* Posts by Alister

949 posts • joined 19 May 2010

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It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

Alister
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@Marketing Hack

One of the "features" of the new aircraft carriers, is the total lack of catapults installed...

So I'm afraid any "black sheep" would have to be shoved overboard by hand, unless they could find a plank to walk off...

Other than that, your plan sounds good.

:)

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Alister
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Joke

So this is why they built those aircraft carriers that can't carry aircraft... I knew the British Government couldn't be that stupid...

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Netflix teams with AWS to launch VHS-as-a-service

Alister
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"classic 1980s programs, and modern content, are streamed in a form that approximates the unbelievably bad video quality of the VHS video cassette."

I thought they'd been doing this for years!

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Alister
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What gave it away for me, was this sentence...

The Reg understands Netflix will announce a 41 day countdown for the service's commencement, starting at 4:01 today.

Even though it is in bastardised US notation...

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This one weird trick deletes any YouTube flick in just a few clicks

Alister
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He says he spent seven hours finding the bugs and resisted the near overwhelming urge to "clean up Bieber's channel".

He's got more restraint than I would have had...

and bloody One Direction as well...

and your little dawg...

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Going strictly hands-off: Managing your data centre from afar

Alister
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My core servers, and core applications are all in a data centre - or actually, multiple data centres - but as nearly all of them are virtual machines, and the hardware is NMP (Not my Problem) I no longer have to worry about IPKVM and Serial consoles.

I'm bloody glad they existed before the wonders of P to V made my life easier, though, "Smart Hands" support is no substitute for watching the thing boot yourself.

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Don't listen to me, I don't know what I'm talking about – a pundit speaks

Alister
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What the Puck!

Spinning Rust is DEAD... um... except it isn't...

Tape is DEAD... oh, no, hang on, lads.

Flash is DEAD... maybe... just a little bit... or not... as the case may be...

Paper is Sooo last century... Just print me that email, will you...

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

Alister
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Place Tab "A" in Slot "B"

fold at line "C"

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Dutch companies try warming homes with cloud servers

Alister
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I have 6 HP GL360s in a rack in my cellar, (along with switches and so on) just under the floorboards of the kitchen, which provides a nice bit of underfloor heating.

The only drawback is the constant muted roar... But, having said that, it's not much louder than the central heating pump in my dad's house.

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So, you know those exciting movie-style 3D visual cyber attack ops centres?

Alister
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MooD's Chief Strategy Officer, Dick Whittington

Some parents have a lot to answer for...

Where's his cat?, And why isn't he Lord Mayor of London?

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Taylor Swift snaps up EVEN MORE pr0n domain names

Alister
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Maybe she's considering a career change?

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We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

Alister
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That said, I'm so used to the German voices for certain actors that watching films and series in English is often funny. For example, I was watching NCIS LA on Prime and noticed about half way through the first season, that it was also available in English, I switched and the actors' voices were so high pitched and squeaky, compared to their German voice overs, they suddenly didn't sound half so tough!

I wonder if this is the old time compression issue? Older American TV shows and movies were filmed at 24 frames per second, but to play them back over the European PAL TV system, they have to be speeded up by 4% - which makes the voices slightly higher pitched. The dubbed German voices will be at the correct pitch.

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My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

Alister
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"your wait is over"

I'm sorry, but there's a couple of opportunities on the second video where you can see that the bloke is steering - and therefore I would assume, driving

The manouver where he cuts in front of the bus to turn right is clearly a human move, an autonomous car would not have left it until last minute to be in the correct lane.

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Alister
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Self-driving cars are "almost a solved problem," says Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk

Yes, in the respect of physically, technically how to make an autonomous vehicle, however, that's a long, long way from integrating self-driving cars into existing traffic flows.

I've noticed that in all the gushing publicity, from Musk, and Google, and others, they show autonomous cars chugging around in isolation, or with a few carefully trained test drivers in other vehicles.

I can't wait to see a self-drive car in a rush hour at a big intersection or roundabout...

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Samsung puts eight-core processor IN A WATCH

Alister
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a quartz watch which will last five years or a mechanical self-winder which never needs to be charged at all.

Or my steam powered watch, which never needs charging either, (although it wants a shovel full of coal every day)...

