* Posts by Barry Rueger

1072 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007


NetBSD 9.3: A 2022 OS that can run on late-1980s hardware

Barry Rueger

Thank you Commentards!

Thanks to the folks who took the time to describe their use-cases for NetBSD. I was genuinely curious about that, and was wondering why someone would choose such a "primitive" OS. Even though I harken back to command line DOS, and to a lesser degree command line Linux, I really am happier just running my Mint box for everything.

And dear god, reading the installation saga convinces me that I've made the right choice. Life is too short for such things to have novelty appeal for me.

Man pages. Dear god no.....

Apple tells suppliers to use 'Taiwan, China' or 'Chinese Taipei' to appease Beijing

Barry Rueger

Ukraine anyone?

China is surely watching Russia slowly inch its way over Ukraine while all of the freedom loving western nations refuse to do anything beyond supplying arms. Oh, and trade embargoes.

China is likely confident that once it sends troops into Taiwan the US and others will do little more than stamp their feet and wag their fingers

Amazon buys Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7b

Barry Rueger

Oh crap!

The thing that has kept me from buying a Roomba was the client whose cute little dog left a nice soft turd on the carpet...

Although maybe that just an Internet legend?

Found it!


Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Barry Rueger

Thank you for this!

I sometimes feel that I spend more time on my phone killing off notifications than I do making phone calls.

OK, not the best example.

When did every web site in the entire universe begin asking to send us alerts? Dear god, no.

Like Ubuntu, just a bit less hassle: Linux Mint 21 'Vanessa'

Barry Rueger

Re: Been using the Beta for a couple of weeks

Since moving to France, and consequently sometimes needing to work in the French language, I've been fascinated by the ways that some parts of my system default to French, and other parts don't.

I should know why, but can't be bothered.

What I'd like to see is a simple to use switch to go back and forth between English and French menus, dictionariies, and formatting and conventions.

Right now it all feels far too kludgy.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did

Barry Rueger

Re: re: streaming services and content

Canada, needless to say.

Barry Rueger

Re: re: streaming services and content

I'll never complain about paying a reasonable price to view something. My problem is that the great, vast majority of movies, TV, and other content is simply not available on the big streaming services.

I can still remember our local video store, with thousands upon thousands of movies, many of them incredibly niche or obscure. Searching the shelves was a joy and an adventure, and none of the choices was being made by algorithms or advertising bots.

I find these days when I want to watch something specific that's more than a few years old I generally wind up back at the Pirate Bay.

I will though say one positive thing about the likes of Amazon, NetFlix and the other outfits: Those of us who live in "foreign" countries no longer have to look at idiotic FBI anti-piracy warnings....

Barry Rueger

Ink on Paper

After a couple of decades of trying to make Google calendar or Outlook calendar or Android Calendar reliably keep track of my life, sync between devices, and not lose stuff, dump it into unseen corners, or just plain fuck up, I've gone back to a nice bound paper calendar book.

And it works. If I write something in it it's there forever, and doesn't change, and doesn't need WIFI to be available to me. If I also need to add a note, or an address, ar anything else I can just write it in the margin next door to the time and date. I don't need to figure out where the "Address" line is hidden, or try to make my information fit Google or Microsoft's defined fields.

This book has rapidly become the one thing that I know I can rely on, and travels with me everywhere. And, as a bonus, I can stuff tickets and paper documents inside the cover and bring them along too.

And of course the big bonus: Google, Facebook, and Twitter have no idea how I'm spending my time, who I'm meeting, or where I'm planning to visit.

Tavis Ormandy ports WordPerfect for UNIX to Linux

Barry Rueger

Thank you Karen Acerson.

Her big fat bible is still on the shelf above my head.

Just because you failed doesn't mean you weren't right

Barry Rueger

Failure analysis: Step One

Is always: is it plugged in?

CP/M's open-source status clarified after 21 years

Barry Rueger

Re: Thanks, now I'm going to spend all day wonderings

Dear god. "stale caps".

It's been at least two decades since I've seen or thought about capacitors!

Tories spar over UK's delayed Online Safety Bill

Barry Rueger

Re: This isn't it, but something seems to be needed

The solution is simple: assuming you're a right-wing free-enterprise bootstraps type, start your own business, make a few gazillion dollars, and BUY Twitter. Then do with it what you wish.

