* Posts by keithpeter

1276 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007

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The Italian Jobs: Bloke thrown in the cooler for touting Apple knockoffs

keithpeter
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Re: Not really victimless

@cb7

Agreed, but has any news org managed to find one of the fakes and give it a test/strip down?

Can't have IoS or Apple firmware in it I'm presuming or there would be piracy on the charge sheet as well as fraud.

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Ubuntu Linux now on Windows Store (for Insiders)

keithpeter
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Trollface

Just think the unthinkable for a bit...

Suppose you had a proprietary operating system that was decades old and which has accumulated a fair degree of technical debt. You are finding it hard to recruit programmers and onboard them in the arcane knowledge of millions of lines of code and obscure work-arounds for problems that existed in the 90s. Part of the reason for these difficulties is the availability of a robust free/open source operating system (in fact several) that students in Universities often learn in some detail in their systems and hardware courses, *and* that many of your potential recruits have worked on extended projects deep in the grungy legacy bowels of these systems, because they can get access to the code.

Times are hard: the market is saturating, and the free/open source OSes are well entrenched in the server market and on some classes of consumer devices. All you have left is the network effect of organisations that depend on your proprietary *middleware* and very successful end user productivity software. Increasingly, you want to move maintenance and routine systems work to low cost countries in preparation to the ultimate automation of the basics.

Would you not be tempted to eliminate the maintenance cost of the underlying OS by ensuring that the middleware and productivity software could run on a 'good-enough' endpoint/client OS based on the free/open source alternatives?

Would a way of exploring this radical move be to coopt free/open source OSes into your cloud offerings and in your software distribution channels so that users become more familiar with the endpoint/client interfaces, and so that your programmers and systems people become familiar with the new metaphors?

Might be one to watch over the next decade. Canonical is after investment as evidenced by their recent streamlining. Mr Nadella was a UNIX kind of chap was he not?

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Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

keithpeter
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Re: Market research

"The dev has to sit beside the secretary first, before any dev work commences and watch what she does, and ask her why she is doing it that way."

I recollect that one of Englebart's researchers actually did sit with book editors to gather requirements for supporting their work. One result was the I beam cursor *between* letters instead of the block cursor *on* a letter. I suspect that windows and 'full screen editing' was in there as well.

My GoogleFu is rusty and I'm having problems finding references.

Coat: blue pencil in the pocket

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TfL, WTH is my bus? London looks up from its mobile

keithpeter
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Re: There, there children. Sorry your pacifier is b0rken.

@Just Enough: Shadow of the old tree falling on the fourth kerb stone beyond the parish boundary and Summer? Must be 2pm ish.

All: I recommend The Maintenance of Headway by Magnus Mills to anyone who can remember when it was possible to run and jump onto the platform of the last bus as it left the station...

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One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail

keithpeter
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Re: 257%

@JimC and all

What we want is a Venn diagram or similar showing the percentages of projects that where judged to have failed for various combinations of factors.

A similar diagram showing the percentages of projects that were judged to have succeeded despite various combinations of the factors would be of interest as well. Might be interestingly similar to the first diagram.

Off out to Lidl for croissants

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Photobucket says photo-f**k-it, starts off-site image shakedown

keithpeter
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Re: Lolwut

"So a post from 2002 will say some shit about Photobucket 3rd party linking. You're seriously suggesting anyone gives a shit... even a post from a week ago is old news"

It is that long-tail thing again isn't it? 99% of posts have a shelf-life of minutes to days, and 99% of interweb fora are instantly forgettable. But there are some special interest fora with considerable history, and within those, there are some threads that have lasted for a long span of time and that contain much useful information. Those will be significantly degraded.

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Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows

keithpeter
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Re: Modified distro

Currently the NHSbuntu proof of concept .iso appears to be a more or less standard Ubuntu 16.04 live image with some nice theming in 'classic' mode. Screen shot below from within a live session

http://sohcahtoa.org.uk/nhs2.jpg

Note use of MS Office-like icons for LibreOffice and standard Ubuntu repositories. Can't use ssh at present (keyring?) but apart from that looks bog standard. Now if someone could convince the Gnome project to just allow the top bar to be the bottom bar in classic mode...

