* Posts by stu_san

22 posts • joined 3 Jan 2012

Delicious irony: Hacked medical debt collector AMCA files for bankruptcy protection from debt collectors



For example, AMCA says it owes IBM $15,299.64 for IT services, and Cablevision is owed $7,679.02, presumably for internet service.


So they list at least two debts amounting to ~ $20,000 and they're filing for chapter 11?!? These have got to be under the "small debtors" category, or there are some 0s missing from those numbers.


Just looked at the bankruptcy filing and their largest creditor is owed something like $108,000. I notice that a significant proportion of their large creditors are law firms. HMMmmm...

Former HP CEO Léo Apotheker tells court he didn't read Autonomy's latest accounts before fated $11bn buyout


Re: "Didn't read"..

| Everybody [not] working [in management] at HP at that time got the idea at the very 1st virtual meetings with Leo, why SAP was more than happy to let him go.

Years before this debacle when I was at HP, a senior manager left HP to be CEO of another company. At the time, those who knew the manager said, "The intelligence of both companies have just risen!"

Dead LAN's hand: IT staff 'locked out' of data center's core switch after the only bloke who could log into it dies


Old cartoon

I recall an old cartoon (from Datamation? no idea) of a mother and children who are mourning next to a grave in the rain. A portly gentleman is leaning close and saying, "I know this is a bad time, but do you remember him saying anything about source code?"

Microsoft flings the Windows Calculator source at GitHub


My HP-32S is dying!

Who's up for an RPN option?

They say software will eat the world. Here are some software bugs that took a stab at it


Someone else made the "Cheap, Fast, Good, Choose Two" comment earlier and I wanted to comment. Since you brought it up again, I will.

I once had a job where I joked that, when presented the above choice, the manager chose Cheap twice. Yeah, that startup died.


Re: Software kills

| Soon, automobiles will be the same.

Typo: Soon -> Now


Management is but one problem

After decades in the industry (doing software, hardware, and firmware), I have noted there has been one constant: If a project fails, engineers will invariably blame management. After all, it couldn't *possibly* be the engineers' fault, right? They put in the hours, weekends, sweat, blood, and tears, so it *must* be management's fault.

We, as engineers, must look at ourselves as well as management. How often have we made something complex and wonderful when simple and usable would do? How often have we skipped putting extra assertions in a particular function because "nobody would call it that way"? How often have we passed on testing because it's "too hard to test" (let alone not putting in ways to make testing easier). How often have we passed on good programming practice because we don't "have the time" to do it right? How often have we said, "That's a piece of cake" because we didn't analyze the problem sufficiently?

Anyone who says, "I never done any of those things" is lying, to themselves if no one else.

I'm not saying that management is not a major contributor to problems. What I am saying is that engineers are often just as much a contributor.

(Disclosure: I was a manager for about a year. Failed miserably. There's a reason there are degrees for that stuff.)

HPE hatches HPE Next – a radical overhaul plan so it won't be HPE Last

Big Brother



"...Through HPE Next we will clean-sheet our operating model..."

"...we’re going to right-size end-to-end cost structures..."

As Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes fame) once said: "Verbing weirds language"

Shine on, you crazy Eind minds: Boffins fire out 43Gbps infrared 'Wi-Fi'


Great, if...

"In five years or so, Wi-Fi access points could carry data at rates 100 times faster than today using infrared light..."

This is a great idea, so long as the link is inside a building or if there isn't any snow or fog. Many decades ago, a similar link (not nearly as fast) connected the CU Boulder Engineering Building with the Computing Center approximately 2 miles away. Worked great until we had snow. Or rain. Or fog. The link completely dropped out then. IR doesn't like that. Sun didn't seem to matter, though.

Also, multiple sources pointed at a single IR transceiver will screw up. A (now long-dead) HP project used IR for a wireless hub. One serious problem was sources who were closer swamped traffic from those further away. HP never totally figured out the problems and so never released the product.

But boffins are so much cleverer these days! Nothing can go worng <tick> go worng <tick> go worng <tick> go worng <tick> go worng...

Gulp! Drones dodge spray from California's gaping moist glory hole


Cue exciting music

The straight down shot reminded me of the throat of the Doomsday Machine from the original Star Trek series. I know that's not as popular as Dr. Who in Brexit-land.

And I don't care that it's not technical or associated with IT -- it's cool!

Bees with numberplates will soon be buzzing around London. Why?


Re: Aphid?!?

Although, to be honest, the aphid-friendly sub-title did intrigue me enough to read the article. I wanted to know why bees with number plates require flowers that were friendly to aphids. Otherwise, bee tags (as someone else called them) made me say, "Meh." Just sayin'.

Google asks the public to name the forthcoming Android N operating system


The choice is obvious


(This is a candy available here in the "colonies" - may not be named that elsewhere.)

