* Posts by Mike Lewis

199 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Apr 2009


Can noise-cancelling buds beat headphones? We spent 20 hours flying to find out

Mike Lewis

During my last trip, my earbuds were losing the battle with the cabin noise. I found that noise-cancelling headphones are very expensive so I bought some hearing protectors to wear over my earbuds.

Intel mulls cutting ties to 16 and 32-bit support

Mike Lewis

Re: Spite, I tell you, spite!

The infamous demented register architecture.

Why a top US cyber spy urges: Get religious about backups

Mike Lewis

Backups are important

I returned from a holiday to find that the system administrator had wiped my hard drive and the backups. He said he thought I had left the company. Fortunately, I had backups on computers in other cities that he didn't know about.

WAN router IP address change blamed for global Microsoft 365 outage

Mike Lewis

Re: SPOF anyone?

And Australia's entire EFTPOS network by correcting a spelling error.

Someone fixed the code they were assigned, noticed a message in adjacent code was incorrectly spelled, corrected it and down went the network. The length of that message had been hard coded in the program and correcting it changed its length.

What goes up must come down: Logitech sales tumble amid PC slump

Mike Lewis

Logitech quality was good but has declined

Old K120 keyboard: used for many years with no problems.

New K120 keyboard: letters wearing off keys after only one year.

Don't lock the datacenter door, said the boss. The builders need access and what could possibly go wrong?

Mike Lewis

Not all accountants are bad

I worked at a small company with a clueless CIO. When we had network or computer problems, he would poke a few keys to confirm it wasn't working then ask our accountant to fix it. He was quite good. They made medical equipment.

Windows 11 still not winning the OS popularity contest

Mike Lewis

Re: Awwwww, poor Microsoft

I'm still using an eleven-year-old i5-2400 with Windows 7. It's fast enough to do everything I need, apart from embedding subtitles in videos, while running at 100% all the time for Folding@Home and BOINC.

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech

Mike Lewis

Perhaps it's just me but...

I find speaking to a computer is weird. The one time it would be useful doesn't work. When using Google Maps in the car, saying "OK Google, I know where I am now" or "OK Google, Maps off" do not silence it.

WASP malware stings Python developers

Mike Lewis

Re: Double check your spelling

I can see someone typing in "colourama".

Microsoft feels the need, the need for speed in Teams

Mike Lewis

Just getting it to work would be nice

Only the organiser has both audio and video. Half of the attendees have audio but no video; the other half have video but no audio.

Why I love my Chromebook: Reason 1, it's a Linux desktop

Mike Lewis

I'll be buying a Chromebook

I was going to buy a laptop with Windows 11 until my cousin kept having problems with it crashing. I googled "Windows 11 keeps crashing" and there are a LOT of people with that problem.

Microsoft Outlook sends users back to 1930 with (very) mini-Millennium-Bug glitch

Mike Lewis

I fixed my first Y2K bug in 1988

I was working on air conditioning control software when I found it and thought "Buildings stay up for a long time. There's a good chance this program will be running after 2000."

I keep wondering if I should have told someone.

Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI

Mike Lewis

AI Scam Calls

We're going to have AI initiate scam calls and learn to change what they say to get the most money.

You can never have too many backups. Also, you can never have too many backups

Mike Lewis

Saved by the backup

I returned from a holiday to find that the system administrator had wiped my hard drive and the backups. He said he thought I had left the company. Fortunately, I had backups on computers in other cities that he didn't know about.

Philippines orders fraud probe after paying MacBook prices for slow Celeron laptops

Mike Lewis

Re: Government procurement

> mindless automatons following a script without any regard for the actual outcome

That happens in private industry too. A company making an automated analyser decided the project would be done with C++. Unfortunately, the programmers they hired knew only Visual C++, not embedded programming or anything about hardware. The project was finally completed years late after spending a lot of money on replacing burned out stepper motors.

America's chip land has another potential shortage: Electronics engineers

Mike Lewis

That describes my career

I started out by studying power electrical engineering, switched to electronic engineering then changed to software, writing device drivers and fixing bugs in the ones from the chip manufacturers.

Amazon shows off robot warehouse workers that won't complain, quit, unionize...

Mike Lewis

In the future...

These might be known as Amazon's halcyon days between hiring workers who complain and robots with AI who complain.

Internet Explorer 11 limps to the end of Windows 10 road

Mike Lewis

Re: I never thought I'd say this but...

I'm referring to looking at an RSS feed file in a web browser, not using a podcast client to download it.

Mike Lewis

I never thought I'd say this but...

I'll be sorry to see it go. Of all the browers on my PC (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, IE and Opera), it's the only one that renders RSS feeds correctly.

