* Posts by JBowler

159 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Sep 2009


Workload written by student made millions, ran on unsupported hardware, with zero maintenance


Re: I'm curious...

My generator's, alas; causes all my CyberPower UPSs to do the dead hamster (the voltage isn't that much off.)


Re: I'm curious...

It's not a joke. The stock market is based on amplification of swings so measuring the power consumption of the traders is, in fact, an extremely accurate measure of "market volatility".

Now when we have AI trading for real on the stock exchange things might get better but at the moment it's just "follow the lemmings."

And now for something completely different: Python 3.12


Re: You monster

>f-string includes a variable which contain another f-string(s)


bar = "foo"

f = f"{bar}"


# 'foo'

f = "f" + "{bar}"

def getbar(bar):

return f"{bar}"


# 'f{bar}'

(Copy and paste into text editor insert required spaces then copy and paste into a Python 3.12 interpreter/REPL; El Reg does not permit computer code...)

Probably not what you expected; I've been running 3.12 for a while so I just tried it.


'works' but f"{bar}" is resolved *before* the function call (the result is 'foo').

Now there is always the funarg problem. But while McCarthy maybe didn't realize it was hiding in LISP (I was taught it as the "mapcar" problem, I believe they are the same but don't quote me) I suspect the Python guys know about it. After all they were brave, or stupid, enough to implement lambda expressions. C++ too. Lua just does it too; I much like Lua but haven't checked it for the funarg problem since I hope not to make that mistake.

Entertaining reading for those still here:


Netflix offers up to $900,000 for AI product manager while actors strike for protection


Even extras?

>Even extras could be written out of existence this way.

First the extras.

I remember this story from one of the people who certainly would qualify for that job based on the ad parts you quote.

She was working for a well known (in the UK) fish finger manufacturer. She learnt that in the past they had a problem. They couldn't filet fish. After many tribulations they found some guy who worked on the fishing fleets coming in from the North Sea and could filet fish. They watched him, they learned, they adapted their machines to make fish fingers faster.

Personally I believe the first people to go will be doctors. Certainly mine only does zoom these days.

Excellent article, one of El Reg's best.

Free Wednesday gift for you lucky lot: Extra mouse button!


Re: I'm ashamed to say I didn't know or had forgotten about the browser functions!

The Linux behavior depends on the desktop (as, indeed, should be expected) and in KDE it is "copy selected [to new point]". So that is a copy'n'paste without the clipboard and it doesn't overwrite/change the clipboard. In some ways this is getting close to what I believe to be the original Xerox Alto & Star UI; what I saw in the early '80s in Acorns first operating system for the ARM (never released) was hardwired into the OS by people who had previously worked for Xerox:

Left button; left select.

Right button; right select.

So there are two selections. Alto had three buttons, the middle might have been "menu" (which is what it was in Acorn's operating system). Star only had two, but I don't know which they dropped. Dropping the middle keeps two selections and allows dyadic operations on those; copy, move, swap. With KDE drag'n'drop is an interactive "move" and wheel-button-click is a dyadic copy which actually loses the selection, ctrl-wheel-button-click does a copy and moves the selection to the destination (the copied object). The Xerox approach was simpler and a lot easier to understand; just press the button on the keyboard that was labelled "copy".

Microsoft’s Azure mishap betrays an industry blind to a big problem


Re: Ibiza?


Starlink tempts users with $200 Global Roaming service


More mud thrown towards the wall

SpaceX are trying more and more tricks. Originally I was promised service when available in my area for a deposit on the equipment. The service became available in my area but the cost of the kit went up... I bought the kit and it was fine for a few months; hardly any obstructions, fast speed. Then curious stuff started happening.

I had carefully sited the aerial to avoid all obstructions; I checked where it pointed, checked obstructions while active, then moved it to the best location and, eventually, fixed it permanently. A few months later, however, the aerial was rotated to point directly at the only available obstruction.

Shortly after this I received an email offering me a bigger, more expensive, aerial to handle the newly introduced instructions. Cost $1200. I did nothing.

Now I too have been told that I live in an area with "limited availability" (a result of pointing the antenna at the sugar pine) and therefore will have to pay more.

So I know how to disconnect the motors. Presumably I need to do this and point the antenna away from the obstruction then I will pay $30 less per month, until they come up with a new scam.

