* Posts by John Styles

345 posts • joined 23 Jul 2007

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Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

John Styles

Man is born free and is everywhere in trains.

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Microsoft’s Continuum: Game changer or novelty?

John Styles

Oooerrr HP

"making the beast with two docks" - is that some kind of euphemism?

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By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate

John Styles

particularly about the future (usually attributed to Niels Bohr, GBATG if it really was him)

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Softbank promises stronger ARM: Greater overseas reach and double the UK jobs

John Styles

Now..

... imagine having to explain to Corbyn and McDonnell what ARM do and why they should care about it.

(or indeed May and Hammond, but the idea of explaining to to Corbyn and McDonnell seems funnier to me).

As a friend said, if this were an unsuccessful business being sold off, Corbyn, McDonnell and half of Momentum would be picketing outside the business by now.

(What is the next largest UK 'flag-ship' tech company now, anyway?)

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Next month's Firefox 48 is looking Rusty – and that's a very good thing

John Styles

Re: So, Rust is now "a thing"

Must have 7 years experience of Rust

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Judge slams BT for blaming engineer after 7 metre ceiling plunge

John Styles

Interesting

When our office switched from Virgin to someone using the BT network for its fixed line connection, OpenReach came out and did a survey and said that the work would have to be done by a contractor as the work was about ground level - OpenCantReach perhaps? Bizarrely, OpenReach told the subcontractor a 10 foot ladder was needed whereas it was more stepstool sort of height.

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Bing web searches may reveal you have cancer (so, er, don't use Bing?)

John Styles

Re: shoulder pain, agony cancer death?

Yes, lung cancer is one of the things that a shoulder pain can be a symptom of. Deep joy. As a fully paid up hypochondriac I went to see the doctor to check it wasn't that. My null hypothesis (and the physio's when I went to see one) was that it was caused by the dog (large, strong, stupid) straining after hedgehogs.

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French thrash Brits, Germans and Portuguese in IT innovation

John Styles

"What about us brain-dead slobs?

You'll all be given DevOps jobs"

Monorail, monorail, monorail.

I've sold DevOps to North Haverbrook, Ogdenville and Brockway.

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Google's dream city isn't a new idea

John Styles

Re: Yo Ho Ho and *HeEURGh*

That would be a violation of the 3rd Benthic Treaty with the Deep Ones.

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Is Microsoft's chatty bot platform just Clippy Mark 2?

John Styles

I thought the same thing

I thought the same thing, the interesting thing is that there was some sort of Microsoft Agent SDK / toolkit - there is still a trace of it on MSDN - https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms695784(v=vs.85).aspx

I was never quite sure what it was supposed to be for.

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$17 smartwatch sends something to random Chinese IP address

John Styles

Re: I will worry

An excellent and unjustly little known film.

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Microsoft Office 365: You don't need 27 floppies, but there is desktop friction

John Styles

Yes, obviously, I was simplifying. This is on user's computers, not mine - therefore our documentation has to include exactly the sort of irksome wibble that you describe above and the customers have to understand it (or more likely CBA because in an organisation of thousands of users, only a handful need ACE)

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John Styles

One of the issues with having Office 365 is that you don't get Ace installed on your PC - see https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2874601

Obviously a PITA if you want to use Ace. Even more if you write software which uses Ace (not for very much - just for import and export) and have to think of how to document this given Microsoft's opaque documentation on when you get Ace and when you don't.

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Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

John Styles

Can't both sides lose?

The MoF consultation about the BBC was ludicrously jargon ridden and (and I am no great fan of the BBC) seemed worded to be slanted towards a particular outcome.

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Bone-dry British tech SMBs miss out on UK.gov cash shower

John Styles

Whilst I'm sure this is all tiresome quank (Quango wank), I am dubious about

"[...] it agreed to spend no less than £800,000 on a piece of software that would “minimise building waste” sent to landfill by construction companies.

[...] In the real world, such software might cost £5,000 maximum.[...]"

Why might this software cost 5000 pounds? How do you know this based on this one line description of the software? If you are actually paying a company to do something in a vaguely organised way you don't get much software for 5000 pounds, surely.

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Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet!

John Styles

C-A-S-I-O, she is C-A-S-I-O

Casio continue to make some amazingly weird stuff

http://www.casio.co.uk/products/calculators/graphic-calculators/Product/FX-9860GII-LC-EH/

and things that can talk to sensors

http://www.casio-europe.com/euro/sc/accessories/ea200/

it is like technology from a strange parallel (and I am not entirely convinced inferior) world.

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IBM introduces fleecing-you-as-a-service for retailers

John Styles

Ha ha

"But just how the world's niche software developers find a way to market when the likes of IBM and Microsoft are building vertical applications is anyone's guess."

Have you SEEN their vertical applications?

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Trustworthy x86 laptops? There is a way, says system-level security ace

John Styles

If you take your viewpoint then considering any processors (as opposed to using FPGAs is absurd), however the paper DOES mention processors, so why just that two?

