* Posts by StheD

46 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Feb 2010

Trump U-turns on foreign student crackdown: F-1, M-1 visa holders allowed to study online mid-pandemic in the US


Re: Enough with the hysteria.

I'd prefer a CEO who didn't go bankrupt many times. I'd prefer a CEO whom banks that aren't crooked would lend to. I'd prefer a CEO who couldn't make money owning a casino.

You can't even say the policy failed - they backed down after what, three days?

Maybe the fact that the MIT Harvard suit got joined by a ton of states had something to do with it.

Trump is racist scum, and so are his supporters.

The show Musk go on: Tesla defies Silicon Valley coronavirus lockdown order, keeps Fremont factory open


Re: Simple question

Then you must know a lot of stupid old people. I live in the city with the Tesla plant, and every old person I know (a lot) including me, is concerned. Not panicking, but concerned. Traffic on the streets is way down. We canceled a ton of meetings and activities. The malls are closed. The theaters are closed. Plenty of walkers, but we stay an appropriate distance away. Same holds for the grocery stores.

And we're not ignorant - my wife wrote two traditionally published books on vaccines (pro, of course) which are good sellers on Amazon.

I wish the Fremont cops - who are good people - cuffed the plant manager and Musk if he had the nerve to show up when they visited the plant.

From Soviet to science fiction icon, the weird life of Isaac Asimov 100 years on


Re: Asimov was a letcher

Before he fled Boston during his divorce, Asimov would go to the MIT SF Society picnic every May. (With Harry Stubbs (Hal Clement). I was at the last of these in 1970. Even back then, he was a bit much. He was with Willy Ley's daughter, who he was clearly sleeping with, and I found out later he hit on a friend of mine who also attended. His son David came also - and the relationship did not look good. Those who read his F&SF science columns know that he always mentioned his daughter Robin but never David.

However, he did have his good points. He sang all four versions of the Star Spangled Banner for us. He said that whenever some right-winger called him a Commie, he challenged them to a Star Spangled Banner sing-off.


And L. Ron Hubbard. But seconded - this an excellent book.

After Amazon's Bezos exposes Pecker, National Enquirer pushes back, promises to probe itself


Re: Dodging the accusation

The Enquirer was one of the handful of papers which endorsed Agent Orange for president, and they helped hush the adultery story, so it sure looks political. Plus, they are in financial trouble, and then published a puff issue about Saudi Arabia. Hmmm. And Pecker seemed particularly upset at the Post's investigation of connections between them and the Saudis.

Maybe Pecker is scared of being invited to a Saudi embassy? Remember, the Saudis killed the Post's columnist.

Strangle that paper. No one with an IQ over 50 will miss it.

VMware 'pressured' hotel to shut down tech event close to VMworld, IGEL sues resort giant


Re: Convention contracts

In an ideal world, I'd agree with you, but restaurants probably aren't tuned into this stuff. Now, if the hotel catering department handled it, I'd be less forgiving, since they are more directly connected to trade shows.

And it definitely could have been handled better.


Re: Convention contracts

I don't work for MGM or any hotel, but I have been involved with conferences, and any good event planner would have this in a contract. So I'm betting @cirby is correct. When we sold out hotels we had language that prevented companies not exhibiting with us from booking a suite and setting up their own off-floor demos, which drives attendees away from the exhibit floor and from the companies that paid.

If IGEL bought a booth and went through VMWare they probably could have had their lunch.

Restaurant managers are not privy to the details of contracts, or to the intricacies of the IT industry, and so may be excused for not knowing this could be a problem.

IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'


Re: IBM hasn't been IBM for a very long time

I worked for a Western Electric research center back in Bell System days. We eventually became Bell Labs. No clean desk policy, but we were not immune from top exec craziness.

Every year the top WECo execs would come to give us more money, and those of us on the first floor had to clear out of our offices so that they could use them as telephone booths.

I didn't mind hiding personal pictures, but I had some system diagrams up on my wall, and I got told to remove them also.

"Don't you want it to look like someone works here?"


New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy


Re: I know why Disney is against it

Even better, use the head of the divine Walt himself. Then they'll get the message.

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi


Re: My fave 2001 FX shot...

The actress who played the stewardess was a bit under the weather when she auditioned. It was why she got the job. They had her walk down the aisle. The other contenders walked straight but she wobbled due to her illness, which was just what Kubrick thought she would do with the velcro slippers.

