* Posts by The answer is 42

49 posts • joined 19 Aug 2011

Happy birthday, you lumbering MS-DOS-based mess: Windows 98 turns 20 today

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Re: W98 and USB support

I think it was NT that was due a service pack with USB support, but it was superceded by XP. True?

UK's first transatlantic F-35 delivery flight delayed by weather

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I can't help thinking ablout the autopilot at the end of "Airport". Problem almost solved.

Crappy IoT on the high seas: Holes punched in hull of maritime security

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Nothing new...

About 10 years ago the family were on a cruise on Costa Victoria. I "won" a prize of a tour of the off-limits areas. The engine room was running off a pc running XP with a memory stick plugged in. How bad can it get?

Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it

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A steady job

A relative worked at Fylingdales early warning system in the 70s. He had a steady job replacing American transformers, as our US friends tested by plugging in and switching on. Some amazing kit passed through his hands. I remember a record deck with a motorised threaded shaft which carried the arm and needle from right to left so there was no distortion. Usless fact of the day- because of the Yorkshire winters they couldn't get out often so they built the biggest Scalextric track in the county/ country / world to keep themselves occupied.

Facebook invents new unit of time to measure modern attention spans: 1/705,600,000 of a sec

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In the good old days, light speed was 1 foot per nanosecond. Isn't that good enough?

A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

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Re: Filemaker

I think you mean Quattro- I remember it because whilst 123 could sort by 3 columns, Quattro could sort by 5. Lets not forget Lotus Symphony, which did database, spreadsheet, wordprocessing etc all cunningly concealed as a spreadsheet.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

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As one who was in the business, there is a well- trodden path to go down. FATS for factory acceptance tests, i.e. is it painted the right colour, is the red light on the left, etc. Then we move onto HATS, harbour acceptance trials i.e. does it float the right way up, does the radar work, DOES IT LEAK, are there sufficient sockets for kettles. Finally, SATS ( as above but at sea). Does it roll over, can it go back and forward, does it make a good "thrum" at full speed ahead. Who signed off Harbour Acceptance?

Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

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What did he do?

When I was an apprentice a mate rebuilt a Land Rover using the facilities of the material stores and replaced every bit of aluminium. His conversion to run it on Calor gas needed my assistance, as he was drawing off the gas so fast that the gas bottle was freezing. My solution- get a reel of 23/0076 wire, wind the cable round the gas cylinder and slap it across the battery. Eventually we worked out a control system (a switch) to stop the battery going flat.

Scared of that new-fangled 'cloud'? Office 2019 to the rescue!

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The problem is...

How do I get Access?

Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

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Do Americans have the same rules as the British?

Incoming fire has the right of way.

What you thought was a diversion is the main attack.

Remember-your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

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Re: I confess...

Leicester, the New Parks site.

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I confess...

I worked at a big Marconi site and every Monday morning, the main breaker had tripped out. It was traced back to my desk and an explanation was required. Me? Innocent! It turned out my kettle had a very slow leak to earth, when the kettle was unused over the weekend. It was enough current to trip out the main breaker. I had to buy another kettle myself.

Monster Scalextric Formula 1 circuit to go under the hammer

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Mines bigger than yours!

Not the biggest by a long way; in the 70s Fylingdales in Yorkshire was isolated by snow in winter so to amuse the UK and US staff had the biggest Scalextric layout. (Well they would, wouldnt they). A friend of a friend made a fortune fixing US kit that had been plugged into our mains.

Scoop! The inside story of the news website that saved the BBC

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Great article!

It continuously evolves, improving every time. One long-awaited change I want, though is the change from 4/3 to 16/9 aspect ratio to get rid of the wasted space down each side of the screen. Perhaps its still 4/3 for ancient monitors but couldn't a bit of script read the aspect and squeeze to 4/3 if required?

Reader input required: review our reviews

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Who is it for?

Make it clear who the review is aimed for; Blackberrys have good security (rumor 1) but are a fashion item down the local pub. NAS boxes are creeping further from business users down to domestic (rumor 2), so make it clear whether your review is aimed at the dolly-bird on the street corner or the sys admin stuck in the basement. Your "Best 10" are good, though.

20 years of GSM digital mobile phones

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Memory cards

The memory cards have changed as well; my first Sharp (with a 1.3 meg camera) took a 8Mb full-size SD card and my Nokia 6300 has a 128Mb micro-sd card.

Windows 8: An awful lot of change for a single release

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Load of Brick Glue!

They even named it after the stuff- Windows CE ME NT.

