* Posts by W.S.Gosset

786 posts • joined 18 Nov 2016


'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans

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Windows NT was POSIX-compliant from the get-go. To be clear: any (grownup) Unix app could be cross-compiled with only compiler-driven porting. AKA tweaking microscopies, no restructuring.

Cf. Cygwin.


N.B.: all MSWindows versions descended from NT (XP downwards (in every sense of the word except security)) are built on the NT kernel. Updated internally but architecturally conformant. Yes, including Win10.

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

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IT Angle




Back when the huge shocking thing that felt like the end of the world was Australia on fire, it turns out telcos held up all right

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"Amusingly", one of the BIG fires in NSW was started by a substation which had been cabled up incorrectly. The electricians had physically connected the wrong wires in the cable to the wrong wires in the substation.

Add lots of load as the nearby network has lots of bits melt, and.... BOOM!

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Re: Something confused?

Freudian slip.

Zoom's end-to-end encryption isn't actually end-to-end at all. Good thing the PM isn't using it for Cabinet calls. Oh, for f...

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Re: Saturn ...

Or in covid-19's case, his grandparents

Australian state will install home surveillance hardware to make sure if you're in virus isolation, you stay there

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Re: "mortality rate is estimated between 3-5%"

To put it another way:

His point is backed up by salient authorities.

Disliking facts, or at least valid hard analyses of end results' relativities, is not, I feel, a good reason to disparage ad hominem those who mention them.

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Re: "mortality rate is estimated between 3-5%"

Actually, he appears to have independently arrived at the original global official medical advice.

That was only revised in favour of "flattening the curve" after it became apparent that local resource limits meant that ICUs would be maxed out.

Imperial College London's subsequent modelling predicts that it WILL happen anyway, in what they term "a second wave", in the period prior to their best estimates of when a vaccine will pass testing and be rolled out in scale.

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Re: allow some disaffected jerk to create a virus with high contagion and high mortality

Actually, a DNA printer was announced and demonstrated in 2016 (2015?).

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Re: No it wasnt

Bear in mind, WA's government is Labor. (Faux)Left.

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Re: liquid bombs

I agree with your larger point.

But the liquid bomb thing is real. Surprisingly.

Example: the standard issue USA police/FBI demolition explosive is 2 clear liquids. Visually indistinguishable from water and with little to no scent, easily masked. Separately, inert; mixed, they are about as powerful as dynamite.

You can see an example for yourself if you dig up the Mythbusters episode where they blow up a cement mixer truck in a quarry. Their police buddy is shown prepping the explosive.

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Re: re 3-5%

Italy's is much higher, but 87% of their fatalities are over 80yo. (Numbers per newspaper report on weekend) Per China's figures, that would imply about 15% fatality rate, so implication is that China's figures are overstated, comprise a hard fatality number but only a subset of actual infections.

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re 3-5%

Australia's death rate is less than 1%.

BUT we have been testing a lot more than most countries.

Australia didn't blame China for parliament hack in case it upset trade relations – report

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Re: state of affair

> and if you can travel abroad.

Much harder/harsher than that, actually.

You can't even buy a domestic train or bus ticket if your Social Credit score is too low. Various well-documented instances already.

Sunday: Australia is shocked UK would consider tracking mobile data to beat pandemic. Monday: Australia to deploy drone intimidation squads

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Re: We now stand on the cliff edge facing the end.

> 5% of the population now controls/owns 95% of the world's wealth

Something to consider re this observation:

This is by far the LEAST imbalance/inequity in the history of mankind, with the exception of the post-war 50s60s manufacturing explosion in parts of The West. The impact of which is still subsiding, sharply accelerated by, unfortunately, people like us: technologists and engineers proudly solving interesting problems and eliminating poor people's jobs. Not because we're evil, but because its FUN. And we never twig the consequences for other people until too late, if at all. If you want to point the finger at by far the greatest creator of poverty in the last 3-400 years, you have to point the finger at US.

Re nonWest and glorious noncapitalism, which I suspect was your intended underlying theme: I recently read a Chinese propaganda book from the early 1980s. As part of their Show YOU Who's Best! theme, it proudly trumpeted that the country people were SO RICH now, that most of them cooked with COAL fires. (most...) Take THAT, you vicious-tramplers-of-the-poor capitalists!

Dell publishes data centre cleaning guidance, suggests hiring pros to disinfect enterprise kit

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> Used on horses dunno what for

Liniment. For their muscles. Used to be standard for humans, too; cf. "rubbing alcohol".

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Re: Isopropyl Alcohol

See Table II in my link immediately below for effectiveness of all the usual suspects.

