* Posts by Czrly

88 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Oct 2014


IDC gets even more pessimistic about PC sales


Re: I, for one...

It *will* run Linux Mint. I know. I've tried. Also Ubuntu, Arch and Gentoo.

The experience is sub-optimal, however. Sound won't work at all – after days and days of hacking in which I managed to get some white noise (and software toggles to control that white noise, I suppose), I ended up passing sound down HDMi and out the headphone jack from my monitor to my real speakers and that was as good as I could get and certainly unsatisfactory.

The GPU will work for compute tasks and can be bludgeoned into appearing to achieve something akin to desktop compositing but never both compute and presentation at the same time and the performance is abysmal – resizing a window or scrolling a browser page is insufferably poor. Watching a full-screen, in-browser video is a joke. Full-screen 3D stuff appears fine and renders at very high frame rates but the horizontal tearing apparently can't be solved – any kind of v-sync functionality just doesn't work – presumably, this is because whatever is controling the GPU isn't playing nicely with the window manager and compositing engine.

I've tried the nVidia official, closed-source drivers and open-source ones and nothing makes it better. I've tried it under Gnome, XFCE, KDE, etc. I've even tried Wayland but, yeah, Wayland + nVidia are/were a match made in hell.

The sound device *appears* as some kind of HD-Audio-esque thing but just defys typical behaviour for such hardware and only produces noise signals out of any audio jacks, whatever the configuration.

There's also the on-board WiFi – I gave up on that, completely, but don't need it, either, so that isn't too much of an issue. (Not right now, anyway. I did need it, recently. It would be nice to know the hardware does work if I should happen to need it, again.)

My "Windows 10" hardware is just a pile of incompatible rubbish – that's what. I gave up fighting with it, long ago, because I honestly can't be bothered to keep trying. After the days become weeks, once or a couple of times, round, one just gives up.

Part of the problem is that everything is on-board and what's not on-board is the GPU and that's just too expensive to simply replace. To avoid having this issue, again, I'll be making sure that my next box has a motherboard that is 110% Linux-friendly (i.e. ALL the on-board stuff works flawlessly, without any need to fight with it) and the GPU is proven good under Linux before the return-window on the part runs out.

Of course I won't just land-fill the old hardware. It will probably work fine as a headless server which never needs to emit sound, connect to WiFi or use the GPU in anything other than compute modes.


I, for one...

I, for one, will be forced to upgrade my PC hardware when Windows 10 ceases to serve my needs because, sadly, it is officially incompatible with Windows 11. I could hack my way around the official requirements – that's easily done – but I don't wish to exert effort defying Microsoft's wishes and so I suppose that I will have to play a role in this up-swing in PC hardware sales, despite my anti-consumerist stance.

Thankfully, once I've replaced my old hardware with stuff that operates properly under Linux – goodbye, nVidia; goodbye, Creative SoundBlaster on-board audio – this coming upgrade-refresh might just be the one to end the cycle.

Never again, Windows.

Now: does anyone have a great hardware review site with a STRONG Linux focus? I.e. one that can be trusted to absolutely lambast any kit that has even minor niggles under Linux – and basically black-list makers who's drivers are rubbish?

Take the blue pill: Keanu Reeves has had enough of AI baloney


An A.I. can write *enough*.

An A.I. cannot write anything that is truly of interest to me or many of us, perhaps – aside from a curiosity at what the algorithms are capable of through scientific interest in the numbers and mathematics, of course – but I fear that they can still write *enough*. The truth is simply that there's a very low bar for content. Enough is easy to achieve.

Consider Netflix as a case study. Today's binge-watchable series are invariably one-trick ponies: they have mastered precisely one of the story teller's arts: the hook to bring you back. Every episode is a waste of time, meaningless. Characters are not developed, worlds and places are not explored, theories and philosophies are not elaborated, in fantasy the story does not indulge, and questions it does not confront. Instead, in the dying minutes of any episode, a hook is placed simply to get the viewer to begin the next expisode in which nothing at all will happen, either.

Ceasing between episodes is consequently uncomfortable but, should one abandon ANY of these "binge watchable" things at T=10 minutes into any episode, one very quickly realises that they've no real reason – besides boredom – to pick it up, again.

Can an A.I. write this? Surely it can or it will be able to, soon – perhaps only two academic papers down the line.

Researchers have studied how free pornography and "tube-sites" exploit the dopamine loop in the brain. If A.I. could reproduce this exploit with matter that is both free of taboo and that does not trigger any interruption by a refractory period, the result could be devastating.

Could A.I. power a pleasure-button that many – like rats – would press until they die? In fact, it will not be necessary to press the button – we've "autoplay" for that and the 60-second video format – close the feedback loop with "telemetry" and any control engineer can tell you what can be built.

Mozilla, like Google, is looking ahead to the end of Apple's WebKit rule


Will I then be able to disable the sponsored search engines?

Will I then be able to disable the sponsored search engines?

In its current state, iOS Firefox will automatically enable sponsored links on the home page – to Amazon and other evil actors – and require to you manually turn those of and it will also include sponsored search engine plugins to those same evil actors that I can't find a way to disable. These buttons appear when you activate the search/address bar and, as I said, I can't find a way to turn those off.

Firstly, enabling and supporting evil actors like Amazon should not be done. Secondly, why can't I turn those OFF?

Until Mozilla allow me full control of and confidence in my browser, once again – or, even better, just not include those traps and parasites at all, ever – I honestly do not care what rendering or HTML engine is running behind the scenes. Frankly, Mozilla also have bigger problems, elsewhere, including the state of Desktop and ESR Firefox.

The end of the rule of Apple's WebKit is great but it is not the end of the problems browser users (that's everyone) face, today. In fact, I would even doubt it is the most significant!

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


Re: Can we use it to run WSL?

How much of that is Minecraft?

Self-driving car computers may be 'as bad' for emissions as datacenters


Re: Go restomod

Could you possibly mean it doesn't do stuff like pulling an emergency-stop in the middle lane of the notoriously narrow-laned Brenner pass (between Austria and Italy) with no reason or other vehicle (apart from the overtakee) in sight, while I'm executing a perfectly tame, considered, pre-meditated over-take?

