* Posts by Tim99

1194 posts • joined 24 Apr 2008

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Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

Tim99 Silver badge
Flame

Re: Simple Response.

Or, perhaps, chlorine trifluoride (Wikipedia)? >>=====>

Apple promises third, no, fourth, er, fifth time's a charm when it comes to macOS Catalina: 10.15.5 now out

Tim99 Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Bizzarely

I've not had any problems either. I'm an old fart who uses it as a zsh and GUI Desktop system on an iMac. My battery is a nice big UPS. If I need to go away from the desk I use an iPad Pro - I drank the special beverage and bought two expensive toys...

Hooray! It's IT Day! Let's hear it for the lukewarm mugs of dirty water that everyone seems to like so much

Tim99 Silver badge
Boffin

Re: ISO 3103

Yep, one of the most useful things (to show to the uninitiated) I got out of the RSC in 40+ years of membership.

Tim99 Silver badge

Wot, instead of adding milk? Sounds good...

We really doing this again? Rumour has it that Apple is nearly finished developing augmented-reality glasses

Tim99 Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Name?

Thanks for the reminder: Glassholes indeed...

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Of course it was going to hit the boat!

Thank you for the memory, although it has reminded me just how damn old I am. I constructed a small balsa-wood/doped-tissue glider in ~1960 which actually worked. I was given a Jetex motor as a birthday present and tried it out. Yes, I noticed that the steel casing was nearly red hot after a static test firing - No, I didn't think that suspending the motor from near the glider's midpoint with wire was a "bad idea". Surprisingly it flew reasonably well for a few yards before landing, the wire bent; and of course, it caught fire. It was quite exciting, and might be one reason why my first "proper" job was with HMG as an explosives/propellants chemist...

Apple's MagicPairing for Bluetooth fails to enchant after mischief-making bugs found hiding in the stack

Tim99 Silver badge
Trollface

So

The misspellings are because those coders are twenty-somethings who have received the benefits of modern education systems? Some of whom could have English as a second language (although it's quite possible their spelling may be better)? The "checking" might be done by a thirty-something with a similar education who has had longer to develop bad habits?

If it feels like the software world is held together by string and a prayer, we don't blame you: Facebook SDK snafu breaks top iOS apps

Tim99 Silver badge
Facepalm

Oh dear

App makers can add the Facebook SDK to their apps to use Facebook's Login system as a single sign-on provider, to access its analytics service, to get social graph data associated with the app user, to implement deep linking to content within the app, and to utilize Facebook mobile ads

Surely, they could have earnt a more honest living? An update of old saw "I told my mother I play the piano in a brothel, I didn't want her to know that I'm a developer that used Facebook's Login" could apply.

MongoDB and Rockset link arms to figure out SQL-to-NoSQL application integration

Tim99 Silver badge
Trollface

I’ve posted this before

MongoDB gained popularity in the mid-2010s within web applications by helping to provide personalised content without developers worrying too much about database schema

This still applies (NSFW- YouTube): MongoDB is web scale Sigh. Just Learn SQL...

Spyware slinger NSO to Facebook: Pretty funny you're suing us in California when we have no US presence and use no American IT services...

Tim99 Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: But..

I have always maintained that a clever government agency that wanted to keep tabs on it's entire population would have invented Faecebook.

Perhaps they were just building upon their existing systems? Try searching with DuckDuckGo for 'google nsa cia start'.

Obviously you don't want to use Google as the search tool >>========>

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

Tim99 Silver badge

Way back in time, two common inks were red and black - Black inks go back to prehistory, red (HgS) inks were certainly around 2000 years ago. Both of these inks were "permanent". Early 20thC typewriters could have dual colour red/black ribbons and were often used for accounts.

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: ain't no problem in the world that can't be solved with hot-snot

... or cyanoacrylate Superglue? I forgot to mention a set of 6 medium & small Halford's double open-ended metric and imperial spanners (purchased in the 1970s).

