* Posts by mmonroe

38 posts • joined 11 Jul 2019

Planning on buying a new motor? Chip shortages set to hit UK carmakers this year and next


There is Morgan and Caterham too.

UK government has 'no clear plan' for replacing ageing legacy IT estate, MPs report


There is an upside

I've ploughed the legacy furrow for my entire IT career of 41 years. I've pretty much always been in work and I haven't had to be bothered with learning the latest newfangled nonsense. I leave that to the wet behind the ears, know it all whippersnappers.

Microsoft gives Notepad a minimalist makeover to match Windows 11 style


Re: Pointless

Dark themes are nothing new. NT had a colour scheme called black leather jacket. It may have been in 3.1 too, but I can't remember.

The pandemic improved the status of IT workers … forever


It was all a hoax

In 20 years time I can see a bunch of know-it-alls claiming covid was all a con, just like know-it-alls today claim the Millenium bug was all a con.

UK schools slap a hold on facial scanning of children amid fierce criticism


Re: Won’t somebody think of the children!?

Nah, a barcode tattooed on their forehead.

How Windows NTFS finally made it into Linux


Am I missing something?

My box at home is Fedora 29 and Suse Leap15 and both Linuxes can write to NTFS disks just fine.

LibreOffice 7.2 release candidate reveals effort to be Microsoft-compatible


Re: Use early Microsoft formats where possible for interchange

I go for rtf and csv for maximum compatibility, when I send files to somebody.

Windows 11 still doesn't understand our complex lives – and it hurts


That syncing feeling

We foolishly ditched shared drives and had everyone move their files too Teams. Apparently, company hosted shared drives weren't secure enough !?! Now we get regular calls that Teams hasn't synced. "I've put a file on Teams and nobody else can see it" or more inconveniently "I did some work on my home PC and it isn't here in the office". Thankfully, I still use a shared drive and memory sticks and I never have sync problems.

During lockdown, Team meetings were a nightmare. I couldn't use it on my Linux box (not a fault of Linux - it doesn't have mike or speakers), so I had to take an M$ laptop home. The installed program was unreliable; at least the web version seemed to hold up.

Lenovo says it’s crammed a workstation into a litre of space – less than three cans of beer


a pair of PS/2s

I can still use my ancient (15yr old) Logitech trackball and my even older Compaq keyboard. I really like the keyboad - no useless Windows key and it clicks when you press a key.

What you need to know about Microsoft Windows 11: It will run Android apps


Classic Shell and UBitMenu are your friends here. When the new IT manager took over, he wanted to know why I was still running XP and the rest of the company are on Windows 10. Looks ARE everything after all...


They will probaby do an Adobe...

Long ago, we purchased CS6 with cold hard cash. It does everything we want and need, but we're not allowed to install it any more as Adobe has withdrawn the licence. M$ might well do the same in near future.

Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder


Re: Gee…

Generally they eat, root, shoot and leave. Ooooo Matron!


Me too!

When I worked for a large facilities management company, they decided to do a disaster recover test at our site. The power company shut down the electricity supply, the UPS's told the genny to kick in, which it did, and management were all beaming smiles, showing the assembled clients how safe our site was. Beaming smiles right up until the genny ran out of diesel after about 10 minutes. Seems the blokes who drove the nightly backup tapes to the off site storage had been filling up the van from the genny tank.

43 years and 14 billion miles later, Voyager 1 still crunching data to reveal secrets of the interstellar medium


Re: Often overlooked

I think digital TV was a bad idea. Back in the analogue days, I could always get a picture. It might have had snow, but I could always watch the program. Now, if it rains, or if the atmosphere isn't right, I get extreme pixalisation and the picture keeps freezing. I have line of site to the transmitter too.

As to Voyager, long may it continue on it's merry way.

Mayday! Mayday! Microsoft has settled on a build and Windows 10 21H1 is inbound


Shouldn't they be calling it Windows 11 by now?

Windows 8 release 2012. Windows 10 release 2015. 5 years seems a long time for M$ not to change the number.

Not that I really care - I'll stick to Linux at home and the Mac my empoyer has me use.

