* Posts by vincent himpe

616 posts • joined 13 Aug 2006

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It's the real Heart Bleed: Medtronic locks out vulnerable pacemaker programmer kit

vincent himpe

would that be considered

a denial of service ?

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Space station springs a leak while astronauts are asleep (but don't panic)

vincent himpe

Re: Then they're hurt or killed

wait. i though space was full of nothing ...

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Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)

vincent himpe

but... That city spent all that money..

doesn't get anything. Every year thousand and thousands of freeloading photographers go to take pictures of all those buildings. Somebody paid for them to be constructed. i don't want some freeloader snapping pictures of my city and charging money for that. I am ok for people to come and see for themselves. but no pictures allowed !

Where are we headed ? Coat ?

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

vincent himpe

Wake me when i can get a 2TB for 60$

Any point in time before that is nonsense.

It may be technically feasible to make 4TB SSD's but not at the price point of spinning rust ....

Only when they are in the same price range give or take 10% will mechanical drives go away.

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Toshiba gets NASty: Soups up hi-cap enterprise drive

vincent himpe

Re: Hard disks stuck at 3.5" - why?

Torque and access speed.

spinning such massive platters at high RPM requires a lot of torque..

a larger diameter also means more travel time for the headstack making the driver slower. jumping from the outward to the inward track simply takes longer on a 5 1/4 vs a 3 1/2 drive.

if you plot spinspeed and travel time you will find one sweet spot for drive diameter vs access time.

thats why we use 3 1/2. it falls slap dab in the middle of that range

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vincent himpe

Re: Hey Mamr

Load/ Unload means head loading onto the platters and retracting them off into the parking garage.

Modern drives no longer land the heads on the platters on powerdown or idle. The heads are retracted and slide into a 'garage'. This is technically a misnomer. What happens is the arms pull back and slide onto a ramp. the lifts the heads up and away from the platter surfaces. The arm then lands in a notch that holds it. The heads are dangling free.

A headstack 'parked' this way is very resilient towards damage and shock. There is no risk of the heads banging into anything and chipping the ferromagnetic surfaces.

Whenever a drive is not used for active data transfer a timeout system will command the headstack to retract. The motor keeps spinning so the platters remain up to speed although they can 'float' a few thousand RPM. They will stay above a certain minimum so the heads can be 'loaded' at will.

A minimum RPM of the platters is required to create enough surface pressure to keep the heads floating and not slam into the surface.

Another common misbelief is that people think the heads 'crash' into the platters and cause damage. A head crash damages the HEAD. The surface of a harddisk is so hard (made from diamond-like carbon deposit. it is actually a carbon layer grown in a diamond lattice) you cannot scratch this. the magnetic layer is buried under that surface. the top of the carbon layer is lubricated with a coating to increase surface tension. This repels the heads away from the surface.

The spinning platters create a suction effect by pulling air between the platter surface and the head. It is basically an airplane wing upside down. The heads contain a heater element. By altering the temperature of the head they can control the flying height. As the head is writing it also heats up and the pole tips extend. By altering the heater temperature they can compensate for this. Control algorithms seek for maximum signal strength and not only drive the head towards the center of a track but also seek in vertical space for optimum flying height.

I worked for years in the HDD world and it still amazes me how they can cram all that data on such small a surface with this reliability. Some of the stuff they do is like Evel Knievel doing motorcycle stunts...

Prediction algorithms figure out what will pass at what moment in time underneath the head and steer the headstack to the right spot , in time for the data sector to fly by. the head accelerates, maintains speed , then decelerates just in time to pick up the 'pilot' that precedes the data block. The pilot is phase locked to fine control drive rotational speed. depending on the track we are on we know exactly how many microseconds of data will pass by before we will hit another pilot block. The drive times all that stuff out and then turns on the writer for that precise amount of time to spit the data onto the disk.

