* Posts by ocelot

7 posts • joined 13 Feb 2019

LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software'


Re: What's the need?

Its the support guaranteed in return for some payment that makes a product more attractive to corporate users, who dont want to end up using project for their users messing with installing 'free' software.

Red Hat also included indemnity from Microsoft in return for the support payment. Also attractive to corporates.

I would always prefer a model where there is a 'free' version that ANYBODY can use, STABLE, support and a pa 'LTS' version that a company can base its business on.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth


Re: Guinea pigs and some tropical fish

We used to have guinea pigs that occasionally wandered the house. On one occasion I came across a chewed mains lead with a just-exposed live core behind a fridge.

That guinea pig lived many more years, and chewed cables were never a problem again.

Sometimes shining a light on a nuclear problem just makes things worse


I can remember similar : on a project requiring extreme frequency stability and type approval, we installed a state-of-the-art Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator with a ceramic encapsulation.

We installed it on a PCB with a plastic case around it.

On test, it functioned perfectly until somebody turned on the light in the test chamber and it hopped frequency.

Turns out the plastic case and ceramic TCXO encapsulation was transparent to infrared light from an incandescent bulb.

Dixons fined £500,000 by ICO for crap security that exposed 5.6 million customers' payment cards


Still running Windows XP in Jan 2020 on their tills.

The number of obsolecence warning pop-ups flashing over the user interface when I bought a phone there the other day was scary.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?


My printer crime was worse: 37 years ago I was leaning on the central heating radiator in my student room and I wondered why it felt 'live' and my hand 'buzzed' as I rubbed my hand over it.

Turned out that it was earthed and EVERY mains earthed metal object in the room was live.

Problem turned out to be

1. Earth wire had disconnected in the mains plug feeding a 4 way power outlet strip powerin the entire room.

2. The 1950's Creed teleprinter I was using as the printer on my M6800 based computer generated a lot of mains borne interference from the motor that it used to turn all the cams inside for the mechanical 6 bit decoder.

So I fitted a mains suppression filter and for some bizarre reason I soldered the can of the filter to mains live rather than earth....

Result was all the time the printer was powered from the mains, the room was live.

I fixed the wiring and lived.

Around that time I often picked up live equipment by the live wiring and carefully put it down again.

The most painful was an open chassis Motorola 12 inch CRT monitor where the line output transistor was placed exactly where I put my hand to move it....

Surprise! Copying crummy code from Stack Overflow leads to vulnerable GitHub jobs


Quantum Programming With Stack Overflow

I have sometimes used SO for "quantum programming" where people post bits of wrong code asking a question .. Filling in all the known wrong solution space ..

Eventually I find the solution by specifically avoiding all that code....

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019


No, the sky will not fall in

I was around working on low level GPS hardware at Philips Semiconductors around the last GPS week rollover.

Even then , the average handheld GPS managed to rollover and keep going.

Even a very old Garmin GPS40 single channel handheld achieved lock with fresh batteries after the rollover, with correct date , time amd position.

This was a GPS that had been stored for years in a boat. The new owner of the boat had just completed a purchase of a replacement in a yacht chandlery when I walked back in with the old pre last rollover Garmin GPS40 working properly....

Any GPS that has memory of last week number last time it had a fix and sees it going reliably 'backwards' can infer a rollover and add 1024 to the week number.. ignoring just getting a rough idea of time from an RTC ...


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