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* Posts by Captain Underpants

716 posts • joined 24 Jul 2009

Don't touch Sony, Panasonic's junk, says credit agency

Captain Underpants

Re: Your loss then,

@asdf:

I mostly agree with you.

The only point I'd actually defend Sony on at all relates to their phones, but then I've only ever used the ones they produced in partnership with Ericsson and I reckon it's primarily Ericsson's work that led to them being so good. I also grudgingly respect the fact that Sony will provide bootloader unlock codes (rather than forcing you to find an exploit allowing you to unlock it with some other method) at http://unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com/instructions.

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BOFH: The Great Patch Mismatch

Captain Underpants
Thumb Up

Re: This brings me happy memories

@Nigel

You learn something new every day, and usually thanks to good folk like yourself willing to share knowledge. Cheers for an interesting read! :)

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Captain Underpants

Re: Don't talk to me about...

Not as bad as having a racked APC UPS with what looks like a serial port on the back that's magically wired such that if you dont use the special APC cable and instead use, I dunno, any other bloody serial cable, you trigger an immediate shutdown of the UPS because they've done something bloody stupid with their NotASerialPort and helpfully decided not to put any warning stickers near said port...

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

Captain Underpants

Apple's support line in the UK has recently moved over to a Siri-like "make you talk at it every time" system rather than the old, faster "press buttons from a preset menu that you can memorise and bypass, then give your serial number to the person who takes your call" system.

It's "better" in the same way that Dell's new "improved" Enterprise support line now requires the Express service Code and still doesn't pass that information onto whatever person gets your call. (Said requirement is made better still by the fact that the now-Dell-badged KACE system can query the BIOS for the Service Tag but - you guessed it- not the Express Service Code.... ah, fun times).

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

Captain Underpants

Re: Sad

@AC 14:08

Nope.

She was attempting to download using a torrent.

1) The fact that it's described as an attempt which was followed up by buying it legitimately the next day says it failed, and

2) Until they've released some quite detailed logs showing otherwise, there's no proof she uploaded anything. (Who's to say her torrent client wasn't configured for leech mode - ie downloads will be slow as hell but the uploading aspect is effectively negiligible?)

Either we're missing details from the story here or Finland has a keen interest in joining the Top Three in the Big Book Of Bastards category for Disproportionate Responses, Subsection: Copyright Infringement.

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Google to UN: Internet FREEDOM IS FREE, and must remain so

Captain Underpants

Re: To be fair, at least one point they make is valid

@Peter2:

Well, except no.

The users have paid for their bandwidth. The Beeb has paid for its bandwidth, more than likely via peering partners (they already had huge sprawling web presence with vast amounts of stream-on-demand news video content, so it wasn't like they were some 2-bit blog site until iPlayer showed up). The problem that iPlayer highlighted was that ISPs were (and still) are selling bandwidth on an asymmetrical distribution model which they can only really provide by enforcing contention ratios - which means that when they are then the conduit for decentralised services (either P2P stuff like the iPlayer desktop client which IIRC uses the Kontiki client or streaming services like iPlayer, Netflix etc) their customers find the service can quite quickly degrade to Status: Brown.

If the problem is that an entire sector of communications providers have all failed to actually sell products they can provide and instead rely on an unpublicised market condition remaining prevalent despite changing usage patterns, then I fail to see how it's anyone else's fault that those changing patterns bit them in the arse. They wouldn't ever have had the balls to go after a private corporate doing similar things, because they knew they'd be invited to court and asked to explain why exactly they were talking complete bollocks with felonious bellendery aforethough: whereas given the number of folks in power who have an axe to grind against the Beeb, going against them was a much safer bet (even though the general public would respond badly when they eventually realised that a win for the ISPs would mean an increase in the TV licence cost without a corresponding decrease in their monthly broadband costs).

TL, DR: Err, no.

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Captain Underpants
Meh

To be fair, at least one point they make is valid

Look at all the ISPs in the UK who tried to make the Beeb pay twice for bandwidth when iPlayer launched and was hugely popular. Did the ISPs plan for this, or make efforts to mitigate the added impact on their networks that would come with such a service? Or did they just rely on being able to sell ever-higher-bandwidth network connections whose ability to provide said bandwidth was predicated on almost no bugger ever using the damn things?

I'm still glad we avoided the Beeb having to pay twice for their bandwidth (since it'd come out of our pockets anyway) but there are a number of pillocks out there who would like to say "Google/Facebook/$COMPANY got money, we should totally charge them for the privilege of offering their services in our country" (and effectively drive them out of said country, because really, balls to that). There's no real justification for this - even the capital expenditure required for developing infrastructure shouldn't have to be paid for by external companies, it should be funded internally by the service providers operating in the country. And where they start with Google or Facebook they'll quickly move to use the same tech to limit access to news services and all the rest.

So yeah, I'm sure Google have their own agenda, but that doesn't mean you can automatically dismiss their opinions. I'd much rather people took 'em to task over what they said. (For example, I strongly disagree with them over who should have a voice at the ITU - if they want their company to be represented, then they can damn well encourage all their staff to lobby their elected representatives and get representation the same way us plebs have to do it. I'm sick of this nonsense whereby companies that bring in more than X amount of cash get special representation)

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Fanbois: The Next Generation. YOUR CHILDREN belong to Apple now

Captain Underpants
Happy

Re: RE: "Hey, Santa Claus, you ****, where's me ****ing iPad?"

