* Posts by HandleAlreadyTaken

98 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Oct 2016


Twitter layoffs were bad but Meta's mass ejections could take the cake


Re: Which makes me wonder

I find it somewhat ironic that you call (old) FB users dumb and at the same time seem to think TikTok is the smart choice of younger people.

Claims of AI sentience branded 'pure clickbait'


Not sentient?

>AI chatbots are not sentient – they have just got better at tricking humans into thinking they might be

Just like politicians, then...

Japan makes online insults a crime that can earn a year in jail


Re: I approve

>Free speech does not mean free of consequence.

Yup, just like it was in Soviet Russia. They had full freedom of speech, didn't they? Everybody was free to criticize communism! Of course, afterwards they got packed away to gulags, or worse, but they should have known freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences.

Microsoft brings tabs to File Explorer


Still awful to use

After I don't know how many years, File Explorer is still awkward to use and annoying. In the old days there were lots of alternative file managers, like XTree, Norton Commander and others. Pretty much all of them were better than File Explorer.

Personally, I'm using Total Commander, a tool that inherits the model of the ancient Norton Commander, and is still maintained by Christian Ghisler. IMO it remains the best file manager. I seriously think MS should buy or license it and ship it with Windows instead of File Explorer.

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity


Had something similar happen long ago, when our biggest customer complained one of the computers at a remote branch had a defective 5 inch floppy unit (yes, it was *that* long ago). The customer didn't give us any other details, but they were adamant this needs to fixed ASAP, so I flew 400 kms with a shoulder bag full of spares. When I got there and asked the local worker to show me the issue, she stuck a floppy in a narrow gap between the case and the actual reader. I opened the computer's case and found something like ten disks piled on the bottom. At least I got a chance to visit the city on the customer's dime :)

The next time your program is 'not responding,' (do not) try these steps


Re: How about not using Windows?

>All you need is one.

But all you get is none.

Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay


Re: And next week

>It is the same for Walmart, both these companies are routinely vilified because they refuse to be extorted by unions!

Personally, I vilify Walmart because their employees are treated so badly they need tax-payer support, via Medicaid, food stamps and others. This means part of the billions in dollars of profit Walmart makes is stolen from me and other tax-payers, even if we never stepped inside one of their stores. The extortionist isn't the Union - it's Walmart, and tax-payers are the victims.

If unionizing Walmart means they will start paying employees enough to get them off state support, than more power to the unions, says I.

Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future


Re: Half full or empty

As a one percenter, I say "This cup? It's not my cup! My cup was full! AND it was a bigger cup!"

(badly quoted from Terry Pratchett, the source of all wisdom)

Alibaba Cloud adds third datacenter in Germany


Only two?

My impression was that Azure has a geographical distribution comparable to AWS, and that both have considerably more regions than Google, so I was surprised to see only two regions for Azure (putting it even below Alibaba's three in Europe). It took me about two minutes to confirm: the author either missed or intentionally skipped a whole bunch of Azure regions in Europe, while counting all the AWS and Google ones, even some not available yet. From their page here, Azure also has active regions in the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and planning new ones in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain.

It was probably poor research rather than intentional misrepresentation, but either way I'm not really impressed.

A discounting disaster averted at the expense of one's own employment


Re: Alarming, fired.

Well, if you don't charge for the source and you don't charge for support, how would you pay your developers?

BOFH: The evil guide to upgrading switches


Re: Virtual Friday BOFH

>Painting bloody Easter eggs? Eating walls?

Painting Easter eggs (often the color of blood) is an ancient tradition in Eastern Europe. Eating walls, not so much...

Huawei reportedly furloughs Russian staff and stops taking orders


In this case, "illegal" could be interpreted as "contrary to international law" - though I'm not a lawyer and couldn't quote the relevant law chapter and verse.

I personally think a moral difference exists between say the Allied invasion of Sicily in '43 and the Putin invasions of Ukraine - so we do need some word to highlight this difference. I believe "illegal" works well enough for this purpose.

Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?


Only four?

