* Posts by oldfartuk

189 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Sep 2007


A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral


Re: Broken NFS

Those were the days. I remeber rebuilding the MBR on an IBM PC using a hex editor, you cant do stuff like that anymore.

America's largest radio telescope blind after falling cable slashes 100-foot gash in reflector dish


Re: The search for aliens is suspended?

I also believe there are alien civilizations, but after we produced the Clintons, they concluded all crooked lawyers must be married to sex pests, and decided to move onto the next Galaxy

Space Clinton - "I did not have electromagnetic interactions with that galaxy".


Re: Was Jodie Foster spotted there?

I would like to point out only the British can be boffins. We devised the word and had Boffins long before even 1940, which marked the Rise of the Boffin. Americans never had Boffins, they only had Whizz Kids or Poindexters.


Re: Don't forget...

nonsense, you've come into the canon practically at the end. You need to watch them all in sequence starting with From Russia with Love. Then you'll see Roger Moore captures the essence of the books.


Re: Not sure?

you were, ofc course, Elvis Costellos father....

Well, what are we waiting for? Three weeks later, Windows Embedded Standard 7 still didn't have the answer


Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

Or the Self Checkouts in supermarkets

"Unexpected horse in bagging area"

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far


Re: Colleges vs. Real world.

i learned COBOL66 on Manchester Universities Dec 11/750. I loved COBOL. and were were taught the new fangled "Michael Jackson Structured Program Design Methodology"

However, for some reason I never fathomed the lecturer assigned to teach us COBOL was a Canadian Chemistry professor.

I went into the first lecture and came out knowing less than I started. After a second lecture, and my knowledge reduced even further, i decided I could do better on my own. I handed in every assignment o time and scored 90% i the final exam. I loved COBOL. I even wrote a batch non interactive pacman game on it, you put your (up to 10) moves as a NSEW in a text file then ran the program, then it printed out the screen on the 132 col A3 lineprinter. It took days to play one game.

Once considered lost, ESA and NASA's SOHO came back from the brink of death to work even better than it did before


Re: Great Article, Thanks

Its absolutely true in all computing. The more time you spend making the algorithms and UI utterly foolproof, the more it pays off in less support calls from the great unwashed. Its also why you dont let programmers design UI's unsupervised.


Re: A fitting tribute to intelligence and sheer dogged determination

This is why you dont let programmers design UI's. They assume too much of the user.

Black hole destroys corona


or collapses back down to the original Calabi Yau manifold, returning the initial quantum fluctuation energy back to the 2-Brane it came from, thus cancelling both sides of the equation and creating a zero nett energy event.


Re: Inifitely long from our perspective...

I believe you end up falling into the original Starbucks which was formed just after the Epoch of Last Scattering.


You know when you know abut about a subject when you realise what it is you dont know about it.


Well if you consider the possibility there is no such thing as time, its merely forward motion in the next dimension up, one planck frame at a time, then its starts to make sense. Time is probably a local phenomena, since we dont really know if a) the universe is closed or infinite, or b) the amount of energy in the universe is fixed or variable, in which case th Second Law of Thermodynamics is thus probably invalid when applied to the entire Universe and thus Entropy isnt what it seems, making time an unsupported concept...after all neither Relativity nor Quantum Theory are REQUIRED to have time, and in fact theres no sign of it at a quantum level. And i'd rate Penrose as smarter then Einstein or Hawking.

'Deeply concerned' UK privacy watchdog thrusts probe into King's Cross face-recognizing snoop cam brouhaha


" the American Civil Liberties Union said tests showed Amazon’s Recognition systems incorrectly matched one in five California politicians with images of 25,000 criminals held in a database. "

Yes, but they were Democrats, so its understandable.

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol


Re: Light years

Most modern washing machines are designed to last 100 cycles, ie one wash a week for two years, or 3.5 days operation. After that you just lucky.


Re: They don't build them like they used to

The Voyagers are built of OC 71 transistors and Post Office Type 3000 relays. Its simple robust rock solid technology. Its the components i built stuff out of when i was an electronics nerd in the 1970's. You cant beat it. Its Occams Razor in action

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a charred white dwarf star blasted across our galaxy by an ancient semi-supernova


Re: Alternative ending:

Eventually arriving FINALLY at the Chemists.

