* Posts by Alan Edwards

520 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Apr 2007


Microsoft releases Windows 11 Insider Preview, attempts to defend labyrinth of hardware requirements

Alan Edwards

TPM is required

A TPM is required, which leaves me in the weird situation that my decades old laptop (T510 witth a Core i5-540 and a TPM) could run Windows 11 but not really like it, but my Core i7-6700 desktop could easily run it but can't because it doesn't have a TPM. I guess it'll run Windows 10 until it dies...

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

Alan Edwards

Just because it says "Out Of Paper"...

Just because it says it's out of paper doesn't actually mean it *is* out of paper.

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children

Alan Edwards

Weigh in at scanning

Could they add weight sensors to the body scanners used at security?

Give the passengers an RFID tag that identifies them to the scanner, add the weight, feed the data to the airline to match the ID to the intended flight and total them all up to get total passenger weight.

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem

Alan Edwards

Been there, done that

BTDT - spent half an hour trying to fix a pair of wireless headphones that had died on me, only to discover that the volume had been turned down.

TBF the volume knob dragged on something, I didn't turn it down myself, but it took me far too long to try turning the volume up.

City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub

Alan Edwards

Re: Just go to your local library

> And expecting my tiny local library to stock *every* journal and *every* edition of it is preposterous

No, but if there isn't a system in place for a recognised library to say "Hey guys, can I borrow a copy of (x) to lend out" there ought to be. It's kinda what they're there for.

A borked bit of code sent the Hubble Space Telescope into safe mode, revealing a bunch of other glitches

Alan Edwards

Re: And the others ?

Hubble can't focus that close though. It can't focus on the Moon let alone Earth

Alan Edwards

Hard reset

That's a long trip to plug in a USB keyboard to Ctrl-Alt-Del it.

My PC makes ‘negative energy waves’, said user, then demanded fix

Alan Edwards

Re: qotw

One of the best speaker cables I had was solid core twin-and-earth building power cable, cost me nothing.

I asked a relative who was working on a building site putting up warehouses if there was any chance of some scrap ends they were throwing out, they gave me about half a drum's worth.

I've still got the heavy granite isolation platform I adapted from a piece being chucked out by a stone masons. Stuck some rubber feet on the unpolished side, job done :)

Corking story: Idiotic smart wine bottle idea falls over, passes out

Alan Edwards


Would they not be better building the display (flexible OLED or e-ink) into a collar that goes around an existing wine bottle? For extra points, add a handle that makes it easier to pour?

Do wine bottle labels have barcodes? (sorry, non-drinker here) If so, add a laser barcode reader to automatically read the code and download the wine information over wifi and a web service. Otherwise, use a mobile app pull down the info and Bluetooth it over to the display unit.

La, la, la, I can't hear you! Apple to challenge Bose's noise-proof cans

Alan Edwards

Re: Wait - am I a weirdo?

Made the mistake of sitting at the back of a QueasyJet 737 (it was a few years ago) from Aberdeen to Luton - 'low-level' is not how I'd describe the racket :)

Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Alan Edwards

> Windows 10 runs quite happily in 2GB of RAM

Windows 10 itself runs in 2Gb, but none of the stuff you need to do work does. At a minimum I need Outlook, Chrome and Skype for Business, and 2Gb RAM on an HP Pavilion x2 isn't enough. It spends it's life swapping bits in and out.

4Gb is enough though, just. I briefly used a Celeron-based Acer with 4Gb, and that was happy.

Lenovo literally has a screw loose – so it's recalled flagship Carbon X1 ThinkPads

Alan Edwards

Sealed laptops

If this was a T430-era laptop, the fix would be to remove the back cover and give it a quick shake to get the loose screw out. Instructions for doing that is in the freely available hardware manual.

Of course the battery on those was hung off the back, so a loose screw inside wouldn't set fire to it anyway.

Every day I seem to end up hoping more my T410 never dies.

Peers approve Brit film board as pr0n overlords despite concerns

Alan Edwards

Cannot be anonymous

"I'm Fred Bloggs, and I'm 42"

"OK, how do I know you're really Fred and not his 15 year old son"

"Trust me, this is Fred"

This will last about a week before age verification credentials get posted to a FacePalm page. It needs 2FA or it's pointless, which means it's not anonymous..

Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

Alan Edwards

More shovelware

It's always the same, the first half hour after an update installation is spent turning off the crap you don't want, doesn't work properly, or wants to upload a running commentary to the mother ship.

The OS is supposed to be there to work for you, you shouldn't be fighting the OS for control of the hardware.

