* Posts by Mike 16

1100 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009


Not content with distorting actual reality, Facebook now wants to build a digital layer for the world

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Where is the plane of Focus in AR?

I recall in the past (late 80s? who can remember) seeing a demo by some (IIRC) Canadian researchers of a screen overlay that altered the focus for each (small) region of a screen. The user/customer/victim's eyes would compensate by altering their lens until the object of interest was in focus (and much of the rest of the screen out of focus), providing another cue to "3D" viewing. The goal was to have a convincing 3D appearance with only one screen o render. Well, two, the "video" and the "focus adjustment, to lower resolution.

I am far from enough of a boffin to judge ho wwell this would have worked, as it was not a strong effect for me, but there was some effect, and it was not physically painful the way "we know all eyes are spaced exactly the same" typical 2-screen images.

Note that they were touting this for "not all that interactive" stuff like movies and typical Laser-Disk games, so could be pre-rendered.

Not the case for something seeking to auto-slander everyone in sight without massive amounts of layer-sheer.

Is Little Timmy still enthralled by his Leapfrog tablet? Maybe check he hasn't sideloaded an unrestricted OS onto it

Mike 16 Silver badge

kid's toy turned into a proper tablet computer

My experience with iOS seems to be moving the opposite direction.

What a time to be alive: Floating Apple store bobs up in Singapore

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: "Floating"? Really?

I immediately went to "The location of the store changes day to day, or more frequently, and only a select few are told where it is at any given time. Usually associated with games of chance. The one in our town was sometimes in the back room of a Car Audio shop (4-track and 8-Track players, and some new-fangled cassette players).

Competitive techies almost bring distributed disaster upon themselves – and they didn't even find any aliens

Mike 16 Silver badge


Was the WITCH on line?

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results

Mike 16 Silver badge

Liverwurst, Limburger, and Onion.

Indeed. A sandwich shop near IBM's Rochester MN offices has exactly that as a sandwich choice, under the title "OldTimer" (or some such. Long enough ago I don't know if IBM still has that location)

My snarky young IBM guides suggested it to me. What could they have meant?

Microsoft: We're getting rid of Flash by the end of the year - except you can still use it

Mike 16 Silver badge


Are you suggesting that homeopathy doesn't work? Even for software copied off eldritch scrolls and translated in pieces by multiple people in a humor-free environment?

Oh dear, I seem to have lost the thread there. Exposure to Flash, or even discussions of it, can do that.

Homeland Security demands a 911 for reporting security holes in federal networks: 'Vulns in internet systems cause real-world impacts'

Mike 16 Silver badge

Following form?

I suspect this will end up like the system at [REDACTED], a major network equipment manufacturer, back when I worked there. Any question was answered with "It's on [internal website of all company info]". But of course it wasn't. And the "report problems" link was a mailto: to a no longer existing email address (if that address ever existed). Then the telephone number listed for similar problems/errors rang on the desk of someone who was more than adequately aware of the fact that they were _not_ the responsible party, and had no idea who that might be.

(And of course given recent news, any report that treads on any toes will be filed in the room with the "Beware of the Leopard" sign.)

US election 2020: The disinfo operations have evolved, but so have state governments

Mike 16 Silver badge

AI-driven digital technocratic overlords

Right up to the point where someone has a few too many on a Friday night and commits some "code cleanup" to a widely used library. Then the world goes all Colossus/Guardian on us, and the cockroaches are left to do the re-write.

US Air Force shows off latest all-electric flying car, says it 'might seem straight out of a Hollywood movie'

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: I person miltary helicopter you say?

Or, if you relax the "must have spinning blades" part, the Magnetic Air Car from 1966


(You will need to scroll down)

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: I person miltary helicopter you say?

Perhaps more prosaic:


(Hiller XROE Rotorcycle)

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: The elevator did it

Further reading:


One of many very good articles on electronics and radio.

(No, I have no connection to the author)

Chromium devs want the browser to talk to devices, computers directly via TCP, UDP. Obviously, nothing can go wrong

Mike 16 Silver badge

... If I don't install it ...

If a six year old can buy a monster truck with dad's PayPal creds, what makes you so sure none of your household can figure out how to install a Trojan Browser?


