* Posts by Dr. Ellen

269 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007

Page:

The monitor boom may have ended, says IDC

Dr. Ellen
Happy

Re: Blue Christmas

As I type this on my computer, I am looking at a pretty decent monitor. When I click a few buttons on the remote, I am looking at a television. The only fly in the ointment is poor speakers. It has other tricks I have not explored, and it's about as large as my desk can accommodate. Why should I buy something else?

Dutch nuclear authority bans anti-5G pendants that could hurt their owners via – you guessed it – radiation

Dr. Ellen
Big Brother

Re: Total Point Avoider

Vandal Savage has been around a very long time.He was one of the major villains for the original Green Lantern, first appearing in GL 10 (1943). He's still running around, because he is immortal. Back in the old days, they could make him behave by threatening him with a life sentence in the pen. Immortal, so long and boring ... These days , he'd be released on a ridiculously low bail.

What came first? The chicken, the egg, or the bodge to make everything work?

Dr. Ellen
Facepalm

The chicken or the egg?

The egg came first. There have been recognizable eggs for millions of years before the first recognizable chicken appeared. This also applies to computers: the code in the egg must be subject to proper conditions before a chicken can be created. The code in the computer is the same, and one of the proper conditions is the computer being in a state to reach and run the code.

Smart things are so dumb because they take after their makers. Let's fix that

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Lightbulbs and copiers

There's an old saying: "It's hard to make things foolproof, because fools are so ingenious." The internet of Things is one thing - but there is a whole world of Things that don't use the Internet. But they're designed by the same kind of engineers.

My particular object of tech-hatred was a copier that landed in our library some twenty years ago. It knew how you wanted to use it, and it was determined to do it for you. Only that wasn't always what I wanted to do. An 8-1/2 x 11 copy on 8-1/2 x 11 paper? Flawless. A life-size copy of something small? Surely you wanted the image to take up the entire sheet of paper. Nothing else would do! It could be commanded to do what you wanted, but as soon as you lifted the cover for the next copy, it set itself back to what it knew you wanted it to do.

The trouble was, the people who designed, made, and sold the copier made it work the way they wanted it to. And the rest of us. who used copiers differently, were left cursing in their wake. The makers and the customers weren't the same people. It works that way for light bulbs, too.

Russia's orbital insanity is almost beyond redemption – but there's space for improvement

Dr. Ellen

Re: Orbital stuff at different speeds?

That's simple: there are lots of orbits, each with its own speed. Not only that, but a different speed can be associated with different positions on the same orbit.

Pulling down a partition or knocking through a door does not necessarily make for a properly connected workspace

Dr. Ellen

You can probably use inductive logic to figure it out.

Dr. Ellen
Thumb Up

Re: Working on that..

Ah. A retired five-year-old advisor for the Evil Overlord, I presume? The child is still alive, which is a good credential for the job.

Microsoft: Many workers are stuck on old computers and should probably upgrade

Dr. Ellen
Angel

Re: OK if they donate their old equipment

Where I worked (and that ended 15 years ago) they bought a new computer every time one started to have trouble on the network. Fortunately, there was no rule about destroying or properly disposing of the old ones. So I'd take them, clean 'em up and upgrade if necessary, and find somebody who needed a computer. Usually they upgraded everything - monitors, too, and keyboard/mouse combos. I didn't charge for this - everybody needs a hobby - and made quite a few people happy.

Built quite a reputation as the Computer Fairy .

Fukushima studies show wildlife is doing nicely without humans, thank you very much

Dr. Ellen
Unhappy

Re: Fukushima is big

Fukushima is big. So are wild boars, on a different scale. If the locals are smart, they'll start exterminating boars before the population explodes. Because boars are not good for agriculture - they'll eat just about anything, and they'll root around in the dirt to get more of it. Since these ones are radioactive, they can't or won't be eaten, so they're a total loss, foodwise. They destroy crops and ruin land.

Is it OK to use stolen data? What if it's scientific research in the public interest?

Dr. Ellen
Big Brother

Fifty years ago, I was arguing about valid Nazi medical results obtained by horrible people doing horrible things to innocent victims. There is still no good answer to the question, but at least medical science is advancing so eventually those results can be ignored. (The arguments were carried out in fanzines, which were on paper in those days. No Internet, but there are similarities. Things change, but sometimes they only change venues.)

Oh! A surprise tour of the data centre! You shouldn't have. No, you really shouldn't have

Dr. Ellen
Windows

Re: I could only wish

I tried http://thecodelesscode.com just now, and it worked. I'm in the US, so my results may not be yours. Or, maybe, somebody was On Call and fixed it?

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

Dr. Ellen
Pint

Re: Maybe not.

