* Posts by Gordon Henderson

50 posts • joined 6 May 2008

NEW Raspberry Pi B+, NOW with - count them - FOUR USB ports

Gordon Henderson

Re: I wonder if the new Pi-B powers up via the USB ports?

The B+ can't be powered up via its USB ports. µUSB or GPIO only now. There is USB power limiting too - software settable - 600mA and 1.2A.

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RETRO-GASM: The Fuze electronics kit for the Raspberry Pi

Gordon Henderson

Re: Back in the real old days

Nothing stopping you :-)

// circle - the old fashioned way

deg // degrees

origin (gwidth / 2, gheight / 2)

for d = 0 to 360 cycle

plot (sin (d) * gheight / 2, cos (d) * gheight / 2)

repeat

end

(if only there was a code tag ;-)

-Gordon

Ps. Joining the dots is left as an exercise to the user ;-)

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Pimoroni PiGlow: Rainbow LED swirls for the Raspberry Pi

Gordon Henderson
Go

And for those who want to program it in C/C++

then there's wiringPi, complete with a command-line utility to let you play with it from bash scripts too.

http://wiringpi.com/dev-lib/piglow/

-Gordon

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Thousands rally behind teen girl cuffed, expelled in harmless 'explosion'

Gordon Henderson
Mushroom

Ready made...

My local DIY/Hardware shop sells ready made mixtures of this - Caustic Soda (Lye to the USaians) and slivers of aluminium foil... Designed to heat up the mix when wet to make a more effective drain cleaner...

-G

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Microsoft STALKS YOU even more than supermarkets do, says dev

Gordon Henderson
Mushroom

Collusion

The Collusion plugin for Firefox makes for intersting viewing - letting you see what sites set cookes for what other sites in a nice visual sort of fashion...

-G

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O2 roaming rates to rise by up to 140%

Gordon Henderson

Re: O2 Are rubbish

http://xkcd.com/970/

Enjoy...

-G

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Gordon Henderson
FAIL

O2 Are rubbish

Every time I've tried to use their website, I've run into issues )-:

So a while back, I had to re-register - and part of that was to enter my email address twice. Muppets. I pointed this out to them along with the obligatory xkcd on that subject...

So recently, after more issues with them, I had to re-register again - and again I found I had to enter my email address twice - but this time they have modified their code to not allow copy & paste. I pointed this out to them again and requested a PAC due to their incompetence - which they rejected as I'd not supplied the email address I used to register.

This is going to be a long week )-:

-G

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Natwest biz banking service goes titsup overnight

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Down

New Bank?

I'm starting to think that, but I've a funny feeling they're all as rubbish as natwest )-:

-G

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Gordon Henderson
FAIL

15:30 and it's still borked

Trying to make a payment - keeps telling me there is a temporary failure. Follow their help and it tells me to use a different browser. That's sooooo 1990's ...

Gordon

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Basic instinct: how we used to code

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Nothing wrong with BASIC

It's fine for doing what it needs to do - help people get "into" computing and learn. Modern BASICS don't even need line numbers or GOTOs either. the biggest issue is/will be the teachers now, I reckon. I think I was lucky in that I had some good and keen teachers who really encouraged me.

So having been brough up with the micros of the late 70's and 80's, in a fit of nostalgia, I wrote my own BASIC interpreter a few months ago and have been having great fun with it since! I put in all the graphics I liked (turtle as well as cartesian) and it's fun! runs under Linux and so on myRaspberry Pi too!

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Verizon denies blocking competitive Google Wallet

Gordon Henderson
WTF?

I don't get it...

Do people still buy phones off carriers? I stopped doing that years ago. All I buy off a carrier is call minutes and txt/data. They have no control over my unbranded phone at all...

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BUSTED! Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps

Gordon Henderson
Boffin

FOSS SmartPhone...

The Nokia N900 is (was) a FOSS smartphone. Sadly hard to get now, almost impossible to repair, but it might be worth it now...