To me it seems that the 'PC' platform is a toxic wasteland and ARM seems suspect for reasons described in the paper ( I had a conversation pretty much on the lines of the paper a few days before I first saw it ).

So the other processor architectures do seem potentially less toxic.

How viable is the 'oh noes the FPGA hardware / toolchain may be cunningly backdoored to work out I am making a GPCPU and subvert it' argument some people are making really? Seems a bit tinfoil hat to me.

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John Styles

I am surprised the author views there being no other viable processors. What about POWER / MIPS?

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In-a-spin! Yahoo! clutches! Alibaba! baby! to! breast!

John Styles

No ARM in it

Didn't something similar kind of happen with Acorn, where the vast majority of its value was its stake in ARM?

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Microsoft whips out PowerApps – now your Pointy Haired Boss can write software, too!

John Styles

Re: Done before, failed before

My recollection from building a couple of little applications in it was that Access (when I did it, Access 95 probably, if such a thing existed (CBATG)) seemed a bizarre and cruel joke to me in that it was harder to build fairly simple but non trivial form based applications in it than it would be in Visual Basic.

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Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

John Styles

Re: Ahhh Windows 3.11 for Workgroups...

For some reason where I worked at the time we called this 'Widows for Wombats'. I forget why, if there was ever a reason.

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John Styles

Re: I preferred...

It's here if you want it http://www.owenrudge.net/GEM/

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Microsoft makes Raspberry Pi its preferred IoT dev board

John Styles

Surely...

Surely the interesting thing is that best buddies Microsoft and Intel haven't done a deal where they agree that each should pretend the other's technology is relevant - surely someone senior in Intel would phone up someone in Microsoft and say 'oh, go on, carry on supporting this' or someone in Microsoft would do some deal with Intel? Or do both (correctly) think the other is so irrelevant in this field they can't be bothered to go through the niceties?

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Yes, GCHQ is hiring 1,900 staffers. It's not a snap decision

John Styles

As long as I can work from home (in a bag in the bath, padlocked from the outside, obviously).

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Microsoft shelves 'suicidal' Android-on-Windows plan

John Styles

Surely you're supposed to provide the bait before you do the bait and switch?

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Brits rattle tin for custom LCD Raspberry Pi funbox

John Styles

I think the Chumby would have been OK if it had a vaguely sensible programming mechanism rather than some wacky Flash player, also it was a bit unnecessarily 'cloudy'.

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Let's get to the bottom of in-app purchases that go titsup

John Styles

Re: Programmable Channel Buttons

Dee daaa pum pum - dum dum dum dum dum dum dum.

The Channel 4 theme was by Lord David Dundas.

If he doesn't have an answerphone that goes something like

'David Dundas - he is sorry he's not home'

'David Dundas - leave your message after tone'

Then I want to know why.

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John Styles

Re: Old TVs

We had a rented teletext TV with a remote at one point - the interesting thing about the remote was that the 'off' button tripped a relay (or something) to physically release a catch so that the on/off switch came out, turning it to off (so no power consumption and no turning it on again from the remote).

of course, the flaw was that after a few months a little bit of plastic broke so that when you turned it off the on/off switch detached itself from the TV and flew a few feet across the living room.

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Oracle laying off its Java evangelists? Er, no comment, says Oracle

John Styles

Re: About Time

I looked up some Qt stuff recently, and it look looked to me like the adults were no longer in charge (e.g. we are deprecating Qtscript so now you need to use Qml SJsEngine). It looked a bit CADT to me https://www.jwz.org/doc/cadt.html

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Coding with dad on the Dragon 32

John Styles

Re: Ah... fond memories...

I woke up with a jump in the middle of the night as though I had had an electric shock. I went to the GP (young) and said it felt like an electric shock as in a proper mains one. She said 'I hope you haven't experienced one of them'. I thought of saying but forebore 'this was the 70s, we all gave ourselves mains electric shocks and were abused by Radio 1 DJs'.

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Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

John Styles

The closest I ever got to throwing a PC out the window was trying to install OS/2 on one - every thing I tried it got that tiny bit less far. IBM just never got their act together with drivers etc. Plus of course there was the obfuscation over 'standard edition' vs 'extended edition' - the latter marketed as only running on IBM PS/2s.

There is a fine chapter in a book called 'In Search of Stupidity' on OS/2.

IBM were also extremely painful to deal with at that time (probably still are but fortunately I don't have to) - their attitude was always very clearly 'if you're not the CEO / CTO of a Fortune 100 company then we don't give a shit'.

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Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team

John Styles

These 'oh there is no-one who understands this obsolete technology' stories always need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt in my experience when one does some Googling to find out a bit more. Still they liven up a dull, foggy Monday.

I bet there is an awful lot of FORTRAN 77 still in use - probably FORTRAN 77 tweaked over the years to use the odd bits of later FORTRAN. Probably more of it than native modern Fortran.

