* Posts by Bebu

965 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2022


Starting over: Rebooting the OS stack for fun and profit

Bebu Silver badge

Winding paths of history...

I recall being intrigued back when (90s?) reading GO Corp PenOS doco the the application's text was executed in-place on the devices non-volatile storage ie it wasn't copied into ram.

I don't imagine these devices had demand paging or copy-on-write, or indeed a mmu at all, but I assume the non-volatile storage was roughly as fast as the processor or a fairly large ram cache.

An early australian 8 bit z80 pc, the Applied Tech. Microbee used 6116 cmos static ram which could be battery backed to provide non-volatile storage.

I always thought Multics approach of making everything a segment was an idea worth doing properly - 64kb segments are just plain silly but 2^64 byte segments could fly. I imagine mmap(2) took part of its inspiration from this.

I suspect flat address spaces are pretty much the rule partly because its the unix way and the complete dogs breakfast the 80286 made of segmentation. Although I think at one stage on x86_32 hardware you could run the linux kernel in one segment and the user space in another. I assume the intersegment call were slow so was a space v time trade off.

If we plug this in without telling anyone, nobody will know we caused the outage

Bebu Silver badge

Ethernet AUI were a pita too.

I think I read that one of ethernet's inventors (Bob Metcalfe?) greatest regret was the aui connector - the retaining sliders I think.

The fairly heavy media adaptors were always falling of the back of machines.

Fortunately once twisted pair became de rigeur the e-waste box of old cards and adaptors filled quickly. :)

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Philosophical question:

《Drink! Girls! Feck! Arse!》

You stikl with us Father Jack?

Security is hard because it has to be right all the time? Yeah, like everything else

Bebu Silver badge


I would guess for any system (set of states, and the permitted inputs and the consequent transitions between states) sufficiently large its possibly impractical to prove a particular property holds in the face of all possible inputs.

I suspect this gets precariously close to the halting problem.

Real computer systems have an absolutely humungous set of states of which the vast majority will never occur during the life of the system.

I guess security comes down to attempting to partitioning a system into a very much smaller number of equivalence classes on which a security property can be demonstrated to hold.

The hazard even here could be not capturing the entire set of states in the first instance so that you have equivalence classes that don't cover the whole system.

The old saw that complexity is intrinsically the enemy of security (or correctness) now applies in spades.

When you think of a LLM's gazillion states and lack of observability things are about to get a lot worse.* ;)

* From my school days one of my favourite phrases from french was de mal en pis which I liked to think meant 'bad enough to drive a man to drink.'

Arm targets AI performance with latest Neoverse Compute Subsystems

Bebu Silver badge

Can't the Vulture do Å ? :)

"Intel Foundry's 18A process node"

I am assuming 18A is 1.8nm aka 18Å.

I don't think there is an el Rego unit for IC fabrication process sizes - I imagine something like what you get when subdividing 1 imperial foot into (12)^6 parts so it would be an embuggerment to go down to next scale viz 1ft/(12)^7 :)

(Troy weight is still around and we could have easily kept 12d/1s if we had moved to the duodecimal number system [and sprouted extra fingers] - 10d/1s, 6d = .6s, 18s/£ 19s/gn but probably replace the £ with a twelve shilling $ :)

C-suite execs not immune to downsizing drama at Cisco

Bebu Silver badge

Nicely venemous

《It's really impressive just how awful these tech execs and boards are》

With such awful (as) people who are equally awful in their roles its incomprehensible that these corporate Titanics have not yet met their iceberg.

I don't imagine anyone gives a tinker's about the C-Suite slicing up each other, but the poor souls who put in the hard graft that build their company who get the chop have my sincere sympathy.

Crowning glory of GOV.UK websites updated, sparking frontend upgrades

Bebu Silver badge

Re: FUCK the king twat

"Roundhead's helmet"

Probably not the most politic to bring up the Lord Protector when the crown rests on head bearing the name of a rather less fortunate Stuart monarch.

Cromwell is much maligned by the later writers of the victors' history and the Protectorate, by comparison with the current schmozzle, has much to recommend it (Ireland excepted.)

Bebu Silver badge


《why would a minister give a sign-off for a website to remove the word "beta"?》

With the current dismal crop of ministerial talent I shouldn't be surprised if they were to think that beta meant better.

