* Posts by PRR

574 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Mar 2021

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We never agreed to only buy HP ink, say printer owners

PRR Silver badge

> Eh, Brother has come from essentially nowhere and made major inroads on the printer market.

Brother was founded in 1908. They made sewing machines, some better than German machines, one named BROTHER. Another major product was typewriters (obvious connection). As for printers, they made Centronics' casino report printers. Which is before the IBM 5150 PC and its Centronics port. Brother escaped the sinking of Centronics and made many printers under several names.

I still see Canon printers in the larger sites.

PRR Silver badge
Pirate

There are only a few brands on the SOHO market now, and they are eating each others' profits. Two ways this goes:

* A few fish eat all the others. Look at the car business: all the original General Motors companies, plus Bentley, Willys, Rambler, Chrysler, R-R, LandRover. Pretty soon little FIAT and Mahindra will sell 99% of all the cars in the world. Or airplanes: the surviving airliner brands are amalgamations of other out-leveraged plane makers plus government subsidies. Where did Lenovo buy its name?

* Some random small fish will have a run of brains/luck and grow into most of the whole market. Ford Model T. MS-DOS. Epson dot-matrix or HP inkjet. This is easier on a rising tide in an empty market, such as the T "putting America on wheels". But the Chevrolet came into that market and stole it from the T. Chevies of various brand-badges (Olds, Buick,..) dominated the roads for decades.

It would be interesting if some Shenzhen startup managed to peddle printers from good to deluxe, at vendor-friendly markup, without ink-piracy. They might have to buy distribution by buying an old-line brand name. None of the current incumbents look like easy pickings.

Support contract required techie to lounge around in a $5,000/night hotel room

PRR Silver badge

> we got the "I'm sorry sir, we don't have any rooms fitting your reservation

Different Vegas reservation: we book the cheapest rental car listed. At the time probably a 3-cyl Geo Metro 'or other fine car'. They apologized they didn't have anything less than an AMC Eagle Limited. Basically a Rambler. But what a Rambler! Today we would say "Deluxe SUV". Big soft seats. Lush cloth upholstery. Leather-wrap wheel. Power everything (A/C of course). Set high, easy in/out. A 4.2L Six that shamed many V-8s, lush automatic gears, real full-time 4WD (derived from the astonishingly luxurious top-level Grand Wagoneer). Much nicer than my grandfather's last Cadillac. No fret about cruising 50MPH on unpaved desert roads.

BOFH: The new Boss, Aiman, is suspiciously good – for now

PRR Silver badge

> Aiman has only been there a few days......

Where?

PumpkinOS carves out a FOSS PalmOS-compatible runtime environment

PRR Silver badge

Re: Ive still got my Palm Vx

> the battery is dead so as soon as you take it out of the cradle everything is forgotten

Last time I had a Palm, there were lots of replacement battery kits, complete with the funny screwdriver to open the cases. If you can work a screwdriver it is trivial. I don't know if that stuff is still available, or if you get fresh batts or stale ones from 2009.

EDIT-- your Vx seems to be difficult. Glue! palmdr.com sells a battery for $13 but not clear if DIY or a depot service. Says there are other reasons for batt trouble (tho I assume a long-neglected battery needs replacing IAC)

Engine cover flies from Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 during takeoff

PRR Silver badge

> OFFBEAT

WHY doesn't El Reg have a dedicated section for Boeing? They have surely earned it.

San Francisco's light rail to upgrade from floppy disks

PRR Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Don't knock 'em...

> Flash drives on the other hand... I dug up some 4Gb devices with audit results from 2019, and nothing could be read from any of them...

What are you doing to those poor bits????

Last night I refreshed the thumb drive on my 3rd PC. This is a 4GB drive, the files say 2010-2011, and holds 968MB of the highlights of my porn collection. Also the CD for WinXP, and an older copy of VLC video player. Every bit was readable when I archived the old files to my main machine and picked out new erotica for my latenite viewing pleasure. It is a 'good brand' but a rather goofy model (it has LEGO format snap-block locks). img https://postimg.cc/9D5nsG4h

Techie saved the day and was then criticized for the fix

PRR Silver badge

Re: Locks.

