* Posts by Spamfast

294 posts • joined 23 Jun 2010


Our software is perfect. If something has gone wrong, it must be YOUR fault


Re: Testers

Reminds me of Greenhills' embedded C/C++ toolchain.

I've only ever had to use it at two places. We'd find compiler bugs and report them for which we were barely even given an acknowledgement after they'd finally agreed that it wasn't that we were 'using the programming language wrong'. If we needed to have them fixed in a timely manner, we were required to pay gouging amounts for a patch.

Greenhills gets used a lot for safety critical because they claim certification to various standards but you have to pay them again to get proof of that.

I've pointed out to management that as gcc is so widely used and open source that is easy to use those facts and a good test suite (which you need anyway regardless of toolchain) to demonstrate its fitness for SC software to the satisfaction of almost all regulatory standards. Even when I show them that I've been able to do that for other clients they still insist on using Greenhills while simultaneously complaining about the engineering budget.


Re: A familiar experience

Thankfully for me in the EU, they have been exclusively inflicting these random builds on the Indian market, which they appear to have unilaterally adopted as their unwilling alpha testers.

Alpha test doesn't just mean earlier than beta. Alpha testing is done by people who have been involved in the development. Beta testing is done by people who haven't i.e. the great unwashed public these days it seems. So the poor sods in India are still beta testers.

Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

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It started with the HTML BLINK thing

Oh, the rot started much earlier.

Teletext had blinking text character codes way before HTML.

DEC VT escape codes earlier still. Not sure whether IBM block-mode terminals did so before or after that.

But we're talking 1970 or possibly earlier either way.


Oh, 'eck. Arroogah and Petrocelli?

I think I'm starting to believe in the collective unconscious, M. Dabbs.

But returning to topic, my other half is also shy of all the bleeps and so routinely mutes her phone - which is fine until I need to contact her. 'Infuriating' doesn't cover it.

US net neutrality bill is only two pages long. And that's potentially a good thing


Has anyone who has posted prior to me actually read Title II?

If not, stop BSing.

If so, can't you agree that it's at least a step in the right direction?

[Disinterested party except when travelling.]

There is a path to replace TCP in the datacenter


Perhaps the problem is we don't have 7 whole layers to play with any more like we did with OSI.

We never did.

OSI was designed for circuit switched networks aka PSTNs. Packet switching was bolted on afterwards and to the best of my knowledge there was only one practical implemementation using OSI from the ground up - DecNET OSI - which went the same way as every other alternative to TCP/IP for systemwide high-level networking.

Packet switching predates OSI and TCP/IP was developed contemporaneously if not slightly before.

The only useful thing to come out of OSI was the pretty layer diagram and even that doesn't fit TCP/IP or most other networking technology very well.


El Reg's Irrational Downer On TCP?

a protocol that's over the hill and under the gun

Didn't we have this a few weeks ago in another El Reg article which was thouroughly debunked by the merry throng?

TCP is still amazingly good at what it's supposed to do desptie the fact that the transports over which it is carried have changed significantly over the past forty years, the older ones of those having most certainly become surplus to requirements. It is also very simple to implement.

That it is not suitable for certain niche applications is not news and does not mean it is broken or superannuated.

Ms Hemsoth & her editors need to get a grip.

My smartphone has wiped my microSD card again: Is it a conspiracy?

Black Helicopters

can't beat the Chinese for surveillance

Oh, I think you can.

According to many independent analyses by international privacy groups, the British are the most surveilled population in the world. More CCTV than any other nation, most of it unaccountable.

Welcome to Airstrip One.

Union tells BT: Commit to pay rise talks next week or else


Shame on The Register

Why do the media almost always report that unions 'demand' & 'threaten' and upper management 'offers' or 'awards' things?

Given the current penchant for UK companies to fire full-time staff and bring in foreign agency workers on sub-minimum-wage or desperate 'gig workers' on zero-hour contracts I think the the language needs a bit of revision.

I'm not in a union but all but a tiny sub-one-percentage of us would be very much worst off if they weren't there in terms of remuneration, safe & healthy working environments and equality of opportunity. This applies to white-collar just as much as blue.

Most union officials genuinely try to work in the best interests of the whole workforce under much more democratic mandate from their members than do party politicians from their electorates.

The upper management of most companies now seem to work entirely to further their own interests instead of those of the workforce or even the shareholders, most of whom are kept in the dark as much as possible about their decisions. (The exception being the upper management of the financial institutions who wield block shareholder votes of our pension and other funds who are equally self-serving and collude with them.)

