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Comment: Re: And on a local level... (Score 4, Informative) 560

by Retron (#48716407) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

Manley's paper explains how the various figures were derived. The early figures are subject to a good deal of approximation, but if you leaf through the paper you'll see various sources have been used to compile the data. By the mid 1700s records are accurate enough that no approximation is needed. Although it's a far from perfect way of doing things, it's the best we have. The CET series is the world's longest monthly temperature record series, FWIW.

"Before 1671 intstrumental readings are few; accordingly all values before 1671 have been rounded to whole degrees C. Regular thermometer readings began again in 1672. "

Here's a link to the paper on the Royal Meteorological Society's website:

Comment: Warmth (Score 1) 234

by Retron (#48694387) Attached to: Being Colder May Be Good For Your Health

There's been a marked trend here in the UK for people to have warmer and warmer houses. The thermostat in mine's set to 18C (64F), as it has been for the last 30 years. Meanwhile my friends' houses get warmer and warmer - up to 25C in some cases (77F). There's a perinneal struggle in the office at work too, with my preference for the temperature to be set to 18C, while the boss would rather have 25C. So we have a compromise of 22C, which is still warmer than the neighbouring IT classrooms (yes, I work in a school). Those classrooms are set to 19C or 20C.

Comment: Not really... (Score 3, Interesting) 219

by Retron (#48376225) Attached to: Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

I work in a school. We've been through the whole "every pupil gets a computer" phase and it was a disaster - we used eeepcs running Xandros and initially there were complaints about how crummy the programs were. (IE people expected Office, but they got OpenOffice instead).

Then after a few days the breakages started - minibooks left in bags, being dropped, screens smashed, drinks spilt on them etc. So that meant that teachers couldn't rely on everyone having one any more and the whole point of them was lost. They stopped being used and we ended up getting about 30% of them back after the year was out, the rest were damaged or lost. It was an absolute waste of money and it still goes on with other schools today (those who are foolish enough to give tablets to all their pupils, anyway!)

We still use desktop PCs running Windows and Office, as it's what the real world uses (for now, at least). We provide access via UAG to our network for staff and pupils to access their documents remotely.

Google Docs, OneDrive etc are blocked for pupils. Chromebooks are pointless from our point of view due to Google Docs being blocked and lack of intergration into a Windows domain. They also don't run the programs which pupils use in school (which include some digital textbooks, additional educational needs programs, maths programs, Photoshop etc). iPads are beyond useless for our needs, as it's a faff to create spreadsheets or word process on them. Yes, it can be done, but a real keyboard and a decent PC make it much more pleasant.

So, like most schools around this part of the UK, we have several IT rooms with desktops. We have a media suite running Premiere (having phased out Macs a few years ago), a music suite running Cubase and a DT suite running SolidWorks. We have a couple of hundred staff laptops and a couple of hundred curriculum laptops, safely locked away at night.

We are looking at at BYOD implementation, but the powers that be aren't overly keen to have teenagers running around with expensive laptops, tablets etc. And there's the whole network file access issue, we can't add the machines to the domain so they'd have to go through the somewhat clunky UAG system to access their files. There's also the line of who has responsibility to ensure the machines accessing our network are patched and up-to-date, as we don't have the resources to look after people's personal equipment.

All in all, there won't be much change in the school where I work for the foreseeable future: Office and Windows look like remaining the main platform for a while yet. It's the same in the other schools in the area, Chromebooks and the like are simply not useful to the way that schools work around here.

Comment: Re:Minimalism Overkill (Score 1) 305

by Retron (#48170449) Attached to: OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

WIndows 95 eh? At least that had 3D buttons which "pushed in" when you clicked on them.

Of course, the old Windows 95-esque theme is *still* there, even in Windows 10, but they do try and hide it from you. You can see it if you run Word, embed a Graph object (which borks DWM, so you get Windows Vista's Aero Basic instead). Change the screen resolution and bam, DWM completely dies and you get left with the Windows 95 style controls and theme. (Well, technically it's more like Windows 98 as it has the gradient-shaded title bar, but the thought is there!)

Comment: Zero-day? Really? (Score 1) 97

by Retron (#48141199) Attached to: Windows Flaw Allowed Hackers To Spy On NATO, Ukraine, Others

Blimey, get with the times!

22 years ago at school we were all using Object Packager in Windows 3.1 to smuggle in arbitary EXEs - long before any of this current hoo-ha erupted. Of course, we were more concerned with smuggling in games rather than using it for spying...

The only surprising thing is that it's taken them over 22 years to realise that yes, allowing random EXEs to be packaged up isn't really a good idea!

Comment: Re:One huge customer - schools (Score 5, Interesting) 345

by Retron (#48124577) Attached to: ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

I work in a school's IT department and we won't be touching Chromebooks with a 50-foot bargepole. We use a mixture of desktops and laptops running Windows 7 and Office 2013 - which costs far less than it would commercially. We also use SCCM to manage the 1,000 or so PCs and laptops (generic i3s and Core2 Duos from the likes of Lenovo and HP) we have in the school.

Data is kept locally and is backed up in various ways (ranging from blu-ray to SANs), with the data stored in various parts of the site. Nothing gets stored on the pupils PCs other than temporary data when they're using the PC - their work is all accessed from our network servers.

Cloud access is something we work against for pupils, as it's an excellent way of them wasting time with Flash games etc - kids are very inventive when it comes to playing games (I know, I was exactly the same at school in the 90s!) and it's easier to curtail games on our system than it would be with Chromebooks.That's leaving aside the privacy situation, which doesn't fill me with joy: on a personal level I won't put anything of importance in the cloud, as I simply don't know who'll have access to it. Whereas data on my own network here is much easier to keep tabs on...

Comment: Re:clockspeed really? (Score 1) 338

No 4.0GHz (stock) P4 was ever released. Note the fact there is only one sample in their database and it's only appeared in 2011 - years after such a chip, if it existed, would have been released.

At best it's a lone engineering sample. At worst, it's just a hack someone's done.

Comment: Using one right now... (Score 1) 304

by Retron (#48093501) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

...I bought one on eBay 7 years ago (with PS/2 connection) and I'm using it on the fourth PC I've owned since then, a brand-new Haswell-E build. It's still as clacky and tactile as it was back then. The only slight snag is no Windows key, but I don't really miss it.

22 years ago I first used a buckling-spring keyboard, the one that came with an IBM XT. That "Model F" keyboard was (and is, as I kept it) built like a tank and, if anything, it's even clackier than the Model M. Sadly it won't work without expensive adapters on a modern PC. The layout is odd by current standards (ctrl is where caps lock is and vice-versa).

That old XT keyboard gave me the taste for "clacky" keyboards and over the following decade I got thoroughly fed up with the spongy, lifeless keyboards that became the norm. I then found out about the Model M, looked into getting one from Unicomp but thanks to import duty, VAT and delivery the cost was over the equivalent of $170 - way too much to spend for me! So I snagged an old second hand IBM model M on eBay for a fraction of the price, cleaned it up and I've been using it ever since. Hopefully PS/2 keyboard ports will continue to stay on motherboards for many years yet!

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