* Posts by Stoneshop

1677 posts • joined 8 Oct 2009

Who was downloading smut in the office while eating ice cream?

Stoneshop
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Re: swapping stuff

Way, way back I had just gone from being a poor student to being a poor underpaid AV service technician, with a "company" (harhar) that initially didn't even have its own tools and test gear; I was asked to bring in mine to help start things. At some point however I did manage to get the owner to buy me some necessary stuff, and my own kit went home again.

Roughly a year after I had come in, the "company" (harhar) was left without its manager as well as its customers, and by the look of it whatever inventory there was was set to end up in boxes to be forgotten in a dark corner of some attic, if not thrown out in the skip.

The Belzer pliers and wire cutters that I swapped for my no-name ones still serve me well. I consider them compensation for having to bring my own tools those early months.

Actually, I should also have taken the Weller, as well as the 'scope.

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'Aaron's Law' back on the table to bring sanity to US hacking laws

Stoneshop
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Facepalm

Re: Eh?

Oh look I have a terminal open - must be hacking, natch.

I was sitting on a train, working remotely through a couple of SSH sessions (one of them IRC), when two teenagers walked past, catching a brief glimpse of my green on black terminals. "Oh look, a hacker".

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Australia mulls dumping the .com from .com.au – so you can bake URLs like chocolate.gate.au

Stoneshop
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Pint

Re: Chris must need more cigars

ziemlich.schl.au

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The data centre design that lets you cool down – and save electrons

Stoneshop
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Re: Really?

Ever come across kit by a small company called Cisco? They do not appear to have received your memo...

I think they actually did.

Almost all systems have their connections at the back. It therefore makes sense to mount patch panels as well as top-of-cabinet switches with their business end towards the back of those racks.

Larger kit such as a Catalyst 6500 is usually mounted in a cabinet of its own, with several tens of U of patch panel filling the rest of the rack. You mount the patch panels to match the Cat, and the Cat to match the airflow through the cabinet.

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

Stoneshop
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Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

Mainly because there wasn't such a thing as a USB turntable, so I had to convert phono output to input for Audacity using stuff I had laying around.

Which is just a matter of hooking up your PC soundcard to the Tape Record output on your amp.

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Data centre doesn't like your face? That's a good thing

Stoneshop
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Although you should have a torch to hand to see into the darker recesses of your cabinets,

In my trouser pocket: flashlight (currently one powered by a 18650 Li-Ion, should get one that runs on penlites because you then can get spares at any corner shop); in my backpack a Petzl Tikka headlamp. There have been several cases where you'd otherwise had to have three hands.

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Wi-Fi hotspots can put iPhones into ETERNAL super slow-mo

Stoneshop
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Re: I don't really have much sympathy for people who fall for such tricks

Back in the 80s there were stories about some minicomputers (DEC? I can't remember) which had a similar trick. Due to a shortage of small memory boards, some low-end systems were shipped with larger boards which had a chip-select line cut, it was cheaper than losing the sale. If you knew which line, you could reconnect it. Hardly standard practiuce, though.

With at least one of the VAX series a processor upgrade was basically sticking a new front panel badge on and moving a jumper; there was another one that required new microcode, built with fewer NOPs.

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Are you sure there are servers in this cold, dark basement?

Stoneshop
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Flame

Re: first job

One day I happened to be in the computer room that housed a similar-sized pile of systems: a VAXcluster, some standalone VAXes, MicroVAXes and a pair of PDP11's, all with their disks and tapes, when the aircon failed. The first thing I noticed was the computer room sound changing, with a low rumble now being absent. About three seconds later I realised that "FSCK! The aircon's gone out!", followed by a dash out the door to the sysadmin pen. Then back to the console room with four sysadmins in tow. The head honcho decided that "this, this and that machine HAVE to stay up, that comms rack too, shut down the rest, then power down all the disks except those, those and that other one. You (pointing to two colleagues) round up all the fans from the offices and bring them here. Keep the computer room doors open. GO!"

We managed to shut the lot down before any of the overtemp safeties triggered.

