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* Posts by Daniel

127 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

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WD drops 4TB whopper

Daniel

@Chris Harris

"Words cannot discribe how much I hated having to hold the apple button and click..."

Words cannot describe my incomprehension at such apopleptic and inarticulate rage, being generated by so small a thing. Calm down and get a two button mouse: in fact, plug a Microsoft one in, if it'll make you feel better. And try and get a sense of proportion. What effects do rush hour traffic, difficult personal relationships, people not folding their towels right on the radiator, or adverse weather conditions, bring about, in you, prey?

Where do these people, who go on about holding a key down and click, live? Is it the same place as the ones who claim that Linux users spend their whole lives manually editing config files, or who still claim to see blue screens of death all the time on Windows machines? Jesus! What febrile and thwarted lives, you must live!

Anyway, back to this drive thingie... I wouldn't want to entrust the amount of data this thing can hold, to the thing that was being asked to hold it (for all of the reasons mentioned by the other posters). The dangers of storing everything in one fragile repository have been apparent since about the time the Library of Alexandria burnt down.

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Apple takes Snow Leopard for walk

Daniel

@Steen Hive I conceed, this may be so

I was thinking of the Darwin Kernel itself, which only used to compile the native code. But sure, higher level executables tended to be double bundled, so that users could drag and drop them across the network, between x86 and PowerPC machines, and they'd 'Just run' without 'installing' (just give the administrator password for the recipient machine).

However, I concede your point entirely: what comes in the black cardboard box with the big 'X' on it presumably contains a lot more of that Mach-O gubbins, than the Kernel. I just cannot concieve of dragging my copy of Finder (say) onto someone else's machine, since I'd already have a copy. Oh well, my bad.

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Daniel

@Evil Graham

It's true, the G5s are near immortal, but even the youngest of these will be four years old, come October. What regular PC owner would expect to have much use for a four year old computer? Even if PowerPC support was continued in the OS, what new software would be available? A lot of software is already stipulating x83 architecture. Upgrade them as much as you can, but the newest of those PowerPC mobo designs, are nearly half a decade old. There are clock speeds that restrict what RAM you can put in, and the range of graphics cards is dwindling.

If (as with my now rather battered Powerbook), one of your memory cards suddenly goes >Poof<, you either limp onward on half a Gig of RAM (doable, but you've essentially got a very nice looking netbook, by that stage: Eclipse does not like half a gig of RAM) or you try and source five year old SODIMM from somewhere. That Powerbook is over seven years old. I got my money's worth. It can go in the cupboard, and become a test server.

My guess is that the removal of PowerPC support is unlikely to have played a major factor in the reduction of memory footprint. You get about as many bytes, on an individual sytem, regardless of how many may have been available on the install CDs. Its not as if a PowerPC version is going to litter its kernel with a mass of x86 executable "just in case". My guess is that they've taken out a lot of legacy hardware support. After all, when you're a company that can _definitely_ _say_ that you'll never have to deal with a PS/2 mouse port, first version USB, or a SCSI-1, et cetera, that's a lot of kernel modules you can do without.

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Met 'studies Chinese bugging tactics' for 2012 games

Daniel

I can see how this one is going to run

For the first six months, they have an enormous command centre, full fo intelligence agents, who sit, night and day, listening to banal conversations about West Ham's chances, immigration control, and "political correctness gawn ma-a-ad". Then some wag in Whithall notices the huge hole, that this is blowing in the budget, and decides to outsource the whole operation to a call centre in China (along with the national ID card database, which, by this stage is running on a hacked copy of SQL Server, in a small basement in Harbin).

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Microsoft offers Bing filth quick fix

Daniel

The hackiest hack in the history of hacky hacks

Surely, most people would have to have submitted the search, in the first place, in order to find out what the search string would look like? Then (we presume) they are supposed to close their eyes to all the thrusting flesh, and shut off their ears to the sobbing and slobbering, going on, on the search results page, they DID arrive at, and type in 'addit=strict' into the address bar and resubmit. This is great work.

If it was me, I'd open the Searchresults.Output class, find my link.echo method and append 'addit=strict' to the output string, but hey! - I'm guessing Microsoft cannot do this because Bing's Searchresults.Output class has circular dependencies that revolve upwards and downwards through the server's kernel nine times, by way of the TCP/IP stack, the Audio output layer and three different video codec routines. After all it's not REAL Microsoft code, until it's gotten the Hardware abstraction layer involved in some way, is it?

It looks like you're writing an operating system? Would you like me to help?

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Microsoft's Bing feeds you, tries to keep you captive

Daniel

Let's see how well it survives being gamed

For every website owner with legitimate content, there are dozens of frankly evil ones, who will try to misdirect web users onto their sites for any number of unwholesome ends. Gaming any primary route, that users rely on to find content, is about the easiest way for malicious websites to hoover up hapless victims. Successful search engines actively work against these efforts, and the more successful the search engine becomes, the harder this gets. The fumble over the porn previews was of concern because it was a side effect of how Bing was designed to work: it wasn't the result of someone actively targeting the feature. It reveals a niavety, on the part of the developers, that I do not think will prove resilient, against the jading experience of having to run a search engine effectively, against attackers with seriously bad intentions, for years, while trying to stay ahead of them.

