* Posts by Noram

48 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jul 2014

Computer sprinkled with exotic chemicals produced super-problems, not super-powers

Noram

Re: Architects

A friend worked in a uni.

His opinion of the "wonderful new buildings" would probably put the reg at odds with the obscene publications act.

IIRC it won an award or something for design, but basically none of the special features ever worked properly (many were custom parts so once something died it couldn't be repaired or replaced), and it was actually worse than the "outdated" building it replaced that didn't look pretty and wasn't "green"*, and had actually been designed by people who talked to the departments who were going to be using it, and listened to them!

IIRC one of the features was that it was meant to regulate it's own temperature automatically with minimal energy input, but the system never quite worked.

SpaceX set to literally rock Florida with more and bigger Starship launches

Noram

Re: No EA yet.

I suspect NASA might prefer "not so rapid prototype testing" if it means there is less chance of it destroying their facilities, especially if as has been said those facilities have historical significance.

I'm sure if Space-X really dislike the conditions of use they can find somewhere else where the local governor can be persuaded to let them build a facility where they can destroy stuff near the site thinking they know better than the people that did the testing for the forces involved multiple times in the past.

From memory the launch pad in Texas they destroyed was basically known to not be up to the job with the forces involved because both the Russian and Americans had done studies and worked the maths and materials going back to the 60's, and Musk's idea was nothing new for the pad design and construction, and if you're building rockets with a view that it's ok for them to blow up on a regular basis, you probably should understand that the people that own the facilities you want to launch from might not be happy with that idea if it means risking their facilities..

Transport watchdog's patience wears thin as Tesla Autopilot remedies may not be enough

Noram

Re: Simple Test

And he has to do it with a randomly chosen example for every hardware revision of every model, under varying lighting conditions including with the car heading towards the sun when it's low.

And then redo it with every software update that affects the system

I like the idea of the snake oil salesman proving he trusts it, but I don't trust him to actually do it under conditions we know the Tesla's have issues with*, and with a vehicle that hasn't been specifically chosen for the task and made sure it's working correctly.

*I seem to remember the Tesla cameras have issues with the sun being "wrong" and the tesla fans saying "well humans get dazzled as well", ignoring the fact that humans can adjust the position of their head/eyes and do things like drop the sunshade, and will typically slow down if dazzled.

I can fix this PC, boss, but I’ll need to play games for hours to do it

Noram

Re: Games

The memories.

My experience of an Apricot was the fun of the Ram upgrade (basically strip half the internal chassis out to fit the add on board over the existing ram), and bodging it to let me hook a cheap CD-rom drive up externally.

That and the MFM or RLL drive it came with that didn't like it being too cold or too hot, so I had to place the machine in just the right place in the living room in the winter, too close to the window and it wouldn't boot, too close to the fire and it wouldn't boot, but there was a sweet spot where it was reliable. It also taught me to never trust a hard drive and make sure I always had backups on multiple media ;)

On the plus side it let me experiment and taught me not to fear working inside a computer, so much so that the auction bought 486 I picked up for a friend didn't worry me when I saw an DX4 chip for a fiver and went to install it (no manual, but the motherboard had the settings screen printed).

Wing Commander III changed how the copy hotkey works in Windows 95

Noram

Re: Multi-CD hell

I remember those, I seem to remember that WC3 wasn't too bad in terms of swapping between discs unnecessarily, but I remember FF7 (which from memory was basically a single game emulator of the PS game) seemed to need to have the disc swapped practically every time you changed location.

I remember getting a second copy of Baldurs Gate when I bought a DVD drive, purely because I could get the DVD version cheap and it meant I didn't have to do the disc shuffle.

It was an odd time, there were games that you basically just used the disc to install and do the initial game start up from, then could pop in a music disc and use the games CD player, and at the other extreme games where you due to fmv etc you had to constantly swap them (and even the likes of Warcraft 3 where you used one disc to "spawn" 2 disc free clients for network play).

