* Posts by the spectacularly refined chap

683 posts • joined 27 Dec 2008

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Luxe cable crimper

the spectacularly refined chap

I assume he's referring to Kevin's comment about plugs rather than mine about jacks. He seems refer to the two part plugs which are a lot easier to wire than the one piece types because you feed the wires into a guide which then goes into the plug - a lot less fiddly since it is externally accessible and you can see what you are doing.

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the spectacularly refined chap

I don't see much if any saving over regular punch down blocks either, and while the pairs don't need separating it subjectively appears that you end up with more untwisted wire in the completed cable.

No doubt they also cost at least three times the price and the crimper is £100+. Somehow I don't think I'll bother.

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Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

the spectacularly refined chap

I don't like advertising but I understand that businesses need to be able to promote their products and services, that running websites does cost money and website owners are entitled to some renumeration for their costs and efforts.

Personally I hold the site operators equally responsible here. The ultimate driver for many issues is simply the over-reliance on advertising by too many sites - it seems too many sites tack on ads as an afterthought when they realise they have no other business model.

Ultimately this doesn't scale, there are too many sites out there, advertising is only going to be a niche area of the economy, and therefore there simply isn't the money to go around. This is why you get so much online advertising, why so much of it is intrusive, and why so much is from undesirable sources: the funding gap needs to be filled by whatever means. This goes even for respectable sites - for example go to any of the Johnston Press local newspaper sites and you'll instantly see display ads for obvious scams not good but presumably they are the only people who will pay.

I suspect what is ultimately needed is a genuine micropayments model with wide levels of adoption. Unfortunately when that has been tried greed seems to take over. I may happily pay 5p or 10p to read an article of genuine interest but would be less happy to pay e.g. £5.99 a month for the vast majority of sites I only visit a couple of times a month.

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Jeff Bezos' thrusting cylinder makes Elon Musk's look minuscule

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: units

Forget units, they couldn't even settle on a consistent number format. The decimal separator switches from full stop to comma within the same paragraph.

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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

the spectacularly refined chap

Failing to? There's nothing that I can realistically do that will reduce my bill by any non-trivial amount...

c) the main users of it in my house is the heating and hot water, which is driven by a heatpump and is already rather efficient and timed...

I think this shows a lack of imagination and of familiarity than anything else. When I first moved in with my now wife in a tower block we cut our leccy bills by 20% doing nothing more than changing the heating to run 5:30-6:00 instead of 6:00-6:30 every morning. That was nothing more than old fashioned Economy 7. When widely roles out and differential pricing is widely adopted the possibilities escalate. So you don't want your washing machine running in the middle of the night? What about at lunchtime when you are not at home and electricity is dirt cheap thanks to low demand and high production thanks to all those solar panels?

The opportunities are there when the entire system - meters, network, tariffs and appliances - is in place to support it. Focussing simply on the meter by itself is missing the point.

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IBM lifts lid, unleashes Linux-based x86 killer on unsuspecting world

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Awesome

It's for when you print a document which is designed to be put in a ring binder which has tabbed dividers to allow sections to be found quickly. With the "blank" page, a new section is guaranteed to be forward facing.

I'd always understood it to be for selective printing - i.e. you have a 100 page document and need only chapter six at 50 pages - you can print and bind that separately without messing up the pagination. Also works if you need to break the document up into volumes because of limitations on binding capacity.

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Delta computer outage costs $100m

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: That's a nice round figure ...

That surprises you? That isn't being cynical, it is how the system is supposed to work. Businesses pay taxes on their profits: if they lose money as a result of incompetence the tax due goes down.

As for the actual amount claimed that won't directly affect the tax bill - it is not as if they claim any figure and the tax man takes it at face value without any evidence of expenses or lower sales.

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Windows 10 Anniversary on a Raspberry Pi: Another look at IoT Core

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: We should use neither

Prototyping - yes. One-off where cost does not matter for a hobbyist - yes. If you, however, want to do something seriously, you might as well admit that the Pi is "Hobbyist Hardware (TM)" and do it properly and use proper sensors attached to microcontrollers like Arduino with a proper "FAT" collector running on a more reliable piece of hardware.

