* Posts by DrXym

4020 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

DrXym
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Re: Another nail in the coffin?

"When you come up with some real science (observable/provable/testable) rather than circular reasoning and "just so" stories that change day-by-day I might be enticed to believe."

Er what?

Evolution refers to genetic change through generations of species. Evolution is a fact since we can see it happening and test it. We can even cause such as by selectively breeding plants or animals for some trait. Try looking at the ancient form of a cabbage some time.

It can be observed in the wild in populations divided over islands, and in response to changes in habitat. It can be observed in the fossil record. It can be observed in the lab such as Lenski's long term evolution experiment on bacteria where isolated strains have evolved novel traits. It can be observed in fruit flies and other fast breeding species.

Evolution is tested every time a a fossil comes out of the ground and conspicuously isn't a chimera or animal that should not exist in its geological strata. It is tested and validated by fossils that have observable gradations of form including intermediates. It is tested by DNA analysis - Darwin didn't even know there was such a thing - yet it's exactly in agreement with the theory.

So no, there is no circular reasoning. Evolution is a fact and a theory. Anyone in disagreement is ignorant and/or a fool.

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DrXym
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Another nail in the coffin?

At this point there are more nails than wood. The problem is that creationists (and denialists of other kinds) are extremely adept at ignoring overwhelming evidence that contradicts their deeply held beliefs.

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Huawei Mate 9: The Note you've been waiting for?

DrXym
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A standard app drawer!

I wonder what it says of Huawei that it took them the better part of 3 years to realise that combining the app drawer and home screens was a terrible idea.

I still remember the pain of dragging a app icons 5 screens over to the left because the dumb G510 I'd bought just plonked the icons onto screens in the order they were installed. In the end I had to waste a not insubstantial amount of flash use Nova as a launcher instead of this brain damage.

The best thing Huawei could do is just leave the stock android on there or sparingly modify it. It shouldn't require a designer to figure this out.

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Loyalty card? Really? Why data-slurping store cards need a reboot

DrXym
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Amazon Prime is a loyalty program?

I thought it was a something people paid for. In return they get free P&P on a bunch of stuff and a bag of other random benefits.

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Shhhhh! If you're quiet, Linus Torvalds might release new a Linux

DrXym
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Re: This is a genuine question to all software devlopers...

"One thing I've never understood is why software is released with known bugs."

Because known bugs vary by their severity and their ability to happen. If a bug causes a kernel panic once in a blue moon on some esoteric setup, do you delay the entire release for the sake of that?

More severe bugs will be regarded as blockers and the release will be held up until they are fixed. Other bugs might be prioritized to be fixed in a subequent release.

The adage "never buy version 1 of anything" also applies. This doesn't just affect software either - a brand new model car is riddled with flaws and quality issues. Many of these are known about and others will be found as cars come in for repair or get crashed. Only the most serious issues will justify a recall. Other issues will be fixed during the production life of the vehicle.

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Make Christmas Great Again: $149 24-karat gold* Trump tree ornament

DrXym
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Only a Liberace themed one.

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SQL Server on Linux: Runs well in spite of internal quirks. Why?

DrXym
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Re: I have to wonder WHY

"Possibly because there's still a shit tonne of applications out there that run on top of Sql Server perhaps?"

Yes and they can use MS SQL Server for Windows. It's a tier-1 supported product. What is the incentive to move to SQL Server running on Linux? Microsoft has been down the port road a lot of times, producing a version of one of their products on another platform and killing it. Why would anyone want the risk of it happening again?

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DrXym
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I have to wonder WHY

If someone is so wedded to Microsoft technology, why would they risk that Microsoft does its usual of producing a half-baked port of one of their products to another OS and then canning it a few years on. Besides which, Microsoft could easily tilt the licensing terms so any money they lose from not running the server on their own OS is recouped some other way.

And if someone is NOT wedded to Microsoft technology, this certainly seems a very bad reason to start now.

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Microsoft promises 'equal access' to LinkedIn to get EC green light for acquisition

DrXym
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This sounds even worse

I don't want equal access. LinkedIn nags me enough about downloading their stupid location tracking app on Android and it'd be quite nice if Microsoft withdrew it.

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Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

DrXym
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Re: Cart before the horse

The idea of Continuum was you had a Windows phone in your pocket but if you docked it in some kind of port replicator or big tablet frame you could use it as a a desktop. So the expectation was not to be able to use the desktop on a small screen, but allow a desktop on a big screen.

