* Posts by Whiskers

199 posts • joined 15 May 2014

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What a clock up: Brit TV-broadband giant Sky fails to pick up weekend's timezone change, fix due by Friday

Whiskers

Re: The Japanese had it all worked out

We can thank the ancient Babylonians for the 24 hour day currently in vogue.

In early mediaeval Europe daylight was divided into four 'tides'; there are still some sundials indicating these tides along with the 'canonical hours' for Christian prayers (which were timed on the basis of 12 daylight hours as used in the middle East). These tides or hours varied in length with the seasons (and latitude); fixed-length hours are a side-effect of mechanical clocks and a European inclination to let machines dictate behaviour rather than the other way round.

The French Revolutionaries tried to decimalise the day, but it didn't catch on (although Folkestone has staged a quiet local revival recently <https://www.creativefolkestone.org.uk/artists/ruth-ewan/>).

<reluctantly dismounts from hobby-horse>

Whiskers

Rooster-tiger

<plunders web for data>

Hmm. Seems I'm a Yang Metal Tiger, for what it's worth. I'll confess to the alleged character traits I like ...

Whiskers

I'm a night owl too; sometimes I am still awake at tomorow's dawn. I have been known to wait up for a crack-of-dawn airoplane departure time - far easier than trying to wake up early.

Whiskers

Perhaps we could go back to what some places did in the Good Old Days and start counting the hours from observed sunrise (&/or sunset). Local priests or government employees could visit every timepiece to adjust it - a particularly useful service if the hours were also required to vary in length with the seasons.

The Japanese had it all worked out <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_clock>.

Google's 'Be Evil' business transformation is complete: Time for the end game

Whiskers

Re: could have been

Some were tangerine :))

Whiskers

Re: Last paragraph

Ah; "Yes, Minister". Tricky chaps, words.

Whiskers

Re: Once upon a time...

We (humanity as a whole) got the web search and journalism etc services we deserved. Getting people to pay money for them just didn't work; "free" and "pretty" are too tempting.

Whiskers

Re: Last paragraph

Tried to respond to the quesstionaire, but got too angry at the loaded questions and gobbledegook to continue. Even if normal people were aware of it, how many would persevere to provide a complete response to what seems to me to be a deliberately skewed quesstionaire designed to generate responses the "researchers" want?

That's a common fault of "opinion polls" and so on, not only government-sponsored ones.

BOFH: You. Wouldn't. Put. A. Test. Machine. Into. Production. Without. Telling. Us.

Whiskers

Re: Testing 1 2 3

Portacabins? In my day we had Nissen huts.

Computer shuts down when foreman leaves the room: Ghost in the machine? Or an all-too-human bit of silliness?

Whiskers

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit? @Whiskers

I can only report what I saw, I was a child at the time so wouldn't have been aware of what wasn't visible. I agree that old insulation can't be depended on.

I've encountered some bad wiring since then, of course - including 13A ringmain sockets with no earth connection.

Whiskers

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

There were Y-shaped lamp socket adaptors so that you could plug your shaver/iron/toaster into one side and an incandescent bulb into the other. Or indeed have a 'tree' of Y adaptors plugged into each other and various appliances all running at once from the light socket ... I've seen it done, in an old house with no power sockets in the kitchen but one central light fitting. I associate the crackle of the electricity with the paraffin (kerosene) fumes from the room heater/stove.

Whiskers

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

Indubiitably! :))

Whiskers

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

My grandmother did that. Likewise the (1920s vintage) toaster. I suspect the wiring in that house was fairly rugged.

Whiskers

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

In the '60s we moved into a house in the UK with mixed 15A (each one individually wired to a big fuse board under the stairs) and 13A ring-main power sockets, plus 2A and 5A sockets wired to the lighting circuit in some rooms. I remember the 15A plugs had switches, whereas the 13A sockets had them - although some 13A plugs also had switches. The 2A and 5A sockets had no switches.

It was handy being able to move table and standard lamps to different places in the room and still control all the lights from the switch by the door. There were a couple of non-switching 5A sockets too, for powering wireless sets. And there were hard-wired electric clock connectors too, I had one for my alarm clock. We had a large box full of assorted adaptors and extension leads.

We also had a 'transformer' buzzing away all day and night, adapting the local 220V supply to the 240V used by the appliances we brought with us from the next county; that may have been a slick bit of salesmanship by the local electrician.

In the '70s I worked in a '50s office building where the lack of power sockets for calculators had been ameliorated by wiring a 5A socket for each desk as a spur from the nearest original 13A socket So workers then built their own 5A to 13A adaptors so that we could use the power warts our calculators needed - each one of which had to be checked by the house electrician, and given a sticky label, along with instructions to hide all such adaptors at night to stop the cleaners from plugging their machines into them.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends

Whiskers

Re: Human persychology fail

I think you have to be a cabinet minister

Whiskers

Re: Pointless

"We didn't pay for content before Facebook, Twitter and Google."