I take the point that a real system is going to need custom software and then that implies maintenance. I hope this initiative gets gradual acceptance with a careful roll-out to appropriate client machines.

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Heaps of Windows 10 internal builds, private source code leak online

keithpeter
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Re: About time..

@Kiwi

"Wonder if this was deliberate. Rather than pay a team of programmers to hunt for bugs, open-source it and wait for the exploits."

I was thinking more of a leak to cover tracks... any future major hacks/exploits that were secret - perhaps even sponsored by certain actors - can now be tracked back to this code release. Very convenient.

Or possibly a canary: someone inside saying "read this and discover, we can tell you because they would know who we are then"

Icon: we've had a couple overhead for hours

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Tesco Online IT meltdown: Fails to deliver THOUSANDS of grocery orders

keithpeter
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Re: It may be related.

Excellent team work there, so in addition to upvote, see icon.

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IBM's contractor crackdown continues: Survivors refusing pay cut have hours reduced

keithpeter
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Re: “be forced to reduce their CLAIMED hours by 15 per cent.”

What is IBM actually providing? Access to software? Access to servers? What is to stop people dis-intermediating the big blue fairly aggressively and at scale?

Coat: actually shorts and flip flops at present in UK

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Debian devs dedicate new version 9 to the late Ian Murdock

keithpeter
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Linux

Slackware and Debian

Interesting to reflect on the contrasts between the two oldest surviving Linux distributions.

Debian: tightly coupled dependency graph, heavy repackaging/patching of upstream applications, large developer community big on ideology

Slackware: one man plus a small number of major contributors, no dependency graph to speak of but you can install package managers, what-you-get-is-what-upstream-push-out, pragmatic approach

Interesting to see what the next 20 years will bring.

PS:Ian Murdoch - was reading some interesting stuff on his blog when the news came through, horrible business.

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Trump nominates a pro-net-neutrality advocate as FCC commish

keithpeter
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Coalitions

"Trump is a Republican. The Republicans have majorities in both houses.

How can bills and even a budget still not get passed?"

@John Smith 19

I imagine for the same reason that the Conservative party always has problems about Europe. Both parties are really coalitions of people with diverse and sometimes contradictory views on policy. The Labour party is also a coalition but the cogwheels and pulleys are easier to see.

As a Brit, I found Robert Caro's The Power Broker a very useful guide to how stuff works in the US, specifically New York's planning processes. Views from actual US citizens welcome.

Coat: off out now, not my circus and not my monkeys.

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It's 2017 and Microsoft is still patching Windows XP+ – to plug holes exploited by trio of leaked NSA weapons

keithpeter
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Re: XP

@TechnicalBen

Perhaps some AC might pop up and give us some hypothetical examples of possible enterprise configurations, purely for academic discussion.

PS: signeage seems a hold-out judging by the error screens I see now and again...

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Ta-ta, security: Bungling Tata devs leaked banks' code on public GitHub repo, says IT bloke

keithpeter
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Re: Geezer's blog posts

"No. Not sure why he has a problem with it."

@AC: I suspected that would be the answer.

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keithpeter
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Re: Geezer's blog posts

Yup, the lad with the iPad and the chip'n'pin thingy. He always points out that I can get identical services from home. I always point out that by coming in and queuing up and accessing the system via a member of bank staff, the liability for any subsequent security issues is clear.

Coat: annual gas check done, off out to dodge the smart meter salesman

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keithpeter
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Geezer's blog posts

http://coulls.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/how-do-you-fix-mobile-banking-in-canada.html

Is it true that having urls embedded in the code of the application but not obfuscated in any way is really a major security issue? I'm guessing the queries sent to the server side of the application constitute the threat.

Icon: Clueless end user who does not make use of any form of online banking out of a natural tendency to prefer face2face transactions.

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BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

keithpeter
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Re: State of IT

"I've worked in IT for nearly 30 years and have seen the gradual dumbing down of IT, some in part due to technology changes, others due to offshoring."

