* Posts by rnturn

196 posts • joined 14 Mar 2014


Even Facebook struggles: Zuck's titanic database upgrade hits numerous legacy software bergs


Re: Waiting for the Big Crash

On a related note: Don't try accessing the citations at the end of Wikipedia articles. The majority of them are dead links nowadays and nobody seems to be interested in cleaning them up. When my daughters were in school, they were forbidden to use a Wikipedia article as source because of this---those dead links may as well be fakes.

Cloudflare launches campaign to ‘end the madness’ of CAPTCHAs


How do I put this device on our home LAN so that it can be used to allow everyone in the family to browse from any computer -- and any TV -- that I wire up or connect to our WiFi?

People have been pushing the idea of dongles since PCs were invented. I had coworkers that had multiple dongles connected to their printer port (one for AutoCAD, another for... you get the idea). Either the same thick-headed folks are still pushing the idea or a new generation is re-discovering the idea... and forgetting or ignoring how it failed in the past.


Re: Hardware dongles?

> And then you have website designers where they assume everyone uses Chrome, like them, has a really fast computer, like them, and has really fast internet, like them. If none of those conditions are true, they blithely tell you to switch to Chrome and never think that some people cannot afford fast computers or cannot get fast internet.

That's been a problem forever. One former employer hired people to create the company's first web site. It looked great in the conference room where they demoed it---just steps away from the data center where the web server sat. The trouble was that, at the time, there were huge (and I mean HUGE) numbers of internet user who were still using dial-up connections. The corporate web site was unusable over that type of connection. Sadly, the web site designers still got paid.


I rarely see CAPTCHAs any more. Sites appear to have responded to their users/visitors and dumped them. I'd estimate only dealing with less than five in the last year---so few that it always surprises that some site is *still* using one. I think Cloudflare is seeing the potential for making big Zorkmids in the hardware token market.

NASA pops old-school worm logo onto Orion spacecraft



I once worked with some folks at Ames Research Center and they called it the "vector" logo.

Can't get that printer to work? It's not you. It's that sodding cablin.... oh beautiful job with that cabling, boss


Serial printer fun

In a former life (early-ish '90s), myself and others got caught up in problem figuring out why the printer sitting on the desk of some self-important bank exec's wouldn't work. It connected directly to a mini in the data center. The complainer's office was at least ten floors above the data center and the printer was connected via RS-232. Our initial tests showed that there was nothing wrong with the wiring---no breaks. In that hi-rise, all floor-to-floor cabling was all done via phone punch-down blocks on each floor and we checked those multiple times. Eventually, we contacted the networking team to help us out with their TDR. As it turned out, the printer cabling was 666 feet in length. Not willing to accept that his office's cabling should have to be governed by some standard that he'd never heard of before, we had to have a manager two levels up explain to him that he was not going to have a printer working yesterday and that we'd have order equipment to allow him to have a private printer. There /was/ a shared printer in the general office area just steps from his office but, apparently, his ego wouldn't allow his print jobs to be mixed in with those of underlings.

Google proposes Logica data language for building more manageable SQL code


Re: SQL resists this workflow

> "note that the CAPS-lock is typically optional"

I haven't encountered any RDBMS that insisted on uppercase SQL statements. Most people I know who generate SQL simply use uppercase as a convention to help in distinguishing the SQL from column/table names.

Google's research labs are far from the only culprits coming up with strange and, frankly, questionable "innovations". The trend lately seems to be that "new and improved" replacement utilities are needed that take what has been a fairly easy to read and understand command syntax and transform it from a single line into something that requires multiple lines, braces, odd punctuation which, frankly, hides its purpose behind the new, obtuse syntax. It's hard to escape the feeling that all this seems to be getting done not because the current way of performing function X is broken in some way but, rather, just because it's "old".

Yep, the 'Who owns Linux?' case is back from the dead


Re: The question of who?

A little late for that. Who does Oracle appeal to now that The Supremes have ruled in Google's favor.

Diary of a report writer and his big break into bad business


``In one case, the person who marked up the corrections has struck through the words `a quarter' under a chart summary and replaced it with `four times less'.''

I see and hear this all the damned time. Apparently, it's because "fractions are hard".

The Audacity of it all: Version 3.0 of open-source audio fave boasts new file format, 160+ bug fixes


Re: Detecting track breaks

I'm waiting for the 4h33m stretched "ambient" version to make it onto the 'net.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative


Re: Too late

For me it's using "ask" as a noun.

