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* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

971 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

Re: It's because your employer is teh suck

Oh, yeah, fine. YOU'VE got a corporate Linux distribution. Well, la-di-dah, aren't you special?

// insanely jealous :-)

// good IT here -- they haven't tried to foist Win8 on us!

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Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Consumer vs Business

Businesses don't (shouldn't) use consumer-grade equipment

Hell, *consumers* shouldn't use consumer-grade equipment!

Plenty of off-lease refurbs to be had and they're a heck of a lot more reliable than the cr@p Best Buy sells.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Company Car vs Company PC

...the rest of the IT dept never seem to know how to treat the devs...

Teach them. Positive reinforcement (e.g.: remembering them at Christmas...apparently, I'm the only one who does) seems to work wonders.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: HP Laptops and Heat

Dell's not immune.

I have here on my desk, an Optiplex 745 in "Ultra Small Form Factor"

So "ultra-small" in fact, that our IT department wants nothing to do with them, as their anemic fans and poor internal airflow fail spectacularly at removing heat from the case, causing the box to be a never-ending instigator of service calls. It was "given" to me to use as a Linux box. I replaced the HDD and discovered that it ran TEN DEGREES C cooler if I popped the case top and ran it that way. It's been doing fine ever since.

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Five unbelievable headlines that claim Tim Berners-Lee 'INVENTED the INTERNET'

Peter Simpson 1
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Paris Hilton

Re: Idiots

It's a series of tubes.

There's an adapter mid-Atlantic (and Pacific) to change from imperial to metric size tubes.

// Paris, because that's where the metric tubes were defined

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NZ bloke's drunken poker bet ends in 99-letter name

Peter Simpson 1
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Thumb Up

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

Right down the road from me, actually (well, a bit of a drive, but still...what are the odds?)

Max Power

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Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Minty

Mint Mate here...has been for the previous two releases, and quite satisfied with it.

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Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: Rubber band problem?

Silicone bands?

// one of the many *other* uses for that versatile substance....

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Peter Simpson 1
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Pint

As an American...

...I'm glad to see you remembered the cupholder!

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Inside Facebook's engineering labs: Hardware heaven, HP hell – PICTURES

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Send reg reporters on an engineering refresher

Don't bin it...advertise it on Craigslist, free for the taking.

Somebody will come and pick it up. Those things are still much in demand. Beats the hell out of the cheap Harbor Freight version.

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Blighty teen boffin builds nuclear reactor INSIDE CLASSROOM

Peter Simpson 1
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Unhappy

Re: Congrats for common sense and a learning opportunity!

Huh...Maryland. I was expecting Florida. Looks like this "zero tolerance" silliness is spreading.

I hereby apologise to the rest of the world for the embarassment that is US education. We seem to be in a race to the bottom. Maybe it has to do with getting rid of all the good teachers and training the new hires to be mindless form-fillers...

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US gov claims it spent TOO MUCH on wiretaps – and blames SPRINT

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: Overcharged to the tune of $21m.

Pocket change. Do you know what the war in the Middle East is costing us...*per day*?

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Jobless mum claims Spanish councillor told her to 'go on the game'

Peter Simpson 1
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Childcatcher

Re: Spain

Same could be said of my country...and probably yours, though mine is probably ahead of yours in variety.

// Canada's a strong third place, with Rob Ford...

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But... you work in IT... Why aren't we RICH?

Peter Simpson 1
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Childcatcher

Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

... in USA is that mobile users have to pay to receive a text...

If you don't have a texting plan, you have to pay to send SMS as well. So they collect twice, and the cost, once a nominal 0.05 has risen to 0.25 (for sender and receiver), but, as I said, it all depends on what your plan includes.

// in my next life, I'm running a d*mn telco: build the infrastructure, then just sit back and watch the cash roll in!

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Frenchman eyes ocean domination with floating, mobile Bond villain lair

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Rolex?

...hitting the heady heights of a *spit* digital Seiko.

Even MI6 had to reduce budgets during the fiscal belt tightening of the 80s...it's all Q could afford, Bond is lucky he got a Seiko...it would have been a Lorus or an Armitron if Q hadn't gone to bat for him!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Black Helicopters

Re: Boys own adventure

...reverse lifting body airfoil. The thing would sink just by moving.

That's by [Yanko?] design -- it hides while it moves, then pops up where you least expect it!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

But good luck to them - it's a daring idea and they deserve a chance to make it work.

