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Comment: Re:A '70s idea whose time is long past (Score 1) 544

by david.emery (#49173441) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

An OS could choose to make these attributes protected, i.e requires 'sufficient privilege' (e.g. root) to change.

The file extension is not "simple and descriptive" for a file type you've never seen before. Hence the existence of sites that translate those TLAs into a description, often overloaded, of what they might mean.

The other problem is that the file extension conflates content and implicit creator/handler. A text file is a text file, there's nothing special about NotePad, SimpleText, EMACS or (shudder) vi as the creator/handler for text files.

Comment: A '70s idea whose time is long past (Score 1) 544

by david.emery (#49171905) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

The idea of using file name extensions as a means to denote content/application association dates to the 1970s (or even earlier). It's an idea that deserves to die, along with Disco music.

Mac OS 9 and earlier got the OS/file system mechanisms right, with two file attributes. One denoted the contents of the file, and the other denoted the default (usually creating) application.

The challenge for OS designers is how to present this information to the user in some meaningful way. Cryptic text strings at the end of file names aint' it! And the ease by which these can be changed (particularly by malicious programs) are a bug, not a feature. If there's a way to prevent these attributes from being mis-applied/forged, that would be a real accomplishment.

Comment: Until Sony caved, yes.... (Score 2) 589

by david.emery (#48621889) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

I was planning to go see this, not that I'm interested in the movie, but to show that I won't kow-tow to terrorists and extortionists. But since Sony has caved by deferring its release, Sony has joined the ranks of the chicken-droppings.

Several sites have called for Sony to release this on the Internet, and that's what I think they should do. And someone needs to make "we don't negotiate with Young Weasel" stickers with Kim Jong Un's face in the background.

Comment: Re:CNN reported it was a power problem (Score 3, Informative) 68

by david.emery (#48585127) Attached to: Computer Error Grounds Flights In the UK

The pumps lost power after the backup systems failed (ran out of battery, and the generators were knocked out), and that's what caused the reactors to overheat and meltdown. If power had been retained to the pumps, the major problems would have been averted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
"The switching stations that provided power from the three backup generators located higher on the hillside failed when the building that housed them flooded.[68] Power for control systems switched over to batteries that were designed to last about eight hours.[102] Further batteries and mobile generators were dispatched to the site. They were delayed by poor road conditions and the first arrived only at 21:00 11 March,[95][103] almost six hours after the tsunami."

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972

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