magic formula that makes everyone a houseowner, and never has been. Hell, even back in the times of the Great Fire of London hardly anyone *owned* a house. Read Dickens, with the landlords (and even mortgagers) like Scrooge, etc.

It's a fact of life, no matter where you live. You can't afford something until you can prove to someone that you don't need them to help you afford it.

I bought a house, out of that cycle, years back. The owner went bankrupt but was a friend, we swooped in, got a decent offer in (way below valuation), cleaned up the DISGUSTING mess they'd left which had already prompted calls from the RSPCA and the council (100 dead rabbits left to rot in the garden, faeces through the house, rotten meat soaking through the floor, etc.), took a HUGE gamble on his creditors not selling the house before we could move into it, risked further money we didn't have to do it up so that we *were* able to get a mortgage on it (literally, the surveyor was physically sick from the smell and said they couldn't give us anything until it was cleaned up), got a stupidly cheap mortgage by luck (HSBC literally LAUGHED in our faces when we told them what we wanted, the guy in the little independent shop next door was much more customer-friendly even if their company dive-bombed in the mortgage crisis but, fortunately, not so far that we lost the house or mortgage ourselves and we NEVER missed a payment to the company that managed their mortgages), got a deposit from family (only one side as the other side similarly could never have afforded it), moved in BEFORE the decisions were made about the bankruptcy in court (we had to literally remove bankruptcy / repossession notices from the front door each morning), and - eventually - got it. And then a few years later we split up, resold it, made enough profit to pay off all the loans we'd risked to get it and a TINY bit more.

Since then, my new girlfriend actually owns my new house because only she could get a mortgage after the crisis. Literally, her whole family from Italy chipped in to pay the deposit and even then the bank ummed and arred over it.

So the only times I've ever been in a house I've "owned" (or the person I'm with has owned), it's been luck, risk, gamble, and money I couldn't really afford to lose on the line. It paid off for me, but I think a lot of people are in the position which is inescapable. At least you're not alone, little comfort though that may be.

3
1
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Oh you believers...

Or, as I've found myself saying a lot lately:

He's your god, they're your rules, you're the one that will burn in your hell.

Me? I'm a non-believer but if the option comes up I'll have the endless feast with forty virgins and none of the guilt, thanks. So long as I don't have to "bet" my whole life on that being what awaits me if I've been a good boy by some arbitrary set of rules that nobody can agree on.

As a mathematician / scientist, I'll take the bet that nothing bad will happen to me when I'm dead. All my data points that way, and it means zero lifestyle choices or arguments are necessary beyond what I do anyway.

14
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: @Sky

Until you have no money, you don't really see just how much people throw away every day anyway.

Sure, there are absolute essentials, but your TV isn't one. Or your phone (lots of cheap packages for infrequent users or those who receive-only). Or your Internet. Or your lottery. Or your pet (VERY expensive, as pointed out above), or your knitting, or vast swathes of your daily life.

I bet the little old lady buying the ticket spends more on "Christmas hamper funds" that get lost in the profit of the company itself (not to mention the risk of bankruptcy), isn't on the best phone package, pays a fortune for her house insurance because the company she's with hasn't changed since the 70's, has a bank account that charges her, has a (now digital!) TV with probably a cable subscription package or Sky even if her son set it up for her, maybe a second TV in the kitchen, a tumble-dryer, a dishwasher, etc. not to mention what she spends on the grandchildren when they come.

If people do it - that's their prerogative. Sure, I have no sympathy if they then come begging for a tenner, but you don't tend to see financially-dependent elder generations. That's really the domain of the young, while the old live off carefully managed pensions, paid their "stamp" religiously, claim only the benefit they actually need, don't have four-kids in the house going hungry while they play on Wii, etc.

Sure, it's all crass generalisations but that's what I see. The people who are throwing their money away are either old and have it to throw away (and if they didn't do lottery, they'd give it to the grandkids in Pepsi or something), or the younger generations who don't have it, get it from taxpayers somehow and STILL throw it away on worse AND then claim poverty.

