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* Posts by Helldesk Dogsbody

52 posts • joined 30 Jun 2009

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.2: Tablet PC, CRT screen and more

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: Model M - David Given

You won't be getting a buckling spring for that but the Cherry MX browns are rather nice and can be very quiet (dependant on how much of a ham handed typist you are). They have a nice tactile "bump" without the audible click you get from the blues. Much appreciated in my office as my coworkers are less inclined to use my keyboard as a bludgeon on me.

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You MERCILESS FIEND... you put that audio file on AUTOPLAY

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: Err...

Nope, that's simple courtesy. The only time my workstation isn't muted is when I have headphones plugged in to the audio jack and if I can hear any noise from them when they're placed on the desktop then I turn the volume down as it's too loud. 30 people in an open plan office is plenty noisy enough without speakers being added in to the mix.

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BOFH: Don't be afraid - we won't hurt your delicate, flimsy inkjet printer

Helldesk Dogsbody
Mushroom

Re: Are ink jets that difficult?

I've had the misfortune of supporting the "cheap ink jet printers" sub set (approx 2,000 of the damn things) to the point where on being informed of a printer issue my standard response was "Ah, a printer issue. Do you have a hammer to hand?"

It was cheaper to replace them than attempt to fix issues and if it wasn't thoroughly broken at the start of the phone call it would be by the end. They weren't worth the time or effort to attempt a repair, just drop them off the desk a couple of times and/or deliver a few adjustments with a hammer/ a n other blunt implement so I could ship a new one out to site and install it remotely.

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ISPs: Relax. Blocking smut online WON'T really work

Helldesk Dogsbody
Flame

Re: Competence

"As for politicians, I'm fairly certain most of them believe the 'computer guys' engage in some kind of witchcraft."

Whatever you do DON'T mention the traditional prayer and blood sacrifice to appease the tech gods for a new system build! You know, the one that goes "*&!%ing cheap cases!" while trying to stop the bleeding - they'd bring back witch trials and burning at the stake!

(Flame icon for obvious reasons)

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Sony sucker-punches Xbox on price, specs, DRM-free gaming

Helldesk Dogsbody

Re: Steam?

There was certainly enough outcry about Steam when it first launched but that's now more than 10 years ago and it was a content distribution system, not a digital distribution or DRM service. It's grown to be those as well but that's only after a lot of development and a long time. Valve have built a reputation over the years for being trustworthy and a hell of a lot more gamer centric than the vast majority of publishers. The Steam hardware survey is probably the most accurate representation of gaming system specs in the world, Valve make SDKs available for modders and actively encourage them to make what they want of the software they provide, they promote indy studios by not charging exorbitant fees to make their software available, allow download of free to play games where they make nothing and are generally the champion of the every day gamer. It hasn't always been that way as we didn't half hate them when CS 1.6 was released along with the then extremely buggy Steam platform, they've put a lot of time and effort in to building customer base and loyalty with no secret made about the fact that you simply cannot transfer games if you buy from them - then they go and hold ridiculous sales that give me an acute case of wallet cramp! Steam also doesn't require always online, once a month is sufficient then you can go offline until prompted again. They've been known to extend this period on a per account basis for services personnel deployed overseas as well. Add on top of that the fact that you can literally install and play a Steam game on any system as long as you can install it, remember your log in details and it runs a supported OS then it really isn't the same.

In contrast, Microsoft have a reputation for shafting the consumer in general, releasing dodgy, bug ridden software (I consider new Windows launches to be an MMO beta test and Games for Windows Live has done SO well!) and hardware (RROD anyone?), change anything on a whim, already have draconian DRM (Windows reauthentication on changing hardware, seemingly triggered at random) and definitely don't show the same integrity. It isn't even an apples to oranges comparison, more a fish to bicycle one.

BTW, Valve have about 70% of the PC digital distribution market share and offer support for three PC operating systems so far (all be it slightly limited for two of them) as well as two console platforms. I could be wrong but I believe that they may have a larger market share than Microsoft where gaming is concerned - at least with regards to software.

