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* Posts by Nick Ryan

1365 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Nick Ryan
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Re: Windows just gets slower over time

That's pure nonsense, like the rest of you post which talks about Windows, ActiveX and NET (the myth of Windows getting slower has been debunked a long time ago, and saying that a growing Registry is slower just shows your lack of understanding of how the Registry actually works).

Really? So a badly structured and inefficient database that grows and grows and never shrinks and is referred to repeatedly and continuously by the Windows Shell won't slow a system down?

.NET is inefficient. While there are a lot of optimisations in there (particularly on the fully compiled side), it is still slower and less efficient than non-managed code. This isn't always a bad thing, just an important thing to understand when using .NET. ActiveX / COM is the same.

There are continuous new viruses coming out, although you are quite correct in the reduction as the difficulty level of introducing new viruses has steadily risen and the alternative attach vectors that are easier to attack. The daily definition updates and AV software updates demonstrate this (and from a marketing point of view, make the AV software look more useful). However it is not possible for an ever growing definition database to not have a steadily increasing impact on scanning resources. While a lot of clever filtering goes on, the more definitions, heuristics and adaptive scans that are required, the more resources are used.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: "windows gets slower"

Optimise software by deploying new hardware? That's Microsoft thinking...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Windows just gets slower over time, the more modern incarnations suffer more through increased complexity. While I haven't wasted a mammoth amount of investigation time into it, there are a few main culprits:

1) The Registry. Bloats and bloats and bloats, never shrinking, always getting slower.

2) The entire .COM / ActiveX DLL hell, requiring huge numbers of the same libraries, in a version number hell, all underpinned by the registry. The smallest of changes adds even more bloat to the registry.

3) .NET - it is neither fast nor elegant. The more this becomes used for operational parts of an OS, the slower the OS will run. When .NET is used with device drivers, it gets worse - luckily this is still very rare.

4) Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software. While these are more stable than they used to be, they do seriously impact system performance. With more templates and variations to check with every new virus / malware that is released, the more work these systems need to do.

5) Application update software. Little can bring a system to its needs quicker (ha) than multiple competing applications all running their own update check process every time the system starts. A good, flexible API and service from Microsoft could have helped with this, but no... and the hoops that some of these applications go through to provide background updates without a stream of UAC prompts is just horrible. And then the AV/AM software checks every file access and update by each of these update processes....

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El Reg is looking for a new London sub-editor

Nick Ryan
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It should be noted that Register sub-editors are involved in managing interaction with our vast, knowledgeable but occasionally passionate readership: this is not a job for those with overly delicate sensibilities.

Oh dear. They will have been warned, but... get the asbestos underwear out anyway just in case.

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Amazon snubs FTC: We'll see you in court over kids' in-app cash blowouts

Nick Ryan
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Re: Upgrade Password

You can manage In-App purchases for Amazon Apps very easily, it's a configuration issue.

It is easy to disable In-App purchases entirely.

It is equally easy to leave them enabled but to require a PIN to be entered.

The Amazon App Store clearly lists that an App features "In-App" purchasing, and while Amazon could do more to publicise it's useful controls on this, it's much better than others.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Easy access?

While I don't like the lack of a number to call, so far I have yet to have a problem with refunding or getting items replaced with Amazon. Getting to the refunds area could be a little easier, which when you're annoyed doesn't help any, but once there you can request that they call you (they do this quite quickly), message them or just use the automated process.

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Amazon sues former employee who took Google cloud job

Nick Ryan
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Re: Can't see the gray area here

It's a weird one. Generally when you leave employment you are terminating your contract. Once a contract is terminated then it can't be in force.

Is it generally just technical or IT fields where it's considered "acceptable" that an employer tries to decide where an employee may work afterwards?

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MONSTER COOKIES can nom nom nom ALL THE BLOGS

Nick Ryan
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So what this really means is that for any shared website domain service (commonly blogs, but not restricted to this), one of these shared resources could prevent the user, or more accurately a specific User Agent (web browser), from accessing any service on the same shared website domain.

