* Posts by Tom 38

4325 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

'Return to Office' declared dead

Tom 38

Re: I think the WFH rate will creep up

I've lost quite a lot business over the years to overseas outsourcing based on cost alone. Usually they come back after a year or two in exile, but the lost earnings in that time stings a little.

Some countries I've lost business to:

My previous company setup a Belfast office and hired entire new teams to build up capacity. They get tax breaks for investing in NI, and developer salaries are significantly lower than London. After 9 months of training a junior team who had no relevant experience in our tech stack, I could see the writing on the wall and got the hell out of there. My London based ex-colleagues were *shocked* that within 6 months the company had two rounds of redundancies that wiped out the London team of all the high wage/low performers.

Brit borough council apologizes for telling website users to disable HTTPS

Tom 38

Re: Dear editor

This isn't quite true, using http/2 can be vastly quicker than using http/1.1, and since all browsers require TLS for http/2, https is probably faster if the server supports http/2. Which it probably does, so its fair to say that https has better load speeds.

Ubuntu Budgie switches its approach to Wayland

Tom 38

Re: ssh? @Tom 38

The original question here is not Wayland across a network, it's Wayland through an SSH tunnel.

I'm struggling to understand what your confusion is with what I said, so I've put in links to RHEL9 manual explaining how to run graphical applications remotely over ssh using a local wayland environment, for both native wayland applications and legacy X11 applications.

waypipe can operate over an ssh tunnel, xwayland works implicitly over an ssh tunnel.

Tom 38

Re: ssh?

This comes up every time wayland is mentioned on here: You use waypipe for native wayland programs, and for X11 programs, you use XWayland.

SpaceX's Starship on the roster for Texas takeoff

Tom 38

Re: Is it just me

However, I think the real answer is the third option... We are in danger of losing government control to private entities, here is a smack-down to re-assert our authority.

Thinks this says more about you than it does the FAA or SpaceX

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean AI's not after you

Tom 38

Re: Horses *did* protest

I mean, they didn't protest, but they also didn't end up in lush fields frollicking. They were sent to the knackers. Can't do that with people yet.

Canonical shows how to use Snaps without the Snap Store

Tom 38

Apologies, can't seem to find the "Corrections" link

and I know you're proactive in the comments Liam...

Snaps are delivered as two files: the software itself, inside a file called <name>_<revision>.snap</revision></name>

Think something automated has gone "HTML?! I must close these tags!"

Mid-contract telco price hikes must end, Ofcom told

Tom 38

Re: 75 percent ... would be put off ... if they knew prices were going to rise mid-contract

You don't have to read the T&Cs to see the price increases, as in the UK everyone signing up to a telco contract must have been given a pre-agreement contract information/contract summary, which is a 3-6 pages of normal sized type explicitly laying out the initial cost, the first month cost, future month costs and any price increase. My most recent contract was with iD mobile, on page 3 of the CI/CS they have a section detailing the annual price increases - it could not be clearer.

In quest to defeat Euro red-tape, Apple said it had three Safari browsers – not one

Tom 38

Re: Smoke and mirrors

One sees the quote so often that 'the market' will drive down prices, when clearly what it does is drive prices to the highest the consumer will stand.

That's the definition of a price though. An apple isn't worth $1 because of the efforts put in to grow it, but because people want apples and are prepared to pay $1 for it.

Police ignored the laws of datacenter climate control

Tom 38

Re: Fun with magnets.

I'm am old fart, not a single monochrome CRT I've ever seen in anything (I've seen metric fucktons of terminals, TVs and monitors because I repaired them for a living)

Yes, wonderful story Grandpa. The only problem is that the only person who has mentioned monochrome monitors is you. The OP said that it had green text. Have you never come across a monitor with green text that was not a monochrome monitor, because I'm a spring chicken of only 44 years, and I've seen several. One old CGA (perhaps EGA) monitor I used even had a slider so you could switch it between the full 16 colours, or green text, white text and amber text, as you desired. The wonders of modern technology!

