* Posts by Paul Crawford

2161 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Windows 10 blamed (partly) for stalled PC sales recovery

Paul Crawford
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Five year old

Chances are a fresh install of Win7 would fix things. Though I have no interest in Win10 for various reasons (e.g. I like my privacy and for the machine to do what I tell it), I know at least one person who did the "upgrade" on her Win7 laptop and is very happy with its performance.

But why not try one of the Linux distros on a USB stick? You might find you like it enough to change. Even if you do depend on Windows for some programs, making a clean Win7 VM without AV crap, etc, and only installing the stuff you really need is a way to get the best of both worlds.

7
0

Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

My hovercraft is full of eels.

No, I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched!

13
0

'Web brothel' CEO, staff cuffed on prostitution rap – clue: the website is called Rentboy.com

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Did someone finally notice......

"Why is Homeland Security investigating male prostitution? Isn't counter-terrorism enough for them?"

Probably they found there are virtually no terrorists to arrest, but plenty of folk whoring themselves shamelessly to America's serious disadvantage.

But they were told they could not arrest congress, so had to make do with stitching up a rent-boy site instead.

11
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: a simple solution to illegal prostitution

Wait! How can a politician or church leader possibly allow consenting adults to indulge in perfectly legal activities for money?

7
0

Why Nobody Should Ever Search The Ashley Madison Data

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: 9 gig dump

Most people will not get the torrent and try to load it in to a database themselves. They will go to one of many scam sites set up to offer such a service and you can bet your bottom dollar that most of them are in it for the money (yours) by any means possible.

The article is really aimed at the unwashed masses using partially patched Windows boxes with Flash installed on auto-play, not El Reg readers who are likely to have somewhat hardened machines.

0
3
Paul Crawford
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Wait, what?

"Pregnancy" covers the whole process through childbirth and possible complications, and a few women find they don't like/want sex afterwards.

If you read the article again you will notice the main moral point was for consenting couples who wish to stay together for any of various reasons, but are not having sex for whatever reason(s) and one of them still wants to.

2
4

Boffins promise file system that will NEVER lose data

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Will be interesting to see what it turns out to be.

With a lot of "mathematically proven" systems you end up moving the problems/bugs from the implementation process to the initial specifications, which are often not 100% complete nor correct for anything of reasonable complexity.

2
0

Ex-HP top aide in the clink for racking up $1m on company credit cards

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Spending limit

When I arranged a company credit card the bank's guidance was to set the limit at 1.5 times the persons monthly salary, unless it was used for something specific (e.g. a card for purchasing equipment without setting up trade accounts, etc) or their job had the expectation of unusually high expenses from frequent travel/hotels/etc.

1
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

$1M? Pah chicken feed!

If you are a proper exec you buy some company for $11B and when it turns out to be as stupid as most folk though, you blame it on the seller (and not, strangely, on the auditors) and try and sue them.

That, my girl, is how you win a pissing contest!

14
0

Win8 inventory glut? Yep, it's all Microsoft's fault, says HP

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re:@kb

Yup, and just look at all those folk returning their iPads and Android tablets because they don't run windows stuff...

0
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Obligatory Linux post.

I think most Linux users have no problem with making an Amazon search available, nor with the concept of a Linux distro making money. What pissed them off was having it slipped in to the desktop search which very likely would be used for private matters.

Again an example of arrogance (as one must assume Mark S is not stupid to have got so far), and it could have all been avoided by simply having two search buttons "local" for your own file system, and "everywhere" for Internet + local files.

2
0

Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Discovery

A simple concept, you have things with recognisable names such as "start", "file", "edit" etc for menus and buttons and folk can guess what they do and see where to find them. Works well.

Now look at the efforts of today's GUI muppets who hide thing behind bizarre icons or simply remove them altogether and folk get pissed off. Where are settings, and why is a cog-thing where you would expect to see them? They are not gears after all. Or is it some sort of burger icon, or maybe some dots for no bloody good reason. Left hand or right? Looking at you Chrome, Android and Firefox.

Then we have Win8 where you have to somehow know to swipe from some obscure corner to find something, and by touching the touchpad by accident in some equally obscure way you get the metro stuff thrown in your face. Fine for kids and some geek folk who are happy just to slap things around until something happens, but have you tried to help or support an OAP with this shit?

Yes, I know about the Windows key and search, but again for a lot of computer users they don't know the names of stuff, but are able to recognise them in a familiar menu location.

Oh and the same dumb-ass approach is what made Gnome 3 a whole lot shittier than Gnome 2. The whole "we know better than our users and their 20 years of experience" ideology so lets bugger around for no good reason.

