* Posts by Donald Miller

36 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

'Liberator': Proof that you can't make a working gun in a 3D printer

Donald Miller

Doesn't anybody watch '50s movies?

It's called a zip gun; plumbing pipe or copper tube, small diameter, nail and a rubber band to fire it, on a piece of wood. Popular in prison, playground, and bleacher fights involving duck-bill haircuts. Am I the only pensioner to read El Reg?

I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

Donald Miller
IT Angle

Touchy screens

How many consoles currently have touch screens? How many managers will spring for the number needed to efficiently run your server farm? How many will you have to repair each month?

And how many of the current ones have drivers that will work with Win8? How about drivers for your current-but-actually-6-year-old video cards? Yes, I know the touch part is HID compliant, but do you want to work in VGA mode?

Why James Bond's Aston Martin Top Trumps the rest

Donald Miller

Close encounter

A high-school friend of mine worked as a reporter for the Daily-American in Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA. One Saturday morning in the fall of 1965 he called me to rush over to his house.

We went to a local towing-company garage, and there was most of the DB5 stunt car! The guy on duty said that when the car was towed in the driver yelled "Nobody hears about this!" and ran off to find a pay phone; of course the mechanic called in the local paper.

The roof panel was open, the ejection seat popped up, guns and axle knives hanging out, license plate loose. Apparently somebody's brother/nephew/partner convinced the front office the vehicle might be damaged by the shipping company, so he'd drive it back from the New York World's Fair to California. He managed to stuff it into the back of a tractor trailer after only about 300 miles, so he may have just kept running.

I still have a paint chip from the car. I'll have to ask my friend if he has any of the photos he took, but I doubt it. It wasn't all that important to a couple of teenagers, just interesting.

And my wife's CVT Jeep Patriot can probably outrun it, at least out here where the roads are twisty and hilly.

Target Silicon Valley: Why A View to a Kill actually made sense

Donald Miller

Strategic targets

Who would have thought that production of computer-grade epoxy and disposable diaper plastic would be easier to disrupt than silicon chips? And the nappies will probably result in a much greater economic cost.

Top admen beg Microsoft to switch off 'Do Not Track' in IE 10

Donald Miller

Low Down Cookies

I haven't read all these posts yet, but I've seen no mention anywhere of the fact that most sites are saving cookies into a Low folder inside the Cookies folder, so they're not deleted when you tell IE to do so. I will be watching to see if this post appears, since The Register is one of the offenders.

Apple's Retina Macs: A little too elite?

Donald Miller

Bubbly flash

Hey A.O., don't you read your own rag? Concerning your last para,


And when using near-full flash, the shuffling algorithm has a hard time. I remember trying to shut down a 40mb hard drive PC (probably about the time a bunch of these readers were born) that had to save a 1.5mb picture file (HI-Res for a $600 BubbleJet!) into maybe 3mb of free space. Took over an hour!

Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it

Donald Miller

No wonder the hotels are empty for the Olympics

I keep reminding users that, no matter how many cores you have, calling main memory or (shudder) disk storage puts one call at a time on a ferry called the BIOS, moving at system speed, waiting at the other end to be reloaded, paddling back, whilst all other calls twiddle their thumbs. Metro sounds as if if will add a LOT of trips. I have 4 unopened copies of Win7 H&F and a bunch of Win7 Pro to get me through until my turn with Charon, or M$ comes to their senses (hopefully first.) And what about that irony icon? Ѳ, representing a light bulb?

I need to multitask, but Windows 8's Metro won't let me

Donald Miller

Simple multitasking

Now that I'm retired from system duties, I've been working in publishing. Let's see, Libre Writer working document, Live mail with a revision, CorelDraw web version, CorelPaint to edit web pictures, another Writer window with a related document, IE for searching and definitions (Does each tab count as a window, as it shows in Task Manager?), Live Mail BONG for sudden IMMEDIATE revision, window showing printer tasks and status, Windows Explorer window to find related docs & previous versions. Does the second monitor count as a task? How about the third one I've been considering adding? As I've said in other comments, stock up on Win7.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail on Blu-ray

Donald Miller

A Load Of Rubbish! — Is this included on le Bleu Roi? I doubt there's much extra beyond the 2001 Special Edition, and the weblinks worked back then. Mind you, I haven't tried them lately. And the entire Japanese version is on that 2-disc (sic) lowly DVD. Now if this had Black Plague Tetris as the original CD version did, that'd be spanking!

TITANIC 'UNLIKELY' TO SINK AGAIN, says prof - apparently

Donald Miller

Liner/Cruise Ship

We have friends who get special rates on "Cruise ships" being repositioned across oceans between seasons, due to demand, or for repairs. How do you think they get those things to the Caribbean? Or the Azores? I've never been on a Round-the-World Cruise, but at least I know they exist. And if the captain's orders had been followed, the Concordia would have gone down in 70 fathoms, with a lot more fatalities.

