* Posts by Ivan Headache

890 posts • joined 24 Jul 2007


DoE digs up molten salt nuclear reactor tech, taps Los Alamos to lead the way back

Ivan Headache

Re: REstart?

I’ve often wondered about this when looking at the Gemasolar solar power station in Andalucia..

A spectacular sight, even at night.


Lawyers say changes to UK data law will make life harder for international businesses

Ivan Headache

Re: BREXIT was a massive and expensive lie.

Just entered Spain through an e-gate. Still. had to get my PP stamped though afterwards.

Unable to write 'Amusing Weekly Column'. Abort, Retry, Fail?

Ivan Headache

I think I’ve posted this before (but I can’t find it).

Back in the pre-OS10 period, I think it was 7.5 or 7.6 the Mac would occasionally throw up this message (from memory so it may not be verbatim): The operation could not be completed because something deep has happened.

A reboot always cured it.

Something 4,000 light years away emitted strange radio bursts. This is where we talk to scientists for actual info

Ivan Headache

It the source of “See it, Say it, Sorted”

Boffins find way to use a standard smartphone to find hidden spy cams

Ivan Headache

Re: A good sweep team with spectrum analyzers

My sweep team is too busy with the dead leaves at the moment.

Whenever automakers get their hands on chip supplies, the more expensive vehicles are first in line – NXP

Ivan Headache

Re: Start Stop

We had start/stop in our last car.

It was good until the battery failed while I was at the head of the queue at some lights.

Had to get pushed to the side - which was difficult with no power-steering.

Brittania Rescue came to my aid with a portable power-pack and got me home and we switched off the system. My local dealer couldn't believe the cost of the replacement battery!

Next door neighbour has (had - he's got rid of it) a van with stop-start. He had to replace the battery twice in one year - that's why he sold it.

Ancient with a dash of modern: We joined the Royal Navy to find there's little new in naval navigation

Ivan Headache

Re: Thank you

Found this


Ivan Headache

Thank you

Interesting to see the RAF boat in the picture.

My dad was in the the RAF during the war - on boats.

Product release cycles are killing the environment, techies tell British Computer Society

Ivan Headache

Keeping up with the Joneses

I think I mentioned before that on visits to my local recycling centre I am always amazed by the number of large (I.e. bigger than 42inch) to sets that are in the electronics skip.

Recently I've seen huge (60inch+) screens in there.

I seem to remember crt based tvs lasting forever - mind you, they had proper solder in them.

I’m sure it’s the keeping up with the Joneses mentality that sees a whole wall of tv through the neighbour’s windows who don’t close their curtains in order to boast that they can afford £x thousand on a totally unnecessary item.

And while I’m on about unnecessary items. I was baby-sitting at my daughter’s house yesterday. Trying to use the remote on her “smart” Sony tv was the biggest source of frustration ever (even worse than filling in a passenger locator form).

Made me appreciate my dumb Panasonic and my simple Apple TV remote.

Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims

Ivan Headache

With the exception of a couple of laser printers (1 Epson & 1 HP), we’ve been using Canon inkjets for over 40 years (some of them were branded as Apple).

We currently have a 10 year old all-in-one and a 5 year old A3 photo printer. Yes they are expensive to run, but they have both been remarkably reliable. Like Trigger’s broom though, I have replaced the print heads on both units.

What bugs me though is that although all Canon’s printers over the past decade or so use “Chomalife” inks, Canon designs each model with a different shaped ink cartridge. What is also noticeable is that each generation of cartridge appears to be slightly smaller than the previous. It should be mandated that all models should use the same cartridges, there is no earthly reason why they should be different for each model other than gouging the customer.

For a while I used to refill empty cartridges, but found that it wasn’t really worth the effort. It’s a messy process and not exactly reliable, quite often the refilled cartridge would leak inside the printer as it was very difficult to reseal any hole made in the cartridge. That just allowed excess air to get in the top and so the ink just oozed out the bottom contaminating the other colours. Making refilling more problematic was the removing of the viewing window in the cartridge, making it impossible to see how much ink was being squirted in - and then out all over your shirt. I can equate the use of refills and compatibles the the failure of one print head.

Now I buy all my inks on eBay, or if I get caught out, from Wilco. They have the cheapest genuine inks I have found in the retail shop.

All I want for Christmas is a delivery address that a delivery courier can find

Ivan Headache

It’s the house full of tomatoes.

Ivan Headache

I’ve just had to fill in a ‘passenger locator’ type form for a visit to Malta.

It’s a print it out, fill it in and present at immigration style thing with little boxes in which to enter each digit of my name, date of birth, passport number, email address, street address, inside leg measurement, etc.

