* Posts by cdegroot

32 posts • joined 1 Dec 2014

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito


Re: Nothing new...

You mean Facebook, that company that saw its userbase growth slow down markedly and saw its stock drop by over a third after all the scandals? It seems that at least some people care.

Also - Facebook's primary product is selling data about you. Amazon's primary product is selling stuff to you. There's less of a network effect and more alternatives in the latter, and as others have remarked - outright snooping in your homes is a tad worse than Facebook figuring out what you do and showing you ads in response. I use iPhones over Android for the same reason - I'm more the customer and less the product.

I guess everybody makes their own decisions in this area. It's a fine balance between trying to protect your privacy and enjoying some of the advantages of the modern age. YMMV, etc.


Re: Nothing new...

That doesn't mean I can keep an eye on when a "smart home assistant" is sending data and how much and whether that looks like transmitting voice data or just the occasional and expected "I'm still alive, any software updates for me?" packets.


Nothing new...

I decided that market trust is what keeps Amazon from snooping. The risks of them being caught are pretty much 100% (traffic analysis, insider leaks) and the upside isn't that big. So I have two Echo dots, and I can control my room thermostat and my main home theatre ("Alexa, turn on Apple TV") and play music in sync over both. That's pretty much the extent of its usefulness, it's a gimmick and if the interwebs go away, nothing bad happens. If Amazon is caught making a boo-boo, my $70 go into the trashbin and I'll have to look for the Harmony remote again to switch the telly on.

One of the reasons I bought a couple was to find out how these things could become genuinely useful, but so far I've come up empty-handed. It's just a toy, pure and simple.

Want to spin up Ubuntu VMs from Windows 10's command line, eh? We'll need to see a Multipass


Re: Why use Hyper-V or even Windows for that matter?

Docker for Windows/Mac (it really doesn't matter) is super slow. Comparable with WSL - disk access is emulated and that just puts the handbrake on things. I've tried various approaches for developing on my Win10 laptop (because games, Lightroom, and so on), and I settled on running a full-screen Linux under Hyper/V on a second virtual desktop. It's very fast.

I don't think KVM is more efficient than Hyper-V - both are, AFAIK, hypervisors rather than oldskool virtualization engines and performance should be ballpark the same. Whether you boot Win10 or Linux first shouldn't make too much difference because from the point of view of the hypervisor it ends up being just another client OS and Linux-under-Hyper-V-under-Windows and Windows-under-KVM-under-Linux both have a root hypervisor and then two OSes running underneath that. At least, that's what I understood about this whole business when I last checked how stuff worked :-)

Back on topic: I really don't like Hyper-V's management UI, so this will hopefully help.

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


Re: Limped after Apple II

Oh, that old Audi 100. My dad had one, just when I got my driver's license. A car from the future: affordable (compared to BMW and Mercedes), super quiet, very fuel efficient, very nice handling and, IIRC, couldn't rust because one of the first zinc-treated cars. And back then the styling was from the future as well... Lovely piece of work.

Microsoft to rule the biz chat roost – survey


Re: Slack

IRC, Skype, Hipchat, Slack, Bluejeans, Hangouts, Zoom, ... - it all seems pretty interchangeable to me. My employer switched chat and videoconf providers a couple of times, and it's not a big deal. Which is why I think that Slack is not worth $10b but I'm sure that Goldman-Sachs will ignore my opinion and get the valuation they want anyway for an IPO ;-).

I don't think that running your own IRC server is a solution for any company - your admin hours are probably better spent elsewhere. That doesn't mean that I _like_ being forced to one chat client where IRC gave me integration wherever, however I wanted - in the CLI, in a 24x80 terminal, inside Emacs, under any GUI, and so on. But times go on and sound business reasoning precludes rolling your own if there are so many relatively cheap solutions out there that just work.

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC


Re: Internet minimum data transfer rates for broadband.

Indeed. I don't know what idiot decided 25/3 qualifies as minimum "broadband". I'm on 5/3 on a local rural wireless ISP and I work from home full time, do video conferencing while my wife is watching Netflix, so I don't get what all the fuzz is about. My guess is that Google/Apple/... sponsored that 25/3 upgrade to make sure that people stuff more things in their clouds.

Pencil manufacturers rejoice: Oz government doesn't like e-voting


You mention the most important thing here a couple of times, but let me stress it:


Observability by ordinary citizens is the key advantage of paper voting. It maintains trust, and maximizes the number of eyeballs verifying the ballot. I volunteered at polling stations and always had huge respect for the people who came in around closing, sat down, and just observed us counting votes. That is democracy in action - for everybody, by everybody, and people who think that this should be taken away and replaced by machines are not to be trusted. Nothing is gained, and a lot is lost.

