* Posts by Martin an gof

710 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010

Page:

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Martin an gof
Silver badge

I have a strong suspicion this will go the same way as the DAB switchover

And I know I'm late to this, but the same argument applies, to an extent. It's a solution in search of a problem. DAB is great an' all, but the 20MHz (88 - 108) of VHF that would be freed up by switching off all FM transmissions is not a fat lot of good for anything except broadcast radio. I suppose you could convert it to DAB :-)

This may be one of the reasons LW persists. The 140kHz or so of spectrum (150 - 290?) used for broadcast ain't much good for anything else, and in fact excels at national-scale broadcasting.

And as for that aerial alongside the M5 at Droitwich. Wow. If LW ever is switched off, I hope they list that structure so that it's saved for the sheer history. Just out of interest - I was looking for the thing just now on Google Streetview, and it almost seems as if they've tried to blank it out. It's visible in the distance in some views, but as you get closer it's more and more difficult to see. Maybe it was misty that day; it's visible from different angles.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Solution for POTS

So in addition to BT having a large very resilient power supply at the exchange location every telephone user will require an additional power supply at their home. As another poster said how green is that?

Good point, and a standard phone will work just lovely with 50V line current, which is both battery and generator-backed at the exchange, but... but I already have my modem on a UPS, alongside my DECT base station. It sort of helps when there is a power cut (and for semi-rural Wales we get more than you might expect) and you need to consult the website of Western Power to see a: if they already know about it and b: what the contact number is if they don't.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Do people still seriously rely on dialling codes to identify areas?

Speaking personally, if I want a local plumber and all I've got to go on is the number on the side of the van I saw parked outside next door, I'd call someone with a local (or neighbouring) area code before I called anyone with just a mobile number. Not seen this kind of sole- or small-trader use non-geographic codes; they cost real money for very little benefit unless you genuinely are a national company.

As for my place of work, it genuinely does confuse people. If a teacher at a local school wants to talk to an education officer at their local museum and is given a direct-dial number which appears to be for a site 150 miles away, they're going to wonder if the person they are speaking to is the person they really need to speak to. I don't deal with teachers, but I do occasionally have suppliers ask "can I just check I've called the right number?"

Yes, we do have a non-geographic too. 0300 as it happens, but you can't do direct-dial on this one.

M.

2
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Solution for POTS

I may have misunderstood, but I didn't understand that they wanted simply to provide a single Ethernet socket and leave it up to you to work out how to use it. Isn't the idea to supply a "POTS converter" to every premises? In other words, standard analogue equipment will connect to this in-house device which does all the conversion for you.

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Bad news for you... it doesn't work now

Mine does. I have a pulse-dialling rotary phone and it works just fine. Except for those pesky automated sites that ask you to "press 1 for sales" or whatever.

Before buying it (as a birthday present some years ago), I checked by "manually dialling" 1471 using the hook switch (yes, it's possible).

I'm told that some third-party POTS providers don't accept pulses and I have no idea about VoIP - POTS gateways, but our line certainly does.

M.

13
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Everything in my workplace is IP

Pretty much everything is in my workplace too, which leads to such idiocy as all of the sites having a Cardiff 029 dialling code. Bear in mind that we have seven sites and only two of them are actually within the Cardiff area code. One is in Llanberis, at the foot of mount Snowdon. It does sort of confuse third-parties.

I'm sure there would have been a way around it, but while in the past each site had a local exchange and ISDN30 bundle, much money was saved by only having (effectively) one SIP gateway and one telephone code.

M.

7
1
Martin an gof
Silver badge

ISDN?

We still make occasional use of ISDN - it "just works" when the local radio station comes around, in a way that their IP-based WiFi or 4G OB system doesn't when two thousand people are connected to the same AP / mast. We once tried ISDN over IP. It "just didn't work".

I suppose if we upgrade and allow them access to our wired network it would be ok...

M.