Someone who works in the automotive industry as a programmer explained it to me: these systems basically only count false negatives. Slamming on the brakes (even causing a pile-up because of inadequate following distance from those behind) doesn't count as a black mark against them but FAILING to slam on the breaks when the driver is incompetent does. So they all just guess that any sensor blip is worth a crash-stop and, even if that actually causes a crash, blame the human anyway.

(It slammed on the brakes and induced so much unexpected under-steer, I ended up half in the lane on the outside of the curve which was thankfully vacant. I can anticipate a lot of things on the road – I drove for decades in South Africa – but who can anticipate the moment when software or sensor bugs will suddenly strike?)

Computing's big question for 2023: How many more questions can we endure?


Re: You Must Register to Continue....

Or GitHub search!

I have a GitHub account but my browser is typically not logged in – see, well, this very article for reasons why one might have set it to delete cookies upon exit – and, my GOD does it is enrage me when I'm punted to the Sign-In screen for searching what is actually Open Source code.

The very essence of GitHub's existence and market dominance stems from the community that wrote that content I am trying to search. For the love of U+FEOE, ...


Re: Why isn't everybody so tired of all these questions that things change for the better?

The *vast*, *overwhelming* majority just click the button that is visually styled, sized and positioned to entice them to click it and most of those who don't just click the button that makes it not appear the next time: same button!

Those of us who even question the fairness of these things are simply outnumbered.

Why do streaming sites not provide a useable interface for finding shows? Because that would present a choice between their current interface and an alternative and their current interface is entirely designed to squeeze addiction and subscription-renewals and binge-watching from everyone else.

It's not because they hate anyone with an organized mind who cares to see content in categories or sensibly-sorted lists or in any logical way, whatsoever – they simply don't give a damn about us and, frankly, they're probably happy when people like me *cancel* their subscription: we're outnumbered and too difficult to bother with.

Microsoft chases Google with ChatGPT-powered Bing


Neither Surprising nor Revealing.

If Microsoft are doing this, Google either are doing it too or have already done it – perhaps even already rejected the possibilities. Microsoft are certainly not breaking new ground.

Whatever the case, however, none of the actors in the Search-space are doing it in order to improve their Search offerings and thus regain market share.

Their motives will be profit – one way or another – and, sadly, the utility-value of Search is not measured in Shannon Information.

The answers-to-queries ratio is almost anathema to these companies and their exploitation will not change that. We should not expect or even hope for a return to the golden-days of freely accessible, online answers to our questions.

Simultaneously, we should be starting to realise that just expecting our own stake-holders to "search for it" is not reasonable any more, and design our own products and references and documentation and code-libraries and lookup-tables to reflect the fact that our users, too, are deprived of useful search engines. When you next read a nice, ergonomic, friendly-faced, human-language error message in your terminal and know, for certain, that THAT will be useless – even quoted – to search, yearn for those good, old-fashioned codes and numbers and appendices full of tables, from the past.

With Mastodon, decentralization strikes back


Re: Standards

Don't they know that the best way to compete is just to have some content?

Sigh. We've gone and got our month of Netflix for the year. We do this about once a year, in winter, to catch up on "everything" the family cares about. If you take that limited subset, minus what's 'gone from Netflix' (and that includes "Netflix originals" that just weren't), there's literally nothing new after a year of being off the service.

Whole household is complaining that they're out of stuff to watch after a mere three days – it's not just me!

Looking in to what's gone, and why former "Netflix originals" could even possibly be gone, I'm learning that the providers are basically fragmented into uselessness, now. Anything for which the rights are sought-after goes to whoever owns those, which, from a consumer's point of view, may as well be random – and everything even a little bit older or more esoteric just dissappears and goes nowhere because there's nobody willing to pay or fight for the rights to serve it and, when newer stuff gets taken by the lawyers, the back-catalogue is always affected.

The inevitable heuristic is that *if* it is new and in vogue, it's exclusive to a service you don't have. If it is old or niche, it is nowhere at all.

BOFH: Come back to the office. Your hotdesk is nice and warm


Re: Office

I am honestly strugling to understand why one would ever shower *before* suffering the experience of public transport.

I have neither will nor inclination to impinge upon anyone else's olfactory senses or inflict unhygiene upon them but I have **BEEN** on public transport. A decontamination chamber at the destination is more appropriate than a shower before departure!

A world in which I felt obliged to maintain a sanitary condition in public would be well beyond my wildest dreams – a proper utopia! Perhaps, in that fairy-land, people would respect the personal space of others and refrain from watching videos on their phones with the sound up in restaurants, too – we can but dream, yeah?

As far as offices are concerned: they are often little better! We can all identify with that sinking feeling of dispair upon finding someone else's username pre-populated into the login screen, irrefutably explaining the novel greasiness of keyboard and other peripherals.

And remember shared desk-phones? I'll stop, now – writing this post is re-traumatising me.

Musk's Hotel California erected at Twitter HQ, as some offices converted into bedrooms


Re: "Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade."

That's more or less been my experience: performance simply raises the bar for recognition and it is never judged relative to the standards of others or to absolute, objective contribution. One is rewarded for exceeding their own past and the worst thing one can do is set that bar too high to sustain in the future.

After five years at one place, I approached management and told them that I was unhappy because promises to bring my pay-scale up to par with my industry, given my experience, had not been met despite the fact that the entire small business was then pretty much defined by what had been my own, personal prototype – started literally from file-new-project, by me, and grown, by me, into its overwhelmingly dominant position. They said they did not need me any more – they had the product, now – and that they did not care about my concerns. Wouldn't everyone like to earn more? Nobody else was getting bumped so why should I be? Absolute contribution and effort and excellence and the fact that I had stuck through the company's hard times – the very reason I was paid below par, then – were forgotten, as were the all-nighters, the coding-on-holiday, the support-calls-on-weekends and the rest.

After many such experiences, I've learned: one must go in with excessive demands that must be met to the letter and, then, one does the minimum and spares the horses – more is never rewarded but relative decline is never tolerated so excellence is only a route to disadvantage in the future.