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RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

Alister
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Turtles all the way down

At first glance, one would think Terry had little relevance to an IT tech site, but I, and so many, many more of you are long time fans and followers, I know.

A truly great story teller, and an irreplaceable character, has gone from us today.

R.I.P. Sir PTerry.

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A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Alister
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Re: None

but on my iPhone or iPad I click on one button in the photo app, select the images to send, click on email, type in the email address and that's it.

Ahuh, and how many full size jpegs does it take before your email provider blocks the attachment?

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Alister
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Well, I've just finished re-configuring all the web servers for one of our client's sites.

It's a high traffic public ecommerce site for a travel company, and after discussion they took the decision that the 2 or 3 percent of users still on XP (taken from web analytics of the site) were not as important as the security of the other 97 percent.

According to the Qualsys SSL Labs site test, the site is now safe against FREAK, Poodle and Heartbleed, but is unable to be connected to over SSL by any version of IE running on XP, plus any client running OpenSSL 0.98 or below, or any client running Java 6.4.5.

We'll see what that does to overall hits over the next week...

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Huawei preps to drop mobile & wearables lovebombs on U.S.

Alister
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Re: Chinese Concerns

Superfish

U.S. Headquarters:

E. Bayshore Road, #150,

Palo Alto, CA 94303

650-***-****

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Alister
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Re: Chinese Concerns

Meanwhile, Chinese PC giant Lenovo has been shipping laptops with American spyware since last year, signed with a security certificate that impersonates Bank of America.

FTFY...

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UK spaceport, phase two: Now where do we PUT the bleeding thing?

Alister
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question, is a flange benefit greater or lesser than a fringe benefit?

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Alister
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Joke

Well there are two existing facilities, which are RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria or RAF Benbecula in Scotland, one was used for Blue Streak and the other for Trident.

But they're probably a bit too far away from London to be considered - after all, a spaceport is a must have feature, and a status symbol, you don't want to leave it with the bloody Northeners...

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CONFIRMED: Tiny Windows Server is on the way

Alister
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Re: Could be okay...

If you put the same effort in breaking out of the lock-in as you do trying to make Windows work, the outcome would be much better in the long run.

I notice you post this as AC...

Some of us work for companies that use Windows, some for companies that develop Windows software, are you suggesting that we should "break out of the lock-in"? If I go to my company directors, and say "That Anonymous Coward says we should stop using Windows software, change our core business, because it'll be better in the long run" do you think I will still have a job?

As it happens, I administer Windows, Linux, and Apple hardware and software. They are all of them, in different ways, painful to manage, and particularly to get them all to work together.

Comments like yours are borne of ignorance or arrogance, either way they are stupid.

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Bigfoot now visible in commercial satellite images

Alister
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Does this mean I can zoom in even further in Google Maps??

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Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

Alister
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Re: Brilliant!

I have never, knowingly, mislabeled a goat.

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Alister
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But... but... did they reverse the polarity of the neutron polariton flow?

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US court rubber-stamps dragnet metadata surveillance (again)

Alister
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Re: You best hope they don't really stop any time soon

Proof, or GTFO, you fearmongering fuckpopsicle.

I always enjoy Trevor's posts, full of gentle understated humour and written in the most elegant and erudite language...

In full agreement with you, btw. Just wanted to make a silly comment...

Oh, and +1 for fuckpopsicle, definitely worthy of inclusion in my vocabulary

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Microsoft Swarms all over Docker Machines

Alister
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Embrace, extend, hmm, what's that last one?

Explode?

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Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

Alister
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Re: Well they would say that

You must be Mandy Rice-Davis...

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Who's un-dot-pressure? .com overlord Verisign sues .xyz kingpin

Alister
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Maybe Verizon are hoping to establish a body of case law over what is, and isn't, acceptable practice from the new registries...

Or maybe not...

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Alister
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I'm scared of the future. I'm scared of a world of armed drones and cybernetic implants, of self-driving cards and creepy "always on" wearable video cameras. I'm scared of a world where these products and services are designed and overseen by nerds who can't overcome brand loyalty or make objective judgments about privacy.

To sign those papers and turn them in is to implicitly imply that I have risen above all that. That I am capable of being truly objective. That I am professional, competent and able to see past my biases.

