* Posts by rnturn

85 posts • joined 14 Mar 2014


Raspberry Pi Foundation says its final farewells to 40nm with release of Compute Module 3+


Heh heh... reminds me...

...of the staff meeting (many years ago) when the director made the announcement that "from now on, nobody will use DB25 connectors for external power supply connectors". Apparently someone had plugged their weird external PS cable into the serial ports on a piece of custom data collection hardware toasting a bunch of chips in the process.

IBM HR made me lie to US govt, says axed VP in age-discrim legal row: I was ordered to cover up layoffs of older workers


Re: Some companies don't even pretend ....

We've all likely seen that bit of verbiage in job adverts before. Notice what "class" it doesn't mention?

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit


How many people predicted...

... something like this was going to happen when SystemD was shoved down Linux users' throats? This what you expect to eventually happen when you ignore the rule of doing one thing and doing it well. Sure... "doing it well" is in the eye of the beholder but going to "one thing that does everything" was bound to eventually fail.

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible


Re: Bah

It may have a crummy keyboard so I wouldn't buy one but I sure am lusting over one of those monitor setups in that last photo.

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate


Re: Oregon is not a different planet

Intel and Tektronix have large facilities in Oregon. I wonder: Do their employees get hassled by the state?


Everyone's an engineer now!

I recently saw a job advert for an "Application Support Engineer". Upon reading the details of the job it was obvious that the company was looking for nothing more than a glorified help desk grunt. But someone in management thought that adding "Engineer" to the job title will add just enough esteem to the job that the new hire will stay for a while. (Thankless job, that. At one employer we had a new help desk hire not come back after lunch on his first day.) Gawd help the poor sap if s/he lives in a state with an overly aggressive professional licensing board, though.

Home users due for a battering with Microsoft 365 subscription stick


Re: Never guessed...

Same here. Well, almost: different Linux flavors. My last Wintel box was converted to Linux some years ago after WinXP decided to scribble on itself one time too many and I decided I didn't want to invest any more time keeping it alive. By then I was only using it for a couple of games that I decided I could live without. Haven't missed it. If I need a Windows fix, I can get that at the office where keeping it up and running is someone else's responsibility.

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas


Terrorist threat?

So the Australian government thinks that by passing a law in a hurry that the tech industry will have backdoors ready for use in time for a suspected Christmas terrorist attack? Glorisky... I thought we had stupid politicians here in the US.

Influential Valley gadfly and Intel 8051 architect John Wharton has died


Re: 8051

And the similarities of both of those to RT-11.

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads


Re: I haven't done the math but...

Argh... s/iPod/iPad/


I haven't done the math but...

... it sure seems obvious to me that the total sales of the non-Apple vendor columns to the right of the iPod column far outstrip those iPod sales. This little scam ought to be pointed out in the updated edition of "How To Lie With Statistics".

Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more


Re: delete malware

Lennart and company won't be happy until Linux is saddled with its own version of Patch Tuesday featuring Systemd security fixes. It won't suffice to turn off security-plagued services if Systemd has insinuated itself onto your systems. I'm already using Slackware on several systems and considering switching others to that or to Devuan to avoid this fiasco.

Your pal in IT quits. Her last words: 'Converged infrastructure...' What does it all mean? We think we can explain


Re: I think I get it now

> 1) Make sure technical network expertise gets rare by making training more expensive

That process started years ago when products began shipping without manuals, especially the "programmer's" manual. No manual? No problem. The vendor offers expensive (not just for the class but also requiring travel to some of the highest cost-of-living cities in the country), week-long (try convincing the boss you'll be out-of-town for a week) classes to cover a small fraction of the material that could have been covered in a well-written piece of documentation. It's a racket.

Spies still super upset they can't get at your encrypted comms data


Are they really this stupid?

> saying that they have "no interest or intention to weaken encryption mechanisms"

Having special access to encrypted data == backdoor == weakens encryption mechanism

Again, are these agencies so stupid that they believe that the means that they would have to access someone's encrypted phone/data would never--ever--make it into the wild? And that the public won't see through this lame assertion? [smh]

Just how rigged is America's broadband world? A deep dive into one US city reveals all


We're moving to (hopefully) temporary digs in a month or so and we're finding that our broadband options are going from two to one (I don't count wireless). I never want to hear another word from Idjit Pai about how wonderful the market competition is for US broadband users. In many (most?) cases, competition in the broadband market is in much the same state as it was for telephone service before the Ma Bell Consent decree... i.e., none.

IPv6: It's only NAT-ural that network nerds are dragging their feet...


My fixed addresses's physical locations are humorously mis-identified when visiting certain stores' web sites as being in as being in the south suburbs of Chicago or even in Texas. My guess is an outdated database. (I'm actually in far northern Illinois.)

