* Posts by Michael Wojcik

4914 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

Sophos U-turns on lack of .bat file blocking after El Reg intervenes

Michael Wojcik
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Re: File Endings

I deleted it

You jest, but I'm sure more than one person here has seen someone do that.

Back in the day, when disk space was scarce, a fellow developer was cleaning up an AOS1 machine, trying to free up some space. He spotted /bin/[, thought "that must be some crap that got created accidentally", and deleted it.

Of course /bin/[ is a (hard) link to /bin/test, and is used to implement the "[ -whatever ...]" syntax in the Bourne shell, which does not have it as a built-in. (This the the real Bourne I'm talking about, not one of your "we call it /bin/sh but it's just a link to bash or some other monstrosity" shells.) And it is used by many a shell script in the AOS / BSD 4.x /etc/rc sequence.

Took a while to get his machine booting again.

1IBM's port of BSD 4.x to the PC RT and the "Crossbow", a never-released RT-on-a-card for the PS/2.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Hang on a second

The executable bit is a property of the file system type, not the operating system.

Yes, though the standard set of filesystem access permissions is standardized by SUSv3 (and has been part of that line of standards since POSIX).

NTFS has one, too

No, it doesn't. NTFS has ACLs, and Cygwin uses them to emulate POSIX permissions.

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RIP ROP: Intel's cunning plot to kill stack-hopping exploits at CPU level

Michael Wojcik
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Re: "The specification – produced with the help of Microsoft"

And they have a major security research organization.

But you can't reason with people who are determined to be wrong.

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Michael Wojcik
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Actually, implementing it 40 years ago would have been a little fiddly as well.

It was done 40 years ago. It's just a matter of dispensing with the linear stack.

Customers didn't want to pay for it.

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Michael Wojcik
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If you are going to throw more silicon or processor cycles at the problem I would think they are better spent on bounds checking to catch overflows before they trash return addresses.

More expensive, and frequently infeasible in native code.

You violate the C language specification if you attempt to make it pass bounds information around with arrays, for example. Keep that information out-of-band, in some kind of side table, becomes very expensive indeed - particularly due to its lookup overhead and impact on locality of reference.

We have languages that do bounds-checking. Some people use them. A relatively small minority can't afford to. Many can't be bothered.

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Michael Wojcik
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Is there a reason no one's tried to introduce a guarded stack

Things along these lines have been done, at least using displays rather than a simple linear stack, on capability machines. I know I've seen articles on the subject, though I can't dig up a reference at the moment.

The main drawback is the same one we always see with displays and/or capability architectures: performance. The linear stack, particularly a hardware-assisted one like you have with x86 / x64, is very fast. Most customers aren't willing to take that performance hit in order to gain increased security.

Some are, which is why IBM still sells a lot of the System i (former AS/400) machines.1

1What about System z? I'm not much of a z assembly programmer, but when I tinkered with it back in the day, it was a display architecture - BALR and associated template code in effect constructing a new stack frame on a non-linear linked stack. But z doesn't protect display frames from rogue code running in the same TCB ("process").

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Cold space gas? Sure, supermassive black holes can eat that. Nom, nom, nom

Michael Wojcik
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Re: ummmm

But they know that the something it eats is cold

My guess is "revenge".

Or gazpacho, but probably revenge.

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One entire US spook base: Yours for $1m+

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Trumped

I'd give it two weeks before it turned into this.

Nah. Trump is a con man, not a cult leader. He needs a continual supply of fresh fools; he has neither the wit nor the patience to condition the ones already around him.

His brand of bullshit is an extraction industry, not a manufacturing one.

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Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Michael Wojcik
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Re: wait....... what?

Here's a bit of American trivia for you; the East and West coasts of the US you will find a normal distribution of stupid/smart people, except Florida where we have 100% stupid.

Well, now we know which side of the stupid/smart divide you're on, anyway.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Graft

I'm going to guess after your comments on Oklahoma that you have never actually been to Oklahoma.

Indeed. Typical small-minded bigotry on the part of that poster, and others who posted similar remarks.

