* Posts by Martin an gof

636 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010

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HTML5 may as well stand for Hey, Track Me Longtime 5. Ads can use it to fingerprint netizens

Martin an gof
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uMatrix is probably the best option these days since the new version of NoScript is a bit busted

Never used uMatrix - thanks for the heads-up, I'll have a look - but after a couple of weeks of really not working at all well, now that it seems to have settled down I am actually getting to quite like the new NoScript UI.

Like most of these things though, getting NoScript or any other blocker to work the way you want it, and not "break" too much of the web does take some effort, and I know very few people who are willing to put that effort in. Even at home, the others all moan when they go to a new website which doesn't work first time because of NS's default block policy.

M.

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Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

Martin an gof
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Re: I little off topic, but...

Many years ago I worked master control for our local network affiliate TV station

Sorta puts the UK system to shame as this recent story on the BBC news site explains: Hawaii false alarm: How would UK handle missile threat?

When I worked in independent radio we had the "obituary alarm", and that was it, really. This was controlled by IRN (independent radio news) and simply closed a relay at our end. My boss had arranged it so that an orange strobe flashed in the lobby outside the on-air studios. Oh yes, and a bleeper (that wouldn't be heard inside the studios) played "Yellow Rose of Texas". It was pot luck whether or not the jocks actually noticed.

The procedure was to PFL (listen) to the IRN feed for instructions, maybe put the "obit" tape on, but assume that eventually all programming would be handed over to IRN. There was a list of people for whom the alarm would be activated and, I assume, it might also be activated in a time of national emergency.

The only time it was used "in anger" during my tenure as an engineer at the radio station was for the death of Diana, princess of Wales.

After that, the list of people was considerably shortened.

Interesting to note that every (FM) radio station in the UK broadcasts RDS and even the cheap, dumb decoder we used could switch on the "emergency broadcast" flag if we so chose, thus causing any switched-on radios to retune to hear the broadcast. Since there was no legal requirement for us to be able to do so, it wasn't even wired up.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Confirmation checkbox needed

What it needs is

What it needs is for the confirmation dialogue for the real message to look significantly different to the one for the test message, and preferably have the "cancel / confirm" boxes in different relative locations. That way even a half-asleep operator doing the weekly test run would sit up and say, "uh, what? Who changed the... oh. Oops".

Or ditch the drop-down dialogue with the two options next to each other?

Or have a special "test mode" in the software that must be engaged every time a test is run, in much the same way we must put our fire alarm in "test mode" before running a test in order to avoid calling the fire brigade?

M.

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CPU bug patch saga: Antivirus tools caught with their hands in the Windows cookie jar

Martin an gof
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Re: Only M$

Surely if MS do it then it's a supported call into kernel memory?

Wikipedia

Starting in the 1990s, Microsoft was accused of maintaining "hidden" or "secret" APIs: interfaces to its operating system software that it deliberately keeps undocumented to gain a competitive advantage in its application software products

M.

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Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

Martin an gof
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Re: Who didn't see this coming?

My wife, who is a professional graphic designer, got fed up with Adobe and switched (well, is switching, since not all programs are ready, apparently) to Affinity programs.

Just like to put in a word for Xara here. No connection other than as a happy user, though the thing is Windows-only which is a bit of a problem if your existing setup is Apple.

Xara Designer Pro

M.

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How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini

Martin an gof
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Re: Ordered

I don't think the Psions had one and I don't think it was an issue at the time.

Given that the keyboard on my 5mx was good enough to touch-type, I never felt the lack of a backlight. Also, of course, the screen itself was never the brightest (even with the backlight) so the tendency was not to use it in pitch black!

M.

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Beyond code PEBCAK lies KMACYOYO, PENCIL and PAFO

Martin an gof
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Or Costley and partners solicitors, and Crook and Blight estate agents. You don't have to make it up, it's all there just for the taking. Probably a variant on New Scientist's Nominative Determinism. I would post a link to NS, but it's mostly paywalled so that's the Wikipedia article.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: SFA

Ffa Coffi Pawb

Which, for the avoidance of doubt, is Welsh for "everyone's coffee beans" and not - repeat not - what your smutty English-phoneme-filled minds have just thought ;-)

M.

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'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'

Martin an gof
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Re: Mechanics

I do wonder if mechanics have to deal with...