This from the Kubrick exhibit in the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco which I went to last year. Lots of stuff I've never read of in the books on 2001.

Furious gunwoman opens fire at YouTube HQ, three people shot


Re: Of all places

Toddle? Getting from San Bruno to Nevada is quite a hike, especially over the mountains in the snow. Ask the Donner party. To Arizona? San Francisco to Phoenix is 300 miles further than Plymouth to Edinburgh.


Guns kill a lot more people than most of the diseases the CDC studies. And my doctor asks about guns in the house as part of the standard set of health questions. So the CDC studying this is perfectly appropriate.

The gun nuts are against it because they claim that any study showing that a gun in the house is far more likely to be used against the owner or a loved one than a mad home invader must be biased against guns.

Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you


I read the whole article but one thing I don't get.

Why a duck?

FYI: Processor bugs are everywhere – just ask Intel and AMD


One bug per year? What has this guy been smoking? Any processor comes with an errata sheet. Some bugs get fixed in firmware, some are not serious enough to do anything about until the next release. Like the fdiv bug. Oops.

Reduced design verification? Not that I've seen. But I'd like to see any DV methodology which includes attacks by hackers.

I wonder what the bug rate is for the equivalent amount of Microsoft code. Remember, processors work pretty well without hardware patches every two weeks.

Oracle stockholders don't like exec mega-awards or gender pay gap transparency


Re: Corporate Greed...

Even worse than that. HR sent out a letter to be read at staff meetings decrying that the minions who haven't gotten a raise for three, four or five years were slacking off.

Equifax fooled again! Blundering credit biz directs hack attack victims to parody site


Followed by tarring and feathering.

Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid


What I want to know is the playlist for the Babypod. Vagina Verdi? Poontang Puccini? Booty Beethoven?

Oracle finally decides to stop prolonging the inevitable, begins hardware layoffs


Re: Someone please...

True this. Before Larry arrived the potential buyer was IBM, who would have taken the customers and gotten rid of the employees. There were no engineering layoffs at the transition, and we started hiring soon after.

When Larry was in school there was a lot of interest in language and application specific architectures. I think his fantasy was to modify Sparc to run the database real fast. And some of that happened, but not enough.

If Larry fell off his yacht five years ago, the hardware division would have joined him at the bottom of the Bay soon after. I'm no fan of Larry, but I bet he finally gave in to Hurd.


It is happening all right - the conference rooms in Santa Clara are booked by HR for Friday. And just before a holiday is just when Oracle would do it.

Before I left people developing internal tools for bringup and sustaining - and CAD - were pushed off Solaris and Sparc systems onto x86 and Linux.

Oracle management - "who'd eat this? It's dog food!"

San Franciscans unite to smite alt-right with minefield of doggy shite

Thumb Down

Re: Hmmmm....

That's right, the homeless are the ones organizing the demonstration, and San Francisco is the only place in the entire world with the homeless.


Re: Fines?

And piss of law abiding local residents for the benefit or visiting fascists? Not going to happen.


Re: Fines?

Gee, finally something BB is qualified to write about - though even this he doesn't know about.

I've done a lot of walking around lots of parts of San Francisco lately, and I've seen zero dog poop. Plastic bags for veggies are still legal, and are better than grocery bags for picking up poop - and I have first hand experience,

August in San Francisco is not a time where you have to worry about rain storms washing poop out to sea.

As for them cleaning it up, I'm betting they will. A few years back I was at a riot at Berkeley where they burned a car. Turned out that they bought the car to burn, and when some over-exuberant protesters smashed a store window the organizers paid the owner for the damage.

Bottom line - you don't know crap about crap in SF.

President Trump to his council of industry CEO buddies: You're fired!


Re: Fascists marching in the streets

You ever actually watch CNN? They are so desperate to be balanced that they hired Corey Lewandowski as a commentator though he was contractually obligated to never say anything bad about Trump. Once in a while the CNN anchors call Trumpists on outright lies. Is that left wing bias?

MSNBC has at least a point of view, though they don't lie like Faux News does.

Sherlock to find the truth (he never watches Fox.)

Tech billionaire Khosla loses battle over public beach again – and still grants no access


Re: Over my dead body!

Great idea, except that I hope the dogs don't just walk over him, if you get my meaning.

Steve Bannon wants Facebook, Google 'regulated like utilities'


Don't worry much about Bannon folks. He'll be out of that circus we call the White House pretty soon.