We most certainly did. In my family, it was a Sunday ritual to visit the newsagent to pay for the week's newspapers and magazines. Some people still do that, even though there are also "free newspapers". There is paid-for content on line too; many people seem to be happy to pay for their entertainment and other stuff.

tz database community up in arms over proposals to merge certain time zones

Whiskers

"What it is" is somewhat arbitrary, depending on how certain terms are defined mathematically, what assumptions and measurements are used to determine the actual shape of the planet and of its gravity field, how accurate those measurements actually are, how many of those things things change over time, ... once the axis of the original transit telescope is too far away to touch, it's remarkably difficult to describe precisely where it (or anything else) actually is with respect to anywhere else on the planet.

Whiskers

According to GPS, the actual physical meridian marked on the ground at the Greenwich observatory (and by a big laser beam too), is wrong by more than 100 yards.

Whiskers

A drawback to having a single time zone for the whole planet, such as Swatch Internet Time, is that the date and day of the week will change during the working day in many longitudes (about half as a rough estimate).

Imagine having to wait until tomorrow for lunch-time ...

Through the Looking Glass – holographic display hardware is great, but it's not enough

Whiskers

Re: Progress, of sorts

... or 50" TV ...

Virginia school board learns a hard lesson... and other stories

Whiskers

Re: DARPA have issued their request for information: to see if these problems can be solved,

Thunderbirds could do it. On a 405 line TV you couldn't even see the strings, sometimes.

Whiskers

Perhaps motorways could be re-purposed as ekranoplan tracks, after all the cars have been banned.

Elevating bork to a new level (if the touchscreen worked)

Whiskers

Re: Network missing AI

"Please enter the authentication code we have sent to your registered email address. You have ten minutes, starting from now ..."

This page has been deliberately left blank

Whiskers

Re: "We are still very keen to donate some of the proceeds to the cause"

... standard operating procedure for oligarchs and plutocrats since time immemorial

UK govt draws a blank over vaccine certification app – no really, the report is half-empty

Whiskers

Re: Here in the EU...

Aaah, Brexit ...

Whiskers

Re: Here in the EU...

The printed "NHS COVID Pass" I received the other day after applying via the NHS web site, doesn't seem to have an expiry date.

The barcode "Your unique reference use this to confirm your NHS COVID Pass" printed at the top of the letterhead is read by my smartphone as a meaningless 8 digit number (not resembling the long alpha-numeric code number printed below it).

Although it shows my name address and birth date, it doesn't reveal my NHS or NI numbers.

Wanted: Brexit grand fromage. £120k a year. Perks? Hmmmm…

Whiskers

Re: @codejunky

Yes. Both camps are equally to blame for the mess.

Whiskers

Brexit wasn't and isn't a continuing process, it was a once-only event that has happened and that's that. Its aftermath is of course ongoing, and that's what has to be handled now. Too bad there wasn't any real preparation in advance, or even proper negotiation of its terms.

Whiskers

Re: A Good Thing

At least he wouldn't rely on magic or miracles

Whiskers

Re: A Good Thing

For some reason, this discussion brought to my mind the once-famous government job of "President of the Board of Trade". Not something I've heard anything about for many years, but it would seem to be pretty much what's needed now; someone to guide and inspire and enable "Trade". Not "Brexit", that's history, nothing can be done about it now.

Whimsically, I referred to Wikipedia <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_Board_of_Trade> and found that not only does the job still exist, there's an incumbent. Someone called Elizabeth Truss, who's been in post for nearly 3 years. I wonder what she's been doing and is it her "thinking" that the successful applicant is expected to "change"?

Sold: €15k invisible sculpture that's a must-see for art lovers

Whiskers

upcoming "Fake or Fortune?"

I look forward to the episode of this BBC4 TV series where experts discuss whether ot not the intangible artwork is genuine (which so far in the series has effectively been defined as 'made by the/a person whose other works have fetched silly high prices', rather than the far more reasonable 'is it any good as art?), and what difference this makes to the estimated price it might fetch if the present owners ever try to sell it.

Will costly or rare intangible artworks be used as currency to launder the proceeds of intangible crime? Will cheap intangible works be sold in newsagents and gift shops?

First Forth, C and Python, now comp.lang.tcl latest Usenet programming forum nuked by Google Groups

Whiskers

Re: Ban Google

Some NNTP service providers do (or did) use filters to reduce spam, floods, and other nuisances - and they can of course remove the posting account of any of their users who generate enough complaints. Each admin of course has their own policies about such things.

Whiskers

Newsreaders

Claws Mail can handle usenet quite well, and is cross-platform, more or less (essentially a Linux program, but there's a fairly usable Windows port). There are Android apps too, although they have limitations and can produce posts that annoy because of faulty formatting.

Slrn and Gnus are probably the ones to go for if you use Linux and get serious about usenet.

