* Posts by Noram

12 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer


This brings bad memories.

This article brings back bad memories of a problem I spent weeks trying to solve back in the KA7/Slot Athlon era (I think it was, although it may ave been the K6-2?), back when certain configs of Via chipsets with AMD chips and Soundblaster cards could be an issue.

A friends machine kept crashing at random but mainly during or just after gaming (not surprising, he was a heavy gamer), it didn't matter what he was doing every now and then it would hard lock and require a full reset via the switch.

So I duly did all the patching, disconnected non essential hardware, checked the memory (and swapped it for spares), checked the drives, reinstalled windows (again), tried it without the sound card etc.

Over the space of about a month or more I must have stripped the machine down fully at least three times, reinstalled everything a couple of times and I couldn't get it to recreate the issue when I was working on it (I went as far as to sit the machine next to mine and use it for gaming for a couple of days), nor did I see it happen until one day I was at his house and it happened whilst I was setting up his email after an install, suddenly it struck me that the crash happened just as the mouse moved and pulled the cable a bit..

On a hunch I swap the mouse with mine (same model) and plug it into my home machine, and after a few days I have the same crash whilst answering an email.

It was an Intellimouse V3, and it had a bad conductor so every now and then it lost it's connection when moved, but because it was mainly happening in the fast movement's involved in gaming when the mouse cable was being jerked around it looked like a problem with the system mainly under the stress of gaming (overheating/graphics/sound driver etc).

Now this was was back before you had many USB slots so it was being used via it's PS2 adaptor, and the computer did not like that mouse suddenly dropping off when the computer was in use and froze, if it had been via the USB port it would just have disconnected and reconnected.

From memory that version of the mouse became a bit notorious for failing due to a lack of strain relief where the cable exited the mouse, I know I got through 2 replacements under warranty (having made sure to swap to the USB connection ;) ), and most of my gaming group who were using them ended up with at least one RMA replacement (MS were great with the CS for them).

Great mice, really poor design on that one part and I suspect it cost MS a fair chunk of cash, I know it cost me some grey hairs.

It taught me a valuable lesson - check everything, don't assume it's the problem that is commonly reported and don't discount anything.

The lesson about helping out friends and family with IT problems without suitable remuneration took a few years longer and didn't really set in until the day my brother turned up at 10pm at night with one of his friends to ask me to sort out a laptop issue, fortunately it was simple (text size changed) and I managed to remain calm, but afterwards I made it very clear I wasn't doing it again (I'd just gone to bed after a bad day when the door went so was really not amused to be answering the door for what I thought was an emergency to be ambushed into fixing some strangers machine in my PJ's).

Say GDP-aaaR: UK's Information Commissioner pours £275k fine into London pharmacy's teaspoon


Re: exposed to rain, doesn't mean they aren't readable

But is it mold/being nibbled by slugs, rats and insect proof, or even just the water causing pages to stick together.

I would tend to take "exposed to rain" to include the after effects of the exposure.

Deadly 737 Max jets no longer a Boeing concern – for now: Production suspended after biz runs out of parking space


They probably assumed the grounding would be over fairly quickly and they could get them back into the air. They wouldn't have wanted to stop production straight away as it takes months for them to get the planes built. so it's better for the bottom line to try and keep making them with an eye to quickly retrofitting any required changes and being able to deliver a large number in a very short period of time once they can fly again.

I suspect the reason they're stopping production soon is probably to do with space concerns at the factory, as there are only so many aircraft you can park up indefinitely before they get in the way of moving the aircraft that are allowed to fly out of the production hangers, and incoming parts deliveries, I think they were already using staff car parks for them months ago.

Someone has probably worked out they'll run out of storage space next month, or that they've already run out of space outside the production hangers and the ones under construction now can't be moved until they've cleared space...

Personally I still cannot believe they were allowed to put aircraft into civilian use that appear to have ignored safety lessons learned over the space of 50+ years in everything from basic aircraft handling to basic instrumentation safety, not to mention pilot training, as everything that seems to have gone wrong with the 737 max seems to be variations of things that caused crashes resulting in industry standards/requirements being changed in the past.

That time Windows got blindsided by a ball of plasma, 150 million kilometres away


Re: isopropyl alcohol?????

Having tried Detoll/Fairy Power spray etc, we found that Biostrip does basically as good a job (if not better), and it's safe to handle as long as you don't leave your hands in it for ages :)

From memory it's even good to use on resin, assuming you're not using failcast that's so soft/weak that physically handling it risks damage.

You dip the model in some, put it in a tub/bowl with some cling (to slow down how fast it dries), leave it for a few hours and then rinse and scrub with a toothbrush, preferably not your own.

As it's sold for stripping house paint it tends to go a very long way when used on models.