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs


Re: Ah, but

C15 cassettes? Hah! Remember the Byte-Bucket?


All the engineers where I was working got dual-floppy IBM PCs---managers got an XT (mainly for the same reason they had offices to themselves and speakerphones and us engineering grunts didn't). My co-workers thought I was nuts for getting an XT-clone (Columbia) with the whopping 10MB Tandon HD. That was soon outgrown as was its 20MB replacement. My next computer had a 40MB HD---more storage than DOS could even handle w/o help. I soon got tired of buying replacement disks so when my 486 arrived, I tossed in a pair of 200MB SCSI disks. Now we don't think twice about running to the store for TB drives. For comparison, up until ~10 years ago, I managed a cluster at an F500 company's running their sales database applications that only had access to about 1.5TB. We've become the Everett Dirksons of home computing: A TB here, a TB there, and pretty soon you're talking about real disk space.

Microsoft devises new way of making you feel old: Windows NT is 25



I know it was available but it never seemed to be able to displace EXEC/EXEC2 among us FORTRAN-G/H programmers back in those days.


NT showed promise early on.

I was actually a little excited by what I'd heard and read about the guts of NT---as an old VMS hand a lot of it felt familiar. But I never had a chance to actually use it until the ill-considered decision to move the video drivers into the kernel. I had to warn users every time I needed to make a change to the network user database that was running on one of the company's NT systems---there was a better than 50/50 chance that clicking on "Save" would cause the database application to crash and bring the system down with it. Eventually, we decided that making simple changes like this could only be done after normal business hours. All that solid-as-a-rock VMS lineage wiped out by one silly decision.

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker


Walking Billboards

There's a scene towards the end of '94s documentary `Crumb' where Robert Crumb is sitting on a bench along a street shaking his head at the people proudly walking by with "BENNETON", "GAP", or some other corporate logo emblazoned across their chests. Apparently, shirts with the corporate mascot--an alligator, etc.--sewn on the pocket were just a test for the later unpaid advertising blitz that uses that "90,000" point font. How long before the logos are on the back of the shirts as well?

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep


Re: "killing off all 72 developers at once"

The computer shutdown scene in `Scanners' is always a hoot.



One of my Model Ms--plus a gaggle of adapters--is the only way I can type accurately on a Mac nowadays.


That's been done before...

Back in the '80s (when I was working at a University as a research engineer) I came in one Saturday to get some work done and couldn't get the big IBM 43xx box to respond. Figuring I'd missed an annoucement about some scheduled system patching I went home. I later found out that what had happened was that some kid had figured out he could launch another VM inside his VM. And then proceeded to run a third VM inside /that/ VM. Apparently, while creating these nested VMs, he consumed all of the available temporary disk space (what I noticed during my aborted attempt to get some work done: no temp space available). It was the third VM that did him in. The system operators--likely after /they'd/ gotten notified about the temp space being unavailable--finally figured out was was going on and kicked him off the system. His stunt got him kicked out of the honors program he had been in. No word on whether IBM offered him a job or not.

Oldest swinger in town, Slackware, notches up a quarter of a century


Slackware was one of my first Linux experiences

I installed it from the CD that was included with ``Linux Unleashed'' (V1.2 if memory serves) as a fourth boot partition on a '486 that was already running Windows, Consensys (SVR4.2), and Coherent (using Coherent's boot loader). I was building my own kernels back then (to tweak SCSI card detection order mainly) and still thought of of Linux as a "maybe" option on my computer and it remained in that category until the SMP feature got really close to exiting "experimental" status (I was planning on a dual-socket m'board upgrade). I ran Slackware for a couple of years before tiring of the aforementioned dependency hell and switch to Red Hat. Stayed with them until RH8 then switched to Suse/OpenSUSE. Recently, though, an impending hardware failure in our home network's firewall system caused me to give Slackware a try (after 20+ years) following several failed attempts to get Tumbleweed and CentOS7 to run our firewall scripts under systemd on the replacement hardware. (To be fair, I cannot blame systemd in the case of the failed CentOS attempt; it silently refused to even recognize the disks in the system at install time.) Slackware loaded quickly and in less than 90 minutes--with much of that time was waiting for md0 to initialize--I had it running the firewall scripts. Easy Peasy.

I'm not averse to building application from sources but, so far, on the couple of Slack builds I've done after that firewall project, I find that there's not much I'd have to build anyway. And, it is (I understand) possible to run Docker images on Slackware so that might turn out to be an interesting way to make new applications available.

Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle


Re: DeMarco & Lister coding wars

I've been suggesting Peopleware for years. It may not phase some open-office proponents, though. I have an old friend who travels the U.S. talking about office design and while he's read that book (or, at least, claims to have read it), he still pushes for open offices.


