* Posts by Stuart Longland

1238 posts • joined 11 Jan 2008

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Lockheed Martin fires DEATH STAR CANNON at hapless truck

Stuart Longland
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If we can solve the power supply issue…

I'd like one for the bicycle. That'll ensure drivers keep to the 1m clearance rule.

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What’s new in Office 2016 for Mac (and why it doesn't totally suck)

Stuart Longland
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Re: Do I see what I think I see…?

I realise it's a standard Apple thing to have a menu bar up the top of the screen, and it's not where on the screen it's positioned, just its mere existence.

A menu bar seen on a Office installation is something I have not seen in nearly 10 years on Windows.

I'm just questioning if it's the real deal or if the menu items are stripped down to uselessness merely to tick a box for Apple.

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Stuart Longland
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Do I see what I think I see…?

… a menu bar? Up the top of the screen?

Or is it an illusion?

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Canadian bloke refuses to hand over phone password, gets cuffed

Stuart Longland
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Re: Okay, so they ask to see my laptop.

Or just confuse the hell out of the scammer:

http://bin.longlandclan.yi.org/~stuartl/scammer.ogg

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Okay, so they ask to see my laptop.

"TURN ON THE COMPUTER"

To which I'd reply: Look, see, power LED is on, screen is ON, text is on the screen, kindly define what YOU mean by ON.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: @Stuart Longland - Okay, so they ask to see my laptop.

You're clearly a dangerous subversive for not using a proper all-American operating system

Probably even more suss for using a netbook with a Chinese CPU (Loongson 2F).

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Stuart Longland
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Okay, so they ask to see my laptop.

As it happens, it might be my netbook which runs Gentoo Linux (cannot run Windows), and is mainly used as a means of downloading photos off SD cards onto the internal hard disk. It features no GUI as I only need to use command line tools like cp/mv, or access an email client (mutt) over ssh.

So I boot the machine up, and turn the machine over. They are confronted by this:

This is zhouman.unknown_domain (Linux mips64 3.17.2-zhouman) 05:32:57

zhouman login: stuartl

Password:

stuartl@zhouman $ _

Okay mister border guard, what now?

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CONFIRMED: Tiny Windows Server is on the way

Stuart Longland
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Re: Tiny Windows Server

Yep, a tiny computer running an OS with an even tinier application market.

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Stuart Longland
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Sadly, these days too many cowboys get let loose near too many computers with the usual results…

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Google Chrome suffers brain freeze on Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Stuart Longland
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Re: Moving on..

This is the main issue with Android. As soon as the manufacturer decides they can't be arsed supporting a model anymore, you're stuffed

Which in my experience has been about 5 microseconds after the product leaves their factory and about 5 years before it stops shipping.

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Sysadmins: Step away from the Big Mac. No more Heartbleed-style 2am patch dashes

Stuart Longland
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Facepalm

When I read "Step away from the Big Mac"

… I was thinking some Apple-branded server.

I was not thinking so-called "food".

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Curiosity rover rendered armless by short circuit

Stuart Longland
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Well, it would appear this problem will have some NASA engineers rather stumped.

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Ford to save you from BIKE FITNESS HORROR

Stuart Longland
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Re: "there is no derailleur....so the prototypes are fixies"

Indeed, and in hilly terrain, I expect that 200W motor to drain the 9Ah battery in mere minutes. 35km range? Not likely.

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Outbreak! Fake Amazon voucher offer seeds mobile malware attack

Stuart Longland
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Sounds a bit like the WhatsApp malware that was doing the 'rounds recently.

It arrived as a supposed voicemail message from "Whats App Web".

Clicking the link basically sent you to a phony BBC Health page for some dubious offer with malware that hijacked gmail browsing sessions then emailed itself to all your contacts.

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Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

Stuart Longland
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I think we can make an exception…

There's a difference between prioritisation of packets for commercial reasons, and prioritisation for safety reasons.

Internet-connected cars (ignoring the daft idea of doing this over the Internet) could be construed as a safety-related reason. Emergency services is almost certainly safety-related.

For these, I think we can grant an exception.

Having movies streamed reliably is not safety-related, it's commercial. What we were arguing against, was prioritisation for commercial reasons.

Does that clear things up, Rajeev?

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SanDisk launches 200GB microSD card

Stuart Longland
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Re: What's that in RPs?

But then at least the dog wont eat it ;-)

Correction: But then at least the dog won't eat all of it ;-)

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ACCC slaps iiNet over prices in ads

Stuart Longland
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Re: Wtf

If it were just a monthly price, I'd agree with you, however it's not, it's a year-long contract paid monthly.

