* Posts by Dave559

697 posts • joined 13 Jul 2012

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Apple tells suppliers to use 'Taiwan, China' or 'Chinese Taipei' to appease Beijing

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Can anyone answer the question, logically...

The situation is, umm, complicated, and my understanding may be somewhat incomplete, for which I apologise, if in error.

A lot of time has now passed since the Chinese Civil War, and although part of Taiwan's population is of mainland Chinese descent, both from historic times, and, more "recently", from the Republic of China's retreat to Taiwan in 1949, since then, as time and the previous generations pass, gradually more of the population has felt that they have a definite Taiwan identity (especially those with long ancestral presence) and less attachment to being still the rightful Republic of (all) China waiting to reclaim its territory (which was the UN perspective until 1971). There are of course strong views on both sides.

The prospect of the RoC replacing the PRC government in mainland China is of course slim, but the PRC regards Taiwan as still being part of China and would not accept Taiwan becoming formally independent (if it were to relinquish the RoC stance and choose to do that), hence the uncomfortable stalemate and the fine balancing acts walked by outsiders to avoid diplomatic offence to either side.

Microsoft's Teams goes native on Apple, retains a human touch

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Nice for all the fruity guys, but what about Linux?

I haven't used Slack for videoconferences, so can't comment on that, but as a chat client (website), I much prefer it to Teams.

Teams is afflicted by the unsufferably typically awkward and pointless Microsoftism of endless clicky-clicky-clicky to show the full text of longer messages and messages in long threads, whereas in Slack you can just easily and quickly skim and scroll. It's almost as if they were trying to make it as inconvenient to use as possible (just like AD group properties windows which are uselessly tiny and impossible to resize to see all the information in them). You'd think that a software company of that size might know at least a little bit about usability…

Upgrading what might be the world's oldest running Linux install

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Triggers Broom

Yehmmm, OK, fair point, that's a reasonable argument: only ever installed once, everything since was an upgrade, albeit with greater or lesser amounts of advanced wizardry involved… :-)

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Triggers Broom

The whole exercise sounds way too much like trying to rebuild an aeroplane while in flight, or trying to solve one of those interlocking segment wooden cube puzzles, but whatever floats your boat!

But the question is, can it really count as "the same install" if (on at least one occasion) the data/filesystems have had to be copied somewhere else (and then back again) while the actual hardware was upgraded? I suppose the 'consciousness' is the same, even if the 'body' has been replaced at times, i guess?

How did you mourn Internet Explorer's passing?

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: IE has died

"Get away from HTML, you bitch!"

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: It's not dead.

"In general, standards are a weapon small-market-share businesses use against large-market-share businesses"

And just how do you think your message made it from your computer keyboard, across the internet, on to the web server, and then, across the internet again, on to our web browsers?

Go on, go and make your own electrical plug by wrapping the inner wires from your kettle's power cable around three nails – no, make that two nails – and stick them in the nearest electrical socket in a random orientation, and then come back and tell us why standards are a bad thing…

Password recovery from beyond the grave

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Not happened to me, but

This is the scary thing: as more and more of us bank online these days, and often don't receive even annual statements by post, it's increasingly likely that family members will have no idea what bank accounts the deceased has, unless they have taken great care to note down all these details carefully before the chap with the scythe comes a-knocking at their door!

How one techie ended up paying the tab on an Apple Macintosh Plus

Dave559 Silver badge

Tab and return

You are joking, I hope?!

Unlike word processor software, typewriters don't line wrap when they reach the edge of the sheet of paper (well, maybe some fancy-schmancy electric typewriters might, but ordinary ones don't), so you have to press the «return» key to return the platen (the cylinder which the paper is wrapped around) position back to the starting edge of the paper and advance the paper upwards to a new line, otherwise you'll just keep typing until you fall off the edge of the sheet.

But this (l)user was misusing the line wrap functionality as they had realised that if they tabbed to the end of the line on the virtual page, the word processor would, on the next tab, line wrap that line onto the next line on the screen (but without a line or paragraph break), which is why they ended up with a document with one horribly horribly long line a_n_d__i__t___g___o___t____s____t____u____c____k

Dave559 Silver badge

Under construction

I'm not going to be quite as much of a pedant about the meaning of "internet" as jake «grin» (although he's right: internet >> web), but, yeah, FrontPage was a latecomer to the web, which had been growing and thriving for a good number of years before then: those were carefully handcrafted "Under construction" web pages, doncha know! :-D

Cable cut blamed for global four-hour internet disruption

Dave559 Silver badge
Alert

An evergreen problem?