Re: unqualified, stupid or one of those zen starting points?

"Same with those motivational posters - sounded like a great idea during the planning stage, when all you had to look at was yellowy walls - as soon as they are up it's like being confronted with the worst sort of happy patrol dystopia."

Ah, yes... the motivational posters. My favorite: "It's dumb to be too smart." I have no idea what behavior management was trying to instill in the employees when they hung up that one. For several of us, though, it was a reminder as to where the door was.


Re: What about disturbing others?

Years ago I worked down the hall from a manager who did everything via speakerphone. Even when dialing he had the speaker on. The worst of it was that the guy had no hand/eye coordination and he'd need to dial number at least 2-3 times before he got it right. Everyone in a radius of a half dozen offices (yes. we had offices but offices with at least three engineers crammed into them) had to listen to John's attempts to dial a phone number. All. Day. Long.

Google Chrome update to label HTTP-only sites insecure within WEEKS


Experian's web site uses HTTPS...

...and how well did that work out for the N million people whose personal information was exposed? HTTPS is no panacea.

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button


Re: dhclient

Rather like the old DOS command `RECOVER'. I'd never used it but removed it immediately from all the PCs I had anything to do with after a co-worker in the office across the hall thought it would help him `recover' a cross-linked file on his hard disk.


Happened before my time there but...

...the story about the clueless VP who, while he was conducting a tour of the data center where all the SWIFT and bond trading computers were located, concluded the visit by hitting the Big Red Switch located near the door. Apparently this guy thought that the bank's data center was so high-tech--and that his tour group would be duly impressed--that the doors would `magically' open when he hit that button. Instead of the doors making a `swoosh' sound (a la the Enterprise) the sudden silence probably had just the opposite effect on his guests. Still a popular tale told during team lunches.

The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand


One of my daughters had a problem with her Mac keyboard. Rather than repair it /she/ just decided to get a non-Apple laptop. My problem with having to use a Max for work was the keyboard was too small. Or at least it was a different size than my hands had grown accustomed to. I solved the problem when working from home with a couple of dongles to get from USB-C to PS2 and a Model M. Switching back to the Mac keyboard rather sucked when I went into the office---typos galore. I wasn't keen on lugging that keyboard around though I could have used it as a self-defense device... or as a bludgeon for those commuters wandering the sidewalks aimlessly gabbing on their cell phones.

Stop us if you've heard this one: Job cuts at IBM


Shees... Isn't it about time to...

... make this a regular column with a dedicated link under the main banner?

For example, "Layoffs" that takes you to the page with links updated daily to the news that <random IT industry giant> is laying off staff?

Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower


Re: Facebook and Brexit

A CS department where nobody (but one) has any programming skills? Seriously?

A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that


Sometimes the Print button is the user's only option.

Back while working at a treasury department at a bank, it was fairly common for one analyst, in particular, to request a printed copy of some detailed report. Those printed reports would be directed to the humongous Xerox printer that inhaled a ream of paper in about ten seconds. Whoever assisted this analyst with the requested report had to babysit the process loading many reams into the beast to keep it fed while printing the typically two-foot-plus tall pile of paper. It was big enough that it was usually carted to the analyst's desk on a dolly that most people used for moving heavy equipment (a co-worker attempted to hand carry it one day and dropped the damned thing). The analyst would thank us for the report and then look at the /last/ page for the information he needed. I can't blame him too much for this tree-killing way of working---the application provided no way for him to get that information except via the printed report. Asking the vendor to fix that was probably a waste of time (had anyone in mgmt asked them) given that the vendor thought it was a nifty idea to require that anyone using the application have God privileges that the administrators knew better than to have enabled all the time---a nightmare that they refused to fix. ("Here's a letter to tell your auditors that it's required.")


Re: I'm not sure what the point of that article was...

``Like using a spreadsheet as a database :-)''

You mean like the folks who use a spreadsheet like a word processor? Because they never figured out how to create tables in the word processor?


Re: And despite all this users telemetry...

Keep your 'Print' button but someone, please, tell the designers that providing *usable* drop down menus on the interface would be oh-so nice---not the ones that contains hundreds and hundreds of items that you can only see three at a time and a scroll bar that contains no arrow buttons which forces you to try and view the list while it scrolls by at Mach 6 when you move the slider by one pixel. It's also be nice if you sorted the list alphabetically rather than puking out the items on the list in the order they came from the database.

(Don't get me started on stylishly-built web sites that include lengthy bits of source code presented in viewing windows/ports that make the code viewable only a few lines at a time and require that you scroll both vertically AND horizontally in order to see much/most of the content.)

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means


Just wait...

``Now, not only is everything old new again, it also has to have a special name, lots of tools and courses and all the rest of it.''

Yep. If the certification grifters^Wvendors haven't come up with a DevOps certification, they're working on it.


