* Posts by Julian Bradfield

226 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Jul 2008


GhostBSD makes FreeBSD a little less frightening for the Linux loyal

Julian Bradfield

Re: No it isn’t

I grew up on MVS, as filtered and made manageable by Cambridge Computer Lab. If other old farts haven't yet noticed, you can now sign up to IBM Zxplore, and get to learn the real thing on real z/OS systems! Of course, these days, you can do it under Linux if you don't want to use proper MVS.

'Corrupt' cop jailed for tipping off pal to EncroChat dragnet

Julian Bradfield

Re: I suspect the one word answer is "idiot"

"signing the official secrets act" is merely a way to make sure you can't try to plead ignorance when you're prosecuted; you're bound by it regardless. (I found my "signing" the other day...)

It is 20 years since the last commercial flight of Concorde

Julian Bradfield

I still regret that when it was withdrawn I decided that the cost of one of the last flights was too much for me...

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

Julian Bradfield

Re: Convicted of Treason

Despite the patent fact that he had committed (high) treason by compassing the death of the Sovereign, he was not actually charged with treason. He was charged with the lesser offence of attempting to injure or alarm the Sovereign, from the Treason Act 1842. Whether the motivation for introducing this offence was as you say, I don't know - but it appears the policy you describe is still being followed. Had he been charged with treason, he'd have been liable for life imprisonment.

AWS: IPv4 addresses cost too much, so you’re going to pay

Julian Bradfield

Re: IPv6-mostly?

Time to get a new ISP ?

Julian Bradfield

Re: IPv6-mostly?

Some academic institutions have been very cautious. Much of my home IP traffic was IPv6 a couple of years before my department (a computer science department at that) got external IPv6 connectivity.

TSMC thinks it's got exactly what Taiwan needs – another multibillion-dollar chip plant

Julian Bradfield


Really? Not China-coveted ?

Lamborghini's last remaining pure gas guzzlers are all spoken for

Julian Bradfield

Re: Ah yes - the "there aren't enough charging points" defence...

There are many services that will ship/store your teenager's things. My son uses sendmybag for carriage, and lovespace for vacation storage, and takes the train with just his cello and laptop.

Decision to hold women-in-cyber events in abortion-banning states sparks outcry

Julian Bradfield

Re: Mixed Feelings

Cav - psychopaths have distinctive brain characteristics. So do taxi-drivers (at least in places where they have to have the Knowledge). Detecting differences in brain structures tells you nothing about whether the difference should be called a mental disturbance - that's a social judgement.

Boffins snap X-ray closeup of single atom – and by closeup we mean nanometres

Julian Bradfield

Perusing (i.e. keyword scanning, since it is *way* beyond my level) the paper, it's an Fe(II) ion.

CERN spots Higgs boson decay breaking the rules

Julian Bradfield

Re: breaking the rules

The CERN article says "pairs of electrons or muons" ... which I imagine is to be understood as "electron-positron pairs".

Teen in court after '$600K swiped from DraftKings gamblers'

Julian Bradfield

Re: Does rate limiting mean anything to anyone ?

Depends how much you like using your resources to slow people down. Me, I blacklist (with DROP) the IP address on one failed login to my mail server, for 24 hours. I typically have 8k banned addresses at any one time; that's quite a lot of log-in attempts being blocked (and not filling up my log file). And with a bit of luck, they spend some time trying to establish a connection before giving up.

Millions of mobile phones come pre-infected with malware, say researchers

Julian Bradfield

Not new

This has been going on for a while, hasn't it? I got a cheap Nuu Android phone in 2018 that had baked-in malware. To be fair, Nuu did respond quite quickly.

Ubuntu 23.04 welcomes three more flavors, but hamburger menus leave a bad taste

Julian Bradfield

Re: There are burgers?

I only noticed it a few days ago, when I was looking for BOFH. At least now I know where to find columns.

Hi, Pakistan? You do know anyone can edit Wikipedia, right? You don't have to ask

Julian Bradfield

Re: Anyone can edit Wikipedia?

Where on Wikipedia is a "viewpoint" relevant? Were your "truths" verifiable, or were they "your truth"?

No, you cannot safely run a network operations center from a corridor

Julian Bradfield

Re: Huh?

It's usually said to be to prevent the cooker tipping forward.

Have these bureaucrats ever tried to tip a 100kg range cooker? (Or indeed accidentally move it.)

AI conference and NYC's educators ban papers done by ChatGPT

Julian Bradfield

Re: I recall a science fiction tale

Asimov (I remembered), "The Monkey's Finger" (I had to look up).

Time Lords decree an end to leap seconds before risky attempt to reverse time

Julian Bradfield

Re: TAI = UTC + 37 seconds, am I missing something?

