* Posts by Antron Argaiv

1489 posts • joined 18 May 2016

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: Old LaserJets

The status page on my "free" LJ5 says 331k pages. I doubt I'll get to 400k before I expire, so plenty left for the next user!

Firmware datecode says 1996...so it's maybe 20 yrs old? Very clean inside, and I gave it a vacuum while I had it apart.

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Re: The future is laser (for me)

Had I not "lovingly restored" my LJ5, I would have bought a Brother laser. They come highly recommended, but you do need to make sure the one you buy has a network interface (it's an option on some of them)

Also, beware that some laser manufacturers have "intelligent" cartridges that "expire". I'm looking at you, HP! (which might be why they are trying to remove drivers for the old LJs from Windows...cartridges don't expire)

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Happy

Ditched inkjets

We had always had inkjets. First, HP, then we tried an Epson. Always the same issue: whenever we wanted to print: ink problems. Either plugged orifices or "empty" cartridges, and even though 90% of the printing was in black, you always found that the other cartridges had to be replaced as well. We just did not print frequently enough to keep the ink system operational.

Lasers were expensive, so we mostly ended up with Dad printing the stuff at work. Then came WFH. Several years ago, I had rescued a "free for the taking" LJ5 off the front porch of a legal office in town, and this seemed like a good time to try my hand at getting it working. The legendary repairability of the LJ5 was not exaggerated. I spent several weeks with screwdriver in hand, browsing the Web, watching YouTube videos and ordering parts. It ended up needing a new gear set, rebuilt fuser assembly and a new (refilled) cartridge, all of which were easily found online (there were a LOT of these printers made). While I was inside, I maxed out the RAM ($30) and added an Ethernet card ($15). I have to say, the LJ5 is a wonderfully maintainable product.

Now, I have a network-connected, always on (it draws 7 watts on standby), reliable printer. It works with Linux, Apple and (with a bit of effort) my work Win10 laptop (I needed to find a working PCL5 driver -- HP seems to be trying to make the LJ5 obsolete). Couldn't be happier. Even with weeks between prints, it's perfect copy every time, and I'm still on my first cartridge (have 2 more Goodwill finds, NIB, waiting to be used).

Thanks to Bill, Dave, and Canon, for a quality printer that still hasn't gone out of style!

Somebody is destined for somewhere hot, and definitely not Coventry

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Re: Having access to the system logs ...

Tom Lehrer references always get an upvote.

In the '80s, satellite comms showed promise – soon it'll be a viable means to punt internet services at anyone anywhere

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Re: It's Comcastic!

I used to have Comcast (suburb of Boston, MA, USA). I was paying $70/mo for 100/6. Last year, they announced they were going to institute data caps on Massachusetts customers. I had always said that if that ever happened, I would dump them for FIOS.

Coincidentally, FIOS halved their monthly charge and doubled their speed (from 100/100 for $70 to 200/200 for $40). Since I already had the fiber installed, I signed up. The installer came out, hooked me up and I moved the RJ from my cable modem to the FIOS ONT. Installer told me to expect 300/300, which is what I have been getting since Feb of this year, when I called Comcast and dumped them.

I don't know what prompted the rate cut on FIOS's part, because up until this year they had always been neck and neck with Comcast. And data over a CATV plant, even if it's hybrid fiber/coax, is a losing game. Comcast is a losing company, especially now that FIOS is so competitive, and I think FIOS smells blood in the water...

Oh, and no more Sunday/Monday morning outages! Apparently, that's when Comcast makes their network changes, and recently, I have had to reset my modem once a month or so. Very annoying, but not happening with FIOS.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: Can't wait...

OOMA Telo box here.

FTTP, RJ45 connected from the ONT to the input on my router, OOMA connects to one of the 4 GigE ports on the router and a POTS line comes out of the OOMA box. I ported my old POTS number to OOMA and all works fine. The OOMA even survived the transition from Comcast (cable internet) to FIOS (fiber).

