* Posts by Antron Argaiv

1210 posts • joined 18 May 2016


Eagle-on-EGLE* violence: American icon sends govt-flown drone hurtling into the waters of Lake Michigan

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Not all Americans, just the stupid ones.

...and, of course, the fat orange one. There's a GIF of him trying to make friends with an eagle who is having none of his sh*t.

Excellent judges of character, eagles.

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic

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Re: even before PFY

And 25 years later, the fans are still crap.

US govt proposes elephant showers for every American after Prez Trump says trickles dampen his haircare routine

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Re: Wrong lightbulbs...

Last time I checked, LED and CFl were more or less equal in terms of energy consumption. The LED ones are newer, and perhaps the circuitry has not been thru as many iterations as the CFLs, which, along with legendary Chinese quality, may account for the lower reliability. I doubt the LED ones are any cleaner to make, overall, than CFL, but they do eliminate the mercury. I switched to LED and they seem to be as good as CFL for my purposes (dont have any dimmers)

How did you spend your time at university? Pizza, booze, sleeping? This Oxford student is snooping on satellites

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Re: Spend my time at uni?

I think we can assume that the Security Services of several countries are aware that satellite traffic can be monitored by third parties, and have taken the appropriate steps.

What are you gonna do? Give me detention? Illinois schools ban pyjamas in online classes

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Re: Hmmm, how the hell?

My Teams backgrounds masked the fact that I was working from an unfinished basement. I usually appeared to be in one of the following:

Tardis (bigger on the inside, of course)

NASA Mission Control

A generic tropical beach

The department award for most innovative background went to the chap who photographed the area behind his desk at work and used that.

My basement has now been finished (partition walls, suspended ceiling, LED lighting), so I proudly show it off....because it appears that I will be working from there for the forseeable future...

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Hope he returns and enjoys his holiday meanwhile.

I enjoyed his curmudgeonly viewpoints on life and the daily struggle to get through it.

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault

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Re: My example

User: "Yes, but that is not my desk and I have been told I am not allowed to move IT equipment." (Like I said, l-o-n-g history).

"I think in this case we can allow an exception." [Turns and leaves]

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Re: Ahh yes the

...UNTIL it's the beancounter's equipment that fails (they never do, though). Then, it's "why is it taking so long tonget a replacement...I have an important report to get out!"

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

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Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

Normally, I'd agree with you, but my iPhone currently appends:

"Sent from my prototype self-driving Apple iCar"

(I try to exploit whatever tech rumors appeal to me)

What the duck? Bloke keeps getting sent bathtime toys in the post – and Amazon won't say who's responsible

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I'm getting a kick out of this

My son recently moved to Hawaii for work. A few weeks after he arrived, found rental housing, and was joined by his family, an office chair showed up, addressed to him at his new address, from Amazon. A $500 office chair. Needless to say, he hadn't ordered one. Or even looked at one.

Being a responsible adult, he communicated with Amazon. As you may know, the documentation that comes with an Amazon shipment is somewhat...limited, but he did read them the tracking number...and they said it wasn't in their system, so they couldn't help him. He waited a week (because, he thought, someone is going to wonder what happened to the $500 office chair they ordered). and called Amazon again. Same answer: "not in our system"

So, at this point, he has an office chair he doesn't want, a sender who "doesn't have it in their system", and is trying to figure out how to responsibly get rid of it.

Doesn't smell like a scam to me -- he hasn't had anyone from "Amazon" trying to pick it up, no order on his or any of his family's Amazon accounts, so he's chalking it up to random incompetence on Amazon's part.

Is that croaky voicemail of your CEO just a Fakey McFake Fake – or does he normally ask you to wire him $1m?

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Re: a "software-generated voicemail message"

One of our IT guys got one of the "help, I've lost my passport and I need $$$ to get home" calls from a "close friend".

His reply was "sure, I'll go right down and send you the money as soon as you tell me the name of the play we were in the last year of high school"

Cue protestations on the part of the scammer, while our guy calmly promised immediate transmission of the money after the answer to the question was provided. Needless to say, the scammer eventually gave up.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline

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I worked on the assembly line for these during a couple of summer breaks from grad school. We didn't have those newfangled "internships" back then, so I made my own.

I ended up as an summer fill-in assembly line technician at DEC's Westfield, Massachusetts plant, doing initial test and bringup of newly assembled RKO6 drives, which were quickly double-densitied into RKO7s. They had nice lighted, front-mounted buttons, and were mounted in a rack at the appropriate height. Top opening, of course, and about 1/2 the size of a washing machine (the bottom of the rack was empty, it only served to bring the drive up to a convenient height)

Thanks for the memories...it was a very educational two summers, well worth the time.

What evil lurks within the data centre, and why is it DDoS-ing the ever-loving pants off us?

