* Posts by K Cartlidge

34 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Dear humans, We thought it was time we looked through YOUR source code. We found a mystery ancestor. Signed, the computers

K Cartlidge

Tanu or Firvulag?

Or corporeal Lylmiks?

Visual Studio Team Services having some 'performance issues'

K Cartlidge


TBH regular expressions are great at solving tricky text manipulation issues, but they suffer from (at least) 2 main issues:

1. The expressions *can* quickly become read-only.

2. They can never match custom-crafted (good) code for a specific usage.

In the case of point 2, I have to question whether introducing a regex into a system under such heavy load without testing the performance characteristics at scale was a little foolish and a little more kraftwerk (sic) might be more appropriate.

Note that this is not to say that a regex would not be fine, just that sometimes they aren't and you need to check.

Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

K Cartlidge

Re: "I'm utterly baffled about these limits."

The 4GB limit (and similar limits from that era) is not usually due to concerns about physical storage capacity (primarily).

On a 32 bit architecture, the highest value you can store as a native integer is 4GB, assuming you don't store negative values. Allowing higher numbers involves either using more bits to represent them or switching to non-integers. Both of these would be less memory efficient and slower (and less accurate in the case of floating point values).

The practical outcome is that if the highest number your code stores is 4GB then that becomes the effective maximum file size - as you could never store the location of any data past that point in a file.

These days, systems are either 64 bit or are performant enough to take the hit of not using native 32 bit integers, so the "addressable locations" in the memory store rise and files can be larger.

Pains us to run an Apple article without the words 'fined', 'guilty' or 'on fire' in it, but here we are

K Cartlidge
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RE: Doesn't make sense because that space is at a premium

"An ancient, single-purpose analog connector doesn't make sense because that space is at a premium," Schiller reasoned.

The extra space is only required because apparently a phone being really thin is the most important factor. It's amazing the way things work in a three dimensional world - a little more thickness means a fair chunk more volume, and suddenly you have all the space you need for your fancy features (I hesitate to call most of any smartphone's features "benefits").

I'm a reasonably content iPhone 6 user (also comfortable with Lumia, Moto G etc) and have never once stopped and though to myself about any smartphone "wow, this is ridiculously thick, they should compromise elsewhere and do something about it".

NASA dismisses asteroid apocalypse threat

K Cartlidge
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RE: I'm grabbing my towel and downing a load of bitter.

Upvoted for the HHGTTG reference.

LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

K Cartlidge

Re: all about the Apps?

You may be right, I'm no expert on these edumacation thingies.

It does strike me as possible, though, that given how asset-heavy and comparatively logic-light a textbook-style app is there should be a reasonably straightforward route to a web-based app or an offering via a publisher portal (I speak as a web/app developer) if there were a sufficient market to bear the costs?

K Cartlidge

Re: WinTel gettting back in the ring

Nice idea if it were all about price, but the fact they were prepared to pay for iPads shows that initial price is only one factor. I'd suggest ongoing support, maintenance and 'managing' costs/issues are pretty relevant and the Chromebook (to a lesser extent also the iPad) beats a Windows machine hands down in that regard.

If you do Windows-based technical support for your family, extrapolate that experience into a school population and you may reconsider :)

Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS

K Cartlidge

Re: Wordstar and New Word

An upvote for Modula-2 on DOS. For sheer productivity and code quality, nothing could beat TopSpeed Modula-2 back then (IMHO, YMMV).

K Cartlidge

Re: If he's into self-flagellation

I'm quite fond of Lyx - the LaTeX word processor - myself. Lovely output, and free.

Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update

K Cartlidge

How I (mostly) sorted my battery issue with a 720 and WP8.1

I noticed the increased drain and went to the Settings > Background option to see what was running. Only there's no longer such an option.

So I lived with it for a day, then did a quick search and found the (not obvious) equivalent in the Battery Saver. The list of apps in the Usage area there shows a small message against those you can change, detailing if they are allowed to run in the background.

I went through the list and realising that a whole heap of previously blocked apps had gained permission to run in the background I turned them off again.

The battery life is still not quite as good as it was, but notably better than just after the upgrade.

Also on the topic of battery life, if (like me) you have Cortana activated you'll no doubt be aware that regardless of what you intend using it for you *must* have location settings turned on. That's a bg drain in itself, so personally I'm in the habit of using the new toggle in the notification area to switch location on or off as needed.

One other little thing I find helpful that nobody really mentions is in the WiFi settings. When you switch off your WiFi you get the option of having it switch back on automatically after an hour, 4 hours and so on. When I commute or pop out at lunchtime I can switch off the WiFi (continual network searching hurts the battery) and not need to remember to reactivate it.

