* Posts by JSIM

43 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Feb 2018

US Veterans Affairs hits brakes on $10b Oracle Cerner health record system


"Oracle did not respond to a request for comment on Friday."

The request went into the Unknown Queue.

Fans of original gangster editors, look away now: It's Tilde, a text editor that doesn't work like it's 1976


EDT on VAX/VMS (later OpenVMS) that I used starting in the early eighties was the best. Digital had the best before DOS or Microsoft even existed. Keypad editing, learning sequences, macros,... - lots of very useful bells and whistles. I don't know about CUA. It needed a VTxxx keyboard or mapping so that you could use the keypad editing keys under your right hand (wcf the Gold Key?). you could get really good and fast when editing with this. Still have a PC compatible VT220 keyboard and working editor (ED) on Linux. Who still has their EDT Editor Reference Card? Never cared much for follow-ons TPU and its sidekick EVE, because so long as I could continue editing EDT style, I was happy. What a shock it was when the migration to UNIXes started. WTF? vi? But I got used to it.

It still freaks me out that Digital is no longer a prominent computer company or brand name. DIGITAL!!! That, and the fact that EDT wasn't even mentioned in the article.


Re: Lake Wobegone

If you want to die laughing, check out the episode where Dave decides to do a very small "fixit" job in the kitchen while the wife's not at home.


Re: In the bad old days of WordStar, WordPerfect, DisplayWrite, MultiMate

VAX/VMS is the name of an Operating System, not a text editor program.

US nuclear submarine bumps into unidentified underwater object in South China Sea


Re: You would think by now...

Re: MAD non-magnetic construction. Can confirm this. Years ago they used the same brown stuff PCBs used to be made of for constructing various parts, especially structural parts.


Re: How loud is crashing a sub?

Trained electric eels.

International Space Station actually spun one-and-a-half times by errant Russian module's thrusters


Re: You missed a tagline there

Turn! Turn! Turn! is another, but I was focused on the cause, not the effect. I also went with a classic.

I like smoke and lightnin', Heavy metal thunder, Racing with the wind, And the feeling that I'm under

Yeah, Nauka, go and make it happen, Take the world in a love embrace, Fire all of your guns at once, And explode into space

* With apologies to John Kay, born in Tilsit, Russia.


While reading The Reg, I began to chew my first bite of the first hot banana pepper from this year's back-yard crop, just picked and roasted and now on my dinner-plate. I waited in anticipation for the desired capsicum kick as I read the following words:

"Scoville – who wasn't even supposed to be working that day, and was..."

In conversation with Gene Hoffman, co-creator of the internet's first ad blocker


Re: Gopher

"If you knew a few good gopher nodes"

gopher holes

The first rule of ERP? Don't talk about ERP: App-maker IFS reckons market has moved on


'ERP often failed and soaked up a lot of money'

No kidding.

Yes, it's down again: Microsoft's Office 365 takes yet another mid-week tumble, Azure also unwell


"unlucky" subscribers

Funniest part of the article.

I actually did laugh out loud.

Google reveals the wheels almost literally fell off one of its cloudy server racks


Re: I must say I'm surprised....

Castors! Fitting, that it sounds like a cuss word. Never met one that didn't eventually cause me trouble.

While Google works on the latest design revisions of its custom-built racks, beefing up the castor specs, no doubt, they could do better.

If the racks have wheels, I assume that one design goal must be quick and easy physical swapping/removal/addition of fully loaded modular rack assemblies.

Ditch the castors for something like a custom-built roller jack to raise and move the custom-built rack. Two mating jacks, front and back, joined by lifting bars inserted through the rack. Foolproof quick connect fittings for all cabling, fibre, cooling. Solid footing. How about a super-rack system - like a rack for racks, maybe, while you're planning your next 1000-rack deployment?

Ah, night shift in the 1970s. Ciggies, hipflasks, ADVENT... and fault-prone disk drives the size of washing machines


Re: TU-144

I was quickly scanning through posts, stopping at the eye-catching "TU-144" in yours, and started to read it from its beginning.

