* Posts by Ken Hagan

6980 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Circumstances Alter Cases.....

Can you reduce that to 36 please? My mobe screen isn't as wide as yours.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: The real reason for fairly small line lengths

But lines of code (unlike your paragraphs, which nevertheless I find quite readable at well over 80 characters per line) typically don't extend all the way to the right hand side and when they do it is usually really helpful to the reader to see that they are a single long line rather than two short ones.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

I feel obliged to point out that I'm reading both of you on a display that is putting well over 100 characters of your text onto each line. (And that's even with the apparently-internet-default stylesheet that discards the left and right thirds of my monitor.) It doesn't seem to be a problem.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: not the terminal, the punch card

I think it was more like 65 or 66 for FORTRAN programmers (upper-cased, since this *is* your grandmother's FORTRAN) since the first few columns were reserved for something as well -- statement labels for GO TO statements if I remember rightly. (In mitigation, FORTRAN ignored all whitespace, so you could save loads of characters that way.)

AR flop Magic Leap's 'pivot' spins CEO right off his throne

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Alas, for the days of the ancient kings

Seen the news lately? It looks like the plan is already underway.

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

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Re: likely

Will he present those in person? If not, can't Apple just call him as a witness?

It's election year. There's no way this guy can turn up to a court in Silicon Valley without a long queue of people forming to take a (legal) pot-shot at him "while he's here".

cmd.exe is dead, long live PowerShell: Microsoft leads aged command-line interpreter out into 'maintenance mode'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Microsoft only have themselves to blame

Anything that is compatible with CMD can only do things that an extended CMD could do. Once you've decided that you don't like some of the things CMD does, you might as well start from scratch. PS is much better than CMD once you've bitten the bullet and learned the syntax and, frankly, there are far worse languages out there.

Dude, where's my laser?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Dispersion, not deflection

Light paths are reversible. If you can see the target from the firing point, there is a "straight" path from the firing point to the target and you can find it with a weapons sight. It seems much more likely to me that the atmospheric conditions were simply spreading the beam out, so it was a modest circle rather than a pin-point when it arrived.

China and Taiwan aren't great friends. Zoom sends chats through China. So Taiwan has banned Zoom

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Use Jitsi instead

'S funny just how many services on the internet have issues that could be addressed by self-hosting. If only there was a version of IP that had enough address space to make that technically feasible with 8 billion of us trying to self-host at once.

Contact-tracing app may become a permanent fixture in major Chinese city

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Yeah, but that dude is sooo old. He can't possibly have anything relevant to say about modern society. I mean, he'd never even *heard* of mobile phones.

Microsoft brings WinUI to desktop apps: It's a landmark for Windows development, but it has taken far too long

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Sandbox

Your standard user account is a sandbox. Running as admin is a Bad Thing, remember?

The VM that your copy of Windows is running in is another sandbox.

So is the processor mode that Intel, blessings be unto their firstborn, have deigned to allow you to run the VMM in.

But yeah, one might reasonably ask why the sandboxes are nested so deeply.

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Chinese technology ...

And now try reading the second half of the sentence you quoted. It's quite important.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Chinese technology ...

I must be a mutant then. I have no trouble distinguishing between peopoe of other races who I know well, and great difficulty remembering faces (even pasty white ones like mine) of people I don't know well.

Your post sounds like one of those "Amazing Scientific Facts" that is so surprising when it is said out loud that everyone goes "Gosh, isn't science amazing!" rather than "Er, are you sure?". Soundbites trump skepticism every time, sadly.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Need Polarized face shield

Sunglasses and a face mask will flummox pretty much any face recognition. In fact, it will flummox pretty much even face *detection* because there just isn't enough face left on view for the neural nets to notice.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

" if he did, he would lose millions of voters, who would find a masked president unnerving. Seriously."

I believe you, but once the small minority of Americans who think that way have died of stupidity in the Second Wave, I think you'll find that the rest are perfectly capable of telling the difference between communism and public health measures.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

"For many years it's been popular to wear masks in parts of Asia."

That's air pollution they're worried about, not CCTV.

Microsoft drops a little surprise thank-you gift for sitting through Build: The source for GW-BASIC

Ken Hagan Gold badge

The examiner was probably working to a mark scheme that had plenty of boxes for stylistic concerns but only one for "works as intended" and one for "chose to tackle a harder problem".

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: every byte mattered ...

The 8088 had the merit of existing when IBM needed manufacturing volumes of whatever they chose, so I don't think we should be too harsh on them for that decision.