The Pi is by no means perfect for industrial use but it does have its place if you apply a little common sense. At the start of the year I used one essentially as a high speed daughterboard in a telescope controller - extending the life of a fairly pricey university scope mount, mounted on its GPIO port and standoffs into the mounting holes, power fed in via the GPIO as opposed to the micro USB which I felt unsuitable. The economics were compelling, at a rough guess building a board from scratch would have been perhaps four months work, an expansion board for e.g. an ITX board perhaps two months. The Pi took three weeks including software and documentation. That's a game changer for unique or short run stuff.

Things still aren't perfect: I'd prefer a different power connector, proper engineering drawings (come on, you shouldn't need to work out panel cut outs yourself) and so on. However when you compare the Pi 2 or 3 to the original with sockets all over the place at different heights and lacking even mounting holes things are a lot better than they were.

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Quake-hit Italy: Open up Wi-Fi

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: That's daft

Disaster recovery people need real commercial two-way radio, satellite gear and Mobile operators should drop in microwave link or satellite fed base stations.

Who says it has to be either/or? More options give more flexibility and convenience. Voice communications is a poor substitute if you really need to send a photo for example, or the ability to consult online maps could clearly save time and potentially lives.

Put another way, why are you insisting rescue teams should have fewer tools at their disposal?

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Snakes on the phone!

the spectacularly refined chap

I'm just surprised they have field engineers at all. I did a few months as a general and then tech care representative and any fault reports seemed to result in diddly squat.

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Intel fabs to churn out 10nm ARM chips for LG smartphones next year

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: StrongARM?

OoO execution is what (in the Pentium Pro and successors) delivered the death-blow to the RISC architectures of the 1980s. x86 as an ISA hasn't been significant for performance for over 20 years now.

Oh look! Wheelchairs exist! Smash up my legs with a baseball bat!

You are confusing palliative measures that Intel have used to engineer themselves out of a corner with substantive benefits. Out of order execution is not a benefit but a cost that has to be paid to get performance out of the x86 architecture. It's the same across the board - for example modern x86 chips have dozens of hidden registers that can't be accessed by the instruction set. Ask yourself which can do a better job of register allocation - a compiler that can take its time and do the job once considering the code as a whole, or a few transistors that have to do the job each and every time, in a matter of nanoseconds, and considering only a handful of instructions on either side? The answer is obvious.

Similarly ever longer pipelines are not something to brag about - they are themselves evidence of a real problem. As the pipeline gets longer the number of problem cases increases exponentially, problems which consume silicon and time to address. That's silicon and time that can't be used elsewhere.

Those and similar features are not benefits in and of themselves, they are the price that has had to be paid to wring an acceptable level of performance out of x86. That price is not just financial, it consumes design effort and surface area that could easily be used more profitably elsewhere. Why have only 4-8 cores on a chip? Why not fifty or sixty? It's perfectly possible if you don't piss away area on things which from an engineering view are unnecessary with a smarter design at the outset.

Case in point: Sun's Niagara ten years ago. Designed with a fraction of Intel's resources, fabbed on a more primitive process, the result was the fastest processor bar none at the time. It offered a level of throughput and parallelism x86 could only dream off. The opening premise was to throw away a lot of that complexity you cite as a good thing and see what could be put in its place. Intel have the deepest pockets in the industry and can invest to get themselves out of sticky situations if need be: that does not mean it is a good idea to get into those situations in the first instance.

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Judges put FCC back in its box: No, you can't override state laws, not even for city broadband

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Beachrider

The Reg put this in the correct context, and made no mention of any technical parameters over frequencies, radiated power or anything else. It was you that misleadingly introduced those. Presumably after having read no further than the headline.

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Chinese Android smartphone firm: It packs a dedicated crypto chip

the spectacularly refined chap

Easily done, although in this case it's it probably a mistake. Manufacturers have been shrinking their displays while keeping them the same size for years by widening up the aspect ratio. The 23" widescreen monitor here certainly feels no bigger than the 19" 4:3 that preceded it.

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Seagate in 10TB drive brand brainstorm

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Inflated prices...

"Consumer" is the operative word though and that market has changed over time. 15 years ago a typical business workstation would have and realistically need perhaps a 20GB drive. A home system would be about the same. Now that typical workstation probably needs no more than 200GB, certainly a cheap as chips 500GB drive will be ample, but it seems 4TB is pretty much the default option for a home user HDD. You see it across the machines - home users have gone from behind the curve in the 80s, to broadly comparable with business systems around the millennium, and well ahead of them now. They're now driving the market forward and paying the bleeding edge premium for that.

