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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1635 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

PC floggers scavenge for crumbs as Apple hoovers up profits

Paul Crawford
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@AC 16:39

"most people preferring PCs"

I think most folk prefer cheap, although for a lot of non-technical folk they prefer fondleslabs (with the iPad being the favourite in my limited circle of fondle friends).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: The formula is simple

And yet, the other companies can't seem to fathom this out.

Funny to hear the comment about Intel & MS sharing their profits with the PC makers to keep them aflote to preserve the market they made and no longer seem to lead. Why would you really want to partner MS, or pay a premium for an Intel CPU compared to an ARM license unless you had no viable alternative? The Win8 annoyance that is TIKFAM and the utter incompetence with most of the PC makers to create products that are subjectively better to the customer in order to justify a premium is both sad and laughable.

Even MS has taken to producing its own hardware, apparently to set a standards (God knows it is needed considering the label covered and trial-ware infested crap that is usually sold) but also one suspects to try and grab a higher profit margin business model as Apple have done.

Personally I dislike both: Apple for its locked-down nature and moves to non-serviceable construction, and MS for years of bullying and strangling any competition. So call it an "idiot tax" if you like, but Apple customers like their shiny toys where as most PC buyers end up cursing theirs.

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CISPA cybersecurity legislation vote due in next 48 hours

Paul Crawford
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@Marketing Hack

I simply can't up-vote you enough on that post. Bravo!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Of course FB, MS and Intel are supporting this...

MS' support of this must make prospective users of Office365 very happy to hear MS can and will share all of their data with Uncle Same without risk of prosecution or civil liability...

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Cellular architectures not great for TV: study

Paul Crawford
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Re: Indeed. It's called broadcasting for a reason

The whole point of broadcast is the huge number who are happy to watch an event simultaneously, either because it is convenient or it is a special "live" event.

But don't knock the study too much, I bet they knew the result all along but needed to have the technical evidence so those who make the license decisions could see the downside to handing over all of the spectrum to broadband companies when then promis to deliver TV-like service as part of it.

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Internet Explorer makes modest gains against Google Chrome

Paul Crawford
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Re: Statistical fluctuation, IE is on a Dead Cat Death Spiral

It is hard for Win8 to fail as much as it deserves when you can't really buy a new PC without it being thrust upon an already suffering world.

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Windows 7 'security' patch knocks out PCs, knackers antivirus tools

Paul Crawford
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Linux

Re: Dell OEM and other hit last weekend - was it this?

Ah yes, reminds me of one very good reason why XP was the last MS operating system I got: "Product Activation" that could be revoked (unlike w2k that just was happy with the CD key).

<= Tux, my non-DRM'ed friend.

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AMI PC firmware upgrade scare: The global security meltdown that wasn't

Paul Crawford
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Mushroom

The problem is not the "BIOS" that most OS care not about, but that it could launch a hypervisor style of rootkit before ANY operating system has booted, and if implemented well that is virtually impossible to detect or get rid of.

Same reason that if you have an infected PC, always boot from a "live CD" like the BitDefender one to attempt an anti-virus based removal. Or to nuke it from orbit...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: First in the chain

Really that big? And with a handful of companies looking after it and not patching regularly? Oh God we are doomed...

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Paul Crawford
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First in the chain

The BIOS/UEFI code for PCs really should be open source, just so you can see what is going on and theoretically fix bugs.

That is NOT the same as having it unsigned or no restrictions on how it is updated, but again it ought to be possible to change it should you want. To stop malware writers, then having an internal jumper that you must bridge to allow such an override would be a pretty effective way of blocking all but the determined spies (or terminally stupid users).

It will be interesting to see how good (or otherwise) this code is once security and hardware folk have had a look at it.

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Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Pirate Dave

I liked w2k, and the only advantage as far as I could see for XP was decent USB support.

I disliked XP's Fisher Price style of start menu, etc, but at that time MS had the sense to allow you the choice - and I chose "classic desktop".

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Square steering wheel.

