* Posts by AndrueC

2571 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

AndrueC
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JUNK in your TRUNK is Amazon Germany's new delivery plan

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Its a BOOT.

The cars that is, not the elephants.

What've you got against elephants? They can have a bonnet if they wish. Maybe a fetching tutu as well :)

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

AndrueC
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Joke

homeopathic store owner

Is that a store that's been broken down into billions of pieces too small to see then spread across the entire country?

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Google pulls plug on YouTube for older iPads, iPhones, smart TVs

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: The ONLY way to watch YouTube is...

I literally never see ads

Me neither - but then I only use it for golf instruction videos and some old TV shows if I'm feeling nostalgic. I don't think anyone's going to bother inserting adverts into Project UFO :D

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AndrueC
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Facepalm

Google, characteristically, has tried to cast the end of service in a positive light, describing it as an "upgrade."

Plus ca change. Blockbuster video took the same approach many years ago when they closed the store on my estate. Instead of a five minute walk to the local shops I had a fifteen minute walk (or five minute drive) to the town centre. Nonetheless this didn't stop them describing it as 'Your new convenient store'.

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So why exactly does almost ALL tech live in Silicon Valley?

AndrueC
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Re: I'm sorry, but some assumptions are wrong

First of all Silicon Valley isn't about technology of knowledge. Silicon Valley today is mostly about business trying to sell advertisements

Imagine taking that to its logical conclusion. Imagine a world where advertising is the only thing that matters. Oh wait. That was done several decades ago. I think that should be required reading. I read that when I was a teenager and promptly vowed to do everything I could to avoid adverts. Thirty years later I still honour that vow.

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Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape

AndrueC
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Re: Actually...

Lossless digital audio is what you get on CDs. If you want lossless digital audio computer files on your handy portable device (or whatever), it's not so hard to buy the CD and rip it.

Okay, I'll give you that. I should have phrased it differently. I should have written '..download digital audio..'. I agree that a CD is lossless audio but it's a bit of a waste of plastic as far as I'm concerned. For collector's editions I can see the point but 99% of what I buy is just 'music wot I like' and there's nothing special enough about it or the artist to warrant getting a physical copy.

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AndrueC
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Meh

It's a shame it's so hard (almost impossible) to buy lossless digital audio but I've given up the battle. Frankly the way most modern music is engineered I'm probably better off not being able to hear the finer nuances that MP3 hides. If/when fidelity re-enters the engineer's and marketing dictionaries I might give a damn, Unfortunately I just don't think most people care so I'm going with the flow. MP3 is fine for a car and fine for outside listening on the cheap Bluetooth headphones I use.

Meh.

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America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?

AndrueC
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Re: House prices

Have you seen the cost of train fares lately? Sod that.

Meh, it's not that bad from some places. I live in South Northants (rural area in the UK for those who don't know). I can get to a train station on the Chiltern line in 15 minutes. From there it's £452 a month for the journey to London and parking is £99. So that's about £26 to get to Marylebone and back. It'd be going on for £20 if you went by car and that's not allowing much for parking or congestion charges. I think it'd be worth £10 just to avoid having to deal with the M25 and London traffic. And Chiltern run a very reliable service which usually has enough room for most people to find a seat.

Birmingham (second biggest city for those who don't know) is cheaper - about £15 per day. Journey times for me are about 90 minutes door to door in both cases. I did the trip to B'ham for 14 months until earlier this year. In fact I'll give a shout out to any of my ex- travelling companions. I got out just before the line was blocked - literally one day before, lol.

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WW2 German Enigma machine auctioned for record-breaking price

AndrueC
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Re: And should Cameron win...

have no idea which particular bunch of bastards I'm going to vote for this time round, but I'm sure I'll feel soiled for having voted for them

Living where I do (South Northants) it doesn't make much difference anyway. Even if everyone who couldn't be arsed to vote chose to vote 'not blue' they'd probably still get the seat unless they all voted red.

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Conservative manifesto: 5G, 'near universal' broadband and free mobes for PC Dixon

AndrueC
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Joke

So the Conservatives can't define 5G. I'm not sure that the telecoms industry can either.

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Because the server room is certainly no place for pets

AndrueC
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Boffin

The article mentions the issue of SCO or Novell servers. Virtualisation will not solve that particular problem. They will still be running an ancient OS that no-one 'cept old Bob understands after you've virtualised them. Virtualisation is a hardware solution and as far as ancient servers are concerned it only means you don't have to worry (so much) about sourcing IDE drives or a replacement motherboard that the OS can still run on.

