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* Posts by MrHorizontal

65 posts • joined 9 Jul 2009

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

MrHorizontal
FAIL

Re: Wot no SGI?

Totally agree with SGI. Replace the NeXT borg cube with any of the SGI's: Indy, Octane, Onyx.

And the PS3? It looks about as interesting as corrugated iron and is too fat, overweight, and hot.

Then you have the Tandem's with their huge size and the KITT heartbeat monitor on them.

But the absolute sacrilege? Not putting Bletchley Park's Colossus on the list. Not only one of the first computers, it still looks better than any pimped out gaming rig with all of those glowing valves...

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Boffins use laser to move maglev disk

MrHorizontal

I wonder if this has the same properties as the coriolis effect (e.g. the direction of the water vortex down a plug hole north and south of the equator) when under sunlight, and that proximity to the equator will change it's behaviour.

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Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction

MrHorizontal

Geekspawn

Missing WOPR off the list was a pretty huge omission. I suggest updating the article with a whole page dedicated to it, because WarGames probably triggered more geekspawn than any other film I know - certainly true with me.

There's a pretty decent list of films on the 'pedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_about_computers, though not completely conclusive - for example, in anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion has the 3 Magi computers that run the entire society if we're going into Anime too.

Also, while not really so much as a 'character' in the film, the computers from Minority Report are still very influential in modern UI and interaction design right to this day too, especially with touch and gesture being so widely adopted.

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ARM Holdings licenses big chunk of MIPS patents

MrHorizontal

You say it's game over for MIPS, others say it's an opportunity.

With ARM struggling to get into the server space, PowerVR being the GPU of choice in mobile, and MIPS having arguably an even stronger presence in the server space than Intel (in the form of the SGI/DEC heydays), it looks to me that Imagination is now actually a pretty serious threat to ARM's server initiative - given that supers these days are all ceepiegeepies, having MIPS+PowerVR is... another ceepiegeepie.

Also, don't forget that AST also has Intel as a consortium member.

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Dredd movie review

MrHorizontal
Mushroom

Brilliant

I'm a 2000AD fan and totally despised Stallone's attempt. Mega City is a dystopia, and Judges are outnumbered, so how would you portray the world? The gritty, grotty dystopia portrayed in this film fits the bill perfectly as the gaudy shiny happy things that make other SF totally fail in my opinion, and makes them look, quite frankly, terrible. The film provides a perfect setting of Mega City One. Sure there could be a few more notions of 'future' put in, but that's just a matter of budget and in reality don't add anything meaningful to a film other than opportunities for product placement.

Yes, there are some things I would have made better. Dredd's bike could be a bit more of a monster - some hybrid of a Harley Davidson and the Batman Tumbler batbike minus the ridiculous gold trimmings in the comic would have been much more awesome than the Japanese tin that was used in the film. The lawgiver also didn't look mean enough to dish out Dredd law. That said, the crappy eagle and chain on the judge's uniform being removed and his general look to a more practical flak jacket, is actually worthwhile - even in the comic it looks unrealistic, unwieldy and crap. Similarly with the battle scarred helmet and dusty uniform just adds to how Judges are fighting a never ending battle - so I think 2012 Dredd makes him look better, more realistic and more potent as a result.

My view is that a lot of the aspects of the comic were well placed, and well thought out too, from the chopper posters, to the portrayal of fatties and so forth. The story didn't really lend itself to telling the story of Mega City, so only parting shots were shown to allow the viewers to concentrate on what's happening in the block. Tony Smith's view that Garland has pared down Dredd to any commando tough cop is ridiculous. What is Dredd other than the epitome of exactly that? The one liners were delivered, without being made into the climax of a ridiculous set piece as are cliches epitomised by Bond. Dredd delivers one liners in the dry, laconic and as a matter of fact manner we know and love, and that portrays his personality better as a result. The ending of the film is also typical Dredd: to paraphrase not to ruin it 'just another day in the office, ma'am' - short, sharp, succinct and 100% pure unadulterated Dredd.

Anderson's portrayal is admirable too. A slightly more fragile judge with a different take on the law than Dredd is apparent, and quite frankly great even though somewhat different (better IMO) than the comic. From the visit into the mind to the 'wait' sequence, she develops in the film from a fragile no-hoper to a deliciously mean mind fucker, and in the process begins to overrule Dredd 'He's a victim, not a perp'. Naturally Dredd mostly gets his way (third option: attack) that any other Judge wouldn't logically choose and only Dredd would, could and does.

As a big fan of Drive, the artistic breaks shown in the slo-mo sequences were brilliant to give the viewer a totally unexpected, beautiful and welcome break from the relentlessness of the film. The director kept it tight and sweet without any lingering, yet in the process the artistic violence makes John Woo's best look like Bambi. The story is deeper than a simple take the block, but the fact it is so tight and doesn't linger too long in back stories that will only confuse non-Dredd readers leaves it open to make Dredd the franchise that he deserves. That said, the story is complete, with plenty of points of views to keep it interesting. Garland has made a story that isn't Garland-esque and generally slow and boring, but genuine and relentless.

