* Posts by Orv

1079 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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Influential Valley gadfly and Intel 8051 architect John Wharton has died

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Re: 8051

I remember hand-assembling 6502 code for my VIC-20 because I didn't have an assembler. It was good practice for programming PIC microcontrollers and the like.

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Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

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Re: You'd have to be a Dummy,....

To be fair, unlike NASA, SpaceX didn't have the military sidling up to them and saying "we need it to do [CLASSIFIED]," which was the source of a lot of the excess fat in the Shuttle's design.

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Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

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Re: Whitespace

To me the problem with Python (and significant whitespace in general) is that whitespace characters are by nature invisible, and a lot of editor tooling assumes they aren't significant. Anyone who's ever dealt with a Makefile where someone accidentally put a space where a tab should go knows this can only lead to tears.

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Re: Makes me pine for the days of XML...

XML proved handily that it's possible to make something verbose and inefficient for computers without actually making it human-readable.

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5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1... Runty-birds are go: 12,000+ internet-beaming mini-satellites OK'd by USA

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Re: Sorry, I was picking my mandible up off the floor...

IIRC a big complaint about Iridium was that they were very reluctant to change their birds' orbits to avoid potential collisions.

BTW, as you probably know but I think some other commenters might not, the term for the potential catastrophic situation we're discussing is "Kessler syndrome." Probably worth a Google.

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Re: What could possibly..poison our atmosphere?

What next- a bunch of low-flying birds that are powered by plutonium?

We already did that with some space probes, although we took pains to make sure the plutonium wouldn't burn up if they re-entered. (Even if it had, mind, it would be a faction of what was already released by WWII-era bomb fabrication plants.) The satellites powered by fission reactors were more of a potential threat, as was demonstrated by Kosmos 954.

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Super Micro chief bean counter: Bloomberg's 'unwarranted hardware hacking article' has slowed our server sales

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Re: I give SuperMicro the benefit of the doubt.

@Jtom: It's not that cut and dried, at least under US law. Statements of opinion and rhetorical hyperbole are protected, for example. Ability to show damages is not enough. US law tends to fall on the side of not chilling speech, even that speech is really assholeish. (You may be correct in terms of UK law, though.)

Ken White has an analysis of Elon Musk's statements calling Vernon Unsworth a pedophile that is probably instructive here, in that it shows which of his statements are defensible and which may not be:

https://www.popehat.com/2018/09/17/cave-diver-vernon-unsworth-sues-elon-musk/

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Alphabet gives bipedal robots the Schaft 'cos no one wants to buy its creepy machine maker

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Re: After the Google acquisition, it completely clammed up

I think they're thinking of the ED-209, which demonstrated an inability to successfully negotiate stairs in Robocop.

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Upset fat iOS gobbles up so much storage? Too bad, so sad, says judge: Apple lawsuit axed

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Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

Erm, firstly TVs and then subsequently monitors have always been measured by the size of their diagonal screen dimension. When I say always, I mean at least many decades, at least 5 of them to my personal knowledge. It's the industry standard, nothing to do with marketing.

They also have traditionally been marketed by the diagonal size of the CRT, in spite of the fact that the screen bezel will make the actual picture smaller. This stems from the fact that beam control is hard at the edges of CRTs, so the bezel hid the wavy edges and distortions.

Some of this is no doubt marketing -- bigger numbers are better -- but some of it may be because early TVs actually used round CRTs, with a rectangular mask over the front to delineate the picture area. A 10" CRT was 10" diameter before you put the mask on it. The diagonal measurement would have been closest to the actual CRT diameter.

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Re: It's marketing lies allowed to become reality.

In the computing word KB, MB, GB, and TB were all understood to mean powers of two until hard drive manufacturers noticed they could use powers of ten and claim that the size difference may very due to the space used by putting a filesystem on the drive.

I used to call the power-of-10-based units "salesman's gigabytes," since they bore no relation to what the OS would claim you had.

The TiB, GiB, etc. unit designations are an attempt to retroactively make their chicanery OK. I refuse to use them, mostly because they sound stupid when you say them out loud.

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Samsung probably includes the disclaimer because they already got sued over this same point -- but in China:

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/07/samsung-sued-for-loading-devices-with-unremovable-crapware-in-china/

They'd let it get rather out of hand. Some of their phones would eventually run out of storage without you doing anything, just from accumulated updates to the pre-installed crapware.

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Another Meltdown, Spectre security scare: Data-leaking holes riddle Intel, AMD, Arm chips

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Re: Speed vs. Security

If you want real security you have to physically separate different classes of users and not run them on the same chip/computer/memory system etc.