Tim99 Silver badge
Meh

Re: ain't no problem in the world that can't be solved with hot-snot

In the late 80s I purchased a basic tool kit from one of the first IKEA UK stores. It contains a medium and large flat-blade, and a medium Philips screwdriver; an imperial/metric steel measure with spirit-level; a medium claw hammer; a (sharp) knife and sheath; a pair of pliers; and a Bradawl. Since I retired they are about the only tools I use - With a couple of essentials, like a junior hacksaw; power drill; punch down and cable stripper; side cutters; medium molegrips, large adjustable spanner; socket set; and a jewellers/pentalobe screwdriver set. The soldering kit went along with the failing eyesight. As others have posted: WD40 (although for some uses, like locks and hinges, a dry-film spray can is better) and gaffer tape (and electricians, and plumbers tape).

When I think of the (hundreds?) of tools I have purchased over 50+ years, I realized that most of them were just toys that looked attractive but were not very useful...

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills

Tim99 Silver badge

Lifts

I posted this last year:-

In the 1990s one of our customers moved to new larger premises as their business expanded. They had started with a single computer, and then a small 10BASE-2 network with the cable carefully snaked around their main office (tied to ceiling panels, run under carpet edges etc.). Our software ran on a small server in the corner. Fortunately we had persuaded them to install network cards with both 10BASE-2 and 10BASE-T connectors as we knew that they had bought land to build new premises. A couple of years later we were asked to help move the network to the new building that they had built themselves (they were in the building trade).

They had build a small comms room under the stairs with a couple of 19" rack slots and square section steel drainpipe conduits down the wall for the cabling. We bought them a 16 port switch to temporarily connect two computers in the reception areas, and a new server placed under the receptionists desk. We moved the software to the new server - It worked. The owner said that the "proper" cabling was being installed over the weekend next week (Yes, AFTER the building was built), and asked us to move the server and switch to the comms room on the Friday after they closed.

On Monday they phoned us and said that nothing was working and we needed to be there. When we got there they said that it must have been us moving the server that broke everything as no-one could log-on. After faffing about for a while we realised that it must be the cabling. I disconnected all of the wiring to the switch except for the server and connected the nearest reception computer with a 10m ethernet cable - The receptionist could log in. After experimenting we found that a couple of users in nearby rooms could also log in, but when we connected up the others everything stopped working. We got blamed for recommending the fancy new networking when the old coax stuff "had worked fine". I made up a ~30m cable and ran it from the switch, up the stairwell, to the bosses office in the upstairs corner of the building - He could log on, when we connected "their" cabling he couldn't.

I asked who had done the cabling - It was his brother in law, who "knows what he is doing, he's an electrician". Oh dear, the conduiting went past the wiring and motor for the lift and the main air-con unit. We pulled one cable and saw that the sheathing was damaged where he had pulled it through the metal conduit. The business owner got a mate's brother, who's business was actually cabling, to rewire it properly. They earthed the metal conduit and ran lengths of ABS piping down it from the top and put labelled patch panels in at the top and bottom. I suspect that the brother in law didn't get paid.

The rumor that just won't die: Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length in 2021 with launch of 'A14-powered laptops'

Tim99 Silver badge
Meh

Re: The rumor needs to die before the Macintosh does.

"What they don't realize is that killing the Mac WILL eventually kill Apple." You didn't get the memo? Most of the real world is using their phones and the Internet to get "real work" done (some have tablets too) .

The PC model, that we are used to, is a vital tool for clerical support work/administrators/mid-level managers; but unfortunately their jobs are disappearing extremely rapidly. PCs might be left with the niche work of "developing" and serious multitasking between multiple windows (I don't see too many people doing that much these days either). However, I could be wrong...

Tim99 Silver badge
Gimp

I'm an edge case - I run (very occasionally) Windows 10 in a Parallels VM on an iMac with 16GB RAM and an SSD; it takes about 15 seconds from a cold start to get to a responsive desktop, which seems to be as good as many of the Intel PCs I see.

The main reason for me running Parallels is that I still have old stuff that I have written that runs in DOS, Win XP, and Win 2000 VMs, and "one of these days" in my retiree lockdown I might consider updating/porting some of it to something more modern.

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Re: How about both?

Yep, some of our admin/clerical staff were issued them in the 80's. As I recall some of the "PC Compatible" mainline shrink-wrap either wouldn't run properly, or had to be ordered specially. They were soon replaced by vanilla PCs. It could have been worse, many of the technical staff were issued DEC Professionals running POS (There's an appropriate name), the people who could benefit really wanted PDP11s or MicroVAXen. Typists got DECmates running WPS, which were quickly replaced by PCs running DEC WPS Plus.

