* Posts by dajames

1612 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011

Microsoft's sought-after tabbed File Explorer gets closer to release

dajames Silver badge

What is this fascination with tabs?

A tabbed file manager would presumably allow one to display two directories in different tabs, much as one currently can in two different windows.

Displaying two directories side-by-side in different windows can be useful. You can visually compare the two displays to look for differences, you can drag files from one and drop them into the other. This, surely is better than having two directories of which only one can be visible at a time?

I never understood why people liked tabbed browsers, but equally I don't see any harm in them. Tabbed file managers just sound like lunacy.

Smart homes are hackable homes if not equipped with updated, supported tech

dajames Silver badge

Re: It may be "der" for us

We see it with mobile phones a lot, why should the smart home things be different?


We shouldn't see it with phones, but we do, and if we see it with such (relatively) high-end devices then of course we'll also see it at the tat end of the market.

The solution must be consumer protection laws that require all "smart" tech to be supported for the projected lifetime of the kit (a decade or two?), and for vendors then to have the choice of continuing support for a nominal fee or offering an updated, supported device as a cheap upgrade.

Other people's insecure devices affect us all, and we should be working to remove them from the ecosystem.

I'm not sure what one can do when the vendor goes out of trading ...?

EV battery can reach full charge in 'less than 10 minutes'

dajames Silver badge

Full charge in 10 minutes?

If that's from empty then for a typical EV battery of around 60kWh capacity that implies a charge rate of 360kW (about 50% more than Tesla's current biggest "superchargers"). Large-scale support for that is going to create quite a logistical challenge for charging stations (as well as needing some fairly chunky cables).

Don't try this at home, kids!

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

dajames Silver badge

But that's not what Linux desktop fans want. They want Windows crushed and bleeding underneath the Linux juggernaut.

No, that would be silly. What I want is for everyone to have a choice, and for the choice not to use Windows (or any other system) to be as simple and painless as the choice to use it.

This means that I should be able to buy a PC from any major manufacturer without getting Windows on it (and without anyone paying Microsoft for it, obviously).

This means that when my DVD-DW drive needs a firmware upgrade I should be able to apply that upgrade without having to connect the drive to another computer that happens to be running Windows because the manufacturer (I'm looking at YOU Samsung) supplies the upgrade program as a Windows executable (that won't run under Wine or from a VM). Supplying it as a bootable USB image (or a UEFI executable?) would have been smarter ... or, hey, a bootable DVD would have worked; I wouldn't have been trying to update the DVD firmware if I hadn't had a DVD drive!

This means that when I buy an electronic device that is supposed to exchange data with a PC over USB it works regardless of the OS the PC is running (and doesn't, like my SatMap Systems handheld GPS device have a broken USB implementation that talks to Windows but not to anything else I've tried).

I have been using Linux almost exclusively on the desktop for over ten years, now, and it has mostly been a pleasant experience. Where there has been hassle it has been from things like the above, which are nothing really to do with Windows, but rather with third parties making an unwarranted assumption that anything that works with Windows is Good Enough, when a slightly different approach would have led to a solution that would have pleased everyone and would probably have been no harder.

The next time your program is 'not responding,' (do not) try these steps

dajames Silver badge

Re: not responding ....

It just throws something at the screen quickly, so that it looks it has started

And then it goes off and does silly shit...

Yes, but a well written ... well, any competently written ... application would do the silly shit in the background while leaving a responsive GUI thread running in the foreground telling the user what silly shit was going on, or just displaying some hints and tips, or a message of the day.

As long as the GUI thread was processing input messages it would stop the OS thinking it had stopped responding.

This stuff is not rocket science!

dajames Silver badge

Re: $55 a month

Now guess which app launches directly into Not Responding mode every time.

