* Posts by Mike 16

1045 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009


If you wanna make your own open-source chip, just Google it. Literally. Web giant says it'll fab them for free

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: VHDL's not a programming language

For sure. As a mostly diags/drivers/simulation/verification guy for much of my career, I shudder at the horrors of VHDL created by "programmers" (Note: I am a programmer, or at least I have C.S. degree and got paid for actual programming). _So_ many bugs from folks who think like a programmer while designing things that are actually a mass of (possibly asynchronous) communicating entities.

I suppose it is the natural outcome from even "normal" programming becoming an unbounded pile of dependencies or dubious provenance (It's kluges all the way down"), so why shouldn't hardware be like that?

I was screwed over by Cisco managers who enforced India's caste hierarchy on me in US HQ, claims engineer

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: HR and bad publicity

Anything could happen, but I suspect a hockey game in Hades before the remedy for that bad publicity includes dealing with the basis of a grievance.

Not specific to this case, of which we all have too little data, but the purpose of HR is right there in the name: To treat humans as resources, i.e. commodities, no more important than floor wax or paper clips.

Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Comcast to handle DNS-over-HTTPS for Firefox-using subscribers

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: So how does Comcast handle NXDOMAINs?

The behavior you describe did (IIRC) also apply to Comcast, although they may have gone under the name ATTBI at the time. I did notice that among the "We will not" promises listed, that one is missing.

US Department of Defense releases list of firms allegedly linked to the Chinese Army. Surprise surprise, Huawei makes an appearance

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Red is the new Blacklist - again.

IIRC, the Red Scare was indirectly responsible for the creation of the much loved (in some quarters) LGP-30.

WARNING: From memory, not re-researched for this comment ---

Stan Frankel lost his security clearance (after working on the Manhattan Project) because his grandfather had some connection to the Communist Party. As a result, he ended up teaching, but he had caught "The computing disease", and become dependent on computing, so he designed a _very_ simple computer for Cal Tech, which was then licensed and produced, and sold well.

Without politically motivated harassment of tech types, where would (useful) new products come from?

GitHub redesign goes mobile-friendly – to chagrin of devs who shockingly do a lot of work on proper computers

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: I'll tell you what you want...

"Vast numbers of Users"... I won't disagree with you that _some_ crap is actually sought out and bought by clueless users, but in my (work) experience of crap software (and hardware), it is very often down to the _buyer_ not being the _user_. For an appropriately lavish junket, er, informational seminar, it appears that a large number of mangers are quite happy to saddle their "grunts" with appalling tools.

A grunt who objects is faced with a simple choice: Make the best of a horrible situation and settle for griping anonymously on the web, or "find another job" (with no 100% effective way to know if the new job is actually any better on the provided tools).

If you're despairing at staff sharing admin passwords, look on the bright side. That's CIA-grade security

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: It's all a double-blind - and we fell for it!

So, you are saying that the CIA is run by the writers of "Columbo"?


Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Which xkcd?

You mean you don't have the editor extension that does a search of the text archive for xkcd and return the appropriate URL for the cartoon you dimly remember? Back in the day, I used it often, mostly when composing email replies. (my MUA paid attention to $EDITOR)

I suddenly occurs to me that the "prison joke" (or variants like the "antarctic research station joke") about everybody telling jokes by number, because the all knew them. may have been started by a time-traveller after getting one too many of https://xkcd.com/936/

I guess I don't tell it right...

Readers of a certain age will remember GPRS: Old insecure tech from turn of millennium still haunts 5G networks

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Ironically

Mmmm, Bacon!

Mike 16 Silver badge


we are already at (or past) the point that the only "remotely likely to be secure" messaging might be via GPRS. That is, one can get GPRS "modems" (or whatever they are called) simple enough to be used by (older or hobby) devices with a low probability of being "pre-compromised" by various TLA and commercial entities. If your security endpoints are not outside you communications endpoints, you have no real expectation of security or privacy.

Just keep in mind that you already have no expectation of metadata privacy either, unless you are doing old-school dead-drops and hiding messages in Anonymous Coward Reg comments.

AWS won't sell facial-recog tool to police for a year – other law enforcement agencies are in the clear

Mike 16 Silver badge

Time for Congress

to make appropriate rules?