All of this was just in time for Windows to come along and replace almost everything. I thought that at the time this was a shame as the various versions of WPS and DEC ALL-IN-1 offered pretty good integration of file sharing, word processing, terminal emulation, timekeeping, and data access (For the time, particularly compared to Windows/DOS).

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Proper lash up

Yep, it worked on a Hardy Perfection 9ft that I had. The "permanent” fix was to rub the male ferrule with 6B pencil lead.

Australia to make Google and Facebook disclose ranking algorithms and pay for local content

Tim99 Silver badge
Trollface

Of course

If it got too expensive, Alphabet could just set up their own news service...

SE's baaaack: Apple flings out iPhone SE 2020, priced at £419

Tim99 Silver badge
Trollface

I'm sure we can fix that Sir. Leave the phone behind with our cellular watch.

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

Tim99 Silver badge
Boffin

Re: @cschneid

Back in the day, the Civil Service had "Special Merit" promotions, where someone could be appointed to a higher grade and still carry out the work they had done at a lower grade. Usually these were engineer/scientist boffin types who did not have to do the normal admin/bureaucratic stuff that was expected at the higher grade. As I recall this was available up to Senior Principal level (roughly between NATO Code 5 & 6).

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Tim99 Silver badge
Unhappy

Back in the day, I had users who loaded images from their digital cameras, then copy/pasted them into an empty Word document to email or print them...

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: How systems were all too often documented in the 60s and 70s

Commented code: A post of 2 years ago - My experience 35 years ago...

'We use to run projects based on the "Rule of Two":-

Write code be twice as easy to understand than the team is capable of producing. Never put two or more expressions in the same line. Never write a function that addresses two or more business rules. Always write at least two lines of documentation for every function (Or, even every line of code). Always wait for at least version two of the tools that you are going to use to put software into a production environment. Stop writing code at two o'clock in the afternoon, then use the next two hours to check it (Then, if necessary, have a meeting about it - Which will be short because everyone wants to go home/down the pub).'

Watch: Rare Second World War footage of Bletchley Park-linked MI6 intelligence heroes emerges, shared online

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Thank you, El Reg

Before The Manhattan Project: The UK Tube Alloys programme - (Wikipedea Link) - Gives quite a lot of the early background.

Official: Office 365 Personal, Home axed next month... and replaced by Microsoft 365 cloud subscriptions

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Re: Aduntgeddit

So they can include Windows?

Microsoft staff giggle beneath the weight of a 52,000-person Reply-All email storm

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Exchange killed by ~20 users

Over 10 years ago I was a volunteer Board member for a charity. They had an MS Small Business Server that ran Exchange/IIS/SQL/PDC etc. I was asked to "keep an eye on the IT" as they had nobody trained up for it. The person who had been asked to run it on a day-to-day basis managed to kill it by cleverly breaking their multimedia PowerPoint presentation into a number off smaller bits (<10MB?) and sending it to only about 20 users, asking them to make any changes they thought necessary. As the 20 were Managers, trainers, or Board members all of them (except me) had an input. So within a couple of days of Reply All, each mail message went to everyone with each individuals' changes to each bit of the presentation. Exchange fell over when it ran out of space on its disk. The disk that was normally used to repair/truncate/pack Exchange was not big enough -So when I tried to fix it it crashed. The fix was obvious - Add a bigger disk - The only problem was that our vender had supplied a "proper" IBM Server with SCSI drives and our local supply chain didn't have any, so we had 2 weeks of people using their personal email accounts...

Two years late, but upgrade wave finally washes a billion folk onto Windows 10 as its Android phone waits in the wings

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Re: How many chose to buy it?

MS, back in the days, is one reason why I look like this >=======>

Some of us thought that XP was a just a borked 2000. The very idea - A Playdough interface and plug-and-pray pasted on quite a pleasant stable (for Microsoft) OS. Even cutting down the screen overload with Classic mode did not help that much.

Control is only an illusion, no matter what you shove on the Netware share

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

BootPROM

For light admin and word processing for groups of up to 10 users we used NetWare servers with networked diskless PCs that got their DOS images from bootPROMs. Bit slow at 8:30 when everybody started up, but not too bad after that. A couple of bean counter admin types thought that they would be OK for shared database work with Windows 286, they weren’t. So everybody who was affected had their PCs upgraded with a 10MB hard drive. Then we had the fun of getting users to save their work onto their servers. They didn’t...

