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* Posts by Captain Underpants

716 posts • joined 24 Jul 2009

'We are screwed!' Fonts eat a bullet in Microsoft security patch

Captain Underpants
Meh

Good job on the puns, less so on the Obligatory Anti-Windows Bollockery front. Must try harder.

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Dragons' Den badboy's biz Expansys is soaked in red

Captain Underpants
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I used to be cautiously willing to use them if they had what I wanted within ~15% of what I'd consider reasonable. That pricing never happened though - any time they had what I was looking for, the price was at least 25% higher than some other vendor in whom I'd place equal or greater trust. Given the tales of spam avalanches from other commenters, I'm glad I refrained from doing so now (and for more reasons than just the dirty feeling you'd get from contributing to that arrogant pillock's business...)

Sucks for the people who work there, though. Not their fault the company's apparently wedded to a shit business model :(

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Apple confirms Amazon ebooks bendover, EU watchdog drops bone

Captain Underpants

Re: Wow

@Spencer

+1, there have been several very decent and balanced pieces from Andrew lately which I greatly enjoy - when he's not tweaking our noses he's got good insight and almost always finds an interesting angle.

I do wonder how many people opened this article, register his name as the author, get prepared to foam at the mouth, and then paused in confusion when they couldn't find any obvious commentard-bait :D

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Stephen Hawking pushes for posthumous pardon for Alan Turing

Captain Underpants

Re: Hear, hear!

@AceRimmer

True. But frankly, his life and untimely death was recent enough that I dislike the idea of saying "Well, different times, innit? Who are we to judge?" It was stupid and backwards legislation and thankfully we're slowly moving away from that stance as a culture, and acknowledging that stupid and backwards legislation drove a national hero to kill himself when instead he should've been hailed as one of the greatest Britons in history could, if nothing else, help to underscore that social movement.

I don't wish to whitewash the past - but eliminating a bullshit conviction from someone's record hardly whitewashes the culture of the time; if anything it passes harsh judgement on it by specifically stating that the conviction was based on crap judgement derived from crap laws. "It shouldn't have been a crime and he should've been treated like the hero and genius he was, not like a deviant or a criminal that small-minded morons perceived him to be" is an adequate contemporary statement to make and entirely in keeping with the movement to remove similar convictions from the records of those whose lives are still being affected by it today.

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Captain Underpants
Facepalm

Re: Hear, hear!

@AC 13:57

Well, perhaps helping to remove the stigma of a discriminatory and stupid conviction that drove one of the greatest figures in computer science, who was a pivotal figure in helping the Allies secure victory in WWII, might help to show that the UK genuinely holds computer science and technology in high regard.

I agree that everyone else with such a conviction should have it struck from their record as well, but it's a stupid and backwards disgrace that a national hero in terms of both his efforts in WWII and his contribution to computing is still remembered at least partly as "that guy who committed suicide after being sent down for being gay".

Or are you going to try and claim that this is the one irrelevant notion being discussed by the otherwise furiously efficient UK.gov?

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Review: Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

Captain Underpants

Re: Slot-loading drives = worst invention ever?

@AC

I dunno, maybe because for a lot of things the cost and bandwidth of a couple of dozen DVDs through next-day-delivery post is faster than most broadband connections (and certainly so when you talk about USB 2 external media).

I'm asking for one very widespread and commonly used contemporary medium to be considered as standard, and you're telling me that because a couple of other different media (with different pros and cons) exist I should just lump it.

If I didn't believe that Apple have deprecated optical media to try and drive more traffic to their media content stores, I might be prepared to accept that the Horrendous Cost (oh, wait) of providing optical drives in their desktops was unreasonable. But trayloading optical drives cost the consumer about £10 at this point, so they'll cost Apple far less at volume purchasing rates. This whole "look at the sexy thin desktop" nonsense is a poor excuse for doing so, and I'd rather they at least be honest about why they want to get rid of the optical media interface on their machines even though most new releases across all popular entertainment media still see release on optical discs.

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Captain Underpants

Re: Fashion, really?

@Dana

If you're going to mock people's for having computers with stickers left on them, defending Apple (who supply FruitMachine logo stickers with their computers) is not necessarily the best position to take ;)

(I tend not to think about resale value when buying computers, because I will more often than not run them into the ground, upgrading as I go along, and repurpose them once they get replaced as a main machine, rather than sell them on. Having said that, resale value is a reasonable consideration for some usage patterns, and it's demonstrably the case that second hand Apple gear sells for higher prices than most other brands unless it's very obviously stolen gear...)

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Captain Underpants
Facepalm

Re: Not impressed with your review.

@Philip Lewis

As a sysadmin in a platform agnostic environment, I take issue with your assertion that Mac Airs or any mobile phone "almost never fail". That's pre-eminently bollocks. Portable computing devices (which at this point includes smartphones) may not have high failure rates, but they do fail - and while the highly portable kit may have design constraints which make user serviceability functionally impossible to deliver, there is nothing about the 12" laptop form factor that requires a non-user-replaceable battery or non-removable DIMMs. Or a proprietary SSD interface, for that matter. Those things emerge from the aesthetic decision to make the thing really really thin (it's possible to achieve comparable weight with slightly thicker, but more easily serviced and better-equipped systems). So, well, bollocks to 'em.