> Neither the Dremel nor the sledge hammer are lock picking tools. They are lock destroying tools.

Many, even most, padlocks will open with a sharp smack on the side. See the notch in the U-shackle? A little tooth engages it, just spring loaded so the lock can be closed. Smack the lock sharply. the tooth bounces, you pull the shackle. After you done it once to get a knack, you rarely have to do it twice. Or hit hard enough to leave a mark. (Remember that when your insurance only covers "forced entry".)

Many car seatbelts open just as easy. Some only need a book, not a metal banger.

We had lots of sliding doors at work. Keys lost. One time the new manager called a locksmith in before asking me. I wandered in, saw the pack of picks and the power-drill backup. I grabbed a door and lifted it over the bottom track then under the top track. Took a book and put it back, no comment. I know how liberal arts students would never catch on, but I was surprised a locksmith didn't get it. OR maybe he was dogging the job to jack the bill? I have had relay rack sides work the same way.

I don't understand HOW a lock could be obsolete, except from marketing perspective. For most of a century cabinet locks were standardized quasi-cylindrical things plus various washers, shims, and tongues to suit the situation. Yes, the OEM might stock the complete assembly, but any lock-worker (sharper than mine) should be able to swap-over and make-work.

Want to keep Windows 10 secure? This is how much Microsoft will charge you

PRR Silver badge

Re: Year of Lunix desktop

> I have friends running W10 but not Office

Word 2003 and Excel 2003 run fine on Win10 (if you saved all the update packs).

Happy 20th birthday Gmail, you're mostly grown up – now fix the spam

PRR Silver badge

> when I click the "report spam" button, Gmail asks me if I want to unsubscribe instead.

Because false spam reports are a problem. Some users (not you) DO click "spam" for valid emails they do not want to see again. That's (one way) how legitimate emailers get blacklisted.

My example. A GMC dealer in Alaska has an airbag recall on my GMC truck. I never had a GMC truck and sure would not buy one 5,000 miles away. Someone fat-fingered their email. But because it was not me, and a Federal Safety Recall is too important to Unsubscribe, I can't stop them. I've tried registering in GMC's systems to denounce my email but they are arcane and won't accept the possibility they are wrong. I know better than to say "GMC is spam" because 99,999 GMC owners do need their recall notes.

I do wonder about the flood of "I hacked your web camera on that naughty site, send 1,709 buttcoins or I post to all your contacts!" These come as plain text, in several languages, and several amounts, but not a hard task for 1988 BASIC to text-match. But last year they would not stop, so bad that they flooded-out responses/excuses from the school postmaster.

I've also noted "unsubscribe" becoming more complicated. One quasi-legit email wanted a whole sentence to unsubscribe. Is this to evade auto-unsubscribe like Gmail pushed at you? "You didn't say 'please' so you don't really mean it."

University of Washington's Workday woes leave research grants in limbo

PRR Silver badge
Headmaster

20 or 25 years ago I lived through a similar university upset. I think my school was running out of punch-cards (yes, they still used cards near the end). The only thing different is no pandemic shutdown (I do remember a measles flare), and our school did keep the payroll going, even for the low-caste TAs (probably a screwup). Vendors cut us off. I remember paying for audiotapes out of pocket.

How a single buck bought bragging rights in the battle to port Windows 95 to NT

PRR Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Nah.

> Windows 10. ...is far more stable than Win7 and offers less compatibility issues

My Win7 is as stable as a Corgi in the kitchen. About once a year (it runs 24/7 and works 10/day) it hangs-up for a minute and then blames a video card error. I used to could send a report, futilely, but now it won't go (MS probably closed the report box). Yes, I have updated the Intel chipset drivers. The win10 machine a better brand, has similar trouble in much less run-time, +++ is far more aggressive about low-quality "updates". Seems like if I didn't update it yesterday, today will have to wait while it plays with itself.

BOFH: So you want more boardroom tech that no one knows how to use

PRR Silver badge

Re: Don't give Microsoft ideas...

> Isn't "Special K" just Rice Krispies that failed the quality control test?

Best question of the day!! Let's Giggle:

Rice Krispies looks like puffy rice; Special K is puffy flakes.

Except in Canada where, up until 2014, Canadian Special K cereal was shaped like Rice Krispies.