OOMA costs me $6/mo. I think telephone is free on FIOS if you take their TV, which I don't, and I wanted an ISP-independent VOIP provider

You're not imagining it. Amazon and AWS want to hire all your friends, enemies, and everyone in between

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Usually when you're the "cream of the crop", and "much is expected", you get a salary offer to match.

Something tells me that this isn't the case at Amazon.

Good news: Jeff Bezos went to space. Bad news: He's back

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Her Wikipedia entry is well worth reading. An amazing person.

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One of my favourite movies. Still, and it keeps getting better because of all the "visions of the future" which went the other way: The Bell System, Picturephone, Howard Johnsons, and, of course, Pan-Am.

Sadly, there won't be a Pan-Am logo on the shuttle...they're a railroad now:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Railways

The name was also used by several defunct air carriers, none active at the moment...so maybe one of the billionaires could pick up the name and make 2001 come true?

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Oh dear

As did I.

I still get a bit choked up when I watch the landing sequence...and when I watch the Apollo 8 reading of Genesis.

It was a different time. In some ways better, some ways worse, and, sadly, in some ways which nothing has changed.

// old guy rant over

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Happy

Re: Executive Summary

Bezos missed a sponsorship opportunity from a condom manufacturer...

In a complete non-surprise, Mozilla hammers final nail in FTP's coffin by removing it from Firefox

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Unhappy

fond ftp memories

In the early 90s, I worked at Data General. We engineers had just received Sun workstations, to use for schematic capture. No instruction, just dropped on our desks. We felt our way around SunOS, and discovered all the Unix tools, including nntp and ftp...and, for me, comp.os.minix. Because Unix was so much neater than Windows 3.1.

I spent a good bit of time downloading Linux floppy images of tsx-11.mit.edu and decwrl.dec.com. ftp was the way you did that sort of thing, pre-web. It was also how you got things like image and waveform manipulation tools, which you ftp'd off the author's host and compiled for your machine. No packages back then, and "open source" wasn't really a term people used. They just put the code up on their machines and you ftp'd it.

I used ftp recently to deliver design files to my PCB layout contractor. Still available on the Win10 command line...for that [almost] old-timey Unix feel...

I no longer have a burning hatred for Jewish people, says Googler now suddenly no longer at Google

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: This is confusing

USAian here. In a few more generations, it's not going to matter, because you'd have to spend several minutes explaining the details.

I'm encouraged by the number of "non-traditional" couples I have met in recent years. The kids are OK.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: This is confusing

I'd add to your excellent advice: show the change in your heart by actions, not words.

Microsoft adds cloud enablement to 1970s Altair 8800 tech

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Re: We had the "cloud" back in 1975

300 baud. But my KSR33 could only use 110 baud of that. When I got my VT05, I tripled my speed!

Those were the days :-)

The lights go off, broadband drops out, the TV freezes … and nobody knows why (spooky music)

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Re: Supply pipe

"Let the system work"...until it doesn't. Then, a little intelligent nudging can make all the difference.

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Unhappy

Re: Shibboleet

...AND, they'll put a "note in your file" that you're an abusive wanker. That should help the next time you call.

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USA here -- several years ago, I got a notice in the mail that my copper POTS line would be disconnected on [date], unless I allowed them to replace it with fiber. "OK," I thought, "this is my opportunity to get fiber installed for free." Told them to go ahead, and the fiber was duly installed and tested. I waited a month, then cancelled the phone service and replaced it with OOMA ($40/mo vs $5/mo) over my cable TV ISP (Comcast, if you must know).

At the time, Comcast and FIOS were neck and neck as far as speed and cost, so no reason to switch, and I was satisfied with Comcast. Fast forward to 2020. I noticed that FIOS had halved their price and doubled their speed compared to Comcast. "Right," I thought, "now's the time to switch." Called FIOS and initiated the process. Easy-peasy, I thought, since the fiber has already been checked out and was installed only a few years back.

Nope. Guy comes out to "install" my FIOS service. Looks at the ONT, shakes his head. "You have a problem," he says. "Hmm...worked when they installed it," I mutter. He points at the red "Fault" LED. No signal. So, this is 4 PM on a nasty, rainy night. I resign myself to waiting another week. Fortunately, Comcast is still connected.

