* Posts by Elledan

134 posts • joined 3 Mar 2017


The Last of Us Part II: Never mind the Metacritic nonsense, Naughty Dog's ultra-violent odyssey is a must-play*

Elledan Bronze badge

I'm watching a few folk play through the game and watched/read a few reviews including Arstechnica's Angry Joe's. My opinion that TLoU2 should not have been made has not changed. The writing is sloppy, and the 'revenge is evil, m'kay' plot forced to the point where it destroys any good that the story could have had. At no point does Abby turn into anything more than a two-dimensional psychopathic killer, much like the rest of the WLF.

Meanwhile everything that could have been, such as the rebuilding of society through efforts from the folk in Jackson and perhaps other communities, a storyline that could could have been if we look at the flashbacks Ellie has, all of that is sacrificed for the sake of a weak, poorly paced story that leaves absolutely nothing worth looking out for if there will ever be a sequel.

I'd rather watch the The Matrix sequels on repeat than ever deal with TLoU2 again after I force myself through these Let's Plays.

RIP, The Last of Us franchise. You turned out to be not immune to a quick cash grab after all.

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Relics of the Space Age

I must apologise if my attitude came over as pessimistic. I will be the first to acknowledge and rejoice at the surge of new activity in the space sector, as I am fairly certain I also did in my original comment.

Maybe it's just seeing the skeptical attitude that set in in the early 1970s, among the general public and politicians, with three ready-to-go Saturn V rockets and crew getting mothballed, the STS program only shuttling scientists to/from the ISS in LEO while the Russians did much the same with their 1960s rockets and capsules. It all felt like things had gotten stuck in a rut. Mind you, this with the disclaimer that I'm a child of the 90s, so I likely hit the right kind of interlude with the break-up of the USSR and no manned missions beyond LEO :)

Since SpaceX kicked up the dust back in 2010 onward, things have definitely begun to look up. Most of all that the general public is enthusiastic again about what this 'space' thing could mean for them and humanity as a whole. I also love SpaceX's attitude towards rocketry and everything connected to it, with the kind of down-and-dirty engineering as was common in the early years of the Space Race. Meanwhile setting record after record, not the least of which being landing entire first stages while making it look easy.

In that light I am absolutely optimistic about the future of humanity in space and I agree that this is like a second Space Age. I did however want to be thankful for those who have kept the 'torch' lit. Not just those behind the Voyager program, but also those with a vision beyond LEO :)

Elledan Bronze badge

Relics of the Space Age

In some ways Voyager 1 & 2 are reminders of a very different time period: fresh from the successes of the Apollo missions and before the retreat to LEO. Back when people still had fantasies about moon colonies and human-crewed spaceships zipping through this solar system and beyond.

It's hopeful that after decades of a hiatus in significant progress humanity now seems intent on moving beyond LEO once again. With currently Voyager 1 & 2 our only probes in outer space, and a few craft zipping on and around the Moon and Mars it will be a while before we can hope to recapture the spirit of the 1960s, let alone exceed our achievements of those decades.

Politics aside, the achievements of the 1950s through the 1970s in rocketry and spaceflight didn't push just engineers to the limits of their skills, but also brought people together in very real ways that still last today. To have people from Earth exploring a body that is not part of Earth, and to which no nation can lay a claim. The photos of which brings back the sobering realisations of Sagan's 'Pale Blue Dot'. To accept the empty beauty of outer space as our probes' sensors explore it for the very first time.

Just one of the many reasons to be grateful for the people who made the Voyager program possible and are keeping it running today. For reminding us humans of our exciting yet very humbling place in this vast universe.

Legendary Li-ion battery boffin John Goodenough to develop gel power packs with South Korea's SK Innovation

Elledan Bronze badge


A quick googling doesn't get one a whole lot of information on this particular battery. What is interesting is that Wikipedia tells us that a number of Chinese companies have already begun to produce solid-state batteries for cars and the like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_battery

There seems to be a lot of research on the topic, with for example a few recent articles on SHGP and GPE-based batteries:




How does the battery tech in the article relate to this research?

Boeing confirms it will finish building 747s in 2022, when last freighter flies off the production line

Elledan Bronze badge

Flying wings/bodies

I wonder whether at some point we will actually see flying wing or body configurations for pax and cargo airplanes. We have been kinda doing the 'tube with wings' design for the better part of a hundred years now, with very little variation on this theme.

Airplanes like the B2 have shown that the principle of flying wing works. A cargo version could be pretty neat, while also ticking the boxes for efficiency and noise profiles. A pax version might be trickier, due to fewer windows, but that's something which cargo does not care much for.

