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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1375 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Revealed: Apple's plea for fairness in mobile patent war

Paul Crawford
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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

Sure they look similar, but both looks like bland rectangular things much like any sci-fi show would have used as a prop. Up closer than have different company logos, and when you turn them on different OS to look at.

Similar perhaps, in fact stupidly so[1] but I can't imagine anyone seeing a Galaxy up close/in-use and thinking it was an Apple iPad.

[1] Samsung has no USB ports or SD slot either, hence no advantage physically over an iPad. Add in to that its poorer 'user feel' and lack of such a well developed app store, and finally price it like an iPad. Just what were the morons at Samsung thinking?

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Paul Crawford
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@Dazed and Confused

"should they be able to rest control from you, when you aren't party to the process?"

No, you let them know you hold the patent (they should have done an IP search anyway, and as it is supposedly a public process, you ought to be looking for opportunities to use your IP as well) and so you get your cut.

My suggestion is that once a standard has been discuses, publicly reviewed, and finally adopted, no more patent claims to said standard will be entertained.

Stops an inside job like Rambus, stops trolls from coming back a year or two later when something is in use (think GIF images used of LZW compression here) and demanding huge pay-offs with threat of injunctions.

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Paul Crawford
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No, they can still get a court order to make payment based on your infringement.

Blocking sales is the bully-boy aspect, and what would give IP more respect would be a fairer method of agreeing "reasonable compensation" for IP used based on how much it contributes, not on the ability to hold up everything when the troll/holder throws a tantrum.

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Paul Crawford
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Speak up, or forever grant license!

More seriously, when a standard is defined and this patent request process is carried out in public and then details are agreed, it should be part of IP law that NO INFRINGEMENT by any other patents should be possible. That way trolls can't come back later (think Rambus) and demand payment for a standard if they did not peak up at the time.

Also the whole IP law should be based on sensible payment by part of the whole, so if your IP is only 1/1000 of the whole system stack you can't block and demand outrageous payments for it. You have to accept a 1/1000 of the profit/margins on the related assembly (e.g. GMS module in the car, not whole car).

Still, in this instance the request by Apply for sensible IP laws and negotiation paths is difficult to accept given the frivolous details they used to get the Galexy banned.

Sadly, given the history of IP laws and dumb lawer-feeding practice (USA in particular) I don't see sense coming any time soon.

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Canonical kicks Kubuntu to the kerb

Paul Crawford
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@Anyone actually paying

I doubt it. In fact, I doubt there is any paid support of significance for the desktop.

Why?

Because of the number of bugs I know of in 10.04 that have been reported, in some cases community fixes released, and they have done NOTHING about getting it out via their repository. I can't see them getting away with that on a paid contract.

Hell, if paying a few hundred quid got my list of half a dozen or more similar bugs actually fixed I would do it!

Also I can't see any large users wanting the changes that 12.04 plans for the GUI compared to 10.04 which is exactly the sort of reason that MS has had to keep XP on support so long. Enterprise users want stability, and would be much happier with the 10.04 LTS being security-fixed for 5 years or longer.

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Paul Crawford
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FAIL

@Arkasha

"Unity does what Unity is supposed to do and does it well"

What exactly is that?

If you are talking about a replacement for the old "netbook remix" than maybe, but for users familiar with Gnome 2 and similar (Windows, older Solaris, etc) then is a lot of pointless changes for NO BENEFIT.

Now in the old days the netbook remix was an option for such devices (small screen, possibly touch screen) and for desktop with keyboard & mouse you got something that works well that way. Now you don't, and some things are non-obvious and non-intuitive, which is a GUI design failure.

Futhermore if you have to support folk (not geeks like El Reg readers) the last thing you want is user interfaces changing for no good reason. Most users want to USE their PC, not play with it an ooh and ahh over shiny trinkets and re-learn how to do things every 6 months, etc.

