* Posts by Chris 125

145 posts • joined 5 Apr 2012


Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Chris 125

I popped my Internet Cherry on Demon

In fact I still remember the IP address for fuchal.demon.co.uk -

It was one of the few ISPs in 1994-ish that would let me connect an Amiga and whilst they didn't officially offer help, the demon.ip.support.amiga group was massively useful. Started out on their own supplied AmigaNOS with it's textual goodness and then blew my mind with AmiTCP which offered craziness such as graphical web browsing.

Also remember that I ended up on a test for their Ascend modems, because I'd splashed an obscene amount of cash on a Sportster v34 modem before realising that most ISPs only offered v32bis.

Good times. Thanks Cliff.

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

Chris 125

Re: Ah, the carefree days of yore

Presents for the wife so far include:

A Thundercats sword (lights up, metal, heavy but blunt)

An axe (incredibly sharp, wrapping paper dotted with blood)

A chainsaw (which was assembled and then fired up - briefly - in the house on Christmas Day)

Lego. So much Lego.

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

Chris 125

Re: Another design approach:

My employer gives me a car so small that the rear seats are pretty much useless if you have adults in the front. Hence any litter is dealt with by flinging it over your shoulder. Twice a year I simply open both back doors and push all the rubbish front one side into a bag tucked under the seat the other side.

UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

Chris 125

Those aren't really designed to be customer-facing displays so either the person complaining about it was a railway employee (and probably knew of a better route to get the problem resolved) or they're just being dicks. I would imagine only a tiny fraction of rail passengers know the headcode of the train they're about to board and so can use this display to find the platform.

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Chris 125

Re: BS

"Further, I'm not sure how a ROM option could have affected the OS once the machine had booted."

If you read the article, it says that Ctrl-Alt-Insert was a diagnostics mode which would have been on ROM and that's where the option not to run autoexec.bat was found.

Thus, a ROM change with that option removed would have been the fix. We don't know the machine had a floppy disk.

Pretty sure F5 was only introduced around MS-DOS 6, so if you were running that on a Zenith 286 you've got some other military technology on the go! Could have just lept forward in time to a point where they had the password though....

PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

Chris 125

There's a big computer in PETA's office (you know, a proper sci-fi one from the 1970s with flashing lights and bleep boop noises) that constantly monitors social networks. When their name isn't being mentioned as much it immediately generates some random mad idea from an algorithm and fires it out all over the place hoping for some free publicity.

Recently this included trying to get the new Dr Who to be vegan (presumably eating some nasty soya based "fish" fingers with vegan custard) and campaigning for Warhammer figures (you know, small plastic representations of FICTIONAL CHARACTERS) to stop wearing fictional animal furs for fictional warmth and instead wrap themselves up in a nice shell suit or something.

They're an absolute joke. I don't mind paying a bit more / going out of my way for increased animal welfare but for crying out loud, they're just clown shoes.

OnePlus 6: Perfect porridge? One has to make a smartphone that's juuuust right

Chris 125

I've got this, it's nice.

The camera is a bit meh - it doesn't offer much over my old Pixel XL despite having a 100% increase in the number of sensors. Hopefully that means any shortfalls are software based and can be improved over time.... there's nothing wrong as such, but it's just no better than a 2 year old flagship.

Battery life is very good indeed. I went to a music festival, leaving the house at 9am. I got home at midnight-ish on a shade over 50%, and had been taking photos and a bit of social media between bands. Certainly better than I'd expect from my old phone which had a similar sized battery.

Face unlock is FAST but it has a fingerprint reader in the correct place, on the back. Who on earth asks for it on the front where you need to dislocate your thumb to use it? I've only had face unlock fail when the lighting is very bad indeed.

It's my first OnePlus and I already like the alert slider that properly sets the Android volume modes. Yes, Android 9 fixes this somewhat by defaulting to changing media volume rather than ring - but until then this is a much more reliable way of knowing the video that's buffering isn't going to get you kicked out of the funeral you're attending because you can't change the media volume easily until it actually starts (a la Android 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8)

It's got a glass back, has it? Well, it comes with a cheap TPU case which I put on in the shop because why not. There's also a screen protector, but it's plastic not glass.

The notch is nicely done although app support needs to catch up. Sometimes it takes a second for the notifications to move to the right place.

