* Posts by John Gamble

533 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

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Warren 'Mr Moneybags' Buffett offloads huge chunk of IBM investment

John Gamble

"Going against his own received wisdom of not buying stakes in companies he doesn't understand, ..."

IBM isn't that complicated. I suspect he understands it just fine.

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WikiLeaks is wiki-leaked. And it's still not even a proper wiki anyway

John Gamble
Big Brother

"Just a reminder: none of this is normal. ®"

Welcome to the new normal. At least until impeachment.

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ARM emulator in a VM? Yup, done. Ready to roll, no config required

John Gamble

Yup, was going to post something similar, though I admit my enjoyment of assembly-code writing (for small useful functions; I haven't done lengthy assembly coding for decades now) is a little off the norm.

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Cupboard of matrices looking a little... sparse? Have this delicious Taco

John Gamble

In Sparse, No One Can Hear You Scream.

Hmm, no, it doesn't quite work.

But yes, there are lots of problems involving sparse matrices, and tweaking the algorithms to work just so (or finding the correct library to do it for you) can be a major pain. This looks very interesting.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

John Gamble

Re: CPAN!

"...the profuse use of special symbols and special operators..."

What special operators?

If sigils are not your thing, well I can understand that. But the operators are mostly identical to the operators of C, and are not confusing.

Most confusion that I see comes from using lists incorrectly. Okay, fair enough, if you fell into that trap, and it scarred you for life, I'm not about to try to convince you otherwise in a comments forum. But it's not difficult to work with.

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Rob Scoble's lawyer told him to STFU about sex pest claims. He didn't

John Gamble

It says something that one of his victims advised him to "delete this now."

A while ago on a different article I mentioned the Brain Eater. It looks like the Brain Eater has taken more than one bite from Scoble's brain.

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John Gamble
Facepalm

"As part of the "open and honest dialogue" that Scoble said he wanted to encourage, he then confessed to writing down his sexual fantasies and sending them to her."

This is the point in the article when I actually did clutch my head. It may be a sign of numbness on my part that I didn't do that earlier.

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Your data will get hacked anyway so you might as well give up protecting it

John Gamble

Re: Pumpkin connection

"When I was a kid in Ireland (Dublin) we hollowed out turnips. VERY difficult. And too small. Basically a fail."

I read a story as a child that had a character do that, and remember thinking "oh, that's where we got the idea from!"

I assumed that the turnips were bigger than what I saw in the grocery store.

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Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

John Gamble
Thumb Up

Re: Oh noes

Another right-handed user who uses the mouse in his left hand here.

It was out of self-defense: my right hand was typing, using the keypad, and moving the mouse, and my hand hurt. Moving one of those tasks (the mouse) over to my left hand reduced the stress on my right.

It only took a day to get used to it. I didn't bother to switch buttons as I didn't want to bother switching them back if someone else was in the driver's seat.

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I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

John Gamble

Re: My personal favourite

I'm guessing that was someone's in-joke, because it makes no sense in American English either.

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John Gamble

Re: "all Americans sound like Woody from Toy Story"

Yeah, you're a victim of language shift (a native French speaker here was similarly surprised). Although apple cider (U.S. version) in no way can be confused with apple juice, if you want the alcoholic variety, you ask for "hard cider".

Woodpecker was widely available (well, when hard cider was just taking off again1 here) a couple of decades ago, but the Big BrewCos have been doing what they do best -- dumping flavored water-alcohol mixtures on the market -- so finding actual hard ciders that taste of apple takes a bit of research.

---

1. Some sales idiots tried marketing it to bars as "cider beer", which then became the term the wait staff used with customers. That usage got slammed pretty hard by customers who actually knew what the stuff was.

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'We think autonomous coding is a very real thing' – GitHub CEO imagines a future without programmers

John Gamble

Re: We already have autonomous code generation

"Oh I wasn't even referring to an optimizing compiler."

Yeah, neither was I. I was referring to machine instructions, which back in the Olden Days one tried not to use in tight loops (using, say, shift & add for multiplying a constant with your variable, or even shift & subtract for the division equivalent). Changes in hardware are just one of the things that also drive changes in software languages.

My point was more toward the fact that what we regard as a compiler will change in the coming decades, because the languages we use will have more features 1 and (one hopes) more safeguards.