I don't really think the older generations have much to worry about compared to the 7-child families who ignore the paid-for family planning, cost the police, NHS, social services, etc. a fortune to manage, run rings around the benefit red-tape, live in a paid-for house, keep their driving licences with 40 points because it's "vital to their profession" despite the fact they spend all their money on drink and then go run people over, etc. By comparison, one little old lady and her cat having a weekly flutter doesn't even register any more.

4
5

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car review

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Elephant in the room

"If you're in London then this car doesn't have to pay the congestion charge. That's quite a saving."

LPG conversion costs about £1000 on your existing car, saves you half your money on petrol, and does the same (and also zero road tax, I believe).

2
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: @Lee

My point is that if you're trying to get people to buy eco-friendly cars, those with £30k in their pocket aren't your target market. Because the guy in the 20-year-old Transit, burning fuel like nobody's business, is doing more damage than 100 of the new-car-buyers and paying less to do so.

So:

1) Why are we saying these cars are "green"?

2) Why are we subsidising these at great expense (including your precious-to-business road tax exemptions)?

3) Why aren't we targeting the market that matters yet, and let those with money to burn (£30k to last 5 years? That's nearly 100 second-hand cars, with a year's MOT and tax in my experience. I could buy and own two second-hand cars every week for that - and if I sold them for even 1/2 the purchase price 3 days later, I could keep going for my entire life) waste it on new cars.

4) Why are we buoying up the car industry at all in times of fiscal hardship?

Honestly, produce a "green" car for £6000 that does even just 60mph (enough for motorway by law) at a decent distance and you'll cut emissions in half withing the decade. But fancy "hybrid" that are still burning petrol, still not miraculously efficient, still digging up lithium, still pumping tons of waste into landfill within years, and still around £30k even with subsidies and you're wasting your time.

P.S. I own a second-hand Mondeo.

2
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Why don't they make the cable lockable?

If the car catches fire, why would you approach the car rather than whatever the other end of the cable is plugged into, which will have a nice "off" switch away from the burning vehicle?

0
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

By my estimate, that car could buy me the price I paid for my current car, plus all the repairs and MOT's etc. I've had over the past three years I've had it, plus just over 7 years worth of fuel at my normal usage (current prices, obviously). That's not counting ANY fuel or electricity for the Prius.

So by the time the warranty on that dies, my current car will have just cost me slightly more than this cost to buy, if you never plugged in or fuelled the Prius and didn't use it at all. Oh, and I won't have to pay for an expensive battery when that happens either.

Sure, someone, somewhere probably finds it quite attractive compared to what they are currently driving, but that's literally my entire travel budget for the next 5 years, plus inflation, plus some more, before you even start the engine.

Oh, and last time I sold a very similar car to mine, of a very similar age, I actually got more for it scrap value than it had cost to buy. What's the scrap price of a hybrid with a duff battery that costs almost as much as the car itself to replace? Anyone know? Is it £30,000 or thereabouts?

10
3

Microsoft's 'official' Windows 8 Survival Guide leaks

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Context switching

Yes, this is exactly my problem. Context switching.

As a lot of people know, their productive regime can be destroyed by having to context switch - answering a phone you don't normally answer, changing the way you stack your papers, even switching between mouse and keyboard when playing a game like Counterstrike (I can subconsciously do everything with the buy keys on Counterstrike without problem, but the second I play a "automatic weapon spawn" game, I find myself trying to get into buy menus that don't exist, and taking my hand off the mouse to try to type two-handed when it's not necessary) - and that's exactly what Windows 7 and 8 do to me.

It's not even the fact that there are "changes", but the way those changes operate to make things different. This is also my exact problem with the ribbon toolbar - things change inconsistently until you've really, really used it a lot and then the advantage that those changes and memorising them give aren't worth the time it took you to learn them.

This is also my pet hate in browsers and other programs that pop up password dialogs - that's an entirely DIFFERENT beast that I need to know has changed, and the context needs to tell me that. I can't tell you the times I've typed a password (or more likely half a password) into a dialog that's popped up at random because of X and taken keyboard focus with no warning. How *dare* I look down at the keyboard for a second?! Fortunately, I have a long established habit of not pressing Return to login, so it's more a pain than a big security issue but how many old grannies type in their long, strong password and then look up only to find they've typed it not into their banking app but into a random website's "contact us" page?

