* Posts by Andy3

64 posts • joined 5 Sep 2009

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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.

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Andy3

I've been using a fitness band/watch for a few years and I've always liked the look of the Apple Watch and similar models. Those clear graphics do something to me. But I've never taken the plunge because of the reasons cited in the article. I don't want a smartphone-based device telling how many msgs I've got or linking me to other users or reminding me it's my maiden aunt's birthday, I just want a nice-looking watch/fitness band that I can download to a simple website at the end of the day. I also want a battery that I can change once a year, not worry about charging every 2 days. So for now I'll stick with my Withings Activite, which has a nice analogue face (with a simple analogue step counter), a one-year battery and no fancy bells and whistles. Thankyou.

Edge out rivals? No! Firefox boss BLASTS Microsoft's Windows 10 browser brouhaha

Andy3

Re: In other words...

I chose Express and my default browser remained Firefox. I briefly fired up Edge and it told me 'Edge is not your default browser, would you like to change this?' The only complaint I have about Edge is that there's no free adblock and it won't import my favourites from Firefox, only from IE.

Andy3

Not on my laptop it didn't!

I've just upgraded to W10 and it did NOT change my default browser from Firefox to Edge. I did try Edge out of curiosity and found two problems - 1. No adblock (a major problem on some sites) and 2. Edge will not import my favourites from Firefox, only IE.

Apart from that, I'm quite impressed with W10....so far.

Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

Andy3

AAAW, and here's me thinking Apple stuff was made by genii and was perfect in every way. Ahem.

High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Andy3

Re: Noise!

er...amateur radio is NOT CB. We have to study and pass exams to get on the airwaves. What exams did you pass to plug those noisy interference-makers in?

Andy3

Oh no, not more of this rubbish. I'm a radio listener and amateur radio operator, and these things are a menace. A couple of years ago one of my neighbours got a pair of these things and completely ruined my hobby. Every band from 3 MHz to 30 MHz was hammered with a huge noise level and I couldn't hear a thing. Luckily I kind-of knew this family and I invited him in to see the problem. He was horrified that his 'home network' should be causing someone a problem and he ditched them.

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Andy3

Does anyone really think DAB+ will lead to any betterness? The broadcasters will simply look at the new technology and say 'hey, we can squeeze our station into even less bandwidth, get the same quality and save money!' In the end, the consumer gets a new radio (more money down the drain) but everything else stays the same. More waste, more money, more landfill.

4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Andy3

This is getting silly. Many people (at least in the UK) have barely settled in with widescreen HD, and some channels are still broadcasting only in SD, yet here we have the industry pushing for even higher resolution. And where is the bandwidth going to come from? Already, the UK's Freeview system is struggling to find room for a handful of 1080 channels, so where's it all going to fit?

Fiat Panda Cross: 'Interesting-looking' Multipla spawn hits UK

Andy3

At least it ain't as plug-ugly as the Multipla, the designer of which must surely have been on a quest to deliberately disgust the public. And it's better-looking than the latest Nissan Juke, which resembles one of those horrors from the deepest parts of the ocean.

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the worst

Andy3

More rubbish

A few random thoughts, mostly negative.

I saw a video of the software in action yesterday, and it showed how the car detects a cyclist. Apparently it knows the cyclist is about to move into the traffic stream 'by seeing that the rider has put out his hand'. WOW, when does that happen? Over here, cyclist think they own the road and just hurtle across lanes with no warning whatsoever.

Then the video shows the Noddy car snuggling in behind the bike - which was going about 10 mph. For safety reasons, the car would not pass the bike. Oh great. Even if it tried, it couldn't, because here in the UK our ultra safety-conscious councils have put central islands every 100 yards to stop overtaking, 'cos it's bad bad bad, see?

I find that the anti-car brigade always support these noddy cars, as they see them as a way of bringing our roads to a grinding halt, or at least imposing ludicrously low speed limits.

Final thought. This idea will only work properly when our roads have been filled with sensors. No doubt in the meantime (in the interest of 'safety'), these cars will be given every unfair advantage over conventional cars - they will be able to use bus lanes, pool lanes and park for free. Don't you just love it?

Accused Glasshole driver says specs weren't even turned on for traffic stop

Andy3

I think most of us could see this coming a mile off. There will always be people (and there are indeed millions) who cannot and will not put their cyber tools aside when driving or even crossing a busy street. They cannot bear to be disconnected for an instant. If the lady wasn't using them, she should have removed them, simple.

Tesla vs Media again as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway

Andy3

Battery tech not good enough

The battery technology simply isn't up to the job. Any scientist in the field will tell you that storing electricity is problematical and the energy density nowhere near that of fossil-fuel. Add to that the tendency for Lithium cells to behave badly at low (or high!) temperatures and you have major problems.

If the EV ever gains mass public acceptance, expect to see our city streets and motorways littered with dead cars and desperate travellers.

Andy3

Re: Writer was intent on high risk of failure

It's the battery technology, as usual. Lithioum cells (especially high-power types) are known to be affected by temperature and any vehicle that uses them is going to suffer in the manner described in the article. In my view EV's are simply not up to the type of mixed driving that most people are accustomed to.

If ever we adopt EV's on a mass scale, I can see our city streets and motorways littered with dead cars and despairing drivers.

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