* Posts by hmv

405 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Apr 2010


Windows to become emulation layer atop Linux kernel, predicts Eric Raymond


Re: Sadly... this is the beginning of the end

SunOS4 not SunOS5. Not AIX. A lot of Unix variants acquired BSDisms (such as vi) but claiming they were all based on BSD is a stretch too far.

NeXTStep was based on the Mach micro-kernel as is macOS (or at least /a/ micro-kernel).

Happy Hacking Professional Hybrid mechanical keyboard: Weird, powerful, comfortable ... and did we mention weird?


Re: The layout on a Mac

In Zsh (which macOS uses these days I believe), ^D deletes the character under the cursor and logs you out if the line is otherwise empty.


I generally prefer a US layout keyboard because when things go bang, you'll typically find yourself with a US layout keyboard no matter what the physical board looks like. Where's the pipe ("|") on a US layout keyboard (logically) but a UK layout keyboard (physically).

Of course I'm typing this on a ISO US keyboard which is like a US layout and a UK layout got together in the dark and spawned a new monstrosity :)

We don't need maintenance this often, surely? Pull it. Oh dear, the system's down


Re: Also works for hardware

You should have seen the fights over who got to put "their" CD into the CD towers; University librarians are /vicious/!


Re: An ex employer did that too.

There's even a name for it - "managing the managers".

And in a very real sense it's not our fucking job to do that.

Das Keyboard 4C TKL: Plucky mechanical contender strikes happy medium between typing feel and clackety-clack joy


Re: That's downright cheap!

"its" not "it's"!! Need more coffee.


Re: One unmentioned issue

They weren't double-shot; they were (and are) dye-sublimated.


Re: That's downright cheap!

Can't help with the ergonomic ones, but yes you can get decent mechanical keyboards that last a good while and the company is even mentioned in the article - Unicomp. It's a direct descendant of the IBM Model M and built in the same factory; not quite as robust as the old Model M, it does well enough.

I'm typing this on my modified Unicomp PC 122 5250 that recently celebrated it's 10th birthday and it hasn't been molly-coddled during that time.


Re: My Cherry MX Board 1.0 still looks better

I've got two type 7's stashed away (the "UNIX" country layout type). They're a little more solid than the type 6 and very nice keyboards if you don't mind the slightly mushy key switches.


You /could/ get a separate number pad and stick it on the left. Thus moving the mouse hand closer to the middle whilst still having the pad.

Mind you this is coming from someone using an excessively large keyboard with a number pad on the right /and/ a separate number pad on the left.


Re: No back light on a black keyboard?


Back in the day when people used to be able to walk up to my desk, I could freak people out by turning my head to greet them whilst carrying on typing. It's worth learning to touch-type properly just for this reason <evil grin>

Net neutrality lives... in Europe, anyway: Top court supports open internet rules, snubs telcos and ISPs


Another Reason to Rejoin the EU

Good decision!

That long-awaited, super-hyped Apple launch: Watches, iPads... and one more thing. Oh, actually that's it


I believe that Norfolk (the English county) predates the naming of Norfolk, Virginia by quite a ways.

'Work is an activity not a place' got tired on LinkedIn about three months ago, but Citrix just based its new logo on the idea


Re: Rebranding, an explensive way to rearange deck chairs?

As a resident of a seaside city, I believe you are unnecessarily trivialising the importance of getting deck chairs /just/ right. I would say nobody is dumb enough to buy a product just because the company has a snazzy logo but the existence of Trump voters would seem to indicate that I'm wrong.

On the other hand when a /company/ has spare dosh, redesigning a logo will at least keep the Marketing department happy and out of trouble.

Dell: 60% of our people won't be going back into an office regularly after COVID-19


Re: So the next logical step is...

Except it's not an all or nothing thing. Cities may very well see some shrinkage, but there are still plenty of reasons for living and working in cities - access to museums, concert venues, theatres, a good selection of restaurants, and a good selection of pubs. And central work-places will still exist - there /are/ jobs that can't be done from home, and other jobs where getting into the workplace occasionally would be beneficial.

And smaller towns may well see a bit of resurgence - people who want cheaper property within walking distance of the country, but want a bit of a taste of the city too.

Whilst face-to-face meetings may be the "gold standard" of interaction, video conferencing is the "silver standard" and is likely to improve as we get more used to it and vendors add more features. Always on video conferences? Why not?

I think it's easy to overlook that now isn't the new normal - it's still pandemic territory not mass working from home territory. Undoubtedly there will be lots of disruption and that one person who will end up with the right predictions will be right by accident.


Re: I get I'm in a microscopically small minority, but...

"don't have the space"

I sympathise with those who lack the space to have a separate work space, but people sometimes over-estimate the space required. I'm in a relatively small city centre flat, and my home office is temporarily mostly under the stairs; yet it's perfectly adequate.


