* Posts by John Sager

629 posts • joined 28 Apr 2008


Orders wrong, resellers receiving wrong items? Must be a programming error and certainly not a rushing techie

John Sager

Re: Fun with punch cards

You actually got to program a real computer as part of the course? We did the one term course and then the lecturer said that elec eng are commissioning a new ICL190something so you can have a bit of time on that during the summer. I actually got my program to work but it took several turnarounds for syntax errors and then the ops gave me a nice debug printout to sort the logical errors. That is the one and only time I've used punched cards, and I don't miss them!

Facebook may soon reveal new name – we're sure Reg readers will be more creative than Zuck's marketroids

John Sager

Re: Omnipotent manboy leader who has tantrums

There's a Nork who fits that description, so what are we not being told? Is Zuck a secret dastardly experiment by the Kim family?

Check your bits: What to do when Unix decides to make a hash of your bill printouts

John Sager

Re: Not a Cossie, but...

I owned a XR3 decades ago, and never had that problem. It was the carburettor version though before the XR3i. It was great for fast runs around the local country lanes, plus a trip via N roads (eschewed the Autoroute) down to the Midi.

I booked a small car from Nice airport for navigating the winding narrow roads in Provence but they gave me a Renault Laguna...

John Sager

Re: It's not got any better...

I once used a Trimble GPS. The setting for Trimble's protocol in those days was 19200-8O1. That's right, 9 bits!

Japanese boffins say they've created plastic optical fibres to reach places that might break glass

John Sager

Re: Why?

I'm pretty sure the Saab 9-3 I used to have had optical fibres to the light cluster controllers at the back. One obvious solution is to have the 12V bussed around to local controllers for whatever and have optical fibres for the CAN bus to control everything. That makes the wiring loom much simpler as variants for different markets and models are a local controller change or even just a different software build.

Logitech Bolt devices support secure Bluetooth Low Energy – but forget the 'Unifying Receiver'

John Sager

Re: F*ck wireless

I need a wireless mouse for the security camera recorder, which sits behind the TV. But I still need a USB extension lead to bring the receiver into a position where it works reliably to the mouse 3 metres away.

When you finish celebrating Linux turning 30, try new Linux 5.14, says Linus Torvalds

John Sager

Re: Who cares..

Well, desktop Linux just works for me. Has done for several releases (Xubuntu) though I don't try to do any really weird stuff. Not really sure what the problems are TBH. No doubt you'll all pile in and educate me. Specifics please, not just 'it sucks'!

What's the top programming language? It's not JavaScript but Python, says IEEE survey

John Sager

I've actually just done a small project using javascript for the first time, but with a Python back end. It's for listing voicemails & calls on Asterisk. I started off doing it all via cgi with Python but to handle buttons & events generally I opted for jQuery & moved the HTML & some logic to the HTML file. It's changed my mind a bit about javascript as before, I saw it as having a terrible syntax. Of course Python is still my go-to language for all sorts of small projects, and it has taken over from C for most things.

I can imagine, though, that I might have a somewhat less rosy view if trying to do a large website.

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland

John Sager

Re: Mars Bar

A chippy near us (East Anglia), no longer extant, used to do them but it was a bit of a joke. As others have pointed out, disgusting. The ingredients are great in other contexts but not together!

Tired: What3Words. Wired: A clone location-tracking service based on FOUR words – and they are all extremely rude

John Sager

Internet pointlessness

Swatch's Internet Time has to be up there in that list. Also, Tony Blair late of this parish had a similar idea about GMT when he was trying to do his day job. I was peripherally involved in that as a supposed NTP guru and kept asking what the USP was, and why NPL didn't have a NTP server tied to their version of UTC. Blair's grand idea died like a lot of his others (not enough I hear you shout) but NPL did eventually host a NTP server, so I suppose it had a minor effect.

Elevating bork to a new level (if the touchscreen worked)

John Sager

Re: "A touchscreen, by itself, is not going to enhance anything"

I've been in a lift which broke down. Took an hour to get out. Luckily I was on my own so didn't have to spend an hour conversing with, or even consoling/calming other occupant(s).