Changes of context are THE key to an interactive desktop. I need to know when I'm going to break the system (i.e. for administrative modes, make you reboot into them, make all normal programs UNUSABLE while running them, and make everything go red so you *can't* use it for everyday use and certainly not without knowing - for general use, let things operate, don't let them steal keyboard focus EVER - for secure password entry, sound a note, clear the keyboard buffers, lock out all other programs from accessing the keyboard for the duration, ignore keystrokes with audible and visual warning if the user seems to have been typing from the previous screen, and then disappear once entered).

UAC was a very poor attempt at this that was worthless and seems to have corrupted people into thinking you don't need to do this. But you do. Desktop context is a big, major, design issue that if you get it right you never notice but if you get it wrong, everyone shouts. And, personally, that's exactly what puts me off a lot of software and the newer Windows OS. Hell, I'm just in the middle of filing a bug report on Opera because if you get an SSL warning while typing in another tab, it stops you being able to enter information and gets in your way. I consider it an horrendous bug for such an otherwise bug-free program.

7
1

EC: Microsoft didn't honour browser-choice commitment

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Damn right

"Preinstalled"? Then someone, somewhere in Microsoft installed it for them. And someone, somewhere was writing the code for the installers and (presumably) testing them. And someone, somewhere wrote the code for the window that was supposed to pop up and (presumably) testing it. And someone, somewhere was installing it on lots of new hardware from disk to check things like disk images, hardware, installers, drivers, etc. worked as expected on bare hardware. And someone, somewhere was writing internationalisation data for the installers and (presumably) testing it. And someone, somewhere was presumably testing slipstreamed installs, PXE installs, "first-time" applications, and a range of other things.

And MS employees are allowed to install any OS they like on their PC's, if previous articles are to be believed, and thus they would have been installing it somewhere all the time, given the number of employees.

To even try to claim that Microsoft weren't installing their own product would be hilarious for them. And if they weren't, it leads right into wilful violations and inadequate processes to monitor those violations.

"We did what the court asked last time."

"Did you?"

"We don't know, we never bothered to check."

9
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Damn right

Technical problem or not, you were told to do something by a court and DIDN'T BOTHER to monitor that you were in compliance. For 18 months. You literally just thought "Oh, that'll do, we don't need to check". At one of the world's largest companies, where you could probably pay someone to sit all day installing Windows 7 (if you don't already do this indirectly, I'd be amazed - do MS not install their own operating system?) and check that the window that's supposed to come up does on various types of hardware and connection.

If they get fined, as they should, it's nothing to do with the EU being hard on them, or whatever technical problems they had, or anything to do with the actual case that caused it - it's just total non-compliance and ignorance of that non-compliance over an ENORMOUS period of time after you've been ordered by a court to do something. I'd even have sympathy if you'd notified the court on day 1 that there was something wrong and you were working on getting it going, but couldn't. But 18 months of NOT BEING BOTHERED to check you were compliant, not even the lawyer who handled it, or the CEO they told, or the compliance officer they put in charge of that - NOBODY bothered to spot they weren't in compliance until they were told by someone else 18 months later.

Charge them double, for wilfully violating a court order by failing to check they were ever in compliance with it, or not even having a process to check they were.

Disgusting bit of incompetence and ineptitude that courts tend to not look upon kindly. Would any other company get away with it if they were told by a court to do something (e.g. cut off PirateBay) and never bothered over 18 months to check that their filter was working as the court orders (the ineffectiveness of the filter itself is neither here nor there, so long as you do what the court ordered)? No, they wouldn't. And nor should MS.

38
0

Raspberry Pi SoC drivers now fully open source

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: err

Have you looked at that "source"? It's not. It's wrappers. There's a difference. So promoting it as having a "fully open-source driver" is a misnomer. I posted a quick analysis above but the biggest source file does nothing but shunt OpenGL commands to RPC calls with almost identical syntax.

There's no "source" here, no more than nVidia's own proprietary, binary drivers. Literally. In fact, the nVidia drivers are often larger in terms of actual source code you can see. An "open source" driver would be something like nouveau that drives cards directly, tells you exactly how it does that AND documents it along the way.