It was carefully designed by an idiot who hadn’t checked how many digits were in a passport number, or how many digits could be in a London postcode or that folks could have an email address longer than 10 characters when @hotmail.com take up over half of the little boxes.

To make matters worse. No one asked to see it when I got there.

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

Ivan Headache

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

We have a car on order and we are told that the charger must be connected directly to the consumer unit via its own dedicated Type A RCD. It may also need to have something called a Garo or Matt:e earthing unit. The installation must be carried out by a suitably qualified installation technician who will issue a NICEIC certificate after testing and commissioning.

We are allowed to connect the car via a long lead to a normal 13amp socket but the charging will take forever (so I'm told).

Ivan Headache

Re: Power socket on the lighting circuit?

"Aren't the round 3-pin sockets supposed to be on low (5A) current circuits for lighting, anyway"

That might be the case now but.....

The house I grew up it had round three-pin sockets (one per room - except the kitchen- which had none). They were 15amp, pretty chunky and made out of brown Bakelite by the MK Company.

I think I had left home when the council replaced everything with 13amp sockets (mid- 60s).

I remember many of my friend houses - and both my grandparents houses having bayonet splitters fitted into some of their light sockets. One of my uncles (who was quite flash & trendy (for the late 50s)) having an electric razor which he used to plug into one. I also remember electric irons plugged in to them too.

Electricity was so much safer then - they used to insulate cables with lead sheathing.

Fake 'BT' caller fleeces elderly victim of £30k in APP app scam

Ivan Headache

Re: Amazon iPhone 7

I get the Amazon calls almost daily on my land-line, generally they display an 020 number from my local area. Sometimes it's the 'security department from your bank'. Strange that it's the same voice each time!

I also get scam calls to my mobile - particularly 'from' Manchester and Liverpool.

The other day I had one from Rekyavik. So I answered it.

"Hello, am I speaking with Mr Ivan Headache?" said a sweet Asian voice.

" Yes. But why are you calling me from Iceland??

"I'm not, I'm in south-east Asia..."

I think the penny dropped for her.

Then last week. I was in Edinburgh and a call came though from Yeovil.

"Good Morning." in my stentorian voice - knowing what's likely to be coming.

There's a pause and noisy office sounds with female Asian voices chattering, then a male voice.

"Hello Am I speaking with Mr Ivan Headache?"

"Chief Inspector Ivan Headache speaking."

Slight pause, ".......ah!" then the line went dead.

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status

Ivan Headache

I’ve taken a liking to Dutch Stroopwaffles since I found them during my last trip to Costco.

It says to each them with coffee.

They don’t crunch so I suppose that makes them non-biscuits.

With regard to chocolate hobnobs. Is it possible to eat only one?

It seems that once I open the packet I run out of them..

Apple debuts iPhone 13 with 1TB option, two iPad models, Series 7 Watch

Ivan Headache

I enjoy these Apple Events but

agree that the superlatives are somewhat excessive - as is the walk to the right, clasp hands, walk to the left, unclasp hands routine.

What I do find interesting is they way they use the video effects in the intros and transitions between subjects.

Yesterday wasn't spectacular but TC's walk from the desert onto the stage at the beginning was particularly neat.

The WWDC presentation had plenty of tricks - as did the earlier events .

Big kudos to the guys & gals who put them together.

The unit of measure for fatbergs is not hippopotami, even if the operator of an Australian sewer says so

Ivan Headache

Re: I want to know how you can weigh a bridge.

Had a problem with that.

Step one was fine but step two got me into real trouble.

I compromised by doing step one, the taking a shoe off and doing step two without the bridge.

I got back on the scale for step three.

Now I know how much I weigh with only one shoe on.

Ivan Headache

For some reason I can’t fathom…

I want to know how you can weigh a bridge.

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

Ivan Headache

Re: Park for Night

Some time ago (perhaps 5 years - not sure anymore, things are getting hazy) around the time when the idea of using hydrogen as a fuel became a popular topic, the Sainsbury's filling station in Hendon installed a Hydrogen recharging station. I seem to remember it having blast walls to separate it from the petrol pumps.

Last year I called in to acquire some bonus sector points and noticed that the entire hydrogen bit had gone, blast walls too.

Tesla battery fire finally flamed out after four-day conflagration

Ivan Headache

Re: Flow batteries?

Just this last week


Apple patches zero-day vulnerability in iOS, iPadOS, macOS under active attack

Ivan Headache

Re: Dogs are really fast

Why do commenters suggested that things should be "nuked from Orbit"?

Surely that would present even bigger problems.