I have seen some concept designs from various manufacturers zip by the past decades, but so far nothing concrete yet. Anyone knows whether we can expect something here within the next hundred years? :)

IDE like an update, please: JetBrains freshens IntelliJ, adds improved GitHub integration, Java support

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: This is so excruciatingly slow...

I have everything from AppCode (Objective-C) to CLion and IintelliJ (Java & JavaScript) over the years for professional projects. I have always marveled at how much productivity is stolen by these IDEs.

While AppCode was (is?) much preferred over the burning trainwreck careening down the tracks called XCode, CLion simply has no redeeming qualities over using CodeBlocks, Qt Creator or simply Notepad++ and a few terminal windows when you have some clue of what you're doing.

IntelliJ was pure Hell, though. It always has to update, sync, point out errors or things it is unhappy with. Even my more enthusiastic colleagues shifted towards just running stuff from the CLI instead of doing it via the IDE.

I have always wondered about the 'easy refactoring' feature as well. If one's code is apparently so volatile and poorly planned that it requires continuous refactoring, maybe it's time to consider another profession?

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?

Elledan Bronze badge

Windows 10, AKA the Windows nobody asked for

Back in the olden days (i.e. Windows 9x), the only thing users complained about was the stability. The bi-weekly reinstallation ritual of Windows 98 was one of those things that drove me to try out this newfangled 'Linux' thing (SuSE 6.3, retail copy) back in the Year of the Linux Desktop (rev. 1998). While struggling through its approach towards 'user-friendliness', an acquaintance slipped me a totally-legal copy of Windows 2000.

Windows 2000 was amazing. On the same Celeron 400 system with 64 MB of RAM that had seen Windows 98 SE whimper and whine and crash, Windows 2000 ran like a dream. Stable, reliable, low memory usage and snappy, while keeping the same modern Win98 UI with a few improvements. I loved it so much that I kept using Windows 2000 well beyond XP's release, only upgrading when I saw how much smoother things like IME input in WinXP were. WinXP actually using DMA transfers instead of PIO during the copying of installation files to disk was also welcome.

Windows XP was okay after switching off the horror show by opting for 'Classic' mode and pretending it was just Windows 2000. Using Windows 2003 (32 & 64-bit) was also very agreeable, using both on a number of server systems.

Windows 7 I started with back in 2009 already, and after correcting its major flaws (showing every single ZIP file in a folder as its own folder in File Explorer, and fixing the start menu with Classic Shell), I am still using it today on a number of systems. Windows 7 still looks like Win2k, just shinier and rounder and more modern.

Windows 8 I didn't want to use, and apparently nobody else did either, considering that it got mostly ignored, scorned and laughed at until it died a quick death when Win10 got released.

What I'm getting out of all this is that nobody really was asking for big UI changes in Windows. Low-level, technical improvements in kernel space are awesome, and definitely clean up some other warts while one is at it. But who asked to 'fix' the Control Panel by restricting it to one view in a monochrome, single-page view? Who asked for Aero Glass to be removed? Who was hating on rounded corners, drop-shadows and other UI elements that made it possible to see where one window starts and one ends? Why does Windows 10 by default look like an early sketch of Windows 3.1 in monochrome, with most of the UI window lines erased?

I run Windows 10 on a new laptop, but I had to mod the heck out of its UI to make it somewhat palatable. Technological improvements and weekly breakage aside, the one thing that makes me loathe Windows 10 is simply that it looks hideous, breaks everything about the Windows UI that nobody complained about since Windows 95 and generally just makes using the OS more miserable while trying to cram the idea that one has to register with Microsoft and be logged into the Microsoft mainframe while using one's Personal Computer down everyone's throat.

So yeah, Windows 10 isn't my cup of tea. But I guess it's the future? The bleak, monochrome, rectangular, dystopian future, with Microsoft bots zipping overhead to keep an eye on us Alpha testers, that is.

When did Microsoft stop caring about us Windows users?

Microsoft runs a data centre on hydrogen for 48 whole hours, reckons it could kick hydrocarbon habit by 2030

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Hydrogen is a solution and its own worst enemy

One major issue with biofuels is of course that they are still polluting the way fossil fuels are, even if they do not cause the same carbon-related issues. Especially the production of fine dust (PM2.5) which causes and exacerbates COPD issues and has been linked to thousands of deaths per year from fossil fuel, natural gas and biofuel plants.

I do think that something like syngas (which can be produced from heating wood chips and such) might be an acceptable in-between solution here. It should be far cleaner than just burning wood.

