141 posts • joined Wednesday 19th August 2009 02:12 GMT
if that's your attitude, don't be surprised if you have no friends and no one to talk to
You must be trolling.
seriously the most important thing I learnt about party/social situations was that whatever I said really didn't matter. In the sense that even if I made some embarrassing conversational dud, they would not remember in 1 or 2 days time. People meet dozens of people per year, and most memories do not stick. So why worry about it. Kind of like the difference between how you fee everyone must be watching your embarrassment at age 14, and what you realize at age 34, which is that no one's looking and no-one gives a damn if your fly is undone/you have VPL/whatever.
Don;t worry, be happy.
It's a harder problem that you might think...
There are really two problems here, one is the problem of retrieval over a time span of about one human, say 80 years, and the other is about designing systems that permit information retrieval over really long spans, like 10,000 years.
We are barely getting to grips with the first one, but we have at least learnt some lessons. For example, binary blobs are really bad, whereas text formats are pretty good. Not perfect (how many people can still read EBCDIC?) but fairly trivially decodable.
The other problem fairly rapidly descends into a spiral argument even if you assume the existence of a long-lived storage medium. (Aside: clay tablets seem to do remarkably well!!) Let's say you write something in French or English. Who's to say in 10K years anyone will understand that language? And if you write a decoder, what do you write it in? There is a project called Rosetta (see the WP page) that tries to tackle this issue, but it's not easy.
Finally, and then I'll shut up: the quality *today* of content or items has no bearing of the importance in the *far future* of the same. Think how much we have learnt through archaeologists digging through middens (i.e. sh**-heaps) and turning up bits of junk that tell us so much. Whose to say that a future digital archaeologist won't unearth "Charlie Bit Me" and explain how late 20th century families worked?
Re: Out of the box
I'll bite. My son upgraded from win 7 to 8 and ended up dual-booting into Ubuntu after about a year of instability. Funnily enough it wasn't the metro UI that killed it for him, it was the slowdown.
Web browsers run like molasses. Chrome in particular could never decide if it wanted to run in Metro mode or Desktop mode but in any case ran like a dog no matter what we tried. IE was just as bad.
The memory management is...not completely ironed out. In Win 8 when you flip between apps the old app is put on ice and its memory freed up (a la Ctrl-Z/kill -STOP in *nix). But what we found was that the old apps would quietly slurp up memory until you really had run out of juice, whereupon everything ground to a halt. It was 1975 and System III UNIX all over again as far as I was concerned.
The task manager still (STILL!) doesn't tell you the truth. Or rather, by the time it does, it's too late. You log in, watch the hourglass, see your disk light futzing around, and you have no way to tell what is the cause because by the time you can get Task Manager to tell you anything the disk I/O has gone away. Why Windows still has this problem in 2013 I have no idea.
He liked the metro UI, and I thought it was OK. I find the new start button a dubious benefit. It reminds me of those incompetent people who spray files all over their desktop screen instead of using real folders and then wonder why it takes ten minutes to log in.
I'm going to be watching closely to see how often he needs to boot back into Windows.
Net net, Apple's accountants and lawyers are way smarter than the Senate Finance Committee
So let's see, the US political system created the labyrinthine tax system that we have today, and when Apple found a way around it, they threw a hissy fit saying that wasn't the spirit of the law. Since when did the spirit of the law has any force? You want something on the books, you better jolly well write it in the statute.
I disagree with Rand Paul and the Tea Party on pretty much everything, but he is bang on this time. Apple played by the rules, they were just smarter than the pols writing them.
I think I would prefer IBM
If I had a ton of money and a truly mission critical app, I think I would rather entrust it to IBM, who have been doing this stuff for 40 years, rather than Oracle, who have been doing it for about four. Just sayin'.
Ellison deserves it
I am no fan of Oracle, and Ellison may be a class-A jerk, but I have no problem with him, or Ballmer, or their ilk earning megabucks. Love 'em or loath them, these guys stuck with their business from the start, and paid their dues.
I do have a problem with the majority of CEOs who get the nod because of the old boy network and proceed to slurp up vast sums of money whilst not materially changing their organization's fortunes, that of their workers or the world by one iota.
Re: If it's possible...
1. Because it is ridiculously, insanely cheap to buy "real" weaponry. This site is has pretty good data (including citations): http://www.havocscope.com/black-market-prices/ak-47/.
