* Posts by Mystic Megabyte

1800 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Feb 2010

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …

Mystic Megabyte

Re: pizza is the perfect food

"London Fire Brigade" AKA London's Fastest Burglars according to an ex-policeman that I know.

If you want to buy some "smoke damaged goods" you know where to go :)

Look like Bane, spend like Batman with Dyson's $949 headphones

Mystic Megabyte

How to look like a dickhead in one easy step.

Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere

Mystic Megabyte

Ad free here

You'd have to prise my pi-hole out my cold dead hands!

Vaccine dreams: A trip to Oxford to see a biscuit tin, some bed pans and ChAdOx1 nCov-19

Mystic Megabyte
Thumb Up

Re: “ the university's vaccine worked safely and would be made available cheaply across the world”

"Of course there are going to be remote places where logistics is an issue ". Or in the case of the USA, mass stupidity.

Before you want to flame me I would have been dead aged 2yo. My appendix burst and I was flooded with Penicillin and fresh blood. This treatment saved my life but I'm now allergic to Penicillin.

Too much of a good thing!

The Audacity of it all: Version 3.0 of open-source audio fave boasts new file format, 160+ bug fixes

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Ripping vinyl

Have you tried using abcde?

From the man page:


abcde [options] [tracks]


Ordinarily, the process of grabbing the data off a CD and encoding it,

then tagging or commenting it, is very involved. abcde is designed to

automate this. It will take an entire CD and convert it into a com‐

pressed audio format - Ogg/Vorbis, MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3), Free

Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), Ogg/Speex, MPP/MP+(Musepack), M4A (AAC) wv

(WavPack), Monkey's Audio (ape), Opus, True Audio (tta) or MPEG Audio

Layer II (MP2) format(s). With one command, it will:

* Do a CDDB or Musicbrainz query over the Internet to look up your

CD or use a locally stored CDDB entry, or read CD-TEXT from your

CD as a fallback for track information

* Download the album art appropriate for your music tracks with

many user configurable options for download and post download


And a lot more options

UK Space ponders going nuclear with Rolls-Royce: Hopes are to slice the time it takes for space travel

Mystic Megabyte

The Nuclear Salt Water Rocket - Possibly the Craziest Rocket Engine Ever Imagined.

This is interesting, but might go bang! SFW


About $15m in advertising booked to appear on millions of smart TVs was never seen by anyone, says Oracle

Mystic Megabyte

Re: So, from where does that money ultimately come?

Which is why, when I used to own a TV, I made a point of never buying anything that I saw advertised. It was the shampoo ads that drove me to abandon TV, overpriced detergent with made-up additives :(

Don't give up on Planet Nine yet: Hubble 'scope finds just such a world a mere 336 light-years away

Mystic Megabyte


A few years ago I joined a Zooniverse project that was looking for brown dwarfs and/or planet 9. I somehow managed to find nothing but other folk did indeed spot viable objects.

UK competition watchdog fast-tracks investigation into mega-merger of O2 and Virgin Media

Mystic Megabyte

Lunchtime O'booze

"Philip Carse, chief analyst at Megabuyte, "

Oi! That username is already taken. Bloody cheek!

BOFH: Switch off the building? Great idea, Boss

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Parts of it date back to when fire was invented

"They needed it to put out they newly invented fire..."

I was visiting a pal who lived in a little cottage out in the sticks. He had cranked his coal burning stove up to 11 (For those stove porn dudes it was a Doric) but had forgotten a pan of oil in the oven. While we were sitting and drinking coffee I kept seeing an orange flash from the gap around the oven door. The oil was igniting, using all the oxygen and then repeating the cycle. When he opened the oven door it went thermonuclear so he quickly shut it. So my pal being a genius decided that dirt would put out the fire and went outside and got some. We had a plan, I would open the door and he would throw his dirt onto the fire. It did not work :(

Then I remembered that I had a Halon fire extinguisher in my car (this was a long time ago). I opened the oven door and gave it a half second squirt. Success, the fire went out! Bear in mind that we were both kneeling in front of the stove. We looked up to see that the entire room from the ceiling down was now half filled with a layer of white and most likely toxic fumes. We crawled of the house on our knees.

