* Posts by Maksim Rukov

58 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Nov 2007


CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

Maksim Rukov

Re: The more you know, the less you're sure...

Yes, it's called the Dunning-Kruger effect.


Here lies /^v.+b$/i

Maksim Rukov


No-one's mentioned Inform. Probably for very good reason. But nonetheless, my offering (and I hope the comments system doesn't mangle things too much):

"The Life and Times of Verity Stob" by Maksim Rukov

This Mortal Coil is a room. "Not a bad place, really. You should probably not leave."

The player is a woman called Verity Stob.

Instead of going nowhere in This Mortal Coil, end the story saying "You have died."

You can play it online if you fancy (if I can post URLs).


X-COM UFO: Enemy Unknown

Maksim Rukov
Thumb Up

Not enough time units!

Antique Code Show? How have I managed to miss such a good feature until now?

There are, of course, many X-COM remakes that aren't shooters. They're all indie though. The name around the playground for the most promising such remake is "Xenonauts".

AFP terrifies MPs with ‘net pr0n tales

Maksim Rukov
Big Brother

think of the children!

I don't want children to be exploited, no-one does, but this is idiocy. This reminds me of the McCarthyist paranoia regarding communism. A massive over-reaction that does way more harm than good.

Our polticians are very keen to act prudish on any censorship matter. Take the Great Firewall of Australia, Customs laws requiring laptops and USB storage to be checked, and over-reaction to anything involving children (Google Bill Henson and David Traynor if you need convincing). All part of a desire to fight child porn, all a waste of time and effort.

I would like to think support for progressive parties like the Greens and the Sex Party will fix this mess, but sadly I suspect we'll have to wait for generational change.

... I feel better after that rant.

The internet ate our homework

Maksim Rukov

protectionist laws

If I recall correctly, the "absurd territorial copyright laws" mentioned in the article makes it illegal for businesses to import any book into Australia that hasn't been published by local publishers for two years. (This two-year period can be fudged and extended with reprints and new editions.) All in the name of saving the jobs of Australian publishers.

Hence the steep price of books.

I recall this law was called into question some years ago but the powers that be decided it should stay.

Ironic that this protectionist law will now contribute to the loss of jobs of store-front staff. Perhaps even more than the number of publisher jobs than were "saved" in the first place?

FBI serves 40 search warrants in Anonymous crackdown

Maksim Rukov

Opportunity cost?

If I were an FBI agent, I would feel my time misusued going after a handful of DDoSers. It'd be like being ordered to track down the local Congressman's missing dog.

When one oligopoly screws another

Maksim Rukov

Retailers -- stop whining!

These retailers really are daft. Do they not have a PR team? Why not at least attempt to window-dress their greed as something else. Perhaps a "Buy Australian Made" could stir some patriotic feelings. Anything's got to be better than out-and-out whinging about not making as much money as they'd like.

The retailers are dreaming if they think GST is the culprit. I'd happily buy goods from a local Aussie store (online or bricks-and-mortar) for warranty and return reasons if the price difference was only about 10%. The fact is that it's (almost) always a lot more.

I do believe the government itself has estimated that it'd cost more money policing the GST on imports than they would earn from it. In the end, then, it's naught but protectionism.

Keep whining retailers. The more consumers know shopping online is an option, the better.

Hefty physicist: Global warming is 'pseudoscientific fraud'

Maksim Rukov

it never rains but it pours

Ah this argument. You're in such good company...


Angry Birds tweet fury at Redmond

Maksim Rukov

Why not just...

...make a rather generic-looking cartoon annoyed avian that just happens to look "similar" to the aforementioned berated bird? I'd imagine it's only a little bit less effective but a whole lot safer.

They get away with that all the time in the movies, at least. How many McDonalds altered with veneer of fiction have you seen over the years?

Airline ejects passenger for being hungry

Maksim Rukov

the true exchange...

'Scuze me miss, it's five-oh clock and I'm wondering when we'll be feds? I gavver that airlines copper bad reputation regarding food, people say it's the filth, but really I don't see what the fuzz is about. You could jacks up the heat, though. Still, better than a packed jam sandwich from me uncle old Bill! Mmm, I can smell something bacon, is it ducks and geese?

Irate Aussies go after US website

Maksim Rukov

Dear Rest-of-the-World...

... I apologise on behalf of Australia for us acting like technophobes and wowsers.

