back to article El Reg's Deep Outback XP upgrade almost foiled by KILLER ARACHNIDS

Australia's Northern territory, where The Reg is this week doing a Windows XP upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote community of Willowra, is huge and empty. Let's give that statement some dimensions. The United Kingdom covers 243,610 km2 and is home to 63.23 million people. Texas covers 696,241 km2 and …

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  1. thosrtanner

    Those numbers are just so - it makes me feel small. But not dangerous, unlike the spiders.

    Hope the install goes well, because I don't think you want another trip like that in the immediate future. Though TBH I don't think the lack of speed limit means you need to drive as fast as the car will go - I'm pretty sure the police won't have you for not having your foot flat down

    1. Steven Raith

      As I recall, they follow a german-ish model for derestriction - that is, it's up to the traffic officer to decide if you're driving dangerously, and penalties for being a dick about it are pretty severe.

      100mph in a Micra - might well get a ticking off.

      130mph in a BMW 5-series with a V8? Less likely.

      Still, interesting to see derestriction used sensibly - especially given that speeding laws around the rest of Oz are tightly policed.

      1. Brad Ackerman
        Go

        Background on speed limits in NT

        The Stuart Highway didn't have a speed limit until 2007, when the Labour government instituted the current 130 km/h one to raise revenue. The Country Liberals promised to ditch the speed limit if returned to office, and this is the start of actually fulfilling that promise.

  2. MondoMan
    Pint

    And I thought the American West was sparsely populated!

    Here's hoping you don't run across the Night Rider...

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Bigger than Texas.

    But I'll bet it's got a smaller proportion of SEL's/Km^2.

    The spiders look like they can really slip you a crippler.

  4. poopypants

    Don't use fly spray

    It only pisses them off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Don't use fly spray

      Not if you light it first

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Don't use fly spray

        Well lighting it works, if you don't need the chair afterwards.

        But wouldn't you be better with *spider* spray?

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: Don't use fly spray

          Well, he did say he needed a new chair as well.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: Don't use fly spray

            I assumed that the reason for that was the old one being covered in shit

          2. Captain DaFt
  5. Tim99 Silver badge
    Devil

    Redbacks

    Redbacks are normally found near their characteristic webs (untidy networked strands) in dark places near the floor.

    Last year I was standing up to relocate a network switch when something hit me in the face - I stepped back and saw it was a very large female redback hanging from the ceiling on a 4ft gossamer about 4ft from the wall. When my heart-rate had returned to normal and a can of flyspray later...

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Redbacks

      untidy networked strands

      Checks under desk... uh-oh... checks cabinet... oh dear.

      It appears we may have a serious infestation here. Haven't spotted the spiders themselves yet though...

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: Redbacks

        Haven't spotted the spiders themselves yet though...

        Yep they are very shy, and will usually back away into the furthest darkest recess at the first hint of a human nearby. This is why they are generally safe to have around. They eat cockroaches which I consider to be a good thing.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Redbacks

      I left a room of my house in the dark for an extended period and ended up with redbacks on the ceiling, which had me ensnared before I realised what was going on. Luckily they're fairly dopey spiders so there was no further excitement.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    That's not a State (It's a Territory)

    THIS is a State:

    Western Australia: 2,645,615 km²

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Australia

    Nice article BTW.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: That's not a State (It's a Territory)

      It's no competition, WA's population density is in the next order of magnitude!

  7. Matthew 3

    Flyspray?

    Surely they'd like that? It must make their lunch easier to catch.

  8. Parax

    Time is not the only lapse..

    "shot at 6 frames a second for the journey and then played back at 18 frames a second."

    That'd make it a simple x3. Which it clearly is not..

    Perhaps 1 frame every 6 seconds played back at 18 fps making x108. which is more likely, 46s vid covers 82 minutes.

  9. imanidiot Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Just to be pedantic

    Those spiders are venomous not poisenous. (Though I would not recommend eating them)

    Grammar nazi icon, obviously.

    1. FartingHippo
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Just to be pedantic

      Ah. Deadly venom is neither a poison, nor poisonous. Got it.