---

1. Julia, in fact has just-do-it operations in it that I could only dream about forty years ago.

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John Gamble

Re: We already have autonomous code generation

Yeah, that was my first thought as well. But what gets compiled will be an even higher level language.

It's been decades since I've had to write anything in assembler -- compilers got much better, and the instructions that were known cycle hogs have been tamed. On the other end of the scale, I'm assuming my former co-worker who specialized in VAX COBOL has either learned new skills or retired.

I can't be certain what the Next Big Thing will be (although I'm seeing signs that explicitly written loops will be the next thing to become a rarity, as ranges-as-objects become common), but it will certainly come, and we will adapt or retire.

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Magic hash maths: Dedupe does not have to mean high compute. Wait, what?

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Dunno what he’s on about...

'It's not the calculating the hash that's the hard work, it's scanning the hash table looking for matches for every incoming write."

Which, continuing this explanation, is where the Bloom Filter comes in (although reading the article it looks like they're tweaking the Filter for their own needs).

Not bad explanation here (Bloom Filters Explained), and here (Bloom Filters for Dummies).

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Boeing borgs robot aeronautics biz Aurora Flight Sciences

John Gamble

Re: Will not gain acceptance

For what it's worth, train travel has improved a lot in the twenty-five years I've been using it, even though the Chicago - Detroit and Chicago - St. Paul lines are not as heavily used as the East coast lines.

But the improvements have been in the cars and the amenities, not in the infrastructure needed to support high-speed lines, in part because of the cut-my-nose-off politics of certain state governors who refused federal money.

(Travel time has improved, but that's due to elimination of delays, not to speed-up of the trains.)

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Beach, please... Billionaire VC finally opens way to waves

John Gamble

Re: Even at $20m per year......

"His income on his shares is worth about $150m per year.....$20m per year won't impact his quality of life in the slightest."

That's over 13% of that income. Sure, I could get by on a mere $130 million, but someone who's whining about beach access for hoi polloi is going to notice that.

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Want to get around app whitelists by pretending to be Microsoft? Of course you can...

John Gamble

<voice="Kirk_Douglas">No, I am Microsoft</voice>

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Equifax's disastrous Struts patching blunder: THOUSANDS of other orgs did it too

John Gamble
Thumb Up

Re: re: Problem is that the technology works well ...

"The unwritten "risk management" rule for many managers is this:

"Almost any risk is acceptable until it happens to us, not someone else. And when it does happen, I probably will have moved on so it will be someone else's problem. That is acceptable risk." "

Ah, The Bottle Imp strategy of system management, without the moral self-examination.

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Facebook let advertisers target 'Jew-haters'

John Gamble
Facepalm

To See Oursels as Ithers See Us

Not surprised that the usual conspiracy theorists here are defending a tool to aid crackpots (by definition, a racist is a crackpot) find other like-minded folk with murderous tendencies (although interestingly the guy who has actually used neo-nazi catchphrases hasn't posted).

But I'm shocked, shocked at the similarities of their comments to The Onion's post today.

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Farewell Cassini! NASA's Saturnian spacecraft waves goodbye for its Grand Finale

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Journalistic bias

Um. Huygens finished its mission twelve years ago.

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London Tube tracking trial may make commuting less miserable

John Gamble
Big Brother

Non-Londoner (Or Indeed British) Question

"TfL already tracks its passengers using the electronic Oyster card, which a huge percentage of Londoners use out of convenience and cost on their daily commute. But that data only tells the transport folk where people go into stations, where they exit, and any transfers they make to other lines."

The card tracks the exits? I'm trying to picture the method, and failing. In my city's system, all an exit has is a one-way turnstile -- it doesn't track or require a card to exit. What am I missing?

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Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

John Gamble
Unhappy

Why? Why?

"They could even call it the Guttenberg Project."

Haaaaaaate you....

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Atari shoots sueball at KitKat maker over use of 'Breakout' in ad

John Gamble

They were bought out by NeXT.

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How to build your own DIY makeshift levitation machine at home

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Levitator?

I had no idea there were such things as "superconductor mag-lev train set kits". So I searched on that phrase, and as a bonus found a demo of a superconductor moebius track.

(It has a nifty Youtube video of the demonstration; direct link here.)

