* Posts by PRR

106 posts • joined 13 Mar 2021


New audio server Pipewire coming to next version of Ubuntu


Re: Another Sound Server

> also rant about PipeWire pulling in video as well as audio

Audio is, historically, a "natural monopoly". You only have one (set of) speakers. All your bleeps and bloops and polka and net-meetings must come through the one device.(1)

Video was once a natural monopoly. To see a moving picture my MS-DOS had to switch out of text mode to random-dots mode.(2)

So at first glance, they are not the same problem.

(1) OK, today I can (in Windows) have one audio on speakers and another audio on BluTooth ear-buds. With an 8-output sound card I can put sound to arbitrary devices for 5.1 Dolby Sound or for my multi-media art piece.

(2) Yes, even before MS-DOS would show moving images, professional workstations did it better, often on separate graphics terminal alongside the VT-102 for command-line interface. And the physical hardware is divorcing the logical display: I can fudge four displays on my new (to me, old-stuff) machine and put cat-videos on any or all or overlapping windows.

So it i s complicated enough to be worth a rant. Problem is knowing what to rant about.

Ultimately all user interface should be one driver: "to_user". Sound and video 'can' be interchanged. I might need my notifications in emoji, 'watch' my cat videos in descriptive text. Haptic devices evolve, and I might take my porn in hand.

Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes


Re: What happens on the "other" side?

> since the Earth rotates, that direct line-of-sight communication is actually rather inconstant, at maximum 12 h day-1.

You put 2, 3, or more earth stations and switch your connection as the world turns.

We already have such a thing for all the other chatty rovers we have sent away.

Nvidia brings liquid cooling to A100 PCIe GPU cards for ‘greener’ datacenters

Paris Hilton

Datacenter server video??

Teach me like a child. Why does a datacenter server need video? Aside from the few short re-start events needing human intervention?

Or is this just code for bitcoin mining?

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth


Re: Of earths

> ...earth connections in the middle eastern desert might as well be connected to nothing but free air, until / if it rains heavily....

Nearly the same here. Coastal Maine USA looks damp. But the "ground" can be less than a foot of coarse sand over infinite granite. It is unremarkable here to find ground rods laid near-horizontal rather than stright down. And to have multiple dirt-rods yet still not have enough conductivity to light a 100W lamp (that's apparently/allegedly a rough-test for installations in India). With five dirt-rods from the house to below the septic field I still have 60 Ohms in Spring, and more in summer drought or winter freeze.

Biden deal with ISPs: Low to no cost internet for 40% of US


> Do you really think the users will see their real-world speed doubled?

FWIW, last week Spectrum emailed(!) me to say they were doubling my speed, 100Mbps to 200Mbps, just because they were so wonderful.

I had noticed only because I had been running speed tests the week before, because service had degraded(!). I now think they were fumbling to loosen the throttle in advance of this announcement. When the chaos settled, I was indeed showing 213Mbps on their suggested test sites, after midnight. On real-world surfing, no real change (and NO change in our horrible latency). Few interesting servers deliver huge images at close to 100Mbps, and I'm not all that impatient.

I figured they wanted to keep me at the >$50 rate so I did not hop to the $30 plan. Turns out they don't offer the $30 plan until you show poverty.

What if we said you could turn any disk into a multi-boot OS installer for free without touching a single config file?


Re: AIO Boot – All-in-One bootable software | Multiboot USB Creator

Link to AIO Boot seems to be munged. Maybe this?


(extraneous letter and quotemark removed)

TurboTax to pay $141m to settle claims it scammed millions of people


>> Wow! $30 a person. Whoopee-doo-da.

> $30 per person per year. Whether that's a good deal depends on how much Turbotax costs

Which should be easily determined. If you can get past all the FREE!-FREE!-FREE! bait-links.

On-PC tax software is $29.95 and up. Most vendors try to up-sell you with vague "tiers" from single person to small business. I usually pay $40-$60 for HRBlock, PLUS $20-$30 for State, PLUS fees for on-line filing, AND now fees for paying with a credit card. Say a hundred bucks.

