* Posts by mjflory

42 posts • joined 9 Oct 2015

Dozy ISS cosmonauts woken by smoke alarm on eve of 5-hour spacewalk

mjflory
Pint

Routing the internet cables

Yesterday I rerouted some of my internet cables, then helped a neighbor reroute some of her internet cables. A few hours ago the ISS app on my phone excitedly told me a spacewalk was in progress. I tuned in and they were, yes, rerouting internet cables!

A minute ago I checked in on the spacewalk and Pyotr and Oleg were still rerouting the internet cables, and they sound very tired. Working in spacesuits, handling the cables with space-gloves, working in Zero-G, they have my respect for their persistence. Sometimes they have to stop for a minute just to catch their breath. The back of my desk is a cable-bound mess, but my rerouting was nothing compared to that.

Don't know if anyone else caught Piotr's (?) description of the round cable-spool cover, over the disposal of which there was much deliberation. He got it loose, held it up, and said, "What a beautiful object! This is the source of all those UFO rumours!" So now we know.

LibreOffice 7.2 brings improved but still imperfect Microsoft Office compatibility

mjflory

Re: Does "compatibility" mean having the same issues?

True, I confess...

mjflory

Re: LaTeX

Alas, I am in a science/research field and no one I'm working with has ever seen it before.

mjflory

Re: Does "compatibility" mean having the same issues?

If only that were true... We have a smattering of old versions of MS Office in various offices and I've seem vertical lines go askew in PowerPoint and no end of variations on mangled text in Word when we exchange documents. I'm not the best at keeping my software up to date, but I've had documents go awry when I brought them up in LibreOffice and SoftMaker Office on my Linux boxes as well. My fallbacks are to open a sent document in Office for Mac or in Office 365 (or whatever that online pain is called). Still, yesterday a friend sent me a multilingual, footnoted .docx that choked his Office for Mac. I opened it in LO 5, added a space at the end, resaved it, and returned it. Today he said it opened perfectly now in Word.

I'll make the leap from LO 5 to LO 7.2 and see how it goes. (I should install that SoftMaker 2021 update I bought, too.)

Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far

mjflory

Classic Shell

Of course, after an upgrade Windows 10 started telling me that Classic Shell had been disabled because... I forget why, because it would blow up my computer or something similar.

Boffins show sleight-of-hand tricks to Corvids, find they are smarter than people

mjflory

Prior research

"Garcia-Pelegrin has not ruled out using his talents to try and vex more animals in the name of science."

It's been done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tsIxNci_dE

NTT slashes top execs’ pay as punishment for paying more than their share of $500-a-head meals with government officials

mjflory

Re: Japanese curry

Japanese curry must have improved greatly since I lived there (albeit several decades ago). Back then it was mild and oddly sweet. (I wonder if "Vermont Curry" is still being sold?)

Apple ditches support for pre-2015 MacBook Air, Pro laptops with macOS Monterey

mjflory

Re: what distribution?

Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu, which in turn is derived from Debian. I've also found that it handles old hardware very well.

How do you save an ailing sales pitch? Just burn down the client's office with their own whiteboard

mjflory

Commodore smoke

Anyone else ever notice that the early Commodore VIC-20's power socket is the same as that conventionally used with innumerable 110v devices? (I did -- too late.)

mjflory

Re: " 220V on which South Korea operates"

I've wondered how people keep things straight in Japan. The country uses 100v (not 120v, though the outlets are the same as in the US), but what's worse is that it's 50 Hertz in eastern Japan and 60 Hertz in western Japan. (I think Siemens designed one end of the country and Westinghouse the other.)

mjflory

Re: Interviews

Just over a third of a century ago my IBM Portable PC arrived -- a mere 30 lbs. of portability, though I think the keyboard added 7 lbs. more. It came with a postcard with a space for comments, and I mentioned that, though I was in New York, it had arrived with the power switch set to 230 volts. A few days later an IBM representative *telephoned* me to check on this grievous misconfiguration. Customer service and follow-up have changed a little since then...

