Re: The Lemon is in Play
407 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010
Bit miffed that you felt the need to locate Welshpool as being "30 miles west of Birmingham" while Grays and Lippitts Hill (both of which I've barely heard of ) are just "in Essex". Essex is a pretty big place.
Surprised that the Welshpool report has the drone "about 50m below" and then "about 100ft above". Mixed measurements? Whatever next?
I like VLC - it is cross-platform and seems to play just about anything - but if you need to use it from the command-line for anything slightly out of the ordinary, best of luck. The documentation is an utter mess with apparently authoritative sections actually being completely out of date and simply wrong. For most video playback I now use mplayer, or (on the Raspberry Pi) Omxplayer.
If I were looking for an all-singing, all-dancing iTunes-alike, I've been quite impressed with Amarok which comes as standard with the KDE/OpenSuse setups I use.
For audio editing, I'm a little surprised I haven't seen mention yet of Audacity.
But if you need the stuff that only iTunes can offer - administering and syncing Apple devices - you don't really have much choice, do you?
Please forgive all the Wikipedia links, doing this during lunch at work and the web filter blocks "freeware and shareware download sites", which is what it has marked the homepages of mplayer etc. as.
...and FreeNAS 10 isn't even out yet. BSD10 has only recently made it into FreeNAS 9, so how long it will be before FN10 gets BSD11 is anyone's guess.
I already use FreeNAS and want to get some additional things running on the machines. Rather than learning jails, I have held off for bhyve to work properly...
...is there an alternative these days?
I think the same is true for all Acorn's pre-Archimedes BBC machines, including those with 16 and 32-bit second processors.
Absolutely. While the Acorn machines had very little compatability with other 6502 devices, the fact was that in the multiple generations of machines Acorn produced, so-called "legal" programs were usually portable. Legality meant using the OS calls rather than ?-ing (PEEK & POKE to non-Acorn types) memory directly. To put it in slightly different terms, Acorn defined an API and very strongly encouraged people to use it.
The Archimedes was slightly more difficult in that it didn't natively take 6502 code (though Acorn bundled an emulator from the outset) but BBC BASIC V was 100% compatible with previous versions, as were the system calls. This did lead to some slightly odd behaviour, such as the ENVELOPE command that produced all sorts of useful effects on 6502 hardware being essentially useless on Archimedes due to the completely different sound system. Someone once said, "ENVELOPE takes fourteen parameters and does absolutely nothing."
But Acorn's efforts couldn't match the combined might of Intel and Microsoft, and in some ways it might be a good thing that they didn't as it enabled ARM (once it was spun-off) to do the clever things they have done with licencing and low-power and suchlike. If Acorn had been successful on the desktop, perhaps that wouldn't have happened?
Sadly, this is the same generation with a school "computer science" curriculum comprising mostly of how to use MS Office
Maybe, but things are changing. Here's the current WJEC GCSE Computer Science specification.
The year I did my Computer Science A-level was the last year they required binary maths as part of the curriculum, but it appears to have made a bit of a comeback.
Both above links are for the WJEC exam board. I dare say other boards differ.
Was the M68k really 32 bit internally? I never used it in anger (I went 6502 - ARM) but my recollection is that it was essentially 16 bits with some instructions capable of operating on pairs of registers, somewhat like the Z80. Would you call the Z80 a 16 bit chip?
The reduced-width data bus was common back then. Every pin added cost, not only in traces on the motherboard but the CPU's packaging - DIL packages become very cumbersome when you try to make them with enough legs to support 32 bit addresses and 32 bit data as well as all the control signals, power etc.
In the early 1990s I worked with Intel's MCS-96 family, a "16 bit" family, at least one variant of which had an 8-bit memory bus multiplexed with one half of the 16 memory address lines. Retrieving a 16 bit value from memory involved four steps - latching the address, an 8-bit read, a second latch, a second read. All to save perhaps six or seven pins on the package - although you saved 8 data lines, you had to have an additional line (or two?) to signal whether it was address or data on the multiplexed lines. Oh, and you also had to fit an external data latch.
