* Posts by Unicornpiss

1479 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Changes

I had to take the back off a new laptop the other day. I'm familiar of course with M.2 drives, but was surprised to find the machine's drive was now postage-stamp sized with the rest of the M.2 form factor being a piece of plastic to take up space. I'm thinking it would be fun to take it back in time and show it to a DEC engineer, maybe set it on top of one of the disk packs.. Of course he or she would be much more impressed by the time travel, as they should be.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Re: Static

My first "modern" PC was an AMD "586" with 16MB RAM. I upgraded it to 32MB EDO (Extended Data Out?) RAM, replacing the FP or "Fast Page" RAM it shipped with . I remember when you booted it, it would cheerfully announce "EDO RAM Installed!", assuring you that you were on a fast track to the future and all was right with the world..

Take your pick: 'Hack-proof' blockchain-powered padlock defeated by Bluetooth replay attack or 1kg lump hammer

Unicornpiss Silver badge
FAIL

Absolutely nothing new

For more fun with these go to YouTube and search on "Lock Picking Lawyer" or "Bosnian Bill" Some are also apparently easy to open with a powerful magnet, and I believe Bill reviewed a key box (maybe even the same one) that had the screws to take it apart 'hidden' under a sticker or similar that was easy to pry off.

Of course there are a lot of purely mechanical padlocks and key boxes that are crap too.

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

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Linux

Re: I wonder if they have the interop problem...

I do hope this gets fixed for the reasons you've stated. Though it's not really your original point, I've always found the way Linux ignores NTFS permissions rather endearing, especially when I'm using it for data recovery from a thoroughly borked up Windows drive.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

The existing driver is fine-ish

I've been using it to r/w NTFS drives with no problem for years. It would indeed be nice though if the ability to FSCK NTFS partitions was less of a PITA to do in LINUX, as well as adding other conveniences. 27,000 lines worth of code nice? Can't really say, though not if it slows anything down in the slightest.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a 56-year-old satellite burning up in the sky spotted by sharp school kids

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Re: "retired in 1971"

"The Moon has remained in orbit for a tad longer than 50 years ..."

Thankfully it's not in low earth orbit though..

Cisco warns miscreants are crippling IOS XR network gear over the internet with memory black-holes. No patch yet

Unicornpiss Silver badge
IT Angle

Re: silly paranoid liberals

Um, if we're speaking of paranoia, how's that investigation of Obama bugging Trump's campaign headquarters from the last election going?

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

It begs the question..

Who would want to date one of the "clean cut" republicans that isn't another oh so wholesome republican?

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

Radiation safe..

I feel it's much more likely that her cell phone was getting its signal through the walls of the office and when she walked in front of the heavy shielding, it blocked the signal. I think it would take nearly a lethal amount of radiation to affect the actual electronics, or be ionizing enough to interfere with the signal.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Then there's this...

A story about magic

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Magnetic Personalities

I had a coworker confused as the laptop he was working on kept going completely dark--screen, power light, and everything, then it would mysteriously wake up and resume exactly where it left off. It was not crashing. I had experienced this before though and realized it was because he had it stacked on top of another machine and the speaker magnets from the machine on the bottom were tripping the 'lid closed' sensor, which is magnetic on Dells.

I had a number of powerful neodymium hard drive magnets so I concealed one in my hand and proceeded to tell him that it was his body's electric field that was causing the problem, and that it happened to me all the time. I then proceeded to wave my hands over 2 more machines causing them to blink off and on, much to his astonishment as he couldn't get the same thing to happen. It was amusing to see him waving his hands about though. After letting him stew and scratch his head for a while I explained what was really happening..

Whoops, our bad, we may have 'accidentally' let Google Home devices record your every word, sound – oops

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Mind reading?

"Since writing that how many adverts have you had for titanium sporks?"

None yet, but I literally already own one..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Wot, no testing?

Yeah, unlike Microsoft, Google's stuff seems to work in the first iteration, so it wasn't immediately noticed. Cortana users might have discovered they were being spied on if they were out of peanut butter and 19 Mariachi bands showed up at their door..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Mind reading?

I have had the uncanny experience of having discussed something with a coworker and finding a Google ad displaying exactly what we were talking about pop up. And once was somewhat disconcerted to have been thinking of something pretty obscure and when deciding to search for it, Google filled in the rest of my search when I typed the first character..

Excuse me, I need to find my titanium spork to remove the tracking chip from my brain..

