* Posts by Herby

2950 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

Gnome Foundation runs out of cash

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Just remember...

Nome is a city in Alaska (on the Bering sea coast). It gets cold there. I don't see how adding a 'G' is going to make it any warmer!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled comments. This has been (well, you fill it in!).

Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment

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Damned if you do..

..Damned if you don't.

Who knows, she may actually KNOW something about security!

Google kills fake anti-virus app that hit No. 1 on Play charts

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Pretty easy

to make money. At least it wasn't "malicious" just non functional.

I'd add that there are other pieces of software that are close to this in functionality. Left as an exercise for the reader to determine which ones are.

Where is the <insert platform here> police!

Internet is a tool of Satan that destroys belief, study claims

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Could it be......


(cue funny violin music)

Technology is murdering customer service - legally

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Maybe the problem is the "customer"?

Unfortunately for many calls to "customer service" the requests are for "really dumb" things, and the customers are a bit slow "right click" (where do I write click on my screen), and "cup holder" (recently seen on a TV commercial here) usage.

What is needed is a bit more "customer education" so that the callers will have an idea what is going on. I only suppose that the majority of people reading this are of a higher class than the typical "1D10T" person who calls support asking for instructions on how to empty the "bit bucket" that is getting full. The root of the problem is that there isn't a test involved on using a computer. Back in previous decades (see S/360 article) the people who were using the computer actually knew something about its operation. Nowdays it is hoped that it will work like a telephone. Just "pick up the phone" (see Federal Express commercial).

We've come a long way, and computer literacy hasn't come as far.

As for phone service, those #$%^%#$& voice recognition services that ask open ended questions are TERRIBLE. Oh, and I don't want to blab out my credit card number to everyone in the office either!

I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

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Seven pages (and counting)

This sure did stir up a hornets nest. One way or another people DO have opinions and will express them.

cf. "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

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Then we have leap seconds

To deal with. You see the earth is slowing down (ever so slightly) and days ARE getting longer. To counter this, we add leap seconds every once in a while. Yes, your GPS takes this into account when it finds the big X you painted on your foot (you are here!).

Leap years are another matter. They take into account that our trip around the sun isn't exactly 365 days. We add a day (almost) every 4 years to make the spring equinox be the same day every year.

Note to others: Please use the system's day-time routines. They are much more refined than the silly ones you might try to make up. They will work correctly as well. There are too many stories of date/time calculations going haywire.

Don't get me started on daylight savings (summer) time.

Intel uncloaks next-gen 'Braswell' Atom, 64-bit Android KitKat kernel

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They don't call it WinTel for nothing!!

"With the end of life of Windows XP around the world, we're seeing a large resurgence in desktop."

Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer

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Is a "chemical" as well. Is it "organic"? Given what constitutes a chemical, it may not be. You CAN die from over consumption (it happened locally when a contest was done a bunch of years ago). As far as I know, it may even cause cancer, as most people who succumb to cancer have consumed it at one time.

Of course there is the "taste" issue. Given my diet, it doesn't amount to much.

Now where is that nice Cheeseburger I want?

Overland Storage in fiendish reverse stock split share value ploy

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One of these days a government will do...

...something similar. Need to "re-value" its currency so that the trillion dollar bill that will barely buy a cup of coffee will be reduced to only a thousand dollar bill for the cup of coffee.

Could happen, you never know.

Note: When I was growing up, a cup of coffee could be had for a measly $0.10, now it is up to $1.00. Times have changed, of course, as they had silver in the coins as well, so they were really worth something. Good luck with that now, as pennies (in the USA) now cost more than $0.01 to produce. Go figure!

Hey, Michael Lewis: Stop DEMONISING Wall Street’s SUPERHUMAN high-speed trading

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Actually a solution...

IEX has a "magic box" that has 50km of fiber in it. It introduces enough latency that the advantage is wiped out. No fuss, no muss.

The "problem" is that the HFT people want the LEAST amount of latency so they can get the quote and head off to the next exchange to do their deeds (trade before you). A delay of 50km (a fraction of a msec) is enough to really put a hiccup in their program. The exchanges just want "speed". No more, no less. The other functions don't matter.

NSA plans to FREE YOUR DATA with range of cloud services, analytics

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You are being watched.....

Look, my opinion: Why not. They have everything anyway, why not make use of it and earn some money. It would make the whole thing "self sustaining", and then the government wouldn't need tax $$$'s to "make it so". Aren't there lots of "CIA Fronts" lying around, why not a nice "NSA Front". OH, wait, maybe there already is one (or two).