Elledan Bronze badge

Hydrogen is a solution and its own worst enemy

While hydrogen as an energy carrier (not a fuel like diesel) does seem attractive if one just looks at the hydrogen + oxygen => water + power equation, it omits 99% of what makes hydrogen so complicated.

From manufacturing hydrogen, which today is mostly done using the reforming of natural gas (releasing CO2 in the process), to storing (super-high pressure, super-low (liquid) temperature storage, binding to nickel, etc.) and transport (see storage), hydrogen is not an easy gas to handle.

Hydrogen causes metal embrittlement, as it'll change the material while it seeps through the storage tank or transport pipe's sides. It also becomes highly explosive when mixed with almost no or a lot of oxygen. In the past few years there have been at least two major explosions at hydrogen refueling facilities (Norway & California).

Even assuming that the hydrogen is produced using wasteful electrolysis (throwing away >50% of the input power), it would need to stored in a way that is reliable enough that you'll still have some hydrogen left by the time that the emergency occurs that requires the fuel cells. High-pressure storage is leaky. Cold-storage is reliable, but requires a lot of power and means that once the power fails, you need to also power the cooling system. Releasing hydrogen bound to nickel is a super slow process.

Fuel cells themselves come with a share of issues. They run very, very hot (hundreds of degrees), their internal surface can become contaminated (from impure input gases) which reduces reaction speed and they do not last forever.

There is a reason why diesel and gas generators are so popular. Can just keep a few cans of fuel lying around without special precautions and the generator will usually Just Work (tm) if you provide it with an occasional bit of TLC. Diesel and gasoline are also rather safe, with diesel practically impossible to ignite and gasoline vapours being the major hazard, if you can get it properly mixed with oxygen.

I wish Microsoft luck on this project, but it sounds like this 'backup system' might require its own backup system, at least until they have worked out the kinks with the hydrogen system.

Google allowed to remember search results to news articles it was asked to forget. Good

Elledan Bronze badge
Big Brother

That fine line

This case appears to be about where the line between 'right to be forgotten' and plain censorship lies. Wouldn't we all want for certain things to just vanish from the internet? Quite a few governments seem to think that this is a splendid idea, ensuring that nothing negative about them can ever appear on the part of the internet which they control.

They'll also happily apply RTBF on certain doubleplusungood citizens, of course.

As mentioned earlier in the comments, RTBF can have good reasons, like wiping out revenge porn and the like. Yet should RTBF be used to wipe away one's sordid past?

I don't think we have seen the last of RTBF cases in court yet.

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Virtue-signalling wankery

I'm still waiting for someone to address the unashamed use of 'master' and 'slave' by the BDSM community, including literal master/mistress-slave play.

That at least would seem to have some relevance to addressing the actual matter, instead of playing kick-the-IT-guy.

Here's why your Samsung Blu-ray player bricked itself: It downloaded an XML config file that broke the firmware

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Rookie mistake

They didn't fully parse the input, because they blindly made an assumption about at least part of the input, namely that there would be a list. They did not attempt to ascertain that a) a list was present, and b) that it contained valid items.

'Parsing' doesn't mean that the XML, JSON or whatever parser doesn't bail out on you. It means that at the end of the parsing process you have all of the expected bits in the right format, along with a few optional bits, all of them fully validated and confirmed.

There's a reason why input testing often involves fuzzers, which will mix up input patterns to create a wide range of inputs, some of which will pass the XML tree parser, some of which will either pass the validators after the basic parsing. Or alternately make things catch on fire.

Elledan Bronze badge
IT Angle

Rookie mistake

No code should ever trust any input, whether it's user input, a remote or local file, or from a driver or anything else. The only way to safely parse is to assume that one is being fed garbage data and to defensively program to deal with such junk.

Good to know that Samsung's QA department runs such poisoned input tests against their device firmware before releasing them to customers.

From 'Queen of the Skies' to Queen of the Scrapheap: British Airways chops 747 fleet as folk stay at home

Elledan Bronze badge

Hard to say goodbye

I have only flown on a 747 once, from San Francisco (SFO) to Amsterdam (AMS), but I can still remember seeing that surge of excitement when I saw that 747 parked on the tarmac at the gate in its KLM livery. Then, sitting at a window seat I could look over the right wing and it was immense. The whole flight was super-comfortable, even if the interior looked like it dated back to the early 90s at least. Compared to the A320s and heavens know which other Airbus and Boeing airplanes I have flown on over the years, the 747 was by far my favourite. I wish I could have sat on the top deck at least once.

Part of me hopes that some of these retired planes will be converted to cargo planes (which is where they still excel today, due to the unobstructed lower deck), but I'm pretty sure that they'll just be scrapped and used for spares for the (many) 747 cargo planes out there.

