* Posts by Jim 59

1987 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Jim 59

Memory

The nicest addition would be to slap Linux Mint on there instad of Windows. This would reduce the memory requirements considerably and increase the PCs lifespan.

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Crunch time: Maplin in talks to sell the business

Jim 59

@Chris 125. Exactly. My Amazon backet is currently sitting at about £17.85 and won't be checked out until I think of something else to buy, putting it over £20 and saving about £4.50 shipping. It is a real inconvenience with Amazon, which Maplin could/could have taken advantage of.

Enthusiats will indeed travel for a £5 component which they really need, and might just buy a £20 multimeter while they are in the shop. But a £100 toy which is needed for a child's birthday in 4 weeks ? Not so much.

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Jim 59

Maplin is like an old friend

Very sad. Maplin is like an old friend. I rember buying components there in the late 80s/early 90s - resistors, capacitors, tools, breadboard and so on. They were there for us, man. More lately, rechargeable batteries and just last year a Netgear router. All good stuff and still running well, even the bits form '89.

It was always going to be hard for Maplin - basically a mail order business with a few shops - to withstand the Internet. But they put up a good fight, and lasted longer than most.

They were/are also cheaper and more convenient than Amazon - no confusing delivery options or Prime rubbish, delivery was just free - and that Netgear router was about £20 less. However, Amazon will now be quietly reviewig their prices.

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Yes, your old iPhone is slowing down: iOS hits brakes on CPUs as batteries wear out

Jim 59

Latest smart phone features: slowing CPU, full storage, cracked glass screen

My ancient S3: replaceable battery, upgradeable storage, indestructible plastic screen.

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Investigatory Powers Act: You're not being paranoid. UK.gov really is watching you

Jim 59

Re: sort of confused ?

I really could have done without that changing room scene...

Calm down dears. I was trying on jumpers.

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Jim 59

Re: sort of confused ?

@Geniality: "You choose to do that...

He doesn't really. In 2017 it is almost impossible to opt out of surveillance by one megacorp or the other (FB, Apple, Google, Amazon...). You might achieve it if you never touch a digital device, but to live a life without doing so is now more-or-less impossible (?).

This is of course, a different subject to government surveillance, which is a separate, possible bigger, worry.

Well I am off to star in a film now. First I will be visiting the local gym where I will be an unpaid actor on their CCTV, then it's off to Tesco, where I will perform for their cameras, then the pub for my close up into the bar minicam. I've already made about 10 films today doncha know, including "man in shopping centre", "customer in Next", "citizen in petrol station"...

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What's that fresh, zesty fragrance? Oh, Linux Mint 18.3 has landed

Jim 59

Re: Not yet

Office 365 support - web interface?

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Team Trump goes in to bat for Google and Facebook

Jim 59

Re: What did you expect?

Hi Big John, are you a bot ? You certainly sound like one.

Perhaps El reg needs a third voting button.

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Jim 59

Re: Trump will want to be re-elected

@Big John are you a bot ? You certainly post like one.

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Thou shalt use our drone app, UK.gov to tell quadcopter pilots

Jim 59

Flying anywhere near airports is obviously madness, for which operators should go straight to prison, and no mistake. Flying near a motorway endangers others, and flying near high voltage lines endangeres the operator. All pretty much common sense, as observed by kite flyers for the last 100 years, and remote-controlled plane enthusiasts.

But these new rules seem like an overreaction. I hate it when drone nutters annoy their neighbours or endanger others, but I quite like the way they can take arial video of interesting places. This "video" aspect is a significant freedom for citizens, and one the government is not to keen on. Are they using the (highly valid) plane-endangerment argument to slip in a bit of oppression on the side?

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Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

Jim 59

Nice advertorial for Redacted Firm.

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A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

Jim 59

Some people have used smartware in the past.

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Jim 59

Smartware

Back when Excel was introduced Smartware was the king,...

It certainly was, Dr. Syntax. I remember my Father using it, with the help of a *huge* book bought from Byte in Gateshead. It included a database application, into which I typed many business records.

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Jim 59

... how many applications or even operating systems are you still using of a similar age outside the Office suite?

Obvious 'tard-bait, but as it's Friday:

I am now logged into Debian, first release 1993, based on Unix initial release 1974. And editing a file in LIbreOffice, based on OpenOffice, based on StarOffice, released 1985. Yesterday I interviewd for a Solaris job. First release 1982 (SunOS). And I just used "vi" to edit a file. First relased 1976.

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The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

Jim 59

Browsers are highly complex applications platforms, of course they are huge.

Is FF (25 million lines) more complex than the Linux kernel (15 million lines) ?

