* Posts by TheOldBear

28 posts • joined 2 Jun 2010

Time to svn commit like it's the year 2000: Apache celebrates 20 years of Subversion


Re: svn vs git

We have 'switched' from svn to git (Bitbucket) for new projects - but are still following a single central repository model.

At least we no longer have the manager that did not know that the SVN Book and other style guides existed and made their own standards for usage. [like renaming tags to track deployment]. I guess it was some sort of job security ploy, but it made it difficult to know just what version of software was actually deployed [no 'at a glance', needed to look through email chains and QA test logs]

He also imposed a unique way of using Ant

Complete with keyboard and actual, literal, 'physical' escape key: Apple emits new 16" $2.4k+ MacBook Pro


I'll give it a look in a year or two, once refurbished units are common.

Security? We've heard of it! But why be a party pooper when there's printing to be done


Re: Very Secure...Unlessit conflicts with the ADA

I recall a data center [Metrotech, Brooklyn] that had a set of 'man trap' access card controlled doors at either end of a corridor. Right next to the corridor was an ADA [American's with Disabilities Act] compliant door that was just propped open during the day.

User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily... right?


Re: Then there is the "send me a copy"

I get Jira issues, with an attached exported email, containing a word document, containing a screenshot

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?


Single sided floppies

Back in the CP/M-80 dark ages, users had a few multiple disk actions [data dump for backup; software update]

The user was instructed to insert disk # 1, 2, 3 - and then complained that they couldn't insert disk 4 - there was no room in the drive

Yes, single sided soft sector drive, and the user inserted with each new floppy on top of the previous floppy [and the holes happened to line up]

This happened more than once, with both customers and our sales/support folks.

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock


Re: Too inefficient to manage the 'ecosystem' products

Some [not too] recent software choices echo this.

My personal example is the termination of the Pro level Aperture photo management tool in favor of a phone centric 'Photos' application with dramatically reduced capabilities.

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings


Re: Vi


Re: Vi

It makes more sense if you are using a mechanical teletype, perhaps, but with any software using a cursor addressable terminal it is at best an anachronism and generally a pain in the posterior. Unix, which was used extensively on systems with mechanical teletypes found no need for it but windows, born on a PC, introduced it ... probably with the same malice as changing the / directory delimiter to \ and thus causing grief to this day.


Actually, the CR/LF convention was copied [like much of MS-DOS] from CP/M-80 version 2 conventions. Adapting a stock ASR-33 teletype for unix compatibility required a hardware change to fire off both actions on receipt of a \n 'newline character' [the \r was handled normally, allowing for overprinting to render text on paper as *bold*]

The replacement of the standard path separator '/' with the billslash '\' character was a result of many Microsoft tools [compilers, linker] reserving the slash as it options 'switch character'. MS & PC DOS 2.x had a 'switchchar' environment variable so you could try to set it to '-' instead of '/' - but only the CCP ['console command processor, the DOS prompt command processor] and some third party software [e.g. MicroFocus COBOL] honored the swithchar setting.

What is dead may never die: a new version of OS/2 just arrived


Re: Nice for abandonware


I think Microsoft started its version numbering for Windows NT with 3.1 because that was the same version number of the Windows desktop OS at the time. Both desktop and server OS largely shared the same GUI interface.

I remember installing Windows NT 3.1 from floppies for one of my college professors. Due to lack of software support, it wasn't exactly dazzling. It did offer a TCP/IP stack, a trick that took Novell a few (fateful) years to replicate


The software that was released as Windows NT was started [pre divorce] as OS/2 NT - the 'portable' version of OS/2, written in C instead of assembler. It also had a kernel + API design [Win32, Win16, OS/2 1.x, POSIX subset]

From what I recall, NetWare 3.x was introduced a couple of years before WinNT - and had several pluggable network protocols - both TCP/IP and IPX were available, but IPX was easier to configure.

Sick of Java and C++? Google pours a cup o' Kotlin for Android devs


Re: Noob question

It's the standard program entry point, expected by the JVM.

This is exactly equivalent to the normal Java entry of

public static void main(String [] args){

//main method may use or ignore args


How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?


