* Posts by goldcd

778 posts • joined 12 Jul 2010


Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball


and me

Took apart the mouse on the very expensive new family PC and after a bit of experimental poking, managed to break one of the o-rings.

Quietly shitting myself, I reassembled and whilst it seemed to work, was anticipating the bollocking to come.

Penny only dropped when the o-ring re-grew.

Beige pencil stockists on high alert as 'Colouring Book of Retro Computers' hits the crowdfunding circuit


Re: Data centre

And was it?

You can't just leave us hanging here.

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell


I prefer

That I am not immortal and I fear that this job will consume my limited life without providing me the opportunity to make a lasting mark on the path of humanity.

Oh - and sarcasm in the face of pomposity.

I've got a broken combine harvester – but the manufacturer won't give me the software key


I think the problem is the outsource of manufacturing

All brands want to have that full set of white-goods for your kitchen, but a whole lot of them just outsource to different manufacturers - this one'll do my microwave, this one by dishwasher, this one my fridge - and they're all branded to look the same.

And once you've opted out of manufacture, then managing spare parts is an over-head. Oh, and then the next year you might switch to a different manufacturer - front panel looks the same, but all the innards are now based an entirely different OEM pattern.

One plus side of this all though, is that a load of the spare parts are now interchangable and widely enough used for OEMs to provide pattern parts. Thing I'd find most useful is simply if all parts had a unique ID number on them - so when I'm squinting at the picture of a dishwasher pump that "works with Bosch and looks the same" - I know it's a drop in replacement to the broken one next to me.


I do wonder how much it would cost

to just build redundancy into the cheap sensors - as in stick another one in the other wingmirror and if they don't match, throw a sensor error.


The backlash seems to be building nicely though

I think manufacturers are finally understanding that making products made to last or be repaired is a good marketing point.

Currently looking to replace a fridge, so looking at Miele (as previous white-goods from have been faultless) - and was just looking at https://frame.work/ for my next laptop (although might follow them for a bit, before taking the plunge).

Remember the bloke who was told by Zen Internet to contact his MP about crap service? Yeah, it's still not fixed


Re: Write your MP

That doesn't sound too unreasonable.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5


I've just rolled over and gone with HP's Instant Ink

£1.99 a month for 50 pages (and I think you can roll 100 over between months) - and easily covers my occasional printing needs.

I know I could print pages cheaper using 3rd-party carts and a less draconian manufacturer - but it nicely shifts annoyances with one colour running out before the others, blocked nozzles etc onto HP.

I pay £24 a year - and I have one less thing to worry about.

Teen turned away from roller rink after AI wrongly identifies her as banned troublemaker


Bit hard to comment without more details

Looking at the pictures in the linked story - the girls to look pretty similar, so I could see the same mistake being made without AI

(However, I'm white, and we're all notoriously poorer at differentiating people of different races than our own)

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip



Seeing them get all snippy, makes the whole Virgin thing worthwhile.

New mystery AWS product 'Infinidash' goes viral — despite being entirely fictional


Entirely sensible

Enables you to select for the more modest time-machine inventors - I mean can you imagine having to work next to the guy who invented the time machine, and likes to drop that into every conversation?

Ganja believe it? Police make hash of suspected weed farm raid, pot Bitcoin mine instead


Is massive amount of excessive heat still a sign of cannabis cultivation?

From casual research, LED panels are now available which have a way lower power consumption than the traditional sodium grow-lamps.

Now I don't for one moment think criminals have 'gone green' (well not in that way) - but excessive, even if 'free', electricity consumption generates a lot of heat. A lot of heat needs to be disposed of - and lights up the building to IR cameras and requires venting which puts out that distinctive smell.

Also, whilst definitely not condoning theft of power - I'm always a little dubious of the legality of getting a search warrant for one suspicion and bagging the criminals for another crime entirely. I'd have thought in this case the difference between the observed heat radiation and paid for power would have been enough.

