99 posts • joined 13 Apr 2007
@Matt Re: The big wrinkle is still there
"Have you submitted a bug report?"
To my shame, I haven't. I know I ought to but I'm waiting to see what happens and MATE may be deprecated in favour of Cinnamon so I might try that. I have considered offering my services as a volunteer GUI tester and may do that in the New Year.
I use a fixed 'system' panel at the bottom and pop-out non-expanded panels at the top, left and right (but not the right with MATE, it causes problems); different classes of icon on different panels. Apart from the strange right panel foul up, I'm very pleased with MATE's panels and all the facilities they offer.
Thank you Shane and Mark, and anyone else who writes in with that info.
@Wayland re. WRT54G
I've got a Linksys WRT54G, (it sits there and just works). What did you mean by your comment?
I don't expect you to write an article for me but please provide an informative link if you can.
Windows Sound at Start Up ??
'...so it’s hard to avoid the wretched Windows sound at start-up.'
I've always removed and replaced that naff Windows sound file on every PC I've owned or had to use.
Try looking in C:\WINDOWS\Media where you'll find :-
Windows XP Startup.wav and many more system sound files, which are of course easily replaced by any .wav sound file of your choice, renamed to the original filename of course.
Other Windows systems have similar files, easily found and replaced.
ITV 'catch up' service
When the BBC started their iPlayer catch-up service, I tried it and was impressed, no problems at all in using it (Firefox browser). The itv.com service seems slow and buggy in comparison. As well as having to watch adverts there is an annoying gap between adverts and programme. You cannot click in the progress bar to go forward or backward. In full screen mode the controls do not appear at the bottom of the screen when you move the cursor there, so you have to press Esc to get out of full screen mode in order to pause a programme.
It may be that I haven't set it up properly (in which case I await advice) but if this is the case, why was the BBC iPlayer so easy to use?
As for the complaints about 'anti-competitiveness' and 'stifling innovation', (pause while I laugh) if the Murdoch kid had got there first with a successful offering then he'd be shouting from the rooftops about how that showed Sky as being competitive and innovative. It's just pouty posturing and FUD as is to be expected. Besides, if streaming video is easy to set up, which it obviously is, why haven't the likes of Sky and ITV got a service as good as the BBC have? I suspect that it's to do with internal management competence and organisation, plus a bit of internal turf war for good measure. Is there anyone out there in ITV or Sky land who can tell us more?
On a practical note, I can now watch any BBC programme anytime I want and am free to make a fresh cup of tea or take a bathroom break whenever I feel the need, all thanks to the iPlayer pause button. Thank you Aunty.
The power of El Reg
Having seen the reference to 'Miss Ida's Pickled Pigs' Feet' in this El Reg article, I now feel that I must try some.
That's what I call power!
I suggest you do what I do.......
Use Acronis True Image Personal (or similar software, available on magazine cover disks) to create an image of your C: drive which should be less than 4.7GB so you can save it on a DVD. (You did of course install third party SW on the P: drive (or whatever) and did store all your data on a separate drive, these two with their own backup arrangements).
Keep this C: drive image on DVD up to date as you install new SW, add-ons, plug-ins etc. Then, when your XP installation goes belly up, you just restore the C:drive from the previous saved image on DVD using the Acronis boot CD. (Then restore the P:drive from it's separate backup, just in case).
This has worked for me on three occasions so far (including a totally failed hard drive which was easily replaced), the only ongoing cost is the cost of a blank DVD for every updated image. Right now, it might be a good idea to keep the previous 'old' DVD images, just in case an automatic Windows update in the next few months goes wrong and causes XP to perform less well than it should. (Some people call me cynical).
@Pierre re IP
I tried to hack your IP (127.0.0.1), was easy but it seems you have a copy of my hard drive on there. How did you get it????
Wouldn't it be simpler to further the research and development of implant control on a real bat?
(See many previous Reg articles.)
