* Posts by Tim99

964 posts • joined 24 Apr 2008

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Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

Tim99
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Re: Science 50 years old

My wife bought me a Linn Sondek LP12 in 1974, it is still working well. It became a bit of a Trigger's broom as various bits were upgraded, but the basic chassis is still the same. When I was younger, and even more foolish, we spent serious money adding similar "quality" Linn/Naim HiFi kit to it until the late 1980s - So a thoughtful (but expensive) gift became a very expensive hobby. I had a car accident that meant that I could not drive and enjoy it, so it was sold on - The new owner is about 25 years younger than me and still very pleased with it, so hopefully it will live on.

My only other bit of long-lived "high tech" kit (for the time) is a 1941 Longines wristwatch from my father which still works well. Nothing that I have acquired since has/will last anything like as long; but to put it in perspective the LP12 was about a month's wages and the watch about a fortnight's.

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

Tim99
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Gimp

Re: Have to agree....

Earlier this year I upgraded my 6 to an X. I was quite happy with the 6 until it started to have intermittent problems charging. A bit of experimentation showed that the problem was with the lightening connector, and that cleaning it did not improve things. I was just about to go on a longish trip and my wife suggested that I replace the phone - At her suggestion (because the screen was better, honest guv), I bought the X instead of a 7 or 8.

I must say that, for me, it was a noticeable improvement. FaceID seems to work better than fingerprints (I suspect that may be because many older people’s prints are relatively indistinct) and swiping up seems easier than clicking. I did not own many 3.5mm accessories, so that was not a problem. BUT the article is correct, I will not be replacing the X unless I have too (or until my wife wants to upgrade to my X?).

Barnet Council reckons Capita's dropped the ball on outsourced services

Tim99
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Re: What a surprise

The surprise might be that the article was written as though someone thought was surprising?

Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work

Tim99
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As I tried to suggest, some of the staff who have “real” computers forced on them may not need them and don’t like them. The bleedy things may not be ideal, but might just be OK. Unfortunately, I suspect that a significant proportion of staff that “need” to produce complex highly-formatted Word documents, and huge business analysis spreadsheets will soon be gone from many medium-sized businesses. In some large businesses even sales staff are being automated out as well as admin people. Quite what society is going to do when perhaps 40-70% of these jobs have gone is not clear to me. A friend has suggested that there will be plenty of personal care and support work available as Western countries’ populations age. I am not happy about my thoughts, as I used to be the rotten bastard who got decide what kit was issued to most of the technical staff in a very large national public utility - I also suspect that many of these jobs (including some of the ones I had) will also be restructured, simplified and automated out.

Tim99
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Gimp

Devil’s advocate

OK, I’ll take your downvotes. A bit of self aggrandisement before I start - I have been professionally involved with IT and technology since 1971; have written shrink-wrap, not for profit, business and scientific software running on a variety of OSs; been an enterprise architect; run consulting and technical businesses, and have chartered status in one of the basic sciences.

I am retired, but help out as a volunteer supporting and teaching retirees “computing”. Most of the retirees that I see don’t want, or can’t cope with, a traditional computer; an iPad does almost all of what they want. Some other users who may find that an iPad is all the computing that they need might include artists, photographers, some multimedia workers, writers, IT server and website support staff, researchers and managers.

Recently what I have found surprising is the number of small businesses that are run on a mobile phone, often with a tablet too; and the number of younger people who (even on a normal computer) run in a “modal screen” environment where they are mostly doing something in a full screen, with a minimal use of cut & paste.

I do have an iPad Pro, along with an iPhone X, a 2011 vintage iMac, and a couple of small BSD/*NIX servers (as toys). The iMac runs High Sierra, and occasionally Windows and Linux in VMs, but I probably spend most of my time reading the paper on it. I volunteer as a technical assessor for our national accreditation authority, so it is still useful for looking at very large documents and spreadsheets. The iMac is not supported for Mojave, and if it dies I might consider replacing it with a large screen and a Mac Mini; but I have some difficulty justifying this as I have found that I can do much of what I want on the iPad in a split screen with a Bluetooth keyboard, so echoing the iPad to a large screen with an HDMI cable might work OK *for me*. iPads are not aimed at *most* of El Reg’s readership.

