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* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1194 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

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Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders

Flocke Kroes
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Look at this and try telling anyone Samsung copied Apple

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/02/apple_uk_samsung_apology/

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Misco Shared Services Centre drone brands customer 'insane'

Flocke Kroes
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Might not be an off-shoring problem

When I was at university, I took a holiday job with a mail order computer supplier. A batch of defective interface cards came in (many obvious dry solder joints on each card). I gave them to the boss so he could get them replaced. When those exact same parts came back from customers I walked out. There are places where the way to deal with defective kit is to sell it to other people until someone cannot deal with the bullying from the returns staff.

I used to buy from Misco when they had UK customer service staff. As a business customer, they tried to avoid replacing kit that failed after a month because 'I had not bought an extended warranty'. They also cold called be with sales pitches. As a home customer, they sent me defective kit then tried to blame me for ordering the wrong type of memory (paired SODIMMs - one worked and the other didn't.) Misco's behaviour reminded me of my old temp job.

I switched to Novatech. After years of reliable service, I got my first piece of defective kit from them on Friday. The customer service rep was excellent, and the working replacement is here today (the original order was due tomorrow).

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Which sweaty exec dreamt up Office for iOS? Ballmer, Ballmer, Ballmer

Flocke Kroes
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What next?

*) Steam on X-box.

*) Microsoft Linux for Desktops/Notebooks/Surface.

Place your bets...

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Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

Flocke Kroes
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So many parties ...

... only one policy. You are free to vote for any party. It does not matter which because they all do exactly the same things.

They keep saying the recession is ending, and now their important work is to 'turn this country around'. First time I beleived something a politician said for years. I am sure that if nothing distracts them, they can cause another recession.

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Windows XP is finally DEAD, right? Er, not quite. Here's what to do if you're stuck with it

Flocke Kroes
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How to avoid getting soaked in a storm

Stand under a tree. When the tree gets wet through and starts dripping on you, go stand under another tree.

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Internet is a TOOL OF SATAN that destroys belief, study claims

Flocke Kroes
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@Tim Starling

Thanks for the link detailing how US aid money for Afghanistan is divided. I am more interested in results:

29% for economic development. Production is up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Production_in_Afghanistan

Is the rest of the spending as successful?

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Too late, Blighty! Samsung boffins claim breakthrough graphene manufacturing success

Flocke Kroes
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Photosynthesis, solar, ...

Power is power wherever it comes from. The same laws of physics always apply. The thing that matters is the cost - which is not always easy to convert into money. Gas is cheapest right now because new supplies have been found (and sometimes taxed out of existence). France has far cheaper electricity bills than the UK because they are 80% nuclear, and we are 10% wind (in the record breaking month). Photovoltaic is profitable when large populations live near a desert. Perhaps the price of the panels will fall enough to make them profitable in the UK one day. You still need a huge area to generate a significant amount of power (10-20W/square meter).

Photosynthesis is solar power. Plants are one or two percent efficient at converting sunlight, CO2 and water into sugar and oxygen. Make sure you include all the costs - transport and distribution of fertiliser to maintain soil quality. Irrigation. Transport and conversion of plants into biofuel. Starving hordes setting fire to your local MP because using all the farmland to make biofuel has sent food prices rocketing. There are theories about dumping minerals into barren oceans so phytoplankton can grow. The good news is that it does not use up all the farmland and might create a fishing industry. As far as I know, there have been no large scale tests (because they would be illegal).

All the information you need to understand the scale of sustainable energy can be found at: http://www.withouthotair.com/

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Flocke Kroes
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How hard it is to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere

The formula you need is E=kTN ln(C/c) / m

E: minimum energy required per gramme of CO2.

k: Boltzmann constant (1.38x10^-23 Joules/Kelvin).

T: Temperature in Kelvin (0 Centigrade is 273K).