@Arctic Fox:

If you haven't already done so, go and look up Kevin Bloody Wilson's discography, you're in for at least one treat :)

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The Z-Factor: Meet the Simon Cowell of Linux

Captain Underpants
Unhappy

*Sigh*

Yeah, Red Hat's legacy technology, which is why they've got an actual revenue stream from enterprise customers as well as a community-supported freebie version where all the bleeding-edge dev work goes, which gets updated every 6 months.

It's sad to see someone attempt to be a Linux advocate by crapping on other mainstream and commercially viable strains of Linux.

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Nintendo downplays Wii U 'hidden control panel' hack fears

Captain Underpants

Re: Missed out the word "potentially".

"Worthwhile" is not the point, though, is it? Just because it's not something that can immediately and obviously be exploited by someone with malicious intent doesn't mean it's not personal data.

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Republicans deny Hollywood pressure to pull copyright proposal

Captain Underpants

I have only one question:

Has anyone shown this to Mr Orlowski? I'm genuinely curious to see what he makes of it, especially since a lot of the issues described here also substantially apply to the USPTO.

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Android-loving suits boot BlackBerrys into 3rd place in the office

Captain Underpants
Meh

Re: BYOD Policy

@tirk

I don't know about embracing all new technologies, that sounds a bit too much like change for its own sake.

Any business or corporate environment is focused on productivity. Everything, from the admin procedures to the technology deployed, is about enabling or improving productivity.

If users can show that there's a demonstrable boost to productivity by having a BYOD policy (that doesn't also expose the company to ancillary problems) then that's a clear argument for bringing it in. A large part of the issue with BYOD policies is that they seem to be treated as self-evident truths, when that is not the case.

For instance:

it might be the case that allowing an employee to use their own machine improves their productivity because they have better computers/a better system environment for working. Or it might be that the people using their own machines are working more hours, but not really counting the extra hour or so per day that they do at home because they're on their own computer, at home, and they also browse Facebook/play games/watch iPlayer at the same time so it doesn't really feel like work.

Similarly, it might be the case that allowing someone to use their personal laptop for work rather than making them use a work desktop lets them work on the road more easily and be more productive re: client visits, etc. Or, it might be that they have a shiny laptop with no warranty and a load of piratey software on it that they use for work purposes and then land the company in hot water with because The BSA Sues Them For Using Piratey Software For Work/The Hard Drive Dies And They Hadn't Backed Up Any Of Their Work/Their Home Browsing Habits Lead To An Inopportune Image On Screen During A Client Presentation.

I don't have an answer here; but I do think that before deciding whether a technology is a good idea or not you have to identify an implementation plan and test it to evaluate its effect on productivity. Anything else is bad business management.

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Finally - a solution to let people make money online WITHOUT ads?

Captain Underpants

I must say this was informative and less rhetoric-laden than many Orlowski pieces on this subject.

That being said, it's verging on disingenuous to suggest that only churlish fools have a problem with the behaviour of rightsholders - I'm delighted to hear that sanity has, more or less, started to prevail. But rightsholders are hardly saints with nary a sin to their name - they count amongst their number the fools who wanted piano rolls banned because they threatened the livelihood of musicians who played live; the twits who keep demanding extension to the duration of copyright (which is fundamentally against the principle of copyright; the point was supposed to be that they get protected sole rights of exploitation in exchange for the work eventually going into the public domain - constant extensions give them protected sole rights while removing their contributions to the public domain, which IMO is not particularly fair), and the twits who insisted that home taping/VHS taping/MP3 downloading is KILLING MUSIC/FILM (only to realise that when someone approached it with a sensible free-market perspective, it turns out there was a load of money to be made).

Rightsholders aren't the entire problem, but they're definitely part of it. But as I say, the main thing I take away from this is satisfaction that everyone involved is, it appears, willing to start getting on with a more sensible approach to solving the problem rather than being silly about it as they have been so far.

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What happened to comics for kids? Hell, what happened to COMICS?

Captain Underpants

Re: "No mention of Hellblazer or Sandman?"

To be fair, Hellblazer and Sandman are both titles which established DC's ability publish quality mature-audience material (rather than infantile material with added Boobs, Swears and Gore) and which in turn prompted many a "BIFF! POW! WHAM! COMICS AREN'T JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE"-titled load of condescending nonsense from non-comics-oriented publications about the sudden onset of maturity in a medium "for kids" (that of course managed to ignore things like Eisner's The Spirit or A Contract With God, or Windsor McCay's Little Nemo, or essentially all of the US underground alt comix stuff, not to mention tons of FrancoBelgian or Japanese stuff).

In an article decrying the perceived move of "comics" away from their "intended" kiddy audience, mentioning some of the most highly-acclaimed titles of the time that helped not only cement that move but also heralded the idea of British Writers = Next Big Thing In Comics would have made sense...

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Captain Underpants
Happy

Re: The Phoenix is Rising

I mentioned it more than once, and I agree that it's bloody great :)

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Captain Underpants
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Re: Oh, how the ghost of you clings

Upvoted for the choice of title - it threw me for a second, and then brought a smile to my face when I placed it :)

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Captain Underpants

Re: Engaging comic-book-guy mode....

