* Posts by trevorde

438 posts • joined 2 Jun 2015


Amazon UK business swelled by 50%+ in 2020, and taxes soared. Lol, no, it means those paid by its staff

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The real loser here is ...

... Jeff Bezos! With those pathetic profits, he definitely won't be able to afford another trip to space. We should start a GoFundMe page for his next journey.

OpenSilver throws Microsoft Silverlight devs a lifeline as end of support looms – or you could forget it ever happened

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Silverlight lives on

We now have the term 'Silverlighted' or seeing a development product in which they have invested heavily be abandoned by Microsoft


Oracle sets its own JDK free, sort of, for a while

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Meanwhile at Oracle...

Larry Ellison: Is the new licenee as confusing as it can be?

Lawyers: Yes! Even we can't understand it!

Larry Ellison: Iiiiiiit's ... licence audit time!

[goes back to stroking white cat]

Cloud is fundamentally more profitable than on-prem, says Oracle's Safra Catz as revenue misses mark for investors

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Meanwhile at Oracle...

Larry Ellison: Time for another licence audit! Mwahahahahaha!

[goes back to stroking white cat]

Linus Torvalds admits to 'self-inflicted damage' with -Werror as Linux 5.15 rc1 debuts

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No good work goes unpunished

Worked on a product where we decided to fix all the warnings. One dev slaved away for a fortnight and fixed *most* of the warnings. He found a few errors, so it was actually worthwhile.

The only place he couldn't fix the warnings was in some test code which achieved 100% code coverage on what it was testing. We decided to just disable 'warnings as errors' on that test code and chalk it up as a win overall.

You want us to make a change? We can do it, but it'll cost you...

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Lines of Code

Inherited a codebase at a previous company which had been done by a well known outsourcing company in Asia. It was the WORST code I had ever seen in my 20+ years of experience and, believe me, I've seen (and written) some stinkers. It had every anti-pattern and bad practice you can think of and a few new ones to boot.

Turns out the developers were penalised if they didn't write at least 200 lines of code per day. Their motivation was not to write good code but to write 200 lines of code. They weren't paid on quality but on volume. We brought the development inhouse where our developer's motivations were the exact opposite.

Never get mercenaries to defend your castle.

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Less than one character per week

One of the last bugs I fixed before I left a previous company was deep in the bowels of the Qt printing code.

Most printing issues can be reproduced using a virtual, PDF printer driver. This one could only be reproduced using a large format, physical printer. Each change/test required sending a print to said printer and examining the physical output. I managed to burn through a roll and a half of the printer paper (at £80/roll) over the course of three weeks of investigation. Management were horrified but I pointed out the cost was insignificant compared to my time.

In the end, the problem was a bug in the HP plotter driver. As far as I could tell, the plotter driver tiled the output and was running out of memory during the tiling process. The solution was to halve the size of the tile.

Thus, after three weeks of solid effort, the sum total of my efforts were something like:

tileSize = (previous code to calculate tile size) / 2;

That's right - three weeks of concerted effort for two characters!

'It takes a hell of a mental toll' – techies who lost work due to COVID share their stories

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One of the lucky ones

Was sacked from my (software developer) job the day before the first lockdown in the UK. Ironically, it was because I wanted to self-isolate and the owner didn't want to support that. I was one week away from completing my 6 month probation. It was really a blessing in disguise as the role wasn't panning out and I was looking to leave anyway.

Unfortunately, just about every company immediately froze recruitment, so there wasn't a lot happening. At least the sun was shining and I was able to spend time with my family. Even managed to learn some new skills in between applying for jobs.

After a month, I managed to get 3 offers and took a 100% remote job with a great company, working on an interesting product with some really nice people. Almost 18 months on and I still haven't been into the office. My wife is loving having me at home, I get to walk my daughter to/from school and my daily commute consists of walking into the spare room.

Every day we give thanks that we are in such a fortunate situation as there are so many people who have struggled to get by.

I still get calls from recruitment agents now the economy has picked up but I'm fairly settled for the moment.


Looked up my previous company and they're still looking for my replacement as well as losing another developer

BRICS bloc deepens collaboration on e-commerce and selling services across borders

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New post Brexit trade opportunity

We should join this trading bloc. That'll show the EU!

VMware shreds planned support for 'cheese grater' Mac Pro

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said both users of the 'cheese grater' Mac Pro

Gartner Gartner on the wall, which is the hypest cycle of them all?

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Missing phase

Tomb of Despair

just after the 'Trough of Disillusionment', it is a pit into which hyped technologies disappear, only to reemerge a few years later in 'Technology Trigger'. Some technologies are doomed to this cycle forever eg VR, AR, quantum computing

Git 2.33 released with new optional merge process likely to become the default: It's 'over 9,000' times faster

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Obligatory xkcd


Everyone does it at some point

Pi calculated to '62.8 trillion digits' with a pair of 32-core AMD Epyc chips, 1TB RAM, 510TB disk space

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Engineering approximation

I was a mechanical engineer and once told a PhD maths colleague that you could approximate both pi and e as 3. He was appalled.

