* Posts by Michael Strorm

480 posts • joined 11 Feb 2008


Want to know what 2020 holds? Microsoft has a little something for you

Michael Strorm

Re: Windows 10 is almost four years old...

> Edge will be killed because evidently its Chakra engine is a disaster (not a surprise, looking at the name)

Are you saying that Chakra, Chakra, Chakra, Chakra Can't?

Chakra Can't? Chakra Can't? Chakra Can't?

Michael Strorm

"Microsoft has a little something for you"? Subtitle song reference opportunity missed...

"And we'll give you just three guesses to figure out just what it is."

Na na na na na na na na na, indeed.

I won't bother hunting and reporting more Sony zero-days, because all I'd get is a lousy t-shirt

Michael Strorm

Free exposure but no payment for The Oatmeal, ironically

"Payment? Never mind that! You're doing it for the exposure^w cheap t-shirt!"

Is this a wind-up? Planet Computers boss calls time on ZX Spectrum reboot firm

Michael Strorm

Re: This company being cunts doesn't have a lot to do with indiegogo.

> The campaign receives "Arrow certification", saying they have received a design review to ensure the campaign is ready for production. [Later] the "Arrow certification" that has been present since the 15th of October is revoked.

Now, *that* is potentially interesting in terms of liability, regardless of whatever attempted disclaimers Indiegogo has included in the small print.

Intel to finally scatter remaining ashes of Itanium to the wind in 2021: Final call for doomed server CPU line

Michael Strorm

@Phil Endecott; "There mist have been some very profitable locked-in customers somewhere."

From Wikipedia:-

"During the 2012 Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Oracle Corp. support lawsuit, court documents unsealed by a Santa Clara County Court judge revealed that in 2008, Hewlett-Packard had paid Intel around $440 million to keep producing and updating Itanium microprocessors from 2009 to 2014. In 2010, the two companies signed another $250 million deal, which obliged Intel to continue making Itanium CPUs for HP's machines until 2017. Under the terms of the agreements, HP has to pay for chips it gets from Intel, while Intel launches Tukwila, Poulson, Kittson, and Kittson+ chips in a bid to gradually boost performance of the platform."

And it's go, go, go for class-action lawsuits against Equifax after 148m personal records spilled in that mega-hack

Michael Strorm

Hence the grittily realistic stock photo accompanying this story, which shows the likely response of a typical law firm to the news.

Google faces another GDPR probe – this time in the land of meatballs and flat-pack furniture

Michael Strorm

Re: Lookalike?

Certainly looks like her, and she's not Swedish, she's Canadian.

Her name is Rebecca (AKA 'Ariana') Givens and she's the world's most famous stock photo model.

Court orders moribund ZX Spectrum reboot firm's directors to stump up £38k legal costs bill

Michael Strorm

Re: Two words for you ...

The Spectrum Next is a far more interesting prospect anyway. Unlike the Vega and Vega+, which are internally just generic ARM hardware running Spectrum emulators (#), the Next is intended to be an FPGA-based recreation (and expansion) of the original Spectrum design/architecture.

Also, the case looks nice.

Not saying I'd definitely buy one myself, but I'd certainly consider the possibility. It'd be a shame if its prospects were hurt by the entirely unrelated set of jokers responsible for the Vega+ mess.

(#) Since one could already do this on pretty much *any* generic hardware nowadays- Raspberry Pi, low-powered Android smartphone or generic handheld for example- many people (myself included) were questioning what the point of the Vega+ was even *before* the fiasco unfolded.

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

Michael Strorm

Re: Original iMac was a huge success at the time

I vaguely remember one design that featured a horribly mismatched combination of *both* translucent panels and the then-standard PC beige(!)

(From memory, I think it was an iMac clone, but it might have been a tower. The crapness of the combination- the epitome of obvious but clueless attempts to rip off Apple's design- was more memorable than the computer itself).

Michael Strorm

Re: It is an ex-parrot.

Just out of curiosity, if it was still working, wouldn't you still have been able to shift it for a few hundred dollars- i.e. a small fraction of its original price, but still enough to make it not worth chucking on a skip- even in the late 80s?

Michael Strorm

Original iMac was a huge success at the time

Interesting, but I think you're dismissing the original 1998 iMac way too easily. Aside from what others have said here, and whatever one thinks of it, it was *hugely* successful at the time. (Remember everyone wanting to copy its translucent turquoise appearance around the turn of the millennium?)

