* Posts by Dazed and Confused

2347 posts • joined 12 Sep 2007

I've got a broken combine harvester – but the manufacturer won't give me the software key

Dazed and Confused

Re: Only half the story

> A £1.5k DVM? Seriously? Wow.

I used to work in a semiconductor lab back in the 80s. I used to buy meters that cost more than that back then. If you don't chose the right meter you can find the resistance of your meter is less than that of the circuit you want to test so all those pesky electrons take the easy path and flow through your meter instead.

China sets goal of running single-stack IPv6 network by 2030, orders upgrade blitz

Dazed and Confused

Re: Static IP addresses

Don't newer versions of Android (and I'm guessing iPhones) default to randomizing MAC addresses? Wouldn't this tend to mean the system ID bit of an IPv6 address varying?

Not that it will help if they have static address allocation to the router and therefore household.

Me, I like the way NAT means that lots of peoples traffic is combined onto single IP addresses so that it is a lot less easy to identify users. Mind, my main Internet connections use static IPv4 addresses and I keep getting accused of being from different places. The other evening Amazon and my credit card company managed to locate me at least 200 miles apart for an IP address that prior to GDPR whois would have given my post code.

Make-me-admin holes found in Windows, Linux kernel

Dazed and Confused

Re: It's not just Windows:

systemd what could possibly go wrong with this ubiquitous and IMHO anti-ideological monolith?

At the very least please can Linus and friends just say that PID 1 is ours. Mess it up and you panic the system so only grown ups should be allowed to play here.

If you need the process termination notifications the the orphan catcher gets, come talk to us, we'll give you an API, but just leave PID 1 to those who act responsibly.

Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far

Dazed and Confused

Re: Bells and broken whistle

It just underscores the fact that Mircosoft is overloaded with "GUI Designers" who don't actually use Windows to do any real work beyond "GUI Design".

Like they do with their own applications. They obviously have scores of GUI designers working on the likes of Word who sit around giving each other awards for the things but have clearly never had to use it to produce a document. Programmers not be experts in the field they are writing software for is probably understandable, but they also seem to have taken to sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "La La La, I can't hear you" every time an actual user tries to give any feedback.

NASA fixes Hubble Space Telescope using backup power supply unit, payload computer

Dazed and Confused

Re: Great news....until.

You might like to take a look at Neil deGrasse Tyson's Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military.

There is quite a bit of discussion about the relationship with the KH11 and its offspring Hubble.

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why

Dazed and Confused

Re: The Wire - without the drama

I think I've got their 1200Mb ones, they certainly don't give 1200Mb between the different ring mains in the house.

Dazed and Confused

Re: This months of work from home showed too....

Lucky b*******d

We bought our house in the mid 90s, we'd looked at a few new builds and one builder had said I could could come in a lay LAN cables after their electricians had run the power and before the walls were plastered. It's cheap to do it at this point.

Sadly the house was more expensive and not as nice as the one we eventually chose and they wouldn't have anything to do with us having networking installed. It was enough of a problem getting the wiring for the alarms systems in, the main site electricians had a habit of "accidentally" cutting any cables they didn't fit.

So no LAN cables running everywhere. I still regret not fitting them immediately, before we moved in. And still keep looking at ways to run the cabling from the downstairs room where the routers and a switch are located up to the loft. Once it is in the loft getting to the bedrooms is easy.

Linux Foundation celebrates 30 years of Torvalds' kernel with a dry T-shirt contest

Dazed and Confused

Re: My submission...

It could be added to the O'Really series to go along with Snooping Email for Fun and Profit which was once on sale from this very organ.

Five words everyone wants to hear: Microsoft has 'visually refreshed' Office

Dazed and Confused

Re: Custom ribbon?

I really feel for you on this.

As far as I can tell every version of Word since the late 90s has done this is a totally different and inconsistent way.

Building a table of contents for multiple files works a totally different way too (don't try mixing these it breaks everything). For the ToC you use reference documents (I think that's the name) and you can edit them - Yay! but not for master documents. It sticks the full pathname for the files into the master document and then it does something weird with OneDrive so you can't copy the damn things.


It is often easier to just make a new master document and add the component parts again.

Oh did I mention the style gallery? now look at it.

Dazed and Confused

Re: Custom ribbon?

But but but ... they've got so many bugs where else are they going to put them?

I'm with you on this one. Stop bloody well moving the controls. QWERTY might be a f******g stupid layout for a keyboard but every touch typist's fingers know where the button are. The brake peddle on a car doesn't need relocating to the passengers side and the steering wheel doesn't need to relocate to which ever occupant last commented on the directions to the destination.