Some smart meters won't be smart at all once 2/3G networks mothballed

Noram

From memory non metered water bills are based on the rateable value of the property pre council tax.

So a large property that was high rates in the 80's is assumed to use a massive amount of water (as a high rate house could be 8 bedrooms in a bad area at the time, or on the other side of town in a better area 4 bedrooms and a nice garden).

Britain enters period of mourning as Greggs unable to process payments

Noram

Re: A Suggestion Or Two......................

Re the imprint machines.

Maybe ten to twelve years ago (at most) a new Boots opticians opened up in my town, about 18 months later a friend went in and got a new prescription and glasses, apparently the card system was down and they don't take cash, but the older assistant went rummaging through the storeroom and came out with a what was by all accounts a brand new imprint machine in it's wrapper and showed the young assistant who'd never seen one in use (I'm sure doctors, police and shop assistants get younger every year) how to process a payment with the paper system. My friend was most amused by the youngster's reaction to something that he had seen introduced and used for decades.

So by the sounds of it the system was still usable as a backup and being supplied to at least some stores as recently as something like 2010-2012.

Of course now that more and more cards don't have the embossed numbers etc on them this is no longer an option, even if the banks/card processors did still accept them.

I always try to keep some physical cash in my wallet, if just because at times i've been the only one in a taxi with cash when the driver's card reader wasn't working or whatever, and I've seen the chaos that happens in a large Tesco when the internet line they used for payment processing was down (pretty much every isle had abandoned trolleys, despite there being 3 cash machines just outside the doors that were still functioning and obviously on their own connection).

The end of classic Outlook for Windows is coming. Are you ready?

Noram

Re: I need classic outlook

I'm still trying to find an email client that lets me import from windows mail, and keep the 20 years of pop3 emails from that.

I like the ability to keep copies of my old emails, and access them even if offline or the ISP etc goes wrong.

I've been using Outlook for a few months and loath it for my usage compared to Live Mail etc, for one thing it doesn't default to letting me see the email from all my accounts at once, instead I have to remember to go through a dozen different tabs.

OpenAI goes public with Musk emails, claiming he backed for-profit plans

Noram

Re: Musk OpenAI and Microsoft

If the emails were relevant to the law suit, which the contents would appear to suggest they definitely are, then Musk was utterly stupid to try and sue with the claims he made, at least if he didn't want them public as discovery would have brought them up, and Open AI would have filed them as part of the defence with the result they would have been on part of the public record of the case.

In short it sounds like Musk forgot that those emails would have been part of a valid defence against his claims.

Twitter's ex-CEO, CFO, and managers sue Elon Musk for $128M

Noram

I've looked at a few of his cars, and a friend put it really well.

"They've got worse build quality than a ******* Kia Rio."

It amazes me how many people will spend 40k on a car with panel, paint and trim issues that make 2003 Kia Rio look good.

The aforementioned friend had one from new, it lasted him something like 10 years without any major issue, not bad for a car that apparently cost him under 7k (it was really basic, but it was put together properly which doesn't seem to be the case with Tesla's).

Post Office boss unable to say when biz knew Horizon could be remotely altered

Noram

Re: As an ex-Sr. Director of a software company...I'm apalled!

Some of those postmasters were calling the helpline hundreds of times each, with calls going in on days when they could see a problem at the end of the day/week.

This wasn't some "rare" bug, it was happening hundreds/thousands of times for a lot of the victims, and there were hundreds of victims.

If the post office/fujitsu couldn't work out a problem with the transactions from a single terminal over a set date, and that it had been happening repeatedly then they really were worse than you can imagine, or they just didn't care.

Especially as there were times when the the subpostmasters were on the line to the "help desk", following instructions and it went wrong again whilst they were on the line, meaning there was not only a known issue, but the call centre had the exact time, date, terminal user (and terminal), and transaction as a pointer to the problem. If they couldn't start working out the issue from that information then they really didn't care.