Do these employees expect that their going-of-the-extra-mile, today, will lead to something in their future? If so: they're naiive fools – at best, they will be recognised as people who "can" and subsequently find themselves having to compensate for the shortcommings of others who "can't".

It is ironic that I would be less bitter and jaded, today, had I stood up for myself and demanded more from the start of my career instead of trusting the promises of corporations and believing the stupid fallacy that merit, effort and ingenuity were the routes to success.

Get ready for $10,000 apps in Apple's software souk


This content was not generated by a robot.

Enthroned upon the porcelain, a thought occurred to me: that new twenty-nine-American-cent tier makes no sense in today's inflation-driven economy but it absolutely DOES when one goes and re-reads that Reg. article on the Internet of Shite[1].

That's fairly clairvoyant of Apple – neigh Jobs-esque! They've seen Stable Diffusion and ChatGTP and GitHub Co-Pilot on the horizon (neigh: already bloody here too soon) and they know the flood is coming. They do not want bucks from it – cents on volume will do.

I follow Deep Learning Twitter[2] and they are not off the money, here. That flood *is* coming and, if you're a small developer with small dollar-apps on the Store, it is coming for *your* lunch. However innovative you may be, if you are small and independent, shere grunt-work can replace your efforts. Perhaps the quality and flair and spark might be lost but the new A.I. Store Barons will have essentially limitless grunt power at their hands and that power will be optimised for marketability and store appeal and click-through rate. Most notably, this will all come sans-scruple and independent devs and creative-types tend to carry those and even occasionally hold Morals.

In this flood, pearls will be lost long before they can even present before the swine; diamonds will be irrelevant in the exponentially-scaled rough.

[1] IoS is definitely Internet of Shite-with-an-E. Of a good dram of Whisk{e}y, one might say, "there's the shit" but, were one to say, "that's properly shite," one's judgement would be conclusively the contrary.

[2] The Bird Site is bad. But, if you're in "tech" and do not follow Deep Learning Twitter – at least lurkingly-passively – you are not doing due diligence. Just note that many of the pioneers and visionaries in the field do rather tend to re-tweet a lot of shite so supressing their re-tweets is advisable.


Cheaper and safer...

... than many in-vogue NFT, for sure.

Safer because buying "I am Rich" MK (n+1) will actually add something to one's Apple ID – albeit something fatuous – and at least that has some precident for being somewhat secure as a token of "ownership" of digital "properties".

The 30% cut remains iniquitous.

Epson zaps lasers into oblivion, in the name of the environment


Sigh: Consumer's going to lap this right up.

If Epson do know two things, they are, in this order: (1.) that this is not about the environment but rather about their turn-over and bottom line and (2.) that marketing works in the printer market and the consumer does not know better – green-wash the turd and the consumer will lap it right up.

In my opinion, an Ink-Jet printer is basically not a printer. You can't print with it because it is always either empty, dry, clogged or broken or, if it is none of those, then the print job just isn't worth a whole new set of cartridges that will be junked when the time comes for the next job because, by then, one of the first set of states will certainly apply.

Hell, I'd love to say that I lived in a place where laws banned such things from the market. Ink-Jet is a blatant scam – a false product and a con. Sure, I could believe that it is *possible* to build a worth-while Ink-Jet printer but I just can't believe that any sales and profit motivated corporation ever would and LEAST of all: Epson.

Also: what, precisely, is "Mechanical Energy"? That's just BS of the highest order.

Parody Elon Musk Twitter accounts will be suspended immediately, says Elon Musk


Re: I've managed without Twitter this far

Many of those "brands" are actual individual independent artists, musicians and creators – that is, they're *people*.

Sure, there's a lot wrong with Twitter but a lot of actual people have their entire identity and profession tied up in their Twitter profile and following. Whether that was a wise move on their part is entirely irrelevant, today – it is the fact of the moment and he's trampling all over that and enabled to do so just because he is rich.

Perhaps, n-decades down the line, this will not be the case and these artists and creators will have learned not to put their entire profile and identity in a corporate-controlled silo – we can hope – but the fact of the matter is that they stand to lose their livelihoods. As much as I am anti-big-corporation and anti-silo, I also appreciate that many of these creators would probably be doing mundane jobs just to eat if they never had that opportunity that pre-Musk Twitter afforded them and, since I follow many and enjoy their content, I'm quite angry that their chances are being erroded.

Hong Kong wants to be the world’s home for virtual assets


What's a Virtual Asset?

Do you mean Intellectual Property? I trust European courts and am fairly certain that Hong Kong and China hold no jurisdiction over anything I'd be remotely interested in.

Do you mean some cultish, misguided fantasy of "ownership" of something accessible by a URI, the requestor of which is NOT authenticated by the server? Because that's just crazy shit!

I really wish that people would be more blatantly accepting of this craziness or else, one day, we might all wake up in a world where someone actually relevant – not I – begins to recognise these claims of "ownership" and "home" and, then, we're properly fucked!

Open source's totally non-secret weapon big tech dares not use: Staying relevant


Mozilla not even mentioned?

The article fails to mention how the same thinking plagues the Open Source world, too, in MANY, MANY cases. On prime example: Mozilla Firefox.

Sure it's FOSS but Mozilla appear to be hell-bent on proving that "irrelevance" is achievable by those holding the reigns of a FOSS product, too, and, in fact, that they can mimic Google in removing every feature anybody actually wants and adding tonnes and tonnes of cruft that nobody asked for.

All of this – whether in the corporate world or without – stems from the same fundamental truth: nobody, today, achieves a powerful role while retaining a moderate attitude or an understanding that just-being-brilliant-at-something is enough. The ONLY way to the top is to fully subscribe to the cult of owning everything, always increasing everything, beating everything. And, of course, everything must be maximally monetized – just a fair profit is not enough.

Microsoft ships non-Surface PC: a cheap Arm box for devs


That'll make a nice Linux build box to run "C.I." in my WFH-environment, locally..

.. was my first thought.

I just woulnd't want to put Windows on it.

How GitHub Copilot could steer Microsoft into a copyright storm


No Solidarity with A.I.'s run for profit!