Adobe Digital Editions does that for me ... but I expect they all do, it's probably a "Brand Image" thing.

dajames Silver badge

Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit the joke fell completely flat due to the two halves of my brain disagreeing. It was supposed to read "Linux subsystem for Windows"

I liked it better the way you wrote it, though some commentards seem not to have got the point.

IOW: If you're thinking of using WSL you're approaching the solution inside-out.

dajames Silver badge

Re: VMs?

2. the IT professional didn't understand the business, workflow or what the program was supposed to do and hence it didn't work

2a. The IT professional wanted to understand the business, workflow, and what the program was supposed to do, but some manager told him he didn't need to know and that he should just follow the spec. The spec was written by someone who understood the business but not computers, and couldn't write clearly to save his life, so the program didn't do what anyone expected.

Been there, seen that ...

Quantum internet within grasp as scientists show off entanglement demo

dajames Silver badge

Re: Can you split photons into 3?

The photon is a fundamental particle. That means it can't be split or decomposed.

... except into even-more-fundamental particles, quarks and the like.

But, no, you can't "split" a photon into two photons, each identical to the first.

Boeing's Starliner CST-100 on its way to the ISS 2 years late

dajames Silver badge

Re: Just the two failures then..


That's not how you spell (di)nitrogen tetroxide ... or hydrazine, for that matter, but it was the NTO that corroded the valves, or so Spaceflight Now says.

Version 251 of systemd coming soon to a Linux distro near you

dajames Silver badge

Re: Software Junk

For a rock-bottom price bracket, cheap consumer laptop, 6 years is a pretty long time. I suspect a great many of them will be clapped out or broken by then.

The Chromebook was positioned as an internet appliance rather than as a laptop. That is, it's a piece of kit sold for doing pretty much one thing — running a browser — rather than as a general-purpose computer.

Most appliances, once purchased, can be used in their original state until they do fall apart, because they have one thing to do and they don't get any worse at doing it until they begin to fail mechanically.

A Chromebook, though, is unlike most traditional appliances in that it does need occasional updates to correct security failings in the original programming.

My Chromebook is about a dozen years old (it's one of the original Acer C720s) which means it's been out of support for almost half its life. It isn't clapped out or broken, and it does still work well as a browsing tool ... but I wonder whether it is as secure as it was or as it should be.

They won't suddenly stop work working. They just stop getting OS updates. They may continue to get browser updates for a while.

Which is really not good enough. A device that is used as an interface to the wild and hostile world of the internet really needs its security to be up-to-date.

... it *is* possible to "root" most ChromeBooks and install your own OS. If you do that and install ChromeOS Flex, you get OS updates again.

That's true. One of the things I had in mind when I bought the C720 was that if I didn't like ChromeOS I could just install Debian/whatever instead. Unfortunately although Acer did make a 4GB version of the C720 I couldn't find one in the UK, so I have a 2GB machine. I could run a normal Linux distro on it, but that's a bigger system than ChromeOS and I wonder how usable it would be in that little RAM? I've never tried.

I shall have to look into ChromeOS Flex when it becomes a little less "early access".

Clearview AI fined millions in the UK: No 'lawful reason' to collect Brits' images

dajames Silver badge

Re: No - I'm sparticus

What you should of done was get a total random picture of a person (preferable deceased) then upload it to as many sites as possible attached to your name.

Better still, if you want to poison the well, upload a selection of different images with your name attached, and also upload your own image several times with different names attached. Not too many, in either case, or your ploy will become too easily apparent.

If your data are to be monetized, all you can do is act to reduce their value.

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

dajames Silver badge

Re: Oh...

Many years ago my colleagues and I decided that a 3.5" diskette was not floppy enough to be called a floppy, and started to call them "biscuits", reserving the term "floppy" for proper 5.25" jobbies.

Of course, "biscuits" came in two versions, too: 720k "biscuits" were blue and the 1.44MB ones (at least in our store cupboard) were black.

