* Posts by coconuthead

140 posts • joined 8 Jan 2017


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


Re: Big credit

It's actually a big intellectual leap from a light pen, where you draw directly on the screen, to a mouse, where you move something around to draw on the desk with it appearing on your screen. It's not even obvious the average person would be able to do that: they would have needed to build one first and try it out to know.

The actual hardware construction was probably the lesser part of this invention.

Vissles V84: Mechanical keyboard hits all the right buttons for Mac power users


Re: Using the default keymap for Australia (same as the US)

The key combinations you mention are all already supported by the Australian keyboard layout without any special configuration. If I go get a new Mac from the Apple Store 10 minutes down the road and turn it on, those will be active as soon as I select "English" in the setup screen.

I'm guessing if you didn't know that, those characters aren't important to you, and that is why you think it's perfectly all right for them to be hard to type.

And no, I don't want to install third party software like Karabiner into something as important and sensitive as the keyboard input processing.


no, not all the Mac keys are there

The keyboard is missing the right OPTION key.

On macOS, OPTION Is another type of shift, and therefore to touch type characters accessible via it you need an OPTION key on both sides. To touch type an upper case A you press A with your left little finger (pinky) and right SHIFT with your right little finger. To touch type one of the characters on the OPTION layer you do the same thing, so you need OPTION keys on *both sides*.

The pictured sample is a US layout. Using the default keymap for Australia (same as the US), the following characters cannot be properly typed: £, €, dead accent, dead grave. I don't even live in Europe and would miss those. At least the umlaut and curly quotes are possible, because those are on the right of the keyboard.

Now perhaps you could remap the very rarely-used right hand CTRL, but (i) do they supply a keycap for that? (ii) as the article points out, you'd need a Windows machine, and (iii) why on earth isn't it the default if it's claimed to be a Mac keyboard?

Japan assembles superteam of aircraft component manufacturers to build supersonic passenger plane


"Where else?" you ask. From where I sit, Melbourne–LA/SF, Melbourne-Buenos Aries (over the Antarctic) and Perth–Jo'burg would be nice.

I imagine, seeing it's the Japanese developing this, they have Tokyo–LA and Tokyo–Sydney in mind.

What Microsoft's Windows 11 will probably look like



I do not think muppets are behind this. If it were muppets, there would be more colour.

Neither Kermit nor Miss Piggy were ever such a tedious grey/blue.

Everything Apple announced: Tor-ish Safari anonymization. Cloaked iCloud addresses. Cloud CI/CD. And more


Oh, my.

Did you miss the bit where you could put your iPad down on the desk beside your Mac and then smash the Mac's mouse through a hot edge on the Mac screen so that you can click and drag on the iPad? And then drag a file between them?

Or where people in two separate households could watch Disney's streaming service on their living room TVs attached to Apple's "Apple TV" media box, *synchronised* via chat on their iPhones and chatting in real time?

Or the OCR text recognition on photos in the album?

I've never personally wanted any of those things, but surely you can see the appeal for the average person. And none of them is technically trivial to do, particularly the synching of TVs in separate houses. They must be calculating time-of-flight like NTP to pull that off.


Re: Gotta sell new hardware

I've had a look at the list of supported Macs now:


(scroll down almost to the bottom. and feel the 1970s with the white text on purple).

I do think it's a bit mean of them not to support the mid-2015 27″ 5K Retina iMac, which could be had as quite a capable machine with up to 1TB of SSD (so not cheap). The next model (and the 2014 Mini) used Intel integrated or Iris graphics instead of a 2GB ATI GPU, so perhaps they just don't want to spend the money on porting the driver. If so, it would be in their interests to explain themselves, including reasons why the driver had to change at all.


Re: Gotta sell new hardware

Not only will iOS 15 run on anything that will run iOS 14, but in a change of policy iOS 14 will continue to get security updates.

