* Posts by Pet Peeve

512 posts • joined 22 Nov 2009


The Life and Times of Lester Haines

Pet Peeve

Lester was even cooler than I thought he was. Rest in peace, sir.

Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team

Pet Peeve

Re: Replace technology drudgery by automated life-cycle convention.

Not sure why the downvotes, Infernoz is totally right. We've got 16mhz processors with 2k of RAM running C binaries today (any arduino or bare Atmel embedded processor) generated by GCC - it seems they would be far better off getting a modern compiler environment set up to target the voyager's processor. It would probably be easier than training up someone to use the ancient toolchain they have. I assume they have equivalent processors on the ground so they can test, so I don't see the big deal doing that.

Pet Peeve

Re: Where do I sign?

Was it maybe because you said "I want an unclear job"? Kidding.

Back in the days that voyager launched, I could code in assembler for a bunch of processors, and I've even added a few over the years, but a one-off processor? They may as well just train someone - what is the chance of finding someone who has those skills already and isn't the same age as the guy doing it now?

Now FORTRAN on the other hand - Fortran IV was a very simple language to learn - in fact I learned it in highschool over a weekend using the famous "Fortran Coloring Book", when the choice was doing that or not getting hangout access to the computer lab. The teacher hated that I was correcting HIS work by a couple weeks later, but he let me stay.

What I don't understand is what a space probe is doing with a fortran runtime on board. You would think that it's all static binaries, at which point any language with a compiler that can target the processor would work fine - spend some time getting CLANG/LLVM or GCC working for that processor.

I'm going to have to see if I can learn more about the environment, it seems really odd.

700,000 beautiful women do the bidding of one Twitter-scamming man

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Re: @1980s_coder I've up-voted you, because you're intentions were admirable…

So many wrong things, nearly as many Not Even Wrong things, and some outright falsehood to boot. Bad job, no donut for you!

Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

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Re: Dot matrix? Pah!

You're exactly right - standard equipment for a 1401 was a 1403 line printer.

In the early 80s, I worked as a computer operator for about a year - the dinosaur pen had a row of IBM 360/50s, and a bunch of shared devices like tape drives and 3 line printers (not 1403s, a later and even faster model). There is no question that I did permanent damage to my hearing when I ran the printer with the cover up. I don't even remember WHY I would do that - the dang thing spit paper so fast that you couldn't really yank printouts without pausing it. The noise is really indescribable.

One of the fun things the printer had was a "carriage control band" - this was a paper loop that went over two sprockets, and programs could do a form skip to a specific spot on the page, which was nice for printing on forms, or to put the page totals in the same spot on each page without having the program have to count and skip individual lines. If you installed the wrong band, or didn't line it up right, or it slipped off, the printer would yank paper through the tractors so fast that it would fountain up into the air, and it would usually empty an entire box (I want to say 2000 pages but I don't remember) in just a minute or so - you never really wanted to turn your back on the things.

Apple boots Windows 7 out of Boot Camp

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Re: An odd decision by Apple

Snow Leopard is 6 years old.

Pet Peeve

Not new

I couldn't officially install windows 7 on my 2013 mac pro. This is not new.

LOHAN unleashes 'waiting for the FAA' collector mug

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Re: Alternatively

Yeah, what ever did happen with the drinking glasses? The last message we got was "don't do anything if you haven't gotten one, we'll take no reply as you haven't gotten it". So, I rushed right out and didn't do anything.

At the rate the FAA is going, I probably STILL will be able to tip the glass to you at launch day even if it's another month or two, but I'd really like to have it.

Tim Cook chills the spines of swingers worldwide

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Re: A car key I have to recharge every day?

Considering how much replacement keys cost for my Prius, that's a couple hundred bucks off the cost right there, to have a backup key. I'm wondering how that works though, you can't just clone one, can you?

Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

Pet Peeve

You're looking for SF people only? It seems like the job you describe could be done from anywhere. Why do you have to go into an office to copyedit and moderate the forum?

Ex-NASA boffin dreams of PREDATOR-ish tech in humble microwaves

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FLIR is cheap? I don't think so...

'If you see a stylus, they BLEW it' – Steve Jobs. REMEMBER, Apple?

Pet Peeve

Wow, surprised this isn't a Jasper article, it's certainly as clueless and inflammatory as one.

The Jobs quote was specifically about the first gen iphone (2007, the ipad didn't even exist yet). But you don't have to believe me, just look right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YY3MSaUqMg

Frankly, I share his hatred for styluses on small devices. On a tablet, they're fine, provided the tablet is made with them in mind as an optional addon. You can get ipad styluses now, but WOW do they stuck - they stick to the screen, have no touch sensitivity, and have a big fat meaty THING on the end that in every stlyus I've seen, is 5 minutes from falling off.