Re: My personal input.


Well, I was present when one IT manager described a "gadget that moved a pointer on the screen"; I said I thought that was a "mouse" - but that was in 1982 - about a year before the Apple Lisa or the Microsoft Mouse appeared.


Could have been a digitizer puck on a CAD workstation, or even an early mouse driven environment like Visi On or Epson Valdocs

AT&T accused of Wi-Fi interception, ad injection

Big Brother

Just 'blackholed' the offending domain on my Macbook, pity there is no 'hosts' file to edit on an iPad

Apple Watch RIPPED APART, its GUTS EXPOSED to hungry Vultures


Anyone remember the HP 01 Watch?

Clearly the leading influence for the Apple Watch, from back when digital was a new buzzword.


A first look at Google’s Android Studio 1.0: Climbing out of the Eclipse kitchen sink


Long time IDEA user

I never got into using Eclipse.

This tool is likely based on the open source 'community' edition of IDEA. One of many nice things is that the community edition is free.

The full version of the tool [including all the enterprise bits] is available with a variety of licenses - including free licenses for open source projects.

Ford to dump Microsoft's 'aggravating' in-car tech for ... BlackBerry?


Maybe a QNX based system

will have a working clock.

Since I got my Focus, with version 2.11 of MFT, Ford has released three updates without providing a working clock [or addressing other outstanding defects]. Ford has removed useful features, and added an unwanted animated compass. [And the BSoD claims to be 'performing scheduled maintenance']

I think that this is mostly a project management problem. To put it mildly, Ford is not seeking input from users/customers about defects and misfeatrues. [no issue tracking system, pathetic online forums and support]

Star Trek: The original computer game


Still have the source code for this around [ASR-33 paper tape] from a vintage 1972 port to DEC TOPS-10. Printing out a full galaxy map took a while

And I recall a version of the game ported to the HP 67/97 calculators [on six program cards, plus a data card]

Dragon capsule makes fiery entrance, safe splashdown


Re: Your science is rubbish

" around 3,000 pounds – on earth, that is"

The pound is a unit of mass, not weight.

(I assume the article wasn't making some bizarre monetary valuation.)

Actually, in the old style engineering units popular when the Saturn V was flying, the pound is a unit of force, not mass. [Units of Force, TIme and Length are fundamental in the old engineering system]

The 'slug' is the unit of mass - and it is a derived quantity [the amount of mass that a force of one pound accelerates at one foot per second squared].

This is one reason the MKS [Meter - Kilogram - Second] units are more popular today, even with these new fangled calculators to help out.

Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads


This all sounds quite familiar somehow. Wasn't this sort of thing tried before, and failed dismally?

Yet another Java zero-day vuln is being exploited


Attack vector includes a DLL and Registry updates - so this Java attack only impacts Windows [not cross platform]

Climate-change scepticism must be 'treated', says enviro-sociologist


Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"


If you're waiting for scientific proof, you'll wait forever. Science is about "disproof" (falsifiability) - if AGW is theorized (on the basis of available evidence, modelling etc.), then attempts must be made to disprove it - if it continues to resist all such challenges, it is a valid theory, but it can *never* be proved formally.


Actually the burden on proponents of a hypothesis [before it graduates to being a 'theory'] is to provide one or more testable predictions. These would be tests / predictions that would have a different outcome if the hypothesis was a better description of the world than the current, generally accepted theory.

The problem with the CAGW hypothesis is that it fails to accurately predict anything - even [as best as we can measure] the current global climate vs predictions made in the 1980's and 90's [e.g. the hockey stick graph and the underlying model's extrapolations].

What we have seen is all manner of weather events [measured as warmer, cooler, wetter, dryer, with tropical storms, absence of tropical storms....] claimed to be 'consistent with' CAGW scenarios.

MeeGo and the Great Betrayal Myths of tech history

Big Brother

Countering the Ministry of Truth

Back in 1989 The _Microsoft_ OS/2 2.0 developer kit was $2600. That was the official dev kit for both the IBM and Microsoft developer community.

In 1990, just before the 'divorce' MS was still encouraging developers to target OS/2 2.x and showing previews of OS/2 NT [written in C instead of assembler was it's big feature]. WordPerfect was one of the companies caught in the trap, investing in a native OS/2 version.

