* Posts by Joe Gurman

552 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007


Western Approaches Museum: WRENs, wargames, and victory in the Atlantic

Joe Gurman

In addition to the 2700 Liberty ships….

of 10,000 tons, and up to 11 knots, the US also produced, starting in 1943, ~ 540 Victory ships of 15,000 tons, up to 15 knots.

Ah, I see you found my PowerShell script called 'SiteReview' – that does not mean what you think it means

Joe Gurman

Re: A few years ago ...

The department chair and who else?

Revealed: Perfect timings for creation of exemplary full English breakfast

Joe Gurman

Re: What is the world coming to?

In the US, hash browns are almost exclusively a breakfast thing, so hamburgers (usually) do not accompany them.

Things that needn't be said: Don't plonk a massive Starlink dish on the hood of your car

Joe Gurman

Re: Spaced-GenX?

Well played, that Coward.

Hungover Brits declare full English breakfast the solution to all their ills

Joe Gurman


"It is a sad indictment of Britain's socialising habits if struggling with a hangover in the sullen company of similarly afflicted friends is more fun than the evening that got you there."

Or is getting absolutely pissed by binge drinking next to other people but able to have no meaningful interaction with them when you're paralytic perhaps just a tad inferior to healthier food and drink the next "morning," under a broad definition of morning?

Spacey McSpaceface: Artemis takes shape ahead of '2021' launch – but first you need to name the crash-test dummy

Joe Gurman

How about


SpaceX spat with Viasat: Rival accused of abusing legislation to halt Elon's Starlink expansion

Joe Gurman

Re: Goes without saying

"It doesn't actually do anything for the environment, of course."

[Citation needed]

Excuse me, what just happened? Resilience is tough when your failure is due to a 'sequence of events that was almost impossible to foresee'

Joe Gurman

Unexpected points of failure

I worked for many years in a largish organization that allowed us a small data center. So small that its kludgey HVAC system was totally inadequate for the amount of gear (mainly RAID racks, but a number of servers, too) stuffed into the place. After years of complaint, the Borg refused to respond by adding cooling capacity..

The most spectacular failure, which we had foreseen, was when one of the frequent electrical storms we have in the summers hereabouts took out not only the HVAC, but also turned the electronics for the keycard on the (totally inappropriate) ordinary wooden core door to the data center. Such things are meant to fail open, but instead (of course), it failed locked. Wouldn't have been a long term problem but for three other foreseeable failures: the HVAC unit in the data center needed to be restarted manually (of course), and the Borg had refused my repeated requests for a manual (key) lock override for the keycard system. So with temperatures outside in the vicinity of 35 C, and all the machines inside the data center up and running — and no way to turn them off remotely because the network switch had failed off as well, we were faced with how to get through the damn door and start powering things off.

Life got more interesting when the electricians showed up, popped a dropped ceiling panel outside our door, and found — nothing. The keycard lock electronics were... elsewhere, but nobody knew where, as no one had an accurate set of drawings (fourth unexpected failure?). So owe called in the carpenters to cut through the door. "Are you sure you want us to cute the part of the door with the lock away from the rest of the door? Then you won't be able to lock the door." Feeling a little like Group Captain Mandrake speaking to Col. Bat Guano in Dr. Strangelove, I omitted the expletives I felt like using and simply replied, "Please do it, and do it now, before everything in there becomes a pile of molten slag." They did, we got in, powered off everything but the minimal set of mission-critical hardware, and tried to restart the in-room HVAC unit. No joy, as it had destroyed a belt in failing (not an unexpected maneuver, as it had happened a few times before in "normal" operation). Took the Borg a few days to find and install a replacement.

Meanwhile, the head-scratching electricians had been wandering up and down our hallway, popping ceiling panels to look for the missing keycard PCB. One of them got the bright idea of checking the panel outside the dual, glass doors to a keycarded office area 10 meters or so down the hall. Sure enough, there were two keycard PCBs up there: one for the glass doors, and one for our door. No one could figure out why it had been installed that way.

And a few days later, the carpentry shop had a new door for us.