As for segmentation, the 386 could have run a perfectly usable 32-bit platform with virtual DOS boxes for old software, in 1985. That's much less than 10 years after IBM's decision. If it actually took much longer before the world was free of 16-bit segments, it is because of much later decisions.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Code *that* old pre-dates source control, at least on the platform in question. So no, it certainly isn't a case of flickinh a switch on a repo, but it might be a question of actually finding the code at all. Possibly even typing it in from a faded and barely readable (and certainly not OCR-able) printout.

DirectX comes to Linux (via WSL2): Microsoft unveils tricks needed to flash a GPU at a penguin

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Typing this in a VM running on a Debian host with two 4K monitors. One of my other VMs has a second virtual monitor that is maximised on the second real monitor. No problems here. What's your experience?

The end really is nigh – for 32-bit Windows 10 on new PCs

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: When will it be the year

Wrong question, really. The issue is that you have end-users who don't want to "learn" LO, so you keep buying office because that is cheaper than the battle with the end-users, so you keep buying Windows because that is the only option.

Yes, we can all see how to break out of this tail-spin, but we aren't usually the ones making the purchasing decisions.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: When will it be the year

Because you can't buy Win7 licences anymore and the Win7 licences you have got are all those silly OEM ones that are tied to 10-year-old hardware.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: WoW64 exists so you don't need to


Is it? I just fired up two instances of Excel 2003. Two PIDs showed up in Task Manager. As far as I can tell, the office apps have been multi-instance since sometime in the last century.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Amazed it took them this long

"The transition from 16-32 bit was way faster."

Really? The 386 was 1985. The first mass-market version of Windows that was truly 32-bit all the way through was Win2K, about 15 years later. *Intel*'s first AMD64 chip was the Pentium 4 (2000) and the first "consumer" edition of Windows that was available in 64-bit form is debatable. I ran XP64 quite happily, but others complained bitterly about the drivers. Vista had a 64-bit flavour, but does that really count as an OS? Let's pretend the first was Win7-64, which would have been less than a decade later.

But are we talking about the OS or the apps? You could run 32-bit apps on Windows 3.1, long before the 32-bit OS was widely available. In contrast, most of us are still running 32-bit apps on our 64-bit Windows editions.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

Ken Hagan Gold badge

I don't dispute the existence of two schools of thought, but I don't agree that "conservative" and "liberal" are the appropriate labels. Those two words have too many political connotations and I don't think the split in legal interpretation aligns with political leanings.

The opening paragraph of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_meaning_rule touches on this concept and links to notions like "literal rule", "textualism" and "originalism".

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Other ways the world would be safer....

It's not just accidents. I'm pretty sure most sex crimes and violents assaults happen at home, too. Also, most such crimes are commited by heterosexuals. So ...

Force everyone to live in communes.

Take egg and sperm samples from all teenagers and then zap them.

Only breed from those samples after the donors have died and can be proven to have lived decent lives.

Icon: Because you never know who might be reading this...

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Can someone explain?

Surely you want directional oxygen-free single-crystal cables?

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

Ken Hagan Gold badge

I think OpenSCAD still has that feature. It sucks. I think it is a bug arising from someone not really thinking through the possible failure modes of a two-pass interpreter.

Now there's nothing stopping the PATRIOT Act allowing the FBI to slurp web-browsing histories without a warrant

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Illegal.is relative.

They copied that off the German Democratic Republic, or the People's Republic of China, or ... well, you get the idea. US politicians are all bloody commies at heart when you get down to it, especially the red ones.

'iOS security is f**ked' says exploit broker Zerodium: Prices crash for taking a bite out of Apple's core tech

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: "Zerodium said for the first time that it would pay more for flaws in Android"

Exactly, exactly. I'm reading these stories within minutes of each other and it confirms my belief that we need a proper operating system for phones. The current two big players are like Windows 3.x, a glitzy layer offering no protection between programs and everything running as the same "user". But then, I'm weird. I consider my phone to be fatally compromised at all times and consequently have never done internet banking on it and never will.

At least, not until someone does a Debian release for it, so that I could run the admittedly fun crapware in one account and the valuable stuff in another, knowing that they were separated by 60 years of experience in designing a securable OS, rather than a set of "permissions to access..." which are ill-defined to the end user and mostly chosen by the app designer anyway and therefore utterly useless.

From pair to p-AI-r programming: Kite floats paid-for spin of its GitHub-trained code autocomplete assistant

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: First....

I see nothing mentioned in this article that I'd distinguish with the title "programmer". As the first poster suggests, if your next line is that predictable, you shouldn't be writing it. You should be writing the bit that makes your product *different*.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

Ken Hagan Gold badge

You want portabililty? First kill all the font designers...

I imagine that even a hypothetical Linux version of Microsoft Office would have trouble with one of the issues mentioned in the article: the chosen font does not exist on the destination PC. In fact, why bring Linux into it? Who here hasn't ever received a document that displayed terribly because the sender used a font that they only have on their system because of some random and unknown third-party package that they happen to have installed?

