* Posts by BenDwire

465 posts • joined 30 Jun 2009


Russian ChessBot breaks child opponent's finger

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: it just me or .....

If only warfare could be replaced with a game of chess

<In a 1970's computer voice> Would you like to play a game ... ?

Chip shortages hit hard at Yamaha's musical instrument business

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Re: A Tale of Two Ex's

And now you're in IT. That figures....

Being declared dead is automated, so why is resurrection such a nightmare?

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Sorry to hear about your loss; I know what you must be going through.

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As I started reading this I was reminded of the opening sequence in Terry Gilliam's masterpiece (IMHO at least), and then saw the embedded clip.

If anyone hasn't had the chance to see it then it's well worth sitting down with a bottle or two (You'll need it) and immersing yourself in a view on the near future, as told by someone in the 1980's - yes folks, it's all about now, and it's horribly accurate.

For example, when Part P (UK wiring regs) first came out it was if they'd taken the script and applied it to the whole process: paperwork in triplicate, only 'qualified' people able to do seemingly simple tasks etc etc. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to do a "Bob Hoskin's Suit" on jumped up electricians.

Anyway, thanks Dabbsy for another fine read.

Microsoft tests CD ripping for Media Player in Windows 11

BenDwire Silver badge

None taken, but I regularly get tested by my music server when it plays tunes at random. My audio files are a mixture of FLAC, OGG & MP3 gathered over the years, some being CD rips and some as 'studio quality' lossless. I take the point about older codecs being inferior, which may explain some of the differences, but sometimes it really is noticeable to me - again, on my proper system with big amps and big speakers. In the car though, forget it.

(Before you ask, all tracks are normalised to eliminate 'loudness wars'.)

You can try for yourself by listening to the excellent Radio Paradise and switch between the MP3 and FLAC streams. I assure you on a decent system you will hear and feel the difference.

BenDwire Silver badge

I see what you did there. Very good.

However, despite my advancing years, I can still tell the difference between FLAC and MP3 (although only on my proper system) so will always buy lossless. Bandcamp is my first port of call.

BenDwire Silver badge

I'm glad to see that you are bringing your kids up to never own anything outright, and to be happy paying a subscription for everything they consume. Carry on doing a fine job as the new world economy depends on chump-milking.

78rpm is easy to rip using Audacity, so MS really don't need to add that sort of thing to the OS. 1/4 Inch tape is more of a faff, although I prefer to play them on my Akai 4000D through big speakers anyway.

Now get orf my laaand!

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall

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Know your market

Given that most BMW's around where I live appear to be driven by kids who earn just enough for each month's car payment, then I can't see them complaining at all. Most people I know under 40 seem to be happy renting everything, so just add this to the never ending list of outgoings. Madness IMHO, but to each, their own.

As for me, it's an emphatic 'No!'. If I buy something, then I own it*. (Not that I would ever consider buying anything with a premium / fashionable badge on it)

* No MS software was used to post this message

Watch a RAID rebuild or go to a Christmas party? Tough choice

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... caused enough disturbance in the force

I see what you did there, although that may well have gone unnoticed by Left Pondians.

Beer for all as it's the only decent thing to keep cool in a heatwave.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

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Re: Genius

Please tell me that was a joke ...

Graphical desktop system X Window just turned 38

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Re: "Wayland's privacy controls ...

I use Zoom on Wayland (Debian 11) and it can record sessions just fine, although the novelty of recording my weekely drunken virtual pub sessions wore off in the early stages of the first lockdown.

I haven't tried Teams, and based on my friend's experiences I really don't want to either.

Leave that sentient AI alone a mo and fix those racist chatbots first

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Re: Do androids dream of electric sheep again?

I see that you've downloaded the MP40 ...

(Evidently there are not many Hyperdrive fans around here)

Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills

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Re: Can of worms

Hmm, due to a drink problem, I can fall unexpectedly without even trying to go anywhere.

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped

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Thumb Up

Re: Needs rebooting ?

It wasn't a criticism at all, and I was happy to see him get round to doing stuff I'd never had time to do. (For the record, I was running the company and tended to the IT side in my 'spare' time). Like many small companies we never had the spare cash for a dedicated BOFH - until the rise of Win10, and I decided that I'd had enough.

