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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1375 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Paul Crawford
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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

"There are textbooks explaining this core principle that date as far back as the 1970s."

I am pretty sure they have a lot to say about metro's lack of discoverability and the surprising behaviour on hitting corners or odd track-pad gestures.

"You don't get to blame Microsoft for your own ignorance."

No, but I can blame them for forcing an unwanted interface upon us and not giving us the choice. All would have been just fine if you could have ticked a box (perhaps auto-detected when no touch screen) for "classic interface" when touch, etc, was unwarranted.

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Paul Crawford
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@h4rm0ny

>>"TL;DR In short, you are saying"

Got to appreciate someone who starts a post by saying mine was too long so they didn't read it, and then posts an incorrect synopsis of what I wrote.

While TL;DR might have been a bit glib, the point is you made a huge rant on telling us how we should be liking Win 8. We are just not holding correctly, perhaps?

In fact you have made one critical point yourself:

"...the very basic fact that you can get the Start Screen from clicking in the lower left - something that Windows tells you the first time you start up"

What if you did not go through the tutorial because it was someone else's PC? Or life was just too short?

Discoverability. The principle of least surprise.

Win 8's interface violates them both big-time. Now that is not to say others do not share some of the same stupidity of this approach (Ubuntu's Unity, a lot of Android, some of iOS) but the basic fact remains the same: What was an acceptable user interface for XP (more so if you chose "classic" a la Win2000) has become an exercise in sucking donkey balls. Actions are non-obvious, you have to learn things (hello command line, I love you!), and you are trying to do something and you get the metro screen slapped in your face due to some non-obvious track-pad gesture.

Choice. Why not? With XP you could revert to Win2000 if you preferred, which I did. Why are we now forced to use metro?

That is a rhetorical question, as the answer is well known and explains why most are unhappy. We are forced to suffer so MS hopes to get developers, developers, developers for an interface few wanted.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: As if this will make people happy!

TL;DR

In short, you are saying we have to jump to whatever new way MS demands we use things?

And then re-train all of our friends/family/non-tech users to match

If so, why not learn to use Linux instead an save the license fee?

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Vodafone Germany looks to provide end-to-end encryption with SIM signatures

Paul Crawford
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Why?

Given that there are plenty of cases of phones being compromised, thus the data can easily be had before any crypto, what do you get from this that is so important? Also given the carries are (or can be forced to) cooperate with any country you are in, the possibility of them doing it to your phone cannot be ruled out.

So better to use a rooted phone, with care, and some open-sourced app? Of course, the fundamentals problem still applies, of Bob & Alice knowing each other's true keys when most of the SSL certificate authorities are dubious.

Or go back to exchanging microfilm hidden in odd places. Maybe not that secure, but probably too costly to simple be hoovered up "in case we need it in 5 years".

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Crafty French hackers tweak 'My Account' page, slurp 800,000 Orange users' details

Paul Crawford
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Re: Clarification required

"Why is it that the major operators/telcos and ISPs dont force a password change every 6 months for example."

Because it is not very effective:

(1) people get fed up and re-use or write down passwords on sticky notes on their monitors (yes, really!) or use really lame passwords they can remember.

(2) With a random time-to-hack the miscreants still have an average of 3 months to do their stuff. Do you think it would any organised gang more than a couple of days to exploit it?

(3) Making people used to regular email reminders to change their password is one easy route to making phishing emails more believable.

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Adobe goes out of band to fix frightful Flash flaw

Paul Crawford
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Just checked on my Linux box and found an update for flash.

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Just as we said it would: HP clamps down on server fixers

Paul Crawford
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Re: Once upon a time

And a full BIOS listing as well (OK on paper, but still...)

Somewhere we still have the IBM AT manuals with all of that.

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It's Satya! Microsoft VP Nadella named CEO as Bill Gates steps down

Paul Crawford
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Re: Message To Satya:

The problem MS has with XP is not simple:

Most end users want a Win9 to offer the improvements to security and performance that underlies Win8, but without the abomination of TIFKAM (my apologies to the few who genuinely like it), and to run the stuff they already have.