I liked green text on the terminal, but for Sopwith I much preferred amber.

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not

Tom 38

That sounds like you should be reporting them for an offence under the Computer Misuse Act

It really doesn't - the ISP supplied router is (usually) not your device, it remains the property of the ISP - which is why you have to return it at the end of your contract. As it's their device, they're free to access it to do anything necessary for provision of service.

My ISP (Hyperoptic) does something fairly sane, you need the ISP router plugged in for the line to activate (or clone the MAC address), and after that you're free to unplug it and use whatever router you want. However, if you want to complain about something not working to tech support, they require the ISP router to be plugged in and in use. If the ISP router works and your's doesn't work, well that's your problem, but if the ISP router doesn't work, they'll work it out - either a new router or an engineer visit or both.

China reportedly bans iPhones from more government offices

Tom 38

In China, Apple has a 15-20% market share, and almost all the rest are Chinese brands of Android phones. Easy to check they aren't doing something wrong when you have a man on the inside

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden

Tom 38

A lot of campsites have 240v hookups these days, and a lot of tents (especially big family tents) are starting to come with an access port for a hookup. You can buy a simple RCB protected board to plug the hookup into and then you've got three mains sockets in your tent.

Although, if you're going camping and want to watch TV so much you buy this device, did you really want to go camping in the first place?

OpenAI's ChatGPT has a left wing bias – at times

Tom 38

Re: Well ...

I use ChatGPT daily to write tickets for my team to work on. Its exceptionally bad at this - I give it a prettily formatted template that it uses as a basis for it, and two sentences or so of context. There is usually at least one thing wrong on each line, and some requirements it comes up with make absolutely no sense at all.


* All the tickets look the same in terms of style, which my developers like

* There are fewer changes required than just using the template straight up and editing it

* It gets the ticket in to a basic stage that just needs further refinement in just a few minutes

These "AI" are quite useful if you consider them as building the skeletons of things. You have to know what is right and what is wrong, and act as an editor on everything it produces.

Not call: Open source gurus urge you to dump Zoom

Tom 38

That's just a feature that you're using. People value features, and if you decide that you don't want to use a certain system, then one tradeoff is that you may lose some of its features.

It's classic platform lock. Sure, you can switch, but the cost of doing X things on each repository to migrate Y repositories over to a new platform makes it prohibitively expensive. A previous employer found this out when Gitlab changed their fees and removed their "Bronze" level - we needed more than the "Starter" level provided and so had to upgrade to "Premium" at a cost of around $15/user/month. In other words, much more than Github would cost - Github being the preferred platform when we switched over to git, but beaten out by gitlab on price.

Problem was, we had tens of thousands of repos, almost all of them running CI/CD using gitlab - it wasn't just a case of moving all those repos, but moving all those repos, configuring new CI/CD pipelines, reconfiguring all the gitlab integrations - it would have cost millions and taken months.

Changing from Zoom to Google Meet would be trivial compared to that.

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway

Tom 38

long lenses seemed to be much in evidence in an environment more suited to something sensible

I believe its so they can take "intimate" style close-up photos without getting right in to the subject.

Florida man accused of hoarding America's secrets faces fresh charges

Tom 38

Re: You sure are preoccupied by Trump and Musk!

Biden kept classified documents in his family's 'think tank' and garage, and this is fine. Trump kept some documents in his pool house, and must be prevented from participating in the democratic process at all costs.

In both cases, the papers were asked to be returned. Biden returned all documents, Trump lied and said he returned them. They asked a 2nd and 3rd time, and Trump kept lieing and saying "what documents". It took an FBI raid to finally remove the documents from Trump. Do you see how that is different?

Tom 38

Re: This is not a joke. This is not a drill. This is the messiah for a whole bunch of idiots.

"canis est in cucina" is all I remember from Cambridge Latin Course. That and verb declensions - porto portas portat, portamus portatis portant...

Twitter name and blue bird logo to be 'blowtorched' off company branding

Tom 38

X11 logo?