I don't suppose anyone would notice or really cares whether the web site sports a Tudor or St Edward crown icon. I am not certain the average Brit would notice if the diagonal red parts of the Union flag were removed (but they might in Ulster. :)

BOFH: In the event of a conference, the ninja clause always applies

Bebu Silver badge

Vaguely familar.

When I saw the image fronting this story something vaguely familar about the figure ineffectually attempting to conceal himself behind a potted plant which appears to be what is commonly called Mother in law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) in these parts.

Just came to me that the figure resembles 11th Doctor sporting a decent beard (not the ones in the Day of the Moon, or The Wedding of River Song) looking like he is avoiding her indoors who has got the hump with him and is on the warpath.

Anyway I learnt the PFY's name is probably Stephen. Like the the stoned martyr. :)

Bebu Silver badge

I had concerns for PFY's wellbeing....

I had concerns for PFY's wellbeing when the AED (packerwhacker) was mentioned and retrieved.

Getting a belt from one of those could be life changing. (Yes I know the AED actually tries to detect cardiac electrical activity before discharging but operator incompetence or bastardry might also apply.)

In any case the barman's £20☆ was explained by the more liquid heart starter being substituted.

In the interest of accuracy there was "AI" twenty plus years ago and oddly decision trees in the guise of expert systems were one of its things back then.

☆ legitimate business expense.

Bebu Silver badge


《..who believes that Bill Gates is buying all the land world-wide (and the Moon and Mars), who heard the Head of WHO proclaiming the decimation of world population to 10 per cent, and who knows that Covid doesn't exist and in fact was invented to reach the mentioned population target.》

Substitute Musk for Gates and in this business just being the same room these days you will have at least two of these spewing this sort of nonsense and much, much... worse. Verging on Vogon poetry. Although to his (dis)credit Elon is doing his very best(worst) to live up to these ravings.

Google Maps leads German tourists to week-long survival saga in Australian swamp

Bebu Silver badge

Maps and compass.

《buy paper maps and a compass.》

Don't blindly trust the compass either.

The magnetic declination of Weipa +4° (E) and Brisbane +11° (E) and the odd mountain of magnetite could ruin your day. :)

Are kids still shown how to use their wristwatch to locate north from the sun's position? (Presumably accounting for DST in those benighted states that fiddle with the clocks. ;)

Bebu Silver badge

Re: If only there were some sort of handy backup.

"You could make it out of paper,"

Bloody hard to get get actual maps these days and expensive if you can. At least in AU. Street directories for the main cities still published (I think) but always slightly out of date (especially new housing developments) where gmaps can often help.

Regional maps are a bit scarcer but in the more touristy area the local authority often gives them away at their tourist information booths. Finding decent regional route maps is harder every year.

Back in the '90 before visiting Bangkok I wanted a street map before arriving and after finding there were no english (or thai) maps I stumbled over a german (language) map in a Sydney news agency. ;)

The irony of trying to navigate on foot with a german map sprinkled with Straßen, and whatnot, wasn't lost on me further compounded by all the street signs only being in thai script.

Online maps aren't the problem so much as the dependence on the magic voice to direct your movements.

Very early on I used to print a copy of the map I was going to use but with time that became more and more difficult to get a useful print out.

These days I scribble a mud map with the main road and a list of the two or three cross streets before my turning (rinse and repeat.) I also note a couple of cross streets after the desired turning (and fallback turning) if I happen to miss or unable to make the turning.

With a quick explanation a passenger can use the mud map to act as a navigator looking out for the cross street names.

Bebu Silver badge


《I don't think I'd be trusting it to get me safely through a crocodile infested hellhole in the back end of nowhere!》

I was going write that its not that bad but I think perhaps not - although you would be nowhere you still have a decent haul up the road to get to its backend.

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Unless I'm mistaken...

"icon: nearest looking thing to a redback"

We do have have scorpions too.

I guess they have to queue behind the taipans, crocs, sharks, and redbacks to have a crack at the new chums.

