* Posts by DrXym

5327 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Rusty revenant Servo returns to render once more

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Re: FOSS and Microsoft agrees one time

Developing a new engine is incredibly hard. It's not just about testing for correctness but handling badly behaved websites and safely and securely implementing a gazillion web standards. It took years for NGlayout / Gecko to be fit for purpose and this Servo would need that amount of time as well.

I should say that Firefox does have a CSS engine that was rewritten in Rust and benefits from massive concurrency which made it far more performant. It's a shame that servo was dropped before getting to fruition but I guess it has a second chance now.

High severity vuln in WinRAR could allow code to run when files are opened

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Well that's not good

I expect piracy websites will be filled with exploited .rar files along with all the other stuff they do to catch people unawares, e.g. .scr files, .wmv files etc.

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden

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Seems bulky

If I wanted to take a TV on my travels I might as well take a normal one than this thing. I'd have to power it somehow, e.g. with a power bank or V2L but that's probably a more flexible option.

I'm kind of surprised that no manufacturer has figured a way to produce an OLED TV that rolls up so that it's basically a stored in a tube and unrolled onto a frame when needed.

YouTube accused of aiming ads at kids after promising it wouldn't do that

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Re: Sleazy ads

I've turned off personalized ads and typically my ads are:

1. Some generic national campaign for some product or another.

2. Dross - dating sites, lawyer personal injury BS etc.

3. Scam products invented by "2 maverick engineers in the field of X created a groundbreaking Y after hundreds of prototypes and its set to disrupt the major players" which is just some crap you can find on Aliexpress - ab exercisers, mini fan heaters, crap security cams etc.

4. Fake Elon Musk talking about amazing investment opportunity which is actually a scam. I've noticed a disturbing number of deepfakes using AI to generate his voice and others to produce phony interviews.

5. Other kinds of scams using actors or con men vaguely implying that I could make 30x my investment if I click through a bunch of burner websites

For all but 1 & 2 I report it, for all the good it does. YouTube occasionally blocks scams but more often than not does nothing. Even worse, the same scam using the same video will reappear over and over under different channels and campaigns. I really don't get it since YouTube can transcribe content so how hard is it really to look for repeated scams or patterns used by scammers and flag them for review?

Metaverses are flopping – hard – says Gartner

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Well duh

Who the hell is going to fork out 2 grand on VR headsets plus the PCs to go with them so they can sit in some boring virtual conference room and look at disembodied torsos of their work colleagues? It's about as boring and antithetical to fun as you can imagine.

If there is any potential for a meta verse it has to be chaotic and fun with opportunities for things to happen from the chaos. Allow people to play it for free. Hell, allow them to play it from a browser to lower the barrier for entry but make it sing if they use a VR headset. Then throw in season passes, gear, clan bases and meeting rooms into it and monetize *that*. Who knows, perhaps some corporate types might even make use of it. Having everyone turn up for a meeting in the middle of an Orcish layer with cosplaying might actually make the experience worth it.

FYI: Tor Browser is very much still a thing and getting updates

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It's very handy too

It's more convenient than firing up a VPN and a useful way to get around stupid netfilters that zealously block content, often for absurd reasons.

HCL proves Lotus Notes will never die by showing off beta of lucky Domino 14.0

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Re: And integration...

My experience is that it doesn't matter if enterprise software is a fucking nightmare because the people who sign off on it are not the ones who use it. They get the pressure sales treatment and get worn down by the carrot and stick and then everyone else suffers. Then it's too late for anyone else to say anything. Most enterprise software is like this. The best thing a company can do for its own wellbeing is NOT commit to any platform, hire some people who know what they're doing and trust them.

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Yes. I mentioned Sharepoint and that I'm not enamoured with it but it's still easier to use than Notes.

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Lotus Notes / Lotus Domino are still common parlance for the suite so I don't know why you think it's telling.

