* Posts by Keith Wingate

36 posts • joined 19 Dec 2007

Secret X-37B space plane lost by sat-spotters for 2 weeks

Keith Wingate

A Gringo, by any other name

It gets worse. 'not sure how you try to resolve this in Portuguese, but Spaniards refer to us (yanks) as "norteamericanos", as a point of distinction -- this only leaves our neighbors in Canada, Mexico, etc. to feel offended.

I believe it was Frank Lloyd Wright (a gabacho / giri / gringo / yank himself) who coined the term "Usonian", which I personally rather like, but other than Frank & I it never seemed to get much traction.

Of course, since "y'all" speak a language with no real 2nd person plural pronoun, we may simply favor ambiguity.

Assange denies 'sexual assault' allegations

Keith Wingate

Redundant, really

"A former Swedish prosecutor, Sven-Erik Alhem, demanded answers to why the arrest warrant was made public - the opposite of usual policy because suspects would be alerted and more likely to flee."

Surely it would have been on Wikileaks within hours anyway....

Shopping mall mulls Supreme Court bid to back no-speaking ban

Keith Wingate
IT Angle

Freedom means choices

As an agnostic I always give street-corner preachers, door-to-door Jesus-salesfolk, airport Hare-Krishna's, etc. the polite brushoff. I do take the Jews-For-Jesus pamphlets because they're entertaining, although I'm neither Jewish nor a Christ-worshipper. But I've never had a problem with this. People seem to understand pretty quickly that I'm not a very good prospect.

I'm a lot more offended by people trying to spray me with perfumes which will have me sneezing for a few hours, or (back in the day) nicotine addicts who don't understand why, "Yes, I do mind if you smoke". If the guy had a megaphone and was blasting "Christian Music" (most of which seems to be neither, from what I can tell) I'd be offended. But "Have you heard about Jesus?" "No, thank you" and you keep walking ... I don't see the problem. If you don't like that you can't talk to folks at the mall, go to a different mall, in a different State if you must.

Oh that's right, they smoke in Arizona. I guess you have to make your choices and live with them.

The law of course, won't stand up in court (freedom of Assembly is guaranteed in the US Bill of Rights).

Open source's ardent admirers take but don't give

Keith Wingate

Software for nothing and your escrow for free

Spot on. There is also the case where Donna Developer would love to contribute her hacks, but MeanOle Mangement says no. The case for OSS to management though is actually stronger than some previous posters have suggested: when you build on a commercial product which is abandoned (bankruptcy, not making enough money; whatever) you're high and dry. With OSS, you can in the very worst case go it alone. It's like software escrow at no additional cost.

But honestly, I agree with the point that most OSS users do not make changes, certainly none worth committing. I've been using OSS for about 16 years, and have been involved in dozens if not hundreds of projects involving some or all OSS components. Many times I'd expected to have to make modifications to one of those components I'd chosen as a"starting point". Number of times I've had to hack the source of one of those tools in any kind of significant way: once.

Once you've identified a need in an active Apache project say, the likelihood that someone else has identified the same need and come up with a fix or a workaround is very high.

Schmidt: Erase your identity to escape Google shame

Keith Wingate

Catch 22?

"if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place"

"One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type," he says.

So, will be held accountable for the searches done "on [our] behalf"?

Ellison wrestles Google to strangle 'unofficial' Java

Keith Wingate

Hoist with his own petard

There are many things I loved about Java years ago when I was struggling with the C to C++ transition, but also some frustrations. Like the dogmatic adherence to the "write once run everywhere" in extremis, to the point of discouraging native compilation and access to O/S resources like environment variables (because your toaster may not have them!); insistence on run-time boundary checking of fully tested programs, etc. If in fact the current owner of java is suing because, well, someone has written java code that runs everywhere, when in fact, they don't want it to, well, there seems to be some poetic justice in that. Oh, the irony....

