* Posts by Callam McMillan

282 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Jun 2012


Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

Callam McMillan

Re: Pull the other...

What's wrong with that?

Coffee in the morning to get things going, the antidote for which is beer in the afternoon!

Icon - Because there's no cup of coffee and it's Friday!

Non-shingled and ready to mingle: WDC catches up with 14TB disk rivals

Callam McMillan

Re: yes

Writing to a disk non-stop at full speed for 24 days would be a fairly unusual workload!

Penis pothole protester: Cambridge's 'Wanksy' art shows feted

Callam McMillan

Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

Better than a detached in this case!

BlackBerry won't kill BB10 until 2020, pulls regular Priv updates

Callam McMillan

WhatsApp can do that. Select the message and click the info button. It'll tell you when the message was delivered and read.

YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven

Callam McMillan

Re: Learning from Experience

You should stand on your office chair obviously... Don't forget to oil the casters too so they don't squeak. Record it for YouTube as well - we'd love to see the resulting, err, Christmas lights!

Joke Alert - Just in case any Darwin Award candidates think I'm being serious

High-freq trade biz sues transatlantic ISP for alleged spiteful cable cut

Callam McMillan

Re: Frankly I'm astonished you can "HFT" from across the atlantic due to signal delay.

Yes... The speed of light through glass is slower than that through vacuum, so improvements in materials, and the electronics at either end can increase the "speed of light".

EU law bods closer to baking new 'cookie law' after battle

Callam McMillan

This is all good except the part about requiring access to be maintained even if cookies are disabled.

First, I would assume they are only referring to tracking cookies rather than authorisation cookies, that said, given the lack of technical understanding exhibited by most law makers, that cannot be a given.

Secondly, Yes, you have the right not to accept cookies, but unless it's a government website, they should be under no obligation to serve you content.

Credit insurance tightens for geek shack Maplin Electronics

Callam McMillan

Re: Screwfix

I've always found the product knowledge of the staff at Richer Sounds to be excellent. Can't talk about Screwfix - I work on the basis of "If I don't know what I need before I walk in, Screwfix isn't the place for me!"

Sniffing substations will solve 'leccy car charging woes, reckons upstart

Callam McMillan

Re: Tesla is not typical

Pen-y-gors. A 120kW charger will be pulling a lot more than 80A. A 100A low voltage 3-phase supply tops out at 70kW (415 volts x 100 amps x sqrt(3) = 71880 watts)

Voyager antenna operator: 'I was the first human to see images from Neptune'

Callam McMillan

Re: Wow - that's fast!

dBm is power relative to 1mW.

0dB is 1mW

for each -3dBm, reduce the relative power by half

for each -10dBm, reduce the relative power by 10 times.

Callam McMillan

Given that an audio signal attenuated to -78dB gives silence, even with my amplifier cranked to maximum. -168dB is a billion times weaker. Even with cryogenically cooled amplifiers, getting a signal that weak is an immense achievement.

Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death dead in latest Windows 10 preview

Callam McMillan

In Windows 10, not really - it just gives you a reason such as "Memory Management". I then use a useful utility called Blue Screen View - that shows you what caused the crash, what drivers were running etc.

SSP to PERMANENTLY shutter mega-outage bit barn

Callam McMillan

Am I missing something

Sounds like there's more to this story. Any remotely competent data centre will have a double conversion UPS and backup generator, so how a power outage can fry a storage array is beyond me.

Sysadmin sticks finger in pipe, saves data centre from flood

Callam McMillan

Re: Home UPS

Or buy a decent UPS! Personally I'll only go with APC Smart-UPS systems now.

Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!

Callam McMillan


You are of course assuming that this wasn't the university the BOFH originally worked at before he moved to the corporate world!

Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

Callam McMillan

Re: Closest thing to a netbook...

I bought one. Didn't get it for £149, but it's still not bad, even if it does have a few niggles.

HP advert breaks site

Callam McMillan

HP advert breaks site

The HP Enterprise ad stops me viewing the site in IE9 (I know its a rubbish browser, but it's all I can use!) All you get is the advert and no site content.

Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic

Callam McMillan

Re: Blowed if I'm going to watch the film

It'll be better when it's rereleased - The Dulux edition!

Brazilian prisoner nabbed with mobile up rear end

Callam McMillan

At least it wasn't a pair of 13A British plugs!

Tencent stripped of antivirus rankings for cheating on tests

Callam McMillan

Re: This is what happens when people care too much about benchmarks

Thats the point, the benchmarks are good for nothing if they've been fudged to produce ultimately meaningless numbers.

Eyes on the prize: Ten 23-24-inch monitors for under £150

Callam McMillan

Why so big?

