* Posts by Andy3

53 posts • joined 5 Sep 2009


Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME


It all sounded super-secure until we got to the 'internet access via the satellite terminal'.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...


Not wanting to brag, but as a video engineer I would have been on this in a flash. It's a commom problem when a customer transports a tape in their car on a Winter's night and gets back to base and the tape is taken indoors, where moisture quickly forms on the cold surface. This can be disastrous for both the tape and the spinning head drum as the tape sticks to the drum and snatches at the tape. Usually this strips off some of the tape's oxide coating and in extreme cases will also crack the fragile ferrite heads.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond


Not affected in the slightest, don't own one.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator


Oh dear, what an embarrassment. This kind of cheapjack, half-finished product may just about pass muster as a £30 stocking-filler at Christmas, but as a serious retro gaming machine it fails miserably. What a shame that it drags the much-loved Sinclair name (to those of us of a certain age) through the mud.

Hipster horror! Slack has gone TITSUP: Total inability to support user procrastination


At the risk of sounding uncool, what the hell is SLACK?

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain


Concorde was a beautiful piece of engineering both from a technical and an aesthetic point of view. It was way ahead of its time and employed many techniques which had to be invented for it. I find it hard to believe that after 25 years of an almost-perfect record it could be scrapped after one fatal accident. There are other types of airliner (hello Boeing....) that have crashed and burned multiple times but continue to fly. Obviously the bosses wanted rid.

How's your Wednesday? Things going well? OK, your iPhone, iPad can be pwned via Wi-Fi sync


Can be abused. Not 'can be potentially abused'. It can be abused, simple as that. No need for the 'potentially' at all. Sorry to be pedantic, but I'm seeing this everywhere recently.

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs


Surely this is an April Fool's day gag?

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10


Re: Over 40 and used one of these?

And I still have my (working) Cambridge calculator which I bought in 1974 (I think).


Re: Over 40 and used one of these?

Hmm. I grew up making Sinclair kits and every one of them worked. The little radios (I had a Micromatic) worked fine and My stereo record player used two Z30's and a Stereo 60 pre-amp unit. All fine and lasted years. We even made an amplifier for our mobile disco using two Z50's and a PZ8. This may sound like a recipe for disgruntled dancers, but it only ever went off once - and it came back perfectly after a reset. I honestly think many of the complaints about Sinclair stuff come from people who built it badly.


Yes, but there was a rather large price difference!


Oh gosh, what memories! I bought one in 1981 and proceeded to teach myself Sinclair Basic. I was enthralled by the feeling of control, the way I could change a line of Basic and make different things happen. Before too long I was writing simple games like reaction timers and even a (rather slow-running) shooting game. We later got a BBC-B and that was a speed-monster compared to the Sinclair and I even managed to write a weather-fax decoder for it, all in BBC Basic. Happy days, and all in just 1k for the Sinclair and 32k for the Beeb! We've still got the BBC (and it still works), but I really wish we'd kept the Sinclair.

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics


Brexit my rse.

MAPLIN is not going bust because of Brexit, it's been heading down the pan for many years and has been bought and sold several times. Maplin was once a (fairly) respected electronic components retailer and did good business with the radio & electronics enthusiast market. Sadly, that market got a bit thin and Maplin had to start selling gadgets and Far Eastern tat instead. The last time I went, I came away empty-handed as they had none of my usual stuff in stock. The few components they continued to sell were massively over-priced and no-one in their right mind would buy them. How about £2.49 for a single F-plug, when CPC or RS will sell you one for 16 pence? Why pay £15 for a flashily-packed stereo phono lead when a perfectly good one is on the shelves at Rapid or Bert's Bits for ££3.95? Ripping people off is not the way to good business.

The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?


It's just updated as I write. A cautious 'wow' from me so far. I've never seen my favourite newspaper site (which is loaded with photos and videos) load so quickly and scroll so smoothly. No doubt there'll be bugs to iron out, but it's looking good so far. Even Adblock is still there and working, and all my favourites are there and still in their folders.

First iPhone X fondlers struggle to admit that Face ID sort of sucks


What is it with Apple? They seem so hell-bent on incorporating 'cool' tech into their products that practicality goes out of the window. What's wrong with a password FGS?

Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired


Re: A blessing in disguise

The display panels themselves are manufactured by the Sony/Samsung joint venture company but the finished LCD TV set with all its different processing technology, features etc. is produced by the individual manufacturers themselves.


