* Posts by Paul Crawford

1731 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

UK flights CRIPPLED by system outage that shut ALL London airspace

Paul Crawford
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Re: Edinburgh

"I expect the right answer"

Which is: they are both a bunch of lying, thieving, two-faced, thieving bastards...

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Solar sandwich cooks at 40 per cent efficiency

Paul Crawford
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Re: Professor Green?

It was done by Professor Green with a telescope in the Observatory!

Or was it by Miss Scarlet with a strap on in the basement?

Any clues?

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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Paul Crawford
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Re: OK

Yes, people need to get priorities straight and that means *useful* screening and not the various pointless additions (like 100ml fluids) that were knee-jerk reactions to a failed terrorist attempt. They are winning you know, not by blowing us up but by wasting our lives and freedom by knee-jerk reactions.

Incidentally can anyone cite a case of the new THz scanners actually leading to an arrest or something to justify the additional invasion of privacy?

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'We're having panic attacks' ... Sony staff and families now threatened in emails

Paul Crawford
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Re: Err...

It this the plot of a new film script? Sound interesting...

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One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

Paul Crawford
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Re: "security swiss cheese known as linux"

Indeed, so many desktops running Linux are hacked. infested with malware and pointless browser toolbars and parasitic AV software that didnt do its job, leaving the poor users to wipe & re-install from scratch, and left hunting for their license key to re-enable the OS and the recovery DVD they (failed to make) made when it was new.

Oh wait, got the wrong OS...

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Orion 'Mars' ship: Cosmic ray guard? Go. Parachutes? Go. Spacerock shield? Go!

Paul Crawford
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Re: Disappointed!

Nothing like my disappointment!

This isn't the Orion spacecraft I was hoping for...

This is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)

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Deloitte's files on bean counters swept up in Sony hack stash – report

Paul Crawford
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Re: A Silver Lining?

"any of them online could only come from one source so it will be easy to trace the downloaders and sue them several hundred gazillion dollars"

Oh please tell me the torrents were seeded from Sony machines before this hack was discovered? The irony would be delicious and good for my red blood cell count...

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IETF takes rifle off wall, grabs RC4 cipher's collar, goes behind shed

Paul Crawford
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Joke

But not long enough for bad women!

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Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

Paul Crawford
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How would compensation work? A tax on blank CDs (a past technology for music transfer), or on HDDs, and if so how is it calculated? Given a 4TB disk could hold millions of songs, should it be taxed to the £1k range?

The other side of this coin is the question of pirating, if you have already paid compensation on your audio equipment for the right to copy, why should it matter where you copied from? In such a case it is going to end very badly for the music industry.

Finally, how is this done in the USA where "fair use" AFIK allows copying without a fee? Do they offer compensation for it, and if not, why should the EU?

(Just to say I do believe musicians deserve compensation for their work, but this seems an unworkable position that you deserve compensation for what has been allowed for years and is seen as "fair use").

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Google dodges 'costly' legal precedent, settles Daniel Hegglin case

Paul Crawford
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Yes, but its easier to shoot messengers.

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Windows Phone will snatch biz No 2 spot from Android – analyst

Paul Crawford
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Re: Telling...

I think the answer is so many people, in particular high up in the company, just don't want a Windows phone/tablet. Have you ever tried to use a typical non-tech person's home Windows PC (not an El Reg reader) that is more than a few months old? It is a horrific experience of blot, advert tool bars, shitty trial-ware AV, etc.

So when they first used an iPad or iPhone with near instant resume, slick UI and more or less "just working" experience they liked it and wanted it for work.

Of course a large scale corporate deployment by a good Windows admin person is easier and in most ways better than wrangling iOS, but it seems not to be what enough important folk want.

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Paul Crawford
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Re: I seem to remember

It is a good approach, but not many places are suited to using it (i.e. close to the magma's heat). Iceland is a good example, but few others I can think of.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: reducing energy consumption

The big things we need for comfort, like heat and clean water and being washed more than twice a year are not something we really want to give up.