@dogged

You're welcome :) It's not often that my knowledge of comics is actually put to any use (every now and then it comes up in a pub quiz context, but that's about it) so it's nice for it to be of some relevance to a conversation now and then. The history of comics is generally a lot more interesting than the in-story histories of the characters that are most widely known - and the history of comics involves a lot more villainy too, of a sometimes very ingenious sort; for example - I've read about one publisher in the 30s in the US who cut a deal with an organised crime syndicate to get cheap paper in exchange of letting them use the paper deliveries as a distribution network for their moonshine operation. And that's before you get to Smilin' Stan Lee vs Steve Ditko or Jack Kirby, or Bob Kane vs Bill Finger, or Marvel's "signing this check in order to draw your pay constitutes entering into an additional contract with the publisher wherein you waive any and all rights you might have had to either the physical copy of the work submitted or the ideas and contents featured therein" policy, or the "no royalties on foreign republications" deals...

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Captain Underpants
Happy

Re: Dying on its arse

@Smallbrainfield

I grew up in Spain, and one of the things I found hilarious is that in Spain, in the 80s, a very obvious result of the death of Franco was a positive rejoicing in all the decidedly immodest things that had effectively been banned under his dictatorship. This meant that there was porn in all sorts of places, and indeed until a year or two ago there were still at least two monthly mainstream (ie sold in newsagents) porn comics published regularly. I think one of them has since gone bust. There were also lots of european hardcore porn comics on sale all over the place, which meant that younglings looking for comics in less-than-discerning/organised newsagents often found that beneath the latest issue of Wolverine or Mortadelo y Filemon was a very graphic eyeful.

(That still doesn't beat the experience I had a couple of years ago on a trip to Bruges, where I popped into a great comic shop whose name I forget - in one room they had a row of shelves on the floor full of hardcover books which I assumed to be nice and expensive republished collections of old comics. So far, so good - what I wasn't expecting was the eye-wateringly-graphic nature of the porny content featured in all of them. Presumably they were on the floor to avoid straining shelves with the weight, but it still makes me laugh that they put the porn below everything else...)

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Captain Underpants
Unhappy

Re: Dying on its arse

@David Evans:

The problem you're talking about is that anglophone comics publishers have for some reason ignored Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap from any given perspective) and decided to stick almost all their eggs in one or, at best, two genre baskets. They also didn't consider that, if each of the bigger of those publishers are publishing over a hundred issues every month, then they would quickly hit a point where they've published so much that they start re-treading old ground. Especially when they need to keep the same characters/sets of intellectual property prevalent for merchandising purposes.

It also doesn't help that Forbidden Planet is a god-awful tat-bazaar modelled on US specialist shops selling collector-oriented shiteware rather than comics. Go to Orbital or Gosh! instead, they're much better at selling actual comics.

Image are doing some great stuff lately (Who Is Jake Ellis, Strange Talent of Luther Strode, Saga, and Prophet for a few examples), as are Dark Horse, and if you look to the likes of Cinebooks you can get English-language translations of a good selection of Franco-Belgian stuff. Viz Media do a whole load of translated manga and manwha too.

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Captain Underpants
Happy

Engaging comic-book-guy mode....

I get that, since El Reg is a mainly-tech-focused site, you have to write that piece with someone who knows little or nothing about comics in mind, but it would help if you didn't, along the way, ignore various massively important factors in the comics marketplace.

For example - the issues you talk about here affect only the anglophone comic marketplace. Go take a look at the FrancoBelgian, Spanish or Italian markets and you'll see a different picture. Even more so in Korea or Japan (ignore the whole "manga"/"manwha" thing, they are all collectively comics).

Factors that have screwed over anglophone comics:

1) in the 50s, in the US, Fredric Wertham's "Seduction Of The Innocent" - this preposterous load of old bollocks lead to the effective dominance of the superhero genre by killing off then-massively-popular horror and crime comics on the basis that they were a bad influence on children (and clearly comics are only for children, despite their origins being rooted at least partially in mainstream newspapers aimed at all ages).

2) shortly afterwards, the UK government had a similarly-themed moral panic and passed similarly-daft legislation banning the distribution of US comics, which had a massively beneficial effect on UK comics.

3) fast-forward around 20 years and television starts to kick the crap out of comics in the UK, as kids begin to lose interest. TV-themed comics are the response, and they hold off the inevitable doom for a while longer.

4) In the US, the same thing is happening; all the exciting and interesting stuff is happening in underground counterculture stuff (Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, etc). Anti-drug legislation shuts down headshops, killing off distribution channels for underground comics, but the industry sees a bit of growth in non-superhero comics.

5) A move towards more-action oriented comics happens in the late 70s and early 80s in the UK, showing two contrasting responses - in the UK, a number of publishers are growing up who want to push creative boundaries, leading to the likes of Warrior, Deadline, Crisis and more - these comics being intended to exist with entirely separate audiences to long-term stalwarts like the Dandy or Beano. Conversely, in the US, the rise of the Direct Market model (whereby comic specialist shops are the "customers" as far as the publishers are concerned, and all good comics feature superheroes) led to an increasing tendency to try and catch trends. See for example the effect that the release of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns in 1986 had (every superhero going was now being reinvented as a dark, grim and gritty character). Eastman & Laird's release of TMNT as an independent comic was another high-profile creator-oriented comics title, alongside the positively loopy Dave Sim's Cerebus, that established a merit to publishing outside of the generally-conservative US publishers.