I used to use that as an analogy to help people understand why I would get a bit short with them if they did something "dumb" with the computer - you know, complaining the printer's broken when it's actually not "online" or is out of paper, moaning that updating the spreadsheet takes hours, when they've hard-coded (say) VAT at 15% into every single calculation and need to change it to 17.5% (that dates me!), handing me a floppy disc encrusted with dried-on hot chocolate because "it doesn't work for some reason and contains the only copy of that database"(*). And these, not (always) from general office staff who were just shown how to switch the computer on and expected to get on with it; the spreadsheet one in particular was from a user who had just been on a three-day Excel training course!

Imagine, I used to say, that you have just passed your driving test and after a week or so of driving quite successfully to work your car conks out. When the AA man finally arrives, he diagnoses lack of petrol. "But I never had to put petrol in my instructor's car!"

Sounds stupid - who on earth could own a car and not know that it needs fuel to run?

There comes a time for all people who do "IT support", be it as an official job or just because "well, you know about computers, don't you?" when they realise that these stories they have always considered to be urban myths - things not plugged in, the mouse that can't go further across the desk, the computer not working in a power cut, the black-and-white logo scanned at 24bits and 600dpi and emailled to everyone in the entire group in the days of MS Mail running on (at best) Windows 3.11 with 4Meg and inter-site communications via 14k4 modems from a mail server with a '286 and 40MB HDD are not actually myths, but absolutely true.

<sigh>

M.

(*)I actually recovered nearly everything from that floppy by dint of extricating the actual disc (it was a 3.5"), running it under the kitchen tap and replacing it in the body of a sacrificial disc. I did ask the person why they hadn't called me as soon as they spilled the hot chocolate, instead of a fortnight later when they desperately needed the data, and as far as I remember there was not even an attempt at a satisfactory reply.

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UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Martin an gof
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Re: The turn of the millenium called...

Not sure how much bandwidth 4K streams use on Netflix

In another thread recently I had cause to look it up. Netflix recommends a 25Mbps connection for 4k viewing. Making some wild assumptions (it's certainly a variable rate, and the actual figure will therefore depend heavily on content), let's call the video stream 20Mbps.

20Mbps is around 2MBps of real data, which is 120MB/min, which is 7,200MB/hr or approximately 7GiB per hour.

If you watched all your television as 4k Netflix streams, and watched an average of - let's say - four hours a day (possibly an underestimate, particularly if there are children in the house), that would equate to well over 800GiB per month, just for TV.

Whether you could actually find four hours a day of 4k to watch is another matter :-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Stringing Fibre

wound the fibre around the ground line on pylons

The name you are looking for is Energis. I remember back in my dial-up days with Demon, dialling-in via their Energis lines was slightly cheaper than via their BT lines.

There is one run around here where the fibre wasn't strung along the protective earth line, but along one of the power wires. If you don't mind Google Street View, try here or here for two views of the same line.

M.

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the data centre temp's delightful

Martin an gof
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fibreglass wool insulation

I was a Part-P certified self-employed electrician for a while, and one of the reasons I got out of the business (other than the lure of a regular paycheck from a regular employer) was attic work. Freezing in winter, sauna in summer and particularly the blasted glass wool insulation.

If we need a wool material to insulate our new house, we are definitely using actual sheep wool.

M.

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TalkTalk banbans TeamTeamviewerviewer againagain

Martin an gof
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Why do BalkBalk have customers?

They must be some proper thickos

I would never admit to being a TT customer, but due to the fact that my exchange has just BT and TT available, the ISP that I pay money to is actually reselling me TT. So, a customer, though an indirect one.

Oh, and I get really good service from my ISP despite them having (presumably) to deal with TT on my behalf :-)

M.

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Ey-up, mardy Rochdale council has dropped plans for ban on swearing. Thank f$ck!

Martin an gof
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Re: Simple solution

bring back free parking

That's what they said around here, when roadworks scheduled to last a year at a well-known choke-point pretty much gridlocked the town centre.

No, what would help in this instance is not taking 12 months to do a job that really shouldn't take longer than 12 weeks. Oh, and not scheduling to do it in the run-up to Christmas!

M.

