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Comments

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Yahoo Deletes Journalist's Pre-Paid Legacy Site After Suicide

grahamlee Re:They didn't know he also... (403 comments)

"You agree to indemnify and hold Yahoo! and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents, co-branders and other partners, and employees, harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys' fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of Content you submit, post to or transmit through the Services, your use of the Services, your connection to the Services, your violation of the TOS, or your violation of any rights of another." - http://info.yahoo.com/legal/uk/yahoo/utos/en-gb/details.html Or, to put it another way, no they don't.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: High-School Suitable Books On How Computers Affect Society?

grahamlee Re:PLEASE STOP (140 comments)

Ethics and social implications are an important part of the discipline of computer science, just as they're an important part of other science disciplines like biology and neurology.

about a year ago
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Developers Rolling Out Pebble Smartwatch Apps

grahamlee Douglas Adams was correct⦠(64 comments)

Earth "is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

about a year ago
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Mozilla Announces Long Term Support Version of Firefox

grahamlee Re:Enterprises Will Like This! (249 comments)

Then, at some point in the future, Mozilla will run a campaign explaining that 10% of the interwebs is on Firefox 11 ESR, but there have been loads of new features and enhancements since then so we should all tell people to upgrade to Firefox 17. Friends don't let friends use IE 6^W^WFF 11.

more than 2 years ago
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Police Can Search Cell Phones Without Warrants

grahamlee Re:Passwords (438 comments)

Two years in jail. Given that RIPA requests for encryption keys are usually related to terrorism, espionage or paedophilia investigations, that's a href="a lot "cheaper" than going down for the suspected crime.

more than 3 years ago
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Dell Ships Infected Motherboards

grahamlee Re:Wow. (326 comments)

It's also possible that the malware was actually dropped from a *nix or Windows system that wasn't itself infected, but where the user wanted to drag Dell through the muck. Doesn't need to be any of these Advanced Persistent Threats you keep reading about, just a terminated employee on his last day. I doubt that embedded hardware is connected to the internet while it's being assembled, so it seems unlikely that they got a chance infection - someone had to subvert their production process. That's most likely to be an insider.

more than 4 years ago
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Crack the Code In US Cyber Command's Logo

grahamlee Re:md5? (380 comments)

But where did you find out what its mission is, if "Its mission is largely opaque"? Oh, that's right, it's written on the wikipedia entry and the department of defense factsheet :).

more than 4 years ago
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The Ignominious Fall of Dell

grahamlee Re:Obligatory (604 comments)

I think that shows how bad Michael Dell is at running businesses. He correctly identified that Apple couldn't go on the way it had been run, but didn't suggest running the company a different way as a potential solution. If Dell is in trouble now, they will stay in trouble unless the market changes to require a company just like Dell.

more than 4 years ago
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Only 27% of Organizations Use Encryption

grahamlee Re:Encryption drawbacks (175 comments)

Firstly, the kind of encryption they're talking about in the article, as implemented by BitLocker on Windows and third-party products on many operating systems, is transparent to operating system processes.

Erm :). Secondly, active directory domain controllers are typically run on servers rather than laptops, and full-disk encryption is typically run on laptops rather than servers.

more than 4 years ago
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Only 27% of Organizations Use Encryption

grahamlee Re:Encryption drawbacks (175 comments)

Taking those point by point (and staying on topic by discussing hard drive encryption, the subject of TFA):

* you must provide a meaningful key management

Depending on the size of the organisation and the purposes for using encryption, key management may not be necessary, though you still need a capable and reliable lost-passphrase-recovery helpdesk which is going to cost.

* you lose speed of your machines for number crunching

I think you need to review just how much time you think computers spend reading and preparing data from the hard drive. If you're in the middle of a number-crunching job, it's pretty much negligible. And besides that, most business laptop users (the target users of full-disk encryption) are trying to read e-mail and write Powerpoint slides, they aren't trying to simulate protein folding.