      Also, learn to spell poisonous. As a Grammar Nazi, you're in the 'Allo 'Allo! league.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Just to be pedantic

        If ingested oraly most venoms are indeed not poisonous. Poisonous means it's bad for your health if ingested, venomous means its bad for you if introduced to the bloodstream. They are 2 different things!

        1. NogginTheNog
          Coat

          Re: Just to be pedantic

          "Poisonous means it's bad for your health if ingested, venomous means its bad for you if introduced to the bloodstream"

          Both of them mean keep the frak away to me!

        2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Just to be pedantic

          "Poisonous means it's bad for your health if ingested, venomous means its bad for you if introduced to the bloodstream."

          Since we're in hair-splitting mode, allow me to disagree.

          "Poisonous" is what a substance is. The stuff on the tip of a blowpipe dart is poisonous, but possibly harmless if ingested.

          "Venomous" is the characteristic of a creature that can deliver a poisonous substance by stinging, biting or other active means.

          Plants, for example, may be poisonous but not venomous. There are, I believe, frogs that have a poisonous coating all over their skin. Whether these count as venomous, I'm not sure.

          1. Sweep

            Re: Just to be pedantic

            Wheeeeeee!

            I'll join in with the pedantry.

            Plants can be venomous, if they transmit or inject their toxins through a specialised apparatus, e.g. nettles.

            The frogs you mention are poisonous, not venomous, as the toxin is delivered passively. Poisonous can refer to a substance or a plant which causes illness, death etc when taken into the body, or to an animal which produces a poison.

            1. sam bo

              Re: Just to be pedantic

              OK, lets split some more hairs .

              Whether or not a substance is poisonous or not is dose related.

              Many substances are harmless in sufficiently small quantities when ingested, but poisonous if the dose is raised above a certain threshold.

              1. hplasm Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Just to be pedantic

                So- are the leggy fuckers toxic, or not?

                1. Martin Budden

                  Re: Just to be pedantic @hplasm

                  So- are the leggy fuckers toxic, or not?

                  They have a very nasty bite, so don't pick them up or poke them. Fortunately they are also very shy and timid and will try to avoid you as much as you want to avoid them.

                  1. jai

                    Re: Just to be pedantic @hplasm

                    regardless of the pedantry, poisonous or venomous, they all need to be killed with fire

                    or better yet, take off and nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure

              2. Guus Leeuw

                Re: Just to be pedantic

                Dear Sam Bo,

                what you are talking about is actually the toxin, which may or may not be harmful based on quantity.

                For something to poisonous, the toxin of it must be ingested or absorbed, like your frog. For something to be venomous, it must actively inject the toxin into the target, much like your average spider which will use teeth to cut through skin and inject the toxin into your body.

                I have yet to hear about a poisonous spider, bet the arachnid-eating variety of people would not like that too much... :D

                Also, I would not always recommend digesting the toxin of a venomous species... Even if it doesn't enter the bloodstream immediately, the toxin may [enter eventually] by virtue of being digested and not broken down in our stomach....

                So... this from the ultimate hairsplitter on El Reg...

                Back to the story... if that video is shot at 6 frames per second (10 seconds elapsed per frame) and replayed at 18 frames a second, every second of that video covers about 3 minutes (10 seconds elapsed per frame * 18 = 180 seconds = 3 minutes) drive. So, given that the video is 46 seconds, it covers 3 * 46 = 138 minutes of driving. 2 hours and 18 minutes. So we don't quite know what stretch of road that video covers: 180 km at "often sat on 160km/h" is very variable... :D

                Nice spiders, though!

                Regards,

                Guus

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Just to be pedantic

        Ah. Deadly venom is neither a poison, nor poisonous. Got it.

        Fortunately for imanidiot, he/she didn't say that.

        A poisonous animal is one that will harm you if you ingest (or sometimes touch) it. An animal that harms you by injecting a toxin is venomous.

        It's an entirely uncontroversial distinction in the context of zoology.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the Redback spider, I remember them well from the outside dunnies up in the Blue mountains. There is also a song about them 'The Redback on the Toilet Seat' though I can't remember who wrote it..