I haven't looked closely at what Macs will run Monterey, but it does include the Mac Mini 2014, which rumours had said it wouldn't, and iMacs back to 2015.

Apple: We didn't take commission on 90% of App Store sales and billings


Re: Charm offensive

The judge is female (Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers).

'A massive middle finger': Open-source audio fans up in arms after Audacity opts to add telemetry capture


Doesn't inspire confidence in their software chops

Looking at the stated reasons in their github post, we have:

3. They want to know whether they should drop support for macOS 10.10.

4. They have a known issue with the new 3.0 file format that they want to collect more data about.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if their new file code is corrupting data, it seems to me they should roll back to 2.x, properly test and debug the new code, and re-release 3.0 when it's actually complete. I'm not a fan of developmemt by trial and error no matter how many data points you gather, and I think even if people aren't paying for the software they have the right to expect it does not corrupt their audio data.

As for point 3, I no longer have anything resembling 10.10 to test on, but by now I would be expecting that version of macOS to be having problems with root certificates and cipher suites such that there is no guarantee it can even talk to the telemetry servers. And as a Mac developer, I'm wondering why they are wasting their time faffing around with ancient development environments that can even target it. Leave these people be with whatever version of Audacity was current with their version of macOS.

FSF doubles down on Richard Stallman's return: Sure, he is 'troubling for some' but we need him, says org


Apparently, like Adobe Creative Cloud, Stallman is hard to uninstall.

BP Chargemaster's Pulse rebrand let crims send IcedID banking trojan from formerly legit mailboxes


use subdomains, you numpties

What was wrong with chargemaster.bp.com and later pulse.bp.com? They are never going to let bp.com lapse, and I can tell at a glance that the email came from somewhere inside BP. You know, the brand recognisable all over the world.

This reminds me of the time I got an email ostensibly from my bank but from an apparently unrelated domain. A search revealed the odd domain was actually a slogan from their current television ad campaign. I don't watch commercial television so had never seen it.

Australian police suggests app to record consent to sexual activity


Re: Of course policeman is thinking how to solve the problem

It is true that she travelled to Sydney, but hardly surprising that she might want to wait and think before finally going ahead with a formal report, given who she was accusing. Presumably during her visit to Sydney (I tnought it was one visit, 4 interviews) the detectives briefed her about the likelihood of a successful prosecution. So then she would go home to Adelaide, think about it and discuss it with friends there before making a formal statement.

I'm not sure she'd even completed the 14 days. The NSW police did say they didn't want to do it over Zoom without a psychologist present. What they conspicuously failed to say was "we told her we'd arrange for a psychologist to sit with her when we took her statement over Zoom as soon as the quarantine was over". Presumably she was already seeing one.

I am not saying the historical rape occurred, and whether it did or not isn't really the issue.

It is the way the Prime Minister passed his copy of the dossier on to the wrong police force without even reading it, and his failure to act on the Higgins affair, and his comment that the women demonstrating outside Parliament are lucky they weren't shot that have landed him in hot water.


Re: Of course policeman is thinking how to solve the problem

No, it wasn't his purpose, because the entire country is already talking about the issue. It is the major running issue in Federal politics, with a rape scandal in Parliament House and a senior minister separately accused of historical rape. It's either a well-intentioned (if slightly ludicrous) response from the Commissioner or he's trying to deflect from his force's inadequate performance on the historical rape.

For background on the historical rape allegation: the Cabinet minister was accused of behaviour in a Canberra bar inconsistent with his goody-two-shoes Christian image by Four Corners (like Panorama). When nothing was done, the alleged historical rape victim was incensed and decided to report the crime, which occurred in NSW. She was resident in South Australia and made the report when COVID was still a problem in Australia. The NSW Police declined to either seek an exemption from COVID travel restrictions and go to Adelaide, or interview her on Zoom with South Australian police present, citing their concern for her welfare. On hearing this, she committed suicide the next day.