Leave the bloody controls where they were.

Improvements in handling big docs would be good, I'm just not sure I believe them because they've promised this loads of times before. Words handling of master documents so you can break things up into separate files for, say chapters, is pathetic and what it does to the style gallery just beggars belief. Maybe someone in MS' marketing dept. thinks a bigger document is a two page letter rather than a tweet. If you decide to avoid master docs and separate files then it just does stupid things as the document grows. The one I'm working on at the moment is over 1600 pages (is that large? I bet people will come back with much bigger ones) so every few minutes it does an autosave, which is a good thing, but it freezes for quite a number of seconds while this happens. It's a fast i7 powered system with 24GB of RAM and an NVMe SSD. What's more, half the time if you do anything while it is autosaving it pops up the saveas screen and random parts of what you've typed are lost. WHY?

If they want to do something constructive with office try turning it into a suite rather than a box set of random unrelated programs. Why oh Why is the text editor and picture editor in Word and PowerPoint different? Why can't I have a style gallery in PPT? Bloody well integrate these damn things.

OK, I know why they are different - History - but that is the sort of thing they should damn well be focusing on and not changing the colour scheme of their bloody menus.

UK artists seek 'luvvie levy' on new gadgets to make up for all the media that consumers access online

Dazed and Confused

Re: Blank media tax V2.0

The small time players don't make enough money to fund the executives expensive habits through the normal channels, so I guess they have to find another way to gouge money out of them.

Dazed and Confused

Re: Blank media tax V2.0

> meanwhile small bands selling CDs at their gigs had to pay the tax.

My son is just getting into the content creation business, I assume this tax means that he and the many others like him are being expected to pay to subsidise the established players in this field.

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance

Dazed and Confused

The Internet's not working

One 130-mile trip was to deal with a complaint that "the Internet isn't working" only to find the network cable stuck to the top of the monitor.

OK, it was probably only 13 miles but one day I got a call from the idiot a friend paid to man the phone. Quick check from home and I couldn't even get as far as the BT router.

So I dutifully drive down to take a look.

First thing I notice that it's awfully quiet where the idiots desk is. Now the desk is in the antichamber to the computer room.

I glace through the window in the door... nothing... This is supposed to be a computer room so full of racks you have to move things to get behind either row.

Now there's nothing.

Walking in I find the normally packed room isn't quite empty, the rack of my own personal kit is pushed into one corner where it can't be seen from the door, it's disconnected. The fibre from BT is strewn across the floor and isn't connected to anything. BT's router is propped against a wall at an angle and not plugged into anything.

I turn to the idiot. "So anything I should know?"

Oh yes, they came in yesterday to take all the kit away. Does that make a difference?

Space junk damages International Space Station's robot arm

Dazed and Confused

ReL Make it a galactic highway and you'll find trash down the side of the road everywhere.

Maybe what SETI need to do is to scan the sky looking for unspooled cassette tapes, then at least we'd know where the highways were.

Microsoft releases command-line package manager for Windows (there are snags)

Dazed and Confused

Re: Restarts

@Brewster's Angle Grinder, you're right this is an accurate description.

It can vary from implementation to implementation. Some of it is beneath the vnode layer in the Unix kernel and so could potentially vary between different filesystems. Not all implantations even managed to be coherent between nmap MAP_SHARED and the traditional read/write system call interface to files.

To get a guaranteed consistent view of a file with MAP_PRIVATE you need to open the file, lock the whole thing, or at least the part you're interested in, then touch all the pages so your processes address space sets up all the data structures down to the page level and then unlock it. But that's really no difference to the behaviour of the read/write interface. If you open a file and start to read it while someone else is writing to the file you can get some old and some new new data. It is only the individual systems calls which are guaranteed to be atomic.

Things like libraries are normally only open read only so you don't need to worry about this sort of issue.

Also, not all systems allow you to unlink an open executable and you can get a text busy error, however you can rename an open executable so that an updated version can be inserted in its place.

NFS used to add "interesting" layers of behaviour too as it was never fully SVID compliant.

Apple's expert witness grilled by Epic over 'frictionless' spending outside the app

Dazed and Confused

Re: In-App purchases

Mostly I agree with you, but...

Perhaps the app I use most on my phone is for audio books, I wouldn't be much use if I couldn't load in books and I don't see why authors should give them to be for free. OK, I love to be able to get the app to play MP3 file based books so I could use it rather a general purpose audio app to listen to the myriad of books I had previously bought on CDs. The audio book app is just much better at playing books than any other audio app I've ever tried.