5
1

CEO insisted his email was on server that had been offline for years

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Deleting emails

monitoring alert system that can get particularly noisy at times

I have a couple of these at work. It's fairly easy in Outlook to filter non-urgent messages into a folder and keep the urgent ones in my main inbox (so I notice them!), the huge problem is that since a couple of Outlook updates ago I can't find a way to make Outlook automatically expire just certain folders based on age. It makes no sense to keep the non-urgent messages from one system for more than (say) three or six months, but because Outlook won't auto-delete based on age, I have to go in there and do it manually every now and then.

Any hints gladly received! IT claim it's because the Outlook clients we are using are not the same version as the server backend, but they show no sign of doing anything about it, other than a vague promise to move to o365 at some point. Not really looking forward to that.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: That sounds like the story of a madhouse

with very few exceptions[1] IT is seen a net loss in financial terms

I worked in local radio in the 1990s as an "engineer". I ended up "doing IT" because almost nobody else knew where the "on" buttons were, but bear in mind that when I started the entire IT assets of this 35-ish employee company consisted of one '286 running DOS and WordPerfect, connected to a Laserjet, one '386DX with Windows 3.0 for the boss's secretary (and her Laserjet) a '386SX that my boss managed to budget for himself, and a multi-user minicomputer thingy running half a dozen VT52 terminals for booking.

Anwyay, besides the point. Just before I started that job my boss and my predecessor had (apparently) taken part in a company-wide transition to a "cost centre" format. Each department cross-charged each other department.

The way my boss told it, the only department in the entire company that made a profit was engineering, and the experiment was quietly dropped :-)

M.

27
0

Patch or ditch Adobe Flash: Exploit on sale, booby-trapped Office docs spotted in the wild

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Forced to use Flash

Security aside, flash is also unavailable for the growing tablet/mobile user base.

Or, indeed, on the Linux boxen I force everyone to use at home. Or at least, that's what I tell them. Some sites are improving though, many of the games on Cool Math Games (which the school likes) are now usable without Flash.

The primary school is well aware that we don't "do" certain technological things, though that didn't stop one of the children coming home with homework to "write short reviews of your five favourite apps". Erm... not a tablet in the house, and the only Android phone in the house had no access to the Play Store (LineageOS without Google apps).

Teacher was very apologetic, but it was very upsetting for a normally diligent 9-year-old, who really loves school, not to be able even to attempt the homework. I suppose a school iPad could have been borrowed to do the homework one lunchtime, but that's sort of missing the point.

M.

1
3

Cinema voucher-pusher tells customers: Cancel your credit cards, we've been 'attacked'

Martin an gof
Silver badge

"(why are cheap cinema tickets such a popular "perk" for these flingers!?)"

These days, being sent to the cinema is a punishment, not a perk. Unless you are lucky enough to have a nice, local and independent cinema that still cares about the customers.

Never quite understood how much the big chains charge, given that our small, local(ish) cinema can get all the big releases, provide just as much screen and sound as a big chain cinema (though no Atmos or Imax) and yet charge a flat rate of £2.50 (weekdays) and £3.50 (weekends). They even have a 3D screen, though films don't stay long in there.

M.

3
0

*Thunk* No worries, the UPS should spin up. Oh cool, it's in bypass mode

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Floodplains

your offspring should be congratulated

Well, given that we live within the Aneurin Bevan Health Board not too far away from that man's constituency, and that said 14 year-old spent quite a lot of time in hospital as a baby, he is acutely aware that he probably wouldn't have had any younger siblings if we had been paying off for all that treatment. Either that, or he wouldn't have been as fit as he is now.

M.

7
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Sometimes, there are ways round it.

The Highways Agency have an IT location on a flood plain

I heard a radio programme a couple of years ago on the new National Archives building in London, right next to the Thames. If I remember correctly, they put their IT in the basement because they would much rather the IT department (which presumably has decent off-site backups) flooded, than they ended up with a lot of soggy 1,000 year-old parchment.

M.

12
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Floodplains

How the hell does the monster raving loony party have a more sensible answer to this than the actual government?

