* Posts by Jeffrey Nonken

726 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

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Big Cable falls into wormhole to alternate universe, sends back blog post about USA's amazing broadband

Jeffrey Nonken
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Mushroom

I first read "88 percent of American consumers can choose from at least two wired internet service providers" as "88 American consumers can choose from at least two wired internet service providers" and I thought, yeah, that's actually about right.

But of course of those two providers, one is a cable provider that charges twice as much if you don't bundle TV and phone and an alarm system with your Internet, charges you $10 monthly for renting a cable box you can pick up for $100 on eBay, limits your throughput if you exceed a few gigs/month, then adds below-the-line fees to jack up your bill well beyond the advertised price. The other is DSL artificially limited to 6M down/768K up at a price point disproportionately high per unit bandwidth compared to the cable provider, though the monthly fees are lower (even after adding their own below-the-line fees), though they'll be happy to sell you 12M down for about what it costs for cable. So only one of them even qualifies as broadband. If you call either company's customer service you end up in menu hell, then on hold for 15 minutes or more; you talk to somebody with an incomprehensible accent who tries harder to upsell you than to resolve your problem. Then they schedule a visit where you're required to stay home all day, even though the problem turns out to be in a switching station 5 miles away and nobody actually has to show up to your house.

And if the problem is that you lose connection every time it rains, the first thing they want to try is a replacement modem which for which they charge you $60 for overnight shipping without warning.

It turns out that the DSL is unreliable because the phone company buried the cables and an unsealed junction box 30 years ago and haven't touched it since. It takes 3 weeks and two tries for them to dig it up and replace it with another junction box, seal this one with black electrician's tape, before burying it again.

The only mitigating factor is they can't charge you for the work, but the field tech tries to lecture you on how much better service you'd get if you were dealing with them directly instead of through a third party. You know, one with real customer service and no artificial throttling.

NOT THAT I AM BITTER.

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What can you do with adult VR, some bronze gears and a robotic thumb? On a Friday?

Jeffrey Nonken
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Dabbsy, the series of accomplishment-cheapening double entendres is why we come here week after week. :)

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Jesus walks away after 7,000lb pipe van incident

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Jesus!

*rolls eyes*

He clearly meant "pronounced" and either made a typo or was helpfully auto-filled or autocorrected by his phone.

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MH370 researchers refine their prediction of the place nobody looked

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: What can be learned of the crash at this late stage?

"Now remove the links to the avionics including to the engine computers, inside the engines. They obey the last instruction given - maintain the power setting. The aircraft flies blindly on until fuel exhaustion."

It is a fly-by-wire system, so yoke and power control could be lost in such a scenario. Otherwise I would have said to pull the breakers for the autopilot and fly manually.

...So pull the breakers and use the mechanical backup controls.

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

Jeffrey Nonken
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https://goo.gl/images/HgtLwQ

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Jeffrey Nonken
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That electrostatic discharge engineer should be fired, or at least censured.

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Wanna tap 3 MEELLION phone calls? All it takes is one measly warrant

Jeffrey Nonken
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46 years, Holy crap. That's old enough to have kids of its own, with the first grandkid on the way.

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Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

Oh and AFAIK it's technically not part of Known Space, though one could be forgiven for thinking it was.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

"The central character happily enters into the future hedonistic culture without realising that he is then rapidly exhausting his residual funds."

That bit sounds a lot like Age of the Pussyfoot by Frederick Pohl.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Like those Chryogenic companies

World Out of Time. Something about processing the brain for the RNA and using that to transfer the memories, IIRC. He ends up even farther into the future and a completely different dystopia.

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Ride-snare: Lyft ruse helps cops cuff suspect in tech CEO murder case

Jeffrey Nonken
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Important information missing from article

...But what were the cop's and Lyft driver's cars' make and model?

This critical information was left out of the article. It's not complete without them.

