* Posts by This is my handle

60 posts • joined 28 Sep 2011


Boffins don't give a sh!t, slap Trump's face on a turd in science journal

This is my handle

Re: Very disrespectful

I almost upvoted you until I considered the disrespect our Mango Mussolini has shown *science*. And journalism. And democracy ....

I don't think respect is earned. I grant a modicum of respect to everyone I meet. I give them the benefit of the doubt. Disrespect is earned, and the Don has been earning it since the beginning of his public life, and continues to do so with every speech, every tweet.

Finally. The palm-sized Palm phone is back. And it will, er, save you from your real smartphone

This is my handle


It's not 1 April, so I don't get it. Things Palm did well:

1) Run hundreds of free or nearly free apps.

If it's an Android, this should do that.

2)Keep a handy copy of all your immediately essential data (contacts, calendar, to-do...) *offline*.


3)Sync copies of that data to a "real computer" (desktop, laptop) with nothing more expensive or tethered than an occasional serial connection.


Microsoft yanks the document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update

This is my handle

A former US Secretary of State had a really early preview installed on her email server ages ago!

That is all.

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

This is my handle

Wait, NZ has border guards?

I thought one of the advantages of living on an island in the middle of nowhere was that you didn't need to pay hard-earned tax dollars to some otherwise unemployable thugs so that they can abuse you and your guests?

Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub

This is my handle

And let's not even talk about mobile keyboards

That is all.

This is my handle

Re: To some MSDOS was an major leap forward.

Really? Z80-based Unix? A 32-bit O/S on an 8 bit chip? I seem to remember that Xenix (when it came along) was a 16-bit port, and that Zilog did make more powerful chips based on the venerable Z80, but not quite as popular. All the Z80s I ever touched ran CP/M, and I'd have saved a month or so of beer money for a Unix that ran on them.

How an over-zealous yank took down the trading floor of a US bank

This is my handle

Re: Unplugging the keyboard = kernel panic ?

No, I remember well that you could take down certain SPARCstations by unplugging the keyboard. Weird, but true. I was working for a trading firm where the Traders were in fact quite smart, and did have access to the glassed in room with the raised floors, so nothing about this story sounds at all improbable to me (except the duly noted anachronism of the buzzword 'DevOps'). About that same time, working late I accidentally did an rm -rf ./src in the wrong place, deleting all the source code staged for our current build. As I frantically called my boss (for visibility), I remembered that our NAS took frequent snapshots, and was able to restore the company's tens of millions of lines of proprietary source code, and kicked off a validating build that came up clean. This was way before "git" so source control systems were centralized, and our developers were not overly dedicated to committing code frequently, so this no doubt saved my job, if not the company. Ah, the good old days...

Apple somehow plucks iPad sales out from 13-quarter death spiral

This is my handle

Re: pretty much a no brainer

Have you actually seen / held the iPad at BestBuy? If I had a nickel from every time Best Buy had a great deal on a fondle slab that didn't exist in the inventory of mine or the 6 US states East of me (wanted one for Mothers' Day, and was willing to pick it up en route) I'd have 5 cents; because after that their ads went straight to the recycle bin. No, they would not give me a raincheck.

Agile development exposed as techie superstition

This is my handle

We accept many things a priori

Goal setting for example: my twin brother & I decide over a pint that we both need to lose weight. I (Leisure Larry) start eating better, exercise a lot more, drink fewer pints. My neighbor (Donny Disciplined) goes with an elaborate plan to lose X by date Y, and 2X by Y+7, etc. Who ends up losing more weight? Conventional wisdom says that Donny bests me in terms of both weight and time, but has anyone done the controlled experiment? What if his goal was too low, and I exceed it for not having set one at all?

The goal of agility after all is not to build software more cheaply, or produce software of higher quality as the article seems to imply. It is simply to adapt to a world in which requirements change more quickly than software can be developed using prior (e.g. waterfall) methodologies. Given perfect requirements you can build higher quality software more cheaply using waterfall than agile. I was surprised to hear none other than Allistair Cockburn admit as much a year or so back at a Groupon lunch & learn (Geekfest). Good luck getting perfect requirements.

