* Posts by Old Used Programmer

293 posts • joined 23 Sep 2010


Bratty Uber throws tantrum, threatens to cut off California unless judge does what it says in driver labor rights row

Old Used Programmer

Re: Dont let the door smack you in the butt, Uber

After seeing the articles about this, *this* particular California voter is inclined to give Uber a big middle finger and vote NO on Prop. 22.

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

Old Used Programmer

Re: Ever done a good deed, only to have it thrown back at you by an angry user

/shrug My career was COBOL on mainframes.

Actually, it's not much a problem. Many of my friends are at least as good with PC problems as I am. Other than the immediate household, everyone is too far away to do anything useful, or I haven't seen them in far too many years. The next older generation is all dead (if my father were still alive he'd be 110) and suspect a good fair fraction of my cousins are, as well (some of them having been born not long after 1930).

Old Used Programmer

Re: Wibbly

At a drug store chain I worked at it turned out the reason we couldn't maintain data connections at night to transfer files to one store was that the DSL line came into the building right next to the transformer for their main neon sign. Oops. The data line got moved...

Old Used Programmer

Re: Wibbly

I was on a contract for a school system in San Jose. One of the people at the office had a--then--magnificent Viewsonic CRT. 21", perhaps? Really big for the time. Had a *terrible* image. After a bit of asking around trying to help, I found out there was an unshielded, major power distribution panel on the other side of the wall the monitor backed up against. It also turned out that the people that ordered PCs for the district offices cut corners by getting really cheap graphics cards.

So when I was told they couldn't afford to get the power panel shielded, I suggested getting her a better graphics card. They wound up putting a then quite a ways behind the current good stuff VooDoo2 in her PC. That allowed the refreshed to cranked up from 60Hz to 85Hz. Presto! Clean display. I think they spent about $100 on the card. Shielding the panel would have been more like $1000 plus.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Reminds me of my mum

Well... At the moment, I'm the phone tech support for an 81-year-old who is used to Windows and MS Word and is temporarily using LibreOffice on a Linux (RPiOS) system (Pi4B-4). His background is as a successful fantasy writer. He'll be out of the convalescent facility and back home in a couple of weeks. Had to get him *something* to write on in a hurry to keep him from going stir-crazy.

Fortunately, his mind is still running just fine. Once he gets out and I get the Pi back, I'll pull his files off in a format his own machine will read. (Probably .docx.)

A tale of mainframes and students being too clever by far

Old Used Programmer

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

S/360s used base and displacement addressing. For some instructions, you could add the contents of a register as well. In the assembler (ALC), you assigned a base register yourself. In a compiled language, the compiler did so. It was quite common to have multiple base registers since the displacement was only a 12-bit value. There were also coding techniques to shift the base register contents as needed.

The CDC 6000 series, on the other hand, used a base/bound pair with a flat address space between them. The register contents were set up by the OS. Within your program, it looked like you started at address 0 went up from there.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

Old Used Programmer

Re: Denial is the first defence.

I once wrote a rather large COBOL program (11K lines of procedure code) that ran as part of a hourly batch cycle ten times per day. I was told, about ten years after I'd left the company, that in the ensuing time there had been *one* ABEND attributed to my program.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

Well *somebody* has a sense of humor... If it's a model 65, it'd be a S/360. If it's a S/370, it'd be a model 165 (or--possibly--168).

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

Old Used Programmer

Re: Mouse mats with logos -avoid, avoid, avoid

There used to be a Raspberry Jam held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. (Said Jam is no defunct because said museum wanted to be paid for people to come in and do something educational for the public...go figure.)

I would set up system on a long side table near the snack bar in the museum lobby. The tables were completely smooth and a very even white. Optical mice wouldn't work on the surface at all. A white piece of paper would work, but not the table top.

Old Used Programmer

Re: I'm sure we've all done this too

I did that once to an oscilliscope in a Physics lab once. Spooked the Hell out of the students I was working with.

