* Posts by DrXym

4934 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

You're not imagining it. Amazon and AWS want to hire all your friends, enemies, and everyone in between

DrXym Silver badge

Re: "talent Hoover."

Read "The FACE of Amazon" - https://sites.google.com/site/thefaceofamazon/

Most of those people weren't wanting to start a union.

DrXym Silver badge

I'm frequently pinged by them

I would say Amazon/AWS send me mail on LinkedIn every few months about some position or another.

Given all the bullshit about the place I wouldn't work there unless I was desperate. Obviously everyone knows about the warehouse workers, but even the white collar workers seem to get treated like shit - micromanaged by process, stiffed out of bonuses, stabbed in the back by managers, overworked, directionless, unfair reviews etc. There is an entire website called "The FACE of Amazon" that goes through numerous horror stories stories.

It's no wonder if they're constantly hiring.

Former ad exec sticks Steve Jobs' 1973 job application in a scanner for physical-versus-digital NFT auction

DrXym Silver badge

Well that's silly

Assuming somebody were to buy the physical copy they could just roll out as many copies as they liked or give it away. So good luck bidding on that digital copy.

Not that I think a job application by Steve Jobs is worth much except maybe to a computing museum or something of that nature.

LibreOffice 7.2 release candidate reveals effort to be Microsoft-compatible

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Re: Surprised

Microsoft have tried other ways to hide irrelevant crap. I still remember expanding menus and their ilk. The point for me is they've developed something that shows me the stuff I need for what I'm doing and if I want to change what I'm doing (e.g. I want to switch from drawing shapes to reviewing a document), I can click on a tab and that other stuff is there.

I think the ribbon bar is a huge improvement for applications which are overwhelmed by their functionality. Instead of showing everything they show what you need. The place I see it most is not in an office app but in some CAD software. There are two parametric CAD applications called Fusion 360 and one called FreeCAD. I think you can guess which is the open source product from it's name. Aside from their license model they basically do the same thing. But Fusion 360 has an incredibly clean ribbon bar while FreeCAD throws the kitchen sink at you. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind which product suffers as a result.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Surprised

I like the ribbon in Office TBH. It is very task / context sensitive and that makes much easier to get on with stuff without being overwhelmed with a menus & buttons that are not relevant to the current activity.

As for LibreOffice, the reason it's not very polished is because it's still experimental I imagine as time goes on it will be more refined and at some point they may even flip the switch and enable it by default.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Surprised

There is a ribbon mode you can enable which is a little more like MS Office but it's nowhere near as polished.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Surprised

It's fair to say that LibreOffice needs to spend a lot more time on usability and presentation in releases.

I would go as far to say they should have a single release where they prioritise 100 usability / quality of life issues and fix as many as they can.

Gung-ho tank gamer spills classified docs in effort to win online argument

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Achievement Unlocked!

"In camera criminal prosecution"

What is GitOps? This is the technical introduction you've been looking for

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Was doing this years ago

I used to admin several groups using a Git server called gitolite. The tool itself fetched its config from a repo so if you wanted to administer the thing, e.g. to add a user or create a new repo, you edited a file that you checked in and it happened like magic. Kind of cool and meant you have a change history if you ever wanted to revert something. Unfortunately Gitolite itself had some pretty gnarly rights rules which were a pain to edit in a text file but that's a different issue.

Trouts on a plane: Utah drops fish into lakes from aircraft and circa 95% survive

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... if the trout are not native to the lakes and can't even breed there, then what's the point of this at all? Find fish that *are* native to the lake and replenish those if there is a reason to, e.g. they have become endangered by all the trout being stuffed in their habitat.

As for goldfish, they're basically carp. They've probably lost some evolutionary edge by being bright orange and bred for captivity, but if people keep releasing them into lakes then of course they're going to establish themselves. Probably easier to clear out than some invasive species though.

Researchers warn of unpatched remote code execution flaws in Schneider Electric industrial gear

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Re: Headline:

It's not so that they "hate" customers as traditionally they expect you use their software on a closed network where machinery, PLCs, switches, sensors etc. implicitly trust one another. And there physical barriers, locked cabinets etc to keep it safe from attack.


Industry 4.0 is a buzzword some manufacturers are now embracing where they'll have to take security far more seriously. In that model, devices will be able to publish information up to the cloud so there will have to be secure communications and some kind of proxy router to facilitate that without putting the factory at risk.

