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* Posts by John Gamble

253 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

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LOHAN's Punch and Judy show: The big fat round-up

John Gamble

Re: ...with the balloon up a tree...

Well yes, there has to be at least one tree involved.

Only one? Surely you can do better than that.

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The gift of Grace: COBOL's odyssey from Vietnam to the Square Mile

John Gamble
Boffin

Air Traffic Control

"... the mainframe Cobol stuff focused on being rock solid rather than interesting; ask yourself if you want a more reliable air traffic control system or one that’s more exciting?"

Actually I'd like information on what air traffic control systems were written in COBOL. I'm sure they may be out there, but the ones I'm aware of were written in JOVIAL.

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The Punch and Judy show is LIVE NOW cancelled

John Gamble

Not to worry, I'm sure you'll make it up soon.

So... when do you launch for the ISS?

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As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

John Gamble

Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

Did this version still have the environment variable that allowed changing '\' directory separators to '/' (can't recall the variable name, or I would search on it). I and others were unhappy people when MS dropped that option -- I was given to understand they dropped it to avoid complicating that new thing called "Windows".

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IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

John Gamble

Redeeming Features

The keyboard was one of two "redeeming features" of the PCjr -- the other was the (for the time) superior graphics. I had a friend who had a moderately successful game out on the PC, and he loved the PCjr's graphics -- imagine, a full color palette!

The downside, of course, was that he couldn't actually develop on the machine -- he had to compile the game (using either Lattice or Aztec C) on his PC, then copy it over to the PCjr. An extra nuisance that went for naught when the PCjr was cancelled.

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Google grabs Gmail-using HTTPS refuseniks and coats them with SSL

John Gamble
Meh

I was visiting a site in a not so friendly place, and ALL https from that part of the world went to /dev/null.

Doesn't that say more about that unfriendly country than it does HTTPS? I'm sorry you were inconvenienced, but you couldn't ask for a more blatant message than if there were a sign above your (rotary) phone that said "Please speak loudly and clearly, our reel-to-reel tape machines are wobbly."

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A sysadmin always comes prepared: Grasp those essential tools

This post has been deleted by a moderator

John Gamble
Meh

Re: The most effective way of generating high entropy in anything is to set it on fire.

It's not quite OpenFlame1, but there is Lavarnd (<http://www.lavarnd.org/>, yes, randomness from a lava lamp) and Hotbits (<http://www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits/>, "Genuine random numbers, generated by radioactive decay").

For varying definitions of "hot".

---

1. Damn, thought I made something up, but searching does show an OpenFlame project exists.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

John Gamble

Re: Accident or Malicious?

Ah yes, because "Roo" is your given name and it is just SO HARD to create a throwaway account.

It's an identifiable name. I can click on it and read other comments by him or her. Even if he or she used their real name, it would still be of limited value beyond the purposes of this forum. (Also the gold "badge" next to the name has significance, perhaps you should check that out.)

You, on the other hand, can't even manage to summon up the "courage" to create "throwaway account".

And, as pointed out, your original post was indeed bigoted. Trying to make up for it with random assertions after the fact doesn't help your position..

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iOS 7's weak random number generator stuns kernel security – claim

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: SIlly question but...

As good as Knuth is, there's been a lot of advancement since he wrote that PRNG (assuming I'm thinking of the same one as the OP of this thread). Mersenne Twister is very good (although not a cryptographic PRNG) and it has implementations in a lot of different languages (which the Wikipedia article links to).

I'm wondering about the name of the function -- is early_random() only supposed to be run before iOS7 accumulates enough entropy to use its standard random number function? The articles linked to don't seem to say.

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Twin GEEKS: NASA studies identical brothers – one on Earth, one IN SPAAAACE

John Gamble
Boffin

Or... At Best Weakly Supporting Evidence

This does not yet rule out their very interesting observation, and the Higgs mass measurement certainly lends weight to the asymptotic safety program (although somewhat diminished considering my above comments). Is the prediction taken seriously? Probably not that much, but only because the asymptotic safety program (maybe unfairly) does not get that much attention. It is however a growing field and the authors of the paper are certainly very well respected physicists

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Bloke rattles tin for giant 3D two-headed beast

John Gamble

Re: Waiting for the Fed-Ex/Kinko's of 3D Printing

"... or at least their business methods are similar."

