* Posts by Martin an gof

531 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010

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UK ministers' Broadband '2.0' report confuses superfast with 10Mbps

Martin an gof
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Re: Available but not realistic

There's a gulf between "available" and "worth paying for".

Which is exactly the point made in the last-but-one paragraph of the article, and something that I and others have mentioned here several times over the years.

Regarding 4G, I'd be wary of anything based on a shared medium. Do you really want to rely on a decent 4G connection, when the school bus is late and there are a dozen teenagers waiting at the bus stop outside your premises?

I've just found an interesting bit of kit by TP-Link that might help some people in these circumstances, if they have a friendly "someone" within a few km that can actually get decent speeds and (crucially) line-of-sight. TP-Link's CPE range of outdoor WiFi kit claims reach of up to 15km under ideal conditions, while the WBS range can apparently manage 50km with a suitable antenna. The units are not expensive (the CPE510 I've just bought for a specific project is around £50ea) - install your net connection at your friend's place and bung a device on the roof. Plonk the other one on your own roof, job done. Set your router up with a 4G modem or just old-fashioned ADSL as backup.

M.

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Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

Martin an gof
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Re: Fibre

Calling something something that it isn't is just going to confuse people in the long runCalling something something that it isn't is just going to confuse people in the long run

"LED television" anyone? What they really mean is an LCD television with an LED backlight instead of one based on a fluorescent tube, not a display made up of millions of tiny LEDs. For that you need (new term) "OLED" (grrr)...

M.

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UK mobile number porting creaks: Arcane system shows its age

Martin an gof
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Re: SMS Black Hole

never assume a text message has been delivered until they receive a reply

Does "*0# " before your message still work these days? (remember to put a space between the # and your message) It used to send a message back to you to confirm that your message had been delivered to the recipient's phone, though of course not that they had read it.

I used it a few times in the early days of SMS when it was an important message. It was free then, IIRC, but I stopped using it when some networks started charging for the reply. I've no idea of the current situation.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Makes me wonder..

BTW, does this job still exist?

We still have a milkman (we're near Caerphilly). Admittedly his 'round' is geographically much larger than in the 1970s, and his number of clients is smaller and he drives a Toyota pickup rather than a battery-powered three-wheeler, but he still exists.

Wouldn't be without him.

Gets his milk from this place, would you believe it.

M.

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Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise

Martin an gof
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Re: It's a phase young programmers go through

VNC is pretty hateful as an RDP protocol. RDP (if one can get over the microsoft connection) is much, much better

I already use 'rdesktop' at work from my Linux workstation to Windows machines so I know the "client" part is possible. Might be worth investigating RDP servers I suppose. Thanks!

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: It's a phase young programmers go through

http://ltsp.org

Interesting... but the website doesn't appear to have been updated since 2013 and the server version available for OpenSuse (5.5.7) seems to have had very little activity in the last couple of years. Does this mean the thing is stable, reliable and secure... or just deceased?

The documentation concentrates on x86 machines as clients too, not much good for my Pis, but then the Pi wasn't designed to PXE...

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: It's a phase young programmers go through

Now if we had a decent "remote desktop" protocoll that supports audio as well as video, we'd have completely new capabilities.

I'd go for that at home - I already have the children on Raspberry Pis with a NAS-stored documents folder which means they can sit down at (almost) any screen and work, but the idea of having a proper multi-user system does appeal, and might help avoid queues at the x86 machine because the latest bit of homework has half a dozen high-resolution photographs thus causing LibreOffice Draw on the Pi to struggle.

I had sort of assumed it should be possible, but just hadn't got around to finding out what was involved other than playing with VNC. Not the first time I'd have been wrong :-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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To be precise, Red Hat has made systemd a hard dependency of Gnome (another fine RH project).

Hmmm... that explains some. Another question then (why did I get a downvote simply for asking a question?) - my OpenSuse desktops run KDE but I have installed one or two applications that rely on GTK. Would those applications not work on a non-systemd installation?

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Women Linux Lord ?

I'm not sure any single person can be "a women".

I'd say that if anyone could, it would be a Time Lord. He's definitely been "a men", if you fancy twisting the English that way :-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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systemd was a good idea.