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Release the brakes on your virtual servers

Gordon Henderson
Linux

Native Perfomance is here today...

In Linux it's called Containers and a package called OpenVZ has been about for a while and the newer LXC is becoming quite popular now. The down-side? Just one kernel running all those containers rather than a hypervisor running individual "PCs" each with their own kernels - that means you can't run 2 different OSs, although with care you can run 2 different Linux distributions as long as they're both happy with the same kernel.

This technique isn't new either - Solaris and FreeBSD have had similar features for a long time and LXC for Linux while part of the stable kernel isn't perfect yet, but it's good enough for me to use in production in the data centre. 100% native performance in each container with none of this virtualisation wastage.

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Boffins triple battery life with metal foam

Gordon Henderson
Meh

A down-side ... ?

Three times the capacity... Three times the weight?

It's a good move, but I think all it's doing it taking the pressure off the chip makers to produce lower power devices in the long-run.

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Sinclair ZX81: 30 years old

Gordon Henderson
Happy

Working Mk14 ...

http://unicorn.drogon.net/stuff/mk14.jpg

Taken 3 years ago though - not powered it up since then.

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Blighty suffers 'real shortage of serviceable conkers'

Gordon Henderson
Go

What the HSE *really* say on conkers:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/september.htm

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Xmas kicks off on 2 August

Gordon Henderson
FAIL

They're a bit late...

... Seeing as local attraction near where I live is already selling baurbles and nativity scenes.. OK. So it's Buckfast Abbey, but even so - it's still July!!!!!

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Coalition spends £3.75m on ContactPoint

Gordon Henderson
FAIL

Incredible...

Meanwhile they've asked Devon county council to lose £3.8 million off their budget resulting in the start of a 90-day consultation period to make 100+ people redundant. (And I'm sure other countys are in the same boat too)

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Telco sets honey pot for nuisance marketers

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Connecting them to themselves...

I did something similar a while back - kept getting pestered by a company called (Ironically) "The Listening Company". Anyway, I detected their number coming in on my home BT line and bridged the call back out to their own 0800 number via VoIP... Haven't heard from them since...

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Nokia snaffles user data on the down-low

Gordon Henderson
WTF?

Hm...

I don't recall seeing that screen when my N900 did it's upgrade, but I did get a TXT a few days ago from Nokia (short code 84000) inviting me to repy to it to complete a 2-part survey. (Which I have declined to do)

I did wonder at the time how they got my mobile number, but I had previously signed up for their Ovi Store thing.

Bit sneaky though. Now to check my bill and see if it did send a TXT...

I still like my N900 - it's not perfect, but it does absolutely everything I need in a mobile communications device.

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Clive Sinclair weds ex-lap-dancer fiancee

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Mk14

http://unicorn.drogon.net/stuff/mk14.jpg

Way to go...

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Apple drops HTML from iPhone and iPad

Gordon Henderson
Unhappy

www.ihtml.com

Exactly could .... but wasn't.

Looks like abandonware now - last release 2007...

And sadly I have a client who still uses the stuff )-:

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BT hijacks business browsers

Gordon Henderson
FAIL

Fail...

So BT is ... intercepting ... and changing ... your data without your consent...

Now that has a familiar ring to it, has it not? Smells of a rather phishy phormula to me...

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Blighty surrenders to Street View

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Exellent!

Snapped their car on the A38 some 16 months back thinking they're just doing Exeter then Plymouth, but today I find my rural town just off the A38 in Devon online!

However, they've been back since then - probably last August/September (I know as I had scaffolding round the house then) so maybe they came back to fill in the gaps!

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Whatever happened to the email app?

Gordon Henderson
Boffin

Pine (Is Not Elm)

Since the early 90's. Yup 15+ years for me. Once day I'll find something else, but until then...

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Nexus One in trigger-happy 999-dialling bother

Gordon Henderson
Alert

911 ...

