* Posts by Mystic Megabyte

1787 posts • joined 18 Feb 2010

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 :)


From Soviet to science fiction icon, the weird life of Isaac Asimov 100 years on

Mystic Megabyte


It was Alistair Cooke who said that when you have no news, anniversaries are your friend.


Only a moderate FAIL because I've read and enjoyed Asimov ==========>

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

Mystic Megabyte

PFY buried alive!

I had to go to a client whose printer was acting up. It was one of those high speed line printers in a sound proof box. It did not have a settings screen rather it would print out the menu on a new page. Getting down the menu tree wasted about 10 pages of fan-fold. Each time I put it back online it would spit out reams of paper. It sat in a very small room and I was getting rapidly buried in paper. The server was in the chief accountants office, I did not know enough about *nix to start messing with that. Eventually I rang the printer's maker in the USA.

A nice chap told me how to get to the hex dump page, identify what was being sent and alter the printer's configuration.

Problem solved!

These are the droids you're looking for: Softbank launches Japan cafe staffed by bots

Mystic Megabyte


I may have posted this before but it may be relevant.

When McD arrived in the UK there was much press coverage. At the time we had Wimpy bars where you had stainless steel cutlery and seats that were horizontal. Normally if you open a restaurant you serve big portions at a cheap price for at least a month. I went to McD, it was shit. I have no idea why anyone would eat there. Later on the only times that I eat at McDs was if it was the only outlet open in the town that I had arrived in late at night. Still shit!

Can we have the DOUBLE FAIL icon please?

US and China wave white flags, hit pause button on trade war

Mystic Megabyte

Be afraid

It's fairly obvious that Putin got Trump elected, a decision that he may come to regret.

I would not like to be a member of the USA's armed services at this time. To deflect attention from his crimes Trump will start a war, most likely with North Korea.

Many thousands of people will die, this will not end well.

I am not a political animal but I wake up every day hoping to hear that Trump has been struck by lightning while playing golf. How ironic would that be?

Now my only pleasure in life will be a chlorinated chicken sandwich :( /s

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

Mystic Megabyte

glow worms?

I came home drunk one night and noticed something glowing red by the gate. (there's a transformer on a pole by the gate) Ah! it must be glow worms I drunkenly decided and went to bed. (actually there are no glow worms in this country!) The next day my neighbours told me that they were getting shocks from various appliances. So I went next door with my multimeter to do some tests. I discovered that if I spat on the stone floor my meter would read 100V between the spit and the stove! (this stone house was built in 1900).

Now I remembered the glow worm and went to (investigate?) the gate. There's shire wire* fencing running near the pole and where two wires crossed I found a bit that looked blackened. When I pressed the wires together with my thumb they started to buzz and glow slightly. Oddly I did not get a shock.

The cause was crows using fencing wire to build a nest on top of the transformer. Normality was restored after the linesmen fished it off with a fibre glass pole.

*agricultural wire fencing

You had one job, Cupertino: Apple's Intelligent Tracking Protection actually gets tracking protection

Mystic Megabyte

Re: "The Register asked Apple to provide more details... You can imagine how that went."

The Register should give Louis Rossman a monthly column :)

Americans should have strong privacy-protecting encryption ...that the Feds and cops can break, say senators

Mystic Megabyte

Re: "authoritarian regimes [...]

Trump is the biggest backdoor in modern history.

PSA: You are now in the timeline where Facebook and pals are torn a new one by, er, Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen

Mystic Megabyte

ISPs to the rescue? Unlikely!

I don't do "social media" but when I tell people that I never see adverts on YouTube they look at me in disbelief.

When first activating a BT broadband connection you're asked if you want to see adult content. They could also ask if you'd like to see any adverts. As for Facebook users, I'm afraid that they're completely screwed.

P.S. I'm not a BT customer.

