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* Posts by Stevie

2293 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Och aye! It's the Loch Ness Monster – but only Apple fanbois can see it

Stevie
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Bah!

Aiee! Fear the Loch Ness Trawler!

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Github cofounder resigns after clearance in sex-harass probe

Stevie
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The poetic beauty of this blacklist is

While I was solidly for the ousting from Mozilla of whats-his-name, you know, the one who gave the world the Betsest Cross Site Scripting Vector Ever, I find this list offensive, odious and indefensible.

Not the principle of identifying repeat offenders and system gamers, that I applaud. But if you can get on the list simply by pointing at it it falls into a very different bucket, one that ends up at the place everyone claims we'll be in for what happened during the Mozilla Affair but way, way faster.

And in secret too.

I think that the poetic irony of this "circulating troublemaker list" idea is in fact that the people doing it and applauding those who do it are probably the loudest complainers against NSA surveillance.

And, when you think bout it, it is the same kind of thinking that ends in "special rendition", or the overly-inclusive, on-it-for-life sex offenders lists.

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'Maybe I'll go to Hell, but I think it's a good thing' says plastic Liberator gunsmith Cody Wilson

Stevie
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Bah!

"Wrong plastic". *nods*

So I guess the fact that I can legally buy a proper gun that will reliably fire hundreds of times before wearing out for a fraction of the costs of printing one of these at home is because I'm using "the wrong printer".

Got it.

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LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane

Stevie
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Bah!

Two points:

a) With all those layers of spray paint it's a good job none of you lot worked for NASA during the days it had a proper spacecraft.

2) The upper surfaces are brilliant, the work of a graphic design genius. Why this imaginative livery was not implemented for the underside instead of that hideous god-knows-what-inspired stripes 'n' triangles scheme is beyond me.

Ariadne should be allowed to design the Playmonaut's space suit too.

OK, three points.

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Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning

Stevie
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Re: what if they cause a dust storm instead?

Never mind that. We've seen this thing can survive a few years of filth. What about the threat of Monsters from the Id?

I tell you all this "science" is a certain path to doom and madness.

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Stevie
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Bah!

All the things they attached to the robot arm of that thing and "feather duster" never made the list?

Another win for so-called "scientists".

Seriously. When do we demand they give back their Clever Person certificates?

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Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing

Stevie
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Re: Dark art of Accountancy?

If your theoretic economic model is not matching reality you simply have too short a sampling period for meaningful data interpretation to be possible.

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Stevie
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Bah

Ms Mayer should immediately declare a round of record level bonuses for everyone with three letters ending in "O" in their job title and anyone who is a V.P. of something, before asking for a government hand-out to cover same.

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Google spends in three months on data centers what used to take a year

Stevie
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Bah!

"Just think of the tax write-down they'd be entitled to - if they hadn't incorporated in Upper Bumfuck to avoid paying any US tax in the first place." Senator Joseph King.

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Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS

Stevie
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Bah!

Soon have enough of a robot they won't need to send astronaut's at all.

Heeeeeyyyyyyy ...

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Leaked photos may indicate slimmer next-generation iPad

Stevie
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Bah!

Because of all the things that could be done to up the iPad's game, extra thinness is top of everyone's list.

This post brought to you by the Midori browser running on a Raspberry Pi (about a half inch thick with case)

Just because I can.

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Google lets wannabe Glass Explorers ADMIRE THEMSELVES in their own mirrors

Stevie
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Bah!

Po|

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NASA finds first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around star

Stevie
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Bah!

Since we cannot know the exact amount of clutteration of the orbits of these so-called "planets" I submit that Astronomer Rules mean they can't be called "planets" at all, yet.

Oh, if only some useless astronomers had spent less time goofing off renaming stuff instead of doing science they wouldn't be in this self-made mess.

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AMD demos 'Berlin' Opteron, world's first heterogeneous system architecture server chip

Stevie
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Bah!

