* Posts by Alfie

138 posts • joined 31 Mar 2008

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Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network

Alfie

First desk troll job

We had 10Base2 cabling between 2 hubs and our router which went down all the time, fortunately we had a fibre link between the main office and the lab next door which never failed, and then AppleTalk RJ11 connections to the office Macs. That network on its own kept me busy for hours on end. I took to carrying a spare 50ohm terminator in my pocket at all times. Then there were the fixed IP addresses and DNS tables to manage. God it was shit!

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Life is... pushing all the right buttons on the wrong remote control

Alfie
WTF?

Remotes

My blu-ray player has a shitty remote that has 2 buttons labelled as Home, which one might think would take you to the home menu of the DVD/BD that you are playing, you know for when you want to skip back or forward to another section of the movie, but no they both take you to the root menu of the device and give you the option of launching some ancient web apps that probably dont work anymore and probably includes one for MySpace.

In contrast the Fire Stick remote works via radio so you dont have to point it at the stick (just as well as its hanging out the back of the TV) and doesn't have rubbery buttons and even the text input is fairly responsive and usable. The only downside is that nearly every time I select something to watch it manages to knock out my soundbar which I then have to switch back on using its shitty rubber button remote that doesn't work half the time probably due to the fact that it runs off a single button battery. It also does it when you pause a show as well. It wouldn't be so bad if it was *every* time that it switched off the sound, its just *most* of the time.

I also have an LG G4 that should work as an IR remote, but I cant get it to work with any of my devices for some reason.

</rant>

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HTC's 2017 flagship U11 woos audiophiles and bundles Alexa

Alfie
Trollface

Re: Two tone shell

I also has a couple of Sonys (in fact one was SonyEricsson, so a while ago) in the past that had dedicated camera squeeze haptic feedback areas that were really useful.

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DocuSign forged – crooks crack email system and send nasties

Alfie

Re: world+dog

Yeah, no warning and 2 emails weirdly from Josh $randon_surname

Strangely enough I didn't feel the need to click on the links, but looked fairly authentic and you can imagine some numpty falling for it.

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Alfie

Progress bar lies

I have a vague recollection of doing an application install on a Mac (probably OS 7.5) where the progress bar got up to 100 percent and then kept going towards the edge of the dialog box. I am going to say it was a Microsoft install just out of habit, but I have no proof that it was the guilty party.

I hate progress bars, but I hate web page text bouncing around like its on a space hopper even more.

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You're taking the p... Linux encryption app Cryptkeeper has universal password: 'p'

Alfie
Coat

Failed Emoji

Surely they meant the password to be

:p

?

I'll get my coat...

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Alfie
Coat

Re: Flexcit?

Unless you consider Theresa May as the "C"

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Terry Pratchett's self-written documentary to be broadcast in 2017

Alfie

With Terry writing the words and Paul Kaye playing him it should provide plenty of laughs. I would still rather have him back and writing. I guess I should go back to the beginning and read them all again...

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All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker

Alfie

Re: The last "ship" to bear the name HMS Tamar

I'd like to see how far up the river Spey the HMS Spey could get as well!

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LG’s V20 may be the phone of the year. So why the fsck can’t you buy it?

Alfie

Re: LG

I've had my LG G4 for six months now and its had 2 system updates since I bought it. Better than the Sony I had before this phone.

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Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues

Alfie

Assumed it was me

Yeah network was up and router lights all flashing as per normal this morning, but couldn't get any data over breakfast. Assumed it was just my shitty EO line which drops out just when you dont want it to every week or two. I switched my phone wifi off and was surprised to discover 4G connectivity from my kitchen on O2. Needless to say data and streaming were much better than the broadband, but that is OpenReach's fault, not PlusNet.

I dont use Twatter (i'm on it, but dont use it), so wasn't aware there was a problem until El Reg mentioned it.

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Sneaky brown dwarf gives us a bright flash and astroboffins are confused

Alfie
Flame

RE: Disaster Area

Maybe if we drop a small spacecraft into the brown dwarf we can bump start the star?

Edit: We could fill the spacecraft with WD-40?

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Alfie
Windows

I just dont get it...

