* Posts by BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

946 posts • joined 11 May 2012


Facebook blames 'server config change' for 14-hour outage. Someone run that through the universal liar translator

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

'Facebook' isn't free if you are using Facebook Workplace, Instagram has paid options as far as I can see, and Whatsapp Business is paid for.

So, no, it isn't 'free'.

Of course I personally think your head needs feeling if you use any Facebook services as a critical part of your business.

Yes, I do use it, and it's necessary for various community activities I'm involved in, mostly due to critical mass.

Windows XP point-of-sale machine gets nasty sniffle. Luckily there's a pharmacy nearby

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

Not really. They'll be using a POS version of Windows 10 which works in a slightly different way to the consumer releases.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Yawn?

So would I, but you'll be lucky. WINE is unfortunately rather game focused, so if you want a business app to work your best bet is to pay someone to support the APIs.

I tried using it to support a (quite old) remote control app a while ago, and the authentication APIs it required were stubs, so no go.

2 weeks till Brexit and Defra, at the very least, looks set to be caught with its IT pants down

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: The Pimlico option

Looks like the Queen is still called that in Jersey and Guernsey, but lost the right to be the duke not far off 800 years ago at which time all rights to what was then continental Normandy were also lost.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Ha

Sure, 'occasionally'. Not consistently. The pre referendum discussion went on for months.

Now, it's true that it was not the highest quality discussion, but the facts were out there. It's each person's responsibility to look for a wide range of facts and question their own assumptions. Instead, there were repeated complaints that the issues such as the Irish border were not highlighted (they were).

There should have been an accessible fact checking website from day one, and the media were complicit in the lack of questioning as that made for improved entertainment. However, the facts were still there and they were not difficult to find (the Irish border was covered on the BBC website, for instance.).

It seems that there is the expectation for salient points to be posted through each letterbox in the land, and manually stapled to a nearby wall (or preferably each voter's forehead).

Given the wall to wall Brexit coverage since the referendum, there is *still* a 'Brexit at any cost' mentality amongst a subset (about a third) of leavers. Those voters are criminally selfish, stupid, and/or insane - take your pick.

Amazon may finally get its hands on .amazon after world's DNS overseer loses patience

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Can of worms or Pandora's box is about to be opened...

No they can't. There's a large upfront application cost, on-going fees, and a requirement to supply necessary infrastructure, organisation, and justification.

The chance of phishers applying is nil.

Astroboffins spot hefty pair swinging together. What? Um, we're talking about record-breaking massive binary stars...

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Why binary?

We're unlikely to be unique, but we might be rare. Given a solar system of rocky inner planets, gas giant outer planets, bombardment by comets to supply water, the right size/temperature/distance of sun, all at a suitable time to eventually create massive amounts of life we may be very rare.

Also, given interstellar distances, and the age of the universe, if life on Earth is representative of how long it takes to develop life, any other civilisations may be barely imaginable distances away with similar technical abilities to our own. I'm not expecting the sudden arrival of technically superior and enlightened races any time soon.

On the eve of Patch Tuesday, Microsoft confirms Windows 10 can automatically remove borked updates

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: flight mode

It's true if you're doing a lot of hibernating each day. If you look at the 250GB Crucial MX500, it has a 5 year warranty, and a limit of 100TB written (TBW), equating to 54GB a day.

For a badly mismatched laptop with a lot of memory, a small SSD, and a lot of travel this could be an issue if the laptop is kept for years (although SSDs commonly considerably exceed their TBW).

The windows hibernation file is compressed so the storage impact normally isn't a worst case scenario. I suppose you could also be much more clever and not store bits of memory loaded unaltered from files, but that would most probably involve a large effort for little payback.

For most people hibernation is not going to be an issue.

Packet switching pickle prompts potential pecuniary problems

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Back in my NetWare days

Been there, done that at home using ISDN. Made the mistake of setting the NTP server used by the ISDN router for a server at the remote end of the line. Worked fine until the NTP server went away for whatever reason.

Try to find time, bring up line (5p), fail, re-dial shortly thereafter.. Reconfigured it to use a local NTP server, problem solved.

Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

You've not been walking recently, or possibly ever, have you?

There are plenty of places where there are not spots, in not particularly out of the way areas of the Lakes, Yorkshire, even the Lancashire moors.

I've had better coverage on some Scottish islands than some mainland areas quite close to civilisation.