Get the smell out of here! Gaming tournament bans players who raise a literal stink


Re: Dont forget to

Oh god

I still have nightmares about the toilets at the early I series events, "highlights" included what appeared to be excrement in the sink, up the walls of the stalls, on the seats....

It amazes me how many people simply don't appear to care about what they're doing, or the effect they have on others in regards to basic hygiene.

Mine's the biohazard one with with the gas mask and rubber gloves in the pocket >

Car insurers recoil in horror from paying auto autos' speeding fines


Re: Terrorism

Richard Morden covers it quite well in the Metrozone series where London is basically full of driverless cars.

Yee-hacked! Fired Texan sysadmin goes rogue, trashes boot business

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We wrap our claws around latest pre-Build Windows 10 preview


I wonder if the Edge update fixes the inprivate not being private issue

I'm probably one of the few who has been reasonably happy with Windows 10 (it's an improvement over 8 and 8.1), but I have noticed that Edge has a problem with it's inprivate feature not working.

Namely it remembers URL's from previous inprivate sessions and shares them with the normal edge sessions. Not ideal for something that is meant to stop exactly that from happening (and yes the system is fully updated).

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?


Re: Not had a landline for 3-years

Jason, because they still have to pay BT for the landline at a guess if you've got your internet with Sky but not got the landline with anyone else (there is still line rental needed).

We've got what should be a great power system here (including what I think is the UK's biggest UPS in the town), but we still have power blips, and about 18 months ago a cut that lasted several hours.

This ignores the times builders have cut through the main power line to one side of the town or the other, or the time when a new housing estate was being built the builders cut through the underground line something like 3 times in a week (you'd have thought after the second time they'd be more careful).

Back on topic.

If BT do drop the requirement to supply POTS, the regulation had better change to include a requirement that they supply some form of battery backed up device to let you interface your phones with VOIP during a power cut (preferably with the ability to swap out the battery easily when it starts to age, or take standard batteries in case of a prolonged outage or failed internal battery)..

Our mobile reception varies a lot, and we're in the middle of a town.

Turbocharged quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 unleashed, global geekgasm likely


I nearly bought a B+ to play with a couple of weeks back, I strongly suspect I'll be buying one of these new ones very very soon :)

Sony reads the future, quits e-reader market says German report


This is sort of sad new for me, I'm not a great sony fan, but I've had one of their early e-readers since before the Kindle came out here (as has my father), and it's been wonderful and still is.

For one thing despite it being ancient by tech standards it still seems to have features that current Kindle's don't have in it's UI, and an easier/better UI.

I can see why the ereader market is in a degree of trouble, as unless you're selling the content as well, you can't really make a profit as the devices themselves seem to last a long time and there isn't really a pressing need to update your ereader every year or two in order to run new apps, unlike tablets or phones.

So with Amazon taking up a huge chunk of the market, and Kobo seemingly undercutting Sony on the hardware I can see why they'd be pulling out, as it's not going to be making them enough money on the hardware alone.

When I was looking at a new reader a few months back it was between the Kobo Aura HD and the T3 as they both had features that were "must have's" for me, and were not tied into the Amazon ecosystem (I like the kindle paperwhite, but it has annoying limits in it's cataloging system if you load your own content on, and the Aura HD has a slightly larger screen).

What I am surprised about with the ereader, and ereader accessory market is that no one has yet released either a reader, or just a case that has a solar cell, it should be entirely possible to make a reader/cover that can be largely charged simply by leaving it in the light, as the current generation of cells are pretty good, and the battery consumption of a reader is low enough that in standby (and probably even in use in good light on a beach), it should be possible to charge it from cells built into the cover/case.

Amazon woos dispute-stung Hachette scribes with 100% ROYALTIES


Re: Divide and conquer

I'm not 100% sure, but it would appear to be Amazon who are playing silly buggers with the authors (and their own customers).

This isn't the first time Amazon have used these sort of tactics, from memroy a few years back they did something similar with a lot of publishers, but kept the second hand sales of books by the authors going (showing their real colours in the argument, as the second hand sales see zero money going back to the authors, but a nice cut to Amazon).

I'm not a massive fan of the publishers, but they do a pretty valuable job for the authors (most of whom do not want to have to do things like edit, typeset, arrange PR, enforce their IP etc, when their speciality is actually writing*), but Amazon seem to be playing hardball trying to force everyone else in the industry to do what Amazon want under Amazon's conditions. Something that will only be bad for the rest of the industry, the other book sellers, the authors, and ultimately (and most selfishly) us, the consumer.

Ebooks save some costs for the people doing them, but most of the costs of a professional ebook are the same as for a professional paper book (with the addition of VAT as a cost for the purchaser),

*I would prefer my favourite authors to get on with writing, not having to spend much of their time running a publishing house (assuming the authors in question want to write).


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