Feds indict 14 over alleged scheme to get Apple to replace fake iPhones with real ones

Mystic Megabyte

I've used Dell and HP laptops until the backlights went dim. I could have replaced the light but by that time more powerful machines were available. So why is it (after watching Louis Rossman videos) that the components in Apple products fail so often?

What a boar! Wild pigs snort and snuffle €20k worth of marching powder stashed in Tuscan forest

Mystic Megabyte

Re: This Land is Your Land

It is estimated that there are 24 million feral pigs in Australia. A couple of hunters that I worked with in FNQ told me that pigs were more dangerous than snakes, spiders and crocs. If you're in the bush without a gun and disturb a pig you will have to climb a tree and be prepared to stay up there for a long while :(


NASA boffins tackle Nazi alien in space – with the help of Native American tribal elders

Mystic Megabyte

Space is big

I wonder if New Horizons will discover any more objects out there or is this the end of the line for it.

Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Lots of sockets

If you are fitting metal back boxes then I suggest you put silicon grease on the threads of the socket screws. I had to trace a fault in an old stone house lined with plasterboard and most of the screws were rusted into the back boxes. It depends on how damp your walls are. Humans emit a lot of water vapour!

No one would be so scummy as to scam a charity, right? UK orgs find out the hard way

Mystic Megabyte

A bill from the Queen?

I maintain a small charities' web-site. I recently received a series of "invoices" from a spoofed royal.gov.uk address. If *anybody* sends me a Word document it gets uploaded to virustotal.com and yes they got about 30 positive hits for nasty stuff. Having said that, I only use Libre Office on Ubuntu so I probably could have have opened them without being infected.

Getronics CEO on HMRC winding-up petition: An 'embarrassing' blip with cash in the wrong places

Mystic Megabyte


>> and try to metastasise that into something more

I tried that once but luckily my doctor managed to untangle me. /s

2001 fiction set to be science fact? NASA boffin mulls artificial intelligence to watch over the lunar Gateway

Mystic Megabyte

This way up ↑

I can't help reading "Portal" instead of "Gateway". Now I'm wondering if there's an area of chrono-synclastic infundibulum somewhere near the Moon. We need to be told :)

'We go back to the Moon to stay': Apollo vets not too chuffed with NASA's new rush to the regolith

Mystic Megabyte

Parts of this post may contain nuts

You want AI? You want robots? Send three robots to the Moon, if one were to break it could be mended by the other two. Also send a big box of spares and the equipment to build a human habitat. It seems foolish to expect astronauts to somehow build their own habitat when machines could have done it for them prior to their arrival.

On arrival if they find one robot with three heads and a structure similar to the leaning tower of Pisa be afraid, very afraid.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline

Mystic Megabyte

Re: A different type of support @Electronic'R'Us

Working in the professional audio recording industry I was told to use Isopropyl alcohol for the metal parts (heads etc.) and Methylated spirit for the rubber parts (pinch wheel). I did that for years on both audio and video cassette recorders, it always worked.

After complaints over leaked Voice Assistant recordings, Google says: We hear you

Mystic Megabyte

Google Play

A while ago I blocked Google's access to my phone's microphone. I started to get error messages, "Google Play not working" or something similar. Yesterday I finally found out why. A new error message told me that unless I gave Google Play access to my microphone it would not work. I declined their kind offer. I was under the impression that Google Play was a shop, maybe I'm wrong, so why does it need a microphone?

The Central Telegraph Office was serving spam 67 years before vikings sang about it on telly

Mystic Megabyte

Off topic?

I went up the BT tower when it still had a public gallery. I still have the brochure somewhere, what impressed me was the size of the power feed bus-bars. IIRC (unlikely) they had about 10 (now I'm guessing) 2ft width x 1inch thickness aluminium bars stacked so that there was a 1 inch gap between the bars. (Imagine a 90° change of direction of the bars)

A friend of mine lived adjacent to the tower and when the IRA bombed it, pieces were raining down on his house. He thought that the tower was going to fall on his house. A case of brown pyjamas maybe :(

Fun fact number two:

A WW2 aeroplane nerd told me that at the start of WW2 there were 20 anti-aircraft guns guarding the Scapa Flow and only six guns for the whole of London.

