* Posts by Joe W

555 posts • joined 8 Aug 2018


He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Changes

The storage density achieved is still a bit unnerving to me (queue "sufficiently advanced tech - magic" comparisons, that's magic as in sorcery not in "The Collecting" (or was it "Gathering?"), and then it should be "Magic [TM]")

Oracle hosting TikTok US data. '25,000' moderators hired. Code reviews. Trump getting his cut... It's the season finale

Joe W Silver badge

Re: My head hurts

You seem to imply the members of the president's party think.

OK, maybe about the brown envelopes...

And Trump's statement sounds a lot like blackmail. At least he says the money will go to the government - maybe (ok, surely) in addition to a healthy check to the campaign by Larry.

Surprise! Apple launches iOS 14 today, and developers were given just 24 hours' notice

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Nonsense

Go back and read the article.

Done yet?

OK. So, the complaints are about the short time between devs being able to push their apps to the store so apple can test them, and the public release of the OS to the public.

Edit: dang, somebody did already answer this..

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

Joe W Silver badge

By that time I would truly hope that most of that software was available in ARM form, even the most laggard software team should have achieved that.

Yeah. Right. Looking at my workplace.... nope.

Take your pick: 'Hack-proof' blockchain-powered padlock defeated by Bluetooth replay attack or 1kg lump hammer

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Security Devices don't stop theft...

It's mostly that your bike lock needs to be more robust / a time sink than the next one, and your bike should look like shite...

Yeah, this means the other person's bike gets stolen, not mine (or vice versa, I guess)

US military takes aim at 2024 for human-versus-AI aircraft dogfights. Have we lost that loving feeling for Top Gun?

Joe W Silver badge

Re: maeking any erros.

Known as Muphry's Law... ;)

What an IDORable Giggle: AI-powered 'female only' app gets in Twitter kerfuffle over breach notification

Joe W Silver badge

Well... except it was more about the miscommunication (at least one hopes)...

When Huawei leaves, the UK doesn't lead in 5G, says new report commissioned by... er... Huawei

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Where's the proof?

s/China/the USA/g

s/Huawei/Cisco, Boeing, Apple/g

not saying that China isn't doing the same, but the US are bullying their allies[*] still and claim moral superiority over China while doing that.

[*] though everybody sorts of doubts nowadays whether they will still honour that fact.

Joe W Silver badge

Australia does not even have mobile phone coverage by most providers in the small towns along the west coast - I think there is only one provider that does that, ( but I forgot the name - Telstra? Not Vodaphone, I see to recall). Ok, this was 2015, but I seriously doubt matters have improved much - and why should they? There are just not enough customers outside of the bigger towns to warrant the investment in infrastructure.

Adobe Illustrator's open source rival Inkscape delivers v1.0.1 - with experimental Scribus PDF export

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Shooting themselves in the foot to save their hand

Well, the OP used some old version of Corel Draw, not a recent version of Illustrator, so while your sentiment might be not too far off it is not the underlying cause. I myself have started with inkscape a while ago, and I have used it a lot. In my opinion, anybody who has any experience with vector graphics can figure out most things (except how to use shapes to cut away parts from other shapes, that one is counterintuitive for me). I also prefer the menues of Libreoffice vs. those of MS Office (which I did start with... Word for Windows 2.something, I guess). Replicating the complete experience of "big software" is stupid (there, I said it), because in some cases menues / settings are not consistent in those other applications. Remember how (in Word) the page format used to be set in the "file" dropdown menu, not in "format"? So blindly trying to recreate something else is really not what most people want.

That said, I once tried to find my way around illustrator and failed. Clearly their interface sucks... ;)

China proposes ‘Global Initiative on Data Security’ forbidding stuff it and Huawei are accused of doing already

Joe W Silver badge

Judical assistance

But his sixth point, the call to “Meet law enforcement needs for overseas data through judicial assistance or other appropriate channels” is tricky given it could impinge on sovereignty.

Among many countries this is already a possibility. When you need access to data there is a process to go through, involving judical oversight (probably and hopefully) in both countries. So I do not see these issues as impingeing in souvereignity, at least not more than what is currently done among several countries already. There is even a process between the EU and the US, which the US now unilaterally replaced by the CLOUD act. Data could be requested already before, but these requests had to pass through the other country's judical system, which the US of course does not like - they make the rules, and everybody is subject to them (and woe betide those that investigate war crimes allegedly[*] commited by US soldiers).