See? "Berlin". Sexy, intriguing, mysterious. Not "Adventurous Aardvark" or "Batshit Badger".

*That's* how to code name IT stuff.

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Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS

Stevie
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Re: your favourite brand of dildo or what

Note to self: Don't tease the People's Ubuntu Naming Soviet, even with self deprecating humor content built-in. The Umbongo user community do not understand irony and will downvote and feel obligated to point out the obvious unspoken joke as if it were inadvertent slip of the keyboard.

Sigh. Gotta remember this is a community that thinks you *need* an irony tag.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Gotta say, these lame code names that people give various distros of Linux do nothing for the marketing of same to J.Q. Public.

Hey, Canonical, try "Turbothrust Annihilator" or "Hypersonic Avenger". They sound like cool weapons from Halo or the badasses from the next Marvel/DC movie blockbuster, and thus have a much better chance of attracting the attention of the world.

Much better than "Trustworthy Tapir" or whatever it was.

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Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED

Stevie
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Re: Hacker? Or more likely...

Meh. 19 years old. Many horror stories of what happens when you are caught breaking into other people's computers. Shoulda known better.

Unless ...

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Stevie
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Trollface

Bah!

Let's start a pool on how long it will be from arrest to public announcement of Asperger's Defense.

I call two days.

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Stevie
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Re: Wouldn't surprise me if this schmuck had nothing to do with it.

Aaaaaaaaaand the first "Reiser is innocent" troll is posted.

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Borked Bitcoin bunker MtGox in administration: Lawyer seizes control

Stevie
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Bah!

And herein lieth the first lesson: Bank ye not with tech nerds running sites repurposed from geek hobby interests, for their real world connect is ephemeral and vanisheth with the rising of the sun (along with your fungible assets).

A half billion? The mind boggles.

Part of the problem is that bank fraud (as in: banks perpetrating fraud on the public) is now so ubiquitous and so usurious that we don't sit up and take notice until eight or more zeroes are involved.

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French hard-drive maker LaCie cops to YEAR LONG card data leak

Stevie
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Bah!

Clenches fist.

Bites fist.

Sobs quietly.

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Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google

Stevie
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Re: Face it.. Steve Jobs was a first-class asshat

Well, I didn't know him personally and never actually spoke with him, but I note that he did look a lot like Arnold Rimmer in glasses, which no-one could take as a good sign.

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EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database

Stevie
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Trollface

Bah!

So remind me: *Why* do I have to take my glasses off for my biometric green card picture?

More star trek make-believe tech that will hemorrhage money and never work reliably. I smell Tronixco lobbyist and politician stink all over this one.

Next up: beards outlawed (can't outlaw glasses thanks to Google).

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A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally

Stevie
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Re: Why is the onus on me to know where my luggage is?

Thank you! Finally someone with something relevant to add to the so-called discussion.

Why aren't these things placed on the luggage in tag-form by the people responsible for moving the luggage and finding it when they moved it to the wrong bloody place? That's the internet of everything at work. As it stands this is just another geek product with little real use.

When you think of what some airlines charge to check a bag these days you'd think a time- and money- saver (as in the airlines' time and compensatory money) like this would be an idea they would want to develop. For one thing it would allow them to know which airport's baggage crews are posing the most liability and get something done about it all.

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Live coverage: Blood Moon looms large for North, South America

Stevie
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Bah!

April 15th?

Ties in nicely with the IRS's "We can get blood out of a stone" campaign.

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Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?

Stevie
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Bah!

Oh please, do tell us in what language the bug was committed.

Snuck snuck snort.

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Artists install Monty Python silly walk signs in Norwegian town

Stevie
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Bah!

Ö mi Gød!

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OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

Stevie
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Bah!

