* Posts by Sokolik

102 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jul 2011


Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable


Entirely to be expected...

...from the final state in the Union displaying the rebel flag on the Capitol grounds

Silicon Valley VCs: We're gonna make California great again – on its own


Re: Californians out-of-touch with other Californians

Your entire observation is absolutely correct .


Re: Agriculture

An excellent, accurate, and essential observation.

The Colorado River water (that is, the water from Arizona) indeed goes into the swimming pools and lawns and carwashes of SoCal.

Meanwhile, the water for agricultural here in the Central Valley is from annual snow-runoff from the Sierra Nevada mountains. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for more than a century, has diverted mountain rivers into artificial reservoirs to capture as much as possible in order to slake the thirst of the Central Valley's massive agriculture.

As for domestic water use here in the Central Valley, my municipality has doubled the price of water in the past two years. My front yard is brown. And so shall it stay. As for the pool, I bought the house not because of it, but in spite of it. Surprisingly, the pool demands much less water than a green lawn. And at least the pool means the rest of my backyard is concrete, not lawn turned brown.


Californians out-of-touch with other Californians

This scheme *would* cause civil war-- *within* California.

California, culturally, is completely polarized.

The California one sees in the movies and on TV (that is, L.A. and S.F.) is a misrepresentation. Culturally, California is *not* a "blue" state.

The aforementioned schemes to split California into upwards of four states are grounded in the following: California is two big blue islands (again, L.A. and S.F, and for convenience I include Silicon Valley with S.F) in a sea of red. Sacramento is an atoll that is "blue". The rest is: San Diego and Orange county (both educational and economic powerhouses), a massive rural agricultural and petroleum output in the Great Central Valley (aka, San Joaquin Valley), isolated forests and mountains, and isolated coasts. In these latter areas, the folks may be few in number in contrast with the populations of the two aforementioned "blue" islands, but they are "red" staunch conservatives who couldn't be further culturally-alienated from the citizens of the two "blue" cities..

Indeed, these rural Californians would take up arms upon any serious attempt by California to secede.

I used to enjoy the stunned looks upon the faces of midwesterners arriving here in Central Valley: "This isn't what we've seen on the tube or in movies!?!"

But for a Californian, such as the sponsor of this secession initiative, to be so completely out-of-touch with his own state is not at all funny.

Sign me,

Lived and worked almost all over California for 36 years.

(and I happen to be "blue" in the sea of "red" that is the Central Valley-- so I just keep my mouth shut and shun bumper stickers on my car. Yes, I am a coward.)

IBM's focus on cloud and software isn't novel – it's survival


Quite the coincidence

Cheers (can a Cousin say that?), Shaun. Thank you for the answer to a question I was pondering just the other day.

I was reminiscing on the steady deaths of all the "blue-chip" stocks I grew up with. And, of course, I came to Big Blue...made open-source the very PC with which they are credited in some quarters with inventing*, and then dumped it...dumped OS2...dumped ThinkPad...and I could only wonder, "What on earth do they do now"?

Nuremberg...early mainframes...the Selectric alone was a historic achievement in several facets...

Lo, how the mighty fall.

*"Who or what invented the PC?"-- always a great pub-argument starter!

US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets



Cousins, you have my condolences.

-- USAF officer

SpaceX Dragon capsule lands in Pacific carrying 12 moustronauts


Re: Deja Vu

Yes, we Yanks lobbed up a chimpanzee named "Ham", and the Sovs lobbed up a dog (Alsatian?) named "Lika".

Microsoft Surface Book: Shiny slab with a Rottweiler grip on itself


Re: O! Do I Feel Foolish

Had not realized Windows' market share had significantly declined. That is what I had missed. It makes perfect sense now (since circa 1990) there are *so many* new types of platforms and the OS's that run them. Thank you.


O! Do I Feel Foolish

Obviously, I've missed something. Something big.

What happened to the circa 1990 agreement DoJ would leave MS alone as long as MS didn't make hardware?

Solution to tech bros' disgust of SF homeless people launched

Big Brother

Potential misunderstanding?

This sounds like Bakersfield, not San Francisco. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding in the reporting.

--Thirty-six year California resident and unfortunate resident of Bakersfield for 14 years.

iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970


Re: The 1970s...

Yes, the spirit of the 1970's: rock-on! Good on ya.

Windows 10 will now automatically download and install on PCs


"Air Gap"? I think that's the right term

For this reason, a couple of months ago, I returned to dual-boot with Linux (Mint) as my primary platform. Windows 7 is the other boot, the network adapter is disabled, and is used only for scanning (I never said *everything* about Linux, finally, is, "it just works!") and Flight Simulator.