Words to strike fear into admins' hearts: One in five workers consider themselves 'digital experts' these days


Re: Buried the lede

"This year will be the 40th anniversary of the IBM PC and the 45th of the Apple 1."

There-in lies the source of these "experts". When I was a young, spotty faced programmer, working on various Big Irons, you really had to know what you were doing if you wanted to use a computer. When I was doing my Computer Science degree in the 1970s, we learned about logic gates, truth tables, DeMorgan's Laws, etc, all things which has been the foundations of code I write. Ask any of these "experts" about this stuff and you'll draw a blank.

Putting a computer on every desk was a double edge sword. Democratising computers was good; creating these "experts" very bad. At the college where I work, most teachers, whether they teach Biology, Mathematics or Languages, consider themselves an IT expert. They will discover a random piece of software on the Internet or have it recommended by a friend, and then find they can't get it to work. They think a quick call to IT support will help. Nup! We don't support random bits of software, only stuff that we approve of. Trouble is, the teacher then goes crying to the Principal pleading "I really need this to teach" and we in IT lose countless hours trying to get whatever piece of carp to work.

When I first started out on the long and frustrating road of a Computing career, my first boss told me the definition of an "expert". Ex - a has been, Spurt - a drip under pressure.

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user


I've done the same thing

The Pick Operating System that I worked on back in the early 1990s was mostly floppy based. A client had sent us some of their data so I could test a new report before sending it to them. I inserted the floppy disk, without really looking what I was doing and got a read error. No worries I thought, I'll eject the disk and try it on anther machine. Back then, you could often read a disk on a different machine - something to do with floppy drive head alignment. I was very mystified when no disk popped out.

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


Re: Such value for money

I don't know why people diss Ladas. I had one for a decade. An annual service and the odd tank petrol, and I did many trouble free miles. I rate it as the most confortable car I had for long distance travel. It was a Samara, the GL model. This meant it had sunroof and speakers. If you wanted a stereo, you had to fork out for the GLX model. A £10 radio/cassette player from a market stall saw me right. Always started first turn of the key on the coldest of mornings - it laughed at the UK idea of winter.

If you want to see how tenacious Ladas are, pop onto Garage54's channel on youtube. Vlad and the boys subject Ladas to all kinds of abuse and they always rise to the challenge.

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store


Re: MS Paint has never been so bad

I find MSPaint really useful. If I want to wack some text on a screen shot, it is far easier to do with Paint than GIMP, or Adobe suite, both of which I have on my work box.

Notepad has its place too, as a scratch pad.

Sometimes you just don't need all the bells and whistles.

IBM creates a COBOL compiler – for Linux on x86




I'm sure I wasn't alone in putting these and similar statements in my code when I was a spotty faced programmer.

Yep, the 'Who owns Linux?' case is back from the dead


I wonder by Xinous has it's headquarters in the Virgin Islands?

Use Windows and POS in the same sentence... Yes, that's right: Point of Sale. What were you thinking?



A lot of ATMs here in Blighty, still seem to be on XP. I've seen a few with BSOD. People wonder why I still take my money out by seeing the cashier.

Another Windows 10 patch that breaks printers ups ante to full-on Blue Screen of Death


Re: @Totally not a Cylon - "in some apps"?

"Pardon me for asking, the 8in were they single sided ?"

I've still got a box of 8" DS/DD floppies from when I worked on System/34s. I have no idea what is on them and I have nothing to read them with. I tried holding them up to the light but that didn't help...

8" disks where quite robust. Many a time we received data from a client on a disk with a crease and you would leave it overnight under a filing cabinet to flatten it out, so you could read it. It wasn't unknown for us to iron them - not on the cotton setting and definitely no steam!

NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video


Matt Damon

When are they sending Matt Damon to drive it?

This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?


Wired remote controls

When I was a poor uni student late 1970s Australia, colour TVs were getting more affordable, and TV shops were accepting old b/w sets as trade-ins. What happened to the old sets? They sat out the back of the shop for the taking. The share house had a big console model, all polished wood, with doors to hide the TV screen. The wired remote would roll up automatically when you pulled the cable. The remote even have two 3.5mm headphone jacks, so two people could watch TV and not annoy anybody else in the room.