I seem to remember Mac users have always been rather poorly provided with newsreaders.

Whiskers

Usenet Improvement Project

<http://twovoyagers.com/improve-usenet.org/> Founded by the late Blinky The Shark and preserved in his memory. There may now be some broken links.

Börk returns to its spiritual home of Sweden as duff disks take down Stockholm signage

Whiskers

HHGG

It's the Magratheans, or the mice. They need to switch the Earth off and start it again, to install the latest system upgrade.

It's wild the lengths Facebook engineers will go to find new ways to show you inane ads about tat: This time, AR...

Whiskers

Very handy

So I'll finally be able to control Lexx (or a baby Lexx) ... as will everyone else? <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexx>

Facebook and Australia do a deal: The Social Network™ will restore news down under and even start paying for it

Whiskers

Re: No free lunch

Peraps readers of news need to be reminded that someone has to pay for it. Not so long ago it was assumed that you'd pay for your newspaper - even if it did carry lots of paid-for advertisements too. Some publications still manage to survive on that model; some have modified it to get money from on-line readers instead, or as well. Some local printed newspapers in my neck of the woods get all their income from advertising (in imitation of commercial radio and TV stations) and are given away free of charge to readers - generating a mountain of waste paper. Any of those arrangements seems more realistic than hoping that Google or Facebook will voluntarily pay for anything if they don't have to.

Whoever pays for the news, gets to choose what is reported and how, of course. Do Google and Facebook users really trust those corporations that much?

Whiskers

No free lunch

Until this story came to my attention, it hadn't occurred to me that anyone could (let alone would) rely on Facebook for "news". Gossip and rumour, yes, and conversation, certainly. Given that they do, though, it seems only fair that the providers of that content should be reimbursed - and it's slightly shocking if they haven't been.

Pandemic? Check. World in peril? Check. CES is on? Check. So of course Bluetooth Smart Masks are now a thing

Whiskers

Re: @Version 1.0

... or something else for those obsolete/retired smartphones to do?

NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen

Whiskers

Re: Being in the NHS

'snuff o' that!

Whiskers

Integration with new asymptomatic testing service?

I had wondered if there was an update being installed, to take account of the new 'community' testing services being set up by local authorities <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asymptomatic-testing-to-be-rolled-out-across-the-country-starting-this-week> but I can't see anything about that in the app.

Is there any integration between the NHS Covid-19 app and these new tests? I had one the other day and got a negative result (Phew!) but there doesn't seem to be any way to log this in the app - unlike the tests for people with suspected symptoms that have been available by appointment for some months, for which the result notification includes a code number to be entered into the app. (The community testing centre didn't even have an NHS Covid-19 QR login code available).

What can the 1944 OSS manual teach us before we all return to sabotage the office?

Whiskers

Re: Which

I rather think we are at war with ourselves (whoever "we" are).

Whiskers

Re: passengers?

Calling them "passengers" implies the acceptance that at some stage, travel will be involved. "Customers" are merely applying for a service or goods; delivery is at best negotiable. ("Patrons" are even worse off; they are expected to pay, but delivery is largely a matter of chance).

Just let this sink in: Capita wins 12-year £1bn contract to provide training services to the Royal Navy and Marines

Whiskers

Re: Nostalgia

Although there's not much of the press left on Fleet St since they all moved out to Wapping and such places.

Whiskers

Nostalgia

> and also trying to resell the Royal Navy course to the "wider international defence market", as well as "identifying further revenue opportunities for the services" are also part of the consortium's remit. <

Sounds like the Good Old Days of Francis Drake et al; outsourced "defence", piracy, privateers, buccaneers, mercenaries. Press Gangs?

China, Russia and Iran all attacking US elections and using some nasty new tactics, says Microsoft

Whiskers

But how or why did those defective leaders come to be chosen and elected? Something unprecedented seems to have happened to voters in the US and UK

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Whiskers

Lead aprons

Anyone else remember the lead-lined aprons issued to 'Computer Operators' because of the (alledged) radiation from the cathode ray tube monitors? My company's health and safety people allowed their use to be optional unless the operator was pregnant. Most of the computer operators had peviously been short-hand typists now updated to using 'word processors' - big ugly things looking like the control station from Star Trek, with stacks of big floppy disks around.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

Whiskers

Re: Sorry to be technical

Ideally, the viscsity of the cream and the jam should be very similar, both requiring the use of two spoons, or a knife and spoon, to transfer them to the split (or the scone if that's what you've got).

Whiskers

Re: It doesn't matter..

Glad to see I'm not the only fan of the split :))

Whiskers

Splits

Growing up in Cornwall in the '50s, I came to prefer splits to scones. For a start, they hold more cream (and jam). Strawberry jam is OK, best if home-made from wild fruit, but blackberry jam or bramble jelly are best with clotted cream.

We used to have to fight the flies and wasps for the jam; whatever happened to all of them?

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