The plot to kill Google cloud: We'll rename Windows Azure to MICROSOFT Azure

K Cartlidge


Azure is actually quite good for .Net website hosting. That's the limit of my experience with it as the PHP/MySQL option sucked (due to persistent timeouts caused by limited connections to the third-party database hosting they use for MySQL). Availability, performance and pricing is, as ever, a matter of lies, damned lies and statistics depending upon how you look at it and who you ask.

It's a shame, really. Dropping 'Windows' from the name makes sense in that 'Windows' is a dying horse with a pretty bad smell in these days of OS/server/form factor alternatives, but replacing it with 'Microsoft' won't help until the automatic mental association with 'Windows' in the public consciousness has gone.

It's a necessary step but only the first of a large number needed as they 'pivot' (yes, I too hate that word but for this it seems appropriate).

Personally, I get the feeling that Nadella is embarrassed with Windows and if it weren't for support life-cycle expectations and residual revenue he'd like to phase it out. They have enough other billion-dollar businesses to survive quite happily, and the dead-weight of Windows is dragging them down.

In fairness, I guess it's difficult to turn your back on a product that brings in billions - especially if you have shareholders - even if you know the association is losing it's lustre.

You're fired: Lord Sugar offloads faded PC builder Viglen to XMA

K Cartlidge
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Re: Don't compare Viglen with the Amstrad PC

Yes the Amstrad PCs were crap.

However, the extremely cheap (for the time) Amstrad PC1512 allowed me to own my first IBM compatible PC and begin development for it (in education we did Pascal on DEC Vax).

In other words, and to over-simplify it somewhat, the Amstrad PC1512 is what enabled my career - and despite being underwhelming was a game-changer for many I knew at the time.

It also ran Elite and Leisure Suit Larry fine ;)

Apple asks judge to axe ebook price-fixing watchdog

K Cartlidge

Re: "Not like me"

Or, I *don't* normally support Apple *but* on this occasion happen to think their case is *not* weak.

K Cartlidge

Apple are not being unreasonable.

There are a few comments about the irony/cheek of Apple complaining about overcharging, the point being that Apple themselves overcharge.

There is, however, a big difference.

Apple's customers have a choice. If they choose to pay Apple's prices then by very definition they are not being overcharged - they are paying what they are willing to pay and Apple are pricing accordingly.

You may not agree with their pricing, given that other vendors charge less, but their customers do.

This court-appointed gentleman however is simply billing what he/his company chooses on the assumption that Apple have no choice at all.

I'm not a great Apple fan, but there is a very big difference between the two situations. Where there is a genuine alternative it is not overcharging to ask what the market will bear. In this case, there is no choice at all and so Apple are not being hypocritical challenging it in court.

Downvote at your leisure.

Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

K Cartlidge

They *do* exist in the Midlands

I'm there and have an old 800 and a current 720 (amazing battery life).

Our office has 3 and a member of the wife's family (a non-techie) just bought one (unprompted by me).

YouTube Wars: Microsoft cries foul as Windows Phone app pulled again

K Cartlidge

Re: If Google were stiffing their competitors...

Regardless of the rights/wrongs in this instance, I have to disagree with your statement that Apple would be first in the queue if Google were stiffing the competition.

Apple is not a threat to Google. It has no expertise in search (96% of Google's profits) and is a single competitor. Microsoft has the (distant) second place (English language) search engine, and will licence it's phone OS to any competitor interested.

Apple has also shown that it is content to live on high-margin low-volume sales and so is not really competing with Google, whereas Microsoft has shown historically it's desire to dominate a market at all costs. Regardless of the likelihood of that happening in phones, it makes them more of an enemy to watch for than Apple.

Microsoft haters: You gotta lop off a lot of legs to slay Ballmer's monster

K Cartlidge

Re: People get the OS they deserve

My main machine is a MacBook Air. Much as I prefer the hardware to my Lenovo, I can categorically state that *for me* Windows 8 is far superior to OS X. I still use OS X in preference, but only because of the hardware it runs on.

Hey, Teflon Ballmer. Look, isn't it time? You know, time to quit?

K Cartlidge
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Nothing wrong with Windows 8.

Over the years I've used most versions of Microsoft OS'es from DOS 3.2 onwards. Hated Windows 95, 98 and ME. Liked 2000 and XP. Hated Vista. Bought full Windows 7 Ultimate as I felt MS had finally done good and wanted to vote with my wallet. I do tech for a living (web/desktop/mobile) and moved reluctantly to Windows 8 because of all the negative comments/reviews.