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Machine think

I hate it when any app tries to guess my intentions, as at least 50% of the time they seem to get it wrong. Microsoft software being probably the worst at it. If it's wrong that often, have you really saved any time when you now must proofread your work carefully not just for your errors, but for ones introduced by the software?

I can't count the number of times I've had to work with a spreadsheet that someone else created and couldn't be bothered to simply 'format cells' and set the correct format. Or just change them to 'text' if no math needs to be done. Computing is still 'garbage in, garbage out' as it has been since the beginning.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: MS' deep pockets

"Will the world pandemic give us the chance to reset to a better and fairer world, not run by corporations and greed."

Not very likely since giants like Amazon, ISPs, are all thriving. Instead it's the small businesses that are losing as they have drastically reduced business, if they can open at all.

One can hope though: While the quarantine had a lot of ill effects (no pun intended), it was nice to see things slow down and become more family oriented instead of everyone rushing around. And the Earth's environment certainly benefited from having drastically less pollution being emitted for a while. I can almost see where we'd all like to be, but no idea how we can get there without a lot of people losing out and suffering.

Burn baby burn, plastic inferno! Infosec researchers turn 3D printers into self-immolating suicide machines

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

(non) 3D printers

Years ago, in another IT life, I worked on POS equipment (in both senses of the acronym) We had many thermal NCR receipt printers. These printers would last forever and print millions of lines with no trouble. Except... I was called upon to replace one that had caught fire. Either a logic fault or short in the final drive for the printhead caused it to turn on its heating element continually. The printer burned (with visible flames) until someone noticed it and hurriedly unplugged it and put it out. It was rather melted when I came upon it. These printers were on all the time, so probably fortunate the business was open when it malfunctioned.

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: They don't build them like they used to

And it has a tape drive! I remember when we used to use tape drives for backups and had to often use a coat hanger to fiddle with the mechanism and occasionally my coworker would take the lid off to extract a tape that had gotten stuck or eaten. And these were only 5 years or so old..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Re: Imagination and wishful thinking

The 150AU mark is where the flat-earthers' maps say "Here be dragons!"..

Bill Gates debunks 'coronavirus vaccine is my 5G mind control microchip implant' conspiracy theory

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

5G for mind control

Since no one that I remember was complaining that 4G was going to be used for mind control when it came out, one has to conclude that you need the 5G bandwidth for effective mind control. Except in the case of conspiracy theorists, Covid deniers, and flat-earthers, where 1x service or 2 tin cans on a string will more than suffice.

Black hole destroys corona

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Disappearing corona

Clearly it was destroyed by the coronavirus..

AMD fans forced to sit out latest Windows 10 Insiders build due to 'bug impacting overall usability of these PCs'

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

It could be argued..

..that Windows itself is a bug impacting overall usability of PCs.

Road trip on Mars: Thrill as Curiosity rover races up to 0.06 miles per hour. Marvel as it takes a mile-long detour

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Flat Mars-ers

I was perusing various YouTube offerings re. the red planet and discovered a whole subset of humans that seem to believe that we never put probes on Mars and everything was faked up using scenery from Death Valley or other deserts. Not sure which boggled my mind more: The beautiful, desolate imagery from Mars or the astonishing mindset of conspiracy theorists..

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Assigned seats and misc..

I don't think you should try to apply conventional structure like you had in grade school to VR. Assigned seating in a virtual meeting is like arriving in the afterlife and discovering they still have parking meters. What's wrong with the existing paradigm of changing focus depending on who's speaking? And requiring the camera to be on? Really? A piece of tape will fix that, like I've seen on every laptop ever that doesn't already have a shutter you can close. MS really needs to function on the core functionality and stability, and simplifying the UI for the whole Teams control panel would be nice. At least it's a vast improvement over Skype for Business' stability.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it still oinks and wallows in the mud.

Microsoft takes tweaking tongs to Windows 10's Start Menu once again

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Edgy

100% agree about Classic Shell. Why, oh why couldn't MS provide this functionality built-in to Windows? Oh right, it was someone's bright idea about 'starting fresh' I suppose. Including a way to have the older menu systems everyone had used for years would be admitting defeat.

Linux Mint 20 isn't exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there's kernel 5.4 and it's a long-term support release

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Linux

I was chuckling..

..at the comment about recommended 2GB minimum for Win10. Yeah, I guess it would boot and be somewhat usable (eventually), but pull up a chair and bring a good book, especially if it also as a minimum-spec'd mechanical HDD.

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Re: There is no price...