And yes, I'm still bitter about Apple's ridiculous decision to deprecate Gig-E wired networking because wireless is Teh Fuchar. Might be fine if all you do on your computer is dick around on the internet, but if you deal with transferring tens of gigs a day of data, or remote deployment of software packages that cumulatively are about 20GB in size, then half-assed 802.11g/n wireless doesn't cut it, not least because without huge investment in access points you end up with badly contended connections (in comparison with what you can achieve with existing wired-ethernet switch infrastructure).

I get the appeal for some users of the Computer As Appliance. I don't think it's a good idea, especially not at the prices and starting configurations that they're offering. (We're at best 12 months away of 8 GB RAM being the de facto minimum recommended memory in a system to have it run well for a 3 year lifespan).

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Captain Underpants
FAIL

Re: Slot-loading drives = worst invention ever?

@the-it-slayer

"Apple at least have the sense to deliver what the customer wants. "

What, you mean I can add a tray-loading optical drive to my new shiny if the 21.5" iMac is what I think I want? Great!.

...

Oh, wait.

Everyone I know who works in illustration or visual arts uses DVD as well as external hard drives for storing files. So yeah, this "oh, you don't need it, just use one of our wonderful USB superdrives (at about 5 times the cost of any other USB optical drive)" excuse is a bit weak.

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Captain Underpants
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Re: When are they going to stop?

@James Thomas

That sounds unconvincing to me. Personally, I have a probelm with the Apple insistence on using slot-loading skinny optical drives. On a bloody desktop of all things. Stick to a tray-loading drive and at least I can get the bugger open if it decides to die with a disc in it. But I suppose that doesn't fit the sexy paradigm.

I might believe Apple's rationale was down to the failure rate of optical drives if they'd mentioned it, rather than coming out with some condescending shite about how nobody uses DVDs or Blu-rays any more (even though every new film from American entertainment studios gets released on both physical formats within ~3 months of the theatrical release...). Don't mind me, I've just got a faulty RDF...

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Captain Underpants

Re: mechanical harddrive???

@loan

For other vendors you'd have a point, but methinks you haven't seen the ludicrous margins Apple are including in the uplift pricing from a mechanical drive to an SSD - and since being convinced about the merits of an SSD involves seeing one in action first, someone has to bite the bullet and pay for it before you'd be convinced.

(Personally I think they're great if you can afford them, and I will at some point pick one up for my desktop. But with Apple you pay waaaaaaay over the odds for an SSD, so I can see why many folks would view the cheaper mechanical drive as "good enough".)

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Captain Underpants

Re: Not impressed with your review. @ Captain Underpants

@Mccp

Sorry, should've been clearer on that one - the soldered-on DIMMs are the first thing that come to mind when I think of Apple's overall lifecycle planning and resultant greenness (things like the non-user-replaceable battery for specious reasons, non-replaceable DIMMs, moving towards gorillaglass screens with fused-on displays) rather than the specifics of this iMac. At least this one doesn't have soldered on memory, but having to remove the entire display to get at the DIMM slots is still pretty bloody stupid.

This device is far from their worst offender in the current lineup but it's also a notable move away from previous designs which made it straightforward to perform upgrades to user-replaceable parts...

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Captain Underpants
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Re: Not impressed with your review.

@DERK

If you're going to try and talk about "green credentials" and how green Apple are, perhaps you could explain how the Retina Display can be recycled when it's a display fused to a gorilla glass panel?

Thus far the only comments I've seen from other industry parties suggest that recycling such fused components is going to be a ballache. Same thing with repairing a motherboard with a faulty soldered-on DIMM - it may be doable, but it's not straightforward and the risk of nobbling the entire motherboard in the process is non-trivial.

I get that some people want to buy an appliance computer, and that's fair enough - you buy the tool for the job you want to do. However, Apple have been making some bad decisions lately, apparently in the pursuit of frontloaded consumer spending and built-in obsolescence to drive future sales, so I'm curious to see how the rest of the world responds to these issues.

That being said, I agree that Bob could've done more to check the grammar in his peice - I spotted several sentences where 1 or more words were missing, which is always frustrating.

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Captain Underpants

Re: When are they going to stop?

The stupid thing about the whole "OMG IT R SOO SEXY AND THIN" is that the desk footprint is unchanged, since you still have a whopping great stand underneath it to hold it up. The insistence on treating optical media as backwards and having all the ports hidden at the back where you can't get at them does make me wonder who they got to test this - one of the better things Dell monitors have had in recent years is a pair of USB ports on the side of the monitor, so that you can easily get at them. In an AIO system I expect that to be the usability logic for the optical drive, USB ports and SD card if it's present.

