* Posts by John Gamble

669 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007


Need baby formula? Buy a pregnancy test at Walgreens

John Gamble

The Data Enfamil Purchased

For those who don't have a Walgreen's (or more formally, a store in the Walgreens Boots Alliance) nearby, they started asking for your telephone number before payment a few years ago. You get a discount on some items if you provide it.

So, they have a rather extensive database on those individuals by now, I'm sure.

Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash

John Gamble

Re: Am I the only one

Better for the environment is perhaps a better statement.

People don't seem to realize just how polluting oil refining is, not to mention the enormous amount of energy oil cracking requires.

Yeah, EVs require minerals that need to be mined, but gasoline/petrol doesn't emerge from the ground with a preset octane rating.

Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7

John Gamble

Re: Sensibly written

Golfers, mostly (this was a C phenomenon too, back in the day).

It's one of those things that look fun, until you realize that there are programmers who will take those idioms seriously and use them in their code. I had to undo a lot of them in one module I upgraded.

John Gamble

The problem is that that attitude tends to lead to nothing being added. There are a couple of features supplied by modules that should have been in the language proper at least a decade ago, and maybe before then.

And I would be thrilled if a couple of features were eliminated (or at least transferred into a module). The reduce "reduce cognitive load" argument cuts both ways.

John Gamble

Re: Backwards compatibility

Your mileage may vary, of course, but they did.

MetaPAN Date.

FreeBSD 13.1 is out for everything from PowerPC to x86-64

John Gamble

Re: Bill Jolitz

Yes, they were. I could have sworn the articles were from the mid or late 1980s, but apparently not:

"In 1990, William and I wrote up a document entitled “386BSD: A Modest Proposal”, outlining the basic specifications of a port of Berkeley Unix to the 386. We approached Jon Erickson at Dr. Dobbs Journal, the premiere hard technology magazine at the time, to write a series of articles documenting the process and code of the port. Dr. Dobb’s Journal focused on MS-DOS at the time but Jon felt this was an excellent opportunity to expand his readership to Unix that would run on 386 hardware."

From his obituary written by Lynne Greer Jolitz.

OpenVMS on x86-64 reaches production status with v9.2

John Gamble

Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

As an end-user and writer of DCL files? Still a lot, let me get back to using F$PARSE functions.

As an administrator? I'd need a crash course.

I wonder if the Whitesmith C compiler is still available? And of course I'd have to search down all those ZOO archives.

Bouncing cheques or a bouncy landing? All in a day's work for the expert pilot

John Gamble

Re: In the pilot's defense...

The rental Nissan I drove a few months ago had a single lever, forward for reverse, backwards for drive. I did not find it intuitive, but if that's the way the standard is heading, I can adjust. As long as there's a standard.

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*

John Gamble

A Small Suggestion

I voted for "Flight of the Bumblebee" (the Al Hirt version) (what, am I the only one with fond memories of The Green Hornet as a child?), but I might have voted differently if number 3 were instead "A seven-year-old yelling 'Nyyyaaaaoooowwww'".

ASUS recalls motherboards that flame out thanks to backwards capacitors

John Gamble

Sadly, there were manufacturers that were dragging their feet despite the Now With Extra Flames feature, which is why JayzTwoCents could make that sadly unironic statement.

2021 was a good year for exploding power supplies and flaming cases.

Remember when you thought fax machines were dead-matter teleporters? Ah, just me, then

John Gamble

I'd be more interested in the story of the samurai who led the 2nd Maine Veteran Infantry Unit and communicated his success via fax, thanks to the inventions of John Ericsson.

There, I think I combined enough obscure Civil War details into one sentence.

(For the alt-history types, there was only one Maine Veteran Infantry unit, and John Ericsson was the designer of the Monitor. History seems to be silent on the number of samurai who served in the Civil War.)

List of Maine Civil War Units

John Ericsson

BrakTooth vulnerabilities put Bluetooth users at risk – and some devices are going unpatched

John Gamble

Re: Great News - Not!

[performs a search]

Crap. Yup, on one of my desktop build-in-progress motherboards.

After quietly switching to slower NAND in an NVMe SSD, Western Digital promises to be a bit louder next time

John Gamble

Oof. Ron. Don't get me started about Ron.

Perl Foundation faces more departures after pausing Community Affairs Team

John Gamble

Re: The community is partly at fault

Mailing list mostly, although the rot goes back to the comp.lang.perl days.

Between passive-aggressive replies (which I see everywhere in coders regardless of language) and a resistance to change in the coding "infrastructure" (which is paradoxical given the changes people are willing to make in the language), reading some threads can be unpleasant. I can imagine what it's like for the actual recipients.

Note, Perl is part of my set of languages, and I've even made a couple of contributions to the included modules, though not to the language itself. But I've kept off the mailing list.

COVID-19 cases surge as do sales of fake vaccination cards – around $100 for something you could get free

John Gamble

Re: Hmm

"The same PRC test that cannot distinguish between any number of respiratory diseases and will be retired from use in the United States at the end of this year after providing several more months of nearly meaningless statistics."

You fell for the RWNJ mis-information. To be fair(ish), CDC didn't provide a layman's announcement to go with the medical one, but still, this is something you could have looked up.

Julian Sanchez (from that lefty organization The Cato Institute) tweeted it very well:

"The PCR test, of course, does NOT confuse COVID with flu. CDC was saying: 'There are now better tests that can tell you if you have COVID, but ALSO tell you if instead you have the flu. They can diagnose more than one thing. Use those instead.'"

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.



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