When our company got to Win 2000, we still had to supply a major customer with all files readable in Office 4.3 format, running on Win 3.1 as they wouldn't trust anything new (or couldn't screw it down tightly enough!)

Swiss boffins jump in Lake Lugano for Cray super

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:Never mind the birds

Fish like it warm as well; I seem to remember as a child, fish caught in the rivers near power station cooling tower outlets were bigger as well.

Got a BMW? Thicko thieves can EASILY NICK IT with $30 box

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Not again?

Porsche had this problem of code capture years ago; I can't remember how they solved it anymore. Lotus use "Dynamic coding" of the transmitter keys, so that an encrypted alarm code rolls or changes to guard against "Code capture" by anyone trying to nick it.

Samsung flogs 10 million Galaxy S IIIs in 7 weeks

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Old Fogey

I'll stick to my Nokia 6300, thanks.

(unpacks folding walking stick, shuffles off stage left)

Burnt Samsung Galaxy S III singed by external source, probe reveals

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Wash & spin-

I left a 16Gb USB memory stick in my jeans pocket once and my wife washed them on the 55 min cycle on our Bosch washer. 3 days in the airing cupboard for the byteStor memory stick fixed it fine. Have I got a got a good USB stick or a crap washer?

Atari turns 40: Pong, Pac-Man and a $500 gamble

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Those were the days..

In the 70s HP computers came with a 5 1/4 demo disk that had Pac-Man and a op-amp circuit on it. One could vary the components round the op-amp and see the frequency response on a split-screen (wow!) underneath in real time. That was used once then it was Pac-Man all the way. The designers at HP had put some cunning anti-piracy on the floppy; it had 42 tracks instead of the regular 40, and if tracks 41 and 42 weren't there it wouldn't play. Sods!

Gigapixel camera heralds new world of snoopery

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A few years ago someone used a Canon G series compact on a motor driven tripod to produce a hi-res photo of London, using software to stitch the images together. I reckon there is a Canon G series and a Playmobil team in that box, doing the same trick.

Vauxhall Ampera hybrid e-car

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Battery life?

Who is going to pay for a new set of batteries when they die? The first owner or the 4th? GM products ain't gonna last any longer than that! Can you imagine the poor owner trying to cram the batteries into the battery disposal box in the local supermarket?

Inside Nvidia's GK110 monster GPU

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Will it get me to my Friday beer quicker?

Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

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Confusion reigns

You youngsters got it easy- O level geography maps had to learnt twice, in case we got a map in inches per mile or centimetres per kilometre. When I got to college for HNC, we had to learn valves/transistors and thyratrons/thyristors because we were in another changeover.

At least electricity goes at a sensible speed; 1 nanosecond per foot, which was fine for a starting point for signal delays across pcbs.

Don't forget the bloody Euro lot do fuel consumption upside down as well as metric, its litres per 100km over there.

Coat, fold-out walking stick, stomps off stage left.

Solving traffic jams with maths

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When I were a lad...

In West Germany in the v early 60's they had it solved; in many towns, inductive sensors measured traffic flow, a box with transistors (or valves?) did the maths and a speed indicator on each lamp post told you the speed to do to hit the next light at green. Ok, it might have been only 20, but it was green all the way. Peace, calm, with no smoking tyres or brakes.

Google's self-driving car snags first-ever license in Nevada

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Me or Chocolate?

Just suppose I was googling along and there was a collision with another vehicle. If the other party was at fault, which one of us claims the insurance?

Basic instinct: how we used to code

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Good old days...

When I worked at the British United Shoe Machinery Company (yes, it was a mouthful) we hired computer time down a phone line in London and fed punched tape in at night; the result came back the next day. I still have my BBC Advanced User Guide in the attic, but dare not switch the BBC on in case capacitors have leaked and it goes bang! My clock is a few cycles out by now, it must be beer time.

A million TVs to go dark across London

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Don't matter to me..

Crystal Palace is the one I can't get .. My aerial (in Leicestershire) points at the local East Midlands aerial at Waltham, about 25 miles away, but I get South Yorkshire / Lincs and Granada as well. Central Tonight, Calendar News or Granada Reports (in HD) are my choices. The auto-tune defaults to South Yorkshire!

BBC Micro team to celebrate historic machine's 30th year

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Apologies to Sir Clive- I meant the Z8, not the Z80!

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

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Thumb Down


Terrible remake! When are they going to the remake/part 2 where they rescue the gold at the end?

Apple iPad 3 packs LAPTOP battery

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Power drain

My old Canon G9 compact has a button to turn the display off between shots to extend battery life, so I assume all real SLRs have the same option. How about a "feature" that turns the display off unless the front-facing camera sees you looking at it?

