* Posts by Marshalltown

693 posts • joined 30 Sep 2011

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Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

Marshalltown

I thought offensive test messages WERE the professional standard. The strings utility used to be very entertaining.

Marshalltown

The way my dad's family pronounced it, but they're Canadian.

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

Marshalltown

Re: Donald Jenius Trump

It isn't just the sample size. The idea that they would try a combination of antimalarial and an antibacterial is bizarre. Malaria is essentially a blood born parasite that essentially destroys your red blood cells. Sickle cell anemia is an evolutionary adaptation that protects the (heterozygous) carrier by shortening the life of thier red blood cells, interrupting the reproductive cycle of the parasite. And antibacterials help against bacteria. COVID is a virus. It is not a bacterium or a plasmodium. There was essentially not a snow ball's chance in Hades that such a cocktail would do anything useful, though it might help protect you from a bacterial secondary infection - and malaria. It would do nothing to a virus.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Marshalltown

Ah - yes

This wasn't Microsoft's problem. It was a Wordperfect file. My Boss called me in because his WP document was giving him trouble. It was "too slow." This baffled since he had the biggest, baddest machine in the house, even if he never came close to using its real muscle for anythin but viewing pr0n. Anyway, I chased him out of his office and waited for his chair to cool down. Then I opened the file. Yep, it was opening very slowly, scrolling slowly and closed slowly. This seemed like a real problem because it was only five pages long. Hmmm ... open the file again, and use Reveal Code to look at the formatting codes. Holy Cats!!!! There was a novel's worth of formatting that did nothing. So, clean up the document removing all nonfunctional formatting codes. Save it, close it, open it. Brisk as can be, no slow scrolling. So, I called the boss back in and told him it was all taken care of, and returned to a monumental dBASE II database the was really pushing the limits of my underpowered 640K PC. A terrified scream interrupted a doze as I waited while dBASE II conducted a filtering job.

The boss had notice the change in file size and was certain I had deleted critical things. So, very slowly, I took him through the issues of not cleaning out nonfunctioning formatting, and the problems of files that were 30 times or more the size they should be. It turned out he had created a "template" for these business letters and simply saved a new letter over the template occasionally and simply edited visible text and occasionally "fixed" formatting.

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Marshalltown

Pretty sure I've told this story before

Way back in the '90s I worked for a firm whose chief business was dirt, or rather what's in it. That is, it was what is know in California as a Cultural Resources firm. We did archaeological surveys and tests ahead of developers. Well, the '90s were heady days in the computer and internet areas as well. And the owner, who had explained that he was a "concept guy" during my hiring interview, decided that IN PARALLEL to the chief business, which was to wander out with a map and wade through toxic plants looking to be sure there were no prehistoric or historic resources that would be "negatively impacted" by a proposed project, he wanted to set up an ISP business. And since he had a perfectly good staff of college educated archaeologists, they would handle initial operations - nothing like being thrown in the deep end without a life vest. Why hire folks who knew what they were doing? So, in between writing up reports of things seen in the dirt, and passing along field notes contaminated with poison oak (Toxicodendron diversiloba) to people who broke out into a rash from seeing a photograph of the plant, we did things like take calls from people even more innocent than we. One call that I took was from a very nice matron who had bought a computer and signed up for an internet connection through the boss' parallel company. She could not get her mouse to work "very well." Her computer, needless to say, was not installed "professionally." Investigation found she had her mouse on the floor and was attempting to employ it like the pedal on a sewing machine. I've since seen this written up as an "urban myth." but I personally took the call.

Super-leaker Snowden punts free PDF* of tell-all NSA book with censored parts about China restored, underlined

Marshalltown

Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

Trump has been associated with organized crime since the seventies. Back then it was the New York gangs. Later as he "diversified" the names he associated with took on more of a Bratva ring.

Marshalltown

Re: But isn't the big guy in America a Russian stooge?

Money laundering. You want to remember who really runs Russia, it isn't just Putin.

Marshalltown

Re: A good read

Not just Trump, though he's a rank example. One of the great failures in US jurisprudence is that money has been allowed to talk, and thanks to that, fictive (corporate) entities are allowed "civil rights" comparable to an individual's. The important thing about the Bill of Rights is that it is directed at hampering ANY form of intrusion into "individual" rights, even when the wording specifies "people." People collectively lack any "natural rights" not allowed to individuals. This is important because it is not directed just at "the government," but against any form of government, and that includes democracies, not just absolutists. This was one strong reason the US was constructed as a republic rather than a outright democracy such as ancient Athens. It could have been and the authors of the key documents were all very well educated in these areas.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?