Conditions vary. If you don't have any fuel, the axe wins. They're so simple even a caveman can use them. In fact, a caveman invented them.

The ancient days and ways live on. Stone age? Rock is great for prestigious buildings. Bronze age? Look at all those statues! And it doesn't rust. Iron age, industrial age, information age -- they all stand on the shoulders of earlier ages.

(As a side note: I tried to use windows 1. 3.1 was much better.)

BOFH: You say goodbye and I say halon

Dr. Ellen

Re: Hmmm...

I worked in a museum that had a vault to store books and artifacts, protected by a halon system. We were told that halon quenches fire in relatively small percentages, so if somebody happened to be in the vault when it was released, they still could breathe (though they'd be wise to leave promptly). None of us tested that.

In any case, it's better than releasing the kraken.

Dr. Ellen

Re: Great murder choice.

There is a murder mystery by Monica Ferris, called Blackwork, which uses this as a murder method.

I no longer have a burning hatred for Jewish people, says Googler now suddenly no longer at Google

Dr. Ellen
Flame

Re: Shakespeare

Considering the current climate among the intelligentsia, some of the people who helped toss him out were probably angry because he disclaimed Jew-hate.

A hotline to His Billness? Or a guard having a bit of a giggle?

Dr. Ellen
WTF?

dBASEd

Why, yes. I think it was the eighties. I was having royal trouble with the dBase III manual -- so I called the mothership. And got somebody high on the totem pole. I reamed that handbook out for twenty minutes: "Don't you think it might have been nice to have "print" in the index, instead of hiding it under "Set Print"? If you needed that "Set Print", couldn't you put a pointer in the index under "Print"?

I think he was rather shaken by having contact with an actual customer. He sent a copy of the dBase III+ manual, which did help.

Home office setup with built-in boiling water tap for tea and coffee without getting up is a monument to deskcess

Dr. Ellen

Re: Get a b'desk!

The desk has no commode function. That job is reserved for the office chair, whose portability is assured by its wheels. Only $5000 (including decontamination equipment).

'Screen access technology has existed for decades': Visually impaired man sues Dell over 'inaccessible' website

Dr. Ellen

Operation Longlife

I had a friend who was both blind and without hands. He wanted to write. Some kind of organization gave him a PC XT 286, which was a computer intermediate between the PC and the XT. It lived in a PC box, but had a 286 processor. IBM didn't make many; rumor says they were using up their PC cases before they got to making the AT. (Yes, they existed: https://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=260 )

Since it was an orphan of sorts, repair parts were hard to come by. He'd learned the program (both reader and word processor) and didn't feel like changing -- I quite agreed when I tried to shoehorn some other screen reader into a 386. It involved a special output card, as well, The company had disappeared without a trace. So I ended up maintaining an old, scarce computer for about twenty-five years.

I made a new keyboard for him. He'd learned to use a peculiar keyboard with a modified typewriter, so I made a larger copy mated to a regular keyboard (I had to get access too, for maintenance.) Thank heavens Windows hadn't been created, because I haven't the faintest idea of how to make a mouse. But that PC-286 was his friend and muse, and he wrote a lot with it. (I have a novel he did. Rather Wodehouse, it was.) And I kept it going until the day he died.

New lawsuit: Why do Android phones mysteriously exchange 260MB a month with Google via cellular data when they're not even in use?

Dr. Ellen

Re: Android data robbery

I have a portable computer, which I keep in airplane mode unless I need a phone. Saves data allowance and annoyance.

H2? Oh! New water-splitting technique pushes progress of green hydrogen

Dr. Ellen
Mushroom

Even with highly educated users - if I'd had another year as an undergrad, I might have died of a bad case of hydrogen. The liquid hydrogen bubble chamber at the Cambridge Electron Accelerator blew up right next to the beamline I was working at a year earlier.

Apple seeks damages from recycling firm that didn't damage its devices: 100,000 iThings 'resold' rather than broken up as expected

Dr. Ellen
Gimp

Bondage and Discipline

You will do as Apple tells you.

Microsoft? More like: My software goes off... Azure AD, Outlook, Office.com, Teams, Authenticator, etc block unlucky folks from logging in

Dr. Ellen
Happy

Home is where the data is.

I continue to feel smug over keeping all my programs and data right on this here computer. When my data goes pflui, it'll be something I did, not something some idiot in a computer center did.

Is today's AI yesterday's software routines with better PR? We argued over it, you voted on it. And the winner is...

Dr. Ellen
WTF?

The definitions of AI aren't very reliable yet

People say "if it can play chess, it's got to be intelligent." It plays chess. People decide that isn't real intelligence and propose another test AI must meet. At this point, the history of AI consists almost entirely of moving the goalposts.

