* Posts by rnturn

233 posts • joined 14 Mar 2014


Our software is perfect. If something has gone wrong, it must be YOUR fault


Re: '...own web-hosted user community forums...'

> This doesn't happen on Linux forums.

Oh yes it does except on Linux fora it goes something like:

"You're using <some-non-Arch> Linux... you should install Arch Linux."


Re: The software conflict

> ... it's not a bug, it's an undocumented requirement...

We got one of those years ago after a hospital management software package "upgrade" that changed the password lifetime for every user account to 9999 days. After going through the two-inch thick pile of paper that was the release notes, I found that this change was never mentioned. A call to the vendor went something like "Why would you do that?" to which they responded "Oh... You've instituted an N-day lifetime to comply with HIPAA?" It turns out that they made that password lifetime change at the request of a *single* customer. That it was potentially rolled out to ALL customers lowered my already low opinion of the vendor. And I was left wondering if any other customers had noticed that their user accounts had been mucked with as part of an application upgrade.

So... as another user posted about "kids releasing any old crap" nowadays... hey, it's been going on for years and years.

Google gets the green light to flood US Gmail inboxes with political spam


Re: How to feel about this

> Send me a flyer through the post office, if it looks interesting I'll read it but email spam is already loathed, and you don't want a pissed off person whose vote you want to get reading your message.

Physical flyers cost money to print and send, even at the reduced rates they might receive. I'm positive that's why they pushed to be able to abuse Gmail.

> On the other hand, I am really looking forward to the backlash against gmail when the prime bullshit hits the fan.

Republican politicians will likely not care about the backlash and would surely complain mightily if their ability to get in voters faces/email accounts is disrupted in any way.


Re: You get what you pay for

> I’d never give my email address to a political party of any description. I use my own domain name for email. I give companies a unique address and if I get an unsolicited email to that address I know who it’s come from .

Gotta try giving politicians phony usernames as part of my email address. Postfix will simply drop their spam on the floor. I've tried going the unsubscribe route but it not 100% effective. (I could register a complaint somewhere about that but that takes time I'd rather use for something else.)


Re: Forward it on the FCC

> If you want to forward on the spam, it's the FEC you want. The FCC would just be confused.

Well, the FCC covers communications (including the Internet) so forwarding it to them might have an affect. If nothing else it might cause them to contact the FEC and asking "What the hell were you thinking?"

After 40 years in tech, I see every innovation contains its dark opposite


Re: Speech recognition...

> Early 80s, John and Stan did a demonstration of speech recognition at work...

A fellow undergraduate EE student used a low-cost speech recognition board to make a voice controlled waveform generator. It wasn't terribly sophisticated device but it was able to switch between sine, triangle, and square waves, adjust amplitude and frequency, etc. by voice command. While it was light years behind what Siri is able to do today he did this using an Altair in '77/'78.

Get over it: Microsoft is a Linux and open source company these days


Re: Sometimes, it's the little things.

If a VM like VirtualBox were not an option I would just soon install Cygwin/X than use the ridiculousness that is Putty.

Back-to-office mandates won't work, says Salesforce's Benioff


> A return to work mandate would be impossible without relocating most of the team.

Like that'll ever happen. Recall IBM's move that closed a lot of regional offices and mandated people move to certain cities in order to keep their jobs. Did any of them get moved on the IBM's dime?

And with the two-earner family being the norm nowadays, it's the height of arrogance for a company to tell an employee that their spouse has kill the career path they were on and go job hunting in a new city.

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables


Re: Digital transmission?

I still have LPs -- well over 1000 -- that I still play, including original release Beatles LPs that still sound great. Like I mentioned: proper record handling (learned from my Dad when I was a kid). I have even more CDs. Some of the them are re-releases of LPs that I have and some of them sound awful compared to the original LP. It's got nothing to do with analog vs. digital. It's the remixing that ruined the CD. Most peoples' complaints about LPs are about things that are due to their own lack of care. Those folks are better off with 128Kbps MP3s.


Re: That vinyl sound

Do you lose information? Yes. Is it information you can hear? Probably not. Our ears are low pass filters and most anything above 20KHz can't be heard... when we're young. As we age, most of us are lucky to be able to hear the frequencies in the upper teens. Doesn't matter if the source is analog or digital-to-analog.

Now the difference between MP3 and FLAC? Even my older ears can tell the difference in an A-B test. Unless that test takes place in a car hurtling down the highway with the windows down.


Re: That vinyl sound

> Why do all of the audiophiles agree that the vinyl sound is better? Perhaps it does but it's just a digital signal that has had some strange processing steps (not magic) added to it during the process of converting it back to sound.

Early CDs suffered from some recording techniques (miking, etc.) that made them sound pretty harsh (too /much/ high frequency content from what I've heard). Sound engineers learned their way around that problem. I was a fairly early adopter of CDs but never considered them to sound bad. The dynamic range was a joy and something that was rather rare from an LP w/o surface noise becoming distracting. Then record companies decided to compress the hell out of everything to make it sound louder. Maybe THAT's what the LP aficionados appreciate about their LPs: no compression.