* you can easily lose data in the event of hardware corruption

* access to data is a bit harder even for legitimate purposes

Yes, that's the whole point. It's usually only a bit harder (you have to authenticate before the operating system will boot) but in return for that, the confidentiality of your data is protected. Security is about risk management and if the risk of publicising your company's secrets is more significant than the risk of users losing time by forgetting their passwords, then the trade-off is worth making.

* many systems (for example Active Directory domain controller .vs. ipsec) doesn't work well with encryption

Firstly, the kind of encryption they're talking about in the article, as implemented by BitLocker on Windows and third-party products on many operating systems, is transparent to operating system processes.

skills of your systems management must be higher

Oh noes! I pay my systems managers to manage my systems but don't want to pay people who know what they're doing!

more than 4 years ago
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Do Your Developers Have Local Admin Rights?

grahamlee Re:Yes (605 comments)

It is impossible, IMO, to do many functions without these privileges.

I currently work in an environment where I don't usually need admin. I'm a self-employed Mac developer, and do all of my dev work in an unprivileged account. However that account is a member of the _developer group, which gives the debugger the right to attach to processes. That's frequently all I need. When I've worked in $bigcorp networks where developers do need admin or root, IT have typically created a sandbox network for developer machines to sit in which have access to SCM, the bug tracker, build environment front-end and so on but limited access to business systems and internet facilities.

more than 4 years ago
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How To Prove Someone Is Female?

grahamlee Re:The easiest solution (1091 comments)

Ever hear of Title IX?

No. But having just searched for it, I discover it's a shorthand name for a law enacted in the US. I'm not from the US.

more than 5 years ago
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How To Prove Someone Is Female?

grahamlee The easiest solution (1091 comments)

Just let everybody race everybody else. No more worrying whether people truly class as male, female, able-bodied or whatever.

more than 5 years ago
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Slashdot Anniversary: Oxford, zGB, GB

grahamlee subscribe (21 comments)

You can probably count me in too :-)

about 7 years ago

Submissions

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Anti-virus software in Klingon

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 5 years ago

grahamlee writes "In what looks like a pre-launch leak, British security software company Sophos have released a Klingon version of their threat detection tool. From an anonymous coward quoted in an article over at The Register, "While other people are worried about down turns in IT spending, it seems that some people in Sophos have had the time between lighting cigars on £50 notes to turn out a version of the product in Klingon.""
Link to Original Source
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Six years on, Linux RST-B infections still rife

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 6 years ago

grahamlee writes "Security firm Sophos' blog describes a detection tool for the Linux RST-B virus, which has been in the wild for six years but is still showing up on the firm's honeypots. By running the detection tool, Linux users can help SophosLabs to research the extent of RST-B infection and perhaps understand why it is still infecting Linux boxes, despite being detected by many different Anti-Virus programs.

[Disclaimer: I work for Sophos]"

Link to Original Source

Journals

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No, I don't update here too often

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 9 years ago Try my blog instead. Yes, it's a livejournal. Yes, I have long hair. No, te tw don't necessarily have to go together. BTW, just to let you know what you're in for, a load of NeXT->Apple related nerdy stuff and some motorbiking.

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Many projects

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 9 years ago

After ages of prevarication, and of starting projects and giving up once they compile, I've actually started doing some useful stuff. Hopefully quite a lot will be finished this week and I can release.

Just a quick tasteroony: an Objective-C CGI library, an Objective-C dict accessor library and app, a few graphical apps, and an httpd and web browser. Hopefully they'll all compile anywhere that Cocoa and GNUstep can be compiled.

More as it happens...

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NeXTSTEP PARTY

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

This has been discussed over with the GNUstep people, seems to have quite a few enthusiastic supporters.