Tinfoil hat brigade switches brand allegiance to bog paper

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Copper foil

Cupronickel, bronze, and brass surfaces as bactericides can be almost as effective as copper; many of these alloys kill bacteria quite quickly, usually in a couple of hours. There is evidence that they work with a number of viruses too. Stainless steel is generally ineffective - Live bacteria can remain for a week or so.

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Maybe we have been here before.

In the 1980s I remember two types of chips that were going to "revolutionize" science and engineering applications: One was RISC based - The other was the Transputer. I spent a bit of time with them both, and we even bought expensive kit that used them. I think that they died because neither could run off-the-shelf WinTel/DOS business/general software for (clones of) the IBM-PC.

Sadly, the web has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'nothing is true; everything is permitted'

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Some people lie, some people cheat, ...

"Because it's the public order they're worried about most, then violent crime, then everything else." You might hope so, but from my experience it's more like: Public order, crimes against rich/important people (particularly involving them being deprived of large amounts of money), violent crime, low level drugs; and then if you are lucky, the rest.

Tim99 Silver badge

Sometimes, just sometimes, it is genuine. I was waiting in the lounge between changing aircraft in Dubai when I got an email telling me that a friend was stuck in hospital in Bali and needed money to get home, as his insurer had declined the claim. Before I left home, I had seen him on TV two nights before, with his wife at his bedside in a story about the failure of insurance cover. The good news was that when I logged into the linked website there was a message from his daughter to say that the insurers had agreed to fly him home, and that they didn't now need the money (Obviously nothing to do with the unfavourable publicity from being shown on a popular TV news program two nights running).

Afterwards, I did wonder if a scammer could have set up something similar, if they had seen something like it on TV - In this case there was a photo of the daughter, and. the wife's and daughter's genuine email address, so it would probably have been alright; but maybe they could have found that out from social media?...

Have I Been S0ld? No, trusted security website HIBP off the table, will remain independent

Tim99 Silver badge
Big Brother

It seems that it was probably forced disclosure/Patriot Act: groklaw.net.

Maersk prepares to lay off the Maidenhead staffers who rescued it from NotPetya super-pwnage

Tim99 Silver badge
Unhappy

Maidenhead

Screwed, medical dictionary, and not in a good way.

Apple drops a bomb on long-life HTTPS certificates: Safari to snub new security certs valid for more than 13 months

Tim99 Silver badge
Gimp

Re: It's optional

True, but a (significant?) portion of them who may well have money will still use Safari and go somewhere else...

'An issue of survival': Why Mozilla welcomes EU attempts to regulate the internet giants

Tim99 Silver badge
FAIL

Why the downvote? Mike is at fudzilla.com

Tim99 Silver badge

Fudzilla

Chrome deploys deep-linking tech in latest browser build despite privacy concerns

Tim99 Silver badge
Big Brother

DuckDuckGo

If you really must use Google, DuckDuckGo allows the use of bangs: e.g., terms followed or preceded by !g for Google, !gi for Google images, and !w for Wikipedia. This should give some added anonymity. Because I may be paranoid, I tend to run searches through a VPN and a private DNS with an ad-blocker. Funnily enough I see almost no advertising, and the little that does get through appears not to be targeted.

C'mon SPARCky, it's just an admin utility update. What could possibly go wrong?

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Some of us preferred Norton Commander. I still use its descendants including the *NIX Midnight Commander.

Microsoft and Oracle, sitting in a cloud... in-ter-ope-ra-bi-li-ty: Friends-with-benefits deal is working out nicely for both

Tim99 Silver badge
Meh

Oh, joy!

Microsoft, Oracle, and the Cloud...

Who needs the A-Team or MacGyver when there's a techie with an SCSI cable?

Tim99 Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: SCSI

No. The rule was don’t mix scanners and disks NOMATTERWHAT the relevant suppliers’ technical documents said. The use of sacrifices and incantations appearing to produce a working system was just the universe screwing with you.