Internet Explorer 11 limps to the end of Windows 10 road


Re: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well

It's "Alas poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio."

(Someone was going to. May as well be me.)

Telegram criticizes Apple for 'intentionally crippling' web app features on iOS


Web on mobiles is pathetic no matter the browser.

I agree that most web sites & SPAs are currently difficult to use on a mobile or even a tablet.

But this is because the developers don't use (sorry for the marketing speak) responsive design to adapt the content to smaller screen sizes and touch-only input in an intelligent way.

Partly this is because they know they'll have to write an app for iOS and possibly for Android anyway so don't waste the effort.

If Apple allowed Gecko or Chromium or kept WebKit up to date and provided a decent set of web APIs into device services then this might not be the case.

This is rather the point that Durov is making. There was a comment piece in El Reg to the same effect quite recently.

Web apps can then be made to appear on the GUI the same as native ones - the facilities for this are already there on other platforms.

I love the Linux desktop, but that doesn't mean I don't see its problems all too well


That's because there are over 3 billion Android phones out there and Android is just a smartphone-specialized Linux distro.

Not to mention pretty much every home router, most commercial web servers, in-vehicle (land & sea) displays, smart TVs etc, etc.. Heck, if you change the word from Linux to GNU - let's face it, the kernel & device drivers would be useless without the utilities - you're including every iThing , Blackberry, Cisco/Sky box & VMware host too and lots of others I can't bring to mind right now. The C & C++ runtimes even on Windows are POSIXy.

I'm just hoping that by 2038 everybody's time_t is 64-bit.

Another VPN quits India, as government proposes social media censorship powers


India's IT minister Chandrasekhar

And I thought it was about the size of white dwarfs, not the limit on privacy.

Enemies Waymo, Uber now friends making self-driving-ish trucks for US highways


Vehicles running the Waymo Driver software will be able to complete part of the journey autonomously, although human drivers will still need to be present.

So not autonomous.

Our test trucks have two autonomous specialists in the rig (one fully licensed professional truck driver and a co-driver).

So the truck needs two people watching over it rather than a normal one that only needs one.

It's bad enough with Tesla drivers playing doodle-jump with the 'autopilot' engaged on the highways. Forty tonne trucks will be fun.

IETF publishes HTTP/3 RFC to take the web from TCP to UDP


Think of the little ones.

I often work with severely constrained platforms - mostly 32-bit Arm these days but nonetheless with available RAM in the hundreds of kilobytes not megabytes and hundred megahertz not gigahertz CPUs. Stacks like lwIP/mbedTLS can handle this with HTTP on top. I'm not sure I'd like to try adding QUIC. So now the server end will have to implement two parallel interfaces for the first and second class clients. I can understand Apache's hesitation.


Slow, verbose, flaky, TCP.

What is the contributor taking? Simple, robust, reliable, extensible. TCP has been remarkably successful, even when used for things it probably shouldn't such as real-time video.

It doesn't fare well over a few link protocols (notably itself) but it's coped amazingly well with all new point to point & packet switching tech including hostile ones such as ATM over asymmetric DSL and V.90.

Atlassian flags Bitbucket and Confluence Data Center flaws


Who in their right mind uses Atlassian product?

Reg reader rages over Virgin Media's email password policy


the possibility of e2e encryption

All messaging systems support E2E encryption, even the postal service. The provider is irrelevant. That's the whole point of E2E.

Huawei UK board members resign over silence on Ukraine invasion


A couple of guys who get a small revenue stream (in their terms - probably a large amount to the rest of us) for doing bugger all as non-executive directors other than chat to their cronies have made a gesture.They won't notice any change in lifestyle and Huawei will be better off not having to pay them.

Almost all non-executive directorships are a scam according to a city lawyer cum venture capitalist associate of mine who is in the position of have a number of them with large PLCs. They're a way for the boards of multiple companies to collude to take more of the companies' revenue for themselves.

UK Department for Education to schools: Maybe delay signing that 3-year licensing deal for MIS with Education Software Solutions


Layers of middle management and bureaucracy

So, like the National Health Service after the Tories & New Tory, sorry, Labour introduced the 'internal market'?

Certain types of infrastructure - law enforcement, health, education, rail, roads etc. - can't & don't operate in a competitive market. Pretending that they do just feathers the nests of ministers & civil servants and their pals.

