* Posts by MacroRodent

1070 posts • joined 18 May 2007

Page:

Your wget is broken and should DIE, dev tells Microsoft

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Nothing new

>People still used FTP?

I still often find it to be the only common way to move files between unlike systems. Even if a better alternative is available for some OS; it may not have been installed by whoever is in charge of the system I need to communicate with. Or there is stupidly configured firewall blocking the way for other methods. I don't think FTP is going away any time soon...

4
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Nothing new

It is the same when you run the FTP command on Windows. After all these years, it still does not understand the "passive" command, which makes FTP work better through firewalls.

19
1

Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

MacroRodent
Silver badge

I don't get it

Why would the use of Android on something else than mobiles change the fair use argument?

9
0

We're going to bring an asteroid fragment into Lunar orbit

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

The technology, once invented, cannot be uninvented. If you can park something around the moon, you can plow something into the Earth.

The same states that can (perhaps) alter the orbits of rocks in space have also the capability of dropping fusion bombs anywhere on Earth. So this does not give me anything extra to worry about...

9
0

#Shadowbrokers hack could be Russia's DNC counter-threat to NSA

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Happy

OT: emojis as icons (Re: The press is already misinterpreting this)

Where's that shaking head emoticon when I need it?

It would in fact be a neat extension, if The Register allowed one to insert any emoji character as the forum posting icon, which would then be blown up to the usual icon size.

0
0

Nokia taps former Rovio man Rantala to market relaunch

MacroRodent
Silver badge
FAIL

You got it backwards

HMD global Oy, the parent company of Nokia,

Say WHAT? HMD Global just tries to relaunch the "Nokia" phone brand, but it is most certainly not the parent of Nokia the company (which is still going strong in network equipment). Nokia just licenses the brand to HMD, and has a representative in HMD's board.

Sloppy reporting.

3
0

First FreeBSD 11.0 rc lands

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Linux

Drivers

instead of fixing long standing but difficult issues like FOSS GPU drivers STILL sucking,

Doesn't the blame here belong more to information-hiding hardware vendors?

(If I were the Great Dictator, I would prohibit the sale of any computing-related hardware, unless full programming information is made available for at most nominal cost, and without NDA restrictions.)

5
2

Video surveillance recorders riddled with zero-days

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: The joy of The Internet of Things

Isn't it about time we just assume that the default setting is security = nonexistent?

Looks like it. The problem is, security problems are not visible to most customers, until too late, and the vendors escape any liability. Same thing has happened in comparable situations with other technology. Cars used to be "unsafe at any speed", until increased awareness and regulation improved the situation.

1
0

Australian spooks' email guide banishes MS Word macros, JavaScript

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Huh?

>Honestly, the best protection against macro viruses now is to be running an up to date version of Word. It won't run macros unless you, the user, explicitly enable them.

Not sure if that helps against a good phishing attack. If the attachment comes from a plausible-looking sender, the recipient is likely to enable the macros anyway, especially if it looks like the document cannot be read otherwise.

Really, the only solution is using document formats with no macro feature, or at most macros that are strictly limited to operating on the document contents itself, with no kind of programmable access to the file system or network at all.

10
0

My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Stupid quotes

"LibreOffice isn't quite as fast as Word, but it's getting there. What is yet to be determined is not only whether or not I can defang all the "smart quote"-like stupidity and either have it preserve my settings through upgrades or make the settings changes something easy that can be injected at boot."

Yes, unfortunately LibreOffice also comes with these "I know better than you do how you want to write" settings enabled by default, but they can be turned off ("Tools->Autocorrect Options" and "Tools->Spelling and Grammar...->Options..."), and so far it has been very good at retaining these settings over upgrades (however, have not yet tried the latest version).

2
0

Microsoft silently kills dev backdoor that boots Linux on locked-down Windows RT slabs

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Microsoft send an incoherent message

But "Microsoft Love's Linux".....

When they see an advantage in doing so, like in cloudy stuff, where Linux currently rules (the "embrace" phase). So there is no inconsistency.

Anyway, from Microsoft's point of view, this was about fixing a bug. Supporting Linux on these tablets was never promised.

6
1

Lenovo scrambling to get a fix for BIOS vuln

MacroRodent
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Not Again!!! - Because ...

"There's no hardware you can trust."

Actually, there could be: a mechanical switch or jumper that would be connected directly to the write-enable pin of the firmware memory. Low-tech, and would keep the control in the hands of the owner of the machine, instead of Microsoft, which is of course we have the overly complicated UEFI "secure boot" instead. (And when you hand a complex spec to a vendor, it is guaranteed to screw up the implementation).