I WON'T use TurboTax since, at the dawn of the 21st century, they installed a root-kit. Which I might even accept, except it was clumsy and screwed-up other software (perhaps just as clumsily coded, but not bothering other code). A simulation app which previously ran OK, now had to have a full Windows re-boot after every run. I wasn't using it daily and TT didn't tell me they were installing malware, so I didn't make the connection for over a year.

John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine


Re: "one upside is that Ukraine receives transport fees for gas"

>> Ukraine receives transport fees for gas...

> They're not going to receive as high a percentage as Russia gets for the gas...

I dunno. Up here in Maine the delivered price of Propane is over twice the price at the price at the head pipe in Oklahoma. Gas in the hole is cheap. More than half of what I pay is transportation. Granted the propane-to-Maine shipping is less efficient than Nat-gas to Europe: smaller flow and secondary to other bulk products. But not fully accounting for distribution was a flaw in Marx's reasoning, and that may still infect Moscow's thoughts.

Icon in memory of Durham Woods March 23, 1994--- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edison,_New_Jersey_natural_gas_explosion

A discounting disaster averted at the expense of one's own employment

IT Angle

Re: Alarming, fired.

> Buy the job then, so long as the contract was set up properly, screw then on variations. Then screw them again on the support contract. Then screw them yet again on any upgrades.

My grandfather made and sold airplanes. He knew how to set a number for costs based mainly on weight. But then he sold it under his cost. Because the revenue for repair parts would typically be twice the original cost to make the airplane.

Plans for Dutch datacenter to warm thousands of homes


> ...residual heat that is released from the servers ... ... will provide enough energy to heat over 10,000 homes...

Is that what OVHCloud's SBG2 Strasbourg was doing last year? Open-air fire to free-heat the neighborhood on a cold March day?

OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg

Cisco's Webex app phoned home audio telemetry even when muted



> Yes, a 'lamp test' VERY common on well designed alarm panels, test gear, etc.

Most cars since the 1970s. Turn the key to the first notch. "ALL" the idiot lights should light.

When the expert speaker at an NFT tech panel goes rogue


Re: Opinion

> ....the expression "horse-puckey". I had never heard or read this expression before.

I'm shocked that a well-read widely-traveled literate person like you has never stepped in horse-puckey.

I remember it back to the 1960s, albeit from the middle of the US. It was in general circulation in the East by the 1970s. Indeed Google Ngram (word history) finds it in print right about 1970; and more in American than British.


Google Books finds much horse puckey:


Notably a 1953 book The Streak:

"The record aint official the way it is." "Horse puckey,” Feona said. “If you cut the lap off , it's the record ! They pay off bets on that.”

OVHcloud datacenter 'lacked' automatic fire extinguishers, electrical cutoff


(shipping containers)> That was SBG1... which was totalled as collateral damages from SBG2 fire.

Ah. Well that was not clearly brought-out in the press, even the geek press. Hunting I found DataCenterDynamics' coverage:


--and linked articles.

I see SBG1 is steel boxes. SBG2 may not be steel boxes but sure follows that theme. I don't see any "old school building" but much is murky.

Yes, in a good fire steel fails quickly and unpredictably, but does not add fuel until past incandescence. The World Trade Center put a few inches of concrete on the steel which delayed collapse just about as code specified (code did not anticipate 9/10 of a jetliner worth of added burning fuel on an upper floor). In mills where fire happened, "mill construction" was heavy timber beams and floor which would char for many hours and sag before collapse. "Fire Doors" are still heavy wood with 1 hour or more fire rating. The ceilings in SBG had 1 hour fire rating BUT the lack of electrical cut-out left energy flowing in for far more than an hour.

The "1 meter arcs" may be ionized air, or carbon-tracks on the doorframe (guitar amp builders see 1cm tracks arcing), or the excitement of the moment (deep inside a burning building).


> It sounds like they used an old school building as a data centre

I thought they had a stack of shipping containers? Bare steel boxes. Steel won't burn, will it? So no problem stuffing them with circuit boards, plastic brackets, and big heaps of electric power for acid batteries.