Again, I disagree with Tony Smith - this film has not been made for the mass market at all. You have to like violence and gore. You have to appreciate Dredd is a cornier toon than Dirty Harry. You have to appreciate beautiful cinematography and you have to be able to think outside of the comic and into an original perception of Dredd's world if your a fan. But I think it's all done so brilliantly, it's actually in my view, an even more gritty and realistic view of Dredd's world than the comic.

Lastly Karl Urban's intimate knowledge having grown up himself reading Dredd does give the character the treatment he deserves. In fact, as an actor he's got into Dredd's carcass so well this is an award-winning performance - you don't really need to say more than that. He never takes the helmet off apart from the aforementioned shadow shot where he's putting it on. The chin, the voice, the grimace and Dredd's single minded 'Justice' and dryness is all perfect.

So no, Tony, I totally disagree with your critique. Justice has finally been done on film to the ultimate law giver. It's gritty, relentless, beautiful and makes absolutely bugger all attempt to appease itself to the mass market by fully embracing the violence and gore deserving an 18. It is so unexpectedly good and so astonishingly exceeding my expectations it really is fantastic.

Lets hope something similar will be done to my personal favourite 2000AD character: Rogue Trooper.

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Apple and Google in talks to end patent war?

MrHorizontal

Between the lines:

Samsung to Google: OK, we've got to pay these idiots in Cupertino $1b. If we have to do that, we will and we'll drop Android and go to WinPho 8.

Google to Apple: Oh s**t! Apple, what, exactly do you want us to do?

Apple to Google: Scrap Android.

Google to itself: Oh s**t! Everyone, eat a footlong with a big foot in it and then get a spade, we've got a big hole to dig.

This of course is what Apple wants.

What *should* happen though is this: Samsung, HTC, Motorola found guilty of infringing Apple. Apple found infringing by Motorola, Nokia and others for FRAND. All iOS and Android products injuncted off shelves. Congress goes 'oh s**t!', we've just let the patent system destroy our glorious icon, Apple. Patent system reformed, all cases appealed and back down. Everyone in the US still has a phone.

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UK: 'We're legally bound to arrest Mr Assange'

MrHorizontal
FAIL

4 Options

A distinctly un-British affair this, who historically make it other people's problems.

Option 1: UK politefully requests that Sweden promises not to re-extradite Assange to US. Assange goes to Sweden for trial, problem diverted to Sweden (who want that problem), and we move on. Yes it'd be an extraordinary request, but isn't that exactly what diplomatic negotiations are about?

Option 2: Ecuador gives Assange diplomatic status, putting UK into legal quagmire as they have Vienna Treaty obligations and the Yvonne Fletcher act at odds (that 1987 act though is actually illegal and should be repealed). If Assange is arrested with diplomatic immunity, UK is in contravention of International law. If UK doesn't arrest Assange, problem diverted to Sweden, and we move on.

Option 3: Hague comes and out and say exactly why he is on a personal crusade against Assange. Details spill out that the US is indeed on a witch hunt, and is in fact paying for the Police overtime. Problem diverted to US, and we move on.

Option 4: Hague storms the embassy, and loses diplomatic status of all British diplomats the world over. We move on, but problem is brought squarely on Hague's shoulders with a newly impotent FCO (which I still call Foreign and Colonial Office).

Regardless of which option, we as the British have to ask this stooge at the head of the FCO: What the hell are you fighting for with all this bluster? IT IS NOT BRITAIN'S PROBLEM!

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Drilling into Amazon's tape-killing Glacier cloud archive

MrHorizontal

Would be interesting to see how other cloud providers like Backblaze respond to this. Hopefully they will introduce a slightly more flexible service than using their proprietary client. Glacier is not quite as good a deal as Backblaze (being $5 or £2.50/mth), but Glacier will store anything.

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Google Maps takes shelter from the British summer

MrHorizontal
Facepalm

Why?

I can only see one single use case for this... to tell Londoners who go to a Tube station they don't know particularly well which end of the platform the exit is nearest. Is that really worth the time and effort to map everything?

While I'd normally say only mad people would share floorplans of their houses, unfortunately it probably means 80% of today's society where common sense is a totally alien concept...

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Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets

MrHorizontal

Where was the consultation?

I'm a resident of RBKC. I cannot find any consultation or method of objecting this decision which seems to have been taken unilaterally by this council without due process or authority.

I would much appreciate information on how to petition a formal objection on this decision.

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Hey Commentard! - or is that Commenter?

MrHorizontal
WTF?

WTF!

El Reg is an institution, and we love the fact that Apple amongst many other over sensitive PR departments take umbrage.