Heartbleed highlights a pretty impoartant flaw in the thinking of the Open Source philosophy that "enough eyes make all bugs shallow" as outlined in the article, namely that for many the audience for Open Source products equates in some fashion to benevolent eyes-on-the-code and that is simply not true, especially for the not-so-cool bags-o-code packages that form the building blocks of the digital world these days.

It would seem that only two pairs of benevolent eyes were on this particular fragment of OpenSSH at the time it was important for the perceived truth to be actual truth. Hey, I freely admit that looking through endless lines of tedious code is not my idea of a good time, which makes me part of the problem.

But it, along with the cries for funding suggest that the idea that if you pay people to look at the code you have more chance (but not 100% chance, people being people) that it will get done.

Big surprise.

I take it as a giant sign of the maturity of the Open Source lobby that no-one has cried "what do you expect? It's free!" from the bleachers, and that says good things about the user base.

Ah well. He that works makes many mistakes. He that does no work makes no mistakes. He that makes no mistakes gets richly rewarded and promoted, while he that makes many mistakes gets called vile names. That's life.

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Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68

Stevie
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Bah!

Dear Ms Townsend:

April 11th : Woke up. Ate cornflakes. Read The Brothers Karamazov.

Egg and chips for tea.

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Japanese schoolkids arrested in £2.4 MEEELLION phone fraud bust

Stevie
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Bah!

"Japan has a low reported crime rate".

Fixed it for ya.

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Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'

Stevie
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Bah!

What interests me in this debate that it reopens another - the "Y2K=Y2meh" one.

And the fascinating thing about that second debate is that the thinking generally shown echoes the same line of reasoning that has certain people refusing to inoculate their kids in NYC because "no-one gets that any more".

And the thing about that which is rather horrifying is that as a direct result we now have a population of children in NYC with Whooping Cough, a disease we had firmly under control in the western world by the mid-1960s*.

The thing about Y2K that bears remembering is that the reason there wasn't a "real problem" is that thousands of people worked hard to mitigate the issues (there was more than one aspect to the Y2K issue, but people usually don't know that because they fixate on the obvious)**.

*I remember as a kid in the UK hearing about neighbour's kids who caught Whooping Cough, then, when I was about eight the stories just stopped happening.

**And the thing to remember about *that* is that even though the ATMs still worked on January 1st, the automated doors to the ATM vestibule often didn't. But people were so busy yelling "damp squib!" these could be quietly addressed in the following weeks.

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Hmm. Seems that 12.5% of commentards are not fans of Blackadder II.

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Stevie
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Re: Idiocy of the first water.

It's just that the uses for a solar powered plane that, unnecessary pilot notwithstanding, need never land and has infinite range are few and somewhat ... worrying to contemplate.

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Stevie
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Bah!

So, you crap out of the window?

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Windows XP is finally DEAD, right? Er, not quite. Here's what to do if you're stuck with it

Stevie
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Bah!

"Installing a new operating system is relatively simple, and we’ve been here before. Windows 98 and Win 2000 did gave way to XP, after all."

The upgrade path in all those cases usually went along these lines:

1) Research new version and discover old kit has not enough memory.

2) Discover memory in old kit no longer manufactured and only sourceable from war-torn Balkan state.

3) Discover old kit cannot accommodate new version on hard drives fitted.

4) Discover old kit has (insert one year obsolete bus standard) and large-enough hard drives now can't be obtained reliably.

5) Discover same basic situation with monitor.

6) And removable media drives.

7) Uncover late breaking news that processor in old kit cannot keep up with new version.

8) Discover new version incompatible with putty-colored tower casing.

9) Throw hands in air, call Dell and order pallet of new kit with new version pre-loaded.

10) Discover "optimum system requirements" were grievously understated and new kit runs like snail with gout.

11) Discover several enterprise critical applications no-longer work owing to unforeseen driver/bus/charcoal-colored tower case issues.

12) Fire up old kit and attempt to placate irate customers.

13) Hire Mambo to curse OS vendor from here to Hellenback. Offer bonus if someone's head actually does a "Michael Ironside".