Bearing in mind that I was a student on placement, and had to self-teach pretty much everything on this project (did all the digital hardware as well as 90% of the software in assembler), I remember one "lightbulb" moment very well. I couldn't work out why my code wasn't saving values properly to EEPROM. It took a couple of days of pouring through the code and probing signal lines before I realised that the EEPROM had a 1ms write cycle time. The RAM had no problem with 16-bit accesses, but the EEPROM couldn't keep up with the double-write required. Solved it by writing as descrete 8 bit writes with a few NOPs in between.
I really pity the poor person who had to take that code on when my placement year was over...
Lucas? Possibly, dunno. Replaced it (the rotor arm and the cap) with cheap Halfords own-brand which also eventually failed through water ingress, but at a total parts cost under £20 (IIRC) I didn't really mind. The fact that contrary to normal practice, making something electronic and "intelligent" actually made servicing easier (no need to faff with the timing) was a pleasant surprise.
(Americium / ionisation)
Point taken - I'm no chemist :-)
Mains alarms - fitted these when I rewired a previous house. Rate-of-heat-rise in the kitchen, smoke (optical) elsewhere. Never a false alarm, tested as well as I could (difficult for the RoH) and changed the batteries every two or three years. Cheap (see my previous links) and simple.
think headlights that steer around corners.
Most of these seem pretty dumb to me. The ones in my Renault Modus are simply extra bulbs in the headlamp clusters with directional reflectors and they switch on by a simple switch function on the steering wheel - well, it works like a simple switch function, though I have no doubt it is actually mediated by the ECU.
if(car_in_forward_gear AND dipped_beam_on AND (steeringwheel_deflection > 45 degrees))
or similar :-)
And the unmentioned fact that detectors based on the ionisation of Americum have a lifespan of about 10 years or so. I've had a couple that have done a chirp just like the low-battery chirp but meaning that they are beyond this period.
The first link is to alarms which take Alkaline batteries as backup - fit a Lithium instead and it'll probably last ten years. The second link has a rechargeable battery as a backup, so again, ten years at least.
Wireless versions are also available if running the interconnection wires is too hard, though also somewhat more expensive.
I had a Rover with a K-series engine. Electronic ignition still had a distributor and rotor arm, but the timing was all done electronically. Water got in the distributor and it all corroded and fell apart. At a road junction.
Fixed with the spring from a ball-point pen.
Drove the next 40 miles or so better than it had done for the previous couple of weeks :-)
Same car had this really odd problem where if the petrol tank was less than about a third full, the engine would cut out on left-hand bends. Bloke who has looked after my car for years and years couldn't work out what was wrong but I just learned to deal with it. I ended up selling the car at around 200,000 miles and it was still going.
I have a bog-standard smoke alarm that cost me about ten quid, and the occasional battery. IT JUST WORKS.
Thanks to all for the Alt-drag tips - I'll try it next time.
issues getting to resource X
Thought I was about to generate a story of my own for a while - I couldn't get onto the company Outlook web interface from home. Suspected my network connection (nope, everything else is fine) or possibly my slightly flaky installation of Firefox (for some reason the entire web works, except for posting articles on The Register and accessing amazon.co.uk) but no, I got the same issue on another computer and another web browser (both of which work fine with El Reg and Amazon).
Came into work and reluctantly emailed IT (hi guys!) who sent back "aah, yes, we've reconfigured everything and not told anyone. We'll send an email around later". Not much good for us part-timers, so I've copied the new details to my home address, and that of a colleague who also often needs to access email at home.
And entire pages designed to only fit onto screens of at least 6000x4000 pixels
Happens with the good old desktop too. I still use an Asus EeePC which has a 1024x600 pixel screen. Time and again, with various Linux flavours (currently using Mint) a dialogue box will pop up that is bigger than 600 pixels high and it is absolutely impossible to move it to enter data into the fields off the bottom of the screen. Sometimes you can press "enter" and hope they weren't important...
Sorry, I hadn't seen yours when I posted mine, and I'll admit I posted mine without considering the real numbers...
Someone crunches the numbers and finds that Britain would need 390 more Dinorwigs
Interesting point. I believe Dinorwig is capable of 1.3GW for five hours? I also believe there's a total of about 13GW installed wind capacity in the UK, so logically you'd need 10 Dinorwigs to replace a complete loss of wind for up to five hours, or 50 to do so for a whole day. Your 390 stations could power the country for about a windless week.