Now to be fair Ubuntu are not the only ones with GUI developers indulging in such self-indulgent w*nkfests, but it saddens me to see change for the sake of it, and more so when Canonical fail to fix bugs in the basic code, preferring to develop pointless new GUIs for no clear benefit.

Ubuntu fondleslabs anyone? Why do that rather than Android?

A waste of resources, and ones that could have been used to make it smoother and easier (as they did until about 8.10) so it became the safe & cheap refuge of those moving off XP and not wanting the problems/restrictions/cost of Windows or MacOS.

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Paul Crawford
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Pepole pay for Unity?!

Sad KDE is dropped but the real question is: Who pays Canonical and what are they expecting?

And are they happy with the disaster that is Unity?

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Brazil sues Twitter over police checkpoint tweets

Paul Crawford
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@not really

They probably would get arrested.

But I doubt the corner shop owner would be fined massively for not policing "his" pavement.

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Apple kicks China's most popular browser out of iTunes

Paul Crawford
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Mushroom

@Ian Emery

The only safe option is to nuke it from orbit.

Really, I mean this. In OS terms - use a boot CD to either run another system with AV software (such as the BitDefender rescue CD) or re-install windows from your own CD. Any advanced malware will stop other AV and if root-kit like will be virtually undetectable as well.

You might have to get a bootable Linux CD or USB strik first if your machine is so shagged it cant get the BitDefender iso and burn it to a CD without corruption/interference.

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Hackers may be able to 'outwit' online banking security devices

Paul Crawford
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@Halifax/Lloyds

That is good.

One problem is a lot of web sites allow the change of phone number, so there needs to be a bit of delay/double checking so you get informed of the change on the old phone first, and then again on the new phone, so if its a fake change you can report it.

Another risk with "smart" phones is someone installing malware that can pre-screen the test messages, so compromising the 2nd channel as well.

Still, there is no PERFECT solution, just ones that reduces the fraud to a level that is less costly than the various protection systems cost.

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Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

Fundamentally flawed

Having both factors in the 2-factor system going through the SAME possibly compromised channel seems to be a basic flaw here.

While not perfect, having a 2nd channel such as a mobile phone seems a better approach. Unfortunately the piss-poor security practice that a large proportion of the public has (mostly due to ignorance, and a misplaced faith in AV snake-oil salesmen) will no doubt extend to their smart phones' apps and to disclosing their phone details as well to the bad guys.

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Can Sony's new supremo make the sacrifices to save his biz?

Paul Crawford
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Indeed that would be the Japanese way, but Sony's biggest problems don't come from the Japanese mind-set, but from adopting the bully-boy litigious USA mind-set from the movie/music division they bought in to (and similar leadership).

Why I avoid Sony has little to do with the cost, but to do with a lack of trust (CD rootkit & PS2 fiasco) and their insistence in a lot of cases of doing thing "their way" by adopting propitiatory standards when there are other interchangeable ones around (e.g. the memory stick for cameras/camcorders, instead of CF or SD, springs to mind, failing to see mini-disk were past it once flash memory was cheap & big enough, etc).

Maybe they have improved, not sure as I don't follow them now. If they do want to solve their problems, fist step is to separate electronics completely from content, next is to listen to users and to make thing work well. If it really high quality, then you can get a premium price.

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Eight... HD camera smartphones

Paul Crawford
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"I'm all for paying you a bit of commission if I choose to buy through your links but only if I was forewarned."

Do you pay any more via these links? If not, I don't seen any real conflict of interest.

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Paul Crawford
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@Vin

Good to hear that for a change.

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Paul Crawford
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FAIL

@Software

A very good point as iTunes is both pretty crap on Windows (my experience of friend's machines), and of course useless for Linux.

Why, oh why would you WANT a phone-specific access method?

Why can't those idiots provide USB mass storage access (even if defaulting to read-only) to allow you to copy off files on any sane computer system, including ones you don't have admin rights on to install infestations such as iTunes or Zune?

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US adds more jobs than expected in January

Paul Crawford
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There, there, take your medication and chill out a little.

