* Posts by David Hicklin

344 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Sep 2007

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Gunfire at electrical grid kills power for 45,000 in North Carolina

David Hicklin Bronze badge

45,000 killed ??

I misread the headline as Gunfire at electrical grid kills 45,000 in North Carolina

A brand new Linux DRM display driver – for a 1992 computer

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Re: Good.

Another former Atari 800XL owner here:

Loved the machine, had a pair of 5.25" floppy drives (one needed 5 minutes to warm up before working!) and a 256kB ram expansion pack, hooked a brother thermal printer up and had lots of fun.

Sold the lot for a good price just before the market in them crashed to get my first PC (IBM model 30).

Would have loved to have has an ST but could never quite afford it at the time

Datacenter switching surged everywhere except Europe last quarter

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Waffle

What is this waffle on about ?

Just 22% of techies in UK aged 50 or older, says Chartered Institute for IT

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Re: hmmmm

>> less than a youngling who puts in more hours, gets the majority of the physical donkey work (racking kit etc etc).

most of that stuff is outsourced to service providers theses days, I think it is a lot harder to get into the interesting IT that it was in the early days.

Norway has a month left until sun sets on its copper phone lines

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> Let's hope we don't get to level 17.

15 is bad enough - just one 3 hour on period each day, which also says that 7/8th of the grid capacity has been squashed

UK cuts China from Sizewell nuclear project, takes joint stake

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: How many homes was that, again?

>> Looking at my usage over the past year, I average just over 12 kwh

13.1 kWh here (and falling) over the last year, so 550w an hour. That actually sounds a lot but factor in the peak loads from the electric oven, induction hob, washer etc is kind of looks respectable.

And yes it is falling as more efficient kit gets installed as the old fails - yes "fails" as you have to take into account the manufacturing cost of anything your replace.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Tidal : very capital intensive for short asset lifetimes. Ships come back from six months at sea ravaged by corrosion. Answers on a postcard for how to build a tidal system that can survive 20 years

The Rance Tidal Power Station in France was built in 1966 which makes it almost as old as I am !

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Re: Cold reserve NPPs?

>> Hydro is pretty fast to react

I remember during the tour of the wales "Electric Mountain" that the standby turbines are motored via the generators keeping the spinning and synced to the grid but with air in the water turbine bit, if they needed to generate they let the water in and were running full pelt is something like sub 5 seconds

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Re: Rough timing

Plus I thought we (at least initially) were mostly clearing down the older surplus stuff and only recently sending the more recent high tech stuff.

Same for Russia of course, I did read (quite some time ago, might even have been a fictional WW3 scenario book) that one issue of a European wide modern war is that the availability of weapons would be a major limiting factor to the duration of the conflict, they quite simply could not be manufactured quickly enough.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Local generation

"The reasons for central generation still apply,"

Electricity used to be small local generation which resulted in different voltages etc in different areas, one thing that the central generation gace us was a standard voltage and frequency and the ability to share the load across the country.

The central solution also has to keep the system stable, and for that you need lots big base load turbines - wind/solar cannot do that alone.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Design life

"Then you have to have a good, clean, supply of water - vast quantities of it."

Most of the UK ones are built next to the sea and if I remember right use seawater for cooling (well that is what Heysham was doing during my open day tour there).

ISS resupply drops off experiments for life in deep space

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Serious Medical Emergencies

Whilst not wishing anything bad to happen to interplanetary trekkers but one hopes that have some plans for when someone becomes really seriously ill or injured, or are they just considering an acceptable loss ratio and hey lets go and bang the rocks together and give birth (if they do it that way) to a replacement?

So many things to consider

Telecoms networks could provide next-gen GPS services without the need for satellites

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Re: Multilateration!

Sounds more like the "GEE" system that they created.

I remember reading that an early receiver was lost on a mission (months before it came into use) and to deceive they removed the exact synchronisation from the transmitters

Low code is no replacement for software development, say German-speaking SAP users

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Deja vu all over again

>> users to write software without knowing what they are doing

23rd or 24th century when users will be able to simply talk to the computer ala Star Trek

Study suggests AI cruise control could kill traffic jams by cutting out the 'intuition' factor

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Re: Stick with the lane the trucks are in works for me

>> inside lane has two parallel depressions

Aquaplaning in wet conditions as I found out myself - thankfully all ended up safe in this case

David Hicklin Bronze badge

>> The low-hanging fruit would be keeping a proper safety distance

That! An anti-tailgating system that cannot be overridden

I see all the time where the "overtaking" lane is full of bumper to bumper cars that all have to desperately slam the brakes on when the line slows down, with the cars further back having less and less time to stop as the reaction time gets eroded each time.

Usually the left lane (UK here) is empty for quite a distance, so I usually pull over into it whilst they sort themselves out and the line of cars eventually sort themselves out.