By that time, my brain had already processed "TU-nnn", "Russian...copy" and the article context together, and provided its analysis: DEC TU series 1/2" tape drive, unknown model number. Possibly Russian-made to go with the VAX 11/780 they copied.


Re: Never keep trying without diagnosing.

Another interpretation is that God works in mysterious ways. Or you just drew a royal flush. Either way, :)


Re: DEC field service engineers

ckermit. Still available in my Linux distro!

Scripting/automation of modem/ftp/etc session conversations.

Indispensible. Fun stuff.


Re: Ah, that takes me back..

2 words: Paper Tape.


Even though we used drums, it was a couple of years before my time, so I never saw one, but I heard one good story at a DECUS symposium, as told by Bruce Ellis or maybe some other VAX/VMS guru of the time (faded memory).

Seems that these big heavy drums that were normally spinning pretty fast could be physically locked so they couldn't move during transport.

The story was that some poor unfortunate managed to engage the lock while the drum was still spinning. At this point, sufficient force was available and was instantly transferred, sending the whole unit crashing through the cinder-block wall behind it. Believe it or not.


Not many talk about VAXes these days. Fond memories for me. People don't say "disk packs" too much anymore. Those washing machines were wonderful. Malfunctioning top-cover interlock switches that allowed you to open the lid while the platters were fully spun up. CDC disk pack inspection tools with their cool mirror-comb assemblies. When you set the tool case down and opened it, onlookers were amazed and intrigued. It was like opening some secret agent's or hit man's tool bag.

The best WM story? Someone at the firm had written a backup/restore program that was loaded into the PDP or TI computer (rows of mini-toggle switches and lights up at the front) from a compact audio cassette. One day, the program entered an infinate looping state. Smoke was seen to be emanating from the CDC drive (around 10 platters/300MB per disk pack). The heavy head movement solenoid was going from limit to limit once every second, and the whole thing had slowly "walked" across the raised floor until it reached the end of its tether (power, data cables), and luckily, did not fall off the edge onto the concrete floor below. Nowadays, everyone has portable disk drives. We were on the cutting edge.


Re: My boss did it

Re: My boss did it

How could anyone's tenure survive such an insane reaction? We would have tied and gagged the boss (maybe put him under a tile somewhere) and waited for the nice men from the mental hospital to come and fit him with a new jacket. This and more would have been easily justifiable under the circumstances. Tackle the bugger before he crashes another!

This isn't Boeing very well... Faulty timer knackers Starliner cargo capsule on its way to International Space Station


Re: Elon Musk was on hand to offer advice.

I can't criticize his personality based solely on the media reports and SM posts that do not lavish praise on his tremendous ambition, drive and achievements.

I can easily look past relatively unimportant things when it seems to me that Musk has rather quickly and successfully built a few now globally leading industries that are answering some of the most urgent needs of the future - extending our domain beyond the earth's atmosphere, and finding practical fossil-alternative ways to store and use electrical power. This path also hints at some real concern for mankind's future. Some would call that a noble quality. We could use a few dozen more like him.

With continued work and good fortune, in a few decades, I wouldn't be surprised to find Elon (or someone like him) commandeering asteroids and building artificial planets.


Re: Unlucky Boeing

Bad luck or a deadly mixture of power, greed and stupidity?

ACLU sues America's border cops: Tell us everything about these secret search teams targeting travelers


Re: Don't confuse the American people with the American government.

Not so fast. 50 percent of those "people" voted for the current state of disgrace, and probably will double down after their huge folly and do so again. Sorry, but the other half isn't doing nearly enough to restore the USA's once golden but now dead-and-buried international reputation. The USA IS its people. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They were taken in by the world's most successful confidence man, and now, everyone is constantly "winning". Well, there's a sucker born every minute, as it is said, and it seems that there is an enormous supply of them in America. It's a damned shame.