ReactOS hits a milestone – actually hiring a full-time developer. And we've got our talons on the latest build to see what needs fixing

Elledan Bronze badge

Hope springs eternal

I have been aware of ReactOS since the late 90s, around the time that they changed the focus from Win9x to WinNT (now Win2k3). Back then I would regularly play around with alternative OSes, as well as Wine on Linux. Over the intervening years, Wine has progressed from barely being able to run a simple Windows text editor, to giving most Windows apps a fair shot.

ReactOS, however, they seem to have relegated themselves to a Win2k replacement and little else. No x64 support forthcoming, no functioning sound support, and trying out new releases and the occasional nightly it's still far too easy to reach a point where the system becomes unstable. For one, never install VirtualBox Guest Additions, because these are not compatible and will break a lot of things.

That said, I still love the idea of ReactOS, and I wish that it got more love, the way that Linux and the BSDs get. As a life-long Windows user, I would love nothing more than to see an open source version of Windows 7, made possible by ReactOS. With the current way that MSFT is moving Windows, it's long past time that such a thing happened.

Either that, or we either accept that our Windows 10 PCs are terminals for the MSFT mainframe, or we struggle to pretend that the year of 'Linux on the Desktop' has already happened and we can just take our professional Windows-based apps and run them on our Linux-based workstations.

I rather miss how 'boring' Windows used to be, I guess. Whatever happened to MSFT around Windows 8?

You're testing them wrong: Whiteboard coding interviews are 'anti-women psychological stress examinations'

Elledan Bronze badge
IT Angle

I concur

A few years ago I flew around the world to attend a wide range of job interviews, including for companies like Apple and Microsoft. I found the 'on-site' aspect to be rather stressful already, with the logistics of train, plane and local transport. Even without jetlag coming into play, finding oneself the next day in front of a whiteboard running through the same 'implement memcopy' question again and again with every question from the person watching you seemingly aimed at raising your anxiety.

When I put those experiences next to me actually working for a big company (major German car manufacturer) and attending meetings with heads of departments about the project which I was leading... then I must confess to not feeling anxious about these meetings or phone calls at all. Because you know what you are talking about, what has to be done, and how to communicate it to others.

In comparison those job interviews were pure Hell and led me to instead decide to just freelance things. Stressful as freelancing may be, it also means that you are picked based on your work and (apparent) skills, not through some inane 'job interview'. I don't think I could ever put myself through another one of those interviews.

Rust code in Linux kernel looks more likely as language team lead promises support

Elledan Bronze badge

Rust pushes developers away

What I have noticed over the past years is that Rust as a language and community is highly divisive. My initial skepticism about it as a language has turned into outright disgust to the point where I as a senior developer who has worked on (commercial) projects involving everything from C and C++ to JavaScript and TypeScript now actively refuse to have anything to do with the language or its cult members. For that is what it feels like.

The fact that Rust needs an 'unsafe' keyword to function, that it doesn't just extend weak typing relative to C++, but actively encourages it. That it doesn't offer heap segmentation or heap access levels. That it is more like typing Python, with many of the same potential runtime issues due to type inference and logic errors from its very abstract syntax. That it doesn't offer contract-based programming, and abandons the intuitive nature of OOP for its own overly complicated, hard to learn and maintain 'alternative'.

My interactions with Rust fans have been less than amicable. When I try to point out the above facts and how Rust at no point would pass the Steelman requirements, it quickly gets hammered home that there is no intellectual debate possible. Rust good. C++ bad. And what is this 'Ada'?

Over the past years I have been moving more and more towards Ada development, finding in it everything that I missed in C++, and understanding why everything in Ada is there. My discussions with professional Ada developers (a lot from European defence companies) have been pleasant, in-depth and the Ada community as a whole has been nothing but graceful and interested in differing views. Among the C++ communities I venture in I have also noticed a strong interest in some aspects of Ada, especially its super-strong typing.

This all to say that the more Rust code appears in Open Source project, the more it risks pushing developers like myself away. Call it what you want, but to me this 'Rust' thing is something which I do neither relish nor tolerate, for reasons which I hope I have sufficiently articulated here.

Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Say it with Love

That is of course the part where in Nineteen Eighty-Four 'cancel culture' comes into play. Anyone who does not follow the rules gets 're-educated' until they accept the rules.

No need to complicate matters with intellectual discussions if one can just shun and ostracise people into compliance.

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: male/female

I vote for only hermaphroditic connectors to be allowed from now on.

Elledan Bronze badge

Say it with Love

"In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined with all subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten."