There's really nothing here that's any better than nVidia's binary driver. And nobody claims that that is "open source".

8
7
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: +1

For reference, there are just over 100 files with C code. There are 200 header files, a lot of them would be literally one-liners if it weren't for the copyright notices, includes, etc. Most of the C code is stubs.

The largest collection of actual code are the "khronos" ones, the largest file of all being glxx_client.c which seems to do nothing except pass off OpenGL calls to internal RPC calls but is 177kb of code (mostly debugging code to log each call, and then individual functions for every OpenGL function that just maybe does some minor tweaking and then calls an RPC call with almost identical parameters).

In total, there's not a lot of actual code there - certainly nothing to learn from or to tweak much - and I have to say that documentation and commenting are severely lacking. It's not even clear what half the files even DO or why they are named so, let alone the functions, variables, magic numbers, and various other things that "just work". There are a couple of TINY utilities, that are already available in binary form, to do things to the RPi like change the TV-out modes, etc. but they are literally worthless in terms of code.

Apart from that, it's all headers (undocumented) and makefiles. I'd call it closer to a code-dump of some userland interfaces that had to be at-least-GPL anyway and tiny utilities, if I'm honest, rather than an actual driver of any kind.

7
4
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: +1

Not really.

The firmware still does all the heavy lifting, this just exposes things like OpenGL interfaces etc. a little more - nothing miraculous and IP-protected.

And, to be honest, we could have always experimented with new designs of OS - they just wouldn't be as accelerated as possible. That's hardly a barrier to getting them going, though.

All this really does it provide some more news coverage without actually doing anything they weren't promising from the start (such as getting proper accelerated graphics). And still relies on firmware blobs being loaded.

Basically, it brings the Pi up to the level that almost all consumer graphics cards are at the moment, yes, but nothing that wasn't going to happen anyway unless Broadcom got REALLY snotty about it.

4
4

Publicity Stunt of the Week: Ten bizarre phone insurance claims

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Not that I don't believe that these are some of the ways people have broken things, but I *don't* believe that that's what they'd tell the insurance company.

Seriously? They honestly told them they were using it as a sex toy when they're trying to make a claim on the insurance? Because that would immediately invalidate any insurance I've ever used - user misuse - before you even started. Why would you bother to even phone them up in those cases because if you lie, this list would be boring, and if you don't they won't be covering you anyway?

I don't doubt that the insurance company might *suspect* what's happened to it in certain cases but what's more shocking is that there are (allegedly) idiots who will tell the insurance company what they were doing with the phone to break it even when that's something as outrageous as these? Really? How about just sucking it up and buy a new phone that you don't break by shoving it somewhere you shouldn't?

0
0

Windows 8: Is Microsoft's new OS too odd to handle?

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

I've never shot myself in the foot, but I'm pretty sure it's an incredible bad idea.

Just because someone hasn't tried something doesn't mean they can't hold an opinion. I've NEVER owned an apple product. But I hold the opinion that I would never own one because they are too locked down for my usage patterns.

Similarly, I've tried WIndows 8 (extensively, and professionally) and I don't like it. There. Suck on that. You're welcome to disagree but just because you've tried something (especially if you HAVEN'T touched it because you disagree with it entirely) doesn't mean you can't hold a valid opinion.

And what does using a particular version of Windows have to do with someone thinking that MS is trying to ruin the PC as an open platform? I don't need to "try" UEFI-boot-key-locked-loaders in order to know that they aren't an "open" platform.

40
5

Five go wild with the Administration Tools Pack

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Sadly

I think you must have the Microsoft Edition, then.

2
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Sadly

I now want that game.

Seriously.

Someone should make that.

But I suspect the Linux people will hoard their precious servers and never pay any "pass Go" annual licensing fees while the Microsoft hoarders will go for greater risk and expense and be able to hire "server admins" more cheaply.

6
0

BBC pulls plug Ceefax ahead of analogue TV's end tonight

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Fond memories...

"My old Dad used to surf Teletext for hours"

Well, your new Dad will have to get used to surfing for hours to see Teletext.

