* Posts by ThomH

2898 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Your password hygiene remains atrocious, says NordPass


Re: Streaming Passwords

Not only have I forgotten many times to log out of a TV or similar while on holiday, but I've frequently chanced upon other people's accounts as still signed in. Amazon's the only one I've cared enough about to perform a remote sign-out, since you can buy content through it.

Thanks to the last already-signed-in Netflix I happened upon in a rental, I know that it is the go-to service for telenovelas from the US. Sadly the characters tend to say more complicated things than "My name is ThomH. I eat rice. The cat is at the library." so my Spanish isn't really sufficient.

Canonical reveals more details about Ubuntu Core Desktop


Re: Moving towards an Apple methodology..

I think there's probably a lot of nerds out there, like myself, who have Linux in their mix as a tool but not necessarily as their primary platform, for whom immutable distributions make a lot of sense. You lose a lot in flexibility but the trade is that somebody else does 80% of the work of being your system administrator.

Sorry Pat, but it's looking like Arm PCs are inevitable


Re: Apple's League

Businesses don’t usually buy Apple for endless reasons, but I’m not entirely persuaded that lack of card slots is very high up the list; you’d definitely be an idiot if you switched for industrial control. Though that’s got to be less than 1% of computer purchases.

Agreed it’s much more about provisioning, hardware maintenance, etc.

I have frequently worked at businesses that use Macs because I’m a software developer in America. Most, though not quite all, involved spending the first morning on a call with IT making sure your Mac is properly set up.

Word turns 40: From 'new kid on the block' to 'I can't believe it's not bloatware'


Over in Mac world the retort used to be: you can take Word 5.1a out of my cold, dead hand. The article's comments on Word 6 for Windows are similarly true of Word 6 for the Mac, but moreso: that version was Microsoft's attempt to adopt an OS-independent codebase with thin shims to Windows and a more-or-less emulation of Windows controls on the Mac, cross compiled by a beta version of Visual C++ with limited optimisation. So it's bloated, slow and incongruous.

Word then took a five-year break from the Macintosh, though if anything that's a forgivably short gap in releases, since this was the Macintosh in the mid-'90s.


Re: That sounds about right...

WMF is also a really dodgy file format; it's not surprising that it had limited professional adoption. It's just a serialisation of GDI commands — with no attempt at device independence — and can contain executable code. It's Microsoft's take on PICT, the similarly framework-specific classic MacOS file format that [mostly] just serialises QuickDraw commands and is similarly unloved and long-dead.

If you want to fund open source code via Patreon with GitHub, well now you can


Re: maybe "patronize" doesn't mean the same thing as "patronise

Patronise also has the secondary meaning of being a customer of in British English per every dictionary I've ever checked.

I can't find a newer OED than 1933 with free access, but back then this was even definition (1), with the more normal current meaning being definition (3).

Ex-Microsoft maverick takes us on a trip through vintage Task Manager code


Surely a dislike of OS/2 or VMS would be more easily rolled forward into a dislike of modern Windows? It's like disliking macOS because OS 9 used to crash a lot. Like, really, a lot.

Human knocks down woman in hit-and-run. Then driverless Cruise car parks on top of her


Re: "Should the Cruise car have not started moving if there was a person still on the crosswalk?"

I never bothered learning to drive in the UK, I waited until I'd moved to San Francisco.

The process was: five one-hour lessons, starting the first lesson in a large car park but on real streets within the hour, and onto the freeway a couple of times within the five. Followed by the test, which involved driving around the block for about fifteen minutes, then reversing... in a straight line. They have lanes specially painted for this part of the test in front of the test centre*, which you drive into from the back. So the test is: can you press a pedal while remembering not to turn the wheel?

That's it. Licence acquired. Compared to what I understand of the UK test: no substantial traffic, no road-sign navigation, no parallel parking or reversing around corners, no maintenance questions, little of everything else due to the short length of the test.