Backups are like like most insurance policies, it's essential. but you hope you never have to use them. And bad backups are like cheap insurance ...

BenDwire Silver badge

Thanks for the link - I've learned something new today!

BenDwire Silver badge

Needs rebooting ?

Software that I don't touch save when there's an issue, needs rebooting, etc

I ran our entire company ERP system off a Postgres database, which never needed rebooting in all the years it was in use under my control. I was a bit perplexed until the mention of the 'Programs Folder' when it twigged that it must have been running on a Windows machine.

In my experience Postgres is a fantastic bit of software that 'just works', especially if running on top of a stable Linux distro. Backups were automated and restored daily as a almost live 'play' system, allowing authorised people to try things out to see if it was going to work as they might hope. After I retired, the new BOFH also kept the transactional data during the day allowing much finer backups if required (they weren't) and I understand he's now virtualised everything too, without a hiccup.

I'm no DBA, but have a long chequered past involving Dbase III programming, Access & MySql. I can RTFM. There is simply no excuse for not reading the manuals and working out the basics before putting any valuable date in there. Cost is no excuse either as we even used a Raspberry Pi to host a copy on Postgres while working from home.

Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: Half full or empty

As a grumpy retired engineer, I submit that the cup is half empty, the contents are stone cold, the cup has a chipped rim and I've just cut my lip on it.

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

BenDwire Silver badge

1980's CAD

Way back in the 1980's I ran PCB design software (Daisy) that ran on a couple of proper IBM 386 systems, linked together with 'Thicknet' . Unfortunately these were side by side, so the cable was simply coiled up under the desk, complete with vampire taps and separate AUI (?) boxes with a variety of connections. IIRC there were two thick blue coils as well at the yellow. Time and alcohol has dulled the memory.

It's amazing how good those systems were back in the day, at least compared to the other solutions we had available. I'm fairly sure that they had full length ISA cards with 4MB (not a typo) worth of discrete chips plugged into IC sockets, and full length Matrox graphics cards. Of course the whole lot ran on Unix, so it was completely stable.

Good days. Now get 'orf me lawn!

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: What On "Earth"?

Not necessarily. Given the competence shown by the "Professional Electricians" it wouldn't surprise me that they had wired the Red and Yellow wires together at some point too.

Don't get me started on Part P.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

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Re: Full names please.......

Surely the IT guy's real name was Ben D Cable ...

Erm ?

Infosys quits Russia, ending UK political and tax scandal … maybe

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caress deeply about the Queen

An unfortunate typo in an otherwise excellent comment! I'll need more mind bleach.

But yes, Queenie set a great example to everyone, and she will be a very hard act to follow.

BOFH: The evil guide to upgrading switches

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Serial port settings ...

... in case the new firmware's changed the port characteristics – which vendors like to slip into firmware updates without telling anyone.

Here's looking at you, pfSense !

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

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Re: Dell XPS Ubuntu version discontinued in the UK

Yes, but don't forget that the bundled crapware makes the hardware cheaper for the end user. Why pay more for the Linux version when it's so easy to reformat the drive with whatever flavour distro you want? The fact that most users put up with the bloat instead of reinstalling windows on arrival should tell us techies something.

Most end users don't care about computers. As long as the "blue e" connects to the internet then all is well in their world. I have long since stopped trying to convince them otherwise.

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: Mint needs to drop Ubuntu as its base distribution

Maybe that's whey the've also got Linux Mint Debian Edition. It's now on version 5, so hardly a new thing.

That said, I moved from LMDE to Debian 11 as I prefer things to be the way I want them to be, and as I've used Debian on servers for the past 2 decades it seemed to be the best use of my hard won experience.

Yes, I also have Windows in a VM to use my old Epson photo scanner, its rather good software (which SANE isn't) and paid version of Acrobat XI, but that's all. The rest is native Linux, with a smattering of Crossover Office for a few windows-only programs that I prefer to use.

IMO much easier than what Windows has become, and MO is the most important thing to me. The rest of you can do as you please, as I'm sure you will. Carry on.

Rolling Rhino: A rolling-release remix of Ubuntu

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The IBM System/360 Model 40 told you to WHAT now?

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Re: Who among us ...