Proprietary modeling language, or something else?

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John Gamble
Boffin

Waiting for the Fed-Ex/Kinko's of 3D Printing

I actually believe the explosion of 3D printers (via Kickstarter or some other method) is a good thing. It's reminding me of the various versions of personal computers in the seventies and eighties, back before the IBM PC became the beast to emulate by the other manufacturers.

Eventually we'll get to a few standard models, and then... well, I probably still won't buy one, but I expect that someday I'll be able to e-mail a file to my local 3D fabbing shop for either pick-up or delivery.

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Boston court confirms Peeping Tom's right to upskirt

John Gamble
Coat

... and commentards...

(Mine's the one hanging outside the lock-up.)

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Hungarian eggheads unleash not-at-all-scary DRONE SWARM

John Gamble

Re: Boids

It's been used for years in movies.

He did say "practical applications".

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OpenID Foundation launches XML-free ID handler

John Gamble

Re: Why the XML hate?

I don't dislike XML, but making sure the parsing works correctly is indeed an issue, as Brewster's Angle Grinder suggests. If you're involved in the data design, beating down the "attributes everywhere" view of design is a time-consuming process, and if you have to use an existing design, odds are that you'll have to deal with attributes that are simply unnecessary, but still required.

It's fine for data that forces that sort of structure (most databases, for example), but otherwise JSON is far superior.

(As an aside: YAML is an abomination, and gulags should have been opened for those who promoted it.)

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Microsoft's JavaScript challenger nears 1.0, wins Visual Studio love

John Gamble
Angel

Re: "Class"

The presence of this single word in the screenshot is somewhat reassuring.

Depends on your coding style. I'm starting to appreciate prototypal inheritance.

Doug Crockford has a good talk on javascript good (and bad) parts: here on Youtube.

It may not change your opinion, but at least you'll have a better grounding.

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Collective SSL FAIL a symptom of software's cultural malaise

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Goto

> ALWAYS add braces around blocks of code

They haven't got you writing python yet, then?

Vic.

Actually, I wondered if this was a case where programming in one language blinded a programmer to the bug written in another language.

There are a lot of comments in this and in prior articles about the necessity of using braces even around single-statement if blocks, which up to now struck me as odd -- how could anyone not see the indentation error? But if your brain is trained to view multiple-indented lines as a single block regardless of braces, then maybe you wouldn't "see" the problem.

Note, not blaming python (for what it's worth I'm writing a project in coffescript right now), and I don't know if the coders in question even use python or other indent-block languages. But I do wonder if conflicting programming standards contributed to the problem.

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Missing matter found by squinting through gravitational lens

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Implications

Nah. Despite the screaming headline, the key word is in the first paragraph: "Some of the universe's “missing matter” might have been found..."

Some, not all.

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My smelly Valentine: Europe's perfumers wake to V-Day nightmare

John Gamble

Re: "banning cheese next, followed closely by nuts."

"What about if every single food item a supermarket sells lists "may contain nuts"..."

So you use fear-mongering to object to hypothetical fear-mongering? It doesn't work that way -- oddly enough, the "may contain nuts" warning tends to occur only on products that may contain nuts.

Honestly, get a grip.

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John Gamble

Re: "banning cheese next, followed closely by nuts."

Has it though? Everything has a nut warning on it. Could have been a good idea but the warnings are so ubiquitious that they are just noise - like Website cookie warnings have become.

Noise to you, perhaps. Important information to me.

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Empire of The 'B’s: The Mad Movie World of Charles Band

John Gamble

The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society did an interesting version in the style of a 1930s horror movie with The Call of Cthulhu (imagine if RKO Pictures did The Call of Cthulhu instead of King Kong).

And if they count for you, the "radio plays" they've done of Lovecraft's stories have their own charm.

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John Gamble

Re-Animator was at that time an unusual film -- a good H. P. Lovecraft adaptation. Not great, but it had a coherent storyline and managed to do well with the make-up it had.