And RICE Krispies are not just rice anymore, but "multi-grain".

What's brown and sticky and broke this PC?

PRR Silver badge

Re: The user was left to set the time on her PC every day

> Mostly it was just 00:00, Jan 1 1980

But your files would stamp minutes to hours later.

Directory of C:\DOSUtil

01/01/1980 01:07 AM 3,438 KEY-FAKE.DOC

01/01/1980 02:35 AM 5,120 CORELOOK.COM

01/01/1980 02:35 AM 33,462 FASTOFF.EXE

01/01/1980 02:52 AM 1,536 COLOR.DOC

01/01/1980 03:15 AM 999 SCRNDUMP.DOC

01/01/1980 04:39 AM 64,646 I'M-HERE.EXE

PRR Silver badge

Re: The user was left to set the time on her PC every day

> Linux using a sensible timezone such as UTC, and Windows using a local timezone and applying any daylight saving difference. That's the kind of amateur hour crap I'd expect from Microsoft.

{I can't believe I am defending MS....}

ARPANET was working in 1972, when unix was young and malleable (and NOT dominant; DEC System 10s may have been a majority). ARPANET crossed four time zones.

DEC/ARPANET ad from 1972: https://postimg.cc/kR8gmHNb

MS DOS did not have built-in networking (hooks, but not the drivers) for about another 20 years (Win311). The most common "networking" was sneakernet. (Yes, I dealt with CompuServe and was always asking what time it was).

It's tax season, and scammers are a step ahead of filers, Microsoft says

PRR Silver badge

Re: US Only

Also: US IRS takes the money on your payday because they get interest on the float from then to when tax is due.

Also to get money ASAP because the US spends it faster than it comes in.

The word is "withholding". For most simple salarymen, the withholding is a few hundred bucks more than the tax due. (Meaning they KNOW pretty-near what you owe, and they bias it so you get a Refund of your own money which gives the economy a bit of a kick in springtime.)

US task force aims to plug security leaks in water sector

PRR Silver badge

Re: Not strong-arming

> ...the well pump relying on electricity delivered to our house.

https://www.lehmans.com/category/deep-well-pumps

Deep well hand pumps. Some made to slip alongside an electric pump system.

The more likely product (new, in short supply) is Earthstraw Code Red:

https://www.flojak.com/content/Earthstraw%20Instructions/Earthstraw%20Installation%20%20Operation%20Instructions%20v1%203.pdf

Also a well-bucket: https://www.lehmans.com/product/lehmans-own-galvanized-well-bucket

FWIW: we often live through days without power for the well. We have clean jug-water for drinking. We have started stocking water in old jugs for toilet flushing. (In nice weather we can poop where the bear poops, but not in low temps and high winds, which is when the power likes to go out.)

Garlic chicken without garlic? Critics think Amazon recipe book was cooked up by AI

PRR Silver badge
Facepalm

> Wasn't there something a while back about returned Kindle books costing authors money because of some sort of data transfer fee?

https://www.npr.org/2022/06/27/1107109243/amazon-kindle-ebook-return-policy

"Those suggesting the read-and-return practice think they're "sticking it to Amazon," but in reality are only harming the authors,...."

That article says authors may be paid before returns come in. I _do_ recall authors being made to pay the cellphone ("Whispernet") costs but that delivery may have faded with the death of 2G? My Kindles do WiFi not celldata.

Canadian arrested for 'stealing secret' to speedy Tesla battery production

PRR Silver badge

Virgin Media sets up 'smart poles' next to cabinets to boost mobile network capacity

PRR Silver badge
Boffin

Re: "digital electricity" technology

> It says it's "touch safe" so I expect it would be 48VDC

That's old-think. You can hold 48V forever.

Shock is generally conceded to be time-dependent. The GFIC/RCB devices allow a small shock for a long time but big shocks cut off quick.

Modern electronics can be really quick. While I think the available literature is marketing BS, milliSeconds are invoked and I sure can cut-off CAT-size power much faster than that.

The intended destination for the power probably has a distinctive non-linear impedance, a diode-capacitor power filter. (OTOH, the impedance of skin&meat is distinctive over Time: high at first then dropping as cell walls break down.) It may also have the smarts to report-back (in the next packet) how much energy it absorbed... if less than energy sent, there's a problem.