6) A bit more background here - the Direct Market in general is predicated in part on the notion that comic shops can operate at a profit by selling back issues at a markup (see every news story ever about an issue of Action Comics #1 or Tales of Suspense #15 selling for stupidly large sums of money). US publishers were targeting collecting-oriented readers, occasionally playing silly buggers with things like sprawling stories that crossed over into other titles (the notion being to encourage collectors to buy things they wouldn't ordinarily read to get "the full story") or variant covers (again, encouraging multiple purchases to get "a full set"). This peaked in the 90s with the Marvel of the time (who was, corporately speaking, a different entity to the Marvel of today, who in a lot of ways is different enough to share only the name and legal ownership rights with the 90s iteration) gaming the market hugely with a frankly daft preponderance of variant covers of "New instant-collector-item issue 1" titles for comics like X-Men. They massively saturated the market with crap, and a whole load of barely-competent comic shop retailers took an enormous bath in the resultant collapse of the collector market. There are numerous accounts of UK specialist retailers being wiped out in this way, so it wasn't just a US issue.

7) Fast forward to 2012 in the UK when the Dandy, after several attempts to reinvigorate itself, finally announced that it was ceasing paper publication (but likely continuing to exist in digital only form). Meanwhile UK newsagents still carry the Beano, Simpsons comics, Transformers magazine (including comics) and several other kid-oriented comics on a weekly or fortnightly business. There's also the Phoenix, which has hands down the strongest creative team I've seen on a kid-oriented comic.

The reason I mention all of this is that the article berates an entirely non-existent "adultification of comics", which is incorrect. In some markets (particularly the anglophone one), some publishers (particularly Marvel & DC) decided to focus on what they call "mature" audiences - though in doing so frequently they were actually targeting adolescent audiences who wanted Naughty Things like Boobs, Swearing and Violence in their comics. Some of them also published genuinely mature comics - Sandman and Hellblazer spring to mind as titles which ticked all the Naughty Things boxes but managed to tell nuanced & sophisticated stories with magnificent art at the same time. Kids comics have struggled to retain the interest of their audience in the face of more interactive entertainment, but they still exist.

The fact that when you go into a heavily US-comics-oriented comic shop, you are confronted with product aimed at the US comics marketplace is more a commentary on the relative profitability of the ever-dwindling adult collecting-oriented US comics fan who has the money and willingness to spend it on what amounts, these days, to 32-page pamphlets featuring 10-14 pages of adverts and a cover price of just shy of £3. That is not a problem with All Of Comics - it's a problem with the part of the market you've chosen to examine.

If you want to look at modern UK comics publishers aiming at kids, look at the likes of the Phoenix or the Thought Bubble Anthology (published by the organisers of the annual Leeds-based Thought Bubble Festival). Go and check out the ComICA festival, including their comics mart, the Comiket. Take a look at the magnificent books being published (on real paper, no less) by the likes of Nobrow Press. And for Christ's sake don't bother with the over-rated tat-bazaar that is Forbidden Planet, and instead get yourself along to either Orbital or Gosh! Comics, both of which are great shops that carry a wide range of material.

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Sex offenders need internet access, judge rules

Captain Underpants
Thumb Down

Re: Terrorists

@Both ACs:

Yeah, because I'm sure that, after managing to get a conviction for terrorist activity which still allows the convict some computer access, UK plod (or more importantly MI5 & MI6, and related agencies) wouldn't think to do anything that might help then log the system usage and monitor for anything useful.

As for encrypting the hard drive, using TOR ect - if you were to pay a little more attention to the information revealed about some of the cretinous throwbacks who've been behind many recent attempted terrorist attacks you'd realise that we're not dealing with the cream of the intellectual crop here. These are the chaff that decided that the promise of jam tomorrow is a good motivation for attempting to blow themselves up.

Don't let that stop you from talking bollocks, though...

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Captain Underpants
Facepalm

Re: Terrorists

@AC 07:22

Or, if you pulled your head out of your rectum for long enough to be able to read more than about two consecutive words, probably not.

If you take the time to read the entire article, you'd see that even under the revised sentence the chap in question is still required to provide police with access to his computer and browsing history on demand. So, you know, any terrorist stupid enough to continue actively plotting after having been caught and convicted in a similar fashion would in all probability be giving up his or her accomplices.

Nice try at a knee-jerk reactionary response - shame you hit yourself in the nuts, though...

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Virgin Media vid misery blamed on unnamed peering network

Captain Underpants

I'd had a couple of problems around a fortnight ago with streaming services (eg Film4OD) at peakish times, but they seem to have more or less sorted themselves out now....(I'm in London, FWIW).

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Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7in Android tablet review

Captain Underpants
Meh

Re: I like mine

@AC 15:28

" I'd be pretty peeved if I bought a new [something] and then had to start mucking around to get it to do what I want."

