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Comment Contact (Score 4, Insightful) 1222

Because it's an almost totally original concept, not relying at all on hyperdrives or laser canons. Maybe the producers got some ideas from "Stargate" which preceded it by three years.
Because it's suitable for everybody.
Because it's based on something that we can all participate in, the SETI project.

I'm wondering if and hoping that there will be a sequel in 2024.

Comment Acorn System 1 (Score 2) 857

6502 processor and, if I remember, 1k of RAM. I bought it as a kit when I was a student at university and soldered it together in my room.

Unfortunately one of the RAM chips I think, died. A few years ago I donated it to the Museum of Computing in Swindon, complete with the original mailing package.

My next computer was the BBC B, then I moved on to PCs with a 386 SX.

Comment This isn't a new stunt... (Score 1) 230

My father told me afterwards that the air raid sirens in the UK all had their own power supply with a relay, all controlled by cables from a switch in the police station which seems reasonable.

Soon after we moved into a new home together, maybe 25 years ago, at around midnight one night, some jokers managed to break into the building housing the local air raid siren. All they needed to do was use a length of wood to jam the relay contacts together and everybody was on the phone to the emergency services to confirm whether or not the Russian nuclear bombers were heading this way!

Comment Cars are becoming more automatic anyway (Score 2) 132

Two days ago I was at a launch party for the 2017 Honda Civic. There was a 1st generation Civic from 1978, my own 1991 4th generation Civic, and several subsequent generation Civics, all in the Honda showroom arrayed around the new model.

What worries me is that so much on the new model has gone automatic. It's got a radar set in the front bumper to measure distance to the vehicle in front. It can be set to automatically speed control itself to maintain safe distance from the vehicle in front. It's got blind spot warning devices. It's got an automatic parking brake. It's got a camera that it's claimed is able to read and interpret road signs for itself so that the car knows what the speed limit is, and can be set to automatically keep its speed down to the limit.

It worries me as a driver that so much safety related functionality is being integrated into new cars that drivers of cars are going to be dangerously de-skilled. If, for example, a student driver learned to drive and passed their driving test in a 2017 manual transmission Civic, even though qualified they would have little of the skills needed to drive a 1991 Civic or any other car produced over, say, the subsequent 20 years. Specifically would they for example be able to perform a hill start, which is part of the British driving test and as well as the usual observations before moving off requires the ability to operate a manual hand brake simultaneously with the clutch and gas pedal? I doubt it.

Comment Toshiba? (Score 1) 187

I don't know if they still make netbooks but I bought an NB520 (using it with Linux Mint Mate right now) several years ago and I think it's a superb little computer.

With a 10" screen it fits inside a hotel room safe.

I'm told that Toshiba doesn't put in any of the hardware white/black list crap so when I received a Virgin Superhub I was able to swap the WiFi card for a dual band Intel one that supports the 5GHz WiFi band.

It's easy to get at the innards - just take out two screws from the base and the cover comes off to give easy access to hard drive, memory and WiFi card.

The SD card slot "Just Works".

The only thing I can't seem to get to work is bluetooth, but it's easy to plug into the USB.

Overall, I'm really happy with this computer and strongly suggest that the brand should be considered.

Comment The most stupid web site feature (Score 1) 148

that I can think of, is the so-called "security questions" that will "help you recover if you forget your password"! Questions like, mother's maiden name, town where you were born, your first school, your first car etc. etc.

How bloody stupid can these idiots possibly get? If I wanted to hack somebody's account I'd head straight for the genealogy sites!

I DO NOT loose passcodes, nor can I remember them, because I use an encrypted passcode wallet and every passcode in there is long and completely random. When some idiot has written mandatory security questions into a site that I need to use, every answer is a complete lie which I then have to enter into the free text field of my passcode wallet. So for me these questions are not a security risk just a damn nuisance.

Comment Re:payback (Score 1) 108

A good suggestion I heard lately is that we should hunt these arseholes down, along with any other scammers and parasites trying to trick hard working people out of their money, and terrorists, put them at the bottom of a nice deep salt or phosphate mine, and enrol them on therapeutic drugs trials for the rest of their miserable lives. That way they can pay back some of the misery they have brought on society.

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