* Posts by Notional Semidestructor

18 posts • joined 23 Feb 2014

Soylent adds coffee

Notional Semidestructor

Re: Legal position is interesting - is Chicken Little next?

Found the quote...

"...here's what makes this campaign great in my estimation - each sample of Coffiest contains three milligrams of a simple alkaloid. Nothing harmful. But definitely habit-forming. After ten weeks the customer is hooked for life. It would cost him at least five thousand dollars for a cure, so it's simpler for him to go right on drinking Coffiest - three cups with every meal and a pot beside his bed at night, just as it says on the jar."

Quotation from "The Space Merchants" by Frederik Pohl with C M Kornbluth, pub 1952

Have the blockheads at Soylent read this?

Are they indeed incorporating a suitable addictive alkaloid?

If not, why not? They are required to maximise stockholder value, are they not?

(pant) (pant)

The same novel allegedly coined the word "soyaburger", and "Chicken Little" was vat-grown meat.


Networking wonks say lousy planning, not DDOS, caused #Censusfail

Notional Semidestructor

Sad but true....

There seem to be so few in Government or among Government minions who can even craft a decent excuse nowadays, never mind doing a proper job....

So here's a few improved excuses to help them out:

"The dog ate my homework"

"A big boy did it and ran away"

"I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything"


@Oengus - is that you, Angus?

...we were taught the abbreviated variation: "Usually cockup rather than conspiracy"

John Lewis CIO commands brand-new super-group role

Notional Semidestructor

Hope it works out for JLP.

We use their Waitrose grocery delivery service, mostly.

It's a very good service indeed, but some numpty tends to fiddle with their web store site every so often, causing us varied problems when ordering. You really don't want that.

I tend to go all Victor Meldrew if the weekly shop goes titsup.

Concerned that this chap Coby may be implicated in these online problems we've seen.

The service from our local Waitrose store (which picks and delivers the groceries) is immaculate.

Problems are very rare, and are sorted out immediately.

Good people, one and all.

Disco, Pogs, and the Microsoft Surface 3

Notional Semidestructor

Re: Microsoft and hardware

Yes, MS keyboards have indeed been good - there was a time when their mahoosive contour-keyed thing was affordable, too. Still use one, and find the experience of a great (imho) MS product mildly hallucinogenic.

Once upon a time, the MS Joystick was a good choice - we used them for aircraft simulations that led to building real flying things in that era. Their advantages included good linearity, no dead spot or backlash, and excellent quality. They'd out-last all of the other high street offerings back then.

Then they stopped making/selling them! Seemed to drop out of the business, allegedly.

....aaand then they started selling joysticks again.

Whilst cosmetically similar, the new ones would fail (worn-out pots usually) in a few weeks of constant use, which happened rarely since they had so much backlash. Think I still have one in the attic...

CH Products joystick hardware became my favourite, but they are not cheap!

That was around ten-twelve years ago.

Around thirty years back the MS mouse was a pretty good item, I reckon. Still got the one that my employer provided at that time, and it was still working last time I looked.

So it is not mandatory for *all* MS hardware to suck!

But their software has been disappointing since EDTASM for the TRS-80 in the late '70s.

< s i g h >

Galileo satnav fleet grows an extra pair

Notional Semidestructor

Re: Love the video!

Amen! As a kid I was a proper space cadet thanks to Dan Dare, Patrick Moore and many others...

Be so good as to enjoy this beverage with me --------------------------------------------------------------------->>

Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

Notional Semidestructor

Re: Supply commitments? Cooling?

Tom7 said:

"Well they have gas fridges so why the hell not solar powered aircon? You could use the mirrors to shield the property too!"

Yes, Tom,

Solar refrigeration does work - bit clunky so far, but it works, and with R707 (or similar)...

see: http://www.energy-concepts.com/_pages/app_isaac_solar_ice_maker.htm

We have a historic kero-powered 'fridge in my shed - it contains beer.

Now, where's that big fresnel lens?

Chrome lives in dog years: It's seven years old but just turned 50

Notional Semidestructor

Works well on Flash sites, but...

Despite the convenience of baked-in Flash (can be handy in a Linux environment) we still have not moved to Chrome full time - other than on a couple of Chromebooks.

These we find handy for simple stuff, bits of browsing mostly - ideal for the TV guide and quick Wikipedia forays when settling arguments.