More importantly, it was the machine that launched Apple's comeback upon Steve Jobs return- after years in the doldrums when it looked like they might even disappear- and paved the way for the iPod and then iPhone.

The '98 iMac may later have been overshadowed by the even greater success and influence of those two (and by Apple's shift in focus away from computers), but even an 800lb gorilla is going to look small next to King Kong!

Michael Strorm

Lisa, it's your birthday...

Happy birthday Lisa!

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!

Michael Strorm

Re: national security but without explaining what

> I once had a colleague that submitted his FB profile as a 102yr old woman.

Since this sort of thing was far from new even when Facebook started (#), I have to guess they figured out long ago how to spot and flag accounts with probably fake information then determine as much as possible about the real identities of the people behind them.

Facebook's defining characteristics are their desire to find out as much about you as possible and a pathological disregard for your privacy, alongside the clear ability to tie together disparate pieces of information (including that collected via your "shadow profile"), so I suspect that would-be-clever tricks like supplying bogus information do nothing more than giving a false sense of security if you use Facebook enough.

IBM to kill off Watson... Workspace from end of February

Michael Strorm

AI, AI, Oh.

> nothing more than a 'built from the ground up' collaboration work space, with some Watson words sprinkled in

As far as I'm aware, "Watson" has been reduced to little more than a brand that IBM slap on anything they they want to associate with "AI", regardless of whether or not the underlying technology is related to that of the original Watson computer whose name recognition they want to exploit.

And yes, claiming that anything and everything has "AI"- even when such capabilities are often little more than iterations of existing technologies that most people wouldn't consider true AI- seems to have become a major fad recently.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Michael Strorm

Re: netcom.co.uk

That rings a bell. IIRC I had to mess about setting up a script manually to get dial-up networking running when I first went online with Linux in 1999...

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

Michael Strorm

Re: Collapsible comment tree?

Ah... nice one!

Michael Strorm

Re: Collapsible comment tree?

One odd aspect of the newly-introduced threading I've noticed is that it works on older comment replies that were made long, *long* before the upgrade- even ones that were posted literally years ago, like these from 2012(!).

The obvious implication is that although the forum only displayed comments at two levels- one for original posts, and another for anything that was a direct *or* indirect reply to it- it was keeping track of the full threaded reply structure all along.

Razer offers freebies to gamers who descend into its coin mine

Michael Strorm

"Reference to TV series that finished over six years ago" or "Old meme is old"

"Razer won't be pocketing the cryptocoins directly from the app, but rather taking a cash cut after passing them along"

I guess you could say that Razer will be...

(puts sunglasses on)

...taking a cut.

YEEEAAAAAA.... oh, wait, you *did* already say that.


Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

Michael Strorm

Re: In what is likely to be more cock-up than conspiracy,

"why do Microsoft get the luxury of innocent until proven guilty?"

MS lost anything resembling the benefit of the doubt in my mind when they started trying to coerce and force-upgrade users into installing Windows 10, ignoring or resetting user preferences that contradicted this, using "dark pattern" design on dialogue boxes where use of the "close" button was taken as "accept" rather than the implicitly (and widely-accepted) meaning of "cancel" and intentionally overriding tools designed to *force* MS to pay attention to a user's preferences and not upgrade (whose necessity already showed that MS had gone too far in the first place) using techniques that even bland, conservative mainstream publications like C|Net were comparing to that of malware.

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention

Michael Strorm

Re: Canadian

More specifically, according to Wikipedia, "Canadian" bacon appears to be the American name for a cooked version of what everyone else- Canadians included- refer to as back bacon.

Quite why Americans would feel the need to pre-cook back bacon in particular beats me.

Take my advice and stop using Rubik's Cubes to prove your intelligence

Michael Strorm

Re: 1970's black-and-white

I've noticed that some (photo paper) prints from the 1970s seem to tend towards red and magenta.

I'm aware that movie film "prints" (i.e. projectable positive film made from movie film negatives) produced from the early 1950s onwards turned out to have bad problems with fading over time- caused by the instability of the colour dyes used. This started coming to light around the late 1970s.

So I've no idea if the problems with still photo prints are caused by the same issue, and when they fixed them. (#) At any rate, I'm saying that it possibly wasn't the fault of that specific processing lab.

(#) My own photo prints- from 1983 onwards- seemed fine the last time I checked aside from some slight warming/browning, which I think might have be a property of the base paper- rather than the dyes- and was correctable via simple colour balance adjustment.

