* Posts by John Styles

292 posts • joined 23 Jul 2007

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Nokia files for EU permission to buy Alcatel-Lucent

John Styles

Will free up the company name for my toilet fragrance brand - the great smell of tramp

Alkie Tel's Loo Scent

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EU reduces science cuts as Juncker finds €500m down back of sofa

John Styles

Disappointed

Had hoped everyone would be chiming in with their favourite EU project story.

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Google I/O FORTRESS: Sold-out dev conference is in LOCKDOWN

John Styles

Google, not at all weird and creepy (TM)

N/T

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Beware Red Hat interviews: You'll pay for coffee, lunch and fuel

John Styles

Ah, the broken card machine

A popular gambit in Italian hotels I find.

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John Styles

That reminds me of one of the 'highlights' of my dubious 'career' at a previous employer...

There was a bid meeting between us and a big customer which was in what was obviously a motor dealership converted into an evangelical church rented out as a conference centre during the week.

Because the senior people at the 3 companies in our consortium had all been terribly, terribly, terribly busy we hadn't actually sat down to discuss anything at all (e.g. what we wanted to do, for how much money and on what basis) before sitting round in the foyer half an hour before the start of the meeting. Someone wanted to get some documents photocopied and the 'conference centre' wanted cash but none of the great and good had any (in the manner of the Queen) so I had to pay.

During the meeting

a) our (new-ish) MD randomly went off on one with the big customer's people over something trivial

b) one of the senior people had a crackpot idea of passing these obviously internal documents round the table for the customer to see - fortunately one of my colleagues at the other end of the table managed to intercept them

We then went to a pub (without our MD) and one of the people in one of the other companies in the consortium said 'don't you dare ever put him in front of one of my customers again'. Then we went back to one of the other consortium member's offices and the senior people had a row in an office whilst the more junior among us made polite small-talk for a couple of hours.

Good times.

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Intel's new chips are from 'Purley' – know what I mean? Know what I mean? Say no more

John Styles

Codename means built with Microsoft in mind

Purley Gates, obviously.

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Open source power-up on the way for arcade game emulator MAME

John Styles

To be fair, when MAME came out the world was young and all sorts of things had all sorts of weird licences.

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

John Styles

Re: 1980's tech

Nah, not relays, we want British Valves. At least I think that's what David Cameron said, maybe it's a misprint.

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John Styles

ha

Many years ago I had a meeting in what we then Swiss Bank. The meeting room had no external windows. The lights were integrated with the booking system, so that when the meeting was scheduled to finish the lights went off and someone had to go looking for a remote control to turn them on again.

We actually have some remote control plug sockets, you just plug them into the socket and plug the device into them, then you use a remote to turn things on and off - the remote has 4 pairs of on and off buttons. I suspect it came from Maplin, it has a Maplinesque air about it.

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Building the Internet of Things with Raspberry Pi et al, DIY-style

John Styles

'Internet' is now the collective noun for things e.g. pride of lions, colony of badgers, internet of things

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

John Styles

Remember...

Many years ago there was a project at RSRE (now presumably part of [spit] QinetiQ if this bit exists in any meaningful way which I very much doubt) that developed an allegedly formally verified mathematically processor the VIPER and a language NEWSPEAK (NB not the language that appears on Wikipedia with that name). One of the ideas was that

i := i + 1

or whatever the syntax was was illegal because the input values and output values are by definition different which it doesn't allow i.e. you would need an explicit IF to handle the overflow case.

Search for VIPER NEWSPEAK on Google Books to find an 1985 New Scientist article.

My recollection is that they tried to licence it commercially, it turned out to have bugs and one of the licensees tried to sue the MoD but went bust before it went to court.

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Wolfram bros seek code slinger posse for IBM and Google round-up

John Styles

It's a floor wax, it's a dessert topping

I could have missed it but I have looked at their website a number of times and there does seem to be a complete lack of explanation understandable to those of us mere mortals who have not been immersed in the world of Mathematica for the last 20 years or so WHAT THE HELL IT IS. Also there is a disturbing lack of details as to what commercial basis it would be sold for as part of a platform we could use to build applications - and I can see that there are probably use cases for it for us (we write and sell high end engineering software). This is, of course, far from being the first bit of software where people are so intoxicated with their own cleverness and have been using / writing it for so long they forget that they have to explain it to people.