I'm old enough to remember waterfall, and UUP (nee RUP) with it's 125 pre-coding artifacts, and a number of other pre-agile methodologies, but have been working with agile teams (various flavors) for a good dozen years or so, and for most projects I would refuse to go back. It's not perfect, it can be light on design & documentation, but you deliver something sooner rather than later, and the something ends up being more useful to more users, in my experience.

I don't need a controlled study to prove it to me.

Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

This is my handle

Small Typo

Picking nits here but the publication is Consumer Reports -- it's plural. You got it right the 1st time.

US citizen sues France over France-dot-com brouhaha

This is my handle

Re: Shirley

Upvoted for the reference to M. Beltrame in defense of our friends on "the continent".

As a former POTUS presumably said (back when the country really was great (again)): "Every man has two countries - his own and France"

Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash

This is my handle

MOV lane usage

Actually, California has weird laws about use of the "High Occupancy Lane". When I lived there, I was allowed on riding my motorcycle solo. They figured that even 1 person on a GL1000 was enough, I suspect.

That awkward moment when AWS charges you BEELLIONS for Lightsail

This is my handle

On this side of the puddle, ...

.... we typically use comma (,) as the thousands separator, but we put it between thousands.

> on S3 and $7,77,213,084.79 in tax.

Don't put your Node out of joint: Version 8 of JS toolkit now in LTS mode

This is my handle

Long time reader....

... first "first-time" commenter.

Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

This is my handle

1 && 0

My own relationship with perl is complicated. I used it for everything that was too laborious to do in C (and later java) for a good dozen years or so. I used to ask the python evangelists, "What can I do in a .py that I can't do in a .pl..." just to watch their enthusiasm dim as they skulked away.

Then something changed. Perl 6 was supposed to happen, but didn't. I had to begrudgingly admit that I could read almost anyone's python code but had a hard time making sense of my own 5 year old perl hack.

And bugs! Constructs I'd been using for years suddenly stopped working, on Linux even, not just Windows & Mac.

So perl is like that old Honda that used to be my go-to way to get lots of places, and suddenly it's no longer as reliable, and I am starting to covet my neighbor's Hyundai.

RIP, perl.

UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms

This is my handle

Meanwhile on our side of the puddle...

... we still don't even have an NHS.

We leave sick old folks to die in "nursing homes", as soon as their bank accounts have been liquidated by said homes.

The way nature intended.

'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

This is my handle

The coinage I love to hate ....

... from US business English is: "incent: To motivate; derived from incentivize." No, it does not mean to make someone angry (incensed), although it had that effect on me when I first started hearing it a dozen years or so ago. I'm almost over it now.

Oracle staff report big layoffs across Solaris, SPARC teams

This is my handle

Re: Do Oracle fans exist?

There's actually something called https://www.enterprisedb.com/ which provides an Oracle (the flagship dB, not the company :-)) compatibility layer between the application and it's data. I've only played with it, but the idea is that you could build your app on free postgreSQL, limiting yourself to only the features also supported by the big O, and if / when you need to "upgrade" you migrate your data and your good to go. I'm surprised by how little uptake / attention this seems to get. I doubt that many user orgs actually get to the migration phase, which may be the point of it.

As for the old Sun product line, I have found memories of Solaris / SPARC / Java and the rest of their product line. It was great to be one of their customers. Somewhat less so for Oracle I'm afraid.

Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

This is my handle

Re: Only the best will do

Quite right. I know at least one guy that won the popular vote only to lose the electoral college, largely IMHO, because he was a terrible liar. This despite a successful career as US Senator, author, environmentalist, and the guy who invented the Internet!

Contain(er) your enthusiasm, nerds: Docker-backed OCI runtime spec hits 1.0

This is my handle

Deja vu all over again

Remember when Sun Microssystems first rolled out Tomcat (er, uh, Catalina), as a "reference implementation" or a wheel they expected others to reinvent? Remember how since it was plenty good enough for it's time, most of us just used Tomcat?

