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* Posts by M Gale

3509 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

Microsoft about-face: Office 2013 license IS transferable now

M Gale
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Re: Now if only...

It seems that the amount of Windows 8 machines running some 3rd party start menu is numbered in the millions. If the majority are using Metro, it's not that big a majority.

Will Microsoft pay attention to that for Windows 9 and give you the option to relegate TIFKAM to a thing used for running mobile apps on a desktop? I doubt it, but I can dream.

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M Gale
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"Quite. If this is the response they get then they may as well not have bothered with relaxing the agreement."

If they want to piss in their own well, I won't stop them.

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M Gale
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Re: Soo...

No, I think the "bastards" tag was earned several decades ago. This episode is just the latest in a long series of bastardry.

Fortunately it seems some people can still be bothered to kick up a stink about bastards.

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Penguins, only YOU can turn desktop disk IO into legacy tech

M Gale
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Hm.

Y'know, we already have flash-cached spinning disks.

What about DRAM-cached flash cache on a spinning disk? Add in a few 1-farad capacitors to provide emergency "dump to flash" functionality in the event of a power failure (yes, they can be made smaller than the giant tin cans you get in car audio systems).. this is either a really perverse idea or a really good one.

Or perhaps both.

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M Gale
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Re: Prior art

Yep, and so did the BBC Micro that preceded RISC machines.. and as mentioned above, so did earlier Acorn machines that the BBC evolved from. In fact many early micros relied on a ROM to contain their OS code.

Difference is, these are ROM chips. Okay, maybe some of them might have been EEPROM or UVPROM, but it's not like the machine you plugged them into had write access. The software was also vastly smaller than today's wares.

Whether a modern machine can be made with one big flat non-volatile memory space that holds everything, without being a potentially unbootable nightmare in the event of a crash, or a potential security risk... well, I think that's what the article is asking Penguinistas to have a go at finding out.

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M Gale
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Re: I've mentioned this before.

"The CPU doesn’t understand anything other than memory. It has no idea of the concept of the character 'A'."

You'll find I know more about the internal architecture of a CPU, whether scalar, superscalar, stream/vector or whatever, than you think. If I could really be bothered and had the cash I could probably design a simple CPU out of logic chips, transistors, or relay switches if you like. Maybe have a go at making a hardware Brainfuck/Turing machine. Slow as hell with ripple-adders, but it'd work.

There is still a concept of "memory" and "storage", regardless of what the CPU is doing at the gate level.

Whatever happens with regards stuffing running programs into nonvolatile memory, I just hope I retain the option to say "KILL EVERYTHING AND RESTART YOUR SHIT."

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M Gale
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Re: Palm Pilots

Also how more ancient cart based games consoles worked, where the cart essentially became part of the memory map.

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M Gale
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I've mentioned this before.

Making a computer where there is no concept of "storage" and everything is just "memory"?

No fucking thankyou. That might be nirvana to some people, but to someone who wants "yank the plug" to mean "forget everything and start again", it's awful.

That said, maybe there's some use for having a flash card in there, and having the option in the OS to have a program "run in RAM" or "run in flash". Just so long as turning it off and on again means a reboot and not just coming back up in the same broken state.

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RBS and NatWest FAIL downs services across UK

M Gale
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Again?

I've just recently been attending a lecture as part of the Mainframe Computing module, courtesy of a guy who I won't name here, but was actually quite good at giving presentations. He went into a little detail about the last RBS cock-up and how it happened.

Wonder if it's the same "let's outsource the work to someone on the other side of the world who'll do it for 50p/hour" reason as the last time? Apparently RBS started looking for more local talent after that.. how far have they gotten with that?

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Honk if the car in front is connected

M Gale
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Re: "check the status"?

"how about... tire pressure, engine and transmission oil levels, coolant levels, belt life remaining, etc... it would be nice to know my tires are outside optimal inflation range when i'm making my daily plan, so i can alot time to fix the issue and maybe diagnose why the status changed."