It still strikes me as a better storage plan than anything else that's been proposed, but I have to admit here that I'm totally in favour of a few more nuclear stations.
Dinorwig is limited by the size of the top lake. If you could build another Dinorwig but give it a bigger lake you would change the equation. There must be places suitable...
For short-ish term use, pumped storage is still I believe the best option in the UK, and I'm sure there are plenty of places suitable for use. I have a document somewhere which was issued when they propsed building Dinorwic power station which also proposed a second site on (IIRC) Exmoor, or perhaps it was Dartmoor. It wasn't built because it wasn't needed; at the time we had all the base load covered by coal and nuclear, and Dinorwic's fast response was enough to tide the system over until gas plant could spool up.
Dinorwic is by far the largest of its kind in the UK and there a loads of much smaller schemes (for example, just up the road from Dinorwic at Ffestiniog, but surely we have plenty of options in the hilly parts of the country for more large stations to be built? It's not even as if they need be unsightly.
Why doesn't anyone talk about pumped storage any more? It seems to me to be the perfect way of smoothing the output from wind and sun.
And a full keyboard!
And an analogue joystick - at least until you can afford a docking computer.
I've always considered "left with neighbor" as "failed to deliver"
First off, they're contracted to deliver to my address. Not my neighbor's address or where ever.
Fair enough. I suppose it's difficult for a courier company to know the requirement for each individual address, this is why those "instructions to the courier" boxes are useful.
Second off, I don't even know the gender of my neighbors
A sad reflection on modern life. I have to admit that when I was living on my own I wasn't in the habit of socialising with my neighbours, though I did at least recognise the three or four nearest to me and would have trusted one or two of them with a parcel. Where we are at present is a very pleasant close of nine properties and everyone knows everyone else, more-or-less.
Having neighbours to catch parcels (because we're out at work all day) or spot that we've left a window open, or keep an eye on the teenagers if we're late back from work, or employ one of said teenagers to earn pocket money cutting the grass or, well, any one of a number of things, is brilliant, and obviously we reciprocate.
Looking at deliveries from another angle it is very "eco friendly" too, because the courier only has to make one trip. Likewise I am not always tied to the house waiting for a parcel, and if I miss it I don't need to travel 30 or 40 minutes to the depot.
I realise this doesn't work for everyone, but I bet there are many times when it could work, if people took a bit of time just to say hello to the people next door.
Sometimes the parcel can't be delivered "because nobody was home"
Last week I genuinely wasn't at home. Parcel from CPC arrived a day or two earlier than expected but I had managed to squeeze "can be left with any neighbour" into that pathetically small "instructions for courier" box they sometimes (not always) give you.
Arrived home to find a UPS card on the doormat with a number "5" scrawled next to the bit that says "pick up at our depot after this time", but none of the tick-boxes was actually ticked to confirm that's what the courier intended. We are number 5, so had he actually left it in the shed or the greenhouse?
Had he left it at number 4 or number 6?
Went online to check and it was adamant that it had been delivered. "Proof" consisted of the single word, "OLIVER".
Who is Oliver? The delivery driver? Certainly no Oliver at number 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 or 9 neither forenames nor surnames (we're friendly with the whole street - it's a tiny place like that). Not sure about number 1 but pretty certain they're not Oliver...
...time to fetch the children from the school bus. On the way back, shout from behind the hedge of number 8 - "I have a parcel for you".
Would you believe that we didn't know our neighbour in number 8's surname was Oliver?
And why did he write "5" in the "collect after" box, instead of ticking the "I've left it with your neighbour" box and writing "8"?
Better than APC though - they flat out refuse to leave with neighbours and take the things back to their depot behind two levels of high security fencing about a 40 minute drive away. It's like trying to get airside at an airport (I'd imagine).
The postman tends to leave things in the recycling bin.
When I worked at Magna in Rotherham (I started about six weeks after it opened and everything broke on the opening day), most of the machines were Win ME (IIRC), but we did have a single Acorn RiscPC doing an image recognition task - it used a video image and looked for strips of reflective tape on hard hats worn by visitors, counting them.