DrXym Silver badge

This is unsurprising

The concept of security is slowly creeping into industrial control but it should be no surprise that PLCs are insecure.

Industrial automation equipment expects to be on an isolated network, or at least one shielded from the outside world. PLCs are chattering away to each other over mostly insecure protocols (e.g. modbus) and implicitly trust one another to not be malicious or sending false data. If such an environment were hooked up to the internet (or even the corporate LAN) then it would only be a matter of time before it could be taken down. Regardless of who makes the PLC or the other equipment in the factory.

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip

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Re: At workers' expense

Did any Virgin branded company treat their workers badly? Branson has some questionable tax arrangements and other questions to answer but his companies look run of the mill compared to their peers for good or ill.

The same could not be said of Bezos where complaints about micro management, backstabbing, minimum wages, unfair dismissals, firing by computer are endemic and clearly part of the culture.

DrXym Silver badge

Is that it?

I realise the technological achievement and the long road the project has traveled to get to this point. But all that just to lob someone just barely into space hardly seems worth it. And the same applies whether we're talking Richard Branson or Jeff Bezos.

US offers Julian Assange time in Australian prison instead of American supermax if he loses London extradition fight

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Re: Transportation

He's Australian. He'll be stuck on the first plane home. Australia is as pissed off with him as anyone else and will doubtless do what they can to make sure he stays put.

It wouldn't surprise me if he ends up in Russia eventually. After all he's been their puppet for some time now.

DrXym Silver badge

Even if he gets released...

... the UK will extradite his ass straight back to Australia and guaranteed they will put him under virtual house arrest. Which is unsurprising after all the crap he's done to undermine western powers. Either way, screw him.

Suck on this: El Reg forces dog hair, biscuit crumbs, and disconcertingly sticky stains down two mini vacuums

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I have an Eufy

And twice I've had to rescue it after a dog accident. Disgusting doesn't even begin to describe the cleaning process of the device or the lovely shit circles it drew on the floor. Aside from that, I've had to take it apart multiple times to remove hair that has wrapped around the spindle and one time had to practically dismantle it to get gunk out of the motor housing.

Anyway in normal operation it just about justifies its continued existence since it does save on regular vacuum cleaning but its certainly not without its faults as described above. It also likes to gets stuck on things like cables, or go walkabout into the wrong room and get lodged under something beeping for ages hoping someone will rescue it.

The human-devoid AI-powered Saildrone Surveyor ship just made it to Hawaii from SF

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Re: Cartel's mule

I bet the cartels are already mulling that option. A small drone with some solar panels and batteries hooked up to a rudder and a satnav. Assuming it can charge and make more progress than the tides or current then it doesn't have to be fast, it just has to get to where it's going.

Biden order calls for net neutrality, antitrust action, ISP competition – and right to repair your own damn phone

DrXym Silver badge

Right to repair is all well and good...

... but what's to stop companies from using counter measures? e.g. if a tractor encases the main board in epoxy so even if a capacitor pops the whole thing is an expensive replacement.

And on a more basic day to day level with consumer electronics, we've already how legislation has done nothing to stop devices from glueing and sealing the battery in. It is reasonable that someone might want to replace the battery and legislation should be such that it should be easy to do without special tools, e.g. make the back cover removable like it used to be.

Obviously there is a lot of grey area. e.g. devices with software agreements & firmware, devices that come with subscriptions etc. but legislation should be smart enough to account for that.

Latest patches show Rust for Linux project making great strides towards the kernel

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Re: Another dimension of complexity

Idiomatic C++ is kind of a unicorn thing since code is going to smear across time. Few projects are blessed (or cursed) to rewrite themselves to the latest C++ standard when one appears. And C++ code will probably need to call C libraries in places or will have C-esque code for one reason another, e.g. reading data into a buffer.

And even the latest C++ isn't going to enforce object lifetimes, thread safety etc. That doesn't even get into the traps that C++ lays in its language for the unwary - inadvertent copying, the rule of 3 (or 5), virtual destructors, implicit constructors, nullptr and all the rest.

So I don't see that it's hugely better. It's not hard to find CVEs in large mature codebases written in C++ along similar lines to those written in C.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Another dimension of complexity

Look at the CVE database for the kernel or any other software written in C or C++. You will find that approximately half of all bugs are related to things such as buffer overflows, double frees, null pointers, data races etc. Things that these languages enabled and as a consequence made the code vulnerable to security or safety issues.

