* Posts by David Austin

226 posts • joined 11 May 2007

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Hackers exploit fresh PC hijack bug in Adobe Flash Player, the internet's screen door

David Austin

Meh

No issue here - our shop went Adobe free, after the security holes in Flash and reader, and the rental Bollocks in Adobe CS.

Designers did moan a bit, mind.

Ah well; fuck 'em,

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Linus Torvalds asks kernel devs to take a break so he can too

David Austin

I've never really looked into the Linux "organisational structure", as much as a project like this can have one, but as an outsider, I'm surprised Linus has that much to do with the day to day running that it can't/won't release when he's away.

It's not a bad thing, but it seems that he's a human Single Point of Failure: If something happens to him, is there the structure in place to seamlessly keep things going?

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Jurassic World: All the meaty ingredients for a summer blockbuster

David Austin

Not Bad

Annoying Kid didn't get eaten. 8/10.

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Capita wins four out of five stars for 'good', 'inexpensive' service

David Austin

Hmmm...

Maybe we can help them put in a hostile takeover bid for the other Capita. Can't be any worse than the current regime, and these chaps seem Pretty customer focused and good value...

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ATTACK of the DINKY DRONES! US military creates ROBOTIC CARRIER PIGEON

David Austin

Tesla would be happy

Turns out he was ahead of the curve with his laser pigeon.

0
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Word to your mother: Office 2016 preview flung at world + dog

David Austin

The only new feature I actually like in Office 2013 is Outlook's Attachment Reminder.

Still, the number of times it's saved my bacon, it's been well worth the upgrade price.

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MONSTROUS iPhone sales are CANNIBALIZING iPads, gabbles Apple CEO

David Austin

Tablets in general

Aren't tablet sales dipping across the board? Which when you think it, isn't too much of a surprise: We've gone past the stage of "Ooh, that's a new thing I want" to "I've got one, I'll upgrade it in 2 or 3 years"

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

David Austin

Re: Can't help thinking...

Their home kit (Inspiron, studio) isn't anything to write home about, but their business kit (OptiPlex, latitude) is pretty good: Reasonably priced, good reliability, and backed up by good servicing and parts options, especially if you spring for the NBD ProSupport.

Normally it's a straight fight between them and HP for our shop.

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FCC hit with SEVENTH net neutrality lawsuit

David Austin

Hmm

Remind me to cut UK ISP's some slack, sometime. They're far from perfect, but for most exchanges there's reasonable competition, and competitive pricing.

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Watch out Wizard, Bezos wants the Emerald City for himself

David Austin

Re: Nice picture accompanying the story!

Agreed. Very cool. Do El Reg give sources for all these header images they use? Just noticed on this one it doesn't appear to be attributed...

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Bloke hits armadillo AND mother-in-law with single 9mm round

David Austin

Re: Armadillo!

Yes, but I can't: They'll always be Dime and Marathon.

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Pro-tip: Steal a TARDIS to survive Windows Server preview death

David Austin

Client first

I'm guessing it's just a case of all hand on deck to get Windows 10 up to speed and ready.

From the outside as a tester since October, I don't think Windows 10 is in crisis: It looks and feels pretty stable - And more importantly, coherent - at this stage, but after the mess of Windows 8, can you blame MS to throwing every coder they have at it to get it ready?

Besides, since Windows XP/Windows server 2003, the server has trailed the client by 6 months to a year, so that about holds the pattern if Windows 10 hits in the summer as planned.

1
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Dell denies 'insecure autoupdate app' flings open PC backdoor

David Austin

Don't need a service tag detector

From a command line:

wmic csproduct get vendor,name,identifyingnumber

No downloads or plug-ins needed, no info sent to or from servers, and gives sensible information for most other brands, too.

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BlackHat talk hibernated over 0-day in SAP's Afaria mobile manager

David Austin

Hmm.

