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* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1272 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Legal bible Groklaw pulls plug in wake of Lavabit shutdown, NSA firestorm

Flocke Kroes
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Politics is only broken if you believe it is

This is not (yet) a two party state. Vote for one of the others. Stand for election yourself. Write to your MP and tell him why you are taking your vote elsewhere.

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Brits: We can STOP TROLLS if we know where they LIVE - poll

Flocke Kroes
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Turn the plan upside down

Require social media site users to give a false name. If I decide I need to make a death threat against Prince Aristotle Descartes I am going to have a tough time convincing him I know where he lives. Also, if Flocke Kroes makes repeated threats of violence against him, I hope The Register would give the IP address to the police.

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Microsoft: That $900m Surface write-down is smarting

Flocke Kroes
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Restricted choice

I use my Linux laptop for business software, games, CAD and a load of other things. A quick web search still does not reveal a way to install Linux on a Surface RT, so my choices are restricted to all sorts of things except Surface RT.

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UK.gov intros shiny CREST badge for cyber crime-scene cleanup squad

Flocke Kroes
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GCHQ?

If someone selected by GCHQ had just checked my computers for malware, I would be confident that malware was installed, working properly and well hidden. It would be time to throw out the lot and replace it all.

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Waiting for a Windows Phone update? Let's talk again next year

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Platform switch

12 to 20% market share for Windows Mobile (depending on where you look). 3 to 5% market share for Windows Phone. Certainly remarkable, but not something most people boast about.

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Admins warned: Drill SSL knowledge into your Chrome users

Flocke Kroes
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A fairly common example

User gets an 'untrusted certificate' warning, and as Techy happens to be within sight, asks 'What does this mean?'

Techy: It either means that your employer is not properly maintaining their website or that this is not your employer's payroll website at all. Instead it is a copy controlled by criminals. If you log in, you will give you user name and password to the criminals, which makes you in breach of contract with your employer. The criminals will be able to divert your pay cheques to accounts they control. They will also be able to enter false time sheets, and when these are discovered, you can be charged with fraud. You should close this browser and contact your employer's payroll and IT departments as soon as possible. Tell them you saw an untrusted certificate warning when you tried to access their payroll web site.

Which is worse:

1) The user clicked through the warning and logged in.

2) No-one at the company who understood what 'untrusted certificate' means had the authority to fix it.

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Apple wins Samsung import ban, loses 'Battle of Rounded Corners II'

Flocke Kroes
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Get the facts right

Motorola has standards essential patents. Microsoft wanted to implement the standard, so they are required to enter good faith negotiations with Motorola. Instead, they wilfully infringed. Motorola complained, and tried to negotiate with Microsoft - as is required for patents essential for this standard. Microsoft did not negotiate, and continued to infringe. Motorola won an injunction in Germany against Microsoft. Microsoft complained in the US about breach of contract. There is no relevant contract between Microsoft and Motorola, so the complaint is not valid under US law. The US judge is not an expert on standards, patents, or German law, so he ruled that Motorola could not enforce the injunction ordered by the German court. Microsoft then actually did what they were required to do: they made an offer to license Motorola's patents.

Motorola accepted Microsoft's offer. Microsoft cannot tolerate such mean and spiteful behaviour. Microsoft still have not paid license fees and they insist the Motorola pays Microsoft's costs for moving manufacturing from Germany to the Netherlands after the German injunction had been blocked.

Now please explain how Microsoft refusing to accept an offer that they made themselves when there wasn't even the possibility of the threat of an injunction is Motorola's fault.

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Android approaches 80% smartphone share as Apple's iPhone grows old

Flocke Kroes
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Saling ships

The reason Nokia got harsh comments before was articles put Nokia's 'shipped' figures next to competitors' 'sold' figures. This time, all the numbers are 'shipped', so they are equally suspect. Androids and iPhones sell, so the sold figures will catch up with the shipped. Nokia's previous unsold stock, return rates and attempts at comparing pears and grapefruit make me wonder 'shipped there, back and somewhere else' counts three times.