They are also things that Rust would have prevented from becoming code in the first place, let alone escalate to the point that they appeared in the CVE database. That's where the interest stems from using it in the kernel and in other parts of the system.

Audacity is a poster child for what can be achieved with open-source software

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It's an example of foot in mouth syndrome

Audacity should have left its license alone and the new owners should have demonstrated some good faith by adding features and showing users were in a safe pair of hands. All this BS over user agreements & data collection (even if it is for benign reasons) is leading to sensational news headlines and making the likelihood of a fork inevitable.

Sing a song of Office, a pocketful of why: ARM64 version running in a Pi

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If Microsoft want to support other architectures...

... release a C/C++ compiler that targets an intermediate, portable format. i.e. app developers produce a universal binary and when you run it the first time, the operating system constructs a native version from it and runs that. In that way the app will run on anything that Windows itself runs on.

Expecting developers to produce native builds for targets other than Intel has never gone well and never will. Maybe Microsoft and a few other companies will bother but the rest won't and they'll be stuck using emulation and the device itself will suck.

Rocky Linux release attracts 80,000 downloads as ex-CentOS users mull choices

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Re: Outrage

Your non sequitur is a non sequitur.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Outrage

Oh absolutely it was mock because nobody had come to rely on the feature. Interest in OtherOS peaked and waned long before it was removed. The reason why is that the CPU / GPU was too slow to use for much - certainly not to play retro games or play media which might have stimulated some interest. Only a few clusters used it for the Cell processor and they wouldn't have been affected by firmware changes any way. Those making noise about it had never used it ever.

As for why they removed it, Sony took it it out to protect their platform. There was a hypervisor exploit that could have become a viable through OtherOS so the feature went. Obviously Sony were thinking about their bottom line but even owners should see what happens to platforms when they get cracked - they turn into a cesspit of shovelware and die an early death.

DrXym Silver badge

Yellowdog was a Red Hat Workstation for PPC, IIRC. I remember setting up a 10Gb partition on my PS3 and installing it and IBM's Cell SDK - probably one of very few who bothered despite the later mock outrage when Sony took away that feature because of an exploit.

Arm chief hits out at 'ill-informed speculation' over proposed Nvidia buyout

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Re: How will it not damage competition

Countries can and do block the sale of companies to foreign investors. It would happen most frequently with arms & defence firms but it could happen with any that the country felt sufficiently about to hold onto.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: How will it not damage competition

Actually they can and do block sales of companies and have even recently codeified even further with the National Security & Investment Act.

Even before that they could have prevented the sale of the company through various means up to and all the way up to invoking defence powers or even nationalising the company in question. Although obviously that would be the nuclear option. Presumably the uttering that threat would be sufficient to cause any deal to collapse.

DrXym Silver badge

How will it not damage competition

NVidia could call first dibs on any technology it likes. Executives could whisper secrets in each others ears about contracts, specifications etc and gain a commercial advantage over rivals. ARM execs could be financially motivated to work in the interests of NVidia before rivals, e.g. prioritising projects. Fabs and subcontractors might offer preferential rates to NVidia that they didn't before. Just the mere threat of any of these things might dampen investor interest in rival technologies. So I'm sure there are a multitude of ways it could affect competition.

Aside from all that WTF is Britain thinking to sell one of its few homegrown success stories to America? It's insane.

Oh dear, Universal Windows Platform: Microsoft says 'no plans to release WinUI 3 for UWP in a stable way'

DrXym Silver badge

I've spent decades on Win32 and it is fine for a basic program, e.g. a task bar icon and a couple of dialogs, or if its a legacy product that needs to be maintained. But I really wouldn't want to go near it otherwise.

That isn't to say Microsoft are helping because they're not. I've lost count of the number of times they've heralded a new way of app development only to abandon it for another down the road.

I definitely would not use Win32 for apps that require a modern look & feel, or need to work on high DPI displays, or utilize accelerated rendering, or touch / pen, or just have a clean set of widgets with decent layout models. My first preference would be QT but these days even something like Electron would be a good platform.

DrXym Silver badge

MFC is a product of its day. If you obeyed the framework it was great. If you needed something the framework didn't support (which was a lot) you were in a mess of pain. I remember writing complex MDI applications where I basically had to copy and paste entire MFC classes because I needed to modify a single line of functionality which wasn't exposed through virtual methods or whatever.

