* Posts by MacroRodent

1312 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: Computer says "No"

The concept of RISC (as I recall) was to get closer to the microcode to streamline the instruction pipeline and reduce the size (etc.) of the core, though it's not the same thing as BEING microcode.

The original RISC architectures like MIPS and SPARC did not use microcode at all. In that sense, the user-visible instructions were the microcode. Being able to avoid microcode is the main benefit of having simple and regularly encoded fixed-length instructions. I am not sure if any later implementations of these architectures use it.

I don't recall MIPS or ARM _EVER_ being faster than the high-end x86's.

In the 1990's, RISC processors generally ran circles around Intel's 486 and the original Pentium. I am not sure when the tables turned. Maybe around the time when Pentium III was introduced. Should did up old benchmarks.

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

MacroRodent
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FAIL

Reminds me...

Reminds me of the very cheap Chinese locks I used as a kid to lock my yacht club locker. In case the key was lost (which happened a couple of times), this kind of lock was about as easy to break as the Tapplock, but they cost something like 50 cents instead of $100, so it was acceptable.

Anyway the story was really comical. Sounds like the design team did not include anyone with a clue about making any kind of lock, and apparently not very good programmers either.

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Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm'd /bin/sh

MacroRodent
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Remember the rule

Bah, just Windows developers diverted to Linux work, without sufficient competence building.

Remember the saying, "never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity".

But even so,

rm /bin/sh

ln -s /bin/bash /bin/sh

in an install script is a pretty monumental display of stupidity, unless your script is meant to install Bash itself.

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Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

MacroRodent
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Why not just switch the batteries

you can have someone sitting around for hours with their car plugged it waiting for it to recharge.

One would think the obvious solution is to have standardized interchangeable battery packs. The service station would charge them for hours, but switching can be done in a minute. Like back when cellular phone batteries had worse capacity (in the pre-lithium days). I used to have two batteries, one charging, one in the phone.

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Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux

MacroRodent
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Fascinating opportunity for comparison

Devuan ASCII is mostly put together from the same code as Debian Stretch, except for the systemd-octomy. So now one could make a scientific comparison of which approach works better. Hint for an El Reg feature?

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PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: They're about as interested in animal rights as [insert topical comparison here]

Hey, plants are alive too.

Yes, that is worrying me. Are there any nutritious rocks?

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NASA spots asteroid on crash course with Earth – with just hours to go

MacroRodent
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Re: Are they zarking kidding???

A bigger rock would be seen earlier. Extinction-level rocks hopefully years earlier.

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Russian battery ambitions see a 10x increase in power from smaller, denser nukes

MacroRodent
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Re: Specific Energy

This by the way demonstrates why nuclear waste storage is really a non-issue if considered rationally. Sure, you have to store it for a long, long time, but there is actually very little volume to store, relative to the energy you have got out of the fuel. Compare that to the coal plants that continuously spew lots of evil stuff into the atmosphere. We have just got used to that.

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Stingray phone stalker tech used near White House, SS7 abused to steal US citizens' data – just Friday things

MacroRodent
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Re: Boss said leave it alone.

> The issue with that is that in order to actually snoop on conversations and data a Stingray type device needs the cooperation of the telco. It needs to be able to ask the network for encryption keys.

Not necessarily. If I remember some older discussion correctly, the way one type of attack works it convinces the phone only GSM reception is available. This older standard does not have such a great crypto, and it does not authenticate the base station towards the phone. Snoops can thrn siphon traffic, then brute-force it later. Or was it so it can even tell the phone to skip encryption entirely (thanks, France and other countries that insisted on a cryptoless mode in GSM).

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Is Microsoft about to git-merge with GitHub? Rumors suggest: Yes

MacroRodent
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Re: the survey only listed Disney as a viable acquirer. How about AOL?

I wonder why the survey did not include Red Hat? As a company built around Linux, and a major contributor to it and other open source projects, Github would fit there.

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MacroRodent
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Re: All your open source code

> In fact, MSFT is not the worst in here. By far.

Yes, a certain company with a name that starts with an "O" comes to mind immediately.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Slurp the Clueless

Yes. Also the way Git itself works makes migration easier. As the article notes, there are similar competing services, ready to take in projects looking for another home.