To some extent the (vast) library that Wolfram Language has looks to me like it could be viewed as a curated equivalent to CPAN and Ruby / Python equivalents - and I can see the value in a language having a consistent and documented set of libraries (and whilst many of the Ruby ones are good, I can see that there could be a benefit of someone with a big stick standing behind people saying 'no, you are going to do it THIS way, you are not a special snowflake who gets to choose'.

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FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

John Styles

Netherlands model

Thinking of the Nathan quango idea (is it really that long ago, doesn't time fily), what I always thought would be a good wheeze in this country would be the system used by the Netherlands public broadcasting system, basically organisations with a certain number of members (who have to pay a certain membership fee to count) get a chunk of the airtime and licence fee (well, the Netherlands one is from general tax now IIRC).

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dutch_public_broadcasting_system&section=11#Member_based

Given the degree people in this country all hate everyone different from themselves and are always willing to game any system I think this would add to the gaiety of the nation.

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Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

John Styles

One of our night security guards used to get locked out without his pass quite often. By means of his positioning and body-language he was very good at giving the impression that he just happened to be passing the door as you were going out and that he wasn't hanging round outside waiting to be let in at all. It was a masterful performance.

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What's Meg Whitman fussing over: The fate of HP ... or the font on a DISRUPTIVE new logo?

John Styles

Re: This jiggled a memory cell...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law_of_triviality

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DRONE ALONE: US Navy secretary gives up on manned fighters

John Styles

The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea.

They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall

mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by

small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is

clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you.

-- Military school Commandant's graduation address,

"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson"

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Nokia: Yes, we're chatting up Alcatel-Lucent

John Styles

How about Alacatel-NokiA-Lucent - or ANAL for short - for the name?

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Popular crypto app uses single-byte XOR and nowt else, hacker says

John Styles

Re: Qnza vg!

V rapelcg rirelguvat hfvat qbhoyr ebg13 (sha snpg, gur jbeqf 'vex' naq 'irk' ner gur ebg13 pbzcyrzragf bs rnpu bgure)

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Tidal music launch: Pop plutocrats pour FLAC on rival Spotify

John Styles

Badger surveyor

Or why not become a badger surveyor http://www.cieem.net/data/files/Resource_Library/Technical_Guidance_Series/CSS/CSS_-_BADGER_April_2013.pdf

or a newt surveyor

http://www.ecologyconsultancy.co.uk/day-another-day-life-great-crested-newt-surveyor/

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Hey, Microsoft, we can call Windows 10 apps anything we like – you're NOT OUR REAL MOM

John Styles

Re: Please, please market it this way MS

And to all you software developers who invested time and money building stuff for Windows 8, errrm sorry about all that, hope you didn't lose too much, please support our new world of confusion and non compatability, thank you.

And I too feel sorry for them - both of them - shall we have a whip round and take them out for a pint to commiserate?

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SGI sales mushroom with Atomic Weapons Establishment deal

John Styles

Good God, are SGI still going in some form? It's like discovering the News Chronicle is still being published.

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Another GDS cockup: Rural Payments Agency cans £154m IT system

John Styles

Although, as pointed out by another commenter, it is not as though the RPA has covered itself in glory in the past.

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John Styles

On the subject of 'two systems doing the same thing'... a company I worked for acquired two companies with systems doing more or less the same thing. Reputedly the decision on which to can was based on 'which has the fewest open bugs in its bug tracking system' (that was the sort of British management at its finest we came to know and love). So they canned one. Then it turned that the other had written their own bug tracking system which was buggy and actually it had had more bugs.

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John Styles

I look forward to the passive aggressive tweets from GDS people about ignoring 'trolls'

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Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

John Styles

Interestingly, when I rang 999 from my mobile recently (to report a loose horse with a saddle attached galloping along the road), the system asked me to dial 55 presumably to filter out pocket calls.