46
0

Směrť Špionam! BAN Windows 10, it SPIES too much, exclaim Russians

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Rasputin, bring in the bucket of soapy frogs and remove his trousers!

While everyone can see that Russia is hardly a bastion of freedom or protecting citizens from spying, it would be good if a few big enough countries kicked MS so hard in the privates that they were forced to make Win10 defaulting out of all spying.

Then users would have to bend over and lub themselves, rather then find the new trousers come with a convenient hole and pre-lubed for MS' convenience.

14
0

Microsoft will explain only 'significant' Windows 10 updates

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Mint is the way?

For a lot of folk they only have one or two Windows-only programs, and also a lot of them don't need internet access (and a few have it only for DRM reasons occasionally). In those cases you can often put them in a XP VM or a Win7 VM and it works just fine, with the bonus that you can disable external networking to enhance the security (e.g. if you accidentally open an infected Word document it can't phone home), and only give the VM access to a restricted area of your Linux host's file system.

Of course it is no excuse for not being careful, running some sort of AV on the host (to be honest, they all seem to suck and be ineffective), and having a proper off-line backup in case of cryptolocker style malware.

1
1
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: @Mark 85 The seem to be going in an unsavory direction...

It is a bit tasteless to remind us of the many talents of Mr Almond.

Still, if win10 is a taste of things to come from MS I will sit among the penguins (where no man is an island, unless he is called Madagascar) and laugh. That is, unless me and my brother Kyle lose the rock-off, in which case I might be gargling mayonnaise till the end of time and the pros and cons of hitch-hiking operating systems will be of little concern.

1
1

The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: @Charlie Clark

"Why the fuck should IT departments be running filters?"

To reduce the exposure to phising and drive-by attacks, to limit the possibility of data egress from Trojans, etc, going unnoticed, to limit the bandwidth socked up by advertisements, etc. There are a lot of good reasons to filter things for business use.

As pointed out by the A/C above this could be a largely self-policing activity where users can unblock a web site using an internal web page, were hopefully it shows the real source site and they then enter ID/2nd password to have it added to the white list.

Also the A/C addressed the personal use aspect by having either the odd PC outside of the company internal LAN, or maybe by offering a 'guest' WiFi without filters for phones, tablets, etc, so folk can do stuff outside of the business without putting the internal network at risk.

5
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Blocking dating sites has too much fallout

Block lists seem a pointless arms race. If you have a work situation that needs protection, why not a white list?

OK it is some work for a junior admin, but folk can put in requests for sites they NEED to use for work, and then they get added after a cursory check. You could start with the obvious ones related to type of work, wikipedia, few moderately trustworthy news sites, etc, and just see what folk are using and why. While it sounds restrictive, it would kill dead most phising sites and malware C&C servers.

8
1

Bruce Schneier: 'We're in early years of a cyber arms race'

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: We have met the enemy...

We, collectively, are the reason for this because we are happy to accept shitty software because it is shiny and new (e.g. Android) or the established model (e.g. Windows) and we want everything Internet-connected for convenience and to save a little money on not having to make trips to physically visit important sites.

While some nation state attacks have shown the ability to jump air-gaps using infected USB sticks, etc, the vast majority rely on the simple fact that we put critical stuff on the same machines and networks as we use for external access (web, email) and then get surprised when we find our OS, software and firmware in routers, etc, is full of holes that let the two leak.

Convenience trumps security, and so far we have not had anything big enough go wrong for the law to come down and enforce stricter practice.

3
0

Pirate MEP: Microsoft's walled garden is no consumer pleasure park

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Update --> Update

...even delete the kernel accidentally...

I once tried to deleted everything on a running machine just to see what would happen. It was about to be re-installed, I'm not quite that insane! Yet.

All gone, only a couple of in-use directors left on the HDD when I booted the live CD to install the new distro. I was impressed, it did just what it said it would, including rm rm'ing itself.

1
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Earth to Microsoft

I set up Ubuntu for my pensioner-age father. He is not quite a technophobe as he will try stuff, but his knowledge of computers is practically non-existent. So far its been over 5 years of minimal trouble, no viruses, and the previous XP set-up was cleaned and put in a VM so he can run some flaky genealogy package.

So Linux can be viable for a lot of the population with minimal training, but how likely we are to see it come pre-installed and sanely configured on PCs is another matter.

7
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Unauthorised peripherals?

That was my question, just WTF is an "unauthorised peripheral" here?