Or maybe I could "upgrade" to Global service and will they then point the aerial away from the obstructions, back towards one of the PoPs? (The thing was pointing towards Seattle, it's now pointing towards Hawaii, but it could also point towards San Francisco and have even fewer potential obstructions; Seattle is 400 miles way, SF is maybe 350 miles away, Hawaii is 2400 miles away and my PoP is Seattle.)

Microsoft is checking everyone's bags for unsupported Office installs


Re: Death to subscriptions

>Maybe - just maybe - they will discover that people are sick of subscriptions.

I know they know that already. Office was pretty much the last past the post in that regard and, indeed, Microsoft as a whole (such as it isn't) was last past the post in many things that are hateful, like abandoning customer service in favor of social media.

What's most likely to happen is that they will find out that hardly anyone has out-of-date subscriptions that work and so the whole hateful charade will be reinforced. Subscriptions make more money and not paying for customer support does so too.

I guess it's a vindication for GPL; that's the whole point of subscriptions. With GPL you don't pay for the software, you pay for the support, and the subscription is that payment. So Microsoft quite reasonably ask whether people actually pay for the support. This is a test of GPL; if the number of unsupported Office installations (ones where the subscription has expired) is small then GPL is vindicated and Microsoft can stop fictionalizing that its software is proprietary. Not that I believe Microsoft does that; Libre Office does exactly the same thing, right? And how many people pay for Microsoft Office support (via the subscription) compared to how many people pay for Libre Office support?

Version 252 of systemd, as expected, locks down the Linux boot process


It's in gentoo as of some time yesterday (11/3)

Specifically it seems to be in the main release, not just the development one (~): my update picked it up this morning, it's still building (clang/llvm and KDE 22.08.3 are there too so it will take a while.)

Linux kernel's eBPF feature put to unexpected new uses


Re: Why is this thing named after the BPF?

Because the BPF could run arbitrary code to analyze network packets?

"[T]he kernel statically analyzes the programs before loading them,[sic] in order to ensure that they cannot harm the running system."

(From man bpf, commas akimbo, mayhap bugs likewise.)

We can find the detailed description of the analysis (https://docs.kernel.org/bpf/verifier.html); the kernel won't, of itself, crash or visit 1 infinite loop when it runs the code. Unlike classic BPF it apparently spots code that has unreachable instructions (i.e. it doesn't allow code which has secret extra code that can't, actually, be executed.)

This is all fine; it's just messing with packets. What I don't get is why someone would allow it to mess with scheduling (like, I've brought down machines by giving the wrong process real time priority).

It is, of course, bad enough to be able to comment on a packet. Well, here's the answer:


So if you want eBBF to be able to say, encrypt a disk drive, you have to persuade Linus to take a kernel patch as well; a kernel patch that exposes the Linux internal ransomware implementation to the eBPF engine.

Not that I am saying this is good because it is in the hands of the god. I've always been against Turing, except in real animals. Exposing even one API to eBPF seems to be a certain recipe for disaster:

"When an existing function in the kernel is fit for consumption by BPF programs,[sic] it can be directly registered with the BPF subsystem. However,[sic] care must still be taken to review the context in which it will be invoked by the BPF program and whether it is safe to do so."

(From my previous reference.)

Too much rope and too many commas.

That 'clean' Google Translate app is actually Windows crypto-mining malware


Re: Clever catch

Indeed, it's pretty much a phish. "We offer Google Translate on your PC, without running some insane piece of code like Chome!" Pretty compelling. No mega webkit overhead (although do they build webkit into the .exe, probably) no massive suck-your-CPU multi-threaded hydra (that they can do) no Google (except in parts).

Seriously, this is a good business model, from the marketing point of view.

How TSMC killed 450mm wafers for fear of Intel, Samsung


Math, the tricky bit

>At that time, Intel said it believed that a migration from 300mm silicon wafers to 450mm would yield more than double the number of chips per wafer.

Hum. (450/300)^2


Please, CEOs, don't give one of my bosses a calculator again.

GitLab U-turns on deleting dormant projects after backlash


Neat, must remember to put bugs into code so it has to be continuously revised

XYZZY (sorry, the post must contain letters, even if the title has all the content.)

Paper batteries on the cards to power IoT and smart labels


Re: Volts is not power

>"the lead wires"

That's "lead" as in "to lead a horse". The term "lead wire" is used to describe connections of this sort; frequently power leads. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_(electronics)

Hive to pull the plug on smart home gadgets by 2025


Should be (c) not (r)

>The hardware might be strong, but all too often the cloud behind them is less so. ®

Well, despite the title observation that this is not a registered trademark in any sane country, good point, worthy of copyright, nice use of plural hardware to annoy us yanks.