A private business can be more efficient than a public department - although it's not a law of nature - but not if it is effectively granted a monopoly and massively state-subsidised. Then it just gets efficient at fleecing the public.

SWMBO has just taken early retirement from a UK state secondary school - or academy or whatever it calls itself now - partly because it is all HR departments, business development plans and PR. The top bod is called the Executive Headmaster fer Christ's sake.

And to return topic they are so reliant on the IT systems - including SIMS - that when it falls over they are unable to conduct lessons. They have ripped out all the perfectly serviceable overhead projectors and dry-wipe whiteboards and every classroom now has a vast electronic whiteboard because some educational IT company convinced the management that it would be a sensible way to spend the taxpayers' money that they claim is in such short supply.

Tesla slams into reverse, pulls latest beta of Full Self-Driving software from participating car owners


Agree but remember, over 90% of male drivers self-identify as being better than average. Nearly half of them are wrong. Might be you, might be me, might be the guy in the van. Possibly all three.


Re: This statement needs soem clarification...

Level 3 is a top gear presenter.

What, an overconfident prat who thinks he's god's gift? We need level 3 to be better than level 2.

Nothing works any more. Who decided that redundant systems should become redundant?


Re: Alistair becomes Aristide

Congrats to Mr. Dabbs.

Shouldn't that be congrats to Mme. Dabbs?

Tech spec experts seek allies to tear down ISO standards paywall


I loathe the way the whole philosophy of the ISO has gone.

The IETF approach is akin to open source - publish everything so it can be peer reviewed and tested. The ISO model is closer to closed-source - keep it private except to those who pay you enough so it's tightly controlled and flaws can be kept on the down-low.

IETF standards are generally minimalist, robust, future-proof and easy to understand. ISO ones are usually over-complicated, poorly thought out, require frequent revision and are difficult to comprehend even after you've paid to read them.

One of my two favourite ISO cluster f..ks is OSI - useless as anything other than a diagram and even that doesn't map very well onto the most common real world systems such as TCP/IP & SS#7.

The other is the self-perpetuating monster ISO9000 et al. Originally supposed to bring the benefits of Far Eastern continuous improvement quality systems to Europe & the US it has had the exact opposite effect. Provided you have documentation that you've followed your 'process' you get - for a fat fee to a B-ark consultant - a certificate that you're compliant. It doesn't matter how good or bad your process is or how inappropriate for your business provided it's documented & followed. The bureaucratic cost of changing your process means improvements are positively discouraged.

Toyota for example gave up on ISO9000 back in 2000. Unfortunately smaller companies in supply chains have to continue to pay for the farce because their idiot downstream customers do and they insist on sharing the blame.

A real go-GETTR: Former Trump aide tries to batter Twitter by ripping off its UI


Re: chmod 777

chmod 777 allows everyone to read and write

And execute .. very Republican.

Tesla Autopilot is a lot dumber than CEO Musk claims, says Cali DMV after speaking to the software's boss


Re: I don't get it

Is it really sociopathic to think about the spouse and kids, or is society prepared for a bunch more widows and orphans?

Wow, I'm impressed. Invoking 'think of the children' to justify dangerous driving. What about the children and those of the adults killed in the accidents caused by driving too fast?

Rather than risking having to drive dangerously to meet my commitments, I factor in contingency if it really is that important to my livelihood or the lives of my loved ones. If road conditions were so dire that even this didn't work I still wouldn't take risks as I'd have a good justification for missing the appointment. At the end of the day I would like to think my loved ones would prefer me to lose employment or money than risk losing my life. "Better late than never."

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Re: I don't get it

Ask yourself this: if you were in danger of missing a plane (or train, or whatever), would you (a) press on, turning up the spatial awareness so that you can stretch the rules a little bit on speed limits, or (b) accept that the computer won't go any faster no matter what.

If (b), which is a perfectly valid choice, why have a private car at all?

If (a) then you're a self-admitted criminal sociopath who considers your own desires more important that others' safety. You've also admitted that you don't pay attention when you normally drive.

The (a)s shouldn't even have driving licenses, let alone private cars and are likely to be a menace when being a pedestrian too. Just take a taxi door-to-door when you need to leave the house, eh?

Beyond video to interactive, personalised content: BBC is experimenting with rebuilding its iPlayer in WebAssembly


Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

The last time I checked the commercial channels need a TV licence. That includes watching live sport on Amazon.

That 'live' is the important bit.

