* Posts by H in The Hague

883 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jan 2013


How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

H in The Hague

Re: Dickensian

"Nasty stuff newsprint ink. It has to be scrubbed off surfaces, or use a very harsh solvent, to get it off any surface."

Ermm, so how do the operators clean it from their lungs???????

H in The Hague

Re: "......the mine had closed."

"I read somewhere recently that one is reopening as they can also extract Lithium from it"

Different site, same idea:


It's almost the weekend -->


They're just installing fibre to the premises in our area. Working impressively quickly: just lift up the paving slabs in the footway, dig out some sand, lay the fibre bundles (one fibre to each dwelling), backfill and compact the sand (it'll be interesting to see if the vibration from the Wacker plate affects my spinning rust), put the slabs back, have a cuppa.

Now IBM sued for age discrim by its own HR veterans

H in The Hague


"Ah yes, Napoleon's "you have no rights at all, but I graciously allow you the right to X"

I rather doubt that is correct - one of those claims that pops up every now and then. Could you provide a source for that? (Something more reliable than a Brexit party (or whatever they call themselves now) leaflet.)

I'm not a lawyer, but I've read a few books about it, both common law and civil (European) lawy.

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

H in The Hague

Re: So answer this.

"Useless trivia: these are called "mountweasels"."

Or "trap roads" I think.

Came across one when visiting Pembrokeshire, it was shown on one OS map, but not another at a different scale.

H in The Hague

Re: Were there no signs indicating that the Bridge was out?

"That's not to say that Google should probably have updated the way on Maps at some point in the last ten years"

Their system seems to be a bit weird. Their map identifies the house of a colleague as a Middle Eastern embassy, which is actually around the corner from them. So they used the feedback link on Google Maps or something to report that error, with a link to the embassy website showing the real address. Google fixed that quite quickly and their map showed the correct location. But strangely enough, a few weeks later the location reverted back to their house. Weird.

Probe reveals previously secret Israeli spyware that infects targets via ads

H in The Hague

Re: How to pay

Thanks for the tip. Do you have any experience of it? I would be more than happy to pay for a good search engine.

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically

H in The Hague

Re: I I be a-goin there, I be-n't start from here

"I barely have a working knowledge of electricity, but I always thought amps were "drawn" rather than pushed."

Traditionally, that's entirely correct.

But this seems to have been kit which could be set to deliver a certain current. So when it was set to deliver a higher current it probably increased the voltage (which, assuming the resistance of the load remains the same, will also increase the amps drawn) until the selected higher current was delivered. The resulting higher power then destroyed the kit (which as someone else pointed out, could have done with a bit more protection).

When I was at secondary school one of the teachers built a sizeable analogue synthesiser - and then one day connected the power supply the wrong way round leading to loss of a lot of magic smoke :( . So now if I build something significant (rarely) I try to remember that and provide adequate protection.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin

H in The Hague

Re: Plausible...

4096 words of 33 bits. Executes between 40 and 1000 instructions per second. Around 2100 pounds. Draws 6 kW. Low price (how much?).

I actually used to know folk who started their careers on kit like that.

Thanks for the link!

Windows File Explorer gets nostalgic speed boost thanks to one weird bug

H in The Hague

Re: File list - easy way to create?

Thanks for the tip!

That it shows the full path isn't a major problem. I just paste the list into Word and then use Alt+mouse to select the actual file names and then copy and paste those. (Selecting the beginning of the path and deleting that doesn't seem to work.)

So in future I'll use your tip for shortish file lists, and muck about with Dir for longer ones.

Have one of these, on me -->

H in The Hague

File list - easy way to create?

Is it me, or is File Explorer still incapable of printing/saving a list of the files in a directory?

At the moment I open a command window and then use dir > filename.txt to save a directory listing. But convenient it ain't.

For a while I kept a copy of WordPerfect at hand for just that - its file explorer could save a directory listing.

Any suggestions for an alternative file explorer? (Thanks for the Everything tip, but that seems to focus on searching file names, which is less relevant to me.)

Three years after setting off, Bus Open Data Service wants consultants to help it on its journey

H in The Hague

Why is this so challenging?

They've had something like this in NL for ages: https://9292.nl/en

That's a travel planner, so must be built on some sort of open data service. Works nationwide: local busses, regional busses, trains, trams, metros (which, annoyingly, they refer to as 'subways').