Heck, I wouldn't be offended if reg called me a f**ktard for commenting.

Perhaps El Reg should start selling Polyfilla to fill those chips on shoulders?

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O2 apologizes for 'unintended' number-leak cockup

MrHorizontal

Gonna need more than an apology...

It's pretty criminal if you ask me to so carelessly identify users like that.

I'd expect not only a whopping great fine from the ICO, but a renewed debate on Net Neutrality for mobile (should be no different to fixed) and also a kick-back to all O2 customers with a smartphone.

Given that it is worth about $17 for a website to know the identity of a user, tripling this to $51 worth of kick back to all smartphone customers should be the minimum. I'd expect that should be some a break from monthly charges, though O2 will probably think some free apps or other totally useless 'value-back' will suffice. It won't.

O2 should be in real trouble here.

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Hold on a sec - leap seconds granted a last-minute reprieve

MrHorizontal

Wait a sec...

... both the status quo and the 'new' have it wrong.

First and foremost, the Gregorian calendar is wrong with the concept of a leap year. The earth takes 365.25 days to revolve around the sun. We can make an existing 'day' 1.00068493150685 days without too much impact. That fixes the February 29th every four years issue, and just never have it.

Now leap seconds. As has been said, the earth's spin on its axis around the sun causes the issue with leap seconds. The issue at hand is what 'time' sunrise and sunset happens. As we know full well in Britain, getting up in darkness and leaving work in darkness in winter is a spirit-sapping experience. The point being is while it will take a good 100 years before there is a noticeable difference, given that at some point in time in the future (granted, very, very far in the future) under the proposed no-leapsecond time you will go to sleep at 11 pm in the UK and the sun rises, it's not representative of 'time'. By this virtue, technology 'because it's easier' doesn't help solve the problem.

Personally, just state that at 12 midnight on New Years, the second that strikes is X+Y seconds, and if Y is a +2 second or we miss 1 second for a given year, it happens. The entire world is drunk out of their minds, so who the hell cares for +/- 1 second? Certainly not technology, if it's internationally proclaimed that all time is 'fixed' at a given point in the calendar, then technology can do what it's designed to do: serve humankind. And in the meantime, you and I can continue moaning about British winters, and in the meantime have to drink a little bit faster or slower by a matter of a second or two every New Years.

Does it matter? It's all relative. I say, cheers!

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American search team fails to find women's G-spot

MrHorizontal
Coat

Pictures or it didn't happen.

I somehow don't see the 'spark' or 'chemistry'. I expect the general appeal of the scientist or the lab environment didn't help either.

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Cloud power plant SAP closes 2011 on a high

MrHorizontal

Larry not happy

...with profit warnings for Oracle and with the TomorrowNow settlement and SAP still posts well, one can only guess what is happening in the higher floors of Oracle Towers.

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Intel caught faking CES ultrabook gaming demo

MrHorizontal

Not defending Intel, but...

It does work, they just didn't get Mooly's machine updated with the proper demo in time: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5359/intel-confirms-working-dx11-on-ivy-bridge
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Kodak heading to Chapter 11

MrHorizontal
FAIL

It wasn't just predictable, but for Kodak it'd been relatively easy to resolve. They had so many options:

Chemicals:

Kodak has the means and resources to take on 3M and TDK easily. BASF and DuPont might be a bit more troublesome, but credible chemicals could've been possible if they thought beyond film.

Digital Cameras:

What makes a digital camera. A CCD, some flash memory a bit of chippery to process it all and a fat arsed lens. The CCD world is dominated by the Japanese like NEC, Casio, Sharp and the like. Even NEC would've been fishfood for Kodak. For flash memory a little bit of passive investment into Micron and making IMFT or something like that a 3-way JV between Intel, Micron and Kodak would have been easy. Some chippery? ARM is pretty adequate. Lenses? Carl Zeiss, Leica, all fishfood.

Heck instead of making the constituent parts, Olympus is in a spot of bother too. Snap them up and have a ready-made credible camera business zomg! And what were Kodak doing when Japan was absolutely flatlined in the last 10-15 years with all the primary photographic competition coming out of there: Olympus, Canon, Nikon, Minolta all unable to get sufficient liquidity. Kodak cash rich... 1+2 = ?

Printers:

Xerox was in trouble. Snap up Xerox, get PARC and all of the wondrous patents that came out of there, and with a combined Kodak and Xerox, HP would've become the world's best bricklayer overnight.

But no. Fail, fail more with a bit more epic McFail. Compared to others, even epic corporate failures like Olivetti seem well managed. It really beggars belief there is stupidity on this scale. Seriously, they probably revere Paris Hilton as a mind greater than Einstein.

Truly unbelievable.