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Google asks browser rival Vivaldi to post uninstall instructions

Martin an gof
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Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

Ask Jeeves for me used to be brilliant, however this was about 14 years ago when Lycos was my second go to search engine

Never managed to make Jeeves work properly for me. Back in the day, my usual search engines were Altavista or Metacrawler. The simple use of "+", "-" and "quotes around phrases" was a revelation (was it actually introduced by Altavista?)

M.

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Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Martin an gof
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Re: Pen-y-gors

Even dealerships won't stock partss in colour

Many plastic parts are made to a colour, not painted after sale. They may not stock it, and if you want one you'll have to order the correct colour. I needed to buy a new wing mirror for my car a few years ago after some local yobs had wrenched it off in the middle of the night (yes, I woke up and saw them doing it). The actual structural part with the motors and everything was quite expensive, but it's fortunate they hadn't damaged the coloured shell which clips on to the main part - not only would I have had to wait a week or more for one to be delivered, it would have (IIRC) cost about the same amount of money.

Dismantling that door to get at the attachments wasn't fun either - sound deadening was provided by a glued-on foam sheet, which it was impossible to remove without damaging. The door makes a different sound to the others to this day!

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

did you have the old SEDAT crate

Yup, that rings a bell. Dirty great 2m dish on the roof and the downlead was made of corrugated iron or something - a pig to re-terminate anyway. Also brought IRN audio and "network" for things like the Chart Show. If I remember correctly it was designed to do uplink too, but we never did.

M.

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Martin an gof
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(re: ob)

The very first OB I did for the radio station was for the launch of the National Lottery. Bearing in mind I'd been in the job about six weeks at this point, I was slightly amused to turn up on site to see the head and shoulders of a BT engineer emerge from a manhole and proffer me a (slightly) twisted pair with the ends bared.

"There's your line".

Of course, this was before digital lines, ISDN etc. It was (IIRC) something called an "EPS85", which was an 8kHz analogue line back to the exchange, where another engineer jumpered it to the line going to our studio. This was also in the days when we had the phone numbers for the exchange racks rooms and could call the phone nearest the place where our lines terminated to get the attention of the on-site engineer.

Screwed the pair into our "connect anything to anything" box, plugged that into the mixer, and within a few minutes we were on air. Simpler times.

Helped the local station do an OB from the museum I now work at a few months ago. They were panicing because they couldn't get a good enough WiFi connection for their email to work on one laptop, and the other laptop - which was supposed to be able to remote-control the playout system - wouldn't see the network at all. So many people in the area that 3G and 4G were out of the question. Fortunately they were doing audio via ISDN.

Them upstairs keep trying to take my ISDN off me, but they can pry it from my cold dead hands :-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

Duly authorised to jump in the car and spend an hour driving across London

Not confined to computers of course. I had a similar one when working at a radio station. Back in the day, IRN (Independent Radio News) sent headlines over a satellite serial link direct to a dot-matrix in the newsroom, fed with a huge box of fanfold.

The serial link was a little temperamental (particularly if the printer had gone offline for any reason and the buffer was full), but it usually "just worked".

One Saturday morning I was bleeped out of my bed by the pager and rang in to find a panic-ridden reporter, the first in the newsroom that morning at maybe 5am, who needed to create news and sports headlines and bulletins but was looking at a printer that hadn't printed anything since about 6pm the night before.

"Yes, the paper is in straight and hasn't jammed"

"Yes, the power is on"

"Yes, the 'on-line' light is on"

"Yes, I have tried pressing the 'on-line' button"

"No, there isn't a red warning light"

"No, the light isn't flashing on the serial extender box"

So I crawled out of bed and drove the 20 minutes into town (60 at rush hour), reasoning that for whatever reason, the serial link had gone to sleep again and just needed a gentle reboot. It was locked away in the racks room, to which nobody had access except us engineers - I was one of two.

Nope, serial link seems ok.

Trudge upstairs.

Press "on line".

Twelve feet of overnight news somehow magically appeared at my feet.

Gave the hack a dirty look and returned to bed.

Wasn't the first time I'd met this sort of thing, and it sure wasn't the last. (Some) people just panic in these situations and can't think straight. Computers just seem to make them even more prone to panic and cluelessness.

Had a call on another Saturday when I was at the top of a local mountain, walking the dog. In the days of the printer problem above I had no mobile phone (the company wouldn't stump up for one and they were too expensive for me) so I had to stay within a couple of minutes of a landline. By now I had a mobile.

