* Posts by james_smith

430 posts • joined 29 Aug 2017

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Open-source contributors say they'll pull out of Qt as LTS release goes commercial-only

james_smith

The impetus to create the GNOME desktop environment was KDE's reliance on Qt from Trolltech, as well as a preference for C over C++[1]. At the time Qt was available in source form, but modifications could not be distributed. GNOME adopted GTK (or GTK+ as it was then) from the GIMP project, and this eventually encouraged Trolltech to re-license Qt to allow distribution of modifications. And now twenty years later Qt goes closed source :-(

[1] It's far easier to create bindings for other languages if the library is in C rather than C++.

Lay down your souls to the gods of rock 'n' roll: Conspiracy theorists' 5G 'vaccine' chip schematic is actually for a guitar pedal

james_smith

The Metal Zone sounds great on twelve string electric guitar - I saw a band using it this way in the 1990s and replicated the setup. The way it distorts plays really nicely with the "jangly" sound of a twelve string, giving a really great sound for arpeggios that cut through the mix.

Julian Assange will NOT be extradited to the US over WikiLeaks hacking and spy charges, rules British judge

james_smith

Re: Have those who he exposed ...

The US rarely prosecute their own for war crimes, they withdrew from the International Criminal Court and recently placed sanctions on one of its prosecutors. The My Lai massacre only resulted in one token conviction despite 300-500 deaths.

As Uncle Sam continues to clamp down on Big Tech, Apple pelted with more and more complaints from third-party App Store devs

james_smith

Re: Has Big Tech gotten too big?

I read that in the voice of the closing narrator from Dangermouse.

I built a shed once. How hard can a data centre be?

james_smith

We index our floors from zero. Just to confuse Americans.

And now for something completely different: A lightweight, fast browser that won't slurp your data

james_smith

Sounds like a return to the early days of the Opera browser. Closed source, small footprint and no cruft. I wish it well, and will definitely give it a spin when it's available, as we need more rendering engines to prevent a monoculture.

A pub denied: One man's tale of festive frolics postponed by the curse of the On Call phone

james_smith

Re: Boxing Day

I think you've got the wrong commentard - Jake is a left pondian, and I don't recall him ever commenting on UK tax stuff.

Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty

james_smith

Skookum!

'Following the science' rhetoric led to delay to UK COVID-19 lockdown, face mask rules

james_smith

Re: 28 Days Later

I think you'll find that 2021 is going to be more like 28 Days Later, once Brexit really bites. The French blocking freight to and from the UK is just a taste of things to come. We also have container ships already being turned away from major ports due to the chaos there, and the shipments being dumped at Belgian ports instead.

'Best tech employer of the year' threatened trainee with £15k penalty fee for quitting to look after his sick mum

james_smith

Similar experience here. During the dot com boom I worked for one of the biggest of the new companies. One of my close friends died in an accident, and when I asked for the day off to attend the funeral I was told "no". So on the day I went to the office and told my manager I was going straight to a funeral and if he had a problem with that he could "f*ck off". Knowing I'd burned my bridges I then started looking for a new job the next day.

Cats: Not a fan favourite when the critters are draped around an office packed with tech

james_smith

Re: The worst combination

Living with someone that vapes is pretty bad. Everything is now covered in a film of oil, so I'm now building up my courage to insist that vaping is only allowed in the garden.

james_smith

Re: Catnip?

On returning from a visit to the in laws, I got stopped at customs where they found a large baggie full of dried sage. My wife had been given it by her mother, and I was completely unaware it was in my suitcase. Lucky to escape a full cavity search that time.

Cruise, Kidman and an unfortunate misunderstanding at the local chemist

james_smith

I assume it was less embarrassing to discreetly photograph the choice bits of smut and then take the film to Boots than it was to walk up to the counter and buy some rhythm literature. This was prior to the world wide web and the much more anonymous access to skin pics.

james_smith

Re: Back in my day

"Then there were the urban legends of photo developers taking copies of "interesting" pics for themselves."