Hawaiian Airlines to offer free Wi-Fi via SpaceX's Starlink

Mike Lewis

Opportunity Missed

Decades ago, I was working for a now defunct company developing small base stations for mobile phones. I told my manager "We can put them in airplanes and connect to satellites to get the signal!"

"Don't be ridiculous" he replied.

The right to repairable broadband befits a supposedly critical utility

Mike Lewis

Backup Internet Connections

I had a team of three technicians trying to fix my broadband and failing. The fault was found days later by a fourth who discovered after quite some time that another company's technician had disconnected me at the junction box while repairing my neighbour's connection.

I rely on the Internet for medical reasons so I have my usual connection plus a 3G modem and the hotspot on my phone. All three use different ISPs in case the fault is with the ISP's network. If the power goes off, my laptop batteries will last a total of 21 hours and I can charge them in my car with a 12 VDC to 240 VAC inverter.

Microsoft Teams unable to send and receive calls for some after update

Mike Lewis

Running normally?

Does "running normally" mean it's back to only one person having both audio and video while half of us have audio but no video and the other half have video but no audio?

Wolfing down ebooks during lockdown? You might want to check out Calibre, the Swiss Army ebook tool

Mike Lewis

Avoiding Kindle

I use Calibre to convert the books I bought from Amazon so I can read them on the Moon+ Reader Pro app. It has a far better user interface than the Kindle.

Microsoft tweaks Teams and Viva to help bridge gap between frontline workers and their managers, among other things

Mike Lewis

Common enemy

The only bonding I felt with my peers while using Teams was against the common enemy: Microsoft. After we switched to Zoom, we could resume our usual infighting.

Survey shows XP lingers on while Windows 11 makes a 0.21% ripple in the enterprise

Mike Lewis

Which OS

When my Windows drive died four days ago, I had to decide which operating system to install out of Windows 7, Windows 10 and Linux. Windows 10 has a bad reputation with Microsoft's "Ready or not, here I come" installation of buggy updates, changing user preferences and hiding settings, all of which make Windows 7 appear more reliable to me. Linux was not a practical option as I have so much Windows software so I reinstalled Windows 7.

There's something to be said for delayed gratification when Windows 11 is this full of bugs

Mike Lewis

Black screen of death

> Windows 11 introduced a novelty in the Windows world: a black screen of death.

That was actually introduced by Windows 7.

I fixed the neighbours' computer - again - and told them not to move it. Of course they moved it and got a black screen. I found out that Windows, running on that particular hardware, was sensitive about which USB port you used for the mouse.

140,000-plus drivers sent $60m in compensation checks after Amazon 'stole their tips'

Mike Lewis

Re: Once again

Nothing is gong to change untll company executives are fined and jailed. To a company, a fine is just another cost of doing business.

If your apps or gadgets break down on Sunday, this may be why: Gpsd bug to roll back clocks to 2002

Mike Lewis


That's one reason why certain companies keep getting government contracts even though their previous projects failed. They know how to wade through the paperwork. Programming? Not so much.

If it's going to rain within the next 90 mins, this very British AI system can warn you

Mike Lewis

British Weather

They're still waiting for it to stop raining more than ninety minutes so they can test it.

BOFH: Pass the sugar, Asmodeus, and let the meeting of the Fellowship of Bastards … commence

Mike Lewis

Re: Kickstarter

Can it tell when one of your feet has gone flat and needs pumped up again?

Microsoft approved a Windows driver booby-trapped with rootkit malware

Mike Lewis


Leave off Microsoft QA. It's just one guy and he's doing the best he can.

In a complete non-surprise, Mozilla hammers final nail in FTP's coffin by removing it from Firefox

Mike Lewis

My memory of FTP

I once rewrote 2,650 lnes of C as a seven line shell script.

The previous programming team had written a data transfer program with its own implementation of FTP. I just used the one that was already on the UNIX computer.

Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far

Mike Lewis

CPU Requirements

I'm confused about the CPU requirements as it ran fine in a VirtualBox VM using one core of a 2nd generation Pentium.

The UI is something I can get used to without grumbling too much. My main concerns are (1) will I have another battle to prevent its trying to install itself on my mum's antique laptop and (2) will Microsoft drop its "ready or not, here I come" approach to installing buggy updates.

‘Fasten your seat belts, raise your tray table, and disconnect your Bluetooth headsets from the entertainment unit’

Mike Lewis

They can buy as many new planes as they like

I still won't fly with them. For the last four years, I've been counting good and bad news stories about airlines and they are right down at the bottom of my list at -89. Personal experience confirms that.

Developing for Windows 11: Like developing for Windows 10, but with rounded corners?