The Prime Minister and NSW Commissioner have been hiding behind the ridiculous proposition that because there is no formal statement, the crime cannot be investigated so the Minister must be innocent. The proposition is ridiculous because the victim was a professional historian and put together a 31-page dossier including diary entries from the time of the rape, who she told about it over a period of decades etc., which was sentt to senior politicians of three parties, including the PM himself. It has been kicking around Canberra for months and eventually leaked.

Four Corners then doubled down and broadcast a second program. The Cabinet minister sued them for defamation. The ABC will argue truth, and try to prove the rape in court.

So no, it wasn't an issue not under public discussion!

You wouldn’t know my new database, she goes to another school: Oracle boasts of earthshattering tech the outside world cannot see


autonomous database definition

The article doesn't define what an "autonomous database" is, and I'd never heard the term, so I Googled it. Every hit on the first page is a hit for "Oracle autonomous database". It appears to be an Oracle invention for tuning and management software with AI assistance. I don't think The Register should be normalising the term by using it as if it is valid industry jargon.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative


Re: The quick hack

It's a "good hack" if you can't later clearly state a reason why it should be replaced by something done "the right way".

The ".." in Unix paths (as in, there was originally an actual directory entry with string "..") was a "good hack" because it is hard to argue that anyone would actually want to create a file called "..".

Hidden text in MacOS 11.3 beta suggests removal of Rosetta 2 compatibility layer in some countries


Re: Major apps…

Photoshop 22 beta runs natively on M1 Macs:


Apple have been purging the APIs of nonportable stuff for several years now. For example, the provided calls for atomic increment and decrement were deprecated in 10.12, five years ago, with developers advised to use C++ std::atomic<> instead. Any use of a deprecated function results in a compilation warning.

The kernel extensions are going away for Intel as well.

The commitment to 5 years' support for Intel Macs is so that owners of existing machines have software to run.

Australia facepalms as Facebook blocks bookstores, sport, health services instead of just news


Re: effect on small Pacific countries

It very much does, and IIRC it is the one of the most popular websites in Australia. Currently rubbing its little virtual hands in glee pointing out the ABC also has apps.

The issue is, people in some of these tiny places *do not have* affordable access to that website, or any website. The internet for them is a phone on 4G pointed to Facebook. How that came about, I don't know, but presumably Facebook did the telco a deal.

It's all in the article I linked, on the very website you complain does not exist.


effect on small Pacific countries

The ban has badly affected some small island nations:


TL;DR: a telco serving several of these countries offfers unmetered Facebook, which means it is *de facto* "the internet" for large numbers of people there. Austraia's national broacaster built out a tailored news service for them based on Facebook, with 100,000 users who now have no access to it.

Some of these countries are so small they don't even have their own currency, and use ours.

So, no, the sky didn't fall in for *us*.

Japan’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app hasn't warned users of encounters with carriers since September


these apps provide a false sense of security

People should not put their faith in these distance-based apps. They try to detect whether you have been within 1.5m of a COVID-positive case for a significant amount of time, but it is now known that the virus is spread by aerosol. That means if you are within the same poorly-ventilated space as a case you can be exposed, and you don't even need to be very close.

Of particular relevance to Japan, if you're in the same train carriage you could be infected. In the case of outbreak Melbourne over the New Year, where you can walk through between carriages, they required the whole trainload to get tested and self-isolate.

Whereas Australia's app was (and possibly still is) also a dud, and the technical community were trying to get the government to admit that at the start of the pandemic, people are no longer wound up about it, and the app is mostly ignored. What we do have on our phones are QR check-in apps from our state governments, so it's known who else was in that space. We're also almost cashless here in Melbourne, so there's a timestamp on places like supernarkets and take-away which don't require QR checkin (some states do). If a case leaks out of quarantine, as happened this week, a list of exposure sites is posted within hours, and the government will phone those known to have been there at the time.

