* Posts by aki009

39 posts • joined 18 Jun 2020

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations

aki009

Re: The war is over, the empire is gone

If one looks at the costs of WW1 and WW2, it's pretty clear that Britain could have handled either one of the wars by itself, but not both. At the end of WW1, there were strong voices suggesting not to push all fault for the war, and massive war reparation payments on Germany, for various reasons, including to avoid the rise of characters like Hitler.

While it's debatable if a Hitler would have emerged had the Versailles Treaty been less harsh, and while one can't "blame" WW2 on those who penned the Treaty's key provisions -- i.e. France and England -- they certainly had a hand in forging one of the key links that made WW2 possible.

So perhaps one might say, "You don't have to thank us. We broke it, so we did our best to fix it as a matter of principle."

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

aki009

Macipad is the future

The future of Apple is a world of Macipads. Looks like Macs, works like an iPad. Great for data consumption and specific narrow applications. It'll work for 90% of the consumer workloads, but anyone trying to do some heavy lifting will be SOL. And kiss your existing software investment good bye.

And it's not just the software. Imagine all the hardware that will be paper weights without new drivers. The narrow set of providers for Macs will become even narrower, with the "high quality" drivers from the usual suspects being even "higher quality" on a new platform. Even today it's a Mission Impossible trying to get a decent scanner with software that works as well on Macs as it does on Windows; I presume in the future with ARMs it'll be even more so.

This change is Apple effectively forcing its users to go on a beta-journey for half a decade or longer, while they debug the OS, the processors, the ecosystem, and then slowly supporting vendors do the same. It does not sound very inviting to me.

Indonesia starts taxing Minecraft, Skype, Zoom and Twitter

aki009

Good luck with that one...

I seriously doubt this tax will bring in more rupiah than its management will consume.

Companies that are domiciled in Indonesia already pay local taxes when required, and would perhaps pay more with more aggressive revenue allocation requirements.

But to levy some sort of nebulous 10% tax on multinationals that are not domiciled in Indonesia will be a loser from day 1. Even if a company wanted to comply paying it, the consumer level will quickly learn that selecting say Malaysia instead of Indonesia as ones claimed home will provide a 10% discount.

Add to that the expected level of company compliance with a poorly thought through tax scheme, and they might as well not have tried.

I'm guessing it's election season in Indonesia, too.

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

aki009

Not so for German

That breath-timing thing might be real for most English writers, but it's certainly not so for the Germans. Back in the German version of high school we were forced to read a book where the sentences routinely stretched for an entire page. The writer wanted to demonstrate the flexibility of the German language and teach how important it is to pay attention, but to me it became a great precursor to nested programming statements and indirection. I suspect LISP was designed to be a more compact version of German, but when the related German governmental body rejected it, they pivoted it as a programming language instead.

Why cloud costs get out of control: Too much lift and shift, and pricing that is 'screwy and broken'

aki009

Who needs to worry about efficiency in the cloud?

I have noticed a tendency for programmers to come up with less efficient solutions when building them for the cloud. The most extreme example of this that I'm aware of is one company that performed a particular task with about 100 times the computing demand as compared to a virtually identical on-premises server solution by another company. The reason seems to have been choices the architects and developers made to use methods that were familiar to them and that they didn't have to think too much about the cloud computing bucks that this would burn. But somehow spinning up thousands of computing instances could not possibly be an acceptable solution in the long run.

In my company we use the cloud primarily for the outward facing tasks, but do all processing and such with internal server farms. It's far more economical compared to all the cloud options that we have looked at over the years.

Borking all over the world: At home or abroad, you're never more than 6ft from a BSOD

aki009

EFI isn't meant for that...

You can do all kinds of things in EFI, but it's not intended for that and support stacks beyond the basics are non-existent. It's far safer and more productive to use a stripped down OS and have it manage all the things that need managing.

aki009

Which is why signage should not use them...

