* Posts by Andy3

77 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Sep 2009

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Techies try to bypass damaged UPS, send 380V into air traffic system

Andy3

Sounds like a mix of laziness, lack of maintenance and ancient, incompatible systems. Also a lack of over-volt protection and basic fusing. A shambles.

Man wins court case against employer that fired him for not liking boozy, forced 'fun' culture

Andy3

I know how he feels. I worked in a busy and very male workshop for 20 years, and I dreaded the time of year when the 'Works Night Out' came along. Even though I spent most of that time as a well-respected service manager and got on with everyone, refusing to go would have me marked down as a 'miserable git', so I reluctantly donned the gladrags and went along with it every year. They all started out OK with just a handful of us doing the rounds of the local pubs, but as the night wore on the Boss (who certainly liked a drink) would engineer things so that we went for the obligatory curry at around closing time. I was never keen on the curry as it seemed a bit much on top of the booze, but once again there was no way out without having to face the derision of the crew. Trouble is it didn't end there, as Bossman by now had the bit between his teeth and happened to be in the local 'Round Table' which seemingly allowed him to knock up any local publican to get sneaky booze out of hours. So another session started. By this time I was flagging and wishing I could be home in bed. Awful nights, no-one should be forced into them. There were some fun times which we still talk about whenever we see each other, but generally I hated the whole thing.

Massive energy storage system goes online in UK

Andy3

196 MWh is tiny.

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

Andy3

As I worked for years in domestic electronics, I twigged this one right away, but you've got to hand it to the punters - they are ingenious when it comes to making massive assumptions and mistakes, and vehement in their defence of their stupidity.

Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times

Andy3

Oh man. I started as an apprentice TV engineer in 1969 and the excitement of colour was still in the air. Then in 74 came Ceefax! A very slow start, but it caught on eventually. I loved it, although it could be a bit slow to find the pages as they were transmitted serially in the vertical blanking interval. I recall some older TV's with a slow field flyback showed the 'dots & dashes' diagonally near the top of the screen. When I later bought a BBC Model B micro, I was delighted to see those 'mode 7' graphics. Happy times, simpler times.

Phone jammers made my model plane smash into parked lorry, fumes hobbyist

Andy3

There is so much frequency-sharing now that this type of thing is becoming more likely. AFAIK, there are currently two model control frequency bands in use - 49 MHz and 2.4 GHz. The latter is crammed with signals from routers, wireless CCTV installations, bluetooth devices and baby monitors, plus microwave ovens which despite rigorous safety regs can radiate quite a potent signal over a distance. Some devices are designed to 'listen' on a frequency before using it but others use brute force, such as phone jammers. I'm a radio amateur and we have a band of frequencies at 2.3 GHz, but it is becoming very difficult to operate there with so much 'junk' nearby.

Microsoft's problem child, Windows 11, is here. Will you run it? Can you run it? Do you even WANT to run it?

Andy3

But do we have any choice? Or will I get up one morning and find my PC running like a dead slug, unusable until it has finished mucking about? It's bad enough with some of the W10 updates!

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81

Andy3

It had to happen sooner or later, but I still feel very upset at his death. I had several items of Sinclair stuff in my youth and so did my schoolmates. Between us I recall a Z12 power amp, two Micromatics, A project 60 pre-amp, a project 60 stereo tuner and several Z30s. Plus a few Cambridge calculators. All of them worked a treat, although I did manage to blow the backside out of one of my Z30's by shorting the speaker. We even had a disco amp made from two z50's and a PZ8 PSU. Despite some pretty aggressive use, it never let us down. Farewell Sir Clive, you'll have a bit more time in the lab now.

UK VoIP telco receives 'colossal ransom demand', reveals REvil cybercrooks suspected of 'organised' DDoS attacks on UK VoIP companies

Andy3

Re: Calling OfCom and Openreach...

Igotout - Never had that in the 40 years I've had a phone!

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland

Andy3

Ferking idiot teens. Nothing new there.

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

Andy3

What's wrong with Ctl-Alt-Del? That's always been my way into Task Manager.

What does my neighbour's Tesla have in common with a stairlift?

Andy3

You could put a stop to this bloke's silliness by contacting the local council and telling them he is obstructing the pavement with the big fat cable. It's dangerous and it prevents the disabled from getting by. Do it, it'll make your day. But not his.

New lawsuit: Why do Android phones mysteriously exchange 260MB a month with Google via cellular data when they're not even in use?

Andy3

I only have a mobile because my wife insists (it's one of her cast-offs), but it spends 99.9% of it's time turned off, and I mean OFF. No power. Trouble is when I do want to use it (about twice a year) I have to wait about 10 minutes for it to remember what it is....

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Andy3

More paranoid speculation. The headline consists almost entirely of 'could be's' & 'probablies' and sounds like it was written by a college student who thinks it's cool to pick holes in everything a Tory gov't tries to do.

