* Posts by NorthIowan

13 posts • joined 3 Feb 2018

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin


Re: Blade Runner

"Coincidentally , the page has just revealed to me that Deckards apartment is modelled on a real house in LA that was also used as the abandoned mansion where Angel, Spike, and Drusilla hang out in Buffy the Vampire Slayer "

If I remember right, in the Star Trek Arena episode, the Cestus outpost was also used in a Wild Wild West episode. Don't remember WWW good enough, but I remember being surprised to recognize the outpost that Jim West was trying to break into or out of on a rerun a few months back.

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?


Re: Not Unique...

"I have also had a Unix server where the power button and CD Drive eject were very close together, that one got a card flap over the power button."

Yup, had to make a flap for the UPS on the home PC. It was a low flat box with the power switch on top and it was almost on the floor. A real problem with cats who walk anywhere they want to.

But mice are a problem too. I had a mouse fall off the keyboard tray and it hit the power strip power button. For that one it worked to rout the power cords over the switch and velcro them together.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers


Re: Annoying pedantry

"Military stuff always comes at eye-watering mark-ups ". Well if it's like other US government stuff. Part of the price is stockpiling enough spare parts for 10 or more years or so you can fix it without redesigning the item or requalifying a new part.

At least that was Univac's response when justifying the high cost of spare parts. Yes, diodes don't cost $$$ normally but we have to warehouse 100's of them and all the other parts (as per the contract the government wrote) so they can be fixed for umpteen years.

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home


Re: Pesky microwaves

"certain atmospheric conditions (like calm and cold nights) could cause the air to stratify into layers that would diffract the microwave, effectively "bending" the signal"

You can see that some times to. We could see a long way from our old house. Pilot Knob was about 9 miles away and we could see much of the land in between.

One day I noticed that things near the horizon were stretched vertically. It was really surprising as I'd never seen anything like it before.

Pasta-covered cat leads to kid night operator taking apart the mainframe


Whats wrong with remote hardware support?

I did that once. I fixed a mainframe's printer in Florida over the phone from Iowa.

OK, "fix" is probably stretching it a bit.

The operators had called me to fix a daily batch job that didn't print out overnight. I had just fixed it a few days earlier because it had crashed due to more data coming in than usual. So it's not to surprising that they called me up again because it "failed" again.

I dialed in and checked the print queue first and saw the file and several more waiting to print. So I called the operators back and asked if the printer was on? They checked and it was on but it had been offline. Seems a tech had worked on it the day before and had left it offline. No one had noticed till they went to get the overnight printouts to distribute to the bosses.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...


Condensation is not good for disks.

Had someone who wanted to restart writing his book. He had stopped working on it several years before and left the Mac and a few floppies with backups in the garage. His kid had long ago reformatted the Mac hard drive to use on his computer. So the floppies were all that was left.

This being Iowa the temperature and humidity vary all over. I couldn't read the floppies reliably at first. This after I put a floppy drive in a Linux PC with the correct Linux drivers/software to read Mac formatted disks. Slid the cover over and saw that all the disks had spots of mildew on them. Spent a hour or so washing them all through the little slot with a bunch of Q-tips. Then I could read them pretty good.

Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work


Re: Monitor

" whoever did it had somehow managed to fail to put a DVI plug in correctly, not noticed the force they presumably needed to apply to get it to that state"

Reminded me of the ancient times when I worked in mainframe testing. Had just helped some new hires track down a bent pin shorting out two signals. So I stated to the group that if they ever have extra trouble putting cards in that they may bend some pins if they force it. So a light bulb goes on for one of them and he grabs the card puller and pops another card out. We shine a light in and see he got the right card as there is a bent pin behind that one to.

Register-Orbi-damned: Netgear account order irks infosec bods


Registering to setup your new telly to watch the news

I almost had to do that.

I remember setting up my kids new Element TV a few years ago. Had to call into support for a special code to unlock the tuner to scan digital (or was it analog?) stations. Gave some BS reason about making it "simpler" to setup.