You can buy a company. You can buy a product. Common sense? Trickier


Re: 'twas ever thus

> ..the expectation is that the washer, dryer, fridge, oven etc will all stay with the house. In my case I also acquired two trailers, a ride-on lawnmower and a cat...

Maine USA. Owner-built house in the woods, long sad story. "Dryer" was two ropes in a dusty cellar (there once was a dryer, unvented, but long-gone). The lawn tractor was 36 years old and festering where it last stalled. I did run that for a while.

But the 'oven' was also 36 years old and apparently NEVER cleaned. Certainly not by the hop-head tenants for the last 8 years. Ugh. We taped the door shut, went out for anything we could not boil or fry.

No trailers but pieces of about 3.8 equivalent snowmobiles. An outboard motor which finally turned "collectible". Several tons of wood we don't need.

And instead of cat: when we turned-on the back steps light (he did leave the bulbs) we heard AWWAAK! There was a hen sitting up on the fixture. Sorry to disturb you, mam! Next day we learned that most of the flock of chickens had been eaten by coyotes, this was the last one. Because she had learned to sleep on the light fixture.

The house before this one: We had not noticed in the noontime walk-through that there were NO built-in light fixtures. The house was like 1883, a farm-house then and not wired until much much later, and then minimally. We had to move-in on a dark December night with one weak flashlight between us. Next morning down to Frank's for a bunch of clip-on lights and 3-way power cords.

> ...you as a buyer have a real estate agent of your own, protecting your interests...

In New Jersey, both our house deals had them-and-us agents; otherwise we'd be cheated. Buying with cash in Maine, we contacted the seller's agent and he explained he could serve as buyer's agent too. There's even a state form saying we know he's working the deal from both ends. We counted our fingers and signed. There was little to lose, and he did lubricate the seller's parasitic loan agent.

Chromebook sales train derails as market reaches saturation


> Acer chromebook 315

I got one. Slick machine. Accepts ANY damm mouse the cat dragged home, no "searching MS Mongolia for 200MB drivers" like the WinMachine; more tolerant than modern Linux.

But not at all snappy. Stuck in Chromebook software (and a few useful standalone web pages). And going out of support real soon.

I bit my lip for 2 years, and just took delivery of a 5yo Dell Ultrabook, ex-FedEx refurb. BLOWS the Chrome off the CBook, for browsing, and will run much of my 30 year collection of Windows-world softwares.

Considering the other Dell laptop in this house turns 19 this year, I hope for much better cost/year than the ChromeBook.

Crooks use fake emergency data requests to get personal info out of Big Tech – report

Big Brother

Re: Certainly, officer

> We will call you right back with the requested information via land line at your publicly listed number.

Yesterday we saw a drunk(?) driver in a heavy truck weaving ALL over the main highway, from ditch to oncoming. My co-pilot got on her cell-phone and called the city police main number. 10 minutes of menu-hell. Chief? AssChief? Press officer? School liaison? And probably voice-mail boxes.

She called 911 (our 999) and got someone kinda quick, but that's now a regional center who don't understand "Now passing Dunstall Diesel" or "Jordan's" (a notorious local hangout).

There's 18,000 police departments in the United States. From 1-man forces to thousands of officers and as many non-officer clerks. No way to know who is legitimate, or if *this* request is really who it claims to be.

A cool $28m for datacenter immersion company GRC


Re: Survival?

> Switch placement was a bit of an issue (no one wanted to put those in the oil)

BIG kiloVolt MegaWatt switches are often oil-filled. Otherwise the arc would never go out. Also keeps air away-- no air no oxidation no fire.

I agree the 30-cent plastic switches in our toys may be dubious in oil.

Yale finance director stole $40m in computers to resell on the sly


Re: Justice?

> ...that's more than one purchase order per day. Either somebody else in controls was in on the scam,...

I worked in university when we had to *walk* any large PO from desk to desk for accounting and issuing. You could not flood that system.