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly


Nothing new...

My thought as well. I've used CVS for the same in the '90s, and it worked quite well - I hated the guts of SCCS and always tried to stick with RCS instead which didn't have the anal locking that SCCS sported.

I've never gotten around unleashing git on /etc/ though (although my "dotfiles" are there and it's very nice). There's enough stuff in there to make it maybe worth a try, although these days Chef/Puppet/Ansible/Salt/... are probably more appropriate.

WLinux brings a custom Windows Subsystem for Linux experience to the Microsoft Store


It's a server, not a client...

"Using X410 as a Windows X client" - nope, X410 is the (display) server.

Anyways, I don't get the fuss either. I have been using the (paid version of the) Xming X11 server, on the Ubuntu WSL side it was just a matter of `export DISPLAY=localhost:0`. The only fiddling I remember was having to drop some preferred fonts (Source Code Pro) in the right spot.

Still, the dealbreaker for me is disk speed. Compiling larger stuff is just not working - if they fix that, I'd seriously think about making Win10 my main OS given that Linux laptop support is still shaky at best.

Alaskan borough dusts off the typewriters after ransomware crims pwn entire network



"120 out of 150 servers" - 150 servers sounds like a tad much for a borough that servers 100,000 people. Couldn't find it in the linked status update either so I guess someone has been misreading something?

Uptight robots that suddenly beg to stay alive are less likely to be switched off by humans


Nothing new...

Well, psychology is the study of how students behave under lab conditions, not?

Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6


It's all about the big numbers

The address space is not wasted, it is just vast. At my previous place, I had a fixed IP, a /64 allocated out of the /32 (I think) that my provider got assigned, out of the, say, /16 assigned to Canada. This way, anyone in the world just needs to know about the /16 to route packets for me to "roughly Canada", the (say) Toronto Internet Exchange just needs to know that 16 bits further down it went to my old provider, etcetera. It limits route tables to really manageable entries and you can still have tons and tons of top level ISPs.

The /64 in my house gets subdivided as well: privacy IPv6 addresses, MAC-based IPv6 addresses, and then a couple of DHCP ranges that for example routed between my regular network and a bunch of docker swam networks on Raspberry PIs (don't ask ;-)). I wasn't using my whole address space, but I certainly had another subdivision going on.

Having 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 addresses makes large scale routing really efficient by purposely going sparse. It's a bit of a twist from IPv4, but it makes a ton of sense. 128 bits is so mindbogglingly big (picture all of space and a sign "you are here") that it enables these sort of strategies and still be future proof, even though the allocation strategies seem wasteful at first sight.

(glad you asked. I'm on a rural PtP LTE connection now. Behind five-hundred layers of "Carrier Grade NAT". Which is how we all will end up on IPv4, with no option to, say, run a webserver on your home router).

Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it


I blew up an Alphastation's PS by using it as a luggable...

It was somewhere mid '90s, and my employer sent me to Redmond from .NL where I lived to join some sort of Microsoft hackathon. Laptops were woefully underpowered back then, and I had this sweet AlphaStation from work on which I just installed OSF/1 and a nice development environment, so I decided to (carefully) toss it in my suitcase. Also, it felt just right to bring a Unix machine into the lion's den ;-)

At Microsoft, they quickly supplied me with keyboard and monitor, and a network cable ("this is a T3") and a power cable later, I was ready to start work. If it would have turned on.

Needless to say, putting the power supply switch to 110 did the trick.

Needless to say, not putting the power supply switch back to 220 when I came home two weeks later did the trick of letting all the smoke escape from it. Never felt so silly.

Translating Facebook's latest 'Hard Questions' PR spin – The Reg edit


I'd pay...

I'd even pay a premium over their ARPU for my country, which would be very easy money - they would have to _not_ do stuff in order to take my money. Not feed it into their big data stuff, not sell it - directly or indirectly - to advertisers, etcetera. I still don't understand why that is not an option - after all, they know how to collect money from their current customers, why not from me?

Sysadmin unplugged wrong server, ran away, hoped nobody noticed


Indeed. When I ran my own ISP, I found out the hard way that cable management wasn't one of my strengths, so I always unplugged everything at the server side in our racks and let it dangle. A replacement, new server, or whatever was bound to need these connectors anyway at some time in the future.

Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?