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Pimp your ride with new Linux for cars and an rPi under the hood

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Automotive Grade Linux

Actually, my first thought was that calling your main body of code "UCB" immediately invites confusion with the very origins of BSD. To the point it sets alarm bells ringing - if you're ignorant of that what else don't you know?

Oh wait, this is a new Linux distro, so self-promotion and being "cool" are more important than anything else.

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Sneaky brown dwarf gives us a bright flash and astroboffins are confused

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: It's obviously trying to start a fusion reaction...

They've flooded the engine.

Leave it for half an hour; and more choke next time.

Too much choke is the cause of a flooded engine...

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Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: I'll never get the marketing people's valuations...

I have absolutely no idea what real world metrics marketing people use to value the personal data for an individual. I'm a good example of an edge case in their world; I'm 100% unaffected (in a positive way) by any advertising. I have never bought a product or service based solely on an ad. Yet, there are apparently billions of drooling idiots out there who will buy whatever the advertisers tell them to.

No, that doesn't mean the advertising is wasted, it probably makes you the advertiser's wet dream: you haven't understood the intention of the advertiser so you can't apply skepticism in the appropriate direction.

Advertisers do not expect to be able to plug any old crap and random members of the public simply to buy it unquestioningly. They do know that if you are to buy their product then firstly you must know that it exists and is available: either that their offering is among the options you have when considering a given purchase, or that their product will provide some real benefit to you, even if prior to that you hadn't been considering a purchase.

Suggesting that people will buy a product simply because they have seen it advertised is utter naivete and the advertisers know that - ultimately the need has to be there. Indeed, this is why the personal data is valuable to them, so potential customers can be targeted rather than a much wider group, most of whom simply who never would buy that product. If you have ever gone to manufacturer's websites to get data on products before making a considered purchase you have responded to advertising. If ten or twenty years ago you ever picked up a copy of e.g. Computer Shopper and waded through hundreds of pages of ads to find the best deal on X you have responded to advertising. That is the response the advertisers are banking on and the one you fail to recognize even exists.

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Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image. Repeat. Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: this is not your father's Microsoft.

Still have the images on my hard drive here. XENIX 86 2.1.3 was 16 360K disks. XENIX 386 2.3.4q was 9 1.44M disks.

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Singapore.gov bans Net

the spectacularly refined chap

Won't this defeat the purpose and allow data leaks?

But presumably there is an audit trail for stuff passing through the mail server. It's a balancing act as for internet access for anywhere else: presumably staff have legitimate need to communicate with the outside and even at times forward official records or documents. However the fact everything is retained on the server in identifiable form acts as a deterrent to the malicious leaker.

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

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: walshk@byteform.com

"Hacker culture" has its heart in the right place, but it devalues theory and over emphasizes the act of writing code, and there is a limit to being self taught... learning through experiment is excellent, but only if someone can guide you towards the experiments that produce insights that will make you a better developer. I've worked with people who wore their lack of formal education in software as a kind of badge of honor, but their work always reminded me of that of a portrait artist who'd never studied anatomy: Well executed, but not quite the right thing.

I agree with this. The way I usually express it is that you don't really go to Uni to learn a program language - frankly, learning how to express yourself in any given language is not degree level stuff. Rather you go to learn what to express, not how to say it.

Secondly there is the perennial problem for any self learning - it tends to be of a piecemeal a la carte menu nature - one area is studied, then something else and so on. There is no guiding master plan ensuring a balanced rounded view. Examples that come to mind here would be tools like Lex & Yacc - Yacc in particular can save masses of time once you are familiar with it but the self taught tend to disparage it as much from ignorance as anything else.

Instead you'll hear the profound wisdom that a hand-written parser is always much better despite generally being slower, buggier and taking far more effort to build and maintain. Why? The learning curve for a tool like Yacc is pretty close to vertical - you'll need perhaps ten or twenty hours study before you can accomplish anything useful. For the self taught that's frequently difficult to motivate yourself to do for a fairly old, unglamorous tool that isn't getting all the hype of newer toys. The CS undergrad for whom it is simply on the course has no such issue.

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Citrix bakes up Raspberry Pi client boxes

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Internal Power Supply?

So let's get this straight? You ask a question, admit you don't know, make a blind guess and them complain about how crap your guess would be.