Well, part of it.

I'm by no means qualified to comment on OS-level stuff like systemd, more of a slightly technically competent user, but the thing that has always bugged me about the systemd detractors is that if Poettering got it so obviously wrong, how come all the combined experience and wisdom of the contributors and developers of just about every major distribution out there went along with him?

I understand that once the "root" distribution (Debian, SuSE) has made the change, it's probably easier for derivatives to follow suit, but with all the hundreds or possibly thousands of highly intelligent people working on these things, why didn't one or two of them say "stuff it, it's not the right answer and until something better comes along we're sticking with the tried-and-tested way of doing things"?

Genuinely interested. From what I've read, I am not comfortable with the way systemd is going but it'd be a bit of an upheaval for me now to swap all my machines to the single distribution that's swimming against the tide; I mainly use OpenSuse on the desktop but also have a large number of RaspberryPis running Raspbian.

M.

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Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release

Martin an gof
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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way of storing Speccy programs and data

If I remember correctly, inflation between 1980>now is about 3.5.

Bank of England Inflation Calculator (also available as an XLS)

£1 in 1980 would be worth about £3.94 in 2016

HTH

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: C90 cassette, as that medium was the dominant way? No!

The 8 track would have been useless for home computers.

Too right. I worked in radio when "carts" were the predominant playback media for things like jingles, stings, intros and adverts. Carts were physically the same format as 8-track, but had a three tracks; one pair for stereo and a control track to cause the player to cue (i.e. fast-forward back to the beginning*), stop, or trigger another player.

The trouble we had keeping those things running to speed and without too much wow or flutter made my tribulations with Compact Cassettes for my Spectrum and later my BBC Micro look trivial, and we used Sonifex units which were probably the best in the business (anyone want a Sonifex cart machine? I have a couple in the garage).

The Spectrum's notoriously fickle circuitry would never have coped. The BBC Micro would likely have done better, especially if you just left the cart to run in a loop. The Spectrum (and most other home computers of the era) needed to load the whole program in one go, and an error near the end of 20k of code would mean starting from scratch. The BBC Micro loaded programs in (IIRC) 256 byte blocks. An error in one block would simply pause the loading so that you could re-wind and try just that block again. This saved an awful lot of time. You could have just left a cart running unattended, and the Micro would have picked up a bad block the next time it came around. Actually, didn't Sir Clive appropriate that idea with the "Microdrive"? :-)

M.

*For those who don't know, an 8-track cartridge was a tape loop. There was no "rewind", you had to fast-forward back to the beginning. The 7½ips cartridges we used at the radio station came in lengths up to about 10 minutes, IIRC, but since fast-forward was done by the same capstan and pinch roller that was used when playing the tape, and since the tape loop relied on decent lubrication for smooth running, you couldn't fast-forward all that fast in reality. In other words, you used the shortest cart suitable for the job, and for things like 5-second or 10-second jingles you might actually use a 30-second cart and record two or three copies.

Where's my 'nostalgia' icon?

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Biometric data stolen from corporate lunch rooms system

Martin an gof
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Thinking back I suppose there was a risk of children's fingerprints being stolen before they were old enough to even understand data security!

It's a system being pushed by the school my own children attend. Their justification is that children can't be bullied to hand over their dinner money and can't lose their "charge cards". Apparently the children don't really like the system because it "goes wrong" so often - they are convinced it actually makes the dinner queue slower.

Right from the start we weren't entirely happy with the company offering the machines, so our children (and a small handful of others) have never had their fingerprints registered. Looks like my default position of paranoia might have something going for it :-)

M.

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Alabama man gets electrocuted after sleeping with iPhone

Martin an gof
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Re: so much wrong here...

Zombie topic? Going to reply anyway.

2 x 2.5mm cables in a ring main significantly exceeds the tolerance for overloads of a 2.5mm or 4mm radial circuit.

Yes. No.

2x 2.5mm does "greatly exceed" 1x 2.5mm, but the former is protected at 32A while the latter is protected at 16A or 20A.

