* Posts by Jusme

81 posts • joined 18 Dec 2007


House of pain: If YAML makes you swear, shout louder – the agony is there for a reason



...bastard sibling of python. Love-children of the scented chip-fat smoking top-knot brigade. The the sort of "languages" I'd invent as a kid before understanding more formal methods. Full of inconsistencies and hacks to make them more generally useful. Unfortunately they'll probably take over the world by sheer weight of numbers.

(Well I got more upvotes than down last time I posted that, just about.)

George Clooney of IT: Dribbling disaster and damp disk warnings scare the life out of innocent user


Re: Sun fun

We used to have an in-house CAD system that was launched from a shell script on our Sun network. The program was rather flaky, and crashed frequently. Some comedian <cough> modified the launch script to detect a crash exit, and then play a random sound clip from a small selection (bomb exploding, toilet flushing etc.). My favourite was a clip from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds CD "And suddenly, the lid fell off".

Penguin takeover: We tried running some GUI Linux apps on Windows the official way – and nothing exploded


I worry...

...that this is how Microsoft are going to monetise Linux and Linux applications via their enterprise agreements. I can see a rule in large enterprises that the base OS must always be Windows, suitable licensed and paid for, even if you have mission-critical Linux applications to run. No native Linux allowed (ner ner Red Hat...)

It also perhaps explains why the Wayland display server has been pushed so hard in some quarters...

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?



I've seen that on certain brand of managed switch. Thought it was a clever anti-hacker device too, but given the general competence of the rest of the UI I think not.

Another annoyance is sites with ridiculously short activity timeouts, that then fail the first attempt to log back in after gratuitously congratulating themselves on protecting you.

Stale cookies FTW.


Liar, liar, pants on fire

"Network problems are preventing connecting to Microsoft Exchange"

No, the network is fine, the Microsoft Exchange server is a smouldering pile of virtual ash...

OVH flames scorched cloud customers with pledge to build data centre fire simulation lab


SBG1 data centre status in doubt again

If you look at the site layout, it would be awkward for SBG1 to remain while SBG2 is demo'd and rebuilt. As SBG1 looks half toast anyway, moving any remaining kit elsewhere seems sensible, even it it's into more containers north of SBG4. Of course they may still call that "SBG1"...



helloSystem: Pre-alpha FreeBSD project chases simplicity and elegance by taking cues from macOS


Re: Further simplicity and ease of use...

> So I'm guessing it's some sort of ruby application

Yep, ruby is in there too, but I have half an idea what that one is.

The application is RedHat Satellite.

I find it strange that some of these off-the-wall names seem fine (perl, python, apache, yum...) whereas others really grate (celery, trousers, candlepin, pulp, ...).

Probably Grumpy Old Man syndrome.


Re: Further simplicity and ease of use...

Currently running:

hammer, foreman, rake, celery, candlepin, pulp, squid, passenger_helper

A virtual prize if you can guess the application. (s)OT as it's not exactly a desktop, but does illustrate the ministry of silly names was in full session.

CentOS project changes focus, no more rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux – you'll have to flow with the Stream



Looks like our next tech. refresh will be onto a different distribution.

Actually, that might not be a bad thing, as RedHat seem to be royally buggering up RHEL by taking away useful, simple and working things and replacing them with new, complicated and broken ones (systemd, ntp, ... ).

OpenStack at 10 years old: A failure on its own terms, a success in its own niche


Re: "platform that is easy to use, simple to implement"

Last time I looked, OpenStack was still a "science project". You get a bag of bits (very nice bits, certainly), but putting them together to make a working virtualisation environment takes a lot of time/effort/knowledge. Compare with VMware, which "just works" (though they're trying their best to break it with every new release), and you can be spinning up VMs through a nice-ish GUI within minutes of installation.

OpenStack needs to be a product, not a technology...

Microsoft will release a web browser for Linux next month. Repeat, Microsoft will release a browser for Linux – and it uses Google's technology


Re: Does anyone want this?

Microsoft. They want this.

They can see a shift to Linux, and want to make sure they can still keep getting their eye-watering licence fees for Windows. Hence WSL etc.

"Oh, $bigcorp, you're thinking of moving to Linux. Well how about you run all those nice Linux apps on Windows instead, for a very unreasonable fee, and we'll let you keep your MS partner status..."

AI in the enterprise: Prepare to be disappointed – oversold but under appreciated, it can help... just not too much


AI Is snake oil

I once wrote a simple "bot" to act as a CPU opponent in an on-line game. It had various levels of ability, from playing purely random (but legal) moves, to analysing the game state and making the move most likely to result in a win, but tempered with a varying degree of randomness. It worked very well - most human players were really impressed by this "AI" opponent, especially when a random move appeared to be "inspired" gameplay.