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First peek at the next Ubuntu 15.04 nester line-up

Stuart Longland
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Re: Nope

Almost but not quite - aside from Cinnamon there are other little godsends like Mint's fork of the Nautilus file manager, Nemo. Nemo still lets us do basic things like: having an 'Up' button, toggling between a file path location bar and buttons, and (my personal favourite) pressing F3 to split the window between two folders. These features were all once standard in Nautilus but have been systematically removed. The Mint developers actually listen to their users, which results in there being a lot of little touches like this throughout the OS that make it a joy to use. Mint is more than just Ubuntu+Cinnamon.

All things that Konqueror has had for years, but it's good to see other file managers picking up ideas and running with them.

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Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

Stuart Longland
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Shame the handy cousin didn't just install Classic Start Menu...

Last I checked, Classic Start Menu was merely cosmetic, it didn't magically make your Windows 8 installation magically sprout drivers or run older software.

We have to use Windows XP at work for some things: namely I have to because of some Windows CE 5 devices we support that require ActiveSync 4.5, and some of my colleagues do because the Rockwell Automation software requires it for running PLC simulators.

Everywhere else it's either Linux, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008r2, the former two being the majority.

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Stuart Longland
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could also be people who have moved from XP to a new Windows, and have now moved off Windows entirely to another OS

Not quite, certainly some have gone that way, but it's curious that the upward trend in Windows XP is almost matched by the downward trend in the others.

If it were users going from Windows 8.x to non-Windows, I'd expect the Windows XP trend to remain flat and the bump to show up in either the MacOS X or Linux trend lines. (Of course, there's *BSD too, but they don't show a trend line for that family.)

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Stuart Longland
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Is it just me, or is the bump upwards in the stats for Windows XP somewhat symmetric to the dip for Windows 8/8.1?

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W*nkers of the world unite to SAVE THE PLANET one jerk-off at a time

Stuart Longland
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A better use for this "technology"

Invent a very small rechargeable battery charger, embed it in this wrist band and give it to some old codger with Parkinson's… his hearing aid batteries will never go flat again.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Not safe for teens?

Darwin award in the making?

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Stuart Longland
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Well to be fair they haven't actually released the Apple Watch yet…it's probably "one more thing" this wonder-gadget does.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Spelling

So, all of you Englishmen, shouldn'e it be spelled "wankRE", like metre, litre, etc.?

Only when the "wanker" in question is French… at which point it's spelt "wankré".

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And the buggiest OS provider award goes to ... APPLE?

Stuart Longland
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Re: Who has paid for the survey?

Then why don't you drop the author of the study a line. It is apparent to me that they meant default installs and I would imagine pretty clear to everyone else but if you think it's ambiguous just email them. They've been responding to questions pretty quickly. I'll happily backtrack if they say that they meant Ubuntu non-Server with the desktop environment deliberately unselected. But that's not going to happen.

This is a study of default installs. That's why it can include third party at all and why, as they said, they separated out the kernel as its own category.

Ahh, because I'm not the one questioning whether there's a Linux distribution that ships without a web browser. That was Sandtitz 3 days ago. I gave a few examples, then you replied.

The article mainly focussed on MacOS X vulnerabilities, I challenge you to find a mention of the word "Ubuntu" anywhere in the article, as you rightly point out, they do not mention "Ubuntu Server".

They do mention a few distributions in the actual report, where they also state that the MacOS X statistics exclude Safari, so presumably they also exclude Firefox/Chromium. So the argument is entirely academic.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Who has paid for the survey?

And none of those are the distros listed in this report. I mean, Ubuntu is, for example, but not "Ubuntu without a DE". If they're separating out Windows 8 and 8.1 when they are certainly separating out Ubuntu and Ubuntu Server.

They don't list "Ubuntu with a DE" either… They just list Ubuntu, and with Ubuntu, it is a user choice (default: enabled) as to whether a web browser is installed or not.

Firefox is generally bundled because it happens to be one of the better ones. Maybe Chromium might take its place some day. If you install Kubuntu instead, it comes with Konqueror rather than Firefox.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Who has paid for the survey?

Does any Linux distro come without a browser?

Gentoo doesn't.

Debian doesn't unless you install the desktop environment.

Ubuntu doesn't unless you install the desktop environment.

OpenWRT doesn't.

Linux From Scratch doesn't.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: OSX and Linux

"A Windows license is ~$200. A day's work for me is about $250"

A RHEL license subscription starts at $799 per year.

Who says I buy RHEL? Gentoo costs $0. Debian costs $0. Ubuntu costs $0.