Same thing here. Docker completely owns the container space, so there's will be the reference implementation for the spec.

CMD.EXE gets first makeover in 20 years in new Windows 10 build

This is my handle

Re: Resizeable

This works on Windows 10! Also, you can cut & paste without half-dozen clicks (highlight; <Ctrl>-<Ins> ; move cursor; <Shift>-<Ins>). What doesn't work is <Ctrl>-<Mouse-Wheel-{UP,DOWN}> to adjust the font-size for old, tired eyes. For that, you still need cygwin. :-(.

Wallet-snatch hack: ApplePay 'vulnerable to attack', claim researchers

This is my handle

Re: Not really a weakness in ApplePay

I wonder where the 2nd link *really* goes? :-)

Chess champ Kasparov, for one, welcomes our new robot overlords

This is my handle

I would guess that Mr. Kasparov is not only better than I at chess

... but also at math; he being a Russian, me being a Yank and all but um....

“Twenty years from now our children will look at us driving cars and be baffled,” he said. “Look at the death rates from driving. Now, when a computer driver makes a mistake it’s big news, but look at how many die on the roads due to human drivers.”

While I do think self-crashing cars are inevitable, given the infinitesimal number of them currently on the roads, the fact that they're already making (sometimes fatal) mistakes does leave the impression that we're off to a rather bad start with them.

Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C

This is my handle

Re: anything but python

>> What's your point? There is Java [1], Java 2, Java 3, ..., Java 8; C++ 3, C++ 11, C++ 14, C++ 17.

Yes, but by & large they have backward compatibility. At least java does. I haven't touched C++ in years but as has been amply pointed out in this thread (I'm paraphrasing a bit) "You can write K&R C in any language" (including C++ last time I checked) at least with a few gcc flags and ignoring the warnings; . This is *not* true of Python (or for that matter, my own favorite scripting langauge perl, though in fairness I'm guessing that the vast majority of all perl ever run in production anywhere was perl 5.x).

My $0.02.

Jesus walks away after 7,000lb pipe van incident

This is my handle

Re: Jesus!

I hope he at least had a sense of humor about it, unlike the sophomore in my 11th grade Spanish class "Ginger Rail". I may have misspelled her last name, but pronunciation wise it was ... you got it: just like Schweppes.

The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

This is my handle

Re: Hmm

Then what's the point? If self-crashing mode requires the driver to be able to take control at any point, then why pay the big bucks for it?

I don't even like cruise control for this very reason: Some fool pulls out in into the left lane (typically without signalling a lane change -- I digress) doing five under the limit when I'm doing five over, and the brake disengages the bloody thing.

I don't see the point.

When 'Saving The Internet' means 'Saving Crony Capitalism'

This is my handle

OMG! Could it be any slower???!!

You mean the internet is supposed to be even slower today than yesterday!??? I was WFH yesterday in Chicago and every single time I hit a URL for the first time I initially got a DNS failure, followed a second or so later by resolution. Please tell me El Reg is on vacation in Singapore or somewhere the date is the 13th, and the *Day of slowness* (which I am actually just hearing of!) happened YESTERDAY!

Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it's just Microsoft 365. Word

This is my handle

Re: Leap years

You mean March 0th, or at least that's what the old APL programming language called it (or was it PL/1?). :-)

The life and times of Surface, Microsoft's odds-defying fondleslab

This is my handle

Of course everyone hates the Metro interface!

I was making a living in IT for at least five years before anyone ever made a pointing device part of my standard hardware setup, so .... I'm pretty comfortable with a keyboard.

Apple, MS & others have been shoving pointing devices & GUI's down my throat for so long that I've finally gotten to *like* them! Then along comes the phone and the tablet and "gestures" which originally just caused browsers to scroll oddly if I was too far right on the touch pad ... (better stick to that keyboard after all) and you know what?: I got used to them too! In the meantime, they brought multi-tasking to the masses by introducing the notion of windowed interfaces which could be minimized, and brought up side by side on the same screen, and...