My 14-year-old got really interested in the last general election, having seen a party-political for the MRLP, and not just for the really odd policies like re-introducing mermaids. Put it this way, he's politically aware enough that he's currently wearing this T-shirt, and while he did disappear for a couple of minutes while we were queueing at the supermarket this morning, he came back with a copy of Private Eye (link included for non-UK readers who might not be aware of this publication).

There's hope for the future yet...

M.

20
0

Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Films - meh

thought the Dune film was OK when I saw it, given what it had to squeeze into a small amount of time (though I had the advantage of having previously read the books)

That's the thing, though. The movies acts as a great illustration to the book, but without having read the book it's very confusing.

That's the way we felt about the Harry Potter films - well, from the second one onwards anyway. The first book was (apparently) very heavily edited, and as a result more of it ended up in the film. The children read the books before the films (in the case of two of them, because they read the books before the films had come out) and agree that they understood a lot more of what is going on as a result. I think the same is true of many film adaptations of books.

Not read any recent Neal Stephenson, though I did like Zodiac, Snow Crash etc.

M.

1
0

UK regulator bans slasher-flick parody ad for OnePlus 5 mobe

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Too slow?

hey're a trade body, just like [...] NICEIC

Or the BMA? Would you feel comfortable using a non-BMA doctor?

As an ex-NICEIC registered electrician, it did used to grate that I had to shell out hundreds of pounds a year to them (other similar registers are available, unlike with gas), but given that there were certain legal requirements to be met, registering was actually a pretty good convenience. They provided legally-acceptable forms and dealt with Building Control, and their annual inspection "proved" that I was actually working competently. Much easier for a one-man-outfit than trying to maintain all that kind of stuff myself.

M.

0
0

The Register Opera Company presents: The Pirates of Penzance, Sysadmin edition

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Anyone know how to do single line breaks in these comments?

  • The only way I know how is to use an unordered list (ul) but you end up with
  • an indent
  • and a bullet
  • and you have to write it all on one line
  • and not forget both the (li) and (/li) tags

There are also (blockquote), (code) and (pre) tags available

but they're no better

Even trying to fake it using (sub)

and (sup) tags doesn't work.

M.

23
0

Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Sorry, I've got to say it...

I just...... don't care.

I live a blameless life. [etc.]

Two things. First, the above is a variation on the if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear argument, which itself is probably a grandparent of first they came for the Jews, and is definitely a variant of give [them] and inch and [they'll] take a mile.

Second, the list of pre-existing ways to profile someone. What you miss is that up until now, these all existed in isolation and they were all subject to quite strict regulations. Yes, the credit card company has a good profile of my purchases, sufficiently good that when something "unusual" crops up they can flag it automatically. What they don't have is a way of tying my purchase of a birthday card and a box of chocolates to a specific individual whose birthday is next week.

Yes, the phone company keeps a log of my calls - more than it used to in the analogue days when a phone bill was calculated by looking at the meter in the rack - but the phone company is not allowed to release that information to any Tom, Dick or Harry who asks for it; in general (though I realise there's been some debate about this in the UK) access is only granted after a certain legal process is undertaken. On top of that, the phone company probably can't connect specific numbers to specific names, unless they are also subscribers to the same company, and it certainly has no record of - nor any need for a record of - my aunty Viv's birthday.

The difference with Facebook and similar companies is that they go out of their way to collect this connective data. They can/will tie a payment to a location, they can/will search the contacts book recursively and find people who have birthdays soon (because daft people put information like this in their profiles), they can/will monitor that person's communications and note when they send a "thankyou" because they absolutely can tie that person's name to a specific number.

And that's why we're worried. That's why I never felt the exchange was worth it.

M.

18
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

(Android local backup)

Yeah, I hate the way the phone won't connect as mass storage, but for most purposes there are work-arounds. In particular the aforementioned KDE Connect (I am aware that other similar apps are available) allows you to browse the phone's storage over WiFi.

M.

5
1
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Has it gone?