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EVE Online erects mashed-up memorial to biggest space fight in history

John Gamble
Boffin

"Eve is simply a business simulator with lasers."

Actually... to me that makes the game more interesting. Hmm...

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Russian SpyEye author pleads guilty to starting malware onslaught

John Gamble

Re: Hmmm

Presumably he gave up more than that, but only four have been arrested so far.

I expect that some will get away with it simply because of identity changes and national borders.

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New Doctor Who's new costume newly REVEALED by Beeb

John Gamble

Re: > do we know anyone else with an iconic coat that's blue with some red detailing?

Be nice; most of us have only seen him in black-and-white, if we've seen him at all.

My puzzlement come from the lack of yellow stitching on those shoes that are supposed to be Doc Martins. Yellow stitching is necessary.

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Pint-glass-flashing FISHNAPPERS strike at Firefox daddy Mozilla

John Gamble
Alert

Re: Fishnapper was right

But who's to say it wasn't the ride in the pint glass that did them in?

I suppose we can be glad the fishnappers didn't resort to duct tape and rope.

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Tales from an expert witness: Prior art and patent trolls

John Gamble
Alien

Re: Very interesting read!!

"Where did I claim the renaissance only happened in England?"

I'm sorry, but you really should get into the habit of reading what you write.

E.g.: "... can it be any coincidence that the renaissance mysteriously ended around the same time as the enactment of the Statute of Monopolies in 1624 ..."

Beyond the fact that the Statute of Monopolies was an improvement over the then-current system of monopolies (or lack of system), there's also the minor detail that it was an English Act. Just how it was supposed to have ended the Renaissance in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and other countries... well, as before, your best hope is the space aliens theory.

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John Gamble
Alien

Re: Very interesting read!!

Eesh. Another who gets his history from Dan Brown.

So, the Renaissance only happened in England? And it somehow wasn't of benefit to rich monopolists long before 1624?

Look, just attribute the Renaissance to the space aliens and be done with it, okay?

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Anatomy of a 22-year-old X Window bug: Get root with newly uncovered flaw

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: smiles for the 'goto'

It does depend on the coding problem. The last time I had to use a goto was about twenty years ago (and it was only the second time I'd ever used one), but it only lasted in the code for about three years before refactoring made it unnecessary.

I don't have anything against the construct, but it may indicate a need for a closer examination of how one's code is organized.

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Low power WON'T bag ARM the server crown. So here's how to upset Intel

John Gamble
WTF?

Re: Wrong thread???

Seriously? You manage to pick up that you might be mistaken, but then couldn't be bothered to re-read the short article to see why you might be mistaken?

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Pervy TOILET CAMERA disguised as 'flash drive' sparks BOMB SCARE on Boeing 767

John Gamble

Re: Haven't you seen Fringe ?

Given a hypothetical bomb that size, who says the objective has to be depressurization?

Even if it "only" managed to kill one person, do you really think the rational action afterwards would be to fly on to the scheduled destination? Especially since the crew wouldn't know if that was the only device on the plane.

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

John Gamble

Re: Not quite

Yep, My grandfather's too, training for the RAF in Canada. He always said that given the average lifespan of WWI pilots, he was very lucky the war ended before he got shipped over.

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Apple iWatch due in October 2014, to wirelessly charge from one metre away – report

John Gamble
Childcatcher

Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

Very few people of my generation wear wristwatches.

Really? A lot of my friends are unaware that you're their spokesman, then -- I've been getting questions about my watch, because people of your generation got tired of pulling out their phone to check the time.

Your downvotes, much like your tears, are delicious.

Ah, passive-aggressive hipsters, how predictable you are.

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SpaceX beats off Bezos' rocket for rights to historic NASA launch pad

John Gamble

Re: Ominous.

Libertarians are something completely different

No, Libertarians claim to be something completely different. It's the same old money-shuffling scam, with a whiff of feudalism added.

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Cassini spots MEGA-METHANE SEAS on the north pole of Titan

John Gamble

The Only Failure Here...

... is your inability to hear the whooshing over your head.