Those are some long fix times. Good of them to hold the talk off, but that also takes the pressure off SAP to fix. One hopes they're not taking it easy as the fix isn't public, especially as it's not just Black Hats, but government agencies now that you have to worry about using unreported vulnerabilities...

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One's speedy, one's a fat boy: WD and Toshiba spin out new HDDs

David Austin

6TB WD Black

When Is this coming? The Blacks have topped out at 4TB for over 2 years, now...

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IBM sued for talking up semiconductor business it couldn't give away

David Austin

Re: Worthless chip manufacturing plant??

Absolutely right, Otto. was aimed at naive. Apologies to Jimmy2Cows.

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David Austin

Re: Worthless chip manufacturing plant??

If you care to remember, Jimmy2Cows, Meg Whitman replaced Léo Apotheker over at HP after he attempted corporate suicide by discontinuing Several promising products, threatening to split the business, and making a bad bet on Autonomy

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/business/for-seamless-transitions-at-the-top-dont-consult-hewlett-packard.html

Meg, on the other hand, grew eBay from 30 employees and $4 million revenues to 15,000 employees and $8 billion revenues

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meg_Whitman#eBay

Be it business or technical credentials, I know which one of the two I'd pick every time.

2
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C’mon Lenovo. Superfish hooked, but Pokki Start Menu still roaming free

David Austin

Re: Why are you even diagnosing this lappy?

Depends on the size of the shop.

Enterprise will obviously do this (Or should do)

SMB don't always have competent IT staff on the payroll, so doing a clean build costs them Time and Money.

Assuming that Pokki, like Superfish, was only shipped on Home use Lenovo's (IE: Not the business ThinkPads), then that adds weight to this being a smaller, ad-hoc shop - I Wouldn't be surprised if El Reg's source was a jack-of-all-trades office manager, who happens to know enough about IT to handle the client side, with contractors doing the server side.

And again, if they are a big shop, why are they buying Yoga/Inspiron/Pavillion laptops instead of ThinkPad/Latitude/Probook systems?

4
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$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

David Austin

Why Texas?

Why does most Patent Casework happen in Texas? Is there some quirk in their state law, or did the Ecosystem just snowball from a few favourable judgements? Never seen it explained why Texas became patent capital of the US.

0
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Microsoft: You want on-prem wares, UK.gov? We'll make you pay

David Austin

Office365

I am not renting a Word Processor

2
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Valve set for OpenGL BIG REVEAL at upcoming conference

David Austin

Re: I'm hopeful

The software stack will end up being great with so many eyeballs working on it, but there's only so much you can do without having the hardware geared towards it.

Granted, with OpenCL support and programmable graphic cards, you can send through custom shaders and microcode to do things in hardware, but without AMD, nVidia, and Intel tuning the hardware to openGI as much as they do to DirectX, it will have to work so much harder to get the same results.

Having them onboard from the get go will really help accelerate deployment, rather than them waiting for it to reach such a critical mass, they can't ignore it.

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David Austin

Are AMD and nVidia on board?

After all, one of the reasons DirectX does so well is that the gaming grade graphics cards Team Red and Team Green make have it baked in at the silicone level, and in many cases are built from the ground up for it.

If they're ready and willing to put the same hardware love in for OpenGL Next, and stop treating it as a second class citizen like they do now, this could really be a game changer, no pun intended.

4
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Another day, yet another emergency Adobe Flash patch. Because that's how we live now

David Austin

Why Won't it Die?

Seriously, please - can we just put the fucker out of it's misery?

Thanks to Jobs putting his foot down on iOS, most sites proved they can work without flash.

I think the worst Sin Microsoft did with Windows 8 was baking flash into Internet Explorer: Just when we were at the point of beginning to get rid of it.

8
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Judge to Dish Network: your Hopper's hip, it ain't no Aereo

David Austin

I fancied watching some Simpsons the other day, then spent the next 40 minute trying to find a legal paid or free way to stream it in the UK.