Is it me, or is Elon's logo suspiciously close in design to the X11 logo?

Tesla to license Full Self-Driving stack to other automakers, says Musk

Tom 38

Re: Behind, always behind

I agree that long haul trucking routes are a place where autonomous vehicles could really shine, but that's by eliminating the need to pay someone. If you still have a "driver" then the economic argument for paying more for a brand new truck is eliminated.

In the UK, and I believe in the EU as well, an HGV driver can only drive for 9/10 hours a day, 56 hours a week, 90 hours every rolling fortnight, and has to rest for 11 hours a day, 9 of which must be uninterrupted. If they can be resting or asleep in their cab, the cab could be active for significantly longer periods.

Tesla board members to return $735M in compensation settlement

Tom 38

Re: The board members have collectively agreed to return more than $735 million

Berkshire Hathaway's wealth is based upon them spotting the potential in the rigged US insurance market - as reported here many years ago. Hats off to them for spotting it, but lots of people think "The Sage of Omaha" is some sort of miracle stock-picker - they have an enormous float from identifying that this is possible and picking up all possible companies with floats, and invest that float in low risk stocks. Trebles all round, but impossible to replicate those sorts of returns now if you gave them a blank slate and $1bn to invest.

Three signs that Wayland is becoming the favored way to get a GUI on Linux

Tom 38

Re: How to do this with Wayland? Don't know!!

For native wayland programs, use waypipe.

For X11 programs, if you use XWayland, you should still be able to use X forwarding.

SpaceX says, sure, Starship blew up but you can forget about the rest of that lawsuit

Tom 38

My hovercraft is full of eels

US cyber ambassador says China knows how to steal its way to dominance of cloud and AI

Tom 38

Re: They certainly know how to steal

And even earlier, Britain had an "unassailable global advantage in" textiles till some scrote stole the designs and ran off to America

Lawyers who cited fake cases hallucinated by ChatGPT must pay

Tom 38

Re: It's not a GOLUM, either.

cat text | grep isbn | awk -i reformat_isbn | sqlite all_my_books.db

Tsk tsk, cat to pipe in to grep? Grep followed by awk? awk -i?

awk -f somelib.awk '/isbn/ { reformat_isbn }' < text | sqlite all_my_books.db

'We hate what you’ve done with the place – especially the hate' Australia tells Twitter

Tom 38

Re: A poop emoji

Tesla still have some advantage in range over a lot of their competitors, the big thing that puts me off from these cars is their supercar like performance. Tesla 3 Long Range does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, I'm too old for that shit, and I'm too poor for the insurance rating such power gives. I'd probably wrap it around a tree.

UK smart meter rollout years late and less than two thirds complete

Tom 38

I don't know of any suppliers who cover my area and offer a discounted rate for having a smart meter

Octopus Tracker will be back real soon - if you can voluntarily move your usage off the evening peak you'll make significant savings over SVR.

Tom 38

Funny, I can see my usage history from my smart meter whenever I like, if I wanted to see my OG electricity meter I needed to make an appointment with the landlord.

Tom 38

Every cc of water that you use has to be procured, stored, delivered, pressurized and then processed as waste. The amount you use exactly correlates with the cost to provide those attributes.

There's a lot wrong with water, but charging for your usage isn't one of them. Ancient leaking pipes, inadequate storm overflow facilities, not enough reservoirs - these all need fixing. Paying your fair shake doesn't.

Tom 38

The real benefit is interesting time of day tariffs, and demand reduction schemes like we had last winter.

Both of which rely on smart meters.

The really interesting stuff is connected devices, letting your supplier control (to an extent) when your heat pump, EV car, or home battery is charged / active.

Tom 38

Re: I'm not sure why you've got so many down votes

The scottish part of the grid regularly has to dump huge amounts of wind power overnight, especially in the winter, because there is not enough capacity to get it to where it could be used. When that happens, it doesn't show up as generated power on places like grid watch.