Microsoft flings the Windows Calculator source at GitHub

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Why would anybody care?

Read this (linked to above) https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20040525-00/?p=39193 and think again.

Writing a calculator app isn't too difficult when someone has already done the back end work for you. It's a tad more tricky when they have not.

For DirectX under Linux there is already DXVK, and other alternatives. Few people have an interest in DirectX integrated into Unix, when there's already Vulkan and OpenGL.

There's a lot more than just DirectX involved in porting games to Linux. It also doesn't help that despite a lot of work by Valve and others, Linux Steam usage is still under 1% and going down relative to the increasing user population.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Is this a boiling frog experiment ?

A sizeable proportion of WINE incompatibility reasons are because WINE won't implement features correctly. Whilst WINE staging is a mismatch of compatibility fixes that work on only a limited selection of configurations (usually Linux with an Nvidia card), pure WINE is not immune from this.

It's clear that in a number of cases the WINE API has been implemented in a way that works 95% of the time, but isn't implemented in the same way as Windows as this would be tremendously difficult and/or break applications again that were working up until this point.

Also, to be fair, the Win16/32/64 API is rather baroque, and even some of the more clued up developers who understand a fair bit of Windows' architecture may be unaware of some of the nuances that affect compatibility. The documentation is there, but dependencies between APIs are always obvious.

ReactOS 0.4.11 makes great strides towards running Windows apps without the Windows

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: "Which is where MS should have stopped."

Technology has changed. Yes, Windows 2000 has support for SMP, but to make best use of modern processors a more recent version of Windows is needed.

SSDs have a different access pattern, store data differently, and work better with TRIM support when the flash is filled.

10GbE is only used in Enterprise markets as it's too expensive for consumer use, but that doesn't mean it's not required. Gigabit Ethernet has been standard for over the last decade.

Windows 2000 was an excellent OS, but time and requirements have moved on.

64 bit is standard for even consumer kit these days.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

The difference is the driver model, and how the compatibility is designed

WINE translates from win32 calls to calls in another operating system (usually Unix).

ReactOS natively implements the APIs and the driver model in an open source project. This means native Windows drivers can be used.

It's still early days for the project in terms of APIs implemented, so not all drivers work, but some official network/video/sound card drivers will work in the same way they do on real Windows. Also, the way ReactOS is architected, older driver models currently unsupported by modern versions of Windows are still supported.

Once ReactOS is compatible enough to run the applications you require, it's then possible to change the source if Windows imposes unwanted restrictions.

The first ZX Spectrum prototype laid bare... (What? It was acceptable in the '80s)

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

It's also important to set expectations

You might reasonably expect that an old 8 bit micro would be suitable for the class of applications it ran at the time, but this fails to realise that the apps might have been closely tuned for the machine.

Adventure games, right, must be suitable for that? Not so. Just as DOOM and Quake were tuned for machines at the time, and Fortnite/whatever FPS are popular these days is a step forward, interactive fiction hasn't stood still.

Fire up ZXZVM (Z80 Z machine for CP/M, will run on your Speccy +3 in addition to a PCW), and it'll play a lightweight but fun modern IF Z machine (Infocom) game such as Conan Kills (2005). Try the more heavyweight Curses (from 1993) and it'll work but you'll be waiting thirty seconds for responses from the parser!

(Graham Nelson did develop it on an Archimedes, however, which is just a smidge faster than a Z80)

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: for the most part it's not worth the effort.

That's been more a PC thing for me, home computers just turned on and worked for the most part. I did have to create a cable to connect the MSX to a tape deck as I temporarily displaced the data recorder, only to find that some games of the period put the data on the wrong channel (mono channel is left, they stuck it on the right)

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Just use emulation

I shouldn't ask if you were ever any good at Manic Miner, should I ? I'm not sure I ever got beyond Skylab landing bay

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Just use emulation

They don't make it impossible, but you find yourself questioning why you're doing it.

Personally if I built an 8 bit micro, I'd tinker with CP/M, more useful than fiddling with a home computer. You can make HDMI 'just work' fairly easily, and USB can be exposed as serial or similar. All the CP/M (and MP/M, and others) source code is available, and the documentation is quite good.

The issue is with Ethernet, or more specifically a half decent TCP/IP stack, which 8 bit micros weren't really designed around. There are a lot of powerful embedded controllers which talk serial at one end and TCP/IP out the other and viola, your CP/M machine is on the net!