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Software copied functions, but didn't infringe copyright

MrHorizontal
FAIL

Cheaper, Faster, Better

If you're not prepared for a competitor to come up with a cheaper, faster, better solution in technology, then you're going to go the way of the dinosaur. No tech company is safe from this idiom, so if you haven't planned for it in a business plan, you will become a tech dinosaur. Going to the courts is just band-aiding a gaping wound and just making lawyers rich. The only solution is to evolve and make an even faster and better solution or reprice it competitively.

SAS is just one of those dinosaurs.

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VeriSign demands website takedown powers

MrHorizontal
Stop

Absolutely not

Verisign are officially the most untrustworthy entity on the Intertubes, and should lose all right to managing .com and .net domains, as well as all their root SSL CAs.

In fact the .com and .net registry should be allocated to different registries wherever the .com and .net domain is registered. So for UK entities who have a .com domain, it'd be nominet that manages it, not verisign.

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Would you trust a dot-bank site more than a dot-com?

MrHorizontal

Registry

The actual domain name doesn't matter so much (though I agree that using a completely different domain like nwolb.com is just dumb from the bank's operations).

What actually matters is the registry that controls the .bank is not a US concern like the most untrustworthy entity of them all: Verisign. In other words, DNS and SSL need to be managed from a far more trusted source that is UK based, and one that has public oversight for this to be OK.

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Google shoots Dart at JavaScript

MrHorizontal
FAIL

What exactly...

...does Dart offer that JavaScript doesn't?

It looks to me to be an almost exact replica of JavaScript with a few PHP-esque extensions to it. What needs to happen is to make ECMA-262, or the standard behind JavaScript a little bit stricter, especially with a little bit more emphasis on strong typing and classes and bobs your uncle. The browser DOM could do with a tweak here and there too, but that's not the language's problem.

Anyway, Google have done the mistake of outing a language without going through the W3C or other recognised standards body - that is evil, Google. While too many lemmings do, not that many people who matter actually like or trust you.

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Put down the Java manual

MrHorizontal
Thumb Up

"I found that the fact that I’d studied what really goes on in computers to a deep level got me out of some holes because I could more quickly pick up the new toy."

hear hear

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Don't bother with that degree, say IT pros

MrHorizontal

Coders with no degree have a tendency to err toward spaghetti code. But they also continuously learn from their mistakes, are happy to admit they're wrong, adapt, become better. They also tend to have their eyes set on the goal, i.e. finish the damned project.

Coders with CompSci degrees suffer from another form of pasta code: Lasagne code. They layer and implement interface upon interface upon abstract class upon class it's almost impossible to find where the bloody meat of the code is! There is also no bloody way to change the point of view of a compsci student who has 'mastered' a particular design pattern. They have an awful tendency to become design pattern zealots for no bloody reason. They do however generally only have to write once and reuse the code over time, though.

So which one do you pick? Spaghetti or Lasagne?

Truth be told, you need a bit of both.

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MrHorizontal

Totally agree

Generally if I see 'Computer Science' degree on a CV, especially if said person was in education after around 1995, then I treat them with a large barrel of salt.

I simply cannot fathom how CompSci grads can come out of university not knowing practically anything about the hardware or any system knowledge. How on earth can you call yourself a programmer if you don't know how to fully exploit the hardware you're given (in my case an absolute joy as we control the hardware we supply our systems on, not dissimilar to Apple - *this* is a luxury few devs can afford!)

These are questions CompSci grads couldn't answer in my interviews:

1. What is the difference between the heap an the stack?

2. How and why would you implement a semaphore?

3. What is a register in the computer?

Tell me honestly, are these questions ridiculous? Because the amount people I've turned away beggars belief.

Seriously, if you don't know a little bit of C++ to take advantage of say SIMD optimised matrices in addition to your general high level language, i.e. Java/C#/Python (delete as appropriate), then as far as I'm concerned you'd be a liability to the team.

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Haiti study: Mass mobile phone tracking can be laudable

MrHorizontal
FAIL

Still no excuse

This still is no excuse for mandating it in law. You can have an app that does that, but only tracks in the event of a disaster, ie survivors still alive start the app. Dead people have all the time in the world to be recovered.

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HP murders webOS tablets, phones

MrHorizontal

So...

Will the spin off of the PC business be called Compaq or Digital Equipment Corporation or something nondescript like Lenovo?

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Apple eyeing Hulu acquisition, insiders say

MrHorizontal

Unlikely

As others have said, there's no need for Apple to do this, they have the licenses to the content already, it's just in a different delivery format. It's not Apple's business to stream ad-supported media like Hulu as there are no gigantic 30-40% profit margins in that model that Apple looks at.

What absolutely would make sense and become an absolute powerhouse to be reckoned with is a combined Hulu+Spotify. Hulu needs Spotify's European customer base and expertise and distribution mechanism, both services are complementary to each other, both are freemium services, and both have the blessings and indeed seen as the darlings of the content owners.

That would also take both services to the next level and compete with the AGA conglomerate (Apple, Google, Amazon).

