* Posts by Oliver Jones

648 posts • joined 14 May 2007

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

Oliver Jones

Re: I think all my laptops ( bar one) and PCs would run Win10

They only have themselves to blame, because they aren't producing kit that people want to buy. Just cheap crap for the consumer market.

I have a 2009-vintage Fujitsu Celsius H270. It was one of the last models they made with a sensible screen resolution (1920x1200) - pretty much all their "workstation" laptops are now with "consumer" screen resolutions with a 16:9 ratio. I don't know who in their marketing department approved that decision, but they must have been snorting something pretty good at the time. From a workstation user's point of view, It's pretty crap - as even if I wanted to edit HD video, I'd need extra vertical resolution, so the buttons and menu bar would fit on the screen alongside the footage.

So, instead of replacing it with a faster model, it got a new 1TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD. My god, what a difference it made! I'll probably get a few more years of life out of that laptop, yet. Fujitsu's loss became Samsung's gain.

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I cannae dae it, cap'n! Why I had to quit the madness of frontline IT

Oliver Jones

Two quotes that apply here:

"IT is so expensive because the labour is so cheap."

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Security is almost a zero-sum game, but it's asymmetrical: What you do not spend on security will be taken out of your wallet by the hackers, but you will lose more to hack attacks than it would ever have cost you to spend on defences.

The problem for managers and beancounters is that security risks are a latent threat, and they do not appear on balance sheets, where they can easily be seen and budgeted for.

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So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

Oliver Jones

Re: It's simple, really.

Please tell that to the good people of Sheffield, Liverpool and Hull.

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Oliver Jones

It's simple, really.

Inflation has been restrained because Western countries have pursued heavily deflationary policies, like offshoring jobs to the Far East, et cetera. Even today, an Indian coming from India to work in the UK has a huge tax advantage over a native Brit, because the playing field is stacked in their favour: The Indian gets to use tax structures and benefits not available to local Brits, and while it means they can be only in the UK for a total of 51 weeks, most UK employers are quite happy to chop and change every year, if it means they get cheaper staff.

Manufacturing has been totally decimated, and many services positions are in the process of being offshored as well. When this is finished, there won't be anyone left earning money with which to buy any of these "cheap" products or services from overseas.

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Windows 10 won't help. The PC biz is doomed, DOOMED, I TELL YOU

Oliver Jones

Re: Lack of trust: re 4K sectors

4K native drives won't work on XP, period, unless you run them through a RAID controller that presents the raw disk blocks as 512-byte blocks.

512E (4K emulation) drives will work on XP (but are not supported officially), and they will work even better if you use Diskpart to align the first partition to a 64K+ boundary before installing the operating system (however, that requires extra buggerment factor, because you need to boot with a Windows OPK to prep the system before you boot with the CD media to install the operating system itself.) But it does work very well.

Windows 7 does take the aforementioned buggerment factor out of the equation by automatically aligning the first partition to a 1MB boundary. However, like XP, Windows 7 does not support 4K native drives - so, as far as 4K native drives are concerned, Windows 7 users are in the same boat at XP users.

See this page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2510009

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Oliver Jones

Re: Lack of trust

They will stop selling them, because Microsoft will lean on them to stop selling them, just as they have leaned on Intel to make it extremely difficult to find drivers for XP x64 and Windows Server 2003 x64 for Ivy Bridge kit, which *is* officially supported on that platform.

What's the commercial advantage for Intel to reduce demand for its kit?

The drivers *are* out there, on Intel's site, but you won't find the latest ones with a simple search. Using the search will get you drivers from 2008, which certainly won't support Ivy Bridge. Yet it one knows the version number to look for, Google finds the requisite page quite easily - even if Intel has done a slap-up job of trying to hide it.

If it's being done to XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 now, it's not too much of a leap of the imagination to figure that it'll also be done to Windows 7, when the time comes.

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Oliver Jones

Re: Lack of trust

Windows 7 will be going the way of the dodo when manufacturers stop selling hard disk drives with 512-byte sector emulation. 4k sectors are now the standard, and Windows 7 won't ever support them.

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Facebook: Your code sucks, and we don't even have to run it to tell

Oliver Jones

I hope they ran the tool on itself.

Just... well... you know, in case. :)

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Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

Oliver Jones

Re: Design by Comittee!!!

The answer is because Microsoft employs more people who think like this:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000059.html

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All-Russian 'Elbrus' PCs and servers go on sale

Oliver Jones

Nobody considered world war?