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary


Sure I remember people complaining the wrong thermal pads were shipping on their GPUs

Just wondering if Asus' refusal to state what the dimensions of the part are, are because it doesn't meet the spec - and would be euqivalent to saying they'd shipped thousands of cards with defects.

Nvidia nerfs RTX 3080, 3070, 3060 Ti GPUs to shoo away Ethereum miners


Which makes sense

I've got a 2080 for gaming - and I'm just leaving my PC (powered by renewables) on 24x7 for mining.

Makes ~£30 a week. Not a life changing amount - but if you'd stretched to buy a gaming PC, it quite handily chips away at the outlay.

Or looking at it another way - quite handily covers the depreciation of buying the latest and greatest.

In case you were wondering, no, AMD hasn't managed to fsck everything up. It's still making lots of money


I'd agree - but supply's been patchy

Also worth looking at the prices they seem to be getting.

When I bought right at the start of last year, my 3900X was ~£400 and the one above 3950X was ~£600.

Those prices have stuck there for over a year now.

New range has 5900X at ~£600 and the 5950X is ~£800

i.e. Their new chips haven't replaced their old ones, they're co-existing with a old with offset price points

My guess is that without demand, they'd have just positioned the new models at the old price points, and discounted the old.

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store


Re: I'm pissed off...

I see that, and raise you https://ninite.com/

Has 90% of the apps I want on a new install - and makes the process for getting them incredibly simple.

Odd apps I don't recognize are pretty good way of discovering something better.

City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub


Except a lot of hard research isn't paid for by the university.

Huge amounts of time and effort is spent trying to attract funding - and then walking the fine line between what you want to research and what the money wants you to research.

Additionally just 'publishing' is easy - you can fire up wordpress and do it for free yourself.

Publishing in a respected journal is hard, as you've got to convince them what you've done is accurate, innovative and useful.

Managing to get your work into a respected journal is what's going to keep you employed by the university, as it's what helps you bring in more money.

Now I do agree that the system is slightly screwed up - but the alternative (everybody doing what they want and getting paid for it, and just dropping your results on your blog (and blocking the comments of your disagreeing peers) isn't the solution.

Crafty: Cricut caught out by user revolt, but will cloud stop play?


Problem is that your hardware is bound to their software

and this fact and this attempted monetization, should now be featured in every Cricut review.

I've idly pondered buying one and now I'm less likely to buy.

I can understand their need to generate revenue for on-going software development and server costs - but they really shouldn't have got themselves into this position.

I'm familiar with 3D printing where the printer is just an appliance and the user has a choice of modelling tool and slicer. Some are Open Source/Free - and others you pay for. Some (such as the very popular Fusion 360) now provide a free trial with limitations until you pay. Some such as Simplify3D have always been pay for perpetual license. Reason this ecosystem can exist is that the pipeline from idea to print are handled with interchangeable file formats. As a user when you hand over money, you know you're getting something back. Nothing is ever taken away from you (or at least you can understand it when Autodesk gives you a nudge into giving them some money).

If Cricut want to make hardware, they just need to open their API and a lovely ecosystem will emerge (and seem to be a few 'cutting' packages out there that support other brands). If Cricut want to make software, then they can do that - and they just need to make it better than the competition.

Can we exhale yet? EU set to rule UK 'adequate' for data sharing in post-Brexit GDPR move


Re: If UK data rules have not changed ...

I do have the niggling feeling that - who's actually checking for me now?

Someone tried to poison a Florida city by hijacking its water treatment plant via TeamViewer, says sheriff



Scanned for Teamviewer instances and then just hammered the 1 key a couple of times to see if a field was writeable.

Hollywood drone pilot admits he crashed gizmo into cop chopper, triggering emergency landing


I was just wondering how a drone would react to a full sized helicopter appearing over it.

Suspect it's not a scenario that was anticipated in their design.

Was wondering if a massive helicopter sized down-draft would knock the lighter/smaller drone down, and it would automatically respond to by switching to 'full power' (maybe causing it maybe to rocket up above intended height-ceiling into the pocket of slightly lower pressure directly under the body of the helicopter).