We ask that you please tolerate our silly behaviour for some more years as the old tech-illiterate prudes die off and are replaced by net-savvy youngsters to whom something like Encyclopedia Dramatica is eye-rollingly blase.

We really want Australia to grow up. Your patience and understanding in the meantime is appreciated!

Oz watchdog nips Pammie Anderson's bikini-clad ass

Maksim Rukov

As an inhabitant of Oz...

...I saw that ad. It's had a very decent run. These complaints come just as I imagine it's reached the end of its TV life. Perhaps this timing suggests clever marketing bods at work.

I agree though, the advert is offensive. Suggesting a dinky cheap domain service as a serious option for getting "to the forefront of the internet"? I hope Pammy's handy with HTML...


Hollywood lawyers have another go at Aussie ISP

Maksim Rukov

As an iinet customer myself...

...I wish them good luck in these legal battles!

Poor little iinet having to do all this fighting in the first place. It's a shame those cowardly Hollywood lawyers didn't go after one of the bigger ISPs... either US-owned Optus or partially Government owned Telstra.

Consoles & Gadgets Rapid Fire

Maksim Rukov

fix the game, not the controller

Surely the solution to all this is to have a limit on weapon firing rates?

So you squeezed the trigger 100 times in one second? Too bad, this thing needs 0.5 seconds between each shot so you only shot twice in the game.

Or am I missing something?

Feds bust world's most prolific music piracy ring

Maksim Rukov

countdown to context mangling

Maybe these chaps should take some inspiration from Jerimiah Mondello and Don't Copy That 2. They may wish to seek sentence mitigation by appearing in a RIAA advert which alludes that their punishment was related to downloading a few songs from a P2P network, as opposed to a grab-bag of more serious crimes.

IT grad sues school over failed job hunt

Maksim Rukov

What's with the degree hate?

I found my university education (mostly) quite useful out in the real world. Sure, one should expect to need to learn more afterwards (nothing wrong with graduate/trainee roles) but it's nice to have a leg up.

So I'm wondering where all this degree hate is coming from? Is there something wrong with the learning institutions of the US of A? Or are you all grizzled old vets for whom academic qualifications mean nothing compared to decades upon decades of experience in certain fields?

At any rate, litigation for unemployment is daft. Unless one went to one of those dodgy IT "schools" who like to guarantee a job. But methinks those "organisations" are smart enough to pull their head in when the economy is in a state like this.

Jammie Thomas calls for file-sharing trial #3

Maksim Rukov

absurd damages

Some years ago I was working at a company where a trainee engineer died in an unsafe work environment. The company was fined $50,000. Still, that's $30,000 cheaper than daring to put a single song on Kazaa.

Yes, I know it's apples and oranges to an extent. And I l know that the $1.92 million would never actually get paid. All the same $1.92 million for sharing 24 songs is absurd. The politicians who voted this law into effect were not considering the welfare of the people first and foremost.

Stallman: open-source .NET 'danger' for Debian

Maksim Rukov

Not only C#...

All those Linux types are going to miss out on Visual Basic.NET.

I'm sure they're very distraught.

I'll get Me.Coat.

NASA marks 50th anniversary of monkey spaceflight

Maksim Rukov

Chimpanzee That



Infosys fires 2,100

Maksim Rukov

nailed to a cross of usury

I feel sorry for the people working on the "other" side of this whole global market thing. Let's face it, they'd be cleaning our toilets if a corporation figured out a way to fit a gloved hand with scrubber down a telephone line.

I know it's probably good for their economy in the long run, and they're probably not doing too badly out of it themselves. It just seems a bit unfair that they get the some of the worst jobs on the planet and then are subjected to such harsh "performance evaluation".

Advertising watchdog okays 'gaming equals early grave' ad

Maksim Rukov
Jobs Horns

It is surprising...

...that the advertising people didn't have the sense to at least give the kid some sort of Generic Brand (TM) controller. I'm sure if they were taking a shot of a kid eating crisps they'd not leave a giant "Smiths" label visible.

I daresay that the advert bods don't understand that technology has recognisable forms that the initiated can easily spot. They probably think, "a controller's a controller innit?"

I can imagine them making the same mistake in a campaign about hearing loss with portable music and using an iPod instead of a Generic Brand (TM) device. Then Apple would be all over them like a rash.

