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.

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, 9 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 …
Verity Stob, 16 Jan 2012
Richard Stallman, credit: Victor Powell

Riders of the Bearded Sage

Stob Ever since Richard Stallman hit the news ... Whoa there, Verity! Not so fast. Let me check I have this straight. We are talking about the gun-toter who wrote that definitive episode of Frost that everybody is supposed to have seen. Murder in the Cathedral I think it is called. Right? No. You are probably thinking of Eric …
Verity Stob, 21 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Doctor Who and the Unsatisfactory Five Hole Tape Punch

Stob This sentence is false... As soon as I heard about the sponsored Doctor Who-themed parties, I just knew that they would want an article on the early years of Doctor Who IT to include in the special pack. However, since nobody has actually asked me for it yet, you get first dibs. W.O.T.A.N. for Will Operating Thought ANalogue …
Verity Stob, 7 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Verity's secret shame revealed

Stob I defrosted my ideas box, and found several morsels which wouldn't make a whole meal in themselves, but nonetheless needed eating. Palmed off Here you are: a free chance get to laugh at-not-with me. I am a Palm Pre owner, pretty much the last one in the box. I hold this status in a work environment of iPeople. I feel my …
Verity Stob, 19 Sep 2011
The Register breaking news

Here lies /^v.+b$/i

Stob After I've gone In a melancholy mood, this week. Went back home to have a look at Dad's bench. He was a Classics scholar, actually; went up to Cambridge and everything. And so above his name and dates on the brass plaque screwed into the wood, instead of "He loved this place" or something equally fatuous, it says: ORE STABIT …
Verity Stob, 22 Aug 2011
The Register breaking news

Educating Verity the OU way

Stob I think I mentioned that I was doing an Open University PGDip course in software development. (For those not familiar with the institution, the Open University has rightly been described as a sort of mental gym. You join with great enthusiasm; then, after three months, having attended just twice, you can drop out and ask for the …
Verity Stob, 18 Jul 2011
The Register breaking news

Verity Stob and the super subjunction

Stob Just downloaded the beta version of English V3.31, and I have to say I am very excited about it. This is definitely going to be a feather in the cap of Anglophones everywhere, and way better than the notorious V2.99 release of French (or the 'deux point neufty-neuf' as it has become known). There's a ton of new features to talk …
Verity Stob, 1 Jun 2011
The Register breaking news

No stranger to the moleskin trouser

Stob A website called MySpace is 'in a death spiral' according to Mr Robert Scoble, who attributes this unhappy state to its being implemented using Microsoft .NET technology, and because it is headquartered in Los Angeles, where apparently there aren't enough good programmers. Slightly cross-eyed with concentration at his three- …
Verity Stob, 11 Apr 2011

In defence of Comic Sans

Stob Good Morning!!! A Facebook pal recently posted to his status: Whenever you see this font, raise your fists and shout "Comic saaaaans!" This is a splendid idea, and I have already promised him on your behalf that we will all join in this game. But it made me wonder: what is it about Comic Sans that inspires such excitement? …
Verity Stob, 31 Jan 2011
The Register breaking news

The Girl with the NSObject Class Reference tattoo

Stob What better occupation, at this time of year, than to polish up one's IT skills with some background reading? What have the great programming publishers got lined up for our delectation in 2011? Alas, as far as this reviewer is concerned, these rhetorical questions must remain unanswered. A certain Amazon parcel, containing …
Verity Stob, 10 Jan 2011
The Register breaking news

I was timeboxed in a holistic scrum

Stob Do you suffer from unsatisfactory projectile climaxes? Is your software construction methodology previous generation? Do you require the predictable outcome of pre-planning with the flexibility of iteration and the lightness of touch of partially de-hierarchicalised management approaches? No need to say anything. I can tell …
Verity Stob, 29 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

Diary of an Overflow Addict

Stob Thursday Medals 0 Rep 0 Need to write code to hash some passwords. Hmm. Troubled by the suspicion that this has been done before. Wonder if there are any functions in the Windows API to do this that a) aren't insanely complicated to call, or b) are .NET-only, or c) are reserved exclusively for Raymond Chen's use. Googled …
Verity Stob, 5 Oct 2010
Disco

Sons of Kahn: The Apocrypha

Stob The Sons of Kahn move on And it came to pass, as hath previously been extensively documented, that the Sons of Kahn were sold by the Borlandites unto the hyperpolysyllabic Embarcoderhododendrongogogoch. And one acquisition begat another. For, in turn, the Borlandites themselves were absorbed by the tribe of Methuselah-focus …
Verity Stob, 23 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Lord Peter views the logfile

Stob "What is design? Dorothy Sayers (English writer and dramatist - quoted by Brooks) suggests that design has three phases" - InfoQ reviewing Fred 'Mythical Man' Brook's latest tome. I had never realised that the famous crime writer Dorothy L Sayers was one of us - VS. The morning sunshine, filtered, as it were, through London's …
Verity Stob, 26 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

A Rumba with a Roomba

Stob Don't tell me. I've heard it already. You've got the iPadFever. Or Obsession for iPhone 4. Or iMac Mini Madness. Apparently nearly everyone is contemplating dropping hundreds of not-as-big-as-they-were-once ones on an Apple product, and joining in the chorus of boring bores who bore on in boring detail about how lovely the …
Verity Stob, 21 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

I Married a Monster from ISO 9000

Stob We had our quality audit the other week. Its cadences seemed curiously familiar. The solemnisation of the quality system The service is traditionally held in the offices of a software house, as a St Audit's day substitute for matins. The congregation are gathered in the programmers' kitchenette, sipping coffee. Opening …
Verity Stob, 24 May 2010
The Register breaking news

First among SQLs

Stob Legend has it that Edgar 'Ted' Codd got the idea for SQL while attending a 'Sky at Night' spin-off lecture. Patrick Moore, pointing at the blackboard, said: 'Select a star from the table'. 'That's it!', cried Codd, and ran out the door to follow up his inspiration forthwith, missing a good discussion of vulcanoids. Though born …
Verity Stob, 20 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

Is it ta-ta for Flash?

Stob I hear you're a bit of a Flash programmer. Why is Flash in the news so much, Verity? Flash seems to have become the whipping boy for just about everybody in the IT crowd. Now it is under attack from Authentic Steve Jobs, who won't let it play on the iPad, just because the runtime is supposedly a tad flaky. Computer Engineer …
Verity Stob, 1 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Verity Stob's App Store

Stob You have had your Sweet iJesus NexPreDroidBerry smart-like-hell-when-you-get-the-statement-phone for a month or so now. Perhaps the novelty has worn off a device that's much more difficult to use than its primitive predecessor, and which eats its battery charge faster than a New Year's resolution breaker munching an economy- …
Verity Stob, 18 Jan 2010

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