As for the price, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Yes, you are paying a premium for the complete package. This surprises you? If other people look at it and decide it it is worth buying that doesn't make them wrong, just less blinkered. They may decide that this is ideal for them based on various criteria, or may figure that a standard Pi setup is in reality much more expensive than it first appears once you get to a complete set up - "I had so and so lying around" doesn't cut if it you want to deploy them by the thousand.

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T-Mobile US gobbles up another 2.2m customers

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: could be nicer in UK themselves

They're not the same company. Both T-Mob USA and EE are independent companies and are under separate ownership. The only thing they have in common is that both have licensed the T-Mobile brand.

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WD rust-proofs spinners with Gold offering

the spectacularly refined chap

It may simply be a duty cycle thing: it does equate to writing over a gigabyte a minute continuously. I'd regard that as pushing a drive quite hard for five years solid.

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Intel tock blocked for good: Tick-tock now an oom-pah-pah waltz

the spectacularly refined chap

Beginning of the end for Intel?

For perhaps the last ten years or so Intel have been at least a generation ahead of everyone else when it comes to chip fabrication - it's no coincidence that around this time is when AMD started falling by the wayside in terms of absolute performance. Look at the trend with each feature size shrink - at each generation costs go up and up and the number of manufacturers goes down and down until Intel are out in front by themselves.

They've needed to. x86 is ultimately a 40 year old ISA and has few redeeming features. Intel have only been able to stay competitive by throwing money at the problem and engineering themselves out of a design corner created by that very ISA. If we're getting to the point not even Intel can shrink any more and the other manufacturers have a chance to begin to catch up what is the future for x86 and Intel?

The world has moved on over that same ten years and people are no longer so wedded to Wintel thank to the likes of Android and iPhone, they can see upping sticks to something else is not a complete impossibility. Whereas the likes of MIPS and Alpha were at the time a country mile ahead of Intel despite much smaller R&D budgets simply because of smarter design, people couldn't see an alternative to Wintel for the mass market at least. If the competitors catch up on fabrication technology but with similarly superior designs on a conceptual level then they could take on or even overtake Intel once more but this time with a better chance of supplanting them in the market.

If that pans out personally I'd be glad. IT's been pretty boring post-millennium with ARM for mobile and x86 for power. It we get back to the point where there are half a dozen or more different platforms of note the industry becomes a lot more interesting place.

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What to call a £200m 15,000-tonne polar vessel – how about Boaty McBoatface?

the spectacularly refined chap

RRS Hole

That is all

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the spectacularly refined chap

This is nothing new

People should have learned by now you can't trust the public to name things. It's probably 150 years since the East Lancashire Railway ran a public poll to name a club they were opening for use by their employees. The winner: The East Lancashire Railway Employee's Club.

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Microsoft will rest its jackboot on Windows 7, 8.1's throat on new Intel CPUs in 2018 – not 2017

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Use the Disc?

right, and theres no solution to that eh?

you could:

1) use an external dvd drive

Connected to the same USB port that it doesn't support? Been there, done that with some Bay Trial systems here, although thankfully the most recent BIOS patch for the MB in question has alleviated that.

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: VBA date handling has taken at least five years off my lifespan

Correct. The year used to start on 25th March but was moved to 1st January at the same time. Allowing for the 11 days correction for missed leap years we get 5th April.

But the tax year starts on the 6th April - post transition to the Gregorian calendar it was then advanced another day to make up for the "missing" leap year in 1800. No such amendment was made in 1900 though, and the situation didn't arise in 2000 so it's probably considered fixed to the "new" calendar now.

Must dash, George is about to say how he's going to sting us this coming 6th April...

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Here's what an Intel Broadwell Xeon with a built-in FPGA looks like

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: timing seems interesting....

How many of these fpga's can run on Windows boxes?

If the answers next to or none then I wonder if that's part of the move to Linux that Ms is looking for with MsSQL on Linux.

Yup. None. I can tell you that without even looking at it. Coincidentally that's the same number Linux supports. Something like is going to be outside the reach of general application code since it is essentially system-wide - you just wouldn't reprogram an FPGA at each context switch - so it's going to have to have explicit OS support as gatekeeper. I don't see adding that as some huge showstopper (essentially it's just another device to be managed) so speculating that it will be some great issue for Windows while Linux magically supports it from the get-go would be wide of the mark. Yes, I'm aware of existing systems with FPGA integration, but this is on chip and the details of interfacing are inevitably going to differ, so any support you have doesn't carry over unmodified.