It has a notification light. For many years now, I've refused to buy a phone without a 2p's worth of LED that lets me know when someone loves me (and/or I have an email regarding penis length). Why can't more phones have this? But despite many reports to the contrary, even on the latest update (OxygenOS 5.1.5) it DOES have an ambient display. The internet is full of bleatings about how they took it out - this review included - but it's there, on mine. It's not "always on" because that's a ridiculous concept, why would I want the time or how many penis size emails I have waiting when I'm not even in the same room as the phone? But pick it up, the notifications appear on the OLED screen. Put it down, they go off. It's an ambient display that's useful, rather than always-on or only-on-when-you-press-the-button.

In short, I'm glad I bought it. No, it's not crazy cheap any more, but it's still cheaper than a Samsung, Apple or Sony. Head to head with Huawei, it comes off better as it doesn't use the vomit-inducing EMUI (and swerves the issue that Huawei have just announced that you can no longer unlock their bootloaders)

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

Chris 125

Re: Psion Wavefinder

Blast from the past! I had a Psion Wavefinder for the same reason - I think I paid about £20 for it. Never did get it working as I think the drivers were outdated or for an older version of Windows by the time I bought it.

Chris 125

www.primordialradio.com - there's a free trial (as it's a paid service) but it's everything Team Rock was, and more.

Chris 125

Re: Cars are priority, but what about DAB?

That's not RDS. That's Traffic Programming, a feature of RDS.

RDS is the facility that displays station names rather than frequencies, and allows a station to be tracked across different frequencies. It can also deliver traffic information to a compatible satnav, silently.

TP is the interruption when there's a traffic announcement. There are supposedly fines for stations who misuse it - either triggering it early or leaving it switched on. It should only be used for the announcement itself, and I think they're allowed an announcement beforehand ("Here's the traffic news on Radio Titwaffle" or whatever). A friend worked in local radio and once forgot to turn the TP off, he was hauled over the coals with the suggestion being he'd cost the station thousands of pounds. Either that or he was a shit DJ and they wanted a reason to sack him.

TP can be disabled without turning RDS off.

Chris 125

Re: just receive an IP stream, buffer as necessary.

TuneIn buffers live radio.

"Live" in that it's being sent out directly to transmitters rather than recorded in sections for editing later. The difference, for example, between the BBC News on TV and an episode of EastEnders.

Nothing is actually live - either delays for naughty words, or just the inherent process of throwing it out of some aerials across the country will add between milliseconds and wholeseconds.

Chris 125

I used to listen to Team Rock on DAB - for me, the only station worth listening to on any ensemble purely for the lack of adverts, and no news or weather bollocks.

The costs of DAB transmission were so high they decided to go streaming-only back in 2016.... and this may be one of the reasons they no longer broadcast at all (either the reduced audience from dropping odd DAB, or the fact that not being able to afford a DAB licence was a sign of bigger money problems)

But out of that, Primordial Radio was born. Still streaming only, but set up by four ex-TR guys to explore better ways of getting rock and metal music to your ears. They'll never go on DAB, they swear far too much for that, but in all other respects it's a proper, professional "radio" station. Music. Presenters. Competitions. Phone-ins. Requests. NO ADVERTS. (It's really good and if you like rock and metal music, you should check it out).

The point is, these guys have been going a year and they're seemingly making a living out of it. Mobile data is not the massive expense it once was, and now most cars and homes have some sort of Bluetooth capability it's pretty simple to hit a button and hear music. I'm pretty sure a better option is to leave FM in place, turn DAB off, and if anyone wants more than FM provides then there's the internet.

Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data

Chris 125

"Step 4: Blackmail Success"

Blackmail fail. She already knows. You can't blackmail someone that doesn't keep secrets.

Chris 125

"You guessed right. And when some blackhat gets that data guess what he/she will use it for? Blackmail. Enjoy your new google clusterfuck."

Blackmail? Where will they go with this AMAZING information that a grown adult knows where to find pornography on the internet?

My wife? She knows. She has her favourite videos I have mine, and in the middle of that venn diagram the magic happens.

My work? They can probably guess. If nothing else it'll tally up with various claims for high speed hotel internet going through expenses.