Borland, in the '80s, with train tickets to Paris

To be honest, I was a student, so the bar for bribing was low. Anyway, as a student writing for one of these monthly paper tomes full of computer stuff with "PC" in the title (ah, the good old days) me and my buddy got not only offered a complimentary offering of pretty much all that Borland had on their product catalogue so we could review it (which seemed reasonable), but also the invitation to hop on a train and come to Paris so - well, I forgot the very thin veneer they put on top of the sweetener and called "the reason". I think it had to do with installation assistance or being able to talk to some head honcho over there.

Needless to say, we took the train ride, the two nights in a business class hotel (which translates to "very posh" for two poor students) and wrote a glowing review of Turbo C and Quattro, or whatever it was we ended up putting in the magazine. Did I mention we were poor students? That should make it ok, not? ;-)

18.04 beta is as good a time as any to see which Ubuntu flavour tickles your Budgie, MATE


I'm using less and less of all this anyway...

Typing this on a MacBook Pro that I rage-upgraded to Ubuntu 17.10 after giving up on Mac OS X (specifically High Sierra). It turns out that as a developer, the list of apps I need is quite limited: a browser, a really good terminal program, Emacs and IntelliJ/IDEA. So switching for me has become simpler over the years, not harder. For mail and office stuff, Linux is bad indeed, and I can't even blame the City of Munich for dropping it. Again, as a developer, a bit of Google Docs is all I need; YMMV.

Funnily enough, for me the whole windows management stuff is actually the critical bit. I'm switching all the time, need all the screen real estate there is for my IDEs, and as such I need something that lets me run full-screen, multiple virtual desktops, and keyboard-based switching of it all. With _my_ keyboard shortcuts, thank you ;-). Ubuntu (the base edition) does a pretty nice job there, so I'm happy.

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered


Two things: 17.10 is a release, but a test release; users who want to feel safe should install an Ubuntu LTS version like 16.04. Furthermore, a RaspberryPi and a cheap cable/chip clamp can be cobbled together to form an in-system flash writing tool; I guess if you want to live on the bleeding edge with your Linux distribution, you might be expected to resort to such extreme measures once in a blue moon ;-)

(typed from 17.10. On a MacBook)

Bitcoin price soars amid technical troubles for exchanges


Nothing new...

"PwC said it has begun accepting Bitcoin as payment for its advisory services"

Well... given that BTC is mostly useful for crooks, that figures...

(yeah, by the time I hit post I'm sure I'm not the only one to make that bad joke)

'Lambda and serverless is one of the worst forms of proprietary lock-in we've ever seen in the history of humanity'


Nothing new...

I think what you describe is called a "mainframe". Which seems to me what Sillicon Valley is very busy reinventing. Now including proprietary hardware.

Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow


Also, not every language community needs/wants Stack Overflow. Reading through the blog post this is a pretty successful press release by SO, not a meaningful exercise in statistics.

(I like SO as much as the next developer because there are a lot of extremely useful answers on the site, but it does seem to me that 90% of the questions asked are by very junior people hacking away in their spare time; as such, Python might receive- probably deserved - laurels as a widespread beginner language; it doesn't say a lot about the industry, though)

Will the last person at Basho please turn out the lights?


Re: and the UK NHS thought this was a mature technology to pin the NHS "Spine" on?

Erlang is actually a soft real-time system, which makes it an almost perfect fit for "web-scale" systems. See for example Whatsapp. It turns out that its actor model is nice and a great fit for modern systems. A new language on the VM, Elixir, is taking off like crazy and overall the ecosystem seems to be booming.

Riak needs a ton of maintenance, and I can't wait for a community to pick it up and run away with it - I've only heard and experienced good stuff around it.

The Linux cloud swap that spells trouble for Microsoft and VMware


Too much credit to VMware

AFAICT, virtualization on the 386 has existed pretty much as long as the 386 - which is quite a bit longer than VMware. QEMM is one example (I used it to run Windows for whatever and DOS for my Fidonet BBS side-by-side), and a friend of mine was so dead set on getting the WordPerfect thesaurus sources that he wrote basically the essence of VMware just to make WP run in a DOS box he could control. VMware just packaged stuff that people were already doing in a nicely marketed product (which was awesome in itself, but technologically speaking it was hardly a big step, even in the x86 world).

GitHub CEO Wanstrath: 'Our goal is no outages'


Abuse of Git

The really funny thing is that they made us believe you need a central repository like GH to do your work. In an ideal world, you'd push straight to your CI system, to your CD system, share direct code with your colleagues, and GH would just be a backup and (meh) code review system - that's the sort of workflow Git was made for, not a faster Subversion. Good marketing.

BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding


20/20 hindsight is easy...