I posted below about a Summer job I had at a photo developers, and I can confirm that's exactly what happened there. Two guys ran the enormous machine that did the actual film developing, and they would run of copies off things like holidaying couples taking nude pictures of each other. Those two guys were as creepy as f*ck, and also as high as kites most of the time from the chemicals in the developing machine.

james_smith

Re: We did manage to raise eyebrows at Boots one time

The KY Jelly thing reminds me of getting my first tattoo (a rather large one). The tattooist recommended getting haemorrhoid ointment to rub on it as it closes the pores, stemming any bleeding and reducing the scabbing. Since I have very little shame I actually quite enjoyed asking for the largest tub of Preparation-H they had, while loudly stating it was for a huge bloody mess and asking the sales assistant if the wanted a look. I think I'm destined to burn in hell.

james_smith

Between college and university I had a Summer job in a photographic film development place where we worked overnight, processing thousands of films for the likes of Boots. Every picture was scanned by a human as it whizzed past on a reel before being automatically cropped, and since it was such a mind numbing job, we'd all take turns at it with instructions on what we should look for.

Mostly it was quality issues, where a sticker would be slapped on to say it was because the camera was out of focus and not a fault in the developing process, but we were also instructed to look out for anything involving obvious drug use, violence or sex where children were present. Over the course of the month I was working there we had to call the police four or five times, but thankfully I was not the one doing the checking when we had a reel of what turned out to be child porn.

(We also had some saddo that would send in a film each week of what looked like pictures he had taken of grumble mags as he flicked through them in a newsagents).

Oh, no one knows what goes on behind locked doors... so don't leave your UPS in there

james_smith

Re: MicroVAX II Mayflower

Barclays Bank? They were still using them at their place near Southampton about ten years ago.

You've got to be shipping me: KatherineRyan.co.uk suggests the comedian has diversified into freight forwarding

james_smith

Any potential benefit would probably be negated by Google downgrading websites that have multiple domain names pointing to them unless the only differ by TLD.

Reading El Reg while working from home? Here's a pleasant thought: Kaspersky says 1 in 10 of you are naked right now

james_smith

Re: Eurotrash

Always amused me, since they're the phonetically the same as Turkish words for male genitalia and the buttocks respectively.

james_smith

Did my morning standup sitting down. In bed, with only a T shirt on. At one point I made a move to grab something from the other room and almost revealed the crown jewels.

james_smith

Re: Eurotrash

"Allo meh Eenglish chums".

Apple's M1: the fastest and bestest ever silicon = revolution? Nah, there's far more interesting stuff happening in tech that matters to everyone

james_smith

I've just built a new home PC - first time I've done so since moving to laptops about twenty years ago. The AMD Ryzen based machine I built outperforms Apple's M1 based Mac Mini and cost me about the same.

james_smith

Re: Why does it hurt you so much, you're not an apple shareholder are you?

I think it's the tribal instinct built into all of us. Some people identify with a football club, some with a computer company. At least it's generally[1] safer than the people that identify too closely with a religion or nation state.

[1] I've been to a Millwall vs Arsenal match, hence the "generally".

james_smith

Re: Wow.

The article points out that there's nothing revolutionary in what Apple has done. They have just made the hardware equivalent of a monolithic kernel - everything in one blob, with some performance advantages but at the cost of extensibility. The lack of a memory bus external to the SoC means the machine you buy will have no upgrade options, instead you'll need to buy a complete new machine. Great for Apple, sucks to be you.

Let's check in now with the new California monolith... And it's gone, torn down by a bunch of MAGA muppets

james_smith

Re: Second great commandment

"On these two commandments let's hang all the lawyers and self proclaimed prophets."

FTFY

UK's Space Command to be 'capable of launching our first rocket in 2022'

james_smith

Feeling smug because her indoors (Turkish by birth) insisted on a toilet with built in bidet thing. So the empty shelves of "paper goods" in our local supermarkets aren't a problem.

YouTube is going to splash adverts all over your videos, and won't pay creators unless there's a big enough audience

james_smith

Re: There are adverts on YouTube?

Exactly this. I use Firefox and Ublock Origin both on my laptop and Android phone. If I follow a channel on YouTube I feel deserves recompense for its content, then they invariably have a Patreon account or similar that I can use to give them support.