@Jaded Geek and all

Disclaimer: I'm an end user

Could the increased demand for 'live' and 'real time' data be a factor as well It strikes me that results in the layering of systems to considerable depth and possibly unknown spread Again as you say later in your post, the dependency graph for a restart becomes very complex and may not be known/documented. The graph could even be cyclic (so System A version 9.3 expects System B 3.7 to be running, but System B 3.8 has been installed that depends on System A 9.3)

Coat: not my mess so out for a walk

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Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land

keithpeter
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Distro not DE

"Even if you give Canonical the benefit of the doubt - that it will continue working on desktop Ubuntu - at the very least, desktop Ubuntu's future looks uncertain."

Er - no not uncertain.

Has not the Stubbled One said that Ubuntu will ship with Gnome by default as Ubuntu used to before the Unity excursion? Said excursion into potential new markets the wisdom of which I am not competent to evaluate.

All the other DEs will be in the repos. Strange article seemed to confuse distro with DE.

Coat: Mine's the one with the 5.04 dual CD-ROM in the pocket

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keithpeter
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Re: "ahead of the curve on some somewhat esoteric [...] for example color management"

@LDS

"While working on a catalog software for a museum years ago, I worked with people with an astounding capability of discerning colors - and if they didn't seen on the screen or prints the "correct" ones, the software wasn't working."

So colourimeter and Eizo or NEC monitor for photo? Or Pantone for spot? I imagine former.

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keithpeter
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@gv

OpenBSD seems OK on laptops (especially Thinkpads). A little spartan but functional.

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Capita and Birmingham City Council 'dissolve' joint venture

keithpeter
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Sun Java Desktop in Central Library

Talk of partying like it is 1999 (and we had some good parties then) does anyone else remember the Sun Linux based client computers in Birmingham Central Library? Circa millennium or a little after. Netscape 4 and StarOffice and I think it was a Gnome desktop.

I asked the library assistant how people coped with these and she said "the younger ones just sort it and the older ones need help whatever system it is".

Coat: off out now to admire the view from the top of our new and hugely expensive Central Library as I heard a rumour that the Shakespeare Room is actually open today.

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240075813/Birmingham-trials-Linux-in-40-libraries

Above is a later experiment. Perhaps we can have another try as email is Zimbra?

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Bankrupt school ITT pleads 'don't let Microsoft wipe our cloud data!'

keithpeter
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Re: Once you send your data to the cloud

"I see this as like renting an apartment."

Eviction for non-payment of rent does not mean the landlord owns the possessions of the tenant, at least in the UK.

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/eviction/what_happens_when_bailiffs_evict_tenants

So I guess your analogy fails to fit exactly at the crucial point of what happens to the data. I guess you can't put it in plastic bags and leave it on the step.

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keithpeter
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Re: Don't forget the fees.

Preservation fee is roughly 12x the outstanding rental payment. Is 2.5 x 10^6 dollars reasonable for a data dump? If so, should cloud agreements not have a 'data escrow' clause?

Disclaimer: clueless end user just wondering...

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European Patent Office dragged to human rights court – by its own staff

keithpeter
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Re: On a practical level

Quote from OA

"The situation has grown so bad that the ILO's management felt obliged to warn its governing body earlier this year that the backlog of complaints it had against the EPO was impairing its ability to function. No less than 73 per cent of the hundreds of cases it was reviewing resulted from EPO actions."

I thought that as well. Any situation where a relatively tiny organisation is causing a bottle neck in an important international conflict resolution org needs sorting out.

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Linux homes for Ubuntu Unity orphans: Minty Cinnamon, GNOME or Ubuntu, mate?

keithpeter
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Slackware default install with KDE

I personally would recommend some careful reading, experimentation on a test machine, and adoption of Slackware full install with KDE as desktop environment. This is assuming that readers of this particular forum have problem-solving abilities, a general background of IT skills, and curiosity. You can add package management, compile from source, and/or download binaries. It is remarkably difficult to break Slackware. I've tried.

What you get is what upstream pushed out. With choices, e.g. OpenOffice and LibreOffice installed and functional along with the default Calligra.

Some other observations on the OA follow...

