* Posts by Marco van de Voort

220 posts • joined 17 Jun 2008


Visual Basic 6 returns: You've been a good developer all year. You have social distanced, you have helped your mom. Here's your reward

Marco van de Voort

Well, as long as your company doesn't have Eur 5000 annual revenue: (from the license text:)

"Once your company's total revenue reaches US $5,000, or your team expands to more than 5 developers, you can move up to an unrestricted commercial license with Professional edition."

which is kind of well, always. (it doesn't say only the revenue of Delphi program counts)

Home office setup with built-in boiling water tap for tea and coffee without getting up is a monument to deskcess

Marco van de Voort

Re: WW2 quarter of British Tank crew casualties were when popping out to make a brew

Though I assume the British Tank crews had a better reason not to go outside than the average office working at home.

Pigeon fanciers in a flap over Brexit quarantine flock-up, seek exemption from EU laws

Marco van de Voort

Structure the exceptions

Maybe it is time to frame all these exceptions in something. Hmm. How would we call that, an euhh, treaty ?

Ruby off the Rails: Code library yanked over license blunder, sparks chaos for half a million projects

Marco van de Voort

copyright assignments

The problem with the copyright assignments is that it just shifts the weak point that goes rogue from the heir to Canonical.

E.g. if Canonical would go bust and parts would be snapped up by someone seeking to exploit the portfolio anyway they can.

This is an quite old discussion, since afaik GNU managed projects like gcc and gdb also require copyright assignment.

As UK breaks away from Europe, Facebook tells Brits: You'll all be Californians soon

Marco van de Voort


Ad services are services, which wouldn't be covered in a deal. UK sovereignty fully applies here.

And even if it would, it would cover moving EU citizens data to UK datacenters, and nothing about 3rd party state citizens(Brits) elsewhere.

EU says Boeing 737 Max won't fly over the Continent just yet: The US can make its own choices over pilot training

Marco van de Voort

Re: Brexit?

What will the UK do after Brexit wrt aviation?

- make meals even less palatable with chlorinated chicken.

Python swallows Java to become second-most popular programming language... according to this index

Marco van de Voort

Re: I've never understood what people have against braces (or semicolons)

Well, braces are shifted letters. Non shifted characters are easier. Like euh, begin...end, but some people wanted to save some keystrokes ;)

Someone made an AI that predicted gender from email addresses, usernames. It went about as well as expected

Marco van de Voort

What could you use it for?

When I started working, more experienced colleagues always warned to never guess gender, and always let people enter their gender, because slight mistakes already lead to highly offended customers/users/whatever.

This was before the whole non-binary movement, and as a result, by 2005 that already changed to "let people enter how they want to be addressed", since that was what most gender fields were used for anyway.

So given that a small mistake will cause an enormous backlash, what can you actually use it for? Statistics maybe, but in most cases those will be anonymized, so you won't have the name. So that leaves dodgy webcrawling to send spam.

Chinese tat bazaar Xiaomi to light a fire under Amazon's Kindle with new e-book reader

Marco van de Voort


There is also still pocketbook.

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?

Marco van de Voort


Risc V might be fashionable and the "open" community's darling, but there is only one decent source for production level silicon exists , SiFive.

MIPS is relatively cheaper, and more regular and used in great variety, used in the past in many routers, game computers, settopboxes and even microcontrollers using it exist (e.g. PIC32).

I'd at least expect the various ARM license fugitives to be divided over the two.

Release the pressure: Win16 support arrives for version 3.2 of Free Pascal

Marco van de Voort

Re: And in the next release ...

There have been discussions about 6502, but it is even more register starved than the Z80. And none of them are 16-bit capable, not even by combining 8-bit registers (iow needing zero page indirect indexing to process a pointer). The codegenerator doesn't model this atm.

Marco van de Voort

Re: 'hello world' warhorse?

True. In reality even trunk is nearly daily tested by compiling the lazarus codebases and all packages (including staples like Indy and Virtual String Grid), which combined are multi-MLOC codebases.

Marco van de Voort


This release also revitalizes Amiga, Aros and Morphos targets and adds the m68k backend.