And, of course, as other people have said there are an awful lot of embedded processors with this sort of memory constraint floating around. I don't think we are yet at the stage yet where we need to conscript the people writing new games for Atari 2600s (128 bytes of RAM).

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John Styles

Oh, I wish I could use a year's worth of up-votes on this.

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John Styles

Re: Obsolete tech

I worked on a system where, bizarrely, my employer had been contracted to convert a system from CORAL-66 to FORTRAN-77. Never really understood why. Rumour had it that the CORAL-66 compiler for the PDP-11 was shite. Also there was a lot of PDP-11 assembler (using 2 completely different macro libraries) and some assembler for some obscure SIMD array processor.

Small boys, 3 way gotos for goal posts, isn't it? Hmm?

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UK.gov plans to legislate on smut filters after EU net neutrality ruling

John Styles

Oink

Will this include scans of Polaroids showing certain youthful indiscretions?

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SatNad failure as Lumia income drops over 50% at Microsoft

John Styles

Sail away, sail away

In one company I worked for, a colleague took a year's unpaid leave to sail round the world - one of these pay lots of money to live in uncomfortable cramped conditions for a year (whatever floats your boat). When he left the company had about 60 people, when he came back there were 7 (not including me, I got out at about 45) - not something that he would have been likely to have foreseen, either.

Perhaps because he missed out on a year of tremendous ill-feeling etc. he was one of the few people who was successfully assimilated into the parent company and was there for a few years.

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Steve Ballmer praises Twitter job cuts after buying 4% stake in ailing micro-blab site

John Styles

Shouldn't his team be the L.A. clippys?

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How long does it take an NHS doctor to turn on a computer?

John Styles

Re: And your point is?

My car key fob needs a battery. Maybe you replace your cars before the key fob goes flat. One of my two key fobs has gone flat for a second time. Because it I'd a pain to open I get the garage to do it for two quid labour!

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Virgin Media's SPAM-AGEDDON 'fix' silences mailboxes

John Styles

Interesting, last night my weekly email to our running club got bounced back to me as spam from people with ntlworld.com email addresses, I wondered why it looked like spam to it this week.

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Pocket mobe butt dialing clogs up 911 emergency calls, says Google

John Styles

When I dialed 999 from my mobile, the system asked me to dial 55 - apparently if you don't talk within a certain time it asks you to dial 55 (BBC news story therefore a bit garbled http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7748046.stm )

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Farewell to Borland C++: Embarcadero releases Delphi and C++ Builder 10

John Styles

Where is Verity Stob when we need her?

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Salesforce back in the red, reviews future black ink orders

John Styles

Am I alone in wondering how the hell, doing what they do, they can have that much revenue and lose money?

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Amazon putting London’s hipster startups in the loft

John Styles

Ah, 'Just Eat', flagship of our thriving tech sector.

America:

Google

Amazon

Microsoft

IBM

Oracle

UK:

Just Eat

Crappy Short Term Lender (slogan 'our tech's cool but our ads are annoying and we're scum')

Er.

That's It.

[Ed]

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Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank becomes TV reality

John Styles

More ideas

"The great British beat-off" - The biscuit game reinvented for the 2010s TV generation

"Pro celebrity ring-the-bell-and-run-away" - like Around with Alliss but with 'ring the bell and run away'

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Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

John Styles

It is amazing we didn't burn the building down

Our previous office was on the top floor (servants' quarters) of a grade 2* listed 19th century manor house. Over the years our number of servers crept up from 2 under a desk in an office (one of the bedrooms) to a whole room. We had 2 aircon units in the room but they were a bit dodgy - at one point they failed over a weekend and when we got in it was subtropical and a number of the machines failed over the next week or two. The basement also had some electronics in and was permanently like a sauna.

The electrics were quite dodgy too - fuses still of the type where you had to whittle away a bit of wire then stick it in a strange Bakelite contraption. One winter the heating failed and the power would go occasionally, we discovered that my boss was using an air heater. I think we ran out of fuse wire and went home.

About 20 years ago PCs were not made of the stern stuff they are now, and we had a problem with PCs turning on on Monday mornings in winter - basically PCs aren't designed to cope with the temperatures you get in England in winter in buildings with dodgy (grade 2* listed and poorly maintained) sash windows so the lubricant for the hard disks was too viscous for them to start.

Then there was the time the river flooded and almost reached the power transformer in the basement.

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Want to download free AV software? Don't have a Muslim name

John Styles

To be fair

One of my colleagues with a very WASP name (even without the double-barreled bit which he doesn't use) was taken into a small room on the way into the U.S. because someone with the same name was on 'the list'.

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Hacklands introducing geeks to something called 'outdoors'

John Styles

Doesn't the 'demoscene' often have camping events?

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Lottery chief resigns as winning combo numbers appear on screen BEFORE being drawn

John Styles

Scorchio!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hc8tm57vQs

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Slashdot, SourceForge looking for new owners after parent dumps them on the web's doorstep

John Styles

Maybe the News Chronicle or some similarly relevant outlet will vuy them.

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