But it kind of sucks to have your desktop and discover there are no apps for it since its running ARM...

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DrXym
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Re: Cart before the horse

I bought a Linx 8-inch tablet 2 Christmases ago with Atom Z3735G that cost me £80 and runs a Windows 10 (upgraded from 8). While I mostly use it like a tablet, I can and have used the desktop just fine. It's not going to win a prize for speed but it's enough to run desktop apps like word processors and similar apps.

While Intel was late to the mobile market, their chips are competitive with ARM chips. Performance / battery benchmarks show that time and again. And in a device which is supposed to turn into a Windows desktop it seems a no-brainer to at least start off with an x86 compatible device.

I doubt emulating x86 on ARM is going to lead to a good experience at all. I suppose Microsoft could machine translate DLLs to native ARM instructions on first load but even that is going to be suboptimal.

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DrXym
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Cart before the horse

Microsoft should have required Intel mobile chips in their Continuum phones. It is painfully obvious that a Windows device that can't run the majority of Windows software is terrible idea. This was amply demonstrated with WinRT so how could they be dumb enough to make the same mistake twice?

Perhaps in time they could have offered ARM devices with emulation, or perhaps laid the foundation for universal binaries built against Win32 that compiled to whatever native platform they were executed on. Or both options.

But sending Continuum out to die was just a bad idea.

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WDLabs goes Pi-eyed and sees triple

DrXym
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esata

Maybe WD should bung a bit of cash / support at RPi to add esata support and not one which goes through USB under the covers.

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Firefox hits version 50

DrXym
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Re: Android

I use it on Android all the time. It works great especially if you throw in an extension like uBlock to slash 3rd party scripts out of sites. Most Firefox extensions work in the mobile version.

Aside from having mature extension support it also means you get more privacy. Using a not-Google browser means it's harder for Google to see what you're up to.

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China gets mad at Donald Trump, threatens to ruin Apple

DrXym
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Re: China knows something

"Pay for what all? Bribery? PAC money? The usual corruption? We all just witnessed a candidate win without becoming beholden to that rotten DC machine. If Trump can do it, then others can too."

You're joking I hope. Trump's campaign received sizable campaign donations and we already see how he is dishing out favours.

And during the campaign foreigners were solicited for donations which is illegal. Reporters from the Daily Telegraph were even advised by his fund raisers how they could hide the origins of donations that came from China. Also illegal.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/24/exclusive-investigation-donald-trump-faces-foreign-donor-fundrai/

So not only is his campaign no different from other campaigns, it's possibly far worse.

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Samsung sets fire to $9m by throwing it at Tizen devs

DrXym
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Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

"One has to ask why they chose the awful-sounding Enlightenment to base their company's future on ?"

Once upon a time Red Hat used Enlightenment as its default window manager. It could do all kinds of kewl things (e.g add chrome handle bars to windows, transparency etc). but it hogged resources, was extremely badly documented and impossibly complex for users to configure.

So Red Hat dumped it for GNOME and a WM called Sawfish. It sounds like the E devs really haven't learned much over the years.

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DrXym
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Re: Of course they need to pay devolopers to develop for Tizen

Dear god, I wonder what made them decide to use EFL. It looks unfixably awful.

Either QT or GTK would have been a far better choice for development. Both have backends for wayland and both are far more mature and well documented / supported products.

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Married man arrives at A&E with wedding ring stuck on todger

DrXym
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♬ Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh ♬

Cause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it

Don't be mad once you see that he want it

If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it

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Trumped? Nope. Ireland to retain corporate tax advantage over the US

DrXym
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I doubt it really matters

The US companies have to have a presence in Europe for a variety of reasons (regulatory, access to the market etc.) and Ireland serves as a good base not just because tax rate is low but also because the people speak English, the workforce is well educated and there are no shortage of skilled labour.

I'm sure lowering the tax rate in the US might protect some jobs but it's simplistic to think all the jobs will come back because of it. And if they slash taxes in half there is a small question of how they fund the difference. The US already runs a deficit so I expect a red marker pen will be run right through a whole range of services and welfare programs. So much for Trump standing up for the little people.

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DrXym
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Re: From across the pond

Nope. You have to have a tangible presence in the country.

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McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

DrXym
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Re: I haven't been to Florence

The "tourist drag" in Venice is EVERYWHERE. And when I visited it was well before TripAdvisor, or Google Maps. I had a Rough Guide book mentioning Harry's bar and like but it's not much use when every street was twisty turny passages all alike and there are hundreds of bad places to those which are supposedly good. How many of those all featuring exclusively pizza joints and glass / mask shops do you walk past before you give up and just eat already. Yeah maybe generic-pizza-joint-#29 is better than generic-pizza-joint-#5 but how can you tell from the outside and when do you give up?