While writing a block the drive is 'blind'. It all depends on accurate timing so not to write beyond track end, and accurate positioning , so not to write into adjacent tracks. It's like doing a run around an athletic course, you have to run 100m in 10 seconds , staying in your assigned track . stopping just short of the finish line ( stepping on the finish line corrupts the pilot, going beyond throws data in the next block corrupting that) , all while blindfolded.

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Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

vincent himpe

Re: Here's a PEP

very funny. you need to look at assembly created by compilers.

It is full of goto statements. jump jump jump. You can't make a CPU without a JMP operation.

so i don't get the hate against 'goto'. If i am here and the next few statements do not need executing simply skip to the continuation point. Place a label there and off you go. It is up to you to make sure you don't imbalance the stack.

what is different between these two constructs :

-----------------

if x = 1 then goto continue_here

do this

then that

continue_here :

some more stuff

-----------------

vs

-----------------

if (x<>1) {

do this

then that

}

some more stuff.

-----------------

The compiler still converts that if-then statement into a jump operation.

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vincent himpe

Here's a PEP

i propose introducing proper keywords like Begin and End or at least some brackets of some type as opposed to whitespace and indentation...

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Another German state plans switch back from Linux to Windows

vincent himpe

Re: application compatibility

I am not talking about 'moving things over' . I am talking about a built from scratch operating system that can run EXISTING WINDOWS BINARIES. No need to recompile , no need to learn something different.

Kind of what they did with the Dos clones. One could make a highly secure operating system that simply exposes the windows API to the applications. Since today we have 10 Terabyte HDD's. You could set it up so that each application has its own storage pool and stores its stuff in 1 directory. There would be no DLL hell as applications have the stuff they came with and other installs cannot overwrite that. Deleting an application would simply be deleting a 'container'. The container holds the registry for only that app, the app files and the app settings in subdirectories. Moving to a different machine would be as simple as copying the container. The operating system could expose the API required to run. if you need to be able to run an old windows 3.11 program: Create a container for that API , install and run.

Yes windows has a lot of undocumented stuff but very few programs really use that.

Wine is not a solution : all the 'big boy' applications are marked as 'garbage' It just doesn't work properly. The moment you want to open the taps on real software, wine falls apart.

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vincent himpe

application compatibility

That is the key problem.

If all these linux developers would put their brains and might under developing an operating system that could run windows binaries we would have a winner.

Every time i looked at linux ( at least once every two to three months ) there is just too much stuff that has no equivalent. No matter what your opinion : there is just no substitute for certain software. Take something like Solidworks for example. Or Altium Designer. Or Adobe Premiere. Or microcontroller toolchains. There may be something in the linux world that comes close but it is not the same. And that's where the misery begins. Plug-ins and add-ons for those tools don't run in the 'equivalents' : they need the real tools.

That would be solved by making an open source 'windows' that implements the full windows API.

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Pwned with '4 lines of code': Researchers warn SCADA systems are still hopelessly insecure

vincent himpe

Re: SCADA systems running windows

80 yer old scada code is barely a few kilobytes, often hand cratfed assembly for the HAL with some high level language frontend typically compiled using Fortran or Pascal or running interpreted languages like Forth.

The young whippersnappers can't even write a bootloader that is below 100Kbyte ... These control systems have 8 k rom and 1 or 2k of ram and happily work.

in the early 90's i was working on an Ion implanter that was driven from a graphical touch screen running on an IBM 286 PC ( a real IBM , not a clone ) using iRMX as its operating system.

Every control on the screen was its own little executable sending messages to a custom piece of hardware. if the PC developed a problem , for example a control crashing the supervisor program would simply restart an instance of that control , bind it to the target and the machine would keep working. the control would request the last known state and reflect that on screen.