You didn't once mention vapour. Good on ye. Leave it to the trolls.

Unbelievably clever: Redbean 2 – a single-file web server that runs on six OSes


Can't wait to try it on a Mac M1

That would be unfair, how about an M2?

Nope, emulators are cheating, and pointless; if I really wanted a REPL and a portable program I'd buy something from AdaFruit and write it in Python which is always emulated.

Password recovery from beyond the grave


Re: R.I.P.

Nice that you are a doctor, but the patient records were not the issue:

>His contact dealt with all the correspondence for the office and had, without his instruction, enabled FileVault.

That's way outside the doctor league.

I can understand why she passed it to a person she trusted who didn't know what it was with instructions to pass it on to a person she trusted who did, but why? The data is irrelevant unless the practice wants to engage in a lawsuit.

My in-case-of-death backup is uncrackable encryption. What I know and didn't tell someone else stays with me, like my valuable collection of 3.25" disks.

EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices


Re: Optional Chargers

> next step is to make the inbox charger optional.

The next step is to make the charger ABSENT.

It always was optional; you just had to chuck it out of the window along with all the stupid packaging after you drove out of the parking lot (being very careful, of course, to keep all hands on the wheel while you did so; that one is enforceable by law!)

Of course this is just going to make more money for Apple and their turgid imitators; they will "charge" the same with or without. But is saves a little bit of toilet bling.

I haven't used a charger, Apple or Android, for many a year. They both work with any of my five wireless chargers (including my wife's two) which are, in turn, powered off some or other thing I got off the Bezoid years ago, or one of our automobiles, or a hotel room.

Safari is crippling the mobile market, and we never even noticed


Kill WebKit

Nothing whining about Safari, or Chrome, or Brave or even Timid will fix that. The beast has to be killed; something that whines about having debugging turned on when it is built should be hung, drawn and eigthed, or, preferably one thousand and twenty fourth. Browsers that claim to be massively great and use webkit should be correctly identified as massively massive, and nothing else.

The monopoly is in the enormous bloat; 99.99999% of web pages uses 0.00001% of that bloat, so if you debloat it just slightly 99.99% of web pages fail. But then, so what? 100% of web pages fail sooner or later if they use JavaScript or CSS or XML or SVG or, indeed, anything other than plain undecorated text.

Please, someone, FORK WEBKIT. Give us webkit--

Ad-tech firms grab email addresses from forms before they're even submitted


What about form autofill?

I don't use autofill from any of the browsers, but I do have autofill turned on in Dashlane for many web sites. So the web site gets my email and, for that matter, password then I have to press "I Submit" to log in; I haven't actually done anything for that particular login until that point...

Twitter preps poison pill to preclude Elon Musk's purchase plan


I don't twit..

So am I correct in paraphrasing as follows?

>I'm like literally on the toilet or something. I'm like, 'Oh this is funny,' and then fart that out."

Insteon's vanishing act explained: Smart home biz insolvent, sells off assets


Re: Status page is now gone

insteoff.com is definitely worth a visit. I wonder if they're getting paid for accurately representing the status?

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS arrives on everything from a 2GB Pi to AWS Graviton


Doesn't work.

Just tried "apt update; apt upgrade" on an RPi 4 (yeah, sucker, I have one, I have two; you can't buy any!) Doesn't work; still on 20.04.4 LTS (it says).

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code


So, Quick Richard, you thought we would believe someone actually commented assembler?

Of course, someone, someone with a white beard, might actually have commented assembler back in the '60s, but by the time the '70s came around the code would have changed so much that the comments would make no sense whatsoever.

/* Add one to the index into heaven. */


Help, my IT team has no admin access to their own systems


Re: Passwords

Indeed; good user passwords are STO, bad user passwords aren't.

A good password is a DVD: dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/dvd bs=1048576 count=4096

IT blamed after HR forgets to install sockets in new office


Ah Life

Life in the orifice. You never know who to look up to, you just know it isn't a good idea.

FTC celebrates after Nvidia-Arm deal collapses


So what now?

Apparently an IPO, as various US new organizations are reporting it (a few hours ago) after it was initially suggested a week or so ago.