But wait — it gets better (worse, really). The Borg decided we'd been right all along (scant comfort at that point) and decided to increase our cooling capacity.... by adding a duct to an overspeced blower for a conference room at the far and of the hallway. That's right, now we had two, single points of HVAC failure. But the unexpected failure came when, despite the wrapping of our racks in plastic as they pulled, cut, reconfigured, &c, ceiling panels and installed intake and outflow hardware, as well as the new ducting, we got a snowstorm of fiberglass all over our racks (fortunately powered down over the work period). We cleaned up as best we could, but after a week or two, our NetApp RAID controllers tarted failing, at unpredictable intervals (iirc we had eight of the monsters at the time). It turned out the fibers were getting sucked into the power supply fans, and then — bzerrrt — the power supplies would short out. Being NetApp gear, they were all redundant and hot swappable.... until we, and NetApp ran out of power supplies for such ancient gear. We managed to find previously owned units on eBay (which required an act of Whoever to relax the normal rule against sourcing from them) to complete our preventive swapout of all the remaining, operational power supplies we knew were going to fail.

So many, unexpected failure modes.

Want to keep working in shorts and flipflops way after this is all over? It could be time to rethink your career moves

Joe Gurman


I worked for 39 years at an extremely high tech place just outside a national capital, and a good fraction of the sys and net admins for shorts, flip-flops and Hawai'ian shirts for at least six months of the year.But then again, we were valued for our tech performance, not for massaging the bosses' egos.

Tiananmen Square Tank Man vanishes from Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, other search engines – even in America

Joe Gurman

Rewriting history

A whole government? One would have thought Amber Rudd did quite well all on her own.

Joe Gurman


Something must have changed since yesterday. I see dozens of results with DuckDuckGo.

Wyoming powers ahead with Bill Gates-backed sodium-cooled nuclear generation plant

Joe Gurman

Re: Go for it

Would love to see practical fusion-generated power. Have felt that way since the 1950s. Please define progress, other than by press releases.

Refurb your enthusiasm: Apple is selling an 8-year-old desktop for over £5k

Joe Gurman

As I recall….

…and I once had two of these “Mr. Fusion” machines on my desk, there were no graphics cards, just the AMD chips mounted on what could be considered a daughterboard.

Your private data has been nabbed: Please update your life as soon as possible while we deflect responsibility

Joe Gurman

Re: Fake PII FTW.

At the place I used to work before becoming a (in US sense) bum (that is, retired), the IT folks used to advise us, when filling out the "answers" to those silly "security questions," to use the same word that made no sense in the context: "Birthplace?" "Green." "First sweetheart?" "Green." (Well of course I was.) "Street you lived on as a kid?" "Green." And so on.

If nothing else, when the "We didn't secure your PII, now you're responsible for everything" letters appeared, it made for an easy system of what nonsense word not to use the next time around.

Joe Gurman


That's certainly what they were called c. WW II in the US. At least in the upper midwest (think: states that abut the Great Lakes) were there used to be working men's bars, it was "a bump and a beer."

Spotlight on Apple, Google app stores: What happened to Tile, Spotify, Match – and that proposed law in Arizona

Joe Gurman

"Apple and Google can mine app users for data, and keep it to themselves."

Sounds like one of those sentences in Chomsky's original textbook that's an example of something that's grammatically correct but syntactically (and logically) impossible. When did Google ever keep anything to themselves, except by combining it with cross-site trackers and other, third-party sources of information, in order to sell some version of the data on to third-party advertisers?

Happy news: Apple again extends fee waiver for online real time experiences

Joe Gurman

"[A]s some told US Congressional hearings this week"

....while drowning in their crocodile tears.

Theres a certain illogic to the likes of Spotify complaining that Apple is using some nefarious monopoly power against them when Spotify is raking in the cash from people who use apple hardware. Forgive me if I see greed all around.

iPhone XR caught fire after getting trapped in airline passenger's seat

Joe Gurman

Re: Just an iPhone . ..

Well, Elon did put one on a rocket.

Joe Gurman

Re: Clumsy while sleeping

Fly between Blighty and NZ a lot, do you?

Joe Gurman


....the passenger mangles her iPhone unintentionally by raising the seat when the phone had got caught in the mechanism, which shredded the battery.

Can you tell me which models of smartphones, by manufacturer, that could have prevented a fire in that situation?

Google is updating Meet so at least you won't have to look at your hollow, careworn face

Joe Gurman

Have they changed Meet....

....to allow people without Google accounts to join meetings? No? Guess I still won't be using it, no matter what its features are(n't).

We seem to have materialized in a universe in which Barney the Purple Dinosaur is designing iPhones for Apple

Joe Gurman

Slight correction

Wondering if the author has been covering Apple for very long. They monetize everything; the pencil (erm, Pencil) is an option (and a US$129/£119 one at that), not in the box with the fondleslab. (Disclaimer: Happy vibrating, light-up, Internet fondleslab user, sans pencil, erm, Pencil.)

How do we stamp out the ransomware business model? Ban insurance payouts for one, says ex-GCHQ director

Joe Gurman


Ban all cryptocurrency transactions. They benefit no one but speculators (bad) and criminals (worse).