But toward the end of my employment there was a mini-scandal of poor data. Higher-ups wanted answers which could not reasonably be teased out of the mountain of paper. A 6-month plan for total automation was proposed and finally (took over 4 years, depended on old versions of MS IE) implemented. Just as I was leaving, couple years on this full-auto system, some facts emerged. You could submit max-authority POs all day long, to any vendor, without any human oversight. Some mid-level workers apparently did (all day long); others frauded only half-days (I knew one, after she suddenly 'left').

Ford Motor Company had similar issues after WWII. Henry kept all the records in his vest pockets. When he was eased-out, nobody knew where the money was coming or going. Bob MacNamara was one of the "WhizKids" who took over the upper management. While it was not MS IE on PCs, they did use all the data-card gear of the times. And still never quite caught-up with the needs of a monster organization.

If the operation is making money, as Ford did to 1930, you don't need controls. If the operation is losing money, as Ford did 1930 onward ($10M a month in 1944, $185M in today money), controls tell you that but are not much help in turning the situation around.

Unable to write 'Amusing Weekly Column'. Abort, Retry, Fail?


> " not be detected if not already connected at bootup"

That's not my experience. Power-up, get error, plug-in, press F1, all was well on 99% of 8088-486 machines. Never blew the interface neither.

Of course today my PC is whining about my printer which has moved in with Schrödinger's cat.


> "Keyboard Error: Keyboard not responding. Press any key to continue."

No, the error is/was "Keyboard not found".

This was typically perfectly recoverable. Plug-in the keyboard and follow instructions.

Oxidation-proof copper could replace gold, meaning cheaper chips, says prof


> "Copper comes in at around $10k per metric tonne, while gold is over $62m per metric tonne"

No electrical engineers in the house??

For carrying electricity you DON'T go by weight. You want Mho per dollar. (Mho is the inverse of Ohm, so Conductivity.)

Aluminums are best. Gold is terrible (but has no Oxide).

Weight is a minor factor in overhead spans, and there is a zig-zag zone where hi-test Aluminum and Al-clad Steel compete with plain steel. (Yes, steel is excellent for the price and for the strength, but must be awkwardly large for its conductivity and good Oxide (rust) resistant joints are difficult.)

Windows XP@20: From the killer of ME to banging out patches for yet another vulnerability


Re: "a huge leap forward from Windows 9x"

> special-duty XP machines in regular service. ...24/7 for the last 8 years and counting. I should probably clean the CPU fan....

For those following along: last week that CPU fan started SCREEEAMING. Astonishingly loud for a little fan in a little netbook. And netbook so tightly packed that I gave up trying to get the fan out (it's the last of 23 finicky take-out steps, then 23 more chances to bust a tab or ribbon to get it together).

So don't talk about long-running fans. They can hear you. You will hear them. (Or not, if they choose to jam and cook your CPU.)

The replacement is a year older (2008) with no moving parts. $24.

Spirent ships test kit for 400 and 800Gbps Ethernet


> When did Leverage become a verb?


Google Books Ngram Viewer 'leveraging'

FreeDOS puts out first new version in six years


Re: HP had DOS too

> HP had DOS too!

Of course. All the way each way.

H-P even had a few CP/M machines. I had a cute little thing similar to the later Macintosh.

Even before that I multi-usered on a mini-mainframe H-P running something very like Berkeley Unix, possibly 4.3BSD-Reno? HPBSD? Memory fades like yesterday's snow. (Not!)

Shocking: UK electricity tariffs are among world's most expensive


me> My 18c here was just jacked to 21c.

Math error! Or cost slippage between billing cycles. My recent electric bill figures as <u>25</u> cents per kWH. Split many ways: generation, distribution, delivery, state tax, fed tax, tax tax.... but way I see it, I'm paying 25c per kWH.

There is a movement for the state to take-over the electric companies, one or both. While I have said nice things about Maine's highway/bridge contracting, IMHO electricity is too new-fangled for our bureaucrats to understand. (The state's PUC is part of why our private electric companies are unsatisfactory.)