As losses narrow, nbn™ says business will drive growth in ARPU (that'll be how much it extracts from each punter)

Tim99
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Re: Consumers dont need more real bandwidth

Things may be getting a bit better according to nbnco: About half of users are now on nominal 50Mbps (56KB PDF). Apparently they can now expect >30Mbps at evening peak time. This would be consistent with my retirement village’s 100Mbps $33/month unlimited data wholesale plan where we get about 85Mbps down and 38Mbps up during the day; and ~70Mbps down and 30Mbps up at peak times during the late afternoon (Schoolchildren have come home?).

Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality

Tim99
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Gimp

Just for the hell of it

I set up an iMac with the included Postfix system; mail -s subject someone@xxx.com [Enter] type or copy message body [Ctrl]+[D] was a surprisingly cathartic experience.

Having said that, the bog standard Mac email client is adequate, allowing viewing "All headers" and "Raw Source" - Turning off "Load remote content" in messages helps a lot too. Whoops! Having just checked, I have 2,200 current local messages and another 15,300 archived in local mailboxes; as I am retired, I probably should sort and prune them a bit.

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

Tim99
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Re: SI

@Def

"Arbitrary base-60 measurements" go back to at least the Babylonians. Most of us cary an easy way of counting to 60 around with us - Using the thumb of one hand start counting by touching the top joint of the same hand's little finger, then the second joint, then the third; now move on to the ring finger and count the three joints, then the middle finger, and then the index finger giving a total of 12 - Now count off the thumb of the other hand for the first 12, then repeat and count off the index finger for 24, middle for 36, ring for 48, and little finger giving a total of 60. The number 60 is divisible by 2,3,4,5,6,10,12,15,20 and 30 - So for people who traded (and needed to count) a much better system than stopping at 10 (only divisible by 2 and 5), when you run out of fingers (and toes at 20 [sandal wearers?] divisible by 2,4,5 and 10).

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

Tim99
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We mght be able to have fairly safe autonomous cars now

Unfortunately the rest of us would have to be banned from the roads and pavements...

Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that's not macOS. Go on, git outta here

Tim99
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Gimp

Maybe, or maybe not?

Link: applemust.com.

Clunk, bang, rattle: Is that a ghost inside your machine?

Tim99
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I really don’t believe in the paranormal, but

Before I retired, I had a customer site that is now a museum, It had been a Victorian prison. I was doing some on-site database work one night, when nature called. I left the small room that contained the server and workstation that I was using and walked past an adjoining small room to get to the corridor. It suddenly felt very cold (yes, it was a cold night, and the corridor was draughty) and more than a little creepy. I knew that the first small room had been a warder’s guard room (from the sign on the door), later I found that the second room was the condemned cell where prisoners were held before their execution.

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

Tim99
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Linux

A question

Does this mean more, or less of Poettering‘s spawn?

Assange catgate hearing halted as Ecuador hunts around for someone who speaks Australian

Tim99
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Re: It's simple...

No worries, she’ll be right.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

Tim99
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A very long time ago I was a pupil at a UK school that wished to project an illusion of grandeur. We were taught to use the "z" form as it was deemed to be correct Oxford English. As a consequence, my writings are sometimes thought to be authored by an American.

SQLite creator crucified after code of conduct warns devs to love God, and not kill, commit adultery, steal, curse...

Tim99
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Coat

Re: It's 2018. Christian values are yesterday

Doing it may be OK - The sin is enjoying it.

Tim99
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Happy

Having said that

From experience, SQLite is excellent. I suspect it's good for 80% of websites that use (Oracle) MySQL: Appropriate Uses For SQLite.

Microsoft Azure looks to make cloud-native payments SWIFTer

Tim99
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Joke

Re: I'm wondering...

Don’t worry, MS will make this secure with a corporate standard system like 2FA...

Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

Tim99
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Re: A different name for every site?

@TRT

An acquaintance knew a male Kenyan called Strawberry Bicycle, apparently it was normal for parents to name children after what they liked or aspired to.

Tim99
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Re: Silly first name.

@big_D

Thompson/Thomson?

Microsoft reveals xlang: Cross-language, cross-compiler and coming to a platform near you

Tim99
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Windows

Re: Stupid conflicting name

It’s what Microsoft do: IMAP/MAPI, OpenOffice/Microsoft Open Office, Office Open XML/Microsoft Open XML...