QT is a good solution because it does more out of the box but it uses GPL3 for certain components to compel certain commercial users to buy VERY expensive licenses. You can just about get away with QT in desktop apps but for devices it's not so easy.

Bitcoin doomed as a payment system and its novelty will fade, says Federal Reserve Board of Governors member

DrXym Silver badge

Re: the black economy

Does Elon love bitcoin for its own sake or because of how the rubes react to his pump and dumpesque tweets?

e.g. a dank meme one day causing the price to surge and then next day saying how bad it might be for the environment causing it to plunge. Someone in his position could easily time his buy & sells to make tens, or even hundreds of millions of profit from that reaction.

DrXym Silver badge


If I wanted to move a bitcoin from one wallet to another, even between two wallets I own, I'd be charged a "transaction fee" which is like a congestion charge. The average fee is a small fraction of a bitcoin but in real money it is about $8.

So NOBODY is going to use bitcoin for anything that is remotely related to day to day financial activity because who is going to use Bitcoin like a credit card when they get stiffed like this?

Some platforms might offer internal trading on a spread basis, internally matching buy/sells between users and buying / selling bitcoin in bulk to lower the price, but the fundamental issue is still there. And it also means in practice you own NOTHING if the platform crashes or the operator goes AWOL because all the money is in their wallet, not yours.

Green MSP calls on Scottish government to stop spending £4.7m a year with AWS after Amazon 'dumping' allegations

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Seems like the least reason to dump them

No doubt that's a risk, but if they were smart about it then it needn't work out that way.

Start by finding out what services they use on AWS, why and for how much. There must be egregious & pointless storage and computation going on that they could eliminate straightaway. Of the rest, they could identify the low hanging fruit and move that. The savings would allow them to tackle some of the more complex uses of AWS which I doubt are *that* complex - probably using storage, messaging or similar services.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: "we do not send items to landfill in the UK"

Amazon is obviously going to have products nobody wants to buy or they can't buy because of expiration dates (e.g. food products). But they should be compelled to make best efforts to sell items before it gets to that point and they shouldn't be rewarded if they have to junk items after the fact.

DrXym Silver badge

Seems like the least reason to dump them

There are plenty of others - oppressive work conditions & low pay, union busting, micromanagement, anticompetitive behaviour etc.

Aside from that there are two major issues that governments really need to get a clue on - national security, and why????

Amazon is a US company and it doesn't matter where they claim to warehouse data, or how it is encrypted. At the end of the day it's held on their servers and potentially outside the jurisdiction of client. It is a risk in being, hanging over the data forever more.

The second question is why??? The Scottish government has money (and seems hung up on the idea of independence) so why aren't they developing their own cloud services instead of forking out £5 million each year? It would be money well spent to identify what it is they use in AWS and just develop equivalents. I'm sure other governments are in the same boat so perhaps they could even spread the cost of developing an alternative platform that they all fork for their own needs.

Huawei dev flamed for 'useless' Linux kernel code contributions

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Fortunately I've only suffered that BS once in my career

Lines of code as a metric is bullshit. I could write a function in 4 lines or in 40. It doesn't mean I'm being 10x as productive by padding the code out assuming both functions do what they're meant to. If anything it just makes the product more prone to bugs and less maintainable in the long term.

Early in my career when I worked in a software consultancy a manager who looked like Penfold in Danger Mouse would come around to ask how many lines of code we had written. I just made up a number because I didn't know or care. I tried to explain that it was a meaningless metric for the reasons stated above but it was like talking to a brick wall. God knows what he did with that number because it was the only thing he appeared to do in the place.

Russia spoofed AIS data to fake British warship's course days before Crimea guns showdown

DrXym Silver badge

Non beligerant ships are allowed to pass through territorial waters without interference under international seafaring treaty. So a British warship can pass through Russian (or really Ukrainian) waters if it wants just as a Russian ship can pass through British waters.

Obviously it would be different if the ship were belligerent or lingered in those waters but I doubt the UK warship was doing any such thing. So Russia had to fabricate a bunch of bullshit to make itself look tough when nothing at all happened in reality.

