* Posts by Gerhard den Hollander

205 posts • joined 26 Feb 2007


Post-quantum crypto cracked in an hour with one core of an ancient Xeon

Gerhard den Hollander


Elliptic curves.

We'rent those the things Willey used to prove Fermats last theorem.

Elliptic curves are full of hidden depths and unexpected shortcuts.

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore

Gerhard den Hollander

When was the last time you tested your backups by doing a restore ?

Tell me about that .....


If I accidentally deleted a folder , how long would it take to restore ?

Shall we try ?

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe

Gerhard den Hollander

Walk and talk

never under estimate the benefit of just spending a day in a client office, nibbling biscuits and just talking (and listening)

Old-school editor Vim hits version 9 with faster scripting language

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Vigor

Sadly not even vim9 includes vigor

Windows 11 22H2 is almost here. Is it ready for the enterprise?

Gerhard den Hollander

Much ado about nothing

I may be the odd one out here, but I was volunteered to be the Guinea pig to have his machine upgraded, but other than some cosmetic changed ( I like rounded corners, had them on Linux since kde2) and some changes to the start menu ( which don't really bother as I hardly use the start menu) I have not noticed anything much

A miserable work week spent toiling inside 'the metaverse'

Gerhard den Hollander

Eye strain

Having to wear monitors a few inches from your eye will always cause eyestrain after a while.

Your eyes need to unfocus regularly.

One of the biggest helps combating eyestrain when working from home the last few years was putting a little gap between 2 of the monitors so I can gaze out through the window behind into the distance without even having to turn my head.

Doesn't matter that the view is just the street.

The next time your program is 'not responding,' (do not) try these steps

Gerhard den Hollander

not responding ....

The whole, ohhh the app looks like it has started immediately, now it's sitting there not responding is just the app doing everything and cleaning the kitchensync as part of it's startup process .

It just throws something at the screen quickly, so that it looks it has started

And then it goes off and does silly shit like looking online for an update, using a webaddress that is no longer valid (but the fix for that is in the update ), trying to make a rolling snapshot of it's internal database

having a quiet laugh at the contents of your Pictures folder

reading your email, and replying to 5 random of them

and all the while forgetting to send a sign of life to windows, so that the app literally is not responding .

We used to have splash screens for that

Email domain for NPM lib with 6m downloads a week grabbed by expert to make a point

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Six million times a week!

it's how npm programming works

whenever you do an npm build, npm goes out to the internet and downloads any missing dependencies, so anyone who creates a new npm project (whether to quickly test something, homework or ....) will need to include some packages, most of which will include foreach

npm (at least by default) fetches fresh dependencies for each project.

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: No software can be trusted

And need to be absolutely sure of yourself .

Many languages have the equivalent of C's smashing the stack for fun and profit

or the odd corner case where the user supplies a 4G+1 character string as input

An international incident or just some finger trouble at the console?

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Typing is not a good idea.

Well ... if I had a beer for every tme someone copied/pasted something that didnt work because they accindetally copied (pick your choice), the enclosing quotes, the pre or post whitespace, the punctuation mark, the ALL CAPITALS that followed the 4 character queue they had to type in.

Heck, they at least once managed to include the next line after I'd helpfully put the magic word on a single line by itself to prevent all of the above .....

Fedora starts to simplify Linux graphics handling

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Yikes.....I haven't heard ANY useful answers to this question...please help!

> Personally I do not use any of this X-over-the-network stuff and never have, I'm afraid.

> The sysadmin types I talk to use ssh and so on, command-line stuff, and don't care about desktops much.

I use it on a daily basis, working from home on a windows box, cygwin/X , ssh into the linux box at work, run linux GUI stuff.

Same when working in the office, we have a few dozen powerful linux boxes in the server room, ssh into a few of them, start our software, use the GUI to set the computations, let the computations run, see the QC screens being X11 forwarded to my local box, ssh into the next machine onward and upward.

yes, theoretically you can do this with VNX or !M or rdesktop or ... but anyone who says that has never tried to do this on a day to day basis .. i can have 3 smallish progress monitoring thingies in the top left corner of my left most monitor to see whats going on on all 3 machines, trying to see the same thing with VNS is a nightmare

Sorry, remote X is awesome ..

heck, i've been running jobs on machine across the globe using X11 forwarding over the equivalent of ISDN lines where the fact I could do GUI forwarding saved the company a fair amount in plane tickets (and saved me a huge amount of sleepless nights and jetlags)

Heresy: Hare programming language an alternative to C

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Now C hare....

And perl for scripting.