Why we love to hate Microsoft

Keith Wingate

Um, not exactly

Taste is a very subjective thing, quality much less so, I think.

A Lexus or a BMW driver may well sneer at a Cadillac driver say, as someone lacking taste. Taste be damned! I prefer Honda or Toyota cars because even with the recent Toyota recalls and despite quantum leaps in quality from Detroit, the Japanese nameplates still provide a better quality product, as measured objectively by e.g. Consumer Reports, J.D. Edwards, etc. Sure I appreciate the stylistic differences, but never enough to sacrifice function for form, and rarely enought to pay more. Ironically, in the motorcycle community it goes the other way; Harley riders often knock my Hondas as not being as "cool" as their far more expensive rides, but they never want to compare repair records. :-).

So cost is a factor as well; my Linux server is powered by a Briggs & Stratton generator when the power goes out because the Honda was thrice as dear but only twice as good.

This relates to Operating Systems as well; many (if not most) would agree that Apple wins on style, but what do you want your O/S to do: provide a stable environment in which to run applications, and ease of administration, or draw pretty icons? If you want the most reliability for the least cost, I think a Linux solution is difficult to beat in most cases; if you want to hang with the cool kids, then you're stuck paying more for Apple. If you don't care about reliability or style, then it's Windows.

Sunny Spain suspends solar subsidy scam

Keith Wingate
Thumb Up

If energy must pay it's way, what about transport? Or public health?

The next time you get on a bus, or use the underground, or use your National Health service (if you're lucky enough to live in a country that has one), you might want to rethink this notion that each and every transaction must be a profitable one for the provider of the good or service.

Microsoft and Oracle lose among open sourcers

Keith Wingate
Thumb Up

Looking to the future

You've also got to wonder where Oracle will take this (currently free) up & coming threat to its expensive flagship database. Given that, and the object-oriented extensions, and the Oracle-compatibility layer provided as a hedge (enterprisedb), PostgreSQL is looking like a better choice all the time.

Dell lands custom gaming server deal

Keith Wingate

What about the controllers & such

Forgive my ignorance because my idea of a computer game is figuring out where MS has placed the new bugs when a relative has unwittingly signed up for automatic Windows updates, but when I see my kids play computer games they always seem to have some gadget with joysticks and faux guitars and things attached.

Will these now work over http?

Novell revenues drop as board seeks sale

Keith Wingate

Keeping track of charges...

...is what sound financial principles are all about:

"But Novell kept an ion grip on costs, ..."

Is that a positive thing or a negative thing?

Honda CR-Z sporty hybrid e-car

Keith Wingate

We don't need no stinking diesels

Quite right. Diesels and the US mix like Gulf of Mexico seawater and BP crude oil. It is in part because of the craptacular diesels in the days of yore, but also because the diesels we do have (trucks, buses) are much less regulated with respect to emissions than the gasoline [petrol] engines in cars, so the perception continues to be one of acrid, dirty, black smoke and particulate matter. Also, diesel costs more than gas here (likely the effect of tax policy, since it requires less refining I believe, though the demand curve is different), which is the opposite (I think) of most European markets.

Back on topic though, I owned a CRX which obviously inspired this car as well as the gen I Insight and it was by far the best car I've ever owned: It got MPG's in the high 40's on a plain old gasoline engine, was fun to drive, and passed California smog tests (in the 1990's at least) with flying colors. I've not owned a vehicle as economical (including several motorcycles, mostly Hondas) before or since. I for one have resisted buying a hybrid largely for lack of manual trannies. The Insight had one, and the early Civics (in theory, but good luck finding one). I'll have to give this one a test-drive.

HP loses massive bank contract

Keith Wingate

Wouldn't be cricket

Yes, it would be "new batter to the plate", which happens at least 27 times a game. "New pitcher to the mound" might happen only once a game.

I'll be using that one, thanks.

Mine's the one with the White Sox (Chicago, South side) logo.

