* Posts by Joe Gurman

472 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007


Steve Wozniak at 70: Here's to the bloke behind Apple who wasn't a complete... turtleneck

Joe Gurman


"Woz helped develop the Apple II?" Helped develop?

Woz put NTSC color video into the Apple II with a US$1 chip. He argued down The Other Steve and preserved the eight expansions slots (TOS wanted just two). But most brilliant of all, he designed the floppy disk drive for the Apple II and wrote the driver, in an age when glacially slow cassette tape drives were the norm for small computers. And of course, the basic Apple ][ system architecture was inherited from the Apple I, was was pretty much a 100% Woz design.

If you're going to write about someone's engineering achievements, please describe those achievements.

We've reached the endgame: Bezos 'in talks' to turn shuttered department stores into Amazon warehouses

Joe Gurman

The heyday

.... of Sears was probably the 1940s, before discount department store chains such as E.J. Korvets and Zayre’s exploded onto the scene. Sears still served the heartland, where such discount operations hadn’t taken hold yet, and people everywhere in the US shipped at Sears for tools and major appliances, but the dominance Sears once had in American retail was pretty much a thing of the past by 1960.

Apple re-arms the iMac with 10th-gen Intel Core silicon

Joe Gurman

I believe....

....Mr. Cook stated quite clearly, in plain English understandable even on the other side of the Atlantic, that the replacement of Intel processors with Apple silicon would take place over the next two years. Not next week, not by the end of this year (though two Apple Silcon laptops are rumored), but by 2022 July.

Once considered lost, ESA and NASA's SOHO came back from the brink of death to work even better than it did before

Joe Gurman

Re: Keep it for education

Know any amateurs who have US$20M or $25M a year for the Deep Space Network time? That's how much NASA Is chipping in every year to keep the mission running.

Joe Gurman

Re: Back then...


Battle for 6GHz heats up in America: Broadcasters sue FCC to kill effort to open spectrum for private Wi-Fi

Joe Gurman

What is this....

.... "broadcast TV" of which they speak?

I've lived in here in the good, old, totally demented US of A for my entire life (outside of six months in France and several visits to Scotland), and I haven't pulled in a broadcast signal on a TV since 1984.

To be fair, nationally something like 19% of TV owners are over-the-air only, though the figures vary widely among markets (e.g. 5% in Boston and 25 in some southern markets). I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest that most OTA folks aren't going to have their own 6 GHz, short-range WiFi gear, nor live close enough to anyone who does to make a difference.

From 'Queen of the Skies' to Queen of the Scrapheap: British Airways chops 747 fleet as folk stay at home

Joe Gurman

Re: Once...

I had the good fortune more than once to fly on Air France between Washington DC's Dulles airport and CdG when the service was on 747-200Ms (iirc) that carried passengers in half of the main deck and cargo in the aft half. Upstairs seating was reserved for nonsmoking coach passengers back in that day. Weekday eastbound flights generally had few such passengers, so a seat up top mean three seats (and two retracting armrests) to stretch out on, and a deep window well (with a pannier for carry-on) just the right size for a pillow. And, of course, Air France meals.

Those were the days.

Microsoft wants to show enterprises that Edge means business, rather than the thing you use to download Chrome

Joe Gurman

Wha....? Microsoft is till trying to foist a browser off on people?


A volt from the blue: Samsung reportedly ditches wall-wart from future phones

Joe Gurman

Isn't the EU argument....

....that everyone has so many cords and chargers lying around that it's creating excess electronic waste?

Come to Malmö for St Peter's. Stay for the Bork

Joe Gurman

Re: Bork again

Unless, of course, you’re Jewish, because the city administration has pretty much decided the city is a no-go area for you.

Lockdown team building: Actualise the potentiality of your workforce... through the power of video games

Joe Gurman

Arrrrgh, maties

Nice to see that the pirate game communities are, er, gentlepersons of fortune.

As the old song says,

"Hey ho ho!

It's one for all for one

And we'll share and share alike with you

And love you like a son

We're gentlemen of fortune and that's what we're bound to be

And when you're a professional pirate-

"You'll be honest, brave, and free!

The soul of decency!

You'll be loyal and fair and on the square

But most importantly,-

"-when you're a professional pirate

You are always in the best of company!"