I have customers in Bristol with the phone numbers: 0117 911 xxxx

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Masses marvel at 'Most Useless Machine'

Gordon Henderson
Pirate

Excellent, but ...

Nothing sort of new ... Did anyone ever have one of those coffin/skeleton hand money boxes that were the rage some years back?

Hm. and a quick google shows them to still be available! Fantastic!

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Sunday night is Geminid night

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Good Display...

Down here in deepest, darkest Devon on both Saturday and Sunday evenings (round about midnight). Starry skys, no moon and meteors!

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The return of the Psion-sized PC

Gordon Henderson
FAIL

500 quid!?!

The Nokia N900 costs that, already runs Linux *and* has a phone built in!

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Microsoft yawns at Google's chillerless data center antidote

Gordon Henderson
Alert

Termin....

"These infrastructures that we run - and that Google does too - are so large, you can't really rely on individuals to manually make these decisions on an application failing-over from one [data center] site to another. Essentially, it all has to be built into automation software that makes these types of decisions."

Where's the skynet icon?

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Hands on with the Nokia N900

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Want One

Had all Nokia Communicators, Have the original N770.... Nokia gadget geek here.. Just can't quite afford it right now... Wonder in any of the UK networks will offer it on a contract...

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Apple blogger legally unlocks iPhone

Gordon Henderson
WTF?

O2 in the UK ...

I've always have Nokia Communicators from O2, on 12-month contracts and they've all come unlocked - I can (and do) put in SIMs from other Mobile Operators - which is handy to get some 3G data in a non O2 enabled 3G location...

So I find it odd that O2 are locking the iPhone - after all, you've signed a contract so they're going to get the money, no matter what, and if you put another SIM in it, then you're not using the O2 network, so O2 ultimately win - they have your money and you're using someone elses network...

But you can keep your iPhone. My next phone will be the Nokia E900 ...

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Apple applies for in-call music swapsies iPhone patent

Gordon Henderson
FAIL

Prior Art...

My E90 has been able to do this for years...

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NASA takes stick over feet and inches

Gordon Henderson
Alert

English Units?

Here in England (where I live), and in Scotland (where I'm from) we use SI units...

It really bugs me when the yanks talk about "English" units.

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RIP Personal Computer World

Gordon Henderson

6502 vs Z80 :)

Always seemed to be 2 camps back then - the 6502 one and the Z80 one, or Apple ][, BBC B/Electron vs. The Sinclair efforts... I was firmly in the 6502 camp (even though I had a job writing both 8080/Z80 and 6502 assembler in the early/mid 80's - much prefered 6502!) Still have an Apple ][, but my BBC was stolen. Replaced it with a Arc, but it was never the same...

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Phorm gets £15m lifeline

Gordon Henderson
Stop

Burn Rate ...

They raised £32 million... Spent it in 12 months - just under £3 million a month.

Where is it going?

Or which fat-cat is creaming off the bulk of it all?

Or it just me?

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The best netbook-friendly Linux distros

Gordon Henderson
Linux

Debian...

I installed Debian Lenny on both wifeys and my own AAO. (512MB/8GB models) Installed XFCE4 and off we go...

It did require some geekery to make the Wi-Fi work (custom kernel compile) and make it snappier in general, but we're both happy with it. (Wifey is very non-geek!)

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Super Micro rack-mounts micro Atom server

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Doing it already...

I already have some Atom based servers I'm co-locating. Great little boxes I put together myself. And for the purpose they're serving - not a hugely CPU intensive function vs. the power they consume, they're doing just fine.

Personally I think we need to get back to the bad old days when we really were cpu limitd (and memory limited) and start to optimise things to eek every last ounce out of the hardware, rather then blindly pour more cpu, memory and electricity to a problem... More and more data centres are now chrging for electricity - what's better - one hulking server sucking 350 watts or a few smaller ones sucking 40 watts each...

