* Posts by Willy Ekerslike

20 posts • joined 11 Nov 2019

When it comes to renting tech kit, things can get personal, very quickly

Willy Ekerslike

Re: Why wasn't THE major problem mentioned here?

You beat me to point 3.

Inserting a negative into a proposal is almost guaranteed to poison the vote as it requires invoking a double negative to vote against. The proposal is in two parts, starting with "Renting Hardware on a Subscription Basis" followed by "is Bad for Customers". If you're in favour of the first part, you have to vote "No"; a "Yes" vote means you're in favour of the second part (i.e. the full question).

People need to read the full question before answering (as we repeatedly tell students before exams) but human nature is for the first part of a two-part statement to be dominant, especially where a negative is introduced. Politicians (the successful ones) know this as it's a way to improve the chance of winning a close argument. Enough people will misread, or misunderstand, the question and mis-vote the way needed to provide the desired outcome. With the question put as it was, a 48:52 split is certainly not conclusive.

Gone in 60 electrons: Digital art swaggers down the cul-de-sac of obsolescence

Willy Ekerslike
Flame

Not quite as bad

This has reminded me that my attic contains a trunk holding all the printed English copies of Elektor magazine from issue #1 (issued in 1975, if my memory is right) until they went digital in 2013. My wife has threatened to use them for my funeral pyre if they're still there when my foot strikes the pail.

The sooner AI stops trying to mimic human intelligence, the better – as there isn't any

Willy Ekerslike

AI vs NS

As somebody much smarter than me once remarked "Artificial Intelligence will never beat Natural Stupidity!"

Raven geniuses: Four-month-old corvids have similar cognitive abilities to great apes at same age, study finds

Willy Ekerslike

Spatial Memory

I wonder if the less developed spatial memory is a consequence of their different optical system - we and the great apes have binocular vision whereas ravens (and most birds) do not. Not so much a function of eye placement; rather a function of the different processing needed. Just a thought!

Did I or did I not ask you to double-check that the socket was on? Now I've driven 15 miles, what have we found?

Willy Ekerslike

Yes, double isolate and still check

Had to replace the main oven element in our cooker last week. First, turn off power at wall switch, then off at main breaker, and finally test with field tester. Reach inside oven to remove four screws (to take out back panel), one screw to loosen element and gain access to power leads. Test again with multi before touching leads. Total job takes about 15 minutes from switching off to back on.

SWMBO is brilliant cook and baker, so our cooker gets well used. 15 years old and only second time I’ve had to do a repair (and it was the same element about 5 years ago). Previous one was just £8 off *bay - maybe why it only lasted 5 years. Replacement only £12 this time (and labelled as OEM - might even be true) so not really a hardship.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

Willy Ekerslike

VAX Sucks

How times change. My first thought when seeing the heading was another tale of the office cleaner unplugging something.

Just waiting for Dyson to make the reverse journey and build computers...

Brit unis hit in Blackbaud hack inform students that their data was nicked, which has gone as well as you might expect

Willy Ekerslike

Just received the email

Just received the email from one of my alma maters. Assurance that no payment information was taken but warning to be aware of phishing as personal details taken. Not sure if I'll be able to spot any fallout of this from all the other phishing emails that turn up... Basically, we're all vulnerable and sufficient information about most of us is out there if anyone wants it; a database like this probably gets a premium so I, too, doubt it hasn't been deleted (after all, what do the crime have to lose)...

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

Willy Ekerslike

Re: I take your Rats and raise you ant poison

Reminds me of the wizards' computer on Discworld - with the "Anthill Inside" logo!

All-electric plane makes first flight – while lugging 2 tons of batteries aloft

Willy Ekerslike

Re: Could someone check the numbers?

"I think it would be neat to experience flying in an e-plane that has no (or very little) engine noise."

Along with thousands of others, I've already experienced that - when I flew a glider. Wind noise takes over. My car (a hybrid) has no engine noise when pooling around town, either, though you then appreciate how much noise comes from types on tarmac...

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

Willy Ekerslike
Happy

Re: A long time ago

As MacGyver proved, you can recover from almost any disaster with duct tape. I say "almost" as some fixes work better if you also have some cable ties...

OK, a hot-melt glue gun is also useful (especially my battery powered Bosch one, that charges over a micro USB). I used to add Araldite to the list, but hot-melt has replaced that for most repairs. Even cyanoacrylate glue goes to the back of the cupboard.

And a Leatherman (replacing my previous Swiss Army knife) - Gibbs' rule 9.

After all, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Willy Ekerslike

Re: Genius ...

My trick to avoid losing the plot is not to start reading the book!

Willy Ekerslike
Pint

Not a Who Me?

That hardly qualifies as a Who Me? No blame or shame to hide there. It's a story worthy of On Call (and a medal for novelty) - Heath Robinson would have been proud!