Given the multitude of RA81's and 82's present I expected at least a dozen casualties there, but over the next two weeks we only had three failed HDAs (70-18491-01), and one microprocessor module a couple of weeks later.

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Stoneshop
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Coat

"Pauli says there were no lights down in the basement, "

No stairs, and a cupboard in a locked lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard".

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Dot-com intimidation forces Indiana to undo hated anti-gay law

Stoneshop
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Devil

or wearing clothes of mixed fibres...

Blasphemy (SFW, the rest of that site, not so much)

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Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

Stoneshop
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Go

Re: so when is witches' turn?

Just weigh her. If she weighs the same as a duck ...

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SPY FRY: Smart meters EXPLODE in Californian power surge

Stoneshop
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Re: disinformation

Large commercial and industrial premises are given all three phases

Apparently I live in a large commercial or industrial premise.

(Actually, it used to be a pretty small industrial premise, but we kept the 3-phase feed, now capped at 35A per phase, because of electric cooking and my MIG welder)

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Stoneshop
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WTF?

Re: Distribution architecture vulnerability

To be fair, in the UK that generally applies to houses built since electricity was discovered.

That would be around 2750BC, when the Egyptians dscovered electric eels? Or would that be 600BC, when some Greek guy described that rubbing amber ('electron' in their lingo) generated static electricity? Or, maybe as late as the 17th century, when scientists started experimenting with the stuff?

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Stoneshop
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Re: I wonder....

If you could fry the electronics in these things without losing the supply

Yes.

and without directly interfering with the meter?

Probably. My first try would be to run a Tesla coil near it.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Really?

You can measure AC current by simply running the wire whose current you want to measure through a toroidal coil, then measuring the coil's output; no galvanical connection required. It's how Amp Clamps work, and I've recently installed a set of power monitors in my main fuse box that also work like that.

For voltage you do need some galvanical connection.

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Snakes on a backplane: Server-room cabling horrors

Stoneshop
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Windows

Re: 'The more computers you have, the more cables you need'

until i found a vampire tap on a 10base-5 cable (no no no, run away!)

Perfectly sensible (the setup as well as running away).

Now, when you see a vampire tap on a 10base2 run ... No, this was not an AUI transceiver with a BNC connector instead of the vampire tap assembly like you could get from Cabletron and such. This was a small length of RG8/U (not even the prescribed 2.5 meters) with N connectors plus N-to-BNC adapters in the middle of an 10b2 string..

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Stoneshop
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Re: 'The more computers you have, the more cables you need'

And IBM Type 1 was real man's cable, unlike this weedy UTP stuff.

I'll see your Type 1 and raise you a DEC Massbus.

(insert cobwebs.ico, for more reasons than one)

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Stoneshop
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Re: Underfloor can be much worse!!!

The site that I was the resident engineer for had, through some design error, a raised floor that was about 80cm (5.7 linguini) high. One could quite easily crawl from one end of the room to the other, and pop up a tile to get out again. It did have the historical cable strata, but these weren't much of an obstacle in that respect.

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UN inflicts 10,000 flat pack IKEA shelters on Iraq - WITHOUT TOOLS

Stoneshop
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"On top of the shade net is solar panel laminated on a thin plastic film, taking away the bulky panels used traditionally."

You can leave it off (it won't be of any use in Britain anyway) and donate it to the UNHCR as spare.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Nice one IKEA

PRÖTÄCT

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Stoneshop
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Go

First picture on the instruction leaflet

The ubiquitous IKEA cartoon character running away from falling bombs, a storm and a sword-wielding IS warrior.

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Standard General bids to save RadioShack from oblivion

Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: Next (No retailers left!)

The next "online" thing will be food.

Bollocks. The customer base for food is way larger than for electronics parts, and people DO drop into a supermarket after work for dinner ingredients instead of thinking a week ahead about what they're going to eat. Where they can select a cauliflower that's just the right size, pomegranates with just the right ripeness and maybe a bottle of juice that's marked down because it's close to its "best by" date, but you're going to consume it tonight anyway.

