* Posts by Dave Pickles

55 posts • joined 12 Sep 2011

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A brief history of BLADE SERVERS: From the Big Bang to the, er, 'unblade'

Dave Pickles
Joke

"I lost interest in blade servers when I discovered that they didn't throw knives at people who weren't supposed to be in our machine room" - .sig from alt.sysadmin.recovery.

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Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority

Dave Pickles

Not sure I want a certificate management agent footling with my server.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Dave Pickles

Re: Stop with the mobile requirement already

It's a problem if you're in $FOREIGN_COUNTRY facing enormous roaming charges to receive calls and texts, with no way to top-up a PAYG account. Any way some of us just don't want a mobile phone.

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Dave Pickles

Should have called it Windows 15

It is supposed to offer the best of Windows 7 and 8, and will be out next year. 7 + 8 = 15, geddit?

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Apple promises iCloud security alerts, better 2FA after, er, NAKED Internet of Thingies flap

Dave Pickles

Re: Mothers maiden name ?

"She honestly thought that there must be a database of peoples mums maiden names..."

The problem in the UK is that there IS such a list, and it can be searched from sites such as ancestry.com, given your full name and approximate date of birth.

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Hey Intel – that new Pro 2500 SSD looks awfully familiar

Dave Pickles

Self Encrypting

Slashdot are reporting that the drive has hardware-based self-encryption.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/14/07/23/1838211/intel-launches-self-encrypting-ssd

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Home automation while it's hot: Winter warmth for lazy technophiles

Dave Pickles

Re: and your hot water (that must reach 60C to avoid legionella risks)

This bogey seems to be the reason why these systems never have programmable hot water temperature. I'd like to be able to set the hot water according to the use I intend to make of it, and not be forced to store a tankful at a far higher temperature than I would ever need.

I did wonder whether it would be possible to come up with some kind of countercurrent steriliser to momentarily raise the incoming supply to a high temperature, but I lack the thermodynamic and engineering nous...

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Google Maps can now tell cyclists how HIGH they will get

Dave Pickles

UK-only alternative

www.cyclestreets.net gives alternative routes for speed or quietness, and displays a height profile for the journey.

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WWI historical project will catalog eight million life stories

Dave Pickles

D C Thomson

The site is run by the same firm as "Friends Reunited" and "Find my Past".

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Boffins brew graphene in kitchen blender

Dave Pickles

Condoms?

According to the BBC News article, "In addition to its potential uses in electronics, graphene might have applications in ... the production of thinner condoms."

Talk about putting lead in your pencil.

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How Brit computer maker beat IBM's S/360 - and Soviet spies

Dave Pickles

KDF9

Ah the English Electric Leo Marconi KDF9 - happy memories. 48-bit word length (split into 8 6-bit 'syllables' - 'bytes' hadn't been invented yet) and an arithmetic unit with a push-down stack so you programmed arithmetic in RPN. I owe most of my career to the machine at Birmingham Uni in the late 60s.

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CCL Computers probing source of fake virus-riddled dispatch mail

Dave Pickles

Re: I got it,

My version was from a host in Korea, sent to an email address I only ever used with an online storage provider. I've also never heard of CCL.

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UK cops: Keep yer golden doubloons, ad folk. Yon websites belong ta PIRATES

Dave Pickles

'Evidenced and verified'

But not tested in a court of law. Hmmm...

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ESA rejoices as comet-chasing Rosetta probe wakes from 3-year nap

Dave Pickles

Rosetta are you better...

are you well, well, well.

Alan Price IIRC.

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TalkTalk to block nuisance calls with no help AT ALL from Huawei

Dave Pickles

Re: Will they block themselves?

CLI is passed over the line *before* the ring current, so it would be theoretically possible for a nifty device to check the calling number and prevent the phone from ringing. Doubtless an RPi device would contravene some law or other.

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Free Cocaine giveaway from Russian search engine Yandex

Dave Pickles

Obviously JJ Cale fans

It don't lie, it don't lie, it don't lie...

Cocaine.

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Microsoft Surface 2 fondleslabs finally get off ground with airline order

Dave Pickles

Re: product usage rights

More to do with MS not getting sued if a plane lands on a nuclear power station and someone's pacemaker goes into overdrive.

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Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

Dave Pickles
Holmes

Re: Just remember...

When this slogan and its icon first appeared, it was pointed out that the skull'n'crossbones was almost but not quite a blatant rip-off of artwork which had appeared some months previously in (IIRC) a Sunday Times article. An early example of 'do as I say not as I do'.

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Should UK tear Wi-Fi a new one at 5GHz? Speak your brains, says Ofcom

Dave Pickles
Headmaster

The low end of the allocated spectrum range is 9KHz (though I think it may have been lowered recently). The high end is currently 275GHz.

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'Nearly 1,350' HP Enterprise Services staffers strike over redundancies – union

Dave Pickles
Coat

Re: Enterprise

Enterprise staff wear red tee-shirts surely?