Microsoft emits last preview of .NET 6 and C# 10, but is C# becoming as complex as C++?

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Re: Cross-platform UI?

The only cross-platform UI now is the web. Just remember to test on all browsers, as browser are now the new OS.

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

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Windows legendary backwards compatibility

Take that, Apple!

Google hits undo on Chrome browser alert change that broke websites, web apps

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The browser is the new operating system

Don't forget to test your app on:

* previous versions of Google Chrome (for those orgs who fix on a particular version)

* Firefox

* Microsoft Edge

* Internet Explorer 6

Chromebooks fighting for mind share at PC makers with higher-margin Windows 11 machines in the lead, says IDC

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Apple in the enterprise

The only way that's going to happen is if Microsoft port Windows to the M1 chip

NHS England's £200m ERP replacement misses another deadline as procurement runs 2 years behind schedule

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Alex Bourne used to run a pub near Matt Hancock and has his personal contact details


Bill for HMS Vanity Gin Palace swells by £50m in two months

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Re: Just another BoJo Vanity project...

Worked on an NHS project when Jeremy Hunt was the Health Minister. Everyone called him 'Mike'.

NFT or not to NFT: Steve Jobs' first job application auction shows physically unique beats cryptographically unique

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For sale now!

NFT of a bridge! Unique! Limited to one! Buy now!

Security breaches where working from home is involved are costlier, claims IBM report

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At least when you're working from home, you can't leave your laptop (or USB stick) on the train

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

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Why Symbian failed

For those old enough to remember and care, 'Symbian' was the operating system for Nokia phones.

Anyway, I had an interview with Symbian which turned out to be a *very* detailed technical interview around C++. I cut my teeth on C/C++, so it wasn't anything I hadn't encountered before. The interview went really well and they said "They'd get back to me". I had a lot of other irons in the fire and ended up accepting a role elsewhere.

Fast forward 3 months later and I get a phone call from Symbian: "Are you still available?" WTF? Anyone who could answer those questions would be snapped up straight away. The only people still on the market after that time would be those that couldn't get a job anywhere (except Symbian).


Bumped into a Symbian graphics dev at a party a few years later. He said the OS was a POS and his development builds were broken most of the time.

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Just add alcohol

An interviewee (F) at my brother's work was asked for her greatest weakness and answered:

"When I've had a few drinks, I get really flirty!"

HR didn't give her the job.

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Interview 2.0

Interviewed at a company where one interviewer asked me:

"How would you work out the tidal flow volume of the Thames Estuary?"

WTF? I asked him how this was relevant to the company (they did inkjet printers). He admitted it wasn't relevant at all. I then asked *why* he was asking me this. He answered he wanted to 'see how I thought'.

Luckily, I was a mechanical engineer in a previous life and decided to have a bit of fun with him. Turned out he didn't know *why* he wanted the information or *what* he was going to do with it. I pointed out that I could simply make up a number and he'd be happy.

They ended up offering me the job but I'd found something more interesting.

Is it broken yet? Is it? Is it? Ooh that means I can buy a sparkly, new but otherwise hard-to-justify replacement!

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I have one of the original Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets from 2012. There are no apps for it, a lot of websites don't load properly due to the browser not supporting javascript and FireOS has not been updated in many years. The screen is still crisp, email still works and the battery still holds a charge. I **hate** it because it refuses to die. It's keeping going to spite me from getting a new Android tablet.

Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far

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2021 will be the year of the Linux desktop!

Where on Gartner's Hype Cycle is Gartner's Hype Cycle?

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Missing phase

Tomb of Despair

just after the 'Trough of Disillusionment', it is a pit into which hyped technologies disappear, only to reemerge a few years later in 'Technology Trigger'. Some technologies are doomed to this cycle forever eg VR, AR, quantum computing

IBM's 3% sales growth may not seem like much but it's the biggest it's had in three years

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What IBM did next

Cue Resource Actions in 3.. 2.. 1...

Imagine a world where Apple shacked up with Xerox in the '80s: How might it look today?

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Alternate, alternate history

* Intel sticks to making calculators which eventually consume more power than a kettle

* Bill Gates stays at Harvard, graduates magna cum lauda in maths and ends up writing Excel for Intel's calculators. The Intel Pentium floating point bug causes the global financial crisis of 2008. Gates is sued and goes bankrupt. He never writes software again.

* IBM buys CP/M from Gary Kildall but cannot market it successfully. It finds a niche in ATMs (automatic teller machines).

* GNU Hurd releases a kernel which works surprisingly well

* everyone ignores Linux, favouring GNU Hurd (inspite of RMS's weirdness)

* Linus Torvalds ports Linux to calculators for Intel

* Larry Ellison releases Oracle as open source, so super yachts never become a thing. He ends up living on the streets of Silicon Valley. Steve Jobs ignores him.