Then Windows 8 comes along trying to capitalize on the fact that the Apple juggernaut had two completely different interfaces (iOS & MacOS X) even as they were rapidly converging their hardware offerings. Unfortunately, by trying to be all things to all folks (<Alt>-C & start typing! OR touch the far right side of your screen, OR...) they failed everyone. (Metro of course puts paid to the whole multi-tasking as multi-windowing paradigm as well of course).

That said, my Win 8 notebook (never upgraded to .1 but configured to be desktop-centric: I literally never see the Metro interface) is starting to flake out, and rather than get a Win 10 replacement I bought my first Mac Book Pro. It's got a decent bash shell, a nice responsive UI, .... what's not to like (other than Safari, but it served to download Chrome & Firefox quite well)!?

Now, if only it had a touchscreen....

This is my handle

Re: Lovely hardware...

With java of course, since it was originally meant to run on toasters...

May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

This is my handle

Surprised by the enthusiasm of fellow Trekkers ...

... for what I always call Deep Sh*t Nine, .... they don't "Boldly go ... " anywhere. It kind of ruined it for me. Also, they have money. Both Kirk & Picard pontificate often about the nastiness of societies where money makes the world go 'round, even as Riker goes off to play poker and Paramount kept milking the cash cow that ST became. DS9 might have been a very nice series on it's own but it's a black sheep of the ST family, IMHO.

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

This is my handle


> The USA grew into a surveillance state under Obama, ...

As you mention yourself, W. and the neocons did this. The wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, the "Patriot" bill, the whole nine yards. Has it gotten worse? Yes, gradually and over time, but I stopped flying "for pleasure" well before 2008, since it just wasn't pleasurable anymore. Now I only fly for work, and only when absolutely impractical to do otherwise. "Sorry boss, to save 3 hrs of humiliation by the TSA goons, I'm driving to NY so I'll need an extra day and lodging on either side of the trip -- oh, and I'll being taking Friday's meeting from the car...."

Your argument is equivalent to blaming Truman for our involvement in WWII.

FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

This is my handle
Thumb Up


Finally Comey is gone; I"ve been waiting since at least November. Finally someone invoked the Don's favorite "Your fired!" meme in all the media hysteria surrounding this unsurprising event. Hopefully the Russians will run this bloody country better than we have.

Java? Nah, I do JavaScript, man. Wise up, hipster, to the money

This is my handle

Re: Crippled C++

If you check the tiobe index I think you'll find that java peaked in 2004, a good four years before any of us ever heard of Android. My own experience (wrote C in 1984, started switching to java in '96, switched completely in 2000) confirms this, YMMV.

Lost in the religious wars here is the number of programming concepts java "democratized" (dumbed down if you're a cynic): multi-threading & concurrency, object-orientation, safer memory-indirection, inter-process communication & networking, design patterns, embedded documentation [javadocs], generated unit-tests [junit]). I for one never really adopted C++ because it was easier to write structs & functions than learn about classes & methods; Java did provide those options. With this all built-in to a cross-platform language (no #ifdef LINUX in java), not to mention runtime memory management, boundary-checking and the like, there are of course associated costs. Nothing is free(). :-)

The language is nothing if not resilient, having morphed from Oak's set-top language, thru webtone "java-stations", thru the darling of the WWW, then the place we put business logic when we abandoned client-server, now REST services and [Android] mobile apps.

If I had it to do over, I don't think I'd have abandoned java for PHP or Ruby or ... whatever the next fad may be.

My $0.02.

Microsoft ❤️ Linux? Microsoft ❤️ running its Windows' SQL Server software on Linux

This is my handle

Re: Target audience?

I was the loan Sybase DBA / developer for a 23 / 6 trading firm for a good half-dozen years or so. Until ASE 15. At that point I realized their product roadmap had gone so far in the wrong direction that they were destined to have their marketshare sink to where the mindshare was (nowhere). They were making themselves more like Oracle than like MS. Sybase always provided decent performance and great reliability straight out of the box, with low licensing and very low admin costs relative to Oracle, which always seem to need two DBA's, a SysAdmin, and a storage guy just to install it; MS was the opposite; I know MS shops that don't even have a full-time DBA on speed-dial; not saying it's a good thing, but there you have it. Further, since about SQL-Server 2005 MS started introducing cutting edge features way ahead of Sybase. I'd have switched to MS long ago if only it ran on an enterprise grade OS. Like Linux.

