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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1553 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Poor Intel TV dies on vine, its fancy pop-up shops turned into cafes, cinemas

Paul Crawford
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Re: "refocus on its traditional markets."

I was in PC World recently (UK box shifter of computer & TVs etc) and noticed that there was about 3 times as many customers looking at the range of Apple & Android devices as were looking at Windows laptops, even though the latter has over twice the space allocated to it.

Of course, that may not match actual sales.

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Those Xbox One first-day glitches: GREEN screens of DEATH, disc crunching

Paul Crawford
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Pint

Have an up-vote for "Tiles 8.11 for fondlegroups"

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BOFH: Resistance is futile - we're missing BEER O'CLOCK

Paul Crawford
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Re: "Dueling Banjos played on bagpipes is bloody brilliant!"

The Ride of the Valkyries played on banjos - now that was scary!

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LG: You can stop hiding from your scary SPY TELLY quite soon now

Paul Crawford
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Re: Legal liability

I hope this is picked up in the USA as they have class-action lawsuits to make it worth while for the lawyers to go after them for compensation.

Sadly the worst likely to happen here is a ICO slap on the wrists. I hoped the BBC and so on would cover it on national TV, that would be fitting punishment for the company - to have its amoral behaviour aired the way its customers where being aired.

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Qatar whips covers off giant footballing vagina

Paul Crawford
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Re: So what?

Better than the goatse one they almost chose for the London Olympics:

http://boingboing.net/2007/06/04/london-2012-olympic.html

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Microsoft zaps self in foot with WinPho/Office remote control app

Paul Crawford
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Re: "THat it doesn't work with ARM"

I think this is the point of the cynicism. MS so much want people to support WindowsRT and then can't be arsed to do it themselves, that says a lot.

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Amazon, Facebook, Google give Cisco's switches the COLD shoulder

Paul Crawford
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Don't buy Cisco, Extreme, 3Com, HP, or Intel gear.

Really, they gouge you on everything they can, to the extent of locking out rival SFP units "because they can":

http://www.toad.com/gnu/sysadmin/sfp-lockin.html

If they had a supported list that included any rival's products then you might have believed the quality assurance bullsh*t...

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Right, that's IT: We'll encrypt INTERNAL traffic to thwart NSA - Yahoo

Paul Crawford
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The point is?

Really, when the US gov can ask in secret for the data and pretty much compel any US-related business to comply, what is the point in them huffing and puffing and putting in SSL links that, most likely, use a certificate that is from a potentially compromised issuer?

The issue behind all of this is judicial oversight, or more precisely the lack of. We, the public, should expect privacy unless there is "probable cause" for investigation, and that should be properly signed off by a judge after considering the supporting evidence and not rubber-stamped en mass and in secret.

Fix that, USA, and maybe some trust will return. Until then everyone should treat all USA-based companies as fundamentally compromised.

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Om-nom-nom-nom! Google's Cookie Monster DEVOURS MORE DRIVES

Paul Crawford
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Data export?

Do they also allow you to export all your data on to HDDs to move to another provider if needed?

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Microsoft, Cisco: RC4 encryption considered harmful, avoid at all costs

Paul Crawford
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To add I that used: https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/index.html

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Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Banking dissapointment

I tried online-business.bankofscotland.co.uk and while it got an "A" overall as it used 256-bit AES on modern browsers, it also got this:

"This site supports only older protocol versions, but not the most recent and more secure TLS 1.2"

Looking further, it lacked both 1.1 and 1.2 so no BEAST attack mitigation.

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Linux backdoor squirts code into SSH to keep its badness buried

Paul Crawford
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Headmaster

Re: AC 09:45

"You're posting AC, why not just name it?"

They did - read the title of their post.

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Oracle unzips plan to wave cloud erections at Canadians, Germans

Paul Crawford
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Oh yes, as a USA company Oracle promise not to share your data secretly and this "may meet regulatory or end-user requirements".

Except of course they have to or executives will face jail time, even if it is hosted in Canada.

Next...

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Microsoft founder Paul Allen's money man wants Redmond to break up

Paul Crawford
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Re: @JamesTQuirk

Using a VM is a good solution as long as you only need "standard" I/O such as serial ports (on normal Baud rates) or parallel.

If you have any special I/O cards, or rely on something odd in the settings of normal I/O (as I found trying a non-standard Baud rate that the UART chip should support) you are likely out of luck with a VM.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Good Idea!

"I run Windows 7 Pro' 64-bit. It has a 32-bit Windows XP VM to run all that stuff, no further development required"

And what happens to your XP VM come April 2014? Oh yes it goes out of support so no more bug-fixes for the same flawed code that later Windows share. How well protected is your 64-bit system from malware in the 32-bit VM?

