* Posts by Unicornpiss

1457 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Played this when I was a kid..

..on a local university's PDP 11/40... or maybe it was an 11/70. I recall the notes said it was translated from FORTRAN. Somewhere I still have the green bar printout from a Decwriter I played it on. One of the moments from my childhood that got me (or kept me) interested in computing.

Pew-pew woo-hoo! Hong Kong reopens video arcades shut by coronavirus lockdown

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

My takaway from this..

..is that there's a country that still has video arcades? Wow.

Kudos to them for taking precautions as they have, but it still seems a bit early to be reopening on this scale. Are they going to sanitize the games between players? Some of the arcade machines could be pretty disgusting as I recall, back in the day..

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Thumb Down

Shitty inkjet printers

I hope he wins and at least gets enough money to toss both his HP inkjets and get a couple of color laser printers, preferably from Canon, Brother, anyone but HP. Not that HP's lasers aren't decent, but their practices left a sour aftertaste a long time back for me. Additionally he should sue for the bloated, useless multimedia suite that came with his printers sucking his machine's resources and giving no value in return.

The last HP inkjet I had before buying a laser printer I threw in the trash so hard it bounced.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Injecting sanitizer, and other tales..

The problem with this is that Trump has said so many far fetched things that it's hard to tell if he's being serious. And it's especially hard for certain members of the populace that have not been blessed with critical thinking, eg. the people that voted for him. Also, since Trump's sense of humor could best be described as vestigial IMO, you have a good recipe for confusion.

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

@cschneid

Have an upvote and a virtual beer on me for hitting the nail on the head or at least pointing to a well-spoken piece on the value of experience. And this applies to ANY industry, not just software engineering.

If (experienced) managers are reading this, I hope they've learned the value of keeping people happy and not letting their employees' jobs be viewed as just stepping stones. There is nothing wrong with advancement and learning new things, but there should be no stigma against people that like what they're doing and are good at it. We'd all be better off if the mindset of "He's had that job for 20 years... Why isn't he a manager by now?" would just go away. And that also means recognizing people for their experience and rewarding them. How many bugs have been caught and catastrophes averted in all walks of life because someone with experience noticed a pattern that they'd seen before and had the solution at hand? A LOT, and the people that saved the day are never noticed and probably just consider it another day's work.

I guess the short of it is that when you reach a certain level of experience and competency, you make things look easy, and if someone that has no clue sees you solve something too easily, it couldn't have been a hard problem that someone younger and fresher wouldn't have solved in half the time, right?

A note for Millenials that find themselves on a fast track to management or think they're God's gift: Someday you will be viewed as irrelevant and edged out if these trends continue. And ironically it will be when you have that experience under your belt that could really help someone.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
FAIL

Age discrimination

Perhaps IT managers and CIOs should take a page from Big Blue's book. After all, IBM apparently thinks getting rid of the old is a good business practice. So I suggest that since IBM is such an old company, that it is no longer relevant and has little to offer businesses. So people making IT decisions should only go with younger, more hip, less experienced, cheaper companies. If there's validity to IBM's research on how to improve productivity and cut costs, it only makes sense to get rid of IBM. IBM's decision to force out their older, more experienced workers is the first signs of the company's own senescence and that its business acuity can no longer be trusted, so move aside peacefully IBM, you're too old to be relevant any more.

NASA dons red and blue cardboard 3D glasses to drive Curiosity rover because its GPUs are stuck in the office

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alien

Couldn't they just..

..buy a few Alienware or similar gaming laptops or mobile workstations for key personnel to take home? Or perhaps a Vive rig? All are pretty inexpensive considering their budget and what is at stake.

Quantum computing heats up down under as researchers reckon they know how to cut costs and improve stability

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Give it a couple more decades

When useful digital computers came into being, they of course filled rooms and cost millions, and used the electricity of a small village to do what now are considered trivial tasks. Now your smart watch has more processing power. Soon enough we'll have quantum desktops, then smartphones. Sorry if I'm being Captain Obvious here..