I've recently taken (well, was forced to take) a course in AI and neural networks. It convinced me that even the experts in this field don't have a clue how it works, and just keep turning up the complexity dial until they get acceptable results from the test data. A big mistake they seem to make is then extrapolating these results to new inputs - at a small distance outside the training set it can look quite convincing, but the further the real-world data gets from the training set the worse the results, up to the point where RNG would be just as effective.

A further mistake is to mis-represent what their AI baby is doing. "This model recognises numbers". No it doesn't - it has absolutely no concept of "numbers", only a set of arbitrary shapes that it has been told to classify into specific buckets that we call "numbers". Show it a shape that any human would instantly (and yes, sometimes incorrectly) recognise as a number - e.g. a stylised 7-segment numeral or a heavily cursive one, and the AI would fail. "So it just needs more training data...", but that's not how human intelligence works - we can recognise numbers, with great accuracy, in forms and contexts we have never seen before. This "AI" is nothing but a poor, over-complicated, incomprehensible pattern recognition algorithm. A decent engineer could do a much better job at number recognition by writing a proper pattern-recognition algorithm, but that is hard work and needs skill. The "AI" solution just throws lots of data at a block box until it gets good enough results to satisfy test criteria, no skill required. The mistake is to then apply this outside the limited domain of the training dataset and expect "computer" accuracy (i.e. believe it 100%). Intelligence is not a brute-force game, it's much more subtle.

Phew, good to get that rant off my chest :)

In the frame with the Great MS Bakeoff: Microsoft sets out plans for Windows windows


This seems appropriate...


If you wanna make your own open-source chip, just Google it. Literally. Web giant says it'll fab them for free


Re: VHDL's still a verbose horror, then.

I much prefer schematics, though in the hardware community it seems that's a bit like saying you prefer to program in LOGO.

HDLs are great for the core function blocks (state machines, counters, logic etc.), but for me nothing beats a proper diagram* showing how it all connects together. It also keeps you mind on the structure and physical implementation too - doing it all in HDL can lead to "writing code" syndrome, where one forgets it's not a programming language.

* Not the "tangle of gates" kind of schematic spat out by synthesis tools, or the "component library" flavour with pages of boxes with no interconnecting lines, just labels on the pins. A good schematic should be a work of art, but nobody got time for that these days, especially at modern hardware complexities.

Lockdown endgame? There won't be one until the West figures out its approach to contact-tracing apps


Wrong answer

This is the wrong answer, because:

It's a technical solution to a medical problem. The only long-term solution is a vaccine. In the meantime, we either destroy our society or have thousands die. A tough choice, and at the moment we seem to be managing to do both.

It assumes a sufficient %age of the population have suitable hardware, and are willing to, and capable of, using this "app". Unlikely.

The chances of developing something reliable and effective on this scale at such short notice, even for these rock-star organisations, is minimal. There will be bugs, and security flaws. It will be pwnd by $badguys.

It's a prime example of how so many see technology they don't understand as "magic", and assume that magic can solve any problem, because it's magic, isn't it...

Oh Hell. Remember the glory days of Demon Internet? Well, now would be a good time to pick a new email address


Re: Sad to see it go


My sign-up letter was signed by Giles Todd.

The past really is a different country...

Stob's vital message to Britain's IT nation: And no, it's not about that


Ob. xkcd


"Bacofoil millinery faction" - stolen...

Beware the three-finger-salute, or 'How I Got The Keys To The Kingdom'


Re: Back in the day...


But the location of the break key was top-right, not top-left like wot I rote.


Back in the day...

...we had many Sun servers. Being cheapskates, we didn't endow them with the customary (and rather nice, for the time) Sun CRT and keyboard - they were only for workstations. Instead they had some ancient ICL serial terminals pressed into service for local consoles.

Now these ICL serial terminals had an interesting key layout, with a "break" key on the top-left, conveniently placed immediately above the return key and to the right of the backspace key. Pressing the "break" key, as one would expect, generated a serial-line break condition. Unfortunately these early Sun servers interpreted a serial line break on the console port as a "break to monitor", immediately and unconditionally halting the running OS (SunOS 3), and somewhat degrading their role as file servers or whatever. If you were quick, typing "cont" would restore normal operation, if not...

Yes, I pressed it by accident. And learned to type "cont" very quickly. As did others, who weren't so familiar with the foibles of this setup. By the time they'd typed a few *nix commands into the monitor, figured things weren't quite right, and called someone over, it was too late to safely just continue (as we discovered the hard way), so a full reboot, and fsck, was required - usually most of an hours downtime.

Fun times...

Who's that padding down the chimney? It's Puma, with its weird £80 socks for gamers


Well I'm all for a game of footsie...