I diagnosed the problem very quickly - one of the channels on the on-air desk was dead or dying - and suggested that if the presenter needed that piece of equipment (a reel-to-reel) urgently he could simply plug it into a different (spare) channel, and I'd fix the thing properly on Monday. This involved swivelling his chair 90 degrees, identifying the leads in the connection panel (they were marked) and moving them one slot to the right (or left or something).

He flat out refused to do this and insisted I come in, which I did, bringing the dog as well, who proceeded to snuffle around the studio, under all the furniture, trying to make friends with the presenter, while I spent five seconds moving a couple of plugs and another ten seconds checking that the tape played properly in the new channel.

One step worse was the on-air "talent" who called me at 11pm one evening to complain that "half the mixer isn't working". I discovered that the bloke on air before him had been celebrating his last live show with the station and tipped half a bottle of cider in the desk. Fortunately, that desk had a separate electronics pod (and a drainage hole right above the presenter's crotch) and all he'd managed to do was drown a few faders in sticky sugary drink. But he hadn't owned up and had handed over to the next guy who had then "soldiered on" with (IIRC) just one working microphone, one working CD player and some cart machines for maybe an hour before calling me.

The obvious solution was to move him to the spare studio, a procedure which required pushing a couple of buttons to "offer" and "accept" the handover. It was quite literally next door, but he refused to move because it would mean packing up his bits and moving them too.

Instead I dismantled the desk while he continued to present his show and washed half a dozen conductive plastic Penny & Giles faders under the kitchen tap. I think I saved all the resistance elements and just replaced a couple of the wipers.

Sorry, must be the season for recounting ancient history.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: JSON?

Hungarian friend of mine is called Norbert

But Norbert is Norwegian, not Hungarian.

M.

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Poor NASA sods sent to spend Xmas in Antarctic ahead of satellite launch

Martin an gof
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Re: deja vu

I was part of a 3-person team that did exactly the same thing

Genuine question then - these reflective targets, how long do they last before they are covered in snow and can't be seen by the satellite?

M.

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Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

Martin an gof
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Re: Despair over Brexit and Trump?

Without Proportional Representation then all those votes are to no avail.

Which is why I also said "the voting system is a whole other argument". I wouldn't agree that the votes are always to no avail because there are numerous examples of individual MPs being kicked out against the normal run of events, though living in an ex-industrial solidly-Labour area it does feel a bit pointless voting for any of the other candidates sometimes.

But the fact that there are other candidates - and at the last General Election there were six with us - can go some way to keeping the victorious candidate on his or her toes.

And of course the Assembly elections in "the nations" do have varied forms of proportional representation, as do (did) European elections.

A fully proportional system however, leading to constantly hung parliaments and coalitions (as seen in some European nations) may not be ideal either.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Despair over Brexit and Trump?

I think the Americans decided to vote for the better one of two very bad candidates

What they really need over there is some kind of third or fourth party. I think what they also need is a way to reduce the influence of "big money" on who is actually chosen as candidates.

I realise that in the UK we aren't perfect, our third and fourth (and fifth, sixth etc.) parties are never likely to gain power at Westminster by themselves (the voting system is a whole other argument) but they do hold a lot of influence and give people a genuine alternative at the voting booth on a constituency-by-constituency basis. Something like 11½% of the current UK parliament is made up of MPs who are not in one of the two main parties.

M.

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Someone tell Thorpe Lane in Suffolk their internet sucks – they're still loading the page

Martin an gof
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"Let's say three people. It's enough to need 10Mbs for adequate performance."

No, it isn't. If you're viewing complex interactive websites, and all three of your working at once, sharing 10mbps would cause annoying delays while waiting for content to load.

Horses for courses, innit? It all depends on what you expect to do with it.

I live in a household of two adults and four school-age children. We certainly don't stream 4k Netflix (and I acknowledge that Netflix recommend a minimum 25Mbps for that) or do online gaming but we do do many the other things you might expect. Our 6Mbps (down sync) connection rarely limits things and quite frankly nobody here is bothered if a website loads in 2 seconds, 5 seconds or 10 seconds. Websites in particular are "bursty" and it's amazing how little difference there is between one person browsing and three people browsing.

If we used Netflix, if two of the children were into online gaming, if we used IP phones or video calling, then I could see the 6Mbps being limiting occasionally. We have FTTC available locally, but (depending on supplier) as it would basically double the "broadband" part of our "broadband and calls" package (c£7/m to c£13/m), it's not something I'm rushing to order.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Could be worse...