I assume that means rules that will have loopholes big enough to drive a DeathStar through.

Or rules that will will simply be ignored by the increasingly ironically named "Department of Justice" (and upheld by a hand-packed SCOTUS)

Do the names "Patriot" and "FISA" strike a familiar note?

MacOS on Arm talk intensifies: Just weeks from now, Apple to serve up quarantini with Kalamata golive, reportedly

Mike 16 Silver badge

People familiar...

... with Apple futures had a few too many near me at a time you can guess from the rest of this.

Seems there had been an ARM-based Apple ][gs in the labs, but it had some advantages (price, power, stability) over the existing (68K) Macs, so it had to die.

(never worked for Apple myself, but there are plenty of watering holes near that infinite loop.)

Mike 16 Silver badge

Without a hitch?

I assume you didn't try to use an Xterm "cross-endian". Despite X having been developed in a world where both big and little endian systems were common, somehow Apple lost the recipe.

And I recall a problem with the calculator app. The Intel version muffed calculations made in the RPN variant of "programmer mode. No I don't recall the precise error, but I do recall checking it on Yosemite, quite some time after the switch, and it was still broken. Fortunately, I still have my HP-16.

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

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Performance limits

Replacing x86 (and x86_64 aka amd64)? Go for it!


Maybe compromise with a nice i860 box?

Yeah, barely touched a 4U Itanium server back in the day. Wouldn't mind picking up an Itanium VMS pizza-box, but really only for much the same reason as keeping my KIM-1 running)

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Amazon choosing to publish / not publish seems like a no-win situation

Not in the UK, so no experience of this Jihad.

I wonder how this cabal for Coercing Christian Commerce would react to one of my favorite stores in my youth:

[county redacted] Religious Book and Supply, Electric Trains.

Would they force removal of all Diesel locomotives as either "Killers of glorious Steam" or perhaps "Polluting oppressors of Electric Traction"?

Hey Mister Prime Minister ... Scott! Can you get off my lawn please, mate?

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: I salute that man!

Oddly, DuckDuckgo has no hits, but of course Google has plenty (well, 33) including one that has

koala trebuchet simulation software

in the word-salad which is apparently just there to game ranking.

_One_ Google result actually includes the (one word) TrebuchetKoala, in the search results, but

visiting that page turns up no such thing on offer. It does have

Hallmark Plush Hug 'n' Sing Tootin' Koala Sings, Dances And Passes Wind Sound (not my memory of Hallmark items of old).

Anyway, I can just imagine someone with _way_ too much time on their hands actually making, koala trebuchet simulation software by re-skinning an Angry Birds clone.

For nerd-completeness: Bing also has no results (natch). eBay and Wikipedia likewise (although it would be easier to make a Wikipedia page then to re-skin Angry Birds). Amazon, as usual returns four results, all of them "Close, but no cigar"

(No koalas were skinned in the making of this comment)

How many? 28 million fewer PCs and tablets to find a home in 2020

Mike 16 Silver badge

Long term tracking population?

I strongly suspect that the long-term growth of PC sales will be driven more by mandatory updates that "can't" run on that crappy old (3-year old) PC, so you will need a new one. Works for phones, after all.

("working from home" in my career as "retired", or is that just "tired")

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon

Mike 16 Silver badge

Hyperloop Tech



Just leaving that here...

If you bought a CRT monitor, TV 13+ years ago, hold on a little longer, there may be a small check for you

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: All my CRTs have been

Yep! Still have my 13inch SONY TV. Still use it as a monitor for the VCS and Atari800. And maybe teh Video Music if I come across it in some stratum of the shed.

Blight the power: Jamming attack cripples wireless signals using clever reflective technology

Mike 16 Silver badge

Half-baked ideas

That would be https://www.halfbakery.com/

US cable subscribers are still being 'ripped off' by creeping price increases – and this lot has had enough

Mike 16 Silver badge

Must Carry?

I have heard of the "requirement" that cable companies carry any locally receivable channels, and of course pay those channels for the privilege. What bothers me is the increasing pace of local broadcasters shutting down the transmitters (repeaters) they used to use for "A bit outside city limits" folks. How miserable can they make OTA before one _has_ to buy a cable plan? And of course the "basic package" will include "Standard Definition" (480i in the U.S. case), down-sampled from the HD it was broadcast in. And there must be some convoluted rule about what, _exactly_ they must carry, as I do get, OTA, some sub-channels of local stations that my son does not get in his extended lineup on cable.

