* Posts by Michael Hoffmann

454 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007


NASA to stop using names like 'Eskimo Nebula' and 're-examine' what it calls cosmic objects

Michael Hoffmann

Arabic star names

Out of curiosity, I just checked whether https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arabic_star_names might offend modern sensibilities.

Amazingly, it looks like they ancient Arabs had the foresight to choose names that wouldn't offend anybody past, present or future.


When it comes to hacking societies, Russia remains the master at sowing discord and disinformation online

Michael Hoffmann
Black Helicopters

Darth Simon Sharwood: Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen it.

Architect of tech contractor tax fraud scheme jailed for at least five years

Michael Hoffmann
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With everything else down here, this has been totally under-reported in the Aus media. Thanks Simon and ElReg!

Lizards for lunch? Crazy tech? Aliens?! Dana Dash: First Girl on the Moon is perfect for the little boffin-to-be in your life

Michael Hoffmann


With global shipping an utter disaster right now, is there an ebook available? The link provided only shows a paperback. :(

Once considered lost, ESA and NASA's SOHO came back from the brink of death to work even better than it did before

Michael Hoffmann

All I know about space flight comes from KSP

You know, until recently I wouldn't understood what you were talking about: "why not point it at the sun and hit the thrust button?"

Then I started playing Kerbal Space Program. Now I was able to nod sagely at your comment.

ElReg, could we have a Kerbal icon? The ET one doesn't quite work here.

AMD is now following More's Law: More chips, more money, more pressure on Intel, more competition in the x86 space

Michael Hoffmann
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... made a big announcement last re:invent of adding AMD instances with a 10% lower price tag. The smugness at the AMD stand was palpable.

The big lagging indicator was "certified AMIs" - but I started shifting test and stage workloads over almost immediately without any issues whatsoever. Apart from telling the manglement and beancounters "and it's 10% cheaper".

Spot instances are *really* sweet: in my region the price tag has been as low as 20-25% of on-demand (Intel generally around 25-33%).

I'm due for a refresher on my own dev/play box - but the horrible exchange rates, shipping costs and other covid snafu are making that a "will not pass the missus" proposal :( It would have been my first AMD machine...

911, I wanna report a robbery. Hundreds of thousands of stars stolen from a cluster. I think it was the Milky Way

Michael Hoffmann

What goes around...

... comes around, Milky Way. Andromeda is gonna do that to you in 2 billion years or so. It's on its way!

(ok, yeah, they're going to rip each other to shreds due to more similar size, but still. No more spiral, just another big elliptic, undistinguished blob. With an even bigger, fatter black hole in the centre. Kind of like your typical corporate M&A)

Apple was the only Fortune 50 company to foresee COVID-19 pandemic risk and properly insure against it – Forrester

Michael Hoffmann
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Re: Things we can prevent and things we can't

Thanks for that megatsunami debunk link.

I speed read through the article, because the comments were where the fun really began and the author's replies to many of those was a hoot. Some of those commenters would qualify as science advisors for the Trump administration.

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

Michael Hoffmann

If this were the DailyWTF...

... the story would have ended with Brad getting fired for daring to simply delete the emails instead of going through each and every one. It so happened that that the CEO's extremely important golf invite was among them!

Is it Patch Blues-day for Outlook? Microsoft's email client breaks worldwide, leaves everyone stumped

Michael Hoffmann

Once upon a time

... you could check your version by simply going Help->About. Version, patch level, useful stuff.

Now I get the wall-of-text version of Clippy.

Japanese probe to land asteroid rock sample in Australia on December 6th

Michael Hoffmann

Let's hope their targeting is spot on...

... if they're off it'll land here in Victoria and it'll be locked down for what now seems like the next 20 years.

IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Why wouldn't Tim Berners-Lee have 17 years experience designing websites?

Indeed. I built the first publically accessible website for a large corporation in either late '93 or early '94. Hand-crafted HTML on a self-compiled/ported version of, IIRC, NCSA httpd.

You've accused Apple of patent infringement. You want to probe the iOS source in a closed-room environment. What to do in a pandemic?

Michael Hoffmann

... of the eastern district of Texas ...

... oh, that sort of patent lawsuit. Their reputation precedes them. Patent trolls paradise.