I am sure Nokia sales really are up, but at prices even further below cost. I wouldn't bet on Microsoft's billions bailing Nokia again. This time Nokia will mortgage Nokia Siemens Networks up to the neck and call it phone revenue just like the sale of the head office in Espoo.

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Nokia Siemens Networks to 'axe 8,500 jobs' amid biz gobble

Flocke Kroes
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Windows Phone sales

Windows phones have a negative margin. An increase in sales means Nokia is losing money more quickly. The €900m transfer from NSN to Nokia is to hide the damage caused by increased sales just like when the sale of their head quarters was credited entirely to the phone division.

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Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Flocke Kroes
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There is always this polite and logically reasoned style:

https://www.kernel.org/doc/Documentation/CodingStyle

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Flocke Kroes
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Also defends against the else from the last if

// oops 1

········if (a)

················if (b) BOFH();

········else not_a();

// oops 2

········if (a) if (b) BOFH();

········else not_a();

// safe

········if (a) {

················if (b) {

························BOFH();

················}

········} else {

················not_a();

········}

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Flocke Kroes
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gnu indent is your friend

#! /bin/bash -e

sed <"$2" \

's!\([ \t]*__attribute__((.*))[ \t]*\)!/*OTBS<\1> */!;'\

| indent -st -npro \

-pmt -bad -bap -bbo -bc -br -brf -brs -bfda -bfde -c33 -cd33 -ncdb\

-cdw -ce -ci4 -cli0 -cp4 -ncs -nfc1 -nfca -d0 -di0 -hnl -i8 -ip0\

-l78 -lc78 -lp -lps -npcs -ppi2 -nprs -psl -nsaf -sai -nsaw -nsc\

-nsob -ss -ut\

| sed 's![ \t]*/\*OTBS<\([ \t]*__attribute__((.*))[ \t]*\)>.*\*/[ \t]*!\1!' \

| sed '

s/^) {/)\t{/

s/} else {/} else\t{/

/^[ \t]*if .*[^{ \t][ \t]*$/{N;s/[ \t]*\n[ \t]*/ /}

/^[a-zA-Z0-9_]\+($/{s/^\(.\{1,6\}(\)/\1\t/;N;s!\n[ \t]*//!\t\t\t//!}

' >"$1"

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Upstart's 'FLASH KILLER' chips pack a terabyte per tiny layer

Flocke Kroes
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It will cost what the market will bear

PCIe flash is about £2000/TB now, so I expect in about five years, you could buy RRAM on a DIMM for £250/TB. The next product to expect is a combined SDRAM/RRAM chip that can go on a DIMM, SO-DIMM, in a mobile phone or (if there is a reason for having one) an iWatch. RRAM on a low power embedded CPU will be easier than on a hot server chip - the life time was probably measured by testing the chip at a range of high temperatures and extrapolating the graph down to sensible temperatures and long time scales.

If existing flash foundries can make RRAM, then I expect my entire DVD collection will be on a micro SDHC card in a pumpkin pi by 2020.

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Child porn hidden in legit hacked websites: 100s redirected to sick images

Flocke Kroes
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KP distributors would not give the stuff out unless they expected to get something in return. These images being distributed for free suggests someone is making a statement. The source links being on NSFW sites shows some restraint about publicity seeking. The person responsible knows how to select easy targets and control them.

I suspect that if there is any evidence of who did this, it will point at TOR, some internet cafés, public libraries or Claire Perry. My guess is that this is about pointing out problems with the law. I would like to think that this encourages politicians to learn about how the internet works and the effects of badly drafted laws, but that is wildly optimistic. I am expecting shrill accusations aimed entirely in the wrong direction, and more ignorance and stupidity from government.

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Microsoft morphs HPC efforts into 'Big Compute'

Flocke Kroes
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They missed out the big selling point ...

