* Posts by Gordon JC Pearce

26 publicly visible posts • joined 12 May 2008

ZX Spectrum: Q&A with some of the folks who worked on legendary PC

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Screen memory layout

It was that wacky for the same reason it was laid out similarly on the Apple II - the video hardware could also double as the DRAM refresh. Each "strip" was 256 bytes long, and prodded in turn by the scan generator to keep the 4116 DRAMs that formed the screen memory charged up.

If they had done it "linearly" then it would have taken too long to scan everything and corrupted the memory.

BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Fiat 500

I was astounded to notice that the new Mini Countryman is just about the same size as the first-gen Freelander, and not a whole lot smaller than my old work's Berlingos.

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: One evening about ten year ago...

You're close, actually. Without the cones, Mrs. Get-Me-The-Manager in her Audi Q7 will see the Old Folk's Home with smoke coming from the kitchens, street blocked, pumps four and FFs in offensive mode, hoses everywhere, and sit right at the arse of one of the pumps hooting her horn and shouting at them to move because Ollie and Mungo are late for their capoiera lesson.

Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Obsolescence : free with chrome/Windows/Android

> For the jack socket : Why do you want 19th century technology on your nice modern kit ?

How do I attach my headphones then?

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Improbable

> I don't know where you live but power sockets around here are limited to 10, 13 amps.

No, your sockets are fused at 32A. They are limited by the total resistance of the wiring and impedance of the transformer that feeds your house, so it's safe to say they're limited to a few thousand amps.

Opportunity rover survives Martian winter for eighth time

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: The American Government Might Be Run By The Biggest Idiot Of All Time But . . .

Actually, CAT scanners were a British invention, developed at EMI by Hounsfield and Cormack.

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Servicing a VCR was like playing with a Hellraiser puzzle box

But little Calum knows he's not allowed to touch the video recorder so it couldn't have been him that posted the chewed Duplo man through the slot.

Which does rather suggest that all the foreign objects jammed under the tape carriage are the work of one of the adults in the house...

Gordon JC Pearce

A guy I know has a lovely spiral "rope" pattern embossed in the rear door of his Landrover, in a rough shape of a question mark. This was from a steel rope which parted and sprung back while he was trying to recover a stuck vehicle, and he keeps it to remind him not to forget.

As Apple fixes macOS root password hole, here's what went wrong

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Two stupid things happened

How do you set a random password, without that being a huge hole itself?

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Pollution impact

Maybe the answer would be to develop a drop-in replacement for existing oilburning powertrains, keeping the bodyshells of smelly old diesel cars on the road with clean electric powertrains.

If you came up with something that just dropped in where a PSA Group XUD engine (and derivatives) went in you'd take about half the diesels off the road at a stroke.

Latest Linux kernel release candidate was a sticky mess

Gordon JC Pearce

Tried it, it's okay for just surfing the web and using gmail but there is a serious lack of applications - and the package management is a joke.

What distro is it based on?

TP-Link fined $200k, told to be nice to wireless router tinkers after throwing a hissy fit

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Simple work around

> but a 9dB (It's a big 'B'!)

If you're going to be picky about it, it's 9dBi - deciBels over Isotropic, or how much more power you get in the "loudest" direction compared to a point source that radiates equally in all directions.

Since a 9dBi wifi antenna is most likely omnidirectional, you'd be hard pushed to notice any difference in directivity unless you were in a very tall building with radio-transparent floors.

Gordon JC Pearce

> the hardware shouldn't be capable of breaking FCC rules regarding signal strength

... and cars should be mechanically limited to 35mph in case people in Guernsey break the speed limit.

Daily Stormer binned by yet another registrar, due to business risks

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: This isn't censorship

How exactly is it censorship? No-one is stopping TDS propagating their message.

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: It beings.

I would defend their right to say it, but I would not help them say it. They're more than welcome to go and find someone to help them spread their message, but it won't be me.

Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

Gordon JC Pearce

Correct. That's *exactly* how science works. You don't take my word for it - you take my experimental method, try it for yourself, and make up your own mind. If you get a different result from me, one of us is wrong.

It's really quite simple.

Twitter is just randomly deleting people's lists – and no one knows why

Gordon JC Pearce

> "Twitter lists breaking basically breaks my ability to work and makes me want to pivot away from Twitter list curation," Wolf told The Register.

