* Posts by sum_of_squares

109 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jan 2019


Ever had a script you just can't scratch? Excel on the web now has just the thing


"Hey, guys! I have a brilliant idea: let's mix Excel with JavaScript! What could possibly go wrong?!?"

Paris Hilton

This is not about being a "fanboi". This is about Excel being the (de facto) nr 1 analytics tool.

Having written a decent amount of VBA myself (I was young and desperate back then, please don't judge) I hate VBA with a passion. But try to convince your pointy-haired boss why you need tableau, pandas, R and whatnot for analytics, when you can do it in Excel.. ("No rocket science, OK?"). Excel and VBA are quirky and weird, but unfortunately they are "good enough" for a lot of things. I've seen things in Excel.. it's scary.

Also unlike Access (the poor stupid little brother of SQL Server nobody cares for), Microshaft has poured a lot of money into excel over the years and made a lot of improvements. Excel is their cash cow and they know it.

Wake me up before you go Go: Devs say they'll learn Google-backed lang next. Plus: Perl pays best, Java still in demand

IT Angle

Some thoughts about "slow languages"

Every software developer should be familiar with Moore's law which says (in layman's terms) that computers get twice the processing speed every two years. In Reality it's more complicated than that, since you have overhead (i.e. for multi-threading) which makes things slower but also specialized processing units (i.e. graphics, video, cryptography) which can speed up bottle necks.

But let's assume you get twice the speed every two years. If you compare C++ with Perl, you'll find that C++ is about 20 times faster than Perl. Again, it's way more complicated than that, depending on the use case, which libraries you use or maybe you might even use foreign function interfaces in Perl.. yadda yadda yadda.

But let's assume in the year 2000 you wrote a C++ program that has a runtime of exactly 1000 seconds. If we apply Moore's law here we get the following runtime of the same program written in Perl (as a function of time, assuming you have contemporary hardware):

in 2000: 20,000 seconds

in 2002: 10,000 s

in 2004: 5,000 s

in 2008: 2,500 s

in 2010: 1,250 s

in 2012: 625 s

So if we interpolate here, we'll find that a Perl program has about the same runtime of a C++ program 10 years ago. If we do the same for Java (which is about 2-10 times slower than C++), we see the same result after only 2-5 years!

Of course this are only theoretical shenanigans. But it's important to realize that it can be misleading to talk about "fast" and "slow" languages without considering the implementation details, the underlying hardware or the actual bottlenecks of the task (what about I/O or network?). There a a few selected fields of programming who actually need the power of C++ (embedded, real-time, graphics..). But most of the time developer time is way more important than milking every last drop of optimization out of a given task.


>According to the survey, Perl devs earn 54 per cent more than the average developer.

Still not worth the hassle..


RIP FTP? File Transfer Protocol switched off by default in Chrome 80


Such a fuss..

There's no need for FTP when there's SFTP.

That said, there's no need to abandon FTP and not keep it for backwards compatibility reasons.

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin


Re: Amusing.... On the surface....

>Are you Mario... or Dracula? :-)

Touché.. It's-a-me!


Re: Amusing.... On the surface....

You know, emergency services have those funky blinkenlights so they can simply drive through a traffic jam. Also it's highly unlikely they rely on google maps for an emergency.

I would expect a real medic to know this.. you aren't a you a google employee by any chance, are you?




But I've read on his website, that GMaps assumes the traffic jam is over, once a single car passed him by. Duh!

So while his performance was great to make us think about the data we actually share every day and what contemporary "services" are doing already, it's probably not useful to create a major traffic chaos.

Or is it..?

*evil grin*

Rockstar dev debate reopens: Hero programmers do exist, do all the work, do chat a lot – and do need love and attention from project leaders


Bad metrics

>The researchers define a "hero" project as one where 80 per cent or more of the contributions come from 20 per cent of the developers.

Or instead of all that talk about "heros" you could simply call them "core team".

It's not uncommon to have a bunch of guys how only contribute one or two parts. Either because they find a bug and decide to fix it themselves. Or because they have special knowledge about one functionality or because they think the project looks interesting but decide against contributing any further..

There are many possible reasons and I really think we should avoid the term "hero" or "rockstar"..

To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details


XKeyscore is so 2013

Consider the following:

The Geo Database tells them where you (physically) are. Gmail tells them what you think. Their search databases tell them what you do on the internet (today you can predict further information by analyzing search behaviour, up to the point that you know people have a disease before they do).