"I’ve currently only got one USB C device, so don’t know if this improves things. Here’s hoping."

It might help until you break the flimsy USB-C connector.

Not that it applies to phones or tablets so much, but Dell docks for laptops are the worst---flimsy USB-C connector with a large handle that if bumped, gives great leverage to bend or break the connector in a second. The plastic handle is of poor quality too, so when you bend it, the metal part acts as a wedge and likes to split the the plastic apart. Just a ridiculously poor design. The firmware on the docks tends to match the quality of the connector too.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

BMW engineering

Well, since BMW decided not to include oil dipsticks on some of their previous models, on engines that tend to use oil, I don't find the non-intuitive turn signals that surprising. To measure the oil level, you must drain the oil and measure how much comes out on these models, then replace it with the correct amount. Really it's the same "we know what is best more than our users" thinking that Apple is guilty of.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Already cheaping out..

Apple already changed some time back from the nice, reusable plastic case included with new phones to winding them on a crappy cardboard spool like you'd get with a bit of twine. And the charging cables seem to disintegrate much faster than aftermarket solutions. Unless they found a way to make the headphones themselves out of cardboard, this is the next logical step.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Joke

Re: What may you infer if a BMW's indicator is flashing?

I once had a <insert favorite despised state, area or province here> resident riding with me and put on my indicator to make a turn. He looked at me with confusion and said: "What's that funny clicking noise?"

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: re: I'd say Audi drivers are now worse

I live in the USA. While BMW and Audi drivers may be bad, here you have to add the drivers of big pickups to the list. And throw in Prius drivers that are watching their efficiency gauge more than the road and accelerating to the speed limit from a stop in about 4 minutes.

It's now safe to turn off your computer shop: Microsoft to shutter its bricks-and-mortar retail locations worldwide

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

I honestly didn't know they still had these

In fact, I'm not sure I ever even saw one. Definitely not anywhere near my neck of the woods.

A memo from the distant future... June 2022: The boss decides working from home isn't the new normal after all

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Re: New Normal?

I expect it will settle out into more of an easing on the requirement to be in office, but with some mandatory in-office time. Like 3 days work-from-home, and 2 in-office, or vice-versa.

Beer icon, as we will no longer be able to drink while working..

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Entirely legal

Believe me, people in the USA, at least those of us not shambling through life in a waking sleep, know how lousy Hershey's chocolate is, how useless our current president is, and how awful mega-brewed domestic beer is. (Hence the craft beer movement) We are also saddened by all of the above.

I am irked by the way my wi-fi enabled LG air conditioner's Android app refuses to run on my rooted phone. IT'S an AIR CONDITIONER. Why should the app or LG give a f*ck? Not exactly high security here. What is a malicious hacker doing to do, make my home a few degrees warmer or cooler? Great air con, but this idiocy will make me consider another brand next time I'm in the market for any appliance, and I would urge anyone to skip buying LG for this reason.

Oh crap: UK's digital overlords moot new rules to help telcos lay fibre in sewer pipes

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Fiber in sewer pipes

Well, that will be fun for someone when it comes time to troubleshoot and fix a service outage..

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Sour grapes

Sounds like he's really mourning the lost revenue. Also with Soyuz launches likely less frequent now, due to less demand, overall they are likely to cost Russia more to maintain, and all that money coming from local sources. And at least the money going towards Dragon launches is (mostly) staying within the US and not going to a country that is at best a fair weather friend to the USA.

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Re: Never understood this

"And how are you going to open the fridge to check how much milk you have while at the grocery store?"

It still won't prevent you from buying 20 other items at the store and forgetting the one you explicitly went there for..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

All roads lead to diarrhea..

Most animals (except humans) have the gene that allows them to process milk sugar turned off after they are weaned. Feeding cow's milk to cats usually results in diarrhea. Some cultures can process it better than others. It's theorized that cultures that had scant other food sources and continued drinking milk after infancy do better than others. Some humans have a damaged copy or perhaps it is turned off too, which accounts for Lactose Intolerance. (and also bloating and diarrhea)

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Never understood this

Here's something for consideration: A friend bought a car a few years back that came with keyless entry, like almost every car. But no alarm because he didn't pay for that option. He eventually decided to pay for it and a simple firmware flash gave him the functionality.

Another friend had a car that did not come from the factory with cruise control. It had a plastic cover in the dash where the switch would be for it. He pried off the cover and the wiring was there, just no switch. So he found a salvage yard car that had cruise control, grabbed the switch for a few dollars, and installed it. Presto--he had cruise control. Makes me wonder how much the option was to have that $2 switch installed.