...or drown trying.

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UK spies on MILLIONS of Yahoo! webcams, ogles sex vids - report

Peter Simpson 1
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Paris Hilton

Re: "Undesirable nudity"...

...between three and 11 per cent of the obtained Yahoo! webcam pics contained "undesirable nudity".

Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person

Which comes as a surprise only in that the number was commonly thought to be much higher.

// undesirable...to whom?

// Paris...because

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Peter Simpson 1
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Facepalm

Re: How to say 'Bit of a prick'

Have an upvote!

Can you read Cyrillic?

(apparently, what I thought was molding flash, is actually Cyrillic letters...)

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Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Molding flash

Looks like they forgot to grind off the flash from the molding process...and to break off the "1" and the "0".

It looks all out of proportion. But then, I'm not a sculptor and have always been pretty literal. I'm sure it will be fine, and as others have said, it looks like it includes coat and hat hooks, so it has that going for it.

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LOHAN chap brews up 18% ABV 'V2' rocket fuel

Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

Re: Never seen that airlock before

Which, uhmm, returns your comment above as the first result and also a query as to whether you meant to search for "SHARK BUBBLES" instead.

I was unaware of sharks' affinity for burritos. Perhaps there are other causes for shark bubbles?

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Ford to dump Microsoft's 'aggravating' in-car tech for ... BlackBerry?

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: QNX is Blackberry by name only

Two reasons I don't design Microsoft into the user interfaces for our embedded devices:

1. Cost - licensing, limited hardware platform options (Intel embedded stuff is much more expensive than, say, i.MX or ARM. We're actually using RasPi with Linux on our latest UI)

2. Future - I can't be sure how long the software platform will be around

Our software guy loves the features of .NET, but there's so much "business baggage" that comes along with using MS in an embedded environment, I'm just as happy to do without the hassle.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

Re: Maybe a QNX based system

It's been a long tradition here in the US of A, that vehicles should have a clock on the dashboard (an extra-cost option, of course), but that under no circumstances should that clock actually *work*.

Perhaps, somewhere, there is a US-made car with a working [analog mechanical] clock, but I've never seen one.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Thumb Down

I can think of very few places where a touch screen interface is less suitable than in a car, particularly if it's supposed to be operated by the driver

The only thing worse than a touchscreen is a turn and push interface, as on the BMW iDrive system. My son had one of these, and if you think using a touchscreen while trying to drive is tough, try twisting a knob left and right to move a cursor to the item you want to select, then pushing down to activate it...while trying to drive. It controlled *everything*...radio, heat/cool, nav system. Whoever designed it obviously drove only on unpopulated, glass-smooth highways, because it was impossible to use otherwise.

"Infotainment" systems...they'd be banned if they were on a smartphone, but somehow, they're just fine if they're integrated into the vehicle.

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Battle of Bletchley Park: TNMOC chief calls for review of museums' Mexican standoff

Peter Simpson 1
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Unhappy

Re: Grow up

Yup. "Can't we all just get along?" The two museums would seem to this techie to have much in common, one being the historical antecedant of the other. Combining the two museums would seem the natural thing to do. I'm not clear on the justification for keeping them separated.

Perhaps the advice (and perhaps leadership) of someone who has experience successfully running a historical technical museum is needed? The Computer History Museum in California and the NSA Museum in Maryland are great examples of what Bletchley could be.

I have visited Bletchley and it would be a terrible shame to have it turned into a Disneyland cartoon version of what I saw. History should be presented as it was, warts and all. Save the Disney experience for something less important. Clearly, Bletchley and computing are never going to be on Joe Sixpack's "must see" list, no matter how tackily they're presented, so do it right and make it a good value for your intended audience.

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Enterprising French chap cranks up €100k 'flying car'

Peter Simpson 1
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...moi aussi!

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No, pesky lawyers, particle colliders WON'T destroy the Earth

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

...an inert hyperdense sphere about one hundred metres across.

Still, better than what we have now, amirite?

And it would be a solution to the Middle East problems. All of them. So the prospect is not without considerable merit.

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Judge: Odds of bankrupt Lightsquared sorting itself out are 'zero'

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

...but in their defence the GPS manufacturers were apparently a little lazy, and didn't keep within their band - hence the interference.

Not in the least true. The GPS manufacturers designed their receivers, knowing that on either side of the band being used, there were frequencies allocated for satellite downlink use. The signals in these bands would have been of a strength equal to, or more likely, lower than the desired GPS signal, and so the filters were designed for this case.