Dropping the 32-bit flavour of Chrome for Linux excludes it from a good number of machines in our posse.

Dog years, heh!

You know when you spill your drink but keep on dancing anyway? That's totally Intel right now

Notional Semidestructor

Stock markets are such fun!

In my experience "Market Makers" may be only minimally informed as to the nature of the companies in which they invest and their products/prospects.

Back in the days when Sinclair and Acorn were struggling and Amstrad were taking off big-time, the Amstrad stock price fell back, "Because it was a computer stock too", according to our broker, who questioned our decision to bet the farm on Alan Sugar and Amstrad.

That assessment was so obviously disconnected from the true market prospects that we did the deed promptly at a slightly lower price than expected - 67p per share, iirc.

We rode that bet all the way to the top, which made a massive difference to our family finances.

Suspect it's not that different today, although I do still try to explain tech stuff to people.

For some reason their faces usually glaze over in bewilderment, then the snoring starts.

I blame the parents, of course.


AVG to flog your web browsing, search history from mid-October

Notional Semidestructor

Re: Why on earth do people still expect decent software to be free?

@ Lars - Yes, and I feel it is only fair to contribute to any 'donation-ware' to the extent that one can - a few dollars to SpyBot and Adaware and others back in the days when I used them myself.

Nowadays I contribute irregularly to my Linux distro of choice, and send the odd dollar (or ten) to other software developers. It doesn't have to be a lot to make a real difference.

I'll give F-secure a go on the W10 Lenovo - thanks for that tip!

Notional Semidestructor

Re: Upset for the right reasons?

@AC, play nicely, now! ;)

We have not used MS ourselves since 2007, but my posse of friends/rellies took a while to move to Linux, which is fair enough, after all. The original posse has now converted to Linux and loves it, but..

Two new (Windows-based) posse members have arrived recently, and I have been using AVG and/or ClamWin in preference to the pretty appalling MSE ...


...plus Adaware, SpyBot and others as well as installing FireFox with uBlock, Flash blocked, Privacy Badger and anonymised search - DuckDuckGo, IxQuick etc.

This has seemingly done the job (verified via online scans & offline scan CDs), but it's pretty messy.

Looks like AVG is no longer an option.

I am no Windows guru, not any more, so I've felt the need to update my skills and bought a new Lenovo desktop from eBuyer for £120 with 'Win8 for Bing' installed.

Came with a couple of viruses pre-installed, before connecting to the web!

(Verified carefully, not FPs)

Running Clam from (eg) a Linux USB boot stick can be swifter and less hassle than running inside Windows - I do it overnight, usually - but can I trust my n00bs to do this? Hell no!

So my sympathy goes out to all those still stuck with MS, as I was for many years.

I'd appreciate pointers to the best solutions for Win 10 - we've successfully upgraded the Lenovo.

Notional Semidestructor

Re: sign of the times

@ Alan W. Rateliff, II

"... Of course, there is always Microsoft's Security Essentials for free anti-virus."

Heeeeheeeheehehehehe! (but you forgot the joke icon - fixed that for you!)

For your further entertainment:-

In 2013:


In 2015:


Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Notional Semidestructor


Thanks to El Reg, I too had 'registered an interest' in the Wileyfox Swift....

...had a nice automated email saying it would be on sale on the 22nd September. That's today.

So before breakfast I took a look - no buying options on the site. No explanatory emails lurking in my spam folder, nothing on TwitFace... Oh! Wait a bit!

Someone there has spotted it on Amazon.co.uk with a revised release date of 30th September.

...and here on El Reg, Branta has kindly informed us of that. So it must be true!

Still no purchasing option on the Wileyfox site, still no apologetic email. Oh well.

Now I know (first-hand) what a panic it can be getting products to market, but my feeling is that if they can't be arsed to update punters with money to spend, what chances will we have when we have spent it and want service/updates/whatever?

If we do end up buying one it will therefore be via Amazon, who (whatever other flaws they may have) does have a truly effective returns and refund procedure.

Bit disappointed, but I'll survive. Anybody know the details?

Mozilla makeover to boost Tor torque, capacity

Notional Semidestructor

Re: I thought it was spelled "recogniZe"!!!

You Sir, are clearly not of the English persuasion!

"recogniZe" being offered as correct implies that your spell-checker is set to the Revolting Colonial (or American) mode, and that it needs immediate correction to the English Language setting. ;)

Your pseudonym is suggestive of typical transatlantic dietary problems, so we'll forgive you, this once.