FWIW, here in the USA the study-quoted ten cents is rare. Yes my niece paid 4 cents for a while under an old policy of modernizing farmers (even when farmers were all forced out). But in most of the country 17 cents would be nice, LILCO was pushing 27 cents. My 18c here was just jacked to 21c. That's not to mention islands off the coast, either on long old cables or frequent Diesel fuel. (Had one island used jet-fuel turbines for summer peaking.)

Also some of their regional summaries don't add up for me. That study may bear re-studying.

The end of free Google storage for education


Re: Until when?

> Most ".edu" email addresses, at least in North America, are pointing to Google

Mostly true.

I worked in a university from the dawn of email. When I retired, part of my entitlement was email for life.

When Google EDU Suite hit, it was too good to refuse. BUT the University saw that G-spying threatened their academic independence. (They took it pretty seriously, I was never worried my government was peeking at email files.) BUT students did not require secure email. Neither did Retirees. (They forget we know where the bodies are buried...)

To implement this, they set up a different subdomain. university.edu was still hosted in-house, but new peons.university.edu was Google-hosted. And I lost my cherished address from the dawn, got a new address which was a pain to type.

Maybe somebody here will find it useful to know that there may be "2 classes" of EDU addresses.

BOFH: On Wednesdays, we wear gloves


Re: On drum printers and punch card equipment...

> two capacitors the size of a 1l beer tin, 68mF 50V each

FWIW, today two 68,000 microFarad @50V is a not-too-extreme complement for high-end hi-fidelity amplifiers. And they are down to ~~$15 and the size of a condensed-soup can.

Bouncing cheques or a bouncy landing? All in a day's work for the expert pilot


Re: Serial to VGA? All you need is an adapter!

> Serial to VGA? All you need is an adapter!

In defense, I point out that the IBM PC MDA, CGA, and EGA video was on a 9-pin DE-9 D-sub connector, which does look like a 9-pin serial port. (Is the sex wrong? We all had gender-benders.) (Input? Output? What's that??) It is not the most stupid thought to think one video can be adapted to another. Between CGA and NTSC display, there are several conversions (but none to EGA or VGA).

Wikipedia: Monochrome Display Adapter, Color Graphics Adapter, Enhanced Graphics Adapter

Going way back, we all had glass (not paper) terminals hanging on serial ports. Terminal, monitor, what's the difference?

Pop quiz: The network team didn't make your change. The server is in a locked room. What do you do?


My storage cubby was good wire-mesh, but in a very odd corner of a non-square building. There was a gap, but nobody could fit through there.

One weekend a few thousand bucks of stuff walked out.

Some turned-up at the local pawn shop. Clues were taken.

The primary culprit was a very large man, but he had a very small clever child.

Email blocklisting: A Christmas gift from Microsoft that Linode can't seem to return


> MS seems to have difficulty getting its servers into the DNS, and does not seem to care that the SMTP RFC requires that machines sending email are in the DNS.

Not malicious, just incompetent. Incompetent, incompetent, incompetent!

As msobkow says, MicroSoft has never taken email -or- DNS seriously. (Not invented here?)

Back in the 2006 era, my university started enforcing DNS back-match on incoming email, and about 5% of MS-box emails were being rejected. Users thought _I_ was blocking them! (I didn't even touch the servers, just desktop support.)

This was in a spam epidemic (we didn't yet know how bad spam would get) so blocking un-DNS IPs was a very valid thing to do, to take load off our tightly funded mail server.

Over several weeks, the university postmaster and I documented a large block of MS IPs that were sending email but not registered in DNS.

My impression was that MS was replacing about 5% of their email machines every month, but NOT putting the replacements on the old IP (one logical process). When someone eventually noticed that only 99% of emails went through (maybe 1 in 5 destinations were checking IP/DNS) they appointed a geek to try to figure it out. And frequently they fixed the ONE machine the geek had found, and ignored the larger problem. (I did once see ~~200 MS DNS updates at once, but that geek musta been promoted {or left} because it never happened again.)