And who would get the blame for a total failure to do any research regarding the capacities and limitations of the device you just bought? It's not like they've pulled a total bait-and-switch here by marketing it as an unlocked android device and only announcing the lock-in as it shipped.

If you want an android tablet, buy an android tablet.

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Captain Underpants
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@AC

I never said it would be easy, but being that this is a techie oriented news site and not some lowest-IQ-available tech-news-for-luddites site it would've been good to see it commented upon, even if the comments were "far too hard for the intended audience but possibly of interest if you want a cheap tablet for tinkering". Discussions about rooted/jailbroken kit are commonplace around here whenever tablets come up, I don't think it's excessive to ask that the authors bear this in mind.

@Lamont:

I never said it makes him a wanker, I said it's only a deal-breaker for the compusive onanist. Or are you going to tell me that you won't buy any book you can't hold in one hand while standing on a train/tram/bus/overground?

It may be a design fail compared to other tablets but it's hardly the disaster Alistair suggests. Aside from anything else, I bet you a case that sorts out the grip issue will be available in short order. So it's hardly an unresolvable problem.

(I dont have, or want, a Kindle Fire, but I do want a decent review that lets me understand its strengths and weaknesses. Alistair's "Wah, it's not an iPad and it's got all this Amazon lock-in stuff on it" approach tells me bugger-all of use when eg evaluating whether it might be of use to any of my family, hence my comment).

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Captain Underpants
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Wow, Mr Dabbs, that was a desperately poor review.

Firstly, you present "can be used one-handed" as some sort of must-have criteria (which, let's be fair, is likely true only of the most compulsive onanist).

Secondly, you use the imaginary experience of your mum unboxing the device as a negative, then ignore the likely content preferences of your mum and the demographic in which she sits to moan about how Lovefilm has focused on getting recent, hugely popular period dramas (watched by millions including, in all probability, your mum) instead of getting old content from between 10 and 25 years ago.

Lastly, but worst of all, you whinge about the limitations of the device (fair enough) and demonstrate no interest whatsoever in exploring whether they can be circumvented - I don't expect " Can I use this as a drop-in replacement for my iPad if I glue a shiny fruit sticker on the back?" to be the core question asked by someone writing for The Register, and your utter failure to even ask whether you can sideload applications and/or content suggests that you've either ignored or fundamentally misunderstood the difference between an Android Tablet and an Android-based Kindle/Amazon tablet.

I enjoy your Something For The Weekend pieces, but this really was a shocking drop in form.

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Apple tries to add Galaxy Note, Jelly Bean to patent slapfest

Captain Underpants
Thumb Down

@AC 16:12

That's well and good, but the resolution of the average human fingertip is pretty damn crap compared to what you can get with a stylus. It depends on what you're trying to do, of course, but if you want to use illustration software for whatever reason on your tablet, then a stylus offers a clear advantage.

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2.5 million trades a DAY: How ISE admins became Puppet masters

Captain Underpants
Thumb Up

I must take more of a look at Puppet - it sounds like an interesting competitor for KACE (which, to be fair, I use in work but haven't yet learned enough about to fully use). I'd certainly be interested in reading an in-depth comparison of the two (preferably by someone who's used both in production environments, but failing that a pre-purchase in-depth technical evaluation would suffice...)

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Theresa May DDoS case: Man cuffed by eCops

Captain Underpants
Facepalm

Re: Cybercrime IS serious!

@Arrrggghh-otron

The thing is, you and I may be aware that DDoSing a site is at best a nuisance in terms of its real world effect - that's not a statement about the intent, though, just about the competence of the attacker. Idiots who overvalue websites and mistake them for the whole of the Internet often make this mistake. (As always, Randall Munroe at XKCD explains it perfectly).

I don't particularly see that turning a blind eye to malicious intent mitigated only by the attacker's own incompetence benefits us all. Do we wait until the same malicious moron attempts to DDoS the constituency council systems in some fashion? Or do we act now and have the individual in question spanked by the law for attempting to disrupt the political system in order to make a point?

TL,DR: DDoS attacks and other infrastructure attacks aren't legitimate political expression, and anyone carrying them out deserves a kick up the hole.

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So you want an office of Apple Macs - here's a survival guide

Captain Underpants

Re: KACE

Oh, don't get me wrong - what I was getting at is more that software distribution to OS X via KACE is easier as far as I can tell than any native Apple setup, which is a bit of a fail on Apple's part. I kind of dread the notion of working without a KACE setup now, and we've only had ours for a year or so.

I'll admit, I'm biased because I was already spending a bit of time putting together self-extracting silent installation packages for the Windows stuff we use in my department (which you need to do for KACE to be useful on Windows) and that's not necessarily straightforward, but the OS X equivalent for silent installs is at least as tedious as on Windows and apparently less usefully documented.

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Captain Underpants

I would imagine that's because Apple Remote Desktop is an arseache, as far as I can tell, and what benefits you get from mastering it are limited and therefore not really worth it (when you can instead go and get something like eg KACE which supports similar functionality across multiple OSs).

