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* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1330 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Flocke Kroes
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@BlueGreen: SAK (and much more) is in Linux

<ctrl><alt><backspace> Terminates the X server. This will cause the death of the window manager and any program it started. Most installations have a display manager that will restart the X server with a login program. Read the xorg man page for how to change the key combination or disable. The most common display managers are gdm and kdm. Both are very configurable.

<ctrl><alt><delete> can be intercepted by software that puts the keyboard into raw mode. Read the /proc/sys/kernel/ctrl-alt-del section of the proc man page to set the tty layer's behaviour if the keyboard is not in raw mode. The default behaviour is to send SIGINT to process 1. This is normally init, which will execute the command specified for ctrlaltdel in /etc/inittab.

<alt><sysreq>H Outputs the help for sysreq keys to the current virtual console. The one you are looking for is the secure acces key: <alt><sysreq>k - unless you changed the keyboard translation tables with loadkeys. The documentation is here. SAK cannot be intercepted by putting the keyboard into raw mode. It kills all processes on the current virtual terminal. Unless configured otherwise, init will spot this and run login on the terminal.

There are other handy things you can do with the sysreq key like remount all file systems read only and sync all the disks - unless the functionality was disabled from /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq.

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UK's Get Safe Online? 'No one cares' - run the blockbuster ads instead

Flocke Kroes
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Unusual transactions

I tried to buy a big TV - not something I do every decade. Someone claiming to represent the vendor asks me for the publicly available information my bank asks for when 'verifying' my identity. I explained that I did not give that information to unknown callers for security reasons, but I would be happy to call the vendor or the bank to answer the questions. This basic security measure was beyond the understanding of the caller and her computer was not programmed to offer any sensible solution, so the purchase is cancelled.

I repeated the above with a different vendor. After the deal got cancelled, I got a call from someone claiming to represent the bank who said that someone might be trying to use my card. Again I refused to answer the questions. I called the bank, answered the questions and explained what was going on. They removed the block on my card, but could not do anything about processing the payment. [The solution was to go to the first vendor's shop, and pay there - I paid the internet price rather than the shop price because of the failed online transaction.]

If a few computer illiterates take a passing interest in online security then the first time they try to apply their new knowledge they will be stonewalled by the vendors' and the banks' brain dead payment processing systems. The place to start online security eduction is with the banker responsible for making the bank's web site look stylish. Also the programmer responsible for hiding the 'http://' in Firefox should receive some proper security training with a clue bat.

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Oracle sued over $33,000 bill for SaaS: STRIPPERS as a SERVICE

Flocke Kroes
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Take a look at a rip-off bar menu

Pick somewhere touristy, sleazy and expensive and you will find the local variant of a rip-off bar. The obvious place to look in London is Soho. You do not have to look hard, as a sexy girl will invite you in. In the UK, such places are required to display a menu with prices outside. Start with the small print at the bottom and you will find things like:

30% service charge

No alcohol served in this establishment

If you buy a girl a drink, it will be $some_silly_name

Next look to the price of $some_silly_name. It will be well over £200. A few rounds of drinks for the girls plus the service charge will get the bill up to several thousands. $17,000 shows some determined cluelessness. Doing it twice demonstrates world class stupidity.

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The NSA's hiring - and they want a CIVIL LIBERTIES officer

Flocke Kroes
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Responsibility, but no mention of power

Power to investigate what the NSA is doing? Power to collect evidence? Power to show that evidence to a judge and jury?

Why not just hire someone to take responsibility of earth quakes and tidal waves.

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Java updates too much of a bother? Maybe online banking's just not for you

Flocke Kroes
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I disabled javascript as soon my browser supported it

There was a bad time when this noticeably restricted which web sites would render properly, but there were always other places to go. Several sites I remember leaving because they required javascript are now working fine without it. I try enabling javascript occasionally. I find the results more irritating and horrible each time. Try turning javascript off occasionally, and see if you are happier without it.

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Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Flocke Kroes
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Dual boot phone?

Imagine if phones came with one of the free operating systems installed, with the option to buy, download and install one or more of the others. That would be real competition.

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So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

Flocke Kroes
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Social engineering security test

NSA guy turns up and asks Linus to install a back door. When Linus says no, the NSA can have some confidence that Linus will not install a back door for any criminal claiming to be from the NSA.

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Windows Phone overtakes Apple's market share ... in India

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Numbers?

The article did say 'up to 5.4%'. An unfortunate phrase since we hear 'up to 20mb broadband' so often. I have confidence that Ballmer can get the market share back below 3% before he leaves.

