* Posts by roytrubshaw

162 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Aug 2012


The many derivatives of the CP/M operating system


Think of it as an assignment statement.

Destination = Source

Later (much), Dec introduced the Dec Command Language (DCL) interpreter, which converted:

copy source destination


pip destination source

But those of us that had to use more than one type of Dec system or O/S would generally go straight to the underlying utility as DCL was not always available.

(Surprisingly IIRC, RT-11 was one of those that did - I preferred RSX myself, though VMS was OK too; my first Dec O/S was TOPS-10 (sigh) those were the days!)

An early crack at network management with an unfortunate logfile


Re: I inherited one

In the 70s Essex university had the Internal Telephone System or ITS.

The extension of ITS to add a phone to every floor of the student accommodation on campus (the infamous tower blocks - of which there were 6) was named ... you guessed it, the Towers Internal Telephone System or TITS.

Much innocent enjoyment was had at University Radio Essex inviting listeners to 'phone in requests on TITS nnnn

Simpler times!

You want us to make a change? We can do it, but it'll cost you...


Re: Less than one character per week

I heard an answer to the question, "How long is a piece of string?" a couple of years ago.

The answer: "Twice as long as half its length"

Obviously this can be generalised to "n times as long as 1/n its length"

YMMV (Though I am not sure how.)

Start or Please Stop? Power users mourn features lost in Windows 11 'simplification'


Re: Loss of the ability.....

"I'm off to the pub for a liquid "lunch""

Don't forget the salted peanuts ...

Icon for the Vogons ----->

Firefox 91 introduces cookie clearing, clutter-free printing, Microsoft single sign-on... so where are all the users?


"But you have to turn on "insecure access mode" in Gmail preferences to use them."

I don't remember doing that when I set up Thunderbird to access my Gmail account (nor my Yahoo account for that matter).


Engineers work to open Boeing Starliner's valves as schedule pressures mount

Paris Hilton

Re: Props to SpaceX

At this rate SpaceX will have completed all their Commercial Crew launches before Boeing has completed the testing!

So much for showing the upstarts "how it should be done".

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum


Re: Ah. Well, ahem...!

Obligatory xkcd reference:


Because it's Friday ------->

Updating in production, like a boss


"There is a happy ending to the story: he was able to reconstruct the borked data from the content of other tables ..."

So the database wasn't in 3rd Normal Form then? :)

Apple sued in nightmare case involving teen wrongly accused of shoplifting, driver's permit used by impostor, and unreliable facial-rec tech


Re: Not a library csrd

"... neither ... nor ..."

Kudos for correct usage! :)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends

Paris Hilton

Re: OK, I'll take one for the team

"... you flaming galah?"

...you flaming, Bundaberg-swilling, galah?


Lessons have not been learned: Microsoft's Modern Comments leave users reaching for the rollback button


"When something is branded as an "experience" it is never going to be good!"

I think it's the word "modern" that is the red flag.

No doubt there are a lot of Jimi Hendrix fans that will contradict your use of "experience" for that purpose!

The swift in-person response is part of the service (and nothing to do with the thing I broke while trying to help you)


I see your borked network switch and raise you an entire server room!

So the guy was here to service the UPS; so of course I have to switch the server room over to the mains.

There are two switches:

1) A bypass switch - to allow the current from the mains to reach the UPS ring-circuit directly

2) An isolation switch - to isolate the UPS from the UPS ring-circuit.

He couldn't do the switch-over as he wasn't allowed to.

So the customer (me) had to do it. This was something I had done several times before (I had actually installed the UPS originally) so no problem!

Guess which switch I inexplicably threw first?

Cue the silence of thirty (or more) servers (and their cooling fans) suddenly going very quiet!

Cue the red-faced guy quickly turning on the bypass switch and hoping that no-one "upstairs" will notice the short outage!

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user


Re: The endless story

"make something 'idiot-proof' and nature breeds a better idiot.

Evolution in action....."

Kudos for the Darwin Awards reference :).

What worries me is that (in my limited understanding of natural selection) any trait that one is not actively selecting for, is actively de-selected; so if intelligence is not a requirement to stay alive (at least long enough to have children) it must be the case that we are getting stupider.

Mine's the one with the dog-eared copy of "Oath of Fealty" in the pocket!

€121,000 YOGA Book Android is 'priced right' says Lenovo


"One of the quotes I gave I'd inflated by nearly 10x ..."

