* Posts by Joe Gurman

451 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007


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.

Found on Mars: Alien insects... or whatever the hell this smudge is supposed to be, anyway

Joe Gurman

An insect?

No, clearly a coprolite from something much larger.

NASA boffins tackle Nazi alien in space – with the help of Native American tribal elders

Joe Gurman

If I recall correctly....

.... Ultimate Thule featured in the vintage cinematic comic strip Prince Valiant.

Teachers: Make your pupils' parents buy them an iPad to use at school. Oh and did you pack sunglasses for the Apple-funded jolly?

Joe Gurman


I absorb written material much better from digital presentations of text (particularly if I have the option of reading in bright text against a dark background) than from the printed page, which I did for much of my life. I wonder if the studies grouped all digital media together, or separated phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop systems — I find reading text of any kind on a 27-inch (or larger), high-deft high-contrast flat panel to be much easier than on any other medium.

'Earworn Wearables' will save the day (wireless earbuds, but cool name for your D&D halfling)

Joe Gurman


Has version 1.0 of the Babelfish been released yet?

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

Joe Gurman


.... with the exception of one piece of third-party software which is mysteriously missing in action (the dev is promising a beta for Catalina RSN, despite the fact that GM was available a couple of weeks ago), and lingering sadness over the disappearance of Dashboard, everything is pretty much working for me in macOS 10.15. Did the devs not watch the videos from the last WWDC or read any of the related material? Yes, it's different in some ways. No, as far as this end user can tell, none of those differences is a surprise.

Here's that hippie, pro-privacy, pro-freedom Apple y'all so love: Hong Kong protest safety app banned from iOS store

Joe Gurman

Re: Apple will lose money anyway

Erm, most of the content in any of that Apple tat is still manufactured in the US or elsewhere outside of China. It's just assembled there, with the help of the very good industrial; engineering sector there that can source parts from everywhere (not just Shenzen) at the drop of a hat. Some PCBs even sail or fly back and forth across the Pacific before final assembly there.

Joe Gurman

Did you ever bother to read Apple's statements for years....

....that the "hippie, pro-privacy, pro-freedom Apple" obeyed all laws whatever country it operates in? Whether that's not opening stores in India whilst the laws there prohibited storefronts without a majority local ownership, or kowtowing to the new Dear Leader for Life in Beijing, this is not what qualifies as news in any shape or form.

Rocket Lab crows about launch, SpaceX zipwires, and a monster mock-up arrives at Kennedy

Joe Gurman

I'm such a geezer....

"Those with long memories will remember similar activities with Space Shuttle Enterprise and the External Tank ahead of Columbia's first launch."

I can remember similar actives with the Apollo-Saturn V stack.

Psst. Wanna brush up your supervillain creds? Get a load of this mini submarine

Joe Gurman

Nice addendum on the X and XE-class midget subs

But the most successful midget sub actions were the Italians' daring raid on the Alexandria anchorage in 1941 the put the HMS Valiant and Queen Elizabeth on the (admittedly shallow) bottom and out of action for a year. For days later, only one of the five IJN Kō-hyōteki-class midget subs managed to get into Pearl Harbor, but it put a torpedo in to the USS West Virginia, and a similar craft seriously damaged HMS Ramilles in Diego Suarez in 1942, putting the vessel out of combat operations for over a year.

Fairphone 3 stripped to the modular essentials: Glue? What glue?

Joe Gurman

Looks like a very good phone indeed

If only it weren't a hair under 1 cm thick!

Lights, camera, camera, camera, action: iPhone, iPad, Watch, chip biz in new iPhone, iPad, Watch, chip shocker

Joe Gurman

Right, well....

.... thanks for giving us any useful information on the new chipset.

And for what it's worth, which is probably nothing in a snark-over-infromation article, a major US newspaper posted a video Monday in which the reporter asked people on the street in a a major US city (hint: the one in the author's byline) what they wanted in a new iPhone. The far and way most frequent answers according to the reporter were a better camera and longer battery life. Apple gave them that, as well as lower prices (particularly with trade-ins). But you wouldn't want to report that.

