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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1605 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

China's Beidou satnav will open to mobe-makers

Paul Crawford
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Re: Three systems ..

Technology is really not an answer to stupidity in society, though often our leaders seem to think so.

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Production-ready ZFS offers cosmic-scale storage for Linux

Paul Crawford
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Re: zpool scrub == fsck

I have seen HDD kicked out of Linux md RAID for no obvious reason, no SMART errors, etc. Add it back in and after a rebuild, all is fine. Guess it is an issue of the flaky disk and/or controller and/or driver software. Were you using "enterprise" class disks and stuff?

Either way, you still have to monitor ALL systems for errors!

Also you should do a ZFS scrub regularly, same for Linux RAID or any other technology, as it helps weed out disks with sector errors or that are close to dying. What you DON'T want is to have is an HDD fail, and then find others go during the rebuild.

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Paul Crawford
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@JEDIDIAH

"That kind of undermines much of the point of having the newest and shiniest FS available now doesn' t it?"

No, because it means for most of your time the data is safe and you can consistently back-up by taking a snapshot and backing that up while life goes on.

But when you get a fire or flood in the server room, or "gross administrative error" destroying the wrong zpool as someone is doing some other work, you actually have a way of recovering.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: @integr8d

Should read "of 1 GB RAM per TB".

Also use 64-bit Linux even if you don't have more than 4GB of RAM, as various ZFS things were designed to assume a 64-bit basic CPU as minimum.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Add / Remove disks?

Google and ye shall find:

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19082-01/817-2271/gazgw/

'zpool add' etc is how it is done. But play around with a couple of old HDD and test data for a while first so you find out what goes wrong before it bites you with real stuff.

Oh, and never ever forget the mantra "RAID is not Backup" - checksums and snapshots are all very good, but no backup means no safe data!

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Paul Crawford
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@integr8d

Not particularly. In the sense of what you need for a big NAS that is.

Typically the suggested value if !GB RAM per TB of storage, but that is kind of based on the expectation of more IOPS as storage get bigger, so more caching helps.

Running de-dupe is always memory intensive for a big file system, and not all usage patterns make it worth while. If you have lots of VMs then de-dupe and put in *lots* of RAM. Otherwise you can work with a couple of GB if your I/O demands are not that high.

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Paul Crawford
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"disk itself checksum its blocks"

The problem is disk do checksums, but sometimes they don't see an error. Could be one of the rare patterns that happens to match the algorithm and gets by, could be a similar fault on the data going to/from the HDD, etc.

Most HDD claim something like a 10^-14 error rate, but a 4TB disk has 3.2E13 bits...

Hence XFS applies additional checksums on top of the HDD checks to provide a much reduced chance of an error getting through. MUCH reduced.

There was a paper from CERN a few years back on this sort of thing, covered RAM errors, HDD controller errors, disk errors, etc. Bottom line was if you have a lot of data and/or valuable data, you need more verification than HDD offer internally!

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Dell directors foresee unremitting brutality in PC market

Paul Crawford
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What temptation is there?

Really, most PCs are not exciting and the prices they want too high. Like the ~£1k for a basic 1080 line screen.

What happened to anything decent that is not 16:9 crap?

Oh yes, all that is left is the Apple MacBook Pro and Google's new Chromebook Pixel. They might see my money at some time in the near future, not the pedlars of crap stuff to watch DVDs on.

Oh, sorry, no DVD drive any more and still technically illegal to rip my own disk to play it from the HDD...

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Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks DIE

Paul Crawford
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Re: Hey, you, get on to my cloud

You forget the "electricity" has no unique properties, my amperes do just the same as yours.

With IT it is the underlying problems of:

(1) Data protection. How many providers have client-side encryption by default so they (and foreign gov) can't spy on you?

(2) Bandwidth. If your task is computing-heavy, then you have a real problem with (1) (can't secure it remotely as it is on someone's VM so can be imaged while unencrypted) but not much with I/O bandwidth. However, if you work on a lot of data-heavy tasks then your ISP link will become a serious bottle neck and could run up a mighty bill.

(3) Redundancy. Oh sure, the likes of Amazon, MS, etc, have lots of hardware redundancy and similar, but also they may have a single point of failure (e.g. certificate recently in MS' case) and your ISP is likely to be the same. While your own building is also at risk, given the number of failure points for the ISP(s) between you and them it is much worse. And paying serious money for another provider is no guarantee it won't share the same fibre trunking, etc. (Actually, a local JCB mistake is more likely than large scale ISP outage).