I'm happy to wait a bit and get home on one piece

FAA wants pilots to be less dependent on computer autopilots

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And the few cases that might exist are usually down to bad cockpit management (often for cultural reasons) and/or bad training.

Obviously the ones where they did follow the training and procedures where one pilot takes over the controls whilst the other fault finds/diagnoses rarely get to feature on Air Crash Investigation, but where they do the contrast is quite striking.

Waiting for speedy broadband? UK's Openreach prioritizing existing work over fiber expansion

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Re: They had a nifty machine ..

In most towns and cities in the UK the ground under most roads is a rats nest of criss-crossing pipes, cables and conduits. You just need a quick peek the next time they are digging up the road to fix a water leak/power cable short to see the mess down there.

Run something like that here and you will either rip up gas/water/electric - of they next time they fix one of them they will rip up the fibre.

University orders investigation into Oracle finance disaster

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Re: There are so many of these incidents

I have been part of one such migration back in the 1990's which other than a few relatively minor teething issues (you will always get some) went quite smoothly on go live day.

The two take outs I remember most from this were weeks of testing/training sessions with the supplier involving *all* departments of the business, and that as far as possible we adapted the business processes to fit the new ERP system rather than the other way around.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: If

That seems to be the general answer to all these ERP/Finance systems by any of the major players once the salespeople have sold the snake oil.

Aviation regulators push for more automation so flights can be run by a single pilot

David Hicklin Bronze badge

>> You could argue well if they can do automatic landings then it's not a problem

You will then also hit the other extreme that already exists with the current automation: the pilots do not spend enough time actually flying the plane to stay proficient

David Hicklin Bronze badge

>> If you work in a shop or an office it is required by law

It may not be the law but in general it is undesirable and should be avoided if possible (assuming your employer cares about you of course).

I have been in situations like this, usually late at night trying to fix some broken IT kit but my manager did phone me every 30 minutes or so to check I was still OK (and was it fixed yet!)

David Hicklin Bronze badge

>. Air France Airbus that went down in the Atlantic.

I think they also made reference to the sudden event of going from a smooth flight (OK thunderstorms were nearby) to the next instant the alarms going off and throwing control back to the pilots and expecting them to "just take over" without being fully situational aware. They then became focussed on one thing with one pilot pulling up whilst the other pushed down until it was to late.

All they really had to do was to fly straight and level.

Self driving cars have the same problem where the driver is expected to take over in an instant if the computer craps out.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

> Sioux City DC-10 crash in 1989

And nobody has been able to do it in a simulator since

Biden administration earmarks $13b to modernize electric grid

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Re: Damn

> I'm on a 100% renewable (Ha!) elec tariff so where are these savings??

That's the fault of the market not the cost of producing the stuff , in the UK the most expensive source sets the electric "market rates" - it used to be renewables but now it is gas. hence windfall taxation of the energy producers

Twitter set for more layoffs as Musk mulls next move

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Re: Requirements

> only 51.8% of those polled think that the former president should be allowed to talk

But what percentage of the total number of twitter users actually polled ?

Job 1: Get the boss on the network. Job 2: Figure out why Job 1 broke the network for everyone else

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: But ...

>> if an Allow rule for a given MAC fixed it,

Maybe there was no allow/deny rule set before, and by creating an "allow the chairman" rule he automatically denied everyone else.

Network operator Vorboss offers 100 gigabit connectivity – but only in central London

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Lifetime of the product

Seen that one before...now define what the "lifetime" is.......

Microsoft makes a game of Team building, with benefits

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Novell Netware

Playing Snipes but only at lunchtime with the boss !

FTX disarray declared 'unprecedented' by exec who cleaned up after Enron

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>> fractional reserve banking, ie allowing loans to be made (and debt to be created) without having the corresponding deposits to back up that loan

Now I could be *very* wrong here but is that not what we had in the 1970's / early 1980's ? Loans and mortgages were bloody hard to come by in those days until they relaxed the financial market rules , and triggered the explosive economic boom (and busts) that followed.

Besides, they have to borrow the money to lend it out first, and if they relied on deposits to back it all up then there would be very little lending going on

Tesla reports two more fatal Autopilot accidents to the NHTSA

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Rate per 1000 cars or miles

Without at least a rate per say 1000 cars and/or miles (km) driven, the numbers are pretty meaningless as we have no yardstick to compare them with.

Swiss bankers warn: Three quarters of retail Bitcoin investors are in the red

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Hang on a minute

That took while to parse as well

I think they are trying to say (rather badly) that the price today is 155% higher then it was 5 years ago, but the peak was a year ago and since then it has declined 73% to reach today's price (5 years + 155%).

