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Comment: Re:Trolololo (Score 1) 488

by Vlad_the_Inhaler (#48033877) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

I read that series decades ago and seem to remember that there is a twist in the tail.
The way I remember it, the aliens had been created by the devil in order to undermine christian faith. Once that became obvious (some symbols were involved) they ceased to exist. What a strange world-view, I have no idea what Blish's beliefs were.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 3, Insightful) 221

by Vlad_the_Inhaler (#47958383) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

There is no perfect security, especially if the attacker is willing to die. The US use attack-drones in a few countries, how well are they set up to defend against them?
When Bush II went to London the Secret Service wanted all kinds of measures taken, including closing part of the London Underground. The mayor at the time said NO. When Bush went to the Frankfurt area as part of the same tour, the Secret Service came up with a laundry list of measures they wanted implemented to reduce the risk, the Germans actually listened and life in a corridor between Frankfurt Airport and Mainz pretty much ground to a halt for a day. Pathetic.

Comment: Re:Yikes (Score 2, Insightful) 241

by Vlad_the_Inhaler (#47948441) Attached to: Putin To Discuss Plans For Disconnecting Russia From the Internet

Nope, it most certainly is not.
All I can see here is the Soviet Union rising again. I grew up around the fringes (outside) and somehow it seems worse this time around.
Want a laugh? The Scottish Referendum and the Soviet observers are mouthing off that the whole affair was not "free and fair", that it had been manipulated.

This Vlad is sick of this garbage. Oh, and I was in the Ukraine a couple of months back. They have a right-wing lunatic fringe running at around 5% but most of them do not deserve this crud.

Comment: Re:The hosers are right (Score 1) 462

Some time back in the 90's I had fun going both ways between Quebec and the US.
US Immigration in upstate NY spent ages trying to work out if I (and several other crossing at the same time) really needed to be in the US. Eventually the guy decided it was ok.
A few days later I was driving back from Vermont and the Canadians were dubious about letting me back (driving a Canadian-registered rental car). The bug question was: "why do you have a commercial/business visa for the US?". My WHAT???? got me back in again ;-)

I stopped going to the US when they introduced fingerprinting and mugshots at the borders. They don't miss me and I don't miss them.

Comment: Re:Powershell (Score 1) 729

Both Fortran and Cobol allow you to pass slices of a string to a subroutine or anything else, the syntax is in each case stringvar (x:y) although the meaning of y is different. In Fortran it is (from:to) and in Cobol it is (from:bytecount).
When I was learning we used Algol68 and - although I have not used it for a good 35 years - most other languages come up wanting when compared.

Comment: Re:Powershell (Score 5, Funny) 729

I'm from a different generation. When I was learning things there were attempts made to make languages somewhat failsafe by avoiding ambiguity. Then I saw the C syntax.
- if (a = b) assigns the contents of b to a and executes the code following if b <> 0. Who the hell thought that would be a good idea?
- sizeof(string) (I may have got the name of the function wrong) returns the length of a single byte rather than the length of the entire string. Who the hell thought that would be a good idea?
- strings terminated by a binary zero rather than their physical size. Who the hell thought that would be a good idea?

Kids grew up with this idiocy, I program in Fortran, Cobol, even Assembler to avoid that mess. Oh, and buffer-overruns have been a serious security problem for years now. Well what a f****** surprise.

Comment: Re:Oh really? (Score 1, Interesting) 190

I'd be amazed if it was.
My experience is that OpenOffice has less features but they work better. They (OO) also seem to be to be more interested in MS compatibility than LO is. I find that particular fork rather regrettable but Oracle would never have divested themselves of OpenOffice if they had not seen themselves becoming irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Not just China (Score 2) 92

by Vlad_the_Inhaler (#47683841) Attached to: Apple Begins Storing Chinese User Data On Servers In China

It looks to be an obvious move.
Accept that various agencies in various countries are trawling for data. Storing data locally minimises the number of agencies which have access to that data. Once the Snowden revalations became public, keeping data within national boundaries became a selling point for (not just) ISPs in most countries. I suppose I was ahead of the curve, I avoided Cloud services for just that reason - and then suspicions were confirmed.

When the Chinese Government request (or demand) that users' data remain within the country it is more about keeping things away from the NSA than making sure they themselves have access to it. I can imagine that users in that country share some of those concerns, they certainly do in Germany.

Comment: Re: Murphy says no. (Score 1) 265

by Vlad_the_Inhaler (#47432651) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

I have no idea if once a week is realistic, it sounds far too high. I have around 5-10 such windows a year, some are stuff I can do from home (with support from the guys on shift) and some entail me being physically there, so there have been none of the second kind this year.
Major Outages of one of our production systems have been featured on national news and Slashdot before, although it requires an outage of several hours to cross that threshold. Our windows are at around 02:00 to 03:00 depending on which system is affected.

Murphy has really bitten us in the ass a few times:

  • Someone making an update (on a test system) which meant that the system did not come up properly after the next reboot which was days later. The symptoms made it look as though the test "window update" caused the problems. It was an accident but very annoying.
  • A weird error on one switchable hardware unit rendered it unusable on our main production system. That unit was one of 32 and the allocation system automatically only used it on other machines, the next reboot would have cleared the problem anyway. Someone decided to use *that* unit for a critical update and brought it up manually for that purpose. The update failed and our main system was down. I drove in at 03:30 and (I thought) fixed things by falling back. Shortly after I left again, one application stopped working and dragged the rest down with it. I went back in again and did the original update cleanly - over initial management objections - after which things were fine.

There have been others but they were even more arcane. The absolute worst cases we had were with virtually everyone there. They made the news, two of them made it to Slashdot. Different causes in each case.

Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television. - David Letterman