* Posts by Def

1586 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

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Re: Rosetta

The iOS simulator compiles the code for the host platform with the iOS APIs. It has never emulated the target device.

Nvidia to acquire Arm for $40bn, promises to keep its licensing business alive

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I discovered exactly how reduced that instruction set is the other day when looking at the compiled code for one of my pixel shaders.

It turns out there isn't even an instruction for subtracting two numbers. Instead the compiler generated a negate instruction followed by an add instruction.

Microsoft to charge $200 for 32 GPU cores, sliver of CPU clockspeed, 6GB RAM, 512GB SSD... and a Blu-Ray player

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Re: Can we finally just accept that these are PCs in all but name now?

I can't comment on newer Xbox consoles, but you pretty much had full control over the original Xbox. You could even show a static image while you rebooted the machine (which took a fraction of a second) - I know of at least one game that did that after each level. (Not my responsibility, but it was a game I worked on.)

On the Xbox360 DirectX was a super thin layer on top of the hardware (the API wasn't even implemented as proper COM interfaces), and the OS was basically a cut down XP kernel which ran on a single hardware thread on a single CPU core. The compiler didn't even support C++ exceptions properly - they were that focused on performance (support was buggy from when we first got our hands on alpha hardware (basically beefed up Apple Power Macs) and we were told that it would never be fixed).

I'd be very surprised if they'd changed those things. (Well, I guess the compiler is better these days now there are x86 processors under the hood.)

Even with a 49% uplift in sales and a 46% drop in expenses, Slack still can't turn a profit

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FAIL

Maybe, just maybe if Slack was actually a decent piece of software it would do better.

But it isn't, probably never will be, and so won't.

Slack is mediocre at messaging, and absolutely shit at video conferencing. I think the only reason people in larger companies use it is because it's marginally better at messaging than Teams (but light years behind in video).

The feature I love the most about the Slack app is when it tells you a message is too long and if you want to view the whole thing you have to open it in a web browser. Pure class.

Amiga Fast File System makes minor comeback in new Linux kernel

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Apparently (I've just discovered) the Plus Pack for Windows 98 was the first public release of "Compressed Folders", but I honestly don't recall it being useful or even usable - if it had been I wouldn't have kept needing to use other tools to open ZIP files.

I tried to avoid Windows XP as much as possible (at least on my home PCs) and jumped straight from Windows 2000 to Windows 7, so maybe I just missed out on that particular feature.

It is entirely possible, of course, that my memory is even more shot to shit than I... err, remember. :)

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RISC-OS also had support for pluggable file systems.

I remember when the first ZIP files started appearing most other machines needed some third party utility to read and write to them (most still do). Someone kindly (bravely) wrote a RISC-OS file system driver for them so the whole OS and any application that needed to access their contents could do so as if they were a regular drive.

Fast forward 30 *years* and Windows Explorer has finally got "native" support for reading/writing ZIP files. (But no other compressed formats.) The lack of innovation in our industry is all rather depressing at times. There are still many cool features of early systems that are missing from today's "advanced" operating systems.

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That would work too. And don't call me surely.

China launches and lands its first re-usable spacecraft

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Re: And the US space force

Yes it does.

Here's a sprite idea: PC pokers push pixels to LED displays with Microsoft's new platform for non-verbal comms

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Re: Timely, though

Most evenings I was well and truly in the pub by that time. I did pull a few all nighters though.

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Back in the mid 90s I was working for a small games company. Being a semi-senior member of a small team I was often the person others turned to with questions. Most of the time I was happy to help, but occasionally I just needed to get stuff done. One particular day I had to get a demo finished for the following morning, and the interruptions were coming thick and fast. I ended up taping a big “Fuck off, I’m busy” sign to the back of my chair. Which worked really well until about half six in the evening when I got a friendly tap on my shoulder. “That’s not very nice,” said the cleaner with a big grin on her face.

Qualcomm flexes latest Arm chipset for laptops: Snappy performance and battery life if you can put off your upgrade long enough

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Re: There won't be laptops with 25 hour battery life...

It is a gaming laptop.

My personal laptop is a lightweight little number, but I still manage to push it a bit when working. :)

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Re: There won't be laptops with 25 hour battery life...

I don't think you can get more specific than an nvidia RTX 2080. ;)

And compiling hasn't been a single-core endeavour out of the box for at least 10 years, and a lot longer with third party help.

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Re: There won't be laptops with 25 hour battery life...

18 hours?

My typical work day consists of typing furiously and mild mouse waving for five minutes, followed by 110% CPU usage while the compiler does its thing, followed by five to 10 minutes of heavy 3D rendering while I test.

I'm lucky to get two hours out of my current work-issued laptop. I reckon this might stretch to three hours - if I'm lucky.

Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?

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Fictional report is fiction

Where's the link?

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Re: Edit 2

I guess the point of measuring speeds that people actually have is that it includes some nod to economic factors with regards to connections. Everyone with a fibre connection could get a 1Gb+ contract, but if the costs involved are prohibitively high, not many people will actually do it.