There are certainly many things wrong with Oklahoma, just as there are with every region. (I'd like to see the CNO quit their ethnic cleansing and clean up the nest of good ol' boys that's ruining NSU, for example.) But I've spent a fair bit of time in the state; I have friends there, and I've driven across it a number of times going to and from New Mexico. I've taken I-40 and I've gone through the panhandle. Overall it's been a good experience, and I can't say anyone in Oklahoma has ever been as rude to me as some of the folks I've met in New York and Los Angeles.

I grew up in the urban northeast US, and I've also lived for extended periods in the midwest and the plains, and spent time on the west coast and various states in the south. Anyone who dismisses any part of the country out of hand is just an ignorant jackass.

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Startup Knupath offers world a new CPU architecture

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Very interesting development

I also wonder whether many graph-based methods could benefit, especially if the average number of edges per vertex is low.

Denser graph problems can often be recast into sparser ones within good constraints. See e.g. Fung et al., "A general framework for graph sparsification". So this chip could be broadly applicable to graph problems.

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'MongoDB ate my containers!'

Michael Wojcik
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Re: noSQL

I'm trying to think of a situation where getting most of the results rather than all would be desirable, but I can't think of one.

I can think of a few (dozen): Google, Facebook, Yelp, Tinder, ... There are many applications where end-users don't need comprehensive or completely correct results. Pretty close is good enough.

Someone else mentions statistical analysis; in general, there are a lot of big-data / OLAP / etc apps where missing the occasional record doesn't hurt.

Before computerization, incomplete results were the norm. Somehow civilization survived.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: mongo didn't eat anything

Mongo should only be used as a read only repository or a key-value scratchpad store

Or if you don't care about consistent and complete results - which is the case for many of the applications where NoSQL is used. If you're running some sort of social-networking site, for example, most end-user queries don't need to be consistent and complete. If some user searches your database of X piles of user-generated content for Y, they probably won't notice a few missing results; and if they think something is missing, they'll just retry the search with a slightly different query.

There are applications which don't need ACID guarantees because the users don't care.

Yes, NoSQL is not a replacement for RDBMSes - they're suited to different problem domains. But that doesn't mean there aren't applications NoSQL is suited for, beyond "read-only" and "scratchpad". (The value of those applications is a different, and more complicated, question.)

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Do you have a 'co-working mindset' and 'ephemerally involve others' in work?

Michael Wojcik
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SharePointless

Does that sound a bit like SharePoint, evolved. Which would be no bad thing!

Oh, yes it would be. The only good SharePoint is a dead SharePoint.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Hmmm

People have been "spontaneously and ephemerally involv[ing] others" since social groups were invented. There's nothing novel about it.

As usual, the Office team is reinventing information technology that's existed for years (zomg document fragments!), to move a little closer to how human beings actually prefer to work, and the marketing team is dressing it up. Though in the case of this particular phrase, it's at least technically correct.

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Humanity will only buy 47 smartphones per SECOND in 2016

Michael Wojcik
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Whose frowning time, now?

growth has slowed so its frowning time

Growth's frowning time is what? Don't leave us in suspense.

(Email corrections? Pfaugh. If you can't snark in public, why snark at all?)

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Model's horrific rape case may limit crucial online free speech law

Michael Wojcik
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Re: What was decided ...

They simply said that the argument the website was using to try to get the lawsuit dismissed was Bogus and has no application to the Facts of the case.

Wrong. They said that S.230 wasn't sufficient protection to dismiss the case. The Ninth didn't say it was "bogus", or that it didn't apply.

However, I'm sure I speak for Many readers when I say how much I Enjoy your Random application of Capitalization.

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Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

Michael Wojcik
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There is nothing in that state worth saving.

Do fuck right off, will you?

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: sewer service and default judgements

Oh yeah, and the trial judge who rendered that $30k judgement? He's the best argument I've ever seen for making judges stand for re-election every few years.

Too harsh. Evans believed he was constrained by Rule 36. The Court of Appeals found this was a misinterpretation. Evans wasn't being malicious; he was simply a county judge who got the law wrong. CoA corrected in short order.