Hmm, what has an Evergreen container juggernautica sailed into, dragged with its anchor, or pranged with a mast, on the canal this time?

I love the Linux desktop, but that doesn't mean I don't see its problems all too well

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: "variety...is a feature, not a problem"

"It's a problem for application developers. Linux lacks a coherent "desktop" API, and a coherent widget set, which means a coherent GUI, and simpler development."

But it (mostly) doesn't matter which widget library (the main difference a user sees) a particular application uses, as it will bring in the necessary libraries as part of its installation, if they are not already installed. There is absolutely no need to make a QT version and a GTK version (etc) of the same program. The window manager that you are using will stick its own window chrome around the bare window in any case, so the windows will all look similar at that level.

Sure, app toolbar icons and the UI widgets might look slightly different in different apps, but that's not really the end of the world; they are all much the same photocopies of Xerox's original efforts and so are mostly similar, and (as far as I can tell) the most significant different widget libraries are nowadays able to (reasonably well) all make use of the particular desktop theme that you have chosen, regardless of which libraries the apps were built with, thanks to compatibility efforts between the various camps (obviously this doesn't apply to older software using much older widget libraries, but you are unlikely to be using such a program nowadays, and if you are, you have a very good reason for it (I know people who still swear by xfig, for example!)).

(It's definitely the case that we do need a few more good quality and attractive desktop themes - that certainly hasn't been helped by the rival desktop systems too frequently changing how themes work and causing breakage, shades of Mozilla causing major damage to its add-on ecosystem by moving away from XUL before its replacement was properly ready for use.)

And certainly Windows has previously been (possibly still is) guilty of having programs using all kinds of wacky interface libraries that were much more ugly and much less compatible with each other than present day X apps are - Windows peripheral driver software always seems to particularly "excel" in these especially!

Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Chrome is the hellmouth

"Despite the authors claims that Firefox doesnt have the same level of addons that it used to, not one of the many I use have become unusable in the MANY years I have used the browser."

You are lucky in your particular usage, then. I can think of at least two significant add-ons that were broken by the ending of XUL: RequestPolicy ("only load this external content on this specific website" - allow specified 'necessary evils' on sites where they are necessary, but they remain blocked everywhere else, it was the perfect companion to NoScript; uBlock Origin sort of fills the gap but is an exercise in thoroughly opaque UI confusion, sadly), and FlashGot (download manager). There were at least a few others, but I eventually found (reasonably) suitable alternatives or learned to have to live without them.

We sat through Apple's product launch disguised as a dev event so you don't have to

Dave559 Silver badge
Flame

Re: We're long past peak tech

AirDrop is shit, and non-standard proprietary shit at that.

Bluetooth has been able to support contact card and file transfer since longtime, and it is beyond ridiculous that Apple doesn't support this, like every other semi-smart device does.

NASA's 161-second helicopter tour of Martian terrain

Dave559 Silver badge

Dust

Sounds like it might be a good idea to include "windscreen wipers" in a version 2 helicopter, to avoid this particular dust problem?

Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux

Dave559 Silver badge
Pint

Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad

I think you definitely deserve a beer for the Cronus and hydra references!

(And in the underworld there are also many more daemonic creatures to be bargained with and tamed, for those who wish their systems to do more than just run of the mill desktop things…)

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped

Dave559 Silver badge

It looks strange (it certainly confused the hell out of me the first time I saw it mentioned), but it is basically an obfuscated fork bomb (the explanation on Wikipedia of what it actually does makes it much clearer).

World’s smallest remote-controlled robots are smaller than a flea

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: "The heat is applied remotely through a laser"

No, no, no, you train the sharks to control the laser beams, of course…

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’

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Re: Deep Space Network

It has to be said that NASA really does deserve almost as much kudos for its use of the web (since pretty much right from the beginning of the web) to make so much information about its mission reports and research findings easily accessible to the public, as it does for the actual missions and spacecraft themselves.

Just as an example (but an obvious biggie), you could honestly get lost in the websites for all of the Apollo missions for weeks, and very enjoyably so, and that's only one part of everything they have done before and since.

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: 41 hours of latency sounds bad...