Digital text is the SLOWEST thing ever and has died a death because of it. I once applied for a job at the BBC which would have been writing the pseudo-HTML code that ends up as digital text. Needless to say, I'm glad that I didn't get it. I have a feeling there's high-churn, unlike the digital-text page refreshes.

0
1
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: This is what the (Teletext) service existed for...

There's now an app for that, believe it or not.

0
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Aerials

Are you insinuating that all those years of telling us that we can "just convert" every TV was possibly a blatant lie? Gosh.

Or is it that we get unlimited* free** TV*** through an aerial****, further-terms-and-conditions-apply, ISP-style?

*Subject to limits.

**Free only if you pay.

***Your TV will need to be replaced.

****Your aerial will need to be replaced

0
2
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

So, with analogue TV finally dead, when can I expect the digital TV signal's ramp-up to full power to cover all those not-spots and receive it with anything less than a huge external or loft aerial, like we did the old TV?

Oh. Apparently, that's *already* happened around London. And now they have to fight with 4G transmissions too because the bright sparks put them in a place they'd interfere with digital TV.

It's almost like we need a government office to oversee all these communications mediums and various frequency allocations, isn't it?

1
0

Hero police robot back on duty after 'unstable man' blasts it with shotgun

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Question

What happens if you taser a robot?

1
0

'Looming menace' of evil browser extensions to be demo'd this week

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: my bank will ONLY work in the explorer browser

And, not being funny, but I used that as the reason I gave when I changed banks TEN YEARS AGO and thought it perfectly valid even then. NatWest literally only allowed you to login with Netscape (which was old even then) or IE and I told them they could fix it or lose me. Probably didn't even notice my loss, but I cited it as the reason I moved to a provider who DID recognise what online security actually means.

Requiring IE is not an excuse for sloppy programming practices. And if you don't program sloppily, you don't need to enforce the user's browser.

My own bank (and even my pre-pay credit card company, mobile phone company, etc.) all let me login using my browser of choice (Opera), on the device of my choice (Android phone, laptop, PC) and never complains (unless I use a seriously out-of-date version of something with known security problems that affect the banking component, as they should).

Hell, they keep trying to offer me a free version of McAfee, despite the fact that I don't use Windows half the time I'm logging in, but I put that down to some marketing bright-spark - but it's not compulsory, which I put down to some IT bright-spark.

Would you tolerate a bank that says they'll only allow you to manage your account if you do it from a public place where everyone can hear you? Then don't tolerate sloppy web programming posing as pseudo-security.

3
1

BYOD: Ready or not, here it comes

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Control

Access is not the problem. The problem is too much access.

For instance, you connect to your VLAN, and you want to access files. Now we have issues with viruses (if I break your phone you'll sue me, if you break my network I'll kill you), data protection, data retention, etc. etc.

But because you *DON'T* control those external devices there's no way to say that you're legally in charge of them (even if the users "agree", you're still failing in your duty as a data retainer, and CANNOT make the employee submit those devices to your whims without a lot more hassle - e.g. "we need to show a court that file you deleted from the network last week shortly after copying it to your phone"). You have no right to enter, seize or otherwise control a user device EVEN IF they did give you permission once. And it would be your fault if something goes wrong and gets out (because someone's phone is nicked, say, and sensitive pages are recovered from the browser history of an insecure browser that THE USER chose because you did not lock down what apps they can use) because your policy, despite forbidding the action, will be pretty much blamed because it allowed it to happen anyway.

Yes, there are workarounds but everything BYOD creates extra hassle in this area. You can VLAN everything off, open up only external access to verified users over secure connections with certified-clean devices, push everything through a centrally-controlled and logged web-based interface with zero permissions. But they can still run off with data that you, as a company, can be required to provide by law and/or not allow distribution of. And do so accidentally, automatically, and unrecoverably.

0
0

TiVo: Cisco and pals could owe us BILLIONS over DVR patents

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Software patent?

I lost interest already.

2
4

The hoarder's dilemma, or 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Memory cards for PC's

No. But I do have an 8MB SD card. Yes. You read that right. Megabyte.

Somewhere I might still have the 1Mb "SIP" chips that our cheap 386 needed to boot Windows 3.1 - the only other thing I've ever known to use them are some ANCIENT HP Laserjets.