Let's see, phone, tablet (e-mail, web browsing), work PC, work secure laptop, big home computer (photo editing, some limited video editing, games), home TV PC (two of them for two rooms), the older all-in-one still used occasionally for older games. There's also an older tablet now reserved for watching Netflix while doing cardio. With the Synology NAS that doubles as a Kodi and Git server it adds up to ten - and all of them get used at least once a week.

India reveals home-grown server that won't worry the leading edge



Is this bullshit as a service? If so, there's plenty of prior art...

Antitrust battle latest: Google, Facebook 'colluded' to smash Apple's privacy protections


Re: Does big tech ever learn

Yup, it's almost a mirror case. Also funny how Google was an enthusiastic participant in the Microsoft antitrust case, and now it's doing the exact things they were complaining about at the time. Goose, gander, eh?

I wonder whether the DOJ has learned something from the Microsoft case too. At the time there was talk about breaking up Microsoft in separate companies, making it difficult to use their monopoly in some area to push a monopoly in a different one, but it didn't happen in the end. I personally think it unlikely, but maybe this time they'll decide to break Google up, and move the ad business to a separate company (who can FOAD).

Danish artist pockets museum's cash and calls it art... and other stories


Great (blank) future

He can probably build a very successful career selling empty canvases, with a certificate proving that *he*, a recognized artist, is the one that did not paint them, and not some dabbling dilettante

Scientists took cues from helicopter seeds to invent tiny microchips that float on wind


Smells like cancer

It should be fun breathing in what amounts to sharp bits of glass floating around in the air...

Is it OK to use stolen data? What if it's scientific research in the public interest?


>Saving lives will certainly right the wrong. No problem, right ?

That's certainly a position long supported by the ones in power. A certain illustrious organization, dedicated to working for God's greater glory used to say: Cum finis est licitus, etiam media sunt licita - that is, when the end is lawful, then the means are lawful.

Engineers work to open Boeing Starliner's valves as schedule pressures mount


Re: "assumed Boeing knew what it was doing."

what a SpaceX aeroplane would be like.

Well, to begin with, there'd be no instruments, indicators or controls. The dashboard will be instead covered with a low quality plastic, looking like seventies' Formica furniture, and have an iPad stuck in the middle. The iPad wouldn't be facing towards the pilot, and it won't be moveable, but all the pilot needs to do is to stop looking out and turn his head towards the iPad (maybe lean back a little). That's ok, because the outside is pretty boring anyway - just clouds and stuff. All the relevant information like attitude or radar is displayed on the iPad, though of course, the screen would be modal, so the controls won't all be available in all modes. However, there's a very good chance the pilot would be able to see the attitude almost immediately (unless the iPad is currently playing music or showing maps, or maybe on the settings screen). Also, for simplicity, there won't be any physical buttons or levers for controlling the plane; instead, the iPad would provide touch controls for flaps and what not, all easily accessible only a few levels of menus down from the main screen.

Firefox 91 introduces cookie clearing, clutter-free printing, Microsoft single sign-on... so where are all the users?


Re: Bold move

play up Google's control over both the browser and many of the most popular destinations as well as most of the web based advertising as the negative it is.

Given that Mozilla still suckles at Google's tit for financing, I doubt they'd be willing to go with such an adversarial approach.

Pre-orders open for the Mini PET 40/80, the closest thing to Commodore's classic around


Re: The PETs inspired me.

>In a museum now. The machine, not me.

(Artificial intelligence): Soon... soon...

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful


Re: You have my sympathies...

>Have you seen the NEEO?

Not yet, but thanks for the tip! The NEEO looks good at first glance, and it's cheap enough that I can try it without major regrets.


Re: My television wants me dead, or just gibbering in a 'special' ward.

>In the end the fix was to update the firmware on the TV (it had been a while since I checked) which gave me a completely new and more slow/useless front end

But didn't the new firmware also bring ads to your home screen? I think the inconvenience of a slow front end pales against the satisfaction of being marketed to every moment of your life, don't you?


Re: You have my sympathies...

Well, then you will be glad to know Logitech has discontinued the Harmony remote controls; so don't throw away the old remotes. If your Harmony breaks, you may not find another one (or be able to program it, if Harmony also closes their programming support. They say they won't, but who trusts what a company says anymore?)

