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I wanted to save this one for today, and it seems amazingly appropriate given Rob's comment yesterday about idots without face masks.
I popped into the supermarket on the way home to get fish and chips (that will be lunch today, I'll pop it in the oven in a couple of hours when I feel like eating). I noticed, as did most other people, two large intimidating youths walking around completely maskless, looking like they'd challenge anybody who would dare to say anything.
Now, put your hands up if you thought "they're Arabs" or "they're black". Anybody? Well, sorry to burst your bubble if a short description automatically made you reach for the nearest racial stereotype...because one was a skinhead and the other looked like Keanu Reeves in the Bill and Ted movies.
Neither of them looked friendly, so I completely understand the checkout girls not wanting to get involved. Especially seeing as my local supermarket seems to have a habit of hiring a lot of small meek young adults.
They walked around, and people generally avoided them. It was clear they they were the topic of discussion for most people. A few grannies seemed to want to step up and take them down (and given what angry grannies can be like, I think that would have been quite a brutal slap down), only to be held back by their husbands.
About five minutes later, there was a kerfuffle from the cat food aisle. I wasn't there, just coming around the side of another aisle to see that they got slapped down by somebody even better than French grannies... the fuzz. More amusingly, a big bad ass gendarme who looked like he wanted to be Dwayne Johnson, only he got old, and this tiny waif of a gendarmette who... let's just say if they were to play "good cop bad cop", he would have been the good cop.
Justice, swiftly delivered, right to the balls.
You could see people looking each other and giving that subtle knowing nod, like "yup, idiots". And well done to the supermarket for not approaching them directly and instead bothering to call les flics. Those of us who don't want to die of the plague (with a worryingly rapidly increasing infection rate) appreciate it.
Walking back across the field from giving Anna her evening meal, I saw a rather startling looking cloud, and could hear a strange noise.
Hmm, that sounds like rain, I thought.
Must be something if I can hear it from here, my thought continued.
So I fired up my phone and started recording.
It didn't take long.
Phone line repair
On the 16th of May, a farmer broke the phone line that supplies myself and the other nearby properties. It was patched up a few days later, by stringing some cable through a tree.
After a lengthy spell of being stuck at a tragically slow bitrate (2.1megabit), the system picked up and hovered around 3.4megabit (as a low) and up as far as 4.4megabit (as a high).
In the middle of the summer holiday, during the heatwave, it touched 4.6 megabit with a noise margin of 4dB (anything under 6dB is not good). My net radio, which is sensitive to minor interruptions, would often stutter. Netflix, that buffers a lot, was unaffected.
To explain briefly, the "noise margin" is the difference between unwanted "noise" on the line and the signal that is actually supposed to be there. The lower the number (and it is measured in decibels), the harder it is to tell the signal from random rubbish. It's like trying to receive a nearby radio station cmpared to one far away.
Last Tuesday, my noise margin was much better (14dB) but the speed was back to 2.1 megabit. And there it stayed. All week. Okay, Netflix still worked so it wasn't that big a deal, but given that the upload channel is also affected (~600kbit instead of ~800kbit), uploading videos to YuTube (such as the one above) takes that much longer.
On the way to work, I saw the reason. They have finally fixed the line.
The repaired line, the other patch is in front of that tree.
The box is synchronising at 4413 and 880 kilobits, which gives a usable bitrate of 3.9 megabits (down) and 774 kilobits (up), with a noise margin of 2.9dB! Isn't that going to be like trying to make a phone call in the middle of an Iron Maiden concert?
Either way, my NetRadio seems happy with it, it's playing Amaranthe on PPN right now.
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|VinceH, 29th August 2020, 13:31|
I noted some maskless idiots yesterday when I popped to Makro - I've noted the key points in a text file to write up as a tale from the pandumbic. I have a couple of others to finish off and upload as well.
I've been ridiculously busy for a couple of weeks, though (including all that work on the RISC OS survey results) so I fancy making this long weekend (in the UK) an actual long weekend and not do anything for a few days; no programming, no writing, no anything. Just a bit of reading up to date on forums, and watching stuff on Amazon/Netflix/recordings.
|Rick, 29th August 2020, 16:46|
Yes, I didn't really get my money's worth (<cough> what is it, €0,26 per day?) in the summer, but as the days shorten and the weather gets colder...
I'll probably watch either "All Together Now" or "Unknown Origins" this evening. Kind of annoyed that "I'm Not Okay With This" has been cancelled (because Covid).
Looking forward to "Freaks" (Wednesday), "#Alive" (Sept 8), "Enola Holmes" (Sept 23), and I'm thinking "The School Nurse Files" (Sept 25; and there's a pervy title if ever there was one!) could be awful or brilliant. We'll see...in about a month.
|Rick, 30th August 2020, 12:48|
(Felicity? Marte? Find out!)
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Last read at 23:16 on 2021/08/03.
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