* Posts by JacobZ

52 posts • joined 26 Nov 2014


IBM so very, very sorry after jobs page casually asks hopefuls: Are you white, black... or yellow?


Re: Ethnicity != Race

...or they might be wanting this data so that they can comply with Federal law that requires them to collect it, and so that they can verify they aren't discriminating *against* anybody.

No brownie points or imaginary preferential hiring required to explain it.

But it's fascinating how easily trigged the "anti-PC" crowd are by anything that challenges their privilege.

Influential Valley gadfly and Intel 8051 architect John Wharton has died


Re: Intel Dev system

That was the first system I worked on professionally, close to 40 years ago. I was an apprentice programmer at Satchwell Control Systems writing very bad code for a building management system. We developed under ISIS and cross-compiled to RMX, if memory serves.

The offices were in Slough, just on the fringe of the famous Slough Trading Estate, and at the time we were a subsidiary of GEC.

VMware and Lenovo are about to hit go-go on Project Dimension beta

Paris Hilton

Well it's certainly fully buzzword compliant, I'll say that for it.

Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid


Crazy old man

I may be just a crazy old man, but I want one. I still miss my Samsung T509, which was the last phone I had that felt comfortable in my hand or my pocket.

Now you can tell someone to literally go f--k themselves over the internet: Remote-control mock-cock patent dies


I read that as "patient"...

...not "patent", so I had entirely the wrong mental image

Hooray: Google App Engine finally ready for Python 3 (and PHP 7.2)


Re: App Engine is the OG of serverless

Apparently, "OG" means "Original Gangster", which apparently is a "hip" way of saying "first".

Honestly, there has never been an occasion where I looked something up in Urban Dictionary and did not immediately regret it.

Declassified files reveal how pre-WW2 Brits smashed Russian crypto


The clue is in the name

"By reusing one-time pads..."

There's a clue in the name, folks.

Trump wants to work with Russia on infosec. Security experts: lol no


Security cooperation? He's Putin us on, isn't he?

I'll get my coat. And umbrella.

Micro Focus offloads Linux-wrangler SUSE for a cool $2.5bn


Re: Cut-and-shut

Great story, but I think you mean "undamaged halves"?

Big Blue's Summit super sits, aptly, at the peak of official Top500 beast list


shout out for storage?

How about a little love for Spectrum Scale, which is the file system behind Summit and Sierra? It takes a lot of work to keep these blisteringly fast systems fed with data and to keep up with the pace of their writes.

Linux literally loses its Lustre – HPC filesystem ditched in new kernel


Re: IBM’s IBM Spectrum Scale

No, Tyler Perry

Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist


Re: Devil's Advocate

Sounds like the lock is worth stealing

AIOps they did it again, played with your heart, new acronym shame


Autonomic computing?

So... autonomic computing all over again?

Don't we go through this about once a decade?

Microsoft patches problematic OS to deal with SSD woes


As a child, "Picked Last For Sports" was my Indian name.

Microsoft's Pelican brief, MAID in Azure* and femtosecond laser glass storage


MAID to order?

I remember a lot of excitement about the potential for MAID about three years ago, but then everything seemed to go quiet. As I recall, one of the concerns was that repeatedly powering drives up and down would shorten their lives significantly.

Since Microsoft is talking about this publicly again, I assume something significant has changed. Perhaps what they asked of the drive manufacturers was disks that can sustain the power cycling better?

Seagate's HAMR to drop in 2020: Multi-actuator disk drives on the way


HAMR time!

You can't touch that!

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


East India Company Re: Marx

The EAC is a pretty fascinating example. Although it started out as a trading company, and was certainly a very large corporation in every formal sense, before long it was hard to tell the difference between it and a country in its own right. It controlled a huge amount of trade, established rule in India (laying the foundation for the British Raj), and even fought wars with its French counterpart. Real wars, I mean, not just trade wars.

From Wiki: "By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army. The company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions."

