* Posts by John Gamble

630 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

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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
Headmaster

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
Boffin

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
Facepalm

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
Boffin

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.

WeWork, but We don't IPO: Self-styled techie boarding house calls off cursed stock offering

John Gamble

Re: If there is a way to revolutionize the commercial real estate business...

It's my understanding that they locked themselves into a lot of long-term leases (assuming they hadn't bought a building outright) with an optimistic expectation of high use by teams of startups.

The business model itself isn't bad, but it still has to be run as a business, and they're stumbling over basic management errors.

I walk by a WeWork once or twice a week on my way to a coffee shop with WiFi, but then my "team" -- when I have one -- isn't local, and we rarely number more than four.

Bloke who claimed he invented Bitcoin must hand over $5bn of e-dosh in court case. He can't. He's waiting for a time traveler to arrive

John Gamble

If anyone had bought the story, it would have delayed the outcome a few months (as you noted), and given him time to come up with some other excuse, scheme, or trip to a non-extradition country.

Fed-up graphic design outfit dangles cash to anyone who can free infosec of hoodie pics

John Gamble

Re: Some research is indicated

Never owned a hoodie, I'm afraid.

I had, a few decades ago, a pair of mountain climbing boots. I think that counts for something.

Real Programmers Don't Write Specs.

Out of Steam? Wine draining away? Ubuntu's 64-bit-only x86 decision is causing migraines

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: WTF!

Hmm. Itanium was introduced in 2001. Opteron was introduced in 2003.

Yes, I know there were >32 bit processors out before that (I have very fond memories of working with CDC's 60bit machines), but that's not the context here.

In fact, looking back, what's astonishing is how fast 32bitness fell to the wayside. I was supporting both 16bit and 32bit machines into the early or mid 1990s before we were finally able to say No More to 16bit architectures.

When two tribes go to war... Intel, AMD tease new chips at Computex: Your spin-free summary

John Gamble

Re: Lookin' good

Yeah, I'm in the market for a new desktop, and the 3700X is looking good (the power use drop was one of the selling points for me).

Haven't decided which OS I'm installing on it, though. I'd want to see what the BSDs and Linuxes are doing with it first.

Timely Trump tariffs tax tech totally: 25 per cent levy on modems, fiber optics, networking gear, semiconductors…

John Gamble

Re: Same old, same old

"... or someone wrote it for him, ..."

Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All.

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

John Gamble

Re: Pompeo has lost it ...

"You'll note the word CITIZEN in that sentence."

You'll note the word "assist" in that sentence. You'll also note that further in the article it discuss what that assistance is, and no, it doesn't involve active spying, although opening up databases and revealing user lists (among other things) to authorities is still very bad.

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Pompeo has lost it ...

The law in China REQUIRES common citizens and companies to spy on the west, at every opportunity.

Beijing’s New National Intelligence Law: From Defense to Offense

Summary: it's bad, but no, it doesn't require spying from ordinary citizens. It's almost as though you provided no link in the hopes that no one would bother to search for your reference.

Astronomer slams sexists trying to tear down black hole researcher's rep

John Gamble

Re: And now for something completely different

There's no forum or social network that's free of it.

Stanford boffin is first woman to bag 'math Nobel Prize'.

One of the attackers (posts since deleted) simply couldn't get his head around a successful woman mathematician.

Kepler may be dead but its data keeps on giving, thanks to AI: Two alien worlds found in archives

John Gamble
Childcatcher

Re: Well done!

KidsUndergrads these days. Why, when I was an undergrad I learned stuff like how to play D&D. Now they're off finding planets. What is the introsolar world coming to.

Carolina coward fesses up: I was a tech support scambag, and I made millions out of defrauding the elderly

John Gamble

Re: I only hope he never bursts into flames

I actually expected to see that in the article, but apparently not. It was a simple, 'legitimate' business operation, which I expect was why they got away with it for so long. They may have even convinced themselves that they weren't criminals because they didn't install malware.

CLOUDERA gets all SHOUTY about rebrand: SMASHES capslock, but easy on the elephants

John Gamble

Missed Some Other Choices

"They've also opted to get in on the oh-so-popular-right-now retro '80s vibe, turning the 'E' into three horizontal lines, ..."

They missed an opportunity to go back further into the '70s, by reversing the 'R'.

Insane homeowners association tries to fine resident for dick-shaped outline car left in snow

John Gamble

Re: Power unchecked

"And there are defendable reasons for that."

Mmm, semi-defendable. There were contradictory motives (and some political maneuvers) in creating the Electoral College, and the evidence that it's a mishmash is, for example, demonstrated by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution.

Not that this excuses the Trump victory.

