* Posts by MacroRodent

1037 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

MacroRodent
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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.

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MacroRodent
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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...

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MacroRodent
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Re: Nominative determinism

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

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MacroRodent
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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!)

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Gillian Anderson: The next James Jane Bond?

MacroRodent
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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.

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

No, since she's not British.

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Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

MacroRodent
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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.

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MacroRodent
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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...

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Hacked in a public space? Thanks, HTTPS

MacroRodent
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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.

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Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

MacroRodent
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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").

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

MacroRodent
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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.

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MacroRodent
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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.

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Patch now: Google and JetBrains warn developers of buggy IDE

MacroRodent
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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.

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Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

MacroRodent
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@ 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).

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MacroRodent
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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.

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Commercial software chokkas with ancient brutal open source vulns

MacroRodent
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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.

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MacroRodent
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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...

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F-35s failed 'scramble test' because of buggy software

MacroRodent
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Re: I think there is a wonderfull message behind this

So it is written in C++. That explains it...

(C++ is one of my least favourite languages: combines all the pitfalls of C with several of its own, pretends to offer higher-level abstractions, which however cannot be protected by the language, and are easily broken by accident.)

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Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount

MacroRodent
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FAIL

Re: ST:WTF!

Very, very stupid of Paramount: The trekkies are the only reason Start Trek films or TV series make any money at all, and annoying them is not going to make the franchise any more profitable. Maybe their lawyers are concerned the fan fiction would dilute their trademarks or something, but the solution would have been to negotiate a deal where the fan films prominently acknowledge the trademarks are used by the gracious permission of Paramount, but do not pay for them.

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Jaron Lanier: Big Tech is worse than Big Oil

MacroRodent
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But the dumbed down PC:s plan is on track!

Anyone recall the plan to turn PCs into dumb devices where the media could be locked down remotely?

A pretty good description of the iPad and similar. Note that the market for "open" PC.s has been going downhill for years, and they, too, have gradually become less open. Modern chipsets from Intel and AMD actually are always running a little closed OS underneath what you think is the OS (Windows,or Linux, does not matter), it is in full control of the PC, and you can't turn it off, or replace it.

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Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

MacroRodent
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Re: meh

Most of the stuff you associate and expect from a modern phone is now tied into GMS and it's interconnected APIs and services.

So how does CyanogenMod and similar manage to work?

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MacroRodent
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Re: meh

You answered your own question when you mentioned the Fire phone. Which doesn't run Facebook, Uber etc etc, because they rely on Google middleware.

A phone manufacturer deciding to install eg CyanogenMod could create shims to provide those apis, or persuade the vendors of the incompatible apps to tweak them (surely much less work than porting them to a totally different OS). In fact, there is a community effort to create an open replacements for google apis, see nogapps (google it :-).

I have to agree with the grandparent post: the Eu response is overblown. Comparisons to Microsoft and Windows fall down already when you consider that most of Android is readily available in source form for free, and that can be forked just fine. But try suggesting Microsoft that you would like to fork Windows, and see how far they kick you out of their door...

Another factor is there is much less locking down of customers than in the PC world. People frequently switch from iOS to Android or vice versa (some even switch to winphone, or from it). People do not usually have documents in proprietary formats on their phones, and the cloud systems of the major vendors can be accessed by "alien" phones after installing suitable apps (eg. the other day I installed Onedrive support for iPad). And apps are cheaper than for-pay PC applications.

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Google's 'fair use' mass slurping of books can continue – US Supremes snub writers' pleas

MacroRodent
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Agree with the court

Have you tried to reads a book via Google books? Except for cases where Google has properly acquired rights to the book, or the copyright has expired, all you get is a small amount of surrounding text around your search term. It really is just a card catalogue.

I just tried feeding my one surname to it, and got a very relevant reference to an obscure scholarly treatise on village names in a certain region of Finland. I might go and hunt the actual volume, as I have long wondered about the origins of my rather rare name (I knew it was the name of the ancestral farm, but where did its name come from?) Google books did in a few seconds what would otherwise probably require months of digging in the libraries of universities.