Perhaps we should be relieved it's just our tellies - what if this was your new self-driving car?

Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10


B****rds! Yes, it is quite naff and clunky, but it is easy to use and very handy for doing quick, non-demanding graphics jobs. I use it for knocking-up block diagrams of electronic devices. The adding of text is easy too. Don't bin it, MS!

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry


It's NOT the government's fault. The information regarding the patch was passed on to all NHS Trusts in good time, but many of them didn't bother to install the patch. It's their fault, no-one else's. The Trusts who did patch their machines have had no trouble - so how is it the Government's fault?

Brit ISP TalkTalk blocks control tool TeamViewer


I have never used TeamViewer, but I know a number of people who have reason to be grateful for it. On our little Facebook Group, some of us have had difficulty setting up a piece of USB-driven equipment, and TeamViewer has come to the rescue many times. What now? It seems wrong to issue a blanket ban just because some people misuse it.

Botched Microsoft update knocks Windows 8, 10 PCs offline – regardless of ISP


Today I noticed that my 3 devices (two laptops and one tablet, all on Wifi) had 'forgotten' they had a connection. After a great deal of pressing 'manually connect' and 'display stored connection' buttons, I just pressed the auto connect button on the router and all the devices started working. I don't know if this has fixed the problem or not - no doubt I'll find out when I switch on tomorrow....

Nasty session stealing hole filled in WordPress All in One SEO plugin


I'm sorry, perhaps it's just me. I can't get any meaning out of this headline at all, it's just a string of words. Ah, I think the penny has dropped - should there be a hyphen between session and stealing?

Lloyds Banking Group puts 640 techies and backroom bods on chopping block


Don't sack them all, transfer some over to the cash desks. Our branch recently had a make-over, and since then the desks have been undermanned and the queues are snaking out of the door.

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces


I only go to Maplin when I'm absolutely desperate now. Their prices are absolutely disgraceful! About £2 for a single F-plug, when you can get a bag of 10 or even 20 from CPC for that amount. Audio leads priced at £19.99 for something that's worth £3.99 on a good day. They no longer stock components in-store and many of the staff haven't a clue what they are on about. As sad shadow of its former self.

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


I've been using a fitness band/watch for a few years and I've always liked the look of the Apple Watch and similar models. Those clear graphics do something to me. But I've never taken the plunge because of the reasons cited in the article. I don't want a smartphone-based device telling how many msgs I've got or linking me to other users or reminding me it's my maiden aunt's birthday, I just want a nice-looking watch/fitness band that I can download to a simple website at the end of the day. I also want a battery that I can change once a year, not worry about charging every 2 days. So for now I'll stick with my Withings Activite, which has a nice analogue face (with a simple analogue step counter), a one-year battery and no fancy bells and whistles. Thankyou.

Edge out rivals? No! Firefox boss BLASTS Microsoft's Windows 10 browser brouhaha


Re: In other words...

I chose Express and my default browser remained Firefox. I briefly fired up Edge and it told me 'Edge is not your default browser, would you like to change this?' The only complaint I have about Edge is that there's no free adblock and it won't import my favourites from Firefox, only from IE.


Not on my laptop it didn't!

I've just upgraded to W10 and it did NOT change my default browser from Firefox to Edge. I did try Edge out of curiosity and found two problems - 1. No adblock (a major problem on some sites) and 2. Edge will not import my favourites from Firefox, only IE.

Apart from that, I'm quite impressed with W10....so far.

Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X


AAAW, and here's me thinking Apple stuff was made by genii and was perfect in every way. Ahem.

High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables


Re: Noise!

er...amateur radio is NOT CB. We have to study and pass exams to get on the airwaves. What exams did you pass to plug those noisy interference-makers in?


Oh no, not more of this rubbish. I'm a radio listener and amateur radio operator, and these things are a menace. A couple of years ago one of my neighbours got a pair of these things and completely ruined my hobby. Every band from 3 MHz to 30 MHz was hammered with a huge noise level and I couldn't hear a thing. Luckily I kind-of knew this family and I invited him in to see the problem. He was horrified that his 'home network' should be causing someone a problem and he ditched them.