The Swiss army chain saw of scripting languages

Atlassian outage lingers, sparking data loss fears

Gerhard den Hollander

I think thats the problem right there ?

Is there even a way to backup jura and confluence data ?

In such a way that it can be restored?

The latter an oft-overlooked issue w/ backups

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Been there, done that, tipped the swear jar

I just cleaned up a piece of code about to go commercial, that childishly I know, featured all kinds of punes (or play on words) around the fact that the description could be abbreviated to R.E.A.P and so had to remove the Non Timetus Messor window title, or the little scythe in the icon ... or ....

Food for thought on the return to the office

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: chocolate

Being the IT guy I was once upon a time asked to assist in cleaning the hot beverage machine as the person who usually did it was on vacation.

I'll spare you the details, but I'll never ever drink hot chocolate from such a machine again.

And the person who normally did this was very thorough. What I saw was just the accumulation I'd a week and a bit.

If the machine is not properly cleaned, what's in there can probably be trained to do telemarketing .

Coffee has a separate circuit.

To err is human. To really tmux things up requires an engineer

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Moar visibility

Have an upvote for using screen.

Same here, multiple screen sessions

In theory each machine has it's own xterm in which i have a screen session running.

However many a times the temptation to just ssh into the next machine in stead of spawning yet another xterm is too big.

Hence my shell prompts also include the machine name, current working directory and effective user

(or depending on what I do some other critical bits of information, like whether i'm looking at release or debug builds or )

Windows box won't boot? SystemRescue 9 may help

Gerhard den Hollander

Das Knoppix

I still have a knoppix DVD around, and if I dig hard enough I should be able to find that USB stick that was knoppix bootable

I also for years have used my trusty Knoppix CD as a tea coaster (no beer during work hours) once I no longer needed it because I had the DVD/USB combo.

I should probably make myself a new one just because I can

Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?

Gerhard den Hollander

Only 4 sheesh...

Looking around I see about a dozen books lying around, plus a few hundred in the book case.

Including Dickens xmas stories. There used to be a complete set of Discworld books. But it seems the one ppl return to me are not the ones I lent them ( I now have 2 Eric's and men at arms is missing and there are 3 more where I'm reasonably sure I know who has them)

I've heard about e-readers, have even tried 2 different ones. They are not for me... Sorry.

Even when traveling light I try to take at least a few ( and buy more at the airport)

Playing jigsaw on my roof: They can ID you from your hygiene habits

Gerhard den Hollander

Waste paper bins

Over here we have recycling bins to discard paper etc in.

You put the bin once a month at the curbside and they get emptied.

Paper/cardboard only, no general waste allowed.

Miscreants get fined.

Therefore all bins are labeled with you home address

Plus anyone who has my name and knows the village I live in can lookup my address and phone number in the online phone directory

Microsoft: What's that? A patch for make-me-admin vuln? Sorry – can't hear you. Have a new jumper instead

Gerhard den Hollander

In retrospect, they should have helped shoveling the burning coal overboard...

The ideal sat-nav is one that stops the car, winds down the window, and asks directions

Gerhard den Hollander



Back in the previous Millennium had a proof of concept car that used a joystick in stead of a steering wheel.

Since steering wheels are not what you'd want to enter your body when you hit something this made sense from a safety point of view

Say what you see: Four-letter fun on a late-night support call

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: How to deal with calls

Dear sir,

As per your request, I am sending you this email in relation to our telephone earlier (around 1:56 AM ).

The problem is still not solved. Please refer to our telephone conversation for details about this problem.

As it is imperative that this problem is solved, I've cc:ed my manager.

Kind regards,

Ex-org? Not at all! Three and a half years after X.Org Server 1.20, 1.21 is released

Gerhard den Hollander


Xscreensaver does not work under Wayland

I'm not going to give up a tool I've been using for 30 years (1.13 I think) just because some newfangled kid on the block doesn't want me to.

All I want for Christmas is a delivery address that a delivery courier can find

Gerhard den Hollander

``we know what you did'' is even more worrying


``we know where the bodies are buried''

is also a good one

(the correct answer likely to be ``at the cemetry'' )

What if Chrome broke features of the web and Google forgot to tell anyone? Oh wait, that's exactly what happened

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: The choice of available browsers is lame

Oddly enough I'm reading (and posting) this using OperaGX.

I've switched back to opera dureing the pandemic, and was surprised it how good it (once again) is.

It may not have everything you need (though I would be interested to hear what) but it certainly has everything I need, and things that I cannot really do without anymore (workspaces for the win).

Firewalls? Pfft – it's no match for my mighty spares-bin PC

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Guess what I found!