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

Joe Gurman

Re: Unclear article point

Putting "Apple" and "Failed with their Applications stores" in the same sentence is laughable.Perhaps you missed the coverage a few days ago of Apple's announcement that they had "supported" US$500G in commerce (sales in retail apps, travel apps, ride-sharing apps, food delivery apps, grocery apps, delivery of digital goods and services, and ads) in one year (2019). The only people calling that a "failure" are those not in on the gravy train. Yup, half a treeeelion bucks.

A memo from the distant future... June 2022: The boss decides working from home isn't the new normal after all

Joe Gurman

It would be so easy to pick apart so many of these points....

....but I'll touch on just a few: the real estate b.s. Most major pension plans (and there aren't that many, except in the public sector, any more in the US) invest in a broad selection of investment types, of which real estate is only one. Having learned the lesson of a lack of diversity in the 2007 - 2011 recession, the pension funds are as likely to hold major chunks of blue-chip investments such as Apple (scoff all you want, wireheads, it's been solid gold for the last 20 years) in addition to real estate, bonds, and so on and so forth. In particular, the most prominent of the corporate entities to say, "Yeah, up to 50% of you could be working remotely long-term" is Google, which is single-handedly responsible for the destruction of affordable housing in some cities (e.g. San Francisco) and one of several that did so in Silicon Valley. Nothing the large tech firms could do or produce would provide more human benefit than spreading their employee base over the entire country, so the inflated costs of office and residential space could start relaxing to something affordable in Bay Area communities and elsewhere the outfits have large presences.

A second one (sorry): the silly buggers business about people not working well electronically. I'm willing ti believe that some people to better person-to-person and some better remotely (many of us geeks, for instance). It's _the managers'_ to monitor how those interactions are doing and advise, plan, and seek help for those who ar enot doing well in one environment or the other — or workout ways to split the employees' time between them, rather than letting employees flounder.

And aside from the fact that working from home _can_ be (not in all cases, for all people) family-friendly, the corporation might just reap the benefits of employee loyalty for working with e.g. new parents (who want it) to maximize their time around the new arrival (or even older kids). Nah, don't consider human resources, you fools, just be a "manager" and sit in the C-suite — at your peril.

And the "only wealthier, older employees have dedicated home workspaces" business is often a canard, but when it isn't, rent space in coworking facilities remote from the corporate offices but close to employees' homes (where they might even be able to walk or biker to work).

Finally, the one example I know of where telework vs. "Everybody where I can see them" has been studied quantitatively is the US Patent Office, which found that its examiners were something like 10% more efficient working from home — so much so that they didn't (*gasp*) need to put in 40 hours a week to get their quota plus 10% done. Of course many work environments will require more collaboration than patent examiners do — but that point is to manage for success, not blind uniformity.

[Disclaimer: I worked for a US government outfit that offered multiple telework options, each employee needing a plan agreed to with their supervisor. Since I worked best without interruption (from coworkers wanting to chat, managers wanting.... who knows what, but nothing productive, and random phone calls), working from a desk in my bedroom (otherwise unoccupied during work hours), I worked up to 50% time from home and was both happier and more productive. YMMV.]

The girl with the dragnet tattoo: How a TV news clip, Insta snaps, a glimpse of a tat and a T-shirt sold on Etsy led FBI to alleged cop car arsonist

Joe Gurman

Re: Just one big pile of Collectivists

You really need to study history, as well as a smidgen of political philosophy, instead of accepting (and spreading, virus-like) the falsehoods of the alt-right.

Fascism is all about a single, all-powerful individual with good relations with the CEOs of a few massive conglomerates, and a proclivity toward belligerent expansionism.

Socialism is about common ownership and control of all resources and means of production, and in its purist form, no military except for defense.

Then you get communism, which is the supposedly ideal form of socialism, but which in fact has almost nothing to do with it (except as propaganda, e.g. in the form of names for states — “Democratic” shows up pretty frequently as well, equally inaccurately, because the only communist states that have ever existed have concentrated power in the hands of an individual or a ruling clique.

Fascism and communism are single-party affairs, but socialism has only been found in places that hold boba fide elections (as opposed to the single-party kind). Sometimes they even get thrown out of office in elections.

