* Posts by 20TC

23 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2017

Microsoft's first AI PCs Surface with Intel cores and a Copilot key



"While a Surface hardware refresh ahs been expected" - I think you mean 'aaaahhhsss'

"Demons included taking meeting minutes in OneNote" - yeah, OneNote is a bit devilish....

Oh... and my Surface Pro 7 (keyboard) doesn't have a right-CTRL key anyway. For anyone interested, the SP7 is "quite nice" but not market leading. Surprisingly (not) Windows doesn't work any better on Microsoft hardware - and the SD card slot on the back is possessed!

Boeing bids the 747 a final, ultimate, conclusive farewell


Re: The end of an era

The high cockpit on the 747 made it possible to 'easily' have the front cargo door which is why the freighter version is popular.

Conversely the 'middle' cockpit on the A380 made a bit of a wiring nightmare for a front cargo door therefore weakened the A380-"F" position.

'Last man standing in the floppy disk business' reckons his company has 4 years left



In the early 90s, NASA bought some 8" drives from a small surplus PC kit equipment shop in the UK for Space Shuttle operations.

Sometimes just having a couple of spares of old, tried and tested kit it preferable to the risk of something going wrong 300 miles up with this 'new fangled PCMCIA card' ...

Software fees to make up 10% of John Deere's revenues by 2030


Fair price

Problem is nobody wants to pay a 'fair' price for hardware any more. From your printer to your tractor (and we're all probably guilty of buying the former at some point, if not the latter!)

So all hardware vendors sell the hardware at closer and closer to cost because they realise they can make their profit from consumables or 'data' subscriptions.

Fine. But there should always be a 'default' mode whether the printer works "OK" without premium ink/paper and the tractor carries on tractoring albeit without GPS guidance, etc.

Halfords slapped on wrist for breaching email marketing laws



Halfords were one of the first companies in the UK to offer to send you an e-receipt, i.e. an email, if you gave them your email address at point-of-sale.

Of course that's quite helpful for high value items with decent warranty but also builds a nice database behind it. Under-time-pressure shop assistants probably didn't really have time to read out all the T&Cs associated and clicked 'done' to get to the next customer and then it snowballs from there.

Spin on a couple of years and a marketing womble (working from home) finds a lovely database of emails with 'I consent' ticked and fires off the salvo....

Intel plans chip price hikes due to 'inflationary pressures'


Dollar rate

Don't forget that the Euro/Pound rate against the Dollar has change by more than 10% in the last few months. EUR:USD parity at the moment.

That's never good as so much of the electro-tat that we 'want' to buy is basically built in Dollars.

And shipping container rates are predominantly in USD which means whilst the price of a container is coming back down again, those savings can be wiped out by exchange rate.

Windows 11's tablet-friendly taskbar pulled from Insider builds


Just make it optional

I own a Surface and very occasionally use it as a tablet. So a 'tablet taskbar' aka fat fingered taskbar isn't a bad idea

Just make it a option that can be turned on rather than buggering about with the UI for everyone else.

Better still, spend the resources fixing the horrible context-sensitive on-screen keyboard. My iPad keypad appears just when needed. The Windows 10 one appears when not required and doesn't open without a click (on the too-small taskbar!) when needed. Or it disappears when it does eventually auto-open by which time you've prodded the task bar (expecting it not to appear) and promptly close it again.

Online retailers delaying sales of Raspberry Pi 4 model until 2023, thanks to a few good chips getting scarce


Re: 2023

Not uncommon now. 354 days lead time for some LAN ICs we needed recently and then you have to put them on a PCB and build the rest of the 'thing'. Then 8 weeks shipping from the Middle Kingdom which would make it Feb 2023 already.

Even plastics and rubber/synthetics are in short supply / long lead time due to petrochem shortages..

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


Re: the only HDD's available were 3.5 inch

It was the Kittyhawk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Kittyhawk_microdrive

A hotline to His Billness? Or a guard having a bit of a giggle?


In a similar vein, I was having big, on-going problems with an expensive leased line (about 15 years ago) and finally, in frustration, I emailed firstname.lastname@big-isp.com of the board of directors I found on their website.

Problem fixed a day later....

Still works even to this day for many firms, I'm sure. But they have a more efficient "We take your complaint very seriously and [insert bollocks here]" answer rather than just getting it done.

Yes, there's nothing quite like braving the M4 into London on the eve of a bank holiday just to eject a non-bootable floppy


If it was a dark warehouse, maybe the robots were putting up posters to get a rest...

Nothing new since the microwave: Let's get those home tech inventors cooking


Really a robotic chef?

I note the wholly-Moley robot has to have all its ingredients prepared in individual boxes and stored carefully for access, presumably in the right order. (And the temptation to nip in and change all the utensils around on the back wall would be unbearable.)

After all that, it is a human who slops the stuff in to the bowl, which you would thought was the perfect task for a robot to do as it could handle hot bowls and artily arrange the stuff on the plate!

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah


If it is a promo for some tat...

...it makes me wonder if the guys who found it were 'tipped off'. Otherwise it is a bit of a gamble to go to the hassle of making this thing 'hoping' that someone will find it in time before the launch of said tat on the market.

The Honor MagicBook Pro looks nice, runs like a dream, and isn't too expensive either. What more could you want?


New requirements / brandname

A reasonable 16" screen sitting next to (or propped up next to) an external 24" monitor is a good dual-screen setup for many who are forcible working at home.