I have no idea how I've managed to live so long :)

The GIMP turns 25 and promises to carry on being the FOSS not-Photoshop

Mystic Megabyte

Used GIMP for a small project recently and just like every other time I’ve used it I spent as much time searching for help with using it than I did using it. But it did get the job done!

Here's a bit of advice for people using complex software, whether it be Gimp or Photoshop. Get a two screen setup! Put the program on one and the help page on the other. I only use these things occasionally so I'm not going to remember how to do complicated tasks.

This reminds me of a house building, computer illiterate pal who found AutoCAD difficult. We had a joke that he could just say "Hoose" into the the microphone and the software would know what to draw :)

US government clears debt collectors to go after Americans through their social media accounts

Mystic Megabyte

long story cut short

I owed a government agency about $80, I did not pay. The agency then sell that debt to bailiffs for, say, $40. All good so far! The agency got some cash and the bailiffs are hoping to double their investment, plus a few extra charges on top. It pans out like this:

Receive a threatening letter from the bailiffs, bin it.

Receive another threatening letter from the bailiffs, bin it.

Receive a polite letter from a different company offering "arbitration". Bin it!

The bailiffs then sell that debt to another bunch of (more desperate) bailiffs for, say, $20. It pans out like this:

Receive a threatening letter from the bailiffs, bin it.

Receive another threatening letter from the bailiffs, bin it.

Receive a polite letter from a different company offering "arbitration". Bin it!

This works because I live in a remote area and my ancient car is worth about $300. The cost of sending someone here to clamp my car would far greater than the $80 that they might recover. I also don't do any "social media". So basically they can just feck off. BTW, it may be old but my car starts every time, I look after it.

Bad software crashed Boeings. Now it appears the company lacked a singular software supremo

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Interesting spin @ElectronicsRus

That's an interesting link, thanks.

Have a look at Spaceweather.com and scroll down to "Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere".

If you suddenly can't print to your HP Printer from your Mac, you're not alone: Code security cert snafu blamed

Mystic Megabyte

Re: HP and Amazon

"Perhaps it's the ghost of Mystic Meg reeking revenge!"

Hey, I'm still just about alive!

NASA trying to stuff excess baggage into OSIRIS-REx after too-successful asteroid scoop

Mystic Megabyte


Where is Roger Wilco when you need him?

UK mapping agency the Ordnance Survey is heading into gaming territory with £6m tender for dev team

Mystic Megabyte

Try this!

I had couple of visitors who wanted a walk, my dog was ill so I couldn't go with them. Parked their car near the Sandy Loch and then drove them to Murra. I then gave instructions to scale the Kame of Hoy.

Stop halfway up, sit down and check out the view. It seems that you are on the edge of a huge bowl that drops into the sea. It is very scary/impressive.

Walk along the tops via Enegars then descend the ridge of the Cuilags back to the car. Easy! Just a four hour walk.

When they came back I asked to see any pictures they had taken. Their reply was, "We didn't take any, it's seared into our brains!". LOL!

Here's a handy OS map from Bing.


The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

Mystic Megabyte

Re: No FreeBSD daemon? @Evil Auditor

Do what happens if you play Country music backward?

You get your house back, your wife back and your chickens start laying :)

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Well the

This is a story from approximately the 1990s. A pal of mine worked in import/export, his offices were next to a major airport. He quite often would do jobs at the weekend for cash. One day I asked him what had he been doing recently. He told me that there was a warehouse full of fur coats from the 1970s that nobody wanted to buy and he had been loading them for export. Apparently these coats had been stored for so long that the boxes at the bottom had been crushed flat.