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

Re: So when...

That seems a bit drastic for a situation where no one was physically harmed, though I wouldn't shed too many tears if this became the policy. Might want to see if there are innocent family members present, and probably not a great idea if your (presumably properly investigated, tried, and convicted) suspect lives in an an apartment block..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Black Helicopters

International crime

Well, now that military data has been stolen and distributed, whoever is running the scam can add espionage and possibly treason to the charges they will face, possibly even terrorism, which may be enough to allow international cooperation that didn't exist before, and extradition. Congrats guys, you've graduated to the big leagues. I'm sure there's a cell at Guantanamo with your name on it and a plausible explanation as to why you just disappeared..

You in for a curl up and dye? Yeah, looks like the same for this screen in a hairdressers

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

World

" Or is it a hint that the world is out of joint and could do with reinstallation?"

Actually, I think the world should be restored from the off-site backup made back in December.. Clearly the anti-virus software wasn't doing its job..

Antarctic science put on ice by coronavirus – next summer's expeditions restricted to essentials and robots

Unicornpiss Silver badge
IT Angle

Re: Korea had infection same day as USA

While I'm not disagreeing with most of what you said, is this really the right forum for a political rant?

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Kudos to the ESA

Space is hard. Glad to see that NASA aren't the only ones that know thair s*it. Maybe together we will all manage to reach another star someday, or at least properly explore the rest of our little solar system habitat.

Internet use up 40 per cent in San Francisco Bay Area – but you know what’s even higher? Yep, alcohol, weed use

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Re: Makes sense

"Even if I drink that bottle of 14 YO Balvenie matured in Caribbean rum cask in my drinks cabinet in one go I will still have more alcohol on the outside of me :-("

Yes, but you won't really care at that point. At least not until the next morning..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Joke

Re: Makes sense

You can sanitize from the inside out.

Microsoft corrects '775 per cent cloud usage surge' claim: Big number only applied to Teams and only in Italy

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Teams

Once you ignore how irritating Teams is, and the presumptive way it installs itself to launch at startup by default, all over your screen like a rash, I will say that Microsoft has apparently done a nice job with the load balancing and core on this. Audio has been good quality, the app has been reliable and mostly stable, and it only picks the wrong audio device about half as much as Skype for Business does.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: People still use cheques in the 21st century?

I write maybe 2 chec(que)(k)s a year. One to pay my backwards city's annual tax and one for whatever random thing pops up that must be paid by mail, such as to an institution that either doesn't accept credit cards or charges a large fee, such as the BMV or if I buy something at an estate sale.

About a year ago I was actually running low on blanks so I ordered more from an online company. No issues with their product, but now they spam me every few days with their discount offers wanting me to order more. The amount I purchased should last me until about 2030 at the rate I use them.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Re: 125 million Indians speak English

When someone on our India-based helpdesk says "Do the needful", my brain begins playing a version of the old disco song "Do the Hustle!" with 'needful' subbed in.

Want to see through walls? Electroboffins build tiny chip in the lab that vibrates at just the right frequency to do it

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alien

Tricorder

Cool, in a few years we can start making tricorders..

Lockdown ain't easy. And that's without snoring, burping, hair-shedding seals outside your house

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Geez..

Aren't they isolated enough just by being in the Antarctic without being forced to stay indoors? I know they have a policy of not interacting with the wildlife, even if it means letting an animal die that could be saved. Is this maybe why they have to put up with the seals?

World's smallest violin to be played for opportunistic sellers banned from eBay and Amazon for price gouging

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Coat

Two moderate breasts

Two moderate breasts = $ 58008

The shelves may be empty, but the disk is full: Not even Linux can resist the bork at times

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: LILO ?

The problem isn't likely a lack of competent tech support, but a lack of ENOUGH tech support. I'm sure Wally-world is as cheap as they come when it comes to IT, like so many companies, and their IT staff is likely overworked. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Or it could be they've had enough turnover in IT that no one even remembers or notices this 10+ year old box.

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