2. People in conflict zones *do* make their own weapons in the way you describe. See here for some examples: http://englishrussia.com/2007/06/04/chechen-self-made-weapons/
Re: Cult of Celebrity
Every one knows it was Ann Droid. Though rumors that it was Andy Roid have also circulated.
Does it has to be because of internal warfare?
iOS 7 will be late because it has the future of Apple riding on it.
Even the fanbois must admit that the rate of innovation --real, wow!-moment innovation-- has slowed to a crawl in the smartphone market. iOS 7 must innovate in UI design and more importantly provide adequate hooks for the next generation of iDevices, with whatever they come with. The stakes are tremendous.
If anyone needs another reminder, recall that Apple just issued billions of dollars worth of debt with 30 year terms. They are essentially claiming that they can stay relevant and profitable for several technology lifetimes. One hell of a bet.
If iOS7 shows up with a significant flaw, Cook is gone.
Money needs to talk
Poor Oracle. Thought they were getting one of Sun's crown jewels and it turns out to be made of paste. I feel sorry for them.
Either Java security is fundamentally broken (in the architectural sense), which I doubt, or the implementation is just really bad, or it is just old - 10 years behind the current vanguard of threats. I suspect the latter.
That being so, things will not improve until some Very Large Commercial Entity - ie someone who is paying Oracle *tons* of money to license Java -- publically announces that they intend to junk it because of these issues. The prospect of losing bid ol' chunks of revenue might wake them up.
Separate thread: have we all now given up on any write-once run-anywhere model? .Net was never a contender (mono notwithstanding) and Java seems to have an outbreak of security-herpes every month. Is there nothing else out there?
Nice try, but...
The criteria for me is really whether a design changed the way I thought about computers. So a ZX Spectrum really doesn't cut it for me. In no particular order:
5. The Cray 1A. (Criteria: "you mean it comes with seats?!")
4. Thinking Machines CM-5. The most badass blinkenlights ever.
3. Sinclair ZX-81. A keyboard on a computer instead of DIP switches? Outrageous.
2. SGI Indy. I have yet to recover from the visual effect of seeing the purple peril on my desk the day after we migrated from the venerable sparcstations. Though SGI do lose house points for the O2 toaster design.
1. The ThinkPad 701. Of butterfly keyboard vintage. The video of the keyboard opening still elicits a wow! from anyone who sees it.
Re: As odd as it sounds
The rot started when Microsoft merged the 95 and NT codebase. They confused merged the codebase with merging the OS experience, and the consumerization of Windows started. Coupled with the rise of Apple and Microsoft's terrible, cloying, embarrassing insecurity when put up against the cool kids, and it all went south.
For some reason -- maybe cos I'm reading a book on the Vietnam War-- the word quagmire springs to mind. Ditch Metro, lose an immense amount of face, and have the stock price take a harsh beating; or grind through to the end, annoy big swathes of people, and lose stock value by attrition. No easy answers. Maybe a Windows Plus! Pack needs to be brought to market that let's people skin it how they like.
because they had a second chance
it got broken because deep in someone's psyche, the fact registered that this was writable storage and could be updated.
i suspect that if the samsung's head of dev had been told, "this code will be immutably burnt into the next 4 million chips", and not "this chip is like a flash drive", quality might have been higher. Hardware companies tend to focus quite well when the prospect of a mass recall is on the cards.
"The effects of safe-guards on software quality" - there are a good few PhD theses in that topic, from psychology to CompSci.
C'mon now, are you a geek or an accountant who stumbled across The Register thinking it was a blog about double-entry bean counting?
1. Because we want to build something, not merely consume other people's inventions.
2. Because yesterday's technology to you is good enough for the rest of the world where people can't afford a quad-core whatever
3. Because the opportunity cost and penalty for failure are tiny - I can stomach the loss of a pi more than I can my laptop
4. Because geeks are some of the most innovative artisans on the planet, and this is our calling
5. Because it's there.
One size doesn't fit all, surely
The sysadmin's editor of choice doesn't and probably shouldn't be the developer's, surely?
When I'm called in to fix some box that some git has deep-sixed, I want something predictable, small and lightweight. That normally means vi, which gets bonus points for working in line mode for when faeces and fan are intimately acquainted.
