* Posts by a_mu

156 posts • joined 18 May 2010


Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing


I took the other way

Having spent the past few years sorting out the &* *& mess on a few projects,

( COBOL and Fortran 4 on my CV was suddenly of use )

and having done to much OT,

On basis that if things did go &*&*& at midnight 1999 / 2000,

it was going to be a monumental &*&*&

Me and some friends took the other option.

We found a small island in the Maldives,

with no internet, very little technology, analog phones to main land,

a small bar, lots of stock, its own diesel generator, and Great diving ,

On basis it would be a great place to be 'stuck' for a month or two.

When we recovered first week in January, we had mixed feelings about how millennium it had all gone so well. ....


Super-slow RAID rebuilds: Gone in a flash?


raid on chip ?

It does get one thinking.

Assuming the reliability limit is the flash read /write, then if a raid like controler was on the nvme we could have bigger / ceaper but less reliable flash chips on the drivers .

Roll on the 20 T ssd ..


Intel takes aim at Arduino with US$15 breadboard


does anyone still use the original Arduino



with Arduino compatibles like this around for USD 20,

add the Arduino IDE is easy to use,

Ok the Intel has a 9DOF sensor , but so little grunt,


Cabling horrors unplugged: Reg readers reveal worst nightmares


Co ax cable network and tv studios

I doubt this will be read,

But I'll put it here for posterity.

Oh Yes, used to love the 75 ohm / 50 ohm coax days of Ethernet,

And the great big 25mm diameter yellow cable with the self punching taps to fit ..

But funniest I had was with a TV studio,

yes they had decide to keep costs down and also use what they knew, they would use a coax Ethernet network.

Give them their due, they did start off with colored sleeves on every cable, to distinguish 50 ohm and 75 ohm, ( did not last long ..)

And I disagree with a comment above, 75 ohm and 50 ohm do have different size pins, especially on the big N type connectors. Yes its the plastic that gives the impedance, but they decided to use different pins for some crazy reason...

Then , one night had the dreaded call, time critical, program MUST go out, network un reliable,,,,

Stop gap managed to move the info over on mag tape, to the production machine, that yes , was having un reliable network.

In the light of day, went to look at the problem, all worked well.

that night ,

it went very un reliable again.

So did an all nighter, working through the problem.

changed cables, connectors, cable testers, re configured software, all seemed ok.

then , about 2 in the morning, it all started to work fantastical....

Ah must have been that cable I changed, but it did not feel right..

Next evening, down again... NOT best pleased studio manager...

DONT get on the wrong side of them, ever .....

This time I was ready,

I'd managed to not only borrow / steal a few more bits of kit, TDR , and a big scope, second computer, a test computer, and was all hooked up ready .

Oh yes, it was easy once I looked at the scope and saw the Video waveform on top of the Ethernet signals !!!!

Yes in those days, TV went off around mid night, and was not back on till Tea time,

When studio 5 turned its output to transmission, then hay presto, it injected video on to the Ethernet.

Traced it back to a miss placed video patch into the patch panel above of the ethernet.

Managed to get a nice job out of that, a re wiring so separate cabinets for video and Ethernet

which all had to be done in the day time, luxury.


Knackered Euro server turns Panasonic smart TVs into dumb TVs


you only have the TV till 2020 anyway

From 5 years after purchase,

do you think they will still be running the servers ?

do yo think your box will be compatible still ?

think again,

Sony box's, after 5 years can not receive iPlayer et all because Sony do not support them after then.

Will Panasonic be any different ?

welcome to the world of disposable TV's ..


Flash is too fat. A glut of supply means growth is slower and slower



We were happy to have a flash drive and a spinning rust drive,

My next step would be to look at getting rid of the rotating rust drive,

and just having flash, but that price is still way to much,

if I have to have two drives, the flash of 250 G is perfectly fine,

any bigger is too much to be worth while, till it gets to at least 1 TB , preferably 3..


Come in Internet Explorers, your time is up. Or not. Up to you


microsoft being popular

Were our own worst enemies.

IE has been so none standard, but popular that we have all written lots of get arounds for its problems.

But those get arounds just don't work on standard complaint browsers.

But were lazy, under time pressure, and only coded for the most likely browser.

now we all have code that only runs in versions of IE ,

and no money to change code base / big risk.

As for using other browsers,

well , I don't know about your company, but the big ones I see fix the code set, don't allow people to update software or run what they want to, so users can't change.

greatest thought I heard from a manager was "why can't we 'JUST' run the version of IE we want inside a new version of IE", sort of virtual mode ! !!!!


Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt


yet another promise to spend from goverment that costs them nothing

so government promising to give free wifi

So NHS will now have to up rate its IT infer structure to handle this extra bandwidth,

and who will pay, not central government thats for certain,,,


Hapless Virgin Media customers face ongoing email block woes


Does the end user know

The hassle as a end user of virgin is

you don't know when / if an email has been bounced,

its only the sender that gets an error message

what about all those news letters I have signed up to over the years,

now all gone ,

so I moved email providers and all happy again, but come on virgin,

you used to have email ok, then you went to google , and it was ...,

then you junked email..


US military readies drone submarine hunter


sub hunting

Sounds great,

wunder why its got those pontoons on each side ?

Pity its not a sub, best place to hear a sub I thought was from deep under water, below the thermo cline,

as its disposable, it can ping away to its hearts content I guess,

pity the whales etc, the sea is going to get very noisy


Virgin Media filters are still eating our email – Ntlworlders


And so far only a few percent of emails moved

So far, its only the blueyonder and ntlworld accounts that have been moved to the new virgin server.

Just think whats going to happen when the much larger number of virginmedia accounts are moved,

If I was in front line support, I'd either leave or get ready for lots of overtime.


Dont forward to ntlworld.com

DO NOT forward to NTLWORD.com email address's

The virgin system now filters most forwarded mails , and just blocks them .

no spam no warning, just bounced.

Now once upon a time the ntlworld mail just worked, then came virgin with google, and it was OK, now google have dropped virgin, and virgin managment just seem not to have this under control.


Factory settings FAIL: Data easily recovered from eBayed smartphones, disks


Shops even worse

My daughters phone suffered a few problems, so it was taken back to the shop, who lent her a unit whilst hers was being repaired.

she used the phone for a few days, then returned it to shop when her phone returned.

Months after, her friends still get txts from that loan unit, despite the shops promise to reset the phone...


Virgin Media's SPAM-AGEDDON 'fix' silences mailboxes


Virgin email

Yes, the virgin change over seems to have been an on going disaster for many weeks.

The forums now have almost as many complaints about SPF , forwarding and emails going missing than complaints about speed and throttling, and thats saying something.

For a week or so, there was a valiant effort by support on the forums to provide a patch, but for the last week, the admins have been silent.

Many of us have been with NTL world for a long time. in my case almost 20 years, and the used to provided unlimited email accounts.

OK, yes I have my own domain, but that all gets forwarded to my ISP, well it used to till virgin changed and now bounce most mails that come in from a forwarding service.

and the trouble is, unlike spam that gets put to one side, so you can at least find a missing email, ones that Virgin bounce are lost with out trace, nor notice to the user that they have gone !

Personally I think Virgin just want to dump email and become a pure ISP, much less support needed so cheaper.

wonder what happened to all those that used to run ntlworlds email before virgin out sourced them to gmail,

come on back please.


The last post: Building your own mail server, Part 3


linux email distribution ?

Is there not a Email linux distribution ?


Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches


data security /

How does this sit with the data regulation in the UK ?

I'd have to sign all sorts of stuff that if I kept data on people, I protect it.

As microsoft are in control of what data they grab, can I say I'd be in control of how personal data is used ?


Scrapheap challenge: How Amazon and Google are dumbing down the gogglebox


Yes ,

We have a bunch of sony TV's,

as you say no updates for a few years,

provided they still get iPlayer then we will be ok for a while,


if you purchase a device to receive a service, then one would expect to receive a service for the life of that device.

TV's are not computers,

may be we should all look at TV's as being individual units.

The monitor part, a sound bar and a box to receive the TV !

thats what my TV's are turning into


White Stork mates with ISS, delivers bundles of resupply joy


Just a thought,

Why take up dehydrated food when you then have to take up water to re hydrate it.

As the ISS recycles most of its water, take up some nice food, with water in it.

food A mass = mass water in food A plus dry mass of food A.


Windows 10 Start menu replacements shifting like hot cakes


one of the testrs

Being one of the many many testers of the ten thing,

one thing I can say is

"Microsoft dont listne".

the sorts of QandA one filled in would have told them only what they wanted to know,


Invisible app ads slug smartmobes with 2GB of daily downloads


life of phone is how many months

New sony phone a year ago,


Now, there are so many updates to Android that there is no user memory left.


I'd love to be able to reject adds downloading stuff,

but with no free memory thats not possible,


Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping ONE PER CENT of EU energy



Yes agree

we need to have more wind and solar and alternative fuel sources.

that was your conclusion wasn't it.

As you say, electricity is one of the few fuels that we can generate from renewable,

so lets go for it.

Yes it can be better, and yes we spend a huge amount of fuel on other forms ,

so lets do what we can.


Why the BBC is stuffing free Micro:bit computers into schoolkids' satchels


October ?

sounds like its too late for this year to me.

Out in October,

The schools are already planning / planed what computing they are offering next year.

