* Posts by Tim Parker

858 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Apr 2007


Ready for the Linux 6.0 splashdown? Here are some of the highlights

Tim Parker

Wait, what ?

SMB is still A Thing ? Really ?

The wild world of non-C operating systems

Tim Parker

Re: BCPL over C

I think that's a bit of projection (again) on the author's part. Someone seems to have a bit of a cob on about C at the moment for some reason.

Tim Parker

Re: BCPL over C

"C fans tend to regard BCPL as an unimportant transitional step"!

I wouldn't take that as too much of a real criticism of BCPL, I think it may be more projection than anything else.

C: Everyone's favourite programming language isn't a programming language

Tim Parker

Re: Nothing new, kinda pathetic really

"Which means that a team of dozens programmers working for years building a type-safe language, a program in which then calls a different type-safe language, can fall over because the communications between them need to be specified in their mutual FFIs, which must be specified in C structures and C functions"

Except that that's utterly false. The languages talk to the underlying system primarily in C based interfaces at the lower levels in those systems that require it, but the interface between each language is up to them - as long as they agree on a protocol they can do whatever they like within the confines of the of the hardware and ISA. Part of the point of the article as far as I could see was that this is indeed the case, but because of the ubiquity of an established and widely used interface alternatives are tough to try and gain traction with, despite existing flaws.

", and thus flaws in the 1970s design of C can and do affect 21st century programs which contain no C code at all."

What elements of the C system interface are a crippling impediment to high level language type safety at the user level ? What role does the base C system interface play in the interaction between the source language and, say, the AST of a language compiler ?

Updated Python support in VS Code brings browser editing and ditches open-source language server for Pylance

Tim Parker

For Python ? Wing - if the licensing works for you. One of the older IDEs but still one of the most fully featured.

Faster Python: Mark Shannon, author of newly endorsed plan, speaks to The Register

Tim Parker

Re: Making Python faster

Well exactly, it's about using the right tool for the job. If you're just checking numbers, then Python may not be that tool - if you're quickly knocking up a cross-platform network application or GUI, then C may not be that one either.

C++ still rules the Chromium roost though Rust has caught our eye, say browser devs

Tim Parker

Re: C v Rust

It's a stop-the-build error in Rust.

That's a language design choice. As a C/C++ guy, I find it weird and impractical.

As a C/C++ guy, I find it very appealing, especially when we have new programmers.

C/C++ intentionally allow switch fallthrough. It's not a bug.

C/C++ programmers unintentionally write switch fall-through. That's a bug.

Facebook boffins bake robo-code converter to take the pain out of shifting between C++, Java, Python

Tim Parker

Re: Cython, Numba, etc.

I think you're getting confused about the difference between the functionality of a program written in a given language and an interpreter for a language. Also the role of the embedded interpreter in a compiled Python program. You do not need an embedded Python interpreter in a program translated from Python to C/C++ (or other language) unless you are deliberately using some specific Python runtime feature, e.g. Idle, nor the Python runtime.

FBI v Apple spat latest: Bill Gates is really upset that you all thought he was on the Feds' side

Tim Parker

Re: They are asking for a vulnerability to be created

The 'back door vulnerability', as such, already exists. The FBI, in this case, are asking Apple to circumvent a particular basic, timing-related security mechanism to reduce the time taken to exploit it, in their own building, using their own equipment, under their own control, to access this under a warrant obtained through judicial review. I'm depressingly unsurprised that the nature of the request seems beyond a few on here, but even i'm taken a-back in the Daily Mail level of ignorance displayed in much of this thread. I wouldn't trust the FBI as far as I could throw their headquarters, but that's not the issue here.

Mozilla: Native code? No, it's JavaScript, only it's BLAZING FAST

Tim Parker

Re: Yeah right

"Compare performance of two applications once they are actually running and it's good. Compare start-up time and it's often bad."