That thing was virtually crash-proof. I remember getting a phone call from the operator that there was an error message that popped up. The message said it had found a couple of parity errors in ram adress so and so and had marked the memory as 'bad'. The iRMX executive had reloaded new instances of the controls to a different memory offset, relinked them to their target and the machine happily trudged along. months later, during a scheduled service we shut down the pc, popped the hood, removed the 41256 type DRAM chip from its socket ( the address gave us an idea which one it would be) stuck in a new one, booted into system diagnostic, ran the memory test to verify the parity errors were gone and off we went. I know for a fact that machine was still operating in 2012 .... same computer, same software. It booted from a 10 megabyte MFM harddisk made by Nec and had 2 megabyte of ram.

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What's all the C Plus Fuss? Bjarne Stroustrup warns of dangerous future plans for his C++

vincent himpe

why not simply have a 'foreach' ?

foreach (x in v) x++;

why all those cryptic modifiers ? language syntax should be easy to read. Not look something written by a drunk hamfisted keyboard pounder typing expletives in symbolic form... $#@&%^!!!

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Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers

vincent himpe

soon at a wholefoods near you

Parawater and orthowater.

let the discussions begin about which one is healthier.

My bet is on the electrolytially distilled counterclockwise spinning alkaline orthowater.

or is it raw parawater ? i can't keep them apart ...

has anyone tried this with deuterium yet ?

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Sysadmin's PC-scrub script gave machines a virus, not a wash

vincent himpe

Root filesystem takeover panic

Windows 95 plugged to a network that had Solaris servers running Samba.

In windows 95 you could bypass login by hitting escape and then create a new user. I had created a user called 'root' with a blank password and full privileges.

When transferring files from the win95 machine to the Solaris server these were written from user account 'root' so nobody (except) could access them. IT was puzzled who the hell had the root password... they changed their root password multiple times, yet somebody always seemed to guess it.

Things got worse when , using windows file explorer directories were cut and pasted .. and changed permissions to 'root'...

Finally this was found out to be a bug in samba.

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Astronaut took camera on spacewalk, but forgot SD memory card

vincent himpe

GOPRO. LOL

PRO.. get it ?

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Hands off! Arm pitches tamper-resistant Cortex-M35-P CPU cores

vincent himpe

Re: Smart streetlight? FFS, why?

- state monitoring ( lamp out for example ) -> auto service call

- environmental monitoring ( temperature / humidity / motion / vibration / position )

- traffic monitoring thru motion sensing (infrared/ radar)

- early earthquake warning system ( vibration sensing )

- impact monitoring. if some car hits the pole ...

- weather monitoring

- emergency services ( forced light-on )

- diagnostics

- battery state ( for solar powered light fixtures )

- power outage detection ( street lights are on an always-on live feed . If the feed goes down a smart light can send a 'dying-gasp' signal alerting service.

There are plenty of scenarios and many are already implemented.

IoT does not necessarily mean it runs over Wifi. More often specialist mesh networks such as LoRaWan are used.

The sensor packages for such services are very small. A 9 axis accelerometer /positional sensor combined with a temp/pressure/hum sensor can do the job. All electronics can fit in a matchbox and costs less than 5$ in mass production. Why not do it ?

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User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

vincent himpe

mode con lines=50

mode con cols=132

on a 1600x1200 21 inch nokia monitor driven from a Number nine systems card wit 4 meg of video ram

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One Ring to pwn them all: IoT doorbell can reveal your Wi-Fi key

vincent himpe

hardwired ... sod wifi

Hardwire all that stuff using POE. Wifi doorbells and camera's are useless. Simply scramble the RF

frequencies in use and it's game over...

As for wifi: separate partition , WPA2 secured , mac address restricted on router ( yeah i know that can be spoofed too) and number of simultaneous connections limited ( i only have 2 wifi devices. so if a third one tries : bingo. if one of mine no longer works : bingo. )

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Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

vincent himpe

Any passing spaceship

that looks at us probably goes : f... no . we don't want to deal with those baboons...

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Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

vincent himpe

Somewhere in heaven ...

God sits sulking on his throne. St Peter walks by and asks "What's wrong ? "

God answers : We should never have let that Steven Hawking in here. He's barely been here an hour and already mathematically proved me i don't exist ...