N: Avogodro's constant (6.022x10^23 molecules / mol)

ln: natural logarithm

C: Output concentration - say 100%

c: Input concentration - say 0.3%

m: Molecular mass of CO2 (44g/mol)

That works out at about 420J/g, or £17.50 per tonne of CO2 at the UK price of £0.15/kWh. The bad news is that is the minimum cost permitted by the laws of physics. In real life, the process will not be 100% efficient, so you should multiply that cost by about 3 to reach a sensible guess at a practical figure.

The really bad news is you have to pull the oxygen atoms of the CO2 to get carbon - the reverse process of burning coal. That costs 24000J per gramme of carbon (100% efficient process). As you need 3.67g of CO2 to get 1g of carbon, the theoretical minimum cost of getting carbon out of the atmosphere is about £1/kg. A practical figure would be much higher. On the other hand, you can get coal from a mine for £0.35/kg retail.

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Judge strikes down Apple attempt to bar Samsung's 'untrue' patent comments

Flocke Kroes
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The stupidity ends ...

... when the lawyers have all the money.

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Tamil Nadu's XP migration plan: Go Linux like a BOSS

Flocke Kroes
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We do not know if it is a short lead time

The death of XP has been forecast for years. This might be a tested and working solution sitting in the background waiting for an excuse.

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Intel uncloaks next-gen 'Braswell' Atom, 64-bit Android KitKat kernel

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Intel

For a long time, Intel have have done a proper job of providing high quality open source Linux drivers. Their GPUs have been poor compared to ATi and nVidia, but the drivers have been stable and never restricted what kernel you could use.

ATi and nVidia grudgingly gave us binary blobs and tainted kernels. A community effort produced drivers of varying quality despite lack of documentation. AMD released proper documentation when they bought ATi and eventually, after some rude words from Linus, nVidia followed suit. ARMs come with a wide selection of GPUs - and the driver is almost always an unsupported binary blob.

Intel provided proper free software Wifi drivers. The competition gave us binary blobs if we were lucky and a chance that Windows emulation would work with the unsupported chips. It has not been all good. Intel implemented fine grained power management which was working with Windows before they documented it publicly. As for the people responsible for UEFI, I hope they get stuck with Windows 8 with an undeletable Clippy.

Intel was impractical for many mobile and embedded applications because their needed too much power and their prices were too high. Intel have got the power requirements tolerable for some applications and they are taking steps in the right direction on price. Intel are ahead on documentation and drivers, but ARM are catching up: The Mali GPU has a community made Lima driver. nVidia are making an effort with documentation and Broadcom have documented the Pi's GPU. If you want embedded system using a GPU that can have kernel updates for a decade, Intel are still a good bet.

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Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest

Flocke Kroes
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Perhaps not

The the register linked to a Polish article that links to:

http://www.se.pl/wydarzenia/kraj/szatan-czai-sie-wszedzie-klocki-lego-kucyk-pony-i-hello-kitty-gdzie-jeszcze_389274.html

At the end of that article it says: Publikacja: 31.03.2014 13:42 Aktualizacja: 01.04.2014 14:04

That was sufficiently ambiguous that I decided to look more carefully. Web searches on Slawomir Kostrzewa mostly show articles in English dated second of April with a few dated the first. By chance, I noticed his name is really Sławomir Kostrzewa. Most of the links go to unrelated people with one of those names, but on the second page, there is this:

http://www.fronda.pl/a/ks-slawomir-kostrzewa-diably-staly-sie-modne-i-swietnie-sie-sprzedaja,31423.html

Google translate tells me Sławomir thinks modern popular culture makes young girls act like necro-vamps or prostitutes. The date at the bottom is 21.10.2013

I would expect a loud mouth like this to have more form, but perhaps there are more entertaining loons in Poland keeping him out of the news.

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Nokia: ALL our Windows Phone 8 Lumias will get a cool 8.1 boost

Flocke Kroes
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41MP?

My TV is 2MP and my printer is 6MP (without using a magnifying glass). There are 8MP televisions. What is the difference between 20MP and 41MP?

