* Posts by AlbertH

537 posts • joined 18 Jul 2012

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Near-undetectable malware linked to Russia's Cozy Bear

AlbertH

Re: Iso

anyone know why the decision was made back.in the day to hide file extensions ? seems a pretty stupid thing to do.

Because Bill G insisted that their products were "easy to use", and they (wrongly) believed that the "technical bits" at the end of a filename would scare the technically illiterate numpties that they were hoping would be able to use their simplified "Windoze"

You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too

AlbertH

Re: Documentation

"I don't have time to read those long instructions"

My answer was "We don't have time to process your pay either. Goodbye!"

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

AlbertH
Facepalm

Re: Digital transmission?

Most of the problems with CD "sound" is because they are recorded too loud, so they clip. It's instructive to look at oscillogram of Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" as released on CD in 1985 with the re-release from this century. The "new" version is seriously distorted because of clipping.

The fools in the record companies believe that CDs have to sound "loud" if they're to sell well, so instruct their mastering engineers to drive the CDs into clipping. This also has the side effect of significantly reducing the dynamic range (one of the original selling points of CDs).

As a recording engineer of many years' standing (with a number of major albums in my history), I can assure you that the studio end of things isn't to blame. We always took great care with microphone choice and placement, and took great pains to record at correct levels to whatever medium we were using. Most of the records I worked on eschewed the use of compression (wherever possible), and would apply a minimum amount of limiting to each audio source.

LP records were a "good enough" technology when they arrived in the 1950s - and represented a major leap forward in recording fidelity. However, they were fragile and wore very quickly - again it's instructive to listen to a brand new LP against the same one played (say) 30 times......

CDs were significantly more robust, and - when recorded with the same degree of care - could provide a much improved source of audio for listeners. The CD format - as originally designed by Philips and Sony - was a pretty good medium for its day.

Unfortunately, we have DAB broadcasting which has led to a severe reduction in the quality of audio available "off-air". In an effort to cram ever more stations into the multiplexes, bit rates are reduced, leading to very poor sound quality.

"Digital" is getting a bad name!

Again - it's instructive to listen to BBC Radio 3 from a DAB receiver against their FM service. Despite the audio response only going to 15 kHz, the FM sounds very much better!

The vinyl fad will soon blow over - when listeners get fed up listening to expensive, scratched records!

EU lawmakers vote to ban sales of combustion engine cars from 2035

AlbertH

Re: And the UK ?

if the COVID had been left alone and allowed to run its natural course, there would be far less people left in the UK to complain about the current situation...

Err.... No. Actual "deaths from Covid" are about one tenth of the claimed figure. Sadly, the majority of "victims" would have died in that same period, anyway. (Excess Deaths were about the same as a bad flu / pneumonia year - check the figures for 2018 for example).

The figures were inflated by lazy medics who just found it easiest (and still do) to tick the "Covid" box, rather than actually find out what's wrong with people. The UK NHS has virtually collapsed under the weight of the insanity foisted upon us.

AlbertH

Re: And the UK ?

Sadly Boris is still in thrall to his latest wife, and she's persuaded him to indulge in this "green" nonsense. He (and the rest of the cabinet) still think that "wind energy" is "green" and "endless" - they STILL don't understand that the bird-mincers actually CONSUME more over their lifetime than they ever generate....

Nobody in government will consider nuclear power - they're all scared of it.

They still haven't realised the problems with lack of electrical infrastructure despite the exploding pavements in Islington when every "green" numpty plugs in his electric car.....

There's little or no hope for most of the "civilised" world as long as this green stupidity continues.

I love the Linux desktop, but that doesn't mean I don't see its problems all too well

AlbertH

Re: Snaps noy (yet) essential.

That's bizarre - I've been running the various versions of Mint for several years and have never had a networking issue at all - on any of the dozens of types of machines we have around here!

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Computing smarts in the cloud

My aged Father used Mint from 2013 until his demise last year. He was 89, and had found that it was easy to use and maintain. After the initial support calls (back in 2013), he was able to update and upgrade his system himself, and encouraged any number of his similarly aged friends to make the same move.

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Computing smarts in the cloud

Windows is a legacy niche OS. Linux runs on everything else.

More precisely:

Windoze is a poor, proprietary client for a Unix/Linux world!

California Right-to-Repair bill quietly killed in committee

AlbertH

Re: Not just tech

Err... Not quite. Deere sales have collapsed in some territories. The advent of cheaper, equally efficient machinery from the Orient has ensured that their sales will disappear altogether eventually - there's now no reason (except for American jingoistic masochism) to buy the over-priced American kit.