Speed is irrelevant. When an EMP renders most Western-based equipment obsolete, the ability to manufacture a machine that goes even at 800MHz will be beyond the capabilities of many in the West.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king: When we are returned to the stone age, even a Commodore 64 will represent a huge technology leap for the masses - let alone an Elbrus.

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Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs

Oliver Jones

Not quite true: I have been building plenty of PCs - and they all had FreeBSD installed on them. One of the luxuries of putting together your own kit is the option of not having to pay the old Microsoft tax.

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US govt bans Intel from selling chips to China's supercomputer boffins

Oliver Jones

Re: Q:

Most of the Xeons in my abode (and I have a couple dozen of them) were made in Malaysia and Costa Rica. Those are the 22nm Ivy Bridge Xeons (E3-1280v2s and E3-1265Lv2s respectively) - so we're not talking about ancient history, here.

I anticipate a huge change in the popularity of server, ATX, microATX and mini-ITX platforms based around the OpenPower platform. That would be a walking nightmare for Intel, a boon for Microsoft and not much of a big deal for Linux.

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Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

Oliver Jones

Re: @ Kubla Cant -- Not too sure

"Took MS 20 yeas to play catch up and they still haven't replicated all of the functionality yet."

Nor all of the 20+ year old vulnerabilities in X, either. Still, that hasn't stopped them from trying. :)

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ALL comp-sci courses will have compulsory infosec lessons – UK.gov

Oliver Jones

I'm not sure infosec is a UK priority.

They certainly want to outlaw (or, for the pedantic, mandate backdoors in - which is another way of outlawing) encryption, thus seriously limiting the market for people skilled in information security.

If memory serves, the encouraging of mass immigration, IR35 and some special tax exemptions for Indian staff also limited the market for people with high-end IT skills, and the result is plain to see: They're now mostly working for (and paying taxes to) foreign countries.

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Britain needs more tech immigrants, quango tells UK.gov

Oliver Jones

I'm not UK born and bred - I hail from what is now Zimbabwe, and merely spent 22 years in the UK, but I largely agree with your experience: UK management is generally composed of myopic, egotistic navel-gazers.

They are a significant part of why I left: One learns from working with people who are better than you, not people who are worse.

Greetings from Switzerland, BTW.

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Oliver Jones

Supply and demand meet at a place called price, as the saying goes.

Unfortunately, too many so-called execs seem to be ignorant of the properties of the price discovery mechanism: As anyone in Venezuela could tell you, when you fix the price of toilet paper (and other commodities most people take for granted), the result is an immediate supply shortage.

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Ex-Logica beancounter pleads guilty to insider trading

Oliver Jones

£30k? Was that it?

Can't have been much of a financial planner!

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Wall St wolves tear chunk off Microsoft: There goes $30bn!

Oliver Jones

Re: Stock pricds tend to be foward looking

No, all they need to do is produce a product that people would actually want to pay for.

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'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

Oliver Jones

Re: How bad is Torvalds?

Yawn.

Please get over yourself. I run BSD on my Panasonic TV, Playstation 3 and, as it happens, on my web and FreeNAS servers, too. What most penguinistas are quick to forget is that the technology world functioned perfectly well without Linux, and many viable (and superior, to boot) alternatives to Linux exist, even today.

I will not be handing back anything.

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QWERTY-tastic BlackBerry Classic actually a classic

Oliver Jones

Re: "Good old days"? Not really

Not true: Said customer base usually has a workflow that they would like to keep, rather than wanting to throw all productivity out of the window for the sake of nothing more than aesthetics.

If you had ever really worked for a living in the technology arena, this would have been obvious to you. Unfortunately, the technology industry has long begun to resemble the fashion industry - for all the wrong reasons.

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No more free Windows... and now it’s all about the services

Oliver Jones

Re: It will be a cold day in hell...

Everything you want to run != everything other people want to run

I know that might come as a shock to you, but Linux has a ~2% desktop market share for a very good reason. Even OS X, which requires an extremely expensive fruit-themed dongle, has more market share on the desktop than Linux - and cost has absolutely nothing to do with it.

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Microsoft's dodgy new Exchange 2010 update breaks Outlook clients

Oliver Jones

@Vince

It's happening in many industries: Proper testing is expensive, and - as it turns out - completely unnecessary, because the lazy and apathetic customer base will no longer punish you for making them alpha-test your products.

You can't blame Microsoft, et al for learning (and then applying) this.

