* Posts by Neil Alexander

161 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Neil Alexander

Re: Don't worry

It's not warning you about a speed trap though, it is warning you that you have exceeded the set limit. The car doesn't know or care if you are near a speed trap or not.

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Neil Alexander

Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.

Yes, I also have automatic headlights and they come on in pretty much any condition that is not 100% daylight. They have never turned themselves off incorrectly due to street lighting. If anything, they probably come on quite often when not necessary.

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Apple boots Windows 7 out of Boot Camp

Neil Alexander

Re: Meanwhile in the Linux world (rEFInd) as usual you get choice !

Please, tell me more about this year being the "Year of the Linux Desktop". Again.

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Neil Alexander

Apple have provided Boot Camp because it's actually been pretty easy for them to do, not because it helps to sell their computers or gain them cash. If their hardware/firmware did not support it then Apple would simply have never provided Boot Camp in the first place - they would not have gone out of their way, make no mistake.

A salesman in an Apple Store isn't going to sell you the thing based on its ability to run Windows. People who buy Macs most of the time don't care in the slightest about Windows, and nobody knows that better than Apple.

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Neil Alexander

My understanding was only Windows 7 32-bit needed BIOS emulation due to the weird Apple EFI firmware, and that 64-bit was capable of running natively in EFI mode without issues. I might be mistaken.

In any case, Windows 8 and upwards definitely run natively in EFI mode, so yes, it is probably Apple's way of housekeeping and removing things from firmware they really don't have any incentive to support.

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Neil Alexander

You can probably still install Windows 7 64-bit in pure EFI mode without Boot Camp if you wanted to. You don't "need" Boot Camp to run Windows on a Mac.

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Bulk interception is NOT mass surveillance, says parliamentary committee

Neil Alexander

There's an awful lot of "The government think this!" and not very much of "The people of this country think this!"

If the government bothered to ask our opinion every while, they might be surprised at how few of us want this kind of "protection".

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Apple design don Jony Ive: Build-your-own phone is BOLLOCKS

Neil Alexander

Re: The mans a dickhead

"just how much design has gone into the iPhone since the first version"

Actually, a lot more than you would realise. Some people at Apple have been paid an awful lot of money to make every iteration of the phone feel a certain way. To claim that they have simply made no design changes since the original iPhone is clearly false, and a pointless argument.

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Microsoft: Even cheapo Lumias to get slimmed down Windows 10

Neil Alexander

Re: Wait,,,,What?

"None of them really depend on the app market that much as all mostly run webapps"

Hahaha. Ha. Ha. Web apps turn out well for no one. Remember Apple tried that once? Yeah, exactly.

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Apple CEO: Fandroids are BINNING Android in favour of IPHONES

Neil Alexander

Re: Well its nice that the iPhone 6...

Specs are more irrelevant now than ever before on anything but low-end handsets. Take your average person into a carrier store and talk to them about 4K IPS and octa-core processors and RAM and they will glaze over. Instead they are now more concerned with "What can I do with it?", to which Apple are impressively still ticking the majority of boxes.

Can you browse Facebook with 1GB of RAM? Yes. If you browse Facebook with 4GB RAM, is the experience any better? No.

Granted, not all of that is Apple or Google's fault. A good example of this is how I can connect an iPhone to most USB-enabled car entertainment systems and it will work, whereas if you connect an Android device, they are often not compatible. The same applies for a whole wealth of accessories, audio docks, etc. Manufacturers have traditionally favoured Apple customers, and Apple can still capitalise on that.

The consumer then has to answer questions like this: Do you want your phone to have all these fancy invisible specs, or do you want to be able to do things like browse through your music library in the car?

In cases like that, we can be reasonably confident which way most of them will answer.

Experience and specification are not always directly aligned.

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

Neil Alexander

"What do you mean you don't understand the output of dmesg?"

"I only bought the mouse, I didn't build it..."