Nice touch anyway.

HP settles lawsuit after Mad Leo's WebOS and PC biz shenanigans

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"Will go towards covering people or companies that bought shares in HP between 22 November, 2010 and 18 August, 2011.". Of course those who held onto the stock during this bounce will see nothing. Oh, and the lawyers will get rich! What else is new?

Newsnight goes sour on Tech City miracle

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Silicon Valley just IS...

As one who has grown up here, I've seen it all. Things come and go, but there are LOTS of garages here and lost of people willing to try things. It is pretty convenient to be able to go down to Fry's (it used to be Zack Electronics in Palo Alto) and pick up the pieces needed to make up something. It must be in the water or the air that things sprout up here. Sure things and people move around as well as being bought and sold, but that's the way it is.

Then again, in my experience, the faltering of a company doesn't have to do with its ideas, but rather with its management. It is the people in the suits that hold the string of the Yo-Yo and make it go up and down. If they don't get it right, things are doomed. If they do get it right, everybody wins. It is the classic MBA vs. EE problem.

So, life goes on. It really doesn't matter where the magic happens most of the time, but if you are close the the "action" more and more things do happen.

For an example: Try to make a movie outside of the Hollywood sphere. Sure it can be done, but it takes a LOT of patience.

Dish and DirecTV deal: Damned if they merge, damned if they don't

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But I don't want...

A silly "hopper". I just want the TiVo service I get with DirecTV to continue like it always does. The customer service for Dish network just isn't that good (I do know a friend who switched).

Please don't let the silly people of Dish (not known for their great management practices) to screw up DirecTV.

The (dis) wonders of market consolidation.

FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

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This just in... Of course in my dreams...

LibreOffice just announced for iPad. Includes a full suite of programs for viewing and editing online as well as offline.

It won't be long. Maybe even Apple would announce that it is doing the port.

Could happen, never know.

US-Russia Soyuz 'nauts STUCK IN SPACE after ISS dock fail

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Where is Howard Wolowitz....

Working on the space toilet when you need him? Maybe his mother was yelling at him?

You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

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The traffic on 880 is always backed up. Even more so in commute times. Of course you could try the approach to the bay bridge in the morning, it is ALWAYS backed up.

Me? I use Foothill Expressway, but the light at El Monte has a short cycle, and I have to wait twice! Bummer!

The coat is on the back of my chair!

Apple vows to add racially diverse EMOJIS after MILEY CYRUS TWITTER outrage

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Need to add the DogCow as well.

Now this should be a proper thing for Apple to do. See technical note 31 for specifics.

I'm probably showing my age here.

Forget sledgehammers – crooks can CRACK ATMs with a TEXT

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Note to banks:

Please use (very) custom hardware/software when you build ATMs. Oh, and please put in some logging features that do checksums of vital parts and report them back to "central". You don't need to verify them at the ATM, let your center do that and raise alarms.

p.s. Keep those $20 bills on coming! Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

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The Lalo Schifrin music. Light the fuse.

Boycott Firefox, gay devs urge as Mozilla appoints JavaScript daddy as CEO

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Lots of things to protest about these days.

Of course when you think about it, everybody has an opinion, and (hopefully) they can express it. Just don't beat me over the head if I don't share it.

Then there is the saying:

Calling a dog a cat doesn't make it so!

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

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Just remember, if IBM hadn't used the Intel parts (used a proper chip, like the 68000), Intel might well have been reduced to dust, probably making ram or rom chips.

Of course for the PC JR they might have used the 68008, which does have an 8 bit buss, but works quite well. As I remember, it could only address 1Mbyte of memory as well. I also note that the 6845 CRT chip is a Motorola chip, as is the CMOS memory chip used in the AT (and all that follows). I suspect that most "bridge" chips have an implementation of the 6818 in them, with the DST transitions that date back that far (and in the USA been changed twice since).

Life goes on.

Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk

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This just in...

Microsoft buys ICANN, claims internet for themselves. Will "innovate" further.

Also announced: IPv8, an attempt to wrestle control from above acquisition.

Who knows: could happen. Of course I hope not, but with the $$$$ that Microsoft slings around trying to buy market/mind share, it might happen.

But it all boils down to "Microsoft Innovation", which is a pretty guud oxymoron!

Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

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Next time...

Three words:

Thumb drive. Mail.

Please pay attention now!

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

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A simple addition...