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Apple, LG, Huawei, ZTE, HTC accused of pilfering 'find my phone' tech

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Nice try

But then there's Prior Art. Have we eliminated that?

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Uber wants your top tips to mend its rotten image

Jeffrey Nonken
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Or possibly he just wants a guarantee that Uber won't take a cut of the tip. If so, that's less clear.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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You misunderstood him. He's merely insisting on tipping the driver, and the only scenario that would stop him would be the unlikely one he described and you berated him for.

IOW he's not demanding the company give up all its money. He's demanding the right to tip.

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Tesco Online IT meltdown: Fails to deliver THOUSANDS of grocery orders

Jeffrey Nonken
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"...with “thousands” of households forced to head to physical stores - perish the thought..."

So no sympathy for shut-ins, the disabled, or the 90yo mum who can take care of herself but can't drive? Single parents working two jobs? Hell, married parents both working full time?

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You wait ages for a sun, then two come along at once: All stars have twins, say astroboffins

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Sol-centric

Yeah, it's like my marriage. She keeps telling people it was a mutual decision, but the fact is, she left me. I just didn't fight it.

... Oh sorry, you were saying something about stars?

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Yeah, if you could just stop writing those Y2K compliance reports, that would be great

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: A Y2.1k problem...

Actually, the fact that 2000 WAS a leap year broke a lot of stuff.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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"COBOL has been a fossil since 1980 at least and that's over a working lifetime ago."

And yet here I am, not yet at retirement age, nor even yet officially considered a senior citizen. At least not by U.S. standards. I started working in 1975, I'm only 60, so you're off by at least a decade.

Not that I am interested in retiring at 65, but just using that as a standard.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Time for Y2.1K

Yup. Y2k, while definitely a problem, was far too over-hyped. Two months later there was a massive scramble when people were blindsided by the 2000 Leap Year bug. :)

FTR, though, microwave ovens continued to heat food and airplanes continued not to fall out of the sky.

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Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

Jeffrey Nonken
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I'm guessing none of you uses end-of-line comments, or you don't align them.

...yeah, I know. High maintenance, frowned upon mightily. I find it very readable, though.

OTOH probably none of you program in assembly, either.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Of course there's a right answer!

There is some kind of column skip function... Been a while, sorry. But I know, because I used to use it all the time... with drum cards. I was really good at making drum cards.

The end result was that the tab-equivalent inserted spaces.

I don't consider my experience with the 029 OR the 026 to be directly relevant to my work today, though I've never broken the bad habit of using left-side-only control keys that it forced me into.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Just let the IDE do it.

Allman and tabs here. I'll adjust to Whitesmiths without much trouble.

FTR I have a bit more than 2.4 years of experience.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Hey, did you know the editor could do that automatically?

"Isn't 2.4 years the amount of time a front end, JavaScript-framework programmer has to become expert in what they do..."

I wouldn't know. When I had 2.4 years' experience, JavaScript had at least a decade before it would be a gleam in its father's eye.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Hey, did you know the editor could do that automatically?

I hate K&R style, so I gave you a thumbs up. Apparently it's still popular, though, given the three thumbs down.

On Windows there's a free pretty-print editor called Artistic Style that works very nicely if you're on Windows and insist on K&R. But you'll never read my code anyway nor I yours, likely.

I find it fascinating that Swype has K&R in its stock dictionary.

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Five Eyes nations stare menacingly at tech biz and its encryption

Jeffrey Nonken
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I want magic bullets that only hurt bad guys.

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Oh no, Silicon Valley! Failed startup CEO on fraud rap after allegedly bullsh*ting staff and refusing to pay them

Jeffrey Nonken
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A paper cheque? You poor sod. To (possibly mis-) quote Roosta:

"I only take hard cash. If I can't cut a window with it, I'm not interested."

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Afrinic shuts down IP address shutdown over internet shutdowns

Jeffrey Nonken
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"Go figure the course humanity is taking."