As they start to go back to the office for 2 or 3 days a week, it is acceptable to take a 16" 1.7Kg laptop back and forward.

It isn't suitable as a road warriors PC or power user, of course. But there is (for the next couple of years) this new category of part-home, part-office workers and this is quite an interesting product for that class.

The bigger question for an average IT manager: would you buy a fleet of Honor "Huawei" PCs? I'm not suggesting they are likely to spy on you more than the operating system itself but is it worth trying to explain that to the MD or just buying another brand?

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


Flingers of Fenestration ?

or Phlingers of Fenestration

(Keeps the spellcheck busy whichever you try!)

How many Reg columnists does it take to turn off a lightbulb?


DIY & Fingerprints

Fingerprint readers don't like it if you do too much DIY! Specifically the type that involves rubbing your thumb and/or forefinger over something a bit rough (tiling, grouting or sanding, before you go there....)

Registering my middle or ring finger as an alternative works of course but you look a bit of a pillock if you're trying to unlock your phone or, worse still, hold an NFC phone over the reader :-)

Why are there never free power sockets when my Y-fronts need charging?


International plugs

The cable length problem increase exponentially when you have guys from around the world.

Why do experienced travellers seem to forget that plugs are generally different? I now have Euro and US multiblocks ready to go (and UK multiblocks in our other offices.)

And those that do bring their own converters seem to find the largest and most cumbersome devices that double up as chargers, hotspots and God-knows-what but with the side effect that they cover up the precious sockets on either side of the one they are plugged in to thereby rendering the 6-way multiblock only usable by 3 people!

Apple blew my mind – literally, says woman: MagSafe plug sparked face-torching blaze, lawsuit claims


MagSafe vs Friction

Not trying to defend Apple but surely the magnetic component is just an alternative to friction or clips. So a spark is as likely - perhaps more so - from a ‘round’ DC type connector?

Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work


Convertibles work (at a price)

I use an SP4 / i7 / 16Gb as my "main PC". At both office and home-office, I have a dock and two 24" monitors with regular keyboard, mouse, etc. It works very well and handles the big spreadsheets, will run a VM or two for dev. Basically exactly what you would expect from i7/16Gb.

On the road, I have exactly the same PC with all the same functions still with me, same speed, etc. in a slim and light package. The smaller screen and surface keyboard are a compromise (which I accept).

The company paid a premium of course and we have just one. The rest use a similar laptop, dock & monitor(s). So the surface concept is fine, just overpriced.

What makes me most exasperated is the reports of all the problems with Win10 updates and the Surface. FFS, that's the one thing that should work. Even my 'working' device often forgets how to use the camera to unlock the device or the keyboard decides to stop and you have to disconnect/reconnect. That where MS are bloody awful - can't make their own kit work with their own software.

Before you say it, In the 'real world', we don't have time or resources to switch everyone to Linux, including re-training staff. And half of our staff are selling or supporting customers in a Windows environment so need the experience/equipment to work with them.

Office 2019 lumbers to the stage once more as Microsoft promises future releases


Re: Clippy is now AI?

I thought Clippy was always an arsehole irritation...?

But seriously, I can’t really see enough difference between Office 2016 (run by me) and Office 2010 (run by the rest of my guys) for day-to-day office DP work... even the most tortuous Excel pivot table crashes equally well in both versions....

Web searching died the day they invented SEO


I think the SEO, or lets be honest "Adword cash" wins out and put the less relevant results higher up even with missing terms.

Essentially proof of what Dabbsy's saying that it gives you what the marketeers want you to see (first).

The life and times of Surface, Microsoft's odds-defying fondleslab


SP4 user...

Have been using an SP4 now for a year or so and very pleased with it. When I'm travelling or in a plane, the device is compact and light to travel well. I can even use it 'during takeoff and landing' as the airline crew see it as a tablet even with keyboard folded behind.

Back in the office, with a magnetic click, it charges and docks to two 24" monitors and is just a comfortably powerful PC but exactly where I left it previously.

Remember that requirement is what *I* need from a PC solution. One format doesn't fit all.

We have some of the similar Dell tablets/PCs and they just don't cut the mustard in terms of quality, battery life, etc. Yes, they are cheaper but that is a price:position thing.

The biggest thing that lets down the use of the Surface is the bugs and quirks in Windows 10 that aren't specific to the SP4. As mentioned previously, why doesn't Outlook have a proper Tablet mode, not just a function with slightly wider scroll bars for fat fingers?

Yes, sure there are other O/S and client programs but Win7 & 10 + Office 2010/365 are business standard tools which are good enough and so widely used.

Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course


One "flight director"

As a regular flyer, in the last, say, 3 years, I have not been on a flight requiring major pilot flying intervention. I mean failed engine, plane divert, go-around, etc. However, I have seen the pilot out of the cockpit 3 times to sort out unruly or distressed passengers.

I'm confident that autopilot and AI can fly a plane better in emergencies than some of the less experienced pilots.

So I see the pilot as being the director of the flight who can also assist in the cabin when the plane is in normal cruise. That gets the cost saving that the airlines demand.

2x pilots, 1x Cabin Director, 2x stewards becomes 1x Flight Director, 2/3 x stewards

And, if at 30,000 feet the engine fails, the autopilot will take care of the shutdown in the minute it takes to get back to the pilots seat.

Maybe we will start with a "rule" that cockpits only need to be manned below 10,000 ft?