Transport is another that we could do much better on, but ain't going away so long as we operate efficient farming, etc, that moves large amounts of stuff globally.

And we have a LOT of folk still in 3rd world misery and they also deserve something better.

So efficiency might help a bit, like 20-50% perhaps, and reducing birth rate would help a lot long term, but really the Google guys are right - we need so much energy for a comfortable life that when either fossil runs out or it screws our climate beyond achievable farming and population relocation changes, we are fscked.

Unless we do something now about large scale generation that is not fossil based.

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Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked

Paul Crawford
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Re: Fabulous news

I'm sure the official+cracked apps need all those permissions for a good reason.

Fixed it for you...

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'Most advanced mobile botnet EVER' is coming for your OFFICE Androids

Paul Crawford
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Just shows if you give an ignorant person the ability to install crap with system-wide capabilities then you get Trojans.

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YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Paul Crawford
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Re: So in short, you've four motivations to look out for.

Everyone has their price, its just a shame its so low in some cases.

Really you need to plan for people making mistakes or doing the wrong thing, and have arrangements to detect and correct that as far as possible. Often that costs money or causes inconvenience though so its not done...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: One trick I heard of..

They were kind. The alternative punishment/time-waste is to send them to a meeting to suffer hours of "death by powerpoint"!

But seriously, the problem in some cases is they only have one admin, or only one that every looks after XYZ systems, so on antagonistic exit (or a bus accident, etc) they find they can't do anything due to a lack of passwords or alternative admin accounts.

Businesses, particularly those with only one admin person, should have a policy of root passwords being written down and kept in a safe and regularly tested to ensure they still allow access, and that password changes are recorded and done for good reason[1].

[1] Changing periodically to me is dumb, it just promotes writing stuff down in insure places. For example, changing once per year would give a hacker a mean time of 6 months to do stuff. just how long do you need to set up shadow accounts, email redirects, etc?

However, if you think a compromise might have occurred, or someone leaves, then changing is essential.

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HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox

Paul Crawford
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Joke

Re: Christ on a bike!

I am sure they already have enough DNA from the various "pluck'em, fuck'em, chuck'em" alien sex tourism experiences that red-neck abductees report...

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YIKES: Combination of LIVING WOMAN and MACHINE sighted in NYC

Paul Crawford
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Snake skin?

Most women I know would want nothing to do with snake skin.

Alas the bit "Intel is hoping that women are eager to strap a rather flashy, blinged-up gizmo" quickly disappointed me when I read it was the wrist upon which the gizmo would be strapped on.

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Cries of spies as audit group finds possible 'backdoor' in Bittorrent Sync

Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Re: Dan 55

I take that back, just had a cursory look at the code and found stuff like this without any comments:

bs, _ = base64.StdEncoding.DecodeString("H4sIAAAJbogA/0SPsW4iMRCG+3sKM0I6W7L8AKCrTtw16ZIOURh7nDXx2pvxLAQtvHucJZBuPP413/fb/DomS6YvfkwoYbDV2TQQuo4Nk801WUZQJljHhc4Slo/tM1uO7l9MWJ+K9Uigt7B8Bw3LjnkAHcbsOJYsrd6riZBHyuKxdGqKQS7c5bJwphFD/JjHOoY2Ku6onETGk9gQFZLwt4zJ598sUoOJOsNF+KJrkYu4XRCFxO2AqAO6GCL6Baj10ZLwf6zxGJCkWn/L7OU0Ulpt7wLamTc867vEzhxKzBJA6R65K34F/zcvoAdLtq8rgKtqSeewVvlTVk3eENaSjtgeLYJzgUfg9n9Ax3LGtYj2TaD0seL1ulPrX58AAAD//wEAAP//1rAncZcBAAA=")

gr, _ = gzip.NewReader(bytes.NewBuffer(bs))

bs, _ = ioutil.ReadAll(gr)

assets["angular/angular-translate-loader.min.js"] = bs

So sorry "Syncthing" but unreadable code for me means untrustworthy code.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Dan 55

Beat me to it: why trust a closed-source program? While open/closed tells you nothing about how good the programmers are, or the underlying ideas, at least with open it is possible[1] to audit the code and much harder to conceal back doors[2].