Could a chipped ink cartridge be counted so you can re-fill/recycle it against the printer company's policy? Maybe some audio card that won't play ball with the DRM-of-the day?

For the few things I do that need Windows, it looks as if XP and 7 VMs are going to be my final solution.

6
0

Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Descisions

All of this kind of misses the point - in the event of a pedestrian/child/etc stepping in front of the car it will almost certainly out-break a human and probably not swerve if that endangers other on-coming traffic. So far so good, and +1 for the driverless car.

The bigger problem for automated cars is anticipating what a child/pedestrian might do. Now a lot of drivers don't really pay enough attention, and I'm as guilty as others, but often you see something like a drunk, or a child chasing a ball down the pavement, that rings alarm bells in your head and you slow down just in case and are primed for an emergency. Getting that automated will be far trickier than the Newtonian motion of driving.

Also going back to Tim's article, I really wonder if mapping the roads in minute detail and assuming connections to this vast database is a viable (or very valuable) option. How will it deal with downed trees, flash floods, other drivers, communication problems in rural areas, etc? A proper driverless car has to be fully autonomous and to react sensibly to what it finds, when it finds it. Sure knowing there is a crash or delay up ahead will make things a bit better, but whatever the unexpected situation turns out to be, the car MUST react at least as well as as the average human to be acceptable.

2
0

Act of God damaged data on Google cloud disks

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Most likely on the pylons that feed it. Typically they are the highest thing around even on plains and if you have a big storm you can get several bolts all in a few km region. Even though it is more common to hit the pylon than cable, you are still talking about serious levels of induced surges and possible disconnected by circuit breakers as a result.

6
0

Microsoft pushes us closer to the Edge: Test new web browser now in free Windows 10 VMs

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Good to see

While I think IE6, etc, were abominations at least MS is trying to do the right thing and get rid of some of the legacy crap. OK, that causes problems for some who drank the MS kool-aid all those years ago, but time move on and hopefully MS do.

But no, I don't think the W10 grab of your privates is OK...

10
0

US Air Force: 'Loose tweets destroy fleets'

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Makes sense really. If you strip away any specific aspect of USAF, etc, it comes down to the basic "don't be an arse on-line" advice:

Think before you post.

Post only what is really needed.

Avoid sharing stuff with world+dog where it could come back to bite you and/or loved ones.

5
0

Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

@Shadmeister

Do as I do, run your Windows-only software in a VM and the rest on the Linux host. I also have CAD software that is Windows-only but with the appropriate configuration you can use dongles on the parallel port, etc, from a VM.

0
0

Testing times as NASA rattles Mississippi with mighty motor burn

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: new technology...

"People may be a bit too squishy for the acceleration of a railgun"

It depends on what acceleration you are looking for.

I hope some commentards will check, but I figure that if you had a 2km rail gun on some suitable mountain and were running at 3g sustained acceleration your meat-sacks would survive fine and you would be doing about Mach 1 at the exit point where (hopefully!) the chemical rockets take over 11 seconds or so in to the whole process.

Also I was thinking of a mag-lav rail and electrically powered linear motor, not a "supergun" and explosive charge.

3
1
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: new technology...

I don't know of any supportive masterminds with volcanic lairs, but one idea that would also help a bit is a massive mountain-side rail-gun style to allow a proportion of the launch momentum to be delivered from ground-based power. Basically you get your main engine & propellent up to say Mach 1 before it even has to burn.

It all comes down to getting more thrust from your fuel. Unlikely, except for a reactor heating the propellent and getting THAT cleared for use is not going to be trivial, and we won't even touch on Project Orion.

Otherwise getting less launch weight and not having to carry the oxidiser (as in Skylon) or by having some ground based propulsion to get you started and a little of the way out of our gravity well.

6
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: new technology...

Sorry to have to point it out but a bloody great firework is the only system we have that actually works. Most of the likely (and some amazingly unlikely and down right stupid) fuels have been trialled and the ones remaining (typically kerosene & LOX or LH2 & LOX) are the ones that combine enough specific impulse and scale to get off the ground, while not poisoning us or dissolving the engine.

If, and it is still a big 'if', we see EM drives working it will be a very low force, otherwise we would have seen it before in experiments as a non-trivial effect. So at best an EM drive will be good once you are leaving the Earth's atmosphere and can get low accelerations for months/years based on solar or nuclear generated electrical power.

Edited to add: Yes, the Skylon project is really interesting as you could save a lot of the LOX weight by burning atmospheric O2 up to a decent altitude.

