Print Story Bad trip tattooed on my brain
By TheophileEscargot (Wed Jan 22, 2020 at 04:03:50 PM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP, Me (all tags)
Reading: "Year of the King", "Court Number One", "How to Build a Car", "The Godmother". Watching: "Knives Out". Me.

What I'm Reading
Year of the King Eighties book by actor Antony Sher on how he prepared for his role as Richard III.

I've read his later books "Year of the Mad King" and "Year of the Fat Knight" so knew what to expect, but still fascinating to see how he prepares, his nerves, and how the production works.

What I'm Reading 2
Court Number One by Thomas Grant. A lawyer review some of the most famous cases to be tried in Court Number One of the Old Bailey over the last century. Has lots of good detail and also sheds some light on how justice has changed over the period, with the flamboyant lawyers of the early Twentieth Century giving way to a cooler and more factual style.

Interesting detail, and some stories that I wasn't aware of, such as Timothy Evans who was successfully framed by serial killer John Christie for one of his own murders, and hanged.

What I'm Reading 3
The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre. French novel about an aging police interpreter who decides to use her inside knowledge to start a life of crime. Good novel with appealing grand guignol characters. Seems mainly plausible though with the odd error like a silenced revolver with a believable depiction of petty crime in France. Liked it a lot but the ending seemed a bit low-key.

What I'm Reading 4
How to Build a Car by Adrian Newey. Book by the famous Formula One car designer about his life and work. Has a lot of interesting anecdotes.

The cars have a lot of adjustments that can be made, and it's common practice for the second car in a team to copy the settings of the fastest: since the cars are identical they assume those are the best. So Nigel Mansell, whenever he left the car, would carefully turn the knobs to bad settings to handicap his teammate.

What I'm Watching
Saw "Knives Out". Light murder mystery but very well done, enjoyed it a lot. Even read the script afterwards as I loved the way the plot fitted so neatly together.

Feeling a bit down with the new year.

Kid's been playing up in school. He used to be pretty good, got the top rating in every subject last year, but now he's being noisy and disruptive and not finishing his work. Been talking to him but doesn't feel like I can do much from home.

My home PC which I've had since 2009 is dying. Mostly won't boot up and it's still on Windows 7. Annoyingly although tablets have improved a lot and there are a lot of cheap laptops these days, it seems desktops haven't got much better or cheaper. The old PC has 1.5TB on two disk drives, quad-core processor, and a DVD writer and Blu-Ray drive which I use. Getting a new desktop replacement still costs a lot, and I didn't have a kid when I bought it so I had more money.

Not sure what to do. Could get a cheap generic laptop and plug external Blu-Ray drive and hard disks in, but it's a lot of cables and the PC would probably grind to a halt fairly soon. Could go second hand, or plug my existing drives into a new box, but was hoping to last a while.

Running isn't going too well. Was hoping to do short races in the first months of this year, but since the holidays I haven't been able to get much speed up. Might be illness, might be I focussed too much on long and slow running, or a combination. Looks like it will take me a while even to get close to my old 10km speed though.

Dentists have been nagging me for decades about an impacted lower wisdom tooth, but looks like I will finally need to get it removed. That means a hospital operation, dentist is referring me to hospital but that will probably take a while.

Work. Another release imminent. This project was supposed to be coming to an end so we can work on something with newer technologies, but they've just dumped another load of massively complicated new work on us.

Socioeconomics. Why the NYC tax medallion tanked after Uber.

Sci/Tech. Living without pain. How much energy do lifts use. Old tractors popular, the right to repair. The Windows 95 User Interface: A Case Study in Usability Engineering.

Video. Corporate Music - How to Compose with no Soul (15 min). Driving from London to Bath in 1963 (9 min).

Pics. Snail habitats.

Random. Bird Guy's burden.

< I DID IT!!!! | Trump acquitted, what will democrats do next? >
Bad trip tattooed on my brain | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
Tractors and tech by marvin (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jan 22, 2020 at 10:15:23 PM EST
Back around 1999-2000 during a visit to family in Alberta, I remember reading a dead tree issue of Western Producer, the main weekly (??) farm magazine/newspaper on the Canadian prairie provinces. It had an article about a family near Regina who were using 50s-60s equipment because it was cheap.