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Now it gets serious: Fracking could RUIN BEER

Helldesk Dogsbody
FAIL

Considering the fact that some of the character of a decent ale, beer or whiskey comes from the water used to produce it I think you'll find that the better ones are reliant on a clean, natural source that isn't heavily filtered to retain the same flavour. OK, so where I am the local brewery Burtonises the water as they prefer the taste produced but the majority of the others don't.

As others have pointed out, the breweries will most likely have been placed there in the first instance because of the water source and yes, that tends be quite a ways below the ground.

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

Helldesk Dogsbody
Happy

Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

Mine had us demonstrating the thermite reaction in pairs throught the lab, alkanes involved an overzealous sampling of methane from a gas tap next to a lit spill creating a jet of flame across the lab, toluene and a nitrating mix with insufficient cooling resulted in a rather careful but rapid exit for the class, sodium was a lovely chrysanthemum shaped bloom on the ceiling tiles and some missing eyebrows, the list goes on but this was prior to COSHH. We learned from our mistakes and everyone knew what to do in cases of emergency as they occurred about once a fortnight. Minor injuries, a few interesting scars and a healthy respect for what we were dealing with was the result.

Outside of school included experimentation in to the feasibility of explosive tipped hollow point air rifle rounds amongst many other less sane projects.

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Kobo strikes new match against Kindle: The Aura HD e-reader

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: Resolution is less important than screen size

As pointed out by Neil Barnes both the current Kopbo Glo and Kindle Paperwhite are literally pocket sized - get the right case for each and they happily sit in an inside jacket pocket which is a must for me as I managed to do a similar amount of damage to my Kindle Keyboard which wouldn't fit in said pocket withh a case and consequently didn't bounce so well when I eventually dropped it on a concrete floor.

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Windows 7 'security' patch knocks out PCs, knackers antivirus tools

Helldesk Dogsbody
Coat

As the majority of home and/or small business users don't permit updates to run automatically and apply patches to Windows at gunpoint or other threat of iminent death or pain I reckon they're probably safe.

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The healing hands of guru Dabbs

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: An IT Helldesk Natural?

Agreed, he does sound as though he has the essential skills - it normally takes years to develop the correct degree of barely civil cynicism and exasperation towards users :)

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Keyboard, you're not my type

Helldesk Dogsbody
Coffee/keyboard

Re: back then when keyboards where good!

Cherry still make some good mechanical keyboards, Filco are excellent, Das have a great reputation as do Leopold but I've not used either of those myself. Unicomp still make the classic Model M style clicky-clacky keyboard if you can get hold of them and they are exactly as they used to be made.

Mechanical keyboards are on the rise, they've become the latest and greatest for gaming and will be back in to mainstream computing soon enough. For now they're a little pricey compared to the regular ones but a worthwhile investment if you spend all day using one.

From what you're saying it sounds like you could do with giving something like a Filco Majestouch with blue switches a go as they have both a tactile bump and audible click when they activate. Then if you really want pink you can order a pink keycap set for it (WASD keyboards do them at around $50, they'll fit any standard Cherry switches).

I bought a Filco for home and then had to buy another for the office as there was no way I was prepared to use what they referred to as a keyboard after that. £200 in toal for both but well worth it as a year down the line they're both as good as when I bought them.

Keyboard icon as it sounds like you owe yourself a new one!

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Helldesk Dogsbody
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@ Thomas 4 & AC

The steel plate that acts as a base to my Filco Majectouch TKL also agrees with you. The perfect portable weapon for all occasions :)

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Twitter translated to LOLCATZ: Strangely this had not been done

Helldesk Dogsbody
Black Helicopters

A Cunning Plan Perhaps?

Perhaps it's all a cunning plan intended to locate those ignorant enough to both use Twitter and combine it with the desecration of the English language known as "LOLCATZ" (*shudder* I feel unclean from merely typing that!) before unleashing a pogrom against those identified and thereby improving the human genome marginally?

Or maybe I only suspect that because it's very much what I'd consider doing...