0
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: Hoarders unite!

Pssh. I have two ZX Spectrums in my work-room. One's a 16K, one's a 48K. Both had bad memory chips and thus don't successfully boot. But I still have them, joysticks and bunch of tapes (all of which have already been TZX'd by the relevant Spectrum archives), not to mention every issue of "INPUT" by Marshall Cavendish (a programming weekly, which included Spectrum, Commodore, Tandy, Dragon and BBC listings in BASIC *and* machine code).

I also have a 6-ft long moving LED sign from a shop that the company stopped making in 1986 which has a faulty "storage chip" (really a cheap memory chip like the Spectrums with a circuit-board battery soldered to it which has been dead for about the last ten years) and no longer holds any messages you put on it.

And, somewhere, I have an Intel QX3 which I refuse to let go. But at least that works and you can still get (Linux) drivers for it!

0
0
Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Hoarding is a bit of an IT disease, mainly because when you go round someone's house (after months of them begging and also realising that you probably do owe them a favour), they will need to have a Windows reinstall from an XP disk with some obscure driver which has to be put on using a floppy drive, and then their printer install will have freaked out because you're not using a parallel cable but are trying to be clever pushing it through some networked-printer-server thing that you also found (but which could've saved you a lot of time), and then being asked if you've got a mouse because they can't find PS/2 ones any more.

The fact is, my hoard, by percentage is mostly worthless and will be unused. But in there is that one obscure cable, weird card you never thought you'd use, adapter for something that doesn't exist any more, etc. and sometimes - just once maybe - it will absolutely save your life that you've got it still.

That said, in terms of boxes, manuals, etc. I ditch after a year. If I haven't sent it back after a year, it's probably okay, and there's no law that says it has to be in the original packaging even if I do (really, honestly, truly!). Cables, I limit myself to a maximum of five of anything that's immortal (e.g. power leads and 19v adaptors), two of everything else and one of most things. You only need so many 36-pin floppy IDE cables, or ZIP drive power supplies.

If you really want a hoard, I guarantee you that I still own:

- 2 Video Backers (backup data to VHS tape from an ISA card! - no idea what I'll ever use them for, but there you go)

- APC UPS serial cables (which you HAVE to label because they have a different pin configuration to everything else)

- "Real" fax modems (surprisingly useful if not winmodems for setting up automated fax to email systems with Hylafax)

- Fans and fan-adaptor cables (unbelievable how many people just let their fans clog to the point of dying and then buy a £20 Maplin fan that's worth about 50p).

- A Syquest Sparq drive (parallel port version - like a ZIP but 1Gb disks, and a HUGE data store for anything that only does DOS / Parallel without having to worry about drivers and moving old IDE disks around).

- IDE -> SATA and SATA -> IDE convertors (usually tiny ones that cost next-to-nothing)

- Drive rails (e.g. 3.5" -> 5.25" bay rails - invaluable even on modern machines when you use a lot of disks).

- 25m serial cable made up of every combination of 25-pin, 9-pin, male, female, etc.. Seriously. Used to play IPX- and TCP- games over this using an old DOS packet driver pre-home-networks.

- PCI analog TV cards (excellent for CCTV systems running on old machines and as spares for such now that digital is king).

- Every possible combination of USB A, B, mini, micro, male, female, etc. that you can imagine in one huge long daisy-chain of adaptors that takes up nearly a meter of solid plastic (I call it the USB lightsaber).

- Power adaptors for weird things - old Dell laptops mainly and anything that has a weird voltage / connector like some of the old ISDN modems, routers, etc.

- PS/2 extensions and USB adaptors. Vital for fixing old machines and/or keeping your old keyboard.

Plus so much other junk I couldn't name it all.

But I tell you what, when someone says "I know it's a long shot, but I don't suppose you have..." I just *KNOW* that if I haven't got what they need, I can cobble it together from the "bits box" quite easily. Some of the improvised cables/adaptors that have come out of that box were like something from Apollo 13's fix for the air-scrubbers, but they worked and against all odds we got things back and working even if they WERE immediately scheduled for removal because of the difficulty of maintaining them after that.

