* Posts by Boothy

1075 posts • joined 17 Jun 2011

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Technology doesn’t widen the education divide. People do that

Boothy Silver badge

Re: "what we do with it is our fault"

The best (if you can call it that!) jolt I ever managed was whilst on a course at the local technical college.

We did a module on TVs, including fault finding, which inevitable meant sometimes having to diagnose a fault on a live running TV. CRTs back then of course.

We had these rather old black and white CRT TVs, donated I believe from a local rental company once they were no use for renting out anymore.

These consisted of two large PCB boards, one in the bottom of the case (tuning, audio etc), and one mounted round the neck of the tube (coil controls, electron gun etc).

Nothing surface mount and a single sided board, all discrete resistors, capacitors, transistors etc. All with legs poked through the back of the PCB, and soldered in place. Judging by the random leg lengths, trimmed on the back of the boards, all components looked like they'd been fitted by hand one at a time, rather than a solder bath etc. Like I said, quite old.

I was taking some measurements with an Avometer on the tube component board, which had it's back facing me, components facing the inside of the case, using a couple of pointed probes, tracing a voltage through, pushing the probe against the solder pads on the back of the board. Sometimes this took a bit of pressure to push down to make a contact.

Probe slipped of course! Hand hit the back of the board, fingers first, got a component leg jammed into my middle finger UNDER the nail! Just ouch from that.

But of course turned out to be one of the high voltage, high frequency lines, my entire right hand and arm just locked up. Basically I froze in place, apparently with a face looking like a manic Cheshire cat, big fixed grin!

Thankfully as this was lab work, we were all in pairs, and there was a big red power kill button on the desk, which after a few seconds, once my lab partner realised I wasn't actually joking around, he hit, cutting power off.

Rather sore finger for a few days, but otherwise no harm done, well none that I know of!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: "what we do with it is our fault"

When I was in secondary school (UK late 80s), we touched on electronics in my physics class.

We had these large square plastic panels (around 18" a side at a guess), with square metal pins, each about an inch high, and a couple of inches apart, laid out in a square grid, with each of the four sides of the pins having a groove.

We then has sets of small, hand sized, pieces, that had either 2 or 4 clips, that would push into the groves, electrically connecting to the metal pins. Each of these pieces had a symbol on one side, resistor, capacitor, transistor, potentiometer, bulb etc etc. With the actual electronic components soldered to the underside, and if a pot or bulb the appropriate part went through a hole on top, so you could see it, or turn it, as needed. There was also bridging pieces, with just a straight bit of wire.

You then built your circuits how you wanted. Basically like a big chucky bread-board, but a bit more child proof! Plug in each component, making up your circuit.

I though these things were brilliant, as you had the symbols on one side, which would correlate directly with circuit diagrams, but a quick glance underneath, and you could see what the actual real components looked like and how they all related with each other.

We built everything from simple electrical loops to start with (bulb+switch), to learning about the relationship between volts, current & power (bulb+pot+meters). It included volt and current meters that could be plugged into the boards, so up the voltage with a pot, see the meter go up, see the current increase, watch the bulb get brighter etc.

All the way through to quite complex logic circuits spread out over multiple boards. All made from discreate components. No ICs, the only silicon we had being diodes and transistors. I remember building a multi digit adding machine. (two 4 digit (binary) numbers in), a binary counter etc etc.

The logic stuff got me hooked.

The flexibility of the system encouraged experimentation, and so did our teacher!

BT Wholesale wants the channel to give SMBs a nudge before copper sunset in 2025

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Cellular are the winners?

Quote: "the point is not many people actually connect their devices via a wire to their broadband."

Not sure I agree with that statement.

Personally, the only devices I have that routinely use Wi-Fi is my phone and a Tablet. Everything else, TV, games consoles, PC (personal Desktop + company Laptop), Sky box, R-Pi, NAS etc all connect via Ethernet. I have no 'smart' devices other than the TV, and no intention of getting any others.

My parents place is the same, just a tablet over Wi-Fi (feature not smart phone), everything else such as TV, set top box, laptop, plugged in. Most of my friends have done similar, with more than one running Ethernet to each room, and one recently moving into a new built house, where he had Cat-6 installed throughout the house while being constructed.

The only people I can think of personally, that don't use Ethernet, are basically light users, where they've typically just got a smart TV not close to the router, plus a phone and perhaps a tablet.

Every gaming friend of mine, who have either consoles, a gaming PC, or both, all use Ethernet, as wireless adds latency, especially if there are other people using the Wi-Fi at the same time.