"If you're going to use GNOME, right now, not having seen what Ubuntu is going to end up doing, I suggest trying it via Fedora."

Fedora Workstation is very nice, but the Korora Project makes it nicer with the Arc theme, a 'traditional' overlay on Gnome (Windows 7 work-alike), multimedia codecs/software installed, and a range of applications. Chapeau Linux is another 'batteries included' Fedora flavour that has less radical tweaking of the Gnome desktop.

"If you just click your way through the Debian installer you'll end up with a GNOME desktop, which offers a decent experience, but I find Xfce more suited to Debian."

Debian installer tasksel will provide a choice of desktops at the 'select software' stage. You can select more than one. Debian is also the only distro to allow offline installation of a YUGEtm range of software.

Finally OpenBSD. Just saying.

PINT: to all those involved with this outrageous, distributed, self organising, wonderful, argumentative, opinionated mud-ball of a project of totally free and unencumbered software. I clearly recollect the day I downloaded a live Ubuntu iso, burned it, and tried it out. Amazing. Thanks Mark, Pat and all.

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Secure Boot booted from Debian 9 'Stretch'

keithpeter
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Cores - Re: Most Linux distros are such flimsy OSes..

@Field Commander A9

What do you suggest people use on larger machines? Perhaps something like this...

http://www.sns.ias.edu/computing/hyperion_cluster/overview

...or the machines that run Google, Facebook and all the rest of the Interweb.

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Linux-using mates gone AWOL? Netflix just added Linux support

keithpeter
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Client?

Cheap tablet running a locked down Linux with a browser pointing at Netflix servers (branded alternative to ChromeOS)?

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O (n^2) Canada! Code bugs knacker buses, TV, broadband, phone lines

keithpeter
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"What's the O(n^2) connection?"

I was thinking combined probability of two independent events, but then that should be pq or something.

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keithpeter
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Headcount

>> "A significant number of Shaw customers across Western Canada [were] impacted," said the comms giant, which has more than two million subscribers and employs 15,000 people. <<

That is one employee for every 130-odd subscribers. Seems a tad high to me - is this a normal ratio in the telecoms business or is the headcount larger because of the distances involved?

Pint: to anyone made redundant for whatever reason

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Apache OpenOffice: Not dead yet, you'll just have to wait until mid-May for mystery security fixes

keithpeter
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Re: I admire their spunk!

"Personally I would like a healthy OO as another option against Slurp and I like LO. Having a couple of options also means there is some different ideas about the feature set and UI available."

Yup - LO are refactoring the code base - I remember them saying that earlier in the fork - quite a lot of the code goes back to StarOffice days apparently.

oOo are taking different tack and keeping quite a lot of the legacy code I gather so you have diverging back ends and, as 'lurker' says, a choice of UI models should LO do anything too ribbon like as default.

Note quite Joel Spolsky but it will be interesting to see how the code bases evolve if oOo survives.

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keithpeter
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Re: I admire their spunk!

"My stance is simple: just because a project doesn't use the same release cycle as their competitors doesn't mean it's dead. "

I hope you are right. However, having developers on the project mailing list discussing the best way to 'retire' the software is not generally taken as a sign of rude health...

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/09/openoffice-after-years-of-neglect-could-shut-down/

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keithpeter
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Re: I prefer OpenOffice

@ITS Retired

Interesting experience. oOo uses its own font rendering library and LO uses, since version 5 I think, the native library on the OS it is running on. Information about your OS and graphics driver would help pin that one down.

Concrete example: ancient Thinkpad X61s, intel graphics, intel open source driver under Slackware 14.2 with stock KDE, I could see a response difference between oOo installed from the Apache rpms on the one hand and the Alien Bob LO binaries/version built from source on the other.

Pint to all involved with both projects. I use them almost every day.

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Dark times for OmniOS – an Oracle-free open-source Solaris project

keithpeter
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Re: I never knew it existed.

"Log in as jack, and you can get a very ancient desktop (twm) using startx."