If they'd just bothered following up one of those cases, and actually fixing the problem there wouldn't have been hundreds of people (and their families) with ruined lives over this.

The Hobbes OS/2 Archive logs off permanently in April

Noram

The archive.org stuff would still be, but it may not have everything unfortunately as I believe they don't routinely "mirror" full sites, especially ones with a lot of data due to the cost and complexity.

I'd hope they update to as complete a mirror as possible, or another organisation can get permission to run a full mirror.

‘I needed antihistamine tablets every time I opened the computers’

Noram

One of my friends currently has his younger brother living with him.

The younger brother vapes and has one of the really heavy duty "custom" things that is more like a low quality smoke machine than a vape.

He's adamant that it doesn't put out anything unpleasant, the coating on the walls, glass, mirrors and screens tends to disagree. IIRC the base material for the vapes is is similar to a very watery jelly (glycerine?) and once it cools and settles out of the "vapour" you're left with a thin, but increasing thickness of it on every surface that attracts dust.

I had to sort out one of his computers a while back (about 6 months after the brother had moved in), and it gave me flashbacks to when I used to fix computers for my dad and a couple of friends who smoked, it was a very similar tacky sensation with the thick blocks of dust.

Noram

Re: These stories are crazy

That sounds like something was renovated/moved around and no one was willing to pay (or deal with the disruption) to potentially reroute a load of cabling to another location that might have been a long way off.

The description reminds me of some of the unit's i've seen in warehouse retailers, where they've had an island with POS/information kiosks and then a decorative duct/pillar going up with all the cabling in it (if you looked about 8 foot up you'd see the "pillar" end in a frame with the cabling etc), but for whatever reason they didn't bother with that part, probably because it would have "looked wrong" or someone didn't want to pay to run it up high enough/run the cabling through one.

Never underestimate how manglement and accountants can look at two options and decide the one that is cheaper in the short term but has the most potential for things going badly wrong (and costing far more) is the one to go with.

Or how many designers and even techs will decide to do something without taking into account human nature, or where it's going to be placed.

How hard is your network really, comms watchdog asks telcos

Noram

Re: Yes but no but

Given the likes of VM are shutting off their POTS (I had to move over to a dongle on the modem last week*), and offer to supply an "emergency handset" if you're "vulnerable" I would very much have hoped that the system to have your mobile automatically work with any tower without any additoonal cost to you would have been in place already.

Related to this is the fact that the mobile companies are determined to get everyone onto expensive contracts, evne if they just want "PAYG"

A friend who has an old PAYG sim that he was very careful to keep in credit for his mobile he mainly uses for emergencies/taxis (he's disabled, on a limited budget and basically suck in the house) was furious that his phone provider apparently cancelled the sim without any warning to him, no message about "you need to make a call in the next week" or "you need to top up again in the next week to retain functionality" the first he knew was when he tried to buy something and didn't get the code SMS from his bank and someone not being able to contact him via his phone mentioning it in an email.

In his case he rang up and after a discussion and the call handler talking to a manager they reactivated the sim on the old number but without any credit.

I've since found the emergency phone I bought for my dad has done the same thing because he didn't use it for a couple of months, so the loss of physical landlines if there is a power cut means that unless you're on a contract phone there is a very good chance your occasional use mobile is going to be worthless when you need it most.

*The "Instructions" supplied made it seem like you needed to call them if you had a simple double adaptor for your phone.

BOFH: Just because we've had record revenues doesn't mean you get a Xmas bonus

Noram

Re: In the glorious past

The problem with canning the bean counters is that you really need access to some specialist food production equipment, or some 55 gallon drums and a printer that can do very large labels.

On the plus side, you can sell the tinned mystery meat for pig food to top up the bonus.

BOFH: Monitor mount moans end in Beancounter beatdown

Noram

Re: Sounds vaguely familiar...