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German court snubs ICANN's bid to compel registrar to slurp up data

MacroRodent
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Re: ICANN is the epitome of malevolent bureaucracy

Umm, whois.com is not ICANN, jus another web business. How they present the data should not be relied on. I guess the only official way to get whois data is a query with the whois protocol.

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Arm emits Cortex-A76 – its first 64-bit-only CPU core (in kernel mode)

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: A bit sad

The idea of the conditional instructions is to avoid jumps, which disrupted pipelines in the older simpler processors without instruction reordering or speculation. Other RISC designs at the time used delay slots for the same reason: the instruction following a jump is always executed (compilers are supposed to find something useful to put there, if not, they put a NOP). But delays slots don't help much if the pipeline gets deeper.

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Git security vulnerability could lead to an attack of the (repo) clones

MacroRodent
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Re: bit meh

It is different because the malware gets activated by merely pulling the code from the repo before you have a chance to inspect it.

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Doc 'Cluetrain' Searls' privacy engine project is just the ticket for IEEE

MacroRodent
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Who rates the raters?

> Its standard would define “semi-autonomous processes using standards to create and maintain news purveyor ratings for purposes of public awareness”.

The problem with both this and Elon Musk's project is getting sufficiently objective ratings. You can bet any ratings database with public input is going to be the top target of "troll factories", seeking to bend the ratings to favour their fake news outlets!

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Tesla inches toward GPL compliance in low gear: Source code forcibly ejected into public

MacroRodent
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Proprietary on top of Linux is OK, so don't slam Tesla there

Tesla is under no obligation to publish the proprietary application source code, unless that ise derived from GPL'ed code. Just running your code on top of Linux, using the documented Linux API, does not make it GPL. Torvalds even added this statement explicitly to the Linux license, although he felt that that would be the case even without the addendum.

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

MacroRodent
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Re: Copyright, Patents all screwed.

> but that should be strictly limited - so copyright should be limited to the life of the creator + 10 years.

I think a good case can be made for life + 50 years, like it was in most European countries until recently. It is actually the minimum prescribed by the Berne copyrigt convention. It gives a useful legacy for the heir of an artist for their lifetime, or most of it, (usually), but does not stretch to practical infinity,

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'Alexa, find me a good patent lawyer' – Amazon sued for allegedly lifting tech of home assistant

MacroRodent
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Re: Surely...

robots and computers with speech interfaces have been a staple of science fiction since forever. Wasn't the play that introduced the word robot written already in the 1920's? But that is not prior art because it does not tell how the trick is done.

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Microsoft programming chief to devs: Tell us where Windows hurt you

MacroRodent
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Reinvention

Packaging an application as a single executable? Static linking reinvented! Actually makes a good deal of sense if it ultimately runs in a container providing a microservice.

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Windows app makers told to think different – you're Microsoft 365 developers, now

MacroRodent
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Re: "Our mission is to make Windows the best dev box for you"

The need to dual-boot? I don't even remember when I last did that. Virtual machines took care of that problem! Linux in Virtualbox is superior to Microsoft Linux hack anyway, because you get all Linux features without restrictions, but still have good data interchange with Windows (share any host directory as needed, clipboard transfers from Linux desktop and back work).

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: Logic?

I must admit, while I am an avid user of Linux, I have never understood why the end-of-line delimiter is solely Line Feed in that operating system.

Saves space. And you will anyway always have a required conversion in terminal or printer input or output of the file, no matter which choice you make: If your line separator is LF, you have to convert it to CR LF when printing, but if you choose CR LF, you must convert CR when someone types into CR LF before storing. Of course the LF regime must also convert here, but from CR to LF.

Also note that when processing the file in a prorgram, dealing with a single character separator is much easier. It is telling that the C library and many other language runtime systems simulate single LF line endings also on Windows.

On balance, I think using a single LF is the superior convention.

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Kremlin's war on Telegram sees 50 VPNs stopped at the border

MacroRodent
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Re: Good advertisement for it

Apparently not

That answer is rather old, and there is a raging comment stream attached to it...

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MacroRodent
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Good advertisement for it

Got to check out that Telegram. It must be handling privacy properly, since so many authoritarian governements hate it.

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Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: On the face of it

XFCE is minimal and sweet.