The scary bit was a lift on another occasion that carried on going up past my floor, and the next one, and hit the buffers at the top. After some reflection I hit the button for my floor and it dutifully went down to it and stopped. I did report the episode though what action, if any, was taken I have no idea.

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

John Sager

Re: Maybe Windows 3.1 was a sweet spot?

I bought an obsolete HP instrument, and there was some Win3.1 s/w available to drive it. However it talked to a long obsolete ISA HPIB card. I eventually made it work with a modern USB GPIB adaptor but it took 2 DLLS in tandem - a 16-bit one to emulate the 3.1 driver and then a 32-bit one to drive the GPIB adaptor. It worked, but the facility turned out to be not very useful. However it was an interesting & frustrating excursion into the vagaries of Windows drivers for a committed Linux programmer.

WireGuard VPN gets native port to the Windows kernel

John Sager

Ace VPN!

I've been using it for some years now on Android and Linux in a road-warrior setup, and after messing about with IPSec on Linux and Cisco, WireGuard is a lot easier to set up. Reading the mailing list it's getting lots of use by others for secure virtual networks over the top of the Internet.

Vivo X60 Pro: Branding was plastered all over the Euros, but does the phone perform better than the English team?

John Sager

WiFi Calling? No, didn't think so

So will it support WiFi calling on all or even any of the UK networks? Living in a hole I need it now that Voda are turning off Sure Signal. But with my 3 year old Moto G6 Plus, no chance! So I need a new phone but perhaps not this one. Too expensive anyway.

Have you turned it off and on again? Russia's Nauka module just about makes it to the ISS

John Sager

I don't think I'll call Success until it's all been checked out and the cosmonauts are happy to live in it. Note they may have to live in it without being happy with the prospect.

Mozilla ups its VPN game – and the price – with split tunneling for Android, iOS

John Sager

Roll your own

WireGuard is mature, secure and apps are available for several OSs, including Android, iOS. I've run it for some years now on a VPN server (OpenWRT) behind my firewall and it works fine with my laptop & phone globally. Plenty of advice on the net on how to set it up.

The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

John Sager

Re: "Why solar panels are not mandated as part of the new builds is lost on me."

as storage tech improves

I never stop laughing at that. If storage tech improves to the point where grid storage chemically is practical, then the EV battery problem is likewise solved.

A nodding equaintance with M. Carnot and other luminaries of thermodynamics would rapidly disabuse you of such notions. I read recently that Musk's battery tech is pretty close to theoretical limits for that technology. There are technologies with better specific energy density both by volume and by mass, but they are still in the lab and have been for a couple of decades.

And are we really, really sure that all this is absolutely necessary because all sorts of horrible things will happen if we don't? Far too much wailing and rending of garments in this argument for any kind of sense to prevail.

China sets goal of running single-stack IPv6 network by 2030, orders upgrade blitz

John Sager

Re: Still not there...

Their hosting company probably charges extra for dual stack access.

John Sager

Re: Static IP addresses

The bottom 64 bits of an IPv6 address is generally a free-for-all. Lots of servers have mostly zeos in there though a few are more creative - Facebook have 'face:b00c' as part of the address. Putting something arbitrary in there makes them a lot harder to find if they aren't in DNS, especially if it changes fairly often.

Monitoring my firewall logs I get very few hits on v6 and they are all from China

Remember the bloke who was told by Zen Internet to contact his MP about crap service? Yeah, it's still not fixed

John Sager

Zen may be happy to let him go and avoid the continuing trouble ticket expenses. The problem almost certainly lies with the Cu/Al wiring, so Openreach. If he goes to another ISP they may be reluctant to take him if they know the history and his broadband wouldn't improve either.

Restoring your privacy costs money, which makes it a marker of class

John Sager

I do have a Gmail acct but I run my own mail server at home & scrape Gmail and my main mail service into it periodically . Same with calendar, I run Davical on Apache/postgresql. For access when I'm away, WireGuard VPN works fine. Granted, you need tech chops to get it all working, but it's a useful privacy boost.

IPv6 still 5–10 years away from mainstream use, but K8s networking and multi-cloud are now real

John Sager

Re: Is this the most sensible Gardner report ever?