Marco van de Voort

Re: You'd think they'd prioritise current Mac OS support over Win16

FPC 3.2.0 should work on Catalina. The builds are fat binaries for supported targets, as afaik Apple guidelines prefer.

Marco van de Voort

Re: And in the next release ...

ZX Spectrum is only supported in trunk. Work is still being done on the smartlinking and cutting down the Rtl and doing parts in assembler, as unfortunately the programs are currently still too large to fit in a ZX-81 (as in >10k)

C is for 'Careful now', D is for 'Download surprise': Microsoft to resurrect optional Windows 10 updates as 'Previews'

Marco van de Voort

Recent Edge update seemed to set all fileassociations to "query"

Recent Edge update seemed to set all fileassociations to open a dialog. Some however, like for html seem to have no option to make it permanent as it was.

disclaimer: initial impressions only, I haven't tried to reproduce yet.

Ah lovely, here's something you can do with those Raspberry Pis, NUC PCs in the bottom of the drawer: Run Ubuntu Appliances on them

Marco van de Voort

What about sheevaplugs ?

Checked my drawer, what about old sheevaplugs ?

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

Marco van de Voort


Before you start throwing in technologies that require a radical different approach, start with simple optimization like looptiling to optimize for cache effects.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Marco van de Voort

Re: And there is of course also lazarus/freepascal

Thank you

Marco van de Voort

And there is of course also lazarus/freepascal

Since Delphi got awfully expensive lately. Strange that it isn't mentioned. Sponsored piece? Embarcadero had a release in the last few days.

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

Marco van de Voort


The traditional way of getting rid of slightly off beer is to feed it to the pigs (really, they love the stuff!).

But here (NL/BE) all livestock is already chewing its way through a million tons of potatoes.

Is that a typo? Oh, it's not a typo. Ampere really is touting an 80-core 64-bit 7nm Arm server processor dubbed Altra

Marco van de Voort

128-bit simd units

Text says 128-bit simd units in a list of per package things. I assume these are per core?

Time to svn commit like it's the year 2000: Apache celebrates 20 years of Subversion

Marco van de Voort

Branching and merging worked from the start. Tagging was replaced by branching even.

SVN doesn't internally administrate as finely divided though, which lessens merge performance in more extreme cases. But that is something different. In cases both sides have changes in the same lines it sometimes borks.

(but a good 3rd party three-way diff tool as Beyond compare can even resolve many of those)

Windows Dressing: Psst... Fast Ring folks, whispers Microsoft. You're in this for the cool icons, right?

Marco van de Voort

position, not picture

I can vaguely remember from UI design classes that most people remember the position of an icon more than the action icon itself, specially for routine tasks.

So one could wonder what this is good for.

25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

Marco van de Voort

Re: the question is why Delphi failed to sweep up more of the Windows development market

Personally I think the time for 3rd party tools vendors was simply over and from the late nineties on, the market belonged to the big IT vendors that predatory priced development tools because they wanted to promote their "platform".

Another ten years later, open source would also start a significant dent.

Borland maybe should have aligned themselves with a Big One in that period.

Marco van de Voort

Re: Pascal has always been great

Kernighan commented on pre borland versions 15 years older than Delphi.

Stronger even, at the time he was still publishing versions of his books for Pascal, e.g.


You'll never select all and mark as read again after this tale of peril... Oh, who are we kidding? Of course you will

Marco van de Voort

NMR wiping.

I did need to get a new ATM card due to the magnets of an NMR apparatus. There was tray for keys and wallets near the door that I forgot in my hurry.

Usually it was fine, but occasionally (specially after servicing) a light imbalance could generate a card wiping field (and it was said to rip the keys from your trousers, but I never witnessed that).

p.s., hydrochloric acid on your ATM card is also not very good for it. Just light acid on the hand and touched the magnetic strip of card at one end, but the card was finito, the strip got some green tinges at the end where the acid touched and refused to work a few days later . All in the nineties when the ATMs only had a magnetic script of course.