Space Force turtle expert uncovers $1.2m Cape Canaveral cocaine haul

Ivan Headache

Re: So happy together

It washed up on the Flo and Ebbie

Report commissioned by Google says Google isn't to blame for the death of print news

Ivan Headache

My local paper comes out once a week

It’s website is there every day. Some days they update it with a poorly written piece with lots of Twitter screenshots about something of minor interest in a neighbouring borough.

The stories are rarely topical. Today there was a story about dangerous things in your car which could get you into trouble.

There was an advert for a wonderful miniature air conditioner that could cool my whole house in thirty minutes and an amazing telescope that turns my phone into a sniperscope. There was also an interesting piece about the benefits of using vinegar in my garden, sticking roses into potatoes, something about using WD40 in my toilet and endless stories about things that are taking the UK by storm.

Thankfully the print edition doesn’t have those. It rarely has proper news either.


It does have useful local ads though.

University of Hertfordshire pulls the plug on, well, everything after cyber attack

Ivan Headache

Re: Learning without a computer

It’s a good job mine doesn’t take the rubbish out to the kerb on Wednesday.

The bin men come on Tuesday .

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into

Ivan Headache

Re: Skodas and Ladas

Was that a 2-stroke or a V4?

We had a 2-stroke in the late 60s and loved it. I think it only had 3 forward gears - might be wrong, it's 50+ years ago - but the automatic free-wheel system gave it great economy.

It did have one minor issue though. Every now and again, for reasons only known to itself, the motor would start up running in reverse. The only way you could tell was by releasing the clutch!

Didn't take long to learn to stop doing sprint starts!

We had a pair of big Cibie Oscars on the front so it looked (a bit) like one of the rally cars (apart from being powder-blue and not cherry-red) until some nere-do-well sawed them off one night.

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

Ivan Headache

Re: Bad greek

Ah, algebra.

We had some of that growing up our wall.

Lovely flowers.

Today's 'sophisticated cyber attack' victim is the Woodland Trust: Pre-Xmas breach under investigation

Ivan Headache

Re: Investigation to be run by........

I wonder if the hackers thought it was a hedge fund.

Watt's next for batteries? It'll be more of the same, not longer life, because physics and chemistry are hard

Ivan Headache


it's the Twizy not the Twingo

Ivan Headache

Re: On the subject of EV recharging

That’s the idea used in the Renault Twingo.

Funny looking car. Even funnier is that you see so few of them.

I wonder why.

Ivan Headache

Re: For an expendable battery, such as a lead-acid battery

Where does it say that?

I can’t find a reference to expendable lead-acid batteries.

If you are referring to “the little cylinder of metal and acid” then I think you are reading something that isn’t there. All the lead-acid batteries I have seen are not little, neither are they cylindrical nor made of metal.

Google rejects Australia’s revised pay-for-news plan, proposes its own plan instead

Ivan Headache


I'm permanently in awe of Google (and to a point, Facebook too).

They seem to think that they make the decisions and Governments should just fall into line and do what Google says.

Somitting has to be done before we are all ruled by Google.

Raven geniuses: Four-month-old corvids have similar cognitive abilities to great apes at same age, study finds

Ivan Headache

Re: An unkindness of ravens

In that case I’ve got Italian squirrels.

It’s had no effect here.

Ivan Headache

Re: An unkindness of ravens

Yes but how do I stop the Squirrel(s) from cleaning out my bird feeder.

I don't buy the peanuts for him.

My current stainless tube feeder is the first one he's not managed to destroy. All the wire mesh ones - even those made with stainless wire are easy for the squirrel to unravel and break,

Ivan Headache

Re: Size bias

Thanks for that. I was thinking along similar lines for much of it but didn't want to get out of my depth.

An additional about the Robin.

I say Robin, but we have three of them in our garden fairly regularly so it could any one of them.

When we first put up the peanut feeder he sat on the fence or the holly bush which is adjacent and watched the Tits having a feast. He tried and failed to copy them, not managing to grasp the Stainless steel tube (this on isn't a mesh). However, it only took him a day or so to realise that the Tits kept dropping bits as they did their look out for predators head flick. then he world turn up and hop around under the feeder and pick up all the bits that got dropped. If he turned up and the Tits weren't in attendance he would would have a go at emulating their routine. It took him a while but now he can do it first time. He doesn't do the upside down stuff though.

He loves the Flutter Butter and will go for that in preference. This morning he was sitting on top of the window feeder just staring back at me.

Interestingly, there is one Great Tit that will go after a bit if he drops it. He's incredibly fast and generally retrieves his bit before the Robin has had chance to spot it.