On the other hand when I'm noodling around in some XML monstrosity, like a web page that has passed through the seventh circle of the Inferno and is now in Purgatory, I want something that does all the beautification, indenting, tag matching and suchlike for me. I can use vi, and sometimes out of laziness/muscle-memory I do, but the other editors are better. I am not a big fan of notepad++ but it works.
Then there are the monster log files, and here I have so far failed to find a way for vi to play. Editors like Visual SlickEdit don;t attempt to load the whole file, so they load a chunk quickly and then quietly load the chunks around your cursor. vi on the other hand tries to slurp it all in and then falls over.
Glorious to see how quickly the comment thread goes off the rails
I see the missiles have started raining down. So let's see if I can play referee for a moment.
- Miguel de Icaza is/is not a talented developer; is/is not the bees knees. Referee says: irrelevant.
- Mac OS X is easy to use, and provides lots of "it just works" sensations along with the warm glow of UNIX. Referee says: damn right it does, but for the simple reason that the hardware is a closed system, and you are paying a premium for the experience. That's Apple's MO, for good or bad.
- Desktop Linux doesn't come close to the Mac OS experience. Referee says, WTF should it? It's nothing short of a miracle that it comes remotely as close as it does: the hardware is random (the combinations in the PC universe are orders of magnitude more than in the generations of Mac), there is no single entity in control, and you are not paying a premium for the offering.
Windows works well on modern hardware because the WHDC group at MSFT works with hardware vendors to make sure that their kit plays nice. Want to join our party? Then you play by these rules. Linux doesn't have that. Perhaps it should.
Quite so, and it blows their sanctimonious piffle sky high
What annoys the crap out of me about non-repairable devices is that at the same time as Vendor X is touting their green credentials ("Hey, look at us! Our factory is staffed by eight-year olds that emit zero carbon!") they pump out stuff that is non-upgradeable and non-repairable and therefore destined for the junk pile in only a few years. Or else it ends up at an electronics recycler in China turning towns like Guiyu into toxic death zones.
The greenest thing you can do as a manufacturer is to make your stuff repairable.
Not to quibble or anything, but
I think the award needs to take into account the ratio of gear to living space. After all the 42U of gear in my garage is not as cool (hot?) as the guy who has crammed 42U of hotness into his tiny...top floor apartment.
Loose journalism ?
This line caught my eye, as a juicy bit of grade-A whining:
'He criticised the media for putting out the "loose" message to
uninstall Java while admitting there was a security issue with the
runtime in web browsers.'
Journalists can be scummy and inaccurate but in this case they reported
accurately. Java security is broken. Maybe one day it'll be fixed. Until then,
you can sidestep a whole boatload of grief by uninstalling it.
What's loose about that, Oracle?
so what happens to the bricked boxes?
Pretty damn snappy response by the coders there. Very nice. But if you are one of the unlucky people who just bricked their laptop, what are your options? It's not like you can boot anything any more to even turn off the bad behavior.
Are Samsung going to earn themselves some brownie points by offering a repair scheme/program? Or are they going to take Redmond's coin and hide behind "well, we said that only Windows was supported"?
I've got a favorite reason to upgrade to Office 2010 at least
Format Painter arrived in Outlook.
Back then I had a job that required me to send a lot of emails of the form: "Press the ! key. Now type in fmt -w 72 foo bar"
Being able to quickly apply gobs of (in this case) Courier New, 10pt, black formatting was a godsend.
Perhaps I'm just easily pleased.
Yes..and ignore all the skim-readers who see "Word...PDF" together and come up with some oh-so-witty response about how FoxIt/Ghostscript//LO/OO has been able to do that for ages. That's an OUTPUT issue that is long solved. But being able to get a PDF and load it INTO Word and actually do something useful with it is a big deal.
On the other hand...the prospect of converting a bazillion high-powered Excel- and Word-fu macros from VBA into whatever the new dev platform is, is...worrying. Time to hit MSDN and start researching, I think.
A word of encouragement for the engineers...
I bet the loneliest job on the planet right now is that of Battery Power Systems Engineer at Boeing. I imagine the CEO of Boeing is not in a happy place right now, and CEOs under stress tend not to look kindly upon engineers who honestly say, "I do not know what the cause is, I am still researching."
Keep up the search, buddy. I'll raise my glass, one engineer to another.
A little rebranding, Sir?