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Jim 59

Off topic, but I'm not sure why Firefox has lost so much ground to Chrome in recent years. I will stay with FF for the add-ons but if changing, I would consider SRW Iron (the de-Googled version of Chrome), but not Chrome, due to the Google stalkware it contains.

Also, I am not sure why these browsers are so huge. All they are doing is rendering a few fairly slow, sometimes encrypted data streams. 25 million lines of code in Firefox. WTF, can't anybody programme anymore?

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Wait, did Oracle tip off world to Google's creepy always-on location tracking in Android?

Jim 59

Some of us stay away from Google as far as reasonably possible. I don't use Chrome or Gmail, always try to switch off "location" in Android (!), always use sites like Google maps, search & Youtube in the browser, and avoid installing the dedicated app if possible.

It's rather like having a nosy neighbour who spies on you through a hole in the garden fence. You block up the hole, so he drills another, so you fill that one in, and he drills a third, and so on and so on. Occasionally he will give you a free gift like a nice fruit basket. Under the fruit you find a microphone, hidden camera, little LED flashing...

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Pastry in a manger: We're soz, Greggs man said

Jim 59

@rmason

Greggs views the global population as potential customers, whether they live near a branch or not.

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Jim 59

On a secular note, going out of your way to mock 2 billion potential customers is not great sales strategy. Which might explain the "apology".

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Jim 59

Re: Spineless of them to give in

Did you hear the one about the women in Spain who reported the nun who stole her... Never give religion a free pass. Not even Christianity.

"Jack the Ripper (British) was apalling. Never give the British a free pass, never."

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Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

Jim 59

Re: Quarter Century

@Jack of Shadows - In '87, you and the Duke of Edinburgh were the only two people on the Internet.

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HPE's Apollo 'Skylaked', will get ARM-wrestling little brother next year

Jim 59

28 years ago, my first job came with an Apollo on the desk, and Aegis. Lovely. Screen was landscape though.

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Jim 59

Unix engineers of a certain age get all excited when they hear "Apollo".

No, not the moon langings, Apollo Domain workstations.

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Mm, sacrilicious: Greggs advent calendar features sausage roll in a manger

Jim 59

After searching extensively for a religion to lightly desecrate in support of a sales campaign, Greggs bravely chooses Christianity.

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Uber loses appeal against employment rights for workers

Jim 59

Re: Not an employer?

“When allocating bookings, Uber deliberately does not tell the driver the destination and strongly discourages drivers from asking passengers the destination before pick up – so that drivers are not able to decline a booking because they do not wish to travel to that destination.”

Ah. So that's why Uber cars are available for rides from <big town> to <small village>, but not in the other direction. If all the Uber drivers in <big town> knew I wanted a ride from my <small village> back to <big town>, they would be available to take me, as it means no more driving for them.

A bug in the Uber algorhthm, perhaps.

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Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

Jim 59

Is this the end of Tiddlywiki ? Been using it in FF since 2007. No other browser supports it.

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Irish priests told to stop bashing bishops

Jim 59

Re: That would be

@Martin 66 - What comments have you on the issue of Catholics, Anglicans, Pentecostals befriending each other and negotiating their theological differenes to come to a closer understanding ?

an ecumenical matter

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Jim 59

Re: Tale from a Catholic

The last papal declaration on Freemasonry was made in 1985, with objections centering around the nature of Freemasonry as an alternative religion. I don't really think of Freemasonry as a religion, but it does seem to present itself as one.

At about the same time in the UK, there was a series of scandals when it emerged that prominent Establishment and Govt figures were Freemasons. It was judged that Freemasons were favouring other Freemasons (eg. for promotion/advancement), which is a moral problem, and was helped by the organisation's strict secrecy rules. It's reputation, at least in the UK, ver really recovered.

I think Freemasonry has reformed and modernised in the meantime, but who knows?

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Jim 59

Some mix up, surely?

Thank you for these lovely words Miss Doyle, but I think you have accidentally sent our encryption / Stephen Fry stories to the Catholic Herald.

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Better filters won't cure this: YouTube's kids nightmare

Jim 59

"you'll have the Daily Mail screaming about kids seeing p0rn"

Meaning the mailonline website right hand sidebar ? "all grown up" "flaunts curves" "...stuns in a bikini..." "beach body.." "plunging dress" etc etc

Yes the Mail's juxstaposition is bazarre and rather tasteless. But the "beach body, plunging dress" etc, are all items you can see in public, unlike the pr0n.

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Jim 59

incoming sweary rant, look away kids if offended.. pihole...emby...

Blimey, AC, well done. But not all parents are so expert, and YouTube should sort this out. They can start by switching off the ludicrous "autoplay" (and stop it from defaulting to "on" all the time). An obvious cach grab by those who used to say "Don't be evil", but no feature is more likely to show your kids awful stuff or blow your download limits.

