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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1610 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Ruby on Fails: Zombie SERVER army built thanks to Rails bug

Paul Crawford
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Joke

Re: Bah!

Not Tron's fault for anthropomorphism, how about the iPad:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/26/ipad_fleshlight_design/

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Microsoft tops list of software piracy nailed in UK by FAST

Paul Crawford
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Re: Software Theft?

Even if they got the source code, it is not "theft" unless they also deleted it from your servers.

Of course, for the MS Office assistant that could be considered an act of mercy...

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China announces giant military hackathon at SECRET Mongolian base

Paul Crawford
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The USA can't care really...

...otherwise they would be jailing the CEOs of the companies & contractors responsible for putting secret & top-secret data on networks connected to the outside world that could be hacked remotely.

Wouldn't they?

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First bricks of Great Firewall of TAIWAN are being laid, netizens fear

Paul Crawford
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Re: "...But will it stop there?"

Of course not, and such censorship filters are always opaque - they won't tell you what is being filtered and why, other than the usual fake rant about "terrorists and paedophiles".

Remember the Australian government's attempt at "protecting the children" via a filter that turned out to have gambling sites, general pr0n and a dentist's office on its list?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Australia#Leaking_of_the_ACMA_blacklist

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

Paul Crawford
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Re: Flat-rate access

My concern here is who decides what "valuable bit" are?

For ISPs that are bundling other services, such as IP TV or similar, there is a major incentive to prevent you from getting such as good service from other competing suppliers. Extend that to a general case where ISPs cut secret deals with some of the big players on the web and you have a recipe for anti-competitive practice.

It may not be framed in the style of targeting certain competitors, but if they have crap back-haul capacity and rely on caching of their own/partners offers then they are, in effect, selling you a discriminated service.

What should be happening is the ISP deal you get provides some guarantees of 'service' (say bandwidth and/or latency) for those services that matter, such as on-line game play or VoIP, that are detached from who they connect to.

That is how I support net neutrality: not a free for all but an honest arrangement where you buy connectivity of differing grades according to needs, convenience and price (e.g. cheaper and faster general purpose data transfer at night, for example).

The one-price-fits-all and weasel worded 'unlimited' deals are simply dishonest, and OFCOM should have been stamping on ISPs for not providing understandable and measured performance for the various prices they offer.

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Paul Crawford
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Flat-rate access

Why should internet access be bundled like cable? Really, you are paying for a connection for bits, and all that should matter there is an ISP model where you get an honest choice of service versus cost.

Sure, ISPs want to be "value adding" but in most cases this is likely to be achieved by throttling services that are not directly revenue-providing to themselves.

You might argue about the practicality of an "unlimited" ISP offer, and we all know that is not a sustainable model for an ISP (though they are mostly racing to the bottom here), but a more honest model is a connection fee plus a 'reasonable' data volume+speed cost (as typically used for other services).

Sadly what we are getting is dishonest advertisement and toothless regulation.

What we DO NOT need is the ISPs or similar becoming gate-keepers to the Internet, with variable charging for access to services depending on who they can screw over the most.

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PC market facing worst-ever slump in 2013

Paul Crawford
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Re: They only have themselves to blame...

Yup, when those ultrabooks and medium-high end laptops cost more than a fondle slab and yet have poorer (or equivalent) screen resolution, WFT would you expect?

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Paul Crawford
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While Windows 8 is not the reason, it certainly has not helped either.

Otherwise you are right - the majority of home users are not El Reg readers with specialist work loads and a fixation with technology, they just want something simple and easy to use for Facebook and on-line shopping etc. Tablets are good enough for that, in fact, very much better while relaxing in the settee, and only a modest proportion will need a laptop, let alone a desktop, once they have one.

There will still be a demand for desktops and laptops for business applications, power users, gamers, etc, but it looks like the majority of money has moved away from those now.

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Huawei: 'trust us, we are being transparent'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Peculiar problems with Huawei smartphones?

My HTC phone is also a bit crap at web search/browsing, but equally it is likely to be the network sucking donkey balls. Since it is pretty easy for anyone with moderate resources to check what a phone is doing when you attempt to connect, Huawei would be incredibly dumb to put something so obviously dodgy in there.