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I don't think that's fair. Lotus Notes is horrible to use and Outlook is rather pleasant to use. Usability matters a LOT for software that everyone needs to interact with day in day out. Notes has a very thin veneer of modernity but scratch it just slightly and you're facing arcane, inscrutable, incomprehensible dialogs that haven't changed much in the last 30 years. That is not to say Microsoft's offerings are perfect and I find Sharepoint and Teams can be extremely trying at times, but nothing on the magnitude of using Notes & Domino. I'm just thankful that our company got rid of it after rebuilding infrastructure after a ransomware attack a blessing in disguise IMO.

Microsoft up in Arms over data-loss protection in Windows 11

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Re: Please Stop.

I suspect in this case there would be more managers in the room than actual users.

Uncle Sam mulls dumping monolithic software stacks for modular blocks

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Re: Public sector jumps on bandwagon just as the wheels are about to fall off

It's going way too far to say there is "no case". I agree that microservices can be overkill if a backend does a lot of related things in a self-contained way. There is no point for them in that scenario. But as stuff scales and especially in the cloud, microservices can become important.

For example maybe your backend needs to talk to a mainframe through some legacy API - a microservice means you don't taint the rest of your backend. Stick that crap in its own runtime and call it in a sane way and the team developing it can care about the gory details. Or maybe the microservice is doing a privileged operation (e.g. change password) and you want to run it with least privilege without your entire monolithic server being granted that privilege. Or maybe you want to spawn thousands of these things and round-robin requests without worrying about the impact on a monolithic server. So there are good reasons to use them.

Nor does a microservice have to be burdened with authentication, access control etc. That stuff should be controlled by the environment - execution privileges, ingress interceptors etc

So basically it boils down to common sense - does the thing you're doing benefit from running in isolation or not - for security, scalability, complexity or some other reason? If so then maybe a microservice is a good idea. On the flip side, using a microservice for the sake of it without a clear defined reason may be a bad idea. In the real world, most backends are probably going to be a mix of monolithic and micro - monolithic for the main application logic and microservice for the ancillary stuff.

If you don't get open source's trademark culture, expect bad language

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Re: Well, I'm not gonna use rust again for the forseeable future.

Stunt? This was just some silly legalese nonsense that got cleared up.

What does an ex-Pharma Bro do next? If it's Shkreli, it's an AI Dr bot

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Can't blame the court artist. The general consensus was his face was so divinely punchable and smarmy that it inadvertently proved the existence of god.

Microsoft nopes out after Twitter starts charging $$$ for API access

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Re: Let me see now...

A narcissist's universe. Musk is like Trump in that he lashes out irrationally when attacked and I believe this is one of those occasions.

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Business hari kari

Musk has been down this road of threatening advertisers, even moaning that not spending money is somehow tantamount to censorship. Given how obnoxious the platform has become, with engagement becoming toxic, it is no wonder that advertisers are running for the hills.

At some point it's going to go under or the creditors are going to get rid of Musk and try and sell the thing as a going concern. Hopefully whoever buys it does a better job. And failing that, there are plenty of other viable social media platforms that will take over.

Microsoft mucks with PrtScr key for first time in decades

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I'd prefer it to be configurable - on option leave it the way it is, or launch a tool to quickly edit the option. Or maybe Shift+PrtScr does the snipping. Normally I use either Alt+PrtScr to take a picture of a window or just PrtScr for the whole desktop. So binding Ctrl or Shift for another thing would make sense.

Turns out people don't like it when they suspect a machine's talking to them

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Customer service bots

God I hate those things. Not to mention the dark patterns that companies use to bury their actual human customer support info deep where nobody can find it.

Welcome to open source, Elon. Your Twitter code just got a CVE for shadow ban bug

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Twitter turning to shit

Twitter has been taken over by obnoxious far-right trolls who know they can say pretty much anything they like and nothing will happen. Racism? Absolutely fine! Transphobia? Go wild. Conspiracies? By all means. Misinformation? Nothing but misinfo as far as the eye can see. Reporting it will do nothing.