Now comes the scrip part;

The buyer of the coats was building an airport in an eastern European country. The local currency was worthless back here. So he built an on-site shop and sold his workers the fur coats and presumably some other junk. He only had to change about £100,000 into the local currency and re-cycle it through the shop. No doubt the workers were happy to buy a fur coat for their wives.

Ain't capitalism great! :)

Mines the hideous 1970s fur coat =============>

Happy birthday to the Nokia 3310: 20 years ago, it seemed like almost everyone owned this legendary mobile

Mystic Megabyte

Re: I'll See Your 33xx and Lower You

Got my 3310 free from Sainsburys, only a three month PAYG contract and then I owned it.

Worried about the Andromeda galaxy crashing into our Milky Way in four billion years? Too bad, it's quite possibly already happening

Mystic Megabyte

mind blown?

Due to lockdown and also not owning a TV I've watched too many YouTube videos. Unfortunately I've watched a whole load of flat-earth debunking videos. Most of these are amusing but there is something really wrong with these flat-earthers. A complete lack of imagination. I can imagine galaxys colliding, it is sort of mind blowing. But these poor flat-earthers who believe that they live in a snow dome are very sad. Our knowledge of the Universe has expanded exponentially in the last few hundred years. How can people still be so dim?

Hidden Windows Terminal goodies to check out: Retro mode that emulates blurry CRT display – and more

Mystic Megabyte

Re: I've used a lot of terminals...@Nick

My elderly neighbours are both technically illiterate but listen to Radio 3 and 4 on their DAB radio. When I mentioned to them that I might buy a DAB radio they said, "Don't, they're crap!".

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Obviously was not tested @Alumoi

A very old version (v5 perhaps) of Photoshop would happily delete your images if you did the following.

Select File>Automation and choose a destination folder above the source folder. Click "Start" and all your images in the source folder are gone!

US govt proposes elephant showers for every American after Prez Trump says trickles dampen his haircare routine

Mystic Megabyte

Red light district?

Many years ago my sister was as a secretary for a global electrical/electronics company. She worked at the headquarters of the lightbulb division. One day they received a letter (Mrs. Trellis?) asking them to stop selling red light bulbs. Apparently a couple across the street had fitted a red light in their porch and this lady was deeply offended. Crazy eh!

Elite name on Brit scene sponsors retro video games preservation project at the Centre for Computing History

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Screenshot

In the description of one planet it stated that, "the inhabitants have a hatred of arts graduates". LOL

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

Mystic Megabyte

BOFH basics!

I once scored a free high speed line printer that the client had spilled a sugary drink into. Using a paintbrush I washed the mother board with water. Whatever liquid it was had eaten one leg of a capacitor. New capacitor was pennies, told client the printer was toast. Result!

What the duck? Bloke keeps getting sent bathtime toys in the post – and Amazon won't say who's responsible

Mystic Megabyte


Just search for the culprit using DuckDuckGo!

Things can't go on like this. You need to get fit for the sake of your health. I'm going to write you a prescription for... an e-bike

Mystic Megabyte

Scary Lithium-ion stuff! Fixing a fully charged bomb in the shed.

My neighbour shorted out the charging port of his e-bike's battery pack while trying to remove some corrosion. YouTube videos to the rescue!

Armed with a plastic knife and some isopropyl alcohol I managed to remove the hot glue from the BMS's connector and various other bits that had to be released. I bought a new module for £10 and a roll of Kapton tape for £4 (eBay) and now it is back in working order. That earned me a bottle of whisky :)

For your info the module was listed as: 10S 36V 15A Li-ion BMS PCM Protection Module.

Smug git icon?=============>

Utilitarian, long-bodied Nokia 5.3 has budget basic specs - but it does cost £150

Mystic Megabyte


Hopefully it will be better than my Nokia 5. I've been woken up a couple of times when I've left it on charge overnight. It beeps to tell you that it's too cold to charge, cancel that message and five minutes later it will do it again. Cancel that message and shortly it will beep to tell you that it is now too hot to charge. WTF!