Both of these are effective but sodium hypochlorite looks more so: 0.5% hydrogen peroxide kills 60% (log(4)) in 1 minute, whereas 0.2% bleach kills 60% in 30 seconds.

Note that a common ingredient of disinfecting soaps, chlorhexidine digluconate, is NOT very effective.

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Re: Isopropyl Alcohol

Sorry, I was referring only to coronavirus effectiveness. Yes, 70% is best for bacteria and bacteria is the major problem in most hospitals so this is the standard formulation.

Versus viruses, however, and specifically coronaviruses, 75% typically shows better effectiveness than 70%. I noticed it when plowing thru tables of research results. Eg, you'll notice here: {Journal of Hospital Infection: Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents}, that 75% is 20% more effective than both 70% and 100% vs coronaviruses : log(4) vs log(3.3).

You'll also note from there that ethanol seriously dominates isopropyl alcohol. So maybe get the meths out of the fridge and use that instead.

One problem with 100% is that a crust can form around/over the virus, protecting and leaving live virus underneath it.

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Isopropyl Alcohol

Just by the bye: for max.effectiveness as disinfectant, you have to dilute isopropanol -- the water acts as catalyst re membrane penetration. 75% is peak effectiveness, so pour out 1/4 and top up with distilled/deionised water.

Having said that, you need to soak surfaces for about a minute to kill 50% of most coronaviruses, and alcohols evaporate much faster, so you could apply the rat's arse rule. Or bleach.

Interestingly, dry handrubbing done properly works slightly better than using gels or disinfectantsoap (page 38, WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care), which matches rather a lot of researching showing that proper+lengthy handwashing beats magic potions + 3 seconds gesturing.

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Insta challenge!

Can we get some sort of meme challengey thing where everyone posts videos of themselves licking a server?

It works better if everyone's pretty -- I saw that on the internet.

Tencent is now bigger than Cisco and Lenovo – and predicts this virus thingy will help it get bigger still

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Re: looking forward to them being put forward for hearing loss tests.


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Re: Constantly confused

hey these timestamps are weird, eh? my post's is showing 2 mins earlier than yours but appearing below it.

we both had basically the same thought :D

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At this rate, they'll have to change their name to Fiddy.

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

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Re: Theranos?

> No, I'm sure he fought The Avengers...

No, I'm sure the Flask was DC not Marvel...

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Say what, now?

> the worst pandemic that the world has known for 100 years

Errr... try 10 (11?). And that's only because the later MiddleEast one fizzled.

And the 1950s & 1960s pandemics killed over a million people each.

Factor in that the epidemiologists are saying coronavirus's actual mortality rate is much lower than its already-low apparent mortality rate (on the basis of more people being currently infected than are aware of being infected, because of its relatively slight symptoms and because its symptoms mimic ordinary cold+flu).

Basically, if you're not in your 70s+ or you haven't got CVD/heart problems or diabetes, you're looking at a normal flu season. During which many thousands die routinely each year.

C'mon, ElReg, don't YOU start in on the hysteria meme, too. We expect better from your beacon of sanity.

Supply, demand and a scary mountain of debt: The challenges facing IT as COVID-19 grips the global economy

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Re: There's been some interesting reports about antimalarials having some effectiveness

Actually, it's a combination of 2 drugs: 1 standard anti-HIV drug, and 1 previously-standard-now-defunct antimalarial (gathering dust in many warehouses) whose name I can't remember (chloriquinone?)

And yes, in Aussie testing it's wiped the virus in every recipient. But only in a sample of about a dozen so far I think.

So please god maybe news of this will stop the hysteria. The virus itself is only slightly more dangerous than the various flus over the years, the only real oddity being its age-mortality being the inverse of flu. Rat's arse. The HYSTERIA, on the other hand, is likely to do some real damage. (A poignant example: the Fujian hotel being used for quarantine , collapsed. Death count 29 before halted, but hey! not from coronavirus right?!)

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Re: seems..to have no idea what "left wing" means and confuses it with "..socially progressive."

To be fair to Khaptain, Benson'sCycle, your usage is essentially never seen outside academia. "Would-be socially progressive" would be a fair description of how "left wing" has been used by 99% of westerners for many decades, certainly since WWII. (The NHS was left wing at the time.) It extends the original core concept, to include the acquisition of implied social status by forcing others to change (without responsibility: always appealing to a higher virtue's demands).

The core original concept was that of being offended by another's wealth or privilege relative to oneself, and seeking to destroy it or preferably acquire it. (At country level, only the latter has been seen in practice : revolutions never destroy differences in wealth/power but instead transfer them to new owners, typically those urging the need for urgent change.)