I assume that eventually, the major networks (or owners, like Sinclair) will operate a 10W transmitter within a few blocks of the local FCC office to qualify. Meanwhile, the physical-disk Netflix subscription is looking better.

The Last J-Freighter: HTV-9 arrives at the ISS as ESA inks a deal for a third Moon-bound service module

Mike 16 Silver badge

Maybe a revival?

Of Quark


Or Salvage 1


Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses iPad Pro as a desktop*

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Overpriced joke

Give Apple a chance. They seem hell-bent on making MacOS at least as annoying as iOS. (And as buggy as the worst stereotype of Windows in the mind of a rabid Windows-hater).

No way they are going to achieve iOS/MacOS parity by improving iOS.

I am actually typing this on a MacBook Air, and have an iPhone SE (original). Neither has been "upgraded" all the way to uselessness, yet, but life is too short to chase Android updates, and the Mac _was_ a decent blend of "consumption device for web-grazing and email" and "decent Unix implementation". Catalina seems to be aimed at "fixing" that issue.

Chicago: Why I just grin like a dork... It's my kind of Bork

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: wood fired

Careful, you might get some pushback from the sort who take fuel (and by implication cooking temperature profile) very seriously. There is one restaurant in San Francisco that segments their menu that way. No, the choices do not include propane or styrene (side effect of a clueless roommate's reheating strategy), but do include coal-fired. I don't _think_ they included more specific choices, but I'd tend to go with the anthracite, not bituminous.

My credentials? 1/2 Italian, but that half was from the north, so we tended toward Focaccia.

More "crust" than "topping", but bread is a main food group, right?

Beer rating app reveals homes and identities of spies and military bods, warns Bellingcat

Mike 16 Silver badge

Not using social media at all

I (dimly) recall when a certain U.S. State mandated that nobody be allowed to block caller-id, with the exception of undercover police officers. I hope that idea went away, along with the idea of slapping a Police Lot parking sticker on Crockett's Ferrari Daytona replica.

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Able Seaman Jones masquerading

Been there, done that. I suspect that corp VP still has no idea how he got on so many mailing lists for Porn (on VHS, it was a while ago)

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

Mike 16 Silver badge


The problem with any code that one inherits is that the "options" were exercised by the original programmer (or the boss's nephew who "improved" the code). They can only be changed by the current maintainer when the ramifications are completely understood. Good luck with that.

I have written very little Algol 60, but it was the subject of a compiler class, early 1970, and the experience of implementing Call-by-name left me with some useful techniques, and some scars.

As for crap-code from compilers, a friend and I implemented a "code cleaner" for the assembly language output of a then considered very good C compiler, known for producing fast code. Sometimes not so fast, and I'm not sure it was a good trade-off against _correct_ code.

Micros~1? ClippyZilla? BSOD Bob? There can be only one winner. Or maybe two

Mike 16 Silver badge

Bob's your _what_?

I'm surprised no mention was made of Bob's mom, Melinda.

Now there's nothing stopping the PATRIOT Act allowing the FBI to slurp web-browsing histories without a warrant

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: VPN?

It doesn't matter what _I_ find horrific. In the U.S. today, if some plod thinks you _might_ have viewed either (based on "your" VPN provider using your computer as an exit node for someone else), you are in for a world of hurt. I chose those examples because they frequently come up in court cases.

In some cases, viewing Disney I.P. is sufficient to at least make your life suck for a while, and that is the purported _point_ (per the article, I have no direct knowledge) of this process.


1) I have no idea if the accusations in the article are true, although in this day and age they are plausible.

2) The offensiveness of any content is determined by the legal system, as the owner of the computer involved almost certainly was unaware it was ever viewed, let alone view it themselves.

Mike 16 Silver badge


I am usually dubious about anything on Medium, but you might want to do a web search for

NordVPN Disney

Among the folks singing the praises of being able to avoid the geoblocks is a disturbing Medium article about how they might be able to do this by using your computer as an exit node (if you live in a non-blocked area), without your consent or knowledge.