The thing just kept on working. Never stopped. Apart from having "a fiddle" (as you do) I never had to undertake any maintenance on this machine in my 20-odd months working at the place.
That part of Magna was flooded a little while after I left and I know that this part of the place - in the basement - had to be completely refurbished. I wonder if the Acorn is still in use?
I've often wondered whether, after a series of such presentations it would be more effective for the presenter to stand behind the lectern and look authoritative.
...and benefit from the built-in microphone, which actually means they can be heard at the back of the hall. I've met more than one speaker who doesn't understand that their voice simply doesn't carry well, however loudly they think they are speaking. These types often refuse to wear the proffered tie-clip radio microphone, so microphones on the lectern are a godsend, especially if you have hearing-impaired users who are relying either on clear audio or on an induction loop / infra red / RF system.
Switching laptops is just asking for trouble.
Especially if Apple - why the heck do they keep changing the connector(*)?
And all brands and OSes are guilty of pure dim-witted inability to "see" the projector sometimes. I have had Windows, OSX and Linux machines all fail to find the projector, whatever port it's plugged into, or see it but misconfigure it so you get 800x600 in the middle of a 1920x1200 projection with no way to change it until you reboot the blasted laptop and often reboot the projector as well.
It used to be the case that the sure-fire way to make it work was to make sure the projector (or second monitor or whatever) was always turned on before the computer, but even that doesn't always work now.
And then there's Powerpoint's recently discovered religious zeal for "presenter mode" which completely foxes some people who've only ever used a single screen previously and sometimes decides that the "presenter" screen is the projector, with the laptop as the screen for slides.
Oh, and the people who bring Keynote slides expecting them to work on Windows.
(*)Slightly different, but was setting up for a big university event a couple of weeks ago. Most people (lots of "stalls" in our main hall) were happy without a network connection, or using our WiFi, which doesn't really work well if more than 20 devices try to connect. One group "needed" a solid connection, so I plugged through a wire direct to the back of the WiFi system. "Oh, but we need two.", "Ok, I'll just sort out a small switch"... only to find that the Windows laptop they've brought is quite happy, but the other laptop is a MacBook Air and comes without a network socket. I can't repeat what I (nearly) said to the girl who blamed me for providing "the wrong sort of plug".
My phone uses more battery during the day than my old one did.
Have you tried turning it off and on again? I have found that some apps don't seem to sleep or exit cleanly and can sit there just drinking juice without performing any useful function. Rebooting clears everything out, until the next time you need to use the app...
I imagine the Welsh will be delighted to have incendiary bombs falling on them
I've seen plenty of low-flying aircraft dodging in and around the hills and valleys (there are several places where you can be walking a ridgeway and have fast jets flying below you in the valley) but never seen one actually firing anything. I believe they keep that sort of shenanigans out to sea in this country, or go abroad to use dedicated ranges (as mentioned in the article).
Here's an old map (pdf).
Re: "the ground" - don't flares and the like generally come down under parachute to maximise time in the air confusing things?
So you're saying you would rather prostitute yourself, rather than some else who's willing?
No, I am saying that while there are willing people out there, there is no pressure on employers to change their practices. You may have very little leverage in your current job and have to put up with it. That does not mean you shouldn't be out there looking for a better job, but neither does it mean you have to walk away from such a job if you don't have something else already lined up. Some of us have mortgages and families (and other stuff) to support.
It is particularly likely to happen to young or inexperienced people, and the only way permanently out of such a situation is to get yourself into a position where you do have vital and (preferably) unique skills that the employer would struggle to replace.
That is not to condone employers who take advantage of willing people. To take an extreme example I have a particular hatred of the unpaid "internship" arrangements common among some employers, feel they should be outlawed, and am surprised that they aren't already.
The "inventions" clause is almost ubiquitous, at least the "while on company time" one. I don't think many would have a problem with that one - after all, that's what you are employed to do. I personally have never come across a similar clause covering things you do outside working hours but if I did I'd want to do something about it.
similarly around "you may be required....outside of these hours" pay me or i dont work for you, its very simple
Define "pay". Rarely does such a clause come with nothing but it often comes with a very low level of pay, or an impossible-to-cash "payment" such as Time Off In Lieu.
