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* Posts by Paul Crawford

1374 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Deep inside Intel's new ARM killer: Silvermont

Paul Crawford
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Re: Goalposts.

I was wondering the same - what is the performance comparison of ARM vs x86 on the same fab technology?

Also, as others have pointed out, ARM is generally a lot cheaper to buy/licence than Intel's offerings, so this had better be really good to make it.

And what about SoC builds, will Intel be offering to integrate customer's hardware on the same fab as this new CPU?

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HTC profits PLUNGE 98%: Pins hopes on HTC One, 'Facebook mobe'

Paul Crawford
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Re: Argruably the desire was the 1st mainstream android...

Have to agree, I have a Wildfire and its crap - or more precisely the software is crap and HTC have done nothing to fix it in the last 2 years.

Any wonder their customers have deserted them?

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Look ma, no plugins! Streaming web video with just JavaScript

Paul Crawford
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Re: "the real ones who actually make money at this sort of thing"

They will pirate anyway, so it is not helping the content providers and, while it is unlikely to result in the innocent/dumb user being prosecuted, at least they may get their PC fixed and save the rest of the Internet one less zombie.

What helps the case for content providers is the end user gets the pirated-like freedom to view anywhere/anytime but is paying for the privileged, rather than paying to jump through hoops. More likely to get and keep customers that way.

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Paul Crawford
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@Christian Berger

DRM, in the sense of making you unable to do what you want, is ALWAYS a less good experience than the pirate version.

Watermarking has its own issues, but is much better as it can be made invisible to the viewer (in the same sense of "acceptably small" which video compression relies on) not to get in the way. By knowing their download is marked, less people are going to share the copy they paid for with others, which is the main goal of a commercial operation.

Of course, mashing up watermarks by using several copies is possible, but potentially hard to do in a way that stops any of the donor's being identified.

Hopefully the content makers will realise that you can't stop piracy, but you can make the paying option cheap enough and good enough (from the customer's point of view) to make the risks of pirating enough to stop all but the most hardened freetard.

Just now I would not hold my breath, as the 'big content' industries have shown themselves to be very dumb in this respect so far.

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Suspected Chinese NASA spy smuggled smut not state secrets

Paul Crawford
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Re: Steno-pornography?

Probably by getting original copies of said pr0n and comparing them bit-by-bit. Also probably by watching them very carefully, over and over again, just in case there was some subtle political or technological message in "Big Girl Needs Big Dildo".

But who says he was not on the make, given the Great Firewall and China's anti-pr0n laws, maybe his stash of gentleman's entertainment was part of a pension plan?

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Japan's XP migration solution: Remove network cable

Paul Crawford
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Re: Fixes and stuff ....

Ah the old red / blue network arrangement :)

Just add someone with a rubber truncheon to deal briskly with anyone plugging in to the "wrong" network and you have pretty good security even with a leaky OS.

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Paul Crawford
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"already have migrated"

There are lots of reasons why you may want/need to keep an old OS going, the most obvious is you simply don't have the money to buy a new PC but that is probably not the biggest issue here (though report suggested so).

Legacy software, or special hardware, are both reasons why an 'upgrade' can be very expensive and time consuming because you find that the software won't work right on the new OS and/or is not supported or licensable on a new machine, and newer versions of said software is not 100% backward compatible and/or needs something else and so on...

My own solution for my dying w2k box was to convert it into a VM and run it on a Linux machine, more or less the best of both worlds (can run special software that is Windows-only, has better network security Linux-style). Even so, that takes IT skill to implement and user training to make it workable, both of which also cost money one way or another.

Certainly w2k and XP had nothing in the license about virtulisation, but AFAIK Windows 7 (probably also the abomination that was Vista) only permit it on the expensive enterprise version, not OEM/standard.

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Why next iPhone screen could be made of SAPPHIRE - and a steal...

Paul Crawford
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Re: Sizes?

Not as much as a Humvee decorated with elephant tampons!