I'm fascinated by what you mean by "do some actual research". Could you explain?

Yes, of course the world has been much warmer in the past. There's a difference between temperature shifts taking millions of years (or even thousands of years), and those taking a few decades.

University staff voice 'urgent, profound concern' as Oracle finance system delays payments

Julian Bradfield

Re: Tricky things, computers. I didn't get where I am today by seamlessly migrating systems

You used to be right, but over time we've slowly abandoned more and more of the in-house stuff and moved to using central university systems. It makes sense, really, provided the central systems have most of the functionality of in-house and the increased workload is not too high.

As for advising the centre on how to procure and install a large complex system...they don't want to know.

Twitter employees sue over lack of 60-day layoff notice

Julian Bradfield

Re: The situation in Ireland is perhaps more interesting

Don't know Ireland, but guess it's similar to the UK, where the situation is concisely described here:


in what way is this "any reason at all"?

University of Edinburgh staff paid late due to Oracle ERP troubles

Julian Bradfield

Re: 8-{ Wot, no migration planning?

If we had petty cash, things would be much easier. But in my 35 years at Edinburgh, there has been no such thing as petty cash.

Julian Bradfield

Re: 8-{ Wot, no migration planning?

Payroll *was* run in parallel for three months, and there haven't (as far as I know) been problems with staff pay.

However, our PhD students are not staff - they are, god help us, "suppliers" of their research, and their stipends are paid under the procurement part of the system, which is the one that has gone catastrophically wrong (as opposed to the HR part, which merely went infuriatingly and wastefully wrong).

Julian Bradfield

Re: 8-{ Wot, no migration planning?

As far as I understand it, yes. The old system (which also had our 2021/2 P60s on it!) was switched off in July, and we started (supposedly) being able to use the new system some time in September (I forget when, it's all a blur, and thankfully I don't buy things). In the interim there was a manual process for urgent purchases.

Not only have lab suppliers and stationers stopped supplying us, we can't even order pizza for student welcome parties, because no pizza company in Edinburgh will deal with us.

The boss worked in a fishbowl, so office tricks were a treat

Julian Bradfield

Re: Pranks and things

Recalls this famous one:


How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling

Julian Bradfield

Re: Concerns

The "internet" doesn't see or think anything. A small number of *people* think about it, the vast majority of *people* read the content, whether it's in British, American, Indian, Canadian or international (which used to be mainly British in spelling outside South America, and is now a random hodge-podge depending on the country and even individual school of the E2L speaker).

CEO told to die in a car crash after firing engineers who had two full-time jobs

Julian Bradfield

what are contracts for?

My full-time academic contract says I can't work for anybody else without permission, and can't work for anybody more than one day a week unless I reduce my hours. Does industry not do that?

Removing an obsolete AMD fix makes Linux kernel 6 quicker

Julian Bradfield

Re: The older the OS...

Forms of "old" with final -e are given in the OED from about 1200 to 1530.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up

Julian Bradfield

Re: Bank Accounts

I remember a friend's (parents') number from the 1980s, whom I only called once, I think. I remember it because it was the old days when we used to say the number on picking up, and for some reason "Aberystwyth tri pedwar chwech pedwar" stuck firmly in my brain ... (I speak no Welsh, but know a little about it.)

Microsoft finds critical hole in operating system that for once isn't Windows

Julian Bradfield

strncpy is also not safe, because it doesn't force a terminating null, which can cause all sorts of trouble later. I use to define strmcpy to do that, but now my system at least has strlcpy provided to do it.

Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Julian Bradfield

90% accuracy by the month? You don't live in Scotland, I take it. (Looking out the window doesn't work either - it can look the same at 10C or 20C.)

SCOTUS judges 'doxxed' after overturning Roe v Wade

Julian Bradfield

Re: Depends

Not werman. Wæpman (a person with a weapon, fnarr fnarr). At that time, woman was wifman.

GitHub drops Atom bomb: Open-source text editor mothballed by end of year

Julian Bradfield

Zed was a line editor on the University of Cambridge IBM mainframe, in the 80s. It even acquired an approximation to a screen editor by means of a front end running on a BBC micro.

It was a pretty good editor for the time...

Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills

Julian Bradfield

Free/subsidized meals and light refreshments are not taxable if they're available to all staff, so I'm not sure why those above had a problem...

Spam is back with a vengeance. Luckily we can't read any of it

Julian Bradfield

Re: they never considered checking that a clearly valid email address was already in use

Depends what you mean by validate. From what I see in my logs, this usually means (a) seeing if a RCPT command passes (luckily they seem to be ok with 4xx replies, since I greylist), and (b) checking that a RCPT with random local-part is rejected. That is some form of validation.

Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use

Julian Bradfield

I haven't had a problem with gmail, but outlook has a hard-to-find and tedious process to get addresses de-blacklisted, which I've gone through three times recently, as I shifted both my main and backup servers to different providers. (Not OVH, as it happens.)

Google Docs' AI-powered inclusive writing auto-correct now under fire

Julian Bradfield

Re: Orwellian nightmare

"Yes". Agreed, nobody believes strong Sapir-Whorf: language does not *limit* your thinking. But weak Sapir-Whorf (language influences your thinking) has been demonstrated in many forms. Changes in language can affect prejudices, though they can't eliminate them.

IBM ordered to pay $105 million to insurer over tech project's collapse

Julian Bradfield


El Reg is a British operation, reporting a British court case that gave a judgement in pounds. Why is the headline in dollars?

Elon Musk's latest launch: An unsolicited Twitter takeover

Julian Bradfield

Re: Money can't buy maturity

Cavēre, like most transitive verbs, takes the accusative (hence cave canem), so "beware of the buyer" is cave emptorem.

Sometimes it was also used with ab + ablative (cave ab emptore). But never with dative.

The first step to data privacy is admitting you have a problem, Google

Julian Bradfield

Re: Science

Not all academic research is Popperian science. This was computer science, and it's well known that any subject whose name is two words one of which is "science", isn't.

More seriously, there are many scientific statements that can be proved (beyond reasonable doubt, because after all we might be in a simulation). The existence of white swans, for example. What's difficult is proving universal statements. This article is about an existential statement.

New Linux kernel bolsters random number generation

Julian Bradfield

Re: A puzzle about random numbers.........

You don't wait. You decide *before* performing the experiment that you'll do twenty tosses, and the probability of error you're happy with. You get 20 heads - the probability of a distribution that unbalanced is 1 in half a million; if that's less than your suspicion threshold, you declare the coin biased.

Toshiba reveals 30TB disk drive to arrive by 2024

Julian Bradfield

Same way as always - to another of the same, or to tape.

Autonomy founder's anti-extradition case is like saying Moon made of cheese, US govt tells UK court

Julian Bradfield

As a point of fact, the US does extradite its own citizens. Sacolas is the first declined request since the treaty started in 2003.

Newly discovered millipede earns its name by being the first to walk on one thousand legs

Julian Bradfield

Re: Clearly it should be millepedes or millepeda

I think you should understand "pace" as "double pace" - left foot to left foot.

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE

Julian Bradfield

Re: Vixen

The professionals class this as a "maybe". One suggestion is that the IE root of "fuck" is 'to strike' (as in Latin pugnus 'fist'). German ficken 'to rub' may or may not be related. My emeritus colleague Roger Lass wrote on this: R. Lass ‘Four letters in search of an etymology’ in Diachronica 12 (1995) 99–111. Unfortunately we don't subscribe to old issues online, so I can't read it.

Ooh, an update. Let's install it. What could possibly go wro-

Julian Bradfield

Re: Not a commercial system but...

Try pipewire. Still has a few rough edges, but I'm happily pulseaudio-free on both laptops for the last three months. And it provides pulseaudio compatibility.

Microsoft signs settlement with US Justice Dept over 'immigration-related discrimination' claims

Julian Bradfield

Re: Proof of employability

In the UK, most employers, especially those who do employ people on visas, will ask to see your passport (or other proof of citizenship/residence). Do they have to? No. But it's the only sure defence they can plead if they do employ somebody who turns out not to have the right to work: "I checked the documents, here's the copy of them with my signature and date".

What a cluster fsck: New scheduling code plus Intel's Alder Lake CPU mix equals a slower Linux kernel 5.16

Julian Bradfield

And of course System Z and its ancestors have had hot-swappable cpus for several decades.

Informatica UKI veep was rightfully sacked over Highways England $5k golf jolly, says tribunal

Julian Bradfield

The salesman was fired as well.

What do you mean you gave the boss THAT version of the report? Oh, ****ing ****balls

Julian Bradfield

Re: An error from code that tempted people to try its boundaries

the message error is "Interwoven alignment preambles are not allowed." and D. Knuth comment is "If you have been so devious as to get this message, you will understand it, and you will deserve no sympathy." (TeXbook, page 299) - from Google.

I have never managed to provoke it, but then I've never tried to interweave alignments.

Apparently \halign{\valign#\cr\cr suffices.

How Windows NTFS finally made it into Linux

Julian Bradfield

Re: Bad feeling

After one too many near disaster, I now have a bootable Linux on the usb stick on my keyring.