I have to agree with the OP - i've still not seen any reasonably computationally intensive code, outside of a few isolated routines or synthetic benchmarks, that run anything like as fast using Java over C/C++ or Fortran. Some GUI apps do a remarkably good job and i'm not knocking it as a useful language, especially due to its run-time nature and cross platform support, but once the heavy lifting starts it's a no-go. From personal experience or second hand feedback numerical simulations, search algorithms, things with deep stacks or lots of branching, anything which has significant string manipulation and creation, anything needing any type of time/response guarantee (think GC).. all perform poorly against (half decent) native code.

Java's fine, not without its quirks but what language isn't, but all this continual willy-waving about being as fast as X or native this-or-that is un-necessary and rather obscures it's true strengths (IMO).

Legal bruiser Reback joins Google battle in Europe

Tim Parker

'"English English” is an official EU language - but Californian English isn’t. Google doesn’t seem bothered by the distinction.'

-ize would follow Oxford (or Oxford English Dictionary) English - rather than the unfortunate rather Francophile bastardization we use these days (CUP may choose what it will). The irony of much of its current usage being due to the power and influence of a minority - whilst being used in the manner it has in an article about Google must surely not have escaped you Andrew ;)

That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

Tim Parker

"..the chance of Google being able to actually develop a better general-purpose chip than Intel is slim."

Although perhaps not as slim as the chance that Google actually want a general purpose chip.

"it's likely the technology will be sub-par compared to Intel or AMD, in terms of raw performance, but the power bill may be low enough to motivate a move."

Sub-par ? Maybe, maybe not - you seem to be missing the point, which your 'contact' touched on, which is that using bought in IP like ARM gives them a great flexibility to create customs parts that work well for processing a particular type of data, e.g. scaling out the IO (as mentioned), memory hierarchy tweaks (also mentioned), attaching to dedicated hardware (e.g. custom ASICs for pattern matching, high-speed FPGAs) or whatever they want. With that degree of customization available it's entirely possible to match or surpass general purpose CPUs within a particular processing niche (I seem to remember a while back, the fastest 'computer' for one type of highly parallel algorithm was a basically a bucket of dye). Through-put is not the key however - a combination of through-put, flexibility, specifitiy and power-usage probably is a better metric, and the ability to have all this in-house is certainly not to be sniffed at.

'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

Tim Parker

Re: What about CalTrain?

Yeah, fairly sure it goes (or went) to Mountain View. I used it quite a bit when I was in Cupertino for a couple of months back in 2000, and I must say I was impressed (although admittedly being a Brit, used to English trains, that doesn't take much). I'd get the bus into Sunnyvale and pop up to San Francisco on the weekend - it was something like $9 for a 24 hour ticket, which worked out fine. Time keeping was good and loads of room on the weekend... great back garden viewing opportunities, some crackers out there. The double-decker carriages were great - all swoops and rivets and made from proper American train metal (you'd know it if you saw it). All in all a very pleasant experience.

Only real issue was explaining this in the office as it necessitated using quite a few unfamiliar words such as walk, bus and train.

Developer unleashes bowel-shaking KILLER APP for Google Glass

Tim Parker

@jake Re: Further proof that these things are childish toys.

It's nothing of the sort - if it were, you'd have to brand pretty much every personal electronic device a "childish toy" (although now I think of it.... but, no). Pretty much every mobile OS you can think of has fart apps - iOS, Android, Windows Phone, even Blackberry OS - they have become a sort of Hello World app for them. Yes, of course they're childish, but you really can't use it as proof of anything except perhaps your own bigotry.

You might hate GoogleGlass (you seem to) which is fine, entirely your choice, and you may consider anyone who touches one an idiot - although that seems simple-minded to me but is very much 'on trend' - but one person developing a fart app to test out the SDK really backs up none of that. I mean, did you actually read the article ? ... or even his posting about what he was doing and why ?... and his opinion of the device ? You probably have more in common with him than you think.