New Zealand never went down the proximity app rabbit-hole and jumped straight to QR codes from the very beginning,

Death Becomes It: Who put the Blue in the Blue Screen of Death?


Bug check

The odd "bug check" terminology was straight out of VMS. There was a companion "machine check" for when the hardware noticed something wrong with itself.

It always seemed wrong to me, because you can check for a bug and not find one. On the other hand there is the mental image of some Microsoft engineer taking his shiny bug out of the hangar, and doing a pre-flight check on its wings, eyes, antennae etc. so that the user would know, as usual, the bug would be ready to bite the user.

Linux developers get ready to wield the secateurs against elderly microprocessors


Re: what is linux good for?

The reason was historical, and predates both Linux and Unix.

Long ago, there were computers that had no lower case. Some of them used 6-bit codes. Others used character codes that could accommodate lower case, but their printers could not print lower case. (Back in the day, the better printers didn't use a matrix of pins, but "chains" carrying lines of raised characters in a line that would be struck against the paper.) There were even a couple of years there where ASCII had not yet got its lower case characters. So, while there was usually some way to upper and lower case the content of your files, the last thing you needed was for their names to consist of characters you might not be able to see or type. Hence, the native form of file names was generally UPPER CASE, and the UI would helpfully convert lower case names to upper case so you at least had a fighting chance to get them in the editor or feed them to the case-change utility,

And naturally, if you had a proprietary operating system where file names were case-insensitive, your customers had got used to it, and it would also be a hassle for them to reformat all their volumes, So things carried on long past the point where lower case support was ubiquitous.

If you grew up with it, it does not seem so strange. (Except, I imagine, if your're Turkish, because the lower case of "I" in Turkish is not "i". And that is the real problem with case-insensitive file names – whose case rules?)

Google rejects Australia’s revised pay-for-news plan, proposes its own plan instead


Dear Google,

We're a country. You're not.

LibreOffice 7.1 beta boasts impressive range of features let down by a lack of polish and poor mobile efforts


Re: MacOS rendering problem

It seems not:


This comment says it was caused by building using an old version of Apple's Xcode developer environment:


That must be some old hardware they were rocking - even my 10 year old cheesegrater will run Mojave. In February they moved on to Xcode 11 on Mojave, and those builds are no longer blurry on Catalina.

But it broke again for Big Sur, the newest release from about a month ago which you get if you buy a Mac today:


The comments are instructive: they don't know why it doesn't work, and a developer who worked on the original code for Mac does not currently have access to a Mac. I'm also going to guess the developers haven't been going to Apple's WWDC developer conferences and talking to Apple's engineers there. It looks like these problems might have gone away sooner (running 2 years now) or perhaps not arisen at all if LibreOffice had had more money,

(There's a fork called NeoOffice which claims to work better on macOS.)


Re: "Across the free software world we have a problem in getting people to pay for things"

All right, I had another look. It is in 8 point type in dark grey text on charcoal at the bottom after the privacy notice and other stuff no-one ever reads in the page footer, followed by a link whose name is that of another free software product. I didn't see it the first time, and I don't think any normal person would either.

It is not my job to "parse" a page. Or my job to "contribute" to open source, or "get involved" or anything else. Nor is it "techie" to put up with user-hostile layouts. I told you I didn't agree with Stallman's ideas.

These guys are competing with the excellent word processor/spreadsheet/presentation suite that Apple gave me *for free* with my Mac, which also runs on my phone. Or with Microsoft, to whom many ordinary users are happy to fling a relatively small amount just so they don't have to learn anything different (and Microsoft throws in a shedload of cloud storage too.)


Re: "Across the free software world we have a problem in getting people to pay for things"

I was referring to the claim that Stallman's motivation was that he didn't want to pay for things, not whether he uses LibreOffice or not. He won't use those Linux distributions which, although they cost nothing, have binary blob drivers in them, which shows he has other reasons. I really don't know whether he even uses a word processor; he's said to do everything in plain text in emacs like it's still 1978.