Go buy a Raspberry Pi, and give it a nice 32+ GB SD card. It will have lots of room to be a "server" and you CAN make good use of it. It can hold all sorts of images of various software releases, and for the most part be quite quick. An investment of less than $100 or so and you have a VERY complete backup. If you want, you can make up USB keys and swap them out at will. Given that power is likely to be erratic, it can be a godsend.

If you want, you can make some of the machines do netboots and go from there if necessary. The nice thing about a solution like this is that it WILL be stable for a while, and have little (if any) malware problems.

The images you put on this "server" can be varied, but having all the files that would normally be fetched from the "internet" there (and those of your new operating system) ought to make things easier.

This is a pretty reasonable investment for $100 (or less).

NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

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Now THAT is what you call

Global Warming. Caused by our nearest star, not man made. Pretty obvious.

Of course, others will call it "weapons of mass destruction" and they may just be right.

Then again, if it hits at night will anyone notice? Ohhh, Aurora!!

WOW! Google invents the DIGITAL WATCH: What a time to be alive

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Dick Tracy??

Fifty years later. Two-way wrist TV. We thought it was pure fantasy when it was in the comics back then. Reality, what a concept.

p.s. Does it have a position sensor so it will change "up" depending on which way you hold it?

Microsoft's SQL Server 2014 early code: First look

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"In memory" database.

Seems typical. For performance upgrade, buy more hardware to make system run. Microsoft has been doing this for years.

I had a W98 laptop that (originally) came with 32MB. Good luck trying to run anything on that small of memory these days!

Microsoft upgrades: Please upgrade your hardware first!

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

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Precious Cargo??

Maybe it has all the stolen BitCoins taken from MtGox earlier in the year. They needed a place to land and remove them from the cargo hold.

Another option: see KAL007 problem.

Straight to 8: London's Met Police hatches Win XP escape plan

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Back to the future...

This just in: Met Police now downgrade laptops to Windows 7, citing "ease of use" problems. Details to follow.

You heard it here first.

Wackadoo DIYers scissor-kick beatboxer

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Original "E-ticket"

Relates (as said in a previous note) back to the rides at Disneyland. In the older days you bought a book of tickets, ranging from the A-Ticket (used for the merry-go-round, all the way up to the E-Ticket used for the Matterhorn Bobsleds. The E-Ticket rides were the most costly and usually the most exhilarating. So, if you wanted someting exciting, it was always an E-Ticket ride.

Of course this is the definition of my youth. Nowdays it may have a much different meaning, often relating to flying on an airplane.

Times change!

Report: Apple flushes 12.9-inch MaxiPad plan down the drain

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Pardon me sir...

You are mistaking me for someone who actually gives a damn.

As said in previous comments the term "MaxiPad" has other meanings. Never mind.

Is no browser safe? Security bods poke holes in Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox and earn $1m

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This begs the question...

Will these flaws actually get fixed?

This is the more pressing issue.

This city's smog is so TERRIBLE, people are told to stay indoors. Beijing? No – PARIS

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Cure for "global warming"??

Smog. Look, they mentioned that it might cause "nuclear winter".

Maybe, we need to see the air we are breathing. You might get ill on air that is too clear!

I'll leave it to others to debate this further. I'm outta here!

Microsoft gives away Windows Phone 8 licences in India – report

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Desperate times...

Call for desperate measures.

One can infer from this that Microsoft is indeed desperate!!

BuzzGasm: 9 Incredible Things You Never Knew About PLIERS!

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Other uses...

I got my wife a pair of needle nose pliers so she can remove the bones from the Salmon Fillets she cooks. This is a VERY good use.

Sometimes you CAN use side cutters as pliers. It depends upon the material and how hard you grip it. In fact if your task is to turn a round object (that just happens to fit in the jaws of said side cutters) they may just be THE tool to use.

Yes, I own several pliers. At times they mate and produce more. The gestation time usually is a trip to the delivery room (hardware store).

Apple pedometer patent filing cranks up the iWatch rumor mill

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Block Diagram...

Seems to describe an iphone in all its glory. Maybe that is the "prior art".

Now if the patent office had the public do its search for "prior art" patents might be worth something. To be sure, there is lots of non-patented "prior art".

Spinning rust woes: NetApp bumps along bottom while EMC soars

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I want to invest in

This "other" company. It looks very promising. What stock exchange are they listed on? Do they pay dividends?

Opportunity knocks!!

SATANIC 'HELL DIAMOND' tells of sunless subterranean sea

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Water, Water...

Everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

Seems fitting now.

Is the World Wide Web for luvvies and VCs – or for all of us?

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Some of this makes me want for "simpler" times.