Or, if your opinion is so damned valuable and unique: express it in a way that people will line up to read or hear it, no matter where you present it.

Sadly it's usually the case that the people who want easy and free access to a mass audience invariably aren't all that smart pr interesting. And yes, using the phrase "woke" over and over does not count as either.

The truth is that the media has always been controlled by the people who pay the bills to run it. It was no different back in the days of newspapers, magazines, and books.

The only difference is that back then people didn't whine to the hills about how they deserved a giant public audience, they instead mimeographed their own pamphlets and handed them out on street corners.

Finally it's worth pointing out there are a lot of right-wing and reactionary drones making a ton of money from blogs and YouTube. If you can't build an audience for what you're saying, maybe it's just not that interesting.

Barry Rueger

This isn't it, but something seems to be needed

There was, in fact, a time when nothing was regulated on the Internet in terms of content, and when some pretty smart but perhaps optimistic people argued strongly that the 'net existed outside of the law, and thus couldn't be regulated.

Then of course people started making money on the 'net, and such notions disappeared. Perhaps not surprisingly the first laws governing the Internet involved intellectual property - can't have Napster allowing people to "steal" music can we?

What fascinated me in these discussions is how very, very fast things always escalate from "should we moderate some kinds of content?" to "I should be allowed to be an asshole on any platform, anywhere." And how companies like Facebook can be allowed to on one hand present stuff that is arguably dangerous and unlawful, but on the other have a desperate and chilling fear of pictures of nipples.

I really do not understand the people who insist that Donald Trump should be allowed onto Twitter or Facebook even if they don't want him there. Surely as privately owned companies they have very right - or even obligation - to establish policies and remove those who don't respect them.

No shoes, no shirt, no service.

And it's not because Trump irritated me on Twitter - I didn't follow him, and blocked many who did, so his being there didn't impact me.

The problem with laws such as these is that they seem to be written by people who honestly don't understand the Internet, or by corporations that only want to protect their own vested interests. I suspect that a forum of Reg readers could draft a set of basic laws that could manage what happens on-line, but we're not the people invited to the table.

In all seriousness, is there anyone in the pool of Boris replacements that you would trust to manage what you do on-line?

Good news: Twitter fell over. Bad news: It's working again

Barry Rueger

More Twitter-bashing

Unlike other tools - Facebook top of the list - Twitter can be very useful, but you need to put in rhe work.

Choose carefully who or what you follow. Regularly unfollow anyone that doesn't add value to your feed. Trim and purge so that you're only seeing what you need

That, I guess, is true if every platform, but at least Twitter lets you manage things effectively.

I try pretty much everything that is launched but, like thousands of very smart people, invariably wind up back at Twitter.

I do fear that at some point Jack Dorsey will hand control to somene who'll remake Twitter into a horrid Facebook clone, but so far it's still a great tool to rely on.

Canadian ISP Rogers falls over for hours, takes out broadband, cable, cellphones

Barry Rueger

Re: Also, greedy

contracts are around $30-40/month with all kind of freebies and bonuses

France: 19 € a month. 210 gigs of data. Unlimited calling INCLUDING to North America.

France, like Canada, has 3 or 4 major players, so the old "free market" arguments are just nonsense.

I'm willing to guess that there's some level of government regulation involved.

Or, possibly, French cel providers are just not as insanely fucking greedy as Bell, Rogers, and Telus.

Barry Rueger

Also, greedy

Not noted above: mobile and cable contracts in Canada usually run $75-80 each per month. For a meagre amount if data.

UK signs deal to share police biometric database with US border guards

Barry Rueger

Those holding illegal firearms are unlikely to hand them over or stop shooting each other

The vast majority of american shootings are by acquaintances and family members, with legal weapons. The claims about illegal ones are just a red herring.

W3C overrules objections by Google, Mozilla to decentralized identifier spec

Barry Rueger

My prediction

I'm honestly way over my head technically, but this sounds like yet another Internet disaster in the making. I'm just printing out anything critical on paper and waiting for the inevitable day when the whole mess comes crashing down around us.

Besides, I'm also working on the assumption that, like damn near everything else on-line, this scheme will somehow demand that you have a smartphone to make it work.

Three-factor Authentication! Here we come!

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe

Barry Rueger

Re: Uniplex "my God, it chills me just mention the dark lord's name,"

Forget Juluan and Gregorian calendars. Since moving to France we're just happy to escape the North American semi-conventtion of dates written:


End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition

Barry Rueger

Wow! Didn' t see that coming!