Joe Gurman

Re: Missing info

In the immortal words of Alphonse Capone, “You get a lot more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.” Imagine how much more you can get with a badge as well as a gun.

Joe Gurman

Re: Thoroughly deserved

Since you ask, there probably are vestigial commies among them, but mostly anarchists and some violently inclined social democrats. On the other hand, me dad was in the US Army in WW II, and I can assure you he and millions of other veterans would have described themselves as antifas as well.

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app

Joe Gurman

A thneed....

....is something that everyone needs.

When open source isn't enough: Fancy a de-Googled Chromium? How about some Microsoft-free VS Code?

Joe Gurman

Ten thumbs up....

....for Iridium. Don't know why the author didn't include it.

Huawei launches UK charm offensive: We've provided 2G, 3G and 4G for 20 years, and you're worried about 5G?

Joe Gurman

Golly gee

"[5G and fibre broadband] is critical for the UK, especially to recover the economy post-Brexit and post-COVID-19."

Forgive me if I find this to be just a bit of over-the-top marketing hype. Fibre broadband would help a lot of places with miserable bandwidth now, but 5G is probably only ever going to be of use in urban areas with dense concentration of 5G devices owned by users with applications for the supposedly better bandwidth. In other words, no place on the planet just yet.

Still, it's a nice count to "What's good for general Bullmoose is good for the USA" to hear "What's good for China's biggest IT brand is good for the UK, if you fish-belly white-skinned occidentals know what's good for you," only 180 years after the Second Opium War.

25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

Joe Gurman

Too many vulns in years past

The situation may be quite different now, but we had too many occurrences where the corporate bods threatened to take our site offline, so we ditched php and never looked back.

Don't panic: An asteroid larger than the Empire State Building is flying past Earth this weekend but we're just fine

Joe Gurman


If you were going to compare a single dimension of the object to the heigh too building in New York City, perhaps One World Trade Center (541 m) would have been closer?

You, Apple Mac fan. Put down the homemade oat-milk latte, you need to patch a load of security bugs, too

Joe Gurman


All of these patches were released on Tuesday, May 26, at least US (any time zone) time. At worst, they would have appeared early Wednesday in Europe.

US lawmakers get a second shot at forcing FBI agents to obtain a warrant before they leaf through web histories

Joe Gurman

It's a bit messier than that today


The Last J-Freighter: HTV-9 arrives at the ISS as ESA inks a deal for a third Moon-bound service module

Joe Gurman

The HTV-X....

....weighing in at precisely nothing on orbit.

NASA's Human Spaceflight boss hits eject a week before SpaceX crew launch

Joe Gurman

The NASA Offce of Inspector General was involved

Which leads to speculation that Mr. Loverro was offered the choice of resigning or being told by people with guns and badges to clear out his desk in 15 minutes, turning in his ID badge, and then being escorted to the front door of NASA HQ. Something to do with the Federal Acquisition Regulations, perhaps.

SAP proves, yet again, that Excel is utterly unkillable

Joe Gurman

Not exactly (ever in any way) a Microsoft fan, but....

....if Excel does what people want was well as they want it done, let them use it?

Obviously, if you have 20 years' worth of data for (hundreds of?) thousands of accounts, it's not the tool of choice, but there are lots of other use cases. Lots.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

Joe Gurman

And yet....

....FORTRAN marches on, particularly for the physical sciences HPC crowd while ALGOL.... needs an article like this to remind people that it ever existed.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Joe Gurman

The Cloud....

....without a silver lining, or even an Azure one.

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

Joe Gurman

Re: Nowadays Macs don't look different than PCs

Right, and if you actually knew anything about the 2019 Mac Pro you'd know it was meant for use in professional application in video and music editing.... where monitors generally are embedded din consoles, and CPU's are generally racked, or at least sitting under the consoles, an d not on wheels (a whole lot of those production facilities are in earthquake-prone California).

Joe Gurman

Re: The full-blown Apple formula

It must be nice to live in a bubble of Reg readers (and commenters) who are certain of a point of view of the computing industry, but this simply does not match reality.