The problem is that if you won't do it, someone else will. Unless you have unquestionably vital or unique skills, or can persuade your employers that you do, it is very easy simply not to renew a contract at the end of the "probation" period - which is often as long as a year - and employ a recent graduate who has very nearly the same skill set but is desperate to get a "proper" job to add to his/her CV, is probably single and child-free so much more flexible regarding working hours, holiday and the like and will put in the extra effort for little reward that you can't or won't.
We've all been there. Think back to your first "proper" job...
answer the phone and you will be online within 5 minutes etc
In the days before mass mobile phones I worked for a radio station which was based in a city centre. I was expected to fix anything and everything vaguely "technical" (and a lot more besides) on premises, at any hour of the day or night yet I was almost the lowest-paid employee, just above the cleaner and the "roadie". I couldn't afford a mobile 'phone, but had to be within ten minutes of a phone whenever on call (which sort of ruined dog walks) and within 45 minutes of the radio station which was tight, considering how far out of town I had to live in order to afford a place on my salary.
On the whole however, I did enjoy the job. Call-outs weren't all that often and my boss was a bit of a hoot. The worst part was some (by no means all) of the "on air" talent, who would get all shirty if you didn't ring in as soon as they'd put the phone down to the pager company, and who often refused to perform simple remedial tasks which would have sorted the problem - even if only temporarily - and enabled them to get on with things while I travelled in to sort out the root cause.
Most common was refusing to switch to the "spare" studio despite failing equipment making working in the "main" studio very difficult. The studios were within about three or four footsteps of each other, but the swap-over procedure involved an "offer, accept, release" procedure that was easy with two people, but meant moving a couple of times between studios if there was no-one else available. Their biggest complaint however was "but it means putting all my records back in my boxes and moving them!"
Made a point once. A couple of years into the job I had had a bit of a salary increase and managed to save up enough for a mobile phone. One weekend I was up a local mountain with the dog and my parents when the pager went off. The problem was easily worked-around by moving a pair of jack plugs in the patch panel just behind where the presenter in question was sitting, but he flat out refused to do so, so I bundled mum and dad and the dog into the car, trundled down to the studio, and took the dog in with me, who proceded to snuffle around the presenter's legs while I swapped the jacks, fixed the root cause (which could easily have been left until Monday) and swapped the jacks back.
Didn't seem to bother the presenter...
...and as for the number of times I was called in for the likes of "yes, the printer is definitely 'on line'"...
When I left the company (to do a post-grad course on something unrelated) they didn't replace me. My boss left soon afterwards, and they found getting a replacement very difficult. For several months I found myself on a "retainer" to the radio station which was only a little lower than my original salary, with call-outs on top at twice my previous hourly rate. They'll only pay what you are worth when they realise what you are worth.
Oh, and my replacement lasted a year, after which the radio station moved premises (so all new kit) and did away with technical staff altogether, coming to a call-out-only arrangement with another radio station some 60 minutes drive away, though as the record players and cart machines were gone as were most of the CD players, with networked computers playing out most content, a lot of fixing could now be done on-line. Nobody is irreplaceable.
Goodies: we have the DVDs. Some spark definitely went missing in the move to ITV, and it might have been one of the factors contributing to the existing series never being repeated, while the contemporary Monty Python was seemingly never off the screens.
With the benefit of hindsight, MP was definitely more "modern" but both have preserved well. I'd contend that The Goodies was much more consistent, while MP suffered from too many poor in-fill sketches between the comedy diamonds.
Also probably tainted by the fact that my parents in the 1970s let me watch the Goodies, but turned the telly off for Monty Python.
While you can't turn the radio off that allows the making and receiving of phone calls you can, without affecting the utility of a telephone terribly much, turn off WiFi (which you probably should do when not at home anyway), turn off Bluetooth (unless you are actively using it), turn off data (ditto) and, of course, turn off GPS. These save both battery (WiFi, data and GPS are big battery hogs, Bluetooth less so), probably some money (Android can have a certain background level of data use which might affect your data allowance) and will certainly make it harder for Google to find your precise location.
When you need to use the things, all it takes is a quick swipe and a tap to turn them on. Turning them off can be harder (particularly Location Services, which always seems to need a reboot to be certain it's off) but it really is worth it.