There are probably fascinating parallels to be drawn between the EAC and companies such as Facebook or Google, but I leave that as an exercise for people smarter than I.

Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs


Perfectly possible

Perfectly possible to have a ball made only of hexagons, all you need is a non-Euclidean space. If I remember my college math correctly, a positively curved space in the vicinity of the ball should do the trick.

P≠NP proof fails, Bonn boffin admits


I have a remarkable proof...

...that P!=NP is formally undecidable within axiomatic arithmetic. Unfortunately, the proof is too long to fit in this margin.

ThoughtWorks acquired by British private equiteers Apax


Re: Thoughtworks are good guys

And: ThoughtWorks is proof that you can have a company full of smart, curious people who deliver really good stuff without being assholes.

I once had the privilege of delivering a lunch-and-learn session at their Chicago office, with Martin in the audience. Probably the most intimidating audience I ever presented in front of, even without him -- I spent the whole time up there thinking "is there anything I can tell them they don't already know?".

Snopes lawsuit latest: Judge orders disputed cash can flow to fact-checking site


Buried the leed

So what I took away from this is that David and Barbara split up and I'm only just hearing about it.

U Vlad bro? Docker accidentally cuts off Ukraine



At first I misread that as "Doctor accidentally cuts off Ukraine" and I thought, that's an odd euphemism even by El Reg standards...

Fancy a toothpicked-rollmop from our storage smorgasbord?



Great, now I'm craving rollmops. We just can't get proper ones with the toothpicks and the onion rings in this part of the US.

Oh yeah, and also something about storage.

Shared services centres flop: Only one UK.gov department uses them



If only one department is using it, it's not really "shared", is it?

'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'


Re: quality..

some people clearly like something about vinyl (handling discs? bigger artwork?) enough to cause a revival.

I do think this is part of the story: the rituals and practices heighten the anticipation of the moment. The fact that many of the rituals are tactile (e.g. the special way they wipe the dust, the care with which they lower the arm) is important. Regardless of what it may (or may not) objectively do to the music reproduction, it really can change some people's subjective enjoyment. (Compare: tea-making rituals).

And then behind that is the opportunity for geekery: to know more than the average person about selecting and matching components for the "best" reproduction, to read endless magazine articles about the specs of the latest equipment, agonizing over whether to upgrade now or hold out for better: for many of this type, the equipment is more important than the music.

And third, there's the lure of exclusivity and collectability: vinyl, especially older vinyl, is a physical artifact that exists in finite quantities and is found in physical locations. The search for a rare copy in good condition of a particular edition can itself be rewarding in a way that finding an MP3 online really is not.

And to be honest, I have no problem with people who enjoy vinyl in any of those ways, so long as they don't insist that their end result "must" be better than mine and that I'm doing it wrong by listening to MP3s on a tiny SanDisk through ear buds to drown out the noise of the lawn mower.

World religions stake out positions on Pokemon Go



It's "Book of Revelation", not "Revelations".

It's a common enough mistake: even Pratchett / Gaiman slip up in Good Omens when a character who should beyond a shadow of a doubt know better gets it wrong.

Jaron Lanier: Big Tech is worse than Big Oil


Must read

If you haven't read Lanier's "You Are Not A Gadget", you really, really should

Seagate revenue numbers rain on cloud after market misses


Re: Maybe if the drives lasted a bit longer...

Surely if the drives lasted longer, you'd need to buy fewer?

Yahoo! kills! search! APIs!, games! and! Astrology! site!



Pisces: Bad news may come in the mail. Do not make any long-term plans.

Outsourced Virgin Media techies botched this infosec bod's Poodle fix


So they screwed the pooch?

I'll get my coat.

Toshiba rolls out PC-busting monster: 1 terabyte TLC flash SSD


Yep. SSDs provide a lot of bang for the buck.