The last mile's at risk in our hostile environment. Let’s go the extra mile to fix it

PRR Silver badge

Re: "Stop putting cabling in easy to reach, easy to breach ducting"

> you could bill SFR for rent.

In the very earliest days of home dial-up, we did just that. ISPs offered local phone numbers. This was actually all re-directed at a regional switch, but the protocol implied they needed a local Point Of Presence to have a local number. Somehow one ISP got our address, offered a monthly rent to put lines on our house. I never knew if they meant to cross-circuit or if it was all tariff-foolery.

But no actual panel or wires ever appeared. They had proposed a yearly contract, and this went on for three and a half years, when they notified us they would end the contract. (Probably about the time everybody was getting AOL diskettes every month.) I pointed to the clause in their words that the deal would go year to year, and they were on the hook for several more months.

Youse guys bury cables?? My TV cable is laid shallower than weed-roots. The POTS line not much deeper. My neighbor's TV cable went out mid-winter (frost-heave can be severe here). The company just laid an orange cable on top of the snow and said they would be back in spring. That was 7 years ago. Even my power lines are not in conduit.

UK minister tells telcos to share telegraph poles if they can't lay cable underground

PRR Silver badge

Re: They do.

> The obvious and fair solution

Maybe where you are. This problem is OLD in the USA. (Los Angeles had seven phone companies on overlapping turfs.)

Here the first to plant a pole becomes the Incumbent. Other wire-rackets have to plead for a place. The Incumbent can dictate terms. These can be appealed to court but that can take years, years of lost income and opportunity. The terms may be kinder for non-competitors (power and telephone) and brutal for competitors (ISP#1 and ISP#2).

Also there is a concept of Natural Monopoly. It does not make sense to have multiple power companies on the street (or didn't, before Smart Meters). I do think the two ISPs jousting for my business are just stealing each others' lunches.

And another issue, partly solved with improved cabling. In 1888 NYC telephones were wired with individual lines for each customer. So many wires they darkened the streets. Specifically there was a major blizzard which dropped most of the poles, left streets tangled in iron wire (copper was too good). While the blizzard was fatal enough, the wire snarl really complicated rescue and recovery, which is why there are no overhead lines in downtown NYC.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/2012/07/12/back-story-in-late-1800s-new-york-city-buried-wires-after-a-natural-disaster-3/

As it happens, *here* the pole incumbent is the electric company (du jour). 80 years ago they allowed the phone company cheap space (because the telco's temporary poles were failing and snarling power lines). Then the TV Cable operator. And now the phone company is hanging fiber over copper like it is still 1939. While there is a bloody great ugly rat-snarl of fiber-ends across the street, I think it will mostly stay up, and only one RoW to trim.

Bernie Sanders clocks in with 4-day workweek bill thanks to AI and productivity tech

PRR Silver badge
Devil

Let's remember that Bernie, all the DC congresscritters, mostly work a 3-day week. Monday and Friday are travel days.

Usually Tuesdays start late and Thursdays end early.

Yes, they occasionally burn midnight oil to beat a bill into (our) submission, but most days are light social sessions, not hard labor (that's for staff).

Their "off" days back with their constituents probably are a lot of schmoozing for money or votes or support, but these guys/gals LIKE to do that (it terrifies me).

I'm actually OK with legislatures working short hours. The less they are in session the freer we can be. I remember when they air-conditioned DC and also NJ; before that NObody hung around in the humid summers. Year-round legislaturing was a landmark in the enshitification of governance.

'Chemical cat' on the loose in Japanese city

PRR Silver badge

Re: Poor Kitty

> That cat is probably already dead.

But not the hex-chrome- that will stay poisonous through several layers of scavengers. Dogs, rats, other cats.... eventually the hex-chrome will be dispersed across so much dead meat that the next shift of scavengers will just be VERY SICK, not 100% dead. People (and children) will try to "help" and in turn be poisoned.

Didn't think small animals would get in the vat shed? I'm trying to be polite, but I know Japanese workers are not that dumb. Even in Maine we can't keep the groundhogs out, or keep the stray cats from chomping the ultra-reclusive Star-Nosed Moles.