For me, Ethernet is simple far more reliable and faster (both throughput and latency) than wireless, granted you need to run the cables, but once done, that's basically it for the life of the house.

RAF chief: Our Reaper drones (sorry, SkyGuardians) stand ready to help British councils

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Sill they be armed with…

Not just the Highway Code, it's also covered by the Highway Act, i.e. in law.

So in the UK it's actually illegal to cycle on the pavement (unless it's designated as part of a marked cycle lane of course). So your example 'yoof' are potentially opening themselves up to prosecution and a fine.

Lenovo pops up tips on its tablets. And by tips, Lenovo means: Unacceptable ads

Boothy Silver badge

Re: "System App" bollocks

Got 10 Home at home as a gaming rig.

Candy Crush etc can be removed, no issues. I've also never seen any ads within Win 10. But I've also only ever installed from the MS supplied image, never an OEM one.

But a couple of tips...

1. If doing a fresh install of 10 don't connect to the Internet. This forces Win 10 into using a local account, rather than a MS account. (Not sure if it works with latest releases, but certainly worked for me at my last rebuild about 12 months ago).

2. Install O&O Shutup 10 and apply its defaults. I also use this to make sure things like Bing search, and Cortana are disabled.

Hacking the computer with wirewraps and soldering irons: Just fix the issues as they come up, right?

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Anyone

Had a similar set up when I was in college in the 80s.

We had printed templates (basically grids) for writing down the hex machine code. Then depending on the boards we were working on, would sit there manually entering the hex directly to the board, then cross your fingers and hit the run button! Or into the EPROM, then onto the board and run.

UV lamp in a box at the ready, when we inevitably needed to wipe and try again.

EEPROMs made life a little easier later on, once we got some.

More than half of companies rethinking back-to-office plans amid variant uncertainty and vaccine mandates – survey

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Once in a lifetime

Where I'm at. questionnaires are sent out every year, basically asking if your happy at work. e.g. Do you have the right equipment, can you work reasonably undisturbed, is your location noisy, the right temperature etc, do you have access to water, are you having breaks etc etc.

The company also uses metrics, such as MyAnalytics from MS, plus monitors things like customer/client satisfaction (did we deliver what was wanted, on time, on budget etc).

The basic result was that the vast majority of people were happier working from home, with only a few exceptions and all the metrics showed productivity had gone up, and customer satisfaction had also increased by quite a margin.

The company basically responded to that by asking if people would like to work from home more often, or even full time. The answer from the majority was yes!

They've now rolled out an official, but optional, work from home first option. Some offices have been shrunk, others converted to regional hot desk hubs (although still mostly closed atm) others closed down completely. They've also provided equipment to anyone at home if wanted, such as desks, chairs, external monitor etc.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Simples...

In general I have to agree, I do love working from home through!

Although for me, in my personal experience in recent years, the water cooler/coffee machine conversations have been more social, rather than anything really project or work related.

No idea if this is the same for other people, but where I've worked over the last few years, we have many offices, in many cities, towns and in different countries. Most teams were originally fixed to a location, either due to technology, or clients, i.e. .NET devs in one office, 1st line support people in another office, specific client teams in another etc.

But that's changed now, at least where I am, as an example, the project I'm on at the moment. Most people are in the UK, but they are spread around different locations, from the North East England, to the Midlands, to Scotland, the South etc. Most teams are no longer location dependent (we have a few left, but not many). So I could be on a call with a test team manager and the testers they manage, and most of them will be based out of different office locations, even if they are part of the same team, and this seems to be across the board, architects, PMs, developers etc, all just spread around now.

So even if we were all back in the office, it would be very unlikely for me to meet someone at the water cooler/coffee machine, that was working for the same account, or even working with the same type of tech.

China passes half a billion 5G subscriptions and adds at least 190k new 5G base stations in six months

Boothy Silver badge

Re: 5G?, Decent 4G and Voice Would be nice In Hertfordshire

Quote "What use has a number that has to be divided by eight all the time?"

How often does anyone ever actually do that?

I've been using modems in one form or another since the early 90s, and I can honestly say the number of times I've done a conversion between bits and bytes, for a connection speed to an approx transfer speed, have been perhaps half a dozen times over those 25+ years.

Dividing by 8 is also only an approximation, as it's not measuring the same thing. The Mbps is the connection speed, whereas MB/s is a transfer speed. The former does not take into account protocol overheads, or things like compression, whereas the later does. So bit speed / 8 will only ever give an approximate answer to the actual MB/s.

