Digital Magazines Suck

No one wants to read them. I mean, I don’t, but for proof check-out Zinio, the premier online purveyor of smut ’n’ magazines: Look for the slightest hint they’re selling electrons instead of dead trees. They describe their subscriptions as containing issues as if they were ’jes like those wonderful bundles of advertising & tripe you used to line the cat tray with.

But no; hidden in the puffery they use the phrase “digital magazine” — so someone has sued them! ... But wait, that’s MacWorld. ... Maxim has no such disclaimer; but Playboy does, along with a warning about how “it will no longer feature nudity in its pages”. ... Well really the inconsistency’s just incompetence, the hallmark of online biz in general....

But nobody wants to read this stuff....

— the physical-book-loving programmer
9/16

Anders Hejlsberg and the scripts: The Great Circle

Mr. Hejlsberg is the brilliant brain behind the (Borland) Turbo Pascal and Delphi RAD IDEs — the latter the fierce enemy (and copycat) of Microsoft’s Visual Basic. Both VB and Delphi were RAD GUI IDEs that produce Windows GUI programs. VB, although capable of compilation in later (post-Delphi) versions, nevertheless seemed to prefer interpreted code, like its non-GUI predecessor Basics; that is, it’s a script language — and the .NET incarnation of the product, although it discarded much of the barbaric syntax of its nominal ancestor, has returned to its roots to the extent that interpreted script output is again the only mode, like the other .NET languages with the exception of C++. ... Delphi, on the other hand, has never produced interpreted output, always compiling to real native 808x code (until its latter-day degenerate .NET versions, that is) — like its predecessor, Turbo Pascal....

So Hejlsberg went to work for Microsoft around 1996.

In an interview I saw — somewhere around channel9.msdn.com? — it was referenced in a 5/06 PCPlus article on the coming dissolution of Delphi and all for which it stands — he said only one stupid thing, which is a pretty remarkable performance for 50 minutes or so of video....

... But what struck me, in these latter days, was what a success Turbo Pascal and then Delphi were — and how totally without imitation! ... The interviewer asks Hejlsberg how he came up with this brilliant idea in the early ’80s, and Hejlsberg tries to explain it wasn’t really an idea; it’s just the obvious way people would want to develop code — edit, compile, the editor puts you right at any compile errors, and then you can breakpoint, step, run — all from within the editor — and so he tried to make it that way. ... And he did; and thousands and thousands of programmers, including me, were thrilled, for years and years and years. ... Indeed, he quietly averred Delphi still hasn’t been matched — i.e. a native-code RAD GUI IDE/compiler — which is quite correct. ... One can quibble about obscure expensive Windows offerings, but it’s particularly striking that in the ten years since Delphi, the Linux world hasn’t gotten anything as good as Turbo Pascal, much less Delphi! ... Except when Borland itself offered their ill-fated Delphi-for-Linux Kylix, which the Linuxoids scornfully disdained, supposedly because it didn’t have a GNU-enough license....

... Indeed, I’ve always thought it’s fairly obvious that one reason Linux/Unix had so many little script languages — there’s a new one every few months — is precisely because they didn’t have Turbo Pascal!1 ... And yet, no one’s bothered to make a Turbo clone, much less a GNU-licensed Delphi-like IDE (well actually the poignantly-named Lazarus is perennially almost there). ... I’m not sure why that is; I’m inclined to credit paranoid suspicions about guruistic know-it-all insiderist techie I’ve-got-a-secret and-you-don’t supposedly smart guys. ... The average code developer just can’t bear the idea of an EZ way for mortals to write compiled native code without the grinding intricacy that coding, and especially GUI coding, typically requires; I mean, then, anybody could write software....