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"

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'Chinese hack' scoops plan to Oz spook HQ

Paul Crawford
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Re: Value

The radio's design being compromised should not be *that* much of an issue as a system for such use should be designed to be secure and jam-resistant even with general knowledge of the frequency range and modulations, etc, being used.

Unless said plans also included the various PN & encryption keys as well that ought to be kept 'top secret' and on a need-to-know basis only.

Oh dear, if its like the UK's favourite IT contractors then they are royally screwed, aren't they?

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Woolwich beheading sparks call to REVIVE UK Snoopers' Charter

Paul Crawford
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Re: Exists already?

It happened because in a population of ~60 million there will be some homicidal maniacs no matter what you do.

No, you are not reading it wrong as what is being said is largely bollocks. This, for all its tragedy, is not a terrorist act causing mass panic. It was simply some religious nutters out to make a statement and will do nothing to help whatever twisted "cause" they spout.

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'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

Paul Crawford
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Re: SuccessCase

"The same as we shouldn't trust open source software?"

More like would you trust warez downloads.

As for open source, it also depends on the particular source and your ability (and others) to review it and decide if its good/bad/malicious or not.

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Report: China IP theft now equal in value to US exports to Asia

Paul Crawford
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Really?

Some things that appear to be missing in that report are these:

(1) WTF are these multi-million dollar companies doing about computer security? If this "IP theft" really is so important why don't they have proper (ideally physical) separation of external (internet) and internal (valuable) networks? Too much cost/trouble?

(2) Most of the vulnerabilities being exploited are either people or, equally relevant, down to MS & Adobe in the majority of cases. Why is the US gov not penalising them for such a "IP rape" of the nation?

(3) Last time I looked, IP was covered by patents and trademarks which can be enforced against those who copy it (even if stupidly, e.g. Apple vs Samsung). Are we to really to believe such a huge value of IP is not protected by these established means?

(4) Considering most US corporations have out-sourced to China already (and the Chinese are smart enough to make most "joint ventures"), and they do so to save money so staff move a lot, is that not also a real risk for your IP? If so, why are they now complaining about the bloody obvious?

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AMD's three new low-power chips pose potent challenge to Intel

Paul Crawford
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Selection guides?

Has anyone gone to AMD's (or indeed Intel's) web site to choose a processor and actually found it useful? It is an appalling 'experience' and you lose the will to live trying to work out what CPUs offer what features and how they may (or may not) rank compared to others.

Please AMD, start by offering prospective customers a selection matrix of manageable proportions (say 5-10) of your current CPU/APU choices covering low to high cost+performance, and links to compatible motherboards from a few well known suppliers.

Make buying your stuff easy!

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A backdoor into Skype for the Feds? You're joking...

Paul Crawford
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Call me cynical, but I suspect a lot of the moves towards security by Joe Public for communications have been driven by the uncovered abuse of surveillance powers by all sorts of governments and companies/RIAA types.

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WTF is... LTE Advanced?

Paul Crawford
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Pointless at current caps

Really, how long till you blow your 500MB or whatever cap?

Unless this comes with a *much* lower cost per MB it is not getting my vote.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: How about a reliable 2/3G?

Not much use on the move!

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Have your users managed to force iOS devices on you?

Paul Crawford
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Re: @jake 04:12

"Front line...is your company thinking?

Oh, maybe said staff have to visit customer premises and need something handy that works over 3G networks? An iPhone is not essential, but also not that bad a choice in that case.

IT departments are there to serve the business, that means balancing what people need/want to do against the risks of letting them do it, and as necessary to make sure the systems are protected from the dumb and malicious (both inside and outside the company).

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Half of youngsters would swap PRIVACY for... cheaper insurance

Paul Crawford
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Stop

Re: It does genuinely save money

While you may well be right that being monitored tends to reduce instances of dick-headedness, the real problem here is mission creep.

If all the boxes did was gather stats about speed, cornering, use during light/darkness in some way that the owner could see and only be uploaded once per month or similar without the ability to track exact positions, then fair enough - it is roughly a sensibility monitor.

Maybe actual detail could be kept for a limited time as a black-box style for post-crash investigation, but such detail, like the aircraft block box, should be subject to proper privacy protection and only used when a disputed or fatal crash is involved.

But far more worrying is the real-time and every detail aspect that is BOUND to be sold or or mined for other reasons. If such a system is indeed going to save money/lives, then the system needs to be openly designed and thoroughly reviewed so what it can and cannot do is known and not subject to mission creep.