Again, I do _NOT_ endorse this position. I have no idea of its veracity. It does raise some questions. And it just might be more serious to have someone browsing kiddie porn or Jihadist beheading videos than Little Mermaid.

Sky Broadband is not the UK's cheapest, growls ad watchdog

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: You get what you paid for.

This is one of those phrases like "I could care less" that seems to have been trimmed a bit from its original formulation: "You never get _more_ than you paid for".

It is entirely possible (likely) that you will get less, no matter how much you paid.

(Cue the wag with the "I'm glad I don't get all the government I pay for")

Don't trust deep-learning algos to touch up medical scans: Boffins warn 'highly unstable' tech leads to bad diagnoses

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Falls nicely into the area that computers and maths will remain bad at...


I also have a concern that if AI did indeed get good enough, we effectively stop training the medical staff that teach and validate the AI results.



It's not you, it's Slack: Chat app falls down – and at such a very convenient moment

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Enter the matrix @Robert

Looking back a little further, one recalls the time when a well-connected person needed to have accounts with a whole zoo of email providers, Compuserve, Tymshare, AOL, Prodigy (just kidding) etc. to be reachable for ones friends/clients. This, in turn, was an echo of when competing telephone companies made companies with much custom have multiple phones from multiple companies, for similar reasons.

(A boon for the pigeons, at least, in the days of open-wire overhead) .

We seem to oscillate between having to deal with a dozen incompetent providers and being pillaged by a smaller group of corrupt ones.

California’s privacy warriors are back – and this time they want to take their fight all the way to the ballot box

Mike 16 Silver badge

One of the most corrupt?

Seriously? Have you _met_ the world? CA has had its ups and downs, but the very existence of the voter referendum has put _something_ of a leash on the inherent tendencies of the average career politician.

Not that it matters, because whatever CA does will be nullified by "improved" federal legislation overriding it. Written by some ALEC equivalent and passed by a legislature well ahead of CA in the race for "most corrupt".

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Secret Ballot?

For some definition of "Secret" that includes "but of course your spouse, boss, union shop-steward, local sheriff, and standing committees of whatever party gerrymandered and voter-suppressed their way into office last time will all have a look-in".

The secret ballot (as opposed to, say ,sending one state's touch-screen results through a processing center owned by a major contributor to one party, in another state) is nearly dead in the U.S.

When one state was recently forced to allow in-person voting (if they refused to postpone the election), they closed all but (IIRC) 5 polling stations out of over 100 in a city likely to vote "the wrong way".

Remember, It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes.

GoDaddy hack: Miscreant goes AWOL with 28,000 users' SSH login creds after vandalizing server-side file

Mike 16 Silver badge

Domain roach-motel

One _can_ get a domain registered to (and hosted on, the folly of youth) GoDaddy out, but it takes work and perseverance. What I _can't_ apparently do is get them to acknowledge that I haven't had any business relationship with them for years, so bugging me with "Your account is suspended because the credit card we have on file has expired" emails is at best pointless.

Note the recent story in ElReg about shenanigans in Colombia, where Neustar is reported to be selling (or attempting to sell) their registry business, including .biz, .nyc, and .us to GoDaddy.

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Worked there a few times

@AC -- You are Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and I claim my prize.

Sweet TCAS! We can make airliners go up-diddly-up whenever we want, say infosec researchers

Mike 16 Silver badge

Look out the window?

How's that work under IFR?

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Haircuts

You think you haven't gotten a haircut? Check your retirement account.

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: 5 vs 7 feet

It's just that Her tail hasn't grown fully back yet.

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

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Western terminology


--- In addition the "unlucky 13", the Chinese (Taiwanese, Indonesians, some San Franciscans, etc.) have an aversion to the number 4 ---

What part of my comment made you believe I was unaware of unlucky 4?

In any case, the cultural blindness to "missing floors" can be used to advantage.

In the case of the aforementioned hotel, there was indeed a 4th floor, but it was a "service floor" with environmental gear, laundry, and kitchens conveniently placed above the public areas and meeting rooms and below the guest rooms. The service elevators did have access to it.

Not sure how much to lean on the veracity of "Get Smart", but there was an episode where the main office of KAOS (main opponent of Smart's group CONTROL) was on the 13th floor of an office building.