[*] innocent until proven guilty etc., but we all know the reports, ffs, people even openly admitted these!

Hidden Linux kernel security fixes spotted before release – by using developer chatter as a side channel

Joe W Silver badge

15 flavours of Linux

That's your problem. At work we have two. One decided by our company, the other by the big national project we are part of.

Salon told to change ad looking for 'happy' stylist because it 'discriminated against unhappy people'

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Wouldn't it be nice

And then I totally like to take a cab when being at a new place - they sort of stick to the route, but also show me some sights while driving by, entertaining me with "and people used to say that the owner of this place.... (strange stroy followed)". Totally worth it, and well within the travel budget I had then... (and was allowed to travel)

'We're not claiming to replace humans,' says Google, but we want to be 'close enough' that you can't tell it's a bot talking

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Garbage in garbage out

Ah, you are an O2 customer...

Seriously, an internet provider that cannot be reached by email, that's... strange (mildly put).

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Joe W Silver badge

Now that's a title

Depending on how you group it:

combat computer-repair-technician (impressive, like a black belt, gun toting commando BOFH, strapping mines to misbehaving machines - or users... )

Qualcomm flexes latest Arm chipset for laptops: Snappy performance and battery life if you can put off your upgrade long enough

Joe W Silver badge

Re: There won't be laptops with 25 hour battery life...

A 25 hour battery life on paper would translate to more like 18 hours, maybe less, depending on what you are doing.

Plus you clearly have not travelled over the pond and onwards too often, at least not with a laptop. In my experience power outlets were difficult to find in airports, at least in high enough numbers and with seats close by. You should try to sleep on the plane, where you have no chance of charging your laptop. Plus with most laptops you can hardly work on the plane, they are way too big (a netbook works very well!).

Under fire for 30% cut, Apple really isn't giving anything away with introduction of subscription offer codes

Joe W Silver badge

The Beatles

"should five percent appear to small / be thankful I don't take it all! / 'cause I'm the tax man"

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

Joe W Silver badge

Yeah, I am naive. But that really is stupid. I am so glad for my team (4 at the moment, including me, we just started out and hopefully will grow slowly enough), and sure I could rank us, but then I would maybe need to sack myself as I do no "productive" work any more, or hardly any (I miss that). By all means, if people don't do their job well enough get rid of them - the rest of us can only benefit from that, but having somebody turn in good results and making the company money and then sacking them is stupid and short sighted. But then the manager in charge can claim savings in personell costs, so they get their bonus. What a carp.

It's the same as grading on a curve in university exams. I hated that as a lecturer, and in fact did not do it. Fortunately I taught stats, so I could cheat using that knowledge (and report that I was, using the right measures, in fact where I should be). Actually the failure rate was sort of average, but many of those were the kids not turning up for the exam or handing in an empty exam sheet. The whole distribution in terms of percentages was quite bimodal, I'd say hard to model with a single distribution or process. The most natural would be a two state process (did not turn up / hand in an empty sheet vs. actually did something) which then would generate a draw from a beta distribution for those who actually did something. A normal distribution for values between 0 and 1? don't make me laugh! (ok, there I did in fact "sack" the underperforming, or rather non-performing, lot...)

Joe W Silver badge

Re: corporate employee or fulfillment center associate

Well, the last paragraph was particularly interesting, with Amazon claiming their employees earned 30% more than those in traditional retail stores.

In Germany there was quite a discussion 2 or 1 BC (BC = before Corona) whether Amazon should be classified as retail or as logistics, which do have different minimum wages (and tariffs, not sure if Amazon is part of that, probably not...). I cannot remember for sure, but as far as I can recall, Amazon says it is a logistics company, not retail.

Now that I think of it: I think in Germany the Amazon warehose staff is organised in a union, I think they went on strike just before Christmas last year (and the year before?) or at least threatened to.

Google Chrome 85 to block ads that hog power, CPUs, network: Web ads giant will black-hole 0.3% of web ads

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Firefox is calling...