After all, real bats can already fly very well, hang upside down and hang around, refuel themselves with insects/fruit etc. They can also fly in the dark, in dense formations avoiding obstacles and not bumping into each other. All that is an amazing set of capabilities which have already been developed.
The only problem is that they only fly at night, but some little blacked out goggles should take care of that. (Sponsorship logo on the headband?)
I await news of joined up thinking in the area of military research.
..it was mp3 encoding that required a license form the patent holder, not decoding?
Give (Sell) them a web based service
All they need is a dirt cheap box running Linux, a browser and a picture viewer all wrapped up in a simple GUI, with a USB port to plug their camera memory card reader into. No upgrades needed.
Then, they can use an existing (Google?) web based office and photo storage service. You could knock up a web service as a mashup portal and charge them a monthly fee to use it. Rig up some forum server for them, then they can chat with like minded friends.
They're just sitting there waiting to be milked, go get them!!
I had a look at the full judgement (In Icelandic) just to see what Icelandic looked like. I noticed that it listed what I assume is the equipment confiscated from each defendant. (This in great detail - Logitech Mouse, Viewsonic flatscreen etc).
Was this a simple admin list of equipment the Iceplods had confiscated (you can get lots of movies stored inside a Logitech mouse as everyone knows) or was it presented as formal evidence of their guilt?
I have an image in my mind of a hyped up junior prosecutor waving a Netgear switch around in front of the jury as part of his summing up speech - "See this!! do normal law-abiding citizens have this sort of thing in their house?"
I'll hope for a native Icelander to advise on this (or a skilled reader of Icelandic).
Further, will the confiscated equipment be returned to them, since like a car or a house or a knife, it is multi-purpose equipment which is readily available, for money, just about anywhere?
The makings of a good movie?
I just had a look at http://www.badphorm.co.uk. It seems the Phorm software was developed by the russian Lebedev Institute which has links to the russian security services. Combine that with OIX servers in china and you have the makings of a tense modern day techno-thriller involving the KGB (yes I know they've changed their name) and the PRC security services.
If anyone had written such a book/script last year, it would have been laughed at for being too far fetched. There could be an interesting twist of a back story where the UK government had decided it was no good at this modern internet data thingy and decided to subcontract the job of surveillance to people who knew what they were doing.
As I said earlier, it's too far fetched to be true.
..Mine's the one with the RFID tags hidden in the lining.
@Andy Turner and Chris W
The 'anonomisation' of IP addresses refers to the intention (yes, intention, not fact) that the ISPs and Phorm will not deliberately produce a dataset that states 'Andy Turner has been looking at leather underwear websites' (as a hypothetical example).
On the automated injection servers, website requests from the IP address associated with your account will be injected with ads for leather underwear and associated items. They will also produce statistics (for future planning) which say things like 'only 2% of customers look at leather underwear sites, and then only on Friday evening'.
This is all perfectly reasonable from a perspective of running and planning the business. See the final paragraph however.
Even if you are on dial-up and get a dynamic IP address, the ISP associates that IP address with your account. Do a DNS lookup on your IP address and you'll find something like 'customer-xyz-townname-region-node.ISP.com'. This record is maintained (with time and date stamps) associated with yoru unique account number, so the ISP can provide it to the 'authorities' if they want to track 'criminal activities'.
I'm on cable broadband and my router (on 24/7) has kept my IP lease active and constant for over a year now on the same IP address. It doesn't matter, the ISP knows who has had which IP address at what time and date.
So, your web surfing activities are associated with your account id and the targeted ads are sent to whatever IP address is assigned to you at the time. Which is why your kids may get ads for 'adult entertainment' or sports cars or whatever. Also if 'the authorities' ever make it illegal to be in possession of leather underwear, they will know who to go looking for.
@ Chris W
Sheep could only be branded after they have been fleeced.
Oh...., right,..... suddenly I feel cold.
@Martin re. Space
I've already patented that idea. Please contact me for licensing details. Bring your chequebook and remember that I have ninja lawyers on standby.