...That sentence made no sense. Did you mean "coarse"?

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Jeffrey Nonken
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Arlo Guthrie may disagree about the number of piles thing.

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Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Things that are foolproof:

Entropy just isn't what it used to be.

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I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Jeffrey Nonken
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No doubt they want to offer to recompense him for the damage done to his drone.

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In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered

"I am not a number."

Bwah hah hah hah

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Ex-SpaceX avionics tech loses safety certificate-forging wrongful dismissal lawsuit

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Not cool, Reg (esp. Gareth)!

As I understand it -- my information could be out of date -- the doses for the drug are supposed to be extremely low. Yes, you're on speed. No, you're not an addict and you won't manifest the typical effects of taking the drug.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: With friends like this ...

...You just described me. Are you hiding in my woodpile?

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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Top-Posting?

Indeed. At least you could put a notice just ahead of the reports mentioning that they're in reverse order so we'll know that going in.

Thanks.

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Russia is struggling to keep its cybercrime groups on a tight leash

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Slightly different

Zymurgy's First Law Of Evolving System Dynamics: Once You Open A Can Of Worms, The Only Way To Recan Them Is To Use A Bigger Can.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Jeffrey Nonken
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"Depending on the quantity of data to be treated, 200 critical devices might be just right. They are all critical, on the other hand if some of them are going down, the others should have absolutely no problem to hold the load. At least in theory."

But that's the whole point: not that they are critical, but they are critical path. Which means that if any one of them goes down, the entire system goes down. These aren't redundant devices -- they're each one necessary for the whole to work.

I never took a statistics & probability class, but if I'm not mistaken, the chances of failure in this scenario increase exponentially with each device added. (If I am mistaken, I'm sure somebody will cheerfully point it out. I just want it to be the guy who actually took S&P classes and not the guy who thinks the probability of getting 10 heads in a row is 1 in 10.)

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UK PM May's response to London terror attack: Time to 'regulate' internet companies

Jeffrey Nonken
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"...we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed."

...Said every fascist dictator ever.* Are you sure you want to be seen in their company?

"But as the nature of the threat we face becomes more complex, more fragmented, more hidden, especially online..."

So you feel that stopping them using the Internet will drive them into the open, instead of further underground?

* I think... I may have technically Godwinned this thread. Apologies.

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'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Scuh-zee IS the official pronunciation in some circles

There's never been a period that I've NOT heard SCSI pronounced that way.

Vowel sounds are frequently added to vowel-deficient acronyms to make them pronounceable. I see no reason SCSI should be any different.

Or inconvenient consonants removed. I leave you with the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, pronounced "Spebsqua," which features both. In the same letter, no less.

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It was bound to happen: Amazon launches first grocery store

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: No, just....no

Mobile but pressed for time.

Mobile but hate shopping, esp. waiting in line. Me myself personally, I hate waiting in lines.

Only quasi-mobile, e.g. wheelchair-bound. Or not wheelchair-bound, but walking is difficult and/or painful.

There are three scenarios that may not apply to you, but may apply to other people.

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Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been

Jeffrey Nonken
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"Did you know Google would be acquiring your credit card record when you signed up for your card?"

I signed up for my card before Google existed so, no, I'd say it's fair to say that I did not know, nor was there any way I could have known.

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El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2

Jeffrey Nonken
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Pint

The Dick Tracy two-way wrist TV is cool because the only phones available are landlines wired into the wall. And they only do voice, nothing else.

Only that ain't true no more. Damn near everybody in the world having an insanely powerful multimedia computer slash telephone slash message system that fits in your pocket and costs a couple weeks' wages (YMMV) causes a MASSIVE perspective change. We were right then, that it was cool, and we're right now, that it's not. The whole world has changed, and us with it.

Give this watch (along with the necessary infrastructure) to somebody back then without the 40 or 50 years of intervening buildup and they'd pass out from the geekgasm, and rightly so. Don't be too hard on your younger self.

