AboutMiddle-aged dude working tech support for storage/cloud company but interested in pivoting to software development
SkillsInterested in .NET (F#/C#), Ocaml, and other languages with functional aspects
Joined devRant on 7/24/2019
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I have a Windows machine sitting behind the TV, hooked to two controllers, set up as basically a console for the big TV. It doesn't get a lot of use, and mostly just churns out folding@home work units lately. It's connected by ethernet via a wired connection, and it has a local static IP for the sake of simplicity.
In January, Windows Update started throwing a nonspecific error and failing. After a couple weeks I decided to look up the error, and all the recommendations I found online said to make sure several critical services were running. I did, but it appeared to make no difference.
Yesterday, I finally engaged MS support. Priyank remoted into my machine and attempted all the steps I had already tried. I just let him go, so he could get through his checklist and get to the resolution steps. Well, his checklist began and ended with those steps, and he started rather insistently telling me that I had to reinstall, and that he had to do it for me. I told him no thank you, "I know how to reinstall windows, and I'll do it when I'm ready."
In his investigation though, I did notice that he opened MS Edge and tried to load Bing to search for something. But Edge had no connection. No pages would load. I didn't take any special notice of it at the time though, because of the argument I was having with him about reinstalling. And it was no great loss to me that Edge wasn't working, because that was literally the first time it'd ever been launched on that computer.
We got off the phone and I gave him top marks in the CS survey that was sent, as it appeared there was nothing he could do. It wasn't until a couple hours later that I remembered the connectivity problem. I went back and checked again. Edge couldn't load anything. Firefox, the ping command, Steam, Vivaldi, parsec and RDP all worked fine. The Windows Store couldn't connect either. That was when it occurred to me that its was likely that Windows Update was just unable to reach the internet.
As I have no problem whatsoever with MS services being unable to call home, I began trying to set up an on-demand proxy for use when I want to update, and I noticed that when I fill out the proxy details in Internet Options, or in Windows 10's more windows10-ish UI for a system proxy, the "save" button didn't respond to clicks. So I looked that problem up, and saw that it depends on a service called WinHttpAutoProxySvc, which I found itself depends on something called IP Helper, which led me to the root cause of all my issues: IP Helper now depends on the DHCP Client service, which I have explicitly disabled on non-wifi Windows installs since the '90s.
Just to see, I re-enabled DHCP Client, and boom! Everything came back on. Edge, the MS Store, and Windows Update all worked. So I updated, went through a couple reboots-- because that's the name of the game with windows update --and had a fully updated machine.
It occurred to me then that this is probably how MS sends all its spy data too, and since the things I actually use work just fine, I disabled DHCP Client again. I figure that's easier than navigating an intentionally annoying menu tree of privacy options that changes and resets with every major update.
But holy shit, microsoft! How can you hinge the entire system's OS connectivity on something that not everybody uses?9
Languages without a fully implemented type system.
Granted, it has been a fad for a quarter century, but everything points at one simple fact: Types matter in programming.
In dynamic languages, you tend to see that testing suites explode into thousands of tests, many of which wouldn't even be necessary if you had some type safety.
You see that languages like JS are forked into more typesafe dialects, like Typescript. Python got typehints since 3.6, and PHP added typehints for methods, then typehints for properties, and will soon even have compound types.
Maybe most languages will never reach the level of Haskell or Scala, and that's totally fine, but I think the direction languages are moving in is pretty much set in stone: No ambiguity, more safety. Code should fail before deploying, not after.37
I do not understand people who critique Python for using indentation to mark code blcoks. I've seen multiple posts being like "Uhh in Python a missing space breaks everything and it's so hard to find it". Yeah so hard when the interpreter throws a parse error and tells you exactly which line it's on. Let me go back to a bracefest language, misplace a brace halfway through the file, and get told there's a syntax error at the end, and spend a whole two minutes finding it.11
Didn't know the new hype operating system "others", but with 704% market share it's gotta be amazing!2
Toilets and race conditions!
A co-worker asked me what issues multi-threading and shared memory can have. So I explained him that stuff with the lock. He wasn't quite sure whether he got it.
Me: imagine you go to the toilet. You check whether there's enough toilet paper in the stall, and it is. BUT now someone else comes in, does business and uses up all paper. CPUs can do shit very fast, can't they? Yeah and now you're sitting on the bowl, and BAMM out of paper. This wouldn't have happened if you had locked the stall, right?
Him: yeah. And with a single thread?
Me: well if you're alone at home in your appartment, there's no reason to lock the door because there's nobody to interfere.
Him: ah, I see. And if I have two threads, but no shared memory, then it is as if my wife and me are at home with each a toilet of our own, then we don't need to lock either.