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Flocke Kroes
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"wildly successful Lumia 520"?

Anyone got numbers for that? As far as I know, Microsoft and Nokia do not release figures for individual phones, but only an aggregate number. According to http://blog.adduplex.com/2013/08/adduplex-windows-phone-statistics.html the 520 has almost 30% of "the market". The market in question is the Windows Phone 8 market. The same site says the 520 has 18% of the "Windows Phone market", which is a figure we can use. 2013 data can be found here:

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2014/02/final-2013-smartphone-market-share-numbers-full-year-and-quarterly-q4-data-by-top-10-brands-plus-os-.html

Windows Phone has 3% of the smart phone market, so the market share for the 520 is 0.54%. Microsoft accounting gives Linux 1.5% of "the market" (They might mean the pre-installed OS on desktop and laptop computers but never actually say). With tripple the market share, Linux on the desktop must be spectacularly successful.

If I was feeling particularly cruel, I would ask how profitable the Lumia 520 was.

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Flocke Kroes
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Wrong economics

The question is not 'what cost should XP support be to give Microsoft equivalent profits to upgrading to Windows 8'. The real question is 'How desperate is the customer'. In this example, replacing the equipment would cost $7 million, so the desperation is $6.9 million divided by the expected life time of the new equipment - say 20 years. That makes an annual fee of $345,000. Putting up the prices, reducing salaries,mortgaging the site and giving 100% of the profits to Microsoft should be enough. As a side benefit, no profit means no taxes!

According to http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/20/doh_microsoft_nhs_one_year_xp_deal/ the NHS is desperate enough to pay £30-40 million and "Microsoft’s list price for custom support is $200 per PC in the first year of a support deal, $400 for year two, and $800 for year three". I got burned like this 20 years ago, and ever since my rule has been 'No source code, no sale'.

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Intel's DIY MinnowBoard goes Max: More oomph for half the price

Flocke Kroes
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Has its uses

My Pi's do excellent work, but they do struggle with internet banking and some shopping sites. The vast quantities of javascript required to increase the attack surface and run exploit code slow page loads enough to test my patience. The Pi can just about handle Libre Office or the GIMP, but there is visible latency and given the choice, I use an ancient laptop for all the above tasks. The Pi's 100Mb/s ethernet and USB2 mean the Pi often spends all night transferring newly format shifted DVDs to the backup disks.

1.5 SATA interfaces, 1Gb/s ethernet (both not on USB2) and a USB3 interface make this product useful in situations where a Pi would be a poor choice. Intel have made an effort with their traditional weakness - price. The photograph without the heat sink is worrying: 5 to 8 W should not require a fan, but Intel have messed this up before often enough that I want to see the complete product. Also: why UEFI? there is enough space for uboot and a Linux kernel in the on-board NAND.

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US judge tells Marvell to pay Carnegie Mellon Uni $1.5bn in patent fallout

Flocke Kroes
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Do juries get this sort of thing right more often that tossing a coin?

Invalid and non-infringing is clear enough. Remember Oracle verses Google: Oracle tried to sue with hundreds of patents. The judge said that was impractical and they should pick their best three. If they succeeded with those three, they could come back with more. The best three turned out to be mostly invalid and the few claims that survived Google did not infringe. The case was reduced for a copyright claim for the test code for range check, which the judge said was so trivial as he could code it himself.

Patent litigation is stuffed full of invalid claims against non-infringing products because the results are random. Billions in judgements and millions in Dane Geld whether or not there is any substance to the claim. According to Marvell, CMU's patents are so complicated that they cannot be implemented in real world chips. Marvell selected something simpler instead. I have no idea if CMU have invented anything, but I have yet to see a hard disk SOC manufactured by CMU. Perhaps it really is impossible to implement their design with current technology.