Bebu Silver badge

Not that we don't try

Achtung Crocodiles

Sometimes we wonder on what the crocodile subsist when there are no german tourists on the offing. ;)

Cape York is extremely remote even by AU standards. Even after the 40 years since I was there I would be surprised if google anything worked there. The coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria is pristine but if the crocs don't get you the sharks are waiting. No need for swimming costumes unless its the Weipa public pool and so few people up there anyway why would you bother spoiling the wild lifes' enjoyment of their food.

Basically consult the locals about the hazards and your route. Leave an itinerary with the local authorities and check in at your itinerary's next stop so if you do fall off the radar you will be missed. Always carry plenty of drinking water and sufficient non perishable food. An epirb probably a good idea too.

Australia is big, much bigger than most septics or europeans imagine.

Work for you? Again? After you lied about the job and stole my stuff? No thanks

Bebu Silver badge


《A paper trail is absolutely key and always be wary of those who try and avoid it.》

Its a pretty common modus operandi in many organisations encompassing plausible deniability, blame shifting and general arse covering.

The number of times I have received a phone call in response to a written communication which the caller would have preferred the contents of the conversation not to have been recorded. ;)

The very effective vaccination for this affliction is to promptly and invariably send a precis or minuted summary of the conversation to the caller by organisational email.

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Fire in haste, regret at leisure

《you wouldn't happen to remember the password would you, the support company don't have it on record.》

I would have written it on a label I stuck on the bottom of the box, or on the inside of the lid etc, or on the gyprock wall next to my then desk in very light pencil. No password managers back then and little black books get mislaid and I can not ever remember passwords and nothing needed to be secured much above physical security.

The gyprock walk came in handy when, affer a few years post my departure, someone had a pressing need to uninstall an antivirus application from a PC but needed a long lost organisational password. (It was a quite long randomly generated string.)

Bebu Silver badge


《A) Confirm all the data were not actually deleted contrary to the customer's wishes and go ahead with potentially gaining a reasonable amount of money from a data extract. There couldn't possibly be any potential unwanted consequences to this whatsoever.》

"Sorry all the data was expunged but we still have the hard disks whose logic boards were fried ages ago by a lightening damaging a server that might have had an old copy of your data.

"We can retain data recovery expertise on a cost recovery+ basis for a best effort attempt (prepayment required) to try to restore all or part of your data.

Just ensure you can put your hands on a dozen or so completely dead*, sufficiently old drives☆ in case subpoenas and warrants start flying. ;)

Doesn't anyone actual archive their records or data? BACKUP ≠ ARCHIVE !

* oddly in my career I always seemed to have had boxes of old dead(ish) drives (scsi, ide, sata, sas etc) although in this use case I would utterly destroy the magnetic media before depolyment.:)

☆ a rookie mistake to paint an old master on a contemporary canvas.

Bebu Silver badge


《there was an incident where she pushed someone down some stairs》

Not all fiction but the trick is not to be observed (by the still living) and not get caught.

Open(able) windows, three or more floors up from the parking lot, always trump stairs.

Bebu Silver badge

A bit too literal...

《intimate you know where the bodies are buried without being too specific, just enough to make them ponder what exactly you do know and how big the shit storm would be if certain bodies got unearthed....》

A bit too literal in the BOFH's case. ;)

The carpet coffins are a dead give away but it would require a soul braver, or more foolhardy than I to intimate any such thing to said BOFH. I am certain he gets a bulk discount on carpet and equally that the firm pays for it.

Bebu Silver badge

Re: The Reason So Many People Automatically Hate *All* Managers

《... is because so many people never have had a good manager, and so don't realize that they exist, though they truly do.》

Not sure about unobtainium (t1/2 < tp < 1qs) but dark matter might be favourite although I suspect its the quintessential component of all management.

A competent manager would be heaven sent or a non-interfering incompetent one woud be refreshing. (I quite liked young Mr Grace :)

Bebu Silver badge

At least...

《train a senior manager and a cocky kid who had just graduated from university (in Classics)》

At least the kid would know what a Pyrrhic victory was. :)

The manager being rarely ever exposed to, or responsible for, any other kind - not so much.

Bebu Silver badge


《we only talked during the annual performance review.

Can't beat that.》

Mine completed the online form and ran it past me to approve. :)

No possibility of promotion or performance bonuses so was really only annoying administrivia.