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Captain Underpants
Meh

I can't much comment on the rest, but I will say that re: Time Machine, it's great until for no obvious reason the bloody thing starts dicking around. I've had people using Lion and Mountain Lion find their systems crash hard due to Time Machine, with no obvious fix in sight (with Apple Support's responses being of the helpful "Have you done a PRAM reset? Have you reinstalled? Have you tried another drive? Because despite Time-Machine-related OS updates it's not possible that it could be our side that's b0rked" variety).

The fact that software distribution to OS X is easier with KACE than with native OS X utilities is pretty bad.

But the big, BIG one for enterprise support that you've glossed over is hardware support. If you buy Apple portables, the best support you'll get on the hardware is collect-and-return with a 1-week turnaround (if you're lucky and you fall within the catchment area) or you can waste someone's time taking it to the Apple Store. Only their much-maligned desktops get on-site service.

The above, for me, are the problems. Some of my users want them, but I make damn sure they understand these issues before I let them buy one, and when they have an (increasingly likely) hardware issue the shine starts to wear off of their iShinies....

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Sysadmins: Basically a happy lot, but frustrated and underpaid

Captain Underpants
Unhappy

There was work done towards a US version, as I recall, and then someone wisely decided that the show wouldn't survive the transition with any of its merits intact. (Funnily enough the same thing happened to Red Dwarf).

If you want to get an idea of the type of bullet you dodged, go to youtube and search for the German version. No, I'm not kidding. It was sufficiently bad that it was cancelled after the second episode was broadcast.

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Naughty-step Apple buries court-ordered apology with JavaScript

Captain Underpants
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Re: Stupid, stupid move.

@AC 12:05

"Do you think Google would be any better? of course not. They're being investigated for monopoly abuse."

That may be, but it's irrelevant. The Doctrine of Hypothetical Relative Filth is of no relevance as to whether Apple have behaved in a silly fashion here, but hey - don't let that get in the way of trying to stick up for your favourite fruit-themed multinational technology vendor.

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Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'

Captain Underpants
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Meh, as a counterpoint to the made-up-bollocks that passes for coffee terminology in the likes of Starbucks I don't see it to be That Big A Thing. But hey, we're on the internet, making a Totally Huge Deal out of something fundamentally irrelevant is what we do, right?

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iPhone 5 imperilled by Sharp's 'huge' problems with tellies

Captain Underpants

Re: Solution?

@LarsG

Merely making a better TV than the rest of TVs on the market won't be good enough, though: as far as I can tell a lot of the large Japanese tech firms have been struggling with TV sales in particular after deluding themselves into thinking that they can get consumers to buy TVs like they do mobile phones ie a new one every 18-24 months. (HD-ready/full-HD TV sales finally hitting critical mass a few years ago as HD-quality TV services and Blu-Ray players became affordably available was probably a factor here, but mistaking what amounts to a one-time-change happening over 12-18 months for a new trend that will definitely continue long-term is pretty foolish...)

Crap build quality or components aside (which usually leads to an immediate veto of the brand, especially if their warranty cover is crap), there's no real reason a consumer needs to buy a TV more than once every 5 years (and that's at the low end of the cycle). 3D/integrated Youtube/Freeview/SuperDuperHD/whatever are not compelling enough reasons to get people to upgrade their tv every couple of years, and it's somewhat surprising that the business as a whole thought that they could change this.

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iPhone owners sue Apple for locking Jesus mobe to AT&T

Captain Underpants

Re: Read the article

Not entirely correct, in the UK there's no legally-defined right to unlock your phone at the end of a contract but it varies by both manufacturer and network. Some manufacturers will provide network unlock codes directly to the end user on provision of proof that their contract is complete, others just decide it's easier not to bother and say "talk to your network" - and those networks realise that while providing unlock codes is good service (which should help retain customers) it also means customers can switch network cheaply by not having to get another subsidised phone, and thus refuse to do it.

TL,DR: If you're going to refuse to unlock phones at the end of the contract, bloody well say so in advance. The fact that you can dick around with third party unlocks doesn't excuse this being imposed with no advance notice.

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The Big Debate: OK gloomsters, how can the music biz be FIXED?

Captain Underpants

Re: Agreed

DRM is a problem, though. The iTunes Store had DRM that people tolerated because it was kept invisible from the original iTunes users - iPod owners. Once it became a shop that people using other players might want to use, exportability became an issue and the fact that it was an Apple standard built around Apple kit got in the way.

The plethora of devices that can play back video content now mean that the only way a service will avoid that kind of alienation issue is by using some sort of centralised one-DRM-shoe-fits-all approach, and given that every DRM technology devised thus far has been broken (coupled with the non-zero cost of implementation for any DRM system, and more damningly the fact that its presence or absence seems to be of no significance to the growth of digital media markets) I think that media companies would be better off not spending the money and time on it, and refocusing the time and money saved on new delivery processes and mechanisms. We're slowly moving in the right direction, but it's frankly kind of silly that if I want to watch the new episode of Sons of Anarchy, I can go to a torrent site today or I can wait a few weeks for the only legit uk source I know of (Five USA) to broadcast it. And that's still an improvement over the 6+months delays that used to be commonplace. Someone, somewhere, is missing out on a substantial lump of cash by not offering me download/stream rights for this stuff - where by "me" I mean "their audience as a whole".

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Captain Underpants
Meh

Where I agree with Andrew:

If we make it possible for artists to get paid in some fashion for their work, we end up with more of their work available. We also end up with more of the popular work than we would otherwise get (where "popular" is, to a certain extent, correlated with "good").