German regulators nix Taiwanese titan GlobalWafers' acquisition of Siltronic


a lot of over-analysis in the comments

It's called a poison pill. Divest from one country in exchanged for a large investment in your country.

50 lines of Bash to bring a Wordle fan out of their shell


Re: Quit emasc

>Not only simple, but totally intuitive!

Indeed. I just used method B of the OP's post; pull the power. (More accurately I sent emasc SIGHUP [still politically correct] by closing its window.)


Re: Quit vim

I would agree, except the other posters quoted additional methods of getting out of vim. How about the problem to your solution; how to get out of vi?

Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines


Seems to be old news

I'm not on any "insider" version or anything. I just see:

Version: 21H2

Installed on: [tr]2020-10-31

So this news seems to be three months out of date (rounded). Now I still can't get W11 and I'm using a Microsoft Surface Pro, so those guys have work to do in the update field yet, but whining about something that's been and gone seems pointless.

'Please download in Microsoft Excel': Meet the tech set to monitor IT performance across central UK government


Re: in line with agile delivery best practice

Eh, no. It's data entry, not prototyping. You don't use a prototype to get real data; you use it to test getting real data, from people who aren't going to worry that you are wasting their time, or at least/more likely can't complain.

Epoch-alypse now: BBC iPlayer flaunts 2038 cutoff date, gives infrastructure game away


How old is Michael Palin?

It's curious, I was a great fan of his until around 2011 then he disappeared, I don't know why.

US Army journal's top paper from 2021 says Taiwan should destroy TSMC if China invades


Rewriting history is, of course, the prerogative of the winner.

The "ROCarmy" was acknowledged as the rightful government of the whole of China only while it remained convenient to the rest of us. The dispute over who should govern the whole of China - not just mainland - still divides the island's politics. That's sort of acknowledged in your post yet you hide it.

The Han had lived in Formosa for many years before that and the Han had come to dominate the culture, under various other control; the Portuguese (who give the island its name), the Dutch, the Japanese (who were ousted after a military settlement that assigned ownership of the island to China).

Yes, the Han are extremely racist, but nothing on a scale with we Christians. The course of racial discrimination in the east seems, to me, to mirror that of the same behavior in my own, carefully circumscribed, country the US, yet the excesses are not worse; that would be difficult to achieve.

Developer creates ‘Quite OK Image Format’ – but it performs better than just OK


Ho ho. Christmas I guess; the source file (qoi.h) has grown to 671 lines

Not that it compiles, not here anyway.

Popular password manager LastPass to be spun out from LogMeIn


Yep, LogMein tanked it

It was "OK" prior to the LogMein acquistion, then the support obviously disappeared/was fired. I put up with it for a while then, when I was pretty much told they couldn't fix it (I was paying the "family" rate, they couldn't fix up the mess they had created) I moved to Dashlane.

Rushlane isn't perfect. I'm paying the "team" plan because when I joined they didn't do families. Teams suck (I know that from many years experience in the s/w industry) but they don't suck that bad, families are probably worse.

My motto, courtesy of the Bruce's experience and a whole lot more of my own in s/w; if at once it doesn't work, give up.

Intel updates mysterious 'software-defined silicon' code in the Linux kernel


Eh? Where?

El Reg are adequately enhanced to actually point us to a GIT revision for the change in question, but in absence of that information IN THE DAMED ARTICLE I'm just going to ignore this.

Flash? Nu-uh. Windows 11 users complain of slow NVMe SSD performance


Ha; a very clear lesson here...

> Microsoft got back to us to say that a fix for this issue is in a preview build of Windows 11 issued on November 22nd.

And Who else gets back to you? You can easily refute this yet I suggest, not Apple, not NVidia, now Fanny Adams. The latter has, of course, a very good excuse.

Security is an architectural issue: Why the principles of zero trust and least privilege matter so much right now


100% agreement, 100% doubt

Yes. Oft repeated, never learned. It's the same as the message in object oriented programming, objects have their own accessors which limit what can be accessed, slightly modified with capabilities, to use the term I learned years ago. To access a method you have to have the appropriate credentials.

In real human interaction this is the the ultimate bureaucracy, yet in the control of machines simply a reasonable approach to ensuring they don't stamp our own fingers with the word "pass", or do, depending on your point of view.

As System76 starts work on its own Linux desktop world, GNOME guy opens blog, engages flame mode


Maybe a fork is a fork?