Re. Security-Careless Installation Engineers
Did these IP addresses begin with 192. by any chance? If so those are internal network addresses.
@ D L Clements
'..nuclear power, ....wither,......grave shortage...'
Is this a coded warning message?
You just beat yourself, whipped yourself and made yourself write an embarrassing comment. Keep up the good work ;)
(Try 3 hours at Gas Mark 5).
Reflections on black
I wondered about the picture order as did the previous posters.
It looks like they need to use a more matt paint finish and the screen has reflections as well. In a fully darkened room this may be fine and impressive but in a domestic situation the 'absolute' black of the screen would probably be lost due to reflections of ambient light.
It's an admirable achievement all the same.
"It is this evolution, Cameron claimed, which undermines the need for a huge, central database of medical records."
Is he saying that the NHS should store it's patient records on Google?
Is he saying that patient records should be retrieved by patients and then passed from patient to patient (or client to client as they are now called)?
Maybe his idea is that patients waiting in the surgery could do useful work by retrieving records from Google and then passing them to the doctor?
What is he actually saying?
I'm just an engineer with a long term working knowledge of english. Can anyone tell me what it actually means when a politician says things like this?
If you sniff at a Pritt-Stick for long enough, interesting things start to happen. Go on, try it.
"Modern politicians have enough trouble keeping in touch with reality from inside their own fields (look at the mess........"
Reading this in a tired state as I am, I thought you were making a joke about politicians being donkeys who produce lots of crap. Then I read the rest of the sentence. Then I realised I was right. Then I realised you weren't joking.
I'll go sip another little drink :)
@ Martin Gregorie
I am saddened by such an example of cynicism and negativity, but am heartened by the steps our wonderful British Government are taking to address any current minor shortcomings and uncertainty in this important area of national infrastructure.
We now have a chance to leverage ourselves into a whole new paradigm in the area of data convergence. We can have confidence of success based on our government's amazing track record in the area of data management in general.
The future is on it's way, embrace it with joy, or miss it.
Link Two Houses ?!
This is indeed a nice and useful bit of kit and the 'Homeplug' network equipment is something I'll be getting myself as a post-Christmas present.
At the bottom of page 1 of this review I noticed a reference to linking two houses. I did consider doing this to sublet my cable internet connection to my elderly neighbours. However, I quickly remembered that this is strictly against the terms and conditions of my agreement with the cable company ;)
I have two, they are great phones
Yes, I have two, one on contract and one bought from e-bay as a spare, running on payg as a backup on a different network.
They do everything I need - mobile voice/txt, bluetooth, link to PC, calendar, alarm clock, e-mail.
Battery lasts 10 days and I can swap over the charged spare battery in about three seconds, if I've been careless.
Vodaphone keep telling me that I can have a free upgrade, I keep telling them 'no thanks'.
I recently got a case kit from e-bay for £8 and now my silver one looks as good as new. If they reintroduced it I'm sure it would do well.
Thank you Herby. I just installed it and am very pleased and impressed.
(The 'D' means double)
Especially when it says "...limitations with pumping DC power from electricity plants, as it can only travel for about a mile before the energy supply begins to weaken."
DC power distribution systems exist that send Megawatts for miles at high efficiency.
However, there are many reasons for using AC generation and distribution (look them up on the many websites available, actually Wikipedia is quite good at factual engineering things like this, sorry but it is) so that's why we have AC as the publicly available grid power source.
The advantage these people seem to be suggesting is replacing all the individual mains AC-DC converters (switch mode power supplies and also DC-DC voltage converters) with some kind of giant site based AC-DC converter which then feeds DC power to the server racks, hence to the motherboards/hard drives etc. The idea behind one giant site based 'infrastructure' converter is that it can be made to be more efficient than any much smaller converter that works on the same principles (but only if it operates at near maximum design load all the time). However, existing switch mode AC-DC power supplies are already quite efficient (I believe in the order of greater that 85%) so its hard to see where they can get 40% power saving from. It may just be possible that they mean 'reducing power wastage by 40%' which would be a good thing of course.