As for "free as in beer", I've never understood what that is supposed to mean. Maybe I have to be American, or have lived through an Animal House-style fraternity to understand. Anyway, on a quick scoot around the LibreOffice web site (oh! my eyes!) I could not find a license statement, but I don't think it could be GPL because I once bought a word processor for macOS that contained some of it embedded, to do the conversions.


Re: "Across the free software world we have a problem in getting people to pay for things"

I disagree with most of Stallman's ideas, and from reports I think I'd dislike the man if I met him, but this claim is unfair to him. He is known not to use certain software which is available for no payment, because it does not satisfy his stricter definition of "free".

Furthermore, he has in the past paid money, on behalf of GNU, to people to write software which GNU gives away.

AWS hires Rust compiler team co-lead Felix Klock


Re: Amazon got lucky that Mozilla gave up

Bjarne Stroustrup is Danish, but he developed C++ at Bell Labs. One of his design constraints was that it was targeted at people who already knew C but not Algol. Otherwise, he might have done a mild update of Simula-67 (which he knew). The culture has a big effect. (Stroustrup's mathematical elegances shine dimly through the New Jersey crud in stuff like the way inheritance works and the operator overloading. Perhaps not coincidentally, some people hate those things in the language.)

Guido van Rossum, on the other hand, invented Python at the Dutch CWI (their national maths and computer science research insitute), the very same place that produced Algol-68.

Erlang was developed by Joe Armstrong (British) and others at Ericsson, a Swedish company. Again, he was given the freedom to do it properly and his language was not dismissed as "too abstract" or "too inefficient". It's the culture, not the nationality or first language of the originator. Erlang was probably a big reason why Ericsson's exchanges sold so well; they were better.

I have to disagree that Pascal and Modula-2 were considered inefficient at the time. Both were used for real-time work – I've personally seen the firmware on a network card done in Modula-2.


Re: Amazon got lucky that Mozilla gave up

Ada might be too verbose for your taste, but it is consistent.

Pascal took a lot longer to sink than the others, but there's not a lot of it floating around now. (Back in the 80s, I built utilities with it that had thousands of users.) It's true it left a trace in Swift's and golang's declaration syntax. I can't think off-hand of any other way it influenced modern languages; everything else came from Algol-60.

Python is, I would argue, somewhat elegant within its original intended purposes. It's flawed, e.g. the "__init__" muck, but then I did say I "quite liked" it rather than listing it with the others.

And I don't know how I managed to leave out Rust's fellow alumnus Javascript, which, like a lot of people, I despise. Fool me once...


Amazon got lucky that Mozilla gave up

Translation: "We used a nifty new language and had to hire an expert when the organisation sponsoring it threw in the towel. Good thing they didn't keep at it but take the language in some direction inappropriate for our uses, because then Klock might not be available to us."

I'll reserve judgement on the language itself, other than to say, whatever the merits of the borrow-checker concept, it seems to be almost as much like line noise as perl or TECO. At some point I'll learn enough Rust to form an opinion, but I'm afraid it's behind Erlang in the queue.

I'd prefer if the next language did not hail from the Anglosphere - every language from there (B, BCPL, Bliss, C, C++, perl, go, Swift) has lacked taste. Yet a succession of elegant things from other countries (Pascal, Modula-2, Simula-67, Ada, and probably if I knew them Erlang and OCaml) have sunk almost without trace. I quite like Python - guess what, it's originally from the Netherlands.

It's almost as though dominance of languages has little to do with their merits and more to do with what big American companies like.

Apple drops macOS Big Sur on the world – and it arrives with a thud, sound of breaking glass, sirens in the distance...


You're not alone. There are similar reports on Macrumors and Apple's own forums, with several people being told Apple will take their machine and return it fixed in a couple of weeks,

It looks like I dodged a bullet, since I had intended to put Big Sur on my machine this weekend, and was only stopped by reports of the downloading problems. I would normally wait until .1, but I think the new UI look is a big improvement, and I've been having problems with Catalina coming out of sleep.