I would rather have a phone with 90% battery left at the end of the day, meaning that I can call home and ask them to put my dinner in the oven, than a phone with 10% battery left at the end of the day because it has been logging me as confined to the environs of my office for the previous seven hours - and struggling to do so (i.e. using oddles of battery) because both data and GPS signals are weak, and wondering whether it's worth making that phonecall or whether I should save that charge just in case I need to make an emergency call during my 75 minute journey home.
Of course I have standby chargers. The phone will charge from 10% to 90%+ in the car during my journey. Making a point, don'tcha know?
They've just added a bit to it:
cf: Four legs good, two legs bad / better
and then it has a snit fit and refuses to work
So get shot of it and use a different app store such as f-droid.
By getting rid of a load of non-essential Google stuff (well, it looked non-essential to me, and the phone still runs just fine), I managed to make my original MotoG last up to 10 days between charges. Now that it's running Cyanogenmod it's even easier. Obviously if I turn GPS on it starts munching power...
Oddly, if I'm using OSMTracker with GPS, then finish and turn GPS off, battery use stays high, but a reboot sorts that :-)
Pintrest nag you into signing up, even if you leap in via a search you get a 25% shade on the screen demanding you log in, which then covers 100% as you scroll down
I came across this a couple of times recently with Facebook. I don't use Facebook, I don't have a log-in and yet it is assumed that I do. I was looking for information about a couple of performers (musicians) and the messages I got were effectively "go to my Facebook page for more information".
No bloomin' good if FB blocks the content with a big white rectangle asking me to log in!
Steven Roper: Upvoted for eloquently mirroring my frustrations, but:
Nah, wouldn't do that even so.
To be honest I've never used AB+; my desktop browsers have NoScript and Ghostery and on the phone I use Opera in proxy mode (or whatever it's called) which not only saves my meagre data allowance but also seems to filter out the worst offenders. Its main downside is that the BBC news site thinks you are an "international" visitor.
There is almost always a combination of script allows that makes a website work without letting it load unnecessary cruft or track you every time you pick your nose. A new website may take a few minutes to sort out, and maybe a couple of visits to get just right, but if the content is worth it, so is the effort. These are the sites that get permanent unblocks. If the content isn't worth it, blocks are re-instated and I move somewhere else.
Another option would have been the cartridge one could put next to a Beeb's keyboard, but that would require the speech option upgrade
IIRC, that was solely designed to add "PHROMs" - Phrase ROMs for the speech chip. (Kenneth Kendal!) They were serial ROMs I think? The most common thing to see in that slot was a 28 pin DIL ZIF socket, connected by a ribbon cable to a 28 pin header plugged into one of the ROM sockets on the board. This allowed you to swap ROMs about without taking the lid off the machine, though of course you did have to remember to switch it off first.
deciphering the latest "funky format" used by a game developer
My "big win" on that front was Revs. Not so that I could make bootleg copies mind you, but so that I could change the names of all the drivers to those of schoolmates, and faff about with the gear settings to make the car go faster :-) Working from the "backup" also meant that the original was kept safely in its case.
I went on to write a disc sector editor as part of my A-level Computer Science coursework...
Probably not a Master or Master Compact because they came with ADFS).
But they didn't say "Acorn MOS", they said "BBC Microcomputer 32k" or somesuch. It was the Master and the Master Compact wot said "Acorn MOS". The Master came with both ADFS and DFS and could be set to use either (or cassette or net) as the default file system.
The BEEB *ALWAYS* booted from ROM,
(also to the other poster), yes, I'm aware of that. I didn't mean the OS, I meant the application software.
The first message ("Acorn MOS") implies that the OS ROM has started correctly. The second message implies that the DFS has started correctly and is looking for a floppy disc. Not knowing anything at all about the system, however, I was suggesting that any sensible person wouldn't have designed the thing to load its application software from a floppy disc. This was before seeing Vinyl's post about updating the systems via floppy. A sensible design would (I would have thought) have involved software permanently installed in a ROM(*), and a serial link to some central server for timetable information - this would also have enabled the thing to take account of delays or cancellations. To make the thing semi-autonomous in the case of a failure of the serial link, "live" data could have been cached in EEPROM or battery-backed RAM; again, such add-ons were available for the BBC Micro, and IIRC the Master had 2x16k of EEPROM as standard.
