* Posts by Czrly

67 posts • joined 17 Oct 2014


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?"

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name


Re: Eh?

I speak for myself but Windows 10 actually *does* offend me. I find the informal, cutesy, familiar language that it employs for status messages and communication with the user to be completely inappropriate, unprofessional and patronising. "Windows" actively talks down to me, the user.

Of course, I have been living in Germany for some years and, consequently, I feel that Windows is in no position to "duzen" me and absolutely should talk in a professional, respectful tone.

"We're just getting things ready for you," WTF! "This will only take a moment!" Double WTF!

I want proper, professional status messages, please!

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!

Windows 10 Insiders see double as new builds hit the deck – with promises to end Update Rage


Re: Predictive Fuckups

I have had to support and fix a lot (really, very very many) of end-user Windows desktops all the way back to 98 ME and the number of tickets associated with update neglect is truly minuscule.

The vast, vast, vast majority of borked boxes are borked by hardware issues (mostly disk drives), malware, viruses, browser toolbars (including those shipped with the official eff'n Java RE!), free games carrying trojans, general incompetence (You could rename the Windows dir, in Windows 3.1. Don't try it at home.) and, yes, Windows Updates gone wrong.

Actually, even just the number of Updates-Gone-Wrong, taken alone, dwarfs the number of machines borked by update neglect.

Microsoft need to employ a bit of subtlety. Paint "Updates are Available" on device-context 0 in hot-pink Comic Sans for all I care but just stop restarting my PC when it's training my models, downloading my stuffs, encoding my things, doing the jobs and processing those datas.

Elon Musk, his arch nemesis DeepMind swear off AI weapons



Didn't we just have a story a few months ago about Google employees complaining that Google's algorithms were aiding the US military in surveillance video analyses and target identification in their war in the middle east?

If anyone says that's not a weapon, they'll be technically correct. It still serves to demonstrate how such a pledge is completely meaningless.

A stronger pledge would be one in which the signatories agree not to build any algorithm or A.I. system that facilitates conflict at arms in general.

It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old


Not since 1998...

Personally, I cannot believe how unstable Windows 10 is, today. I'm not a rabid anti-Windows-10 hater. I use Windows 10 professionally and at home and I have been developing on Windows-based platforms since 2000 and I feel that Windows 10, in 2018, is about as unstable an operating system as I have seen in a very long time.

To put a number on it, my workstation up-time is measured in hours! Even on the hated Windows 8, I could go for over a week without restarting, without a BSOD and without a total failure of Windows Explorer or some other vital piece of the shell. And that's on a developer desktop that gets all kinds of abuse thrown at it.

It's like being on Windows '98 SE all over again. Multiple restarts a day -- and most of them involuntary and unannounced.

I don't like the Slurp. I don't like the Store. I don't like Metro or Modern or whatever but even if you write all of that off as the status-quo and just accept it, Windows 10 is still failing to perform its basic function: providing a stable operating system, i.e. a thing that runs applications.

Every time I debate this with colleagues, we come to the same conclusion: Microsoft don't care about Windows anymore. They'd be quite happy if you were connecting to Office 365 and running stuff in Azure from Mac OS or Linux. Cloud matters; desktop does not.

Welcome to Ubuntu 18.04: Make yourself at GNOME. Cup of data-slurping dispute, anyone?


Thin End of the Wedge, though.

Bravo for their implementation and transparency but, frankly, I'm still going to opt all the hell out because I perceive this to be the thin end of the wedge. Is Canonical going to pop up a notification, asking for my consent, every single time that data file's schema changes because someone decided it would be cool to add an extra field? Do I have the time to vet all those changes, even should they do that?

Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME


Does Wifi Work?

Personally, I can live with just about any Linux desktop skin if the damned WiFi would just work without requiring a reconnect after the first WPA group re-key. (Damn the Atheros ATH10K firmware all to hell and back!) I'll give this new Ubuntu a whirl and see if Linux 4.15 and (presumably) newer firmware actually fix stuff for me.

(For the record, I managed to set up a stable system with this silly Gigabyte motherboard of mine exactly once, using Linux Mint with a tonne of hacks and some custom firmware. Unfortunately, I then updated my BIOS (Intel ME security patches, I recall.) and that trashed my Windows 10 (dual-boot) activation and the only way to re-activate Windows ended up being a reinstall. Reinstalling Windows screwed the UEFI configuration and, in a moment of craziness, I decided to reinstall Linux rather than try to fix the UEFI boot. Never again have I enjoyed trouble-free WiFi.)

GitLab crawling back online after breaking its brain in two


Re: GitHub > GitLab

You can't compare them at all. GitHub is a service. GitLab is an open-source server software with an official hosting option. Sure, that official hosting option does rather suck in terms of reliability and that's why I don't use it, personally, but I'm still a huge fan of GitLab as a software. House-of-ten-thousand-dodgy-dependency-cards (written in at least half a dozen different languages, too!) it may be, but, once it *is* up and running, GitLab is sublime.