Re: Extroverts hate it

Please note: Not all moody bastards are extroverts missing waggling their tongues. Some of us are just evil fuckers :)

IBM ordered to pay £22k to whistleblower and told by judges: Teach your managers what discrimination means



If it's an emergency, it's necessary. If it's a scheduled meeting for a status update, it's not necessary.

Hidden Windows Terminal goodies to check out: Retro mode that emulates blurry CRT display – and more


Re: I've used a lot of terminals...

I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with interacting with a computer in whatever way works for you - gooey for when you like that, and an emulation of an insanely noisy printing terminal from the 1950s when you're so inclined. Or speaking (which when you think about it, is very much like a command-line).

It's unfortunate that the cli is tied to English, but that's a solvable problem. As is the insanely huge collection of commands (some of which are poorly documented). For a tiny example, I have a bletcherous shell function called "show" (which could also be called "sioe") which looks at the file extension before deciding how to display it (by preference) in the terminal.

"initiated into the arcana before you can practice your craft"

Do you really think there is a single profession out there that doesn't have to initiate people into the secrets of the trade before they can practice? A somewhat outdated saying: "Windows allows any idiot to run a computer. Do you really want any idiot running your servers?" (and this is really a knock to the assumption that running a fleet of servers is something anybody can do; not to Windows itself)

Pass that Brit guy with the right-hand drive: UK looking into legalising automated lane-keeping systems by 2021


Re: Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS)

It's easy to be cynical, and I'm sure these automated driving systems are less safe than all the drivers here.

On the other hand, that numpty who needs help plugging in their laptop to charge? They drive in every morning too. And every place has a whole Marketing department full of 'em.

Can't decide which OS to run today? Why not Linux inside Windows inside macOS?


Re: Now how about OS/X in a VM?

Technically if you owned an Apple (that you don't use) capable of running the version OSX you're running in a Linux VM, you could argue that whilst it was a breach of contract to run that VM, Apple couldn't argue that there was any monetary harm in that breach of contract.

This legal advice is almost certainly worth less than you paid for it.

Irony, thy name is SANS: 28k records nicked from infosec training org after staffer's email account phished


Have you ever been on a SANS course? I have and they're definitely a bit more intensive than the run of the mill courses you sometimes get. Yes they're expensive which is partially because their trainers are security practitioners who work in the industry, although I dare say there's a bit of market gouging going on.

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault


You don't gain anything by being nasty to those types. Be nice to them.

And rant about them for half an hour in the growlery[0] afterwards if necessary (it should be - it's a vital stress reduction strategy).

0: That's a room for growling in. Every Helldesk on the planet should have one.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online


But It's Shiny!

I too ran something similar to Hermes (if far smaller) - a couple of Exim-based MTAs for a much less esteemed university, and a mailbox server for a few grumpy people who wouldn't put up with the flakiness of the commercially supported mailbox server. Funnily enough I'm still running Exim to handle all those bits that the cloud-migration decided was too much like hard work.

Cambridge will gain features but lose flexibility.

And as all their mail admins will be reduced to pointing and drooling, they'll find that getting and retaining highly technical staff will get worse - we like doing interesting stuff.

Leaky AWS S3 buckets are so common, they're being found by the thousands now – with lots of buried secrets


Re: Outsourcing

It's the cloud equivalent of 'chmod 777 ...' just to get it working.


Re: And the corporate world ...

On the plus side, it means I've got a job for life :)

I sometimes semi-seriously suggest that I should work in a team with "insecurity" in the name rather than "security" to try and emphasise that security is part of everyone's job.

Co-inventor of the computer mouse, William English, dies


"but they can be counted accurately"

Says you. I'm half convinced that if you leave them alone in a dark drawer for long enough, they breed. Just don't leave a trackball in the same drawer - you really don't want to know!

BTW: In Tom and Jerry, the mouse does indeed sometimes chase the cat.

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far


Re: Ah, the days before memory protection seemed necessary...

I believe that IBM 360s had hardware memory protection from their introduction in 1964 and I dare say Univacs also had it.

Of course you had to run an operating system that made use of it, or there may have been bugs in the protection mechanism.

In the market for a second-hand phone? Check it's still supported by the vendor – almost a third sold are not



It would be a nice gesture if these second hand phone sellers were to contribute in some way to LineageOS or equivalent - it's even in their business interest to do so.

AI assistants work perfectly in the UK – unless you're from Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Belfast...


Re: Yet another reason

And send 'em back for a refund explaining why.

GRUB2, you're getting too bug for your boots: Config file buffer overflow is a boon for malware seeking to drill deeper into a system


Re: Be nice if they could make it secure *and reliable*

Hmm ... it's possible that there's something funky about your machine rather than the update - I've upgraded two Ubuntu machines this morning (although only one was rebooted) without an issue. And I've certainly not seen any recent booting issues after a grub update.

But yes, I'd certainly agree that making booting more bullet-proof would be useful.