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Captain Underpants

Re: Not very "Green"

I'm more surprised at EPEAT allowing the new blatantly non-green ideas to get a gold rating (if a failed DIMM can cause the entire motherboard to be scrapped because it's soldered on, that's pretty fragging ungreen. And frankly I wouldn't trust a repair job that involves desoldering a DIMM, then resoldering a new one in its place - chances of knackering the board there are pretty substantial...).

On the other hand, I bet that the logic was something along the lines of "US government should not be prevented from buying computers from the most profitable US tech company", with EPEAT being suitably leaned on as a result.

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Samba 4 arrives with full Active Directory support

Captain Underpants

@Dr. Mouse: Sorry, should've been clearer.

I'm specifically thinking of the case where the domain runs entirely on Samba servers, with Windows present only on the client side. It'd be a lovely way of getting rid of the "authenticating user account/machine = need a CAL" tax, if you're not also using other services.

I'm in the process of sorting out our CAL requirements for a small domain, hence my interest. If I can save us having to fork out money needlessly, I'd be delighted :)

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Captain Underpants

Right, so let's get to the question that I'm not seeing asked.

Samba 4 lets you integrate with a domain, act as a domain controller, interface with Exchange etc.

So what happens if I set up a domain controller on eg Server 2K8, add in a bunch of other domain controllers using Samba 4, then remove the original Server 2K8 machine? Does it still work?

More importantly, if you're only using AD for authentication - what happens when it comes to CALs if you're using an AD running exclusively on Samba4 installs on non-Windows boxes? I suspect Microsoft's stance will be that you still need CALs on either a per-user or per-machine basis, but it's an interesting question to ask...

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Is 'activestor' Icahn circling sickly HP?

Captain Underpants

Re: When hi-tech is run like a corn-flakes company

@Jim:

I agree with the majority of your comment, though I do think that a substantial part of the problem that large companies have in capitalist economic models is the idea that profit growth is perpetually possible. Growth is only one of several factors that should be used to evaluate a company's performance, and beyond a certain size/turnover/profit expecting consistent growth as a % of last year's profit becomes silly.

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Use of eyecandy

Captain Underpants
Stop

Use of eyecandy

So it's hardly a new thing that El Reg articles sometimes decide to find an irrelevant picture of a pretty woman to use in the article, because apparently it shares some % of its publishing DNA with Loaded or something.

I've noticed recently that there's an increasing tendency towards not-really-SFW images being used in this category. Compare EEEPC-girl with the Godaddy blog ad girl, or the quite-possibly-naked-from-waist-down girl used in Alaistar Dabbs' most recent "Something For the Weekend?" column. The former is fine, the latter two are the sort of thing that will, at the very least, lead to raised eyebrows in all but the most casual (ie media) offices. At least stuff like that polish calendar is clearly tagged as being NSFW.

On a related note, modifying the use of picture links in the sidebar would also be appreciated, for much the same reasons.

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Take it or break it: the return of the drop test

Captain Underpants
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Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

@AC 14:05

It's not "showing leg", she's at best got a greyhound skirt on and at worst is wearing nowt from the waist down. Which, you know, is fine if its what you want to look at - but it's bog-all to do with the article and the kind of thing that's considered NSFW in many workplaces.

Nothing against the woman in question doing whatever she feels like doing in front of a camera - my objection is the use of her picture in an article where "tangential" is too generous a description of the connection between the two.

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Captain Underpants
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Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

A bloke in a similarly-irrelevant-to-the-claimed-context outfit, posed and dressed in such a way as to suggest that the undercarriage may be flapping in the breeze (but just about hidden from plain view) and with no real relevance to the article?

No, no, of course that would be completely different.

If you're going to defend randomly sticking photos of semi-naked women in articles allegedly about technology, at least be honest while doing so rather than using crap straw-man arguments. It makes you look less of a prat.

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Tim Cook’s 'One more thing': Apple TV rumor-stoker

Captain Underpants

If we're talking about Apple selling home TV displays, what I've seen of the Thunderbolt Displays isn't reassuring (non-removable interface cabling means that a defective cable = replacing the entire display! YAAAAAAAAAAY!).

If we're talking about Apple selling a media centre box, it depends on how they propose to enter the market. There are already countless competitors in both hardware product and service provision here, and differentiating themselves won't be as simple as "access everything in the iTunes store". Even "content can be shared to any authorised iDevice" isn't going to be a compelling USP, given that it's becoming the norm across various platforms.

If they've actually got some innovative ideas to bring out, then I look forward to seeing them. I'm not yet convinced that's the case though, given the general nonsense that's been at the heart of their most recent hardware changes...

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Revealed: ITU's deep packet snooping standard leaks online

Captain Underpants
Thumb Up

Re: "malicious traffic identification"

@Greem:

Thanks for the pointer to some interesting reading; always nice to learn something new :)

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Record €1.47 BEELLION EC fine for price-fixing display cartels

Captain Underpants
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Re: Woefully Inadequate Fines

@Destroy All Monsters:

Did you miss the bit about illegal collusion to maintain artificially high prices and agreeing to prevent the competition by rival suppliers and vendors that's key to a working free market?