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’

AlbertH
Coat

Re: "Voyager 1 is now 45 years old"

The first modem I had at home ran at 300 baud in both directions.

Me too! I was on the "Information Superhighway" on a bicycle!!

John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine

AlbertH

As an aside.....

Macrovision is trivially disabled by detecting frame syncs, and replacing the first 11 lines of each frame with a mid-grey. The Macrovision signal - which consists of over-peak white and black alternating signals in the first few lines of each frame (designed to freak out the AGC of video recorders) - is thus replaced with a benign, average signal, and video normality is returned!

The circuit to achieve this is trivial - a monostable switching off the video for a few lines, triggered by a frame sync detector, and switching on a DC level for the video content.

Beanstalk loses $182m in huge flash-loan crypto heist

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Total de-centralization

Errr..... They're NOT "crooks"! They just gamed the system - very effectively!

Windows 11 usage stats within touching distance of... XP

AlbertH

I (almost?) got week-long uptimes from my workstations (didn't bother to power them down, but they were rebooted each weekend).

I've got a machine at a radio studio running Mint 18, with an uptime of over four years!. It's running 24 / 7 / 365 and has yet to fail! My only concern is for the spinning rust drive.....

AlbertH
Linux

There - fixed that for you!

Best way I found to make ANY version of Windows stable is to turn off the update service!

Best way for me was to format the hard drive and replace the "Operating System" with something that works reliably, like Linux Mint.....

AlbertH
Flame

"Upgrades"?

Win 10 "updates" now appear to slow down and sometimes even cripple otherwise working installs. With each update, Win 10 gets slower and less stable. MS tell us that the "cure" is to "upgrade" to Win 11....

This feels like a forced "upgrade" and the hobbling of Windoze 10 is deliberate. The amount of data shipped to MS under normal usage has increased significantly under Win 11 - is there even more spyware in this latest version?

The abysmal performance of Windows 10 and 11 on even the most modern hardware suggests that a migration to OS (probably Linux Mint) is the best option for my clientele. I think that this is close to the end for Windows - their "software as a (paid-for) service" model is uneconomical for many users, and is sure to be their downfall....

Not before time!

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

AlbertH

Re: re. Anyone who tells you Linux is hard to use wasn't paying attention

Exactly - a Pi 4 with a cordless keyboard / touchpad device and a nice big monitor has proved to be an excellent "Granny Computer". The only hardware-related thing that she has to remember is to reconnect the charger to the keyboard when she finishes using it. She watches TV, organises her photos (both from her digital camera and from her Android phone), types the occasional letter (and sends it to a shared printer next door) and listens to her favourite Radio Stations.... It does all she wants, and takes little space and power. It's also equipped with a pair of small "bookshelf"-sized self-powered speakers.

The only (minor) issue is that all her neighbors on the "Granny Farm" (OAP Home) now want the same gear!

AlbertH

Re: Linux "Desktop"

Not in a modern office environment with a follow-me system where you walk up to whatever network printers and call off your own prints using the RFID from your access pass.

Err.... Nope. We were doing that in a Linux environment in 1999!

AlbertH

Re: Linux "Desktop"

My wife uses Linux (Mint) and has done for some years. She's happy to handle her own updates and upgrades, and seldom has any issue that requires my intervention. She uses an HP laptop and a Dell desktop, and enjoys using both. Email and browser are synchronised across the machines, and she also has log-in rights on the other machines around here (though she seldom does).

Recently, she tried to use "Office" on her sister's machine, and ran into endless problems. It wouldn't even "Save" her work sanely - she was glad to move back to her laptop, where she was able to complete the work they were doing very quickly in Libre Office.

She would tell you - if you asked - that Windows is a complete waste of time, and a very hard way to get things done!

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Linux "Desktop"

A certain ex Prime Minister got a really nice Belgravia house very shortly after signing up HMG to several more years of Windows woes. No money changed hands, but (as described above) it was a "very effective use of money"!

Just remember - "any politician who leaves office richer than when he went in is corrupt"!

AlbertH

Pings

The pings of Manjaro are just connectivity checks. Also - if you allow it - Manjaro will automagically report bugs and errors, but this is your choice!

Help, my IT team has no admin access to their own systems

AlbertH
Linux

Re: You’re fff… err hired

Been there too - except their offer of £45000 was politely declined, and they were forced to pay my bill of £180000..... That set up my new business very nicely!

