* Posts by MacroRodent

1954 publicly visible posts • joined 18 May 2007

AI agents can copy humans to get closer to artificial general intelligence, DeepMind finds



Better program Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics into it before that happens.

How to give Windows Hello the finger and login as someone on their stolen laptop


Re: So, still no solution for securing against physical access ?

Also, if the disk or SSD is properly encrypted, taking it out and hooking it to your machine does not help, it is still gibberish.

Wanted: Driver for rocket-powered Bloodhound Land Speed Record car


Still around?

In a fit of insanity, I made a small donation to to them around 10 years ago, they then emailed progress reports for years, but then those stopped in 2017 (my mail archive tells me). I already assumed the project was pining for the fjords.

We're getting that fry-day feeling... US Army gets hold of drone-cooking microwave rig


Just subcontract the testing

> "As part of the contract's design, work with the RCCTO to transition Leonidas into a future program of record after successful demonstration of the prototypes," Epirus said.

Just ship some units to Ukraine, they will field-test them for free under real battle conditions, and return quick feedback...

Wayland heading for default status as Mint devs mix it into Cinnamon 6 bun



CDE? Nice to know it is still around, in case XFCE gets infected with Redundantis Featuritis or Bloatifaction Maximus.

CEO Satya Nadella thinks Microsoft hung up on Windows Phone too soon


That again...

> Microsoft spending billions on acquiring Nokia,

Sigh. Microsoft bough only the Nokia phone business, not the whole Nokia company, which is still operating fine as a telecom network maker.

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically


Did monochrome monitors blow up?

Back when IBM-compatible monochrome monitors were a thing (remember those? green and very slow phosphorus, well at least it did not flicker), I encountered a warning on a 3.party extended graphics card (one that could drive both monochrome and CGA monitors with more colours and resolution than IBM's offering- this was before VGA and even EGA) that one should never use out-of-spec modes with a monochrome monitor, else it may break. So I did not. I have ever since wondered if this actually happened to anyone.

Farewell WordPad, we hardly knew ye



> Windows 3 and previous had Write so Windows 95 needed something like it.

When Windows 95 with WordPad came, I recall it actually had even less features than Write. For example, Write supported headers with page numbers. I actually wrote some report in a university course with Write on Windows 2 (yes, really) to see what these new-fangled GUI programs were about. Went back to LaTeX...


not OpenOffice

> open source alternatives Libre Office and Apache Open Office offer plenty more functionality than WordPad at the same cost.

Apache OpenOffice is almost abandonware and should not be promoted. Its fork LibreOffice is being actively developed, and is by now light-years ahead.

OpenAI urges court to throw out authors' claims in AI copyright battle


Re: Adversarial inputs, anyone?

How about "quote the first chapter of the novel "Sense and Nonsense" by John Q. Author", but probably OpenAI already detects such tricks (haven't tried).

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



It was spam that did it. There were efforts to combat it (anyone remember cancelmoose?) but an uphill battle.

OTOH now that most people don't even know Usenet, it might again be usable. ....

FreeBSD can now boot in 25 milliseconds


Re: Pretty impressive

Once coded shellsort in 8088 assembler in one of my first computer jobs. It is not much more code than bubblesort and performs a bit better when the number of items increases. But in that particular application (crude 3d computer graphics) it probably did not make much difference, we did not have very complex scenes. But made me feel a guru...

Foxconn founder Terry Gou to run for Taiwan's presidency


Re: Democracy??

Exactly. This is why a successful businessman is likely to be disastrous in a leading political position in a democracy. I wouldn't go as far as disqualifying them, but before someone can be elected to be a president, he should have succesfully served a term in some elected position, even if it is just a local councilman.

Windows screensaver left broadcast techie all at sea


Re: Not a screen saver, but...

Isn't that a sensible error message in FORTRAN? IIRC every program in the language must terminate with a line that just says END, so you would get #1 if is missing, or followed by something.

