* Posts by C R Mudgeon

367 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Aug 2020


We need a volunteer to literally crawl over broken glass to fix this network

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Re: "I literally crawled over broken glass for this company."

It was "20 minutes before the opening" when the problem was reported to them.

Yes, it was a dumb initial decision, but by that point it was too late to do more than just solve the immediate problem.

GhostStripe attack haunts self-driving cars by making them ignore road signs

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Re: There are other ways...

"The technique ... is undetectable to the human eye"

BBC exterminates AI experiments used to promote Doctor Who

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Re: He's The Doctor not Doctor Who.

No, Who's on second. Guess Who's on first.

Ad agency boss owned two Ferraris but wouldn't buy a real server

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Capex vs. opex, perhaps?

That doesn't justify it, of course; it's just a different flavour of boneheadedness.

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Re: Well...

"yeah but now it's happened, it won't happen again..."

Maturity of chance implies immaturity of human.

Linux 6.9 will be the first to top ten million Git objects

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Re: Git object


Job interview descended into sweary shouting match, candidate got the gig anyway

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Re: I may have told this one before...

"Has anyone been able to find out exactly what value HR add to a company."

Oh, they provide great value to the *company*.

To the "resources" in question? Not so much.

Health system network turned out to be a house of cards – Cisco cards, that is

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Re: Heading off after completion of a task

In my experience, the go-live often takes place after far too much overtime, not just on the day but in the days/weeks/months leading up to it -- in which case, people can be tired and/or approaching burnout.

Corollary: the willingness to stick around for a while is especially low -- at a moment when the risk of exhaustion-related mistakes makes the need to stick around even higher.

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Indeed. I pictured him pushing them around by casting fireballs at them.

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

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Re: the number of days in a year is not an integer

We've already become a Kardashian civilization. Fortunate there are pockets of resistance, including (I like to think) the El Reg community.

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"As for 2100 - there's still a push from some to get rid of leap years/days ... Which [if that happens] means we'll likely have other software bugs in date functions to deal with."

Not least of which will be the massive installed base of software that *does* understand leap years.

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Re: Don't people test edge cases any more?

"But "divisible by 4" is entirely adequate for use ... if anything I've written is still in use for something important come 2100, I would be ... very surprised"

Which is exactly the sort of cavalier attitude that caused the Y2K situation in the first place. (Different technical problem of course, but the same short-term thinking.)

They call me 'Growler'. I don't like you. Let's discuss your pay cut

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There was this one guy...

... who had a tell -- a tight little smile that meant he was about to f*** someone over.

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Re: Depends on your definition of growler I guess.

"But everyone calls me Growler, because I'm a rhymes with hunt"

"... and I'm proud of being one!"

A more competent RWH wouldn't warn you of the fact in advance.

Are you ready to back up your AI chatbot's promises? You'd better be

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Re: I'm not a Luddite, but

Hype cyclist.

Self-taught-techie slept on the datacenter floor, survived communism, ended a marriage

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The olden days

I had email in the late 80s via dialup UUCP. My home machine (an AT&T 3B1) had links to two or three friends' machines, and some of those had links to the wider world. They had cron jobs to call each other a few times a day to exchange any accumulated messages.

Email routinely took days to arrive, and it was fun looking through the Received: headers to see the (sometimes circuitous) route it had taken.

Not to mention the fun (TM) with UUCP-style bang paths and the .UUCP pseudo-domain.

When someone gave you their email address, it was wise to send a test message. (From that memory I infer that there was reason to suspect that things might not work, but I no longer recall why, beyond the obvious spelling errors.)

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Re: Daily!?! RFC begs to differ

Each TLD makes its own decisions as to how to organize its own namespace. That's kind of the whole philosophy of DNS.

In particular, .co., .ac., and any other peers there might be, are .uk'isms. Try emailing to .co.anything-but-uk and you'll find how un-interchangable that is in general.

Please install that patch – but don't you dare actually run it

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Re: Uptime

"Speed Razor"

I see what they did there. Nice.

Mozilla slams Microsoft for using dark patterns to drive Windows users toward Edge

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"…Are they new here?"

No, but as long as M$ keeps pulling the same crap, they need to keep being called out for it.

The 'nothing-happened' Y2K bug – how the IT industry worked overtime to save world's computers

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Re: Part of the problem....

"the Y2K bug had no relevance to getting it to boot"

Yes, but was its date right?