On the other hand I'd like to see how it works in a virtualised environment. My guess is simply that it doesn't and it won't be supported regardless of either host or guest OS.

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Good eye, Hubble! Space 'scope spots furthest-ever object

the spectacularly refined chap

Of course if the James Webb telescope turned out to be able to see much further, say in excess of 14 billion, things could get really interesting...

We've already been there, done that. The furthest reaches of the observable Universe are getting on for 50 billion lightyears away if memory serves. The Universe didn't spring into existence at its current size, after all, so we can actually see things much further away than a simplistic calculation suggests.

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Huawei Honor 5X: Swishy fingerprint tech for the mid-range

the spectacularly refined chap

The Huaweis I've seen in the past have good permission settings compared to most makes - any app can be restricted to wifi only or blocked from the internet completely. You also have settings to block e.g. the camera or GPS according to how suspicious you are.

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SCO vs. IBM looks like it's over for good

the spectacularly refined chap

13 years

I remember when news of this originally broke and their claims looked like they may have some credence. I was discussing it with a friend in the pub.

Since then: Been barred from that pub. Pub has closed. Pub has been demolished. Something else has been built in its place. The friend I was talking to has died.

When you connect it to your own life like that, man, that's a long time.

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Raspberry Pi 3 to sport Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE – first photos emerge

the spectacularly refined chap

No, shipmate, they got widely panned for claiming to be a competitor to the Pi while being THREE TIMES THE PRICE. In other words, Intel completely missed the point.

That was an association made here, not by Intel. Which is actually my point - everything remotely similar gets viewed through the prism of the Pi regardless of whether they target the same audience or whether a Pi is even capable of the task in question.

Really, a different class of product comes in at a different price point. This surprises you?

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the spectacularly refined chap

You mean like Intel's Minnowboards? They got widely panned here, seemingly for not being a Rapsberry Pi. And coming from Intel. Knee jerk reactions aside, they are actually quite useful boards if real amounts of I/O are your thing.

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Building a fanless PC is now realistic. But it still ain't cheap

the spectacularly refined chap

Which are not silent, especially when filled out with a few hard drives which is their main purpose of those machines. I have a couple here and love them for what they do, but while they're reasonably unobtrusive, fanless they ain't.

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the spectacularly refined chap

Re: How about

I recently got myself a Raspberry Pi to play with. Apparently, it runs Ubuntu and has everything your non-tecchie friends want out of a desktop PC - Chrome web browser and email.

For the same money or less than a Pi you can pick up a silent thin client system, with case, power supply and storage as part of the deal. PC based and all you need to is hook up monitor, keyboard and mouse. Used of course, but those things tend not to break. Overall performance is broadly equivalent to a Pi depending on exactly what you get and that's been possible for years.

The article instead discusses general purpose workstations as a new development. How powerful you can go is ever increasing but it isn't entirely new. The system I'm typing this on is getting on for 18 months old and while it isn't ultra powerful - 8GB, J1900 quad core, 240 GB SSD - it certainly isn't too shabby for anything but gaming. Completely silent apart from when the optical drive is in use. And no, that didn't really cost a premium - £300 or thereabouts, of which £70 or so was that ridiculously expensive "do everything" optical drive.

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90% of SSL VPNs are ‘hopelessly insecure’, say researchers

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Clickbait.

Quite apart from the fact that they are far to close to advertorials much of the time, the huge conflict of interest from the company whom is carrying out the "research" automatically makes me very wary about the quality. It will call into question the very methodology used and whether there is intentional or unintentional bias just for starters.

Personally I know enough about the methodology to know not to trust it - almost invariably these reports based on automated scans and tickbox marking get a "fuck that" response. There is no reference to what is being secured which is pretty important when determining if a given level of security is sufficient. Demanding that everything has military-grade encryption regardless of need is idiotic, it wastes a lot of time and distracts from protecting the important stuff. No-one has yet broken SHA-1 for example so presenting its use as a clear and present weakness is hyperbole.

Then you have opinion presented as fact with no knowledge of the context. Here the flaw is "untrusted" certs which is used to mean self-signed types. If your own organisation uses it own keys and distributes them to it own systems that is perfectly sensible and perfectly secure. A scan can't detect that so the conclusion is misleading.

End result - a paper from people who don't know what they are talking about and applying it to systems that they also know nothing about. This paper is only fit for cleaning the author's arse after the emission of so much excess verbiage.