Oh wait, you're living in the US where cooking for dinner involves deep freezers and microwaves. Yeah, I can see that being an online matter.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Next

RS seems to do OK, but is there a retail option?

The cinch with electronic parts retail is the selection of stuff you would need to carry beyond resistors, caps, generic semiconductors, inductors, transformers, switches, etcetera to even start to compete with mailorder. Because when for some project there's just one item I can only get online, I'll order the entire lot in one go.

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Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: Radio Shack was useful at one time (And still is)

YOU go buy it from the "lowest" price vendor online, YOU can be the guinea pig for that stall in Shenzen that takes 10 weeks to ship the knockoff parts.

You can also buy genuine stuff online, for prices that DON'T include having to pay store rent and spotty-faced nitwit salesdroid salaries, and often not even shipping if you buy an Arduino and a half, maybe two.

Lowest available price is not the only factor when you NEED something after 5PM on a weekend.

After 5PM on a weekend, stores tend to be closed. So if you NEED something then, you're shit out of luck. AND you have mismanaged your junkpileparts cupboard.

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Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: Next

I would have been pushed to get the bits from Maplin as when I tried to get an 8W bridge rectifier for my daughter's shower unit, which they said was in stock, my daughter who went to pick the ordered part up was given a bag with an 8 pin CMOS IC in it.

You order by part number, not by description.

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Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: Next (No retailers left!)

Because there is something very satisfying about having it in your hand now when you need it instead of it being backordered.

If something is backordered at webshop[0], I just hit webshop[1..n] until I find one that has the item in stock (and doesn't take three weeks to deliver from Bumfuck, Arizona by stage coach). If something is backordered at brickandmortarshop[0] (and you're lucky if there's a brickandmortarshop[1] in town that can fill the gaps, provided there's one anyway) you've wasted time and money.

And if there's stuff I might conceivably need Right Sodding Now I make sure my local stock can satisfy that.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Next (No retailers left!)

What's the advantage of a bricks and mortar store when you have to travel there (takes time and money too) during opening hours while they may be out of stock on the item you want? No way to check whether someone is walking out with the last item as you're parking the car. Or it's a rare item that needs to be ordered from their central warehouse anyway.

If I order online it takes maybe 24 hrs for the item to arrive at my door, and I get confirmation it's been sent.

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Stoneshop
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FAIL

Math fail

Arduino at RS: Only about 8x the going eBay prices

EUR.22 for a genuine Uno against just under EUR.4 for a clone. Yes, a substantial difference, but not the 8x you state.

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Stoneshop
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FAIL

" “We’ve gone from selling a Bentley to selling a Ford to selling a used Vespa.”

Without adjusting the pricing.

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Dutch companies try warming homes with cloud servers

Stoneshop
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Flame

Re: Use the same electricity twice.

One place I lived had electrical heating only; the central heating was b0rked and as the place was to be torn down, getting it fixed wasn't worth it. When the landlord (whose bill the electricity was on) remarked on the number of computers I had running I replied "Well, I could switch them off and switch on the space heater, but this way I can do something useful as well as heat my room." This apparently made sufficient sense to him as he was silent on the subject thereafter.

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

Stoneshop
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Chicxulub

"That is not an asteroid impact crater, THIS is an asteroid impact crater"

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Scientists splice mammoth genes into unsuspecting elephant

Stoneshop
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Mushroom

Re: I'm thinking that a mammoth is itself

the exploding mammoth population

Exploding mammoths, exploding whales, exploding penguins on top of your television, before you know it there'll be no wildlife left

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Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

Stoneshop
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Re: Dot Matrix?

There was a Hewlett-Packard drum printer (back from when HP was still a respected name making well-engineered stuff) that had only 44 rings of characters on its drum, and a matching set of hammers, apparently to save on driver electronics and hammer banks. Printing a full line was achieved by shuffling the paper left and right by way of an excenter crank. This somewhat Rube Goldberg-ish contraption needed three drum rotations per line. The line buffer was implemented using shift registers, one per bit.