Something of a Purloined Letter writ large.

Mike 16 Silver badge

Connector Gender

IBM 360 I/O cables have what are called "Hermaphroditic" (occasionally as "Serpentine", for another word with various controversial connotations).

Meanwhile, as I believe I have mentioned in the past, a friend realized the source of "Male" and "Female" in connector terminology while in the middle of a "basic electronics for aspiring hams" talk he was giving to a group of young-teen seminarians for a missionary order.

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Western terminology

Well, Bret Maverick wore a black hat, More Picaresque than "villain", IMHO. Like many White Hats.

Note also some cultures have White as the color of death, rather than Black. Even the words that suggest white can be somewhat taboo. A young friend described a local grocer as "So old-school they don't have an Aisle 4" (I was amused that an elevator in San Francisco hotel had neither a 4th or a 13th floor. That's multi-cultural for you.)

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...

Mike 16 Silver badge

defined almost entirely by what it does not say.

Reminds me of a certain software company that clearly stated it did not own or use any DEC mainframes. Indeed, it had "sold" the machines to a recently organized contractor and outsourced the tasks they had been doing to said contractor. Oddly, the contractor was located in a building formerly occupied by said software company and staffed by very-recently-ex employees of that company.

Meanwhile, NSO's stance of "We just make the tools, no idea what they are used for" reminds me of "Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down. That's not my department..."

Browse mode: We're not goofing off on the Sidebar of Shame and online shopping sites, says UK's Ministry of Defence

Mike 16 Silver badge


And here I was assuming it was an aggregator for Main Stream Media, clearly owned by George Soros and his ilk, and staffed by the usual suspects.

Prank warning: You do know your smart speaker's paired with Spotify over the internet, don't you?

Mike 16 Silver badge

418 I'm a teapot

Subject says it all.

OK, (semi-) real content.

I recall a magazine article from the 1950s on how to implement "warm the house up until I can stand to get out of bed" that involved a coal-fired furnace, banked just right before retiring, and an old-school spring-wound alarm clock. When the alarm sounded, a string wound around the alarm winding key tugged on a "trigger" that allowed a weight to open the damper. As far as I could tell, this was dead serious.

Android 11 Developer Preview 3 allows your mobe to become a router via USB Ethernet – if you can get a decent signal

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Hasn't it been able to do this for ages?

My recollection of various methods of tethering over the years was that although the manufacturers often provided it, some (most?) carriers (e.g. Verizon) would disable it (Serial/USB/Bluetooth DUN, even back to 1xRTT GPRS) or charge for an entire extra data plan for using WiFi.

Is that not a thing in the civilized world?

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Optics

-- No good will come from pandering to the uninformed. --

Pandering to the uniformed is a time-honored path to a cushy gig as President /Emperor for Life. Until someone notices the loophole in the retirement plan.

Or did you mean "No good will come to the _rest_ of the population"?

The Adobe Flash Farewell Tour 2020: LibreOffice to axe export support for .SWF in version 7

Mike 16 Silver badge

Only a decade of so ago

I ran into a fellow with a plan to convert TUTOR (PLATO) content to Flash, just after Job's pronouncement. I didn't have the heart to tell him.

OTOH, if he did it within a short timeframe, maybe the world got a few good years out of the effort.

You're not fooling anyone on that vid-conference call: Walmart says shirt sales soaring, pants not pulled up

Mike 16 Silver badge

Formal wear?

I first imagined folks checking in to the video conference in white tie, or at least Tuxedos (Yes, the ladies too, where have you been?)

Of course I was also amused by imagining the market for tops exceeding that for bottoms. Have the B&D clubs disappeared?

Lastly, we (in engineering) used to call the ties worn by the MIS guys as their EBCDIC Flag. (yes, some time ago...)

IBM Watson GPU cloud cluster Brexits from London to Frankfurt – because GDPR

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Checkpoint/restart

Recall doing that on a machine that was old (built in 1956 or so) at the time (1971 or so) with long-running FORTRAN jobs. Yeah, checkpoint to cards was a PITA, but it beat restarting from scratch.

I imagine technology has advanced a bit since then (despite examples in recent memory :-)



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