Yup A bit like anything with a pattern.

The size of panel probably didn't change, the ability to get them in the same style, or there was a change in the regulations that mean they can't make them in the same manner any more so new ones might be the same general style but look different.

You get the same thing with carpet tiles, and wall tiles, always buy plenty of spares as the chances are if you need to replace some a few years down the line they won't match even if you can find "the same" ones.

Millions of smart meters will brick it when 2G and 3G turns off

Noram

Re: Imagine the meetings

II was thinking that, my meters have a third little box wired to them with IIRC a WAN and HN or something light, one obviously for the suppliers network and the other for the "in home display" device.

Possibly because both the gas and leccy were with BG and from memory fitted at the same time (I can't remember if we had one guy, or two working as a team, I think they were doing several nearby on the same day).

Meet Honda's latest electric vehicle: A rideable suitcase

Noram

A modern moto compo?

My first thought upon seeing this is that it's basically the modern moto compo, which was a small folding scooter designed to fit in the back of some of their smaller cars.

IIRC Tokyo police used them for traffic officers working in the city as they could have one officer staying near the car and another roaming around on the scooter issuing tickets/going down side streets.

Hold the Moon – NASA's buildings are crumbling amid 200-year upgrade cycles

Noram

Re: Pretty sure NASA's budget...

IIRC it's also the case that the cost of building upkeep is or was born entirely by projects that used them, with the result that if say the main assembly hall was only being used for the Shuttle program one year, and that year only two flights were planned, then the entirety of it's maintenance work (planned or otherwise) had to come out of the Shuttle program, so if it needed a new roof for it to remain usable it had to be paid out of the budget for those flights

And there were apparently years when the Shuttle program was covering the cost of pretty much all of NASA's bigger building at some facilities.

It's one of the main reasons that the Shuttle program was often so expensive per launch, it had to cover the cost of every bit of infrastructure it used even if only for a few weeks a year if it couldn't be shared out with other projects.

Basically IIRC NASA never got a proper baseline "facilities" budget as such from Congress, it was always taken out of whatever projects they were working on, so for the moon launch they got all the money to build everything needed, but since then the cost of maintaining them has been down to what they could pull out of the budget for other things usually based on what was going to use it. Hence if only Shuttle flights were using something like the Main Assembly Building they got all the costs associated with it.

There is a blog by one of the old NASA guys, who I think retired at some point after reaching the level of Flight Director (or higher), which does a really good job of explaining various bits about the space program, and in one of the entries where he's talking about why the Shuttle missions cost so much per flight he explains a bit about how NASA's funding works.

Author discovers fake, likely AI-generated books written under her name

Noram

Re: Keyboard Sounds

I'm fairly sure they did this "we can tell what you're typing by the sound of the keyboard" at least 10-15 years ago, i guess it's another case of "AI" meaning "we're doing something that's been done before, but adding a new buzzword to it".

IIRC the old one listened to the sound and basically ran the unique sounds through a program that matched the pattern to words after you'd got an hour or so of material and then could do it in real time. I think you had to have a different "learned" set for each user and keyboard.

Nobody does DR tests to survive lightning striking twice

Noram

My memory may be playing up, but from what is surfacing I think the old adage about lightning never striking the same place twice is quite wrong, when lightning strikes it ionises the air and actually makes it easier (thus more likely) that you'll get another hit in roughly the same area.

I'm fairly sure there is/has been research into how to utilise that to direct more lighting to where you want it hitting thus building a better lightning rod by effectively creating that ionised pathway through the air before the first natural strike.

Millions of Gigabyte PC motherboards backdoored? What's the actual score?

Noram

Re: You missed a question.

I would have suggested the use of a roll of cheap carped and a couple of bags of quicklime to be a suitable option for the offender, if not for the first offence, then for the second. Very few third offences.

