* Posts by aje21

89 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Nov 2017


That script I wrote three years ago is now doing what? How many times?


Software RAID

Many years ago we had to put in some very small "servers" which were basically PCs running Windows Server - because there was no budget for a RAID controller, we just dropped in a 2nd HDD and set up software RAID to mirror the primary drive. Not an ideal solution, but it was quick to set up, didn't need any drivers and was sufficient for the needs of the client at the time.

Chap blew up critical equipment on his first day – but it wasn't his volt


Re: Should this be so easy?

I think you are confusing C13/C14 which are rated to 70 °C and C15/C16 which are rated to 120 °C - I don't think there is any difference between the power they can deliver.

A toast to being in the right place at the right time


Am I the only one?

This is really an "on call" not a "who me?" column - I get that it's not really important which day you have them, but am I the only one who prefers "on call" to be "how I solved something" and "who me?" to be "how I got away with something"?

Seriously, boss? You want that stupid password? OK, you get that stupid password


Re: Just the one letter?

I used to have a list of characters which were in the same place for UK, US and Swiss keyboard layouts simply to avoid any issues.

Samsung slaps processing-in-memory chips onto GPUs for first-of-its-kind supercomputer

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Wasn't this an idea years back?

I am pretty sure I read about this kind of idea, but in the context of GPU design, many years back. Can't remember the name of the company, and I don't think they ever got a product to market (which was a shame).

'I wonder what this cable does': How to tell thicknet from a thickhead


Company where I used to work we had different networks for staff (green) and visitors (blue) - the network ports were colour coded to aid selection. One day all the networking for staff and guests went haywire. Took a while to find out that someone, whilst bored in a meeting, had used a patch cable to link the two networks together...

International Space Station fires rockets to dodge chunk of destroyed Chinese satellite


Re: Bigger Oops

Indeed, this taken from SpaceX's website:

On Wednesday, November 10 at 9:03 p.m. EST, 2:03 UTC on November 11, SpaceX and NASA launched Dragon’s third long-duration operational crew mission (Crew-3) to the International Space Station from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the “A Shortfall of Gravitas" droneship.

On Thursday, November 11 at approximately 7:10 p.m. EST, 00:10 UTC on November 12, Dragon will autonomously dock with the space station. Follow Dragon and the Crew-3 astronauts during their flight to the International Space Station on the tracker below.

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status


No mention of the best dunking biscuit there is - the Malted Milk

My top list would be biased against anything with chocolate (though that was not always the case so will allow Plain Chocolate Digestives an honorary top-rank rating based on my younger days), but how can the Malted Milk not be there in the list?

Shorties also make a good dunking biscuit, preferable the rectangular one rather than the round ones...

I would drive 100 miles and I would drive 100 more just to be the man that drove 200 miles to... hit the enter key


Re: "So my urgent 200-mile round trip ended, …

Not clear from the story what the old server was needed for after the new one was put in place, but assuming it was needed then replacing a duff keyboard seems like a better bet than changing the BIOS to ignore errors... well, that would be my thinking. Oh, and next time he would have known to ask someone to check the KVM for errors.

As a side note, in a previous job we had a server which had a BIOS error on reboot which was annoying when working remotely. One solution would have been a remote-access KVM switch, but they were more money than the boss was willing to spend. The server was eventually retired.

Astronomers detect burps of interstellar cannibal from 480 million light years away


Is it just me or is there a flaw in the logic here?

I'm sure there is flaw in my logic, but if two objects are co-orbiting each other, if one is able to grow large enough to encompass the other, would that not happen with whichever grew to super-giant state first?

[Edit] A quick skim of the paper (thanks for the link) suggests that there is more going on than the suggestion of just the size of the second star growing - there is talk of inspiraling which means they get closer together later.

Vivo X60 Pro: Branding was plastered all over the Euros, but does the phone perform better than the English team?


Re: Size?

I went with an Asus Zenphone 8, happy with it so far.

Our Friends Electric: A pair of alternative options for getting around town


Re: I'd be much happier...

At least that has a top speed higher than 90kph - looked at the Twizzy but the limited top speed to qualify as a quadracycle means it's not appropriate when many of the roads near me are national speed limit; being stuck at 50mph means causing frustration for other drivers and possible accidents when they try to overtake.