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Re: Kaboom

Update the code remotely, do network reset, try to log in again and discover....your code isn't as good as you thought it was.

Cue long drive at night, out to the tower site to fix things.

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide

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Re: You had better take these seriously

I have *never* seen HR in my EE lab.

And I will continue to refer to contacts as male and female. Because you can easily have a female contact in a plug and a male contact in the corresponding socket.

CSB: I once worked with a very attractive and highly competent female EE. We were in the lab, and she confided that she could never keep the male and female thing straight. Long pause, while I considered the consequences of my possible answers. I wish I remembered what I finally said, but I think it was something along the lines of "the male contact is the pin and the female one is the receptacle".

She left us, alas, and I last heard she had moved into sales. Pity, because she was an absolute natural EE, and a genuinely nice person.

If you can read this, your Windows 10 2004 PC really is connected to the internet no matter what the OS claims

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"We like to think of our customers as the final step in our QA process."

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Windows has always had issues with networking

...as those of us old enough to remember having to purchase Winsock can testify

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

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Re: Most Dangerous

Yet another example of Microsoft's tailoring of product features to customer needs.

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Re: Not quite a 'reply all'...

Nothing will get that email read more quickly...

Fancy some fishy-chips? Just order one of these sensors: Research shines light on suspect component sources

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Re: "mainly from Chinese websites"

Depends, I suppose, on what your accuracy/reliability/price tradeoff equation looks like.

In my (admittedly limited) experience with direct-from-China traders, I've not been happy with the quality, and consider it money wasted. Tag is for what they do, usually sooner rather than later.

When a deleted primary device file only takes 20 mins out of your maintenance window, but a whole year off your lifespan

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...and with one of these excellent products: https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-SATA-USB-Cable-USB3S2SAT3CB/dp/B00HJZJI84

...you don't even need to open the box up again to copy his files over!

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My approach for this is to tell the aspiring Linux user to buy another disk off Amazon. They're well under $100 and will arrive the next day.

I then carefully disconnect and remove his existing OS disk, replacing it with the newly purchased one, on which I do a clean install of Linux.

We can (or not) copy his files off the old drive, which then remains "on the shelf", in case he has a change of heart and decides Linux is not for him. This also provides him with the comforting knowledge (he can see it right there on the shelf) that his decision to try Linux is completely reversible. Very handy when converting a less-than-knowledgeable friend or family member from Windows to Linux (for reduced incidence of service calls)

I do this for myself as well, when upgrading every few years. Handy to have a complete backup drive, which was perhaps getting long in the tooth, and a fresh new, (often faster and larger) drive for the new install.

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Re: /dev

'how to be a unix system admin'


Why, when we got our SPARCstations, we could only *dream* of a manual. We were lucky to get all the pieces, and the mouse pad.

Data General, ca. 1990. The decision had been made that the in-house MV machines and their in-house written CAD system were an expensive dead end for the engineering staff, so Suns and Viewlogic, it was. Got to name my own system, was my own sysadminnand it was visible from The Internet, because -- no nasties. Mr Morris and his worm, Canter and Siegel were all far in the future. Learn UNIX or sink, and learn, we did. Among other things, we found Usenet, and comp.os.minix

Thanks for the memories!

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

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Re: Early optical rodents

Sun, and their aluminium ones with the red and blue tartan pattern.

I was screwed over by Cisco managers who enforced India's caste hierarchy on me in US HQ, claims engineer

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Re: How did they learn he was Dalit?

From TFA:

The plaintiff states that he went to the Indian Institute of Technology with one Cisco mananger, Sundar Iyer, who is of the highest Brahmin caste. Iyer is accused of sharing Doe's untouchable status with another Indian manager and using that information to make the plaintiff's working life difficult.

Linux Mint 20 isn't exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there's kernel 5.4 and it's a long-term support release

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Re: Low end machines

Windows 10 increasingly feels like a stack of workarounds on top of other workarounds.

Can't argue with you there. And the three concurrent window border styles. WTF? And each app seems to have its own UI standards. And, of course, there's Microsoft's "lets tweak the UI just for fun" which overlays everything.

Those special key combos for example, inserting a linebreak while in a text editor window (ENTER, of course, kicks you out of the window and "sends") So the secret "SHIFT-ENTER" is different on Excel, browser Excel, Teams, Outlook, Word...trying to remember if it's ALT-ENTER, or CTRL-ENTER, or whatever in this particular app usually results in the urge to throttle someone at Microsoft.

Windows 10 is a hodgepodge of programs developed by groups who aren't talking to each other. Just loads of fun to use.

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Just downloaded it

Seems fine, and there *is* a "classic" Mint package manager, though, TBH, I usually find myself using command line APT.