Yes. I keep wondering why these companies set up expensive Windows boxes when they could use inexpensive PoE pxebooted linux ones instead. No blue screens. No drive problems. I just recently had to reboot a debian ARM box that had been up for 5 years. I'm still glad to see a Windows system make 5 days without a reboot (not that I use many of them any more), and 5 weeks is bordering on awesome.

Zuck says Facebook made an 'operational mistake' in not taking down US militia page mid-protests. TBH the whole social network is a mistake

This post has been deleted by a moderator

One of China’s flagship 7nm foundries falls in a hole as funding flees

aki009

Add in the corruption factor

If the project was budgeted for $20B, and given China's typical corruption factor that sucks up to 50% of the allotted funds, this thing was only a $10-15B project to begin with. Also, this could be a play for funding from the central government, so the party can continue.

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

aki009

Apple partially at fault

iOS likes to hide the underlying data from the user, making backing it up more difficult. It's not like I can make a backup that has everything that was on the device. I only get what Apple wants me to have.

Most of the time the black-box like Apple processes for backing up data work well, which tends to make users less aware of what is backed up and what isn't, and how vulnerable any particular bit of data is. That awareness gets radically reset when an app goes south or the whole device goes on vacation.

That's why it's pretty stuhpid to use an iOS device for any critical process, unless one makes sure that the device is not relied on for data storage and retention beyond the absolute minimum.

Reap it in the family: Four brothers accused of cheating Amazon out of $19m in wholesaler fraud caper

aki009

End to end WhatsApp encryption?

Sounds like the end-to-end WhatsApp encryption is real, but with the encryption keys conveniently shared with any third party who cares. Not that it's unexpected, but nice to see it affirmed here.

Aw, Snap! But you should see the other guy – they're in dire need of a good file system consistency check

aki009

Re: It can be done

It's not $2,000,000 for the pack of balloons. It's $10 for the balloons, and $1,999,990 for the required paperwork. For convenience they are just billed together.

Ex-Apple engineer lifts lid on Uncle Sam's top-secret plan to turn customized iPod into 'Geiger counter'

aki009

OSA Makes You Special

Yes, it makes you special. While your friends are having fun talking about many a governmental topic, you'll need to shut up lest you cross one of those invisible lines. I.e. it makes you seem like one of those withdrawn loner types...

aki009

Entertainment of the day

Thanks. That was hilarious. I'm over-awed to be in the online presence of someone trained in gorilla warfare.

Next time you need to work on being a bit more realistic. Like the Official Secrets Act you made reference to earlier. It's a term only used in England and a few of its former colonies, which kind of makes it difficult to explain why you would then be the Tom Cruise (i.e. top-everything) of the Seals and Marines, both of them being part of the US armed forces.

aki009

Re: We are through the looking glass

Yes. They definitely can.

The inconspicuous radiation detector probably found use as we tracked down nuclear material in all kinds of interesting places around the world.

India awards apps that offer citizens Microsoft and Google alternatives

aki009

Must be election season in India

Yes, I know their general election was last year. But this kind of posturing usually only happens when an election is near.

Just like when you 'game over' two seconds into a new level... Facebook launches Gaming app without games on iOS

aki009

Re: Facebook are correct.

Let me fix that for you: "Facebook Games is a data harvesting platform disguised as advertising."

Intel NDA blueprints – 20GB of source code, schematics, specs, docs – spill onto web from partners-only vault

aki009

They really aren't that "secret".

The documents are most likely "partner" docs and files that assist them in bringing up hardware with the various Intel drivers and such. Thus it's very unlikely they'll contain any major revelations or releases of magic information.

Wrap it before you tap it? No, say Linux developers: 'GPL condom' for Nvidia driver is laughed out of the kernel

aki009

Software vs hardware

I can't agree with the comment that "Nvidia sells hardware, not their driver".

While the quality of Nvidia drivers leaves a lot to be desired, and would likely improve immensely if they were open, the drivers *are* a major development effort tied tightly to the hardware. Hence except for some of the top-most layers the driver *is* as much part of the hardware as the silicon bits are.