KPI: didn't screw up last year. [] not met [] below expectation [] met [×] exceeded

Performance goals: not to screw up this year.

If manglement had any appreciation of reality (and the realpolitik of their organisation) they would inflict orders of magnitude less damage but of course that reality is that they don't. :(

Amazon hopes to avoid labor regulation by simply abolishing national watchdogs

Bebu Silver badge

If I recall...

I believe some of FDR's New Deal measures were ruled invalid by the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds.

By the time those measures were invalidated they had often served their purpose. ;)

FDR faced plenty of opposition at the time and I would imagine the constitutional soundness most of these authorities would have been tested at that time (the 80 years too late?)

With the current bench who knows what further insanity they might release from this Pandora's box?

Web archive user's $14k BigQuery bill shock after running queries on 'free' dataset

Bebu Silver badge

The downside is?

《So don't lightly dismiss free ad-funded services. The alternative would see the internet used about as much as private viewdata services were in the 1980s.》

At this point this alternative is really quite attractive.

Internet ca 1996 wasn't so bad - you had proper trolls (who probably owned a bridge or two) and could compose a grammatical, if demented, sentence even stretching to a paragraph without (immediately) descending to outright abuse.

With Altavista etc you had a fair chance of locating relevant material now with the lashings of AI/LLM mixed into current search engine mess you will be lucky to get only "... defining loads of buttered grin..."*.

A world without Alphabet/Google/Youtube etc, Amazon, Meta/Facebook etc, X, Tiktok, etc etc doesn't look too bad to me.

* The output to a query whether dogs can safely eat Fruit Loops or some such.

Employees saved Musk from himself over Twitter Files

Bebu Silver badge

Brittas Empire

《There was an excellent Britcom in the 90s called Brittas Empire.》

Arnold Rimmer's retirement job. :)

Excellent series.

In this case more like halfarse empire.

I imagine a fool winning some mega-lottery and buying a Nimitz class carrier without thinking what he actually was going do with it, or indeed be allowed to do with it, except in Musk's case it would be a Ford class vessel.

Firefly software snafu sends Lockheed satellite on short-lived space safari

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Exactly this...

《Earlier space efforts were built on rigor, lengthy and specific and detailed checklists that were themselves built on checklists, and everyone involved was focused on getting as close to perfection as humanly possible.》

This was brought home to me years ago when visiting the "Powerhouse Museum" in Sydney where there was some Gemini hardware on display that a visitor could inspect closely.

I was really surprised at the precision and fineness of the workmanship. There were wired seals everywhere which presumably denoted completion and provenance.

A different culture and attitude.

Another thing I noticed at the time was that much of what I could see wasn't all that complicated. So perhaps St Exupery's aphorism from Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars):

《 Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher》

was implicitly understood by those engineers, scientists and technicians.

Staff say Dell's return to office mandate is a stealth layoff, especially for women

Bebu Silver badge

Overcrowded down there?

《In today's global technology revolution, we believe in-person connections paired with a flexible approach are critical to drive innovation and value differentiation.》

The particular infernal circle that houses the utterers of such nonsense must be bursting at the seams.

The Hornèd One will likely require some D9 cats to enlarge his Pit - I don't imagine that enterprise entertain hybid or remote in any form.

I would concede this particular pearl has the hallmark (watermark:) of ChatGPT or its ilk which is very definitely the product of that sable gent.

More seriously if this mandate does so disproportionately disadvantage female employees I would have thought at least in some jurisdictions this mandate could be contested, as a class, under local employment discrimination legislation. Probably another argument for labour organisation.

When I survey the 2020s and I see that so many of the all powerful and insanely wealthy appear to be bereft of any semblance of a soul which leads me to wonder whether some offenses don't await the decease of the damned before their soul is dispatched to the pit.

Australian supercomputer 'Taingiwilta' comes online this year with [REDACTED] inside

Bebu Silver badge

Re: So, publishing is more attractive, but you can't

"There is hole in my bucket, dear Lisa..."

I get the impression this speaker at the conference hadn't exactly sung for her supper as I assume she was a drawcard if not a keynote and consequently with possibly some less than impressed attendees.

The adage: "if you have nothing to say, say nothing" could equally be applied where there is nothing you can say.