I had stopped wearing a watch for a few years as I used my phone to tell me the time. From what I can tell a smartwatch is just going to relay info that is on my smartphone, and it doesnt take that much effort to pull that out of my pocket. Sure you can add some biometric data to the mix, but giving me a bunch of numbers on how far I've walked/run/cycled today isnt going to make me fitter/thinner. Doing more walking/running/cycling and eating less should do the trick and I dont need a watch to tell me that. Although I can see a niche market for actual athletes, not MAMILs.

Just a couple of months ago I went retro and bought a Vostok mechanical divers watch, it tells me the time (fairly accurately) and it doesnt need wound up or a new battery that cost more than the watch (G-Shock I'm talking about you!) to keep working. In fact it was probably cheaper than a replacement G-Shock battery.

Dont get me wrong, I love tech and have more than my fair share, but the wrist doesnt seem an obvious place to put it if you want a decent user experience, or it ends up so big that you cant wear clothes over it.

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Queen's Speech: Ministers, release the spaceplanes!*

Alfie

Re: 10Mbps?

Yeah, so living less than 10 miles from the centre of Glasgow leaves me the option of paying £60 per month and over £300 installation/hardware costs for decent satellite coms? Thanks very much Ofcom/Openreach/Wastemonster! Nice loophole!*

*Although I'm betting money on that commitment to not apply to Scotland anyway as its devolved, so even more slacking off by OpenReach and Digital Scotland on delivering decent broadband to the masses!

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Super cool: Arctic data centres aren't just for Facebook

Alfie

Re: So, would ie make sense

Northern Scandinavia has permafrost, Skye has permacloud.*

The only problem with locating on Skye being Openreach.

* except for this past week, obviously!

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Nippy, palaver and cockwomble: Greatest words in English?

Alfie

RE: Autumnal

I also like the word autumnal, but have taken to using the word autumny instead, mostly to wind up my english teaching better half. Inspired by Baldrick's interpretation of irony; "Like goldy and silvery, only made of iron."

Actually the whole Blackadder the Third episode Ink and Incapability is a joy.

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A thousand mile Atom merci mission: Driving from Monaco to London in an open-topped motor

Alfie
Devil

Re: The bloody flies (and other airborne thingies)

Joe Lucas == Prince of Darkness

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Apple to replace DODGY hard drives that go BELLY UP in 27-inch iMac

Alfie

Not for the first time...

Reminds me of when we saw a lot of HD failures in the old Apple SE/30 from Sony 40MB drives (but they werent new at the time). Apparently the bearings dried out and slowed the disk down so that it couldnt read the MBR. Replaced tens of them in our little Mac support company at the time. If you turned the SE/30 upside down, it put the pressure on the other bearing and you could get it to boot, and copy the data off to an external SCSI before replacing the disk.

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Remake, remodel: Toshiba Chromebook 2

Alfie

I couldnt find one with a full HD screen and only 1.3kg cheaper than the Tosh though.

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Alfie

Ch(r)ompromise

Just got one of these a week ago, spent a couple of evenings playing with it, then an evening creating a recovery usb stick, then another evening following the instructions on setting up Crouton and installing the Ubuntu XFCE desktop image. It neednt take that long to do, I was just messing while doing other stuff with my free time.

Now I have a jumped up tablet with a keyboard in ChromeOS and can quickly flip into Linux when I need something specific, like a printer or Firefox or VLC or other non-webby tasks. The combination of full depth SD slot and two USB slots means that I can copy and mangle photos and videos from camera cards to a low profile USB that lives in there permanently.

I would prefer it if the lovely Full HD screen were matte like my old Samsung NC10, and I would prefer to wipe it completely and get a proper internal build of Mint Cinnamon on there, but it is a pretty decent compromise at the price. I still have a full desktop system for anything needing more horsepower, but my old Nook HD+ tablet and my NC10 running Mint XFCE have both been put out to pasture.

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SCREW YOU, BRITS: We're going through with UK independence ANYWAY – Scotland

Alfie

Darien Schmarien

"It would have been the Darien Scheme all over again."

Except instead of it being a Westminster/banking cabal that foreclosed on the Darien scheme it would have been OPEC forcing the oil price down temporarily to harm Russia's economy or US fracking profitability depending on who you listen to.

The effect on Scotland just happens to be an unintended consequence of their cunning plan in this case.

Alledgedly!

