* Posts by Gene Cash

5286 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Mar 2007

Amtrak back on track after server breakdown forces dozens of cancellations

Gene Cash Silver badge

Brought AMTRAK to a crawl?

How could anyone tell?

The main train to the west coast has "temporarily" been out of service for 5 years now.

Google says it did not train its AI chatbot Bard on your private emails

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It's a sad day...

When you believe the LLM over the PR rep... I guess both are about equally mindless.

RIP Gordon Moore: Intel co-founder dies, aged 94

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Re: And I had just bought some more Xeons, too…

Ugh. Adaptec SCSI controller broken firmware fuckery. At one time I was assisting a bloke who had the full time job of dealing with that.

One set of cards would work fine. The next set would completely die after being queried for LUNs or something equally common. Firmware.

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Re: Has anyone ever wondered

Life would SUCK without computers and the internet. I REMEMBER how much life sucked!

I can get parts for my motorbike without relying on the dealer's incompetent parts guy and paying a 30% markup for the privilege.

I can get tools I need. I remember trying to buy a 32mm socket in '94, and it was a nightmare.

I no longer have to depend on TV for entertainment, with 20% ads and canceling anything that's even slightly interesting.

I can buy stuff I need. People say "support your local merchant!!!111oneoneone" and I say "I would, if he stocked anything I needed! Or would bother ordering it!"

I can learn how to do something in a couple hour's research.

I can learn something's possible that I didn't know about, like the fact a 2022 slipper clutch drops right into a 2007 FJR with almost no work, or the 2009 master cylinder is 2mm larger and gives you a much easier clutch action, and again, it just bolts on.

The cashier at my local grocery store can just instantly scan items. I remember as a kid when she had to punch in EACH and EVERY price of every item that one bought. I also remember the dreaded "price check" when an item didn't have a price, so things ground to a complete halt while she had to send a stockboy to actually physically look.

There's a computer running the fuel injection in my bike so I don't have to clean carbs every summer and winter. There's another one monitoring my front wheel so my brakes don't lock up and throw me to the ground.

Digital cameras are so much better than faffing about with film and processing.

GPS saves my butt at least once a week. I have worse than no sense of direction, and I remember when I had to take 4 or 5 maps of various resolutions EVERY time I had to go somewhere. I also remember sitting in my car screaming "WHERE THE FUCK AM I!!?!" in frustration at the umpteenth time getting lost.

I can sit down and write a reasoned, coherent email instead of sitting on the phone going "um... er... ah... wot... I don't know..."

I can meet up with people by texting until we get together. Doing that before cellphones was a nightmare. You could try to coordinate beforehand, but something always came up to completely destroy everyone's plans.

Edit: and I almost forgot having the '60s science fiction item of being able to video-call my mother and have a face-to-face with her despite being 670 miles away. That one thing brightens both our lives immensely.

Gene Cash Silver badge

Re: And I had just bought some more Xeons, too…

In 1982 a 40 megabyte (not gigabyte) hard disk, which was the size of a microwave oven, was $5K. It had 14" platters IIRC. This was on a CompuPro S-100 box.

I remember selling PC ATs with 10-20GB drives for $4K or so in the late '80s during college.

Gene Cash Silver badge

Re: And I had just bought some more Xeons, too…

Heh. I remember expanding my TRS-80 from 4K to 16K for something like $220 in 1980s dollars.

My mother, who was a mainframe coder, thought it was a needless extravagance.

Microsoft scrambles to fix Windows 11 'aCropalypse' privacy-battering bug

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Re: See also Metadata

Because it's part of using a camera?

But then I guess they just go "it's magic!!" when Photoshop displays the aperture, time, flash mode, etc on an image.

I'm getting real tired of "oh the computer just knows!" from people that are actually rather smart and should know better if they spent 1/10th of a second on it.

Edit: and it's had real world consequences when someone advertises something expensive for sale and people get the location from the image to steal it. Or people finding a scammer and coming to beat him up.

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Can we stop this immature business of giving bugs stupid and childish names?

