* Posts by Emjay111

11 posts • joined 7 Jul 2017

A stranger's TV went on spending spree with my Amazon account – and web giant did nothing about it for months


Re: All those precautions and 'they' left out the most obvious one

This can happen, especially with the AA.

It's not a direct debit, it's a continous payment authority, and it can roll over even when your card expires.

Happened to me, and it's a very real thing. More info here:


This line in particular explains it simply: "If your card expires during the course of your CPA, you should check with the retailer whether your new card details have been automatically updated with them, as this will not always be the case."

In other words, the bank informs the merchant of the new card details - without any action from the cardholder.

Let's make laptops from radium. How's that for planned obsolescence?


Hey, enough with the Alfa Romeo abuse !

My 164 reached just under 200K before I sold it. The current owner has passed 250K in it. The twin cam engines with a timing chain (not belt) are bullet-proof.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Two true anecdotes - mouse related of course.

First one is not so interesting. I used to have a trackball which on some days, would refuse to work correctly. The cursor was all over the place and moved in random directions compared to where I was scrolling the ball. Problem traced to excessive sunlight coming through the window and onto the trackball. Resolved by dismantling the thing and spraying the inside of the case with black paint from Halfords.

Second story - my own technophobe Dad went to his local library for some computer familiarisation lessons (much to my surprise). He took my step-mum along with him for support (also never used a computer in her life). Anyway, they were let loose on one of the library PCs after a basic explanation from the tutor.

My Dad relates that after a while, they had to call the tutor over, because they'd run out of desk surface with which to use the mouse. Not realising that in some situations, you might need to pick the mouse up and start moving it in the same direction (depending on various resolutions I guess), he'd got my step-mum to sit in front of the monitor and call out directions, so he could click on a particular part of the screen.

He was several feet away from the PC by now, when he ran out of desk.

Reminds me of The Golden Shot on ITV (I'm showing my age now).

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home


Re: Pesky microwaves

Thats true of several TV broadcast relay stations.

The mast at Llanddona on Anglesey uses two sets of microwave dishes for the backhaul to the mainland, one for use during normal and low tides, the other for high tide.



A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


Looks like they've rolled out some interesting pieces of kit on the roof at Gatwick. Anyone know what this is (apart from the TV antenna!) ?




Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...


Re: Quite believeable

Well yes, and no.

The dew sensor was a flat resistive element that did change it's value with moisture present. The lamp to which you refer was used to detect start and end of the tape. Subsequent end of tape detection was done with infra red LEDs - which were much more reliable.

A nice little earner was to be made in the 80's replacing those filament lamps though. I've still got some in storage ! :-)

In a former life, I was a production engineer for a major Japanese VCR manufacturer, and as part of finished goods QA, we used to remove the top cover and blast in some moisture from a modified humidifier, just to check that the dew detection circuitry was functioning correctly.

Silent running: Computer sounds are so '90s


On the subject of ringtones, Thomas Dolby was the creator of the (in)famous Nokia ringtone, and actually made a decent profit producing other polyphonic tones back in the day.


Fix this faxing hell! NHS told to stop hanging onto archaic tech


A view from the inside

A few points in reply to some of the comments made on this story.

1) No - we don't use thermal paper. For the love of God, it's 2018 !

2) Many of the "fax" machines are indeed part of a multi-function copier which in it's default configuration under the OGC (Office of Government Commerce) contract, has the fax option installed as standard.

3) Many departments have an analogue line for fallback, in case the VOIP system fails (and it can), so even if you rid the NHS of fax machines, there will still be a large number of analogue phone lines in use.

4) Fax isn't used anywhere near as much as it used to be - it is on the decline, but it's taking some considerable time for each use case to be resolved with other technologies.

5) Fax as a protocol is far more capable than you'd think. Unfortunately, the full possibilities never really took off much outside of Japan. Colour fax was actually a thing there !

It's true – it really is grim up north, thanks to Virgin Media. ISP fined for Carlisle cable chaos


Same situation here in North East Wales

Virgin were using Actavo for ductwork around Wrexham, but the roll out was put on hold until areas previously covered were reinstated correctly. A lot of the defects have been incorrect depth of ducting, and insufficient distance between other utilities.

The re-work and future expansion in the area now seems to be underway again, but with Litespeed as the main ductwork contractor.

From what I can see, the latest contractor is doing a better job than the previous, despite being a smaller operation.

Was thinking of switching ISP to Virgin FTTH when it passes me. They can't be that bad, can they?

Heart of darkness: Inside the Osówka underground city


Not forgetting Burlington

This is one underground "city" in the UK that I'd love to explore. It would make a great tourist attraction as well. Maintained until fairly recently I understand.

The place has over 60 miles of roads, deep under Corsham in Wiltshire:


BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on


Those colours don't look right to me!

I can relate to Rabbit80 's experiences - to the letter.

Same role for myself some years back. One of our customers was a graphics design company, entirely Mac based of course, who insisted that they worked in a "managed colour space environment".

Spent many a visit calibrating the printer correctly (EFI Fiery controller) to try and match their non-calibrated displays. Waste of time really, but their Head of IT made the visit bearable (a good looking lass indeed). :-)

One place that colour matched workspaces is popular is environment consultants who work on wind generation projects. Often they have to produce impact visualisations for planning approval, so the images they generate (of a load of turbines in the distance, for example) has to accurately match what their client was hoping to build.


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