... everyone knows how to use Windows on a cluster because the the seamless integration with Winphone and Windows RT.

Cluster manufacturers are clearly not showing Microsoft software in its best light because none of them require all data entry to go through a touch screen. All Microsoft have to do is manufacture seven million Windows BC super computers and distribute them exclusively from one Microsoft shop. After spending a billion on advertising, everyone will be queueing up to buy Windows BC because they can be sure that secure boot will protect them from installing unlicensed software. Don't forget - Windows BC is for non-commercial use only. You must buy an upgrade to calculate business spread sheets.

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Gov: Smart TV bods must protect users from smut-riddled badness

Flocke Kroes
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This problem was solved in 2003

Next time a politician wants something like this, refer them to RFC 3514

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Climate change EVEN WORSE than you thought: It causes WAR and MURDER

Flocke Kroes
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anthropogenic climate change

Easy to explain: they got the causal relationship backwards. Violence causes global warming! Just look at all the violence in Africa and central America, and compare it Greenland and Antarctica. If the pornofilter gets expanded to block violence and any reference to increasing temperatures then we will never have to worry about global warming again.

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Apple files patent for iPhone enabled auto-adjustable auto interior

Flocke Kroes
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Lies or idiocy?

"I think that Apple can do this in a unique way and better than anyone else."

unique: cannot be blocked by other people's existing patents

unique: Apple's prior art will block others from patenting the same thing

better than anyone else: others will not be able to make this, so patent injunctions not required

better than anyone else: others will not be able to make this, so no patent revenue

What was the point in buying a patent?

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Terror cops swoop on couple who Googled 'backpacks' and 'pressure cooker'

Flocke Kroes
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Not the first two who sprang to my mind

Be wairwy quiet, I am hunting teworwists.

I did! I did taw a teworwist!

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Did Linux drive supers, and can it drive corporate data centers?

Flocke Kroes
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FreeDOS server market share

Until very recently, buying a computer with Linux pre-installed involved searching hard and paying extra for cut down hardware. If you went to the trouble of buying pre-installed Linux, the third thing you would do (after backup and hardware check) would be to replace all the vendor supplied software with your own image so you could be sure the machine would match others at your site, and would restore to a known state if required.

Most distributors would not sell a computer without Windows and crapware. Some would sell with FreeDOS, and pretend to Microsoft that it wasn't a Linux sale. People who knew one end of a screwdriver from the other could bolt a Linux box together from parts. People who wanted the crapware discount bought a Windows, and replaced it with Linux before it could say 'Do you accept this 50 page EULA?'

Linux 'market share' figures have always been tiny. The installed base has always been large - if not huge. Microsoft delivers 20% of web sites by host name - far less by gigabyte as the biggest sites are Linux. Ballmer's new strategy is to switch Desktop Windows users to legacy prices and focus on the 'Servers and tools' business. I am sure the next Gartner report will tell us Microsoft has 95% of the server market share and is set to increase by 10% over the next year.

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No fondleslabs please, says Microsoft as Office 365 hits Android

Flocke Kroes
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RT 2

Bundling (cut down, non-commercial) Office drove the price of RT tablets so high that they never sold. The only reason Lumia's losses are not so damaging is because Nokia hardly sell any. If Nokia have to pay a license for pre-installed Office, they will have to discontinue Lumia to stay in business.

I guessed Office for Android was on its way. I did not expect it so soon. Ballmer really is restructuring Microsoft. Next guesses:

Winphone 9 = Android on Nokia

No Office on Android tablets -> Office on Android tablets pretending to be a phone -> Office on any Android device

Windows desktop/laptop license cost to double every year

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How did Microsoft get to be a $1.2bn phone player? Hint: NOT Windows Phone

Flocke Kroes
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My guess

Last year, it could have been "pay for these invalid patents or you cannot distribute Windows". Next year, it will be "pay us back or we won't distribute Windows".