End is nigh for iMac Pro as Apple stops offering custom configs of high-spec desktop

Joe Gurman


.... what in the world makes you believe that "Pro" Apple Silicon machines will use the M1, demonstrably (1) the SOC for the first production Apple Silicon machines, and (2) limited in RAM? Here's a prediction on which I would happily bet a pint with any El Reg writer: when 16-inch MacBook Pros and 27 (or larger)-inch iMacs with Apple Silicon are released, it will be with something beefier than the M1.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative

Joe Gurman

This horse, like the proverbial parrot, is long dead

There's no use beating it. I've been hearing these arguments since the 1980s.

The media will do what they want to do, and using lazy metaphors is part of their modus operandi.

Forgot Valentine's Day? Never mind, today marks 75 years of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer

Joe Gurman

Museum piece

Part of the ENIAC (Accumulator No. 2) is on display in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in Washington DC. Last time I checked (c. 1980), it was still operational, in the sense that one could see the front panel lights constantly counting up.

No joy for Julian Assange as Uncle Sam confirms it will keep pushing for WikiLeaker's extradition to America

Joe Gurman

"[S]omething many Americans will argue differently due the US Constitution’s First Amendment: if they do, they'll have no legal precedent to support them. Limitations on free speech in legislation about espionage are not a new thing in the US.

Back to the office with you: 'Perhaps 5 days is too much family time' – Workday CEO

Joe Gurman

"[M]aybe five days is too much family time. One or two days is a good amount."

I'd hate to hear about Mr. Bhusri's home life as a child. Or his children's.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency refuses to pay ransomware crooks over 1.2GB of stolen data

Joe Gurman

People refusing to pay ransomware?

How will BitCoin continue to soar?

The hour grows late, the enemy are at the gates... but could Intel's exiled heir apparent ride to the rescue?

Joe Gurman

If he's serious about his Apple snark....

.... I have to question what sort of nice guy he is.

Signal boost: Secure chat app is wobbly at the moment. Not surprising after gaining 30m+ users in a week, though

Joe Gurman

With crazy Trump followers losing other platforms and heading for encrypted comma, is it ironic that this app bears the same name a a glossy Nazi WW II propaganda magazine?

Apple reportedly planning to revive the MagSafe charging standard with the next lot of MacBook Pros

Joe Gurman

Sorry, but....

I carried my first-generation PowerBook along with me on a visit to my sister & family's place in Edinburgh. I got to sleep in a spare room across from the kitchen that had two outlets. Because it was used as a spare dining room, I had to stretch the charging cable around a table leg, with the machine sitting on a chair. The next morning, in full jet lag and mind fog, I tried walking past where the cable was, dragged the PowerBook off the chair, and watched it fly halfway across the room, where it landed with a bang on the hardwood floor. The machine itself was unfazed, but one of the two, small, polycarbonate, flip-down legs had broken off and couldn't be returned to service because some of the internal, metal fitting had gotten broken in the fall. I don't know if it was my winning way on the phone, or that Apple knew me as a customer from a rather large organization that had its own military and naval forces, a national park system, and a sizable bureaucracy to who them wanted to sell Macs (Macs being pretty much all they sold in those days). Imm any case, they overnighted me a replacement leg ,no questions asked.

So yes, I thought the MagSafe was A Good Idea™.

That said, USB cables come undone with about the same amount of force as an old MagSafe connector, so frankly, I have to wonder if Apple isn't trying to unify all of its charging apparatuses, and planning to wedge a circular MagSafe charging apparatus in its larger (M2?) MacBook Pros. Then no one will ever have to wonder if they've got the proper USB-C cable for charging. They'll have to buy a US$39 charger cable instead.

Joe Gurman

SD card reader? Really?

Apple likes everyone to buy everything from them and live in their walled garden — or so I learn from reading El Reg.

If that's so, an SD card reader is pointless. iPhones and iPads come with as much memory as you buy them with, period. Photos can be transferred over a cable (which may or may not include USB-A, USB-C, and/or Lightning Connectors). Or wirelessly. Or maybe uploaded to iCloud.

An SD card reader might be useful if the user took pictures with a digital camera other than an iPhone. But that's a Pro-ish sort of thing, right? Oh boy, does Apple have a Pro machine or two they'd like to sell you. One of them even has an SDXC card reader. Come to think of it, so does a plain, old iMac.

What’s that in CES heaven, is it a star? Or is it that damned elusive flying car?

Joe Gurman

I want a flying taxi

With Korben Dallas as the driver.

