* Posts by Ian Oliver

19 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Aug 2007

Ad man offers fine drugs and finer print to Macbook thief

Ian Oliver

Dropbox is free for 2GB

So there's no excuse.

Masochists add Jimbo Wales to every webpage

Ian Oliver

If you want to turn it off...

Log into wikipedia, select My Preferences, then the Appearance tab, and then choose "Custom CSS" in the entry next to your default skin, vector in my case.

Then enter -

#centralNotice {display:none !important;}

I have done this guilt free as I donate to wikipedia via monthly standing order.

Google 'Instant Previews' hit Google Analytics with fake traffic

Ian Oliver


I've blocked google analytics (and hundreds of other sites) in my hosts file. Just show me the sodding content on *your* site and don't try and get my browser to wander off to other places.


Co-op cashier's breasts overcharged for fruit and veg

Ian Oliver

How much?

Just a few days ago, I got a bag of six nice red peppers for a quid at Leeds kirkgate market. Even without such deals, they typically go for 60-70p a pound. Dunno what a kilo would cost as we don't have such fangled contraptions in Yorkshire.

WD thrusts forth its mighty 3TB internal hardness

Ian Oliver

Hardy any problems

There are still big issues using these as boot drives, but I connected a 3TB Seacrate drive to an Ubuntu 8.04 box and it formatted just fine with XFS once told it to use bigger filing system sectors.

Royal Society opens inquiry into why kids hate tech

Ian Oliver


> Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology

That's the A-level choices my daughter made today, but she also tacked geography onto the end of the list.


ECJ ruling puts VAT on salary sacrifice schemes

Ian Oliver

RIP Cycle to work scheme

Most cycle to work schemes will be hit by this, and they are also facing a whammy of the tax man setting the final value of the bike at 25% of new. They give with one hand and rip your balls off with the other.

Cutbacks strip speed cameras from Blighty's roads

Ian Oliver

I really hope they don't remove them

There are at least two that make my daily commuter far safer. Doing a right turn when going uphill on a pushbike takes skill and care even when you're doing 20mph and the cars 30mph. Before the speed camera, the cars were doing 50-60mph and it was on the slightly lethal side of hairy.

Do these particular cameras reduce accident frequency and severity? Probably, yes, but what's beyond doubt is that they reduce traffic speeds and so make the roads less noisy and less intimidating for cyclists and pedestrians.


Computer grads can't even get jobs offering personal services

Ian Oliver

Hard to believe

We crave good CS grads, and EE grads, but there seems to be a constant shortage. We work hard with local Unis (York, Manchester, Leeds) and just about keep our heads above water, but the suggestion that there are loads of unemployed CS grads around is decidedly bogus. Maybe the dregs will struggle to find work, but bright people who've worked hard, really won't.

We start grads on £24k, with rapid rises for the first few years, and a good benefits/options package. I'd really hate anyone to be put off doing a CS degree as a result of this article - wait for the real figures as I'm pretty sure they'll tell a different story.


Gay man offered lesbian neighbours slug pellet curry

Ian Oliver

But wait

Does anyone know the sexuality of the cat?

Just asking.

Toyota preps plug-in Prius for mass production

Ian Oliver
Thumb Up

Range seems about right

18 miles should cover the vast majority of commuting and shopping trips for the vast majority of people. For those occasional trip outside this range, you've got the efficiency of that parallel hybrid setup with regenerative braking and CVT.

The Chevvy Volt needs a longer battery-only range as it's a series hybrid. These aren't as efficient when running the internal combustion engine.

Of course, neither are as efficient as a bicycle, which is how people should tackle <10 mile shopping and commuting trips.


The best memory config for a Core i7 CPU

Ian Oliver

@jolyon - Yes, it's mainly a driver issue

Here is what Microsoft say on the issue -


And the wikipedia page on Physical Address Extension says -

"However, desktop versions of Windows (Windows XP, Windows Vista) limit physical address space to 4 GB for driver compatibility reasons."

Microsoft themselves confirm that >4GB is a no-go with 32-bit XP and Vista.


So, very limited PAE with Windows on the desktop and deeply scary compatibility issues with PAE on both servers and desktop. We've tried PAE on desktop and server Windows and it quickly became clear that the pain of moving to 64-bit was less than the pain of trying to get PAE stable and effective.

With Linux, we installed a PAE kernels, rebooted, and the servers all worked exactly as before but with much more memory. We are now moving to 64-bit (with virtualisation where required) but it has bought us a few years.


Ian Oliver

64-bit Linux isn't necessary

32-bit Linux can use PAE to allow >3GB of memory. We have 6GB to 8GB on a few servers here that are still on 32-bit Linux.

Windows can't do this as lots of drivers are too crappily written to handle PAE.


Intel roadmaps 3.2GHz desktop 'Nehalem' CPUs

Ian Oliver

Quite a range of clock speeds

"The other two Bloomfields will run at 2.93MHz and 2.66GHz, respectively"

Golly, that first one is slower than a ZX Spectrum. :-)


DWP still sending out passwords and discs together

Ian Oliver

It's almost as if

... public key encryption had never been invented!

There's no need for sodding passwords. You encrypt the data using the public key of the recipient, and then not even you can decrypt it never mind the person who intercepts it en route.

The DWP could have an internal database of public keys for those who receive the data, and job done.


When flash mobs go bad

Ian Oliver

I drove past when the water fight was going on

And it was lots of kids having a great time, just messing around and spraying water at each other on a lovely sunny bank holiday.

The Police were there but didn't seem to want to go in too heavy, and I think they were also a bit drier hiding in their vans. :-)

OK, it's a shame the gardens took some collateral damage from careless feet, but Leeds has suffered a lot from shrinking/elimination of public spaces for property development, so there aren't a right lot of places left for this kind of activity.

I think some people have forgotten what it is to be young, and a whole load of them seem to work in the press industry!


Mag-lev flywheel UPS firm says shipments speeding up

Ian Oliver

Energy storage

Wind farms are storing energy in a number of different ways.


In particular -





NASA boffins resist intrusive security probe

Ian Oliver

That's nothing

Here in the UK, HMG intend to force every British subject to all of that and more, and we have to pay for the priviledge!

Never mind leave the company, our only alternative to the database state and mandatory fingerprinting is to leave the company.

Oh, or kick out New Labour the first chance we get.


Tidal power project fails to start on schedule

Ian Oliver

Energy storage

Diversity is key, so tidal, wind, hydro and solar are all providing backups for each other, but there are energy storage solutions.

Flow batteries are coming down in price rather nicely. They are great as extra storage can be added just by adding tanks.


There are already deployments next to wind farms to provide close to 100% uptime.

And regards using hybrid cars, extra petrol isn't required as the whole idea of a plug-in hybrid is that it gets charged from the mains to handle the first few 10s of miles. So, during peak usage charge can be drawn from the car and into the grid, and then over-night (for instance) the car's batteries are charged for the next day.