* Posts by Eric Wilner

7 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

MS to WinXP diehards: Just under 3 more years' support

Eric Wilner


Point 1: the USB serial converter had a perfectly normal chip, and the IT guy grabbed the latest, supposedly-correct driver for it. We also tried some different brands, including expensive industrial models snaffled from the lab. Same results.

Point 2: it exhibits the same behavior with the *built-in*, non-USB, COM port, using the standard driver that came pre-installed. This is why we were trying the USB adapters in the first place: the built-in port wasn't being handled correctly.

Eric Wilner

For those of us who use computers in the lab...

Windows 7 is abso-fraggin'-lutely unacceptable.

OK, so maybe they've got it working for typical office users to do their word processing and pr0n browsing.

But! Some of us need to talk to external devices. Like, over asynchronous serial ports.

One of my clients uses Windows machines in the lab. The ones running XP work fine. The new ones with Windows 7? There are various problems with COM port handling... ranging from the API being intermittently broken (can't always set the Baud rate) to a can't-be-disabled Feature randomly stealing characters on the assumption that any COM port simply must be used to connect a serial mouse.

And the latest development: one guy there got a shiny new Core i7 machine. Windows 7 consistently recognizes the built-in COM port, and could be persuaded to install the drivers for a USB serial converter... but, depending on its mood when it boots up, it may (around 10% probability) or may not actually deign to send and receive data on those ports. So, he's stuck with having an old XP laptop alongside the new machine, just to communicate with the embedded systems he's working on.

Devil manifests in Hungarian bathroom

Eric Wilner

Naw, it's...

...definitely G'Kar.

Uni students invent 'radiation-proof' cloth for Moon tents

Eric Wilner

If it's a magnetosphere substitute...

I see people kvetching about the difficulty of blocking gammas and neutrons, but the article refers to "the planet's protective magnetosphere," which of course only affects charged particles: alpha, beta, stray protons, and the like. Gee, do we think a solar storm might have a high proton content?

(Putting on my silly hat, perhaps it's time to revisit Nedddie Seagoon's atom-proof dustbin.)

DIY Russian war robot plays nanny to inventor's kid

Eric Wilner

And now I find myself humming...

..."The Murderous Toy."

It went ZAP! when it fired; it cursed when it missed

And whirred as it took aim

It didn't know if we were friend or foe

It attacked us just the same


Wikipedia COO was convicted felon

Eric Wilner

Is this the same Carolyn Bothwell...

...whose husband, Sean H. Doran, drowned on their honeymoon in 1999?


Russians offer Terry Pratchett-style droid luggage

Eric Wilner

Pickpocket prevention

"Pick pockets would love it, steal someones wallet and their luggage comes for free with them"

Yes, but it makes it so much easier to spot the pickpocket!

Steal my wallet, and the Luggage will follow you to the ends of the Earth!