That's OK as far as it goes, but 10x is nowhere near large enough! 10x is more like "Please go away."

"Fuck Off!" starts off at at least 3 orders of magnitude greater than the original price!


Attack of the cryptidiots: One wants Bitcoin-flush hard drive he threw out in 2013 back, the other lost USB stick password


Re: Isn’t this just the modern (modern?) equivalent...

"More like using a complex betting site than “real” trading"


"Real" trading is just betting.

You're betting that your take on the market is better than everyone else's.

Hence the rise of financial spread betting as a hedge for any position you may be taking.


Explained: The thinking behind the 32GB Windows Format limit on FAT32


Re: FAT fail

"File Allocation Table is terrible design for SSD devices because ...."

It's a terrible design for discs too, causing unnecessary head movements, undue wear of the first few data tracks and so on and so forth.

It's good for indexed tapes as you read the file-information first so you know where everything is.

DECTape anyone? (I still have one or two in a box somewhere.)

Paris Hilton

Re: "Def-Pro"

I see your 50-(or so)-year-old buildings and raise you the old gym. at my secondary school, built as a temporary expedient in the 1940s and - apparently - still there today if Google Maps is anything to go by.

Server won't boot? Forgot to make that backup? Have no fear, just blame Microsoft


Re: A hard lesson...

"... and the DASD, that had ..."

Ah the old IBM "sow FUD with obscure terminology and names".

OEM salesman: If you buy your disks from us you can save oodles of cash.

IBM user: What are these "disks" of which you speak? Anyway we don't have them!"

OEM salesman: Our disks are much cheaper and they are plug compatible; only your wallet will notice the difference!

IBM user: Begone! We don't need your "disks"!

OEM salesman: All modern computers have disks! Where do you save all your files, otherwise?

IBM user: Our computers use the very latest and greatest Dynamic Access Storage Devices (DASDs), we don't need these "disks"!

OK, probably apocryphal but those were the days!

Red Hat defends its CentOS decision, claims Stream version can cover '95% of current user workloads'


Re: How to switch?

I think there needs to be a "distro sync" in there somewhere.

I was intrigued by the fact that when I did that it downgraded my Apache installation - weird given that stream is suppose to be "upstream".

Cats: Not a fan favourite when the critters are draped around an office packed with tech


Re: Slugs don't have fur

"The thermostat gubbins is s bit if electrickery "

... is a bit of ...

I think a cat may have been involved.

But thanks for the copper-plated slug image!

Let's check in now with the new California monolith... And it's gone, torn down by a bunch of MAGA muppets


(Weird US electoral system)

"... number of them still going on about how "Trump will win" despite having already LOST."


Strictly speaking the electoral college, that actually votes on who will be the next US president hasn't voted yet, so it's possible that "faithless" electors could vote for Trump.

The US Presidential Election is just a gigantic opinion poll and despite what the voters think, they are NOT voting for the next President.


As you were folks!

Boeing 737 Max will return to flight after software updates, says EU's aviation regulator


Re: more than software

" ... if the MAX will have actually turned out to have been cheaper and quicker to deliver than a clean sheet design ..."

The short answer is probably "no".


Re: more than software

There are two Angle of Attack (AOA) sensors but it only used one at a time (in rotation I believe).

Therefore if one AOA sensor failed there was a 50/50 chance of MCAS picking the failed sensor and causing the erroeous flight inputs.

Hence the AOA Disagreement warning light, which used to be an "optional extra", now being fitted as standard.

UK's Space Command to be 'capable of launching our first rocket in 2022'

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Re: Battle Space

That was my best Christmas Pressy ever!

I had the satellite launcher, the searchlight, helicopter, the single rocket launcher (you could stick a cap in the "warhead" so it would go "bang" when it landed), and the four-rocket launcher!

The rockets had lead noses (something pretty dense anyway - possibly tungsten?), none of your Health & Safety here mate!

The pickups for the searchlight were a bit tempramental and you had to stop the locomotive (and remove it from the track) to get the best light but I didn't care!

Thanks for the memory F&N!

Linux Foundation, IBM, Cisco and others back ‘Inclusive Naming Initiative’ to change nasty tech terms


Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

I'd be interested to see the reaction of the Car industry to renaming the "brake master cylinder" to "brake parent cylinder"?