Billionaire's Pagani Pa-gone-i after teen son takes hypercar out for a drive, trashes it

james_smith

Re: Ask any actuary

Reminds me of my late, lamented Jaguar XJS. I had it converted from a state barge by a guy who built race cars for amateur racers. There's a thriving scene for this kind of thing in the UK where you perform your fastest lap times at race tracks, usually in less desirable models of Porsche or Japanese super-cars. Lowering and stiffening the suspension on a 5.3 litre V12 XJS, along with tweaks to the drive train, results in the ultimate go kart - slam your foot down on the accelerator, double pump it for the "kickback" and the acceleration pushes you into the seat.

This was great on the ring road when driving to work. Local chavs in their hot hatchbacks would sit at the traffic lights revving their engines thinking they would smoke the long haired weirdo in the old man's car, only to be left choking on my exhaust smoke. Fun while it lasted, but the cooling system was a notorious weak spot with the aptly named Jaguar Fireball engine, and one day the water pump failed and cooked the engine.

Adiós Arecibo Observatory: America's largest radio telescope faces explosive end after over 50 years of service

james_smith

Re: Shirley...

Or they could use Japanese technology and call it ... no, I can't go there.

KDE maintainers speak on why it is worth looking beyond GNOME

james_smith

Re: Why not give KDE a try instead of criticizing it?

As someone who has tried all major KDE versions starting before it even reached 1.0, I've given up on it. KDE 5 was basically rolling the turd of KDE 4 in glitter.

Ex-missile systems worker jailed for breaching Official Secrets Act after last-second guilty plea

james_smith

Re: Somebody please tell me....

@IGotOut

Good point about the meltdowns. They're common during childhood, but usually disappear after adolescence. I did have a co-worker who was much further "up the spectrum" than me, and he still had occasional meltdowns despite being in his twenties. I discovered this when he mentioned kicking a hole in the wall of his bedroom (he still lived with his parents, and I doubt he would cope will living independently, that's how extreme his Asperger's was). It was very interesting for me as someone also with Asperger's to watch his interactions with people, as it gave me some insight into how I behave as well.

james_smith

Re: Somebody please tell me....

I can't comment on autism in general, but people with Asperger's are overwhelmingly atheist. Their moral beliefs are normally based on not doing others harm and expecting the same in return. Criminal behaviour is very low amongst those with Asperger's as compared to the overall populace. See books by the likes of Tony Attwood and Simon Baron-Cohen for coverage of this (yes, that's a cousin of Ali G / Borat, who is a leading authority on autism).

james_smith

Re: Somebody please tell me....

As someone with Asperger's, this trend for claiming autism as a mitigation for doing something stupid is getting really tiring. In all the cases I've read it's an "undiagnosed" claim of autism by the defendant, which just smacks of an attempt to get sympathy where it's not deserved. Autism generally leads to a hyper rational mindset with a strong sense of right and wrong, not the kind of behaviour described in this case.

Python swallows Java to become second-most popular programming language... according to this index

james_smith

Re: Professional use

I checked a few job boards, and almost all the jobs with programming language requirements are for Java or C#. I suspect those languages simply don't have such enthusiastic proponents as the likes of Python.

james_smith

"Yeah, the problem with python is its lack of legibility."

No, its problem is that the OO support is an ugly hack like it was in its spiritual forefather, Perl. If I recall from my brief look at it, instance variables are also public meaning encapsulation is non-existent.

Biden projected to be the next US President, Microsoft joins rest of world in telling Trump: It looks like... you're fired

james_smith

Re: Congratulations you poor bastard

Finnish alcohol consumption has dropped dramatically since Finland joined the EU. That surprised a lot of people, as one of the things that had to change on joining was the state monopoly on alcohol consumption and sales of stronger drinks being limited to the state owned shops (only the weaker strength beers could be bought in supermarkets).

Strangely, the lower prices and easier availability of alcohol seemed to reduced its popularity. Which is quite a good thing - I don't think there are even vans going around picking up drunks from the gutters and park benches anymore.

james_smith

Re: Congratulations you poor bastard

As a 50% percent Finn (by volume), my misplaced pride in excessive alcohol consumption says I can drink any of the neighbours under the table.

james_smith

Re: Yay! Party time!