But do not, whatever you do mock "free speech absolutist" Elon Musk or provoke his ire, or talk about other social media platforms or you will be banned.

While Twitter was never perfect it did have moderators and it did attempt to strike a balance, weed out the worst offenders, and make the platform palatable to mainstream users. The sort of users that advertisers pay Twitter to put ads in front of. It's no wonder advertising spend has fallen off a cliff. I bet engagement has too and will fall further especially when blue ticks are replaced by paid-for vanity ticks filling up the "For you" feed with their promoted insipid brain damage.

It's no wonder Musk is having a fit about Substack and Mastodon because both are looking increasingly attractive to people who want to be done with this BS.

Nostalgic for VB? BASIC is anything but dead

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Basic isn't the problem

I expect anyone with time on their hands could make a 100% compatible implementation of the Visual Basic language. It's not complicated as far as languages go.

The big problem would be the integration with the masses of 3rd party OLE2 controls that every VB app relied upon. I've written OLE2 containers from scratch, and plenty of OLE2/ActiveX controls and it was a pain in the arse whichever side you were coming from. Hosting controls / objects and wiring them up would involve implementing a lot of esoteric COM interfaces for automation, attributes, events, storage, streaming, edit/runtime mode, windowed, windowless controls, type libraries. Not only do you have do it once in a form designer & editor, but a second time in the runtime. And because of the traditional problems with mixing DLLs, it all probably has to be developed in an old version of Visual Studio in an old version of Windows.

Personally I think would just dump any pretense at compatibility and do a look-a-like like Gambas, working on improving the controls built into the environment, or imported in a sane way, to negate any need to incorporate 3rd party binaries.

Microsoft promises it's made Teams less confusing and resource hungry

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Horrible software

Teams is functional but it's not usable, at least not at scale. It's like it was written as an MS Office bonus feature but COVID hit and Microsoft went all in trying to patch and shore up this incomplete thing as the solution for conferencing and remote work.

The whole UI feels clumsy, like it's a glorified Web 2.0 app. It doesn't feel native, compact or responsive - just switching channels or tabs incurs a noticeable delay. The UI is a maze to navigate. The planner / calendar doesn't work the same way as Outlook despite consuming the same data. It doesn't work like (the equally shitty) Sharepoint despite consuming the same data. Links can be broken by default browser settings. Even simple meat & potatoes things like reliably playing audio notifications / reminders often just breaks. Why did it play a notification a minute ago, but neglected to do anything this time? Don't know. It doesn't feel like it was designed for people who might want to be doing multiple things at the same time or who are swamped with channels of corporate crap.

So if they improve the experience then great. I'm stuck with Teams and it really does an overhaul. Give me something that works like a desktop app, is designed for multitasking and is actually reliable.

Lenovo Thinkpad X13s: The stealth Arm-powered laptop

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Re: Seems pointless

This is why Google discourages using native libs and spells it out in the documentation. Any app that doesn't have native lib deps should work on any future architecture just fine. I also think Google should offer LLVM as a target too for these native libs, i.e. the app has a dependency on a lib which is bitcode. Regardless of what architecture the phone is, that bitcode can be turned into a native lib during installation.

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Re: Seems pointless

LLVM is a low-level virtualized machine and instruction set. You compile C or C++ (or Rust, Swift etc.) to LLVM bitcode. Then the bitcode is compiled to native executable via a backend. This native compilation can happen in the toolchain, or it can be deferred to installation / invocation. This is how iOS works - devs ship apps as bitcode and they are compiled natively during installation. Android does something similar with its Android Runtime albeit with a different bytecode. Even Microsoft has an intermediate language IL for .NET that could have been the basis of something.

Then it doesn't matter if the OS is running on Arm, or x86 or whatever because devs ship a single binary and it runs anywhere.