In other words, if you have a structure of:

site1.example.com

site2.example.com

site3.example.com

site3.example.com could respond with an abnormally large number or large cookies for example.com, in total more than the web server is designed or configured to support. These maliciously sized cookies would be included with every request to any example.com resource, effectively blocking access to example.com and all sub-domains.

Ouch. All we need now is for a Cross-Site-Cookie vulnerability and a malicious website could block access to any arbitrary website.

Interesting to hear where the most appropriate fixes for this will be, my guess is the only possible or sensible location is a fix to web browsers as the web servers can't tell a given UA to not send cookies and AFAIK it's not possible to limit the upward propagation of cookie paths on the server either as these are client controlled. That'll scupper those that can't update their web browsers due to supplier lock in.

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Linux turns the crank on code for cars

Nick Ryan
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Re: Huh? Ransomware?

Exactly. Industrial control systems and monitoring systems have been done for a long time and don't have to be directly connected in unsafe ways at all. The key is having a standard, or at the very least, tightly defined interface between the two systems that is only usable for the information that is required.

In the past I've dealt with industrial systems that are linked by a serial cable which, while running standard-ish protocols over the link and using standard comms libraries at each end is pretty damn secure. While in theory it may have been possible for somebody to somehow overload the remote serial link and handling software and exploit it somehow (more likely at the higher application level) but given the simplicity of the communication structures it was definitely secure enough. Anybody going to that trouble to exploit such a link would have found it much easier to just walk over to the control system itself. Even at the control system, there were physical limits and safety protocols implemented at the electromechanical level, not overrideable in software. Similar levels of isolation are currently and will be built into automotive systems.

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Overclocking to 5GHz? We put Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU to the test

Nick Ryan
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Re: 4,0 GHZ? THat's so 2004...

And for no apparent reason your applications will still sit there "not responding".

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Upgrade time :D

It's at the lower, utility system end, that AMD seem to be strong at the moment. Good performance low cost systems with integrated GPUs that aren't appalling are a good thing. Likely the reason that Intel's integrated GPUs are now usable as well.

AMD also seem to be ahead of Intel when it comes to making more general use of the integrated GPU as a specialised compute core rather than solely as a GPU.

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Catch cack-handed baggage handlers in the act with Ericsson's SPY SUITCASE

Nick Ryan
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Re: Same here...

Same here. One of the (luckily not very) regular couriers that delivers parcels to my village is either illiterate or just a thief. Often items get delivered to a nearby village instead (duh, postcode, clearly printed correct address, nobody of the correct name to sign for the parcel, none of which seems to matter) to items getting delivered and "signed" by somebody no neighbour has ever heard of but after complaints the items tend to miraculously reappear the following day as if they were originally delivered nearby - for example, boxes have appeared opened but re-sealed in the neighbours shed when they weren't there when they were apparently delivered (neighbour is a keen gardener and tends to spot this kind of thing).

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Google Glass faces UK cinema ban: Heaven forbid someone films you crying in a rom-com

Nick Ryan
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Re: I see

"as well as film theft."

Aha! I've just figured out how Google Glass could really help with film theft.

While the cinema and the finest rent-a-lump security staff are pointing at and laughing at the Google Glass wearer, an accomplice can sneak up the stairs, break into the projection room and steal the can of film that is about to be shown. That is theft. A fine plan only only slightly hampered by the fact that modern cinemas use digital projectors and don't have cans of films.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Just a thought

You can clearly see that one is in use, here's a random image that shows the effect: [Image]

It is not enough to ruin the darkness, certainly a lot less than the obligatory mobile phone use in cinemas.

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Nick Ryan
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WTF?

"While our position on mobile phones is that we ask people to put these away when the film is playing, with wearable technology – whether Google Glass or otherwise – we believe that it is generally more difficult to detect when they are and are not recording, so our approach is a precautionary one."