[1] Possible yes, but not necessarily going to happen.

[2] Back doors are still possible, but code changes/commits need a bit more explaining.

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The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose

Paul Crawford
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@fearnothing

Well played!

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Paul Crawford
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Paris Hilton

Teledildonics

I'm betting on a nice matching his&hers[1] remotely linked sex toys all in a discrete black box. And guaranteed to fit her black box as well (other colours supported).

[1] Also fits his&his, or hers&hers, of course.

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

Paul Crawford
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Or the money saved can be put into making things more efficient/faster, and that also earns money.

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Words to put dread in a sysadmin's heart: 'We are moving our cloud from Windows to Linux'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Windows upgrades

Moving from OS to OS, or between versions of the "same" OS separated by many years, is often a real pain and takes a lot of effort and testing. For some legacy applications the cost or trouble may not be worth it. If you have legacy code that is not internet-facing, then running it in VMs of NT4, W2k, old Linux, etc, is probably going to be your saviour.

You can typically run a good few VMs on a single newer server with your preferred OS (Linux or Windows) using either a paid-for VM or (if willing to risk it) a free one. All at lower cost and higher performance, security, and ease of backup/restore, than keeping old machines going.

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Emoticons blast three security holes in Pidgin :-(

Paul Crawford
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I have Pidgin installed on my Linux box at home, but honestly never use it. Those I used to IM with now use Facebook's chat, which I don't like, and the rest just seem to have vanished with MSN closing.

How many folk still use this?

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BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

Paul Crawford
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Re: Why do you use AV, unless you are compelled?

You make an important point, considering how practically useless and excruciatingly unpleasant the "cure" for viruses is.

What matters most is you have some off-line backup & restore strategy and actually use it.

Then you are probably better to run Windows without AV and just be willing to nuke it and restore the backup when t gets infected. This has the added bonus of getting rid of general crap and bloat (aka "windows entropy") as well.

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Ex-NSA lawyer warns Google, Apple: IMPENETRABLE RIM ruined BlackBerry

Paul Crawford
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WTF?

Either this guy has been smoking something his former employers would have strong policies against, or he is barking mad. Who wants to be spied upon, given the bad guys (for any preferred definition of "bad"), gain the same capability?

On the other hand, maybe he is sane and just revealed the existence of a behind-the-scenes campaign by the US gov to discredit RIM to a number of big businesses?

On the third hand, for those of you with special capabilities, maybe he is talking up the 'problem' knowing full well they already have to broken enough for business as usual?

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Luxembourg: Engine-room of the tax-break economy

Paul Crawford
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Re: Luxembourg

Funny that, I didn't think there was so much software writers and servers in what is basically a big city...

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Eye laser surgery campaigner burned by Facebook takedown

Paul Crawford
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@JDX

Or how many who are saved from eye damage by plastic lenses taking some of the blow?

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Rovnix Trojan infection outbreak infects 130,000 machines in Blighty

Paul Crawford
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Re: A simply secure OS ?

The problem for most folk is that so much of what they want to do on-line, like buy stuff, relies on stuff that NoScript blocks. Once users get the idea of just clicking 'yes' to make things work you have something just as bad as the typical Windows plus shitty AV software that asks users if they want shaftmesideways.exe to run.

Until (and I advise you not to hold your breath) most web sites are designed to work without suspect scripting that crosses domains, then NoScript is just an annoyance to non-tech folk that they will click-through, rendering it pointless.

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Languages don't breed bugs, PEOPLE breed bugs, say boffins

Paul Crawford
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Joke

What, no assembly language projects?

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NSA director: We share most of the [crap] bugs we find!

Paul Crawford
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Time scale?

Did he say how long they sit on a bug before disclosing it?

Given the weasel-worded manner of bureaucrats everywhere, they could disclose them a year or two later and still be technically correct in saying they share discovered vulnerabilities.

