* Posts by Arthur the cat

3106 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Aug 2009

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: A 1980s minicomputer at the bottom of a mine ?

That's about as stupid as putting backup power generators in the basement of a building that might get flooded. No, you put them on the roof.

Only worthwhile if you put the fuel tanks up there as well. ISTR that a few years back when a huge storm flooded Manhattan one company found out the hard way that leaving the diesel tanks in the (now flooded) basement was not such a bright money saving idea as they had thought.

Mastodon makes a major move amid Musk's multiple messes

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Re: Shame about Mastodon

when Jack Dorsey has a bad day he will fuck up BlueSky as much as he fucked up Twitter

I thought he'd given up on BlueSky and was pushing nostr(*) these days?

(*) My inner childbrat wants to see a nostr relay in Israel.

UK Online Safety Bill to become law – and encryption busting clause is still there

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Fun fact: if you are standing/swimming at the North Pole and your circle is the equator then your pi is 2.

And if your circle is at the South Pole, π = 0.

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Nice analogy I came across

"Putting a back door into E2E to protect children from sexual abuse is like boiling the world's oceans dry to protect them from drowning".

Scientists suggest possible solution to space-induced bone loss

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Re: 'Just One Thing'

drinking several cups of tea every day was associated with stronger bones

If that's the case I should be able to punch through walls by now. I have a strong tea-tropism, especially first thing in the morning.

Google Bard can now tap into your Gmail, Docs, more

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Re: Spot the problem

Nyarlathotep meets the blind idiot technophiles!

Sounds like a horror movie worth watching.

UK government awards chunk of mega-billions tech framework

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Digital and Legacy Application Services, or DALAS

No doubt some of it will turn out to have been a dream.

China caught – again – with its malware in another nation's power grid

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Re: No need for China to infect the UK or other grids, they already have enough power

Most Solar inverters are tied back to a Chinese manufacturers cloud platform for command and control.

SolarEdge, who are common in the UK, are Israeli.

Microsoft to kill off third-party printer drivers in Windows

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Re: Axe

"Nazify" with the Z on a triple letter

That has to be the most benign instance of Godwin's Law yet seen.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin

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Re: Assumption


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Re: Plausible...

Especially if you were around when 32 _megabytes_ was a lot of RAM!


Unix V6 on a PDP-11/70: 64 kbytes of data space, 64 kbytes of program space. Got work done.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Assumption

Mum now reckons that there are advantages to getting old and slightly losing your marbles after all.

My hearing loss is partly a function of who is speaking and about what.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Assumption

every time the word "assume" comes up

It seems to be a strictly leftpondian habit, presumably because the word isn't spelled "arsesume"

The world seems so loopy. But at least someone's written a memory-safe sudo in Rust

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Greybeard 2

Unix is clearly inferior to …

That very much depends on one's metric. Existence tends to beat most of them.

the Algol Mainframes of the 1970s

Pah! Mere latecomers! Burroughs stack machines existed in the 1960s.

However, simple fast RISC machines wiped the floor with complex architectures. It's just a Small Matter Of Programming to ensure the compilers are perfect(*). :-)

(*) I'm sure AI will let that happen(**).

(**) Anyone interpreting this as anything other than sarcasm needs remedial lessons in reality.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Unix greybeard nitpick

Unix-like systems (eg: Linux and FreeBSD)

Unless you're a lawyer banging on about trademarks, FreeBSD is not Unix-like, it's Unix. There's a clear line back via the Berkley Software Distribution to the original Bell Labs code. Of course, it's all a bit Ship of Theseus these days.

Right to repair advocates have a new opponent: Scientologists

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the literary, theatrical and musical works of L. Ron Hubbard

Theatrical and musical works? FFS, his SF books are bad enough(*).

(*) Though I'm told they did get better after he died(**).

(**) Nope, not joking. Ghost writers. :-)

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is returning with its first-ever asteroid sample

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Re: Long term weather forecast

buckets of scrumpy for a wee

In typo, veritas.