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama

Tim99
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Google+ users

A service for people who thought that Google didn't have enough data about you, your friends, and casual acquaintances?

Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

Tim99
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Alert

Re: Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip...

"You know: the country that makes everyone's iPhones phones electronics". FTFY

DEF CON hackers' dossier on US voting machine security is just as grim as feared

Tim99
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Coat

FTFY

"It would require the crookslocal political supporters to get their hands on the machines long enough to meddle with the hardware"

Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

Tim99
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Facepalm

Re: Badger?

Bastard, the 10 hour one!

Blueprint of modern construction can be found in a tech cluster... of 19th century England

Tim99
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William Strutt

The Thomas Strutt mentioned is very probably William: "Thomas Strutt, a builder of textile mills. In 1792, Strutt had come up with the idea of building mills with some iron columns, as well as encasing timber within brick and plaster, to make them less flammable" - Wikipedia link.

Cookie clutter: Chrome saves Google cookies from cookie jar purges

Tim99
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Big Brother

Its Google (again)

This is what they do. Why are people surprised? (Yesterday's post)

Hopefully this still works - About 3 years ago when I looked after some Windows PCs for a seniors computer club, I found that the only way to clear out Chrome was to delete the:-

[X:\Users\*User*\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data] folder

That syncing feeling when you realise you may be telling Google more than you thought

Tim99
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Big Brother

It’s Google

This is what they do. Why are people surprised?

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank

Tim99
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Windows

Re: Unplugging the keyboard = kernel panic ?

@Korev. We need an icon for greybeards -->

Some of us have looked like this for a while now; but in my case it might be because I used and programmed Windows stuff, on and off, since MS released 2.0 (I avoided 1.0).

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

Tim99
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Barclays?

Tim99
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Re: Has anyone?

@John Brown (no body)

At the risk of being hipsterish, you could use your flask of hot water with an AeroPress. They cost about £30 and work well, it's not quite like an espresso, but close enough for many of us.

Tim99
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Trollface

An explanation?

"These are big coffee shop chains with bags of cash and immense marketing resources, so they can afford a few grand on an app that only needs to do two things: (1) pay for a drink and (2) tick your loyalty card."

Alistair, I thought that you were nearly as cynical as me (Well all right, I'm older, so I have more experience and practice). The truth is likely to be: At the marketing meeting that decided that they needed an "App", the 29 year old who was sitting fiddling with their phone said that this was easy. Said person then got in touch with their 29 year old mate's 26 year old brother "who was, yeah, really good". The brother leads an Agile team of a 23 year old and two interns who use 5 different 5GB frameworks of Apps development de-jour. The system was tested, once, by the 29 year old and then shipped...

30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days

Tim99
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Re: ...Delphi, now rated as one of the least popular...

Sometimes you have just got to use goto, Pascal/Delphi really, really, discouraged it. Mine’s the one with FORTRAN and Dartmouth BASIC manuals and K&R in the pockets. >>====>

Tim99
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Windows

Screens

I hardly ever use Windows now, but this is somehow appropriate >>===>

"showed code in light text against a dark background - specifically green or amber out of black"

Screens: *Back in the day*, we never even dreamt of using a screen. When I started, proper data input/coding used optical recognition cards (punched cards were expensive) - These looked like punched cards but you filled boxes in with a soft pencil. I spent a lot of time rubbing stuff out after the nice data input clerks said things like "It didn't run, there is a divide-by-zero error". Then, if the clerks liked you, they would convert the optical cards into punched cards; apparently they were "more reliable". If the punched card programs were run regularly they would transfer them to punched tape. Eventually, when I was senior enough, I was allowed to use a shared teletype on this new fangled Internet (ARPANET) thing.

This is why a lot of us went out and bought stuff like Apple ][s and Commodore PETs for work. Eventually, when I had my own budget, I could use amber/green screens or even real Tektronix and VT terminals: Some of which could even do *colour* text and graphics.

Sysadmin misses out on paycheck after student test runs amok

Tim99
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Re: All the servers are called Gandalf...

TRT, Gimli a break...

Probably for the best: Apple makes sure eSIMs won't nuke the operators

Tim99
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Gimp

Like in an iPad

Just come back from a trip to the UK. My iPad has a plastic SIM from my Australian Supplier. It was really useful to just switch to the built in eSIM for a local UK provider, it worked.