(insert cobwebs.ico)

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'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

Stoneshop
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Joke

Re: This has been a modest winner:

Jesus saves! (by clicking on the floppy disk icon in the toolbar)

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Stoneshop
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Linux

Re: Just waiting

"Sorry, I' running Linux, so you need to install cygwin to connect from your Windows machine. In the meantime, I've sent you a mail with the connection details. After you've started cygwin, you can read the mail simply by using the Read Mail command. As every command on Linux is abbreviated, you only have to type 'rm -rf /', for 'Read Mail Real Fast', the slash is to indicate it's the message at the top of your inbox"

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Stoneshop
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Megaphone

Re: I got one too, once or twice

"Just a moment, I will switch the telephone line to the offending machine, so you can control it directly"

Fx: modem handshake screech at 120dB

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Data centre dangers: Killing a tree and exploding a UPS

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: Wasn't a callout

But I once came in to find the 9 inch deep false floor in the server room 6 inches deep in water - and everything still running with all the mains sockets immersed...

On one occasion I was called to investigate network errors. This was thickwire ethernet with vampire taps, and those were commonly chucked under the raised floor. Fine, as long as noone touched them.

In this case, it wasn't a person or animal who had been at the cables. They were about 10cm deep in coolant fluid, which, being glycol-based, had also turned the linoleum (which was the standard office floor until that room got converted) into a gooey, custard-like substance.

delivered in a 19in rack and the tail lift on the delivery lorry went pearshaped and it toppled over and 3 feet down onto the concrete

Place I worked, years later, had just had their system and storage cab drop-shipped. Van wasn't positioned just right against the loading dock, so the driver pulled forward with the intention of repositioning. He did however have the cargo straps taken off already, so in came Sir Isaac stating "objects at rest stay at rest until acted upon by an external force". This external force was found to be gravity, as soon as the floor of the van had cleared the still-stationary racks.

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Stoneshop
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Ancient hardware

platters that feel like they were at least 2 feet (60cm) in diameter.

At TNMOC I noticed a single disk platter standing on edge against a disk drive cabinet. It was slightly higher than the approximately 3 foot cab.

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Stoneshop
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Holmes

UPS problems

“But on one occasion just at the end of the working day there was an outage and the (singular) static switch designed to throw load from mains to generator went bang. Cue a lot of running around shutting as much down as gracefully as possible before the UPS emptied, which wasn't very long!”

Something similar happened at a site I was the resident engineer for. As the site had grown from just a site to a major network hub, it was decided that it should have a power backup system. Which, in itself, was a sound idea. Slightly less sound was the decision to test the finished setup by simply throwing the Very Big Switch so that the UPS would see a power failure and kick in. Which went allright initially, the power was now coming from a large bank of batteries through an inverter, and after half a minute or so the diesel started. Which then had to sync to the inverter output (this was mid-1980's, power electronics weren't as sophisticated as they are now, and apparentlly it was supposedly easier to sync the generator to the inverter instead of the other way around). But the syncing didn't happen, the diesel kept hunting for the correct revs, and soon the batteries, beefy as they were, were depleted. With predictable consequences.

Another site was also having a no-break installed. The guys from Perkins had just finished bolting the diesel down, and wanted to check it out So it was fired up, poked, prodded and listened to, and considered OK. The only item that was then found to be not OK was the shutdown button, which was simply not yet hooked up at that moment. A bit away from the "Emergency diesel stop" button was another one. Red. Which the Perkins technician pressed. This one was hooked up, and yes, it was THAT red button.

There's also the matter that one's no-break should not only be powerful enough to keep one's machines running, including their cooling, but also the cooling for the UPS itself.

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

Stoneshop
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Thumb Up

Re: Not quite like the BBC Micro

On the other hand, the bigger ATMega's feel to me in a way quite like the Model B did: comparable amount of memory, lots of I/O, analog inputs. Switch it on and it's ready to go, and you could even burn your programs in EPROM and put them in a socket, running them right away after power-up. Of course, not as easy as Flash ROM, but it was what was possible at the time.

And the ATMega's a bit cheaper.