Raspberry Pi Foundation moves into microcontrollers with the $4 Pi Pico using homegrown silicon

mjflory

Re: Annoyingly low on RAM

256 BYTES! We used to program with 8 BITS of RAM! Every time we rewrote the byte we had to scrawl a letter on the cardboard box we lived in, in the middle of the road...

(8 BITS and a cardboard box! We just had ONE BIT! It was a hole in the road and when it filled with water it was 1 until we bailed it out to make it 0 ...)

[Sorry, couldn't resist. Programming in 256 bytes is quite a skill.]

DeepMind's latest protein-solving AI AlphaFold a step closer to cracking biology's 50-year conundrum

mjflory

Re: ML limitation

The URL for the Arxiv paper on underspecification has lost a digit. It should be:

arxiv.org/abs/2011.03395

I work therefore I ache: Logitech aims to ease WFH pains with Ergo M575 trackball mouse

mjflory

Pronation

Years ago I realized that much of my hand and wrist pain came from the pronation (wrist rotation analogous to roll of an airplane) required to use my Trackman Marble. I kludged a stand of sorts to tilt the TM by about 45 degrees and I felt much better. Since then there have been a couple of trackballs with this sort of tilt built in -- among others, the Logitech Trackman Ergo has an optional stand -- and recently I've been using a Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Vertical Wireless Trackball (https://www.kensington.com/en-gb/p/products/control/trackballs/pro-fit-ergo-vertical-wireless-trackball/). It tracks well, it's easy to pop the ball to clean out accumulated crud, and my only problem has been its tendency to switch itself from WiFi to Bluetooth once in a while. (I suppose I'm brushing one of its innumerable buttons by mistake, but I now know which button to push to unswitch it.) The Kinesis Advantage has eliminated the pronation pain I had from flat keyboards and the tendonitis that almost kept me from working thirty years ago hasn't come back.

As we stand on the precipice of science fiction into science fact, people say: Hell yeah, I want to augment my eyesight!

mjflory

Re: Tetrachromicity

I'll have to look up Cooper a.k.a. Avery. I wonder if implants couldn't improve upon our original design. (They might be biological implants, after all.) An eagle's resolution, a cat's night vision, an insect's UV perception... or are there contradictiory requirements there?

Best wishes re: your joints, ears, and all. I probably made my ailments sound far worse than they are. The arthritis has just started in a couple of joints, and my corrected vision is as good as ever. You'll get used to the omnifocals (or varifocals, I presume they're the same) and the formulae have actually improved in recent years. But do be careful walking, as the distance to the ground can be distorted a bit by them.

mjflory

Tetrachromicity

Mr IP, you have my sympathies for your nearsightedness, sore joints, and tinnitus. (Mine come from genes, arthritis, and friends in rock bands, respectively.) But I especially share your enthusiasm for widened color perception! I've read of some tetrachromatic women in Denmark and seen some colorful canvases by a tetrachromatic painter trying to convey her vision of the world, but -- alas -- it would take some serious genetic engineering to allow a man to see four primary colors. (Conceivably we could train ourselves to distinguish extra colors with notch-filtered lenses, perhaps a different one on each eye, but I'm sure it wouldn't be the same.) How was Mrs IP's gift discovered? I recall reading that some tetrachromats were unaware until they were tested.

Venerable text editor GNU Nano reaches version 5.0 and adds the modern frippery that is scrollbars

mjflory

Re: Tilde

Fifty years later I still remember XEDIT for VM/CMS. At least I remember the pain...

No, boss, I'm not playing Minecraft. Minecraft is where I run VMs on the desktop now

mjflory

Re: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21h0G_gU9Tw -- at 2:37. But worth watching from the beginning.

Devuan Beowulf 3.0 release continues to resist the Debian fork's Grendel – systemd

mjflory

KDE on MX Linux

Dr S, there have been some attempts at a KDE respin of MX. I had good luck with mikejade's one, described here: https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php?f=127&t=54469 . My luck with the "Full Monty" respin was not so good. There are others I haven't tried. The KDE page in the MX wiki is very out of date, alas. There's a forum page devoted to KDE respins, though: https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewforum.php?f=127&sid=342539807776f8f77264344969732b9c . There is a list of all respins (not just KDE) here: https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php?p=486469#p486469 .