Mine's the one with the tricorder in the pocket.

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Back up all you like - but can you resuscitate your data after a flood?

Dave Pickles

Out-of-date OS?

It seems that most of your problems were due to running your live systems on an out-of-date version of Centos, then reinstalling the backups on a more recent version. The solution is either to keep the live systems updated, or to document exactly which OS flavour and version works.

Not that I've ever done anything similar of course, oh dear me no...

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Water, sunshine or pig s***: How will YOU power your data centre?

Dave Pickles

The problem with energy-reuse schemes is that the needs of the parties never completely coincide. The hospital or district heating scheme has no need for heat in the height of summer, but you need to dump your waste energy 24/7. Equally you need the freedom to take your server farm offline occasionally for maintenance, without worrying about freezing the local residents. Both parties need to invest in backup plant which will spend most of its life idle.

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3-2-1... BOOM: Russian rocket launches, explodes into TOXIC FIREBALL

Dave Pickles

Re: Nose Section

Doubt it. The join between the stages would be designed to handle high positive-G loads, not negative-G with aerodynamic side loading, so not surprising that it came apart.

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NASA probe will ease through Saturn's ring to grab Earth snapshot

Dave Pickles

El Reg in a Time Warp?

"NASA's Cassini spacecraft will take a picture of Earthlings' home planet from the viewpoint of aliens on Saturn today, snapping the image from hundreds of millions of miles away."

BBC is reporting that the image will be taken on Friday 19 July.

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Apple dangles Spangles while Dabbsy's cables rankle

Dave Pickles

Re: DEC

Not just custom connectors, they also used standard connectors - wired in a completely non-standard way. Their copper version of FDDI used RJ45 connectors but was incompatible with UTP Ethernet cabling. Happy memories of raiding the local Maplin's for parts on a Saturday afternoon to make up new cables...

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Windows NT grandaddy OpenVMS taken out back, single gunshot heard

Dave Pickles

Re: Won't or actually can't, port?

Not the OP but IIRC the problem was some atomic bit-twiddling instructions which VMS heavily relies upon. Also VMS uses four CPU privilege 'rings'; 0 = user, 1 = Supervisor (the DCL command interpreter), 2 = Executive (basically the file system), 3 = Kernel. X86 processors in theory have four rings but as most OSs only use two there are bugs in the implementation- see the Virtualbox docs for details.

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Dave Pickles

Re: SAD Weekend

"Still kudos to Dave Cutler for an OS that lasted 35 years."

The underpinnings live on. The Windows driver model is very closely based on the VMS one, the data structures have different names but function in the same way. When NT was released it was said that the best tutorial guide for writing a device driver was the VAX/VMS Device Driver manual.

@SYS$SYSTEM:SHUTDOWN.COM

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New 4TB drive spaffs half a telly season into your eyes AT ONCE

Dave Pickles

Re: the rustling of small leaves.

The noise output of the drive is 2.3 BELS according to the Seagate website (another case of disk drive specmanship?). 23dBA is rather more believable.

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BIGGEST DDoS ATTACK IN HISTORY hammers Spamhaus

Dave Pickles

The point I am (maybe not perfectly) making is that the process of asking Spamhaus about the spamicity of an IP happens to use the DNS protocol, which unfortunately leaves it open to DOS tactics created to attack 'real' DNS servers. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL

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Dave Pickles

"Standard DNS has done us well but its time to move on and get rid of some of the known issues."

Spamhaus (and other RBL providers) are vulnerable to DNS attacks because they use a version of the DNS protocol. If I receive an smtp connection from 12.34.56.78 and want to know if this host is spamacious, I send a reverse-lookup request for that IP address to the Spamhaus servers; a positive response means that the address has been seen spreading spam so I can drop the connection without having to handle the message. Unfortunately because the protocol and ports are the same as DNS, the same attacks also work.

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The Lynx effect: The story of Camputers' mighty micro

Dave Pickles

Re: Pretty nice machine

Ah the memories. I spent weeks tracing out the circuit diagram of my Lynx using a multimeter - it was all standard TTL except for the CPU and graphics controller - and eventually got CP/M running with a home-made disk controller and BIOS.

My memory of the bank-switching logic is rather hazy, but I think you could separately control read and write access to memory. So to switch banks, first enable write access into the new bank, copy the code you are currently executing from the old bank to the same address on the new, then switch read access.

Annoyingly my Lynx went for recycling in the last loft clear-out.

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Boeing outlines fix for 787 batteries

Dave Pickles

Re: The vaporised electrolyte was jettisoned overboard, so never posed a risk to passengers or crew

Except that in the Boston incident, the failure of the battery caused the APU to stop (because the APU control unit is directly powered from the battery bus). This removed power from the fans intended to ventilate the equipment bay and keep fumes out of the cabin.

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Dave Pickles

Programmer's Editor?

Shouldn't a "programmer's editor" be called a "bugger"?

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Happy birthday, LP: Can you believe it's only 65?