Apple's 'Smart Dock' patent filing makes Siri your new roommate

Tim Parker

IANAL but it would seem to me, aside from the bountiful prior art, that the use of the word 'typically' in the 'Background of the Invention' section 0003 and section 0004 invalidates the basic claim (or rather any innovative part of it). 'Typically' is not exclusive so permits the possibility that existing methods do not require whatever follows (which is true), it seems a bit like the word 'may' in this context - effectively meaning nothing at all.

Darth Vader outs self as iPhone fanboi

Tim Parker

That's no iPhone !

It's a SPACE..... no, no hang on, that's not right....

Elon Musk scrubs lucrative MONEY RING debut again on Thanksgiving

Tim Parker

"Unfortunately for Mr Musk and his SpaceX team, they missed their day off to no avail."

Yeah but what a cracking thing to miss a silly bit of holiday for.....

Playing with enormous rockets or turkey ?

Turkey or playing with enormous rockets ?


...and good luck to 'em for the next launch attempt.

Mass Effect: Ten lightweight laptops that won’t bust your back

Tim Parker

Re: these look somehow familiar...

"these look somehow familiar...

ah yes, they all look exactly the same as my 4 year old MacBook air :-)"

No they don't.

Just who is Apple's most frustrated fanboi? Surprise – it's GOOGLE

Tim Parker

Re: They should be forced to use

"Tux fanboys should really take the time to install a Windows Domain Controller and learn how much you can do from that, even without adding more sophisticated tool like System Manager or the like."

..or they could just fire-up a LDAP server and do much the same basic admin using a number of freely available front-ends or go to someone like Softerra and get something that admins openLDAP and MS ActiveDirectory (LDAP with bells) as well as Novell eDirectory (yuck), Oracle Internet Directory (double yuck) and Lotus Domino (good grief, still going ?). Not as nicely presented often, true - especially the free ones, and certainly not as powerful, easy to use or relevant in a Windows enterprise - but there's a lot you can do without really knowing anything about what's under the hood.

Not saying you'd necessarily want but it's there if you need it or fancy a look. It tends to get overlooked as smaller networks typically don't need it, and larger networks often just buy in management software for Unix or mixed networks.

Tim Parker

Re: They should be forced to use

"When was it proven that Windows is the only enterprise ready OS? "

Around year 2000 when Win2K was released, undisputed till now."

Undisputed by whom ? Citations ?

"Wanna argue ? Don't, because you obviously never tried manage tens of thousands of either Windows or non-Windows desktops.

Must have come as a shock to all those enterprises who ran, or are running, on Solaris, HP-UX or AIX then..... probably news to CERN too (see e.g. Quattor). Many have moved to Windows, or other *nixes, but that can hardly be attributed soley to the extent OS being 'not ready' for the enterprise.

Note - i'm not slating Windows as far as enterprise deployment goes, I am disputing it's the only enterprise ready OS.

"Your comment about the Linux desktop is particularly childish."

Well, it really reflects state where Linux desktop is - in a kindergarten, for last 10 years at least, must be one retarded child. Seriously, why would anyone in the world use it for anything else than running Firefox ?

Quite frankly, one of the best examples of proving the OPs point i've seen ever... genius !

Microsoft hires Pawn Stars to shaft Google

Tim Parker



BBC's 3D blunder BLASTED OUR BRAINS – Doctor Who fans

Tim Parker

"Whatever it really thinks about Doctor Who, the BBC certainly isn’t keen on 3D."

That's because people aren't watching it - the Beeb often gets slated for wasting money, and rightfully so, but to make snide sounding comments when it actually employs common sense is a bit much.

"The transmission ... is the Corporation’s final 3D broadcast for the time being"

Yeah - I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if eight or nine voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

Tim Parker

Are these the same Dodd Frank regulations from a while ago that were US (non-international) regulations, using certification paperwork based on existing schema that was presented a long time ago as a framework to the SEC, that were non-comprehensive and optional and could be adhered to a posteriori, or have they changed a lot ?

