* Posts by red floyd

111 publicly visible posts • joined 16 May 2007


MIT boffins build battery alternative out of cement, carbon black, water

red floyd

That's roughly 7m x 14m x 0.5m You could make this the foundation of a single family home.

Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel

red floyd

Re: Better than a PM

I always thought "Packet InterNet Groper" was a backronym so that they could use "Ping" as in a sonar ping.

Your security failure was so bad we have to close the company … NOT!

red floyd

Would you believe...

That you missed it by THAT much?

Ahh, yes... the old "Boss pranks the employee trick"!

PC tech turns doctor to diagnose PC's constant crashes as a case of arthritis

red floyd

Reminds me of this old classic story...


Shag pile PC earned techies a carpeting from HR

red floyd

I guess they got called onto the carpet

JEDEC reportedly set to formalize Dell laptop memory standard

red floyd

Re: License fee

Exactly. Remember the RAMBUS debacle.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

red floyd

Re: Full names please.......

I once worked with a gentleman named Richard Bender.

For some reason, he actually insisted on "Dick" instead of "Richard".

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes

red floyd

Re: LSI11/03

Never programmed one, but used Doug Comer's XINU book for an OS class. Original XINU was for the LSI-11.

Prototype app outperforms and outlasts outsourced production version

red floyd

Re: Son of Stopgap

Not TECO? When I worked on DECSystem-10, the editor of choice was TECO.

I can't remember a damned thing about it now, though. Not even the result when I typed my own name as a command.

Nothing's working, and I've checked everything, so it must be YOUR fault

red floyd

Re: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing."

It's been years since I've seen it. Gonna have to find the DVD set somewhere.

red floyd

Been there Done that.

I had almost the exact same experience.

My company provided hardware and software to a certain green suited US government agency. The hardware was custom, the software was both for the custom hardware, and test software running on a PC.

We got a call. The test software wasn't working -- it would drive the hardware properly, but it would not receive the test results. This was over an RS-232 link.

So, I get to throw every single piece of serial port diagnostic hardware I can think of (short of a full-bore protocol analyzer), and get on a plane. I get to the site, and examine the customer's hardware -- both ours and his PC. The guy had a PC with two serial ports configured by DIP switches. Both ports were configured as COM1:. Flip a single switch to configure the second port as COM2: and Bob's your uncle.

So my company paid for a round trip flight, and per diem, for me to flip a single DIP switch.

I would drive 100 miles and I would drive 100 more just to be the man that drove 200 miles to... hit the enter key

red floyd

I once flew 250 miles

I once flew 250 miles (each way) to flip a single DIP switch.

We had written some test driver software that used a serial port for communications with the system under test. The software was successfully sending test command to the target system, but would not read the responses.

So I loaded up my briefcase with null modems, a breakout box, screwdrivers, and any other RS-232 diagnostic equipment I could think of, and hopped on a plane. Got to the customer's site, saw what was happening, and started to check configuration.

This was back in the days when serial ports were configured by DIP switches, and the computer had two serial ports... BOTH configured as COM1. Once I flipped the switch to set one of them to COM2, the software magically started working again.

Where's the boss? Ah right, thorough deep-dive audit. On the boardroom table. Gotcha

red floyd

Re: I'm sure .....

Remember, the bank lady had higher interest for larger deposits, but a penalty for early withdrawal.

A hotline to His Billness? Or a guard having a bit of a giggle?

red floyd

Worked with AMEX ... Twice

It worked for me with American Express, twice.

Both times were cock-ups with their travel services. The agent claimed they could not help me. The customer service people claimed they couldn't help me.

I sent a snail mail letter to the CEO, and -- wonder of wonders -- suddenly my problem was solved.

Oracle vs Google: No, the Supreme Court did not say APIs aren't copyright – and that's a good thing

red floyd

Re: APIs might be subject to copyright

Of course, to collect a copyright tax on an API, you must first OWN said API, which Xinuos (or whatever the SCOundrels are calling themselves these days) does not.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

red floyd

Mine wasn't a phone call... mine was an airplane flight. OK, a 60 minute flight, but SOMEONE still had to pay for it.

A customer called to say that our software wasn't working (surprise!) with their serial port. I lived in Los Angeles, the customer was in Monterey, California. I loaded up my briefcase with everything I could think of, hopped on a plane, and was at the customer's site by 9AM. Took one look at the computer, flipped a single DIP switch (remember those?).