3
0

IBM prepares to demo 125TB MONSTER tape

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Tape does not operate in an hermetically sealed unit protected from everything, though, that's the point. That's why.

A speck of dust would *destroy* a hard disk platter to make it unreadable (and you can't crack it open to blow it off and carry on even if that worked!). A speck of dust on a tape will be cleaned off by various brushes and be lost in the data's error correction anyway.

Tape has its own problems though - stretching, temperature expansion, and all sorts of other nasties that *don't* affect disks.

Which is why tape should never be your ONLY backup. Hell, stick it in the corporate backup scheme to backup to external USB hard drive WHILE spooling to tape. Because that hard drive won't give you 100% complete backup reliability, but it can be taken off-site too, replaced easily and cheaply, encrypted just the same, but will survive different *types* of disasters and restore more quickly. Hell, I've seen hard drives that have been submerged brought back to life. I don't think tape would quite stand the same treatment. And with backup the biggest word is REDUNDANCY - redundant backups on redundant media with redundant hardware (no point spending £10,000 on a tape backup system if you only have one tape drive and the place floods even if the off-site tapes are intact) with redundant methodologies in redundant locations.

2
0

Ice sheets may stabilise for centuries, regardless of warming

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

Re: @spoddyhalfwit

That's the impression I came with after reading them too.

But still the most important question in my mind is "What is the impact of the FIX that you're proposing?" If we're all about to drown, what do you want to do about it and what impact will THAT have (i.e. stop using oil = millions die, or what?).

Everyone focuses on the first few parts of the equation but should equally be looking at solutions NOW as if those nutters with no evidence are right. Because it might just be the case that one day we say "Okay, you were right and we were wrong. What are we going to do about it?" and there's lots of blank faces and realisation that 50+ years of arguing about it has completely failed to come up with a solution that's less drastic than the thing we're supposed to be preventing.

Which is another reason that nobody should focus on "Is the climate warming?" (which is a hugely loaded question open to lots of interpretation) when in fact it is, it's synthetic, it's measurable, it's detrimental, the knock-on effects are huge and STILL we don't know what to do about it.

2
1

Virgin Media's blighted SuperHub NOW comes with extra squeal (oink)

Lee Dowling
Bronze badge

I think just about all power supplies do this, but at different frequencies and different volume levels.

Both my last two laptops have audible power supplies - when they are used you can actually hear a fizzing / buzzing from them. If you increase power usage (e.g. run a game), it raises in volume. But literally, I have to have my ear next to them to hear it, it's so low-level.

And almost all electrical appliances do the same, even without considering things like fridges with moving parts. TV's buzz, hum, chirp, whistle, click, and thrum. So do DVD players even without a disc. So do games consoles. So do mobile phone chargers. It's just a matter of whether you can hear it from your usual usage position or not.

Personally, this is one of the reasons I lock electronics away out of sight. Because I *can* hear those sounds if I listen for them. They are actually my principle point of diagnosis. I can remember phoning up an engineer years ago for a Sparq drive (a sort of Zip drive, but 1Gb and much faster) - we spoke for ten minutes discussing which sounds were different so he could narrow the problem down. You feel a pillock but it's a large part of knowing how a machine works.

And power supplies, I *know*, make buzzing sounds. Some cheap ones even reflect individual disk actions in their sounds (so when your disk is busy, you can have a changed pitch which sounds like a hard disk clicking coming FROM the power supply as it's current changes). You'll know if you use a lot of machines that a lot of cheap laptops actually pick up even mouse-motions from the display on their sound card (I have a model in the room next to me connected to a projector and speaker system that DRIVES ME MAD because as you move the mouse around the screen, you hear a FFffrrrrppp sound on the speakers).

Power supplies buzz. Maybe the buzzing has changed with the firmware update, but they have always buzzed. I'm just amazed that anyone in this day and age has a house quiet enough to hear it without their ear next to it. I have what is possibly THE quietest house I've ever lived in, with double-glazing and zero internal noise, and I do hear my laptop power supply but ONLY when it's by my ear (the plug socket is behind the sofa and the power supply rests on the top of the back of the soda).

I don't doubt it buzzes. I just doubt that it's actually a problem for anyone at all.

3
9