Also, having been exposed to some of the stuff that companies like Nvidia call "code" (legal disclaimer: notice that I'm not calling out Nvidia specifically), I suspect part of the reason the code isn't open is that it's embarrassingly bad. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's full of nastinesses, such as layer-crossing shims to make features work because nobody figured out what broke things at one of the lower levels. The code is also likely to contain hints as to future products and functionality that has not been released yet.

All of these things would make a company like Nvidia reticent to release its source. If they were smart about it, they'd make it a goal to segment their code in a manner that makes it possible to release most of it under GPL. But I again suspect (legal disclaimer: I'm not claiming this is the case with Nvidia) that squeezing a few dollars out of the development cost by shifting it to "high quality code" locations on the Indian sub-continent was more important, and they are just happy to have drivers that appear to work at all.

Singapore to give all incoming travelers wearable tracking device

aki009

Thanks China!

COVID-1984 in action.

aki009

Thoughts from Singapore...

I'm currently enjoying the hospitality of an enforced 14 day hotel stay in Singapore, waiting for the quarantine period to expire. (Err, make that "Stay Home Notice" that is "served at a dedicated facility".)

Note that this new tech *only* applies to those who are serving their "Stay Home Notice" at home instead of a dedicated facility. Currently they check location by having detainees -- err... stay homees -- ping back on their cell phones a few times a day, plus they make random visits.

Sitting in a hotel room for 2 weeks upon entry to Singapore sucks beyond belief. *If* this wristband means that I could stay at home instead, I'm all for it.

Dutch Gateway store was kept udder wraps for centuries until refit dug up computing history

aki009

Iowa at -10F

My first experience visiting Gateway back in the 90's was in January. I left the Bay Area on a nice 60's F winter day and arrived in Sioux City, Iowa on a -10F blustery afternoon. No jet bridge meant a full icy blast for the walk into the terminal.

I quickly learned to appreciate the joker who assigned that place the airport code SUX.

Less than six months after original release, Samsung reboots its Galaxy Z Flip pholdable for the 5G age

aki009

Re: No.

There's one thing that makes Samsung phones stand out above the rest.

It comes with the roman candle feature. It's one of those things that few appreciate until they are lost in the wild and need to make a quick fire to warm up or signal for help; Samsung phones can start even the wettest wood in no time at all.

With a wave of Nokia's wand, behold as your 4G network magically becomes... 5G

aki009

Sometimes the root cause is not obvious

Let's say you are a carrier with an investment in 4G networks and a government grant of 5G frequencies. Then let's say you'd like to delay rolling out lots of new expensive 5G hardware for whatever reason (COVID-1984 being an obvious one), but the valuable government grants include various use-it-or-lose-it clauses.

With this software-based 5G path a carrier can provide a "solution" that is good enough to meet all its commitments for a song, though it obviously won't be the 5G that 5G visionaries intended it to be. And presumably the carrier will turn around and upgrade to real 5G hardware when prices settle a bit.

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?

aki009

At a buck a pop I'd say there'd be quite a few alternative architectures that'd make their presence felt. I particularly liked the AVR32 from Atmel that's dead now, but not forgotten.

aki009

Re: SoftBank bought a goose that lays golden eggs...

There are quite a few core options that have been left by the wayside by ARM and its reasonable IP pricing. If ARM kicks up the fees, those guys will be dusted off faster than you can say buhbye-Softbank.

If Softbank keeps it up, then I'd say the cycle will be inflation in prices, drop in customers/volume/revenues, the emergence of a serious alternative for their bread&butter IP, and finally Softbank dumping a massively discounted ARM to someone else who hopefully knows what to do with it.

In the meantime we'll have to deal with a plethora of instruction sets and an uneven set of development tools. But thankfully the tools are much better suited for that scenario today than they were in the past.

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

aki009

Re: re: becoming more and more like the old USSR

Seniile Joe? And here I thought he was just the Pedo Joe who's telling 13 year olds how horny he is next to them, and then talking to them about making some films "back home". That's a bit on the sick side if you ask me.

aki009

Re: He who laughs last ...