I suppose the problem is that to do this, I have to give them my details and it's GOTO 10...

This is like the problem I have with the Google "privacy" thing that keeps popping up, even though I've answered the questions several times and I do not delete cookies from Google. "Oh," they say, "if you log in with Google we will remember your choices."

Well, ummm... why do you think I'm turning off all the tracking things anyway? I do not want to be tracked by Google, that's what my answers to those questions mean, not, "please don't track me using these methods, but I will log in anyway so that you can track me by other means"!

</rant>

M.

24
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Then how come just about the only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud?

Ditto other brands. All your contacts being uploaded to GMail. Or to LinkedIn.

In Android you have the option of, Contacts... Import/Export... Export to .vcf file... select all... Save. This puts all your contacts in a file on your local storage from where you can upload them into your computer (useful also for backup), or simply send them directly via Bluetooth to another phone.

If you are going to do the latter then under the Import/Export menu there's another option "Share All Contacts". Again, select all, then choose how. My phone offers to share via Messaging, KDE Connect or Bluetooth.

I've done this a couple of times recently, for example when un-borking my phone which was on an older version of Cyanogenmod and needed (essentially) wiping to install the latest LineageOS. Eldest son had a few more problems migrating from an old Nokia dumphone to a newer smartphone, but only because the Nokia couldn't save a .vcf file or send more than one contact at once. Instead he sent each of his 30-odd contacts individually, which also gave him the opportunity to prune old or duplicate entries.

In neither case did the contacts ever leave the privacy of our own house.

As an aside, when setting up new phone with eldest son, 90% of the setup (and disabling of certain things) was done before the SIM was inserted. Yes, WiFi was active, but maybe this step helped prevent a certain amount of data leakage.

M.

11
1
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Has it gone?

The question is, even if people delete their profiles and sign out, is the data gone? I'm sure it was Facebook's terms and conditions that I read some years ago where they claimed something along the lines of a perpetual, free, permissive licence to use anything you had uploaded, in whatever manner they chose. The implication was that even if you left the service, they could still use your pictures of aunty Viv for - I dunno - promotional material or something, and I'm sure the same applies to this metadata that "you" are uploading, simply by using the app.

This was one of the things that made me certain that I wanted no part of it all those years ago. Being part of it anyway, via third parties, is more than a bit annoying.

M.

60
1

Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: I hated recording...

My old man used to live near a FM radio broadcast antenna

Not wanting to doubt you, but that sort of interference sounds more like AM radio than FM to me, unless the FM was seriously out of kilter, overmodulating and hitting some last-ditch kind of limiter and thus effectively also broadcasting AM as a byproduct.

I don't envy you and I would be wary of buying a house too close to a major transmitter (or an HV transmission line), for all sorts of reasons. I'm told, for example, that at some TV broadcast locations in the UK, there was enough power coming from the aerials (presumably in the days before digital) that fluorescent tubes in the buildings below would glow without needing to be switched on. This is a well-known trick under HV lines.

I worked in local radio in the 1990s. We had four transmitters on three sites, but the FM ones were 2kW and 500W and the AM ones were 300W each, so even when some local low-life decided to try to make away with the feeder to one of the AM aerials they were never (as far as we knew) caught - would have expected the bolt-cutter-wielding perp to have presented at A&E with some nice RF burns...

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Dial a Disc

I did have a set of Johnny Morris reading Thomas the Tank Engine on vinyl in the early 70s.

The best versions ever. I had a set of four LPs, four stories per side therefore two books per LP. My mother left three of them at the nursery school she used to run - probably thought I wouldn't want them now that I was all growed up.

Turns out my firstborn was also a huge Thomas fan, so eBay to the rescue.

I was tempted - though never got around - to edit the first few animated TV stories to replace Ringo Starr with the Johnny Morris narration...

There's an Awdry "museum" at the Talyllyn Railway - claimed to be the first preserved railway in the world, where Awdry himself volunteered for many years and which was the inspiration for the stories involving Skarloey and Rheneas and their friends.

