* Posts by John Gamble

654 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007


Troll jailed for 5 years after swatting of Twitter handle owner ends in death

John Gamble

Hmm. We had a house guest from England decades ago. Seeing a then-new episode of M*A*S*H featuring the then-new character from Boston, he turned to me and asked, "They cast a British character?"

I guess Boston is a special case.

Audacity fork maintainer quits after alleged harassment by 4chan losers who took issue with 'Tenacity' name

John Gamble

Re: Why the age restriction?

There's only speculation, but it might be that with the license change and the addition of telemetry, there was the possibility of violating GDPR rules (acquiring data, no matter how anonymized, from a minor).

But: I haven't seen a real lawyer chime in; Muse Group hasn't demonstrated a competent understanding of US or EU laws so far; they keep playing keep-away with the licensing agreements (so who knows what's going to apply next week); and honestly it just may be plain stupidity on their part.

Kepler spots four rogue Earth-mass exoplanets floating in space, unbound to any star

John Gamble

Re: Spending eternity roaming space

Thank you for the link, I didn't know about that one.

But I suspect they did actually mean Vulcan, which was the hypothesized planet to explain why Mercury's orbit kept mismatching from what Newtonion laws predicted (this was before Einstein's General Relativity was shown to be a better explanation).

Vulcan Wikipedia article.

In Search of Planet Vulcan, by Richard Baum and William Sheehan, a very good book on the state of astronomy then, and why astronomers were so determined to find it.

Audacity users stick the knife – and fork – in to strip audio editor of unwanted features

John Gamble

Muse Group "Defenders"

I took a look at the timelines of the people who were attacking Cookie Engineer and surprise! I found the standard combination of anime and porn posts that indicate bot accounts, at least to me. So who knows who's actually on the attack here.

This is not the only Audacity fork out there, and I'm curious as to how those accounts are also being treated.

Toyota reveals its work on an honest-to-goodness cloak of invisibility

John Gamble

Re: I remember a SciFi book about this.

It probably doesn't have the structural properties needed for the task.

Transparent Aluminum (Aluminum Oxynitride)

Wine 6.0.1: For that one weird app on that one weird Mac

John Gamble

Re: It's astonishing that Wine exists...

"... but is it necessary any more?"

As the sub-heading says, "For that one weird app..."

In my case, a program called Logic Friday.

I not only need to run it on WINE, I have to download it from Internet Archive now, as its creators seem to have vanished.

(Link, for those whose curiosity is piqued: Logic Friday.)

First Forth, C and Python, now comp.lang.tcl latest Usenet programming forum nuked by Google Groups

John Gamble

Because of sheer incompetence

Google's mishandling of the USENET groups goes back over a decade. Looking up iconic articles became more and more difficult, until there was no point to logging on to it at all.

It would not surprise me to find that some of the "missing" groups have just been lost, and not backed up.

Apple sent my data to the FBI, says boss of controversial research paper trove Sci-Hub

John Gamble
Big Brother

Re: White Dwarf McNealy?

Yeah. And who apparently thinks that a small government would be less intrusive than a large government, because apparently databases are all stored in filing cabinets.

Guy who wrote women are 'soft, weak, cosseted, naive' lasted about a month at Apple until internal revolt

John Gamble

Re: I wholeheartedly agree

"There are lost of people I work with who I don't particularly like (and, I am sure, don't particularly like me) - if that is the yardstick we are using to decide on firing people then we will all be on the dole soon enough."

But that's not the yardstick, and it's disingenuous of you to frame it that way. This was someone who flat out denied the worth of his co-workers if they happened to be women. Presumably this includes anything from technical matters to management. So how can you trust his judgement if he's evaluating a colleague's (or worse, a subordinate's) work?

That was a rhetorical question by the way, the answer is that you can't.

Computer security world in mourning over death of Dan Kaminsky, aged 42

John Gamble

And The Creator of the DanKam

Also the creator of the DanKam app, which enhanced certain colors for the colorblind. He created it after a Star Trek movie viewing with a friend who hadn't realized that one of the characters had green skin.


And on a sadder note, his family had to release a statement that he had died of complications from diabetes, to combat a particular anti-vax creep who had claimed that he had died of complications from the vaccine.

University duo thought it would be cool to sneak bad code into Linux as an experiment. Of course, it absolutely backfired

John Gamble

Re: IRB are totally wrong there

Or as another person put it, more succinctly, consent is important. The researchers didn't contact anyone and ask them if they would consent to be part of an experiment.

Deciding that other people's efforts don't matter as long as you think your ends justify your means? That makes you the bad guy.

Foxconn's showcase Wisconsin LCD factory becomes aspirational 'manufacturing ecosystem'

John Gamble

Re: The whole thing

"The people of Wisconsin got rid of him at the first opportunity..."