HP's Neon Dion says if anything goes wrong, it's totally Intel's fault: CPU shortage may hit PC maker's financials

Michael Strorm

Re: Printers

@Smoking Man; That's not surprising- printers need Inc.

iPhone XR guts reveal sizzle of the XS without the excessive price tag

Michael Strorm

Re: So basically....

Didn't the Amiga's blitter (not included in the regular ST, IIRC) give it a slight advantage when drawing that offset the marginal difference in raw speed?

The STe? Nice idea on paper, but the two biggest (and most obvously Amiga-baiting) sales points- the improved palette and sampled sound- were hobbled by the retention of the existing 16-colour on screen limit in normal use (#), and by the restriction on playback rates which meant that- unlike the Amiga- you couldn't generate all the notes in an octave from a single sample.

I mentioned more about the STe here.

(#) Compared to 32 regular colours in normal use on the Amiga, plus 64 colour "extra half-brite" and 4096 colour HAM modes.

Michael Strorm

Re: So basically....

@I ain't Spartacus; "Says the man who had an Amstrad PCW9256"

That's not worthy of contempt, just sympathy... ;-)

(Joking aside, as far as I'm aware, the PCWs were only ever intended- and sold as- specialised systems designed for word processing and light office work at the lowest possible price, so it's probably not fair nor meaningful to compare them against general-purpose computers like the Amiga. The fact that some people got them to play games- albeit in glorious green-screen- is more a bonus than anything).

Michael Strorm

Re: So basically....

Either way, we all know that people are only going to be buying the ST because they can't afford an Amiga.

(Why yes, I *am* trying to reignite a 25+ year old playground battle!)

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs

Michael Strorm


@Martin Gregorie; "'The Right Stuff' is a much better book than you'd expect if you've only see the rather pathetic film."

I've only heard the song, and I was even less impressed with *that*.

jQuery? More like preyQuery: File upload tool can be exploited to hijack at-risk websites

Michael Strorm

Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1999

"the moon flew off into space. And whos fault is it?"

The person who decided it was okay to leave all that dangerously explosive nuclear waste on the far side.

Apple to dump Intel CPUs from Macs for Arm – yup, the rumor that just won't die is back

Michael Strorm

Re: Stop Press!

@Timmy B; Oh, a *sarcasmometer*? That sounds like a *really* good idea, I'm sure.

(Sarcasmometer explodes).

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

Michael Strorm

Re: Profitability

"While the VC debt model is clearly flawed, the biggest issue is that it makes a company unable to address changing conditions"

Funny you should say that, as that exact reason has been pinpointed as a likely contributor to Toys R Us' failure. Yes, they probably *did* suffer due to their failure to move with the times (which lazy mainstream media reports parroted as the cause of their demise), but as others noted, this is quite likely because it's hard to invest in- and concentrate on- required changes like that when you're trying to keep your head above water servicing the owner-imposed debt in the first place.

(That said, I also read somewhere that Toys R Us' UK operation wasn't doing all *that* badly by market standards and its demise- shortly before the US stores also went under- was due to the American parent sucking cash out of it.)

Michael Strorm

Re: My perspective

Sorry, that should read "shamelessly overpriced".

Their prices certainly weren't "shamless". :-O

Michael Strorm

Re: My perspective

I was in about five years ago, and I saw the cost of a switch- something that would have cost around a quid on mail order. IIRC it was something between £4 and £6, and the words I remember quite literally thinking weren't "overpriced" but "shamlessly overpriced".

From what I overheard of the staff there, I got the impression they were genuinely enthusiastic and helpful, but the business itself had obviously forced itself into becoming mass-market and uncompetitive.

Overexcitable UK ads regulator gabbles that Amazon broke EU law

Michael Strorm

Re: Soooo.....

@Joe W; So, you know for a fact that the people who complained to the ASA about "pseudo-cheese" (#) were the same people who buy margarine because it's "more healthier" (##), or did you just assume that?

And you're also entirely sure that they complained about it for health reasons and not- say- because they didn't appreciate being sold a low-quality substitute as the real thing? Nor possibly that they objected on principle to something being described as something it wasn't, even if they didn't have any strong objections to imitation-cheese-flavour-food-product per se?

(#) I'm assuming this is who "the same people" referred to.

(##) "More healthier", ha ha, those idiotic people can't even speak right! Especially not when you're putting your own, intentionally stupid choice of words into their mouths.