Search is about much more than finding something that looks about right, and making a mashup of it. If more people start using Bing, then attempts to game it's search criteria will move into full gear, and at the moment, its search criteria do appear rather childishly obvious.

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Microsoft UK NTO leaves to spend more time with IT policy

Daniel

There's a first for everything, I suppose

Most people above level 65, who leave Microsoft, tend to quote an urgent desire to spend much LESS of their day, having to grease palms with "senior elites and influencers around the political scene", as one of their primary reasons for jumping ship. Mind you, even right now, Westminster is a much more sincere, honest and happier 'political scene' than you'll find within much of Microsoft!

Shows how long he has been burried in the hive mind, that he can quote those sorts of reasons, with any kind of positive spin, however.

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Website liable for Google-generated page summary

Daniel

Twitter's time truely has arrived

If it is thought that people's concenration span only extends to reading the google summary of a page they found by typing in two or three words into the search box - without actually following the link to see what it actually says - then I now understand why people Twitter. I'd add another sentence along these lines, but I fear losing my readers' atte...

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Cobol hits fifty

Daniel

SSome things just emerge and then never evolve any further

Crocodiles, sharks, tortoises, dragonflies... Unix, C, and COBOL. These beasts emerge upon the world - plug-ugly, kind of dangerous-looking, and reeking of primitive simplicity - and yet they prove themselves immune to either the forces of evolution or to mass-extinction. What is it about these monsters, that is so damn right, that better-looking competitors can't beat? Any designer would tell you that a fish that cannot breathe, unless it keeps swimming forwards, is a stupid idea but, oddly enough, asteroid-strikes appear to prove otherwise.

Personnally, I'm rather glad that my bank account runs on COBOL, since I don't want my bank account to suddenly go: "Unhandled Exception: System.IO.FileNotFoundException: File or assembly name Balance or one of its dependencies, was not found. Aborting." ... which I rather suspect it would have, if your average Visual Basic wonk had ever been let near it.

And, Jamie, COBOL was one of the earliest .NET languages developed at Redmond (long before C# or VB.NET). I believe the compiler actually generates CIL-runtime code directy - rather like the Eifel.NET one does. The only problem is, that no COBOL programmer is willing to take the pay cuts and job insecurity, that becoming a .NET programmer, would entail.

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Facebook value plummets $5bn

Daniel

"If it didn't exist, we'd have to invent it."

Trouble is, it did exist. People keep reinventing USENET over and over again, and wondering why it always dissolves into... well, USENET.

There is clearly a market for people on, 'teh internets', wasting their time, exchanging illegal binary content, swapping trivia and engaging in flamewars. However, USENET is the only one which has ever developed any kind of monetary strategy around this process - albeit one which is a s random as, well, USENET.

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Women coppers eager to drop trousers

Daniel

I fail to see the IT angle here

I will observe however, that if you take a look at the women police officers patroling the streets of my hometown of Hexham; those officers are as flattered by their clotthes, at what's inside the clothing, warrants: many of them would look hot in a space suit.

Maybe women need this spelling out to them more explicitly: a bum either IS big or ISN'T big. The clothes do not make it LOOK big. A high waistline is no more unflattering than the canister of pepper spray, the walkie-talkie, the torch, the pouches, or the nightstick (although I'm sure there are men, enough, that find that kind of thing a turn on, too).

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Beeb tech boss seeks to expand TV licence online

Daniel

How will we prove we don't use iPlayer?

Many will doubtless make this point, but by having a computer with a web connection, we surely imply that we could use iPlayer, whether we wish to or not. I actually got rid of my TV when the last one packed in, and didn't replace it because there was never anything on it to watch, anyway. I never use iPlayer, because I assume that the BBC, minus my contribution to its funds, is no healthier than when last I looked at what it had to offer. This means I don't have a TV or a TV license, but by this logic, I could be forced to pay a license fee because of something I could do, because I have a computer. I didn't ask the BBC to put their content online. Why don't they just make it a damn subscription service, if they think it's worth so damn much?

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Apple releases OS X 10.5.7 update

Daniel

I still say liar.

"So calling the guy or girl a liar without hearing the whole story makes you.... a idiot"

No it doesn't, it makes me someone who's tired of mindless trolls making comments that obviuously come from their bullshit repositories.

If they were defragging their file system AND using one of the paid-for tools to do it, they'd have winged about the fact that they had to PAY for the tool they were using to defrag. They didn't: therefore it's bullshit, and they are liars. Don't pander to the penut gallery, you tool. You can argue the case on it's technical merits, not making things up just because you want them to be true.

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Daniel

You may have 2 mac's, annonymous

But I doubt it, because niether of them would need defragging: not by you, at least. Defrag happens on the fly, in Mac OS X. If you are claiming to manually invoke a defrag, I ask you what commands are you instigating to do this?

I say 'liar' - not because I particularly love OS X, but because I know what is true, and what is mindless trolling. The truth is that which doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. I just stopped believing you.

