* Posts by Tristram Shandy

19 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Mar 2013

It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?

Tristram Shandy

Re: Dates

However in Belgian French they have "septante", "huitante" and "nonante", a much more sensible naming system.

Google's Chrome to gag noisy tabs until you click on them

Tristram Shandy

Why not make it optional?

I often stream to my Chromecast from a Chrome tab. I actually like the fact I can carry on browsing on my PC whilst the rest of the family can watch a film streamed from an otherwise inactive tab onto a TV in another room.

I would like to see this feature optioned in Settings.

Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

Tristram Shandy

Re: Nah...

I read it and it didn't make sense......Having re-read it I now know what you were rather ham-fistedly trying to say (I think).

Tristram Shandy

Re: Nah...

Well I changed a lot of COBOL code at the time that would have gone titsup if it had been left. The software had been written at a time when where saving two bytes of storage and only using the last two digits of the year was common practice. Clock cycles were also counted and 2 digits reduced the number of clock cycles as well.

Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Tristram Shandy

Spell Checker

El Reg needs to use a spell-checker. This article has BEELLIONS yet another article has BEEELLION.

Or is a BEEELLION bigger than a BEELLION?

We need consistency and a definition of units.

Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons

Tristram Shandy

Park and Ride

Loads of cities do this, with some success. I think there are about 6 of these dotted around York, and they get quite a lot of use. It's relatively cheap for a bus ticket, buses are frequent, and avoids having to take your car round car-unfriendy medieval streets and council parking at £2.00 an hour. There are still traffic problems and lots of congestion, but the city would grind to a standstill without Park and Ride.

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

Tristram Shandy

Re: You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIeXW56Eg1

I preferred Deep Purple's version.......

Shh! Bose and Apple ink secret deal to settle 'noise-cancelling' suit

Tristram Shandy

Invented 1950?

In 'Silence Please' from 'Tales from The White Hart' published in 1950 Arthur C. Clarke describes a noise-cancelling system that renders whole rooms silent. Maybe his estate should be suing Bose?

Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store

Tristram Shandy

Well the Windows Store can only get better in time, and it's good to see MS tackling this now. I'm not sure whether WinPhone has reached the critical mass where developers start turning their full attention to it, but anybody releasing an app in the WinStore has a far better chance of being noticed by punters.

As a recent purchaser of a Nokia 630 with 8.1 on it, I find it extremely well thought out and it works fine at its price point. I've found apps that work well for nearly everything I need on it ( even purchased one for real money), but there is a lot of junk that is simply buggy in the store.

Any improvement in the quality of apps is going to be welcome if WinPhone is going to make a real impact.

RBS Group hopes £750m IT shakeup splurge will prevent next bank mainframe meltdown

Tristram Shandy

The original meltdown was caused, purely and simply, by human error, and the problem of inexperienced staff will not be solved by having three separate schedulers. Backing out a failed mainframe software upgrade, which I believe was happening at the time of meltdown, is an occurrence that happens from time to time, and shouldn't cause problems to an experienced systems programmer.

Whether the scheduling queue was deleted by accident or intent, we don't know, but in either case lack of experience has to be a factor.

If there are now three schedulers, then software updates to them all are presumably occurring at three times the rate as originally, so are there going to be three times as many cock-ups?

Not having everything go titsup at the same time is useful, but not much has been gained.

Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Tristram Shandy

Re: Backup XP?

I use 2, Macrium Reflect Free for images and EaseUS Todo Backup for data and images. Went for the double approach just in case of restore problems with one of them.

Incidentally, I've got1 Windows 8.1 machine, and thought File History would be a good idea..... How wrong I was. It's pants, it doesn't work. In the 6 months I've been using it there have been far too many problems to detail here. The finally straw was when I found out it was randomly deciding not to back up certain files. An album with 10 tracks had track 7 not backed up for example.

You have to be 100% sure of any backup solution, and not have to worry and check backups all the time.

File History not good.

IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

Tristram Shandy

Re: Ah the 7400 series ICs...

You've just brought back an ancient memory. In the early 70s when nobbut a nipper, I used two of this family of chips for a guitar effects unit I'd designed.