Yes, the latency may have been poor, but never underestimate the bandwidth of that pick-up truck school bus full of tapes…

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs

Dave559 Silver badge

Window Maker, AfterStep, etc

At the start of the article, I was going to grumble that Window Maker, AfterStep, etc, didn't get a mention, but then I was relieved to see that they did later.

Obviously any window manager (well, many of them) can be heavily customised through theming, and (often) you can choose what sort of dock or panel application you want to use, but, back in the day I did quite like Window Manager (etc) as they were fairly different from either the Mac/Amiga look or the Windows look, had rather elegant icons (compared to many others at the time), and the fact that menus popped up under your mouse (minimal/zero movement needed) was definitely quite innovative.

But I guess they were all perhaps a little bit too quirky/different to what many people were more familiar with, and KDE (in the v1 - v3 era) and Gnome 2 gradually got more developer and user mindshare, being that bit more familiar in terms of look and feel for people with experience of other OSes. It's good to see that they are still being developed and hopefully still have some users, however.

(And if you just can't get enough of eclectic window managers, it's good to see that the xwinman web site is still online…)

Dave559 Silver badge

"Give me a Jurassic Park interface or an Iron Man interface... <j/k>"

You hopefully know that the Jurassic Park file manager was actually a real file manager?

And there are ports of it, and other similar fly-through file managers also exist, just because some coders can, just for the fun of it. :)

"It's a UNIX system! I know this!"

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Keyboard / Mouse

"Select text with mouse, copy and paste with keyboard."

FTFY: Select and copy text with mouse, paste with middle mouse button. ;-)

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: RISC OS

I'm sure RISC OS pioneered a number of useful things (I've never used it, but a friend was a big fan, and in fact went on to work for Acorn for a while), but, in the interests of fairness:

MacOS has also had drag and drop app installation for a very long time (possibly right from the start, it certainly pre-dates my own Mac usage by quite some time anyway).

Universal file formats: AmigaOS was possibly there first with the IFF file container format (the concept was borrowed by just about everyone else since) and file formats contained within it, such as the ILBM bitmap graphics format. Later, systemwide DataTypes were invented to allow applications to open other file formats that they didn't natively know about (why reinvent the wheel, when the OS could do it for you).

In the end, all OSes and desktops borrowed good ideas from each other!

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: The curse of overchoice

"If anyone can point to an ISO that would work like a Windows install disk would, I'd be very grateful."

Well, yes, but also no. The Linux and free software world is all about freedom of choice, rather than meekly having to accept what has been provided for you. It's evolution in action, in a way. That is just the way it is, and it's not necessarily a negative. What works well, or is popular, flourishes; what is less so, either finds a niche or perhaps gradually fades away.

Yes, I realise that this doesn't help you choose what species of animal you want to have as a pet, but you approach it in a similar way: find friends with a variety of pets (or look at reviews or videos online), and see which one you think you like the most. Or, as most people would probably do, they'd consider an "ordinary" pet such as a cat or a dog, rather than a gecko, gentoo penguin, pufferfish, jaguar, red panda, etc… (Although, if you know what you are doing, you can have a more exotic pet. It's the same with Linux.)

But if you want a suggestion, just pick either Linux Mint or Ubuntu and download their default LTS (long term support version) installer (OK, that's two suggestions). Either is perfectly suitable for new users, and their current level of popularity probably means that you are more likely to be able to get help for these easily, if you need it (although the same also applies to most of the other "well known" distros almost equally well).

With many installers now available as "live" bootable media, you can also just load it up and play around with the desktop environment included in the installer for a while before deciding whether or not you want to install this version on your computer for real.

If you decide that you don't particularly like the desktop environment that the distro has chosen (eg, Gnome 3 that comes with the default Ubuntu install is more like MacOS (or perhaps Windows 8 done in an actual useable way), but may not be for everyone), you can fairly simply install the package for a different desktop environment instead, and select to use that the next time you login. You don't need to reinstall Linux all over again to change your desktop (although the "recent" trend of providing a range of installers based around specific desktops perhaps unwittingly does give that impression to some extent).

And, if, even later, you decide you don't like the distro you have installed, then you can choose another and install it (and restore your data from your backup, or, possibly, if you are careful during the install, be able to retain your /home partition and just reuse it). But the choice, of course, is yours.

Mozilla browser Firefox hits the big 100

Dave559 Silver badge

Scrollbars?