Although I'd still want long odds on someone being able to virtualise a Novell or SCO server in the first place :)

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Your home automation things are a security nightmare

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Even it they were security aware..

Until IPv6 arrives, home devices will almost always hide behind Network Address Translation and DHCP-issued public IP addresses

You're absolutely right about NAT, yes, but I'm not sure what you mean by 'DHCP-issued public IP addresses'. None of these devices will have a public IP address if they are behind NAT. That would be whole point of it.

Now the router itself will in most cases have a DHCP assigned public address but there's still a lot of connections out there that have a static IP address assigned. And even if your connection has a dynamic IP address a lot of those are quite sticky these days, With connections staying up for days and often weeks at a time there's not as much churn as there used to be. The DHCP leases for some ISPs are several minutes as well so a short connection bounce might not be enough to generate a new address.

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Belgium to the rescue as UK consumers freeze after BST blunder

AndrueC
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Re: Election Time

Summertime rules are set by the EU

Not sure what statement you're trying to make there. Are you suggesting it would be better if member countries did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted as far as DST is concerned? Bearing in mind how fractious Europeans are the result would probably be chaos.

Surely even euro-sceptics have to draw the line somewhere and accept that a degree of coordination is better for the common good.

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AndrueC
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I'm sure I can't be the only one?

No, you're not. If the weather was cooperating a bit more I could get a round of golf in this evening after work and will be able to for several months. My preference is actually to start work at 8am so that I can get even more light after work. Sadly at the moment that's not an option so the switch to BST is very welcome.

Anyway as far as the article goes I'll just point out that the 7-day programmable, predictive thermostat that's been controlling my heating for over a decade had no problems. Its radio controlled clock changed to BST and it did exactly what it was supposed to. Tell me again - what's the advantage of Nest and similar?

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BT slams ‘ludicrous’ Openreach report as Vodafone smirks

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Free market?

Utter tripe.

Charming. Are you a professional debater?

Perhaps I'm thinking of SurfTime then. I'm sure I recall something about BT installing analogue modems (presumably just something more akin to a DSLAM) at exchanges back before ADSL appeared. I've found this article which may be what I'm thinking of:

"Currently, BT has plans to upgrade its exchanges with digital local exchanges by November. It said that this would allow it to separate all internet traffic generated by SurfTime and other unmetered access products."

Anyway it was all a long time ago (almost as long ago as the PO) so if my memory is a bit rusty I apologise. If I'm wrong, just correct me. There's need for you to be a dick about it.

Hmm. Found another article which says that Surftime is just a discount scheme so shouldn't need dedicated hardware. My guess is I'm just remembering about the traffic separation system mentioned in the first article. Whatever - that first article still indicates additional work carried by BT on their network.

Or maybe not further on the article states "BT Net have a product called Surfport available to ISPs. With Surfport a BT Net not-modem answers the customers call and routes the IP traffic onto the BT Colossus IP only network, where it is collected and sent on to the ISP by a high bandwidth permenant connection".

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

Re: Free market?

They're the only network that doesn't have to pay rates on their fiber, giving them another price advantage.

That's not entirely correct but they do have a special rate that gives them (in my opinion) an unfair advantage. The VOA has been asked to review this a couple of times now but keeps coming down on the side of BT :-/

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AndrueC
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Re: Free market?

BT was gifted all that expensive (monopoly) infrastructure for a knock down price back in the 80s

And you think BT are still using that network unaltered from the way the PO left it? BT pretty much rebuilt the core using fibre optics (a condition of the floatation I believe) and upgraded all the exchanges to digital. A lot of the local loop is unchanged from PO days but a lot of houses have been built in the last 30 years so even that has been considerably extended since privatisation. And that's to say nothing of the roll-out of v90(*), IDSN, ADSL and now the installation of thousands of street-side cabinets.

Harping on about what BT may or may not have inherited from the PO is unhelpful. It was over 30 years ago and in telephony terms that makes it pre-history. What BT inherited from the PO was a network creaking at the seams, barely fit for purpose and in need of serious investment. BT has brought that network into the modern world and turned it into a world-class telephony network.

BT has earned the right to be judged on its own merits. Criticise if it you want but stop dragging ancient history into the discussion, please.

(*)That required BT to install modems in telephone exchanges so that one of the D/A conversions could be skipped.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Free market?

And the smaller bidders were stymied by the requirement to provide a wholesale product. I do think that was a valid requirement but it was inevitable that only the very biggest players would be able to meet that requirement and still come up with a viable RoI.