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FreeBSD abandoning hardware randomness

John Gamble

Re: "You could make a random number generator"

Atmospheric noise (and other sources) have been done, although I suppose you'd want a plugin device instead of a web site. To quote myself from over a year ago:

Other sites that have done this: Lavarnd (<http://www.lavarnd.org/>, yes, randomness from a lava lamp), Hotbits (<http://www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits/>, "Genuine random numbers, generated by radioactive decay"), and Random.org (<http://www.random.org/>, which uses atmospheric noise).

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Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

John Gamble

Well... actually, we commentards had to nag them into doing it. But to their credit, they are now doing it.

Thank you, reviewers.

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Creepy US spy agency flings WORLD SLURPING OCTOPUS into orbit

John Gamble

Okay, The Calamitous Calamari Is Fun...

but the really cool stuff is the cubesats (see the blog for one of them, for example).

And side-note, the Kickstarter project to propel objects like cubesats has succeeded .

Having said that, I do want a patch with the NRO logo.

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Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

John Gamble

Re: Interesting

All the "don't do it" comments just show that the terrorists have won.

Considering the no-sense-of-humor types have been in place since planes were hijacked to Cuba, the terrorists (current batch) are just a variation on an old theme. Only the things to watch for have changed.

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Australian political games could see full TPPA treaty revealed

John Gamble

Hyperbole

Okay... I dislike our current copyright system, and bravo to Australia for shining a light on TPPA negotiations, but "running the US software industry into the ground"? Cite, please?

Speaking of citations, crediting the National Commission on Excellence in Education's famous quote to Jerry Pournelle says something about your own education.

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Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

John Gamble
Pint

Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

Surely a round for the El Reg staff would cost more than £500?

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Recommendations for private cloud software...

John Gamble

Re: Huddle?

But he didn't say he was in the U.S.

(Plus, a quick search confirmed this. I sometimes feel A.C. postings should be automatically penalized with a -1 penalty at the start.)

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Meet the cluster teams: Can Slippery Rock or Sun Devils burn?

John Gamble

Re: I'm on it

What, you prefer that over Slippery Rock's high-tech cooling system?

(Actually, I could see combining the two... hmm.)

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Keeping warm in winter the el Reg way: Setting a NAS box ON FIRE

John Gamble
Big Brother

No One Is Watching

Damn. Does that make me part of an identifiable demographic?

Not at all. There are no thought police in Canada.

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Delia and the Doctor: How to cook up a tune for a Time Lord

John Gamble

Derbyshire Was Astonishing

Of all the anniversary articles The Reg has presented so far, this is by far the best. BBC special effects manged to do a lot with very little, and one of the reasons for that is the sound that accompanied them.

The theme song itself is still a marvel and the admiration I have for Derbyshire for creating the "orchestra" that played it is limitless.

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Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

John Gamble

Re: The best one?

Yes, the problem with judging the best is that one has to also consider the quality of the scripts. I think Peter Davidson could easily have ranked higher in viewers' estimations if the script quality hadn't started dropping around that time.

(Is it my imagination or did Davidson get saddled with a large number of scripts with downer endings, including Tegan's departure?)

I came in with Tom Baker, and still rank him highly, but I really like Smith, who seems to have incorporated much of what I like about Baker and Troughton in his performance.

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It's the Inter-THREAT of THINGS: Lightbulb ARMY could turn on HUMANITY

John Gamble

None if you live in a well-lit city, but in more remote areas the ability to have the home lights on before you get home is a plus.

The internet-lightbulb is something of a straw dog anyway. The question is rather "what devices would it make sense to remotely control", and while the fanboi-types will certainly go overboard, in my case the ability to remotely monitor the temperature (and choose to turn on the air-conditioning) would be a plus for example. Or to turn on the outdoor lights.

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Planet hopper: The Earthly destinations of Doctor Who

John Gamble

O Canada

All this time and not one visit to Canada?

Even as an American, I find that suspicious. At the very least there ought to be a Cyberman or two roaming Saskatchewan.

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Funds flung at 9-inch fan-built Raspberry Pi monitor

John Gamble
Happy

But Will It Handle ANSI Escape Sequences?

I've been thinking about replacing the CRT on my VT100 terminal.

...

What? You mean you don't have a VT100 terminal?

(Think of it as last-century steampunk. Steampunk moderne, if you will.)

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