* Posts by defiler

1469 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Oct 2010

Nintendo revives Game & Watch portable proto-console, adds color to 2.36-inch screen


Available in UK

Yep - I ordered one at the weekend for my son's Christmas (in the UK). He's a Nintendo-head. Not sure he's aware of the existence of this thing, but he keeps longing for a Game and Watch despite how prehistorically primitive I tell him they are...

ZX Spectrum reboot promising – steady now – 28MHz of sizzling Speccy speed now boasts improved Wi-Fi


Re: The keyboard was key

A much more realistic female body shape than Lara Croft.

Can confirm. Currently playing Tomb Raider Legend on Xbox 360.

Somewhat glad they toned her down for the reboot.


Re: Those interested in FPGA versions of classic systems

Got a MiSTer - it's nice. A bit ugly, but runs up to Atari STe or Commodore Amiga 1200 no problem. And it's cheaper than the Spectrum Next.

The difference is the SpecNext is a finished product, that you don't have to scour half a dozen websites to get going. you plug it in, you switch it on, and if you're a little perverted you load Thru The Wall from the Horizons tape like you did when you were 10.

And yes you can run a Spectrum core on MiSTer, at up to 56MHz from memory, but that's the old colour-clash Speccy. The SpecNext is that and lots more.


Re: A good effort

I'm guessing the reason you got downvoted is because that's already been done. What makes the SpecNext different is that it's not another machine pretending to be a Spectrum. As soon as the FPGA warms up it is a Spectrum. Fully hardware-compatible.

You just want an emulator? No problem - there are plenty to choose from.


Re: Get an emulator

Spectrum emulators have been pretty well polished for some time now, and some of them will even play demos which are very reliant on hardware timings. Emulating the Spectrum Next, though, is very hard work. It's not just a Spectrum, but has loads of additional features which greatly increase the emulation overhead.

I'll admit to being a little skeptical until I actually saw the prototype and spoke to some of the people involved. It's way ahead of the Speccy and the people behind it are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable on the whole thing.

If you want the Spectrum from the 1980s, emulate it. Sure. You'll get no argument from me.

If you want what the Spectrum could have become, this is the puppy. And you can still program your own stuff on it (relatively) easily.


Re: £300

I can't get my head around people wanting to play 8-bit graphics games.

Well, fair enough. It's clearly not a product for you then. Yeah it's a lot of money for an 8-bitter, but in truth it will show most 16-bit platforms a clean pair of heels. Having played with one, it's much more like a SNES when you get the enhanced software on it, and I expect that's underplaying its capabilities too.

It's a really nicely-specced, well-designed, well-balanced machine. No, it's not in the same league as chucking a £200 graphics card into an £800 PC, and nor is in the same league as a PS4 Pro, which is about the same cost. On the other hand, once I get mine you should pop round and have a shot. And I'll help you drink that whisky.


I'd heard mutterings in the past year about tidying up the core further in an attempt to hit 56MHz. That could be a laugh.

Still, I've slammed down my cash. It's a shame the price is so high for what's pretty-much-certainly a toy to most people. It seems to have prices out a lot of folks. But I can see why it's expensive.

We were already secure enough for mass remote working before COVID-19, boast IT pros


No change here

Not posted in ages because work has been equivalent to setting up hundreds of new offices as customers all went home and logged in from there instead.

From our perspective we've changed nothing - we were all working remotely from the servers anyway. From our customers', they're maybe starting to realise that their TalkTalk broadband is a bit shit when we throw their 400ms latency back at them.

Right - nose back to the wheel for the next round...

IBM's outgoing boss Rometty awarded $20m+ in 2019 for growing revenue 0.1%


Re: Number not kwite right

That suggests that it's really a taxable benefit-- she has use of a corporate jet and corporate residences for personal (vacation) use.

Well, $1.1M won't really get all that far in a private jet if you have to factor in all the costs. Crew (ground and air), maintenance, airworthiness, fuel - it all adds up at one hell of a rate with these toys. So maybe that's exactly what it is - she got to take a few (taxable) jollies in it.

The self-disconnecting switch: Ghost in the machine or just a desire to save some cash?


Re: How much?

Not much. Not much.

A half rack is maybe 25-30% cheaper than a rack. But if you start actually trying to fill it with equipment it's amazing how fast it goes!

For a start, it's not an *actual* half-rack of 21U - it's more like 18U.

Add a couple of PDUs - 16U.

Add a couple of switches - 14U

Add a failover router/firewall - 12U

Lob in a SAN with some decent storage - 8U

Chuck in some compute nodes - 4U

None of these are large items, and you now have enough to run a moderate (tightly-packed) network, but you don't have any space to grow.