Second opportunity. He survived a recall election, which isn't that surprising as voters tend to resent being told they need to change their vote early. Still, it would have been nice if Governor Boot-licker had been ejected earlier.

Fridges... in... Spaaaaaaace: Engineers book ride on the Vomit Comet to test astro-refrigerator

John Gamble

Re: No students at Purdue ?

This would definitely depend upon the month. If you tried a wet sock in August all you'd get is a mildewed sock (there is a reasonably sized river running by Purdue's campus).

And the Turing Award for best compilation goes to... Jeffrey Ullman and Alfred Aho

John Gamble

This is well deserved, but what took the ACM so long? I was honestly surprised that they hadn't already won the award.

Planespotters’ weekends turn traumatic as engine pieces fall from the sky in the Netherlands and the US

John Gamble

Re: RE: engine failure

Seriously? Okay, first of all, you don't know what redlining is (or you wouldn't have written "if it was real"), and you don't know what the rules were that were used to lessen (unfortunately, not eliminate) it. Banks were never "forbidden" to loan, they just didn't, because if you let any neighborhood have Black homeowners, then (horrors) the bankers' own neighborhoods would be next. There was always an economic incentive to not redline, but guess what? They did anyway.

So enter the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, passed by Congress in ... 1975. Hmm, Clinton doesn't appear to enter into it.

And yeah, very much aware of bundling of home loans (how do you think my bank loan wound up with Countrywide?), which reached toxic level in... hmm, the Cheney-Bush [sic] administration. Funny that. No one forced the banks and home loan businesses to go down that path. They did so knowing that they could get away with it. No regulation forced them to make bad loans (the subject in question, despite your efforts to steer it away from that), the banks simply lied about their quality.

John Gamble

Re: RE: engine failure

Here's one for you, written after the 2011 power failure (why yes, Texas has had state-wide failures before): "Why Does Texas Have Its Own Power Grid?"

John Gamble

Re: RE: engine failure

Yeah, that's complete nonsense. There was nothing in the regulations that required mortgages be handed out to those that could not repay them. This was entirely on the lenders (Washington Mutual and Countrywide [my lender, in fact] being notable examples).

Amazon turns Victorian industrialist with $2bn building project to house workers near new headquarters

John Gamble

The 21st Century Version of Pullman

Looking forward to the rent increase coupled with the pay cut.

Pullman, Illinois

United States Congress stormed by violent followers of defeated president, Biden win confirmation halted

John Gamble

Re: ...and where exactly do you live in the US?

"I'm old enough to remember LBJ's last year in office. Now that really was a scary sh*t year. This is just very high stakes political theater."

So am I. And yeah, it was beyond troubled. But you're blathering. This is in no way comparable, especially since I don't recall LBJ trying to overthrow the normal transfer of presidential power (indeed, you may recall he declined to run for re-election).

You are in the grips of fear-mongering nitwits who are eager to give up their rights as long as their preferred strong man can take control. The only thing you've shown is that you're a sucker.

FYI: Someone wants to launch mobile broadband satellites into space used by scientific craft – and NASA's not happy

John Gamble

Strayhorn and Ellington

I'm hoping the name comes from "Take the A Train", and I'm hoping that AST jumps the tracks.

US Supreme Court Justice flames lower courts for giving 'sweeping immunity' to Facebook, YouTube, etc when it comes to harmful content

John Gamble

It can be viewed as a warning shot (I'm viewing it this way; whether actual Supreme Court justices and scholars view it this way is a different matter).

There are eight other justices that may or may not agree though, and of course legislative action may change everything before any argument reaches the court.

As we stand on the precipice of science fiction into science fact, people say: Hell yeah, I want to augment my eyesight!

John Gamble

Ah yes, the Far Side cartoon. Larson wrote that that one was one of the few based on real life experience.

NASA puts an Astrobee to work sweeping the ISS. Yep, floating cube good at taking pics and hanging around....

John Gamble

Re: Bacronym Creator

"Something the US is very, very good at (on the whole) Acronyms/Bacronyms. Do US orgs and corps actually have people with the specific job of coming up with them? Is there a graduate course one can attend with the aim of having that job title?"

Yes, it's part of the MFA degree program. Required courses include "How to Use Helvetica Everywhere", and "When to Reverse the 'R' -- An Overview of Retrofuturism".

Robust Rust trust discussed after Moz cuts leave folks nonplussed: Foundation mulled for coding language

John Gamble

Foundation and Umpire

The only part of that article that surprised me was that it hadn't been done already. It reached its version 1.0 point (the fact that it was "only" five years ago is irrelevant), it's past the point of wondering if it has a future.