Double-Take takes on Citrix and VMware

Keith Wingate

Fat clients forever

Being able to install an app on the fly to enable me to get my job done... priceless!

Was Microsoft's Office 2010 worth killing Clippy?

Keith Wingate
Thumb Up

I use Outlook despite Microsoft

I Quite agree on both counts. Outlook was the first MS product I used because I wanted to rather than because I had to. As other products (e.g. Excel, Access, Powerpoint) improved I found myself using them as well although I agree that 2003 is when they plateaued and really, not much useful has been added since Office97 , and NOTHING that I've seen, (save for Excel's extra rows..., and maybe Outlook's folder searches) in Office2007 seems very useful to me.

OpenOffice provides a fine substitute for the dreaded Word, and the along with the other components gives me at least 95% of what I'd use Excel, PowerPoint, ... for, but when it comes to a personal information manager nicely integrated with an email client, which BTW syncs to my mobile devices with cheap or free add on software... well, what's not to like?

As a unix / linux command line dinosaur I don't often defend Microsoft, but when it comes to Outlook, it's best-of-breed IMHO.

Opera 10.50 goes from pre-alpha to final in 10 weeks

Keith Wingate

But do it work?!

Sorry, but compared to some of the other folk here I am not a very demanding user.

I like it when a browser displays HTML legibly. I like when it does not go off executing code w/out asking. Faster is better. Menus are better IMHO than little icons I must hover over, or God forbid, the "ribbon" that is IE 7.x and newer. Plugins can be good. But those are just preferences. If it connects and displays a standard HTML page, I'm good.

I just downloaded and installed Opera on my WinXP work desktop. It won't connect. I point it at the proxy. It won't connect. Eventually (minutes go by), it tells me it can't connect. (Firefox can, IE can, Chrome can...). I click Opera Help. It can't connect to that either.

I think I'll leave Firefox as the default thanks much, and no, please don't ask again.

Microsoft erases Windows 8 optimism

Keith Wingate

Now that you mention it...

Um, sorry, but I spent my first year or so in computerdom using CP/M and as I recall, it did work.

(If you remembered to "warm boot" when you changed 5" or 8" diskettes :-) ).

In my experience, the same cannot be said for Vista.

Oracle tag teams Solaris and Linux

Keith Wingate
Thumb Up

I'll take either over WinDOS any day

I once saw a tee-shirt which read "I'll take LA over NY any day". There was the LA skyline reflected off the Ocean.... Underneath, upside-down, was I'll take NY over LA any day", with Manhattan reflected off the Hudson... If I'd found it as a poster, I'd have bought it to hang in my Venice (CA) apartment and turn it as my mood saw fit.

Same here. After 7 years w/ SunOS (last time I checked that's still `uname` on a Solaris box) then 7-ish years of mostly Linux (thus dating my SunOS somewhat) my observations are that:

Linux is much more user-friendly in every possible way: easier installs, easier on the wallet, better apps, better GUI's, more convenient packaging, super-convenient flags missing from Solaris for all the common utilities (obviously all dependent on the distro). It scales DOWN better, because it seems to eek more performance for more applications out of a specific (even SPARC) CPU than Solaris.

Solaris is more robust. The threading model is much better, hardly ever, ever crashes, has an NFS client and auto-mounter you can actually trust, and its file systems are faster and more reliable. It scales UP better, because you can take the same binary from the oldest 32 bit SPARC workstation and run it (with some overhead for emulation) on the biggest, baddest 64-bit SPARC hardware available.

Again, most of my Solaris experience is dated, so maybe its gotten more user-friendly at the same time Linux has gotten more robust. YMMV.

I'll take either over WinDOS anyday

Cisco gives biz vids preferential treatment

Keith Wingate

Anyway what kind of tricks can the CEO do?

Certainly nothing that could top "Tillman, the skateboarding dog", exposure to whom I have somehow been spared -- till now.

IBM's 'Project Vulcan' sneak peeks Lotus Notes future

Keith Wingate

Python mascot...