I'm in the same boat; I have one of Logitech's ancient Harmony models, which has been doing stalwart work, but is starting to get long in the tooth. I looked for alternatives, but I couldn't really find a good one. I don't understand why this niche in the market isn't filled by somebody.

Hi, Congress. FTC here. It would be so wonderful if you could let us recover money stolen from victims by crooks


Re: What's going on?

Perhaps a good example of "magical thinking" is the widespread American belief that free market principles should apply to health care. Various fixes proposed for health care tend to go into the direction of making the market "more free", by example by easing regulations and lowering the bar for various insurance companies to provide "market driven solutions".

This, IMHO, is a direct result of the belief a free market somehow solves all problems under the sun. I think what we want from a healthcare system is to maximize health. However, a free market is a great tool for maximizing profits, and, unsurprisingly, that's just what it does. It maximizes the profits of insurance companies and other entities. What it doesn't do is improve health - because it wasn't designed for that.

The results of this thought process are easily visible - health care in America is more expensive than in most other developed countries, has worse results on average, and the difference in the quality of health care for the rich and the poor is larger than in most other places, and growing.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends


Re: Modem warbling WAV file

My nephew had no clue what the ringing sound at the beginning of Pink Floyd's "Time" was. I was listening to it once, and he asked me - "Did you have cell phones at that time?"

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?


Re: No, it's just the result of an "upgrade"

>Phones and their app are upgraded all the time.

Not just phones unfortunately; nowadays your TV, light bulbs, even cars are getting the same over-the-air auto-upgrade treatment. Seeing how well this worked for computers and phones, that's really scary.

Microsoft and Google, sitting in a tree, working on browser compatibility



> The ad slinger's involvement in the Compat 2021 project augers well for progress.

So the next browser version will come with nice wooden panels?

Who watches the watchers? Samsung does so it can fling ads at owners of its smart TVs


Re: I was going to look at a Samsung 50" TV - to buy one today, in fact.

>neither are transmitting any more data than diagnostics and usage info (i.e: screen-on time, app start and stop) of the specific device

Why would you think this is acceptable? This lets a potential attacker infer at what times you're usually at home, whether you're on vacation, and, if they also transmit the current channel or any other program metadata, what are your preferences, and probably also political and/or religious leaning. Sounds far beyond what I'd be comfortable with.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended


Re: Static

>You're all too young!

>My first own PC was an 80286 with the RAM upgraded to 1MB from the standard 512KB.

Well, you're quite a spring chicken too then :)

My first PC used an 8086 (yeah, with the whole 16 bit data path!), running at a glorious 4.77 MHz, packed full with 640 kb of RAM (which was enough for everybody)! And it had a whooping 20 Mb disk, so enormous that the OS couldn't even conceive such a thing could exist - so I had to split it in a 4Mb and a 16 Mb partition

We're suing Google for harvesting our personal info even though we opted out of Chrome sync – netizens


Re: Their outlook

>Not going a way mad, just going away where you can not find me.

Hah, joke's on you. They can find you anywhere.

Companies toiling away the most on LibreOffice code complain ecosystem is 'beyond utterly broken'


Re: It's quite clear where the money is:

>Sell the software for £0 and charge for support, retraining and consultancy

I think this business model creates all the wrong incentives.

- in order to sell support, the product must *need* support - if the software is stable and rock solid, companies will see that and save on support they never need to use.

- to make money from retraining users, the software must change so much between versions that normal users can't just install the new version and become productive by themselves.

- if you want to sell consultancy services, the product must be difficult to use - or at least, difficult to use efficiently; that also discourages the developer from writing sufficient documentation and/or tools.

- if you want to sell tailored extensions to companies, you'll have to deal with other folks, who haven't invested any time or effort in writing the software but can take your code, study it, then declare themselves experts and undercut you in the extensions market. To maintain some competitive advantage over them, your code must be difficult and obfuscated enough that they can't discover all the details by simply examining it.