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RBS's Ulster Bank whacked with enormous IT cock-up fine

Oliver Jones

I don't want to see fines for this sort of thing.

I want to see senior staff (like the CEO) doing porridge for an appropriate period of time (1 day in chokey for every customer affected seems reasonable to me.)

Only when these nitwits see a clear link between their own responsibility (which must be enforced!) - and their own personal actions, will they enforce the kind of corporate policies that will help to keep themselves out of jail.

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KRAKKOOOM! Space Station supply mission in PODULE PRANG EXPLOSION CHAOS

Oliver Jones

Re: just like the good old days.

Technology has nothing to do with bugs.

Bugs are merely a symptom of the kind of tolerances we have developed for bad quality products, and our greed in wanting to see (or sell) a product before it is ready. You can see what bad buying habits have brought about: Cheap crap everywhere, no quality control and no attention paid to detail. Even Apple, which was once prized for quality, is now missing beats on hardware design and operating system bugs that interfere with even basic functionality.

When buying habits change, so will the quality and quantity of bugs. Until that happens, though, I expect the problem to get worse. Technology cannot help us if we're willing to continue paying good money for shit quality.

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NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)

Oliver Jones

Re: Enuff already !

Simple:

rm -- -rf (or rm -rf -- * if you want to recursively delete everything in a directory) will do the trick.

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Oliver Jones

Re: systemd to incorporate a shell too!!!

SMF also has a decent debugging facility: If your service did not start, you can ask it why - and get a sensible answer.

I've long gotten used to the fact that software is getting steadily worse, and it's mostly down to crappy design decisions, rather than poor coding. My work laptop forced an install of Lync 2013, which has roughly the same feeling as typing on a text terminal operating at 9600 baud. As if that wasn't enough, gads and gads of screen real estate are just wasted - as if I could never have too much.

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Microsoft left red-faced after DMCAs dished out to Windows bloggers

Oliver Jones

Don't worry.

It's karma. Or something...

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Stop ROBOT exploitation, cry striking Foxconn workers

Oliver Jones

Re: Will become a familar issue in coming years

"I think we're starting to see this in the UK already, too many people not enough jobs, yes some of that is due to lax immigration policies but also a lot of jobs have disappeared due to automation already."

Ebola is planned to fix that.

I say "is planned", because rather than letting the disease die out, most Western countries seem fairly intent on shipping infected bodies (or soon-to-be-bodies) to Europe/USA, where the infection then spreads.

Even our ancestors had the good sense to check for infections at ports of entry.

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Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9

Oliver Jones

Re: This is why there was no Win7 SP2

Windows 7 does not support native 4k sector hard discs, though - and it will be useless when you can no longer find 512e drives ("Advanced Format", but with 512-byte sector emulation.)

Windows 8 *does* support 4k native sector drives, but it has all the appeal of a three-headed Alsation.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Oliver Jones

The biggest argument in favour of FLAC is that it's future-proof: It will keep your music in its original fidelity until something much better comes along.

Assuming some real breakthroughs come along in the future (which is reasonable enough to assume, given similar breakthroughs in the past), would you want artifacts imposed by TWO encoding systems (MP3 + whatever else comes along), or would you just want to recompress the music from a lossless FLAC archive and get the best out of the new format?

I know what I'd prefer: Ripping CDs is hard work, slow and very boring.

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

Oliver Jones

Re: More proof that open source == more secure

Interesting that you imply Windows is the only alternative: It clearly shows the limits of your thinking.

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Oliver Jones

More proof that open source == more secure

Or not.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to have one level-10 vulnerability in one year in open source software is unfortunate - to have two in one year looks like carelessness.

Pay peanuts, get monkeys; pay nothing, get what you deserve. :)

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The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

Oliver Jones

Probably outsourced QA.

The real reason is probably that Microsoft decided to save a buck or ten by outsourcing testing and quality assurance to a certain country with a fondness for curry and a cultural tendency to "fix" the test case so code passes - rather than fix the code so it passes the test case.

As a stalwart Windows XP x64 user, I'm breathing a sigh of relief that XP updates stopped in April!

It's a brave new world out there - and just as well, too. :)

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It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

Oliver Jones

PGP Corporation is to blame.

I remember an excellent Outlook plug-in called CryptoEx by a German firm called Glück & Kanja. I worked for Siemens, back in the day, and they used it for encrypting commercially-sensitive e-mail. I really wanted to buy a licence, so I looked into it.

PGP Corporation bought the rights to CryptoEx and promptly took it off the market.