That's the point. We'd been through 2 really crappy expensive places and were happy just to see a Burger King for an evening meal - beer, a burger, close to home. Although the best lunch we had in Venice was the day we took a train OUT of Venice to Treviso. About 15 minutes away and restaurants actually felt an obligation to serve reasonable food.

That said I don't really care about McDonalds and their hurt feelings. They're a conglomerate. I just wish that when some mayor of some place is fighting against them that the alternative is justifiably better. I can't speak for Florence but I know in Venice it absolutely was not.

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DrXym
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I haven't been to Florence

But I've been to Venice and there was a Burger King there. And a godsend it was too. After spending 3 days looking for a place that was NOT some crappy tourist quality pizza joint it was nice to find a place where we could order a burger, chips and beer (they serve beer) without being screwed over.

Can't say I feel any sympathy for McDonalds but I know if I were in Florence I wouldn't turn the chance down of eating / drinking for about 1/3 the price of anywhere else.

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Living with the Pixel XL – Google's attempt at a high-end phone

DrXym
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Re: Wanna buy a Pixel?

"If your phone is network registered by the IMEI number, then it'll take three hours listening to muzak and carefully reading endless numbers to somebody in Manila."1

Sim or not, if you transfer from one network to another and you intend to keep your number you have to go through that process. There is no reason that a software sim activation has to be more complex in any way.

Frankly the opposition to software sims is totally irrational. Assuming it were to be a standard then there are very few downsides.

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DrXym
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Re: Wanna buy a Pixel?

It's too bad that phones don't just do away with SIM slots altogether. It should be eminently feasible to register a phone with a network, or even move networks without one. Providing the mechanism is network / phone neutral I'd have no problem with this and I suspect neither would the networks or handset makers.

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Computer forensics defuses FBI's Clinton email 'bombshell'

DrXym
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It's incredible how this has become a "scandal"

Virtually all of Clinton's emails that are known of were very curt short sentences and very circumspect. She might have been silly to use an internal email server but she was also security conscious. Therefore the likelihood that she somehow spilled the beans to some aide seems ridiculous.

Aside from that the Democratic party leaks showed that 99% of the emails were mostly people forwarding media links between each other. If there were really 650,000 emails then chances are that all but 650 are meaningless party political noise.

Despite the bullshit hype and "lock her up" brain damage there has been no smoking gun. Just some silly woman using her own email server, presumably for the far more mundane reasons of not wanting stuff to be on the public record and not liking the government email system.

The super stupid bit is her opponent is currently facing RICO charges, a child rape court case, hasn't disclosed his taxes, has conducted illegal business in Cuba and covered it up, has been accused of sexual assault by various women, is parroting Russian policy and nobody in his camp seems to find this even faintly worrying.

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Is password security at just $1/month too expensive for most?

DrXym
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Password Safe

Download that, use it with a strong password. Password management for free. If you want to use it on multiple devices put the strongly encrypted safe file on dropbox or something like it.

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UK prison reform report wants hard-coded no-fly zones in drones to keep them out of jail

DrXym
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Re: "hard-coded no-fly zones in drones"

"Right, because criminals will immediately cease to try and get their drones into the prison anyway because of such a strong obstacle. Sure."

No single security measure is meant to protect against all threats so its a nonsense to characterize it as such.

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DrXym
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Re: Well,

Signal jamming would deal with manually flown drones. I assume prisons already do it for phones and it wouldn't be a stretch to do it for the frequencies that drones fly with.

Secondly, just because one security measure in isolation can't account for every single exploit doesn't render it worthless. I lock my doors and windows at night even though a determined burglar could smash the door down with a sledgehammer. Does that mean locking my doors and windows is a useless security measure?

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A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

DrXym
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Re: Cyanogen OS

Cyanogen OS was the commercial version of CyanogenMod. They could flip to the community version which is essentially the same without the QA. I'm sure they could do QA in-house or pay some devs to do the same.

It is incredible that Cyanogen's commercial efforts flopped so badly. They were a shoe-in for producing firmware, QA and after-market support for phone makers who didn't want to do it themselves.

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Linux in 2016 catches up to Solaris from 2004

DrXym
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Re: True but

"The story of computing is the story of "good enough" being the horse you want to bet on in the long run over the "superior" challenger."