The Pigeons have tried to get into the feeder but gave up after several days of trying and now ignore it.

There are a couple of Jays in the neighbourhood. We rarely see them together at the feeder as they are a bit on the big side, but occasionally they will both come. One will feed while the other sits on the ground below. Then they swap places until they decide to leave. Similarly the Parakeets.

I tend to see them flying but every now and again one will come to the feeder. I remember one morning there was a pair of them. one at the feeder (upside down as there wasn't much left in it) and the other sitting patiently in the top of the support with its head cocked to one side watching.

Just like the Jays they took it in turns.

Right that jigsaw isn't going to finish itself.

Ivan Headache

Re: Size bias

Ive wondered about bird brains for a while now.

We have a couple of peanut feeders outside our kitchen window. I spend quite a bit (probaby far too long - I should be doing a jigsaw puzzle) watching the antics of the Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins and Sparrows that frequent them.

First. How did they locate the feeder in the first place and how did they know it was a source of food?

Second. There is a third feeder attached to the kitchen window. This contains Flutter Butter (other peanut butter based feeds are available) How did they work out that this thing attached to a sheet of glass also contained food. (they love it by the way and can empty a pod in almost the same time tha the squirrel can empty the nut feeder.)

Interestingly the Tits tend to queue to use it. The Robin won't come to it if there is a Tit feeding. If it's free then it will come and sit on it and hog it for a while.

The Sparrows won't come anywhere near it - perhaps they're chicken.

There's anorher feeder for Finches. We haven't seen a finch all year - but not one of the other birds will touch it.

What has intrigued me most is the birds' reaction time. That and their communication.

Example, two House Sparrows sitting on the fence about 20cm apart. With no obviously link between them they took flight as one and flew away as a pair in the same direction side by side.

A slo-mo film might have detected a difference in their launches, but I couldn't see it.

The Tits (both varieties) are very acrobatic when feeding. It's always intrigued me that they land on the feeder (a vertical stainess steel tube with holes spaced for they to get at the nuts) without making mistakes. Their feet are always in the right place to get the peanuts nearest to top of the tube. If the squirrell has been lunching and the nuts are now only at the bottom, they instantly switch to an upside down position. Again, lightning fast. The Robin on the other hand took two or three weeks before he could land on the feeder like the Tits do.

I watched a Sparrow today trying to imitate a Humming Bird, trying to get a peanut while in hover mode. He could only manage about 3 seconds before giving up. He did manage to get his beak in the feeder but couldn't maintaing the hover long it enough to pull a nut out out.

There are other occasional visitors with their own quirks and tricks but I think I have rambled on long enough now.

Where's the mysterious metal monolith today then? Oh look, it's atop a California mountain

Ivan Headache

Re: One has appeared in my back garden too!

I’ve got a column of parrots in my garden.

I’m calling it a pollylith.

Uri Geller calls off 20-year ban on Pokémon trading card that 'stole' his 'signature image'

Ivan Headache

Re: made his millions by proclaiming himself a psychic

That sign was seen regularly on the door of ‘The Psychic Bookshop’ on Great Queen Street in the 80’s

[Checks meeting agenda...] Where does it say 'Talk cr*p and waste everyone's time'?

Ivan Headache

Drum solo

Two missionaries found themselves in a bit of a pickle after they were captured by cannibals.

As they were tied up, the drums started, Two hours later the drums were still going. Into the night and the drums kept going.Next morning , the same, and on into the evening.

"Don't the drums ever stop?" one of the missionaries begged in exasperation.

"The drums must never stop." one of their captors replied.

"Why? What will happen if they stop?'

"Bass solo."

Let's... drawer a veil over why this laser printer would decide to stop working randomly

Ivan Headache

I'm sure everyone must have seen this.

"Help! all my typing has disappeared."

Go to have a look. An empty page greets me.

"What did you do?"

"Well I was working on this proposal and the phone rang, so I answered it.

When I turned back all my proposal had gone."

"How much had you written?"

"I was on page 3."

Then I pointed out that she was on page 99 (or something equally large) and that if she rested her notebook on the enter key again it would add on a few more empty pages for her.

Deleting the 96 odd empty pages earned me a rather nice Almond Magnum later in the day.

Google screwed rivals to protect monopoly, says Uncle Sam in antitrust lawsuit: We go inside the Sherman parked on a Silicon Valley lawn

Ivan Headache

Re: People have a choice?

I have a little app on my Mac called ‘Little Snitch’, it reports every time an application wants to send something to a remote server.

Most of the time it sits benignly telling me that every now and again Apple wants to check out my software updates, and similar things like that.