Security at your router/firewall for IPv6 doesn't have to be any worse than what NAT supposedly gives you for v4. A couple of iptables/nftables rules and an ultimate 'DROP' policy in the FORWARD table will give you that. Of course the wifi router makers need to get on board with v6 which they haven't done hitherto because there is 'no demand'. Perhaps pressure from ISPs that are going to v6 will persuade them to get their act together.

BT to phase out 3G in UK by 2023 for EE, Plusnet, BT Mobile subscribers

John Sager

Re: Hmm...

Apparently Vodafone's Sure Signal is due to be turned off soon. Guess who's phone hasn't got WiFi calling on Voda :(

Windows 11 still doesn't understand our complex lives – and it hurts

John Sager

Re: web Teams works on Linux

I use the Teams app on Linux for one reason only. When we were denied the pub last year one of our Friday night group set up Teams for a weekly online pub session. It's worked fine for me on my laptop though it did choose the onboard camera rather than the USB one last week. One of the group with Windows says Teams messes with his Outlook when both are running.

Containers have security problems and flexibility issues. VMs will make them viable

John Sager

No obvious 'winner'

I only voted now (16:15BST 23/6/21) as I don't have a dog in this fight. Interesting to see that when I voted it was exactly 50/50!

Open standard but not open access: Schematron author complains about ISO paywall

John Sager

Re: Difficult to agree with this more

I've purchased and worked from a number of specs, some of which are missing enough technical detail to make implementing them involve a large degree of guesswork

Standards ought to have an accompanying Rationale document that explains why certain design choices were made. When the process of defining the ADA language was running, the team I was in was writing a compiler (not for ADA) and we were interested enough to get the docs for the four candidates. All had a Rationale doc to describe how the choices were made for various language features. This must have aided immensely the various ADA compiler writers at the time.

A hotline to His Billness? Or a guard having a bit of a giggle?

John Sager

Not anything like that. I once found it impossible to find the reference book for the SPARC instruction set, so in pure frustration I emailed Scott McNealy, pointing out that Intel had all this stuff on their website. He emailed me back and the book arrived by return of post. I don't suppose I would get the same response from good ol' Larry.

Realizing this is getting out of hand, Coq mulls new name for programming language

John Sager

Re: Just call it ...

Yes, but we weren't talking about the programming language as such, we were talking about, and lampooning, the weak-brained fussbuckets that like to take umbrage.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The best time to build a semiconductor foundry is 5 years ago

John Sager

Re: Is this fair?

We used to call them Seagulls - fly in, shit on everyone & fly off again.

Ireland warned it could face 'rolling blackouts' if it doesn't address data centres' demand for electricity

John Sager

Re: Lucky Ireland

they just mean you don't have to turn them on as often

Which trashes the business case for the backup power stations. If they only generate electricity for part of the time, they only get a fraction of the revenue. The business case for installing renewables should include costs associated with the backup plans, but it doesn't as that would show up "green energy" for the racket that it is

BT promises firmware update for Mini Whole Home Wi-Fi discs to prevent obsessive Big Tech DNS lookups

John Sager

If this is supposed to be a link integrity check, it's a criminally stupid way of doing it. My ISP sends LCP echos to my border router every second in the PPP session to monitor link integrity, delay, etc. That's the proper way to do it.

Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing

John Sager

Re: implications and questions

I got that about a week ago. I thought it was my own network because I've been experimenting with nftables (definitely nicer than iptables but doesn't support as many targets). But it turned out to be external.

Oracle hits UK reseller with lawsuit for allegedly reselling grey market Sun hardware

John Sager

I had a SPARCStation 2 as a desktop (or rather side-table-top) machine for several years before I persuaded TPTB to let me buy a PC running Linux. I stuck with SunOS 4 rather than 'upgrading' to Solaris. That was a very capable machine for its time.

China reveals plan to pump out positive news about itself. Let's see what happens when that lands with social media fact-checkers

John Sager

Re: It'll take more than that

Yup. We judge you by your actions, not by what you say.

NASA to return to the Moon by 2024. One problem with that, says watchdog: All of it

John Sager

Re: I did it my way

We all wish for things we can't have. That kind of political pie-division has long been a feature of US politics, though NASA does seem to suffer more than most. I guess it's the supposed extra kudos that attaches to SPACE!!