Perhaps for the next conference the director of the Ruritanian War Department's High Performance Quantum Computing (HPQC) facility should be invited to share his/her insights into their neurobiotechnology based HPQC system Bourbaki developed by Vincent Teutonstein.

"Bourbaki is self securing as it can with quantum magic alter reality, or the perception if reality, but we are not sure which or possibly both and as it keeps growing new capabilities who can tell? How well does Bourbaki work in practice? Well. Have you tried booking flight to Streslau, Ruritania?"

Perhaps Bourbaki's director has but the record has been "derealized." :)

Bebu Silver badge

Not even the BOFH ;)

《which makes it hard to get staff for defence HPC》

These kind of facilities, I believe, normally lack windows of any sort which I suspect would rather cramp the style of a chronic defenestrator. :)

Given the BOFH penchant for terminating discussions with his adversaries ex fenestra one has to wonder whether he was trained by the south african security services, kgb or was an associate of Cheney and Rumsfeld.

I assume the speaker's presence at this conference was to pitch the advantages of working for defence HPC. Come join us fame and fortune await... actually no fame, ... not so much fortune either, ... you get to get to work with one of the world's top 50 HPC systems but I cannot tell you what it is☆, ... will be doing CFD but cannot say for what [splitting the beer atom? Or where the AUKUS submarines detectable* in AU's shallower waters?]

The Devil has a better(sic) prospectus. ;)

☆ Half a billion surplus transputers and the joys of Occam.

* If the astronomers ever devise a sensitive, directional neutrino detector then I imagine one of the pillars of deterence evaporates. If a neutrino astronomy suddenly goes quiet you might well be suspicious. ;)

Bebu Silver badge

Ask a silly question...

《difference between interpreted and compiled languages,》... is?

A language is defined by its grammar/syntax and semantics. Its purely a matter of implementation whether the its interpreted or compliled and even then the boundary is blurred by just-in-time compilation, microcode and even threaded interpreters.

I assume the muddled question might have been to elicit the differences between compilation and interpretation: contrast and compare. Even Smalltalk was "compiled" into byte code which was interpreted and indeed there was hardware Smalltalk on a Risc (SOAR) which was roughly a Smalltalk processor.

Even 40 years ago I concluded that it took a very special kind of retard to work in defence science and would have avoided the sector like the plague. It appears most of the Australian talent have reached the same conclusion and the sector is decidedly very second eleven (B-team.) The requirements of AU citizenship and an intrusive security clearance process pretty much preclude poaching talent from overseas.

Probably fortunate that this bit of hardware is somewhat hush hush as it will save the embarrassment of trying to pronounce the name correctly. I am only guessing that its tai-ngi-wil-ta and ng is ñ otherwise its tangy wilter.

Oracle faces continued legal battle over alleged NetSuite software misrepresentations

Bebu Silver badge

Sounds like par for the course...

《"...lures their customers into signing complex and confusing agreements, with terms thrust on the customer at the last moment without adequate time to review, and with key parts of the agreements hidden in hyperlinks."》

Sorry, we will need time to run this past our people. Come back in a month with the identical agreement when will have properly considered your offer. Oracle sales droids even 30 years ago had very prescriptive performance targets very tightly tied to their compensation so any delays in closing really hurts them. :)

Personally: dealing with Big <Colour> ... just say no.

Microsoft says it'll throw €3.2B at AI ops in Germany

Bebu Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: wurst

《Hopefully AI Powered Bing will get the ‘Shall we invade Poland’ question right and not a racist positive summarisation of the benefits of Bkitzkrieg..》

I am not so sure... Bing might have said Dantzig ok. But give Barbarossa a miss.

Letting LLM loose on the totality of german textual material might produce some interesting models. 19th century german philosophy could produce some peculiar AI hallucinations as would Malleus Maleficarum which, although in latin, was written by two 15th C. german clergymen.

I imagine it might wonder why JFK proclaimed himself a jammy doughnut. ;)

Self-taught-techie slept on the datacenter floor, survived communism, ended a marriage

Bebu Silver badge

The Cuban lad didn't mention...

whether the unfortunate discarded signora was more interesting than a dozen linux servers. :)

A misspent youth.