I mention this because among the artefacts on display are some LPs and some singles, which I didn't know existed, some of them read by Willie Rushton I think (it's been a while).

Well worth a visit, though I recognise it's a very long way from pretty much any major population centre!

M.

1
0

Europe is living in the past (by nearly six minutes) thanks to Serbia and Kosovo

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Your monitor probably does support 50Hz unless it is very old. Probably you graphics card is the fault or the video editing software.

There is an age thing - but I suspect it's more related to the supported interfaces. I've never come across a monitor which reports anything other than 60Hz on a VGA connector or a DVI connector, but monitors with HDMI ports tend to support 50Hz on the HDMI, though probably not 24/25/30. The oldest monitor I'm using regularly at the moment is perhaps seven or eight years old. My old Philips 17" CRT would synch at anything from about 45Hz to 120Hz, so long as the other timings added up. I had an even older Philips - Acorn-badged - that could even do 50Hz interlaced. It had a SCART socket :-)

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

I'm pretty sure that HDTV standards allow for different frame rates ... I don't think it really matters any more what the actual frame rate is for the video, other than the perception of the viewer

Yes, HDTV does, but computer monitors usually do not. It's all to do with certain assumptions and "traditions". Look up the difference between CEA and DMT modes. Most TVs will happily display either (CEA tend to be "TV" modes, DMT tend to be "Monitor"), while many computer monitors will only display DMT modes. I had quite a few problems with this in the early days (2012) using a Raspberry Pi as a video player.

In 50Hz countries we have a legacy of 25/50Hz content. On a TV, no problem, the TV just synchs at whatever is required. Computer monitors will almost invariably be on 60Hz these days, and it's not a nice, simple up-scaling to get from 50Hz to 60Hz (though arguably going the other way is worse).

Another problem is computers attached to TVs. They will query for supported resolutions and then choose the "best". In this context, "best" means "more", so they will generally choose the highest resolution at the highest frame rate possible, often 60Hz which may not be appropriate for a media player. A TV can report its "preferred" resolution, but an attached device doesn't have to honour it.

The other problem comes when editing. It's difficult to "audition" video properly if the source file is 50Hz and the monitor is running at 60Hz. Yes, there are algorithms and modern processors certainly have the grunt to make them work well enough, but just like the algorithms for de-interlacing, nothing is quite perfect.

And all it would take would be a minor software tweak to allow monitors to report 50Hz modes, and perhaps a locale preference that defaults to 50Hz in certain parts of the world.

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Probably confusing TV signals or something.

Always annoys me that normal monitors refuse to do 50Hz to match TV. Particularly so when editing video from y'know, video cameras, which is 50Hz. Upscaling that to 60Hz just results in horrid jerkiness.

M.

12
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

The National Grid is (IIRC) legally required to be within 49.5 and 50.5hz. I personally wouldn't rely on the grid being that accurate.

The 1% requirement is correct, and I believe that they're pretty accurate on that.

The reason our grid hasn't been affected with Europe's is that our connections to Europe are all d.c. and our grid is entirely separate, control-wise.

M.

20
0

UK data watchdog's inaugural tech strategy was written with... *drumroll* Word 2010

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: So what's the purpose of continually updating Word?

LibraOffice is unlikely to be considered because it is not Office and I doubt many IT departments have the stomach for fighting their users on that.

You may be right, but since ODF is the officially sanctioned document format, there's absolutely no reason why LibreOffice couldn't be used.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

prepare a letter during a snowie power cut

My sister took a Canon Starwriter to uni back in 1990 or so. I bet that would run for hours on a typical UPS.

I have a UPS powering my entire "office" *, including the printer, though as the printer is a Xerox solid ink Phaser, it doesn't stay up for terribly long if the printer is actually printing :-)

Why? Well, the Phaser needs to keep a reservoir of liquid ink. If the power is interrupted even for a second, the printer goes through a cleaning phase and wastes a whole load of ink. We have quite a lot of short-term power cuts where I live.

M.