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Duke Nukem flack eats words over threat to reviewers

MrHorizontal
Flame

You think games PR is bad

try dealing with Ferrari as a motoring journo:

http://jalopnik.com/5760248/how-ferrari-spins

1
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A peek inside Apple's iCloud data center

MrHorizontal

Web Objects

But from another perspective, I don't think the hardware is the issue here - it really depends on what and how iCloud runs in terms of software.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were using some whitelabel servers running Mac OS X. After all iTunes is largely a web services platform running on Apple's Web Objects - not a bad platform but not exactly a hugely mainstream platform either... and really what is iCloud but iTunes store on steroids? Wouldn't it be ironic if they were indeed hackintoshes?

<3 Teradata.

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Apple embraces 'n' extends messaging

MrHorizontal
Flame

Antitrust shenanigans

What is interesting is all this walled garden movement, evangelised by Apple today will inevitably lead to some sort of antitrust suit.

In regard to iMessage in particular, SMS needs to die or become free. The one good thing about SMS is it's interoperable amongst any mobile device. It's problem is that paying 8-20p for a 160 character message in today's connected world is ludicrous. It still has a life if it became universally free. But that's also leads to a problem with these anachronistic dinosaurs aka the carrier networks believing they are anything more than a big fat dumb data pipe.

iMessage is also a direct copy of BBM. Problem is that the iPhone doesn't have any credibility as a secure device in front of the BlackBerry, and aside from being free, that's also a major factor in people's use of BBM. Furthermore it's the kids who are using BBM more than anyone else - a 16 year old son of a friend of mine actually was given a choice of what phone to get, including an iPhone and he chose a BlackBerry purely due to BBM.

However, as the article discusses, this is about the walled garden versus the open standard. This is irrelevant. Any standard - open or otherwise - isn't worth the paper it's written on if it's not adopted, and in the case of an open standard the onus is even greater as it needs widescale adoption to tilt the point of critical mass. Skype is as much of a 'standard' VoIP protocol as SIP is, though one's closed and one open.

It's more about antitrust and specifically, vendor lock in. Apple will eventually get done for antitrust - this a given and a matter of time - but it does require those damned regulators with their snouts in the corporate trough to wake up! At the moment, there's only a very tiny amount of self-regulation where vendor lock-ins upset a bigger player - see the Adobe v Apple fight over Flash v HTML5 - even though it's Google who stands to gain the most from HTML5 being widely adopted.

Vendor lock in is a rife problem in the tech/telecoms industry and somewhat a form of modus operandi of giant tech / telco companies. But it just shows how and why there needs to be regulation in the form of a new set of dentures for the various Competition Commissions around the world.

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BT network goes titsup up north

MrHorizontal

meh

Blame Bob Crow :P

1
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App Store II: Steve Jobs sucks Mac's soul

MrHorizontal
FAIL

Both a good and bad thing

To be honest, the Mac App store is in general a good thing, but it also shows a couple of other facts:

1. Why doesn't VersionTracker or MacUpdate produce a store of their own with more lenient terms of use?

2. If I were a developer, I'd simply release a differently-named version of the software (if it is compatible with store's guidelines) with an RRP of 130% of the original product. If I had to bastardise my software to pass the guidelines, I'd strip out the offending parts and sell a 'lite' version that doesn't have such terminology in it's name. In other words, if a consumer has the nous to use the web to find the original software, they can save themselves 30%, and the developer sees the same revenues regardless.

3. While certainly not all, a lot of the decent Mac software has a number of kexts, control panels or wraps open source software within it. Think Growl (Control Panel), Viscosity (OpenVPN), or Airfoil (Audio HiJack kext), so it's a pretty ridiculous exercise to deny such apps the distribution they deserve.

4. The biggest problem though is that the Mac is used for serious apps, not the average level of crap that's available on the iOS store. I can't quite see myself buying Photoshop at full RRP on the Mac store, but I can see myself hunting around retailers to find the best price.

0
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Apple threatens Java with death on the Mac

MrHorizontal

meh

In all likelihood, Apple wasn't exactly releasing Java updates as regularly as Sun did, and I think they've just given up the ghost on maintaining it themselves. Don't forget the most salient point of this Java update is that it allows for other JDK's to be installed in the process.

Seems to me that they just want to palm off the responsibility to Oracle and be done with it. As to whether they've given Oracle their Aqua integration stuff as well is entirely a different matter, but if I were Apple I'd do that and maintain the ability to run it.

After all the Mac is actually a really, really good platform to run Java on - intended consequence or not.

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People have NO BLOODY IDEA about saving energy

MrHorizontal

Hot countries are more eco friendly than colder ones

As someone who grew up in the mediterranean, we have oil heating (ie the most expensive type) for winter and we have air con in summer when it's cold. We also have water shortages aplenty and we have to think of ingenious ways to get rid of rubbish generally, because if left out in the sun it stinks to high heaven.