BT's Wi-Fi Disc ads banned because there's no evidence the things work

Andy3

I don't know whether these BT devices work or not, but other boosters seem to work very effectively. Our house has several 'slow spots', two of which just happen to be on our favourite lounging areas. I took a look on my WiFi plotter app and it seems the wi-fi signals from some of our neighbours are considerably stronger than that provided by our TT-supplied router. So either our router is 'weak as p!ss' or our neighbours are running mega-watt systems....

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

Andy3

Oh FGS, how do you get 'unlimited immigration' from this? It's a programme LIMITED to top-flight engineers and scientists. Burger-flippers and the serial unemployable will be turned away. What's 'unlimited' about that? I sometimes wonder what Register is up to.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

Andy3

Re: Not on the wall socket

I had a mains lead (from China that had ALL THREE wires connected wrong. I don't normally check mains leads, but this one looked particularly cheap & nasty, so I just did a quick ohmeter test and bingo. AND the error was in the IEC end, all moulded-up and inaccessible.

Den Automation raised millions to 'reinvent' the light switch. Now it's lights out for startup

Andy3

Re: What?

Quite. I would never make my home's systems dependent on some outside software server, it's asking for trouble.

Halfords invents radio signals that don't travel at the speed of light

Andy3

oops, double post.

Andy3

All you have to do to embarrass the salesman is to put a DAB radio and an FM radio side by side receiving the same station. Then ask him why the DAB is lagging about 2 seconds behind the FM. Superfast eh, Hmmm? There's also LESS information in a DAB broadcast (as the situation currently stands) as a lot of the sound is thrown away before transmission in order to keep the bandwidth low. ALL the information picked up by the microphone is present in an FM signal (up to 15 kHz). AND they've managed to confuse the transmission frequency with the deviation. Halfords should stick to go-faster stripes and smelly Christmas trees.

Bose customers beg for firmware ceasefire after headphones fall victim to another crap update

Andy3

BOSE long ago stopped being a manufacturer of good-quality audio gear and has become little more than an over-hyped fashion brand. Their speakers and headphones are designed to appeal to the artificially-boosted bass & treble 'boom & tizz' brigade, a sound which bears little resemblance to reality. AND they have the gall to charge the Earth for it.

Beware the trainee with time on his hands and an Acorn manual on his desk

Andy3

Oh the BBC-B. What a treat it was! I started off on a ZX81 (being a fan of all things Sinclair) and learnt BASIC on it. Despite its slow speed, I even wrote some simple games, including a somewhat tardy version of Space Invaders which was stripped down to just one invader and a gun that had to be fired in advance of what you might expect... Anyway, BEEB fever got hold of me and WOW what a machine! It went like the clappers and once I'd bought the floppy drive (hey, 100k on one disc!) I was in Micro Heaven. Sunday Mornings watching 'Making the Most of The Micro', what memories. Still got it and I fire it up every now and then to prove it still works. Bee-Beeep!

Dear hackers: If you try to pwn a website for phishing, make sure it's not the personal domain of a senior Akamai security researcher

Andy3

That story was going well until er... nothing happened.

Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

Andy3

It all sounded super-secure until we got to the 'internet access via the satellite terminal'.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

Andy3

Not wanting to brag, but as a video engineer I would have been on this in a flash. It's a commom problem when a customer transports a tape in their car on a Winter's night and gets back to base and the tape is taken indoors, where moisture quickly forms on the cold surface. This can be disastrous for both the tape and the spinning head drum as the tape sticks to the drum and snatches at the tape. Usually this strips off some of the tape's oxide coating and in extreme cases will also crack the fragile ferrite heads.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

Andy3

Not affected in the slightest, don't own one.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

Andy3

Oh dear, what an embarrassment. This kind of cheapjack, half-finished product may just about pass muster as a £30 stocking-filler at Christmas, but as a serious retro gaming machine it fails miserably. What a shame that it drags the much-loved Sinclair name (to those of us of a certain age) through the mud.

Hipster horror! Slack has gone TITSUP: Total inability to support user procrastination

Andy3

At the risk of sounding uncool, what the hell is SLACK?

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Andy3

Concorde was a beautiful piece of engineering both from a technical and an aesthetic point of view. It was way ahead of its time and employed many techniques which had to be invented for it. I find it hard to believe that after 25 years of an almost-perfect record it could be scrapped after one fatal accident. There are other types of airliner (hello Boeing....) that have crashed and burned multiple times but continue to fly. Obviously the bosses wanted rid.

How's your Wednesday? Things going well? OK, your iPhone, iPad can be pwned via Wi-Fi sync

Andy3

Can be abused. Not 'can be potentially abused'. It can be abused, simple as that. No need for the 'potentially' at all. Sorry to be pedantic, but I'm seeing this everywhere recently.

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Andy3

Surely this is an April Fool's day gag?

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

Andy3

Re: Over 40 and used one of these?

And I still have my (working) Cambridge calculator which I bought in 1974 (I think).