Julian Assange will NOT be extradited to the US over WikiLeaks hacking and spy charges, rules British judge

Joe Gurman

Re: So

I've pretty much been in solitary since last March, if you consider a fibre optic Internet connection "solitary." I'm not much crazier than I was before.


Actual solitary, without access to books, news media, communication with others is inhumane. Then again, for some incarcerated persons, it might be a lot safer than integration with the general prison population.

Joe Gurman


Trump or Assange?

Joe Gurman

Re: Suicide

I wouldn't count on it being a case of MRDA. Most IT security crimes in the US are underpunished, and even if he were found guilty in a US court, his self-imposed imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy could probably be used in a request for time off the sentence.

Joe Gurman

Re: Suicide

His mental state is exactly what it's been all along: sociopathic.

Cannot understand the widespread sympathy for Assange, who has clearly never given a damn about anyone but himself.

The Judge's decision is almost certainly correct, but the law is an ass.

Tim Cook 'killed' TV project about the one website Apple hates more than The Register

Joe Gurman

Well, of course

"Fictional bad guys, can't, for example, use iPhones and MacBooks. During the run of espionage thriller 24, it became immediately apparent who was the antagonist, based on their computer of choice. If they used Windows, they were suspect."

And how is that different from what used to be (before this year) so cavalierly referred to as "real life?"

Apple appears to be charging Brits £309 to replace AirPods Max batteries, while Americans need only stump up $79

Joe Gurman

Really easy to understand as a typo

I mean, I always end up typing 309 when I mean to type 75. Don't you?

Apple's M1: the fastest and bestest ever silicon = revolution? Nah, there's far more interesting stuff happening in tech that matters to everyone

Joe Gurman

Yet another in decades' worth of Reg articles....

.... complaining about Apple being good at what they do.

Why should Apple, or anyone else, be everything for every commuting need? Attempting that sort of thing almost always produces the lowest common denominator. Should you be criticizing Microsoft for never producing their own silicon to change the world, or Intel for failing twice in a row to get smaller chip processes to work reliably?

Bit of a double standard, much?

No, it's all right, you're just permanently shirty about Apple given a lot of people what they want, rather than what _you_ want. Got it.

If I pedal faster and feed it spinach, my robot barman might pull more pints

Joe Gurman

I hope when I get old

.... about a year from now, that what I yell at the bar is, “Millenium hand and shrimp, bugrit!”

Apple Arm Macs ship, don't expect all open-source apps to work without emulation – here's what you need to know

Joe Gurman

Re: Adobe

Erm, the subscription model means they can throw any old thing they want out there any old time they feel like it. How does it help their bottom line to rush?

Actually producing usable code during five months of beta versions is for lesser mortals.

Joe Gurman

Buehler? Anyone?

Care to guess what percentage of Mac users use even one piece of open-source, user-installed software on their Macs? Or perhaps I should say, what fraction of one per cent?

As you clutch your pearls and cry, "Think of the devs!" please remember that Apple provides several good ways of developing apps without third party libraries or code.

Epic Games brings its Fortnite fight with Apple to Australia

Joe Gurman

Big news

....for the legal profession, who will make big bucks off their fees in this litigation. What was that someone said about consumers winning?

The revolution will not be televised because my television has been radicalised

Joe Gurman

Re: endless stream of recommendations to watch videos

And shockingly (not), the software on most "smart" TVs is from Google, the people who have brought you the subscription-flogging incarnation of YouTube.

Joe Gurman


His so-called "smart" TV is making recommendation, purportedly based on his viewing preferences.... or just trying it on for size.

This is only one of the several reasons, when I purchased a new TV a couple of years ago, I did not allow the onboard Google software to connect to anything. I use it as a dumb monitor with a perfectly good Apple TV 4K that never suggests anything, thank you very much.

Not on your Zoom, not on Teams, not Google Meet, not BlueJeans. WebEx, Skype and Houseparty make us itch. No, not FaceTime, not even Twitch

Joe Gurman

Just one thing....

.... the acronym (or initialism, if you insist) "VC" was already taken, by all those successful, former engineers who have sold their first two or three startups and are looking for other, younger engineers to make money for them by the miracle of successful IPOs.

FCC sucked deeper into partisan politics, Trumpism: Nominated commissioner sparks conflict-of-interest row

Joe Gurman

Net neutrality


You can't spell 'electronics' without 'elect': The time for online democracy has come

Joe Gurman

It's the Internet that's the problem

Do you honestly think there's a country anywhere in which all or most Internet connectivity couldn't be taken down for twelve hours?



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