The Final Irony

Whatever. ... The final irony is simple: Microsoft brought Hejlsberg over for the scripting language to end all scripting languages: first, the aborted Microsoft Java, and then, the towering scriptiness of C# and .NET. ... Despite being instrumental in the creation of what will apparently be the high point of GUI/RAD/native-code compilation, Hejlsberg, and Microsoft, expended vast intellectual and other resources to create an interpreted language system — i.e. the flowering of the dream of UCSD P-code, the antediluvian interpreted Pascal system which Borland pretty-much put out of business generations ago....

... So there’s your movie, folks. For some reason, the computer world must subsist on interpreted scripts because native code is too dangerous; too expensive. ... Too useful? ... Even ’though Turbo Pascal wowed ’em in the 80s, the new millennia must have scripts....

Annoyed at Scripts

I’m annoyed at script systems mostly because they’re one more thing that can screw-up. ... If I write a Delphi program, I expect it to work on numerous machines other than the one I wrote it on. ... With a script, no matter how cute, I expect (1.) the script interpreter to be missing, (2.) the correct version etc. to be missing, (3.) the interpreter to be incompatible in some way that is beyond the comprehension of all living things, (4.) and etc. ... I concede, what with security and the ever-rushing multiplication of junk, I’m probably just delusional — i.e. everything’s like that in these latter days!...

And of course, despite seeming like a wrong turn to me ... it’s not even that popular! ... Throngs did not rush to embrace C# and .NET, despite Microsoft’s most $incere efforts. ... I doubt this has anything to do with the company’s foolish neglect of native compilation, and more with the changing nature of the whole ball of wax, but it’s still a little cold consolation as my trivial career in little computers trickled away! ... At least we had fast native compilers, young ’un, back in the day; not these rinky-tinky script thingeys....

The Fall

And now, in the end times — about 10 years? — it is reported that in Windows 8, Microsoft is dumping .NET for — gasp! — HTML and javascript! ... So they can be cross-platform; or something. ... I saw the forums (linked by slashdot); they were mad with grief and anger. ... And so a great scripty language falls. And I still program in 2001 Delphi 7. Or C language. Or even C-- in a good wind. ... And, of course, thousands of lines of assembler....

— Tuesday, June 14, 2011 3:13 pm


1. After a 2-hour session with BASH for a minor script change, I would have to submit another likely suspect for the ubiquity of the little Linux script languages: the ABSOLUTE AWFUL STUPID SCUMMY MORONIC BASH oral-tradition alleged script language. ... It’s that good. ... It’s not really Unix’s fault, but it is a pitifully annoying public shame, especially after years of these snooty morons’ august put downs of the pathetic MSDOS batch language — which has a known limited set of rules, and can actually be used by mortals without 10 years of trench experience. ... That, of course, is why Microsoft has been furiously imitating Linux with new super-script languages and a thousand syntactical rules; the latest, I believe, is “power shell”. ... But they’ll never catch up; BASH has special syntactical rules for every single punctuation mark; numbers of them; constellations! ... I was foolishly trying to allow the user — me — to query the proc like “proc ?” but “?” of course is a wild card — one BASH book didn’t even have it in the index! They forgot — which is one of the many extreme annoyances of this briliant script chaos, as I have already whined-about in my brilliant essay on recursive grep.

Dr. Dobbs: The Last of the Programming Magazines?

At least, the last of the old programming magazines died. ... Visual Studio Magazine was supposedly still going, but I didn’t see a newsstand copy for a while; a few Java and Microsoft magazines limped on. ... I only picked up an issue now and then, because their algorithm focus has never appealed — shockingly, I’ve found programming is rarely about finding the latest cleverest way to do something, but more like finding some feasible reliable relatively nonbuggy way. ... Anyway, somewhere in the interval they dropped the letters column, a sure sign the end is near. ... One of the minor puzzles about the Dobbs debacle is how the publisher CMP (1.) shut-down Software Development Magazine first; then (2.) transferred many of the SDM features to Dobbs; and finally (3.) didn’t transfer the excellent SDM editor Alexandra Morales, who apparently was just let to wander off into the night. ... I suppose since the magazines were all closing anyway, it’s hardly important....