(P.S. "Dwarves" is a plural noun. You want "dwarfs.")

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Lenovo UK boss pulls the chain, flushes himself out of there

Jeffrey Nonken
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Personally, I'd buy a Lenovo before I bought an HP.*

I happen to have one of each Lenovo and HP laptops. Bought the HP from a friend who needed the cash. The laptops are about the same vintage and performance, so comparisons are reasonable. I'm using the HP because it's got a bigger display, and gave my daughter the Lenovo.

Most of it's little stuff. The Lenovo has more USB ports, one of which is a combo ESATA (thus powered). Fewer USB ports is annoying, especially since the HP doesn't have Bluetooth. I grabbed a spare combo WiFi/BT module from the Lenovo and stuck it into the HP and... it refused to boot. Oh, it POSTed fine, it just stopped with an error. Not a hardware error -- a configuration error. The BIOS knew that it wasn't the module the HP was set up for, and wouldn't let me even try to boot. Basically, HP doesn't want you upgrading without taking the unit back to HP and throwing money at them.

Whereas the Lenovo would run with any module I threw in there. Doesn't care. Swap modules; one Windows driver installation later and it Just Works.

So if I want BT I have to use one of my precious few USB ports, which normally isn't a problem, except now I have a USB dongle sticking out and taking physical damage every time I get the least bit careless.

Anyway, you get the idea. The HP isn't bad, but I resent their attempts to lock me in. Oh, and how much do you want to bet if I take the laptop to HP for an upgrade, they'll just try to sell me a new unit? (Or tell me to go play in the street.) It's pretty old. I bet they won't even service it any more. So the money grab attempt is pure avarice and only serves to obsolesce the unit more quickly.

HP aren't at the bottom of my list -- I'd buy an HP before I bought a Dell, f'rinstance -- but they're pretty far down.

Fortunately for my sanity's sake I ended up with a tablet and I now use that for watching videos instead of the laptop. It's more convenient, and it has BT built in.

*Pretty much literally true, since I bought the Lenovo first, then the HP. Hah hah. See what I did there? Nyuk nyuk.

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8 out of 10 cats fear statistics – AI doesn't have this problem

Jeffrey Nonken
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Four out of five doctors surveyed agree!

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Widow appeals to Avaya to protect death benefits after bankruptcy filing

Jeffrey Nonken
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"Wow, exchange rates are really volatile these days!"

*snort* Yeah, major upheavals before you can even finish a sentence!

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SSD price premium over disk faaaalling

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Most/many of us

Sounds great. But one thing spinning rust is better at: high-turnover data. Starting with your swap file or partition.

SSD has a lifetime measured in the number of writes. Data churn will eat through that.

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IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

ELO Telephone Line

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Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Quick solution

Sorry, you don't get to decide what my time is worth to me.

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Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Jeffrey Nonken
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Re: Wi-fi, a hostile environment for vinyl

Agreed. It's not likely the WiFi per se, it's something else, or a combination of things. Could be part a circuit in your equipment that happens to be tuned to an unfortunate wavelength and is acting as an antenna.

So many possibilities.

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Jeffrey Nonken
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"If you like the sound, its ok."

And that's the real point in the end, isn't it? People can sneer at you or rattle off specs and statistics all they want. But if you like it, that's all that really counts. Anybody who says differently is an effete snob.

(Please note: I'm not saying that being a connoisseur makes you a snob. Only when you try to dictate your tastes to others.)

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Jeffrey Nonken
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>>send the needle skipping all over the place

>Did no-one tell you? A ha'penny, balanced on the tone arm, fixed that.

And ruined the record. If you have a needle that won't get damaged doing this (instead of a stylus which more likely will), you'll also ruin the record on a single playthrough, so you're scrod anyway.

You can talk about the high quality of vinyl or you can talk about adding weight to the tonearm, but not in the same sentence.

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