Arecibo Observatory brings forward 'controlled demolition' plans by collapsing all by itself


Re: Very sad, but...

The Iron Bridge, 1781, still going strong, although it doesn't carry traffic now https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Bridge. I see the beautiful Galton Bridge, 1829, every day when I catch the train to work https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galton_Bridge

Yep - they knew how to build stuff then, unlike today. A five year old building of classrooms where I work, has a leaky roof, and when a truck goes by on the road, the internal walls shake so badly, the teachers can't write on their interactive whiteboards.

The GIMP turns 25 and promises to carry on being the FOSS not-Photoshop


Gimp all the way

I have acess to full Adobe suite at work, and I find the Photoshop interface a nightmare when compared to GIMP. I don't need CMYK but the marketing dept does, so they use Photoshop.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?


Re: Nope

"I thought Windows XP SP2 was adequate, but maybe I have low standards or am forgetting how to count."

I agree SP2 was great. I found SP3 slowed the XP boxes down too much, and don't forget it introduced the annoying Windows Genuine Advantage - I never found Windows to be an advantage :)

I think the mulitple desktop idea isn't used much for two reasons. Windows users aren't used to such inovations, as they come very late late. Don't forget that IE didn't support mulitple tabs for many years after other browers had them. I've been using mulitple desktops on Linux since 2000. The other reason, is it a faff to get to the other desktops. On my Linux box, there is a nice little window on the task bar, with four small squares. Click on one if the small squares and you are at another desktop (4 in my case).

I find a WIndows interface so primitve compared to a Linux interface. Multiple items in your clipboard only came 2 years ago. Again I've had this on my Linux box since 2000, and it was probably there before. I didn't get onto PCs until then. Before that I was working on Big Irons.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word


It would be better if Office highlighted a document written in Comic Sans as wrong.

India says 'Zoom is a not a safe platform' and bans government users


I wouldn't be surprised if Bozo Johnsons next zoom meeting gets zoombombed.

I guess his IT lessons from a pole dancer are showing their true worth.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital




among the very many fun COBOL statements

If you're looking for a textbook example of an IT hype cycle, let spin be your guide


Base 3

When I was started my computer science degree in 1976, we were assured binary was on the way out and ternary computers would take over by 1990. I've got two more years until I hang up my coding forms and flowchart stencil, and still no sign of them. Nearly everything is hype. There was a CDC Cyber 173 when I was at uni, which occupied an entire room. We used to joke that one day computers would be small enough to fit in your pocket, and you might accidently step on it as it was so small. Indeed this happened, not that I have one.

As Australia is gripped by bog roll shortage, tabloid says: Here, fill your dunny with us


Deep Drop

When I lived in the bush, we had a deep drop as a dunny and Mum would tear up old newspaper and hang it on a piece of string. It did leave your botty with a few black marks though! That was back in the days when you got your fish and chips wrapped in newspaper; they definitely tasted better.

Brits may still be struck by Lightning, but EU lawmakers vote for bloc-wide common charging rules


Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

I think the Australian design is safer than the UK plug. If you snap off the earth pin on a UK plug, you can (with some small effort), plug it in the wrong way around. The Australian design prevents this.

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?



My iPad box says "Designed in California" and "Made in China". Who knows what extra spying bits those nasty Chinese fitted, or what those nasty Yanks designed in the first place. Time to chuck it and go back to safe, secure pencil and paper.

Ever wondered what Microsoft really thought about the iPad? Ex-Windows boss spills beans


With regard to the ribbon, here at work I have to run M$ Office, but I've found a nice add-on which gives you back the proper menus. There are several around but ubit works for me.

Ding-dong. Who's there? Any marketing outfit willing to pay: Not content with giving cops access to doorbell cams, Ring also touts personal info


I guess Trumop hasn't any comment on this - it's OK when a US company spies on the UK but not OK if we install Chinese made telecom equipment, which probably doesn't spy on us.

Apollo at 50? How about 40 years since Skylab smacked into Australia


Miss Universe

The 1979 Miss Universe contest was held in Perth, and a bit of Skylab was shown on the TV broadcast. It did win though - wiki tells me the winner was Maritza Sayalero of Venezuela.


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