I usually run Linux Mint as well, plus ChrUbuntu on my Samsung Chromebook, so I'm not a Microsoft fanboy. Nevertheless Windows 8 is, finally, the first version of Windows that I'm happy enough with to not even bother updating the Mint partition or looking for an alternative.

It's fast, stable and reasonably good looking. I certainly don't miss the Start menu. For system stuff Windows-X is ideal. For other stuff pressing the Windows key, typing a few letters then pressing Enter is far quicker than the old Start menu was.

The Metro/Modern UI/TIFKAM aspect is personally pointless but to be honest other than clicking the Desktop tile upon booting it has no impact and I really don't get the fuss.

The Chromebooks are coming! New models due late 2013

K Cartlidge

There are indeed ARM versions.

I have one.

I prefer it to a tablet, but still use Windows 8 for serious work.

BTW I do software/web development/design and after the initial shock of the new UI find myself far more productive than under Windows 7.

Ubuntu tapped by China for national operating system

K Cartlidge

Re: Can Linus swear in Chinese?


Review: Google Nexus 4

K Cartlidge
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Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that said Chromebook is a superb device ;) especially with CloudHQ and Cloud 9 for easy backup and development if you want to avoid Windows bloat for a while.

Seriously though if you are in the UK it may be worth trying a physical store. I did a 40 mile round trip to get one from Coventry PC World where they have a Chromebook dedicated area (I know, I know, PC World ... but given the online availability sometimes needs must, and they can confirm availability and reserve it).

WHSmith Kobo Touch wireless e-book reader

K Cartlidge
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'Fixing' the screen refresh, plus PDFs and more ...

Speaking as an owner of a Kindle 3, Sony PS-505 and the Kobo being reviewed, it wipes the floor with all of them.

The major gripe in the review seems to be the ghosting on some books due to the fact that it only refreshes fully every 6 pages - but that is an option in the menu which *can be changed* !

No mention was made of the Kobo's Shortlist feature. Add a handful of books you want to read to the shortlist (all on the device). Browse the shortlist rather than the full list of books, read one then remove it and repeat. Brilliant.

For PDFs the screen refresh is quick enough that I can double-tap the screen to zoom in then using the touchscreen simply drag the page around. Again, superb. And the Kobo also lets you install your own TrueType fonts.

A reasonably fair review, but the above alone would bump it up 10% for me.

K Cartlidge

RE: Kindle is not locked in

A couple of people have stated the Kindle is not a lock-in, but in both cases have cited how easy it is to get other formats ON to the Kindle.

That's not dealing with lock-IN but lock-OUT and, fair enough, they are right on that basis.

The lock-IN is true though. Buy from Amazon, which you do if you buy from on the Kindle device itself, and the book you get will work on all Amazon devices and in all Amazon reader software. That's it. And that IS lock-in.

There's talk of Calibre and, true enough, it converts formats. Unless you want to crack the DRM though you still won't get your Amazon-bought ebook onto a Sony, Nook or Kobo. That's lock-in.

Go Daddy in the hands of private equity giants

K Cartlidge

I'd recommend ...

I can't say they are the best, having only tried a half dozen or so, but for the last few years I've been using Moniker and never have any issues. Fast, relatively cheap, and the admin interface feels like it was written by a developer not a designer so it just gets out of the way. Also has good filters and no adverts for their products every time you click something.

I used GoDaddy for a few months and I dreaded signing in. Their UI sucks big time. Slow (from the UK at least), clunky and festooned with attempts to sell me stuff.

I'd recommend Moniker.

Kindle Store awash with auto-generated crap 'books'

K Cartlidge
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Amazon HAVE taken some steps on PD just recently.

It won't sort the problem, but it could help a fair bit.

They have instituted a policy (and started actually enforcing it) that they will not accept multiple (they don't mention the limit) editions of undifferentiated public domain works.

Way back when, I was looking for a copy of Hunger (the Knut Hamsun work) and there was no decent one, so I put one together and listed it myself. It has a brand new cover, table of contents, line-breaks fixed and chapters/paragraphs reformatted and re-flowed. Pretty good edition actually, with 2 nice reviews from satisfied readers. I have recently received an email from Amazon saying that under the aforementioned policy it is to be de-listed.

To qualify to remain, I had to add something new or unique to the edition. I haven't and it will be removed (and I applaud Amazon overall for taking the step, even though in this case mine is by far one of the better editions).

It won't solve everything, sure, especially with PLR stuff, but if it is applied across the board it could vastly reduce the crap to wade through.