If there is a way, they've hidden it very very well: Not on iPlayer, Amazon, netflix, FindAnyFilm. The only place that may have had it was Sky Player, if you were a satellite subscriber.

Likewise with American Dad and Family Guy.

It's like they don't even want my money. I'm taking an equivalent amount of viewing pleasure watch this judge dick fox over.

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Get coding or you'll bounce email from new dot-thing domains

David Austin

Obligatory XKCD Lind

Colour corrected, of course.

1
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Windows 7 MARKED for DEATH by Microsoft as of NOW

David Austin

Re: Microsoft Hates Stable Software Like Windows 7

Microsoft's product support Lifecycles means Business & Developer products (IE: Windows pro or Enterprise) are supported for a minimum of 10 years: for example, Windows 7 runs from 2009 - 2020

http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy

The longest Linux support I know of is 5 years for the Ubantu LTS editions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_support#Software_with_separate_LTS_versions

for most non enterprise customers, those are the practical end dates of secure software, with vendor patches. Sure, if you're big, rich, and clever enough, you can shell out for a dev team to write custom patches for Linux, or pay Microsoft for custom support beyond those dates, but for most normal users, both options are out of reach.

If you want long term stability, for most non-enterprise or non-technical customers, Microsoft are a little bit better because of their longer lifecycles.

In fact the only elephant in the room here is Apple, who don't provide any public roadmaps or end of support statements:

http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/61380/how-long-does-apple-provide-support-for-mac-os-x

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David Austin

Yes.

Know the bug you mean: That was one of the major reasons Vista RTM Was so crappy.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2008/02/04/2826167.aspx

Been fixed since Vista SP1 (And a hotfix for RTM), and GUI file copying (Especially dealing with conflicts and duplicates) has gotten better in each subsequent release.

... Still, not a patch on good ol' Robocopy.

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Kim Dotcom vows to KILL SKYPE with encrypted MegaChat

David Austin

Good

I don't trust Skype (Because of NSA/Snowden leaks), and I don't like Skype (2014 interface is very hard to work with, and it's still missing features from MSN Messenger that is supposedly replaced)

more chat options is a good thing, and Kim is very, very good ad drumming up support for ideas, even if his execution is hit and miss

8
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Internet Explorer 12 to shed legacy cruft in bid to BEAT Chrome

David Austin

It's a nice idea, splitting the legacy code off into it's own IE (Can see it working similar to how Standard/Metro IE Did in Windows 8), but for the love of Xenu, don't follow Chrome and Firefox in the UI Department.

Yes, they're great for full screen web browsing, but I like the fact IE has a functioning menu bar by default, and doesn't attempt to hide every option and menu somewhere off the beaten track.

When did developers begin this pathological hatred of menu bars?

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Stop Xiaomi, oh stop Xiaomi: Samsung to debut Tizen mobe in India in January

David Austin

Bada 2.0

What makes them think this will go any better than Bada did?

If I was going to back a new phone platform - and between Windows Mobile, iOS, Android, and BBOS, I'm not sure there is room or need - I'd put my money on Firefox OS.

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Toshiba joins the exclusive, three-member 6TB disk drive club

David Austin

Schweet

Nice to get some more 6TB Drives out - Great for the people that want them, and just as good for people wanting smaller drives, as they all drop down a pricing level.

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Pitch Black: New BlackBerry Classic is aimed at the old-school

David Austin

Bold 9900

The Blackberry Bold is possibly my favourite handset ever: It just felt right - solid, great keyboard, nice touchscreen. Know it wasn't the fastest, smallest, or "Best" at anything, but it was one of those pieces of kit everyone who touched wanted.

For most of 2012, my "Ideal Phone" would have been a Blackberry Bold 9900 running Android OS.

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Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

David Austin

I think I may have chosen.. poorly

Wanted a small phone over a powerful phone with the last upgrade: Went for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, but thinking the S2/S3 Compact should have got more attention from me...

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Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

David Austin

hmm...

One has to wonder how much overlap there is in the target audiences...