If you reverse the model, and take money upfront, but offer cheap or free support (maybe as a warranty), then all the incentives are reversed: support becomes a cost, so you want your product to be as solid as possible, easy to use, easy to upgrade and consistent over upgrades (because upgrades are the way you, the developer get more money). People to write extensions and plugins on top of your software are now driving more sales, so they become helpers, not competition.

Microsoft drops a little surprise thank-you gift for sitting through Build: The source for GW-BASIC


Re: Only 45 years late?

>I skipped on MS Basic till VB5.

But did you really? If you used BASIC on a Commodore (PET all the way to the 128), an Apple (II+ forwards), a TRS-80, any of the MSX machines, a Thompson or Olivetti, or even an Altair 8080, then you used a BASIC written or licensed from Microsoft.

I/O, I/O, new Android soon on show: What's coming up at Google's dev conference


I/O, I/O, new Android soon

This really makes me think of Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! for some reason...

It's a no to ZFS in the Linux kernel from me, says Torvalds, points finger of blame at Oracle licensing


Re: The problem is not Oracle (for once)

>What BSD makes it "freer" to do is steal code and falsely claim ownership of if.

Bullshit. Utter bullshit.

If developer A releases some code under a BSD license, nobody can claim ownership over that code. Developer B can modify or extend A's code, and may choose not to release his changes to all and sundry, but he can't claim ownership over A's code. A third party, C, can still use the original code released by A with no restrictions. What B gets is the freedom to choose how to release his code.

GPL advocates like you are the choosing beggar subset of third parties, bellyaching because A didn't force B to give them his (B's) code as well. To obfuscate the issue, they take a page from Orwell's book and redefine "freedom" to mean "more restrictions" and "free" as in "taking away choices".

You could perhaps argue that the GPL promotes sharing, or that it creates a more vibrant ecosystem - and that may be true. The kind of word games you're trying instead doesn't hold though.

Amazon: Trump photon-torpedoed our $10bn JEDI dream because he hates CEO Jeff Bezos


>immediately after any head of government ended their tenure, a formal investigation were to be started as a matter of routine to determine whether any criminal offences were committed by their government whilst in power

Terry Pratchett has an even better solution:

“We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?’


‘It saves time.”

Beware the trainee with time on his hands and an Acorn manual on his desk


Fun with assembly

My first job was in the data center of a building company, who had a PDP-11 clone, running RSX-11. The data center team consisted of a number of data input operators, and a couple of IT guys that handled system administration, running the accounting and inventory suites, and sometimes writing some small custom programs for the data input people. Having too much time on my hands, I went and studied PDP-11 assembly and the OS system calls. I thus discovered that, when the ABO (ABORT) command is issued for a program, the OS calls a particular entry point into the program - and, using assembly, one could hook into the system call and return a code that rejected the abort.

The evil plan was thus hatched; I wrote a small program that wrapped the "Dungeon" game; when the wrapper was run, it started the real game, but remained resident. Every few minutes, the program would write a line to the console ("Hello, this is the teaser") and would beep. When the operator tried to abort the teaser, it would reply with an angry message and refuse to quit. I was still a nice guy then, so I added a solution: if the operator ran ABO three times, the teaser would exit (after complaining bitterly about feeling unloved).

I gave the tape with the Dungeon game and my wrapper to a friend in a sister company; he ran the wrapper, and ended up beeped every few minutes. He didn't discover the 3 times ABORT trick; instead he turned off the console and went to play the game on a different one. Other folks in the team (his team was bigger then ours) saw him playing Dungeon, and tried it too, with the same result - my friend told me the afternoon ended up with all consoles beeping randomly ("it was like birds singing", he said), and they finally rebooted the computer to get rid of all the teaser instances.

D'aw! They still have hope! Interns make a song and dance of their summer at Microsoft


Re: Microsoft Interns?

Well, a Microsoft intern makes about $7100 per month (ignoring all other perks, like free laptops or whatnot); I expect lots of people would be glad to be as miserable as they are...

Q. If machine learning is so smart, how come AI models are such racist, sexist homophobes? A. Humans really suck


> If the input data set is not carefully screened then obviously it will contain biases, which in turn will influence the models. Screening of the input dataset might not be an option because of the sheer volume of data required.

If you intentionally filter the input data to get a particular result, then you'll get the result you want to get - it's a tautology. However the resulting model will be useless.