But reading the other comments, I shall read those from others who seem to know what they're talking about.

Watchdog urges Tesla to recall 158,000 Model S, X cars to fix knackered NAND flash that borks safety features


NAND has a finite life

Can only cope with so many read/writes.

I've currently got an old-ish Samsund SSD in my PC bleating that I should 'raise the over provisioning partition' - basically lower the usable space, so it has a buffer to reallocate the failing sectors.

Not something I'd thought about when I switched to SSDs - but makes sense when you look at how NAND works.

Slightly scary thing is that maybe this was never considered when building Smart Cars. You can separate the OS out all you like with perfect security - but this is a whole layer below this.

NAND degrades in your car like the tyres, brakes etc. Not an issue if wear can be monitored and the part replaced when it degrades. Very problematic if say the chips are soldered to the brains of the car.

Your no-socket Powerbook might get replaced after 5 years, but cars need to last longer.

NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen


I'd always assumed

(and we know what assumption is) that the 'check-in' feature was just to provide a degree of partitioning between bluetooth signals.

i.e. If you check into your barber, you can probably pick up BT from the cafe next door.

If somebody later tests positive who'd checked into the cafe, you wouldn't get an alert. If the person in the cafe hadn't checked in in, or had and you hadn't - then you would - as app doesn't know you were close, but in separate shops

Checkout time isn't too important, as the proximity covers that.

UK network Three hikes pay-as-you-go rates by 400% to push punters to buy 'bundles'


They have a a large amount of active competition...

The issue with mobile operators, is that their main costs aren't actually related to you using the service.

If I had to wildly guess is might be pandemic related, with all of us sat near our WiFi more.

If you pay for a bundle, you've just used less of it. If you're paying per MB of data, then you'll have been using less, paying your operator less - and this less doesn't come close to offsetting the cost of them not carrying that MB.

ZIP folders were originally a Microsoft engineer's side hustle until bosses figured out he worked for Microsoft


I think the zip folder story is rather great for all involved

You think your official product is missing something, your employer doesn't agree, but lets you build it on your own.

If it's a failure, well collectively you learnt the market doesn't want it, and it just cost one engineer some spare time.

If it's a success, you get a Corvette and your great idea is maintained whilst you get to grind your next annoyance.

Which also reminded "powertoys!" not thought about them for years - and google tells me they are still a thing.

Tim Cook 'killed' TV project about the one website Apple hates more than The Register


I don't quite follow the logic.

Gawker outed Thiel - not illegal, he didn't sue, but they made an enemy.

Gawker published Hulk Hogan's sex tape - this was illegal, but they assumed he wouldn't be able to afford to sue them.

Thiel backed Hogan to sue Gawker and won - Hogan got his justice, Thiel destroyed his enemy.

Lawsuits are expensive - this is the problem/weapon.

Yes, Apple could back 1000s of libel cases against El Reg, and this would be bad - but this isn't what happened here. Thiel didn't back 1000s of cases against Gawker to grind them down with legal costs (and you'd hope if he did, punitive costs/counter-suits would be awarded against him for frivolous and baseless actions - although sadly not normally the case).

The 'expensive lawsuit' problem in this case was that Gawker felt they could get away with illegally publishing the sex tape, as Hulk wouldn't be able to afford risking legal action.

i.e. They wouldn't have published a sex-tape of Thiel, as they knew he was rich enough to sue. They published it as they thought they had more funds available than Hogan - and came a cropper as they were wrong.

Cayman Islands investment fund left entire filestore viewable by world+dog in unsecured Azure blob


Sortof - yes

You've got to get a qualified person in to install it, following sensible rules such as not using bell-wire, joining with sticky-tape or using a nail as a fuse.

Then maintenance - yearly inspection.

Then you have to plan for "electricity going wrong".

Legal physical stuff like ensuring you have sprinklers/extinguishers in the office. Then legal personal stuff, like ensuring you've got people trained to turn off power first when somebody's electrocuted, how to treat them, how to evacuate the office etc.