But let's look at the other side of the coin. You're a CEO of an airline. Competition is incredibly fierce, and because of that and deregulation ticket prices have been dropping like a rock over the decades (when my dad took us to Spain in the late '70s, I think the charter tickets where 600 guilders. I guess I can pick up an AMS->ALC roundtrip for 200 euros or thereabouts?). We're all profiting from the collective consumer consciousness driving prices into the basement, let's not forget that.

Efficiency and cost cutting are pretty much your only options, and pretty much they need to be done across the board. As a CEO, you're in the risk taking business - cut just enough cost, you make a profit; cut just too much somewhere, and you have a disaster. Cut cost on aircraft maintenance, the disaster is people dying, cut cost on IT, the disaster is a huge inconvenience, egg-on-face, and a - probably nicely predictable - monetary loss. Yes, this may wipe out this year's profits, but across the board, it's probably the better outcome.

You know what? I'd probably cut IT costs if I'd be running an airline. I think it's just too simple to blame this on stupidity. Yes, you could probably do better than BA's IT (I've only worked three air travel related systems - booking, ATC and airport - and that was enough to put me off for good), but I wouldn't be surprised if these IT systems are a mess of old and new kept together by the Kermit protocol and similar band-aids. For all I know, the C-levels took reasonable decisions with measurable risks, and the coin just fell on the wrong side.

Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts


Re: Best traps

Given sufficient cats, there will be not much wildlife outside your back door. I decided that cats are indoors pets (fresh air can be obtained by our 3 cats on our catio ;-))

Linux on Windows 10: Will penguin treats in Creators Update be enough to lure you?


Re: Is it better than Cygwin?

It's better, IMHO. I have one Win10 laptop (for games) on which I've been experimenting with WSL, basically to see whether my current personal development laptop (an aging MacBook Pro) could get a Win10 successor. I like WSL a lot, so far, although some bugs have still to be worked out (Emacs in text mode backgrounds itself all the time, for example). The biggest win is that WSL (I call it GNU/Win10) is binary compatible with GNU/Linux, meaning that a WSL bash will have an apt setup pointing straight at Canonical's repositories. I never liked Cygwin's setup.exe, and that's now gone.

Pretty much the biggest thing on my wishlist is a better X server. VcXsrv does the job very well, but font management is a pain. Having an Ubuntu-integrated X server would be great. But I can totally see myself working full-time in it - for my next home system, it'd be great to have One To Rule Them All (a platform that can run games, Lightroom, _and_ all my dev tools); for my next work system, it's up to my employer - I won't pay for Apple hardware anymore as it's too locked down and the OS is crap for developers, and I can completely see me working on a work Win10 laptop. I'd prefer that over a work Linux laptop as Win10 takes care of talking to the hardware and does a way better job at it than Linux (I'm talking odd device drivers, GPU drivers, hotplugging hardware, sleep modes, etcetera - from what I'm hearing from Linux-wielding colleagues, still an unsolved problem).

SQL Server on Linux? HELL YES! Linux on Windows 10? Meh


Choice is better...

...and now everyone can choose whether to run Linux-on-Windows or Windows-on-Linux. I myself am opting for the former, as I want to run games, not have hassle around device drivers, virtual machines, and whatnot. For me, it works so well I'm considering asking my company to take my Macbook and give me a decent (32G RAM anyone?) Windows laptop. It looks like everything I want to do is already working, and with the next WSL release supporting Xenial and fixing a ton of bugs, I should be in business.

PayAsUGym breach exposes passwords


Seriously, MD5?

If that's true, here's to hoping that someone gets slapped on the wrist, really hard, with criminal negligence charges.

Google offers baseball bat and some chains with which to hit open source software


Nothing new...

http://examples.oreilly.com/9781565926004/Palm_OS_Emulator_Mac/Instructions/Guide.html#gremlins says it all. I've always wondered why this didn't catch on more widely - it was fun to see your app being destroyed in the PalmOS emulator.

Glad that Google is leading the fray - the code kiddies look at Google the same way the Israelites looked at Moses when returning from the mountain with the Tablets, so it'll get some traction now.

Wikipedia won't stop BEGGING for cash - despite sitting on $60m

Thumb Down

And they're squandering the money in other ways too

I stopped donating when I read last year's annual report. Not only do they have a staff that might be oversized, but your donations also end up in all sorts of endowments for media projects and research. I'm fine with funding their servers, I could even understand them having some fat (although they're overdoing it, it seems), but if (a part of) your money goes straight to whatever projects someone (no clue who) thinks are interesting and worth funding... That's the proverbial drop.

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