If you do not watch any live broadcasts and you don't watch anything on BBC iPlayer you do not need a TV license.

So if you take down or remove the cable from your aerials and satellite dishes and only use the catch-up services from ITV, Channel 4, Five etc. you are not obliged to pay the license fee.

I believe that in days of yore you had to pay if you owned equipment that was capable of receiving live TV broadcasts regardless of whether you did or not. To have solid grounds against CCJs people resorted to bunging up the aerial inputs with resin or unsoldering them.

How not to apply for a new job: Apply for it on a job site


Re: LinkedOut.

The Daily Mash has LinkedIn covered here.

Also, despite having turned off all public access to my profile, how come recruiters can still find me on there?

Think this has now spurred me on to delete my account...

Thanks all.

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain


Colour me annoyed.

Given that a larger proportion of the population have some form of colour-blindness than are, for example, left-handed, perhaps more web sites should have a 'view in greyscale' option? Provided of course that it's been tested for usability.

I could then use them on my old monochrome X terminal running an OSF Motif themed UI. :-D

Mullet over: Aussie boys' school tells kids 'business in the front, party in the back' hairstyle is 'not acceptable'


Re: Traditions?

Australia isn't old enough to have traditions; they merely have habits.

Don't you mean 'previous'?

Semi-autonomous cars sales move up a gear with 3.5 million units leaving forecourts


I'll send flowers...

transport expert Christian Wolmar previously describing fully autonomous driving as an over-hyped pipe dream

I'm glad I'm not the only sceptic commenting here or in the industry.

The simplest form of passenger transport to automate is the train - brakes & throttle control only and track section occupancy managed centrally and backed with automatic emergency brake systems between the tracks & vehicles. Yet as far as I know there is not one autonomous open ground passenger train service that runs at speeds above a walking pace anywhere in the world. (Underground & elevated systems are not 'open ground'.)

If it were safe to do so, train operators would have had no problems getting recent UK governments to allow them to replace all those annoying RMT drivers!

Grotesque soundbyte alert: UK government opens wallet to help rural areas get 'gigafit'


Re: Money-go-round?

Even better value if they don't actually spend it.

Oh don't worry. They'll spend it. It's not like it's their money they're spaffing - look at Test & Trace.

As per normal, they'll give it all to BT who will use some of it to upgrade the profitable bits of their network and the rest to give to upper management as productivity bonuses.

Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles


Re: Mock tech-knocking as much as you like ...

Ways of getting very wealthy, in descending order of success rate:-

1. Arrange to have very wealthy parents.

2. Arrange to have wealthy parents, a little luck and sociopathic tendencies.

3. Start with very little, have a large amount of luck and be a highly talented functional psychopath.

4. Win a mega-lottery.


Re: Job titles!

"Fruit juggling" often goes down well, as does "Wombat Tester".

Oh Mr Dabbs! What have you done?!

Now I'm going to have to accept all those LinkedIn invitations from recruiters who have fabulous job opportunities for me at half my current rate.


Magic Boots

Every month or some some gullible journo at the BBC (and sadly at New Scientist who I'd hope might know better) reports on another revolutionary way of extracting energy from footfalls, arm waving, gastric juices, farting or whatever - usually with some meaningless statement such as "the system was able to produce more than three volts of power".

I don't understand how the 'bio-tech researchers' (Head of Biokinetic Energy Engagement, anyone?) get funding given the basic thermodynamic impossibility of getting worthwhile amounts of power from a person's unrestricted day to day activities.

My favourite, which keeps coming back, is powering the street lights from the pavement. I have an image of pedestrians bumping into each other negotiating a surface with the consistency of a meter's depth of foam rubber with a few flickering overhead LEDs.

Realme 7 5G: Parents, this is the phone you should have got your kids for Christmas


I've never in my life paid more than £150 or so for a phone, and never had any of the problems the reviewer talks about.

I've payed £300 but Up Vote!

Phone screens & cameras are now better than my eyesight. CPUs, GPUs, RAM & flash have outpaced anything a phone needs to do. (I don't play games and I can only watch one video at a time using one pair of earphones.) I've yet to see a real-world use case that requires 5G. Wireless charging is fun but a USB C cable is easier to carry than a charging pad and not exactly difficult to use. (You can use your phone while it's charging too!)

I'm planning to spend £1200 on a new work laptop this year because I can justify the build time saved but for everything else I'd be happy with the £500 quid one my other half bought last year.

The idea of paying a grand or more for a phone is bananas.