Suits me Sir, downloading now with a view to trying it out. I use xfce4 normally so quite like the idea of the Kitchen-Sink

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keithpeter
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Re: It was designed to fail

"For an enlightening history of Illumos, there is a fantastic presentation from a guy at Joyent somewhere on the 'net, who originally came from Sun. Illumos is a great OS, and I hope has a long future."

@AC

Isn't illuminos the kernel?

@All knowledgeable about Solaris

Is there a currently available illuminos based OS for trying? Had a play with Oracle Solaris 11 on a thinkpad - sort of Gnome 2/2008-ish but it has to be said most things worked.

Pint: to anyone being 'let go' as a result of this development

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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

keithpeter
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Re: More honest questions

"First, has MATE had the sense to steer clear of SystemD as a dependency?"

@steelpillow

https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/279603/using-mate-desktop-without-systemd

Above has a discussion and links to other resources including the Arch wiki and to Gentoo documentation.

http://wiki.mate-desktop.org/download

link above lists the installation instructions for a range of Linux/*BSD distributions.

It looks as if the answer to your entirely reasonable question is "it depends on which options in the .config file the packager decided to enable"

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Doctor Who-inspired proxy transmogrifies politically sensitive web to avoid gov censorship

keithpeter
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Double edged?

"Goldberg anticipates that Slitheen will be available as open source within a year."

Have I understood this correctly? Could the software be used to frame someone? e.g. making entirely innocent content have the same profile as $notallowedcontent?

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Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

keithpeter
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Re: Need more variety, not less

@Will Godfrey

Thought of using some vms? One for each task, and trash/restore once a week or so?

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keithpeter
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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

@bombastic bob

Considered Seamonkey? Still in most repos.

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keithpeter
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.asoundrc documentation - Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"(Although most people would probably be surprised at how much plumbing you can do, purely with ALSA. It's just that the .asoundrc syntax is odd, and it's not well-documented.)"

Please consider documenting what you know. Just a series of notes in a text file together with a functioning .asoundrc file would be fine.

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Canonical sharpens post-Unity axe for 80-plus Ubuntu spinners

keithpeter
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Lower numbers than expected?

The Man With The Stubble was talking about 30% to 60% cuts. Given the figure of 700 people, that translates by my arithmetic to 210 to 420 jobs gone. So numbers look lower than expected at the moment. I can also relate to the need to comply with different laws in different territories and I think that Canonical did a daring thing in having a really distributed workforce.

PS: I recollect, in a previous century, standing with a union branch official, on the steps of the college I was then teaching in, greeting staff as they came into work in the morning with names read off a fax of those who were being made redundant. Shit times - not even the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia can smooth over that one.

Pint: for all those seeking alternative employment. I'm assuming a really sharp skill set and a short holiday all.

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Mark Shuttleworth says some free software folk are 'deeply anti-social' and 'love to hate'

keithpeter
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Re: Always certain of a deeper purpose

"Anyone else suspect a "new improved" Canonical very soon with closed source parts and perhaps paid software?"

You can already buy support from Canonical for servers, and, I believe, the administration of large numbers of desktop systems. They make administration systems for large virtualised deployments.

Canonical may 'do a Red Hat' in the future and continue to provide source code under the GPL and charge a subscription for the binary distro and for the other tools. Might be tricky as Ubuntu is built on top of Debian unstable (at least I believe that the Debian Unstable packages are exported and used as a basis for the next Ubuntu release after much bug fixing and patching).

I'm not so sure about closed source/proprietary software but we shall see.

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keithpeter
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Money

I gather that the decision to make between 240 and 480 people redundant was driven by the need to make Canonical attractive to (other) investors. Mr Shuttleworth has explained that, as part of that process, he decided to axe the mobile phone project. Hence, as others have explained, no need for Mir.

All the 'community' arguments don't trump the need for cold hard cash (aka working capital). Seems to work for Red Hat.

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Eric S. Raymond says you probably fit one of eight tech archetypes

keithpeter
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Or Belbin - Re: Myers Briggs?

http://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles/

Perhaps worth trying to map esr's 'archetypes' (a bit Jungian for this time in the morning thanks) to Belbin's team roles?

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Ubuntu UNITY is GNOME-MORE: 'One Linux' dream of phone, slab, desktop UI axed

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: one down, one to go..