An active stylus with touch sensitivity would be HUGE. They could eat Wacom's entire casual user base (and probably some pros too) with a 12 inch tablet and a good stylus, with handoff features that allow it to be used as a computer input device too.

TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'NAUTS FLEE 'gas leak' to Russian module

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Re: Big Three?

Presumably, the big three gases that you don't want running around in station air. I would guess CO2, Hydrogen, and Ammonia.

Sony FINGERS DDoS attackers for ruining PlayStation's Xmas

Pet Peeve

Re: Still...

Always a pleasure to see that anonymous cowards have all of the answers but none of the knowledge.

MAC addresses of your gear never leave your LAN in IP headers. Your personal router can MAC filter devices on your network. Your ISP can MAC filter on the MAC of your gateway. Sony could MAC filter on fuck-all to stop DDOSes.

You can make the argument (and it's a good one) that ISPs should be ingress and egress filtering at borders to stop propogating packets with spoofed IPs, and if Sony really wanted to, they could whitelist by public IP addresses of playstation-equipped house holds only, though the latter has some chicken-and-egg issues (among other problems), and the former doesn't do crap if the upstream links get saturated, which is quite common these days.

Google Chrome on Windows 'completely unusable', gripe users

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Re: they recently switched compilers

There is absolutely nothing wrong with CLANG and LLVM, in fact the opposite - it's great software. However, it's not "bug compatible" with gcc, so it's indeed possible that switching compilers has uncovered misbehavior that they could get away with in GCC.

It doesn't really matter what the problem is, they need to fix it pronto or they'll lose all their product users overnight - there is very little friction to move to another browser like firefox.

Pet Peeve

I freaking hate chrome

For my personal browsing I use firefox and love it. Because I've lately been doing web app development targeted at android devices (sigh), I pretty much have to use chrome for off-device development (using webstorm/ripple) to minimize weirdness once I move to the device for integration testing.

I can't stand the thing. It has a mind of its own for clearing cache (sometimes it just goes all Bartelby on you and "would rather not"), builds will randomly break plugins (and there's no equivalent of the extended stability firefox path), and it's just plain slow. Admittedly, that's emulating the device browser fairly well, so good job I guess?

There was a time when Chrome had the competition beat on performance and stability, but they've totally pissed that away.

Philae comet probe got down without harpoons

Pet Peeve

Re: Just brilliant

"And the comet can never be buggered at all".

Pet Peeve

Re: Good luck, at the end of the day

There is a duplicate of Philae in the lab, I heard an interview with one of the scientists who designed the mission on the Quirks and Quarks podcast last week.

He was saying that the spent the last ten years learning exactly how the instruments would work and what they could learn from them. He was joking that it wasn't all "putting my feet up on the desk and waiting for ten years to go by". Good interview!

MOULDY DICK: France aims to snatch EXPLODING WHALE crown from U.S.

Pet Peeve

Re: no commercial opportunity here

Thankfully, "research" whaling has finally stopped in Japan this April. The International Court of Justice officially stomped on them and demanded that all permits be revoked, and that Japan honor the 1986 worldwide whaling ban (which Japan is a signed member of). They have agreed to all terms, effective immediately.

They could someday withdraw from that agreement and start whaling again, but they haven't done that, and it would destroy a lot of their trade from the penalties for doing so.

First space Hasselblad goes under the hammer

Pet Peeve

Re: from the 3rd photo

Oh man, that ISS selfie is SO damn cool. Saving for my desktop photo, thanks!

Pet Peeve

Re: Price

They're both pretty unique, so it's hard to say, but I know which one I'd rather have - the Hasselblad is still functional (even useful with a digital back), and it's been in freaking SPACE.

Pet Peeve

Re: But why.....?

Astronauts were serious jet-setters, regularly hopping into one-man planes for meetings on the other side of the country. He probably had a watch set for his current location and Cape time, would be my guess.

Pet Peeve

Re: from the 3rd photo

"Not baiting here". Right, you write dumb messages attached to every space article wondering where the stars are. You've been told repeatedly that's a silly question, and people even have attempted to educate you on basic photography, but nope, you just keep doing it.

And now you're asking why nobody has photographed the sun? Have you ever looked at the sun, for even a moment? No imagine doing that through an unfiltered lens. Please don't ask stupid questions, or ask a 5th grader, who will think it's a stupid question too, but may have more patience with the crazy person.