You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors


"Access"? Not in this case.

Had to demolish the back-end of a server-based multi-user Access database "designed" without a clue of the principles of relational databases. Then rebuilt the back-end on-principle so it actually could do something. Then the chief of the users went to corporate and took credit for the improvement. Had inherited the "database" from a colleague.

Big corp's over here were scared of their own shadows when it came to termination. So I was marginalized, Japanese style: desk, phone, PC, laptop, title, and no responsibilities. Me? He!!, no! So I looked around the room for the 1,000-kilo bear no-one else wanted to touch. Microsoft Access. So I got the MS "Bible" and read it, also read a primer on relational database principles, and went to work. In addition to the aforementioned, soon I had a small cult of users whose needs I could fulfill.

In short, I believe, I made myself useful. Perhaps my superiors were surprised. He!!, *I* was surprised!

No-one is indispensable. But, beginning with that first inherited "Dirty Job" with Access, at least I edged myself away from the brink.

I know this doesn't count as real coding. But I hope others find it interesting.

BDaaS ex-Facebook duo scoop $30m for big data biz



1. Facebook doesn't have a disclosure embargo running X years after termination of employment?

2. Even if Facebook does have this embargo and it was honored and fulfilled by former employees, Z & Co. wouldn't go on a sue-ball fishing expedition anyway?

US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

Thumb Up

Re: Phew

What you said.

I'm incredulous of questioning the need for a modern Navy, in this day of global trade. Sincerely, how else does stuff get reliably and continually from the manufacturers (China, et al) to the consumers (northwestern hemisphere, that is, us) ? But for modern Navies of U.S., UK, & France, how would all merchant sea lanes not be the Somali coast?

As for the futuristic design and seaworthiness, I doubt the guys and gals at naval design bureaus are stupid. As for the futuristic design and any tactical vulnerabilities, I'm sure, behind those sloped bulkheads and within those turrets are a lot of nasty and effective surprises for any adversary of any means.

"Cole", agreed, is a valid and valuable lesson. Yet, again, I doubt the design bureaus are too stupid to have learned that lesson.

As for costly financing, why else did Congress or the Navy drastically lower the class from 32 vessels to three?

Trust me, all this is true. I'm an Air Force officer, so It's very difficult for me to cough up the necessity of a modern Navy!



Then, where are the sideburns?

Brit 'naut Tim Peake will run the London Marathon – in space

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Good on him!

To run in that contraption? Something that annoys after only 40 minutes? Yet, to run about four hours? You're a better guy than I, Sky Sprinter. Good on ya!

Pentagon gets green light for WAR ... of web propaganda against IS


Back to the Future

I'm reminded of the splendidly-successful "black propaganda" of Allied-military radio operators, perfectly-fluent in German, in the UK during the run-up to D-Day. Slightly-nuanced bogus messages on the Nazi operational bands. Effectively spread FUD.

Also joined with a campaign of bogus Allied airwave chatter intended to encourage Nazi belief in the existence of Patton's non-existent Army. This helped reinforce the Nazi belief invasion would be at Calais, not Normandy. This latter campaign was crucial if not decisive in the success of D-Day.

I see a huge opportunity here for the same kind of success and effectiveness.

Black Friday


Re: Black Friday

My understanding: "unsubscribe"-- as the annoyance hopes-- verifies your continued presence and just encourages the annoyance to send more stuff. The best practice is-- whether email in browser or email in client-- to filter anything with the annoyance's address thus bypassing the Intray and tossing it directly into the dustbin. But that's just one guy's understanding.

"Dr. Who" -- Apparent Reference -- Ignorant Yank Needs Help


"Dr. Who" -- Apparent Reference -- Ignorant Yank Needs Help

In the recent movie "Minions", one attempts to shelter in a London phone booth. But there's already an occupant: a Tim Burton-esque fellow all black-and-white and wielding a chain-saw. I'm sure this is a "Dr. Who" reference, but don't know its significance. If I am correct about the reference, I would be grateful if any "Dr. Who" fans out there could explain it. Thank you.

Working with Asperger's in tech: We're in this together

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Thank you!

ElReg editors, thank you very much for permitting this topic in your editorial context. To be accepted, to be not stigmatized, is so encouraging for we stricken with mental illness . Stuart, thank you for your courage to tell your story. Your courage is uplifting, exemplary, and inspirational.

The Edward Snowden guide to practical privacy


Re: The only thing about which I agree with Scott McNeally

Point well-taken. Thank you.