Will branding me competent or professional change me? Move me out from being the scared kid into perhaps being one of those bullies I so loathe? Will I become too self-assured and in my overconfidence miss some critical detail in my IT design and cost lives?

Trevor,

Your questions show a lot of self doubt, and I think a lot of it is unjustified. If you have any integrity (and I'm sure you have) then I think you are needlessly worrying about whether becoming a member of a professional body will turn you into someone you despise.

I would say, go for it. If you are truly worried about the future, then your best chance of influencing the changes that are coming is to be a part of them, and membership of this body can only help that.

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A truly SHOCKING tale of electrified PCs

Alister
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More melting spanners

Back in the eighties I worked in a Strowger telephone exchange in the UK. All the equipment was powered by 50V DC running in aluminium bus-bars across the top of the racks.

These bus-bars had blue plastic insulation in areas where they were considered close to other equipment, but the long straight runs were uninsulated.

The cable trays for the selector wiring ran above the bus bars, and we were carrying out some additions to the exchange which meant adding some more cable trays - which were bolted together.

You can see where this is going I'm sure, but one of my mates managed to drop his spanner square across a set of bus-bars...

The spanner glowed orange, then red, then white, and then melted slowly away, dripping down to the floor, whilst all the selectors on the rack juddered to a standstill, and then started up again.

The bus-bars were completely unmarked!!

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Why IP telephony is about more than just saving money

Alister
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BT put battery backups / external supplies into their cabinets for you.

Um, no, they don't. the line is powered from the exchange, 50V DC with 80V AC ringing current. The exchanges have nice big diesel gen packs though.

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HP's great – I prefer it on bacon rather than my printer, though

Alister
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Re: HP?

even hand-made tomato sauce doesn't work too well with bacon.

Oh come on, bacon and tomato is one of those combinations that are set in stone, like lamb and mint sauce and beef and horseradish, they just work.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Alister
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Call me paranoid but I don't buy Lenovo products just like I don't buy any Smart phones that is controlled by Chinese companies.

Just to point out that the company that writes and sells Superfish is an American / Israeli company...

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Alister
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Re: Stock install?

The problem with some laptops, (Dell, Toshiba, Asus and others) is that you can do a clean install, but then the damn thing runs like a dog, uses battery like there's a hole in the bottom for the electrons to run out, sound doesn't work properly, buttons don't work properly etc, etc.

You end up having to re-install half of the manufacturer's bloatware to get the damn thing to work properly again.

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Alister
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Re: says:

Money!

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BlackBerry's money-making QNX unit touts virty dual-OS devices

Alister
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Re: That's not a llama, it's a Push-Me-Pull-You

as title.

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The Order: 1886 – Round Table gaming's all right on the knight

Alister
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yes, yes, fwow him to the fwoor, centuwion

Sorry Sir??

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Watch a hot, speeding space alien explode all over Earth's Beaver

Alister
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The American agency found that detonations in Earth's atmosphere, caused by incoming cosmic rock, are more frequent and more explosive than first thought.

And yet, you still get people going "we shouldn't waste money on space travel or exploration"

The sooner we can establish an alternative colony off this rock, the better - no, It won't save those left behind, but it might save the species.

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Hello Barbie: Hang on, this Wi-Fi doll records your child's voice?

Alister
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Re: A chill just went up and down my spine at this....

I would hope against hope that at least the "conversations" are encrypted?

The article does say the following...

"The child's replies are recorded, encoded, and sent in an encrypted form to ToyTalk's servers, CEO Oren Jacob explained to The Register"

However, it's still creepy...

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Are you ready to ditch the switchboard and move to IP telephony?

Alister
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Re: Switchboard and IP Telephony serve different but related functions!

Agreed, But all the most popular VoIP offerings, like the Cisco, 3CX and Asterix, provide functionality to act like your switchboard built in.

Our Asterix has direct dial to internal extensions where required, but we only have a single published contact number, which is answered by an automated voice menu. One extension is designated the "switchboard" which acts as a fall-through so that calls which don't match any of the menu options go there.