Like when the information was "plain text" and you subscribed to Usenet newsgroups.

Unfortunately these are close to obsolete, but in their day, they were THE thing.

Now where is the alt...... newsgroup I (never mind)

NSA's TURBINE robot can pump 'malware into MILLIONS of PCs'

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Interesting choice of words

All these fancy names. Do they have a buzzword generator or something? Look if they want it "secret" something like "project 42" (kinda like "area 51") would be better.

Of course, the names might ALL refer to the same project, you never know.

As for financing the operation, maybe they used cryptolocker? Great slush fund generator (unfortunately at our expense!)

Scott McNealy was right!

UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

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I can see it now...

An ATM infected with CryptoLocker.

Maybe there is a "secret" keystroke sequence hidden somewhere that will do something like "How about a game of Chess?"

Academic blames US for tech titans' tax dodge

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The money would come home...

If it weren't taxed at one of the highest corporate rates in the world. Of course it would be taxed again as dividends are paid out and investors had to pay THEIR taxes as well. Corporate governance dictates that a company pay the smallest amount of taxes necessary. So they do it!

If you want more taxes, feel free to write a check to your local government. I suspect they even accept credit cards.

What a country!!

My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

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Look, when I first started we used keypunches (the 026 type if you must ask) and later had the nice 64 character 029 types later on. Along the way I bought a modem 33 teletype and had at it. It IS quite a humbling experience to program on such a beast with its sound level, and slowness.

Nowdays, it is a nice laptop that has the logo of the company I work for. I got a docking station and a nice large monitor (1920x1200) that also has the nice company logo. It is quite nice. As for software, it didn't take long before I had a nice Fedora Linux image up and running and haven't looked back. It is a quite speedy goodie with lotsa cores. Thankfully I can leave "patch Tuesday" behind, but do run regular "yum updates" and all is well with the world.

The home boxes are varied. Wife uses an older W98 box while sitting in front of a "computer", but mostly plays with her iPad and iPhone (between cursing at the news on the TV). My boxes are a smallish one for the email server, and a couple of larger ones for frotzing around. At one time I had a nice 8 port 100BT switch all full up. The box that really saves the day is a nice multi-port KVM switch (7 spigots currently).

Such fun.

Pure Storage CEO goes BALD after losing bet on firm's results

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The difference between a "good" and "bad" haircut...

About three months. He will recover.

Now that other bald guy that tried to run another large company (Uncle Fester?) I don't know about. Maybe he will grow hair. Stranger things have happened.

We all owe our EXISTENCE to lovely VOLCANOES, say boffins

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Interesting map

That indicates "E <-> W" at the South Pole.

Somebody ought to know that it should be "N <-> N" if they had a geography class.

Yes, I can clearly say "Been there, done that! (and have a photo to prove it!)"

Barclays warns freelance techies of DOUBLE DIGIT rate cut

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10% pay cut...

10% work output cut.

Simple as that!

Of course, you could join with others and TRY a 15% work output cut, and hope for an improvement, but I suspect it isn't in the cards.

Good luck to Barclays, they will need it!

MtGox gets its sorry assets frozen amid US class-action lawsuit

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The only "winners" are:

Wait for it: THE LAWYERS. The sorry peons and druggies who put their moola into MtGox might see a fraction of their deposit, but you can bet big bux that the lawyers will be the ones that will get fat over this and many other sue-balls.

You heard it here folks. When this finally gets resolved, link back to this and confirm it happening!

Finally! Some actual, novel tech: Apple patent to revive geriatric gear

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Your power supply already adapts

You see, it compares its output against a nice steady reference (zener diodes are popular, but not the only references out there) and adjusts its feedback loop accordingly. The power supply in your computer probably already does this, as it wants to keep its voltages constant. Now if you say the reference drifts, and you need to measure that with an nice A-D converter, everyone should note that the A-D converter ALSO needs a reference or its readings will be out of kilter. The assumption here is that somewhere there is a reference that isn't subject to aging that can measure things.

Sorry, but they really don't exist. This is why we have national standards bodies (NIST here in the USA) where you can send things to be "calibrated" against nice "traceable" things that are kept under (many) locks & keys.

What we settle for is a "pretty good" reference in a nicely controlled feedback loop that isn't subject to drift (it has things designed to null out bad things).

Sure things "wear out", but if the device was designed correctly (and not for planned obsolescence) the design will take care of it and adapt. So, while this may be a nice thing to show your friends as something "special", it doesn't amount to much.

So, Apple, show me how this is used!

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