Fast food, slow user – techie tears hair out over crashed drive-thru till

Michael Strorm

Re: Ahhh, memories...

> "***Computer trying to dial a number***"

> "***Random Computer dialup noises***"

@Captain Scarlet; A *real* geek would have been able to accurately imitate the sound of the modem at the other end and fool the computer into thinking everything had gone well. Though you might have had to drop to 14,400kbps. (I'm a reasonable man and don't expect miracles.)

You'd also be able to cunningly implement a man-in-the-middle attack, so long as you could work out how to interpret and modify the data in your head. In real time.

ZX Spectrum reboot scandal: Directors quit, new sack effort started

Michael Strorm

Re: Indiegogo ?


Judge bars distribution of 3D gun files... er, five years after they were slapped onto the web

Michael Strorm

That reminds me...

Whatever happened to the "3D printers are going to change the world and everyone is going to have one!!!111" hype?

Even before I spotted references to the initial dates (2012-13) my initial reaction was "hmm... 3D guns, wasn't all that fuss a few years ago now?" followed by "come to think of it, you don't hear nearly as much about 3D printers these days, do you?"

Perhaps someone realised that a machine that can make a few plastic cogs very slowly *wasn't* going to let Jo Average 3D-print a new car engine from the comfort of her own home after all?

The most stupid example of 3D printer hype I read- in a "reputable" news site IIRC- was that we wouldn't have to bother with the environmentally-unfriendly manufacture, transport and packaging of food products like apple pies, because you'd be able to do it at home with the appropriate ingredient packets.

Aside from being a tedious PITA doing it that way, where the #### did they think the ingredients (which will have to be already mostly pre-manufactured) were going to come from?!!!

Redis has a license to kill: Open-source database maker takes some code proprietary

Michael Strorm

Re: Suicide

> "That's fine for them, but what about all the other contributors to the software who also don't receive any revenue from its use?"

Unless they're complete mugs, I'd assume they're not likely to contribute to Redis' subsequent non-Free (#) versions unless they're compensated appropriately. (That's assuming they're prepared to work with Redis at all).

Meanwhile, they'll also have learned a lesson about the risks of contributing to a project where the owner could do something like this- either because they required signing over copyright (which would be necessary under the GPL, but I'm not sure about Apache) or because the license permitted it.

They still have the option of forking the current (pre-proprietary) version, and I'm guessing this is what most of the existing non-Redis contributors will work on in future.

(#) You say that 'technically they're not "closing source"', but- assuming that's purely the opposite of "open sourcing"- then it depends on how you defined the latter in the first place. AFAIK the *intended* definition was broadly similar to that of "free software", albeit with different ideological connotations.

The fact that the term "open source" has been subsequently interpreted more literally by some- merely "source is openly available"- is what's led us into the position where we're discussing whether a system that is no longer by any reasonable measure "free"- i.e. effectively proprietary- is still somehow "open source". It's not, in the intended sense, but the ambiguity is one I'm sure the proponents of the term "free software" would argue is a problem.

Beam me up, PM: Digital secretary expected to give Tory conference speech as hologram

Michael Strorm

Re: Hologram you say?

> "Kudos to whoever it was who rebranded Pepper's Ghost as a 'hologram'."

The one good thing about this embarrassing attempt by the Tories to get down with the kids is that it provides good ammo to point out that they don't have a clue what a "hologram" actually is and that their idea of the latest technology is a 150-year-old relic from the Victorian-era masquerading as something modern.

Much like the Tories themselves.

Kids are more likely than adults to submit to peer pressure from robots

Michael Strorm

The Metallic Ones have evidently got more sophisticated at indoctrinating kids than they were when I was that age and this was the height of pro-robot propaganda.

Rejoice! Thousands more kids flock to computing A-level

Michael Strorm

Re: Fundamentals of IT

@Herring`; I didn't mean to imply that (strictly speaking) it was a structural engineering matter. However, it was close enough to make the point that even in a life-or-death matter of construction, then yes- you *can* still get such worthless, ill-informed, self-serving people weighing in on the decision. With even more serious consequences than you get with the typical IT fuck-up.

"I'm not sure that we'll ever get to the bottom of who should actually carry the can for that one."

If we don't, then that's the most damning thing of all; that a decision on the fundamental safety of building materials can be made with no-one knowing who's responsible- or no-one *having* to be responsible- for approving the decision and its safety. (The aforementioned Tory councillors made the decision- and have blood on their hands for the results- but they should *not* have been in the position of being able to get it through without that happening).