Quic! Head to the latest Chrome version and try out HTTP/3



Well it seems well intentioned, but given the parents of this innovation (Google and Cloudflare - wannabe owners of the internet) I'm not sure this is a Good Thing.

Also, if QUIC/IP is replacing TCP/IP, shouldn't that be implemented in the OS, rather than every application? I can imagine a world where there are dozens of buggy, incompatible implementations, so browser X won't talk to site Y. Oh... isn't that handy..........

Rolling in DoH: Chrome 78 to experiment with DNS-over-HTTPS – hot on the heels of Firefox

Big Brother


Another notch... so soon


Mozilla Firefox to begin slow rollout of DNS-over-HTTPS by default at the end of the month

Big Brother

Another click on the ratchet

Data channel locked down with https, DNS locked down with DOH, content locked down with DRM. Emails rejected unless they come from one of the big providers. Barriers to entry erected. Only Big Business allowed to play soon.

It's not the internet any more Toto, it's Cable TV Mk2, with a credit card reader as a viewing card.

Paranoid? Maybe. True? We'll see...

Devs slam Microsoft for injecting tech-support scam ads into their Windows Store apps


I see the problem right here...

"programmers who use Redmond's Advertising Software Development Kit (SDK) to display ads in their apps"

Pot, meet kettle...

Uncle Sam wants to tackle bias in algorithms by ordering tech corps to explain how their machines really work


Well that's AI fsck'd then...

Not that it'll ever happen.

Slow Ring Windows 10 fragged by anti-cheat software in the games you're playing at work, says Insiders supremo


WTF is a Slow Ring???



Oh, an alpha release...

<crawls back into my box>

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?


Makes me pine for the days of XML...

yaml, bastard sibling of python. Love-children of the scented chip-fat smoking brigade.

They're the the sort of "languages" I'd invent as a kid to solve a particular problem. Full of inconsistencies and hacks to make them more generally useful. Unfortunately they'll probably take over the world by sheer weight of numbers.

Now please vacate my lawn, it's getting dark.

Bitbucket wobbles but it won't fall. Oh, snap...


♫ Bitbuckets wobble but they don't fall down ♫

'The inmates have taken over the asylum': DNS godfather blasts DNS over HTTPS adoption


Another step

Another step towards handing control of the Internet to the megacorps, with nice high barriers to entry and only a few bums for the authorities to kick.

(Consider when web browsers insist on using their owners servers for DNS, and by owners I mean google/apple/microsoft...)

Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra


Re: re. micro sd, etc.

> Yes, give me a solution to the cablegeddon and my life will become pure blissssss....

Re-sealable freezer bags. 1 per cable. I buy them in bulk!

B&Q crate or storage box for different types - Ethernet, USB, HDMI, Audio, etc. etc.

No D'oh! DNS-over-HTTPS passes Mozilla performance test

Thumb Down

They're building the walls and fitting the locks. Soon they'll take away the keys...

Down-vote button is here btw:

. . . . . . V

IPv6 growth is slowing and no one knows why. Let's see if El Reg can address what's going on


Two reasons...

...from my pov:

To reach every site, or be reachable from every potential client, you need an IPV4 address. If you have an IPV4 address, you don't need an IPV6 address. Adding an IPV6 address is > 0 effort/cost/hassle/risk, so why bother.

Some actors have been too aggressive in pushing IPV6 by default, before it was (is?) sensible to use it. This leads to a "disable IPV6 and it works" mindset. And because there is generally no simple way to say "prefer IPV4", IPV6 gets nuked at the lowest level, never to be seen or herd of again.

Equifax reveals full horror of that monstrous cyber-heist of its servers


Re: And how...

Even if you could, and they did, good luck getting credit / buying a house / car / burger once you have no credit references.

It's happening! It's happening! W3C erects DRM as web standard


Re: Remember everybody!

Despite the downvotes, this is exactly the endgame publishers want: end-to-end control over the delivery and presentation of their (precious) content. They may or may not fully achieve it, but we're certainly well on the road towards it: First HTTPS to protect it in transit, now lockdown of the presentation. The final stage will be browsers refusing to display content that's not "approved" (they're already getting antsy about http sites), then we'll be back to the TV delivery model, with a huge cost of entry and only a few big players to control.

"I'll just use a free browser then"... But you'll only be able to view hobby sites with it, as all the mainstream sites will be locked out, so most people won't bother.

"If they block adblockers there will be an outcry"... but the vast majority of people don't care. They happily pay subscription TV services to watch ads, why should the web be any different.

As soon as there's an option to protect sites it will be used, whatever the content. The age of web-TV is coming - sit and consume what's served up by your masters, no looking behind the curtains, no "fake news" from unapproved sources.

Don't agree? Time to accept that the internet is now a utility. Mainstream, regulated, sanitized and in the hands of the big boys. The open internet we grew up with will be like amateur radio - still available to those who care, but very much a fringe interest.