2.5mm cable is only "good for up to 27A" if installed effectively in free air, or with one side open to the air and the other clipped to a heat-conducting surface. Practical cables run in, on or through insulating material for at least some parts of their route and so must usually be rated at their lowest capacity. 2.5mm cable is good for 21A under (nearly) all circumstances, and this is why radials in 2.5mm are protected at no more than 20A.

Note that even a 20A breaker will not trip for small amounts of overload and could actually take several minutes to trip for moderate overloads.

You have two fault modes - moderate overloads (i.e. just too many things plugged in) and short circuits - but the critical information is the amount of power "let through" before the fault is cleared. Too much "let through" can damage a cable by overheating, and such damage may not be immediately obvious, and almost definitely not visible. Typically the conductors will begin to migrate through the PVC insulation.

I suggest you get hold of a copy of the regulations and look the appropriate figures up in the tables but very, very simply, 2.5mm cable is usually fine behind a 20A MCB for both moderate overloads and short circuits, but it is emphatically not fine behind a 32A MCB unless it is in an intact ring when you are essentially correct, it's similar to having two lots of cable in parallel. That's only really true if the load is evenly distributed - i.e. the fault is at the centre point of the ring - but most rings aren't large enough to cause too many problems.

There are two key points to make. Firstly, a broken conductor in a ring circuit will not be obvious at all, unless someone does a proper inspection on the circuit (every 10 years is recommended for domestic circuits I think). Other than a break in the earth, a radial circuit will stop working beyond the break and so your typical householder will probably investigate. A cheap plug-in tester will detect a broken earth in a radial circuit, but it will not detect any problems in a ring circuit.

Secondly, the earth conductor in most "Twin and Earth" cables is smaller than the live conductors. In a "2.5mm2" cable, the earth is actually 1.5mm2 and protection has to take this into account, because the most critical type of fault is a short circuit to earth through this conductor.

Lots of caveats, of course, and you might like to consider that pretty much all circuits are now required to be protected by an RCD, which has two key safety effects. Firstly, the RCD will still trip if there's a fault to earth, typically through a person, even if the cable's earth is broken, and secondly the RCD is usually much more sensitive and faster-acting than an MCB and even in the case of a fault to "normal" earth, will probably cut off the power well before an MCB would.

I'll say it again, I believe the way electricity is installed domestically in the UK is probably the safest in the world, and I certainly believe that our plugs are the best (unless you happen to stand on one in bare feet) but it is not perfect, it is not infallible, and there are many misconceptions that need correcting :-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: so much wrong here...

A earth break in a ring main will still leave everything earthed. And a ring main has a MUCH higher tolerance for overloads.

While the first part is correct, the second is absolutely not. Unfortunately this computer really doesn't like posting to El Reg and barfs if I try to write too much, but consider the case of a ring final in 2.5mm2 / 1.5mm2 protected by a 32A MCB with a break in any one of the conductors anywhere around the ring, and a radial in exactly the same cable but protected by a 16A MCB. 2.5mm2 cable is good for up to 21A, and the power "let through" by a 32A MCB in many fault conditions will damage the cable - possibly invisibly.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: and things like chargers tend to have plastic prongs with metal tops.

The video that you link to shows a plug being inserted upside down into the earth socket so that the shutters on the the other two sockets are opened. If the earth pin on the plug was triangular in cross section (or any other shape where the two sides are not parallel), this would not be possible.

Few socket strips actually fully comply with the BS. If they did, the amount of plastic "above" the earth socket would be sufficient to stop the L&N pins slipping down the side of the socket. This also makes it impossible to insert a plug upside-down, far enough to open the shutters.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: so much wrong here...

Also UK 32A Ring circuits are far better tested and far safer than the crappy fused spur model

As someone who used to be Part-P registered, firstly they are not "fused spurs", they are radial circuits, secondly, there is nothing wrong with a radial circuit - the fuse is sized for the cable and it is every bit as safe as (and under certain - usually incompetent DIY circumstances - safer than) a 30A/32A ring final circuit, thirdly they are perfectly acceptable in the UK and there is nothing in "the regs" to insist that you can only install sockets on a 32A ring.

Someone else also moaned about 5A plugs. These are also still acceptable, when installed correctly (i.e. on a 5A/6A radial circuit) and are often used for (for example) table lamps and arranged with a wall switch so that table lamps can be turned on and off with wall and ceiling lights.