I am genuinely a bit bemused by all the scrollbar-related comments here. Does anybody actually still use scrollbars for scrolling these days? That's surely what your mouse scrollwheel, or multi-touch trackpad gesture, or finger swipe on your phone or tablet is for?

The only thing I use scrollbars for these days is as a visual indicator of where in a document I am positioned, and I am perfectly happy for the scrollbars to be invisible until I start scrolling, although I do agree that when they do appear they should probably be more visible (wider) than they often are. However, the specific appearance of the scrollbars, and whether they are permanently visible or normally invisible, should probably be preferences in the OS / desktop environment Theme and Accessibility settings respectively, rather than app-specific.

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Firefox is dead

You say "facts", but may I remind you of the popular saying, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics".

Yes, Firefox is indeed used by substantially fewer people than Chrome, but, similarly, more people eat at McDo's than at good quality restaurants. Simple 'popularity' contests count for little.

More to the point, these figures which are often bandied around always seem to refer to dubious 'stat counter' sites, most of which require the loading of third-party content and JavaScript to record any data.

I'm fairly confident that a significant part of Firefox's user base is made up of quite privacy conscious people, and, like ninjas, we move around the internet mostly silently and unobserved, with an armoury of well-known add-ons (and built-in functionality) hiding our traces. It's not entirely unlikely that the Firefox userbase could be anything up to double these "quoted" figures, but none of us will ever know.

And if for some reason you are a Chrome fanboy (rather than having just been pestered to install it to replace IE, or having just stuck with the default browser on your phone), here's a little comic book for you

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe onto PCs, is 40

Dave559 Silver badge

"sorry youre wrong. Linux would have never been a thing without the QL"

Yes, exactly that, hence my smiley, and slightly over the top wording!

Dave559 Silver badge

Yeah, definitely absolutely nothing of any significance ever came from anyone who had ever owned a QL… ;-)

Review: Huawei's Matebook X Pro laptop is forgetful and forgettable

Dave559 Silver badge

"you can do better for the $2,000 or so Huawei charges for it"

"you can do better for the $2,000 or so Huawei charges for it"

This perhaps begs the question as to why this review series didn't start with the MacBook Pro as its first test?

Yes, I am a bit of a fanboy (but not droolingly so), but I also rather suspect that any other laptop available this year is just simply going to struggle to compare favourably with it, if you're looking for something with serious oomph?

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

Dave559 Silver badge

Which desktop/set of apps?

"If you're going to teach kids in the classroom, which desktop/set of apps are you going to present - a selection of distro/desktop/apps that the local teacher likes (which may be good of course), but which may be a combo never seen again by the kids, or the MS pile that they will see everywhere?"

A combo never seen again is very likely to describe how that particular version of Microsoft Orifice (and Windows itself) compares to whatever the future-current version of Orifice has mutated itself into by the time those kids have left school…

In fact, that process is probably quite far progressed already: web apps like Google Docs, or Office 365 (or possibly even Collabora Office + Nexctloud), and more lightweight phone/tablet apps are already increasingly commonplace, perhaps there will be much less usage of 'traditional' desktop apps (for some use cases). There really isn't much point in a school teaching more than general WIMP desktop principles and the very basics of generalised program use (and how to RTFM or search for help), as how programs work will (probably) always continue to evolve (for better or for worse).

"Teach concepts, not tools."

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Oy Vey

And all the arguments about which OS and which software are really all one step removed in any case.

What is it that's the really important thing? It's your data, whether that be a formatted document, a spreadsheet, a database, a bitmap image, a vector image, a 3D object, audio, video, whatever.

It all started going wrong when certain companies started wrapping people's data in their own secret proprietary formats, and needing their own special programs to work with them. What we need are standardised and open data formats and then any software development team can write tools to work with the data. The reality is also that, while open source and collaborative development have brought us many things, and are a literal gift for less well-off people or (perhaps especially) less well-off parts of the world, anything big or complex does either need a commercial version, or a healthy stream of donations, or generous business, charitable, or even governmental, backers helping to cover the costs of development.

It is becoming increasingly common for software to be ported to multiple platforms (including some commercial software, particularly scientific software), thanks to various toolkits (or, perhaps rather worse, 'thanks' to running in a mutated embedded web browser environment), and with the computing world constantly changing, I don't think I would be developing any new software application that tied itself too strongly to Windows that would make it harder to make available on multiple platforms now or later (and although at present, that might be mostly unix-like elsewhere, even that might not always be the case…).