Apple's strap-on will set you back just '$5,000' – what a BARGAIN!

Pet Peeve

Re: Gold-plated?

Actually, they're NOT, except in the sense that it won't fly to pieces.

I had a Rolex for a while - and old one (70s) almost literally fell into my hands along with a lot of mostly junk. I got it refurbished into running order, which cost several hundred dollars. I was going to sell it then, but I liked the way it looked (it was not super-fancy, but very distinguished looking) so I wore it almost daily for a year. By the end of that year it started having trouble keeping time, and sometimes needed a vigorous shake to free up the self-winding mechanism so it would run if it completely ran down since I last wore it (I mean like jump up and down shake, not the usual light wrist movement that is all you normally need for a self-winder).

Assuming that the previous jeweler had done a crappy job, I took it to a much better jeweler, who I told the story, and they said that automatic movements require a lot of regular maintenance. A year or two between major amounts of (expensive) tinkering is about average for a regularly-worn Rolex.

So I sold it, and when I'm not wearing a pebble these days, I have an eco-drive citizen which has worked perfectly for years without refurbishing.

I'm not saying the Rolex wasn't a great watch, it was (just putting it up to your ear and hearing the distinctive sound they make is hypnotic), but having one is a lot like having a vintage car - it will be in the shop a lot and let you down much more often than your daily driver.

Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water

Pet Peeve

Yeah, the CLOISTER BELL went off every time one of the keys hit the lava. They aren't just keys.

LOHAN avionics survive 27,700m stratospheric ordeal

Pet Peeve


Every dang time, someone posts this and I have to do a Not Sure If Serious. At least use a troll mask so we're in on the joke if you're trying to be funny.

Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

Pet Peeve

Re: Bring back Tungsten filaments...

If I never see a tube monitor again, it won't be long enough. They actually have negative value now - even scrappers and thrift stores don't want them.

Pet Peeve

Re: LED Bulb price

LED spotlights are the best things ever. Like Malcolm, I found that incandescents or CFLs in a can fixture (PAR10) in my kitchen ceiling would cook themselves very quickly, but I've had the same LED bulbs for 2 years now and they are still going strong.

The color temperature and brightness of modern LED bulbs (CREE, Philips) are indistinguishable from incandescents of equivalent lumen value, and they use less than 10% of the power (and have well over 10 times the lifespan). I think the reason for the selloffs in the biz is because LED bulbs quickly became a commodity item, and they couldn't make premium dollars selling them anymore. Current prices are about half of what I paid for my Kitchen LED bulbs.

Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight

Pet Peeve

So what are they carrying? Batteries and some servos, or some of your great tracking gear? Just wondering what to expect to see on their tracking page tomorrow morning.

Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots

Pet Peeve

Re: The end ?!

That's interesting, in the sense that it is wrong in every possible way it is to be wrong in a single sentence. Good job!

Pet Peeve

Re: Major takeaway points

Ha, I assumed they were using an actual tardis toy. I've seen them in stores.

Pet Peeve

Re: Are they killing more people in Dr Who now or am I just being more observant?

You are Mary Whitehouse and I demand your big goofy glasses.

Pet Peeve

Re: Goodness

Right. In the end, he ended up probably killing the lot of these monsters (he did say that Some, Might, return home alive), and this is a type of life he's never seen before - for all he knew he was genociding the only ones in existence. That he saved some lives (and not necessarily the right ones) doesn't make that unalloyed good in anyone's book.

That's a pretty mature concept for a kid's TV show to address even tangentially. I'm proud of them.

Pet Peeve

Same here, I laughed out loud at the sledgehammer and the "Addams Family" thing (er, Thing), and it's a rare tv show that does that when you're watching it alone.

The stuff between The Doctor and Clara was loaded with fine dialogue and bits of business, Clara has had the opportunity to try on the role of The Doctor in a way that I don't think any companion in any series (leaving out Romana) has had a chance to, and besides that, it was just FUN.

Not sure what the negativity is about - it's like some people mourn their fandom instead of enjoying it. If that's the case, watch something else. Hate watching is stupid, and hate watching just to rant about it in a 3 page register article is even stupider.

Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized fusion reactor breakthrough boast

Pet Peeve

Re: 10 years

do NOT make that assumption. The E-Cat is no more legit than it was before the latest "test".

PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai

Pet Peeve

Re: Not really a dumb question

IPv4 space is a tiny little corner of the IPv6 space. An IPv6 aware stack can reach both by design. You can do an IP conversion here to see what that looks like.

Doing the opposite, seeing an IPv6-only site from IPv4, is a little trickier, and it requires you to use a proxy service.