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CoolReaper pre-installed malware creates backdoor on Chinese Androids

Neil Alexander

Ironic

... given how paranoid the Chinese are about backdoors in US and EU kit.

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Google App Engine has THIRTY flaws, says researcher

Neil Alexander

Re: Surprise!

Am I missing something?

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NHS slow to react as Windows XP support nears the end

Neil Alexander

Re: XP Support

When it goes EOL then the security updates will inevitably dry up too, so this won't really help a lot. Besides, the issue is more about support contracts - when something goes horribly wrong and the NHS phone Microsoft for help, only to be told that they are running a teenage operating system that they are no longer prepared to support.

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Cops and spies should blame THEMSELVES for smartphone crypto 'problem' - Hyppönen

Neil Alexander

It is already well-known that BlackBerry have been more than complicit in servicing government information requests for BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) users, and BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) has been pretty much broken despite the encryption too.

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Not so ESXi? Open sourcery could help VMware win... virtually

Neil Alexander

Re: VMware is probably screwed

There are definite benefits to using multiple blades as hypervisors over a single large physical server as a hypervisor. For example, if you are running multiple blades, a single blade failure is not catastrophic and can be dealt with very easily (i.e. vMotion). You can pretty easily scale up or down, you can shut down blades that are not being used at a given time, and you can probably pack more raw processing power or memory into the same space. I'd rather lose 1 out of 20 blades at a given moment than for a motherboard failure in a single server to knock out every virtual.

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

Neil Alexander

Re: Daytime running lights

Yes, I think it is to do with whether the model of car was type-approved before or after February 2011.

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Linux turns the crank on code for cars

Neil Alexander

"key applications developed in HTML5 and JavaScript"

Am I the only one who hears alarm bells ringing?

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DOH! Google’s internet of things vision is powered by… Mac OS

Neil Alexander

It's a well known fact that a huge number of Google employees use Macs. Why is this news?

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EFF wants you to open your Wi-Fi to IMPROVE privacy

Neil Alexander

What isn't clear from this article is whether the EFF are encouraging people to open their wireless networks and allow people access to the Internet using your subscriber IP address (regardless of whether on a separate VLAN to your own devices on the LAN side), or whether that secondary VLAN stretches right the way out into the subscriber network providing guests with a different subscriber IP (like BT FON does).

If the former, then they have got to be mad. At least a large network like BT have provided the capability to easily provide the latter, but a lot of ISPs won't.

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How farsighted is Microsoft's Azure RemoteApp?

Neil Alexander

Re: what's the difference

Not really anything, other than streamlining the process significantly.

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Concerning Windows Phone and its relevance to the larger business

Neil Alexander

In an environment powered by Exchange/ActiveSync and Lync, Windows Phone really is excellent. The integration with Exchange mailbox/calendars and meeting invites is seamless, as is joining Lync meetings. It just seems to fit together very well.

I'm not sure if I would fancy the challenge of trying to integrate Windows Phone into a non-Exchange environment though, especially given that IMAP support in Windows Phone seems a bit lazy (and lacking in IMAP IDLE) and I don't know if having to support CalDAV/CardDAV separately complicates things somewhat. (Maybe this is an issue for iOS and Android too?)

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So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Neil Alexander

Re: It's got similarities to the desktop market, but huge differences too.

"3) Media Store. MS doesn't have a good media store like Apple and Android. Again, there are work-arounds."

I don't know about Xbox Video, but Xbox Music is perfectly fine.

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Apple: You're a copycat! Samsung: This is really about Google, isn't it?

Neil Alexander

Re: Apple Requires Competition. Deceitful Liars And Plagiarists Need Not Apply.

Oh boy, you are full of it if you think that the courtroom is the way to achieve competition. Real competition comes from companies innovating, not litigating.

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

Neil Alexander

Re: "Seriously contemplating Linux, now."

Oh, is it the "Year of the Linux Desktop" is it? ... yet again?