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Stevie
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Bah!

Personally, I see apps as a means useful only on a primarily consumer-mode device.

My laptop is primarily a creative engine and you can keep you apps and the whole "app tile look", which wastes space and time and hurts my eyes with it's ugliness.

Funnily enough I was wavering over my continued patronage of McAfee's suite of products. On the one hand things get past McAfee on my wife's and daughter's machines, but not so much on mine (happens though). If the machine is used sensibly the software can cope it would seem. On the other hand it slows down everything bigtime.

So I'm on the fence and then they downloaded an "upgrade" which changed the tabbed McAfee User Interface for a less feature-rich, more space-wasting "App Tile Look" and, well, scored minus ten billion points on every front. So they are gone. All that's left is to leave them feedback telling them why.

I'll forward a copy to Microsoft, who can't tell the difference between a smartphone and a desktop any more. Because unless things change, Windows 7 is the last Windows iteration I'll use.

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SPACE RACE auction: $130k raised for spacesuits, Apollo 11 kit

Stevie
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Bah!

Well at least we know why NASA was so hot to grab Jim Lovell's checklist so he couldn't sell it himself.

What a bunch of two-faced chiselers.

Hey, NASA, if anyone is going to profit from the sale of Taxpayer-Bought Space Memorabilia, I for one would rather it be the heroic guys who actually made it worth owning rather than a bunch of suits who can't move fast enough to sell it at bargain basement prices to the rich and privileged once it has been restored to the "proper owners".

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The gift of Grace: COBOL's odyssey from Vietnam to the Square Mile

Stevie
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Re: For sufficiently small values of "wide"

Presumably the bit you forgot to mention was "Tiny Cobols for Toy Computers".

The devil is in the implementation.

8o)

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Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Well *I* didn't have to because my mired-in-the-50s-mindset factory used verifiers, so most typos got caught.

I slash zeros and write G with a big tail on it too as a legacy of coding sheets, but since confusion between letters and numbers is still cause for concern when typing is not an option I view it as a positive rather than as reason to start drinking the Java Kool-Aid.

But why on earth would you use an IBM machine to do what a Unisys Sperry (or Burroughs) node in a 2200 does so much better and so much more securely on every level? IBM have only ten years of one technology that was done tested rolled out and earning its keep in 1992 on Unisys machines.

I still remember being asked by an IBM DBA "When you lose a disk in the online day and have to recover, how much data do you lose?" and me standing there like a numpty trying to understand his question, because for over a decade the answer for me had been "none" and I'd forgotten the bad old days pre-integrated recovery.

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Stevie
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Re: French Cobol

Another pile of easily researched bollox.

French Cobol was developed because the French needed computers they could talk to in something other than Linear B and resented the living enfer out of having to use English instead. I know this because it was told to me in person by a nice Control Data representative during my year-long search for a job in the late 70s economy and I later spoke to a number of Les Consutantes from the Land o' Truffles who confirmed it with a hearty may wee.

So I disbelieve the truth of your "Grace Hopper Said" story as the product of the Git Generation, Bakana.

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Stevie
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Re: DIVIDE 8 INTO cake GIVING slices.

Another calumny spread by the one-course wonders.

You could write DIVIDE cake BY 8 GIVING slices even on the old ICL 1901T.

So double 8oP to Anonymous Ivy, too idle to crack a manual.

If you wanted to live dangerously you could COMPUTE slices=cake/8 but that is a Cobol 101 error in the making. Rule of Thumb: If you let the computer decide, it will decide on the worst possible option for your desired outcome. Works for just about everything, even today, even using C-like languages on Unix-like operating systems.