Seems a bit fishy that the expat spouse didn't write a letter (snail mail) or even telephone after his emails went unanswered. A bit odd that if the mail wasn't being delivered to the hospital server the originating MTA or any destination backup MXer should have timed out after 5 days (normally) and bounced the mail. I can only imagine /var/mail was full but /var/spool/mqueue wasn't so sendmail was accepting mail but local delivery was broken.

Back then correctly configured email rarely lost email - it either was delivered or bounced.

Space nukes: The unbelievably bad idea that's exactly that ... unbelievable

Bebu Silver badge

"keeping your smartphone out of the biscuit tin"

《keeping your smartphone out of the biscuit tin》

this phrase seems to describe this lunacy and much other contemporary insanity.

Clearly a cellphone kept in a sealed metal container (Faraday cage) isn't ever going to receive any calls, texts or any RF signals and by analogy its owner is impervious to any sort of sense.

Thirty second of thought would suggest that if an EM pulse weapon or Carrington event could fry your phone the cell hardware would also be fried and any electronics involved in your broadband connection (and cell backhaul) and even your Tesla vehicle (cybertruck?) would be stuffed. There's someone whose phone is shoved deep down into the biscuit barrel of barminess. :)

I think even an old vehicle with a mechanical ignition system would require replacing the coil, alternator, starter motor and wiring including the ignition leads. Need a rather large biscuit tin.

I would have thought laser weapons in space would make slightly more sense.

A visa to fill Australia's empty tech jobs is getting more expensive, but maybe better value

Bebu Silver badge

They're a weird mob...

Its the title of an AU book and film but a fair comment.

The good part is AU is such a large country (7.7m sq. km between lat. 11°S and 43°S) that you can choose any climate you desire and outside the large coastal cities you can find as much seclusion as anyone might desire. The bonus is there aren't a whole lot of gun crazies trying to kill you although the wildlife isn't so considerate.

I am pretty much lifelong resident and still its a very odd place which I suspect many immigrants don't really ever understand but are extremely grateful to live in a stable nation where the expectation of surviving to the next day and not starving is taken for granted and for their part migrants are typically extremely motivated and grasp every opportunity with both hands to the great benefit of the nation.

Even our rather mediocre politicians understand long term immigration is crucial for nation building and its only their neglect of other long term policy areas such as housing and taxation that has caused a short term collision with immigration policy.

Sometimes I think Terry Pratchett's continent of Fourex is only very slightly satirical caricature of Australia.

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Seems perfectly elementary to me :|

Seems to be missing the essential occupation -

000666 [BOFH Defenestral Specialist]

Employ a decent #000666 and all the other classifications go out the window.

India seeks Artificial Wisdom and plans city-scale digital twin

Bebu Silver badge

Great advances...

I thought New York's Madison Avenue had forever captured the world title for this sort of nonsense but I have to concede the subcontinent is a real contender. ;)

Artificial Wisdom really Mr Modi?

Wisdom is largely evident from its absence and definitely not much wisdom here.

《sources of data that describes how people move around Indian cities.》 Legs might be favourite here. But fair enough - asking between what points citizens travel, the mode of transport, the times and frequencies with reasons behind those choices do inform urban planning decisions but this is neither new nor rocket science.

This has to be the pearl:

《for clarity of horizon and creative exploration to unleash potential.》

which means? I doubt the horizon is much in evidence from smog afflicted Delhi. The second part suggests a fool trying to defuse a bomb.

There are a very large number of extremely clever and capable people in India with some very impressive achievements but like everywhere they aren't obviously present in political life.

Twilio reminds users that Authy Desktop apps die next month – not in August

Bebu Silver badge

Wondered about this.

《SMS / email delivery of a TOTP.》

I cannot see the real point of this as the number could be any random 6 digit number with a use by date ie the shared secret isn't actually shared. The 2F is really the possession of your phone or control of your email account.

TOTP is very roughly a hash of a random seed and the curent time - where the random seed is the roughly preshared key.

For very odd reasons I needed a text client to produce these tokens which given the linux oath toolkit libraries was a 20 line C program featuring the single library call:

oath_totp_generate (secret, secret_length, now, time_step_size, start_offset, digits, output_otp)

If you can get the secret out of authy generating the token is pretty simple - clients often export them as a URI possibly as a QR code eg


The converting base32 encoded secret to an unsigned byte array is the only clever bit. ;)

Properly securing these totp secrets on your device/workstation is the really hard part.