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Having a Web Summit? Get some decent Wi-Fi!

Paul Crawford
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Re: What? Techies that don't have their own mobile data plan?

You seriously think that a typical nearby phone cell is going to offer usable data to 22 thousand delegates?

That is why venues charge a lot for good wifi (though clearly the 2nd part was missing here) as you need a lot of coordinated access points and serious back-end capacity. You know, simplistically 22k users trying to get a miserable-by-3g-standards 100kbit is going to peak at 2.2Gbit/sec for the broadband link out.

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Microsoft: How to run Internet Explorer 11 on ANDROID, iOS, OS X

Paul Crawford
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MS missing the point, again.

Why can't they make IE a stand-alone product like every other browser manages? I thought they had got to the point with a GUI-less Windows Server that this was now possible (or at least, not *essential* for Windows to run), so why don't they?

How hard could it be for a multi-billion dollar company to make their software cross-platform like all other seem to manage on a fraction of the budget?

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The NO-NAME vuln: wget mess patched without a fancy brand

Paul Crawford
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Re: ... it could “overwrite your entire filesystem”

True, you can't p0wn the machine unless running as root (why? really why do that?)

But you could get up to lots of mischief by overwriting the user's own files, maybe starting with something creative in .bashrc

<twiddles moustache like a cad & bounder>

Can we have a Terry Thomas icon please?

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BlackEnergy crimeware coursing through US control systems

Paul Crawford
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Re: AC

"not patched, then there would be no need to reboot"

That was what I meant, these days an unmolested Windows box (as for Linux) should stay up more or less indefinitely.

The problems come when patching, and that leads you to the "soapy frog dilemma":

(1) Do you leave things alone because they are working, and risk someone coming along with a bucket of soapy frogs, or;

(2) Do you patch/update them to keep your trousers on, and risk breaking things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJF_bBiMstc

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Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Colour me unsurprised

So we have internet-connected machines running critical control stuff, probably not OS patched due to the risks of disruption from untested interactions or bad patches (and the near-inevitable reboots in these as windows-based system), and probably not application patched due to vendors taking their time and/or the same risks of downtime, more testing needed, etc.

And they get compromised.

Are there any El Reg readers who are surprised?

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MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer

Paul Crawford
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Boffin

I also wondered about that, after all correlation (which we have) is not causation. But that is science really: Find some unexplained connections, postulate a theory, and then try to perform experiments to disprove said theory. If it holds up, then it is true enough to be usable.

Until someone else comes along with something better that can be tested...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: "a statistically quite small group of people"

A few thousand folk is not, in my humble opinion, statistically small. That is the whole point of sampling a population, you can't practically evaluate all so you get "enough" to have some specified confidence interval.

Do you have enough knowledge of statistical method to comment in any more detail?

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Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET

Paul Crawford
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@werdsmith

Before criticising folk who use iTunes you have to consider the following:

1) Apple managed to get a sensible sales model from the major music labels. You need to look back a decade or so to see just how crap the industries own on-line shops were. Just who gives a fsck about which label your favourite band is on? And the incompatible DRM shit!

2) Some folk struggle to use ripping software. Hell, some struggle with the concept of RTFM, or even of using Google, etc, to find help...

3) A lot of folk bought Apple ipods, etc, and they deliberately did not document the interfaces and often changed them, so getting music on along with album art was hit and miss. Same trick MS has used...except nobody bought the Zune...

4) A lot of new laptops, and all tablets, lack CD drives and few folk will splash for an external USB one unless they can be persuaded of the benefit. Buying the CD may be comparable to, or even cheaper to iTunes in the sale/bargin box case, but buying one track at a time is popular because frankly a lot of albums are pish, with one or two redeeming tracks. If you are lucky. In that case the economics work against CD purchases.

5) While CDs are uncompressed and better than half of the MP3 tracks out there, most folk don't seem to care about Hi-Fi quality. They play them through crappy speakers or headphones and often as background music, and just don't see sound quality as important.

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This Changes Everything? OH Naomi Klein, NO

Paul Crawford
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Re: The Register should write about what it knows, this article is a FAIL.