Where I disagree:

What we should do is to continue trying to bolt existing property laws wholesale into an environment where they really do not make sense.

The entire notion of any kind of physical sales system working is that the copying part is non-trivial. You can say "only this person can allow sales of certain things, and anyone who copies them is infringing" and it'll sort of work, because only a few (relatively) people have the resources to facilitate mass copying of a profitable sort, and for those who lack those resources, single copies aren't worth the hassle. (If they are, you're missing a trick re: pricing).

Computers are at a very basic level machines that copy stuff. So entirely aside from any "the internet will break" arguments, any notion of saying "We have to impose a copying-not-allowed feature into any computing system" goes out the window.

The requirements for a DRM system to underpin the digital-files-as-scarce-resource would be:

a) seamless integration into all OSs (including your Linuxy FOSS ones) which means some sort of open API

b) a centrally managed independent database for identifying all songs/media and associating them with licensing systems

c) some way of selectively disabling any ability to copy a file on any OS in existence so as to not undermine the DRM.

I don't think any of these goals are realistic, because like the existing copyright legislation they have one underpinning assumption that is no longer particularly true: that centralisation is an unarguable fact of life. If your DRM mechanism depends on a centralised universal library/database, and a centralised mechanism of some sort that overrides people's local control of their equipment to prevent unauthorised copying, then it's not going to fly, because all of the issues we face right now have arisen through decentralisation. Trying to put the genie back into the bottle in this sort of way won't work.

But this has long been the case - smaller publishers or indie artists of any sort don't benefit as much as Big Labels do, because the utility of the rights is still in a large sense predicated on having a big enough wallet to pay for lawyers to enforce them via the courts. Which is fine, sort of - in the days of physical scarcity limiting your product, you want to focus mostly on those infringers who are infringing your rights on a commercially-sensitive scale, as they're the threat to your bottom line.

Now, we have the opposite issue - absolutely *loads* of people having learned that for the most part, getting what they want is more easily achieved with Naughty Methods than with legitimate ones. Refer for instance to the Oatmeal comic about wanting to watch Game Of Thrones, and then realise how much worse this is for anyone not in the US.

I think that the solution is more likely to take the form of changing business practices associated with the arts: ie phase out geographical restrictions on releases, phase out usage of DRM, and make buying stuff online as painlessly easy as possible. In most areas this is not the case yet, and my experience is that small or independent artists are further ahead of the curve than the big publishers who are terrified of seeing their past business practices failing them. If the transition to generally-non-DRM'd digital music sales hasn't caused the absolute implosion of the digital music marketplace, then by definition that tells us that DRM is not a requirement for a functioning digital media marketplace. I've yet to see any compelling evidence that DRM would enable a more successful/vibrant digital media marketplace, and that's what we'd need in order to justify it.

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Apple's skinny new iMac line: Farewell, optical drives

Captain Underpants
FAIL

Re: 'Appliance' is the word you seek

@Aaron:

That's flawed logic on your part ; if people are buying an appliance (and a bloody expensive one at that) then one of the things they expect is that, by virtue of paying for quality they are bypassing the Ryanair sales model. If the Superdrive is so cheap, why isn't it bundled? (I question the assertion that it's cheap, too - I've used several better and cheaper external optical devices in my time, and while many of them didn't come with a shiny looking brushed aluminium chassis that was the only way in which they could be seen as inferior to a Superdrive).

"Nobody uses DVD or Blu-Ray any more" is a patently bollocks answer, because if it it were true you wouldn't be seeing hugely profitable film releases appearing on disc. A more honest answer is "we want it to be more convenient to use iTunes & the App store than to install from/use discs". Which is a win for Apple, not the user - so why's the user expected to pay for it?

On a laptop I can grudgingly understand the space constraints making "access to optical media" something to trade off in favour of "lighter, thinner device". On a desktop, it's irrelevant. (Of course, I say this as one to whom the physical appearance of computers is generally irrelevant...if the aesthetics of your home desktop are supremely important, perhaps this move on Apple's part makes more sense).

1
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BBC unveils UltraViolet DVDs, BDs

Captain Underpants

Until we've got any measure of confidence that UV will be a reliable and dependable service, I don't see it as being particularly useful compared to my current setup (media centre with several drives, contents regularly synced to a tower elsewhere in the house to mitigate against disc failure, future plans to make backup copies onto offsite-stored backup-only drives as well). Why would I want to stream a film to my phone or netbook if I can encode a suitable copy from the media myself and circumvent the hassle and data charges?

I'd like it to evolve into something useful, but I fail to see how being able to stream the film I've just bought on physical media is of use to me, especially when there's no guarantee that the UV licences will be perpetual. Look at what book publishers are trying to do with libraries buying ebook lending licences (forced licence expiration periods based on what would happen, on average, if the ebook in question was a paper book!).

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BYOD cheers up staff, boosts productivity - and IT bosses hate it

Captain Underpants

Re: Another Reg article banging on about BYOD

It doesn't come from the top.

Why, you ask?