I think you did. Because even if you think that legislation shouldn't exist to prevent such behaviour, arguing that someone shouldn't be punished for breaking such legislation when it is in force and known to them is a bit silly.

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Google's ethics, cosy UK.gov chats under Westminster scrutiny

Captain Underpants
Meh

Re: The internet does not do competition

@John

That's not a problem with competition though, that's a problem with the audience.

It's hardly Google's fault that nobody else has invested in the development and marketing (with the latter being key, these days) of a search engine to be getting even half the traffic Google get for search. The point, though, is that an alternative is literally 2 seconds of typing away - and frankly as long as that remains the case then your assertion that "the internet doesn't do competition" is a nonsense. It facilitates competition hugely - that does not preclude massive market dominance by one player.

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Captain Underpants

It should be noted that while I'm hardly one to be entirely happy with the conduct of Big Tech, I suspect they're ultimately no worse than the equally dodgy Big Media companies who lobby so hard for nonsense like the DEB, so frankly, anything that Big Tech gets done to it should be done at least as vigorously to Big Media and its lobbyists.

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Captain Underpants
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Re: The internet does not do competition

Err, no.

Even at a fundamental level, the internet *does* do competition.

The problem is not The Internet, the problem is The Human Desire To Minimise Hassle And Get Everything In One Place (Or Failing That As Few Places As Possible).

The Internet being an information distribution mechanism, it's natural to see that it is possible to use it as much as a way to provide services as goods (whether digital or tangible). Many, but not all of the companies you've named are service providers, but you make the utterly cack-handed assumption that services are free to provide. Just because they're ad-funded and free at point of use does not make them free to provide.

Bing Maps? Bing Search? Amazon/emusic/bandcamp music sales? Netflix/Lovefilm/Film4OD/CurzonOnDemand film streaming? LinkedIn/Bebo/Google+/Diaspora for social networking? Innumerable message boards and wikis for infosharing? Play/Zavvi/BookDepository/Waterstones for online shopping? Any of these ringing a bell? Or are they magically invisible just because they're not necessarily the first one to come to mind in the categories you mention?

If anything, the Internet facilitates competition by providing ease of accessibility for customers. Sure, making your name known's a bugger, but then it always has been.

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Captain Underpants
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"There's a view that intellectual property is a barrier to growth. That's a lie, and unfortunately one bought by influential people," he told the panel on Tuesday. Potential investors believe the UK "government hates copyright", according to Heath, who added that he too had witnessed "a bewildering ambivalence, if not hostility to copyright".

BOLLOCKS.

Intellectual Property legislation isn't some immutable thing, it's whatever we see fit to enact and enforce.

Rigidly enforced IP without FRAND type agreements and far-longer-than-realistic exclusivity periods are the problem here, not to mention certain high-profile companies in given areas who fail, resolutely, to pay any attention to changing consumer usage patterns.

Had he decided to get specific (eg complaining about how the orphan works proposals go too far in the opposite direction) that would be fine - but he didn't, he generalised and managed to effectively moan that in a world where the internet exists, UK.gov is not putting the genie back in the bottle.

Sadly, this piece appears, to me, to be a load of contrarian nonsense rather than a coherent argument. It is right to ask about any company that has lobby access to UK.gov, but to pretend that large media corps haven't, for years, been bending the ear of politicians to get their way is utter foolishness - and, coming from a well-informed scribe like Mr Orlowski, disingenuous foolishness to boot.

On top of which, it's all very well to say "Oh, but industry bods say it's the devil" - this would be the same industry that says piracy/downloads are killing them even while their profits from digital music sales keep climbing year on year, yes? And the same overall copyright system that even conservative think tanks view as flawed, as demonstrated in this story?

Yeah, this is clearly a story about how the Evil Tech Companies stomped all over those tiny powerless media companies. Observe while a large tributary spills from my lacrimal canal.

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Apple's new 'Assembled in USA' iMac a bear to upgrade, repair

Captain Underpants
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Re: fuss over nothing

@stu 4

apple have among the highest customer satisfaction rating* in the business.

It's funny you should mention "business", I judge support services provided by tech companies against the standards expected by business customers, not consumers. And, since Apple insist they're a high-end consumer tech company, that means Apple fare rather badly. You tell me why Apple are the only company retailing 13- and 15-inch high-end laptops who can't offer an upgrade to Next Day On-site Service and will, at best, give you either "whatever they can do in your nearest Apple Store" or "1-2 weeks CAR via one of our approved Service Centres". And that's before you bear in mind that one of Apple's approved 3rd party service centres has on more than one occasion lied to me about getting my approval for a hard drive swap leading to wasted hours to re-install the then-current version of OS X (machines shipped with Tiger, upgraded to Snow Leopard via employer, but after replacing a hard drive they claimed they could only reinstall the OS version supplied with the machine....)