What's different between hot and cold climes is that while we have central heating and aircon, we NEVER use it ALL the time. We only put aircon on if it's above 35 outside or during a heatwave, otherwise simply closing the shutters and keeping the house dark is a remarkably efficient way of keeping a house cool in summer. Opening the windows wide open is possibly the worst thing you can do to keep cool. Similarly in winter, we don't need the central heating on at all. Just a few short bursts (2 hours between 6 and 8pm for example) is plenty heat for the entire night. Needless to say if you have the aircon on while in bed, you're pretty stupid as you'll wake up with a chill, and if you have your heating on while asleep too, your duvet isn't good enough or, quite frankly, you're not heating yourself up making passionate love. Yes, sex is a pretty good way of keeping warm!

Rubbish in hot countries has to be picked up within a day before it gasses the street. Seriously perishable stuff is usually biodegradable anyway, and mincing it up and putting it down the drain is a better bet (provided your drains can handle it). Then what's left is plastics, glass, paper and aluminium, which surprisingly is all recyclable and doesn't stink.

Furthermore, when I explained to my (English) girlfriend that there was a water shortage one summer, she balked at the fact I left the bathwater in the bath and scooped it up and threw it down the toilet instead of using the normal flusher. Old soapy bathwater is perfectly good enough to flush away last night's curry (and the soap helps ward off the nasty niff emitting skid marks left in the old bowl).

Finally practically everyone over there knows that heating stuff up is the most expensive thing to do. So the amount of crap that resides on top of an oven (because everyone cooks real mediterranean food needing HOURS of cooking) is amazing - kettles, hot water bottles, coils for outside hosepipes linked to the outdoor shower and so forth. Last but not least the ubiquitous solar panels to heat up water is almost everywhere.

The point of it all, is just using PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE and a little bit of LATERAL thinking pays a huge dividends - that's why my typical energy bills come in on average at on average, one sixth of mates' bills, and I wouldn't particularly call myself eco-conscious at all (I certainly don't bother unplugging my stuff, and I like my light!).

2
0

RIM tries to placate everyone

MrHorizontal
FAIL

In other words...

RIM have implemented a proper encryption policy on their devices between customers handsets and customer's servers, and their servers merely route messages.

I think all communications should be done this way. If police need to tap a line or access messages, they have to get the data from customers' premises in the country the server is located in. In other words, if you need access to customers' private data, sort it out with a customer, don't ask a middleman like an ISP, network operator or phone maker.

17
1

Oracle sues Google over Java in Android

MrHorizontal

In some ways C# is more open than Java

While C# is an ECMA standard, when MS submitted it, it also submitted the CLR to ECMA as well, so it's as open as the other big ECMA standard, JavaScript. Java on the other hand has it's JVM exclusively controlled by Sun and now Oracle, and has never been 'open' in the same way, so it does surprise me that Java is perceived as an 'open' language while C# is perceived as 'proprietary'. For once MS did the right thing there...

Sure, mono and other C# / .NET derived projects aren't quite as enterprise ready when used away from Windows, primarily because only MS and Novell really drive C#, while Java has Google, Oracle, IBM and practically every other house supporting and contributing to it. Similarly OSS foundations like Apache, while incubating some C# projects, haven't made all of their projects C#, and that's the only thing IMO other than odd .exe and .dll binaries on a *nix platform when using mono that really stall C#. Credit to MS for producing it, because it's truly a wonderful language.

On the flipside though since I mentioned Apache, they've proven to be a very good house for incubating and even things like the relatively basic apache commons project establishes Java as a richer environment than most. I say that Oracle hand over Java to ASF and be done with this nonsense.

3
7

Apple iPhone app patent claim 'doesn't feel right'

MrHorizontal
Jobs Horns

Precedent

This is weird, but since when has Apple become ugly and play hardball with the little man like this before? There is precedent with Apple liking a particular piece of UI design developed by an independent, and they bought the software from them: that was CoverFlow (check out the wikipedia page for a history of CoverFlow).

The other side of the fence is ugly - regulators are there to protect this sort of bully boy tactics, and in the EU this behaviour is particularly frowned upon.

Come on Steve - if you like the UI this much, just buy the little man and use it, just like you did with CoverFlow

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HP spreads wings with 'butterfly' data centers

MrHorizontal

Good idea but...

Try flogging that to someone needing to put a DC is a vaguely close proximity to an urban area or even in the city...

There are 2 flaws to this DC: first that the DC wings can't be attached together to create a larger floor area for servers (having several buildings is very wasteful), and second that they're not multi-storey. I know there are 2 problems with that, the air intakes and heat extraction through the roof, but while it's a worthy goal to reduce the cost of a DC, HP also need to minimise the area of ground the DC covers. Solve that, and I can bet you that they will sell several high-rise DC's almost instantly.