I cannot argue with their lack of support for the Ubuntu "store" or the new Ubuntu-only package scheme. It's why I left Ubuntu -- they started telling me what my desktop should look like with "unity" tiles. Mint is just basic desktop Linux and does everything I need.

Rental electric scooters to clutter UK street scenes after Department of Transport gives year-long trial the thumbs-up

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Re: Trials?

Around here, the scooter companies' model was to pay "recoverers" for each scooter recovered from "wherever". They'd print off lists of the GPS locations and the recoverers would go out at night and return them all to their central locations.

I don't see as many as there used to be around Boston. I think the model may have had a few cracks in it.

Every now and then, I do see someone whizzing along on a scooter, electric skateboard or "uni-wheel", often without a helmet. I think about what would happen if one of those tiny wheels were to encounter a Boston-sized pothole, or if the driver were to encounter one of our famed Boston drivers, and shudder.

The bloom appears to be off the scooter "rose", at least, in Boston. Rental bikes seem to be a thing, still, at least the dockable kind. The leave-anywhere ones seem to have vanished. Or maybe, just relocated:


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There are also instructions on The Internet, for recycling abandoned/salvaged/bought at auction commercial scooters. This generally involves replacing the custom controller with the manufacturer's original controller, or a Chinese(for that is where they all originate) copy thereof, thereby restoring its original functions.

Sccoters here in the US were scooped up by cities with whom Lime had no authorization to operate, and auctioned off as junk by the cities. Also, recovered from skips, ditches and such, damaged but repairable if you found two or more. For a while, there was a thriving rebuild business going.

Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...

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Re: "We ran out of available outlets."

Oh, I wish I could tell you about the project I'm currently working on.

Lockdown team building: Actualise the potentiality of your workforce... through the power of video games

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old skool fun


CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

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Re: Let them eat rabbits

Flies are easily swallowed in Australia, because like the other wildlife, they are numerous and fearless.

Unlike the other wildlife, they are, for some unknown reason, not deadly.

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Your restraint is admirable.

I would have found it difficult not to advise said individual to seriously consider a career in Human Resources or Finance.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

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Re: chewed wires

...for values of "cheap" below $50.

I just purchased 2 sets of 3.5" casters for my newly carpeted home office. Worth the money, as the stock 2" ones were useless of carpet.

Huawei wins approval to plonk £1bn optical comms R&D facility in UK's leafy Cambridgeshire

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Re: Given the reality shone on China recently...

It gets better -- as of this April, the Foxconn plant in Eau Claire, Wisconsin was still empty.

Yep. No jobs there. Scott Walker appears to have "the Trump touch" at dealmaking.


Detroit cops cuffed, threw a dad misidentified by facial recognition in jail. Now the ACLU's demanding action

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Re: The facial recognition report has said outright there were no grounds for arresting anyone.

It's quite simple, really.

They're metrics-driven. Another case closed.

Internet Society, remember your embarrassing .org flub? The actual internet society would like to talk about it

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Re: ISOC and PIR

Quis custodiet...

Integrity seems to fly out the window when sufficiently large sums of money are involved.

If that's not one of the fundamental laws of society, it should be.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

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Re: What used to be a joke has become fact


It's not really that much of a secret, is it now?

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Re: No drivers.

Mine was built, if I am to believe the test page, in 1996, and has printed around 330k pages. It was almost spotless inside. Someone had taken good care of it, but the fuser jammed and busted some gears. Thus the "free to a good home" advert whixh brought me to pick it up.

It replaced a series of inkjets, the last of which, refused to work no matter how many new cartridges you put in it. The family refused to have another inkjet, and I was ready to buy a Brother laser printer, when I remembered I had this one in the basement. Took about a week to get it fixed. All you need is a screwdriver. Everything comes out and the replacemnts drop in. A beautifully designed machine.

Agree the workplace has gone beyond this but we do still have some very similar machines in the office area, not that I'm there very much anymore. What worked for the office last year is often quite a good bet for home this year. My Procurve gigabit switch was a discard from work. As were my personal laptops.

Being nice to the IT people has its benefits.

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

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Easy solution

Look: you're plumbing in the GE fridge anyway, so leave the bypass gadget in, and put a bigger, more easily accessible, and standard size filter in the water line before it even gets to the fridge. Parts easily found at your home center...where you were going anyway to get the parts to hook the water into the fridge.


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Re: Next great idea

HP no longer provide a PCL5 driver for Win10, so it's not possible to use older Laserjets like the LJ5 I have. This is a fairly recent thing, as I had been using my LJ5 quite nicely with Win10 until a recent update. Now, I am positive this has nothing to do with HP wanting to sell me new printers with DRM'd cartridges, because that would be evil. And Microsoft would never push out a driver upgrade that would stop hardware from working, would it?