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HUGE Aussie asteroid impact sent TREMORS towards the EARTH'S CORE

AndrueC
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Re: Devonian? @ ~Spartacus

Hypothetically, if a group of dinosaurs had developed technology, there would be little or no evidence of it.

This forms part of the basis behind a pleasantly readable science-fiction book called Toolmaker Koan. There's one scene where the humans are working with the 'aliens' onboard their ark looking at a map of modern Earth and suddenly the moon comes into view. The 'aliens' recognise it and realise that their ark didn't carry them very far after all. Quite poignant.

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AndrueC
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Alert

Re: Devonian?

I'm not really up on Archaeological Science, but it does continue to suggest that the evolution of all life on this planet has been set back a good few times.

99% of species that have existed have gone extinct. Makes ya think a bit that does. My thought is 'it's time we got off this rock' ;)

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Complaints against ISPs and mobe firms are up by a fifth — reports

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: John Lewis? An ISP?

Possibly over nit-picky of me, but I'm under the impression there are 2 ISP's in the UK - Openreach & NTL

Not really but you could be forgiven for being confused :)

BT Openreach is not an ISP. It's an infrastructure provider. It owns and operates the hardware side of things mostly. Its basic remit is to help move packets between the modem inside your house and the telephone exchange. After that someone else has to carry the packets.

If it helps any you could think of BT Openreach as being the telephony equivalent of Network Rail. Vital to the operation but you don't buy train tickets off Network Rail ;)

Inside the exchange there are several ways the packets can get carried further but simplistically it boils down to one of two options:

* BT Wholesale carries them from the exchange to your ISP.

or

* If you are with an LLU operator (eg; Talk Talk, Sky, maybe a couple of others) they pick up them up at your exchange themselves.

There are actually two ways BT Wholesale can get packets between exchange and ISP. Either they can carry them all the way or they can drop them off somewhere convenient where your ISP can pick them up.

Of course BT Openreach own the main national telephony network so whatever method is used at the exchange it likely rides over BT Or equipment at some point anyway. It's very hard to avoid BT Or's network because it's ubiquitous and actually pretty damn' good.

And it's worth adding that even if you do get broadband from BT as per the headline that is neither Openreach nor Wholesale but is in fact a third division called 'Retail'. All three BT divisions mentioned here operate independently. Ofcom insist that all CPs (Communication Providers) get equal treatment so BT Retail operates under the same rules as all the others.

You could think of BT Wholesale as being like a rolling-stock leasing company. In which case your ISP would be the company that leases the rolling stock and provides the drivers.

Hope that helps :)

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Nesting falcons interrupt £200m Vodafone 4G mast upgrades

AndrueC
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A few years ago I was talking to a colleague and we got on to discussing pets. At the time I had a pet budgie and in his typical disparaging(*) way he said "why don't you get rid of that and get a parrot - at least they can talk".

So I pointed out that a budgie is a parrot and in fact they appear to be one of the best human vocal imitators :)

Taxonomy can be a funny old thing.

(*)He was, frankly, an unpleasant git and one of only two people that I can claim to genuinely hate. Thankfully we parted ways several years ago.

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NASA upgrades Rosetta, Voyager and moon landing tracker

AndrueC
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Joke

"Does my beak look big in this?"

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Flying cars will take to the skies in 2017, if government allows

AndrueC
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Re: Won't

I can't wait until it arrives

For ten quid more you could've gone with the matter transmission option.

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BT fined £800k over lax emergency text relay delay blunder

AndrueC
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Their text service is a bit flaky in general. My land line phone supports SMS so I do sometimes send texts to it. They don't always appear in a timely manner and sometimes not at all. When I queried it a year ago I was told it could take several days for a text to appear sometimes. It's not a service I'd rely on :-/

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Pi(e) Day of the Century is upon us! Time to celebrate 3/14/15 in style, surely?

AndrueC
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I once memorised PI to 150 decimal places. It was written on page 57 of SMP book G I think. That was 30 years ago though so not sure how much I still know.

Hmmm.

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971699397510..bah. Getting old I reckon :)

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BT inks deal with Williams F1 for go-faster cloudy goodness

AndrueC
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Go

In fact a huge proportion of F1 is based in Britain.

Yup all of them around the Northants/Bucks/Oxfordshire area. An internationally recognised area of motorsport excellence. It's something that Britons should be proud of, like our satellite manufacturing and operating industry. Unfortunately it seems some people just can't or won't accept that when we're good, we're bloody good.