YT could even censor kids stuff themselves. Actually watch and moderate every children's video. Publishing would be slowed but even a small team could build up a lot of content over time.

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Jim 59

Tom and Jerry won seven Oscars? Excellent. Fully deserved. It remains the funniest thing to hit the screen ever, anywhere.

4 for Tom and 3 for Jerry ?

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Don't worry about those 40 Linux USB security holes. That's not a typo

Jim 59

"...physical access is a prerequisite to an attack..."

Yawn. Next.

3
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Superdome X gets pumped on Skylake to become Superdome Flex

Jim 59

6TB if memory? That's more than every Sinclair spectrum manufactured, put together. In fact it might be more than every 8 bit home computer in the UK.

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Look out, Pepe: Martha Lane Fox has a plan

Jim 59

It might be a good idea, if they can keep the politics out of it. But what are the chances of that?

Will it eventually become a badge meaning "this website agrees politically with the people who awarded this badge" ? Given the condition of much of social media, it seems likely. The badge might then become just one more piece of ordinance in the ongoing "culture war".

Many things are better without the addition of politics. Remembrance is one example. If MLT and co can indeed produce something like the Fairtrade mark, and treat it as such, then it might just work.

3
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Donald, YOU'RE FIRED: Rogue Twitter worker quits, deletes President Trump's account

Jim 59

Re: Fake news

Twitter's absolutely within their rights- and indeed responsibilities in many localities- to remove accounts without their registered user's permission. It's not YOUR account. It's /their/ network and /their/ account, which you use with /their/ permission. People seem to forget that.

What? Nobody forgets that. Has anyone suggested that Twitter doesn't have the right to delete its own data (user accounts) ?

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Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat

Jim 59

Re: code bloat is not necessarily slow

@Adrian 4

What causes bloat is the use of libraries and frameworks to speed development. Yes, they do speed it - providing they do what you want and you know how to use them. But very often, you're only using a small part of their functionality yet you get a large part of the baggage.

Exactly. "Hello world.c" might contain 2 lines, but how many lines after pre-processing ? 5000 ?

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Jim 59

It has always been a license for code bloat

Moore's law: your new laptop is 1000 times faster than that Pentium in the loft.

Bloat: They take the same time to boot up. Also to run MS Word.

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Osama Bin Laden had copy of Resident Evil, smut, in compound

Jim 59

Re: Probably gone down

No proof he was killed.

What sort of proof would convince you ? There have been no more videos or statements released by BL and no more has been heard from him. Al Quaida has not denied his death or contradicted the US account. If B-L was still alive, he could simply release a video and thereby securing a massive propagands coup.

The contention that he is alive would require an intricate conspiracy theory. Similar theories would used to claim that almost anyone is still alive. So, his death seems to be as sure as anyone else's.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

Jim 59

Re: Perl.... Arrggh

Speak for yourself. I've used 10 of those and they still don't list the one I hate the most: Lisp. I've used Lisp on two different platforms and... I haven't touched it since 1989...

Yes yes, and I could bore you with my 36 years of programming experience, but won't. We are all experts here. My point was, most survey respondents are likely to have used only 2 or 3 languages to an expert level, and have little or no basis for judging the others. For example, I dislike Python, but having used it for just a couple of months, I am not really qualified to say, because I haven't yet experienced the full benefits of advanced Python.

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Jim 59

Re: Perl.... Arrggh

"I started learning it as a substitute for awk and various horrible shell variants. It was a great replacement for awk because..."

Ditto. It was created as a reporting language, to replace & unify awk, sed, sh, a job it did, and continues to do, splendidly. A system administrators language, not really meant for writing general apps. Perhaps its success was its undong, as it came to be used for CGI in the 90's Internet, then spread to more general applications, which it was never really intended for, despite all the tweaks and OO extensions.

The Stack Overflow survey is a pointless. Of the 16 languages presented, a respondent will have used only about 2. Whatever.

32
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Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

Jim 59

Most of the general public dismissed the HE advice when it changed to recommending the same levels of alchohol for men and women, something which:

- seems to contradict common sense

- contradicted the previous guidelines

- contradicts guidelines other countries.

- has an odour of politics about it.

10
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Fresh bit o' Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say...

Jim 59

Just to note Q4OS is currently at number 40 in the Distrowatch ranking. This article might push it up a few places.

And that dear old basket case Ubuntu is at number 4, below Manjaro. Oh, mate.