Which is why these are of particular concern to cloud hosting providers. An important requirement for cloud systems is that a program running in on user's VM shouldn't be able to observe what's going on in another user's VM.

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Re: Waiting for bug-free CPUs?

Itanium's VLIW architecture was safe in that the optimizations were mostly done at compile time, so things like speculative execution aren't done on the fly nearly as much. That approach has its own problems, though, like requiring a recompile for every new chip iteration.

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Re: New phone

Z-80 derivatives continue to have a distinguished career as microcontrollers. They just aren't discussed as much in hobbyist circles because very few game systems used them (the GameBoy being one exception.)

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Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

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Re: At least is isnt oracle or M$

I just want to salute you, AC, for a brilliant troll.

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Re: At least is isnt oracle or M$

The OS is from Linus and chums, Redhat adds a few storage bits and some Redhat logos and erm.......

From a customer standpoint the main thing RedHat adds is formal support. There are still a lot of companies who are uncomfortable deploying an OS that has product support only from StackExchange and web forums. This market is fairly insensitive to price, which is good for a company like RedHat. (Although there has been an exodus of higher education customers as the price has gone up; like Sun did back in the day, they've been squeezing out that market. Two campuses I've worked for have switched wholesale to CentOS.)

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Re: If IBM buys Redhat then what will happen to CentOS?

If IBM buys Redhat then what will happen to CentOS?

As long as IBM doesn't close-source RH stuff -- most of which they couldn't if they wanted to -- CentOS will still be able to do builds of it. The only thing RH can really enforce control over is the branding and documentation.

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The D in Systemd stands for 'Dammmmit!' A nasty DHCPv6 packet can pwn a vulnerable Linux box

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Re: There is a reason ...

Funny. I used to cart laptops between home and worksites, often only 'sleeping' between sites. Never had a problem with the wired or wireless network changes. Only times there was an issue was when the network itself had issues. This was back when I had to put nearly a week's wages on a PCMCIA card to even get wireless into the laptop. Still got the matching PCMCIA card that provided the wired network BTW.

I remember that era too. I also remember having to fiddle around on the command line every time I switched networks. At the time it seemed acceptable because WiFi was so new and shiny. Now I'd be kind of annoyed, I think.

Also, if you got 1990s Linux to actually wake up from sleep consistently you were doing pretty well. ;)

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Re: Reason for disabling IVP6

My NAT router statefully firewalls incoming IPv6 by default, which I consider equivalently secure. NAT adds security mostly by accident, because it de-facto adds a firewall that blocks incoming packets. It's not the address translation itself that makes things more secure, it's the inability to route in from the outside.

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Re: Old is good

BSD init and SysV init work pretty darn well for their original purpose -- servers with static IP addresses that are rebooted no more than once in a fortnight. Anything more dynamic starts to give it trouble.

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Re: There is a reason ...

Pardon my ignorance (I don't use a distro with systemd) why bother with networkd in the first place if you don't have to use it.

Mostly because the old-style init system doesn't cope all that well with systems that move from network to network. It works for systems with a static IP, or that do a DHCP request at boot, but it falls down on anything more dynamic.

In order to avoid restarting the whole network system every time they switch WiFi access points, people have kludged on solutions like NetworkManager. But it's hard to argue it's more stable or secure than networkd. And this is always going to be a point of vulnerability because anything that manipulates network interfaces will have to be running as root.

These days networking is essential to the basic functionality of most computers; I think there's a good argument that it doesn't make much sense to treat it as a second-class citizen.

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Re: Meh

Not really, systemd has its tentacles everywhere and runs as root.

Yes, but not really the problem in this case. Any DHCP client is going to have to run at least part of the time as root. There's not enough nuance in the Linux privilege model to allow it to manipulate network interfaces, otherwise.

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Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

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Re: Stop F#cking Apologizing

I'm not sure Trump's management style has really been shown to provide good results. He's driven six companies into bankruptcy and, on the whole, has gotten a worse return on his money than if he'd passively invested it. Good talent leaves both his companies and his administration on a regular basis.

The "yell at people, never apologize, make everyone cower in fear of you" attitude may win elections but doesn't actually work that well as a business strategy. You rarely see it in CEOs today. Boards of directors rarely care about political correctness, but they do care about returns.

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Re: Aspergers

If he's free to yell at people, other people are free to ask him not to because they think it's hurting a project they care about. He's also free to tell them to take a hike, and they're free to stop contributing or make their own fork. But there's nothing inherently wrong with saying, "Hey, dude, take it down a notch."

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London flatmate (Julian Assange) sues landlord (government of Ecuador) in human rights spat

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Re: Lets Get Real

The DoJ is itself a political organ, so being under investigation by it doesn't mean much except that you displeased the orange guy at the top.

