* Posts by Fustbariclation

10 posts • joined 17 May 2017

Snakes on a wane: Python 2 development is finally frozen in time, version 3 slithers on


Re: Apple's walled garden


ls -l /usr/bin/python

lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 75 1 Jan 2020 /usr/bin/python -> ../../System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/bin/python2.7


ProductName: macOS

ProductVersion: 11.0.1

BuildVersion: 20B29

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree


Re: .. never used .. ?

Turbo Pascal was brilliant - particularly its object-orientated add-ons.

I wrote a simulator for an X.25 network using it, and it made the job really easy - I just made each switching node an object and you could construct large networks with ease, simply by creating a new node object and linking it to its neighbours. Brilliantly easy.

It worked so well that the figures I produced for new nodes being rolled out on the network we managed were so accurate that, when one wasn't performing within the time my model predicted, they called the Bundespost PTT to complain, and had the line fixed until it matched my figure, rather than complaining, as I'd expected, to me, that my numbers were wrong.

It was all a mistake, really. At a meeting our customer asked if we could produce projected performance figures, and, without thinking, we foolishly agreed - both my colleague and I thinking the other had a solution.

We should really have gone back and explained that predicting terminal performance was impossible - the maths boffins assured me that it was, because queuing theory wasn't good enough for a multiple node network. Still, I had my newly purchased Turbo Pascal, and thought it worth a try. It was hard work, but I had the figures to them within ten days.


Re: .. never used .. ?

APL is a wonderful language - I even, for a time, had an APL terminal and keyboard in my garage for my HP 3000 machine that had an interpreter.

I think it makes the ideal teaching language, because it is so intuitive.

There's a brilliant on-line site where you can try out APL:



Algol marches on

Algol marches on in Pascal, Ada, C, C++, Java, Javascript... pretty well every current language - it only wasn't an influence for APL, Lisp, Prolog, RPG, and other less mainstream languages.



Isn't BNF still useful for representing languages?


Algol 60 on the HP 2100A

Well, I've used it -- it was the best language to use on the HP 2100A, because you needed only one paper tape, because Algol 60 was designed to work with a single pass compiler. Apart from it being a better language anyway.

FORTRAN IV, as it was then, needed a two paper tapes. So, even for a little FORTRAN program, you had to load the first pass compiler tape (then wind it up on its spool), then put your program tape through and get the intermediate tape. You'd then load the second compiler paper tape, and feed it the intermediate tape. It would then produce the binary. If anything went wrong, you had to start again.

Even then proper design made a huge difference. Declaring your variables first, and declaring functions before you use them, makes good sense anyway, and has the excellent side-effect of improving usability by one-pass compilation.

Oh dear... Netizens think 'private' browsing really means totally private


Avoid malware by using "Microsoft's..."???

If you use anything from Microsoft, you have malware. You can't avoid it.

You have spyware - it's baked in. The essential part of what the company does.

Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google


Odd to go half way

It's peculiar that they didn't move to open source.

Presumably it's because security isn't an issue for them.

It'd have made a lot more sense, though, if changing, to change to a secure platform..

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'


Odd that nobody notices that it happens at the busiest time.

Things that go bang at one of the busiest weekends of the year are almost certainly capacity problems - which are difficult to fix.

When you read of staff having been retrenched recently, it makes it even more likely it's a capacity problem.

Experienced, technical staff, with a sound knowledge of the systems, and their history, are expensive and rare. Their value is not obvious as they tend not to be top-flight communicators and are not that keen on blowing their own trumpets either.

The first you notice of their absence is usually just this, a very big bang, that appears to come from nowhere and with nobody knowing how to fix it.

Capacity errors are also notorious for being immune to defences like removing spofs by having multiple data centres.

Do we need Windows patch legislation?


Re: Support it - or Open Source it

They can release it as FOSS. Yes, they'd have to reveal stuff that was still used. That would be the choice, do that, or support it.

Just because your code is Open Source does not mean that it is free. M$ could release XP as Open Source, but still charge people who used a more recent closed-source version called something else.


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