I'm sure there are innumerable car workers / mechanics who have been offended by the original name.


Re: Sapir-Whorf

<probably apocryphal>

Apparently, squaddies posted to the Falkland Islands (in the 80s) would call the natives "Bennies" after a character in Crossroads (ahh Meg!).

This was frowned upon and they were ordered to desist.

Which they did.

A new term was coined: "Stills".

I.e. Still "Bennies".

</probably apocryphal>

The point we are all making is that the words don't matter it is the intent.

So "Ten Little Niggers" was filmed as "Ten Little Indians" and has now been re-titled as "And Then There Were None", it's still the same book and the original title was a product of its time; we're happy to villify totalitarian regimes for re-writing history but it's OK for us to do it in the name of not giving offense?

What happened to "Sticks and Stones"?


Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

I humbly submit that this ...

And there's the "Submit" button found ... everywhere...

While we're about it; do we have to do something about "Abort" too?

And ...

Just a thought, is the article published 133 days too early?

ESA's Vega rocket crashes and burns after fourth-stage nozzle failure sinks two satellites


Re: How many more can they afford?

They probably did run tests, but if the sense wire and the actuator wire are in the same bundle then the test would pass...


"Not a design problem"

Personally I think that any design that allows such a simple manufacturing defect to escape detection is probably flawed.

I would suggest that ensuring that it can be manufactured correctly is as much a part of the design as ensuing that it is functionally correct.

But hey, that's just me, what do I know.

Billionaire's Pagani Pa-gone-i after teen son takes hypercar out for a drive, trashes it


I would guess it's the stupidon* carrying the quantum of stupidity**

(*Can't think of anything better. **Can't think of anything.

Where is Terry Pratchett [may he RiP] when you need him?)


Re: Ask any actuary

"Insurance is about mutualizing risk, not adjusting payments according to statistics that applies to the groups you belong to."

Insurance is entirely about adjusting payments according to statistics ...

Unless there is legislation to prevent it.

(Hence my premium is far less than my son's and adding my wife and daughter to my policy brings my premium down! :) )

Five Eyes nations plus Japan, India call for Big Tech to bake backdoors into everything


Re: To use raw power is to make yourself infinitely vulnerable to greater powers -Frank Herbert

I know this is old hat but you don't really need to share a key, private or otherwise:

1) Alice encrypts her message and sends it to Bob.

2) Bob encrypts Alices's encrypted message and sends it back to Alice.

3) Alice decrypts the doubly-encrypted message and sends it back to Bob.

4) Bob decrypts the message to retrieve the plaintext.

Obviously you would need to involve Charlie and Diane (and possibly Edward and Felicity) to avoid the to obvious back-and-forth between Alice and Bob, but no keys have been exchanged.

Just sayin'

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic


Alternate version of the third law

I like the alternative version...

Any technology that is distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced

Mine's the one with all the straps!

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole


Re: Two alternative options


3) the Vogons demolished it to make way for a hyperspace bypass

Where are the "Beware of the Leopard" signs when you need one?

Has it really been over 19 years?

Don't trust deep-learning algos to touch up medical scans: Boffins warn 'highly unstable' tech leads to bad diagnoses


Re: Problems with photo copiers

If I remember correctly, this was about the compression algorithm.

They used one of the JPEG 'lossy' algorithms and when they uncompressed the scan to print it, it resulted in the changes described.

It seems photocopiers are now just single purpose scanners and printers.

Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, surely has no frozen water, right? Guess again: Solar winds form ice


Re: When hell

<Pedant>According to Dante, hell *is* frozen; at the centre anyway.</Pedant>

Can you download it to me – in an envelope with a stamp?

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Re: Moved to France

You need to move. :)

I lived in Woluwe St. Lambert for three years. Lovely area, lovely landlady, and only a 15 minute bus-ride on the number 20 to the office (just down the road from the Berlaymont).

The only fly in the ointment was the annual wait in line to renew your "temporary" ID and residence permit.

Great disturbance in the Force as Star Wars' 'big walking carpet' is laid to rest


The first rule of life ...

Let the Wookie win!

HMRC accused of not understanding its own IR35 tax reforms ahead of private sector rollout


I'm not dodging taxes

"Simply don't try and dodge taxes..."

I'm employed by my own limited company, I pay NI and PAYE. I employ my wife as my PA, she pays NI and PAYE.