While that really old equipment could only plow or harvest one half to one third as much acreage per day as the bigger stuff from the 80s and 90s, they threw more manpower at the job by bringing in family to run additional old tractors for peak periods such as seeding and harvest. They were getting the tractors and implements (seeders, plows, thresher, combines) for next to nothing, and turning far better net revenue per acre than their neighbours.

Just the difference in  depreciation and interest on equipment loans was enough to turn a bad harvest into a small profit, instead of a catastrophic loss.

Another anecdote - a heavy civil contractor who did a lot of water main projects in my area bought a brand new Link-Belt excavator around 2012. Large machine (JD325 or 340 equivalent), cost somewhere between $250-500k, and it kept breaking down on them in the middle of major projects, and this was their main machine - absolutely vital to every bit of work. Iirc the EPA stage 3 diesel emission controls were brand new and the rest of the electronics were flaky as hell, and it shut down more than once on a steep hillside while doing a trench. Nothing like paying an entire crew to stay in hotel rooms a 12 hour drive away from home while waiting two days or more for a tech to drive up from Vancouver, order parts, and get it back in action.

I've been out of that world for 6 years now, so I don't know if it's gotten better for heavy civil contractors.

but… by bobdole (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 05:10:01 PM EST
…isn't that only true if you count labour as free.
-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
Retired uncles are hella cheap by marvin (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Jan 24, 2020 at 01:52:48 AM EST
Plus seeding and harvest are only a week or so each. Equipment loans are year-round. The math worked out for them as a family.

On a trip out to the flatlands ~15 years ago to visit family, I got to drive a tractor around for a day on my cousin's farm doing some harrowing on a quarter section. One of the more memorable days I've spent in Saskatchewan.

[ Parent ]
my childhoods were spent as a child-slave by bobdole (4.00 / 1) #12 Fri Jan 24, 2020 at 03:57:57 AM EST
on my grandfather's farm. Good times, and a lesson for life.

But still, without us, there wouldn't he would never have hired the same number of hands (even though hired hands are much more productive than family hands).
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
Windows 95 on Windows 10 by Orion Blastar (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Jan 22, 2020 at 11:26:53 PM EST
<a href=""></a>

It loads fast because it was not designed for modern machines running Windows 10.

The AmigaOS apps run fast on PowerPC Amigas because they were designed for 68K systems. They even run fast under emulation.

Small kernels and small overhead of the operating system makes the programs run fast.

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
You didn't know about the Christie case? by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 06:57:58 AM EST
Wow. It was my understanding that it was the reason the death penalty was finally abolished in the UK.

"desktops haven't got much better or cheaper" Really? You can get a 1 TB SSD for less than a 1 TB hard drive cost 10 years ago. Heck, probably get two of them. Memory is a lot cheaper, too. Have you considered building your own PC? You can reuse the case, dvd burner and blu-ray player.

Take a look at the system I built 3 years ago as a starting point. Probably cost around $1000 to build that today.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

It turns out by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 08:16:08 AM EST
that you can put suppressors on (some) revolvers.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Just for the heck of it by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 11:53:30 AM EST
Went to Microcenter and looked up some prices. Assuming you're reusing the case. This is for a box that should be Good Enough to use for the next 5 to 10 years.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6GHz 8 Core $300
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master WiFi AMD AM4 ATX Motherboard $360
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 $90
Corsair RM850 850 Watt 80 Plus Gold ATX Full Modular Power Supply $130
Low-range Video card $100
1/2 TB Samsung m.2 ssd, $90 (boot drive)
Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD $300 (data drive, top end)
Samsung 860 QVO 1TB SSD $100 (data drive, good enough)

So about $1400, not including OS and other software.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Looks good by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 10:25:22 PM EST
But that's what I thought was expensive.

I was vaguely aware of all those cheap laptops for $300 or less on Amazon but didn't realise the spec on them was so low, usually 128GB hard drive and no optical.

If you go back another 11 years from 2009 back to 1998 a state of the art PC had a 300MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, and a 13GB hard drive. There was a huge difference 1998-2009, but not so much 2009-2020.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Stasis Shock by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #15 Sat Jan 25, 2020 at 03:56:56 AM EST
Recently priced a new laptop to replace my old one and was stunned to find almost the same specs almost the same price. They were in different countries, but still.