Bleeding edge fabs are not easy to set up and operate. I believe they've tried and failed more than once.

aki009

Re: Patents?

That would not work, as Huawei also uses 5G patents of others under various cross-licensing agreements. This is also why -- if memory serves me right -- patents were excluded from the sanctions.

NASA trusted 'traditional' Boeing to program its Starliner without close supervision... It failed to dock due to bugs

aki009

So what happened?

Were they designing in Seattle, implementing in India and testing in Zimbabwe? (Not that I fault Zimbabwe's space program for the failures.)

It seems to me that Boeing shifted its focus from engineering to "share holder value" some time ago, and this is the result (along with what happened to the 737MAX MCAS software). Perhaps a few C-class firings without their pretty golden parachutes is what the company needs now.

And maybe bring software development back to the USA. The guys who can't make the firmware on a coffee maker work right shouldn't be writing this kind of critical stuff.

When a deleted primary device file only takes 20 mins out of your maintenance window, but a whole year off your lifespan

aki009

Reminds me of that day...

I had an interesting experience deleting old user accounts some 30+ years ago as root (the only choice for the system).

For convenience I was using a system provided script that also removed the home directory for a deleted user at the same time.

Everything was going well until I hit that one user who had his home directory set to "/". I have no idea why a regular joe would have his home set that way, but the consequence was that the OS happily ran "rm -rf /" for as long as it could.

Fortunately the system was being repurposed and only required an OS reinstall from -- gasp -- floppies. I forget how many there were, but it was quite a massive pile.

After six months of stonewalling by Apple, app dev goes public with macOS privacy protection bypass

aki009

I smell ARM transition...

TCC in Mojave and Catalina is a bad poorly/undocumented joke that at least in my case needs manual editing of the TCC.db to work right.

I have a suspicion that Apple chose to defer a painful fix in light of their ARM transition. On the MacipadOS they are implementing a new security model that presumably preempts this problem in the first place. Thus I'm assuming their reasoning is that "why fix something that will be fixed by default over the next 24 months"? (Not that I agree with it.)

Details of Beijing's new Hong Kong security law signal end to more than two decades of autonomy

aki009

No more visits to or flights via Hong Kong

It seems to me that in the future it'll be important to just avoid Hong Kong entirely. They are now on the dark side.

You've accused Apple of patent infringement. You want to probe the iOS source in a closed-room environment. What to do in a pandemic?

aki009

Those patents seem pretty trivial to me...

I eyeballed the patents and they seem to be just the kind of stuff that isn't supposed to get through the patent process. No wonder Apple is fighting them, as I'd expect Apple to be on the winning side on this one.

aki009

Re: I've often wondered...

They won't know for sure. But the "experts" reviewing the code are also looking to see if what they are reviewing seems out of place in some manner. If they can make a case that Apple gave them incomplete materials, there are other steps that they can take in court. However, for these kinds of lawsuits the probability of the respondent not producing the full set of materials is low. There is little to be gained from gamemanship, except the disfavor of the judge.

Apple gives Boot Camp the boot, banishes native Windows support from Arm-compatible Macs

aki009

Re: Some developers need Windows and OSX

Not to worry. At this rate there'll only be one platform in the future. And MacOS won't be it.

aki009

Re: No Future

I suspect there are many of us in the same position. But we appear to be considered expendable by Apple.

Windows 10 Insider wondering where Notepad has gone? Fear not, Microsoft found it down the back of Dev Channel

aki009

Re: What...

It's called job security engineering. If the Microsoft guys were to design their build systems properly and actually know what they are doing, 80% or more of the folks would no longer be needed. Hence the importance of JSE. And Microsoft has always been at the bleeding edge of JSE.

For years, the internet giants have held on dear to their get-out-of-jail-free card. Here are those trying to take that away

aki009

If you abuse a privilege it might be taken away from you. I guess these companies are about to find out what that means.

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