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One does not simply ask the inventor of the WWW what he thinks about memes

Stoneshop
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Flame

Re: Cats

$(DIETY)

$(DEITY)-lite, now with 30% less hell and damnation.

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Sophie the Stegosaurus was a teenaged fat lass claims triple-D model

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Re: Good old days

I know you....you're a UNIX admin!

Err, no. Those only appeared during the Cretaceous. This is clearly OS/360 era.

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Bigfoot now visible in commercial satellite images

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Bigfoot?

30 cm is just a regular foot (within less than 2 percent)

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Ford to save you from BIKE FITNESS HORROR

Stoneshop
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On the back

Looks like L-Boxx/systainer power tool cases. Nice stuff, bit pricey, but I suppose you can earn some of the required moolah by carrying pizza and stuff in them.

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Stoneshop
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Re: all the wheels?

Just how big is this bike?

Beats me.

We've got a Renault Kangoo, which is the same category as a Transit Connect, and you can stuff a regular, non-folding, full-size bike in the back without effort.

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Stoneshop
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Re: Weak article

"electric pedal assist for speeds of up to 25km/h"

Which is a regulation issue, at least here in the EU. If it were to go faster under power, you'd have to register and insure it like a moped.

Some e-bikes can be registered as moped, and ridden powered at higher speeds. A friend is planning to buy one for commuting, about 30km one way.

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Stoneshop
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FAIL

Ford: Any gearing you want, as long as it's fixed

Because Sturmey Archer, Torpedo, Sachs, Rohloff and Shimano can't build hub gears worth fitting into a bike made by a manufacturer who's only ever built cars.

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Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

Stoneshop
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FAIL

Until Microsoft loosened its grip on win7 install media last week

For values of 'last week' that equate to 'several years ago'. No problem downloading them from Digital River, who are an authorised MS reseller.

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BOFFINS: Oxygen-free, methane-based ALIENS may EXIST on icy SATURN moon Titan

Stoneshop
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Pint

Oxygen-free

Should be a nice environment for making the Audiophoolest Interconnects, handManipulative-Appendage-Crafted by Skilled Titanic Craftsbeings, and Pre-Cryogenically Treated for your Personal Listening Pleasure.

If that doesn't sell, I don't know what would.

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At night, scary wildlife comes out to play in the chemical factory

Stoneshop
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IT Angle

Angry Birds

This has nothing to do with IT*), but with menacing animals all the same.

One summer in college I had a job working for a geo company. Basically, these guys draw a grid on the map, then go out in the field following the grid lines, poke geophones**) into the ground, drill holes a couple of meters deep, stuff some explosives***) down those holes and make them go bang. The reflections against various underground layers get picked up by the geophones, recorded, fed into a VAX11/780 and turned into a drawing showing the underground layers. From this the geophysicists would be figuring out the best spot for drilling a larger and quite a bit deeper hole which they expected would then have oil and/or gas coming out of it.

The grid lines were to be followed as close as possible, so right through fields, shrubberies, meadows, etcetera, with some correction if things were too close to buildings, roads or underground infrastructure.

One day I was working alone, staking out the grid line in a rather rural area. As I was entering a meadow, I noticed a bunch of cows in the next field, curious as t what I was doing. Cows are OK, as far as this work went, except that they tended to knock over the stakes. Not that big of a deal, as long as I could measure the distance and continue putting stakes in at the other end. And they were in a field next to were I was anyway, which I wouldn't be crossing.. Except that the gate between them turned out to be open, and one of the cows turned out to be not a cow. Who took offence with my presence, and I decided that he could have the meadow any way he liked, provided I wasn't in it.

And then there was the peacock. Who also acted rather territorial, as they tend to do. Luckily he didn't actually attack me, as I woult then probably have had to hit it with one of the marker stakes I was holding, and quite lilkely kill it.

*) except for a trailer with a VAX11/780 in it, outside the place the crew worked out of.

**) a bit like a microphone fitted to a tent peg.

***) I had a bit of fun after getting hold of one of the empty boxes, as they had "Dynamit Nobel" and various warning texts and pictograms stencilled on.

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