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Unhelpful comments

Each of these replies is getting closer and closer in spirit to the story of Mel, a Real Programmer

C: Everyone's favourite programming language isn't a programming language

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: As we used to say...

That is quite an exquisitely worded whine, mind you, I'll certainly grant it that!

We take Asahi Linux alpha for a spin on an M1 Mac Mini

Dave559 Silver badge

Bluetooth and WiFi

Ah, Bluetooth and WiFi, sadly the cursed artefacts of so much Linux hardware support. By and large, Linux does a very good job of supporting many/most hardware devices these days, but Bluetooth and WiFi chipsets sadly too often seem to have very kludgy drivers that are third-rate at best even on Windows, and require some pretty icky reverse engineering and/or bad smelling firmware blob downloads to get working even semi-properly. You would hope that Apple would have picked slightly classier chipset suppliers for these components (or perhaps they're just using very new chips that aren't well-supported in Linux yet?)!

Are we springing into a Y2K-class nightmare?

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: USA change its date format ...

LibreOffice is, annoyingly, just as bad when it comes to trying to set margins, cell sizes, etc, in round cm/mm values, which is doubly weird given that it originally started life as a German program!

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: USA change its date format ...

But then when you ask an American when their Independence Day is, and they'll say:

"The 4th of July"!

(If only we could get them to get the calendar the right way around for the rest of the year…)

Dave559 Silver badge

Shillings

"Determinedly killing off the intermediate units (shillings- 5p) was just annoying and pointless."

But why (seriously)? That was the whole, well half, the point of the process: 1 unit, with 100 sub-units in it (a sensible round number), and no further complexity.

Shillings were just an unnecessary extra 'layer' between pounds and pennies that, by the 1970s, you didn't need any more. I get that even then £1 was worth substantially more than it is now (10p Sparkle ice lollies were the pinnacle of my childhood luxuries), but it's not like it was the first half of the 20th century any more when, for most people, something costing more than a few shillings would have been really quite expensive, and a few pounds a whole week's wages (and so pounds would rarely have been in use for everyday shopping, an occasional new suit perhaps, or perhaps a good pair of shoes).

But I did think it was quite cute how (slightly funny looking, and often quite old) 1 shilling and 2 shilling coins remained in circulation (and valid) for many years afterwards, although they only ever meant 5p and 10p to me. It was a little sad when they were finally withdrawn when the new, smaller, 5p and 10p coins were introduced, a little bit of living history finally passing away.

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: USA change its date format ...

"They've [the USA] even got their own version of the meter, which is subtly different from the SI one."

Are you sure it's not perhaps the US survey foot that you are thinking of?

That is the previous US foot, because the current definition of the international foot (which is defined in metric terms) is a compromise value between the then US and UK foots, which were very slightly different from each other. If measuring distances in feet, over long distances, the difference between the old US foot and the international foot would start to become quite noticeable. Of course, if they switched to the metric system, they wouldn't have that problem (although obviously a lot of land ownership maps would need to be updated).

UK internet pioneer Cliff Stanford has died

Dave559 Silver badge

+++ ATH

Sad news. My condolences to Cliff’s family and friends.

Demon were just a little bit too expensive for my then meagre post-student budget (my path through dialup land was Spuddy, Zetnet, and then Force 9 (who introduced, hurrah, a no-charge dialup number!)), but without them the UK internet would definitely have been a much much emptier place (as the number of Demon users posting on usenet certainly showed), and I think we are all very grateful to them for taking that first step. Hopefully there is a Blinkenlicht for him out there somewhere.

Canonical puts out last update to Ubuntu 20.04 before 22.04

Dave559 Silver badge

"There should be a few more point releases to Focal after Jammy comes out."

There should be rather more than a few. LTS releases are fully supported for (at least) 5 years, so 20.04 will be supported until 2025, with only security support after that.

Fujitsu confirms end date for mainframe and Unix systems

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Should think a lot of UK Government systems will be affected

I can foresee that the line, "Well, yes, Minister, it certainly will involve as much tea and coffee as you desire, and plenty of delicious cakes and waitresses", could definitely assist with the budgetary approval for such a project… (and, yes, "delicious" applies to both of the following nouns)

Fancy some new features? Try general-purpose Linux alternative Liquorix

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: I'm confused....