Meanwhile, someone with a wonderfully locked down Blackberry/LineageOS/Apple or whatever is having *exactly the same information stolen* from their ISP. My point was what would Google use it for, and whilst our opinions of the multicoloured monolith are all different I really doubt they're going to sidle up to my wife at work with a load of search history printouts.

Chris 125

It's a bit tinfoil hat though, isn't it?

I mean, I'm one of 2 billion active Android users (source: Google, naturally). So I can't believe there's a folder on a share drive somewhere with all my data in that someone opens every now and again for a laugh. "Oh my, he uses xhamster? Pornhub is way better!"

So what would they use it for? Target advertising I guess. Knowing what websites/food/music/films/porn I like gets me served adverts with familiar things in rather than random adverts. Because they're never going to not show adverts so why not make them at least relevant? This is what I signed up for when I opened my Google account - "free" access (rather than free access) to mail, videos, news, whatever.... fully aware that my payment to them is in the form of snippets of info.

Some of it is genuinely useful. I like to look back at my location history when I'm filling out mileage claims (or just waking up from a GREAT weekend). Gmail's spam handling is one of the best around.

I'm not going to trot out the "nothing to hide" line as I can hear the sound of frenzied keyboard tapping already. But it's more a case of "who cares" anyway. I'm a product, I admit it. I get things out of them in return. I know it's not a popular approach, especially on this site, but it's true. You buy Android and you agree to trade a bit of info for free services

Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

Chris 125

I'm in exactly the same position. Kids losing keys meaning replaced locks at £20 a time. They don't keep their Bluetooth turned on as they're under some 2012-style belief that it runs your battery down.

There's probably a solution using MAC addresses. I've got a Samsung SmartThings setup where the presence location is notoriously flaky and needs the app installed on every phone. Cue kids wailing "we don't have enough space for the app, waaaah". Whatever. But what I can do is run a script on my Asus router (it will work on anything that runs a WRT-style environment, or perhaps even Tomato) which checks for their MAC address every 10 seconds and flips a virtual switch via HTTP, notifying SmartThings that they're home. Typically works as they walk up the path. It has the benefit of it needs nothing installing on their device, they just need to connect to the WiFi - which they do, constantly, because teenagers.

Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?

Chris 125

Not a bribe, but a gift. Microsoft Expertzone have just sent me some socks in a lunchbox, both of which are adorned with an image of a ninja cat riding on the back of a tiger that has lasers for eyes.

Works for me. Office 365 is great everyone!

Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Chris 125

"Some parts of the unmarked pad result in scrolling, some selecting."

And incredibly, some (I'm pointing at you, HP. Well, jabbing you in the eye) have an area you can tap on to turn the whole touchpad off. So on a new machine where you can't rely on muscle memory to always tap in the middle, you end up disabling the thing. I've had to fix many, many of those "issues".

Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat

Chris 125

I've reset the password on various services where people have done this - however, be aware that they can't possible have the non-dotted version of my email address so that's not the issue. The issue is they've made a typo in the email anyway.

For example, if I was joe.bloggs@gmail.com and I get a Pizza Hut email to joebloggs@gmail.com then that's not because someone has registered joebloggs. They can't, Google won't let them because I'm already joe.bloggs.

They must be joebloggs1, or j0ebl0ggs or something and they've typed it in wrong. This will always happen, regardless of how dots are processed.

As for "squatting" and who recognises what as who. Nobody will EVER take an email address as a unique ID, it's perfectly legal to have an email address that isn't my name.

We put Huawei's P20 triple-lens snapper through its paces

Chris 125

Re: Just to be clear ...

"Maybe I'm alone, and everybody is going to pile in and tell me how having an amazing camera is their most important criteria in choosing a phone, I guess I'll see."

Hello. I choose a phone mainly on camera quality.

I love photos, I love taking them, editing them, revisiting them, sharing them. I love that I have thousands of "snapshots" in my library that have been taken on a whim using my phone, all of which have a story to them.

I have a decent Canon DSLR too, but I only take that places when I know I need to. Having a good camera on my phone means I can grab more good quality photos when I wasn't expecting to.

No, this camera won't be as good as a DSLR. It won't even be as good as a mid-range pocket camera, once you dig into the specs and realise that 40MP sensor is using quad pixels, and 10MP real resolution isn't that good for later editing. You're not going to make a living as a wedding photographer or getting on the cover of National Geographic with just a P20 Pro in your arsenal. But a good camera in your pocket is better than a brilliant camera you left at home.