Re: Oh dear

Web sites seem to be all that matter nowadays.

I see you're writing a résumé?!.. LinkedIn parked in MS Word


Re: It's only the start

``This is going to turn in to Facebook. You can definitely see it coming.''

Too late. It already has. It's already here. The default ordering in your "feed" (or whatever LI is calling it these days) is "Top". I.e., "most popular" posts. Oh you can change it to "Recent" but you aren't able to make that your default for sorting your feed.

The feed is now littered with advertisements -- there's really no other word for them -- from people touting their employers loan offerings, come-ons for online classes, and completely random posts that are ``Trending in Chicago'', ``Trending in Linux', etc.'. The stuff that shows up in your feed is almost never related to the topics you told LI you'd like to follow. I'm guessing the writers of those posts paid to get them there. And all of these are accompanied by huge (and often pointless) photos or videos (thankfully not auto-playing).

And my all-time favorite turned-to-crap feature: Being able to see who has looked at your profile. At one time (long ago) this was pretty much always possible to see who visited your profile. Then you started seeing that some profile viewers had chosen to view using `private' mode. Upgrading to a premium membership was supposed to--according to the list of advantages that you'd see in the ``wouldn't you like to become a premium member'' messages--allow you to see who those viewers were and that actually worked for a while. Then, apparently, it became possible for some members to view profiles in ``super-secret private mode'' (for more $$$ undoubtedly) even when viewing profiles of premium members. Nowadays, most all you see are ``Someone in the ABC industry'' or ``Someone with the job title Recruiter''. Marvelous. I immediately discontinued my premium membership upon learning that.

‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’


This reminds me of...

... one of the evening sessions at DECUS many years ago where one speaker lamented the fact that the controls for a certain model of disk drive (this was back when disk drives were washing machine sized) were the same height as his rear-end and, with a wallet in your back pocket, it was very easy to take disk drives offline by backing into the drive.

Twilight of the idols: The only philosophy HPE and IBM do these days is with an axe


Re: Critique

If memory serves, the EVA moniker came about during the period of Compaq's ownership of DEC's StorageWorks hardware but I think the technology, if not the name, may have already been well along in the product development pipeline when Compaq took over DEC.

I still remember having to stay late one night while someone from DEC, er, Compaq field service came in not long after the takeover. I thought that someone had made a call to replace a component but it turned out that the reason for the visit was to put "Compaq" stickers over all the "Digital" logos on the equipment in the data center. The funny thing was that there were several different sizes of the Digital logos but Compaq had properly sized stickers for every one. Compaq innovation at its best.


Re: "What is IBM?"

Fast forward to 2017... My pre-teen daughter asks, "Daddy, what's IBM? What do they do?"

IBM's largely invisible to the general public. I can't recall the last time I saw an IBM commercial on TV. I think that last one might have been the one where the execs called in the police to report their data center was cleaned out but it turned out that their nerdy-looking admin had virtualized everything onto a single rack's worth of hardware. How old was that one? I'm guessing it was from /at least/ 4-5 years ago.

Developers, developers, developers: How 'serverless' crowd dropped ops like it's hot


Re: Lambda functions much be completely composable. No exceptions.

"It's weird that in a cloud infrastructure, the cost to pull data from anywhere in the world seems NOT to be a concern anymore."

Yeah... remember when "response time" was something that application developers--and their managers--were actually concerned with?


Re: A true paradigm shift!

Don't forget the "hybrid" variant for the folks that don't want to jump in with both feet.


Re: ...and is it a good idea?

"I would suggest that developers shouldn't be trusted to do anything without sysadmin supervision."

Well, maybe not full-time supervision but, for $DIETY's-sake, at least some contact with the admins during the design phase. I've been suspicious of developers' ability to /not/ make insecure applications ever since having to ride herd over a VMS system running a treasury/securities application that, because of the laziness of the developers, required end-users be granted BYPASS privileges. Auditors were in the admins' camp and wanted it disabled (or, preferably) removed but we found it was, indeed, required and we had to get an official document from the vendor to that effect to satisfy the audit team.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign


Re: How convenient

You mean something like "the most secure Windows ever", then? (Until the next chip-level screw-up.)


Re: I finally switch from AMD to Intel, and this is what happens.

So, it's a case of: Faster, Cheaper, Secure... pick two.


Re: "I wonder where we stand legally now?"

I'm wondering how this will affect the contractual relationships between compute cloud vendors and their customers when the N processors the customers are paying for no longer get the job done. Oh to be a fly on the wall during those discussions...


Re: Intel Inside...

Good timing indeed. I've got plans to replace several aging PC/servers and AMD just leapfrogged to the top of the list (or should I say that Intel just step on their shoelaces and stumbled to the bottom).


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