Mike Lewis

Re: win 10

Never mind the quality, feel the width.

What you need to know about Microsoft Windows 11: It will run Android apps

Mike Lewis

All I want to know is...

1. Will I have another frantic battle to stop it trying to install itself on my mum's antique laptop?

2. Are all the settings in one place now?

3. Will Microsoft drop its "ready or not, here I come" installation of buggy updates at the most inopportune time?

Mensa data spillage was due to 'unauthorised internal download'

Mike Lewis

Re: Wow

I got into Mensa years ago with a surprising amount of room to spare and I didn't last long. I was disappointed to find that they were no more intelligent and a little more crazy than my fellow team members writing safety-critical software.

Their attitude towards intelligence was odd, like that of a teenage boy who thinks he knows how to drive fast just because he has a car with a big engine. Skill and effort are required, not just raw mental horsepower.

Norton dodges UK courts after telling Brit watchdog it will be nicer to consumers

Mike Lewis

Re: Hot Deals With Your New Laptop.

When I was doing volunteer work at the local community computer centre, there was a steady stream of people who had saved up what little money they had to buy an HP laptop then were quite upset that it was running so slowly. I replaced the pre-installed Norton Antivirus with the free version of Avira and they went away quite happy.

UK.gov's new single enforcement body does not cover rogue umbrella companies, contractor campaigners complain

Mike Lewis

It's been a long day

I thought "Why umbrella companies?"

Indian Finance Minister throws Infosys under the bus as new e-tax portal fails on first day

Mike Lewis

Re: That's weird

Yes but this one is supposed to reduce the wait for tax refunds.

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance

Mike Lewis

Re: Laptop + Monitor = two computers?

You would be surprised by what you can expect from the company accountant.

At one place I worked, the CTO didnt know much about technology. When a network or computer started acting up, he would sit down in front of it, tap a few keys to confirm it wasn't working then hand the whole thing over to our accountant who was quite good at fixing it.

This was a company making medical equipment, by the way.

Desktop renaissance? Nope, rebound of hefty PCs is just because there's notebook shortage – analysts

Mike Lewis

Is your cupboard-under-the-stairs datacenter a HP?

UK Computer Misuse Act convictions declined last year despite pandemic explosion in online criminal activity

Mike Lewis

Re: So in summary

It's "waved the rules".

IBM, Red Hat face copyright, antitrust lawsuit from SCO Group successor Xinuos

Mike Lewis

Re: Not an April Fool

Do try to keep up.

The wrong guy: Backup outfit Spanning deleted my personal data, claims Cohesity field CTO

Mike Lewis

Re: If you cannot touch it do not complain when it evaporates

I've always followed the policy that backups are not done unless I do them myself. I once returned from a hoilday to find that the sysadmin had reformatted my hard drive and deleted the backups because he thought I had left the company. Fortunately, I had my own backups on computers in other cities that he didn't know about.

Does Samsung want you to buy new phones? Asking 'cos Galaxies now get four years of security updates

Mike Lewis

Re: Pointless

A replaceable battery used to be important to me until I bought two for my five-year-old phone. The first was clearly a fake and died after only three charges. The second was much better but the battery connectors hadn't been tinned properly.

I have found that keeping the batteries charged to around 40%, as recommended by the lithium-ion battery manufacturers for long-term storage, works well for prolonging battery life with five years for my mobile phone, seven for my tablet and twelve for my laptop batteries.

Healthy 32-year-old offered COVID-19 vaccine because doctors had him down as 6.2cm tall with BMI of 28,000

Mike Lewis

Re: At least they handled it well

As part of vaccinating the elderly, my friend in Phoenix was offered appointments at 11:55 p.m. or 4:20 a.m. She was warned she might have to stay in her car for hours and there were no bathrooms.

New Jersey blames Microsoft for weeks of outages, glitches plaguing coronavirus vaccine sign-up website

Mike Lewis

Writing the ATC software was interesting.

I was told when I got the job that I would be allowed one bug in my code. A second one meant termination.

My code was gone through with a fine-tooth comb by the two most senior engineers before I was even allowed to run it on the test bench.

There was a lot of redundant hardware. Each communcations card had a full set of backup channels. There were backup cards in each rack, backup racks and two generators.

Although we were some months behind schedule, there was no pressure at all to cut corners.

Mike Lewis

Why anyone uses Microsoft software to do anything important is completely beyond me. When I was writing safety-critical code for medical equipment and an air traffic control system, we used Linux so we didn't kill people.

Facebook and Google’s Australian pay-for-news nightmare finds a European admirer

Mike Lewis

There's always the robots.txt file.