It's not that I disagree with the more centralised checking - far from it, I think it's an excellent idea - but at least one of the previous articles you linked to contained more than a little FUD and i've not looked at the regulatory documents since that time so haven't seen what's the current state of play.

'High impact' Gmail password security hole blew accounts wide open

Tim Parker

Re: That music!

"backed by some Euro happy house ... that will have you reaching for the glowsticks and green lasers"

It had me reaching for something alright....

Tiny, invisible EXTRATERRESTRIAL INVADERS appear at South Pole

Tim Parker

Re: Hum

"> Having collected the particles

Hum, it'll be interesting to see these elusive little neutrino fellas in a bottle for once.



Yeah - i'm also intrigued by the "28 intergalactic subatomic particles, which were embedded within a cubic kilometre of polar ice"... presumably they just sort of fell out on the floor when the block was opened, and they had to scoop them up into the bottle.. that must have been a tricky lil'job and no mistake (especially if you had gloves on or no nails).

Richard Stallman decides Emacs should go WYSIWYG

Tim Parker

"At the time of writing the discussion was considering whether the best way to bring WYSIWYG to EMACS might be to create extensions to LibreOffice."

Not a bad idea - but what do I know, I use emacs in viper mode so am universally hated :)

Lavabit founder: Feds ORDERED email providers to stay open

Tim Parker

Re: Off the top of my head.

"(Bearing in mind exchange of encrypted data is always vulnerable to the initial key exchange)"

Not normally an issue, although you do have to be a little careful e.g. using a bog-standard public key cryptographic scheme the only obvious vulnerability in the initial exchange is associating the user ID with the public key, and there are ways to easily check that without needing a big PKI set-up.

Tim Parker

@btrower Re: You can't reveal what you don't know

"You can make things almost arbitrarily secure. You can't do that with vanilla Email infrastructure, but who says you have to use that?"

Well you can*, but you need to exchange keys first.

* modulo the clear text not being intercepted somewhere between being typed into the keyboard and point the email is encrypted on your client machine/device prior to sending. If that's happening, you're pretty much hosed whatever you do mind.

Salesforce boss Benioff foretells grim, unrelenting hyper-capitalist future

Tim Parker

Re: Thanks for this article

Yeah - first person for a while that's made Larry Ellison seem vaguely sane....

From the Dept of You are Old: 'Selfie' officially 'Word of the Year'

Tim Parker

Re: Disambiguation

"The New Zealanders (at least) refer to a tow truck (operative) as a towie, little realising that this actually means The Only Way Is Essex..."

..although there is a slight difference in pronunciation with towie (NZ) => 'toe-eee' and TOWIE => 'moronic tossers'.

'PATHETIC' Galaxy Gear sales skewer smartwatch HYPE-O-GASM bubble

Tim Parker

Smart-Watch In Poor Sales Shocker.

Who'd have guessed ?

Tales from an expert witness: Lasers, guns and singing Santas

Tim Parker

"These events led me to the conclusion that, at least in my case, educational techniques and sport were mutually exclusive and that the essentialness of sport to a rounded education was a myth of the same magnitude as any of those in The History of Herodotus."

'Rounded education' is usually (in my experience) intended to imply exposure to many different experiences, all of which contribute to the education process - as in 'round' as a synonym for 'whole' or 'complete'. It has never (again IME) been used to imply that a fully rounded education is essential to attain some type of academic level, or similar achievement.

Given that, you could argue that sport is essential in a rounded education - but only in the sense that it would be incomplete without it. There is, however, much that can be learnt from various sporting endeavours outside of the gross physical and mental skills, some of which i'd consider to be highly educational. Moreover, given your almost complete lack of experience of sport, i'd say you were particularly ill-suited to comment of what insights it may have afforded you. To be honest, I also expected a tad less hubris in this regard from an 'expert witness' - or at the very least, a somewhat more visible appreciation of the limits of their knowledge.