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Kremlin's hackers 'wield stolen NSA exploit to spy on hotel guests in Europe, Mid East'

John Gamble
Alien

Re: NOT Russians, it was an Elephant that did it!

Formerly respected journalist Seymour Hersch.

Back in my USENET days, a phrase often used for writers that latched onto crank theories was "the Brain Eater got him" (it was usually a him, I can think of only one woman writer who went down the crazy path).

It was usually used for formerly good writers of fiction who for some reason wanted to prove some philosophy in their fiction, but it wasn't impossible for non-fiction writers to be attacked by the Brain Eater, and Hersch got bit hard.

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Ancient IETF 'teapot' gag preserved for posterity as a standard

John Gamble
Angel

Re: As mentioned elsewhere

It's a pity the anti-ddate people seem genuinely befuddled about it. It's as though they seem unable to get in touch with their sense of humor at all.

A friend once included in his project a "truth" function that returned true if the argument was 42, and false otherwise. It was even documented that way, with no further explanation as to why.

He did get asked (which he never answered as far as I know) what he had against the asterisk character. He thought it was sad that these people had never read The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I plan to revive the program, and I will not be removing anything from the function list.

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Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

John Gamble
Facepalm

That Whirlwind

"Even though nuclear weapons and diversity hiring could not appear to be two issues further apart, in the revolving whirlwind that is uninformed opinion online, they felt one in the same."

Hmm, and continuing that theme, earlier today El Reg had an article on that very subject, with supplementary examples from the readers.

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Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork

John Gamble

Assuming They Don't Post Anonymously

I'm looking forward to the responses to this article.

With luck, we'll get the actual dreadful people in question responding to this, instead of their proxies.

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Hackers could exploit solar power equipment flaws to cripple green grids, claims researcher

John Gamble

Re: Widespread problem

Yes. The fact that the issues have been seen many times before (TELNET, default passwords, not using https, etc.), issues that even those of us not in security recognize and (one hopes) avoid, shows that we're basically seeing a "copy, paste, and minimally edit" style of so-called programming.

Somehow it need to be communicated to management that test suites must be installed along with the purchased (or freely downloaded) libraries, and security tests must be included.

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Guess who's here to tell us we're all totally wrong about net neutrality? Of course, it's Comcast

John Gamble

Re: Aren't they the ones that throttled Netflix?

Netflix wasn't overloading Comcast's network, Comcast's customers were overloading Comcast's network.

Their customers will connect to popular things, that's just the way of it. If Comcast can't satisfy their customers, that's their lookout. Blaming Netflix is absurd.

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Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts

John Gamble
Angel

Meanwhile, We're Missing the Most Important Detail In the Article

"Hit the Road Jack" was written by Percy Mayfield. Ray Charles's recording is of course the most famous version though.

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

John Gamble

Nice picture choice. The only thing that would make it better is if you Photoshopped the Stargate behind them.

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Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

John Gamble

Self-Interest and Cranks

As of this writing, the petition has 10 supporters (the petition started "2 days ago", which is a little vague, I don't know if the software rounds up or down).

The petitioner, "NoRottenPi", as 23 supporters. So 13 people think NRP is okay, but like RaspberryPi better.

Not sure what to conclude from this. Even bigots are willing to quell their bigotry for the sake of cool tech?

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John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Oh what a Gay Day...

"From the time when Gay meant happy."

Still does mean that. If you are referring to a time when it exclusively meant that ... it's unlikely that was ever the case.

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Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

John Gamble
Alien

Or, with a different twist, a Ray Bradbury story (I know it's set on Mars, but I can't remember if it's an actual Martian Chronicles story). Hmm, time to re-read...

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Sharp claims Hisense reverse-ferreted its US telly licence deal

John Gamble

Yeah, I admit that my opinion was formed back in the VCR days, but there's a reason I stopped buying anything with the Sharp label.

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Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

John Gamble

Re: Can someone with more knowledge on the subject answer me this:

"With respect, winning by the rules is what having a mandate is defined as."

That may be how it works in a parliamentary system, but in the U.S., where power is split between three separate organizations (President, Senate, and House of Representatives; I'm skipping the oversight power of the Supreme Court for the moment), a mandate is a psychological attribute dependent upon the margin of victory.