Re: Beware sub par efforts

> *or make one yourself - plenty of circuits online.

My ancient copy of the IC Op-Amp Cookbook includes a nice one.


Re: Beware sub par efforts

You mean purposely recorded with a "lowered" low frequency response. Without that, bass notes would require much wider grooves and eat up too much of the record. (Some say it would cause the stylus to leap out of the groove; dunno about that.) The pre-amp boosts it back to the correct level. That surprises some of the vinyl newbies when they plug that used turntable they found in a resale shop into their AV receiver that doesn't include the RIAA equalization and wonder why their records sound to tinny.


Re: It gets more fun...

I have three tuner/amps and only the oldest (~25yo) has a loudness option so for late night listening it's time for the headphones.


Re: Digital transmission?

There are ways to, you know, /clean/ records. With proper handling and storage, pops and ticks can be quite rare.

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


Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

Back when I still had a tape drive on my main system, I'd boot from the Linux partition and 'dd' the Windows partition to tape after I'd gotten it installed. If Windows happened to scribble on itself (which happened way more often than it should have), I'd simply reboot into Linux again and restore the Windows partition from tape and reboot.

Tech hiring freeze doesn't mean people won't leave


Re: bean counters and analytics

A competitor undoubtedly picked up a good QA manager that day.

Broadcom's stated strategy ignores most VMware customers


Re: But it's a winning strategy.

Beat me to it. What will those 600 customers do when they lose staff through retirement or other forms of attrition? They'll have trouble finding new employees with the required technology background.

I'd bet that Broadcom is only looking for short-term financial gains by concentrating on the big fish and, eventually, letting go of those who were mainly servicing the little fish. (Any announcements about that yet?) When this strategy blows up, the people responsible for it will have moved on.

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


Re: Software Junk

> Old shit is so much more fun, the sweet spot for me being mid-80's.

Ah... The days when computer companies included a printed User Manual AND a Programmer's Manual with their product.

Broadcom to 'focus on rapid transition to subscriptions' for VMware


Everybody want to be part of the rentier class...

...with their hand in your pocket monthly/quarterly/annually with the threat of shutting your business down hanging over your head if you don't like it. Customers have options.

OpenVMS on x86-64 reaches production status with v9.2


Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

> "It must work, it compiled."

Ha. I used to jokingly reply to the people who said that: "Well, that just means you probably spelled everything correctly."


Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

At one point, it became the Big White Wall. That was all paperbound volumes instead of the loose leaf binders. (Kind of a stupid transition, IMHO, when it came time issue updates/corrections to documentation.)

It was about that time when someone from DEC called asking if we would still want hard copy documentation now that it was available on CD-ROMs (which was likely why they didn't care about the previous ability to insert updated pages into the old binders). The caller was puzzled when I said "Yes". And they didn't seem to understand when I tied to explain that DEC's CD-ROM drives were crazy expensive, you needed several of them in order to keep all the documentation online, and that, with our being an educational institution, we didn't have pallets of cash laying around.


Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

> The file system had extensions to create databases as part of the filesystem with which you used FDL? (File Definition Language) that specified things like fields, sizes, types, bucket sizes, indexes and with that you can basically create a database file.

Wasn't that RMS (Record Management System)?

I recall working at a place that relied on it heavily. Someone in the Finance department would regularly use EVE to open up one of the RMS files to look up information and "save" instead of "quitting" and would screw up the indices for that file causing that night's batch processing to crash. We wound up getting permission to restrict the offender's account to accessing those files in read-only mode. (Thanks to VMS's ACLs and right identifiers.)


Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

I was *never* unable to find in the gray/white wall the information I needed to get something done on VMS (heck, RT-11 and RSX as well). It might have been in Appendix J of the Device Driver manual but, darn it, everything was in that docset.

MIPS discloses first RISC-V chips coming in Q4 2022


Back to the Future^WEighties

Ransomware the final nail in coffin for small university


Re: Having backups

How far back does an organization have backups. The school could have been infected with the malware long ago and it was only recently activated. What if all your backups contain the malware?

(Full disclosure: I know a faculty member of the school who recently retired from teaching. Not sure as to his reasons and whether the discovery of the malware and the ransom played a part in his decision to leave but interesting timing on his part.)

Climate model code is so outdated, MIT starts from scratch


Re: A language they cannot read?

That's called a well-rounded education.

I wish the people I work with nowadays had done something besides just coding before they got into the work force. Most cannot express a coherent thought in writing and what little documentation that's available is mostly unreadable sentence fragments cut-n-pasted from various documents that are kinda-sorta related to the task at hand. As one old hand recently revealed, some parameters in the database are referred to in these documents by as many as four different phrases; if you're lucky, you may be working with a document that uses all four. Or... a set of instructions for an installation process may be out of order (i.e., don't forget to do //this// three steps ago). Crap like that that someone who was forced to take a literature and/or English composition course who likely be aware of and fix before foisting it on their co-workers.