If you're just chucking in some routers and switches I can see that a half rack would be plenty. But by the same token when was anything ever specced up that didn't grow and grow and grow?


I had all kinds of hacks in a previous job to get good VMware functionality for minimal cost.

Amongst my favourites were my multi-threaded VM export which was used as part of the daily backup, and using OCFS2 for the VM storage so that I could move VMs between hosts quickly. Of course this was with GSX. When ESXi became free you could use shared VMFS volumes.

C'mon SPARCky, it's just an admin utility update. What could possibly go wrong?


Re: Breaking servers with routine maintenance

We dumped VMware over the cost / complexity of the licenses. There are a couple of things it does better, though...


Re: Breaking servers with routine maintenance

I have to say, I tend to try to update the hosts. Not as often as the VMs because it's a real headache, but periodically.


Breaking servers with routine maintenance

Well I'd just like to say that recent patching on some Windows 2016 DC Hyper-V hosts has left them utterly unusable. We have some servers that decided either not to see the SAN after patching, or just not to play nicely in the cluster(s). Even better, uninstalling the most recent patches has left them in a boot loop.

Now I have to go onsite to the datacentres to rebuild them from cold because they're too stupid to acknowledge that the internal USB ports aren't actually removable drives. Luckily I need to do some storage work imminently so I'll roll the whole lot together, but I've burned most of a week already on this pish.

I think it's time to petition for new servers.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick


Re: Reduce, re-used, recycle


I've kept my Xbox from new. My wife, her Megadrive from new.


The console telly was saved from scrap (just needed a fuse)

I bought the MegaCD, 32X, SNES, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS/2, Wii, Xbox 360 and the SCART switch all second hand.

I'm not doing this right, am I? :-/

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers


Re: Cement Dust and Storemen

When generating first passwords for new users I always avoid 0, 1, l, i or O to save confusion.


Re: Every time we make it idiot proof they design a better idiot.

Yep. My dad is definitely one of those people who needs a "do whatever I'm thinking" button...


Re: About once per quarter ...

I found the fans just spin faster and faster until it sounds like a vacuum cleaner. But since it takes months / years to get to that point nobody realises until you get a fresh pair of ears in.

I once had to lob a CPU heatsink in somebody's kitchen sink to scrub the crap off with hot soapy water and a wire brush. Thing ran like a dream after - it was almost silent!


Re: Might have mentioned this before...

Yep - when I worked in PC World (alright, alright...) I had a woman on the phone tell me that her toddler had put a jam sandwich in the floppy drive because the computer had been in the house for weeks and it must be hungry by now.

Lucky for her (?) she'd taken the extended warranty, so it was covered under accidental damage. On the other hand it would have cost her a tenner for a floppy drive and 15 minutes to change it. Still, most people wouldn't even consider opening up a computer...

Good: IT admins scrambled to patch 80 per cent of public-facing Citrix boxes to close nightmare hijack hole


Re: Wonder how many don't even have support

If you don't have a support contract you can't get the fix.

There are two fixes.

One is a configuration change which mitigates against the attack. It's available on Citrix's public internet, and is just a few commands to slap into the console. It's basically a rule that seems to trap what the attacker is trying to do and returns a specified response.

The other is an actual fix to stop people going 'https://the.device.com/../../scripts/breakme.sh' and binning any attempts to access parent folders in URLs. It's an actual patch which makes the folder handling more sensible and secure, but that one is an on-support job.

So you can protect yourself even without active support.

EU tells UK: Cut the BS, sign here, and you can have access to Galileo sat's secure service


Re: Ha

That is a very different thing than we were discussing. In fact that is another way of saying our exports to the EU would need to meet EU standards even if domestically we choose not to.

Absolutely. That's what I'm saying. But the paperwork and chain of certification will be significantly more contrived than it is just now, because we'd have to prove that everything going to the EU (food, cars, hats, whatever) meets their regulations. It won't be taken as a given on the basis that they're our standards as well. And the EU need to make sure that we don't just import US <things> and put them straight into the EU market because of the lowered standards.

But why would we? Bendy bananas a criminal offence? Protectionism over foods which overall increases the price of food. If the EU doesnt want what we provide thats up to them, but why should we pay EU protectionist prices when food is not that expensive?

Bendy bananas were never a thing. Anyway, if you're happy with the deliberate lowering of food standards in Britain, that's your business. I'm not happy about that. For example, there are about 1.2 million cases of salmonella annually in the USA. In the EU, 91000. Why would I ever choose to lower my food standards to that? Why would I choose to feed my kids that instead of the EU-standard food? "Hey, kids - eat your chicken. It probably won't be fatal..." I'd be happy to pay the extra, thanks!