Times websites want £1 a day from June

K Cartlidge

The problem with free

It's true that those who don't want to pay (and it's not good value, so there will be many) can just get their news from one of the free competitors - but if eventually every news provider has to give their stuff away, who will then provide the news?

I don't like most of the papers (and never buy them, oooh the hypocrisy) but I acknowledge that without an income journalists won't work and over time the free news sources will either dry up or be forced to reduce the variety of their output even more due to the restricted original content out there.

Content may want to be free, but that doesn't pay the reporter's food bills.

Google execs protest Italian guilty verdicts

K Cartlidge
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A twisted defence

Whether they should be guilty or not I cannot comment on, but the idea that they "cannot possibly screen all content" is ridiculous. And it's one that under various phrasings appears repeatedly in similar situations.

It's true that there is so much content that they cannot possibly screen it.

It's also true that it's entirely their own choice to run a service that allows so much content.

If it's a requirement to screen content (I don't know personally) then the answer is not to refuse to due to the quantity, but to reduce the quantity to make it possible to meet that requirement. They make their choice, they should live with the consequence.

Oz bank thinks it's 2016

K Cartlidge

Two digit hexadecimal perhaps?

If the dates are stored or manipulated as only two digits at some point, then there is a very strong relationship between 10 and 16 - if you consider decimal vs hexadecimal. It's a long shot, but then after several days I guess they've checked the more obvious ideas.

Of course after the Y2K fuss two digit date manipulations shouldn't really be allowed ...

Wintel 7 machines freeze out iPhone

K Cartlidge
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Kudos where due

So Microsoft haven't been approached directly, but appear to have spotted the issue elsewhere online (maybe El Reg by the sounds of it), proactively read Apple's boards and started investigating. I'm actually impressed.

Blade Runner tops sci-fi movie poll

K Cartlidge

Star Wars?

I just don't understand. Yes, when released it was an event, but it was never original and never good. The plot is hackneyed, characters cliche and the morality is terrible. David Brin got it right when he alluded to Darth Vader appearing after death with Yoda and Kenobi - Vader killed billions but apparently he's redeemed by the supposedly altruistic act of saving his own son! That's on a par with a version of Hitler, Pol Pot or whoever, thousands of times more deadly, being okay because he decides not to kill his offspring. Utter rubbish.

BTW I agree with previous posters about Aliens, Silent Running and Serenity. How about Fifth Element too? It's a classic often overlooked due to it's overboard styling and lack of seriousness. Oh, and Brazil, 12 Monkeys and the like? They wipe the floor with Planet of the Apes and ET.

Sony widens its e-bookshelf

K Cartlidge

What half million ebooks?

As this is a UK site, it may be worth mentioning that the half million books are only available to US customers - it says so when you try it from the UK.

And, yes, I know there's ways around the IP geocoding. The fact still remains that the half million books people go on about are not available to users in this site's home country, so why keep giving them free publicity about it?

Amazon sued for sending 1984 down Orwellian memory hole

K Cartlidge

@Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

I totally agree with regard to the Kindle, but why mention the Sony in the same breath?

It's not networked unless you choose to use their software and even then it may not be - I don't know as, although I have it installed, I've never yet used it but have hundreds of categorised books on my Sony PRS505 Reader just using plain old drag and drop in Windows Explorer.

There's no way for them to access it unless they physically snatch it off me and connect it to their own USB port, and it's certainly not wireless.

Amazon vanishes 1984 from citizen Kindles

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Unusually for Sony ...

For once, Sony are the good guys on standards and DRM. I have a Sony Reader and not only is it *not* wireless or otherwise network-aware, it actually comes with a CD of 100 classics - *including* 1984 !! - and supports a large number of formats.

I must admit I chose it in preference to a Kindle because (a) the Kindle is damnably ugly, (b) the name Whispernet just sounds soooo dubious, (c) I like Waterstones who sold me it, (d) the current PR505 lets me read normal A4 PDFs by enlarging the font and reflowing the paragraphs, never having failed me on any book yet, and (e) it's made of actual, solid, metal. You know the stuff, it's not a cheap off-white plastic?

I never even considered looking into licensing rights with Kindle because my previous experiences with Amazon have led me to trust them somewhat, so to find they've gone the software EULA route is a shocker.

With their recent attempts to drop Lulu (and other POD publishee) books in favour of their own POD printer, plus their buyout of Audible, they seem to be trying a takeover of the entire publishing production chain which is not healthy for competition. Add in these eBook EULAs and they've just lost *all* future business from me - and I was running to several hundred pounds a year.


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