I’m in the process of scanning the family albums for posterity. It’s a big job! Not only do I have my parent’s albums but my grandparents as well. I’ve figured out how to use Eson Scan 2 – have always used Epson Scan up to now. I think the key points are to use a bitmap format and a high resolution. It’s surprising how much more you can see in a picture when zoomed in on a screen.
The image above shows my grandad and I think my mum and aunt Elaine.c 1935.
So, I installed Windows 11 on the new(ish) laptop yesterday afternoon and happy to say it all went smoothly. So far no problems and it is in general ‘better’. Hopefully my Outlook, OneDrive and Edge will be more stable (although edge still won’t browse my local network using http).
Something changed in Edge which has meant I’ve had to start using Chrome again. Simply, Edge won’t go to sites on my home network, e.g. QNAP or router. No sign of any recent issues reported from a search (plenty of very old ones). I’ve played with a number of settings to no avail.
I mean, Outlook constantly hangs, OneDrive is playing up. Is it forcing me to move to Windows 11. I suppose it is.
I noticed my Zoom calls on work Surface Pro were getting consistently bad. I did a Speedtest from my personal laptop and discovered that whilst the download speed was good at 60 Mbps, the upload was rubbish at 0.5 Mbps.
I’m no stranger to this problem but one of the advantages of BT Broadband over Virgin was/is that it had better upload speeds and I’m pretty certain I got 5-10 Mbps when the system was new (a few years ago now).
I took my booster disc out of the equation. Doesn’t seem to do anything anyway.
I did a test from the router itself and it reported 20 Mbps uplink bandwidth. Bit of a discrepancy there!
Next test was to eliminate WiFi. Lo and behold, a Speedtest from a wired connection straigh into the hub gives:
Whereas on WiFi, same place same time:
Now I need to go and find out if it’s a generic problem or if there’s anything I can do about it as a result of my setup.
My new laptop has been doing a sterling job as a lab resource. I have created five Windows Server 2022 servers in a lab domain and used them to evaluate storage replication and stretched clusters. Having Hyper-V in Windows is such a massive boon, thinking back a few years ago when we had ESX and Linux based virtualisation.
The performance is great too, but then I did order the laptop with 16G and a 1TB SSD with this in mind.
When I’ve finished this piece of work I can get back to my programming book “Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming” by Peter Van Roy and Seif Haridi. It’s quite an old book and uses a rather old Mozart programming language but I’ve got it working (thanks to Hyper-V again). The explanations are good and the exercises worthwhile.
A few weeks ago, I finally took the plunge and ordered a new laptop! Pretty much a straight replacement for this sturdy old ThinkPad T430s which has been outstanding – must be 9 or 10 years old now since it was a hand-me down from RedPixie. Still works great apart from the battery (to be expected) and one duff USB port. And the fact that I have worn the trackpad smooth. It’s Windows 7 too so something more modern definitely required. I never recommend updating the Operating System on original hardware. Things tend to stop working.
New model is a T14s, customised, which means delivery timescale is months – they have to build it. Lenovo keep sending emails saying one thing one day and another thing the next. Shipping has been anywhere from late November to mid January. You need patience in IT.
Apart from this excuse to make a post, why does my blog not render in Edge??? Doesn’t even recognise the certificate. Must be settings since the engine is the same. Hence this is being written in Chrome.
Update on 2nd May…Amazon have replied to my support request, which is good even if this blog had nothing to do with it. The have apologised, refunded and guaranteed it will never happen again – I’m not sure how they are going to do that – but I’m not going to choose a locker as a delivery mechanism for a long time.
A rather mundane post but I’m using it to get some anger out of my system.
I ordered Beta Humans and decided to try the Amazon locker near me as a delivery method. Free after all.
I received a message yesterday that the package was ready for collection and duly went to the locker with the app. The app connected to the locker and I hit collect item. Nothing happened. I pressed “help” and got the message “we’re sorry, the locker door seems to be broken”.
I came home and tried to contact Amazon. Impossible to do. There is no help available for faulty lockers. The chatbot has no options for this and just sends you round in circles about returning an item.
The call me back option just does nothing.
I emailed email@example.com but no reply.
Fast forward today and I get a message to thank me for picking up the parcel. Clearly someone else has hacked/stolen the item.
Just now I convinced the robot to send me a refund but this is a piss-poor service from Amazon a) because the lockers are clearly not reliable and b) there is no way to get support and c) they are not secure.
I will not be buying anything from Amazon until this issue is resolved.
I re-read “The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut, a book I have read a few times but I always find new angles in it. Kurt Vonnegut is a writer who likes to ask the Big Questions.
In this case I thought the following passage could be viewed as a pretty accurate comment on AI:
“Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren’t anything like machines. They weren’t dependable. They weren’t efficient. They weren’t predictable. They weren’t durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others. These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame. And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn’t high enough. So machines were made to serve higher purposes too. And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the highest purpose of the creatures could be. The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn’t really be said to have any purpose at all. The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else. And they discovered that they weren’t even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say “Tralfamadore”.
I guess that pretty much sum’s up this, and other books by the same author. It is typically a very dark opinion wrapped in a light-hearted way. In this case a chilling summary of many opinions on the future of AI. As such it shares a common theme with Rossum’s Universal Robots by Carel Kapek which arguably started the genre.
So. After the remedial work below, I fully expected the problem to be fixed. But no! On logging in the next day I see that the QNAP lost power at 3:09 in the morning. It reset, re-synchronised the RAID array and reported the filesystem corrupt. There was certainly no-one unplugging it at that time of the morning unless we have a secret midnight cleaner.
A quick piece of online searching reveals this to be a common problem with some QNAPs and some versions of firmware. Mine is an SS-439 on 4.2.6. I don’t care what models and firmware they say, it looks like the PSU just gives up under certain conditions. This is bad because it means faulty hardware and it’s hard to do anything about that. But, more research needed.
P.S. I switched the PSU for the one from my old QNAP a couple of days after the above.