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Developer mistakenly deleted data - so thoroughly nobody could pin it on him!

vincent himpe

@#$% keyboard designers...

win95 era... The first keyboards with power / sleep / wake buttons. Positioned between the cursor keys and Delete/End/Page down keys ...

I was working on a critical machine that ran tests. This thing had been running for a while and it was time to save some data. I was keying in a command and , while reaching for the 'Delete key' i hit the 'power down key' ( i was typing blind and was used to HP workstation keyboards where the arrow keys 'touch' the row containing Delete/end/Page down, so for me the bottom left key above the arrow keys was 'delete', while ont hes keyboard it was 'power down')

-click- pieuwww ( drive spins down )

$*#(@* who in his right mind designs a keyboard that can shut down the machine and places the keys there !

I took the keyboard, cut the ps/2 cable and then grabbed the keyboard firmly on one side and whacked it into the edge of the bench. this essentially cracked the damn thing in half, while showering my nearby colleagues in key-caps... After which i threw the broken in half keyboard on the desk of the guy responsible for buying our IT equipment while stating in a clear voice : if you ever order this type again ... your head is next ...

Fast forward to a few years later when we were moving the lab .. we moved some cabinets and someone found a few keycaps.... and then the questions came.

This is now part of company history known as The exploding keyboard incident...

here is a picture of such a keyboard ... [img]https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/vDYAAOSw5ShZzY9y/s-l1600.jpg[/img]

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Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage

vincent himpe

Cleanroom suits and power breakers...

Picture this. a cleanroom where integrated circuits are made. A massive multimikllion dollar ion implanter. High voltage, deep vacuum, ion beams, Cry pumps. Magnet power supplies feeding 3000 amperes...

All hanging of a three phase lever switch mounted on the wall. One of those big 'clunk' type rotary levers that are gas-spring operated to shoot the contacts open.

Plant and facilities is called for a small water leak in the service area. The tech goes in and looks at the leak and gets ready to put a small pan underneath while he goes out to get a new piece of teflon tubing to replace. Before crouching down he adjusts his cleanroom bunny suit ( those are uncomfortable if you have to bend over or kneel down. ) while doing so his belt snags at the big power breaker handle.

As he kneels down he feels the snag but it is too late. Ka-lunk : the whole machine goes dark

Vacuum isolation valves lose control pressure and pop open. The 6 meter long beamline sucks in air, pulverizing the poor wafer that sat in the interlock. Ion gauges blow their filaments exposed to the inrushing air. The crypumps lose vacuum and immediately freeze over shattering the traps.

The tech ,scared witless by all the banging and clonking turns around and does the unthinkable...

He grabs the big lever of the switch. and re-engages power to the machine...

...

It took 2 months to overhaul the machine into back up and running.

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Knock, knock. Who’s there? Another Amazon Key door-lock hack

vincent himpe

really ? 2 second fix ...

if door closes -> lock.

These doorlocks have a magnetic sensor to detect they are closed. So the moment you exit the door and mechanically close it the lock will sense the doorjamb and engage the locking pin. no need for RF , wifi bluetooth or other wireless stuff.

my samsung doorlock works that way. close the door and it locks itself.

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Cool disk drive actuator pillar, Seagate – how about two of them?

vincent himpe

Re: @Bahboh

The pole tips are much smaller than that. In the micron order. The pole tips compress the magnetic field so it runs into the track. there is substantial leakage into adjacent tracks, but due to the magnet hardness the leakage is not strong enough to 'flip' the data in the adjacent track.

Even if you could make such an array for reading , for writing it is not possible. the currents involved and the size of the coils ( writing is still done using a coil , reading is done using a magnetoresistive element ) make it impossible. Try making a transmitter that can blast 4 to 6 GHz at 400 to 600 mA of current....

on a few million outputs at the same time... that chip would get so hot it would melt down ...

note : i have designed harddisk read/write preamps as well as motor controllers...