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

Marco van de Voort

Some of that is what I thought. "Easy Visa" is an easy to implement solution to clear some last hurdles, and also attract the students before they become "World Class Scientist" (the bit where you educate an hundred to find one nugget)

To cherry pick world class staff, primarily you need to give potential staff good salaries and somewhat secure prospects. World Class staff coming for multi year tenures don't mind visa that much, since they can be handled by the uni (or research institutions) bureau for that. And those know which points to pressure for the real good ones.

Easy visa is the methods to drag in reams of (usually /paying/) hopefuls into your education system to bolster the base, to partially fund it, and with hopefully some cream rising to the top eventually.

The Curse of macOS Catalina strikes again as AccountEdge stays 32-bit

Marco van de Voort

Well, indeed Apple has shown many signs that it takes users of software not serious, and focusses chiefly on media consumption. Primarily from its own services.

So the blame is on the Apple users still trying while the writing has been on the wall for a decade, while Apple is laughing all the way to the bank.

JavaScript survey: Devs love a bit of React, but Angular and Cordova declining. And you're not alone... a chunk of pros also feel JS is 'overly complex'

Marco van de Voort

Re: Doesn't paint JavaScript in the best light...

Yeah, I get the feeling that first gen JavaScripts are being confronted with legacy concerns, and it was not a nice meeting :-)

After four years, Rust-based Redox OS is nearly self-hosting

Marco van de Voort

And now just put it next to Singularity ?

Nice. Done. Great. And now just put it next to Singularity!

In Rust We Trust: Stob gets behind the latest language craze

Marco van de Voort

But make sure you have Rust++19 not Rust++17

DeepMind gets good at games (and choosing them) – plus more bits and bytes from the world of machine learning

Marco van de Voort

The best solution for AI

Is still hunting down Arnold Schwarzenegger and getting his T1000 chip.

We lose money on repairs, sobs penniless Apple, even though we charge y'all a fortune

Marco van de Voort


Probably all those geniuses is what costs the money. Might just as well rebrand them to idiots and safe on payroll.

WinUI and WinRT: Official modern Windows API now universal thanks to WebAssembly

Marco van de Voort

how long and how versioned.

Indeed how long, and how about versioning? The problem with .NET is always that there is no single version default available on all targets. (and if win7 is pushing up daisies, it will probably be replaced by old corporate LTS versions of Windows 10)

If you need to deliver something simple like a tool to configure a piece of hardware then you are stuck with a runtime versioning mess with anything but the win32/64 subsystem.

Bezos DDoS'd: Amazon Web Services' DNS systems knackered by hours-long cyber-attack

Marco van de Voort

Maybe they should use a cloud

Cloud services advertise with always up.

HP to hike upfront price of printer hardware as ink biz growth runs dry

Marco van de Voort

Re: At the risk of topic drift, can I ask for a recommendation for a mono laser...

Note that Samsung and Bother low end printers are pretty much the same.

MacOS wakes to a bright Catalina sunrise – and broken Adobe apps

Marco van de Voort

readonly FS

From what I hear it is not just 32-bit that kills old software, but also making nearly everything in the filesystem readonly.

Fairytale for 2019: GNOME to battle a patent troll in court

Marco van de Voort

Re: Subsequent litigation.

and proper scrutiny also costs money. It is the result of a small government principle.

Service call centres to become wasteland and tumbleweed by 2024

Marco van de Voort

Re: Does an AI lie detector already exist?

Not calling him a liar in a confrontational way doesn't mean he isn't.

Marco van de Voort

Does an AI lie detector already exist?

I've been on an major (Chello) ISP helpdesk for two years, doing 2nd and 3rd line (senior) work. Basically all the customers wanted was an engineer to come and sort things out, and they all had already checked everything (they thought). NOT!

We already had expert systems for self help, and they were next to useless. (unless you liked in kicking in open doors). Customers simply couldn't specify the problem beyond "Internet doesn't work" (*)

(*) test one: does mail work? Yes, hmm, then "some internet works" :-)

It will never be safe to turn off your computer: Prankster harnesses the power of Windows 95 to torment fellow students

Marco van de Voort

FreeBSD console

In the late nineties, our computerclub had freebsd systems, multiusers systems off a shared NFS with the hardware also doubling as terminals.