Lucky for me, I found the old PCL5 driver on the web (HP have deleted it from their website...now why would they do that?), which Win10 still accepts. So I am up and running with a printer that works perfectly and shows every sign of outliving me.The HP driver does pop up a message every time I print, warning me that the (brand new) black toner is nearly empty. Hmmm. But the printer, which was free, and easily repairable, is working like a champ.

Not going to be buying HP again.

Mortal wombat: 4 generations of women fight for their lives against murderous marsupial

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My thoughts as well. But unless I am mistaken, Australia does not have rabies.

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

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Re: Ah, customers.

1. The importance of a detailed and comprehensive interface specification cannot be understated.

2. Your boss is an idiot -- YOU made the system work, by exercising initiative and doing whatever it took to make the client happy and keep the project on track.

3. It's unpleasant to work for a non-technical boss

US cable subscribers are still being 'ripped off' by creeping price increases – and this lot has had enough

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Re: Taxes and fees

At $25/mo for broadcast channels, you could buy a Rohn 25 tower section every 3 months and within a year or two, have enough to set up a tower with a high-gain receiver antenna on it.

I cut the cord when DTV came out and have an antenna in my attic (no weather issues). It works pretty well, as I'm lucky to be on a hilltop with line of sight to the broadcast antennas.

Bought my own cable modem when the rental charge went over $10/mo. I'm still paying close to $80/mo for 80/6 internet. They claim it's "up to 100", and I have seen it that high, but it's fast enough for me.

We need ISPs to be regulated as common carriers here in the US, but as long as Pai and the lobbyists is in charge, that won't happen.

Runaway Latvian drone found meditating in tree after shutting down nation's skies

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Re: There was no word as to whether a Playmobil figure was at the drone's controls.

Lester looks down...and smiles, knowingly

Railway cables overpowered errant drone's compass and flung it back to terra firma

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Re: "over localised regions of the bridge below"

I would have assumed that a $30k "commercial drone", would have had some kind of EMC (Electro Magnetic Compatibility) testing before being sent out into the market. And that said testing would have included what's commonly referred to as "immunity testing" to validate its performance in the presence of electromagnetic interference. The emphasis here being on the magnetic part.

Well, back to the test chamber with it. Better luck next time. From the description of the incident, the compass wasn't the only thing affected. Apparently the control system doesn't like high magnetic fields either, thus that altitude loss.

Had I bought one of those, I would be contacting my lawyers.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

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Re: .. never used .. ?

When I was at Data General in the 80s, I modified their D200 terminal firmware to handle and display the overstrike characters required by APL. To my knowledge, this was the first non-storage tube display to be able to do that.

I think they might have sold 10 of them. APL was never more than a niche product for DG.

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We used it in school (UMASS/Amherst) as a teaching language. Too "wordy" for me, especially the IO statements. But it did get the job done.

When I started working, it was at Data General, who had an Algol-like language called DG/L, which I absolutely loved. It was my language of choice for little utility programs on our AOS and AOS/VS systems.

Then, of course, came the Sun workstations, with UNIX and C.

Game over.

Bonus for the CALCOMP drum plotters. I worked part time at the comuter center in school, we had one (3 or 4 foot wide). The number of aborted plots due to pen failure was astounding, as was the pen budget!

Everything OK with Microsoft? Windows giant admits it was 'on the wrong side of history' with regard to open source

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Re: So...

With Microsoft, I find that what they say one day, may not be true in a week, or a month, etc.

Also: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

You cannot argue the fact that they own the office desktop and a good portion of the servers, but the inconsistent quality and performance is detrimental to their reputation. You'd be hard pressed to find an office worker who will tell you they LOVE Microsoft!

So bravo to the gentleman for being able to admit he made a mistake, and that open source is a force to be reckoned with, but I'll wait a bit before agreeing that Microsoft is a champion of open source.

The Rise of The (Coffee) Machines: I need assistance. I think I'm running Windows. Send help

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Re: We have a similar one at work

...scene of someone taking a shower...

I misread that last word...or maybe I substituted my own dream...

My dream still works with the "we recycle" message.

"You only rent coffee..."

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We have a similar one at work

at least, I think it's still there...haven't been in for two months.

It grinds the beans and brews a passably good cup of java, so long as you do not select powdered milk...

It appears to be made by a Canadian company.

Being friendly with the company admin whose responsibility it was to clean and un-bork it got me a look inside. They're quite clever, with a bog-roll style filter paper that advances after each cup and a large container for the grounds. Clever design, it's about a 1/2 cu meter and sits on the countertop.

Now, here's the good part: the manual is online, and the default access codes are in it (and are seldom changed). The bad part, is that the owners can talk with it over a cellular modem (or so the labels claim). So we haven't messed with it. But the temptation (and the password) is there, all right.

First task is to change the default video that plays while it's brewing to something more...inappropriate.



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