The experts he disregarded were the twits who cried doom and caught not just lying but with a full blaze in the pants area. I am not particularly for sticking up for Gove but applying his words out of context is not fair.

Hmm yeah. I saw that happen on live TV and burst out laughing in the gym, wondering how anybody would fall for that. He wasn't singling out any experts in particular, in my recollection. He just undermined all science and reason and gave the country justification to use what they "felt", and what was "common sense" to decide the future course of the nation instead of "what actually happens in real life and can be proven". Anyway, let's move on from him - he just makes me angry.

Ok. And if its a success will the cost of being in the EU be acknowledged?

Sure - I'd be happy to. Of course, I think the odds are stronger that Boris Johnson will be the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but there you go.

Here's the thing. I've asked many people to tell me what the EU has done badly and how we'll be better off out of it, and nobody's objections have actually stood up to analysis. I've come down to three things by myself, but nobody else has managed to put anything in the pot:

1) The Brussels/Strasbourg nomadic shit just annoys me. Take a Euro coin and flip it.

2) The handling of Greece was pretty shoddy. They were desperate to get Greece in, and pulled an HP/Autonomy, not actually looking closely enough to see the cracks. Then when Greece arrived and said "we're broke!", they were harshly punitive.

3) The clean accounts vs the grey accounts - that's a bit shady, I don't really understand why it's done, but it seems to be a tiny fraction of the EU accounts that aren't on the "clean" sheet.

Care to add?


Re: Ha

Why? Exports must meet the standards of the importing country, that is the norm for all trade.

Yeah, that's slight hyperbole. If we permit food from the USA into the UK on the US terms and succumb to their standards then we won't be able to automatically export to Europe. Each step of the production chain will be subject to rigorous auditing and certification processes. For example, if you want to send meat to the continent then you'd have to have a vet regularly inspect the farm where the animals were raised to check for conditions and verify that there were no antibiotics in the food. You'd have to have another vet establish that the animals were not administered hormones or antibiotics during the 7(?) days before slaughter. And then you'd have to have a vet present at the slaughter to ensure it happened using approved methods in a standards-compliant environment. At the moment the inspections are there, but less common because it's generally assumed that companies / farmers will comply with the established law of the land.

So yes, we could still export to the EU, but it would be significantly more involved and more costly than if we retained the EU food standards, and that would mean telling the USA to jog on.

We're in a bit of a bind, with levels of nuance that only experts in each field understand. The same experts that Gove instructed us all to disregard. Still, the other shoe will drop at the end of the year...

I hope it all works out, for me and for my family and friends. I work hard and will continue to work hard. If this is going to fail, or cost us, it won't be because of me - that's all on the Brexiters. I hope they own it.

Atari would love to ship its VCS console but – would ya believe it – there's yet another delay. This time, it's the coronavirus's fault


Re: Oh how I used to love Atari...

Hey, it's not the Jaguar's fault it was a 64-bit console in a 16-bit world...

Okay, I'm going.

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin


Re: How easy it is to fool

Now I'm thinking The Itanium Job. No, I don't know why.


Re: Ingenious

it was just not an issue the was much discussed

Well, what are you going to do? There's not much you can do to affect the minds of those who can go and annihilate the world, so you might as well just get on with living.

Different game if you were one of the tank crews that knew damn fine they were just fodder to hold up the Soviets long enough to unleash the missiles, of if you were a bomber crew sitting at 2-minute alert (or less at times), or if you were a submarine crew with standing orders to attack Soviet cities if you couldn't get a signal from home when you surfaced. Those people I'm sure had a very different outlook on things, but they were (and still are) very much a minority, thankfully.

Very little helps: Tesco flashes ancient Windows desktop on Scan-As-You-Shop device


Last Windows CE device I used...

Sega Dreamcast at the weekend. Played Ferrari F355 against a mate.

See? It wasn't all humdrum!


Re: "On the other hand, they might complain anyway, even with the freshest stock."

A friend of mine was in a Safeway which has since become a Waitrose, and the power went out for a few seconds. All the tills had to reboot, and they were also advised it'd take a while. Since it was about closing time, they stopped anyone coming in and dealt with everyone in the shop when they got to the tills.

The average price of an item in the shop was something like 82p, so they multiplied that by the number of items. If you wanted to accept that, great. If not, you could leave it. Bottle of wine for 82p? Great! Packet of Tictacs for 82p? No thanks.

But nobody knew this until they reached the till, so they weren't able to grift the situation.

