* Posts by Stoneshop

1656 posts • joined 8 Oct 2009

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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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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MELTDOWN: Samsung, Sony not-so-smart TVs go titsup for TWO days

Stoneshop
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Thumb Up

Preferred by 9 out of 10 cats

FYI, the Germans call it 'Katzenfernseher', Cat TV

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Facebook privacy policy violates European law, says report

Stoneshop
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Devil

Re: You could just stop using Facebook...

And it will get updated with every web page you view that has a Facebook widget.

Except that on my machines those FB widgets will find themselves trying to connect to 0.0.0.0. And if that b0rks the page, then sod that.

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El Reg chefs whip up Post-Pub Noshographic

Stoneshop
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Pint

Re: The most astonishing thing about this series is ...

Slightly mangling a Winston Churchill quote: "I may be drunk, Jake, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be fscking clueless."

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Superfish: Lenovo ditches adware, but that doesn't fix SSL megavuln – researcher

Stoneshop
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Linux

Re: Removing it

Standard version of Windows will not work.

Because it usually lacks specific drivers for the network and video cards used in the machine; I've seen that with just about any Windows version I've had to deal with. Which is solvable without having to buy another version: just add the network driver from an USB stick, tell Windows to update itself and some eleventeen billion reboots later you're left with just a few question marks in the device mangler, the drivers for which you have to scrounge from elsewhere. And anyway, you have a COA already, no need to buy a new install kit.

Or install Linux. I've had way less hassle there, if at all, over the past ten years or so compared to Windows.

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Stoneshop
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Re: So Stupid

I've already commented, though not on not commenting. Should I consider doing so?

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Stoneshop
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Re: HiFi Power cords

Actually switch-mode PSUs run a lot faster than 20kHz these days. The main reason is that the higher the frequency, the more power can be transferred through a smaller mass of (ferrite) transformer core, and then smoothed back to DC using smaller capacitors.

Power transferred is, IIRC, muble times core area times frequency, so, yes. Also, ferrite has a lower hysteresis than transformer steel, so less power loss.

In case one does want to use a SPSU for audio, 50kHz is the very minimum. Otherwise the beat frequencies between the audio signal and the switch frequency can become audible.

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Stoneshop
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Re: HiFi Power cords

Power supplies in audio equipment are Switch mode, and generally operate at 20KHz or higher.

Then why does every tuner, tape deck, disc player and amplifier that I look into have conventional transformers and smoothing caps?

Sony had a line of amplifiers that sported SPSUs, in the early 1980's. I've never seen that approach since. Especially amplifiers (except Class A) tend to have power loads that can vary A LOT, and SPSUs tend not to deal all that well with such a load.

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Dutch government websites KO'd by 10-hour DDoS

Stoneshop
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Re: I am very disappointed in this story

Here you are: http://www.gelderlander.nl/polopoly_fs/1.4271137.1417726441!/image/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/landscape_800_600/image-4271137.JPG

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Smartphones don’t dumb you down, they DUMB you UP

Stoneshop
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Coat

That depends

The flight pattern of passing swallows is too good for you, eh?

Do they carry coconuts?

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Stoneshop
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Mushroom

Re: The new man

And the parting on the left

Is now a parting on the right

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Cubans defy government's home internet ban with secret home-made network

Stoneshop
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Holmes

Re: cantenna?

Either you need to build a pair of rather conspicuously high masts (350 meter both sides, which tends to, ehm, stick out a bit) or violate the laws of physics.

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MYSTERY RADIO SIGNAL picked up from BEYOND our GALAXY

Stoneshop
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Windows

Re: Space is big, my brain just ain't

"The Sun's daily output" IS an El Reg standard unit.

2 Bulgarian Airbags, yes?

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

Stoneshop
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FAIL

Re: No need a car for that

You already carrying mobile phone which happily provides all this information and much much more.

Not all phones are smartphones, and not all smartphones blab your location data to the world's biggest advertising platform anyway.

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Hollywood vs hackers: Vulture cracks Tinseltown keyboard cornballs

Stoneshop
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Windows

Re: CSI?

"GUI Interface"

With access protection through a personal PIN number.

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No, I won't SNORKEL in your server room at STUPID-O'CLOCK

Stoneshop
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Boffin

Concrete

That's gotta be a good story (involving pneumatic drills no doubt!)

Mmmmmno. Just a few cans of some soft drink or other; concrete setting is slowed tremendously by adding sugar. It bought them enough time to get the stuff out before it wasn't out-gettable.

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Pond, rocks or quicksand in your 1km garden? Get a rugged DECT phone

Stoneshop
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Re: Separate base-station?

Or obtain a Siemens/Gigaset base station to be put outside. With the current state of DECT, compatibility is a non-issue.

I'm less sure of wolves being able to overhaul a ride-on mower, but maybe they're more ept mechanically tnan I give them credit for.

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Norks' internet goes TITSUP in possible DDoS attack

Stoneshop
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Headmaster

Re: Missing statement from article

All 4 computers are no longer able to connect to the Internet.

"The internet is unable to connect to our four glorious computers anymore."

("Fog in Channel, continent isolated")

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UK air traffic bods deny they 'skimped' on IT investment after server mega-fail

Stoneshop
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Go

Overall, my experience of OS/390 is that it is a rock solid basis for a system. I remember a power outage that took out all the DASD. OS/390 sat there bleeping that it couldn't access disks, but otherwise stayed up and restarted itself once the DASD were IML'd back online.

I'm reminded of a situation where some cable-laying monkey had removed an entire single row of floor tiles behind one of those washing machine-like disk drives. So, after a vigorous bit of seeking, the legs underneath the drive inevitably started diverging from the vertical, and the drive decided to take a plunge into the chasm.

After undoing this mishap (I'm unaware if the cable monkey was made part of the solution) and spinning the drive back up, VMS merely reported "Drive improperly dismounted".

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Judge spanks SCO in ancient ownership of Unix lawsuit

Stoneshop
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Facepalm

Re: TSG is not SCO

Now who gets the award for idiocy:

SCOG. They went from repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot to machinegunning their knees with gay abandon after there was nothing substantial left in the pedal department. Only lack of funds to obtain ammo withheld them from operating their groin-pointing Gatling

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'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Stoneshop
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Re: Dunno about warming

hydrogen fuel cells

There's also the option of building various hydrocarbons (for which we already have the distribution infrastructure) out of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and energy.

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REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

Stoneshop
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Black Helicopters

Re: User submissions need pre-check

I want a flying shark,

The guys who built Orville the CatCopter are working on one (sorry, I don't have pics available)

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