AlbertH
Devil

I've had exactly that happen to me, but in my case, it was a Civil Service Server in deepest Whitehall...

Bliar's "government" paid a hell of a lot of moolah for my new company to resolve their fundamental IT stupidity. I just saw our very high hourly rate as a generous Tax Rebate!

AlbertH

Re: Passwords

Ophcrack always get me into Windoze boxes with "forgotten" (or more usually corrupted) passwords. I've built a couple of modified versions for specific environment uses... The best use I've found of "Slax"!

How experimental was Microsoft's 'experimental banner' in File Explorer?

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Why is easy

MS will discover (the hard way, as usual) that if provoked, a significant proportion of their users will actively seek to migrate away....

Recently I've seen any number of Win10 / 11 installs choke themselves to a halt. The OS gets slower with every "update", and performance eventually collapses to being unusably slow....

It's at this point that they try Mint or something else equally friendly, and there's no going back! I can't count the number of machines that I've reinstalled lately - all reasonably recent and quick laptops, and all with Windows in "Molasses Mode"..... Many people I know have made that move, and none have regretted it!

The right to repairable broadband befits a supposedly critical utility

AlbertH

Re: Lightning Protection

Any opto-coupler will usually have an isolation rating of between 5 and 10 kV. Even an induced lightning spike can be in the vicinity of 2.5 MV, so the opto-coupler will flash over easily!

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Lightning Protection

I used to design telephone line connected gear - answering machines, fax machines and the like. The only lightning protection that worked at all effectively assumed that a good, solid mains earth with low ELI was available, and used a pair of tritium-filled gas discharge tubes. These were the only protectors that were fast enough to handle lightning spikes.

Of course, because they were filled with a slightly radioactive gas, the "green" eco-loons banned them, depriving manufacturers of telecom equipment from the only lightning protectors that worked at all!

Privacy is for paedophiles, UK government seems to be saying while spending £500k demonising online chat encryption

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

FFS stop calling that clown "Boris". That's just a cuddly affectation suggested by his PR people. His name is "Alexander Johnson". Sounds a lot less cuddly, doesn't it?

Just remember - his ex-girlfriend is Ghislaine Maxwell...... That should tell you all you need to know about him.....

Linux Mint 20.3 appears – now with more Mozilla flavor: Why this distro switched Firefox defaults back to Google

AlbertH
Linux

I've installed several different flavours of Linux on Thinkpads over many years, and have never had to "recompile" anything - ever. It Just Works™

The lightly used Fourth generation X1 carbon thing I recently bought secondhand is just about the best laptop I've ever seen, cost about one sixth of the price of the cheapest Mac laptop, and has a significantly better specification than even their highest-end models.

There's no longer any contest - Apple is great if you don't want to learn to use a computer properly, Windows is a waste of space in all environments, and the current crop of the major Linux distros are superb: Easy to install and configure, efficient, stable and secure.

There's no longer any contest!

AlbertH
Linux

Re: And this is why

I've run a "modern Mac" and it's truly horrible - the way they force you to use their choices, with no chance to change anything is contrary to the way most sensible people might like to configure their own computers.

Similarly, Windows takes choices out of the hands of users, and I (generally) don't like their choices. I also don't like the performance hit of running such a nasty, bloated, unstable mess.

Linux Mint has served my (and many of my friends) very well for year. The Mint team has (generally) made sensible choices, but if you don't like them, you can change them to suit yourself! The freedom that this provides is truly refreshing.

The dark equation of harm versus good means blockchain’s had its day

AlbertH

Re: Lack of comprehension and imagination ...

FFS - don't conflate "climate change" with crypto currency. Both are non-problems:

"Climate Change" is a ridiculous political construct use to scare the average idiot into unwarranted compliance.

Crypto currencies will live or die according to their utility - just like any other currency.

How do you call support when the telephones go TITSUP*?

AlbertH
Facepalm

Re: Local Calls?

The one that was really amusing was back in the '80s, when I set up a "Call Diverter" across two phone lines in a Vicar's Frocks Shop ("Clerical Garb" Shop) in Surrey, and diverted the incoming calls to our naughty broadcasting studio in Dulwich. The Diverter was operated by a timeswitch so that it only worked at night, and so, on the air at night, "Bedside Radio" gave out the shop's phone number as our "Call-In" number!