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star


Does anyone really think DAB+ will lead to any betterness? The broadcasters will simply look at the new technology and say 'hey, we can squeeze our station into even less bandwidth, get the same quality and save money!' In the end, the consumer gets a new radio (more money down the drain) but everything else stays the same. More waste, more money, more landfill.

4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch


This is getting silly. Many people (at least in the UK) have barely settled in with widescreen HD, and some channels are still broadcasting only in SD, yet here we have the industry pushing for even higher resolution. And where is the bandwidth going to come from? Already, the UK's Freeview system is struggling to find room for a handful of 1080 channels, so where's it all going to fit?

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


At least it ain't as plug-ugly as the Multipla, the designer of which must surely have been on a quest to deliberately disgust the public. And it's better-looking than the latest Nissan Juke, which resembles one of those horrors from the deepest parts of the ocean.

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the worst


More rubbish

A few random thoughts, mostly negative.

I saw a video of the software in action yesterday, and it showed how the car detects a cyclist. Apparently it knows the cyclist is about to move into the traffic stream 'by seeing that the rider has put out his hand'. WOW, when does that happen? Over here, cyclist think they own the road and just hurtle across lanes with no warning whatsoever.

Then the video shows the Noddy car snuggling in behind the bike - which was going about 10 mph. For safety reasons, the car would not pass the bike. Oh great. Even if it tried, it couldn't, because here in the UK our ultra safety-conscious councils have put central islands every 100 yards to stop overtaking, 'cos it's bad bad bad, see?

I find that the anti-car brigade always support these noddy cars, as they see them as a way of bringing our roads to a grinding halt, or at least imposing ludicrously low speed limits.

Final thought. This idea will only work properly when our roads have been filled with sensors. No doubt in the meantime (in the interest of 'safety'), these cars will be given every unfair advantage over conventional cars - they will be able to use bus lanes, pool lanes and park for free. Don't you just love it?

Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop


I think most of us could see this coming a mile off. There will always be people (and there are indeed millions) who cannot and will not put their cyber tools aside when driving or even crossing a busy street. They cannot bear to be disconnected for an instant. If the lady wasn't using them, she should have removed them, simple.

Tesla vs Media again as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway


Battery tech not good enough

The battery technology simply isn't up to the job. Any scientist in the field will tell you that storing electricity is problematical and the energy density nowhere near that of fossil-fuel. Add to that the tendency for Lithium cells to behave badly at low (or high!) temperatures and you have major problems.

If the EV ever gains mass public acceptance, expect to see our city streets and motorways littered with dead cars and desperate travellers.


Re: Writer was intent on high risk of failure

It's the battery technology, as usual. Lithioum cells (especially high-power types) are known to be affected by temperature and any vehicle that uses them is going to suffer in the manner described in the article. In my view EV's are simply not up to the type of mixed driving that most people are accustomed to.

If ever we adopt EV's on a mass scale, I can see our city streets and motorways littered with dead cars and despairing drivers.

Socket to 'em: It's the HomeGrid vs HomePlug powerline prizefight


Re: Crud generators.

The difference is that PLT devices prevent innocent radio amateurs and short wave listeners from persuing their hobby, but short wave listeners and radio amateurs don't stop computer users from enjoying their activities. PLT is by definition destructive and selfish. A kind of 'I'm alright Jack' device.


Crud generators.

It doesn't matter which system they use - ALL homeplug/PLT devices work by injecting large amounts of radio frequency noise onto the domestic wiring, and ALL cause large-area radio interference. It's only about a year since my hobby (amateur radio) was completely stopped by just one pair of these devices installed along the road. Luckily, the fellow was genuinely horrified when I demonstrated what his PLT's were doing and he stopped using them. These things need banning, and quick.

Take action on climate change or the panda gets it


More panic-mongering

Ho-hum - another day, another scare story from the swivel-eyed 'the sky is falling' warmist brigade. I've lost count of the number of lies and half-truths they've tried to get away with over the years, from islands disappearing under the sea (demonstrably not true) and those 'glaciers that would be no more within 30 years', which they later admitted was utter fiction.

Ignore them.

Massive study concludes: 'Global warming is real'


That graph only goes back 200 years! and look, there's less than one degree C rise over those 200 years. And The idea that Global Warming is not happening is a bit of a strw man, is it not? Surely the big challenge is 'is it man-made'?

Ofcom forced to publish tests on dodgy radio kit


Regulating the regulators?