Forgetting the history of Unix is coding us into a corner

Bebu Silver badge

Suggestion for title for systemd haters' tome

《Thinking about it, would there be a market for 1400 page tome about systemd? Any suggestions for a title?》

And in the Darkness Bind Them

With the cover encircling the title with the full verse in the original Tengwar.

For me the main thing that Unix originally did differently was to provide mechanisms for the separation of policy from implementation to some extent. I recall at the time I was pleasantly surprised that you could actually write your own cli (shell) with Unix which wasn't really a thing with the DEC PDP10 or PDP11 operating systems (or later VMS either I think.)

The relatively clean and abstract Unix system call interface was refreshing after learning assembly on a PDP10 where the system service interfaces seemed fairly ad hoc and inconsistent.

I always thought of the "everything is a file" abstraction was more every "thing" (object in everyday sense) in the kernel was represented or named in the same name space as traditional files (which themselves are fairly deep abstractions of often quite horrid block device hardware eg PC floppy.)

A comment mentioned Unix STREAMS which appeared in System V (and SunOS) I think was implemented by DMR but I think I read he later wrote that the scheduling between connected stream modules was a real problem presumably with single threaded kernels. I imagine implementing streams in a multithreaded kernel would be simpler.

NASA extinguishes experiment about setting things on fire in space

Bebu Silver badge

In microgravity can you drop onto?

《drops his unextinguished ciggie onto his bedside stash of old copies of Razzle》

I imagine the "ciggie" would have floated off on the slightest air current and only by remote accident land on his razzles*.

The bevvies if carbonated (beer) don't quite work out the same in zero G either. :(

When I think about the role of rising hot air (draught or convection?) in terrestrial fires, its not particularly clear to me how a fire in zero G would behave - I cannot see how hot gaseous combustion products and heated air can 'rise.' Just expands around the combustion site and removed by any external air flow?

Fire fighting would probably differ too. If the crew had ready access to a personal air supply then flooding a burning compartment with nitrogen I imagine could be effective.

I suppose the last mission to the ISS could run the real thing just as they leave.

* had to look it up a UK pecularity it seems Razzle

Cutting kids off from the dark web – the solution can only ever be social

Bebu Silver badge

Re: The law is not everything

《It's worth noting that around 1/3 of ALL sex offenders are under 18》

That is potentially a larger concern than a isolated homicide or two. The James Bulger tragedy would pre-date any influence of the dark web.

The data (from the UK) that might be pertinent: has this proportion changed in the last 30 years? and as a proportion of the age cohort? ie are 16 year old committing more offences? (M/F ratios?) How much of any increase is due to legislative capture and enforcement? ie how many the prosecutions were for acts that weren't offences 20 years ago or if they were they weren't then actively prosecuted. Age profiles would be useful to determine the most serious offences are being committed by increasingly younger offenders?

Answers to these types of questions in cases of (non-lethal) violence which obviously overlaps the previous, might give a clearer insight as to what the root causes might be (and excludes others.)

As another post suggested aggression is possibly part of adolescent (male?) development in which case the nannification of contact sports might have blocked an avenue of release or sublimation. When playing (field) hockey as a youth you learnt very quickly not to piss off your opponents. :) From what I have seen of ice hockey* its really is a form of armed combat. :)

I have often stated that civility is what men have learnt in order to avoid the otherwise inevitable spilt blood and broken bones. I understand women between themselves do things differently and often inflicting much greater injury.

The loss of civility in public life everywhere is infecting all strata of our communities and increasing levels of often mindlessly senseless violence must be anticipated.

*Mostly from the CA tv series Letterkenny

Cutting-edge robot space surgeon makes first incision in Zero-G

Bebu Silver badge

Zero G

I would be interested in the changes in surgical technique required in microgravity environments - management of liquids would likely be different - no gravity feed for IV fluids I imagine, and you cannot "drop" things on to a site (without thought gravity is often used as an invisible third hand on Earh - imagine brick-laying in space :) I don't think liquids pool so irrigation is likeky to be tricky.