First of all, in my experience Google's products are never all that good, always lack some feature that I need, and often are a struggle to use efficiently. YMMV, but I find them more annoying than anything.

Second, nothing, and I mean NOTHING is free from company like Google or Microsoft. Whether they are charging you directly, or selling you as the product to an outside buyer, you're paying for it. (Obvious exception is all of the truly excellent FOSS software that you can get for free.) And honestly this has happened again, and again, and again with these companies, getting people hooked and then demanding cash to continue.

Over the last few years I've moved everything computing away from the major corporations like Microsoft and Google. I host my sites on my own domains, at a company where I can actually phone up a real person if problems arise. I own my domain names. I control my own e-mail. I use Linux on my computer, and FOSS for everything possible. No big ugly surprises, and no sudden bills arriving without warning.

I mean honestly I am quite prepared to pay for services where needed, and sometimes just because it feels like the right thing to do. I understand that when you pay you can expect a better level of service and support. The problem is that companies like Google and Microsoft don't offer any real support to average customers. They'll take your money and run, but that's it.

Postscript #1: I would happily pay Twitter if it would eliminate the idiotic ads and "Promoted" tweets, but they won't sell me that option.

Postscript #2: In a rush situation made the mistake of setting up a quick web site at Wix.com. Which apparently can't even be exported to escape them! A great reminder why I should stick to my own rules about staying far away from commercial operators!

We sat through Apple's product launch disguised as a dev event so you don't have to

Barry Rueger

Re: We're long past peak tech

I'm going to toss is a reply to myself, noting that the Internet is BIG and useful change, although arguably it was also much a better a decade or two back.

Barry Rueger

We're long past peak tech

Yet again I read reports on some supposedly new and improved personal computing stuff and think "Really? Is that it?"

Yet again I read that something which five years ago worked fine is being "improved" to resolve issues that were introduced the last time that it was "improved."

Yet again, basic common-sense usability practice is trumped by some guy's novelty idea; the next of which will surely be log-ins via nose-print.

Yet again I'm astounded how we're expected to allow everything we do on-line, on our computers, on our phones, to be interwoven and interlinked into some Gordian Knot of personal data that likely can never be cut.

And yet again I'm left thinking "Computer use used to be so much easier, so much simpler, and so much more efficient. When did it all turn into a battle to try and force your way past the technological barriers in order to just do a job?"

Really, general computer and software design peaked about Windows 95 and WordPerfect, or maybe Word. And at whatever the equivalent was for the Apple systems. Nothing has become easier since then, and for 95% of people no really useful new features have emerged. Since then it's been lots of novelty, lots of extra steps to do simple tasks, and lots of endless promises that Real Soon Now we'll do it all while wearing VR goggles.

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity

Barry Rueger

Everybody knows...

Lord save us from error messages written by single-minded geeks. The people who never ask "Will Joe Average end-user understand what this says?" "Is this overly jargon-laden?" "Could this be mis-interpreted?"

Or, I dream, "Can someone else look at this and give an opinion?"

Tim Hortons collected location data constantly, without consent, report finds

Barry Rueger


Tim Horton's coffee is really bad, as are their baked goods.

Murena and /e/ Foundation launch privacy-centric smartphones

Barry Rueger

Not worried about the privacy, but I like it.

My lovely little Huawei P30 will eventually need to be replaced, and this looks like a great option. However it's not the privacy elements that appeal most, its the lack of great steaming heaps of Google and other junk that I neither need nor want. Just as the appeal of Linux is that it gives me what I need without endless other sponsored crap, I'd love a phone that does basic Android stuff without all of the (often non-removable) extra "features" and "improvements" that clutter up all of the commercial OSs.

Although, just as I've moved my calendar to NextCloud, and email back to Thunderbird and my own domain, and as I keep backups on my desk, not in The Cloud, I'd welcome a phone that doesn't need to be battled daily to keep Google's prying fingers off of it.

Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux

Barry Rueger

Re: Humorously Scare People Away

Ditto. Fifteen minutes tops to install, disable Caps-Lock, I'm good to go. Everything - including printers - Just Works. Upgrades don't break things.

My work isn't tied to Windows or Mac specific software, and LibreOffice and GIMP handle what I need.