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vincent himpe

The fixed head was used to read the sync track. the sync track holds the markers where sectors begin and end.

Early drives did not use soft sectoring but had hard sectors.

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SpaceX to try reusing both rocket and spacecraft for historic ISS mission

vincent himpe

Re: ZBLAN is reckoned to be the a product that could be made at profit in space

don;t forget a few space rocks to scatter in the living room. they work better than the pebbles. i hear moon rock works really well...

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Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

vincent himpe

Re: FAO: Mrs Git

Get a used Zbook 17 instead. one with a K4000 graphics card.

you can find em for 800$. 30$ for the docking station.

3 displayports , 3 dvi's , one vga and one hdmi. dual drive bays, and possible to install a mPCI drive as well. on board 1920x1080 display. has optical drive ( you can find even blu-ray burners in that formfactor.) and the dock has a slot for an additional HDD and additional optical drive.

Pump 32 gig of ram in it , two SSD's. i have mine hooked up to 3 2560x1600 displays. 4 screens in one shot. I run Solidworks, Altium Designer, Catia, Illustrator , and MS office. All at the same time. The thing doesn't even slow down. Win 7-64 Enterprise.

I am never going back to a desktop.

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vincent himpe

Re: Hmmmmm

But why do you want to pay someone to rewrite all that stuff in the first place ?

Just cause we changed cars ( the operating system is just a vehicle to run applications. it should do that and otherwise get out of the way ) we need to learn how to drive again , we need all new roads , our parking space doesn't work.

Here is a hypothetical question : if all the effort that was poured into making Linux was poured into writing an operating system that could run existing windows/dos binaries ... Now that would be great !

An open source system where anyone who wants to tinker, can tinker, and anyone who just wants to run software he has already bought , can just do that.

why does linux need to be so radically different ? (from an application running perspective )

You can do all you want under the hood. i don't care. I am not a coder. a computer for me is like a box of screwdrivers. I use it to get work done. I do not design screwdrivers , nor screws nor do i want to change the color and shape of the handles ever 2 months or bicker if chrome vanadium is better than titanium tipped ones.

Think about it: the best of both worlds : an open source ecosystem where everyone can be happy. Existing software vendors don't have to change anything, existing user don't have to relearn. And everything becomes available to everyone. The world just gets larger. Wine attempts that , but to a limit. There are many things that do not work properly under wine. And it is again another layer...

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vincent himpe

Re: What 400 apps?

I find it funny how people keep comparing Gimp to Photoshop. Or xx to yy.

Let's try this : how many Photoshop plugins work in Gimp on Linux (Gimp on windows, yes, some do work) ?

Adobe Illustrator vs Inkscape ( inkscape is really great ! ). Until you want to prepare stuff to go to press... Then it fails. Cause the press world wants Adobe.

Other tools : Solidworks anyone ? Autocad ?

There is your answer ....

Interoperability is a problem. The world is larger than your desk ... or office.

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vincent himpe

Re: @ Voland's right hand

DXF ... THE DATA FORMAT FROM HELL. It isn't even compatible with itself.

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Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280m in Ethereum

vincent himpe

Re: This is when I know I'm getting old...

and some people want to tinker with the 'software' in the human brain....

i predict hordes of roaming braindamaged zombies roaming the earth ...

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vincent himpe

Re: This is when I know I'm getting old...

in 1998 i had a Compaq monitor. A monitor! not a computer ! that needed a software update.

One morning we found that all blue was gone. Only the red and green channels worked. this was old school picture tube analog VGA 640x480. We unplugged the vga cable checking for a bent pin and replugged it. Nope. Blue was gone. Did some joker turn down the blue using the menu ?

Pulling up the on screen menu froze the monitor completely. The computers screen disappeared and the menu box was all garbled pixels.

Power cycle the monitor : all back to normal.

The little 8K cpu responsible for the control menu had locked up and turned down the blue gain. Trying to pull up the menu froze it completely. a cold start and we were back in business.