Chris 125

What are Huawei like at updating their camera software down the line?

Fairly poor; they move on quickly to new devices and don't give existing ones much love.

I had a P9 Plus, bought for the camera abilities. Launched on Marshmallow, didn't get an update to Nougat until after Oreo was in full release and available on half a dozen handsets. Presumably because their EMUI skin is so wide-ranging it takes an age to slap it on top of Android.

In that time, the only Huawei apps to update were the tedious we-replaced-something-for-no-reason ones like Calendar and Messages, or the hubs that want you to sign up and do backups to a server you've no idea about. I don't remember a single Camera update, certainly nothing that added features or improved quality.

They've come on in leaps and bounds with hardware features, but their software side is still lacking.

Farewell, Android Pay. We hardly tapped you

Chris 125

Four years, wow. Things may have changed?

I can walk in to my local off-licence which is about the same size as a small living room. Five people and it's full. Yet they'll still take phone payments like it's absolutely normal.

Yeah, I tried Google Wallet when it first came out 7 years ago. I'm in the UK but I fudged my Google account with a US address to get the app - they loaded $10 on it as a beta tester and I used it in McDonalds, one of the few places taking contactless. Yes, they were confused. Actually had to call the manager out as they thought I'd hacked their reader with my phone - but he was happy the till said it was paid, and I showed him the "receipt" on the phone (a Nexus S). Sadly there was no reloading mechanism outside the US so I bought two meals and it expired.

Most places now take contactless - and actually the clever ones prefer it. I was about to stick my card in a reader in a cafe and the guy noticed the logo and asked me to tap it instead. I asked him why - apparently they get charged 40p for a Chip and Pin transaction, but only 7p for a contactless one. No idea why, but he saved 33p by looking out for the logo.

Chris 125

Re: Phone support?

Then you may need to flip your calendar over a few years and check again. Even Android phones at the £150 end of the market have NFC suitable for payments.

Chris 125

Hold on... a lot of the comments above are stressing about how insecure Contactless CARDS are. And yes, someone could tap against your pocket with a lashed-together reader and do a transaction.

It would be short lived, as they'd need all the associated trader accounts so it would take approximately 15 minutes (including a coffee break) to work out that one trader has had a 10,000% increase in fraudulent payments.

But Android/Google Pay? It uses generated card numbers that are only good once. If you were to steal the data by the same method it could only be used that one time, and then the legitimate owner would see a notification that their phone has just done a transaction. And even then, you could only steal that information if the phone was screen-on or unlocked in the victim's pocket.

Phone payments are MORE secure than contactless cards. Pick up a card you find in the street and you can spend £29.99 a pop before it's reported lost. Pick up a phone and assuming the owner isn't a passwordless cretin (actually, doesn't Google Pay enforce at least a PIN code?) it can't be used for transactions.

Crunch time: Maplin in talks to sell the business

Chris 125

There's still a place in this world for Maplin but they should have not pushed into large "superstore" style places on retail parks, and instead focused on the "Richer Sounds" model of buying smaller, out of town locations. Geeks will travel if they know they can get a 25A SPDT subminiature illuminated toggle switch off the shelf for their latest creation - exactly the kind of thing Amazon won't send next day because it's only 99p.

Equally if they were the trusted experts on Smart Home, then I think people would visit them even if they weren't tucked in between a Pets at Home and Halfords. You know - walk in, ask a question and get a decent conversation, demonstration and a feeling of confidence instead of "Erm.... I don't know what that thing you're talking about is". I know it's not a particular El Reg favourite but people out there are buying thermostats, light bulbs and intimate hair groomers that all talk to each other (probably, in that last case, but I'm not Googling it). Maplin could have nailed this by actually knowing what works together and exploring new things with customers rather than a load of boxes on the shelf and not knowing what the fuck works with anything else they sell.

I'm not pretending having more 17p resistors out back would have saved them, but their plan to dominate the world of cheap plastic toys, out of date computer parts and overpriced cables hasn't really worked. People will travel to speak to an expert, but from my experience the last experts left Maplin about 2001 to make room for a 12 function 1:18 scale plastic excavator with flashing lights and a need for a dozen batteries.