Marshalltown

Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

The change in quality of living is partially dependent on the region. In the US, while superficially there are visual indications of a "higher standard of living," those indications are purely material and are essentially funded by retreats in funding elsewhere. The declines are quantitative and largely barely discernible to individuals. Things like an increase in in infant mortality for example, levelling or diminishing life spans, increased mortality among poor women, or nearly stagnant levels of health care, which despite the mythology are pretty bad. It's great to have choice, but only if the choice is meaningful. If you are a member of of some sort of health maintenance system, you are a source of income and every possible effort is made to be sure you don't become a "cost." Collectively, one of the very few ways the US is "better off" is the long term and continuing decrease in violent crime. Which almost no one seems to even suspect, especially with the media hand waving about mass shootings, which are extremely uncommon even with the help of the media to popularize the practice. The pizza delivery person can afford the cell phone because they lack healthcare, and their employers don't issue company cell phones, so they have to pay enough for the "help" to afford the phone, that is required by the employer for the job. It really is not a simple situation.

Windows 7 will not go gentle into that good night: Ageing OS refuses to shut down

Marshalltown

Strictly speaking

"Bit rot" affected cds and dvds as far as I recollect. Moisture permeating junction between the layers of plastic "sealing" the layer of organometallic recording medium allowed wee little organisms to actually caused the layer to decay. Well, essentially they ate the "organo-" bit. There used to be some nice microphotos of "bit rot" occurring and at least one time lapse video.

May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Marshalltown

Re: Snowy

Firefly - for the movie, Serenity.

ACLU sues America's border cops: Tell us everything about these secret search teams targeting travelers

Marshalltown

You'll be welcome if the fellows at the border let you pass. I once saw a traveler insist on being allowed to dispose of his maple syrup at customs in the airport at Montreal. The agents explained the jar was "too big" and expected to "seize" the syrup. The traveler said he would dispose of it then. There were some shocked and disappointed expressions from the agents when he asked for an escort to a sink so he could pour it down the drain. Not that one of them would have left the building with the jar full of first class maple syrup under his coat.

BOFH: The company survived the disaster recovery test. Just. The Director's car, however...

Marshalltown

Heh

A former employer/boss/chief source of computer virus infestations, etc. Walked in to find his C:\ out of commission (this was in the '90s). He yelled for my buddy and I to get in there and fix things. We looked things over, noting a small burned scar on the circuit board that made the drive look as if it had been hit by a micrometeor. Impossible of course, but still cool enough to hang on to later as a paper weight. We shook our heads and said the drive would have to go to some more rarified, far higher-paid specialist than us peons to recover any data, The best course would be to simply replace the drive and restore everything that could be restored from backups made the day before (the boss's own policy). Hemming and hahhing ensued. Finally it is revealed that the boss himself, source of the Tuesday/Thursday back up all files directive (had to be done to floppies, a tape drive or drives was too costly) had neglected to follow his own directive - ever. None of the rest of the worker bees was seriously affected, but he was out a month's work, plus files related to closed jobs. Happily we had paper copies of all reports archived. But no email, no electronically stored notes. Of course he later also once returned from a trip to eastern Europe with a floppy disk "utility" that "backed up" all(!!!) the office hard drives. He never bothered to inform the guys (my buddy and I) about this procedure and our first notification was a viral plague on every machine in the office except the print server. We spent a day cleaning things up and (we thought) locking things down. Next day, same plague is raging once more.

Then the boss gets concerned about lost work and possible corrupted files and possibly the spread of the virus TO his immigrant disk. We asked what it was and he explained he was backing up all the computers at night after we all left. Eyebrows tangled in hairlines, we asked where he was storing all that data. Why, on the floppy. Ah, had he ever restored any data from the floppy from one hard disk to another? No. He had been very carefully installing a virus over and over on computers he (he was always happy to point out) owned. Because his eastern European "friend" had told him what a wonder program the "utility" was. Careful examination revealed the floppy was THE source of the virus. We ceremonially degaussed it and then chopped it up with a paper cutter. We then asked that he never ever buy "magic beans" again without getting a second opinion.

The safest place to save your files is somewhere nobody will ever look

Marshalltown

Re: Been there. Done that.

Shudder. I had my boss ask me why his data "wasn't right." What kind of data was it? Oh, a regular database in ... Excel. What was in the "data base?" Company accounts. He couldn't get them to square up as they should. Filters, filtering filtered data reiterated several times over. We got a couple of days off over that while the boss and his partner straightened out payroll and withholding for the entire year to date. They actually hired an accountant after that.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

Marshalltown

Re: Eh?

You miss the point. "Ableist" is a disableist insult to people suffering from no handicaps.