The obvious place all these magazines are going is the internet (but see my other cranky theories), and indeed the last few magazine collapses I’ve attended included relentless promotion of the magazine’s “web page” or “portal”, and Dobbs is no exception. ... So sad. ... It’s true when I’m looking for technical information, I turn to the internet first, and I suppose these programming magazines have survived for years mostly by persuading newcomers to pay them to learn about programming, which doesn’t work anymore since everyone knows about the internet....

But one of the things I learned early-on in my internet years — and before, in the days of dial-up bulletin boards! — was that positively the worst sites were the magazines’; they were almost always out-of-date and broken. The best sites have been — and as far as I know, continue to be — low- or non-profits, run at least to some extent for the amusement of the web master.

It does not do to rail against fate, but I will miss the tawdry magazines — perhaps as much for their snooty pretensions as anything else! ... My goodness, the latest Dobbs finally admitted that Java occasionally stops for a few seconds to garbage collect — just like my 6809 Radio Shack Color Computer Microsoft Basic! ... I’ve never seen that admission in any magazine before! How many years did it take to ’fess up!? ... And to whom do I complain now? No letters column and, soon, no magazine! ... Oh how I loved to fume and write cranky letters to the editor!...

— the autumnal programmer
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 6:19 pm
& 4/16

The Hammer has Fallen

Yes @ Wednesday, January 28, 2009 2:36 pm, Dr. Dobbs has passed from this world of light but, oddly, not to the vaporous online realms; no, they wound-up as a pitiful occasional section in the still physically-incarnated [in 2009] Information Week, which I may have started getting because of this, or which I may have been throwing-away for months or years. ... The upside:

  • It took longer than I expected! ... But I still mourn....

  • The gimpel ad apparently went with them, so it’s still “the longest continuously advertised software tool in human history” as they continuously boast.

  • Various annoying excrescences which appeared on a regular basis — columns by beloved wacky personalities, relentless promotion of various programming cults — have apparently departed.

Be at peace, oh wandering dubious programming spirit....

And again ...

Wed 12/17/14. Slashdot announces “Dr. Dobb’s — long time icon of programming magazines — ‘sunsets’ at the end of the year”. Slashdot indulges in a common innocent collusion of pretending that this was the real Dobb’s, instead of its pitiful ghostly afterlife web version....

So What Happened to .NET? (hint: where is Microsoft Office.net?)

I saw some amusing whispering in a British computer magazine about how Vista, the new Microsoft operating system to come (in 2007?), had very little .NET in it — despite years of Microsoft propaganda that .NET would be absolutely central to upcoming operating systems, with the very tip-top features unavailable to plain ol’ Win32 code. ... How could that be, they wondered plaintively? ... This is so obvious I begin to think I’m getting senile. ... But then again, I’m apparently the only one who remembers why Al Gore was vice president!* ... Ok that makes the senility obvious....

... Anyway, folks, .NET was the anti-Java! ... Microsoft was kicked-out of their own Java when they tried to “extend” it (Sun successfully sued), and at that time everyone was sure the wonderful glistening future of the internet was going to be all Java, all the time! ... .NET was an obvious strategic move; if Microsoft couldn’t flog Java, it could do better-than-Java! ... But that was all it was; Microsoft has enough money so they can do these things and, if Java had remained robust and wonderful instead of fading into the woodwork — well Microsoft might well have continued concentrating and indeed put all kinds of tasty Vista features out of reach of all but the .NET privileged. ... But that didn’t happen....

— Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:43 am

* Ross Perot. The Clinton/Gore ticket was highly unusual for a national party, because it didn’t have “regional balance”; normally the southern Clinton would have been “balanced” by a northeastern Democrat, or at least someone from outside the South. ... What people forget is Ross Perot was, at the time, the “middle way”; no one was sure whether he was liberal/conversative. Only later did he become thought-of as a Bush spoiler. ... And with Bush from Texas like Perot, Clinton picked Gore to help neutralize Perot. ... Of course since then, with the great success of Clinton/Gore — they beat the balanced Bush/what’s-his-name — the unbalanced ticket has become more accepted, i.e. Bush/Cheney. ... And then again, Kerry/what’s-his-name was a return to the old ways....