That aside, I found much of the article very interesting indeed.

First the Yanks, now us: In-flight mobe use WON'T kill us all, say Eurocrats

Tim Parker

So to try and summarise... the only bit the airlines and boffins were really concerned with, they still are - but now instead of asking people to turn off the devices completely, they can remain on as long as all the radios (in the general sense) are disabled. Is that right ?

If so, it's somewhat more convenient at times, but would also need slightly more wherewithal from the user to accomplish than now. Some may find that mildly concerning - frankly i've sat next to plenty of people on planes who seem quite far away from the reading age required just to turn the things off.

Dark HEAVY METAL star fires up jets, vomits hot ROCK into space

Tim Parker


Ooooo - this sounds like fun.. maybe point two of them at each other (or big bendy magnets to cross the stream from one) and put the detectors where the beams meet. Ta-da ! Alternatively put your target on the end of the really long stick, lash the detectors to it and pop it in the beam (Careful : wear protection on your forearms just in case).

The truth about mystery Trojan found in space

Tim Parker

Re: cause headaches in finding open-source builds of current Windows-based scientific applications

'"I didn't know Linux was incapable of running closed source applications."

If you're not joking -it does '

..I was detecting irony (or rather, sarcasm) in the OPs statement - of course that might have been wrong as well. The article was seeming to suggest that the switch from Windows to Linux would necessitate moving from closed source to (presumably different) open source applications - which is not true in the general case.

Boffins boggled by ORB-shaped electrons

Tim Parker

Re: Why always so wrong

"And what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, anyway?"

African or European ?

Tim Parker

Re: Why always so wrong

'"a cloud of virtual particles around them that continually sweep in and out of existence"

Well, it's just a fun way of describing things so that humans get at least get some impression of the mad world of quantum mechanics, isn't it. Particles fizzing in and out of existence isn't that bad a way of thinking about things.'

Absolutely, although they do have consequences which make them more than a mathematical trick - e.g. black hole evaporation. In that sense they are very much real, or at least as real as anything else down there... :)

ETERNAL PATENT WAR: Apple and Samsung locked in battle again

Tim Parker

Re: "The Fruity Firm"

"Clichés die if you don't overuse them."

Hmmm - there's an appealing thought....

Lavabit, secure email? Hardly, says infosec wizard Moxie Marlinspike

Tim Parker

@The_idiot Re: And this, for me...

"Whatever messages look like (binaries, non human or machine parse-able blocks of text) - then prior to 'decoding' it, I have to allow my machine to accept otherwise unknown and unintelligible blocks of 'stuff'. Because it must be OK - after all, it's 'just an email'.

Have I just opened up a rather convenient attack vector for the types of people I _don't_ want putting 'stuff' on my machine? Whether virus makers, script kiddies - or even the very people I'm trying to protect my privacy from?"

No - you haven't necessarily opened up an attack vector - your crypt text doesn't need to be executed and neither the encrypted nor decrypted streams need undergo evaluation beyond simple bit operations with no side effects (i.e. typically the input streams are just read into buffers, run through a bit-manipulation engine and re-write to a new output stream). If you don't feel brave, do all that in some well embunkered sandpit to catch execution exceptions etc). You don't need to 'check' it's safe, as you never execute it, the bit manipulations have no side-effects (e.g. the output of one operation is not used as some reference or pointer to further data) - you just run the bytes through the engine and look at the result - in hex if you wish. It will either make sense or it won't.

It might be worth looking up some simple examples of something like public key encryption to see how this actually works in a concrete case - there are plenty out there e.g. this Mozilla introduction gives enough information to start with.

Tim Parker

"No matter what secure system someone comes up with, to send an email to one person from another, it will be in clear text."