  11. Adam 1 Silver badge

    They are pretty harmless unless you pick them up or sit on the bog without checking. Nothing like this which infests the Vulture South offices or worse still one of these. At least some of the sheep are OK.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Ummmm... thanks for that, but it's annoyingly incomplete: "At least some of the sheep are OK". How do we identify which sheep are OK and which aren't? This could be very, very important for survival at some point.

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Pint

        Handy musical guide

        How do we identify which sheep are OK and which aren't?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNEeq5qGh8I

        1. Miek
          Coat

          Re: Handy musical guide

          It's a trick question, they're all evil!!!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqwAoFu2uqU

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Handy musical guide

            If it was delicious, it wasn't evil. If you're dead, it was.

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge

        >How do we identify which sheep are OK and which aren't?

        That is the wrong question if you ever plan a trip down under. You must always start with the premise that any animal or plant will cause you a violent death. Too many tourists pay the unfortunate price...

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      @Adam 1

      Holy s**t, the "Drop bear."

      Not exactly a cuddly koala is it?

      I feel Aus film makers have been very remiss in exploiting the vast opportunities for horror movies their country has to offer for its wild life to seriously f**k you up.

      Forget giant types caused by nuclear testing (although you've got to wonder about the odd missing back packer) just the regular size nasties are pretty nasty.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: @Adam 1

        ...Aus film makers have been very remiss in exploiting the vast opportunities for horror movies...

        Well I guess this is where I put up my sign with "WILL ACT FOR BEER" then...

  12. Anonymous IV

    it's probably better to install Java, because so many online services demand it

    I must have led a charmed life, since I've been uninstalling Java everywhere I've come across it, and only LibreOffice / Open Office seems to require it, and I've had no user complaints. Delighted praise is another matter...

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: it's probably better to install Java, because so many online services demand it

      only LibreOffice / Open Office seems to require it,

      Not even. When you start it, LO pops up a message about it being rather displeased with the system being uncontaminated by cheesejava, but as far as I can see it runs OK despite the warning. Haven't encountered stuff not working attributable to lack of java

      1. Old Handle

        Re: it's probably better to install Java, because so many online services demand it

        LibreOffice seems to require Java for the scripting system (i.e. its answer to VBA), but not much else.

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Air con - for the computers I hope!

    Always found aircon turns you into a prisoner in your own home - or chalet on the beach on holiday.

    30C is horrible for 2 days and then you get used to it - if you dont use aircon.

    I only use aircon to dry me out for a shave. Any other cooling requirements beer will do. Even aussie beer in emergencies.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Air con - for the computers I hope!

      I'm guessing you're somewhere humid - "dry out for a shave"? In dry heat, you just wait a few tens of seconds, you don't really need a towel let alone air-con. Also 30C dry heat isn't particularly unpleasant, even straight off a plane from the UK. You just have to be sure you can stay hydrated, or it'll make you ill in a couple of hours and kill you in a day. Water works better than beer.

      (I've been to Death Valley in summer. That WAS hot. )

      1. moiety

        Re: Air con - for the computers I hope!

        > Water works better than beer.

        Beer works fine if you use enough of it.

        1. Bill B

          Re: Air con - for the computers I hope!

          It's a nice thought but actually, no, it doesn't. Alcohol is a diuretic and even the small amount in beer is enough to make you piss away more than you imbibe.

          1. moiety

            Re: Air con - for the computers I hope!

            Then you add more beer. Staying topped up is the key.

          2. Martin Budden

            Re: Air con - for the computers I hope!

            Alcohol is a diuretic...

            true

            ...and even the small amount in beer is enough to make you piss away more than you imbibe.

            urban myth

          3. raving angry loony

            Re: Air con - for the computers I hope!

            @Bill B:

            You'd be so wrong! Beer is obviously much better for dehydration than water. If the Daily Mail says so it must be true!

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-491236/A-pint-beer-better-workout-water-say-scientists.html

            Sadly, I couldn't find the peer reviewed journal article, but I'm sure it exist. Somewhere. In someones mind, at least.

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