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Amazon DROPS next day delivery amid Cyber Monday MADNESS

Alfie
Headmaster

Have I been asleep for a long time, or is it still four weeks until Christmas?

In which case the rush delivery of this Thursday doesnt mean that anyone will be dissapointed by the late delivery of presents.

Or has El Reg been taken over by the Express?

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Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids

Alfie

Sony M2

Point of note on the M2 is that the software update to KitKat 4.4.2 has already been rolled out, at least on O2 in the UK. Downside is that Sony has no (current) plans to take it to Lollipop despite it being a 2014 model.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

Alfie
Headmaster

RE: Geography

I worry about your grasp of geography, because last time I checked Stornoway is on the island of Lewis, not NW England. That is where the king of black pudding is made! :-)

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BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE

Alfie

Re: Not just Oz.. happening in the UK aswell

If you use a hoover it is still in the house, a spider catcher does the trick though, I had to remove one of a similar size from our bath this week. Never seen one that big outside of Londonshire!

I should have dropped it further from the house than just out the window, it will probably come back in again if it doesnt get any warmer...

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Roll up for El Reg's 3G/4G MONOPOLY DATA PUB CRAWL

Alfie
Pint

RE: Clockwork Orange

Now that sounds like a plan!

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Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one FUGLY space rock

Alfie
Alien

Reg link?

Am I the only one that thinks pic 1 looks like a vultures head on its side?

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Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty

Alfie
Thumb Up

Re: So basiclly, Sassenachs

You need to include the white (or mealie) pudding as well as the black, and you need to have beef link, pork sausage and square sausage which I think is made from pink things, some of them claim to be steak slice, but unless its actually veal I'm not convinced.

Also there should be some left over mashed potato which is then put in the bacon and sausage fat and fried until crispy on the outside.

And it must be washed down with builders tea. I think there must be something to do with the tannins that absorbs all the fat and cleans out your mouth.

That, my friends is a proper breakfast. Sadly it takes quite a while to prepare, so not one to knock up before running out the door for work, best left for the weekends.

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Fiat Panda Cross: 'Interesting-looking' Multipla spawn hits UK

Alfie

Polski Fiat

If you are worried about the build quality buy one of the Mk2 Pandas, all the MK2s were made in Poland. They made a diesel Cross too, but dont think they sold many in the UK so can be hard to track one down. My current car is one (non 4x4) and its now the car I've owned the longest of the eight cars I've had. All it gets is oil and filters and an MOT every year. However to make up for the boring reliability, I now spend most of my time on a Moto Guzzi ;-)

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Alfie

Bane of my life

I swear western civilisation would crumble to dust if anything ever happened to all the Excel spreadsheets that appear to run most businesses...

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Who needs a ride-on mower when a ROBOT will cut your grass

Alfie
Pint

Value?

Surely it's just cheaper to get a man in to cut the grass for you? They tend to spot obstructions on your lawn and work around them or even move them (obviously they wouldnt try to move a pond or a tree). Plus you still get to spend your free time sitting on a deck chair drinking ale with a knotted hanky on your head, so your manliness isnt called into question!

Beer, obviously ->

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Code Spaces goes titsup FOREVER after attacker NUKES its Amazon-hosted data

Alfie

RE: background checks

Certainly you'd struggle to find work if you declared your conviction to an employer. If you didn't, and they failed to do appropriate background checks (smaller companies often fall down here), then you're fine.

Not just small companies! I used to work for a financial services company (it was a subsidiary of a major UK bank) that had a new hire that was given to me to bring up to speed on the tech that we were using on his first morning. He was marched off the premises by security about two hours later only because someone in the office recognised him. He had done time (not for a tech-based misdemeanor) and then changed his name by deed poll and it wasnt picked up in the background checks. Presumably he forgot to mention his name change or time in chokey in the application. They might have increased their security checks now...

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Podule-lodged Brit nears two weeks atop ocean peak Rockall

Alfie

Re: Rockall

Specifically in reference to the act of parliament claiming it from Wikipedia

The Island of Rockall Act 1972 (c. 2) is a British Act of Parliament formally incorporating the island Rockall into the United Kingdom to protect it from Irish and Icelandic claims. The Act as originally passed declared that the Island of Rockall was now part of the Scottish county of Inverness-shire (it is now in the Western Isles).

It is a lot closer to St. Kilda than Co. Donegal anyway, so it's ours.

