* Posts by Jwdb

15 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jan 2012

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


That's fair - I'd hazard that you want an appliance, not a DIY kit. I generally feel the same way about my work computer and phone, although it hurts every time I hit their arbitrary limits. My personal machine runs Slackware, and while I do like things to work reasonably smoothly, I don't want them to be "easy" because that generally implies taking away choice. I place significantly more value on flexibility, customisability, and transparency of the system.

For example, I've swapped out the BSD-style init scripts of Slackware for an s6-based system (purely for personal preference, and as an experiment) with a bit of work but minimal pain, but I see no way to make something like that easy. Or, printing from my machine is currently broken, but I know pretty well where it's going wrong because I can follow the data path through CUPS and various filters scripts it calls in its execution in as much detail as I want. I prefer my printer system to be broken but visible and easily dissected rather than working but inscrutable, and I have confidence I'll fix it eventually precisely because it's so open. Given the same issue on Windows or OS X, I'd give up and buy a new printer.

I've used systemd-based distros (mainly on RPIs), and didn't like their restrictive nature. I'm happy there's still a niche in the Linux world that caters to my use case, despite creeping systemdization, and if there comes a day that even Slackware adopts the appliance model, I'll jump ship to FreeBSD while cursing Pottering for finally destroying my niche. The BSDs have their own issues, but at least I agree more with their design philosophies.

tl;dr, I think our use cases are mutually exclusive, because easy-to-use and DIY are opposite ends of a spectrum.

Hackers weigh in on programming languages of choice


Re: Who wrote this survey?

You don't use it as an IDE, but it can be turned into an IDE piecemeal via plugins if desired. For example, I recently discovered that there are plugins for VIM that support Visual Studio's language server protocol, giving you features like instant syntax checking, documentation, and completion. Not easy to set up, and not necessarily always worth it, but I've found the Haskell one quite useful.

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99


Re: 8 days where no laws can be passed.

541 days, after the elections in summer 2010. There was a caretaker government with limited powers, and the bureaucracy continued to grind along. Didn't really affect daily life, apart from the news stories.

I wonder when they'll beat that record.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth


Re: Alternatives are good.

I used to frequent a crab restaurant in Maryland, USA - they're steamed whole with an extremely generous layer of spice blend over top, and eaten by hand with aid of a hammer. The men's bathroom had a sign on the door suggesting people wash their hands on entry as well as exit.

The story goes that my father once walked in on a bloke cooling himself in the wash basin, apparently having ignored the sign.

Ever wondered how Google-less Android might look? Step right this Huawei: Mate 30 Pro arrives on British shores


Very different beasts

Huawei may not be bundling either store with their phone, and for a consumer the Amazon store is definitely easier to install than the Google store. You can't just install Google's app store as a standard app - there's a number of non-trivial dependencies, and everything I read last time I flashed Android indicated these have to be installed immediately after flashing and before booting. For Amazon, however, just grab the apk.

Plus, aren't there additional distribution restrictions on the Google store? As in, Google won't let you ship phones with it unless you install the entire suite of Google tools?

ICANN finally reveals who’s behind purchase of .org: It’s ███████ and ██████ – you don't need to know any more


names redacted...

'...based “on the principles set forth in ICANN’s Documentary Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP)”'

This'd be the same ICANN that fought tooth and nail to have WHOIS continue to disclose every domain name owner's personal details?

meh, because why would I be so naïve as to expect even-handedness...

Belgian F-16 pilot rescued from power line after emergency ejection


Re: Pilot now shorter and one chance left

Not a bad idea, but one button only is safer and more reliable: you don't want to be fumbling about trying to figure out which button is which or debating about how much time you've got left when you've really only got a split second. One button is also less complex than having a dual-mode ejection seat, so less likely to fail in an emergency.

Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned


Re: 2.5MW

There's a series of aviation primary radars used for en-route tracking (so, long-distance, not just airport approach) that apparently have a rated peak power of > 2.5 MW. Think there's one on Belgium of this type although I can't recall what the power rating was. I do recall it being high, however.

Wikipedia page (in German): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRE-M

It's not chicken feed: Million-dollar meal deal for livestock sabotaged by hackers... and, er, exchange rates


The remaining £93,540.99...

So, Ecobank gets a free £94k for being weasels with the exchange rate? Why weren't they required to return exactly what they received, considering they are supposed to be an innocent bystander for whom the money was not intended? Can't see how they have any right to keep that residual - cf. various past cases of individuals receiving money accidentally, spending it, and then being ordered by the courts to pay it back.

Pulses quicken at NASA as SpaceX gets closer to crewed launches and Russia readies the next Soyuz


Re: Elon & Drugs


Only if they smoke weed and the DEA decides to make an example of them.

It's not illegal to make laws saying weed's legal, but since it's a schedule I controlled substance it's still a federal crime to distribute/have/use/etc it (thus the shorthand "illegal"). That's why no weed business in the US is on the stock exchange or has a bank account, and why weed businesses are so happy that Sessions, who had it in for them, is gone.

Either way, here's to hoping Musk was smart enough to keep the workplace clean. I would *really* hate to see SpaceX go up in smoke over something this trivial.

Anti-peeping-tom drone law nixed in California


Re: You don't own the air above your ground


As far as actual ownership is concerned, if wikipedia and quora are to be believed then US landowners own rights to all minerals under their property barring an explicit notation in the deed. This apparently even includes the oil that flows into the rock under your property from under your neighbor's property due to the fact that you've just sucked your property dry. You are *not* allowed to dig down and then sideways under someone else's property without a lease, however.


This fits with what I've always heard as far as the US is concerned, in that US law on this differs greatly from European law.

Thumb Up

Us vs the lawyers

You know, he's got a point. Isn't American society already litigious enough, without adding another law that people can get into petty arguments about? Imagine flying at 355 ft, and then getting dragged into court because it turned out your GPS had a 6 ft vertical margin of error (remember, vertical accuracy is significantly worse than horizontal). I know my little GPS logger was regularly off by ten meters, if not more.

Yes, we want to prevent intrusions on privacy, but I agree we should try to do it without creating a new avenue for lawyers to get rich.

Steve Jobs' 'private Apple spaceship' seeks public love


Re: Why Bother

So we should aim for the lowest common denominator, for mediocrity? This is the reason US residential architecture (sprawl, more specifically) is derided as "cookie-cutter".

The US has some fantastic architects - use them!

Stray SMS leads to aborted landing


Re: Interference

Nope, even with a dipole antenna 100 km is possible. The main limiting factor for GSM is the ground and other obstructions.

Here's a back-of-the-envelope calculation:

Handheld power output of 2 W, dipole antenna of 1.5 dBi

Tower sensitivity of -102 dBm (that's actually the handheld, but the tower should be better), and dipole antenna

Work that out in free space with Frii's equation and you have a margin of 100 dB, which is 100 km. If you assume the tower antenna is pointed downwards and you therefore have a gain of, say, -20 dB, you've still got 10 km range.

Clouds and rain have minimal effect at 900 MHz, and the plane's clearly not that good of a Faraday cage, judging by the signal I get at the gate.

GPS manages to go 20,000 km with a measly 500 W equivalent (taking the antenna into account, in other words), as long as you have line of sight.

NASA halts 'naut flogging Apollo 13 notebook


Not about the money?

It's pretty clear it's not about the IP, but maybe it's not about the money either? I don't see them turning around and selling those moonrocks they've reclaimed. They were probably fine with him holding on to it as long as it stayed in his possession (a relic together with the hero). What they might not want is for a market for this kind of thing to gather steam, with all of the relics ending up in the hands of private collectors. I only hear of them making an issue of it when someone tries to *sell* something?