I had a desktop system at home whose BIOS wasn't compliant; after the rollover, it would boot up into 1900. There was no problem setting the running system's date to 2000 -- but I had to, on every boot.

A trivial problem in the grand scheme of things, but still, it showed why it was important not to trust even the hardware.

That box's motherboard was of late '94 / early '95 vintage -- by which point they should have known better.

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Re: Yeah but…

"one went from 1999 to 19100"

Likely written in perl. That was its characteristic failure mode.

Going green Hertz: Rental giant axes third of EV fleet over lack of demand

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Re: The problem with EVs for rentals....

"EVs work great for reducing the maintenance costs for rental companies, but repair costs (and times) are much higher."

Maintenance lower but repair higher: that sounds like a contradiction, so I must be missing something. Could you explain?

Memtest86+, the little RAM tester, flexes FOSS muscles with v7.0

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That satisfying crunch of the chip settling back into its socket.

RIP: Software design pioneer and Pascal creator Niklaus Wirth

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"p-system may well have been the first attempt at a truly architecture-neutral compiled format with the intent that it be executable on many target systems."

Is BCPL's O-code similar enough to count? That dates back to 1967 IIUC.

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Re: USCD Berkeley?

As an aside:

"University of California, Berkeley" or, colloquially, "Cal"

Is that true only in a local enough area to make the abbreviation unambiguous? Are any of the other UC campuses known locally as "Cal"?

Or does Berkeley have that nickname state-wide?

And is Berkeley ever "UCB"? I don't think I've seen that, even though many (all?) of the other campuses are known as "UCx".

Google to start third-party cookie cull for 30 million Chrome users

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Re: Pointless ads

"consistently deliver ads for things that I don't want and have never considered?"

I prefer it that way. Less temptation, when it's a product category I have zero interest in.

You don't get what you don't pay for, but nobody is paid enough to be abused

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Re: Paper trail and zoom recordings win!

"The lying bastard didn't have the guts to make us all redundant together, but leave the team work to me."

Man, that's low.

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Re: Paper trail and zoom recordings win!

"United Stated of America, right?"

Canada, actually.

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Re: Paper trail and zoom recordings win!

"Once a company decides to jettison staff, if you're on the list, make absolutely certain you have backups of anything that might be pertinent to your case"

By the time you find out you're on the list, it might be too late.

The one time I was redundized from a large corporation, after they gave me the news, I was escorted back to my desk to get my coat, then escorted to the door. I had to make an appointment with my erstwhile manager to come back after hours to clear out my desk under his watchful eye.

To the point, I wasn't allowed anywhere near a computer, so no chance to back up anything relevant. (Fortunately, that wasn't a problem. It wasn't a "for cause" situation; I was just a victim of a larger downsizing.)

So, anything that might be needed in a post-termination dispute, make sure you have off-premises backups ahead of time.

Doom is 30, and so is Windows NT. How far we haven't come

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Re: "Yes, I could buy an ad-free version, but why should I?"

2 + 2 = 5

Fixed in version 3.0 -- on sale for only X dollars.

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Re: Word 6

"Solitaire has been free in every version of Windows up to 10, so why change it?"

Because they can.

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Re: No imagination any more

The "ring" terminology, like the concept of having more than the basic privileged/unprivileged two of them, comes from Multics IIRC.

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Re: No imagination any more

"much innovation is going into busy work. We get new look buttons..."

I see that as a symptom. Genuine innovation has slowed way down, but the marketing-driven need for "new and improved" hasn't abated, so people tinker with what's already working, not because it needs tinkering, but because that's what they're being paid for. The result: the ***NEW!*** is all too seldom actually an improvement.

Too many people fail to understand the concept of: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I'm struggling with that right now; I keep wanting to futz with this post :-/

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Re: No imagination any more

"the curve always flattens"

I'd argue that that's not just a human/technological phenomenon. Think of the Cambrian explosion and other similar bursts of evolutionary diversification, always followed by a settling-down.

Enterprising techie took the bumpy road to replacing vintage hardware

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Re: You mean this?


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Re: Copier Replacement

"a copier where you had to put the pink sheet on top of the oily copy media"

I remember something vaguely like that, except that it used a top sheet that was kind of yellowish onion-skin, though I could be wrong about that. As I recall, you'd put a sheet of that stuff on top of the original and run them through the machine together, then put the onion-skin on top of a sheet of blank copy media and run those through together. (Can't recall whether both passes took the same path through the machine, or whether there were two pairs of input/output slots. Hmmm, maybe the first pass wasn't a slot feed, but a flatbed like a modern copier/scanner. I also don't recall anything about copy quality.) This is from the late 60s.