Now, along comes Lightsquared, with a proposal to use these frequencies, originally allocated to satellite downlink, for something else: terrestrial transmitters. These transmitters would emit signals many orders of magnitude stronger than the signals the GPS receivers were designed to filter out.

You can't blame the GPS manufacturers for designing according to the current band plan, with the expectation that the interference environment would remain the same. After all, that's why we have band plans in the first place: to prevent interference.

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

Peter Simpson 1
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Facepalm

Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code

...two years later the company went bankrupt among failing projects, falling quality, angry customers and so on.

Sadly, nobody in command ever seems to learn from these failures.

They just blame it on the incompetent developers and go somewhere else to do the same thing over again. "F*ck up and move up" is how a former boss put it.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Childcatcher

My first coding class

My mom signed me up for a summer school class. Learned all I needed to learn, taught myself the rest. There's no need to displace Readin', Writin' or 'rithmetic to make room for a coding class. It's quite easy for them to pick it up during summer holidays or after school, if they're so inclined.

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Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: What is the MTBF for a hard drive that is already 7 years old?

New hard drives are cheap. Why buy a whole computer if it just nees a new hard drive? Many of the computers I support are over 3 years old. They do the job just fine. You don't need a quad-core with 16G of RAM to surf the web and send emails.

I buy off-lease commercial-grade machines from resellers ($200-$400) and install Linux. Sure, not everyone's cup of tea, but it beats getting consumer-grade cr@p from Best Buy.

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Peter Simpson 1
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@goodjudge

Why not buy a spare hard drive (I get mine at NewEgg), swap out your Windows drive and install Linux on the new.drive. You can always go back to Windows by swapping drives again. It's really quite easy -- I'd suggest Mint 15 Mate, just download the CD image and burn to a CD, then power down, swap out the hard drive and boot from the CD.

You could even try it on the old XP machine first...

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Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

Re: I've been helping friends (and businesses) upgrade from XP to ...

...infested windows machine to Mint (Mate)

That's one of my biggest "selling points", when I'm trying to get someone to try Linux. The antivirus programs on Windows can chew up a tremendous amount of processor resources, not to mention the purchase and update costs of such programs. On an older machine (because not everyone can afford to change machines) going to Linux can mean getting 25% of your CPU cycles back.

Oh, and the "doesn't suck any worse than Windows" was a joke...there's a perception that Linux is clunky and requires all kinds of nerdy skills to use. I just give my "clients" a short tour, and tell them to call me with any questions, reminding them that their old XP system is still there on the old hard drive if they feel they need to go back. With hard drives around $80, it's a lot lower cost than buying a new PC.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I've been helping friends (and businesses) upgrade from XP to ...

I've moved several of my friends from XP to Ubuntu (and now, Mint, because Unity).

Some tricks I have learned:

- buy a new hard drive and tell them their WinXP drive is untouched if they feel the need to go back

- install Virtualbox and a WinXP machine for Windows apps they can't live without

The results have been excellent. For users who mainly want email and web browsing, with a bit of photo sharing and iTunes, this works well (with iTunes on the virtual XP machine, of course).

I get very few phone calls for help and my "users" seem happy with Linux.

My tagline is that Linux doesn't suck any worse than Windows, and they should give it a try.

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STRIPPED DOWN and EXPOSED: Business kit from the good old days

Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

Re: I'm obviously missing something...

I thought a RAM-raid was when you arrived early at work, with a screwdriver, and nearly simultaneously downgraded the amount of RAM in a co-worker's machine, while upgrading the amount in yours.

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BOFH: Attractive person is attractive. Um, why are your eyes bulging?

Peter Simpson 1
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Thumb Up

Heh. I'm exempt.

Color blindness, often considered a disability by those who aren't married.

// and a handy escape mechanism by those who are...

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LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

Peter Simpson 1
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Pirate

Don't forget

Flotation (just in case) to gurantee positive bouyancy, and a very waterproof and highly visible name and address label (in case it washes up on some foreign shore)!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

Re: Ye Gods!

if it's an air-shark, it will need a frickin' laser attached to it, no?

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Peter Simpson 1
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Alert

Pitot heater?

Don't want to end up like Air France, do we, now?