I'm sure that kind of tech could be hacked into a car right now with a bit of engineering skill and an Arduino or something. I don't know how it requires a complete drive-by-wire system to work properly though.

Bunch of sensors and a transmitter, surely?

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M Gale
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Re: Like Marvin

Don't tease me, bro?

Okay, I'm going.

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M Gale
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Re: Just my experience

"P.S.: I am also a commercial pilot and it's interesting how much of the approach to "managing" the flight is being adapted to the ground transportation arena."

I have to wonder what your opinion is of the fly-by-wire systems that can, have and will absolutely deny control to the pilot even when the computer is obviously sending you up the creek without a paddle? I think everyone and their dog has seen the Air France flight disappearing into the trees at the end of the runway because the dipshit onboard computer thought "oh.. I'm at a low altitude, I WILL LAND NOW." That's just the most prominent example, though I'm sure you know of enough others.

These things need a damned off switch.

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M Gale
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Re: Like Marvin

"Not all of them."

The vast majority of them, though there are some dual-carriageway A roads with motorway rules. Usually the ones marked as "A000(M)" on the map.

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M Gale
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Re: And when it all gets hacked...

"I'm not convinced how the system could ever be made secure, and even if there are new laws it it is going to be hard to prove who brought the motorway to a standstill by sending the fake message that they have just done an emergency stop."

Especially if it's some naughty sod who's buried a smartphone in the motorway embankment along with a 24v truck battery powerful enough to last for weeks.

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M Gale
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Re: Like Marvin

Yep.

It's called "a horn". And if he carries on, there is the inevitable and rather foolproof method of educating someone about the error of their ways, called the "multiple vehicle pile-up".

That said, motorways have three lanes. You could always just overtake.

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

M Gale
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I'm wondering what happens after an accident. Veins tend to re "draw" themselves, but not necessarily in the same way.

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M Gale
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Re: No real defence against live coercion ...

"There was a UL that entering your PIN backwards at an ATM did this - retrieved your money but alerted the police. AFAIK it is just that, a UL, but the principle is not beyond the bounds of possibility."

It might be false, but that's a damned good idea.

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M Gale
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So how do we subvert this system?

Well, there must be some hackers here with their devious thinking-caps on.

Personally, I'm thinking that as well as chopping the hand off, you find a blood bank and rob a bag or two. Doesn't need to be the same blood group. The blood won't coagulate in time to stop the reading.

Now, make sure your hand is at body temperature prior to placing it on the pad. Now, the main artery is plugged into a pump that pulses like a heartbeat. The pump sucks blood out of the bag, and the main vein is connected back to the bag so you don't end up with a huge pool of slippery claret on the floor.

Of course, rubber-hose cryptanalysis is also a viable attack, but that's just less fun to think up.

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M Gale
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Re: No real defence against live coercion ...

I used to work in a shop like that. The alarm system had two codes: A "disarm" code, and a "duress" code. The effect was apparently identical, except the duress code would (theoretically) result in flashing blue lights and sirens arriving minutes later.

Thankfully, never got a chance to test that one.

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Virgin Mobile coughs to choking its customers

M Gale
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Re: unlimited anything is a guaranteed fail...

The difference is that there is no finite reservoir of bits that's about to run out if everyone uses them up. This isn't like dragging a few kilowatts out of the mains grid and expecting the power station to stay fuelled forever.

The problem is, too many people seem to think that there is some kind of bit reservoir. There isn't. The only limit is the amount of data that can be transferred in any given time period. With sensible traffic management and by not oversubscribing your networks with endpoint connections that are way too high for the core network to cope with, then yes, unlimited usage of a mobile network connection is very possible. Three are managing it right now.

2mbit is a bit low, though.

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M Gale
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Re: Traffic Management in general

"160p HD works with roughly 250kb/s :-) so what are some people on about! Your eyes cant see much difference anyway! 1080p requires more 750 - 850kb/s."

160p "HD"? Whut? You sure that wasn't a typo of "720p"?

Anyway, let's assume 0.25 bits per pixel compressed video in 1080p.

1920*1080 = 2,073,600 pixels.