The tech pulls out some equipment and attaches it to the end of the fiber. "No light," he says, "probably a broken fiber. I'll be back." He walks out into the rain and drives off. Comes back in 15 minutes. "You have two or three breaks in the run back to the box" I think of all the ice and snow storms in the past three years, and how many trees have come down. Not surprising at all. What was surprising, was his next statement: "I'll call construction and see if they can get someone out," he says. It's around 7 PM. He drives off. Comes back about an hour later. "Should be OK now," he says, and hooks the fiber back up. "Fault" light goes out. He calls his office and tells them to turn on the data. We have a nice chat about telephones, and I find out he's been with "The Phone Company" for 25 years. I fire up my laptop to test the connection. He gets the OK from the office and we hook up and do a speed test. He tells me, "You have 200/200 service, but you'll probably see 300/300 because the box is only half full". And that's what I see. I thank him profusely, and he heads out.

That was a year ago. FIOS internet has been flawless since then, all through WFH. I ran it for a week, with Comcast still hooked up, then dropped Comcast. I'm fully aware that my experience was unusual, to say the least. I probably met the last remaining telephone company employee who actually gave a damn about customer service. And, yes, when they sent me a "how did we do" form, I praised him to the heavens.

So, Dabbsy, there are still a few left. Hopefully one day you will get one of them.

How to keep your enterprise up to date by deploying the very latest malware

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Alert

Re: Been there - on a Nuclear Power Plant

...and THIS is why I'm not comfortable with nuclear power (well, this and what to do with the waste, and what happens to the waste while we're trying to figure out what to do with it).

It only takes one "Jerry" to really mess things up. Sometimes, it's not even Jerry, it could be running out of fuel for the emergency cooling pumps because the fuel tanker can't get through after the tsunami.

When there's NO room for error, eventually, there will be an error.

NASA fixes Hubble Space Telescope using backup power supply unit, payload computer

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Mushroom

Hope they remembered to set the 120/240 switch correctly :-)

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Great news....until.

...which means, of course, that they have a better replacement :-)

IIRC, one of the (formerly) top secret advances in the KH-11, was a deformable mirror to compensate for atmospheric distortion. How they figured out what the distortion was, in order to counteract it, is probably another big secret.

BRB...someone at the door...

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Black Helicopters

Re: YAY NASA!

We don't really know the capabilities of the X-37 "spy shuttle"...If I had a bunch of spy satellites up there, I might be interested in a repair capability.

Just sayin'

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Pint

Re: Easy peezy, lemon squeezy

Buy one of these --------------------->

every now and then for your IT folks, and remind them that when they discard equipment, you won't charge them to remove it (unlike the place they normally use), and all kinds of useful things will begin to flow your way. I, too have a second-hand commercial quality 48 port GigE switch, and all my patch panels, 66 blocks and patch cables are from the salvage pile at work. Even my router (Netgear R7000) was $50 from Goodwill. They're putting in 10G stuff at work now.

Good networking equipment doesn't have to be expensive if you can settle for last year's model :-)

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Re: Simple rule of thumb

Dell Precision 5520 here. Our IT guys informed us that the Dell USB-C docks are...worthless. They require firmware updates and even their own laptops don't always play nicely with them...they suggested I roll my own alternative.

So, when I started WFH a year plus ago, I went to Amazon and bought:

- A USB-3 powered 4-way hub

- USB-3 to GigE dongle

- DP to DVI cable

- USB-C to DVI cable

Sure, I have to plug in 3 connectors instead of one, but for around $50, I have two monitors and Ethernet, external camera, USB gaming headset, and keyboard (the mouse is BT). It has worked flawlessly for a year, and I'm happy to get rid of the Dell USB-C dock!

The monitors are discarded 4:3 from work, the Logitech camera was from my junkpile, the keyboard is a Dell AT-101W (clone of the IBM Model M) and the Sades 902 gaming headset cost me $17 off Amazon and is absolutely wonderful for Teams meetings.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: Easy peezy, lemon squeezy

If you and a friend with fiber can find a line of sight path between your houses, a couple of wifi access points and some bodging of a pair of satellite dishes can provide a legal (hey, it's just an access point with a really good antenna!) point to point wireless link that will outperform your DSL.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: This months of work from home showed too....