I've just bought some 22" (technically 21.5") Dell Ultrasharps for £120 ea. They have great picture quality, the stands are some of the best I've used (You can rotate the monitors to portrait - great for reading on) and they have a good selection of ports. Unless you're using them from a distance, I'm not sure why you'd want to pay more for a bigger, but worse monitor?

Can you recover your data if disaster strikes? Sure?

Callam McMillan

Sleep soundly knowing you can recover the emails that cover your arse!

Going strictly hands-off: Managing your data centre from afar

Callam McMillan

Re: Hmmmm...

Then you can't really blame the data centre company when the brown stuff hits the fan!

BOFH: Never mind that old brick, look at this ink-stained BEAUTY

Callam McMillan

Re: says:

I used to have an early 90's Dell keyboard of a similar type. Alas it stopped working a few years back. Recently though I bought a clicky mechanical keyboard that's made of metal. My wife's not keen on the sound of it, but I love it.

Broadband routers: SOHOpeless and vendors don't care

Callam McMillan

Re: I dont know what to do

But when your product scores "1 out of 5 stars" and is called "quite literally the worst router ever made", are you going to proudly advertise that on the box of your product? Then you end up with those advertising they got a good rating - if they can be bothered. As for everyone else, you don't know if they're bad, or have just never been reviewed.

Callam McMillan

Re: Advice?

Personally I favour Cisco routers, which can be bought used from eBay for the same sort of prices as a decent SOHO router. The upsides of them are a generally better (if not perfect) level of security, greater reliability, and a better build quality. Downsides are that they're generally bigger, noisier, and more power hungry; they don't generally have wi-fi on them, and they are more expensive. Finally they have no fancy web interface, so they have to be configured using a command line which means you need an above-basic level of knowledge to set them up.

I have a number of tutorials on my website about doing this, and given the number of messages I get from people that have never touched a Cisco router before, it's something more and more people seem to be doing.

XenData’s storage Jurassic Park: PC tape backup is BAAAAACK

Callam McMillan

Great product, sort of a shame about the price

This actually makes a lot of sense for offline storage, but only in certain situations. I have been working with someone looking at getting into 4K RAW video production which means you're looking at data rates of 250MB/s. When you're talking about filling a £250 6TB hard drive with four hours of processed video, being able to move them to LTO6 tapes costing £30 each makes sense, even given the cost of the drive.

For those of us that aren't producing 4K RAW videos on the other hand, I see little benefit of using this for "personal" storage over a bunch of external SSDs.

$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Callam McMillan

Take a leaf from the BOFH. Convince the boss to put some of these in your data centre, then actually install some posh(ish) looking cables and the difference becomes the expenses (beer) fund!

The funny thing is, they do look quite cool, and that would justify me spending perhaps £2 on a cable instead of the 99p a normal cat 6 cable costs on eBay!

Big Data, empty bellies: How supermarkets tweak prices just for the sake of YOUR LOVE

Callam McMillan

Re: Price war...?

£41k and an Audi A4

I suspect they work them hard in return for a package like that though.

Helium HDD prices rise way above air-filled spinning rust

Callam McMillan

I think the biggest price differentiator is that one is a Seagate, and therefore indistinguishable from a steaming pile of manure; the other is from a reasonably decent maker of drives that should be able to store your data without dying a horrible death.

Adobe and software pals haul Forever 21 to court over piracy allegations

Callam McMillan

From what I can see so far, I'm sympathetic to Adobe and co. This isn't a student or a one man band that's being chased. When you become a multi-billion dollar company, you should spend a bit of time getting your house into order, stop being a cheapskate, and buy some software licences (or keep your current licences in order). I would also imagine, there has been opportunities for Forever 21 to make an appropriate payment to get themselves licenced without the need to go to court.

Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

Callam McMillan

Re: I respect this ...

Difference is, here GCHQ does the monitoring for you!

Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

Callam McMillan

Perhaps not, but the company is owned by the shareholders, meaning if nothing else, the CEO and the board that agreed to pay more tax than the absolue legal minimum is likely to find themselves down the job centre about 20 nanoseconds after agreeing to do so (If you can afford to pay extra tax then you can afford to give it to us [shareholders].)

Regardless of whether it's right or not, and whether there's a legal basis or not, there would also be lawsuits.

Sony blames NORK The Interview cyber strike for delayed Q3 report

Callam McMillan

"Hackers took on Sony Pictures Entertainment for its film, The Interview, whose plot included the assignation of North Korea's people’s dictator Kim Jong-Un."

I wonder where Kim Jong-Un was assigned to?