Dave Pickles
Headmaster

Re: Oh god

Using some rather optimistic numbers for a vinyl record player, a bandwidth of 25kHz and S/N ratio of 60dB, Shannon's Law gives a maximum theoretical data rate of 500 kbit/sec. A 20-minute LP side would have a raw capacity of 75 Mbytes.

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Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow

Dave Pickles

Rolling upgrade or versioned?

Another decision to add; do you prefer a distribution which releases discrete versions, or would you prefer a rolling release? The former is better for stability but means that you have the pain of upgrading every year or so to keep current. A rolling release trades the upgrade hassle for the slightly greater risk of instability.

The best rolling release distro for newbies is probably PCLinuxOS.

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LibreOffice 4.0 ships with new features, better looks

Dave Pickles

Still some niggles

I've been using Release Candidates of LO4 for a while courtesy of Mageia and it's pretty good. Annoyingly they haven't fixed my pet peeve which dates back to the days of StarOffice; the 'recently used files' list is global across all applications rather than having a separate list for each. So if I go browsing through documents looking for something, my frequently-used spreadsheets disappear off the bottom of the list and I have to look for them manually.

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Oracle, Dell, CSC, Xerox, Symantec accused of paying ZERO UK tax

Dave Pickles

Net Cost

When evaluating bids for a contract, HMG should look at the *net* cost of the bid, taking into account the tax that will be returned (income tax from employees, VAT on equipment, as well as corporation tax from the bidder and his sub-contractors). That would probably favour companies doing the work in the UK as well as those with less 'creative' accountants.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg enters trials

Dave Pickles

Blau Gas

The Zeppelins got round the problem of burning-off fuel by powering the engines using Blau Gas, a hydrocarbon mixture with neutral boyancy.

http://www.airships.net/lz127-graf-zeppelin/design-technology

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Hero Playmonaut lost at sea as SPEARS ditches in Channel

Dave Pickles

Still a chance?

It was mentioned on the IRC channel that there was a dredger in the area of the splashdown, which seemed to make a detour from its previous route to investigate. Is there any hope that the Plucky Playmonaut was plucked to safety?

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P-P-P-Pick up our PENGUIN-POWERED Pi PIPER of Python

Dave Pickles

Re: Sound quality?

AIUI the analogue audio output from the Pi (ab)uses the PWM capability in the ARM chip, and only provides the equivalent of a 13-bit D/A converter. Probably best to save the oxygen-free directional-crystal Audiophool cables for another project.

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Why did Comet fail? Hint: It wasn't just the credit insurers

Dave Pickles

Re: The one advantage that physical retail has..immediate availability

That's how Comet started in the late 1960s. They traded out of an old textile warehouse in Leeds which was packed floor-to-ceiling with boxes. There was nothing on display, make your choice elsewhere then just collect the box. Their prices were *way* lower than the high street, plus they sold real hi-fi (Quad, Armstrong, Leak et al) at a discount which was unheard of at the time.

Shame to see how things turned out.

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Axe falls on Directgov as GOV.UK launches

Dave Pickles

Re: How much?

They saved countless millions by not putting full-stops at the end of any sentences

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From Dr No to Skyfall: The Reg's one month of Bond

Dave Pickles

Obligatory xkcd link

http://xkcd.com/123/

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Hipsters hacking on PostgreSQL

Dave Pickles

Not quite the dog's 'nads...

... especially in a write-mostly environment, due to the interesting way it keeps old versions of updated rows. Trying to update the same row in a table one million times was an interesting experience.

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IBM embiggens iron with System zEnterprise EC12 mainframe

Dave Pickles

Why does the photo of the IBM's System zEC12 mainframe remind me of a certain heavily-sponsored London-based event?

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Microsoft RTMs final Windows 8 and Server 2012 code

Dave Pickles

Re: So, what next after windows 9 ?

If they're following the ASCII character set then after windows 9 comes windows colon. In EBCDIC 9 is 0xF9 so the next would be 0xFA, which appropriately is undefined.

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Freeview EPG revamp set for September

Dave Pickles
Headmaster

Re: Good...

LCN (Logical Channel Number) is pretty much unique to the UK; the international standards for DTV don't include it so it has to be carried as a 'user defined' field.

Getting rid of LCN would remove the politicking which channels undertake to get as high up the channel list as possible. Of course if the channels were ordered alphabetically then there would probably be lots of 'AAA1 TeleShopping' channels instead.

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Linus Torvalds drops F-bomb on NVIDIA

Dave Pickles

Re: As a Slackware user since 1995ish ...

Be careful what you wish for.

If competitors could legally see each other's hardware architecture and driver software we could get a repeat of the Mutually Assured Destruction currently being fought out in the courts over smartphone patents. Looking the other way may be the least-worst option.

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Microsoft unveils Windows 8 'release preview' for June

Dave Pickles

Re: Launch song?

Use the same Rolling Stones song but start at the second line - "You make a grown man cry".

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