The correct procedure is not to screen the input data at all - on the contrary, you should ensure your data collection procedure is as thorough and unbiased as possible, so that it doesn't unintentionally introduce bias. If the volume of data is large enough, outliers will be averaged out, and then your model has the best chance to match reality.

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


Re: Changing Wallpaper can have career enhancing effects

A colleague had set his desktop background to a photo of him with his wife, on a bridge. He left the machine unlocked once, so I replaced the photo with a photoshopped version, with his wife removed (the background being foliage, the clone tool did a pretty good job).

The next day, when he turned on his machine, we all assured him his wife was only gone to do some shopping and will be back soon.

Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers


Re: The only conspiracy

>Which book?

He said, didn't he? The good one.

Data flows in a no-deal Brexit are a 'significant' concern – MPs


Re: A cynic would say

>Damnit, all analogies on tech web sites are meant to involve cars.

...it's like you've spent the last few years calling the barman a Leyland Mini, but still expect him to sell you beer at a discount.

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently


Re: Google are cunts

>If you dont like it fuck off and never use a google service again

If only it were that simple... Unfortunately, Google will not stop tracking you, no matter whether you use their services or not. There is no way to opt out of the stalking - online or in real life.

Any number of non-Google web sites (such as, to pick a completely random example, theregister.co.uk) will call google-analytics.com, googletagservices.com, googleapis.com, gstatic.com, or who knows what other Google properties, and snitch on you. At least in the USA, Google buys or otherwise collects more than two thirds of the credit card transactions you make in brick and mortar stores. Any breath you take, any move you make, they'll be watching you.

Big Red's big pay gap: $13,000 gulf between male and female Oracle staffers – reports


Re: All else being equal...

The numbers I saw bandied around the internet put the difference between male and female wages between 10% and 30% (allegedly for the same work). Especially in labor-heavy businesses, having a 10 to 30 percent lower cost is a crushing advantage over the competition. So why don't all-female (including HR) companies simply out-compete the sexist ones?

French data watchdog dishes out largest GDPR fine yet: Google ordered to hand over €50m


Tiny mammoth

>Mammoth fine...

Not much of a mammoth though. The law allows a maximum fine proportional to the company's income (up to 4%) - but 50 million is not even 0.05% of Google's annual income. They can find this much in their other pants.

As to the zoological classification, if a fine of 4% is the mammoth (weighing say 5 tons), then 0.05% corresponds to about 60 kg - so this is at most a small sheep fine.

IBM HR made me lie to US govt, says axed VP in age-discrim legal row: I was ordered to cover up layoffs of older workers


Re: Changes staying the same

Here's a French site, which also provides the source of the quotation (journalist Alphonse Karr): https://www.histoire-en-citations.fr/citations/Karr-plus-ca-change-plus-c-est-la-meme-chose

Linux reaches the big five (point) oh


Re: 3.23 & 4.21

>3.23 & 4.21

Personally, I prefer 25 Or 6 To 4

Corel – yeah, as in CorelDraw – looks in its Xmas stocking and discovers... Parallels


Re: "WordPerfect was the original dominant wordprocessor on MS Windows"

>Windows spelled its end, because it couldn't adapt to the new GUI quickly enough.

I was a hardcore user of WordPerfect under DOS (I still believe WP 5.1 is the pinnacle of word processors), at the point where I had pretty much all key combinations (with Shift, Ctrl and Alt too) already burned down to muscle memory.

When I had to switch to Windows, I found, much to my surprise, that most of the key combos didn't work anymore in WP for Windows. However, they did work with the WP compatibility mode of Word for Windows! I had to switch to Word because, ironically, it was a better WordPerfect than WordPerfect.

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence


Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

>A "beowolf" has several meanings - one of which deals with clusters of processing/data nodes.

You're thinking about a Beowulf cluster. A "beowolf" is a wolf designed by Bang & Olufsen. Very slim and stylish, but at a price above industry average.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity


Re: Electricity

>IT related songs

I like Bad Religion's "I Love My Computer"; it reminds me of the better, more innocent days before Google and Facebook...