When I built my current house, 30 years ago, I had salvaged several rolls of CAT3 cable (regular 4-pair inside telephone wiring) from work (we had been testing with it). I had the electrician run 2 wires from each room to the basement.

I have never been sorry I did this (well, perhaps the placement of the boxes could have been better). I used it for wired phone lines, and then wired Ethernet. First 10, then 100 and now 1G. Yes, it works just fine for 1G with no errors (runs are less than 30m). I built a "Fortress of Solitude" home office in the basement last year, and wired that as well, to the same corner, where I have a patch panel and (surplus from work again) an HP gigabit switch. I can supply wired ethernet anywhere in the house, and my wireless access points can be placed wherever they're needed.

Yes, wired is far better than wireless if you're working from a desk. Even the wireless is better, because there's less competition for the bandwidth. And I upgraded my ISP to 300meg fiber, so I can actually take advantage of that extra bandwidth. Never thought I'd have gigabit at home, but it sure is nice.

Lenovo says it’s crammed a workstation into a litre of space – less than three cans of beer

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Agreed.

As an older engineer, I see HPIB/GPIB/IEEE-488 still in use in many places (EMI test facilities as one example), and finding PCs to support Fluke's recording meters is well nigh impossible, since they require Excel and Windows of a certain vintage. Good luck finding a hardware printer interface.

My group inadvisedly purchased a FLIR camera which was locked to an older iPhone ("it's cheaper!") and which became useless within a couple of years.

All USB-serial dongles are not created equal, of course, and the older control software may not even accept "virtual" serial ports (assuming you still have a WinXP machine on which to run it!).

This may all seem academic, but when you have a multi-thousand dollar piece of hardware sitting idle because you can't find a PC to run the interface you need to communicate with it, it's no joke.

Western Approaches Museum: WRENs, wargames, and victory in the Atlantic

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Re: Seems a security risk

...and, yet, like Bletchley Park, Nebraska Avenue, and so many other places during the war, the (mostly women) who worked at those jobs, never said a word about their work -- then, or for decades afterwards.

The trust was not misplaced.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Happy

Re: "...most people have never heard of..."

"When I was a lad, I served a term..."

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Pint

Merchant Marine

The US sailors were not considered veterans until recently (1977,1988)

One of my ham radio friends was a radio operator on the convoy ships. Nicest guy you'd ever meet, and taught licence and Morse classes almost up to his death. Only after I had done a bit of reading did I realise how lucky he was to have made it through the war alive. He had the ability to be sitting around the radio room, having a conversation, and simultaneously listening to (and understanding) whatever Morse was coming out of the speaker. A talent of limited usefulness nowadays, but impressive, nonetheless.

RIP Ed, W1NXC

IBM insiders say CEO Arvind Krishna downplayed impact of email troubles, asked for a week to sort things out

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Re: Memories, and not good ones.

I used Lotus Notes at a previous company.

I remember disliking it...slow and complex compared to Unix mail...but the main thing I remember is that {filters rules scripts} whatever you call automated categorization of incoming messages, was very difficult to set up correctly, and I managed to configure mine badly enough that I got a call from the admin telling me to delete them, as I was impacting the mail server performance!

Rules seem to be one thing that Microsoft got right in Outlook

Not for children: Audacity fans drop the f-bomb after privacy agreement changes

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Happy

Re: Strike three

AudioCity?

Awww...daCity?

Oh! DatCity!

Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft's creepy Productivity Score

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Black Helicopters

Microsoft is not the only one

There are many companies (Hubstaff, et al) who offer panopticon software.

Seems to be a market for it, though I wouldn't choose to work anywhere that used it.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Just workplace?

Not so much worried about my boss, or their boss, it's the Corporate Productivity Team and the HR Metrics Analysis Team who scare me...faceless (and, for all I know, soulless) functionaries to whom I am a mere data point, and if I happen to appear below the bar (wherever it may be set)...I'm automatically "flagged"...