Spotify to introduce lossless audio streaming: Better sound or inefficient gimmick?



I ripped all my CDs to FLAC and can hear the difference between those that I originally ripped to 320Kbps MP3s. It's not dramatic but content that has a lot of high-frequencies -- cymbals, plucked strings, some electronic music, etc. -- benefits. It surely sounds better than most streaming content that I've heard. I can't imagine Spotify streaming FLAC-encoded music, though.

How do we combat mass global misinformation? How about making the internet a little harder to use


Re: Wikipedia is far from perfect...

It's far from uncommon to find that many of the URLs at the bottom of a Wikipedia entry return 404 errors. Nothing makes you wonder about the credibility of an article when you can't check the sources. (This is the sort of thing that used to drive me crazy about some academic papers. "No references? So you came up with this all on your own? Ri-i-ight.")

The killing of CentOS Linux: 'The CentOS board doesn't get to decide what Red Hat engineering teams do'


Re: Cores?

Who left Oracle and took a new job with IBM/RedHat? What's next? License terms specifying CPU clock speed?

Leaked memo suggests LG is thinking about quitting the smartphone biz in 2021


Re: Still loving my G5, too

Same here. I've had replaced the battery holder (w/ the USB-C charging socket) and the battery itself (once) since I got it but, otherwise, it's been trouble free. I do wish that an Android update would be available. For some reason (muscle memory?) I never have any problems with the LG's buttons. I wind up doing something weird to the Samsung my wife's got just by picking the darned thing up and accidentally pushing a button. And her phone is so short of memory that some normal functions don't even work. Notification sounds when receiving text messages? Hit or miss. And she hasn't even installed a bunch of third-party applications. (IMHO, it's a POS.) An iPhone will never be under consideration as a replacement for my LG and the missus's experience isn't a great selling point for Samsung.

Windows Product Activation – or just how many numbers we could get a user to tell us down the telephone


Re: Arrrgh the suppressed memories......

Yeah. I seem to recall I had to burn a day of vacation to spend on the phone with Microsoft reactivating XP following a problem. I did that once. The next time XP scribbled on itself, that PC was converted to Linux. The idiocy of having to activate XP over the one phone was the reason that, one by one, all the XP-based PCs we had at home were converted to Linux.


Re: as long as that hardware hash didn't change too much

One data point: Adding a SCSI controller (in order to add more disk space to an existing IDE-based system) to a working XP installation was "too much" enough to invalid the system to Windows. It only took a couple of hours to recover from that: by booting a Linux CD, transferring all the Windows data to the SCSI disks, and repurposing the IDE disks for Linux. Windows problem solved.

Buggy code, fragile legacy systems, ill-conceived projects cost US businesses $2 trillion in 2020


Re: Praise Where and When Praise is Due.

> I even bought a couple (not many as I didn't really have the money at that age)

Neither did I but even my grade-school math skills were enough to convince my parents the advantages of getting me a subscription as a Xmas present.


Re: I'm a coder

> they are all too happy to open up another can of manglement layers

Because, of course, the reason the code failed is that there weren't enough managers overseeing the process.


Re: The reason I'm only a geek in my private time

> I bet you could randomly fire at least half the management from any company and when the shock settles down, you'd realise that they weren't actually that necessary...

At one former employer, it was nauseating to see just how many people in the company org chart were directors---directors with nobody reporting to them. When a big chunk of the IT team were laid off during an ill-considered outsourcing arrangement (it got several higher-ups, including the CIO, a personalized escort out the door by security), the jobs of those directors-with-no-reports were untouched. I'm aware of a couple of them that, ten years later, are still there---directing nobody in particular.

I built a shed once. How hard can a data centre be?


Re: Sounds like my house

Hmm... Normally, 11/70s needed three-phase power.

If it were me, I'd have installed it on a lower floor and let it heat the house. When I last encountered one of those systems, they had a thermal switch in the CPU rack that would power off the system when the air conditioning went on the fritz---otherwise, it would have cooked itself to death.