To make emergency login to the physical console possible without logging of the locally logged on user, they simply defined extra getty's on up to 20 terminals (F1..F10 and iirc ctrl-shift-F1..F10). The ctrl-shift-Fx combos (and the extra terminals on them) were a bit a secret.

I was porting a full screen app, and experimenting with consoles in raw mode, and found a whole bunch of syscons ioctls. These included font manipulation. I also found out that if you execute a program with "exec xxx" on one of the hidden consoles, that the terminal stdinput handle remained valid for syscons ioctlrs and that the syscons didn't change the settings on a per console/getty basis.

I used that for two programs:

- one that created a lookup table for 2 x 26 characters (upper/lower) that shuffled the values. Then I set font and keyboard controller according to this table. So you would press the "E" key, and the "E" glyph was shown, but some other ascii code (like "v") was actually generated to the terminal.

- I took the VGA font and did some bit twiddling (shift upper and lower rowes) to make them a bit cursive or mirrored. Then I started animating the font. (so slanted to the right, normal slanted to the level, normal etc).

The program hooked sigusr2 which could be used (from a remotely logged in session) to turn these features on and off. Fun times, though in the end I didn't trick my main targets as badly since they had seen me develop it. We used it with a lot of fun next year on the new batch of students though.

Marco van de Voort

sad mac

Hmm, last line of the article reminds me that "sad mac" would also have been a great shutdown screenshot

My alltime favorite remains putting a screenshot of the desktop as background and hiding (all/most of) the icons

LibreOffice handlers defend suite's security after 'unfortunately partial' patch

Marco van de Voort

Headline: windows never had security problems.

Windows scripting host was a macro package delivered with product.

Time to Ryzen shine, Intel: AMD has started shipping 7nm desktop CPUs like it's no big deal

Marco van de Voort

Re: On Waking Up

Intel coined AVX512, and thus has to invest silicon surface that largely goes unused in the first generations to get a critical mass. IOW it is seeding it to get people to use it.

AMD doesn't, so only upgrades the vector unit when it actually becomes commonly used, and spends the surface one whatever is needed now (either making cheaper or other features)

Keep in mind that there is barely enduser -512 silicon out there atm, and worse the standard is hopelessly fragmented in substandards.

Some Xeon servers had some older substandard, but clock down when heavily used, or implement a 512 instruction using two 256 pipes (as AMD does for AVX2 currently in ryzen 2x00)

Delphi RAD tool (remember that?) gets support for Linux desktop apps – again

Marco van de Voort

Re: next gen dialect

I don't remind version details any more, but the last one could be made to run quite long using LD_PRELOAD tricks (adding a runner script that set them). People kept them running way past 2010, and pretty much only the mobile wave made them reconsider.

I never really used it. I didn't need the commercial finishing touch for my internal use/server apps, and Free Pascal/Lazarus was more comfortable, and more importantly progressing and supported.

I still use Delphi though on Windows for my core applications, mostly because of more convenient debugging.

Small apps, utils and cmdline work (including a sizable part of the testing) all work with FPC/Lazarus.

Marco van de Voort

next gen dialect

Afaik the former serverside Linux option was based on the so called nextgen modification of the original dialect that is used on the mobile platform offerings. As it originates in the Mac world, it borrows heavily from Objective C and misses many original language features.

The original Kylix WAS a full dialect version, but I can't seem to find what this thing uses.

Go fourth and multi-Pi: Raspberry Pi 4 lands today with quad 1.5GHz Arm Cortex-A72 CPU cores, up to 4GB RAM...

Marco van de Voort

Re: Sata

Afaik in older BCMs there is a parallel expansion bus that sata chips could be attached to.

10 PRINT Memorial in New Hampshire marks the birthplace of BASIC

Marco van de Voort

School kids microsoft basic

Commodore Basic was Micro Soft (then still with space) based. So quite some schoolkids used Micro Soft as first programming language too.

Including me :-)

Apple's tailored SwiftUI makes coding Mac and iOS apps RAD again

Marco van de Voort

Re: So, basically what Visual Basic and Delphi could do twenty-four years ago already?

I can only say I agree wholeheartedly.

I prefer the delphi model to the jbuilder model too.



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