* Posts by W.S.Gosset

2280 posts • joined 18 Nov 2016

Jeffrey Snover claims Microsoft demoted him for inventing PowerShell

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Re: I would get it fired for inventing Powershell

> to allow constructs like "for each"

Actually, this is shell's behaviour for "for": it just iterates thru the defined list.

You can create a numeric progression list via shell expansion if you want the original "for", but I don't think I've ever needed to do that for shell tasks.

Most organizations hit by ransomware would pay up if hit again

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This was my reading of it, too.

Ransomware the final nail in coffin for small university

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Spot on.

'Peacetime in cyberspace is a chaotic environment' says senior US advisor

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Pictured: Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way

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Re: Design Flaw

> But there is an “expanding substrate”, space itself.

That's one theory to explain the observed red-shifting of received light. And from it, necessarily extrapolates The Big Bang.

The theory assumes that light interacts with a substrate (space-time) but does not lose energy in that interaction.

Every other wave-in-a-substrate does.

If you assume light shares that characteristic with all other waves, if you assume light dissipates its energy as it travels, then you get a red-shift. The universe need not be expanding; The Big Bang goes away.

In my personal opinion, I believe it more likely that light loses energy over distance than that it is special magic of immutable unchanging fixedness upon creation.

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Design Flaw

Black holes always strike me as a design flaw, a bug in the maths. Not by Einstein; by God (or whatever).

In the absence of an expanding substrate, the universe is guaranteed to eventually be a single black hole. Given enough time, no matter how weak the far far distant gravitational attraction is, all matter will be drawn together, and will coalesce as a single black hole.

"Bugger. Same thing happened again. One big fat ball. Oh well, hit the reset switch, I'll twiddle the parameters, and see if we can't get it right this time."

Software patching must work like car safety recalls, says US cyber boss

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CONFIRMED: people do not actually read the words; they just keyword and extrapolate

As above, twice, he's not talking about FOSS.

> Inglis wants vendors to take responsibility

Vendors. Not unpaid open-source devs.

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Does no one actually read what's actually IN the article? Even once?

As above, he's not talking about FOSS.

> Inglis wants vendors to take responsibility

Vendors. Not unpaid open-source devs.

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You've misread the article -- he's not talking about FOSS

> Inglis wants vendors to take responsibility

Vendors. Not unpaid open-source devs.

Researchers find 134 flaws in the way Word, PDFs, handle scripts

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Re: I hate Adobe more than anyone else here

> Given the number of downvotes when I make common sense comments about Linux, no they don't. They don't know their elbows from their ankles.

You recently wrote this:

s'/is a/is yet another/'

The strong implication from the misquoting and the quote-form chosen is that you have little hands-on experience with any unix, and that you don't actually understand it. But that you dearly want people to think that you do.

China plans to toss foreign-made PCs from government agencies 'in two years'

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Well, this one was just straight mercantile opportunism on a micro level. With the opium trade re-flourishing and mobs of coolies entering Australia for work, they brought opium dealers&dens into the country. The standard dens' method was to have the opium sitting on a small ball of cotton or similar, and when you smoke it that way, most of the actual high-potency drug simply melts and runs and soaks into the cotton. So after the customers had staggered off, they had all these super-potent cotton balls remaining. Seeing the Aborigines' enormous enthusiasm for whitey's alcohol, they tried the cotton balls on them, and they loved it. Brilliant: additional market, more money. Problem: super-potent. The Aborigines would basically wander off, pass out randomly in the bush, and die. Exposure, respiratory shutdown, both, who knows. This was apparently all only out in the bush -- I haven't seen anything regarding it happening in the cities.

The whiteys eventually woke up to what was going on, had no legal traction to do anything about it, and so started hammering the city folk to sort out some laws or policing or something. I think the tipping point was when the squatters (Britain's wealthy landed gentry's unwanted kids who bought & ran the big farms) found out and started jumping up and down. There are letters on file from some of the big boys who had the direct ear by personal connection to the legislators, office-holders, etc and it seems that about then things started to happen. By this stage, the fatality estimates in the bushies' letters were around 90%.

It culminated in what I believe was the world's first ban/control of opium. eg "Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897".

You'll note there's a sharp dislocation in publicly-presented "traditions" by Aborigines from about that time onwards -- the survivors&kids had virtually no context any more and just started making shit up. You'll see photos from the '20s of Aborigines posing in their kangaroo skin cloaks, but they're on inside out, that sort of thing.