Ten minutes on Lexis/Nexis would find a dozen far more disturbing cases of judicial error, overreach, and misconduct in the past month. Though it'd be more fun finding them by reading legal blogs, to be honest.

Judges are people. Some of them are good; some of them are terrible; most are somewhere in between.

The same can be said of voters. I've lived in states where judges are appointed, and others where they're elected. Electing them does not produce a discernible improvement. In fact, it's very, very rare, in my experience, for a judge to lose an election even after a widely-published controversy.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: RE: No, his mistake was living somewhere that something like this is even legally allowed ...

I'd like to think that here in the UK, the Small-claims court would have thrown it out

Here in the US, small-claims did throw it out.

I know, I know. Can't afford five minutes to read through the Court of Appeals decision linked from the article. Five minutes to post a comment, sure.

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Michael Wojcik
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Would have been laughed out of court (not that it would have even got that far) in the UK

Read the judgement from the Court of Appeals - it's linked to in the friggin' article.

Costello won in small-claims court. He failed to respond to the filing in Marion County Superior Court. (Costello says he wasn't notified, and I'm curious what happened with the serving process in this case - seems like there ought to be proof of service. But whatevs.) When someone fails to respond, the court has to do something. That something is typically "implicitly accept the declaration".

Indiana let Costello request to revoke the declarations, and Evans, the Superior Court special judge eventually assigned to the case, did revoke most of them. He erred in interpreting state law and allowed one to stand.

The Court of Appeals reversed that one declaration and the award to Zavodnik, and remanded to trial. That's all just how it's supposed to work.

As I noted above: Either you make it easier for bogus lawsuits, or harder for legitimate ones. The courts aren't magic. Everyone but Evans has arrived at the correct conclusion in this case, and it's likely that Zavodnik's right to file will be restricted in the future for serial abuse of process. Still sucks to be Costello, but the system is working about as well as can reasonably expected, if you're capable of a modicum of critical thought.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

Let me add, even after the Indiana's Supreme Court described the idiot as a "prolific, abusive litigant"...

Zavodnik isn't an idiot (though he is a crank, as his various court filings demonstrate). He's a crook.

It's also worth noting that the laws in question are pretty sensible. If someone doesn't respond to legal filings, at some point the judicial system has to decide what happens with those filings. Indiana law says that, in a case like this, there's an implicit declaration because the filing went uncontested; but there's an opportunity to withdraw that declaration.

The Court of Appeals makes it clear (read the PDF) that the Marion Superior Court special judge should have allowed all the implicit declarations to be withdrawn, and misinterpreted the applicable law. Well, that's a thing that happens: judges make mistakes. Then higher courts clear them up.

Obviously Costello should not have been dragged through all of this. But any system under which that would have been impossible is also a system under which someone with a legitimate complaint would have a much harder time pursuing it. You can't have it both ways; no one's created a system of civil justice that magically distinguishes valid cases from bogus ones. The courts have to determine that, and in Costello's case they have done so correctly, every time but the one (where Edens incorrectly allowed the $30K claim to stand).

The Indiana Supreme Court told Zavodnik that they'd impose restrictions if he continued to abuse process, and likely they will this time - eventually. The wheels of justice necessarily grind slow (and certainly aren't helped by idiot grandstanding "tough on crime" legislators clogging up the courts with unproductive criminalization of everything).

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The Fog of Cyberwar: Now theft and sabotage instead of just spying

Michael Wojcik
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Re: That was a pretty short interview

Hyppönen is a legitimate security researcher ("guru" is rather strong, but then restraint is not a Reg strength). Though most of his actual research is in malware analysis, which is fine, but hardly groundbreaking. As far as I know he's never published substantial new research.

Mostly he gives a lot of keynotes and soundbites.

In any case, yeah, this is a pretty thin interview. "Here are some vague predictions. We're all doomed!"

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You've got a patch, you've got a patch ... almost every Android device has a patch

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Weurd

News coverage, or personal accounts, of attacks on Android in the wild are a a bit thin on the ground

How would the average user tell that their Android phone has been compromised?