This is a *very* geeky thought, but it strikes me that 2004-10-19 is the tenth anniversary of the OpenStep specification being published, and in my book that's as good an excuse for a party as any. Unfortunately, 2004-10-19 is also a Tuesday; however may I recommend that GNUstep/NeXTSTEP people from all over the world arrange to have parties on the weekend of October 16/17? I for one would like to meet some of you, discuss GNUstep, OS X, NeXT, reminisce about computers gone by and also have a lot of fun.

So, how does it sound? I'd appreciate any feedback. Number of people interested, locations of people, willingness to travel, what you'd like to do; and most important of all willingness to arrange meet-ups! It's unfeasible that everyone could get to one meeting but if we can arrange parties in a number of suitably-spaced locations then we'll still have a world-wide spirit; handy when considering the world-wide web came from NeXTSTEP! ;-)

I myself will definitely organise something in Oxford, England...what we do depends on what people want to do, but I can definitely promise at least one real black slab for those who have never seen one to play around, compare it with GNUstep/Cocoa, and see what we're all fussing about. And whatever people want to do, I'm sure we can find a way to do it in Oxford (or at least jump on a bus to London, for more adventurous activities....).

OK, so the date was a bit of a cheesy tie-in, but the idea's real. Meeting other *steppers, sharing information, shaking the hand of that person you've been chatting to for the last few years on the mailing list, they're all worthy goals, no? Let me know what you think.

Cheers,

Graham.
--
Graham Lee
Wadham College
OX1 3PN

_______________________________________________
Discuss-gnustep mailing list
Discuss-gnustep@gnu.org
http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss-gnustep

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Open Source + Mac

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Anyone who lives in the Oxford, UK area can come along to my talk at the Oxford Mac Users' Group regarding Open Source Software for the Macintosh. It will necessarily be a bit superficial but I'll be happy to answer any questions. Bat-channel: media production unit, 37 Wellington Square; bat-time: 2004-06-08-19-30.

Anyone who lives anywhere in the world whatsoever may download my slides after the talk; I'll drop a link in here.

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Sycophancy

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

This is just a little hero worship on my part; a colleague and I just got off the phone from Bob Cringely in CA, USA. Talked about various things: his TV shows, the changes in the industry since then, his predictions for the future, etc. All had to be done though :-)

Move along.

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W00t! Earliest ever web servage!

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago Well, not quite. But I've managed to get ye olde webbe server running on my NeXT, which is about as earliest ever as I can manage without borrowing Tim Berners-Lee's NeXT ;-). If I can get a hole in the firewall for it (tough call, given local administrivia) then I'll post an URL. But don't go slashdotting it :-).

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iMacs in bits - la deuxieme partie

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So, what was I doing in these iMacs? Well, neither of them were booting, and I tried to sort this out. It turns out that one of them just had a dodgy disk, so reinstalling OS 9 on that one was the way forward. In fact, I wanted to install Panther, but it kept panicking (something like 'cannot find drivers for platform imac'). So I tried Jaguar, and that kept failing with the message 'the installer has unexpectedly quit (return code 0)', so eventually gave up and just stuck with Oh Ess Nein.

The other iMac was slightly more interesting, and I still don't fully know what was wrong with it. Still, as I had the whole thing apart, I thought I may as well write about my experiences here in case it helps someone. At first, it appeared to be the battery, the terminal potential difference under load was 0. So I bought a new battery from watchbattery and set about installing it. Having taken the machine apart as described in my last post, the battery is quite clear to see, near the middle of the logic board. With the cable from the power filter board to the logic board disconnected (that's the one with the really wide connector, from the four you had to remove to extract the LB), press the power button on the front of the Mac. Now remove the battery, and wait at least ten minutes for everything to discharge. Insert the new battery. If you're lucky (I wasn't), the system should now work.

So I thought that maybe the CUDA was messed up. This can be reset using the, um, 'CUDA RESET' button which is labelled as such on the logic board. However, press it twice in quick succession, and you've lost it. Apparently this can cause the PMU chip to crash, which reduces the battery life from five years to two days. Not optimal, as I'm sure you'd agree.