I explained this to one of the secretaries, once, and pointed out that the High Density diskettes were the better sort, and were called "chocolate biscuits" because they tended to be black like very dark chocolate.

"Oh, yes," she said, "they even say CH on them. That must stand for chocolate".

[Young persons who have never seen a High Density 3.5" diskette may not know that they were typically marked with a stylized "HD", stamped into the plastic next to the shutter.]

Fancy a remix? Ubuntu Unity and Ubuntu Cinnamon have also hit 22.04

dajames Silver badge

Re: Just what the world needed - two more Linux distros

Can you explain the value of having exactly the same software wrapped up in three different ways?

While I don't see any advantage in having three different packagings of the same software per se, if there's only going to be one I don't want it to be Snap or Flatpack, I want a normal .deb package (since we're talking Ubuntu here).

So if things like Snap and Flatpack are going to exist (and there are good reasons for them to) then they'd better be in addition to .deb and not instead.

That's why there are three ...

Google Docs' AI-powered inclusive writing auto-correct now under fire

dajames Silver badge

Re: Just wait

I would suggest "Semiconductor" as the first word, but the "semi" would cause offence by implying inadequacies.

Might I suggest "Silicon", then?

The first two syllables, at least, sound appropriate.

Microsoft plans to drop SMB1 binaries from Windows 11

dajames Silver badge

So surely everyone has had plenty of time to upgrade their NASes?

It doesn't take long to upgrade a NAS if it's still supported. If your NAS runs a proprietary application on top of a proprietary fork of a Linux distribution for a CPU that's no longer supported ... it may take a little longer.

If, say, you had a SPARC-based Netgear ReadyNAS box (rather than one of the newer ARM-based ones).

It would be nice if the manufacturers of such boxes would Open-Source at least the OS parts, so that people would have a chance to keep older still-working hardware out of landfill.

BOFH: The evil guide to upgrading switches

dajames Silver badge

Shelf by the window ...

... which happens to be open, affording a bird's eye view into the skip below ...

Nokia quits Russia over Ukraine invasion

dajames Silver badge

Re: Who?

The consumer side of Nokia was annihilated by Microsoft and is now just a brand name that is bought and sold by firms wanting to look like big players in the phone market.

A little harsh. "Nokia" phones today are sold by HMD Global which is the rump of the phone company that Nokia sold to Microsoft and then bought back. HMD Global is Finnish, and is run largely by ex-Nokia people. Their offices rub shoulders with Nokia's offices in Espoo.

HMD's phones are made in China and Vietnam by FIH Mobile, a company that is (to cut a long story short) partly owned by Foxcon and partly by HMD.

They sell a few million phones a year. Quite nicely made devices running a fairly vanilla version of Android.

So, not exactly "annihilated".

EU appeals overturned $1.2b Intel antitrust fine

dajames Silver badge

Re: Did we say Billion?

You've dragged this on for so long it's like you're the SCO of CPU's. We're changing that B to a T & taking it out of your hide.

This is an EU ruling, and in European languages the word "billion" is usually understood to mean 1012 rather than 109 anyway.

That means that a "trillion" would be understood to mean 1018, and I don't think Intel have that much ...

AMD Threadripper CPU supply severely low, PC makers say

dajames Silver badge

Re: America's work force is too stupid to contribute. ..

America's work force is too stupid to contribute.

Methinks what he actually said is that the workforce is too ignorant to contribute.

There is a difference between stupidity and ignorance. In particular, one of them is curable.

South Yorkshire to test fiber broadband through water pipes

dajames Silver badge

Re: Where's Elon when you need him?

All that megaherz in the water though, homoeopaths will kick up a stink.

Ah ... thanks, I get it now ... Homeopathic Broadband.

You start with very little bandwidth, but by diluting with a lot of water you make it much more powerful.

Genius ... if only it worked!

Have a beer -- don't dilute it!