Some may argue without an Internet like, your business is stuffed, but not always. Quite a lot of jobs (CAD, video editing, writing up reports, business planning, general HR duties, etc) can be done for a while with no external link at all.

(4) Lock-in. Once your balls are in the vice, they can turn the screws on you and what can you do? How do you migrate TB/PB of data from one cloud to another? Is that data really open, or locked in to some software they had you use? Have you actually tested such a migration to see if and how painful it can be?

Sadly the article is probably right, as a lot of "youf" seem to care little about privacy or the long-term implications of their choices.

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Voda: Brit kids will drown in TIDAL WAVE of FILTH - it's all Ofcom's fault

Paul Crawford
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@BristolBachelor

In this era of "free" minutes the caller should be in a position to know the price of all such numbers independently of the network.

It could be made to work for you as well.

For example, you get a fixed 7-digit number and it is prefixed 0845 for a given price, say, 5p/min. If they want to change more commission (if not fixed percentage by Ofcom) and on VodaFone you dial 0846, or 0847, etc for 6p/7p/etc. That was you get the same in all cases, and callers get to see which network is charging the most for non-"free" calls.

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Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Morons at Vodaphone

Really? Why can't they simply fix the price of pay-numbers in to a standard table and make any sex lines, etc, change their number prefix if they want to change the cost?

Then you can see at a glance from the first 4 digits (or via an app that performs the look-up) what a call is going to cost. No need to tell kiddies anything about what those numbers are actually for then.

Muppets, and desperate ones at that.

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Furious Stephen Fry blasts 'evil' Reg and 'TW*T' Orlowski

Paul Crawford
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Facepalm

Re: Jimmies rustled - Mission accomplished

I must have missed something, I always read El Reg as a leading on-line lesbian magazine...

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Stop excluding vulnerable Brits from digital agenda - MPs

Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Re: Errrrrrrrrrrr

1) You are assuming these people have the mobility, etc, to get to a library.

2) you are assuming they would know what to do when presented by the computers there.

3) you are assuming the spending cuts won't close the majority of libraries, etc, in the not too distant future.

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Rise Of The Machines: What will become of box-watchers, delivery drivers?

Paul Crawford
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Re: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

The Devil makes work for idle hands - or was that glands?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Horizon of 35+ years ago

The other thing is aircraft are hugely expensive and have very strict regulations on servicing schedules, etc, due to the safety impact of anything going wrong.

Will these driverless cars turn out to be too expensive to achieve an acceptable degree of fail-safe hardware, software, and maintenance? How will insurance companies deal with the risk, will it then be based on your model & firmware revision due to its history of crashing?

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Microsoft Flash FLIP-FLOP: it's now IE10 default for Win8, WinRT

Paul Crawford
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Re: p0rn

Numeric porn, something with 69 in the equation?

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Dear Facebook: I heard the news today, oh boy

Paul Crawford
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Re: Please don't happen here too...

True, El Reg is advert-sponsored as well, but given its rather tech-orientated nature those adverts are often of stuff I actually am needing/interested in.

OK, maybe not as interesting as some "speciality" sites, but here the adverts are less shame-provoking...

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Paul Crawford
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Trollface

Re: Sponsor message

Well trolled sir (madam?), have an upvote for being this first on this page.

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MakerBot demos 3D object scanner that fits on your desk

Paul Crawford
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Re: physical DRM

What are you scanning in your pocket? Or are you just please to see us?

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Intel, Apple forging chip-baking deal?

Paul Crawford
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True, but if it is a case of money from Apple that is less than x86 or Apple staying with Samsung and getting nothing, not so simple.

I suspect the bigger worry for Intel is if this indirectly leads to more interest in ARM for servers running massively threaded code where lots of cores at high MIPS/Watt is far more attractive than high-profit high-end x86 chips.

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Paul Crawford
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"seem to point towards the new x86 chips being very close to competitive with ARM"

But how much of that is down the the chip design (i.e. logical structure) and how much of that is down to Intel having a ~2 year lead on advanced manufacturing processes?