Or am I misunderstanding something?

BOFH: What a beautiful tinfoil hat, Boss!

H in The Hague

Re: I remember well...

"My theory was that it had something to do with the static charge that collected on the CRT faceplate, or perhaps the dust attracted by it."

That takes me back around five decades, when the monochrome CRT monitors on the very first computers at secondary school seemed to have a similar effect on my face (rash/redness/dryness). Also figured it had to with static electricity, didn't have a screen to try out, and this was in the era when teenage boys wouldn't dream of applying moisturiser to their face :).

UK flights disrupted by 'technical issue' with air traffic computer system

H in The Hague

"... before I realised there was a hidden window waiting to be clicked on."

I haven't had too many problems like that, but recently started using some new software which is affected by this issue. Sometimes launching Task Manager, right-clicking the application and selecting Bring to Front helps. But that depends on the phase of the moon.

Lesson 1: Keep your mind on the ... why aren't the servers making any noise?

H in The Hague

Re: electrical avoidance

"if you didn't know where the root 3 goes, you shouldn't be doing power engineering."

Root 3 I can cope with. It was root -1 that always put me off electrical engineering. Imaginary numbers being ... well a bit beyond my imagination.

H in The Hague

Upstream breaker

"He'd push the breaker back in, but each time he reconnected the power it popped right back out."

Many circuit breakers have two trip mechanisms, a fast magnetic one based on overcurrent (which Hans tripped - protects against shorts and gross overloads) and a slower thermal mechanism to protect against limited overloads.

If you trip a downstream breaker a couple of times on overcurrent then the upstream breaker might warm up and eventually trip. And often you won't have access to it, and it will disconnect more than just your own equipment :(

Lock-in to legacy code is a thing. Being locked in by legacy code is another thing entirely

H in The Hague

"I often wonder how much is needed to trigger those."

A friend lives in a block with an underground car park. They keep a metal bin lid close to the exit, to trigger the loop if you want to open the main door to leave by bike (easier than using the wicket door).

That time of week again -->

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway

H in The Hague

"To be fair, most of us don't have a simulation country tucked into the desk drawer ..."

Doesn't quite fit into your desk drawer, but this should do nicely:



An analogue fluidic simulator.

To infinity and beyond, with a swarm of tiny computers costing under $1K each

H in The Hague

CubeSat volume

"... are smaller than a 10 cm3 1.33 kg (3 lb) CubeSat.""

According to the linked NASA information CubeSats are 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm = 1000 cm3 (not 10 cm3), or 1 litre,

Bizarre backup taught techie to dumb things down for the boss

H in The Hague

Re: "you have to wonder how they get home each night

"it may not have been quite as stupid a request as it sounds..."


And if she wasn't from London, or rarely used the Tube then the request would have been perfectly justified. Not all metro/light rail systems have trains arriving every few minutes.

Nobody does DR tests to survive lightning striking twice

H in The Hague

Re: At least you fixed the problem.

"But yeah - roundabouts and concrete cows."

As only an occasional visitor to MK I find the roundabouts a bit difficult to remember. Here in NL they tend to put pieces of public art on them. So you recognise them by the archeologically inspired sculpture, the giant trowel, mega-tulips, etc. Makes the drive easier and more fun. But admittedly in MK you would need a v substantial arts budget to plant something on every roundabout! Just as well we've got satnav now.

H in The Hague

Re: At least you fixed the problem.

"To be honest that description of the DC extends to most of Milton Keynes in general"

Thanks, just what I needed to be reminded of while packing my bags to go and visit the family in MK!

Though Gallery MK hosts some good exhibitions and the National Museum of Computing offers many moments of nostalgia to older Commentards.

And this looks potentially interesting: https://miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk/collections/view-our-collections/#Telephone

A good weekend to all Commentards -->

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

H in The Hague

Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

"Until very recently it was cheques and exercise books. And most organisations like this will be too, until the wheel turns."

Interesting. Here in NL all clubs, associations, etc. that I'm aware of receive their membership fees by bank transfer. If they sell tickets for performances, etc. they usually use a ticketing platform which supports direct bank transfers and credit cards. For ticket sales at the door they usually use a card reader like https://www.coolblue.nl/en/product/777648/sumup-air-contactless-card-reader.html (that does charge fees, but lodging cash with the bank also incurs a fee and most groups want to avoid the hassle of dealing with cash anyway). I think cheques got phased out here two decades ago or something.