OK. We're off. Water ice found just below the surface of Mars. Good enough for us. Let's go. Impulse power, Mr Sulu


Re: Minty

Smells great when you go over it with the mower.

ERP disaster zone: The mostly costly failures of the past decade


Could ERP possibly still be like the early days?

It boggles the mind!

I used to subscribe to a US IT trade rag called Digital Review. In the early 00s, I, along with many other fellow IT veterans at a large firm in Canada, always enthusiastically supported change. It meant newer, bigger, faster - more fun to be had. So it had been from the Honeywell mainframe and VAX days onward. We were not accustomed to failure. We rolled our own.

Then came ERP along with the concept of the out-sourcing of some of its key elements. Where it made "sense", of course.

A few years in, the people who made the promises were in denial, and the old wise ones were thinking "I told you so." We had missed dates (years, really), skyrocketing costs, unexpected challenges, and shifting scopes, to name but some of the horrors.

Around that time, a new DR issue landed on my desk. I flipped pages to get to the cover story on ERP project success rates, and there it was. One image that pretty well summed up my thoughts about our ERP.

It was a full-page picture of a pig wearing lipstick. I forget the article title, but it had the word ERP written above the pig's head in big bold-face letters. I quickly tore out the page, and before I could stop myself, I had pinned it up on the wall in my cubicle. The most amazing thing was that no-one ever told me to take it down.

Scotiabank slammed for 'muppet-grade security' after internal source code and credentials spill onto open internet


Re: What amazes me...

Yes, they're focusing on the breaking brownface news because they know people like you will lap it up. At least something on a slow news day and in a quiet election run-up, guaranteed to send Trudeau's haters into joyous convulsions. This minuscule "scandal", will be forgotten in a few days, and the 3 anti-Trudeau comentards here and their ilk will have left their usual dinners of nothing and nothing with an extra helping of nothing. Nothing to do except troll around IT forums spreading hate.

Blundering London council emails unredacted version of notorious Gangs Matrix to 44 people. Data ends up on Snapchat


"people's likelihood of gang-related violence."

What does this mean? Can anyone tell without being a mind reader?

More steaming excrement hits El Reg's pages. A daily occurrence.

There are pictures all over the internet of a big dark spot on Uranu... Oh no, wait, it's Neptune


Re: Units

"we estimate the wind speeds are in the ballpark of 328 feet (100 meters) per second"

Last I checked, el reg is British, so FFS, why is it writing "meters" and not "metres"?

There's the right way and then there's the Merkin way.

Facebook blames 'server config change' for 14-hour outage. Someone run that through the universal liar translator


Re: Took your time over this

Wednesday evening I first read about this, at the Guardian I think, and came here next. Couldn't find it. Been finding everything I've looked for here since around Y2K at least. No time to check every headline with the name Facebook in it and I was scanning for something like "Millions of Shocked Users Left Frantically Rubbing Smartphones as Social Media Heavyweight Falls Flat on Its Facebook - Ongoing Global Outage Knocks Out Services" or at least the word "outage."

What I overlooked was "What today links Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram - apart from being run by monopolistic personal data harvesters?"

My bad, but it just did not register. I'd seen news about Google's problems late Tuesday EST (again elsewhere and didn't find it here) and did not put 2 and 2 together to come up with a title that sounded like a quiz, so I really can't be hard on Jon Smit myself.

Anyway, I think I liked Jon's post better than kierenmccarthy's, even though he made a mistake. For myself, I could have used a link. When you're reading this at 150% (because eyes) with AdBlock, "on the right. Over here --->" is somewhere else, I don't know.

UK joins growing list of territories to ban Boeing 737 Max flights as firm says patch incoming


So, MCAS goes mad when it gets faulty data from AoA sensors, but no-one's talking about changing out all the crappy sensors, just software patches. Is that about right?

Freelance devs: Oh, you wanted the app to be secure? The job spec didn't mention that


Re: Quality

I wonder how those re-purposed Kentucky coal miners would have done.

No, not really.