Cheapest, oldest, slowest part fixed very modern Mac

Noram

He obviously knew the score when it came to USB

If you have a fan, and want this company to stay in business, bring it to IT now

Noram

Re: air CON

From memory the human body doesn't detect lack of oxygen, it detects raised CO2 levels via a nerve bundle in the airway, hence why things like lack of pressurisation in an aircraft can be such a killer, you're suffering from a lack of usable oxygen but the body doesn't recognise that and because it's low air pressure (with not enough O2 in it) your bodies normal warning system doesn't kick in.

It's the same reason that you need specialist monitors if you're working in certain storage areas, or underground, your body simply doesn't register O2 levels and unless it's an increase of CO2 you might not get any warning from your bodies lack of oxygen (IIRC one of the reasons climbers are advised/meant to watch each other, and above a certain height moves more slowly to allow for that lower oxygen level).

As a couple of the other commentators have said, you put out more than about 4% co2 in your breath, in many modern buildings that are designed to be "energy efficient" one of the ways they do it is to make the building more air tight, so if you increase the number of people in it, or in rooms that don't have adequate ventilation you get a raised CO2 level that can be noticed.

You can buy the monitors these days quite cheaply*, and since Coivd people have been using them as a simple way to measure ventilation (if the co2 level is rising it tends to indicate poor airflow), and people are finding that in some buildings you're getting co2 levels hitting 3-4000 parts per million, so approaching 10 times the normal levels (o2 levels might not be dropping dangerously low, but you're going to notice that it's "stuffy" and when you go outside how much better it is).

I've seen several people note that just getting into an aircraft can see the CO2 level hit 2-3 times normal almost instantly, and if it's parked up waiting to move (with the ac etc off, as they are like to do to save money on fuel) it's hitting 3,500 parts per million or more before settling down again once they're in the air to maybe just 3-4 times normal atmospheric levels.

*I've seen some really cheap ones for about ~£30 that apparently work quite well, and one that seems to be highly regarded and very portable for about £200 (which I think can log to a smartphone app).and seems to be a favourite of various scientists for their own personal use (apparently it agrees with their lab gear, but has a much shorter life)..

UK's largest water company investigates datacenters' use as drought hits

Noram

Re: Water companies have leaky pipes because Ofwat requires them to

Just up the road from me is a fairly steep hill, and every few months it has a nice little stream running down it.

At one point the water company seemed to be doing repairs on the same section almost constantly, god knows how much it cost them to do it as every time it took several days, caused a lot of disruption for the people living on the street.

It seemed to get better when from memory they replaced the main feed pipe with a new plastic one, but i've noticed a couple of leaks in the last few months, my guess is they finally replaced the main pipe with a modern plastic one, but not the old metal spurs.

It probably doesn't help that there is a fair bit of heavy traffic using the road (despite it not really being suitable) as it's the only way to reach several streets, and when I peered into one of the holes a while back it seemed the pipework was a lot closer to the surface than I expected.

Mind you at least it's not gas, we used to be getting the gas board out every couple of weeks at the end of our street where there was a small bridge, they'd turn out take a sniff (or use a sniffer) and say "nah it's fine", until they'd managed to turn up when it wasn't windy and I believe the response was "oh **** get the digger Bill" and ask why no one had reported it sooner...

IIRC the leak was in a bit of pipe under the bridge, which meant if it was at all windy it was funnelled away, but if it wasn't you could mainly smell it some distance off for some reason (looking back we always smelt it on a patch of grass, so possibly spreading/contained under the road/pavement until it hit the more porous soil and was able to reach the air in greater concentrations).

Japan reverses course on post-Fukushima nuclear ban

Noram

Re: Wind and solar

They may well be doing that as well.

But, and this is important, both solar and wind still suffer from the fact you need either massive amounts of over provision over a very large geographical area to ensure you maintain power, or you need a lot of power storage, or both.

Having fitted panels and batteries to my gaff it's interesting to see how I can go from 5kw of production to under 500 watts in the space of five minutes and how much the battery is being used to smooth that out.