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Rogue Squadron: Unit of X-wings Kickstarts in response to Death Star

Helldesk Dogsbody
Facepalm

Re: uk.gov @Brewster's Angle Grinder

"It's okay, X-wings support a BYOD software component. (But whatever device you use must be well ruggedised.)"

Unfortunately you're somewhat mistaken there - that's the upgraded version for use only by the USA as the maguffin that enables the BYOD functionality is "Secret" :(

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IBM brains ponder universe, say kids will go nuts for STEAMPUNK

Helldesk Dogsbody
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@Psyx

Your marvellous taste in music certainly deserves more than one upvote but I'm afraid that's all I'm allowed

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Helldesk Dogsbody

Re: I hate Steampunk.

There are plenty of functional items made in the same style, it's about a bit more than the odd article of clothing. Try this for example: http://steampunkworkshop.com/victorian-all-one-pc

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Drop that can of sweet pop and grab a coffee - for your sanity's sake

Helldesk Dogsbody
Coat

Confirmation of what we already knew

Most of us were already aware that to find any sanity in most companies you have to talk to IT and that if you deny coffee to your technical staff you're likely to have a revolt on your hands, this merely explains the correlation between the two :D

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Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7in Android tablet review

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Just what I needed to know

Thanks for that, it's exactly what I needed to know and with the appropriate warning too. I was contemplating getting one for my father but I'll stick with the basic Kindle as it's less likely to end up broken (as he's a former engineer it's never whether or not something gets hit with a hammer but where and how hard that's the question!)

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BOFH: Can't you just ... NO, I JUST CAN'T

Helldesk Dogsbody
Flame

Re: F***ing brilliant @Ian Johnston

Try saying that when you're on the receiving end of a Sarbanes Oxley access review and some fucknugget "made an exception" - the auditors couldn't give a toss, procedure wasn't followed and they're going to hammer the nearest approximately responsible person for it. In this context the word "just" is instantly greeted by the word "NO!" as loudly as you can shout it.

Rules are there for a reason in the IT domain, where access and accounts are concerned it's usually because it's a legal requirement. We aren't beancounters, we don't file paperwork in triplicate for the fun of it.

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007 hardware: Gadgetry, spyware and things that make you go Boom

Helldesk Dogsbody
Boffin

Coil Gun

"The coil-gun - a concept born in the realm of sci-fi - accelerates a magnetic projectiles with a series of coiled electromagnetic-induction wires. While this has yet to be replicated in real life"

Depends on what you mean by "replicated" as there have definitely been coil guns built, just not in a practical fashion as it takes a hell of a lot of power for minimal output, an air rifle is more effective. They've been built by hobbyists for years to prove the concept and researched by the military in many countries, both single and multi stage varieties. Inefficient and impractical as yet but definitely existing.

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Windows RT still haunted by the ghost of Microsoft's 2001 tablet fiasco

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Likewise

Same here, mine is my main portable device and a very nice job it does too. Battery life without the keyboard dock is at least a full working day, with it's even longer than that. Access to the office VPN works on Android so I just use remote desktop if I need something I don't have either web access to or an app for.

The hybrid devices are great if you have realistic expectations, are as portable as a netbook but with much longer battery life and greater versatility.

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Vote now for the ULTIMATE BACON SARNIE

Helldesk Dogsbody

Re: Do You Know The Muffin Man

Likewise on the favourite, it also has a slightly healthier option for those who only get to eat fried food accompanied by reproachful looks and guilt trips - poached egg rather than fried and grilled bacon. Almost as tasty but usually involve less aggro in the household!

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'We asked firms if they were looking at Windows 8, most laughed'

Helldesk Dogsbody

Re: Will be testing W8 at somepoint in the next few months.

We're currently trying out Junos Pulse for both iOS and Android to resolve some of those issues - it shows some promise but we're not done tinkering yet. Comment has been made about trying a couple of Windows 8 RT devices for the field team though as they don't actually need a full fat Windows system while on the road.

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IT support bod? Whatever you earn, it's not enough

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: Won't somebody think of the users ?