Many of the obvious uses for a compromised phone aren't readily user-visible, and indeed there's a lot of value in keeping the end user ignorant for as long as possible. Harvesting credentials and other sensitive information is one obvious application. Using the phone as a spam / DDoS bot can be done quietly if you don't run too much traffic through it (and if you have a large phone bot army, there's no reason to run them into the ground).

A number of security researchers claim most large organizations have numerous compromised systems in their networks, in part simply because no one notices.

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Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter and Pinterest password was 'dadada'

Michael Wojcik
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more 2FA nonsense

where users need to use a code submitted to a pre-registered mobile phone

Screw that. No, websites, you may not have my phone number. No, you may not send me SMS messages. No, I don't always have my phone with me; it does not always have service (like, for example, inside my vacation home); it is not always charged or on.

Mobile phones are a lousy choice for 2FA. They have far too many failure modes.

Dedicated tokens avoid some of those issues, but they're still inconvenient, can be lost or stolen (particularly an issue with e.g. RSA SecureID tokens, less so with smartcards), and are often tied to a single authenticator.

Passwords are an abysmal authentication mechanism. We've known that for decades. But the industry has not done a good job of coming up with anything better. It can't be solved without some additional cost to the user, but we haven't gotten anywhere close to optimizing that cost.

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GNU cryptocurrency aims at 'the mainstream economy not the black market'

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Taxes?

I want to pay taxes (and I want everyone else to pay them too, of course). It's better than any alternative anyone's come up with so far.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Mining?

If it breaks the USA strangle hold on on-line commerce by Visa/MasterCard/PayPal, what is there not to like?

Hell, I'd settle for just breaking Paypal.

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Michael Wojcik
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Yes, I was really hoping "an outfit called “Inria”" was a (feeble) joke. An IT journalist who doesn't know what INRIA is should hang up his hat, or at least spend the next few weeks in intensive study of the field.

It's like not knowing what DARPA is.

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Microsoft's Scott Guthrie wrote code live on stage for Azure devs

Michael Wojcik
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Re: F#

Nothing wrong with F#, if you want an ML-family language for the CLR. Anyone with OCaml experience should be able to pick up F# easily.

I don't write production code in it, because no one else on the team uses it and they have more pressing concerns than learning a new language, but I use it occasionally for my own purposes, and I find the F# Interactive window in Venomous Studio handy for experimenting with odd corners of the Framework. (And that's saying something, since normally I avoid VS as much as possible.)

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Arrests for 'offensive' Twitter and Facebook messages up by a third

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Power Mad

The amount of pretty vile trolling that goes on online, with death threats and threats of rape etc, is horrific,

Sure.

and if some of those scum are being done by this then imo its for the best.

Aaaaaaand there go your civil rights.

Folks in England said the same thing about people promulgating papist doctrine, not so very long ago.

But, hey, as long as it's speech you deplore, then all Right Thinking People are safe, yes? So that's OK then.

I'm glad we have Reg commentators to set the bounds of morality and legality for us.

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Virtual reality will take over the world by 2020, reckons analyst haus

Michael Wojcik
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Surely the Reg is a "true digital predator" - it's been "biting the hand" for twenty-odd years now.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Will this ... be before or after the videophones that were first mentioned around 1975?

1975? You're about 40 years late.

Which of course only supports your point. Marvel of technology to change our lives Real Soon Now! Everyone climb aboard! Monorail!

I saw several VR demonstrations at SIGGRAPH in 1988. Wasn't impressed then; not impressed now.

[Really, Reg? "The title is too long"? With all those storage articles you'd think you folks could afford a few more bytes in your table column.]

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Is that a virtual bridge they're selling?

it's already orders of magnitude more informative than some 2D photos ... it's a reasonable substitute for actually travelling to view a property

Oh, please. "Informative", assuming you're using it in the conventional sense and not an information-theoretical one, is subjective, so "orders of magnitude" is meaningless hyperbole. But I've seen plenty of house listings with "virtual walkthroughs" done with conventional video and panoramic photo-stitching, and the gulf between them and actually being there is tremendous - so much so that it dwarfs the difference between static photos and the "walkthroughs".