Seriously? It's already bad our computers can lock up. now we have to deal with crashing firmware in screens ?

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SCO vs. IBM case over who owns Linux comes back to life. Again

vincent himpe

you forgot your lead overcoat and asbestos underwear ...

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Story gone

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Dumb bug of the week: Apple's macOS reveals your encrypted drive's password in the hint box

vincent himpe

Crap, Apple went pop...

there goes the breakfast cereal ...

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Computers4Christians miraculously appears on Ubuntu wiki

vincent himpe

nothing to pay

except your immortal soul . for eternity. mbwuhahahaaaaa.

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Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

vincent himpe

Mysterious reboot every wednesday

This is a dedicated machine built around a Nova computer ( i'm talking mid 80's) used for IC layout.

This machine has a couple of diablo disk drives and is hooked up to specialistic terminals (Calma)

At a certain point in time we are baffled by the following : every thursday morning the machine is found to have gone through a full reset. Service is called. They are baffled too. These machines do not a have a watchdog , nor a realtime clock and there is no known software that can cause a timed reboot. One wednesday evening the machine is booted from a clean diskpack and left in a steady state with nothing running on it . And then the wait begins. Sure enough at a certain point : reboot.

Every possible avenue is tried : back-up UPS investigated, computer investigated , peripherals investigated.

Ultimately the diskpack is sent off to the manucfacturer where they insert it in a brand new machine, wait for wednesday/thursday turnover and nothing happens over there.

suspecting a serious hardware problem in the machine they ship an entire new machine. Machine gets installed, wired in booted and then the wait begins. Come wednesday evening ... nothing happens. All is well. Next wednesday .. all is well. Looks like the machine was faulty. Then the week after : it starts again.... So : someone camps out in the computer room ( the fishbowl we called it. a room surrounded in glass panels , with an adjacent room where the line printer and the large format flatbed plotter ( we are talking A0 sheets here ) is. To get into the computer room you need to go through the printer room and only select people have access to the computer room.

come wednesday evening late at night : the cleaning crew comes in. One lady opens the printer room door, plugs in the vacuum cleaner in the socket over there and proceeds to vacuum. The Nova reboots.

How can this be ? the fishbowl has its own supply , on a double redundant UPS, isolated from the rest of the building. That socket is not in use for anything else in the computer room. We even trace the wiring and the fuse feeding that socket is not shared with anything else. It is just a utility socket for just such purposes : provide 'dirty power' if any work is to be done.

So we lift the floortiles ( raised computer room floor ). Lo and behold: there is the cable connecting the plotter to the computer. 1 inch underneath the power socket.

What happened : switching on the vacuum cleaner caused a spike on the comms cable between plotter and computer causing the computer to freeze and reboot. We had changed cleaning crews a while ago. They were given explicit instructions not to plug anything into the orange sockets around the computer room ( clean power on ups ) , and this was a white socket. It turned out the trouble started after the new cleaning company took over. Then why did the new machine work fine for 2 weeks ? the vacuum lady was sick and her replacement simply used an extention cord to reach that area.

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Sigfox doesn't do IP and is therefore secure, says UK IoT network operator

vincent himpe

Well, with a maximum packet payload size of 12 bytes, the limitiation of number of packets per day you can broadcast and the fact that you can program a node to be 'transmit only' , it's gonna be bloody hard to hack into the sensor ...

The node will not receive them at all as the RX-radio is turned off. Even if a sloppy programmer leaves the RX on : if a packet comes in .. it will go in the hardware buffer simply be overwritten on next packet.

If you don't attach a receive handler then no code will ever read it. ( it's a hardware circular buffer, it simply rolls over when full )

These networks are designed to send data from far flung locations. One way , fire and forget. Think of it as UDP over airwaves. 'best effort'

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

vincent himpe

'you can take photos without unlocking the phone'

That is not the point. I want my phone to open always to a specific icon screen. Whatever app is running needs to be off. The photo was just an example.