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Stevie
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Re: @Gannettt

"It's perhaps interesting to ask whether the coding sheets method actually made for better programmers"

Coding sheets weren't used by choice. They were used because the equipment for getting code into a computer used to be expensive and so everyone submitted their code to the punch department (always called "punch girls" because I never saw a bloke doing data entry) where it would be converted to card or paper tape, verified by punching it again in a special machine before it was sent into the computer room to be run, spooled or whatever variety of input process your mainframe used.

In the late 70s I worked an ICL site that had one VT for a department of a dozen programming staff. At one point the waiting list to use it was three days long.

When we converted to Sperry and got a bank of eight VDUs, and later, one each, we were gobsmacked. Turns out our pointy-haired manager didn't think we "needed" more on the ICL kit.

They replaced him for the Sperry kit-out.

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Stevie
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Bah!

"So who's going to maintain your 100,000 COBOL programs in 10 years time?"

Me and a whole bunch of like-minded guys. Our motto shall be "You don't need a new data center, you need people who won't sneer at the one you've got".

Working on the details as I type. Meanwhile, back to your desk to find that missing semi-colon or malformed (but entirely compiler legal) "if" equality that is needlessly crippling the general ledger.

8o)

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Stevie
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Bah!

"what is widely regarded as the worst mistake in computing history. "

Yeah. That would explain it's predominance in the marketplace even today for financial reporting and tracking.

You have to love people who think they know a lot about something based on a single course taken for their CS degrees.

I remember with fondness a paragraph in the old Wikipedia entry on Cobol (which was edited - in part by me - a long time ago) "explaining" by means of an example why Cobol "doesn't work" - said example containing a Cobol 101 "never do" *programming* error prominently listed in every manufacturer's documentation as a route to misery along with the entirely reasonable technical explanation as to why it was a bad idea. Hint: it had to do with the internal representation of intermediate values, just like it would with C# or Java in analogous circumstances. Yes, I can break Java (or any C-derived language) by the same idiot way of mis-doing arithmetic. Can I use this as "proof" that C, Java et al "don't work"? I wish.

Contrast this with Java: Hard to learn, loaded with confusing syntax (the semi colon and the two different equals uses* were, in 1997, judged to be the leading causes of internet start-up cash losses and programmer overtime generation in a peer-reviewed white paper circulating in Venture Capitalist businesses I read back when I thought such things were important). and no native currency type which, in conjunction with really crappy explanations of the binary-floating-point-number-used-to-represent-decimal-amounts issue in text books leads to the same "charming" mistake being made again and again and again in software suite rewrites.

And to top it off Java doesn't even solve the major issues facing anyone using a large enterprise software library - the ability to search it for something you have quicker than it will take a programmer to write something of their own to do the job, defeating the "wheel reinvention" rule that is supposed to be so important. To do that you have to write your own class library browser with search facility. Or switch to Eiffel, which not only includes usable class library browsing but is also rigorously Object Oriented in it's implementation - which Java ain't.

Just because it doesn't look like "C" doesn't mean it is Satan made manifest. Quite the reverse.

Even the most primitive Cobol's I've had to wrangle (ICL) came with integral support for structures, data masking on the fly, native, error-free currency types *as well as* floating point number implementation (of little use to be honest, most financial apps requiring scaled decimal more often than large inaccurate real numbers).

Buffer cleverness was integrated into the language so one could make stuff lightning fast with a couple of sentences added at the right place (with the understood cost of doing so of course).

Segmentation was a built-in feature so when computers were not clever at managing their very limited memory even a moderately talented programmer could do so, thereby fitting a gallon into a pint box. Of less use now but when Cobol was specced out object building and tear-down would consume more resources than you had for the entire program.

Unisys's Cobol could be written procedurally, declaratively or as a truth table even in the 1970s. You picked your metaphor of the day and got stuck in. Today there are "Object Oriented" versions you can play with, though why you'd bother is a mystery to me.

So, yeah. A total waste of time. *nods*.

The most honest critique I've heard from my colleagues of the language is that it isn't concise, to which I reply "and your point is?"