Happy birthday Windows 3.1, aka 'the one that Visual Basic kept crashing on'

dajames Silver badge

Re: Registry, ugh

I raise you Visual SourceSafe.

Oh come on! That was miles better than Microsoft Delta!

dajames Silver badge

"If you really want people to take an idea seriously, attribute it to someone famous on the internet" -- Thomas Jefferson

Dell creates portable workstation that meets Evo consumer laptop spec

dajames Silver badge


It's not a TV, it's a computer ... so put a 16:10 screen on it or I won't even consider buying one.

In the graveyard of good ideas, how does yours measure up to these?

dajames Silver badge

The porridge in that photo looks a bit odd, don’t you think?

The "porridge" in that photo looks like muesli to me.

"Flocons d'Avoine" means "oat flakes", not porridge (which would be "Le Porridge", or maybe "La Bouille"), so Dabbsy's photo is actually a common misuse of flapjack ingredients.

Mmm ... flapjack.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Not sure what level this would measure at...

ISTR that's a "thing" in Japan. By the hour, rather than by the week though. Hire a dog so you can take for a walk in a specially allocated "park".

Amazing ... in this country people pay others to walk their dogs for them -- but in Japan, it seems, it's the other way around!

dajames Silver badge

Take Transit

Does that mean "use public transport" in transpondian?

If so, I suppose eating lentils beforehand is kinder than eating beans ...

Saving a loved one from a document disaster

dajames Silver badge

Re: Lost Document...

Norton to the rescue! With only a 10MB HD to worry about I was able to find the first sector of the temporary file...

I recall that in WordStar on DOS Ctrl+C was the code for "Page Down" ... at least: most of the time it was, but very rarely, for no reason I could ever fathom, it was just Ctrl+C and quit the program.

I became quite adept at loading debug, finding the document data in RAM and saving them to disk. This usually got the most recent version of the most recently changed part of the document, which could with care be merged into the old copy of the document on disk. Saved many hours of retyping that way!

dajames Silver badge

Re: Imperrfect

Still shudder when I see WP formatting codes

Really? This is a tech site -- people reading here are supposed to LIKE being able to see the codes!

I certainly did. I hate working with a What You See Is All You Get word processor and being able to see, say, that a word in a paragraph is emboldened, but not knowing whether either of the spaces abutting it is also so enhanced.

Proprietary neural tech you had surgically implanted? Parts shortage

dajames Silver badge

Share and Enjoy!

Once, back in the day (or maybe the day before) one of the co-workers with whom I shared an open-plan office had stubbornly NOT disabled the Windows 3 startup sound on his PC, and so us all to the ghastly Microsoft jingle several times a day.

One day I got to his PC before he had arrived in the morning, and configured it to play a .wav file of the company anthem of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Department when Windows started. This was long enough ago that the sound came from the PC speaker, driven in software by a Windows component that cunningly hogged the entire CPU while it played the sound ... for about 45 seconds.

We expected him to be horrified, to see the error of his ways, and to disable the startup sound at once ... but he liked it! We were treated to 45 seconds of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's finest output every morning, and again after every time Windows crashed (which was not infrequently).

Eventually we pleaded with him, explained the nature of our torment, bought him beer, and were rewarded with peace and quiet, I think it was the beer that did it.

Zero trust? Not yet a must for most IT departments

dajames Silver badge

Re: What exactly does Zero Trust mean?

... "Air Gapped." Apparently acceptable use somehow now means firewalled ...

Ah. Methinks that'll soon be known as a "virtual airgap".

One decade, 46 million units: Happy birthday, Raspberry Pi

dajames Silver badge

Re: Interesting.

SD cards aren't as ubiquitous now


Methinks the (micro-)SD card is more ubiquitous than it's ever been -- the competing standards (Compact Flash, Sony Memory Stick, etc) have all vanished and SD is what there is. It's also cheaper than ever and available in larger capacities.