8
0

Still safe as houses: More CCTV for the masses

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

You can get routers that will fall-back to 3G dongles, etc, for business redundancy (e.g. several of the DrayTek models) so if you are really worries you should consider that. And also having images backed up to an external NAS/cloud in case the thief has the sense to nick the recorder as well. And proper alarms will also check the line is not dead for just that reason.

2
0

I've seen Kaspersky slap his staff with a walrus penis – and even I doubt the false-positive claims

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

What I don't understand is how it is possible to misidentify a proper Windows system file. Surely MS can provide something like SAH256 hash values of every legitimate build they have released in the last decade or so?

So what is going wrong, don't the AV firms check?

12
0

Australian court slaps down Hollywood's speculative invoices

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: if you got one of these letters, how do you defend the claim?

Here are some stats:

https://torrentfreak.com/adult-movie-outfit-is-most-litigious-copyright-plaintiff-in-u-s-150812/

"6,050 cases filed since January 2009 ... only 137 cases went to court in the period, with 126 concluded via default judgment, 10 via consent judgment and just a single case settled via full trial"

2
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: if you got one of these letters, how do you defend the claim?

I am not a lawyer, so if you are threatened then look around and get support as there are a few organisations that have sprung up to fight this sort of extortion racket.

In most cases that trolls have 'won' it was because the defendant did not turn up at court to defend their side and so a summary judgement was made in favour of the troll. That is very different from the court deciding that the trolls' arguments are strong enough, but trolls tend not to point that out for some funny reason...

5
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: if you got one of these letters, how do you defend the claim?

The first point, and most important, is that an IP address is not a personal identifier.

At most (and assuming the IP address was correctly recorded and time-stamped and correlated with your ISP's DHCP server) it tells them that someone using "your" connection (assuming you are the bill payer, most likely to get the letter) was attached to the bit torrent swarm.

Most countries do not make the bill payer responsible for other using the connection unless they have actual knowledge of misuse. A bit like you can't be prosecuted for your car being stolen and used in a bank robbery, but you can if you offered it knowing it would be used in such a crime.

These days most folk share there wifi password with anyone visiting their home, neighbours that have faults and need to get on-line, etc, as they have no reason to suspect criminal intent. In addition numerous routers have piss-poor security anyway and I believe Windows 10 is also going to make wifi sharing more common among acquaintances as well.

So basically unless you confess to it they have little case, the only real risk is they try and get a seizure of your PC to get it forensically analysed to prove the alleged copyright material was on a PC directly controlled by you. Possible, but a major cost to them and most of these trolling firms want a cheap settlement hence the threatening letters.

Given the time scale between the threat letter and any possible action, it would be unfortunate for the prosecution if your machine was replaced due to age, or had a virus and was securely wiped and re-installed before it came to seizure and court proceedings, as they could have a lot of expenses to pay to you...

6
0

Use QuickTime … and become part of the collective

Paul Crawford
Silver badge
Facepalm

Ah yes, obviously posting comments using wi-fi. Much more secure.

11
2

Sony PC owners to get Windows 10 upgrade as early Christmas present

Paul Crawford
Silver badge
Trollface

What, you mean all that hardware does not "just work" with Windows? I thought that was what they said about Linux

1
0

Apple's AirDrop abused by 'cyber-flashing' London train perv

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: moralism and the bubblewrap generation

"how would you feel if your son/daughter came back and reported the same thing happening to them in a public place?"

Why care if it is a public place? Maybe they should be outraged at the stupidity of Apple (or anyone else with similar tech) for not making it more secure?

Also we have the underlying point of giving kids a tool to access practically any information in the world, how about they give them a dumb phone and problem solved.

1
9
Paul Crawford
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Ho hum,

Yes, remember when MS though it a good idea that Outlook would open and/or run any email attachments for you? Look how well that worked out?

Really some system designers are such morons to think such a 'feature' will not be abused. Why, to help whore you to more advertisers?

18
0

Sex app Tinder in public meltdown – because a journo dared suggest it was, well, a sex app

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

"shutdown of half the UK's nightclubs"

More likely folk just realised they are mostly utter crap.

1
0

Samsung says micro-sats could blanket the world with Internet

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Antenna gain

You don't get anything for free, if you have a given power flux density at the Earth (you know, a fixed transmitter power and coverage area) then going up in frequency achieves nothing - the increase in directivity gain for a fixed effective aperture is NOT producing an increase in power, and going to a smaller antenna for a fixed 'gain' is not helping - in fact it is counter-productive. The reason why "free space loss" in link budgets includes wavelength instead of simply being inverse-square is specifically to reconcile the relationship between an antenna's effective area and directivity gain.