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

Dr. Ellen
Boffin

More horizontal than an elevator -

I worked at a nuclear physics lab in the Sixties, where we had a CDC 3100 mainframe. The mains power was somewhat noisy, but the real problem was a door. It was intended to keep radiation out of the control room, and it was HEAVY - solid Ferrocrete about six feet thick. It ran on rails, and was driven by an electric motor, and every time we opened or closed the door the computer would complain bitterly. So the lab finally got a rotary converter - a motor/generator set with a decent amount of flywheelage. No matter what went into the motor, clean power came out of the generator, and everybody was happy.

First alligators, then dogs, now Basil Fawlty is trying to standardise social distancing measures

Dr. Ellen

Re: 1.1764705 Smoots

Smoots for the win. I find the British measure Fawlty.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?

Dr. Ellen

Re: Windows 10 worked out super-great for me

I would LOVE to be able to use Linux on my computer. I've tried the current versions of Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, and Zorin Linux, and not a one of them will work. Years ago, Zorin Linux worked. Then I tried a clean install of the next version, and -- nope. They all are asking for files that aren't on the distribution. And those files aren't easy to get to, without a working Linux.

As a consolation, I can use Raspbian on my Raspberry Pi, and it's based on Linux. Apparently they now have a version that can run on a PC. I'll try downloading it.

Frenchman scores €50k compensation for suffering 'bore-out' at work after bosses gave him 'menial' tasks

Dr. Ellen

Re: placardisation

I once worked for a museum that was given to the occasional Bloody Purge where they would -- release -- a third of the staff. We got a new director, whom nobody loved. He felt the same about us. Short story, they made me useless for about a year, then fired me for being useless. I remember keenly what I thought when I was given the news of my firing: "Oh wow, a vacation I don't have to come back from!"

A year later, I ran intp the girlfriend of one of the other people who had worked there. "They just fired him!" she said. "They made him useless for a year, and then just fired him."

I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, then told her: "That's just what he was saying about me, a year ago."

US Air Force wants to pit AI-powered drone against its dogfighting hotshots in battle of the skies next year

Dr. Ellen

Re: Which aircraft will the meat pilot use?

Other advantages of drones: the autopilot doesn't have to deal with pedestrians, stop signs, or white eighteen-wheelers.

Mortal wombat: 4 generations of women fight for their lives against murderous marsupial

Dr. Ellen
WTF?

Wombatnado

Long ago, I was told to collect the sounds of heartbeats for as many animals as possible. I took the electronic stethoscope and the tape recorder and went to the zoo, where I'd arranged to meet a cooperative zookeeper. Most animals were uncoooperative, but I got quite a few recordings. The two scariest animals I met were the ostrich -- and the wombat. Those beasts got claws.

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Watch out for that fifth dimension. Mr. Mxyzptlk lives there.

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

Dr. Ellen

Whatever you think of Trump - and the polls are split - there is one thing you cannot deny: he is NOT Hilary Clinton.

Dr. Ellen

Re: Screaming amounts of rampant twattery

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1903 was awarded to Niels Ryberg Finsen "in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science." -- nobelprize.org

Scientists are reporting development and successful initial testing of the first practical "smart" material that may supply the missing link in efforts to use in medicine a form of light that can penetrate four inches into the human body. Their report on the new polymer or plastic-like material, which has potential for use in diagnosing diseases and engineer new human tissues in the lab, appears in ACS' journal Macromolecules. -- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116143049.htm

Then there are the two people from Arizona who each took a teaspoon of fish tank cleaner -- which did indeed contain chloroquine phosphate. Even if that was all that was in the tank cleaner, a teaspoon of it would be a massive overdose almost certain to kill. Nobody can speak so clearly that an idiot can't make a Darwin Award of it.

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

"Orange Man Bad!"

I wasn't there. I don't know what Trump said. You read the papers. You don't know what Trump said. All we know for sure is that whatever Trump said, the media are going to trumpet (snrk) the worst possible interpretation of it.

Commit to Android codebase suggests Google may strong-arm phone makers into using 'seamless' partitioned updates

Dr. Ellen
Facepalm

Re: And how long will Google maintain/update versions ?

I'm still using 5.1.1 on my phone. For decades I've wanted a pocket computer, and now I have one! (The keyboard ain't so great, but I can live with it.) It works. Why should I change anything? Of course I usually keep it in airplane mode, and only turn it on when I want to make a phone call, or am expecting one. It's a great pocket reader, though, holds music, and kinda works as a camera.