Road trip on Mars: Thrill as Curiosity rover races up to 0.06 miles per hour. Marvel as it takes a mile-long detour

John Gamble

Re: Flat Mars-ers

Of course Red Dwarf wasn't a documentary. It didn't have a narrator.

Arrested Development? Now that was a documentary.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

John Gamble

Re: Funny thing

"Anyone would think that we pronounce 'private equity company' as, 'asset stripper.'"

Because we've been in this business long enough to know that that's exactly what happens.

I realize that it's not guaranteed, and that you're also using the troll icon, but I've seen this in manufacturing, software, newspapers, and theater companies, and I fully expect it to happen here as well.

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

John Gamble

Re: git broke English

"Is "huck" equivalent to "push" in Gitish? (not an expert git speaker, myself)"

I suspect it's a typo, and they meant to type "chuck".

(And I nearly typed "chick", so the typo demon is clearly about.)

Help your fellow IT pals spruce up their virtual meetings: Design a winning background, win Register-branded gear

John Gamble

Old Computer Equipment

Hmm, I still have a VT-100 terminal. And I could probably fake up an array of blinkenlights.

If only I were artistically talented.

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

John Gamble

Re: AI is rubbish, developer doesn't read emails?

Ugh. I hope this gets resolved. I have Podcast Addict installed on my phone, it works extremely well, and I don't want to have to deal with a second download. Good luck to you.

Breaking virus lockdown rules, suing officials, threatening staff, raging on Twitter. Just Elon Musk things

John Gamble

Seriously? You're referencing a "documentary" that was debunked within a week of it's release?

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

John Gamble

Re: Suggestion

Was looking to see if anyone had mentioned this. Thank you. Grenon is, of course, the fellow who is famous for his miracle product, MMS.

Sadly, The Register no longer carries the tombstone icon.

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS

John Gamble

Re: Can it do orange?

Interesting that you should mention that. I'm looking at the "Interactive Wide-Gamut Comparisons" page that El Reg linked to, and the only picture where I can detect any difference with my old screen on my old Lenovo is the sunset one, where the orange is notably more vivid.

All the other pictures look the same, but then again I am using an laptop that dates from around 2011.

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

John Gamble

Re: Köln-Paris? Thalys train....

"Exemplary compared to some" is a pretty low bar, and yes, I live in the U.S.

Astroboffin gets magnets stuck up his schnozz trying and failing to invent anti-face-touching coronavirus gizmo

John Gamble

Re: Stay in your lane

"Just because you're an expert in one thing doesn't mean that you're an expert in all things."

This, this, this. We've been seeing a lot of this during our particular plague year.

As an aside, I heard of this story earlier from a astronomer whose Twitter account I follow, and she added that it was the second most ridiculous thing she'd heard an "expert" do so far.

I very much want to know what beat this story, which she didn't share, unfortunately.

PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure

John Gamble

Re: Very worthy

Huh. It turns out my laptop is capable (albeit in 'light' folding power). Here we go.

John Gamble

Re: Very worthy

I'm in the middle of building a new machine. When and if I get the last few parts, I'll join in (my current machine is nowhere near capable). Thank you for creating the team.

Forget toilet roll, bandwidth is the new ration: Amazon, YouTube also degrade video in Europe to keep 'net running amid coronavirus crunch

John Gamble

I'll hate myself for up-voting this, but I'm up-voting this.

Fresh virus misery for Illinois: Public health agency taken down by... web ransomware. Great timing, scumbags

John Gamble

Re: iLLinois

Yeah, but that's because Wisconsinites don't know how to drive.

(Should I add a "Joke alert" icon? Nah. I'm sure this will be taken in the spirit of friendly rivalry.)

The delights of on-site working – sun, sea and... WordPad wrangling?

John Gamble

Re: Yep... been there done that

I tried to add TECO to my skill set many years ago. Never quite got it.

My roommate on the other hand wrote a higher-level text editor in TECO, which I did wind up using, so I guess I technically understood it after all?

What if everyone just said 'Nah' to tracking?

John Gamble
Big Brother

McNealy Said This Ten Years Earlier Though

Back in January of 1999. Here's a Wired article on it: Sun on Privacy: 'Get Over It'.

So we've had an over twenty year warning.

(I want to make some observation about Google feeding you the Google CEO's observation over another CEO, but I've come to expect dishonesty from Google rankings, so it wouldn't be edgy at all now.)

Beware the three-finger-salute, or 'How I Got The Keys To The Kingdom'

John Gamble

The Very Open VMS System

Went to work for a company whose computer network was VMS. This was fine, I liked VMS. A coworker in a different department asked me to handle some problem, and was confused when it turned out that I didn't have permissions to access his problematic files. I was confused that he expected me to have permission.