2
0

Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Holmes

32-bit compatibility

From article: "and if users desperately need to run 32-bit legacy applications, the'll have to do so in containers or virtual machines."

A strange statement. Actually, the x86_64 version of the Linux kernel runs 32-bit applications perfectly transparently, if the distribution provides the 32-bit versions of shared libraries, and they are installed. Or at least that is how it is in Red Hat and OpenSUSE, where 32-bit libs live in /lib and /usr/lib, and 64-bit libs in /lib64 and /usr/lib64, so installing them side by side is no problem.

I'm not that familiar with Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives. Maybe they use /lib and /usr/lib also in 64-bit systems, in which case I can see why they have extra trouble here. Too bad, they could have avoided it.

4
0

Alleged Brit hacker Lauri Love bailed amid US extradition battle lull

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Crime and punishment

A Finnish paper noted yesterday that in the U.S, Lauri Love could face 99 years in jail, whereas in Finland he would face 5 years at the worst, but probably less. U.S prison sentences are completely out of proportion.

21
1

Are you an Olympian of software, a titan of tech? Prove it in our coding competition

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Clarification: file format?

The rules ask for the source as a zipped text file, but there are two common text file representations: CRLF terminated lines, like on Windows, and LF terminated lines, like on Linux and other Unix-style systems (I am not sure if any Macs still use CR-terminated lines, I believe the older ones did). Can the judges handle all of these, or must the entry be normalized to one specific format?

0
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

One-file rule

The rules say each program must be submitted as a single zipped text file. This is a bit unnatural for Java, which requires a 1-1 relationship between public classes and source files, although probably feasible in this case. The problem does not appear to require a complex program. Just use a single public class.

1
0

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Make bananas, not bombs

but the war will never end as long as NATO exits.

Sadly, NATO is the only thing preventing Russia from gradually subjugating Western Europe. I wish it weren't so, but with the current Russian regime, I see no other option.

8
1

Microsoft releases open source bug-bomb in the rambling house of C

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Boffin

@sed gawk Re: C is not an applications programming language

Thanks for your comments. some replies: The delay loop at the start of some versions is meant to bring a low-resolution (one second) clock function to the next tick, so the actual measured code starts just after a second has flipped over. This reduces jitter a bit. However, I'm not sure how much it mattered. For example the difference between Python 2.7 and Javascript on node.js was very large, any clocking method would have detected it. But I agree that using the time libraries of each language is one potential source of error in close cases, because they may be implemented more or less efficienly. This can be mitigated by doing a lot of computation between peeking at the clock, like the test programs in fact try to do.

About the dynamically allocate array in C++: I did it that way to keep the versions in different languages closer, and believe it should not have any effect. Firstly, the allocation and deallocation of the array occurs outside the measurement loop, so that overhead is not included. Secondly, any C or C++ compiler worth its salt will keep the base address of the allocated array in a CPU register during a tight loop like this, so there is no difference between accessing it and a stack-allocated array (which would in fact also be accessed indirectly via a register).

0
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: C is not an applications programming language

I'd be wary of drawing conclusions from implementing half a page of code in various languages and running it.

I fully agree one should not draw too many conclusions from microbenchmarks like this, but it helps get a feel of how various features behave in different languages or compilers.

I also find it hard to believe that you'll outperform C or C++ in an integer focused task, using a JVM language. I'd be very interested to replicate your results, if you provide some details on your methodology.

After thinking about it, I did not find hard to understand. Java is a statically typed language, and modern JVM:s do JIT, where they can apply all the same optimizations as the C++ compiler (at least for algorithms like this that do not require using run-time type information). So it gets down to which compiler has the better code generator. If you want to check for yourself, see macrorodent.blogspot.fi, where I just copied the benchmarks. If you get interesting results, please post comments there.

0
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: C is not an applications programming language

The overhead is minimal (add a segment to the LDT) and you can trap any overrun from any language. Sure when you DO trap, there is a huge overhead... but you are debugging then!

Actually there is quite a bit of overhead with this method, because access to such far data requires generating a more complex code sequence than for data in the "default data segment". You need to load a segment register (a compiler can sometimes optimize this away, but usually not, and there are not many of these registers, only ES, FS and GS are free for general use). Loading the segment register is expensive in protected mode in the 386 architecture (it loads the descriptor data and checks protections), and the overhead has even got worse in succeeding generations of the Intel architecture, because it is seen by Intel as a legacy feature that almost nobody uses. It is kept around for compatibility, but they don't care about its performance.