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Microsoft announces Windows 10 and Azure for humanity's implacable IoT foes

John Styles

De we call a collection of these a bunch of OneCores?

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BBC gives naked computers to kids (hmm, code for something?)

John Styles

Re: well you know what they say...

In the words of Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 'I'm a teenage boy, I can be turned on by linoleum'

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

John Styles

Ah..

... forgot to say earlier...

the perfect Register thread - Raspberry Pi, the BBC, education, and now bizarre Micro$oft Konspiracy Korner. All we need now is climate change....

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John Styles

Maybe..

... you can use a Raspberry Pi in place of the 'PC' that you plug it into via a USB port i.e. you have your Pi, it has USB, plug this thing and and program it using the Pi.

I do not quite see the point myself, but I am not a child, parent or educator.

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Storm in a K-Cup: My SHAME over the eco-monster I created, says coffee pod inventor

John Styles

Re: Bah ... philistines

The secret about stove pots is that you want a Bialetti Brikka - the one with the extra valve to give a much better crema. Surprisingly most shops that sell stove pots don't know the difference and only sell the ordinary ones where it just spurts out in a rather disappointing fashion.

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John Styles

Re: Aeropress

I am writing a script about a couple that split up acrimoniously due to disagreements over coffee. I am going to call it 'Creamer vs crema'

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RIP Windows RT: Microsoft murders ARM Surface, Nokia tablets

John Styles

To the tune (approximately) of Elstree by Buggles:

Redmond, remember me?

I wrote an app once for Win RT

But now it's history

Redmond, ah look at me

oh-o-oh

I should have stuck with Windows 3

oh-o-oh

life is not what it used to be

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Turbocharged quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 unleashed, global geekgasm likely

John Styles

Re: Maker community?

People self-define (as they say) as 'makers'. People who make things. Presumably promulgated by O'Reilly initially with their (piss-poor) Make magazine. Mainly quadcoptors as far as I can tell. I think 3D printing may be involved as well. I find it slightly strange myself.

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Tap sat app gap, yaps Inmarsat chap: Orbiting bird API opened to devs

John Styles

5 BILLION valuation, surely?

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Kiss your Glass goodbye: Google mothballs techno-specs (for now)

John Styles

It's like a zen koan, if Google announces something about a failed product on Google+, does anyone notice?

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MAINFRAMES are SO NOT DEAD: IBM's launched a new one

John Styles

Re: Rubbish - Old IT Grey suits out!

Nothing old about negative zero, our code still has some special case code to suppress them, left over from when Microsoft changed the behaviour of the C runtime in VC++ 2005. fortunately -0.0 and 0.0 are equal so the code just tests for equality and then uses 0.0. <oldfart/>

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John Styles

Mutual recursion - see recursion, mutual

Is 'recurssion' a louder version of recursion - a cross between recursion and percussion - something used in executables where the cymbal table hasn't been removed? (Was going to make a joke about Marimba and Castanet but I see a once proud technology that got Wired's front page in its day doesn't even rate its own Wikipedia page - the ultimate insult - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castanet_%28disambiguation%29)

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Dr. Dobb's Journal sails into the sunset - yet again

John Styles

We want more Stob

I subscribed for a couple of years at one point. The humour had gone by then. I miss .EXE more tbh.

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Bong Ventures LLC: We've been cyberhacked

John Styles

Badgr

What about Badgr - the app for 'underground animal sex tourism' http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/denmark-moves-to-ban-bestiality-controversial-right-to-have-sex-with-animals-will-be-outlawed-9790829.html

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Govt spaffs £170k to develop the INTERNET OF SHEEP

John Styles

Was the software...

... written in sheep lust lust?

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Devs: Barack Obama's gunning for your job!

John Styles

button.colour(red).push

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A nation of CODERS? Yes, says UK.gov, and have some cash to do it

John Styles

Thoughts

1. Focusing on the National Academy for Digital Skills thing, IBM are one of the sponsors, why are they bothering? What use do they have for developers in the UK rather than India etc.?