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Linux command line mistake 'nukes web boss'S biz'

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Has happened in a guhly visible game system

Whether or not the issue here was real or fake, a year ago the Linux port of Steam was hit by a similar issue. Reportedly, it used to have a script with line like

rm -rf "$STEAMROOT"/*

Unfortunately, due to insufficient checking in the script, STEAMROOT could sometimes be undefined, so the line above expands to the file-system nuking command if run as root. If as nonprivileged user, it will delete the user's own home directory, often bad enough.

The moral here is that if you are going to distribute a shell script to other users, you just cannot assume things go well. You have to check for valid input parameters, command exit statuses, and whether environment variables that are needed exist and have reasonable values. This easily makes the script twice as long (or more) than a throwaway script doing the same operations under lucky circumstances. (And guess which versions books and web pages on scripting typically show as examples?).

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Sweden 'secretly blames' hackers – not solar flares – for taking out air traffic control

MacroRodent
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Re: Why would Russia randomly be stressing out peaceful Swedes?

14,000 in their full time combined forces?

Someone has dropped the ball! The UK has about 150k by comparison.

Well, Sweden is surrounded by friendly nations, they have Finland as a convenient buffer zone towards Russia, they have no past or present overseas territories to defend, and unlike the UK, have stayed out of wars for the past 200 years. Then the cold war ended and perpetual peace appeared to arrive to at least western and northern Europe. So they dropped the ball.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Why would Russia randomly be stressing out peaceful Swedes?

Russia is a big juicy target and an invader can just march right in, theoretically.

But note they have not kept Russian territory, or even haven't marched out in one piece! Just ask Napoleon or Hitler.

The size of the country means it is completely impossible for anyone to conquer Russia, as long as the Russians do not completely drop the ball on defence. Their paranoia is unjustified.

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Russian boffins want to nuke asteroids

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: I have an issue with this concept ...

the Earth takes on (potentially radioactive) grape shot?

That is preferable! Because most of the smaller pieces will burn up in the atmosphere without hitting the ground, and the rest do not cause as much destruction as a hit by the the whole cannon ball would have. As for radioactivity, some of it will have dispersed widely in the explosion, and during the round-trip the asteroid makes before the fragments hit us, so we don't get all of it. Some of the short-lived isotopes will also have decayed. Besides, we survived the 1950's bomb tests, which spread much more radioactive dirt around.

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NASA gives blacked-out Kepler space 'scope the kiss of life

MacroRodent
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No mystery

Cosmic rays, I guess. Kepler orbits so far from Earth it is not inside our magnetosphere, unlike LEO satellites. Even if it is built with radiation-hardened electronics, occasionally something still gets zapped.

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PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

MacroRodent
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Re: Is Transgendered the new [Ms.] Black?

Just pondering the him/her option and debating between 'hanet' or keeping it simpler and reusing 'han'...

Suggest you keep it simple, as your language rationalisation project would quickly run aground if you try to import the whole Finnish system of noun cases ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_noun_cases ).

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MacroRodent
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Re: Is Transgendered the new [Ms.] Black?

It would also be great if we could introduce a non-gendered nominative term for the English language to replace him/her/his/hers, similar apparently to (some of?) the Scandinavians -

Of the languages spoken in the area, only Finnish and Sami (spoken by the indigenous people of Lapland, and related to Finnish) have gender-neutral personal pronouns.

heck this is the English language, we should go with history and just steal one of theirs!

You are welcome! Here is the Finnish version: "hän" = "he/she".

The "ä" is pronounced like the "a" in "hat".

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FreeBSD 10.3 lands

MacroRodent
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Re: Developed from Unix?

From reading the comments, FreeBSD is a free version of the Sun Unix.

Actually FreeBSD is a direct descendant of Berkeley Unix, which in turn is a heavily modified version of the old 7. edition Unix. Sun's old Unix (SunOS) used to be also based on Berkeley, but at some point it was rebased on (or hybridized with) AT&T SysV to create Solaris.

No doubt many see the above as an oversimplification. Various histories and family trees of Unix can easily be found on the net.

FreeBSD and the like are not called Unix because of trademark issues.

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MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: "user friendly"

So you are slamming BSD because you probably didn't set the keyboard up permanently after install and X and stuff was not set up?

The installer clearly did not work in a usable way. It would have been OK for me if the installer had not pretended to set these up, leaving it to post-install set-ups (like very old Linux installers usually did). But since it offered the choice, I expected it to have a useful effect.