2,073,600 * 0.25 = 518,400, divided by 8 = 64,800 bytes per frame.

At 25 frames per second, that's 1,620,000 bytes per second. Quite a bit more than 850 kilobits. In fact several times as much. At 30fps it goes to 1,944,000 bytes per second, which doesn't really leave much of a budget out of that 2mbit/sec. None at all with a very large amount owing, actually. In fact you wouldn't get much change out of two megaBYTES per second.

Now remember that video streams are not regular, and tend to have keyframes every few seconds followed by a bunch of delta information showing how stuff has changed since the last keyframe. Suddenly, that 2mbit/sec limit seems a little... small.

Of course, not many people will play 1080p over a mobile phone... but some people have tablets, and some of us do like to tether, or plug our HDMI-port-enabled phones into TVs.

(edited because of a few schoolboy errors.. the real figures are even worse!)

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M Gale
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Re: Poor cap implementation

"Also, it took them far too long to be honest about it, and they are still lying by stating that their data is unlimited. It isn't, it is limited, by a speed cap."

Though when has "unlimited" ever meant "unlimited speed"?

I'll grant you the "unlimited" word has been truly abused by mobile ISPs, but as long as you can download as much stuff as the pipe is capable of without incurring extra fees or a cut-off.. then I'd happily call that unlimited. Unlimited use.

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M Gale
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Re: They are just a frustrating company

Well, Virgin do throttle their land-line broadband.. but only after you download a gigashitload all at once during peak hours, and only for the duration of the day.

Honestly, they're possibly the best land-line ISP out there. Just a shame the mobile offering seems a bit pants.

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M Gale
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Re: 3 and Tethering

For the £25pcm One plan on a rolling monthly deal, you can use your unlimited data for whatever you want.

Just like it should be. Why the hell should 50MB direct to a phone mean anything different to 50MB dished out to a portable access point?

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

M Gale
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Re: The thing is, he is right

Alternatively, start up synaptic or your favourite GUI package manager and search for "Firefox". That's if it doesn't come as the default browser for your distribution anyway.

A "new user" isn't going to be using the terminal, are they? Or does a new Windows user start to learn how to do things via cmd.exe and regedit?

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M Gale
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Re: Huh.

"No matter what you do on GNU/Linux you *ALWAYS* have to spend time trawling the 'net trying to interpret poorly written and out-of-date guides. It's why people use Windows/Mac. They may offer less choice and be dumbed down - but at least they work."

Because following these tips to make Windows more usable is the sort of thing that every Joe knows how to do, right?

This is not 1991 any more. Please, move with the times. You want to arse about under the hood of Linux? Sure you'll have to know your stuff. Same as with Windows. Same as with Mac OS X. Difference being that if the distro maintainer decides to go all GUIdiotic, it's not hard to apt-get the old interface back in.

Windows 8 on the other hand...

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M Gale
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Re: Huh.

"A normal user will panic when they have to decide what filesystem, what size of partitions, what DE, what..."

Well it's good that you don't need to do any of that on a desktop-oriented Linux. Well, not unless you want to.

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M Gale
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Re: Only windows lets you upgrade...

You haven't heard of Ubuntu then?

(or maybe Android)

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Corporates! Bring in all-purpose filler for IT skills gap, thunders Steelie Neelie

M Gale
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Re: Same old

Pretty much. Hence my wish to expand my skillset to something not so easily outsourced. Not to mention I have a fair amount of warehouse and retail experience, so if someone's on a sickie and I don't have anything that desperately needs to be done that day, I can always offer myself to tip or load the 40 tonner that's just pulled up. Or maybe sit on the tills. Or perhaps do some customer service for a bit. A one-day £150-or-so refresher course later, and you now have an extra fork lift driver on your payroll. That's me.

Unfortunately, if you're working for a business that can outsource your job to India for 50p an hour.. you're screwed. Fortunately, it's not so easy to outsource "holy shit, we need someone in the warehouse right now". Even temp agencies can't do that as quickly as it'd take me to go from the office to the shop floor.