Russia-backed crew's latest malware has discerning taste – when screening visitors to poisoned watering holes

mjflory

Re: "an Eastern European government"

Armenia is in western Asia.

Social media notifications of the future: Ranger tagged you in a photo with Tessadora, Wrenlow, Faelina and Graylen

mjflory

Remarkable names

My great-aunt's family realized too late that "Iva Price" had certain connotations in the late 19th century, so Iva Elizabeth was thereafter known as Beth or, sometimes, Babe (long before Babe Ruth or the famous pig). I've always thought her name was worthy of inclusion in "John Train's Most Remarkable Names" or "Remarkable Names of Real People" (also by John Train).

Apple strips clips of WWDC devs booing that $999 monitor stand from the web using copyright claims. Fear not, you can listen again here...

mjflory
Facepalm

It's back...

I just watched it in its 35-second entirety, as apparently did 16 other people, as YouTube reports 895,744 views now (about 18:00 UTC 2019-06-06). The volume's awfully low, but I don't think that will stop anyone from hearing the groans.

We'll help you get your next fix... maybe, we'll think about it, says FTC: 'Right to repair' mulled

mjflory

Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

I can understand designing with Torx screws -- it's a lot easier to keep a screwdriver centered on them and apply torque, hence the name. But I didn't expect to find the bottom of my Toshiba Portege held on with 13 Philips screws and, hidden under a glued-on button in the center, a "security" Torx screw. Those are the ones with a tiny pillar in the middle of the head that prevents a standard Torx driver from even being inserted! (I suppose it would have cost them something to license pentalobe screws from Apple.) As usual, my iFixit screwdriver-bit set came to the rescue.

Micro Focus offloads Linux-wrangler SUSE for a cool $2.5bn

mjflory

Re: Cut-and-shut

I'd never heard of anyone trying that except Red Green.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfOZ-uajfNE

Here's the list of Chinese kit facing extra US import tariffs: Hard disk drives, optic fiber, PCB making equipment, etc

mjflory

Tough for vampires

30029051 ........... Human blood (p. 15)

(I suppose the amount gathered in blood drives is insufficient for transfusion needs.)

2 + 2 = 4, er, 4.1, no, 4.3... Nvidia's Titan V GPUs spit out 'wrong answers' in scientific simulations

mjflory

Effect on machine learning?

An error like the one described could wreak havoc with exact calculations, but I wonder if it would make much difference in the machine learning models for which these cards are so widely used. In the early days of neural networks, "graceful degradation" was said to show their similarity to our brains, where the loss of a neuron or two has a negligible effect. A systematic error might throw off calculations of connection weights, but random errors might well have a comparably minor effect.

Google's cell network Project Fi charged me for using Wi-Fi – lawsuit

mjflory

Re: An actual Fi subscriber here...

Should have noted that my Fi bill agrees with those figures.

mjflory

Re: An actual Fi subscriber here...

That agrees with my experience. With just a few days left in my billing cycle Settings tells me I've used 1.7GB on wifi and only 91MB cellular data, which sound plausible, so it's not happening to all subscribers. (Nexus 6, Android 7.1.1)

Have three WINEs this weekend, because WINE 3.0 has landed

mjflory

Re: Will it run Wordperfect 8?

Corel once provided a version of WordPerfect 8 compiled for Linux, and it was FREE! See http://www.control-escape.com/linux/wp8.html for an overview. Apparently it's still downloadable -- see http://www.tldp.org/FAQ/WordPerfect-Linux-FAQ/downloadwp8.html -- and folks have been downloading and installing it on releases as recent as Mint 17. The site http://www.xwp8users.com/ has advice on the installation. Somewhere in the piles I have a Corel WP8 CD, probably from a trade show, and I was just thinking how nice it would be to get it running on Mint 17 or 18.