I've not had any accidents but I've had plenty of opportunities since, ummm, 'to grow my experience'.

* yes, the DMV in Panhandle, in case anybody's local.

Mozilla's midlife crisis has taken it from web pioneer to Google's weird neighbor


Re: “Google,” who dat?

> Microsoft may as well not even exist anymore, as far as I’m concerned. As for Apple, I haven’t bought any Apple equipment since the 1990s.

Then clearly both might as well just give up now. The two added together could manage only a little more than $600bn in revenue last year. What a joke.

Why Chromebooks are the new immortals of tech


Especially when the author defines success as "its software was terribly outdated, but, by gum, it was still working!"

That test would probably make something from the 1970s the immortal of tech?

Lightning struck: Apple switches to USB-C for iPhone 15 lineup


Re: milking the lightning cable royalties

Although USB-C doesn't offer higher data transfer rates in the non-Pro models this year because they retain last year's USB controller, which could afford to be a cheap USB-2-style controller because it only had to deal with lightning connectors.

Apple races to patch the latest zero-day iPhone exploit


Re: The intentionally incompatible iMessage yet again?

Yeah, if one person made a false claim, that definitely proves everything you've always been saying and that we all should have listened to you sooner. What fools we've been.

Atari pulls nostalgia power move and buys homebrew community forum


I guess the Intellivision money finally ran out.

Comment added to memorialise the very cosy relationship that Tommy Tallerico seemed to enjoy with AtariAge when it came to moderating out everything but the most effusive praise for his Intellivision Amico con. Something very fishy was afoot there.

Someone just blew over $190k on a 4GB first-gen iPhone


Re: A fool and their money

"the deliberate slowdown of older models" is grossly misrepresenting the issue.

Like every other phone, iPhones don't go into burst mode when the battery has decayed. Because there isn't enough power; this is a physical constraint, completely disjoint from the age of the phone. It depends entirely on when you last got the battery replaced.

Apple got sued — rightly — because customers then came into Apple shops and said to Apple employees "my phone has slowed down, what can I do?" and instead of saying "pay £89 for a new battery (or sneak off to get it done for a much more reasonable price elsewhere)", Apple employees said "pay £799 for a new phone, only available from us".

So Apple employees failed to recommend a cheap solution that's also available from third parties, instead indicating that the only option was expensive and available from Apple only.

Noted before the inevitable responses: declining to accept some absurd misrepresentation of the very negative thing a company did does not make one a bought fool.

'Joan Is Awful' Black Mirror episode rebounds on Netflix


Re: Black mirror: it's either genuine over-the-top woke-ness or parody

Loud and swearing is preferable to mired in the bigoted culture wars of 1973, so at least this conversation is on the upswing.


Re: Black mirror: it's either genuine over-the-top woke-ness or parody

OMG! An inter-racial couple?!? That'll show Thatcher!!!!

If you want a big brain, make a habit out of daytime naps


My child is 20 months old

So I'm now 20 months into my habit of requiring daytime naps.

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: Unique keys

You’re not making a key, ever. Both public and private keys are the government’s.

Hence, to quote myself:

“(iii) decrypt government's hash using government's public key; (iv) compare.”


Re: Unique keys

I assume the poster means that your ID is cryptographically signed by the government; that signature is used to verify that the ID is genuine.

i.e. the government would: (i) validate ID; (ii) hash; (iii) encrypt hash with private key; (iv) append it to ID.

An interested receiver would: (i) read ID; (ii) hash; (iii) decrypt government's hash using government's public key; (iv) compare.

No central database. Just a requirement to carry ID and the ability to detect whether the ID has been validated by the government. I'm not really in favour of ID cards in general, but I think that's what we're discussing.

Oh, wow. OK. Apple really is making a $3.5K VR ski-mask. Dev tools are now out for it


Re: Y'all said the same about the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad...