@picturethis

"First there is one more item that has to go: that Pottering Piece of stinking Excrement called systemd. Only when that has been accomplished, will I start using and/or recommending any Ubuntu variant again."

You'll be waiting some time then as Ubuntu is based on Debian Unstable (Sid). They then freeze the packages and do their Ubuntu things to them.

Slackware runs a MATE desktop just fine. There are others.

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keithpeter
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History and all

@thames

Thanks for a good outline of the history - I think that I remember a spat about notification libraries as being one of the reasons for the decision to build Unity as an alternative shell as well as concerns around basic usability.

In addition to Cinnamon, there are a couple of other UIs that provide an alternative to Gnome Shell. The Chinese distribution Deepin Linux and the modifications that Trisquel used to make to Gnome spring to mind. I think Trisquel is moving its UI away from Gnome now. Deepin provide source for their UI and Arch users have in the past succeeded in packaging the code.

It is worth mentioning that Canonical Design actually carried out and published the results of usability studies, albeit with basic tasks and subjects new to Ubuntu. There appears to be very little usability research published for gnome shell that I can find; some work was carried out by an intern one summer. If anyone has references, I'd love to see them.

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keithpeter
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Mir -> Wayland then?

I'm assuming that the adoption of Gnome as the default desktop for Ubuntu 18.04 will entail use of the wayland graphical server/compositor in place of Mir?

Perhaps a concentration of available developer effort on something that works well might be for the best.

Coat: mine won't have an Ubuntu phone in...

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IBM to UK staff: Get ready for another game of musical chairs

keithpeter
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Re: So, which is it?

"unless you're talking about the public sector."

What percentage of your tax do you want me spending on redundancy payments and recruitment charges?

As a planning benchmark, annual churn is around 9% in UK public sector, so around 45000 'new' teachers and roughly 85000 'new' nurses per year (I suspect that 'new' may include return after family break to some extent). From my PHB days (decade ago) it cost around £1400 to advertise/interview/recruit and very occasionally another £5000 or so supply/agency staff costs, the latter payable when a teacher left suddenly.

We currently have a severe shortage of teachers (many leaving profession a year or two after completing training due to workload), and a significant drop in nurses in training (loss of bursary), so actual churn currently much higher than planned.

IBM employees are caught up in a large corporation changing its business model and they have my sympathy but corporations can do that. Can't send children home too often and can't close (too many) hospitals before people start voting you out mate.

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Automated, insight cannot be: Jedi master of statistics was good – but beware the daft side

keithpeter
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Windows

Nice article

Wondering what OA with her industry experience thinks of Edward Tufte's approaches to presentation? I take the points about underlying data quality well.

https://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/

One anecdote: pass rates in exams. Cohort of 100, pass rate 80%, confidence interval approx +- 2sqrt(0.8*0.2/100) which gives 4% either way or an 8% range. So often have I been plunged into emergency action because the *pass rate has dropped* by 2% (i.e. two effing people)! Noise driving management action is *so* much fun.

(a trend over years would be a whole other thing of course)

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Talk of tech innovation is bullsh*t. Shut up and get the work done – says Linus Torvalds

keithpeter
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Re: even the 2 month cycle is ridiculous

Uname -a tells me that I have 2.6.32-504.el6.i686 running at present on my old Thinkpad X61s (Stella Linux, a Centos 6 'remix). Hardware vintage matches well with kernel. Newer hardware not so much. Plus Centos/Redhat backport certain fixes to their stable kernels.

If it works for you, then go with it! The freedom of OS.

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Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia

keithpeter
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3120

Nokia 3120 (the original small silver S40(?) phone with the colour display, not the later 3120 classic) was the employer-issued phone I used a lot when I had to do deals/negotiations. Twas on an Orange business contract I recollect. Plenty of money/business went through that phone. Never managed to get hold of a data cable alas for calendar sync.

Still works fine, has a t-mobile vintage payg sim in it and is used for emergencies at home.

31 day battery life sounds interesting so may look at the retro offering.

Coat: mine's the one with that very small phone pocked sown into the lining...

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