The BMC in OpenBMC stands for 'Burglarize My Computer' – thanks to irritating security flaw


You think Burglarise is bad? How about


More lousy writing. "Architecture" is

not a verb.

Forget 2019's tech biz takeovers, here's the mega-merger everyone's talking about: Milky Way and LMC, coming soon


The LMC was thought to be fairly harmless, and circle us for a long while.

If you throw in "was expected to", this sentence could work nicely.

As it is, it's just plain sloppy work.

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?


Re: Rodentia

"the evil ones"

That would be evil indeed.

Mouse balls ran over everything on the user's desk for months and years - dried sugary coffee cup rings, lunch remnants, dead skin particles, hair, all manner of dust and dirt - over time resulting in very sticky dirty balls and accumulations of the aforementioned filth behind the balls.

Mouse first-aid was always to remove the seizing ball, wash it with soap and water (never, God forbid, in your mouth - YUCK!), and replacing it after picking out the dust bunnies from inside the ball sockets. If that didn't fix it, it went into the bin. Balls would frequently be salvaged and kept as desktop novelty items (relatively heavy for their size - good for fidgeting) and were often used for fun and games to relieve boredom during night Ops shifts.

Microsoft Azure: It's getting hot in here, so shut down all your cores


Azure Blues.

Who's going to write the song? It's about time for a song.

Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force


Re: Spaaaaaace Foooooorce!

Thanks! Never heard of SF before. Had to watch it through, it was so bad it was good.

Interesting: The bridge AI computer (D.O.R.C.) speaking with a German accent just like the Robin Williams voiced Dr. Know in Spielberg's AI. Coincidence?

Send printer ink, please. More again please, and fast. Now send it faster


Your reply: "Just a hunch."

What you were thinking: "I deal with morons every day."

Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet


Re: Hero ?

Can you simulate this? Marketing wants to know.

Well, big chiller/blower on top of the sim bay, big flexi-hose to the sim roof, integrated air ducting (nice whooshing noise) to the retracting-window-weather-injection system. Beefed-up pressurization. CO2 fog and maybe a little snow thrown in. Real oxygen masks. Barf bags.

Instructor's station completely sealed off, of course. Lexan.

Super Cali goes ballistic, Starbucks is on notice: Expensive milky coffee is something quite cancerous


Surely El Reg's headline for this story should have been something like:

Company CEO Criticizes California City Court's Compelling Caution Covering Cancer Causing Coffee Consumption Consequently Creating Considerable Cafe Customer Carcinogen Concerns

Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly


Re: Men Vs Women

Yup. 0/0 for me too here in The Great White North. Don't see them, don't hear about them. Noone I know or have met wears them or talks about them. I don't even see any advertising. I don't need gyms to stay fit, so I don't know what goes on there. The wearables are yet another fad that I have no interest in, and it seems that I am not alone.

Maybe most people are still too busy getting over the novelty and thrill of playing children's video games and texting drivel back and forth with their smartphones in the subway (underground for you chaps) to pay any attention.

PS. Fitbit? Is that the part of me that never gets tired?


Re: Still no genuine use-case

"You've nailed the essential point of a smartwatch. It's more or less not very much without a smartphone, but functions extremely well as a "remote access" terminal for the phone."

I once would have said that now I've heard everything but I'm sure there's plenty of craziness yet to come. If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs...

I'll just keep repeating that as necessary. Give me the strength.

Neil Young slams Google, after you log in to read his rant with Google or Facebook


Re: "next generation of artists will come from. How will they survive?"

"Most people get paid once to do a day's work, they don't expect to get paid for that day's work over and over for 70 fsking years."

You make it sound like it's a terrible thing and Neil's fault that he created music that people still love and that he and others can still sell and make money from 50 years (not 70) later. Why should anyone else benefit from the fruits of his labour more than he himself? You are way off-base. You are quite correct though when you say that you don't know.


Re: "next generation of artists will come from. How will they survive?"

"While he sites in his massive mansion crying over the number of zeros on his latest royalty cheque."

Nice smear job.