Is it time to leave Earth yet, Pop?

Intel Atom chips have been dying for at least 18 months – only now is truth coming to light


Re: Maybe everyone from Pentium FDIV bug days has retired?

> But after 22 years

Feck, I'm old!

Google man drags Emacs into the 1990s



...soon we'll need a GTX1080 and be fiddling with vsync just to edit text.

(Actually I never use xemacs, only the text-mode-in-a-terminal-under-screen flavour)

NetNames confirms easily.co.uk whacked by cyber crims


Re: "Told punters yesterday", did they?

We got a mail "Easily Security Update" yesterday that went in the "could be a phishing attempt" pile as it was peppered with crap like "Click the “Forgotten Login/Password” [www.mmtrack43.co.uk] button". The only worrying aspect was that it was sent to the unique address used only for our Easily account - was it sent by the hackers to get the info they missed while they were in...?

(WTF is mmtrack43.co.uk? Google for "mmtrack43.co.uk" brings up a lot of links about Blueleaf Plants. mmtrack.co.uk seems to be some sort of mailing manager, but nothing that gives any confidence it's legitimate).

By 2019, vendors will have sucked out your ID along with your cash 5 billion times


Re: No thanks...

@TRT, oblig. https://xkcd.com/538/


Re: So...

Maybe I'm not thinking it through all the way, why wouldn't this solve the problem?

$badBoys don't obey the law. It only needs you to be suckered by one biometric validating app that keeps your plaintext and you're sol.


No thanks...

Three problems with biometrics.

1) The human body isn't suited to being machine-readable. This means either the match is fussy (got a cold? No cookies for you today) or lax (1-in-100-or-less false positives). Most systems tend to the latter, else they're deemed to "not work".

2) You only have one identity. Different finger for each website is a bit limiting, and once you've given your DNA sample to $badBoys (via cutekittens.org) they can impersonate you anywhere, forever.

3) You can't change your biometric identity. Once it's compromised - tough.

Proper 2-factor authentication is the way to go (i.e. something you have and something you know, not something you know and something else you know asked in a really awkward way, as some sites seem to think...)

Bacon can kill: Official


Red meat isn't bad for you...

fuzzy green meat is bad for you...

Official: North America COMPLETELY OUT of new IPv4 addresses


Re: IP8?

What you're supposed to do in IPv6 is to maintain an internal network like you do before using Unique Local Addresses (fec0::/10) and let the firewall do the translating for you like it does now for NAT

But don't the IPV6 high priests denounce NAT?

It's the Internet of Feet: Lenovo shows smart shoes, projector keyboard phone


Internet of Feet?

Damn, almost got a little excited there ;)

Mozilla to whack HTTP sites with feature-ban stick

Black Helicopters

Does anyone still believe https is secure?

Just go look in your browser certificate store and see world+dog being trusted. That's why they had to introduce Extended Validation certificates - for sites that really really (cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die) want you to think they are secure.

A false sense of security is worse than no security. On an http site you know anyone could be viewing and tampering with your data. Deal with it. On a plain https site your best bet is to assume the same.

Ha! Win 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 pops out of the Microsoft oven

Black Helicopters

A cunning plan?

Raspberry Pi turns out to be a bit of a success.

Thousands of kids are getting to use Linux and possibly liking it.

Original Pi is too weedy to run Windows.


Let's have a chat with the Pi Foundation and become buddies...

New Pi released with 6x the CPU and 4x the RAM. (For the same price?!)

Get a sawn-off version of windows running on it ("runs apps written in HTML", wtf?)

"Developers will need PowerShell running on a connected PC". There's the payback / lock-in.

Have chat with our buddies that run the National Curriculum and get some Windows-based Pi modules made mandatory.

All Pi's in schools must run Windows. Putting Linux on them is forbidden as a security risk / hackers training tool.


Damn, that takes more than three steps. Ah well....

Demon Internet goes TITSUP: Outage borks ancient ISP



...the hamster needs an Orange Frutie Ice lolly and a fastboot.

Virgin Media customers suffer YET MORE YouTube buffering blues

Black Helicopters

Sometime I wonder...

...if the internet we connect to is real any more, or just an elaborate simulation by a cartel of the big ISPs, Google and the NSA. We know all our web traffic is proxied, email is proxied, DNS is proxied. I wonder if every packet we send is going to a server at the local ISP and triggering some emulation that may or may not make a real connection to the outside world to get the date we seek.

[Nurse! The medication! Stat!]



Re: Wythenshawe

Bollx. That was West Gorton. The original Chatsworth estate was right opposite the old ICL factory (IT angle to this comment!) before they moved into studios because filming was too dangerous...

IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres


Well actually...








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