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it


Re: 'self-taught Visual Basic programmer'

> should the value of pi change

We were always told that the most accurate value of Pi you could use was "4.0*atan(1.0)" (yeah, FORTRAN). Then I started working on GPS applications in the 80s and the official ICDs mandated a very particular value of Pi that had to be used when dealing with GPS positioning. So, while it didn't necessarily change, a specific value might be mandated. (Though not as ham-handedly as the Indiana legislature tried one time.)


Re: Swearing at the programmer, but not in the code

> It contained ZERO comments, and the program came with ZERO code-relevant documentation.

While it does contain /some/ comments, there's behemoth chunk of Perl that I've occasionally had to wade through at work. Around 8000 lines and most of the few-and-far-between comments are about as useful as:

"# include_data method

sub include_data ... "

Gosh... thanks for that. And as mentioned, no documentation. Job security, I guess.

Heaps of tweaks and improvements incoming with GNOME 42


Go-to desktop and SUSE

Huh... I've always seen KDE as the go-to desktop for OpenSUSE. At least, I seem to recall that being the default option when I last installed Leap. I'm stuck using Gnome Desktop on a VM at work -- KDE isn't available to load -- and can. Not. Stand. It. (But it does give me an environment that minimizes my need to use the underlying Windows 10 so it's got that going for it.)

FAA now says 5G airports may interfere with Boeing 737s


Re: Just when they are trying to convince us it’s safe

"Not all radalts are the same."

Indeed. I was involved in some work back in the '80s that discovered that FM radio station transmitters -- and the stew of intermodulation frequencies that resulted from multiple FM transmitters in a locale -- could interfere with ILS receiver front ends. Not all receivers were susceptible to the same degree but some of the more commonly used (especially in general aviation) were affected the most. I recall wanting to be a fly on the wall at the meeting where the report was to be presented to the FCC (who would represent radio station operators who could be denied either an antenna location or proposed transmitter power if either interfered with the landing system) and the FAA (whose interested was in maintaining the protected airspace around an airport)---the fireworks would have been fun to watch.

Aircraft can't land safely due to interference with upcoming 5G C-band broadband service


Band, schmand

Years ago, I was involved in a study that found that radio transmitters -- even though they weren't transmitting in a band protected for aviation use -- could interfere with ILS receivers. Multiple transmitters near an airfield will result in all sorts of harmonics hitting the front-end of the ILS receiver that can result in interference within the protected airspace. The whole study began when a airfield's ILS testing found that signals in the receiver driving the needles were being affected by a broadcast of a Cleveland Indians game. I didn't get to attend the high-level meetings between the FAA -- who was trying to protect the airspace -- vs. FCC -- who were being pressed by licensees/investors who wanted to erect radio towers wherever the hell they pleased -- but I can imagine they were somewhere between humorous and maddening.


Re: Just Say it Like it Is

My preference: "make inadvertent contact with the terrain"

Florida man accused of breaking Mastodon's open-source license with botched social network launch


Yet another "Oops!"...

... that anyone with a half a brain would have learned from by now.

I'm a little surprised that Florida Man hasn't made any public pronouncements that he knows more about software licensing than anyone else in the world. That's sort of his shtick, after all. Even after having been proved wrong over and over and over.

Talent shortage? Maybe it's your automated hiring system, lack of investment in training


Re: Why is there a shortasge of candidates?

While the ATS seems to do this checkbox ticking, it's even worse when the hiring manager sits there checking things off during the interview. Normally I loathe dealing with HR. In that case, The time spent with HR was the enjoyable part of interviewing with that company. My blood pressure rose considerably as I watched the manager ticks things off -- or fail to tick things off -- on his clipboard. No questions about how I handled this or that but a rapid fire series of questions like "Have you used <technology>... how long have you used <technology>." I was tempted to ask if he could simply hand me the clipboard so I could fill it out myself.


Re: And that degree ...

At one early employer (aerospace/defense), some of the best programmers I encountered were people with Physics degrees. And they were writing in Jovial... not something they learned as a student. Of course, this was back in the days when companies actually offered training

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell


Re: Interesting previous interviews

``Needless to say, despite having told HR we wanted to see people's CVs in advance of them being invited to interview they kept ignoring us and, sure enough, this guy's CV was indeed an accurate reflection of his abilities.''

Wow. I would never again trust HR's judgement with respect to the candidates they've decided to bring in for interviews.

I was part of an interview team for data center types (Wintel, UNIX, storage, etc.). HR sent us one candidate for a mainly Solaris role whose resume showed that he had a lot of experience with other UNIX variants. My boss looked at me and said "Looks like we might have finally found a backup for you". The interview team was unanimous: we wanted him on the team. Sadly, *because* he had all that experience, his salary requirement was above "Market Rates" and HR flat out refused to hire him. So we still had *two* open positions. Idjits.

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.")



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