I guess my point is that companies using electricity have stricter rules to follow when procuring it and nice recurring line-items on budgets.

Maybe better term would be "An IT (or electricity) dependent business"

In this case, it sounds like they procured their external IT services from the equivalent of a "Bloke in the pub that did it on the cheap" - and then they just crossed their fingers that nothing would burst into flames.

Congrats, Meg Whitman, another multi-billion-dollar write-off for the CV: Her web vid upstart Quibi implodes


I see you've never worked for a corporate..

I'm sure somebody did some research and it looked 'hopeful' - elevator pitch isn't actually that bad.

Just once you've recruited everybody and started spending - nobody's going to stop until something external stops them. Death or Glory (except it's not really death, it's just having to get a new job)

Excel is for amateurs. To properly screw things up, those same amateurs need a copy of Access


As a student I had an occasional job for Virgin Megastore.

Periodically they did a stock take of all their stuff - so they'd flood the place with students looking for a bit of cash for a nights work.

You'd get a print out of what should be there in a section of alphabetised CDs, and note down anything that wasn't there and fish out anything incorrectly placed there.

Notional idea was to spot 'shrinkage'/what had been stolen, but often as not you'd find excess stock - but as there was no way of adding stock back into the inventory, it just got given away as a bonus to us at the end of the evening.

(and suspiciously entire stock of some albums, seemed to have managed to distribute themselves randomly across the store - meaning they both got recorded as stolen, and also distributed to the stock-takers as excess stock)

Revenues from in-app purchases swelled 32% to almost $30bn for Q3 2020 – and Apple snaffled most of it



So 30 billion and apple took 2/3rds.

Then took 1/3 of the 20 billion... I mean I'm sure it's a ton of work managing an app-store, but.. that's a lot of 'free' money.

If the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition doesn't make you a fan, we don't know what will


Re: confused

Reason they make sense to me is that for reading at length, you're probably going to flip it to landscape - and when typing in portrait less of you screen area (relatively) is eaten up by the on-screen keyboard.

The perils of building a career on YouTube: Guitar teacher's channel nearly deleted after music publisher complains


The real issue is that youtube/google just acts as a match-maker

But most of the time, there isn't just one exact match for you.

e.g. If you want to learn to play Smoke on the Water, and google connects you to a video explaining it, then a tiny bit of money flows and everybody is happy.

If there was just a single video and it got pulled, then no money flows and nobody is happy - google would put effort into trying to keep that video up.

Reality is there are maybe a dozen equally serviceable videos - and if one gets pulled, google seamlessly directs you to one that's up, and the same money still flows (just to another producer rather than the original one). Google just needs one video that keeps your eye-balls on the screen for 10 mins - the rest is just 'nice to have' (and an overhead to deal with). Take that to the logical conclusion and huge swathes of youtube could be deleted without any real impact to the consumers - balance is probably that it provides a bit of extra coverage (90% of videos probably add 10% more information) and it helps keep producers in their place - better to have 10 that are great than one that is excellent (and has you over a barrel, similar to some of the streamers on twitch)

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 debut derailed by website glitches, bots, lack of supply


If I had to guess

The purpose of this release wasn't to sell cards - it was ensure the world knows nVidia make the 'best graphics cards'

Now normally, it would all have been about selling - but this time, they're both a significant leap beyond the current gen and priced relatively sensibly (which doesn't make much sense from a business perspective, when you don't have many to sell and are only really competing with yourself).

My reasonable guess is that this is all because AMD are announcing their new cards next month, and rumour-mill suggests they're competitive with nvidia's upper-end for the first time in many, many years. nVidia *does not* wish to be sandbagged by AMD, in the way AMD are currently thrashing Intel.

AMD might launch next month with an amazing card, it might be priced to be amazing value - but those of us with deep enough pockets, might hang on for a few extra months for nVidia to sort out their supply chain.