Who knows what goes on in the darker reaches of the Productivity Metrics Group? There's no visibility...and no appeal (from me, or my boss). "Sorry, that's the way it works now"

// the above is merely unverified paranoid musings

// though there is a "Productivity Tracking" switch in my HR profile

// currently set "OFF" though.

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum

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Coat

Re: RTFM

Revelations.

I have always seen that book as being written proof that the author had access to some very potent psychedelics.

"Here, John...just take a hit of this before you write the next book..."

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Happy

Ah!

A Roman Catholic!

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Coat

Re: An excellent contact page

"...it is not in the nature of our vocation to reply"

No, that's usually left to a Higher Authority.

// devil icon, but no angel icon?

// Holy Bible in the pocket...

Devilish plans for your next app update ensure they never happen – unless you start praying

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Devil

Re: I thought we’d settled this ?

Paging Simon Travaglia...BOFH to the white courtesy phone, please!

IBM email fiasco complicates sales deals, is worse than biz is letting on – sources

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
FAIL

Re: "a variety of alternative communications tools"

Selectrics rock! I have one that works and one I'm trying to fix. They are *completely* mechanical.

But why stop there? Teletypes! They were used for business for years, until these fancy computers came along. Also completely mechanical (except for the selector magnet driver card). They run over regular telephone lines...

...ooh...wait...

...Yep. IBM's hosed.

Five words everyone wants to hear: Microsoft has 'visually refreshed' Office

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: Can we get the menu back?

Dell monitors can turn 90 degrees. My boss has one turned specifically to address this issue. Pages fit better (ribbons don't).

Choose your poison

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Unhappy

I have recently had the enlightening experience...

...of using Office through Teams and Sharepoint.

I've also had the opportunity of "simultaneously" editing a document with multiple other users.

All I can say about the esperience is:

1. It was the Client's requirement that we do things this way

2. It was a total clusterf....

3. Microsoft has a good amount of work to do before they need to worry about "visual refreshing" Office.

#1 bitch? Adding a line break in Teams, GDrive, or Excel all seem to require different combinations of [Shift,Ctrl, Alt], and ENTER.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Some of the black bits are now chrome. Things that had square edges now have rounded edges.

You forgot: ...and some of the chrome bits are now black. Things that had rounded edges now have square edges...."

Plus ça change....

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Task bar positioning

Why?

Why restrict something when you could allow the user to put it anywhere that's most efficient for them?

Oh....Microsoft. Say no more.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
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Re: Still using Office 2003 thanks

Sooo....what you're saying, is that real functional improvements in Office ended in 2003, and everything since has been UI redesign and flash "feature" additions that no one ever uses?

Sounds about right.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Custom ribbon?

Just wait until you see the pop-up ads.

You just know they're coming.

"It looks like you're writing a bomb threat...here are some nearby explosives vendors"

IBM's 18-month company-wide email system migration has been a disaster, sources say

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Re: Maybe they should outsource?

[i]... the ability to mail out structured forms and get data back direct into a database seems like such a core feature.[/i]

Be careful what you wish for...increase the complexity and dependencies, and you increase the chance of really big problems.

I prefer the Unix philosophy -- email should take messages and files from one user to another. Don't ask it to do too much and you won't be disappointed*

*[e.g.: MS Word]

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Linux

The Dell copy is pretty good, too

"Model AT101W" is what mine says on the bottom. I have a real Model M, too, which I bought before the prices went through the roof. No "Windows" key, so it's compatible with my Linux system.

Hmmmmm, how to cool that overheating CPU, if only there was a solution...

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Re: The first/only water cooled ICT 1301?

Got those in my basement.

Foam pipe insulation is your anti-condensation friend!

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Probably an older Ford.

The doors on those things would rust out at the bottom seam, unless you dumped a few tablespoons of old engine oil or motorcycle chain lube into them.

All it took was a whiff of moisture for them to start rotting.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge

Re: Anybody who knows anything about plumbing ...

Check (anti-backflow) valve is usually a code requirement.

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