DrXym Silver badge

AIS isn't secure

It's literally just a beeper which intermittantly sends a packet of info like position, course, vessel type / size, name etc. that allows other vessels to tag it on their plotters & collision avoidance systems.

It wouldn't be hard for anyone to fake an AIS signal and governments could do it if they wanted to. Maybe the UK should demonstrate the point. Have the Admiral Kuznetsov draw a giant dick in the sea and mock their shitty carrier which can barely sail at the best of times let alone draw a dick.

Anyone still using cash? British £50 banknote honouring Alan Turing arrives

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For some reason...

... builders love cash. Can't think why.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: That looks cool

Paper also gets dirty, destroyed by washing machines, suffers rips etc. Nothing is perfect. Personally I like having crumpled up notes in my pocket but I'm not put out by plastic notes either.

John McAfee dead: Antivirus tycoon killed himself in prison after court OK'd extradition, says lawyer

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Re: Great bloke ...?

He was a drug dealer, probably murdered someone, went on the lam, dodged taxes and operated scams for years. Colourful yes, great bloke no.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: QAnon

I realize people who believe in QAnon aren't the brightest but if the US actually wanted him dead they could have simply whacked him any time any where. e.g. throw him off the side of his boat and make it look like an accident. Or just wait for him to be extradited and slip something into his food, water, medicine that gave him cancer, a heart attack or whatever.

DrXym Silver badge

And he deliberately coordinated it

Just after he hung himself his Instagram feed spouted out a giant Q. This was a deliberate suicide and he asked someone to post that to allow the minds of his idiot followers and conspiracists everywhere to let their untethered imaginations run riot.

Hungover Brits declare full English breakfast the solution to all their ills

DrXym Silver badge

No cure for a hangover

Although rehydrating with a couple of cups of tea helps.

Open standard but not open access: Schematron author complains about ISO paywall

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Put it this way

If someone were to snaffle up all the ISO standards and dump them on some free repository, I for one would not be complaining.

That said, I've read (legitimately obtained) ISO standards that are reminiscent of the "Handbook for the Recently Deceased" in Beetlejuice - impenetrable gobbledegook that says things without explaining those things or putting those things in an order that makes them comprehensible or useful to someone trying to learn them or transfer into an actual product.

Poltergeist attack could leave autonomous vehicles blind to obstacles – or haunt them with new ones

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Similar Attacks Work Against Humans

The easiest and most effective attacks against autonomous vehicles are going to be low tech ones - putting some chewing gum on the camera, laying some cardboard boxes in the road and so forth. Even just standing in front of a car would work. I'm sure that if (ever) vehicles are fully autonomous that carjackers and griefers will have a field day with them.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Automation

With regard to your second paragraph, this has been obvious for a very long time. Driver distraction as it's called is a variety of things, but includes autonomous functionality where a driver has less to do. That means they'll be looking at their phone, the pretty flowers, the inside of their eyelids - anywhere but the the road or conditions when it could matter most.

The likes of the US, EU, UK etc. should be coming up with stringent safety requirements that semi-autonomous vehicles must adhere to in order to be operate on public roads. That includes enforcing driver attention and doing so in a manner that is not easy to subvert.

It shouldn't be left to the likes of Tesla or other car manufacturers to come up with some lame ass solution that ticks a box but is easy to defeat or not fit for purpose in the real world.

The AN0M fake secure chat app may have been too clever for its own good

DrXym Silver badge

Re: One Time Pads.

Going back to the WW2 analogues, Churchill and Roosevelt conversed over a system called SIGSALY. It compressed their speech, combined it with random noise stored on a special record, and sent it to the other end and where a duplicate record would remove the noise and play out the voice.

The distribution of the OTPs and the equipment needed to operate calls must have been a huge pain in the arse, justified only by being the most secret of conversations. The rest of the time they would have used more conventional crypto

The issue with distribution is the same today - crims would need to meet face to face in order to exchange OTPs, or they'd have to have a secure means to transfer it, e.g. a courier who can be trusted. Maybe it would work for the kingpins but I doubt it would lower down the hierarchy.

Pakistan's Punjab province tells citizens to get jabbed or have their SIM card blocked

DrXym Silver badge

Makes no sense

It would be easier to just punish the person whose name is on the list as not receiving the vaccine rather than figuring out what SIM devices they own or by excluding SIMs everyone else owns. e.g. slap a punitive tax on them which they have a chance to avoid by getting vaccinated.


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