The Fabulous UPX and Program Shrinkage

We old school programmers have always been horrified at the sheer size of Windows. We grew-up with microcomputers: little harmless systems where a really large file might be 20,000 bytes — barely detectable today. So when I wandered into MSDOS and then Windows, I was fond of gadgets that would reduce the size of programs. LZEXE is a well-known free DOS utility (in French!), but it wouldn’t work with even Windows 3.1 programs, much less the 32-bit monstrosities of Windows 9x etc. I paid $100 for the “Shrinker” utility in 8/98, but it stopped working in various ways and sank without a trace.

But I found out why: the fabulous free open-source command-line UPX, at http://upx.sourceforge.net. As well as WIN32 EXEs and DLLs, it’ll do MSDOS (but not as good as LZEXE for some reason), and various other operating systems including Linux. The shrinkage with UPX (or any of these programs) varies with the wind, but 50% is not unusual. Of course this is not necessarily good: Windows and other hotsy-totsy systems (i.e. aprés MSDOS) might play efficiency tricks with the EXEs to support multiple users (you do of course have several terminals attached to your W9x machine?) and swapping, which tricks might be defeated if the EXE isn’t a proper image. I shrink anyway because (1.) tricks-schmix, and (2.) my program output is so small-time that the disk “footprint” is more important — i.e., make it fit on a floppy disk, download, etc. ... whatever....


The Primitive Struggle for FTP: AT&T? Filezilla? — it’s Dreamhost, of course, weakened in the malevolent grip of Windows 8, & 10....

Just to be clear: DO NOT PUT YOUR WEBSITE ON DREAMHOST. ... Of course none of the with-it kids have web sites anymore, just facebook pages or their phone somehow, but Dreamhost are lying incompetents. Their bengladeshi script reader “support” doesn’t even bother to pretend to be reading my pitiful whines, and just spews-out canned nonsense. Could be a really stupid AI working off keywords.

... Every time this kind of thing happens, I gullibly believe them again, knowing full well from tons of previous experience they’re ignorant helpless wandering lost souls at best, but I just forget and engage in pitiful 1-sided “communcation” with these idiots, somehow believing. ... I’m still at dreamhost because I’m too lazy to bother finding another incompetent fraudulent lying web host outfit....

We did have exciting adventures with AT&T “U-verse” but they sent hordes of marching minions and actually fixed it eventually — mostly, I suspect, by replacing the router with a new rendition which supported FTP and other exciting novelties — one of which, to be sure, was the cable television, which involved replacing that box. So everything worked fine, for months! Even on Windows 8! ... Then I’d guess Usux™ did some kind of ipv6 Win8 update something, and my “poing.bat” which pings this site, the holy Dreamhost-hosted owenlabs.org, consistently failed. I didn’t realize until later that Filezilla also would upload no more forever on Win8, since I use a good ol’ Win7 machine for that.

Behold! “Rob” At Dreamhost Confirms: No Ftp @ Dreamhost w/Windows 8

This is really the story of the poor addled webmaster — me! — idiotically pestering Dreamhost “technical support” — doubtless one of the 17,000 symptoms of onrushing mild cognitive impairment, imagining these fictitious tech support personnel were anything but pitiful ignorant minions + laptop + script somewhere in deepest Bangladesh or even Omaha....