If they are matched simply because a 2 year advance makes the x86 equal to the ARM for power-critical tasks, then ARM is still a winner for most, and if Apple do get access to the best fab service then they will have a major advantage over all others.

That alone, far more than not paying Samsung for fabbing, would help Apple in the premium smartphone arena.

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Tech titans: Give it a rest with the SEP injunctions, wouldja? - economists

Paul Crawford
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Why just FRAND?

Really, stop all of this injunction business on patents and allow the courts to swiftly decide the 'value' of such claims and then get party A to pay party B what is reasonable for it, and to enforce a transparent settlement so cartel-like operations to price out newcomers is not an option.

Considering there are hundreds, if not thousands of patents, for any complex product we should see more sensible settlements of a few quid per half-dozen patents on a ~£200 device.

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Pwn2Own: IE10, Firefox, Chrome, Reader, Java hacks land $500k

Paul Crawford
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Linux

Re: Just as I expected.

That could well be due to not being able to do much of note on a Chromebook, unlike a full-flavoured penguin.

<= He may look cute, but turn away and he will eat you Uncle Fester.

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Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

Paul Crawford
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@mmeier

As I asked before, what law?

Please quote the text of this law, or cite some reference to it in any EU documents, or as a last resort give us a link to a Wikipedia article on it.

I say this is simply a case of MS licensing strong-arm tactics.

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Paul Crawford
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What law?

"EU laws say "maschines sold to privat users must include an OS""

Can you be specific about that?

AFIK this was something MS insisted on to get good DOS/Windows pricing for OEM deals, which of coure all the big PC vendors want. You can buy a PC from small custom-build PC shops without an OS, so I smell BS here.

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Paul Crawford
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Laptop screens are crap

Really, its true. The "best" of almost all (excluding Apple retina) are 1080 lines, that is poorer than my 17" CRT monitor of 10 years ago! Almost gone are the 1200 line models or 4:3 aspect ratio, both much better for everything except watching DVDs. But that is cheap, so the computing industry has gone to using TV screens instead of 'better'.

I would be perfectly happy with normal (i.e. non-retina) resolution if I could get more height, but today you pay stupid prices for an "ultrabook" that has less display area then my father's ancient el-cheapo 15" 4:3 laptop.

I for one am not buying!

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Penguins, only YOU can turn desktop disk IO into legacy tech

Paul Crawford
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Re: Why a file system...

Of course there is also other tasks such as security & auditing, etc, that a file system currently performs. The memory management of most CPUs can also enforce access control but there is still some need for a structure & metadata to match.

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Paul Crawford
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Why a file system...

The problem with flash memory, which it shares with HDD in many ways, is it is block-orientated. Also the block erase operation is many orders of magnitude slower than a read. The job of organising reads and writes in to blocks is one task of a file system.

The other, of course, is to provide the organisation of said blocks in to logical entities as files, and to do so in a manner that is reasonably fault tolerant of (partial) media failure or unexpected crash/power-off events.

Until someone has NV memory that can be word-addressed for writing without the erase speed penalty and the limited write numbers of flash, it still makes sense to treat 'storage' and 'memory' as different things. You could have fancy RAM caching over flash with battery back-up so it can be committed to NV storage on an unexpected event, but I guess we already have that with a laptop's suspend feature.

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PC market to spend ANOTHER year soaked in blood, warns IDC

Paul Crawford
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Re: How do they not get this?

Same here - the only laptop I could find with a decent screen so far is the Apple retina with 16:10 and high resolution, but very high price and I am deeply unimpressed by the "features" such as glued-in battery and no standard Ethernet port.

The Chromebook with another version of Linux on it is looking more like it, but really why can't I buy anything that has a decent vertical size/resolution any more?

Yes, I know they all use TV screens and pass on the cost saving which is why the new ultrabooks are so affordable. Oh, did I get that wrong? Damn :(

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Farewell, Reg: This hack is hanging up her Apple jacket

Paul Crawford
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Pint

Re: So Long

Apparently she is moving it to something involving tentacles, my initial thoughts involved a speciality Japanese form of cartoon, but sadly probably not :(

<= Still, have a virtual one from me

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

Paul Crawford
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Not working is not the problem

My problem is when some IQ=80 thief thinks it will work! The loss of my hand is far, far more worrying than my bank account.

