* Posts by Andy Denton

71 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Dec 2017


40 years of Turbo Pascal, the coding dinosaur that revolutionized IDEs

Andy Denton

I owe almost my entire career...

...spanning some 35 years to TP (and then Delphi). My first job was writing add ons in UCSD P-System Pascal to for an accounting suite as well as a 3D carpet design system written in Turbo Pascal 3.0 (still remember F1, S to save, followed by C to compile). Then went on to more accounting software in Turbo Pascal, then Delphi. Switched partially to .NET & web apps, then Node/React but I still maintain a few systems written in Delphi. I still miss the speed and simplicity of the DOS days.

Real-time software? How about real-time patching?

Andy Denton

Re: Site Acceptance Test

Spent 3 days in Lisbon in June many years ago. Customer was a bar/restaurant in the Docas and I spent the entire time in a hot cellar (it was 30 degrees outside and even hotter in the cellar) with no air conditioning with a laptop coding around a firmware issue that would cause the interface between the PC and till system to crash bringing the entire system down with it. The only plus was that the hotel was nice (Vila Gale Opera).

Sun sets on superjumbo: Last Airbus A380 rolls off the production line

Andy Denton

I flew an A380 with Emirates economy Manchester to Auckland (with stops in Dubai and Brisbane) and of all the planes I've flown in (a lot) it was by far the most comfortable and quietest. I shudder to think what a 27 hour flight would have been like in the equivalent 747. Whilst I appreciate the reasons for it, I'm sad that such a superb plane will no longer be made.

MySQL a 'pretty poor database' says departing Oracle engineer

Andy Denton


....has been my DB of choice for the past 15 years or so. It just works. No DBA required either. I've got clients that have been hammering it daily for over 10 years and it's never missed a beat for them. Shame it never gets the love/exposure the mySQL/Postgres do.

When civilisation ends, a Xenix box will be running a long-forgotten job somewhere

Andy Denton

A labelling program I wrote in C for an engineering company was completed in early 1990 and was finally decommissioned 4 years ago.

Intel claims first Alder Lake chip is the fastest desktop gaming silicon in the world

Andy Denton

Re: Register do your homework

I was just about to post the very same thing. Intel are especially disingenuous when it comes to benchmarks. I suspect they'll have caught up with AMD to an extent but they won't have the performance lead they're trumpeting.

Don't forget to leave a rating: Amazon chairman meeting with UK prime minister to talk taxes

Andy Denton

I'm pretty sure it will go something like this....

Hi Jeff!

Hi Boris!

So Jeff, I've been thinking...

Let me stop you right there, Boris. I've been thinking and Amazon really needs a man of your stature on the board. Don't worry, you won't have to do any work or anything like that, but it does come with a decent remuneration of let's say £100K p.a. How does that sound?

That sounds super!

So you were saying?

Oh nothing! Just thought I'd say what a bang up job your company is doing and how I admire its contribution to Global Britain!

Undebug my heart: Using Cisco's IOS to take down capitalism – accidentally

Andy Denton

Cisco IOS....

... that takes me back to the mid-90's. I once used three Cisco 2503i routers to link three sites of a large engineering company via 64K ISDN lines. Novell Netware on each site. IPX isn't routable so this was my introduction to the wonderful world of TCP/IP routing. Took the best part of 6 weeks to get it working, including a visit from a Cisco engineer. Turns out they'd never tried a 3-way link before, but a few IOS patches and tweaks later and they got the job done. The resultant phone bill was also very impressive!

Happy 60th, Sinclair Radionics: We'll remember you for your revolutionary calculators and crap watches

Andy Denton

Not sure why all the panic.....

NEC 7805 IIRC. Mine failed on my Issue 3 Spectrum. I can remember walking into Maplin and asking for one and the guy behind the counter said "Broken Spectrum?" - seems it was a common issue.

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into

Andy Denton

My dad had a Moskvich....

...a white one with a red interior. I was about 8 or 9 at the time so this would have been 1976-77. My memories of it were the bouncy ride, the volcanic heater and the fact it was built like a tank. So much so that a mini drove into it at considerable speed, writing off said Mini (the engine ended up in the front seat). The Russian tank needed a new wing bolting on and was good to go.