That would be why we ditched scripts other than announcing ourselves and asking who we're speaking to. Everything after that is ad libbed and depends on the circumstances. Those that report issues clearly and concisely are valued as it saves time for everyone involved and we try to understand which systems are most critical for them so we can focus on those appropriately.

Where spares are concerned we keep all of those (except headsets as they're the responsibility of each department that uses them) and are quite happy to replace. Extras need a PO and it doesn't come out of our budget but once it's signed off we purchase and put them in ASAP.

As far as our 1st line team goes, a couple of us have occasional lapses but in general it always starts pleasantly and stays that way for those who provide a clear, concise descriptions of what the issue is. The middle manglement that simply WILL NOT pass on the information required, despite the fact that the end user is providing the details in every instance, are the ones we reserve the scorn for. Oh, and those that have this strange idea that all issues can be resolved instantly if they shout loud enough (particularly when they caused it in the first place) - the depths of hel are too good for that sort! We can't simply wave a magic wand to fix things and if we could it almost certainly wouldn't be used to resolve user errors...

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Helldesk Dogsbody
FAIL

Re: No, wait, really...let me stop laughing.

With that attitude you'd probably last about 30 seconds in a proper Help Desk/Service Desk environment before getting fired as well as helping to perpetrate the myth that all 1st line support are jobsworths, megalomaniacs and/or script monkeys.

You don't have to know the specifics of any particular system, just the generalities and commonly reported issues with simple fixes that can be done by the user as well as what sort of degree of detail is required to diagnose the issue. If you choose to learn more then that's up to you but you aren't expected to be an expert on every system - that would be the job of technicians and engineers who get paid more than we do for that reason. If something's out of your scope or ability it's better to say so and escalate the call or refer them to the correct person than to be a dick about it.

You're the cut out between users and 2nd line to make sure that they have enough information to start working on a fix rather than having to go back and forwards to get it. You're also effectively the public persona of the IT department as a whole and what you say or do reflects on everyone else, in either a good or bad way.

People who do actually know the applications inside and out are resources to be valued, whatever part of the company they happen to be in. I have an unofficial agreement with several that if I can direct application related questions their way then I'll "expedite" matters should they have an issue that falls in my area. It seems to work well for all concerned.

I'm not saying that there isn't the odd starfish in the company that I'd be glad to educate using applied high voltage but they're surprisingly few.

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Helldesk Dogsbody
Pint

Re: helpdesk staff

It might be worth you bouncing the ticket back with a request for details specifying what and where the issue is with screen shots where applicable. Rinse and repeat until they get the message or provide you with enough evidence to back you up when you point out to your head of department that they aren't pulling their weight and/or highlighting a training issue as it may be that they simply don't know what's required. The focus is generally put too much on customer service training rather than technical know how or analysis when they're hired (it certainly was where I work) and some people just seem to be incapable of learning that there's a bit more to diagnosing a fault than simply noting down what the user says (we've had two of those, got rid of both of them as they simply weren't suitable for the job). Fortunately this is not the case for most. Some may never progress beyond analyst but they can improve on that score (I thought I'd have to beat this into a colleague with a 14 lb sledge hammer at one point, they started learning before physical "encouragement" became necessary).

I was probably as bad when I first started out until people took the time to explain to me what they needed to know to stand a chance. I still receive the same sorts of calls from users as I did originally stating "x is broken" but know enough to go back and explain (using small, simple words) that without defining "broken" a touch more precisely citing specific examples and providing screen shots then the odds of it being resolved (or me actually giving a shit) are slender to non-existent.

If you help and teach the ones worth saving you'll be amazed at how much crap will get stopped without you even seeing it. It's also worth letting them know when you've got a drop everything priority ongoing as they'll field those calls for you rather than pass them down the line. A good 1st line team will back you up and help decrease your blood pressure rather than raising it, they'll get the "who, what, when, where?" so you can concentrate on the "how and why?", they may just need some pointers in the right direction.

Beer 'cos it sounds like you both need and deserve one!