But the UK wiring system, when correctly installed, is absolutely the best domestic system in the world, can't argue there.

Edit to add Should also have mentioned the Fatally Flawed website.

M.

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What? What? Which? Former broadband minister Ed Vaizey dismisses report

Martin an gof
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Re: "...able to legally request 10Mbps..." - oh whoopie

"OK, we're happy to oblige! So long as you pay us a ton of money to upgrade your exchange."

I'm not a Vaizey fan, but what he said kind of made a bit of sense. People want faster broadband, but not so much that they're willing to pay through the nose for it. The point he made about Orkney was that they now have a "nice fat pipe" to the islands, but only a third of people have upgraded, and it's not entirely to do with whether or not it's available at the exchange. A huge number of UK exchanges are now FTTC-ready, or alternatives (cable) are available, but people aren't rushing to upgrade. Yes, yes, I know there are parts of the country still running on bits of wet string.

Vaizey did say that you need a minimum of 6Mbps for iPlayer, which isn't actually true as you can get away with significantly less, but to an extent he's right; there are very few in the way of essential internet services at the moment, nor in the near future, that realistically need as much as 8 to 10 Mbps. Where you will come unstuck is a: if your connection is highly contended or b: if you have a lot of people in your house, all wanting to watch cat videos at the same time.

Our hamlet now has FTTC available. It's quite a long way to the exchange and my ADSL2 synchronises at somewhere over 6Mbps down with throughput slightly lower than that, but I find it perfectly acceptable for most purposes. Line checkers estimate I should get around 35Mbps with FTTC, but at 50% more per month than I pay at the moment. I'm not sure it's worth it, just yet.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: "...fibre to the premise..."

I heard the interview this morning, and he definitely said "premise".

M.

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Ex-NASA bod on Gwyneth Paltrow site's 'healing' stickers: 'Wow. What a load of BS'

Martin an gof
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Re: reel to reel should be better than CD because the CD has been sampled (at 44kHz)

Reel to reel has a resolution of about 12bits,

Citation needed. Reel-to-reel is certainly not BS.

I'd contend that "bits" isn't really "resolution", it's "dynamic range" and yes, I'll grant that tape in general doesn't have a fantastic dynamic range compared with some things, but 12 bits?

As for resolution, this (for tape) depends to a huge extent on the speed of the tape and the formulation of the tape (bias frequencies etc.). A good cassette might have a usable bandwidth of 12kHz - equivalent to a digital resolution (sample rate) of 24 or 25kHz, but home reel-to-reel ran faster and had wider tracks; 3¾ips was a common speed, and twice that of cassette, but home players usually had 7½ips and maybe 15ips options, and 30ips was common in studios.

Track width has a bearing on analogue noise, as does tape speed, and in theory digital sources should be free if this kind of noise, but they can introduce noises of their own, many of which are not as pleasant to the human ear.

Given a good formulation of tape, a well set-up recorder and player and a decent source, ¼" tape could outperform CD for bandwidth, if not often for dynamic range (not having any figures to hand, I'd suggest that it came close with metal tapes).

But comparisons are difficult because the recording and playback mechanisms are fundamentally different and other factors also come into play; digital media never suffers from "wow" or "flutter", for example, or simply not being at quite the right speed. As for convenience...

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: digital sound input

re: resistor ladders

I was suitably amazed when Gert's VGA Adapter for the Raspberry Pi appeared, using GPIO pins and a ladder network to provide up to 1920x1200 pixels, albeit only at 18 bits...

M.

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Martin an gof
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I use twin and earth cable

T&E is a bit difficult to work with, being somewhat stiff. When I engineered at a local radio station, my boss was quite partial to using 1mm2, 1.5mm2 or 2.5mm2 mains flex for speaker cables. The copper is about as pure as specialist cables and (if you use the 3-core variety) there's a "twist" in the cable which is always a good idea. Sounds at least as good as dedicated speaker cable (and better than some thin bell-wire) and pretty cheap to boot - about 50p/m from TLC, for example.

It's even possible to get 4-core cable which you could use for bi-amping purposes.