Further, having generated local infrastructure sourced DC, at various different voltages (or else you'll need local multiple DC-DC converters in the server racks) you then have to distribute it around site on meaty copper busbars, due to the high currents involved when using low voltage to deliver power. (Lets not get into the consequences of shorting flashes with DC power, I once blew a hole in sheet aluminium with a powerful DC source.)
"..it said it has developed a technology that takes the AC power provided by utilities and converts it into DC."
Well, that was done a long time ago (think rectifiers, capacitors, and er, switch mode power supplies), so unless they've developed something truly new and wonderful that has a conversion efficiency in the late 90's percent for a compete system, I can't see what they are offering.
"Validus then pumps the converted supply out to servers specifically designed to run on DC power."
Hmmm, all servers are designed to run on DC power, that's why they have switch mode AC-DC power supplies bolted inside them somewhere so they can obtain their required DC power from the universally available AC grid supply. We're back where we started with Validus providing a massive infrastructure DC power source. (See above).
I think I'll stop now.
Camel - eye of needle - can be done
I remember reading about a wealthy American man who kept a camel and had a giant sculpture of a needle on his lawn. Every now and then he would ride the camel through the eye of the needle (just to 'show em' I suppose). I assume that the needle was laying along the ground to make it easier for the camel.
This is the sort of thing you can do for fun if you're rich. There is no documented evidence of him entering the kingdom of God though.
re. 'stairway to heaven'
That's brilliant. You should pitch that idea to a TV production company before someone else does. (Backdates my PC date/time before typing up a rough script).
Re. "Statisticly its a given"
For a large enough population, 50% ARE above average. This is true for every population and every measure. (50% of dandelions are above average height, 50% of rats are above average weight.)
Following on from Gilbert Wham's point, try reading the user reviews on the mobile phone review websites. These, along with YouTube comments etc. could easily lead you to believe that internet users are below average intelligence; or maybe they're all 14 year olds who don't pay attention in class.
I was going to title this comment as "Grammaticly it's a goner" but decided that was too obscure.
Muppetry, pure and simple
I don't think I've ever heard such a tale of muppetry in all my life. It beggars belief that these people actually exist and can be in positions of power over the rest of us.
Now I know why there isn't a law against being stupid, it's so they don't have to lock themselves up.
An old story..
Piss up ---- Brewery----
Does this ring a bell?
We are not alone
It's good to see that organisational idiocy, arrogance, lack of foresight and simply not thinking things through are also exhibited in other places in the world. I was beginning to think that we in the UK were alone in these specialist IT skills.
It's more than good enough for me
I've just tried the full screen Flash (on a laptop over WiFi) and it's more than good enough quality for me.
Does this mean I can get rid of my barely used TV and not need to pay a licence fee? As I understand the law, the TV licence fee is for reception of over the air broadcast transmissions, so streamed data to my PC doesn't count?
Function, Option, Feature, Technology -- which is it?
From the article: "The case relates to eBay's "Buy It Now" function."
From the AP report: "The dispute revolves around eBay's "Buy It Now" option".
From the AP report: "...prevented eBay from continuing to use the "Buy It Now" feature."
From the AP report: "... licensing fees for use of its patented technology...."
As usual in 'IT' patent cases, it seems difficult to figure out what exactly has been patented and in what way the complainant feels that all their hard work and investment has been infringed by the defendant.
I fail to see how a 'feature' or 'option' can be patented in any case (rather than any specially developed technology required to implement or present them). A 'function' might be worthy of protection but it depends on how you define it etc.
I'm not familiar with the history of auctions but I'm sure that someone somewhere at sometime has publicly stated - "tell you what, you can have it for 3 florins right now if you like", hence prior art.
Given that e-Bay have so vigorously defended the case, it seems to be something more fundamental than having to rewrite a block of 'accidentally copied' code or detailed functional implementation.
