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 and jaune sinister, of quatrocons, conjoined to the Mark of Registered Trade - but also make out the motto VENIT FENESTRAE (which, as everybody knows, is Old Visbasian for "Windows is coming") proudly emblazoned in the finest, most delicate Comic Sans that the T-shirt weavers of Old Redmond could fashion.
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.
Stob What are you up, Verity? Ensconced in one of your comfortable, miles-from-any-critical-path projects?
Stob Significant anniversaries bunch together like buses. Three are assaulting me simultaneously, give or take a month or two.
Stob I recently experienced a Damascene conversion and, like many such converts, I am now set on a course of indiscriminate and aggressive proselytising.
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?"
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.
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:
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 Shake in the northwest corner of our floor, surely no such assertion could plausibly be made without first interviewing me?
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 added Annotations.
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.
Google’s latest improvement to its web search has produced a catastrophic consequence. The Chocolate Factory now adds biographical information to the search result for a person, drawing on the fantastically accurate well of truth that is Wikipedia, and also adding Google’s best guess of an identifying photograph.
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?"
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 bizarre concept to digest. For example, what are the Chance cards going to be like?
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
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.
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.
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.
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 classicist in Michael Gove' - Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC website
Stob [We last heard from the Sons of Khan in 2010. The scriptures continue - Ed.]
Stob Ever since Richard Stallman hit the news ...
Stob 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.
Stob I defrosted my ideas box, and found several morsels which wouldn't make a whole meal in themselves, but nonetheless needed eating.
Stob 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:
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 balance of your subscription back.)
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 about, so let me dive in right away with some toothsome details.
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.
Stob Stob Good Morning!!!
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?
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?
A 22-year career chronicling the world of computing programming counts for nothing, it seems. Columnist and author Verity Stob may be nominated for deletion from Wikipedia for not being "notable" enough.
Stob Thursday Medals 0 Rep 0
Stob The Sons of Kahn move on
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.
Stob Don't tell me. I've heard it already. You've got the iPadFever. Or Obsession for iPhone 4. Or iMac Mini Madness.
Stob We had our quality audit the other week. Its cadences seemed curiously familiar.
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.
Stob I hear you're a bit of a Flash programmer. Why is Flash in the news so much, Verity?
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-sized bar of fruit-and-nut.
Stob Moore's Law, I need hardly remind a top-notch industry professional like you, states that as the density of silicon circuitry doubles, the probability of you not being able to find some sensibly-priced extra memory to fit your old lappy approaches 1.0.
Stob What are you doing on Oct 22? Microsoft is putting a Tupperware-style twist on the upcoming Windows 7 rollout, launching a new initiative to encourage thousands of employees, partners and technology enthusiasts to throw parties in their homes and communities to demonstrate and help spread the word about its new OS - Slashdot