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Prism Firefox extension hits beta

Daniel

This could be a useful departure

You only have to wrestle with the random way in which Internet Explorer _still_ launches new instances of itself in-process or out of process, on a whim, to realise how hard it still is to offer secure and highly functional web applications that are both compelling and cross platform. Web browsers are being asked to do a job that is far removed from their original design. If all we ever wanted our browser to do, was show us pictures of other people's kittens, Internet Explorer's memory management would be solely Microsoft's problem, and not one that we all share. I think users need to begin thinking about their web apps outside of running them in a conventional browser.

At the moment we have a bizarre kludge, whereby browser developers are having to block things like pop-ups (but only when it's a bad guy) or silently redirect a user to somewhere they didn't ask to go to (but only when that new place is really cool - and not when it's a phishing website). Browsers end up offering more functionality than they really need, because they don't offer as much functionality as a specialised web-app renderer would want. As a result, we end up in a world that is neither secure nor insecure, and where the user is constantly expected to work out what it is safe to do next, like walking a minefield.

Separating the rendering of web sites and that of rendering web apps still requires the developers of both, to take security seriously, but at least we can work on each as a separate entity, and we don't have to wrestle with making something that works great for most people, but still kinda works without Javascript, and still offers some functionality if the pop-up blocker is active, and at least generates some sort of graceful message if cookies are blocked. I'd like to offer the ability to manage content over the Web, because where I work, we're past looking at each other's kittens.

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Playboy to take on World of Warcraft with Bunny-themed MMORG

Daniel

Yes, but will there be Leper Gnomes?

Any project like this is doomed without an army of radioactive gnomes.

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IT salaries down and out

Daniel

Agency figures

Agencies always advertise consistently at the high end of any pay range. They get a dollop of cash that represents 20% of the candidate's starting salary, so they always try and talk the market up, for that reason. Whenever I've been looking for work, it's been as thought the agent was sitting between the employer and me, controlling what message went backwards and forwards, regarding starting salary. I imagine, with greater competition, most agents are pitching more and more candidates at the same roles, so many of them are aiming their prices lower, to try and get the deal, simply because 20% of anything is worth more than 20% of nothing.

In an ideal world, a candidate would start at probationary rates and then be awarded a post-probationary pay rise, based on proven preformance. As it is, companies get asked to stump up full salary starting schemes, while being deluged with the CVs of people who don't know that Javascript isn't the same thing as Java, from agents who don't realise that clients looking for XML specialists might be interested in someone with experience in SOAP.

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Microsoft to EU: Cut me down, and Google will rule the world!

Daniel

Opera's default search is actually Ask

Hit ctrl-Tab in Opera, and an Ask.com search input, is the first thing you see in the new Speed Dial window that opens. Most people use the search that is built into the chromework at the top right of the pane, of course, and Google is, indeed, in the dropdown list of options in that, search box. Uou can set it as your default search, but I can't recall whether it was Google, or infact, Ask, that was preselected at install time. Likewise, the search box in Firefox is actually a drop down, offering a list of options.

People tend to have these search boxes set to Google, simply because they want to be able to find the answers they need. Search isn't an ideological battle. Do a better job, and people will use your service. Before Google, everyone used to use Alta Vista - remember them?

Microsoft should really do more to get Live Search, or whatever they are going to call it next, added to the list of options in these browsers, rather than seeing the ownership of the browser as some sort of backdoor to owning the Web. The latter accusation tells more about Microsoft's intentions, than anything else. Sure, Google gets the top spot in Firefox, but then Google keeps forking money in Firefox's direction. It doesn't stop Firefox also having Yahoo and answers.com in it's list of alternative Search engines.

The real problem for Microsoft is it's track record, which iis what they are being judged on, here. On winning the browser wars, Microsoft did not respond with some huge Renaissance of ideas and fresh technologies: far from it. Instead, what we got was a near decade of stagnation and decline: a Web of Flash intros and kittens websites. Ten years on, and people are still getting excited about forms-based CMS, for goodness sake!

Microsoft doesn't want to own Web search because they have some serious and exciting ideas for it: it's so that Search can sit there in a corner of the screen in a dull grey rectangle, serving up apporoved content. The very best we could expect, is that there would be some registry hack, you could put in, to make the search look like a badly animated yellow dog.

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Firefox passive-aggressives adjudicate Nerd Law

Daniel

Fail and Ted

What is this crap? A load of embittered wittering - with a big side order of grovel - from some twit who wants to write two pages of guff about something I didn't know about, in order to tell me that it doesn't matter? Get this hopeless blogger off your front page! I come here for news, not opinion pieces in which the writer has to spend two pages telling me why I should have an opinion!

Fail and You? Indeed! Go away Ted, you pointless little man.

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Microsoft buys hot-shot Xbox dev team

Daniel

Oh look

Steve Balmer may be sacking people, but good old Robbie Bach is still partying with the company funds!

Maybe he'll buy up Duke Nukem Forever? That project operated on the sort of return-on-investment timescale, that men like Robbie can grasp.

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Electronics giants raise ruckus over Project Canvas

Daniel

Britain becomes a "technological island"?