Ad agency boss owned two Ferraris but wouldn't buy a real server

PRR Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Maybe a typical Oz thing?

> the 6 PC LAN ... I noticed that he had leased a brand new Holden Commodore 5.3 litre V8, and suspect ... used the money for the car lease...

We had a 6 PC network in a ticket office. One day the asst office manager showed up in a new Audi Convertible (drop-head?). Audis were so rare in the USA that I did not bother to note the model or trim-level. We just knew that NObody in the division had the income to import/support a car like that. Did she have a Sugar Daddy? Tongues wagged.

One day the head office manager came in on her day off and found odd notices in the FAX machine (yes, that old). The asst OM had been doing some kind of credit card skimming and deleting the evidence before the head OM saw it. Questions raised, police called, job lost, eventually pretty Audi repossessed.

There was an unrelated fraud in the next office soon after. The purchase order system was being dragged out of the 19th century toward a 20th century and beyond. The Great Leap was not monotonic and a sharp accountant could get checks sent to cronies on just her personal approval. One day the email (yes! limping to the future!) went out "Suzzette has left the organization. All her responsibilities have been re-assigned to Robert..." and shortly after "All P.Os. now need more signatures..."

Rancher faces prison for trying to breed absolute unit of a sheep

PRR Silver badge
FAIL

> the word 'sheep'. (You know those little fluffy docile cloud with leg things)...

Ummm, Rocky Mountain 'sheep' are NOT Little Bo Peep's tame sheep. They don't stand in pasture but more often on the side of a cliff. While they prefer to walk away from strangers, they will turn on predators. Those horns are not just for hanging clothes but can rip you a new hole. They are a challenging hunt and I did not know they needed to be super-sized.

Wallabys in Scotland? Ah, some guy thought it was a good idea.

There is also prairie bison ("Buffalo") on Catalina Island. Brought in to shoot a western movie, no predators, Catalina humans are too laid-back to eat them all, they get to be a hazard.

But why worry? Japanese Knotweed WILL strangle the world soon.

Exchange Online blocked from sending email to AOL and Yahoo

PRR Silver badge

Re: Alternatively, perhaps just pick up the phone and have a chat

> procure a device from the museum called a "dial-up modem" ;-)

When I moved to the woods of Maine in 2009, I thought there was data here, but they did not mean "now".

When we called the telco they got right on it, unlike the TV Cable operator who was and is a bunch of morons. But the telco cables and concentrators were old and tired. I spent the first couple months here at 19,000 baud good days, under 9600 baud other days.

2009 is not all THAT long ago. And this woods is on the way between two "large towns" (large for Maine).

Now I have two data offers, but I keep the modem for reasons.

PRR Silver badge

> the two dozen people with Yahoo email will be distraught at this development

Citation?

Aside from Yahoo, other mega-ISPs moved their freemail to Yahoo. ATT.NET and WORLDNET.ATT.NET moved to Yahoo a decade ago. Yahoo was semi-successful monetizing portals which AT&T was never good at, so they could do free.

For much of the decade ATT/Yahoo mail was as good as G-mail, pretty much. (Aggravating but free, so....)

IMHO MS's mail services are very much worse than Gmail or Yahoo, and have been for a couple of decades.

Caffeine makes fuel cells more efficient, cuts cost of energy storage

PRR Silver badge

> Fuel cells work somewhat like batteries. They generate power by converting the chemical energy of a fuel (or electrolyte) and an oxidizing agent into electricity. This is typically hydrogen as a fuel and oxygen as an oxidizer.

This sounds a LOT like an "engine". Fuel and oxidizer. HYDROcarbon and Air.

Cisco is a fashion retailer now, with a spring collection to prove it

PRR Silver badge
Facepalm

> it shows off its tech for retailers.

Cisco should hire tech-competent technicians. I was startled to find myself shopping in Australian dollars (my antipodes), something very small websites can do correctly now.

In any currency, those prices are obscene for self-promoting goods. I have shirts from beer and tool companies, free. For wearing your brand on my ass, pants should be half-price. Instead one pair is more than I spent all pandemic.

Friends who still watch the Cisco-sphere say this is typical of all they do.