Quote "The vast majority of them is being mislead"

How is anyone being mislead?

Broadband speeds have always been defined as bits per second. So are directly comparable for end users (exaggerated speed claims not withstanding of course).

All services that are speed dependent, such as streaming services, also always use bits/sec so are again directly comparable.

As long as everyone uses the same system to measure speed, irrespective of the specific measuring system being used, then it's not misleading.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: 5G?, Decent 4G and Voice Would be nice In Hertfordshire

Quote: "Ask them how long downloading of a 100 megabyte video will take on a 100 Mb/s link."

Wrong question really, not surprised people can't answer it. i.e. How relevant is that question to most users? I can't imagine many people download video files these days (except perhaps pirates etc).

The vast majority of people stream video these days, and if you go check FAQs for places like Netflix, Prime, YouTube, iPlayer etc, to find out if your broadband or mobile speed is fast enough, all of them will quote the required speed in mega bits not bytes.

Providing internet speeds in mega bytes would be fairly useless for I'd say the vast majority of users. as no one really uses mega bytes as a measure of speed.

Do you also suggest Ethernet and other network technologies also change from bits to bytes? As they all really need to use a single consistent measuring system for speed, otherwise you're going to have to start converting between one and the other when you purchase things like a new hub, router etc.

Having trouble getting your mitts on that Raspberry Pi? You aren't alone

Boothy Silver badge

I love a little Pi[e]

Not a heavy user, but do like to play now and again.

My oldest Pi from 2011 seems to have now unfortunately died :-( Powers up, but refuses to read the SD card for some reason.

My last purchase, just a few weeks ago, the Pi 4s seems to be a little pricy to me, so I just picked up a 3 B+ instead (headerless system, so a 3 was fine for my use case).

Only running Pi system I have atm is a Pi-hole. Although have been thinking about building a touch screen music box for use in the kitchen.

The Sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Microsoft has pulled support for Internet Explorer in Microsoft 365

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Checks stats...

I was on a Teams call the other day, a project manager doing a presentation, sharing a screen rather than a specific Window, so their Windows Task Bar visible.

IE icon not only pinned to the bar, but icon showed it was actively in use! No other browser related icons (Edge, Chrome etc) visible, and as this was Widows 10, they must have actively removed the Edge icon that's normally there by default.

Was on a direct call with the same PM later that week, just the two of us, so asked them about it.

They were only using IE 11 as that's what they were familiar with (no legacy web apps for example that needed IE), and didn't actually know what Edge was! (They only used Windows for work, they had an iPad for personal/home use). They're not a techie person, so don't follow tech news etc.

So they didn't understand why using IE 11 was an issue! After all it was included with the OS, so it must be safe?

Perhaps regretting those Instagram, WhatsApp acquisitions, UK watchdog suggests Facebook offloads GIF haven Giphy

Boothy Silver badge

I think GIF itself is mostly just a generic term now, rather than referring to an actual GIF.

I've seen 'GIF' used quite a lot in forum posts, Reddit etc, e.g. "Here's my GIF of <subject>" etc, and it's usually a small MP4, or some other more modern format, very rarely an actually *.gif file.

Giphy for example, whilst you can still upload actual .gif files, have supported JPG, PNG, MP4 & MOV (and a few other less common file extensions) for years now.

But internally, I suspect Giphy converts all these to WebP files.

i.e. Select an image, select the 'Copy Link', you see a URL and the description 'A link to the GIF image itself', and the URL does have a .gif ending. But open that and you find it's actually HTML with extras, not just the actual image, but then look at the image this time (i.e. Open image in a new tab etc), and this time it's a .webp file with no other extras.

So even Giphy doesn't seem to use actual GIFs!

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Backward compatibility - a time to let go

The only place I can think of that still defaults to A: (even without an A: drive being present) is if trying to manually update a driver and selecting 'Have Disk', which still defaults to A: (I double checked in Win 10 Ent).

i.e. Device Manager > open a device > Driver tab > click Update driver

Then: 'Browse my computer for drivers' > then 'Let me pick....'

Then finally 'Have Disk'

This still tries to open A: but as far as I know, that's what 'Have Disk' is for, i.e. I have a floppy disk with the driver on it.

If you want to browse other drives, like C: or a USB etc. then just hit the 'Browse' button after the 'Browse my computer for drivers' step, i.e. earlier in the process.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Eh?