(Single-person households may be compromised by attacks injected in/by Tinder or whatever floats your boat :-)

FYI: Chromium's network probing accounts for about half DNS root server traffic, says APNIC

Mike 16 Silver badge

Better Browser

Gets you into Catch 22. If you use a browser that does not implement all the misfeatures of Chrome, you will not get the "full experience" of a growing number of websites. OTOH, a website that does not use those misfeatures will be penalized in search results.

Resistance is Futile! Have a nice day.

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN

Mike 16 Silver badge

No unplugging required

A friend was flown to a customer site to troubleshoot a problem (circa 1974, no "just telnet in" option). He was chosen because he had written the software, running on a PDP-11, that logged various sensors once an hour. The 2300 report came in fine, but the midnight one did not, every night.

So he sat up with the system, ready to jump into the debugger to figure out what the obvious software problem was, because tests with a clone and messing with the RTC had not uncovered the issue. Right about 2345, cleaner comes in, plugs in the vacuum, and the system hangs, _before_ the vacuum is turned on. But it was plugged into the same duplex outlet as the PDP-11.

If I mention that the customer was in Las Vegas, would it surprise fewer readers that the glitch was due to static electricity?

Trump backs Oracle as potential TikTok buyer

Mike 16 Silver badge


So Good Ol' Larry gets a letter of Marque and Reprisal from the King?

Securus sued for 'recording attorney-client jail calls, handing them to cops' – months after settling similar lawsuit

Mike 16 Silver badge

Prisons and call centers

ISTR some years back when a prison was contracting out inmates as call-center workers. Some contracts involved, e.g. processing medical or unemployment claims. The sort of task that would provide access to private info that could be useful for ID theft. But of course, prison inmates would never be tempted to a life of crime, right?

CREST cancels two UK infosec accreditation exams after fresh round of 'cheat sheets' are leaked online

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: "...CCT is regarded as a gold standard accreditation..."

Iron Pyrite Standard?

We've come to wish you an unhappy birthday: Microsoft to yank services from Internet Explorer, kill off Legacy Edge by 2021

Mike 16 Silver badge

Following IBM's lead?

In early 2000, an OS update, caused by a hardware update (y'all know the drill) finally killed off support for IBM 1401 emulation on a System/360 descendant. The emulator was introduced in the mid 1960s to ease software migration, and the last IBM 1401 rolled off the assembly line in 1974 (IIRC). So, 25 years of IE is not exactly a match for 35 years of 1401 emulation, but not bad for these days when "What kind of loser expects software over 3 years old to work?"

Node.js community finally prodded to patch Chromium XHR bug after developer refuses to let flaw stand

Mike 16 Silver badge

_Chrome_ sets the FIN bit?

OK, I've been retired for a while, but since when is it up to user code to handle the plumbing of TCP/IP?

Does Chrome have its own stack? Or does (user mode) HTTP/2 reach down into TCP to change the specs?

(Commenting mainly because it was once not uncommon to see a packet with both SYN and FIN set,

and some stacks didn't crash.)

Steve Wozniak at 70: Here's to the bloke behind Apple who wasn't a complete... turtleneck

Mike 16 Silver badge

One nit-pick

In addition to an Apple ][, a cassette player, and a TV, you originally needed to buy and install an RF modulator.

At the time, standards for RFI were tighter than now, and tighter for "home use" than commercial. The legally distinguishing feature (in the U.S. anyway) was whether it depended on a TV for video. Apple got around this by not providing an RF modulator. The buyer had to go down the counter in the computer store and buy a modulator, which by some wild coincidence matched a header on the Apple ][ motherboard. You could have known? Why would anybody do that to our _clearly_ commercial (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) computer? Well, it was not _Apple_ that caused the problem, just those pesky users.

(This is all reminiscent of the early "electronic experimenter devices" with big warning labels on the line of "WARNING: Do NOT connect the blue wire to point A, lest this device become a radio receiver and incur a patent license fee")

A short while later TI managed to get a judge (in Texas, what a surprise) to mandate a loosening of RFI standards, on the basis that then current standards were "impossible to meet", despite there being systems like the Atari 800 on the market at the time. And Apple could actually throw in the modulator.