This story prompts one primary question: *why* do I consider giving my code and insights to other humans (via GitHub or StackExchange or the like) to be alright if the thought of Microsoft-controlled Co-Pilot exploiting the same is anathema?

I think this is a story about solidarity and, quite simply, I don't hold any solidarity for corporations. For other coders, I can at least try to believe that I'm helping out a human being who may very well be living a similar life to my own – past and present. Their high-functioning thoughts may very well be being exploited and, frankly, any little helps, right?

Had Microsoft said to the open-source world that their A.I. trained on open-source *was* itself also open source and, additionally, free to use for free-as-in-freedom work – and, also, not useable for proprietary work from which its training data would also be precluded – I expect that the revulsion from the world of coding would be very much different.

Do not break the picket line! Solidarity! No open-source code for corporate parasites!

Apple to compel workers to spend '3 days a week' in the office


They don't know how to "manage" in any way other than "presence". These are the people for whom "respect" is a thing you earn by wearing shiny shoes and a wrist watch or for prancing about with a certain outgoing, chummy body language and demeanor -- not something you get for actual graft, skill and ability -- and management means influencing your underlings through "respect" and manipulating any uncooperative ones with psychological tricks and, frequently, abuse.

The irony is that, once, long ago, there actually were things in an office that actually were useful. They were called "whiteboards" and, if you could actually find a meeting room with a clean one and sufficient pens that actually wrote, a team of developers with the right direction and camaraderie *could* actually use them to come up with an idea or a plan and take a 'phone picture of it, afterwards, to put down as "documentation."

Whiteboards, however, don't look very "nice" (I guess...) and so they've been gone for years -- about a decade since I found a useful one!

GitLab versus The Zombie Repos: An old plot needs a new twist


Remember, please, that GitLab the software is Open Source!

There's one critical thing that's missing from this article: GitLab, the software, is an open-source software!

However much GitLab might try to lean on the fact that GitLab dot com offers some Enterprise Edition features -- not fully open-source -- to free users, the GitLab product stems from an open-source background and the core functionality certainly is still open-source. Many of the supposed freeloaders contributed patches and debugging time and feedback and well researched issue reports and other input into that product!

It is quite dishonest for GitLab dot com, the commercial entity, to simply sum up the cost of keeping some hard-drives spinning! They also should perform the impossible calculation of how much of their income from actual paying customers should rightly be attributed to work from the community they're now spurning.

I don't think anyone on the open-source side of this equation was or is complaining that GitLab dot com brings in income from exploiting the open-source portion of their code base -- it's within the terms of the license. But, to appreciate exactly *why* this feels like a massive rug-pull to many of us, ask this: would anybody have ever contributed to GitLab open-source, had they know they were just free labour for a corporation that chooses to optimise its bottom-line at the expense of this very community -- pretty much just like any other capitalist corporation?

Prolly not, yeah? Capitalism and community don't mix!

I mean, I'm bitter because I've just had to spend a tonne of my time migrating from self-hosted GitLab to self-hosted Gitea. This, it turns out, was a very good decision but I rather liked GitLab, back in the day, and do somewhat resent the way that they've been treating GitLab CE users as second-class citizens for a while -- pretty much making from-source builds too onerous to bother with, forcing the use of Omnibus or official, bloated Docker images, and pushing U.I. junk that can't be disabled, readily, in CE, that nobody asked for, but does nothing but plug an EE-only feature.

The writing has rather been on the wall for at least some years!

Microsoft's on Edge and you could be, too: Chromium-based browser exits beta – with teething problems


Finally, goodbye Chrome!

I have been waiting for this for a LONG time. Finally, I can banish Google Chrome from my PC. (Firefox is, will continue to be and will always be my main browser.)

I downloaded the new non-beta build of Edge-with-Chromium (that's what it calls itself, I believe) and tested it a bit. The headline results are these: the installed `msedge.exe` supports BOTH `--user-data-dir` AND `--app` and that means that I don't need Google Chrome anymore!

I browse with Firefox but I make extensive use of shortcuts that employ these two command-line parameters to create sand-boxed environments for individual web apps that I use all the time. For example, I have a whole user-data-dir for work-related web apps and that's used to get an app-like experience with GitLab, Jenkins, Trello, Slack, etc. -- each one (launched with --app) gets its own task-bar button and its own window, remembers that windows last location for the next launch, and gets its own entry in the alt-tab list, just like a real app. Then I have another user-data-dir for personal apps and some of those apps are duplicates -- I have two instances of GitLab, for example, and, because of the separation of user-data directories, they behave completely independently -- I can even have them running side-by-side with separate logins.

I've had to keep some form of Chrome around just for this, for years. Now, I don't need that any more because I can use the Windows built-in browser. (Not built-in, yet... but soon.)

Do not misunderstand me: choosing to replace Chrome with Edge-with-Chromium is certainly a choice of the lesser evil. Ultimately, Microsoft are going to bundle a browser in their OS so actually using it costs me nothing as far as installed footprint is concerned. Also, I'm personally extremely anti-Google so, if I have to choose between data spies, I'll be choosing Microsoft any day of the week.

I did experiment, in the past, with builds of Chromium sources that had been patched to remove Google's hooks into the code base but, personally, I found them to be very high-maintenance commitments and ended up returning to Chrome proper and feeling dirty for it. Replacing that with Edge-with-Chromium isn't a perfect solution but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

There shall be NO Google software (or update services) running on my PC.

What was Boeing through their heads? Emails show staff wouldn't put their families on a 737 Max over safety fears


Priority List

> "We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the FAA, Congress, our airline customers, and to the flying public for them."

The fact that "the flying public" are last in that statement and that the VICTIMS of Boing's negligence were not explicitly mentioned speaks volumes about Boing's priorities.

We’ve had enough of your beach-blocking shenanigans, California tells stubborn Sun co-founder: Kiss our lawsuit


Re: He sounds like...

> So why continue on insisting too block access.

That's trivially easy to explain: as long as he doesn't capitulate in court, he can basically sell a property with a 99.99% private beach attached to some other rich arsehole who has the same morals and anti-social ideas that he does -- his property value is enormous. On the other hand, if he loses and the gate is torn down, no future owner can fight the case and his property value is decimated.

Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience


Also standards, frameworks and programming languages...

... the designers of these never seem to be able to learn or remember the lessons of the past and so round and round we go: build something moderately usable, discover limitations and problems, learn from them, fix them, become common-place, normal, useful and "uncool" for reasons, get replaced by someone "enthusiastic" who only used the version after the fixes and never learned the lessons --> return to square one.

And systemd. And user interface design. And graphics design. It's all a bloody great, repetitive cycle.

I've got nothing against having stuff that's sub-optimal, honestly. I just get really angry when it is sub-optimal in ways for which the solution is already well known, tried, tested, proven and was already working in the version n-1.

Don't even get me started on GitLab's changes to the merge-request user interface and recent "improvements" they've made to it. Or Windows and the start menu.

Or Rust and Cargo -- two things I love to hate.

Freebie tier coming to issue-tracking Jira, but you'll have to cough up to unlock the good stuff


Ticket Management by Bluster

I gave up on ticket management software long ago. Nothing works, really.

I now run my teams on a manual system: CRMs, support personnel, integrators and the upper elite of the user-base feed "issues" in via the usual dodgy means -- usually a badly scanned, upside-down monochrome photocopy of an iPhone displaying a photograph of the screen, half obscured by a shadow, with half a word edited on in hotpink mouse-hand via MS Paint -- and some poor sod collates those and manually curates a backlog of issues in the form of a good ol' spreadsheet.

The team survives. Every few months, someone wants graphs and numbers for some management presentation or meeting or drumming circle or whatever and we make those up -- also in a spreadsheet. The team performs well enough that nobody ever challenges them anyway.

Find and fix your own bugs before release -- it's quicker than fighting with Jira's bugs after.

Isn't it ironic that, after decades of work as an "architect", all that knowledge of frameworks and libraries and languages and platforms and "paradigms" and next-new-things has gone as quickly as I picked them up and dropped them and, in the end, the only thing I've really become better at is testing?

"Why build it this way?" they always ask. "Because, if it's broken, it'll explode in spectacular style and we'll know about it," I always answer. "There's a package that will save us these 60 lines, can't we use that?" "No. Those 60 lines are trivial and can be 100% covered by tests with a `for`-loop and some randomised data. That package does everything under the sun and has 2000 open issues on their github page. Which do YOU want to debug?"

Microsoft Notepad: If it ain't broke, shove it in the Store, then break it?


Could be worse. Could be ported to Electron.

"Right up until someone decides that replacing it with an Electron app that weighs in at 120 MB, doesn't handle the INSERT key or even implement over-type mode and incorporates a colossal speed decrease would be just the thing." FTFY.

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


Good. I'll never have to use it, again.

I had to use Mercurial for two years, professionally, and so I'll be very happy to see the back of it and know that that will never be repeated. If this is the final nail in its coffin, good riddance!

Git isn't perfect. There are a few things that I would change and fix, were I omnipotent, but the undeniable truth is that git is simply unavoidable. Sooner or later, one ends up using it -- for a course or to work on some open-source thing, KSP mod, passion project or wotnot -- so why bother learning another system that doesn't distinguish itself in any useful way?

The complete lack of conclusive argument showing Mercurial to be clearly superior (read: it makes my daily work-flow simpler, faster or better in some material and MEASURABLE way) is enough reason for it to simply cease to exist -- it's not like git is closed source, patented or making some evil bastard rich so there's really no reason for competition for competition's sake.

Much better would be for all these repo. silos (Microsoft, Atlassian and GitLab, primarily) to collaborate on making a git vNext and to fix the stuff that sucks. That really wouldn't take much.

Creating a proper concept of a user (with a fucking id) so that public names and email addresses aren't treated as versioned (and hashed) metadata would already solve one of my major complaints. Adding real file copy and rename metadata would solve the other. (Sometimes, I want others to know that a file was moved or copied even if the destination is nothing alike -- it helps others to know "where that went" or "where this came from", sometimes, or "with what that was replaced") (I was a Subversion proponent. Can't you tell?)

Oh. And make `push --force-with-lease` the fucking default (and, indeed, the only) form of `--force` for God's sake. It took me years to learn that this existed because I simply couldn't bring myself to believe that it was NOT the default behaviour of `push --force`. What sort of monumentally screwed up thinking lead to vanilla `--force` existing? Has Linus never heard of a transaction?

As far as education is concerned, I have no worries. I'll get even the most incompetent team using git with nothing more than a whiteboard and some scribbles -- they'll hate me for it, perhaps, but I've done this enough times to know how to bring the concepts across.

LibreOffice handlers defend suite's security after 'unfortunately partial' patch


The promised patch is obviously...

... to put a bullet in LibreLogo, remove it from the product entirely and let those who actually care about it fork it to the bowels of some hell from which we never have to hear, ever again. It's the only way to be sure...

Come to think of it, there's a whole tonne of stuff that could (and absolutely SHOULD) be gutted from LibreOffice. I guess a lot of it exists because of the OpenOffice (and StarOffice) legacy and a lot of that exists because some nutter thought feature-parity with Microsoft Office was somehow a good thing. The LibreOffice team (and management) really need to learn that the best way to lower your vulnerability surface area and your maintenance overhead is to cut the feature creep.

Personally, I'd split the "suite" up, gut a tonne of the lesser-used and ill conceived stuff without remorse and make the default deployment contain ONLY a rich paginated-document editing program and a spreadsheet program. Neither would be plagued with "automation" features beyond provably safe cell formulae in the latter.

Come on. Let's stop fooling ourselves into believing that anything than Writer and Calc is even close to functional, anyway.

Why are fervid Googlers making ad-blocker-breaking changes to Chrome? Because they created a monster – and are fighting to secure it


Let's stop complaining about Chrome.

There is nothing wrong, here. There is nothing wrong with the choices Google are making with Chrome / Chromium. All is fine. In a way, this is actually the best, possible outcome.

WHY? Am I crazy? Did I drink the koolaid?

Chrome is now the de-facto standard for the web and it is everywhere. Once it makes its way into the default Windows browser, it will be everywherer. At the same time, do not doubt for a second that the advertising industry will defend its ability to advertise to the death and they ARE prepared to salt the ground and raise the villages. They do not give one shite about any consumers, us technically-minded wonks, or about rules or privacy or about playing nicely.