Big Sur well named

It's big, and it went south.

Apple now Arm'd to the teeth: MacBook Air and Pro, Mac mini to be powered by custom M1 chips rather than Intel


Re: Confusing much?

It's macOS, with a lower case "m" and they promote it as "macOS Big Sur".

The "major version", which has been stuck at 10 all this time, moves to 11. There has been confusion over the names of some previous updates. For example, the current version is 10.15.7 and the patch last week was just "macOS Catalina 10.15.7 Supplemental Udate". Because they were misusing the semantic versioning conventions to mean 10.major.minor instead of major.minor.patch, there was no patch number available. Once there were even two identically named "Supplementals". You'd have to find a hex build number code, which even sometimes differed on different Mac models.

Old app builds see Big Sur's version number as 10.16.0, and new ones as 11.0.

All in all, it's a long-needed change.

Did I or did I not ask you to double-check that the socket was on? Now I've driven 15 miles, what have we found?


Re: Socket switches seem like a weird idea...

Before Bakelite, there was porcelain. In fact into the 1960s I remember a certain type of electric kettle, called a jug, made of porcelain, although they did have a Bakelite lid, which was very common in Australia. (They were yellow with a vaguely art nouveau design, so might have been in production since the 1920s. The elements were replaceable so the jugs lasted forever.)

Inside the walls, wiring was rubber and/or cotton. I've seen a video online of a very old installation in an American house where *uninsulated* rods were run between porcelain standoffs in the loft. At least the rats won't be eating that.


Switched sockets

We have switched sockets in Australia too, and the standard goes back to the 1930s.

They are useful for

• switching off a device when not in use to avoid "vampire devices" (devices which, while apparently dead, suck a small amount of power throughout the night). Collectively, those devices consume a significant amount of power across a whole country.

• isolating at least the active line when not in use from power surges caused by lightning. It doesn't prevent neutral strikes. (Only the active is switched in Australian power points, IIRC.) This is becoming less important as new equipment detects and responds to strikes more quickly... but plenty of people have home cinema setups worth many thousands that is actually only used a few hours a week.

• reducing aging of the power supply in devices. My Region A Blu-Ray player is not easily replaceable.

• power-cycling a troublesome device, most recently for me a printer.

You get the idea, I hope.

I *have* had one fail. It was a brand new double socket just installed to replace a single, and it failed with the contacts closed but the rocker movable between on and off. When changing a circular saw blade, I don't rely on the switch, but pull the plug right out and place it in my field of view!

After ten years, the Google vs Oracle API copyright mega-battle finally hit the Supreme Court – and we listened in


Re: ISAs?

I don't understand this either. There are examples in the past where instruction set architectures were copied by other companies.

IBM's System/360 was cloned by Fujitsu and Amdahl.

DEC's PDP-10 was cloned and extended by Foonly. After DEC discontinued the PDP-10 line, a company called Systems Concepts supplied Compuserve with modern machines using the architecture.


Re: If Oracle wins, you lose?

"Every VT100 (or derivative) compatible terminal, including xterm."

The VT100 escape sequences are a subset of ISO 6429, which is itself an adoption of ECMA-48. ECMA-48 is available for free from www.ecma.ch. I can't find any acknowledgement of DEC copyright or indeed any copyright notice in my copy of ECMA-48 (from June 1998). It is usual for standards like this to explicitly call out any copyright, patent or other licensing encumbrances if they exist.

If whatever part of the old HP that now owns the VT100 IP did try to assert copyright over the escape sequences, they'd look a bit silly considering the HPGL escape sequences for the old HP plotter also became a de facto standard in scientific programming, and HP never showed any sign of being unhappy with that.

Happy Hacking Professional Hybrid mechanical keyboard: Weird, powerful, comfortable ... and did we mention weird?