Never mind Sony and their bollockery, their support crappiness means that they are, for example, verboten via Higher Education supply chains. On the other hand, if you were to consider Toshiba or Dell's business class offerings, you'd find machines that may not look as sexy as Apple's but which can be opened up easily for support, which can be purchased with at least a 3 year NBD onsite warranty (in Dell's case up to 5 years) and in certain cases where specific theft/accidental damage cover can be bought for very cheap with the machine (saving you having to claim on either business or home insurance and taking the subsequent kick in the premium come renewal time). I've opened up old EOL Macs before and they used to be reasonable, if not necessarily easy, machines to open up. Since the launch of the Retina models, they're going on a decidedly anti-consumer pro-appliance move which is entirely antithetical to either their function and Moore's law re: memory (storage and operating) but which they hope will shore up their bottom line.

And, you know, all of this is before we even mention things like the environmental impact of making unrepairable machines. A £1500+ machine that can be rendered useless and in need of replacement if a DIMM fails, where in any other machine that would be a replacement £30 component? Wonderful.

I suspect I'm not going to get past the flavour of the Kool-aid here, but I'm damned if I'll let utter nonsense like what you've posted above pass unchallenged.

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Captain Underpants

Re: fuss over nothing

How about this then?

I am glad you've had good experiences with Apple. That's not the norm, though, and since there's no functional advantage to be gained from making the bastard thing so difficult to open, there's no gain to the consumer (and no "oh look it's lovely and skinny" isn't a functional gain, it's at best an aesthetic gain).

Now, if I buy a Dell Dimension or whatever and for some reason have an attack of the Galloping Dumbass and forget everything I know about hardware and tinkering, I can either go to Dell or anyone else I like and get replacement parts for upgrades. I can get anyone I like to do the installation, on the understanding that if they fumble it I may void my warranty - but then installing stuff in most desktop chassis these days isn't all that hard.

If I buy one of these iMacs and want to upgrade anything, it's "pay Apple" or "no warranty". Which is bollocks. You can claim that Apple's prices are reasonable all you like, but it's documented by analysts that they have a profit margin of at least 25% on everything they sell, and even on the educational discount the prices they charge for SSDs are at least 200% (more like 350% for higher capacity) of any other vendor on the market. When insurance companies issuing replacement machines acknowledge that Apple charge ludicrous amounts for component upgrades like RAM, you know it's bad.

So I'm afraid I can't agree that your anecdotal evidence somehow trumps a documented and established trend of Apple, as a company, making sure that they charge as much as they possibly can for every step along the way.

I'm wary of recommending one brand for all - people's usage requirements vary faaaaar too much for that to be a good idea.

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Captain Underpants
Unhappy

Re: Standard iFixit drama

Stop being dense.

The problem here is that there is no functional benefit on a non-portable device like this to locking down access to the internals; the benefit to Apple is that by making it an absolute arse-ache to upgrade (and let's be clear here, this sounds more of a pain to get open than a15-year old consumer desktop chassis, and those things are bloody woeful) they can put consumers in a position of either frontloading their spending (with the usual Apple profit margin/price uplift) or having to pay someone else to do something that shouldn't require a third party.

So, in effect, you're paying them to give you a less useful machine than other vendors would supply. "Creating a third party ecosystem of hardware maintenance specialists who get to pay apple £5K/annum to be accredited Apple Technicians or whatever" isn't really something that most end users would consider a good thing, especially if it means they can't fix/upgrade their own stuff.

Don't let that stop you posting complete drivel, though...

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Captain Underpants
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Re: Easy

@AC 7:57

That's only of use to any bugger if your friend was allowed to supply the drive himself, rather than buy one at a substantial markup from Apple. Given their ludicrous pricing on SSD upgrades I wouldn't go holding my breath.

And no, on a desktop, I don't consider it reasonable to have to cock around this much to carry out a simple upgrade. More of Bad Apple showing here, trying to front-load the cost by making upgrades difficult or impossible :(

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Lovefilm does a Wii after rival gets loaded on new Nintendo

Captain Underpants

Re: Netflix and Loveflim

@AC 13:54

"Not everyone has the convenience of a store down the road or decent broadband."

Well, that's certainly true.

Why those people would be looking to a service that chiefly markets itself as a streaming-content-delivery service these days is beyond me, though. It's also hardly like Lovefilm's selection is so good (or price so compelling) that they'd be an insta-sell compared to any of a bunch of competitors - aside from anything else, if you like arthouse film or world cinema you'd probably be better off with something like cinemaparadiso.

As with virtually all tech, the big question is "what are you trying to do?", 'cos until you've answered that, there is by definition no answer to the question "what's the best way to do it?".

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Captain Underpants

Re: Netflix and Loveflim

@Barry Shitpeas:

If the best advantage of a streaming service you can suggest is that you can get the stuff sent out on physical media, it's a bit of a fail. Which, tbf, has always been Lovefilm's problem. If I wanted discs, I'd go to the surprisingly decent local DVD/Blu-Ray rental place down the road from me. Though if they've at least upped their game in the streaming stakes from the dreadful crap they used to offer at premium prices that would be something (£4 for streaming a crappy SD-res copy of a 5+year old film? Yeah, sure...)

