* Posts by Arbuthnot the Magnificent

90 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Dec 2019

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Commercial repair shops caught snooping on customer data by canny Canadian research crew

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Snooping

Thanks for the judgement. As it happens, a "dead" machine was brought in and my colleague determined it just need a Windows reinstallation, there was no actual hardware fault. To go the extra mile he ran a quick scan for lost files thinking how pleased the customer would be that we had saved their data, and immediately saw a bunch of filenames that left no doubt that it was child porn. We locked the machine in the safe and rang the police. I can sleep at night over that one.

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Snooping

Tricky one, of course it's morally wrong to snoop, but we did catch a few criminals back when I worked in a PC shop.

Why I love my Chromebook: Reason 1, it's a Linux desktop

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Damn you, I definitely need to sneak out for a lunchtime pint now...

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Indeed, as a callow youth (more years ago than I care to remember) I worked as a technician at a large high street beige-box slinger, and 90% of my workload was backing up users data (pr0n) and running the factory reset disk. The most difficult bit was convincing punters that their machine wasn't actually broken, it was just crufty software.

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Security

The problem I have with Chrome OS (apart from it being Google) is the same problem I have with Android; perfectly good hardware becomes worthless because of deliberate software obsolescence. I have a 2013 LG phone that would be WEEE if it weren't for LineageOS. Even that isn't a total solution because various "important" packages such as mobile banking or MFA authenticators won't work on non-standard operating systems, so I am OK to log in to the bank on a Samsung tablet that hasn't had a patch in 5 years but not a nightly build of Lineage...

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Security

No security updates after a few years, and Google watching you? Sounds super.

Microsoft's Lennart Poettering proposes tightening up Linux boot process

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Going out on a limb here…

"...standardising the init process..."

I would respectfully disagree that standardising the init process is a good idea; I personally like having the freedom to choose which init system I want to use.

Arbuthnot the Magnificent
Pint

Re: Glad I'm a hoarder...

Now that I can drink to, even though it's not quite Friday yet!

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Glad I'm a hoarder...

"But on such old hardware, you won't be able to mine crypto! Or trade NFTs in the exciting new world of Web3! Or take part in the cyber future of the Metaverse!"

I shall just have to bear it manfully!

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Glad I'm a hoarder...

My stack of pre-TPM, IME / PSP-free motherboards and laptops should see me out...

PC component scavenging queue jumper pulled into line with a screensaver

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Leekspin was the safer alternative...

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

That was a bit more wholesome than one place I worked, where we would "meatspin" carelessly neglected machines... if you don't know what that is, please don't look it up at work. In fact, I'd advise not looking it up at all.

'Last man standing in the floppy disk business' reckons his company has 4 years left

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Speaking Of Ancient Storage Methods .....

I work in HPC (for astronomy) and we use tons of tape, it'll be LTO or something. When you have to store PB of data for years it's still a good option.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Desktops

"I thought XFCE is the default on MX Linux ?"

It is, but there's a Fluxbox option. You can select it from the login screen on the XFCE version, or there's a separate Fluxbox spin.

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Desktops

I did briefly play with the Fluxbox version of MX Linux on a rather low-spec spare machine I had, and it was pretty good. After 10 years on XFCE though I'm just too lazy to learn something new...

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Desktops

When I first decided to flee the worsening mess of MS UI, like many others I went to Ubuntu. I tried the various desktop editions, found Xubuntu and said "this is the one for me". I've long since moved on through many different versions of Linux (and indeed BSD) but I always stick with good old XFCE, because it's the closest thing to the Win9x / XP interface I grew up with. Much respect to those who want the whole "minimal window manager" thing with a million keybindings, whatever works for you, but I want a start menu and shortcuts!

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

You can move everything around on it, MX defaults to the XFCE desktop which is very customisable.

'I wonder what this cable does': How to tell thicknet from a thickhead

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Non-VOIP, POTS payphones

Agreed, less than a decade ago I worked on the telecoms provision for a new-build hospital, the main connectivity was (new to the organisation at the time) SIP but I still had to install a surprising number of POTS lines. These were needed for emergency links to blood transfusion service, ambulance centre, lift alarm panel etc. I left that field now but whenever I hear about the death of POTS I wonder what they are going to replace these critical things with...

