* Posts by bobajob12

293 posts • joined 7 Sep 2016


Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing


Re: At a loss

I've been wanting a similar device, a Cambridge z88, for years now. LCD screen has 4 lines of text and a virtually silent keyboard. Runs for 20 hours on a pair of AAs. for those days when yo need to get in the zone and hammer our a few thousand words without any interruptions.

Maybe if I sent George R.R. Martin one, he, you know, might finish, his uh writing project?

It could be 'five to ten years' before the world finally drags itself away from IPv4


Doomed to eternal limbo

It feels like every time there is a tectonic shift in how people use tech, IPv6 misses the boat. I think it's doomed to live in perpetual limbo.

- It missed the explosion in cloud. Even today, AWS and Azure etc have good support for IPv6, but not great. Your first contact is probably something like an EC2 instance, and IPv4 just works, out of the gate. For most people, that's it, game over, never look at IPv6 again. Imagine what might have happened if AWS had said, "any new service is going to have an IPv6 endpoint, and you must pay extra if you want IPv4"

- It missed the explosion in home devices. Netgear, Belkin etc were never going to make the DHCP on their home routers dole out IPv6 by default when all the home TVs and lightbulbs dont support it. At best you end up with dual-stack, and then you have a support nightmare on your hands (given that we are talking about consumers). Ugh.

I do think it will live on for some (large) niches, like mobile internet, where operators have been doing Ipv6 for years, but as a world-changing tech, I dont see it.

Reach for the sky: Pixar founders win Turing Award for pioneering 3D animation – and getting rid of jagged edges


Re: Well deserved

"Citation Needed", or in plainer English:

C'mon @batfink, this is El Reg and we're all stuck at working at home^H^H^H with streaming. What scenes should we be looking for, in which movies?

Hey kids! Ditch that LCD and get ready for the retro CRT world of Windows Terminal

Thumb Up

Re: I think it's an age thing...

Reading your last comment reminded me of working in Birkbeck College library some 30 years ago. Unlike the rest of the universe, Birkbeck used a cataloging system called bliss that was...anything but. Instead of Math being at 510, say, it would be at some code like QEL/EF. They had the loveliest librarians to help you but my word, you were sunk without them.

Put it this way: the second edition of the catalog has been in development for a decade longer than the HURD kernel...They started in 1977.


Re: I think it's an age thing...

Sorry, when I read your comment I just had a terrible flashback to the days of Gopher and WAIS :)

ZTE Nubia Z20: It's £499. It's a great phone. Buy it. Or don't. We don't care


+1 for the innovation, but I'll pass

Summary of article: "phones have gotten boring, yawn. Hey, I really like this phone because it's not boring. But I racked my brains and can't find a reason to have a second screen"

Based on that, then, what's the point?

He's coming for your floppy: Linus Torvalds is killing off support for legacy disk drive tech


Re: my first linux encounter was on a single 720k floppy...

In the early 90s QNX made a demo of their OS on a 1.44M floppy. I remember being blown away that you could do so much on such limited hardware. I mean, it was demoing QNX, so I should have known better, but woah!


Re: I remember floppy disks

Oh lord, OS/2 from floppy was painful in the extreme. For some reason OS/2 was really, really picky about the quality of the disks. It wasn't wrong to be picky, but back in 1994 at the peak of the cheap-is-fine era in Windows it was painful. I still have nightmares about the summer I had to install OS/2 on thirty Viglens in a library.

Microsoft has Windows 1.0 retrogasm: Remember when Windows ran in kilobytes, not gigabytes?


Re: Win3.0

Am I imagining it or wasn't there also a little flurry of (dunno what to call them) character-mode GUIs? They would split up your screen into "windows" and you could do different things in each, eg calculator in one and a wordstar-y sort of WP in another.

Is my memory playing me false?

The in and outs of Microsoft's new Windows Terminal


Re: But...

Those days ended around 2008. They are are long gone. I don't miss trawling through a HOWTO late at night wondering why things didn't work. Linux is at least as good as any OS on the planet as far as those sorts of issues go.

There's that phrase again: JP Morgan CIO told Autonomy's first HP boss it was 'a shit show'


Re: If anybody cares ...

aha! Another word nerd. Love it.

"Dumpster fire" is another phrase with a mysterious etymology. Obviously US English, but seems to come from nowhere to prominence in the last, what, ten years? And, these days its often coupled with the adjective "raging". Where did that come from?

Exclusive: Windows for Workgroups terror the Tartan Bandit confesses all to The Register



That era used freakishly heavy cabling too. You'd have cables about 1cm across connected via 9-pin D shells to the NIC, and woe betide you if you didnt screw the little buggers in tight. And at the other end you had these things called MAUs where the connector was the size of a baby's fist. I had a job at the time that involved a lot of moving PCs and moving the cables was an utterly miserable experience.