The first chip had some amplifiers on it. I used two of these in series to boost the input signal, so it was heavily clipped and effectively a square wave. This then went to a second chip with a number of divide-by-2 components (flip-flops?), and I used two of these components chained together. I took the input to the chip, the output from the first flip-flop and the output from the second flip-flop, each with its own potentiometer, and mixed them together.

Result? A big fuzz sound together with the octave below and the octave below that. An awesome sound (well it impressed me).

That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

Tristram Shandy


Have an upvote for mentioning CAFS. I haven't heard that acronym for nigh on 30 years.

Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

Tristram Shandy

Re: What happened to...

VME/B was excellent to work with, trouble was it ate up all of the CPU on anything but the top ICL 2900 models when it was first introduced. GEORGE III was faster even though it ran under emulation.

RBS Mainframe Meltdown: A year on, the fallout is still coming

Tristram Shandy

Two CEO Viewpoints

There are 2 ways of looking at an IT department:-

1) Our IT Systems work perfectly and without problems because we have many highly skilled and experienced staff.

2) our IT Systems work perfectly and without problems, so why do we have all these expensive IT staff.

Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

Tristram Shandy


Worked at ICI Wilton in the mid 80's on a DEC-20 running TOPS-20 mainframe that took realtime readings of I think the Nylon manufacturing unit (memory is hazy). The machine was 36-bit, and consequently in COBOL you had a choice of defining 6-bit, 7-bit or 9-bit characters (not 8-bit as that would waste too much memory). I was told at the time that there was only one other DEC-20 in the country.

Tristram Shandy

Re: George 3

George 3 was excellent......Automatic off-loading when the Filestore was getting crowded, perfect for job control which was much more powerful than IBM's JCL. When ICL replaced the 24-bit 1900 range with the 32-bit 2900 range running VME/B many outfits continued to use George 3 under DME emulation to keep their old programs running.

VME/B was so resource hungry that 1900 programs actually ran much faster than native 2900 ones. Rumour had it that ICL had built in delay loops in the DME emulation to slow it down so as to encourage the move to the native VME/B environment. (But it possibly was just a rumour).

Girls, beer and C++: How to choose the right Comp-Sci degree for you

Tristram Shandy

When I went to university there were very few CS courses available, and those that did exist were really offshoots of the relevant maths department. This was also in the days before the likes of the ZX80 and ZX81 appeared, so there wasn't the tradition of hobby computing. I did use some newly-available TTL logic chips in a design and build of an awesome guitar effects pedal, but that's as far as it went.

Armed with a science degree I started out with COBOL and Assembler on an ICL mainframe. Retired a couple of years ago from being a consultant database specialist on...... IBM mainframe (still using COBOL and Assembler!). All the interesting newer stuff I did as a hobby (and made a few bob out of it).

The moral of this story, if there is one, is that in any area of IT there is a wealth of depth and knowledge that you can learn, and that will make you marketable, and earn more money as you progress. Probably best not to plump for the mainframe if you're starting out now though. However zLinux is promising.

Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

Tristram Shandy

The Death of the British Pub

The main loser in the supermarkets' alcohol price wars has been the glorious traditional pub.

When I was first introduced to pub culture there was no difference in the cost of beer between the pub and the off-licence. If you wanted to buy beer at our local off-licence, it was usually a choice between bottles of Double Diamond or cans of Long Life, or if you were heading to a party, Watneys' Party Seven.

Today most pubs in the UK are owned by pub companies rather than brewers, and they are, by and large, property businesses, with beer provisioning coming second. As a retired person, I really can't afford to go out that often, and rely on supermarkets to deliver interesting bottles of ale.

I don't know what the average cost of a pub pint is now, but on my weekly outing to the pub quiz, my pint of Sam Smith's is £1.80. This is way below anywhere else.

One of the reasons the price is comparatively low is that it is a tied pub, which the Beer Orders legislation sought to to reduce the number of. Pubs provide a controlled atmosphere where excessive drinking can be regulated ('You're Barred!'). Encourage the social drinking fostered by pub culture financially and you are on the the way to moderated dring.