Yes! I have been using it for years after finding that both KDE and GNOME left the path of sanity, making counter-productive UI changes while increasing bloat to unbelieveable levels. XFCE evolves in a predictable way (basically, not much), and does not try to fix what is not broken,

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RIP: Sinclair ZX Spectrum designer Rick Dickinson reaches STOP

MacroRodent
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re Mahler's death march

The caption says "12 Spectrums", but there are also some different machines on the table, with built-in cassette drives. What are those? I seem to recall there used to be Amstrads that looked like that,

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Good news: AI could solve the pension crisis – by triggering a nuclear apocalypse by 2040

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: "The report doesn’t really discuss the current capabilities in AI"

Remember reading an old science fiction short story, where the army asked an AI if they could win the nuclear war. The AI pondered and realized it would have the planet all to itself if it answered yes, so yes it was. (The story did not end there, the AI then "lived" for milennia and watched new life arise). Actually would like to reread it, but cannot remember even the author.

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Even Microsoft's lost interest in Windows Phone: Skype and Yammer apps killed

MacroRodent
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Windows

WP versions.

> I played with Windows Phone 7 and 8 (not tried 10).

Used all three, still use WP 10 (Lumia 650). The 8.1 was the best, 10 feels like a downgrade, except for the Edge browser that still mostly works on web sites (the IE in 8 was hopeless, but one could replace it with Opera Mini).

Paradoxically WP is less of a spy than Android, and more secure (mainly due to less users to write malware for). I never thought I might say this of a Microsoft product! So that is one reason I have kept it. There is a Samsung S5 Neo in my drawer waiting (hand-me-down from my son, who gets the new gear these days), one of these days I will join the Android Borg collective...

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I got 99 secure devices but a Nintendo Switch ain't one: If you're using Nvidia's Tegra boot ROM I feel bad for you, son

MacroRodent
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Linux

Linux?

I wonder how long it now takes for a Linux port to appear for it...

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Yahoo! dismemberment! begins! as! Oath! offloads! Flickr!

MacroRodent
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WTF?

Re: No changes apart from the changes of course...

Uh, that does not make any sense. Why discontinue the only part of Flickr that produces some income?

(I glanced at the terms, having a little-used account there, but missed that weird bit.)

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Oracle demands dev tear down iOS app that has 'JavaScript' in its name

MacroRodent
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Trollface

Re: Well this all raises a pretty good point

> but ECMAScript is an even worse name (sounding as if it is an unfortunate medical condition somewhere between eczema and acne).

And thus describes that mess of a programming language pretty well!

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Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat

MacroRodent
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Re: TL;DR but what is it with ****ing developers

They ask for country code and had the expected county code starting with a + already filled in. It then refused the accept the + as it only allows numbers

Heh. Copy-paste coding. The net is rife with examples where a phone number is supposedly "validated" so that + in front is not allowed. Eg. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2386054/javascript-phone-number-validation

I too encounter this all the time. There is a legit workaround: "00" is usually acceptable as an alternative to "+", but not in all countries. In fact, the "+" notation was introduced precisely because of the variation in international prefixes. (But probably there are some moronical web sites that forbid also phone numbers stating with zeros).

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2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

MacroRodent
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Re: For more details....

> I think the glass pyramid idea was dropped because of the technical difficulties of filming a large piece of light refracting material.

According to the "Lost worlds" they next planned a transparent monolith with the 1x4x9 dimensions, and actually cast it from Lucite (whatever that is, Clarke claims it was the largest block ever made of that material), but as you note, filming the transparent object convincingly was too difficult, and they switched to black. In the book version of 2001, the monolith is still transparent (to be precise, the version the ape-men encounter is transparent, in later appearances it is black).

> Must find my, by now, yellow copy of The Lost Worlds...(No, it's not for sale!)

I hope I still have my in my attic, under tons of other stuff. Got to check.

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Microsoft patches patch for Meltdown bug patch: Windows 7, Server 2008 rushed an emergency fix

MacroRodent
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The Singularity

We have clearly reached the Singularity. No, not the Kurtzweill one, but a situation where the combined complexity of processors and OS means every patch creates at least as many bugs as it fixes. From now on, there is no reliable computing, unless you are willing to simplify radically.

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What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

MacroRodent
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Illegal

I'm pretty sure it would be illegal for Microsoft to scan private email and skype messages just based on user complaints in Finland and other countries with strict privacy legislation. But of course at that point they would argue the server is in the U.S...