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And we outsiders only see the (relative-to-China) wealthy middle & upper classes.

The Premier of China proudly announced in June 2020 that now "only" 40% of Chinese workers earn less than $4.65 a day.

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> due to us buying too much stuff from them

No, due to Britain buying too much _tea_ from India as demand exploded for the new drink, and India demanding silver specie in payment. Britain sought to close that loop locally without the long, risky sea transports of silver.

And the Chinese drug problem, and the govt clampdown in response, massively preceded the British involvement let alone the Opium Wars. Be careful of retconned "history".

Interestingly, the British re-opening of the Chinese opium industry to facilitate their tea trade, directly led to the Chinese wiping out over 90% of Australia's Aborigines in a single decade in the 1870s-1880s.

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Re: Nothing to see here

> But China is looking to go US-IP-free.

China is looking to be free of legally acquired US IP.

China wants its youth to stop giving livestreamers money

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4.4 times the population of the USA, actually.

40% of them earn less than $4.65 a day.

And for the country folk, electricity is so intermittent, and variable when it's on, that it makes Nigeria look like The Jetsons.

Clustered Pi Picos made to run original Transputer code

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Re: Parallel processing

> we just could not get the programmers to think parallel

Cray had the same problem, I've heard.

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Re: Transputer?

> never seen a 16⅔ rpm record

Neither have I, but I believe they/the speed was intended for spoken-word recordings, lectures and so on.

Mars Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance are talking again

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Re: Heater kicks in at -15 deg C?

A/ COTS kit, not space-hardened

B/ They're dropping it to -40⁰C. They must have heard you ;)

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Re: Next time,

I'm still impressed they got an aircraft to work in Mars's ultra-thin atmosphere at all, let alone a "helicopter" design.

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Re: TFTFY :-)

I think that's because YEXIT (Yank exit) occurred while Britain still had a squillion local variations of measures. Volumes in particular were all over the shop, with multiple definitions of hogshead and firkins and barrels and so on. So they inherited a subset of those, which then expanded geographically. Britain had a big push for standard measures at some point but I can't remember exactly when.

It was only the desire for more readable train timetables that led to standardizing _time_. Every town had its own (correct) time. Now nearly all towns have an incorrect but standard time. Except Oxford. Oxford's town clock still runs on Oxford time, not standard time. 2mins behind or something.

Shareholders turn the screws on IBM and its gag orders

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Re: Agreed

Under UK law, any contract term which is illegal (eg, refusing to comply with a court direction) is automatically "null and void". No discretion.

I believe the argument can also be made in court that the entire contract should be struck out on the basis of the illegal section(s). But this is at the court's discretion.

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Re: Agreed

Bill Gates used similar in his early Windows wholesale licences to stymie the DoJ in their anti-trust investigations.

The computer manufacturers' licence forbade them --on penalty of immediate loss of licence to bundle Windows and hence immediate loss of 99.9% of revenue-- to divulge any information about the licence to anyone, explicitly including cooperating with law enforcement, subpoenas, court orders, etc.

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Re: "there was (and is) no systemic age discrimination at our company"

It's the Chewbacca Offense.

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Re: "there was (and is) no systemic age discrimination at our company"

Or while we're dancing around languages:

Mist is German for bull*shit.

Hence mister.

* any animal shit, really, but one feels the circumstances warrant and merit specificity.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

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"Belt-&-Braces Reliability Strategy discovered to be counter-productive under some circumstances."

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Re: Full names please.......

("It's pronounced 'Fouquet', actually.")

I knew a girl at uni named Regina. SHE knew how cruel kids could be.

GitHub to require two-factor authentication for code contributors by late 2023

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Re: by the end of 2023

> "collaborators must have 2FA enabled"

If they now have to give a secret password, surely they're no longer collaborators but conspirators?

Fortinet's latest firewall is like your kids' music – you're probably not ready for it, yet

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Re: At those volumes?

> Why would you pass that traffic through firewalls at those volumes of throughput?

My thoughts were: malware infection resistance.

John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine

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Re: Deere me

It also gave them 2 Ukraine-specific things:

1. a stick to beat them with

2. eroding and weakening their economy, making them more subject to subjection

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Re: Deere me

> Changing to renewables has been kicked into high gear,

Renewables INcrease gas requirements, not the other way round.