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Flocke Kroes
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If you live in a lake, it takes longer to walk to the well

If you are considering a robot economy, you can use the robots to solve its problems: robot recycling, robot mining, robot manufacture of power stations. The flaw I see is population growth. If resources become more available, the population will grow until some resource becomes scarce - or until we use killer robots to cull the population.

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Open ZFS wielders kick off 'truly open source' dev group

Flocke Kroes
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Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

HereWeGoAgain:

Since when is the GPL the yardstick by which free or open source software is measured?

Since about 70% of open source projects select a GPL license.

I wonder if you do really 'stick to GPL', or just think you do. Do you use X11? That's an MIT licence. Do you use Apache? Apache licence. Firefox? MPL. And so on.

'stick to GPL' is your phrase, not mine. I am very well aware of the licenses for X11, Apache and Firefox. All the licenses you just mentioned are GPL compatible. I have a specific problem with the CDDL, and why Sun selected it.

Oninoshiko: You are welcome to pull a ZFS disk out of a Mac and plug it into a Solaris box. I pick the most appropriate file system available on the OS and move data with a network connection. Where is the limitation?

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Flocke Kroes
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CDDL and GPL not compatible

If the Trojans had looked their gift horse in the mouth, they would have found it was full of Greek soldiers. Likewise ZFS is stuffed with patents. It is not possible to simultaneously satisfy the terms of the GPL and CDDL in a single piece of software, in part because GPL would require a patent license that Sun/Oracle do not provide. You are welcome to get sued like a GIF user, but I will stick to GPL or compatible. BTW: pi's already have BTRFS.

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THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla

Flocke Kroes
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Daft labelling

My red food dye has "Artificial" and "Cochineal" in a big font on the label. I assume they put 'cochineal' on there to scare away anyone who knows what it is, and 'artificial' to scare away anyone who doesn't. If I had been a little less alert, I would have missed it because I was looking for something that did not contain E120.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Flocke Kroes
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Give them your rivals' contact details

If they aren't going to pay, you do not want them as clients. Send the hassle to your competitors.

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Australian pub to serve beers for bitcoin

Flocke Kroes
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Try using the preview button

Proof read carefully in case you any words out.

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Zuck off, Zuck: Brit duo's JustDelete.Me nukes clingy web accounts

Flocke Kroes
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Try getting the reference manual for a chip...

My ZIP code is 90210, just like every over embedded system programmer. My phone number is identical to their fax number. I am my current project is intelligent flame retardant underwear and my name really is Mr Stopasking Stupidquestions. I would like to thank username@example.org for saving everybody's time by using the password 'password'.

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Lip-wobbling boffins: Eating Chinese food is like kissing a vibrator

Flocke Kroes
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This Ig Nobles have been awarded!

Nothing about peppers this year, but now you can find out why onions make you cry.

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Tape's NOT dead. WHOMP: This 8.5TB Oracle drive proves it

Flocke Kroes
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home tape solution = external hard disk

For that size range look at LTO-3 to LTO-5. You might find an LTO-4 drive second hand for less than the cost of a 3TB hard disk. The ones I saw were all SAS, and a new SAS card will cost about the same as a pair of 3TB hard disks - perhaps you can find a second hand controller too. Then add the cost of the tapes. Tape is only economic and huge scales. Places that use them do upgrade when the price is right, and the kit is sufficiently reliable for a second hand market.

In the real world, you are not going to beat hard disks for backing up a few TB. If you really are burning 10-40 blue rays per backup, build one of these.

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Psst.. Wanna Android all-in-one PC? We have the chip tech, says Intel

Flocke Kroes
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£189 !

Until Intel divide that price by 5, all they get from me is a loud raspberry. A pi behind each TV does most of what I need at home, and a remote login to something older does the rest.

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Steelie Neelie calls for TOTAL BAN on EU mobe roaming charges

Flocke Kroes
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Back an fourth

OK, so you network will not get revenue from roaming fees any more. They won't have to pay for them either, or the infrastructure that counts the fees bills customers and sends money back and forth between different networks.

The one the has me concerned is the contract breaker for less than advertised data rates looks open to abuse. We could end up with mass contract breaking parties the the middle of Dartmoor or the Isle of Skye. More likely we will get promises like 'up to 20 millibits per second' like we have now.