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TalkTalk turns StalkStalk to build malware blocker

MrHorizontal
FAIL

My god...

Sniffing URL's is one thing, and a bad one at that, furthemore blocking IP addresses that StalkStalk deem inappropriate is a huge issue - virtually everyone knows that blacklists being created and used to block IP's is a very harmful method.

I'll chime in also with calling for Talk Talk to disclose how they farm the URLs in the first place. That's the illegal part IMO.

What I don't understand, if Talk Talk actually wanted to protect customers is implement network-wide IPS, using something like Snort. It's open source, and it's far more sensible than this sniffing, and will only block reactively when an attack is happening. It's also far more cost effective to harden these network wide servers than all consumer's routers too...

Stupid.

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Daily Star is sorry for Grand Theft Auto Raoul Moat blunder

MrHorizontal

PWNED!

The Daily Star couldn't have got more owned than even if Murdoch saw reason to get involved with them.

I do wonder what kind of figure these 'substantial damages' are...

However, given how many submissions the Press Complaints Commission have had just in 2010 regarding virtually all of Mr Desmond's papers let alone the Star, I do wonder how this fool, Jerry Lawton, can even continue to have licence to practice any form journalism at all! Lies != Journalism. It's not even sophisticated enough to call it libel, it's just LIES!

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Sky in talks to sell Easynet, claim insiders

MrHorizontal
WTF?

Seems weird to me...

A little birdie who works in Sky told me when they bought easynet that their satellites are way past their sell-by date to fall out of the sky, and are in fact also renting an extraordinary amount of bandwidth from other satellite providers.

When Sky bought easynet, it was believed that this wasn't just a way to get into the triple-play market and one-upmanship against Virgin Media, but in fact an absolute necessity for Sky in order to use the broadband infrastructure and get enough broadband penetration so as to transfer the TV broadcast signal from satellite to IPTV. Needless to say, Sky already have IPTV services (evidence the Xbox 360 Sky player), and of course TV on the web sites... I guess the broadband speedup isn't fast enough yet, but that's all the more excuse for us to pan the current state of broadband provision in this country and open up Openwoe's stranglehold on charging us arbitrary 50p tax hikes at BT's bequest and OFinCOMpetence.

@lotuswolf: while I don't really know Thus, I do know Demon and I more than certainly know of Cowboy & Witless from the infamy that made CWCommunications (pre Virgin Media, pre ntl) and Bulldog (the original fast ISP) into impotent nothings and still embroil themselves in scandal and debt without any help from acquisitions. See Cowboy & Witless come, and do yourself a favour: run away!

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How can UK.gov spend £35m on a website?

MrHorizontal

It's all gone to me mwahahaha

As a developer of similar sites, the actual technology costs and costs of the developers building the thing for a project for govt is probably around 10% of the actual bill. Add in another 15% for creatives to fanny about and you still have 75% of the cost to account for.

What that's spent on is quite literally doing all the requirements gathering, research, planning, strategy, risk mitigation, strategy and all the other bumph, documentation and guarantees that adds a huge amount of man-hours and must be delivered alongside the site itself. Add into the fact that govt insists a small web business of 50-odd people has maximum indemnity insurance and you've got yourself the cost of a site.

That all said however, even a big CMS-driven site shouldn't really cost more than £100-120k to build, even with all those factors taken into account. Add in about £5k per year for hosting charges from even the most expensive (but best) ISP, Rackspace, and that's all I can really see as costs.

Invariably though there's some sort of integration or training issue to get these idiots to use it, and that also costs, but the main cost to building a site is quite literally getting the client to a) understand the business case of running a site and b) us learning how they run their business so we can consult and improve it for them.

After all, doesn't SAP, PeopleSoft and all that crap all cost *even more*?

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Google seeks interwebs speed boost with TCP tweak

MrHorizontal

Rather than change TCP, upgrade HTTP

HTTP is a hack of FTP basically, specifically tailored to ASCII content. For what it's designed for, ie transferring ASCII HTML pages over the network, HTTP is very good. About the only 2 advanced features of HTTP 1.1 that it can do is compress content with deflate and resume downloads. And that's it. For binary transfer it's useless, and while FTP is better, it's issues with NAT and firewalls with Passive / Active transfers don't make it compatible enough.

However nowadays, with so much crap (I'm looking at you, Flash, MP3 streamers, etc) also streaming over HTTP, it'd be far, far better to introduce a whole new transport protocol for the web, that allowed the usage of both UDP (for streaming) and TCP (for transacted items), then with the JPEG progressive format even images could be speeded up considerably by 'streaming' them over UDP.

Furthermore, multicasting would also be particularly useful for services like iPlayer as well - all of which HTTP can't actually do itself but has been hacked to do.

Then you could look at multiple connections built into the protocol so that a browser can open multiple concurrent connections.