...is .... whitespace.

Tobacco biofuel to solve energy/ environment crisis?

Keith Wingate

My dream source for bio-fuel...

.... is maple leaves. Or grass cuttings. I think about this every Sat. during the summer and fall (autumn), when the Mrs. has me raking this stuff and dumping it in a bin, to be carted off to the local landfill.

Waste indeed.

Fanboi site squeaks on crocked iMacs

Keith Wingate

Crocked? I'd be pissed!

See, if I could afford over-priced gear like an iMac, I'd NEVER let it drink!

You see, "crocked" is Yank-speak for "pissed", which is Yank-speak for really, really cross, which is Yank-speak for .... oh, never mind!

Windows 7 - Microsoft minus the martyrdom

Keith Wingate

Depends on what you're doing

I'm a software professional, (and an old command-line dinosaur from Unix System V days at that) so 90% of what I do with a computer 10-12 hours a day absolutely does not require bit-mapped graphics. Point-wait-click-wait interfaces generally don't help me, so for me Linux makes much better use of the same hardware resources than any MS O/S including DOS.

Why should I waste most of my CPU and RAM constantly re-drawing the pixels for icons whose usage I need to hover-over to figure out?

For the "normal folks" who do not think of computing as a verb, (much less a profession) and need a GUI of some sort for everything they do, then you've got X-Windows (Linux, Mac) vs. Win32. Frankly, although much less flexible, I've actually come to find the MS GUI's more responsive, typically easier to use, and less flaky. Maybe I've just drunk the kool-aid.

rPath heaves Javelin at Red Hat

Keith Wingate


This sort of reminds me of those folks who use ant (maven, ....) to RUN their java apps as well as for building, testing, deploying them.

I do see how it could be useful, but I don't see how it could possibly be worth the inconvenience, and the performance tax, not to mention the $75K / year. A thousand, here, a thousand there, and pretty soon we're talking about real money!

Snoop Dogg pimps self out on TomTom

Keith Wingate


I thought I heard Bob Dylan was in talks to record GPS mis-directions? I'm not sure if he's exactly a mega-star but in my demographic he's easily more recognized (visage, voice, word-choice) than Snoop Dogg. 'not to mention those Woodstockers Gone Wild videos...

Mozilla plans to tie Firefox 3.7 pigtails in pretty Ribbon

Keith Wingate

But the good news is...

I agree w/ the consensus: Why they would copy the worst trend in user interface design since the trackball is beyond me. I am "Vistafied" that anyone would think these real-estate hogging ribbons with icons on them are an "improvement" over menus and toolbars. The good news is that for those of using relatively stable, efficient operating systems (i.e. pre-Vista MS, or Linux) we'll still be able to use Firefox w/out a whole lot of retraining on how to use exactly the same features, just differently.

Ubuntu's Koala food arrives on shelves

Keith Wingate

@Neoc: Nothing new under the sun

I worked for a company in 1989 that had just such a product. It was called Locus Computing. They ended up selling the technology to IBM for inclusion in AIX ... 2.x? SInce it never made it to the shelves, I assume that IBM had trouble making it work, but it did amazing stuff in our labs; on mainframes, VAXen, Intel-based PC's, long-extinct Motorola based micros. The industry is just now catching up.... Plus ça change, ...

Microsoft bitchslaps Oracle over 11g pricing

Keith Wingate
Gates Horns

Oracle vs. Postgres

Those of you comparing Oracle to Postgres might be interested in EnterpriseDB (http://www.enterprisedb.com/). I've not yet gotten too far into it, but by providing PL-SQL access to a Postgres database engine, (i.e. an Oracle compatability layer) it looks like you can build a database application (relatively speaking) on the cheap, and if and when it scales to where you need the likes of Oracle, you're pretty much there already.

As for M$ SQL-Server, with Sybase's recent price hikes, if the MS version ran on an enterprise-class server OS we'd probably switch in a heartbeat.