The 'find my phone' app is useless. It shows an arrow it is in my house. Big whoop. WHERE in my house is it ? Many companies sell these little keyfinder thingies now. These use BLE and tell you if you are getting closer or further away. How about doing that between 2 phones ? or between all your apple devices ? so my ipad can find my watch and my phone. The device you search for starts beeping and the device used for searching shows if you are getting closer or further ( it's a matter of reporting the antenna strength signal ).

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vincent himpe

how about the option to turn off all the annoying system notifications.

Click the home button.

popup ' there is a system update' F#$%!

touch ' cancel'

popup enter pin to set for later today !@#$% click cancel again

then last program is on screen. ^%$# click home button again

click camera button. wait for camera app to launch.

click hdr ,(why can't that pos remeber its last setting ?)

by this time the moment is gone ...

It is ok to have a little notifier on the system settings icon that there is something new BUT QUIT BUGGING ME every time !

I want a button to turn that stuff off.

i want the option to always start with a specific page of icons when i access the phone.

i want apps to remember the selections you last made.

oh, and in the mail tool. can we please have a 'search' bar that does not require you to scroll all the way up. make that sucker either persistent or activate it on a special swipe.

and can we have the possibility to filter on attachments. ?

here's antoher idea : find my phone. using bluetooth. Make it so that you can have phones ping each other using BLE. if i or my wife lost their phone : take the other one and hit 'find'. the other phone now goes tweedledee. And make it so that the find function works always irrespective of do not disturb , buzer only setting, night mode or any other silencing option. to stop pranksters : the phones must have been 'paired' before. i want to be able to find the damn thing. calling it doesnt work if it is on do not distrub it doesnt give a peep.

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New Amiga to go on sale in late 2017

vincent himpe

what is the point ?

nostalgia ?

- it only runs outdated software on a dead OS (ok,ok, i still run on win7 and refuse the newer windows or godforbid lunix , but for me an Os serves 1 purpose : run applications i use on a daily basis and otherwise stay out of my way)

- has the color palette of a box of crayons

- can do 720p graphics.

i don't get it ... what is the appeal of the Amiga ?

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Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C

vincent himpe

You mean the creators of such languages need to die a slow and painful death.

The language itself can't die fast enough...

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vincent himpe

Write it out in mnemonics, translate ,by hand,from memory to opcodes (hex notation) and send it directly into unalterable masked read only memory. Should work first time right.

Anything else is for wannabe's.

ps: use lots of absolute jumps (GOTO) and globals with hardcoded addresses just to piss off the modular/reusable crowd.(because such programs run much faster since they don't have waste cpu cycles pushing and popping stuff onto/off the stack and moving data)

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How to remote hijack computers using Intel's insecure chips: Just use an empty login string

vincent himpe

bloody c language

That is a problem in the compare routine. If the length of the strings is different it should return a mismatch. Checking if two strings are identical means a byte for byte match. If one string is different in length from the other it is an immediate fail. You don't even need to waste compute cycles to start comparing the byte arrays.

Speed optimized code would first check that both character arrays are same length. and only then attempt to compare. on the first mismatch : exit with a fail.

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Ham-fisted: Chap's radio app killed remotely after posting bad review

vincent himpe

Re: I remember when ...

we had to walk 2 miles through the snow to get to the internet ... and now , kids these days, one click and they are on it ...

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Qualcomm agrees to acquire semiconductor biz NXP for $47bn

vincent himpe

i spent 23 years playing with silicon. and jumped ship just as the big consolidation wave hit in full force...

Here is my take on it: the semiconductor world is struggling. The 'good ole big boys' are having a hard time turning their expensive fabs into cash. Their fab technology has fallen behind what can be done by the fab-only houses like TSMC, Chartered and UMC. So they are stuck in a dilemma :

- do we design cutting edge that can only be run outside forget our own fabs ?

- do we restrict our designs to what can be handled in our own fabs.