Has it ever occurred to you that most of the jobs sent overseas has been done by US corporations in search of even higher profits?

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European revolt over ACTA treaty gains ground

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

The most odious aspect of all the ACTA copyright-related stuff is not the possibility of border checks on media, but the criminalisation of DRM-circumvention.

That bodes very badly for the future. One of locked-down computers all in the name of DRM laws, and not unscrupulous profits from vendor lock-in and competition reduction, you understand.

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Paul Crawford
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Of course, dealing with the problem by working with people and encouraging them, rather than treating the majority as criminals and lecturing them at the start of each DVD, etc, pressuring for business-specific odious laws, etc, is a better way.

But who would do that?

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Paul Crawford
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@A little too late

Not yet. The first step was to get a treaty 'agreed' behind closed doors, after all you don't want the people to actually have any input on how they will eventually be governed, do you? That has been done, bar some pekey leaks of what was discussed, only the big media should be party to that sort of thing.

Next you get it signed as an international treaty, and given the drones in power are only too happy to do this without question that has gone quite well. Other than the odd pesky frog speaking out and actually resigning against this new order, etc.

Finally you pressure the EU countries via lobbying in to passing laws to implement ACTA's aims. That is much easier than you think, just find some country like Spain that is struggling financially and get the USA to threaten repercussions if the don't:

http://torrentfreak.com/us-threatened-to-blacklist-spain-for-not-implementing-site-blocking-law-120105/

Or failing that, wine & dine a few sleazy politicians (Baron Mandelson springs to mind, much to my inner disgust) and job done - they tell the public they "must" do it for reasons of international law and use the party whip to get it passed.

Profit!

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Biz urged to blast DNSChanger Trojans before safety net comes down

Paul Crawford
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WTF?

Words fail me

"at least 250 of all Fortune 500 companies and 27 out of 55 major government entities had at least one computer or router on their network still infected with DNSChanger"

And they wonder why they get repeatedly screwed overy by cybre criminals?

This is not a new infection for Christ's sake! The BOFH should be ashamed, or more likely the managers beaten with rubber hoses for not authorising/funding the BOFH to nuke such PCs from orbit and do something with a cattle prod to the user if they had a big part in it getting past the corporate security.

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Brit space agency sends up 1st satellite

Paul Crawford
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@Space junk

That is one of the goals of getting the "right orbit" to piggyback on, one that serves the science requirements but is also low enough that the thing will de-orbit in 25-ish years simply due to atmospheric drag.

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Trojan smuggles out nicked blueprints as Windows Update data

Paul Crawford
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Joke

@Disguised

Maybe it was MS doing the spying?

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Paul Crawford
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Alleged?

"...try to use alleged security flaws in Adobe software..."

Really, is it not riddled with them?

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RIM's cartoon superheroes inspire caustic Tweet-storm

Paul Crawford
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Maybe it is spatula as in tool for oil paint mixing as she is an artiste, or maybe its spatula as in a plastic cooking implement re-purposed for spanking as she is a dominatrix?

Perhaps we shall never care...

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Google dings missive to lawmakers: 'We're misunderstood'

Paul Crawford
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Browser separation

Indeed, that is true.

I use one browser (Chromium) for Google apps and Facebook, and *nothing else*. Even that is not ideal as YouTube links from Facebook know my log-in so I copy & past in to another browser for them.

Ideally you need 3 different browsers, one Google, one Facebook, and another for the rest - including searches, with all cookies, etc, deleted on exit.

Of course, there is also the scroogle plug-in for Firefox to help that.

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Ten... A3 inkjet printers

Paul Crawford
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Missing info

All very well, but:

(1) How are they supported on various OS? Linux in particular for me, but also MacOS versions, etc.

(2) Any offer postscript?

(3) Do they allow 3rd party ink as well, or like the Epson I got rid of, throw a wobbly and reject its *own brand* cartridge after a few pages were printed?