Restrictions on outgoing calls are also available, and are granular, so that some extensions can only make local calls, whilst others can call international or premium rate. This is easy to set up, and to administer, through a simple interface. In addition call forwarding, call answering, direct to voicemail etc are all easy to set up.

It's not proprietary, it runs on top of Linux, and it more or less just works. I can't remember the last time I had to fiddle with the configuration.

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Alister
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Interesting article.

When I was growing up, we didn't have a phone in the house, and it wasn't until I started working for the GPO in 1981 that I persuaded my parents to get one (staff discount)...

Leaping forward to 2005, I was responsible for migrating the company I worked for from a rented PBX solution to a complete VoIP system using Asterix for the PBX and a mix of Cisco and Atcom handsets.

We use a dedicated 2MB leased line just for VoIP, and have had very little trouble with call quality. We originally broke out to the PSTN using a third party provider over the internet, but we now do it through the company the leased line is terminated with, so it's a shorter path, and we have more control over it.

The only thing we have had trouble with, and which hasn't improved much in ten years, is that some of the directors wanted portable handsets.

We started with WiFi SIP Handsets, but they were awful - WiFi and SIP don't seem to play well, and so we moved on to DECT phones, trying those by Siemens, Philips, Polycomm and various other manufacturers. In all cases, the call quality was horrible, and now the directors mostly use their Smartphones anyway.

We still use Asterix, and FreePBX, and it's been pretty bomb-proof all the way through.

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Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

Alister
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Re: Grzegorz Brzeczyszczykiewicz

Wow, the poor bloke's got a serious vowel deficiency.

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Huawei Browne-noses UK after hiring ex-BP peer for its board

Alister
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Of course, employing ex-BP chief exec Lord Browne is bound to go down well with Americans...

<cough>Deepwater Horizon</cough>

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Violin-fiddling boffins learn that 'F-HOLES' are secret to Stradivarius' SUPERIOR sound

Alister
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Did anyone scientifically measure the effect a couple of bullet holes had on the sound qualities of the Stradivari Cello in that Bond film (Living Daylights was it)?

(Yes, I know it wasn't a real one...)

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Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

Alister
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Re: Office 2010 Patches as well

I'm sorry, but UK English language settings and A4 Paper size are both considered dangerously subversive, and therefore are not encouraged. Use of our software by foreigners... is not a supported option...

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Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

Alister
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hundreds of engineers and technicians have been beavering away at repairs to allow the LHC to fire with nearly twice the energy of its previous run

Curious phrasing: "repairs" suggests something was broken, whereas "upgrades" would probably be closer to the truth?

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Jaguar F-Type: A beautiful British thoroughbred

Alister
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Re: How wide is it?

This may be a transatlantic mis-understanding, or just a difference of opinion, but I have always understood the phrase deceptively small to mean that something is smaller than expected, and therefore deceptively wide would mean wider than it looks.

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Alister
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Anecdotal instance

Last year we were asked to import some data to a SQL database for one of our local govenrment clients. They sent us the data on a CDRom - the sort that came as a caddy or cartridge, rather than a bare CD.

We had no hardware that was able to accept this media, and the client didn't either.

So we managed to find an old caddy drive on ebay - it was a SCSI interface, so we had to find a compatible SCSI interface card.

The only one we could find was a full length ISA card, and we hadn't got a machine anywhere with a full length ISA slot, so we had to buy an old server (I think it was a Dell PE400 or something) for it to fit into.

We could only find drivers for the SCSI card for Windows NT 3.51, so we had to dig out an old set of floppies (two sets, as it turned out, as some of the floppies were corrupt), and install the O/S.

We needed to be able to transfer the data off the machine, but we couldn't find a network card which would work with NT 3.51, until digging about in the scrap box we found an old 3Com 10Base-T card with both BNC and RJ45 connections.

Getting that to work on our gigabit LAN was umm... interesting... but we finally got everything talking - very slowly...

Then, we found the data on the CDROM was a backup from a Microsoft SQL 7 installation, which wasn't readable by any current version we owned...

We managed to find the install disks, and service packs, which would allow SQL Server to be installed on NT 3.51 (I think it was upped to SP 6 before we could do it), and finally, we were able to open the backup, export the data, and re-import it into our current database.

The whole thing took us two weeks of faffing about, just to read some data from roughly ten years ago.

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