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Seize your moment, Microsoft: iPad is RUBBISH for enterprise

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: iPads in the enterprise

Agreed, tablets on the whole fill a useful slot in the enterprise ecosystem as long as you understand their limitations and use them in a realistic manner. I have no need for large amounts of processing power when on the move, hate smart phones with a passion and dislike the laptop boot times. As long as I have a wifi point within range I can access my desktop easily over a VPN connection and retrieve what I need to on the fly. If that's not available I move the necessary files to the tablet first. I may use a Transformer Prime rather than an iPad but it's a mix of Android and iOS devices used for the same purpose within the company.

Oddly enough, it's the IT department that use them most. Something to do with realistic expectations I believe!

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Helldesk Dogsbody
Pint

Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

I agree wholeheartedly with the statements regarding users and Access - start them will full fat SQL to demonstrate why we don't use anything other than alphanumeric characters rather than just telling them not to do it. Let them see what issues it causes for themselves. Apparently this is too practical an approach though as it might actually teach someone something useful and has had to be filed under the same heading as percussive maintenance on users rather than just hardware and the merits of high voltage in its application as a training aid.

With respect to the article, the iPad actually functions quite well as a remote access tool but that's about the only area I've seen it shine in our firm - that's in the hands of the technical staff who understand its limitations rather than the coloured pencil office. I'll still take a Transformer Prime over an iPad for anything more demanding as typing on screen is still a nuisance.

The icon seemed appropriate as it's where I am and what I'm doing at the moment.

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Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

Helldesk Dogsbody

Re: Does anyone know what HR does these days?

Good point. I have an interview on Wednesday which has to include an HR drone, despite the fact that they know less than nothing about the job I've applied for.

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BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Re: Darned youngsters.

I'm not quite as bad as that but I do have my first hard drive - 4 MB capacity on a full length ISA controller card as well as a couple of ISA NICs with BNC connectors.

As far as iDevices are concerned the company officially has two for testing purposes and nobody gets one at company expense. You want a shiny iThingie go pay for it yerself!

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So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Helldesk Dogsbody

I'm not sure any of the Japanese cinema offerings qualify as they are generally watchable, all be it with scattered "WTF?!"s throughout. Alien vs Ninja was diabolical but in the "so bad it's actually good in places" way, the same as Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl.

Definitely agree with The Postman though, totally trashed the book and I still can't remember why I didn't turn it off after 15 minutes.

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IT staffers on ragged edge of burnout and cynicism

Helldesk Dogsbody
Flame

Re: Cynicism is natural

Sounds familiar. Ideas produced by people who're either completely out of their gourd or should be on medication that we have to pull out of our arses fully formed with no manpower, money or time allowed for. Small wonder that we see appropriately applied high voltage as the only way forwards!

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Snowbound Alaskan survives on frozen beer

Helldesk Dogsbody

Given that the freezing point of a 5% beer is ~ -4.5 C a guesstimate would put Coors Light (3.5% gnat's piss IIRC) at about -3.1 C. That's based on the freezing point of water being reduced by 1.8 C per mole of additional substance. Apparently the carbonation makes a difference but it's definitely possible to completely freeze real beer in a household freezer that which runs in at about -17 C. Even extremely gassy near beer should freeze at a much higher temperature than that. That's pure guesstimation as I've had a few too many tonight to do the maths correctly!

As it's Nome in November I have no idea how cold it actually was but I'd assume that "quite parky" comes close. Actually, the guy sounds very lucky that he had any ethanol as the calorific value is quite high. If it had been a case of A N Other soft drink he'd probably have lost even more weight.

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TV writer quells rumours of Doctor Who movie

Helldesk Dogsbody
Thumb Up

Nice analysis, do you perchance work in a coloured pencil office? Not a dig, just that I've rarely seen the word "brand" used in that way other than by those in the marketing trade.

Marketing sense aside (and it definitely is sense in this case) what's to stop some muppet with a different agenda and a better grasp of buzzwords selling it to the higher ups? Milking the cash cow on the assumption that it will sell better on the American market if it is produced by Americans? Dr Who light edition - half the content, twice the explosions and a metric shit ton more guns!