I think I have already mentioned the use (during acceptance tests) of "Spread Spectrum Clock" on modern PCs to similarly skirt the letter of the law today.

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: inventor of the [...] the Atari 2600?

You can add Steve Mayer, Ron Milner, Joe deCuir, and probably others. Success has many fathers..."

Note that this article follows the traditional path of ignoring Ron Wayne, in re Apple.

In the last 15 or so years I have noticed that Silicon Valley has swung quite sharply from recognizing great engineers/designer and toward celebrating "great corporations" (and their often rapacious heads).

(Pedantry alert: At the time, it was called the VCS. After Warner and their product marketing folks got on board, it became the 2600)

China now blocking ESNI-enabled TLS 1.3 connections, say Great-Firewall-watchers

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: 1984

I'm sure those killed in the little dust-up between Cromwell and the Crown were thinking "Well, at least we are not targeted for political cartoons". Note how the BBC article carefully starts counting at the 18th century.

Pen Test Partners: Boeing 747s receive critical software updates over 3.5" floppy disks

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Weight Savings

The real improvement was the switch from plugboards to cards.

First alligators, then dogs, now Basil Fawlty is trying to standardise social distancing measures

Mike 16 Silver badge

U.S. Standards

At least an alligator is more likely to be horizontal than Osman or Fawlty.

Not always, mind. At least one in South Carolina managed to climb over a 1Meter+ fence, which required a certain amount of verticality.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: "IETF standards – at least not competently"

I recall several years back when a MSFT spokeperson blurted out, in answer to a question about when some MSFT product (probably Exchange) would conform to standards:

"We're Microsoft _WE_ set the standards".

US drugstore chain installed anti-shoplifter facial-recognition cameras in 200 locations – for eight years

Mike 16 Silver badge

card counter or other kind of cheat,

The whole idea of card-counting being a cheat is a bit ex post facto.

Casinos changed the rules after it became known/popular.

About what one would expect from the inventors of the double zero.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Denial is the first defence.

A friend worked as a student for the "consultant" office at his campus computer center. He said the most effective troubleshooting session went something like:

User: "The computer is broken"

Him: "What makes you say that?"

User: "This program worked yesterday and now it doesn't"

Him: "What changed?"

User: "Nothing"

Him: "Why did you run it again?"

At historic Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google CEOs hearing, congressmen ramble, congresswomen home in on tech market abuse

Mike 16 Silver badge

Zuck using Facebook?

Any reasonably intelligent dealer knows better than to sample the product. Are you suggesting Zuck is not reasonably Intelligent?

New Zealand government to explain its algorithms to stop robo-bias warping policy

Mike 16 Silver badge


What about _intended_ consequences that just happen to align with the interests of the algorithm wielders?

Occam, not Hanlon.

Is that croaky voicemail of your CEO just a Fakey McFake Fake – or does he normally ask you to wire him $1m?

Mike 16 Silver badge

(at least) two possibilities

So, you get a message like

“immediate assistance to finalize an urgent business deal."

there are two very obvious ways this could happen:

1) it is an inept attempt at phishing

2) The Executive Search firm your board hired has managed to place an idiot/crook as CEO.

Meanwhile, those who suggest that an employee would know what the CEO sounds like?

You must not be familiar with the sort of place where the only time you hear from "El Jefe" is when you personally are in deep ____ or the lot of you are about to be declared redundant to usher in a Golden Age for the company.

Although, I will say that I once got an email (consisting entirely of a Word .doc) "from our CEO", in the same batch of email as one "from Steve Case", pushing Penis Pills. IT admin wondered why I was hesitant to open the CEO's message...

No, boss, I'm not playing Minecraft. Minecraft is where I run VMs on the desktop now

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: KIM-1

They are apparently not all that rare. My PCB-based one came from a yard-sale, where a friend ran across it in a box of "Free items". He remembered that I had been asking for one to serve as a "second witness" while reviving my wire-wrap one and grabbed it for me.