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

Andy Denton

I seem to remember he was a bit of a home computer buff in the early to mid eighties. Had an Atari 800 IIRC (or this was reported in the computer press at the time). He was very much a product of his time, and I thought his gaffes were pretty funny, not that he'd care one way or another. He seemed to spend his life not giving a fuck what other people thought or said about him and that along with his voluntary Naval service during the war were his most admirable qualities. RIP Phil.

Listen to The Sound of Perseverance: Not the death metal album, but NASA's Mars rover on the move

Andy Denton

It's a belter. Probably my favourite Death album.

Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond: Oracle launches rugged edge-of-network box for hostile environments

Andy Denton

Nice Metallica reference!

GitLab removes its 'starter' tier: Users must either pay 5x more or lose features

Andy Denton

Re: Github --> Gitlab --> ?

OP mentioned "visceral hatred". Such hatred is irrational.

The irony is rich here. MS acquires GitHub, some people then (at a fair amount of disruption) jump ship to GitLab who then decide to indulge in the practices that these people feared Microsoft would employ at GitHub which has actually increased the benefits of its free offering under Microsoft's stewardship.

Andy Denton

Re: Github --> Gitlab --> ?

If you make a business or strategic decision based out of some irrational hatred of a related company, then quite frankly, you deserve all you get.

The Novell NetWare box keeps rebooting over and over again yet no one has touched it? We're going on a stakeout

Andy Denton

This is one of the many reasons....

...I always specified an APC UPS and Powerchute software with the Netware servers I used to install. A friend of mine who still runs the business we started nearly 30 years a go recently de-commisioned the last Netware server we had running (3.12 IIRC). It was showing an uptime of almost 6 years before it was finally laid to rest.

A cautionary tale of virtual floppies and all too real credentials

Andy Denton

Not sure why all the panic.....

..... this was Novell Netware. A simple salvage command from the same terminal would have restored the deleted files. Got me out of a few scrapes back in the day.

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets

Andy Denton

The problem is....

...even if Microsoft were to come up with a spangly new replacement for Excel that was perfect in every conceivable way, people wouldn't use it because It's Not Excel and Excel is all these people have been used to using for decades. Many people (accountants etc) that use Excel a lot aren't adventurous types and there's no way they'd trust their precious data to some new spangly product when Excel is still available.

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

Andy Denton

Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

Under that system the last two letters denoted the area where the car was registered. OO and NO were south Essex registrations if I remember correctly. This was carried over into the system that followed (year letter, numbers and then three letters). The current system uses the first two letter to denote where the car was registered.

GCHQ's cyber arm report on Huawei said to be burning hole through UK.gov desks

Andy Denton

Re: No doubt

Don't forget the price of his house along with a sidebar of shame piece about how "His daughter has really grown"

HTC breaks with tradition to push out 2 phones someone might actually want to buy

Andy Denton

I hope they succeed

In my 25 year phone history, the majority of those phones have been made by HTC first various Orange SPVs (re-badged HTCs), then the Touch HD, Desire, One and One m8 and they've all been excellent. Never had a single issue with any of them and the build quality was always excellent.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

Andy Denton

I experienced on of these

Back in the late 80's at the start of my career, the company I worked for were selling Northstar Dimension systems. These were big boxes with S100 backplanes into which you could insert terminal cards that you could plug terminals into and ran Novell Netware. The main box had a floppy drive and option for a tape backup unit. Terminals could request use of the floppy drive (if no one else was using it) by typing in a command. We received an early sample of the Dimension 386 box and some fancy new 286 workstation cards to play around with. I decided to install some software on it to see how it worked. So I typed in 'request d' on my terminal to request floppy drive access, then typed 'A:Install' to run the installation program. Unfortunately the disk was corrupted and I got the dreaded 'Data error reading drive A: A)bort, R)etry, F)ail?' message. At this point I'd usually type A and go find another copy of the disk, but for some reason I typed F. I was then greeted with the message 'You fucked that, didn't you?' Several further experiments revealed that on a floppy error, pressing F always yielded this message. Cue one phone call to our mortified Northstar rep. Needless to say, this was patched in production firmware.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Andy Denton

My very first job was writing software in Pascal...