PS I'm not up this early normally during lockdown - it's just that I drove a friend to hospital for a deferred op early this morning. Now trying to keep awake. Strange, getting up early didn't use to be any problem: 4am to catch the 6am flight to Schiphol was a regular occurrence. Nowadays, lockdown and retired, my coffee m/c (bean to cup espresso) doesn't always have time to rest between breakfast and elevenses!!

Beer icon - not every pub across the globe will be shut...

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

Willy Ekerslike

Boss's hairy throat

It's amazing that so few people actually notice their own picture on video calls, even those who wander around with narcisticks for their selfies every few minutes. The most common arrangement seems to be with the camera low down, pointed up (so a good chance of backlighting darkening their face, which sits half off the lower part of the screen).

And that's no counting those who actually forget their camera is on and everyone on the call can see them...

Lost in translation and adrift in cloud storage

Willy Ekerslike
Mushroom

Re: The problem is not beheerder

In the DIY business, it's "measure twice and cut once." An aphorism many, across many disciplines, could do well to acknowledge...

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Willy Ekerslike
Happy

Wordperfect 5.1

Many years ago, when consulting and helping a company more formally structure and document their management system, I shared an office with the CEO's secretary (this in the days when the boss' secretary was gatekeeper to the CEO). One morning she was in a panic - she'd used the previous month's board minutes as a template for the latest one and saved without making a copy. Wordperfect automatically created a backup of the previous file version before the current save operation. However, it was a function you could tun off and save the drive space taken up by always having the previous version of every document - and she'd done that. I asked if she'd let me onto her PC to try something - Wordperfect programmers were smart enough to know that users don't always think their actions through and, despite turning off the automatic backup option, it still kept the file - but hidden and available to be overwritten by DOS. It took just a minute to find the hidden file, restore it to view and rename it. Disaster averted and, from then on, I had immediate access to the CEO whenever I needed it.

Come kneel with us at UK's Cathedral, er, Oil Rig of the Canal: Engineering masterpiece Anderton Boat Lift

Willy Ekerslike

Nostalgia

This article brought back memories from the 1970's, when I was a student at Bath University. A friend and I spent many a weekend locating the Combe Hay locks, caisson and inclined plane of the Somersetshire Coal Canal. It wasn't part of any formal project - just curiosity. We found the majority of the locks; we think we found the site of the caisson and its pump-house; we also reckon we could trace the inclined plane. I read that now much of this has been formally mapped and is listed. We took a lot of photos on our trips - unfortunately, all my negatives and prints were lost in one of several house moves since. I'd like to go back and retrace my steps there one day...

The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries

Willy Ekerslike

Re: Beware survival bias

That reminds me of the case from WWII where the boffins were wondering where to put better armour plating on bombers. They started by considering those places with the most bullet holes on returning aircraft - on the basis that these were the places that were being hit the most. No so, suggested Abraham Wald (a Hungarian statistician) - those parts survived the holes; better to consider the areas with the fewest holes as these were probably less survivable.

On the matter of watches - I certainly prefer a good mechanical one. There's something nice about mechanics, where you can actually see its workings.

US court rules: Just because you can extract teeth while riding a hoverboard doesn't mean you should

Willy Ekerslike
Unhappy

Re: Sedation for tooth extraction?

Reading this as my mouth is just unfreezing after a tooth (lower molar) extraction. Took three syringes of anaesthetic to fully freeze it and the dentist around an hour of drilling, prodding and pulling to get it out. Now a dull ache after paracetamol and ibuprofen. At one stage she was considering stopping and referring me to the dental hospital as the roots wouldn't budge - but she persisted and succeeded - full marks.

I'd asked, before starting, if I could keep the tooth, once out, as it was crowned. Not possible as it had to go in medical waste - besides, it had to come out in several pieces. But, she let me keep the crown (palladium alloy, I thing - not one of my gold ones) - for the tooth fairy!!

Teachers: Make your pupils' parents buy them an iPad to use at school. Oh and did you pack sunglasses for the Apple-funded jolly?

Willy Ekerslike

My grandkids are issued with Chromebooks when starting secondary school - all homework is issued and submitted on them. I was working with some pupils on a STEM assignment, which required them to run a presentation at a local university. When they got there they found the presentation couldn't be accessed via the university network. Fortunately, I'd asked one of them to let me see a copy of their presentation on a USB stick - which I happened to have with me and they could run it from that using a local laptop.

I suppose Chromebooks are the cheapest way to get all their kids online, without asking parents to fork out for better but I worry about tying kids into Google. I have a personal gmail account - but only because one of the charities I work with used Google Drive for sharing documents.

Similarly, I find it strange that many people who complain about data harvesting by Microsoft and Apple happily run Chrome or gmail...

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