That didn't help either; one time the computer would power up, go bong, then shut down as soon as the POST was completed and disk spun up, but other than that there was no joy. Actually, it did that twice. So I decided just to use it for spares, and removed the battery (trivial), CD-ROM (easyish; just unplug the cables and it will fall out) and hard disk (reasonably easy; there are two screws holding the mounting bracket to the logic board chassis - you need to unscrew these, then fiddle about a bit as the bracket has two tabs that fit into slots in the chassis). However, if anyone's got any bright ideas regarding fixing this Mac, I'd be glad to hear them :-)

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iMacs in bits

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I had to poke around in a couple of fruit-flavoured G3 iMacs today, as neither was booting properly. The inside of the iMac is a pretty interesting place, so here's a quick detail of what I did should it be interesting to anyone else. Needless to say, if you're not comfortable pulling computers apart, working with mains equipment or near the potentially fatal voltages found in the Cathode Ray Tube [see below], don't try this.

The first thing to do was to prepare. I found the Service Manual on the web, which contains troubleshooting and take-apart information. This is not quite indispensable, but gives you a good idea of what to look for. Read the take-apart section before you start working, so that you don't have to keep stopping and looking back.

Place the iMac face down on an anti-static mat, taking all the usual anti-static precautions. On the bottom near the back is a single screw in a recessed handle. Unscrew this (it won't come out though), and give the handle a good hard tug to get inside the case.

The good news is that if you just want to access the logic board, memory or drives, you don't need to go anywhere near the CRT :-). Just below the bit where you removed the cover are two screws clamping a bit of metal onto the plastic case. Unscrew those, and detach the four cables that plug into the area where the disks are. Now just pull upwards, and you're holding pretty much the whole computer in your hand. Be careful: the CD-ROM drive has a habit of sliding out of place (but can just as easily be slid back in).

That was the easy bit :-). Getting it back together is a bit trickier; my colleague and I collectively spent about an hour prodding, pushing and shoving until the logic board chassis went back into the case. Place the chassis at the top of its 'run' back down into the machine, and let it freely glide as far as it will go. Now you need to grab both sides of the outer case and pull outwards slightly, so that the chassis comes forwards (away from the machine) and downwards (toward the screen). It will then fall relatively smoothly into place.

Coming soon: PRAM battery replacements and software upgrades :-)

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find(1) sucks donkeys' balls

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

It's pretty common knowledge that the person who wrote find, back in the days of version 1 UNIX from AT&T was working on IBM dinosaurs at the time and used the syntax from there to create find. It's also common knowledge that the syntax to find is pretty much the least UNIX-like of all of the UNIX tools.

What's less obvious - because find isn't used now as it was once, in many places - is just how bogglingly huge and redundant the code in find is. I mean, it has a -exec function which passes its output to the specified command. Now, wtf is xargs(1) supposed to be for? Indeed, that self-same function. find also has the ability to create cpio(1) archives. Well, unsurprisingly, cpio can already do that. The idea of UNIX is to make little tools that do one job properly, and chain them together. So there's no need for find to reimplement code that already exists elsewhere. Especially if it's going to do it in such a non-UNIX manner.

I know what you're thinking; if I hate it, I should fix it myself. Well I did. Grind is Graham's Replacement for fIND, and currently it will only do something similar to find's -name. I'm going to add some bits of find, but by no means all of it. And I'm going to try doing it in a UNIXey way. Documentation and build instructions (and a Mach_O PPC executable, oops) in the tarball.

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Grrr...the whole BSD/Linux thing

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I guess I could have called this a Mac OS X entry, a Linux entry, an UNIX entry, pretty much anything. But I think that the main subject here is BSD, so I'll go with that for now :-).

It all started here, with this rather impressive description of the differences between Linux and BSD. Not the implementation differences; indeed I might pen a few sentences about those some time. This article describes the broad methodological differences between the systems. Unfortunately, when it got to /., it was met with a certain amount of scepticism, derision and trolling.