Given that I need to buy the books to listen to, how do you suggest this working without in app purchases? OK, I'd pay for a version of the app that supported loading MP3 files so I could buy the books from other sources, such as directly from their producers/publishers as I used to with CDs. But MP3 doesn't seem to be the most efficient format for the spoken word.

Openreach slaps another 5 million premises on top of FTTP connection target, expects to pay 'minimal tax in the UK' over next few years

Dazed and Confused

Where and when

Have they published lists of the area getting boosted up the timeline?

Amazon says it destroyed two million knockoffs in 2020, a fraction of the amount it ships

Dazed and Confused

Well it seems a bit better than it was about a month ago

OK, I wasn't paying attention. I went to Amazon (coz I'm lazy) and typed in "Sandisk micro sd card" (coz I'm lazy) and I was distracted, I wasn't paying attention, I was chatting to someone while shopping, dumb dumb dumb, the first hit had the normal Sandisk red & gold artwork & fonts, F**kme that's cheap, dumb dumb dumb, the alarm bells didn't go off. I hit buy it now.

It wasn't a Sandisk, and it didn't work very well at all and it lost data left, right & centre and ...

Amazon refunded no problems.

But most of the hits on the first page where knock offs, the same was true for Samsung ones... cloned artwork style knock offs.

Today? well the first clone is halfway down page two for Sandisk and I didn't spot a cloned Samsung one.

IBM says it's built the world's first 2nm semiconductor chips

Dazed and Confused

Re: Sounds like it is time for a new standard

I remember when at uni fabs would proudly boast of their 0.18μm processes. And the howls of "you cannae break the laws of physics" at the prospect of going beneath 100nm at around the same time for that matter.

Back in the early 80s the lab I was working in had got their 5um process into production and were well on the way to getting production ready at 3.5um. HP had just come out with their 1um NMOS process for their HP9000 series 500 systems. I went to talk at the RI given by a guy from IBM's labs talking about how their were using X-Ray diffraction gratings to do the focusing as optical wave lengths too long for the line sizes they were researching. Can't remember the line sizes they were quoting but it was orders of magnitude better than we were managing.

Microsoft demotes Calibri from default typeface gig, starts fling with five other fonts

Dazed and Confused

Re: Don't forget the users with reading difficulties

I agree fonts that make it hard to distinguish between lower case L, 1 and uppercase i are annoying.

I just want a version of Courier where you can easily see the difference between

lower case L, 1 and uppercase i

Upper case o & Zero

These are the ones which cause the most pain when writing Linux training manuals.

Words to strike fear into admins' hearts: One in five workers consider themselves 'digital experts' these days

Dazed and Confused

Re: Time for a ====>

Yeah, but if it wasn't for those 1 in 5 you'd only need 20% of your staff, coz the "I'm an expert" brigade cause at least 80% of the problems.

Watchdog 'enables Tesla Autopilot' with string, some weight, a seat belt ... and no actual human at the wheel

Dazed and Confused

Re: Comments are missing the point

> Tesla supremo Elon Musk

Rushed out a statement...

This is like Boing rushing out a statement about a plane crash. It would be better to wait for the accident investigators' report.

The difference is when the air accident investigators point their finger, all the planes of that type are grounded but this isn't going to happen with cars.

'There was no one driving that vehicle': Texas cops suspect Autopilot involved after two men killed in Tesla crash

Dazed and Confused

Re: "more of a super-cruise-control"

You can be curious and explore some of it's behaviour while still sitting in the drivers seat ready to take over again if it f****s up.

Dazed and Confused

Re: "more of a super-cruise-control"

Great - my car can't do that, it can hold lane and maintain speed and distance to the vehicle in front.

I would suggest that any system that is sufficiently good to lull an idiot (I'm not suggesting you are, I think you're arguing a point and not suggesting an action) to try seeing what happens if they climb into another seat while driving, should be allowed unless it is capable of safely stopping. The problem I see with systems such as Tesla's Autopilot is that for a minority of owners they will assume it can do things it was never designed to cope with. The problem isn't so much a technical issue as one of human understanding. If it seems to be able to drive under certain circumstances, some owners will assume it can cope with more.

I might have lifted my backside off the seat to adjust position

In which case you'd only lifting yourself off the seat squab for a very brief time, too long and the car should be reminding you of your responsibilities, it sounds like it is a little over eager in this respect.