Could this be another 'One Click' or does anyone know more details of the case?
I know IT's important but I'm sure you bulked it up after the palm scanners.
I'm not even sure about the palm scanners. Too much Christmas spirit too early Lester?
re. In fashion
It does seem to be 'in fashion', lol. It may be a Christmas post thing or it may be statistical clustering, or it may be truly representative of the rate at which government departments lose confidential data records and have been doing for ages without actually telling us.
It is de rigeur to confess since if the truth comes out later, they will be additionally berated for a 'cover up'. It's also useful to confess when many others are doing so in order to dilute your 'sin' in the background noise.
Everybody makes mistakes but any sensible person or organisation learns from their mistakes and also the published mistakes of others and then changes their ways. Not the government it seems. We have been treated to stories like this for ages and guess what...THEY NEVER LEARN !!
Meters - signal blocking?
Has anyone tried plugging one into a neighbour's power socket to see if there is data isolation between houses due to the inductive coil in the 'traditional' meter? I suspect that the new design meters, as described by Phil, would offer no blocking at all.
Another area to consider is stray r.f. radiation from your mains wiring. If you connect a high frequency source (powerline ethernet adaptor) to your mains wiring then your entire house will act as a transmitting aerial. It may be that the closely laid together live/neutral wires have little radiative effect, has this been studied? If this does happen however, then you really will need encryption enabled. Having said that, it would need some very specialist/custom equipment to monitor and decode any data leaked outside in this way. Once again, has this been studied?
Potential Procedural Problems
It's good to hear that they use 'high level encryption' for the CAB client database. I assume that this means PGP or similar applied to individual files?
In this case, a file being worked on is often manually decrypted to 'clear' and then worked on before being manually re-encrypted if the user can be bothered to do so. [Potential security breach].
Also, it was a laptop and it may have been stolen from someone who was taking work home for whatever reason. It's very tempting to use Hibernation on a laptop (I use it on a permanent basis) in which case there is only the Windows password to stop anyone who opens it from carrying on where the last user left off [Potential security breach].
If the rightful owner/user is really lazy, they can easily turn off the Windows password requirement on return from hibernation (as I do on my desktop which I also hibernate). [Potential security breach]
If taking work home, it would also be tempting to not bother to close any open apps before hibernating the laptop. That way you wouldn't have to go through the 'hassle' of doing the decryption password/protocol before you could resume work and then waiting for a sluggish database app to get going. [Potential security breach].
There are so many ways in which 'natural' human carelessness and an 'understandable' desire to take convenient shortcuts can nullify the best technical attempts to provide security of data. What is so far unknown in the CAB case is the extent to which the precautions they have taken might be nullified by lack of proper operating procedure, either improperly formulated or improperly followed.
Expect more reporting of these sorts of incidents in this new era of openness that we seem to have. Also, expect more organisations to give reassurance that they use 'high level encryption'. However, don't expect anyone to tell you which encryption app they use or for them to show you their formal procedures or to submit willingly to any form of procedural observation and audit. (You can guess why I'm sure).
Am I being cynical or are we returning to a feudal system where 'robber barons' screwed money from whatever source they could, paid homage/cash to the king and then were granted right and favours - to enable then to screw more money etc.etc.?
It does seem that everyone associated with politics is some kind of shady-dealer/crook/liar. Maybe I should try harder to see the good in the world......
I've constructed a mashup from two items of existing open source technology, the biro and the notepad. I'm keeping the details secret for now until I've persuaded someone to back my idea via an IPO. I intend to make money by offering support and tutorials on how to use it.
It performs a similar function to reQuall (with greater accuracy) at very low cost.
Please contact me for details and also send cheques to gain advance share allocations.
" - addresses the impedance mismatch between OO programs and a specific relational database, SQL Server. "
As an old electrical/electronics engineer, I'm very familiar with the concept of impedance mismatch, its effect on power transfer between source/destination and its effect on reflections at transmission line junctions. I can even still derive the appropriate equations if I try hard.