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Backdoor snoops can access files on your Samsung phone via the cell network – claim

Neil Alexander

"Back door" is the wrong term. "Security weakness" is the correct term.

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The browser's resized future in a fragmented www world

Neil Alexander

The HTML Problem

What's interesting though about the web vs. app debate though is the actual means in which we expose and transfer data. The typical webpage has just far too much presentational data woven in and therefore HTML is mostly meaningless to a computer. How is a computer supposed to know a news article from a weather report by just looking at HTML? (Hence the half-rising of "microformats", to try and allow computers to make sense of the kludge.) At least in an app-driven world, the web services are delivering structured data that is usually well-defined and exposed through somewhat organised APIs. We just need more of those to be open and well-documented instead of highly guarded commercial secrets.

If we can standardise the APIs and web formats of the web once again (like what we did with e-mail all those years ago), then we can start delivering information in a way that is easier for computers to process for a variety of tasks, allow the "apps" of the world to handle how to make that information human-readable, and let people choose which web service providers they want to mix with their "apps".

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Microsoft tries to re-invent GPS with cloudy offloads

Neil Alexander

"few applications drain a mobile device's battery more rapidly than contacting satellites"

This seems to be a really common misconception about GPS. The handset is never "contacting" the satellites. Instead it just listens to them - pure GPS is an entirely passive technology.

(Admittedly this makes me wonder how manufacturers manage to get GPS so wrong - I realise that there's some fairly intensive number-crunching taking place on GPS chips, but the battery drain involved in doing so should not be that high.)

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Server tech is BORING these days. Where's all the shiny new goodies?

Neil Alexander

Moonshot

Clearly the author of this article has never researched Moonshot. Some modern servers are plenty interesting.

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THOUSANDS of UK.gov Win XP PCs to face April hacker storm... including boxes at TAXMAN, NHS

Neil Alexander

Because IT departments are lazy and rely too much on the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra.

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I've seen the future of car radio - and DAB isn't in it

Neil Alexander

Re: Sat radio

Maybe, but there are a plethora of satellites already beaming signals at the UK and Europe. It wouldn't be totally unreasonable to make use of one of these for satellite radio.

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Feminist Software Foundation gets grumpy with GitHub … or does it?

Neil Alexander

Imagine working with a programming language

... that needs to constantly talk about it's feelings.

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Inside Steve Ballmer’s fondleslab rear-guard action

Neil Alexander

Bootnote: Multi-threading

"One runs your app, one runs your antivirus or some OS stuff in the background, and the others do sod-all most of the time."

Not strictly true. The operating system scheduler will balance processes/threads across all available cores, even if applications themselves are not technically SMP-aware. There is no specific affinity by default for your antivirus or your background "OS stuff" to run on one single core.

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iSpy with my little eye: Apple wants to track your every move

Neil Alexander

Re: I presume...

This is Apple we're talking about. Of course you can't.

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Yet ANOTHER IE 0-day hole found: Malware-flingers already using it for drive-by badness

Neil Alexander

Re: who cares ?

No. Just no.

There are reasons that Linux does not dominate the desktop. The "YOU SHOULD USE LINUX BECAUSE IT IS BETTER!!!1" argument is getting exceptionally tiring. The average person and their family do not care about Linux, or your opinion.

Besides, all software has vulnerabilities. The only difference is that Microsoft vulnerabilities are more publicised.

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Windows 8 fans out-enthuse Apple fanbois

Neil Alexander

Re: Don't believe it has fanboys

I like Windows 8. I do exist, whether or not you choose to believe it.

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Myst: 20 years of point-and-click adventuring

Neil Alexander

Re: Dear Esther

I'll definitely take a look. Cheers!