Fintech biz Wirecard folds into insolvency like two pair against a flush. Good luck accessing your chip stack

Michael Hoffmann

Where were the auditors?

The article mentions E&Y and the consequences they may face briefly, but the German FAZ states that it may go beyond and this could be for E&Y what Enron was for Arthur Anderson. Somebody may want to raid their offices and confiscate all the document shredders - and backup tapes.

Honey, I built the app! Amazon's beta no-code dev platform is great for ad-hoc stuff, but not much else – yet

Michael Hoffmann

MS Access Redux

How many of you, like me, are still recovering from the days when MS Access was routinely installed on CorpDrones PCs and suddenly business and mission critical "apps" (glorfied DB front-ends with databases that could be normalised via "DROP TABLE" and starting over) were all over the place in unknown directories on non-backed-up hard-disks?

Grav wave boffins are unsure if they just spotted the smallest black hole or the biggest neutron star seen yet

Michael Hoffmann

Re: "let's call them Black Stars"

Nobody mentions the Minbari ship "Black Star" from Babylon 5.

Bloke rolls up to KFC drive-thru riding horse-drawn cart only to be told: Neigh

Michael Hoffmann
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Re: WTF?

To quote the one and only Terry Pratchett: there is no excuse for pineapple on a pizza!

Now you've done it: Cyber attack targeted Australian brewery 'n' dairy biz Lion

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Don't care: Cooper's is still brewing!

Meh, Cooper's is still just a mega-brewery.

Now, what you do it, you see, you get off the plane in Tullamarine and then head on up the Calder freeway. When you've got Mount Macedon on your right, you head off the freeway and west into Woodend.

About halfway through town you stop and walk into the Holgate Brewhouse.

Have a Heifer Weizen, if it's in season. Try all the others, as recommended by the folks behind the bar! When through the list, start over from the beginning. Thank me when you're sober again.

Now *that* is a family owned little brewery that knows its craft!

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

Michael Hoffmann
Big Brother

Re: git broke English

So, do we also get double-plus-pull and double-plus-unpull?

(obvious icon)

Microsoft and VMware end ancient grudge with new VM privilege workaround

Michael Hoffmann
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Slow as molasses

IIUC if Hyper-V is turned on, then Workstation will use the HV hypervisor instead.

I now upgraded and am looking at my VMs with dismay. Watching screen refreshes is like continental drift. Tested with CentOS 7, CentOS 8, Catalina Hackintosh and Windows 7 VMs. It's like my CPU was converted into a Pentium 90 and my GPU is... gone.

I'll give a pass on the Hackintosh, it's not supported after all, but the others?!

IBM's sacking spree reaches Australia – and as staff wait to exit, they're offered AU$4k to find new workers

Michael Hoffmann

Why anonymous?

I'd expect you to proudly announce which company still has such a policy.

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

Michael Hoffmann

National Day of Mourning in the UK?

Will they declare one? I shed a tear down under and raised ye all a pint.

Source code for seminal adventure game Zork circa-1977 exhumed from MIT tapes, plonked on GitHub

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Xyzzy (or PLUGH)

And the revelation when I played Zork on 80characters for the first time and ran into the Cyclops!

Now that was a d'oh moment because you couldn't easily see the clue with 40 character screens.

Australian digital-radio-for-railways Huawei project derailed by US trade sanctions against Chinese tech giant

Michael Hoffmann


Blaming US sanctions may just be a convenient excuse.

There are now daily articles in the Aussie media (only today in The Age) about Aus companies that are fronts for the PLA and the CCP which have been buying up medical and other supplies en masse long before China admitted to the epidemic. Showing that they lied about when this started becoming critical, but also contributing to the shortage of some things like face masks here.

It will be interesting whether there will be a reckoning when this is all over, putting a severe damper on Winnie the Pooh's global ambitions or whether it's back to business as usual.

20 years later, Microsoft's still hammerin' Xamarin: Bunch of improvements on the way for cross-platform coding toolset

Michael Hoffmann

Animation and spritekit?

It's been a few years, but one thing that kept me away from a fully unified approach was when you had to do any kind of animation - and I'm only talking 2D not even 3D here.

I still ended up using things like SpriteKit, so Forms just wasn't an option and I still ended up with separate codebase for iOS and Android.

SkiaSharp was in its infancy - for me it simply would not play nice. Has that improved?