Data Center Down

I didn't get a page. I got a phone call from my manager on a Saturday morning. Thinking I'd screwed up and slept through a page, my boss assured me that it wasn't one the clusters I was in charge of but that the entire damned data center is down. It turns out that, after ignoring the pleas from the technician who'd previously alerted management to the problem, the UPS supplying the data center finally fried after running so close to maximum capacity for an extended amount of time. So the company experiences a lengthy /unscheduled/ down time -- during year-end processing -- rather than the much shorter one the tech had repeatedly requested. Major components of the UPS were going to have to be replaced. I got into the data center along with a dozen other admins and we all physically switched off the systems while the work on the UPS was taking place. Oh... the UPS? Some Einstein installed it so close to a wall that it couldn't be worked on---the vendor had to cut through the drywall in the adjacent room in order to access the fried electronics. Oh yes, the UPS vendor also determined that whoever had installed the transfer switch did that incorrectly, too---the backup generator was, essentially, useless and correcting that was going to be needed as well. When the work was all complete, management was anxious to restart all the systems. Until I asked: "So the repaired UPS has successfully been load tested and is good to go?" "Well, No..." "Don't you have a dummy load to test the UPS with?" Awkward silence "So the plan is to test the repairs using the production systems as test loads?" After a lot of hemming and hawing, someone from the UPS vendor finally admits that they /do/ have a dummy load... but didn't think to bring it with them. More delays while that's brought onsite and the UPS tested. Roughly a day and a half later, we're back up and running, full of free coffee, donuts, and pizza, and on a first name basis with the electrical contractors.


Basements might be as bad.

Back while working at a University, the main data center where all the Big Iron (IBM 43xx systems), a roomful of DASD enclosures, and what seemed like 1000 miles of cabling lived, was located in the basement of an old building that had once been a post office (complete with Ionic stone columns). Removing and installing new equipment was accomplished by via a ramp laid down on a long flight of stairs. I never saw it happen in person but I'm told it was a process that involved a large team of people from the Uni's physical plant department following a procedure not far removed from the way ancient Egyptians hauled the stone blocks for the pyramids. I felt bad for the folks that still relied on those systems -- and would be down while that Herculean installation effort was being performed -- when the most difficult part of setting up our LAVC was running the coax into the offices and labs.

Cops raid home of ousted data scientist who created her own Florida COVID-19 dashboard


Re: So it seems nothing wrong on the police's part.

No. It's entirely wrong on the police's part. This kind of crap happens all the time in Chicago. In fact, one reporter has done so many reports on these cases that it almost seems he's able to do nothing /but/ that. The hell of it is that so many of these raids are taking place at the wrong addresses.


Re: Really?

You read "17-year veteran" and interpreted that as "17-year OLD veteran"?



Re: Worldometers next

> Florida was one of those states that didn't do the testing just before the election to make the numbers look they were falling.

SOP in Florida. They rigged their unemployment system to make it extremely difficult to qualify for unemployment insurance and then tout how little unemployment there is in the state (as measured by those actually receiving UI payments).

LibreOffice 7.1 beta boasts impressive range of features let down by a lack of polish and poor mobile efforts


Re: Star Writer

Oddly, I've been seeing the same problem with LibreOffice on a newly upgraded openSUSE. Launching Writer can take several minutes. Then patches come out and it launches in a few seconds. Come the next round of patching and we go back to "click and go for coffee" load times. I'm about ready to have it autostart when I log in and just leave it loaded all the time---just to avoid the awkward delays when someone calls to discuss a document and I have to make them wait a couple of minutes while Writer loads.


Re: What ?

> I take it you haven't re-mapped your keyboard to swap capslock and ctrl?

Still pining for the days of WordStar? :^D


Re: Annoying little Libre ? well...........

Ha! The CIO at a job many years ago hired someone he'd met at a bar to be our "documentation specialist". One day I discovered that our new MS Word "expert" had been manually numbering lists and pages. When I showed her how to do it the right way it was like introducing a cave dweller to fire. If memory serves, she may also have been the force behind ordering the company phone list by first name.

OpenZFS v2.0.0 targets Linux and FreeBSD – shame about the Oracle licensing worries


Re: I can't stand misleading charts

The Wall Street Journal used that trick for ... well, ever. "OMG, look at that stock price volatility!" but when you look at the axes you see that the chart maker has accentuated tiny changes to jibe with whatever point the accompanying article is trying to make. As Oracle used to be quite rabid in their disallowing independent benchmarks to be published without their consent, one might as well assume that that chart came from Oracle itself.

X.Org is now pretty much an ex-org: Maintainer declares the open-source windowing system largely abandoned


Re: What's wrong with stuff that works????

I'm in agreement with your on "it's not dead just because nobody's making new releases". I can't see how new features would need to be added. Perhaps simply making sure it compiles with new library releases might all most people would want or need.

> So please stop making it so hard to disable the "nolisten tcp" in X.