The phone did not feel hot and the ambient temperature was about 13°C so I can only assume that it's a bug.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Mystic Megabyte

Re: There's a rat in mi kitchen...

To catch a mouse throw a welly boot onto the floor. The mouse will consider this dark "tunnel" a place of safety and run into the boot. Then you can grab the top of the boot and relocate the mouse outside. (or throw it out of the window!)

No joke, it works!

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Mystic Megabyte

Not A4!

Our local doctor wanted to copy his car's tax disc (remember those?) so he popped into our office and fed it into the fax machine. The fax promptly chewed it up and became jammed. It took about an hour to gets the remains of the disc out :(

What could possibly make a cranky crocodylomorph more terrifying? How about one that chases you on its hind legs?

Mystic Megabyte


In a previous life I worked as a pearl diver and for a while we were based out of Cooktown FNQ (Far North Queensland). There was a legendary croc in the Endeavour River which IIRC was 20ft. long. This croc had a hatred of outboard engines, apparently it would leap out of the water and sink it's teeth into the head of your engine. As most folk had "tin tubs" which were probably about 20 ft. long I would imagine that this would have been a brown trouser moment. I'm not sure but but I think someone eventually shot it.

Why did I dive in shark and crocodile infested waters? I was young and I wanted (needed) the money.

P.S. Back in the safety of Cairns I met all sorts of people. For your amusement here are two of them.

1) An American who had a tiger proof tent and Kevlar anti-snake leggings.

2) An Aussie who relocated crocs from Aboriginal encampments. He wore shorts and had no armour at all. However he did give me this advice.

A croc can outrun you, it can possibly go at 30mph for 50 yds, somewhere around there. He told me that if you are walking along a river bank and see the crocs slide into the water they are not hiding, they are hunting you.

And the last piece of advice was this, if you don't have a gun climb a tree.

You're 3 billion years too late to see Mars' impressive ring system. The next one will be along in 40 million years or so

Mystic Megabyte

Serious question

Why are there flat rings, instead of a doughnut shaped cloud of debris?

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

Mystic Megabyte

Re: ARM wrestle

You may be living on a different planet, it's been YOLOTD for over 10 years. Sorry to burst your bubble :(

Everything OK with Microsoft? Windows giant admits it was 'on the wrong side of history' with regard to open source

Mystic Megabyte

Re: My Hope

My neighbours have a rather nice Lenovo Ideapad 110S. It only has a 32GB SSD so of course Windows 10 got stuck in an endless "update" nightmare. It also has a 64GB micro SD card but Windows update can't see it. It is possible to make Windows use the SD card for updates but it wants to delete everything on the card. There is only about 5GB of data on the card so Windows is totally incapable of using over 50GB of free space without screwing everything up :(

The good news is that the Lenovo is now running Linux Mint 18.04 and everything works* out of the box.

If you want a cheap netbook I can recommend this device. Just dump Windows and you're good to go.

*before installing I did a bit of searching and it seemed that I might need a USB to RJ45 dongle. In fact you don't need one, but after the initial install from a USB stick Linux Mint will do a rather large update. (about 30 minutes via Wi-Fi)

Worried about the magnetic North Pole sprinting towards Russia? Don't be, boffins say, it'll be back sooner or later

Mystic Megabyte

Error West, compass best

Well that's having to be rearranged :(


The Rise of The (Coffee) Machines: I need assistance. I think I'm running Windows. Send help

Mystic Megabyte

Windows that won't resize :(

Have you come across those pesky little info boxes that contain, for example, really long path names. The box can display only four rows at a time and cannot be resized!

It's official! Space travel increases the brain size of astronauts, even when they're back on Mother Earth

Mystic Megabyte


I was going to be smug but ElReg has beaten me to it :(


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Black hole quasar tsunamis moving at 46 million miles per hour

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Uh-oh.

Yup! there's a song about that :)


Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?

Mystic Megabyte

Art inaction?