Voyager suffers a power wobble as boffins start the final countdown for Spitzer


Re: Incredible

And a microcode patch for Spectre...

Accounting expert told judge Autonomy was wrong not to disclose hardware sales


Re: Auditors....

And, once again, the internet fails to disappoint.


Re: Auditors....

You're right, in much the same way as somebody stealing my car when I'm not looking isn't exactly my fault.

But if I'm buying a car from someone, and it's bright yellow and covered in Chiquita stickers, it should be a reasonable clue that it is, in fact, a banana with wheels on it. If Autonomy just had the figures laid out, without obviously malicious obfuscation, and in a way that an independent accountant could look through them and establish (within reason) what was what, then it falls upon HPE to understand what they're purchasing.

Anyway, that's my opinion. The important opinion is that of the Court.

AI 'more profound than fire', Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai tells rich folks' talking shop


Re: Printing

That's very true, and without writing printing may never have come about, but printing democratised writing by making the written (printed) word cheap enough to distribute that it was worth the proles learning to read.

And then you have a knowledge / information explosion.

Prior to printing, written manuscripts were very labour intensive (expensive), so not worth distributing amongst the plebs because they'd probably just use them to light their fires (all the time lamenting that it wouldn't be as profound as AI).

Take DOS, stir in some Netware, add a bit of Windows and... it's ALIIIIVE!


Falcon 3 + Gravis Ultrasound.

Oh how we laughed.


I suppose it depends on where you're coming from. For DooM it was awesome!

1) Boot to DOS

2) ipx.exe

3) doom.exe -server -deathmatch 4 -turbo 250

4) Open the Irn Bru while it loads.

I stopped trying to help people without NE2000 cards. It was just so much of a faff by comparison.


Re: HP drivers...

Yep - I lost all hope the day the Intel e100 drivers became bigger than a floppy disc.

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


Re: not a fortune but still

We, IT guys, are way too kind/stupid.

We, who work in knowledge industries, are way too kind/stupid.

Had a chat with a vet who told me he was always getting asked to look at peoples' dogs when he was at the pub or whenever. Same thing, different amount of fur.

SLS goes vertical at Stennis while NASA practises SRB stacking


Not moving? More boosters.

Moving in too many directions? More struts.



Yours had more struts.

If you never thought you'd hear a Microsoftie tell you to stop using Internet Explorer, lap it up: 'I beg you, let it retire to great bitbucket in the sky'


Re: People aren't using it to "browse the web"

Can't wait to see Adobe writing something similar about Flash, Air, ColdFusion, etc....

Can't wait to see Adobe writing something similar about Adobe.

Seriously, on a XenApp farm, an Adobe Acrobat Pro user gets harassed about running Acrobat on more than two machines just because the load balancer shunts her around. It offers her a button to logout all other machines, and that often doesn't work. And I've now spoken to 7 people about it before one chap has said "it's a bug - we can reproduce it internally". And, to be fair to him, he then said "I'll find out what our expected time on a fix is and get back to you Tuesday/Wednesday" which was refreshing.

But fuck Creative Cloud - it sucks up gigabytes of RAM on our servers for no bloody purpose at all.


Re: Can't Avoid It

Okay, Thomson-Reuters, I'm going to name and shame here.



They've installed ActiveX controls:

GoFileRoom.CheckOut dated 07/06/2018

gfrPDFModify.PDF dated 27/09/2019

TR.FileRoom.Client.OfficeAddin dated 27/09/2019

GFPCheckBrowser.clsGetVersion dated 20/01/2020

Yes, that was Monday of this week. They're still pushing out new ActiveX controls, and expecting customers to deploy them. What a fucking shambles - this should have been retired years ago.

(We block all ActiveX and whitelist approved CLSIDs via Group Policy.)

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


Re: Alternatives


I sync music often in the house. Not through the whole house, but if we have visitors then the living room and kitchen are synced. When I'm working at home I tend to do my office and the kitchen.

The only times I've done the whole house is when we'd finished an extension and visitors were given the Grand Tour. There were a few perplexed faces that the music was exactly the same throughout the house.


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

TDK D120 (not included) will store over 4 dozen songs.

And even more when you've rewound it a few times. They did love to stretch...

/me starts thinking Microdrive for some inexplicable reason.


Nintendo 64 deliberately blurs the image.

I read that everything is shifted a half-pixel sideways to smooth the image. And the UK models only do composite video. You have to chip them to get accurate RGB.

Kind of odd since it was the most powerful in its generation for 3D. Maybe they know it was good-but-not-quite. After all, they were savvy enough to stick with carts when the rest of the world went to (tediously slow) CDs.