At the time the successor to TR was supposed to be ATM. 155Mbits compared to the measly 10 of Ethernet (and IIRC 100Mbit was still stuck between Fast Ethernet and HP's 100Mbit VG technology). But ethernet was 10x cheaper and worked well enough. The rest is history.

Overzealous n00b takes out point-of-sale terminals across the UK on a Saturday afternoon


Re: Mainframe

Not just you. It's was a mini at best. Not to be disparaged in any way (AS/400 really was an excellent piece of gear, and bombproof for most things), but not quite like the mighty S360 VM/CMS universe.

IT Angle

Discuss: an unpopular opinion re: UPSes

Inspired by the discussion here about " UPS batteries dont last forever". UPSes never seem to kick in when they really need to: we've all heard stories of the UPS silently failing, or ruthlessly shutting down the server and causing its own damage, or the battery pack expanding until one day it looks like Jabba and cant do anyone any good, etc etc etc.

I posit that UPSes are actively harmful these days and what you should do is design applications and server subsystems with redundancy. e.g. independent power feeds into your data center, app pools/clusters than can survive nodes going AWOL, etc.

I could be convinced, but whenever I bring this up to colleagues they look at me with horror. Am I insane? (Don't answer that last bit.)

Hackers don't just want to pwn networks, they literally want to OWN your network – and no one knows they're there


Unlikely to change anytime soon

I am firmly of the opinion that absolutely nothing will change until businesses feel a direct, immovable financial impact from failing to secure their systems. I'm not talking about having to pay for a year of credit monitoring here, that is a fig leaf. You need something of similar monetary force to an audit statement that basically says, with force of perjury behind it, "my network is clean" like an audit statement says "my books are clean". Failing to have that, or having to retract it, is then to be ruthlessly punished by the market.

When businesses feel fear -- real, brown-trousered fear in the C-suite -- then they act. Until then, nothing much.

Are you sure you've got a floppy disk stuck in the drive? Or is it 100 lodged in the chassis?


Re: Reliability

Skimming through the comments at great speed my eyes caught "380Z" and my brain thought "interesting! I'll read that comment." Then my eyes saw the "40 years ago", my brain confirmed the maths, and I suddenly felt very old.

So I had one of these --->

Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo


Misses the point?

I think The Great Torvaldo is making one good point and missing the larger one. It is a scary thought to not be writing on the same platform that you are deploying on. Absolutely right. But it does not follow that you should stay on one, nor that choosing not to is futile.

For one, we can all tell stories of how Production turned out not to be like Dev because the latter had some dll or package that the former didn't. So you already have to have very strict processes for avoiding these types of snafus, and once you have those, you've broken the major objection to cross platform dev.

Secondly, the implication that building on x86 is the only way to establish quality is demonstrably false, when you think about it, there are many, many more non-x86 (eg arm) devices out in the field than x86, and they work well. Phones, routers, etc etc. So clearly the cross-building folks know what they are doing.

I do agree with ARM that having some rocket fast reference hardware would be a Good Thing though. One of the sad changes in Linux over the years has been the gradual dying off of non x86 Linux distros. It would be good to have some decent hw at a lower price point than x86 to resurrect that.

Mini computer flingers go after a slice of the high street retail Pi


Suggestion: killer store displays

In the Olden Days when bobajob12 was a wee lad, a small number of stores would have a reputation for their shop window display. The toy store would have, say, a model train running up and down the Alps with all the props (even if, inside, the best you could buy was a circular track and a map of Bradford). A couple of stores still do this for Christmas, e.g. Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

I wonder what incredible store displays an RPi store could come up with? You could even make it a competition.

Apple yoinks enterprise certs from Facebook, Google, killing internal apps, to show its power

Big Brother

Seems to me that FB and Google got caught with their hands in the cookie jar

I detect a little snark against Apple in this article, but FB and GOOG were being quite naughty here, and the rules of the Apple walled garden are very clear: you're a guest in their domain, and if you misbehave, you will be thrown out. FB wanted to slurp data, couldn't get that past the Apple censor, and tried to sneak around it.

So yeah, getting official Apple approval is like having a root canal, and they can be hellishly annoying, but on this one, I'm glad they slapped the miscreants down.

Sent my from Android device :)

You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files


Re: A file so large...

Not just MSFT. Filesystems are *hard*, though. It's not just a question of sed s/32/64/g and recompile. I mean look at the pain that Microsoft, who had a compelling need to fix theirs, had with the whole WinFS project for NT. They announced it as part of Cairo in --what, 1992? and it never completely shipped, even ten years later. I consider SGI XFS and Sun ZFS to be two of the best filesystems ever created and even they had issues.