Dominican lad suffers six-day stiffy

Maksim Rukov

erecting a stiff defense for the poor lad

I feel I have to take a stand for this poor lad, if only because no-one else wood. Just because every Tom, Dick and Harry don't take meds willy-nilly doesn't mean you have to be so hard-on him. "Stick nor stone nowt break his bone" you may say, but remember that the penis mightier than the sword. You would do well to re-member that.

Mine's the one with the deep pockets.

UK censors revolt against 'pornalone' ordeal

Maksim Rukov


... brings a whole new meaning to "a hard day at work."

Mine's the one with the Kleenex in the pockets.

You did what? The trials of supporting remote users

Maksim Rukov

stories from the trenches

A developer now, but once I was part of a server support team. What memories!

1) Replacing a server's hard drive at a small rural site. All the staff are out and about but the site was unlocked (hopefully because they were expecting me, not because they were careless). Do the replacement without trouble. Need to call HQ so someone can keep an eye on the disk rebuild. None of the land lines work. Mobile phone has no signal. In the end I commandeer one of the PCs and send Novell's popup messages to any and all of my colleagues. Eventually got one to remote into the site's server and we had a conversation using the console.

2) Similar to 1, except the site was locked. Not wanting the several-hour drive to be in vain, a workmate and I proceeded to dismantle a window and essentially break in to do the maintenance work. Thankfully we managed put the window back without any damage, though it wasn't exactly any more secure than it started.

3) Some angry user at another remote site complained that the site's server was too noisy and wanted it gone immediately. When we said that we couldn't just remove the server, he filed a Healthy and Safety type complaint (which, as I'm sure many of you can imagine, causes all sorts of unrelated people to be suddenly interested in the affair -- in other words a right mess). Anyway, when we were trying to get the server to slow down its fans someone had a bright idea. We powered the server down and rung up and asked, "Sorry to bother you sir, but we've made a small change to the server, is it still too noisy?" ... "Yes! Grumble, grumble, when are you going to fix it? Urgent!" Suffice to say that put an end to the validity of his complaint. We think he was complaining about the air con noise all along...

4) When testing networked printers en mass during an upgrade, I would send a test page of my own design -- a single smiley face icon in Word blown up to fill the entire page. Ring up a nearby user and ask them to confirm what's been printed. Years later, it was a game to spot these smiley faces after users took them and used them as cubicle decoration.

5) The old grey engineers who knew the OS backwards told me this tale of yore. They would install a camera in the server room. Then they would send new guys down to check out some "faulty" server. Using their knowledge for evil, they would have the server prompt the poor sap "This server uses palm recognition. Please place your hand on the screen." The camera would capture their bewilderment and eventual obedience. Replace "hand" with "face" and occasionally "voice" for different flavours.

Best wishes to all the bods out there in support. I've been there so I know how you should be treated. "Urgent" is a dirty word.

Vladimir Putin bitchslaps Dell-boy

Maksim Rukov

Imagine if...

...all politicians were like Putin.

Go on, imagine it.

Whether things would end up for the better or worse, we'd certainly have a lot less namby-pamby wet-blanket pollie-speak.

HDTV 'pointless' without perfect peepers

Maksim Rukov

specs criteria

Most of my TV viewing is of fuzzy DivX movies from BitTorrent. Not really worth donning glasses for them. (Not that I'm complaining, mind, they're still very watchable.)

Though I do need to grab my specs when it's time for a HD console game. Otherwise I get in trouble for not spotting the terrorist crouching in the dark corner...

Snipers - Cowardly assassins, or surgical soldiers?

Maksim Rukov

if I had a penny...

...for every time I saw an online gaming nick with "sniper" (or some variant) in the name I would be quite rich. I would be exactly twice as rich if I got an extra penny every time such a nick's user happened to be a teenager with bad manners and a poor grasp of teamwork.

I wonder what real snipers make of that?

It's this annoying gamer sniper adulation that urges me to be cautious. Snipers serve a very useful role, no doubt about that, but they are not so awesome-amazing that you could field an army made entirely of them and expect to win your average everyday conventional war. Not that you clever Register chaps would need to be told that...

Then again, don't listen to me, I'm just mad at the amount of men I've lost to snipers in Company of Heroes.

Mine's the one with the Jeep keys in the pocket.

French Senate passes bill to disconnect filesharers

Maksim Rukov

three strikes at once?

Suppose someone downloads three piratey things at once or in short succession, and each of these things is "dectected" and a complaint sent to the ISP.