Anyway, from my two Windows 8 machines, the famous FOSS Filezilla FTP client won’t connect with my Dreamhost-hosted website, but will from several Windows 7 machines — on at least some of which, to be sure, I’ve disabled ipv6. ... I’ll undoubtedly get around to dumping Dreamhost eventually if they don’t wink-out before then, massively disrupting the vast teeming fan community of this site; and/or Windows 8 for that matter (done 3/16). ... And my precious stupid Dreamhost real-mailbox thing also is gershtunk from Windows 8. Not Filezilla; this is the FOSS Thunderbird email client, another widely-used and esteemed program with which Dreamhost + Win8 don’t work — I can receive email, but sending it arouses incoherent security stupidity errors, presumably because Dreamhost hasn’t bothered to update the 17,000 certificates which is what I pay it vast sums for.

Summary

Dreamhost + Windows 7 + Filezilla works on Windows 7. Apparently I suppressed ipv6 on some win7 machines, but not all (?).

Users of Dreamhost hosting and Windows 8 or Windows 10

  1. Cannot connect to Dreamhost with FTP, and thus cannot change the content of their web site.

  2. Cannot write email from their Dreamhost mailbox, if they have one.

I didn’t actually test Windows 10; I just assume the fictitious support simulacrum was lying when it claimed, as an excuse for why it was unable to work on Windows 8, that it was working incredibly wonderful on Windows 10! — that was around the 137th email. I assume the cunning lizards realized I didn’t have a windows 10 system, so that was a good lie to pretend while typing on their chromebooks/watching porn.

... And indeed six months later or so I finally managed to get a working-as-much-as-it-ever-does win10 system which indeed could not connect to dreamhost. And I turned-off ipv6 (but only in network and sharing). ... The esteemed “lying scum” award is well-deserved....

Ping Failure

It’s simple. If I go “ping owenlabs.org” on a win7 machine (on which I may have crudely disabled ipv6, possibly), it goes

Pinging owenlabs.org [66.33.223.250] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 66.33.223.250: bytes=32 time=56ms TTL=48
Reply from 66.33.223.250: bytes=32 time=56ms TTL=48
Reply from 66.33.223.250: bytes=32 time=56ms TTL=48
Reply from 66.33.223.250: bytes=32 time=57ms TTL=48

but from a win8 or win10 machine

Pinging owenlabs.org [2607:f298:5:101b::11a:37bb] with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for 2607:f298:5:101b::11a:37bb:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

even if I crudely disabled ipv6. And of course going “ping -4 owenlabs.org” works perfect on win7, 8, & 10. So the scum-sucking lying retard robots at dreamhost are just merrily cashing-out as the web hosting market stumbles into oblivion, and the people flock to facebook or wordpress or just hang out with their phones. And dreamhustle will never implement ipv6 no matter what crazy ideas usux’s got. ... I went to my dreamsux “web panel” and “added” a “free” IPV6 address. AGAIN. And then I went

ping 2607:f298:5:101b::11a:37bb

the EXACT ADDRESS I HAD SUPPOSEDLY JUST ADDED — and which it’s supposedly had all along (see above) — and it timed-out. As it will tomorrow, saecula saeculorum, world without end....

Victory over Dreamhost vs IPV6 vs Filezilla?

Create (new “DWORD value”) or set

"DisabledComponents"=dword:000000ff

in registry section

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters]

as per so-always-helpful microsoft page which probably won’t be there when you go to it. ... I think I got there by googling “filezilla ipv4”. ... And then of course, reboot....

And then I could filezilla to my dreamhost site from Windows 10.

Idiotic Discussion

See, in Windows 7 I could kill ipv6 by disabling the ipv6 component in the “network sharing center” properties of the afflicted interface. Or, apparently, doing nothing, presumably depending on recent “upgrades” and moon phase....

But Windows 10 is too wily and requires stronger mumbo-jumbo, as per the above. Probably works for Windows 8, but I didn’t try. ... And then I did, and it didn’t work in my Windows 8 system. It gets past the stupid connect, but then does “Authentication failed”. ... Sigh....

So I posted my sad story at the filezilla forum where it will doubtless receive wide acclaim....