Huh? Google Glass has a light to indicate that it is recording and despite the idiots claiming that the sky is falling down, that they will punch anybody wearing one and that the google mothership is monitoring everything a google glass wearer sees, the google glass device doesn't have the battery or storage capacity to record for long, or in any particular good quality. On the other hand, my mobile phone doesn't have a light to indicate that it is recording and has the battery and storage capacity to record video for two hours and can record in very nice quality.

Go figure. More knee jerk reactions by the clueless.

On the other hand, wearable technology will only improve it's capabilities therefore at some point it will be possible to record two hours of dubious quality movie video using a wearable device, but having specific rules for specific devices is just stupid. It's already prohibited to record the films, why are new guidelines needed? Also as noted above, cam copies in cinemas aren't the real risk to a film's distribution.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Yar!

Even now, a huge number of copies are of "screeners" - i.e. copies of the movie before it's general release. Often leaked by employees of the distribution company.

And that is still not theft.

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Facebook dumps AWS, moves Instagram's images to own bit barns

Nick Ryan
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Oh come on, you cannot be that naive surely?

No

All without directly charging the end user anything at all.

(note the added emphasis)

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Nick Ryan
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Regardless of many commentard's personal opinions of the value of facebook, it is a damn impressive setup with it hosting as many accounts, users, updates and media (pics, video) as it does. All without directly charging the end user anything at all.

That's some engineering with cost efficiency a critical factor.

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BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS

Nick Ryan
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Re: Access?

Or more likely they're too busy laughing at the sharepoint users who have a much more borked system that somehow managed to inherit a lot of access issues.

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Nick Ryan
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I think I may have a few of them here... data could easily be stored in the existing central ERP system. But no, it's stored in spreadsheets that are emailed between team members.

I don't hate myself enough to push a user to MS Access. It'll just cause more pain for me later.

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Google: Glass goggles are a 'fairly lousy surveillance device'

Nick Ryan
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Re: Presumably..

But with google glass, recording video is always on, and unlike CCTV, it is mobile, unlike a video camera or digital camera, it is not obvious that they are using it... I.E you have no idea if the person is reading an email, doing nothing or recording everything you say and do...

Video recording isn't always on, and video recording drains the battery like you wouldn't believe. When recording is in progress, a little LED is lit (while this is technically maskable, it is more obvious than a mobile), and if somebody is using a google glass, it's quite obvious due to their focus point. When you see one for real rather than repeating hypebole, you'll understand.

For more: http://phandroid.com/2014/03/21/top-10-google-glass-myths-debunked/

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Presumably..

I wouldn't say that a smartphone needs to be aimed or obvious that it's clear that you're taking pictures or recording. Just with the bare thought of the situation now, I could set my smartphone to record, stick it in my shirt pocket and merrily record.

OK, the damn thing would doubtless fall out within minutes, the shirt pocket on the shirt I'm wearing today would cover the lens, and pointing my chest at people could be obvious... but the principle is still there.

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Nick Ryan
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But all of this is possible with current mobile devices, tablets, phones and digital cameras. It was the case before digital cameras, it's just the speed and dissemination is now much faster.

It has been the case for years, and still is: If you are in a public space, anybody may take a photograph of you - you have no expectations or rights of privacy. In general terms these pictures may be used for any purpose that doesn't unjustly misrepresent the person or doesn't imply consent or specific endorsement for any particular goods or services. For example, a picture of you in a crowd, on a bus or train, is representative of a general situation whereas a picture of you standing next to a specific item or service could imply your endorsement and therefore cannot be used without your specific permission.

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Black hole three-way: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space

Nick Ryan
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Re: How do they actually orbit?