Yup, it was SO much simpler. Had make a phone call during business hours to enable scanning both kinds of channels. Of course it was Saturday afternoon and the kid had cable with both analog and digital channels. Couldn't get it all set up until Monday.

I was surprised to see in an ad that they still sell Element TVs. In fairness, Googling at the time showed that at least one other TV maker made a TVs with that "feature".

Just how rigged is America's broadband world? A deep dive into one US city reveals all


I'm still waiting for my 1 Gbps/500Mbps fiber*...

That will replace my slow fiber that gets 5Mbps/0.8Mbps for the base/cheapest version now. I think I could pay for faster now, but the telco web page only shows what the new fiber speeds are and no prices listed. The upgrade started in 2017 and will be done in 2019. Being out of town has it's disadvantages. :-(

Oh, I'm on an acreage like 2.5 miles out of town in rural Iowa. As far as I know, our local town telco has wired fiber to all the farms around here (they sell cable TV running on the fiber to to make $). And now they are redoing it with the max 1 Gbps/500Mbps fiber. And this is a tiny local telephone company serving about 8,000 people in two small towns plus the surrounding farms. On the map in the story, we are east of the "Y" at the end of the blurry Sioux City, Iowa.

So if my little phone company can do 1 Gbps fiber. I think most US towns and surrounding area's could do better than they are now. Certainly all of Rochester, MN should have good service from at least one provider. Now if you're in the middle of Montana 100 miles form any town. That would be different.

* To save money I'll probably stick to the low cost plans of 25 Mbps /10 Mbps or 50 Mbps /25 Mbps when the new fiber gets here. I don't have a 4K TV to feed so Netflix does fine with what I have now.

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network


Re: Oh well

"you will not get a 50V pots line with fibre, instead at the premises you get an Optical Network Termination unit with a Battery Backup Unit which contains rechargeable cells. These will locally generate the 50V required to operate legacy POTS termination equipment. "

Which is what our local fiber optic connection is. Apparently we've had that long enough now that the last phone bill included a piece about how we might need a new battery soon. I looked and my unit still had a green light.

I hope that it lasts till they upgrade us to gigabit fiber optics which might not happen till 2019. :-(

Got some broken tech? Super Cali's trinket fix-it law brought into focus


Re: John Deere and Apple Make For Strange Bedfellows

"Farmers are using cracked diagnostic software from Ukraine so they can fix their John Deeres."

I don't know if they do that or not. But I remember the complaints were the new John Deeres and other high tech farm equipment would pop a need service notice and only the local brand dealer would be able to check that it was just an air filter or some such easy for farmer to replace item that he could have spares of to keep his operation moving. And when bad weather is due in a few hours a farmer gets cranky for any down time that might delay finishing planting or harvesting for a week or more.

America's broadband speed map is back! And it doesn't totally suck!


RE:Take this map with a serious grain of salt.

You are right about that. It says if I lived across the street I could get Mediacom. Most of the area across the street from me is usually planted with corn or beans. And some of it is marsh/swamp. But there are a few houses that may be able to get Mediacom on either end of that area so might not be totally wrong.

Oh my, the local phone company provides 1000 Mbps fiber to the lake. Not sure how you put fiber into a lake. No house boats around here. The lake freezes pretty solid each winter. Trucks can drive on it now, well not to all places. So far 3 vehicles have fallen through that I know of.

A tiny Ohio village turned itself into a $3m speed-cam trap. Now it has to pay back the fines


Re: Try not speeding. Total fine $0

Which sounds good but unfortunately is not foolproof.

A local town, Fort Dodge Iowa, had similar a speed radar that they setup in different locations around town. Made it a civil fine to discourage getting the courts involved.

But one time their were lots of complaints from people getting fines for doing +50 MPH in a downtown 25 MPH zone. Of course the radar company claimed the radars were "always right". But when tested on that street, the radar just happened to double the speed of some larger vehicles like delivery trucks and school buses. Excuse was, "must not have been correctly calibrated".

It was good they did the testing because the school bus driver was going to loose their job if the ticket/fine stayed.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019