But Microsoft don't do this. If I fire up Visual Studio I have to make a choice which target architecture I want to build to. It costs money and time to support multiple targets and naturally companies go for the lowest common denominator (x86_64 and/or x86) and forget about the rest. This is why Microsoft has tried porting Windows multiple times to Arm, Itanium, PowerPC, MIPS, RISC-V and Alpha and it always fails. Maybe some day the penny will drop with them why that is the case.

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Seems pointless

Given that the majority of Windows applications are (and always will be) x86 (32-bit or 64-bit), then what's the point of an ARM device? Any power savings will be lost just by having it run typical software through emulation. Not only does it drain the battery but the performance will be bad compared to running natively. Might as well buy an AMD / Intel based laptop and be done with it.

The weird thing is that Microsoft could have made processor architecture an irrelevance if they had adopted LLVM or something like it - i.e. software is compiled to a virtual instruction set which is then compiled natively and cached the first time it is run. Or maybe it is compiled natively before downloading from the store. They could provide x86 emulation but over time it wouldn't be such a big deal. But Microsoft still haven't done it, despite the likes of iOS and Android demonstrating the virtues of not being tied to one architecture.

Curl, the URL fetcher that can, marks 25 years of transfers

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Curl is a lot more powerful, but unless I'm doing something gnarly I prefer wget. Simpler syntax for just fetching and saving some thing from an endpoint without having to supply extra arguments.

Amazon: Behold our antennas, which you cannot use just yet

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Re: Contention

I assume satellites will relay signals around between themselves to get wherever they need to go.

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Re: Do they get warm in use?

The Starlink ones blast out 50-100W. But they're motorised so cats would probably slip off. And failing that, the burning cat fur might be a sign that something is amiss.

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These things are probably great if you're in the middle of nowhere with no contention - a cabin in the woods, a small village, an island in the middle of nowhere, out on the open seas. Amazing coverage probably. Not so much if your device and 50,000 others are in contention for the same satellites, e.g. if you live in or near a large city or urban sprawl.

AmigaOS 3.2.2 released for those feeling nostalgic

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Interlace mode was pretty awful on the eyes. I think it was a consequence of how NTSC & PAL work more than anything else but it was horrible. A3000 & A4000 had a VGA output & 640x480 resolution where it didn't suffer this.

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It was cheaper, by about 100 quid IIRC in their best selling forms - 520ST & A500. The price disparity was pretty obvious though running them side by side.

Commodore didn't sell a consumer Amiga with 1Mb until the A500 Plus and then A600 (1Mb) and A1200 (2Mb) but the A500 had a trapdoor memory expansion unlike the 520ST which required soldering trace leads and daughterboards. So even if there were a 1040ST I suspect more A500s got RAM upgrades than probably Atari ever sold. I think the Amiga could make better use of more RAM too since you could run multiple programs at once in AmigaOS unlike in TOS.

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I still remember saving up close to a thousand quid I needed to buy an Amiga 4000. This was hard money for me to save at the time. So I rang up a dealer from a magazine ad who told me that Commodore had jacked up the price by another £100. So I bought a PC from Evesham Micros instead. Lucky escape really I guess.

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I had both but I don't think I ever thought the ST was better than an Amiga. Aside from the higher resolution mono mode and midi it was pretty much inferior in every other way. That said, by the end of the ST family's life when it became the STE and then Falcon it was coming damned close to feature parity with the likes of the A4000 and in some ways exceeded it. Not that it mattered much for either platform by that point.

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Re: Emulation Possible?

They're not hard to find either. UAE dists often ship with a Kickstart replacement ROM from the AROS project. Also possible to use AROS instead of AmigaOS Workbench.

Sony won't budge on Microsoft-Activision merger objection

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"Good for consumers"

Sorry Microsoft drone but no your merger is not good for consumers. The fact you have to toss out these 10 year deals as sops to monopoly concerns is evidence of that.

Once AI can create endless viral videos, good luck switching off social media

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YouTube Shorts

I prefer to watch YouTube videos to kill time but they keep inserting their wannabe TikTok - "YouTube Shorts" into my feed. I click a few, realise what's happening and close the bar. Then it opens up again a few days later. They are super annoying and persistent. I really don't get how anyone likes this crap no matter what service is pushing them.