All three generally JustWork for my needs. Gentoo having the best flexibility, thus what I choose for my own personal gear. At work it has traditionally been Ubuntu, but lately we're moving to Debian for some of our appliances.

I use Windows wherever possible. A days work for me is about $1000. Go figure...

"I'm more likely to spend at least a day of my time just waiting for the usual "Applying Updates, do not turn off" messages"

WSUS is free and manages that for you. This is a good example of why you are only worth $250 / day.

Tell me, can I get a Linux version of WSUS? We don't have a Windows server, and not being traned in managing Windows, it would be lunacy to expect me to manage one.

All the Linux boxes are happy to just do their downloads via a HTTP proxy. The downloads are cryptographically signed using GnuPG and the files are cached so they only get downloaded once. Simple, effective.

How long do you spend assessing all the security vulnerabilities for each platform? I am interrupted several times a month to look at many more Linux ones, but only once a month on Patch Tuesday to look at Windows ones...I spend far less of my time dealing with Windows updates overall.

apt-get dist-upgrade is usually done for me in less than 10 minutes and rarely needs a reboot. The fixes come as they're released, not when the vendor feels it's time to push an update. I apply the updates when I feel I want to, not when the vendor thinks I should.

"searching around for the exact driver, "

That's a far larger problem for Linux. based systems.

I have a laptop on my desk that identified 100% of the hardware from the Ubuntu LiveCD. Windows 7 64-bit OEM (self-installed, not the OEM image which was 32-bit) still fails to recognise some hardware.

I've never had a problem with server or industrial hardware, generally our concern there ends with ensuring storage, network and serial interfaces work. Then again, we're in the SCADA/energy management business, so SATA/SAS and gigabit Ethernet is good enough, and the most "obscure" we get is talking Modbus to an RS-485 bus.

Probably the hardest case I've struck was interfacing to a railway weighbridge and an Allen Bradley PLC. In both cases, it was a case of port the driver: we had the source code for the former, and we were able to get in touch with the company that did the latter. That was moving a system from SCO OpenServer 5 to Ubuntu Linux 12.04.

The biggest issue being the difference between SCO's libc and default serial settings to glibc and Linux serial settings. Easily fixed once we knew what was going on.

"troubleshooting obscure registry problems"

As opposed to trouble shooting problems in multiple randomly distributed text config files?

grep works with text files, not with binaries. Two places does not count as "randomly distributed" to me either. Usually they're in one of two places: $HOME or /etc.

"fending off malware,"

Try running Windows and Linux based internet facing servers. The Linux ones get attacked and compromised far more often. I have never seen malware on a Windows server - only ever on a desktop. But I have seen lots of Linux based server boxes compromised to serve up malware, private FTP sites, Bit Torrent seeds, botnet CC servers, etc, etc...

Have done for years. In 2001 I set up my first internet-facing server. Over the years the hardware has been replaced and the OS updated/replaced. Never had a breech.

This isn't to say my box is bulletproof, it isn't, there's no such thing. Just that I'm not a high-value target.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Who has paid for the survey?

I don't remember IE on Windows 3.1.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: OSX and Linux

"More buggy" maybe, but I seem to spend less time fighting it and having to fix things on it when it breaks.

A Windows license is ~$200. A day's work for me is about $250. Therefore over the course of a year, I can afford to spend a day fixing problems on Linux or spend a day's pay on a Windows license and still break even either way.

However, we know Windows is not the trouble-free experience they tout it to be, I'm more likely to spend at least a day of my time just waiting for the usual "Applying Updates, do not turn off" messages, the usual hassling that I need to reboot for an update to take effect, searching around for the exact driver, troubleshooting obscure registry problems, fending off malware, etc.

Spending an extra day of my time and keeping money in my pocket to pay for food, housing, electricity and computing hardware doesn't seem like such a bad deal now does it?

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Android

Many OEMs just don't care. I recently asked ZTE about my phone, which I bought in January.

Their answer was, It's a device we designed in 2013, we no longer care about it. So I'm stuck with Android 4.1. Hopefully this phone will last long enough for something that actually meets my needs comes on the market.

That or maybe I'll just wean myself off the need for a mobile phone and the mobile carriers/phone makers/etc can do without my business.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: This is not a football match.

Agreed, and compared to Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000/XP was a veritable fortress.

Microsoft has come a LONG way, from a relative laughing stock that could not be taken seriously for anything moderately secure, to a reasonably decent platform.

Such a shame though coding for it is a royal pain due to its largely NIH-inspired programming interfaces.

Linux has moved forward in that time, but it didn't have as far to come on the security front.