Will the system realise that these three are related and belay further stikes by a few days? Or (as I suspect) will each complaint be shoved into the system individually resulting in three strikes in a short space of time?

It might be a bit hard to read the first strike warning email when the internet has been cut off.

One hopes they've thought of this.

Cannibal's legal objection hamstrings German horror film

Maksim Rukov

Mr Meiwes has guts...

...to bone up on German law and axe this movie's release. He's really given the finger to the producers, who must've stumped up a lot of cash to cook up this movie (maybe it even cost them an arm and a leg?). I hope the actors got severance and weren't simply given the chop.

Given what's at steak, do you think they will organ-ise an appeal?

Mine's the one with the dark dripping pockets...

Asus readies iMac attack with all-in-one Eee

Maksim Rukov

perhaps a better name...

...would've been the "Eee Screen"?

Boffins sound exam cheat warning on brain enhancing pills

Maksim Rukov

choose: be a user, or be a loser

Personally I couldn't care less if people used these kind of enhancers. It is up to them to weigh up the pros and cons, and manage usage.

But I'd hate to be going into an exam and be surrounded by people all dosing up. Are they going to have an advantage over me simply because I choose not to pop some pills?

It seems to me that the biggest need for concentration in exams is speed -- the ability to plow through the questions before time's up. Maybe if exams were always generous with time (say two hours for one hour's worth of questions) these kind of enhancers would not give so much of an edge?

Swedish lag's wooden todgers fail to impress

Maksim Rukov


I would've thought a fine for unsafe products would be more in order. Imagine getting a splinter during "use"...

Blu-ray Xbox 360 to be sold at a loss?

Maksim Rukov

my PS3 won't come out of the closet

I have both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, but my PS3 remains in its box, in the cupboard, awaiting a game that I would want to play on it. I was tempted to sell it but changed my mind ever since blu-ray won the format war.

While both consoles have good and bad points (imagine that), when it comes to the crunch I would recommend the 360 over the PS3, mostly because of the games.

Anyway, when my PS3 does finally come out of the closet, I'm sure it'll be a valued piece of gaming hardware.

Landmine charity: Ban the killer robots before it's too late!

Maksim Rukov

maim, not kill

A bigger concern might be that the killer robots purposely try to maim rather than kill. I hear that a badly injured soldier is more of a drain on his military than a dead one. Consider a robot rifleman that shoots only at legs, arms and lower torso. A robot would be good at this because it has good aim, it has no qualms about being cruel, and it doesn't really care if its selective shooting isn't the best way to guarantee its own survival.

Mind you, this isn't anything new with robots. Other technologies have been designed for maim-factor -- landmines, fragmentation grenades, hollow-point ammunition, diseased cows in a catapult etc.

Quick! Get the little ice-cream girl a tourniquet!

Sweet, sweet smell of comments in code?

Maksim Rukov

I love comments too

Yes, I love comments too. People have made lots of good explanations of why comments are are good so I won't repeat what's been said.

Except to say that one of my favourite uses of comments is as a sort-of self-guide. Say I come to the point in the code where I need to do something semi-complex. First, I write a comment explaining it:

// Does the widget fit into the widget box?

Then I write the code. I find writing the code a little easier because I've got that plain-english description in mind.

It's nice that it helps me as I'm writing it *and* it helps me or someone else reading it in the future.

Man webcams butt in Burnout Paradise prang rage

Maksim Rukov

in posterity

This article cracked me up! Though I don't think the same reaction would've be had by Gordon Brown, aye?

Some gamer behaved like an ass, that's all. To be fair the kid didn't just dent both cars, he bloodly well wrecked 'em. But -- for newsworthiness we're scraping the bottom. Wipe any respect I had for El Reg.

Watch the fanboys rear their heads (the cheek!), as always they're right behind any bit of console news, though they scant realise they're the butt of our jokes.

Wait... that's no moon!

Mine's the one with the roll of toilet paper in the pocket.

IT industry needs more women

Maksim Rukov

for love || money

In the article:

"Applications for computer science courses fell sharply after the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000."

It makes me sad to think people are doing computer science just because it might make them rich. Not because they find the field interesting in and of itself. In my experience, though, most of the "get-rich-quick" types choked on the more tech-heavy units and buggered off to the business school.

Maybe I've just got sour grapes because I started my computer science degree in 2000...

