* Posts by defiler

993 posts • joined 18 Oct 2010

Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

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Seen in the wild!

I helped a customer out just yesterday and was flabbergasted that she was running Edge as her browser of choice. I thought better of offering alternatives - not my place to go around confusing people.

Facebook posts put Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli in prison as a danger to society

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I don't think you're allowed to dump radioactive waste at the bottom of the ocean, though. Besides, would that not give them superpowers or something?

Nope - that's pretty-much the only flaw I can find. Swap the rads for ballast, and let's start looking at implementation.

New Horizons probe awakens to receive software upgrade

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Totally this ^^^

I remember The Fear when flashing the firmware on Adaptec 2940UW cards. I also remember the panic when one failed, but then I hacked that machine to boot off something else and bring up the SCSI later.

I imagine that's not really an option in this case. :-/

AMD Ryzen beats Intel Core i7 as a heater (that's also a server)

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I've thought of this often

Except that you really don't want the headache of water-cooling your rack-mounted servers. A single leak becomes a real headache. Besides, datacentres are curiously tetchy about piping water in and around the machine halls... You can use Fluorinert or similar, but then you can't use plastic pipes and fittings. So then you're down to dragging the heat out of the air.

I also wouldn't want to get a plumber out in an emergency. It was bad enough waiting for the IBM guy to turn up for a cooling fault. 8 days, and he still made an arse of it - put on so much thermal paste you'd have thought he was laying tiles...

But anyway - hot air -> aircon -> fluid -> heat pump to ramp up the temperature -> ??? -> profit!

SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

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Re: Getting bored now

It's Apollo 12.

First time out it was amazing. Now, I nearly skipped past the video. But I didn't, so it's okay.

They've made the startling commonplace, and well done to them!

We don't need another hero: Huawei overtakes Apple – even without a big-hitter

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Recently got an Honor 8 Pro

I have to say, it's an astounding phone. Very, very quick. Huge, bright, clear screen. Got 3 days out of a charge. I'm not surprised they're doing well.

My wife picked up a Samsung Galaxy S8, and I think I prefer mine. The S8 has a *slightly* bigger screen in a *slightly* smaller case, but I'm not a fan of the screen-to-the-edge thing. And I can shove 2 SIMs in mine, which seems to be lacking from the Samsung lineup as sold in the UK.

Oracle 'systematically denies' its sales reps their commissions, forces them to work to pay off 'debts', court told

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Oracle fans

AMBxx asked 3 days ago:

"Any Oracle fans out there?"

Fewer and fewer with each passing hour, I suspect.

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Sales is hard

Sales is hard, and it's necessary. You go around being told "no" a hell of a lot of the time. Someone once described it to me as "collecting nos".

For every 100 calls you make, you might get one person to speak to you face-to-face. For every 100 meetings, you might get one good deal out of it. Referred business is a different game.

I once thought the same of sales, until I ended up having to do it. Then all your technical knowledge in almost worthless.

However, I will concede that some salespeople need kept on a lead to stop them promising the impossible...

Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

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Re: infinity monkeys in infinite time....

"A seven year old contributing to the SMTP messaging system would surely have been news at the time and remembered."

I dunno - RFC821 was spectacularly simple. A bright 7-year-old using the IRC name "OldD00d1964" could have helped. After all, my son seems to know everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) about Nintendo...

Whoosh, there it is: Toshiba bods say 14TB helium-filled disk is coming soon

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Re: Fuck a duck!


Colour centrefold on the Internet? Wouldn't be Lena Soderberg by any chance? I still remember her being used as one of the JPEG test subjects...

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Re: Need to check if it's any use for A/V storage

Only if you're writing for a hifi magazine. Best use one of those directional network cables...

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Fuck a duck!

My first HDD was 20MB in my old Archimedes, and I know plenty of people who had smaller drives before me.

Remember having to clear out 650MB to make an ISO before writing a CD? Kids today etc etc...

Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

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Re: Smart meters and electricity storage


Yep - certainly not looking for a fast answer. As I say, it's something that struck me whilst driving. However, I'll make the observation that the point at which the electricity is drawn from your parked vehicle would surely be when the spot price of electricity is very high. Otherwise there's no point in drawing that energy out.

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Re: Smart meters and electricity storage


"The idea of being paid a profitable rate for your re-export may sound nice"

That's not what I'm driving at, though. I'm just looking to be paid the same to export a kWh as I paid to import it. I'd "happily" accept the losses due to chemistry, inverters etc - that would be a price I'd sort-of expect to pay. I just think it's unreasonable for me to pull electricity into the house at rate n and for the electricity company to be able to demand that back out again at rate n/4 when all I've done is kept it safe for them.

Also just wait for the first Enron-a-like to notice that they can "flip" electricity through their customers and glean 3n/4 for each kWh they manage to channel. Cha-ching!