It has a LONG way to go on the usability front. People at my workplace complain about how hard Linux is to use, even describe it as "weird", but that is because many of them started with Windows XP (or maybe Windows 98) and didn't see what Linux was like years ago when getting a graphical desktop meant a long session with XF86configurator and a need for deep knowledge of your hardware.

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C’mon Lenovo. Superfish hooked, but Pokki Start Menu still roaming free

Stuart Longland
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Re: Why are you even diagnosing this lappy?

Doing Linux Sysadmin is complex as hell for someone who has been a Windows chap most of his professionial career (although I've been using Linux at home for some eight years now) but it's still not as blindly frustrating as trying to rebuild a Win 8.1 laptop with no recovery media, which is an exercise in futility and frustration, and I don't see it getting any better any time soon.

I think the point is: Microsoft + OEMs don't want you to rebuild, they just want you to use then throw away.

This might be made easier if the pre-shipped image was fit for purpose in the first place, but even then, I do not consider a >AU$500 laptop "disposable" and thus have a reasonable expectation to be able to re-load it as I see fit.

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Errant update borks Samsung 850 Pro SSDs

Stuart Longland
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Re: Think people

RAID ≠ backup.

Plus, how many laptop computers can take enough drives to make RAID possible? Not that many.

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Assemblers were once people: My aunt did it for NASA

Stuart Longland
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The sad bit…

These people knew more about the hardware they were coding for, and could achieve more, than what programmers can today with today's kit.

I look at what past computing pioneers had to work with, and marvel.

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Microsoft man: Internet Explorer had to go because it's garbage

Stuart Longland
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Well…

… you guys started it!

How long did we have to put up with Internet Explorer 6's crappiness?

Years. Many years.

Windows XP was released with IE6 back in 2002. It was 2006 before IE7 came along, and all that did was add tabs and a few minor rendering tweaks, woohoo! Alongside Firefox and Safari of the day, it was craptastic.

Three years later we got IE8, the last version that Windows XP users ever saw. Now we're starting to pay lipservice to web standards, but it's still a joke.

IE9 was the first version that started to get anywhere. It was released in 2011.

So it took 9 years for Microsoft to get off their lazy arse and deliver a decent browser, and in that time the opposition has overtaken them. First it was the former-Netscape codebase being stripped down producing Phoenix^WFirebird^H^H^H^Hfox, started to get attention.

Then Apple saw KHTML in the Konqueror web browser, and forked it to become Webkit. Google took webkit and ran with it in Chrome, beating Microsoft over the head with it before forking it to become Blink.

Both parties here focussing on small devices upon which IE was even worse than its desktop counterpart.

And now Microsoft is crying because the mess they created is causing them so much pain today? Please excuse me, I have to go outside before I convulse into uncontrollable fits of laughter.

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Hacker publishes tech support phone scammer slammer

Stuart Longland
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Re: 2 helpful responses...

I did the latter by mistake once.

Went to go get Audacity recording and forgot I had software playthrough enabled, and so they copped a loud feedback howl.

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Wanna free web domain for a year? Hey, it's not rocket .science

Stuart Longland
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Re: Bother!

boffin.science is available

Surely the Special Projects Bureau would be interested?

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Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

Stuart Longland
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Re: Am I the only one…

Yes well, I was thinking along the lines that both Commodes and the people who think dodgy root CA certs are a good idea, are both full of crap.

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Stuart Longland
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Am I the only one…

… who reads "Kommodia" and can't help but recognise how similar the name sounds to "Commode"?

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Superfish: Lenovo? More like Lolnono – until they get real on privacy

Stuart Longland
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Re: Problem is inherent to closed source

While at it, there is an important caveat here. NONE of the SSL/TLS would have been broken if there were user certificates in use as well as server certificates. I love listening to people who have no effing clue how TLS works complaining that it is inherently broken. Well, if it is done properly (both sides authenticating each other as they should) it is not. Neither in general, nor in this case because the handshake would have failed with the server not recognizing the user certificate or mismatching certificate to user/pass or whatever other credentials are in use.

How do you distribute a certificate to a remote user (i.e. overseas customer sees something on your site and wants to purchase)? The server will have never seen anything presented by the user.

By the sounds of things, this SuperFish proxy could have potential access to your user certificates too.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Simple solution

So. Sony's out. (Fuck you, Sony!) Lenovo's out. Acer's HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA out. That's really starting to narrow the feild...

Do let us know when you find something. The last three laptops I've bought so far:

- Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 MkII

- Lenovo B590

- Toshiba Satellite Pro L50-B.