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You may not know it, but you've already arrived at DevOps Land

Jim 59

“DevOps was the inevitable outcome of building and operating the sites that became the web's giants.” As [Shafer] notes, once a website involves “thousands of computers distributed world-wide, you can't just log in and do an upgrade. You can't give a few commands and reload the site. At this scale, automation isn't an option. It's a requirement.”

All customers are not alike. True, a large PaaS or SaaS company might run with an infrastructure like the above. Downtime is somewhat acceptable, and comprehended in SLAs. But what about an air traffic control system, for example, or the CAD systems of an IC manufacturer, or the control systems for a power station, or a trading floor computer, a payroll system, and so on and so on? They all have different characteristics and priorities. Or more accurately: the same priorities, but in a different order.

Isn't Devops most popular in environemnts where there is, in fact, a limited amount of ops ? Your 1000 SaaS web servers might be crawling with devs who release a new SW version every 2 weeks. Smashing! But meanwhile, in air traffic control, they take a slightly different attitude. And the CAD lads are only bothered about backups and speed, while the bankers obsess about security and compliance. The power station manager thinks your ansible-playbook is gorgeous, as long as it doesn't black-out Surrey.

Is the Devops crowd just a little bit parochial?

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Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Jim 59

Re: I wonder why it's *still* not the year of Linux on the desktop

"Perhaps the fact that as evidenced by the comments above, no-one can agree of the best distro/desktop combination!

Choice is bad, and the best restaurants have only one dish on the menu, right?

The lack of Linux desktoppery might have more to do with 3 decades of business agreements which legally ensure that every PC comes with Windows fully integrated.

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Jim 59

Re: Ch-Ch-Changes

Note: Files is what happened when Nautilus was simplified to death. If you liked Nautilus then Caja (part of the MATE ecosystem) carries it on in spirit, look and feel.

And PCmanFM does the same to Caja as Caja does to Nautilus, in that regard. (On Mint 17 MATE, anyway). Faster and less buggy.

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What’s the real point of being a dev? It's saving management from themselves

Jim 59

OO

some 25 to 30 years ago, there was a belief that software production would change radically...

...This was O-O, or object oriented software. Software production would radically change, the experts predicted... Of course, software production didn’t change radically into the component utopia that the academics had envisaged...

I confess to leaving a C++ course in 1991 almost overcome with excitement about OO. At the time I was working for Texas Instruments, and OO seemed like an unbeilievably powerful way to solve engineering problems. Select a few objects, glue them together, et voila. An end to repetitive programming. An and to complexity. Write and exchange objects. Share and enjoy.

High level languages embraced OO. Even assembled ones like Perl and VB. And whatever the current flavour-of-the-month language is, it is almost certainly OO.

But orgasmic object sharing never materialized. Instead, standard "object libraries" became part of the language. Instead of being a super-duper, custom built, poloymorphous, multi inherited, operator-overloaded panacea that we would exchange and embellish and re-use, OO turned into a boring old standard library. Basically, OO == stdio.h.

The OO model is still the best way to handle complexity as an application grows. Only the code re-use remains elusive.

OK now I must return to that programme, think I'll re-use that class from 2 years ago. No. it wold be quicker to write a new object. After all, I am better at the language now, and conditions have changed, and the hardware is 10 times faster now, so that optimized cache is no longer needed, and, and...

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Survey: Tech workers are terrified they will be sacked for being too old

Jim 59

Apollo

Don't you just hate those posts where commentards bore you with obscure computers they once used. Well stop reading. I won't have a bad word said against Apollo. Ah yes, and the sublime Domain/OS. If the Ubuntu/Gnome crowd want to see how a graphical shell is really done, go forth to Ebay, where you can buy a nifty DN3500 for only....

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Jim 59

Translation

When Megacorps say "young", they mean "cheap". Cheap is what they want, not yoof. They love cheap. Shareholders love cheap. Cheap boosts short term profits by reducing the wage bill, by far the biggest expense any megacorp faces. If a 64 Python dev would work for the same wages as a 24 year old, the older chap would get the job every time. More euphamisms:

"recent graduate" -> cheap

"free of family commitments who can work long hours" - no, just cheap

"digital native" -> cheap.

On the subject of "digital native", any grad born after '66 has spent their whole career in the Internet age, but lacks a certain skill, ie the ability to work for a very small wage indeed.

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Combinations? Permutations? Those words don't mean what you think they mean

Jim 59

Oh yes they do

Phrase/sentence howler - come on Ed.

"You might have heard the words "combination" or "permutation" used in conversation..."

Permutaions and combinations are not news to Reg readers. This isn't the Grauniad.

"...mathematics has a convenient formula for the calculations shown above and you can search the internet for it... "

Or just remember it from school. Not a bad article, despite my sniping. Just told to the wrong people.

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