Leftover Synaptics debugger puts a keylogger on HP laptops

mjflory

Re: Here's what you need to do...

My HP 95LX is doing just fine, thank you.

Two new Raspberry Pi models emerge steaming from the oven

mjflory

Re: Off topic (a bit) but...

Burma Shave! We date ourselves a bit.

I still remember the sequence of little red signs along the road to my grandparents' house in Wisconsin.

"In this world

of toil and sin

your head grows bald

but not your chin.

Burma Shave."

And fifty years later, I've found that they were right.

Oi! Linux users! Want some really insecure closed-source software?

mjflory

Linux leap

In 1992 the Linux kernel went from 0.12 or so to 0.95 when it became X-Windows capable. That's only a difference of 0.83 but proportionally it's quite a leap. (The Wikipedia "Linux kernel" article mentions 0.12 and 0.95, but I dimly remember an 0.17, so there may have been some intermediate versions.)

Chap turns busted laptop into phone keyboard, in Himalayan book-rescue mission

mjflory

Illuminating a dark screen

Thomas Buckley-Houston's blog post is a very helpful guide to using a display-challenged laptop. I've found my way around a couple of MacBook Airs with dead backlighting by shining a 1000 lumen LED flashlight (or "torch," if you like; "Rayz" brand) at the screen at an oblique angle. It's hard to find the cursor, but sometimes shining the light through the translucent Apple logo on the back helps with that. It doesn't sound like the backlight was the problem with his Dell XPS 15, though.

More than half of Androids susceptible to ancient malware

mjflory

Multiplying marshmallows

Ten percent for Marshmallow and Nougat sounds a little low. The most prevalent number I found for last month for Marshmallow was 18.7%, with a trace on Nougat (about a tenth of a percent).

What says Internet of Things better than a Bluetooth-controlled smart candle?

mjflory

Not there yet...

They have a way to go. It can't do email yet.

ICANN latest: Will the internet be owned by Ted Cruz or Vladimir Putin in October?

mjflory

Waiting for the Four Seasons

They'll have to wait a little while for that dinner at the Four Seasons. They've left the Seagram Building and won't be in their new Park Avenue site for months. (Poor ICANN.)

Mystery Kindle update will block readers from books after Wednesday

mjflory
WTF?

Updated but not showing it?

A footnote to my earlier comment. I reloaded the software to the 2nd Gen Kindle and reinstalled it. This time I saw the "Update Successful" screen as it flashed by. It rebooted but still shows version 2.56 (and still connects wirelessly without problems). My guess now is that "Update_kindle_2.5.8_B002.bin" shows the wrong version number when installed and that I may have updated it successfully the first time but not known it. On the other hand, it may have been fibbing when it said it updated successfully. Life is full of mysteries.

mjflory

A little more time?

I think Amazon may be allowing a little more time for everyone to get the new software. I have three old Kindles -- two DX (B005 series) and one 2nd Gen (B002 series). I left them connected to a power source overnight with the wireless on, as directed, and not one of them downloaded anything. Yesterday I downloaded the updates from their website and tried to install them via USB. The DXs were fine; the update didn't seem to work for the 2nd Gen. Today, with the 2nd Gen's software still showing as Version 2.56, I connected it wirelessly to the Amazon store. Just to check, I rebooted the machine, checked the version (still 2.56), and again connected with no problem. I suspect they've realized that most people with old Kindles have no idea that they need to upgrade.

So. Farewell then Betamax. We always liked you better than VHS anyway

mjflory

Re: IIRC the major problem with Betamax

Here in the States it's widely believed (OK, I can see Wikipedia inserting "by whom?") that the reason Betamax failed was that it couldn't record a full American football game, which rarely finishes in 90 minutes. But those 90 minutes did look better, and I used to use my Betamax for audio recording at CD quality in the days when VHS sound was awful.

World's oldest person scoffs daily ration of bacon

mjflory

If I'd known...

If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.

-- jazz pianist Eubie Blake on what he believed was his 100th birthday

(Yet another Brooklynite... )

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021