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* Posts by Chris Wareham

542 posts • joined 1 May 2007

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IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels

Chris Wareham
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"Does anyone's data centre actually look like this?"

When I was at the Press Association that's what our machine room looked like in London. It would probably have qualified as a museum, since it had some absolutely ancient machines still chugging away. These included a mysterious beige box that no one dared turn off since it had defied all attempts to hook up a console to it or login over the network.

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

Chris Wareham
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Re: coding

Linus Torvalds first language is Swedish.

Despite being of Swedo-Finnish descent, I think Linus speaks Finnish as his first language.

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

Chris Wareham
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Re: Hmm on the Alfa analogy

Every Alfa owner I have known has loved the cars but ditched them as they spent more time getting fixed.

Yup, typical Italian engineering - great to look at, but falls apart rapidly. Reminds me of when my Italian wife asked her Mum what brand of washing machine to buy. "Indesit, they last very well, a couple of years at least" was the answer. So I bought a Bosch, since I expect a washing machine to last a bit longer than a couple of years ...

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Dear Reg: What is a 'Lag' and a 'Jacksey'?

Chris Wareham
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Re: You have got it all wrong....

Why would you even have wheels fitted to your bog?

Tsk. You're thinking of a khazi, not a carsie.

As for confusing slang, when my dear old dad moved out of London in the 1970s he went to buy fish and chips. Just before paying, he asked if he could have a wally as well. Almost ended in a fight as the chip shop owner thought he was being mocked in some way until my dad pointed out that "wally" is East End slang for a large gherkin (pickled cucumber for non-Brits I suspect).

Then there was the time he went to the doctors complaining about a pain up his aris ...

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Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Chris Wareham
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Re: Good performance? Scalable?

I think Java has gained a lot of bad press and stigma regarding performance, especially in the early years

Some of that stigma was deserved in the early days, since assumptions had been made in the design and implementation of Java that turned out to be incorrect and there wasn't yet the experience to know how to code in Java most effectively. Much of this has been sorted out, a simple example being the revised Collections classes that no longer synchronise every method call in the most commonly used classes. The JVM has also evolved to be a technical wonder, and the garbage collection has been reworked to provide optimal performance in most real world scenarios.

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Chris Wareham
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Installing Oracle 11.2.0.4 on Linux right now and the installer is using Java 1.5.0_51

Oracle are pretty awful about updating their own stuff, although if it's only the installer itself using an old version of Java then that's not so bad. If it's *installing* a 1.5 JRE then that's not good - even when Oracle 11 was first released Java 1.6 had been out for ages.

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Chris Wareham
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The author of the article clearly knows little about the current state of JavaFX, as it's evolved into a much cleaner alternative to Swing.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: Good performance? Scalable?

I think that C++ is more intuitive to write and easier to debug

You're either trolling or need some heavy medication. The number of books on the gotchas of C++ (the "Effective ..." and "Exceptional ..." ones for example) are an indicator of how unintuitive C++ is. As for debugging, ever tried to debug C++ template code?

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Chris Wareham
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We're writing in Java 6 with a lot of stuff still in Java 5.

Do you mean you're still deploying on Java 5 and 6 runtimes (both of which are no longer supported)? If so, why? Haven't had any issues moving three massive systems to Java 7 - no code changes necessary, and the new features such as "try with resources" are great.

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Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

Chris Wareham
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It's not envy of the rich, it's anger at the unfairness of those who cheat to get and stay there.

Exactly this. If you're wealthy enough you can avail yourself of services from "wealth protection advisors" who will help you to use things like blind trusts, LLPs (limited liability partnerships), tax havens and various other wheezes. Take the owner of a certain newspaper for example. He claims non-domiciled status despite having his main home in the UK and spending almost all his time here, reducing his tax liability massively. Then he has his money in elaborately structured networks of trusts and "brass plate" companies in tax havens that obscure what he owns so much that the Revenue have no hope of finding it.

The Revenue try to close down loopholes, but the number of tax inspectors has been dramatically cut in the last few years leaving them helpless in the face of large numbers of rich accountancy firms that themselves exploit things like LLPs. These in particular should be scrapped, as they not only *intentionally* protect accountants and auditors from ballsing up the auditing of their clients (allowing the likes of Enron to continue for so long) but are the favoured vehicle of international crooks and the corrupt.

SPEFD (See Private Eye For Details).

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Osbo's booze, bingo, biz and big data Budget

Chris Wareham
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Re: Why have I suddenly remembered that R.E.M.

Can't be arsed to check Wiki, but wasn't that just the name they used for a secret gig in London around the time of the Automatic for the People album?

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Chris Wareham
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Bingo duty will be halved by 10 per cent to support bingo clubs' contribution to British culture, apparently.