Churchill should have also had a lot of guilt to deal with as well, assuming he had a conscience. Everything I learned about the man during my history degree suggests he was little more than a blowhard like our current Prime Minister, but was lucky to be a wartime leader against some of the most evil bastards the world has seen. Based on his previous track record, his historical memory would be very damning - something that his contemporary Brits hadn't forgotten when the voted him out in favour of a Labour government after WWII.

james_smith

Re: Good

I'm not so sure you can say that a vote for Jorgensen was a vote lost by Trump. The core Libertartian voters would never vote for the two main parties, and they seem to have picked up a lot of disaffected former Democrat voters as well. Policies like disengagement from foreign policy quagmires like Israel / Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently Syria play well with a lot of otherwise Democrat leading voters.

james_smith

Re: compared to Trump he's an elder statesman

Just don't make your cats Secretary of State for Fisheries - there's a definite conflict of interests.

james_smith

Re: One down ...

Lots of chatter that he'll quit after Brexit is officially done next April. Makes sense, as he's never stuck around to face up to his responsibilities in any other part of his life.

james_smith

Re: Good

Same here. I don't think Biden is much more than mediocre, but compared to Trump he's an elder statesman.

Uber is now a food delivery company with a substantial sideline in taxis

james_smith

Re: How do they expect to be profitable next year?

This whole losing money hand over fist thing bemuses me as well. I remember how much Amazon lost before finally turning a profit and I wonder how many investors went bankrupt or never made their money back, let alone a profit.

As for Uber, I hope this pandemic gets solved with the latest reports of a decent vaccine. Then their pivot to overpriced deliveries sees them go bust as people continue to work from home but shop in person rather than get groceries or so many takeaways delivered. No more overpriced journeys home from after work piss ups, which is the only use of their taxi service I see my acquaintances use them for.

Linux Mint pushes out its own Chromium build to help users avoid Canonical's Snap Store

james_smith

Re: They missed the obvious.

As an end user I don't want applications distributed "independently of a distribution". I want them integrated into my distribution's package management, and using the system wide libraries that are updated properly. Bundling apps as "snaps" or "flatpaks" is the kind of brain-dead crap that exists in the Windows world, where applications bundle third party DLLs that then go unpatched for security or stability issues.

Uber drivers take ride biz to European court over 'Kafkaesque' algorithmic firings by Mastermind code

james_smith

Re: "irregular trips"

Why would the drivers do that? The journey price is fixed, so it's in the driver's interest to take the quickest route.

Another Chromium browser for Linux? Microsoft Edge arrives in preview form, no love for Arm yet

james_smith

Re: That's a puzzling joke in my opinion

It's not "apps for Linux" that is Redmond's concern, more of an acknowledgement that a lot of web stuff is developed by programmers on Linux. I suspect MS are seeing an uptick in incompatibilities with their browsers, and hope this is a solution by making it easier for those developers to test on their browser.

james_smith

Re: What is the advanage to Microsoft ?

Chrome isn't a fork of Safari, but a fork of the rendering engine used by Safari. That in turn is a fork of KHTML, which was used in Konqueror. A bit pedantic, but then this is a nerd forum.

Let’s check in with that 30,000-job $10bn Trump-Foxconn Wisconsin plant. Wow, way worse than we'd imagined

james_smith

Re: El Reg becoming political now ?

Half the US supports Trump? Not even half of the subset of people that voted in the last election supported him.

Come on, Amazon: If you're going to copy open-source code for a new product, at least credit the creator

james_smith

If it's really an issue, then choose your open source license wisely. If you choose one of the more permissive licenses then you have to accept that your code will be used with only as much attribution as the those using it see fit to give. Otherwise license it under something a bit more, or in the case of the GPL much more, restrictive.

As an aside, the upcoming Sony PS5 features an operating system that seems to based on FreeBSD as did the previous couple of Sony consoles. The FreeBSD folks don't make a fuss about this since it's understood that this can happen with BSD licensed code.

Oracle starts to lose patience with Solaris holdouts

james_smith

Re: A warning!

Sounds like how a place I worked at ended up with a closed source version control system. We (the UK in house dev team) had been happily using Git, with CI and various reporting built around it. Then the Swiss management ordered us to use AccuRev, as recommended by some consultancy. Thing was unusable (Google "AccuRev sucks" for a Stack Overflow thread that captures just how awful it is). We ended up surreptitiously running Git for day to day work and only committing to an AccuRev repo once work was complete. As for our CI and reporting? AccuRev didn't support any. Nor did it support importing history from any existing version control system.

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