Comcast pays Americans to oppose net neutrality

Maksim Rukov

career change

I can sleep through long, boring presentations! Never thought I could get paid to do it. Where do I sign up?

Taliban demand night-time cell tower shutdown

Maksim Rukov
Black Helicopters

@Keep sneering

I'm sure the Red Army pilot (or ghost of) would be more annoyed at the interfering CIA who supplied the missiles (stingers, I believe) in the first place.

I'm not too sure the CIA will be helping the Taliban out this time 'round.

Airline pilot sacked for 777 Top Gun stunt

Maksim Rukov

@Not good enough

Sorry about the rather plane responses so far. I'll try wheely hard to elevator the humour, in order to cure what ailerons you. This tail of an unauthorised fly-by is rudder amazing. The pilot was unfairly throttled by management, I know the type, they enjoy-sticking it to people.

Was that a... Top Pun?

Mine's the plane coat at the back of the stall, to the lift of the hat with the lowered flaps... okay okay I'm going.

MS showcases Red Ring of Death Xbox 360 at expo

Maksim Rukov

arguments over consoles

Stop it! I hate it when you fight! Aren't we all supposed to all be gamers here? Can't we just get along?

* runs crying to bedroom, slams door *

Halo Master Chief armour offered on eBay

Maksim Rukov

too short?

I thought the Master Chief was a tall bugger. Certainly more than 5'8". A little fellow couldn't pistol whip those big aliens, after all.

Mine's the one with optical camoflague... What do you mean you can't find it?

NASA to beam Beatles song into deep space

Maksim Rukov

would you steal a...

The RIAA better beam out an anti-piracy campaign suitable to aliens before NASA beams out the music. That way the aliens will know it's "wrong" to listen in.

Would you steal a personal pocket dimension?

Would you steal a hovercar?

Would you steal a hologram light matrix cube?

Listening to music beamed from Earth is STEALING.

Stealing is ILLEGAL.

Windows 7 fake spotted on BitTorrent

Maksim Rukov

very compressible

How very inconsiderate of the pranksters not to compress the file. Being all zeroes, I bet it would shrink to a much more managable file-size!

Mine's the one with the broken zipper.

100Mbit/s sewer broadband rollout coming your way

Maksim Rukov

toilet humour

An ISP(ee) would have to be flush with cash, able to piss away money, to afford a scheme like this. Mind you, every John and Jane will be going potty over the data flow. Some suburbs could really benefit, you could bowl Staines over with this kind of broadband cistern (yes I know how shit Staines is, bad example then). Of course, some people will pooh-pooh all this, and ignore how exciting the turd generation of broadband will be! It's not just a pipe dream any more. Trouble is, you lift the lid on mass piracy, watch over your grandmother lest the RIAA sewer!

Mine's the one with the breating apparatus.

RIAA wiped off the net

Maksim Rukov

covert to Prince Fan Site

They should've converted the RIAA site into a fan site for the Artist-Formerly-Known-as-Prince.

As we all know, Prince is very "proactive" about protecting his property.

Just imagine, Prince's lawyers lining up against RIAA lawyers. Scary stuff!

Academics slam Java

Maksim Rukov

Pointers? Sheer bloddy luxury!

When I were a lad, we wrote our programs using strange three-letter words and the occasional number. If we wanted a variable we 'ad to go diggin' through the stack. And we thought we were lucky!

Words? With letters? You were lucky! I 'ad to punch 'oles in little pieces of card and line up behind ten thousand other programmers to put the cards in the room-sized machine. And we thought we were lucky!

And you try and tell the young people of today that ... they won't believe you.

Taser unleashes leopardskin C2 and MP3 holster

Maksim Rukov
Jobs Halo

iGun, a better music/weapon combo



US Marines: Osprey tiltrotor doing OK in Iraq

Maksim Rukov
Black Helicopters

Save some ammo, kill with rotors...

Anyone seen 28 Weeks Later?

If that pilot could dismember zombies with a fairly regular helicopter, think what he could do in an Osprey, with those big blades pointed forwards. Crowds of insurgents in open fields -- beware!

P.S. Regarding the "Aramaki" comment at top... I seem to recall their tiltrotor didn't handle a suicide bomber jumping in the back too well.

NYC hit by bedbug epidemic

Maksim Rukov

Where's the IT angle? Part 2

Wait, I see -- NYC is in need of a good debugger!

Mine's the Armani suit coat. Best wash your hands after passing it...