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Comment: Re:Start Button ? (Score 1) 210

by dwywit (#47894269) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

"This is a silent did you get it? I'm in witness protection and my calls are monitored by the {NSA/CIA/GCHQ/AFP}."

Or, when you get to the point where you've opened the windows event log and they ask you to read the warnings and errors (to prove their claim that your computer has errors), just say "there are no errors or warnings". This usually results in a short wait while they search their script for an appropriate reply, or a transfer to a "supervisor" to continue the fun.

Comment: Re:Rife in the UK (Score 2) 210

by dwywit (#47894145) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

My record was 16 minutes, the sucker on the other end got more and more frustrated and eventually swore at me and hung up.

I've told them I can't go to my computer because I had a broken leg and couldn't get out of bed.

I've told them I don't have a keyboard, I use a touchscreen.

Most recently, I let the operator get through to the stage where they wanted to connect, then I told her I knew it was a scam, she should be ashamed of herself for telling lies, and what would her mother think? That one got 3 seconds of silence, "shit", then she hung up.

Comment: Re:Define technology (Score 1) 231

by dwywit (#47844691) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

Yup - found the formula for gunpowder in the family encyclopedia, managed to "acquire" the ingredients in quantity (a pound or two of each), and started with small batches. Ended up supplying home-made firecrackers to other people at school - never got caught, but I was lectured once or twice - I think they realised they couldn't prove I was the supplier.

I experimented with calcium, copper and strontium salts in home-made roman candles for pretty colours.

Then I moved on to nitroglycerine - I never got an explosion, as such, the best I managed was a vigorous reaction visually similar to a mentos-in-the-coke-bottle thing. I think, on reflection, that the sulphuric acid wasn't concentrated enough. I was only able to buy school-lab grade acids, so they probably weren't the best.

\ conc. H2SO4, evil stuff
\\ not as evil as fuming HNO3
\\\ yep, you could walk into a school supplies shop and buy them

Comment: Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (Score 1) 163

by dwywit (#47811311) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

You might find that Premiere Elements will do what you want. It's about AUD$120 here.

Although (as I mentioned above), Creative Suite/Creative Cloud is a bargain at academic pricing. Are you, or do you know anyone who is a student or teacher?

My children bought Creative Suite for me......

Comment: Re: What about Lightworks? (Score 2) 163

by dwywit (#47811243) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

Don't know about Cinelerra, but you're right about Kdenlive vs. Premiere.

Kdenlive wouldn't talk to my tape camera (miniDV tapes), so I couldn't capture footage. This was using Ubuntu Studio. The computer recognised the firewire card, Ubuntu could see it, but kdenlive (after 4 hours troubleshooting) just wouldn't talk to the camera.

Premiere Pro can be had for about a third of retail - if you qualify for the academic pricing. I bought the entire Creative Suite 5.5 for AUD$450.

Comment: Re:That ship has already sailed. (Score 1) 113

by dwywit (#47760999) Attached to: IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch

Neat! I wish there were more second-hand AS400 boxes in Oz. It's a small market with limited vendors, so prices are out of my reach. Would you mind sharing the cost of the hardware and the licence? Ballpark figures are fine.

I'd buy an entry-level machine just for the chance to play with OS400 again.

Comment: I subscribe to live365 (Score 1) 71

by dwywit (#47707651) Attached to: YouTube Music Subscription Details Leak

~USD70 per annum for ad-free listening. I'd be happy to pay double that if and ONLY if the extra went straight to artists, i.e. not via licencing/royalty agents.

You can listen to most of the stations for free, if you're happy to hear the ads.

Unfortunately, their recent website re-design is dreadful. I play it via an eeePC, and the website does not scale very well to a small screen. The standalone player for Windows is OK, but the android app doesn't behave - long connect times, lots of dropouts and crashes. It keeps playing after you tap the "stop" button, and won't terminate until you force stop the app. I can cope with that because there's lots of great music across dozens of genres and thousands of stations.

Comment: Re:Pending Restart.. (Score 1) 304

There were some posts in one of the microsoft support forums that indicated removing %system%\FNTCACHE.DAT resolved the problem. That led to discussions that it might have been systems with a large number of installed fonts that were vulnerable.

Windows will automatically replace FNTCACHE.DAT, so removing it won't hurt.