UK.gov admits porn age checks could harm small ISPs and encourage risky online behaviour

Alan Edwards

Re: From a legal perspective...

No, because it's not "produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal". The main purpose of a modelling site would be to sell modelling services, if you get your rocks off to it that's your business.

It would be a Rule 34(b) - if it exists, someone will be "into" it. Nothing would survive.

TalkTalk banbans TeamTeamviewerviewer againagain

Alan Edwards

Re: Reselling TalkTalk

> the phone coop

Is that like a chicken coop, but for phones? :)

Ey-up, mardy Rochdale council has dropped plans for ban on swearing. Thank f$ck!

Alan Edwards

Automate it

Maybe one of the councillors watched Demolition Man :)

The 3 Sea Shells would be next though...

Shazam! Apple chucks £300m at Brit what's-that-song app – report

Alan Edwards

Re: android envy

The Sony C905 had TrackID in 2009-ish.

It was built in to an old Sony TV of the same sort of vintage too, must have been a Sony thing.

Commuters' phone data could be tracked to save megabucks on census

Alan Edwards

Dual SIMs?

My phone has two SIMs on two different networks, one for work, one is mine - does this mean I am two people when the census-by-mobile counts people? If I've also got my LTE tablet with me am I three people?

I really don't think this is going to be accurate enough to use for a census. You'd need to follow it up with more accurate measures to correct for errors, so you might as well do it properly in the first place. The census is supposed to be a count of people, not a rough guess.

Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

Alan Edwards

Re: Pharmacist

> I really don't understand the opposition some people have to progress.

I'm not sure it's opposition to progress, it's opposition to handing it all over to an external 3rd party company.

My opinion? It should be an extension of the existing NHS-run non-emergency phone service, not an all-or-nothing that makes you switch GPs.

For all it's failings, at least you know the NHS is not going to sell your medical history to advertisers. Or insurance companies.

Ob. Douglas Adams reference: "I've gone off the idea of progress, it's over-rated"

DJI Aeroscope won't stop drone-diddlers flying round airports

Alan Edwards

Low hanging fruit?

As the system requires a transponder, I'm guessing this will only detect DJI quadcopters? Even then you can nobble it by removing the transponder module or it's antenna.

At best it will only catch people who accidentally fly too close to an airport or lose control of their drone, it will do nothing against the people who are determined to do it (who are the ones you want to worry about).

If you want to fly across an airport's controlled airspace it's not exactly rocket science to build a drone that does it autonomously with no radio emissions, no controller signal, and nigh-on undetectable on radar.

Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

Alan Edwards


You'd need to open up a console on the car's display and type an AT command to get it to charge, and then have to have one foot on the ground.

So I'm the only one old enough to know Hayes modems and the Hayes production code. OK.

Outage at EE wrecks voice calls across the UK

Alan Edwards

Picocells out too?

This probably explains why my EE Signal Box picocell was dead most of yesterday. It had a red light so I bounced it, and it was flashing green light the rest of the day. Finally came back about 10pm when I restarted it again.

Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Alan Edwards

Re: 17" laptops

> I believe that they are planning to release a laptop with the 36" screen

And it'll be 1080p, grumble grumble, rubbish laptop resolutions.

Alan Edwards


Had quite a few ThinkPads over the years, and loved most of them.

The T43 was a bit of a donkey, that went in favour of one of my favourites, the T61. My T510 was dropped by it's previous user hard enough to break the plastic fan vent and bend the heatsink fins, and was still working when I was made redundant.

My personal laptop is a T410, I have an X240 from work, and my mum has a T410 I set up for her. I've played with getting a X230 or T420 for myself, but I don't really like 16:9 screens.

Azure fell over for 7 hours in Europe because someone accidentally set off the fire extinguishers

Alan Edwards

Use their own service??

> Azure Site Recovery lost failover ability

So a failure at one data centre knocked out everyone else's ability to fail over to a different site :)

Alan Edwards

Re: The insane thing about it is...

> But who wants a san attached loud fan blowing server running 24/7 in their home.

I have a self-built VMWare ESXi server and a NAS running 24x7. The HP MicroServer that runs the NAS is give-or-take silent, the PSU fan in the VMWare server is quiet enough that I don't notice it.

The noise factor has stopped me getting a cheap ex-corporate server off eBay though. We once powered up a de-racked ProLiant DL-something in the office, damn that thing was loud. Lots of tiny screaming fans.

Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

Alan Edwards

Motorised walls

To paraphrase Douglas Adams:

"This wall is vibrating"

"Maybe it's got an engine"

"Who would want a motorised wall"

"I don't know. Another motorised wall?"