We have evolved from a do-all to fabless design houses shopping around for the best fabs. Those guys are highly successful. The old boys that own their own fabs are stuck in a quandary...

When IBM wanted to get rid of their fabs they had to give 1.5 billion dollar in cash for Globalfoundries to TAKE them .... Yes, you read that right . IBM gave 1.5 billion to globalfoundries so they would take the fabs.... http://www.extremetech.com/computing/192430-ibm-dumps-chip-unit-pays-globalfoundries-1-5-billion-to-take-the-business-off-its-hands

That's how bad it is.. and IBM's fabs were cutting edge ...

7
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Mushroom farm PC left in the dark and fed … you know the rest

vincent himpe

dead plasma etcher pc

Early 90's. Semiconductor factory. Industrial pc goes wonky. We are talking ISA cards here , and a motherboard that, itself, is a plug-in card made with a 386. Runs some weird OS. Nightshift. Production is down.... what to do ? The bosses desktop computer ( one of the few PC's in the company, the rest is VAX, Apollo workstations, and Macs ) has enough isa slots ... so we mcgyvered that machine on to it using , literally , a stepstool and ducttape.... transplanted the harddisk and got the thing up and running.... took 2 months to get the industrial computer replaced. Manufacturer claimed it was custom built and there was no was we could have used a generic machine to do the work.

Other instance : an ion implanter running iRMX on a 286 throws an error : bad memory at adress 0xsomething. machine keeps running fine. on next scheduled maintenance we pop the hood ... drams all in sockets... 4116's... hundreds of them ! This machine used an intel aboveboard as memory extender. we could not get a hold of one so we swapped banks of chips around until we found the address moved. turned out one chip had a bent pin... had worked all those years fine. straightened the pin. has worked for years afterwards.

11
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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

vincent himpe

filename parsing

prime example of bad code :

A filename parsing routine that, anno 2016, still looks at the last three characters of a file to figure out what type it is and then send the file off to a preview handler.

So if i send a file called document.doc it thinks 'word document' -> send ot handler

if i have a file called document.pcbdoc it also thinks 'word document' which irreparably corrupts this file as it is a CAD (pcb layout) file.

the correct way would be to reverse scan the string for the first occurence of the period (.) then scan forward and use that.

Who does that you ask ? Bloody damn google drive. Whenever i upload a .schdoc or .pcbdoc google drive thinks : this is a word document. Even worse : when downloading it changes the extension to .doc totally corrupting the project tree. Thanks for nothing google.

6
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The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

vincent himpe

Years ago we had a CAD system driven by a semi-custom computer (if i recall it was either a Computervision or a Calma system used for IC design)

One day the machine developed a problem : we would come in and the machine unexpectedly had rebooted. This happened invariably every thursday and went on for months. Calls to the machine builder were met with puzzlement. This machine did not even have a clock ( as in date/time ) so it was not possible to schedule a task.

Eventually someone was tasked to baby-sit the machine and see when the boot would happen to find out what caused it. Sure enough. late wednesday evening the office cleaning crew comes in , empties the paper baskets in the computer room , and 'dusts' the machines. This particular machine had a small ledge on the front in which sat ... the reset button ... The cleaning person dutyfully wiped the dust using a cloth off the ledge thereby hitting the reset button. mystery solved. A small strip of plexiglass solved the problem.

5
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Confirmed: How to stop Windows 10 forcing itself onto PCs – your essential guide

vincent himpe

With all these brilliant coders out there :

Why has nobody written a windows clone yet (without all the bugs and holes ) ?

It would be really great to have an alternate OS that can run existing programs. I run plenty of professional software (Solidworks, Altium , Ilustrator, Indesign, Various embedded system development tools such as Keil .Software to control test equipment etc ..) for which there are NO linux distributions.

Switching to alternate tools is impractical. having a 1:1 replacement for windows that can run EXISTING windows programs would be the solution ( including all the hardware support and existing drivers)

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