CEO of motherboard maker MSI dies after plunging from headquarters' seventh-floor


Re: Life Imitating Art

I hate three other people, that makes me a a Trigot.

UK space firms forced to adjust their models of how the universe works as they lose out on Copernicus contracts


1. We know exactly what we wil have at the end. A free soverign nation not ruled by unaccountable forigners.

2. and we know whos fault all the bickering and uncertaintity lies with:

a) Theresa 'BRINO' May and her UE lapdogs Olly Robbins

b) 20 traitorous Tory MP's in the pay of the Eu intent on thwarting the will of the people

c) 16.4 million remainers who cant accept they lost FOUR democratic votes on the subject

d) The Soros Stooge Gina Miller (whos attempts to thwart Brexit backfired and instead got the Leave date fixed in law. Stupid woman)

e) The UK news Media for aiding and abetting the distribution of a three year long campaign of fake news, alarmism, disinformation and plain old lies, and conducting highly partisan and bigoted news coverage and reporting

And lets not forget the Mentioned in Dispatches:

Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, the Alpha Global Elite Stooges

Heseline, Clark, Hammond, Carney et al, for conducting negotiations with a foriegn power with the intent to usurp the British Parliament, democracy and the Crown, and undertaking wrecking missions in parliament.


more whining from the antidemocratic remainer EU nazis fanbois. It really is starting to get boring and tedious now.


In fact there is now considerable evidence Encrochat was a joint FBI/Interpol/GCHQ Honeypot . They didnt 'crack' it at all, they were running it and had back doors into the phones.


Re: And yet

Give it a rest. Were sick of the constant sour grapes from boring idiot remainers like you who cant accept you lost FOUR democratic votes on the subject. Stop whining and bitching, its in your interest the UK does well, or YOU are out of a job (Im retired, so im all right, Jack). So stop knocking your fellow countrymen, accept democracy and get behind your country. or just STFU. OK ?


Re: This project is, though

Apart from cheeses, frogs legs and wine, the other main french inventions are striking and rioting, and not to mention some of the rudest hotel and bar staff i have ever met. A friend of mine who investigated setting up business in Paris gave up, the reason being, he said, was that once you employ a french man, not only do you somehow acquire automatic responsibility for the rest of his family, its also becomes impossible, under any circumstances, to sack him.


Funny how the EU kept saying 'nothing can be the same after brexit' yet most of its red line FTA demand require everything to be exactly the same, especially the 'right' to continue robbing fish out our waters. Did you know the French took approx 80% of the total quota for cod, hake and haddock and we only got 6%, and then had to buy some of the rest back off them ?. Never mind, once they blow it and we leave no deal, the French fishing fleet will be but a distant memory in a couple of years. And we'll have all the fish, and they'll be buying it of us.

Microsoft has a cure for data nuked by fat fingers if you're not afraid of the command line


I recall rebuilding the MBR on a borked hard drive, manually, in hexadecimal with a disc editor, on an Amstrad 1640 one day back in the 80's. . That was proper undeleting.

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil


Re: Can someone explain?

Anyone that takes a job laying cables in Somalia shouldn't be surprised if it a terminal job. Make sure you are life insured up to your eyeballs.

Japan to test self-destructing satellite to shrink space junk with string and an inanimate carbon blob


Re: Yeah, sure.

If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, Day One.


Re: Header picture

I first learned about Phenomenology from watching that movie.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'


Re: BTW: How did that work out?

The UK has welcomed people of all colours for centuries. Why would we do that if we were a 'racist ' country. Its brainless figment of the imagination by a bunch of marxist agitators, whos true intent is the destruction of capitalism and the instigation of world Marxism. Groups like Momentum openly admit it, as does Extenction Rebellion. And whats even more absurd is to judge a philanthropist from the 18th century, who gave away a fortune and built Guys Hospital, which has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people of all colour, to then judge him on the values of a totally different world 200 years later is absurd, and is not done seriously to combat racism but as an excuse to riot and destroy English cultural icons. What it IS is a cultural war against the English. A Race war, instigated by black racists and middle class marxists.