Black Helicopters

The only thing about which I agree with Scott McNeally

"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."

Mine may be a defeatist attitude, but there it is.

Reg Winter Lecture: Former Iraq hostage talks survival and tech



"...that can break those with a traditional military background."

Whoa! Where did that come from? Isn't that contrast an out-of-bounds leap in context?

I take nothing away from Mr.Moore. I am sure everything you write about him-- to say the least-- is true. I, too, respect his humble understatement. And, I confess, my criticism may be invalid, because it is not objective, because I am a veteran.

For how it is or is not relevant, I recall a former captive of the PRV speaking of keeping his skull together by mentally writing blueprints of a house.

Fancy flying to Mars? NASA's hiring


"Anon", nice!

Thank you for the chuckle and smile.



I can never forget July 20 1969. So, I hope I live long enough to also see 'nauts safely go to and return from Mars. Of course, as a Yank, I hope the mission is American. Yet-- in paradox, perhaps-- also, I hope that would not matter to me.

-- an eternal American child of the 60's "Space Race"

Russian subs prowling near submarine cables: report


Oh, and another thing...

...please pardon the old-curmudgeon rant:

<rant>I am tired of hearing "back to the Cold War" tagged to everything the Russian Federation does geopolitically. I served honorably twice in two branches during the Cold War, most of it in SAC. When we return to Looking Glass, all missiles on 24/7/365 alert and pre-targeted at Russia, bombers and tankers on 24/7/365 alert with target-packages for Russia, and probably an appropriation for a new ICBM (we're still relying on the good ol' Minuteman III), then, yes, we will be "back to the Cold War"*.</rant>

* For my health, I confess, I deliberately avoid the news. So maybe one or all of these things already have happened. But I doubt it.


Question of Balance?

Like we Yanks and probably the UK probably haven't already done the same thing? T'would seem unlikely. No-one needs me to say the next war will be heavy on the cyber front. Perhaps in my ignorance, I should be surprised, but I am not.

Feds want a phone smart enough to burn itself if it falls into the wrong hands


Ask Lenovo

They have experience with exploding devices, if memory serves.

It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls


I am Evil and Must be Destroyed!

Sounds like something my late father would have done.

I spent (and, I do mean, *spent*) my high-school years on his small farm.

Oh, Obama's responded to the petition to pardon Snowden. What'll it be?


Re: Mixed Feelings

Brangdon, thank you. So, effectively, Snowden was *not* seeking asylum in Russia. I had not known that. Thank you for setting me straight.

Black Helicopters

Re: Mixed Feelings

I respectfully disagree as Snowden now is widely recognized. Not so at the beginning.

But, *now* he is highly-visible. Anything smelly the U.S. government might try could not be hidden because of the media microscope.

Yes, I know, Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, and newspapers effectively-owned by advertisers (and thus the threat of advert revenue being yanked). It's all true, I concede.

But there are still left here one or two private, credible, and courageous newspapers. They would keep Snowden in the spotlight. *And eventually, I would bet, the truth 'would out'*. *And that's the paramount thing*.

Anyway, please pardon *my* cloud-cuckoo-land outlook

Big Brother

Mixed Feelings

I think Snowden heroically revealed what he did. But I think he should have stayed and taken the consequences. Like a few refuseniks during our Vietnam War.

Yes, I know, the possibility of being criminally-erased in so-called "rendition" or under some provision of the shameful and Cloud-Cuckoo- Land "Patriot" Act. But I do not think that would have happened in his case. I think he would have received a public trial.

I realize this is easy for me to think in my comfortable chair in my comfortable air-conditioned California home.

But in USAF, at, I think, great cost, I admitted my errors and negligence in a matter of some consequence. In fact, I turned-myself-in to the Security Police.

That was not, shall we say, we say, a career-enhancing move. And I wanted a USAF career.

Anyway...on top of running, Snowden seeks asylum in... *Russia*?!? Excuse me?!? Like there's a lot more protection from government intrusion there, than here?!?

Snowden can't be stupid. He must have known he would be FSB's and SVR's b*tch for the rest of his life. What on earth was he thinking?

I think we should tell him, "Come home, but all is not forgiven. You will be publicly prosecuted".

If he and his attorneys spin it right, in open court they could make a *great* case for citizen privacy. They could cut NSA down a few notches.

In fact, I think our government recognized this possibility and perhaps rather let Snowden slip away. Although I am paranoid. And that's just me.

SPACESUIT, once FOUND ON MOON: Crowd action saves it for the public


Nothing to see here, move along, move along, on your way, thank you.