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Chinese patent app tries to own Wine on ARM

Flocke Kroes
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Just like any other patent

I am sure that prior art, obviousness and the utter jibberish that is supposed to be the disclosure will be no barrier to getting the patent. Nuisance litigation to follow. Who is more stupid - the Americans for insisting China create a patent system or the Chinese for actually making one? (My vote is for the UK for reducing the tax rate on troll income.)

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Partner firms: Microsoft kept Surface from you for YOUR OWN GOOD

Flocke Kroes
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Reading practice required

Check the article: "Microsoft shipped ..." and "Apple sold ...". We have no idea how few Microsoft sold. Only that the the figure was so low they had to compare apples to oranges to make the figures look terrible instead of abysmal.

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YouTube follows Twitter onto Turkey's block list

Flocke Kroes
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Isn't this was the DMCA is for?

The court order was obtained because of copyright - one of the actors agreed to work on the film as it was described to her, but the film that was made was completely different. Perhaps if the officers who were recorded complained that they did not sign a copyright release for their performances the could issue a DMCA take down.

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ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

Flocke Kroes
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Gone for ever - unless it gets help

The sun's gravity will always pull Voyager 1 back, but the spacecraft will eventually get closer to other stars that will pull it away from the solar system. If it does not hit something first, Voyager 1 will wander around the galaxy and is very unlikely to come back here.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Fahrenheit .... in space?

The strange thing is, The Register has has a web page specially prepared for unfamiliar units of measurements: http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

If the article had said -12.9Hiltons, it would have made some kind of sense. Is there anyone with a clue what -432 Fahrenheit is without converting it to Kelvin (or possibly Centigrade) first?

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Boffins power wearable tech with body static

Flocke Kroes
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Wonderful

About 10 minutes of stroking your phone gives you enough power for a 1 second phone call.

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Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Flocke Kroes
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And there are the first three hurdles

Decades ago computers came with floppies/CDs to re-install the operating system. At some point, users were supposed to burn those CDs themselves from images on hidden sectors of the hard disk. The first hurdle is to find those CDs - if they exist, and hope they are still readable.

Next up, part of the terms and conditions of using Microsoft software is you agree that you can be raided by FAST - at your expense. Having genuine retail install disks is not sufficient to avoid getting fined. I would also need the receipt - and the chances are even if you have one, it is not legible after 8 years. Software houses had difficulty enforcing re-sale bans, but I really do not want the hassle and expense of proving I have a valid XP license to a judge while all my computers and disks are locked up as evidence for months.

I had forgotten about the activation hurdle. Does it mean phoning someone who tells me XP is not supported and cannot be activated or does it mean the computer talks to a server that says XP is not supported and cannot be activated?

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Flocke Kroes
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How much of a challenge is re-installing XP?

I switched to Linux before XP was released, so I genuinely have no idea.

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Tornado-chasing stealth Batmobile set to invade killer vortices

Flocke Kroes
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Are there any test results?

Air travelling over the bump of the vehicle has to go faster than air travelling beside the vehicle. The energy for that extra speed comes from reducing the pressure. That shape generates lift. If the vehicle stays on the ground, it is because of the weight of the armour, not the shape.

A more obvious shape would be some legs sticking out sideways to stop it tipping over and an a disk on top: flat on top and curved underneath. That would create down force from wind in any direction.

The only way I would drive either design is by remote control from the safety of a storm shelter.

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Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk

Flocke Kroes
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Why all the down votes

You claimed Windows ws the most used saver OS in the world without supporting evidence, and people do not believe you. By all means, show some evidence. Here is a little for you:

http://popcon.debian.org/

Less than 1024 of any ARM flavour, so 2000000 Raspberry Pi's do not show up. Most Linux installs do not phone home.

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Flocke Kroes
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Have you got figures for 'servers installed and used' ?

Microsoft like to quote market share figures and say they sold so many million dollars of server licenses. 100,000 Linux boxes at Google, Facebook or Twitter result in zero dollars of server licenses. My router is a DHCP server and HTTPS server. Smart phones are often MTP servers. Server market share depends entirely on how you count them.