Big Blue's biggest mainframe yet is the size of a fridge

Callam McMillan

It looks nice, but I'm kind of confused why they've put it in the lobby of an office rather than in a server room for the photography? Unless of course they're suggesting to all the BOFH's a new way to annoy the users - putting a noisy, but stylish mainframe next to their desks?

Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Callam McMillan

Re: The TV manufacturers really have taken us for chumps

I think the whole sound is attrocious thing is overdone. I have a 40 inch Samsung in an average sized living room running the onboard speakers, and it is perfectly audible at a wide range of volumes as well as going more than loud enough for watching any kind of TV programming.

BUT. While the sound is perfectly competent, it's nothing spectacular. You should look at it in the way that some people decide to remove the perfectly ok stereo from their car and spend a small fortune to make it louder etc. They didn't need to, but they wanted to do so because it's what they like. What you wouldn't say is that the car companies are taking them to the cleaners.

Oh, and I'm planning to install a 5.1 surround sound setup at some point!

IBM Research wants laptop batteries to retire and slum it

Callam McMillan

If the laptop batteries I have disassembled are anything to go by (I'm not one for following the instructions not to disassemble them) then once you remove the casing, you are left with a series of AA type cells wired in series to a small controller board.

From what I can tell, what they're really doing is finding a reliable source of good-enough Li-ion cells, rather than reusing laptop batteries wholesale (I saw a picture of this the other day on another news site).

Microsoft hikes support charges by NINETY TWO PER CENT

Callam McMillan

It depends whether this is a flat fee, if it is then it's not too bad. Many years ago, one of the Exchange servers where I worked crapped itself. We had a Microsoft engineer on the phone from about 3pm until midnight to get it all sorted out. Once you're talking about a full days work to fix a problem, $499 doesn't sound unreasonable.

IEEE turns crank on new wired Ethernet standards

Callam McMillan


Instead of bringing in 2.5/5 Gbps standards, why not focus on getting the cost of 10Gbps ports down to something sensible?

Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Callam McMillan

The Belgian equivalent of B&Q has just reported a massive run on pipe tapping kits... Meanwhile at the bottling plant, they can't seem to get any beer out the pipe, no matter how much the brewery puts it!

80 PER CENT of app devs SUCK at securing your data, study finds

Callam McMillan

I don't suppose they've made the test public? It'd be a great way to waste a bit of time learn something on a Tuesday morning!

'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator

Callam McMillan

Don't forget that around the fibres is an electrical conductor carrying 10KV DC to power the repeaters. Make a mistake cutting through that and you've probably written the plot for the next BOFH story... As others have said, doing it on dry land seems like the much easier method.

4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Callam McMillan

Re: But with 8k on the way...

Talking to somebody in the know, there should be regular 8K transmissions by the middle of next decade with the Japanese Olympics really showcasing the technology.

Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs

Callam McMillan

Re: Not quite...

Plus with tapes, you can load hundreds of them into a tape robot without issue.

BT FON fail: Telco CHARGES customers for FREE Wi-Fi usage

Callam McMillan

I have a really simple solution. Take the BT router and deposit it in the bin (or the back of a cupboard) then plug a proper router in.

Job done!

BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

Callam McMillan

CCTV that can eavesdrop?!

I had to laugh at the idea that a CCTV camera will ever be able to eavesdrop on you. Yes it may be technically possible, but if you look at all the CCTV footage available on the internet, even if the person was holding up a placard with what they're saying printed like in the cartoons, it'd still be an unreadable blurry mess.

El Reg is looking for a new London sub-editor

Callam McMillan

Re: Sir

I think you'll find that's code for "A bit rubbish"... Especially so if you work in Financial Services IT!

Zuckerberg and other directors sued over gigantic packages

Callam McMillan

Re: @Don Jefe

Yes and No. If you own a single share of the company and you are fighting the majority opinion, then yes, you have the right to sell your shares and shut up.

However, while you own those shares, you do in fact own part of the company, and therefore the board works for you. Therefore if you can control (or convince others to) enough of the shares, then the board have to do as you say.

That said, the fact he's resorted to the lawyers suggests that he falls into the first camp.

Revealed: GCHQ's beyond top secret Middle Eastern internet spy base

Callam McMillan

Re: Well i got 3 months

...There is no alternative choice. You have Virgin Media, which runs over the co-ax network they already have in their pocket. Then you have every other ISP who lease the wires in the ground from BT... Who they have in their pocket.

Callam McMillan

Re: I can...

Hence why I said it's unlikely that they have no knowledge. A phone call "Mr. CEO. We're tapping your lines here. Your staff don't tell anybody about it, you don't touch it, and if you do... Unfortunate things may happen" is still having knowledge...