But conversely Apple came right out of the gate explaining the concrete and appealing applications of the iPod, iPhone and iPad; for the Vision Pro it's a more wishy-washy "we've built this interface, and we're hoping a use case will turn up".

iPod: 5,000 songs in your pocket.

iPhone: the real web, with unlimited data.

iPad: whatever you use your iPhone for, but larger.

Vision Pro: augmented reality allows us to put graphics on top of a video feed of your world. So, ummmm, movies maybe?


Posting from my work MacBook Pro rather than my personal iPhone or Mac Mini...

I've nevertheless found Karl Guttag* to be quite persuasive on the topic of the likely issues with Apple's product: they didn't demonstrate any new applications or interaction breakthroughs, reproducing reality on a screen in front of your eyes — no matter how low the latency — still doesn't look or feel like reality due to vergence-focus differences, the pixel counts still aren't where they'd need to be for things like virtual screens to look as good as real screens.

I don't think I'm just parroting the first thing I found that confirms my prejudices, I guess time will tell.

* designer of the TMS9918, the TI/ColecoVision/SG1000/MSX/etc video chip that was first to sprites and tiles, of various other chips in the interim, involved in the first synchronous DRAMs, doing AR and VR for at least the last decade or so, semi-recently very early to the Magic-Leap-is-obviously-investor-baiting-fluff train. Even though the formatting of the blog makes it look like spam and/or whatever your uncle last wrote on Facebook about politics.

Another redesign on the cards for iPhone as EU rules call for removable batteries


If Apple does the job then the price is £89, so presumably ~€100.

On the one hand, the XS launched at £999 so that's around 9% of the total to extend the lifetime by hopefully a lot more than 9%.

On the other, an XS is definitely not worth £999 now so 9% probably isn't accurate, and that £89 has to be mostly labour. Third-party replacements seem to be a lot cheaper, so an at-home replacement would presumably be cheaper still and you'd be more confident about the provenance of the battery.

Florida man insists he didn't violate the law by keeping Top Secret docs


Re: I can finally admit something

> But that's over now. Too many Trump supporters aged out and died off. It's going to be extraordinarily rare for a right-wing presidential candidate to get elected in the US going forward.

Having recently acquired American citizenship, and therefore despite actually having some input into the next election, I wish I were as confident as you.


Re: I can finally admit something

In part the calculus was different though; turning against Nixon caused another Republican President to be installed without an election — indeed, famously he's the only President never to have won a national election, having ascended in two steps from Speaker of the House — and gifted him a couple of years to try to establish himself in time hopefully to retain the White House in 1976. The whole thing had the side effect of giving that party the incumbency benefit for a second election in a row.

Unfortunately his approval ratings dropped thirty points overnight upon the decision to pardon Nixon, and the electorate did what they did.

So I'm sure there was at least one Republican for whom decency was not the motivator in 1974. Sadly there seem to be few today even motivated by smart electoral politics; 62% of the American electorate thinks that Trump is guilty and the non-Trump Republican candidates are lining up to promise him pardons or parrot his nonsense conspiracy theories about selective justice which are, in essence, "if no other Presidents have been prosecuted then obviously that means this is a sham because, clearly, I'm perfect".

That said, in a two-party system it doesn't really matter how far off the rails one goes, it still has a decent chance of winning.

The ZX81 finally gets the keyboard it deserves


It should also work on a ZX80 and a 48kb ZX Spectrum then?

Since all three have the same basic layout and underlying physical membrane, connected to the data and address buses in exactly the same way, and correspondingly can be read by exactly the same code to get exactly the same alphanumerics — beyond port FE the top 8 bits of the address are used to enable or disable any of the eight keyboard lines, and the low five bits indicate pressed-or-not per key.

Metaverse? Apple thinks $3,500 AR ski goggles are the betterverse


Re: Longevity

Why would they need to unstrap themselves?

My gut reaction is “it costs HOW much?” but I’m wary that this is often followed by “… and it doesn’t have a keyboard, so it doesn’t appeal to business customers”. The watch seems to have become sustainable, so what do I know?