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Mac malware found with valid developer ID at freedom conference

Paul Crawford
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As for the lack of control/configuration options, that is just an example of the Gnome teams design fascism where they dumb things down and treat the users as idiots (which may or may not always be true).

Just look at all of the options removed from Gnome 2 when it went to Gnome 3.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Ubuntu / Gnome etc.. use the Gnome Keyring...

That is a bit of an off-topic rant really. Expecting to remove the login control of a desktop and still being able to use the desktop is a bit much.

Don't want gnome keyring? Don't use gnome! Install the server version and all you have is text-mode (or SSH) login and the usual password management of Linux.

Look at the code if you want with:

~/Downloads$ mkdir software

~/Downloads$ cd software/

~/Downloads/software$ apt-get source gnome-keyring

Not well documented (but what software is?) but it is all there. Find the data files having seen the entry in gck-secret-binary.c file:

#define KEYRING_FILE_HEADER "GnomeKeyring\n\r\0\n"

With the command:

~$ find .gnome2 -type f | xargs grep 'GnomeKeyring'

Binary file .gnome2/keyrings/login.keyring matches

Binary file .gnome2/keyrings/default.keyring matches

If you really worry about others remotely logging in via some keyring vulnerability then set up your firewall(s) to only permit IP addresses from specific machines you use as an additional layer of filtering.

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Murdoch hate sparks mass bitchin', rapid evacuation from O2, BE

Paul Crawford
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Re: Look before you leap

Up to the point when they out-sourced the call centre I had quite good service from VM for my cable connection. Of course, it is different now but not quite so bad to jump. Zen anyone?

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McAfee all-in-one security suite covers PCs, tablets, and smartphones

Paul Crawford
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Looking over the article again, it says both cross platform and "is delivered through Intel Identity Protection Technology".

So will it only work on special Intel hardware, thus seriously limiting its usefulness on the phone/tablet front, or is this talk of special Intel hardware an aside to basically a software solution, in which case how can it be any more secure than other more open systems?

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Paul Crawford
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Black Helicopters

How safe?

There are two issues that trouble me, beyond the usual McAfee crapware-trialware-scamware aspect:

1) Are you really asking users to put all of their most important data in the hands of a USA company? Now it appears to be properly encrypted when 'at rest' but how sure are we this scheme has no designed-in backdoor?

2) Even if the back-end storage is secure, what happens if the user accesses it on a machine already infected with a root-kit? I am presuming in this case it is compromised, unless somehow Intel's encryption hardware is able to bypass the OS to bring your data to the screen, etc.

And if that is the case, it is also deeply worrying as you (as in administrator of your OS of choice) are no longer really in charge of the computer.

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Cluster kids, pick your weapons: It's the Battle of Leipzig 2.0

Paul Crawford
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Joke

No shows?

Given the strengths of Linux in the HPC arena, I am surprised the penguins of Antarctica have declined to show.

What is the Aussies excuse?

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Sony investor wants to break up firm, re-invest in hardware biz

Paul Crawford
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Re: Take Sony back to its roots.

I have to agree - the marrying of content producer and device manufacturer is bad for consumers due to the willing imposition of DRM and the reluctance for either to act in a manner that risks the other's legacy income stream.

Just look at the root-kit fiasco and the various attempts to push DRM on user (e.g. mini-disk had it wilde CD did not, removal of Linux mode on PS3, etc) and you can see why Sony is not going to be on my buy-list for the foreseeable future.

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Top guns doomed as US Navy demos first carrier-launched drone

Paul Crawford
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Re: Hmmm

I think these are intended to be mostly autonomous so loss of command link over the target is unfortunate, but not a show stopper.

Also most data relay is via geostationary satellites which are (probably) beyond the range of current anti-sat systems, unlike spy sats that are usually only a few 100km up and in the range of the last (and very dumb from a space debris point of view) demonstration of anti-sat weapons.

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New Lumia 925: This, loyalists, is the BIG ONE you've waited for

Paul Crawford
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WTF?

Waterproof?

Once you have no SD card and a sealed battery, then WTF are they doing not making it waterproof?

