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* Posts by TWB

235 posts • joined 19 Feb 2010

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With the 6T, OnePlus hopes to shed 'cheeky upstart' tag and launch assault on flagships

TWB

Re: Why the front-facing camera hullaballoo?

I suspect most of your figures are from the "80% of statistics are made up on the spot" and I think your tongue might be somewhere in your cheek - but I upvoted you as I think your last point might be the most accurate.

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Do I hear two million dollars? Apple-1 fossil goes on the block, cassettes included

TWB

My first ebay sale

Several years ago I wanted to try selling some old unwanted stuff on ebay for the first time, I decided to see if anyone wanted a non-working NewBrain computer I had had sitting around for many years . I was expecting maybe £5 to £10 so was quite surprised when it sold for nearly £190.

Sadly I don't think I have any more good old tech which will get that much - eMac anyone?.....

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Apple pulls iOS 12 beta 7 after less than 24 hrs

TWB

Re: Rollback

"And Mrs Page wonders why I wait months before I'll update her iPad."

My wife is the opposite - never wants anything updated, prefers the old ways of doing things, thinks updates breaks things (which is often how it seems). She used to work with journalists and they all much preferred using Xywrite (IIRC) - with visible control characters and text only clunky non-wisiwyg display - over having Word forced upon them.

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Sur-Pies! Google shocks world with sudden Android 9 Pixel push

TWB

Re: Waze

I've recently been using Waze, I tired it originally on a 3G phone and found it to be useless but with a 4G phone much better (YMMV - a friend who recommended it said he had not trouble with it on 3G)

I've not been able to contribute much back though as I don't like touching the screen while driving - too distracting. I guess it is monitoring my speed, location and progress though.

I wonder when and how it is going to be monetized. Quite like it though so far.

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

TWB

Revealing weaknesses

What I don't understand is why so often when someone like "Guy" reveals a security shortcoming and shows it to his clients - they get so upset with him and give him a hard time. The article suggests he was completely open and IMHO should have been thanked immediately.

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New Monty Python movie to turn old jokes into new royalties

TWB

Re: topical

A pal of mine who used to lecture on international politics used Life of Brian to illustrate many aspects of political theory to his students.

As a youngster (slightly underage) I went to see it when it was first released and loved it. When I saw it when I was older, the socio-politcial jokes made far more sense meaning that I got more out of it later.

Still love the "You're all individuals....." etc bit - best joke ever IMHO in so many ways.

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We just wanna torque: Spinning transfer boffins say torque memory near

TWB

Intriguing....

I'd love to think that one day there will be no difference between storage and memory and programmes will run from where they are and merely be added to the 'stack' or running applications - rather than having to write them from one place to another in RAM et*c, but I am not sure if computer architecture and OSes are ready for this yet.

I mean, how much technology is every really ready and finished when you buy it these days?

*Having said that, I wonder if having storage ('HDD/Flash: a bit more permanent') versus RAM (dynamic, expect it to change, easy to flush out etc) is maybe a good architecture which serves us well.

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Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

TWB

Re: Brooklands

A bunch of my colleagues/friends went to Brooklands a few years ago and were lucky enough to be there on a day when the chief test pilot (IIRC - or at least a very knowledgeable and experienced Concorde pilot) was there. Being a weekday and it was fairly quiet, apparently they had him to themselves for ages and he was more than happy to talk - and all being engineers - they more than happy to ask questions. Wish I'd gone along.

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Apple's magical quality engineering strikes again: You may want to hold off that macOS High Sierra update...

TWB

No issues here

But I am not doing very adventurous stuff....The upgrade went fine, as far as I can remember.

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Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic

TWB

I'm not much of a chemist/biologist

What are the end results of the breaking down by this wonder enzyme? (Sorry if this is obvious to some of you, I switched off when we did organic chemistry, not sure why)

I'm all for it if it is as good as suggested, but also wonder if the enzyme 'gets out' that plastics will no longer be useful for what we really liked them for - longevity, hygiene etc.

Having said all this, we humans probably just need to consume a heel of a lot less or just say "fuck the planet, let's party!!!!"

1
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UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

TWB

Re: Or maybe....

Although I concur with nearly all of your comment, I wonder if people shove their phones in your face as it might be easier than trying to shout/say "have you got xxxxxxx by zzzzzzz" and have the ensuring discussion above the sound of your loud music (presuming it is loud - I've never come across a quiet 'sound system')

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Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

TWB

As someone who can't sleep in chairs

I'd love this. I once did a full nightshift followed by a 9 hour flight thinking - "great I'll finally sleep on a plane!" - but nope - the following week was just weird....