I think in this case it's more that Linux comes in a variety of pay models (including free), supports, runs and scales onto any hardware you have, has a better desktop experience, has many more tools, better virtualization, better community support etc. So "good enough" often means superior.

I'm sure there are gaps where the commercial OS wins such as dtrace but unless that's your #1 requirement is dtrace, it probably doesn't matter enough to decide in its favour. The irony is that even Oracle seem more interested in Linux these days and the release cycles for Solaris are getting ever further apart.

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Crashed Schiaparelli lander's 'chute and shields spotted

DrXym
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This is what happens

When you plan your missions with Kerbal Space Program.

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'Doubly unacceptable' Swiss vegan forces his way into the army

DrXym
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I'm sure they can still find a use for him

Peeling vegetables

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Trump vs. Clinton III - TPP looks dead, RussiaLeaks confirmed

DrXym
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Re: Trump should not be on the ballot paper

I think that a very clear reason he should not be on the ballot paper is he is mentally incapacitated. His obvious narcissistic tendencies clearly interfere with his ability to perform the duties required by the office.

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DrXym
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Oh dear

Trump really is a raging arsehole isn't he? It's too bad, because an election where there is only one credible choice is barely a choice at all. It's clear that many people only support Clinton because the alternatives are so, so, so much worse.

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Facebook is writing a Mercurial server in Rust. This is not a drill

DrXym
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Re: They stole my idea

"but you could say the same of C++ or Haskell. Is Rust that finicky?"

It's not finicky, it's *anal*. I've never programmed in Haskell but C++ doesn't care if you:

* forgot to delete some object

* call a pointer to an object that is already deleted

* don't lock a data structure shared by two threads causing race conditions

* use references to something which has gone out of scope

* use implicit default copy constructors & assignment operators that don't work on a class with internal pointers

* forgot to make a destructor virtual

* didn't make your class exception safe, including in its constructor / destructor behaviour

* write off the end of a buffer

Rust will kick your ass if you try anything like this and the language is designed to outright prevent some of these issues. Once you write code the compiler accepts it generates code with comparable speed to C++.

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DrXym
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Re: They stole my idea

Mercurial and Git are so similar that I expect the transition from one to the other is pretty easy. The main reason I'd stick with Git is that it has some excellent front-ends and IDE integration is extremely good. I think if Git didn't exist though we'd be all on Mercurial and completely happy about it too.

As for Rust, it has the potential to be massive but whether it'll reach that potential remains to be seen. I've written a fair amount of code in it and the main takeaway is that code samples look simple but try to write some and it REALLY punishes you at the compile phase. You have to get your lifetimes and borrowing right. But once you do it produces code which is extremely hard to break in the ways that C or C++ would allow - memory leaks, dangling pointers, buffer overflows, data races etc.

That makes it perfect for systems programming but also for security software, network stacks and so on where (deliberately) malformed or corrupted data could break a C++ program. If I were writing anything to do with IoT or with a safety / performance critical function and I was starting from fresh I'd definitely consider Rust.

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Pair programming – you'll never guess what happens next!

DrXym
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The only thing pair programming does

While I can see pair programming being useful for people joining the team, I really don't see any benefit to enforcing it. People naturally come together to solve problems and naturally divide when working on individual tasks.

Forcing it just slows everyone down to half speed. If I wanted to do that I can browse the web for half the time.

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Burger barn put cloud on IT menu, burned out its developers

DrXym
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So how much do "bits of Oracle's cloud" cost?

If it's more than 5 developers then it sounds like a waste of money. And knowing Oracle it probably is.

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‘Andromeda’ will be Google’s Windows NT

DrXym
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QNX is a good OS but Blackberry devices were no better from using it than Android for using Linux, iOS for using BSD, Windows Phone for using NT. All these devices managed to present modern, efficient user friendly phone experiences. And that's all that matters from a user perspective. The choice of micro or monolithic kernel is a sideshow.

As for IoT devices, I expect the main driver for what kernel / OS they use is what tools are available, how well they work, how much they cost and what if any runtime license does the manufacturer have to pay per unit. Since the tools for Linux are generally excellent and the runtime cost is zero, it's clearly going to be the defacto choice unless there is a reason to choose differently.

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DrXym
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Re: Should have happened years ago

There is no reason that a desktop should be written in Java to host Android apps any more than Windows should be written in WinRT to host Windows Store apps. The two can co-exist. Besides which, Java is merely the programming language that most (not all) apps are written with on Android. It says nothing of how the code is packaged or executed.