What sort of island would they prefer us to become? An island of flint-knappers and bone tool manufacturers, perhaps? Colour me cynical, but I imagine Sony, Panasonic et all, would want to make sure they had control over the supply of flints and bits of bone!

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Duke Nukem Forever developer defunct, says staffer

Daniel

12 years of 'kicking back and chewing the cud', eh? Well, I guess you're all out of cud!

Most nostalgics seem to forget this, but when Duke Nukem 3d came out, it was at the tail end of the sprite-based 3d shooters, and it required an inexplicable number of hardware resources to run, considering that all it offered over its earlier rivals, was vertical layering. Rival firms were already starting to offer polygonal rendering, at this stage, and what 3dRealms offered, at the time, was a secondrate and rabidly sexist story line designed to pander to teenage boys, (in fact, the story was so heavily ripped off from Doom, that the developers even put in deliberate references, to that effect). I feel that Duke Nukem is one of those franchises we are supposed to love, in the same we we are all supposed to adore ABBA. Applying any critical faculty to it, and saying: "You know, that was actually crap: good riddance" causes you to be vilified, in much the same way as the ostracism you will recieve for pointing out that writing tunes that stick in your head and annoy you for the rest of the day, is not the same as being a musical genius.

I personally expected any eventual DNF release to consist of a Doom 3 style fumble - perhaps with much eye-candy, but wrapped around the same kind of unimaginative and restictive game-play that tried to force the player to admire the special effects, rather than proceed with whatever flimsy plot, thyere was to follow. 3Drealms never had any original ideas of their own, anyway, so I suppose all we've been spared, is the embarrasment of trying to like, whatever it was, they were eventually going to release on us.

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IBM Warwick data centre has a lie down

Daniel

Last I knew, most of those entire systems were backed up on other sites

Being on the flightpath to Birmingham International, my understanding was the many of the critical Warwick services were real-time mirrored (albeit onto older kit) in other sites, precisely because of the risk of a 'jet crash' scale calamity. I suppose it depends what level of backup the customer is paying for, though. I'd be interested if customers such as TUI were affected, for instance. It was always considered a little ironic that TUI would pay for such a high level of redundancy, given that in all likelihood, it would be one of their jets, doing the crashing!

Either way, many of those systems can take upwards of an hour to reboot (some are rebooted once every year, as a matter of course, and it's quite an operation, whenever it's that time of year - even when you have a schedule to work to). So bringing the whole lot back from an unexpected sudden death, in stages, would cause a lot of downtime.

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Google, Schmidt, and the Gray Lady Resuscitator™

Daniel

I particularly love this Waxman quote

Writing of the dense crowd of Hollywood and Meeja celebs, present at the party , she writes:

"A single suicide bomber would have ended filmed entertainment for the rest of the decade."

What? A whole 19 months? That's pretty monumental, given the vapid and ephemeral nature of this modern age. Just think: in 19 month's time, we may have begun paying off the first ten percent of our monumental debt (assuming we haven't all died of pig flu). The thought that we might have to do so without Jim Berkus or Tom Freston is... Well, it's terrifying, isn't it?

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Army officer tossed laptops into the sea

Daniel

There's a kind of upside down logic, at work, here

"Stick all your sensitive documents on a portable computer because it's easier to destroy them by throwing the machine into the sea, later on." In addition to Varne Bank and Goodwin Sands, international shipping will soon have to start looking out for Toshiba Shoal, cape Viao, and the trecherous Pavilion Archipelago.

If you ever see a man staggering aboard a cross-Channel ferry carrying a System 390, you'll know that we've adopted this strategy, where I work!

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Blunkett to press for cyberwar probe of BT's Chinese kit

Daniel

Why the bloody Olympics, all the time?

"cyber security must be improved ahead of the 2012 Olympics"

Why then? The Chinese are hardly going to launch a cyber attack during the only two weeks during which table tennis is getting international coverage, are they? Why must these politicians obsess about the bloody Olymics? It's like Mandelson and his stupid dome.

In my view:

"cyber security must be improved ahead of the my next Amazon purchase"

"cyber security must be improved ahead of my mum going online to replace her aging Mac"

"cyber security must be improved ahead of Tiny Tim's World of Warcraft guiild-meeting, on Monday"

Improve it, by all means; There are many good and reasonable reasons to look into this, but I wish they wouldn't cite the Olympics, all the time, as if the mere mention of amature athletics will focus an otherwise apathetic populus to the perils they are under.

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eBay scammer gets four years in slammer

Daniel

Bad maths day?

171,750 + 17,500 = 198,250, so presumably he had sixty thousand dollars'-worth of scams, going on elserwhere, to arive at a total of $259,000.

Sorry to be pedantic.

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ISPs eye role in Jacqui's mass surveillance system

Daniel

Stop Press: Entire UK database found to be too big to fit on a data key

In other breaking news, Jacqui "Two homes, one office, dozens of secretaries" Smith has discovered that her cunning plan, of downloading the entire nation's internet habits onto an electronic data key and leave them on a bus, somewhere, were foiled, when it was found that there was simply too much of the stuff to leave lieing around. A government study showed that, in order to cause a data breech of the kind for which the present government has become justly famous, it would require the coordinated efforts of a many as three dozen forgetful middle-rank civil servants at once.