Putin threatens supply chains with counter-sanction order

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Re: Black Magic -- counter-spells

Oh hello, they've already been firing warning shots. Spells. Whatever.

Radio Free Europe: Witches cast spells for Putin

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Re: You want to play hardball?

This chap: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Nikolai+Patrustev

Ex counter-intelligence KGB. Currently bossman of the Security Council. Described as a hardliner, apparently responsible for convincing Putin that Ukraine was being taken over by Nazis, apparently responsible ("key architect") for the Ukraine invasion's strategic plan.

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Re: You want to play hardball?


> capacity constraint

That applies at both ends of the supply chain, btw.

For example: Australia can't help you out with our LNG, because our LNG export capacity is full.

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Re: You want to play hardball?

> the people in Donetsk en Luhansk

You missed a bit:

"a small but violent, centralised, and heavily militarily-backed-by-Russia subset of the people in Donetsk en Luhansk"

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Re: You want to play hardball?

> It took a long time for the US government to stop China from "sharing" oil with NK.

They didn't stop it.

It still continues apace. Just more covertly.

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Re: You want to play hardball?

At a total collective population about that of a single EU city, they have that capacity within the existing "fat".

The EU, at over 400 million people, does not.

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Re: You want to play hardball?

Yes, storage is a major problem, and LNG ships are a major capacity constraint.

But the BIG problem is port capacity. That is the BIG bottleneck. And it takes a long time and a lot of money to build new ones.

> a very nasty short-term hit on major European economies

And on poor people. Come winter time, expect the deaths-from-cold numbers to soar. Heating is expensive, and rapidly becoming a luxury item for the bottom quartile of the population. They will die a lot.

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Re: You want to play hardball?

> He is currently hiding in an impregnable bunker

I believe he's currently/imminently in hospital for surgery.

Problem: I've read that his deputy who'll be stepping in, his Number 2 & designated successor, makes Putin look sane, reasonable, co-operative, and a champion of human beings' rights.

Apple's return-to-office plan savaged by staff

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Re: iHotel

And the rooms won't even have corners to piss in.

UK watchdogs ask how they can better regulate algorithms

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Re: "but there's also a problematic side to algorithms"

Well put.

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> There was an equally dumb question asked by a UKIP representative. What happens when renewable energy runs out?

Solar power will run out at 8% of the world's power supply.

That's when it will have exhausted the world's entire reserves of coltan.

At 12%, it exhausts 2 more minerals.

Solar power is the least renewable energy source on the planet.

Data-wiper malware strains surge as Ukraine battles ongoing invasion

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Sorry, I left implicit the overriding consideration for any military purchase:

"America refuses to provide useful lower-cost tanks, aircraft, etc"

Setting aside occasional exceptions:

America externally provides only cutting-edge, or crap. As your own examples illustrate.

At any given price-point below excruciating, Russian kit dominates USA kit. Result: widespread global dependence on Russia for military security. Result: political influence.

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Actually, I have read that Russia exports only reduced-capability versions of its tanks and so on.

America refuses to provide lower-cost tanks, aircraft, etc, so less-wealthy countries have little choice but to buy from Russia. Putting India, for example, in its current invidious position of not daring to say/do anything re Russia's invasion for fear of being weakened vs China.

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Further background information:

> Gergely

"Draynz", to his mates.

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Malware -> Malwar

I hereby coin a neologism for this malware-as-war-weapon tactic:


Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

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Re: O.F.F. Mode

> Pontius was still a pilot

Now he's a jackass.

COVID-19 contact tracing apps were suggested as saviors. They sometimes delivered

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Re: Apart from not wanting, nor needing a Smartphone

Just saw this.

A/ it most certainly is NOT a new thing -- the "multiplier" has been observed since the original variant in essentially every such study across multiple countries and multiple variants.

B/ US CDC reported recently that its USA-wide survey shows roughly 2.5 times as many infections as have been officially recorded/detected by testing. 190 million actual infections vs 80 million via testing. That's cumulative to-date, all variants. For example.

Elon Musk set to buy Twitter in $44b deal, promises stuff

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Re: Hurdles

> serious negative consequences where a minority view gets coverage out of all proportion to the (usually harmful) effect it has.

That's precisely the problem with Twitter now, and is precisely the problem which Musk is intending to rebalance..


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