I live in California too, and it is interesting your entire post didn't mention Enron once. Oddly enough once Enron went away the gray outs did also. Odd, unless someone built a power plant in a few weeks.

Cops harpoon two dark net whales in megabust: AlphaBay and Hansa


The NY Times story also said that Cazes was logged into AlphaBay when the cops broke in, so they were able to easily collect everything.

Maybe he killed himself out of shame for his stupidity. I suspect the cops would have wanted more info out of him first.

Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86


Re: Anything we should steal ? - Definitely

When I arrived at MIT in 1969 the decision to use a high level language to design Multics was still controversial. I went to grad school in a place that ran a Multics system (it was Honeywell by then) and it was still mostly PL/1. The Pascal "compiler" used for classes worked by translating Pascal to PL/1 - I was the first person to get the Jensen/Wirth Zurich compiler to compile itself. (Sets were done assuming a 60 bit word.)

It is hazy now, but I recall that file protection was a lot more flexible than on UNIX, with access control lists implemented a lot more cleanly than anything else I've seen.

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude


Re: Mass debate

"Nobody else has drawn attention to the innuendo."

Love goes out the door when a sexbot comes innuendo.

Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed


Re: A few things need to be right

I stream Acorn on my laptop (hooked to my TV) because it uses Flash and isn't supported by my smart BlueRay player. But nothing else.

As for how the services support the content, if they get people to sign up, or not sign out, they get money every month. I signed up with Netflix again only for the new MST3K (well worth it) but will now look at some other stuff, though I don't give a crap about Orange is the New Black.

In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy


In theory it all sounds like a lovely Utopia. However, reading between the lines, it basically means free overtime for the company as everybody is too scared to do the hours they are paid to do, lest they not be seen as a team player with a good attitude.

In Silicon Valley everyone salaried does free overtime, for one reason or another, and most of these companies pay in the middle range of the market, not the top. So paying top dollar for working overtime is pretty good.

The place I just retired from, which is (quite rightly) despised by most Reg readers, got very pissy when people stopped working free overtime after not getting raises for a couple of years. So Netflix sounds pretty good.

Parties are fine, but some people would rather go home to their families.


Re: Brilliant jerks

Very very good people are capable of decent human interactions but real brilliance, especially in technical areas, normally requires a laser focus on the task and a thick-skinned determination to drive the project to completion by any means. Both of those traits have a cost in terms of decent human interactions.

I went to MIT with more than a smattering of really brilliant people, and maybe 10% of them were jerks. The people who struggled tended to be jerkier than those who didn't.

Insert coin: Atari retro console is coming back


I've got one of them, and I bought it in a real store, so I'm pretty sure it is legal. I have it out, ready to play when I get a chance, but the old Adventure game (Atari version, not text game version) works fine - including the first Easter Egg.

The one thing missing is the ability to load new games.

I bet it will appeal to geezers like me who don't want to spend hours and hours on complex games.

Cisco cuts 250 jobs in San Jose, has 850 more pink slips to hand out


Re: taking credit

taking credit

you mean like the last President, and the one before that, and so on?

Oddly, the economy goes up when one party is in the White House, and down when the other party is. Has happened that way for quite a while.

And only one President, our current one, got elected by claiming that the laws of economics no longer apply.

Has AI gone too far? DeepTingle turns El Reg news into terrible erotica


Re: so this is automated buzzword bingo ?

I'm not that old either, but I have the magazine (July, 1956, p. 46.) I just skimmed it, and the plot is more or less as said above. More interesting, most of the music of the period (2161) is machine generated, and Blish mentions that most composers compose by what is basically sampling.

It's not in any of the Blish collections I have though.

I have way too many sf magazines.

IBM freezes contractor hires to keep full-time workers fully occupied


I've been through contractor freezes plenty of times at non-IBM companies. Contractors got sold to us because they are easy to get rid of, so I don't see what the big deal is here.

FCC kills plan to allow phone calls on planes – good idea or terrible?


I haven't seen a phone handset in a seatback for easily four or five years now, here in the States. When they were there they were hardly ever used because of the cost reasons already mentioned.

If I were in industrial espionage I'd be opposed to this rule. Just hop on to the San Jose - Austin or Dallas flight, sit in first class, get your laptop out, and make notes. I've already seen plenty of confidential info on laptops opened in front of me already.