However, when the embedded controller is more powerful than your host box the question of 'why bother' becomes rather prominent. 8 bit micros just don't belong as an integrated part of the modern age. Sure, use them for a bit of data processing, serial, and other I/O, but that's as far as it goes.

I loved using my Amstrad PCW; it was a perfect mixture of productivity, pricing, and usability at the time, but it could never really compete against the PC if you threw enough money at PC software.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Just use emulation

I know I'll get a bit of shock and horror for this, but last year I 'wasted' most of a day playing with my old 8 bit MSX, and for the most part it's not worth the effort.

Use emulation, you won't notice the difference, and the save states will be a boon. 8 bits really are starting to look a bit creaky, although 16 bit graphics are still fluid and sufficiently fast they're not showing their age as much.

The one exception was Boulderdash, which still plays amazingly well despite the ageing graphics. Elite is now in the category of brilliant for the time, but not standing up to modern tastes. I'd probably give a pass to the Magic Knight series too, and that's one set of games that had a special Spectrum 128 version and is best played on there.

If at first you don't succeed, you may be trying to install that Slow Ring Windows 10 build

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge


Why are Microsoft knowingly shipping software than can GSOD? Only offering it to people who don't have the games in question is fairly pointless if the games are then installed thereafter.

Customer: We fancy changing a 25-year-old installation. C'mon, it's just one extra valve... Only wafer thin...

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Line editor without echo...

There's nothing wrong with vim - very powerful, customisable, and works well on non Unix platforms too.

Any sufficiently powerful editor is capable of having stupid defaults applied by a daft admin.

YouTube's pedo problem is so bad, it just switched off comments on millions of vids of small kids to stem the tide of vileness

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

This was covered on Radio 4 a week ago

Led to me shouting at the radio. Precis : Comments on Youtube by paedophiles advertise Telegram groups where sick pictures are then shared. They also accused Discord of not doing enough to weed out picture suppliers on their network (who may or may not have been real).

The angle of course was : ban encryption. How Fucking Convenient.

I'm certainly all for protecting children, and prosecuting anyone involved in abuse. However, this shouldn't mean the entire Internet is nerfed because 'think of the children', and it definitely shouldn't mean the end of encryption.

Slow Ring Windows 10 fragged by anti-cheat software in the games you're playing at work, says Insiders supremo

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: A LOT of you apparently play games at work!

The above still applies. You run it on your test box.

I suppose there might be a limited number of scenarios when remote debugging isn't an option, and the game will be released exclusively on a platform that is not yet available, but that has to be a minority of cases.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Root kit

They're not allowing dodgy programs to run, viz KB3086255 which removed the ability for crap SecuROM games to run in Windows 8 and higher some time ago.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: A LOT of you apparently play games at work!

They do, but you typically wouldn't put it on an important/dev box if you had any sense, it'd be on a test box - one that's not likely to be used to play other games.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: WTF is a Slow Ring???

I didn't know what one is either, but you can infer it from the article. It's a pre production release, and 'slow' indicates more testing. Googling the rings shows to no surprise at all, that there is also a Fast ring which may be less stable.

The 'slow' features will have been tested internally and in the 'fast' ring first, and failed validation at that point.

Long phone is loooong: Sony swipes at flagship fatigue with 21:9 tall boy

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: 'Smart amplifier'

Of course I realise that's exactly what they want, I'm trying in a very small way to change that.

They can be threatened - it'll probably take legislation. We're all living on borrowed time here - so far there haven't been any widespread exploits that have serious consequences, but I tend to think it's only a matter of time.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: 'Smart amplifier'

If you're large enough, say that it's a condition of gaining business. Stick it under escrow if need be. Include the condition that it must be supported for N future versions of Android, with suitable funding. It would help if Android had a backwards compatible binary driver model, too.

I fully realise this is a little pie in the sky at the moment, but the current situation is one of widespread insecure phones, and excessive levels of waste.

Also, yes, such a position generally leads to less choice but greater security, viz OpenBSD.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: 'Smart amplifier'

OK, that's good, in that case it's just a matter of packaging it up, and fixing a few Android apps to work properly in a pointer driven environment, as last time I tried it, too many apps were designed to be swiped.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

'Smart amplifier'

Phones are generally already loud enough, I don't want any more opportunity for some idiot on public transport to pump their shite music around.