Since there is no point gathering vast, unstructured piles of data, about people'ss private lives, unless you plan to leave them on public transport, she has, instead, come up with a new way of securing all our futures. Ms Smith intends to hand the responsibility for all this data over to the kinds of underpaid, overstretched system administrators employed by companies like Tiscali and Virgin Broadband. In a blinder of a move, she relaised that (while employing some sort of government body to handle this sort of thing, might imply some degree of direct oversight) latest results seemed to show that most government bodies, far from hiring sinister, humourless obsessives, employed sweet, dizzy, scatterbrains. Certainly , these people have proven capable of causing the kinds of slip ups that can compromise major criminal investigations, but in no way, could they be relied upon to actively try to sell an entire nation's data to the first criminal they should come across.

Instead, she realises that, in order to protect the UK from Islamist extremists, the correct response would be to hand the job over to a bunch of companies whose first move, during a recession, is to seek out some ghetto, in Malaysia, to outsource all their IT support work to. National Security: remember, your system was built by the lowest bidder!

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Gov figures show IT jobs crisis

Daniel

WAP, Active X and COM?

Sweet lord! Welcome to the 21st Century... Please form an orderly iine. (Mind you, only a market researcher would list Active X and COM as different skillsets!)

However, this does tally with what I'm seeing, myself. My suspicion is, that although the amount of work that needs to be done in IT remains the same (and that there is a certain limit on how few people you can have, and still get that work done), there appears to be a retreat towards maintaining legacy applications. I suppose when companies are all concentrating on being able to continue paying their staff, the fact that the payroll application is written in COBOL is less of a worry. In the long run, it's probably a good thing for IT as a whole. A few years propping up the walls on legacy code tends to cure even the most hopeless optimists of the idea that porting everything to Ruby or .NET will solve the world's ills; while a certain amount of each day, spent trying to think how to write queries without using sub-selects, or following the 'logic' of someone who didn't think GOTOs were a bad idea, tends to quell your urge to complain about modern software.

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Turks hijack Kiwi MSN via DNS cracks

Daniel

@Enrico

You're correct, as I read it: this was a simple redirection (as almost all DNS attacks are), rather than an assault on the original MSN infrastructure. This is what makes DNS attacks so pernicious, of course: you can do all the good work, to secure your systems, yourself, but if your customers are misdirected elsewhere, thinking they are coming to you... well.

DNSSEC would have been able to secure against this, because the client would have been able to use the DNSKEY with the Authoratitive Name Server, and determine whether the answers coming back from the website matched those that should be coming back from the domain owner. Only the domain owner holds the private key, with which to generate such correct responses.

And that's the problem. Not only does this increase the size of the data going over the network, but it all calls for a greater degree of cooperation - particularly at the root or TLD. It isn't impossible, however: Sweden's .se TLD was the first to have a signatures stored at root.

Since I've managed to get this far without making any anti Microsoft comments, I'll ask this: why do MSN have their DNS servers run by a company with a warez skript-kiddie name, who couldn't protect their systems against SQL injection attacks? There's no point building a gated community, and then hiring incompetant security guards, to man the gate, is there?

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eBay officially not cheaper than High Street

Daniel

What high street?

Since most high streets are filling up with pound shops, charity second hand outlets, and short lease tat-dealers, I'd say the high street was actually starting to offer a serious alternative to eBay. The only step the remains, is for all these highstreet junk-retailers to stay open until pub-closing time, and eBay will be finished.

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Microsoft gears up for Windows 8

Daniel

"Microsoft was one of the first to offer free web mail with Hotmail"

Like Bucky, I, too, feel that this sentence is so chronically broken that it simply MUST be repaired.

Let's have a go:

"Hotmail was one of the first random acquisitions (with no discernable revenue stream) which Microsoft gobbled up, in the early days of the dot-com boom. Microsoft has continued to fail to capitalise upon it, ever since - probably because there was no genuine business to be had, from such a system. Even now, people only create new hotmail accounts in order to avoid getting spam at their real email addresses. The earlly days of Hotmail, within Microsoft, were a comical litany of failures, prolonged outages and lack of service, while engineers struggled to fulfill Gates' dream of seeing the entire application ported off Solaris (which Bhatia and Smith, being good dot-com boys, had chosen) onto the fledgeling Windows NT. Many, within Windows group, who had been gifted with this thankless task, asked, among themselves, whether $400 million could not have been better spent developing something, in house, rather than watching DOS-Uinx emulators issuing 'parachute deployed' messages, all day long. At one stage, Gates, in his rage, at how slowly the work was progressing, picked up an Enterprise 400 server and threw it out of a window, trailing Cat 5 cables behind it, so that it smashed on the pavement below. Unbeknowns to him, of course, this was part of the live Hotmail service, and it's destruction caused Hotmail to become unavailable, in the Cisco bay area, until a replacement Sun unit could be sourced, installed with the necessary software, and plugged back in to the network. Today, Hotmail continues to shuffle around, stinking, and murmmering about 'brains', while senior Microsoft executives insist that the thing is 'Live'. Bhatia, meanwhile, was last seen touting free, web-based teleconferencing and planing his own personal city (quite where, no one is sure - possibly inside a hollowed out volcano). Smith, meanwhile runs a company which appears to patent things, but which does not have a website (perhaps he doesn't want to get spammed). Quite where the $400 million is, no one knows. Maybe Sir Fred has it?"