I live in a small town in rural South Northants. We have a Formula 1 team that wins championships. It's opposite Tesco :)

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Google will make you live to be 500, claims Ventures president

AndrueC
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Re: "Google will make you live to be 500"...

Further Correction: Google will take your brain and put it in a jar...

Or a box. :(

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Carriers want 5G to do everything, for anything, anywhere

AndrueC
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Re: Lan replacement

I'm not sure that Wifi will take over from cables though. Most devices still need mains power and anywhere you put a power socket you can put an Ethernet socket. I haven't (yet) worked in an office where cables came down from the ceiling - are you UK based? All the offices I've seen had sockets in the floor and/or walls.

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AndrueC
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Re: Lan replacement

And it's that difficult to get a SECOND mast up compared to rewiring a whole office floor?

We don't have unlimited radio spectrum. Put another mast up and you have to ensure that they don't use overlapping frequencies. You could try using beaming technology but I'm not sure how effective that really would be an urban office environment.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Lan replacement

Why?

Contention. It's what always holds wireless solutions back. 5G might offer a 1Gb/s connection but that's being shared by everyone attached to that mast. Not so hot when hundreds of people are all competing for the bandwidth ;)

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AndrueC
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Joke

Hey cool. Does that mean I'll get back to having reliable reception inside my house?

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Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

AndrueC
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Meh

And they can't stick it in some kind of VM while they work out what to do with it?

These stats are measuring where XP is running. It's not going to make any difference whether it's on physical or virtual hardware. Of course if you have to run XP then running inside a VM is probably a good idea but still not a panacea. You might not be able to isolate the applications from the outside world and even if you can it's still possible to suffer a breach if the damage occurs within the VM itself.

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Telly behemoths: Does size matter?

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No mention of flat screen CRT technology? That had a bit of an impact in the late 90s. Otherwise an interesting article.

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

AndrueC
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Meh

Word is a bit more tolerable if people do the following:

1. Use styles.

Seriously - don't just select 'Bold' for your headings. This goes for paragraphs as well. Create styles and use those.If you want to include text in a different font (eg; italics for quotes or fixed font for some source) create a style. Don't just rely on 'Normal'. Create a style for the text under each heading (Heading 1, Body 1, Heading 2, Body 2, Source 2 etc.).

It makes Word happier (probably because it reduces the mark-up it needs so documents are less fragile) and makes a lot of document-wide operations more sane (like disabling spell checking and auto formatting for source code paragraphs). If a document has multiple contributors it encourages conformity.

2. Never (ever. Seriously)

Edit or define hierarchically numbered heading styles. Life is too short. Your co-workers might tolerate some occasional profanity but no-one should be expected to put up with the torrent of abuse that you will unleash if you start messing with these styles.

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Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: filesystem time on a Window box filesystem

You might want to think about (or look into) whether NTFS and FAT (and FAT32) all behave the same way in this respect.

That's true but you might want to consider that it's largely irrelevant. FATx is pretty much only used on USB sticks these days (and even then NTFS would be preferred unless portability with another OS was a factor). NTFS has been the default file system for hard disks since Windows XP. As a consequence it's pretty safe to say that 99.9% of documents created under Windows on a local disk file system will be created on an NTFS volume.

The 'Windows file system' is NTFS and has been for over a decade. FATx is just a legacy file system that Windows (in common with most OSes) supports for inter system compatibility reasons and is mostly only seen on portable devices.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Also being picky, that is local system time, which isn't necessarily the same as world atomic clock time..

Ah but most (probably all) modern OSes are using UTC (aka GMT) internally. Local time is a user feature that modern OSes only bother with as a convenience for us. Anyone who has had to muck about with date/time processing knows that you never store or manipulate local time. It's too much hassle and too error prone.

You can see this on Windows (and presumably on Linux as well) in a month or so when the clocks go back. Create a file just before DST kicks in and note the creation time. Check it after DST has started and it'll have changed by an hour. That's because the file system stores the time as UTC and applies a locale specific conversion when displaying it. DST yields a different result for that conversion.

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Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

AndrueC
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Re: "Satellite is the ideal way to distribute 4K. We will drive it just as we did with HD"

720p had no traction in Europe either as acquisition format or deliverable.

Indeed not. When you have had PAL and SECAM already for several decades 720i doesn't bring much to the table especially if you get a bit carried away with compression. Some EU countries even made use of PAL+ to deliver widescreen format over analogue although in the UK I think only C4 did that and probably only for films.

