Verity Stob

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Verity Stob is the pseudonym of a software developer based in London. Since 1988, she has written her "Verity Stob" column for .EXE magazine, Dr. Dobb's Journal and, now, The Register.

The Sons of Kahn and the Witch of Wookey

Stob Editor's Note: Verity Stob's Chronicles of Delphi [King James ed.] began in 1996. The most recent translations can be found here: The Sons of Kahn and the assembly language of the internet, here: The Sons of Kahn and the Pascal spring and here: Sons of Kahn: The Apocrypha. Now it came to pass the Sons of Kahn, who did dwell …
Verity Stob, 20 May 2016
London bus photo, by Nando Machado Shutterstock

Alice, Bob and Verity, too. Yeah, everybody's got a story, pal

Stob Once there were a million A&B stories on the Naked Web. Now there are a million-and-one. Alice and Bob are two commonly used placeholder names. They are used for archetypal characters in fields such as cryptography, game theory and physics – Wikipedia I had caught the H[redacted] bus heading east (via Turd Park, Central …
Verity Stob, 07 Mar 2016
Book learning, image via Shutterstock

Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

Stob Functional Programming is the great paradigm shift that is sweeping through software development. The object-oriented era of coding is at last drawing to an inevitable and shameful close. We can – and we must! – all join hands and skip gaily into a brave new world, where sloppy state and careless side effects are excised …
Verity Stob, 13 Jan 2016
The existing, human crewed Caterpillar 797B

Health & Safety is the responsibility of Connor's long-suffering girlfriend

Stob Much discussion of health and safety concentrates on the opportunities the discipline affords our little Hitlers to little-Hitle. But when I did some work on an industrial site recently – this is the most relaxing environment to get your head around a mischievous lump of functional JavaScript, by the way, you absolutely must try …
Verity Stob, 16 Mar 2015
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Bombe machine

A Bombe Called Christopher, or A Very Poor Imitation

Stob Some weeks ago, on the back of superlative-laced recommendatory posts like this one, I took myself off to the Fosse des Puces high art cinema to see The Imitation Game, the new biopic about Alan "Weird Al" Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, I am aware that it is not entirely unknown for Hollywood to apply the odd tweak …
Verity Stob, 26 Jan 2015
George Bush in Game of Thrones

V. R. R. Stob's magnificent saga A Game Of Dog-and-Bones

Stob Laud Satya Nadella stood at the leaded casement of his garret, contemplating the ominous, brooding sky to the south. The flag over the Maeiouster's Hub Complex barely stirred in the still air, so that he could not only see the sigil of his once-proud house - gules and vert oblongs accroupis sur a respectant brace, azure dexter …
Verity Stob, 18 Dec 2014
Uncov chronicles the failure of Web 2.0

Today's bugs have BRANDS? Be still my bleeding heart [logo]

Stob In view of the ongoing security-holed far-too-open source situation, I have decided to convene an emergency meeting of ERCOCC, the El Reg Committee Of Competent Coders, to review what has occurred and how we should go forward. No time for chitter-chattering. Settle down everybody, and juice up the PowerPoint projector please …
Verity Stob, 01 May 2014
Do Not Adjust Your Set

Eight EXCELLENT languages for the fondleslab-friendly Intranet of Thingies

Stob What are you up, Verity? Ensconced in one of your comfortable, miles-from-any-critical-path projects? Actually, I have been sussing out an upgrade path for our longstanding customer x. Do you remember? Certainly I do. It is quite easy to remember 'x'. Even in this age of companies with stupid names, it is unusual. As I recall, …
Verity Stob, 20 Jan 2014

Three Men in a Tardis

Stob Significant anniversaries bunch together like buses. Three are assaulting me simultaneously, give or take a month or two. Two are personal. This writer has now been churning out "Stob" columns for 25 years, and has also recently racked up twice that figure on her personal chronological odometer. But I am here to mark yet …
Verity Stob, 12 Nov 2013

Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Stob I recently experienced a Damascene conversion and, like many such converts, I am now set on a course of indiscriminate and aggressive proselytising. Ladies and gentlemen, place your ears in the amenable-to-bended position, and stand by to be swept along by the next great one-and-only true movement. The beginning In the …
Verity Stob, 04 Oct 2013

Verity's summer songs for programmers: Sing your pals to sleep()

Stob "What better way to dispel the rainy gloom of an English summer," mused Ms Stob, in an introduction presumably written some time in March, "than a mass office sing-along to a selection of IT-themed pastiches?" Pretty well anything, we'd have thought. Nevertheless, here is the raw material. Portable Development (Tune: Willow, …
Verity Stob, 22 Jul 2013

Bjarne Again: Hallelujah for C++

Stob Now it has been scientifically demonstrated that we Delphi users are the happiest of all programmers, proper significance can at last be attached to the rare woes that occasionally break through our Stepford Coder personas. My test case: Warren Postma, a Delphi-head, was recently forced out of his comfort zone to repair a C++ …
Verity Stob, 17 Jun 2013
International Space Station

In space, no one can hear your laptop Blue Screen

Stob Reg columnist Verity Stob says she's uncovered the following string of eye-opening electronic missives between the International Space Station's crew members. First, some context: "A NASA contractor deeply involved in Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) operations, decided to migrate to Linux. Chuvala oversees …
Verity Stob, 07 May 2013
management governance3

Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Stob When I heard, in a tutorial video, the multi-platform programmer's editor Sublime described as "the cool kids' code editor" (or possibly "the Cool Kid's code editor" - the speaker didn't enunciate his capitals and apostrophes very clearly) I was puzzled. As the goto (or, rather, the call-by-reference) consultant on Agile Harlem …
Verity Stob, 11 Mar 2013

Who ate all the Pis?