'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'

Chris 125

Re: Stolen Focus

Oh, absolutely.

What Permedia2 card by the way? I too had a pimped 1200 of similar spec but can't for the life of me think who was making Amiga cards with that chipset. Or did you have a PCI Busboard?

Anyway. Focus stealing becomes even worse on Windows when some idiot writes an app that pops up a requester and the WORST POSSIBLE ACTION is the default choice. So you're tapping away in Outlook, and something pops up and says "Do you wish to format your hard drive and all connected network drives? [YES] [no]" just as you hit the spacebar which naturally chooses default settings.

Hot chips crashed servers, but were still delicious

Chris 125

Re: My keyboard stupidity.

"(caps lock is the worst thing ever to be put on a keyboard)."

A tie, I fear, between Capslock and Numlock on laptops where it used to take over the right hand side of the keyboard.

Although back when I got paid a bonus per fix, I used to love getting the jobs of "letter keys keep typing numbers". A five quid keypress, and try not to make the job card back to the customer too sarcastic.

One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics

Chris 125

Re: Probably for nought but...

There often is, but they'll have usually been there a while.

When I was a Maplin employee, working weekends whilst at Uni, we had mostly geeks and nerds in store. Most of us could tell our transistors apart, what type of capacitor someone had brought us to replace etc.

Trouble is, that all took time - you'd be 20-25 minutes assembling a bag full of components that someone had dutifully copied down from a dog-eared old book on DIY audio projects or something, and that bag would be worth less than a fiver at the till. Oh, and then they'd want advice on how best to assemble it, what cable to use, and then rattle off a story about how they used to build short wave radios out of tin cans and rocks when they were in the trenches.

We offered amazing customer service, but it was tough to see that make it into the till sometimes.

This was not lost on me when I went to Maplin last week to get a few bits for a project for the cubs, and found loads of stuff not in stock. Things we used to have loads of in my store, like 6V buzzers or LEDs or bulb holders. Instead they've got loads of random Smart Home stuff, really expensive batteries, CCTV etc... .exactly what you'd get off Amazon instead.

The End of Abandondroid? Treble might rescue Google from OTA Hell

Chris 125

Re: What About It Moto?

"My Moto G4 Play was supposed to get out of 6 a while back, I'm still waiting. This might be partially down to my current carrier EE."

If you've got a Tesco firmware running on EE, then likely nobody is going to update it OTA. EE won't have Tesco firmwares, Tesco won't have your phone in their database, and Moto only release open market firmware. You need to do it manually, probably from a Tesco firmware (O2 might apply OK)

My Huawei P9 Plus had an open market Nougat firmware available back in about May. My carrier (O2) have just released it about two weeks ago (long after I ditched the phone for a Pixel).

Part of the problem is network desperate to stock the iPhone, so if Apple say "OK - you can stock the phone but you're not going to mess around with the firmware", they have no choice. Manufacturers of Android handsets haven't got the same clout as there's more choice, so if Sony were to try the same line with Vodafone, Voda could just say "Well that's fine, we'll stock some more Samsungs instead and convince all our customers they're better"

Huawei's Honor 9: The only mobe of its spec asking 'why blow £500?'

Chris 125

My old Honor 7 remains one of the most surprising phones I've ever had. I bought it as a bit of an emergency - I'd made a bad choice with an LG and needed something more capable without breaking the bank. I seem to remember that at about £170 used it was almost a straight swap for my LG in CEX. Metal chassis, fingerprint, and so much faster.

So good I got my daughter a 5X. Admittedly she broke the screen on that, but then again she breaks screen on everything and a new one was £25 and fitted in about 20 minutes.

Big fan of the Honor brand, but I can see why they hesitate with marketing. If this has the P10 chipset, premium features (metal chassis and fingerprint reader, for example) then who on earth is buying their more expensive handsets? Sadly I can see the price of these rising to protect the Huawei range.

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

Chris 125

I used to work in an engineering lab that had a big red shutdown button on the wall near the door.

It also had a big green "mushroom" to open the secure doors from the inside.

Those buttons were better labelled after we employed someone who was colourblind.

Guy Glitchy: Villagers torch Openreach effigy

Chris 125

Re: An absolute disgrace

Prison? For setting light to a bonfire?

On Bonfire Night?