As for the PST file format, though, you got me. That should have been set on fire at the earliest opportunity.

Another greybeard has left us: Packet pioneer Larry Roberts dies at 81


Re: TTL exceeded

@Mr Benny: If this is trolling, I take my hat off to you sir.

An improved version of token ring is one where the MAUs are filed, with great force, in the nearest bin.

(Though I did quite like ATM, which was touted as the Next Big Thing after TR)

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow


Re: Data Center Migrations and application errors

Yes! It seems that a commonly missed factor in migration planning is "what does the system look like now" - right down to inspecting log files for what "normal" really looks like. The gold standard is that a good system "runs clean" - you can explain EVERY entry in the logs, and there's nothing there you can't explain. Got a tiny little assert logged? Run it down. If you can't do that, then you had better know well in advance that these things are "normal" and that you shouldn't freak out after a migration when you see them again. It just cuts down on stress for everyone.


Re: took the day off




It's not just IT. People forget that infrastructure requires work to keep working, whether that infrastructure is your body, your water, or your IT.

Pick three people you think will replace Google Cloud CEO Greene, then forget them – because it's Thomas Kurian


Props to Greene

VMW, unlike Facebook, actually changed the world for the better. Props for that.

I recommend you all read the interview that Reid Hoffman did with her a while back. Fascinating stuff. PDF link.

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone


USB is a godsend, but

We should take a lesson from people who deal with drug users: harm reduction not behavior elimination.

Most people will be exposed to malware on a stick, but unlikely to be exposed to chip-level attacks. And they are never, ever going to stop plugging things they find into their computer.

So, what actions does a user need to take -- a real user, not a Reg reader, mind-- to protect themselves from nasties on the stick when they plug it in? This kind of stuff is too much.

Junior dev decides to clear space for brewing boss, doesn't know what 'LDF' is, sooo...



+1. In the classical period (1995-2005) being an enterprise DBA was pretty hard. You had to know your OS inside out, you had to understand how to do fast I/O and then you had to design the database, as in tune how tables should be laid out for maximal performance. Wasnae easy, cap'n.

These days, I'm not so sure (I'm out of the biz). Do Oracle admins still worry about tuning the SGA for example? Does anyone use raw block devices? Or is it all self-tuning and autonomous for all but the most esoteric setups?

DBA drifts into legend after inventive server convo leaves colleagues fearing for their lives


I think I know the shop under discussion

Let's say - they had their data processing operations in Osterly and were known for a shop building in Knightsbridge that was bedecked in lights?

Frankly, it's a miracle that they were running anything at all. I remember a summer working in their credit department where the workers had the thrilling task of microfilming credit card applications. One page at a time. It was like the sheet feeder had never existed.


Re: But can I get F1 on my BT account

Good Lord. Michigan Terminal System. There's a system I haven't thought about in a long time. I remember as a puny undergrad having to use the hideous terminals Programming Simula/67 and Fortran. The horror.

We (may) now know the real reason for that IBM takeover. A distraction for Red Hat to axe KDE

Black Helicopters

systemd dependency?

Perhaps, he says paranoically, GNOME is more tightly bound to systemd than KDE, therefore mandating GNOME as the future binds us into systemd ever more tightly.

Top AI conference NIPS won't change its name amid growing protest over 'bad taste' acronym


Tediously dull

I support a name change. Frankly the only people who would find "NIPS" amusing are those with the minds of 12-year-olds, but --breaking news, not!-- there are a remarkably high number of such folks in attendance at conferences. Including this one. So why give the puerile crowd anything extra to exercise their little minds over?

There's nothing inherently wrong with a name like NIPS. But the record of this and other similar conferences makes it susceptible to a rule I may as well call This Is Why You Can't Have Nice Things.

Roughly 30 years after its birth at UK's Acorn Computers, RISC OS 5 is going open source


Re: it was a joy to work in and ahead of it's time for creating structured code @Mage

Yes!! It's almost like you need a code that people can use for any purpose, with easy symbols and keywords, for beginners

A Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code perhaps.

I'll see myself out :)

Motorola: Oops, phone busted? Grab a spudger and go get 'em, champ


Interesting on the world-wide scale

Ignoring the very wealthy markets of North America, Chinese cities and Western Europe, this level of repairability could be huge. One of the things holding back smartphone adoption globally is that not only are they costly but they are a royal pain to fix.If you have a smartphone that your guy/gal in the market in Kigali or Bangladesh or the wildest corners of Romania can fix, you're on your way to global adoption.

It's what you might call the Toyota truck model (or, for older Reg readers, the 2CV effect, or perhaps the Land Rover Defender effect) - things that are fixable in market tend to get very widely adopted.