My off-the-record advice to senders was "skip MS-Mail, use Gmail." Not that Gmail is fault-free but they do think about things like DNS and IPs. MS may have lost many email customers in that period.

Version 7 of WINE is better than ever at running Windows apps where they shouldn't


> this is running Word 2003 SP3

I didn't know "you" could even find Wurd 2003 today. OR its service packs.

_I_ have the CD image, passcode, service packs, and DOCX converters. I had it at an old job, saw I was never going to need it as much as MS thought it was worth, and hoarded all the bits. I was mildly shocked that it installed and ran on Windows 7 65-bit. (One of the MS compilers refused to run on anything newer than the day it was born, crying "non-MS OS!!".)

We exchange docs written in W2003 with editors and publishers. My housemate has published two novels wrote in W2003 on WinXP, then exported through DOCX and thumbdrives.

'IwlIj jachjaj! Incoming LibreOffice 7.3 to support Klingon and Interslavic


> I am happy to donate all my 'r's to the former colony over the ocean.

Boston and north, they won't use your 'r's.

> They need all the help they can get in speaking English proper like.

Watching some Chinese and Indian geeks on YouTube, and a nephew in VietNam, I'm starting to see that "standard English" will move on beyond England and her spin-offs.

Going round in circles with Windows in Singapore


> ....very, very old version of Windows. The Start button hints at perhaps....

The start button is plain Windows 7. I'm looking at it now. Out-Of-Support but hardly as risky as letting a human use any computer.

Is it a bridge? Is it a ferry? No, it's the Newport Transporter


> the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, which opened in 1911

https://worldradiohistory.com/Popular_Electricity.htm>World Radio History

Issue for Feb 1912:

https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-Popular-Electricity/Popular-Electricity-1912-02.pdf (22MB PDF file)

Page 59 of PDF (pg 905 of printing).

Contemporary account of Tees transporter

"Transporter Bridge Over the River Tees

"Recently the great transporter bridge over the river Tees, the most important waterway in northeastern England, was formally opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught. ....." "....a pair of lattice type girders of 570 foot span, with depths varying from 65 feet over the towers to 20 feet at the center. The under part of these girders is 160 feet above the high water mark...a travelling car, 44 by 39 feet, is suspended. ...About 600 passengers and six wagons can be carried at one time."

Thank you, FAQ chatbot, but if I want your help I'll ask for it


Re: Intelligent websites?

> a bike rider wearing harley davidison incontience pants.....

A quality pee-pant could be useful here. However I believe you completely missed the point of that ad(*).

AFAICT, Harley sells the "water proof pants" for riding in the rain. Not the "water proof pants" for your personal golden shower.

(*) Of course if you miss the point of an ad, the ad buyer has totally screwed-up.

Xero, Slack suffer outages just as Let's Encrypt root cert expiry downs other websites, services


Meanwhile.... Amazon Kindle Wikipedia look-up is STILL borked.


Why do I get "Invalid Certificate" error when accessing Wikipedia?

"I noticed on October 2nd that my {Kindle} gets an "Invalid Certificate" error whenever I try to access Wikipedia."

Going on TEN WEEKS now. Confirmed on 7g and 10g devices. Restarting no help. No newer software.

Amazon seems to be repeatedly unaware of the issue.

Granted not everybody uses this feature. But the books I read, I need a lot of look-up. And we know Kindle logs EVERY finger-stroke to headquarters. (Yes, every stroke/swipe/tap.) You'd think the sudden spike in errors would stir some interest?

CompSci boffins claim they can recreate missing lines in log files


Re: "what the log entry should have been"

> That is nothing more than rewriting history.

Nice work if you can get it.

And you can get it, if you lie.

Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?


I developed a thing so I had to lie in a doctor's office for hours several times a month. His table is adapted from a medieval torture table. I don't FaceBook (and the WiFi there is bad or dead). I got a refurb PW 10g Kindle and have been reading the covers off it. Even after I was pronounced "cured for now", just in time for 20+ months of near lock-down. (Not that I am a going-out person.)