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Your xenophobia is killing us, Silicon Valley warns US Congress

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: @Gordon 10 -- No surprises there then

Fuck me - are you serious? Is that really how you address a war veteran from your own country?

Yeah.. never let what someone has actually said get in the way of knee-jerk reaction. If you had considered what he said you would have noticed he never claimed to be American, indeed he specifically stated he was an outsider commenting on US attitudes.

Next point, did the US lose Vietnam? Yes. Was is morally justifiable? Not really, it was essentially US interventionism with no moral case to back it up. Should he really distort reality to pay lip service to a foreign veteran? Even within the US I would hope people are able to distinguish abstract support for the soldiers of one's country with evaluating the legitimacy of their campaign: the instant the US goes to war they are not automatically right - time and again their motives have been questionable at best.

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Official: Seagate notebook drive has shingles

the spectacularly refined chap

Strggling to see an appreciable market

Clearly, you are not going to want one as a system drive so that's primarily two drive laptops, small market. The only other place would be to forget the mobile element and stick them in 2.5" arrays, but those tend to be performance-orientated rather than bulk storage (otherwise you'd go for 3.5" drives) so that leaves you with people who need some performance and some bulk store in the same physically small unit, again must be a fairly small market.

I'm struggling to see why you would even want a lappie drive this big. Most business machines still don't need 200GB yet alone 2TB, particularly on a laptop where the risk of loss is such you want to control precisely what is on the drive. The relentless torrenter home user who wants everything on one machine, possibly, but again you come back to the lack of performance for a system drive especially if they're a gamer.

That leaves... ?

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Christ

Right-click - New - Shortcut - IEXPLORE.EXE - Next - Finish

"You're welcome. Have a nice day."

You really do work in technical support, don't you? Because clearly it wouldn't have fixed the problem: we already know the executable is missing. But you don't give a shit about that, fob the customer off with any old shit to get them off the line as fast as possible.

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FTDI boss hits out at 'Chinese criminal gang' pumping knock-off chips

the spectacularly refined chap

It isn't garbage: the bricking scheme has well-defined semantics (a no-op) on the device that the chip claims to be. You can argue about the legitimacy, motivation and intent till the cows come home, but it is carefully crafted rather than random nonsense.

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This is why copy'n'paste should be banned from developers' IDEs

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Shorter true and true that returns false

The OS sees the file is not empty, so clearly it has to do something, but has no idea what it is. As the OS cannot execute AT&T's true, it returns failure!

It knew exactly what to do - early Unix would always pass an executable in an unrecognised format to the shell for interpretation so it was a well-defined semantic. Problems only arose when csh was introduced and that was covered by a magic value: if the first byte matched (may have been % but don't hold me to that - it's along time ago) it went to csh, otherwise sh. #! is a surprisingly late addition to Unix. ISTR It first appeared perhaps 1988 or 89 but it wasn't universal until the mid nineties.

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the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Size doesn't matter

No, it would be:

main(){}

No need for an explicit successful return, it's implied. It's also (theoretically) more portable if you ever encounter some system where success is indicated by something other than 0.

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Are Indians too stupid to be trusted with free Internet?

the spectacularly refined chap

Careful with the allegations of imperialist attitudes

Now, even if you find Facebook the company a self-serving, sanctimonious and creepy organisation – as I do – the decision is troubling, as it suggests that colonial thinking is alive and well, particularly amongst the Whole Earth-shopping chattering classes.

The campaign against free internet implies that the poor are too stupid to be allowed a choice, and must be saved from making that choice.

India is the world's largest democracy. They can cope with a few lobbyists and come to their own decisions. It is the assumption that those former colonials are somehow unable to sort through the arguments and come to their own decision that shows contempt to the people and government of India. If the allegation that the ban removes the decision from India's hands then why do they protest so loudly when India makes that decision for itself. The US foreign policy version of democracy ("Do whatever you like provided we agree with you") is a sham, not people coming to their own decisions about issues that affect heir own communities. No, they have looked at the issue and made a decision. That is their right and their right alone.