Can we have a new 32-bit Windows that is supported?

One that supports 16-bit applications?

One that supports older 32-bit drivers for legacy hardware?

Oh, you just told us that is a waste of space...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Listen to the money men...

That depends on whether you want to make money, and on the time-scale you are interested in.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Good Idea!

"let's drop the waste of space 32-bit versions"

What, you mean the only version that can run legacy 16-bit software that a few businesses actually need?

Oh well, they might as well let those companies invest in dosemu on Linux to get continued support.

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No, it's NOT Half-Life 3 – it's Valve's lean, mean STEAM MACHINE

Paul Crawford
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Good luck to them.

Here is hoping they provide what the customer wants.

And that customer is the one buying the machine, not the advertisers and other business hang-ons that have made the new Xbox-one and PS4 such shitty options.

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Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last

Paul Crawford
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Re: @thomanski

It is not a "tiny issue in the grand scheme" if you have to support users who find printing broken after each update, and it is symptomatic of an organisation that, because it is not on their patch, don't care.

But what is most irritating is not them getting the paper size wrong on fresh install, but that each update REVERTS MY BLOODY CHOICE! That is an MS-level of arrogance, to reset my settings without asking me, and for that they deserve a serious bollocking.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: What has Mozilla done though?

Not fixing the default-to-US-letter paper bug for over a decade perhaps:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/firefox/+bug/10910

Because the 90% of the world that is not the USA is not important to them?

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BT's mobe interference claim laughed off air by ad watchdog

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

My sister got an "upgrade" to a separate white ADSL router and black hub/wi-fi point and it is utter rubbish. Often it fails to boot properly (left instructions about how to power cycle the damn thing in sequence to get it working, as they are not technical) and frequently drops both wi-fi and wired Ethernet for no obvious reason.

And while we are ranting about BT Internet's incompetence, twice they have changed the log-in settings for email and given fu*k-all notification of the change, and in the recent case (couple of weeks ago) their web site still had the old=wrong settings on it, only found out from a Thunderbird forum post what was up.

In summary, a bunch of useless idiots with more money & influence than they deserve.

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It's NOT an iPad - but that's FINE: I learned to LOVE Microsoft's Surface 2

Paul Crawford
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That really is the issue - the x86 Surface Pro makes some sense for business users and others with portable windows needs, you can run most software on it.

But Windows RT has some really annoying limitations beyond what MS give you, and that is what they don't give you. In particular, that mere mortals can't produce desktop-style apps, but MS have that right for IE11 & Office.

Furthermore, you have to *pay* MS to sell your software via the app store, no direct sale/downloads like you can for x86 Windows.

So really, if you want a slick fondleslab look to the IPad (or cheaper & often nastier Android ones) or pony up for the x86 Surface and get proper Windows support.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Still don't see any reasons to buy it

I think you will find "The Register" is not a monolithic Borg, but an outlet for a number of journalists with a varying range of personal opinions.

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The importance of complexity

Paul Crawford
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Yes, I gues.

I am not a software scientist by training but have ended up programming in C (mostly) to solve difficult problems, not necessarily NP-hard, but not easy for the affordable hardware of the time.

Most success came from starting with a good book, in particular Numerical Recipes, and timing where things were held up, for example using the profiling tools that come with, for example Visual Studio.

However, in a number of cases I resorted to approximating the problem or allowing sub-optimum solutions because it was good enough for the system requirements and sometimes vastly faster.

E.g. I once reduced the processing time of some software that re-projected (warped) an image by implementing my own task-aware cache rather than using the DOS/Windows95 FAT system's own one. Today you don't see file systems that inefficient in common use, and memory is plenty big enough just to load the whole source image in to memory for random access, but original case was ~100MB file in the days when you might have 16MB RAM in a PC.

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Seagate: Fibre Channel? RAID? SATA? File System? All RUBBISH

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Alan Brown

Parity & RAID is a bet, based on the probability of multiple failures occurring at once. The quoted figures you get for availability are based on the assumption of statistically independent failures.

We all know that is bollocks, of course. As HDD are often from the same batch so may suffer manufacturing defects, and failure can be provoked by events such as fan failure, PSU surges, etc, that are common to the array.

So RAID != Backup and never forget that!

The trade off with going to triple parity depends on your work load and the CPU/controller, etc, but often it demands larger stripes to be efficient but that in turn hammers the IOPS capability. You can get a lot of that back with SSD for journals/ZFS Intent Log use though.

In most cases you get one failure and then others croak when the load of a rebuild kicks in, in that case double parity is a great help.