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Boffins list sci-fi words which wormed their way into dictionary

Gordon Henderson
Coat

Thagomizer ...

So many (many) years ago, being a fan of Gary Larsons Far-Side Gallery, I persuaded the sysadmin at the time to let me name my Sun workstation Thagomizer - After the thing that killed Thag Simmons, of-course.

And still today, the thing that killed the late Thag Simmons is called the Thagomizer...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thagomizer

Mines the one with the spikey tail...

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Lenovo erects Atom tower

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

Mighty Atoms ...

I've built and installed a few servers now using the Atom chip - and use one as my desktop. Mostly the dual-core version (with dual HT cores). For most LAMPy type stuff they're extremely adequate, and low power to go - which is always a concern in data centres these days. One thing to note: While the CPU may well be only letting off 4W of steam, the rest of the board isn't... The fan isn't on the CPU, it's on the northbridge chip... Last box I installed - dual core, 2GB RAM, dual 250GB WDC SATA drives sucks about 42W.

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Debian 'Lenny' arrives: bigger, longer, searchable

Gordon Henderson
Happy

Debian for Stability

I've used Debian as a desktop and server since the very early days - and the one thing I've always enjoyed is stability. Sure, it's a bit "dated" in places, but that's OK for me - I'm no great fan of bloat and feature creep anyway. (And I'm only just now weaning off the fvwm window manager I've been using for the past 16 years onto xfce4...)

I switched to Lenny in the testing stage just after the freeze last summer. Now running it on 2 desktops, 3 laptops (family+business) and looking to upgrade some servers to it over the next week or 2. Long life and long live Debian!

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ADSL - the VoIP killer

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

You get what you pay for - again

Disclaimer: I sell VoIP and VoIP capable PBXs (But only to businesses)

The biggest issues I've seen are cheapskates who see VoIP as a cheap solution to their telephony issues. It can be cheaper than traditional telephony solutions, but that's just part of what VoIP is all about - Flexibility is what I mainly try to sell to people.

But no matter what, if you want VoIP to work for you, then you absolutely must have a good, reliable broadband connection, and for a business, that means that you should be prepared to pay a few pounds a month more for a good, reliable connection from a reputable ISP, and maybe even consider a 2nd dedicated ADSL line purely for VoIP.

I've (sadly) seen people spend more trying to cobble together a VoIP solution using residential quality broadband and equipment than if they'd stuck to their old fashioned BT wall socket.

Interesting this VoIP question comes up today. On Thursday last week, the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) celebrated their 3rd year in existence, and held their first awards ceremony. I was there along with - well, I'm not sure as I'm not good at counting - 150-200 other people? These were people representing all aspects of the VoIP industry in the UK - big names (Cisco, BT, Magrathea, Gradwell) as well as some lesser known ones, (Drogon Systems) but all with one thing in common - a vested interest in making VoIP in the UK work.

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IBM drops Power7 drain in 'Blue Waters'

Gordon Henderson
Boffin

Re: Change the form factor

It's not that easy to distribute low voltage at high currents. 300W at 5V is 60 amps. Multiply that by (say) 36 in a full rack and it's 2160 amps. Now modern systems use more than just 5V, so DC-DC converters are required, or distribute the other voltages too. High current introduces more loss (I^R loss), so dissipates more heat, so you need bigger power rails, more copper and that in itself will cause issues... (And if the total resistance of all that copper was 1000th of an ohm, then the losses at 2160 amps would be 4.6KW) It only gets a lot worse as the voltage drops and the current increases )-:

More efficient chip architectures are needed. (eg. ClearSpeed) but for general purpose server use, I'm switching to Intel Atoms and am eyeing up the AMD offerings too (Eg. 45W for a dual HT Atom core system with 2 x 1TB drives vs 225W for a Dell 2U monster with 1/10 the disk capacity!)