Shame he wont still be there on 18th Sept. It would be fun to get a polling station on it.

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Klingon and Maori roar into 'mutt's nuts' dictionary

Alfie

Doric (Scots)

I guess the literal translation is dugs baws, but for a literal meaning you'd be better with affa fiiine. The length of the vowel in fine is dependant on the greatness you are trying to convey. Minimum of one second to get to mutts nuts level. Although it doesnt quite translate directly as I think Doric lends itself better to complaining rather than approving of something or someone.

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Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

Alfie

Re: Shame

That's all well and good, but where do you stand on the compulsory serving of asparagus at breakfast, free corsets for the under-5s and the abolition of slavery?

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Brawling neighbours challenge 'quiet' cul-de-sac myth

Alfie
IT Angle

Quiet?

Mine isnt. As there is no through traffic the kids in our street actually play in it. There are three basketball hoops (you think they would share one or maybe even two) and the kids make for excellent target practice and unplanned ABS testing for everyone that speeds into the cul de sac at high speed safe in the knowledge that there is no other traffic.

Is there a correlation between cul de sacs and cat ownership? There are ten cats in our cul de sac of twelve houses (and a stray old tomcat that wanders the neighbourhood), and yes the only way to stop them crapping on your patch is to have some of your own.

And dont even get me started on parking at the weekend!

Oh yeah, and the council dont grit the road in the winter, which hasnt been a problem this year, but no one in our street owns a BMW or Merc anymore.

1
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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Alfie

Re: Connect me!

Even better, the strip and twist without even sellotape for insulation.

+1 for a pair of red and black RCA plugs as well, although I always liked the BNC with bayonet, always felt properly secured, until the 50Hz terminators failed and the whole backbone went down...

... tell that to kids these days, and they dont believe you!

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DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life

Alfie

Re: Another NC10

Thanks for that link. I had looked at the SANE list and my scanner isn't supported, but is supported in VueScan, so I'll give it a shot.

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Alfie

Another NC10

The XP install on my NC10 got slower and slower over the years, so I ended up dual booting it with Mint Linux XFCE. Much faster boot and login times. Made a door stop useable again. I then tried using the Cinnamon version, and although it still runs faster than XP it isnt as fast as XFCE and I'm not sure that the eye candy is worth it. There is also the problem of one of the setting screens (cant remember which) not liking the 1024 x 600 desktop in Cinnamon, but I dont remember XFCE having any problem. Like others have said everything worked out of the box.

P.S. It is still dual-booting to XP to access an old scanner that isnt supported in Linux or later Windows OSs. It isnt even supported by WinXP 64-bit that is on my Opteron desktop. The desktop will probably go to Mint Cinnamon in the near future (before April) when I might even get around to replacing the scanner with something a bit more 21st century. I dont use the desktop enough anymore to justify replacing it with something new.

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WHY do phone cams turn me into a clumsy twat with dexterity of an elephant?

Alfie

Camera/phone: either or, but not both

I gave up with the cameraphone nonsense a couple of weeks ago despite having a nice Sony Ericsson with an 8MP camera and a physical shutter button. It's just too damn slow, and I dont want a wide angle shot every time. I bought an end of line Canon Ixus from Argos for £65 which has a good zoom, lots of MP, a proper flash, Canon's excellent imaging firmware and a screen the size of a small smartphone. Press the power button and I can take a shot in a second or so, which is way faster than the phone, because of course it doesnt switch to the camera if I press the shutter button; oh no I have to go and select the camera app unlike my old Samsung feature phone which sadly had a crap image sensor. It is only about the size of a couple of small touchscreen phones stuck together and about the same weight too, so it fits in a trouser pocket as well. Which is more than can be said of my old Canon S3is, fabulous though it is (it has a viewfinder) and the photos it produces, it is a big lump to carry around all the time.

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INVASION of the UNDEAD ANDROIDS: Hackers can pwn 'nearly all' devices

Alfie
Unhappy

Re: Simple solution

I know where you are coming from! I have an Arc S, which just has a faster CPU, and it took me about a month to download enough apps to fill it.

I did root it and installed a nice app called Link2SD which gets around the problem by spoofing 'unmoveable' apps into a second partition on your SD card.