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time

Tom 38

Re: Communication

You can ping me anytime, but I may not have the bandwidth to respond

Cunningly camouflaged cable routed around WAN-sized hole in project budget

Tom 38

Van Mildert? I had the dorm room in the Tees block that had the central hub of that network, as well as the interconnect cable between Tees and Middleton (plus the crimp tool and 300m of CAT-5).

ChatGPT can't pass these medical exams – yet

Tom 38

Re: I have a major problem with this ChatGPT rush

I don't agree with this analogy at all:

sticking it everywhere without having fully evaluated consequences

ChatGPT produces text. We know the fully evaluated consequences of text, because we can read and review. We professionally use ChatGPT at work in the form of Copilot for development, and a custom agent trained to respond to customer queries, but in both cases it simply generates text which can be accepted, rejected or edited. It doesn't provide the solution, and never will, it simply enables a human to produce an output quicker than starting from zero.

Lenovo Thinkpad Z13 just has this certain Macbook Air about it...

Tom 38

Not every USB-C is the same

I'd want Thunderbolt 4 rather than USB-4, just for compatibility.

Asahi Linux developer warns the one true way is Wayland

Tom 38

Yeah, 2 external and the laptop screen. The only complication is that none of the Apple silicon GPUs support Displayport MST, so on an external dock, you can't use both displayport (or you just get duplicated screens), you can use one of them and the rest have to be thunderbolt - I use a cheap USB-C to HDMI adapter which works fine.

Tom 38

A Mac mini I guess? AIUI the laptops support just 1 external display. My MacBook air has no display output whatsoever just 2 USB-C.

I have a MBP with an M1 Pro, it has 3 USB-C and is quite happy with two external screens.

Remember those millions of fake net neutrality comments? Fallout continues

Tom 38

Its textbook fraud by false representation.

Amazon CEO says AWS staff now spending ‘much of their time’ optimizing customers’ clouds

Tom 38

Re: Chicken, welcome to the roost...

Not necessarily, at a previous firm we had a service that created office docs - ppt, pdf, xls, doc - and occasionally it had high demand. To support that demand, on-prem it had 15 beefy VMs and a Ceph cluster. If you lift-n-shifted that to cloud, it would be bloody expensive. Replacing it with lambdas meant that it had more scalability than the on-prem - we could handle thousands of simultaneous doc generation tasks versus tens before - and in the quiet times cost us virtually nothing.

Tencent said to have demoted and fired tech bosses after brief outages

Tom 38

WeChat is often ranked as the most used app in China. At the end of 2022, Statista clocked the platform as having over 1.3 million monthly active users.

Should be billion surely?

US chip sanctions may push Brazil, others right into China's arms

Tom 38

hey are one of the largest automotive producers in Latin America

So looking forward to seeing Chinese chips in the top 10 most produced cars in Brazil (checks notes) - Fiat Strada, Hyundai HB20, Chevrolet Onix, Chevrolet Onix Plus, Fiat Mobi, Volkswagen Gol, Chevrolet Tracker, Volkswagen T-Cross, Fiat Argo, and the Jeep Compass.

Plagiarism-sniffing Turnitin tries to find AI writing by students – with mixed grades

Tom 38

Re: pointless

Academic study is built on layers. My physics teacher each year would carefully explain that everything he was going to teach that year was mostly a lie - that fuller understanding of the concept was beyond us at that point in our development. You have to do the basic steps before you can get to the big steps.

So, yeah, probably 90% of secondary school education could be regurgitated by a ChatGPT bot, does that make it worthless? No. Unlike the AI, humans learn by studying. In order for those humans to reach the level above the AI, they have to study things at lower levels.

Otherwise, we're only a few years away from Brawndo: its got what plants crave

New models of IBM Model F keyboard Mark II incoming

Tom 38

Re: mac user

Keychron do some lovely ways to spend a lot of money full sized keyboards with pleasant switches and reassuring heft, with usb-c and bluetooth connectors. I just got the Q1 Pro, with some silent tactile switches (Gazzew Boba U4T) - it's by far the most pleasant thing I've ever typed on.