For me, Netflix is a better bet because while it doesn't have the depth in a lot of film content, it does have a reasonable breadth of content - including lots of stuff I'd be idly curious about but unwilling to pay for specifically - and also a substantial amount of decent, current TV series. It depends on the viewer, of course - some people will already have watched it on Sky or torrents and not see any value - but for me there's enough I haven't seen that Netflix is worth it.

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New Tosh drive can wipe out 4TB 'near instantaneously'

Captain Underpants
Boffin

So how does near-instantaneous drive erasure work?

Is the whole drive encrypted with a key stored in the disk controller, with a one-way key deletion routine engaged when the Sanitize option is engaged? Is there some variation on this on a per-platter basis? Or is it something else?

I can see the potential usefulness for such a function, I'm just intrigued as to how it would work to be sufficiently fast and reliable.

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Belgian finds missus was born a MAN after 19 YEARS of marriage

Captain Underpants

Re: Indonesian...

@AC 08:17

Err...you're equating "stability" with "can be judged entirely on initial impressions" apparently.

If you want people to be stable, you probably want them not to be struggling with contradictory feelings, or with identity conflicts. Someone who feels that their gender and possibly sexual identity is substantially different to what they see in the mirror is, by definition, not going to be stable - they deal with a set of expectations from their peers and society based on their appearance rather than their true identity. Allowing them to express that identity externally would remove the conflict and allow them to create a more stable life for themselves.

You may not like change, but it's what every single person does all the time as they age and evolve, so you'd be better off learning to accept it.

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Captain Underpants

Re: Is this an Autobot or Decepticon Transgender

There is conflicting scientific information out there, I am looking at the biology of the situation and not the metaphysical or psychological aspects. May I suggest that you revise your working knowledge to deal with one point at a time. Otherwise we take this to the ridiculous - if you think you are a kettle does that make you a kettle?

There's conflicting scientific information out there, including a fair amount of research showing that simple binary models aren't particularly instructive for gender. Binary gender models don't account for what experimental evidence has shown us to be true of human sexuality, and are therefore not particularly useful in that regard - and since that's how most people try to apply chromosome-based tests ("Do you have a Y chromosome?") it seems sensible to me to not try and apply it.

If you want me to call you a kettle or a teaport or anything else, I'll go along with it. It's no skin off my nose if that's how you identify and present yourself to the world, and I've got no reason to disregard your sense of identity.

"You seem to expect that transgendered people should have to wear some sort of badge to indicate that they are Not Normal - why exactly do you have an issue with them being treated by their gender identity where this differs from their birth gender?"

Telling me how I think is a bit odd, you don't know me or know how I think. I have said that honesty is the most important thing. I would want to know if my partner was transgendered / murderer / apple user / so that I can make my own decision at the time. If you build a relationship on omission then you are not been honest. By getting offended at my honesty you are showing that you are not as tolerant as you think you are. Also, I have no issue with them, if you want to call yourself a teapot then great, but it doesn't actually make you a teapot. I guess this wouldn't ever be an issue if you was honest and upfront.

That's not what you appeared to be saying, on the basis of the following statements:

"If I found out my partner was a man then I would also be angry and hurt and upset."

" No, my partner would still be a man, no matter what their outward appearance is. This is not a case of if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck."

I think it's fair to take both those statements as assertions that you are roundly rejecting any self-identification aspect of an individual's gender identity and judging them based on their birth gender. Which, when dealing with adults in the context of sexual and gender identity, is not necessarily a helpful way to proceed. From my perspective, it's akin to judging as being an incontinent screaming tantrum because that's broadly speaking how they behaved shortly after they were born ;)

Don't get me wrong - I can understand that for someone with no exposure to transgendered issues or the trans world, finding out that someone with whom they'd started a relationship was transsexual might be a shock, and might involve learning a substantial amount about worldview-broadening things. In the specific case of finding out 19 years after that relationship started, I can understand being hurt at the secrecy. (Though given what Michelle and others have said upthread about the experience that post-op transsexuals have in being accepted under their new identity, I can see how circumstances might drive someone to keep the secret to themselves - even if we're both in agreement that honesty is a better policy for avoiding future issues).

Neither of those are specific to the person being transsexual, though - they are merely examples of how people react when someone or something proves to be very different to their expectations.

What I don't understand or see as justifiable is being angry at the person for what they are, which is where I took issue with your posts (or at least how I understood them). Gender identity and sexuality are not binary absolutes (see for example Kinsey's research), so trying to use those as absolute methods for categorising people seems futile to me; quite aside from which the insistence on telling someone, after the prolonged trauma and stress involved in first identifying and coming to terms with being trans, then deciding to go for the reassignment surgery, then going through counselling and hormone therapy, then building a new life and gender identity for themselves, that they were still a man strikes me as a combination of insensitivity, lack of compassion and lack of understanding of the actual issue at hand (gender identity & sexuality). I just don't see why it's an issue to say "this person looks like one thing, and was previously another thing, and biologically is probably somewhere in between, and you know what? Who frigging cares, I'll just treat 'em like a person, same as everyone else". What's the benefit in specifically having a mental category for "Woman who used to be a man but had surgery?" as separate from "woman"? (I chose that particular transition because culturally we don't seem to have as much of a problem with the other transition - I'm not sure if there's a clear reason for that or if it's the general "women can be gender benders and that's not threatening but the second a man does it there'll be hell to pay" phenomenon again...)