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Nexus 1 put in orbit to prove 'in space, no one can hear you scream'

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Graham Newton

Also the arcing problem tends to be during out-gas when the pressure get low, and you have high electric fields (e.g. radio transmitter filters with high Q resonators). Less of a problem one you really have near-vacuum.

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Paul Crawford
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@Graham Newton

I wondered about that - more specifically about the phone's battery still being fitted and/or out-gassing from the LCD panel.

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Adobe squashes TWO critical Flash vulnerabilities with emergency patches

Paul Crawford
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Re: Flash?

No - saviour of the universe!

An alternate one, at least to here...

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Microsoft finally ships Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7

Paul Crawford
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Pint

Re: XP Holdouts

Why? Maybe:

Good enough for some, not everyone needs >= 4GB memory.

You have old apps that only work on XP and/or you can't re-licence for a new OS.

You are not a geek so see spending money for OS changes, most of which you suspect your won't like, is not worth it compared to other choices.

<= other choice.

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HTC settles with FTC over smartphone security holes

Paul Crawford
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Donkey Balls

My HTC phone sucks them regularly due to its crap software, so being full of inviting orifices for those indulging in nefarious activities comes as no surprise.

Really, why is crap security not an issue that has a basic legal basis by now? I know you can never be 100% secure/safe by design, but so much of today's products (generally the software, but not always) are pushed out as utter crap with hope/promise/day of unicorns coming that things will be fixed.

It is about time that security should be an automatic liability unless the supplier can show (with a straight face) that reasonable care and good practice has been followed in the design, implementation, and testing of the product.

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Microsoft brings Azure back online

Paul Crawford
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Trollface

So how to customers get refunded?

I guess this single outage trashes their SLA promises of uptime over the coming year, so what happens now for the customers? Do they get a year's refund or free?

Yes, I know its online somewhere but could not be arsed looking up the legalise...

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Top tools for junior Linux admins

Paul Crawford
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Re: Where are all my files? <whimper>

I almost suffered badly from a simpler mistake, but logged in as an ordinary user thankfully not much happened. I was lucky that time, so don't try this folks:

chmod -R <somesetting> .*

I wanted to change settings on all hidden files/directories in my home folder, but I had not anticipated that '..' is also a match to '.*' and so the recursive application went UP a directory then down everyone else's home!

So think VERY CAREFULLY about wildcard/regex matches before doing something like this, and maybe test on a begin action before something almost irreversible like rm/chmod/chown.

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Microsoft secure Azure Storage goes down WORLDWIDE

Paul Crawford
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Re: There are so many reasons...

I think for (1) they mean outside of their company.

For (2) please provide more, most of the stuff I have seen mentioned is only secure between your PC and the servers, not 'secure' on their servers in the sense of encrypted by a key they do not hold. Also when it comes to encryption I would ONLY trust an open source implementation of the client side, otherwise how can you check at all if it has a back door? (Yes, I know there could be subtle flaws introduced to make GCHQ/NSA/etc's job easier, but its about the best you can ask for).

(3) depends on your business, for some work yes it is but for a lot of design and manufacturing work you can work quite well (in some cases better!) without an internet connection for a day or so.

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Chrome OS code suggests Chromebook Pixel could be real

Paul Crawford
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Re: LArge Screen TVs

Either way, if it is an affordable laptop with a decent screen size/resolution and can run some non-Google Linux distro then I am interested.

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Curiosity photographs mysterious metal object on Martian rock

Paul Crawford
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Re: preferably with BBQ sauce

Or baby oil...

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Every single Internet Explorer at risk of drive-by hacks until Patch Tuesday

Paul Crawford
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@JDX

That is a perfectly good question for any non-Linux user and it is disappointing to see that someone down-voted you for it.

As a general rule, you have two options for installing software on a Linux box:

1) Use the supplied package manager such as aptitude to get it from one of the original repositories, or from one that you have added.

2) Install directly from a file such as the .deb ones used for Debian-based systems (such as Ubuntu).

In the first case you are limited to what is officially offered for your system, but it will automatically handle any updates and their dependencies. You can configure what it will do, and for my own machine I choose to be notified and install manually, for my friends/family I chose to update security stuff automatically.

In the second case you can install ANYTHING and of course that needs the usual (and often missing) sense of what is safe or otherwise to install. Unless said .deb file adds a repository automatically (as Opera do), it is up to you to manage updates.