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Flocke Kroes
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Partly by retcon

For decades, all the analysts were saying Microsoft had about 100% of the Windows market. A few years ago, analysts started saying Microsoft had a pitiful share of the device market. They backdated their graphs as far as they had convenient data for devices. Microsoft still has about 100% of the WIndows market share, but that market is smaller. PC's became fast enough for the majority of users a decade ago, so new PC purchases slowed to a craw. Vista taught people not to upgrade a functioning PC, and Windows 8 hammered the message into all but the thickest skulls.

Any successful (cheap and functional) Windows device cancels the sale of an expensive PC license. Microsoft execs must hunt down such threats and increase the price - or destroy the functionality. They can counter their shrinking market by increasing the prices and reducing rewards to resellers. In the mean time, analysts get better at counting devices that are not part of the Windows market.

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They want me to install CCTV to see what YOU did in the TOILET

Flocke Kroes
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Cameras for monitoring attendance ...

... imply a PHB who cannot measure achievement.

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Whitehall and Microsoft thrashing out 1-year NHS WinXP lifeline

Flocke Kroes
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I suspect it was excellent tactics

Imagine the choices a year ago:

Option A) Get fired for going £30 million over budget.

Option B) Get promoted for being on budget and make it someone else's problem next year.

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Flocke Kroes
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Is there evidence that £30 million is a saving?

The NHS may have a million PC's, but they will be a mixture of XP, Vista, 7, 8 and possibly one or two Linux boxes. I do not know if there are more than 150,000 XP machines that would be difficult to update. I am sure that getting all the other software ported to Windows 8 is expected to cost £30,100,000 this year or about £60,000,000 next year.

I expect Microsoft's price next year will be competitive. That way they can take another year's funding that might otherwise go to third party Windows developers.

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Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

Flocke Kroes
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How much porting effort?

Different flavours of Linux are so similar that binaries from one often work on another. Alien can convert between Debian an Red hat package format. This bribery to port suggests porting to Nokidroid is not a purely mechanical process, so I do not see that this is anything like saying everyone should use the same version of Linux.

If Nokia had released something that could run standard Android apps, but could also run Nokidroid then they would have some hope of getting a toe in the market. Developers will only consider Nokidroid if there is an installed base big enough to pay for the porting effort and if there is some advantage to using this new API compared to standard Android.

Samsung have Tizen devices that can run Tizen and Android apps. I can see Tizen getting somewhere if Samsung ever decide to run with it. All I see from Nokia is another Kin.

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Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

Flocke Kroes
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If bandwidth is such a problem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_(web_browser)

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

Flocke Kroes
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You can get the fakes at clubs

The fakes are roughly the right size, colour and weight but would not pass casual inspection by someone sober in daylight. I assume the new design will be faked just as badly and given in change at clubs to those too drunk or high to spot the difference.

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Flocke Kroes
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And what has closed ever solved?

Take a quick trip to the twentieth century, and see what things were like before the rest of the world knew what open source was. Windows NT for people prepared to pay through the nose for software that worked. Windows ME for home users. Microsoft used its monopoly in operating systems to get monopolies in other fields - networking, office software and browsers. Microsoft were being found guilty of abusing their monopoly all over the world. They were paying millions a day for breaking the rules, but carried on because the fines were not a big enough incentive to stop. They got the judge in the US case replaced with someone who would give them nicer penalties. They were even granted a stay so they could come up with more 'penalties' because they were getting whatever they asked for.

Now look at what open source has given you - the cooperative multi-tasking of DOS/W95/98/ME was replaced by XP at a reasonable cost because of competition from Linux. XP has lasted to this day because the existence of Linux gave you an alternative to Vista and Windows 8. The small cheap computer existed (disappeared and came back again) because of Linux. IE7 and Microsoft's non-standard HTML have gone because of competition from Firefox. Home NAS exists because you can use SAMBA and not need a full price Windows license and hardware big enough to run it. Microsoft tried - and failed - to own the entertainment distribution business because PVR hardware + Linux cost less than a Windows license. Satnavs are a reasonable price because Linux is free and runs on cheap hardware. You do not have to keep BT's spyware in your router because of openwrt. Libre Office is crushing Microsoft Office back into expensive nicheware. Microsoft never got more than their nose into super computing. Imagine the cost of a data centre with a Microsoft license for each CPU - not at today's prices, but at monopoly prices.