Not much of an issue here. The issue is not the purchase of the suit. The issue merely is the high cost of very-effective preservation essential for *public* display of such a priceless artefact.

The Smithsonian is not a federal agency. It is a private entity. Like any other museum, it raises funds for its displays. Happens every day.

Moreover, no doubt the Smithy anyway has had custody of the suit most of these years since August 1969. But, again, the cost of effective-preservation public display of such a priceless artefact is *much* higher than effective-preservation private storage.

Yours truly, the long, long, long-ago operations officer of a relatively-small USAF museum.

Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains


Libraries in my pocket, and more

My smartie, for me, definitely is a computer far more than a phone.


No surprise: an off-line music library in my pocket. I imagine the smartie has capacity for my entire music library-- with the assistance of the SD card, I admit-- if I'd a mind to put it there. A blutooth headset crowns (pardon the pun) the arrangement and makes it perfect.

An off-line book library in my pocket. For example, I'm planning to visit overseas soon. On my smartie are books of language references that in past visits took up most of my backpack! (Yes, I am incapable of learning the language, but that's another story).

And with either I need not worry about network-connectivity.

A driving navigator. Has saved my almost-lost-bacon more than once.

Remake, remodel: Toshiba Chromebook 2


Please have mercy...

...on my ignorance. It seems already what I studied hard and learned is now obsolete, "Oh, so yesterday". In short, I'm out-of-touch.

This may be a stupid question, but I invite comments: Is'nt "Chromebook" just another word for "Netbook"? And am I incorrect, the Netbook is, like I, "Oh, so yesterday"?


Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' – from his PASSENGER seat


Questions...up to you which is serious

Too lazy to search all the comments, so probably these issues already have been discussed. If that's the case, sorry, move along, nothing to see here.

1. UA responds with an invitation for white-hats to hack its *website*? Did I get that right? If so...WTF?!?

2. Is the suspect licensed to pilot large, multi-engined a/c?

3. Police, police. Every bureaucracy loves to have its own police. FBI is leading the investigation, so, FAA has not its own police? If so, *for-shame*!

4. Finally, next time...Aeroflot.

Unfriended: Odious screen-teens get theirs in this flat horror



...I could not have stated it half-as-well. Your excellent, quick, accurate satire put a needed smile on my face. Thanks!


As always, thanks, Anon, for a clever and factual riposte.

-- Resident Flaming-Liberal Left-Coast Colonist

Top Spanish minister shows citizens are thick as tortillas de ballenas


What You Said, almost.

I was going to impute such ignorance to those in Flyover Country.

-- Arrogant Flaming Liberal Left-Coast Colonist

Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs


Re: Stop the Presses! Solitaire is coming back!

A much-needed literal laugh-out-loud. Anon, thanks as always.


Where's Flight Simulator when you need it?

"The Computing and Gaming Hardware division's revenue sank 8.8 per cent from the year-ago"

Microsoft (MS) Flight Simulator (FS) broke new ground with each release, improved with each new release, and garnered millions of fans along the way. It might be said FS was the first desktop simulator. It might also be said it was the only MS product buyers users actually *liked*.

And then, a decade ago...pooof...FS disappeared. Ten years later it can be said FS still leads the market. Ten years later there's a thriving industry of add-ons for FS. In my opinion, at least, FlightX still has a long way to go to catch up to FSX Gold Acceration.

Could retention of FS maintained revenue for Microsoft's gaming division?

I could not unerstand and think I shall never understand why Microsoft ditched FS.

Amazon whisks desktop apps into cloud bazaar in virty PC push


Re: Not that this has anything to do with anything, but...

Thank you. The part about plowing the profit back into the enterprise, rather than into shareholder-equity, I get. However, this I don't get: it seems a strangely-mercurial market pattern for a brand seeming prevalent and so popular. Guess this is the "21st Century"/"digital" economy old guys like me must learn, and to which we must adapt. Thanks again.


Not that this has anything to do with anything, but...

...speaking of Amazon...is it just my ignorance or imagination...or has not Amazon *yet* to turn a profit?

A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK


Gratitude and the NSA

Andrew Orlowski, you made my day:

"the Netbook – ooops, sorry, I meant the new MacBook"

Brought a smile to my face and a chuckle to my mouth, both much-needed stress relief. Thank you.

Oh, the bit about the NSA: I see the NSA has taken, and is circulating, photos of my Swiss gold-brick-cum-USB-adapter. Guess they'll pass that on to the IRS. Thanks for the heads-up, Edward.