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

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Re: There is only one

That's a "hacker " command, in the original (and only true) sense of the word.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Ta for the link.

Er, *gosh*, that was quite "unnerving" even when you know the ending. Presumably the driver survived? Poor sod. That's one hell of a bad day at the office.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Hanlon's razor

Yes, but human beings just *are* very creative, which is why you should always be more concerned about governments than corporations. The former are much more likely to have absolute power over you.

OK, so you've air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit...

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Hours???

Windows Update can take a while, especially for the six-monthlies.

Apple-Google COVID-19 virus contact-tracing API to bar location-tracking access

Ken Hagan Gold badge

one app per country?

Wouldn't it make more sense to have one app, or is cross-border travel a thing of the past?

Also, is there just one distributed database that everyone is using, or is that split, too?

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

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Re: UK+ USA's spiking again

Taking the OP's numbers at face value, 2% is 6 or 7 million in the US, not a few hundred thousand.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: No chance

That letter does not say what you allege it says.

I'm doing this to stop humans ripping off brilliant ideas by computers and aliens, says guy unsuccessfully filing patents 'invented' by his AI

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Its all binary

"As pi covers all possible sequences, I win."

Is that proven? Being infinitely long doesn't suffice. I could define a number by the construction "pi, but with any occurences of the digit 1 removed" and it would be transcendental but wouldn't contain all sequences.

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Watching from the bunker

It sounds like pissing a few million into the pockets of a few friends is the most likely explanation for this decision. The good news is that as soon as the contracts are signed the money is as good as pissed, so HMG can then rethink and go for the free solution like everyone else.

Lockdown endgame? There won't be one until the West figures out its approach to contact-tracing apps

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Wrong answer

"It's a technical solution to a medical problem."

It's not even that. Based on the excellent performance of my Bluetooth headphones, I'd guess that one of these apps would reckon I'd been in more or less permanent contact with all my immediate neighbours for the past four weeks and had occasional contact with several hundred others despite being entirely innocent on all charges. That's an *appaling* false positive rate.

Google pre-pandemic: User-Agent strings are so 1990s. Time for a total makeover. Google mid-pandemic: Ah, we'll reschedule to 2021

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: programmatic ad systems rely on browser fingerprinting to fight ad fraud

Impersonating Google has been a standard trick to try to bypass access controls since sometime in the last millenium. I'm amazed that anyone actually parses UA strings, but of course they do. It's how Amazon and Lloyds bank both (wrongly) "know" that my Chromebook needs the phone version of their website.

Is there an icon for muppets getting nuked from orbit whilst being strung up by their saggy bits?

Fomalhaut b exoplanet may have been cloud in a trench coat: Massive 'world' formed after 'mid-space super-prang'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Don't panic

The real story is that you are right; it's 25 ly away and so for nearly all of the last 10,000 years there has been nothing for humans to see here. Now, apparently, we can make inferences about something smaller than a Wales. (Have I got the El Reg units right here?)

Google productises its own not-a-VPN secure remote access tool

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: the months that it might take to roll out a traditional VPN solution

OTOH, it might take a month or two to assess the security risks of a brand new product type, compared to a day or so to weigh up the pros and cons of granting VPN access.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Shouldn't act too shocked

Yes, it's a status symbol for people with more money than sense. If it was cheaper, it wouldn't work.

Star's rosette orbit around our supermassive black hole proves Einstein's Theory of General Relativity correct

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Wow

What do you think hydro-electric is?

Quantum computing heats up down under as researchers reckon they know how to cut costs and improve stability

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Give it a couple more decades

"what now are considered trivial tasks."

We now have *much* more powerful machines, but nearly all of them are still doing trivial tasks.

Taiwan to develop military exoskeleton because it's not like these things are open-sourced or one-size-fits-all

Ken Hagan Gold badge

"I suspect they'll only be good for a few niche applications until the technology improves markedly beyond what we have now."

There might be more niche applications than you think.

A completely unpowered skeleton that simply prevented limbs from bending or twisting too far in the case of an accident might still be useful to businesses that wanted to lower their insurance premiums. A low-powered skeleton that merely assisted would be useful in many physical jobs (and swapping batteries every so often isn't a problem if you are working on site).

And much of the same technology is probably what you need for remote working in hazardous environments (like hospitals...) or just plain isolated ones. That is, the exo-skeleton is used as a wearable sensory device to steer the robot.

In fact, I'm struggling to see why the military are interested. Why don't we just promote the civilian applications of this technology and then let the armed forces buy the kit off-the-shelf at civilian rates?

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Good for data-less phone plans

No signal at home? (Just a guess,but it affects plenty of people.)


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