Old Used Programmer

I was sent along as "tech support" for a trial run of a training program for a new internal ordering program that was being put in. Since everything was running flawlessly, once I'd set it up, I just sat in the back of the room with nothing to do.

I noticed that one of the trainees kept twisting the mouse as if she expected that to do something. At a break, I mentioned to the instructor that that particular trainee appeared to be trying to rotate the screen pointer by turning the mouse.

When things started back up the trainer started wandering around the room, seemingly at random, but ending up behind the trainee I'd been watching. Then went back to the front of the room a launched into a lesson on how mice and the pointers worked.

The trainer thanked me later for the observation.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Old Used Programmer

Re: Almost mouse free

A friend of ours once had a cat that would--successfully--hunt rattlesnakes.

Old Used Programmer

Rug rats, too.

The only chewed cable problem I've had involved a set of headphones and 6-year-old child.

A memo from the distant future... June 2022: The boss decides working from home isn't the new normal after all

Old Used Programmer

Re: New Normal?

The version I heard was...

Mathematician: 3's a prime, 5's a prime, 7's a prime, 9's not a prime. Proposition is false.

Physicist: 3's a prime, 5's a prime, 7's a prime, 9's not a prime, experimemtal error?, 11's a prime, 13's a prime, 15's not a prime. Proposition is false.

Engineer: 3's a prime, 5's a prime, 7's a prime, 9's a prime... It's true.

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

Old Used Programmer

Re: Next great idea

That's the business model pioneered by King Gillette. He figured that he could practically give away his razors, so long as people had to buy his blades. At the time, the blades were carbon steel and only lasted for a few shaves. Then came modern, stainless steel blades that lasted far longer...

And for the previous mentions of HP...the *did* try to force people to buy their toner cartridges, and got shot down over it. More recently, they've said they're raising prices on the printers because they don't profit from replacing toner cartridges.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

Old Used Programmer

In 2002 I built a system--far from my first--with 2GB of ECC RAM. It also had dual Opteron-240 processors and 3 WD 36GB 10K RPM SATA-I Raptor HDDs. The memory alone cost $500. The OS on it was SuSE 9.2 because that was the only Linux distro available that was a full 64-bit system.

Old Used Programmer

Some things never die...

You can still output files formatted with the -ms macro set for nroff and troff on a modern Linux system.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

Old Used Programmer

Re: Then, there is Chess...

And "Checkmate" comes from "Shah mat" (the king is dead).

After 30 years of searching, astroboffins finally detect the universe's 'missing matter' – using fast radio bursts

Old Used Programmer

Re: ...but does it really "matter" given the state of Humanity?

You've been reading "Digging the Weans", haven't you?

Raspberry Pi Foundation serves up an 8GB slice of mini-computing goodness

Old Used Programmer

Re: Pi a great project

That BBC Micro naming is *why* there are A and B series Pis...dating back the the Model B and Model A. They've just gotten a whole lot better in the last 8 years.

Old Used Programmer

Re: I just wish they'd unlock the PCIe pins.

What you want is the upcoming CM4.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Further back than that....

I think you missed the point. The Pi2Bv1.2 uses the *same* SoC as the Pi3B/Pi3B+ (just a stepping difference, and last I heard, the older boards now use the newer stepping, anyway). So if RPiOS64 will run on a Pi3B or Pi3B+, then it will run on a Pi2Bv1.2. Just slower due to reduced clock speed.

And bear in mind that the Pi2Bv1.2 boards are still being made.

Note that this expectation does *not* include the Pi2Bv1.1--which aren't made any more--as they used the 32-bit only BCM2836 rather that the BCM2837.

Old Used Programmer

The BCM2711 (SoC on the Pi4) can address 16GB of RAM. So, for those applications that can use that, without needing a faster processor, it would make sense. The question becomes: Will the marketplace support a 16GB Pi4B? Collectors alone *might* be enough to do that, especially with people that simply want bragging rights. See adage about fools, money and the parting thereof.

It does beg another question, though...How many PCs are out there with processors running at or about 2GHz and having 16GB installed?