Ubuntu 23.04 'Lunar Lobster' beta is here in all its glitchy glory

Tom 38

Re: Wayland?

X11 has one benefit, its well tested and works. wayland has tonnes of benefits in terms of its simplicity, architecture, and ease of development, but lacks the bulletproofness of X11. It will get there.

These non-LTS releases of Ubuntu are ideal for testing that out. I would hazard that the next LTS won't be wayland by default, but it will be one day.

Intel: Please buy these new 13th-Gen CPUs, now with 24 cores

Tom 38

Re: 24-cores on a laptop...

Isn't that why they have such a large range of models, so you can get the ones you want? I wouldn't want 24 cores so I can run Office, I'd want it so I can run an entire dev stack whilst running unit tests in parallel 6 times, an IDE and web browser whilst listening to spotify. I wouldn't tell my sister, who just wants Office to get the same laptop.

Botched migration resulted in a great deal: One for the price of two

Tom 38

Not really tech related

More in the column of "moving things, people fuck up" - when I was 18, two things happened - I got a job in the local big town, testing Fison's lawn fertilizer as it came off the factory, and my Dad decided I no longer needed an allowance. Since I was now in the big town and not the small town, I moved my bank account from Lloyds in the small town to Lloyds in the big town. Five months passed, and I didn't have the funds I was hoping to build up to a big summer holiday before university, so I checked through my bank statements a bit more closely.

When they moved me from small branch to big branch, they'd reversed the standing order my Dad had set up to pay me £30/month pocket money to pay him £30 a month pocket money. They apologised, paid me back £150 plus some extra for charges, so it ended up being closer to £200. They told my Dad they were going to take £150 from his account though, and he told them to get lost, which I think eventually they did!

The most bizarre online replacement items in your delivered shopping?

Tom 38

If the worst you've had is ordered two brassica oleracea, got two brassica oleracea I think you're doing pretty well.

John Deere urged to surrender source code under GPL

Tom 38

Re: Has there been any progress on the chipped parts?

Sorry to disagree but my Brother HL-4570CDW is definitively using chipped toner cartridges. They stop working once their internal counter has reached the EOL number of pages that they are advertised for.

I'm delighted to tell you that this is not in a chip on the toner, it is an internal register on the printer itself - and you can reset that counter by putting the printer in to service mode. Apparently for your model, this is:

* Turn off printer and open front cover

* Press and hold the cancel button and then turn on printer

* While still holding the cancel and the printer booted up, press the reprint button

This should get you into the service menu, and you can reset the counter on whichever toner it is saying needs replacing.

The Shakespearian question of our age: To cloud or not to cloud

Tom 38

Re: The whole premise of this article is bullshit

The problem with these sorts of analysis is that it always looks at raw compute and storage and ignores the hidden cost. Take some simple web app, its got frontend resources, a backend api, a cache, probably some file storage, some sort of message queue, background workers, and at least one database. If you look at the raw compute power to run this, no shit, its going to be bundles cheaper on prem.

But you now have other concerns. You need people who know how to run that database, back it up, restore it, resize it, make it HA, scale it. You need people who can operate a message broker service, keep it up, monitor it, replay events. Its the same for almost all parts of the stack. With cloud, you don't need those people, you can concentrate on your core business logic - the frontend, the api, the background workers - and have a cloud ops team who rely on the provided cloud resources for maintaining all those essential services that are not your core business.

It's the same with most IT SaaS solutions. You can run datadog, sentry, gitlab, grafana, etc self hosted and on prem if you want - most choose not to, most choose to use the managed services, because investing time and resources into running these services yourself is not what your business does - its just another cost centre. Same with cloud services.

Build it on the cloud, concentrate on providing what your business needs, and price the cloud costs in to your service. Hopefully if you are successful enough to grow to a point where your product is big enough that bringing it on-prem provides enough saving to pay for the expertise you need at that point.