It's true that SATA and NVMe SSDs have better controllers, better (re-)allocation algorithms, and consequently longer lives ... but they'e also an order of magnitude or two more expensive.

Apple seeks patent for 'innovation' resembling the ZX Spectrum, C64 and rPi 400

dajames Silver badge

Re: Output?

Presumably you plug it into the TV?

Plug it in? That's a bit old hat, isn't it?

Couldn't it just 'cast to a suitably-equipped TV or a Chromecast dongle or equivalent gadget?

... but maybe Apple haven't patented that yet ...?

A tale of two dishwashers: Buy one, buy it again, and again

dajames Silver badge

I tick the "is this a gift?" box.

Strangely, whenever I see such a box I think "No, it's a bloody rip-off" -- but, sadly, ticking the box never seems to result in a reduced price.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Personalised Ads

Do you want to take the bread from the mouths of the advertising industry's children?

You ask that like it would be a bad thing?

Any of them worth the Oxygen they breathe will find other ways to feed their brood.

FreeDOS puts out first new version in six years

dajames Silver badge

Re: "It installs to a FAT32 partition"

> the limit is 16TB

Snag is, that needs a GPT disk partition, which DOS can't read. :-)

The limit is 2TB if you stick to 512-byte sectors. To get to 16TB you have to use 4k sectors. The issue is that there can be at most 2^32 sectors, so the maximum partition size is than number of sectors times the sector size.

You don't need GPT to address a 16TB disk if you're using 4k sectors. It's exactly the same issue: a BIOS partition table can handle up to 2^32 sectors, so with 4k sectors the maximum disk a partition table can describe is also 16TB.

ISTRT at least parts of FreeDOS can handle sector sizes other than 512 bytes, but a lot of DOS programs and disk utilities have 512 hard-coded into them, so it'd be a bit of a risky proposition.

So: stick to 2TB. Disks of 1TB and 2TB are certainly still available.

Joint European Torus more than doubles fusion record with 59 megajoules

dajames Silver badge

Unless there's multiple breakthroughs, I don't think we'll see super-cooled magnets creating containment fields for 100 million C plasma in a portable unit very soon.

Methinks breakthroughs are the last thing one wants in a plasma containment field?

5G masts will be strapped to lampposts and traffic lights – once £4m project figures out who owns them

dajames Silver badge

Re: 5G is no more harmful than 4G LTE

How is the black box that transmits 5G any different to the white box that transmits my wifi signal?

Perhaps six small black ones can look like one large white one?

No, I've not read the screen. Your software must be rubbish

dajames Silver badge

Re: Simples...

export ? all other programs call that "save as"

"Save as" usually implies saving a file with a different name but (at least by default) in the same file format.

"Export" implies outputting data (possibly to a file) in a different format.

Jeff Bezos adds some more overheads to his $485m yacht by taking down historic bridge

dajames Silver badge

Re: Jumps?

... posh chocolate descriptions do not use such vulgar descriptions as "sealed" Posh stuff is "enrobed" ...

Methinks that when the sketch was written "enrobed" was still waiting in the wings of the chocolatiers' vocabulary revue ...

Privacy Shield: EU citizens might get right to challenge US access to their data

dajames Silver badge

Re: Pipe dreams

...offering EU citizens the right to submit complaints to an independent judicial body if they believe the US national security agencies have unlawfully handled their personal information.

Methinks national security agencies tend to act as though they were a law unto themselves, and that -- given the nature and power of said agencies -- trying to control that tendency is not an easy undertaking.

It concerns me, but I'm not under any illusion that a few well-meaning laws can stop it.

What a few well-placed laws might be able to stop is the leakage of offshored personal data to US commercial entities. What safeguards can we expect to prevent that, pray?

Happy birthday, Windows Vista: Troubled teen hits 15

dajames Silver badge

Re: Vista Stumbled so 7 could Run

The biggest positive change I think was breaking the Windows-land user and developer assumption of having admin rights at all time.