But you also get an array being powered off after years of use and a number of HDD just giving up the ghost and not spinning up, at that point you really are looking at a new array and restoring from backup :(

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Object size & protection?

That was my figure of 1.2 times (or thereabouts), say 6 disk for 5 disk's capacity = 6/5 = 1.2 or with double parity and more disks per stripe 12/10.

Always go double parity if you can, and scrub periodically, as a HDD-failure RAID rebuild is when the trouble starts!

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Paul Crawford
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Object size & protection?

I am guessing they don't consider data object bigger than a single HDD then?

Presumably the protection against HDD failure is now based on object duplication, so a 2 times storage penalty, rather then something like RAID-5/6 or RAID-Z2 where you get a 1.2 sort of penalty?

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Netflix original TV shows gamble pays off... to the tune of 10m new viewers

Paul Crawford
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Re: More efficient than the BBC then

No, you don't need a TV licence to watch Internet streamed video. Or to buy/rent DVDs, funnily enough...

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'Donkey-tugging' EU data protection law backed by MEPs

Paul Crawford
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Re: "Ad lobby group, IAB Europe, bemoaned the committee's amendments"

It is sad to see someone believe that "the promotion of innovation and growth" comes from whoring your customers from port to port, rather than developing things people actually need or want to pay for.

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SUPERSIZE ME: Nokia unveils Surface rival and 2 plumped-up phablets

Paul Crawford
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"a proper version of Office too"

Er no. Not if you have VB-heavy business stuff based on years of painful Office-based development, which is a big point for corporate users.

Still, aside from the debate about the fundamental usefulness of WinRT, at least Nokia is offering something that looks a viable competitor in battery life, price, etc.

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Surface 2 MYSTERY: Haswell's here, so WHY the duff battery life?

Paul Crawford
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Re: Windows just has a bunch of overhead

Quite probably system bloat, but maybe likely it is due to DRM? Consider this analysis:

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

Shame none of that protects you, the owner of the PC, from malware...

Has anyone compared XP with Windows 7 on the same hardware to see if this is a factor?

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US red-tape will drain boffins' brains into China, says crypto-guru Shamir

Paul Crawford
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Re: Not in the future...

The sad thing is this attitude, which is by no means uncommon, is really NOT how the majority of USA citizens think it should be.

I have never had a "problem" as such with USA immigration and border control, but as an anonymous person from Europe have seen how slow and troublesome it can be. As a point of comparison when on a flight to Chile, when fellow passengers were actually being fined for failing to declare fruit & veg (in that case a bag of tea), the staff were still polite and pleasant, and no guns were pointed at the visitors during the procedure.

I really wish that the USA gov, and its representatives, could be like the majority of pleasant and helpful folk I have met in my travels in the USA.

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Don’t let mobile malware steal your company data

Paul Crawford
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Re: You don't need to weaken GSM to give government access.

The protection from "the government" is supposed to be due process and the court of law, which gets its power from the people's choice of elected representative.

Please stop laughing in the back seats!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: not allowing rooted or jail-broken phones?

"B) What risks does it prevent?"

Given a lot of "stock" phones will have an OS that is old, unpatched and vulnerable, the only reason I can see is to prevent users from having loaded un-vetted apps from dodgy sites.

However, there appear to be enough dodgy apps from the official site to limit that aspect as well...

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Can you trust 'NSA-proof' TrueCrypt? Cough up some dough and find out

Paul Crawford
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Re: Audit the source? Nobody *runs* the source, they run binaries

"with a new version, the auditing needs to be all over again"

That is why you have an automated process, one where the agreed compilers and build environment are used and you can check that the binary coming out of the audit system matches the download version for a given code release.

Then your review of the source code changes is a meaningful activity.

But until the code has been independently audited by cryptographic experts (ideally not from the USA, etc, where there is a justifiable suspicion of court-ordered tampering) it is hard to trust the system, even as compiled from source, not to have either a foolish or deliberate flaw that makes the security much less than the password.

"a TrueCrypt virus. One that only attacks that particular program and inserts a backdoor into installed copies"

Really, you don't think that a simple key logger to grab the password would be easier and more deniable? If your machine has been compromised, even by a user-space program for your account, then ANYTHING you do from then onwards is, by definition, insecure.

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All cool kids' phones run ALTERNATIVE alternative custom Android ROM

Paul Crawford
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Happy?

"most Android users are quite happy with the Google-backed ROM which comes pre-installed"

No, I think most simply live with the donkey gonad-sucking software that device manufacturers supply and then practically never patch or fix.