Putting it like that, it is an interesting question. AFAIK black holes, whatever they are exactly defined as, have a velocity through space and it's predicted that black holes would rotate as well (as distinct from the orbital spin of the matter collapsing into them). Gravity, whatever the hell it actually is, would have to "escape" the clutches of the black hole otherwise there would be no force of attraction, which would mean no black hole could form (or at the least grow). Gravity tends to work universally therefore a black hole would be attracted to any other nearby (massive) object such as another other black hole, which given some velocity is all you really need for one to orbit the other.

This has doubtless already answered elsewhere in a much better theoretical but thoroughly non-understandable way to the likes of myself.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: The closely circling black holes are in a galaxy more than four billion light years away

...and a long time ago as well.

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'World’s dumbest' suspect collared in Facebook sting

Nick Ryan
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Re: not password protected?

Likely to have been a default home Windows install: auto-login with no password.

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Google Glass gets 2GB of RAM. Think about this. Two gigs of RAM

Nick Ryan
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sip memory modules

Wow, I had managed to entirely block sip memory modules out of my memory. A quick look at pictures of them again brings it all back...

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FAA shoots down delivery by drone plans

Nick Ryan
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Not sure that this is a real problem, I read it as a statement that currently these devices are not permitted by the US FAA. In other words, new regulations and controls would have to be put in place to regulate and control what is in reality a new flying protocol - autonomous, out of line of site of operator, satellite (or otherwise) navigated devices.

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ARRRRR. Half world's techies are software PIRATES – survey

Nick Ryan
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A lot of licensing is still done on trust, particularly in the the larger corporate environments (or where I currently work at a top University). Server licences particularly so, as the user / access licences are worded so vaguely or inclusively that for example a data access middle tier would only require a single licence to connect to the database tier however could be serving hundreds of distinct users connecting to it. It can be argued that requiring the number of user licences for the number of end users is fair, but where does stop? Are viewers of reports included? How about live (cached) reports hosted on an intranet? To add to it, you then need a few maintenance, service or operational accounts as well.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Complete... err... fabrications

Too right. Statistics: For the perpetually confused or gullible, I'd recommend that a lot of people read the book "How to Lie with Statistics". A nice, easy read and assassinates most statistics that you regularly see.

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Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Nick Ryan
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Re: Brooks is FOUND innocent

Somehow. Despite reported serious inconsistencies in her statements and levels of denials from "They made me do it" all the way to "I had no idea they were doing it".

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MIT boffins build 36 core processor with data-traffic smarts

Nick Ryan
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Re: So Amdahl's law alive and well.

The whole story behind the Transputer is quite interesting... as well as the reasons behind its eventual failure. El Reg has a bit of it here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/18/heroes_of_tech_david_may/

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Traffic lights, fridges and how they've all got it in for us

Nick Ryan
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Re: causes the door to close itself?

I agree... I probably didn't get the right level of cynicism over. If you want real fun, try thinking of "Wearable tech" that isn't medical or health fanatic focused.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: > there are useful things to be had from it all.

With the fridge I was trying to demonstrate that while it may currently be a relatively basic example, there are potentially useful things that can be done. Even for these examples I would agree that it's a toss up whether or not it's worth the effort, but that's something else and once these things become more commodity then the effort is diluted sufficiently and what was previously a gimmick or "nice to have" feature, becomes standard. The same arguments about "it's not worth the effort" were probably thrown at a lot of the technology that we currently use, take for granted, and would be inconvenienced without. And we'll have forgotten the stuff that really wasn't worth the effort at the time.

An IP stack may be rather complicated but like most technology these things are built on a stack of previous modules incorporating standards, knowledge and experience. Even a serial interface isn't particularly simple if you have to build one from scratch from the physical layer up (and you wouldn't believe the mistakes that I've come across when people have tried), however modern IC systems can handle most of the annoyances and details for you. So while an IP stack is rather complicated it's becoming an established module that is just another tool that a higher level layer can use.

The only question is how your suggested enhancements will benefit from Internet connectivity.