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Start-up Bee pledges 'affordable' British e-car

Daniel

Promising startup claims to have mastered Lightwave

A promising startup, yesterday unveiled their latest designs for yet another e-car, which, they claim, reflects the ground-breaking research they have been carrying out into Lightwave's 'extrude-rectangles', and 'add-bevels' features. The firm claims that the new design is revolutionary, in having several door units whose rotation planes are actually centred on their 'hinge' extrusions, rather than having to be extacted, rotated manually, and then bodged back into position.

The company aims to follow this early success, with a logo, sometime in the summer, once they have worked out the final nuances of solid metalic reflections and specular lighting.

More ambitiously, the startup also aims to produce a dangerous and uncomfortable roadster - which, they claim, will offer an unparalleled level of performance, coupled with handling, so vague and impreceise that it will, in the words of their marketing director "Revolutionise people's perceptions of electric performance vehicles, in the same way that 1970s tripple cylinder Kawasakis changed people's notions about the life-expectancy of motorcylists". They hope to achieve this by making virtually the entire mass of the vehicle unsprung, and simply sticking a large settee, in the middle, slung between two big rubber bands. An artist's impression of the ambitious performance car would be available to the press once some final teething problems involving an inverted reflection plane and some pesky internal widdow-vertices, that kept crashing the renderer, had been resolved.

The company is now seeking venture capital funding, in order to buy a second Dell Inspiron, which will, they hope, reduce rendering times to under ten hours.

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JG Ballard — 1930-2009

Daniel

I actually had to look up 'prdystopian'

Just to make sure you weren't referring to the little known (and horribly violent) breakaway post-Soviet republic of "Prdystopia". :)

In fact, the only result that came back from Google was this very article - which Google has already indexed, mere minutes after it went onto the Web... Which is kind of Ballardian, in its own way.

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Google money machine records Q1 choking sound

Daniel

"Mountain-View chocolate factory"

I think you must those words tied to a keyboards shortcut, or something.

We need a new metaphore. "The Shoreline Golf Course Pro Celebretes" perhaps, or "Amphitheatre Parkway Gladiators". Anything. It'd doesn't matter how silly: just don't persist with this, please. We get the joke, okay? Now please stop telling it.

It's like being the only website on the planet that insists on calling Microsoft the 'Vole'.

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Peugeot's on-road, off-road ‘leccy ATV

Daniel

Ideal for using in an airless environment, certainly

I love the way the manufacturers cover these things in stupid louvres, gussets, a faux air-intakes, to maximise the wind resistence on them. The fact that absolutely everything inside the cab, on these dinky concept cars, is seen as being driven by electricity, is also a great way of mimimising their range. "Where shall we stick the solar cells?" "Why not inside the smoke-effect windscreen, dude?"

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Scammers use Ford to drive users to scareware sites

Daniel

Aren't they just gaming the Zeitgeist API?

Google put an API tracking all of the things people are currently searching for, online, and make it's interfaces programmable, and queries, to it, automatic. Bad guys then write a script that asks the API what most people are searching for, at the moment, and install that on all the compromised sites they have under their command. Bingo: whatever's popular, becomes today's attack vector.

There's someting quite 'Web 2.0' about it all, actally, since it not only relies upon The Frivolousness of Crowds, to drive it in the first place, but it also, by definition, targets the more ignorant and potentially gullible people in the target group, since those most likely to get caught out by the process are A) those who don't, for instance, know what Higgs Excitation might have had to do with Crossbows, last Tuesday (and immediately turn to Google, in order to find out), and B) don't first check whether what is claiming to be a wikipedia entry, about the subject, is actually hosted on wikipedia, before clicking on the link.

Also, the more desperate the crowd becomes, to find out what Higgs Excitation has to do with crossbows, the more spurious the search results that Google returns, become, and so the users themselves become ever more specific, about the search criteria they put in, to try and find out, and so the poisoned websites thus appear to become ever more exactly-suited to their needs. Perfect! Also, because the process is completely automated and self-defining, it even allows for the bad guys to be considerably more stupid than the people they're targeting.

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Play unveils AspireRevo launch date

Daniel

I'd really like to see this run "modern game"atany decent speed

Vista Premium and, say, Call of Duty 4, both at once, on one of these... what sort of frame rates? Anyone care to guess?

Acer, themselves are saying this will be ideal for running "family friendly" games. I think we all know what that's a euphamism for.

I stand by my original comment rearding the disparities in the hardware. Intel claim the Atom uses 2.5 Watts, TDP, running flat out. Nvidia clam 3 Watts, TDP, from the ion, while on idle cycle. So, the GPU, on idle, is consuming more power than the CPU does, when running at full speed. Start using this thing for seriouswork, and the ower consumption quadruples - for all the fact that CPU is struggling to keep up.