One of the reasons I went with Demon Internet back in the day, was they did actually try to support Amiga users. Also their technical support actually seemed to be competent, i.e. actual support people who weren't just following a script, but who were actually fairly technical, and allowed to use their brains to work through issues!

There was also a whole set of self help and support groups as well, such as on Usenet and via IRC.

Main news group was demon.ip.support.amiga and on IRC we hung around on #disa

Even managed to organise a few IRL meet ups, typically involving beer, pizza or a curry, depending on location :-)

Simpler days!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Eh?

Ah AmiTCP and Miami! That brings back memories.

I remember back in around 1994 I think, writing various guides for getting an Amiga onto the Internet after finding it to be a bit of a challenge myself. With lots of extra details for Demon Internet (UK ISP), which I was using at the time.

I also wrote a simple, lightweight GUI utility to start Miami, plus control a few functions via its REXX port (link up/down etc). Imaginatively titled 'Miami Start'!

Electrocution? All part of the service, sir!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Self-electrocution

Not an electrician, but almost...

When I was very young (back in the 70s), I was fascinated by how the world worked, constantly pulling things to bits, trying to basically reverse engineer everything. (Much to the annoyance of my parents, as I sometimes also disassembled things like kitchen appliances and other items that were actually in use in the house!)

Electricity seemed such a mystery to me at the time, how can energy pass through wires! Pipes with liquids, levers, rotating shafts I understood, but a solid wire, how can anything get through that!?

One day, I was about 6 I think, in my bedroom, with my trusty Meccano screwdriver in hand (which were solid metal back then, and you can guess where this is going now), and a few bits of wire I pulled out of something, I decided to investigate.

BANG!!! Me now sat on the other side of the bedroom floor, some distance away from the now slightly blackened smoking mains socket where I'd been a moment earlier, with screwdriver still stuck in the live hole. Parents rush in, see me motionless, thinking the worse. At that point I apparently just started smiling, wide eyed!

After that, I regularly got donated electrical items to experiment, sometimes to try and fix (radios etc), electronic kits for Christmas way above my age range etc.

After leaving school some years later, where I'd focused on the sciences, especially physics, I went on to study Electronics, then got an apprenticeship at a local firm, later becoming one of their Electronics engineers for a few years.

In my 50s now, and I still want to know how everything works!

Scientists reckon eliminating COVID-19 will be easier than polio, harder than smallpox – just buckle in for a wait

Boothy Silver badge

What delivery issue?

UK is currently at 88.9% with the first jab, and 2nd is at slightly off 74.5%.

The first jab numbers are only going up slowly now, as the remaining 11% unvaccinated people are most likely going to be those who can't, or don't want, to take the vaccination for some reason.

The 2nd jab numbers, if they continue at current rate, should hit 90% in around 6 to 8 weeks.

You don't even need an appointment now, just drop in at a walk-in centre.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: eliminating COVID-19 will be easier than polio

I think you're a tad out of date, routine smallpox vaccinations stopped in the USA in the 70s (most of Europe also stopped in the 70s).

The last natural case was in October 1977, and the WHO classed smallpox as eradicated globally by 1980.

By the mid 80s, all routine vaccinations had stopped Worldwide for smallpox. No point vaccinating for something that doesn't exist anymore outside of a lab!

As far as I know, the only people who routinely get smallpox vaccinations now are lab workers, who are identified as having a risk of exposure to smallpox in the lab where they work.

Apple responds to critics of CSAM scan plan with FAQs, says it'd block governments subverting its system

Boothy Silver badge

Someone mentioned above that they are using PhotoDNA for the hashing.

This basically converts the image to grey scale, resizes it, splits it into a grid, and produces a 'hash' from each grid square.

So it's basically resistant to things like resizing and colour changes.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Who creates the hash?

Seems the process at a high level is:

1. Convert the image to black & white (their words, although I'd assume grey scale due to step 4).

2. Resize to a fixed size.

3. Split up into a grid.

4. Each grid has a histogram of intensity gradients or edges found.

5. The final 'DNA' (i.e. hash) is then generated from this histogram data.

Seems the 'DNA' as they call it, is basically a collection of meta data, per grid of the original image.

It doesn't matter what the size of the picture to check is, or if the colours have been altered, the resulting hash should be the same each time.

They also talk about comparing 'similar PhotoDNA', so seems the hashes can be compared for similarities, not just exact matches. Just a guess, but this implies that perhaps cropped images, or composites with partial matches can also be compared.

