Wednesday 24 July 2019

Change is here to stay

Or if this is done properly then you won't be worrying about getting change. Watch out for crytpocurrencies becoming a big(ger) deal in the next 3-5 years.

Just be careful where you put your money (under the mattress may not be such a bad place - wish that's where I'd put my pension contributions)

Tuesday 23 July 2019

This is the very last upgrade.... ever.

For my Dell XPS 15.


It started out with a 1TB HDD and a 32GB mSATA cache drive that, thanks to some clever software was able to store all the bits of Windows etc that were needed frequently and present them to the processor at SSD speeds. Performance out of the box was fantastic, making the 6 YO Macbook with SSD it replaced look like it was steam-powered.

Then came the photos, and it began running out of space on the HDD. In search of a little more performance and a little more space, the HDD was replaced with a 1TB Sandisk SSD and the 32GB mSATA card with a 256GB mSATA. This was excellent, with startup in under 20sec and was probably about the fastest it could ever be. It had a bit more space than might have been expected too, because I was able to do a fresh install of W10, ditching some of the cruft & unused applications, data remaining from the upgrade from W8 to W10 etc, and I gained more space than a simple mirroring of drives might have provided.

But as night follows day, so drive space fills up.

First off I ended up literally filling the 1TB drive to the last couple of GB with a combination of images and data, so it was swapped (with some disappointment) to a 2TB HDD, and there was a distinct performance hit, even though all the OS files were on the SSD boot drive. Then I realised that had filled up too, and I ended up deleting quite a lot of data & applications, plus during one of the W10 'upgrades' the drive had been further partitioned, wasting space.

More room was needed.

Now unfortunately mSATA drives are 'old tech', out of fashion and superceded by NVME spec drives. Prices were actually holding up better than newer, more consumer oriented drives. I'd been watching the price of obsolete 1TB mSATA drives for some time, afraid they were going to become unobtainable, unwilling to spend £150 on another drive. Then a few weeks back Amazon Italy (why Italy? who knows?) did a special deal offering Samsung 860 drives (the only remaining 1TB mSATA drives now available) for about £97, and while looking at the offer page clicked what I thought (really did) was the link for translating into GB Pounds, that was actually 'buy this in GB Pounds'.

So as a result of that happy accident I've just finished Doing a clean install of W10 build 1903, and having sorted out the various system framework drivers (Dell's good drivers are older than the generic versions Windows automatically installed that badly throttle the system, so wouldn't install automatically) etc it works really nicely. Finally did that + sort out emails last night.

So, a couple more years use, hopefully, by which time the machine will be 7, 8 years old and still fast and effective.

* If memory prices keep dropping then a 4TB storage SSD would be tempting. ;-)

Friday 19 July 2019

went out for a walk this lunchtime*

I went out for a walk at lunchtime and found an elderly man sitting on the kerb by the side of the road absolutely crying his eyes out. "What ever is the matter?" I asked.

He sobbed "I'm 96 years old and I live in a lovely old manor house with beautiful landscaped gardens. I have a brand new Range Rover, two Ferraris and a classic Aston Martin; but best of all I have the most beautiful and loving wife... she's only 25, she has a wonderful figure and used to be a fashion model before we got married. She's also a Michelin Star winning chef and cooks me the most delicious and healthy meals every day. She can sing like an angel, she's so kind and funny, and we have the most amazing love life... and in addition to all that, twice a week she drives me to the local pub so I can have a few pints with my photography friends and talk camera kit and techniques all night."

I said "What on earth are you crying for then?" He sobbed "I've forgotten where I live!".

*Not really, it's been raining most of the day.

Friday 12 July 2019

That's "Not OK Google"

You know all those fears we dismissed as paranoid delusions, that google WAS listening all the time despite assurances to the contrary.

Apparently they were at least partially correct after all.

I remember a time when some people using devices like this monitored packet traffic to be sure nothing was being sent back to base during normal conversations. It seems that just because you think they're out to monitor you, doesn't mean they aren't.

Wonder what GDPR will make of this?

Monday 8 July 2019

Making asses of u and me.

A little snippet on The Register this morning about a company that assumed its data was backed up 'in the cloud'. Just remember, the backups are there for THEIR data, and not yours, if you're someone who stores all there stuff online for 'free'.

Thursday 4 July 2019

At last, a film I want to see in the cinema

It seems someone has, in 21st century style, made a documentary of the Apollo 11 mission, editing together & restoring original footage. This might actually be worth paying to view on a big screen - I was almost 8 when it happened, and still remember the sense of excitement and the possibilities we might aspire to.

Later the capsule and some moon rock toured the UK. My grandfather took both my brother and I to the Biggin Hill airshow where, in a hangar, we were able to see them. the capsule seemed enormous, burnt black on the bottom. Much later I saw a re-entry capsule in the space centre at Houston, and was amazed at the incredibly tiny size - hard to imagine getting 3 men to live inside it for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Would you buy a book from this vendor?

Or would you 'buy' any digital content?

Copyright, DRM and ownership are a 'knotty problem' to say the least, when it comes to stuff online. In the early days I took a fairly hard-line approach personally, trying to treat stuff that was obviously 'owned' as though it were property, even though it was available online without the actual owner suffering any loss if I acquired the digital content.

Then came Youtube, Google prime, music and video streaming, torrents, vodlocker etc. Copyright and ownership of digital content became psychologically blurred, even though the legal framework hadn't really changed.

But the thing that's really blurred the line for me is the issue over digital content that's been paid for.

We have a couple of Kobos - painfully slow digital book readers, the business was acquired by Rakuten a few years back - plus a Nook (Barnes and Noble) and a Kindle. The Nook went first, with the digital rights being sold to Sainsbury, who then lapsed the business completely - I have no idea if we can still read books on that. Around the dsame time we also became aware that Amazon did sometimes actually pull content from Kindles if they decided that you didn't have a right to carry on reading the stuff you'd paid for. Now it seems that Microsoft are removing access to any books bought through their service, giving limited refunds in some cases.

There are lots of reasons why the attitude of the public is changing towards digital content and ownership compared to the way physical goods and services are viewed, but I reckon a big driver is this feeling that you never actually own what you pay for. In some ways the software companies are recognising this too, with SAAS (software as a service) becoming more common, where you rent use of applications on a subscription basis, being locked into repeated payments to the developer. One could discuss the pros and cons of that, but my feeling is that it will reduce the barrier to acquiring digital content regardless of copyright.