There were two side effects of this:

During the business day, the Mother of one of our DJs worked at the shop, so fielded any Radio Station calls she received....

....and, better yet, the "Radio regulatory Authorities" (and the Police) raided the Clerical Garb Outlet looking for our pirate studio!

Google's VirusTotal reports that 95% of ransomware spotted targets Windows

AlbertH

Re: The hubris of Apple (oops I meant Google)

Windows' security is broken by design, and it is not fixable without a major redesign.

....Actually, it's just NOT possible to secure at all. That's the way the NSA wanted it, and the fundamental corporate inability of MS to understand the real nature of the problem ensures that it'll never be fixed.

Sometimes we all feel a bit like Shutting Down. So just imagine how tired Windows 7 is

AlbertH
FAIL

It looks like MS have finally realised that it's a Unix/Linux world, and their "operating system" is just an irrelevant backwater proprietary client for the new world. They've even included some measure of Linux connectivity in Win 11....

Looks like it's Game Over for Windows!

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

AlbertH

Re: 300 MW

300 MW for a few minutes is insignificant. Australia does have some measure of power distribution between states, so the problem of consistent power generation is distributed somewhat. Their stupid moves towards solar and wind generation have made giant UPS efforts like these necessary.

Pretty soon they'll realise that their insane "green" generation schemes aren't going to work. They'll find that their commerce is crippled by the intermittency that they'll suffer (the Californians have just realised this and are about to do something about it by commissioning the construction of several nukes!).

A paper has recently been presented to the UK government, laying out the utter stupidity of their "green" power proposals, and amply demonstrating that this government has little time in which to dither around "deciding" what to do.

Unless significant amounts of generation capacity is added to the grid very soon, the UK will have rolling power cuts (that's why your "Smart Meter" has a remotely controllable contactor inside it). The closure of most of the old nuke stations has precipitated this collapse in power infrastructure, and no number of worthless bird mincing windmills and solar arrays are going to make up the energy shortfall.

The UK doesn't have the engineering capacity or a sufficiently educated populace to deal with the problem any more. The UK government will have to hire in expensive "talent" from elsewhere. It really is a shambles!

AlbertH
Mushroom

The battery systems simply don't have sufficient capacity to do much useful work. They are a solution for your desktop PC, so that you have time to back up your work before the battery dies.

They're truly useless for anything large scale, are incredibly expensive, are ridiculously inefficient and tend to burst into flames (this is NOT the first of these storage arrays to self-immolate!).

AlbertH
Flame

Re: Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Fun how people understand the purpose behind Dinorwig, but seem to have problems with a high-tech version.

It's actually a very low-tech, terribly inefficient way of trying to stabilise a power grid that is fundamentally unstable because of the insane adoption of solar and wind generation. The battery plant doesn't have sufficient capacity to make a significant difference, and is outrageously expensive.

Conversely, the pumped storage power stations actually work - particularly where there is spare off-peak generating capacity provided by nukes. They're also very cheap and very efficient when compared to these stupid, giant UPS efforts!

The only viable forms of generation for the future are nukes (both uranium and thorium cycles), hydro, tidal (to a small extent) and pumped storage to handle demand peaks. Nothing else comes at all close to the cleanliness, efficiency and stability of such a generation system. We have to overcome the uneducated stupidities of the "greenies", and get some governments on this planet with some real foresight and intelligence (probably a vain hope....)

Rackspace literally decimates workforce: One in ten staffers let go this week

AlbertH

Re: Leveraged buyouts should be illegal

Nope - Maplin's error was to try to be "Tandy". They loaded up their shops with rubbish that nobody wanted to buy (especially since you could get better gear at lower prices from Richer Sounds and Novatech). They virtually stopped their original core business of selling electronic components to hobbyists, and the few parts that they continued to stock were ridiculously overpriced. They completely lost the plot when they were taken over by some "private equity" company....

BOFH: Here in my car I feel safest of all. I can listen to you ... It keeps me stable for days

AlbertH

Re: Box Tickers Anonymous United .......

Look closely at the M$ Windoze EULA. It contains some interesting clauses in the license blindness area. Some of them - if noticed - would prevent many companies and other organisations from signing up to those terms.

Googler demolishes one of Apple's monopoly defenses – that web apps are just as good as native iOS software

AlbertH
Facepalm

Re: "Safari's lack of compatibility with web standards... "

How does that differ from Microsoft's many attempts to dictate web standards to "suit" their entirely non-standard, incompatible web browsers Internet Exploder and Edge? MS have been playing this game since the Netscape days, ensuring that IIS wouldn't render properly on non-MS browsers.