Charge of the Metro brigade: Did Microsoft execs plan to take a hit?

Donald Miller

What to do, what to do?

As I posted on the "mosh pit" article, stockpile Win 7, preferably the Family Pack, and wait it out. Off-lease machines are starting to appear with builder licenses for Win 7, so there's an option that lasts as long as used motherboards are available.

I am telling clients to switch to M$ Orifice 2007 or higher, because as much as I hate the ribbon, you'll be dealing with others who've never used anything else.

Windows 8: Thrown into a multi-tasking mosh pit

Donald Miller

What to do?

Buy all the copies of Windoze Family Pack you can afford. Win 7 looks to be the next XP, chugging on forever. Or, in the Roddenberry vein, only the odd numbered ones are worthwhile.

Facebook IPO: Boom or bubble?

Donald Miller

Minutes per user

So 20 minutes per user per day (not even trying to calculate users such as g e) is their business plan? I probably spend more time than that reading The Register®, but I also have it open in a tab ~24/7 without looking at it much more than that 20 mpd. My budget is about $5000 per month, and I've never been to Fecesbook. I wonder what ebay's mpu is?

GAGA prepares to inhale some grass

Donald Miller

Most efficient cut

I've used six different cutting heads: rotary plastic blade or string, rotary metal, flail metal, cylindical reel, rotary metal with small swinging blades (essentially a giant string trimmer with five 1/2 meter heads and three 140mm blades on each,) and sickle bar. The last two are the most efficient, but the sickle bar suffers from weight. The plastic blades on the string trimmer work very well, and should be sufficient for one or two mowings of a home lawn before needing replacement. I recommend two heads in echelon to provide coverage without greatly increasing weight. Our Worx 18 volt cordless trimmers provide about 45 minutes of run time, and their Ni-Cad batteries are very inexpensive from the factory. If Worx is not available, Ryobi's are about the same price, probably from the same factory. My wife also made horse hay for two summers with a sythe!

Bond Blu-ray box set marks 50 years on film

Donald Miller

Pushing the clock

My seventies are arriving fast enough without having seen Dr. No in 1952. Maybe you're thinking of Casino Royale on tv in 1954? Not, that's not included either. Let me remember seeing Oddjob fry in a Friday-night-packed small-town theater in 1964, at age 15, after drooling over Ursela Andress two years (and two movies) earlier.

Latest El Reg project: Rise of the Robot Sheep

Donald Miller

Cylindrical? Get reel!

The stripes are left by the roller on the mower, not the blades. My 3 circular blades, 6' total width, are followed by a 6' roller, so I can leave stripes that can be seen from space, but striping is for stupid suburbanites with too much time on their hands. (And I can mow most such yards with one pass up and one pass back, so it's not very well striped.) Meanwhile, I'm composting the clippings back into the yard, thickening the sod.

Reel mowers require a LOT of torque, and are very finicky about being razor-sharp and closely-adjusted against the bed knife. I recommend a flail mower segmented finely, so each section can closely follow the ground, but spinning swords require the least power.

Incidentally, goats have the largest stomach-area/weight ration of any grazer and don't like anything close to the ground, probably an evolutionary adaptation to parasites, so they eat the roses before the grass. And, having had hundreds of ovines, you can only eat a lamb if it has no name. Once the kids name it, it's a pet, not lunch, and you can't house-break sheep. (At least they only leave pellets, about the size of rabbit berries, but they do piss bright yellow.)

Gamer claims complete console collection

Donald Miller

Bally Arcade

The best controllers ever — 3-axis joystick mounted over a pistol-grip trigger! Required two hands, but easier than any of the thumb-killers. If he is willing to pay the postage, he can have mine.

The price of the average foaming tankard - in pictures

Donald Miller

Inverse graphic

I feel the graphic would have been more effective showing the size of the tankard per decaeuro versus time, sinking out of sight to help prevent drunkenness at "football" games.

Fanbois howl over 'hang a lot' Safari 5

Donald Miller

Flash not

Since I've disabled flash cookies on my Windoz and Linux machines, some sites, such as shoplocal, don't show up properly, and some (sears/kmart!) don't ever appear, just flicker and flicker. I actually hit a site that had a tag "You must accept third-party Flash cookies to view this video." You don't think the A/A spat might be part of the problem? I don't have any sauce machines to try, and only a few sites I normally use have the problem.

When I went to post this, I had to remove my blocked cookie sites so the buzzard could remember my identity. I don't mind; I empty the list occasionally to speed up the page searching. It's much easier than unblocking and reblocking macromedia.

Adobe plots rebound with latest Creative Suite

Donald Miller

Flushing Flash cookies

I don't know if I'm the only one to be able to disable these trackers, but I find it interesting that when you do there's no error message generated locally. I once hit a site that said "You must have third-party Flash cookies enabled to view this content" in the IMG tag; most of the time things just don't work, like shoplocal pages, but they obviously don't want you to know that it's the lack of tracking ability that keeps them blank.