The only benefit you get in that scenario from higher frequency use is the directivity gain allows you to separate sources (.e.g. satellites) that are close together. But you pay for it by having to steer the beam very accurately (mechanical or phased array). Also rain losses are massive at W-band so for some users in some areas they won't be seeing better then 95%-ish connectivity.

It makes some sense for users in really sparse areas, but not for high density cities, etc, where putting in some fibre and a few mobile base stations operating at frequencies that penetrate building is going to work much better. The real question (beyond pollution of space when those reach end of life and can't be de-orbited from 2000km altitude for millennia) is the economics of doing so for a large number of very poor users. Yes, I feel they should benefit, but I do wonder if the companies behind this can make money. Iridium went bust because the advent GSM, etc, stole its most profitable user base in the big cities and densely populated areas of wealthy countries.

0
1

CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

When is a BIOS not a BIOS?

When if it root-kitting you machine obviously.

But the more serious question is why are open/replicable BIOS not more widely demanded? Are our gov departments happy to buy mass-market PCs with such crap-ware (or even foreign spyware) pre-installed? If not, what are they doing about it? When do we start to see contracts for gov PCs that demand open source BIOS without any shit-ware installed? Only then will there be enough of a commercial pressure for suppliers to make enough details available for reliable 3rd party BIOS to be used.

63
3

Want Edward Snowden pardoned? You're in the minority, say pollsters

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Sadly I can believe it. But then a lot of Americans believe the world is 6000 years old and evolution is less likely. Apparently a National Geographic survey found 77 percent of all Americans “believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth”, and according to a recent Harris poll only 68 percent of all Americans believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God.

If we simply took the majority's views as always right then the world is flat and slavery is something that is good for business so keep it going.

23
1

Patching a fragmented, Stagefrightened Android isn't easy

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: A general problem

"And how do you do that when the manufacturers are located in countries that simply don't care?"

Then it is the importer. If they can't get an agreement from the manufacturer to cover such requirements & costs then they won't import. If a few go under due to legal problems then no one will import the product and they lose £Ms in sales. Simple really.

0
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: A general problem

You could make the phone suppliers responsible for any reasonable loses due to known but unpatched bugs for, say, 5 years after the product was last sold.

Hell, why not the same thing for ALL products with built-in firmware/software? At least then manufacturers have to factor in the support costs for the shit product development cycle and that might lead to better software by design, and certainly a patching system. You know, like the ones that Linux has been using for 10+ years that for some reason Android phones did not have.

2
0

Red-stained Opera wants someone to hug it and whisper: 'No more pain, no more tears'

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Re: I would be worried...

I tried the "new" Opera and it was crap really, the only saving grace being the 'Turbo' feature still working.

What happened to configuration options? You know like disabling animated GIF images? Blocking certain types of content easily? Turning on and off plug-ins and javascript from the menu or short-cut keys? Bookmark menu down the side where it is easy to find and works on wide-screen monitors?

Still on 12.16 for Linux for a lot of the time as it is less shit than Chrome and (to some degree) Firefox as it also suffers from chrome-envy by a number of the GUI morons developers.

7
0

'WOMAN FOUND ON MARS' – now obvious men are from Venus

Paul Crawford
Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Ray Bradbury called it...

"fallen in love with... a machine"

But is it a strict machine?

0
0

Oracle pulls CSO's BONKERS anti-bug bounty and infosec rant

Paul Crawford
Silver badge
WTF?

Even more reason, as if more was actually needed, to keep clear of Oracle products in every shape or form.

27
0

Tesla tech top dog downs slug, hikes bug bounty to $10k

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Salutations to Tesla

For once we see a car company reacting sensibly to the holes in their systems. Of course, this should have all been done before the cars were leaving the factory, but at least Tesla has the balls to realise they did not, and are apparently taking it seriously enough to do something about it. OK, bounty is not so big as some other companies, but its a damn sight better than most auto companies.

14
0

A close shave: How to destroy your hard drives without burning down the data centre

Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Sand won't save you this time!

(really though, they did say without burning down the centre)

4
0
Paul Crawford
Silver badge

Really, why go to all the physical risk and effort apart from the fireworks in testing?

Doh, I just answered my own question...

But really the answer is much simpler: all disks encrypted with a long random block of data that is stored on a chip, and then just zap the chip with a high energy discharge while rebooting the servers in to the usual memory testing slow BIOS start-up that you always use as you worry about data integrity if your RAM is not checked. Key gone = data gone and in-RAM copies overwritten as well.

2
0

Forums