So the question is not: "What do they know?" but instead: "How long will it take until they connect the dots?" and: "Will the US government stop them or encourage them?". But since the TLAs have a sad history of using whatever they can, we should assume the worst.

Oh and isn't Google that very company who owns the biggest AI company in the world? Even if they don't have a "black ops" program already it's simply a matter of time. I can't stand the thought that all that is protecting us from those nightmare scenarios is the very gouvernment that would profit the most of abusing it. How long will the structures of democracy withstand? Principal-agent problem, anyone?

The future looks bright.

Shhh! It's us, Microsoft. Yes, it's 2020. We're here with a new build of Windows 10


Re: XP Home Edition!

>complete lack of testing by MS

I've heard this so often and it's just plain wrong. This may come as a surprise, but Microsoft does a lot of testing.

Last time I checked they had more than 200,000,000 beta testers all over the world..

H0LiCOW: Cosmoboffins still have no idea why universe seems to be expanding more rapidly than expected

Black Helicopters

Re: not just the expansion

The universe is not expanding, but EVERYTHING IS SHRINKING. And therefore the distances are getting bigger.

There, I said it. Now arrest me, timecops. But mankind had to know this.

Linux in 2020: 27.8 million lines of code in the kernel, 1.3 million in systemd


One brief note

A lot of people were mentioning Linux here.

I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you’re referring to as Linux, is in fact, SystemD/Linux, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, SystemD plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning SystemD system made useful by Redhead Enterprises, Inc., some shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of SystemD/Linux.

Thanks for your attention.

Having trouble finding a job in your 40s? Study shows some bosses like job applicants... up until they see dates of birth


The reasoning behind this

If you're young, finding a job is easy if you are OK with low-wage slaving. Not qualified for a position? Do junior position. Not qualified for a junior position? Do an internship.

When you're older (and have some relevant work experience) you get more money, but it's generally harder to get a job in a certain position.

Basically it's a psychological thing.

You always need a lot of "ground crew" who brings all the coffee, does the donkeywork and admire the chieftains for their wisdom. But more chieftains, that know who they are and know they do a good job? No thanks.

Also if you can do the work with 3 seasoned guys or 5 inexperienced guys, what would you chose? In most companies chieftains only care about how many people they lead, because "more people = more important". Yeah, it's stupid and wrong on so many levels, but that's how most companies look at it..

tl,dr: young people are cheaper, easier to control and easier to replace, so bosses are prefer the zerg before the protoss

JavaScript survey: Devs love a bit of React, but Angular and Cordova declining. And you're not alone... a chunk of pros also feel JS is 'overly complex'


Re: Not sure where to go

First you have to understand the paradigm shift from the "old school" (server-side) frameworks like RoR, Django, Laravel or ASP.NET MVC and the "newer" (client-side) frameworks. Maybe read up on Fat Clients vs. Thin Clients. That said, the hype train already moved on (the MEAN stack appeared in 2013!) towards other usele.. ehem, other technologies, but you can safely ignore that stuff.

My personal recommendation is to learn one server-side framework first - doesn't matter which one, just take 6 month and kick off a project. Afterwards you might want to look into Vue. If you understood Vue and are still curious you can take the deep dive into React. But be aware that (unlike Vue) React is not only a complete ecosystem with many different components but introduced whole new methodologies. Stuff like Flux or JSX breaks with a lot of classical web dev paradigms (i.e. keeping code and formating separated).

Join us on our new journey, says Wunderlist – as it vanishes down the Microsoft plughole


Kanban boards FTW

After a lot of disappointments with todo-lists I recently switched to kanban boards. The visuals are somewhat different but you get used to it pretty fast, it's easy to use and I never looked back.

Popular programs are Asana, Trello, ClickUp or Yalla.


Re: Enfold, Extend....

I came here to post this.

Microsoft will never change and I can only imagine what this means for Linux and GitHub. "Microsoft loves Linux" my arse.

Pentagon's $10bn JEDI decision 'risky for the country and democracy,' says AWS CEO Jassy


You are concerned about platform independence and spying companies and cheer for.. microsoft?


Re: Respect Babylon 5

I watched B5 back in the days and I can still enjoy the images here.

We strained our eyes with Lenovo's monster monitor: 43.4 inches for price of five 24" screens


big screen

small p..

Oracle and Google will fight in court over Java AGAIN and this time it's going to the Supremes

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Re: The dying days of Java will be spent in court?