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Dim-but-rich buyers targeted with million pound laptop

Paul Crawford
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comma != full stop

In Europe the fractional separator is the comma, not the dot (decimal point, full stop, etc) that is used in English speaking areas.

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Sick of Ubuntu's bad breath? Suck on a Linux Mint instead

Paul Crawford
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Linux

If it ain't broke...

Not just look & feel like Windows, but also Solaris and similar OS for the past 20 years or so.

You see I like things to work without too much effort, and I really dislike change just for the sake of it. That is why the Gnome 3 & Unity things piss me off so much, I see virtually no advantage for most (desktop) users, and a whole lot of pain and extra support calls as folk can't find/do what they always did.

I really hope Mint succeeds with this, as I quite like Gnome 2 (few issues aside) and what Ubuntu has achieved (until they stopped fixing things and started braking the GUI instead).

Tux, my friend and hopefully long term success partner.

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Media groups propose anti-piracy 'code of practice' for UK search

Paul Crawford
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@DrXym

Yes, use the https-like connection (can't be blocked without stopping all eCommerce) with a P2P model (so no IP address and/or domain name to be blocked) to host an incrementally up-datable copy of TPB that you can search locally (fast & secure) and then they have BIG problem in blocking search of pirated stuff.

Can't be long in coming, showing that the way forward is to compete on convenience & quality, as even most 'freetards' are willing to pay something, even if its just 5-10 Euro//month VPN costs to avoid detection. Money that should be going to the creators, and not avoidance services or lawyers.

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Paul Crawford
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@Jess

Not really - if the (probably foreign) web site fails to turn up to defend itself (which really it should not have to outside of its country or registration) then they get the default judgement in their favour.

Basically if you want to oppose any of their stupidity you will need DEEP pockets, a good way of keeping any small company's innovation out of their profit plans...

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Google emails Virgin Media subscribers ... about privacy

Paul Crawford
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Indeed, but then Virgin probably accepted that or were to dumb to see what would happen.

Outsource your service, lose control and respect. And not just from the end customer...

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WD's MyBook takes a Thunderbolt to the chest

Paul Crawford
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Some USB links support SMART data (oddly enough a cheap no-name drive from a local computer shop) but yes, its a pain that generally external drives don't report the disk's health as best they could.

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Google exec questions Reding's 'Right to be forgotten' pledge

Paul Crawford
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@Eeeeh...

Simplez...

You (as in Google, etc) design a system where all collected data is automatically deleted after, say, 6 months UNLESS someone (aka the associated ID, etc) repeatedly agrees to the retention.

If you stop agreeing, change identity, or die, etc, then after a short time your history is removed apart from stuff you explicitly handed to trusted friends.

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Small pile of cash, dying platform: 2011 is bad news for Nokia

Paul Crawford
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"t seems that the Belle update will *require* a Windows PC"

That alone is a sad indication of a system that is so screwed they can't implement a proper update.

Really, how much do you need to back up, and why can't it do that over the air then initiate the full reset/update/restore.

A massive FAIL and sadly not Nokia's first. How the mighty (and good phone producers) have fallen...

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Android hackers mull rooted mobe app marketplace

Paul Crawford
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Just checked it - slow by 55 seconds. A mechanical watch is better than that!

I could rant about the sluggish user interface, crashing friendstream app, etc..., but I think I'll take my dried frog pills and lie down now.

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Paul Crawford
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NTP working?

One of the (many) things about Android that irks me on my HTC (android 2.3) is the lack of NTP for seconds-accurate timekeeping.

I mean, a *NIX-based device with a network connection and it can't be sett to better then 30 seconds? And the network operator's time-setting seems rare & crap as well.

Add to that the piss-poor lack of any bug-fixes or system updated by HTC and rooting is looking like possibly the only way to get my phone not to keep time, and not randomly crash while syncing data with poor reception.

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LightSquared accuses government of ‘rigged’ interference tests

Paul Crawford
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No surprises here

I am not surprised by either aspect, that the tests show significant problems with a large range of current GPS, or that LightSquared would cry 'foul' and argue it was all biased against them.