Stob 10/11/2012 I want a Raspberry Pi. I must have a Raspberry Pi. My home PC is drab. My Mac Mini is dusty. My iPad, which in my case I have not got, is a fatuous slab of plastic. Let me see the glimmer of the surface-mounted LED, and smell the green, green circuit board of 'Made in China'. But a Raspberry Pi is an example of …
Verity Stob, 29 Jan 2013
babbage's analytical engine by gastev licensed under creative commons

8086 and All That. Revisited

Stob Editor's Note: Verity Stob's celebrated history of computing was first published in EXE magazine in 1997, but has been unobtainable on the internets for several years. Now, thanks to the painstaking reconstruction of small pieces of parchment, and a small monetary inducement, we can now bring it to you as a Seasonal Treat. With …
Verity Stob, 22 Dec 2012

The Sons of Kahn and the assembly language of the internet

Stob Editor's Note: Verity Stob's Chronicles of Delphi [King James ed.] began in 1996. The most recent translations can be found here: The Sons of Kahn and the Pascal spring and here: Sons of Kahn: The Apocrypha. Zany adventures with Zarco and Marco And the users of Delphi had become old with the passage of years, and had taken to …
Verity Stob, 11 Dec 2012

Stob on Quatermass: Was this British TV's finest sci-fi hour?

Stob Special In the pub, with my editor. "Those sci-fi classics of the fifties," he mused. "Not the Hammer remakes - the originals. Are they really classics? How do they compare with modern Doctor Who? Are they even watchable?" [Dissolve to Stob's flat. A portable computing machine is displaying the Amazon website's DVD section. Pan to a …
Verity Stob, 08 Nov 2012

Five go wild with the Administration Tools Pack

Stob As you have surely heard, it’s Alan Turing’s centenary this year, and the Bletchley Park museum is celebrating by releasing a game of Monopoly themed on the life of that mathematical genius. I’ll pause for a sentence or two here, while you let your boggle levels equalise, because, given Turing’s life story, this is a quite a …
Verity Stob, 23 Oct 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love IPv6

Stob IPv4 addresses are a rapidly dwindling commodity [...] ICANN distributed the last big chunks of available IPv4 addresses to the five continental Regional Internet Registries earlier this year. The RIRs in turn are running out of supplies to allocate to ISPs and other network operators - El Reg Somewhere in the near future... …
Verity Stob, 21 Aug 2012

Welcome, friend, to Metroland

Stob When I saw that my editor had written 'Metro isn't the problem: catapulting into Metro land (and back again) is', I said: 'There's an idea - I could do try out the Betj pastiche macro in my HTML editor'. And scurried out the door before anybody thought to stop me. Metroland Bright with non-translucent tiling, Pastel blobs …
Verity Stob, 09 Jul 2012
management management3

Stuck in a dull conference? You need Verity's survival guide

Stob The technical conference season is once more upon us. The speakers at these affairs spend a lot of time sharing their software design patterns and anti-patterns with us; as a regular attendee it seemed to me that we punters were overdue for revenge. Here is some of their own medicine. Pattern: BTDTGTTS Motivation: At a talk …
Verity Stob, 14 May 2012
Steampunk fan with goggles

Hold on, Booker prize judges - Stob's penned a steampunk hit

Stob Somewhere on the hard drive of every programmer-wannabe-writer’s laptop there is the first chapter of an unfinished steam punk novel. Here’s mine. Clockwork iPhones all round It was late and I was tired, so on the way home I nipped into a Mesco Tetro to pick up a ping meal for dinner. When it came to paying, the self-service …
Verity Stob, 17 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

Molesworth and the New Latin

Stob 'In his speech [...] the Education Secretary Michael Gove appeared to accept in its entirety the argument that ICT had become little more than training in office skills and something far more rigorous was required [...] While Alex Hope's slogan "coding is the new Latin" did not appeal to some, it must have appealed to the …
Verity Stob, 27 Feb 2012
The Register breaking news

The Sons of Khan and the Pascal Spring

Stob [We last heard from the Sons of Khan in 2010. The scriptures continue - Ed.] The woes of Techdom And it came to pass that the seasons rose and fell, and financial crisis waned while new financial crisis waxed, and the Kimjongilia flower did wither and fade on the vine. But misfortune struck the code cutters of Java, who were …
Verity Stob, 16 Jan 2012