DoJ Java questions delay Oracle's Sun buffet

Keith Wingate
Gates Horns

It's already begun

I tried to download JDK 6.x for Linux yesterday, which now requires a login, etc. and of course, .... my account is no longer valid! So much for Java. 'guess I'd better finally break down and learn .NOT.

Will Big Blue mainframes run Windows?

Keith Wingate

Tell a Phony

You likely can't ring them because their PBX runs on Windows, (as a guest machine under VM of course), and has blue screened.


Storage breakthrough could bust density record

Keith Wingate

Re: Quarter ... of what?

As a yank who loves to read The Reg partly to learn more of "The Queen's English" (kit=gear, punter=sucker, er, uh, customer, etc.), I was amused by the "quarter" thread. I take the point because I have no idea what a 10p coin looks like (no faux bafflement here, with or without the "f"), but um, UMass & Berkeley are both on this side of the puddle, last I checked. (A good earthquake could change that in the case of UCB, though). I'm reminded of Rod Stewart's "Give me a DIME, so I can call my mother..." line.

I have noticed, with some regret, though that El Reg seems to be heading in the direction of "The Economist" with it's "smack-in-the-middle-of-the-Atlantic" POV. Life would be less humorous without articles on "How to clone an Oyster", which turn out to have nothing at all to do with mollusks...


Sony teases netbook fans with 'new mobile' Vaio promo

Keith Wingate

It's the ergonomy stupid!

I agree with other posters that these announcements all sound very nouveau-retro.

As with palmtops before them, I believe that the limiting factor on how small you can make a laptop isn't the weight of the batttery, etc. as much as the ergonomic issues: Can you read the screen at the resolutions required to fit your average display's worth of info on it; can the average finger use the keyboard, etc.

Axon takes 100mpg wonder car for a spin

Keith Wingate

Bigger is usually not better

Safety is a real concern, given the unorthodox design and materials. Still, the folks saying small cars are less safe are simply misinformed. Here in the US at least, most Honda & Saturn sedans had safety records rivalling the big, heavy gas-hogs from Volvo, last time I checked. And of course, no SUV comes close.

Salesforce.com pulls plug on Sun's flagship Unix servers

Keith Wingate

Tis a pity

Back in the day when I managed a group of Solaris SysAdmins Sun gear was about five times as expensive as anything close to "comparable" Intel-based gear, but it was ten times faster, 20x more reliable, and immeasurably more scalable. Sun support was the best I've had in a career which goes back a couple of decades and then some. But this advantage has eroded. Sun gear now seems to be "only" about twice as expensive as the competition, but from my (limited) current experience with it is not that much more reliable than the competition and support has gotten terrible. Any performance advantage seems to be completely gone. So yes, I think it does makes sense to architect an environment around cheap, redundant hardware rather than very expensive hardware which doesn't quite live up to its reputation for reliability.

As for Solaris, once you've gotten used to the relative user-friendliness of Linux it is really tough to go back to what might be, at the kernel level, a more solid, high-performance O/S, but one which is about five years behind the ease-of-use


Frankly, I don't know how they stay in business, with their only remaining market-leader being something they are having to give away (Java); and even that may fall victim to the Microsoft marketing juggernaut.

I for one, will miss them.

Mozilla CEO blasts Apple for putting security of the internet at risk

Keith Wingate

I would hate this ...

... if Apple Software Update actually worked on my XP box. Fortunately, though it often cajoles me about updates theoretically available for my iTunes, the update has never actually worked.

Microsoft spits out final XP service pack, beta version

Keith Wingate

Really cynical thought

Having compared my 18 month old laptop to my wife's six-month old laptop, which are differentiated almost solely by O/S (Vista vs. XP), to the Win2K box I'm still stuck with at work, I've come to the following conclusion: MS knows Vista is terrible. They are simply trying to make XP look good by comparison, so we'll finally upgrade our reliable, relatively secure and easy to use Win2K boxes.


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