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Re: Ouch

"It sure was a nice piece of hardware, once we got a working unit."

I worked with its little brother, the $50K'ish one (can't recall the model name/number). Yeah, it was a great workhorse unit.

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"Somehow I am thinking of a dead skunk in the middle of the road now. Wonder why"

First thing that came to mind.

Linux Kernel of the Beast 6.6.6 exorcised by angelic 6.6.7 update

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Off-by-one error

6.6.6 should have been the version *with* the bug.

Bank's datacenter died after travelling back in time to 1970

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Re: Yearly tasks....

No, you'd pay ten times as much for the "enterprise" feature.

Digital memories are disappearing and not even AI or Google can help

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Re: Information evaporation

"Guam the Testiculate of Goth"

I think he's the first cousin once removed of my back-in-the-day friend's back-in-the-day D&D character.

User read the manual, followed instructions, still couldn't make 'Excel' work

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Re: One of the reasons it's called a "mouse"


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One of the reasons it's called a "mouse"

"one of the trainees thought of the cord as the little bugger's tail and had it under her wrist"

She was unwittingly recapitulating the device's early history.

Doug Englebart's original mouse was indeed designed to be held as she was doing. They called it a "mouse" in part because it resembled the rodent, nosing its way around the desk. [1]

They quickly figured out that it made more ergonomic sense to run the cord out the far side, but the name stuck.

[1] Another reason for the name is that the on-screen cursor was known as the CAT (no, I dunno either), and someone pictured it as chasing the mouse around.

US nuke reactor lab hit by 'gay furry hackers' demanding cat-human mutants

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Re: Beware the law of unintended consequences

Both comparisons are equally valid.

Lawyer guilty of arrogance after ignoring tech support

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Re: Guy was an arse BUT..

Yup. I've improvised more than one mollyguard for under-desk power bars.

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Re: clicking on the screenshot

"you're sure you are not updating the output print file from the compiler rather than the code itself?"

Or editing a backup copy, or forgetting to save the editor's buffer. Or I didn't forget, but failed to notice that the "save" attempt failed for some reason. Or the Makefile doesn't list the .o file's dependency on the source file I'm editing.

Or I've intentionally restored a source file from a backup, but unintentionally restored its timestamp too, so the build system doesn't realize the object file is out of date.

Or, or, or...


David Tilbrook's old QEF build/portability framework attempted to avoid that last problem by using a different out-of-dateness metric in its build system. Instead of the usual "Is foo.c newer than foo.o?", on each run it recorded all the files' timestamps. I believe the metric was: if foo.c's timestamp is different now than it was the last time I ran -- either increased *or decreased* -- foo.o needs to be rebuilt.

So even restoring an old version of a source file, including its timestamp, would trigger a rebuild of the file's dependants.


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"clicking on the screenshot"

Yeah, I've done that too -- I hope only in private, without involving anyone else, but can't say so for absolute certain.

One screen shot is easy enough to keep straight, but when I'm generating a bunch (e.g. to document some procedure) ... well, between the live source window(s), all the screen shots open in gimp, and the final document in Inkscape, at least one moment of confusion is pretty much guaranteed.

RIP: Frank Borman, NASA commander of first Moon mission

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Re: Suits

You're not wrong. During the Apollo 11 moon landing, either Armstrong or Aldrin broke a crucial circuit breaker on the Lunar Module by bumping into it with his life-support pack.

Only a felt-tip pen saved them from becoming a pair of Major Toms, stranded on the lunar surface waiting for their air to run out.

'Influencer' gets 7 months in prison for plot to interfere with 2016 US election

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"Who were the primary sources for Covid?"

That question, with the list that follows, shows a misunderstanding as to what the term "primary source" even means.

The question you really appear to be asking boils down to: Who was right about COVID?

"Time will tell", you say.

Time has told. The body count has told.

Ask a builder to fix a server and out come the vastly inappropriate power tools

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Re: iMacs...

Not just SCSI, as I recall. The problem was (is?) known as stiction. (FYI The link is to an old version of a Wikipedia page, since the current version no longer has the relevant section.)