* Posts by Bernard Mergendeiler

28 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Oct 2007

Pacific nation prepares to flee rising seas

Bernard Mergendeiler

Pause to remember Tarawa

The mention of Tarawa should cause one to pause for a moment to remember the Battle of Tarawa, one of the bloodiest of WWII.

New Intel 710: The numbers don't look good

Bernard Mergendeiler

The 710 from 1973 is back!

Tne now-defunct Wang Laboratories came up with a model 710 disk, too -- 256K fixed and 256K removable, ca 1973. The hardware and electronics were a phenomenal piece of engineering mediocrity, even for that time. One could have done about as well trying to make a disk drove out of a phonograph turntable with the tone arm recycled as head positioner. But,unlike any disk today, it was byte-addressable.

The Intel 710 article brought it all back in a rush.

I wonder if they retained the Wang feature of electrostatic formatting. Walk across a carpeted floor, touch the control panel bezel, and watch the drive auto-format both platters.

French officials: 'Don't worry about fatal nuclear explosion'

Bernard Mergendeiler

Overhyped headline

Reg is very clever and often funny with headlines, but "nuclear explosion" is utterly incorrect and fearmongering. The explosion was an ordinary chemical explosion where radioactive waste was present. It was not at all a "nuclear explosion" ala Hiroshima.

FCC considers mandatory data roaming across the USA

Bernard Mergendeiler

It's Llewes, Delaware.

If it looks a bit Welsh, it probably is. There are lots of Welsh place names in the area, especially around Philadelphia to the northeast.

Cornish pasties awarded protected status

Bernard Mergendeiler

Cornish Pastry is People?

For your readers who live a bit beyond Land's End, what is "swede" in this context? I keep picturing tall, blond people and a Muppet chef.

Self-correcting memory arrives at last

Bernard Mergendeiler

Old news

The Wang VS had hardware ECC memory in 1977.

Foreign objects in orifices a bigger killer than laptops

Bernard Mergendeiler

Incicences .. and reflections, maybe?

"there were a grand total of 109 incidences of "

I guess angle of incidents equals angle of redaction.

RockYou admits security snafu exposed email login details

Bernard Mergendeiler

Well, DUH!

There has never been an excuse for storing passwords in plain text. Doing that and saying security is one of their priorities is right up there with, "Your call is very important to us; please continue to hold..."

Don't worry, these same geniuses are now learning about SQL injection attacks and may devise a defense some day.

State attorney nabbed in car with stripper, Viagra and sex toys

Bernard Mergendeiler

Just following management example

Remember the public mess the Governor of SC got into a while back? One of the highest duties of leadership is to set an example. I think the state should make such "facilities" available to all state workers. It could even improve productivity -- less time spent on hypocrisy.

Helpdesk Heroes or unappreciated geeks?

Bernard Mergendeiler


I deal with external customers. They often ask "Where are you located?", fishihg for overseas outsourcing, despite the fact that my native language is the unaccented American English used in broadcasting. I answer truthfully. Sometimes though, an early morning customer is not yet fully awake.

Customer: Where are you located?

Me: Outside Philadelphia, near Valley Forge.

Customer: Oh! Your English is very good!

Me: Vielen Dank, gnädige Frau! Englisch ist meine Muttersprache. (Thank you very much, Madam! English is my native language. -- in German)

Customer: I'll call back after I've had more coffee.

Chinese more willing to trust hookers than pols

Bernard Mergendeiler


It's just the classic question of who gives honest value for the money.

Boffins: Bebo interstellar spam aliens don't exist after all

Bernard Mergendeiler

Long ago...

MAD Magazine ran a satire of Telstar (an early comm satellite) in which the viewers' TV picture is replaced by the head of stereotypical alien saying, "We, the people of the planet Saturn, salute your technical achievement, but should you continue to send us reruns of "The Gale Storm Show"* we will have no alternative but to destroy your planet."

*An old American sitcom. Brits please read "Keeping Up Appearances" instead.

Hackers scalp StrongWebmail to claim cash prize

Bernard Mergendeiler

The current result doesn't matter

"Even if no one wins a particular challenge it doesn't follow that a system is unhackable - just that it wasn't broken this time around."

Exactly. Locks, whether physical or virtual, are merely entry delay mechanisms. The best ones delay entry to such an extent as to make the access irrelevant or such that a potential cracker is deterred from trying.

Google streams data center pods to world+dog

Bernard Mergendeiler
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Hangers are for clothing

A hangAr is a large building. Lose the spell checker and hire an editor.

You did what? The trials of supporting remote users

Bernard Mergendeiler

Question of the week

I used to work in Support for a software publisher.

Best call I ever got was from an excellent customer who never called with the usual dumb mistakes. He had a server farm. The servers were named after characters from "Rocky and Bullwinkle", e.g. Boris, Natasha, Dudley, Nell, etc. He was installing a new server and could think of only one character whose name he hadn't used yet.