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AMD's newest chip: Another step toward 'transformation'

Flocke Kroes
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eleventy squillion x86 developers?

I know some people work on compilers, debuggers and emulators. Perhaps some of them only work on x86. For years I have had no real need to look at assembly language. These days only difference I see between ARM, x86 and MIPS is the name of the compiler if I am cross compiling. Qemu is so seamless that I do not even notice if the self tests are executed by an emulated CPU.

Are there really (m)any more x86 developers than ARM?

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Selfridges dreaming of a snot-themed Christmas

Flocke Kroes
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In theory, copyrights eventually expire

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Mouse_Copyright_bill

If you want to 3-D print something without getting sued, the Yellow Kid does not own enough senators to change copyright law.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yellow_Kid

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Microsoft introduces warning on child abuse image searches

Flocke Kroes
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It could be worse

Imagine what David Cameron would say if his censorship actually worked:

"Parents can rest assured that when paedophiles want to look at naked children, they cannot look at pictures at home on computer screens."

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Kids LIE about age on Facebook, gasps Brit ad watchdog

Flocke Kroes
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IAVO

The salesman at Maplin asked for proof of age when I bought some glue. He is not blind or clueless. He has to ask _everyone_ because that is what his employer requires.

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Microsoft haters: You gotta lop off a lot of legs to slay Ballmer's monster

Flocke Kroes
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As an old fogey myself ...

Dosbox on a Raspberry Pi would thrash my first PC. With that in mind, lumping modern phones in with desktops makes sense.

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Flocke Kroes
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Time won't be enough

Breaking down the warring fiefdom culture of Microsoft on a wider scale will take time, but if they succeed then great things could happen.

Breaking down the warring fiefdom culture of Microsoft on a wider scale will take a miracle. Ballmer's proposed reorganisation to functional rather than product based units has been tried before elsewhere. Previous attempts have almost always been hamstrung by resistance from existing management. The few times functional reorganisation has worked, it was because the CEO could take the credit for an exceptionally successful product. Ballmer does not have the track record to push fundamental changes through a dense wall recalcitrant managers.

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Western spooks banned Lenovo PCs after finding back doors

Flocke Kroes
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Tin foil hats for all

The build process for gcc does not trust the installed compiler. It uses the installed compiler to compile an intermediate compiler that is used to compile the final complier. It also checks that the intermediate compiler creates the same output as the final compiler by compiling the compiler again with the final compiler. A back door that can survive that should have a big foot print.

You do not compile the firmware at boot. You replace the firmware so you have (some) confidence that you control the boot process. The coreboot project (http://www.coreboot.org/Welcome_to_coreboot) provides a replacement for the BIOS that is no more hassle to install than any other embedded software project. The down sides are supported hardware tends to be old, and effective TPM hardware can spot you are not using manufacturer approved firmware, and refuse to boot.

If I deserve a tin foil hat for liking coreboot, then you deserve one if you cannot show us a back door in gcc: http://gcc.gnu.org/releases.html

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Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Flocke Kroes
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Reduced PAYE?

Option A) tech giants increase their prices to pay their new taxes, cancelling out any reductions in PAYE.

Option B) Government spending increases to match increased revenue, so there will be no room in the budget for reducing PAYE.

Option C) Politicians continue to manufacture prolefeed about tech giants avoiding taxes, but do not make any effective changes to taxation.

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Flocke Kroes
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There haven't been state pension funds for decades

They were spent ages ago, and my national insurance contributions go on military contracts(*1) to create local jobs (*2), fibre optic cables that BT will charge me to use, broken software for state run services, pensioners and people requiring medical treatment now. I will not be able to retire. The problem is Parkinson's law. To keep the number of bureaucrats rising at the required rate, retirement age will increase to life expectancy within my life time. There will be no pensioners, and later, no schools as children will all be apprentice bureaucrats.