Accenture puts 19,000 staffers' heads on the chopping block

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Re: The chickens are coming home to roost

Oh and you forgot spent Long March rocket stages crashing into people's homes, complete with clouds of toxic nitrogen tetroxide.

Just amazing.

Toshiba board supports – without recommending – $15 billion takeover bid

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Ah, Toshiba

The guys that cancel any different and innovative product (like FlashAir) that I found useful.

I hope they continue crashing and burning.

French parliament says oui to AI surveillance for 2024 Paris Olympics

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The Olympics have always been a political joke and a waste of time

Nobody I know here in the US - work or friends - watch any of it.

Looking at the list of cities, the last time I watched was 1994.

Student satellite demonstrates drag sail to de-orbit old hardware

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Re: Sputnik-like CubeSat?

One thing this article doesn't mention is that SBUDNIC is also an acronym of the student's names.

Putin to staffers: Throw out your iPhones, or 'give it to the kids'

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Former British Prime Minister claimed he never owned a mobile phone until he left political office

Which former British Prime Minister? Churchill?

TikTok cannot be considered a private company, says Australian report

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How much are you paid for these posts, bro?

Reg fashion: Here's what the well-dressed astronaut will wear on the Moon in 2025

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It doesn't exist

The reason they had a cover over "the proprietary bits" is that the proprietary bits don't exist. They don't have an actual suit, but they had to show something.

John Deere urged to surrender source code under GPL

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Re: I just use my old Ford 8-N

That's all romantic and misty-eyed and rebellious sounding, but no. Larger farms don't have the time or people to "use them in tandem" - that does not scale.

Farmers don't buy these large machines because they think they'll look pretty in the middle of the field. They buy them to harvest the most crops in the short window of time they have, and to avoid as much backbreaking work as they can.

Gene Cash Silver badge

Re: Has there been any progress on the chipped parts?

Well, my Epson died in the middle of printing a dozen pages from a service manual I needed on-site, so I was not in a mood to look kindly on it.

I had to do a lot of research to figure out what was going on as this was a new "feature". At the time, reset s/w was "hax0r w4rez" and not available from anywhere that I trusted, nor were pads available. Mine was simply in the bottom of the printer so replacing it wasn't a problem.

It's left a bad taste in my mouth, and my first printer was an MX-80 with GrafTrax so I'd been an Epson customer for a LONG time.

But they've lost me. I'm voting with my wallet and buying other brands now.

If they'd done "Ink pad is almost full, you need to service your printer soon!" or ANY sort of communication, instead of the printer dropping dead with an obscure error, then I wouldn't have felt like I'd been played for a fool.

Gene Cash Silver badge

Re: Has there been any progress on the chipped parts?

Or you can just buy from Brother, which is what I did. No chips in their laser or inkjet printers.

And no Epson tricks like having the printer brick itself after a certain number of cartridges until it's sent in "to have the cleaning pads replaced" at double the cost of the original unit.

You've been pwned, how much will each stolen customer SSN cost you? How about $7.5k?

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Re: As always, the onus is on the victim

Oh no, I'm sure they're moaning that they're being taken to the cleaners "for this tiny little incident" and they're going bankrupt.

It's just sad that the news is that they're paying anything at all. Usually they get away scot free.

Alarming: Tesla lawsuit claims collision monitoring system is faulty

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Re: VW too

NHTSA doesn't seem to mind those, but I wish they would.

Well, the NHTSA doesn't actually go looking for issues. It acts on complaints from owners. So if you want something done, it would help to file a complaint on their website.

UNIX co-creator Ken Thompson is a… what user now?

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Re: ...on the feeble pretext that he designed the C language.

I remember a girl at uni that wrote her assembler semester project... in COBOL. Mainly because one of us said it as a joke one night and she took it as a challenge.

Techie fired for inventing an acronym – and accidentally applying it to the boss

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I've seen SOOOO many IT issues where the resolution is finally "then the CEO is going to be doing an important xxx one day"

It's only when the CEO himself takes it up the bungster that things get properly fixed.

Eufy security cams 'ignore cloud opt-out, store unique IDs' of anyone who walks by

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Sure, but that's not the point. The point is to beat Anker with a large stick as hard as possible for their BS.