I agree that there is no sense for the BBC as an organisation to sell out to Hollywood but there would be one hell of a lot of benefit to the individuals that manage to sell the idea. Never underestimate the power of Murphy to screw everything up or the inherent greed in most management types.

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Ridley Scott confirmed for Blade Runner pre/sequel

Helldesk Dogsbody
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Nope

I'm actually quietly optimistic regarding this. The key word used is "reimagining" rather than remake. As long as it follows the suggestion of merely being set in the same universe with none of the original characters making a return then it has a lot of promise. Just please, not Russell Crowe.

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Average sozzled Brit sinks 5,800 pints during life

Helldesk Dogsbody

Unfortunately that wouldn't work

as it fails to take in to account the amount of home brewed beer and wine consumed in this country which never appears in the industry's figures. You can't just add the number of kits sold to the total either as the majority of the beer and wine home brewers I know don't use them.

The figures received would also be skewed by the usual insistance that the demographic range is 18 to an arbitrary upper limit, completely ignoring the fact that many people start younger and not everyone stops drinking, has the same lifespan or the same habits throughout their life.

A survey therefore gives a slightly better picture but then you have to start looking at the target audience asked to provide details and assume that at least 50% of them were lying.

Basically, anything other than "People in the UK drink more than those in most other countries" (which we knew already) is all a load of cobblers really!

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LOHAN spaceplane project starting to shape up nicely

Helldesk Dogsbody
Boffin

Good point

Fair dos, the only reason I suggested the initial higher boost is as a separation charge, higher thrust initially to get it moving before applying more continuous thrust to gain altitude.

It looks like that would be totally unnecessary with the E6 power curve though as it has a nice peak after about 0.4 seconds and then smooth power delivery after that. The E15 has a bit af a "KABOOM" factor to it which, as you quite rightly pointed out, would put a lot more stress on the structure.

The E6-P definitely looks like a find as well. However, as it has no ejection charge it would appear to be even more suited to single rather than multi stage. Also one less thing to go wrong if there is no stage separation to worry about.

I'm still a bit concerned about the design though. The typical loading of the Skua 1500 looks to be about 300 grams. OK, so the long glide time normally produced isn't needed but the amount of weight required for the GPS etc is probably going to be the best part of a kilo. That loading on that wing section I'd expect to lead to more of a barely controlled plummet rather than a glide back to earth.

Folding the wings as well I'm finding a bit of a stumbling block. I don't dispute the necessity but I can't see how folding them downwards will reduce drag in any way, let alone how to rig an opening mechanism that doesn't either foul the fuselage or add way too much weight. A one or two piece swing wing still looks to be a better bet to me. Have a look at the NAR XP-2C (www.nar.org/competition/plans/pdf/xp-2c.pdf) as that seems to use a more conventional form and is specifically designed for rocket propulsion. Give it a lifting body fuselage above the wing and rocket pod and it might be easier than adapting the skua suitably.

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Helldesk Dogsbody
Boffin

Wing Shape

I'm really not sold on the delta configuration (although I don't actually see an issue with the folding wing proposal) as it isn't the best for stable gliding or control. Why not try for something more akin to the Barnes Wallis Swallow swing wing? Suitably modified, of course.

That way you can get a nice, long lean rocket phase and a stable, broad spanned traditional glide phase while keeping the weight down nicely. Cut the wing sections from foam and skin them, as per current RC aircraft, and add a carbon fibre stiffening rod to each which will also give you something to attach the pivot to as well as a lever for the opening mechanism which could then be as simple as a restrained spring hooked up to a yoke for simultaneous opening. The catch releases, wings go *SPROING* and hey presto! one glider.

Sticking with the tractor rocket motor proposal, rather than have a separate stage that is detachable mount the rockets to a Y shaped canard on the nose of the aircraft. The lower fin shouldn't create too much drag, the upper two should provide a touch of stability owing to the dihedral effect. Mount the rockets in a faired pod at the end of each canard and they should be far enough out from the fuselage that a simple foil sheath will protect what's underneath.

