* Posts by rictay

16 posts • joined 9 Dec 2010

Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

rictay

Re: Old Manuals

Still have the Algol 60 "Days and Dates" program which calculates what day a particular date fell on. Wrote it in 1965. Mind you, I did work at a place that had a computer we ops could use when there was nothing to run on night shift.

But seriously, CompSci students can't write programs? Could be that language compilers are not so readily available, or are not so cheap these days. I stopped buying Visual Basic when MS wrapped it up in a big package, Visual Studio, that was nothing to do with what I wanted.

Even in my 50s I wasn't at all impressed with the CompSci graduates I worked with as they seemed to know little about software engineering, nor the reasons why we had to develop it in the first place. Prof Dijkstra, Michael Jackson, James Martin, and other legendary figures are completely unknown to them. Also such historic events as "the software crisis" that led to the foundation of software engineering as a serious profession in the first place.

No, sadly it's only about cushy well paid careers and big fat pay checks for minimum effort.

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Corel re-animates zombie brand for patent case

rictay
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Re: Sounds like OLE clipboard from 1990

You just reminded me that I did something like this in the mid90s on Windows for Workgroups using Visual Basic.

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Legal bible Groklaw pulls plug in wake of Lavabit shutdown, NSA firestorm

rictay

Back doors everywhere

I've worked on networking technologies since the 1970s and know that security services are provided with back doors everywhere so they could "keep an eye on the subscribers". There is no safe communication, we are all under surveillance as we are all deemed to be potential enemies of the State. Nobody is innocent any more.

Seem to remember some lines from the film "Unforgiven" where the sheriff (Gene Hackman) beats up Clint Eastwood's character in the saloon. One of the women says:

"You just beat up an innocent man."

"Innocent of what?" asks the sheriff.

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Windows NT: Remember Microsoft's almost perfect 20-year-old?

rictay

It was pricing wot dun it in

As I remember, IBM priced OS/2 somewhere in the stratosphere where only business users could justify the purchase. I'd used OS/2 at work and liked it, but for a private purchase it was an expensive joke. The attitude of an IBMer who queried my use of a Microsoft OS on my PC instead of their very expensive offering was "that's what you have to pay for a quality product". Obviously the market had a different position on this and OS/2 faded away into some digital Sargasso Sea where only whispered rumours hint at its prior existence.

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'New' document shows how US forces carriers to allow snooping

rictay

Because they can

Anybody who thinks that security and intelligence authorities AREN'T snooping on us is living on another planet. There are back doors for their use in practically everything you use online. It would be naïve to deny there weren't.

Whether it is morally right or wrong to spy on innocent people is another argument. They do it because they can.

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CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

rictay

re- Stupid question

No it's not a stupid question, but a perfectly valid thought experiment. So don't be Anonymous, stand up proud and thoughtful!

Even if the rod was perfectly rigid, you would need a device at the far end of the rod to tell you that the rod had moved. That information coming back to you could only propagate at the speed of light. I'm guessing that your initial push would propagate at the speed of light because you are passing information to the sensing device at the far end.

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Tick-tock! 40% of PCs start Windows XP malware meltdown countdown

rictay

Jumped off the upgrade path! How sad is that!

No more XP support? I only care that I can migrate the publications and graphic software I bought between 1997 and 2000. Never saw any need to update as they still provide all the functionality I want - everything since then has been bells and whistles only a few actually want. Let me see, my 1997 software has been on my Win95, Win98, Win98SE, Win98ME, and WinXP systems, including desktops and laptops.

Oh, and I still have mid90s games like Tomb Raider and Wing Commander working fine except for the video clips. It's a shame that my "Terminal Velocity" won't install any more, that's real retro fun.

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New nuke could POWER WORLD UNTIL 2083

rictay

Can't possibly go wrong, go wron, go wro, go wr...

"It's also "walk-away safe," the designers claim, making it immune to the kind of meltdown that destroyed the Fukushima reactors." The designers, graduate students, should get their designs checked out by experienced grey-haired engineers who know that ANYTHING can go wrong, and EVERYTHING will go wrong sometime.

Just because you can't imagine something going wrong doesn't mean the design is infallible. The name "Titanic" springs to mind.

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UK's 'Nobel prize for engineering' given to 'inventors of the interwebs'

rictay

Standing on the shoulders of giants

These "revolutionary" developments in fact sat upon existing networking technologies. We already had global networks of computers, global networks of message switching systems, and global airline booking networks, for example. I was already giving network programming courses in the mid-70s for front office terminal systems connected by PSTN and leased lines to corporate mainframes. It wasn't so clever to write a comms protocol, others have done the same before and after without all the fuss.

What about a prize for the real revolutionaries, those engineers who made primitive 60s telephone lines carry our networks in the first place and laid the groundwork for the Internet and the Web? Now that was the real achievement.