I used to run Win2k from a limited user account. It was annoying, but perfectly possible. Most things that required more privilege could be run using "Run as..." to access the Administrator account (so long as you knew the appropriate password). I used to create a "Developers" group that had (e.g.) the privileges necessary for debugging.

Methinks we should NOT have had to wait for Vista and UAC to train users and developers that limited accounts were the norm. Windows should NEVER have made new users members of the Administrators group by default. The mistake goes all the way back to NT3.1.

dajames Silver badge

Re: At least Vista was not...

... part of the customer experience of using an OS is to want new features and functionality ...

Well, up to a point. Users want new things, but they want the old things to stay as they were -- they don't want to have to learn again to do everything they already knew how to do.

Businesses, even more, want continuity. They don't want to have to spend the time and money it takes to retrain the workforce.

New York Times outlays seven-figure sum for 1,900 lines of JavaScript – yes, we mean Wordle

dajames Silver badge

Does anyone else enjoy the irony that "Wordle" itself is SIX letters?

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*

dajames Silver badge

Missed opportunity

A single universal tone? What a missed opportunity for the potentially huge market in third-party scooter "ring tones"!

dajames Silver badge

Same for electric cars, right?

All cars ... why make electric ones a special case?

BOFH: On Wednesdays, we wear gloves

dajames Silver badge

Re: I'm not sure about the key stuck to the phone at the end?

... sulfur (note correct IUPAC spelling) ...

Methinks that there is nothing uniquely 'correct' about the spelling approved by IUPAC!

It's accepted US usage, that doesn't make it any more correct than "sulphur". IUPAC officially accepts either "aluminium" or "aluminum" for the spelling of aluminium and should similarly accept either spelling for "sulphur" -- or maybe we should all go back to calling it "brimstone"?

This is an interesting read: World Wide Words: Sulphur.

Intel fails to get Spectre, Meltdown chip flaw class-action super-suit tossed out

dajames Silver badge

Re: Defective?

Spectre's a bit different IMHO because while it could be exploited to leak data, it was more like discerning info through instrumentation.

That's true, but I'd still class it as a bug ... except maybe on a CPU that could be guaranteed never to be asked to run any software that had anything to do with security of any kind ... if such a thing exists.

The people who make chips that are designed for security understand about things like side channel timing attacks and design the hardware so that every execution path runs in the same time, so timing attacks can learn nothing.

This is not new in, for example, smartcard designs. Attacks of this type were carried out in the wild on smartcards designed 30+ years ago -- measuring the length of time taken to verify a PIN, for example. Some cards stopped processing the check after the first wrong digit, so you could tell how many leading digits of the PIN were correct by seeing how long the check took.

This has led to an awareness of these problems in those designing chips for security, and newer chips are designed to defeat such attacks. Spectre is a result of designers of general-purpose CPU chips thinking that their products don't need that level of security, which is demonstrably false.

Microsoft's do-it-all IDE Visual Studio 2022 came out late last year. How good is it really?

dajames Silver badge

Re: The Microsoft naming department

Though C++ does have exception specifiers (optional).

Exception specifiers, in the Java sense, were removed from C++ some years ago. What C++ now has is the noexcept specifier for functions that are guaranteed not to throw.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Most microsoft advice ever

Wipe, and re-install the OS after testing some software?

After testing some preview software.

Because of the way that Windows works, every piece of software installed gets its claws into the registry, installs COM objects, and so on.Visual Studio is a complex beast, and comes with a lot of COM components, and makes a lot of changes to the registry.

It's perfectly possible to unravel all of this in a deinstaller, and I would hope that Visual Studio releases do this.

I'm not surprised that a preview doesn't come with a production-quality desinstaller, though. A preview is still Work-in-Progress. The best way to get rid of all the cruft - and to be confident that you really have got rid of it all - is to reinstall (or, yes, revert to a snapshot).


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