Old Used Programmer

Further back than that....

RPiOS64 *should* run on a Pi2Bv1.2, since it uses the same SoC as the Pi3B/Pi3B+.

Linux desktop org GNOME Foundation settles lawsuit with patent troll

Old Used Programmer

Re: I hope it's a good result

During the whole "SCO" vs IBM suit, it was mentioned that the general IBM policy is to just pay any claim of less than $10K and fight anything over that amount. To keep people from exploiting the policy, sometimes they *will* fight over amounts of less than $10K. It's kind of a case of, how lucky are you feeling today? Further, their lawyers were nicknamed the Nazgul.

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer

Old Used Programmer

Re: Yes the users are bad

Hmmm... Yes... Like the time I was in a meeting that was almost all management, between the project I was on and the data center where it was going to be run.

After describing what we intended to do (ASCII async to an IBM mainframe DB2 system), one of the data center people said flatly, "It can't be done." So I innocently said, "Oh... In that case, why was I doing just that 5 years ago at another company?" The data center person grumped and said, "Well...*we've* never done it." Management on my side of the table actually noticed the goal post move and the data center management said they'd look into it. Couple of months later...that data center announced a new service, ASCII async to EBCDIC data transfers.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

Old Used Programmer

Re: Remember serial breakout boxes?

Grrrr... There is no such thing as a "DB-9". There is a DE-9 connector.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Luxury

Also known as "diagonal cutters" or "dikes", for short.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Danger - building works

That sounds suspiciously like what happened between UC Berkeley and a site they were connected to on the East Coast. In spite of paying a lot to have two, independently routed, circuits, *both* went through the same cable under a farmers field in New Jersey. Said farmer managed to nail the cable and both circuits went down. I believe that (AT&T, probably?) got asked for a serious amount of money for not having provided the independent routing that Berkeley had been paying for.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Proper lash up

I did once make a comment telling anyone in the future not to muck about with that section of code unless they actually understood what it was doing and how it was doing it.

Old Used Programmer

Need to check....

I think I've still got a box full of RS-232 cables ranging up to at least 50' long.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital

Old Used Programmer

Been there, done that...

As someone who spent far too many years writing and maintaining COBOL programs, I will attest that it is exceedingly verbose. Or, as I used to quip, it's the only programming language I know that is guaranteed to give you writers cramp.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response

Old Used Programmer

Re: No so much COBOL as the tools

Anybody who thinks a 3270 is a mainframe falls in the idiot category.

Cops charge prankster who 'corona-coughed' on aged officer and had it filmed

Old Used Programmer

Re: Idiot

Until 71 would be a good age. Same age as the cop he pranked.

He’s a pain in the ASCII to everybody. Now please acquit my sysadmin client over these CIA Vault 7 leaking charges

Old Used Programmer

Re: Focus On The Clowns

There is the story from the end of WW2. A German intelligence official was being interogated. He was asked what he knew about the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA). He replied, "Oh, we know all about the OSS. That's your cover for your real intelligence operation."

Old Used Programmer

Re: They're never going to get a jury who understands any of this

I did it by questioning the integrity of the prosecutors, citing examples of dirty tricks by same in various places. Followed by being leery of the integrity of the defense attorney.

Remember the Clipper chip? NSA's botched backdoor-for-Feds from 1993 still influences today's encryption debates

Old Used Programmer

Same old, same old...

Require the government--internally, including FBI, NSA, etc. and military--to use the same encryption they want to foist on everyone else.

Brit brainiacs say they've cracked non-volatile RAM that uses 100 times less power

Old Used Programmer

How long....

Nothing in the article about effective working lifetime. Does this share the problem with flash that it can only be written a limited (sometimes *very* limited) number of times?

Alan Turing’s OBE medal, PhD cert, other missing items found in super-fan’s Colorado home by agents, says US govt

Old Used Programmer

Re: A world of her own

I rather suspect that she'll wind up somewhere with full time guards...of one sort or another.