I think my latest refurbed Dell laptop is four or five years old and still running the original install.

And of course the UI is basically classic Windows so everything is where I expect it to be.

After years of battling Windows and Mac OSs there's something really nice about ignoring your computer and just getting stuff done.

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words

Barry Rueger

Nous devons arrêter ces actions!

And then, we must get rid of all of the French Stop signs, which say "STOP".

God I love this country!

New York City rips out last city-owned public payphones

Barry Rueger

Re: The past is a foreign country...

Your phone number was listed in tens of thousands of books in your area unless you were rich or famous.

Imagine a time when every house had a near complete list of phone numbers (and addresses) for everyone who lived in a city.

Now you'll spend an hour scouring Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and endless dodgy web sites to try and find an email or phone number for someone whose job specifically requires them to be contactable.

The Return of Gopher: Pre-web hypertext service is still around

Barry Rueger

Re: A Bit Before My Time

Yeah, remember how amazing ut was that Goigle invariably turned up exactly what you wanted?

And now? A giant SEO hash of utter useless garbage.

Barry Rueger

A Bit Before My Time

Somehow gopher, archie, and veronica were almost forgotten about by the time that I graduated from C64 BBSs to the World Wide Web. (Pete's Pond Page anyone?)

I honestly do look back nostalgically on those early, pre-HTTPS days, when you could write a web page in notepad, when you found all manner of very cool stuff at Yahoo, and when a home page likely as not included a photo of your own actual home.

Those of course were the days when web sites, links lists, and everything else were managed by living, breathing, thinking human beings, not by brain-dead algorithms. There may have been significantly less volumes of content on the web, but the signal to noise ratio - or at least the signal to advertising ratio - was much, much better.

Despite technical limitations and dial-up speeds, I could generally find what I wanted faster and easier than is the case today. At the very least I didn't need to battle algorithms, paywalls, SEO hacks, and endless YouTube popup ads trying to get a some simple answer.

I can even recall, and I'm not making this up, a time when the web had NO advertising, and when anyone suggesting it should be allowed would be attacked mercilessly.

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

Barry Rueger

Re: Rainbow - Nostalgia

For example, printer settings were far from standardised and the easiest way to find out how a printer was set up....

At the risk of sound all old-farty, there few greater delights for me than installing Linux on a machine and having it just find and install all of the printers on our network. Dear God, the HOURS spent battling with printer drivers in the Good Old Days.....

Barry Rueger

Much applause for this one...

Ah, the 1980s. Simpler times. These days all we need to worry about is Bob in Sales insisting he be moved from the Wi-Fi access point for fear of having his brain cooked while still spending much of his day with a smartphone pressed to his ear.

Thank you for that. Just thank you.

Canada bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks, citing national security risks

Barry Rueger

An apology

Please believe that many intelligent Canadians are deeply embarrassed that the Justin Trudeau government is still clinging to this absurd relic of the Trump era.

Most of us understand that Huawei is no more or less dangerous than any other tech company, and that arguably American companies are as much of a threat as the Chinese. I have yet to see anything in the press where Canada, or anyone else, has actually demonstrated a defined action on Huawei's part.

Canada's wireless industry is an embarrassment, with prices in the stratosphere and services in the gutter. With the entire infrastructure and retail end controlled by a cabal of three companies there's no incentive for competition, and the government has shown no interest in regulating them for the good of ordinary people.

Finally, in the interests of transparency, my Huawei phone is hands down the best tech that I've bought in a decade, and I'm in no rush to retire it any time soon.

Supreme Court urged to halt 'unconstitutional' Texas content-no-moderation law

Barry Rueger

Over to you Mr. Carlin

Sigh. This is still the country that simultaneously preaches Freedom Of Speech while maintaining a list of Seven Words You Can't Say on the Radio.

A country where the residents self-censor to a degree that routinely stops visitors dead in their tracks, and where "news" is so completely absent of anything from outside of their borders that an average person would never know about all of the places doing things better, and more humanely, than America.


Microsoft tests ‘Suggested Actions’ in Windows 11. Insiders: Can we turn it off?

Barry Rueger

Re: Not the most likely action

what kind of proto-monkey thought that copying the formatting from the source into the destination document was a good idea?

Especially when copying from a Web page. Is there ANY conceivable use case where HTML formatting is carried into another medium?

Barry Rueger

Meanwhile, Mint users report...