Garuda Linux 'Talon': Arch, but different. Dare we say it? Better

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Good for gamers

This is a decent choice for those of us who like to play the odd modern game. I always had to keep a Windows partition for such activities but this works pretty well with Proton and Nvidia straight out of the box. (Before anyone feels the urge to tell me, yes I know that in theory you can run Steam and Nvidia firmware on just about any distro but after a working day fighting with Centos the last thing I want to do is fiddle about with my home machine to relax). The only gripe would be you do end up downloading a lot of updates, so it's not so good if you have a poor internet connection - but if you're a Steam user you probably have decent bandwidth anyway.

x86 Raspberry Pi Desktop is a great way to revive an old PC

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Thanks for the information, I was wrong about Chromium then - must be because I don't really use it at all. You're right though, it does run surprisingly well on the old 1st Gen Core Duo.

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

I was recently testing OpenBSD on my X60 and I don't believe Firefox or Chromium were available in the 32-bit edition - did you build them manually?

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Exchange

2000 was OK, 2003 was pretty decent, everything was downhill from there.

Don't know how many SBS 2003 machines I put in then ripped out again a few years later, but it was a lot...

Iceotope: No need to switch servers to swap air-cooled for liquid-cooled

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: And how much extra effort

You don't work in HPC then, I'm forever dealing with failed memory and mainboards.

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Email backups

I was sole admin for a sizeable manufacturer back in the early 00s, and one day I was "invited" to the boardroom to confirm to the directors that I couldn't read their email. "Of course I can," I said, "I'm the network admin". They were horrified. "But you don't have permission!" Who sets the permissions? I rejoined. After much huffing and puffing on their part I simply said "Mike, your best defence is that I don't think your email will be very interesting. But I'm starting to wonder if that's true..."

How CXL may change the datacenter as we know it

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: CXL == slower /tmp

I work in HPC, we have an on-premises cluster used for large-scale numerical simulations. Composable memory fabric for our compute nodes is something we are interested in, since at any time we have jobs running with varying memory requirements.

Supercomputer lab swaps lead-acid UPS batteries for alkaline gear

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: li-ion

I briefly worked a contract job rejigging the network in an EV battery plant. Starting with individual electrodes the entire packs were built up on site. The individual modules were loaded into huge conditioning chargers, rows and rows of them like the aisles in a supermarket but 20 feet high, and along each row there were dozens of nitrogen cylinders ready to dump their loads - there must have been hundreds or thousands of those cylinders in the plant. We were told that if an alarm went off, sprint for the exit or you'll asphyxiate.

Given that, as others have pointed out, lithium fires make their own oxygen, I can only assume they were there to stop any fires in the electrical systems from setting off the batteries? Or maybe just for show. With that and the emergency showers everywhere in case of an electrolyte spill (get naked and get in there in a hurry or the acid will eat into your bones and kill you) it was a jolly fun old place.

OpenBSD 7.1 is out, including Apple M1 support

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: OpenBSD is Faaast!

Blazingly fast? It's noticeably slower than Linux. I have it on a 2nd-gen i5 and it's usable as a desktop running xfce, thunderbird, firefox etc, but it works a lot harder than it did under Debian. Not criticising, it's not the focus of the project.

Plans for Dutch datacenter to warm thousands of homes

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Using waste heat

Some years ago I installed a network for a startup company that was using waste heat from the cooling system of a power plant to run heated pools for aquaculture. The plant fed the Lynemouth aluminium smelter, which was mothballed about a year later so I guess that project was dead in the water...

BOFH: The evil guide to upgrading switches

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

If you haven't spent four hours waiting for zmodem are you even a BOFH?

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: rule 1

My office bin has a "Windows 8" sticker on it. Much more useful than the installation it came from.

The IBM System/360 Model 40 told you to WHAT now?

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Read canaries ... How I became Director of the Secret Police

A company I worked for instituted a fabulous (*) system of internal self-study training. For each level you passed you got a pay increment, but the levels got increasingly more convoluted and impractical to pass - you had to print out the material as hard copy and fill it in, then get a manager to authorise it. By the time you hit level 5 or something it was about 100 A4 sheets. We had one manager who had somehow been promoted up from the warehouse, he was a big burly chap with hands like coal shovels but not, shall we say, one of life's great thinkers. I printed out the relevant bumpf, filled in the first and last few pages and waited til this lad was duty manager. Sure enough, he flicked through the first and last few pages, signed it and filed it, and I got my few extra shekels a month.