But honestly, isn't this way much more fun ?

From book shop to tat bazaar to cloud behemoth to grocer, what's Amazon up to now? Augmented-reality hairstyles

Gerhard den Hollander

A cut above the rest

Hairkut 2000

DBA heroes don't always wear capes. Sometimes they just have a bunch of forgotten permissions

Gerhard den Hollander

> A rare breed in the boss stakes, for sure. Then again, this is his story after all.

Very nicely put ... well done

How do you save an ailing sales pitch? Just burn down the client's office with their own whiteboard

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Lies

I was wondering the same thing ...

unless the whiteboard was accepting only 110V and there was supposed to be a transformer in between to take the 220 and downgrade it to 11 and with only the cable they fed it directly 220 ?

And yes, I have accidentally blown up a PC ones that was sent back to our office from a remote location that used 110 and I forgot to check the setting before plugging it into 220

but other than the prongy bits at the end I've never had an issue with cables ...

and I've had a few colleagues who moved from a 110V country to overhere, and they've all happily used plugconverters and extension cords without any of their electornic toys going bang

This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?

Gerhard den Hollander

I just want to thank you for introducing the word ``zob'' to my vocabulary ..

Ah ... zodd off you silly english k-nig-hts ...

Dutch officials say Donald Trump really did protect his Twitter account with MAGA2020! password

Gerhard den Hollander

Because people (used to) travel ?

Because people use a VPN ?

e.g.: while working from home I need to connect to the work network through a VPN.

Because f this the internet thinks I'm in France (which leads to many advertisements showing up in French) when I disconnect I'm in the netherlands (which leads to most advertisements being in English )

The VPN is soemtimes a bit flakey , which means that in the span of an hour Twitter would see me connecting from just south of Paris then 10mins later from north of the dutch-belgian border, than back to France

For extra git & shiggles I could enable opera's privacy mode VPN which bounces me around the world at random

Marine archaeologists catch a break on the bottom of the Baltic Sea: A 75-year-old Enigma Machine

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Old typewriter

Cryptomonicon by Neal Stepehnson discusses this (and other issues) as well as spinning a yarn about cryptocurrency.

How to sink the german convoys without the germans getting the hint that you may have broken their cipher ....

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Broken NFS

I remember a similar issue when you had the axe-murderers file system mounted over NFS ... it had some funny behaviour where a folder with the word test in it would show up as a flat file once mounted over NFS

You only live twice: Once to start the installation, and the other time to finish it off

Gerhard den Hollander


I've hand carried 2 shuttle PCs (shoebox sized PCs that were all the rage in the early 2000s ... at least with one of our BMs) along with a VPN firewall along with my own laptop (all as carry on luggage) through 3 countries in the Middle East and Africa (the kind of countries where alcohol is no allowed) (the joys of a round trip where they were needed at the penultimae destination) without a hitch, but arriving at the final destination I got held at gunpoint (the only time in my life I've stared down the barrel of a gun) because they wanted to inspect the wallet with 2 dozen CDs I'd brought along with me ...

All obviously self-burned, all backup copies of the original installation media with the product keys written on them with black marker ... and while we did have volume licenses for all these products, and so these were technically probably not illegal i was not really looking forward to having to explain this to a big guy with an even bigger gun and an even bigger moustache

Turned out the only thing they were checking was if I wasn't smuggling dirty movies into the country , and after going trough the ``no it's not movies, it's software '' line a few times the guy waved me through ....

Thankfully Dubai did allow the serving of beer in Hotels ...

Microsoft leaks 6.5TB in Bing search data via unsecured Elastic server. *Insert 'Wow... that much?' joke here*

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Really?

Bear was vansihed , exit, chased by Antigonus ....

Typical '80s IT: Good idea leads to additional duties, without extra training or pay, and a nuked payroll system

Gerhard den Hollander

We make backups ...

As the saying goes: "Oh yes, we make backups. Restore ? Nobody said anything about restoring, we just make backups ...."

Funny, that: Handy script for wiping directories is capable of wreaking havoc beyond a miscreant's wildest dreams

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: My contribution ...

Had a variation of that happen to me ages ago.

cd /tmp

rm -rf *

Noticed some files refused to go

Realised those needed superuser permissions

su -

rm -rf *

Realised that this was taking rather longer than expected

Noticed the - after the su....

Realised the backup tape was fortunately still in the tapedrive but ejected, which indicates last night's backup had run.....

Managed to stop the Rm in time to keep the system alive enough I could restore from tape

Hidden Windows Terminal goodies to check out: Retro mode that emulates blurry CRT display – and more

Gerhard den Hollander

Or you know, you use tabs to connect to different remote machines, and then run screen in all of them ...