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Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

MacroRodent
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The hardware underneath

The big thing Facebook, Google etc bring to the table is a huge network of maintained servers. We can dream up alternative social networks and software all we want, but it has to run somewhere, And that costs real money, and cannot be done as a hobby (at least not for long).

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Hurrah! TLS 1.3 is here. Now to implement it and put it into software

MacroRodent
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Mauritius?

Hacking on Mauritius? Sounds delightful. Maybe start considering move from Finland, where spring seems to be canceled this year,,,

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Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser

MacroRodent
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Testing waters

About "this change won’t have a massive effect because Windows Mail isn’t a big deal. ": Of course it isn't - yet. This is a trial balloon. The change will start affecting other parts of Windows 10, if Redmont does not see too much outcry. Boiling the frog, and all that.

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Mulled EU copyright shakeup will turn us into robo-censors – GitHub

MacroRodent
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Re: Simples

What is even worse, even many multi-statement code sections are going to be similar, because sometimes there is just one or very few ways to do something, or the code section in both programs may have originated from a common source that is in the public domain, or liberalry licensed.

But no doubt this will be a gold mine for IP lawyers.

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Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

MacroRodent
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Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

In my first computer-related job in the 1980's, me and other trainees had among others the task of printing and mailing monthly reports to branch offices around the country from a line printer, with ink ribbons that resembled Torah scrolls. I recall the printer itself rarely caused grief (apart from the regular need to change the scrolls and clean the print head), but whoever had written the reporting software (for the Honeywell Bull mainframe) did not bother to sort the output by office. So we implemented a manual sort algorithm on the mailing room floor. That was to most time-consuming part. But I guess trainee time was cheaper than CPU time in those days...

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A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: Need help from the Russians

Running a phone for years on a radioisotope battery should be doable with current technology, but the shielding might make it a bit heavy...

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Android P will hear no evil, see no evil, support evil notches

MacroRodent
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Pris

- The memorable android character in "Blade Runner", played by Daryl Hannah.

(Why should it always be confectionery?)

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ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

MacroRodent
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GOCE

>ESA’s GOCE gravity-mapping mission, but it carried 40kg of Xenon gas to provide it with thrust so it could change altitude when its orbit became low.

Actually it ran the ion thruster all the time, to keep it orbiting smoothly, despite the air resistance.

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10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

MacroRodent
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Happy

Borrowed

I never owned one, but borrowed from a friend for a while (enough to experience the data loss from the infamous wobbly RAM pack). One thing not mentioned in the article was that since the screen refresh was almost entirely handled by the Z80 CPU, your program ran much faster if you turned it off. The BASIC had FAST and SLOW commands for this. In the FAST mode, the screen just displayed "snow" until the program execution ended.

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Hypersonic nukes! Nuclear-powered drone subs! Putin unwraps his new (propaganda) toys

MacroRodent
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Putin's gift to U.S. the armaments industry

Expect plenty of new weapons programs to be announced by the U.S, in response to the toys Putin just announced...

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The phone OS that muggers wouldn't touch is back from the dead

MacroRodent
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accessibility

It has a keypad. Good! After watching elderly relatives struggle with smartphones (even a supposedly simplified Doro), I am convinced phones with keypads and very simple UIs have a long future, with our aging population.

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IPv6 and 5G will make life hell for spooks and cops say Australia's spooks and cops

MacroRodent
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Re: I would have thought...

I wondered about that too. If every device has its own global IPv6 address, it should be easier for the cops argue some particular laptop was used for something naughty. The alleged criminal cannot so easily claim the IP address was actually used by someone else's device, like a neighbour or a "wardriver" who has managed to break in into his WLAN.

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Intellisense was off and developer learned you can't code in Canadian

MacroRodent
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Re: C fun

OK, looks like I'd be in the same situation you were. What's the problem?

Missing keyword "case" before each enumeration constant name. Without it, the names are interpreted as labels for use with goto statements.

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MacroRodent
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Facepalm

C fun

Early in my C programming career, I wrote the equivalent of

switch (some_enum_variable)

{

constant_a:

some_code1();

break;

constant_b:

some_code2();

break;

constant_c:

some_code3();

break;

}

and spent many hours wondering why none of the branches ever activated... (no, the compiler did not even warn about this. It is syntactically perfectly correct C).

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