I would hope the teachers were familiar with the thing before teaching it,

Say a week of practice before they can teach with it.

and the material, another week or two to plan it into the curriculum,

I dont know about your teachers, but at the start of the year ours are quite busy,with the new class.

they can't take a week or so out to learn a completely new product.

The BBC should have the teaching material with the teachers now,along with a unit to try out

Remember the BBC micro, all those great TV programs,

I seem to remember the programs came out before the schools had micros

it late..


Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool


capacitors et all


I've designed boards that are liquid cooled,

all the boards are in a big box which is filled with a pink silicon type liquid, and the box closed.

Yes there is room for expansion, and the walls of the box have water flowing through them to conduct the heat away.

Biggest problems,

any oscillators / crystals need special attention

the impedance of the tracks on the surface of the board are different to being in air.

( but as there is no dust / skin cell build up over time, at least its possible to calculate )

Capacitors not a problem, if you use the right ones.

The most common capacitor is a ceramic, and most of them are fine,

just check.

When it comes to analog / rf, then things are a little more difficult, the fluid does tend to kill them,

but digital is just fine.


it does make the thing REAL heavy

and once a board has been in the fluid for long, its impossible to solder to it ever again,

the fluid just can't be cleaned off sufficiently well to make a good joint,

For 'fun' one time, we ran one of the boards in liquid nitrogen,

now that was cool, but we dare not seal the box !!!

Will it catch on at home, I don't think so, but some of these real small PC's that fit in the hand might be interesting in a sealed box full of liquid.


Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion


more better in the future


what do we expect,

they have been promising for 18 months to upgrade our line for free , every time I check its 6 months in the future,

One day may be,

but then it will be throttled back / overloaded at peek times anyway,

peek being any time I want to use the thing !


Elon Musk's Tesla set to unveil home storage battery




I've been looking at these from a few suppliers ,

I have a PV system,

and what do I do with extra energy, export it , or use it to heat .

the house base load is around 300 watts ,

so a battery of 'only' 14 KWh would be fine to cover my background needs assuming 50 % efficiency in the DC:AC,

And I generate that each day or more 9 months of the year.

For reference a standard 200 Amp H car battery is around 2 KWh though I'd not use them,

The batteries in the Teslar are 60KWh if I remember, so more then enough to get me off grid most of the


Listen up, AT&T, this could be YOU NEXT: $40m sting for throttling 'unlimited' mobile data


Re: and in the UK ?

whats the difference to the user in 'variable contention' and variable data rate / throttling ?

So I pay for 60 , but I get 30 , due to contention,

or I pay for 60 and get 60, and after a time, the data is throttled .

As far as I see, both limit the amount of data in any 24 hour period !

Ok one might be more severe in practice in its implementation than the other,

but to the user they are both the same.


Re: and in the UK ?

Isn't throttling data another way of imposing a data cap ?

I'm being limited as to how much I can download in any 24 hour period.


and in the UK ?

So my broadband is 'up to' X,

but if I pay more, I get up to 2X

But most if the time, I only get X/2

So I'm being throttled back also..

I pay for X , but get X/2, less I pay more !


Marriott: The TRUTH about personal Wi-Fi hotel jam bid


Uk Hotel, Premier . Jamming

Ive just come back from a weekend at a premier inn in the UK,

Seems they are now blocking the software router programs like connectify,

My laptop hot spot that connects the two phones, external hard drive, and netbook, did not work this time in the hotel, did before and does else where.

so looks like companies have other ways of blocking these things,


Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas


its fiction

it is fiction

its meant to be fun, with a little scare .

especially at Christmas

not meant to be science,

my kids were scared at the dream crabs and crying at the Danny scenes and the decisions having to be made, which is about right


El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.


return goes to wrong place

read a story on the 'older stories' section

click the go back button, and one goes back to the current stories,

google chrome / windows 7 64 bit.


What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again


save how much ?

so we 'save' 2% by having smart meters.

i.e. we use less electricity and gas.

The companies who supply have a fixed infer structure and overhead costs,

so if they sell less they make less.

QED the price will have to go up to allow the share holders to get their returns and the directors to get their bonus's


Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers


heat ?

Nuclear yes, sounds great

Question. Thermodynamics,

does all that energy we generate end up as heat ?

If we go greatly nuclear, and generate in the world say 100 times more per day than we do now,

can we get rid of that amount of heat into space ?

I don't know,


We come bearing internet: Google sends up Project Loon balloons in second test


mogul, gentrix et all......



Philae healthier... beams CHEESE: Proud ESA shows off FIRST COMET SURFACE PIC


geo sync ?

First up, amazing, well done ,

not knowing a thing about this,

I'll ask

is the comet spinning ?

if so, and I say I know nothing,

what would the height above the comet be for a synchronous orbit ?