FFS

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Kent Police fined £100k for leaving interview vids of informants in old cop shop

Chris Wareham
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When I was in my first year at university we used to wander about the abandoned sister building, a derelict Victorian asylum. The NHS had sold it to developers years before, and the developers were hoping the massive building would decay enough that they'd be allowed pull it down despite its heritage status. During our wandering we came across loads of patient records dating from the 1950s up until the early 1980s, complete with photographs. I assume the records were finally destroyed when the building was redeveloped into apartments for the extremely wealthy.

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Chris Wareham
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Re: RS?

What about Machine Mart? Where do you stand on that?

The Machine Mart catalogue? I have to make sure I only read it sitting down so I can hide quite how excited I am.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: Great headline!

Now that's what I call ironmongery.

Sounds like our local locksmiths. Called them out to repair our modern back door, and while they were here I asked if they could fix the almost ninety year old locks and latches on our interior doors. They did so by making new springs and fashioning replacement keys despite not having an original. They worked out the required shape by taking one of the locks apart. It's a family business, with the grandson minding the shop, dad doing the manual work and grandad (who's a sprightly 85 by my reckoning) providing the expertise.

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Kim Dotcom extradition hearings delayed

Chris Wareham
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I get this sneaky feeling that some New Zealanders take stuff too seriously. If I lived there I'd vote for the Mega party

Yup, you shouldn't take politics too seriously, after all it doesn't really impact your daily life and it's not as though previous generations would shake their head in despair after they struggled for something like universal suffrage. So go ahead and waste your vote for a convicted fraudster's vanity political party.

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UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard

Chris Wareham
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Re: Very long term

Really? Can you then point me at the .doc format spec as it was in 1990?

Back in 1990 we were having the same discussions as now and at the time SGML was hopefully going to be the saviour, especially since we had standardised formats for things like tables (the US military DTDs). Trouble was that the editing tools never really took off, and convincing management to support a format we could still easily read in ten or twenty years time was bloody hard. This was for military and commercial data relating to products that would be in use for decades, hence the importance of long term formats.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: Thanks

If a company provided no benefit to anyone, it would go out of business rapidly.

You're ignoring the problem of monopolies. MicroSoft have even been convicted of using their effective monopoly to block out potential rivals to the detriment of consumers.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: Open Source Means Choice

A lot of flawed attacks here. Microsoft's OOXML is also open to anyone to implement

Which version? MicroSoft themselves don't support the standard they managed to railroad through the ISO process. It's also the worst standards document I've ever had to read, and that's saying something since I've worked on a number of systems using ISO or BSI standard formats that are rather awkward (a tape format that only seems to have been used by the EU for example, and even persisted after they moved from actual tape for the storage medium).

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Battle of Bletchley Park: TNMOC chief calls for review of museums' Mexican standoff

Chris Wareham
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Re: Wuh?

To be fair to the BPT personnel, it may be because your friend visited on a day that TNMOC is closed.

He went at the weekend.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: Wuh?

Suggested going to the museum of computing a few weeks ago, but 'er indoors declined saying that a work colleague had recently been and that he'd said not to bother as you don't get to see any computers or encryption gizmos. He'd been told by a member of the Trust staff that the Museum of Computing was closed, and he had to make do with the Trust part of the site. So it seems some of the Trust staff are being *very* deceitful.

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You’re a LIAR and a CHEAT... la-la-la, I can't hear your lawyers

Chris Wareham
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Interactive Lard? Is that a reformed line up?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10oRJz8wDE

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Robots demanding equal API rights? It's just a matter of time

Chris Wareham
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Amazed no one's mentioned the Robot Wars from Judge Dredd:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Robot_Wars

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A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

Chris Wareham
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Re: Sounds like a great conspiracy theory, but...

There may be "a need for better computing, programming and coding skills", but the likes of Silva, Klein and career politicians have used it to create a gravy train for themselves. I very much doubt that many, if any, competent coders will result from this scheme.

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Google's revamped JavaScript engine cures Chrome's stutters

Chris Wareham
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Re: Warm up your engines

call all functions a few thousand times (like warming up an engine) before the app starts, to force the browser to apply the optimized compilation to everything.

That would likely be very naive - a bit like adding indexes to every column in a database. I suspect that Google's engineers will have designed it with various heuristics that mean it will only ever perform optimisation for a subset of your code and to only consume a relative proportion of resources. You might be able to encourage optimisation of a few of what you consider performance critical sections of your code, but like all such optimisations it will be highly dependent on how the V8 engine is implemented. You'd be much better off trying to simplify your code rather than trying to game one particular JavaScript engine.