* Office consisting of two AMD-based OpenSuse machines, an Intel Mac mini, a Raspberry Pi, an Acorn RiscPC and all the associated gubbins. I have lots of children all wanting to do homework at the same time :-)

3
1

Reg man wraps head in 49-inch curved monitor

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Hand it back?

I don't know how serviced offices like WeWork, erm, work

There was an interesting interview on Today this morning around 0715 with the bloke in charge of a services company that offers a very similar product to WeWork, but which has been around a lot longer. He ruefully admitted that he was jealous that WeWork has a valuation some ten times that of his company, the implication being that they were simply more fashionable for being a "tech" company, even though his company actually operates in exactly the same way, in similar locations and has a longer, better track record of profitability.

M.

1
0

Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Two stories:

The OP was a recommendation of a 12/24v as a response to the need for 5v supplies

Not really, I was commenting on the fact that a lot of equipment now has external power supplies. A lot of these actually operate from 12V and many others (particularly lighting) could if so designed, so 12V is required and in theory converting 12V to 5V with a small switch-mode should be easier than 240V to 5V.

Additionally you could use a battery to hold up the 12V circuit pretty much directly, meaning some form of off-grid capacity. It seems silly that I'm considering (for example) fitting a UPS to a lighting circuit, a device which takes 230V, converts it to somewhere between 12V and 48V to store in batteries, and then has to convert it back to 230V to use, especially when it possibly then supplies a light that converts it back to 12V again!

The key is to make sure there's not too much power required from a 12V circuit, lest the cables required are too huge.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: New???

Brake lights are also supposed to engage with the parking brakes

Not around here they aren't. In which jurisdiction does that apply?

M.

11
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

UPS for the PC

The power where I live is - despite being very nearly urban - quite unreliable (though it's better since they replaced the single transformer that powers the whole village). Long ago I moved the single small UPS protecting the main computer and monitor to the NAS and comms kit, and bought a somewhat larger one which can hold up two AMD PCs, a Mac mini, an Acorn RiscPC, a Raspberry Pi, all their associated USB hubs, network switches and monitors and the printer* for several minutes (less if the printer's printing). Since most of our power cuts are only for a few seconds, or maybe a few minutes, this is perfectly sufficient and well worth the expense to avoid the wailing and gnashing of teeth associated with the loss of an hour of unsaved homework.

M.

*the printer is a Xerox solid-ink Phaser. If it loses power it has to go through a very expensive cleaning cycle. I know they say never to power laser (or phaser) printers from a UPS, but this is a sine-wave jobbie, has a kVA rating well above the maximum requirements of the printer, and it all seems to cope very well. I love the printer, but apparently not enough other people did as it seems that Xerox no longer manufactures any solid ink printers.

10
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: New???

And how does that work for your brake lights? :-)

In my case, reverse up to the garage door and look through the mirror ;-)

M.

6
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Two stories:

A commentard a while ago defended the move to DC for power distribution as being proven that AC was more dangerous - so now I am just confused.

No. That was Edison during the War of the Currents. He had so much invested in a d.c. system that he resorted to dirty tricks to discredit Tesla and Westinghouse's a.c.

a.c. has some safety benefits, particularly with switching (much easier to extinguish an a.c. arc than a d.c. one) and for generation and transmission the use of transformers and high tension makes it much more efficient than d.c. Modern solid-state converters are making that last point less obvious, and it's worth noting that d.c. is very commonly used for long-distance transmission, particularly between a.c. grids which are not synchronised.

With so much modern electronics having external power supplies these days, commonly providing 12V or 5V to the device, there is an argument for having a 24V or 12V distribution system within the house. This removes some of the losses of converting mains a.c. to l.v. d.c. (though switch-mode supplies are a lot more efficient than transformer and linear regulator-based devices) and could make integrating with an off-grid (battery) system easier. It would have to be only for the low power equipment though, because cable size is determined mainly by current, not voltage. At 230V you can just about use cable as small as 1mm2 to supply power to a 2kW kettle (about 9A - though 1.25mm2 or 1.5mm2 would be safer). At 24V you'd need over 80A which would require a cable of perhaps 25mm2!