People — the people for whom the iMac was designed, consumers — flocked to the iMac when it was introduced. Not only did it do what Apple claimed (make it simpler to connect to the Internet), the machine ditched bad interfaces in favo[u]r of better ones. SCSI had never been anything but problematic on the Mac (unless you had a top-end machine and could afford an LVD card and similarly expensive cabling and peripherals), and ADB (the loss of which caused far more complaints in the Mac user base) was already well past simply "showing its age." The only possibly valid criticism of the port changes was the loss of serial ports — but of course, third parties were selling USB to serial adapters within year.

Apple was completely vindicated in chucking the old and less than functional in favo[ur]r of the news and functionally more agile. With a couple of years, PCs were sprouting multiple USB ports, modem ports, and the like, not out of slavish copying but because that's what consumers expected by then.

As a (then) minicomputer guy who also used high-end Macs for video production, &c. at the time, I only "got it" when I was in a Sears to pick up some tools, and was taken aback to see that (1) they had an iMac display, with several available for the punters to play with, and (2) that the punters went from quizzical looks to making their own movies in iMovie in under five minutes. It wasn't;t just the hardware.

And just a note for the o2 fans: At the time, I worked in a space mission science operations facility, which we had wisely (or more accurately, by blind luck) designed to depend on interface standards (like this TCP/IP thing that appeared to be so popular) rather than hardware or OS brands. Groups from several countries with instruments on the spacecraft had multi-workstation setups, all strung together and both receiving data from and sending commands to their onboard instruments via the mighty power of 10 Mbps Ethernet. There were Suns, Vaxes[/n], Alphas, Macs, IBM AIX machines, and.... one group with o2s. Everything played nicely together, except the o2s. Even if all the TCP/IP stuff weren't (initially) so broken, the complete lack of knowledge (not to mention practice) of simple security measures (e.g. "r" commands were a Really Bad Idea) amongst the university group that brought those meant we had a 2 - 3 year job of debugging all their issues. SGI was notoriously behind the curve in publishing security updates in those years (probably because they were hemorrhaging staff after the announcement of their switch to the Itanic), and we several times came within a hairs breadth of being kicked off the operational network for having unpatched vulnerabilities for month after month. Blecch.

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

Joe Gurman

A few years back....

....I was convinced by friends more ITSec-conscious and I to go beyond the 4-character smartphone passcode and take advantage of the phone OS's option for longer password. So now my fondletoy has a longish password with all the bells and whistles. But the current fondletoy has face recognition, which is much more convenient.... until the days of facemasks arrived. Do I yank down the mask for a couple of seconds so I can NFC my purchase, whilst smiling at the checkout person through the plexiglass, or do I fumble, through my nitrile gloves, at tapping in my now rather inconvenient passcode while the next lucky shopper is stewing 2 m away?

Sometimes one can go a little too far in search of isolation

Joe Gurman


....is an ex-moth.

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS

Joe Gurman

Modern Web design

Does this even matter, when 95% of sites designed since 2010 or so use grey text on a slightly lighter grey background, or perhaps a beige one?

NASA's classic worm logo returns for first all-American trip to ISS in years: Are you a meatball or a squiggly fan?

Joe Gurman

I worked for that outfit for 33 years

....and another six as a contractor. The only day I felt lower about the place than the days we lost Challenger and Columbia were when I read the "No meatballs with worms and no worms with meatballs" (that is, don't mix old and new letterhead and envelopes) memo from Hindquarters. That was how trivial and mean-spirited the agency's management had become under Smilin' Dan Goldin. (To give the devil his due, his "Faster, Better, Cheaper" push for robotic spacecraft was a good idea for science, no matter how much it was opposed by the stodgy geezers of the day with "Which two out of three do you want?")

I get the impression that Mr. Bridenstine wants to associate NASA in the public mind with exploration, adventure, discovery, and the future — which is a lot of what attracted public favor in the 1960s. If he can actually get an agency that is mired in "governmental" bureaucracy in a way it never was sixty years ago to produce excitement, NASA will have earned the right to wear the worm logo again.

Apple updates iPad Pro with a trackpad, faster processor. Is it a real computer now?

Joe Gurman


I’d like to use Apple’s Pages and Numbers applications on a tablet. Where’s the “general purpose computer” that can do that?