Because the people at the top are already in a privileged position where they can dictate:

a) what kind of device they use (eg I don't care how expensive it is, I'm having a 13" MacBook Air with the biggest SSD available, and not some crappy underspec'd 15" Windows laptop)

b) what level of support they get (eg they and their PA will be listed as VIPs in the support system and be prioritised when calls are raised)

c) whether they get to use it as a hybrid work/personal machine (eg "I know it's not policy but I'm installing personally licensed software from my iTunes account, along with my music library, and that's that").

The only way those at the top find BYOD interesting is the "Buy Your Own Device" angle ie reducing the IT inventory spend. Generally they'll eventually change their mind when they become aware of the additional costs and overheads involved in properly supporting a fully-BYOD environment (additional licensing expenditure, increased security oversight required to reduce risk of "Data Gone Walkies" incidents, increased lead time on hardware-based support calls due to crap consumer-grade warranties rather than enterprise-class on-site support, greater variety of OS and software fauna to be supported, and that's before you even reach the Data Protection minefield that is trying to not breach someone's right to privacy on their personal machine while attempting to eg help them identify the source of a system performance problem and/or virus outbreak...). Needless to say, this awareness may in fact only come about several years after they push through a BYOD policy, at which point they would likely blame someone else for not explaining/predicting this ahead of time...

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Captain Underpants

Re: Why does it have to be BYOD,...

I think it also depends on the degree of divergence between what the employee thinks they should have/be able to do with their work-provided tools and what the business has decided they require to fulfil their paid-for function.

There is no constant across all industries for how often a new machine is required for actual work purposes (as in, not the "look at us, we're so up to date we all use the latest iThingies" sales pitch requirement but actual "My job involves doing X in Environment Y and I need a machine less than 2 years old to be able to install and use Environment Y" requirement).

Assuming that "but I want it" is a valid reason for the business to provide it is exactly as silly as assuming that the business can and should just keep on using an IE6 only web portal for some crucial productivity task.

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Captain Underpants
Thumb Down

Re: Responsability

@AC 22:48

There's a crucial point you've missed here that undermines your logic.

IF I as the user create more value for company using a BozoPad on my FanPhone, then I challenge IT to make this happen.

Where's your statistically validated proof that you are in fact creating more value for the company by using a BozoPad on your FanPhone? Because, in the absence of any evidence, I'd say it's equally possible that when using a BozoPad on your FanPhone you're not in fact more productive, you're just putting in more hours working offsite/at home because doing work on your own personal device doesn't really register as being "work" (because since it's a personal device you can switch to a browser to check Facebook/El Reg Forums/Slashdot etc) in the same way.

There are certain fields where workers can in fact be more efficient using their own gear, but without evidence there's no reason to assume that this applies across the board - and given the additional administrative burden that encouraging such use will place on IS/IT (whose role is to facilitate people's revenue generating activities) a healthy skepticism is rarely a bad place to start such evaluations. Don't let that stop you from being an evangelistic retard, though.

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Captain Underpants
Happy

Re: VM the solution?

Yep, that's Microsoft's idea too. Win8 To Go explicitly supports this, providing USB3-bootable Windows images which can be domain bound and configured to allow no access to local storage media, meaning that the worker gets to use their hardware but doesn't get to inflict their OS install (or dodgy media) on the corporate network.

Of course, those who really want BYOD won't like that, because it's adhering to the letter of their request ("Let me use my computer for work") while vetoing the spirit of the request ("let me use my computer, including my badly-configured OS with loads of dodgy installs, out of date plugins, and dodgily-sourced media, for work purposes").

5
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'It is absolute b*ll*cks that contractors aren't committed'

Captain Underpants
Thumb Down

Well colour me entirely convinced

So a bunch of freelancers (whose ability to continue working depends in part on maintaining a good reputation and knowing how to sell themselves) say that they're shit hot, definitely committed to their client's needs, and can handle everything the job throws at them?

Wow, I'd never have expected that.

If the survey involved even the merest whiff of someone actually testing the iPros in question (and seriously, that choice of name is already enough to activate most properly-calibrated Total Bollockery Detectors) it might have some relevance. As it stands, it's some crap advertising cunningly disguised as crap science.

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Pastafarians: Get your noodly appendages off that Facebook suspect

Captain Underpants
Facepalm

Re: Oh clever.

Yeah, Turtle, that's it, the problem is that this guy didn't "think things through", not that there's a dodgy and apparently fairly corrupt establishment abusing laws to silence critics or opponents...

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New guide: Bake your own Raspberry Pi Lego-crust cluster

Captain Underpants

Excellent! I've been wanting to tinker with MPI on a 5-Pi Punnet for a while, so this will come in handy :)

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The iPHONE 5 UNDERMINES western DEMOCRACY: 5 reasons why

Captain Underpants

Re: Jai, I agree but with this qualification......

@Andy

I've never had to swap the battery during normal use, but I have replaced dead or dying batteries to keep the handset usable for another year or so. Seems tedious that Apple decided to remove the option.

14
1

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Captain Underpants

Re: Buy an old N64 just for this? Naah

Ah, Goldeneye. I bought an N64 second hand a few years back for that and Wipeout64, but it turns out that nostalgia's a bitch and Goldeneye single player has not aged well. And in the absence of easily-available folk with whom to engage in multiplayer, it quickly ended up relegated to the charity shop heap...

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