Intern with superuser access 'promoted' himself to CEO

PRR Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: First in, first out!

> Gopher, Pine, Telnet & FTP were how things were done. .... a fakemail script. ....to send email from a false email address.

I believe you remember it this way; how else would you know "pine"?

I pined, and I remember it asked you who to be "from", but I can't/won't find pine docs today (and sure can't ask anybody to trust my memory). There was some forking-around with 'Alpine' and an 'Elm', and 'Mutt' seems to be about the last tree standing. Mutt Docs clearly say the user has a keystroke to edit the FROM: Esc f {edit-from} edit the From field

On an unrelated note: we often pined over dial-up. For the first year the dial-in server would serve anybody, then they added username/password and told us YOU MUST LOGIN! Indeed if you gave a username and a wrong password, no-go, leading to a lock-out, you had to bring an ID to the Lab to get re-set. But my brightest professor discovered that two ENTERs at the prompt bypassed that annoyance. (While teaching him a new trick, I noticed that he got in a LOT faster than I could, and not just finger-speed.)

An engine that can conjure thrust from thin air? We speak to the designer

PRR Silver badge

>> "...something out of science fiction." **** "A.T.: The concept of ion engines is pretty old. I think during the '60s there was some talk....."

The ion talk was mature when I was a lad in the 1960s. One science fair project was a pin in a straw on a string with a high voltage power supply. The differential ion-push between blunt head and pointy end gave a teeny thrust, and if you pulsed it to match the pendulum swing it "worked". (And as a lad I could see that the power supply mass was millions of times larger than the available thrust, so this was not a fire-free jet-pack.)

Campbell, Asimov, and Chandler are not answering my call. An 'interplanetary ion rocket' was painted-up for a 1959 book: https://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/images/enginelist/ionEngine04.jpg seen at https://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php#ion But before that you would not have to explain "ion drive" to any wide-awake audience, because "tubes" (gas and vacuum) had ions good and bad. (Thyratron works by ions. Vacuum tube stops working when ions clog it.)

Low-orbit ion drive was not (AFAIK) in Science Fiction. Clearly it can't work very well. SciFi likes the Big Rockets, not hummingbird farts.

Taploo may be right that there is a narrow swath of near-space and low-orbit and limited corrections where ionized air boost may save a few grams over N₂H₄. Simply losing the mission-size gas tank for BYO gas propulsion saves kilograms.

Chrome users – get an alert when extensions are in danger of falling into wrong hands

PRR Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Sounds like engagement farming...

> Makes me think "Matt" isn't being honest about.........

Thanks. That adds background. On the face of it, Matt is explaining and educating. Like a gun or drug dealer explaining how a bullet or syringe works. The book is $40-$50, and maybe Matt can be content with that income. His students have to find their own gimmick.

I suspect The Register ought to be ashamed, well, slightly dismayed, they fell for spreading this guy's work. But that never stopped ElReg before.

PRR Silver badge
WTF?

Looks dubious already!

The under-new-management page on the Chrome store has prominent link to extensionboost(.)com which claims to be:

ExBoost is a collaborative network of browser extensions that want more users and more reviews.

Extensions add ExBoost slots inside their UI. These slots will show promotions for similar extensions, or reminders to review your extension.

ExBoost is free for the balanced traffic plan. You can promote your extension more often in the ExBoost Dashboard (currently in private beta).

i.e. extensions promotion?? Is under-new-management legit or a shill?

Olympic-level server tossing contest seeks entrants – warranty voiding guaranteed

PRR Silver badge

> This just HAS to be live streamed. Anyone got a link?

No. Server is down. All available hardware has been thrown into the breech.

May be of interest: tickets run 500 Euro up to 2000 Euro "VIP" which seems to allow you to sell stuff.

We need an outlaw league. When NHRA made drag-racing squeaky-clean, and banned nitro, and Circle-tracks banned billboard size wings, "outlaw" drag strips" and "outlaw tracks" let you run what you brung. With prizes! I know an all-concrete underground room perfect for high-violence server flinging.

Supermium drags Google Chrome back in time to Windows XP, Vista, and 7

PRR Silver badge

> in the PC XT days (4.7MHz 8086 ! *) ..... ..... * I upgraded the PC hardware with an NEC V20 processor, which ran at 8MHz...