Michael Strorm

Re: Fundamentals of IT

@ Herring`; I wouldn't be so sure about that. What about the decision to swap fireproof panels for flammable ones purely to save money made by councillors on the Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea council for Grenfell Tower?

(Speaking of which, ever notice that it's conveniently slipping by unnoticed that *still* no-one has been held properly accountable for that decision? You'd have thought that in any fit-for-the-twenty-first-century building code that there would be a requirement for someone who knew what they were doing to legally "sign off"- and be responsible for- a decision like that. (#) Then again, it turns out that the Tories were pushing to *loosen* building codes shortly before the Grenfell fire.)

(#) Regardless of what a bunch of odious Tories (whose only interest was the purely cosmetic improvement of an aesthetically-unpleasing sign of The Poors in the middle of their well-off burgh) thought of it.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

Michael Strorm

Re: What's in a name...

In their defence, they probably hadn't been planning on selling it on the early-17th-century Swedish market anyway.

Time to party like it's 2005! Palm is coming BAAAA-ACK

Michael Strorm

@Boothy; I agree. I've said more than once that if the PDA market hadn't been in decline for several years before the iPhone came out, it's possible that something like the post-Apple smartphone would have evolved from that direction instead- or at least it would have been marketed as such, rather than as a "phone".

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs

Michael Strorm

Re: QLC? It's not the one for me

> Everything is analogue if you go down far enough

...and if you go down further than that, it's all digital/quantised again! (^_^)

(Disclaimer; yes, I know some phycisist will probably come along and point out that this is misleading, inaccurate or oversimplified).

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball

Michael Strorm

Re: Z80 was a more sophisticated processor

> The Raspberry Pi is supposed to be the modern take on BBC Micro (6502).

In the sense that it's educationally-oriented, possibly. On the other hand, the Raspberry Pi is very cheap, which- for all that I liked them- was *never* something you could say about the BBC Micro.

The 1981 launch prices of £235 and £335 for the Model A and B respectively are equivalent to £940 and £1340 in today's money. And that was *without* disk drives or the obligatory Microvitec Cub monitor...!

Michael Strorm

Re: What we need

> cream wobbly; "The C64 also benefited from the SID audio synth-on-a-chip. Unlike "chip music" from other 8-bit micros which typically waggled a DAC around to make PWM noise"

(Edit:- @ThomH; If I'd refreshed the page before posting this, I'd have seen that you'd already made much the same point in your reply!)

That's true as far as the original (pre-128K) Spectrum goes- along with some other machines (IIRC the Apple II and Dragon 32). However, it's far from accurate to imply that DAC waggling was "typical" of the majority of 8-bit computers.

Many had separate sound chips:-

- The Atari 800 (which came out in 1979) had a four-channel custom chip called POKEY.

- Several 8-bit computers used the Yamaha AY-3-8912 sound chip, including the Amstrad CPC, the Spectrum 128 (though admittedly that came later on), the Oric-1 and Atmos, and MSX.

- Several more used the Texas Instruments SN76489, including their own TI-99/4A, the BBC Micro and the Coleco Adam (and the ColecoVision console it was based on)

Others had sound generation integrated into multi-function custom chips:-

- Commodore's own VIC 20 (i.e. the direct predecessor to the C64) already included tone generation facilities as part of the VIC chip

- Similarly, the Commodore 16 and Plus/4 included tone generation within the TED chip

- Even the relatively primitive Atari VCS (admittedly not a personal computer) had two-channel audio generation as part of the TIA chip.

The point here isn't whether or not these were up to the standard of SID. It's that they were separate sound generation facilities that- like the C64's- freed the CPU to do other things.

Michael Strorm

Re: What we need

> "Obviously emacs is better than vi."

Well, it's certainly more fully-featured. About the only thing it lacks is a decent text editor...

Michael Strorm

Re: Looks excellent!

> I'm really looking forward to the Vega QL+

I'd buy that for a dollar!

No, really, that's all I'd risk on it at this point.

Michael Strorm

Re: What we need

I should also add that- although I'm far less familiar with the C64 than the Atari 800- as far as I'm aware, the former also benefits from custom hardware scrolling, hardware sprites and character-based graphics that allow it to outperform (e.g.) the Spectrum on most games despite its slower CPU.

Unless it's a CPU intensive game that doesn't benefit from such features (e.g. 3D games) in which case it'll suffer.


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