In a phone I could see that this would be useful, a friend wants to have one of the SIMs on a cheap prepaid plan just for crap callers (like car salesmen, insurance touts, etc.) and then periodically kill and replace the cheap plan.

A real shot in the Arm: 3% of global workforce surplus to requirements

Tim99
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Re: Only 3%?

Cyril Northcote Parkinson's "condensed version" of his Law "That work expands so to fill the time available for its completion" is famous, perhaps, less so is "bureaucracies expand over time" published in the 1950s.

A personal thought is that the public service is unfairly maligned for having too many "who do nothing but fiddle about with PowerPoint and attend meetings" the truth is that all large organizations become infested with these people - Particularly when they are natural privately owned monopolies or oligopolies - Organizations that have been privatized to rentier capitalists could be good examples.

I have noted that when a headcount reduction is applied, usually to increase bonuses for the C-Level and Boards, the PowerPoint/meeting crowd are often spared (Perhaps because they "look busy"?) whereas the essential customer-facing and technical staff are disproportionately hit. This can work well in times of employment stress, but fails when there are reasonable opportunities, as the staff who are keeping the business running leave for something better paid/less stressful.

Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question

Tim99
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Unhappy

I once felt sorry for a trainer

In the mid-late 1980s I was asked to get 450 scientists supplied and connected with PCs. Our (very large) corporate's standard was to connect everyone up using Novell Netware 2.15 servers. After fighting with the documentation for a few days I managed to get our lab up of 20 users up and working as a prototype for everyone else. I quickly realized that I did not have the time (or skills and personality) to train everybody, so I contacted our corporate training company and arranged several courses for different groups and levels of users to be run over a month or two.

I cabled up the training area and the supplier sent a very pleasant bloke to do the training. The first basic course went very well, but I thought he was struggling a bit on the second (administrators) course. At the end of the first day he asked if he could borrow a set of the manuals - These were in multiple volumes and supplied in a large sturdy red box. I probably thought that he just did not want to cart them around and that he was doing a quick recap in his hotel room for the rest of that course. At the end of the course, he returned them and thanked me, telling me that he only had access to the course training notes and not the official manuals - When I asked him why, he said that the training company "didn't seem to have any" and their policy might be that "if he knew what he was teaching, he would probably leave and getter a better paid job".

Obviously, the final part of the course was run by a less pleasant person, who told me that the pleasant bloke had left to be a supervising administrator for a company that was installing and standardizing on Netware...

Do I hear two million dollars? Apple-1 fossil goes on the block, cassettes included

Tim99
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One reason that the old stuff from our youth is valuable(?) is that most of it got thrown away. Generally something that was popular and relatively expensive when we were children becomes collectable and expensive 20-30 years later when the child who wanted the toy can now indulge themself.

'Surprise!' West Oz gummint is hopeless at information security

Tim99
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I retired long ago

so, hopefully, the perpetrators have moved on. "For example, because disk storage is in short supply, medical records are getting scanned at low resolution, and the paper records are then being sent offsite for archival storage" This is a SOP by many State contractors, underspec the hardware, then there is more money left from the tender for "consulting" and unaccounted costs; and if you are really lucky lots of opportunity to extend the contract by consulting on why the system is suboptimal. Why solve the problem when there is good money to be made by letting it continue?

I did a small job specking a couple of PCs to run our software for the Health Department years ago. At the time they were using Windows 95 on Novell, it was almost reassuring to find the fences that had to be crossed to install a Windows 98 PC with a necessary multimedia attachment...

If you drop a tablet in a forest of smartphones, will anyone hear it fall?

Tim99
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...School kids and the Elderly.

I’m retired myself, and for a number of years have been a volunteer teacher to retirees in Australia. The government has a number of initiatives to get older people online, so that we don’t clutter-up Goverment Offices, as well as other benefits like shopping, banking, staying in touch with relatives, etc.

Almost always we recommend a tablet to people who are starting out. Windows are is too complex, and unless they have a relative who is computer literate the systems often fall out of use after the user has got into trouble and called out a professional who charges $100+ each time. Tablets generally keep working.

In out experience we can usually get most people up and running in about 3 afternoons on an iPad; an Android tablet often takes a couple of afternoons more, and does require more “hand holding”.