If only! It's such a verbose and stupid language. Why are people still using Java when we have stuff like Scala, Julia, Kotlin or Clojure?

I hope Oracle keeps on destroying Java. It is for the greater good, after all.

'Ethical' hackers say: It's just hacker. To be one is no longer a bad thing


Re: Remember about a month back...

C'mon, we all know hackers wear hoodies all day e'ry day.

Don't try to fool us!

If you've wanted to lazily merge code on GitHub from the pub, couch or beach, there's now a mobile app for that

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Hey Boss, funny story: Do you remember this new git mobile one-click-app we talked about last week? Well guess what: I accidentally hit the wrong button and, haha this is so funny, somehow I managed to do a few resets or a rebase.. hahaha even the dev team doesn't know for sure, but they try to find out at this very moment. So.. how to put this.. do you have some sort of.. ehm.. backup somewhere, hehe? Boss?

NASA boffins tackle Nazi alien in space – with the help of Native American tribal elders


>That may sound all mystical and cool, however, at the time, it was noted that the name was used by Germany's Nazi party..

I already said that 9 month ago. Just saying.


20% of UK businesses would rather axe their contractors than deal with IR35 – survey


You got that backwards: All businesses would rather axe 20% their contractors. At least.

Oh yes, and nobody likes taxes, I wonder why?

In a world of infosec rockstars, shutting down sexual harassment is hard work for victims


Re: Not victim blaming, oh no.

You see, in modern society we have to PROVE someone is guilty. If two girls (who don't know each other) tell the same story about a guy we have a strong evidence. If the victim has mails, chats, pictures or witnesses (unbiased or even better unbeknownst to the victim) that's strong evidence.

f course it can be frustrating if bad people get away with doing bad stuff, but if we can't prove anything we cannot automatically assume somone's guilty only because one person says so. Yes, that can be terribly frustrating sometimes, but that's how our society works. If I accuse someone I have the burden of proof, not the other way around.

"Victim blaming" is something completely different. The first difference is that in victim blaming we have a victim in the first place. It sounds something like this: "Yeah she got harassed, but it's her fault for wearing a short skirt." You see the difference between this and "She claimed she was harassed, but she has no evidence."?

The second difference is that victim blaming tries so discredit the victim. Something like this: "She is totally nuts, we can't believe her." This is another difference, because society says: "Yes, I want to believe her, but unless she has some sort of evidence this is yet unproven."

As for your question why someone would do this: People (men and women alike) do all kind of crazy stuff. Or do you assume all women are good people? For many college teachers (especially in sports) there is this rule to never be alone with a girl under any circumstances. And this is first and foremost to protect the teacher, because there were many cases were girls claimed they were harassed, the teacher was fired and later it turned out that is was a false accusation. The problematic part is you don't even have to prove anything, you can totally ruin careers only by the loss of reputation that comes with such accusations. That's why we must stop whisper campaigns, in the long run they do more damage than good.


Re: Clearly, you have never been harrassed

It's always nice to hear both sides, don't you think? I have seen more than one case where people tried to pull off a smear campaign. I'm not telling that she is a liar, I'm just telling that outsiders have no chance to tell if it's the truth or not. And that's exactly the reason why we all should public witch hunting like the plague. The whole idea of denouncing people within a scene based on hearesay is just very bad style and leads to very bad results. If someone is an idiot, go tell this person to eff** himself. If necessary call the coppers, put him into jail, put pepper spray in his face or whatever. And of course you can tell all you friends that this person is an idiot. But this is something completely different than trying to put someone on a public "walk of shame", which is exactly the solution some people suggest.




The problem with those debates is they are usually overly emotional and not very constructive. So let's all stay nice and well-collected, shall we? Come to think of it, let's just shout "she deserved it!" or "victim blaming!" (depending on your opinion), OK? ;-)


Now let's go though this step-by-step:

A dude finds a girl attractive, but she thinks he's a bit creepy or something. So she is "making it clear she is not interested", but nevertheless "the man continued to pester her with messages", "approaches her at infosec events" and even "invites himself over".

Since the guy doesn't seem to respect her "no" there are different possibilities we should consider:

1) The guy is a total freak, close to a rapist. This is what the article seems to suggests anyway. In this case she could call the police and get a warranty that he has to stay away from her.

2) The girl didn't make herself as clear as she expected. It is not uncommon that people think they are clear when they just weren't. What to do here? See the next point.