Smartphone recovery that's always around the corner is around the corner


My 6s was finally relegated to security updates only last year, after seven years. So I upgraded to a 12 Mini, that being a size Apple doesn’t offer in its latest models.

I guess that means I’m willing to spend at least an amortised $85/year on my phone. Which is probably not far off the actual number. A very occasional purchase, when absolutely nothing else is on the list.

Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess


I currently work in medium-frequency trading. I previously worked in low-latency trading. Since this career move I've worked for three separate finance firms.

The first responded to Brexit by moving its European office from London to Amsterdam.

The second slimmed its London office down to about three employees and moved all the substantial work to an existing office in Dublin.

The third has yet to do much in Europe but obviously London isn't much of a contender.

If finance is to blame then it must be a very provincial subset. For everybody else the additional barriers between the UK and the EU are a burden to be avoided if possible.

Unlike your iPhone, Apple's batterygate controversy refuses to die


Alas this is a civil case before a tribunal so compensation is probably the limit of its powers.

Also the actual feature, of reducing performance as your battery decays, isn't actually the issue — it's that Apple did that, knew that it had done that, yet still directly advised visitors to its shops that the only solution for slow old iPhones is new iPhones, which isn't true. For at least some proportion a battery replacement would be a much cheaper solution. Therefore Apple profited from the convenient omission of advice.


The verdict's never going to be more than a slap on the wrists for Apple at the absolute most, but possibly the bad publicity — something that will upset Apple a lot more than potentially having to pay damages, I'm sure — will be a win in terms of deterrence?

Techies all GUI-eyed as Xerox says goodbye to Palo Alto Research Center


Re: Need to cut them slack

> the Amiga and ST cost about the same as an Apple II GS

At launch the II GS was substantially more expensive than an ST* but cheaper than an Amiga, since the Amiga 500 wouldn't turn up until the following year. It's also worse than both of them at everything except audio, at which it is fantastic.

* the monitorless 256kb II GS launched after and at the same price as the monochrome monitor-sporting 1mb 1040ST.

Twitter scores legal hat trick with three cases filed against it in one day


Re: Elon seems to be learning from his Master

Anybody got an over/under on when Truth Social will officially be closer to profitable than Twitter?

Microsoft promises it's made Teams less confusing and resource hungry


Re: Thank $deity, lowered shimmering

Having looked it up, shimmering is indeed the optical effect, which is now often used in UIs to indicate that something is loading. So Microsoft's use of it appears to be both oblique and entirely redundant — reduced wait times would necessarily mean lowered shimmering.

The Stonehenge of PC design, Xerox Alto, appeared 50 years ago this month


Re: Another thing

There was also at least one first-party Macintosh portrait display in the 1980s, in addition to the various Radius models others have mentioned. I guess they're artefacts of monitor sizes at the time and the 1980s Macintosh's commercial niche of desktop publishing.


Re: nope, Smalltalk80 was The Bomb..

Agreed. Java is Objective-C cut to look like C++, as per one of its creators. So, yeah, primitive types, interfaces, reflection, objects [almost] always on the heap, etc.


Re: nope, Smalltalk80 was The Bomb..

> Anyone who uses MI really does not know what they are doing. Or writing toy code.

Or using pure abstract base classes as a surrogate for protocols.

Enter Tinker: Asus pulls out RISC-V board it hopes trumps Raspberry PI


Re: Wrong

I think the Richard M Stallmans of the world are very interested. And possibly curious developers, especially those in the bare metal niche.

But no, these are not substantial groups.

Adidas grapples with $1.3B in unsold Yeezy sneakers after breaking up with Kanye West


Re: Doing a Musk

To be clear, Adams' most direct comment was "the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the f*** away. Wherever you have to go, just get away.", i.e. he advocated in favour of segregation, treating all black people and all white people as homogenous groups.

I don't need to know who agrees or disagrees with that to have a strongly negative opinion about it.