"The only reason for the #Climatecrisis is the greed of the fossil fuel industry, and that is why this book is a must-read."

No, the reason is the collective "greed" of humans, like the tragedy of the commons. Paying more is something most folk will avoid, and even go in to denial about what the consequences are of their choices. People want, indeed expect, cheap energy and fossil fuels provide that but at a high environmental cost since folk are not paying for the consequences directly, nor are they being charged the "replacement" cost of such a resource.

Look how much has been done to try and raise animal welfare standards and yet a lot of folk still buy factory-farmed eggs rather than paying a few pence more! The same folk who bitch about petrol costs but won't change their behaviour to car-share on commutes, and need an SUV to take precious Tarquin the 1/2 mile to school, etc.

While the lobbying and dirty tricks of some of the fuel industry is distasteful, it is not unique to them but a character of our political system where those with money try to keep it by any means.

Personally I am in favour of "incentive taxes" against polluting or wasteful products, rather than the EU's approach of trying to ban things like filament bulbs, etc, as it gives folk the choice and generally the market will go that way as a result.

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Consumers start feeling the love as Chromebook sales surge

Paul Crawford
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Re: PC World

I have seen some interest in PC World while wandering around. Quite a lot if you compare the area of Windows machines to the sole Chromebook stand, but not as much as the fondlslabs and Apple kit was getting.

I suspect most ended up buying a fondleslab though, probably the cheaper iPads or Android. But then I am not a sales guru like Gartner, etc, so why listen to me?

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Vulture trails claw across Lenovo's touchy N20p Chromebook

Paul Crawford
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Biggest gripe

My biggest gripe with Chromebooks is actually the keyboard, more specifically the lack of Ins/Del/Home/End keys. Even with a web page, having to scroll all the way to top or bottom rather than using the Home/End is a major irritation.

Having said that, for a few folk I know they are ideal: cheap, simple, and virtually nothing to do to keep them running infestation-free, and not having a dozen or so updaters running in the background (of which they can't even explain what half of the stuff was installed for).

Accepting that Google's slurping is an infestation of sorts, of course...

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Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

Paul Crawford
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Re: The media strikes again!

Wow - I had no idea that many had occurred in the USA, also if you look at the general page on school shootings, the rest of the world has not a patch on the USA for that :(

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Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

Paul Crawford
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Re: Needed

Perhaps if some of the punishment was also metered out to those ultimately in charge [1] of the systems being hacked and defrauded when they have not done a good job of securing them, things might change.

[1] I.e. at the CEO/CFO level, not BOFH. Those who decide how much to spend on security and if changes that make things better are to be vetoed for business reasons.

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MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less

Paul Crawford
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Re: Bah!

Now I'm humming along to "Hong Kong Garden"

Damn!

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

Systemd won't fix poorly implemented services either. Anyone who is not able to write/test/test-again something for init.d won't magically have it all work perfectly under another scheme. Upstart seems to be the least-worst option for something that permits dependency resolution and parallel starting, but its not perfect either and really should be extended to include managing the init.d scripts as well, as realistically there is a lot of stuff that won't get converted to native jobs any time soon.

At one point the Ubuntu project was doing a really good job of making a Linux distro that worked, and was fairly sane, but sadly from about 10.04 seems to have lost its way. It really needs someone like that who is interested in PC use, and not the tablets they fixated upon, to drive a project sanely.

And never listen to the GUI developers either: look how many stupid changes have been made to Gnome and Firefox, etc, etc.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Such hatred

I think upstart is a bit more sane, but even then it has its dumb aspects.

Why, for example, is upstart not calling the traditional scripts in order as well? That way you could at least use its dependency capabilities with non-upstart processes, just like the "service wibble start|stop" sort of command suggests you could.

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ESNet's 100 Gbps Atlantic link almost ready to flow

Paul Crawford
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El Reg units

I thought the correct unit for high speed bandwidth was the kilowrist?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/12/arizona_boffins_grasp_fat_pipes/

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