I sleep well lying down but find sleeping in a chair does not work for me and they are funny about you lying down in the aisles for some reason....

I'd be happy to waive any safety nonsense - if we're going to crash so be it. In fact don't bother with security - I'll take that risk as well if it means I don't have to be treated like a terrorist in the airport.

Danger Air - we'll get you on your way without fuss and (hopefully to your destination alive)

2
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Intel outside: Apple 'prepping' non-Chipzilla Macs by 2020 (stop us if you're having deja vu)

TWB

Bootcamp?

I've heard of it but never felt the need to install it. You better not meet me.

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Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why

TWB

One man balloon

I've flown one of those - including over the centre of Reading once at 1500 ft - and it was surprisingly safe and easy to fly - I was a bit lonely up there.

Bigger balloons with baskets took longer to deflate (on landing) and it was harder to pull the vent at the top, so they would drag along the ground for longer in high winds - not that we flew in what most people would count as high winds.

I never felt unsafe flying balloons, the basket edge is quite high. I have felt more uneasy on high ground based objects e.g. buildings.

It's an enjoyable (IMHO) but daft form of transport, though not quite as daft as a gas balloon where you have a lot less control of height.

2
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10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

TWB

Re: Bill increase of £20

I blame the article - it would have been nice to have stated if this is:-

- a one off payment

- per month

- per year

etc - too much of the media do this i.e. stating figures out of context - a fail in IMHO.

7
1

Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

TWB

Re: "Anthony and Cleopatra is not a comedy..."

Thanks fo that - I wish my memory for proper useful stuff which would help in everyday life (e.g. work) was as good as that for comedy sketches and song lyrics which are just 'nice to have'

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Too many bricks in the wall? Lego slashes inventory

TWB

Shit is a big strong

But I concur, too many specialist parts - I found my creativity was much better when there was a narrower range.

I get Lego sets for my son and he loves building the model(s) but does not create many of his own ideas yet - fingers crossed this will come - I want to share ideas!

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Another day, another meeting, another £191bn down the pan

TWB

Biscuits

We used to get tea and biscuits at BBC meetings until one DG (who was alright in other ways) cancelled/banned them. Probably a good thing for my waistline.

Later in my career with another organisation, repeating meetings used to get scheduled for things which people thought would go bad. Fortunately after the first or second, people would usually start not turning up and they would get 'forgotten' - I think staff at all levels felt the same.

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Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin

TWB

RCDs

Where I have worked for the last 25+ years we never had RCDs (or RCBOs) on power circuits for apparatus rooms as we called them - except for test benches. IIRC they were deemed too risky from the point of view of losing service - and also a few mA leakage is a pass, but once you have a handful of kit all running on the same RCD (or RCBO) the combined leakage could cause a trip and not all our kit was dual PSU.

I presume we passed all the regs or else the 600+ bays should not have been live.

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The Register Lecture: What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies

TWB

Re: IC engines can be modified to use hydrogen.

You should have been there to ask that question - or maybe you were and did not get a chance - there were a lot of questions.

A very interesting event with drink and food- thanks Reg.

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Boffins split on whether Spectre fix needs tweaked hardware

TWB

Reboot of the PC market?

Maybe this will 'force everyone' to upgrade to new machines saving the PC manufacturing sector - when new processors get released! It's a win-win!

Cynical - moi?....

1
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Whizzes' lithium-iron-oxide battery 'octuples' capacity on the cheap

TWB

Let's give up trying

Batteries are never going to be any good, so best we humans don't bother even trying.

Why can't I have a tiny ICE in my phone/laptop etc to power it?

My glass is half full.

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Maplin Electronics CEO ups stakes for steak house

TWB

Maybe Maplin will close this year, hopefully not just before Christmas which seems to be a 'popular' time for some of these big organisations.

It'll be sad and I'll be sorry for the staff, but I cannot see how it can keep going with staff costs and high street rents and rates etc - there is only so much tat that people want to buy.

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Telly boffin Professor Heinz Wolff has died

TWB

Re: A definite genius of a man.

@Niall Mac Caughey

Anyone else encountered this? - yes, when I were a lad of 8 or 9, a new family from Yorkshire moved into my village in Oxfordshire. I made friends with the boys but it always seemed really odd to me that the youngest never seemed to lose his Yorkshire dialect and accent - he was only 7 or 8!....

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What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies?

