* Posts by davcefai

167 posts • joined 21 May 2007


Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again


As a potential customer - the software package they were selling on it was pretty good - the last 2 words were probably thought but never uttered.

Funny how suppliers don't like to risk offending customers!


The Lisa had a wonderful bug. It was said that you could drop the computer icon into the wastebasket, requiring a hard reset.

I tried this during an exhibition but found my wrist firmly clamped by the demonstrator who said something like "Oh no you don't......sir."

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms


Upset a different bunch of people.

How about "Dom" and "Sub"?

make all relocate... Linux kernel dev summit shifts to Scotland – to fit Torvald's holiday plans


He's done a fantastic job, so why not?

However I confess to feeling uneasy about when he retires. OTOH I'm much older than he is so I'll be past caring. I just hope that Poettering doesn't complete the job of destroying Linux.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update


Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

The UI used to be "one of a kind" where you could spend more time looking for a function than using it. The default UI is now much more conventional. Frankly I was not aware that there is another one and will spend some time trying to find it.

After PSP went past v9 GIMP became my default photo app, especially as I could then use it on both Windows (at work) and Linux (at home).

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


I suspect that this only holds true at the very low temperatures quoted in the article as the hydrogen atoms should be able to rotate freely as soon as some energy is available.

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)


Re: Great Headline, Register

The short story was first. The book you describe is "The Lost Worlds of 2001". As far as I remember the screenplay and book were written together. Certainly the film is very faithful to the book.

And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows - it's going to cost what now?! €100m!


There is also a non-technical reason for this retrogressive step. One that I have experienced myself.

Some people consider themselves too important to use "free" (=, in their minds, "cheap") software.

Because of this what was going to be a well managed transition from MS Office to OpenOffice, with Sun's assistance, ended up in disaster. Incidentally, unless things have changed a lot since I retired, it is NOT feasible to run MS Office and Open or Libre Office together for any long time.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy


I've just looked at a link to the Sun. Sad to think how many trees died to supply this drivel.


Seals leak. Fact of life. Usually tightening (compressing the packing further) helps. Otherwise replace the packing. Big deal. The really bad case would be a roughness in the shaft - it would need re-machining. *That* would justify the fuss being made. I've had expert craftsmen have problems in getting packing exactly right and this was on shafts maybe 3" dia max.

Packing starts to leak *after* some use. That's probably one of the reasons the navy do sea trials. :-)

I can't call this a storm in a teacup because the ship is too big to fit in a teacup.

Lauri Love appeal: 'If he's dead, no victim's going to get anything'



One day, one hopes, the UK will stop being bullied by the US. (I am not a national of either country).

As I understand it the law about extraditions works in favour of the US. The Brits cannot get _their_ naughty boys back from the US.

Love is English, sat at his computer in England and was arrested in England. So if guilty he is guilty of an offence in England, not the land of the cholesterol-laden fast foods. Do we even know that the computers he hacked are physically located in the US?

Linus Torvalds 'sorry' for swearing, blames popularity of Linux itself


All is well, really.

Linus pioneered not only a new OS but also new ways of developing and distributing it.

"release early and often" was the mantra in the good old days. Users found the bugs and they were fixed - very quickly. If someone cannot cope with this they should wait to upgrade until other hardier souls, or people not running mission critical systems, found the bugs.

Linux has been a dynamic and vigorous ecosystem. Linus found exactly the right formula to manage it. If the genes that made this possible are linked to others like sweariness then "ce la vie". Deal with it. Don't try to put ridiculous code into the system, and just grin and say sorry if you inadvertently do so.

Which makes one wonder how in hell we got stuck with pulseaudio and systemd! :-)

Dick move: Navy flyboy flings firmament phallus for flabbergasted folk



It's amazing really that such a familiar object should cause such a furore. To quote from an alleged medical lecture, the object in question is found on approximately half the population and spends a great deal of its time inside the other half!

OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering


Re: Feat of engineering

And then you can lose it.

ARM chip OG Steve Furber: Turing missed the mark on human intelligence


Number of cores

Not all of the brain is concerned with reasoning. A goodly portion is "engine management" of the body. Without entering the other arguments in this thread I would venture that, based on the author's calculations, they will end up with a "brain" bigger than a human's.

Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code


Starting Out

Many of these posts could be slightly modified and used in explaining why

print "hello world"

is a useless exercise.

Don't we have to start somewhere?

F-35 firmware patches to be rolled out 'like iPhone updates'


Re: Samsung TV software update comes to mind

Man, are you an optimimist!

Foxit PDF Reader is well and truly foxed up, but vendor won't patch



Can't beat Okular under KDE on Debian.

Clear August 21 in your diary: It's a total solar eclipse for the smart



This phenomenon will be due to a newly hatched turtle flying over the Disc and temporarily occluding the sun.