Re: Those who can, code.

racist my arse. It complete bullshit. its NOTHING TO DO WITH RACISM, unless you are a brainless Z list celeb trying to jump on the bandwaggon or some gullible wet behind the ears snowflake thats been brainwashed at school. It looking to racism where no racism has even existed. On the other hand, destroying english cultural artifacts like statues is anti white racism.

Virgin Orbit at last ready to live up to its name: Branson's other space adventure set for maiden flight this weekend


Re: ....does not require the infrastructure needed by vertically launched rockets

and an ocean to drop the rocket in with in 10 seconds run time of the launch point.....


A Texan explained to me once that you could get on a train at one side of Texas, travel for three days, and still be in Texas. I countered that you could do that on a Virgin train in Lincolnshire.

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit


Why cant you have a robot satellite that just kicks debris steeply downwards from orbit to burn up ?

There's a black hole lurking within 1,000 light years of Earth – and you can see stars circling it with the naked eye


And the practical implication is......

If this thing has escaped detection up to now, and its practically parked on the bloody driveway next to the Green Waste Bin, and theres probably millions of them, then zipping across interstellar space at breakneck pace might turn out to be a bit more dangerous than we imagine.....

Remember the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dam to save the village? Here's the IT equivalent


Back in the 90's i was Project Manager and dogsbody fora £2m project rollign out LANS, servers and workstations to schools This meant ofc building a prototype, testing it, then cloning it. No one had really done this before, so i was presented with a copy of Norton Ghost 6.5 and told to work out how to do it with that, and thus became the unofficial 'expert' on it. One day a colleague had built a Mail server for another project by the Server team and he wanted the hard drive cloning as a backup. We shoved his drive and a blank one in a chassis, and ran Norton. Now here where i came unstuck. All the time i had been doing this, id renamed the master drive, so you could tell it from the blank, just in case, so when we ran Norton, we were presented with a list with two identically named drives, with no way to tell them apart. Now, common sense told me to stop, rename one of the drives and start again, but friend was i n a hurry, so i took punt and set the top drive as the master and the bottom drive as the destination, said 'ok ready' and press go,...and one millsecond later realised the drives were listed in reverse order for a change. It took Norton 6.5 eight mins to wipe a drive my colleague had taken three months to build and test.

I dont recall getting a christmaas card from the Server Team that year.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills


Re: radio interferences

it was all in the diode you used, and the length of copper wire you used as aerial. Back in the 1960's the first radio I built was one valve, a solid state glass diode (type not recalled) headphones and i had 200 yards of 24 gauge enameled copper wire running out the bedroom window and out over the fields as aerial. I recall i could get about ten stations on long wave. More interestingly, i made a Gold leaf electroscope (actually an aluminium foil electroscope), out of a 200ml glass beaker, which when connected to the aerial was fantastically sensitive when black clouds passed overhead. The possibility of lightning actually striking the aerial never occurred to me............


Re: Never saw a car crash into a computer

The JCB was the death of the old cable operated Steam Diggers, so beloved by people who modelled with Meccano. It was never the same thing ,making a JCB.

Galileo got it wrong – official: Jupiter actually wet, not super-dry: 'No one would have guessed that water might be so variable across the planet'


Re: Juipter's water is already contaminated by human waste

""7.8 kilograms of Plutonium"

i.e. of the order of 1x10^-26 the Jovian mass."

or the equivalent of one atom of plutonium in a litre of water.

Baby, I swear it's déjà vu: TalkTalk customers unable to opt out of ISP's ad-jacking DNS – just like six years ago


Re: Switch provider, and refuse payment

There was a small booklet you could buy back in the 1970's that gave yo udetailed information on how to bamboozle and waste the time of various government departments. For example, many forms back then contained areas marked DO NOT WRITE HERE or FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY, the booklet advised going over these areas with a candle to make them unwriteable with a ball point pen or pencil. It also pointed out (at the time) there was no compulsion to fill in forms in english (it recommended russian ), nor to perform maths or numerics in english (latin numerals were sufficient).