'block' is so harsh and unneeded. Why use it when 'allow' already exists and is more friendly? It even contains its opposite meaning right in the word, with 'unallow'.

Unallowlist is doubleplusungood.

Allowlist is doubleplusgood.

Henceforth, no such vulgar term like 'slave' shall be used, but instead the opposite of 'master', with 'unmaster'. The term 'master' in the sense of 'learning' is to be extinguished, to be replaced with 'goodlearned'.

Tom goodlearned Newspeak. Tom is a doubleplusgood boy.

Here is to a world free of thoughtcrime by 2050.

Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: We hear these stories all the time

Yes, 'guilt' is a poor phrasing, I realise. I did add the 'to some extent' to it, but that would still imply that there is any guilt one should assume.

It's really about intent, I think. If you intend to discriminate to do harm (treat people differently due to some characteristics which they cannot help), then yes, that's wrong and you are not a nice person in that case. But if you discriminate between strawberry and chocolate milk because you like the latter more... well, that's just fine even it may upset some people who are on #TeamStrawberryMilk :)

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: We hear these stories all the time

In the end, racism is just another type of discrimination. Discrimination is something which we are all guilty of to some extent, it's just that not all of us are the victim of it. When it's not the amount of melanin in one's skin, it is one's hair colour, being Irish/German/Japanese/etc., or one's sexual orientation or something equally silly to get upset about.

I have found myself being met with outright revulsion, plain rejection, and morbid fascination when people discovered what makes me a minority. Even though I should have an easy life as a moderately intelligent, Caucasian woman, the fact that I'm intersex (twin-in-one, also known as a true hermaphrodite) somehow means that I'm repulsive, a liability for a (Christian) GP or just another attraction at the freak show.

I wish people could just treat people like me like... well, a person. Because that's what we all are, all of us silly homo sapiens.

NASA trusted 'traditional' Boeing to program its Starliner without close supervision... It failed to dock due to bugs

Elledan Bronze badge

Nothing wrong with 'traditional' engineering

Traditional engineering techniques got humans into space, men on the Moon and allows us to this day to communicate with space probes outside of our solar system (Voyager 1 & 2). Flawed as the STS program was, it was not due to poor engineering. US companies like Boeing didn't roll all over competitors to their airplane business because they were famous for sloppy engineering, instead the US managed to churn out hit after hit with the 7x7 and a number of highly impressive military airplanes, most of which were designed before the advent of the IBM PC.

Speaking as someone who has been introduced to the miracles of 'modern' engineering (hi Agile/Scrum), I can tell you that it is definitely not the method, but the people. That includes not only the engineers, but also the managers, customers and everybody else in the same chain. Clearly something has gone horribly wrong within Boeing that they have stuff literally falling out of the sky and catching on fire, and I very much doubt it is because they don't hold enough daily stand-up meetings and retrospectives.

When one open-source package riddled with vulns pulls in dozens of others, what's a dev to do?

Elledan Bronze badge

I had the joyful experience of working on an embedded JS project (commercial) once, that involved a significant amount of NodeJS and NPM fluff.

You don't understand how bad NPM is until you have glanced at the node_modules folder, noticed it's 1+ GB for a modestly sized project, and finding that deleting said folder in MacOS takes many, many seconds, SSD be darned.

And don't get me started on NodeJS. Using NodeJS for 'embedded' means having a literal Hello World app sucking down 70 MB with just a basic comms framework in place that does some JSON parsing and writing.

The effect of all that has been that I now refuse to do anything 'embedded' that doesn't at the very least involve a significant amount of C, C++ or Ada.Even TypeScript won't lure me back into the wonderful world of NodeJS.

Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop duke it out: Only Electron left standing

Elledan Bronze badge

The future is a website?

Any bets on how long it'll take for Windows 10 to turn into just an Edge instance that logs into the Microsoft Cloud, like some kind of Chromebook?

Clearly TypeScript is the language to learn if one wants to make it at MSFT.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Elledan Bronze badge

Grounds for firing?

Does using any of these doubleplusungood words in company communications or source code/comments constitute a breach of contract that would result in a person being immediately fired from said company?

Are we going to have people rejected from open source projects because they felt that censoring said doubleplusungood words is rather daft, but the Thought Police whose function has by then been enshrined in the Code of Conduct lacks any sense of humour or capacity for rational thought?

Also, shame about the lack of action to fix modern day slavery, inequality in society (how many people living below the poverty line again?) and human rights abuses by countless governments. But you got those doubleplusungood words censored.

Gawd, I loathe SJWs.