If they can shove their content at the ignorant or indifferent majority, however, they will cease to care about the niche. For niche users, there is Firefox and Firefox still supports proper ad-blocking. (If you don't like Firefox, fork it and fix it. There exists an alternative to Chrome.)

So lets let the advertising bastards have Chrome. That's a tonne better than forcing them into a corner and driving the invention of a new way of advertising on the web -- a method that can't be easily blocked in ANY browser. It's also better than forcing them to lobby for legislative defences against ad-blocking. Legislation would affect other browsers and US legislation would likely affect the world.

Meanwhile, let us focus on the only thing that any of us really should care about: the unblockable ads in Chrome should NOT be allowed to be malicious. That power simply shouldn't be available through any API.

After all, us Reg. readers don't care if our users get a headache from all the flashing banners and popups on their screens -- we care when we have to fix their malware problems from those. We also care that we get to browse without those -- and we still do... just not in Chrome.


Netflix is a BAD example, however.

I understand the point that you're trying to make but you chose a very poor example: Netflix is extremely hostile to the consumer.

If Netflix wasn't hostile, it would consider the user's interests. Consider me, for example: 99% of the time I open Netflix, I want to continue watching where I left off. This simple use-case is probably the single most difficult thing to do on Netflix because the list of stuff that you were watching is placed randomly on the page and the landing page features automatically playing trailers, with sound, and prioritises advertising other content to you.

They do this because they are not consumer oriented. They are Netflix oriented and Netflix' survival relies on the consumer being hooked into the binge-watching pattern -- in previous decades, there was the channel-flipping pattern which wasn't so very different.

If a search engine like Google followed the Netflix model, they absolutely would NOT show you the most useful search results at the top of the page. Instead, the useful results would be placed randomly on the page and other things would be placed above them -- things that kept you on the search engine and hindered you from getting on with what you wanted to do.

Also, the content you would want to find would be randomly removed, unannounced, while you were still using it, never to return. Suddenly, StackOverflow and Wikipedia results would cease to be returned. Searching for those would yield pages "similar to" them.

Polygraph knows all: You've been using our user feedback form


Hot-Desking is my favourite policy, ever!

Contrary to just about all the other commentards, here, I think that Hot-Desking is, in fact, the very best and most amazing policy, ever, simply because it is trivially easy to detect prior to joining a company and, upon detection, it is consequently trivially easy to turn down that position and walk away -- maniacal cackling optional.

Other, more subtle forms of "resource abuse" are harder to perceive during a simple fly-by of the team's working quarters.

GA'day, mate: Open the plonk, turn up a banger, Visual Studio 2019 is officially here (don't get too excited, Mac devs)


A bunch of stuff I didn't want and none...

... you know the rest.

You'd think they could have cleaned up the U.I. a little? Visual Studio has always had a bit of a reputation for wasting your screen space and, guess what: they've made it even worst: https://developercommunity.visualstudio.com/idea/413071/giving-us-even-more-vertical-screen-space.html

I'll stick to older versions, when I have to use Visual Studio.

Azure Pipelines go Slack while Microsoft frees data breakpoints from the shackles of C++



I wonder what the performance impact of these new breakpoints is, at debug time.

In my experience, the closest existing feature must be the conditional breakpoints that have been available in Visual Studio for forever. The problem with them is that they're super useful and also super slow -- at LEAST a factor of 10 slow-down just for setting a single one.

As a consequence, I never use them and end up writing stuff like `if (.. condition ..) Debugger.Break();` all over the place, removing the lines before committing. Saves hours of waiting in debug.

Would be cool if that becomes a thing of the past.

Website programming? Pffft, so 2011. Python's main squeeze is now data science, apparently


Do it. Never look back!

Seriously, just leave Matlab in the ditch on the side of the road.

My wife (currently completing her PhD in pattern recognition and deep learning) has half her code in MatLab and at least half the time-cost of working on that portion can be attributed to hassles with licensing.

The other half is in Python.

She can just work on the Python half, wherever she is, even without a connection. She can easily punt it to the powerful GPU-packing machines in her lab (or, when they're not free, my gaming PC with its 1080ti) to train models overnight. She can even do this remotely by simply issuing a `git pull` from Jupyter's terminal emulator in a web browser -- that's all it takes and the notebook that acts as a pretty `main()` method is ready to run. Heck, she can navigate to the little Gentoo server that lives on the top of a cupboard in our house, patch bugs in GitLab's browser-based editor, commit from the web interface and restart an experiment all from her phone while sitting on a train!

It's almost like she owns her own work, in Python.

And, if she copies some Python snippets off the web (StackOverflow, reddit, GitHub or Kaggle, for example), the license doesn't belong to MathWorks. Read the terms of MatLab's community forums; all code posted becomes property of MathWorks automatically! (That's proper arrogance and arseholery.)

MatLab does only one thing well: it visualises data in a way that no open-source tool does. When you're stopped on a breakpoint or looking at variables in your session, drilling down into them, graphing them, pretty-printing them and watching them in MatLab makes for a better experience than any other.

If open-source tools like Jupyter were to implement the fancy data visualisation tricks that MatLab provides, I'm sure that MathWorks would be reduced to changing their corporate font, refreshing their logo, updating their branding and patent-trolling to stay alive -- and good riddance!

As netizens, devs scream bloody murder over Chrome ad-block block, Googlers insist: It's not set in stone (yet)


Alternatives with support for `--app`?

I use Firefox for browsing and research but I do have a build of an ungoogled fork of Chromium sitting in a folder just because of the `--app` command-line switch. It has uBlock Origin installed (an extension that I consider mandatory, these days) and I use `--app` to launch a tonne of sites as "applications" without having to install any local software.

For example, I have shortcuts for Slack, Skype (web), Trello, Spotify, our corporate Jenkins and GitLab instances. Each shortcut is pinned to my Windows taskbar and that gives me close enough to a native experience: separate windows, without address bars and toolbars, all in the alt-tab carousel.