For video, they basically run the same process against a subset of frames from a known video. The comparison then seems to be to run the process against all frames in the new video, as they might have edited it, so the subset of frames originally hashed, may not be in the same place in the new video that needs to be checked.

Edit: Forgot to mention, seems the resulting PhotoDNA data is very small, so you can have very large data sets, and search them very quickly.

South Korea to test grenade-launching drones

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Anti-ransomware software ?

Perhaps it's just to identify issues with potential target systems, rather than directly target the malware itself? As you say, AV should be doing that already.

e.g.

Is your OS current and patched

Are you running up to date AV

Does any software your using have any know vulnerabilities?

Do you have a functioning and tested backup and restore service?

Just a thought anyway!

Following Torvalds' nudge, Paragon's NTFS driver for Linux is on track for kernel

Boothy Silver badge

From reg article Paragon 'optimistic' that its NTFS driver will be accepted into the Linux Kernel

Quote: "Linux currently has two NTFS drivers, a FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) driver which is read/write, and a kernel driver which is read-only. It is this latter driver which Paragon intends to replace.

“The need for a new native implementation included with the kernel comes as the current NTFS driver remains practically unmaintained, lacks decent write support and has none of the other advanced features,” Paragon said. Its driver is not only read/write but supports additional features including journal replay, compressed and sparse files, and more."

Intel scoops out five flavours of Ice Lake Xeons for workstations

Boothy Silver badge
Pint

Re: These don't seem to compete with exiting AMD!

Chuckle, have one of these : -->

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Intel chips burn so hot to compete

The banned Dell PCs were AMD, not Intel, at least not the examples I'd seen (Alienware Ryzen R10 Gaming Desktop). But it was idle power issues anyway, nothing to do with running hot.

The new [1] laws in some states in the US were about idle power, i.e. when the system was in standby, or sleep/low power modes (such as when going to sleep automatically). There are no restrictions related to running power, i.e. when actually in use.

Also the 'banned' PCs were not top of the range, they were mid rage machines, decent CPU (Ryzen 5800 (none X)), but lower end GFX (3060 Ti), which was part of the issue.

Basically there is a horribly complex set of rules, tables of components etc, that add points to a score for each system. The more SATA sockets, higher end components, M2 slots, memory slots, installed drives etc that are fitted, and the more high end the parts are, such as CPU and the GFX card, the more points the system gets, more points means more idle power is allowed for that system.

The issue with that specific Dell systems was the point score wasn't high enough to meet the threshold. Same CPU and GFX with a more expansive motherboard would likely pass the threshold, and be allowed.

As an example, the same R10 system, with the same Ryzen 5800 CPU, but fitted with a high end RX 6800 XT and an extra 2.5" SSD, but everything else the same, is allowed to be shipped to California etc. So a higher power drain system when running passes the threshold, as it's components increase the allowed threshold.

Backwards really, but thems the rules it seems!

1 : The laws aren't really new, they were announced years ago, so companies like Dell have had a long time to be ready.

Boothy Silver badge

These don't seem to compete with exiting AMD!

Unless I'm missing something, these new chips, don't even seem to compete against the current Zen 2 Threadrippers that came out in 2020!

They seem to be slower clocked, with fewer cores for the top end part (38 vs 64), and more expensive. So basically more money for what will most likely be a worse performing part.

It might be possible that some single threaded applications could be faster on the Intel, as Zen 2 does have some weaknesses in that area, but how many people buy a workstation system if doing lots of single threaded tasks? You'd be better of with a fast desktop CPU in that use case, at least for some tasks.

Plus the Zen 3 Threadrippers are due out later this year (rumours for November), the expectation is same core counts as now, ranging from 12 through to 64, but with the improved Zen 3 architecture, which has better IPC than Zen 2, and improvements in things like the unified cache, which helped resolved the single core performance issues. This should give a nice boost to performance compared to the Zen 2 parts. It's also expected the new Threadrippers will use the same socket as now, so they'll be a drop in replacement for the current Zen 2 CPUs.

I'm sure there is probably a use case somewhere for these Intel parts, but I can't see it myself atm?

Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Shipping Containers????

There not in shipping containers.

Looking at the images linked in the article they look like a regular set of metal cabinet, two large cabinets, back to back, several little handles down the outside to gain entry into a section, and a row of fan grills along the top for ventilation. Fairly typical for plant and industrial equipment etc.

This specific image shows some scale, as it's a, little zoomed out with steps and movable barriers in the shot.