I suspect we're not going to find much common ground beyond "being honest is probably the best policy" (though I'd qualify that with "Unless it means you get a load of prejudiced bellendery from idiots as a result, in which case fuck 'em").

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Captain Underpants

Re: Is this an Autobot or Decepticon Transgender

@ukgnome

I don't particularly believe that you have any entitlement to a view that's founded on ignorance of the relevant facts, and as can be seen by the various challenges to your assertions about chromosomes, the facts are not on your side here.

In the specific case here where:

a) it appears infidelity was a substantial factor, and

b) the truth emerged after 19 years

then I can understand being hurt and angry at having a secret kept from you for that long, and especially being hurt and angry over having your partner's infidelity. The specifics of the secret are irrelevant, and we can see this in the fact that Jan's partner is a post-op transsexual yet 19 years they were apparently happily married and had a normal sex life. In terms of his wife's gender identity, the only thing that has changed is that in Jan's head, his wife is now apparently a man in drag - while in reality she is every bit as much a woman now as she was for the 19 years where he was happily married to (and presumably having sex with) her. Therefore, the issue at hand is whether Jan can reconcile the reality of his wife's gender identity (with the history that entails) or whether the discrepancy between that reality and the simpler model he is accustomed to is more than he can accept and he has to abandon the relationship.

I'll reiterate, again, the point you don't seem to understand - various experiment-based scientific disciplines such as neurobiology, neurochemistry and macroscale biology have shown, over the last century or so, that sexuality and identity in humans are manifestly not simple binary functions. This explains the consistent presence of homosexual individuals of both genders, the existence of transgendered individuals and the existence of conditions like Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. I have generally found that I fare better in the world when I am able to revise my working model of things to match up with experimental data - hence my suggestion that you revise your working model to acknowledge these conditions and realities.

You seem to expect that transgendered people should have to wear some sort of badge to indicate that they are Not Normal - why exactly do you have an issue with them being treated by their gender identity where this differs from their birth gender?

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Captain Underpants
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Re: Is this an Autobot or Decepticon Transgender

@ukgnome

"But for some men this doesn't change the fact that their partner has an X and a Y chromosome, if this hasn't been disclosed then you have every right to be very pissed off.

Try to leave emotion out of debates like this as it has clouded your scientific minds."

Anger is an emotional response to someone being different or more complex than might be suggested by their experience. The rational human approach is to understand when their initial reaction to a development might be angry, or fearful, and to rein in that reaction and give it due consideration.

For the general case of "bloke's partner discloses, once they are past the early stages of dating and have feelings as well as an established sexual relationship, that she is a post-op transsexual", self-righteous anger is not a justifiable reaction, not really. To be honest, it sounds broadly the same as a white bloke getting self-righteously angry at a white partner who told you she'd previously had a black partner (except that of course, since this example makes it clear that only a racist bloke would do this, and You're Not Racist, It's Just That It's Totally Different With Trans People Because You Can't Tell By Looking At Them). The angry reaction is one I'd expect in people who've never felt comfortable giving any thought to their sexuality or contemplating that they might not be 100% Super Straight, because the Idiot Logic at play is that somehow, despite going to bed with a self-identified female who had all the right bits, the Lingering Ghost of Male Danglies was hovering over them, waiting for the ideal moment to pounce and Make Them Gay. That special kind of gay man who fancies women and has sex with women, you know.

You're bringing emotion into play by justifying and defending angry, defensive, fearful reactions from people with limited understanding of the human condition as it relates to identity and sexuality. A bunch of us are trying to explain, by pointing to various areas of science that are relevant, that humanity is a more varied and interesting species than your limited model allows for, and that therefore the best way to approach the world is to rethink your basic principles and adopt a more flexible model. Do try and keep up.

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Captain Underpants
Unhappy

Just realised something even more pathetic than Lester's choice of tone for the article, from the "similar articles" list at the bottom:

11 years ago El Reg ran an article similar in tone by Kieran McCarthy and Lester himself published the mailbag article in which someone pointed out that mocking transsexuals wasn't cool then either. (See here).

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Captain Underpants
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@AC 11:29

RE: Domestic abuse. From the husband's own comments as quoted in the article: "That evening came to blows. The police came."

@El_Fev

" My god are flesh crawingly awful! I bet if it happened to you, you wouldn't be so PC about it!"

I'm pretty sure that if my partner were to confess to me that she was born biologically male but had gender reassignment surgery after realising that she identified as female, it would neither magically invalidate the bond and history we share nor would it somehow go back in time and retroactively wreck our sex life.