The ones who have lost are those that jumped on during the surge to the big peak a year ago, causing the price to surge even more (assuming they hung onto them hoping for an ever higher price), whilst those who have held BC for >5 years were cashing in to make a killing.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: surprised

>> pump and dump scheme

have they given up with that one on the penny stocks/shares scam? I've not seen one for a very long time

Elon Musk issues ultimatum to Twitter staff: Go hardcore or go home

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Re: Easy choice Elon

>> Lockdowns were there to limit

My understanding is that it was to slow down the spread to prevent the healthcare systems being so overwhelmed that they broke down completely.

Tesla recalls 40k cars over patch that broke power steering

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Power steering

> Steering that was never powered in the first place is

When I first started driving in the 1980's power steering was very much a luxury, cars were much lighter and had relatively massive steering wheels requiring a large number of turns.

Then they got heavier (more protection) and for looks the wheel got smaller. I remember when we got our first car with PS that the wife finally realised what had been giving her shoulder strain!

But today if it fails you know about it and if you are on a roundabout you could easily run off the road or hit another vehicle.

Feds find Silk Road thief's $1b+ Bitcoin stash in popcorn tin, hidden safe

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Re: No honour among thieves?

As commented above, he failed to pay his tax ?

The all liquid-cooled colo facility rush has begun

David Hicklin Bronze badge

> Peltier modules

my recollection of these is that they are not very efficient and the power output is small.

I could be wrong so feel free to correct me!

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: 250 kW per rack?

> they use it to heat a public outdoor pool nearby.

And when the pool needs emptying for some maintenance, what do they do then?

Twitter layoffs were bad but Meta's mass ejections could take the cake

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: 87,000 employees ??

>> I want to know exactly what ALL of these 87,000 employees are actually doing...

Constantly changing the scripts that run the newsfeed to that add-ons like F.B Purity that sanitise the crap out are having to play whack-a-mole all the time.

NFT vending machine appears in London

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Re: Actually an ancient principle

>> send xx money to P.O.Box xx….”

They all sound very similar to the classic pyramid scheme - eventually everyone has done it and there is nobody else to sell to,,,,,

Microsoft feels the need, the need for speed in Teams

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Not my most common action

>> how to stop Teams starting up at boot

Settings - General - Application (half way down General page)

Untick "auto-start application" along with "On close, keep the application running"

No charge BTW

All of the norths are about to align over Britain

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Plugholes

I think the earth has to reverse its rotation first, so aligning the poles or even flipping when over would be a minor event by comparison because at some point the rotation would have to stop before it reverses....

InSight Mars lander has only 'few weeks' of power left

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: If it dies...

> come back to life

Doubtful as they also keep heaters running to stop it being damaged by low temperatures.

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: Use inclined solar panels

> transparent belt

For a moment I though you were going to suggest one of the tear of strips that F1 drivers user on their visors,,,

The boss worked in a fishbowl, so office tricks were a treat

David Hicklin Bronze badge

> mobile phones......loss of electricity for a few days

You will probably find that the mobile masts only have an hour of battery life tops as they found out in Lancaster in 2015.

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Compaq support engineers

In a past life at another company we had them in to replace the Pentium CPU's that had the floating point bug (remember them?).

Guy came in using a screwdriver to lift the old CPU out which went well until it slipped and ploughed into the motherboard, those ultra fine chip legs (even in them days) don't appreciate a visit by a screwdriver.

Management was not pleased to say the least and a new motherboard was provided post-haste.

And the poor service guy? No idea what happened to him but it was not looking very good when he was spending most of his time on his phone trying to avoid being evicted from wherever he was living, maybe a bit more attention to the job in hand might have helped.

Gelsinger takes ax to Intel after chip sales slump, profit nosedives

David Hicklin Bronze badge

> corporation this size has ever turned itself around and returned to growth

applies to all companies that get to big, inertia makes it very hard for the rudder to change the ships direction once it starts going wrong

Linus Torvalds suggests the 80486 architecture belongs in a museum, not the Linux kernel

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: <raised eyebrow>

> support for H. Erectus or Neanderthalis either

Are you sure?

Lash#Cat9: A radical new Linux UI for keyboard warriors

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> annoying auto-completion

I though this went out with the zx80/81 era ?

Data loss prevention emergency tactic: keep your finger on the power button for the foreseeable future

David Hicklin Bronze badge

Re: White box

> A hinged/sellotaped piece of paper...

Did the same when I hit the wrong machine in our broom cuboard server room. Desk with 2 compaq tower servers, one was the Novell server. can't remember what the other one was but of course I hit the wrong power button when the latter hung up.

Finance director was very upset that his staff had lost work, wanted everything rejigging to run on their local PC drives until I pointed out that backups would then be his responsibility, and how about we fix this for everyone and not just him?

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