Marshalltown

Re: Eh?

And yet - "ableist" is respectable?

What happens when a Royal Navy warship sees a NATO task force headed straight for it? A crash course in Morse

Marshalltown

It's not the horizon; it's the deck

Once baited on a commercial Pacific salmon troller out of Albion, California. First day, the first five minutes out of the harbor were "odd" with a ten-foot sea running, and then something in the mind said, "it's not the horizon; it's the deck." And suddenly all the odd sensations vanished. Of course after that you would come ashore at the end of the day and walk with a roll that disturbed the tourists. They all thought you were drunk. You'ld catch your self swaying even when sitting.

Watch as 10 cops with guns and military camo storm suspected Capital One hacker's house…

Marshalltown

Re: Darwin Award Contender

US police-shooting "error" rates are more than twice that of armed civilians. Also, while there are proportion biases in mistaken shootings by police, they still mistakenly shoot "white" individudals several times more often than other groups just not proportionately as often.

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

Marshalltown

Re: How many constitutional rights were violated ?

And you seem to neglect the grammatical distinctions between dependent clauses and independent clauses. The "militia" clause is an exemplar of an unenumerated list of dependencies on the citizen's right to be armed. More over you ignore the fact that while the Militia required a fire arm as exemplified later in the Militia Act, "arms" is a much broader term and includes weapons that don't go bang. Also, the authors of the constitution (US) differentiated between "militia" and "army." Jefferson for instance had a hope that the US could survive with a minimal navy (small gunboats for limited coastal defense), and a very limited army, because he expected that the "regulated" and the "general" militias could act in place of a trained, standing army. He was wrong, as you Brits showed in the War of 1812. The "militia" in the US Constitution is recognized as composed of two parts. One is a regular militia, a voluntary armed force that could quickly respond, and the "general miltia" that consists of every ablebodied citizen - now including women. So, you see, in addition to recalling a bit of a clause, you need to pay attention to what the words really mean in the context in which they were written.

BOFH: On a sunny day like this one, the concrete dries so much more quickly

Marshalltown

20 cm is eight inches. And even then you want to really hope your neighbor doesn't train search and rescue dogs. One of my friends trains dogs and one day one of his trainees alerted at the fence. Called the police and explained the anomalous behaviour. They received permission from the neighbor to search - over confidence on his part. My fried expected a dead squirrel or rat. The dog went directly to the new concrete patio. Somehow the neighbor hadn't noticed his wife taking a nap when he poured the concrete.

Marshalltown
Coat

Re: Informal poll on whether you've ever had to do something like this

"...It's possible that the drive was out of alignment. ..."

One of the very best security measures, as long as you have that drive and it doesn't drift any further.

Operation Desert Sh!tstorm: Routine test shoots down military's top-secret internets

Marshalltown
Pint

Re: don't wait 20 mins !

"...And yes, whoever thought it would be a good idea for the local team to not have Vsphere access was a complete retard...."

Government SOP where "sensitive systems" are concerned. Keep the authorized personnel on different continent, in a different time zone, without 24 hour coverage.

Turning it off and on again IN SPAAACE! ISS animal-tracker kit needs oldest trick in the book

Marshalltown

Re: Unfortunate name choice

Ah, but Argos did not fall out of the sky in flames.

BOFH: What's Near Field Implementation? Oh, you'll see. Turn left here

Marshalltown

Re: " wine has no affect on "

Never, Calfornia definitely expects its wine to have an effect. Otherwise those vineyard circuit trips would not keep the local LEOs in doughnuts.

Has NASA's Mars Insight lander hit rock bottom? Heat probe struggles to penetrate Red Planet

Marshalltown

"...the likelihood of hitting two rocks in close proximity and just the right configuration to block the mole is considered low...."

I have hammer augured probably well over a thousand soil samples, typically 0.5, 1.0 or even occasionally 2.0 meters deep in my career and I would say that I hit rocks that required relocating the augur about 1/3 the time. Occasionally several relocations were required. So, how low was the likelihood estimate? Evem with a large truck-mounted geotechnical riig, I've seen them stopped dead.

Marshalltown

Once it gets past this layer, hmmm? Think about that. Mars theoretically has a a primarily aeolian sedimentary environment for how many millions of years? So, how deep is this soil layer? Thought so. And what are your plans, NASA, now you've thought it through?

What the cell...? Telcos around the world were so severely pwned, they didn't notice the hackers setting up VPN points

Marshalltown

Re: Name and shame

No, you did not. The most geographically explicit statement was that all the telcos were outside North America.

Marshalltown

Re: It's very simple. (I'll bill you later).