A butterfly tail at the rear should provide the rest of the dihedral stability and at least partly counter a flat wing as well as providing the rear control surface without having to go down the elevon route.

If you use a lifting body fuselage then you should get greater lift, better stability and greater load capacity than a simple cylinder. The mass of the fuselage can be kept low by shaping it from expanded polystyrene using a hot wire cutter, solar film skin and/or foil to keep a smooth surface as well as it's insulating properties preventing low temperature damage to the electronics gear inside it. Add carbon fibre stiffeners where required to take the structural load without increasing the mass too much.

6 Aerotech E28s should give a nice amount of oomph for the boost phase as the model wieght ideally would be below 3 KG, even with all the electronics gear (approx 235 N thrust for 1.2 seconds). Alternatively use long burn ones like the Apogee E6 with a 5.8 second duration and a similar amount of overall thrust. You could even combine the two for an initially larger boost to start with going to a gentler, sustained boost afterwards.

I believe that the abopve would be a touch more efficient but also should look significantly more elegant - think along the lines of a B1 fuselage with a Y canard added to the front and a butterfly tail to the rear rather than a conventional tailplane.

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Amazon Kindle Lighted Leather Cover

Helldesk Dogsbody
Go

PU Cases

There are already a number out there, mine is a PU one from ForeFront - cost all of £10.49 with a light included. Over £50 for the real cow version seemed a touch steep to me!

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BioWare blows brains with intro cinematics for Star Wars MMO

Helldesk Dogsbody

Timeline

AFAIK the timeline is post KoToR by about 300 years or so.

The trailer looks excellent but don't expect the game to look even close - it has the typical graphical limitations of an MMO and they have deliberately gone for a cartoonish style in the gameplay videos I've seen so far.

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Sony unveils PlayStation telly

Helldesk Dogsbody
Boffin

Erm, no

Nope, different tech. The screen type you are referring to uses a parallax barrier to allow one image to be viewed from each direction. AFAIK Alpine and Sharp make 'em for Jaguar and Mercedes as well as the Range Rover.

This one looks to be using a a high frequency signal and blocking alternate frames via LCD shutters in the glasses. Only problem is that for some of us it acts like a high frquency strobe and gives the mother of all headaches within minutes.

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Microsoft wraps Windows 8 in Ribbon UI?

Helldesk Dogsbody
Unhappy

That would be the point

"considering the speed at which IT moves" - that would be precisely the point. There's enough change that you simply HAVE to learn to keep up that changing anything unnecessarily becomes an annoyance. Add on top of that the typical technophobic user response and you end up picking up a similar approach.

I don't like the ribbon interface as it seems unnecessary to me and I dread changes to the Windows interface as you can guarantee my phone will go millisseconds after a new system is put in with a user wailing "WAH! I can't find anything!" before it's even finished booting.

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Ten Essential... Gaming Mice

Helldesk Dogsbody

http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/47037/Razer-Abyssus-High-Precision-Optical-Gaming-Mouse

El Reg is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Razer Abyssus

You might want to have a look at the Razer Abyssus which seems to be a touch closer to entry level at around £30. Some may find this a little easier to swallow than £60 odd for the Imperator. For me it's worth it but price can be a sticking point for many people. It also appears to be the only ambidextrous one they offer since they discontinued the Copperhead and Diamondback.

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Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say

Helldesk Dogsbody
Boffin

Hazard my arse!

Sorry, but in the quantities you would find deposited as residue nicotine is not hazardous. Yes, it can be absorbed through the skin but you'd need a much larger to dose to even give you the light headedness experienced by light/non smokers should they have a cigarette. @PetPeeve, the LD50 for Nicotine is 40 to 60 mg/kg of body weight. Caffeine is significantly more hazardous as the LD50 is only 12 mg/kg but you don't see service being refused because you drank a cup of tea or coffee near the system. You get around 200 mg of caffeine from a double espresso compared to 10 to 15 mg of nicotine from a cigarette. Both are toxins but which would you say was more lethal? On the real world hazard scale nicotine is WAAAY down the list while benzene, something detected being released from Apple systems in the past, is right up near the top yet even that is used on a daily basis as it's one of the constituent chemicals in phenylalanine, commonly found present in artificial sweeteners. As with all toxins it's the quantity that's relevant and in this instance you'd probably be more at risk walking down the street with breathing in all the delightful exhaust fumes.