Quit literally, all the kings horse's and all the king's men could not stop Microsoft's monopoly power. The thing that did was the Gnu Public License. Back in the twentieth century, the vast majority did not believe that was possible. Fifteen years later, you are the minority.

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Flocke Kroes
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Trade secrets

AMD have been publishing hardware specs for years. Nvidia started more recently - because it was to their advantage. You can get detailed specs on the behaviour of an ARM or Intel CPU, but that is nothing to with the implementation. You cannot put the documentation through a PDF to verilog converter. There is no such beast, and never will be.

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Flocke Kroes
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Who abandons QA?

Half the places I have worked did not know what QA was, and half of those that had some thought it was only there to cause trouble. Microsoft disbanded their test team because they were 'delaying' Vista. The most common attitude I receive in industry is 'It compiles - ship it'. That is quickly followed by 'Version 2 hardware is ready to go, no more work on firmware for version 1. If there is a problem, customers will have to purchase new hardware'.

Take a look at the Debian policy documents some time.

There was an article recently about flying toasters coming back from the dead - presumably on Windows because they never went missing from Linux. I have far more confidence in open source software being tested and maintained than in proprietary.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: He's right... and wrong!

Wouldn't it be nice to be sure you do not have NSA firmware in your hard disk that will hand over the drive encryption key to anyone that knows the NSA's secret handshake? How about replacing a camera's firmware to make it a standard UVC device or to make the LED always come on when it is recording? Would you like to know if your 32GB HDLC card contains 32GB, or 8GB with some lying firmware that will crash and burn when it gets quarter full.

Given proper documentation, people will do these things for themselves and share them with others. They will use Linux when it is the right tool for the job or something smaller when Linux does not fit. I can understand Mr Shuttleworth simplifying the message. Imagine what what the Daily Wail or the Grauniad would do with a technical quote over 5 words. A proper IO MMU on USB interfaces was overdue last decade. Try explaining why to a non-technical journalist and see what headline he comes up with.

Enough of the UK government now understand the value of open standards sufficiently to mandate ODF. It took them under a decade to catch on. Several other governments took less time. The same thing will happen with open firmware. Techies want it now. People will want it soon. Progressive governments will mandate it later. Manufacturers will then hire coders to maintain it, and in about fifteen years members of the Conbour party will draft a law requiring it on new purchases.

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Romanian 'ransomware victim' hangs self and 4-year-old son – report

Flocke Kroes
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I do not think it is new

What is new is that it is reported more widely. A decade ago, people in the UK would not have heard about something like this happening in Romania.

One 'reason' a husband kills the wife and kids is because he 'knows' they cannot survive without him. When that kind of man decides his death or imprisonment is inevitable, he kills his family so they do not suffer from his absence. Sometimes the wife feeds the husband's belief in the dependency because it reduces his fear that she will dump him. In return she knows he is not out having an affair because he is too busy looking after her.

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Samsung wins right to delay UK appeal in Apple dispute

Flocke Kroes
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Put the blame where it belongs

Patent law allows this insanity. Blame the lawyers who created it.

Personally I think Apple should have won this appeal, but with the following stipulations:

1) Apple have to pay court costs and Samsung's legal fees in advance.

2) All the resulting rulings are thrown in the bin when the changes to the patents have been accepted or denied.

Both sides win: Samsung (and the courts) do not have to pay for this complete waste of time and Apple's lawyers get to divert a few more millions of Apple's profits into their own pockets.