Secondly, the speed of updates is a totally orthogonal issue.

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DrXym
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Should have happened years ago

There wasn't a good reason for ChromeOS and Android to be separate things in the first place. It was just a case of Google's left hand not knowing what the right was doing.

I expect whatever they reveal will be reminiscent of RemixOS which is basically desktop android.

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Premier League Sky card crims ordered to cough up nearly £1m

DrXym
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A much more effective scam

Would be to sell a passthru HDMI device that superimposes the pint glass on the screen. Sell the device to the pub for £500 and let them figure out how to get the Sky sub. For extra law-skirting shadiness, make the device show a smiley face by default but provide an easy way to change the graphic to a pint, e.g. an SD card slot.

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Buggy code to the left of me, perfect source to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with EU

DrXym
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One way to improve software is to use languages which prevent you from making mistakes in the first place.

Languages like C++ allow the programmer to do patently dumb things without batting an eyelid. e.g returning a reference to a temporary variable. Or creating implicit constructor / assignment operators for classes that will crash because of pointer member variables. Or allowing assignments in conditions. There are numerous other examples.

Higher level languages aren't immune either. Languages like Javascript are completely okay with failing at runtime because a variable is the wrong type or doesn't exist or with bizarro rules about when this is bound and when it isn't.

Some modern languages are far more strict about such things and work on the philosophy that if you can catch an error at compile time you stop it getting into production. Languages like Rust are uber-strict to the point that getting something to compile is a sado-masochistic ritual but there is no doubt that the code that comes out is higher quality and less prone to failure.

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Ex-army sergeant pleads guilty to using private browsing mode

DrXym
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Abuse of private browsing mode

The only reason private browsing mode even exists is so you can surprise your wife by ordering her flowers.

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Firefox to doctor Pepper so it can run Chrome's PDF, Flash plugins

DrXym
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Firefox's PDF viewer is fine for viewing but quite awful for printing. Basically PDF is just rendered into a bitmap via an HTML canvas and then that gets printed as HTML. I don't know if PDFium is better, but if it is then that in itself would be a benefit.

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US govt pleads: What's it gonna take to get you people using IPv6?

DrXym
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Don't ask, demand

Companies choose the path of least resistance. If that involves staying put until circumstances dictate otherwise then that's what they'll do.

If countries want to force IPV6 then it takes little more effort than legislating compliance and setting a timeline by when it should happen by. If it's not possible to *force* compliance then they can make it extremely uncomfortable to not be in compliance - withdrawal of grants, licenses, tax breaks, government contracts etc.

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Hackers hijack Tesla Model S from afar, while the cars are moving

DrXym
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Re: Pretty likely how they attacked

"That sort of diagnostics should only be possible by plugging something via the OBD2 port."

It's not the same as the diagnostics when you bring your car in to be serviced.

I mean diagnostics that Tesla developers might in their app to test remote functionality like keyless entry, summon etc. The in-house build probably has a page with diagnostics, commands to hit the brakes and other stuff that a dev might need to test features in the car already or features they're in the process of adding. There must even be an API of sorts since there are 3rd party apps like Remote S can control the car remotely.

I agree they've screwed up big time. I expect the fault probably lies in the authentication layer, allowing replay attacks or suchlike. But Tesla should also disable certain commands from having any action when the car is in motion.

But yes Tesla have screwed up bigtime here.

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DrXym
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Re: Pretty likely how they attacked

Just because you can't see the commands in the app doesn't mean they're not there in the protocol. Cars have diagnostic modes. Providing you can convince the car to authenticate you it probably doesn't care what command you send over the wire.

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DrXym
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Pretty likely how they attacked

All those functions are things that an app for the car might contain. I assume they've just intercepted the traffic between app and car and figured out a way of doing a replay attack or a man in the middle.

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Mozilla emits JavaScript debugger for Firefox and Chrome

DrXym
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Re: Money wasting?

I could see merit in both approaches.

A standalone Javascript debugger that can attach to Chrome, NPM or Firefox is obviously a good thing. I could have a running browser and I could attach to it remotely from an IDE or something like Atom and start debugging it.

On the other hand, Javascript debugging is just one development tool you want in a browser. You want to see and modify css rules, see loading times, http headers, HTML/DOM, cookies etc. and you want to be able to contextually between things where it makes sense, e.g. In Firefox I can set a breakpoint when an HTML element changes. The debugger isn't something that happens in isolation.

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