Disinterested observers typically note strong hypocrisy amongst these activists, and their poster boy Karl Marx certainly stands as a representative example:

* Marx sustained his preferred lifestyle of privilege by sponging off a trustafarian rich boy.

* Marx wrote that he despised Engels' girlfriend because she was "too common".

America: We'll send citizens cash checks amid coronavirus financial hardship. UK: We'll offer £330bn in biz loans

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Re: UK Contractors

A/ I was pointing out Opportunity. An additional capacity/capability. I was NOT seeking to imply that contractors all desperately need a large sum of cash or else catastrophe.

B/ Having said that, this opportunity is transient so I would think if the terms are near-0 then it only makes sense to avail oneself of this free money. If you're cash-blocked on a particular asset you need, then you can get it. Or clear a high-cost debt (AKA re-financing). Or, if you're just in normal-town, then to invest somewhere (eg in UK: an ISA) -- you then, for free, earn the difference between the investment and the near-0 funding cost. Government-guaranteed too, so will not affect your credit rating or access to future credit eg mortgage.

(My trading&fundsmgt background is showing :)

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UK Contractors

The vast bulk of UK IT contractors are "businesses" (per Company House/commercial status irrespective of separate tax IR35 status) and therefore should qualify for these guarantees/loans.

Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, surely has no frozen water, right? Guess again: Solar winds form ice

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Re: Temperatures can soar over 400C

M. Christin would be far from the first and far from the last person to have his/her contribution written out of the science paradigm by Tha Boyz. :) E.g., the chap who discovered that arteries work precisely the opposite way round from "medical science"'s understanding, not only did not get the Nobel Prize for it, but the 2 chaps who excitedly asked to help him out on some subsequent work DID. I was there at the Royal Institution when its head did the scientific community version of tearing the Nobel Committee a new arsehole for this. Very publicly with the lights on him, cameras rolling, going internationally. Didn't work -- the committee is as answerable as ICANN. There is more arbitrariness and bitchiness in "science" than you can poke a pointed stick at.

Having said that, "Celsius" works better as a scale-name than Christin. I reckon. ;)

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Re: Temperatures can soar over 400C

Well-lllll.... the chap who picked up the hourglass and observed that it made more sense for time to run forwards than backwards, so maybe the numbers being jotted down should go up over time rather than down, certainly has developed something markedly more sane and useful and contributory than the first.

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Re: Temperatures can soar over 400C

Sorry jake, HildyJ's correct. The scale we use was created by a Frenchman. Jean-Pierre Christin.

The scale Celsius created was identically centigrade but inverted: water boiled at 0° and froze at 100°.

If you're looking for a textbook example of an IT hype cycle, let spin be your guide

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Re: Optical metamaterials are just rescaled RF antenna theory

I agree with both of you, but Paul you take a quantum step upwards in scope and perspicacity with your final point re mindset change & reimagining of potential for use. An excellent observation, an outstanding one.

Control is only an illusion, no matter what you shove on the Netware share

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I mostly use Dropbox, for precisely this reason. It even keeps a dozen or so history snapshots of each file: a lifesaver if a file gets corrupted.

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DIY TimeMachine

NB: it is trivial to roll your own TM on any unix via shell -- I wrote mine in '96 on SunOS, just to get round a company's lack of source-control tools and to facilitate tiny per-client diffs in source autoexpanding to custom client-specific full-installs. In essence, run a find over $SOURCEROOT to walk the tree, create $DESTROOTNEW dirs on on any dir node, on all other nodes diff $SOURCEROOT $DESTROOTOLD, if no change create link in $DESTROOTNEW, else copy new file to $DESTROOTNEW. The end.

TM uses hardlinks; I used symlinks for easy auditability.

Quite useful for graphics+video workers actually. Intra-workingday TM backups explode as even tiny changes in multigb files each get a full copy taken. Rollyourown to set cycletime differently for those directories, and to trim out unnecessary snapshots intelligently (e.g., keep rolling 10min snapshots for 3 hours' rollback horizon intraday, then only EOD).

And can do so across your whole backups too: add "compression" of old backups by trimming out old intra-month/intra-quarter/intra-sixmonthly/etc snapshots. Trivial to do: just inspect (regex) snapshot-sets' filename-timestamp-pattern, rm -ring any matching set.

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Re: Ransomware? Not so much.

Actually, TimeMachine WILL protect vs ransomware. Pre-ransomwarechanges' State is preserved ; you get copies of both pre- & post-ransomware State in your TM backup, appropriately timestamped.

Google reveals the wheels almost literally fell off one of its cloudy server racks

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Re: Apparently the front fell off.

Harder to tow now, though, without any wheels.