The IBM PC XT used the 8088. This, like the 8086, was 16-bit inside, but the 8088 was 8 bit on the outside. Any real data had to be eaten in two bytes. 8-bit I/O and RAM was far more affordable that year.

The V20 in an IBM XT still clocked 4.77MHz. (The V20 was released in 8 and 10 speed but on the PC-XT mobo it only ran the 4.77MHz.) The V20 had twice as many transistors and a cleverer instruction processor so did a lot more work per second than a 8088. My dim recoolection on half-hour simulation runs is that a V20 would do the job in 70% of the time.

In this day of 4- 8- and 10-core processors, it is hard to remember the pure joy of a very marginal increase.

V20 also had a 8080 mode, handy to run CP/M. In fact I think Ward Christensen's pioneering CP/M BBS got ill and was rebuilt on a V20.

V30 was the same deal for 8086 machines. Less of a boost cuz the 8086 already had 16-bit I/O.

Lenovo to offer certified refurbished PCs and servers

PRR Silver badge

> Dell ....Their 'Dell refurbished' which is the second-hand stuff and has a separate site really isn't - prices are pretty high

Sample of one: I got Dad an older small-form Dell from the company used-goods site, and was pleased with it. I maybe could have got $50 cheaper from a 3rd-party, but I have had hassles that way too.

DO read the description carefully and know your market. In that class 99% of machines had SSDs, but the specific machine I clicked was a rotating drive, and not even a good one. Having spoiled myself with a SSD, the HDD machine felt pokey. But Dad had never had an SSD.

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

PRR Silver badge
Angel

Re: Don't people test edge cases any more?

> years that are divisible by 25000 are not leap years

I'll keep that in mind. When the time comes.

Hold up world, HP's all-in-one print subscription's about to land, and don't forget AI PCs

PRR Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Just print, damnit!

> install bloat ware ... network wifi credentials to HP...... give them your credit card info too, .... crapware to turn on the USB port. ... watch your accounts get drained for ....

So who IS decent today? My Brother MFC-J825 has given me no crap, but I notice it is over 10 years old and only an HPLJ 2P lasts that long. (Or a Diablo......) And a cursory glance tells me Brother is all over the Subscription idea.

Epsom used to be wretched software, and I hold long grudges.

Had a gov-spec Lexmark once, horrible experience.

There aren't that many brands in the consumer printer racket.

Light duty TROUBLE-FREE duplex color, prefer La$er or a very waterproof ink. $400??

Miracle WM, a new tiling window manager built on Mir

PRR Silver badge

> Windows (sic) keystrokes ... ... seems to me there is a myriad of possible solutions to my user-befuddlement, but installing a tiling window manager is just about the last remedy that comes to mind.

Any human-finger interface (HFI?) which does not support key-maps with 2 or 3 pre-made 'common' keymaps in the package is, IMHO, severely flawed.

Ah, no, we all type on a fondleslab screen with several key keys several SHIFTs away. (And different every generation- my older cellfone I avoided "#' in passwords but the new Moto makes "$" especially awkward.)

Greener, cheaper, what's not to love about a secondhand smartphone?

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Trollface

"Refurb" can mean everything. I've bought refurbs which appeared to be un-booted customer returns (wrong color?). Even some I doubted had met a customer, just over-stock without full warranty. OTOH Amazon sold me a "refurb Fire" with a smeared screen, crack in the jack, stuck in a boot-loop---- abused (by who?) and just re-sold un-touched.

When I find a sales channel that I think does actual testing, I *prefer* a refurb because I know the freshly-made units don't get minimally exhaustive testing, but an honest refurber will test a lot of details. My latest laptop has a lot of miles on it, some rubbed keytops, and a declared broken camera, but is otherwise sweet and fresh. At 20% what it cost new.

OSIRIS-REx probe sucked up more asteroid crumbs than hoped

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Alien

Fantastic snatch. THIS DUST CAME FROM ANOTHER PLANET!!!

But.... 20 years ago any half competent web-worker could make an image "gallery" with NEXT buttons, instead of going BACK to the gallery to get another image. Or does this one do that and they hid the Next buttons too good for my eyes?