Re: Battery

Dual SIM? Sorry, who needs that exactly?

People who don't want to lose connectivity in less well served places or when one of the carriers has a spasm?

People who spend significant amounts of the year in another country?

People who like to keep work & private communication partitioned?

IBM repays millions to staff after messing up its own payroll


Rates of pay difficult or complex ??? Then why has no worker been accidentally overpaid?

Upvote because you beat me to it.

Banks are the same. They claim mistakes are bound to happen from time to time - which is true of course - but never explain why mistakes in their favour far outweigh mistakes in the customers'.

We all know but it might be refreshing if they occasionally fessed up that they're way more focused on the upper management's remuneration than the customers' interests - or even the shareholders'. ("USR shitting on the little guy".)

Climb every mountain, wsl --mount every Linux disk in latest Windows Preview

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Re: Alternatively

So I install Microsoft's half-assed half-hosted/half-bare-metal hypervisor in order to run multiple OSes. But I can't do anything with the Windows instance that is hosting Hyper-V otherwise all the others will stop.

Have you ever tried uninstalling Hyper-V after installing it to try out WSL2? I don't recommend the experience.

Think I'll stick with a proper bare-metal hypervisor if I want that or VMwW or VBox for Windows-hosted, thanks. (Which, despite post facto patching - thanks for the warning, MS - still seem to run poorly with Hyper-V enabled.)


Re: Dual boot is so 1991

I came to realise that computers were better off just running until the next service pack came out

I'd ask if you are tripping if it wasn't for your moniker.

So your philosophy is "fuck my decendants"?

If a desktop machine isn't doing something useful, turn the bloody thing off. At the wall.

As a bonus, with none of the transformers for the monitors, desktop USB hubs, switches & PC consuming juice and making the aircon work harder, you save money.


Re: Not till hell freezes over.

Upvoted because I agree.

But realistically, the most common pattern on desktops in most organizations is Linux running in a VM on a Windows PC since even developers' machines are required to be running the corporate-approved flavour of Windows as domain members with whatever daily changing and never pre-tested group policy and flaky AV shenanigans the IT drones engage in to justify their existence.

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS


Re: Stupid millennials

Where's the Oxford comma in “Highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.”

“Highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod, and a dildo collector.” contains an Oxford comma.

By your measure though, it's still ambiguous because it could still be two or three highlights. What should I do - put two commas after "Mandela"?!

I don't need an Oxford comma to rule out Nelson being divine or ancient because I'm not superstitious and I haven't been living in a cave for the past fifty years so I know that he was a person and that people can't be demigods and don't live to 800. This means that the sentence must be referencing three highlights not two or one. One has to be sensible about when something might need a clearer formulation!

An Oxford comma is easy to miss so something that is genuinely ambiguous may still require a double-take even if it has one. If you need to use a screen reader it can be even more confusing.

As for infinitives & prepositions then when I'm writing a CV, product brief or grant proposal you're damn right I avoid split & trailing ones respectively. I've been on both ends of the processes in question and believe me, weeding out the submissions with poor grammar is usually done early on. If you can't be arsed to get that right I have to question your commitment.


Can't we just go back to OSF/Motif on greyscale monitors and be done with all this?


Really addressing the big problems there.

Well, that gave me a chuckle, Bob. Ta.

I always fall back on the classics in these circumstances.


Re: Stupid millennials

I use it, and frequently so. I like. Have an up-vote.

What sad fate of the Oxford comma? As an editor of scientific papers, I use it every day. It has the potential to remove ambiguity and never creates it. No brainer. Most journals I work with even require it.

It's a poorly written sentence that relies on an Oxford comma to disambiguate between meanings that are both plausible in context.

Now, donning my asbestos writing gloves, where do we stand on the possessive apostrophe? Would pedants like us be happier if it were abolished so we wouldn't have to rail against greengrocers' signs?

Discuss ...

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle



When you were calling several BBS's (sequentially until an answer)

Let's play ... Global Thermonuclear War.

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much


Re: petty power

I'll get my arseless chaps

I'll have to check my old VHS tapes of The Virginian but aren't all chaps arseless? (The chaps in the British & US governments who are nothing but arses notwithstanding.)

If you're writing code in Python, JavaScript, Java and PHP, relax. The hot trendy languages are still miles behind, this survey says


Re: Gotards

Thanks. Glad I'm not alone.

I'm also sick of UML - seems mostly to be a tool for selling expensive graphics packages and training courses.



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