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* Posts by Ian 55

412 posts • joined 19 Feb 2010

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Win gorgeous strap-on, enter whole new world with Reg compo

Ian 55
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How can I be the first one to say that another sort of strap-on

..would have been far more interesting?

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Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing

Ian 55
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Unlimited space

Either they're lying about that, or it's not long for this world.

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Apple fanbois eat static as Beeb, Sky web stream vids go titsup on iOS

Ian 55
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If only the BBC spent as much time

.. ensuring it didn't break get_iplayer every so often.

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Battle of the Linux clouds! Linode DOUBLES RAM to take on Digital Ocean

Ian 55
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For $20/month and up

Linode just got a lot better.

But DigitalOcean will sell you a 512MB server for $5/month. For a lot of things, that's enough memory, especially as they don't force you into having a 64-bit system (thus increasing how much memory everything wants).

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Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS

Ian 55
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Re: @asdf The desktop deadend.

It's annoyingly not guaranteed to work - I still want to know why they have broken basic Debian behaviour - but the last couple worked after using apt-get to upgrade.

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Why won't you DIE? IBM's S/360 and its legacy at 50

Ian 55
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Re: Why have none of you (other) nitpickers

As ever, it depends on your definition of 'RISC'.

Haven't x86 CPUs been effectively RISC for the common instructions, with the legacy rarer stuff done via lots microcoded instructions since the 80486?

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Ian 55
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Re: UNIVAC 1

I was wondering how far down the comments I'd have to go before someone mentioned this.

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Microsoft in OPEN-SOURCE .Net love-in with new foundation

Ian 55
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Re: Move on, nothing to see

Software /is/ politics.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is just where marketing departments want them.

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No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!

Ian 55
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Allowing copying while preventing piracy

But preventing copying Does Not Work. Everyone knows that, much that some of them would prefer that it does. But who gained from trying to stop it on Blu-ray? Pirates. Who gains from trying to stop it on Kindle-format ebooks. It's not the authors or publishers.

So what you want is some common sense. My favourite example of that is from the publishers of an indie game who went 'yes, it's been pirated, but we've sold over a million copies and made more than ten times our development costs':

"It has been over a year since we even thought about piracy. With sales as good as above we cannot really see this as an issue worth more than two lines in this post, so screw it."

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Ian 55
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Translation

It depends on why you do it. If it's to practice your French, fine. If it's to sell or give away, not fine.

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Ian 55
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Re: You can create a parody of a Dan Brown book...

His books are certainly a parody of good writing and Da Vinci Code could certainly be said to be a parody of Holy Blood, Holy Grail given how similar it is.

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Ian 55
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Re: What's good for the goose...

Yes, you can... but you may need to complain to the Secretary of State about the DRM if you can't break it.

From the consumer FAQ:

"Is this just about CDs, or can I also copy films, e-books etc?

The exception will apply to any copies you have bought, other than computer programs. .. However, you should note that media, such as DVDs, can still be protected by technology which physically prevents copying.

What if a DVD or other media is protected by copy protection technology?

Media such as DVDs are often protected by anti-copying technology to guard against copyright piracy, and this is protected by law. Copyright owners will still be able to apply this protection. However, if copy

protection is too restrictive, you may raise a complaint with the Secretary of State."

If the DRM stops you doing the format shift you are allowed to do, clearly it is too restrictive.

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Hey frumious Reg gamers: BANG-or-SNATCH? We look at Second Son and Thief

Ian 55
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Re: Thief

If you liked the original, have a look at The Dark Project - a fan-made free platform for a pile of scenarios which, in its latest incarnation, no longer needs you to have a copy of Doom 3 to provide the engine.

Runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.

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GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

Ian 55
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GNOME3 was 'frankly unusable'

Who wrote..

"Fortunately for GNOME fans there is much to love in GNOME 3"

"Indeed GNOME 3 is a cleaner, much-simplified desktop experience no matter what size your screen is. The GNOME Shell does an admirable job of making it feel like the entire system is just you and whatever app you're using at the moment - the Shell stays out of your way until you need it."

"If .. you really don't care what your desktop looks like and you just want to get some work done, GNOME 3 is a huge step up over GNOME 2."

.. in their review of GNOME 3?

Ah.

What a difference a few years makes.

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Ian 55
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Summing up Linux as a whole

Yep, you've got a choice. If someone decides some stupid desktop is now the default, it is trivial to use another one.

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As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

Ian 55
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Re: Version 1.1

I laughed at the section on the ComputerHistory site too:

"There were many similarities between CP/M and MS-DOS. Inspired by the 8-bit CP/M, Paterson’s 16-bit operating system used similar commands and some of the same programming interfaces, but it was a different internal implementation and used different file storage formats."

'Inspired', that's a good word.

'Some of the same programming interfaces': hey Tim, why did the QDOS/86-DOS/MS-DOS call to print a string terminate with a '$' character then?