If, as Elon has tweeted, AP wasn't even installed....

Then either driver left the seat after the accident, we'll have to wait for accident investigators report, but they'll probably know this. Or the driver was being even dafter by trying to control the car from the passenger seat.

Dazed and Confused

Re: "more of a super-cruise-control"

...or have provided you with medical care appropriate to whichever serious condition struck unexpectedly and caused you to no longer remain in control of your vehicle.

As you say, this would also be a good use of such tech. The problem of sudden failure of the driver has always existed and caused crashes. So a controlled stop would be a positive safety boon.

But a sudden illness is unlikely to cause the driver to leave their seat and sit somewhere else.

Dazed and Confused

Re: "more of a super-cruise-control"

Should it cut out and slam the brakes on if I lift my backside off the seat (or unclip the seatbelt)?

I'd suggest it should loudly complain at me, but continue in the safest possible manner.

I'd suggest that if shouting at you didn't get you back where you belong it should pull over and park safely and refuse to restart until the system has been reset by the civil authorities after they've arrested you.

Dazed and Confused

"more of a super-cruise-control"

Tesla has always maintained that drivers should keep their hands on the wheel when its Autopilot software is engaged

Surely it is easier to keep an eye on the driver than the road around the car. Why don't these things have in car monitoring making it impossible for it to drive if the occupants aren't in the driving seat. OK, I get the feature that you can ask your car to come out of a parking space so you can get in easily if the cars next to you are too close, so maybe allow it to move a few yards at 1 or 2 MPH, but hurtling down the highway with no one at the wheel? Come on.

At the minimum the car should be taking a photo and posting it online to warn all other road users to stay away from the idiot.

Linus Torvalds reluctantly issues one more release candidate for Linux kernel 5.12

Dazed and Confused

Re: I take this as evidence ...

Yeah, these days even the bleeding edge distributions are aiming for a stability level that the general public can't expect from W10. It's just so boring :-)

I called a programmers code boring in a code review once, he was offended but I'd meant it as the highest praise, I'd have happily climbed aboard a plane if he'd written the flight control system.

Oracle vs Google: No, the Supreme Court did not say APIs aren't copyright – and that's a good thing

Dazed and Confused

Re: trying to seize control of an industry standard

Just like the Rambus case that used to keep us commentards amused here in the early noughties. Sneak you patented tech into an industry standard and then sue everyone.


I believe it sold a lot of pop corn :-)

Dazed and Confused

Why make a decision on APIs before there is a case

Think of all the lawyers who'd never get to ride the gravy train if they made a decision before there was a case.

Australian ponders requiring multiple IDs to sign up for social media, plus more crypto-busting backdoors

Dazed and Confused

Re: You need to prove who you are to buy a SIM in Aus?

Years back when I used to travel to the US and roaming was beyond extortionate I'd pick up a local SIM, you just used to chuck a few $$$s at a guy on one of those carts in the middle of any mall. Then one day I tried this and was told I need ID and all that crap I didn't have. After a pause of at most 2 seconds the sales guy just filled in the form, put the malls ZIP code down as the address took the dollars and handed over the SIM. No worries.

Bell Labs transfers copyright of influential ‘Plan 9’ OS to new foundation

Dazed and Confused

Re: Depends on just what you want from your OS.

So not so much from outer space, but heading there.

Report: Microsoft is thinking about splashing $10bn on Discord to slot it next to Skype, Mixer...

Dazed and Confused

Re: Why. Won't. Skype. Die?

Once upon a time Skype was really good and really useful.

How they managed to turn this success into

Skype was blown away by Zoom last year as the coronanvirus pandemic took hold.

Must rank as an amazing achievement in negative business strategy.

Of course when I say that Skype used to be good, I'm not talking about Skype for Business which was pants and trying to change the name to hide from people knowing it's pants hasn't made any difference.

Perhaps they could just find a backup tape of the Skype SW from the mid noughties and relaunch that.

Chairman, CEO of Nominet ousted as member rebellion drives .uk registry back to non-commercial roots

Dazed and Confused

Re: 3 hours.

> And no matter how it turns out, I want my old job back!"

Or at least "I want my old gravy train back"

Another Windows 10 patch that breaks printers ups ante to full-on Blue Screen of Death

Dazed and Confused

Re: Correction : MS claimed to have done that three times.

Please stop using evidence to dispute the claims of the marketing departments.

Dazed and Confused

Drivers crashing the OS

I can see why the driver that is responsible for transferring the bytes back and forth to a device might take out the OS, but surely the level of handling different printers should be well outside the kernel.

