About me

I'm an old (very old) hand at programming.

I'm presumably the only person in the world who has ever written an operating system (in assembly language, of course) for an IBM 1710 computer with a modified instruction set. This was back in the days when you could modify the instruction set of a computer using a soldering iron and working with the discrete components (transistors, diodes, etc.) on the circuit boards.

Nowadays I prefer to program in C#, although lately I have worked a bit with Java, which I hate, and Swift, which I also hate, but for different reasons - see, I can be flexible.

I'm a bit active at Stack Overflow (an amazing resource for programmers), where I'm known as RenniePet. I'm very proud of the fact that I've been awarded their Necromancer badge 17 times.

If you wish to contact me you can send an email to rp at merlinia dot com.

About this blog

The articles that I post on this blog from time to time are categorized as either Information or Opinion or Humor.

The information articles are typically how-to-do-it, or more accurately, how-I-did-it, descriptions of procedures that I had difficulty finding anywhere on the internet, perhaps because I had chosen to do it in a non-standard way. Disclaimer: These articles contain information that, to the best of my knowledge, was correct at the time of writing. But I'm afraid that I can take no responsibility for what may happen if you follow my instructions and it all goes horribly wrong for you. Sorry.

The opinion articles represent something tech-related that I needed to get off my chest. Disclaimer: You know what they say about opinions ...

From time to time I may also post something tech-related that tickled my funny bone. Disclaimer: You don't find these items funny? Wazza matter with you? Your sense of humor got shot off in some war? (Roland Deschain's explanation in The Drawing of the Three, by Stephen King.)

Registration, email address and cookies

You only need to register if you wish to post a comment and/or subscribe to the comments on an article. Registration requires a valid email address. This will not be used for any nefarious purposes.

Posting a comment involves proving that you are not a bot by passing Google's reCaptcha test. This may seem like overkill, but I am totally allergic to spam on forums - seeing spam on an otherwise authoritative and informative website suddenly lowers the site's credibility in my eyes.

As for cookies, my understanding is that Joomla uses one "session cookie" to keep track of a session, and another cookie if you log on as a registered user. If you select the "Remember me" option this second cookie remains on your PC indefinitely. These cookies are not used for marketing or tracking or shared with any other entity.

Update: Registration now also requires passing the Google reCaptcha test. This requirement was added after a Russian hacker created 250 new users in the space of one hour. Sigh.


This is a tech blog, so readers may be interested in the technology involved. The blog is primarily implemented using Joomla (or "Joomla!", as they prefer to call it, but product and company names that include punctuation are one of my pet peeves, so on this blog it's "Joomla"). It is running on a Microsoft Azure VM with Windows Server and IIS - which is a non-standard platform for Joomla, only used by a few masochists. However, the database is MySQL, not MS SQL - there are limits to my masochism. (And Joomla support for MS SQL is apparently to be deprecated in Joomla version 4.)

For the Joomla fans I can mention that no exotic templates or extensions are involved, with one exception. I spent a lot of time evaluating alternative templates before coming to the conclusion that Joomla's built-in Protostar template is much better for a blogging website than all the fancy templates, and it is actually quite flexible and customizable.

The one Joomla extension installed here is the JLex Comment extension to handle article comments. I considered using Disqus, but decided against it due to my worries (perhaps unfounded) about cookies and the EU cookie law.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jaydot · 8 months ago
    Nice to meet you!