Granted that Apple's business tactics are pretty shabby (and their insanely expensive SDKs are deliberately designed to prevent third party software development), but isn't this just more of the same?

UK government resists pressure to hold statutory inquiry into Post Office Horizon scandal

AlbertH
Flame

Re: It's not just an IT scandal

The civil service procurement is massively and inexcusably corrupt

It always has been. Labour governments tend to be worse troughers than the Conservatives, but this present lot seem to be taking the biscuit!

AlbertH
Flame

Re: Statutory inquiry

You mean "Lessons must be learned" - the "result" of every "Government Enquiry".

AlbertH

Re: Statutory inquiry

I've yet to see a properly calibrated fixed speed camera. Also the imbecilic coppers who hand-hold their speed guns rather than use the provided tripods mean that NO speed camera convictions are "safe".

University duo thought it would be cool to sneak bad code into Linux as an experiment. Of course, it absolutely backfired

AlbertH

Re: Place your bets...

This research project would have fallen outside that scope

That suggests that the IRB at the University is simply not fit for purpose.

UK terror law reviewer calls for expanded police powers to imprison people who refuse to hand over passwords

AlbertH
Coat

Re: Clarify something for me.

They're going to have serious problems with the huge, encrypted, deliberately obsfuscated binary blobs that make up some "operating systems" - Windows for one, and iOS for another....

OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg – all services unavailable

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Who knew data centres were tinder boxes?

All the truly significant data centres I look after have Halon installations - there's no real substitute. We tried a CO2 flooding system, but its fire suppression properties were significantly worse than Halon.

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?

AlbertH

Re: Halt and Catch Fire

We used to set fire to the tractor-fed printer paper by repeatedly printing a line of 79 spaces, and no line feed. The print head would repeatedly race across the paper at the same line, and the friction would eventually ignite the paper!

It was a great sprinkler test!

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: My code (or any code I have been involved in) has set fire to certain products

We used to have great fun with the version of the TRS80 that had a PROM blower built in. If you felt malicious, a line of BASIC would "poke" the system RAM with the PROM writing voltage, with ensuing smoke and dead machine.

The number of those TRS80s that got destroyed by evil kids - who soon learned the one-line BASIC incantation to destroy those machines - was huge. It was usually preceded with a for / next loop to give the miscreant time to get away from the shop!

The wastepaper basket is on the other side of the office – that must be why they put all these slots in the computer

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: The human mind is a frightening thing

In a similar situation, with a hot computer full of waste paper, pocket lint and all manner of other detritus, the smouldering junk was poured into the file drawer of the (l)user's desk. The rather satisfying though small conflagration that ensued resulted in the building being evacuated, the destruction of several year's worth of "irreplaceable" records, a wrecked computer, a melted keyboard and the dismissal of the dingbat who'd filled the computer and every desk drawer with flammable cr@p. The many hoarded bottles of Snopake™ thinner added to the flames, by exploding quite spectacularly!

You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right? Trust... but verify

AlbertH

Re: You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right?

MCSE

Stands for Must Consult Someone Experienced

I thought it was "Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Expert"

150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'

AlbertH
Holmes

Re: FFS. You cannot blame everything on brexit.

Brexit is just the start of the collapse of the whole EU project. When it was a trading organisation (the EEC that the UK joined in the '70s), it actually helped the economies of its members. During the '90s, it morphed into a grand socialistic project, invented its own "currency" (which is backed by nothing!), and started to accumulate ever more members by signing up the ex-eastern bloc countries, all of whom were broke.....

The Germans and the French have just realised that they're the only ones putting money into the EU project, and most of it is going to prop up the failed economies of the Mediterranean countries. Those economies probably wouldn't have failed if they hadn't been forced in the Euro, but that's another issue...

The bookmakers are taking bets on the next country to leave. The "smart money" seems to be split roughly evenly between Ireland and the Netherlands. Ireland have realised that they're no longer getting the "development grants" (aka "bribes") and are now expected to pay into the limitless European Pit. The Netherlands just want out - they're fed up with being dictated to by Brussels (they fought wars to avoid that a few hundred years ago!).

My banker friends in the City of London tell me that the EU will be lucky to survive as it is into 2023. Many of the smaller countries will leave, and there will be the usual emnity between France and Germany, with each blaming the other for it all going wrong!

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