( +1 for the Fred Dagg / John Clarke reference! )

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Re: Earthquakes

> it's what all the DC providers in the Bay Area and Seattle do

Most of the *BIG* datacentres are now in Arizona: close to west coast, but cheaper energy and --key point-- no earthquakes.


Downside for the locals: the massive banks of refrigerators generate a low hum which drives many people bananas. Becoming an exponentially larger issue as the DC providers pile into Arizona, and are taking up land startlingly close to town. E.g., one 57-acre building on an 85-acre lot, in Phoenix, next to the park and coupla hundred yards from Nandos.

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Re: Or to put it another way, there's at least sixty people like you in the UK.

OT, but this line reminded me:

The standard UK forensics DNA test (police, court, etc) is for budget reasons sharply cut-down in accuracy compared to other countries' tests. And appears to be less accurate, have more variability, than 1-in-a-million.

So that UK DNA tests will show you have at least 59 clones, just in the UK, and probably more. Your honour.

Quick, show this article to the boss, before they ask you to spin your own crisis comms Power App in 2 days

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Re: MS Excel has an internal competitor?

1/ Perspective point: those quants generate ~50% of most banks' P&L. Despite being apparently 1-2% of the bank. If they drained 50% of your global resources, the bank'd be quite happy with that: break-even point.

2/ I've been both sides of the inside/outside fence in several countries Ties 1-3 banks, and as both developer and manager. e.g. I put together the world's first enterprise-ready credit derivatives trading AND structuring platform, and I put together a way to plug Excel directly into (most) trading systems AND use it directly as the pricing/analytic engine (with no coding: the s/sheet model becomes the code). And I'm afraid that the bank staff nearly always had a towering sense of how to fiddle around and waste time, and serious antagonism to just nailing what the business needs. Factor in a buying process that routinely had them locking in platforms that didn't fit well. And so re the quants: "the tech which governs them" is almost guaranteed to be regarded by them as irritation context rather than something to take on board.

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MS Excel has an internal competitor?

> Power Apps is Microsoft's platform for no-code application development, intended to empower users to come up with solutions without the need to trouble the IT department.

Errr.... that's been MS Excel for 35 years.

With ENORMOUS success.

(e.g., you would be staggered to learn how much the wholesale banking+finance sector relies on Excel behind the scenes, to get around the shortcomings of their IT).

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

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Re: Urban Legend? It's not always the cleaner

Bit like kleenex and tautliner, but with additional cultural specificity. It's a brit thing. As is being an exception ;)

JCB tends to imply council work or big construction work. And are big and yellow and have a special place in every tiny child's heart. They are Propah!Diggers. I dare say no Case 580n backhoe song ever tore up the UK music charts & t'internet, for example?

Whereas... the JCB has its own Song which did.

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Re: Lockable outlet?

> I'm trying to come up with some way you could make a plug that can't be removed without a key.

They're all over the place in big shopping centres over here in oz.

Typically just a clear perspex box projecting around the sockets, perhaps 4"/10cm deep to allow lots of room inside for plug, holes _just_ big enough for the cord to slot in, and the opening lid fitted with a lock.

Transparent so that it's immediately obvious that it's just a powersocket, plus is easy to find/recognise. Yet keeps kids' sticky fingers etc out of it.

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Mortality Gradient

Refineries have maths-head engineers sit down and calculate a Mortality Gradient for every identified fire/explosion/etc risk.

The gradient allows a quick visual understanding of the number of fatalities at each location, office, etc for each event.

So-oooo... I am in full sympathy with a policy mandating shutting off all unused elec kit! :)

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Re: Who was really at fault?

> a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone

You're confusing "telephone" and "pangolin".

Easily done: "there's an Ant for that" sounds a lot like "there's an App for that".

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

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#2 ============================================>

(I'm a man of my word)

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"cash coypu"

Two thumbs up, Rupert. Two thumbs up.

Latest bendy phone effort from coke empire spinoff Escobar Inc is a tinfoil-plated Samsung Galaxy Fold 'scam'

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Re: increase in ADHD workers with gibberish on their hands

Then they should wash their hands. With soap. Haven't they seen all the helpful videos and earnest finger-waggings?

Still hoping to run VMware's ESXi on Arm any time soon? Don't hold your breath – no rush and no commitments

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IT Angle

Xen speed?

Xen running linux on intel using its custom drivers, runs at only a 3% penalty to the bare metal. Which is awesome.

Anyone know what it's like on ARM?

Ex-director accuses iRobot of firing him for pointing out the home-cleaner droids broke safety, govt regulations

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Guess he matched the product then

Non-compliant director of compliance



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