Can't get pranked by your team if nobody in the world can log on


Re: unpranked

True, although I'd rather be pranked with a rotated screen by the tech support people in the basement than stabbed in the back by an accountant with a spreadsheet on the top floor.

Time and place for everything, but a good manager who makes it very clear where the boundaries are also leaves space for the humor to grow, which contributes to better productivity for all.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...


Re: Put a heater in the safe then ?

You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days


Re: Ye Goode Olde Days

Is that a good sigh or a bad one?

Took me a year of cursing at WP5.1 before I knew enough keystrokes to be useful in it (the little plastic Fn key template being as useful as a chocolate teapot). But once I got it, ye gods, what a productive tool. Much as I like Word these days I still miss the fullscreen blue mode. Word even had a blue mode itself for a few years but sadly they ripped it out in recent versions.


Re: Alternative 2018 floppy disc put-down

Maybe this controller can help?


The best of times, the worst of times

I have a bit of nostalgia for the sheer variety of computing back then - 68K, 8080, even the weird-and-frankly-quite-broken stuff like the 80186 (IIRC Research Machines used to have a demo mode on their 80186 PCs that could play a little Bach fugue). And the tools, being forced to run in such compressed environments, were pretty clever (and cheap). TSRs like Sidekick. Zortech C for 29.99. The BBC Tube (I mean! Co-processors across an interconnect! For kids in schools!)

Then I remember just how hard it was to get anything done. CONFIG.SYS not exactly right? Sorry. Don;t remember the exact PEEK and POKE? Sorry. Segment:offset addressing? Yuck. It's a miracle anything happened.

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU


Re: Didn't ElReg just have a story about women-only coding camp?

If the point behind your anonymous comment is that the ACLU only ever take on cases that reflect some left-wing bias of theirs, I can assure you that they don't.

For example, right now they just filed suit in support of the NRA against the state of New York.(link). They came out in support of the white nationalists' right to protest in Charlottesville (link). Those are just two recent examples. If you want to go further back in time, they even defended Col. Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal. (link)

So, less of the cheap shots, eh?

A basement of broken kit, zero budget – now get the team running


Re: HMSO - How does one automate a PHB anyway?

Obligatory xkcd.

Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question


Re: New depths

They were salesdroids^Wthe people who find the revenue to pay your wages.

Fixed ^ 3.

Defense Distributed starts selling gun CAD files amid court drama


Cute, but not for long

I happen to think the defendant is a loon, but this sort of case was never going to fly. The Internet, notoriously, interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. Doesn't matter whether the 'censorship' is 'good' or 'bad'.

The really interesting cases will start when people start making these guns and hurting themselves or others. I predict an upswing in hand and facial injuries as the first experimenters discover that machining parts to close tolerances is, uh, quite important if you want that explosive projectile to go in the direction you want.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update


Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

Just think, someone on our planet has the job of pixelizing, uh, certain frames in such content.

Perhaps they use GIMP?


Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early


Re: "Can you turn it back on. Please?"

True, but @Mk4 didn't claim it was a hack job. For all we know, they could have documented it up the wazoo, pointed out it's criticality, and even gotten sign off from a Higher Being...but that's no guarantee that a busybody in another part of the org couldn't insist it be taken down.

Being real life, of course, this can go both ways:

A: "Ach, I'll just roll my own crypto". Busybody: "Hell no" - BB probably saved the day there.

A: "Ach, I'll just write some glue code" Busybody: "Hell no" - BB probably cost the company $$$ as now the swarms of IBM/SAP/$expensive consultants arrive to tear apart the business.

Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design


Re: Bridge rectifier?

Check out Derek Lowe's chem blog for more on this. Like: "Imagine 6 skunks wrapped in rubber innertubes and the whole thing is set ablaze. That might approach the metaphysical stench of this material"



Re: Plot twist? What plot twist?

In many parts of the world, Bangladesh included, the concept of make-it-work trumps adherence to "code", or saftey, or anything we take for granted in the developed world. See https://huqelberry.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/crazy-cables/ for an example (from Pakistan). You see it and you are simultaneously impressed and horrified!

Drink this potion, Linux kernel, and tomorrow you'll wake up with a WireGuard VPN driver


Re: "It is time, therefore, for WireGuard to be properly integrated into Linux."

Hey, hands off my 3c509!

India mulls ban on probes into anonymized data use – with GDPR-style privacy laws


Re: Follow the money

An AC asked for a source on Singapore. I use that as one example. The key tenet is that the EU needs to have made an "adequacy decision" for a country, and Singapore isn't on that list, ergo, is not considered adequate by the EU.

Here's the official word from the EU: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/data-transfers-outside-eu/adequacy-protection-personal-data-non-eu-countries_en

And here's a link from a local Singapore law site: https://lawgazette.com.sg/feature/the-new-european-general-data-protection-regulation/




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