Yes, it helps dust adhere to the components but this would be why things known as removable air filters were invented. Yes, smoking is harmful and those of us who indulge should rightly consider others when we do so but please don't overstate the case. I've yet to see hardware failure owing to cigarette smoke but have seen it caused by generic household dust, cat/dog hair, exhaust fumes (much higher particulate level there) and the worst by far was a can of coke.

This is from the perspective of an ex biochemist, smoking hardware geek. I'll get my anorak on the way out.

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Dirty, dirty PCs: The X-rated picture guide

Helldesk Dogsbody

@James O'Shea

I'm unconvinced by the last picture but the school one I can believe. I'd imagine that the actual case was no oil painting either!

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Windows 7 - The Reg reader review redux

Helldesk Dogsbody
Go

Oddly reassuring

I installed the x64 RC on my gaming rig some months ago. Apart from one minor backwards compatibility issue with directx (fixed by a quick google and copy paste routine) I've had no problems at all. Since the infamous BSOD first reared it's head I've been able to cause it in a matter of hours in most cases (Vista took about 15 to 20 minutes) but thus far not a peep out of Win 7 on a pre release version.

Several months down the line POST and boot still take approximately the same length of time. For the few months that Vista survived on my system I used to switch it on, go make a brew then sit and drink it waiting for the network services to start running. Quite a startling change really.

Actually, I find all the negative comments oddly reassuring as otherwise I'd be expecting nuclear armaggedon or the zombie apocalypse. The day Microsoft get something completely right will be the beginning of the end.

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Apple sued over shrink-wrapped Mafia death threats

Helldesk Dogsbody

Fair Enough

OK, fair enough, the person in question has a number of mental health issues. This stops it being funny how? Slapstick is based on misfortune so if you laugh at that why should this be any different? Yes, the plaintiff is deluded and clearly needs help (as well as a tinfoil hat) but where's the problem in admitting this then simply laughing at the situation? Some people...

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Amazon vanishes 1984 from citizen Kindles

Helldesk Dogsbody
FAIL

That'll be why...

...I own somewhere in the region of 1,000 books with no trace of an electronic variant in sight. The written word in it's best form doesn't need batteries or access rights from big brother. I bought it, it's mine to read where and when I choose.

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Italian bride's bouquet downs ultralight

Helldesk Dogsbody
WTF?

WTF?

Considering the RPM on even a light weight propeller and their ability to casually relieve the incautious of their fingers and/or limbs I have to ask what the hell was that bouquet made from?!

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Hurt yourself? Try f**king swearing

Helldesk Dogsbody
Boffin

Hmm...

Swearing when hurt never seems to do me any good as it's not the word or its associations that help, just the sheer amount of energy/volume that can be put behind it.

Were the people not swearing saying the substitute words in a fairly quiet, embarrassed way or was it a full throated, window-rattling bellow? I could let rip with a lengthy description of someone/something's history, origins and/or personal habits at length at a normal volume and get less satisfaction than a simple, uncomplicated, incoherent scream of rage at a volume level sufficient to make small children (and some adults) wet themselves.

I'd imagine that it's the release of adrenaline that triggers the lessening of the perceived pain, is linked to the amygdala and (somewhat coincidentally) tends to trigger an increase in the heart rate. More research is required and I suggest that the so called "scientists" from the University of the Bleedin' obvious be used as victims, sorry I mean to say "test subjects".

The beautiful verse from TeeCee and that marvellous expression "flying a magnificent kite of fuck" from the Moderatrix are now indelibly etched in my memory :)

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