* Jobs doesn't screw over Wozniak and the two still exchange Xmas cards right up until Jobs' death

* Jobs acknowledges paternity of his daughter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Brennan-Jobs)

OK - the last two are a bit of a stretch

Ah, I see you found my PowerShell script called 'SiteReview' – that does not mean what you think it means

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I was good friends with the sysadmin at one company I worked at. He had to do some routine maintenance on one of the sales droids laptops. Out of curiosity, he looked through his Internet Explorer cache... and that's how he got the nickname 'Mr Bestial'.

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

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Oh, 5h17!


Kubernetes a black hole of unpredictable spend, according to new report

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Meanwhile at Oracle...

Larry Ellison: Kubernetes? Pffft! Wait 'til they've had a license audit! [goes back to super yacht catalogue]

Huawei dev flamed for 'useless' Linux kernel code contributions

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Rewarding the wrong metric

Worked on a product where the code was written by an outsourced agency. So the story goes, their devs had a KPI to write 200 lines of code per day. Thus, their motivation was not to write good, clean, extensible code but to hit their target number of lines of code. Needless to say, it was a complete and unmitigated disaster. The code had every anti-pattern you can think of and even a few new ones. You should never get mercenaries to defend your castle.

AWS launches BugBust contest: Help fix a $100m problem for a $12 tshirt

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Top Level Prize

A certificate of appreciation, stamped with Jeff's signature, in a handsome plastic frame. RRP $5.99 (shipping extra)

Treaty of Roam finally in ashes: O2 cracks, joins rivals, adds data roaming charges for heavy users in EU

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If it's not on the side of a bus...

... it's not going to happen!

Chromebook boom won’t outlive COVID-19 pandemic, says IDC

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2021 will be the year...

... of the ChromeOS desktop!

'Set it and forget it' attitude to open-source software has become a major security problem, says Veracode

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Fix one thing, break two others

Just an update from down in the trenches:

Updating a third party library, for whatever reason, brings in the risk of regressions. Retesting the software is time consuming and expensive, so updating is avoided.

Quite often APIs also change, so it can be a large engineering effort to reintegrate libraries (I'm looking at you: React, .NET, Swashbuckle ...)

Oracle introduces frequent clouding points loyalty scheme

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Better ways to spend rebate

Better investment would be to put any savings into a 'lawyers fund' for the inevitable 'licen$e audit'

Utopia? Echoes of Delphi and Dreamweaver in new visual editor for React

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It's 2021 ...

... and the recommended way of developing a UI is *still* to code it by hand.

Delphi, Visual Basic and WinForms were 99% drag-drop; everything else (MFC, WPF, HTML, JQueryUI, React, Angular, etc) was a pain.

Just hope this works but I'm not holding my breath.

Mark it in your diaries: 14 October 2025 is the end of Windows 10

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Looking forward to 2025

2025 will definitely be the year of the Linux desktop!

Debian's Cinnamon desktop maintainer quits because he thinks KDE is better now

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2021 will be the year of the Linux desktop!

Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder

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Collect your printouts!

Worked at a company many years ago where the sysadmin had a *very* liberal attitude to content filtering ie there was none. He believed in treating people like adults and letting them have 'personal responsibility' for their web surfing. This worked very well until he had to have a talk to one of the guys:

[name redacted], you know I don't look at the firewall logs for your web browsing and, frankly, I don't care. But if you do print things out, for Christ's sake please collect them from the printer!

We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again

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An evil plot

Used to be a mechanical engineer in a previous life. Worked in an office where we had a Calcomp pen plotter. All the draftsmen hated it because they've have to watch it like a hawk in case the pens dried out. This was replaced by a large format, full colour HP roll plotter, which was a lot more civilised. One of the other engineers immediately 'tested' it by printing out a huge poster for his holiday chalet side business!

Wine 6.0.1: For that one weird app on that one weird Mac

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Great news

Now mac users can run some decent software!

Linux 5.13 hits rc5, isn’t yet calm, Linus Torvalds is only mildly perturbed

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Lazy option

Bought an old IBM ThinkPad craptop without an OS. Had the choice of installing Windows (via my MSDN account) or Linux. I couldn't be 4r53d to download Windows, so installed Linux Mint. It was disappointingly easy and everything worked first time.

Can a 21.5-inch iMac beat the latest-and-greatest M1 model in performance? Kinda

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iMac FTW

At least you can install Windows (or Linux) and run some decent software

The common factor in all your failed job applications: Your CV

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Blast from the past

Was asked to code a 'bubble sort' algorithm for a job interview. The 90s called, wants their tests back.

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Technical Tests

Was asked to do a 'technical test' for one job where I estimated it would take at least half a day. I said I'd do it for £300 but they declined.

SAP's RISE 'yet to prove its worth in practice...' Key German user group offers giant a progress 'reality check'

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Difference of opinion

“yet to prove its worth in practice”

"I beg to differ", said every $AP con$ultant ever

UK Special Forces soldiers' personal data was floating around WhatsApp in a leaked Army spreadsheet

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Even worse than leaving an unencrypted USB stick on a train :-(



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