Mozilla f'd up the way extensions and plugins worked. That hindered the greybeards from customising the user interface so it was usable for them. Mozilla did not seem to be accommodating to long term plugin developers. This is a policy that (in part) killed Windows mobile, the changes from release to release were big and developers had to invest a lot of time to keep up and rewrite their apps - so they left. So there were few apps. So nobody bought the phones (though they were pretty good, the UI did not suck like android and ios - OK, maybe in different ways that did not annoy me).

Many use browsers based on the old Firefox engine, such as waterfox. Most still fondly remember the old opera engine, that was really light weight and fast. Most do remember Internet without Facebook, Google and Wikipedia, and actively try to avoid at least the first two.

UK govt: It's time to get staff back into the office! Capita: Hey everyone... about that...

Joe W Silver badge

has warned that commercial centres risk becoming "ghost towns" if offices don't reopen soon.

They are already. Ever been in one of them city centres where people only work and have lunch? They are ghost towns after nightfall alright.

Smash-and-grabbed: Chinese AI academic cuffed by Feds after 'binning hard drive' amid software leak probe

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Uncomfortable?

_everything_[*] is bigger in the US - cars, roads, why not socks as well?

[*] Ecept for the gallon[+], which is only about 3.8 litres as opposed to the correct 4.2 litres...

[+] ok, and the quart[#]

[#] and the pint probably as well

Worried about the Andromeda galaxy crashing into our Milky Way in four billion years? Too bad, it's quite possibly already happening

Joe W Silver badge

Re: mind blown?

And they are always unhappy, especially when it comes to little green bits of paper - which is strange, because it's not the little bits of paper that are unhappy...

Securus sued for 'recording attorney-client jail calls, handing them to cops' – months after settling similar lawsuit

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Intent

becoming more likely to offend upon release

Ah, but in the US they only want to punish people, not correct their ways or help people to integrate into society. Prisons exist to make money.

Anti-5G-vaxx pressure group sues Zuckerberg, Facebook, fact checkers for daring to suggest it might be wrong

Joe W Silver badge

No. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more, no less.

We've come to wish you an unhappy birthday: Microsoft to yank services from Internet Explorer, kill off Legacy Edge by 2021

Joe W Silver badge

And don't get me started on cobol...

British Army does not Excel at spreadsheets: Soldiers' newly announced promotions are revoked after sorting snafu

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Training

Yeah. That. Totally not the program's fault, right? That not everybody uses excel, and maybe those who used the abbreviation first used something else (even a flat ASCII file) does of course not come to mind. I have not had to use excel until recently (you cannot do real statistics with excel, one should use a proper data analysis tool / programming language), so I am only now fighting with those brain dead auto convert things. Doesn't help that some data I'm dealing with follows formatting rules from the 70s, and those predate excel. By a lot.

(and yes, I usually use other programs, but manglement likes their excel sheets - so for real work I care sweet Få)

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Time to be pedantic

Have one - - - >

Joe W Silver badge

No, the problem is the brain dead default software behaviour of excel. People are lazy and always will be. And excel is a stupid program for any data analysis that is more complex than basic bookkeeping... Ok, that's three problems.

Looking at typical excel course curricula, the data import is probably in the advanced course. Fun thing: this stupid autoconvert happens (at least used to) also when your LOCALE setting is not English or American. In many other languages the string 1DEC has no calendaric interpretation.

Yeah, functions for this exist. They are a pain to use, unless you have scripted some sort of import filter - otherwise you have to jump through the hoops for every single file you use. Excel also has problems with csv (comma separated values) in the default settings when trying to load the file by just opening it.

USA decides to cleanse local networks of anything Chinese under new five-point national data security plan

Joe W Silver badge

I thought this was more or less known to be the case?

while at the same time allegedly using the NSA to compromise products from the likes of Cisco

Yeah, I know, don't want to be sued for slander either...

US drugstore chain installed anti-shoplifter facial-recognition cameras in 200 locations – for eight years

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Walgreens

Well, I regularly got id'd in my favourite pub (managed to become a regular during a month long stay in that town...). At first it felt really nice, here in Eastpondia they only id you if you look too young to buy cigs / booze. Then I realised they would id every customer...

