* Posts by Tim Strutt

11 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Dec 2007

New banking code cracks down on out-of-date software

Tim Strutt Silver badge
Gates Horns

@Mark - Oz Banking

Thanks for info. My Oz bank charges me $7 a month for the privilege of using my accounts, and a further $85 a year for a credit card. Almost every time I log in (using Debian or OS X) the bank's site 'reminds' me to check I have an up to date anti-virus programme installed. Perhaps I should change to HSBC?

One good thing that they do, is that they send me an SMS text message with a one-time confirmation code if I add a new debtor or send money abroad - Probably costs them (me) a bit though...

Alternatively I could suggest that my bank should offer a discount on these account charges if the user has a hardware based firewall/router/modem. A further discount if IE is not used, and perhaps they should pay me not to use Windows?

Elon Musk delays SpaceX launch until 2009

Tim Strutt Silver badge

Teflon? NOT from the Uranium/Plutonium...


Another myth I'm afraid. PTFE was a serendipitous discovery by Roy Plunkett in 1938. One of the first practical uses of the material was during WW2 as a dielectric for capacitors. This was (at the time) highly classified, as it was used in RADAR and similar devices.

Mine is the stained lab coat.

The evolution of Crystal Reports

Tim Strutt Silver badge
Thumb Down

Crystal - A solution for what?

Crystal was fairly good when it was bundled with VB4 and even VB 5. Then it grew, a lot. If you were writing a little database app in VB it would fit on a couple of floppies until you added Crystal, then you went out and bought a CD burner...

Seriously, if you need to knock up something very quickly in a MS/SQL environment, MS Access has a pretty good band report generator - Bundling up the whole Access run-time environment takes up less space than Crystal, and it seems to be about an order of magnitude faster.

Microsoft immune system rejects execs

Tim Strutt Silver badge
Gates Horns


Yes. That is all true.

A little background - I believe that MS *has* been a service based company since at least the mid 1980s, when I was working for a large public utility. Our MS rep took us out to lunch (Yes, we bought that much stuff.). After a couple of drinks, one of our people asked the rep what MS's slogan was - You know like IBM's "Think".

There was a pause for a while, and then he said that he thought they did not have one. Somebody else said that MS must have something, everybody else did.

The rep thought a bit more and said "A hundred dollars a year from everyone." - "Where did that come from?" we said (or something similar) - "Bill" was the reply.

History has shown this to be pretty accurate.

Incidentally DEC's (Digital) slogan was "Honesty and respect for customers and employees." I wonder what happened to them? With a slogan like that, they must have done really well.

Mine's the one with dinner stains down the front.

Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned

Tim Strutt Silver badge

Fahrenheit - not eccentric

As other correspondents have noted the 32F was chosen for the triple point of water (melting ice) because the 0F was the coldest that you could easily get in the 18th century (a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium or sodium chloride).

The difference between the freezing point of water (32F) and the boiling point of water (212F) was defined by him as 180 degrees for a practical reason. In those days (before decimal took over), most trades counted in 12s (dozens for older readers). Hold up your dominant hand, then using your thumb on that hand, count all the joints on your opposing fingers - four fingers, three joints each gives 12. A dozen is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. The scale of 180 was chosen because it is easily divisible by 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5, 6, 9,10 and 12. The 96, 98 or 100 bit for blood temperature was a lucky approximation for human blood temperature which reinforced his 180 degree scale.

That was what I was told in the 1950s, but then that was before the internet, so it is old fashioned, and possibly incorrect (Well, highly technical, requiring degree level education or above.).

Mine is the old, comfy, frayed coat with the dinner stains down the front.

Apple ships Air

Tim Strutt Silver badge

Just a thought

Weren't Apple the first to stop putting a floppy drive in their kit?

I remember the cries of "Nobody will buy it - It doesn't even have a floppy!" It took about 5 years, but now, nobody ships stuff with a 3-and-a-half inch drive - Must save a couple of quid.

I won't mention Paris and small hard and floppy drives. Mine is the sun-hat with "Australia" written on it.

EnterpriseDB goes large on simplicity

Tim Strutt Silver badge

@Charlie Clark

Yes, I agree that SQLite is not suitable for multi-user Client/Server applications because of locking issues, but it is fine for a simple web site where you have essentially one client (The web application.).

A relatively small numbers of concurrent users can be served with the EXCLUSIVE, SHARED and PENDING locks in SQLite Version 3+, but the authors caution against use of network file systems. You can however write applications that rely on you being able flush data to a single disk by a remote client accessing a particular server process, this allows multiple applications to access the same database at the same time.

However, as you say, for a traditional Client/Server system you need to use a Server Database. There is a beta version of server type product SQLiteDBMS (sqlitedbms.sourceforge.net), but not much seems to have happened with it for a year or so. Or there is a commercial product that is very similar to SQLite from realsoftware.com, but that costs real money and seems to be for 10-50+ concurrent users. Postgres works for me, as most triggers etc. export fairly easily from SQLite...

Tim Strutt Silver badge

Postgres v MySQL - An alternative

If you really want to replace the low end web-database MySQL, consider SQLite (www.sqlite.org):-

"SQLite usually will work great as the database engine for low to medium traffic websites (which is to say, 99.9% of all websites). The amount of web traffic that SQLite can handle depends, of course, on how heavily the website uses its database. Generally speaking, any site that gets fewer than a 100000 hits/day should work fine with SQLite. The 100000 hits/day figure is a conservative estimate, not a hard upper bound. SQLite has been demonstrated to work with 10 times that amount of traffic."

The SQLite licence is much friendlier than MySQL. Applications using SQLite can generally be upgraded quite easily to Postgres or Oracle - Anything that you are likely to produce in MySQL, will tend to remain stuck in MySQL.

Oh!, and unlike SQL Server, SQLite will run on almost any OS.

Best Buy 'framed' by pesky Windows virus

Tim Strutt Silver badge

Physical Control

Some large companies bung up all the relevant ports with epoxy resin glue.

Microsoft tries to CTRL-W WordPerfect lawsuit again

Tim Strutt Silver badge
Gates Horns

A Time Before Windows

I was specifying software around the time that Windows 3.1 came out. The dominant word-processors were WordPerfect for clerical types and WordStar for tech-people. The spreadsheet we all used was Lotus 1,2,3. The database was dBase.

Within a very few years all of them were circling the drain, and the stuff that Microsoft had bought or glued their GUI to was dominant. I recall chats with tech support for most of these competitor companies - They all sometimes mentioned their difficulties with getting a working, stable specification out of Microsoft. By the time Windows 95 came out they were all pretty much history - This may not be a coincidence.

Mind your languages with Microsoft LINQ

Tim Strutt Silver badge

No, No, No!

I have been doing this SQL stuff for about the length of time that Microsoft have been around.

Sorry people, almost everything out there that is not COBOL or FORTRAN is SQL. Most of the other things that anybody does in software are just pretty/shiny stuff to display or update the contents of a database.

I suspect that SQL will be around, long after Microsoft has become just another entertainment monolith.

Programmers, please just learn SQL - It really is much easier.