Google extends homeworking until this time next year – as Microsoft finds WFH is terrific... for Microsoft


One of the most important things I did at the start of this was to make a resolution to "walk to work" in the morning - every day without fail I'd at the very least walk around the block before starting work.


Re: Self Control

Flexibility is good, but if you're still getting used to WfH then sticking to the office hours isn't a bad way of adjusting. At the very least it'll make the tendency to deal with just one more email at midnight a little less likely.


Re: WFH is also good

I always found that walking across the office and explaining the problem to somebody else was a good way of realising what the problem was; now I'm WfH, I'm explaining the problem to the Cthulhu plushy which seems to work just as well. And I'm not disturbing anyone.

I would say it makes me seem odd, but people think I'm odd anyway, so no real downside.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline


Re: We’ve had plenty of these Molly cover stories

But a Frisbee doesn't cause such a satisfying crashing sound when slamming into a concrete floor.


Re: We’ve had plenty of these Molly cover stories

A manager was checking the delivery of a new Sun E450 (it was a while ago) when his butt encountered the power switch of an AlphaServer 4100 running a whole bunch of stuff. Yes the front cover had been removed (we'd been playing with disks).

What evil lurks within the data centre, and why is it DDoS-ing the ever-loving pants off us?


"the developers refused to admit it at the time"

Do they all do that?

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?



So many similar stories that I can't remember them all.

I did implement rate limiting with Exim so that a bulk spewer would end up with messages being 'frozen' in the queue and not delivered; as a result 'exiwhat -zif root@someplace | xargs exim -Mrm' is hardwired into my fingers. I seem to recall a common issue was web→mail forms being spammed by scanners.

Rust code in Linux kernel looks more likely as language team lead promises support


Re: A lingo that is 'fit for purpose' for actual KERNEL programming

Rust inside the kernel would probably be a bad idea; using Rust to write code to be compiled into the kernel is a whole other question. And one that the kernel /developers/ are not dead set against; and frankly they know more about this than you or I.

Apple: Don't close MacBooks with a webcam cover on, you might damage the display


"What Apple _should_ do, is design a sliding cover into future models"

Or at the very least carve out enough space on the front edge of the case so that it doesn't cause damage.

Not that I use those covers myself - if you find anything more interesting on my webcams than a fat old geek staring myopically at the laptop screen, please let me know!

Oh what a cute little animation... OH MY GOD. (Not acceptable, even in the '80s)


Re: Fail

Weren't you ever 18?

And I speak as someone who would have been cleaning up student labs in the 1990s - no we never had a lab full of porn. Perhaps because most of the students around the labs in my neck of the woods were history/sociology students; the look of bemused horror as they came out of their first computational statistics workshop were hilarious.

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now


Re: Reply to Linus Torvalds

Shrug. If certain phrases offends some people it is worth considering changing it.

And in the case of "allow lists" and "deny lists" the 'improved' phrase is more descriptive of how they're usually used.

Having said that, the "black" in blacklists has a longer history of being used to mean "bad" than used to refer to people with built-in suntans. The OED has references in that context going back to the Old English era including some confusion relating to the switch from the word "swart" (meaning black (meaning swart)). Although "black" has been used in reference to people for as long, it was principally descriptive - even used for people with dark hair - and it wasn't until the 1960s that it was popularised as an identity.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds


Re: Simlar ...

I suppose you could try that with an Expert Mouse but it might be easier to grow a third arm. Plus it's harder picking up the ball and throwing it at annoying people.


Simlar ...

I turned the mouse the right way up - student was using it upside down as a trackball having never used such a device before. Funnily enough I usually prefer to fly a trackball myself these days (an "Expert Mouse").

Well bork me sideways: A railway ticket machine lies down for a little Windoze


Re: Art Deco

The outside isn't so bad although it just isn't big enough to be a "Transport Palace" but the inside is a bit "meh" - a bit cramped (especially during an incident with large numbers of passengers dumped on the platform).

Linux Mint 20 isn't exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there's kernel 5.4 and it's a long-term support release


Re: Linux flavours

I guess that makes me a clueless beardy - I 'recently' swapped from Debian to Ubuntu. Do I get some geek points back for using a tiling window manager?

University of California San Francisco pays ransomware gang $1.14m as BBC publishes 'dark web negotiations'


I think you need to revise your basic English comprehension - there's no indication within the article that any journalist was involved in the negotiations; they observed.

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?


Re: Hmmm

If you're going to add cider to the mix, I'd keep away from cream. Dipping the scone with cream is going to get messy with cream in the cider; and that just won't do.


Re: Too much arguing = not enough eating

How do you feel about Sandleford's cider with ginger? After a 20L box, I'm still not sure - I'll just have to get another to see how it works out.


Re: There is a third option:

Being perverse, I do wonder how well a black pudding in a scone would go down.

Of course as a vegetarian, I can't try this for myself, but inquiring minds must know.