And, for the avoidance of doubt, it isn't a YAK that lives in a HURD (those are really quite rare in the wild)…

We get the privacy we deserve from our behavior

Dave559 Silver badge

And, to make things worse, today's version of the poll is even more confusing:

"Where do you stand right now? Click For or Against to cast your vote"

Without a reminder of the original question, and all of its contrary double-negatives, that's an entirely meaningless way to ask the question!

Seriously, what the "For" and "Against" options actually are needs to be stated clearly and precisely in the poll, every time. Clearly one of the vultures is scouting for a new job in a particularly shady market research company…

BOFH: The Geek's Countergambit – outwitted at an electronics store

Dave559 Silver badge

Electronics shop

Wait, high street (or soulless retail 'park') electronics shops still exist?

Sort of sadly, it has been quite a while since I last, not entirely unhappily, stepped foot into a small, slightly off the main drag, piled high to the ceiling with boxes, hobbyist computer shop, perusing their parts list to see what selection of components my (then) meagre budget could actually afford to assemble a system from.

I kind of assumed that pretty much everyone ordered their RAM (or custom laptop or desktop orders) direct from the interwebs these days? (And it is a bit sad to think that an entire category of shops has been almost entirely eliminated, just like that, although at least some are still around and can still make money from repairs.)

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Dibert has the answer

And if you are reading this after today (no, not your today, the today when I wrote this), it's this Dilbert strip that we're talking about…

Toshiba reveals 30TB disk drive to arrive by 2024

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: you're still vulnerable to a dinosaur killer event

And roaches certainly know a thing or two about fornicating and reproducing!

Dave559 Silver badge

Backups

"I don't have 11 hours to backup to tape or the money for tapes and drives. I can't keep backing up to another due to the cost involved in replacing the drives every 2+ years or buying two that could fail at the same time."

The 11 hours are when you are asleep (or some of them are, anyway), and the backup process is rsync (or something else similar and automated) that only transfers deltas to the backup drive (so that it doesn't have to take 11 hours each time).

I have a Raspberry Pi running as a networked Time Machine, and it… actually, sadly, it doesn't "just work", it was quite a bit of a faff of comparing multiple different sets of instructions to get it set up and working, but now that it does work, it does just work (although I should really get around to writing my own notes of what I did if/when I need to rebuild it - I also use a USB drive as a second Time Machine drive a couple of times a month when I remember to connect it.)

And, yes, it costs money to buy larger drives as you need them (although whatever the Moore's Law equivalent for storage drives is still generally applies, so the larger storage should in time become cheaper as you start to need it). Either your data is important enough to you for you to want to have a backup copy (at least one), or it isn't (in which case you can't really complain if you lose it if/when your drive dies). I slightly begrudge the expenditure myself, but that's just the way it is, it's part of the cost of owning a computer.

Raspberry Pis gain power to flash their own OSes with new network install function

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: The Borg

I was thinking Skynet myself, but the end result will would be similar, either way!

You should read Section 8 of the Unix User's Manual

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Remember O'Reilly & Assoc books?

Dammit, I didn't know that O'Reilly, as we knew them, were no more. I only have a handful of O'Reilly books myself, but they were very useful, and generally well-written.

I suppose the thing is that as time passed it gradually became more and more easy to find the answer to your tech question somewhere on the web (the web that was originally built with the help of a lot of O'Reilly books, no doubt), and so we all gradually stopped buying the books as much?

The commodification/wikipedification of knowledge as it were, although, for tech questions, probably StackExchange sites just as much as Wikipedia itself (not necessarily a bad thing, as it makes knowledge available to those less financially well off).

Dave559 Silver badge

"Also, the config file looked like compressed EBCDIC. M4 files weren't much better."

Ha! I was going to post a comment to say: My limited experience of sendmail (strictly read-only, for a very very very limited value of "read" (I'm assuming that it is really mostly write-only code of a different form that generates the even more ghastly config files?), and thankfully it's very much Somebody Else's Problem [1]), is that as a daemon it surely must be a real eldritch horror, a Great Old One ensnared and trapped in silicon, yet still squirming as an iridescent many-dimensioned morass of transient black holes, and begetting madness on those who stare at it too long… (And never ever start sendmail with the --fhtagn option…)

[1] Makes me very glad that Debian uses exim by default, and has an idiot-proof configurator for the (very) limited use that I need to make of it on my home boxen.

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