..UCSD P-System to be precise. Back in 1988, I started off writing bespoke invoicing systems for an accounting system that was written in the same language. The software was originally running on Apple II and I did the IBM PC port (which took me just under a day). It was literally just changing one library of non-portable functions. Whilst at the same company I also worked on a 3D carpet design system that was written in Turbo Pascal 3.

I stuck with Pascal (although I used C, C++ and various random 4GLs as well) through various jobs eventually using Delphi since its inception. I still have a few apps I maintain written in Delphi but when the contract market for Delphi dried up, I switched to C# and now I'm having to use node.js (JavaScript is the very antithesis of Pascal). I still love Pascal though - it's been good to me over the course of almost 30 years.

Huawei to sling Google-free mid-range P40 Lite 5G at British shores this summer

Andy Denton

Could you just not root it and install something like Cyanogen or is that not a thing any more?

Latest NHS IT revolution is failing to learn lessons from the last £10bn car crash

Andy Denton

Meanwhile in Wales...

...they have a standard system for everything across the country. All software is developed in house by NWIS (NHS Wales Informatics Service). The system was originally developed by people actually working in the hospital and they spoke to clinicians and staff as to what they actually wanted from a system. It's not perfect by any means but it's much better than the farcical state of affairs where staff have to cope with US developed systems that insist on inter-departmental charging and staff have to work against the system. It beggars belief that individual trusts spend millions on different systems that are incapable of exchanging anything but basic patient information with other trust's systems.

You overstepped and infringed British sovereignty, Court of Appeal tells US in software companies' copyright battle

Andy Denton

Re: Watch Out USA...

That's OK, he can just nip to the nearest Walmart and acquire sufficient arms to equip a small army.

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

Andy Denton

Re: Too hard

No, it's because of a limitation in Electron, the tool they use to develop VSCode, nothing at all to do with the development process.

Cheshire Police celebrates three-year migration to Oracle Fusion by lobbing out tender for system to replace it... one year later

Andy Denton

I agree, however the people making the purchase decisions have little or no idea how these things work. The big players (Oracle & SAP) have these products that appear all-encompassing, an easy one-stop shop. The problem is, these systems are very broad, but incredibly shallow and barely fit for purpose without lots of expensive customisation but they appear to be an easier option than buying lots of individual systems and spending additional money linking these systems together. You've then got lots of individual support contracts, and if there's an issue is it with Software A, Software B or the interface module C?

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

Andy Denton

Another FNatic fan here

I have the FNatic Mini Streak (Tenkeyless form factor) with Cherry MX Browns and it's utterly superb. Fantastic build quality and feels like it will go on forever. It's so good even my wife wanted one when she tried it. Hers has Cherry silent keys. I also have a Cherry MX Board 3.0 that gets regular use and I used to think it was brilliant until I got the FNatic. Now, I just think it's OK.

I do miss the Model M that I started my career with over 30 years ago, but they're not really usable in an open office unless you want your colleagues to beat you to death with it.

Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard

Andy Denton

Let's not lose sight of the real problem here.....

....the numbers on that website are LEFT-JUSTIFIED!!!

White House creates 'Team Telecom' to probe whether foreign telcos should be allowed near US networks

Andy Denton


"Competition and free market is the best....so long as our companies win"

Hunting for IT staff? Lost your job during the pandemic? Sysadmin vacancies – and a free job ads offer – inside

Andy Denton

Re: What a selection

It's still two more job adverts than you've posted.

All roads lead to Bork in Kansas as Windows puts on a show for motorists

Andy Denton

"Seen something borking in the wire?" Surely that should be "Seen something borking in the wild?"?

Control is only an illusion, no matter what you shove on the Netware share

Andy Denton

Neil obviously wasn't that familiar with Netware....

.... as a simple Salvage command would have restored the missing folder.

Time to svn commit like it's the year 2000: Apache celebrates 20 years of Subversion

Andy Denton

Anyone remember PVCS?

My first foray into SCM in the mid to late 90's was when we started to use PVCS. Cue lots of devs checking out code and then going on holiday rendering no one else to do any work on said code. Subversion was my go to in the late noughties. I persuaded several clients to migrate from Visual Source Safe to SVN and Mantis at the front-end for feature/bug tracking for a reasonably integrated solution and it worked very well. Git was a game-changer for me though (once I'd got my head round the whole concept) and I don't think I've touched SVN since.