TWB

Re: Just popping down the battery station for some half dead flowers

This is where I think we'll end up - standardised 'intelligent' batteries in cars, automated swapping at 'fuel' stations, some bulk moving of batteries for recharging at mega centres, some charging of these batteries at the 'fuel' stations - but probably not all. At the same time, charging of batteries/cars possible in many places BUT dynamically priced to help control the grid and generation loading - and this will be the same at home if you have it - the cheapest charging will involve the risk that it might go off when more important demand increases. Guaranteed charging will be more expensive etc etc.

It'll be a nightmare for many consumers who will not understand it. I imagine the consumer TV and radio programmes will talk of little else.

Current petrol/diesel stations will migrate to the battery swapping systems over several years as many are already ideally placed.

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TWB

Well done!!!

You have remembered to list the location of the talk in the text (rather than hidden discreetly away somewhere....)

I might have to come along now...sounds interesting.

2
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Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1

TWB

Up-selling

"A retail business that doesn't train it's staff to up-sell is just incompetently managed." - hmm, I wonder .... I don't like shopping in places where they are over pushy and do this so they miss out on my custom (money) and I buy elsewhere.

Maybe your tongue was planted in your cheek.

17
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Surprise: Android apps are riddled with trackers

TWB

Drug dealers

Apple and Google have used the drug dealers technique, get 'em hooked and they'll come back for more.

How many of would readily give up their smart phones with now?

There is a gap in the market for a new platform/phone OS - one where tracking/collecting data is the exception and most apps are merely help me and not third parties. Maybe even 'free' ad laden apps are the exception and the paid for ad-free ones come out first. It might get rid of a load of bloat. Or maybe the masses don't care enough and are happy to put up with it.

So many apps I have seen seem to want to know more about me than I really think is necessary. I am happy to pay for apps - i don't expect free.

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80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Tesla Model S

TWB

...

As a level headed cyclist and a car driver (though not at the same time) - there are bad cyclists and bad car drivers. These are the ones you notice - that is human nature.

Good road users - cyclists and car drivers - you don't notice as they are unremarkable.

As a cyclist I actually believe most road users are OK - I have been cycling in London since 1990.

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Ex-sperm-inate! Sam the sex-droid 'heavily soiled' in randy nerd rampage

TWB

Re: I'm Sorry, I haven't a clue!

Thanks - many upvotes

3
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TWB

Re: Humanity is doomed

Is that such a bad thing? We humans are'nt that great

16
2

At last, someone's taking Apple to task for, uh, not turning on iPhone FM radio chips

TWB

My decorator...

...has a DAB radio - woo hoo!

I am not a convert to DAB - I nearly only ever listen to Radio 4 and have it on in many rooms at once on multiple radios so would have to change all of them to DAB to keep everything in sync. I don't understand the push for DAB over FM - yes it is supposed to go up to 20kHz but I'm not listening in a silent environment and my hearing rolls off at 13k...could they not cram the metadata* into the RDS part of the signal? (I really ought to know the correct terminology here)

[*station name, frequency, programme, song title - what else do I need - I'll watch TV if I want pictures]

I don't see the need for great numbers of radio stations - I'd prefer a narrow choice of quality rather than a wide choice of crap.

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TWB

Antennae?

As much as I am an advocate of FM radio and 'proper' (IMHO) broadcasting - I think many smart phone users may be unaware they have an FM radio in their phone and in an emergency situation may well not have thought about finding a wired set of headphones to work as the antenna.

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Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

TWB

Re: Didn't they used to have a flywheel?

As someone born in Reading, upvote from me.

(it's not all bad....)

7
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Noise-canceling headphones with a DO NOT DISTURB light can't silence your critics

TWB

Re: Whilst I've toyed with the idea...

@David Nash

Thanks for heads up, and indeed.....

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TWB

Re: Whilst I've toyed with the idea...

"Can't understand why cyclists seem to wear headphones" - many of us don't - I tried it once and felt far too isolated - in fact I used to drive a Mini Moke for years without windows/sides and tired headphones once for music* but much preferred being able to hear/sense everything around me.

I would love to listen to music while I'm cycling but have not come across a method which would keep it personal to me but also allow me to be be aware of the sounds around me - if anyone has any tips let me know.

*I believe this is illegal - I'll hand myself in when I'm very old.

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10% of UK's top firms would be screwed in a cyber attack – survey

TWB

Yeah but....

Having worked for years in a place that tried to practice disaster scenarios, those scenarios never occurred, but having staff who understood how things worked meant that we could work out what to do when the shit hit the fan as it did from time to time.

Having said that I'm surprised that something more serious has not occurred to date.

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Former GCHQ boss backs end-to-end encryption

TWB

Bans required

Social networking, the internet, computers, printing, books, reading and writing, talking, secrets and thinking.