3) Another possibility: The guy is not very experienced with girls, has a crush on her and can't read her signs or thinks he will win her heart by being stubborn. For me this seems to be the most realistic scenario, since this happens all the time, especially with "nerdy" guys who naturally have spent more time in front of a screen than interacting with other people in RL. The best way to deal with this (for both of them!) is to overcome the first escape reflex and have a "real talk" to tell him that there is no way that she will get with him. And let's face it, most people (guys and girls alike) are terribly bad at this. It's not about "sending signals", it's about LITERALLY saying: "Dude, you are only a friend for me. I will NOT be your girlfriend. You are not my type. I am not interested in you physically. There are other men/women I find more attractive. Did you get it?". If she is unable to do this, she might consider bringing a friend with her. This is still fair play if she feels overly uncomfortable in a situation alone with him. It is NOT fair play, however, to avoid this conversation and trying to set up a whole community against him.

IT protip: Never try to be too helpful lest someone puts your contact details next to unruly boxen


The only correct response:

1) find out who was behind this

2) get his details

3) file it under "night shift support (1 AM to 5 AM)" plus get an entry into every NSFW-spam-mailing list available

Just take a look at the carnage on Notepad++'s GitHub: 'Free Uyghur' release sparks spam tsunami by pro-Chinese


Typically I don't like Software being political, but it's always good to fight "the system"..

The Feds are building an America-wide face surveillance system – and we're going to court to prove it, says ACLU


Re: The USA can't let China take the lead

>Of course 'worse' means different things to different people.

The good old whataboutisms - long time no see!

Of course you have a valid point here. In 'murrica there are a lot of methodists in work camps, getting tortured for their faith, similar to what is happen to the falung gong people. Also it's a bloody shame what they did to the NY times author who dared disagreeing with the great leader. And Chinas attack against Uighur women is nothing compared to what happens in china town..

Yes, this was irony.

Tor blimey, Auntie! BBC launches dedicated dark web mirror site


Coincidence? I think not.

When I think of all those poor bastards that will go to the darknet, look for "BBC" and expect a news site to show up.

So this is what they call "british humour", I guess?

Nothing's certain except death and patches – so that 'final' Windows 10 19H2 build isn't really



I love Microsoft now!


All ya folks don't real grok Windows.

Windows is not really "Debian", it's more "Arch".

It's not Windows' fault if ya people have the wrong mindset, it's simply a rolling release.

This image-recognition roulette is all fun and games... until it labels you a rape suspect, divorcee, or a racial slur


We need a mind change

But what if you ARE a rape suspect, divorcee, or a racial slur..?

All jokes aside, the interwebs are full of pr0n, misinformation and not-so-nice-comments. And guess what? That's just how humans are. Maybe we should stop projecting too much or trying too develop a superego AI that is pure and innocent. Statistics 101 says: sh*t in, sh*t out. So there are more or less two possibilities:

Either we feed the AI wannabe-data, artificial data that gets 10/10 point on a social desirability scale. But that will lead to false results eventually. How can an AI detect racist comments or pr0n without getting exposed to it beforehand?

The other possibility is to stop screeching every time an AI does something "racist" or "sexist". We need to accept that it's simply a computer program that makes errors and needs to adapt. The solution is not to purify the input data. Would you shoot you kids and produce new offspring if you kid said something racist? Or would you take the time to sit down and explain in detail, why racism is a bad thing and how it's our duty to overcome the xenophobia, that's deeply ingrained in out genes?

Instead of pretending there are no bad things we should teach the AI that there some opinions are not worthwhile, because racism leads to hate which leads to suffering. Or something like that.

Don't look too closely at what is seeping out of the big Dutch pipe


Re: Student exchange!



Tinfoil-hat search engine DuckDuckGo gifts more options, dark theme and other toys for the 0.43%


Re: Search engines are totally overrated

Whoops, you're right.

Please accept my apologies, it's 25 years ago..



Search engines are totally overrated

I still remember the pre-Google era. The grass was greener, meta search engines like AltaVista were hip and everybody was dancing the Lindy Hop.

Back then my best buddies and me used to type in random IPs. And whenever someone found a cool site we were mailing each other about it. The ultimate challenge was to find sites with WareZ. "WareZ" were files (usually hard links) with stuff like MIDIs of famous songs. And when the first mp3 songs came out it was oh so taboo. And we were happier back then. Oh well.

Anyway, thanks for reminding me to set my default search engine to DuckDuckGo. Even though it's (figuratively and literally) impossible to stay anonymous these days when we have stuff like browser fingerprinting, every little layer of anonymity helps.