I upgraded my wife's aging Thinkpad to a 480GB SSD and it's massively faster, especially startup. There's not another investment that would have remotely come close in terms of performance improvement versus cost. And when I do eventually replace the Thinkpad, I'll move the drive over.

The only downside is that here in consumer-land we're still stuck with legacy interfaces (SATA) designed for spinning rust. It's going to get really interesting when NVMe reaches consumer-friendly prices...

Software devs' new mantra: Zen dogs dream of small-sized bones


Cloud vs on prem

A lot of what you describe here is goodness, but I think it's important to add: It's orders of magnitude more realistic to aspire to this if you are running a cloud-delivered business:

1. You only have one image to manage, and you control it. You don't have to rely on customers consuming and deploying your updates.

2. You can do partial roll-outs, e.g. with feature flags, to progressively test whether (a) something works and (b) makes the users' lives better...

3 ... and if it doesn't, you can [more] easily roll it back.

And that's not just for consumer stuff. Look at Salesforce.com for an example.

eBay scammer steals identity of special agent investigating him


Should have talked to Uncle Owen

He'd have told them never to trust a Jawa

Block storage is dead, says ex-HP and Supermicro data bigwig


Well done. Re: really?

You are correct, sir.

I am old enough to remember the days when interleaving was a standard part of laying out a disk, and getting the skip factor right was critical to performance.

Space fans eye launch of Lego Saturn V


Microfigures? Re: Scale?

There are microfigures now -- the Shield Helicarrier was one of the first sets to have them. I wonder if this would be a good use for them?

Three Estonians jailed for malware spree that infected 4 MILLION computers


Re: Phew!

I did the same double-take. Pub it is.

Larry Ellison: Oracle's going to WAR against Amazon cloud prices


Google Re: Tape-based retrieval speeds?

Yes, obviously, Google Nearline is disk-based. However, time to last byte is much slower than disk speed because throughput is throttled. AWS is also disk-based but slow to last byte (and first too).

The question, though, is what kind of performance *Oracle* is going to deliver with its tape-based system.

IBM lobs 3,500 staffers at Apache Spark


The history of Eclipse, corrected

"IBM adopted the Eclipse framework early on, making it the basis of its Rational programming tools."

That's not quite right, although the full story is a bit more complicated.

IBM actually *created* the software that would become Eclipse -- IIRC as the basis of its VisualAge IDE. It then donated the code to open source as Eclipse, primarily to counter the then-dominance of Microsoft's Visual Studio (although industry rumors also suggest that the real target was Sun's control of the Java ecosystem, hence the name...).

A little later, as Rational was creating it's next-gen tools under the Jazz branding, it adopted Eclipse for that work. Later, other IBM software brands that needed a rich client selected (possibly with some amount of internal "encouragement") Eclipse too.

Denon delivers low-cost DTS:X AV kit. Finally Dolby Atmos gets some competition


Onkyo HDMI problem is old news

It was a design flaw on the boards. AFAIK nothing manufactured after 2012 should have the same problem

New kid on the blocks: Lego Worlds game challenges Minecraft


True... so far Re: Not really a direct Minecraft competitor.

This is true, so far, but bear in mind this is the earliest of early access. Some of the stuff I've read suggests that at least some of these things will be coming along, including survival mode (the monsters will be skeletons), and vehicles / other moving parts. I haven't seen anything like Redstone, though.

For me the biggest difference in the experience is -- as you mention -- the way you gather resources for "crafting". It looks like Lego Worlds will not require lotsof grinding, possibly reflecting the fact that it's aimed at a younger audience who would not have patience for such things.

Anyway, I hope there's room for both.

Business plans, good ideas, and 8 other myths about startups – by Indiegogo's CEO


#4: No Plan...

Similar in spirit to the famous Tyson quote is the military maxim, "No plan survives first contact with the enemy".

There are many variations on this, variously attributed to whoever is the most famous general of the moment, but the oldest appears to be from Helmuth Von Moltke in the mid-nineteenth century. His original was a great deal less elegant and succinct, but that's not entirely his fault since he spoke German.