This was partly due to the way the article was worded. For instance, the author said that in his experience, BSD people understood Linux more than Linux people understood BSD. Well, maybe that's true, but it's not the kindof thing you say on a predominantly Linux-oriented site if you want objective reviews :-). So I thought, to kill time, I'd try and quickly note the major differences. I'm going to treat Darwin as a 'special case' towards the end, as it differs a bit from the other BSDs.

The article noted the difference between a Linux distro and a BSD system, such as FreeBSD, NetBSD etc. This is a very key point. The various BSD flavours are not merely different distributions of the same system. They are different systems. Each one derives from the final Berkeley release of BSD, and has modified, added to, removed or replaced that Berkeley code as its developers have seen fit. So whereas SuSE and Fedora Linuxen use the same kernel, fileutils, C compiler etc. the different BSD systems truly are self-contained units.
A Linux distribution is a collection of software that contains the Linux kernel, and a bunch of other software that is necessary to get a useful operating system involving that kernel. The software is not (usually) maintained by the distributors. For instance, a particular Mandrake distribution may contain kernel version x.y.z from the Linux kernel project, gcc a.b from the Free Software Foundation, OpenSSL c.dp from OpenBSD, etc. etc.
A BSD system does not have distributions, per se. There is only one FreeBSD, for instance. As the original article stated, to obtain a BSD you typically have two options. One is to check out the current source code from their versioning system, the other is to download a "release" which is a snapshot of the source tree at a particular time. Some of the BSDs offer ISOs of their snapshot releases as binaries, which may be installed without the need to compile your own system.

The entire "base system" of a BSD is maintained as a single entity by its development team. So although a particular system may use a GNU utility, for instance, autoconf, if it's part of the base system then that autoconf is really a BSD derivative of the GNU code, and not necessarily identical to the GNU code that was merged with the base system. This is typically not the case with Linux distributions, in which the code is simply built and packaged 'as-is'.

I noticed while looking through the /. comments that some posters found BSD users to be more defensive of their art and hence condescending to newbies than those from the Linux world. Having spent time in comp.os.linux.setup, I'm not sure that's the case :-). Besides which, there is a vast wealth of information around on the various BSDs. Apart from their own sites, there's stuff on The BSD Fora and Apple's developer site, just to name a couple. The O'Reilly community press publishes a hefty chunk of this information in dead-tree form, for those who prefer to be able to read their manual offline. Usually a judicious search of the internet with your favourite search engine will yield good results; for instance the Google BSD directory contains a few handy links as well as a search of all things BSD.

Darwin - I promised I'd mention it near the end, I'm not sure whether or not this is the end but I've run out of things I thought I was going to talk about, otherwise :-). Darwin comes in two flavours, regular or Mac OS X. In this respect it is unique (AFAIK) in being the only BSD currently powering a commercial operating system (There was BSDi, OPENSTEP, SunOS4, etc.). It owes a fair amount of its code heritage to FreeBSD, but Apple have added their own stuff, including a replacement kernel (the OSF Mach microkernel).
As regards the subject of this little journal entry, the important differences between Darwin and the other popular BSDs are the existence of a commericial version and the lack of a ports system. Obtaining Darwin is also more geared toward binary distributions than checking out the source tree, although the latter is available. There are also snapshot source distributions at the Darwin website, and more information at OpenDarwin.

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Blah blah yackity schmakity

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago

As apt-get kindly upgrades me to unstable (and I prepare for my computer to decay into a superposition of Spectrum and Commodore 64), I decide to update my journal before going back to Fourier transforms of electron densities.

So what shall I write about? Well, I'm currently trying to get up to date with Reports on Progress in Physics, a process that often makes me wish there was an "apt-get update brain" or the like. Also been checking in at the Nature Physics Portal, and the New Journal of Physics. Well it's either that or computing X-ray structure factors, which isn't the most interesting way that one can spend one's Friday afternoon...