How about a removable battery, five years of guaranteed operating system and security fixes, insisting on open source drivers so when it's out of support someone else can fix it, and finally bringing in a desktop dock so you can run productivity apps on it with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

I'd also ask for a landscape keyboard, but F(x)tec (was Livermorium) are at MWC showing off pre-production samples of their landscape keyboard phone. I'm dearly hoping it's decent and not obscenely expensive, as I plan to buy it as soon as I can.

Crowdfunded lawyer suing Uber told he can't swerve taxi app giant's £1m legal bill

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Surely, if Uber's position is so unassailable, they don't need the expensive lawyers and won't be liable for expensive legal costs.

Unless, of course, they're operating on the fringes of what's permissible.

(yes, I do know it's not that simple when defending yourself, but the general principle still holds)

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Who is ultimately responsible for collecting/paying the VAT

' their service is good when they are allowed to operate'

By 'good' do you perhaps mean cheap and efficient by exploiting loopholes in the law, until they've destroyed all competition at which point they can price however they like, plus leaving a swathe of poorly paid taxi drivers in their wake?

IBM so very, very sorry after jobs page casually asks hopefuls: Are you white, black... or yellow?

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Welcome to Agile development

No need to do user testing, push it to production, if there's a problem it can be fixed in a new build..

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Why?!


Companies exist to make money, and ideally to satisfy the customer. Open source is not necessarily incompatible with making money, but often the pricing and license has to be carefully set.

There are plenty of areas where closed source is the only reasonable option, and an open source option either does not exist, or is substantially inferior to any closed source product.

Time is also money. People do not always have time to fanny around cobbling bits of software together.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Another Robin in the 'Hood

In an ideal world you're right. In reality there's often insufficient developer resource/justification to do that.

Not so smart after all: A techie's tale of toilet noise horror

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Hand whisks are evil

Just about alright for beating eggs, but unless they have some mechanical assist, whisking to thicken up the baking or cooking ingredients of your choice will lead to far more wrist strain than an extended hand shandy. Hand blenders are much more effective. Probably easier to clean, too.

Crypto crash leads to inventory pile-up at Nvidia, sales slaughtered

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Good

It's not an Nvidia tax, it's a graphics card tax, as AMD frequently either doesn't have a comparable product or has no will to compete. Hard to sell 2080s? Perhaps, because they're not a vast improvement over the prior generation, but AMD only has the Radeon VII which last time I looked was slower, a bit more expensive, hot, noisy, and basically only worth it if you either need excellent compute or open source drivers.

Gsync vs Freesync is different. When Gsync came out it was expensive, but worked. Freesync was cheap but rather variable. Freesync has now had a second revision and improved to the point it's providing competition to Nvidia, so yes, they're having to take steps to counter AMD.

The compatibility list is for monitors. There are a few monitors Nvidia rate 'fully compatible' and they're testing all the other monitors to expand the list. There's a lot of Freesync monitors out there that basically aren't that great, and wouldn't meet the Freesync 2 standards.

AMD usually don't have the resources to compete properly, but for a consumer, Nvidia does a lot more work. It was embarrassing when Nvidia released 3D Vision for stereoscopic 3D which worked quite well, and for supported monitors provided free drivers. AMD suggested a couple of third party suppliers as an afterthought (and to be fair, one of the third parties is quite good, but did cost another thirty quid on top of the cost of an already expensive graphics card)

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Good

HBM is only used in the very high end Nvidia cards - the nose bleedingly expensive Tesla cards, and a few Quadros. Most of their cards use GDDR. At the price points where AMD use HBM (as low as a few hundred pounds), it's a major component of the cost and this hinders their ability to compete.

AMD's architecture is not as advanced as Nvidias. AMD cards run slower, hotter, require more power, and are noisier than the Nvidia alternative, at a similar price point.

Nvidia are winning in the consumer space because they have a massive investment in driver quality, work closely with game developers, develop new features that work well, and have (relative to AMD) quieter cards.

AMD's strengths lie in embedded systems (wildly successful in consoles and other appliances), APUs, and open source support (unfortunately a tiny market).

Additionally their recently released Radeon VII has truly excellent compute (double precision) performance, and is a bargain if that is your requirement.