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Do you really think Donald "I Love Wikileaks" Trump is going to be interested in punishing him? The only way Trump won't let him walk is if a Democrat praises him.

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Re: Hillary wanting to dronestrike him

You don't have to believe Hillary to think that a drone strike on an embassy in a major city is a ridiculous idea. Besides, if it were true someone else would have leaked it by now, given how badly the current administration wants her to look bad.

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Re: Lets Get Real

Women have little incentive to fabricate allegations, considering that even a legitimate accusation is a good way to have your life ruined while the man walks away without any consequences. I know more than one person who has been raped but decided not to report for that reason. In at least one case the man actually told them he'd ruin their life if they tried, and he was in a position to do so. Men hold all the high cards in most of these situations.

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Re: @streaky

I think it's unlikely the US is what he's really worried about right now, because he helped the current US President get elected. The odds of any executive branch entity going after him are basically nil. No, he's worried either that the UK will throw the book at him, or that those rape charges will actually stick. "Boys will be boys" isn't a great defense anymore.

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'The inmates have taken over the asylum': DNS godfather blasts DNS over HTTPS adoption

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Re: Bah!

No fat shaming intended. That Americans are getting larger in the waistline is a simple fact, one that the designers of airline seats and many other public accommodations have yet to allow for.

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Re: DNS over http

The thing about technologies designed by "web people" is they exist and get deployed, while the architecture astronauts are still debating what color to paint the bike shed.

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Re: Bah!

I have pretty limited sympathy for a company that chooses to deliberately exclude people with disabilities. I've seen lots of portable toilet installations that included a toilet for people in wheelchairs. It's not exactly unobtainable technology. It's mostly just the same thing, but roomier -- which isn't a bad idea anyway given the ever-expanding girth of Americans.

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Re: Paul Vixie is correct

The thing is, his argument against is "network admins won't be able to snoop." Which is exactly the point. So I don't see much room for a meeting of the minds between people who want to stop snooping and people who think snooping is essential to the Internet's function.

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Re: Cant trust my UK ISP

My ISP *already* messes with my DNS queries, by redirecting invalid hostnames to their own advertising pages. So I don't consider them especially trustworthy.

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Re: The first thing that struck me

Is it the customer's router that does DNS, or does the router DHCP DNS information point at a server run by the ISP in order to make caching more coherent?

In a lot of cases the router gives its own address out as the DNS server, then passes DNS requests from the client on to the ISP's servers, similar to dnsmasq. (In fact often it literally *is* dnsmasq running on the router.) This also lets them do things like redirect requests to an internal troubleshooting page when the ISP link is down.

In the past these internal DNS forwarders have sometimes been quite broken, especially for AAAA lookups, so on the whole I'm not a big fan.

There's no reason DNS *has* to be handled by the router, though, and since the part of the point of DoH is to look like ordinary HTTPS traffic, most routers should pass it on just fine.

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Super Cali goes ballistic, net neutrality hopeless? Even Ajit Pai's gloating is something quite atrocious

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Re: States’ Rights....

To be fair, having a Congress that declared from the start that their goal was to make him a failure didn't leave him much choice. Even things that Republicans used to support became anathema once Obama's name was attached. My wife suggested he should have written an executive order banning Republicans from jumping off cliffs, so that they would all do so in protest.

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It will be interesting to see if the FCC's "we don't have the authority to regulate this, but our non-regulation preempts your regulation" legal theory flies. The Supreme Court is now packed with conservatives, but not all of them are Trump toadies, and the ones that aren't are not big fans of federal power.

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Sysadmin running a Mac fleet? IBM has just thrown you a lifeline

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Re: So...

One difference is with a Mac, the cost of the OS is included. This means a company surplusing some Macs can resell a working system, unlike with Windows where they have to remove all volume-licensed software. Working machines probably sell for a fair bit more than ones with no OS.

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I think their biggest pre-mainframe business was selling punch card tabulators, and the cards to go with them. A lot of people don't know this now, but many of the traditional uses for punch cards didn't involve programmable computers at all.

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Yale Weds: Just some system maintenance, nothing to worry about. Yale Thurs: Nobody's smart alarm app works

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Re: "I can’t enter my property I only have the App!"...

I've worked in IT for almost half my life at this point, and I never use it to pull rank with helpdesk staff. For one thing it doesn't actually help.

I will say that this Yale screwup offends my sense of professionalism, though. It's painful watching someone do something you're good at badly.

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Russian rocket goes BOOM again – this time with a crew on it

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Re: Ballistic descent

The human body can endure some pretty high G forces if they’re brief and evenly distributed, and don’t compress the spine. The “eyes in” direction is best. John Stapp survived 46.2g with no lasting injuries, in the “eyes out” position, although he was temporarily blinded.