Looking at the sizes, I'd say each 'unit' of batteries, (two cabinets back to back) would likely fit inside a shipping container. So I'd suspect they are built off-site, and transported in a shipping container, unloaded and then moved into place.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Those building look very close together

It's not a shipping container.

The quote from Fire and Rescue Victoria included the word container (no shipping), but if you look at the pictures, it looks like installed hardware, there's a set of what looks like cooling fans running alone the top, and no corrugated sides like you'd see in a shipping container.

The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Some things that would help the situation

In the UK at least, it's already a requirement [*] that all new chargers since 2020 include a 'pay as you go' option via a standard debit/credit card.

* Technically it's a 'should', and it's not actually a legal requirement, but the UK gov did state if the charging networks don't do this voluntarily, they will implement legislation to force them.

A bunch of apps will be able to bypass Microsoft's new store and use own update methods

Boothy Silver badge

Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that. I'd installed a freeby AAA game I got (see other post).

Wanted to move it to a different drive than C: (large game), and lots of Googling and hunting around, and just yuck.

Seemed like such a horrible way to manage installs! Lets not just fix it to one drive (can be changed, but only by a global OS setting), but lets also hide it under somewhere the owner of the system can't easily get into!

Boothy Silver badge

Store install location

Have they ever improved the install location for the MS Store downloaded/installed items?

I've used it for messing with WSL2, and also for a freeby AAA game that came with my then new Zen 2 Ryzen CPU.

The game was a 40+GB install, and the Store gave no options for installing to a different drive other than C:

When I looked into it, there was a setting that could be changed, to use a different drive for 'app' installs, but this was a Windows OS setting, and directed all Store 'apps' to be installed to that location.

This completely put me off ever buying (or even getting free 'apps'), via the MS Store. I'd like to be able to install things to a drive of my choice, on an app by app basis.

Personally I always have a minimal boot/C: drive (fast M2), that has an image backup (tested). A document drive (file backup). Then everything else goes on separate drives (other M2s, or cheaper 2.5 SSDs), which are not backed up, but can be easily re-built by just installing the 'apps' again.

So unless they add some mechanism to control the install location for each individual 'app' separately, I can't see me ever using the Store. (I've no issue with there being a default, as long as you can 1. set this yourself, and 2. override it on individual app install.).

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Why bother?

I've used the store twice I think so far.

Once to give WSL a go, and the other was for a AAA game (can't remember which atm).

The game was a feeeby a little while back, came as a PC digital bonus with a new Ryzen (Zen 2) CPU I bought. So only choice was install via the Store, or just don't install.

Biggest annoyance I noticed with Store items, is no direct control over where things install to. Basically mimicking a mobile device. Everything went on the C: drive by default, and it was a global OS setting to change this, not a Store setting, and not for individual 'apps'.

Dell won't ship energy-hungry PCs to California and five other US states due to power regulations

Boothy Silver badge

Re: The R10 - Avoid it according to Gamers Nexus

Not sure if undervolting is an option on the R10, as apparently the BIOS doesn't include any of the standard CPU settings that AMD provide.

For example, if you enable overclocking in the R10 BIOS, which typically also enables other advance settings for the CPU, the only new option available to the user is XMP for the memory. Nothing at all for the CPU itself!

You might be able to do it in say Ryzen Master, but that then means you're running additional software to do the tweaking, and in general it's better to do the changes in BIOS rather than software (to avoid bloatware/slow startup etc).

Boothy Silver badge

The R10 - Avoid it according to Gamers Nexus

Gamers Nexus on Youtube recently reviewed the R10 pre-built, in a video titled "Hilariously Bad Alienware R10 Ryzen PC"

The tagline was "Dell has led the way in our latest prebuilt testing: The company has continually set new bars in prebuilt quality. For Dell, no bar is too low. The Alienware R10 takes us to new depths.", so you can guess where this is going.

They did a full tear down, lots of issues.

Very poor case design, very little airflow, some people saying they've drilled holes in the case to let more air through.

The cooler, despite having a water drop icon with the text 'CPU' on the case, therefore implying it was water cooled, was actually what looks a budget Intel air cooler (tiny thing, something you'd use in a low core count budget build), fitted in a custom manner to an 8 core Ryzen chip, and was not good enough to cool the CPU, especially in the poor airflow case.

The CPU ran at over 92c under load, with out of the box settings. causing thermal throttling. You can't even replace the cooler easily, as it's a custom setup, and the case is very cramped inside (despite being huge on the outside). As a test. GN opened the case, and just had a fan blowing air into the case, no change to the CPU cooler, and tempts dropped to 76c!