What happens when the maintainer of a JS library downloaded 26m times a week goes to prison for killing someone with a motorbike? Core-js just found out

Michael Hoffmann


So true for many other languages as well.

"pip install ..." one package - and your screen fills with pages full of dependency downloads.

I've started putting all those into requirements.txt just for my own sanity, version locked inside a virtualenv or container.

And hope like hell those version dependencies remain available. Apart from forking every single one of them, I'm not sure what you *can* do. Rewrite the lot? :-|

SpaceX beats an engine failure to loft another 60 Starlink satellites

Michael Hoffmann

It's cold outside...

"I shouldn't think so, who would want to be the one up there with a tin of paint and a brush? I'm crap enough at painting without having to catch the bloody thing I want to paint first."

Cue intro to Red Dwarf. <starts humming "... there's no kind of atmosphere...">

Australian privacy watchdog sues Facebook for *checks notes* up to £266bn

Michael Hoffmann


... the way things are going right now, for that amount of moolah, Zuck may just decide to buy the whole country instead.

First MWC, then GDC, now Nvidia's GPU conference is online-only as coronavirus spreads in Silicon Valley

Michael Hoffmann

"It's not not like the people you invite have any bandwidth issues, now is it ?"

You don't live in Australia, it seems. Let me tell you about "bandwidth issues"...

Deutsche Bank calls in AWS, Microsoft and Google to tout for cloud biz: Come in to tender, deal value unknown

Michael Hoffmann


I thought Thou Shalt Not Use A Single Cloud Provider is the law of the land?

Sure by all means, start with one to get your feet wet, but then spread out. Eggs. Basket.

Dual screens, fast updates, no registry cruft and security in mind: Microsoft gives devs the lowdown on Windows 10X

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Er, who?

I thought Armageddon simply means "the fields of Meggido". A sign that the final battle will be nice and open and not urban warfare (or the Five riding out against the Auditors).

Need 32-bit Linux to run past 2038? When version 5.6 of the kernel pops, you're in for a treat

Michael Hoffmann

In the year twenty five twenty five...

... if Linux is still alive, if kernels can survive, they may run...

(with apologies to Zager and Evans)

UC Berkeley told to cough up $5m in compensation to comp-sci, engineering students recruited to teach classes

Michael Hoffmann

Exploded Ironymeter...

This in the Socialist People's Republic of Berkeley?!

Buzz kill: Crook, 73, conned investors into shoveling millions into geek-friendly caffeine-loaded chocs that didn't exist. Now he's in jail

Michael Hoffmann
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Re: I don't get it...

Indeed and only the highest trained History Monks (or sweepers) can resist their lure as we learned in Thief of Time. I lack that skill utterly.

Staffer representation on our board? LMAO! Good one, cackles Microsoft

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Not a good idea

IIRC, Volkswagen has been doing it for decades. Via their internal union I believe. Arguably quite successfully.

GitLab mulls ban on hiring Chinese and Russian support staff because 'security'

Michael Hoffmann

So confused...

I thought that was conversion of subversion repos to git? I can't keep up...

Astroboffins rethink black hole theory after spotting tiny example with its own star buddy

Michael Hoffmann

4 Msol limit?

I'm hightly confused. The article stated 4 solar masses as lower limit for a black hole.

Yet I had learned - and a quick glance at Wikipedia confirms - that the Chandrasekhar limit is 1.4 solar masses, which would first lead to a neutron star and at around 2.3 even neutrons couldn't resist and would collapse to a black hole (though centrifugal force by rotation could forestall this for a while).

A finding of a 3 solar mass black hole wouldn't contradict that and I couldn't immediately find anything (it's Friday afternoon beer o'clock so there's limits) that this has changed.

Did I miss something?

Like the Death Star on Endor, JEDI created a ton of fallout and stormy weather in cloud market

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Jump!

I'd have to watch that episode again (In the Shadow of Zha'ha'dum(sp?) part 2, IIRC? can't believe I can remember that without looking it up), but I always thought it *was* indeed Kosh, whose "soul" had somehow entered or become part of Sheridan after the former's assassination.

I thought the voice was distinctly Kosh and not Lorien. Seeing as I have them all on VHS(!) still, it'll be a bit of an effort to check (yes, I bet I could get them all from less legal venues).