But XP supported a lot of dumb legacy features that are needed to allow a lot of software to run properly, and it is simply not possible to support them and also to improve underlying security. In addition there are a lot of legacy features that MS has decided to drop because it is not in their interests to spend the time & money to do properly (e.g. supporting 16-bit applications).

So there is a hope that Win9 might roll back the dumb aspects of the TIFKAM interface, but the push towards phone/fondle-slab/desktop integration may still be too strong, and it is very unlikely that legacy software will really work as hoped.

Time to make your XP VMs and make sure they have little or no internet access...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: take an image?

What if the AC's machine has hardware swaps in between installs?

Last time I tried moving a Windows HDD between machines it threw a major wobbly as half-way through booting it decided it could no longer read the boot device.

The point is, it should be possible/easy to have a bootable DVD or USB stick to test/install/fix Windows just like Linux supports, and that should be the normal approach. WTF is the whole activation key for if not to make the install image worthless (and therefore should be a simple download or torrent, with SAH-1 hashes of course)?

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BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

Paul Crawford
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Black Helicopters

Creepy?

This bit surprised me in the AAISP blog:

"This is a little crazy in the first place. It's a modem. It shouldn't even be aware that it's passing PPPoE frames, let along looking inside them to see that they are UDP."

My tin foil hat is suggesting BT/Huawei are up to no good...

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Apple and Android split Santa's stash, go on Xmas PC and tab high

Paul Crawford
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This report kind of agrees what what I heard from family/friends/work: that Apple were top dog in choice, but Android the most popular cost+usefulness combination.

Me, I ended up buying a Chromebook from PC World as a replacement for an old netbook (two good reasons to feel a bit dirty), mainly because it was <£200 and "good enough". Had a WinRT slab been unlocked so I had the choice of dual-booting Linux, and using the supplied Windows ARM-variant, it probably would have won...

Oh well, that is how the cookie crumbles!

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Wheee GDUNK! Panasonic's latest Toughpads ready to hit the streets

Paul Crawford
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Obligatory screen complaint

At one point Panasonic offered something better than the piss-poor 768-900 lines "HD" resolution, and for the sort of industrial applications these toughened machines excel at it was great. Sadly the whole range is now in crappy widescreen mode.

Do these guys ever use their products as their customers would? Come on, at this sort of price point the extra screen would add almost nothing and is far more important then the pre-installed OS (which is something you can change if needed).

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Reg snaps moment when Facebook turned air Blu: 1PB box for unloved pics

Paul Crawford
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Deleted profiles?

So if you delete your profile, and even if the EU rules that it has to be removed, what happens to the read-only disks?

Will they remove and destroy them?

Oh stupid me! Why did I think they might do something for the user (er, product)?

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Yes, Google can afford to lose $9bn in Motorola sale. But did it really?

Paul Crawford
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Joke

Re: Keeping track of all those billions must be hard work

Really? I keep a similar amount down my codpiece...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: "why the fudge Lonovo thought..."

If Lenovo are planning on making Android phones only, why do they need those patents?

As long as Google is using them to shield Android makers from Apple/MS/etc in any patent-related battles then it is not that important to Lenovo. They must see an opportunity to enter the market even more and profit.

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This tool demands access to YOUR ENTIRE DIGITAL LIFE. Is it from GCHQ? No - it's by IKEA

Paul Crawford
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Re: Kitchen design: Serious business!

Running a browser in a slim VM might be the safest general approach.

Under Linux there is also the option of having apparmor sandbox the browser and limit reading and writing, though that profile (e.g. firefox) is off by default on Ubuntu. I don't know why that is, probably so users don't see Firefox, etc, crash and burn without warning when they try to save or upload from anywhere other than the Downloads directory.

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Office 365 Microsoft's fastest growing business, ever - Microsoft

Paul Crawford
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I have a copy of Office 97, and of that Word is pretty good to use, lots of bugs aside. The later versions (e.g. 2003) I found were less friendly to use and often still not bug-fixed, though that might be me expecting them not to move things for no good reason, and then being surprised when they did. I dislike the ribbon a lot, and avoided 2007 for that reason.

Now got a copy of Office 2010 in an XP VM for compatibility, as MS' own converters for 2003 don't work properly on docx, etc. That should last for long enough.