Arm wrestles assembly language guru's domains away citing trademark issues

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Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

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Yesterday I read an article pointing out the improvements in batteries since the turn of the century, and had to double take as I didn't think they were invented in 1900.

I presume you mean lithium based batteries? The first(*) battery was the voltaic pile, which was invented in 1799.

(*) As far as we know. Give it a couple of decades and I wouldn't be surprised if archaeologists claim the ancient Greeks knew how to make batteries but only used them to light farts at drunken parties.

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix

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IRC killed Usenet.

That's a bit like saying the telephone network killed snail mail.

UK air traffic woes caused by 'invalid flight plan data'

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Re: Expertise

Invaluable, he was. If you want to make a system idiot-proof, first catch your idiot...

In my case it was Pete. Pete could be totally relied upon to do the most improbable and ridiculous thing when faced with any situation. Absolutely brilliant for ensuring my code could keep running no matter what got chucked at it.

Strangely, the one time all our kit got fried, Pete was in the room but not actually touching anything. He turned up in my office white as a sheet making "bu, bu, bu" noises. What nobody had known was that building management had for some reason run the lightning conductor down the wall outside the computer room. Pete was the only person in the room when a lightning strike hit the building and every piece of equipment turned into a plasma ball toy due to induced EMF while Pete cowered in the middle of the room thinking he was going to die.

FreeBSD can now boot in 25 milliseconds

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Re: Pretty impressive

Good job you put the joke icon on that, I was getting ready to call Liam Neeson.

UK flights disrupted by 'technical issue' with air traffic computer system

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It's the critical need detector firing

You didn't think CNDs only existed in printers, did you? Anything technical, if there's a critical need, then it doesn't work.

[Thinks of my pacemaker; gulps.]

Europe's tough new rules for Big Tech start today. Is anyone ready?

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Not in the UK of course, the current gov here has had enough of experts...

Whereas experts and pretty much everybody else have had enough of the current government(*).

(*) I use the term loosely, as governing should mean guiding in a considered direction as opposed to executing a drunkard's walk in policy space.

Dropbox limits ‘all the storage you need’ unlimited plan, blames abusive users

Arthur the cat Silver badge

I don't think I have ever seen an SD card listed in a PC's list of bootable devices

Stick it in a USB adapter and it's a USB boot drive. I often do that as I've got larger SD cards than memory sticks for various reasons.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Dropbox?

I've got a Chromebook and have never had Dropbox anywhere near it. Did it come with DB installed as crapware and you deleted it? That's the only reason I can think of for it spontaneously reappearing.

Want tech cred? Learn how to email like a pro

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Re: Can the author please confirm...

in case pedantic Linuxeers are about.

Pedantic FreeBSD user here. Beware, we use daemons, not penguins.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Next story: Proper use of CR, CR/LF & LF (and other whitespace) ...

His pithy comment above the code that accepted just a LF (or CR?) was to the effect "you can be right or you can work."

Postel's Law: Be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept

Always good advice, although the latter part can get stretched to breaking point at times.

SEC fines fintech crypto fund that promised 2,700% returns

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I despair of humanity

People actually believed a 2700% RoR was plausible? In that case I've got a closing down sale of bridges starting tomorrow, all at very reasonable prices.

ICANN warns UN may sideline tech community from future internet governance

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Re: Reality is overrated

Incompetence is ubiquitous, but it doesn't preclude malignancy.

Veilid: A secure peer-to-peer network for apps that flips off the surveillance economy

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Let me know when they get to BLAKE7.

I'm getting an urge to configure an LLM using Orac's dialog. That would make for a fun chatbot.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Peer-to-peer?

tools like UPNP to allow programs to do so without asking for your assistance (or permission, which is why you might want that turned off).

Might want that turned off??? Turning off UPnP is part of my initial configuration list for all kit.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead

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Re: This is government.

Government: We will sack anyone who disagrees with us.

And we will also stop them talking to the Civil Service, even if the CS wants to hear from them.