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Weev gets 41 months in prison for exposing iPad strokers' privates

rictay
Facepalm

Freedom of the Internet? In your mind, chum

"...The Internet is bigger than any law can contain...." This is a common misunderstanding of what the Internet is. Internet means "Internetwork" - it consists of dozens of corporate networks plugged together with a common comms protocol.

I've worked on Internet development projects since the 90s and am constantly amazed by the naive drivel that passes for expertise today.

If the network administrators of those cooperating networks decided to block any traffic that neither originated from nor was destined for their own users, ie their networks became private again, then your precious Internet would disappear overnight. You'd be back with the CompuServe model again, ie, the only services available would those provided by, or approved by your ISP.

Same if "The Law" made those network administrators responsible for the porn, trash, hackers, spam, pirated music, films, and software that crosses their networks. Dozens of corporate networks would become private again overnight and bang goes the Internet. Don't think it hasn't been discussed. Don't think it can't be done.

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Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

rictay
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Open Office, no contest

I moved to Open Office years ago and have stuck with it since. I even used it to read Excel files from a client when my MS version wouldn't open them, and saved them into a version that it COULD understand. Then I had to go the reverse direction to send completed work back to client. MS Office? Yor avvin' a larf, encha?

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Brit robot programmers banged up for £500,000 tax evasion

rictay

Being legal is best long term strategy

Given the boom and bust nature of small technology markets, a good accountant can quite legally move cash into reserves for the lean times. Tax authorities talk to each other these days, the chances of any company or contractor of escaping investigation is almost zero. Banks also have to look out for dodgy transactions. As for sticking your hard earned money into distant jurisdictions with no protection, well, serves you right if you lose the lot or can't get it home again.

Being legal saves more in the end, and is the best long term strategy. Clients will avoid you like the plague if they suspect dodgy dealings. In some countries, THEY could become liable for your dodged taxes. Even if you escape prison, NOBODY will work with you again, not clients, nor other contractors - guilt by association is a strong incentive to dump your dodgy friends.

Besides, there's so much money to be made, why would you want to dodge anyway?

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Why you need a home lab to keep your job

rictay

Freelances have been doing this for decades

I worked for decades as a contractor through agencies, or as an independent freelancer, and I can't remember a time when I didn't do my own training. As new tools came along I'd buy my own, or book my own training courses, or risk falling behind others in my market. Those who relied on clients to train them soon fell away.

My 80% success rate in interviews these last 30 years is testament to training yourself in technologies the clients, or employers, are going to demand.

The current fuss must be because 'permies' are now in the same situation and have started moaning about having to do it themselves instead of having their employers do it for them.

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30 years ago, at flip of a switch, the internet as we know it WAS BORN

rictay

re- ... the real start of the Internet? - a fest for pedants

Ah, a VERY debatable question as some old paper tape jocks might tell you that the email message format envelops the old "torn tape" message formats of the 1950s and 60s! Message starts or ends with "ZCZC" I seem to remember.

I certainly worked with global message switching in the 70s. In the 1960s we used 5-hole paper tape data transfer between data generator and computer with processed results by return.

So, some pedants could say we had the functionality, admittedly at 150 baud, of responsive network computing back in the 50s and 60s. On the other hand, if physical transport layer doesn't matter, we could say that Inca messengers centuries ago, carrying information encoded on lengths of string, were also a form of responsive networking.

Oh gosh, look at the time, I must go shopping!

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rictay

We invent what we need

"...without TCP/IP we wouldn’t have the internet as we know it..." Not true. I was working in the computer/telecomms industries at the time (1980s) and there was a big effort in "convergence" of the two technologies. Also a big drive towards OSI - "Open Systems Interconnectivity" where computers of differing manufacturers could 'talk' with one another. The Internet was in the very air we breathed, and if we didn't have TCP/IP then somebody else would have invented TCP/IP instead - we invent what we need.

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Lost ancient civilisation's ruins lie beneath Gulf, says boffin

rictay

Ice Age melt down

This is old news as it has long been speculated that the origin of Sumaria and other ancient places lay out there under the Gulf waters.

It must have an incredibly fertile place with a mild and stable climate for all the millenia of the last Ice Age. No wonder we have legends of a perfect place in our folk memory. It certainly fits the bill for the Garden of Eden.

I surmise that the ending of the last Ice Age was not a gentle drip by drip affair, but rather a number of catastrophic ice sheet collapses. Low lying land caught by a one or two metre sea level rise would soon disappear under the waves. An ice sheet collapse would probably trigger major climatic events to go along with sudden sea level rise.

These events would have been extremely stressful to cultures used to millenia of peace and plenty. Hardly surprising that we should have ancient memories, as legend and myth, of drastic events like expulsion from perfect places and Flood Myths.

When remains of ancient cultures are found beneath these waves, perhaps people will have more respect for our ancient legends and myths. These were probably eye-witness accounts of events far more disastrous than our present global warming scares.

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