Comment: Re:We already solved this one! (Score 1) 442

by dwywit (#47691345) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

If you don't want to store excess energy from Solar PV, you switch it off, i.e. the "off" switch is just that, an open circuit. The panel doesn't suddenly heat up and explode when you don't want to use its output anymore, but it's a waste when that energy could be used elsewhere. Switching the load to dump the excess into your hot water system is a great idea - it preheats the water, ultimately reducing demand from the grid. You should only switch a solar panel off where there is NO practical use for the energy. My PV/Battery controller (Plasmatronics PL60) is programmable, and has options to divert PV energy away from the batteries (e.g. when they reach float voltage) into other items, such as a water pump. It will even switch to an alternative battery bank, if you have one.

Wind turbines are different, and need to have a load dump somewhere nearby. Small domestic wind turbines actually use their external casing as a dump.

"Myopic trolls" is right, too. Electricity supply & distribution companies here are complaining that there is too much PV energy coming into the grid. Presumably this is on sunny days, when the demand for air conditioning is high.

Comment: Re:Expert?? (Score 1) 442

by dwywit (#47691193) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

One of these days - HA! - we might see those big 'ol AC induction motors replaced by things that are a bit smarter. Not holding my breath, though.

An example would be conventional washing machine motors with gearboxes vs. "soft-start" DC motors (e.g. Fisher & Paykel). I couldn't have a conventional washing machine on my system (off-grid, solar PV + batteries, inverter) because the inrush load meant buying an inverter with enough surge capacity to cope with it, in other words, do I buy a massively over-spec inverter, or a smart washing machine? Hint - the F&P cost less than the difference between the two inverter models.

Comment: Benign or malignant? (Score 1) 111

by dwywit (#47652019) Attached to: Injecting Liquid Metal Into Blood Vessels Could Help Kill Tumors

I'm guessing that they're talking about benign tumours - how would this work with a malignant tumour or metastatic cancer?

If you get the chance, watch "Autopsy - Life & Death". It's a bit gory, but well worth it for the explanation in one episode about the difference between benign and metastatic tumours.

Comment: Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (Score 2) 385

There's a huge amount of space available - it's called a roof, and many people have them.

The PV panels on my roof are, to a certain extent, self-cleaning. They're designed that way, and it works quite well as long as they're mounted properly. Panels should be mounted at an angle roughly corresponding to your latitude (I'm at ~26 deg south), and rainfall is enough to keep them clean. I get up on the roof to inspect them every couple of months, and I clean them once a year or so. All it takes is a long-handled broom, and a bucket of water.

And speaking of efficiency, why do many people ignore the fact that you only receive about 40% of the energy in the coal when you turn on an appliance?

Comment: Re:I prefer (Score 1) 337

by dwywit (#47209647) Attached to: Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

I was surprised to find in the configuration file of my Technicolour (Thomson) ADSL modem, a section already defining QoS, This isn't visible in the browser-accessible UI, but only when you "save" the configuration to a local hard drive, which option is also locked by Bigpong/Telstra unless you run a magic script. Anyway, it defines 6 queues for QoS, and it allocates VOIP traffic to the highest-priority queue, proceeding down the list until queue 5, which is the catch-all. There are various types mentioned, but HTTP, SMTP, and Telnet aren't among them, leading me to believe those protocols end up in queue 5, which is the lowest priority or "best effort" queue. This isn't my specialty, so I may have misinterpreted what it means, but I looked up the manual and it seems to confirm what I read in the config file.

Short version: Your traffic may already be affected by your own modem.

Comment: Re:Neat (Score 3) 217

by dwywit (#46810169) Attached to: Reinventing the Axe

Yup. I'd like to see it used on a piece of Ironbark -

Hint: it's not the bark that feels like it's made of iron. There are some eucalyptus species with nice, straight grain, but many don't. You can expend a great deal of energy splitting ironbark, or you can use a chainsaw. Petrol and electric-powered logsplitters are also an option.

My father recalls being put on tree-felling duty in far north Queensland after returning from WWII, along with many others still in the services, while waiting for their discharge. They were dropping ironbarks to cut up and use as railway sleepers. He told me he doesn't feel the need to chop wood *ever* again.

Without life, Biology itself would be impossible.