Thanks for the tip about Kingsoft, might be an option instead of LibreOffice/VM+Office2010 if its import of docx works well.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Fish in barrels

"presumably as the Cloud software will be permanently kept at the latest version, they'll be no data migration to do"

That is a BIG assumption, that there will be no changes in 5-10 years in data format that MS (or whoever) has failed to properly deal with for compatibility. In the past you could keep old PCs/old software versions if you needed to access old data, maybe to export it in another readable format, etc.

The promise is we won't have such silly buggers again, but the jury is still out on that one. So far our experience of "cloud" providers is they bugger around with the software every so often (features removed/changed, menu layouts changed, etc) and you get ZERO choice in the long term but to bend over and take it.

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CERN boffins fire ANTI-HYDROGEN BEAM

Paul Crawford
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Re: Interesting

"antigravity = antimatter"

All of the current models of physics predict that antimatter will fall "down" under gravity just like matter, but it has never been tested and that is another aspect of getting low speed antimatter atoms - to verify which way they move under gravity.

It may seem like a done deal, but something as fundamental as that assumption, along with the original "where is all of it?" question about antimatter means it is still an important question to answer.

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Mozilla CTO Eich: If your browser isn't open source (ahem, ahem, IE, Chrome, Safari), DON'T TRUST IT

Paul Crawford
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Re: Got it covered

"I guess that means DON'T use Ubuntu 12.04"

That is a very simplistic view, that whatever the spooks recommend HAS to be compromised because that is their job. It is not: their job is to act in the interest of the UK (in GCHQ's case) which means protecting us from hackers AND hacking into others.

Given the endless stream of patches for every system out there, and the hacking budgets of hundreds of millions, finding holes can't be too hard for them no matter which system you chose or they recommend.

Nothing is perfect, and complete security is an unattainable myth, but open source and some verification of binaries w.r.t. source by others (outside of the country of origin of the project) is a damn sight better than the alternatives.

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Paul Crawford
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Re: I confidently predict they will sell...

Come to Scotland, here we offer most things deep fried :)

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Judge orders Yelp.com to unmask anonymous critics who tore into biz

Paul Crawford
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Re: Be careful what you claim

Why simply "unmask" the reviewers to the company?

Surly the judge could order a 3rd party to get the company's customer list and the reviewer's identities and find out if they were legitimate complaints or astro-turfing?

If so, then by all means allow the defamation case to proceed as they deserve it, otherwise protect their identity.

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Target's database raided, 70 MILLION US shoppers at risk of ID theft

Paul Crawford
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Re: "...unencrypted..."

Sadly, what will happen is calls for harsher sentences for "computer crimes", and not similar punishment for those who high up are "criminally" negligent in how their businesses store and protect such sensitive data.

Guess who funds the politicians?

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Anatomy of a 22-year-old X Window bug: Get root with newly uncovered flaw

Paul Crawford
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Re: Already fixed

Its not like you will find a Windows bug going back as far they support something. Oh wait, here is a critical one for IE6 and all more recent versions as of mid-2013:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/MS13-059

OK, that one was only 12 years old.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: AC 12:33

This would be the Munich that saved 11M Euros from migrating 98% of desktops then?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2082460/moving-a-city-to-linux-needs-political-backing-says-munich-project-leader.html

Please try some new trolling, you are becoming tedious.

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Linksys's über-hackable WRT wireless router REBORN with 802.11ac

Paul Crawford
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Re: "you can verify the WRT source code yourself"

"Something of an exaggeration for many of us"

True, but if the bug/hack is simply to reset to default user/password, why not change your copy of the source so the defaults are different, and thus not a walk-over for anyone able to force a remote reset?

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BlackBerry sues American Idol host's company for 'blatant' patent infringement

Paul Crawford
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Happy

Bravo!

"...their users as the dimmest bulbs on the smartphone chandelier"

This sort of eloquent prose is among the reasons I read El Reg.

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Google gearing up for 4K video frenzy at CES

Paul Crawford
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Welcome 4k

Finally can look forward to seeing laptops and monitors that have vertical resolution that is as good as, or better than, a 2001-era CRT...