A pint for the old fogies who can commiserate ...

I can't admit to what I changed, or why, as it falls way short of my later moral standards!

Cheers Jake

File Explorer fiasco: Window to Microsoft's mixed-up motivations

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: Re:Please tell us if the year of Linux

I think you mean many on the spectrum, not scale.

Surely that depends on whether they meant Autism or Mental Illness. Some of us register on both scales ...

Ford to sell unfinished Explorers as chip shortage bites

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Re: Quite frankly ...

Ah, the old Vauxhaul Shove-It ! I remember them well as my mate had one at uni which required the rest of us to push start it, although on one occasion we had to push it back home as he'd wrapped it around a lamp post. Good days.

A few years ago I did a ground-up restoration of a Series 3 Land Rover which never quite ran as well as I wanted, which I put down to the old tired dirtributor. When I finally got rid of it to a mate, he asked me to fit a replacement electronic disty and the difference was astounding. I now wish I hadn't let him have it, although my neighbours remain pleased that it's gone.

Afraid of the big bad Linux desktop? Zorin 16.1 is here

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Have you tried Tweaks->Windows->Window Focus->Focus on Hover ? That brings a window into focus as soon as the mouse pointer is over it.

Agreed, it does have loads of irritations, but there are fixes for many of them.

The Human Genome Project will tell us who to support at Eurovision

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Re: American Song Contest aims to tap Eurovision formula

Ah yes, pirate radio. The soundtrack to my youth.

But did you know that they are still broadcasting on http://radiocaroline.co.uk and they even have delayed streams to that USA folk can have the breakfast show at breakfast.

Do note that due to politics & infighting, radiocaroline.COM is not affiliated, but with them being pirates what should we expect?

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American Song Contest aims to tap Eurovision formula

USA folk will soon be all too aware of what the Eurovision Song Contest is all about, as for some unfathomable reason they've decided to do their own version.

Being from the UK, I have to admit that I stopped watching it sometime before Terry Wogan stopped being able to do the commentary. I mean, there's literally Nil No Point.

Millions of APC Smart-UPS devices vulnerable to TLStorm

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Re: Use case

As the MD of a small business I've used APC stuff for years, and have only ever used the serial or USB interfaces. When my company's PABX was replaced the installers recommended that it was run from a UPS. It was located in a basement room where some production equipment was stored, so very few people passed on a regular basis.

One fateful day, the phone system just died for no reason, and by the time I went to see the blinken lights it was all back on again, working perfectly. It was only once I turned the lights out did I see the faint red glow from the dead battery indicator. The production guy then confessed that the irritating beeping had been going on for months, but he just ignored it ...

Solution was a RPI running NUT plugged into the UPS port. That served up a webpage with the status, and sent emails whenever anything untoward occurred. It subsequently fed data to Grafana when a proper IT bod was employed. I'm guessing that the price of a RPI is substantially cheaper than any cloudy solution.

Proprietary neural tech you had surgically implanted? Parts shortage

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Smart wearables

It's not like it's welded to your bleeding neurons

I suspect that Dabbsy posted this article before the news that Fitbits were indeed welding themselves to people's arms.

I never realised that Fitbits were powered by LR44s ...

Govt suggests Brits should hand passports to social media companies

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Paris Hilton

Re: They want a passport ...

I'd suggest one of the Kardashian clan.

Other reality 'stars' are available ...

A tale of two dishwashers: Buy one, buy it again, and again

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Dabbsy, You've just made me late!

Oddly enough, I'm meant to be heading off around the M25 to install a replacement dishwasher for my son. Thanks to that rather excellent video*, and the compulsion to apportion blame in your direction, I'm now running late!

* Which reminds me of "One Giant Leap" - No rap there either!

Your app deleted all my files. And my wallpaper too!

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Re: Always...

And in second place, Marketing wonks. They need a roll of carpet and a bag of lime.

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: Guilty.

Anonymous because I'm a grumpy, private old git :o)

Most of us would identify with being a grumpy, private old git too. Giving yourself a unique handle would at least allow us to know which one we were communicating with!

Despite the fact that the working week is an outmoded concept to you, It's Friday. Have a beer.

Airtag clones can sidestep Apple anti-stalker tech

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Re: "we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products."