Without --app, these would all be lost in amongst the mess of tabs in my browser!

--app is grand because it means you can have a sufficiently application-like experience without another piece of bloat installed and automatically phoning home and updating itself, along with its inevitable security holes. Want to "uninstall" something? Simply delete the shortcut that launches it. In the future, with PWAs, I can imagine that --app will only become more useful.

I guess that this change will affect all the Chromium offspring. Sadly, probably that includes Vivaldi, even. So... is there anything that's NOT Chromium-based that provides something like Chromium's --app mode? (Would be great if Firefox would add that! I would only need one browser installed.)

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit


Re: Devuan user here

Gentoo & OpenRC user, here. Smug mode has been on for years -- ever since that bit in the handbook where one runs `make menuconfig` for the first time. (Hint: CONFIG_SMUG_MODE. Don't compile as a module unless you want to faff about in `/etc/modprobe.d/` for longer than is general considered "fun".)

This is the final straw, evil Microsoft. Making private GitHub repos free? You've gone too far


Mixed Feelings about this

I already invested the time to build my own home server running Gentoo and GitLab for my personal projects and those of my wife and brother -- both coders. I don't really care that someone will "steal my cool stuff" but having my own dabblings open to all, on the web, was never appealing because a lot of that code was hacked together with extremely limited time, late at night, after a dram or two and, frankly, I don't want that stuff to be the first impression of my work that is seen by a potential employer. The perennial instability of GitLab.com -- a service that always offered free, private repositories, anyway -- drove me away and so I rolled my own server. That server has now been running for over a year with very little maintenance and I have grown to love the GitLab U.I. -- so much so that I find GitHub to be rather lean in features. (Where's the repo. graph, for example?)

I will immediately proceed to GitHub to mark as private all my very-old stuff that remains there from before I set up my own server. Immediately, that stuff is going to vanish from view. For me, that's a good thing. For everyone who took inspiration from it (some of the projects have been starred several times), I apologise for their loss but prioritising their convenience above my own concerns is simply not a dominant strategy.

When I write StackOverflow answers, for example, I am fully aware that they will be visible to the public. I have also submitted merge requests to open source projects under my real name and, obviously, I expect that that code will stand as a portfolio of my work. My toys and crazy experiments, however, are not of the same quality.

A lot of unlicensed but visible code is going to vanish, now. It is questionable whether someone could legally use that code but I know I have and I'm sure I am not alone. For just one example, I've sometimes searched for obscure function or class names on GitHub and used the search results to discover "undocumented features" and how to work around them.

The result of this move will be that the ethos and community of GitHub will change. It could change for the better. Perhaps this will remove a lot of the noise from the GitHub scene. Personally, though, I'll stick to using my little Gentoo box.

Detailed: How Russian government's Fancy Bear UEFI rootkit sneaks onto Windows PCs


Re: Wait, what?

If you can resolve domain names like bit.ly or get HTTP requests to it through the transparent proxy, your security department is doing it wrong.

URL maskers (just like file-extension hiding) are the bane of security. They should all be blocked outright.

What absolutely staggers me is how popular they are amongst regular common folk. WHY do people feel the need to go and take an extra, manual step to shorten their URLs? Seriously, outside of character-limited places like Twitter (which I don't use, anyway) there's no need. It defies my belief that regular people are inherently lazy.

Razer offers freebies to gamers who descend into its coin mine


Waste of Electricity

Razer have cleverly invented a way to achieve massively distributed crypto-mining without the need to pay for hardware or a room to house it and -- almost certainly -- with lower (and less fungible) upkeep costs than the electricity bill to run such hardware. I am sure that kids, everywhere, will grab this with both hands because they already have a machine on which to run it and the "Silver points" they will "earn" will be free from their perspective -- no need to ask mummy and daddy for the credit card to pay for them. Parents who aren't aware of this will probably never notice.

But electricity is not free and perpetual motion is not a reality and so the environment will pay.

The sooner we ban wasteful "wealth creation" scams like crypto-coins, the better. You cannot create "wealth" out of a random-number-generator. What is being created is a vehicle for redistributing pre-existing wealth: the very definition of currency and there are less wasteful ways to implement a currency.

People perceive crypto-mining as profitable because they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of crypto-coins: they have no value until someone pays real money for them. People do pay for them and so this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and inventing new scams to trick others into paying the mining costs remains a dominant strategy. As long as this is true, the only way to stop the madness is an outright ban.

Ban them all.

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads


The iPad is here to stay.

I had a first-generation iPad, courtesy of my employer, and I concluded, then, that the device was "useful" but completely rubbish at the same time. Back then, the only channel to and from the device was iTunes and the concept of creating any sort of content on it was laughable. Roll forward to this year when I experienced the iPad pro (second generation) for the first time and the situation cannot be more different.

Today, my iPad pro and my phone are the only devices that I carry with me when I travel.

I am a software architect and the concept of coding on the iPad is ridiculous but, frankly, I absolutely loath coding on the run or on the factory floor and so I have no problem with this limitation. Instead, the iPad lets me draw sketches and diagrams and ideas and lob those over the fence in the direction of my dev. PC back in the office. That's a far more productive use of my time than hunching over a greasy coffee table, trying to hack out lines on a tiny notebook monitor and inadequate keyboard.

The iPad serves for communication, entertainment and more, too. I would never give up my beefy desktop workstation for it but it has already replaced my laptop and I am happy with the result. It also means that I can leave my Kindle at home without suffering the reading experience of a phone screen.

After the first generation, I thought that the iPad would whither and die if it did not evolve quickly. Apple have successfully effected the necessary evolution.

Disclaimer: my beefy workstation runs Windows and my phone runs Android; don't count me among the ranks of Apple loyalists. Also, don't even get me started on the topics of Windows 10, the Android platform and bloat and Android hardware disparity, diversity and quality.

The D in Systemd stands for 'Dammmmit!' A nasty DHCPv6 packet can pwn a vulnerable Linux box


Why is this a Thing?

Remind me why the DHCP client should be part of the init-system, please, for I seem, alas, to have forgotten.

Microsoft promises a fix for Windows 10 zip file woes. In November


I only want one feature from Windows Search...