The interaction of general anaesthesia (and anaesthetics used) with the human body's adaptation to (prolonged) microgravity might add another dimension of "interesting" (as in tnteresting times.)

Dave's not here, man. But this mind-blowingly huge server just, like, arrived

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Laundering

《"Nubbing up" - The practice of recovery/recycle of ashtrays for (re)smokeable materials.》

Brought to mind a picture of "Callan*"'s offsider "Lonely" although I don't recall his smoking. ;)

*UK TV series '70s.

Nginx web server forked as Freenginx to escape corporate overlords

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Deal

《Almost. They bought the name and rights to maintain something someone else could download for free and then fork. But the forkers have to vary the name.》

I too was wondering what F5 paid for.

Nginx is weird enough to pronounce of first sight - I thought the ng was ñ and ñingx rhymed with sphinx or jinx - any fork might have gone for EngineX which is its actual pronounciation (Musk has probably already Xpropriated it. :) Djinn[i]X might fly too.

Killing trees with lasers isn’t cool, says Epson. So why are inkjets any better?

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Almost paperless..

《I wish e-ink devices A4 size were a bit cheaper. Hopefully e-paper devices will become ubiquitous. (And not have ridiculous walled garden/monthly subscription/planned obsolescence BS that paper doesn't have!)》

My very thought.

A simple lightweight A4 (or for the Left Ponders US Letter or Quarto) mono e-Ink device that stores and displays PDF etc or even acts as a usb or (cups) network postscript/PCL printer could replace a lot of my use of paper.

The Sony digital paper DPT devices are the basic idea but expensive. The Boox 13" (330mm) android e-paper tablets are just as expensive and I hate to think what the colour e-paper devices will cost.

If the actual display components become cheap enough someone will tack on a Raspberry Pi to make a crowd funded "virtual" printer. :)

I am not sure printers are doomed as I was surprised by a 20-something telling the group that they had just purchased a new 24 pin dot matrix printer (I don't recall the brand possibly OKI.) I remarked that it would be difficult to buy the tractor feed A4 fanfold paper but apparently not. Go figure. I suppose it will have pride of place next to the vinyl LP scratch-o-matic turntable. :)

Having bound paper copies of your site's DRP is probably great insurance against - oops the DRP is on the systems we are recovering. Although I have seen the cheaper, older Kobo 6" (150mm) ereaders also used.

A lot of technical writing presupposes electronic only copy which removes the discipline the linear sequential presentation that paper imposes. I think this is the main reason paper books seem better than electronic ones. When I have both I don't really notice the difference (on a decent device). W.Rich Stevens' classic texts are a good example.

X accused of taking money from terrorists by selling checkmarks to US enemies

Bebu Silver badge


《treating many of the individuals mentioned as freedom fighters.》

The difference between terrorist and freedom fighter is often a case of from what side you looking as both have been responsible for unspeakable atrocities.

Its the commerce that is the problem here. I understand the blue tick is supposed to indicate that X has verified the account is held/controlled by the party it represents itself to be. I don't see any problem with Hezbollah etc having such an indication (a green tick, or crossed scimitars etc) subject to it being lawful for it to have a presence at all. If you had inclination to read their material at least you would know its from the beast's mouth as it were.

I would imagine restrictions, if any, on the content would apply uniformly to all account classes eg the verified account of the Ruritanian Union of Fascists would equally be restricted in their hateful content that they could publish as some far right unverified nutter from Wombledon.

Not that I believe Musk's crew verify anything as I suspect X is just taking the money and printing off another blue tick. (That a "tick" is also a disease carrying, blood sucking parasite is particularly apropos. :)

In this case the cash is piddling and why be so precious about banning these accounts if that is the intent? I wouldn't have thought US first amendment protections would apply to non resident, non US citizen, non natural persons.

Not that I have ever had any truck with any social media. If uncle Bulgaria and Rupert Hentzau want to slug it out on X no skin off my nose.

Damn Small Linux returns after a 12-year gap

Bebu Silver badge

Re: Memory lane

"booted right up like it was 2005 again."

Careful what you wish for - 2005 Bush II second term, YouTube, new pope, Katrina and silly buggers in Gaza and a variety of other ghastlies.

Sadly actually not all that different from 2024.

[Insert the Dylan lyric.]