Re: The layout on a Mac

I just tried it on zsh with the latest macOS and it doesn't log me out if there's exactly one character on the line and that's the one being deleted. That is, the line has to be empty to start with for it to log you out. I guess I never used ^D on an empty line!


Re: The layout on a Mac

^d will still be seen as EOF by cat, since cat does not use the readline(3) library or its equivalent.


Re: The layout on a Mac

Nope, CTRL-d is forward delete on macOS – at the zsh prompt in a Terminal, in text boxes and in this very text box in which I'm typing. Most Unix shells have a setting to control whether EOF exits, and since the 1980s I've turned it off. I just checked my dotfiles, and Apple's fallbacks in /etc, and none of them have that set away from the default, which means the compiled-in zsh default is for EOF not to exit the shell.

I can't say what the default is on modern bash, but the ancient one shipped with macOS 10.14 doesn't exit on CTRL-d but does forward delete, and again I haven't set anything in my dotfiles. I used to use the same dotfile on Linux too. Generally, if a shell is exiting on you it's something like "set nologout" or "unset logout" to make it not do that.

(The upper case D in CTRL-D was a typo. I probably should have used the older ^d notation to make clear this is ASCII 4 and not a combination of keys. So there is no upper or lower case.)


The layout on a Mac

I used the original wired model of the HHKB (the real one with Topres, not the "Lite") for several years on a Mac, for programming and general use, and my experience might be useful to those wondering how practical the layout actually is.

The first thing to say is that having the correct OPTION and COMMAND keys in the correct places on both sides of the spacebar is important on a Mac if you touch type. In macOS OPTION is a secondary shift to get at extra characters like the curly quotes and en dash. So many keyboards are designed mainly for Windows and provide only CTRL on both sides. This is the only 60% keyboard I know of that actually gets this right for macOS users.

I had no problem adapting to the position of CTRL, having used the DEC VT220, but as a heavy emacs user in this period I found it a bit of a finger twister, as the Space Cadet had CTRL where it is on a normal keyboard and is what emacs was designed for (as far as emacs can be said to have been designed). macOS also uses the emacs shortcuts for line editing on the command line and in GUI text boxes (go on, try it out!) so that's handy: CTRL-a to go to the start of the line, CTRL-k to kill the rest of the line etc.

The arrow keys, PAGE UP, and PAGE DOWN are there but on a separate layer which you have to chord with FN. This gets tiring. Forward delete (DEL) is similarly available as FN-BACKSPACE but as mentioned for anything line-oriented the emacs CTRL-D works on macOS. HOME and END are little-used on macOS because they only scroll. What you want is COMMAND-UP and COMMAND-DOWN, which are dire on this keyboard.

I eventually reached the point where I was worried about injuries from all the emacs chording and the chording otherwise needed for working in the GUI, prompting a rethink of how I should be using a keyboard. My decision was to abandon emacs, use the mouse more, learn to touch type, and use CAPS LOCK properly instead of stretching to hold SHIFT down the way a lot of programmers do. As I now needed CAPS LOCK where finger L5 could reach it easily this meant the HHKB had to go. I use a US layout tenkeyless with Cherry browns now and edit mostly in Xcode with occasional detours into vi.

I think I used the keyboard for about 3 years, so this wasn't a quick tryout.

I do think had I been a vi user things might have been different as the arrow keys aren't used as much as emacs (where I found CTRL-p etc. just too unergonomic on any keyboard.) If you sit in vi in Terminals all day, this keyboard is definitely worth looking at due to the Topre switches and compactness.

All those ‘teleworking is the new normal’ predictions? Not so much, say bosses


Re: Not surprising for Aus

The legacy copper network was in terrible shape. It was only around 50 years old (I remember it being undergrounded in the 1970s in Melbourne) but at some point some kind of special jointing goo was used which is said to have damaged the wires over time. As it was assumed under the Rudd scheme it would all be pulled out for scrap copper, the minimal amount of patching was done and dropouts were common after rain.