My Jolt, OTOH, was not so lucky. Stored in a shed, it succumbed to some chickens that had flown the coop and decided that shed was a great new clubhouse, and the Jolt an acceptable "litter-box" or whatever euphemism chickens use.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Check your coat...

Good advice. Wish I had taken it one time I was leaving late (like, midnight) having just finished a task on deadline. As I heard the building door click shut behind me and reached into my pocket for my car-keys, I realized I had left them in a lab-coat, in the lab, with my access card...

This was before mobile phones, so I had to walk a mile or so to a service station with a pay-phone to wake a friend to come get me. Next morning, bus to work, explain to security, get boss to vouch for me...

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Nobody home, turn it off.

At one (formerly) major corp, a minion thought he'd be energy conscious and exhibit that fact by turning off a whole room of semiconductor testers during the night shift. Despite costing a bundle to re-run tests of that batch (and figure out if any damage to the chips had resulted from the abrupt shutdown), apparently his zeal was noted. His "punishment" was to (eventually, but not that much later) be named V.P. of R&D.

Bill Gates debunks 'coronavirus vaccine is my 5G mind control microchip implant' conspiracy theory

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Angels are real

Of course Angels exist, and it looks like they have started playing baseball again, finally.

Visa fraud charges: Uncle Sam accuses four Chinese eggheads of covering up their true ties to China's military

Mike 16 Silver badge

Telling the truth

Found a copy of Les Earnest's tale about problems with telling the truth about a childhood incident:


Or an expanded version which includes a link to what happens when you decline to self-identify as one of the 5 official "races".:


Twitter Qracks down on QAnon and its Qooky Qonspiracies

Mike 16 Silver badge

Typo Re: Twitter ...

Don't go throwing the babe out with the bathwater


960 LinkedIn employees will be let go... If only there was some kind of 'social network for suits' to assist job hunts

Mike 16 Silver badge


RFC2142 says (among other things):


... mailbox name(es) must be supported, resulting in delivery to a recipient appropriate for the referenced service or role.


But just because email is "delivered to a recipient..." does not mean that any particular action will be taken by that recipient. I did not read the whole RFC in detail, but I have to wonder if the recipient can be a bot that just replies:

"Sorry to hear about your problem. If you want anything to actually be done, you will need to send your message via paper mail (certified, and maybe return receipt requested) to the following post-office box which we are assured is occasionally checked by somebody who claims to work for a legal firm. Have a nice day"

Hmmm, it looks like bots are accounted for:


Implementations of these well known names need to take account of the expectations of the senders who will use them. Sending back an automatic mail acknowledgement is usually helpful (though we suggest caution against the possibility of "duelling mail robots" and the resulting mail loops).



1) I would assume that, these days, the "expectations of senders" with any experience of the current internet is that pretty much nothing will be done. Or that the whole process will resemble that of phone-response systems: "Your call is important to us. Please wait for someone to give a damn. Meanwhile, enjoy our music-on-hold rendition of Warner's Ring Cycle, as performed by the Kazoo section of the student orchestra of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople."

2) They seem to assume that duelling robots are the main issue (as opposed to "don't care, won't act", the new normal)

Beware the Leopard!

Mike 16 Silver badge


I assume they read this as a bit short of MUST.

That was apparently the way Adobe treated it when I tried to report porn-spam in less than an hour after giving them a (nonce) email address to register some software. The _only_ documented way to contact them was via registered (paper) mail to a lawyer in Los Angeles (well, using a L.A. post-box )

Linkedin is not quite that bad, but yeah, pretty much totally useless other than getting solicited by dodgy recruiters. Maybe twice I have been contacted by a former co-worker who had no other way to find me.

And then there was the resourceful chap who found me on LinkedIn based on my name in the documentation for some software that his company had bought several years before. I was a sub-sub-sub contractor on that, but hey, it was nice to know someone was actually using it, and the docs.

Incredible artifact – or vital component after civilization ends? Rare Nazi Enigma M4 box sells for £350,000

Mike 16 Silver badge

Right up to Nuremberg

Why would they not continue their belief? The allies (or that subset of them who had been read in) went to a great deal of effort to nourish that belief, well past the trials, as they were keen to read the mail of many "friends" who used the Enigma well past the end of the war. See Also Crypto AG

Aggrieved ad tech types decry Google dominance in W3C standards – who writes the rules and for whom?