However, should I launch a web-browser it goes bonkers. I went to a site today and as the home page loaded there were six or seven separate warnings about Google wanting this that and the other.

The site had nothing to do with Google but it was there. Occasionally it happens when an email is opened.

Often when I’m out servicing one of my many domestic (I.e. senior) clients I get told “I can’t get on to Google”

For many people, and not just seniors (techies not included), Google is the internet.

I regularly get emails from the BBC advising that tickets are available for various live and recorded shows, and over the years have been to many. Since the lockdown and the stock of recorded material has been used the BBC has started doing virtual recordings for shows. the News Quiz and The Infinite Monkey Cage are a couple of examples, where the ‘studio’ audience actually take part from their own homes. There have been a couple where I would like to have been involved. However, in order to take part one must use Google Chrome.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'

Ivan Headache

Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

That’s what I thought until this afternoon while following a car in London with the reg comprising the letter V and three Os or 0s and three Is or 1s.

I commented to the lovely Ivana that I thought that it was odd as I understood that those where never used because they led to confusion

For the rest of the journey she kept pointing Out cars and vans with the offending characters In their plates.

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

Ivan Headache

Spitfires and that engine sound

From where I live in north-west London I can see Bentley Priory from my upstairs windows.

Every year until a couple of years after RAF sold it (it's now an estate of executive houses), at about 1800 on 16th September I would hear that wonderful sound. Looking out, there would be a lone Spitfire performing aerobatics over the priory for about ten minutes.

Did't hear anything today.

Chinese State media uses new release of local Linux to troll Trump

Ivan Headache

Re: Google Translate at its best...

Ah, but.....

Milky Bar and Milky Way are two different chocolate bars

At least they were when the Milky Bar Kid rode into town.

Co-inventor of the computer mouse, William English, dies

Ivan Headache

Re: Trackerball?

The trackball - a ball-resolver - was an integral part of the NBS (Navigation Bombing System) of the V-Bomber fleet. It was inside the large unit with all those windy-handles and counters at the bottom of the photo http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/cockpit-knobs.html.

All the input was via those handles and (IIRC) from the various radar systems on board.

I remember doing a course on it but now, for the life of me cannot remember how it worked or what was done with the output!

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

Ivan Headache

Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

My brother was always the lucky one.

While working in the Emirates he mixed with the wealthy and carefree.

One day he was out with one of his 'mates' flying their Tiger Moth styled microlight. Something they did on a regular (almost) daily basis.

This particular day they were up in the air somewhere both of Abu Dhabi and the motor malfunctioned and stopped. They were unable to restart it but thankfully the gliding capabilities of the microlight where quite good so they weren't particularly worried. and looked for somewhere relatively level to land.

A nice stretch of sand came into view and was chosen as the spot and the approach made.

Just as they touched down they hit a car tyre half buried in the sand and tipped over.

He said that looking around afterwards that there was nothing else there. Just the one car tyre.

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Ivan Headache

A and M were brilliant

They had Joan Armatrading.

Clunk, whirr, buzz, whine. Shared office space can be a riot and sounds like one too

Ivan Headache

Re: So many things emit 50Hz noise, or a harmonic of it..

Our diswasher (a Miele) started playing up on Boxing Day (annoyingly with a house full of freel..guests.

When the engine came to fix it he sat on the floor switched it on and listened for a moment or two then said, "Something's obstructing the pump."

10 minutes later he's got the dw on its side and the pump in his hand, 2 chewed-up bay leaves and an olive stone are removed from its innards and he puts it all back together (with a new rubber seal of course) and its as good as new.

Out of curiosity - what it the purpose of a bay leaf?

EU declares it'll Make USB-C Great Again™. You hear that, Apple?

Ivan Headache

Re: What problem are they trying to fix?

We've been redecorating at Headache Towers (I think they call it 'remodelling' in some parts).

This has entailed several trips over several weeks to our local recycling/waste disposal centre.

We have to separate metals from other recyclables and green waste from general waste. etc.

When I look into the electronic waste bays I am amazed by the numbers of tower computer cases and microwave ovens being chucked away. (I remember microwave ovens lasting for donkeys years).

But I am absolutely staggered by the number of massive flat-screen TVs in the skips. - recently they have introduced a skip especially for them.

I wonder , are all these TVs failing or is it the marketing hype that's making them be replaced?

Back on the USB thing. We bought a new (electric) reclining sofa for the lounge. When It arrive we discovered a USB A charging socket at each end.

Boeing aircraft sales slump to historic lows after 737 Max annus horribilis

Ivan Headache

With Amazon Prime you can get one delivered tomorrow!



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