Belgium to the rescue as UK consumers freeze after BST blunder


Re: Timestamps

One of the first serious pieces of code I wrote and got paid for was to add user-defined event scheduling to an operating system that was very good at milliseconds and microseconds, not so good at days and months. And one of the primary uses was to schedule the clock changes.

Since I was 17 and clueless at the time my code was, of course, hopelessly wrong*. I don't know what happened the first time the system hit the 2am "set the clocks back to 1am" event as I had buggered off to Uni at that point, but I suspect the phrase "rinse, repeat" may have been relevant.

*Among many other things, it was perfectly happy for you to set events for times that didn't exist, such as the middle of the skipped hour in the Spring.

Don't listen to me, I don't know what I'm talking about – a pundit speaks


Nobody ever got a book deal...

...predicting that things will stay pretty much the same.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH


Re: Turtles all the way down

How can any IT tech site overlook the man who brought us the Silicon Chunk ("Lintel Inside")?

'Roly poly' soft, wobbly robot BANGS EXPLOSIVELY, leaps 0.5m in air


Big Hero 6?

Really? Am I the first to read "roly-poly soft wobbly robot" and think of Baymax?

RIP Leonard Nimoy: He lived long and prospered


The original Star Trek pilot: an alternate future

The original pilot is worth seeing if you get a chance. It gives a glimpse of an alternate future, narrowly avoided, in which there was no Captain Kirk, and the character of Spock was intelligent but quite normal emotionally. When it was rejected by NBC, the role of captain in the second pilot fell to Shatner, and Spock's character became an amalgam of his original role plus that of an emotionally flat female bridge office called Number One, giving us the Spock we know today.

Incidentally Number One, played by Rodenberry's then-girlfriend, latter wife, Majel Barrett, was cut at the insistence of NBC partly because they didn't appreciate Rodenberry casting his girlfriend in such a major role, and partly because the character tested really badly with audiences. Rodenberry slipped her back into the series as Nurse Chapel, and I like to think of her character's unrequited love for Spock, the man who took her job on the bridge, as an inside joke.

BY JUPITER: The science behind Friday's Solar System light show


Re: The Matrix

Some people are very confused about lots of movies. Easy mnemonic: There is one Matrix, two Godfather, and three Star Wars movies.

Boffins weigh in to perfect kilogram quest with LEGO kit


A simpler solution...

...is to redefine the fundamental unit of mass in terms of the standard Lego 4x2 brick. They are universally available, not to mention easy to find in the dark in bare feet.

By the Rivers of Babylon, where the Antikythera Mechanism laid down


Lost in translation?

I wonder how much information about this mechanism and its predecessors -- and predecessors there must be, something this complex does not emerge fully formed from even the most brilliant inventor and craftsman -- is "hidden in plain sight", in ancient documents that have been mistranslated, because the translators had no idea that such a thing might exist, and therefore entirely missed what we would now recognize as references to it.

As-a-service upstarts will KILL OFF THE CORPORATES?


Team forming is itself a big cost

One thing that often gets minimized or overlooked is that team forming is itself a major cost in any kind of knowledge work. There's also the soft stuff about adjusting to each others' personal styles and quirks, discovering each others' strengths and weaknesses, negotiating the division of work, ... In brief, the less the work is sharply defined, easily partitioned and clearly delimited, the harder it is to just bring a team of strangers together and allocate tasks to them.

This is why even in modern Hollywood, the ultimate "contractor market", you often find the same group of people -- director, actor, cinematographer, set designer, ... -- working together. And even in more prosaic fields such as construction, you find that people prefer to work as a crew with familiar people, even if the each have their own unique fields.

In other words, TechCrunch's thesis is the kind of thing that is most appealing to somebody who thinks that people are essentially like soft, squishy Web services that you can call for transactions whenever you need one.


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