Google, Amazon pass on UK Digital Services Tax by hiking ad prices, fees at same rate the government takes

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A progressive tax is one where the tax rate increases as the taxable amount increases. So what I was suggesting was zero tax on any revenue under half a billion <currency_unit>s and progressively more on revenue over that value up to some maximum revenue value at a top tax rate.

And I think it's fair to say that just taxing profit clearly isn't working after a certain point. There are too many loopholes and ways to avoid it. Which is what started this conversation in the first place.

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A progressive tax on revenue should be levied in an ideal world. But the bottom rate shouldn't start at the first <currency_unit> earned.

Without thinking too much about it, a 0.1% rate on revenue over 500 million would be a good starting point, rising to 10% on revenues over 10 billion. That would hit the largest companies the most while leaving small to medium businesses largely unaffected.

A severe restriction on the amount of money that can be transferred to a sister company for "licensing" wouldn't be a bad thing either. (Either that or make that taxable somehow.)

Good luck ever getting any of that passed into law though.

Forget Fortnite and FIFA: India wants to develop games based on local legends

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Re: Modi

I wasn't criticising anyone. I was merely pointing out that while the games industry has been going strong in other countries for over 40 years, in some countries people have had (and in other countries still do have) more basic and pressing needs to worry about.

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Re: Modi

There has to be reasons.

Given that as recently as the year 2000 half a billion people in India didn't have electricity in their homes (every village now has electricity since 2018) and even today around 12% still don't have access to a basic water supply I don't think video games are particularly high up on most people's list of concerns.

Funny, that: Handy script for wiping directories is capable of wreaking havoc beyond a miscreant's wildest dreams

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Re: My contribution ...

I never understood the logic of firing someone who makes a mistake. If they repeatedly make the same mistake, sure, but all you're basically doing otherwise is replacing them with someone who hasn't learned not to make that mistake yet.

And if the rest of the company doesn't put procedures in place to mitigate that mistake from happening in the future then nobody has learned anything and you're back to square one.

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Coat

Re: My contribution ...

*wring* *wring*

"Hello?"

"It's gone what now?"

Hidden Windows Terminal goodies to check out: Retro mode that emulates blurry CRT display – and more

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I run bash on WSL and natively in Ubuntu. I even used to run it on Solaris some years ago.

It has been a while (pre lockdown) since I ran it natively so maybe my memory is failing me (again), but I don’t recall it being much better these days than it used to be.

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The standard console in Windows 10 has supported Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V for copy and paste for quite a while now. It's even smart enough for Ctrl+C to copy (if there's a text selection) or kill the current process as you would expect. Suffice to say I miss it when I have to use bash for something (talk about awkward copy+paste functionality - enter to copy, right click to paste... uh-huh, that makes sense).

And you've always been able to change the font - at least as long as I can remember.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

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Headmaster

Re: Local 'languages'

Cunning linguists generally consider a language to be a standardised written and spoken form of communication, whereas dialects are usually only spoken variations of a language.

So... just 'Good' then? KFC pulls Finger Lickin' slogan while pandemic rumbles on

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Mushroom

KFC

It's Bucket Chuckin' Good.

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

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This is what happens when you have a bunch of mediocre developers and a popular web browser. *Everything* has to be jammed into the browser instead of being separate applications.

Why do mobile apps exist? Because mobile browsers and mobile versions of websites are so piss poor. So why aren't desktops treated the same way? If you can be bothered to make an app for one or both of the major mobile platforms, why can't you make one for the three major (one major and two minor really) desktop platforms out there?

Browsers need less functionality and fewer potential exploitable back doors. Not more.

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

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Coat

Swift is a good choice. It runs so slowly, crashes never get around to happening.

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

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Re: _Chrome_ sets the FIN bit?

As I understand it, Chrome sets the END_STREAM bit of the last HTTP/2 data packet to be sent. Other browsers send the last true data packet as normal followed by an empty packet with the END_STREAM flag set.

I guess the bug in Node.js is it throws away the data of any packet with END_STREAM set. (But I really am just guessing here.)

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Here.

"The DATA frame defines the following flags:

END_STREAM (0x1):

When set, bit 0 indicates that this frame is the last that the endpoint will send for the identified stream. Setting this flag causes the stream to enter one of the "half-closed" states or the "closed" state (Section 5.1)."

ANPR maker Neology sues Newcastle City Council after failing to win 'air quality' snoopcam project bid

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Joke

That's a great idea.

I think I will just sue everyone who has failed to buy a licence for any of my software products. That has to be a lot easier than actually trying to sell the damn things.

Trump administration reportedly offers Oracle cheap end to $400m wage discrimination case

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Re: Wish us luck. We'll need it.

The difference is most people pardoned by Obama weren't close family friends, business associates, or donated large sums to either the Trump campaign or the GOP.