AmigaOS 3.2.2 released for those feeling nostalgic


The ST was substantially cheaper for most of its lifespan; e.g. at launch in 1985 an 8Mhz 512kb Atari ST with a colour monitor (the more expensive option) was $1000, compared with $1,295 for a 7.14Mhz 256kb Amiga with no monitor. Leading to the ST being the world's first computer to offer 1mb for less than $1000.

Around 1990 when the difference was only about £100 it's not so important, admittedly.

Can we interest you in a $10 pocket calculator powered by Android 9?


Re: Ok... I have to ask

With the landfill Android factories pumping out devices that can be sold for $10, what would justify the effort of somebody designing a board without Wifi?

Linux app depot Flathub may offer paid-for software


Indeed, it does rather suggest that it would be logically impossible to plead guilty to a dishonesty offence.

Twitter algorithm to be open sourced 'next week,' says Musk



Tweets recommendations() { return find(.author = "Elon Musk"); }

What Brit watchdog redacted: Google gives Apple cut of Chrome iOS search revenue


Re: Flawed logic

It'd be about as successful as iTunes Ping, while probably consuming more than the staff levels still assigned to macOS; if anything I'm surprised that Microsoft has clung on for so long.

Generative AI is out of control: Nothing, Forever is a Seinfeld spoof about nothing... forever


Re: BIg Bang Theory

MASH is the worst to try to watch here in my US sojourn; a huge laugh track over almost everything. I'm pretty sure it showed in the UK without a laugh track.

Bringing the first native OS for Arm back from the brink


Re: 64-bit port

Tediously: the 1984 Macintosh did file types and application associations as resource fork key/value pairs, allowing per-file associations and not putting any trace of the type into the file’s name. I doubt it was the first, and — to be overt — RISC OS was way ahead in uncountably many other areas.

A brand new Linux DRM display driver – for a 1992 computer


Re: Falcon, ST, AmigaOS et al

> What that processor lacked, and what you’re maybe thinking of, was an MMU.

Most precisely, the stack frames it produces upon a bus error aren’t sufficient to know how complete an instruction was when it threw, and no support is offered for restarting a half-complete instruction.

So you can’t bolt on an MMU in a general-purpose fashion because any instruction that causes a page fault will have done an unknowable amount of its operation — and side effects — before throwing but can only be restarted from the beginning.


Re: Falcon, ST, AmigaOS et al

> There would have been no DMA to free the CPU while the floppy drive was being read though

The floppy drive and ACSI (i.e. proto-SCSI) port are the two things other than video in an ST that have a DMA interface to RAM.

The ST doesn’t even then have to do any further decoding as it receives decoded original bytes, whereas the Amiga receives an MFM stream and uses the Blitter further to decode.


Re: Good.

640x200 at 2bpp, 320x200 at 4bpp are both a step up from the 8-bit machines; fairly predictably for machines sold on the size of their databus, they’re approximately double the bandwidth of anything on an 8-bit micro at the time.

E.g. the C64’s 320px mode is attribute based, much like a ZX Spectrum, and the CPC’s is 2bpp.

The MSX 2 and Master System both muddy the water… but both postdate the ST.

GitLab versus The Zombie Repos: An old plot needs a new twist


I’m on GitHub rather than Lab but to offer an example from further on the spectrum: amongst my set, I have one repository that is multiple gigabytes in size.

It’s test cases, in volume, spelt out in JSON as insurance against bit rot. That’s even with a decent portion of them being GZipped prior to addition to the repository.

It’s popular with a decent subset of people, but we’re talking dozens only. Would almost certainly fail an objective cost-benefit analysis.

Windows Subsystem for Android declared ready for prime time


Re: WSA or ASW?

Windows Subsystem for Android = an adaptation of Android that works on Windows.

Windows 11 = an adaptation of the number 11 that works on Windows.

Microsoft Office = the version of Microsoft written by Office.

“640kb ought to be enough for anybody” = an apocryphal claim that 640kb will be happy no matter who uses it.