My contract is with an Agency and their contract is with yet another company that supplies their services to the client.

According to CEST I should be registered as an employee. Which is just silly as I already *am* an employee!

My advice is to get your contracts reviewed by a solicitor that specialises in IR35 and get the changes that they suggest applied to your contract. In every case my agency has been happy to do this, as the last thing they want is to see their revenue interrupted.

This must be some kind of mistake. IT managers axed, CEO and others' wallets lightened in patient hack aftermath


Re: This is the Bizarro Universe

"Hell must be frozen over..."


The inner circle of Hell is a frozen lake.

So Hell is frozen over!


Spektr-R goes quiet, Dragon splashes down and SpaceX lays off


Re: Several things happening

Kudos for the correct use of 'decimate', though I thought it was only applied to losing legions.

I think most people are worried by the sheer impersonal nature of it, though I've read elsewhere that they automatically receive two-months wages, so that's something.

My sympathies lie with the 10%.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon shows up at pad 39A, nearly 8 years after the last Shuttle left


Re: Naming conventions

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that Elon is trying to replicate all of the technology in "Oath of Fealty"?

  • He's investing heavily in AI and Neural implants.
  • He owns a tunnel boring company (and several tunnel boring machines).
  • Tony Rand (the chief engineer) uses the creation of the Arcology as practise for building a 'Generation Starship' (OK this last one is a bit weak - but he did change the name to "Starship")
I'm sure at some point it will turn out that his favourite quote is "Think of it as Evolution in Action"

Mine's the one with the 27-year old paperback in the pocket

Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release


Re: I can't believe no-one's mentioned TeX versioning yet

So that means we have Linux asymptotically approaching τ (tau)!

(Still sad we passed the terminator kernel version without much of a fanfare!)

SpaceX's Falcon 9 poised to fling 350kg planet-sniffing satellite into Earth orbit


"... (though TESS will be on a "flight proven" Block 4, ..."


I'm pretty sure that it's the last of the Block 4s and it's a new booster (B1045 I think). The design is flight proven, but this booster isn't.

As you were gentlefolk!


Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation


False logic?

"False logic. ∞ - x is still ∞"

So can you do this?

  • (∞ - x)/∞
  • ∞/∞ - x/∞
  • 1 - x/∞
  • 1 - 0
  • 1

I.e. it's a virtual certainty that there are inhabited planets out there!


Who's using 2FA? Sweet FA. Less than 10% of Gmail users enable two-factor authentication

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Re: Not Surprised

"There are few good reasons not to use 2FA (and I can't think of any outside of, possibly, some for users with disabilities)"

I have no cell-phone coverage, thus whenever I have to receive one of these code numbers, I must drive a mile or so until I reach a safe place to stop and wait for my 'phone to wake up to the fact that there is now signal and for the SMSC to wake up and forward the text messages it has accumulated for me, and once I have received the code I have to drive back and hope that the process I have started will allow me to carry on from where I left off.

This is tedious.

I do - in fact - have 2FA enabled on my google accounts and I always have to go through the "more options" | use backup codes route; but at least Google provides this option, my ire is directed at the other sites which refuse to acknowledge the possibility of less than 100% coverage for 100% of all networks!

Sure, Face ID is neat, but it cannot replace a good old fashioned passcode

Big Brother

"I see Face ID as a replacement for Touch ID, not the passcode."

Hear! Hear!

Can we all have a chorus of: "Biometrics are a user id NOT a password!"

Did the Earth move for you, too? Grav waves sensed from black holes' bang 1.8bn LYs away


Re: 60 square degrees

"... is still a hell of a lot of sky to scan for something ..."

Given that there are about 41253 square degrees in a sphere then reducing the search area to just 60 is not bad though.

ASUS smoking hashes with 19-GPU, 24,000-core motherboard


Re: ASIC anyone?

"... with Ant miner S9"

Kudos to BitMainTech for the use of "thrice" in a world of the ever-increasing Americanisms: three-times, two-times and even - the horror of it - one-time.


Marcus Hutchins free for now as infosec world rallies around suspected banking malware dev


Re: Blind support

"So on this case, Hutchins denies the charge. He might be innocent. He might be guilty."


He is is definitely innocent, since he has not been proven guilty.

That's what presumption of innocence means.

It's why the verdict is either guilty or not guilty, since one is presumed to be innocent, there is no need to be declared 'innocent'