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New NASA rover lands in frigid alien hell tomorrow

Paul Crawford
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Re: Optional accessories?

You seem to have "autonomous vehicle" and "shark" mixed up. Don't worry, its a common mistake.

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Java applets run wild inside Notes

Paul Crawford
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FAIL

Seems no one remembered the stupidity of Outlook running attachments.

Why did anyone think it is a good idea to run, even in supposedly sandboxed code, anything that comes in to your machine?

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British biz walking around with 'Hack Me' sign taped to its back

Paul Crawford
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Re: RF jamming ?

"Since when is that supposed to be an issue ? Sure, it'll work the first day or two,"

I think an hour or so might be enough to cause a chemical plant to go seriously wrong!

Never underestimate the ability of dumb people to get stupid things done in places you never imagined possible.

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Paul Crawford
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RF Jamming

I wondered about that, as a friend of mine mentioned the option of WiFi used for industrial control/monitoring systems. Amazing how dumb the cost saving of not having to install a dedicated (and hopefully air-gap isolated) wired network can be.

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The Chromebooks are coming! New models due late 2013

Paul Crawford
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The high-res one is attractive - as a machine to put Ubuntu, etc, on.

The normal ones for students? Cheap perhaps, but useful, really?

I can see them being a good buy for the utterly-IT-incompetents . I can think of certain friends/family in that category who just should never, ever, be allowed to do more than access a web browser. And even then pinned full-screen so I don't get a phone call about something having gone "stamp sized" and that no they really did not touch anything...

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BT unleashes SIP licensing troll army

Paul Crawford
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Re: How does this work?

"SIP was accepted as a 3GPP signaling protocol"

So it is considered an 'essential patent' and so should be under FRAND terms then for 3G? Sounds like it should be FRAND elsewhere in that case.

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Japan's naughty nurses scam free meals with mobile games

Paul Crawford
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Coat

Made me smile

Naughty Nurses "where smartphone penetration is over 40 per cent"

Thanks, mine has the book of double entendres...

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UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

Paul Crawford
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How things move

Funny how all IP laws seem to move towards what suits big business.

I can't see how hard it would have been to deal with orphaned works in a fair manner: for example, you can make use of it without risk of prosecution, but if the legitimate owner turns up then some reasonable compensation is due along the lines of some fraction of a professional's fee.

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Internet freedom groups urge W3C to keep DRM out of HTML

Paul Crawford
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Re: AC 18:15

No, you can't have an open system and DRM because, by definition, DRM stops you doing what you want and thus YOU are no longer in charge of your computer.

You could have a propitiatory 'blob' that hides the DRM key, but than you have to trust it absolutely (if root) or at least with your own account's information which in practice is quite a lot. See http://xkcd.com/1200/

Then of course the "big media" will not accept that unless it also relies on a closed path to the video/audio card so you can't intercept the decrypted data en-route to the display. See for example one of the reasons why Vista was so crap:

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

But this is a far bigger issue than media streaming, this also opens the doors to all future web sites being in lock-down mode so you can skip adverts, copy data if you want/need, etc. Therefore I am 100% behind the free software movement here as the web should not, in fact, must not become a closed system otherwise we are all going to live in the anus of a DRM's facebook in future.

And that is too hideous to be allowed just so Netflix, etc, can dance to Hollywood's tune.

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New Google Play terms ban non-store app updates

Paul Crawford
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Considering the recent security problems with apps (I hate that term!) updating themselves to become full blown Trojans, this makes sense. However, part of me also wonders about the more sinister control aspect...

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Review: Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Annihilator

"A homemade NAS is fine, and I've used one. But I wouldn't trust anything business critical with it."

I have used "enterprise level" NAS at work and to be honest would not trust it any more.

Repeat after me "RAID is not backup"...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: clarke@cilia.org

Most customers have no idea what RAID-x means, so no point in telling them. The key aspect here is they should have never been shipped with an unsafe option!

Of course, the other thing is no one should have only one cope on any device, no matter what RAID system is in use. RAID != Backup.