If you want to prevent a baby-boom generation taxing a smaller generation into starvation to pay their pensions then you would have to over-throw democracy because they have more votes. What remains of democracy will not last long. I can understand why you parrot the party line. If you do not become a plusgood duckspeaker, you will be sent to the front line in the war against Eastasia.

PS: You are probably right about the place I will end up, but the technical term for the retirement home you refer to is a joyfarm.

*1 A contract that is delayed, overruns its budget and if it isn't cancelled adds even more junk to warehouses full of defective weapons.

*2 The company has a local name, but the labour is done abroad.

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Flocke Kroes
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Do you really want the governments to collect more tax?

Because we really need a new NHS/fire service/police national IT system to scrapped after the £100,000,000 budget has been overrun by a factor of five. If you give them more money, they will only waste it on something else, like a new internet filter to cut out any references to government waste - after all imagine the damage it would cause if children found such sites.

You have some choice about where to put your investments. You have less and less choice about where governments waste tax payers' money.

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You MERCILESS FIEND... you put that audio file on AUTOPLAY

Flocke Kroes
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To get video to work properly: No plugins, no updates

The website gets an extra gold star is I can find the URL without much hassle. That way, if I decide to watch, youtube-dl -F tells me what formats are available so I can pick the right one - download it, watch it and if I think other members of the family will be interested, move it to an NFS export.

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Wow! British Gas bungs a million remote-controlled sales-droids in UK homes

Flocke Kroes
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Pay off in 2030?

I have seen old gas and electricity meters that are still working fine decades after installation. Perhaps, with some effort you could get an embedded phone to last a decade. Expecting a communications protocol to last over a decade is optimistic. It might work in parts of the country that only get upgraded with second hand kit, but parts of the country will get shiny new kit without 17-year old legacy protocol support. The realistic budget has to include upgrading the electronics every five years or so.

Perhaps if the new meters are really super accurate you will be able to measure the increase in you central heating costs caused by unplugging mobile phone chargers.

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Music royalty war spreads to aggregator MediaNet

Flocke Kroes
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Most famous gig ...

Aimee Mann played at the Bronze in episode 8 of season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

$18 million is not a royalty payment because people bought her music. It is a damages figure for deliberate commercial distribution without a license. Normally I would say such figures are insane, but the accused is a part of the recording industry that lobbied for this scale of damages, so they must feel it is appropriate.

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PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Normalization with the real world......

When you go into the cinema to watch a film the Party does not approve of, do they scan your passport and add the details to the sexcrime list? Likewise, at the news agents, if you want to buy the wrong magazine, does the Party have to know? Do you have to send off for a special TV license to watch after 21:00?

The purpose of this law is to create a chilling effect. The law is vague so you do not know if you are committing a crime. Better to stay away from anything controversial in case the ministry of love send you to a joyfarm.

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WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

Flocke Kroes
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If the great brains are saying nothing can be done

Then you should stop trying to do something silly and look for new ways to fiddle your expenses instead.

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We hardly ordered any stock! Yet here we are again with ANOTHER PC MOUNTAIN

Flocke Kroes
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People _are_ buying

The are buying phones, lots of phones, more phones and possibly a tablet. Microsoft has phones and tablets, but people are buying ABM. Perhaps one day computer distributors and retailers will get the message, but I am not waiting. There are other places to buy.

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Man sues Apple for allowing him to become addicted to PORN

Flocke Kroes
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In the other corner

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Smut-lyrics-Tom-Lehrer/6AF3E9A2451F2F0548256A7D0025920C

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MS Office on iOS is OFF the menu, says Fujitsu as it nixes Personal Cloud

Flocke Kroes
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Microsoft have their strategy

It involves parting company with SMEs, enthusiasts, power users, regular users, desktop users, touch users, partners, developers, systems administrators and becoming a really expensive niche player for customers with more money than the sense to port their applications out of Windows.