You've clearly never used Arch or other distributions that don't 'assume' you are setting up a desktop system. Not everyone wants/needs X or wants an install that assumes you need quick easy and 'hold may hand please mommy'.

You assume too much. I started with Linux back in 1993. when it meant downloading about 20 floppy images, and installing from them to a 486 machine, after which I discovered my second hard drive (attached to a then-new SCSI card type) did not work, until I downloaded the newest kernel source, and compiled it. (I also had been using various Unix versions for years before that).

So yes, I have done my share of non-hand-holding installations, thank you. These days I use Linux as platform for serious work, and prefer not to waste too much time on the boring mechanics of installing it.

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MacroRodent
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Re: "user friendly"

Thanks for an insightful discussion of the BSD:s. I certainly will have a look at new versions of the others too, when I get the time.

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MacroRodent
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Re: "user friendly"

Oh, you mean like systemd?

Did I mention systemd? I was talking about entirely other things. But since you mentioned it, I have used Linux with and without systemd, and have no strong opinions for or against. It appears to work well enough for my needs, and the RHEL/CentOS releases with systemd appear to start up faster than the older ones, which I count as a plus.

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MacroRodent
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Linux

"user friendly"

It is the little things. Just because BSD (and Linux) did something in a certain way 20 years ago is no reason to keep doing it that way on 2016. Not everything in Ye Olde Unix was perfect.

As I wrote in some earlier post, I (a daily Linux user at work) occasionally peek into BSD to see where it is going. Every time it feels like a time warp. Last week-end it was NetBSD 7.0. Probably the purest maintained BSD version you can get these days.I really liked the way it fast to install and boot up (in a VirtualBox VM). But whoever created its installer though it OK to forget what keyboard layout I requested (Finnish in this case) when the actual OS started. Something most Linux distros started getting right by year 2000. I also asked the installer to install X11 and set up xdm, which it dutifully did, but logging into X11 went nowhere until I rebooted in single-user mode and created a rudimentary .xstartup for root. Then I got in, got an xterm window, and was surprised command-line editing and completion did not work, even though both did work in the plain text console. Seems this depends on some environment variables that do not get set by default in xterms.

And so on, I expect, if I keep configuring and using it (I might just be masochistic enough to do so). Having fixed basic usability does not make Linux a Windows clone. Just a Unix-style OS that can be approached by other people besides old Unix greybeards

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'Panama papers' came from email server hack at Mossack Fonseca

MacroRodent
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Re: Given the scarcity of items on our cousins in the material released...

From the global coverage so far, tt looks pretty much like it has been pre-filtered, pre-redacted and pre-digested for public consumption.

Obviously it is, with emphasis on exposing interesting people. After all, the investigators are in the business of making news. Nobody wants to hear how some random owner of a mediocre firm somewhere has tried to hide his wealth.

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The Register to publish Mindful Sysadmin adult colouring book

MacroRodent
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Headmaster

Re: Mind the language

So you're saying that "Kaikki pohja on kuulu meille" is wrong?

Yes. I think "All your base are belong to us" would be better translated into "Kaikki teidän tukikohta on kuulua meille". Grammatically incorrect in a way that mimics the original better. The context would probably make it clear to even a poor human translator that another sense of the word "base" should be used.

More to the point, what's the Finnish for "Romanes eunt domus"?

I'm not a Latin expert, but perhaps "Roomalainet menevät koti"? Bad grammar like the original, enough to make a Finnish-speaking centurion to force you write "menkään kotiinne roomaiset" a 100 times.

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MacroRodent
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Headmaster

Mind the language

Packetise mielesi: Periaatteiden soveltamisessa TCP/IP omaan neuroverkko

Another dolt who thinks you can use automatic translation into Finnish. One sees a lot of this these days, my family nearly died laughing at how the Playstation store had translated the description of a Star Wars game! In the interests of promoting sysadmin mindfulness, here is how it should look:

Paketisoi mielesi: TCP/IP:n periaatteiden soveltaminen omaan neuroverkkoosi.

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'No regrets' says chap who felled JavaScript's Jenga tower – as devs ask: Have we forgotten how to code?