Y'know, Outlook Web Access isn't too bad these days. It used to be risible but MS really worked on it. To the extent that packaging OWA into a Windows Store app would be a quick and dirty way to show "Outlook" running on Surface. Kind of like how you can roll a set of HTML pages into an app on the Apple App Store.
Of course, OWA only works if the Exchange priests have done their thing...which Microsoft will be only too happy to tell them what to do.
Personally, I still miss elm.
One of the Holy Trinity
I took a strange route into technology, and have a very soft spot for the three things that got me there:
1. 1-2-3 for DOS. My first job was cataloging every last piece of hardware in a large business using 123. The '/' key is burned into my brain. Luckily, Excel supports '/' as a proxy for Alt, so it gets to be useful: if your hand is on the right side of the keyboard it's quicker to do slash-<key> than Alt-<key> as you don't have to move your thumb from over the space bar. (No doubt I'll be downvoted for being a bad typist...)
2. WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. How I hated the first three months with this beast. And how sad I was to give it up after years of use.
3. SunOS 4. I loved my little pizza box with the screen the size of a small washing machine. <Sniff.>
Re: Microsoft's vision -locked down computing
Surely you meant to pick the troll icon. But I use a computer to become more efficient, not to simply push bits of paper around using the approved tools. Microsoft of all people should know this deep in their soul because they were the prime beneficiaries of the move away from our-way-or-the-highway, white-coated priesthood of corporate computing int he 1970s. What we see now, with people running dropbox and google docs and messenger and god knows what else is that same drive to use computers on their own terms and not be dictated to.
The day we all restrict ourselves to approved apps and never look outside the box is the day our computers become irrelevant and the next upstart company gets their big break.
And we wonder why techies get no respect
Jesus H Christ, with a comment board like this is it any surprise that people think we're troglodytes?
Windows Server used to be crap. It isn't any more. It's not perfect either.
Linux used to be crap. It isn't any more. It's not perfect either.
For whatever task you have in mind, you may find Windows slightly less crap at doing it than Linux. Or you might find Linux slightly less crap. The end.
There - fixed it for you.
Re: Lenovo Thinkpads are not IBM Thinkpads
Wouldn't it be safer to stop p**sing off your daughter so much?
1992 called, they want their bugs back
Directory traversal? Really? It's been many years since I noodled in the world of web servers, but: what kind of site or platform allows this sort of thing by default in this day and age? Isn't all that URL munging automatically normalized and junked as early in the request cycle as possible?
Does anybody, really, do time correctly?
Pretty poor of Apple. Without wishing to defend them, time is really hard to do right.
Sure there are cases where the programmer makes basic errors (for example, next year = getCurrentDate() + 365...you know the types of dodgy assumption I mean).
But thinking on it some more, does a library that actually copes with how time is really used in the software world even exist? I was reading through this link about falsehoods that programmers believe about time (http://infiniteundo.com/post/25326999628/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-time) and I can't think of a single library that could cope with even half of these.
Time is hard. Really hard.
Re: Bad car choices
A virtual Porsche on a volkswagen bare metal hypervisor?.
Raising a glass from the Windows side of da house
A pint to Larry, and a chaser to ActiveState and Strawberry for solid Windows ports. I spend a lot of my days in Windows noodling around spreadsheets and having Perl to do the things that Excel can't or won't do without ridiculous amounts of chicanery is a lifesaver. Export, munge, import, job done.
The usual nonsense
The ban is utterly ridiculous, but in true Brit style can I suggest a compromise?
1. Use your devices all you like.
2. But no talking.
3. And no one else must be able to hear what you are doing with it.
So you can text/tweet/email all you like but the rest of us can get some sleep/do some work/concentrate on doing whatever.
Penalty for violation - confiscation of said device by grumpy, armed air marshal.
'Course, take someone's phone away and they'll be the first to whine about their f**king first amendment rights.
Re: Still in use
If there are any readers in the mid-Atlantic states in the US: is it me, or does the Giant supermarket chain use OS/2 for their POS systems? Every time I go shopping I end up staring mesmerized at the remarkably OS/2-ish window chrome whilst the PFY scanning my groceries wonders what kind of nut job I am.
Re: My boss...
Not as daft as it sounds, really. Well, daft from a usability standpoint, but not running IP on your network would certainly prevent the usual hacks. But it'd be simpler to not use the 'net in the first place.