Didn't anybody pay attention in class? :-)

iRobot just banked a fat profit. And it knows how to make more: Sharing maps of your homes


I suppose that the next step could well be that if you drop your keys it will photograph them and send the photo off for making copies..

Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise



A well placed tantrum can be more effective than a cold sarcastic statement. Linus seems to know this and uses it effectively.


I look forward to his post when systemd *really* gets his goat.

Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden



I love watching politicians squirm. Assange has provided me with entertainment.

On a more serious note:

No matter what anybody thinks of him as a person, he has rendered the world a service. Politicians preach "open government". Wikileaks has helped to achieve some of it.

Nikon snaps at Dutch, German rivals: You stole our chip etch lens tech!


What goes round...

Many years ago it was alleged that Nikon cloned the Leica camera and then used it as a base to develop the SLR camera, at which point Leitz stole it back.

I recall a case where a Japanese company - forget which - cloned an IBM chip, including a mistake which was "fenced off" from the rest of the circuit. Apparently they could not figure out how it worked so they just copied the lot.

Those were the "wild west" days. Today they use lawyers. Is it just me or was it more fun in those days? (For the bystanders anyway) :-)

Consumers go off PCs as global shipments continue their decline


Reality Check

Did anybody really think that sales would keep increasing ad infinitum?

Unlike in the early days we all now have more power in the boxes than we need so where's the incentive to upgrade?

Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia


I miss my 3310. I hung on to it for as long as possible but when my last HP-95 palmtop gave up the ghost (they were >20yrs old and hand-me-downs) I had to move to a smart phone to try to achieve a similar functionality.

After all a phone is to make phone calls with. And dropping it into the water or getting it wet on a boat only meant paying €35 for a new one. Today losing a smartphone can be a major tragedy and backing up the data is a total pain.

Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab


No, nothing will convince them except possibly their $DEITY chucking a stone tablet down a mountain.

Let's face it, how can they stand the idea of being "descended from a monkey"?

Icelandic Pirate Party asked to form government


Re: Enquiring minds want to know..

There was a short story with this theme. Wife kills hubbie with a frozen leg of lamb, then cooks it. She then offers it to the detectives who unwittingly eat the murder weapon!

Not sure of the author, maybe Roald Dahl.

3,500 Verizon call center workers can't hear you now


Making Money.

"realign our real estate portfolio "

Does this mean "we can make a lot of money of selling the sites"?

McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked


Good on the Italians. 35 years on I can still remember my bitter disappointment when I discovered that a Danish smorrebrod (open sandwich) restaurant in the Copenhagen Town Square had become a Burger King "outlet".

Dirty COW explained: Get a moooo-ve on and patch Linux root hole



Amazing, the lengths some people will go to in order to diss Open-Source!

So Linus made a mistake (sort of). He admitted it, fixed it and moved on. MS have had known bugs running for years. I remember one where I found 6000+ questions about it on the web dating back 7 years. I forget the details but it affected data transfer, via SQL Server, between machines.

The root solution is simple. Don't use Linux, then complain about what you are using - there will ALWAYS be something to complain about. The difference is that, in open-source, the discussions are open and frank.

Thank you for Linux, Linus.

But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD


User Importance

I have come across another obstacle to open source adoption. There are users who consider themselves too important to use free software. They deserve expensive stuff.. I kid you not!

Ludicrous Patent of the Week: Rectangles on a computer screen



So half the world's spreadsheets are infringing on this patent because the author drew black borders around some groups of cells.

Termination fees for terminated people now against the law


"I would have thought that a contract with a dead person is void."

Ah, but this is big business in the USA!

'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)


I think the researchers were studying the wrong thing. To my mind, what matters is a particular, possibly disciplined, way of thinking.

Yes/No and very few shades of grey. I once worked very closely with a man who went on to hold a *very* senior Civil Service post with great success. He bragged that he always explored all possible options, even the unlikely ones and was horrified when I said that once I saw a suitable option I followed it. Any time wasted was less that his exploration of "everything"

However I had to explain, in "Peter and Jane" language, how and why we backed up our data. We turned out some superb work together but I think that this may indicate that what the researchers should have looked at was not a sample of computer students but a sample of people and studied how their methods of thinking affected their geekiness.

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order


Re: Do people care?

I think your problem will be that you can prove where your phone, and you, were. If British law is similar to Maltese you have to prove that you CAR was not there. All fines are directed at the owner, not the driver so, in theory, your wife, offspring or a car thief could have parked the car.

So you also need to prove that you were in full possession of the car at the time.

Edward Snowden's 40 days in a Russian airport – by the woman who helped him escape


It seems to me that Edward Snowden has has done most European countries an enormous favour. Isn't there ONE country whose politicians have the cojones to give him asylum?

It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course


Rather than waffle on about ethics and legality, isn't this a clear case of "if it could be fun it must be wrong so ban it."

Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week


Re: Ah, Microsoft

Yes, the BSOD. It has worked reliably for years.