I remember them - some had a "square" steering wheel (actually square with rounded corners - something for the Apple eaters to ponder upon), and a gearbox that felt like you were stirring marbles with a long spoon.

A very sad day for the UK motor industry when that got approved for production :(

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The gloves are on: Nokia emits super-sensitive £99 Windows Phone

Paul Crawford
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Re: Why?

Pinch? Use your tongue as well.

OK, that might look bad if its certain types of video you were watching...

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Inuit all along: Pirate Bay flees Sweden for Greenland

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Paul Crawford

Ah yes, Netflix that "requires use of the Microsoft Silverlight technology" so not here I'm afraid (and for how long elsewhere given MS have depreciated that?).

See this is the real problem with DRM: it serves to make life difficult for those who are willing to pay, but has not stopped the pirates from sharing the media without restrictions on what devices you can watch it on, and removing those annoying "your are probably a thief" non-skippable adverts on DVDs, etc.

Really, you would think the "better experience" should be one you pay for!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: I don't even use TPB...

Yes, just imagine all of the effort directed at providing stuff that people want to buy, and in formats they are happy to pay for, and at prices that reflect the major reduction in overheads of a download (or P2P transfer) compared to bricks & mortar stores.

Some smart business men/women must have thought of this?

<tumbleweed>

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Microsoft: Here's some cash, channel. PLEASE sell Office 365

Paul Crawford
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Re: TheVogon

"Yes it has. Many organisation like banks and governments institutions have access to the source code. This is again a matter of public record."

Can I get access to this code and pass it on to a suitable organisation of my choice to check it openly? Thought not.

"I don't care if it works on Mac OS or Linux. Those are not supported desktop OSs in 99%+ of companies."

Well I do because Windows is only about 20% of my organisation's desktop use. What use is a web-based system that is OS-specific?

"As opposed to the keys being with the vendor in the cloud and you not knowing if you data has been accessed."

You really want me to trust MS on this point? Try googling "_NSAKEY" and come back with a better offer.

Sadly MS have failed here, as have Google, and most other "Cloud" vendors. The key points have to be:

1) It is OS-agnostic. Unless it covers Windows/Mac/iOS/Linux/Android then it is no use to me and going to be .

2) The encryption layer, at the very least, has to be open source and client-side, otherwise how can I verify it?

3) There has to be an easy way to migrate from provider to provider if I don't like the cost or T&C of the initial provider. Given most fail on (1) and (2) then (3) is a inevitably dead loss.

You see there is nothing inherently wrong with "cloud" storage and so on, but until there is no vendor lock-in and proper privacy then I am giving it a wide berth. I sincerely hope others do as well.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: AC 12:55

"Erm, no The cost of physical installs of Office is included in the rental cost. the major advantage of Office 365 (apart from no infrastructure and limited management costs) is that it scales up and don on a monthly basis as you require. Don't need it next month? No problem - just stop paying for it."

Really? I get a copy of Office for my local PC and can keep it if I stop paying the Office 365 subscription?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: AC 12:55

"Well firstly it's not unencrypted - all traffic and data are encrypted. Secondly you can supply a second level of protection to sensitive information via Active Directory DRM that Microsoft (or the US government) would not have access to."

Point 1: Traffic encryption means not much (even less considering the multiple points of failure in the SSL certificate generation process if someone really is out to get you), and is incidental if you encrypt before transfer.

Point 2: This "Active Directory DRM" that you speak of, has its source code been verified by 3rd parties as having no recognisable back doors? Given Office 365 is supposed to be web based, will it work using MacOS and Linux?

If the answer is no to any of those, you have failed me.

"I trust Microsoft a lot more than I do Google who are the other major alternative, and who's core business is selling your data to dvertisers. If that's not good enough then there are plenty of EU based companies like Colt that will sell you a similar platform on EU only datacentres..."

Point 3: I did not say I trusted any of the other major players else instead (Google & Dropbox have the same or worse failings). That was my point about "verifiable client-side encryption" so I don't need to trust them.

"No you don't necessary know if it is happening. There is a requirement of confidentiality on those requested to provide access to your data."