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea


Re: "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

Wash their hands, I see what you did there :-)

Galaxy quest: Yet another sub-£500 phone comes to trouble mobile big dogs in the form of Realme GT 5G


Re: Too big

Asus Zenphone 8 is not too big (and was what finally switched me away from my Lumia 1020, though I cannot understand why a modern phone does not do what the Lumia did out of the box, even if you search for ages for a suitable app - ho hum).

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


Re: Just a grunt

An assumption is that org charts are not cyclic... something which isn't always true. Fixed an issue years back when a client complained that their CEO seemed to be reporting to one of the cleaning staff (who had a manager, so on up the chain to the CEO again). Turned out the CEO had a blank "manager's personnel number" attribute and the IT system had matched it to the first temporary employee who didn't have a personnel number... was a nice easy fix that one :-)

Hubble Space Telescope to switch to backup memory module after instrument computer halts


Re: Why has this not happened already?

I'd hope they already had a plan on how to switch to a backup module, which they knew worked because it was tested before launch [Edit: it does say in the article "done numerous times during testing of the hardware before launch and the operations procedures for doing this are in place"], but having never done space engineering it could be that things don't work out the way you expect. Visions of a small robot arm unplugging a DIMM and trying to get the replacement to click into place are probably not how they will do it ;-)

Further edit: My question was also based on "Degraded memory modules are easy to workaround thanks to spare components NASA installed in the telescope before launch", but of course I forgot that "easy" means "easy compared to other stuff in space" not "easy" in the more common sense.


Why has this not happened already?

Just curious as to why they are talking about doing it rather than having done it already. If you have available spares, why delay getting the instruments back online?

Excuse me, what just happened? Resilience is tough when your failure is due to a 'sequence of events that was almost impossible to foresee'


Fail-back is just as important as fail-over

Doing DR pre-testing with a client in a non-production environment to make sure the steps looked right for when we did actual DR testing in production, the only issue we hit was during the fail-back a week after the fail-over when the DBA picked the wrong backup to restore from the secondary to the primary data centre and nobody noticed until after the replication from primary to secondary had been turned back on that we'd lost the week of data from the fail-over...

Another reason for testing fail-over and fail-back with a sensible time separation because if it had been done on the same day we may not have noticed the mix-up of backup files.

Samsung brags that its latest imaging sensor has the ittiest-bittiest cam pixels in the world


My work and personal mobiles both allow you to select 64 megapixel resolution, but default to 16 megapixel using pixel binning, so some Motorola and Asus android phones do let you choose. My previous personal phone (up to earlier this week) also allowed native 38 megapixel or 5 megapixel (though 38 megapixel also included a 5 megapixel version), it was doing this seven plus years ago.

Japan to send ‘transforming robot’ to the Moon in 2022


Re: Moon dust ...

Not just magnetic, but highly corrosive and abrasive?

Samsung shows off rollable and foldable displays, suggests they'll arrive in 2022


Re: Transparent screens?

Correct, not as a replacement for a traditional screen, but there are use cases (including HUD for cars where I think there are already some examples - sorry no citation) and the sensible ways of using such tech will come along once we have it. Remember how going from CRTs to LCDs meant there were now ways to do something not possible before...


Transparent screens?

Any news on transparent screens yet? Ones that look like a sheet of glass until you have something to show - and you can then either have the image "float" in space or use an LCD to make the background "black" for a more traditional look.

Big Brother

No thanks to a camera behind the screen

With a webcam in the bezel you can have a shutter or other way to physically block it - once it is somewhere behind the screen (a) will you know exactly where and (b) how can you block it?

Phones have a solution to this, even if not elegant, but you could put a small sticker over the selfie cam if needed...

God bless this mess: Study says UK's Christian beliefs had 'important' role in Brexit


Re: AKA: People

Thank you for quoting half what I said... brilliant!


Re: I'm a leaver

Ah so much anger still - you won!

FWIW, I don't have any say in who gets appointed to the cabinet in the UK, nor who will be a special advisor to the PM, etc. so to be honest it's not that much different. The voting system for the EU parliament was much fairer than what we use the UK which you can tell because UKIP / The Brexit Party managed to win lots of seats in the EU elections but almost nothing in the UK elections.