More for your PA gear than at home, mains flex comes in some very robust formats and works particularly well in Speakon connectors, and with some amplifiers having two speaker outputs on one connector, wiring speakers up is a doddle.

Off topic? Me?

M.

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Martin an gof
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Silly us eh, preferring science and the scientific method over some random claims by actresses et al.

The thing is, that when even supposedly rational types espouse things like Denon's £1,000/m network cable (which I think they've stopped selling anyway), and the normally fairly down-to-earth Richer Sounds sells a 1m USB cable for £145, it's no good shouting at the non-scientific thoughts of mobile clothes horses.

I was particularly annoyed with Denon, because I used their professional broadcast-quality kit in a previous life and it was worth the money.

M.

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Wi-Fi Dream Home Of The Future™ gets instructions for builders

Martin an gof
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Re: Lucky me

Insulation will not make it warm. Basic school level physics will tell you that the concrete slab won't be warmer (on average) than the layer of air above it - ie the coldest air in the room. Therefore the slab will almost always be colder than the room, and cold to your feet.

We're not talking heated concrete slabs here (which I'd be happy with) -

[...]

I already have on my list of things to do ... rip up the kitchen floor and reconcrete it with heating pipes in it.

I understand your argument, but insulation will stop it becoming a heat sink. An uninsulated concrete slab will be a bridge between the room and the relatively constant temperature of the ground underneath - probably around 10C all year around. Insulated, all you have to worry about is stratification in the air in your room, and a properly designed heating system should reduce this. Underfloor heating is one way of doing it, but there are options which might mean you don't have to dig up the floor. For example:

  • some wet systems are designed for retrofitting with a minimal build-up
  • electric mats are even thinner and can be laid in the tile grout. Even if for efficiency reasons you install a system not powerful enough to heat the room on its own, it can make a room heated by radiators more comfortable.
  • leaving aside underfloor solutions, you could consider replacing radiators with Thermaskirt which gives a comfort level much closer to underfloor heating than radiators do and doesn't involve re-laying the floor. Works just as well with carpets :-)

Research shows that people prefer their heads to be slightly cooler than their feet, and traditional radiators placed in stupid parts of the room (under windows, behind long curtains? Whoever thought that was a good idea?) work against this, causing convection currents which almost guarantee warm heads and cold feet, even without a concrete slab.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Lucky me

I don't think I could buy a new house unless I could buy it at the stage where they've built the shell and fitted the roof (and I have enough visibility to see that they've not f***ed any of that up) - and then I can do the rest properly, rather than paying for them to do it then paying to rip it all back to bare block and doing it again.

We're about to do something similar - demolish our 1960s bungalow and rebuild. One of the builders we've spoken to wants us to walk offsite and come back 6 months (yeah, right) later to a house completed for £1,000/sqm but I want what you do - a secure, weatherproof shell that I can fit out internally to my own requirements, and data is definitely one of those.

And WTF is this modern determination to build all new houses with cold slabs of concrete for the floor ?

If it's built to regulations then (on the ground floor) there will be oodles of insulation either under the slab or between the slab and the floor base. 250mm of expanded polystyrene is common.

There is an interesting argument about where best to put the insulation - a "lightweight" design (insulation on top of the slab) heats up quicker, but also cools down quicker while a "heavyweight" design (insulation under the slab) takes a lot of initial heating, but has a lot of "thermal inertia" which makes it much easier to maintain steady environmental conditions.

In very, very broad terms, "lightweight" constructions are better for irregularly-occupied houses, for example where a small number of occupants are out at work all day and may return at varied times; the house can be left to cool when unoccupied and heats up quickly when residents return.

Likewise "heavyweight" constructions may be better where the occupants are either mostly in the house during the day, or have regular hours away. It's worth noting that once heated, insulation regulations mean that all construction methods will have a similar rate of static heat loss.

Concrete slabs for upper floors are often an easy way to meet sound-transmission regulations, but also contribute to the thermal inertia of a building.

There's a similar argument to be made about partition walls; personally I won't have plasterboard anywhere in my house but the trend with spec. builders these days seems to be bent-tin studwork lined with 9.5mm plasterboard.

M.

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Intel: Joule's burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more

Martin an gof
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Re: Dust??