Chinese boffins call for research on ‘countermeasures’ to US chip bans

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And that's why they're so into RISC-V

They want independence from ARM even if RISC-V is years behind in terms of performance & tools. I assume they're hoping that it will obtain critical mass at some point and start being a viable competitor.

What you need to know about the real-time capable edition of Ubuntu 22.04

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Real time processes can hog the CPU so they're almost orthogonal to a desktop where you want all of it to be reasonably responsive. I suppose there might be situations where you have a visual application, e.g. an oscilloscope, where real time might make sense. But you probably want the application owning the whole display rather than being a client of a desktop with many other clients in contention for the same resources.

Gartner: Oracle probes orgs for Java compliance after new licensing terms

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Time to bail

Use the OpenJDK or a supported dist like Coretto. No issues with licences to worry about and certainly better than giving money to Oracle for little or no benefit. It always surprises me that they have any customers at all given the cost & complexity of their products and onerous terms of using them.

Google's $100b bad day demo may be worth the price

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Re: In fairness

I ran across this funny conversation between Bing's ChatGPT and a user today. Bing is insisting that this year is 2022 and Avatar 2 isn't released for 10 months


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In fairness

ChatGPT writes plausible things out too that upon closer inspection are complete and total bollocks. It's one of those tools where you really have to check and double check especially if you're going to palm off what it wrote as your own work.

SpaceX cuts off Ukraine's 'offensive' Starlink use

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good luck with those military contracts

There is nothing countries love more than a billionaire dickhead changing the rules in the middle of a life or death war.

The Balthazar laptop: An all-European RISC-V Free Hardware computer

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Re: Odd designs

The difference though is this atrocity had the benefit of decades of learning from those mistakes. And quite honestly *why* would they do this. I just don't get what the problem is with making a PCB with a decent ergonomic layout.

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Re: Odd designs

If you think that keyboard is bad, checkout the MNT Reform. Same idea - open source hardware and the most godawful keyboard ever devised in the history of keyboards.


You don't just get one space bar, you get two stumpy space bars with two alt keys in between. It's just bizarre and ugly. I don't know if this was someone's idea of the perfect keyboard, a limitation of sourcing parts or something else.

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Re: Odd designs

OLPC was designed for kids and was a ruggedized small format computer and pioneer of the netbook format. It was a really cool design although the software was pretty weird.


This thing... I just hope that mockup isn't indicative of the final product.

WINE Windows translation layer has matured like a fine... you get the picture

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Re: Ribbon interface holdouts

I love how 3 idiots (and counting) think that I shouldn't voice my opinion on my own experience and preference.

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Re: Ribbon interface holdouts

I use it with no complaints.

I also use LibreOffice too. It actually has a ribbon mode buried in its settings but it's an afterthought and not very polished so I use that software with toolbars.

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Re: Ribbon interface holdouts

I think the ribbon works pretty well. It's a lot more contextual than toolbars are.

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Re: Can we use it to run WSL?

No but you could probably run WINE under WSL and WSLg. I.e. the binary is running in Linux and rendering through Wayland but on Windows. Why? I suppose there might be ocassions where you have some Win32 app you can't install natively or don't trust to run so.

It might also be useful for devs who want to comparatively run the same binary natively vs through WINE so they debug or diagnose issues.

Rentokil uses AI rat recognition to plot extermination in real time

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A solution in search of a problem

If you cam place a camera with picture clear enough to an ID a rat, then you could just as well put a trap, cage or bait there instead. Then you know exactly where the rat is - in rat heaven.

For password protection, dump LastPass for open source Bitwarden

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Re: Just don't

The way I see it is, that first someone has to break the cloud service AND break a password protecting the password database AND know that amongst the tens of millions of files that they have a short opportunity to grab there is a password database there.

So I think providing you use a strong password you have nothing to worry about.