Note that I actually disable their formation, not remove them after the fact, so I leave no trace of my surfing except for the inevitable IP collection.

Open source - the once and future dream

Donald Miller

Hasn't the FAT patent expired?

A quick search hasn't found the date granted. And if it's for a utility, not a device, has Micro$oft remembered to pay the time-extension fees for it?

Masses marvel at 'Most Useless Machine'

Donald Miller

Poison link

I used the link at the bottom of the article and got hit by trojan HTML/Renos and adware Clairagain.

Germans satisfy latex desire with GM dandelions

Donald Miller

Even sweeter than the Huns' sweetner

Dandelion wine is among the best fruit varieties, and, in my opinion, the hardest stock to gather — fully-opened blossom petals only, please!

Sites pulling sneaky Flash cookie-snoop

Donald Miller

Blocking Exposing Myself cookies

Just deleting the folders keeps Flash from running. By properly changing the permissions on the two folders Flash uses, you can keep them from forming, so you don't need to flush them (and we all know what needs to be flushed!) Apparently, to keep from revealing themselves, if they can't write the cookie you don't get an error.

You need a Benny Hill icon to go with this story. Paris is not showing her correct end.

Apple accused of lowering cone of silence over iPod flame out

Donald Miller

Lithium batteries

Check the safety record for Li-Ion on the model airplane sites, and then consider the hundreds of pounds of them in a vehicle crash. Tehre are special training courses for emergency responders to a hybrid vehicle call, especially in the wet. Everone knows tha power of leaking gasoline, but few consider the results of other substances with power densities approaching that of petroleum products.

Too thick to boil an egg? Buy 'em preboiled

Donald Miller

As usual, you're behind the colonies.

These have been available here in the American boondocks for well more than a year. I have no idea what they cost, having been taught to cook eggs (and kill, clean and cook chickens) on my parents' farm back before the Revolution.

Obama: the face of USB Flash storage

Donald Miller

Not Ron Reagan

Even without squinting it's Frank Sinatra!

Google Chocolate Factory patents Data Center Navy

Donald Miller

Tax man's reach

Outside the municipal reach is also outside the Patent Office's reach. And anchoring them anywhere makes reaching them by rubber skiff extremely easy. "Psst, buddy, wanna buy a slightly used server, data still intact?"

For the first time I've felt it necessary to attach an emoticon. Ever see Steve Martin's "Roxanne?"

Exploding core counts: Heading for the buffers

Donald Miller

Core Count versus BIOS Count

If all the cores have to use one BIOS, what does the bandwidth of that BIOS have to be to enable all of them to work efficiently? I've always been able to beat other geeks' systems by using an individual system for each process, including multiple hard drives and/or ram disks and/or networked disks per system. Isn't this how SETI and folding@home et alia work? And I bet a 128-atom system would throw less heat than a 128-core server box.

US Army bans USB devices to contain worm

Donald Miller


GPedit.msc is in both XP Pro and XP MediaCenter, and it didn't work against U3 on either system. As I said, Vista asks (IF you've not disabled this prompt) if you want to allow U3 to run, so I never bothered to look for GPedit until now. Anybody have any idea what version of Windows the Army uses? Anybody want to bet most of their IT management staff has heard of GPedit.msc? And on this Vista Home Premium SP1 machine neither GPedit.msc or HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoDriveTypeAutoRun exists, and I'm not going to experiment with adding it since U3 can be killed without it.

Simple, not, G2.

Donald Miller

U3 bypasses disabled Autorun

I found the hard way that SanDisks U3 writes a segment to appear to be another CD player, and all Windows before Vista install it as such with Autorun Enabled BY DEFAULT, so that crap U3 is then installed and changes your disk assignments while it hunts for stuff to put on your SanDisk web account! There a lot of old sticks out there with the shit still on them, but I remove them from service with a hammer when I find them. And if your data disappears, tough tittie.

Tesla Roadster safe after Musk-promised money arrives

Donald Miller

Gimme that ol' time religion

Does the name John Delorean ring a bell?

King Arthur was English 'propaganda', French claim

Donald Miller

How many Lego kiniggates

can dance on a pin-headed Frenchman?

Ban using mobiles while crossing street, says US legislator

Donald Miller

More points

Double points for taking out a cell-talking pedestrian if you're driving whilst talking to that pedestrian on your cellphone?

Plastic bag campaign falls apart at the seams

Donald Miller

Still a problem

At least paper and cloth bags don't blow for miles, don't plug street drains as badly, and don't make me shoot up a fence post because I think someone's trying to climb into a field (waving in the wind.)

German web host to go carbon neutral

Donald Miller

Diesel fuel

I hope they know that modern low-sulfur diesel fuel has only a six-month useable life, so they have to rotate it through an engine or throw it out. Hardly Green!