Sent using NetWare 3.13
Re: nowt wrong with a bit of constructive criticism
I have less and less tolerance for big swinging dick developers. Their talent is wonderful to behold but real life on Planet Earth requires a modicum of social skills. And sooner or later you will run into a problem: the uber-developer will make a call that everyone is too cowed to point out is a terrible idea.
Nobody should really care, but for the lock-in
<old fart alert>
My beef with all this stuff is that it breaks every rule of UNIX design. A window manager should handle windows on the screen. A file manager should handle files. I should be able to slot in whatever my favorite one of each is and have them work. Instead, with GNOME and KDE, I have a gazillion processes running even when my computer is doing sweet FA.
Ladies and gentlemen, less is more. Small programs that do one thing well and use clean interfaces is the gold standard of design. In UI design it turns a religious war back into a personal aesthetic. Which is as it should be.
</old fart alert>
1970 called, they want their OS back
1. The GUI tools emit powershell commands so you can look and learn? Great, now I am having a flashback to AIX's admin tool, smit, which did exactly the same thing. If it has a little running man icon I'm jumping out the window now.
2. MS recommend running everything virtualized? Those MVS jokers over in Armonk must be laughing their heads off. Oh wait, they're all so old they live in Florida now.
Kudos to Microsoft, but....plus ca change.
Atari ST for its contribution to music
I'd like to have seen the Atari ST in here for no other reason that it was the first reasonably priced computer to have a MIDI port and a way to do something useful with it. There were a *lot* of STs floating around recording studios in the late 80s and I'm sure that the pop music of the time would have sounded very different without people being able to noodle around a sequencer and drum machine on their 'tari.
Part way there already?
IIRC, there are already smartphones certified for Top Secret use, eg the Sectera Edge beloved by our own President: http://www.gdc4s.com/sectera-edge-%28sme-ped%29-proddetail.html
Only works as long as TV remains the national fireplace
Big TVs make sense when the whole family gathers round to watch together. But if they don't, say, if Mr and Mrs Smith and little Johnny consume their TV individually on tablets, what's the point?
As far as OLED and 4K goes, expect to see some legal pressure from the movie studios. At that sort of resolution there is going to be less and less point to showing up at the movie theater.
As a transplanted Brit, nothing makes me miss home more than shopping in an American home improvement store.
- a '2x4' piece of wood is nowhere near 2" x 4". Not remotely close. You never get used to this.
- their machine screws and bolts have ridiculous measurements like "#10 1 1/2". Take a deep sigh and think lovingly about how easy it is to order an M6 bolt in Blighty
- their plumbing supplies are wacky. They love soldered joints and treat compression fittings like the redheaded stepchild. Whoever thought it was a good idea to let weekend warriors loose with a blowtorch in a confined space in wood framed houses? The mind boggles.
On the bright side, they do have some seriously badass power tools.
Re: Jeff Minter!
Riding a llama, no doubt.
Hard to tell what really went down at the joint really isn't it? Were the two diners eating straight out of the serving bowls? Were they being disruptive? Or were they simply guys with big appetites?
Seems to me that a more elegant solution would be to do one of the following
- limit the number of bowls/plates'-worth of nosh to something large but reasonable - eg 5 dinner plates' worth.
- get some publicity for the joint by challenging the two guys to some sort of eating contest. If they win, they get free stuff, and if they lose, they are banned. Something along those lines. The place gets a spot on the local TV, the boys get bragging rights and the owner gets to push their food at the public.
It's hard to say if the owner waited until they were mid-nosh to ban them, but a quiet word in their ear after their last meal would also have been a simple solution.
Does anyone care?
At least some of the patent is for an engineering process, so I have no problem with that. It's a step up from the usual patent-the-bleedin'-obvious crap that makes lawyers happy.
My question is, does anyone care? I mean, suppose Apple do come out with a carbon-fiber laptop. That seems like a step backwards for me. The design aesthetic for Apple is architectural - "glass and steel" (well, aluminum). Why would they try and do something from 2005's design stylebook?
Re: A bit OT, but...
Well, yes, the garden is nice, but some of us are just contrarian. Mrs. Zongo has a NAS with 100,000 songs on it ranging from archaic wavs she ripped in 1998 to mp3s to aacs and god knows what else. I just want a system that lets me, the consumer, choose what program to use to view, organize and play this monstrosity.
Perhaps there is no alternative but to spend a weekend playing with a dozen winamp clones and whatnot. Ah well.
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