The Master also had a real-time clock, which I would have thought would have been vital. Again, add-on boards were available for the Micro.
Even back then, floppies were known to be unreliable (and some brands of disc drive for the Micro would permanently corrupt a floppy if the power was removed at the wrong time) so why anyone would design a system to keep one constantly spinning 24/7 I don't know.
(*)For non Acorn-fans, this was a common thing for Acorn's 6502 line. An unexpanded BBC Micro had physical space for (IIRC) four 16k "sideways ROMs" and OS support for up to 16. BASIC already occupied one of the slots, and if a disc drive was fitted the DFS occupied another, but expansion boards to allow the full range were commonly available. Software was often distributed in such a manner, making it instantly available on switch-on. The BBC Master actually came with some application software already installed "in ROM" - a word processor, spreadsheet, terminal program and text editor if I remember correctly (probably don't - I never had a Master, but I did have (still do have) a fairly heavily-expanded BBC Micro).
1770 DFS was also an option on the Master, for compatibility's sake.
The original BBC Micro's official disc interface used an 8271 chip; while I believe some third party options were available with the 1770 or 1772 chip for the Micro, the Master used a 1770 chip as standard. Apparently the 8271 was already EOL when they specified it for the Micro, but the 1770 had the advantage of allowing "double density" recording, and also being compatible with the format used by the 8271.
The BBC Master therefore had both "1770 DFS"; single-density, compatible with discs created by and for the BBC Micro and "1770 ADFS", which was double-density. Disc capacities ranged from 100k (40track, single-sided, single density) to 640k (80 track, double-sided, "double" density). The main limiting factor for the single-density discs was a 31-entry single catalogue; i.e. there were no (real) directories, and a maximum of 31 files per side of disc, even if there was spare storage on the thing. Third parties had various ways of solving this (e.g. my Watford Electronics DFS allocated two additional disc sectors to allow 62 files per disc, but was otherwise 100% Acorn DFS compatible).
ADFS brought subdirectories and additional catalogue space.
The Archimedes used (I think) the same 1770 (or 1772?) chip, but fiddled with the format to allow 800k per disc. By default the Archimedes couldn't read DFS discs, but third party tools were available. Archimedes users used to crow that this was a good deal better than the PC at the time, for which the standard format was 720k. We conveniently ignored Amiga users who used some clever speed tricks (I believe) to squeeze 880k onto the same discs.
My Archimedes and BBC Micros are still in the attic and the last time I got them out (couple of years back) they did work, though both had some keyboard problems (dead keys).
a photo of the fairly regular Acorn screens I used to see at railway stations
Yeah, but for that truly nostalgic feeling it needs to be on an amber-phosphor monitor with so much burn-in that you can read the most frequent destinations even when the monitor is switched off.
On a boring and slightly serious note, these things first started appearing in the early 1980s IIRC and were, I think, a thoroughly sensible solution to the problem mainly because they used teletext (MODE 7) which gave incredibly clear, easy-to-read text (by the standards of the day) and was extremely efficient in terms of data; an entire 40x32 teletext screen took about 1.2kB and so was perfectly suited to updates over slow (by modern standards) serial links.
Assuming that nobody would have been so stupid as to expect such a system to boot from floppy, I wonder if what has happened is simply that the AA cell keeping the CMOS memory alive has failed, so instead of booting from the ROM that it undoubtedly should have, it was looking for a non-existent disc?
Strangely, all the info I've had is that the immersion is cheaper...
Check your bills. Last time I looked (UK), electricity was somewhere between three and four times the price of gas per kWh.
Your boiler can put more energy into the water in the cylinder more quickly than an immersion heater; the latter is usually 3kW while even an old back boiler could potentially output 12 or 15kW. A modern boiler can usually supply more than that, with a typical "system" boiler capable of 25 or 30kW.
Several factors in play here:
So it's possible that the cylinder thermostat controlling the boiler could be set to (say) 50C, against the 60C of the immersion. It's also possible that the flow temperature from the boiler is set low for some reason - this is unlikely, but possible. Obviously, if the boiler is set to (say) 50C, it won't be able to heat the cylinder beyond that, however high the cylinder 'stat is set, and as the cylinder approaches 50C the rate of heat transfer will slow down.