Ellison's healthcare obsession carries risks for Oracle

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That's a highly flawed analogy. That Yugo has all 4 wheels on it.

Lenovo ordered to pay $140M for InterDigital patents – sees this as a 'major win'

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Re: Chinese Hardware and Apps

Because not too long ago that Chinese company was actually building IBM's line of "Thinkpad" laptops. IBM decided that the business wasn't profitable enough for an American company (or something) so sold the business to their subcontractor.

Yeah. I was FURIOUS about that... and that was the moment I realized IBM had been on the "long downhill" for a while and they were never coming back up. Kind of sobering to realize the technology company of all technology companies that was a staple when I was growing up... was dying.

The Stonehenge of PC design, Xerox Alto, appeared 50 years ago this month

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I met Dr. Kay once, back in 1982, at the Atari Computer Camp in Asheville, North Carolina. They rented a Univ of N. Carolina dorm for the summer. It was in the Great Smokey mountains and absolutely eye-wateringly beautiful country. It was quite an experience for a kid from an illiterate redneck-ville of only 8K population. I was also randomly picked to be interviewed by Jane Pauley for the TODAY! show. I happened to be standing nearest the camp counselor when he said "we need a kid for the TV thing" They didn't sync the camera with the computer monitor so I'm pointing to a completely blank screen and describing things that aren't there.

Anyway, he was Atari's Chief Scientist at the time, and I showed him how I hacked up a program to command the 810 floppy disk drive by talking directly to its CPU. He was impressed and offered me a job at Atari, but unfortunately there was the Great Video Game Company Crash of '83, Atari was dismembered, and Kay left to join Apple.

I would REALLY like to hear an El Reg article on NeWS if someone could swing it. I always thought a UI on top of Display Postscript was a huge idea, strangled to death by Sun keeping it tightly proprietary and so now we're STILL stuck with X11.

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Re: the language that begat C

I was sort of disappointed when I found out that BCPL didn't stand for Before C Programming Language

One third wiped off value of GitLab shares, Wall Street didn't like weaker outlook

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Re: The fundamental problem with being publically traded

Yes, people bitch and moan SpaceX isn't public, and Elon always says "no way in hell"

Requiem for Google Reader, dead for a decade but not forgotten

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"Why did it never get easy to subscribe to things in RSS"

What? I copy the URL into a Thunderbird "new RSS feed" dialog and I'm done. What could be easier?

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I have over a dozen RSS feeds in Thunderbird

LockBit brags: We'll leak thousands of SpaceX blueprints stolen from supplier

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Yes, I think this is one situation where the black helicopters in your front yard is not a joke.

Singapore software maker says own hardware in colo costs $400M less than cloud

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Re: Why are these people in charge?

An architect that didn't read to the end of the spec... I've never seen one of those before!

GPT-4 to launch this week, Microsoft Germany's CTO lets slip

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Re: DuckAss

Considering DDG is supposedly one of the "little guys" it would be nice if their limited resources weren't wasted on this crap.

Check out Codon: A Python compiler if you have a need for C/C++ speed

Gene Cash Silver badge

This is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. This is sort of a "have your cake and eat it too" situation.

I write in Python because "it thinks like I do" and as you say, it's got great libraries and general ecosystem because of the "batteries included" philosophy

Normally I just accept that Python will not be fast but now if I discipline myself a little, I can have speed too, on the parts where speed is desired. I don't have to switch to Java.

Musk said Twitter would open source its algorithm – then fired the people who could

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Re: North American Charging Standard

However to give Tesla (not Musk) their due, J-1772 was only one of several standards back then, and CCS didn't really exist, being piggybacked on J-1772.

The "smart" money was on ChaDeMo (which was complete and utter shite) and another one that I can't remember the name of.

You've got to remember this was the dinosaur age of EVs and it was the usual battle of standards. So going it alone was not that big a step.

I'm still gobsmacked to see EU people HAVE TO BRING THEIR OWN DAMN CHARGING CABLES. WTF is up with that idiocy? Here in the US, the cable is part of the charge station.