And, frankly, on a shallow U.I. level, GitLab is way ahead in terms of usability. GitLab's Repository -> Graph page knocks the pants off any linear list of commit history with a combo-box for changing between branches and tags. If you're managing a team of developers, all collaborating on various branches in various repos. to create real products, being able to see a high-level, graphical overview of the graph straight in your browser is a hugely convenient tool. (If such a thing exists in GitHub, PLEASE let me know. I haven't been able to find it. Oh, and also how to see a list of the repositories I have starred but not contributed too without having to navigate to my own public profile page -- an obtuse route that requires at least three page transitions!)

Microsoft Lean's in: Slimmed-down Windows 10 OS option spotted


Exactly this. `regedit` is probably tiny, even if you add up everything it needs. But I bet Windows 10 Lean still comes with Candy Crush in the box. And Cortana. And the totally broken Main and Calendar and People rubbish that's baked in, now, and doesn't work at all. (Not that I would want it, if it does. I prefer to choose my software, thanks all the same.)

Intel's security light bulb moment: Chips to recruit GPUs to scan memory for software nasties


Re: Weasel words alert

No worries, though, because there's a hardware switch to disable this new telemetry channel, permanently: don't install an Intel processor.

Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history


Don't we have this, already?

Didn't TextSecure already invent an open group-chat mechanism with proper end-to-end encryption? They're called Signal or something, now, I think. I'd check, but I left my phone at home, today.

Between TextSecure (for friends) and good ol' email (family, more friends, customers and suppliers) and issues on our GitLab server (hosted in-house), I'm flush with ways to communicate with anybody I'd care to contact. I also have a phone. And I think the printer can even send faxes.

I'm honestly not sure what else one needs. What do people actually *do* on Facebook? Play Farmville and poke people's walls? (Ewwww...!)

Rhode Island proposes $20 porn tax. Er, haven't we heard this before?


Re: @Yet Another Anonymous coward, 7 Mar 2018

Actually, they have. But, it should be noted that they declare that they are blocking the content "until the issue is resolved during appeal" which is the proper and correct way of dealing with the law: first you follow the law, as it is, now, then you contest to change it.

I'm actually in Nuremburg and tried to search for „Mein Kampf“ from P.G. and I received the following message before I even received a search-results page: "A Court in Germany ordered that access to certain items in the Project Gutenberg collection are blocked from Germany. Project Gutenberg believes the Court has no jurisdiction over the matter, but until the issue is resolved during appeal, it will comply."

Google assisting the Pentagon in developing AI for its drones


But TensorFlow is Open Source!

TensorFlow is Open Source and Google and the whole machine learning sphere draw extensively from the open source community, raising a chewy question to those of us who are NOT citizens of the USA and who do not get a democratic vote (degree of democracy and utility of electoral mechanism to be debated elsewhere) with which to make a stand for or against the actions of the US military.

Essentially, whether one approves or disapproves, if one has submitted a patch to TensorFlow or any upstream component, one is contributing to their effort. If one has helped diagnose and debug an issue, one has played a role in this. Even those innocent and ubiquitous Google Captchas feed into this in some way -- how else will the DoD identify vehicles, shop fronts and street signs with high accuracy?

This raises an important moral question about Open Source software. Your amusing cat-riding-a-skateboard detector might be used to target bombs in the future -- are you sure you want to give it away on GitHub or Kaggle Notebooks? Sure, this outcome is vanishingly unlikely. Sure, you can invent the "pacifist BSD" license and/or write "may not be used to target bombs" at the top of each Python script. The chance is still there and so the question remains open.

Targeting bombs may be hyperbole but the automated and wide-spread surveillance of private citizens of another sovereign nation -- citizens who have no vote against such actions -- is still wrong in my opinion. Whether some extra-judicial entity on the other side of the world labels those citizens as "terrorist" or "non-terrorist" is entirely irrelevant. Air-strikes are also a reality and those air-strikes are triggered and guided by such surveillance. Air-strikes are unilateral acts of war (let's call it what it is) and do kill civilians. According to the USA, they also eliminate targets labelled as "terrorists" by the aforementioned extra-judicial entities. According to me, that is debatable at a higher, international level.

Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook


THAT Price for one View?

Seriously, 20 quid for a single view of a single boxing match? In quid-per-hour, that's damn expensive digital entertainment.

"Pay for what you watch," is a great concept but surely it can't draw that sort of price.

Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming


Re: Timeline...

Also: "the very first thing I'll turn off when the new build lands"

Seriously. Who wants that? Sending recent activity data to Microsoft just for a pimped Alt+Tab experience that nobody other than Microsoft fully support?

If Microsoft actually wanted to innovate, they'd accept the innovative idea that Windows is supposed to be an operating system and, as such, is not supposed to innovate. It is supposed to run programs. End of.

Why is Wikipedia man Jimbo Wales keynoting a fake news conference?