Try reminding yourself that trans people are people first, trans second, and exercise some compassion. Trans people, like anyone who doesn't conform to society's views of what is normal and/or normative, are forced to put up with enough prejudice and total bullshit on a regular basis without the usual Dude Problems Representative turning up to explain how the real problem is that they almost had to confront some part of their own complex sexuality over which they're in denial. The world is a wonderfully diverse and complicated place. Stop trying to make it conform to some infantile and reductive model you've got just because you're scared of things that are Different To What You Know.

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Captain Underpants
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Re: Is this an Autobot or Decepticon Transgender

@ukgnome + El_Fev

Do some reading on gender identity and conditions like Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and try very very hard to realise that the world is more diverse and complicated than is allowed for in the reductive model you had inculcated into you as a five-year-old, and perhaps you can understand why "what bits I had between my thighs at birth" or "do I have a Y chromosome" are not particularly good ways of understanding someone's gender identity.

Alternatively, accept that it's your problem of being unable to deal with gender identity that is the issue here, not the existence of trans individuals.

TL, DR: The problem is not trans people, the problem is you thinking like a bellend.

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Captain Underpants
Meh

Re: Is this an Autobot or Decepticon Transgender

@ukgnome

"If I found out my partner was a man then I would also be angry and hurt and upset."

It may help to stop for a second, ensure you've engaged your brain and try thinking about it again.

1) You wouldn't be "finding out your partner was a man", you would be finding out that your partner was at birth biologically male and subsequently had gender reassignment surgery as she identified as female. "Finding out your partner was a man" suggests some sort of ridiculous contrivance involving having the Male Danglies tucked away just so, rather than actual surgery and possibly counselling to try and understand what's happening.

2) The issue here appears (despite Lester's choice of focus in the article) to be that the discovery happened through the husband discovering that his wife was cheating on him. I would imagine that the bigger shock, and more likely cause for ending the marriage, is the infidelity - but there are many who simply cannot get past infantile and simplistic notions of biology and gender identity to reconcile the person they fell in love with and married with the imaginary person they now imagine that partner to have originally been.

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Captain Underpants
Happy

Re: As a post op...

@Michelle:

I agree overall, but I think the issue that's done for them is more general - ie if you keep secrets from your partner about significant aspects of your past, they may well bite you on the arse later on. Whether the secret is "I'm a post op transexxual", "I'm separated and it was a nasty split", "I've got kids" or something else again doesn't really matter - the key is being honest with the person who shares your life about the events that have had an impact on your life.

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Captain Underpants

Re: Eh?

Glad I'm not the only one who thought so.

By my money, this is a story about someone who can't see beyond an aspect of their partner's past even though it has never been an issue, and has seen their relationship collapse as a result. Whether it's an unconscious internalisation of the wider societal prejudice against transsexuals or something more pronounced isn't clear from the article, but it's also kind of irrelevant to the end result - which is a pretty sad situation for both parties.

It's Lester, so the lack of IT Angle kind of goes with the territory. It'd be good if he could also have managed "not coming across as a prejudiced bellend" though...

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Captain Underpants
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It's disappointing to see El Reg joining in the retrograde childishness that is pointing at people who've had gender reassignment surgery and saying "EWW!" Because, you know, it's a fair bet that anyone who's undergone gender reassignment surgery has had more than enough that judgmental bollocks already and could probably do without.

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'Brit Bill Gates' defends his honour in open letter to HP board

Captain Underpants

I like the idea that it's entirely Autonomy to blame and that in no way does HP's due diligence process (whether in-house or farmed out to a consultancy) have any blame to carry. Of course they'll claim that for legal purposes, but it's going to be interesting to see how they defend it.

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Pirate cops bust LITTLE GIRL, take her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop

Captain Underpants
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Re: Err...

Well, when it gets to the point where state broadcaster's news services are reporting on it, it's reasonable to assume that either:

a) there's some sort of factual basis for the story, or

b) someone at said broadcaster will soon be making an embarassed apology for publishing something without doing any fact-checking.

I notice you're not actually giving any compelling evidence against the story being true, other than your own personal "smells like bollocks" sense, which is hardly an objective metric.

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Just bought an Apple product? Need support NOW? Drop an F-BOMB

Captain Underpants

Re: It pays to be nice

@Darkwolf:

You show me where I can get a replacement motherboard or CPU for a decent Toshiba Portege 13" laptop (betwen 2 and 3 years old, purchase cost of ~£1000) for less than the £130 that the 3 year NBD onsite support warranty will cost, and then I'll believe you.

The problem you describe only really applies to consumer-class machines. Buy business-oriented machines and not only do you get better build quality, you also get support worth a damn. (You need to know what companies you're dealing with, however, but that goes as much for support as for initial product choice).

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Captain Underpants

Re: But but but... They're the same number!

@Whitespace:

Cheers! Had never copped to that, will check it out. If true, it explains why it's not a core KACE feature and solves the problem of not having checked it for a given machine :)

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