Years ago there was a discussion about this. One author pointed out that even with the cleanest source in the world, if the compiler is compromised, then it can install a back door in the executable. In fact, you even could have the compromise buried in the hardware bios.

Marshalltown

Re: "outside North America"

Antiquated equipment is probably right. One of the hazards of being an "early adopter" is finding your self on the trailing edge of the wave as time passes. Also "not looking" is a good bet. US telcos often take a very negative approach to being told their network has problems, like having the messenger jailed.

Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey

Marshalltown

Re: Picric acid

I had a friend who worked in a hospital lab. He had a serious "hoarding" problem and also really could not stand to throwaway pontially useful materials. One day ho asked me if I had any use for chemicals. I didn't know - well, really, you never can tell - so I went over. He was selling his house due to a divorce and need to clear things out, which looked like it might require Hercules. Upstairs, in a VERY hot attice had several boxes of bottles and canisters of out ot date chemicals that the lab had designated for disposal and which my friend had decided he could not bear seeing "wasted." My hair pretty much stood on end when I peered inside one box and saw numerous bottles and cans labled with chemical names indicating that they really didn't belong in the same neighborhood. I literally tip-toed out. Then told him needed to call the fire department and somehow explain the situation. I figured they would clear anywhere from several houses to several blocks before addressing those boxes. I never did hear how the situation was ultimatley cleared up but I imagine there is another really interesting story that is told somewhere.

Marshalltown

Re: Uranium? What me worry?

Yet "Mommy" still didn't attentd the warnings and' at a guess, DID suggest the substance in the bottle had an odor to be sniffed. OR, she often took her offspring along on trips where she bought make up and perfume.

Wow, talk about a Maine-wave: US state says ISPs need permission to flog netizens' personal data

Marshalltown

Re: Why?

The Federal politicians like to imagine they are "big picture" types and the citizenry are peons that lack adequate brain cells to think through the information and implications available on political issues, even if they really have the education. Big picture types tend to take decidely oligarchic slant, because they are making the country prosperous one bribe at a time, and money speaks loudly, especially in the most populaous states.

US Air Force probes targeted malware attack, blames... er, the US Navy? What?

Marshalltown

Re: Laws lol

Getting sent to prison for crime is like attending an advanced seminar in how to be a criminal.

Freed whistleblower Chelsea Manning back in jail for refusing to testify before secret grand jury

Marshalltown

Re: One crime.

It appears that the "indefinite" nature of the sentence along with the seriousness of the issue means that Manning or her attorney can demand a jury trial for the contempt charge itself. The maximum sentence for contempt is limited to no more than would be expected for a petty offense - ca. six months maximum. The fine alone exceeds the "petty offense" limit. For a federal "petty offense" the jail term is not more than six months and the fine $5,000 maximum - or both, naturally. So the judge is way, way past any "reasonable" reaction to the refusal.

Marshalltown
Pint

Re: One crime.

Your faith in MSM is touching.

Japan's mission to mine Mars' moon is cleared – now they've filled out the right paperwork on alien world contamination

Marshalltown

Re: Too much fuss about contamination

Can't find it any more, but over ten years ago there was a report of the discover of halite crystals in a presumably "Martian" meteorite recovered in Antarctica. Salt is known from various other meteorites already: http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Nov99/PurpleSalt.html. The commonest souce are chondritic meteorites, and it has been observed that common methods of preparing meteorite samples for examination use water - oops. But that brings up really intriguing things like, chondrites exposed at the surface might have any salt they carry dissolved by rain, and if there were organics within that salt, they would then be released into the environment. Consider that the Murchison meteorite had so much organic material in it that it literally stank.

US minister invokes Maggie Thatcher, says she would have halted Huawei 5G rollout

Marshalltown

Re: "we have to talk about sensitive things as friends"

Let's not forget GCHQ here. Britain has some "legal" advantages the US lacks for this kind of thing. The GCHQ is allowed behaviour the NSA wishes it had. The problem with such agencies as NSA and GCHQ is that they exist to spy. Their size and budgets show that someone WANTS them to spy. So, who might those someones be?

Marshalltown

Minister????

Here in the USofA, a "minister" is someone that stands up behind the pulpit in a church. We call the bureacrat a "Secretary".

NASA fingers the cause of two bungled satellite launches, $700m in losses, years of science crashing and burning...

Marshalltown

Re: Aluminum

Oh, and BTW, Canadians also follow Sir Humphrey Davy. The real question is why Anglophones woud follow the arguments of French, Germans and Scandinavians rather than their very own.