PS. Rather pleasing if the Tor function is indeed absorbed into Firefox. We have all sorts of chaps in our neighbourhood trying Tor, with friendly encouragement from this writer.

Vulture trails claw across Lenovo's touchy N20p Chromebook

Notional Semidestructor

Not that impressed with the Lenovo....

The CPU is the Intel N2833 - our recently-purchased bargain price Acer C720s have the 2955U - which (according to the benchmark sites) seems to offer some 50% more welly. Not that speedy, unless I'm missing something. Fanless is good, though.

Certainly the Acer is very snappy indeed, so maybe the 2833 is just good enough.

Paid around £100 less than this beast (at Morgan), so we're less than impressed with the Lenovo cpu spec, especially since dual-booting Linux is part of the plan for our Chromebooks.

Tried the Acer C720P touch screen version in a shop - didn't find the touch panel added that much for our use case, although I'd enjoy playing with it as a zero-cost option. Probably not for long, though - I hate a smeary screen.

Linux desktops can work well with touch screen machines - we have an ancient IX250 laptop-with-touchscreen (P3 CPU @ 350MHz, 256MB RAM) working just fine, as well as a similarly-powered (and similarly ancient) Research Machines Tablet which came with XP Tablet Edition, now dual booting Linux.

You can't open 26 browser tabs at once wth 256 MB RAM, but otherwise they're surprisingly usable.

'Bodhi Linux' has a special build for the Acer 720 so we plan to try dual-booting it, and then add more storage if it works as well as it seems to on other peoples machines.

Acer cranks Chromebooks with Core i3 models

Notional Semidestructor

Bodhi is a good choice imho

+1 to Eddy Ito - I'm saving up for a Chromebook, with the intention of installing Bodhi on it.

Chrome OS itself looks to be a reasonable choice for the perennial n00bs among our family & friends, whose diseased Win machines consume far too much of my time.

Bodhi-on-Chromebook info here:-


We like Bodhi - it runs amazingly well on a P3 clocking at 350MHz (P3-700) and can do useful surfing with a mere 256MB RAM installed. No, it can't open 127 tabs in Firefox, but it surfs OK and works fine so long as one respects its limitations.

Built lots of these (mostly using ancient Itronix solid metal laptops with 800x600 touchscreen) for the grandkids.

Bodhi Linux doesn't appeal to everybody - bit like Marmite or Gentleman's Relish - but it does do a good job and is remarkably light on resources, even with bling.

Trouble is that they keep releasing new Chromebooks that keep me saving up for the latest stuff, and the more costly 13 to 14 inch size is appealing. <sigh>

HP reveals Apple-powered Android 'SlateBook'

Notional Semidestructor

Linux is probably the best option...

@Number6 - good point.

Were you aware that Bodhi Linux does a spin targeted at the existing Chromebooks?

Works well imho.

Lead Bodhi developer jeff discusses his hardware here:



We've been big fans of Bodhi since 1.0 - some of our hardware is over ten yours old but it still responds crisply. Yes, it's different, but we like that.


Real, hovering SPEEDER BIKE can be YOURS for cheaper than a house

Notional Semidestructor

Pathetically slow, seriously low, and control probably has 'issues'...

We all know the way this works.

Something revolutionary is proposed.

An intuitive mechanic fangles something that kinda works.

He makes a few assumptions with help from friends and a few beers.

...and this is what you get.


Why so negative?

Been there, done that, and it don't really work that way. Sadly.

Tilting a vehicle with its entire rotor system for speed has severe limitations, particularly with efficiency.

1) A Hover bike? Nope.

I travelled at over 90 MPH on an F1 hovercraft of my own design in the early '80s.

Others took their customer craft over 100 MPH.

it weighed less, cost a whole lot less, and won chamionships. It also flew higher, on occasion.

This sad thing would hardly catch a cold, never mind any racing hovercraft - or motorbike.

2) Have you noticed how much money these shade tree projects need? Ah, right.

Wish it did work well. But....

At least it looks good.

Project Tango: Google's all-ringing, all-dancing 3D-sensing smartphone

Notional Semidestructor

Johnny Lee, also famous for...

...his wonderful TED talk back in 2008, using the Wii remote to do incredible things in 3D.

He posted all the relevant info online, iirc.

Very smart guy, Johnny Lee.



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