Re: Switch provider, and refuse payment

we moved to Spain two and a half years ago. At that point i cancelled my AA membership. despite cancelling it i got charged £280 for another years membership 6 months later. I rang them , they refunded the money an cancelled the membership again. last month i checked my bank statements, lo and behold the AA had charged me for another years membership.. I rang them again, and again they have refunded my money , and claim the last person DIDNT cancel the membership, but now they have, allegedly. We'll see next year.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT


Re: Proper lash up

The small village i grew up in, in the 1960's, had a family who lived at one end who were always creferred to as "The New Family". Apparantly they had moved to the village just before WW1.

NASA dons red and blue cardboard 3D glasses to drive Curiosity rover because its GPUs are stuck in the office


Re: Sounds like they are using old GeForce 3D Vision kit

i had VIP tickets and all area passes to that until the virus lockdown came along...

We lost another good one: Mathematician John Conway loses Game of Life, taken by coronavirus at 82


Fuck. Thats all i can say. John Conway was one of the last people we needed to lose. I have a valued, treasured, book thats followed me about for the last 40 years, packed with the mathematical games and other musings of Johns, its kept me amused and fascisnated and educated for four decades. I can honestly say John Conway was one of the four people whos writings profoundely changed my view of the planet, when i was in my 20's.

'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service


Ive had a paid £15 a year hotmail account since it first came out in 1996, and an encrypted $40 a year secure Husmail account since 2004. The only misake i made was a Diamond Cable email account (1996), which became NTL, which became Virgin in 2006 Interestingly I found the NTL email server IP and ports were still open to the net in 2013 and i was still able to log into the NTL account

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay


What baffles me is why someonelike Lookheed doesnt just emply some more hackers to fight thes scum back. The website they dump the docs on for example, is an obvious target. This is war ,surely.Put out a ransom dead or alive on the entire mob, $100,000 a head, somone will soon grass them up.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


I loved COBOL, it was the first high level language i learned in the 1980's on a PDP-8, to the sounds of the Strangers 'Golden Brown', and a 1966 A3 line printer Snoopy calendar on the computer room wall. It was a beautiful, elegant language, ideally suited for all of us with Aspergers.You could arange the code neatly, in logical ascending structure until you had reduced the entire program to

Perform Program()

Until end..

Nothing that followed ever managed such elegance.Not even the quich eater Nikluas Wirth (if you arent old school you'll have no idea who he was).

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount


Re: Sensible idea

in 1/6g you could whack a golf ball about 2 km with a decent driver.

Hunting for IT staff? Lost your job during the pandemic? Sysadmin vacancies – and a free job ads offer – inside


Re: can't travel

pish, you're all IT pansies . The first sysadmin job i got was no interview, you just had to RRTY your CV to an IP adddress, coded in EBDIC. That sorted out the men from the boys.

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!


Re: Dwarfs or dwarves?

OK, but Walt Disney was american, and despite the denials, aamericans speak English, which is the native language of the English peoples, so we get to choose how to spell it :-D . Tolkien was an englishman, so his spelling rules. We have the same problem with arabic speakers trying to tell us how to spell 'Moslem' or 'Koran' in our native language (do we tell Arabic speakers how to spell 'technology' or 'Roast Beef' in Arabic?)


I worked for a government training agency in the 80's in what was called 'YTS Training', which involed trying to stop bored spotty teenagers wrecking Bus Shelters or sniffing Evostick by allowing them to wreck IT equipment and have spitting competitions in the toilets instead. One repair I had to effect was caused by a simple bit of Bored Teenager Logic - if a 5.25" floppy drive has a capacity of 360kb , then if you take another one out of its black palstic sleeve and glue it with Pritt to another one, the two glued-together discs must therefore have a capacity of 720kb right know what i mean innit? I was unable to extract the forcibly wedged in double thickness floppy and had to reapce the drive entirely.

However, many years later AMstrad devised the Amstrad 1520, with its very own 10Mb hard drive. However , whilst making thier own hard drives needed a round of applause for 'Valiant Effort', the lack of basic technical knowhow in the subject meant that ALL the hard rives drives on the 48 machines we bought failed within 3 months. The problem was they overheated with such gusto the drive's plastic fascia would get soft enough to leave your thumbprint in, which made for a fairly foolproof Inventory system. We ended up replacing all the drives with 20 Mb Toshiba ones.