I voted remain and would much rather the EU did a better job - but the cool thing is, EU member states can do their own thing as long as they bother to think for themselves. However, our chance (however small) to fix the EU has passed, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens next.


Re: Religion in the UK?

Aw, that's no way to talk about people who voted leave,


Re: AKA: People

"There was a vote; most people voted to leave" - I think you want the word you were looking for was "more" not "most". Fewer than 50% of eligible voters expressed a desire to leave, but the leave vote won because a million fewer expressed a desire to remain. Happy to be down-voted for clarifying...

Got $10k to burn? Ultra-rare Piet Mondrian-esque Apple laptop is up for grabs on eBay


Re: O je

Worth remembering than an old banger, once nursed back to health, can do most of what you need a car to do... with retro computing you will still need some kind of modern-ish kit if you want to work / play.

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into


Re: take care when abroad

Hotel safe = illusion of security.

Rather than stopping anyone stealing your stuff they are they to stop (1) casual theft from your room, e.g. when it is being cleaned and someone pops in claiming it is their room, and (2) the insurance company saying you have not taken suitable precautions. On point 2, I have no idea if that would actually work, so probably a case of illusion of insurance too. Just glad I never had to find out the hard way what happens if someone does take stuff from your hotel safe.

In a devastating blow to all eight of you, Microsoft pulls the plug on Cortana's Android, iOS apps


Re: FUD by chololennon

I used to find Cortana on my Windows phone really helpful and still miss the ability to set reminders, send texts by voice, etc. because Microsoft decided that they didn't want to keep it going on a platform where there was no competition. So I have no problem with it being pulled from platforms where there is an alternative. I know that Alexa tries her best, but "she" seems to lack the whimsy which Cortana had...

'Imagine' if Virgin Galactic actually did sub-orbital tourism: Firm unveils new chrome job on SpaceShip III


How time flies,,,

... unlike the passengers. That said, they're doing better than me in the "space tourism" industry - though, of course, I've not tried (so any criticism has to be tempered by the knowledge that I don't know how hard it is).

John Cleese ‘has a bridge to sell you’, suggests $69,346,250.50 price to top Beeple's virtual art record


Re: Agreed

I did read it, but I voted remain so that could explain it...

Full disclosure, I voted remain and would have much preferred it to have been (as originally intended) an advisory referendum so the government could have found out how pissed off people were with the EU, our relationship with the EU, etc. My personal opinion is that the pro-leave vote could have been greater if the choices were "Happy with how things are AND don't mind where they end up" vs. "Not happy with how they are AND/OR want to get asked how things end up". If it had been such a question, I would have picked the 2nd option and hopefully we could then have had a constructive discussion on how to fix things. However, I now know that is a naive approach to take and this was going to get polarised whatever way it was tackled. So instead we got BBC Parliament becoming the most popular live UK channel for a while and more vitriol on the internet than I though possible.

My guess is that I may get some up-votes, I may get some down-votes, I may get a reply and some people may choose not to read what I wrote (which is all fair).

Intel CPU interconnects can be exploited by malware to leak encryption keys and other info, academic study finds


Re: XBox 360 processor

Hi Bob,

Correct about the second generation XBox using PowerPC, but I was talking about the original XBox which used a modified Pentium III processor:


GPU back then was green team rather than red team.


Re: I am really weird

Current and prior generation consoles use AMD processors - only the original XBox was Intel.

The 40-Year-Old Version: ZX81's sleek plastic case shows no sign of middle-aged spread


Re: Retro-Wreckers

The QL had the potential to be a good machine, but the price with FDD was going to be too much so it was saddled with micro-drives, too little RAM and much of the potential of the M68k wasted. Once you made use of the excellent expansion potential (card inside the machine rather than a box hanging off the outside) to add FDDs and memory it was an OK machine - only by then it was too late and too expensive. I had two with a "network" between them just to see how it worked...

EDIT: Prior to the QL, I as a non-Sinclair user so probably should not be commenting on ZX81 articles, my early days were using a Sharp MZ-80K followed by an Oric1 and an Oric Atmos (friends were in the Acorn cam with Atoms, BBCs and Electrons). While I did have the odd dealing with ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum machines it was the firesale QLs which caught my imagination.