The main jump from ten year old desktops will be the speed boost from the SSD, though. That is awesome, and where the tech has kept improving.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Overkill by marvin (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Jan 24, 2020 at 02:09:51 AM EST
850 watt power supply? Wouldn't a $100 CPU will have half to two thirds the performance? If you're not gaming, no need for 16 GB of RAM either.

Something like this will be fine for anything except playing newly released first person shooter games:

Leave the OS on the SSD, drop another $200 for a few 1-2 TB disk drives, put them in a raid using Win 10 built in Storage Spaces for disk mirroring of things like photos and digital documents you don't have in the cloud. Move over the optical drives if they're SATA.,36783.html

Also, that's $699 Canuckistani pesos, so in $US, you'd get the hard disks for $699.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but... by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #13 Fri Jan 24, 2020 at 06:37:02 AM EST
I was designing a system that would be Good Enough for the next decade, with no need to ever crack the case.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Our last computer was trailing edge and made it 10 by marvin (4.00 / 2) #14 Fri Jan 24, 2020 at 09:54:34 AM EST
Trailing edge is optimal value, but it's another time vs money argument.

You get to enjoy the value of that extra $700 (compounding interest, whatever) for the next 5 years, and end up with an even faster PC five years from now. Trade-off is the time to set up a PC again in 5 years, but given how crufty and slow a 10yr old Windows PC always seems to get, the time is either a breakeven, or maybe even some overall net time savings with a five year cycle.

[ Parent ]
A list I made on another site... by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #16 Sat Jan 25, 2020 at 12:12:46 PM EST
If you have to add a cheap video card, I suspect going the Intel route might be considerably cheaper (i7 9700K 8 core for $329, plus motherboard but not video card. On the other hand expect to replace the CPU cooler on the Intel but maybe not the AMD). The AMD route should let you replace your CPU, but how much an advantage over replacing both CPU+motherboard isn't always clear (also it sounds like you want to install it and forget it).

I bought most of the following roughly on Prime day over the summer (the case, HDD, 256G SSD, and CPU cooler were all from the last computer).

The video card was more or less on clearance, and I certainly wouldn't pay $400 for it (same for the power supply). The old drives (3TB HHD and 256GB SSD) are combined into one of those funky AMD/emotus "fusion drives" for a Steam drive. They aren't considered terribly reliable, but steam libraries are essentially automatically backed up...

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU AMD Ryzen 7 2700 3.2 GHz 8-Core Processor $149.99 @ Amazon
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Seidon 120V 86.15 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard MSI B450-A PRO ATX AM4 Motherboard $98.98 @ Newegg
Memory G.Skill Aegis 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory $62.99 @ Amazon
Storage ADATA Premier SP610 256 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage Inland Premium 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive $129.99 @ Amazon
Storage Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 3 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $68.00 @ Amazon
Video Card MSI Radeon RX VEGA 56 8 GB Air Boost 8G OC Video Card $397.97 @ Amazon
Case Cooler Master N400 ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply Corsair Vengeance 750 W 80+ Silver Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $907.92
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-01-25 11:55 EST-0500

[ Parent ]
Small boys playing up by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 11:43:01 AM EST
Yeeeaaah. Got that. There’s now a school social worker snd his own therapist. Somewhere between 6-7 he became a different child.

Aaargh scary by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Jan 23, 2020 at 10:29:42 PM EST
It's turning me into a bastard too. I got another phone call from the school on my mobile, felt a surge of relief when it turned out he'd just fallen and hurt himself (not badly).
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Mansell by Herring (4.00 / 4) #17 Fri Jan 31, 2020 at 03:08:36 PM EST
Way back in the day when I was working at my GF's dad's engineering company (91-92), we made the selector barrels for the (then new) semi-auto gearbox. Williams didn't have a 4 axis machining facility.

Anyhoo, Mansell used to destroy a lot of them. The change wasn't nearly as fast as they were now and so he would hit the downshift twice - leaving pieces of engine and gearbox all over the track. Then Williams would phone us up on a Friday morning and promise triple-time for the guys and free GP tickets to make a load more before Saturday's testing session.

To find out that Mansell was a bit of a dick is no surprise.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Bad trip tattooed on my brain | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)