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson

H in The Hague

Re: Proof if needed

"I suspect ISO9000 and its spawn lie behind this sort of behaviour. It's likely to prescribe things like ..."

Nope. The ISO 9000 series tells you how to structure and document your processes (so you are aware of what you're doing and do it consistently). The content is entirely up to you.

E.g. a recruitment criterion could be "Must have 3 degrees and 99 years experience." or "Must give the impression they understand our widgets when interviewed over a cup of tea." Both are acceptable as long as they're documented.

However, many people writing procedures lack the intelligence and, especially, understanding of the business, to write procedures which actually benefit the business, quality and efficiency.

Here's one for the weekend -->

Another redesign on the cards for iPhone as EU rules call for removable batteries

H in The Hague

Re: Repair shop?

"You can make a device with a removable battery waterproof... it's not all that difficult."

That's right, my fairly cheap Samsung Galaxy Xcover is waterproof and has a replaceable battery. Reasonably robust too. Possibly a few mm thicker than other phones - the horror!

A good example of small electronic kit with a user-replaceable battery is https://tentaclesync.com/sync-e the manufacturer's replacement battery kit (which includes the required tools) costs less than 10% of the price of the unit.

So it's perfectly possible.

A toast to being in the right place at the right time

H in The Hague

Re: Who are these people...

'...who remove a mains plug from its socket without checking, or apparently even wondering, what is on the other end?'

Most of them.

Led a sheltered life, have you? :)

EU tells Twitter 'you can run but you can't hide' from disinformation policy

H in The Hague

Re: Erm


Terms like that suggest you're around 10 years old (emotionally). Shouldn't you be doing your homework instead of hanging out here?

Or are you unfamiliar with normal, polite British political discussions?

Or do you work at a troll farm in some hostile country?

Curious to know (despite normally avoiding to feed trolls). These of course are just my opinions/questions, not facts. Other opinions are available?

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

H in The Hague

Re: My Mantra*

"Many years ago I had my car fixed by a guy in Birkenhead who seemed to specialise in alternators ...."

Which reminds me that years ago a friend had the dynamo on her vintage Volvo replaced by an alternator. She gave me the old dynamo to put in the e-waste bin next time I went to the tip. Never had the heart to do that. So it's sitting in a corner somewhere.

Any takers?

H in The Hague

Re: Important rule

"Next day I went into the workshop, and there, on the bench, were ..."

I reckon most of us have variations on that story.

Here's one for the weekend -->

Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess

H in The Hague

Re: Really?

"... current neoliberal, undemocratic, neomarxist state of the whole West "

Hi Teejay,

Could you explain that a bit? As far as I'm aware 'neoliberal' refers to a right of centre, free market system, while 'Marxist' (and presumably 'neomarxist') refers to a left of centre command economy. So I think the two are mutually exclusive. How could they exist within one country or region? Please elucidate us.

H in The Hague

"The only area where that can work for a while until the rot sets in (i.e. rampant abuse) is finance"

Possibly for large scale stuff. But not for the retail/small business end of the market: I'm based in the Netherlands but used to get my professional indemnity insurance from some specialist brokers in Birmingham. They are no longer covered by passporting, so I had to move my business to a firm in Amsterdam :(

H in The Hague

Re: Didn't he also want to build EVs in UK too?

"The chemical conglomerate, controlled by prominent Brexit supporter Sir Jim Ratcliffe,"

Funny thing is, one week when Ratcliffe was going on about the expected benefits of Brexit, there was an item in The Chemical Engineer about the Ineos UK operations folk complaining how having to comply with two separate chemicals regulations (EU REACH and its new UK equivalent) instead of one was going to cost them a lot of time and money. So much for reducing bureaucracy :(

H in The Hague

Re: With two-faced "friends" like Dyson, Britain doesn't need enemies

"I've got a Numatic hoover"

Upvote for that. Nice bit of very simple, reliable kit, have one in the workshop. The motor is at the top, so it doesn't lose suction as the bag fills up. And made in Surrey I think. A few years ago they featured in one of those 'How do they make that' programmes - proving you can have a profitable appliance manufacturing operation in the UK.