I have always sided with the GPS case because (A) there is so much in use that it has become the de-facto standard for interference rejection, and (B) that LightSquared got the band on the cheap knowing it was not licensed for ground-based networks by the FCC, then lobbied for a change.

Sadly the dumbest ones are the FCC who even considered such a plan without proper engineering analysis, but both the GPS manufacturers who made the littlest attempt at protection and LightSquared who acted as the bully in trying the get the change-of-use through, they both have a share of dumbness to reflect upon.

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Windows 8 hardware rules 'derail user-friendly Linux'

Paul Crawford
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@frymaster

You are seriously short sighted!

"As to the ARM stuff, in the abstract this is annoying. But in reality, I can't see the presence or absence of the ability to load linux onto win8 phones and tablets affecting me one way or the other."

What happens when nice laptops come out with win8 and long battery life from an ARM processor? Locked to MS-only and Linux must make do with the old Intel stuff.

Furthermore, the MS requirement only *allow* non-MS signed x86 booting, they don't *require* it, and one can imagine that secretly they will pressure OEMs to not support it.

It is high time that the EU or whatnot mandated all computer devices have a free way to disable secure boot should the user want to try another OS, or use a Linux-based recovery CD or similar. Most don't care, but it will eventually strangle any sense of freedom in computing in 5-10 years time.

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Experts: We're stuck with passwords – and maybe they're best

Paul Crawford
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@Computers vs Humans

Rainbow tables only 'work' if you have access to the hash on the target system. If you are having to attack it as a normal user then anything that puts the mean-time-to breach at a few attempts per second (or whatever limit is applied on multiple failures) to hundreds of years is fine.

The XKCD argument was based on that premise.

If they have full access to the target to get the hashes, they probably have that system owned. They also can reverse your password, but if you have easy phrases that differ, no advantage to other site.

What is needed is:

A) Easy but strong choices.

B) Several of them so little shared to compromise vis honeypot sites.

C) Means of dealing with infested PCs that allow a local attack using the just-gathered information for a given site.

I think (C) is the hardest to deal with following XKCD-like education.

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10 years ago today: Bill Gates kicks arse over security

Paul Crawford
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"Why on earth do people whine about having to reboot once a frigging week (at most)?"

No, the whine is that it rebooted WITHOUT his permission or notification.

After all of the debates and pros and cons of OS, my vote always goes for Linux because *I* can decide what it can and can't do, even if that choice is dumb, it is still *my* choice.

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Paul Crawford
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Linux

Practice what you preach?

The article is right in that MS has done a lot (though started with a pretty crap design for Windows+IE integrated), and that Adobe appears far worse now considering its code base must be a tiny fraction of Windows.

But I laughed at your comment "the crusty old PC in the corner ... mostly because it is virus ridden and sprinkled in malware and adware". Why are your family suffering that?

Any pro-Linux person should start by setting up computer(s) for family & friends, not giving the kids sudo, and then being *officially* allowed to be smug in such debates.

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Oz skeptic offers prize if Rossi’s E-cat works

Paul Crawford
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@The Jase

There are two issues here: the first is what might explain such a generator. That could run for years...

The second is much simpler, Andrea Rossi claims to have built such a machine, so it should be simple to set up a controlled experiment to establish if it produces more power than is input, and for sufficient time to not be explained by internal chemical means.

If so, then the first issue merits more serious work.

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Paul Crawford
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@Forget Investment...

Considering the millions-billions that governments spunk on useless projects (think UK failed ID cards) I think it is worth the odd few £100k to conclusively prove or disprove such schemes. It would provide a public display of the scientific method which one might hope would make them more critical of marketing claims, and might just occasionally turn up a fabulous new discovery.