Brit military wants a small-drone-killer system for £20m

Alan Edwards

> presumably targeting has to be more precise than explosives

Not really, just target anywhere above the target drone. A lot aren't waterproof at all, and if it was the weight of the water would push it down.

You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Alan Edwards

> I spend some hard time preparing a presentation for MS Office,

> it turned out they had OpenOffice.

I can (just about) beat that. I was supposed to be being trained on JSP, Java Server Pages. The course they sent me on was JavaScript. Hey, it's got Java in the name, it's all the same thing.

Turned out I really liked JavaScript, and make part of my living at it now.

Alan Edwards

Re: Meeting rooms

There's a meeting room at the office in Bracknell that got nicknamed The Fridge because everyone thinks it is too cold in there. I suspect it got partitioned off after the AC was set up, so gets cold air all the time.

Handy for me when I visit because a) I like it cold and b) no-one else ever books it.

Don’t buy that Surface, plead Surface cloners

Alan Edwards

Re: If we must have Surface-like machines..

> My experience with the Spectre X360 i7 version has been the worst

> of any piece of hardware I can recall in at least 2 decades.

You've not used a Pavilion X2 then.

2Gb RAM and an Atom X5 make for painful progress, 32Gb storage means you can't install OS upgrades without an external drive, plus a MicroSD slot that works fine until you actually try and use it, at which point it sometimes dismounts the card without warning.

Piece of junk.

Not as bad as a Dell Venue 8 though. 1Gb RAM that is mostly taken up with the Android-to-x86 translator, leaving not enough to do anything else with.

LG teases us with svelte V30 but refuses to say if it's coming to Blighty

Alan Edwards

Re: Dual SIM ? Memory expansion ?

GSM Arena (http://www.gsmarena.com/lg_v30-8712.php) tells you more...

There is (will be?) a dual-SIM version, and it has a dedicated Micro-SD slot.

China claims to have turbine-powered drone carrying 200kg payload

Alan Edwards

3.4m long?

The gas-turbine motor alone is 3.4m long? Does this "drone" happen to have a human pilot and a couple of machine guns too :)

The gas-turbine engine in Rover's experimental turbine car was tiny, smaller than a petrol engine and produced a hundred and something horsepower.

Maybe they mean the entire craft is 3.4m long?

Huge Apple news confirmed. Software deal with Accenture is official

Alan Edwards

Re: Don't do much work then?

> Ever try using an Android device to do work?

Yep. I've sat in a coffee shop in Birmingham with a Nexus 7, monitoring our incoming ServiceNow queues and doling out incidents as they come in.

Once you persuade ServiceNow to not load the tablet interface there's not a lot you can't do, especially with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I wouldn't want to write JavaScript on a 8-inch screen, but you could if you *really* had to.

A Windows 10 machine with 2 gigs of RAM though? Forget it, it will spend it's life swapping bits of it's brain in and out once you've got Outlook. Skype and Chrome open.

Dell's flagship XPS13 – a 2-in-1 that may fatally frustrate your fingers

Alan Edwards

Re: Non-PC company

> Buy from a Chinese company that supports that nice Chinese administration

Nah, you let some corporation weed out the DOAs and buy an ex-lease 3 year old one on eBay for a tenth of it's new price.

Oldest flying 747 finally grounded, 47 years after first flight

Alan Edwards

Re: Spinal Tap (inspired) Airways

B36 had 10, 6 piston pushers and 4 jets.

If you include the NB36 experiment, that really did have 11, it had a nuclear reactor too. Never actually powered anything, but still...

DJI's Spark drones to be bricked by September 1 unless firmware updated

Alan Edwards

Re: To save lives

> It will be excellent if ISIS' drone fleet get bricked soon.

Actually it may not be. Brick the COTS ones they're using now and they learn to build their own, using open source flight controllers and ESCs. They then have the knowledge to make something *way* more capable than DJI makes.

You want a beast that uses 8 motors (two in push-pull on each corner) and can lift a crate of beer? Have at it, the controller already supports it, the motors and ESCs are cheap.

In short: build yer own! It's more fun, and you end up with something better.

Oh no, EE! More UK mobile customers face sluggish roaming abroad

Alan Edwards

Isle Of Man

Just got back from a holiday on the Isle Of Man, first time trying out this free roaming malarky.

Tablet, phone and wireless router all roamed on Sure, which has just launched there. EE sent a 'Welcome to Guernsey' SMS, which got giggles from all the EE users on the ferry.