I don't consider that the "Internet of Things" is specifically about giving everything possible an Internet connection - it's about connecting devices that were previously or are currently not connected to anything else, more local or personal area networks. Typically IoT has evolved as a marketing term / buzzword from Machine to Machine (M2M) communications, which doesn't sound particularly inviting but we've been doing this at various levels for years. What it boils down to is that IoT is little more than the miniaturisation (and feature stripping and simplification) of much larger and more unwieldy systems down to the level where they can become commodity / consumer items. There will be a lot of pointless ideas that fail, it won't be anywhere near as big and pervasive as the habitual "industry" tech-predictors predict, but it will become more and more pervasive once people find useful things to do with it and devices like Arduino, Raspberry Pi and similar are the start and allow a lot of interesting, sometimes useful, experimentation.

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Nick Ryan
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On the fridge example above, while I agree that in general the simpler something is the better, it doesn't mean that things can't be enhanced. For example, the temperature of the fridge could be monitored allowing an alert to be generated if the temperature goes outside defined limits for a period of time, for example when a toddler (or drunken / sleepy adult) merrily raids the fridge and leaves the door open, the cooling unit fails or some other miscellaneous and annoying problem that'll ruin your morning when you find the milk is off. Hell, just the opening of the fridge between certain hours could raise an alarm if you really want to stop midnight fridge raids. A little more sophisticated could be humidity sensors, where if something leaks a similar alarm could be raised. These are just a couple of simple enhancements to a basic fridge, nothing complicated, nothing that can't be easily implemented right now.

Much of the IoT press is just marketing fluff and noise, but there are useful things to be had from it all.

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Hackers steal trade secrets from major US hedge firm

Nick Ryan
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Right. So a "trader" in a virtual market that performs promisory non-transactional trades in this trust-based virtual market as quickly possible while making money from others that do the same claims to have lost some unverifiable virtual money because they weren't making these phantom transactions as quickly as they expected.

Maybe I'm just too cynical but I've yet to find somebody who can genuinely explain just where the money (and value) is generated from these high speed non-transactional, trust based, non-interactive transactions on finite resources comes from.

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Russian gov to dump x86, bake own 64-bit ARM chips - reports

Nick Ryan
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Re: CPU the only risk?

Exactly, the CPU itself is very unlikely to have backdoors or anything specific in it. Exploits or backdoors are going to be be in the supporting services that surround the CPU, the support chipset: the OS and the OS's device drivers.

By its basic nature, the OS that runs a system requires full access to the CPU, including all operation levels and all metrics and support. There is no point in a "super-duper-secret-access-mode" function in a CPU, this level of access can be performed using normal operations. Access to more privileged operation levels in a CPU is managed by the OS.

The support chipset, on the other hand, will have direct memory access to the entire system outside of the scope of the OS, will be able to send and receive network packets without the OS ever knowing that anything is amiss - this kind of communication will be undetectable inside the system itself, however observable outside through packet monitoring.

Device drivers also tend to have enhanced access to the system, including DMA access and direct access to hardware. At this level they are more readily monitored and the source code can be decompiled and assessed for potentially unwanted behaviour. Depending on how well written the driver code is, the OS is likely to be unaware of unwanted behaviour in the driver, these are trusted components.

The OS itself can easily have backdoors and access code in it. This is more readily detectable as the executable code can be decompiled and assessed for potentially unwanted behaviour, however if written well it should be relatively easy to mask as the OS provides this functionality.

The applications on top of the OS are even more likely to have back doors, access code or just exploitable through programming defects.

In the end the most likely source of leaks is the bag'o'flesh in front of the device. Many will happily sell their passwords for chocolates, use easily guessable passwords or just email or print and lose important information.

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Surprise Android 'KitKat' update fixes nasty OpenSSL vuln

Nick Ryan
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Re: I have a samsung s3 mini

Does this not work? http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Unofficial_Ports#Samsung_Galaxy_S_III_Mini_.28GT-I8190.29.