M.

15
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Two stories:

The old saying " Volts jolt - mills kills"

But with regard to phantom power, while the standard can supply up to (IIRC) 250mA, it is at quite a high source impedance. Even in a bath, I'd be very surprised if anyone got more than a bit of a tingle from holding a stripped microphone cable.

M.

3
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Two stories:

Curate: "I need to hold a microphone when I'm baptising so-and-so."

Solved that at the Baptist chapel I grew up in by using two cheap pressure zone or boundary microphones firmly screwed to something wooden around the pool. Not the best or clearest sound, but perfectly sufficient and they were a: cheap, and b: next best thing to waterproof. This isn't quite the thing, but similar

Standard waterproofing for a microphone, I hear, is a condom, by the way.

As for radio microphones, yes there are cheap ones that can be horribly unreliable, but if you are willing to spend a little bit more there are some nice ones about. For example, at work we have several Sennheiser G3 series microphones which have been rock solid (and they use AAs), though we do use them on "co-ordinated" spectrum. I'd recommend staying clear of UHF channel 70 but if you don't want to pay for co-ordinated channels, the "shared" channel 38 licence is a bit cheaper.

The G3 retails at about £800 a set (inc. VAT), but Sennheiser also produces the XSW and XSW2 series which come in significantly cheaper. The XSW2 has very similar features to the G3 series for well under £400. The XS is a bit more spartan and is perhaps half that price.

M.

5
0

NSA boss: Trump won't pull trigger for Russia election hack retaliation

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Simply by passing on unverified anecdotal shite from sources even they didn't trust, the security agencies knowingly gave it credence

I think to a large part security agencies suffer from the same problem I suspect most of us IT-types suffer from, an inability to understand that other people (and particularly politicians) may not be mentally capable of judging (or may simply be unwilling to judge) the evidence before them logically and dispassionately.

We are used to the sort of mental weighing-up that comes with the likes of "A says X and B says Y. A has more evidence than B, therefore is more likely to be correct even though Y is more appealing".

If someone gives a politician a dossier and says "this is speculation and may or may not be true", you can't trust the politician to investigate for him/herself. If it fits their current agenda it becomes true. If it doesn't fit the current agenda it is quietly forgotten.

M.

12
0

Nokia tribute band HMD revives another hit

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Might just suit my wife...

...who really doesn't get on with touchscreen keyboards, wants a phone that doesn't need charging every evening, but could do with a bit of internet connectivity (maps, email) while out-and-about and can't justify shelling out every month for a data-only SIM for a tablet.

Pair this phone with a cheap Android tablet and I think she'd almost have the best of both worlds; a phone to use as a phone, with a real keypad for texting, and then a tablet (tethered to the phone - though I think I would prefer Bluetooth tethering to WiFi - doesn't say if this is possible) for internet when needed. She currently has a Samsung XCover 550 which does all of this except for the tethering, which is only available through USB. Works fine for a laptop, not so much for a tablet.

Just so long as I can delete Facebook and Twitter. Hmmm.

Of course, all this ignores the fact that five or six years ago there was a plethora of phones that would have fitted this bill (keypad, battery, useful internet) and now there are next to none. If someone would bring out an updated Sony k800 or Nokia 6220 classic, I'd be happy too - I just like the form-factor, particularly the shutter on the back for the camera.

M.

6
0

Rock-a-byte, baby: IoT tot-monitoring camera lets miscreants watch 10,000s of kids online

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Silver lining

sounds more like Pant-ys-gawn than Pen-y-gors

Or perhaps pen-y-goes?

;-)

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Not surprised

You can always switch channels

But the channels are not encrypted, and anyone with the will could tune-in. Wardriving for baby monitors?

The difference is that the non-net type needs proximity to be tapped. The IoT type can be tapped from anywhere with an internet connection.

M.

2
0

If this laptop is so portable, where's the keyboard, huh? HUH?