The Panasonic is my main workhorse. Nice machine, dependable hardware that performs WELL under Linux, built like a preverbial sumou wrestler, but sheesh, didn't get much change out of AU$2500 by the time I had bought a 1TB HDD and an extra 4GB RAM for it. Ohh, and at nearly 3kg it definitely is no ultrabook!

Lenovo B590 I bought for my mother to replacing an aging Dell desktop running Windows XP. I knew it'd be doing light-duty things so didn't need to be particularly stellar, and this machine seemed to fit the bill. The machine has ran well for the last year but I'm somewhat regretting my decision now. On the TODO list is to check it over for SuperFish.

The Toshiba was the latest purchase. Always held them in high regard: the first computer I used was a Toshiba, a 286 luggable with a plasma CGA screen. The first laptop we had in the house was a Toshiba, and that continued until I got to uni, where I had a second-hand Dell which soon fell to bits. The Toshibas kept working, so that's mostly what we stuck to.

Heck, the oldest continually-running machine we have in the house is a Portégé 7010CT sporting a 300MHz Pentium II, dead battery 160MB RAM and a 160GB HDD, it still keeps chugging along (running Gentoo Linux).

Bought the L50-B to replace an aging L30-D that was starting to fail (machine would refuse to power up), and I was sorely disappointed about how much the build quality had gone backwards. Moreover, a loose screw inside the case was discovered when I finally prised the bottom panel off (11 screws and 4 hidden catches) to install a RAM module (no dedicated RAM/HDD hatches either). It felt really cheap by comparison to the other machines we've had from them. It was saddening to see how far they had regressed.

We've got two old PIII-era IBM Thinkpads in the cupboard, both with dead LCD backlight inverters and odd motherboard faults.

There's an LG P1 Express floating around the house. Will never buy again. While the hardware is nice enough but the BIOS goes into a bootloop if you install a hard drive bigger than the 100GB one it came with. LG Support don't seem to know anything about their laptops when you ring them.

While I'm mostly happy with this old Apple MacBook (2008-model), I'd never buy a modern one owing to the lack of expandability and serviceability.

Some of the Dell machines at work are shocking to work on, and lately only their high-end machines can be customised. Not that sturdy either.

I hear bad things about Acer. Not sure about ASUS although I've had many years of good service from ASUS motherboards, maybe worth a try? Someone here mentioned MSI have good build quality.

If you find a crowd that can supply a small business and offer on-site support though, I'm all ears!

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Problem is inherent to closed source

The problem is made worse by closed-source, but open-source isn't immune.

Take OpenSSL's heartbleed for example. Unintentional though it was, it sat there for a number of years before the vulnerability was discovered.

The effect of the bug was no different to spyware: it was a potential breech of confidentiality.

The difference is in the clean-up. Most binary distributions had fixes out within a day of the patch going into OpenSSL upstream. Anyone with a source-based distribution could do it themselves.

The only people who really got burnt were the embedded sector (and customers) who have to compile and ship new firmware.

The only way in which having source code wins here is that you, the end user, are potentially free to fix the problem yourself or pay someone you trust to do it for you. If you do not have the source code (irrespective of its license) then you basically are stuck with negotiating with the supplier of the software to obtain fixes.

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BOFH: The Great HellDesk geek leave seek

Stuart Longland
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By the way… Welcome Back, Simon.

Thought I better throw this comment in, a Welcome Back, Simon.

I've missed the articles and have been re-reading your back catalogue almost going back to the Striped Irregular Bucket articles. Needed a chuckle and a reminder of why I don't work for a big company. (The Daily WTF gives me a good insight into what really happens, and of course, the BOFH does what we'd all like to do in such situations.)

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Stuart Longland
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Re: Opex vs Capex

I'd be tempted to just buy the empty case as a capital expense.

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Norton Internet Security antivirus update 'borked Internet Explorer'

Stuart Longland
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Re: "...then reinstalled NIS..."

I noticed Symantec products installed on the OEM image of a laptop earlier this week. I re-installed it in the bin.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Stuart Longland
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Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

Sounds to me being unable to print is less of an issue than being unable to boot.

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Stuart Longland
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Re: bébé

Then you have to remember all sorts of esoteric numeric codes for characters.

A lot harder to remember than say: Compose, e, ' = é or Compose, /, u = µ. The latter being particularly useful to me to type values like 470µF. (They seem to miss out on omega though.)

In my case, I have Compose mapped to the right-hand "command" key. (Yes, I'm running Linux on a Mac.) I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't adopted a similar system.

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Air gaps: Happy gas for infosec or a noble but inert idea?

Stuart Longland
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Re: Costs

Who says the phone has to transmit the data straight away?

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