VR really wouldn't add much, unless it was an extremely extensive recording. When you visit a property in person, you have more than simply your choice of camera positions, such as the intuitive sense of scale. And when people look at a real scene, their eyes traverse it continuously and they move about, letting the brain build a model of it; that's actually quite difficult to replicate in VR.

And that's just the visual experience. Anyone who buys a house without actually standing in it, and walking around, and listening, and smelling ... well, that person's a fool.1 For the vast majority of people, a house is a major purchase that they'll have to live with intimately for years. You want to bring all your senses to bear. Preferably on multiple visits.

And that's assuming the VR recording wasn't manipulated to distort the experience of the property. Agents obviously take photographs to favor a property; if anything, VR gives them an opportunity to bias the experience even further.

1Modulo personal sensory limitations, of course.

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'Limitless enterprise storage'. Really? Digging deeper into Symbolic IO

Michael Wojcik
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You needn't even involve Shannon and information entropy. They're claiming they can compress anything, and that obviously falls foul of the Pigeonhole Principle. Their claims aren't sensible enough to warrant further analysis.

Frankly, it's disappointing commentators have to point this out in a case like this. The descriptions of the technology in these two articles are so clearly bogus that they should be obvious to competent tech journalists.

Yes, there's some smoke and mirrors (ooh, we can use linear combinations of bit vectors!), but the outline ought to be apparent to anyone with even a basic understanding of computer science, a modicum of capacity for critical thinking, and the ability to read through a patent without losing consciousness.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Full system de-dupe?

The patent is just a broad description of lossless compression by various symbol-substitution techniques, with variable-length input symbols and codewords. It's undergraduate-level CS bullshit. If that's they're key patent, then they have nothing (aside from a patent that can easily cover pretty much any lossless compression algorithm, so they can go ahead and start suing people, until it gets overturned).

The Q&A is even worse. The claims about compression ("a non-deterministic process") are simply wrong, and the implication that they can compress any data is an obvious violation of the Pigeonhole Principle.

I'm not sure how much of this is confusion and how much mendacity, but this article does even more than the previous one to cast grave doubt on Symbolic IO technology.

(And de-duplication is a form of compression.)

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Michael Wojcik
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Re: iAPX432 and redundant solutions

While the iAPX-432 failed, that doesn't mean it was a mistake.1

There had been commercially-successful capability architectures before, principally the Burroughs machines. There was a commercially-successful capability architecture shortly after: the AS/400.2

There was a pressing need then for capability architectures. There still is.

The problem with the iAPX-432 was that Intel didn't market it as safety and reliability over performance, and probably didn't have footing to do so anyway. IBM could sell the System/38 and then AS/400 on that basis, because IBM's customers were already conditioned to accept that trade-off. Intel's were not (and still are not).

Andrew's understanding of the iAPX-432 is impoverished and his interpretation sophomoric. Shocking, I know.

1Tommy: "That it ceased to exist, I'll grant you. But I don't think it can be definitively said to be a failure." Charlie: "For me, ceasing to exist is failure. That's pretty definitive." Tommy: "We all cease to exist. That doesn't mean we're all failures."

2I know some Wikipedant claims the AS/400 was not a capability architecture. I don't find the argument convincing, and in any case for our purpose it's so close as makes no difference.

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Tech titans demand free speech law to head off President Trump

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Absolute Defense

Winning is not the aim of a SLAPP suit, as you'd know if you had even a smidgen of a clue.

"Grade-A moron" indeed. Doctor, educate thyself.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: "Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts"

There's always the alternative technique of naming after someone - viz Megan's Law, Brett's Law, Jonathan's Law, etc.

Of course this is not much better. As Kevin Underhill puts it:

All you really need to know about New York Senate Bill S6325A is that it would create a law named after a person (this one would be “Evan’s Law”), since any law named after a person is almost always a terrible idea. (See, e.g., “Caylee’s Law,” a terrible idea in 2011.)