And before anyone weighs in with Y2K I should like to point out that a) that was a compiler limitation imposed by manufacturers, *not* as has been mooted in these very pages programmer laziness and 2) Our tape library system crashed hard just before Christmas and yours truly was dispatched to find out what was wrong with the perl that makes it go. Turns out that there is a y2k38 problem with the 32 bit epochal time returned by many unix-like systems. Known and worked around using perl libraries (not in the local perl at the time of course) but still. With all the froofaraw over Y2K you'd think that I'd have seen *one* mention of the issue in the open somewhere. 8o)

Oh, and those Air Traffic Control systems were more likely to be written in Coral 66 than Cobol, which was never intended to do anything other than make the payroll and balance the books - jobs it still does and does well, notwithstanding the spokesman for the US combined military payroll office who seemed to think a few weeks ago that mainframes and Cobol were why soldiers weren't getting paid properly, rather than logjam paperwork in the wetware stages of the operation and the "we don't make mistakes" doctrine.

So 8oP to the lot of you.

*Yes, I know what the difference between them is. Do you at three in the morning after pulling an all-nighter on someone else's code with the CIO breathing down your neck?

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AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'

Stevie
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Bah!

Agreed, but you will be powering all this (plus the "peripheral CPU") for a damn sight longer than your kettle.

Visions of Clark Griswold's electricity meter (Christmas Vacation) are dancing before my eyes.

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Internet is a TOOL OF SATAN that destroys belief, study claims

Stevie
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Bah!

Homeopathic Space-Aliens are to blame. I read it on the webz.

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I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

Stevie
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Re: Being against gay marriage does not equate to being anti-gay

Er...it kinda does though, if you think about it.

"Equal, but not as equal as some".

I say let the churches (ie the ecumenical leaders of the religions) make the determination for themselves nd let the law worry about serious stuff that actually matters.

The only reason the church got involved in the first place was as a revenue stream. I was staggered to find out what Roman Catholic churches dun the prospective couple for in New York in this day and age. Serious dosh. Usurious amounts. My advice? Go Lutheran or Episcopalian and save mucho bucks (and cut the ceremony down by an hour too). 8o)

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Stevie
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Re: You kinda picked that up wrong

But I know many straight people who've gotten married with the stated intent of never having children, one couple in particular where the husband to be was instructed by his beloved to get a vasectomy prior to the exchange of vows so she could jump his bones repeatedly at will from that day forth without fear of reproduction initiating or the need for dangerous chemicals or wellies.

Clearly the ceremony has a deeper meaning than the (completely unnecessary to judge by the realities of the population of the world) green flag to have children.

Sorry, AC, you are coming across as a stereotypical bigot, using arguments so threadbare one can see through them without trying.

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'Yahoo! Breaks! Every! Mailing! List! In! The! World!' says email guru

Stevie
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Bah!

Good luck trying to get any decision rescinded in the new era of "fix it 'til it don't work no more".

The Yahoo Groups front page, once a thing so elegantly simple and easy on the eyes and mouse is now a riot of phone-friendly but widescreen-nerfing bollox I've stopped using Yahoo Groups - and I'm the moderator/owner of three of 'em. The effort of getting the sign-on process to complete without erroring and then to find the three inches of useful stuff (out of a possible seventeen) just wasn't worth the migraine.

Bye-bye Yahoo. You hired yoofs to fix it up. Good luck with that. See you at the official receiver in two years.

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

Stevie
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Bah!

Interesting that the techies think you have to swear to make it clear in a short, written, English sentence that the sentence poses a rhetorical question.

For me it's a matter of style. Just as in programming there are styles or writing, and elegance is always better than clumsiness. For me an interpolated curse or "lol" is an explicit GOTO used to terminate a loop.

Curse in person. Learn to write like Terry Pratchett to make a telling point in print without the need for bleepicons.

And yes. The pun was intended (for those that caught it).

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