UK Computer Misuse Act convictions declined last year despite pandemic explosion in online criminal activity

John Sager

Re: Incidentally

What would be an appropriate sentence? 10 years in Club Fed versus a caution speaks more to the US predilection for heavy sentences. I agree a caution seems a bit light for that one.

Where a particular crime involves several offences the CPS would most likely go for the one with the heaviest tariff that has a likelihood of a conviction. A CMA offence probably isn't it.

Bitcoin is ‘disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization’ says famed investor Charlie Munger

John Sager

Re: Insert meme here

At least fiat money doesn't take an increasing number of power stations to make.

Where meetings go to die: Microsoft Teams outage lets customers skip that collaboration call they've been dreading

John Sager

Work? What's that?

My only use of Teams is the Friday evening virtual pub session with friends that has replaced the weekly IRL session since we were placed under house arrest. That mostly works, even though it's still work time in the US, but there are occasional glitches. Nice of MS to do a Linux client too.

OK so what's going with these millions of Pentagon-owned IPv4 addresses lighting up all of a sudden?

John Sager

Re: 1/4 per cent sounds like a class A block of addresses

From what I've seen looking at info for that AS on the net, that the "175 million" addresses includes lots of subsets of, so actually there are only 16-odd million new addresses.

Bank of England ponders minting 'Britcoin' to sit alongside the Pound

John Sager

They would be better off thinking about how to destroy bitcoin. It's a resource disaster and that will only get worse as bitcoins become harder and harder to mine.

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into

John Sager

Re: Not a translator

I can imagine it's difficult and stressful, especially when the syntax isn't the same.

I once heard Eric Laithwaite relate an anecdote. He had been to a conference with simultaneous translation, and he was listening to a translation of a German speaker. Suddenly the translator stopped while the speaker went on. Eventually Laithwaite heard the translator mutter "the verb, man! the verb!" before finally trying to pick up again at the end of the sentence.

John Sager

Re: Such value for money

I was giving a talk once to a meeting in a well-known Scottish town, and a local had been deputed to meet me at the station. So we identified each other and went out to his car - a Lada. I have never heard so much gear whine in my life! It was far worse than the whine from the transfer gear on old Minis. I don't suppose the Russians thought it worthwhile to spend effort on helical gears.

SpaceX's Starlink: Overhyped and underpowered to meet broadband needs of Rural America, say analysts

John Sager

Re: Current user here

Perhaps that's how it should be, but here East of the pond, the news we get regarding muni fibre in the US is usually of the cable companies indulging in endless lawfare to prevent it.

SQL now a dirty word for Oracle, at least in cloudy data warehouses

John Sager

"low code" - LOL, we've been there before

Remember all those tools that sprouted decades ago that were supposed to make programming redundant? Didn't happen did it. This one is almost guaranteed to go the same way, largely because it's a Larry lucre levitator rather than an attempt at a genuine business productivity tool.

Boffins revisit the Antikythera Mechanism and assert it’s no longer Greek to them

John Sager

Boffinry at its best

The paper is well worth reading, plus the supplementary info. The CGI videos in the latter are fascinating. It would take a talented clockmaker these days to build one, and the team propose to do just that using methods from those times. I will be very interested to see the result.

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?

John Sager

I thought of Purgatory after I posted, but too late to edit.

John Sager

Re: Typo? Or me being dense?

Chilled is just above 0C, frozen is more like -40C for a warehouse.

John Sager

What's your upvote/downvote ratio though? >1 heaven, <1 hell. Not sure what =1 is...

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

John Sager

Re: My current annoyance is "gift" as a verb

OED isn't an Academie Française type prescriptive document. It's real job is to describe current and historical usage with contemporary examples. I should think the keepers of the OED shudder at some of the usages they do document but then all languages (including French despite the AF) change at varying speeds.

Choose your fighter! March Mammal Madness pits poor, innocent critters against each other in mortal combat

John Sager

Re: Honeybadger!

You aren't allowed to pit honey badgers against any other animal (it's a completely unfair contest whichever way you look at it), except certain classes of human. I know which classes I mean but you may have other ideas. Note that I'm classless...



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