Yes, I too have worked with an embedded system that uses the Intel segmentation feature for fine-grained memory protection (still occasionally do), and I can assure you it is a bad idea!

1
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: C is not an applications programming language

If you must use strncpy, then at least use 'strncpy(bufer, string, maxlen-1)' to make room for the null.

Reasons for that include having to take into account old C libraries. The strl* functions are newfangled inventions. I recall reading somewhere the reason for the dangerous behaviour of strncpy when the target size is exceeded comes from its usage in the original Unix file system, where file name components were limited to 14 characters. They were stored in fixed-size directory entries with 14 bytes reserved for the name, and only names shorter than 14 were nul-terminated. So strncpy with size 14 writing to the file name field did the right thing...

0
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: C is not an applications programming language

That only works for STATIC bounds-checking, but a lot of the overruns come from DYNAMIC buffers with bounds only known at runtime

This gets language-dependent. If you have a language where the compiler knows how the size of a dynamic array can be determined (for example Java), it can optimize bounds checking also in those cases. I agree this is hard to make work in C, and we might not even want to, if we just use C as a close-to-the-metal language, and use something else for higher-level applications.

About that Java, which always has array bounds checking enabled: Last summer I spent some idle time trying to see how well various current languages do on the classic Eratosthenes Sieve benchmark (which mainly loops through an integer array). The test was on CentOS7 Linux, and the "contestants" included C++ (GCC 4.8.3), Java (1.7), Python (2.7.5) and JavaScript (Node.js 0.12.7). The clear winner? Java. C++ was close, of course. Of the two dynamic languages, JavaScript beat Python handily, it was about 10 times as fast, and achieved about half of the C++ or Java performance (which I find impressive).

2
1
MacroRodent
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: C is not an applications programming language

That's the big problem with bounds-checking: it necessarily draws a performance penalty in a world where speed mattered.

Yes, if done naïvely, but a good compiler can actually eliminate most of the overhead (for example, deduce that looping over an array needs to check the bounds only once). Of course, the early compilers for microcomputers were limited in this department.

7
0

NASA's astroboffins spot the largest ever Tatooine planet

MacroRodent
Silver badge

A perfect place for Dwellers

Although Kepler 1647-b was found in the stars’ ‘habitable zone’, as a gas giant with no solid surface, it is unlikely that it can support life.

What, you mean there are no Dwellers? (see "The Algebraist").

5
0

Mars One puts 100 Red Planet corpses colonists through fresh tests

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Venus

Nice video, but compared to Mars, it would be quite boring sitting in that Zeppelin and looking at the clouds of Venus... Hard to see any point in sending humans there, since any exploration of the surface would have to be done using probes and remote sensing anyway.

1
0

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Chancing rules in favour of incumbents

It is amusing to see claims that weakening the copyright protection of APIs is bad for free software, because if APIs had been considered copyright protected back in the 1980's, there would not be any free software implementations of operating systems. Free software started by building tools (like Emacs and GCC) running on proprietary Unix versions, and only later replaced also the operating system part with a mostly compatible implementation. In the case of BSD:s, only part of the system needed replacement, but there we had an ugly lawsuit until AT&T was forced to agree very little of the original Unix implementation remained in BSD.

Had the Unix API been considered copyrightable back then, neither Linux nor FreeBSD could exist in the present form. Probably not at all, because they would have had to implement an API that is totally different from any other OS else, and would therefore have started with a nonexistent set of applications.

Many have pointed out that Oracle's flagship product actually implements an API originally by IBM (the SQL language for issuing commands to the database). Strong API protection might have meant Oracle also would not have started. Similarly, Microsoft's first product was re-implementing DEC's flavour of the BASIC language, which arguably includes an API, I'm pretty sure they did not license it. (At the time it was actually still unclear if even code could be copyrighted - Bill Gates famously wrote an open letter pleading microcomputer to not copy his BASIC). Now that Oracle and Microsoft are established companies, they want to block the same routes they used to get started. Understandable in a way, but not something we should encourage.

The field of software already has serious a lock-in problem, which makes it hard for users with an investment in some existing platform to switch vendors and promotes monopolies. Strong protection of interfaces will make it even worse. So I fervently hope Google wins. It should also be remembered the same judgment can be used against Google, if someone wants to make a competing product that re-implements the Android API, and Google sues. If that happens, I for one will certainly root for Google's opponent!

12
1

Tech titans demand free speech law to head off President Trump

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Facepalm

Doublethink

cosponsor of the SPEAK FREE Act Farenthold – who actually supports Trump in his run for the White House – told Politico's Nancy Scola: "Obama will sign this. I don't think Trump will,"

Help, my mind just boggled!