I agree that a Bluetooth keyboard can be useful, particularly for older people who learnt to (touch)type on a real typewriter.

Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

Tim99
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Big Brother

Re: Plain English

Alternatively, read George Orwell written in 1946. >>=========>

Talk about left Field: Apple lures back Tesla engineering guru

Tim99
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I really don’t want to start a flame war here

Maybe it is just for the extension/improvement of Apple CarPlay compared with Android Auto?

Personal anecdote: In the last few weeks I “helped” a friend get her new bog-standard Nokia Android phone talking to her Skoda Fabia - After nearly 3 hours of faffing about updating and downloading the necessary apps we were successful (after checking the [sparse] documentation, and finally connecting the phone to the car via Bluetooth before connecting it via USB). The next day the app would not work... Just for the hell of it I connected an iPhone to the car via USB. Within 30:seconds it worked. I was driving a Mercedes A Class hire car, which worked almost instantly with the iPhone, we tried the Nokia - nope/nada/nothing, trying the Bluetooth thing got music and the phone working but no maps. Disconnected the phone turned the ignition off, still no maps, after another 90 mins of faffing still no Google Maps, so I gave up.

Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

Tim99
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Re: Actually back in the 1990s I was at a company...

@Kubla Cant

No, they just let random ones out, in this case it was an "o"...

Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

Tim99
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Re: Foul Language?

Stress - The feeling you experience when your mind overrules your body's natural desire to beat the living shit out of some arsehole who *really* deserves it?

Tim99
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Re: Sometimes violence is the only answer

@Alister

I think that I have posted this before as well, but it is, hopefully, relevant. Back in the days when I was responsible for a few hundred computers in a very large public utility we had a standard “fix” for our standard original IBM XT and AT PCs - Any that misbehaved were switched off and carefully raised ~2cm above the desk by lifting them with a hand on each side, then dropped. Usually they started working after they were switched back on. We had several theories as to why, including the sudden deceleration reseated loose chips and cards, or that it acted as a veiled threat to the machine that the next drop would be further...

Oracle Database 18: Now in downloadable Linux flavour

Tim99
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Trollface

"Oh, and Windows, but cool kids don't use that"

I suspect that many of the cool kids won’t be using Oracle either...

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep

Tim99
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Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

@jake

I was told nearly 60 years ago at school, that the confusion with the pound weight (lb) and the pound currency (£) may be because they go back to a similar ancient derivations. The old Roman pound ("libra" roughly about 11-12 ounces) and the Saxon coinage of the old penny, a silver coin - 240 of which were made from a pound weight of silver. The shilling (derived from the Roman solidus gold coin weighing 1/72 of a pound) was equivalent to 12 silver pennies. There were 20 shillings in the £ so 12x20=240 is easily divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 48, 60, etc. The penny was divided into smaller coins: 2 ha’pennies (half pennys) and 4 farthings (“fourth things”) so there were 960 of the smallest coins to the £ allowing a wide range of quantities to be costed.

Incidentally that is why small/inexpensive things were sold by the dozen (12) because 12 items at, say, 3 pennies each would cost 3 shillings, and as 12 is also easily divisible by 2, 3, 4 and 6. The seller and the buyer would know that 12 inexpensive items at a farthing each would be 3 pennies etc...

Boss helped sysadmin take down horrible client with swift kick to the nether regions

Tim99
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Re: Am I missing something?

I believe the progress bar may be a hangover from mainframe/mini terminals (IBM?). Apparently customer behavioural research had shown that if nothing appeared to be happening within ~4 seconds after the punter had initiated an action, they would repeat the action (often several times) causing “all sorts of problems”. With a VDU it was easy to echo something back to the user - For teletypes the carriage was programmed to move, showing that something was happening...

Samsung’s new phone-as-desktop is slick, fast and ready for splash-down ... somewhere

Tim99
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Gimp

Might not be appropriate here

I have used an iPhone with their HDMI adapter, a TV and a small Bluetooth keyboard - Not ideal, but reasonable for typing a longish report when away from my normal kit.

People hate hot-desking. Google thinks they’ll love hot-Chromebooking

Tim99
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Trollface

Re: Nothing new here

No, if it was “correctly set up” it ran on a single large box. If the lusers terminal screen or keyboard broke, they logged in at another seat...

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