Here "named after a person" should be understood "named with just their first name, in a blatant attempt to evoke sympathy". It doesn't apply to, say, the Volstead Act. Remember the Volstead Act? Now that's a name for a law. Not very descriptive, but at least it's not mind-bogglingly stupid. (Also, it wasn't the official name of the act in question, just a sort of nickname used by its friends. And everyone liked the Volstead Act. It was so popular Congress managed to override Wilson's veto. Also it was public law 66-66, which should count for something. I've forgotten my point.)

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Wow

it's 'gall', not 'gaul' and 'kowtow' not 'cow-tow'

Maybe the Professor was referring to the well-known fact that the French executives of Facebook and Twitter have been accused of rustling cattle.

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That sinking feeling: Itanic spat's back as HPE Oracle trial resumes

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Ho-hum!

However, does this approach work in general or are the compiler overhead and/or the inability to actually use the VLIWs efficiently too costly?

"good VLIW code" is obviously subjective, and I admit I've never looked into rigorous comparisons between code generation for VLIW and non-VLIW architectures. There was quite a bit of research into VLIW compilation, though, even before Itanium. Monica Lam wrote a well-known piece on software pipelining for VLIW back in 1988, for example (it was included in SIGPLAN's Best of PLDI 1979-1999). Subsequent work by e.g. Gao improved Lam's algorithms. A '96 paper showed software pipelining in a state-of-the-art commercial compiler produced near-optimal scheduling, but that was for the R8000, not Itanium.

But in her retrospective for Best of PLDI Lam more or less agrees with your point regarding VLIW techniques and non-numeric code:

The Itanium, however, does not have a dynamic scheduler which is found in all other

modern processor architectures. Software pipelining is applicable only to codes with predictable behavior like numerical applications; as such, it only expands the number of instructions in innermost loops slightly. On the other hand, the behavior of non-numeric applications is much less predictable; without a dynamic scheduler, an aggressive static scheduler needs to generate codes for many alternate paths, which can lead to code bloat.

That was in 2003, and the Itanium architecture has since evolved, of course.

There seems to be much less research being conducted on VLIW in the past decade than the one before it, judging from the ACM Digital Library. And most of the recent stuff seems to be dealing with problems raised by VLIW (e.g. instruction merging when implementing SMT on VLIW cores) rather than on taking advantage of it.

In the early part of the present century, though, there was quite a bit of VLIW compiler research, so current VLIW compilers may be pretty good. I've on occasion looked at the code generated by the HP-UX 11.31i C compiler1, but I wasn't trying to gauge its quality.

1Spent far too long debugging an intermittent issue that turned out to be caused by a trap representation in a register. Turns out Itanium supports a trap representation - a Not-a-Value - in its integer registers. There was a piece of code that was calling a function declared with void return type, but without a declaration in scope, so the caller implicitly treated it as having int return type. That meant the caller loaded the "return value" from a register when the call returned. Sometimes there was a valid value left in that register; once in a while it was Not-a-Value, which caused the kernel to raise SIGILL. Elusive. There was a compiler diagnostic for the lack of a declaration, but it was an old code base full of warnings, and a build system that discarded those warnings if the build succeeded. Sigh.

The Itanium register trap representation is not a bad idea, but SIGILL is a lousy way to report it. It would have helped if, say, the signal(2) man page mentioned this quirk of the CPU.

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This storage upstart knows its technical onions: Symbolic IO

Michael Wojcik
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April 1 is back thataway

it seems it should be taken seriously. Here’s a tweet from Micron exec Rob Peglar

Argument by tweet? This has to be the weakest appeal to authority that I've seen in days.

Not that it would be persuasive anyway. Even if we believe Peglar, and consider him an authority (rather dubious, for technical questions), all he says is that he's "seen it". That's pretty much the weakest form of evidence after hearsay.

The patent claims quoted in the article sound like plain Huffman compression, or possibly Lempel-Ziv. Unless the patent goes on to say something far more radical, it's hard to see that there's anything at all interesting in it.