// a bit piggish with the limited battery power, though

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UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on

Peter Simpson 1
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Black Helicopters

In the 70's

I took a programming course on the CDC Cyber 74 from a CDC apps engineer. He pointed out the "count number of 1 bits in word" assembler instruction and asked if anyone knew why it had been included in the instruction set. Nobody did, and he told us that it was included at the request of one of their most important government clients, who used it in a cryptanalytic application.

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London's King of Clamps shuts down numberplate camera site

Peter Simpson 1
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Black Helicopters

Re: Scary Stuff

I currently work on ANPR and your figures are roughly correct, in daylight. Remarkably, we get closer to 90% accuracy at night using infra-red cams.

Here in Massachusetts (actually, it covers the entire east coast of the USA), we have something called EZ-Pass. It uses a combination of RF transponders and ANPR to bill for tolls. It works up to 70 mph, and there are several examples of this up and running. At night, you can just see the visible bit of the IR flash as it reads the plates. The slow-speed lanes have fixed illumination and the plates, of course, are reflective.

I suspect there is a manual reading of illegible plates going on, and I understand that the plates aren't used unless there's a problem with the transponder signal. Still, quite impressive.

Yes, there's a whole subset of drivers who refuse to use it, because they don't want the guvmint tracking them. They're the ones in the long lines, which, according to our overlords, will soon be gone, as the system is about to displace the toll-takers (overpaid relatives of politicians), with license plate readers used to bill those without tags (at a higher rate, presumably)

// and it sure beats having that ashtray full of change (or waiting while the chap in front of you digs through his)

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Private pain: Dell layoff bloodbath to hit over 15,000 staffers – insiders

Peter Simpson 1
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Unhappy

Dude!

You're gettin' Dell'ed!

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Peter Simpson 1
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110 block in the US

I have a bunch of 66 blocks in may basement, each room has a pair of RJ-45 jacks, one for voice, one for data. Had them put in when the house was built, my only mistake was wiring them with CAT3 instead of CAT5, but it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Facepalm

As an older electrical engineer, I was once told by a very attractive summer female intern at our company, that she could never remember which connector was the male, and which was the female.

I somehow managed to explain it to her while keeping the conversation on a professional level, but I can't for the life of me remember how I did it!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: Not just an angry American

USAian here. "Ground down" has been the standard, ever since those things were introduced (I know, I was there).

A few years ago, some bright light got the idea that they should be installed "ground up". This was post 1993, when my house was built, but I can't nail it down any more precisely than that.

The word-of-mouth reasoning for "ground up" is that a wire, metal cover plate, or other conductor, falling across a partially unplugged connector, would contact the ground first, instead of falling across the two line terminals, as it might, if the outlet had been installed "ground down".

This seems to me to be a low probability occurrence (to say the least) and the National Electrical Code agrees with me as it doesn't state a preferred orientation (and shows outlets "ground down").

So "down" is "normal", unless you're paraoid, then "up" is OK. It seems to be an individual preference or the preference of an overly controlling local electrical inspector.

A secondary reason is that some electricians mount outlets controlled by wall switches in "ground up" configuration to distinguish them from unswitched outlets. This seems to be an uncommonly sensible idea.

// yeah, I know, way TMI...have a nice weekend!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Thumb Up

Re: #3 - terminal blocks

I prefer the pluggable ones (but they only work for PCBs). Don't need to unscrew each wire when the PCB needs replacing (or repair or whatever).

Oh, and +1 for the "Mumbai Multiway" -- I shall be using that from here on, in place of "rat's nest", when referring to spaghetti wiring.

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UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

Peter Simpson 1
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Childcatcher

Re: The real elephant in the room ...

Pupils as young as five will start learning to code in the new system and from the age of 11, children will be taught at least two programming languages.

We'll keep them after school, and outsource them as coders. It's like a 21st century workhouse!

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NASA probe orbiting Moon sights ANOTHER SPACECRAFT

Peter Simpson 1
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Trollface

Lawsuit

I demand that high resolution images of this object be released immediately!!!

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Man sues NASA: Mystery Mars rock is a UFO – an unidentified 'FUNGUS' object

Peter Simpson 1
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Alien

Who is Rhawn Joseph?

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Rhawn_Joseph

First sentence is probably all you need to read:

Rhawn Joseph is a neuropsychologist who worked at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California. Since then he has become involved with the Journal of Cosmology and known for his eccentric views on the origin of life on earth.

An expert in his field, well regarded by his peers, then.

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