(Note, I'm not in favor of a strictly popular vote, but the Electoral College is a set of compromises that were unsatisfactory in the 18th century, never mind the 21st.)

What did turbonerds do before the internet? 41 years ago, a load of BBS

John Gamble
Happy

Re: 300 Baud - much faster than Baudot RTTY

Heh. I had the pleasure of looking over a friend's shoulder as he did just that. We had plenty of time for conversation between keystrokes.

I didn't have the cash on hand for a computer and modem in those days. By the time I finally got the cash together, modems had improved to the rate of 1200 bps, which meant text could go by so fast on the screen that I couldn't read it in real time! Amazing futuristic stuff.

(Contrary to some comments above, people were *not* necessarily better behaved then. Rush Dimbulb wasn't that far away in the future, and we had our own not-quite-local paranoiacs to deal with. On the other hand, I did have the how-cool-is-that moment when I suggested a solution for a math problem for a friend of a sculptor in Ireland.)

Good news! Only half of Internet of Crap apps fumble encryption

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: small memory footprint in devices

I've seen work on tiny cryptography since the 90s (sci.crypt on USENET was very busy with it, for example), and I'd be surprised if all the work on it vanished in the mean time.

In fact, searching on "tinycrypt" found me Intel's contribution (github link here), and it seems that's not the only library that's used the tinycrypt name.

Now it could be argued that even adding this would be an intolerable burden to the manufacturer, but given all the features that a "smart" device is supposed to have, I think it would be worth adding this to the list of must-haves.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

John Gamble

Re: "this ought to be labelled an editorial."

No, "Editorial" is generally reserved for the editorial page. Again, not hard to figure out.

I currently live in Chicago, and have read over the years the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Cincinnati Enquirer, Indianapolis Star, Lafayette Journal and Courier, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and the New York Times. I await your ad hominem attack.

Seriously though, insisting that everyone else must share the same lack of knowledge as you is just strange.

John Gamble

Re: "this ought to be labelled an editorial."

"Comment", "Analysis", and so forth are all fairly standard ways of indicating that the article is about to delve into interpretation of the news, and they are common in American newspapers, assuming the paper is large enough to have the luxury of running them. They're usually on the front page of a paper's section.

It's not that hard to figure out.

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Makes me pine for the days of XML...

"Which problems did XML actually solve? And which ones did it create?"

I like a good cynical comment as much as the next guy, but XML is the go-to structure for highly complex formats that have to be communicated between systems, and it works exceedingly well for that, provided the data definition was designed well in the first place. Which, yes, is dependent upon the skills of the designer (not necessarily a coder, although it helps).

So it creates no more problems than that found in most computing standards..

For small configuration files that were slightly more complex than an INI file, XML certainly looked like too much, but I feel that was overreaction (it's not hard to simplify the tagging), and in any event it became irrelevant when JSON appeared on the scene.

YAML, the format that isn't terribly readable, and fragile to boot, just wasn't a good idea.

That Old Time 2018 IT songbook: Verity, Verity - give us your lyrics, do! We're half crazy, all for the love of you

John Gamble
Happy

I think we've finally found the musical that will overtake Hamilton on Broadway.

Quick, line up the venture capitalists investors!

Thank $deity that week's over. Look, here's some trippy music generated from pixels of a Martian sunrise to play us out

John Gamble

It occurs to me that they could release an album. There's got to be Terabytes of data from Mars missions just waiting to be put to musical use.

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

John Gamble
Happy

Re: Computer Archaeology

I did manage to toss old cases, keyboards, and monitors, but I removed the hard drives before putting them to the alley (we have scavengers on a regular circuit -- I feel better now about putting out stuff that's too good for the garbage but which the recyclers can't handle).

But I still have a VT-100. I don't expect to ever use it again (well, for a couple years I thought that I might), but instead of tossing it I'm thinking of re-purposing it. Perhaps as an IOT device. Or a compact fish tank.

In news that will shock, er, actually a few of you, Amazon backs down in dispute with booksellers

John Gamble

Re: Choice

It wasn't at first. I, a previously happy customer, dropped them immediately when they got bought by Amazon.

John Gamble

Bad-Ass Librarians

...there's this documentary... (followed by a link to a show).

Aww. I was hoping someone had made a documentary using this book.

F5: Don't panic but folks can slip past vulnerable firewall servers, thanks to libssh's credentials-optional 'security'

John Gamble

Re: State machines are hard?

"With examples like this, how can someone say in 2018 that this type of programming is HARD?"

In part because Cortesi was a genius at producing spare, yet robust, code. There weren't many people who could match him for analysis of code or algorithms.

It's great that he had examples that you could adapt for your own use, but not everyone has his books or columns instantly available to them.

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