Thus, the only reason for his call was to ask, "What was the name of Dudley Doright's horse?" I told him right away and he sent in an excellent customer satisfaction survey.

Airbus A380 bows out of Air Force One competition

Bernard Mergendeiler

Re: Runways

Given that the anonymous comment was specifically limited to runways, it is correct. However, the A380 cannot operate at many airports due to two other factors:

1. Taxiway clearance. The wingspan is such that there is not always adequate wingtip clearance between a runway and a parallel taxiway.

2. Taxiway width. The A380's outboard engines are rather far out on the wings and they are not allowed to operate over unpaved surfaces due to the possibility of foreign object damage (FOD).

I think the President should use an SR-71. He would get anywhere he wants to go at Mach 3. Let the press and other hangers-on ride in cattle^H^H^H^H^H^H coach on a regular airline flight.

The SR-71s nickname works well in the current context, too.

MEP tries to ban lightbulbs with mercury amendment

Bernard Mergendeiler

The problem is solved in this article

The alleged problem is with mercury in fluorescent lights. However, FLOURescence comes from pure, unbleached, genetically unmodified, whole-grain, organic, decaffinated wheat.

Mine's the one with the "Flour Power" sticker on the back.

Micro Focus buys NetManage

Bernard Mergendeiler

Don't nobody never learn nothin'?

I was there when Micro Focus bought Intersolv and DataDirect to become Merant. Intersolv ate Micro Focus alive from the inside with their own money, after which the merger came undone. Micro Focus basically started over with the help of venture captital and did a great job of getting from nearly nothing to IPO in about five years.

Looks like they're off to the next round. I'm glad I'm not there any more.

Google App Engine: how much will you pay for freedom?

Bernard Mergendeiler
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1. Why would anyone with an IQ greater than that of a jelly doughnut want to store their data where AdSense, Doubleclick, and Google analtyics can get at it?

2. Why would anyone want to put their data on any server which is publicly visible?

If access from anywhere is desirable, a VPN server is an inexpensive and far more secure alternative. If clients and/or vendors have a legitimate access need, let them do it through tightly restricted custom views on a VPN server separate from the one employees use.

SanDisk warns that unsecured flash drives are coming to get you

Bernard Mergendeiler


This is from the same company which puts out that @#$%! U3 popup junkware! WTF?

American ISPs already sharing data with outside ad firms

Bernard Mergendeiler

SSH tunneling services are available

When my ISP, Cavtel a/k/a Cavalier Telephone, "partnered"* with Google, I signed up for SSH tunneling to a proxy server. The service I use also provides disposable email addresses, all for a reasonable fee. Every packet my ISP sees, including POP3 and SMTP, is encrypted and uses nonstandard port numbers.

*Cavalier Telephone has apparently become too cheap to provide its own email servers and so sells out its customers to Gmail, AdSense, and all the rest of the crud. which goes with it.

7000 Leap Year Babies attack Steve Ballmer

Bernard Mergendeiler

Re 1900 bug -- standard

There's an old joke about this:

How many Microsoft developers does it take to change a light bulb? None. Darkness is the new standard.

Drunken Korean attempts to cook landlady's Chihuahua

Bernard Mergendeiler

Re: Theft

>>> someone elses chicken and then burning it...

Exactly. The Vietnamese could no more understand why we GIs had pet dogs than we would understand chickens as pets.

Total lunar eclipse: look skywards Wednesday

Bernard Mergendeiler

And what will the schedule be ...

... If NASA gets the liquid hydrogen sensors wrong again?

No coat needed today -- it's warm here. Bye.

US boffins tune into carbon nanotube radio

Bernard Mergendeiler
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Low tech the hard way

When I was a kid, back in the 50s, I did the same thing with technology which was then at least thirty years old -- a bit of lead ore called "galena" and a fine wire. A tuning coil and capacitor were helpful, but not absolutely necessary.

I'll be impressed when they turn out nanotube tubes (valves, auf Britisch) complete with filament, cathode, control grid, and anode. Screen grid and suppressor grid optional.

Daft users and insecure web apps dominate threat index

Bernard Mergendeiler

Step 4

If it's a Windows system, rename the Administrator account to something reasonably obscure and unguessable

'I'll be back' is most-quoted movie line

Bernard Mergendeiler

Go ahead, make my day.

A man has got to know his limitations

Reaper aerial killbot harvests its first fleshies

Bernard Mergendeiler
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Purple prose with black spots

Quisling? Obviously the author doesn't have the slightest idea what the term means. "Traitor" simply does not fit the context.

Aside from a bit of factual content, this is just a diatribe. I like the Reg's edgy style overall, but this piece is absurd.