Get in the fucking sea.

BAE Systems' autonomous research aircraft flies itself to Scotland

Gordon JC Pearce


from fuckit import whynot

Brit neural net pioneer just revolutionised speech recognition all over again

Gordon JC Pearce

Absolutely not! It's the same in the north of Scotland too with signs printed in English and Gaelic.

We could just leave the English (mis-)translations off the signs. Tough luck for the English-speakers who want to move here but can't even be bothered to learn to speak the language.

Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: "...making firewall changes that cut off all their traffic..."

root@bloodymilesaway:~# ifconfig eth0 down<RETURN>



"F....... I'm going to pop over to Edinburgh, anyone want anything while I'm at the datacentre?"

Gordon JC Pearce

Back when I was a skint youth I supplemented my meagre pocket money with doing a few repairs for the local TV shop, which was next door to where my dad worked and meant I could hang about until he finished and get a lift home instead of going to all the extravagance of bus fares.

One rather nice VCR came across my bench, a front-loading one which would accept a tape, start to drop the carriage, make a clicking sound and eject again. Pretty easy, foreign object in the deck, rolled under the tape carriage, unjammed it, cleaned it up, retimed the mechanism which had skipped a couple of teeth causing it to shut down with a cryptic error code instead of the equally cryptic flashing "12:00 12:00 12:00". Pop tape in, whirr click kachunk whirrr, off it goes, press eject, whirr clunk whirr click, out comes the tape. Great. Pop it on the shelf for Mrs Smallchild to pick up the next day.

The next afternoon, in came Mrs Smallchild with her eponymous small child, who promptly began stress-testing all the buttons on any TV within his reach. "There you go, Mrs Smallchild", I breezed, "but you might want to consider putting it in a cabinet or up out of the reach of little hands."

"How very dare you", exclaimed Mrs Smallchild, "Henry knows he's not allowed to touch the telly or the video, and he's as good as gold, he never goes near it when he's watching his videos."

"Well, okay then, but that only leaves the possibility that it is one of the grown-ups in the house that is responsible for feeding the poor tormented machine a piece of toast, half a Milky Way and three or four very chewed Duplo men..."

Go nuts, brother: Ubuntu 16.04 beta – no more auto data-spaffing

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: Out to Launch

I'm lefthanded too, and use the mouse with my left hand with the left and right buttons the normal way round. Why does the side the launcher bar is on make a difference?

FWIW I play the guitar and cello strung the normal way round too. I must admit a left-handed piano would be hilarious and easy to do in software these days.

Tesla recalls every single Model S car in seatbelt safety probe

Gordon JC Pearce

"If you are taking it purely for repairs then it needs to go on a recovery truck."

No, you are allowed to drive it from the MOT station to a garage for repairs.


BY JUPITER: The science behind Friday's Solar System light show

Gordon JC Pearce

Re: The Matrix

There is only one Matrix movie, and its story is a ripoff of the plot of 1980s electronic prog rock masterpiece Tenants Of The Latticework, by sampling pioneers Mainframe.

Finally! Some actual, novel tech: Apple patent to revive geriatric gear

Gordon JC Pearce

Prior art

ZF 4HP20 and 4HP22 as fitted to (among others) Range Rover P38s store various detected parameters in the gearbox ECU and use this to control how hard to drive the shift solenoids, compensating for wear in the clutches and brake bands and loss of pump pressure.

WiMAX gets EU harmonisation at 2.6GHz

Gordon JC Pearce

"Problems" indeed

RF from wireless networking gear *cannot* under any circumstances harm you.

Q. How can a young child or baby tell you if they have a headache when near wi-fi or a mobile mast?

A. They can't, they just live with the constant pain and become moody or quiet.

Uhm, no. they don't get a headache from being near wifi. The reason they're probably moody or quiet is because they've got gas from the mungbean and soy juice drink you've given them in place of milk.

If you shine a fairly bright torch at your hand, more electromagnetic energy is hitting you than from a wireless network card. Do you get headaches from having a torch shone at you?

Anyone who says that wifi equipment or mobile phone masts make them ill is insane. Actually properly delusional insane requiring prompt psychiatric intervention kind of insane.