We're going to need some extra prisons....

OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering

Chris 125

Re: 2208x1242 panel downscaled to 1080x1920

I think it was more the X x Y downscaling into Y x X. Unless they really do scale it weirdly.

Car insurers recoil in horror from paying auto autos' speeding fines

Chris 125

Re: So I'm liable for my Volkswagon exceeding CO2 emissions?

Putting a sports exhaust on a car doesn't invalidate insurance. Type Approval is the process to get a car on sale, it doesn't have to meet TA afterwards. Are you thinking of Construction and Use Regs? In which case they're much more lax - in fact there is no dB limit for exhausts, by virtue of it being almost impossible to reliably measure outside of a lab (there is however a dB limit for Type Approval).

C&U is effectively what the MOT Test and/or a roadside stop checks - does the car meet basic safety standards AFTER sale (sharp edges, faulty lights, floor made of cardboard etc). You can modify a car away from its TA specs and as long as it's still "roadworthy" to C&U regs - checked at MOT time after three years - then it's legal.

They sold the car in a Type Approved state, you're under no obligation to update it further. It's your car. It's roadworthy. It meets the regulations that are relevant (C&U).

Some of the people refusing to have it done have an upgraded ECU already so there's no point, others don't want the increased load on the DPF which causes huge repair bills when it inevitably clogs.

Chris 125

Re: Try a sensible design?

I really hope I'm too slow to spot the irony here, but just in case - NewsThump is a satirical site.

Chris 125

Re: So I'm liable for my Volkswagon exceeding CO2 emissions?

"Will you be liable if you refuse the VW correction patch?"

A couple of friends are about to find out.

First few letters arrived with DVLA headings on them (spuriously - this has nothing to do with them apart from tracing drivers), all officially worded, "you need to take your car" blah blah blah.

Eventually, a folded leaflet arrives which basically asks them to tick a box to say they're not going to have it done. This has no DVLA logos, they've dropped that plan of attack by now.

This leaflet has followed the others into the recycling box (think Green, kids. Always recycle!). I don't believe VAG, DVSA or anyone else can force the update to be done, which is why they word it as an "upgrade" rather than the more truthful "downgrade". The software change appears to ruin fuel economy if you see before/after tales from drivers that have had it done, by virtue of it triggering DPF regenerations far more often (which just injects more fuel in to raise temperatures). Previously these weren't needed, as the shite just fell out the back.

Credit insurance tightens for geek shack Maplin Electronics

Chris 125

Re: We need an alternative to the jungle monopoly

I dunno - do you think Sainsburys is still upper class? Surely that's Ocado and Waitrose these days.

I shop at Sainsburys, because they're free and easy with the money off. So far this year I've gained £180 in my Nectar account (I cleared it out on the last Christmas shop) and they've been sending me £9 and £12 off vouchers every week without fail for two months now. Also I quite like their self-scanning app.

I also shop in Argos, because cheap and easy and very little human contact so nobody's trying to sell you warranties or upsell to the next model. Yes Tesco with your store-in-store PC World, I'm looking at you.

I'd say there's very little to choose between their demographic.

Chris 125

I worked at Maplin for a couple of years whilst at uni - Saturdays and Sundays, back when Sunday trading was quite unusual in many cities. I think we were one of the only places to open, leading to a day of standing around playing loud music messing around with toys and gadgets - and occasionally doing a massive refund on DJ equipment that someone had bought the day before, used for a party and returned.

Anyway, back in 1998/1999 it was very much hobbyist. You'd get the old geezers in with their hand-written shopping list, two sides of A4 perhaps with rows and rows of components that barely break £10 at the till. "Can I have a 470 ohm 10W resistor please?". You scurry off to the racks, knowing exactly where they are, bring back 5p worth of component and put it in a bag. "Thanks. Can I have a 10 micro-farad electrolytic 63 volt capacitor please?" You scurry off, and off, and off for the next hour - but the customers were happy.

We'd make cables upstairs, nothing amazing just stuff like SCART to RCA, or DIN leads. We'd even take in computers to fix up - sometimes not even needing any parts to mend - as we were all about the customer service. It did depend on how pleasant the customer was though as that was totally off the record.