Telecoms shack in the middle of Scotland put up for auction at £7,500

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Re: Road access

My parents were in Tomintoul for around a decade at the end of the 20th century, used to visit them in the summer and winter - so I am familiar with the A939 and the Lecht Road was usually the first to close in the winter (and I too remember it featuring on the news).

I even stopped one August evening on the way back from Aberdeen because it was (just) snowing as you reached the top from the Cockbridge side. Of course, these days the snow isn't as reliable as it used to be...

A word to the Wyse: Smoking cigars in the office is very bad for you... and your monitor


Re: Don't think there's anything worse than the motherboard of a smoker's laptop...yuk

Remember helping someone explain that "OK, you have spilled coffee on your keyboard - do you take sugar" was not a wind-up. Black coffee was not so bad, with sugar and cream...

Hey, maybe we should all be cat-faced eco-warriors on our daily video chats


Matrox were doing HeadCasting loooong ago

Always remember the feature of the Matrox Millenium G550 which never really took off:


(back in the days of analogue monitors I was always a fan of the picture quality from Matrox cards)

Virgin Orbit finally lives up to its name after second attempt with LauncherOne rocket


Re: While not the first, still a good advancement.

Isn't part of the idea to launch where appropriate (e.g. source of the payload) and what suits the orbit needed? Agreed that weather is a key part, but if you can fly above the storms...

MediaTek's latest Dimensity phone chippery is 25 per cent faster than its predecessor, supports 200MP cameras


Re: "more pixels doesn't automatically mean better pictures"

When I first got my Lumia 1020 the high pixel count (given good light levels) was really something which I found useful. However, an update (Denim I think) messed with the image processing and after that any full resolution photos start to look like "art" when you zoom in too much. Real shame because the camera used to be one of the main features of the 1020 :-(

Two clichés, one headline: 'No good deed goes unpunished' and 'It's always DNS'


Change management matters

If the change was scheduled for 3pm then why did he make it early? Change management is there for a reason...

Two wrongs don't make a right: They make a successful project sign-off


Just for reference, it's not a tripod

If you go to the Royal Mint website he says:

The characters in War of the Worlds have been depicted many times, and I wanted to create something original and contemporary. My design takes inspiration from a variety of machines featured in the book - including tripods and the handling machines which have five jointed legs and multiple appendages.


Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets


My thought was that someone mocked up an example of how it could work (PoC) using Excel and for some reason that is where things stopped...

By why, just why, was XLS used rather than XLSX, that bit seems almost like someone breaking things on purpose!

Atari threatens to hit fourth VCS shipping deadline, provides pictures of boxes as proof of product delivery


404 not found

Was I the only one who got to the bit where they were talking about units which were meant to be shipped and never turned up and thought the 404 was somehow significant?

British Army develops AI shotgun drone with machine vision for indoor use



Using an RPG in a room is not a great idea. The exhaust gases will hit the wall behind you and be reflected. Someone has already solved that problem:


NHS COVID-19 app's first weekend: With fundamental testing flaw ironed out, bugs remaining are relatively trivial


Re: Police told not to download Covid app

NHS staff are not meant to install it either because they wear PPE at work and so could be falsely flagged as being in close contact when not appropraite.


What about checking out?

I don't have the app myself (being one of the handful of Windows Phone 8.1 users) but when I saw someone using it at our church yesterday I asked them about the features. They could not work out how to check out at the end of the service, so I wonder if this is just a lack of user training or if there really is no way to say "I am NOT here now". Last thing you want is to be told to isolate because someone who tests positive turned up after you had gone!

Too many staff have privileged work accounts for no good reason, reckon IT bods


Re: Employ people you trust, trust people you employ

While I agree with almost all of what you say for non-sensitive data, the key thing is to separate that which is legitimate access (and yes, it is annoying when you are blocked from something you need for no good reason) and having staff with too much access just in case. Any organisation which does not take this seriously is likely to be a news headline some day.

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over


Re: Performance Upgrade

Ah, you forget the most important part - changing the stickers on the outside to the correct colour for the new level of performance (apparently a much harder job than the actual upgrade).

IIRC the machines were too expensive so they did slower versions to recoup the development costs - so the upgrade was just undoing the delay introduced to make the cheaper version. In modern times this has happened with CPUs when there were too few defects to give the cheaper versions so they just fused off some good bits (and it was even possible to undo this on certain Athlon models).