Still using Win7, too, and Office 2003. They work. Life can be perilous out on the bleeding edge of technology -- if I don't need it, why should I buy it?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

Dr. Ellen
Angel

XT-286

I had a blind friend with a speech-output computer - an XT-286. (I don't know how many people have told me there is no such thing, but there was.) There was a special board that handled it all, and a special word-processing program that fed it. The manual (and the company that produced it, the program, and the board) were lost to the mists of time. I decided the easiest thing to do was simply to keep the thing running, and with the occasional part replacement it did. Worked for about thirty years, and in fact outlived the friend (may he rest in peace).

Life in plastic, with a classic: Polymer £20 notes released into wild sporting Turner art

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Offensive?

These notes contain tallow, and are therefore offensive to vegetarians, Hindus, and a whole other bunch of people. Why not do it thoroughly? Use pork fat. That way you can offend everybody.

Starliner snafu could've been worse: Software errors plague Boeing's Calamity Capsule

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

Re: Hmmm...

Boeing's problems are not all from management and/or software. What about the stray tools rattling around on the tankers they (try to) sell to the air force?

The problem is that the bosses and the workers don't live in the same building any more. Neither knows exactly what the other is doing.

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it

Dr. Ellen
Windows

Every Cloud has a silver lining

Yet another reason to stay with Windows 7 - Microsoft has stopped improving it.

If you really can't let go of Windows 7, Microsoft will keep things secure for another three years

Dr. Ellen
Holmes

Windows 7 unpatched is better than Windows 10 for security

Office 2010 is dying? I was using Office 07 until Windows 7 came along and I migrated to Office 2003. If it does the job, why throw it out? People kept sending me DOCX files though, so I switched to LibreOffice (which could read them).

HP printer small print says kit phones home data on whatever you print – and then some

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Re: polluting the well.

When they asked me that, I told them my name was Cash - Johnny Cash. Some of them put up quite a fuss over that.

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am

Dr. Ellen
Pint

Re: Coding under the influence

I'm rather dependent on thyroid meds, and find beer a useful calibration device. If I drink a beer and fall asleep, I'm under-stimulated. If I start running more smoothly, I was overstimulated. Helps me maintain an even keel.

When you play the game of Big Spendy Thrones, nobody wins – your crap chair just goes missing

Dr. Ellen

Re: "disk drives the size of top-loading washing machines"

The one I sat near to was not only the size of a washing machine, it vibrated like the load was uneven.

Like using the latest version of Microsoft Office? Love Offline Files? Not for long!

Dr. Ellen
Big Brother

LibreOffice. Just saying.

Boeing boss denies reports 737 Max safety systems weren't active

Dr. Ellen

I have never flown an airplane. However, I have operated a large bit of tech with a lot of control functions and alarms. Operators NEED a switch or button to shut up the alarms, because otherwise they can't even think, let alone solve the problems. It's not so bad when one alarm goes, but when there's a cascade of problems and a cascade of horns, buzzers, honkers, and god knows what ...

Server at web host 1&1 Ionos decides to take unscheduled day off, sinks a bunch of sites

Dr. Ellen
Paris Hilton

*Somebody* at 1&1 was available on the phone.

I'm sitting here in Minnesota, not having any trouble with my site. Used it for almost twenty years. But as an interesting sidebar, they telephoned me just last Tuesday trying to talk me into upgrading.

User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily... right?

Dr. Ellen
Paris Hilton

Re: Well if the US ships want the Chinese to keep out of the way

The worst single day I've ever had with teaching computer (I was the only computer-literate in the place) to a secretary. She had thoroughly absorbed the lesson of the typewriter: hit return at the end of the line. No amount of demonstrating, explaining, pleading, or exhorting did any good. I gave up in despair, and went away.

An hour or two later, I was called before the Director. I had made that secretary cry. I was later told by the other people in the office that she'd asked me because she was afraid to ask the director.

Welcome your new ancestor to the Homo family tree; boffins have discovered a new tiny species of human

Dr. Ellen
Headmaster

Yet another grammar nazi

"...one of the tenants of classifications..."

A tenant rents his or her abode or place of business. A tenet is a basic rule of the subject under discussion.

Aussie engineer accuses 'serial farter' supervisor of bullying, seeks $1.8m redress

Dr. Ellen
Headmaster

Re: There ARE classical references!

They were rounding off to the nearest century.

Dr. Ellen
Mushroom

There ARE classical references!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/66345/amazing-images-classic-japanese-fart-battles

"From Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1868), there’s He-Gassen, or, “the fart war.” This centuries-old scroll, dated to approximately the 1840s, depicts an epic battle of gas between booty-baring men and women on horseback and on foot. Even a cat gets caught up in the fray at one point. The powerful gusts of human wind depicted can break through boards and traverse wide battlefields."

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

Dr. Ellen
Happy

Shot-fire, I'm still using Office 2003 (when I'm not using LibreOffice). I'd still be using Office 97, but it doesn't play well with Win7.

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