Deus ex hackina: It took just 10 minutes to find data-divulging demons corrupting Pope's Click to Pray eRosary app

Michael Hoffmann

Demons in app?

So, you need to also install the eXorcism app?

Tough luck, Jupiter, you've lost your crown for now: Boffins show Saturn has more moons

Michael Hoffmann


... Moony McMoonface is already out of contention?

Baby alert! Japan Air lets passengers book seats far away from screaming abdabs

Michael Hoffmann
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Re: Alternatively

Well, a close approximation of that does exist.

It generally costs at least 5 times more, though. It's called business or first class. You still have some rights up there, instead of "you get what you paid for" in cattle, you ... OK, you "pay and at least get something".

Generally also far lower likelihood of having any persons younger than 12. The business (wo)men tend to quietly keep to themselves. The odd honeymooners shelling out on their frequent flyer miles and too busy with each other.

No risk of DVT. Flight attendants whose smiles *do* occasionally touch their eyes instead of being plastered on. The, you get those nice little bags with earplugs in them, for when you forgot your own or left them in the check-in bags.

Having to fly very long distance at the least every 2, but more like every year, I can fortunately save up and spend a long time shopping for the right deal. It's amazing what you can dig up in the byzantine airline pricing schemes.

Loathed Aussie mining magnate Clive Palmer punts libel sueball at YouTube comedian

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Good on ya Aussie


We had Tony Abbot as PM, we still have Peter Dutton (non-Aussies will have to google him... he's the guy who looks like some creep from Hollywood central casting for generic Gestapo office #83457). ScoMo is a pentecostal fundie.

Consumer ransomware insurance? You could be painting a target on us all for avaricious crims

Michael Hoffmann

Exactly my thought when I now saw this kind of insurance advertised on billboards around Melbourne.

Not being in the charity business, insurance companies will surely have this calculated on how it makes them money. I dare say the exemptions and exclusions as to what measures you're expected to take to demonstrate "due diligance" before they pay out would make a mainframe (*) specialist blanch.

(*) semi-randomly picking an area generally considered to follow very high standards for security, resilience, availability, etc etc etc.

Oracle's Mark Hurd hits pause as co-CEO, says he needs time to deal with health issues

Michael Hoffmann

Memento mori

Assuming that "health issues" isn't just corporate-speak similar to "spend more time with their families", all the best to him. All the money in the world won't hold off the guy with the scythe who talks in ALL CAPS.

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage

Michael Hoffmann

Re: Why not split the difference

Like the vicious foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of OO programming that suddenly seems to be filling my tech news feeds? I mean, sure let’s discuss shortcomings and failed promises of OO, but some of those seem to rank OO somewhere worse than genocide and child abuse and kicking puppies combined.

There once was a biz called Bitbucket, that told Mercurial to suck it. Now devs are dejected, their code soon ejected

Michael Hoffmann
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Re: Git

Never mind hyperbole and dummy-spitting-throwing-toys-out-of-pram.

(also: who is Andi McClure? should I know him? Google lists hundreds by that name)

'Hey Google, remind Greg the locks have been changed, and he should find a new place to live. Maybe ask his mistress?'

Michael Hoffmann


Does it go "bingle-dee-bingle-dee-beep" and a little imp comes out? Sounds about as annoying.

Backdoors won't weaken your encryption, wails FBI boss. And he's right. They won't – they'll fscking torpedo it

Michael Hoffmann
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Well, go ahead and do it then!

Isn't the NSA already the largest employer of mathematicians in the US?

If so, go for it! Shirley if it's so easy, you can walk up to a bunch of them and say "make it so, that we may make this magical new encryption the enforced standard for the world!".

Why wait for all those recalcitrant corporations and furriners, hmm? Stop banging on about it, develop this silver bullet and awestrike us with this mathematical marvel!

Enjoying that 25Mbps internet speed, America? Oh, it's just 6Mbps? And you're unhappy? Can't imagine why

Michael Hoffmann

Huh, so Aussie NBN Co also runs the US fraudband system? Who knew?

When Harry met celly: NSA hoarder thrown in the clink for 9 years – after taking classified work home for decades

Michael Hoffmann

NSA security procedures?

Did heads roll at the NSA for that guy being able to walk out with reams of secret docs for decades? On paper no less, not even a USB stick hidden in some bodily orifice.



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