EE roamed onto the 4G network, Three got HSPA+. No problem with speed off either, but I wasn't exactly hammering it. It all just worked, apart from the router that took about 5 minutes to register itself the first time.

UAV maker swipes at sponsor of opaque Qinetiq drone study

Alan Edwards

Re: Bah.

> external rail fitted with an infra-red homing missile

Missile's decision making process - "Shall I lock on to the tiny point that is a few degrees above ambient, or the giant ball of fire over there". Jet engines run rather hotter than drone motors, you'd end up shooting yourself down.

Trying to hit an Inspire 2 from a motorised 50-cal turret would make for better in-flight entertainment than any of the movies though.

.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Alan Edwards

Re: And how well, exactly....

It's a Panasonic Toughpad, so probably along the lines of "Ah, I seem to have a layer of salt on my screen, I'd better run it under the tap to clean it off."

Alan Edwards

Re: "whether the Navy should be abandoning low-tech backup solutions"

It's more about the mundane uses of a pocket tool for me.

Yes I could use my Leatherman to cut the seatbelt in a car wreck, but it's far more likely to be used for slicing a parcel open, cutting up fruit, cutting the top off an instant coffee packet with no perforations, chopping an errant branch off a bush that's about to take a layer of paint off the car. All things I've done with my Leatherman.

Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Alan Edwards

Numpty installers

An office where I used to work had a small room that housed the servers, network gear and phone system, and had a wall-mounted AC unit.

One day, we came in to find no servers and no phones. During the night the AC had died because the heat exchanger was a solid block of ice. The dead AC meant the servers rapidly heated the room up, the ice melted, dripping water into the phone system's main box which was mounted directly under the AC.

Giffgaff 'roam like at home' package means £1/min calls in Jersey

Alan Edwards


O2 and EE specifically include the Channel Islands in Europe, how come Giff Gaff don't?

Adhering to the absolute letter of the new rules not the spirit?

Microsoft founder Paul Allen reveals world's biggest-ever plane

Alan Edwards

Re: Hang on... Nuclear

Yep, the NB-36. The reactor never powered the plane, but it was fired up in flight.

It already had 10 engines (4 jet, 6 piston), what's one more...

Amazon announces new Echo just as Microsoft's first Cortana-powered clone breaks cover

Alan Edwards

They may have uses (not to me, I don't like voice control generally) but they need to fix the authentication before I'll even consider getting one. A device that can be taken over by a random voice on TV has no place anywhere IMO.

At the very least the activation phrase should be customisable to anything, not just 'Alexa' or 'computer'.

US Air Force networks F-15 and F-22 fighters – in flight!

Alan Edwards

Re: Oh goody.

One advantage of retro-fitting it in a pod - if it all goes the way of the pear you can dump the pod and still have a working F15.

Windows 10 S forces Bing, Edge on your kids. If you don't like it, get Win10 Pro – Microsoft

Alan Edwards

Re: Meh, I give it a few months

"I love the way people scream monopoly over Microsoft then go all quiet when you mention goggle..."

The difference with ChromeOS is that they didn't take an existing OS and nobble it so you can't run Firefox or change the search engine, and there isn't a magic "pay $50 to turn it back on again" switch.

If Google wanted to screw you over with ChromeOS they could, they have full control over the OS. Lock the search engine down, and only pre-approved Chrome extensions allowed, so no AdBlock or uBlock.

Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

Alan Edwards

Re: Banning delete after forward

> they will have to make the transmission and storage of any information in an

> encrypted format illegal

Trouble is, what is encrypted data. I can see a lot of conversation like:

Gov: Why are you sending encrypted data?

Me: WTF? I'm not

Gov: Explain this then...

Me: It's the install keys for a bunch of products on our shared MSDN account

Gov: (eyes glaze over, understood some of those words) Rubbish, it's encrypted, decrypt it

Me: It's not encrypted

(Rinse and repeat)

Of course it would also ban SSL and WPA encryption on wifi. It would be the end of e-commerce, at least on wireless networks.

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Alan Edwards

I know what you mean,,,

My example is ServiceNow, It displays everything, then shuffles stuff into tabs if you have that enabled, then the UI policies kick in and hide stuff that shouldn't be there. Buttons and fields you're trying to click may not be even close when it actually registers the click.

It also had an annoying habit of putting an Insert button where Update used to be before it shuffled everything around. This means it creates a duplicate record instead of overwriting the old one if you click too early.

My pet peeve is menus that disappear because the mouse pointer is 1 pixel outside it's border. I click on your header to get you to display, just stay put until I select something!