Most OS have several patches per *month* for security, when did your phone last get patched? And the only time I got a "patch" for my HTC it was a complete image, thus involved a system reset and having to configure everything again. Look you imbeciles at HTC, Google, etc, patching a Linux-based OS is a know technology, use it!

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Kids hooked up with free Office subs at Microsoft-addicted schools

Paul Crawford
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Joke

Re: Wow...

An image more like a camel's toe under the tent?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Hipocrisy

"when Microsoft software is offered free, then it's even worser than offering them drugs."

You obviously missed the bit about the school having to be fully paid up to MS, using public money, to get this. You see, that is the point, MS never offers anything for "free", it always comes with restrictions and is simply there to get them while young.

Now MS are a business, and making money is fine if it is done by honest competition and offering the best products. Some of MS' products are very good, but others are not so good and they also have a long and inglorious history of abusing their oligopoly on the PC desktop and OEM relationship to kill competition rather then to make something better.

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Windows Phone 8 INFLATED by Microsoft ... to satisfy lonely phablets

Paul Crawford
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Re: You can put lipstick on a pig....

Funny how most pro-MS folks are ACs?

To add: I have no love of MS and can't see any special reason to buy one, but younger non-technical friends find the cheaper Nokias are "not bad" as smartphones.

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Oracle brass past and present tapped for Microsoft CEO - report

Paul Crawford
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Trollface

Ah, but it would do wonders for FLOSS in the enterprise.

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Osborne to China: Keep watching Downton and we'll gloss over Huawei security worries

Paul Crawford
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Re: The Chinese HATE the Japanese.

"All the Chinese are racists?"

No, that comes under xenophobia I think and not race. And it is down to history mostly. A bit like Europe's last several centuries of bloodshed...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: America's block on Huawei

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

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Paul Crawford
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Very much so. Now then, do you have a list of teenage daughters I could chat to?

Thanks - a complete cad & bounder.

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Sorry fanbois, no supersize Apple fondleslabs for you

Paul Crawford
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My wish list

Please Apple, could you consider as laptop with:

A bigger 16:10 screen, say 17", with at least 1200 lines resolution.

A proper Ethernet connector.

A price in the ~£1k range (or less, but lets not ask for Unicorns here).

A keyboard the gets rid of "Caps Lock"

A touch pad that is off to the side of the keyboard, so folk don't graze it with palms while typing.

Thanks...

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Luxembourgeois data protection watchdog probes Microsoft in Skype PRISM complaint

Paul Crawford
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Re: Simple rule, US company || US staff || US servers == *insecure*

Indeed, given the US law on this, what is the point in asking? Those who know are bound, on pain of imprisonment, to lie in order to cover any NSA requests.

Long term, this is going to do the USA-based business no good at all, and if the USA gov is able to act and see sense, then they will allow at least honest answers about the number and general nature of the FISA requests.

Sure, it won't deal with all issues, but then such questions about scale and privacy have half a chance of being answered honestly to EU countries, etc, and that may just help the USA to rebuild some measure of trust.

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Privacy is still important to us, says upstart Onavo after Facebook gobble

Paul Crawford
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Coat

Miss-type?

Why did I read that as "Facebook gobbles upstart Onanist for $200M"?

Is that closer to the mark?

My dirty mac =>

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Laptops Snowden took to Hong Kong and Russia 'just a decoy'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Theres more to the story

At this precise point in time I suspect there are more Americans worried about the Gov shutdown and potential default. Quite probably, that is more damaging to the USA than any/all of the revelations about the NSA doing what tin-foil hat folk knew all along.

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Brazil whacks PRISM with secure email plan

Paul Crawford
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This is supposed to be secure email for within the Brazilian government and not about the rest of the world.

Yes, most of El Reg readers know and have known for years that email is, in almost every case, as secure as a post card, but it still ends up being used with some expectation of privacy. Now they know, rather than suspect, that the NSA hoovered it all up (J Edgar'd it up?) they feel it is something to bring back under national control.

As for the rest of us, until we can get and manage some sort of open/free public key system and have an interoperable email standard that "just works" for kids to granny's computers without any technical knowledge, then we (as in the public) are still out in the open.

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Best Buy: Bring us your cowering, unwanted Microsoft Surface masses

Paul Crawford
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Re: Alonnis - I think you're right

"uncool brand" is kind of how most folk see MS, as their work computer it has that "dancing dad" aspect.

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Streaming TV Aereo's enemies lob sueball into Supreme Court

Paul Crawford
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Re: This could get interesting

Too much trouble. The UK TV Licensing 'enforcers' just assume *everyone* is watching TV and thus must have a licences, unless they can show otherwise...

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