No, the Kindle aint perfect and Amazon is resting on thin laurels. Hardly even refreshing the lipstick on the pig. Menus changed a few months back but did NOT improve (except generation data). Images are downright painful. Large detailed images (technical diagrams) are unmanageable.

But for straightforward buying and reading old cheap trash it is great. Thousands of pulp novels from the 50s available a buck a pop, half-buck if you get lucky. The lost treasures of my youth (Danny Dunn and the...), and the sleaze my mother wouldn't let me read ("The Countess had dropped her blouse to the floor, stood for a moment in brief step-ins and brassière...") ("Papa grabbed my ten-dollar bill as if it were already twenty shots of bourbon").

To underline Nifty's point: My forefather 10,000 years ago had one all-purpose cape and kilt taken from a bear. My forefather 100 years ago had two: a suit for work and a suit for Sunday church. The mass production ecology means I now have several pants, several shirts, and dozens of socks; many people have more. 70 years ago a large family had one car, today me and my other own 3 cars (we dismissed the 4th).

I'm so glad you waited to get old until displays had variable fonts. I was beating the hell out of a TI LED (not LCD!) calculator when I found my excellent near-vision (I was near-sighted) was going away. But as you say, not enough onscreen words at 36pt font.

I've read paper-books since Nixon was VP. Only a few re-read. It's been decades since used bookstores took-back (nevermind bought-back) unexceptional books. And even here in the used-book corner of the USA, most of the used book stores have closed. A decade of read books is BULKY, and HEAVY if you must move. We trashed them with sadness, we recycled them without glee, now we can't even recycle (pulp glut). IMHO I should never buy another dead-tree book.

My Kindle supplements a desktop, a Chromebook, a netbook perverted to play a game, and rare use of a cellphone. So that's five already. And I'm shopping....

> Caibri software...

Calibre - E-book management

> even yer av'rage car has at least one computer in it,

My 2002 Honda has a computer in every DOOR, just to track window and lock operation with a minimum of wires. These and others report to an interface computer under the dash. Completely (almost) apart from the engine CPU under the console. Or the radio manager. No hint of GPS or sellphone in a 2002 so I carry an LG413 with several-core CPU/GPU.

OK, boomer? Gen-X-ers, elder millennials most likely to name their cars, says DVLA


At this house:

The 1941 Plymouth (just visiting) is Gus (an obscure US reference)

The 1979 Chevy Nova (eventually deceased) was named Christine (not the same car as the movie, just haunted)

The 1996 minivan is Tsimbl (you can look that up)

The 1991 Mazda MX5 Miata is tagged FNORD (feeling uneasy and confused?) but his field-name is Smurph (he's just that shade of blue)

The 2002 Accord is nameless, but I'm the friendly stranger in the black sedan.

2033 is doomsday for 2G and 3G in the UK


> phase out 2G and 3G networks by 2033...

Am I reading this right? 2033???

In the US, 2G was largely shut-off 3 years back; 3G has a drop-dead appointment (icon) of next month (Jan 2022). Upsetting both times because we had/have to get new phones. The retailers say they will help: the 'replacement' I was offered was not even a good prison-phone, and my wife is getting the infinite run-around from the A T and Tea people (but IAC, she can't keep her cherished dumb-phone).

> if the original (copper) cable was correctly installed in a flexible duct.

Duct? Quack quack? Here in the woods of Maine our phone and our TV cable are loose-laid a few inches under what we call ground. Like they were trenched with a tea-spoon. When my neighbor's cable failed mid-winter they laid an orange cable on top of the snowy ground, saying they would be back in spring-- that was 7 years ago.

And each service complaint the 2nd-level technician blames "water in the cable". Could happen. Hasn't happened yet. I did have wet cables at my old place and I can tell.

My electric meter does "phone home" with readings; I dunno how. It was so old (mechanical!) that if it was cell it had to be <=2G. However last month they said the meter was bad and gave me a new meter; maybe the real reason was fading 2G here?

It's 2021 and someone's written a new Windows 3.x mouse driver. Why now?


Re: Need a copy of this ...