As far as I'm concerned, PGP Corporation's issues with user-friendliness are entirely self-inflicted.

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Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu

Oliver Jones

Nobody cares.

Security is not a profit centre, so the beancounters will not give it any attention.

Even when a security breach causes untold damage to reputation, customers have not learned to leave - so ultimately, the issue doesn't affect anyone who cares.

That's the price of apathy.

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Five arrested over money-grubbing fake UK.gov shocker

Oliver Jones

Not so fast.

I frequently use Google to get access to company web pages, because most firms have such an atrocious Web structure that it's far, far easier to find the page you're looking for via Google than to try and find it from their home page.

In many cases, educating end users is not the solution: It's Webmasters who need to be (re)educated.

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TIME TRAVELLERS needed to secure Windows 7

Oliver Jones

Re: Combo Upate

What, like WSUS Offline Update?

Edit: Argh. Someone else beat me to it...

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UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

Oliver Jones

It was entirely predictable (I should know, I've been predicting this since 1992.)

Britain is not a country that can claim forward planning as a plausible competency. What you see today is the result.

If you think that's bad, just wait until the Russians start cutting off EU gas supplies and start parking a few of their submarines near your LNG terminals.

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Redmond is patching Windows 8 but NOT Windows 7, say security bods

Oliver Jones

Re: As someone still running Windows XP x64 ...

Yes, and no: The user profile location is indeed kept on the network, but is cached on the local disk - so network performance is less of an issue than it might seem. (It also allows me to log in from home over a VPN - I'd be a bit stuffed if my profile and documents were only available over the network.)

In any case, the same pause can be seen on non-domained Windows 7 PCs with more than a few files in the Documents folder. By comparison, my XP x64 folder is overflowing with files, yet I don't have to wait ~5 minutes every time I open the folder after logging in.

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Oliver Jones

Re: As someone still running Windows XP x64 ...

I don't doubt that the Windows internals have improved since the days of XP - and if I had a choice of running the Windows 8.1 kernel with the Windows XP x64 userland, I'd jump at the chance.

But I don't have that choice, and the kernel improvements don't matter to the end user, if those kernel improvements come accompanied with so much dross, DRM and other overhead that you cannot turn off, that the end result is worse than staying with XP x64.

I measure the performance of an OS by the speed of the system's response, and how long it keeps me waiting to perform tasks. Windows XP x64 is still a clear mile ahead of Windows 7 in that regard.

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Oliver Jones

Re: As someone still running Windows XP x64 ...

I run XP x64 on 3.6GHz Ivy Bridge Xeon E3-1280s, with 32GB of RAM. More than quick enough, even by today's standards. It's plenty "modern". By the way, I do have AHCI drivers installed on all my kit - I don't install it with IDE mode, simply because it's easier than finding a USB floppy drive and the F6 button on my keyboard. I do it properly, and 5 minutes of effort at install time yields astounding performance every day I use it.

If your last sysadmin was incapable of installing XP properly, that's hardly the fault of the operating system now, is it? He or she probably didn't align the disks to 64k+, either, so it would seem you're not comparing apples with apples.

On the other hand, the Windows 7 POS that I'm forced to use at work is slow (despite running on newer hardware, albeit with half the RAM of my home system), unwieldy - and why it takes bloody ages to open up my Documents folder, I'll never know. With XP, it was click-click, and you were there. With Windows 7, there is a large pregnant pause every time I open up my home folder, and I for one don't appreciate it.

The GUI in 7 is also worse, but that's not as bad as the sheer performance cliff, even on newer hardware.

Sorry, but I'm not buying it - literally or figuratively.

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Oliver Jones

As someone still running Windows XP x64 ...

... I'm laughing at all those people who thought they would be "safe" once they upgraded to Windows 7, an operating system noteworthy for the fact that Microsoft declared it dead in the water after only one service pack.

Wait until you discover that newer hard discs will be coming out soon that no longer emulate 512-byte sectors (only Windows 8 and 2012 support the new 4k sectors) - and you'll be left out in the cold with even XP diehards like myself.

XP was the last decent operating system to come out of the gates of Redmond. 7 is a con, if you upgraded thinking that it had a future: It doesn't. Microsoft wants you in their walled garden - now. That is the real reason they've been pushing Windows 8, even though nobody in their right mind wants it.

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Linux users at risk as ANOTHER critical GnuTLS bug found

Oliver Jones

Re: @h4rm0ny

Did you check your compiler, to make sure it didn't have a backdoor?