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Win! Classic El Reg tees, plus something special for the weekend

AndrueC
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Happy

Oh I'd go for a pint glass. My last one (an old TeamB glass from Borland cracked when I tapped it last month). And just 'cos I'm a programmer doesn't mean I can't play golf. I've got my scores down to double digits now I'll have you know :)

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

I thought you meant golf tees. I'm a bit disappointed.

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Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

AndrueC
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Re: Abolishing Corporation Tax

Is it really a good idea that everyone could defer tax indefinitely by stashing their savings in a company?

It's so good that we should give it a name. I suggest we call it 'Capital investment'. Maybe we could set up some kind of marketplace where the funds we stash away can be moved between different companies in order to best benefit us. Perhaps companies would see that as an opportunity to compete and we'd develop a kind of 'Darwinistic' survival of the fittest environment.

All we need now is a name for such a marketplace. Lemme think a minute.

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Game of Moans: Sky coughs to BORKED set top box BALLS-UP

AndrueC
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Re: Glad I am on Freesat

Not always. Talk to a T1000 user. Now there was a box that had difficulty remembering series links. But my Freesat HDR is working like a charm. The EPG is horribly sluggish at first but otherwise a lovely box.

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AndrueC
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Re: SOP. Never consider rolling back the previous version.

The real issue is pisspoor testing of releases - probably ignoring the spread of hardware they've dumped over the years that somebody is still using.

To be fair to Sky I've been a subscriber for over a decade now (my first box was a silver Panny). Only once have I been seriously impacted by a firmware fault and they rolled that back within a week. I don't agree with all the changes they have made over the years but my various Sky boxes have been some of the most dependable and reliable kit I've owned.

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AndrueC
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Coat

sometimes it doesn't even ask if you want to series link

That's usually down to the channel concerned not having set the metadata up correctly. CI has done this a number of times as has Discovery. I usually fire off an email and they usually fix it. That can also be the reason why series links sometimes break but if rebooting brings them back then that sounds like the box.

But another pet hate of mine is the way some channels just start repeating earlier shows to prolong a series. History does this a lot. They seem to just start randomly inserting previous episodes as they get close to airing the final few.

On the plus side it seems that ITV have stopped using series link as a way to get every episode from every channel on Freesat. I gave up using series link on Midsomer Murders because even if you only marked the new episodes on ITV HD you also got the endless repeats on ITV 3. One case where the more powerful series link of Freesat was not an advantage.

History have done that only a few days ago. The series link for Storage Wars (stop giggling) suddenly linked across to the series of repeats. They've also been known to mark repeats as being part of the series so you get two or three recordings of everything throughout the week. Very annoying when you only have two tuners in the box because it's pot luck what will get dropped and Sod's law says it won't always be the repeat you saw the day before.

Oh and this is only tangentially related but: Why the fucking hell can't Discovery broadcast to its schedule. It doesn't show live programmes. It must be possible to know to the nearest nano-second when everything is going to end. So how the hell do they sometimes end up running two or even three minutes late? Stupid arseholes.

Mine's the one with the list of grievances in the pocket.

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AndrueC
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Meh

I've not noticed any problems which is a relief. My Samsung box is on a timer that cuts the power to it every night at 3am and doesn't restore it until 3pm. It wouldn't be the first time that power cycling a Sky box has meant I avoided problems. What I have noticed are a number of channels being careless with series link data.

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Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Sing it with me...

If you start impersonating David Essex I'm leaving.

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Over 50? Out of work? Watch out because IT is about to EAT ITSELF

AndrueC
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Re: A few words of Interview advice

At 44 I'd consider that a risky strategy. To a manager it may suggest that you don't want too much responsibility, yet when you're 55 you'll probably stll expect a salary commensurate with your age.

It's a risky strategy and one I only slightly applied. I said I wouldn't mind being a team leader but loved coding so much I didn't want to be a manager. The trick is to demonstrate that you still have the passion of a youngster but tempered by many year's experience.

As for my salary at 55 - that's what a private pension is for. Not saying I will retire at 55 but I'm making damn sure that the option is on the table ;)

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AndrueC
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Re: Grey beards pricing themselves out of the market

The true learning bit is often just mastering a new syntax along the lines of where does the comma,semi-,colon go this time.

Oh yes. Along with 'Oh you've given it a [new] name now'. On a good day there's also 'Wow, that's a lot easier than all that code I had to write'.

Only very occasionally do you come across something truly new. Mostly it's just a matter of mapping old concepts to new buzzwords.

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