* not really fabulous

LG promises to make home appliance software upgradeable to take on new tasks

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: The cynic in me

"Gripping hand"? Insert obligatory "I understood that reference" gif, must dig those books out. Cheers!

Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Old hardware though...?

Indeed it does, it's dual-booted; I only go into Windows when absolutely necessary (Wine lets me down).

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Old hardware though...?

I have a perfectly good AMD FX PC which runs 10 very well, but doesn't meet the requirements for 11. Wonder what will happen when they stop updating 10?

Feeling virtuous with a good old paperback? Well, don't. Switching to traditional media does not improve mood

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: books vs screens

I've never understood the vitriol some folk direct at e-readers (I wonder if they are the same people who get so incensed at the existence of electric cars). I have hundreds of paper books but I wouldn't be without my Kobo; it fits nicely in the coat pocket, so I'm never stuck for something to do on the bus or if I'm the first one to the pub. The newer ones also dynamically change to a warmer backlight at night, so I can read in bed without incurring the wrath of the missus.

Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

I fitted a decent DAB stereo unit into my car some years back and it works pretty well, yes there are spots where the service is poor but I don't think I'd get much improvement from using 4G via a smartphone, given how crap my phone signal is up in the hills.

BOFH: So you want to have your computer switched out for something faster? It's time to learn from the master

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

I'm typing this from my 2011 Toughbook, long since retired from the NHS as a Windows 7 machine and now happily working with Linux on an SSD. Sure it's a bit chunky but I don't have to worry about it getting knocked about by baggage handlers, or indeed me when I'm "working" in the pub.

Devuan debuts version 4.0 – as usual without a hint of the hated systemd

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: And there's a Raspberry Pi build...

I've been using Devuan Beowulf on a Pi 3b for months, as a Pi-Hole / access point, it works really well.

LAN traffic can be wirelessly sniffed from cables with $30 setup, says researcher

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: I thought LAN cables were shielded

I saw this before, elechickens would wire up CAT5 whichever way they thought the colours were pretty. I've had to re-terminate an awful lot of panels and sockets.

'Extraordinary' pigs step in to protect Schiphol airport from marauding geese

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Schipholgans

There's a nice little restaurant in Amsterdam called the Struisvogel, haven't been for a couple of years but you could get a tasty "schipholgans" as a main dish; goose culled from the airport.

BOFH: You'll find there's a company asset tag right here, underneath the monstrously heavy arcade machine

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Personal heaters

I work in an office in a wooden superstructure built onto the roof of a university, christened the "shanty town" by the staff. Like a sauna half the year, ice house the other half. Every office has a cooling fan and heater, both strictly forbidden.

Start or Please Stop? Power users mourn features lost in Windows 11 'simplification'

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: I don't use Windows much..

Yep, that's probably why I love xfce so much!

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

I don't use Windows much..

These days I only boot into Windows when I absolutely have to (i.e. Wine lets me down), but when I do, do you know what I want? XP. I don't care what is going on under the bonnet, just make it look and work like XP and I'll be happy enough.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Balls to inkjets

I'll stick with the LaserJet 2100 I pulled out of a skip 10 years ago, thanks (although the DeskJet 840 I had before that was built like a tank).

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Compaq

Just been through this with an old Compaq laptop I refurbished as a spare. CPU was easy to deal with but the GPU pad was dust and could I hell find out what size it should be, so just figured out the width and bashed some copper shim in there with paste both sides.

Philanthropist and ex-Microsoft manager Melinda Gates and her husband Bill split after 27 years of marriage

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

I'd be the last one to thank Gates for the atrocities he's perpetrated on the world of computing but absolute fair play to him for the work he's done since he left Microshaft. I don't know what you've got against the word "philanthropist" (apart from it being hard to spell) but it seems to me to be a pretty good term for someone with millions in the bank who is trying to spend it to improve the lot of their fellows rather than just spaffing it on yachts and Bolivian marching powder.

Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

They should think themselves lucky...

They should see the abomination that is Durham Gate roundabout. The person that designed that should be strung up.

New systemd 248 feature 'extension images' updates immutable file systems without really updating them

Arbuthnot the Magnificent

Re: Errr but...

"replacing the serial init scripts with a parallel boot process is fine"

My OpenRC machine has parallel service startup now, works perfectly well enough for me!

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