Considering the times I have had to remove the battery to reset my HTC phone, and the rapid demise of an iPhone with water (as you can't get the battery out to give it a chance to dry our before electrolysis destroys it) this is a big deal.

Yes, I know Nokia is not the only one doing this, but if you are making the device effectively sealed, then do it properly!

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United Nations: 'Overpopulated Earth? Time to EAT BUGS'

Paul Crawford
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Joke

"gourmet buggery"

My mind shuddered at the thought, and it was not about food!

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Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

Paul Crawford
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Re: Fuming

I am amazed that somehow you think an astronauts "real work" consists of making power point slide shows or arsing around with word processing style sheets.

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Notebook sales to surge, says notebook seller

Paul Crawford
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Re: Tell you what, Ray

8 - not "figure of 8" cable but IEC (the "kettle lead") as you can find them world wide and thus plug in anywhere you go.

Otherwise up-voted for all points. In particular 1, 4 & 10

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Unlocking Technology Act plans to let freedom ring for devices

Paul Crawford
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Re: What's the difference?

The difference is if you, or some other person, finds how to jailbreak a device you can offer that service or product without risk of prosecution and quite probably counter-sue if they deliberately try to stop your method.

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How smart does your desk phone need to be?

Paul Crawford
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Re: Internal use ...

We have old Cisco IP phones and those are the only two features I have seen to make them "better" than the POTS they replaced:

Caller ID (a name, not just number) + call history (handy for re-dial).

The phone's ID/number moves with the phone, not the socket its plugged in to.

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Get your very own open source nematode

Paul Crawford
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Re: Scan it.

Leading to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visible_Human_Project

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Google not sabotaging YouTube on Windows Phone after all

Paul Crawford
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Must try harder?

"Windows Phone invested additional engineering resources against existing APIs"

Sounds a lot like "Google did not help us, so we had to RTFM and get some smart folk to actually do some work on this product".

As for MS claiming "a bad boy hid the APIs and won't give them back" it really could not happen to a nicer company.

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Windows Blue preview to land at end of June

Paul Crawford
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What users want?

Choice usually, for example:

(1) Why can't you have the desktop style of choice? In XP you could have "classic" over the Fisher-Price style. Seems things changed again with Vista/7 and now with 8 its worse with 3rd party tools needed to give users what they are asking for. Why can you choose the one you want/are familiar with?

(2) Menu vs Ribbon - again WTF is the problem with a simple config option to do things the way you are familiar with, or choose a new (who knows, better for some perhaps) option?

(3) The old oligopolistic practice of trying to force Windows by making things specific to it, the key example is Office. Available for MacOS (just, and often lagging) but why not for iOS where there is a market? Or for Linux/Android?

(4) Office365 - being pushed as the pay-always choice. Not to mention the exposing of all your data to USA law, something that could easily be avoided by client-side encryption before the data leaves your computer. And WTF is Office365 doing when bits of it don't work the same/at all on different browsers?

Yes, I know these are really rhetorical questions because we all know the answer is profit maximisation by forcing you customers ("hostages") to change and buy-again, and again...

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Deep inside Intel's new ARM killer: Silvermont

Paul Crawford
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Re: Goalposts.

I was wondering the same - what is the performance comparison of ARM vs x86 on the same fab technology?

Also, as others have pointed out, ARM is generally a lot cheaper to buy/licence than Intel's offerings, so this had better be really good to make it.

And what about SoC builds, will Intel be offering to integrate customer's hardware on the same fab as this new CPU?

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HTC profits PLUNGE 98%: Pins hopes on HTC One, 'Facebook mobe'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Argruably the desire was the 1st mainstream android...

Have to agree, I have a Wildfire and its crap - or more precisely the software is crap and HTC have done nothing to fix it in the last 2 years.

Any wonder their customers have deserted them?

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Look ma, no plugins! Streaming web video with just JavaScript

Paul Crawford
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Re: "the real ones who actually make money at this sort of thing"

They will pirate anyway, so it is not helping the content providers and, while it is unlikely to result in the innocent/dumb user being prosecuted, at least they may get their PC fixed and save the rest of the Internet one less zombie.

What helps the case for content providers is the end user gets the pirated-like freedom to view anywhere/anytime but is paying for the privileged, rather than paying to jump through hoops. More likely to get and keep customers that way.

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Paul Crawford
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@Christian Berger

DRM, in the sense of making you unable to do what you want, is ALWAYS a less good experience than the pirate version.