IBM, Microsoft, a medley of others sing support for Google against Oracle in Supremes' Java API copyright case

Old Used Programmer

Re: Why not let idiotic orgs let their APIs slide into obscurity via failing to license freely?

Actually... No. Nothing copyrighted before 1928 is still covered. Current law is life plus 70 years for individuals, 95 years for corporations. Blame the Mouse Kingdom for the extensions that have been pushing those out. 1928 is critical date for "Steamboat Willy".

We’ve had enough of your beach-blocking shenanigans, California tells stubborn Sun co-founder: Kiss our lawsuit

Old Used Programmer

Eminent domain

Give him the $380K that the land the access is on is supposed to be worth and seize it to be state property.

British bloke accused of extorting victims for 'Dark Overlord' hacker crew finally gets his free trip* to America

Old Used Programmer

Re: Where is Anne Sacoolas?

Since--so far as I know--the basic facts of that case are known, Dunn's family could probably win a wrongful death civil case fairly easily. Probably not as satisfying a putting her in the slammer, but far better than nothing. (Note that this is how O. J. Simpson was taken down after his criminal acquittal.)

HP to hike upfront price of printer hardware as ink biz growth runs dry

Old Used Programmer

Re: At the risk of topic drift, can I ask for a recommendation for a mono laser...

I have an HP2015 that I had a network card added to a couple of years ago, and an HP2055dn. Because I can set the IP address in the HP2055dn I'm seriously thinking of getting a second one (they go for less than $200 on the used/reconditioned market). Both of those are real workhorses.

Old Used Programmer

Re: Deskjet - sold for $1,000, and not subsidised.

Heh... Ever stand near an IBM 1403N1 running at the full 1100lpm?

Holy smokes! Ex-IT admin gets two years prison for trashing Army chaplains' servers

Old Used Programmer

Where is god when you need him?

Shouldn't the chaplains have just appealed for divine help to fix everything? Can't the omnipotent creator of the universe do something simple lijke that?

HP printer small print says kit phones home data on whatever you print – and then some

Old Used Programmer

Re: Not me!

HP2015 (with an after-market Ethernet card) and an HP2055DN, here. Last I looked, one can get refurbished HP2055dn printers for about $175 (as opposed to about $700 new).

Old Used Programmer

Re: polluting the well.

Some years ago (and for several years) I had a local supermarket "loyalty card" with the name "B. Munchausen" and the address of the store I usually shopped at. Since I always paid in cash at that store, there would never have been any sort of cross-check. Once--in perhaps ten years--a clerk asked if I was related to Baron Munchausen. I just smiled. Never seemed to occur to anyone that the name was a complete giveaway that it was all a fabrication...

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)

Old Used Programmer

A note of CA license plates...

Given the license "plate" number and what it looked like... Recently, California started requiring dealers to put paper plates on all cars sold, rather that advertising for the dealership, to be replaced by the buyer when they get the real plates. The number given is typical of those temporary plates. The state should have a record of which car it goes with. In theory, the owner of the correct car should have reported the plate being stolen. If he didn't, there should be a presumption that it's his car that was used. If the theives were dumb enough to use the car that plate goes with (perhaps they stole the car), the chance of finding them probably goes up a bit.

Darkest Dungeon: Lovecraftian PTSD simulator will cause your own mask to slip

Old Used Programmer

Re: I.T. Angle?

People have made Miskatonic U. "diplomas". Some fans gave one to Marion Zimmer Bradley. MZB had it framed and hung it on a wall. When she hired an editor for her fantasy magazine for her English Lit. background and skills (but, unfortunately, totally lacking in any fantasy or SF knowledge), said editor spotted the diploma and remarked to Marion, "Oh! Is that where you got your degree?" She was serious.

Backdoors won't weaken your encryption, wails FBI boss. And he's right. They won't – they'll fscking torpedo it

Old Used Programmer

Re: Ok... they can have their damned backdoors if...

My version is slightly different...by law, require *all* Federal agencies to use whatever encryption scheme they foist on everyone else.



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