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M Gale
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The "minor" option for my degree:

Mainframe Computing.

Apparently IBM are rather desperate to take people on with zOS/JCL/COBOL/etc experience, hence they encouraged the university to offer the module as an option.

Well. Everyone and their mother knows PHP, Ruby, Java, 'web design' and possibly even some C/C++. COBOL though? Not so much.

And after a couple of days of studying it, I can see why. Godawful excuse for a programming language. You think Python enforcing whitespace indents is bad? Wait until you get a load of "well it means different things depending on which column you put the character in." A real throwback to the days of punchcards and tape.

But hey, that's what a lot of critical finance software is written in and it's not going to get ported any time soon. I already know the usual languages.. why not put something obscure but valuable on the CV?

(and why the hell does z/OS use right control instead of enter?)

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Samsung's next smartphone to scroll by watching your eyes

M Gale
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Re: Yawn

Come now. I like to giggle at the iFlaw as much as anybody, but that antenna problem was fixed two iterations ago.

It's a little like some retard coming along and going "lol Linux, the one where you have to fuck about with some xorg.conf file before you can get out of DOS mode?!"

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US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

M Gale
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Re: Facepalm...

What? My car has 6 forward gears and sod all torque yet it'll happily cruise along in 6th at 30mph. If you're spending most of your time at 30 in 3rd, you need to make your way to the nearest naughty step and think about what you've done.

Not everyone has a 7 litre big-block engine under the hood. If it has 6 forward gears and comfortably cruises at 30mph in top gear, I can promise you it has a lot more than "sod all" torque.

30mph in top gear? Most cars in this country probably wouldn't make it up a 1:100 gradient like that. Think 1.3 litre Ford Fiesta. A friend's classic BMW M535 might make it like that, but that's three and a half litres of fun that sits on the spot making smoke from the tyres if you even think about twitching the accelerator too hard.

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M Gale
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There's some really jealous trolls in here.

Get a bicycle, you green-faced cunts. Nobody is stopping you.

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M Gale
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Re: Not opposed to taxes, but opposed to "free rides" ...

I think my response is something like "do I have a choice in the matter?"

The answer is obviously no unless you can survive without food obtained by going outside.

So therefore it is a tax.

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M Gale
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Re: Wrong, but not ridiculous?

I don't think I would want to ride so close behind a vehicle that I'm in its slipstream.

I know people do, and there is a phrase that describes them perfectly: Wannabe Roadkill.

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M Gale
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Re: Facepalm...

"There is this little thing called "Stop-Start" just thought I'd let you all know :)"

You know I wonder about the whole stop-start thing. Sure you might spend a little less in fuel, but doesn't stopping and re-cranking the engine every couple of minutes cause extra stress to the parts? As soon as the thing stops, the oil starts flowing back into the sump unless you have some kind of sticky MagnatecTM-like addition to it.

Then you get that lovely metal-on-metal contact until it starts flowing again.

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M Gale
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Re: Facepalm...

"3. I would rather pay a few pounds extra for fuel than have to spend a thousand on a new bike and all that safety gear your nanny government would force me to wear."

Where are you buying your bikes? Halfords or Harrods?

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Cruel Microsoft will drive us into arms of iOS, Android, warn resellers

M Gale
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Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

"The vast majority of Enterprises that use Linux use Redhat, so it's the best example. Anyway, SUSE also costs more than Windows..."

Disingenious.

You are paying for vastly different things with Windows vs Linux. Windows buys you a product and maybe some help to re-install it if you screw up.

OpenSUSE buys you anything from the basic "Windows level" of support, right up to 24x7 access with 1 hour response time for high severity cases. Costs are between a few hundred dollars and six grand depending on how much coverage you want, for a five year subscription. One year subscriptions are vastly cheaper. This is assuming you even need support and you're not some high-tech company that rolls its own software and can support itself quite nicely.

You're also probably comparing the price of OpenSUSE support with the price of a basic desktop copy of Windows 8, which is already being subsidised heavily by sales of Windows 7.