Whilst if you spread out the panels enough you could in theory smooth that out a lot, without huge amounts of battery storage the grid would likely become very unpredictable in terms of power being sent from one region to another. So spreading the solar/wind production out a lot may in theory solve the "generate a minimum" issue without batteries, but at the same time introduce a whole lot of other, new problems in regards to balancing of the load across the county.

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*

Noram

Clown car horn

I'd say a clown car horn with the speed of the honks corresponding to the speed of the scooter.

A lightbulb moment comes too late to save a mainframe engineer's blushes

Noram

Re: It can take a remarkably long time to notice that the alert mailer has stopped working.

I can quite imagine that being true, I've heard something similar about pilots and aircraft engineers who might notice something is wrong even when asleep in the rest area (long haul) because they're so used to how the aircraft sounds/feels that when something changes it hits the unconscious brain and starts screaming.

I used to sleep with a quiet computer in the room, and I would always wake up if there was a power cut because the nice reassuring white noise from the case fans would stop, it would invariably take me a few seconds to work out why.

I suspect there is some deep primal instinct that meant our ancestors would notice the lack of wildlife noise as a warning something (or someone) had caused the local animals to try not to be noticed, those that didn't wake up then possibly never did again.

D'oh! Misplaced chair shuts down nuclear plant in Taiwan

Noram

Re: system was running at 6-10 per cent of operating reserve ratio.

Our one usually only takes a minute or two to reboot if we do it manually.

I suspect if it's taking 15 minutes there are probably a load of other modems doing it at the same time (which would be about right if it's rebooting due to a power glitch), thus causing a bit of a jam in the system as potentially hundreds/thousands try to do their checks and authentication.

There might also be a delay if the local street boxes are also attempting to restart as I don't think VM/ntl/BY were very good at maintaining the back up batteries.

ICO survey on data flouters: 50% say they receive more unwanted calls than before pandemic

Noram

Re: Someone's personal data is being misused

IIRC it being for your physical address is enough reasonable excuse, as is opening it to see who to send it back to.

The law is from memory primarily there to prevent interception in transit, so you steal post from a van an open it looking for cash etc you get done for a specific offence (even if you find nothing), but you opening something that came through your door is fine, especially if you can see it might be fraud being committed using your address or need to know who to return it to.

Brit firm fined £200k for banging on about missold PPI in 11.4 million nuisance calls

Noram

Re: There should be an app for that.

I think Android already does something similar automatically as people report spam calls, the issue is that the spammers just spoof numbers so they can change it every few hundred calls (or every call if they wanted).

I've had calls from Indian/Pakistani call centres that have shown as local numbers on my phone which completely defeats the likes of "Trucall" unless you're willing to only allow whitelisted numbers through (which then stops things like the GP/Hospital/local store calling legitimately).

What I want, and is unlikely to happen, is for ALL the UK telecoms providers to work together to sort out a "spam" company list and stop the use of spoofed numbers where the telecoms companies at the end point can't necessarily see who is calling.

That way you could get rid of most of the spam regardless of where it originates in the same way email blocks do, and make it so that there are repercussions for the companies that provide these spammers with their connectivity in much the same way that "bad hosts" gets blacklisted if they keep allowing spammers to use their services.

Noram

I used to fill in the form on a regular basis.

The problem as has been said is that the companies spoof their caller id (which the form asks for), use different names when you ask who they are initially unless you spend a lot more than a couple of minutes on the phone (which given they tend to call when I'm in bed/exhausted is not going to happen), and then on the rare occasion that the commissioner takes action the fine is tiny and rarely stops them from just starting up under a different name.

Make the senior staff all personally responsible, ban them from ever working in the telecoms, legal or financial professions again and make it a criminal offence for repeat offenders and it may actually get some teeth.

I've commented a few times on various places that the only positive from Covid is that last year the number of these calls I had dropped through the floor for a while, oddly enough about the same time the UK call centres were shut down/limited to essential services.