"Ah, I forgot, the Conservative party." - AC.

Actually Ofcom was set up under Labour, and this whole thing (the reports commission and their suppression) all happened under Labour.

At least some Coalition MP's and Ministers are showing *some* interest.


Lies and Greed.

I'm currently not suffering from PLT noise (just SMPS etc), but a while ago I found the entire spectrum from about 4 MHz to 20 Mhz was unusable due to some very strong whining-type noises which I recognised as PLT.

It was strong enough to knock out all but the strongest BC stations, so the utilities and such-like stood no chance - they were completely buried.

Once I had found out where the noise was coming from, I realised I vaguely knew the guy who lived there and I gave him a knock.

He confirmed that he had recently bought a pair of PLA's (not Comtrend), so I asked him if he would come to my house (about 50 yards away) to see the problem.

Once he saw (and heard) the amount of noise on my radios, he was horrified and told me he would wire the system as soon as possible. He turned off his PLA's the same afternoon.

He was a reasonable bloke but sadly many are not and dig in their heels, often seeming to take delight in the trouble they are causing. Such is modern society.

If these things - which breach every rule in the EMC book - were not on the market, none of this trouble would be happening. Comtrend, the other makers and OFCOM have brought this about through their lies and greed.



AC - I know it can be difficult getting data from one place to another in your home. But PLT is not the alternative. It doesn't exist, not in any legal form, anyway. Just imagine that OFCOM did its job and stopped these devices from being imported, manufactured and sold in the UK. What would you have done?

Persevered? Run the CAT5 as best you could?


More ignorance

Anonymous Coward says:

"The guys complaining listen to wide band AM broadcasts in between the amateur bands on crappy domestic receivers with rf and af stages as wide as barn doors."

No we don't, and your comments display a worrying ignorance. Many of us use top-flight receivers and have adopted the use of loop antennas and phase-out devices to minimise noise. This is nothing to do with receiver front-ends or filters. You have obviously never suffered with s9++ of whining data-noise which is obliterating not only international utility comms, but strong SW broadcast signals as well. No amount of dynamic range, filtering or indeed prayers to God Almighty will make any difference.

There's only so much noise reduction can do. The fact is that these PLT devices are radiating high levels of noise from the local mains wiring and breaking the EMC laws by up to 39dB. That's a huge amount by anyone's reckoning. It is illegal and our UK regulator OFCOM tried to cover it up. Now we need action.


Wax discs?

In response to the ignorant and selfish Andy97 and GatesFanbois. Since when did radio amateurs use wax discs? I'm afraid your childish posts just reveal your lack of knowledge. AR is not an old-fashioned hobby. Many of us use cutting-edge digital techniques and digital signal processing is in common usage. Communication via satellite and moonbounce is in regular usage.

We have rules and laws which were put in place to keep the radio spectrum clean, and these need to be obeyed. Ofcom is the UK regulator but they failed to enforce the rules, thus allowing the widespread pollution of the RF spectrum to take place.

It doesn't matter how many people are affected, it matters that the law is being openly broken.

Perhaps you wouldn't mind being told by the police that they weren't going to investigate the burglary of your home because hey, only one person was affected and anyway the burglars only took your TV and a few quid?



Ofcom is an evidence-based regulator that suppressed evidence and refused to regulate. The interference from these devices can radiate over several hundred yards and make weak-signal comms impossible. Closer in it swamps even strong signals. You only need one pair of these things in your village to wreck your radio listening.

The EMC reports that Ofcom have now been forced to disclose prove that these PLT devices vastly breach the rules and laws regarding EMC compliance, but Ofcom chose to suppress these reports and deny everything.

They lied to the public, to MPs, to Ministers and to MEPs in the process.

Ofcom is not well-liked by our current government, and I hope strong action is taken to bring those responsible to justice.

Radio Society to Ofcom: Hear See you in court


Enforce the law!

ALEX KING - This is not a matter of 'who is the biggest', it is 'who is legal?', and the PLT devices are NOT, Amateur Radio IS. The devices do not comply with interference legislation (by a huge amount!), and so they should be removed from the market.

Secondly, you show your ignorance by suggesting that Ham Radio is 'a throwback'. Modern amateur radio uses all kinds of technology including digital data comms and weak-signal detection schemes you wouldn'r begin to understand, so let's have less of the insults. This is about upholding the law, not 'who's the biggest'.


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