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Behold Ubuntu Server 13.04: Focus on hypervisors and OpenStack

Paul Crawford
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Shame they do not support 10.04 desktop for 5 years, but foisted upon us the unpleasant business of gnome3/unity.

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Amazon: Hard luck Microsoft, AWS will always be cheaper

Paul Crawford
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Re: Lock-in

Really, if you have any sense you will have an independent backup copy so no matter what your cloud provider does, or has done to them, you still have your data.

Though before you get to that stage, you should be asking serious questions about the security of all of your data in another company/country. No open client-side encryption? Then fsck off!

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EE: Of course we're going to get 1m 4G users by the end of the year!

Paul Crawford
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Facepalm

Unless 4G provides much cheaper data (i.e. lower £/GB, say 1-2GB for the same price as others charge 500MB) then what is the point? You will just end up paying too much because you are tempted to use data-intensive services and getting gouged.

Oh wait...

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Boffins explain LED inefficiencies

Paul Crawford
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Joke

Re: Popularity

Well they could always throw in a comment about MS and have Eadon and his band of merry troll-beaters fill up the forum, would that help?

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BitTorrent offers file sync tool for PCs and NAS

Paul Crawford
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Very interesting

Assuming it goes open-source (or at least the protocols do, so it is properly reviewed), this is a great idea as you get all of the benefits of "the cloud" without having to open your privates to those you don't trust that much. Like MS, Google, Amazon, etc...

Ideal for extended families so a selection of machines can share files and act as back-up for each other.

Of course, if it has a "read-only mode" (i.e. original creator can make changes that propagate across all shares, no one else can) then it could stir up a lot of controversy as The Pirate Bay's web site could become a local searchable share on thousands of machines and be all but unblockable by court orders to ISPs.

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Chinese IEEE members want MAC control for cognitive radio

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Christian Berger

But is it practical to achieve that sort of tight beamforming in small enough packages and at reasonable cost, power consumption, and bandwidth?

If you consider the wavelengths for which we can probably use and get reasonable building penetration, say in the 10cm range, and an angular requirement of say 10 deg to get a large number of urban users then an ideal antenna needs a diameter of around 60cm and in practice a phased array is going to be significantly bigger. For a big base station that is viable, but not for handheld or set-top boxes.

For the OP's point about not going through service providers via white space mesh connection then it won't be practical, but for some future high rate mobile it might just be viable. If it is cost effective enough and has enough back-haul bandwidth.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Hopefully China will continue

You really don't understand how radio works it seems. Two problems:

(A) There is simply not enough usable[1] spectrum in a typical built-up area to give everyone gigabit links like wired/fibre can.

(B) Cognitive radio is only usable if everyone is sharing the same negotiation system, and ideally (and essentially for non-cognitive systems) you have some database of users so you don't have a white-space user talking over another radio link it can't sense (due to sensitivity or shadowing issues) but is actually in use.

Hence radio should really be reserved for things that need it, such as mobile use, and not as a cost-saving option to avoid investing in fibre, etc, that has enough capacity for the foreseeable future.

[1] Yes, I know there is huge and very sparsely used spectrum up at tens or hundreds of GHz but that is not going to effectively penetrate well through walls, etc, and currently it is not cost-effective to produce TX/RX for them in single chips, etc.

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ICO probes Home Office refusal to reveal Snooper's Charter details

Paul Crawford
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Big Brother

When the Home Office has cited "national security" for not disclosing how a system they want to introduce at our expense should work, and when they start talking up terrorists and paedophiles and are not talking clearly about just who needs the information and why, it is time to can the lot and seriously review who is working there and just what sort of relationship they have with potential suppliers of said spook kit.

I smell a rat.

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Are you being robbed of sleep by badly designed servers?

Paul Crawford
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System watchdog?

Quite a lot of ordinary motherboards have hardware watchdogs built in, for example the w83627 and similar chips that provide hardware monitoring (voltages, temperature, fan speeds, etc). This can provide a last-resort method of rebooting a sick server if you don't have lights-out support, but only SSH access.