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Smart meters and electricity storage

I had a small thought on this over the weekend. It's an idea that's been floated a few times - when we all have electric cars, these can be used to provide "surge" supply onto the grid, rather than using pumped storage hydro and similar. That way, it's all nicely distributed, and the end user picks up the tab for providing the infrastructure. The thing is, though, that if you've spent 15p/kWh (for example) charging your car, you don't want to sell that back to the grid at wholesale 4p/kWh (or whatever it is). That gives the supplier a huge incentive to draw electricity from you.

So, an export meter won't work.

What you want in this case is a meter that'll run backwards, to fully refund you for the electricity you're providing. Only they've got rid of all of these.

Not sure there are enough faces to palm over this whole project.

Boffins turn to AI to zip through piles of gravitational lenses

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Re: Have I Got This Right?

Yep. That's pretty-much neural nets.

There are no hard and fast rules. Just a bunch of weightings. Imagine, if you will, a flawed analogy:

You have a machine with a video feed going in at one end, and an 8x8 grid of knobs to turn. None of the have any labels, and there is no map of how each one is wired together. At the other end is a screen that gives you stats on what is detected in the image.

That's pretty much it.

By testing the machine's output and saying "colder" or "warmer", you instruct a marvellous mechanical golem to tweak the knobs more-or-less randomly until it converges on some settings that *appear* to give the correct result on the training data.

Then the real challenge is to repeat that success with fresh test data, so that the net detects tanks instead of cloudy days...

Two million customer records pillaged in IT souk CeX hack attack

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CVV code

I thought it was illegal / a breach of regs to retain the CVV. That's why every time my wife wants to use JustEat, it's a hunt for the card...

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

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Re: Yeah... this is one of the many reasons..

"It started it's life with XBMC"

Pah - you're a newcomer unless you had XBMP on a chipped XBox. :D

(Now on my 8th XBMP/XBMC/Kodi device - those Rapsberry Pis work a treat, especially with CEC!)

If at first you don't succeed, you're Microsoft trying to fix broken Excel 2016

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Re: When the only tool you have is Excel


That's good to know, thanks. That update wasn't available when we had to make the choice, and I'm grizzly enough to assume that any 32-bit task will slam into the stops when it hits 2GB. It'll save us some mucking about with other clients though.

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Re: When the only tool you have is Excel

We have clients for whom we've had to deploy 64-bit Excel because some of their spreadsheets were getting worryingly close to 2GB RAM in use. Surely there has to be a better tool for this. In fact, we've suggested better ways for them to do it. But no, Excel all the way and damn the RAM.

'Driverless' lorry platoons will soon be on a motorway near you

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Re: what's wrong with the Australian road train setup?


Thank you - I did look, but I had thought it was Stobart so I had no chance!

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what's wrong with the Australian road train setup?

This, and very much this.

There is legislation on the maximum length of artics in the UK, and having road-train-style vehicles is banned. I remember a few years ago a news article that Eddie Stobart (I think) were trialing oversized lorries that were technically too long for the road, but they said they'd basically wing it.

This wireless trial would seem to dodge that legislation by making them separate physical entities, even though they are operated together. Surely the simpler solution would be to legislate to permit road-trains instead on certain routes. Same saving on fuel and salaries.

Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

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When it hit that limit... everything stopped until we could free up some space

I know that feeling, too. But with Exchange it was a case of "everything stopped and God couldn't make it work again".

There may have been ways to coax it back to life, but I didn't take the chance. When Exchange 2003 SP2 came out, I'd always set the limit to 72GB in the registry, keeping those 3GB in hand for the inevitable emergency when it would hit the stops.

Telling the boss "all of the company email will stop in 4 months if nobody clears out" had the desired effect (unusually). That company was still using Exchange 2003 in 2012, with the same 72GB mailstore limit...

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Your high horse is getting tired...

Back in the day we had a 4GB limit on the Exchange mailstore. Not per mailbox, but for the whole database. Sure, at the time that was a lot, but when you have 100 staff in a solicitor's office, it's amazing how quickly it goes.

"Well you can pay for Enterprise, or we can extract the data to PST, but please be careful with them" becomes "Well you can pay... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... or we can extract... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..." which is quickly answered by "the second one".

Also, bear in mind that around these parts, partner solicitors don't draw a (meaningful) salary, but take a split of the profit at the end of the year. So when you ask them to pay for something, that's taking money out of their pocket.

This story is agonisingly familiar - I have been the miracle-worker for this kind of crap more times than I really want to consider.

El Reg gets schooled on why SSDs will NOT kill off the trusty hard drive

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Re: This was my grandfather's HDD.

Not a Deskstar then?

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Re: What's in it for me?