> Need a copy of this ...

I had that. I thought of it the instant I saw the headline. I remember buying it in NYC. Like much MS documentation, it told you part of what you needed to know, and was not error-free.

BOFH: You drive me crazy... and I can't help myself


Re: Same energy

She gets seriously dressed when warranted.


She's working with explosive gas release. OTOH (NSFW):


You forced me to use this fancypants app and now you're asking for a printout?


Re: "Only in the winter...."

> Upvote for Loratadine. .... bulk packs (6 months or one year's supply). ....

After some US hunting, I found that Costco (warehouse club) sells 365-Count bottles, Pack of 2 bottles, $27.48. Which is like 4 pennies a day. And Amazon will ship them to me cheaper than dealing with Costco directly (I think there is a 3rd or 4th party in this transaction).

Thanks for the upvote. I grew up with heavy pills that hardly slowed drip but left me half asleep for months. (TMI) I developed pee trouble and doc advised me off the "old style" antihistamines, Consumer Reports rated Claritin as one of the modern sniffle-pills. Glad it works for us.


"Only in the winter...."

Dabbsy> hay fever in the winter. Only in the winter.

I have "hay fever" 11.5 months of the year. I can strongly suggest Loratadine 10mg (Claritin) 1/day, 300+ days a year. Almost no drowsy. 98% effective. For breakthrough drippy, a second Claritin is bad, a chlorpheniramine maleate 4mg works for a few hours but does sedate.

> the difference vaccines make. There were polio outbreaks in the sixties

And the 1950s, of course. I remember foot-baths at swimming pools. I remember being offered 'candy' by a 'stranger' (nurse offering Polio Vac on a sugar cube). I worked with a gal who probably survived Polio (her family was too dirt-poor to get proper treatment). I have the Smallpox Vacc scar. In the 1990s I worked with young Chinese who had the vacc scar. My housemate survived Rheumatic Fever (no vacc). My mother is still upset by Measles. We lost family in the 1918 Flu.

> ...get an allergy test mate... Could be you don't have hayfever per se but an allergy to something else...

How can he have Hay Fever? Most people today never see hay! In the US a lot of snot is blamed on Ragweed. I can snort that stuff freely; Goldenrod is for me instant attack. But there is something every month, plus pets and paper-dust. (Over-thick furnace filter helps a little.)

As for Dabbsy's complaint: I must say, this last decade, in the US, with a good plan, getting prescriptions filled has been 90% no-problem. If we are in a rush, doc's helper wires it to my designated superstore chain pharmacy, their phone-robot may call "Ready!" before I get home. Never need paper or even ID to get my drugs. But I also have a "Plan", who will take-over the Rx and mail me 90-day supplies. (Even if it was a one-shot Rx, like colonoscopy prep or VD antibiotics, idiots.)

Swooping in to claim the glory while the On Call engineer stands baffled


Re: Hands On (and Eyes On Too)

> ...checking everybody's test bench for the culprit ....then returned to her own bench ....just as the glowing resistor on her unit under test finally burnt itself out.

My father found a plug, no cord, in a wall outlet. In a fit of pique, he blamed my mother. Who denied it, then wisely shut-up.

A week later he goes to use his soldering iron, and the plug is missing.

Bizarrely, next week is their 70th wedding anniversary, still living together.

UK Ministry of Justice secures HVAC systems 'protected' by passwordless Wi-Fi after Register tipoff


> The ancient right of every Briton to enter a courtroom and sit in the public gallery watching the proceedings ...

This presumably extends to every Briton watching everything happening on the court WiFi.

There's nothing new. Decades back they added key-card entry to my school buildings. The installers never asked for an IP but I found their gear squatting on "my" subnet. OK, but 69 seconds in Google had me the docs and the default password, and 13 seconds more to try and succeed to get all privilege on their security boxes. I didn't touch nothing (I swear!) but dropped a note to university net-ops cc:security woman.

I still wonder how many OTHER jobs those installers walked away from (and cashed the payment for) while leaving them wide-open to any kiddie-hack in sight?



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