Hallucinating ChatGPT finds a role playing Dungeons & Dragons

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Collaborative Assistant for Lore and Yielding Plot Synthesis Objectives

Which leads to the question: can LLMs produce better contrived acronyms than humans?

Boffins reckon Mars colony could survive with fewer than two dozen people

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Re: "four possible psychological traits: neurotic, reactive, social, or agreeable"

astronaut programs and the personality traits they screen for

I thought NASA basically looked for obsessive over-achievers?

Any recruiter should bear in mind the recent news about the stabbing in Antarctica, reputedly because the stabee kept telling the stabber the endings of the books the stabber was reading. No jokers who like spoiling books (or videos) for other people.

Cage match: Zuck finally realizes Elon is full of twit

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Re: Musk would only stand a chance of winning ..

I suspect Musk gave up when he found he had been conned out a large sum of money by his "eejitsu trainer".

He should have learnt Ecky Thump

Cumbrian Police accidentally publish all officers' details online

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Re: Rejoyce!

Well, backup is vital, and multiple copies is good.

Arthur the cat Silver badge

employees of the public. The public should have a right to know their names and how much they're being paid.

Under transitive closure everybody with a job is an employee of the public(*).

(*) Unless you're only selling to the aliens that the US Congress was so interested in.

Lock-in to legacy code is a thing. Being locked in by legacy code is another thing entirely

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: I've been locked out ...

The security conscious have been known to lock fire exits.

The arseholes who don't care about human life have been known to lock fire exits.


Think International Space Station dust is obviously free of bad chemicals? Wrong

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Send in Roger Wilco, janitor of all trades.

He's just gone bust.

Nearly every AMD CPU since 2017 vulnerable to Inception data-leak attacks

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Yes, a divide-by-zero fault can end up leaking some value.

Well in ANSI C it's undefined behaviour, so anything can happen. Sometimes demons fly out of your nose, sometimes secure data flies out of your machine.

X tries to win back advertisers with brand safety promises

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Re: Not false advertising

the new CEO would have to do everything else and take the blame

But given that everybody blames Musk anyway and will do if/when the company crashes and burns, provided the salary is high enough to compensate for putting up with Musk in the first place it's worth doing for a couple of years.

Researchers discover algorithm to create shapes that roll down pre-determined paths

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Slightly unfortunate name

Trajectoids sounds like either a Space Invader clone or something with a 27 month NHS waiting list.

Pope goes fire and brimstone on the dangers of AI

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Read Arthur C. Clarke's The Nine Billion Names of God for the ultimate in disruptive technology.

At least it solved the Halting Problem.

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Re: Evil you say

just believe the holy book of the prophets K & R

So ANSI C was the Reformation?

Programmers have long had a tendency to want to burn heretics(*) at the stake.

(*) Emacs, should you ask. :-)

Northern Ireland police may have endangered its own officers by posting details online in error

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A modest proposal

Let's declare using Excel as a pseudo database to be possessing material that could be of use to terrorists and jail anybody who does it for a long time.

IBM gives z/OS an AI infusion in major upgrade aimed in part at easing admin chores

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z/OS jump from version 2.5 to 3.1

Given that in IBM the phrase "lunatic fringe" used to be used to describe those who took the .0 release of any software, is the fact that the new version is 3.1 a sign of a cunning plan on Big Blue's part?

We need to be first on the Moon, uh, again, says NASA

Arthur the cat Silver badge

Re: Just one question

in lieu of pointy sticks

I would have thought that against a space suit a pointy stick would be quite effective.

Norway to hit Meta with fines over Facebook user privacy from next week

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Do I hear a tiny violin playing?

Ah no, it's just my usual tinnitus.

Scientists strangely unable to follow recipe for holy grail room-temp superconductor

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Ytrtium Copper Oxide Garnet (i.e. Mg,Fe,Mn]3Al2(SiO4)3 ...OR.... Ca3[Cr,Al,Fe]2(SiO4)3) with a dash of Gallium and/or Bismuth !!!

I never have all the ingredients for an Ottolenghi recipe.