Allow me to disable results from the 'web. That is all I want. Seriously.

For actual, real file-search, I use Agent Ransack which, amazingly, happens to be faster than any version of Windows Search, ever, and doesn't require an always-on indexing service. I only ever use Windows Search for start-menu search (autocomplete, basically) and the fact that the slightest typo sends you to Bing, requiring the tedious launching of Edge which I never otherwise use, is the most annoying thing.

Of course, it seems like there's a 20% chance that you'll end up on Bing even without a typo which is also extremely aggravating.

(Now some "Klugscheißer" is going to reply, telling me that you *can* actually disable web search, rendering this comment false. Please do! Call this a comment-gambit for useful knowledge. Any minute now...)

Redis does a Python, crushes 'offensive' master, slave code terms


I exploit my vocabulary. It is a slave to my whims.

I read an excellent blog post about the word, "exploit", a few years ago. The thrust of the argument was this: nonsense words like "leverage" (which should only be a noun and never a verb) only serve to weaken communication when they are used in place of perfectly adequate and, in fact, ideal words that have long existed in the English language. If one wants to make an unequivocal point, one should use real words. Strong words are not offensive if used appropriately.

Ever since then, I have made a point of exploiting the word, "exploit", whenever possible. The same goes for many other words. "Implementing this feature should be easy, now, because we can exploit the additional ground-work that we included in sprint (n-2)," I might announce in a planning meeting. "No, the hardware devices should always be slaves to the software service running on box Y," I will continue to declare in the future.

Living in Germany, this is expected. Professionals communicate conclusively. There is no strange personification of software systems and hardware tools -- a fact that is astounding given that my testers often report things like, "He tells me that he cannot connect to the remote server," because of the fact that German nouns have genders.

I will continue to use the English language as she was meant to be spoke. If I have to continue to live in Germany in order to get away with that, I won't complain. I will leverage my proximity to some of the oldest and best breweries in the world and be perfectly content.

I, a master of my mother-tongue, shall never surrender!

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't


Re: Music...

More importantly, music is typically available in non-protected form.

As a rule, I listen to stuff on Spotify and buy what I like on good-old-CDs. Typically, this means that I discover an artist or band and order half-to-all of their entire discography at once and continue to follow them, afterwards. CDs are trivially easy to rip to FLAC and those files can be played anywhere, always, offline and even converted to aac for mobile devices with limited storage.

The same cannot be said for movies. If I buy a blu-ray movie, I can't easily rip it to play on my phone while travelling. Buying a physical copy of a movie is just another way to "rent" it; there is NO way to actually BUY a movie.

Conclusion: I never buy movies and almost never watch them, either. Just couldn't be bothered.

Microsoft gives Windows 10 a name, throws folks a bone


What's this Silverlight thing?

I navigated over to the SmallBasic landing page out of nostalgia for all those things I made in gwbasic, a... while... ago. Sadly, it needs something called Silverlight to run and I couldn't be arsed. Is that like Shockwave Flash or something?

In an era where complete emulators for entire processor architectures can be implemented in pure JavaScript, complete with VGA-compatible graphics adaptors and SoudBlaster 16 cards, this SmallBasic thing comes across as minimum-effort by relying on Silverlight -- a technology that should have been exposed at birth and is certainly dead by now, surely.

EDIT: Some of it does appear to run without Silverlight.

Teardown chaps strip away magic from Magic Leap's nerd goggles


Can't Replace the Battery. End of.

In my opinion, if you can't replace the battery of a device without wrecking it, that's a repairability score of zero, no matter what you *can* replace. Surely the battery is the thing that you are most likely to need to replace and why would you ever choose to swap out other bits if the result will only be crippled by an old battery that can't hold a charge anymore?

Redis has a license to kill: Open-source database maker takes some code proprietary


Jolly Good Journalism, El Reg.

I opened the article expecting to find fuel to fuel my instinctive, reflexive rage and urge to instantly denigrate redis and Redis Labs and, instead, I now find myself pondering whether my own fledgling project (as yet unreleased) should adopt the Commons Clause when it leaves the stable.

That is how journalism is supposed to work. El Reg, you have made me think.

I honestly don't know what one should do, today. I don't think that the Commons Clause is the right answer but perhaps it was the best answer for redis, today. I am sure it will spell the end of redis -- death by the forking doom.

We need a new generation of licenses for this cloudy world: one that protects open-source projects, protects contributors and protects corporations without whom those open-source projects are likely to remain in obscurity.

Span hits F#, LinkedIn gets mumbly, and UWP (yes, it's still clinging on) furnished with new toys


Does UWP have a purpose, yet?

The last time I tried to make a UWP app was long before UWP was UWP. It was back on Windows 8 and, after a brief play, I scrapped the sample and went on with my developer life. The whole experiment can be summed up in one exclamation: "You can't do wot !?!"

So... it's now 2018 and I believe that the sandbox is a little more diverse and that UWP hands developers a little more power but UWP apps are still not true desktop applications and can't do everything. If I was to start a UWP based project, I would have to do two things. Firstly, I'd have to accept that I'd be locked in to UWP and the only way out would be a total rewrite. Secondly, I'd have to completely plan the entire foreseeable life of the project and be absolutely certain that UWP allowed me to implement all the features I would ultimately need.

Sure, I could do these things. Why would I?

Both of those sound like a lot of hard work and a lot of risk and I still don't see the benefits that UWP offers in exchange. It just doesn't offer anything that isn't already available elsewhere -- most of which I have used or experimented with in the past, a lot of which is cross-platform.

Microsoft are asking me to leave a known world of infinite possibility in favour of an unknown sandbox governed by arbitrary decisions. That's like asking someone to give up their somewhat aged but perfectly reliable Skoda in favour of a shiny new toy car. However awesome the toy car may be, it is still a toy!

The only reason I would ever use UWP would be if an employer dictated that I do so and even that seems vanishingly unlikely because UWP is not really suitable for business applications -- most of which now run in the browser, anyway, unless they need very specialised access to local hardware which UWP probably doesn't permit.

Oh... and on the LinkedIn thing: you can now send people a one-line voice clip saying: "You've got mail!". That's totally a use-case!