A Norsified Linux for Windows and OS X wobblers

Pet Peeve

Re: Bottom Dock/Panel

The first thing I do on a new mac is move the dock to the right edge of my rightmost display, and then start up Tinkertool so that the dock's bottom edge is pinned to the bottom right of the screen (one checkbox, tinkertool is great). I don't know who's dumb idea it was that the trash move with the rest of the dock and not be in a corner so it's easy to drag to, but this fixes it perfectly, and it also makes the dock grow vertically only. Much nicer, especially with multiple displays so it's there when you need it, but mostly out of the way.

MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...

Pet Peeve

Re: Why I didn't update

It's only if you install the update on the device itself. Not really a surprise that if you do that, there has to be free space for the download on-board. The download isn't a tiny incremental file like point releases, it's the whole iOS 8 image.

If you do it through itunes, it's not an issue. Given the size of the update, it's worth doing it while attached to a computer anyway.

Reg bloke zips through an iPHONE 6 queue from ZERO to 60 SECONDS

Pet Peeve

There will be a table with all the reserved units, and you'll stand in line in front of it when your time comes up. At least that's how it works here. I have never done the in-store line thing (I mail order on launch days), but I've gone by the stores while this was going on.

The nice thing about reservation lines at the store is that you're probably not standing outside like a knob.

Nearly there! LOHAN Kickstarter pot o'gold breaks £29,000

Pet Peeve

159 pounds to go - time to break out some last-minute stretch goals. Kickstarters often rustle up a lot of cash in their last few days.

Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight

Pet Peeve

Energizer Ultimates are specifically designed for low temps (down to -40, F or C), they should be fine with ambient heat from all the gear and waste from the motor jacket. Leave the poor guys alone on this, they have a good solution in hand. Molykote grease on the other hand, sounds like a good idea regardless.

Edit: Hm, this is interesting - apparently there's an "advanced" energizer cell that are NOT the good ones. So long as you're using L9x series cells, you should be golden, or at least as golden as it's possible to be - nothing sold works colder than that:

For many years Energizer only sold the L91 and L92 lithium AA and

AAA cells. Recently (maybe a year or two ago?) Energizer added the

EA91 and EA92 "Advanced Lithium" AA and AAA cells and started calling

the L91 and L92 "Ultimate Lithium" cells. The data sheets for these

no longer include temperature range information. The "Advanced

Lithium" AA cells should be avoided as their price is about the same

as the Ultimate Lithiums, but their performance is significantly

lower at the higher current loads used by most digital cameras.

Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets

Pet Peeve

Re: Apple NFC

What the heck can an android bluetooth stack do that an iphone can't? Right now my phone is paired with wireless headphones, a pulse monitor, a pebble smartwatch, and a keyboard, simultaneously, and they all work. Seems capable enough for me.

Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?

Pet Peeve

The DA-20 is a really cool looking little plane. I've never seen one before.

Good luck on the home stretch of the kickstarter!

SHINY NEW GADGETS! No, we're not joking, here's a load of them

Pet Peeve

Most if not all induction stoves do the only-heat-the-pot-on-the-burner thing. I've had one for a couple years (it's flush-mounted to my countertop so it just looks like a piece of black glass when it's off) and it does this trick too. When you lift up the pot, the induction system shuts off on that "burner" after a brief delay (in case you're just moving it around).

Vote NOW for LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm acronym

Pet Peeve

SAMBA, just for the Tridge symmetry.

Mac security packages range from peachy to rancid – antivirus tests

Pet Peeve

Re: Chowder

Historically, clamXav on the mac has been decent at detecting viruses, but slow and resource-hungry (in brief, avoid). I have Sophos running and it seems fine, but I'm open to alternatives.

Our Vulture 2 rocket spaceplane crammed with more power

Pet Peeve

What's the all-up weight of the vulture 2 now? This thing has to be getting heavy.

'Sony and Twitch' hacking crew Lizard Squad: 'We quit'

Pet Peeve

What's this "gifted skills" nonsense? It takes no skills whatsoever to ddos a site - it just takes access to a botnet.

Love XKCD? Love science? You'll love a book about science from Randall Munroe

Pet Peeve

How is saying "it's your own responsibilty if you become a pariah for being an asshole" being an asshole?

Free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. The alternative would be a pretty shitty world to live in.

IBM: OK, Watson, you've won Jeopardy. Now, CURE CANCER

Pet Peeve

> Until Watson learns to filter out fabricated data, badly designed experiments, or incorrectly computed statistics

... and target an ICBM on the badly behaving lab.


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