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Facebook spams social networkers with phishy email

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Down

My Bank now wants to send me email too..

PratWest.

Checking my account online yesterday to be greeted with a message that they want to stop ending me statements in he post, and instead send me an email to let me know to go online to check my statements... They just don't get it.

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The netbook newbie's guide to Linux

Gordon Henderson
Stop

Aren't you missing the point?

My wife bought an AA1 and is very pleased with it. She has no need of a command-line interface at all - for her, it's a tool to write documents, check her email and do some web browsing when she's out and about. That's what 100% of her colleagues want too. They don't care to lift the lid and get inside- seriously.

I feel that we'll never really get Linux on the desktop as long as we keep on going on about the command-line! (And how many times has my wife run up a CMD window on her XP box? Never)

And this article - aren't you preaching to the converted? We read the reg. because we're already command-line geeks, lets back-off a bit and let then do what they were designed for - portable appliances to get a bit of work done when mobile, and if we want to get inside, then we're geeks, so know how to go it already!

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The netbook newbie's guide to Linux

Gordon Henderson
Linux

My wife has one ...

My wife bought one from the local Acer shop in South Brent (Moortek) It was 2nd hand, but the original owner had only had it a day. Anyway, it didn't seem quite right, so I re-flashed it from the supplied DVD and it asked for a password - which turned out to be the root password later on.

She's yet to use the command-line... As a geek, I found it and had a quick poke around, then left her to it. su works to get to root and it has vi. (vim). As a Debian man, I'll re-read this article to find out a bit about yum, but the only thing I want to install on it is Ekiga - to see if it'll use the webcam as a video phone.

Everything else "just works" for her. She can plug in her USB keys, camera flash card, it's on the home Wi-Fi, printers, etc. The only thing she has a gripe about is the same as the rest of us - why no Linux BBC iPlayer! But the streaming one works just fine, and she can catch-up with the Archers from the BBC R4 listen-again site...

I'm now looking at re-building her XP desktop box with a Linux system - maybe xubuntu, but maybe I'll wait for a *ubuntu or Debian Lenny if it will come with openOffice 3...

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How to stop worrying and enjoy paying for incoming calls

Gordon Henderson
Alert

Beware those 07 numbers ...

They're not just mobile numbers... In particular is numbers starting 070. They're premium-rate numbers (under the heading 'personal' for some odd reason...) and will cost you an arm and a leg to call - especially from a mobile!

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Ofcom swoops on caller ID-faking firm with... request for information

Gordon Henderson
Stop

It might well be legal ...

But that doesn't mean we need to accept it... Eg. right now BT rejects incoming caller ID from abroad because "it can't trust the data presented", so all BT has to do is reject caller ID when someone originates a call from the spook network. Other operators need to follow suit too, so with a bit of luck it could very well be self-regulated and be stamped out literally overnight.

However if (say) an operator were making money out of it - in the same way that ISPs were going to make money out of Phorm, then it might not be in their best interests to block them...

I wonder who Spooks carrier is ...

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MPs urge action as spooky caller ID-faking services hit UK

Gordon Henderson
Unhappy

I can spoof caller-ID ...

... but I'm not supposed to...

As a reseller of a wholesale VoIP/PSTN interconnect service, I have the ability to present any number I choose over the network, but I've signed a paper, part of the T&Cs, that says I won't present numbers that don't belong to me (or my customers)

I don't think there's any law involved here, just agreements between telcos.

But this is just extracting the urine. I'm convinced their upstream will pull the plug on them PDQ, especially if they've got the same sort of T&Cs I signed up to.

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ISP reporting network to pierce bandwidth smokescreens

Gordon Henderson
Thumb Up

I've got one ...

Had it some time now too, although I suspect it's a pre-release as it's not a modified router...

It does run Linux though - I watched it boot :)

I snooped it for a bit too - it does what it says it does - some pings, dns requests and file xfers...

Looking forward to seeing the results!

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