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Microsoft says January Windows 10 build will excite sysadmins

David Austin

Like it so far.

Been running my work Laptop as a Dual Boot Windows 7/Windows 10 machine since October.

Only needed to drop into 7 twice since then for some obscure hardware connectivity.

I like what I see: Metro v2 apps run in resizeable, closable, and non charmed windows on traditional PC's: It's lost that schizophrenic feel that Windows 8.x never did, and feels like a cohesive product.

Once customised, I was happy with the Start Screen, but the new Hybrid menu "Just Works" for me. Add in some smart snapping features, steps towards managing wireless and VPN better and it feels like a true successor to Windows 7, again something Windows 8 never managed to do.

The fact it runs just as well as Windows 7 or 8 on my 5 year old Core2 Dell latitude is equally impressive: Say what you want about the flab on top of it, but the NT 6.x Kernel has always performed stunningly.

As far as I'm concerned, Windows 10 is "Feature Complete" (just up the drivers and reliability), and Microsoft have 8 months to not add anything stupid back in to screw it up.

3
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Wikipedia won't stop BEGGING for cash - despite sitting on $60m

David Austin

tl;dr

Skipped straight to the comments:

Is it worth actually reading this article, or is it the normal Hyporbole-laden El Reg WikiCoverage?

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Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

David Austin

That would still kinda be good news, I guess? least it would mean Apple/Android's encryption is up to task.

BTW, Has Microsoft spoken up about beefing up their handset encryption yet? Also, has Blackberry finished giggling to themselves?

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David Austin

Re: still have a backdoor though right?

You're the reason IT have the ability to force you to set minimum acceptable security. Try telling legal/compliance "Big Whoop" that someone can nab your phone and read company email...

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You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes

David Austin

Re: Downvote bait

Better than nothing, and the fact it's turned on by default in Windows 8/8.1/10 has to have some level of positive impact on novice users that would otherwise just fire up the PC and not worry about security.

Still, you can and should do much better.

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David Austin

Re: "new memory related functions which are not fully compatible with Avast."

Microsoft (For the most part) do test patches against all the API's - Application programming interfaces - that a version of Windows supports. For the most part they do a reasonably good job, The idea being if your program follows all the guidelines for whatever OS it's on, Microsoft won't break your program - Think how many legacy programs designed for Windows 95 you can still run on Windows 10 without too many issues.

The problem being there's a lot of clever developers that find undocumented and unsupported ways to make their program work, which Microsoft have no way to know about, and can't test against. It's the same problem Apple fight on iOS: One of their arguments against Flash was that it would stop them making low level optimisations as Flash Abstraction would hide them, and they kerb stomp any developers that find "Working but Undocumented" calls, as they may change/disappear in future versions.

Without any insider info, I'd say it's an even split on weather Avast was using undocumented calls that the update changed, or if this was a genuine compatibility error between a low level program and the OS Software.

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Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec

David Austin

Impressivly non sexist

The quote as he (reportedly) said it:

“When you look at the appeal of Google Glass... would you wear it on a date?" he asked. "Probably not. And, if you did, you probably wouldn’t get a second date.”

Doesn't make any claims over which gender is which, or indeed, if they're the same gender - that part's totally out of the question, boiling it down to a logical yet complex argument of weather you should be using augmentation when trying to make someone your significant other.

Could have been very easy to turn this from a bit of business sniping, with a hint of deep thinking into the same old men/woman stereotypes. I'm fine with him saying that, as is.

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Adobe CSO offers Oracle security lesson: Go click-to-play

David Austin

I make flash run as Click to play

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashblock/

Less for security, but it saves so much memory and processor resources in Firefox's Plugin container - a much nicer web experience all around.

3
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Windows 10 feedback: 'Microsoft, please do a deal with Google to use its browser'

David Austin

Re: @AC - this is a TECHNICAL PREVIEW FFS

He may or may not know how to; The point is, he shouldn't need to

I understand why Firefox doesn't do GPO, but I don't agree with their decision, and think it does hurt their deployment number in the enterprise space.