In 1991, IBM's OS/2 developer kit was part of a $100 / year annual subscription - and several third party compilers were released.

In 1992 Microsoft's version of OS/2 still had the old program manager / file manager interface, looking just like Windows 2.1 or MS OS/2 1.2

Also in 1992, IBM released their OS/2 2.0 [on 26 floppies] featuring the document oriented 'Workplace Shell'

In 1993 Microsoft renamed the OS/2 3.0 project to Windows NT, and also stated it was a fashionable 'microkernal' based OS. The promise of multiple API personalities had Bill the Gates proclaim "NT is UNIX, in six months it will be the most popular UNIX'. Needless to say, NT was not and is not UNIX [even the fossil POSIX subset api layer has been deleted]

2011 Ford Focus

Gates Horns

Sync Naming

In the US, when Ford introduced Sync, it was always called 'Microsoft Sync'.

For the past year, they've dropped the 'Microsoft' part of the name - apparently MS is not a name that increases car sales.

Google Linux servers hit with $5m patent infringement verdict


More prior art

A CP/M based [medical office] accounting system that I maintained in the early 80s did this with its transactions. This was actually the company's third generation design, the first two used custom microcomputers programmed in assembler/machine code [mid 1970's design]

Praying for meltdown: The media and the nukes


some negative feedback

[quote]Technically true - nature has shown the advantage of the negative feedback loop. From stellar fusion, to homeostatis, negative feedback keeps things nicely in order. This reactor design relies on positive feedback with the feedback being actively tempered. It can run perfectly well for many years, but if something goes awry you've got problems.[/quote]

Actually, all water moderated reactors [Boiling water, pressurized, CANDU....] have a strong negative feedback component. If the working fluid [water] inside the reactor core boils neutrons are no longer slowed to where they can be captured efficiently, halting the fission chain reaction.

Graphite moderated reactors [e.g. Chernobyl] can continue fissioning after the coolant boils away - one of their many disadvantages.

Japanese earthquake sparks nuclear emergency


Inherently Safe reactors

To a great extent, this is part of the basic design of water moderated reactors - if the moderator [water] has boiled away, the reaction _STOPS_.

What is left is the residual decay heat - not the fission chain reaction.

There has been extensive work on designs that are 'inherently safe' - capable of sealing with the residual decay heat without damage or intervention [human or mechanical]. The gas cooled 'pebble bed' reactors and the PIUS reactor concept [http://www.euronuclear.org/e-news/e-news-17/nps-kth.htm] are two examples.

Samsung EX1 compact camera


Small Sensor advantage

Remember, it's easier to make a lens for a smaller sensor - my Panasonic FZ50 has an f2.8 [at the wide end] 12 to 1 zoom lens.

The equivalent lens for 35mm full frame would be huge [200mm filter size] and too heavy to hand hold.

iPad hits Asus Eee PC sales


As an iPad owner

I am also looking at a netbook - but only if there is no 'windows tax' included in the price.

Microsoft's past - the future to Android's iPhone victory


Some actual history

Actually, Microsoft not IBM was the original source for the OS/2 2.0 development kit. IBM was working on OS/2 1.3.x and LAN Server

Back in 1989, the prices were $2600.00 for the OS/2 SDK, the Windows 2/286 SDK was only $200 or so [this was just before MS's developer subscriptions]. Most developers preferred the Borland tools to Microsoft compilers anyway.

While the core of the API [API names beginning with 'DOS'] was available, the UI [presentation manager] was unfinished - MS OS/2 2.x used the same UI as their OS/2 1.2.1 and Windows 2.x

For that matter, the Microsoft OS/2 3.0 NT project [later renamed to Windows NT 3.0] still used the same File Manager / Program Manager UI.

Ballmer, black turtlenecks, and Microsoft's next big idea


UCSD p-System

The p-system [one of the original operating systems available for the IBM PC, along with CP/M-86 and PC-DOS] also used a virtual machine interpreter. The same binaries would run on Z80, 8086 and 68000 flavors of the virtual machine.


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