Then again, what do I know ... I installed cygwin/X and use different Xterms (each with a slightly different colored font) to connect to different remote linux boxes ..

and run screen in all of them ... ever since I discovered screen in 1992 (or so, give or take a year) it has been my multiplexer of choice ... plus the fact that your session stays alive if your connection drops ..

back in the day when you would loose the connection if your wife would pick up the phone while you were using the same phone line to connect your VT100 to the office machine ....

Glad those days are over :)

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

Gerhard den Hollander


We used to have an office in Woking, next to the trainstation. 4 times an hour, whenever the train left the station, it would send powerspikes into our building. You would see the lights dim and then brighten before getting back to normal. Same powerspike would sometimes take down a computer, which could usually be fixed by a reboot. Even after supplying most machines with a UPS the spike would sometimes be too strong for the spike-limiter (or whatever it was called) in the UPS and take down the machine.

In other days, we had dual monitor setups for most of our users, even in the mid-90s ... big 24inch sun monitors that could do 1920x1200. When you turned on both at once, they would both go through their de-gaussing step at the same time, and could happily be bouncing of each other for minutes before one of them would give up and they would both stabilize.

Even more fun after a powerfailure, and you restored power only to remember slightly too late that you hadnt switched off all the monitors. The powersurge of more than a dozen of these beasts starting up would immediately trip the breakers

Publishers signed up to Apple's premium News may be less than 'appy to discover the iGiant snatching readers

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Walls

Have an upvote for managing to include BS Johnson

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Rudest, Dumbest - same thing no?

I used to do that

send an email saying "Your email is now fixed"

than went and fixed their email

The ``you're email is now fixed'' would automagically appear to indicate the email was indeed fixed

(and if it didn't I hadn't fixed it properly)

Side benefit.

This worked even better if what I was fixing was something like a sendmail.cf , which when fixed meant I could go and have a coffee while the user would get the email saying things were fine again :)

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: "The IT manager turned up clutching a clipboard"

If he is included in the calculation, it's very easy for everyone else to be above average, as he's dragging the average down tremendously

Overload: A one-way ticket to a madman's situation

Gerhard den Hollander


Create a text file called do_not_run_me.sh

make it's contents $*&$*$

Linux fans thrown a bone in one Windows 10 build while Peppa Pig may fly if another is ready in time for this year

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Linux developers

For Linux developers missing the blues teen there is, of course, xscreensaver.

Building it from source is considered a bit of a rite of passage.

Building it from source, and getting the full suite working, including the xscreensaver-demo is not easy ( until you've done it once)

BOFH: We must... have... beer! Only... cure... for... electromagnetic fields

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: Irradiated Haggis

I'd hate to spoil it ...


Y2K, Windows NT4 Server and Notes. It's a 1990s Who, Me? special

Gerhard den Hollander

Hold the power button ....

I learned relatively quickly that certain brands if server hardware would not poweroff on the push of the button but on the release.

Back in the NT4 days I remember having to get a colleague ( who was within shouting distance) logging in on the console and doing a graceful shutdown while i kept the powerbutton depressed.

To be fair i’ve returned the favor a few times as well.

When someone asks can you powerdown The server, always ask which of the servers we’ve just been discussing he meant ....,

BOFH: Oh, go on, let's flush all that legacy tech down the toilet

Gerhard den Hollander

Reading this on the toilet

Little knowing that Graham the dispatcher is now a poo-smelling smear in the middle of the road because he forgot to take your latest memo with him."


Which is why i print them, rather than take an ipad.

Must watch: GE's smart light bulb reset process is a masterpiece... of modern techno-insanity

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: What about if, during the fourth cycle, you panicked and turned it off after just seven seconds?

... which would be a great opportunity to throw in a NINE NEIN NINE NEIN joke ...

Oh Snapd! Gimme-root-now security bug lets miscreants sock it to your Ubuntu boxes

Gerhard den Hollander

Re: snapd and systemd

Have an upvote for referencing Bergholt Stuttley ....

Cheeky cheesemaker fails to copyright how things taste

Gerhard den Hollander

Witte wieven

Witte wieven translates to white women, not wise women. It’s actually a nickname/folktale referencing the fog from the canals that, when rising up across the meadows looks ( in the dark ) like white women climbing out of the canal coming to drag the weary walker in the canal.

Many a walker in the 1800s who had fortified himself before a long cold walk would encounter these white women and depending on his level of fortification may have ended up in the drink.



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