The computer had been configured so that BOTH serial ports were COM1. I changed it so that one was COM1 and the other was COM2. Meanwhile, my return flight wasn't until 3PM...

Oh well.

Google putting its trust in Rust to weed out memory bugs in Android development

red floyd

But if they put Rust into Android, how will a process suspend itself for a certain time period?

Because, as Neil Young reminded us all, Rust never sleeps!

[I'll show myself to the door now...]

Shelter for internet outcasts Parler slaps Amazon with fresh lawsuit after abandoning first attempt

red floyd

Hey, Parler, go read the Supreme Court's decision in Masterpiece Cake Shop.

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

US cyber intelligence officer jailed for kidnapping her kid, trying to hawk top secrets to Russia in Mexico

red floyd

"she has signed a document promising not to disclose a word of what was contained in the documents she stole for the rest of her life, or face the rest of it behind bars"

Of course, she signed such a document when she started working with classified data. I'm not sure how much the Court should trust her to follow this NDA....

A decades-old lesson on not inserting Excel where it doesn't belong

red floyd

Re: RDBMS vs Excel

I used to work for a defense contractor. I once wrote a document that included "This page intentionally left blank... except for this text."

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

red floyd

Re: This is why...

Every time I try to avoid puns, I encounter resistance like this.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

red floyd

Re: My first major upgrade

A few hundred quid? At that point, it might have actually been cheaper to buy the box with the floppies in it...

Of course, it wouldn't have been as much fun...

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

red floyd

Re: "plain old ASCII text is a barrier to communications"

"Ahem, Linus' mother tongue is, in fact, Swedish. His family come from the roughly 5% minority in Finland who are Swedish speakers. But your point stands: Swedish has non-ASCII characters too."

I believe that that you have fallen into the sar-chasm.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

red floyd

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

How about "Sent from my quantum computer at CIA Headquarters"?

red floyd

Re: you never have to print the emai? For rather loose values of 'never'.

"[0] or a tablet, except that I don't have one."

Then why did your post say "Sent from my iPad"????

LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software'

red floyd

I did as well.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

red floyd

Re: How to be diplomatic in the face of idiocy?

This is the kind of boss you want to work for.

NASA to send Perseverance, a new trundle bot, and Ingenuity, the first interplanetary helicopter, to sniff out life on Mars in July

red floyd

Re: Interplanetary Hellicopter

Mars gravity is approximately 1/3 g

red floyd

World's largest supersonic-rated parachute

Which world? Earth or Mars?

Perhaps you should have said "Worlds' largest...."

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets

red floyd

Re: 7 per launch vs 3

No, the center booster is also reusable after a Heavy launch. There are some configurations where they throw it away due to the desired target orbit. But in general, the center booster attempts to land on the drone ship, while the side boosters return to Canaveral.

NASA launches guide to Lunar etiquette now that private operators will share the Moon with governments

red floyd

Re: The Artemis program aims to put the first woman and second man

And the Russkies would have blown the lid off of it had it been faked.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

red floyd

Re: Experienced tester.

Had a buddy like that once. He broke a shell script by pasting Unicode into its inputs. I really learned to sanitize input there.

Web pages a little too style over substance? Behold the Windows 98 CSS file

red floyd

I would definitely prefer the 98 style. Even better would be if the buttons made a nice "thunk" sound when pushed...

Seriously, when I took my user interface class, one of the key elements was easily discoverable (what are the elements that do things), feedback (Yes! YOU PUSHED THE BUTTON), etc... TIFKAM GUIs have completely lost those elements.

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals

red floyd

Re: Agricultural College

Until 2001, Lehrer was on staff at the University of California, Santa Cruz, teaching an introductory math class, and the "History of the American Folk Musical".

Never had time to take that class when I was there :( ...

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

red floyd

Re: Obligatory xkcd

Whenever I read that XKCD, someone starts chopping onions in the room.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

red floyd

Re: Hybrid children watch the sea

My first network was named after Greek heroes. We got in a MicroVAX that the original admin named Ulysses. So we later added Ajax (a 486/33, no bloody DX or SX) , and a couple of others with names I can't remember. When we got a Pentium II/200 box, I named it "Helen" because Helen of Troy was "fast".

Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

red floyd

I use LibreOffice all the time (my main computer is a Linux machine). My biggest issue is the lack of a real outlining mode in Writer.

Take DOS, stir in some Netware, add a bit of Windows and... it's ALIIIIVE!

red floyd

Re: All washed away like tears in rain

WfW 3.11, Hummingbird TCP/IP, Hummingbird/X and SCO ODT Server 2.0 here...

By the FSM's Noodly Appendage, that was a [female dog] to manage.

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

red floyd

Never again

We were over at a friend's house for dinner.... Their (Windows Me!) computer was acting up and they asked if I could have a look at it. The obvious happened. My (late) wife had a lovely dinner with friends, while I was stuck at the computer for THREE HOURS. That was the day I swore, "Never again".

Now when I'm asked what I do for a living, I say, "I'm a software developer -- and no, I won't fix your computer."

The only person I perform free IT work for now is my girlfriend.

It's a no to ZFS in the Linux kernel from me, says Torvalds, points finger of blame at Oracle licensing

red floyd

Re: Hypocritical

Neither. He works for Unxis (aka SCO)

Linux in 2020: 27.8 million lines of code in the kernel, 1.3 million in systemd

red floyd

Re: I've had .....

Well, the OP didn't use "xor", just "or", so no, they aren't mutually exclusive.

red floyd

Re: A new book: "Systemd (feat. Linux)"

Systemd is a great OS. All it really needs is a good init system.

We've found it... the last shred of human decency in an IT director – all for a poxy Unix engineer

red floyd

Re: Love a team player

Been there, done that, as the underling.

The situation was procedural, thank heavens, not anything to do with a major foul-up. We needed some software (InstallShield -- this was around 1992 or 1993), and we needed it YESTERDAY. Going through normal channels would have taken about two weeks, so my manager authorized me to use petty cash to pay for it. So I did, as did two co-workers in similar situations.

Unbeknownst to us, a new VP had decided to make his mark by reducing the use of petty cash -- I'm sure you can see where this is going. The VP already had our names, as they were on the vouchers. The manager did his best to shield us from whatever consequences this tin-pot dictator VP was going to rain down upon us. He pointed out that what we had done was under his express orders and approval.

I think we still got some flak, but nowhere near as much as VP wanted, And he wound up getting some of the flak, too.

I was very lucky, this was the first manager I ever had. I wound up working for the gentleman for 17 years.

Thanks, Dwight.

That code that could never run? Well, guess what. Now Windows thinks it's Batman

red floyd

Re: Assume the worst

Z80 strikes again!

50 years on: Apollo 12 failed at selfies but succeeded at dismantling a probe

red floyd
Thumb Up

Best. Crew. Ever.

Pete's motto was "If you can't be good, be colorful". The 12 crew managed to do both, and have fun at the same time.

Pete's "Whoopee" statement was partly to win a bet with Oriana Fallaci, because she believed that the first words on the moon were scripted and approved. She allegedly never paid the $500.

The crew were good friends, to the point that the three of them got identically colored Corvettes, and would often race them around Houston. They remained close friends until their passing.

It is actually true that Gordon made Conrad and Bean strip starkers before he would let them come back into the command module!

Just an awesome crew.

Dammit Insight! You just had two big jobs to do on Mars and you're failing at one of those

red floyd

They should have used something else...

Like an Illudium-Q36 Explosive Space Modulator

I'm not Boeing anywhere near that: Coder whizz heads off jumbo-sized maintenance snafu

red floyd

Re: This Page Is Intentionally Blank

Indeed. The "This page..." text should actually read, "This page intentionally left blank, except for this text"

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

red floyd

Re: Apple is deprecating Macs

They tried that. It failed. Remember Gil Amelio?

'We go back to the Moon to stay': Apollo vets not too chuffed with NASA's new rush to the regolith

red floyd

You're just a shill for Big MOON!!!

Father of Unix Ken Thompson checkmated: Old eight-char password is finally cracked

red floyd


Yeah. I hate it when I create a password, and then the site says, "Your password must have ${RULE1}".

So I try again with a password that meets ${RULE2}, and it says, "Your password must ${RULE2}".

Just give me the bloody rules UP FRONT!!!