What MS-DOS had that CP/M didn't was use the FAT system... in a way that meant that if you swapped floppy disks in the middle of using a program, it would usually irretrievably corrupt the new one while losing changes to the old one. CP/M checked for disk swaps, MS-DOS didn't.

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Ian 55
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"DOS's not done until QEMM won't run"

Alleged Microsoft development slogan.

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Ian 55
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DoubleSpace and data loss

When it wrote to disk, it looked at the returned value to see if it had succeeded or not, then threw it away and assumed that it had. Oddly enough, this caused big problems when it hadn't.

See Geoff Campbell's work on analysing it, for example.

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Ian 55
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Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

For Microsoft promising that it'd be like Unix, certainly with multitasking if not multiuser, and delivering the mess that 2.0 was over a year later than promised.

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Ian 55
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Borland Sprint

Emacs without the pain = the best text editor I have ever used, coupled with a formatting program that enabled you to say 'make this 13.9 pts high' (so it fits on the page) and 'include this bit of PostScript' (for the images).

You could also pull out the power plug on your PC with it running, and when you restarted, you'd have lost no more than ten seconds of work.

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Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Ian 55
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90% of their time is in the browser

Exactly.

This is why Microsoft set out to destroy Netscape all those years ago and were prepared to do it illegally. It's one of the few times you can't say they didn't see the future correctly.

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Ian 55
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Re: wow - are you sure about that harware limitation

I have a much loved Eee 901 netbook (and a slightly less loved Eee 900). Both run Xubuntu absolutely fine, but can't cope with the Unity used in the main Ubuntu... so the answer to "What are you doing on your desktop to drag its performance down so much" for many people is 'trying to run Unity as the desktop'.

Puppy Linux runs even better on both of them, of course.

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Ian 55
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Installing programs

I really wonder who finds the Ubuntu or Linux Mint software centres too user unfriendly to use - both are as simple as Google's Play Store on Android and, presumably, whatever Apple let you use. Search a catalogue of tens of thousands of programs, click the 'install' button and give your password at some point. Done.

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Ian 55
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I love the most upvoted answer there

"We have made significant changes in the backup application since Vista to address major customer pain-points. Hope you find the Windows7 backup/restore solution meeting all your needs."

.. to someone experiencing major pain and who isn't.

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Ian 55
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Re: How much of a challenge is re-installing XP?

If you're talking about going from Linux to XP on a modern PC, you'll probably find you have to hunt out the drivers before it will begin to write to the disk. I can't remember if the XP I put on a previous PC just to update the BIOS didn't like SATA or something else, but it involved sticking a driver on a floppy disk and pressing a key at the right point.

(Conversely, if you put something like Win7 on any less modern kit, you may end up having to buy some new stuff - no-one bothered to do Win7 drivers for the sound card in this PC. It explains why I got it for free, and it works with Linux.)

If you're talking about re-installing XP on something that already has it, the bigger problem is re-installing the programs and data.

People who have not experienced having a /home partition with all their data and which is kept safe during OS upgrades think it is normal to have to restore everything from a backup every time.

People who have not experienced a decent repository system think that having to go to a dozen different places to reinstall / update a dozen different programs is normal.

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The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Ian 55
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Presumably there is some remote sysadmin tool

A ssh server should be enough but I don't know about what Windows 7 actually wants in this regard.

The only sensible setup involves the PCs being automatically wiped and restored from some - as far as the users are concerned - read-only device between users. Otherwise, once one of them gets pwned* then they all are.

That device can be updated remotely with the patches etc, because if they can't handle keeping a modern Linux up to date, they sure aren't going to be looking at the numerous sources for updates for a Windows PC.

And next time, you - or whoever else it is - doesn't have to drive two hours there and two hours back.

* We can have the sweepstake on just how quickly that happens another time.

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Flying Toaster screen savers return on GitHub

Ian 55
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Re: Ah yes....

Yesterday, a platform display at Nottingham station was repeatedly rebooting. This involves showing its IP address...

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iOS 7's weak random number generator stuns kernel security – claim

Ian 55
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Re: iOS 7

One of the classic exam questions: "Is '7' a random number?"

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Microsoft closing in on Apache's web server crown

Ian 55
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Dear Microsoft

If you'd like to pay me to use IIS (ok, switch headers so it looks like I am) to host parked domains, I will happily do so...

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MUM's WordPress recipe blog USED AS ZOMBIE in DDoS attacks

Ian 55
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Only recently and only for minor updates

Yes, it was added in 3.7, I think, but it only works for say 3.8 to 3.8.1 and when 3.9 or 4.0 are released, you will have to do it manually.

You also need to keep on top of plugin updates yourself.

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Twitter blew $36m on patents to avoid death by lethal injunction

Ian 55
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Come on IBM..

.. which three patents?