Who needs the A-Team or MacGyver when there's a techie with an SCSI cable?

Andy Denton


Never had a problem (aside from the odd dodgy terminator) with SCSI. A mate of mine who still runs the business we started decades ago told me he retired the last Netware server from one of our customers last year. It was a 486 DX2/66 with 16Mb of RAM, a 2GB SCSI HDD connected via an Adaptec 1542CF SCSI Adapter. It had almost 6 and a half years of uptime showing when he finally shut it down.

Clunk, whirr, buzz, whine. Shared office space can be a riot and sounds like one too

Andy Denton

I hate open plan offices with a passion. My current contract has me working in a huge building that is one enormous open plan area (with a mezzanine) that contains over 600 people. I long for the days when I had my own office and I could shut the door and actually concentrate on some work.

A stranger's TV went on spending spree with my Amazon account – and web giant did nothing about it for months

Andy Denton

Re: The list of compelling reasons

Indeed, my money's on someone exploiting a hardware manufacturer specific API these smart devices are supposed to use which perhaps hasn't gone through the same scrutiny that other, more widely-used APIs have.

The wheels on the bus go round and... Oh dear. Chancellor Sajid Javid unveils spending review

Andy Denton

Re: His father was a bus driver?

My father was a bus driver and I don't have the first fucking clue about how to run public transport.

Andy Denton

Re: A British bus?


Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink

Andy Denton

How long...

.... before some nutter comes up with a water cooling kit for it, I wonder?

It's happening, tech contractors: UK.gov is pushing IR35 off-payroll rules to private sector in Finance Bill

Andy Denton

The definition of Large and medium sized companies to which this pertains is somewhat open to interpretation. What's to stop a large/medium company spinning off a small project development company that exists just to hire contractors, thus falling outside this legislation?

Front-end dev cops to billing NSA $220,000 for hours he didn't work

Andy Denton

Re: Scam undone by...

Depends on your point of Vue

NHS Wales flings £39m at Microsoft for Office 365 and Windows 10

Andy Denton

Re: They should of gone

Should *HAVE*

It's a fullblown Crysis: Gamers press pause on PC purchases, shipments freeze

Andy Denton

Re: Screw the GPUs...

I was about to pull the trigger on a new gaming PC purchase and then the AMD announcements hit and I decided to wait a month or so to see if they're really as good as they look.

Now Chinese-made drones rubbing US govt up the Huawei: 'Strong concerns' DJI kit threat to national security

Andy Denton


"The United States government has strong concerns about any technology product that is sufficiently competitive with or is demonstrably ahead of American technology and will do anything in its power to sabotage said product(s) and deny 'free' market access"

US minister invokes Maggie Thatcher, says she would have halted Huawei 5G rollout

Andy Denton

Re: He's right.

No he's not. He's getting desperate as the US desperately tries to play catch up whilst trying to cling to its dominance of the internet. They're so far behind Huawei, their only option is to stifle them in the West until such time as their companies have caught up.

Apple, Samsung feel the pain as smartphone market slumps to lowest shipments in 5 YEARS

Andy Denton

My G4 died unexpectedly, but had been faultless up until then. I was going to get a G7 but it was 3 days away from being available. Ended up spending a bit more on an Honor 10 which is excellent (aside from a not insignificant amount of crap ware) and has all the features I'll ever probably need.

Microsoft: Yo dawg, we heard you liked Windows password expiry policies. So we expired your expiry policy

Andy Denton

Just add 'PW' to the end - simples.

Cheapskate Brits appear to love their Poundland MVNOs as UK's big four snubbed in survey again

Andy Denton

Re: EE

On the rare occasions I've had to contact them, they've always been excellent. Whether or not it's to do with the length of time I've been with them (21 years minus a disastrous year with Vodafone), They always managed to solve whatever the issue was and if I threaten to leave, match any deal I've been offered elsewhere. I'm currently paying £4.99 per month for Unlimited calls/texts and 1gb of data. Don't need any more data as I'm nearly always near some Wi-Fi.