And why does a media PC need to be left on all the time, anyway, other than to ensure that the Confikr boys can keep it up to date? Surely, an "ecotwat" would actually consider the "turn it off, when I'm not actually using it" option? Presumably that's what a reponsible ecotwat would do, with the 40 inch plasma screen, that he or she rather otpimistically plugged this thing into?

Furthermore, quoting Intel, again, the Atom provides "half the performance of a Celeron 430", but consider this; putting a 430 in, instead of the Atom, would (by my estimation) add about $5 to the production costs, while offering a real media and light-gaming platform - albeit at the expense of saddling the user with the job of powering it down whenever they are finished with it.

The Atom makes perfect sense, for saving energy, when the energy is coming out of a cheap battery, and is also having to power the display. It does not make sense for saving energy simply because you can't be arsed hitting the off button. Just turn things off, if you want to save the planet: it's not Rocket Surgery.

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Daniel

Why the hell have these things got atom chips in them?

I thought the crappy little mobile chip was the first thing you ditched, when you were able to plug a cable in the back? Where is the logic of building a system whose CPU consumes 1/4 the power of the GPU? Marrying an Ion and an Atom has to be the dorkiest idea of the year. The Ion will surely never be able to run at full capacity simply because the atom wouldn't be able to give it enough work to do. It's as if they'd found three separate parts bins from three different fabs, and were trying to cobble something together using the bits.

And they want to run Vista Permium on the more expensive ones! I'm sorry, but as far as I can see, these things are going to run like slugs. You can throw all the GPU and RAM at a problem, you like, but if you stick a toy chip in the middle, it's still going to be a lemon.

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One in ten PCs still vulnerable to Conficker exploit

Daniel

It would help if the patches had more intuituve names

Some things deserve cryptic names: car parts, book ISBNs, the numbers that appear under bar codes. However, I'd suggest that security patches for computers don't fall into this category, if it means that 10% of PC users can't even seem to figure out if they're vulnerable, or not.

Ask a user whether they've installed the MS08-067 patch (which, for clarity's sake, is also known by the catchy moniker of "KB959644"), and you might as well have asked them whether their car used LFR5AP -11 spark plugs or BPR6ES-11s!

Why not call it 'The Confiker Patch', or 'That Security Update We Issued Last October'?

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Microsoft ready for an open-source skoolin'

Daniel

The change needed is internal, as much as external

What the world and his dog sees, when looking into Microsoft, and trying to work out how to send data in and out of it's software without problems, is much what teams within Redmond see. The Microsoft warren is an intricate battleground of minor fiefdoms based on the mutual hatreds of inividual managers and their underlings, who actively conive to keep bits of their projects from view.

The fact that CIFS, for instance, is an arcane and mysterious soup, to anyone on the outside, is as much a function of the way the CIFS team intracts with the people at the other end of their own corridoor, as it is, how they regard Samba. CIFS used to be SMB. Why did it become CIFS? No one really knows. It doesn't matter. We'd shoot you if you fund out. NT LM; NBT, NetBT... rename your acronyms every few years. It keeps the enemy guessing. And by 'enemy', we mean those bastards in Exchange Server and IIS.

If you've ever been baffled by the way that Microsoft's own products fail to get on with one another, then the answer is that This Feature Is By Design. Sam Ramji isn't some mouthpiece for MIcrosoft, The Corporation: he's just the manager of That Team Over There. Doubtless there are any number of knives, with his name on them, to be found around the Redmond campus. He probably has an easier time gretting answers from the people at MySQL, than he does with anyone from SQL Server.

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Laptop Hunters snare Microsoft on Linux

Daniel

@Mike

You're clearly one of these people who cares, mate.

Cares deeply.

You're also on f these people who thinks he can talk a reality into existence, simply by saying something is so. good luck with that one, my friend. You might like to know that Noel Edmonds has a religeon for people like you.

Oh, hang on.

You've already got a religeon, haven't you?

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Daniel

Giampaolo

"he wanted a laptop with a large screen that was powerful, not a Fisher-Price 'my first computer', he probably want s ot do something revolutionary, like play games on it."

Actually he doesn't want anything at all. He doesn't exist. He's imaginary. This is an advert. Giampaolo is a projection of what Microsoft hopes the customer looks like.

I actually find that an ever diminishing number of regular users want these gigantic old clunkers, with their huge screens and their big keyboards, all that top-flight, wizz-bang crap inside of them. The fact that ALL of the remaining people, who still want these toy mainframes, read the Register, (and that half of them own a Mac) is why we have these debates; but that doesn't change the fact that we are becoming a cultural irrelevance. People, like us, look at best sellers and ask "Who the hell would want that?" But flip it around: what normal peron would want a gigantic "laptop" with a graphics processor that uses almost as much electricity and produces almost as much noise, as an electric drill? Jesus, dude, you want to play games, buy a console!