A fine host for a Raspberry Pi: The Register rakes a talon over the NexDock 2


Re: Bring back netbooks

I picked mine up a mini-tower from Gumtree for his 10th. Had a keyboard and mouse lying around. Added an LCD telly that my parents were replacing, and slapped in a SteamLink. Boom - lad has a PC in his bedroom, but none of the noise/heat.

Also, because it relies on the (wired) network, it's easy to disable if he's naughty. And yes, it's happened before. He behaves better as a result!

Also, that PC can be upgraded easily. If you've got somewhere to set it up, I recommend it. Less likely to get damaged than a laptop too.

Totally Subcontracted Business: TSB to outsource entire IT estate to IBM for a cool $1bn after 2019 meltdown


Re: So they've forgotten Rule One

I've said it before, banks are IT companies. Doctor Syntax clarified the casino in the car park...

So if the principal function of a bank is IT, what do Sabadell bring to the party? Branches, and that's about it...

AMD rips covers off 64-core Threadripper desktop monster, plus laptop chips, leaving Intel gesturing vaguely at 2021


Re: The only thing I can say is

I watched a presentation by Sophie Wilson on CPU design progress. It was from 2016, and she said that the latest and greatest phone CPUs couldn't dissipate enough heat to run flat-out, and half the cores had to be off (on average, I guess).

So, yeah. It's like the old F15 vs Concorde thing. the F15 will take it in a sprint, but Concorde has the legs to just keep going. And that analogy shows my age, but there you go...

27nm - that was the other thing that stuck in my mind from that lecture. 27nm was the optimum feature size for cost. Any further required crazy interferometry. And her description of x-ray lithography was just astonishing.

I'm the queen of Gibraltar and will never get a traffic ticket... just two of the things anyone could have written into country's laws thanks to unsanitised SQL input vuln


Re: 'Twas ever thus

Either lowest cost or closely related. Never both.

IT exec sets up fake biz, uses it to bill his bosses $6m for phantom gear, gets caught by Microsoft Word metadata


Re: planning ways to do it

Capture The Flag? Cool!

Smart speaker maker Sonos takes heat for deliberately bricking older kit with 'Trade Up' plan


Re: Security angle

Because it's being directed by the phone, not spoon-fed.

Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 3114.

Speaker: Gotcha - no problem.

Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 19376.

Speaker: Gotcha - no problem.

Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 7.

Speaker: Gotcha - no problem.

Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 65537.

Speaker: Bzzzzt.

It's not like we haven't seen this play out countless times before. A quick scout shows that I have 9357 tracks in my library. Guess I'll be okay.


Re: How easy to re-purpose the hardware?

Logitech Squeezebox.

Shame Logitech bought in Slim Devices and then killed them off. Yes, you can use them as wireless bridges. Yes, you can sync them between players. Yes, I've synced 5 around the house for a party before, and most people just didn't notice. (The ones who did notice were very impressed.)

Had Slim players since the original SliMP3 in about 2002. They work a treat. Hardware is a bit of a chore to find these days (gotta trawl eBay), but you can build players out of Raspberry Pis now. You're right, it's not a turnkey solution like Sonos, so not really applicable to the Great Unwashed.

Also, I've seen Sonos tank a network several times by creating a network loop between wired and wireless. Whatever they do by STP, they don't seem to to it very well.

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS


Pager in a basement

In the late 1990s I was doing web development for a property centre in Edinburgh, run for solicitors. If you've tried to buy a house in Edinburgh, you'll know them by their 4 initials. Typically for web dev work in the 1990s, a large part of my efforts involved editing images so that (for example) maps were as clear as possible, but would still fit in a 16-colour GIF and zip down a 28k8 modem in moments. Then there was tearing all the crap that FrontPage insisted on cramming into the HTML. Finally there was the tricksy bit of hooking it into the live database of properties for sale and drawing through the schedules, photos, searching on various criteria etc etc. It was pretty groundbreaking in its day, and to be honest I'm quite proud of it (except that it didn't actually verify if there was central heating in the property, as there was a bug in that search that I only realised much later, so apologies if you bought a cold home in/around Edinburgh!)

It's all been ripped out and replaced by now, but all the while I was working there, I was in the basement of their George Street head office. There was a Seattle Coffee Company shop also in the basement, and I didn't need to surface into daylight for hours at a time. And all the while my pager was reassuringly silent. It went mad when I emerged blinking into the sunlight, mind, but that wasn't my problem. Got moaned at by my boss, but since it's him that put me onsite in a basement with a pager there wasn't much he could do about it.