Gene Cash Silver badge

firing more than half your staff is not a good way to get any software successfully out the door

So Fred Brooks says "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later"

Maybe Elon is trying the opposite tack?

Duelling techies debugged printer by testing the strength of electric shocks

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The tech's name wasn't Solid Snake by any chance, was it?

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Re: Sometimes the software will tell me its hardware

because I could get the real CPU temperature from the Node Support Computer he didn't have access to

That's kinda bogus though, and really can't be blamed on the engineer.

There's been times when I've done my diagnostic best and someone's told me "oh it's not that, it's this"


"Because such-and-such says so-and-so"

"OK, how do I get to such-and-such to see what it's saying?"

"You don't"

"OK. Fuck you."

Gene Cash Silver badge

Re: Reminds me...

All the vendors were keen on not looking bad - rather than resolving the problem.

Has it ever been otherwise?

US officials probe Tesla's incredible detaching steering wheel

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They're not the only one - Nissan has the same problem

Check out https://www.thedrive.com/news/2023-nissan-ariya-ev-recalled-because-the-steering-wheel-might-fall-off

"Thus far, Nissan has identified two cases where the steering wheel bolt was missing entirely. Investigation revealed that one technician was responsible for servicing both affected vehicles"

Who the hell leaves a steering wheel bolt off? Repeatedly?

I can (sort of) understand not fully torquing it down for whatever reason, but not even putting it in is a whole 'nother ball game.

Adidas grapples with $1.3B in unsold Yeezy sneakers after breaking up with Kanye West

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Re: Maybe, just maybe

Eh, I spent most of my first check on a BB gun. It's lasted 40+ years, so I guess that's better than a pair of shoes?

The Moon or bust, says NASA, after successful SLS/Orion test flight

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Re: were executed without any major problems

Yes, actually. Circuit breakers just pop like that, even on light aircraft. And the heatshield is fine, it just acted slightly differently than the models predicted, which only goes to show those models were wrong and need improving, not that the heatshield has a problem.

Sony won't budge on Microsoft-Activision merger objection

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These deals are never "water tight with massive fines" since Microsoft/Google/etc can always find the right palms to grease.

Suspected Chinese cyber spies target unpatched SonicWall devices

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Man, if only the device makers spent so much effort on quality code...

A new version of APT is coming to Debian 12

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Re: Ubuntu video drivers

I've got an old GTX-1060. The HOWTO said to install the nvidia-detect package, run that, and it would tell you what card it thought you had and which package to install to support it.

It told me to install the plain-vanilla nvidia-driver meta-package, which works fine.

apt is what switched me off RedHat in the days of Debian Potato. I'd had it with "RPM dependency hell" and a friend showed me how it figured out all the dependencies and updates needed and then automatically downloaded them. Put me in a state of shock.

We'll see what graphics card I need when KSP 2 decides to support Linux again.

Hubble images photobombed by space hardware on the up

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Re: Doubling of sat streaks

No. They had a collimator that was just fine... except for a misplaced spacer. They thought it was fine, so there was no reason to ask the CIA.

NASA had a good relationship with the CIA all the way back to the Lunar Orbiter program in 1966. The camera on that was straight from a spy satellite.

Also, the CIA has plenty of improved satellites, and they have no need for time from Hubble or anything else.

German Digital Affairs Committee hearing heaps scorn on Chat Control

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Re: cbcpbea?

klaatu barada nikto

Now we're building computers from lab-grown brain cells

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Re: Someone else's brain


OpenAI opens ChatGPT floodgates with dirt-cheap API

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Or 3D printers.

You think 3D printers are such an oh-so-modern invention? They were invented in 1984 and so thoroughly patented that nobody could do anything until 2005 when the first RepRap machines were built. And it was 2008 before Makerbot was started. Until then, a crappy 3D printer was a couple million, then it became a couple hundred.

And the SLS patent only expired in 2015.

NASA finds crashing spacecraft into asteroids is a viable defence strategy

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Re: Worrying.

Congratulations, you've just reinvented the mass driver propulsion system.

Most proposals have a iron bucket in an electromagnetic accelerator. Accelerate a bucketful of asteroid then decelerate the bucket and reuse them in a constant stream.