Come on God, you goofed. Own up to it, retire the product and think of a better version.

I think God is well aware of that, and is now working on a much less ambitious project ...

London university on hunt for £17m SAP ERP replacement

BenDwire Silver badge

Oh yes, he means business processes all right. Think about it, if they are only offering a single solution, then everybody must change the way they do things to fit.

I once considered SAP over a decade ago, and that was what we were told then. Thankfully we chose a different solution that worked well for us.

Microsoft veteran demystifies Abort, Retry, Fail? DOS error

BenDwire Silver badge

Oh yes it did. I used to run a series of networked DOS machines back in the 1980's, and my first file server was a 286 with a 20MB hard disk. 1Mb/s network speed via co-ax RG58 (IIRC) and it was fantastic, compared to 5 1/4" floppies anyway.

I moved on to use Artisoft Lantastic in the Win 3.11 days, which ended up being purchased by MS and incorporated into Win95.

What a time to be alive ...

Taekwindow: Time to make your middle mouse button earn its keep

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Thumb Up

Mind Blown

I've been using Unix & Linux for more years than I really care to admit (cough, early 1980's) with all sorts of multi-button CAD mouses, and I have never heard of these uses for the middle button. Where have I been?

Unfortunately the first two don't work on my Debian 11 / Wayland / Gnome 3 system, but the third one does. I've long suspected that cut'n'paste has problems on this box as it sometimes refuses to copy formulae from spreadsheets, so maybe I'll RTFM and get things working as they should.

Nice article, thanks!

Have you tried restarting? Reinstalling? Upgrading? Moving house and changing your identity?

BenDwire Silver badge

In a similarly similar vein, two decades ago I lived 6km from my local telephone exchange which managed to provide a massive 256k connection via overhead wires. On good days.

The lights on my "Green Frog" ADSL modem would flash sympathetically as the dodgy cable joints across the fields attempted to pass the signal across 60 years worth of corrosion.

When I got through to someone at BT to ask if they could fix it, pretty please, I was told that if I wanted to formally complain then they would reserve the right to remove ADSL and return the line to speech only. What was it to be?

(For the curious, that's when I switched to Andrew & Arnold who sorted out all the issues on my behalf)

Breath of fresh air: v7.3 of LibreOffice boasts improved file importing and rendering

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The article is incorrect on this point

RTFM here

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: Download failed

All went well here, but I always download the .deb files and install manually. I did notice that it took a while to download, so I expect their servers are overloaded.

As a rule I usually skip the x.0 releases, and wait until x.2, but I'm feeling rebellious today!

50 lines of Bash to bring a Wordle fan out of their shell

BenDwire Silver badge

Usually /usr/share/dict/words is a symlink to the locale of your machine. For some odd reason my locale is set to left pondian, whereas I live on the right. That's about to get fixed.

If nothing else, this script has improved my life! /s

New York Times outlays seven-figure sum for 1,900 lines of JavaScript – yes, we mean Wordle

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LINGO is 5 yet "Word Mastermind" is 14. I'm not sure that I see a pattern here ...

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: hangman

I didn't need to look that up - I had the game as a kid.

(I expect the grandchildren will find it in the loft once I've shuffled off this mortal coil)

Bouncing cheques or a bouncy landing? All in a day's work for the expert pilot

BenDwire Silver badge

Re: Serial to VGA? All you need is an adapter!

Yes they do! I used to design PSTN equipment and had to get my kit approved by BABT (The green circle people in the UK) It's all far too long ago for me to recall details, but the words "creepage and clearance" still haunt me to this day.

I still remember one BABT guy insisting that every fuse in my equipment had to be tested to ensure it ruptured within the specified time at the correct current. And he refused to accept that it was in any way a stupid request. Thankfully his superior allowed us to sample test a few from each batch, and use the rest in production.

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*

BenDwire Silver badge


OK, we doubt e-scooters are capable of much over 30mph, if that

E-scooters are being advertised with claimed speeds up to 50mph, and there are videos on your toob showing 'Organ Doners' weaving through traffic on the North Circular. Completely mad given the state of our roads.

But yeah, if I was a lot younger and thinner I'd love one!

BenDwire Silver badge

That actually made me laugh out loud! Thanks!



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