That should sort out all terrorism.

2
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Capita flogs Asset Services division for £888m

TWB

Hmmm...

"The division provides asset and company administration, sourcing investment, distribution, origination, governance, finance & accounting and data analytics. Link sells outsourced administration services." - whatever happened to proper jobs????

5
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Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

TWB

Re: Observe the user

'There's a couple at my work who met like that and are now married with kids.'

How careless!...

I did not want to suggest as much but happy to hear this.

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TWB

Observe the user

'Len reckons the moral of this story is to listen, really listen, to customers' - I think it s more that Len observed his user.

I like this story as I have worked in broadcast engineering support where the engineers seem to prefer to talk to the users over phone or talkback(intercom) rather than visit them (in the same building) and actually see what is happening.

I always advocated visiting users for several reasons:

1. You really see what is happening - users are human and can use the wrong terminology for something causing much confusion - you may see they are 'doing it completely wrong' or learn new things eg. shortcuts.

2. Exasperated uses, more often than not, like someone to turn up - it makes them feel that people care about their problem - even if you don't fix it.

3. It gets you off your fat arse - lots of little bits of exercise, getting up and down etc etc - much better than sitting for hours in one sweaty chair.

4. You might get to meet some nice people - and even become friends etc.

5. An exasperated user is usually much gentler face to face than over the phone/talkback and will see you as an individual rather then just a voice in support.

Only my experience.

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Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network

TWB

Re: Interesting.

And not only that - a booking fee! - it's not as if I cannot buy them without (rarely do they seem to sell them at box offices anymore)

6
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My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

TWB

Blaggers

"Try as I might, I've never been able to climb aboard the blagging train." - sadly I am also deficient in the blagging gene or whatever it is. If a stream of people are passing a ticket check point all without tickets - I'll be the one who gets the 'Excuse me Sir, can I see you ticket....."

Keep up the rest of the good work, maybe your luck is changing.

BTW - just to be boring, those rubber padded/dipped/whatever gloves are really good for picking up heavy items like sheets of plasterboard - far easier to grip than with bare hands and fingers.

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IBM wheels out bleedin' big 15TB tape drive

TWB

Compression question

Honest question so please be gentle.

In the article it says compression can be used to up the capacity of the various tape systems - I presume this using lossless data reduction techniques - the equivalent of zipping up files on write and unzipping on read - correct me if I'm wrong.

My question is - what happens if all the data is already compressed .e.g .jpgs, mpegs etc?? (Where I worked, we had an LTOx archive just for video - so no compression used)

Is there an assumption that most users will have a mix of data which is readily compressible and hence the manufacturers can quote compression ratios?

2
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User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC

TWB

Re: Slot loaders

My son took an interest in my Macbook when he was much younger and one day the occasionally used slot loader stopped loading discs - it would only take them in so far and I knew pressing any harder was not going to help. One nightshift I finally decided to do the 30 to 40 step strip down and ultimately found an old car tax disc had been inserted and then crumpled itself nicely in the drive.

I removed it, reassembled and all has been OK since.

My son no longer inserts things in the slot....

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Oh dear, Prime Minister! Nearly 100 Beeb bosses make more than you

TWB

Re: Bloody Stupid Metric

Could not agree with your sentiment(s) more.

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Drunk user blow-dried laptop after dog lifted its leg over the keyboard

TWB

2 Laptops - neither my fault

Years ago my wife managed to spill hot tea in my Macbook. It failed immediately and after a stripdown and dry out I only had to replace the wifi card and it has been fine since.

While she was away once with her laptop, my then toddler spilt water over it. This time we could not revive it. I called up the insurance company saying was my laptop covered for damage in the home to which they replied - no it is only covered outside the home - I felt that saying 'Oh it got damaged outside the home' at that point somehow would not wash, although completely true.......

We sold the damaged one for a couple of hundred and bought a refurb.

We're still married.

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Half-baked security: Hackers can hijack your smart Aga oven 'with a text message'

TWB

OK, daft question

How does a hacker* find out the phone number of SMS device in the cooker? (other than by asking the owner)

*if I was a hacker I would find this a bit of a dull 'hack' to carry out - great, I can switch someone's Aga on or off.

0
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User lubed PC with butter, because pressing a button didn't work

TWB

Another Excel abuser

Years ago when I used to train broadcast engineers in analogue TV, I needed a way to show how RGB gets changed to YUV - loses or gains levels and then gets changed back again to RGB in TVs - I could not afford signal generators, coders, processing and waveform monitors, but excel was great as a way to show multiple waveforms and with slider controls I could vary levels.

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