Back then it didn't seem to be all about profit. We had targets, but they were easily met even without selling some night vision or a Garmin GPS thingie. We were given a harder time by the boss if customers left grumpy, than if they hadn't spend hundreds of pounds.

I got a transfer to a different store when I left uni, as a full-time member of staff. I think the annual salary at 40 hours a week was £7500 or something in 2000. I never turned up, I went to work in a call centre instead for 60% more money. From then every time I went in there were less components and "things" and more plastic tat. Only last month I went in for a microswitch to build a little kit.... special order only. When I was there, a stock check would take 12 hours of 10-12 people, mostly counting components. I reckon two people could do it in a morning now, they stock almost nothing behind the counter.

Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

Chris 125

Sadly, now this case is "over" they'll have time and money to spend on some other ridiculous attention-seeking case, designed to raise awareness of PETA only. They're bullies, they hide behind cute fluffy animals (often with a stun gun to bump them off when they're no longer needed) knowing full well you'd be branded a heartless monster if you took them to task for their actions. "But.... but.... look at it's eyes! It's so cute! Now abandon your legal business model selling animal products otherwise we'll trash the place"

Last month, they campaigned for the new Dr Who to be vegan as they felt that it is a more suitable stance for the Dr to take on the environment. I really hope they're staffed entirely by volunteers as if someone was paid to come up with that rubbish, the world is an unjust place.

Massive iPhone X leak trashes Apple's 10th anniversary circus

Chris 125

Re: £1,000 for a phone

It's not really a copy of an S8 - the Galaxy doesn't have the screen either side of the camera, if you're thinking purely aesthetically. It's also not got the S8's Bixby button, but will have two cameras on the rear instead of one. Also differences in fingerprint sensor.

So we're back to "they copied me, waaah, it's a rectangle with rounded corners and a screen on it". There's far closer clones to the iPhone X such as most Huawei devices. Essentially (ha! there's another one....) unless you go out of your way to deliberately look different - perhaps by making a round phone, then it's going to look enough like something else for people to notice.

Also, you pay too much for cars. Last cheap roadworthy car I bought cost less than a Moto E.

London Tube tracking trial may make commuting less miserable

Chris 125

Re: One thing I always failed to understand....

It's easier to leave WiFi on and have it autoconnect to known networks, than be constatly turning it off.

Perhaps the bigger problem is the high cost of data meaning WiFi is the preferred way to connect - would you like a 1GB tariff for £20 and use WiFi, or a 5GB tariff for £40 and save a few minutes of battery?

I charge my phone each night, I haven't turned WiFi off since I bought it in May, only when I've been doing really daft things like playing games or watching video all day does it not last until I climb the wooden hill to Bedfordshire. What you're saying may have been true 7 years ago, but I think the way idle WiFi is handled now seems much more battery-friendly.

Futuristic driverless car technology to be trialled on... oh, a Ford Mondeo

Chris 125

Re: Cortina>Sierra...

Yes. After the first year of production, they gained little tiny spoilers on the D pillar window seals to shape the air a bit better. The first ones were quite wafty at the back before this modification.

Chris 125

Re: Fusion powered

Being registered with the bare minimum of information is quite normal for imported cars, or anything that steps outside the norm of bulk-registering cars by VIN lookup. The keyboard bashers in Swansea don't do more than the bare minimum when it comes to data entry.

On the M40, it's quite normal to be passed by a car camouflaged with swirly black and white designs, doing testing from JLR. These, when queried through any number of online services, are almost always unknown model, colour, engine size, registered date, Co2 emissions etc

Chris 125

"Even at the time the early models were considered a dull replacement "

[citation needed]

Car magazines from 1993 raved about the Mondeo, Autocar drove one 12,000 miles in a week (over the channel and then around the Autobahns, given that's a 71mph 24/7 average to save you reaching for the calculator). Four up, they claimed it was comfortable and capable.

Auto Express in 1992 explored how they came up with the name - from the French "Monde" as this was the first World Car designed to be sold in all major markets without much change above legislative requirements like lighting. The design name was CDW to illustrate this - the CD meaning a mid-sized car, and they forced the W in there to mean World.