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Storage rage: Like getting a nice steak and being told to only eat 80% of it

Flocke Kroes
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Fragmentation

When you are only using 75% of the available space, there is a fair chance that the OS can put new data somewhere it can reach quickly after accessing related data. When you are using 95% of the available space, there is a fair chance that the OS will have to scatter data into places that will require head moves and disc rotations to get it all back.

Modern filing systems have at least one separate free space list per core. That way, any core can allocate (or release) some space without having to lock the other cores out of the only free space list. When a file system is mostly full, some of the free space lists will be full, and cores will have to queue to allocate space.

If your data is static, you can use something like cramfs and use 100% of the disk efficiently. If your use case involves modifications, you have to choose between performance and utilisation. If this is costing you thousands per month then experiment to find which solution gives you the best trade off. You really cannot have a whole cake while rapidly adding and removing slices.

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Modular smartphones floated by Dutch designer chap

Flocke Kroes
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Different parts have different life times

When a PC gets tangled in malware, most of the public go to PC World and buy a new monitor, keyboard, mouse, box, power supply, DVD player, hard disk, motherboard, super-duper CPU, RAM and graphics card. Anyone with basic computer literacy and a screwdriver updates only the parts that will make a difference when required.

I have wanted standard laptop components for decades, and they are now approximately practical (tape a monitor into the lid of an attaché case and a raspberry Pi with some USB components). Much of the cost of a laptop is the display - the second biggest cost is the bundled crap that is inflicted on me because of segmentation. Modular laptops would save customers lots of money, which is why the OEMs do not make them.

Modular phones do not exist for the same reasons as modular laptops. (Does Dell still swap some pins on the power connector to annoy customers who want to upgrade their PSU or mother board?). If love the idea of a modular phone. The only way they will exist is as a bunch of DIY components. Some people would like to pay for a quality camera. Others would like to save money there. I would like a physical off-switch for the microphone. I would like a good display, but not have to replace it when I upgrade to a more efficient CPU. I do not want to replace the entire phone when the battery no longer charges.

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US plaintiffs can seek damages over Street View data slurp - court

Flocke Kroes
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Blame the NSA

For all we know, the NSA required them to slurp this data, but Google cannot say so because of a secret national security letter.

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Dyson takes Samsung to court in UK over vacuum cleaner

Flocke Kroes
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Dyson does not have to sue

He could spend his money on R&D and make a better product. Even if someone copies the previous product, Dyson can stay one step ahead. All this legal action says is that Dyson knows his products suck badly and the business he is any good at is nuisance litigation.

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Google scrambles to block backdoors

Flocke Kroes
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Whose data is it?

Encypt your data. Pay in cash. Put a random MAC address in your wifi device, upload your data from a busy shop with free wifi then restore the MAC. Anyone got a method for transferring large amounts of data without letting an IP address connect you to your account?

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US military: 'Help us build the ROBO-WARFIGHTER OF THE FUTURE'

Flocke Kroes
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Imagine a microphone in every street lamp ...

The microphones listen for gun shots and speeding bullets, and transmit a warning by radio when a bullet goes passed. The suits listen for the warnings and lock solid if the bullet is going to hit. With an obese military budget, such a system could be demonstrated to work with current technology under ideal conditions. The really expensive research would be in methods to arrange ideal conditions in the front line of a war.

I can see this project lining the pockets of a few contractors. I am not convinced that it will lead to tanks with masts and sails or soldiers asking for a ceasefire so their solar panels can charge their batteries.

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Australia's anti-smut internet filter blueprint lasts LESS THAN A DAY

Flocke Kroes
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nationally agreed default safety standards

How are they going to get everyone in the nation to agree on anything?

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Jury reckons Motorola wasn't 'fair and reasonable' to Microsoft

Flocke Kroes
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Velvin Hogan

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Flocke Kroes
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Yes you missed something

The US judge insisted that Motorola not enforce the injunction. Microsoft did not need to relocate manufacturing at all.

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Flocke Kroes
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It is called 'Fair search'

A bunch of failed companies and Microsoft have already complained to the EU about Google search not putting their broken services at the top of the page.

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New online banking Trojan empties users' wallets, videos privates

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Move Along Linux Users

I did not see any mention of an app for Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 or Windows Phone 8. Perhaps the tiny installed base is too fragmented.

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Microsoft, Nokia and the sound of colliding garbage trucks

Flocke Kroes
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The way that Microsoft lost

Monopoly: Microsoft claim 95% of the Windows market (I assume this means most pirates have deserted the sinking ship). The figure they hide under the bilge is that Microsoft have 30% of the installed base when you include non-Windows devices.