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Chris Wareham
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Sounds like the same principles used in Java's HotSpot virtual machine. It performs further optimisation on code that is being called frequently, although in the case of Java bytecode it's working on a much lower abstraction than JavaScript code. That said, with things like GWT, JavaScript is becoming more of an "intermediate" language than something you program directly in.

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'Demon Killer' who tied SD card to cat pleads not guilty

Chris Wareham
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This is almost as good as the recent Reg article about the IT guy caught pleasuring himself with a sheep. It's all over our local paper as he's in court at the moment and lives only a few streets away from me. His defence seems to be that he took his clothes off as it was a hot day, but I don't know how rogering an ungulate is supposed to help cool you down ...

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Apple pushes back release date for 'dustbin chic' Mac Pro

Chris Wareham
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Which is fine until you actually use it for commercial work (using Mac OS X) and open yourself up for some major legal action.

Doubt Apple will be testing that grey area of European law any time soon.

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Chris Wareham
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45RPM: "Um, yeah, because the sort of professional who needs a Mac Pro really will be able to make do with a Dell or an HP."

The only "professional" that "needs" a Mac Pro is someone who needs to impress other vacuous idiots with their willingness to buy shiny crap. Plenty of the graphic and video related agencies that I've been to recently have switched to non-Apple hardware, since Apple are focused on the consumer market. As someone else points out above, with Dell and other business oriented PC sellers you can get same day, on site repairs whereas with Apple it's typically a case of sending it to a service centre and waiting a minimum of a week (even if you work near an Apple store, the "geniuses" are really just there to guide clueless consumer users through using their shiny stuff).

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STRIPPED DOWN and EXPOSED: Business kit from the good old days

Chris Wareham
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A staple of radio phone-ins is to invite listeners to share their stories about funny things they found when moving into a new property.

When I moved into my current house the previous owners left a mountain of tat behind. This included an enormous piss soaked dog kennel in a summer house at the bottom of the garden (I hadn't even known about the summer house before moving in, as it was hidden behind a row of trees). In the loft I found a folder full of business cards for bars and clubs in France, all with multi-coloured flag logos and many with the phrase "hairy bears" written in French. I Googled the phrase, and then wished I hadn't.

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ARM posts sterling revenue growth, but moneymen spank it anyway

Chris Wareham
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Re: Fuck the moneymen

Just got a big payoff for mis-sold PPI. Now might be a good time to buy ARM stock with the money ...

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Duracell powers into cloud storage market

Chris Wareham
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I actually find it hard nowadays to find a non-disposable razor with less than 6 blades. Mind you, the missus says they do a wonderful job on my meat & two veg, so there is that ...

Do that too regularly and you'll end up with stubble on your plums that's as harsh as Desperate Dan's chin. Not that I speak from experience. Honest.

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MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery

Chris Wareham
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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Except OSX isn't based on BSD: it's based on Mach with some BSD-alike bits.

The Mach kernel started life as a fork of the BSD kernel, and those "BSD-alike bits" have various copyrights on them that show they are BSD. NeXTStep was Mach and 4.3BSD, later updated with code from 4.4BSD. OS-X was NeXTStep after a major refresh using code from NetBSD, and more recently FreeBSD.

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UK picks Open Document Format for all government files

Chris Wareham
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Can't speak for any other HMRC functions, but I do my tax returns using their online service. My desktop machine at home is a very obscure combination of PowerPC based Apple Mac running Debian Linux, but I've never encountered problems with either the downloaded documentation or web based data entry stuff.

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Multi-platform Java bot marshals ZOMBIE FORCE against spammers

Chris Wareham
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Re: Linux should still be pretty secure

Unfortunately, java applications frequently run as root

Really? Only time I've ever encountered one was a numpty who ran Tomcat as root in order to be able to bind to port 80. Changed to run on 8080 with a port forwarding rule on each machine - as it should be. Never seen a Java client or user application running as root.

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

Chris Wareham
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Re: Surely it can be changed ?

stu 4: I agree. Iain Standen is probably a typical "Rupert", a product of the British Army officer corps where the old school tie are what matters, and the lower ranks are there to be bossed around. As for Signals, they had bugger all to do with wartime Bletchley Park, where much of the key personnel were on secondment from academia and organisations such as the General Post Office.

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Tunguska object came from Mars say Russian boffins

Chris Wareham
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Re: It's BUGS!

Did they make sequels?

Love the first film (and subsequently read the book it was based on), but the sequels are absolutely dire.

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China's Jade Rabbit moon rover might have DIED in the NIGHT after 'abnormality'

Chris Wareham
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Coat

Marx drew a clear distinction between man and other species, so it's arguable that Marx would have considered neither another species or a machine like Jade Rabbit as on the same level as humans. Therefore, it would be consistent with the writings of Marx to consider Jade Rabbit as a tool and therefore not an equal or comrade to its human operators.