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Neil Alexander

Myst certainly holds a place in my heart, as one of the earliest games I played when I was younger (and frankly without any idea what I was doing), progressively improving my thinking as I grew older until finally one day reaching a eureka moment and actually progressing into and out of the Ages. It's total lack of direction can be boring to some, but it can also be frankly inspirational, much in the same way that Minecraft achieves. What I wouldn't give to see a version of Myst reimaged for today's high density displays and GPU power.

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Windows 8 Surface: best tablet, best laptop OR compromised and confusing?

Neil Alexander

ElitePad

As a HP employee I was taken in by the discount pricing we get on the ElitePad 900, and whilst the Atom processor may not be a powerhouse, this is by far the nicest tablet I've ever picked up. It's a solid build with an aluminium case and Gorilla Glass, it's lighter than the Motorola Xoom that I had before it (and apparently lighter than the Surface too) and it gets decent battery life. I also find Windows 8 very intuitive with a touchscreen. I would easily have paid full price for it.

I almost did buy a Surface, but was ultimately put off Windows RT (and not wanting to pay the kind of money for the Surface Pro when it's so bulky/heavy and with such bad battery life).

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Increasing number of sites inoperable in Firefox?

Neil Alexander
FAIL

Re: Increasing number of sites inoperable in Firefox?

"Yes, of course, the answer depends upon the add-ons. I use NoScript, Adblock, Flashblock, and Cookie Monster (yes, of course, you are correct, I am a Yank, so nothing less than overkill will do)."

You are modifying the pages and stripping out features. What else did you expect to happen?

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No Choice but Windows 8?

Neil Alexander

Re: No Choice but Windows 8?

Windows versions going back as far as XP, or possibly even 2000, have had the ability to prioritise background services over desktop applications. And as for Live Tiles, they can be turned off.

Just buy a Windows 8 laptop and have done with it. Why everyone has such a thing against it I have no idea.

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Microsoft's next device could be a Surface Watch

Neil Alexander

Re: "they've been about being in the market"

Zune = iPod. Tablets = iPad. Fossil Watch = iPod nano (near as damnit). Kin phone = iPhone. Microsoft TV = Apple TV.

To say that any of the above ideas were "flops" is inaccurate - in fact, in different incarnations, the ideas you mentioned have all been a commercial success. The important factor here is time; these ideas were ahead of their time when Microsoft built them. The only reason that Apple succeeded with them is because they were more tuned to market trends of the time.

The only reason I don't mention Windows CE above is because Windows CE is more of an industrial embedded solution than a consumer one.

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Wireless traffic-info networks could save BEEELIONS per year

Neil Alexander

I don't really care if GCHQ know where my car is. They already know where my phone is, and that's usually in the car with me. However, the prospect of using this information to improve busy roads and driving is a very enticing prospect.

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Biz bods: Tile-tastic Windows 8? NOOO. We lust after 'mature' Win 7

Neil Alexander
Mushroom

We have Windows 8 at work

... and no issues. Everything works and users are happy enough with it.

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Android is a mess and needs sprucing up, admits chief

Neil Alexander
WTF?

Re: The real problem with Android

"Android was designed to run 'java', well, actually it's not 'java' it's just some propriatary thing that looks quite a lotl ike java but isn't. The glaring consequence is all that existing stuff needs a lot of work to port it when on symbian there wasn't such an issue."

Did you ever try programming anything on Symbian? It was awful. Making use of the Java language was one of the smartest things the Android development team could have done - make use of existing programming knowledge and remove a number of scary low-level considerations.

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Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader

Neil Alexander
Facepalm

"she emailed over copies of them... and then immediately began panicking"

When people are asked for these kinds of details, why are they not asking why first? Why does common sense never seem to prevail before people act?

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Google to Glass devs: 'Duh! Go ahead, hack your headset'

Neil Alexander

Outstanding ignorance. Google have already publicly stated that advertising on the device is banned.

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Ten Windows tablets

Neil Alexander

Disappointed that the HP ElitePad 900 never seems to make it into these reviews. It is an excellent contender, even if it is a "business tablet", whatever that means.

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