Mike 16 Silver badge

Standards and BigCorp

This is not recent. Just off the top of my head, RCA managed to get the FCC to move the FM broadcast band, _after_ it was allocated and infrastructure was built, driving the inventor to suicide. Same lovely folks changed the Color TV standard ex-post-facto. Now, in that case, their proposed standard was at least plausibly better, but the main effect (intent?) was to cripple CBS (a competitor to RCA's NBC).

As for "just say no" to such crap, note that unless your sites uses whatever The Big G is pushing, you can expect to be shuffled _way_ down in search results.

Imagine surviving WW3, rebuilding computers, opening up GitHub's underground vault just to relive JavaScript

Mike 16 Silver badge

Not completely daft

But a bit less daft might be to translate things like the Foxfire books


to something like Ikea directions, print them on similarly robust media, and "plant" them in a number of places (physical LOCKSS archives).

Not that it will help when the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything requires a .DLL (or .so) that somehow was missed.

_maybe_ this time people will have become less of a laughing stock in the universe, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Of course, it would require that the Disney lawyers haven't managed to extend copyright to "life of the solar system plus 70 years".

Mike 16 Silver badge

Religious artifacts?

You mean like HeeChee Prayer Fans?

Apple warns developers API tweaks will flow from style guide changes that remove non-inclusive language

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

If you are using an uppercase-only tty, and an appropriate getty, and gettytab (or wherever the option is hidden these days, on your system) it just might.

Or, you could follow Curious Marc's path:


(discussion of UC/lc starts at about 7:00)

Nvidia watches Brit upstart Graphcore swing into rear-view mirror waving beastly second-gen AI chip hardware

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: An AI Called Colossus

What if there is another system? What if it has been masquerading as a U.K. Newspaper all along?

How did they bootstrap the ROTM from de-commissioned IBM 1620s?

And most importantly, how quickly can it decrypt all these Lorenz messages?

The Devil's in the details: Church of Satan forced to clarify that no unholy rituals taking place in SoCal forest

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Not How Satanism Works

Calling each other heretics?

Time for this again?


(Emo Philips joke, and some discussion of it).

Trump U-turns on foreign student crackdown: F-1, M-1 visa holders allowed to study online mid-pandemic in the US

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Keeping a careful record...

Yeah, that worked out so well for Epstein, protecting himself from _his_ former associates/clients.

Note to auto-downvote folks, I am _NOT_ Saying that Trump was an Epstein client, Barr and Epstein are different people in (somewhat) different circumstances, but there are only a couple ways blackmail (for profit or protection) turns out,m especially when you are blackmailing a person more powerful (or ruthless) than yourself.

I'm just here to point out the main occupational hazard of blackmail (either for profit or protection). Sometimes the person you are blackmailing decides to take an alternative form of crisis resolution.

Google employs people to invent colours – and they think their work improves your wellbeing

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Justifying their salary

I've just had a brilliant product idea, which I offer to the world for development because I can't be arsed.

We need a bluetooth dartboard (maybe one of those plastic ones with the field of holes), or suitable machine vision of an actual dartboard. The face to be done in the typical colour-picker wheel motif, so that after a few pints the designers can pick the colours for pending products quickly, then get back to "real work" (a few more pints).

Meanwhile, my first memory of computer colours is two shades of grey for the frame, IBM Blue for the panels. Mid 1960s, when less stodgy computer users could also get Yellow, Green, and "Coral".

You've think you've heard it all about automation in technology? Get a load of this robot that plugs in cables

Mike 16 Silver badge


And _which_ USB-C cable? Just because a cable will physically go into a socket doesn't mean it will work, or is a good idea (as one student in my high-school chemistry class found out when idly inserting a paperclip into the lab bench power outlet).

You call Verizon. A Google bot answers. You demand a human. The human is told what to say by the bot

Mike 16 Silver badge

Re: Natural language

I'm sure Tay would have no problem with "emotion enhanced verbiage". Maybe Google/Verizon could get a license at a discount.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020