US citizens crash Canadian immigration site after Trump victory

This is my handle

Re: Wall Building

Sorry, but we're dead broke. And The Donald's projected to send the deficit thru the roof. Once upon a time there were "tax & spend" Democrats & "fiscally conservative" Republicans. The Dems have remained pretty much the same, but Republicans since the Reagan era (inclusive; W's dad was the famous exception, and got the boot for it) have pretty much been "spend and don't tax".

Hitler's wife's lovely lilac knickers fetch £2,900 at auction

This is my handle

Where's the tech connection?

That is all.

Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

This is my handle

Re: Windows8.2=10 is a fraud and a scam!

It's been a while but I am positive I've replaced mainboards (and hard-drives and ...) without buying a new Windows license. I mean, why should I? I am running the same O/S. If anything I should get a rebate since the need for more horsepower is typically because of the way Windows slows down after installing any actually software, particularly if the software was not published in Redmond.

Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

This is my handle

Who's widely loathed again?

"... Microsoft's acquisition of widely-loathed social network LinkedIn?".

I hadn't realized LI was "widely-loathed", though I know MS certainly has its share of detractors. I've been on LI for about a dozen years and have found it a useful resource for recruiting, job-hunting, and other professional "networking" purposes. They have made some bone-head moves to be sure, like trying to turn the email-like "Messages" button into something more like chat, and ending up with something having the disadvantages of both. Sending me an email saying "Why pay those nasty ole recruiters when you could upgrade to our Recruiter Lite Premium...." when their best customers are ... recruiters and in fact I had already evaluated the upgrade and found it not nearly as useful as a decent recruiter. And of course the data breaches...

But when it comes to privacy & social networking is "If there's info you don't want made public, don't make it public" (by posting it to a social networking site). If you take naked selfies on a device which backs itself up to "the cloud", you shouldn't be shocked when your selfies are ... well, in the cloud.

MS too has been useful to me these last thirty years; there are things they've done right, but as for products they've acquired (Viso, Skype, all Nokia products...) they've nearly all been made worse by their new corporate overlords; the one exception which comes to mind is the corner case (not really acquired) of SQL Server which outgrew its Sybase roots a decade or so ago.

I fear LI will be the lesser for this transaction; any suggested alternatives?

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

This is my handle

Re: A question

> or compete on features (at which point PCs and Macs are about on parity for a given price point).

I hear this all the time from Apple users, and have always been skeptical, at least for US pricing. "One 3rd the number of mouse buttons, 3 times the price" is what I've always said.

I'm eating my words though; parity is near. The local BestBuy offers the machine below for $1K US before taxes: Apple - MacBook Air® (Latest Model) - 13.3" Display - Intel Core i5 - 4GB Memory - 128GB Flash Storage - Silver. Comparable WinDoze machines vary from $800 - $1,400 depending on whether or not you want "touch", or will reformat the Win10 drive w/ Ubuntu, LOL.

Russian billionaire: GET me the ALIENS ON THE PHONE. Do it NOW

This is my handle

I have always subscribed to the theory ...

... more advanced => less violent, but of course we have no guarantee of that.

I'm reminded of the Twilight Zone episode where aliens land and give us puny Earthlings N days to shape up. The Cold War powers that be end the wars, start solving problems like hunger & ignorance, etc. The aliens return and make it clear that they are a warrior species, and we have confirmed their worst fears about us. Bwaaahhaaa (evil laugh).

Americans find fantastic new use for drones – interfering with firefighting

This is my handle


Once the civillians follow the Guv'ment lead and start weaponizing these things, the gun lobby will make them nearly impossible to regulate in any way. Scary situation.