Masters of Puppet say: There's no magical one-size-fits-all answer to doing DevOpsery


But how can they get away with it without getting sued by Gnutellica (or what was their name again)?

We, Wall, we, Wall, Raku: Perl creator blesses new name for version 6 of text-wrangling lingo


C'mon, who uses Perl in 2019..

>opens the register


Father of Unix Ken Thompson checkmated: Old eight-char password is finally cracked


You're more the "it explodes out of hand very quickly" type, eh?

American intelligence follows British lead in warning of serious VPN vulnerabilities


"Hey boss, seems like our european cousins found out about the VPN backdoor we exploited 2 years ago."

"No biggie. Tell 'em we'll <<follow that lead>> or something. That will make them happy."

Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US peeps? Well, guess what…


Opportunity costs..

Let's be honest: Which government does NOT grab as much data as possible?

You can't afford to play nice these days, cyber warfare is real theses days.

That said I'm not a fan of data grabbing. But we need a structural change which makes it impossible (or at least hard enough) to get user data that easily. And we still have a long way to go here, the vast majority of computer users neither has the knowledge nor do they really care for security concerns.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. If people are stupid, don't blame agencies to make use of the low hanging fruits, because other agencies WILL use the data..

Remember the millions of fake net neutrality comments? They weren't as kosher as the FCC made out


Re: Are you sure about that?

Oh welp. Crazy left wings don't blow up city buildings or shoot up a school or mosque. Righties do this all the time.

But I see your point: Dying your hair, forcing a code of conduct upon some company and doing some camping to help refugees can be cruel in it's own special way.

Totally the same.


Re: why is it always

Sticks and stones.

Maybe it's all about the wording. To me a true leftist can never be rich, because that's somehow the point of being a leftie: Taking the money from the rich, feeding the poor, overcoming boundaries, appreciating individualism (at least if we talk about the newer left-wing groups, communism is a different beast).

The word "conservative" does literally mean to preserve, to maintain (a certain state or course of action). This is typically tied to having an elite group vs a poor group, maintaining traditional boundaries and more often than not the "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" mindset.

Now how are those people you listed left-wing? OK, I'll give you Soros, but Bill Gates who helps the poor.. agriculture organizations and their profits? Or Mark "gimme-all-you-data" Zuckerberg? Not really.


Re: Why did the FCC accept all of these fake comments?

What are you on about? Plausible deniability is the bread and butter of politics.


Re: why is it always

Allrighty, so all those are supposed to be left-wing people.

Is this some sort of twisted joke?

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force: How the tech boys club remains exclusive


I didn't say one should always be on the losing end, did I?

But let me put it like this:

Criticizing is cheap, building things is hard.

Naturally you will "win" 10/10 times if you are only nagging about the way things are:

Either you change things then you are a winner. Or you can't change things then "the empire" won once again which makes your "resistance" even more relevant.

See? You can't lose.

But if you start to build thing then you're exposing yourself. You will fail and you'll get criticized. You will often be on the losing end, but on the hand you really can make a change instead just lying to yourself.

It's important to realize that there will always be injustice, one way or another. But it doesn't have to be the "we against them" view (in social psychology this is called "ingroup vs outgroup"). There is no secret new world order boys club. There are some idiots around, that's all.


The whole idea of "Please be nice so WE can be the merciless rulers and give YOU a hard time, so give us the power 'K?" is fundamentally flawed.

Either you beat people at their own game. This is fine but if you choose this path then don't expect sympathy or support from anybody and PLEASE don't occupy the moral high ground. If you chose this path, you want you (or your group) to be in charge instead of them. Nothing more, nothing less. It's simply a zero-sum game.

The other way is to turn the other cheek, playing nice and sometimes being on the loosing end but nonetheless being morally right. It means to be "the better man" as a woman, it means to focusing on the doing the right things instead of attacking the wrong things. It means being the change you wish to see in the world. Why not running your own company and preferring women instead of men and show the world how cool you are? Why not making your own inclusive open source project which is way better and driven by more passion instead of nagging about other projects and their wording?

Personally I think the latter is the more rewarding way: Lead by Example and let people decide what they want.

PostgreSQL puts the pedal to the metal with some smart indexing tweaks in version 12

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PostgreSQL is great. With a slightly better toolset and some more goodies it would be an adequate replacement for SQL server. Unfortunately there are a couple of things where SQL Server is a tad more advanced, but I really like PostgreSQL and use it wherever I can.