Nuke clock incapable of losing time chimes with boffins

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Re Chimes are one thing

Back in the good old days of analogue TV I set my clocks and watches by the teletext clock when BST came and went, which gave h/m/s. Now teletext isn't even sure what the second is, it only gives h/m and that disagrees (runs late) with analogue teletext. GET IT SORTED!

LYING iPhone 4S mobes claim 4G connection on 3G network

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Its not 4G

It's 3.5001G, which wont fit in the space, so it rounds up to 4G; obvious, innit?

Apple: We never said Siri would actually work in the UK

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All I need is a phone that tells me where the nearest pint is on Friday..

Bromine bomb drops toxic mercury fallout

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What have I done?

I have just replaced 640 watts of tungsten lights in our living room with 110 watts of fluorescent lights. Am I now going to poison the world with Mercury instead of Carbon dioxide?

The BBC Micro turns 30

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Memory lane

The defence company I worked for ordered about 200 for staff at a reduced price. We paid for them over 12 months deduction from pre-tax salary. After delivery, there was a long queue in the stores corridor. After that, things went quiet as roms were copied to eproms, additional PCBs with eprom sockets designed to fit just above the keyboard. One could switch betwen Elite, the word processor and a clover bod wrote something like a spreadsheet. Another wrote a program that kept the BBC churning over all night generating a simple fractal image. Still got tapes, advanced users manual etc in the attic, but I daren't power it up in case the capacitors all go bang since it was last used 25 years ago.

When geeks turn Green: Performance tune your energy bills

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Got a car?

You can cut your bills there too! Pump your tyres up to the "full of passengers" pressure, drive at maximum torque (efficiency) speed, don't use too much gas until the water is 88 degrees (most efficient for heat transfer), look ahead so you never brake and don't wear the tyres out driving over cats eyes. Before you ask, yes, my old man hailed from Scotland. In the home, after boiling the kettle, put the surplus in a Thermos flask and use that as a starter for the next cup.

Its all very well having a class A house, but you need class A occupants as well!

Gates: Novell are sore losers, Word trounced WordPerfect

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I must dig out my copy of Office 4.3 sometime and see how quick it is on a modern computer; I'm sure it would be faster than WordPerfect. Now, If I could only get a 5 1/4 floppy drive with a USB adaptor I could try Windows 3.1 as well... Walking stick, depart stage left.

Jim Westwood, home micro revolutionary

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Sinclair's IC12 Audio amp started life as a Plessey low-wattage audio output chip. Seconds were sold off to Radiospares, who sold it as a 6 watt audio amp; their seconds were passed to Sinclair, who stuck the big finned heatsink on top and passed it off as 12 watts. Can't for the life of me remember whether it was RMS, peak or "music power", though. I had a Sinclair FM radio, which was also matchbox size; it ran on 2 mercury button cells. His calculators were RPN, just like the early HP calculators, I think. Can anyone confirm?

Lovely electric car breaks out of Oz

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The domed roof reminds me of the McClaren F1; How's the performance with passengers on board? Or isn't there room for them?

Argentina stakes online claim on Falklands

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How about .fa? Or has some other poor sod been lumbered with that one?

1-in-3,200 chance* that a fiery satellite chunk will hit someone on Friday

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Please, please

Get serious for a moment. What if it lands in my Friday beer?

'Find My Car' iPhone app finds anyone’s car

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Where is it?

I know where I put the car, just where did I put my iPhone? (crunching sounds in background)

AlertMe network power-meter kit: Suitable for techies?

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I'm out of phase now

So all we need is out-of-phase appliances and we'll be laughing all the way to the bank, as the utilities can't read what they really use. Don't get me going on CFLs, we either pollute the planet with mercury, or carbon if we don't switch to them. My Maplin plug-in wattmeter (about a tenner 5 years ago) is reading 25 as I type this on an HPG70 laptop, and wanders between 0.5 and 1 when nothing is plugged into it.

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Watts or VA?

Pardon me while I clear the dust the brain out first, but do the electricity board charge you for power (Amps in phase with volts) or volts x amps, in phase or not? It may account for your dodgy readings. I'll get my Avometer...

Brits buy more e-books than other Euro readers

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More of us can read!

Logically, 5 Brits can read for every Euro; Can't be, it mut be easier to read an ebook in a pub.

Average sozzled Brit sinks 5,800 pints during life

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Anyone want mine?

I can't touch the stuff (medical reasons, officer) so does anyone want my ration?


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