It costs a lot to change the name of a car. When they went from Escort to Focus, they kept the Escort around for two years so dealers could sell them to people who insisted that's the car they wanted - ignoring the Focus wasn't much more expensive, and a world away in terms of design and ability. They went in for an Escort, as they'd had an Escort since 1982, and if Ford no longer did the Escort then they'd go and buy an Astra. They also learned a lot from the Cortina->Sierra swap which boosted Cavalier sales by a huge amount.

Perhaps the dull image came later, with the "Mondeo Man" political campaign. Ford can't have been too unhappy that their car was chosen as a representation for a good, reliable man in the street though.

"despite Ford's attempt to redesign the lights and grille."

The first Mondeo left the production line in November 1992 and dealers got stock in Feb 1993. The facelift came into play in late 1997, four and a bit years on sale is a pretty standard cycle for panelwork changes. If ford had been upset with the Mk1, then they would have done that much sooner - such as with the Mk5 Escort in 1990 which was absolutely panned by a lot of publications and gained a new front and rear end in 1992.

Chris 125

Re: Left-Hand Drive imported Ford Mondeo Hybrid

Perhaps the tech has been brought in from the USA and has been tested on a LHD car, and it wasn't worth the time to fit out a RHD Mondeo and go through testing again. It should be the same, but there will be differences in the ECU, connections to the power steering motor etc.

Sony remembers it once made a great little phone

Chris 125

Re: Head Scanning?

"Erm, why do we need to be able to scan our heads? How did this get on a feature list for a phone?"

You don't.

/They/ do.

Chris 125

Re: OS Updates

"I'm sorry but 'screen protectors' do absolutely NOTHING to stop the screen from smashing."

I've not conducted any scientific tests, but I do go to the effort of buying glass screen protectors for my phones, and the rest of the family's devices. I've seen a few drops where the screen protectors have cracked but the screen is intact - including some really awkward early morning stumbles where I've basically just thrown my phone at the floor in a stupor.

My gut feeling is that the energy absorbed by the screen protector cracking is sometimes enough that it doesn't transmit through to the digitiser below. Like I say, no scientific proof but I've seen lot fewer cracked screens on the kids phones since I started buying them a few years back, and they're not getting dropped any less.

I'm not talking £25 Panzer Glass stuff either - my Pixel is sporting a natty little eBay number that was £4 for two.

Chris 125

Re: skimpy RAM for flagship

"My Nexus5x has half that and runs Oreo just fine."

The decider will be how much skinning Sony do of Android, and how many of their apps are forced into memory on boot.

I had a Huawei with 3GB, but the EMUI skin and half a dozen Updaters, cloudID, Messaging services supplied by the manufacturer. Out of the box, it would struggle to keep more than two or three apps open in the background due to lack of memory... a bit of hard work uninstalling, disabling, changing launchers and fettling saw that improve but compared to my 2GB Nexus5 before that it's clear they'd had to throw the extra GB of RAM in there just to run all the crud.

LG teases us with svelte V30 but refuses to say if it's coming to Blighty

Chris 125

The V30 is a Carphone Whorehouse "Exclusive" - although they fail to mention that only covers carriers, so you can buy it from LG UK's site, Amazon and any number of SIM-free UK based sellers.

Also since the demise of tri-band, quad-band etc and the wonderful world of international shipping it seems less relevant what countries something is available in. If I can buy a SuperHappy DongJoy XLR40040 Turbo vFast 4G 6" Phablet for £89 from Gearbest and it works in the UK, then I'm pretty sure an LG will. I've sometimes checked the bands and frequencies these cheap devices work on and it covers seemingly all bases in the UK - or am I missing something?

Kiwi prankster 'oinks' down cops' radio and sings Old MacDonald

Chris 125

What's the reason for still using analogue radio?

Years ago when I was a nipper - probably three decades ago in fact - I found an old Airband radio at my grandparents house. Twiddling the dial found some interesting talking, which turned out to be half of a police conversation. I'd hear reports of assaults, stolen vehicles and so on, but then a blank when I presume the other half of the conversation was taking place. Maybe they transmitted and received on different frequencies?

I'd happily sit listening, and even used to write out a newspaper-style log of what I heard for the enjoyment of the adults. The fun ended as my Grandmother used to play golf with someone fairly senior in the Police force, mentioned what fun I was having, and the frequency seemed to change. I tracked it down a few more times but I don't think it was too long before they turned off the analogue signal - mobile phones I seem to recall were on the brink of going digital at that point.


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