Their final conclusion: Utterly Incompetent

Google fixes 'Chromebork' one-character code typo that prevented Chrome OS logins

Boothy Silver badge

Re: WHAT form of Linux ?

'simply' likely depends on the Chromebook.

My Lenovo Chromebook from a few years back (N20P), required disassembling to get at the main board, and the 'wrong' side of the board as well, so not just a one side cover removal . This included a somewhat unnerving 'cracking' open of the case. I'd done this with mobile phones before now, so had some experience, and the tools needed, but it still needed quite a bit of force!

Once done, there was a screw that needed to be removed, this had a very large flat head, that bridged two solder pads on the motherboard. Removing this, unlocked the Chromebook bios/flash area, essentially allowing you to replace the boot side of things, and so effectively changing it into a mostly standard Laptop/Netbook device. (Without this, things are basically temporary).

Once done, installing Gallium OS (based on Xubuntu) was as straightforward as sticking Ubuntu onto a standard Laptop would be.

Makes quite a nice little Linux netbook now!

Bonus was avoiding landfilling a perfectly good device due to Googles arbitrary fixed support lifecycle for Chromebooks. aka planned obsolescence.

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

Boothy Silver badge

Re: from a reputable third-party supplier

I also got a Samsung a few years ago, the M2070W, just a B&W laser with scanner.

I print occasionally, might be months with no printing, and then lots all at once. Not a good use case for an inkjet, which constantly jammed up, hence the switch to a laser.

Had the printer a few years now, and I'm still on the original cartridge! Although I'm sure I should be close to needing a new one at some point.

Open-source dev and critic of Beijing claims Audacity owner Muse threatened him with deportation to China in row over copyright

Boothy Silver badge

Not silly at all.

If you're not authorised to use an API, you shouldn't be able to use it. If unauthorised users can access an API, then they need to fix the APIs authentication.

Also on a related note, why is the older API 'discontinued' but still available?

If it was just deprecated, and still available as legacy, then okay, but if its discontinued, it should be physically removed, or at the very least disabled, with perhaps a permanent 404 response.

Cyberlaw experts: Take back control. No, we're not talking about Brexit. It's Automated Lane Keeping Systems

Boothy Silver badge

60km = ~37miles

So '37mph (+- 60km/h)' = 0 to ~74 mph

Still makes no sense to me why they would mix km and miles though!

Why not just state zero to 120km/h, or up to 74mph?

How many Brits have deleted life-saving track and trace app from their phones? No idea, junior minister tells MPs

Boothy Silver badge

Re: "We have always been at War with ...

If it's the figures I saw, then the 47% was related to people needing hospital treatment, rather than just positive tests.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: "We have always been at War with ...

If it's the same figures I saw, then the 47% was of people who were positive AND who needed hospital treatment, but who'd been fully vaccinated (2 jabs + 2 weeks). With the other 53% being those not vaccinated at all, or not fully vaccinated yet.

Some anti-vaccers were claiming this was evidence that vaccinations didn't work, when it's actually the opposite.

The issue with just the percentage, is that doesn't show absolute figures. From what I remember in the article I read, we had similar numbers of infected people back in January, before vaccinations roll outs, but back then a lot more people ended up in hospital. The current figures seems to show that only about 10-15% or so of people now need hospital treatment, compared to pre-vaccination. (And this should improve as the vaccinations roll out).

So that 47% of people who were fully vaccinated and hospitalised, were from a much smaller starting number of people to begin with. Also you have to take into account that the vast majority of people fully vaccinated, are those people who are more vulnerable, so more likely to need hospital treatment.

That % will grow of course, as more people are fully vaccinated, as there'll be less people around that aren't vaccinated, but the absolute number of people hospitalised will continue to fall.

All hands on Steam Deck: Fancy a handheld Linux PC that runs Windows apps, sports a custom AMD Zen APU and a touch screen?

Boothy Silver badge

Re: My wallet is worried

According to protondb.com KSP is Native under Linux/SteamOS, so it should run.

United, Mesa airlines order 200 electric 19-seater planes for short-hop flights

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Makes sense.

I would suspect for some users, the business case will be the reduced running costs, rather than climate. i.e. reduced maintenance costs, fuel etc. Although they'll probably still claim it's for the environment, even if it's driven by the accountants!

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Why 19?

Assuming it's the same layout as I've seen before, it's likely a single isle, with 10 seats down one side, 9 down the other.