Brexit Britain looks to French company to save crumbling borders and immigration tech

H in The Hague

Re: @Phones Sheridan

"Second it is H in The Hague who seems to be pointing that the Netherlands with lower requirements is better (if I understand the comment correctly)."

No, not saying that NL is better! I was just comparing NL with UK legislation to demonstrate that the high standards (i.e. higher than in some EU countries) are due to choices made by various UK governments, not imposed by the EU.

So folk complaining about "expensive/bureaucratic health and safety legislation" should point the finger at past UK governments, not the EU. (Incidentally, I'm in favour of effective H&S legislation and enforcement: avoids accidents and suffering, avoids health service costs, benefits well-run businesses, targets poorly run businesses).

H in The Hague

Re: @Phones Sheridan

"Only just today Sunak's lot have pulled back from burning all the UK's "EU" laws at the end of the year."

That always struck me as a completely bonkers plan. And some in industry seem to be quite relieved that the "escape from EU bureaucracy" is not happening:


"Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry echoed the comments, saying: “Many of these laws are used by our members every day to keep people safe. “Everything from environmental protections, workers’ rights, through to health and safety regulations, were set to have been discarded, with no clear plan for equivalents to replace them. This is a case of government rhetoric meeting with reality and I’m glad sensible heads have prevailed.”

H in The Hague

Re: @Phones Sheridan

"As I pointed out in my comment that we had to make things difficult while in the EU."

Ermm, no. I'm reasonably familiar with health and safety regs in NL and the UK (have site safety passports for both). On the whole UK regs are stricter than elsewhere. E.g. NL working at heights regs apply from 2.5 m above ground (like the used to in the UK), the current UK Work at Height Regulations apply from any height that could pose a hazard. In NL a basic chainsaw course is three days with 8 trainees to 1 instructor, in the UK the ratio is 4 to 1 (and the course may be one day longer, not sure).

Basing the UK CSCS construction site safety passport system (set up by industry, not the HSE) on both a basic safety qualification and skills gained by formal training makes it very difficult for skilled folks without formal training to get a CSCS card which you need to work on larger projects. Getting your card also takes a fair amount of bureaucracy. The comparable VCA system in NL only requires passing a safety test (v similar to that for CSCS) so anyone who takes a 1-day course or reads the book can get a VCA card.

So, in short, the UK has a talent for making things more difficult than other countries. And 'can't do that cos of health and safety/data protection' is much more common jobsworth's excuse in the UK than NL.

Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel

H in The Hague
Thumb Up

Re: Some times there's a reason

"Shakti plays jazz fusion that's heavily influenced by Indian classical music."

Thanks for the tip!

H in The Hague

Re: DOS Box didn't help

"Apple ][ running some lab equipment via a BASIC program and using the analogue input ports to take the readings"

Gosh, that takes me back! Remember soldering NTCs at school to connect them to the analogue joystick ports to do temperature measurements.

Datacenter fire suppression system wasn't tested for years, then BOOM

H in The Hague

Not familiar with the Welsh regulations in detail, but used to be familiar with the field.

"Dry, standpipe systems are and must be interconnected,"

Not sure that is correct, I think those can work with a single head as well. When dry the system is filled with compressed air, if the pressure suddenly drops that means a sprinkler head has actuated and then water is let into the system and escapes through the opened sprinkler head. Used in cold warehouses, etc. where a system permanently filled with water might freeze. Disadvantages: more complex and needs an air compressor to occasionally top up the pressure if that drops through small leaks.

" all the sprinklers come on at once."

That's a deluge system. Normally only used over fuel tanks, offshore installations, etc. Requires a v high water flow. Not used in dwellings, offices, etc. where a fire normally only triggers one or a few heads. The idea is to suppress a fire at its incipient stage, before it spreads. (And the water supply would be inadequate to supply a larger number of heads.)

" gas pressure is let out of the system there by triggering an alarm. These systems also have much lower maintenance costs and risks of leaking."

Why would the maintenance costs of a dry system be lower than those of a wet system? For a start you need a compressor to maintain the pressure in the system while dry. Or did I misunderstand your comment?

BOFH takes a visit to retro computing land

H in The Hague

Re: Short, shameful confession

"I keep punch cards ..."