Point 4: Err, so just how do they access my encrypted data if I was using verifiable client-side encryption with a non-trivial password?

Almost impossible without demanding the key, and if they do then _I_ know they have asked.

You read, but did not understand.

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Paul Crawford
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Facepalm

Fine if you don't care about privacy

All of your data, unencrypted, in the hands of a US company. What could go wrong?

Add to that the rental cost versus just buying MS Office (or indeed using those copies you already have) and using it for 5-10 years as a lot of us have done, nope - not attractive.

Now if someone is going to offer a service with verifiable client-side encryption so travelling workers can get the on-line sharing without exposing their data to Uncle Sam (or any other company or government), that would be worth while.

Even though MS offer EU-hosting, it is still not good enough. Do you trust MS? All of its employees around the world? Any foreign gov where a data centre is hosted?

And yes I know the courts can ask for access to your data even if encrypted, but (A) that requires some form of due legal process, and (B) at least you know if is happening.

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Hard luck lads, todger size DOES matter: Official

Paul Crawford
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Re: Well in the classical world...

The evidence is in the form of statues like Michaelangelo's David and various Greek and Roman ones (except those of Baccus, of course, but he epitomised drunken lewd enjoyment)..

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Microsoft ships Surface firmware fixes with April patch batch

Paul Crawford
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Trollface

Nice to see WiFi driver problems are not a uniquely Linux problem. MS now enjoying the responsibility of making their own hardware work correctly...

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Amazon slashes Windows cloud pricing

Paul Crawford
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Re: you may be able to back up your server...

"how long will it take to pull all that data back?"

Is that not one of the critical issues about 'cloud services' in the sense of how easy can you migrate providers if/when the cloud provider starts tightening the financial screws?

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Android FOUND ON TABLETS inscribed with WORD OF GOD

Paul Crawford
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Re: In-church entertainment.

The preacher's daughter?

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Boffins say flash disk demands new RAID designs

Paul Crawford
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Maybe - can anyone answer here how good the SMART equivalent is for flash drives in telling the system about the underlying health/error rate of the storage elements that are being degraded on write?

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'Til heftier engines come aboard, HP Moonshot only about clouds

Paul Crawford
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Trollface

What, are they not also supporting the Itanium processor here?

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German ransomware threatens with sick kiddie smut

Paul Crawford
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Re: Is the scary part just a page in a browser?

The weakest link is usually the user.

I gave up on supporting Windows for family friends for exactly the same reason.

Now they get Linux and its fine. The odd complaint about not being able to do something, play some game, etc, but until those malware ba*tards decide Linux is lucrative enough to target I have but a fraction of the call outs to deal with screwups.

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Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

Re: Tracability

Probably by means of the other fools who sign up for the 419'ers "we have finds to be transferred from an African prince's account" bullshit emails.

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Gartner: RIP PCs - tablets will CRUSH you this year

Paul Crawford
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@mmeier

I think you will find most users do not have transferable Windows licenses, I did when I bought a machine that came with w2k, but later machines have the non-transferable OEM versions and often no CD/DVD.

You know that step when Windows suggests you make a recovery DVD? Well most folk ignore that...so those who put on "a copy of Windows" usually have got some dodgy cracked version of XP that gives them no end of grief.

The majority of folk are not El Reg readers, and they do not have anyone to setup their system securely or to teach them how to do so. That is is one major reason for the grief they suffer and (rightly or wrongly) blame MS for it and choose iOS instead.

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Nokia shutters Shanghai store as Chinese stay away in their billions

Paul Crawford
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Re: Eadon

I suspect that AC is the commentard formally known as RICHTO, who is the sort of anti-Eadon of these forums with their equally extreme pro-MS/anti-Linux views. But still we fail by feeding the Trolls...

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Advanced Persistent Threats get more advanced, persistent and threatening

Paul Crawford
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Re: "incorporated virtual machine detection"

So why not run your windows-specific software in a VM on something else? If the malware writers self-censor to avoid analysis, then use that to protect yourself.

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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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