MacroRodent
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Re: left-pad

Actually, I wanted to left-pad a small number with leading zeros if needed, i.e. do the equivalent of C sprintf(result, "%02d", somenumber). Yes, I know how to program this, but one should not have to.

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MacroRodent
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left-pad

I was quite surprised a while back when I needed a left-pad -like operation and found JavaScript did not include it in the language or built-in libraries. I mean, other languages since FORTRAN have had it in some form since forever.

Maybe this is one reson for the micro-dependencies. JavaScript itself is rather bare. Contrast this with Perl where I rarely need external modules since the language itself comes with almost everything most programs need as built-ins.

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Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: Hell is indeed freezing over

Yep - just the new version of Services for Unix - which was able to run a *NIX shell and utilities on Windows since at least a decade ago,

No, this is different: In the "Services for Unix" you had to recompile, but now you can run actual Linux binaries directly, giving you immediate access to a far larger collection of programs.

However, there will still be a lot of impedance mismatch between the Windows and Linux universes. Anyone who does not want to fight with strange compatibility quirks at every turn will still use a real Linux distribution to get work done.

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

Sadly,

we can now expect to hear more of this kind of crap, in various countries.

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Stagefright flaw still a nightmare: '850 million' Androids face hijack risk

MacroRodent
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Re: Hooray for Cyanogen mod

I'm actually in the process of getting a suitable 2.hand android device just for running CyanogenMod. After considering various alternatives, it now looks like the least bad smartphone successor for my WP7 device (which otherwise works OK, but is getting more and more trouble with incompatible web pages).

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Stop! Before you accept that Windows 10 Mobile upgrade, read this

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: Forced update, no going back, competition

Actually, "upgrade" is fast becoming a dirty word among users.

It practically always means beloved features are lost (or replaced by inferior alternatives), and even if not, the software becomes more sluggish for no good reason.

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Oracle fights Russian software policy with Postgres smear

MacroRodent
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Re: Why am I not surprised?

In other words, Oracle isn't facing a hypothetical threat from Postgres. Rather, they're facing direct competition from a local commercial competitor who is well placed to use Postgres to take a lot of Oracle's business away from them in Russia.

This also explains why Oracle did not attack other competing databases, like MySQL (ooops, that's an Oracle product nowadays).

It s good the Russians promote diversity in software, even if in a bit heavy-handed fashion.

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Microsoft SQL Server for Linux is a brilliant and logical idea

MacroRodent
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Linux

Why

...would a Linux site start running Microsoft SQL server instead of MariaDB, MySQL or Postgresql?

Does it have technical advantages, assuming it even runs as well on Linux as on Windows? A big "if", since Microsoft has probably very carefully tuned their SQL engine for the Windows platform, and Linux does many things quite differently (so an optimization for Windows may backfire spectacularly on Linux).

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Microsoft has crafted a switch OS on Debian Linux. Repeat, a switch OS on Debian Linux

MacroRodent
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Re: OMG!

systemd is probably not something you can take into use with just an upgrade, so I'm not surprised you had bad experiences. (Personally, I gave up on distro upgrades even earlier, except for tiny steps like CentOS N.0 -> CentOS N.1. Keep the home partition, nuke and reinstall everything else.)

In principle, I love the BSD:s, and given them a try now and then, but then always find they cannot keep up with hardware and software support. If Linux is niche, *BSD is doubly so.

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MacroRodent
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Re: OMG!

-creating proprietary standards has become more and more difficult.-

Ahem... Red Hat - systemd... Google - Android.

What is proprietary about systemd? The source is there, anyone can use it, or modify it for free, or just not use it. The very definition of non-proprietary.

The more I use systemd-based Linuxes (at work, I should add), the more I see systemd-bashing as nonsensical. It does the job, and faster than SysV init, which wastes much of its time spawning processes to perform trivial things.

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French parliament votes to jail tech execs who refuse to decrypt data

MacroRodent
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France does not like encryption

The proposed law is in character. Back when the GSM was new, its encryption feature was enabled everywhere in Europe - except France!

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VMware's GPL violation case rolls into German court

MacroRodent
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if VMware prevailed, would mean that SCO vs IBM would be a dead parrot.

It has already been a dead parrot for years. That unfortunately has not prevented the remaining SCO lawyers from emulating the pet shop keeper.

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