Apple will wring out $18bn by upselling NAND to fanbois – analyst

Joe Gurman

Re: Off topic but..

I don't know but I see it a lot. Perhaps they're concerned about RF radiation too close to their brain pans, or they like using the speaker, or both?

Joe Gurman

I would think....

....that in any 5G implementation I've heard of in the US, at least, the more memory the better for people who listen to music and/or watch videos on their fondletoys/fondleslabs. 5G cells are short range, and will eventually have decent coverage in city centers, but anywhere else in the US, it will be years before the coverage will approach what 4G is like today. If the hypothesis is correct (and I'd like to see where the original article's author got the wholesale prices Apple pays), Apple; profit is likely to increase, in the US at least.

D'aw! They still have hope! Interns make a song and dance of their summer at Microsoft

Joe Gurman

Real interns or....

.... paid actors, as we say in the US? Or in this case, paid dancers and overdubbers.

Yahoo! customers! wake! up! to! borked! email! (Yes! people! still! actually! use! it!)

Joe Gurman

Not just Yahoo!

Verizon moved all its FiOS customers’ email service to AOL two years ago, and I guess that means when they devoured Yahoo!, too, that all email operations got combined in some way — because I lost email service last night as well. It’s bad enough that at least one friend p’s email server started blackholing (what I thought was Verizon/AOL mail but was actually being relayed by a server with a Yahoo! IP), but this is the fourth service outage of two or more hours’ duration I’ve had in the past three months: a total service outage due to DNS borking, two limited (but critical for me) DNS snafus, including one yesterday, and now this.

I signed up with Fastmail last night.

Behind time and way over budget, but the James Webb Space Telescope has finally been put together

Joe Gurman

Re: Main mirror

Exactly. The two uttermost panels of mirror are folded back 90 degrees. See: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/nasa-s-james-webb-space-telescope-has-been-assembled-for-the-first-time for a another view.

Trump blinks again in trade war bluff-fest with China: Huawei gets another 90-day stay of US import execution

Joe Gurman

I hate to post anything that vaguely suggests agreement with Trump....

....but this was, ostensibly at least, done for a valid reason: US rural telecoms, who are generally not long on cash have invested in Huawei kit because it's so much cheaper than competitors', need the time to order and install hardware from alternative vendors. Some even qualified for federal grants only if they kept the price paid for their hardware low, so they're in effect being whiplashed by government policies.

And with an election coming next year, it'd be difficult for any Republican administration to antagonize any business sector and their customer base in solid red states who say things like, '"My members say, ‘We’re patriots, if you tell us it’s a national security issue, we’ll do it, but please provide us with the funding,’” [said] Carri Bennet, general counsel to the Rural Wireless Association, which represents companies in rural parts of Montana, Wyoming, Alabama and other states.(Source: The Washington Post [hardly a Trump echo chamber], PowerPost Cybersecurity 202 column by Joseph Marks, 20 August, 2019)

So this isn't quite a clueless as one might think from this article.

Apple's WebKit techs declare privacy circumvention to be a security issue

Joe Gurman


....enhancements of this type re meant to sell more Apple hardware, or is that too simple-may need to mention?

New British Army psyops unit fires rebrandogun, smoke clears to reveal... I'm sorry, Dave...

Joe Gurman


Does branding anything with a big, fat zero ever help in any way?

Darkest Dungeon: Lovecraftian PTSD simulator will cause your own mask to slip

Joe Gurman

Re: Those crawling horrors of which we dare not speak...

...or buy red tractor hats.

Bad news: Earth is not going to be walloped by asteroid 2006 QV89. Good news: Boffins have lost sight of it, so all hope is not yet lost

Joe Gurman

The LGM kamikaze squad have won again

.... engaging their cloaking device and accelerating toward an unsuspecting earth.



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