(Whoops! I didn't go through all of the comments. Already suggested, even with my title. Sorry.)

2013 World Solar Challenge racers start the big reveal



I understand why it's white - too danged hot in Oz. That said, it just doesn't seem right if the car's not in British Racing Green...

Just sayin.

Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!


The problem with "If it ain't broke"...

...is finding parts for that old tech when it *is* broke.

HMMmmm... Has someone come up with a PDP-11 core that can be dropped in a SoC?

The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME


Connection Machine 5

With only the Cray-2 as a salute to high-end computing, I would like to add the Thinking Machines' CM-5. Corny dialog and dopey Jurassic Park graphics aside, the CM-5 *looked* like a supercomputer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connection_Machine

Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction


Robbie? Close, but...

You missed the Super Computer in Robbie's second movie, "The Invisible Boy" (1957 - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050546/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

Movie computer? Check

Wants to take over the world? Check

Evil, manipulating POS? Check

Save hefty Dr Who and Bond girl 'Flossie', pleads vintage computer man


Re: Move it to the cloud!

Maybe just the fact that it is physically saved is enough. Simulation is being done for other processors (see Altair), but these older machines, like the Bombe and Colossus at Bletchley, are unique unto themselves.

Personal note: As a high-school student I tried to save a decommissioned Univac SS80 ("Solid State 80") but was rejected by the IT dept director. I then tried to get the manuals and the compilers (FORTRAN II!), but was refused; "proprietary info" the director said. Two weeks later the machine was junked out back of the high school shop, having been ravaged for parts, lights, and wires. That machine was the last one Seymour Cray had "worked on" at Univac before moving on to CDC. The design was implemented in both transistors and "magnetic amplifiers" (whatever those were) as a side-by-side study; I am not sure but I think the production units used the mag amps. It used magnetic drum rather than cores. In its own way, a unique machine.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a simulator, but without the compiler or other code from the Masters (instruction placement on the drum to improve speed was an art), it would be a mostly useless exercise.


Why save it?!?

Why save this computer? Why would we save anything? Why save paintings, old potsherds from archeological sites, trophies from old games played decades ago, pictures from the 1900s, 78 RPM records (or old cylinder records for that matter), antique cars, boomerangs, spears, arrows, swords, cannons, baskets, houses in the Swiss Alps, the Spirit Of St Louis, the Spruce Goose, the Glamorous Glennis, the Enola Gay, the Queen Mary, the Eiffel Tower, Tower of London, the Great Wall of China, they Pyramids on Giza plateau, the Forbidden City in Beijing, Roman breastplates, amphorae, the Antikylera Mechanism, a bit of melted glass-like ground from the Trinity site, the stuffed pelt of the MGM Lion (saved in an attic in McPherson, Kansas), the Vasa from Sweden's seas, old sardine tins from a century ago, covered wagons from two centuries ago, steam locomotives, silent movies, signs from roads and inns and gas (petrol) stations that no longer exist, memorials on ancient battlefields and grave sites, books (and stone tablets and dried clay tablets) from people who died anywhere from decades to thousands of years ago and millions of other artifacts from humans around the globe? Why save any of that?!?

Because, you moron, without knowing where we came from we cannot know where we are going. Because reflections from the past illuminate our present and, in so doing, our future. Because we can easily forget that, even though some ideas are old, it does not make them any less ingenious or, in fact, *relevant*.

Do we need to save the eggshells from this morning's breakfast? Probably not. A computer from the 60's? *DEFINITELY*!

Why James Bond's Aston Martin Top Trumps the rest


About the Italian Job...

You missed the Lamborghini Miura that is run into a bulldozer in the title sequence. Bond would have looked good in a Miura, even if it is Italian.

Bot imitates bat for better flight


Re: Missing Footnote?

* Rabies

Pirates not to blame for Big Media's sales plunge


Market change

Maybe "the new open" projects like Openstack or the Raspberry Pi are the beginning of a successful "indie tech" movement. Maybe not; market changes like that take decades, and it is far too early to call it.

Well, maybe, but we have seen markets (and titans) sink faster than that. In the mid 80s, DEC was the company that could do no wrong. By the early 90's it was dead (along with the "minicomputer" market). IBM skated dangerously close to the end of the "big iron" market. (I'm not sure how "big iron" lived through that period, and with the "cloud" we may be heading for another "big iron" test).

Markets can and have changed radically just about overnight. It only takes a few innovations to break to the old market model.

Boffins unimpressed by LOHAN's sizzling thruster


Thrust for 3 engines...

Doesn't look right. Why would the thrust curve for 3 engines look identical to that for the single engine case? Plotting fubar is my guess (the times 3 is taken account of in the other curves?).

Also, while weight goes up, drag seems overly pessimistic (50% increase?) since that is controlled by the design around the engine fairings.

I dunno, though - I'm a simple software engineer, not a rocket surgeon.


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