Andy3

Re: Over 40 and used one of these?

Hmm. I grew up making Sinclair kits and every one of them worked. The little radios (I had a Micromatic) worked fine and My stereo record player used two Z30's and a Stereo 60 pre-amp unit. All fine and lasted years. We even made an amplifier for our mobile disco using two Z50's and a PZ8. This may sound like a recipe for disgruntled dancers, but it only ever went off once - and it came back perfectly after a reset. I honestly think many of the complaints about Sinclair stuff come from people who built it badly.

Andy3

Yes, but there was a rather large price difference!

Andy3

Oh gosh, what memories! I bought one in 1981 and proceeded to teach myself Sinclair Basic. I was enthralled by the feeling of control, the way I could change a line of Basic and make different things happen. Before too long I was writing simple games like reaction timers and even a (rather slow-running) shooting game. We later got a BBC-B and that was a speed-monster compared to the Sinclair and I even managed to write a weather-fax decoder for it, all in BBC Basic. Happy days, and all in just 1k for the Sinclair and 32k for the Beeb! We've still got the BBC (and it still works), but I really wish we'd kept the Sinclair.

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics

Andy3

Brexit my rse.

MAPLIN is not going bust because of Brexit, it's been heading down the pan for many years and has been bought and sold several times. Maplin was once a (fairly) respected electronic components retailer and did good business with the radio & electronics enthusiast market. Sadly, that market got a bit thin and Maplin had to start selling gadgets and Far Eastern tat instead. The last time I went, I came away empty-handed as they had none of my usual stuff in stock. The few components they continued to sell were massively over-priced and no-one in their right mind would buy them. How about £2.49 for a single F-plug, when CPC or RS will sell you one for 16 pence? Why pay £15 for a flashily-packed stereo phono lead when a perfectly good one is on the shelves at Rapid or Bert's Bits for ££3.95? Ripping people off is not the way to good business.

The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

Andy3

It's just updated as I write. A cautious 'wow' from me so far. I've never seen my favourite newspaper site (which is loaded with photos and videos) load so quickly and scroll so smoothly. No doubt there'll be bugs to iron out, but it's looking good so far. Even Adblock is still there and working, and all my favourites are there and still in their folders.

First iPhone X fondlers struggle to admit that Face ID sort of sucks

Andy3

What is it with Apple? They seem so hell-bent on incorporating 'cool' tech into their products that practicality goes out of the window. What's wrong with a password FGS?

Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Andy3

Re: A blessing in disguise

The display panels themselves are manufactured by the Sony/Samsung joint venture company but the finished LCD TV set with all its different processing technology, features etc. is produced by the individual manufacturers themselves.

Andy3

Perhaps we should be relieved it's just our tellies - what if this was your new self-driving car?

Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10

Andy3

B****rds! Yes, it is quite naff and clunky, but it is easy to use and very handy for doing quick, non-demanding graphics jobs. I use it for knocking-up block diagrams of electronic devices. The adding of text is easy too. Don't bin it, MS!

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

Andy3

It's NOT the government's fault. The information regarding the patch was passed on to all NHS Trusts in good time, but many of them didn't bother to install the patch. It's their fault, no-one else's. The Trusts who did patch their machines have had no trouble - so how is it the Government's fault?

Brit ISP TalkTalk blocks control tool TeamViewer

Andy3

I have never used TeamViewer, but I know a number of people who have reason to be grateful for it. On our little Facebook Group, some of us have had difficulty setting up a piece of USB-driven equipment, and TeamViewer has come to the rescue many times. What now? It seems wrong to issue a blanket ban just because some people misuse it.

Botched Microsoft update knocks Windows 8, 10 PCs offline – regardless of ISP

Andy3

Today I noticed that my 3 devices (two laptops and one tablet, all on Wifi) had 'forgotten' they had a connection. After a great deal of pressing 'manually connect' and 'display stored connection' buttons, I just pressed the auto connect button on the router and all the devices started working. I don't know if this has fixed the problem or not - no doubt I'll find out when I switch on tomorrow....

Nasty session stealing hole filled in WordPress All in One SEO plugin

Andy3

I'm sorry, perhaps it's just me. I can't get any meaning out of this headline at all, it's just a string of words. Ah, I think the penny has dropped - should there be a hyphen between session and stealing?

Lloyds Banking Group puts 640 techies and backroom bods on chopping block

Andy3

Don't sack them all, transfer some over to the cash desks. Our branch recently had a make-over, and since then the desks have been undermanned and the queues are snaking out of the door.

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Andy3

I only go to Maplin when I'm absolutely desperate now. Their prices are absolutely disgraceful! About £2 for a single F-plug, when you can get a bag of 10 or even 20 from CPC for that amount. Audio leads priced at £19.99 for something that's worth £3.99 on a good day. They no longer stock components in-store and many of the staff haven't a clue what they are on about. As sad shadow of its former self.

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