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Antarctic ice shelf melt 'lowest EVER recorded, global warming is NOT eroding it'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Point 3

Sadly you talk bollocks here.

1) Why is the turbine "making money"? If you have any subsidy, then it is by taxing the majority who don't have such projects, and NOT because it is a cost-effective way of generating power.

2) Considering how the average numpty deals with radioactive objects[1] this would not be wise. In addition, have you really considered how much material is needed to go critical for useful output, and what the total power of that would be in terms of heat? That should answer your point.

[1] http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/06/cobalt60_theft_mexico/

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Google poised to become world's first TREEELLION DOLLAR company?

Paul Crawford
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Re: A quick look

Big companies seem to atrophy and then get lost, MS seems to have that and Apple appears to be paralysed post-Steve and heading the same way. Google, for now, has some hope but their reliance on advert-support is worrying.

Apple, of all, should really be doing something new and imaginative. Hell, they have multiple billions in the bank and had some good[1] leadership until very recently, why can't they throw out a few dozen small $10M-ish projects on the off-chance if any come to fruition?

[1] Yes, there are debates about St Jobs's talent and approach, but he could at least see products from an end-user's point of view, and how nice they would be to use, and kicked arses until things were made to work OK. That should be the norm, but appears to be a super-power in today's business environment.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Pha!

"These are standard definitions"

Sorry, they are not standard, rather they are nation-specific. That is why SI prefixes should be used, because they are standard!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales

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Paul Crawford
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Coat

Pha!

You are talking about a US trillion here, which is a UK billion.

Thanks, mine is the one with the operator's manual to the Milliard Gargantubrain...

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Paul Crawford
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Trollface

Re: FX-7000G

I though most girls did, but of the 'AA' size.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Simpler days...

Indeed, I still have (and prefer) my fx-570c to a newer model that tries to do things in some sort of procedural way (i.e. you have to enter 'sin' '0.5' '=' and not that stack-based '0.5' 'sin' sort of way).

I prefer the stack-style as often you compute something, and then want its log, etc, and it is annoying not to just press 'log' and get the result of computing it on what is currently on display.

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Acer C720 Chromebook with Haswell battery boosting goodness

Paul Crawford
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Re: AC 08:45

"Microsoft Office Web Apps is also perfectly adequate"

Maybe, but you still don't need Windows to use it, nor the ability (AFIK) to install anything locally, so a Chromebook is still usable with that.

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Paul Crawford
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Pint

Re: @Hellcat

Very true, as we do have time outside of "work", at least sometimes.

Have an upvote & beer!

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Paul Crawford
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Trollface

Re: Why?

Chrome OS is not really for the average El Reg reader, it is targeted at Joe Average for home use when all they really need is web access for shopping, web mail, facebook, youtube, etc.

If you are technical and inquisitive you probably run Linux or something more bizarre already.

If you are in the "creative" industries and have the money you probably have a Mac to run Photoshop, etc.

If your corporate balls are in MS' vice with Active Directory, Exchange and heavy Office use you are obviously going to use x86 Windows. Same for various special applications like CAD, etc, where you have no choice.

Home users who need Win 8 & Office are already rushing out to buy WinRT tablets. Oh wait...

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Paul Crawford
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I would hardly say "crippled" as it appears to do what it was intended, be a cheap way of gaining web access and running a selection of light tasks that is probably enough for most home use.

You can get other Chromebooks with 4GB and bigger SSD for around the £250 mark, so if it really matters go for one of those.

After all, this sort of design won't be bloated in time with AV software running and lots of pointless toolbars and auto-updating software that can't use the OS' mechanism for updates, unlike certain well known alternatives.

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Paul Crawford
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Pint

Re: AC 09:48

Poor attempt at trolling.

Incidentally, who cares about MS Office for home use? For the odd letter Google docs is perfectly adequate, and most folk would have a lot more fun with the £200 or so for Win 8 + Office than pointless formatting.

Unless, of course, you are the sort of person who just has to write letters in green ink with odd fonts to make a point?

Here, have a beer and hope your MS fixation gets better in 2014.

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Paul Crawford
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@ Adam 1

True, as I bought a replacement printer for a friend who had been sold a Lexmark and discovered it would cost more for a set of inks than a new Epson (that took 3rd party cartridges, unlike the Lexmark).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: It might be virus free, but.....