1
0

These big-name laptops are infested with security bugs – study

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: @Herb LeBurger, RE: Dell & Linux.

but if you want a Linux machine I'd say go with anyone OTHER than Dell.

All big PC vendors are like that. Dealing with a small-scale PC assembler where you can specify known Linux-friendly components is a better way. The result is also likely to be more upgradeable and repairable, as it will contain only generic parts, instead of funny stuff specially molded for Dell, HP or whatever.

1
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Just load

.. +1 As long as you're not making that suggestion to the manufacturers for their consumer PCs. Just imagine the enhancements they could do then, or look at the nonsense the carriers and manufacturers do to Android phones.

On the other hand, a laptop manufacturer that simply pre-loaded an up-to-date, well-known Linux distribution with NO "enhancements" (apart from harmless ones, like a branded default background image) could now stand out from the crowd, and win friends.

Not doing this was where the original mini laptops went badly wrong. They had oddball Linux versions that didn't have any software repositories, no community, and required the manufacturer to do all support, which they typically did not do well, and soon dropped (my experience with an Asus EE PC 901).

3
0

Feinstein-Burr's bonkers backdoor crypto law is dead in the water

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Holmes

no hope

"None of the above" does not work. Not short-term, at any rate: maybe there's a place for a third party in the US system, medium-to-long term.

Won't happen until you switch to a proportional voting system. And that will never happen in the U.S. because both the GOP and the Democrats understand it would erode their power.

0
0

The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Track Record

Windows is outselling Linux on the desktop 90 to 1, what conclusions would you draw out of that?

Almost nobody explicitly buys Windows. It comes with the PC or laptop, whether you want it or not. Nobody buys Linux either: Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the like are really support contracts (the GPL ensures this). Any consumers using Linux get it on a magazine cover DVD, or more commonly legally download it for free. So I really don't know what to conclude. Maybe it is that attempting to sell operating systems is a very bad business these days?

5
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Too little too late

The keyboard is pretty good,

In WP7, you cannot turn off autocorrection in the keyboard. This is cursed by all Finnish users, because the method of guessing a word used by Windows is a poor match, and if you don't check the text, you may wind up sending quite lunatic texts... The prediction is also useless in Finnish, because our words tend to be long and have varying inflections. By the time WP7 has a correct suggestion, there are seldom more than 2 letters left to type.

(Not sure if other smartphones do any better in this department).

3
0

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

MacroRodent
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Programming skills .NE. programming languages

True. Any competent programmer could learn Fortran in a day or two.

Especially if it is Fortran 77 or later. It is a quite approachable conventional language. The earlier versions might be more challenging. For example, it is possible to write Fortran statements with no white space at all except for the mandatory leading indent (saves time when punching cards!), and anything after the 72. column is ignored by classic compilers. Used this feature once to write a program that is both valid Fortran and ANSI C at the same time! I think I still have somewhere Microsoft Fortran for CP/M with which I tested this hybrid program...

3
0

Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: anecdotal stories of personal Lumina smartphones is not the critical topic

It's Lumia, not Lumina we are nostalgic about. About IoT, MS is not in the running because of licensing. Device makers these days want access to the source of the OS; and also zero cost for the OS per unit, and MS cannot compete with Open Source OS's in this game.

4
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: It's a shame

Now the ole' Nokia 710 is getting a bit tired it's finally time for a change.

Same situation (as I wrote some time earlier). But now, given Nokia has just licensed the brand and IP to a Foxconn-backed phone company with HQ in Finland, I think I will wait and see if i can get again a Nokia smartphone...

5
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Nominative determinism

"Oy" in Finnish is an abbreviation that means pretty much the same as "Ltd" in English.

2
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: The very high price of loyalty

They've eaten Siemens and Motorola in the Network Infrastructure space.

You forgot the latest, Alcatel-Lucent. (Which actually means Nokia is now the owner of the legendary Bell Labs!)

8
0

Gillian Anderson: The next James Jane Bond?

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Bond.

The problem with Lucy Liu as Jane Watson is she plays the role as a too smart character. Dr Watson should be a bit slow, or at least appear to be so in comparison to Holmes.

1
1
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Still given they don't have the guts for that they should make her the next Doctor.

No, since she's not British.

2
14

Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Supply commitments?