Or linked through there, http://novafusion.pl/

(I don't have anything to do with these packages)

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Yes. App that lets you say 'Yo' raises 1 MEEELLION DOLLARS

Nick Ryan
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Re: Yo 'tards

Great film. However it's feeling more and more like an accurate prediction than just a movie...

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Amazon's not-actually-3D Fire: Bezos' cash register in YOUR pocket

Nick Ryan
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...or for ChromeCast.

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DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

Nick Ryan
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I've wondered that with the pull along rotary dial phones... young children are unlikely to ever see such a device outside of old movies and museums yet they still produce new pull along rotary phones. Somehow my daughter even learnt to pick up the phone handset and talk to it. She's also glued to a more current phone toy model and learnt to mug adults for their touch phones at an early age.

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Sneak peek: Microsoft's next browser (thanks, IE Developer Channel)

Nick Ryan
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Good. Especially making sure to include the enhanced developer tools in the same stream.

This type of pre-release makes a lot sense and reduces the pain of having to rush to check a released version against your work at around the same time that world+dog is already using it.

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Missiles-on-rooftops Brit spy Farr: UK gov can slurp your Facebook, Twitter ... What of it?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Where are the Register's servers located?

I was thinking this Brazil :)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Internet cf. postcards

I assure you that the encryption involved in some postcards would be enough to baffle most government agencies.

At least that's the impression I get whenever I get a postcard from my parents. So far I've managed to decrypt 50% of the one I received last week.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Where are the Register's servers located?

Don't worry, you should be safe mentioning "plans for the revolution" as long as there's no related mention of Al-Qaeda, The Terrorists Cookbook or other subversive material such as "The Little Book of Common Sense", 1984, or indeed any mention of Brazil.

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WORLD CUP SHOCK: England declared winner in 2-1 defeat to Italy

Nick Ryan
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Re: Football or soccer

Technically, Association Football.

It's generally septics that call it 'soccer' to differentiate it between their local sport of rugby in armour... where the ball very rarely comes into contact with a foot.

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British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

Nick Ryan
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Global Warming?

[Sigh] Whoever initially used the phrase Global Warming and prominent public figures who repeat this do a lot of damage to the environmental cause.

The considered term is Climate Change. This is where humans are proven to be polluting the environment and through this there is proven disruption to environmental processes, both local and wider. The exact impact of the disruption to these environmental processes is the main contentious issue: some of these are relatively trivial or have a narrow impact, some while having been disrupted are replaced by other process and some of them are more immediately obvious when disrupted such as the hole in the ozone layer. The difficulty is that there are a huge number of of environmental processes, many of which are interlinked somehow, many are hidden or obscured by others and this makes it incredibly difficult to make predictions of what may happen when one or more fails or is disrupted. Therefore the considered acknowledgement is that while we are proven to be damaging the environment, we don't know exactly what will happen but there will be changes and if we don't stop damaging the environment then the predictability and potential severity of these is statistically likely to be more serious.

It is not impossible that the processes could be disrupted in a manner that could lead to Global Cooling, not Hollywood action-movie style, but it could be as disruptive as Global Warming because it would affect precipitation which would have a catastrophic effect on food crops and the distribution of fresh water.

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NASA uses new technique to snap high-res asteroid images

Nick Ryan
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Re: “30 times brighter than what Goldstone can produce observing on its own”.

I guess if more radar (EM) waves are observed then "brighter" would be an adequate term for the amount of EM radiation received: the only difference between what we consider "light" and radar is the frequency.

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Nick Ryan
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Re: Time to rebrand HR....

Genius.

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Nick Ryan
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Oh dear, reminds me of the farcical time in a previous company where a department's self serving nutjob decided to rebrand the company's "admin" team as "Central Services", then assigning titles such as "central services executive". This resulted in two things:

1) The girls in the office having to explain to potential new employers, friends and so on that they considered the job title was really "admin assistant" and having to put this on their CVs to make it clear.

2) The IT support manager renamed his department "Essential Services". No electricity, network or computers? No administration... :)

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