In general it is a good system, not perfect, but an order of magnitude better than Windows where critical updates such as Adobe stuff can't use MS' own update system and so pollute the machine with updaters, all gobbling resources and giving non-technical users gibberish messages that they either accept blindly (good for malware writers) or ignore (also good for malware writers!).

MS' market place system should avoid that, but has all sorts of dubious side-effects where money and freedom are related (as iOS also has).

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Oracle loses appeal in HP row over Itanium

Paul Crawford
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Re: Lots Of IT Propaganda Whores Here

"the pinko-liberal new-age dream"

Forgive me if my understanding of US politics is not up there, but I thought the whole outsourcing idea was very much a Republican/right-wing system to profit the few at the top (i.e. shareholders / CEO), rather than the workers? (usually the "pinko" term is applied to what would be middle/left in the UK politics).

As for VLWI based machines, I used some TI DSP based on that some years ago and found that the compiler technology was piss-poor in delivering anything like the promised performance. It needed tedious hand-optimisation of C code and/or the "sorry, life if too short" resort of assembler (after learning the architecture inside-out) to get there.

In my humble opinion, dropping the Alpha was possible HP's worst move of all if they had any intention of being in the non-commodity hardware business.

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Microsoft Office 2013 vs. Office 365: Is either right for you?

Paul Crawford
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Motive?

Clearly the #1 motive for any business is making money. So when a company is keen to move you to a different way of paying, there can only be one who really benefits.

If you have a copy of Office already, there is little new to act as an incentive to change. The 'cloud' aspect is dubious - all your private data in a US company's hands for a start - which you can already do in a more flexible way with Dropbox and others.

For business use Office is more or less needed to allow document exchange for editing and all of the strange automation that folk have built up over the years. For final documents, you can save as PDF and get a print-final version that just works.

For a family use, and if you really need lots of copies, then OpenOffice / LibreOffice are OK and have PDF save already. Really, why pay for occasional home use for the odd letter or spread sheet calculation?

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The Oric-1 is 30

Paul Crawford
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Name?

"the Oric - the name, conjured up by Tullis from a partial anagram of ‘micro’"

Was it not taken from Orac, the supercomputer with a 'personality' of Blake's 7 fame?

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Microsoft teases possible Jan. 29 launch for Office 2013

Paul Crawford
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Linux

Funny, my "retail, perpetual-license version" has served me well since ~2000 and is better value than the on-line version, plus I don't have to share my work with a US company.

Since discovering vmplayer would run my old w2k machine better than the old dying hardware ever did, I am happy. Now if they offered office for Linux, minus the ribbon (how hard would that option be?) then I might be willing to pay again...

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Microsoftie's tell-all on 'rival-flinging' Ballmer: The politics of disbelief

Paul Crawford
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I'm sorry, I got through the article to the point when it said "the hallways at Microsoft were no longer home to barefoot programmers in Hawaiian shirts working through nights and weekends toward a common goal of excellence" and I realised it was bollocks!

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Japan promised Ultra HD TV broadcasts two years early

Paul Crawford
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Re: Good.

Almost - what is needed is to get rid of the 16:9 fixation as that, as much as the stupid 1080 line fixation, is what leads to laptops and monitors having crap vertical screen size.

Getting twice the resolution on currently popular screen dimensions is not really what I need as my eyes age.

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Microsoft may be readying Outlook for ARM – or not

Paul Crawford
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@Ken Hagan

" they ran fine on MIPS, Power and Alpha"

I know that Windows NT ran fine on those machines' CPUs, but was Office every offered for them? And in "full fat" mode with all of the VB scripting, etc, that makes them such a dependency for a lot of businesses?

The 64-bit point made by another commentard is less of an issue, as we know that most 32-bit software would run OK on 64-bit Windows (though not all of the 16-bit stuff).

(p.s. this is a genuine question, not simple trolling)

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New stats: Blighty's PC market ended 2012 on its KNEES

Paul Crawford
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Funny coincidence. I didn't buy an ultrabook with crap screen resolution in 2012 either, and I doubt I will in 2013. I am looking for at least 1200 lines, and that seems rate to the point of being all but extinct in the laptop world.

Unless of course I get a macbook retina and even higher price (and no Ethernet port either!). Or a medium priced fondleslab. Oh dear, looks like I will have to spend my money on fast women and loose cars instead.

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