Dazed and Confused

Re: Printers are the bain of MS's world

I see the MS fan club are out again today.

Customer reports that their Windows system has removed all the printers and refuses to allow them to add any more.

So let's down vote them.

And people say Apple's fans are fanatical.

Dazed and Confused

Re: Printers are the bain of MS's world

They've done it to me more than once

One morning you come in and the Windows has no printers

Windows won't let you add any printers


At least it's never stopped me from copying the files to another PC to have another go at printing from there.

Linus Torvalds issues early Linux Kernel update to fix swapfile SNAFU

Dazed and Confused

Re: What is it with swap files

OK, it's been decades for the Unix variant's case. Thinking back I think it looked like it was writing "raw" to the device, so I guess someone had screwed up between the file's vnode and the file's device vnode. Having fed all the details of the problem and how to reproduce it back through the appropriate channels I never bothered to follow up the details of the fix, other than to note it was very quick :-)

Dazed and Confused

What is it with swap files

I never bothered to check the actual code but I'd naively assumed that the VM code wrote to the sway files using the filessytem's normal file access functions, via the vnode layer or some such. But it seems this isn't always the case. I remember a well know Unix version had a similar issue with an update to a bundled third party FS. With a new release you could create a swap file and then a while later the FS would be trashed. In that case it tended to overwrite the superblock and completely wreck the FS. It was easy to demonstrate. It's hard to control the order pages will get paged out to backing store, but they're trivial to label, fill a page with the text "this is page 1" etc... Over flow the RAM and read the resulting mess of the disk. In that case it was picked up internally before any customer reported the issue, I doubt any of their customers were using swap files by then.

I guess the swap files will have just been added to the test suite, thus is progress made.

Dazed and Confused

Re: swap space

Yeah, there are always seldom used pages, all the bits of applications which are just used during initialization, the shit that just tends to run at boot time etc. This gets loaded into memory, used once and is then never needed again, it can be kicked out of RAM at no cost. So long as no one is waiting to get pages back off the swap device it's not costing you anything performance wise.

US consumer protection bureau goes after tech support scammers' alleged payments processor

Dazed and Confused

Re: Good

Or go after their clients...they're the actual scammers.

Or, fine the payment processors but give them a receipt which allows them to reclaim some of the fine when they've handed over the heads of the actual scammers. They then might suddenly remember they've got a few more details of their customers than they'd previously recalled.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative

Dazed and Confused

Re: My current annoyance is "gift" as a verb

self proclaimed authority that only wishes they had any control of any version of English

I don't think they've ever claimed to control anything, they see their job as documenting how the language is used. The don't want to be an Académie Française of the English language which is a b*****d of many parents and evolves constantly.

Pressure builds on Nominet as members demand to know leadership's contingency plans for when they’re fired

Dazed and Confused

Can we apply pressure to the big 10?

OK, how many readers have domains registered with one of the big 10?

Perhaps we can try apply pressure to them if they don't vote yes or at the minimum, abstain, we'll take our business somewhere else.

I'm already looking at moving my remaining .uk domains to a seller on the PublicBenefit list.

NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video

Dazed and Confused

Re: Top stuff

> although I've accepted it probably didn't add much to the science.

But it adds a lot to the PR, which makes it easier to get the funding and no funding no science.

Dazed and Confused

Re: Just wow

Let's hunt the Martians!

Did anyone see the green flashes in the sky?

Death Becomes It: Who put the Blue in the Blue Screen of Death?

Dazed and Confused

Re: And with W10

Nah, bloody metacity gnome shit, I'd started a VNC session a tad over 2 years ago. Some counter has probably overflowed.

Dazed and Confused

Re: And with W10

> I take much more care by not running Windows in the first place.

I'd never looked at it that way, perhaps that was what the message was telling me all along "You'd be better off running Linux". Thanks, I'd not understood the message properly.

I can't remember when last any of my Linux servers at home have ever panic'd

[dazed@confusion ~]$ uptime

20:13:55 up 1087 days, 53 min, 3 users, load average: 1.00, 1.00, 1.00

[dazed@confusion ~]$

This one seems to have been going for a few days. Hmmm not happy about the load average though.

Dazed and Confused

And with W10

Even the F***ing blue colour got worse!

The thing that really used to piss me off with the BSoD was after it the machine had gone mammaries to the ceiling, you'd restart the bloody system and it would come up with the chkdsk screen chiding you for not shutting down cleanly and suggesting you took more care it future.


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