Nvidia to acquire Arm for $40bn, promises to keep its licensing business alive


I would also have accepted


Three middle-aged Dutch hackers slipped into Donald Trump's Twitter account days before 2016 US election


If you check on https://crackstation.net/ (as I just did, as I was curious)

That would appear to be correct input to SHA1 the hash in the article.

I can't believe that was his password though.. even Trump wouldn't...

Entity list? Pah! Huawei rolls out updated laptops, including a pricey i7 ultrabook


I'm not sure the i7 is the top-tier

The AMD chip is a significantly faster CPU and the onboard GPU absolutely destroys the Intel one.

Intel just pulls ahead with single core performance, but that's about it.

I won't be ignored: Google to banish caller roulette with Verified Calls


You missed the really evil/smart part though

The company calling you, has to add a note as to why they're calling you - and google pops this up on the screen when your phone rings. A "subject line" for the call.

Quite smart - say my mobile company calls me with "possible fraud" I'll answer, if it's "upgrade offers" I wouldn't. Presume they'll be a system put in place where when I do answer, I can provide feedback on whether or not the subject line was accurate.

Where this benefits google is that it gets a glimpse of what's going on in your life, much as it does by scanning your gmail.

i.e. If you get a load of calls from banks to "discuss loan", or car garages with "discuss pricing" - those are some lovely high-value key words they can add to your profile of ads you're more likely to consume.

I do have to admire google's helpful-evil

In the market for a second-hand phone? Check it's still supported by the vendor – almost a third sold are not


Re: LineageOS?

Unfortunately not always the answer.

e.g. I had an old nVidia tablet that stopped receiving official support, so switched to Lineage. Was a bit buggy, but was now getting updates - and then Lineage dropped support. In the end just went back to the working, if old, stock OS.

Maybe one approach would be to allow you to pay for specific items to be supported.

e.g. I pledge a £1 a month to support device xyz, and if somebody commits to supporting it, they get that shiny pound of each user each month.

Google employs people to invent colours – and they think their work improves your wellbeing


I quite like painting with it

pigment rich and goes on beautifully.

Still, it is getting a little 'common' now - rows of the stuff at homebase.

Little Greene is my middle-class paint of choice.

NASA trusted 'traditional' Boeing to program its Starliner without close supervision... It failed to dock due to bugs



Although they seemed to have adopted the much simpler approach, of buying back their own shares.

I've no idea why this isn't seen as a giant red-flag.

You, as a company, have say 500 million you're not quite sure what to do with. Traditionally you'd leverage your resources and expertise to invest in new research/manufacturing with a view that you'll get a decent return on the investment, and ultimately an increase in your share price. Current approach is to just buy your own shares - same result to share price, but a lot easier.

Logitech G915 TKL: Numpad-free mechanical keyboard clicks all the right boxes


Corsair do a reasonable one

K93 - Cherry Reds, RBG-free lighting, about £75

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes: UK man gets 3 years for torching 4G phone mast over 5G fears


3 years?

Maybe could be sentenced to an OU physics degree.

Dickens' forgotten spaceship classic: A Tale of Three Missions


Only tangentially related

but there's a great video showing ULA's rocket building from SmarterEveryDay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0fG_lnVhHw&t=1082s

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...


Quite a fun analysis of his paper (and his previous questionable stuff)


Broken lab equipment led boffins to solve a 58-year-old physics problem by mistake


I just loved "the nuclear charge is slightly potato-shaped"

I'm sure there's a 'correct' word - but well I'll never look at anything the same again.

Alleged Vault 7 leaker trial finale: Want to know the CIA's password for its top-secret hacking tools? 123ABCdef




Here's a bit of Intel for you: Neri a day goes by that HPE doesn't feel CPU shortage pinch


Which is why AMD is using "chiplets"

Pry the heatsink off the top, and you'll see chiplets with a load of CPU cores on them, clustered around a central IO chiplet.

One benefit to AMD is that if say one core core on a quad chiplet fails, and they don't sell a 3 core CPU, they don't have to bin it. They can pair it with another 3/4 success and flog it as a 6-core.



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