Hear, hear: The first to invent idiot-cancelling headphones gets my cash

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Last time I traveled first class

Unfortunately, from the mid 1980s the merchant banker/ commodity trader type of passenger with his £2000+ mobile brick phone started to infect 1st class. Their conversations were mostly “Can you speak up, I’m on the train - Sorry the reception isn’t very good”. Some wanna-be wankers even bought dummy phones so they could have loud pretend conversations to try to impress with their “big deals”. The Loadsamoney meme soon followed.

Oi! You got a loicence for that Java, mate? More devs turn to OpenJDK to swerve Oracle fee

Tim99 Silver badge
Devil

Re: How can OpenJDK etc carry on

You must have been around for a while. I realized that they were not people to do business with in 1991...

Things I learned from Y2K (pt 87): How to swap a mainframe for Microsoft Access

Tim99 Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: dBase III?

Yes QB was brilliant for data acquisition. We used it on Netware/PC-LAN networks to talk to instruments. About 40 lines of code would open a file, open a serial port, download data to the file, copy the file to a "safe" folder, check that the "safe" file was OK, tell the instrument to delete the data at its end, and then close the serial port. The data file was then used to load data into a database - At the time we often used R:Base as it was about the only SQL compliant DB for the PC. This worked well for about 100 scientists/engineers on about 10 different networks. We could then merge the data into a bigger DB.

Tim99 Silver badge
Joke

Yes. Generally it was worse, dBase IV was much worse.

(Edited icon) >>===========>

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

Access

Access applications could be dreadful, particularly when produced by a user to get a job done; but as usual, a bit of thought could produce a useful and stable solution. Access 97 was OK, Access 95 was dreadful. We produced a number of applications for $1million-$10million p.a. organizations. The rough rule was: Always split the application into a front-end (forms, code, and reports); and a back-end (data, relations, and rules/integrity). An Access back-end was usually OK for ~5 concurrent users and 10s of thousands of rows of data on a reliable network - For important data, or more users, or an imperfect network, replacing the back end with an MS SQL Server (V6 at the time) could produce a fast and reliable application. For Y2K we replaced several green screen mini-computer applications with Access/SQL Server systems - Typically a few hundred thousand rows and 20 concurrent users.

Originally I had been developing applications with traditional Oracle type systems; but after we prototyped something in Access for a customer with the intention of upscaling to a “proper system”, the customer said the prototype works fine so why would you do that?

We picked up quite a lot of work because most of our competitors were doing what we had been: Big databases with lots of code. Typically our prototyping took a couple of weeks with another week or so to upscale to a Server version. Having said that, the initial learning curve to get around undocumented bugs and performance issues was quite long, but I had been playing Access from version 1 and using version 2 for small systems. One reason that Access was not popular with professional developers was that it required 6-8MB of RAM when many desktops had <=4MB, but we usually quoted to upgrade the punters’ PCs and still came in cheaper than the typical MS VB-SQL/Powerbuilder shops who would quote several months for development time. I’ve been retired for a while, but the company still has many customers using updated applications with the latest versions of Access and SQL Server.

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd

Tim99 Silver badge
Pint

Re: I Do Not Understand Why the Hostility Toward Systemd

I can't upvote you more than once, so have one on me >>=====>

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

Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Hopefully the UK will follow this

Yes, by a French-Dutch company Gemalto, owned by the French multinational Thales - Resulting in the British company who were previously making them, De La Rue (OK, they sound French) laying off >250 people. That may, or may not, say something about Brexit.

Thunderbird is go: Mozilla's email client lands in a new nest

Tim99 Silver badge
Gimp

Re: "Around 0.5% of emails opened in the 'bird today, apparently"

Apple clients allow you to choose to prevent loading remote (image) files. I would hope that most users would turn loading off, but these days many punters are used to webmail which usually includes all of the pretty pictures.

Take DOS, stir in some Netware, add a bit of Windows and... it's ALIIIIVE!

Tim99 Silver badge
Windows

There is a reason why I look like this >>=======>

I still bear the scars of PC/MS-DOS V1.x (on 5150s), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7; Windows 286, 3, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, etc., running on NetWare/IBM/DECnet/*NIX networks.

I think the market decided it was "just good enough" or "nearly good enough" and that that was "good enough" "for now", and that MS would fix it and make it better.

Windows 3.51 was OK, but NeWare was better. Unfortunately, I won a bet with an OEM that Windows would replace NetWare (because it meant that people would think it was all "Windows" and they did not have to support two systems) even though we both thought that NetWare was "much better".

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