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Seattle pops a cap in Uber and Lyft: Rideshare bizs get 150-driver limit

Flocke Kroes
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seems unreasonable

150 full time taxi drivers per company in a city might make sense, but it is beyond silly when you are looking at divers who have a separate day job and just happen to be going the right way at the right time.

Try to understand https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

Imagine what this law will do. Lyft and the others will license their software to dozens of micro companies each with 149 vehicles. These companies will insist drivers do not use any other ride sharing app.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/3929189482/

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Flying Toaster screen savers return on GitHub

Flocke Kroes
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When did the flying toasters fly away?

After a quick 'apt-get install xscreensaver-gl-extra' the toasters were flying just like they used to in the days of the CRT.

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Scam emails tell people they have cancer to trick them into installing a money-stealing Trojan

Flocke Kroes
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Back in the day ...

... e-mails over 32k were not certain to make it across the internet. There were tools to split and reassemble large files, but it was far more sensible (and polite) to use sftp/ftp/http. It all started to go horribly wrong when Microsoft started sending e-mail as a container with the same message in html and plain text. I assume they did it because putting **emphasis**, _underlining_ and SHOUTING in plain text was too difficult for Microsoft executives. The internet would be a better place if people set their mail delivery agents to reject long messages.

PS - The ODF formats are a bunch of things in zip files. If you block zip format files, you will also block .odt word processing documents.

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Windows Phone beats BLACKBERRY in mobe OS popularity stakes

Flocke Kroes
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Re: US only

You can find world wide figures here:

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2014/02/final-2013-smartphone-market-share-numbers-full-year-and-quarterly-q4-data-by-top-10-brands-plus-os-.html

Apple's installed base is 21%, so they do far better in the US than in the rest of the world. WP is 3% in the US and in the whole of the world. Europe has been a difficult market for WP, in part because of retaliation for the destruction of Nokia. WP does well in the bargain bins of the third world where unwanted phones are disposed of. The odd thing is Symbian, with 5% world wide market share, but not showing up in the US figures.

Nokia has given a clear statement about the future of WP: they released three new Android phones.

Linux on Azure. Android on phones from Microsoft's Nokia. Is it time to say Microsoft Linux has arrived, or should we wait for Steam on XBox?

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NZ bloke's drunken poker bet ends in 99-letter name

Flocke Kroes
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Of course

But it is so much hassle to get someone else to type in, they just say they are from Waikikamukau.

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Sony can't wait to flash you its enormous disc ... a 1TB Blu-ray spinner

Flocke Kroes
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Still no reason to suspect life

If history repeats, hard disks will be cheaper than 1TB blu ray disks for a few years. By the time blu ray becomes cost effective, a typical backup will require a stack of disks and an auto changer to chew through them over the weekend. I would bet on write-once flash being practical before 1TB blu ray.

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Police pen shortage threatens Irish public order

Flocke Kroes
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Electronic pads are useless for signatures

Delivery guys ask me to 'sign' electronic pads. I would be worried that the words on the thing I am signing could change with the wind, but the device cannot record variations in pressure, and cannot keep up at all. The result is a random spiky mess that bears no relation to my signature.

The problem here is that occasionally, a few policemen do not like that their victims have been granted bail, so they make it difficult for the victims to keep their bail conditions. Electronic pads are not going to prevent that. The judge has the right idea - if some policemen are using bail conditions to cause trouble, the solution is to make bail unconditional. The same thing used to happen in the UK. (I have no idea if it still does.)

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Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones

Flocke Kroes
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Microsoft's future in under a bridge

Microsoft has done very well as a lock-in company. Now that the monopoly is broken, they can transition to being a legacy software maintainer - watch their prices soar. I am sure they will continue to throw money down the drain to enter the phone business. The carriers control that market, and will continue to exclude Microsoft. The new business where Microsoft has real strength is patent trolling.

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HTML is a sexually transmitted disease, say many Americans

Flocke Kroes
Silver badge

Any incentive to get the right answers?

Without it, some people will say the daftest thing that pops into their head at the time.

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