I like to imagine what might have been after the 6502

You don't have to imagine - didn't Acorn use the 6502 as inspiration for ARM?

Granted, MOS might have done something different, but ARM is a good start I think.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Another botched call by Intel

(See RISC OS)

Or Acorn Replay. I had one of the early Risc PC 600s (in fact it's still running - it's on at the moment and I use it every day) and I remember being absolutely blown away by video running on my desktop.

Oh, and Replay seemed to have got the sound-video synchronisation problem licked, a problem which broadcast digital TV still doesn't seem quite to have solved.

M.

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Google's news algorithm serves up penis pills

Martin an gof
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Re: Ad company drops human oversite to ship more ads.

most do use Google (just like they use FB)

Absolutely. At home, all the browsers on all devices are set to use search engines other than Google. Google is deleted from the list of search engines (for example in Firefox) and yet my children, two primary-age, two secondary, who are well aware of our attitudes towards these things and know why we won't let them have Facebook or Twitter accounts, and know how DuckDuckGo works, still dial-up Google for searches sort of "by default" (it's the default at school). AARGHH!!!

M.

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Amazon pulls snouts from all-you-can-eat cloud storage buffet

Martin an gof
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Re: Bah!

Just for giggles I had a search for a Parallel port card

I bought an Asus AM1 motherboard last year (building a sub-£200 computer for my dad) and to my surprise found it came with an honest-to-goodness parallel port right there on the back panel alongside relative newcomers HDMI, DVI and USB3.

I'd have been less surprised had it been a serial port, but while most boards still seem to have serial ports, everything I've bought recently has relegated the port to a header, meaning you need a breakout cable for a quid or two to make it usable.

M.

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Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

Martin an gof
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Re: Did I miss a law being passed

'sdim ishe ei ladd. Anfona fe i Benffordd Las (Staylittle) a ni fydd yn bosib iddo ddweud wrth unrhywun :-)

M.

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Wowee, it's Samsung's next me-too AI gizmo: The Apple HomePod

Martin an gof
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Re: hi fi is dead

Who is going to spend a lot of money on top quality audio for background noise?

Not sure if you are replying to my post about "traditional" HiFi, but in case you are, £200 isn't a lot compared with these devices and does make a difference. The AM1 and Control-1s I use in the kitchen for background audio are a lot easier to listen to than the speakers in the kitchen TV or the radio when I'm clattering about. Then again, I do listen more to Radio 4, which means that even if it's "background" I do like to be able to hear what's being said.

M.

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Martin an gof
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You get what you pay for!

The thing is, if you don't have the budget for a Sonos or an iHome or whatever, then you can get cracking good sound by going down the traditional route. For example, pop down to Richer Sounds and pick up a Cambridge AM1 amplifier for £99, and a pair of bookshelf speakers for £59 or £99 (I really like the Control-1s) then head off to CPC and plug in your phone for 72p, or do it wirelessly for £27.

For around £200 you will get a system that sounds every bit as good in a typical living room as some of these fancy ones (and in stereo to boot) and by using your phone you also get most of the whizz-bang technological niceties, if you like that sort of thing.

Or just plug in a music source of your own choosing. Put the system next to the TV you bought without thinking about the fact that it has pathetic little loudspeakers, and marvel at the difference a properly-designed 4" speaker makes. My 85 year-old dad - who has appalling hearing - really notices the difference between the TV's inbuilt speakers and the cheap pair of Wharfedales I bought him, and didn't half moan when I'd been fiddling and he had to use the TV's speakers for a few days.

Richer Sounds isn't quite what it used to be, but as they used to say, "real HiFi doesn't have to be expensive".

M.

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BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Martin an gof
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Re: What else has BA poorly maintained?

If BA have got their IT wrong this basd, whats to say they've got their aircraft maintenance correct?

Engineering Giants. It's a repeat from a few years ago, but very interesting nonetheless.

I think the main difference is that there are manufacturer-mandated and internationally agreed standards to the maintenance of the actual aircraft and its systems. Problems, at least among the major airlines, seem these days to be confined to genuine mistakes, rather than pure incompetence or deliberate flouting of the rules. Be proved to have got it wrong and you risk everything from enforced grounding and checking of aircraft types, to loss of licence to operate.