The missing seat for the 9 side is due to the door, the aircraft only have a single door on one side, so you can fit an extra seat in on the other side.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: I wonder

The launches on aircraft carries only do that due to their small length, with appropriately designed aircraft to cope with the strain.

If this was in an airport, you could have the launcher a couple of km long, so acceleration could be no more than you get now, as you'd have more time to get up to speed. This would also mean no major changes needed for the aircraft design to cope with high Gs.

Boothy Silver badge

Re: I wonder

Don't know how true this still is, but the same question was asked a while back (3 years ago), and one of the replies includes the maths. This assumed a 250nm range and similar sized aircraft as the one in the reg article. The thing that may have changed is the weight of the batteries, where the linked question assumed a third of the aircraft weight is the batteries, this could be lower now of course with tech improvements.

The TLDR is basically that assuming you accelerated the aircraft to full cruise speed via the launch system, you'd save less than 0.5% of the energy for the total flight (assuming full range), which equates to about 1.19nm extra range (on top of 250nm, so not much really).

The shorter the flight, the worse this gets of course. This could be improved by having lighter batteries, so perhaps needs a tweak for the new aircraft, but I don't imagine this has changed dramatically in the last 2-3 years or so (incrementally probably yes, but not enough to impact things here).

I'd suspect the extra cost and complexity of the launch system, will never out-way the gain you get, especially for short haul aircraft.

Lightweight VS Code is only getting heftier with addition of official web server extension

Boothy Silver badge

Re: What definition of 'lightweight'?

My 'Notes' folder currently has 73 *.txt files in there, with typically around 20-30 open in NP++ at any one time, with common ones pinned to the erm, pinned NP++ icon in the task bar, for quick access.

Old habits and all!

I had someone recently suggest I use OneNote, shudder!

Nvidia opens Hardware Grant Programme – which doesn't mean RTX 30 series cards

Boothy Silver badge

RTX 30* stock

On a related note, the Nvidia RTX 30 Series GPUs seem to be turning up in stock now, at least in the UK, I had a quick look last night and one of the main component suppliers I use, now had several 30 series cards in stock, mostly 3070s, but a few 3080s and 3090s, in stock ready for next day delivery.

All at extortionate prices still though. But at least it's a sign that perhaps demand is now no longer exceeding supply, so we might start to see prices start to drop over the coming weeks. Maybe!

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Curvature of the Earth

Scott Manley does quite a good video (generated GFX) on this, starting low, and working up, so aircraft height, then 10k, 30k, 100k and higher and higher, beyond ISS orbit.

it's a 360 video as well, so you can pan around the view, or even hook it into a VR/Google cardboard etc.

https://youtu.be/xpUcZXiKtfU

ICO survey on data flouters: 50% say they receive more unwanted calls than before pandemic

Boothy Silver badge

Re: Land line calls

Only reason I have a landline is for Broadband. I've used the phone itself maybe a couple of times in the last 5 or so years, when the local mobile cell has been down for some reason. I also don't give out the landline number to anyone, so I know anyone calling it, isn't a valid call.

I have an answer machine pugged in, zero volume ring tone, and a message that basically states "This phone line is never answered by a person, if you want a call back, leave your name, number and reason for the call, at the tone, otherwise don't bother to call back".

They rarely leave a message. (I get the occasional automated voice being left, where they've not detected it's an answer machine, otherwise it's usually just a couple of seconds of nothing, which the machine seems to ignore, other than logging the number, no message).

Suck on this: El Reg forces dog hair, biscuit crumbs, and disconcertingly sticky stains down two mini vacuums

Boothy Silver badge
WTF?

Why an app for the upright?

I really don't get this obsession with connecting things to a phone 'app' these days.

Okay I could perhaps understand the robot hover, as this might hide itself under the sofa, or somewhere not directly in reach once it's parked itself up, and it saves from bending over to push buttons on the top of the unit etc. And the same goes for other devices that you wouldn't necessarily have direct access to.

But for a manual unit, like a standard upright vac, that you've got to grab hold of in your hand anyway, just why?

The worse one I've seen recently is a pressure washer (Karcher I think). I don't even want my phone in my pocket while I'm using the pressure washer, as it might get damp, or fall out as I'm manoeuvring around etc, so I certainly don't want to have to pull it out of my pocket mid wash, with likely damp hands, to change some settings or other. If I'm using the pressure washer, my phone will be sat safely on the table in the kitchen till I'm done.

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