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Humidity control..

My grandfather's dryer was built in 1967 and had a sensor that would shut off the dryer when the clothes were dry instead of cooking them. It probably was temperature-based and not a humidity sensor. I lived in the house for a time after he passed away and can attest that it worked quite well. In 2008 when I sold the house, it was still working just fine. Not sure if the dryer ever had any maintenance except cleaning the lint out and a new belt perhaps. It was sold with the house and is probably still working. In fact, I've never seen a dryer that didn't have this feature, except some coin-op ones in apartment buildings that have a fixed amount of time for the money deposited.

Without question, things are not built nearly as well as they used to be, with the possible exception of cars.

Trump's Make Space Great Again video pulled after former 'naut says: Nope

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Trump's campaign slogan..

"Grasping at Straws 2020"

Microsoft's carefully crafted Surfaces are having trouble with its carefully crafted Windows 10 May 2020 Update

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

I've always found it ironic..

..that Microsoft software seems to run far worse on MS Operating systems than 3rd-party software, even freeware does. Case in point, the way Skype for business would never, ever select the correct audio device by default, but every other app would get it right on the first try. (Teams isn't much better at this)

I guess they are just being consistent and extending this phenomenon to their hardware as well.

No more installing Microsoft's Chromium-centered Edge by hand: Windows 10 will do it for you automatically

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

I wouldn't mind so much..

..except I just know Microsoft will 'helpfully' create a desktop shortcut and pin it to the taskbar whether I want it or not. Hopefully some restraint will be shown and it won't be made the default browser... well, by default. I suppose the damage will be mitigated somewhat though since barely anyone seems to use Edge.

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Bob and Doug..

Bob and Doug (McKenzie) Take off! It's a beauty way to go..

Before IBM started axing staff, it told them Q3 2020 would be super-busy with post-lockdown catch-up jobs

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Most companies are scummy..

Although IBM excels at it. The company I work for did something similar--we all had to take part of our vacation, plus a work reduction of 1 day/week, plus a pay cut. The temporary pay cut hurts, but I wasn't that upset with it, as between vacation and the work reduction, it's the most stress-free I've been in a decade.

Of course, 2 months later and still dealing with Coronavirus, there were sudden unexpected layoffs, actually terminations, where people were made redundant. Which really sucks, but I do have my eyes open and have noticed that the economy is not great, and many companies are doing this. One thing I had respected up to that point was that my employer seemed to be doing everything in their power to not reduce staff to cope. Oh, did I mention that these layoffs were permanent? No chance of people getting their jobs back after the dust settles? And a few very senior people, who are going to be hard to replace.

But what really galls me about the situation though is the global conference call the next day talking about how financially healthy we are and how everything is going great. Our department, chronically understaffed and overworked, like so many IT departments, lost 2 employees to natural attrition, not layoffs. But the positions are not being backfilled--we all just get more work. Yay. And our budget for new equipment is cut to the bone. Of course I'm just grateful to have a job at this point when so many do not.

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Kudos to a skilled programmer..

..but I still will always feel that Process Explorer is the app that should be included with Windows, not Task Manager.

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

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Linux

Re: mythical Year Of Linux On the Desktop comes

Personally I would love to see it, having been a devout Linux user by night for many years, and supporting Windows by day.

Unfortunately it's not about the quality of the code, innovation, elegance, or even price. The year of Linux on the desktop will only come when Microsoft's marketing department has a bad day. The company I work for is so deep in bed with MS (SharePoint, AD, Teams, Azure, etc.) and its partner Dell, that it's hard to imagine it could ever reach escape velocity. We do run Linux for certain things, but everything else would need to be reinvented, and our IT dept. is spread so thin you could say it is already at the 7nm level, even if our processors aren't.

Amazon flicks switch on AI-powered enterprise search service Kendra – but where are all the connectors?

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

I hope the AI is better than Alexa..

..who appears to have had the electronic equivalent of being dropped on her head at birth.

Source code for seminal adventure game Zork circa-1977 exhumed from MIT tapes, plonked on GitHub

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

@curses

"I think an GUI screen emulator might be more use to most people. Could probably do one with curses!"

Every time I try to program something, it is with plenty of curses..

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Played this when I was a kid..

It's been so long I can't remember. Maybe the printout says if I can ever find it. But I think it said it was translated from FORTRAN and not to FORTRAN.

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