I'd be maybe for allowing them in first class as a kind of tax or annoy the rich scheme.

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear


Houses don't work on internet time

My remote controlled garage door opener is at least 21 years old (when I bought the house) and more like 30. What's the odds of this startup still being in business and supporting the servers in 30 years? Not too high. But higher than them handing it off to someone else with no revenue stream.

As for thermostats, maybe more useful, until someone hacks into the server to get a list of people whose thermostats are turned down and thus probably out of their houses.

And is the security for the garage door opener going to be better for internet-connected vibrators? I doubt it.

Newly cloud-tastic Oracle sees hardware sales droop


Down year over year I'd expect, not quarter over quarter.

Smart sex toys firm coughs up $3.75m in privacy lawsuit


When I was in grad school in 1977 I took an early course on microprocessors, and for an assignment on future applications turned in a paper on a microprocessor controlled vibrators (called SHTUP.)

I kind of understand how Arthur C. Clarke felt about comsats now.

Big blues: IBM's remote-worker crackdown is company-wide, including its engineers


I guess no one here is old enough to remember when IBM stood for "I've Been Moved." Telecommuters who are forced back into the office are not going to have to move, those in now closed regional offices will. Back in the '60s IBM could assume that spouses didn't work and were flexible - not today.

Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving


Re: Startrek the 70s PDP10 computer game

That game was published in Dave Ahl's book of 50 Basic games. I rewrote it in Pascal as a test of our PDP-11 Pascal compiler when I was in grad school - and all my team mates spent a lot of time testing it.

What was the lifeboat called in your version? The Ahl version had it as the Faerie Queen, but I renamed it USS Titanic. Yes I know the ship was RMS, but it was USS in an old blues song redone by Jamie Brockett.



One thing about TOS is that very few of Kirk's solutions to problems involved unknown properties of warp drive or other nonsense. Consider "The Doomsday Machine" for example. Simple, elegant solution with no advanced physics.

However I have to give them and later shows a pass on technobabble. Listen to yourself at work discussing how you are going to fix the latest user or vendor problem - then try to listen to yourself from the viewpoint of someone from 1955. You are speaking pure technobabble. USB? Hard drive? VOIP? What the heck is that?

One might even say that we speak technobabble from the viewpoint of many people alive right now. So, we should give them a pass. It would be nice if the technobabble was more consistent, though.


ST wasn't hard science fiction in the Hal Clement sense - but it was a lot harder than the nonsense that came before. And even more important it was the first sf TV show I'm aware of that established a universe bigger than what we see directly.

Sure it is space opera. Space opera is a genre within sf. I'd hate to exile Doc Smith from the canon.

It was after Star Wars when people looked at you funny if you said that sf (sorry, scifi) appears in actual books.

Stories like the Mote books with constrained FTL methods are interesting also, but that was not the purpose of warp in ST. It was a way of getting across long distances - and notice they understood that this took a lot of power to do. Actual warp speeds were a function of plot needs more than anything, but that's pretty common in film and TV writing. Anyhow, we know ST is science fiction because Analog had a very positive article about it during its run. Campbell-era Analog. I rest my case.


TOS was high-science - considering

I started watching from the very first show. Recently I've been watching some sf from the 1950s. They had real problems with science - like having no clue what a galaxy was, or what planets were in the solar system, or figuring out that other stars weren't right next door to earth. In general shows before ST thought that you could go faster than light if you pressed harder on the accelerator.

Warp drive is no dumber than any other ftl drive. And I remember thinking that them understanding they needed something like warp drive was a big leap over what had gone before.

If you don't like FTL you wipe out most of science fiction. L. Sprague deCamp never used it, but his books from that universe are hardly read any more, and his stuff was quite limited.

Feds open school spycam probe


The real scoop

It appears that this kid's sin was eating Ike and Mike candy, misidentified by some clueless administrator as pills. The parents say that the laptop was not reported stolen. So, the school district would have us believe that the one and only time they look at a webcam without cause they find a kid doing something nefarious. Pull the other one, it has bells on.

The school also has claimed that only two people were allowed to look at the webcam - I'm fairly sure neither was the assistant principal, a she, by the way.

My sources tell me that the parents in this district are more than slightly annoyed by this. The quoted reaction of the school sounds just like a lawyer saying that the case of his client, found with a hand in the cookie jar, would be strongly litigated.