SHELLSHOCKED: Fortune 1000 outfits Bash out batches of patches


nas and modems

How does this affect the 1001 NAS, media server, TV's and modems around that run a version of Linux,

Are we going to have to re flash all our devices around the house,

any one un patched one is the network open is it not !



'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator


operation ivy Bells ?


it was possible in 1970,

tap at the repeater, where things have to go back to electrical, not optical.

To tap a fiber is also easy, just bend it and put another fiber along side it,

you only need a few photons, but more difficult underwater !

A modified repeater would also be nice. use the dark fibers in the bundle to take a copy of another ,

its all too easy , and the gains too high for it not to happen.


Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water


Re: Hang on...

dont think so.

They spent a long time using cat crawlers to pull out as much loose metal work as possible,

then they used the explosives to stave the fire of the air, and blow it out.

they did not want loose metal flying around and re starting the fire, let alone hitting some one.


add water ?

worry was , at the end of the vid, one could see the flame from the det cord.

that could well re ignite the fire, with all that lovely wind blown fuel around,,,,

wounder if that would be like this , lots of loose flying fuel , and a flame.


Could one use this to shoot out flame suppressant ?

that red stuff they use on forest fires,

then yo have the combined effect of flame retardant, cooling of the water, and speed of the shoot blowing the flame out ?


Britain'll look like rural Albania without fracking – House of Lords report


We all know this , but

2 years ago http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19842401

5 years ago http://www.economist.com/node/14167834

11 years ago on oil http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=0423



Sad the reason we HAVE to go for the fraking is because we have not invested over the decades in new generation capacity, and the only thing that can now be built in time is gas fired turbines !

30 years ago we were predicting in the 2020's we'd run out of electricity

now its happened, whats the answer !

just sad, and what have we learnt from this ?

dont trust commercial companies to invest in our future only the bottom line for them !


10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10


basic for today

once upon a time,

no mater what computer I was on, I could knock up a basic bit of basic to do something I wanted done,

then the 80's came along, and basic was BAD

so now I have to know and use, TCL, Python, VBasic, C in all its forms, Jscript, and a few more,

and I'm a hardware developer just trying to use the computer..

Yes I have a fond heart for Basic, like all languages , it can be used worng,

one place I worked at, used a fortran 77 program they had written to word process !

and another has a cobol based spread sheet like program,

but basic, its still in my heart and soul,

youngsters today just don't learn to program, but then, neither did we, we just had fun making things bleep and pixels flash, that doesn't do it for the kids now days.


Hey, Samsung: Why so shy about your 960GB flash drive's endurance?


multi level storage optoins


what we need is an automatic multi level storage system, lets call it a cache.

where data that has been accessed a lot is in say DDR SDRAM, data less accessed is in single level flash, down to tri level or quad level write once flash.

A lot of the stuff on my discs, is write once , read many,

very little is write multiple / read multiple,

so 'just' need some gear that can move data around as needed !

now that could be fun,


Windows XP is finally DEAD, right? Er, not quite. Here's what to do if you're stuck with it


where to get all the Xp patches


on assumption some one round here is going to need a XP machine in the future for testing something,

where do I get a disc / download of the last / best patched XP


Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move


sony tv's

And will my Sony TV's be able to read the new iPlayer interface ?

the FinLux TV has enough problems with the last iPlayer update,


Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?


Pondering the pines for the Psion

Also a Psion owner form the Psion 1, red led display I seem to remember, but stooped at the 3MX, the 5 never appealed to me, too big..

I can remeber spending something like 100 quid on an expansion memory for the 3, might have been 2 MB,

Is this a klickstart job ?

I'd still use the 3MX if it had an interface to windows,


Comprehensive security in the home


why one solution

Out of interest,

the 'problem' I found one time was that one particular security package had a hole, and all the kids pc's got infected at once. Try to fix that one,

so I now put different anti systems on different machines,

for instance I currently use avast and avg for anti virus at home,

it was surprising what one will find that the other won't ,

same with anti male ware,

Add to that the android tablets, the Nintendo's and tv;s with web access et all, and security is interesting.

as for parent control,


if my kids are anything like I was at 12, then I will not be able to control what they do

so I 'just' have a snooper on the gateway, makes log of all sites visited,

lets hope they don't find vpn too soon,


UK claims 'significant lead' in drones after Taranis test flight



how can it be stealthy and supersonic ?


Sony set to axe 5,000 workers worldwide as it flings PC biz overboard



A slight concern

Sony TV's are notorious for their ability / lack of to interface to DLNA servers,

Last I looked, Sony TV only approve the DLNA server supplied on their vaio computers,

you have to purchase their computer to get the software,

Wonder what they will approve as a server now ?


Virgin Media's flaky broadband network turns Bolton off


power cycle

if only virgin would fix the rest of the network,

it seems to be going down over time