It somehow stores data in a shrunken form; deduplication is not mentioned and nor is compression.

That sentence is nonsense. Deduplication is a form of compression. Any "shrunken form" is a form of compression. That's what compression means.

At any rate, the claim made by the article headline is most definitely not supported by the body. There might be something to Symbolic IO, but everything described in the article sounds like snake oil.

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Take that, Mom! Turns out Super Mario Bros was all about solving complex math problems

Michael Wojcik
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Re: "Math" vs "Maths"

I say that the correct pronounciation is "maths", as it's short for "mathematics".

Out of curiosity, what do you consider "math" to be short for ("mathematic" in the singular)?

Astonishingly, it turns out that "mathematics" can also be shortened to "math", by removing the final seven letters.

I realize this is a difficult concept for some of you. Try working it out by hand.

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Swiss effectively disappear Alps: World's largest tunnel opens

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Temperature and lithostatic pressure

To be fair, lithostatic pressure can release some heat; it can raise the melting point of a stratum to the point where it crystallizes, releasing latent heat (phase-change energy) via conduction. (As this source notes there can be a net heat gain, or loss, from changes from one solid phase to another as well, of course.)

But, yeah, it's not going to be the primary contributor.

In my basement I've squeezed a big rock in a big vice. It's been heating my house for the past 26 years.

Given a big enough vise (not "vice"), a big enough rock, and enough of a squeeze, and that would work. Well, and enough tolerance for the heat output. You'd get back as much energy as you put in, less what's absorbed into phase-change latencies.

It just stays at 46°C, like, forever.

Again, given a big enough sample, you could achieve an effect that, while it wouldn't be exactly 46C or "forever", would remain close enough to that temperature for quite a while.

As reductio ad absurdam goes, you need more absurdam.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Swiss efficiency

Probably a wise decision, they're a bugger to transport.

It's not the delivery; it's the installation.

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US computer-science classes churn out cut-n-paste slackers – and yes, that's a bad thing

Michael Wojcik
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Re: walshk@byteform.com

learning how to express yourself in any given language is not degree level stuff

True. But this report is not about "degree level stuff", either; it's about high-school CS education.

It would have been nice if the article had made that clear, since it's extremely important to interpreting the report. There's a vast difference (in the US system) between secondary and tertiary education, and another between undergraduate and graduate education.

The secondary (high school) curriculum is already very crowded. While arguments can certainly be made for teaching CS concepts as well as or instead of programming, or for (as the report suggests) allowing CS to substitute for advanced mathematics or physical-science courses, it's not obvious those positions are correct - even if you're a fan of CS education.

On the other hand, it's harder to see much value in the "computer literacy" courses that were popular in the '90s and still persist today, except possibly for disadvantaged students whose access to computers prior to high school was severely limited.

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Sky! Blue!, Oceans! Wet!, Yahoo! Overvalued!

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Strange how

In Yahoo's case, anti-relevant might be appropriate.

It is a pity, since Yahoo was founded on some interesting ideas, including a general information model that was quite clever.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Failed to turn around....

Congratulations - it's not trivial to satisfy Poe's Law so precisely.

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US government publishes drone best practices

Michael Wojcik
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And today's new factor for your credit score is...

including anything relating to: employment eligibility, promotion, or retention; credit eligibility

"It's a Fair Isaac drone! Look rich, everyone!"

Though actually using drones would probably make FICO more transparent. At least you can see drones.

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Michael Wojcik
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Re: Three basic groups:

at some point, we have to recognize that war and bombs aren't very precise things

Or to put it more succinctly: Complicated things are complicated.

Ethical positions that fit on a bumper sticker may be comforting, but they don't solve many problems in the real world.

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Great, IBM has had a PCM breakthrough. Who exactly is going to manufacture?

Michael Wojcik
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Re: Misnomer -> TLC or triple-level cells

Literal SLC can only store zeroes.

It's not a problem. You just socket them in pairs, with the other one wired backward so it only stores ones. Then you use one chip for your zeroes and the other for your ones.

It's those pesky No Level Cell chips that are hard to use.

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