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

Elledan Bronze badge

Amazon is a shady bookstore

I'm thinking that it would be awesome if Amazon was more selective about the books which it offers for sale. The number of loony conspiracy books (ebook or printed-on-demand) that are available almost drown out the legitimate books for certain topics. And when you pop over to the Korean or Japanese book sections to see what's new, you find yourself drowning in softcore porn rags. Even with the 'adult content' filter enabled.

But I guess good on this nut for getting another conspiracy book on Amazon.

Please do support your local bookstore.

Microsoft's carefully crafted Surfaces are having trouble with its carefully crafted Windows 10 May 2020 Update

Elledan Bronze badge

Rock, meet hard place.

So on one hand one can elect to have one's Windows 10 installation regularly b0rked by official updates, and on the other hand there is the scaremongering about not 'upgrading' from Windows 7.

Maybe unsupported Windows OSes are the safest ones at this point...

Nice wallpaper you've got there. It would be a shame if it bricked your phone

Elledan Bronze badge
IT Angle

The cardinal sin of programming

As they phrase it in software development courses, provided example code is usually devoid of all the error and bound checking that would be required in production code.

Also, does this mean that nobody at Google ever in the history of Androd tried to test this 'app' with an RGB image? For a core service whose functioning determines whether a phone works or is just a useless brick stuck in an endless reboot loop?

That seems hard to swallow, but then again, we are talking about software development here...

Microsoft announces official Windows package manager. 'Not a package manager' users snap back

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Pacman

As an MSYS2 and formerly mostly Ubuntu user, I can say that using the former has made my introduction to Manjaro infinitely easier and more pleasant. Takes a bit to learn the pacman vocabulary, but now I can confidently -Syu and -Ss my way to victory :)

Makes me really glad that MSYS2 went with a sane, existing package manager instead of rolling their own.

*eyes Microsoft askance*

Elledan Bronze badge


As a software developer who mostly uses Windows, I have found the pacman package manager (same as in Arch/Manjaro Linux) to be exceedingly useful. Together with the MSYS2 environment, one gets a Linux-like environment, access to a package manager that makes installing and managing libraries, tools and other dependencies as easy as on Linux.

As a bonus, this approach allows me to use the same shell scripts and build tools across Windows, Linux, BSD and other platforms with minimal effort. Not something that can be said for using the prescribed Microsoft Way (tm), I'm sure.

Google rolls out pro-privacy DNS-over-HTTPS support in Chrome 83... with a handy kill switch for corporate IT

Elledan Bronze badge

DoH is still stupid

The thing is that DoH doesn't add anything that DoT doesn't already do, while also making network security (as noted) impossible. How do you distinguish some spyware sneaking its HTTPS DNS queries along with other HTTPS traffic, after all?

DoH also doesn't solve the most important issues, that of validating whether a DNS record one obtained from the DNS server is genuine (requires DNSSEC), nor does it keep the details of your DNS query get shouted across the entire DNS network. This latter point requires the implementation of QNAME minimisation, also not a part of DoH.

At best, DoH is a red herring for internet security. At worst it's a trojan that enables the destruction of one's network and system security and privacy.

Rust marks five years since its 1.0 release: The long and winding road actually works

Elledan Bronze badge

From a C++ & Ada perspective, Rust fails in multiple areas:

* It weakens strong typing by adding type inference (much like the often abused 'auto' keyword in C++).

* It prefers obscure symbol series over clear phrasing in English words.

* It allows for many ways to accomplish the same thing.

* Its non-obvious syntax that does nothing to prevent logic errors.

* Its crusade against OOP and replacing of it by a much harder to learn and correctly use alternative.

The fact that the Rust developers were at no point inspired by anything in Ada/SPARK, which is unquestionably at this point the pinnacle of safe and reliable programming, should speak volumes. Maybe reading the Steelman requirements before Mozilla's devs embarked on throwing out the baby with the bathwater might have been helpful.

Better late than never... Google Chrome to kill off 'tiny' number of mobile web ads that gobble battery, CPU power

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: I went back to Web 1.0

I still feel bad for having a 100+ kB JPEG header image on my personal website. Probably bloats up the first page load to a grand total of 160 kB or so, including the bit of CSS. Not a single line of JavaScript, of course. Any scripting that needs doing can be done with CSS as well, which saves a lot of space and CPU cycles :)

Elledan Bronze badge

I went back to Web 1.0

Back around 2000 when I was fiddling about with web development, there was no real use of JavaScript worth speaking of. Us web designers were in the midst of moving to CSS-based styling (and layout, sanity permitting) and any ads that were around were text or image-based. Most of us designers even optimised any images, trying to shave off a few more bytes so that it'd load half a second faster over a 56k dial-up connection.