With Linux you can add the corresponding watchdog driver module (they are black-listed by default in Ubuntu) and then the watchdog daemon and configure it to check a few vital signs. Typically you would check the load averages are not stupidly high (say over 5 per CPU core), maybe that rsyslogd is running, that you can run a simple bash script, etc.

If any of those tests fail then you get a moderately orderly reboot, and the hardware watchdog makes sure you get a reboot even if there is a kernel panic style of fault. Brutal perhaps, but it gets the system back up and hopefully either all OK again or at least you can SSH in to fix it.

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Chinese state tightwads help strangle Asia-Pacific PC sales in 2013

Paul Crawford
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"still really don’t know the value proposition of ultrabooks"

I kind of agree with the AC above, really what is the 'value' of an ultrabook to justify such a high price? Let me see:

Screen resolution better than 1080? Nope, in fact often not better then 768 lines.

Is much cheaper than a "look at me, I'm cool" Mac? Nope

User replaceable batteries, etc, compared to a Mac? Nope

Battery life better than an iPad? Nope

Has useful connectors like RJ45 Ethernet unlike a Mac that has lost them? Nope

Runs software much better than a typical £400 laptop? Not sure, but probably not twice as good.

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IBM selling x86 server business to Lenovo?

Paul Crawford
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Re: Quality?

I like to keep track of my Harlots :)

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jQuery 2.0 kicks old Internet Explorer versions to the curb

Paul Crawford
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@Robert Carnegie

I think you are rather naive to assume that IE6 use will simply die when XP is end-of-life'd.

For the web in general, yes, that is pretty much true even now for IE6 but not so true for IE8. But XP use will still continue for a while until home users finally replace older PCs (almost nobody actually replaces their OS outside of El Reg readers) and I sadly suspect a whole lot of corporate intranets will still have a couple of IE-specific crap for which the likely replacement cost is so large that they keep XP/IE use in place. Either with Win7's XP mode, or using XP in a VMware machine, etc, to balance that business need against the appalling risk of having an out of support OS & browser facing the Internet at large.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Necessary?

It is an odd thing as you point out, the main reason for this framework was supporting that crap that is IE6, 7 and (to a slightly lesser degree) 8.

For home users its less of a problem. Want to stick with XP? Then download and install FireFox or Chrome, etc.

For corporate us the legacy of IE-specific crap will linger for a long time though.

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Paul Crawford
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I think the main, if not only, reason for MS supporting IE6 even this long was the huge legacy of corporate stuff that was written with only IE6 in mind at a point in time when cross-platform support was ignored and pointy-haired basses believed everything MS told them about IE6 being "the only and final" web browser they ever needed.

We can see how laughably wrong that was now, but the legacy of crap remains and even MS wish they could scrape IE6 from the soles of their shoes but have bottled out so far.

XP's general support death 2014 is looking pretty final though, after then its going to be "interesting" with browser plug-ins or virtulisation possibly being cheaper and less painful options than solving the underlying problems of stupidly designed software that depends on IE6 (or ActiveX in general).

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Yahoo! Axes! Yet! More! Products!

Paul Crawford
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IM death

Thought I would fire up Pidgin and see who was on-line for IM. Nothing. Nobody I knew on Yahoo or on MSN seen for at least a year.

Maybe others still use it, but it seems everyone I know has gone for FB messaging (a nauseating decision).

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Notebook makers turn to Android in face of Windows woes

Paul Crawford
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Re: Well, at least it'll be secure!

Mind you, web browsers are practically an OS now anyway and routinely compromised.

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'Leccy-stealing, grid-crippling hackers could TAKE DOWN EV-juicing systems

Paul Crawford
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Re: This is why...

Yes, because hanging folk for stealing sheep was so successful that ultimately we could store £250k+ in a shoe box under our beds and not have to consider higher security methods...

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Dell kills 3-year-old object storage appliance line

Paul Crawford
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Must be more to object storage?

Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but using a UUID for a block of data rather than a directory tree entry seems pretty trivial, in fact you could probably write a small layer to allow one to appear on top of or underneath the other.

So what else has "object storage" got that you simply don't get with a file-based system?

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PC floggers scavenge for crumbs as Apple hoovers up profits

Paul Crawford
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@AC 16:39

"most people preferring PCs"

I think most folk prefer cheap, although for a lot of non-technical folk they prefer fondleslabs (with the iPad being the favourite in my limited circle of fondle friends).

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Paul Crawford
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Re: The formula is simple

And yet, the other companies can't seem to fathom this out.

Funny to hear the comment about Intel & MS sharing their profits with the PC makers to keep them aflote to preserve the market they made and no longer seem to lead. Why would you really want to partner MS, or pay a premium for an Intel CPU compared to an ARM license unless you had no viable alternative? The Win8 annoyance that is TIKFAM and the utter incompetence with most of the PC makers to create products that are subjectively better to the customer in order to justify a premium is both sad and laughable.

Even MS has taken to producing its own hardware, apparently to set a standards (God knows it is needed considering the label covered and trial-ware infested crap that is usually sold) but also one suspects to try and grab a higher profit margin business model as Apple have done.

Personally I dislike both: Apple for its locked-down nature and moves to non-serviceable construction, and MS for years of bullying and strangling any competition. So call it an "idiot tax" if you like, but Apple customers like their shiny toys where as most PC buyers end up cursing theirs.

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CISPA cybersecurity legislation vote due in next 48 hours

Paul Crawford
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@Marketing Hack

I simply can't up-vote you enough on that post. Bravo!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Of course FB, MS and Intel are supporting this...

MS' support of this must make prospective users of Office365 very happy to hear MS can and will share all of their data with Uncle Same without risk of prosecution or civil liability...

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Cellular architectures not great for TV: study

Paul Crawford
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Re: Indeed. It's called broadcasting for a reason

The whole point of broadcast is the huge number who are happy to watch an event simultaneously, either because it is convenient or it is a special "live" event.

But don't knock the study too much, I bet they knew the result all along but needed to have the technical evidence so those who make the license decisions could see the downside to handing over all of the spectrum to broadband companies when then promis to deliver TV-like service as part of it.

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Internet Explorer makes modest gains against Google Chrome

Paul Crawford
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Re: Statistical fluctuation, IE is on a Dead Cat Death Spiral

It is hard for Win8 to fail as much as it deserves when you can't really buy a new PC without it being thrust upon an already suffering world.

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Windows 7 'security' patch knocks out PCs, knackers antivirus tools

Paul Crawford
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Linux

Re: Dell OEM and other hit last weekend - was it this?

Ah yes, reminds me of one very good reason why XP was the last MS operating system I got: "Product Activation" that could be revoked (unlike w2k that just was happy with the CD key).

<= Tux, my non-DRM'ed friend.

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AMI PC firmware upgrade scare: The global security meltdown that wasn't

Paul Crawford
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Mushroom

The problem is not the "BIOS" that most OS care not about, but that it could launch a hypervisor style of rootkit before ANY operating system has booted, and if implemented well that is virtually impossible to detect or get rid of.

Same reason that if you have an infected PC, always boot from a "live CD" like the BitDefender one to attempt an anti-virus based removal. Or to nuke it from orbit...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: First in the chain

Really that big? And with a handful of companies looking after it and not patching regularly? Oh God we are doomed...

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Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Paul Crawford
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Re: @Pirate Dave

I liked w2k, and the only advantage as far as I could see for XP was decent USB support.

I disliked XP's Fisher Price style of start menu, etc, but at that time MS had the sense to allow you the choice - and I chose "classic desktop".

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Square steering wheel.

I remember them - some had a "square" steering wheel (actually square with rounded corners - something for the Apple eaters to ponder upon), and a gearbox that felt like you were stirring marbles with a long spoon.

A very sad day for the UK motor industry when that got approved for production :(

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