Obscure Excuses

I am now guessing that dreamhost’s sin, as is so common in the phoney-baloney world of techie lies & pretensions, is shared by other hosting companies. I suspect the trick is the most people don’t use FTP anymore, the tradition-scorning twits, settling for some silly proprietary nonsense or maybe they ftp in a web browser or, Heaven forfend, with a Macintosh!?!?! ... But I do know that hostmatters.com, a fairly well-known hosting company, doesn’t even respond to “ip -6 hostmatters.com” while the “-4” version works great. Actually “ping -6 dreamhost.com” doesn’t work either now, which I vaguely remember working before. ... These important tests I was careful to make on a system where I haven’t neutered ipv6, which can be easily demonstrated with “ping -6 google.com” which of course works perfectly — and reliably fails on my neutered systems. ... All the hosting companies have to lie about it; that’s just simple internettery. ... Interestingly, this site claims dreamhost is all ipv6ed-up except for that little DNS thing, which I think means you can use ipv6 numeric addresses which is no doubt the latest thing — but as usual I’m wrong. ... Well I also tested the web browser theory and that doesn’t seem to go either. Maybe the proprietary host program? ... Or the eye of a newt. ... Of course the legendary worldwide enthusiasm for Win8 and 10 naturally helps. ... On the macbook, after I figured out how to get the terminal (^left click, services; with a mouse it might still be right-click) the “ping6” command seemed to have the same inspiring results as windows so who knows or cares....

— the sometimes-irritated but usually kindly geezer programmer
11/16


Residence Inn Gershtunk

  • Charlottesville plumbing in the night.

    Charlottesville VA Thursday 10/1/15: NO WATER. The printed excuse in our room after we foolishly checked-in anyway was dated 9/30/15 — so I guess they figured they’d do some scheduled maintenance and find-out how many surprised guests were stupid-enough, like us, to buy it. It got turned-on around 12:50 am. ... Fun.

  • Charlotte NC (interstate 77) Saturday 10/03/2015 ~7:45 pm. NO ELECTRICITY. The place was dark. We saw one guest scurrying around with a handful of flashlights — or perhaps she was staff, with all the flashlights she could find. There were many cars parked, and maybe it was another attempt to see how much the market would bear — but we went elsewhere. And of course the guests were presumably surprised by the outage; and perhaps even the management....

    I emphasize that the shopping center or whatever it was we just drove out-of was lit-up brightly; only the Charlotte i77 Residence Inn was totally dark. Now I know it seems unlikely that incompetence / neglect alone could somehow accomplish this magical disaster, but my immediately-previous Charlottesville experience had trained me to suspect anything, and I do. ... And, right, even if they were Totally Surprised — where’s the emergency lighting?!?! .... In a wonderfully well-maintained state no doubt....

Through the wandering years, many Residence Inns have provided dribbling showers and other tantalizing amenities. One refrigerator was totally gershtunk — although deceptively lit-up — so now we check every time we enter a room. And some Residence Inns are quite acceptable; the Harrisonburg VA place has always been good. ... Although they all share a certain scarcity of working luggage carts....

The Magnificent Fraudulence of Homewood Suites ...

5/17. I must not omit the outstanding performance of Homewood Suites Norcross GA, which delightfully surprised us not only with no luggage carts — but no elevator! ... What we thought was the average over-priced suite, just because the web site said so, turned-out to be a delightful “alpine” style up-the-stairs affair carrying your luggage, and don’t forget your climbing pitons! ... Ah such golden memories. ... But a beautiful romantic fireplace, just like the last such scam we encountered so many years ago. ... Go to the web site and gaze upon the beautiful pictures — not a trace of the invigorating stairs, up which guests must struggle with their luggage and annoying family members. ... And it’s so wonderful they’ve made a separate peace with the ADA. ... And I must admit, aside from the usual amenities such as the Desk of Darkness and the dribble faucets, the rooms were OK once we struggled up to them. ... Then again, the towel bar that fell off the wall isn’t really standard ... but at least there was water!

... But after the quartermaster pestered them with brutal web complaints, Homewood did refund half....