Dave's not here, man. But this mind-blowingly huge server just, like, arrived

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> boot on a failed drug screen for Jazz Cabbage even though it's technically legal...in the state

Alcohol is legal in most states, yet many companies will sack you for being drunk on the job.

Forgetting the history of Unix is coding us into a corner

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Re: Step away from the keyboard......

> everyone knows that a computer has a screen, a keyboard (or other HID), a shell or other UI software and so on.

Long ago a computer (no longer a low-paid math student) was a mysterious machine in a faraway office that sent us utility and credit bills on "do not spindle" punchcards.

And MADE MISTAKES!!!! Or at least we blamed "the computer" for all bureaucratic problems.

Oh, and blinkin lights and constantly-spooling tape drives.

I don't think the unix folks were directly involved in telephone exchanges (AT&T/Bell was a VERY big operation). The ESS project was very special, made most computers look like toys. (look-up) Ah, the 3B20, running a unix, added features the ESS hadn't contemplated.

Worried about the impending demise of Windows 10? Google wants you to give ChromeOS Flex a try

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Re: "hundreds of millions of Windows 10 devices are destined for landfills"

> ...plenty of XP machines out there, chugging ... ... Win 7 machines...

In this house: 2 humans, 2 dogs, 2 WinXP, 2 Win7.

RIP John Walker, software and hardware hacker extraordinaire

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> "one strike and you're out" policy on poorly written English,

I gotta get off the internet. I keep reading this as "one strike and your out".

Since days of CompuServe forums, _I_ have always felt that if I had 10 readers it was worth my 5 seconds to put all the letters in, than to force 10 readers to work an extra second each to catch my meaning. Theres two much fuckin lasiness tooday.

CableMod recalls angled GPU power adapters to prevent fiery surprises

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Flame

Re: 12V is rather unsuitable for 500 odd Watts anyway

> 12V is rather unsuitable for 500 odd Watts

I don't disagree...... but car starting systems have been OtoO 12V 200 Amps, 2,400 Watts, since I was a boy (and longer in Register-land; I was weened in a 6V >1800W Studebaker).

Yes, they are 3/8" BOLTED connections on #00 cable, frame return, on massive metallic batteries and motors. And they DO give trouble, even to the point of smoke. (But not usually inside the house.)

Dutch insurers demand nudes from breast cancer patients despite ban

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WTF?

How does the company know....

> forcing breast cancer patients to submit photos of their breasts

What does that prove?? How does the company know the photo is of MY(*) breast? As said, there's lots of breasts online. Many very impressive but also surely some disappointments. Also I remember Chinese-language newspapers advertising breast operations with explicit before-and-after photos: submit a before-photo. ---Hey! "breast reconstruction" in an UN-safe search browser turns up appropriate images (obviously).

Nobody wants pictures of my man-parts, my gall-bladder. The hospital THREW OUT pictures of my appendix (that was an impressive scar).

(*) Yes, male-type people get breast diseases and sometimes reconstruction.

Amazon overcharges shoppers with Buy Box algorithm, fresh lawsuit claims

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Alien

> what the hell does USPS do that they're slower than the rubbishy free postage from China?

USPS "subsidizes" China Post.

Historically the rich countries support post from poor countries. In days of actual Mail Order, it often balanced. And China was always one of the poor countries.

USPS has its own problems, not entirely self-inflicted. Is a terrible place to work. Meanwhile China worked cooperatively to boost export sales, including taking advantage of historical Postal Union agreements.

China's sweetheart deal will be trimmed at some future Postal Union vote. Meanwhile China ships for free. And its workers incentivized to move the mail quickly.

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Re: It's not just the 'Buy Box'--Amazon's magic is everywhere. Be very careful...

> the cost of some items moved into the 'Cart' somehow, mysteriously, tend to increase in price

The price (not the cost).

Over at eBay (a den of different snakes), twice this month I had the opposite experience. Put a 'vintage' buy-now blanket on WatchList, two days later I get an "offer" for 20% lower price. Two out of three tries.

Amazon also plays a game of stuff in Wishlist. Prices go up and down randomly, usually just a few pennies. One item has dropped 38% in 2 years but is the kinda item which does that.

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