I know - I need to get out more. Hence why I'm getting my coat.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: Goodnight Earth. Goodnight humans

Probably not the song you were thinking of, but I've now got PWEI's Beaver Patrol looping around in my brain. Altogether now:

"My favourite way of getting kicks is go down town and hussle chicks ... BEAVER PATROL!"

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Robots? What a bunch of workers...

Chris Wareham
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Anyway don't bother using the PO for parcels. It's cheaper (and often quicker) to order a courier online. Most of them will even come and pick your parcel up instead of you having to trudge over to them.

Unless you pay mega-bucks for DHL or UPS, you'll be using someone like Yodel or Hermes. They farm out deliveries to people using their own car or van and paid peanuts. They're notorious for leaving stuff in unlikely places or not delivering at all. Last Yodel delivery I had was discovered days later in a hanging basket that's above head height near my front door. I'm 6' 4" tall, and can't comfortably reach into the basket so I guess the delivery person threw it in basketball style. No card through the door either.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: GPO snoops

So the idea is that if I'm a terrorist and put a bomb in the parcel, I'll get caught out when the Post Office bloke asks me what I put in the parcel?

It's a bit like the cards they used to dish out shortly before landing on flights headed to the USA. Two questions, asking whether you've ever been convicted of trafficking drugs across international boundaries or committed war crimes between 1939-45.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: GPO snoops

Love the way they now want to know the exact details of what's in a parcel.

And I always tell them it's something that it isn't. No point in being honest, since they never pay out the insurance when they either:

- let one of their light fingered staff thieve it

- leave it on the doorstep of the wrong address (usually in the pouring rain)

- use it as a makeshift football in the depot

I sell my old computer books on Amazon, and earlier this week I told the Post Office drone that a parcel contained a latex gimp costume when it really contained the "ARM Achitecture Reference Manual". Yes, I have no shame and a warped sense of humour.

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Margaret Hodge, PAC are scaring off new biz: Treasury source

Chris Wareham
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Re: How about...

You have to allow companies to offset legitimate expenses against income ... Materials purchased to make the product

Yes, but what Starbucks do is totally artificial. The UK operation buys ridiculously expensive coffee beans from the Swiss operation, since that means they can offset that against UK tax and pay virtually nothing in Switzerland (not a country noted for its coffee plantations).

As for paying to use the Starbucks name, what the f*ck? Starbucks UK is not a franchise, so any payment for using the name is another artificial tax dodge to offset against profits.

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Developers: Behold the bug NOBODY can fix

Chris Wareham
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My brother and some acquaintances went for a Chinese meal in Soho, London a few years back. During the meal the waiting staff took it in turns to come and look at one of my brother's acquaintances and then rapidly depart sniggering. Eventually even the kitchen staff had come to look and laugh. The subject of their amusement asked a waiter what the hell was so funny, and was asked if he knew what the Chinese characters tattooed on his arm meant. He replied that it was supposed to say "strength and courage", but the waiter informed him that the nearest English translation was "nunnery".

Turns out that the tattoo had been done in a place run by an ex-school friend of mine who is now a biker (and once worked as a security contractor in Iraq which he openly admits was for the opportunity to shoot at people). When my brother's acquaintance went to complain he was directed to a sign that said they took no responsibility for mistakes in tattoos containing non-English text. Knowing my ex-school friend I'd suspect he knew exactly what he was writing on the schmuck.

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Chris Wareham
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Shows why you shouldn't have business logic in the presentation layer.

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Chris Wareham
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What's worse - nerd tattoos or significant whitespace in a programming language?

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German frau reports for liver transplant clutching bottle of vodka

Chris Wareham
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Re: sad...

How long before we become like Trig's Broom - every part replaced, but still just the same...

A major part of our tissue is replaced naturally. Our outer skin basically regenerates entirely over a roughly 30 day period for example. Our livers typically regenerate as well, unless subjected to serious illness or abuse.

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Chris Wareham
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Re: I need new glasses

I didn't even parse the "of", thereby making it ...

hospital's suspended head transplants

... which gave me flashbacks to a low budget horror film I saw recently.

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Hazelcast signs Java speed king to its in-memory data-grid crew

Chris Wareham
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I'm guessing that should read with "with nano-seconds access". In the same way that a Renault 4 can get from 0 to 60mph in seconds. 24 seconds to be exact (which surprised me when I just Googled it, as it felt longer than that even on a downward slope).

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Eight EXCELLENT languages for the fondleslab-friendly Intranet of Thingies

Chris Wareham
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We have allowed ourselves to be overtaken by the receding hairline of male pattern mediocrity.

Sounds like you're describing the unfathomable popularity of Radiohead ...

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