He went on to explain that they only had one [phone] wire coming in from the phone company to the house. Not one pair. One *wire*.

Single-wire electricity supply is (used to be?) quite common in some very remote areas, for example in Australia. Not quite as daft as it sounds, you just need a really good earth connection (return path is via the bulk of the earth) and it saves you what could be miles and miles and miles of cable.

Here's the Wikipedia article

An engineering article

And a PDF

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Progress?

my dads never forgot the time I reversed charges

Made a reverse-charge call in mid Wales last year; no mobile coverage at all, the two phone boxes I found didn't accept coins and the card readers were broken (or at least, I couldn't get them to work). A minute or so on the phone to my dad, asking him to ring someone for me, cost him about five quid.

In case anyone wants to avoid the same situation, this is the place on OpenStreetMap. This is also the place, on Streetmap.co.uk which has an OS map showing one of the phones (to the left, just above the words "Ty'n y Celyn"). The other phone was right in the middle of the village and presumably has since been removed.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Would be interested to see...

Would be interested to see...

how many of the measured speeds they're using are via wireless rather than wired

If you want a proper measure of the true capabilities of a line you need dedicated equipment. Oddly enough, OFCOM with the SamKnows people have been doing this for years. I have a "whitebox" so old that it's actually black (a Linksys router).

M.

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Yes, Britain has an urban-rural 4G schism. This is what it looks like

Martin an gof
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Re: internal vs external

> Is this internal or external signal reception

You won't know. All these organisations are reporting are the outputs of their apps

Radio (broadcast radio) reception surveys used to be based on an aerial 10m above ground level, which was probably sensible when reception required an aerial on the roof, but somewhat overestimated the signal quality for a portable set in the kitchen.

While it would be nice to be able to differentiate between indoor and outdoor signals, the method described seems to be a reasonable way of doing a survey - giving real-life data.

M.

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Martin an gof
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I hear you about foil backed insulation, but the walls are relatively thin which means than any signal that gets through the windows can reach reach most of a room.

Many new windows have a metallic heat-reflecting layer these days. Entire house wrapped in tinfoil :-)

M.

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Inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 for PCs, mobes: Cortex-A75s, fat caches, vector math, security stuff, and more

Martin an gof
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Re: RaspberryPi 4?

The Raspberry Pi's went with a SoC vendor who was happy to provide them with open source drivers, IIRC.

No, they went with a SoC vendor with whom they already had a "good relationship" (Eben and Pete Lomas(?) worked for Broadcom) and who was willing to supply them with 10,000 of last-year's devices at pretty much bare-bones costs.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Maybe it's time for a kickstarter campain...

... to design and build a simple SoC without any of the crap everyone hates.

Isn't that the sort of thing you could do on an FPGA these days? Might make development easier, though it won't do anything for the speed :-)

M.

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Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander

Martin an gof
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Re: emulation of intel on ARM again....

My A420/1 emulated a 386 well enough to be competitive. Flew on StrongARM Risc PC

IIRC, the software emulator on early RiscOS actually emulated an 80186. It was perfectly fine for DOS programs, but Windows was a bit of a stretch, though that was partly because my A310 started life with a single floppy disc and 1MB RAM, so it was a bit of a squeeze even finding 640k for DOS. After the 4MB upgrade it was easier.

When I bought a RiscPC (initially with a 600-series ARM) I also bought the second processor option, which was a '386SX. Coupled with a hard drive, 4M main memory and 2M VRAM this actually made a very usable Windows 3.1 box, but there was no real emulation involved as DOS was running natively on the '386SX and the ARM was merely doing I/O duties.

That RiscPC - minus the '386 but now with 80MB main memory (luxury!) is actually still in daily use, I still prefer Impression for document creation but mostly it's used for email.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Linux?

Imagine adding a solid state drive

As I understand it, the storage is soldered-on eMMC or something and you're stuck with what you're given. That said, you could do a lot of useful Linux-y stuff with what you're given in these cases, and you can always slot in an SD card.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Imagine a netbook with a SIM card. Bingo

Not really though, is it? My personal definition of a netbook is something with a screen no bigger than about 10". 13" is "small laptop" territory which isn't to say that there isn't a market for these things (I remember when laptops came with built-in modems as standard) but that they don't quite fill that very-small-but-still-very-usable category the likes of the EeePC once created.