Despite his win, Trump's popular vote loss tends to offset any "mandate" claims.

Honestly, the last president who had a clear mandate was Nixon (in my opinion of course; your candidate's mileage may vary). And he had to resign to avoid impeachment. So even a "mandate" won't shield you from your actions.

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Seminal game 'Colossal Cave Adventure' released onto GitLab

John Gamble

How To Test Your New Computer

And of course it makes critical appearances in The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder.

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RightNow founder turned politician gets assault charge after 'bodyslamming' reporter

John Gamble
Unhappy

Re: Unlikely to change the outcome

And depending on his district's beliefs, this might be of interest as well:

Gianforte, 56, is a billionaire businessman who sold his company, RightNow Technologies, in 2011 and apparently now spends his time funneling money toward the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, which publishes a newsletter explaining that "the Biblical worldview is consistent with the scientific evidence we find in the fossil record" and argues that dinosaurs rode on Noah's Ark.

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John Gamble

Re: I'm sorry

He may indeed get voted in. Montana has early voting, and he may have had a significant vote count before this. Too late for them to change their minds.

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Has AI gone too far? DeepTingle turns El Reg news into terrible erotica

John Gamble
Boffin

Dinosaurs

"Clearly, it has a thing for dinosaurs."

Well, who doesn't have a thing for dinosaurs? Of course, that means the researchers have failed in their fight against "algorithmic enforcement of norms".

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Bloke charged under UK terror law for refusing to cough up passwords

John Gamble

Re: "if they didn't pick up arms and charge over the top"

"Im pushing 60. Both of my grandfathers were born in 1901."

Likewise. My grandfather (three years older) was a Canadian, about to be shipped over to the RAF, when WWI ended.

And here's a rule of thumb: the more exclamation points in a post, the less likely the poster knows what he or she is talking about.

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Uber red-faced from Waymo legal row judge's repeated slapping

John Gamble
Pirate

How To Look Like a Genius

"The judge also notes that it is more than possible that Levandowski simply kept the files on a personal device and referred to them whenever needed."

That was my first thought as well. What better way to look like an indispensable genius than to keep code and designs for yourself, to be produced after an apparently difficult work session when a tough problem needs to be cracked?

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Call the fuzz, says Google, get the reward

John Gamble

Re: What the fuzz?

Fuzzing

I believe this could be considered a follow-up article to Email client lib blown apart by CC: list of death.

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It's been a few days, so what fresh trouble has Uber got into now?

John Gamble

Re: Prediction...

I'm sure Volkswagen can supply enough to cover Uber's needs. It might even help VW's bottom line.

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Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

John Gamble

Re: swaying elections

"A week or two ago, giving time to analyse the massive cache, would have been far better."

No, it's the classic "surprise" strategy. Dump the so-called incriminating evidence just before the voting takes place. It allows no time for analysis or rational thought, which means one's tendency towards suspicion takes hold.

The only difference between this and the decades-ago technique of stuffing "scandal" flyers under windshield wipers the day before an election is that this can be done on a far more widespread scale.

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Apple fanbois are officially sheeple. Yes, you heard. Deal with it

John Gamble
Joke

Re: Licensees

I view it more that the British put forth the stodgy Ubuntu version of English, while its colonies everywhere produced the cool Mint versions.

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Another career suicide as reporter leaves The Register for broadcaster

John Gamble

Re: Move #1...

Move #2 (stop that giggling) I think, as another El Registite went to the Wall Street Journal maybe a couple of years ago.

The annexation proceeds.

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NASA's Cassini snaps pic inside Saturn's ring – peace among the stars

John Gamble
Happy

Re: A colour photo, please

Also, quite frankly I find the B&W photos a lot more compelling. There are a few color shots on the Cassini website, and they're just not as interesting.

My computers have a dozen or so JPEGs from Cassini as desktop images, all of them black & white.

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A bot lingua franca does not exist: Your machine-learning options for walking the talk

John Gamble
Boffin

Julia

Julia is definitely a powerful language -- but it's just about to release version 0.6. The goal is to have every corner of the language nailed down by version 1.0, and that goal is very close (the Github repository is here), but if you start using it now, you have to be willing to risk having some code go obsolete on you.

(My projects in Julia are definitely in the "toy" area right now, so the updates are fairly painless to me.)

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