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Re: Wish us luck. We'll need it.

I think it would set a bad precedent to put a former president behind bars

It would be a bad precedent to put someone behind bars just for no longer being president. In this particular instance though, if Trump fails to get reelected we should throw him a massive street party.

And then throw him in jail for be a corrupt, insidious cunt of a human being.

Eagle-on-EGLE* violence: American icon sends govt-flown drone hurtling into the waters of Lake Michigan

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Joke

Re: Bees

Male honey bees are called drones. The bees swarming around your drone probably thought it was trying to escape its duties to the queen.

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Re: American response

As much as I'm enjoying your enthusiasm, I suspect that might make mapping the shorelines a little difficult.

Can't decide which OS to run today? Why not Linux inside Windows inside macOS?

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ARM has virtualisation extensions available and Windows 10 runs on ARM.

Xiaomi turns 10 and celebrates by sitting down to relax in front of its new transparent television

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Re: Transparent phone, please?

When did making sense ever stop technological "progress"? ;)

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Transparent phone, please?

With the battery and heavier electronics at the bottom so it's more comfortable to hold in one hand.

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

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Re: King's Quest

12 disks was manageable. Hearing the tape stop after 10 minutes but the loading screen doesn't disappear was not.

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit

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Re: Defensive Coding

I understand the reasoning behind reversing the operands, I just don't like it. It doesn't scan well in my head.

In any code base I touch these days (usually C++) the "assignment in conditional expression" warning is promoted to an error.

And just don't get me started on the if( type variable = expression; variable ) syntax of C++ these days. I'm feeling nauseous just thinking about it.

Greatest crossover of all time: Microsoft, Samsung preview Android on Windows via Your Phone app

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Unhappy

Continuum was awesome. I miss my Windows Phone.

Apple re-arms the iMac with 10th-gen Intel Core silicon

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Re: Their older hardware is good enough (and that's the problem)

It appears it might even be possible to upgrade the GPU on my mid-2011 21" iMac.

Thanks for that.

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Re: Their older hardware is good enough (and that's the problem)

Nice idea. The problem is the GPU. It's not supported by Metal, which is basically the main requirement for newer versions of MacOS.

Not being able to use the latest OS is not really the thing I have a problem with. It's the fact Xcode is so tied to the OS that it's impossible to run it on older versions of MacOS. That's a shitty way to force people to upgrade. Especially given the version of the OS I do have installed is only three years old. Visual Studio 2019, on the other hand, still supports Windows 7, which was released 11 years ago.

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Re: Their older hardware is good enough (and that's the problem)

The only reason I have to upgrade is Apple's bullshit planned obsolescence.

Older iMacs (like the 2011 one I have) are barred from running the latest versions of MacOS. And therefore I can't run the latest Xcode. Which means I can't release any iOS apps.

Yes, the machine still works - it's probably one of the most underused computers in the world. But it's completely and utterly useless to me now.

(I'm not upgrading anytime soon though. Fuck Apple.)

Elite name on Brit scene sponsors retro video games preservation project at the Centre for Computing History

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Not entirely unlike real life then?

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Re: Screenshot

Using the horizontal blank interrupt to switch hardware sprites or otherwise modify GPU state was a common trick on a lot of old consoles.

In the case of sprites, the hardware would allow you to display x hardware sprites on screen per frame, which were usually controlled by a few registers that just needed to store the start address of the sprite data, its position on screen, and (optionally) its size. Once set up, moving those sprites was just a matter of updating their position registers.

However, it was soon realised that the "x sprites per frame" limitation could really be thought of as an "x sprites per scan line" limitation. By hooking into the horizontal interrupt (which was triggered as the monitor's electron beam was being repositioned at the start of the next scan line) you could update at least one full hardware sprite per line, and thus fool the hardware into rendering more sprites per frame than it claimed to support.

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G: So light, you might even forget about its terrible keyboard

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That keyboard

A single height enter key is just American standard. With a proper UK layout, that wouldn't be an issue.

Nor would the key-travel distance be a problem for me either. I prefer slimline keyboards over mechanical behemoths that require busloads of school children to jump up and down on a key for it to register a "tap".

The things I look for in a laptop keyboard are:

Proper UK key layout.

Power button away from the rest of the keys.

Right-Ctrl on the end of the row (and not jammed in the middle next to the space bar).

Decent cursor key cluster.

And things I would like (but rarely find):

Horizontal spaces between escape and function-keys, and function keys grouped into fours.

Vertical space between the function-keys and the main keyboard proper.

We give up, Progressive Web Apps can track you, says W3C: After 5 years, it decides privacy is too much bother

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WarW3C, what is it good for?

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

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Re: From a bloke currently

Well, I retire (as an engineer) in five or six weeks. I'll obviously need something to fill my time...

How many sheds do you currently own?

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Re: From a bloke currently

I'm an engineer. I can stop any time I like...

You keep telling yourself that. I'm sure one day it might turn out to be true.

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