Move forward by twenty years, and optimising for file size as well as overall accessibility (websites that break fully without JS enabled, and do not work well with screenreaders etc. when it is) have been tossed out of the window. Want to browse the web with a dial-up modem? At blistering 2-4 kB/s, that 2 MB page (even with some cached data) is going to take ~34 seconds at an average speed of 3 kB/s. Optimistically, that's you waiting under a minute for a single page.

But who is using 56k dial-up these days, you ask? Roughly 2 million Americans, for one: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/dvd-rental-windows-3-aol-2017/

Even though I have had access to a fast broadband connection for many years now, I still do not appreciate the way that pages have bloated up, the myriad of JavaScript pop-ups and JavaScript-based ads. The JavaScript-based reloading and changing of the page while it's loading, causing the browser to re-render and re-render it multiple times, which causes the fun 'skipping around' effect one sees on pages these days.

These days I am using a non-commercial browser (Pale Moon), with JavaScript enabled per website address (NoScript) and ads fully blocked (uBlock Origin). I have tried to go back to just using the web again like I used to in the past, even with just a bit of ad-blocking to weed out the worst offenders, but the degradation in overall usability is shocking. Ironically, using glitched-out websites due to no JS and missing stacks of ads making the layout collapse is still a better user experience than the other way around.

Really makes one wonder where things will go from here. Moving the rendering engine out of the browser and into JavaScript, so that it is 'always up to date'?

Node.js creator delivers Deno 1.0, a new runtime that fixes 'design mistakes in Node'

Elledan Bronze badge

JavaScript: a single-threaded prototype-based language that only supports ASCII strings and IEEE-754 32-bit floats as types.

TypeScript: JavaScript, with the prototype part (optionally) replaced with (some) typing.

Rust: like C++11, but with OOP and strong typing removed. Loved by folk who thought Brainf*ck was too easy to read.

C++: running the show along with C.

Visual Studio Code 1.45 released: Binary custom editors and 'unbiased Notebook solution' in the works

Elledan Bronze badge

I regularly write PHP in Notepad++, but haven't felt any need for anything beyond syntax highlight and auto-indent. Around 2000 I did use a number of PHP-oriented IDEs, but found myself never really using their features beyond said auto-indent and syntax highlighting.

On Linux I use Vim, which also has an extensive collection of extensions. As a bonus, Vim works on just about any platform as well, and even without an X server.

Elledan Bronze badge

But why use the VS Code website for this, instead of the VS application? What about any of the IntelliJ IDEs? They're also highly extensible.I have used IntelliJ and noticed the same functionality built-in there.

One could also use Vim in this case, with the massive amount of extensions for it.

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: They're for ctrl+space whores

I'm a senior C++ developer by trade, and that's not a scenario that I recognise. After enjoying auto-complete and such 'features' in VS Pro, XCode, Netbeans, etc., the only language where I actually appreciate that feature is in Java. For C, C++ (and increasingly Ada), the time I could conceivably save by something like Intellisense is negligible, and possibly negative.

My usual workflow consists out of a few reference pages open, Notepad++ with the code, and a couple of terminal windows for compilation and debugging. I have found that anything beyond syntax highlighting and auto-indent merely gets in the way.

But if I wanted to use Intellisense, why wouldn't I just use Visual Studio, instead of this VS Code website?

Elledan Bronze badge

As a daily user of tricked-out instances of Notepad++ and Vim, VS Code confuses me.

I know what it is, I know that people use it, but what I cannot figure out is the 'why'. I have used all kinds of IDEs, from VS Pro to XCode, Eclipse and IntelliJ, and as mentioned have settled for mostly NP++ and Vim. I do not see where VS Code fits in all of this. It's a bit like VS, with like 99% fewer features and performance. It lacks basic features that Notepad++ (and Crimson Editor before it in the 90s) already had.

So again I ask, why is it that people use VS Code? What species of developer does it target who wouldn't be happier with anything else?

If it feels like the software world is held together by string and a prayer, we don't blame you: Facebook SDK snafu breaks top iOS apps

Elledan Bronze badge
IT Angle

Paranoia is a good thing

The main rule when dealing with user input in one's application has always been to never trust said user. Expect the worst kind of mangled, hopelessly incorrect data. Ergo one sanitises incoming data and bails out early if something seems fishy. With third-party libraries and code it's no different. Even for one's own code and libraries checking input data (when called from a function, or as the return value from calling some method) has to be standard, not optional.