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Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Ian 55
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Re: Data entry on the Psion Organiser

Having dropped one and lost everything on it in far less time than 30 seconds... that wasn't good enough.

You could (and I did) drop a Series 3* and everything was fine.

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Ian 55
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ATTN: Android app writers

There's a tenner here for anyone who can clone the Series 3mx Agenda program on Android.

I will not be the only one willing to pay that much.

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Ian 55
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Re: Mainstream traction

Pah. A least a dozen people bought a Psion 3a after seeing mine. At one place, it was quite amusing seeing the numbers increase with each meeting..

.. and only about two of the owners could be described as 'geeky'.

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Ian 55
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Re: Data entry on the Psion Organiser

The huge downside to the Psion Organisers was the battery setup. They had just one 9V battery and if the connection was lost for an instant, so was your data.

The Series 3 fixed that with its backup battery, and the Psion 3a remains the best bit of computing kit I ever spent money on. The 3c and 3mx improved it and I'd still be using the latter if it had an internet connection and a browser.

If there's an Android clone of Agenda, I want to know - it's the only diary I have ever been able to keep.

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Getty offers 35 MILLION images for free – if you jump (em)bed with it

Ian 55
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How long before the embed code is added to adblock lists?

Immediately, or as soon as they use it to show any ads on anything anywhere?

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Bitcoin bank Flexcoin pulls plug after cyber-robbers nick $610,000

Ian 55
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Bitcoins are forever?

The comparison with diamonds is a really good one - the market for diamonds is effectively rigged too.

At least if you buy diamonds, you can be reasonably sure that someone will pay you half what you paid.

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MtGox accepted new customers JUST DAYS before collapse

Ian 55
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Incompetent or criminal?

Can I have 'both', please?

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Ian 55
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Re: Mr

At least you can cry all the way to the bank :)

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Ian 55
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PayPal has just as many problems as Bitcoin, of course.

Would you accept payment via Paypal to post me an expensive bit of kit knowing that I could say 'empty box' to Paypal and they will take the money out of your account and give it back to me? Without any proof that I was telling the truth? It's an absolutely endemic problem, especially with Apple gear for some reason.

At least there comes a point when you can be sure that a Bitcoin payment isn't going to be taken back... even if you're not sure what it will be worth in an hour's time.

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Ian 55
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From the people who brought you..

Nice to see that the people who picked the 2012 Olympics logo still have Jobs.

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Q&A: Schneier on trust, NSA spying and the end of US internet hegemony

Ian 55
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Re: "Encrypted them in a way he could not decrypt them"

Presumably you could be coerced into saying who could decrypt them, because they are the ones with the key or for other reasons?

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MtGox boss vows to keep going despite $429 MILLION Bitcoin 'theft'

Ian 55
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Re: Does this make it the largest robbery in history?

Bernie Madoff says no, for one.

See also the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) which ran off with 700k of the things, so it's not even the biggest Bitcoin theft.

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Ian 55
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Re: Death threats - WTF?

"That said, sometimes I'd like to see company directors taking a physical kicking in the wake of folding their company with a bunch of debts and walking away scott-free after carefully ensuring their Aston and holiday home is perfectly safe!"

In the 19th Century, after a series of insurance companies failed, Punch magazine suggested that hanging the directors of the next one to collapse would ensure a bit more thought about managing the companies well.

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Ian 55
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Re: dum di-di dum dum

This is the exchange that started life having people's passwords in clear text in the URL.

I suspect security and proper accounting were lower down his list of concerns than what colour toilet paper to have in the office toilets.

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SkyMapper turns up oldest star ever found

Ian 55
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Re: I don't understand the reference to our sun...

Yes, it's about 10,000,000 times less.

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The revival of survival – the gaming genre that refuses to die

Ian 55
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Re: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

It's quite fabulous on so many levels, and the only one I was prepared to pay money for (albeit in a Humble Store sale).

If the (Bath-based) developers are reading this, implement slow motion for those of us without the reflexes and mouse control of a teenager :)

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Cocky Spotify drops time limits on free listening, skint music-lovers cheer

Ian 55
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Re: Self-advertising

Yes, I don't know what it says about me as a user, but I get an awful lot of (awful) Spotify ads.

I wonder if they charge themselves for them, and distribute the money to the labels.

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Hosting outfit goes PERMANENTLY TITSUP after 'lifetime' plans kill biz

Ian 55
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It is not impossible that the directors have been so negligent that they become personally liable for their decisions. Certainly, the banks may extracted have personal guarantees from them.

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Google gobbles Wi-Fi thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 BEEELLION IN CASH

Ian 55
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Re: I should create a company

I am struggling to think what's so clever about this company. Altering the temperature of somewhere according to whether or not there are people in the place is not exactly difficult.

Someone (this bunch?) have a phone program that can let the system know when you're nearby (probably), so the place can be warm if and when you arrive.

But really this is simple control stuff with some nice industrial design.

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