The benefit is speed. And for the short term that's the only benefit. But it is a *huge* difference in speed.

For bulk, HDD will spin along for a while to come - that much is certain. As others have said, perhaps SSD will be "just another tier" - after all, you don't need to stream movies from SSD, for example. In that case you're probably better off with HDD and a lot of buffer RAM.

SSD is allowing huge data densities (at a cost), but I'm not convinced there's much appetite for that at the moment. Not whilst it's cheaper to just rack up the HDDs.

As always, the market will decide. I fully expect in 20 years HDDs will be an anachronism. But then we'll all be panicking about the Unix epoch rollover. :)

Oldest flying 747 finally grounded, 47 years after first flight

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Re: For some jobs; you really do need 4 engines.

The military tend to like having more than two engines in their big jets. I daresay there'll be surplus, retired tankers (for example), or even the option for approved customers (like those testing engines for air forces, for example) to buy these aircraft new.

(Although I don't expect the engine manufacturers give a damn about having a new plane so long as the thing flies safely.)

Private sub captain changes story, now says reporter died, was 'buried at sea' – torso found

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Well, the dismembered body was her after all

BBC News have it as a DNA match (although my fingers automatically type DNS).

I suspect Mr Madsen has some significant explaining to do...

German police seize 5,000 Donald Trump-shaped dance biscuits

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We have the best glow-sticks. The best.

And painters masks. Believe me, I know painters masks, and we're going to make Vicks great again!

Space boffins competing for $20m Moon robot X-Prize are told: Be there by March 31 – or bust

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LOL at "only ~doubling the dV" :D

Keep the payload small. Really small. Sure, there's nothing in service that can get a crew of 3, with a lander, a car, some shovels and cameras, a computer massing 35kg, a second computer massing 35kg, a ready supply of flags, enough fuel to get home, and some spiffy costumes to the moon; but I'm comfortable that SpaceX (for example) could get a small robot there.

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Re: Keep in mind it took (at its peak) nearly 5% of the US federal budget to do it in 9 years.

To be fair, they're also just* dropping a robot.

For certain values of "just" that involve transporting a robot to the moon and landing it intact on the surface. But at least they don't have to worry about a greasy thing wrapped in a t-shirt.

Surfacegate: Microsoft execs 'misled Nadella', claims report

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@emullinsabq Re: When MS Was Good

"Windows 95 was good. It offered a 32-bit memory model to the masses at a reasonable price."

I got OS/2 Warp (v3) in 1994. It was the red-spine version, and cost less than my copy of Windows 95 that I bought in 1995. And it gate a proper 32-bit memory model. And it was rock-solid, even when I was showing off playing Descent in a Windows whilst writing a CD (you know, the proper *gold* ones that were a fiver a pop, and you had to put into a caddy before inserting into the drive).

Windows 95 was not good. It was adequate. But it was bearable in 4MB of RAM, unlike OS/2 (to be fair).

Intel's diversity numbers are out – and that 'push' has become more of a 'gentle nudge'

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It can't be easy

Two things strike me here.

1) In a company whose staff is actually shrinking (https://www.statista.com/statistics/263567/employees-at-intel-since-2004/), you can only replace leavers. You can't go on a massive hiring boost to pad numbers and demographics. And many of those leaving will also be in this cryptic URM group.

2) You can only hire from the available pool of job-seekers. It's been bemoaned time and time again that technology education is shockingly under-attended by women, for example. I don't know the stats by race (and being in the privileged position of white, middle-aged male, it's not something I've felt compelled to actively seek out, to be honest), but if I'm interviewing for the same post at the same salary and one candidate is massively more educated and qualified than the other, I'll go with the qualifications regardless of race or gender. The problem needs fixed from below, and that is something that Intel can have a hand in changing, but it takes time.

As a footnote, I'd like to hope that these groups are being represented evenly(ish) across the spectrum of (shall we say) "job prestige". It's no good having all the managers white/asian, all the janitors latino, and then celebrating "diversity" - you've just reinforced Alphas and Epsilons...

Brit uni builds its own supercomputer from secondhand parts

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Re: CPU cores haven't got much faster* recently

Of course the individual cores haven't got much faster, but the density has. HPC is not a single-threaded game, and the throughput of a physical server is still skyrocketing. Similarly, the performance per Watt is racing upwards.

The cost of optimising code on a large HPC installation pales when compared to the cost of powering the thing. All I'm saying is that there's a crossover beyond which it's uneconomical to use older hardware, even if it's free. I'm not even saying that Durham have reached that - merely pointing out that it's a huge factor in the decision to acquire something like this.

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Ghetto but good

The problem is that if you're really going for HPC, the power requirements of the old kit (FLOPS/Watt) get pretty nasty pretty fast. Not to say there's no purpose in doing this, but it's always worth working out where the cut-off on running costs is - how much electricity can you get for the money you save, and how much work can you get done for that.