Fact number three:

I hate BT and will have nothing to do with them, bunch of (read the small print) crooks.

Right-click opens up terrifying vistas of reality and Windows 95 user's frightful position therein

Mystic Megabyte


About a week after installing a Win95 PC in an office we got a call back. It took me a few minutes to work out the problem, they'd set white text on a white background.

Back in the office another 95 fail was hitting "Print" before saving your work. The printer light would flash and after a long wait Windows would crash and nothing got printed :(

First water world exoplanet spotted – and thankfully no sign of Kevin Costner, rejoice!

Mystic Megabyte


On K2-18b a tin of sardines is 3ft. long :)

Not so easy to make a quick getaway when it takes 3 hours to juice up your motor, eh Brits?

Mystic Megabyte


Just had the 911 challenge people here today. Their next fund-raising tour (in a couple of years) will be in an electric Porsche, starting in Iceland.

I think it's going to be called the Shipping Forecast tour.

These people are serious money raisers, if you have a boat then get involved.


Apple programs Siri to not bother its pretty little head with questions about feminism

Mystic Megabyte

Re: such systems should be equipped with a wide variety available voices

>>I have mine set to Australian

Hey Siri what's the latest news on Boris Johnson?

...He's got kangaroos in his top paddock!.

P.S. Google is denied access to my phone's microphone.

Handcranked HTML and JPEG japes. What could possibly go wrong?

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Hand cranked code?

>>And MS had some sort of web publishing tool, I forget the name

IIRC MS Publisher could also output crap HTML.

Raspberry Pi head honcho Eben Upton talks thermals, stores and who's buying the kit

Mystic Megabyte

TV via wifi and other ramblings

When I'm not using my DVB-T dongle* for software defined radio I can plug it into a headless Pi3 running TVheadend**. With the Pi connected to my router I can watch TV over wifi. I don't own a normal TV so it's laptops all the way.

Another Pi is running Pi-Hole and will never be switched off :) I'll buy a Pi4 when I think of a use for one. Any ideas?

TVheadend can also be used as a tuner for Kodi but I have not tried it. Might be a good project for people with kids.

See here: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=91716&pid=699753&highlight=tvheadend

*Nooelec Nesdr (cheaper dongles are available)

** http://techinfoguy.com/tvheadend-4-x-on-raspberry-pi/#comment-5

Everyone remembers their first time: ESA satellite dodges 'mega constellation'

Mystic Megabyte

Re: Sounds like another step towards realizing "Wall-E"

Obviously the answer is...... Blockchain in SPAAAACE!

Can't bear to part with that well-worn copy of Windows 7? Microsoft might let you keep it updated an extra year

Mystic Megabyte

I accidently fixed Win 10!

Yesterday I helped an elderly neighbour with his Win10 box. He had taken the free "upgrade" option but it was slow as hell. It took 10 minutes to boot up and Opera about 5 minutes to load. In short, unusable!

I eventually got it to shutdown and booted Linux Mint from USB stick. When I tried to mount the HDD an error message said that the drive had the Hibernate flag set. So I booted back into Windows and checked that Hibernate was disabled, it already was. Under that option is something like "Wake from alerts" and I disabled it. Then used the disk utility to shrink the Widows partion by about half of the unused space. That created 45GB of unallocted space.

Installed Linux Mint in the free space and not only was Mint super fast but Windows was now working as expected on a dual core machine with only 2Gb RAM.

How did that happen?

A challenger appears: Taiwanese devs' answer to Gemini PDA wraps a Raspberry Pi in a tablet

Mystic Megabyte


What I'm looking for is a device that will talk to a *Hantek 'scope. It seems that there are only a couple of models supported on Linux. I definitely won't buy a Kindle (ugh!) so any advice will be welcome. Thanks

*Think car diagnostics


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