The first that that I do after installing Mint Linux is to disable CapsLock and... Nope, that's it.

And the Cinnamon desktop is basically Windows XP.

iOS, Android stores host more than 1.5 million 'abandoned' apps

Barry Rueger

Better idea: purge the crap

I dread trying find an Android app to do a simple job. Does it actually work? Is it buried alive in advertising? Does it actually do what it sort of claims? And is app #1 actually different or better than the twenty-five other seemingly identical apps?

I would honestly pay for an app store that was curated by a HUMAN BEING rather than a half-baked algorithm, with one-tenth as many choices.

Did you know Twitter has an open-source arm? This is what it's been up to

Barry Rueger

Re: email address as ID

Or American corporations that refuse to accept the mandated phone number in any format but (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Or demand a State/Province.

Microsoft, Apple, Google accelerate push to eliminate passwords

Barry Rueger

What could go wrong?

Given the track-record of these companies on things like privacy, or even basic human rights, there is really only one question that needs to be asked:

What are the ways that this could all go horribly wrong?

Privacy pathology: It's time for the users to gather a little data – evidence

Barry Rueger

My life as an algorithm

Given the stream of inexplicable suggestions, promoted items, suggested posts and such that flood my accounts on Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Twitter, I honestly don't understand how anyone makes money on-line.

Do stupid, gullible people just have more money?

I have never let Google or Amazon listen to my voice, in large part because I can see no way they would be accurate enough to be truly useful.

Add to that being in France, and seeing how horribly these companies mangle foreign languages, and it all seems terribly pointless.

I simply have concluded that these company's AI, machine learning, and algorithms are all much, much less effective than is claimed, and that these corporations are lying through their teeth when they claim otherwise.

And of course since it's all secret there is no way to test any of this for accuracy.

Interpol: We can't arrest our way out of cybercrime

Barry Rueger

The perennial solution: more $ for cops

Has a crime ever been invented that police didn't claim they could eliminate if they just had more money?

Google releases beta version of Android 13 'Tiramisu'

Barry Rueger

What the article needed

Was a listing of features that will be disabled, removed, or ottherwise mangled. The stuff, like recording your own phone calls, that just disapears with no warning.

There are nearly half a billion active users of Start news feed, says Microsoft

Barry Rueger

Re: Until they turn it off

The first that that I do after installing Mint Linux is to disable CapsLock and... Nope, that's it.

And the Cinnamon desktop is basically Windows XP.

Meta physical: Facebook parent to open its first real-world store

Barry Rueger

A Perfect Match!

The metaverse, and similar fads like NFTs, may have already seen peak interest come and go.

The Metaverse and NFTs are surely the match made in heaven. And they can both come crashing down at the same time.

Question: does the Meta store accept crypto-currency?

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe onto PCs, is 40

Barry Rueger

On the other hand

My ZX80? 81? Whatever. Lasted exactly as long as it took me to realize it had pretty much no real use. Cool, yes, but I lost interest quickly.

The subsequent C-64 though, with a modem and an interface to our Smith-Corona daisy wheel printer, did yeoman service for several years, including running a BBS.

Google bans third-party call-recording apps from Play Store

Barry Rueger

Who owns my phone?

One reason that I've moved as much of my life as possible (email etc) away from Google is specifically to escape nonsense like this.

It's my phone, my phone call, my monthly phone bill, and it is absolutely my choice to record my own phone calls.

When did Google, Apple, and Meta gain so much control over my life?

Robots are creepy. Why trust AIs that are even creepier?

Barry Rueger

Re: Now steady on

Whoops. CAT our CAT Beatrice...

Barry Rueger

Re: Now steady on

FWIW our car Beatrice loves travel, and especially LOVES hotels.

Except for Ibis properties, where she invariably craps on the bathroom floor

AI models to detect how you're feeling in sales calls

Barry Rueger

Radical Notion #356

How about fire the salesgeeks who are too dim to read a customer without AI? A really good salesperson does much, much more than flog merchandise

Yet again, trying to replace humans with computers in a role where the latter are doomed to fail

When the expert speaker at an NFT tech panel goes rogue

Barry Rueger

My get rich quick scheme!

OK, still hammering out details, but I'm gonna find a way to connect dubious weight loss claims to the block chain, with the before and after photos as NFTed images.

Oh let the money roll in! It's the American Dream ©!



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