If not, what makes you think a mere code audit of your source is enough to prevent Trojan code from being inserted? This particular security aspect of open source was blown to pieces by Ken Thompson nearly 30 years ago, when he demonstrated the addition of Trojan code using vetted, approved source code that contained NO TRACE of the Trojan code.

What is more, the USAF knew about this sort of thing 30 years ago - so you can bet that the NSA and GCHQ know about it today. There is probably a whole new layer of security exploits in Linux and open source software like OpenSSL, Apache, et cetera, that are based on backdoors in the GNU compiler. Simply hiring eyes to look at the source code won't help you find them.

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Oliver Jones

Open source was supposed to be secure

Please remind me, wasn't open source supposed to make huge security problems like this a thing of the past, because there would be so many eyeballs watching the source code? We've now seen 23-year old bugs in X-windows, plus a 2-year old Heartbleed issue that's helped spew passwords and sensitive information like signing certificates - and now this.

I guess they never figured on apathy.

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Job for IT generalist ...

Oliver Jones

Re: Depends on the country

As someone who left the UK in 2004 - never to return - I can only agree.

I run into people who have left the UK (some recently, some not so recently), and I hear pretty much the same thing: If the market is broken, the best solution is simply not to waste your time with that market - but to take your skills abroad. It's a small world, and leaving the UK has never been so easy.

I still get calls from UK job agents, hoping to take me on - but in every case, I have to break their hearts when I utter the words "I'm not available for UK work."

Here in Switzerland, none of the pros really worry about the lack of employment rights: If you're good, you'll be hired, paid well and kept on - and if you are crap, you'll end up back on the street pretty fast. Let the wasters worry about a Swiss employer's right to fire anyone without requiring a reason. It keeps them out. :)

Before the US went all Socialist, they had a hire 'em, fire 'em employment ethos. Didn't do them any harm - in fact, it fueled massive growth and opportunities.

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How exec snatched $6m budget from his infosec team because he couldn't see ROI

Oliver Jones

Re: Well there we have it

This is old news. Back when I worked for a well-known Dutch bank in Amsterdam in 2007, the bank's management couldn't wait to get rid of its security team.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: The farce that was RBS (and the more recent Barclays scandal where intimate customer details were sold to predatory third parties in a blatant violation of the Data Protection Act) has taught banking executives that confidentiality, integrity and availability are total non-issues in the modern world of banking. If it doesn't get someone a bonus, it's not important.

There's no real punishment for it, either: Banks can afford to pay the fines (which the CEOs aren't held personally responsible for), and nobody goes to jail.

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Hackers ZERO IN on ZOMBIE XP boxes: Get patching, Internet Explorer 8 users

Oliver Jones

Re: Next time...

I'd be quite happy to pay for my own patches. Only, I'm not allowed to: Extended support is not available to everyone - and even those who are entitled to buy it have to come up with a justification for Microsoft to take several hundred dollars a year - per PC - off their hands. Yeah, seriously!

Microsoft can go hang, as far as I'm concerned. What I'm hoping for is a serious power outage in a first-world country, caused by viruses infecting (or hackers breaking into) a non-supported XP system.

When push came to shove, politicians spent billions of dollars on a banking system that is somehow "too big to fail" - well now, let's see the same done for all businesses based on XP.

At the end of the day, Windows and Office are licenced, not sold. If flaws in the product allow malicious abuse of those products - and Microsoft decides to do nothing about it, they stand a very good chance of being sued into the ground for defects in their product. They already made their bed by arguing that software licences do not confer end user ownership, so this could get quite interesting if a few power networks get hacked into - and a few grids are brought down.

I have no intention of giving Microsoft an easy time: I will carry on running XP for as long as its useful lifetime permits me to.

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10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10

Oliver Jones

Re: C

One of my first thoughts when I saw C bit-shifting primitives was "OK, so how do I control/see the carry bit?" I also came from an assembler background (6502, 680x0, some ARM and x86 - yuck!) before being introduced to my first C compiler.

To an assembler programmer, C misses out a few pieces. But it's reasonably close to the metal, even if you might want to use a few routines written in assembler (i.e. interrupt handlers) for best results. It certainly beats writing an operating system in Pascal (yes, Apple, I'm looking at you!)

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New secure OS will put Tails between NSA's legs

Oliver Jones

NSA

I'm sure the NSA owned most BIOSes and embedded stuff years ago, and are just sniggering at the naive idea of a "secure" OS running on top of all that.

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