Martin an gof
Silver badge

I am currently having a row with my IT department, who seem to think that a laptop screen and keyboard are suitable for someone who works full-time on a computer.

I've often wondered the same thing about schools, where laptops and Chromebooks are almost ubiquitous for pupil use now. I believe these, along with the fact that schools refuse to teach touch-typing, are only hastening the day when our children have to retire from their desk-bound jobs due to avoidable RSI and related complaints.

M.

9
0

HomePod, you say? Sex sex sex, that's all you think about

Martin an gof
Silver badge

the dreaded lamp post lick stick

I refer the honourable gentleman to the excellent episode of John Finnemore's Cabin Pressure titled St. Petersburg

M.

10
0

You're decorating it wrong: Apple HomePod gives wood ring of death

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: my coffe mug leaves a ring on polished surfaces

Coffee mugs are hot when filled with fresh coffee

Not having looked into the exact circumstances (and no, I am not going to either), is it possible that heat plays a part in this problem too? IIUC the power supply of the HomePod and many of the amplifiers are at the base of the unit. Silicone may be able to withstand quite a lot of heat, but it's an oily thing at heart.

M.

3
0

Rogue IT admin goes off the rails, shuts down Canadian train switches

Martin an gof
Silver badge

And all IT professionals should be bonded

Or how about mandatory professional indemnity insurance and maybe a professional body? I suppose there's a question then of what types of IT professional need to be protected in this way - where would you draw the line?

M.

4
0

Apple's HomePod beams you up into new audio dimensions

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: @SuccessCase:Love the Picture (with the Hacksaw)

I have never been one for willy-waving where hi-fi is concerned

But names really do impress some people. Example, I've just taken delivery of a Behringer X32 mixer at work. One "band" we had come to play some time ago said "absolutely no Behringer kit" in their tech spec.

I wonder what they would have made of the Turbosound iQ speakers I've just received too - the company's owned by Behringer now, of course - and to my own ears they sound better (as in more "HiFi" than the dbx speakers they are replacing :-)

Each to his own. I've used three core mains cord for (HiFi) speaker cables for 30 years and it sounds at least as good as "proper" speaker cable!

M.

7
1

Face, face, face! Apple, TrueDepth and a nose-driven iPhone X game

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Tech lurching from unnecessary use to another

Kinect was premised on two very shaky assumptions.

1. That people wanted a glorified EyeToy.

2. That games that use motion controls are desirable and more fun that those played with regular controls.

We hosted a game at our museum where the player could "fly" Superted collecting points and powerups and defeating enemies. It used a PC-version Kinect which annoyingly didn't include the motorised tilt function present in the XBox version.

The game was extremely sensitive to player position and attitude at start, often needed "re calibrating" and would be thrown by someone walking past behind the player (so we installed a wall).

All that aside, visitors loved the thing and there were often queues to use it.

M.

4
0

No yolking matter: Google Translate cock-up gives Norwegians more than un œuf eggs

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: lost in translation

To avoid confusion with numbers do not use "separators" just write the full number (commas are bad enough but using a decimal point is deranged as begging to be misinterpreted)

Commas make the number far, far easier to read for your average human, if not for a machine. Also note that to be pedantic, "." is not a decimal point, for that you really should use "·" like wot yer teachers taught you to write by hand at school.

3·141592

I did once see an accounting calculator that used apostrophes for separators:

1'234'567.890

M.

2
0
Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Things have moved on a lot.

Things have moved on a lot.

Okay, the language of the article is a bit odd, but it's basically understandable, and that's going on both ways.

Google Translate is a surprise - it's not perfect, but useful. If you know that your text will be translated on a machine, the trick is to use short uncertain phrases in the original.

Often, I need to do English-> Welsh translations and Google is an excellent starting point. It needs human beings, but it saves a lot of time.

Heb fod yn ddrwg - Saesneg -> Cymraeg -> Saesneg, heb law am "short uncertain phrases"!

:-)

M.

1
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018