I can't even say I disagree with them, although I don't have strong feelings either way. Some of the technical restrictions are arbitrary at best - for example a blanket cap on the size of images regardless of whether it is a small icon or a company logo on one hand or a photo of a painting for arts education or a highly complex technical illustration on the other. Far from allowing Indians to trade with each other, the restrictions on encryption and requiring content to be cacheable effectively make that impossible. Oh, you'll be able to get around that, just give give Facebook their 15%. No you don't have any choice in that, because you can't afford to forget those 300 million users on the platform in your home market. Nor can they switch to an alternative platform, since those are now premium services and the cost of them has risen out of reach.

Take off the rose tinted spectacles and it is not a no brainer, as Orlowski admits this is not being done out of altruism. It shows nothing but those very imperialist attitudes if you believe that India is somehow unable to weigh the pros and cons and come to an informed decision.

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Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: "That's not recommended for performance-intensive drivers"

Its RS-232, I'd hardly call 192 kbps 'high-performance'.

Bandwidth != performance. The other half of the measure is latency and RS-232 wins hands down.

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'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Hard and fast

Oh, did you want your single-purpose unikernel app to write to your production database?

Where is your hypervisor now?

Precisely where it should be: staying out of the way.

If you build access control into your clients come back when you have something meaningful to all.

The more software you have involved the greater the vulnerable surface. How many 0 days are in your operating system? How many affect you if there is no OS?

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the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Hard and fast

So you go from the real-OS situation where it takes a flaw in something like a device driver, to a DOS world where it takes a flaw LITERALLY ANYWHERE. I take it you're one of those "what good are static types? I'm clever!" guys.

No, it has to be a flaw in the app that breaks through the built-in protection provided by the hypervisor. That needs to target some vulnerability in the hypervisor... so no different to running on a conventional OS then.

Only of course if your app runs on a bare hypervisor rather than a conventional hypervisor/OS/app stack you only have a single layer of vulnerability rather than two. You also have only a single e.g. layer of memory management running rather than two, and that running mostly in silicon rather than needing another emulated software support on top - yes, even with the assistance of hardware virtualisation.

No, it's not for everyone but for a VM that is only running a single app I can't see the issue.

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Secret

Given that everything is recorded in Hansard, I don't think secrecy is an issue

Not everything, any MP can put forward a motion to hold the session in camera at any time and if passed then proceedings are indeed secret. It isn't even a rarely used power, although it tends to be for obstruction the main business of the day than because of any sensitivity about what is being debated.

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Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

the spectacularly refined chap

Rule 3: Functions should be curried.

Rationale: This makes it easier to reason about the code.

I've never seen that used as a justification, curried and tuple forms are essentially equivalent in terms of analysis, indeed it's easy enough to convert between them. Rather curried functions are one of the bits of scaffolding at the heart of true functional programming, i.e. functions as first class objects. Partial application of curried functions is one of the key methods of advancing code re-use by making a general function specific in a given context.

e.g. to add four to each of a list of numbers on SML:

fun curry f a b = f(a,b)

val input = [3, 6, 9, 12, 15]

val input_plus_4 = map (curry (op +) 4) input;

For the uninitiated:

"op +" converts the built in + operator into tuple form, i.e. a + b becomes +(a,b).

curry (op +) uses the curry function we supply to convert that into curried form: + a b.

(curry (op +) 4) creates a function which supplies an implied first parameter: + 4 b.

map (curry (op +) 4) supplies that new function as a parameter to the map function, which returns a function which applies it to each item in a list.

map (curry (op +) 4) input then applies that final function to the input and returns a new list.

I wouldn't have said that's any easier to analyse, but it certainly allows for complex ideas to be expressed quickly and succinctly.

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Intel aims for PC-style position in drones, robots and wearables

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: they've lost already

Intel have missed the boat apart from small places where their ability to integrate stuff at the silicon level might come in handy.

I don't really see that. If anything Intel are constrained by their sheer size, they can't chase down every little niche. If you look at their SoCs they are generally focussed on minimising the BoM on a PC-style system: If you need a few GB of DDR3, SATA, PCIe etc they're good to go. Something that looks less like a PC they don't have much to offer.

ARM and to a lesser extent MIPS win on their diversified supply chain with each vendor tailoring their offering with a much tighter focus. You get a rough idea what you want, say a 32 bitter with this much RAM, this much GPIO and these interfaces. You then go out shopping. Can't do that for Intel.

As Flocke Kroes suggests the price point for Intel is all wrong for the smallest systems: ARM may have a e.g. a $3 offering that pus everything on chip. The Intel offering costs $15 and needs external memory and storage on a high-speed circuit board on top.

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