There are no such systems in place for IT. You are very much on your own, and there's no comeback other than a few disgruntled customers or suppliers - I bet the airports will get compensation from BA for blocked parking stands etc.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: I have to agree

My take on ElReg's story is that it's a placeholder for comments and a link to contact someone directly for people that do know more.

El Reg is always quiet on the editorial front at the weekend, ever since they stopped their "weekend edition" experiment. The surprise to me was that they managed to get a story out at all and I think you are correct, put something - anything - out there, and hope that the commentards will fill the gap. However few of BA's IT staff are left in the UK, I bet a couple of them read El Reg...

For analysis I'll come back on Tuesday.

For the record, I have to agree with everyone saying "it stinks" because a huge business such as BA (or Capita - yup, it's a bit of a co-incidence) shouldn't fall completely over for lack of a few Amps at some data centre or other.

What's next? London City Airport's recently fanfared "remote tower"?

M.

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

Martin an gof
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And the sim-free price of the phone does not necessarily translate pro-rata to the contract monthly prices, it does depend on how the phone is promoted and how the networks want to sell it.

Which was precisely my point. And since the readership of El Reg is unsurprisingly comprised of Register Readers, it makes perfect sense to frame a review in terms useful to them (to us) rather than terms useful to Joe Bloggs or Jane Bland next door.

By knowing the baseline price of the phone it is easier to make a judgement about how much value is offered by that phone when compared with others on an equal basis, and if a contract is being considered it's also easier to understand how the cost of the phone fits in to that.

It might be worth phone reviews having a paragraph along the lines of "this phone is also available on contract for £n at $phone_company_a over y years, or £m at $phone_company_b over z years, but that means research, not simply reiterating the marketing blurb :-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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Reviews always banging on about the sim-free price when most people pay monthly and don't give as hit.

Two things.

Firstly, granted "most people" probably do just opt for a contract, but El Reg readers? Particularly for personal phones? I suspect a lot more commentards go SIM-free than you might expect.

Secondly, quoting the recommended SIM-free price is the only easy way to compare prices because the cost with a contract varies an awful lot more, thus it is better to compare (say) a £500 Honor with a £700 iPhone SIM-free than those same phones, one on a 24 month contract with O2 and the other on an 18 month contract with Tesco (or whatever).

M.

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Mozilla to Thunderbird: You can stay here and we may give you cash, but as a couple, it's over

Martin an gof
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Oh? If that were true, why is Gmail STILL so popular?

Possibly because tha yoof of today don't really use email any more, just maintaining an address for those services that require you to have one? A simple free service is all they think they need. They "communicate" (for wont of a better word) by snap-twit-whats-agramming, hopping from trend to trend like the eponymous frog trying to cross the river and road in that game we all played in the 1980s.

When they get to work, work provides an address.

M.

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Dyson celebrates 'shock' EU Court win over flawed energy tests

Martin an gof
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Re: Petty?

I love things that work beautifully.

I'd advise you to stay away from the latest version of his "air blade" hand dryer then. While the concept (of using a "blade" of air to wipe the water off your hands) is valid, the fact is that what it *actually* does is blow that water all over your shoes. Old and new models do this, but the newer one makes it impossible to avoid:

See the "V" here

M.

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London app dev wants to 'reinvent the bus'

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: So they're going to be big

expandable buses

If the problem is busses too big for the smaller routes, but too small for peak demand, how about someone invents a double-decker minibus?

Or a bus-trailer?

Same problem on trains around here. Trains every 20 mintues, fine, but they alternate 4-car and 2-car Sprinter sets (type 150? not sure, you'll have to ask my trainspotting offspring) which means half-empty trains off-peak and people hanging out of the windows (almost) at peak times. The problem is that if you put all 4-car sets on at peak times, you end up with a lot of under-utilised trains unless you can park some of them up during the day, splitting the others into 2-car sets for off-peak services.

M.

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Russian RATs bite Handbrake OSX download mirror

Martin an gof
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Re: *smug grin*

I broke my laptop's HDD cable retention clip

Sticky pads?

M.