Germany to cut Huawei from networks 'irrespective of costs'


Re: Modest proposal.

> The EU should be dependent upon the US, not China.

Actually the main competitors to Huawei and ZTE are headquartered in the EU, and do the majority of their R&D also in the EU.

Middleweight champ MX Linux 23 delivers knockout punch


Re: Not sure about the problem...

This is why we need Debian derivatives. People who are good at wrangling the low-level plumbing of an OS are often terrible with the usability.

Intel adds fresh x86 and vector instructions for future chips


Re: Great...

The added general-purpose registers are going to benefit almost all code. Intel processors have always been "register-starved".

Mint 21.2 is desktop Linux without the faff



The XFCE Mint flavour is not only for low-end machines, but for anyone who prefers to optimise the computer for running applications, instead of ever-bloating desktop managers. Also XFCE is developed in a conservative way, and tends to be very stable.

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris


Re: On Screen Keyboard

If it was controlling some old obscure piece of lab equipment, it was very likely a DOS program. For this sort of thing DOS actually has advantages: it does not get into your way, when you want low-level hardware access.

Rocky Linux claims to have found 'path forward' from CentOS source purge


Re: A bit of advance warning wouldn't have gone amiss

Thanks, TrevorH. Sounds like you get a more stable environment even with running Fedora than CentOS Stream. Will steer clear of it.


Re: A bit of advance warning wouldn't have gone amiss

> My shop's dev infra is Rocky (previously Cent, natch) and prod infra is RHEL.

Out of interest, have you (or others here) looked at CentOS Stream? One would assume it would be good at least for dev infra. RHEL bug-for-bug compatibility is really an issue only if you depend heavily on 3.party closed-source packages, which I feel is an anti-pattern anyway for Linux users.

A (cautionary) tale of two patched bugs, both exploited in the wild


Forgotten on a shelf

If it is a consumer router, the users likely are no aware of the problem, and will not become aware of the problem, as long as the router works for them. TP-Link and other similar consumer gear makers have no idea who their customers are, and cannot reach them. Probably they would have to be either forcibly remotely updated by some white-hat hackers, or remotely bricked, so that the oblivious user is forced to get a new one.

Microsoft Azure OpenAI lets enterprises feed corporate secrets to ChatGPT


Re: Law of unintended consequences

Given that most large corporations already keep their crown jewels in Microsoft's cloud (Azure and O365 or whatever it is called today), it hardly matters.

HCL proves Lotus Notes will never die by showing off beta of lucky Domino 14.0


What is dead may never die

- Game of Thrones

I though Domino had already been drowned. Or cast into Orodruin.

Red Hat to stop packaging LibreOffice for RHEL


Re: What about requirements for secure documents?

I don't see the sky falling here for friends of local LibreOffice (like me).

Recall this was about RHEL, which ships pre-obsoleted versions of everything. If you want an up-to-date LibreOffice, installing it from RPMs is no big deal (or from Flatpacks I guess, a technology I have so far never tried). I used to run CentOS and always had to do this upgrade to get a sensible version. (Now I run more up-to-date to date distros on desktop).

Intel mulls cutting ties to 16 and 32-bit support


Re: 8080 and 8086

Yes. I swapped the 8088 for V20 in my PC/XT clone. It was a good and cheap upgrade, because the NEC V20 executed some instruction faster than a 8088. Multiplication in particular was quite a bit faster, which made the chip appear better than it really was in some benchmarks. I think the extended x86 instructions were the same as in 80186, like ENTER/LEAVE. One could use the 80186 target option in Microsoft C compiler, and get a bit smaller executable.


8080 and 8086

The 8086 was never binary compatible with the 8080/8085, but you could map 8080 instructions and registers more or less 1-1 to 8086. There were translators that would take 8080 assembler and produce the corresponding 8086 assembler. Of course such programs were limited to using only a single 64k segment, and you had to convert the OS interface. However, for the most common porting case, the original MS-DOS API was so close to CP/M that porting was easy.