That said, for small businesses (and university departments), old gear is great for running file/email/whatever servers. Just make sure you have enough redundancy for failures.

NEWSFLASH Now even science* says moneybags footballers are overpaid

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Ten grand a week?

Those poor bastards. How do they manage to put a crust on the table?

Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'

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Re: The man thing...

Although Jay Leno said that the car saved the horse. They stopped becoming work tools and started being instruments of leisure.

If 99% of the cars on the road were electric, and the other 1% were cosseted classics, I'd be delighted and the air would be cleaner (provided the electricity were clean).

At least then you'd know that a noisy car would also be a visual treat instead of an 18-year-old in his mum's Corsa with holes punched in the exhaust and a liberal approach to the accelerator.

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Re: I already consider diesel socially unacceptable

I never see soot coming out of my diesel. The Volvo I got stuck behind on Wednesday, on the other hand... I suspect that sooty diesels are either (a) broken, or (b) have some lead-footed neanderthal at the wheel.

You want to race? Take it to a track.

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Re: Acceptable??

That's an exceptional use case, though, and it's these which are always wheeled out against electric cars, small cars, anything that makes less mess than the Mustang they have their eye on.

"I can't carry a cement mixer in it."

"I can't drive 400 miles without having to stop for a 2-hour charge"

"I want to be able to sit 19 kids in it"

"I want to be able to drive at 120mph"

<insert other fringe use scenario here>

The truth is that for *most* people, a couple of hundred miles range is fine. And for most of the rest, a couple of hundred miles range is fine for *most* of the time. The trick is finding something to fill out these fringe cases. And usually it's not something you need to *own*.

Also, your mum could drive across Nevada (322 miles) in a Tesla Model S without stopping due to its 300-380 mile range. Although admittedly that's a fringe-case car then.

I bemoan my commute regularly, but I can easily get 40 miles into the range of the crappiest G-Whiz or whatever. And even a "long" drive for me is a couple of hundred miles. Maybe once a year I'll need more range than that, and I don't consider myself exceptional in that regard.

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Re: Moving sidewalks

"How did they handle intersections?"

Tuck and roll.

Dark web souk AlphaBay shuts for good after police raids

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Re: Frog

Was thinking just that.

Well that's Christmas shopping tied up early this year!

PC sales still slumping, but more slowly than feared

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"Even gamers are getting off the endless upgrade cycle."

There's always been a push for *some* gamers to have the latest and greatest, then the majority to have a mid-spec gaming machine, and then the obligatory "long tail", and for the leading edge there's not much point any more.

But! VR is pushing the hardware requirements further and faster than Chris Roberts ever did. Suddenly you need twice as much, and you probably want it twice as fast.

There's always something new to push things onwards, even if it's just higher resolution. As for me, I'd like to grab a Vive, but I'll also need to upgrade the whole PC. Short of that, my machine is perfectly adequate for any games I've thrown at it. So, taking my machine as an example, there's a chasm between what's fine on a screen and what's fine on a headset.

Onwards and upwards!

AI vans are real – but they'll make us suck at driving, warn boffins

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Re: The future:

That's all well and good until I need a car to get to work. And I'm expected to be at work at the same time as everyone else. So either I have a car, or a car is available for me.

Sure, sure - you can use peak pricing to let my parents grab a car an hour later much cheaper, but that's still a shitload of automated cars that have to be provided by <someone>. So they all need paid for.

Adult toy retailer slapped down for 'RES-ERECTI*N' ad over Easter

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Re: Erm

Exactly my thought - you seem to have just got back from buying a sandwich a little quicker! :P

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But hang on...

Isn't Easter really all about springtime and nature coming into bloom? And isn't that really all about the flora and fauna getting it on? So doesn't that make Easter inextricable associated with sex?

Come on!!

BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

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Not scary - true

Best way to push through a change is to tell nobody. Unless there's going to be something obvious, and even then most of them will bloody miss it.

The amount of work I do without advising users of a change... <sigh>

CityFibre snaps up Entanet for £29m and plans to raise £185m

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Re: Are Cityfibre any good?

If it's *really* important to you, register a company. Pay it with your own money, and have it pay for the broadband.

Bit of a faff having to submit accounts and all, so it may not be worth your while, but I don't know how desperate you are. :-/

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Are Cityfibre any good?

Honest question, because they'll be rolling right past our door, and a few hundred Mb/sec connectivity would be really useful for certain things.

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude

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Re: Will she do the housework?

Now I can't shake the notion of banging a Roomba...

Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

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Holy crap - I saw it!!

Am I going to catch Teh Gay now?? Seriously, I don't have good enough taste in clothing.

Didn't this bums-to-the-wall mentality disappear after leaving school?

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