Can anyone please define for me the 'impedance' of a program and a database and at least point me to an appropriate article that explains the concepts?
Thank you, I just got a full house in my game of bullshit bingo with that one ("major leap in development paradigm").
Re. Rebranded Scrubber
Our old friend AC has hit the nail on the head with regard to paying close attention to the 'total energy/pollution balance' considerations of the process; something that easily excited politicians hardly ever do.
The Skymine sites http://www.skyonic.com/whatWeDo.php and also the pdf at http://www.ostp.gov/PCAST/agenda_9_20_05_files/Jones_Skyonic_PCAST_20Sep05.pdf give a good top-level view of how they achieve it.
Essentially they use a small percentage of the power station output to electrolise sodium chloride hence producing sodium hydroxide (used as a scrubber) and also hydrogen and chlorine as 'valuable' byproducts. (That was my understanding, please read it yourself since I may have misunderstood).
How they manage to produce 'better than food grade baking soda' is a mystery to me given the toxic metals that need stripping out but is probably related to the ''Patent IP chemistry' they use. (How you can patent a chemical reaction is a separate issue of course, unless they use a specially developed catalyst?)
My main concern would be potential involvement of Durga The Hutt so this outfit needs to be watched carefully and all financial flows carefully accounted for. See http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Orko_SkyMine for an explanation of why.
The comments at the top seem to be made in a hurry by someone who knows what they mean but I'm not sure that anyone else will. I believe it also contains a spelling mistake (existed = exited ?) and has poor (no) punctuation and grammar (have = has ?).
It doesn't matter what fancy development tools you use if you then let a pure techie loose to make tweaks to the final product and then don't have independent checks on the tweaks.
Why a problem?
"Social networking at work is a recent problem ....."
I've been social networking at work (and other places) for years. I don't pass round pornographic or otherwise offensive pictures. I don't hand over porn videos saying 'here, take a look at this'; I don't launch into offensive or obscene jokes with people unless I know them very well indeed.
Why people do this over e-mail and IM has always been a source of total bafflement to me. I have been in receipt of such e-mails at work and I always delete them immediately, just shaking my head at people's stupidity.
"But employers are often not setting a standard as to what level of internet use is acceptable."
Level of use, in terms of how often and for what purpose should be clearly defined of course. e.g. 'Am I allowed to download newspaper articles, read blogs and watch youtube all through my lunchbreak or not?' However, the common standards of social decency should not need to be 'set' by employers.
Look at the £/$ prices !
It's a very nice looking bit of kit but I don't like 'gadgets on show' and will choose another product that is less 'bling'. Having said that, Iomega do seem to have done a very good job of it and I'm sure it will be popular.
I notice that its £132 or $133 ! How they can justify pound/dollar price parity for something that can be shipped in bulk with ease to the UK is beyond me. (Wait a minute, we always get screwed like this don't we?). Maybe I should go to New York on a weekend shopper flight and bring a few back then sell them on e-bay ? :)
yep, true hardcore
I've just been reading the site. These people are very serious and it's a well constructed site with lots of well organised information.
How about a 'Reg Challenge' for autonomous Daleks making their way around a shopping centre having to buy a list of items from the shops?
@ Adam and Christian
I'd agree with you entirely, having had a NAS box for three years myself (autobackup, print server, ftp server, power saving mode) and am thinking of getting a Synology box which is a very nice piece of kit, supports AD, has an Apache web server built in and has RAID 0/1 on the two-disk models.
However, most 'home users' would not have any idea how to set up a NAS box even if they knew that such things were readily available. As for getting a Synology box and installing their own hard drives inside.....I don't think so.
There is a market for a 'Home Server' such as Microsoft's offering and people will buy it because they want it, they don't know of any alternative, and even if they did then unfortunately they'd be incapable of setting up any of the many alternatives.
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