(Walnut brewery, Boulder, Co if you must know)

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

Joe W Silver badge

Re: On helpdesk calls

"(Besides which, rechecking the obvious can't hurt. I've made enough dumb mistakes over the years that I no longer quite trust my good opinion of myself."

Yes. Ooooh yes. Same here. "the red hot feeling starting with M..." (Sir Pterry)

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

"No, Sharon T. Pokeworthy did. People seldom check." (BOFH...)

Lizards for lunch? Crazy tech? Aliens?! Dana Dash: First Girl on the Moon is perfect for the little boffin-to-be in your life

Joe W Silver badge


She wrote "a main character", not "the main character" - I guess that's OK...

My li'l boffins-to-be[0] are a bit too young, but I'll keep it in mind :)

[0] or maybe they'll do something else but the curiosity is there, that's a good start.

So many stars, so little time: Machine learning helps astroboffins spot the most oxygen-starved galaxy yet

Joe W Silver badge

Re: I'm not an astrophysicist

Sort of, yes. The boffins remarked that the galaxy must have formed recently out of primordial gas. There is so much stuff in the regions between galaxies, some is still left over from the big bang (more or less).

Who was behind that stunning Twitter hack? State spies? Probably this Florida kid, say US prosecutors

Joe W Silver badge

Re: "The Twitter VIP hack undermines public confidence in those information platforms."

From the article (I think it was the AG...) "Increasingly we rely on platforms like Twitter to receive news and other information that is important to our lives,"

This is a level of stupidity reached in mankind. Redo from start?

No wonder Brit universities report hacks so often: Half of staff have had zero infosec training, apparently

Joe W Silver badge

Mostly it's common sense for the users, don't click on stuff, don't visit sketchy sites, don't share your password.

The problem is that running a special course for all staff and students is not feasible, with externally sourced courses it's a financial problem. Internally you could pull something off during the orientation phase of the first semester. I actually did run an intro course to our Linux pool a decade or so ago (ok, more than a decade).

Plus isn't the theory that the digital naives don't need that?

(I like the auto correct typo above.. Not on purpose)

Named arguments squeak into PHP 8.0, 7 years after first RFC

Joe W Silver badge

Re: "because you call it like, true, true, false, like what does this mean?"

Read the text. It is the transcript of a podcast.

I'm sure you always talk in a way that is already print-ready. The rest of us are mere mortals.

Butterfingers who don't bother with phone cases, rejoice: New Gorilla Glass 'Victus' tipped to survive 6ft drops

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Is dropping your phone common?

Well... I dropped my phone, OK, phones. All of them. Several times, from varying heights on different materials. So far they survived, but so far all had bevels and no full glass front. I don't get it: the slick full glass front is a selling point, and then people put it in a phone case which looks... not good (tempted to write something else). Just make the stupid thing more robust, include a bevel to absorb some of the shock. Yeah, it will be thicker and heavier, but not as thick, heavy and fugly as the sleek all glass one with the phone case on it...

Sorry. I need a drink...

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

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Last time I checked ...


I welcome our Dalek overlords...

(yeah, the general idea is maybe not bad, well intentions et c. - but we know about those - and it's not really thought through)

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

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Bloody awful

My favourite seat in the cattle class was right in the rear, where they changed from three to two seats. The window seat had ample storage for my carry on, jacket, blanket, pillow... Plus only one person you need to wake up when heading for the bathroom.

Tbh I really preferred it over the A380, except for the flight in Economy Plus from SFO to FRA. That was nice. Got upgraded, because I was a really very frequent flyer then. Nice wine, food OK, good seats (LH).

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Bugzilla - emailzilla

Yeah, our Kanboard does that as well - serves me right for enabling the notifications. But I need those, when working remotely I cannot access the board, due to... (yeah, we all know those stories, I don't want to think about that now). So I check progress by looking at the incoming mails - and I can even add tasks by sending an email to the board :) (still cannot modify "my" tasks, but some colleague has to push them my way by putting me in as the person in charge... f'ing annoying, but works)

Except our meeting is Wednesdays...

icon ->>

/me needs that. Now. /me been fighting with sharepointless *shudder* for some time.