Re: Fuck Jimmy Wales

It's because they have to pay all those contributing authors who wrote, proof-read, edited and continue to curate high-quality, referenced and well researched content for them, innit? Those hours of dedicated work don't come cheap. I'm sure my cheque is right there, in the post. Yours too, probably.

Right there...

Any day now...

Until it arrives, I'll just leave this, here: *.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=*:Banner

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means


No Thanks!

And, consequently, the company saves money by getting rid of all those operations teams and the developers quit because they're never not working, having to be developing during the day and fixing some bug that's 99% caused by something entirely outside their control (like a patch to a dependency or OS component or the simple fact that some other muppet pulled out a vital cable and tanked their services).

As a developer, I'm quite prepared to say: "No thanks!" to that. There's a reason why operations are operations and I'm development. They don't have a clue about heaps and stacks and memory and how interlocked synchronisation primitives really work or how to design an indexed relational SQL database so that it doesn't crawl under real-life loads. I don't have patience to fix stuff broken by other people in the wee hours of the morning.

As a developer, I'm also quite prepared to write extraordinarily good tests and to implement a good workflow for my team, complete with continuous integration and staging environments and automated rollouts and all that other stuff. Not because it's DevOps (TM) but because those things just make sense when you're running a large team and some of the team members aren't all that experienced.

I'll never call what I do "DevOps", though. Just like I don't use hashtags.

German Firefox users to test recommendation engine 'a bit like thought-reading'


Bookmark Lock-In!

So I'm more or less tied to Firefox because I use bookmarks and those seem to have fallen out of fashion with the other browsers. Even with extensions, there's just no substitute for the Firefox bookmarks sidebar.

Please! If I am wrong, tell me where to look for an open-source, secure and standards-compliant browser which supports both Adblock Plus and a proper bookmark experience. Honestly, those are the only two features that I want from a browser.

Don't panic, but Linux's Systemd can be pwned via an evil DNS query


Re: 2017 and inaccurately implemented protocols causing buffer overflows are still a thing.

Logically, the correct patch would be to remove the entire reverse-lookup component, yes? As far as I'm concerned, they can patch until the cows come home. If systemd continues to bloat itself with functionality that simply does not belong in Init, I'll be sticking with Gentoo and its perfectly adequate OpenRC.

Three-quarters of IoT projects are failing, says Cisco


I don't believe that 1/4 succeed.

So... that's like saying that one quarter of IoT projects succeed? But where are they? Because, honestly, I can't think of a single one that I'd want in my house - let alone one for which I'd volunterily pay hard-earned money.

Gamers red hot with fury over Intel Core i7-7700 temperature spikes


Sadly, this article was published one week too late, for me. I bought mine already and instantly hit these problems. Sure, I could send it back but how would that help? I'd have to send the motherboard back, too, and basically start again from scratch!

The strange and annoying thing, to me, is that the temperature spikes almost instantly and yet the outside of the chip remains so cool you can touch it. The back of the socket on the motherboard and the board itself are also barely warm. This means that you can waste all the cash you have on the best cooling in the world and it will not do any good at all - heat dissipates according to the heat equation and you can cool the cold surface of the IHS all you like, if the heat isn't getting to it, it isn't going to help.

Mine spikes from 28 degrees to 100 degrees, where the chip is throttled, within under two seconds when I fire up Prime95. I first thought it was a bug with the temperature reporting, it was so bad.

Also, if Windows Update or starting Firefox roasts the CPU, exactly how do Intel expect it to perform under real load, such as execution of my machine learning and image processing algorithms?

Personally, I think the Intel bean-counters caused this by "cutting costs" and I hope and pray that AMD school them for us. Unfortunately, Ryzen isn't going to do it unless regular generational updates keep up the pressure.

Headphone batteries flame out mid-flight, ignite new Li-Ion fears


Who made the 'phones?

Publishing a photograph of the victim is fine, assuming you have their consent, but what I cannot understand is why the brand or manufacturer of the actual headphones isn't mentioned, here. Why protect them? The single news-worthy point in this incident is the brand-name of the headphones and that simply because catastrophic failure - like this is - is NOT tolerable in consumer hardware.

I don't care what Samsung say, I won't buy their phones post 2016 because I value my health way more than my mobile phone. Similarly, there's no way I'll ever buy a product from a headphone manufacturer that has been involved in a fire or a climbing rope from someone who has been involved in a rope-failure due to defects in the rope. (As far as I know, all known rope failures (of rated ropes from certified brands) have been due to damage from rocks, chemicals or improper use - never due to defective manufacturing. There's a reason for this: the manufacturer would be out of business the next day if such a failure occurred. This is just.)

Microsoft catches up to Valentine's Day Flash flaw massacre

Thumb Up

Re: Only way to fix Flash...

And how, pray tell, do you do that? I'd love to completely purge "Flash for Windows 10" from my Windows 10 boxes. I'd also love to completely purge Edge and IE. But you can't really accomplish that, completely, can you?



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