Errr - no. The message body can be in cipher text or clear text, or even a binary attachment. How the receiver decrypts the message text depends on what what system you're using, who has whose keys etc. All that needs to be in clear text is the recipients email address, obviously.

'Weird' OBJECT, PROPELLED by its OWN JETS, spotted beyond Mars orbit by Hubble

Tim Parker

YORP is a bit rubbish isn't it ? They had enough for PYRO, though even PORY might have been preferable...

Brit spymasters: Cheers, Snowden. Terrorists are overhauling their comms

Tim Parker

Re: The impertinence of these people.

"the impertinence - of these people I know no... - words" anonymous

Adding authors name - makes obviously false thought - almost a Haiku.

How Google paved the way for NSA's intercepts - just as The Register predicted 9 years ago

Tim Parker

Re: I expect to get a zillion downvotes but...

'"No one ticked the box that says the NSA can read my mail."

Indeed not, but as Google successfully established with Gmail reading is not really "reading" is it? It's just hanging around innocently, whistling.'

Don't be so naive - you honestly think the security forces in the US and elsewhere were waiting for that (ill-considered) judgement before intercepting and/or scanning emails ?

Will small biz get a bite of mega UK.gov IT pie? Yes: if it can pass the bulls**t sniff test

Tim Parker

"...we should only consider the interests of the producer insofar as that is important to the consumer.

An extension of this is that we really don't care who produces something but we do care that it is produced."

Surprisingly for me, I was broadly with you up until here. The extension only follows if the consumer is utterly indifferent to the producer - Smith comment does not mandate that. If the end result is functionally equivalent then there may be many reasons to actively choose a particular producer, e.g. an SME over a established multi-national. Indeed some may hope that consideration of the producer, given functional equivalence of the product, is something that might potentially have a beneficial effect to the system - unless one is deliberately trying to achieve some extreme form of free corporate capitalism.

It's the Inter-THREAT of THINGS: Lightbulb ARMY could turn on HUMANITY

Tim Parker

"Or they could just look in the window and see when there's movement or activity, or just see when the car's on the drive and then test by knocking on the door? Would seem a damn sight easier (and with the advantage to the toerag that they're already then at your property too), or is that just too old-fashioned?"

Doing it over the network potentially allows you to automatically scan thousands of addresses, or more, then analyse it at your leisure.

"Plus somehow I think even in these modern times the intersection of people with both hacker and burglary skills (and the desire to use them) is probably rather small?"

True - but the same person doesn't have to do both, e.g. a really simple setup would be J.Random Hacker scans the domestic networks, analyses the result, parcels up the most promising candidates by area and flogs them to the local under-world representatives - exclusive rights for those who pay a premium.

Mobe-makers' BLOATWARE is Android's Achilles heel

Tim Parker

Re: Bloatware

"Can anyone justify why the Android Speedtest app (Ookla) has grown to over 8MB in its latest release?"

App ? Can you not just run the test from speedtest.net directly ?

'It's a joke!' ... Bill Gates slams Mark Zuckerberg's web-for-the-poor dream

Tim Parker

"Just out of curiosity, what exactly did Bill Gates [...] say or do to force you to buy or use their products?"

You have an interesting lack of understanding how monopolies work. Microsoft weren't the first, they won't be the last and they certainly won't be the nastiest - doesn't make them angels however. That said, at least Gates, unlike most other of his peers, and the Foundation (although not without its issues) is actually doing something useful with our money.

IT'S patent WAR: Apple, Microsoft vs Google, Samsung, Huawei

Tim Parker

Re: Sony

"Everyone involved in Android loses money on it except Samsung, not just Sony."

Really ?

Alien planet is just like EARTH - except for ONE tiny detail

Tim Parker

Re: Im surprised

Indeed - the sample size is still rather small at the moment. That'll improve in time, but currently it's leading to a lot of "how peculiar" comments from the astronomical community... which is one of the reasons why science can be such fun !