Normal people don't buy the kind of shit, we buy, anymore, because we're not normal. that's why we're sitting here reading comments, about an article, about an advert, in which an imaginary man buys a computer. Normal people don't do that. Microsoft appear to have decided to take Apple on, in an increasingly diminishing top-end, ubergeeky marketplace, in which things like price don't really matter as much as on-the-fly defrag, hot-zoning, and graphic-processing based on postscript: all that mad nonsense, WE care about. What normal person would use "Well, it's based on Unix...", as any kind of positive or negative argument, with regards buying a product?

I think Microsoft will lose, here, because, frankly, their software really is a bit of a honker, isn't it? Sure, you can become a specialist in keeping it running, buy it's a bit like becoming an expert in maintaining Italian car electrics (the question is not how it coud be done so well, but why it should be done at all).

All Apple will retain, however, is the ability to carry on selling the same number of niche, high-end machines, to people who care - same as they have done for the last three decades. Difference is, that Apple have diversified (albeit into making products whose popularity baffles many of us geeks) whereas Zune and Windows phones.... Well, even WE can see that they're honkers, can't we?

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MySpace rant was not private, rules US Court of Appeal

Daniel

Inexplicable

I can't imagine why anyone would have a bad word to say about a town where people shoot at your parents' house, and threaten your family, if you choose to call it a bit of a dump. That local newspaper's done the town a great service, by drawing international attention to the fact that it's California's answer to Chelmsley Wood.

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BMW opens up to haptic car doors

Daniel

Great. Another thing to go wrong.

Sentient doors.

It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again, with the knowledge of a job well done.

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Did Sun's total package kill the IBM deal?

Daniel

Its all about the egos

McNealy and Schwartz both suffer from that all too common ailment of clever men, in thinking that being able to spot which way the wind is blowing, makes you a market leader. Weather vanes know which way the wind is blowing, but the wind still blows past them, and the truth of the matter, is that being able to provide good sound bites, does not make you Winston Churchill.

So, yes, the network is the computer - unfortunately, it's not a computer with a Sun logo on it - and, yes, companies will start to measure their computing needs by the acre - unfortunately, they won't be SPARC-powered acres. Being able to spot a gap in the market doesn't help, if you instist on trying to shove the wrong-shaped brick into that gap. All you end up doing is drawing attention to a market gap, that you are, yourself, failing to fill.

McNealy and Scwartz are both too nice to pull a Gate and Balmer, on the market, but their approach to that market has always been essentially the same as Gates' and Balmer's. Their difference (and their downfall) is that they expect people to volunteer themselves into the Sun monopolly on the basis that they're such nice guys, on one will mind having no choice any more. Maybe it's a Californian thing? They smile at you and tell you they want to be your benign dictator, and then seem puzzled when people reply 'Benign, OR dictator, fellahs: pick one. I'm going my own way, thanks.' Even when customers come to depend on Sun technologies, like the Java stack, they still do every damn thing, they can think of, to make sure that they're not dependant upon the Sun version of it, alone. So, then Schwartz decides that the bset approach is to (kind of) give up Sun's control over most of it, in the hopes that people won't be so scared of it anymore. The problem remians that offering everything as a free download with the source code doesn't help if every download has a copy of Open Office bundled with it. They're still saying "By the way, have you considered our Monopoly offering? It's free."

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IPS misses its ID cards for foreigners target

Daniel

"We are in discussions with the financial services industry..."

Oh, well, that's alright, then! The financial services industry has been doing such sterling work, of late, after all! Who better to ask about long term investments abd strategy?

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Microsoft's Live Search to morph into Bing?

Daniel

On the subject of phishing...

On Friday, web commic 'xkcd' makes this obscure joke about Higgs Excitation:

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22higgs+excitation%22&btnG=Search&hl=en&safe=active&client=opera&rls=en&hs=DMC&sa=2

By the following Monday, Teh Interwebz looks like this:

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22higgs+excitation%22&btnG=Search&hl=en&safe=active&client=opera&rls=en&hs=DMC&sa=2

Now, how many of those are actively-targeted phishing websites, you may well ask? I don't know, but there's some pretty dodgey looking domains in that list!

In order to get web search right, you don't need to rename your service every three months. you have to write an algorithm that can survive this kind of banal madness.

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Google admits data center podification

Daniel

I'm amazed no one's done this yet

Streetview view. the car did not pass directly past Project 02, but you can see it, here, from River Road:

http://maps.google.com/maps?client=opera&q=4200+Columbia+Rd,+The+Dalles&sourceid=opera&oe=utf-8&ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&layer=c&cbll=45.630159,-121.204012&panoid=GNifFmwm2JDZ5g1Zgzj6tw&cbp=12,44.2529446734379,,0,2.3971078976640725&safe=on&z=16&iwloc=cent

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Daniel

Google Earth's own photo of the site is revealing

At eleast, in how little it actually reveals (and how out of date it is):

http://maps.google.com/maps?client=opera&rls=en&q=4200%20Columbia%20Rd%2C%20The%20Dalles&sourceid=opera&oe=utf-8&safe=on&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

Compare, that, with this aireal shot, in the New York Times, from three years ago:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/14/technology/14search.html

The two new buildings with the massive cooling stacks are clearly the data centres, while a stack of containers sit between the two and a company canteen now occupies the very bend of the river. It is believed that cooling water is drawn direct from the river, exlaining irs proximity.

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