If your customers are locked in with you as much as Microsoft, increase your prices to match fewer customers with expensive requirements. Otherwise, it is time for you to leave Microsoft to their niche.

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Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Flocke Kroes
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Microsoft Price Policy

Some Microsoft employees have decided that competing with Google on price is commercial suicide.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/15/microsoft_office365_versus_google/

I can understand Microsoft focussing on customers for whom money is no object. The problem is that Surface RT is the wrong product for that market. The version of Office does not support the features required by locked in customers, and is not licensed for commercial use. None of the legacy software runs on it either.

If you turn it around, and look for the market that could be interested in the hardware, then the potential customers are Linux hackers, Android users and the Linux on Azure users. Only the last of those is not price sensitive, and I would be surprised to hear there are more than a dozen of them.

Microsoft have to choose between Surface RT becoming a cheap Linux box without Office or landfill RT.

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Confidential Microsoft brief: 'We're TOAST if we fight Google on price'

Flocke Kroes
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The other way to compete on price ...

... make yours bigger than anyone else's. Looks like Microsoft's strategy is to leave any price sensitive markets and aim for where money is no object. Soon Gartner will be boasting to governments that Windows has the highest TCO. Give it a decade, and Windows dev's will be charging £1000/hour just to cover the rental costs of an Azure IDE one seat license.

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Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK - Judge

Flocke Kroes
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Apple's lawyers best week ever

It does not matter if they win or lose as long as they are getting paid. Perhaps one decade, Apple's investors will work out where the money is going.

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Snowden, schmoden. Let's talk about crushing hackers, say US'n'China

Flocke Kroes
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Computer security done government style

Set all the passwords to 'password' and arrest all the hackers who defeat government style authentication.

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Microsoft preps UK Surface Pro 'pilot', tiptoes around Win 8 OEM rivals

Flocke Kroes
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The thing I do not like is secure boot

If those were real prices I could buy at, I would look for instructions for installing Linux and reviews of the hardware. I just found this:

http://askubuntu.com/questions/265644/dual-boot-surface-pro-with-ubuntu

Perhaps these machines will actually be useful for something other than a door stop when the low prices are available to penguins.

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Dubya: I introduced PRISM and I think it's pretty swell

Flocke Kroes
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Oil cowboy?

Did Arbusto Energy ever find oil? Perhaps drilling cowboy or investment cowboy would be more appropriate.

If Snowden does get dragged back to America, would a jury find him guilty? No problem: America has secrets courts. They could have passed sentence already as they do not need to listen to any defence.

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Firefox OS starts third-place race against Windows Phone

Flocke Kroes
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Oh no it isn't

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/05/q1-numbers-in-bloodbath-year-four-smartphones-galore.html

Installed base is 5th place, behind Simbian and Blackberry, and barely ahead of bada. Market share is 3%. Remember to go for sales figures, and not get fobbed off with numbers shipped. The carriers hate Microsoft, and the manufacturers do not expect Windows to sell - all except rapidly fading Nokia.

The carriers want a third ecosystem, but it has to be ABM. The obvious guess is Tizen, but Mozilla, Ubuntu and Sailfish mean they are spoiled for choice. I would like to see them pass that choice on to customers - start with a dual or triple boot phone. Try each OS for a bit, then delete the ones you do not want.

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Google 'disappoints' US congressman over Glass privacy controls

Flocke Kroes
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Google could end this hassle today

Just include secret facial recognition and ship the results to the NSA.

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MoD signs Microsoft mega licensing deal for 180,000 PCs

Flocke Kroes
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MoD buy 180,000 Microsoft licenses

How did the MoD buy 180,000 computers without Microsoft licenses?

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Flocke Kroes
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Give us a laugh - link to the list of security requirements

Last time I read them, they were a complete joke. It looked like someone had gone through NT's marketing hype to collect list of features, then come up with some bogus excuse to claim that each feature was a security requirement. Anything that passes MOD security requirements is defective by specification.

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