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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1610 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

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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Thumb Up

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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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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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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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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Paul Crawford
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Linux

Re: And cry you might

Welcome AC, now just you go and enjoy your lovely working copy of Windows with its _NSAKEY built in, nice to be pre-lubed, eh?

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

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British Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing receives Royal pardon

Paul Crawford
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Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

History is a funny thing, and you have to considered carefully why things are the current way. They brought back Charles II in 1658 after Cromwell's death because it was considered better to have a monarch with prescribed powers (largely ceremonial since) than a Lord Protector with no limits.

Looking at it another way, she was actually around at the time of his conviction, so is that not a better choice to offer a pardon?

And it gives less opportunity for the slime-ball that is Dave Cameron to appear 'good'.

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We don't need no STEENKIN' exploit brokers: Let's FLATTEN all bug bounties

Paul Crawford
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Unhappy

Sadly what I think is needed are new liability laws that make software and device manufacturers liable for failing to fix disclosed bugs in a reasonable time scale and for, say, five years after the device was on sale.

I'm looking at, for example you HTC, for your crappy phones with little or no updates, and you, most phone networks, who add all sorts of crapware and then don't pass on any underlying OS bug-fixes because of that.

And also without causing endless trouble for users by the fix being incompatible and needing a "factory reset". I mean, come on Android (and others) you are using an underlying OS that already supports modular updates and bug fixes (and has done for years and years). Why, oh why, can't you use that mechanism?

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DJANGO UNCHAINED: Don't let 'preview' apps put you off Fedora 20

Paul Crawford
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Re: the header bar.

Sadly all GUI developers seem to be suffering the same syphilitic brain problem of removing anything and everything of use, and hiding the remaining features in stupid non-obvious places.

Desktop morons abound (Gnome 3, to a large extent Unity, Win8 TIFKAM).

Web browser morons abound (Firefox, Chrome, etc all removing menus and options that you might actually want to use).

Cloud services buggering around the same way, like Google's docs, etc, having things make more Fisher-Price and hiding them behind icons that mean nothing (WTF is the matrix of squares that now pops up the other services supposed to represent?)

A pox on them all :(

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IT bods: Windows XP, we WON'T leave you. Migrate? Chuh! As if...

Paul Crawford
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Re: Whither Windows?

XP in a VM is isolated from underlying changes to hardware or, by and large, to the host operating system. You could use Win7/8 or any one of a range of Linux distros, depending on your use-case and licensing costs, etc.

In my experience the XP VM runs as well, if not better, under Linux as natively (intensive graphics aside) and you can save & restore from backup in minutes if corrupted. You can also have several VM, each with different software that won't play happy together, and run the one you need at a given time.

As such, you can also run RAID on the host machine for better availability, etc, and the workings of that need not concern the VM, it just sees the virtual disk as a file stored somewhere.

As for time, skill, etc, needed, well this is El Reg and folk here are discussing how they choose to solve things. If you don't know then find someone who can advise and implement, and pay them for it. Simplez!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: @Paul Crawford AC 14:28

"tied to the MAC of the network card in said computer"

In that case a VM of XP might be your saving, as you can then assign a MAC address matching the original card to it. Of course, if it used other hardware factors (e.g. C: drive serial number, etc) that may not work, but it is well worth trying.

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Paul Crawford
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@Goat Jam

While I can't speak for the AC above, my own reasons for sticking with "old software" vary, in some cases the cost is sometimes just not worth it when it is hardly used and/or not business critical.

But more often it is not the "few thousand" for a new copy/license, it is the years of work and business processes that are disrupted by the new version being different in subtle through to bloody annoying ways. That can cost WAY more than the new version would.

Also the node-locking may not be tied to the physical machine, more likely it is a parallel port dongle on an XP box that serves the software (like one of my CAD packages). A new PC with an additional parallel port card may solve hardware failures with much less disruption than a complete change, but moving from W2k/XP could be far more difficult.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: "won't be able to hang onto the past much longer"

My own choice is to run XP in a VM and then it need not have full, if any, internet access.

The host machine can be your choice of course, but mine is Linux for a range of reasons. Without wanting to start yet another pointless OS willy-waving contest, my own reasons are freedom (both as in speech and as in beer) and the far smaller number of attacks. Most of the stuff I need runs fine (email & web, compilers, etc) and the Windows-specific stuff can stay in the VM.

Should the VM get hosed, then it is deleted and the backup uncompressed in minutes. Should my host hardware change, well the VM need not care and mostly the recent Linux distros "just work".

Sure it is not perfect, and unskilled staff need training to master the "two computers in one" setup, but then if you change from XP to Win 7 (or God forbid Win 8's TIFKAM) then you have a lot of training as well to deal with anyway.

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Don't listen to Snowden ... Intel: We've switched on CPU crypto for Hadoop

Paul Crawford
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Re: Bollocks, say I.

Of course, with a suitably fitted tin-foil hat, I could postulate that Intel CPUs keep a cache of recent AES keys that can be accessed by some secret instructions so that user code can reveal them in a way that software implementations of AES could not.

You would need native code execution to exploit this, of course, which is hard to do outside of a few US-friendly suppliers of, for example, web browsers. Oh yes, there is Adobe Flash after all on some 90% of machines...

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Paul Crawford
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Bollocks, say I.

"AES is an official American encryption standard"

You seem to have forgotten the part where it was created by Belgian cryptographers and subject to estensive world-wide analysis before being adopted. That is how it should be (but not always Belgian, unless we are looking at a two-horse race with the Swiss for chocolate).

If you were pointing at the dodgy elliptical curve standard, or the secret Intel random number generator, then you would have a valid point...

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IBM hid China's reaction to NSA spying 'cos it cost us BILLIONS, rages angry shareholder

Paul Crawford
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"getting caught was the issue"

I beg to differ here.

We know the NSA, GCHQ, etc, are spies, that is their jobs. And if they occasionally asked for secret 'favours' of big companies in their home lands we would not be terribly surprised either, nor be calling for action.

No the big point here, and I mean BIG POINT, is the sheer scale of their involvement and apparent contempt for the spirit of the law (even if they can wriggle out of prosecution).

Basically they treat us all as criminals and have weakened or subverted the very standards that were supposed to protect us. It time we are sure to find organised crime, or other nations, using those same flaws against us.

It is good to see IBM and other major US companies taking a multi-billion dollar hammering, as money sadly is only thing that seems to make politicians act these days.

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Is it a NAS? Is it a SAN? No. It's Synology's Rackstation 'NASSAN'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Where's...

I can see the efficiency of block level sync, and ZFS support replication using the same principles, but my own paranoia is that a software/firmware bug on one that trashes file systems is then block-replicated to another much as RAID would do between disks.

While that is a low probability, it still makes me happier with the option of making snapshots and syncing the file system across. Of course, no gain if you are using a block-style access (iSCSI or raw database sort of thing).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Synology Issues

It is odd to see how a NAS could break the disk short of a major overheat.

However, I have had a number of 1TB Samsung HDD die on me, typically they would go off-line (SATA time-out, even SMART not showing status) and need a power cycle reset then come back with all data OK, but the up-time was getting shorter and shorter so I swapped them for other HDD and let the RAID rebuilds deal with it.

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Paul Crawford
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Re: Too late

"In the end they got Vista more-or-less working properly"

Yes, and then they sold it as Windows 7 rather than upgrading the poor suckers who had been visted.

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