If I want to fork something I do so because I never expect to return.

Not just deprecated, but deleted: Google finally strips File Transfer Protocol code from Chrome browser


50 years ago, when I was 11

>the protocol is over 50 years old and comes from more innocent times, when authentication was not what it is today

Those days I didn't trust anyone on the street. I didn't trust stuff written in the Guarniad either, though the Times (pre-tits-days) was, of course, a source. Just that.

That was the time of Thatcher, a person without redemption, whose publicist BoJo perhaps changed the world for the worst [sic].

These days I'm almost like you guys; I almost trust no-one. Except FTP requires I trust myself to evaluate the stuff I receive without, in any way, trusting it.

This is, of course, Irony if you don't understand what I am saying, otherwise it is Sarcasm and this post should be immediately deleted lest innocents learn.

If your apps or gadgets break down on Sunday, this may be why: Gpsd bug to roll back clocks to 2002


Ha, I win, my Stratum 0 NTP server is running on a Raspberry Pi with gpsd 3.17

I just checked. Sad, but true. Completely up-to-date RPi.

Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims


Don't by canon ink

It's true and to make it worse the printer guzzles ink every night to ensure the print heads don't terminally dry up (which they do if they aren't fed with ink; I'm sure you can think of an analogy.)

So I buy Canon ink because I do print from time to time; most of the ink I buy goes keeping the print heads working. But I used to buy non-Canon ink and it is much much cheaper and works just fine if you don't want to have prints that look readable. IRC once you have accumulated enough used cartridges you can start re-filling them with alcohol and the printer will not remember that it has used them previously, but I haven't tested that. For certain they do seem to detect ink levels, so you could maybe rig an arrangement with some needles, some tubing, and a bottle of Vodka and it would carry on forever.

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81


Yes, an entrepreneur

I bought a ZX Spectrum. No customer support, total POS. I worked with it anyway, best available, at the price, in the land of the failed.

Years before that I had a Nascom. Worked, didn't do anything; that was my job (failed, miserably), well, it worked so I did the first bit right).

Nah. Sir Clive. End. I hope he looked after his family.

Boffins unveil SSD-Insider++, promise ransomware detection and recovery right in your storage


You just have to perform backups/pushups/payments

> a standard backup process would still be efficient and is what the majority of companies already adhere to

Yet they keep on paying out. Fortunately the ransomware guys do go after those companies, because that's where the dosh is. For the rest of us it is truly a blessing to have all our data deleted, permanently. It opens up so many real life opportunities.


Re: Bin dun before...

Nope. You could overwrite files in VMS - you just needed to know how (it wasn't, isn't, difficult).

Compromise reached as Linux kernel community protests about treating compiler warnings as errors


Re: I Agree With Linus

-Wall -Wextra -Werror

Then I -Wno- the ones that are stupid.

The setting, however, is compiler specific. Each new GCC version immediately required a whole load of -Wno-'s because the GCC folks figure that if they have a new compiler release they can try dropping all the stupid warnings they had to remove last time in again.

So the setup has to be compiler specific; clang should not be a problem because there should be a klanger, Great Uncle Bugarea perhaps, who selects the compiler errors; -Wno-errors-before-soup.

Believe me -Werror is minor compared to the shite I had to put up with on the last OSS product I actively contributed to.

UK VoIP telco receives 'colossal ransom demand', reveals REvil cybercrooks suspected of 'organised' DDoS attacks on UK VoIP companies


Re: Calling OfCom and Openreach...

Mine never worked. The DSL was, like, 38.4, the telephone crackled and at all critical times the oxygen-enriched copper supplying the feed fell from the poles. At least with wireless (point-to-point to an antenna on a cell tower a couple of miles away) I know I can blame my ISP, who is always very polite even if she doesn't fix it.

Microsoft slips out Windows Server 2022 with extended support for 10 years


Re: Subscription

>Subscriptions are largely unregulated, so companies who haven't hopped on a bandwagon are missing out. I remember at one client, about 40% of their revenue was coming from subscriptions that people signed up for and forgot about. Record one I saw was 3 years old since customer last time used the product.

>We need a legislation where a company could take up to 24 payments before you perpetually own the license to use the product.

Or, we need employees who actually check the accounts and remind our misbegotten [supp|poster]iors that they are still paying for stuff they req'ed four years ago and haven't used since. Maybe?