Then the web server requires a Session cookie to track a user's path through the site however, that's used because HTTP doesn't maintain a connection. So make it keep the state and channel open to the server and the session can be built in to the protocol as well, thus saving the need for cookie support.

Lastly, a good, hard look at HTTP headers is desperately needed as the invasion of privacy and browser fingerprinting is at an all time high.

The problem is that by taking a good hard look at cookie support and HTTP headers, Google is possibly the most polarized WRONG sponsor of such a protocol as a result...

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ToryDems add up bill for Labour's ID scheme

MrHorizontal

Young people

As the cool uncle, I'm always talking with my nephew about various things, and the topic of underage drinking and he showed me his latest 'fake ID'.

It turned out that it was one of these all-singing all-dancing ID cards that Labour were trying to push on us - and overage people were being paid by underage people to buy the ID card for them as a good proof of age.

So with all that news that young people found favour in these ID cards, it's true, but not for the legal and above-the-line reasons. It just goes to prove how out of touch the ex government was with society's feelings toward the matter. Well done Labour, and good riddance!

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Flash and the five-minute rule

MrHorizontal

ZFS with multiple subsystems then?

Really this 'insight' is just ZFS but reincarnated with several subsystems working together in a higgledepiggledy way rather than one homogenous technology.

ZFS has it's famous ARC RAM cache. It can then be configured to use 'L2ARC', using the same ARC algorithm on SSD devices, and finally the actual data held on the disks itself. Add in extra features such as RAID-Z eliminating the RAID 5 goal, snapshots and the like, and it's a far, far more elegant solution than this...

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Ten free apps to install on every new Mac

MrHorizontal

http://code.google.com/p/tunnelblick/

El Reg is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

TunnelBrick

OpenVPN client for Mac OS X, allows you to use an OpenVPN server without knowing anything about OpenVPN and just double-clicking on the .ovpn config file provided by VPN providers. In the days of increased spying activity - which even though Labour are out of government will still linger for too long, privacy is important.

TunnelBrick is free, while the better Viscosity (http://www.viscosityvpn.com) is $7.

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Lost iPhone 4G vendor loaner outed

MrHorizontal
Heart

<3

[quote]For the record, if Hogan or any of his friends called The Register, we were too drunk to remember[/quote]

<3

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Small and mobile ISPs may avoid new filesharing laws

MrHorizontal

What's a 'small' ISP?

This is need to know knowledge for anyone who cares about their privacy, more in response to this fine article than P2P snooping: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/21/google_data_censorship/

I think you'll find these 'small' ISP's will have a rather interesting proliferation of customers.

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Brown creates one UK.gov website to rule them all

MrHorizontal

Insane

I have a couple of mates who work at direct gov, and their problem is nothing technical, it's just they've never had the mandate to force other government departments to transfer content to Direct Gov.

Regardless, this is a futile exercise that just won't work. Why?

The public sector is not a single institution, and there's no real cohesiveness to it - it is a sector of an entire economy. You would never get any site that is a hybrid of other sites in the private sector because of competition. In the public sector you don't so much have that kind of competition but you do have a huge variety of very, very different camps.

Given that Direct Gov has failed even to merge in 'soft' parts of the public sector - like the NHS - and really only has a bit of Home Office information and a bit of DVLA stuff, it proves that without coercion or mandarin support, such an exercise is entirely futile.

Furthermore, as many others have said above, while it's a pain for us as citizens to have to replicate information when applying to various different government bodies, at least it maintains control for everyone's information. Government departments were never usually allowed to share much information, and that right has been eroded heinously since 1997.

I think the real underbelly of this whole 'My Gov' lark is that Martha Lane-Fox after being appointed by Herr Brown as 'Internet Czar' or whatever pompous dictate he's bestowed on her has convinced Brown of the need to have a single sign-on, and merging of services altogether.

The problem is while Google and Microsoft provide single-sign-on across their broad array of services for practical reasons, there are services like OpenID already available that provide this without much work or expense to the taxpayer.

With all this in mind, I would continue to request the Register to contact friends at Outlaw.com and other sources to an investigative piece about the relevance of the Data Protection Act in 2010, as it seems to me that virtually every announcement this government puts out is in breach of one or other clause of the DPA. Furthermore has the Information Commissioner got any teeth or has he been blighted by the Number 10 Scurvy infecting any civil liberties part of government that doesn't toe the line of the Great Brown Puppetmaster?

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PayPal restores Cryptome for real

MrHorizontal
WTF?

Doesn't PayPal have a Banking license?

I'm not 100% sure whether PayPal is or isn't classified as a bank, but I believe it is so in the EU but not in the US.

If indeed PayPal does have a banking license, then I don't think any bank can really do very much with your account, least of all deny you access to your money. I assume they could cease to do business with you, but only after refunding your entire monies back. PayPal failed to do this, and I believe you'll find that they are simply not allowed to freeze assets without a court order authorising them to do so.

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