Apple warns developers API tweaks will flow from style guide changes that remove non-inclusive language

Joe W Silver badge

Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

'Developers in that situation have been told “it’s OK to show a code sample to make it clear what users need to enter, but you should still use alternative terms in the documentation.”'

So now they actually want the documentation and the code to diverge. I mean sure, that's bound to happen anyway. Still...

(that said: yeah, the whole issue is a bit over-hyped and over-discussed at the moment, with djihad-like mind sets in both those that force the changes and those who oppose them, but I don't think it is per se a bad idea, just something we need to get used to....)

Oh, and VI is still the superior editor (to start the next flame war - at least this one is important ;) - ok, maybe I'll accept ED - and the best scientific word processor is exp.)

FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Why?

Well... yes and no. In principle I agree with the sentiment that the treatment formula should be free (as in speech, not beer). On the other hand I'm totally for people getting the credit they deserve. I know people whose research was stolen (not by state actors, mind) and whose research groups did suffer from being second to publish stuff. Also keep in mind that research is expensive, and somebody has to pay for this, and if it is a company that shells out for it they should at least be able to recover their expenses (also for the many failed attempts - those cost money as well!). And then some Chinese / Russian / US / EU[0] company comes along, using your recipe, maybe patenting it and protecting the use and production fiercly and you, having done the work, go bancrupt.

[0] yeah, so you think that (in some cases state sponsored) corporate "intelligence", aka espionage, is limited to the Chinese / Russians / Iran? I don't think so....

Chips for Huawei are fried: TSMC stops shipping parts to Middle Kingdom mega-maker this September

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Stepping up

Plus you'll find that the wages in China are likely lower than in the US, leading to lower costs in China and higher costs in the US (for domestic customers, who'll then source chips via Alibababay or whatever them Chinese websites are called).

It's handbags at dawn: America to hit France with 25% tariffs on luxuries over digital tax on US tech titans

Joe W Silver badge

Re: They're tariffs

Well, it's high-priced handbags and stuff - those who buy them might still be willing to buy them. The main reason for buying them seems to be that they are 1) expensive and 2) some "celebrity" (loosely using that term...) was seen having it. That's not going to change.

Soft press keys for locked-down devs: Three new models of old school 60-key Happy Hacking 'board out next month

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Is "BS" a Backspace key

I would buy that. Oh so much.

Heir-to-Concorde demo model to debut in October

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Can it reduce the time spent at airports

Oooh yes. Air travel is annoying, by itself, the whole sitting-in-a-tin-can-thing. Admittedly, the few times I got upgraded on a transatlantic flight were pretty ok - still not a great experience in total, it was mostly "less painful / annoying".

The biggest hassle is first going to the airport, they are outside the city (mostly, except for London City, which is a rather cute little airfield), then getting inside the building, maybe dropping off luggage (ok, frequent travelers either travel without checked luggage or can drop it off at 1st class), then queuing for the security theatre, the security theatre itself, then having to pass through the shopping mall that all airports seem to be attached to, then hanging around in the lounge (trying to get some work done, while some business-class-entitled-feeling git yaps on his phone (the ladies seem a tad more considerate than the gents) top of his lungs, entertaining all of us, then stumbling along to the gate, be there on time-ish (be one of the last to arrive, so you don't have to queue as much), queue to pass through the gate, queue on the gangway, queue some more, because some inconsiderate... person... brought in a suitcase that does not fit anywhere (c'mon, if it does not fit under your seat it is not a carry-on-sized item), and they are holding up the traffic and...

I don't miss flying. I miss spending time at other interesting places though.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Thank fuck for that

Is there any station at 192kbps? In Norway there's none. I think about 64kbps is maximum...

And that is the main reason why DAB sounds... well... shite.

Linux Mint 20 isn't exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there's kernel 5.4 and it's a long-term support release

Joe W Silver badge

Re: Upgrading?

And for Debian-based distros, the upgrade process has been working pretty well for 15 years or so. Only new versions of apache and postfix can be a bit tricky, but one should not blame the OS for the applications, I guess.

Dependencies are tricky if you try and skip a major release or two. This is "a bit of" a no-no, i.e. a complete and utter mess (you brought upon yourself). What can break are drivers for stupid hardware (like the f'n' *** of ***** *** of a wireless network card in my notebook), if those needed to be installed via a third party solution.



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