It's been years since I needed to disable "nolisten" with X11 forwarding via "ssh -X" (or "-Y").

RIAA DMCAs GitHub into nuking popular YouTube video download tool, says it can be used to slurp music


So now... when my browser is unable to play a video because GoogleTube has screwed up the capability for the Nth time this month, I'm not even able to download it and view it directly on my desktop using some other application. Nice move RIAA---I'll bet the recording artists that were counting on views of the video by potential music buyers are thrilled to have you screwing up their royalties.

Let’s check in with that 30,000-job $10bn Trump-Foxconn Wisconsin plant. Wow, way worse than we'd imagined


We used to live just south of the IL/WI border and watched/heard/read about this fiasco as it unfolded. Everyone knew it was all smoke and mirrors and that the jobs were never going to materialize.

Oracle starts to lose patience with Solaris holdouts


Re: Why?

That's one of the big reasons I dumped a used Ultra60 years ago. Solaris use was already dwindling (as was the need for me to support it) so I couldn't justify the cost of running that space heater.


Re: Left for Red Hat when Oracle bought Sun


Has Apple abandoned CUPS, the Linux's world's widely used open-source printing system? Seems so


Re: Postscript

The first laser printer we used at home was an LX-29000 from The Printer Works that used a RISC-based TrueImage engine. Worked like a charm for any PostScript files we threw at it. When it died, I had a heck of a time finding something to replace it that didn't either a.) cost twice as much as the LX-29000 or b.) have its PostScript feature implemented in a Windows-only driver (and often both "a" /and/ "b").


Re: I guess go back to LPRng then?

I guess it's a good thing I didn't whack that old LPRng RPM I found on my hard disk a while back.

> OK, what do I do with my 4 year old Brother laser then?

The same thing Apple expects you to do with the other products they sell: Junk them and replace them every couple of years.

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


Re: some other sites may have already done so

dice.com, for example.

It's 2020, so let's just go ahead and let Amazon have everyone's handprints so it can process payments


300 Baud? Yikes... I haven't used anything that slow since the acoustic coupler crapped out on the old ITT Asciscope that I borrowed from work (early-'80s) so I could work from home. I had to cobble together a connection to the phone jack to use the 1200 baud line on the back.


Re: Amazon have become greedy and annoying

We're looking seriously at a condo that's within walking distance of a Whole Paycheck. I'll still be getting the car to grocery shop somewhere -- anywhere -- else.


Re: What if they suffer a security breach?

``Then, when breach is leaked and picked up by media, this: we take the security of our customers extremely seriously.''

The "This time for sure!" is implied, I guess.

Frames per second? Windows Terminal brings back text animation with the VT100 blink


> The gaudy colours of a modern graphical user interface pale in comparison to the soft amber or green hue of DEC's finest, right?

Huh? I never saw a VT100 with anything but the white phosphor.


Re: not that f*&%@# piece of s*$% VT100...ahhhh...

VT52 were handy to have in the data center. You could stack them atop one another to save some space.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'


Old school solution

Smooth move creating license plates' using a typeface doesn't have an easily recognized difference between the two characters.

If I'm handing off handwritten information to someone, I'll slash my zeroes if there's any chance of the reader having to distinguish between an "O" and a zero. (Also, sevens to avoid anyone thinking I was trying to write a "1". If you've seen my handwriting...)

In a former life, one of our Oracle data warehouses used multiple mount points for tablespaces: /u01a, /u01b, etc. Once the database began growing by leaps and bounds, the DBAs and I made the decision that we would //not// use "l" or "o" as suffixes for mount points. We just //knew// that using either of those would create headaches at some point.

Can't decide which OS to run today? Why not Linux inside Windows inside macOS?


VMs in VMs...

Ha! I remember the time a student got kicked off the University computer systems (and, if memory serves, out of an honors program) after he ran a copy of VM/CMS inside a trio of nested virtual machines. The 4341 was barely up to the task. (I know //I// didn't get any work done that day.)

Apple's at it again: Things go pear-shaped for meal planner app after iGiant opposes logo


Re: Not the first, won't be the last...

Whatever happened to the insane suit that McDonalds filed against a mom-n-pop sandwich shop named "MacDonald's" in Scotland?


Fruit Logos?

Apple's legal department apparently has its undies in a bunch over things with leaves.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online


Re: Call it blunt...

Colleges/Universities != trade schools


Re: Call it blunt...

So no CS/EE majors ever need a campus job? I wish that had been the case when I was a starving EE student.



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