A lot of 'science' suffers from the same human failing of dogmatic belief that religion has, that a new idea must be wrong because its not fitting to established theory. Often that is true, but every so often we get something major that initially is dismissed as crank theory (e.g plants having sexuality, relativity vs Newtonian mechanics, quantum vs classical physics, maybe something new with the pro-ported FTL neutrinos...).

So lets support this prize and see if we can get proof one way or another.

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Nexenta trashes Win8 Storage Spaces

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

RAID != Backup

Exactly!

After all, a RAID system can still lose all of your data through:

A) Gross administrative error (for home user, the Windows "rescue CD" works quite well at this by formatting and re-imaging the typical PC).

B) Mild administrative error by deleting and clearing recycle bin.

C) Being lost to theft, fire, PSU over-voltage, multiple HDD failures, etc.

Off-site backup is best, but for now the cheap/free options are too small, the paid for a bit expensive for Joe Average, and broadband a bit limited to upload your 200GB+ collection of photos and videos.

An of-site portable HDD works (e.g. have 2 on/off site and swap every week, etc), but too much effort often, so often its just a on-site backup.

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Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6

Paul Crawford
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Joke

I think you mean "were not so stupid to make it an OS component so it could be installed on multiple platforms like any other sane browser".

There, fixed it for you!

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Asus drops GPS from tablet spec after issues emerge

Paul Crawford
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Crap approach

From this & TonyHoyle's report, I can't see any point in buying one. If I wanted something locked-down then there is Apple, at least with a neat & tidy garden to be locked in.

But what is the point in locking one of these? Do Asus think they can get a cut of money from stuff sold for the platform? I doubt it, though please politely explain to me if this is wrong.

If I was in the market for a tablet, my first thought would be as a pretty plaything, in which case Apple are fine. If I wanted to make use of it more seriously, I would expect standard cables and USB support, along with the freedom to load what *I* want on it, just like a real computer but in a small form-factor.

So why should I even consider Asus?

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Wi-Fi Protected Setup easily unlocked by security flaw

Paul Crawford
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@Oninoshiko

Most folk use DHCP so get the DNS from the router, usually passed-through from their ISP.

But in most cases you can manually set the DNS address in the router to use an alternative (OpenDNS etc) which is also what allows for much mischief if someone gets your router's login.

Hence my original point, your PCs, etc, should be secured as if it is exposed directly to the world, *AND* your router should be secured again an "inside job" where someone gets on your LAN. It could be this PIN weakness, but equally could be an infected PC.

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Paul Crawford
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@Will Godfrey

If this was log-in directly to your PC/account, then yes it would be a major fail of Windows95 proportions.

But in reality, the weakness is not as bad as that as all it gives them is access to your LAN and you should *NEVER* assume your LAN is a completely safe place.

OK, you probably have more lax firewall rules for 192.168.1.* or whatever, and they could be using your IP address for nefarious purposes, maybe even sending pr0n to your networked printer for the lutz.

But your own PC should be secured as if it is facing the wild wibbly west in any case, and all of your critical transactions done over https/ssh/etc. What I would be more worried about was users not changing the router's default password so they could change the DNS to a poisoned one...

My 2p

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It's going to be a White (Space) winter after all

Paul Crawford
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@HMB

"a small minority bashing it"

Maybe, just maybe, they know more about radio systems than you do.

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Paul Crawford
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@Richard 12

Exactly. And looking at how crap and unreliable most consumer electronics is (e.g. my HTC 'smart' phone) how long until we get an emergency and find that a number of devices refuse to clear the band due to faulty design and/or being patched to ignore the database because some idiot found it did not work as they hoped due to them actually being in an area where the frequencies we being used by the primary user.

The whole point of band planning should be to keep devices of similar function and/or importance grouped and segregated so important stuff keeps working even if stuff is not 100% as specified.

Just look at how BT pissed over the amateur radio SW band with their powerline modems and ofcom did bugger all. How long until we get a flood of similarly technically illegal devices that simply won't be recalled for political or financial reasons, so the legitimate users get stuffed? (e.g. ones that don't reliably honour the position & database query requirement).

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