There have really been just two disasters with catastrophic effects, Chernobyl and Fukushima, both in quite old plants. Oh, and one rather inconsequential one, Three mile island, which killed nobody. New plants really are inherently safer, a a response to concerns raised by the problems. At least in Chernobyl the safety culture seems to have been questionable. Experimenting on a live reactor so that safety systems are intentionally disabled?! At least nobody will try a that again. Fukushima was the victim of a natural disaster, but the plant was not sufficiently prepared for the double whammy of an earthquake and tsunami, in a part of the world where such are known to occur. Maybe we just should not put nuclear power plants in earthquake-prone regions.

1
1
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Supply commitments?

Even a worst-case accident in a solar power plant will not leave the surrounding are contaminated for centuries.

But actually I pretty much agree about nuclear power. In *competent hands* modern nuclear power plants are quite safe. The problem is, running them really requires a culture with a strict work ethic, and fanatical focus on quality. And don't build them in tectonically unstable places, or next to a tsunami-ridden ocean...

9
4

Hacked in a public space? Thanks, HTTPS

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Net history

DARPA didn't invent HTTP or the WWW. One guy at CERN did that.

I'm pretty sure the poster was talking about the underlying protocols (TCP/IP, UDP) whose development indeed was funded by DARPA. Actually ARPA a the time; the net used to be called the ARPANET, and Internet happened when that was opened up to other users besides U.S military, its contractors, and academic institutions.

The great achievement of the "one guy at CERN" was making the data on the internet approachable by the average guy, and in a way that scaled up without central control. And of course making the idea and code available for all for free. Had this been a typical commercial effort, with everything patented, there would have been multiple incompatible and very expensive webs.

3
0

Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Algol

But it's still funny to see Pascal old features being introduced as new features in C#.

If you mean nested functions, they were already in Algol 60. Pascal of course copied them from it, Pascal being basically a modernized version of Algol 60 (where "modern" = "circa 1970").

0
0

Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Vacuum tube (aka valve)

If I remember rightly, the base model had 4K RAM and 8K ROM, so it should be doable.

Wouldn't the RAM alone require 8192 transitors? (each bit in a bistable transitor circuit).

The whole device would fill a warehouse.

1
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

serials

but I no longer own anything with a serial port so I'd be hard pressed to use it

There are USB to serial adapters, they don't cost too much.

4
0

Patch now: Google and JetBrains warn developers of buggy IDE

MacroRodent
Silver badge
FAIL

REST easy

... as providing a REST API endpoint," explains ...

This REST API rage means darn near everything comes with some kind of web server, with the associated risks.

The future is 0wnable.

3
0

Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

MacroRodent
Silver badge

@ disgustedoftunbridgewells

You forgot the troll icon...

Actually, what you propose may eventually happen without any conscious standardisation, provided the current economic and political relationships stay in force. Given the choice, European kids usually prefer to pick English as their first foreign language, and learn it at an absolutely frightening speed, thanks to video games and other popular "culture" (this based on first-hand observations of my kid and his pals).

7
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Languages

There is simply no way you are going to teach someone who is not a native speaker to have educated native speaker fluency

I disagree, at least partially. Some people have phenomenal talent for picking up a foreign language. I once met an American exchange student that had been in Finland for a year, but his Finnish was almost flawless (which I say as a native Finn). Even less-talented people can master a foreign language if they really try and put years of work into it. Easier if you start early. The hardest past will be perfecting your pronuciation (probably impossible if you start as an adult), but that does not matter for task involving writing.

4
0

Commercial software chokkas with ancient brutal open source vulns

MacroRodent
Silver badge

Re: Open Source FUD ™

The City of London has no problem in using Open Source nor does Goldman Sacks [...]

I don't think these organizations ship products containing open source code. The one I had in mind does. This may create more obligations, depending on the particular licenses.

I agree there is a lot of FUD and over-cautiousness about open source use, but a technology company that stuffed any good-looking open source code into their products without anyone competent checking the licenses would be irresponsible. However, the legal clearance should accept that the open source code evolves, and it must be possible to upgrade the open source components without a huge song and dance. For example, the legal eagles could declare that all versions of Foobar 2.x are OK to use in products, provided the license does not change from the one they vetted.

0
0
MacroRodent
Silver badge
FAIL

Fossil OSS

A common reason is that at some point an open source component is embedded into the closed commerical software (possible with many licenses), but forgotten and never updated. Company bureacracy can also seriously contribute to this. In one organization I know, a legal clearance process is required for any included piece of OSS (good practice), but the clearance applies to a specific version only, down to the last version number digit. If you want to update it, if only to get minor bug fixes, you have to request another clearance. You can guess where this leads to...

13
0

Page:

Forums