On a borked ticket machine I ran MS Paint and did a little doodle while I waited for a ferry.

Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket

Mystic Megabyte


"A lunch from a balloon without control surfaces might be tricky."

I imagine lunch would be quails eggs and "gentleman's relish" washed down by the finest claret.

So no problems there :)

Forcing us to get consent before selling browser histories violates our free speech, US ISPs claim

Mystic Megabyte


After having read the legalese* bullshit in that article I'd hate to have to read the T&Cs of these scumbag ISPs :(

*What's that old joke? Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and and a rat? A: There's some things a rat won't do.

Ding-dong. Who's there? Any marketing outfit willing to pay: Not content with giving cops access to doorbell cams, Ring also touts personal info

Mystic Megabyte
Big Brother

Sony Bravia TVs

Two days ago I was asked to help setup a friend's new smart TV. As I don't own a TV I may not be the best person for this sort of advice. The TV was connected via wifi and I searched for a browser. As the TV had inbuilt Chromecast I was expecting to find the Chrome browser. All I found was something called Vewd.

I read the EULA which had to be accepted before it would work. It said something like this: "We will install Vewd and also some third party software, we accept no liability for this software". It did not say what this software was but I'm guessing that it's spyware. I declined their kind offer.

Then when I tried to pair my phone it wanted access to my my contacts and browsing history. Feck that! <goes back to my cave>

You know the President is able to shut down all US comms, yeah? An FCC commish wants to stop him from doing that

Mystic Megabyte

News channel?

Trump gave press credentials to these anti-Semitic morons, this "News channel" were at Davos.

Under emergency powers Fox news will be the only TV channel allowed in the near future.


Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

Mystic Megabyte


"meaning, under Linux, try to copy every pic *one by one* !"

Next time use PhotoRec, most likely a lot faster!


Good folk of Forfar: Alan Hattel would like you all to know he's not dead despite what it says on his tombstone

Mystic Megabyte

I buried a priest!

At the first funeral that I ever attended I was the grave digger, pall bearer and mourner. For the sake of his family I'll be vague with the location.

I was in a foreign country working as a gardener and just after lunchtime was told to go and dig a grave. A priest on holiday had died and due to local religious practices had to be buried before sunset, it was a Friday. Another chap and I set to digging but there were many large stones in the soil, so by the time the coffin arrived the grave was only four feet deep.

The next problem was that we only had one short piece of rope. I jumped into the grave and lowered down one end of the coffin whereupon everyone reverently stood back a pace. As his wife was there I did not want to stand on the coffin to escape the grave, it does not look good! I had to ask someone to help me out.


Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons

Mystic Megabyte

Quad FTW

Back in about 1985 Quad mended my tube powered amps, preamp and electrostatic speakers. They were already over 20 years old. That's what I call customer support!


Mystic Megabyte

Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

Six NS-10s! Damn, I only had two and they left behind in another country :(

The mysterious giant blobs of gas around our galaxy's black hole are actually massive merger stars being shredded

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Binars

According to the article on Phys.org

"Ghez believes all six objects were binary stars—a system of two stars orbiting each other—that merged because of the strong gravitational force of the supermassive black hole. The merging of two stars takes more than 1 million years to complete, Ghez said."


The Six Million Dollar Scam: London cops probe Travelex cyber-ransacking amid reports of £m ransomware demand, wide-open VPN server holes

Mystic Megabyte

Re: ICO hints that GDPR appears to be optional

There's something odd going on here. Earlier this morning I read that linked article, now it is no longer on the front page of the BBC. Typing "travelex" into the search bar takes you to a podcast where you need to sign in. I'm not doing that!

EA boots Linux gamers out of multiplayer Battlefield V, Penguinistas respond by demanding crippling boycott

Mystic Megabyte


I used to build my own towers but now I just buy second hand laptops and install Linux. The last Windows game that I played was Medal of Honour WWII version, 10 or more years ago. Anybody want to play Xskat online? I warn you that I'm pretty good at it :)