Legacy software: The value of Microsoft's operating systems was that they (mostly) ran (well enough) software that companies had invested time and money on. Microsoft are winning their battle against legacy software. If things go according to plan, all software will be bought from Microsoft who might send some scraps back to the third-party developers.

Lock-in: As legacy software becomes harder to install, lock-in becomes lock-out. Microsoft are pushing their users along the gang-plank expecting them to fall into a walled garden. Instead users are using their mobiles to call in an air-lift.

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Flocke Kroes
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Where Microsoft need Elop

Elop delivered a massive coup for Microsoft. The day he Trojanned, Nokia were selling more phones than Apple and Samsung combined - at a hefty profit - with their market share increasing. Nokia had a Linux phone in development that later beat Apple for ease of use and features. Elop destroyed all that. If it were not for Elop's outstanding efforts, Nokia would be in first place, and all their phones would be Linux. The place Microsoft really need to put Elop is CEO of Samsung. Elop has demonstrated the abilities required to turn Samsung around and regain the bulk of the Windows Phone market from Nokia.

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Sysadmins hail Windows Server 2012 R2's killer ... clipboard?

Flocke Kroes
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Even more confused

I know I am a bit out of touch with Windows. Last time I used it, I complained that the middle mouse button did not work. It turned out, left-button-select and middle-button-paste was something Microsoft did not support. You had to use ^C and ^V or whatever key each application had assigned.

Any cut and paste between servers will be done via remote log in as they do not have mice or monitors. X has been doing that for two and a half decades. Even Linux consoles (graphics cards switched to text mode to conserve resources) support cut and paste between remote machines.

I would like to congratulate Windows users for reaching the twentieth century, but I am not sure if they all have three button mice yet.

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Intel chases network gear and cold storage with Avoton Atoms

Flocke Kroes
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Prices

Why do I expect this to be just like Intel's response to the raspberry pi.

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Second-gen Surface and Surface Pro rumored to be minor upgrades

Flocke Kroes
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Long game

I think you mean Stereotypy.

Surface for washing machines makes no sense. Plenty of people do not read word documents on their toaster. I cannot find a good reason for 8GB of RAM in my freezer. Writing a message to stick on the fridge is now called texting. If you need to read something while the bread is toasting, Facebook (or the Register) is on your phone.

Microsoft cars make about as much sense as Windows Phone. The carriers did not want to become Microsoft's slaves like PC manufacturers. The car manufacturers also know where Microsoft lock-in leads. If cars are going to have in-flight entertainment and navigation then they will use Linux, like the airlines.

My personal bet for the reason behind Surface 2 is purchasing commitments. I think Microsoft got good component prices by making commitments to order huge quantities. Even the excessive quantity of Surfaces manufactured might not have done more than put a dent in those commitments. Microsoft can either buy their way out, or release a product. A bit of negotiation could get them a CPU upgrade. Doubling the RAM per device burns through that commitment more quickly. Underclocking the new CPU (or racing to idle) gives them more battery life without upgrading the battery order. Surface 2 is about delaying have to admit to another billion dollar write off.

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MPs blocked from ogling 'web smut' 300,000 times – WHILE IN PARLIAMENT

Flocke Kroes
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MP's should watch more porn

Anything to distract them from creating even more laws.

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Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Ballmer's oracular statements

I can fill in one of the blanks for your. Ballmer was talking about accelerating Windows Phone's momentum. As the WP's market share is falling, Ballmer expects the purchase of Nokia to accelerate that decline. I have every confidence in Elop's ability to release a new phone that is less successful than Lumia. If he and Ballmer work at it together, they might even do worse than Kin.

Microsoft has been spending a billion a year to get into the mobile market. I think the budget just got increased to ten billion per year. The next flop is going to be spectacular.

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Bionym bracelet promises to replace passwords with ECG biometrics

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Exercise

If you are tall and old, mild exercise causes the wave form shape to change to something more efficient before/instead of an increase in heart rate. Heart rate can be measured remotely by Doppler radar. Give it a year, and there will be an app for that.

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WD outs 'Mini Me' Red label NAS drives

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Bring back 5¼"

If the sustained transfer rate remains unchanged, a 10TB restore from a mirror is under 20 hours. That is comfortably acceptable for my use case. If your MTBF is under a day you should move your disks to a less harsh environment.