Or the Psion 5 :-)

M.

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Boss made dirt list of minions' mistakes, kept his own rampage off it

Martin an gof
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Re: Not IT-related

the vast majority of diesel "Multiple Unit" trains on the UK network are direct drive

Yup. The point I was making is that the OP had attributed the stepped acceleration he experienced on "Arriva Trains Wales" to the stepped electric motor effect, but none of the networks ATW run on are electrified, and all the DMUs they run are (AFAIAA) mechanical or hydraulic rather than Diesel-electric.

:-)

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: Not IT-related

Arriva Wales trains

What, the class 150, 142 and similar that are still in use and aren't electric at all, being Diesel hydraulic I believe. I believe some early ones had mechanical gearboxes.

They are horrid, noisy dirty, slow, inaccessible and can't carry enough passengers at peak times. But they won't be replaced (even though Arriva has pulled out of the race for the next contract) because there are still plans to update the valleys lines as part of the South Wales Metro plan, which may involve turning some lines from "heavy" to "light" rail, and may - or may not - involve electrification. Nobody can actually work out what sort of replacement to buy!

M.

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AT&T wants to bin 100,000 routers, replace them with white boxes

Martin an gof
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Re: It's Tuesday morning, let's hope BT are already analysing the white paper. @Adam Jarvis

barns and other buildings are connected only with telephone cables and cabling everything with fibre just isn't worthwhile

Something like this? Not as expensive as you might think, and perfectly usable for point-to-point links. I dare say other vendors have similar options.

M.

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Dick move: Navy flyboy flings firmament phallus for flabbergasted folk

Martin an gof
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Not the only one

It's probably a good place to point out that this sort of thing (though not necessarily quite so, erm, crude) seems to happen quite a lot!

M.

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BlackBerry Motion: The Phone That Won't Die

Martin an gof
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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

Running the battery down beyond 25% ... that's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery.

I keep hearing comments like this, and the matching "never charge above 90%", and I'm sure there must be some truth to it, but I have used Lithium-based batteries for years by treating them in a similar way to the way I used to treat Nickel-based batteries, and have never noticed accelerated ageing. My mobile phones are always charged to 100% and then discharged to maybe 10% - my Moto G is nearly 4 years old and I'm charging it right now, having last charged it on Friday evening (but I use it for phonecalls and texts mainly).

My EeePC (though it's been out of use for some months now) could still hold 5 or 6 hours of charge last time I used it, and that is nine years old.

Lithium batteries do apparently have a limited capacity for "recharge cycles" when compared with older NiCd and NiMH technologies - ISTR in the early days of Lithium phone batteries it was claimed to be just a few hundred cycles rather than a thousand or more. If this is still true, then someone who uses their device heavily and recharges it every day could easily run into problems after just a year or so, whereas I - recharging my phone probably on average once every five days - haven't yet had problems.

What absolutely does kill Lithium batteries, in my experience, is keeping them "topped up". I've seen plenty of examples of laptops with new batteries, used mainly at a desk and plugged in that when taken out die from lack of charge in ridiculously short times. We bought a new battery for a laptop at work and once we'd charged it up a couple of times it lasted a good three hours or so. However, it subsequently spent a year mostly sat on a desktop, plugged in. Next time we needed it to work on battery it lasted about 30 minutes.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: So...

a phone that ran on off-the-shelf alkaline AAs

I had one of those back in 1999 / 2000 or so. It was a Motorola with big rubbery keys and had a rechargeable pack, but if you took it out four AAs would fit in instead. Unfortunately they wouldn't stay in unless you had the fractionally deeper optional backplate. In an emergency you ended up holding the phone very carefully and hoping the batteries wouldn't fall out in the middle of a call.

As for capacity, with NiMH AAs these days coming near to 3000mAh (low self-discharge are lesser capacity), four of them (4.8V) would probably just about match a 4000 mAh LiOn (3.7V) for energy.

M.

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Linux 4.14 arrives and Linus says it should have fewer 0-days

Martin an gof
Silver badge

"it really would be lovely to have a smaller and calmer release for 4.15"

Best of luck with that then, as I gather there are some major updates already being pushed for AMD graphics systems. Stuff which I've been waiting for since I bought a '480 card a year or so ago and realised that I no longer had audio through the HDMI output.