It turned out, that everyone -- EVERYONE -- hired before a certain date had superuser permissions on the system. What was the significance of that date? That was when the new system administrator was hired. He couldn't just yank everyone's permissions (well, he could, but the backlash might have been a greater, if temporary, problem that he didn't want to deal with). So he worked out a stealthier method of setting standard per-group permission settings for new hires, and yanking superuser status from old hires who screwed up even slightly in their daily work.

Since not having superuser status was normal for me, I just asked the admin (in front of the coworker) for permission to be added to the coworker's group, I hoped it would be a lesson in why superuser status should not be the default for him, but who knows.

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'

John Gamble

Everything Changed with ECMAScript 6

It's the reason jQuery (and a couple other libraries) became irrelevant, and it's why "good parts" philosophy could be enforced. Javascript is still a little clunky, but a lot of the comments above are clearly based on turn-of-the-century experiences.

I'm still a little scarred from previous experiences, and I'll note that I backed a couple of losers in the Javascript world, but on the other hand I'm glad a testing framework has finally gotten some consensus.

$13m+ Swiss Army Knife of blenders biz collapses to fury of 20,000 unfulfilled punters

John Gamble

Re: Book projects generally work out

"The production cost for an ebook is simply the author's time."

Copy editing, layouts, artists, all these take time, money, and someone's talent other than the author's, and who says that the only format is the ebook or picture book?

And even ebook creation is still not as simple as the techno utopians want us to believe -- I've caught errors in one format that didn't show in another.

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games

John Gamble

Re: AKA Libertarians

True, and I wish some other outfit were doing this task. But the basic facts don't seem to be in dispute.

Oh, and the reason hairdressers were regulated back in the day (1920s - 30s) was because they were often a front for prostitution. Times have changed a little since then, but in many states the laws are still on the books.

After four years, Rust-based Redox OS is nearly self-hosting

John Gamble

What Needs the Re-Write?

Re-writing critical libraries in a safer language is a good idea -- I would be fascinated by a BSD or Linux system with lib* replacements written in Rust.

I'm less sanguine about a whole new operating system with a new interface and the learning curve that comes with it. At a time when we're still making cynical jokes about desktop Linux, getting a new OS into the mix seems to be a task with uncertain benefits, unless one is targeting an entirely new device.

John Gamble

Show me an OS written in Ada/SPARK and I'll take it seriously.

I'm not certain where you get the idea that an OS not written in a language is proof that an OS cannot be written in another language?

Ada's and SPARK's syntax were terrible, so I'm not clear where you get "worse syntax". Ada was proof that an extremely strong type system is a hindrance, not an advantage, but you also seem to think that Rust's type system is weaker than C's?

In Rust We Trust: Stob gets behind the latest language craze

John Gamble

Upvoted. Seriously though, ++ historically came from a need to make an efficient PDP-11 instruction, and while it was cool for pointer arithmetic, I found more than a few times that it was a source of bugs in regular arithmetic. Post- and pre-increment confusion popped up more often than I liked.

Given that '+= 1' worked just fine as a post-increment ++ replacement, and pre-increment ++ could usually be easily refactored out, I started using '+= 1' everywhere.

And guess what Rust has? (Along with the other op= operators, of course.)

So it may be disrespectful, but I'll take it with pleasure.

A short note to say I'm off: Vulture taps claws on Reg keyboard for last time

John Gamble

Re: Note to Self

Likewise. Good luck with your new job!

Bet you can't guess what I'm wearing, or where I'm wearing it

John Gamble

Re: Identity theft is a bummer

I've only ever had the canned variety, but it was quite good in the drink that was made in the Vietnamese restaurant I went to (non-alcoholic, although I'm sure someone can come up with a spiked version). It was jackfruit, sweetened condensed milk, and ice, all put into a blender.

Hmm. I need to get to the store.

Republican senators shoot down a triple whammy of proposed election security laws

John Gamble

Re: Yes, No bypass

... when (I assume) a bill passed in the House should have more chance of being "taken seriously" in the Senate?

It doesn't work that way. Both House and Senate are independent of each other, and although sponsoring congressmen and senators may coordinate efforts, and introduce identical bills, by the time individual legislators in both houses have introduced their amendments and resolved their objections, the bills will be different from each other.

Then comes the negotiating between House and Senate to resolve those differences. Often the White House is consulted as well, as it would be a waste of time to resolve a bill into a form that will get vetoed by the President (assuming a veto could not be overridden).

So there's no ease-into-law path to follow when it comes to introducing a bill. While it would have been nice to get even one of these bills passed, at this point showing the fecklessness of the the vetoing senators is useful too.



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