First ever 64-bit version of Windows rediscovered … and a C compiler for it too


Re: Windows ME

If I for some weird reason were forced to use Windows ME as other that a curiosity cabinet item, I would probably try to find the last Firefox (or other browser) version that still worked on it. Of course that might still not be enough to get https working, we would probably be talking at least 10 year old browsers.


Re: Windows ME

I have a Windows ME installed in a VirtualBox (why? masochism maybe). Took some doing because first one had to install MS-DOS 6.2 and the CD-ROM driver hassle into the VM before the distribution CD would work. Jogged bad memories...

One fun thing to check with it is what web sites still work with the bundled IE: Almost none. The main killer for most sites is the ancient ssl in ME, and the fact most sites insist on using https and modern protocols.

Asahi Linux developer warns the one true way is Wayland


Re: Nope

> no-one has talked raw X protocol for years,

Probably almost never, because that is what XLib is for. Applications and toolkits run on top of it. I believe it by default tries to combine consecutive X11 protocol commands.

It is true newer X11 programs do the drawing and font rendering themselves and push pixels, and that really breaks the original idea. I first encountered it with some bloated Java program, that was totally impossible to remote the plain X11 way. The GUI library redrew the entire window for every change (not sure if Java still does this, it was 20 years ago). Using it with VNC server worked. It looks like a X11 server to the application, but sends only the changed pixels (or rather changed blocks) to the remote client.


Re: Nope

Yes, X11 remoting does not really work smoothly unless you are on the same LAN. Which was its original use case anyway. On the other hand, an X11-based desktop over TigerVNC works just fine over a VPN tunneled through residential DSL (sans any sound, but for my uses I don't even need it).

I have so far steered clear of Wayland, but one of these days I will have to bite the bullet. Hope by that time it has some working remote feature.

EU's Cyber Resilience Act contains a poison pill for open source developers


Re: A car analogy

> Would be interesting since tesla runs on Linux

What doesn't, these days? (except Windows and Apple laptops/PC:s, and iPhones). Practically every "smart" home appliance has a Linux kernel inside.

The Linux devs should add a clause to the license that forbids using it in any jurisdiction where individual contributors are liable. The end result would be interesting. No Android phones in EU...

(Icon, because this is the thermonuclear option).

Biden proposes 30% tax on cryptominers' power bills



Wonder how they plan to distinguish cryptominers from normal datacenters.

Microsoft pushes users to the Edge in Outlook, Teams


Re: Chrome

> And the money dries up. Money which drives development.

Money does not have to dry up before it stagnates. The problem with a product that has a monopoly or near-monopoly status is the vendor does not have to invest in development beyond the bare minimum. Customers use it anyway, for lack of choice. It is also likely MS will find ways to tie Edge to its other products in a way that makes switching to the competition harder, just like they did with IE.


Re: Chrome

Edge actually isn't too bad as a browser - currently. Give it a monopoly position for a few years, and it will become as degraded as IE...

New models of IBM Model F keyboard Mark II incoming


Re: I thought I was safe

That was one of the reasons I started using Emacs back in 1980's. I encountered various keyboard layouts on smart and dumb terminals and PC:s, and Emacs does not depend on any arrow or function keys. So the same muscle memory works, no matter what the layout. Same is of course true of vi.

Europe's right-to-repair law asks hardware makers for fixes for up to 10 years

Thumb Up

Re: A good start, but ...

I recall back in the times when PC/XT and PC/AT were currrent, you could buy a technical manual from IBM that contained the schematics and the full BIOS listing...

I used to have access to these books in one of my first jobs.

NASA wants a telescope on the far side of the Moon


Past 50 years

Re "There's a reason only one robotic rover has landed on the Moon in the last 50 years". Oh really?