2
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David Austin

Re: Stop. Just Stop.

Not an easy request Harry, but if you can be bothered to set it up fully, AppLocker in WhiteList mode may do the job: Only used it on Domain/Enterprise networks, but looks like it's there in Workgroup machines (Pro/Business editions only), if you want to try it:

http://esihere.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/step-by-step-guide-on-configuring-applocker-in-the-domain

It's a pain to use (Especially in Whitelist mode), but it's great for tightly controlled networks, and it gave great emergency protection against CryptoLocker & co. earlier this year.

0
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David Austin

Stop. Just Stop.

If you like Chrome - Great! Good for you - Happy you found something that works.

Me? I'm F'ing sick of everyone and everything cramming Chrome down my throat. I've tried it, It was all right, but I'm a fan of Firefox and my select group of Extensions and tweaks that match my workflow.

So many things try to stealth install Chrome: Google Earth? The default option is to install Chrome and make it the default browser (That last bit is the really obnoxious part). Same when you install Avast or Adobe Reader, both of which set it as default if you use the default options.

On the Enterprise side, Google will install and run without administrator rights, which is a clever trick, but it means the security and admin teams have to take special steps to control it's use, and if it gets installed in per user mode and made default (Again: Default behaviour), it can break other web functionality for all users (http://www.slipstick.com/problems/this-operation-has-been-cancelled-due-to-restrictions/)

The Google Homepage nudges you into using Chrome every so often, and that's besides the Web Developers who evangelise it - Understandable from their point of view, as most like new, shiney (and possibly unfinished) web standards, rather than the sysadmin's view of not breaking existing functionality, the end users view of UI stability, and the security team's view of validating and testing updates - for all but the web devs and the more technical end users, Firefox ESR or Internet Explorer are viable alternatives.

Here's a fun experiment: Go and talk to your non tecchie friends, see how many of them have Chrome (or the "Shiny multicoloured ball") installed on their PC, and how many of them say "It just turned up one day - I don't know where it came from" - I bet that group make up a non-trivial amount of Chrome's meteoric rise up the browser usage percentage - If Microsoft pushed and bundled that hard, they'd probably be talk of anti-trust by now.

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EE TV: Network snubs 'Auntie's antique' for mobe-happy set-top box

David Austin

Has potential

Nothing special for the version 1 product.

Now, add Slingbox-esque functionality that can punt it out to four family member's phones and tablets while they're out and about, and suddennly, they may be on to something...

1
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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 SHUNNED by refusenik fanbois

David Austin

Still not bad

Most companies would kill for those adoption rates on their upgrade march.

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Report: HP to SPLIT OFF PC, printer biz from enterprise wing

David Austin

Oh Dear...

Hope it goes better than the last time they threatened to spin out the PC Business: 30%+ off the share price, and CEO gone within a month.

Still have a shrewd suspicion that HP and Nokia got drunk one night in 2012, and dared each other which one could commit corporate suicide the quickest...

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Microsoft vs the long arm of US law: Straight outta Dublin

David Austin

Non US Cloud partners

OK, then, Hive Mind:

If you wanna chose the option of not dealing with a cloud company with a US office or HQ... what are the options?

A quick bit of Google-fu didn't bring much up, so let's throw some names around - I'd expect them to be screaming "No US Presence whatsoever!" at the rafters, but there didn't seem to be much.

A possible future review/comparison article, El Reg?

2
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I sold 10 MILLION iPhone 6es at the weekend, says Tim Cook. What did you do?

David Austin

Re: Please, Please, Please

I'm on a Samsung S4 mini, but even in that range, the S3, S4, and S5 mini are all progressively bigger, to the point where the S5 mini is about the same size as a normal iPhone 4/4S.

All the phones seem to keep getting bigger, and I'm just worried we're going to all end up looking like Dom Joly by 2017.

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