Lucky you. I so regret not keeping a few of those, and mark-sense cards and paper tape - in those days digital data was actually visible and tangible.

Have a good weekend -->

Shocks from a hairy jumper crashed a PC, but the boss wouldn't believe it

H in The Hague

Re: No Goat related metaphor?

"There's never enough cheese."

Blessed are the cheesemakers!

Tokyo has millions of surplus Wi-Fi access points that should be shared with blockchain, says NTT

H in The Hague

Re: Fon/BT

"Haven't Fon and BT being sharing residential wifi for years?"

Similar in the Netherlands. E.g. Ziggo (cable TV/Internet provider) claims to have 2 million 'Wifispots' across the country. Not sure how relevant that is now that most phone contracts include a generous or unlimited 4G/5G data bundle.

Defunct comms link connected to nothing at a fire station – for 15 years

H in The Hague

"If a person is on a building site where they are just starting with ground works, why would a hardhat be useful? Why does a surveyor's assistant holding a pole in the middle of a field need safety glasses and steel-toe boots?"

Don't know where you are based, but in the UK and NL the health and safety legislation basically requires you to have a safe method of work and to wear the relevant PPE. So the legislation doesn't require you to wear a hard hat all the time. But you company safety procedures probably do require full PPE all the time - that makes it easier to work and avoids discussions about what is or isn't required.

Incidentally, if they are busy with the groundworks there is a risk of being struck by a digger bucket. And if you trip on that site or in the middle of a field and your head strikes a lump of concrete you might die (I've translated two accident reports about such accidents) - a hard hat with chinstrap (so it doesn't come off during the fall) might save your life.

In the middle of a field you might step on a nasty bit of rebar - those safety boots usually also have a steel plate in the sole to protect you against that. Apart from which modern safety boots are just as comfortable as walking boots (I often use mine as such, as they are actually more comfortable than my traditional walking boots) so there is no reason not to wear them.

H in The Hague

"If privacy legislation truly prevents you doing something like that, then I think it's gone badly wrong. "

Unlikely. But folk find privacy and health & safety legislation (which they usually know very little about) convenient excuses for not doing their job properly.

Tupperware looking less airtight than you'd think

H in The Hague

Re: wait till they rot

"Do we need to know why you require space in your freezer for guests..."


My Internet love is a corpse-hoarding granny

Goddard Space Flight Center's new boss swears in on holy Pale Blue Dot

H in The Hague

"The most obvious choice from my collection would have to be the Chemical Rubber Company Handbook of Chemistry and Physics."

Mine's the 72nd edition. And yours?

Pager hack faxed things up properly, again, and again, and again

H in The Hague

Re: Last pager I saw...

"getting rid of fax numbers and indeed contact details (and customer service depts) altogether, or hiding them behind lots of obfuscation and dark patterns"

Which for me, as a customer, is a cue to not consider them as a potential supplier, or consider taking my business elsewhere if they're an existing supplier.

Fortunately I'm in the lucky position of mostly dealing with small, committed suppliers.

British Prime Minister Sunak’s plans for UK NFT on ice

H in The Hague

"chronic use can harm your health"

Yes, it seems to be quite popular in NL and has led to some cases of paralysis. And apparently some &^% think it's a good idea to use it while driving. Think they're banning it here now. But haven't really followed the discussion about that.

IT phone home: How to run up a $20K bill in two days and get away with it by blaming Cisco

H in The Hague

Re: The good old days :)

"Students at the university I used to work for discovered the 'emergency phone' in the lift had no barring on it, unlike virtually all user's phones, so started making international calls from there!"

I'm aware of at least one establishment where the emergency phones didn't have a dial (remember those?) to avoid such abuse. However, by quickly operating the on/off hook switch you could do pulse dialling and still make outgoing calls.

H in The Hague

"Call from Belgium to anywhere in Europe are NOT free."

Our elderly Dutch friend had that on his landline, so calling his son living in Germany got a bit expensive.

I realised he didn't really use his mobile phone, just had it for emergencies. So I checked his mobile contract (only EUR 15 or so per month), turns out that includes unlimited free calls from NL to anywhere in Europe. (And, obviously, free roaming in the EU, but that's less relevant to him.)

Saved him quite a lot of money and a positive side-effect is that now uses his mobile every day, so remembers to charge it and will be able to use it in an emergency.