Carlos Fenollosa — Blog

Thoughts on science and tips for researchers who use computers

Links for 2019-11-10

November 10, 2019 — Carlos Fenollosa

Windows backwards compatibility is amazing

The Windows Update Marathon in a VM: From Windows 1.01 to XP (5 min, in German) and Upgrading Windows NT 3.51 to Windows 10 via 2000, XP, Vista, 8 and 8.1 in under a minute (1 min, video) both via

Windows 95 opening Windows 3.1 apps

I can already hear the Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and XP startup sounds in my head. Can you?

Of course, nostalgia paints everything with rose colored glasses. Windows 3.1 was an amazing improvement over DOS. 95 brought real multitasking but it crashed constantly. 98 SE was the shit. XP started a bit wonky but with SP2 became a great OS. And anything that came later just sucks

Which brings us to...

Windows is not for OP

Back to windows after twenty years (2 min, via)

Apple's stubborn four-year refusal to fix the terminally broken butterfly keyboard design led me to a crazy experiment last week: Giving Windows a try for the first time in twenty years.

I have done this, for the same reasons (see link above)


Anyway, I started this experiment on a Monday. I kept going all the way through Friday. Using the laptop as I would any other computer for the internet, and my new hobby of dealing with the stubbed toes of setting up a *nix development environment, but when I got to Saturday I just... gave up

Yup, seems about right.

Several top Spanish companies hit by ransomware

Everis and others hit by ransomware (2 min, Tweetstorm, in Spanish, via and discussion in English)

Two years ago, Telefonica, the Spanish telco, was hit by Wannacry, too

Ransomware is pretty scary. However, when you remember how viruses in the past just deleted your files, it makes you think. Do you prefer total destruction or a possibility of recovery through blackmail?


  • Check your backups
  • Keep your OS always up to date
  • Don't use Windows unless strictly necessary

Spain passes its own "PATRIOT Act"

Críptica analyzes the new Spanish Digital Act (2 min, Tweetstorm, in Spanish)

Yes, Spain has hit the tech news twice this week.

Well, it was a matter of time. Spain already had a law which allowed the Government to close websites without a court order, which is outrageous on itself and has recently been used already to silence political dissent.

Now, the Government will have power to cut communications infrastructure (i.e. cellphone signal, internet at the ISP level) in situations where national security is at risk (ok) but also to protect public order (not ok)

Since any protest can disrupt public order, this new mechanism can be used almost indiscriminately.

Note: This law has been tuned by an acting government, during the general elections campaign.

All issues of the now defunct Linux Journal

Linux Journal complete (PDF) collection (RH, via) is an archive of the recently discontinued Linux Journal, a veteran in the industry.


Web vs native

Apple Is Trying to Kill Web Technology (2 min, via) is a manifesto that defends web apps.

In my opinion, it is misleading because it blames Apple, not the Electron developers, who are at fault for accessing private APIs. That is another topic of discussion, but hey, isn't it ironic? If you develop a web app that accesses private APIs, maybe you would be better served by a... native app?

Regardless, there a few valid points:

Apple's control over its app ecosystem is a new type of monopoly that's hard to understand for lawmakers, and difficult for us to fight back against — because there simply isn't a way out of these restrictions when the company controls both the distribution method and the platform itself

But again, this has nothing to do with Electron using private APIs to try and suck less.

I hate Electron apps, in case you didn't notice. Sorry. Everybody has their own biases.

Bash toolchain

Library for bash utility methods and tools, Shell Script Library, Bash Automated Testing System and Bash Infinity, a modern boilerplate / framework / standard library for bash (RH, via)

You may know I'm a Bash fan, so these finds are like gold to me.

The moral of the story is: don't dismiss bash without analyzing your requirements first.

Know Thy Computer

There's No Such Thing as Knowing Your Computer 'All the Way to the Bottom' (5 min, via)

I initially thought the title was about blobs in firmware, but no, the article is about programming languages, focusing on C.

Interesting, check it out if you're a systems programming nerd.

Give Firefox a chance

Give Firefox A Chance For A Faster, Calmer And Distraction-Free Internet (10 min, via) is a very good write-up with tips and tricks to maximize the usefulness and also the fun of Firefox.

A must read, and hopefully it may convince some people to switch from Chrome.

Boot sector games

Boot sector games (10 min, video)

The 8-Bit Guy has fantastic tutorials and reviews of cool old tech. If you want to see what can be done in 512 bytes you definitely need to watch this video.

Space Invaders clone that fits in 512 bytes

Use IRC as a private chat

IRC for DMs (2 min, via) is a quick review of current chat systems and why they suck.

I like crazy, statu-quo breaking ideas, though the practicality of using IRC as a private chat system is nuts. Nuts, as in 90's rad.

Tags: roundup

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