FTTN ("node" = your "cabinet") is typically around 25Mpbs here, but if your last mile of copper still has bad joints it will go out after rain.

I have something different again, called "fibre to the kerb" ("FTTC" because America), where a newly laid copper run in the old conduit runs to fibre in front of my neighbour's house, and there are special modems each end of the copper. It's up to 100Mbps, and I get nearly that.

It does make good sense to upgrade all the FTTN people, and those few still on repurposed cable TV technology, to 1Gbps FTTP first.

Why was this dog's breakfast allowed to develop? Tony Abbott is on record as having said that the only use for fast internet into residences was for streaming movies. It took him two elections to get in. The first time around we got a hung parliament, and Gillard was able to form government by promising three independents that the FTTP scheme would go ahead. And so rural Armidale has rolled gold FTTP. The independent MPs mentioned teleworking for their rural electorates when explaining to the Australian electorate why Tony Abbott was not PM.


Re: Not surprising for Aus

It's a lottery which depends on the actual street in which you live, not even how expensive the area. As it happens, I won and get high speeds and solid reliability. Roughly 25% of houses are stuck with "fibre to the node", which is ADSL to a cabinet up to 250m down the street. The former Rudd government was going to run fibre into every house in major cities and towns, but that was sabotaged by the incoming Abbott government in 2014.

I'm guessing MPs have been inundated with complaints, because yesterday the government reversed their policy of a decade and announced free fibre connections will be offered to that 25% of houses within 3 years.

Meanwhile, the proceedings of a prominent judicial inquiry were interrupted today when the examining barrister's internet dropped out, leaving the Premier* of Victoria on the (virtual) stand hanging around waiting.

* Like a Prime Minister, but for a state.


Re: percentages are of businesses, not employees

They picked on me for a longitudinal survey a few years ago. Once a month for a year I was required to answer questions about the number of hours I had engaged in work or study that month.


percentages are of businesses, not employees

The percentages in the first bar graph are of the number of businesses, not the number of employees. On the one hand, there are relatively few employers in finance and insurance but they have tens of thousands of employees. On the other hand, you have a large number of businesses like small builders, independent shops and cafes which cannot telework. You can see from the first bar chart only around 15% of businesses switched to teleworking with COVID-19, even though it accounts for almost all white collar workers (as seen from the almost empty roads, trains and offices).

And you can also see that 2/3 of that 15% intend to continue with telework after COVID-19.

In other words, the figures show the opposite of what the headline says.

(The survey is probably correct, as if the ABS nail you for a survey, you have to participate, no matter how time wasting. Ask me how I know...)

Das Keyboard 4C TKL: Plucky mechanical contender strikes happy medium between typing feel and clackety-clack joy


The resulting image is actually *smaller* on a Retina iMac.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'


Re: Aussie number plates

The numbers are a fixed length within a state in Australia, because the plates are embossed in special machines. This is also probably why Victoria didn't do the obvious and add a V in front of the AAA·111 to ZZZ·999 series when that ran out, as South Australia did with an S, They didn't want to buy new machines that could press more than 6 characters!

Supposedly the embossing is so the plate is still legible when the paint fades, but many or all of the plates AAA·000 to FFF·999, issued from 1978 to 1994, were physically replaced anyway when it turned out the paint used faded quickly. I think they may have taken that opportunity to remove duplicates with NSW, since that had been a range formerly used by NSW.

You can still buy available numbers in the old sequence for a fee of around $500. I sat behind the amusing "HAG·000" at a traffic light this afternoon.

The police have in-car number plate recognition and a database that tells them instantly what address a car is registered to – and they are using it at the moment to pick up people who have travelled where they are not allowed under the COVID-19 restrictions. So technology means there isn't much reason any more for needing that information encoded in the actual number (and it would cause practical problems anyway, as most Australians live in a few large cities but move house from suburb to suburb).



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