Common brain parasite 'can affect host's actions'

This is my handle

Well, we've got one of each ....

... and a parakeet to boot; it keeps the kids happy.

But when I walk the dog, I pick up after her. The cat is a house cat. In fact, her lack of front claws (yes, I know, how cruel!) kind of requires that we keep her in for her own safety.

I would no more let her crap in the neighbor's garden then I'd let my dog allow one in to crap in ours. As to why anyone would keep a cat (who showed up before the other two) I can only speak for us but I'll give two reasons: 1) She needed a home (feral kitten), and 2) We have a fair number of mice in the yard. AFAIK, the difference between a field mouse and a house mouse is strictly a matter of residence. Oh and field mouse: cute; house mouse: not so cute. The mice haven't been clued in about the cat's lack of claws of course, her litter box smells the same.

How Jobs bent reality with LSD, Apple hype

This is my handle

Ummmm, Stravinsky (apologies to Homer Simson)

I once saw "The RIte Of Spring" exquisitely danced to the choreography of Ballanchine. Neither of them actually danced of course. It was a double-bill in fact w/ L'Apres-midi d'une faune.

Oddly, no one sued, or threatened to sue anyone near as I can tell.

"Standing on the shoulders of Giants", indeed.

OPERA review serves up a feast for physics geeks

This is my handle

Joke icon missing....

... despite being well-deserved!

Sutter: C++11 kicks old-school coding into 21st century

This is my handle

Not a full-time java guy myself...

... but I have been writing code in it since JDK 1.1 or thereabouts and I think GC actually can be an issue. It's gotten much, much better over time, but if you can't afford to have an application arbitrarily running a bunch of free()'s when it's least desirable you'd better stick w/ C or C++.

OTOH, as has been said, a java programmer of skill level X can get the job done in a third the time it will take an X-level C++ programmer, which leaves lots of time for performance tuning, refactoring, porting small critical parts of your app to C++, etc.

Dennis Ritchie: The C man who booted Unix

This is my handle
Thumb Up

Yes, but ....

It's true enough that FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, and others pre-dated C, but C was different precisely because of the other exception (NO PUN:) taken to this very nice article: C is not quite a high-level language (HLL), but sort of straddles the ASM / HLL border. That's the good news -- and the bad. In the right hands it is a thing of beauty (which could be set of Unix as well). As a guy who taught the C class I once took (not at Uni; courtesy of an employer) : "It compiles itself." What he meant of course, is it's the sort of language you could easily write a compiler in. I wouldn't want to try that in any of the HLLs which preceded it, or those which came later. In fact, with a little help from the lex & yacc descendants, you almost wouldn't want to write a compiler in anything else.

Stallman: Jobs exerted 'malign influence' on computing

This is my handle

Point taken, but...

"But not one in 100 of you would consider buying a car you had to service or repair yourself, a car that needed virtually daily service,..."

Have you driven a Ford lately?

This is my handle


I'll take perl documentation over power-shell's any day. MySQL's over Sybase's or Oracle's flagship db too. Do a "man ps" in Linux and comare it to "help tasklist" in the MS command shell. (Don't even get me started on the futility of clicking "Help .... (anything other than About)" in nearly all Windows products; I couldn't figure out how to get much helpful Help the few times I've used Apple products either; their approach seems to be like the pricing of their products at the Apple store: if you have to ask, you shouldn't be there.

It is really discouraging though how quickly these flame wars degenerate into ad hominem hissy fits. Jobs was an innovator, I don't see that as a debatable issue, frankly. Also a capitalist. His company has been anti-competitive at times and (as you can conclude from the above), I'm not fond of their products, personally, but that would not cause me to "speak ill of the dead" as so many seem to feel compelled to do. Stallman, OTOH, is very much alive. He's obsessive, and narrow-minded, and doesn't seem like the kind of guy you'd want to go have a pint with. Still, his contribution to Open Source Software cannot be denied.

"Can't we all just get along?"

Windows 7 overtakes XP - finally

This is my handle

But when will MS finall produce an OS as good as Windows 2000?!

That is all.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019