Marshalltown

Re: Aluminum

It's because we sided with Sir Humphrey Davy, who specified "aluminum." That extra syllable in "aluminium" wastes time don't ya know?

Loose Women woman's IR35 win deals another high-profile blow to UK taxman's grip on rules

Marshalltown

Re: Avoidance vs Evasion

There is no such thing as "...law abiding corporate citizens...." The idea of "citizen" applied to fictive entities is a problem (in the law as you emphaisize) that ought to be brutally demolished, ideally with very large hammers.

User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily... right?

Marshalltown

Re: stop me if you've heard this one....

"...what foot pedal? turns out the user had the mouse on the floor.."

I took a call on this in the mid-90s. The user was new and still learning and reasoning from analogy. She caught on to her mistake immediately. It is not urban myth.

Marshalltown

Re: Well if the US ships want the Chinese to keep out of the way

... 89s and 90s ...

Precisely when all these weird calls came in that later ignoramii designated as "urban myths." I replaced the CD drive for a customer who had mistakenly assumed it was a "cup holder." He called us in a snit when the CD cradle broke when he put an oversized, heavy, stonware mug in the cradle and it broke. He was not thrilled about the cost of the new CD drive either.

Marshalltown

Re: Well if the US ships want the Chinese to keep out of the way

I was amused to have some one tell me about an "urban myth" which was actually a call I personally took. Given the nature of the problem, the year it happened and the expanding base of inexperienced computer users, I can easily think that the same "issue" occurred repeatedly. A little research reveals that the "urban myth" designation is often made by people with little or no experience at the "Hell desk."

A quick cup of coffee leaves production manager in fits and a cleaner in tears

Marshalltown

Re: So...

Ah, yes. The computing power distributed by company hierarchy rather than need syndrome. The fellow with the biggest desk has the computer with the most memory, fastest CPU, and largest hard drive.

Karma chameleon: Reg hack takes SUSE mascot plushy right in the kisser

Marshalltown

Re: Too much cuddling

I used to run SUSE and did so for years. However, SUSE seemed to be getting grumpier every release. I switched first to Ubuntu - not a very rewarding, and finally to Fedora which has been very well behaved for me - first upgrades (using dnf) for instance that did not break the system entirely and demand a clean install to fix things.

Town admits 'a poor decision was made' after baseball field set on fire to 'dry' it more quickly

Marshalltown

Reminds me

Dry grass can burn very hot and very quickly. My grandmother, whose immigrated from England to Canada before WWI and who in turn immigrated with her husband and family to California following the Long Beach earthquake. After finally settling on a small "farm" in Central California she developed the practice of burning over the "north 40" every year in the later spring. One time she stationed me down wind with a hose to protect the neighbor's wooden fence and torched the plot. The wind gusted and I was suddenly confronted with eight to ten foot high flames roaring right at me. Somehow I made a standing backward high jump over the fence behind me. Happily she always mowed a fire break around the plot and I was able to use that and the hose to stop the fire. She came hurrying around the burn to see if I was all right.

US border cops told to stop copying people's files just for the hell of it

Marshalltown

Re: Goosey, gossey gander....

While it is not as obvious as it might be if you follow the media, the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution does not limit itself to US "citizens." The BoR limits are placed on the government, asserting certain behaviours that the government, democratic or not, is not allowed to indulge in: limiting freedom of speech, denying the right to self defense, unreasonable searches and seizures, questioning to deliberately incriminate, ... Constutitionally, those rights are independent of citizenship. The constitution does have things to say about citizen's duties and rights, but those things are not in the BoR. However, CBP actions and other chunks of the government do tend to ignore constitutional rights and the courts schizoid views do not necessarily clarify things.

Only one Huawei? We pitted the P30 Pro against Samsung and Apple's best – and this is what we found

Marshalltown

You might be surprised

The chief advantage of a phone that takes pictures is that it reduces the complexity of getting those images to someone else. In terms of size my Canon G1X weighs more and is thicker, but doesn't take up as much real estate as my Samsung Note9. I like them both, but for "real" images, the Canon is much better. So I may take images of something I want a quick opinion on with my Samsung and send them to to whomever I want an opinion from. I actually document the object with either my G1X or a 70D DSLR if I have given in to accepting the weight.

CES flicks the off switch on massager award… and causes a buzz

Marshalltown

Northeast US

Metadata is said differently in different parts of the US. The "-ar" for "-ah" substitution is typical of the Northeast (New England) which was settled by folks from a different part of England, than other states, some of which were mainly settled by folks that were not from England. In California the pronunciation - except by foreigners - is "metah daytah". The occasional academic will piss and moan about whether it should be "dahtah" instead.

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