Oh very safe indeed, as they have another back-up held off site.

In an unmarked building.

That no one publicly knows exists...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Mandatory comment on the resolution

Yes it is low, but it is also small and pretty cheap, so it has *some* excuse for that choice.

Also I personally hate Caps-lock keys, as I am a poor typer and sometimes find I hAVE TYPED A LOT IN CAPS having hit it accidentally when going for the 'A' key. I see little use for that function in this day and age of simply putting titles in bold or larger fonts. Good to see it used for something else, but ideally just get rid of it (or make it smaller and further from the 'A' key).

As for printing, that is a pain not being easy to do locally. While I find it a rare need, it is sometimes needed for boarding passes, Groupon vouchers, etc.

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Merry Christmas? Not for app devs: That gold rush is officially OVER

Paul Crawford
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Re: Windows Phone

Yes, most families who may be interested already had a fondleslab and/or couple of phones, so era of mega-growth (OK, lest say kilo-growth) is over.

Incoming news about bears...

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Chinese Jade RABBIT SIGHTED ON MOON by NASA probe

Paul Crawford
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Re: Wouldn't it be better if solar panels were ...

It is also relative. You have to remember the moon is surprisingly dark (albedo around 0.12, similar to worn asphalt according to Wikipedia).

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Skype's Twitter account, blog hacked to spread anti-Microsoft messages

Paul Crawford
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Re: Skype for linux?

It is the MS way - buy over a successful multi-platform product, then crapify it by making it only work on Windows, and often then not as good as before. Then profit!

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How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks

Paul Crawford
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Re: So..

"All hardware is full of gaping holes"

Not quite, but we are in a position where most systems are so complex they are beyond our collective ability to understand fully to make them properly secure. Add in to that the secrecy of the 'propitiatory' BIOS and HDD firmware and there is little chance to easily detect against boot-time root kits introduced by those means.

"I will bring the beans."

Just no making me squeal like a piggy, OK?

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Blame Silicon Valley for the NSA's data slurp... and what to do about it

Paul Crawford
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The underlying problem with IP rights, both in 'the individual' case and in the behaviour of traditional media, is that it relies on actually fighting such problems through the courts. And that costs money. Serious money.

Add to the the financial penalties which, in the US at least, are ruinous to an individual but petty cash to a billion pound business, and you start to see why it is fairly hard for any individual to challenge, but easy for industries (and or their representation groups such as the MPAA, etc) to threaten small innovative players into obedience or destroy them.

Short of settlements being means-based (say 0.1% of one's worth, so few thousand for an individual but maybe millions for a big business or a group they back), and making the court process faster and cheaper, that is hardly going to redress the situation we find ourselves in.

As for the spooks, well they get laws made up to suit what they want to do, so none of this would make any difference.

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Slurp away, NSA: Mass phone data collection IS legal, rules federal judge

Paul Crawford
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Bollocks

"...as nothing is more apt to imperil civil liberties than the success of a terrorist attack on American soil"

9/11 attack deaths = 2,977 (+ 19 hijackers)

US road deaths = 34,080 (for 2012)

US Gun related deaths = around 32,000 (of those, around 60% are suicides).

Really, it is OK to do ANYTHING in the name of anti-terrorist actions, but damn all about the real killers?

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Android, Chromebooks storm channel as Windows PC sales go flat

Paul Crawford
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" further to drop"

It will be good if MS drops to around 1/2-1/3 of new sales, but no less, as that way all main OS (Windows, Linux, MacOS) should get decent support by peripheral suppliers and be designed to begin with for that goal. And that is a good thing for everyone.

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Torvalds: Linux devs may 'cry into our lonely beers' at Christmas

Paul Crawford
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Re: James Hughes 1

"all those people who continually bash Linux"

I think you will find this is the same sad AC that always comes up with this sort of thing. Why AC you might ask? Presumably so it is not easy to see their posting history as that would reveal it. At least the knob-end that was EADON was up front about his anti-MS rants.

Next thing they will be telling you, again without actual facts, that Windows is much more secure, etc.

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