Running OpenSuse Tubmbleweed, specifically so that I can get 4.15 as soon as possible :-)

M.

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Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

Trying to convert some 8-tracks for a friend, and that's proving to be a lot more trouble though (finding a player that still works).

I have a load of NAB cart players which use the same format cartridge, but run at 7½ips and with three tracks (stereo plus control) rather than eight. If you fancy fiddling about swapping heads or something, let me know. They are going spare at the moment, propping up a shelf in my soon-to-be-demolished garage.

I dare say there are companies "out there" who would provide the service. Here's one that does NAB cartridges (no mention of 8-track) that I found when looking for an image of the cart machines I have. Never used them, though I have used a different company to transfer some old 8mm film. I chose Cinenostalgia because they were near enough for me to drive down, and they did an excellent job at a good price. Don't think they do audio formats though.

M.

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Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

They changed the voltage a while back to 230V

No they didn't - they just changed the nominal value and the allowed tolerance, from 240V +/- 6% to (IIRC) 230V +/- 10%. This meant that nobody had to go about changing taps on distribution transformers (though new ones probably are installed to nominal 230V rather than 240V or the continental 220V) and manufacturers had to make sure their equipment could cope with the wide range of voltages encountered.

This had several effects; older equipment continued to work exactly as it used to, newer equipment with switch-mode power supplies couldn't care less (note that this change has also more-or-less coincided with the change away from incandescent bulbs), and people transporting electric kettles around the continent probably didn't notice that they took slightly longer to boil in Barcelona than they did in Basingstoke.

</pedant>

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Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Take a look at SlimJet

Try Netsurf. Small, fast, no Javascript so NoScript isn't an issue :-)

M.

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The day I almost pinned my tushie as a Google Maps landmark

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Grease is the word

Does anyone know why &lt; doesn't work?

Scroll down to "Formatting"

M.

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American upstart seeks hotshot guinea pig for Concorde-a-like airliner

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: I've seen their site. The story does not add up.

Reg Turnbull's book on Concorde

Really should try to look things up before posting :-)

The book is by the BBC correspondent Reginald Turnill (not Turnbull!) and called Celebrating Concorde, published 1994 long before the AF crash. It's well worth a read if you can find a copy - Reg was at most of the key events in person and includes quotes from his reports.

M.

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Martin an gof
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Re: I've seen their site. The story does not add up.

And if you can't radically lower the boom carpet you've still got a huge problem to deal with.

Reg Turnbull's book on Concorde espouses (if I remember correctly - I can't look it up right now) the conspiracy theory that many of the noise objections in the US were entirely politically motivated, and that the delays to the start of transatlantic service these caused were one of the main reasons airlines cancelled orders.

I wonder if a home-grown SST would have the same problems?

M.

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This could be our favorite gadget of 2017: A portable projector

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Specs

Throw is important to me too - my house is too small to get an average projector far enough away from the screen.

Look for projectors with "ST" in their name :-)

(never actually bought anything from Projectorpoint, but the website has lots of info, even if the revamp makes it a bit ukky these days)

M.

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Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: 450 quid

JBL always charge stupid money for their speakers which are not as transparent as I would like, hardly audiophile grade

Yeah, but they do have some nice built-like-a-tank units which sound pretty decent for not terrible amounts of money. Richer Sounds regularly has offers on the Control-1 speakers which aren't quite as good as the Control-1 pro, but remarkable for their size. Just don't even bother with the utterly awful ball mounting system.

The rest of the Control series is good in some ways, but I've blown fuses on my Control-5 speakers more often and more easily than should be possible :-(

M.

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Facebook's send-us-your-nudes service is coming to UK, America

Martin an gof
Silver badge

Re: Hash?

Or maybe (as others are suggesting), "hash" is just sloppy shorthand for what would actually be some kind of image recognition function? I gather Google has quite a good implementation?

That said, I've never really played with image recognition myself until recently. I have been trying it out using digiKam against my home photos. Not impressed so far - it has quite a lot of false positives just when trying to recognise what constitutes a "face" (even when I turn the "accuracy" right up), and one of the first tests I gave it - some shots of a railway station taken from the bridge, please find similar photos - it failed spectacularly, completely missing even near-identical shots in the same folder.

Anybody have any hints?

M.

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