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China's first large passenger jet makes maiden flight

Martin an gof
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Re: But can it do a barrel roll?

Interesting to note here that the pilot in question - well the more famous of the two - earned an OBE but was later stripped of all flying duties for landing at Heathrow with a 25 minute reserve, when the airline minimum was 30 minutes.

M.

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Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: But can it do a barrel roll?

I'd imagine that most commercial airliners could, if you had the guts. Concorde certainly could (about 3 mins in), though of course that 'plane was built more like a fighter jet :-)

M.

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Windows 10 S: Good, bad, and how this could get ugly for PC makers

Martin an gof
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Re: Thin Client anyone?

I'm always surprised those compute sticks haven't taken off in the education market. Saves carrying a screen around

Because you still actually need a screen? What will you do, have dozens of monitors in each classroom?

M.

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Chap 'fixes' Microsoft's Windows 7 and 8 update block on new CPUs

Martin an gof
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Re: So?

Don't personally use CS (my brother does, and I recognise all you say) but I do use Xara(*), which is Windows-only. My main machine at work is dual-boot Windows 7 / OpenSuse and I use OpenSuse for almost everything else.

I've tried Inkscape (use it at home where there's no Windows at all) and it doesn't quite do it for me, though it's not bad.

My theory as to why this type of software isn't available on Linux is very simple - Linux users aren't used to paying hundreds of pounds for software. Port Xara to Linux and the developers think people would expect it to be free, or at best a few tens of pounds. So they don't.

M.

(*)full disclosure - I came via Acorn's Draw, and Xara's shared heritage really helped the transition.l

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Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

Martin an gof
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Re: Corner shop

(unless the new £1 coin has RFID inside it)

I thought that right at the outset when they said it had a special "hidden, high security" feature which - one report said - would be readable by the likes of vending machines.

Having visited the Royal Mint Experience (Blue Peter badge holders get in free) last week, the "exploded diagrams" of the coin do have a kind of "radio wavey" thing going on, and if you watch the video here you'll see something similar.

M.

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Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Noscript...

I, too, just tried the test and... nowt. nada, zero, dim byd o gwbl. The button, she no work.

No Javascript, courtesy of Noscript.

Temporarily enable script and... the browser's fingerprint is unique among 4,473. Ho hum.

M.

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Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

So I got SwithPro widget instead and just tap the wifi icon on the lock-screen to turn it off.

Or, no app, swipe down, tap the WiFi icon, close the phone? I've only ever had one Android phone and it's running Cyanogenmod and that's all I do. No apps involved.

M.

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Blimey, did you know? It's World Backup Day. But... surely every day is world backup day?

Martin an gof
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Anyone else think the ending of "Inside Out" was just plain wrong?

investing in ever-greater storage capacity is not the answer. Recent research found that 41 per cent of files hadn't been modified in the past three years. [in other words, this is] stale, redundant data.

[...]

...determine what is business critical before backing it up, while deleting data that doesn't drive business value.

Just because something is a few years old and hasn't been touched doesn't mean it isn't valuable (or will be in the future) or is in some way "stale" and can be chucked. We have a similar situation at work to that I have at home - the bulk of my storage at home is what I term our "media archive". Just because baby photos of my child haven't been "modified" in fifteen years emphatically does not mean they are lacking in value. Likewise I am definitely not throwing out the hundreds of slides and negatives my parents and grandparents have created over the years.

Look where wiping "stale, redundant" videotapes got the BBC.

This is interesting too.

And for an absolute hero in the field, you need look no further than Richard Russell.

M.

Mind you, I daren't venture into my attic these days...

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Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern

Martin an gof
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Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

can anyone point me in the direction of a bare-bones web browser that has absolutely no capacity for interactive stuff like JavaScript

I quite like Netsurf, mainly because it started life on RiscOS. It is still being developed slowly, and as far as I'm aware still has no plans to add Javascript support.

Tools like "NoScript" can, of course, be used to turn off Javascript in Firefox...

M.

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Ex-military and security firms oppose Home Sec in WhatsApp crypto row

Martin an gof
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Re: Let em do it.

it's a lot harder to use "they're giving us infrastructure" to stir up hate

Obligatory Monty Python Reference

M.

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