Written on my VLuIFs

Broadcom sues Netflix for its success: You’re stopping us making a fortune from set-top boxes, moans chip designer

Joe Gurman

"Mr. Ford has caused, and continues to cause, substantial and irreparable harm to the Buggy Whip Entities [that] sell leather equine encouragers used in the carriages that enable traditional transportation services."

The filing should have been dated April 1.

Wi-Fi of more than a billion PCs, phones, gadgets can be snooped on. But you're using HTTPS, SSH, VPNs... right?

Joe Gurman

Re: But...

Not even “the latest,” but in iOS and macOS updates from last October.

Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police

Joe Gurman


.... stop using stock photos with manufacturers’ logos Photoshopped out of laptop covers.

Apple finally clambers to top of phone market again as spider-eyed iPhone 11 lures fanatics out of the shadows

Joe Gurman

Re: One hit wonder?

Something over 50% of the entire DAX index in market cap.

Next question?

Brits may still be struck by Lightning, but EU lawmakers vote for bloc-wide common charging rules

Joe Gurman

Re: Yet the same Apple

Ooh, and those evil folks in Cupertino dropped 25-pin SCSI, and the SDB bus, and DIN-8 serial connectors, and.... Please, just get over it. Progress is not always bad.

Joe Gurman

Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

Hopefully not. Aside from the fact that Lightning and USB-C cables have significant other uses (and significantly better than micro USB can offer) than simply provision of DC power, the best a committee of parliamentary members does at engineering design is, well, a camel instead of a horse. Better for the micro-USB crowd to switch to Lightning, in any case, but this may well lead to Europe being isolated in their backwardness.... and insistence on legislating (against) technical progress.

By the way, ever tried inserting a micro USB male connector in the dark?

F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

Joe Gurman

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

Apparently not.

The German rocket "scientists" (engineers of course) who were forcibly moved along with their families to the USSR were isolated by the Soviet rocketeers who (1) justifiably hated the Nazis for the horrendous war they'd made in Russia, with an estimated 14 million Soviet casualties, and (2) knew they had the know-how to build ICBMs themselves. They set the Germans to doing things unrelated to the ICBM effort, while they built the R-7 themselves. It was so over-engineered (by about a factor of 4 in throw weight for any warhead the USSR had at the time) that launching Vostok capsules was a piece of cake. And they sent the Germans home (well, to the DDR) long before Gagarin's flight.

Joe Gurman

Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

Could you please name a major, industrialized country that _doesn't_ engage in state-sponsored commercial espionage?

OK. We're off. Water ice found just below the surface of Mars. Good enough for us. Let's go. Impulse power, Mr Sulu

Joe Gurman


A 7% solution of perchlorate, Dr. Watson.

How much cheese does one person need to grate? Mac Pro pricing unveiled

Joe Gurman


In the US, at least, Apple is offering 6% cash back (versus the normal 3%) on all purchases of Apple kit with the Apple Card through December 31. US$3K off a US$50K purchase price is nothing to sneer at. You could probably buy three Series 5 Apple Watches with titanium cases for that.

Joe Gurman

Re: Underpowered ?

20 A circuits (and NEMA 5-20R receptacles in the wall outlets) have been pretty much standard in the US for office construction for some time. Or at least they were at the place I worked at for 39 years. I suspect the great majority of the new Mac Pros sold will end up in places with 20 A receptacles.

And that pricey display stand? I also suspect that well over 50% of the new displays sold will end up in editing consoles.

Internet jerk with million-plus fans starts 14-year stretch for bizarre dot-com armed robbery

Joe Gurman

An attorney named Sheetz

Seriously, you couldn't make this stuff up. Or maybe you could, if you were the late Douglas Adams.

Joe Gurman

Re: Second of his name.

To my knowledge, unanimity is required for all felony convictions in all US states, not just capital murder ones. Majority jury decisions are sufficient for civil cases.

Go champion retires after losing to AI, Richard Nixon deepfake gives a different kind of Moon-landing speech...

Joe Gurman

Can't imagine....

....why the clever folks didn't have Nixon admitting, "Yes, I am a crook." Trump might have believed it, and followed suit.

You live where you live ... and ex-SAP boss Bill McDermott lives in a house like this

Joe Gurman


.... a lot more modest abode than many American star athletes' cribs.



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