It was my first smartphone, and I knew nothing about rooting until I checked out the XDA forum. Took about an hour to do using their instructions and was surprisingly easy. Bloatware removed no problem. One day I might even put ICS or JB on it, but I dont think the single core processor is really up to it.

Anyway, back to the original story - chances of Sony ever producing a fix for this when they cant be bothered producing a decent ICS upgrade for it? Zero!

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How God and übergeek Ron Crane saved 3Com's bacon

Alfie

Re: And the real points of the story are:

Used to work in an office out in the sticks on a dodgy grid connection and we used to get brown outs and the like often. We had a 50:50 mix of IBM PCs and Macs at the time and the PCs would crash when the lights flickered while the Macs stayed up.

Also back in the day when speccing a new PC one of the first things on the list was a 3C509 card. Life was much simpler then. :-)

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Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

Alfie
Thumb Up

Re: RHA-audio

RHA MA-350 earbuds are good quality for the price, but kept falling out of my ears. Got a set of Comply memory foam tips, and problem solved. All with change from £40. Better than the Sonys and Sennheisers I've owned over the years. Not audiophile quality, but good enough and the Comply tips get rid of the background noise on the bus/train.

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Boffin road trip! The Reg presents Geek's Guide to Britain

Alfie
Thumb Up

How far back are you going?

The pencil museum in Keswick is worth a visit (even if only to watch The Snowman on telly). And there is secret pencil tech from WWII. And you could stock up on mint cake while in town.

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RBS and NatWest FAIL downs services across UK

Alfie

Re: FAIL felt as far as Oregon

Co-op?

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Twenty classic arcade games

Alfie
Pint

Takes me back to Codonas...

...on Aberdeen beach. Happy days spending all my money on Outrun (got top sores on that one), BattleZone, Star Wars and there was a Gauntlet in the Aberdeen Students Union as well ("Elf's life force is running out"). I tried Space Harrier once, I felt travel sick and nearly fell off, couldnt get the hang of HangOn either, unless it was just the handlebars version. Going further back into my childhood and I used to play Boot Hill, which was like a western version of pong but with bullets and suitably crappy graphics and sound. :-)

Thanks for all the memories!

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Cambridge boffins reveal prehistoric prawn monster

Alfie
Coat

Was it that spanish woman that 'restores' frescoes?

1
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Michelin critics to football blogger: Salaud! Unhand that URL

Alfie
Pint

You have to appreciate the effort he put into those images though. I mean the effort to match the faces to the images he planted them in, not his prowess in PhotoShop, obviously.

Can we have a website like this every Monday morning? It has fair made my day :-)

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Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Alfie
Thumb Up

Born again

I have an old Sammy NC10 which has been getting slower and slower on Win XP and as a result getting used less and less. Now that I have a smartphone I can get my emails and twit-tubes etc just by putting on my reading glasses. However some websites arent very smartphone friendly and after someone here mentioned LinuxMint I thought I'd have a look at that. The NC10 had already had Ubuntu 10.10 installed alongside WinXP but I found Unity less than helpful after years of occasional RedHat/CentOS use. Also it used to lock up for no apparent reason. I got LinixMint13 XFCE downloaded, burnt to DVD, installed (even recognised the Ubuntu install and overwrote it) in a few hours and not long after that had my wireless network setup and email configured. Now it boots in about a minute and shuts down in seconds, which is what I was after, so I can put the tablet purchase on hold for a little while yet. I still have my desktop system for serious work, but for everything else I can sit in my living room and pull out my old netbook.

Thanks commentards for saving my old netbook from an early retirement of sitting on a shelf gathering dust! :-)

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City heat leak can disrupt high-altitude winds

Alfie
Flame

Just a thought...

Perhaps taking into account the massive heat output of major cities would explain why AGW isnt following the models. In fact the greenhouse gas emissions are a smaller input into the climate models than originally thought when you add in heat emissions which would explain why the earth seems to be coping ok (for certain values of ok) with the increase in CO2 etc.

I never did understand why big corps and retail didnt pay much attention to energy saving like insulation. Surely the energy bills for a large office/retail store must have a significant impact on the bottom line? Even going into new shops and looking up you can see there is nothing between you and the roofing panel, and yet they seem happy to pump money into heating these vast spaces to ~20C day and night. And presumably cooling them in the summer as well.

<- Flames, obviously :-)

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