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Time capsule

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago

My plan here is to create some random waffle that may or will not be true in a couple of months, so that everyone can have a jolly good tin barf when I'm wrong. At my expense.

OK, it's check date now, and I reckon that this time next month the high-end Apples will be running with PPC 970 processors supplied by Big Blue themselves. I expect these systems will be XServes, and a couple of the high-end PMacs.

Within three months, another % or so will have been shaved off all the existing G3/G4 stock, and some 970-based systems will be on the market.

Watch as I dig my time capsule into the mud, so we can all see how silly I look in years to come...

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Mindless update

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Firstly to annoy that AC, I note that the aforementioned power spike has now done in the cold cathode tube that was lighting up the inside of my computer. Luckily I got a photo of it in action before it died, so all is not lost.

Anyway, as the moment is taken up with Solid State revision, and installing GNUstep for Solaris, this update is being curtailed. This is possibly for the better.

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Oooops....

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Oh dear.

Somehow, a power spike managed to bugger only my SuSE partition, without hosing either Darwin or Windows. OK, thinks I, just slap the old rescue DVD in and...ah. The rescue DVD is scratched to hell. So, off I went to Borders bookstore, in order to buy a new distro, and they only had bloody Red Hat. How annoyed am I? Very.

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Well, I promised retro pooting...

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago

So here it is.

OK so it's not much, but surely it's a start. The Cambridge Z88 is, among other things, a mighty fine emulator of the DEC VT52 terminal. Apart from a couple of things. One is that it only has eight lines compared to the DEC's 24, and the other involves certain key combinations. Well I decided to decompile the terminfo entry for the VT52 using infocmp, and create a Z88-specific entry using tic.

It's not great at the moment, I've only addressed the screen height thing. But hopefully I'll be able to add to its usefulness. Another project being planned is a reverse-engineering of the Eazylink file transfer system, to create a Unix client.

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Retro pooting!

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago Well it's nearly time for me to go home, and that means that my various retro computers might get a bashing. Actually, I'm thinking of developing something for the Spectrum, but haven't got any sense of direction. Maybe a web browser (as proof of concept) would be nice, but I expect it's been done before. E-mail client? Usenet reader? Neverwinter Nights clone?

If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to comment.

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Lord of the Pings

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago Today is the first day of the rest of your life, as someone said.

Actually, today is the first of something, for me. It's the first day in a long while that I haven't had tonneloads of tutorial work to do in Solid State. Therefore, the epic Lord of the Pings will get a complete new whole couple of thousand words. The whole thing will also be changed into a slightly more luser-friendly text format and will appear here when updated. Enjoy.

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Has anyone heard of irony?

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago Apologies for the rant. I've managed to determine a system whereby English members of the /. community can be discovered. If there's a funny comment, and it's been modded flamebait or troll, then this almost certainly means that a British poster has been modded down by an American moderator.
Now I'm not trying to incite a flamewar, or mock the American people, but please, moderators; if you see something you don't understand, don't just mod it down, consider whether it's ironic or sarcastic.
Maybe in this, the 20th year of the smiley :-), we should come up with a system to designate British humour. I hereby announce the UK smiley (also known as the ironicon) £:-).

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Bloody Madelung

grahamlee grahamlee writes  |  more than 11 years ago What with having got two tutorials out of the way today (yippeee!!!) I now have no work for this afternoon. This means I can get back to my pet project - a program to calculate the Madelung constant of crystals!

Well, it's not quite got to that stage, as I realised I need objects that are points, objects that are vectors, objects that are ions, objects that are unit cells, etc. So I think before I can actually write the program I've got to create around half a dozen classes, then work out what to do from there :-/

Thus far it's taken over a week, as a side project. For more programs wot I wrote, check my homepage and someone else's. I also wrote a mean version of Light Cycles for the Amiga, but I don't think the source code's online.

BTW is anyone actually reading this rubbish?

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