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Linux kernel's 'seat warmer' drops 4.19-rc5 with – wow – little drama

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Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

California is also huge. Its debt *per capita* is not all that high -- it comes in at half of Alaska's, a ruby-red state often cited as a conservative-libertarian utopia. No argument on housing, although that's a problem pretty much everywhere -- generally speaking housing policy in the US is aimed at making sure people make money off their houses, instead of ensuring everyone has one. I didn't say the place was perfect, just that it hasn't exactly turned into the kind of disaster conservatives always claim it will.

Parallels to Venezuela don't make much sense unless the rest of the US plans to institute economic sanctions against California. The main lesson of Venezuela is when the US makes a political decision that it wants your economy to tank, it's gonna tank.

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Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

TRUE tolerance acknowledges that people will do things that you disagree with. It means you tolerate them and treat them with the same respect...

I see no reason I should treat people with respect when their beliefs center around them not extending any respect to me.

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Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

I think we should be glad the Soviet union expired. Shooting down KAL 007 demonstrated beyond doubt that the Soviet had no moral inhibitions. Also remember the purges under Stalin, the terror under Beria and much, much more.

My point is that the solution was not to give up our own morals (although our hands weren't clean either -- e.g., Iran Air 655.) I don't think we need to give up on social progress and political debate in order to compete with China, nor would I want to live somewhere where that was the strategy.

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Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

Meanwhile China will just happily keep on ignoring even basic human rights when it suits it , never mind the concocted pixie dust and unicorns BS that eminates from the student level "rights" discussions we have today , which means they will ultimately triumph.

You remind me of Heinlein, who was convinced that WWIII would inevitably happen and the US would lose, because our naïve moral constraints would stop us from pushing the button while those immoral Soviets would go ahead and do it.

I think that the US economy can survive us treating each other like human beings. Yes, even women.

For that matter, California, which this thread cites as the epicenter of this so-called "rot," has had economic growth that's twice the national average over the last several years. Clearly it's not as crippling as all that.

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Ever used an airport lounge printer? You probably don't know how blabby they can be

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Re: Usability > Security

While what you're printing may not be confidential, that doesn't mean you want your device's identity broadcast to all and sundry. Especially when just the act of your device locating potentially available printers might be enough to do it. Opening the print dialog at all may be enough to do that even if you don't print anything.

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Open-source alt-droid wants to know if it's still leaking data to Google

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Re: Apropos

Supposedly it logs you into the browser but doesn't actually sync history unless you turn that on manually. I haven't independently verified this.

Google's excuse is there was confusion between browser sign-in and GMail sign-in on shared computers. Signing into your GMail account on a browser signed in to someone else's account has privacy consequences. This doesn't seem like the best way to fix it, though, if that was their real concern.

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Bug? Feature? Power users baffled as BitLocker update switch-off continues

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Re: seen it

My experience with Windows 10 is updates that are "installed" on shutdown are actually just staged, and the next startup has me watching it update itself for several minutes.

I sympathize with hiding the shutdown command, though. I've done that to a few users where I work. They're in the habit of shutting down their machine every night, even though I've told them to put them to sleep instead -- they feel that shutting down is more secure somehow. Unfortunately this blocks the nightly backup job from running, and when it runs during the day they complain their computer is too sluggish.

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Re: Bit(un)locker

I could see it helping with inadvertent data leaks due to failing to wipe hard disks after use, but that seems like a limited use case. SSDs are generally considered impossible to fully wipe, though, so it might make sense in that case.

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Remember when Apple's FaceTime stopped working years ago? Yeah, that was deliberate

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Re: I'm with Apple (and I hate iphones)

That's not quite what happened here. Apple stopped using the infringing tech, and updated Facetime to work via an intermediary server. At the time it worked on iOS 6. Everyone was reasonably happy (except Apple, who had to pay for the server farm.)

Later, Apple came up with a non-infringing version of the peer-to-peer tech that didn't require a server, and updated Facetime to use it. iOS 6 was now out of support, so it didn't get the update.

Now Apple was in a situation where they were running a chat server ONLY for iOS 6 users. The courts didn't force them to shut that down; they decided to themselves, in order to save money. In hindsight they probably should have fessed up to this instead of trying to make excuses, but this is a frequent Apple problem. (Their update that slowed down devices with crap batteries to stop them from spontaneously rebooting was similarly well-meaning, but poorly communicated.)

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm generally anti-planned-obsolescence, but I don't think it's realistic to expect a company to keep running a service in perpetuity just because they sold a device that used it. If this is upheld I expect future suits against IoT companies who end-of-life products, and game developers that shut down multiplayer servers for old games.

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