Does this help?
Point 1 - gas is about a quarter the price of electricity per kWh
Point 2 - the boiler is heating the whole cylinder, while the immersion is only heating a third or so
Point 3 - there are at least two separate controlling thermostats, and they may not be set the same
I discovered that the last electrical upgrade to the house used two cables in parallel between the meter and the fusebox - presumably as they are more flexible. The free induction probe for remote readings could only measure the current through one cable
Assuming you are in the UK, this is normal. They are what is known as "singles"; one is "live" and the other "neutral". You only measure what is in the "live" wire. (Electricians have different names for these). How do you tell the two apart? The live comes via the main fuse, the neutral is a direct connection.
The current in both wires is (unless there's a fault) exactly the same.
some low power switching psu "blobs" as having no consumption - presumably owing to the power factor.
Or the fact that even the plug-in types have a certain error and a certain minimum they can measure reliably? If an item is only drawing 1 or 2 W (and a phone charger plugged in but not charging a phone will probably draw a lot less than that) it simply might not register. All the plug-in monitors I've seen actually take account of PF and offer you "Watts" (assumes resistive, hence PF=1) and "Volt-Amps" (takes account of PF) as separate readings.
Low energy lightbulbs were my best investment ever.
They have been my worst. CFLs have cost me an order of magnitude more. Haven't had one last longer than about 9 months
I have had a few fail early, but the majority of CFLs I've had have lasted at least as long as the incandescents they replaced. I know this because I write on the lamp the date of installation. One lamp used in the hall (so was on quite a lot) survived three house moves and about 15 years of use, if I remember correctly.
Let's not get into the argument about illunimation "quality" or speed of startup.
CFLs are quite cheap now, even the "good" brands. Don't buy Asda or B&Q own-brand (B&Q don't sell anything except own-brand these days) - pop over to TLC or even Screwfix and buy a Sylvania or Philips or Osram.
LEDs I'm a bit more ambivalent about. They are maturing at an incredible pace, but they still have a little way to go. For example, I recently needed to replace an R63 lamp (reflector) at my mum's - the original was 60W and there's a 45W Halogen available that is acceptable (it's a similar brightness and colour) but has a lifespan of under 2,000 hours (by experience). The LED equivalents I found were all about 5W and noticeably dimmer than the lamp to be replaced. Experience at work is also that they don't last as long as it says on the packet, but mainly due to their power supplies failing rather than the LEDs themselves burning out. Oh, and LEDs also reduce in brightness over their lifespan.
To get the most out of low-energy lighting, you really need to start from scratch and design the lighting installation with the foibles of the new technologies in mind. Unfortunately this isn't always practical, as in the case of mum's R63.
That said, I have an old DIY book from the 1920s (IIRC) and in the part where it is discussing the installation of electric lighting it states that a 25W standard or table lamp would be perfectly adequate as a reading lamp. By modern standards, and considering that incandescents were even less efficient back then than they are now, that's a pretty dim reading lamp!
a) all my lighting is LED, and I still switch it off when I leave the room (hopefully not contributing to deterioration of lifetime of the LEDs)
It's not the LEDs you have to worry about - it's the power supplies crammed into tiny spaces. We have hundreds of the things at work and it's almost guaranteed that the PSU will give out way before the LED itself, and it's pot luck whether any particular lamp lasts longer left on, or turned off when not needed.
I don't think I'd use more than 1-2 kW in the whole night on [WiFi]
Assuming an access point rated at 25W, if you switch it off between (say) midnight and 8am you will save 8*25W = 200Wh (0.2kWh) of electricity, i.e. two tenths of a "unit". If you pay 15p per unit, that's a total saving of 3p per night. In reality 25W is likely to be a maximum; in-use average will be lower, and overnight when it's quiet average consumption may be a half that. YMMV of course.
I have a look what's been left on and turn it off. I'm maybe saving a few quid a week doing that as normally it's the 3KW immersion heater, as the switch is in a cupboard
I'd pretty much guarantee that the above will save more money more easily than the offchance that you spot the thing is on when it shouldn't be from a little display on the mantlepiece