Clearly Facebook's library did not bother checking the input, which then cascaded into taking down the rest of the application with them. Of course, with JavaScript and increasingly more new languages that are weakly typed (Kotlin, Swift, Rust, etc.), a lot of (static & dynamic) type validation is being tossed out of the window, with things seemingly working fine until the runtime hits a type conversion that is impossible, throwing an exception.

With a language like Java that has no stack-based variables, one technically had to validate every incoming parameter for being a Null type. Since nobody every did this, NullPointerExceptions are still super-common in Java code. With weakly typed languages (like JS and Python) the only time that you will encounter the really fun bugs is when you get a stacktrace barfed at you (Python) or the app fails silently (JavaScript) while the code runs in production (because testing & staging is for losers).

Does anyone ever really trust code someone else wrote, or worse: code one wrote themselves?

In Rust we trust? Yes, but we want better tools and wider usage, say devs

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Realistic business scenario

Considering that Rust is a weakly-typed language (akin to Python), I'd not want to use it over C++. While one can use strong typing in Rust, it is completely optional, with the default Python-like inferred typing the default.Using strong typing in Rust requires a significant amount more code, which makes what comes by default an error-prone business in Rust.

This in addition to the symbol soup Rust introduced instead of normal English phrases (like Ada) and a highly complicated 'alternative' to OOP and classes which has a beyond vertical learning curve, inviting even more errors in one's code.

Basically, just use Python or C++ (or Ada). But not Rust. Maybe use Go, if you really need to.

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Thoughts from an old fogey

So you're making the argument that everybody should not be using Rust, but Go?

Because by those metrics, Go is a far better choice than Rust, providing memory safety and overall restricting what one can do. See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(programming_language)

Elledan Bronze badge

Got tools?

As a senior C++ developer and part-time Ada (among others) developer, my 'IDE' is either Notepad++ or Vim, and I use gdb, Valgrind, etc. on the CLI.

Perhaps ironically, I used to heavily use IDEs in the past, including Visual Studio 2010 Pro. Over the years I have moved away from all of those, as I didn't se the perceived benefit of using IDEs.

Maybe I'm just an odd-ball, but I see IDEs more like something that Java, Kotlin, JavaScript and Python developers would demand.

As for Rust itself... I looked at it, poked at it a bit, but to me it feels like someone mashed Python and C++ together, along with a few other weird choices (no OOP) and missing every single reason why Ada is the best and safest language out there (ergo it being used for avionics, etc.).

We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Why the decline of Firefox?

I have used Firefox since before it was called Firefox, yet I gave up on Firefox a few years ago because I didn't care for the direction it was heading.

I now use Pale Moon as my main browser, which is an evolution of 'old-school' Firefox, keeping the powerful XUL extensions and NPAPI support, while cutting the bloat that nobody was using. Because Pale Moon doesn't use the crippled WebExtensions, it can use the more powerful NoScript and uBlock Origin addons, as XUL allows for direct access to a lot of the browser's internals.

Much like many others who are using Pale Moon, Waterfox and similar Fx spin-offs, we like Firefox still, just not this 'Firefox' that Mozilla tries to pawn off as the 'real deal' nowadays. If it wasn't for the fact that Firefox doesn't use Chromium (yet), one might as well just call it another Chromium-based browser. It follows the same APIs as Chrome, after all, to the point where one can install Chrome addons in Firefox and have them work without issues.

So yeah, that's why I'm no longer using Mozilla's Firefox.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

Elledan Bronze badge


The best April 1st jokes are the ones which bear a bitter grain of truth :)

Microsoft drops a seemingly innocuous Windows Insider build, teases the future

Elledan Bronze badge

Welcome to the world of Agile.

There was this big fuss about Microsoft shifting from the antiquated 'waterfall' development model, and shifting to the hip & modern 'Agile/Scrum' method. What this effectively meant, however, was firing the QA department, no longer bothering with releases, and instead having developers churn out half-tested code into chunks that'd be spat out at 'Fast Ring' , 'Slow Ring' and 'Please Don't Hurt Me Ring', AKA 'Business customers'.

Which means that if you use Windows 10 and aren't being paid by Microsoft, you're effectively an unpaid Microsoft employee. Congrats :)

Elledan Bronze badge

Re: Start Menu flakier than ever

I have been using Classic Start Menu since Windows 7 (2009) on any system that I own to keep the Windows 2000-style start menu. Occasionally I find myself confronted with the 'new' start menu attempts in Window 7, 8.1 and the dumpster fire that is the Windows 10 'start menu'.

I still fail to see where the Windows 2000 start menu needed such a big change, especially with the hiding of applications and easy access to settings dialogues.

Maybe you're supposed to just ask Cortana to find everything for you these days?



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