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?

Noram

Re: 'Delegation'

Going back many, many years (before mobiles) we had to do that at the local library when my mother and sister got stuck in their lift.

The firemen arrived very quickly, although to be honest I don't think they needed to bother with the appliance given the entrance to the fire station was just across the road.

The total distance from the station garage to the lift was about 10 fire engines, but as you say they got to put the flashing lights on :p

No breaking things though, I was rather disappointed at the time that they just had a large key and a crowbar to unlock the lift door and force it open the first inch of so to allow them to get their hands in and pull it open the rest of the way.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

Noram

Re: The Agony and No Ecstasy

I've pulled my back picking up the junk mail that went through the letter box...That didn't endear the local takeaways to me that day :p

It seems these days I pull it badly at least once a year, usually doing something "light".

Re the wheelchairs, the old classic (first gen) Corsa was always a surprise in that it fitted a wheelchair (big rear wheel type ) fine, and I suspect did well on Motability because of that, as if you took the parcel shelf out the bulbous boot window allowed the wheelchair to go in it standing up meaning it was easy to get in and out (open boot, lift wheelchair, step back, lower it then unfold seat).

It was also IIRC no upfront payment, and the diesel could pull a trailer from MK to Minehead/Taunton and back on a single tank. My father had one and would put a mobility scooter (one of those huge "noddy car" types that took wheels from a mini) in the trailer, the wheelchair in the boot and go down that way for a holiday and come back with some fuel left.

For modern affordable cars that take wheelchairs the likes of the Kia's tend to do fairly well, the issue seems to be many manufacturers don't like giving a decent boot on their cheaper models.

I had a 2003 Rio (extremely basic) from new that cost ~£7k and took my mum's wheelchair and ran until I gave it to my sister at about year 10, she stopped doing any servicing/checks other than yearly oil, and it lasted until year 15. It probably would have lasted longer but the labour cost to fix an issue was too much. You could even put a Shoprider Sovereign scooter in the boot, but you had to pack it in like tetris.

I may have spent more time than I like looking at cheap cars that take wheelchairs in the past (and working out the risks and costs of buying new vs second hand, vs mobility lease).

Valheim: How the heck has more 'indie shovelware with PS2 graphics' sold 4 million copies in a matter of weeks?

Noram

Re: No mention of Ark Surviva Evolvedl?

Your comments about Ark are so spot on.

My clan loved playing it when we started out on a nice "PVP enabled" server, which was relatively quiet due to things like log of who'd destroyed property.

Then they removed that log so the griefers could break into your base and kill all your dino's without any repercussions,

Then they did the cross server transfers which combined with the bugs meant a reasonably well organised group could drop into a server in the small hours of the morning and destroy hundreds of hours of work by each of dozens or hundreds of players and wipe everything before heading off to another server.

It was a fun few months but it killed the game for us.

We're looking at Valheim with an expectation to start playing it together in the near future, but waiting until it gets a bit further along, 3 of us have bought it so far to be ready for it..

The wastepaper basket is on the other side of the office – that must be why they put all these slots in the computer

Noram

Re: Fire

Abit motherboards from memory were especially affected, I had a KA7 which failed and when I looked pretty much all the large capacitors were bulging or leaking.

I also had some 10/100 NIC's that came with an SMC switch (bought from jungle.com if anyone remembers them), and one day my dad called to say there was a funny smell coming from his computer, so I went through and it had frozen up Upon opening the case a capacitor on the network card had caught fire and scorched a couple of the PCI slots, surprisingly the machine worked fine when I removed the card, put a new one in a different slot and turned it on again, it lasted another ~5 years in various hands.

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

Noram

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

Noram

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

Noram

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

Noram

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

Noram
Coat

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

Noram

Re: Terrorism

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

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

Noram
FAIL

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?

Noram

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

Noram

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

Noram

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

Noram

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).