Try like for like. Windows Server datacentre-edition will probably give you similar features to your average Linux. Only a snip at $4,809 open no-level estimated retail price. Basically "as much as we can screw you for, unless you point out the price of a Linux support package, in which case we'll drop those dollars faster than a whore's knickers in the presence of a $100 bill".

And let us not forget the money Microsoft is screwing people out of for spurious unproven patent claims. That's probably driving the price of your average Novell product right up.

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M Gale
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Re: http://prezi.com

Now that does look interesting. However, from the compulsory "you must have an account", I can guess it's a cloud-based (ie: all your base are belong to us) solution.

I would like to be wrong.

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M Gale
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Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

"Linux is only free if your time has no value."

What a load of tired, clichéd old bollocks.

And what happens when Windows, Office or IIS/Exchange goes tits-up, as they very often do? "Microsoft software: It's only expensive if your time has no value."

Doesn't quite work, that one.

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M Gale
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Re: This is just part of a trend

I still remember when that retail reward shit started up.

Saved up just enough points for a full copy of Win XP or Office. Went to reclaim.

And they'd pumped the points value up to insane amounts, impossible to achieve even if you did every single damned test on the site. I might be waaaay out of retail sales now, but if that's an indication of how Microsoft is (still) treating people who sell its products... well.

Fuck you, Microsoft. Fuck you with a barbed wire dildo.

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Microsoft Surface Pro will land in UK in WEEKS*

M Gale
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Re: An injection moulded magnesium chassis?

You mean like buying a device where the case is made entirely of flammable metal?

If this were a car design, the first exploding chassis would be a recall. When the first Surface explodes in a brilliant white flare, will there be a redesign?

Or are you saying that lithium batteries do not periodically go pop? Like a lot more often than the LHC destroys the earth?

But hey, let's throw petrol on the fire. That'll help.

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M Gale
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Re: An injection moulded magnesium chassis?

There is still a massive difference between melting a hole in a can (been there, done that) and causing magnesium to start going off.

For one, the aluminium stops reacting when you take the heat source away.

Seriously, what the fuck do people teach kids in science class these days? How the fuck is THIS anything whatsoever like the puny non-self-sustaining glow you get from a thin aluminium can while hitting it with a fucking blowtorch?

I say again, encasing lithium in magnesium is a disaster waiting to happen.

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M Gale
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Re: An injection moulded magnesium chassis?

Aluminium *melts*.

Magnesium *burns*.

There is a difference. And no, I'm not on about grinding metal up into fine particles either.

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Oracle trowels more plaster over flawed Java browser plugin

M Gale
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And when Oracle manage to sort their certificates out so I know what I'm downloading, I might download it.

Until then, browser plugin disabled.

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Canonical announces Mir display server to replace X Windows

M Gale
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Oh FFS

I see this as "You will have Unity whether you like it or not. And no cheating by apt-getting Gnome or KDE."

Perhaps time to seek a different Linux until Canonical figure out what the fuck they are doing.

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SpaceX Dragon eventually snared by ISS

M Gale
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Re: It's never embarrassing to fix a problem.

Pah, Components! American components. Russian components.

All made in Taiwan!

Now *CLONK* THIS is how we *CLONK* FIX problems on *CLONK* RUSSIAN space station *CLONK* because I *CLONK* want to go home *CLONK* and I *CLONK* DON'T want to *CLONK* STAY here *CLONK* ANY MORE!

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Sony: Can't beat Apple and Samsung, so let's be the Other Guy

M Gale
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Re: Seems Sony will never get forgiven

Unfortunately Sony is married to Sony BMG, which is not a tech company and has a tendency to repetatively do stupid things.

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M Gale
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Re: Fool me thrice...

"The proprietary memory card/charger thing was always annoying too, at least one of these has been ditched"

Not sure about newer Sony-only phones, but my old SE Arc S uses standard Micro USB (which fits annoyingly loosely) and Micro SD (which fits more snugly but is hidden under the battery).

Does get a bit toasty when it's busy though.

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