2. I see it's in London. Handy that that's a cheap place to live, rent/buy offices, and cheap for the staff to live.

3. Aaaaargh, Register commenters on the subject of teaching, why did I look?

4. How are they going to get the bursary back if people don't do the job? Will it be added onto their student loan? Will it be like buying yourself out the army? Or will they just take a kidney?

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Microsoft forks .NET and WHOMP! Here comes .NET Core app dev stack

John Styles

Love poem to Microsoft

Roses are horrible

Violets are crap

Who on Earth would write a

'Windows Store' app?

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We must SMASH the Democratic Deadlock with MINDFUL EVIDENCE

John Styles

Rand

Also, I thoroughly recommend the book 'It usually begins with Ayn Rand' by Jerome Tuccille. Although most of it is about the minutiae of libertarian infighting, the bits about Ayn Rand at the beginning are worth the cost of the book.

Or do a search for 'ayn rand rational dancer' on Google Books and the whole chapter seems to come up.

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John Styles

Rand Rand Rand

Surely your child should be named Rand Rand Rand Rand after

Ayn Rand

The Rand corporation

The Remington Rand typewriter (or creator of the Univac computer if you prefer).

The Krugerrand - not as good as bitcoins, I know.

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EE launches 150Mbps '4G+' in the heart of London

John Styles

It's well weapon!

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NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden

John Styles

An NLM, Do doo be-do-do

(or 'No Laughing Matter' as a friend used to call them).

The thing that did for Netware was the irksome Novell support priesthood who had every incentive to insist that computer networking was a complex business. Then when WIndows for Workgroups (or Widows for Wombats as we called it for some reason) came along, a small office could string wires between a bunch of PCs and have a peer to peer network.

Our Netware preiesthood were wildly pleased with themselves and wildly unhelpful (*) - now, clearly, for a big organisation Netware was probably better at the time, but the strung together WfW machines acted as a bridgehead for Microsoft.

(*) and I don't say this just because one of them was a short bearded berk (not to be shortist, or beardist or, indeed berkist) who, despite being a colleague, called environmental health to complain when our burglar alarm went off and didn't cut out.

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Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors

John Styles

Reminds me...

... many years ago a friend of mine was living in a single room in a shared house. Someone gave him a rabbit that had been sprung from an animal lab. Unfortunately the rabbit used to keep him awake at night by running round his room, so he gave it to the local wildlife centre.

It turned out that the local wildlife centre was feeding rabbits it was given to the other animals. Or, as my friend put it, 'Wilfred was eaten by the weasels'

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Report: HP to SPLIT OFF PC, printer biz from enterprise wing

John Styles

Hmm

So many names they could use for the 2 bits

Compaq

EDS

DEC

Palm

Autonomy

et al

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What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!

John Styles

The lost era of pre-WIMP post-glass teletype software

Many years ago, when the world was young, and DOSosaurs roamed the earth, we wrote a piece of software for vehicle scheduling. It had a UI written in a library using GEM. In order to fit 50 rows of 80 characters on an EGA screen (640 by 350) a colleague had sat down with graph paper one weekend and designed a font which looked OK with characters 7 pixels high and 8 across (you can find some around now IIRC but his looked better than the ones I have found decades later). Then each character could have one of 8 foreground and background colours.

The software would schedule deliveries (main areas - breweries, oil tankers, deliveries to corner shops and the like) displaying each route in rows with 2 characters per drop - with the foreground and background colours of each character meaning something (e.g. order type, constraints, early or late delivery etc.)

The user could then use the keyboard to move orders round e.g. move delivery 3 from vehicle 7 to position 9 on vehicle 8 by something like M<enter>3<enter>7<enter>9<enter>. Some of the users could do this amazingly fast, I remember we had to find a TSR to increase the keyboard buffer from one of them - they were doing this at the speed of a fast typist. You couldn't get anywhere near this speed with a mouse, I don't think.

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