It doesn't really give me a lot of pleasure to recommend Nvidia, because they have a repeated history of proprietary products, obstructive open source support, and are pushing their prices up. Unfortunately they tend to work well, and a fair few of the technologies they do develop (such as GSync) tend to work better than AMD's alternative, even if it's more open.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge


They've been squeezing the market with overly expensive products.

Other than the 2080Ti, which is staggeringly fast, this generation of cards leans heavily on the RTX functionality which is poorly supported and not particularly fast/difficult to get working at an acceptable frame rate.

AMD have not been able to counter this as their higher end products use expensive HBM2 memory, and their new mid range architecture is some time off release. NVidia have changed their architecture more than AMD in the last decade, and it shows with their success.

Pandas so useless they just look at delicious kid who fell into enclosure

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Symbol Of The World Wildlife Fund

There's only one Jess, but at least she's female so could potentially breed.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Personally I'm finding it all bamboozling

Hungover this morning? Thought 'beer before wine and you'll be fine'? Boffins prove old adage just isn't true

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Yes. BrAC is blood alcohol level, so depending on your weight, fat content, metabolism, and sex (generally women get drunk faster as they're on average shorter and naturally have more body fat (*)) it takes different amounts of alcohol to reach the same BrAC.

(*) On average. I've drunk with quite a number of women who could drink me under the table, and I'm not a lightweight, although I'm trying to keep consumption to a maximum of 5-6 pints, because beyond that a hangover looms (**)

(**) Recent drinking spree : 'I've had six, but there's a gap before I go out for a couple more, is this safe?'. Answer : no. Definite hangover territory in early morning, but by the time you wake up properly it's 'gone', so 5 remains a safe limit.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Indeed

I think you do need to mention that running with a hangover is effective to aid recovering, but horrific, definitely a strong inducement not to drink as much again.

Do not, under any account, skate with a hangover. As soon as you stop there's a sickening second where the rest of the world catches up.

RIP Dr Peuto, Zilog and Sun's bright SPARC

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Halt and Catch Fire

It definitely is that old. I went to the Bradford Media Museum, which had (has?) a history of computing section. I'd used all the computers except one.

I'm not history yet, damnit! (they didn't go back that far. Earliest one was mid 70s).

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: It's so much better now

Yep, whereas before a hardware or software failure could take out one system as computers (OK, Windows) were too slow to reliably run more than one function, now a cloud failure can take out your entire business in one go if you haven't planned properly.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Always have a backup licensing machine, or better still a VM

The piece of server software that covered the majority of sales when I started work was OS/2 based, and towards the end of its life licences were issued by one OS/2 machine in the US. It became increasingly difficult to get licences as the machine obviously wasn't well maintained or documented, and the supplier hadn't bothered to port the licensing software to Windows complete with OS/2 support, when the server software moved to NT.

Poor show, especially considering it was per seat licensing, each one was not cheap, and there was a healthy reseller margin included. For receiving a fair bit of money for not doing very much, the process really should be as streamlined as possible.

It's 2019, and a PNG file can pwn your Android smartphone or tablet: Patch me if you can

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Errrrr.

Lots. This is one reason why I will not install banking apps on my mobile.

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Has anyone tried....

That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!

Amid polar vortex... Honeywell gets frosty reception after remote smart thermostat tech freezes up for a week

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: Holiday Homes

The point is most people don't turn their thermostats up and down, they only turn the heating on and off and wait for it to reach the thermostat temperature. You're busy wasting a lot of money heating an empty house when on holiday.

A thermostat definitely won't heat the house to 16C by default, but they will usually switch on the heating as things tend towards freezing to stop potential pipe damage.

It's not a life ending drama to survive without central heating, but I do remember those days and they sucked majorly. I didn't enjoy arriving home to a cold house, and I certainly didn't like putting my feet onto a freezing cold floor in the morning, even if you had the foresight to have placed some slippers by your bed.

BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

Re: IOT=Crap

I can definitely see the use for an IoT lightbulb. I always keep one light on when it's dark, and all the reviews I've seen for dusk til dawn bulbs basically say they don't work reliably. With an IoT bulb it could adjust to dusk til dawn each day (also useful if you're orthodox Jewish).

Alternatively there's one light I keep forgetting to turn off, I could do with a rule that if it's later than 2am, or there's no-one in the room - switch the light off.

However, given all the Internet security and general lack of product quality I haven't bothered doing this so far.

Obviously what I actually want is an IoT light socket, not a bulb, as bulbs expire.


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