Watermarking has its own issues, but is much better as it can be made invisible to the viewer (in the same sense of "acceptably small" which video compression relies on) not to get in the way. By knowing their download is marked, less people are going to share the copy they paid for with others, which is the main goal of a commercial operation.

Of course, mashing up watermarks by using several copies is possible, but potentially hard to do in a way that stops any of the donor's being identified.

Hopefully the content makers will realise that you can't stop piracy, but you can make the paying option cheap enough and good enough (from the customer's point of view) to make the risks of pirating enough to stop all but the most hardened freetard.

Just now I would not hold my breath, as the 'big content' industries have shown themselves to be very dumb in this respect so far.

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Suspected Chinese NASA spy smuggled smut not state secrets

Paul Crawford
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Re: Steno-pornography?

Probably by getting original copies of said pr0n and comparing them bit-by-bit. Also probably by watching them very carefully, over and over again, just in case there was some subtle political or technological message in "Big Girl Needs Big Dildo".

But who says he was not on the make, given the Great Firewall and China's anti-pr0n laws, maybe his stash of gentleman's entertainment was part of a pension plan?

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Japan's XP migration solution: Remove network cable

Paul Crawford
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Re: Fixes and stuff ....

Ah the old red / blue network arrangement :)

Just add someone with a rubber truncheon to deal briskly with anyone plugging in to the "wrong" network and you have pretty good security even with a leaky OS.

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Paul Crawford
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"already have migrated"

There are lots of reasons why you may want/need to keep an old OS going, the most obvious is you simply don't have the money to buy a new PC but that is probably not the biggest issue here (though report suggested so).

Legacy software, or special hardware, are both reasons why an 'upgrade' can be very expensive and time consuming because you find that the software won't work right on the new OS and/or is not supported or licensable on a new machine, and newer versions of said software is not 100% backward compatible and/or needs something else and so on...

My own solution for my dying w2k box was to convert it into a VM and run it on a Linux machine, more or less the best of both worlds (can run special software that is Windows-only, has better network security Linux-style). Even so, that takes IT skill to implement and user training to make it workable, both of which also cost money one way or another.

Certainly w2k and XP had nothing in the license about virtulisation, but AFAIK Windows 7 (probably also the abomination that was Vista) only permit it on the expensive enterprise version, not OEM/standard.

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Why next iPhone screen could be made of SAPPHIRE - and a steal...

Paul Crawford
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Re: Sizes?

Not as much as a Humvee decorated with elephant tampons!

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New NASA rover lands in frigid alien hell tomorrow

Paul Crawford
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Re: Optional accessories?

You seem to have "autonomous vehicle" and "shark" mixed up. Don't worry, its a common mistake.

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Java applets run wild inside Notes

Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Seems no one remembered the stupidity of Outlook running attachments.

Why did anyone think it is a good idea to run, even in supposedly sandboxed code, anything that comes in to your machine?

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British biz walking around with 'Hack Me' sign taped to its back

Paul Crawford
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Re: RF jamming ?

"Since when is that supposed to be an issue ? Sure, it'll work the first day or two,"

I think an hour or so might be enough to cause a chemical plant to go seriously wrong!

Never underestimate the ability of dumb people to get stupid things done in places you never imagined possible.

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Paul Crawford
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RF Jamming

I wondered about that, as a friend of mine mentioned the option of WiFi used for industrial control/monitoring systems. Amazing how dumb the cost saving of not having to install a dedicated (and hopefully air-gap isolated) wired network can be.

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The Chromebooks are coming! New models due late 2013

Paul Crawford
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The high-res one is attractive - as a machine to put Ubuntu, etc, on.

The normal ones for students? Cheap perhaps, but useful, really?

I can see them being a good buy for the utterly-IT-incompetents . I can think of certain friends/family in that category who just should never, ever, be allowed to do more than access a web browser. And even then pinned full-screen so I don't get a phone call about something having gone "stamp sized" and that no they really did not touch anything...

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BT unleashes SIP licensing troll army

Paul Crawford
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Re: How does this work?

"SIP was accepted as a 3GPP signaling protocol"

So it is considered an 'essential patent' and so should be under FRAND terms then for 3G? Sounds like it should be FRAND elsewhere in that case.

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