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Flocke Kroes
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Bring back 5¼"

A 5¼" made with the same tech as a modern 3½" would hold about 10 to 20TB. A pair of mirrored 10TB drives would be handy compared to a stack of 3TB as I do not need many IOPS from NAS. Also if they want to call it a NAS drive, it needs ethernet or even USB3.

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Microsoft buys Nokia's mobile business

Flocke Kroes
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Hand is up

I thought the Greeks had sailed home without bothering to loot the smoking ruins of Troy.

I expected this news six months ago, but thought its time had passed. Elop has done such a thorough job of burning Nokia and Ballmer poisoned carrier relations so badly that I expected Microsoft to leave Elop on his burning platform.

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Scots council cops £100K fine for spaffing vulnerable kids' data ONLINE

Flocke Kroes
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What does fining Aberdeen City Council achieve?

I assume it means moving some tax payers' money from one government department to another. The audit is a start, but that can only identify problems. There needs to be an incentive and a budget to fix them.

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Look out ARM, Intel, here comes MIPS – again

Flocke Kroes
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No publicly available PowerVR documentation

Without documentation, only the manufacturer can fix the drivers. Even if the drivers are not broken now, they will break on a kernel or Xorg upgrade. When the manufacturer releases new hardware, they stop maintaining the old drivers. Most 3D acceleration hardware suffers from this fault.

For open source, changing CPU architecture just means changing the name of the cross compiler. Qemu detects the new target architecture of your application and the self run as usual. The way to get open source developers is to release proper hardware documentation.

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Obama prepares to crawl up NSA's ass with microscope

Flocke Kroes
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"... reducing the risk of unauthorised disclosure"

Means "not getting caught red-handed again".

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Microsoft Xbox One to be powered by ginormous system-on-chip

Flocke Kroes
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All hardware tweaked until open source drivers cannot use it

This is of vital importance. Just think of the number of users who would instantly drop dead from viral infection if they had the option to install software not selected by Microsoft.

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What Surface RT flop? Nokia said to be readying WinRT slab for September

Flocke Kroes
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Elop to be left to drown when Ballmer kicked out of Microsoft

Plan A: (Phone selling price) - (Phone manufacturing cost) = (Windows license fee)

For some reason, the phone manufacturers did not want to fall into the same trap as PC manufacturers and did not dive in head first. Selling phones requires the blessing of the carriers. Ballmer bought Skype and said all phones would use Skype to provide revenue to Microsoft instead of call revenue going to the carriers. The carriers rebelled. Ballmer could threaten manufacturers with a cut in marketing donations all he wanted, but that would not generate purchase orders from then carriers.

Plan B: Buy Nokia at bargain basement prices

His Billness looked at the deal around February and said 'No'. Nokia was so badly damaged that the deal made no sense. Ballmer took Microsoft's phone market share form 12% down to 4%. Bill said Windows Phone was 'irretrievably broken'. Ballmer will be running Microsoft with his hands tied behind his back, and Bill will not let him waste more money on Windows Phone.

Plan C: erm ...

Ballmer no longer has to power to bail out Elop any more. Elop has to come up with some plan on his own. The billion a year marketing subsidy depends on Nokia being a Microsoft shop, so Elop has a choice of Winphone, Windows 8.1 and RT. Nokia is not set up to do anything with 8.1 - and the margins are thin there anyway. Winphone support was poor (according to Elop) and will shortly be abysmal. The only advantage I can see to RT is it might make the board offer him money to leave quickly. That plan might not work - Elop fired anyone who disagreed with him. Nokia do not have anyone to replace him.

Microsoft's shares gained 10% when Ballmer announced he was leaving. Ballmer has done a good job of firing any likely successor. The idea of Elop running Microsoft was a joke. Microsoft's shares would drop 50% if they put Elop in charge.

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Google cripples Chromecast third party replay

Flocke Kroes
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Just like any other device

If you cannot download source code, modify it, distribute it, compile it, install and boot the result then the manufacturer has you locked in for the cost of porting your data to an open device.

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BALLMER TO RETIRE FROM MICROSOFT

Flocke Kroes
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Thanks, I was trying to think of a suitable replacement

Elop's work at Nokia is almost complete. Time to ship him back to Microsoft.

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Flocke Kroes
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Wait until you find out who is next

I know it would be hard to find anybody worse but I am sure Microsoft will search diligently until they succeed.

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Nasty BOFHses. It burns us! It burns...

Flocke Kroes
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The other (com)mode of failure

The pipe in the basement gets blocked and anything put in it comes out at the ground floor flat.

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