Robot surgeon outperforms human doctor with porcine patients



I think it was a character in a Tess Gerritsen novel who remarked "I can teach a monkey to operate. I cannot teach it _when_ to operate."

US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime



I'm looking forward to reading Angela Merkel's reaction to this :-)

Linux greybeards release beta of systemd-free Debian fork


Poettering Free Systems.

First we had Pulseaudio. When googling solutions to problems I almost always came across a post by Poettering raving about how wonderful Pulseaudio was and it didn't need fixing.

Pulseaudio went to the great bitbucket in the sky and my systems stabilised again.

Until SystemD. When I allowed SystemD on board it was like going back to the awful Windows days. Bugs, problems, opaqueness and no fixes.

Now I'm back to SysVinit and no longer have frustrating mornings getting the PCs to boot properly. The sad thing is that I cannot yet uninstall the the SystemD mess 'cos too many packages have dependencies on it.

If Debian stick with SystemD then, sadly, it's bye bye Debian.

Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods


The marketeeers have shot themselves in the foot. There is a place for discreet ads on a page but large flashing red ads are what drove me into the arms of adblock, a cosy place where I intend to stay.

I have no right to force myself onto a web site which doesn't want me to use an adblocker but I can, and do, vote with my feet and wallet. (OK, for the pedants: my fingers and little stash of cash.)

Microsoft drives an Edge between Adobe and the web: Flash ads blocked


So Bill Gates has caved in to Trump. MS have "switched off part of the Internet"!

(Joke Icon if it were available, which it is not)

Raspberry Pi 3 to sport Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE – first photos emerge


Feature Creep

Most of the comments above are relevant and thoughtful BUT seem to be missing the point.

We have here a reasonably sophisticated, very inexpensive little computer. Those of you old enough to remember will recall that a Sinclair Spectrum was a sizable investment in its time. The Pi is practically a pocket money device. The foundation emphasises low price. If you're worrying about SATA ports and USB speeds and really do need them then you can doubtless afford something more upmarket than a PI.

The Pi is cheap enough to embed in a number of tinkerer's projects such as a super doorbell or a baby monitor. You can also turn the kids loose on it. If they destroy it it won't break the bank to pop out and get another one.

Google human-like robot brushes off beating by puny human – this is how Skynet starts


Asimov's Laws

Obviously the builders have implemented the first law: "A robot may not harm a human being...".

Otherwise towards the end of the video the robot would have been quite justified in thumping the bod with the stick!

Roll up, roll up to the Malware Museum! Run classic DOS viruses in your web browser


Just to add a little info, the Maltese Casino was a modified, already existent, virus. I examined the innards and saw that the date check code was very clumsy although it did work. It was nowhere near as elegantly written as the rest of the .com file. However it served as a good detection string.

Strangely enough the 15th August is a national holiday in Malta - a big one - where we literally celebrate not becoming part of Germany during WW2. Malta was out of food and aviation fuel. Fighters could not take off. The Ohio made it into harbour and fuel was trucked straight to the waiting planes!

Anyway, the point is that the writer set his code to trigger on a day when the fewest computers would have been turned on. Most businesses would be on Summer shutdown and everybody would be at the beach!

'Right to be forgotten' festers as ICO and Google come to blows


Is this the correct approach?

Google, the advertising company, supplies a search function to world+dog. You ask, it searches. If one wants to be forgotten then the thing to do is surely to delete the embarrassing data. Then Google won't find it.

As I understand it, the way this 'right to be forgotten' is being implemented is that Google, having found the data, has to take steps not to display it. At the moment it is almost working but can it scale up?. Can it handle photos? Can Google notice that Mr A Politician is in that group of drunken guys skinny dipping 20 years ago?

Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'


Somebody Else's Turn to Suffer

Listen here you lot. Y2K was bad enough. We worked for months to fix it and got through with flying colours. For my part only one (non critical) field on a GUI misbehaved on the 1st January and that was because, according to the supplier, they changed the specification for the function. ("We'll be sending you the compiler upgrade")

So a few days later the know-it-alls were trumpeting that there never really was a problem.

Now with the progressive dumbing down of non-technical management I forecast that not enough resources for fixing and testing the 2038 bug will be made available. (After all Y2K wasn't a problem was it!) My condolences to those whose job requires them to somehow make bricks without straw.

So I suggest that those of us who may be around at the time should read all the pre-Y2K articles about surviving it. Have ready cash, canned food, extra petrol for the car etc. Thankfully I am retired but at 88 I don't really want to be patching anything - not even my alarm clock.

Google Translate MEAT GRINDER turns gay into 'faggot', 'poof', 'queen'


The entire discussion has ignored the fact that the word "gay" really means something like happy, lighthearted, carefree, and was only hijacked into a sexual meaning in, I think, the sixties. Time Magazine actually wrote about this once. I can only place the article to pre 1972.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019