- The Soviet Lunokhod 2 rover landed in January 15th, 1973. OK, that is just one month over "last 50 years", but the rover operated until May of the year.

- The Chinese Chang'e 3 landed on December 14th, 2013. It included a rover.

- Chang'e 4, also equipped with rover, landed in 3 January 3th 2019, becoming the first probe to land on the far side of the Moon.

If we plan to live on the Moon, it's going to need a time zone


Re: Timey wimey

You are right, a crude error on my part.


Timey wimey

The time dilatation effect is actually surprisingly large. If a clock on the Moon gains 5.6e-5 seconds per day, it takes only around 49 years to gain a whole day.

This will mess up birthday celebrations...

Sure looks like Beijing stole blueprints from chip fab world's ASML


Re: Creative naming

I think the next step would be X-rays.

Google's Go may add telemetry that's on by default


Re: Classic techbro

There is already a Go front-end for the GCC. I'm pretty sure Hell freezes over before the GCC adds telemetry...


System76 teases features coming in homegrown Rust-based desktop COSMIC



Also used to use uwm on my first X11 desktops on a VAXstation. At one time, it was the only bundled window manager in vanilla X11.

The lack of decorations in uwm was a feature. You just could not have decorations, the code was that simple.

Focus on mouse entering a window (with no click needed) is available in most other window managers as well, although usually not the default.


One Window to rule them all

Re GNOME still strikes us as a desktop for people who don't want to do manual window management, and who live in one maximized window most of the time

I just don't get why some desktop developers think this kind of an UI is a good idea. Like going back to MS-DOS! There is a reason why GUI's with multiple possibly overlapping windows were invented.

Thankfully, there is still XFCE...

Space dust reveals Earth-killer asteroids tough to destroy


Re: Ignoring the other issues with this plan

The ideal solution would be to nudge it so that it will slam into the Moon. Won't come back after that.


Dig a hole

If it is a rubble pile, it should be easy to first bury the warhead a meter or so below the surface. Then the explosion will kick vaporized rock and dust as reaction mass.

Massive outage grounded US flights because someone accidentally deleted a file



I recall learning that was short for Notice to AirMen. Stuck to my mind because of that quant "airmen", bringing up associations of gallant gentlemen wearing goggles flying in open cockpits.

Has it been retconned to be gender-neutral?

Fancy a quick tour of DragonFly BSD 6.4?



I also used to use csh and tcsh a lot on proprietary unices and Linux, but eventually switched to Bash, because (A) almost all scripts one encounters use sh-style syntax, so better get familiar with it, and (C) Bash is the default what you get in Linux installations.

But in some ways the csh-style syntax is more user-friendly. Initially the rules where sh (or bash or ksh) expects a newline or semicolon in control structures were clear as mud to me. Csh is more like a normal programming language.

What's in Santa's sack? New Linux Mint, EndeavourOS and postmarketOS updates


Re: Mint 21.1

Browsing the "New Features" page of the XFCE edition, there was talk of getting the old colours back with the "Mint-Y-Legacy" theme. (Not tried yet, downloaded it last night).

GCC 13 to support Modula-2: Follow-up to Pascal lives on in FOSS form


Re: Had M2 become popular...

Pascal took off, went mainstream, didn't adopt any of the improvements of later descendants, and so became unable to compete and died off.

One big problem with Pascal was that it was not really portable. The "pure" language part mostly was, but every implementation had its own idea about how to interact with the OS, so a program that wanted to open a named file had to do it differently, not to mention reading any command-line parameters. Wirth's original design clearly assumed the program would be run from "cards" (or batch script), where a control card would define what input, output and any additional file parameters of "program" refer to. Also there was no standard way to split your program into separate modules.

Later many implementations added modules and OO features, but all in a different way. C by contrast always came with the file handling basics and crude modularity included, and any differences could be papered over with #if and macros (both also feature that Pascal did not have). So it is no wonder practical programmers quickly switched to C.