* Posts by xj25vm

272 posts • joined 16 Jul 2010

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

xj25vm

Re: exclusivity

I would guess Samsung - if they are still at it?

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Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star

xj25vm

Powered by Telefonica?

Where does Telefonica come into all this? What's with the advert for them next to the chat button?

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Cutting the cord without losing touch with your office

xj25vm

Partial view - there are other options out there

Well, there are plenty of high quality tools available for SME's out there. There is OpenVPN (open source / community edition) for VPN connections - which is relatively easy to configure (compared to other VPN servers, at least) and works on Windows, OSX and Linux - and has a strong track record security wise. I use Exim for SMTP, Dovecot for IMAP with Horde on top for email, calendar and contacts access. Horde even has ActiveSync functionality to connect mobile devices in Exchange mode to it. I use all of these on in-house servers where we have hundreds of gigabytes of storage available for next to nothing - instead of paying monthly to cloud providers for limited facilities. I also use KVM for Windows VM's when we need some Windows only app running at the server end. And all of the above is open source - hence no licensing costs. Notice I didn't say "free" - but the saving on licensing costs alone is significant for an SME.

Yes - all of the above requires a non-trivial amount of skill to setup, configure, update and troubleshoot when it goes wrong - and that is often a stumbling block for SME's. But if it is setup correctly, and a minimum number ports are open to the Internet to constantly worry about doors being rattled (except the VPN) - it can run (and it does in the setups I look after) for years with minimum of maintenance.

And besides, all of the talk about hosted services (oh, sorry, "cloud" services) being cheaper as you don't need on premises expertise falls flat on its face when things go wrong and suppliers leave you hanging because either:

a. A lot of them are just resellers and don't have the expertise in house either - they only fake it in the sales talk - but when the s**t hits the fan, it becomes obvious they are clueless

b. You have only paid for "cheap" services and you are not worth the time and energy of one of their "specialists" to solve the issue properly - so you are fobbed off with half arsed nonsensical explanations.

c. The supplier just realised they are making next to no profits as they've been selling stuff cheap to attract customers, and needs to ratchet all of their prices up - with moving away from them being a convoluted, expensive and highly disruptive exercise.

But I guess if you are an "IT" manager who's actually a literature graduate (no offence intended to those who study literature) - which I've seen in real life - who doesn't understand IT and aims to "manage" by staying as far away from technology as possible - then you might not have any choice but to buy into whatever fluff suppliers tell you - and to live in the fairy land of fluffy bunnies and "all is good and easy in IT" land. After all, with a bit of luck, you might have moved on to another company and somebody else coming after you will have to deal with the fallout of wrong strategic decisions which only fixed the "present" and ignored the fact that there is a "future" coming to bite in the backside.

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xj25vm

Real life

Without wanting to sound too harsh, this article sounds like it has been written by somebody hovering high up in managerial circles - not somebody who has their sleeves rolled up and the hands dirty in the muck, working with the tools on a daily basis.

It is one thing having a quick glance through the specs of various tools and packages and seeing what works with what - on paper - or what the suppliers claim to provide - and another thing dealing with those tools and suppliers day in and day out, and only then finding out what works properly and reliably, and what drains your soul out in troubleshooting and debugging effort and spending endless hours on support calls.

Not to mention the whole rhetoric in the beginning of the article about permanent connectivity to the office being some kind of boon for family life. With all due respect, that is typical management distorted, wishful view of how real life works. I see all the times half-thought out emails from people who clearly are in the middle of (attempting to) doing three things at once. Quantity over quality and all that.

And it's not like a get to do my own work in some ideal peaceful environment - but at least I can see the effect of trying to do it all at once on output quality - and don't kid myself that being tethered to my work is doing miracles to my productivity.

Just sayin'.

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Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

xj25vm

And interestingly enough, the A20-Olinuxino-lime is down to £27.96 on Ebay inc. delivery - new! Thanks for the tip! It looks like ARM SBC's with SATA onboard are finally coming home to roost towards the £20 mark. I've been waiting for this for a while.

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Be Your Own Big Brother: Going to pot

xj25vm

Re: Tamagochi in the real world

Personally, I don't care much about the plant profile know-how behind these gizmos. I like to learn about plants myself, what makes them grow and what doesn't. The bit I am interested in is the potential labour saving, as watering the garden during the warm season, once you go past a few pots, takes a lot of time. Figuring out how to look after plants, what works and what doesn't, and how to do it - well, that's exactly what I'd like to get more time for, instead of lugging water around :-) Watering is only one aspect of plant care - but a time consuming one. So to me, a good automatic watering system would allow for more high quality gardening time - a real promotion from the job of waterboy :-)

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xj25vm

Re: @xj25vm Flawed Solutions & Superficial Analysis

@frank ly Re: electrolysis - I've read online on various forums and websites about this and I've used a bit of code on the Arduino which keeps on reversing the polarity of the current flowing through the probe to avoid/compensate for electrolysis.

Re: capacitive sensors - several people mentioned this to me, but I am yet to try it. Thanks for the suggestions!

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xj25vm

Re: Flawed Solutions & Superficial Analysis

I would take your suggestions further. To the author: please use some or all of the reviewed products for at least a week and let us know how well they work , how reliable they are in real life situations, how useful they prove etc.

I have been working on an Arduino based automatic watering and monitoring system for myself, on and off for about a year - and for example, what I found so far, is no reliable way to measure the moisture in the soil. For example, that little $5 sensor I found to be absolutely useless. First off, it is far too short. The soil in many real life situations is drier and far looser towards the surface - so inserting that probe, which is only about 4cm-5cm long - yields utterly useless results - as it doesn't make proper contact with the loose soil around it. It might work better in a small pot indoors, than in the garden, though.

I have then made my own resistance based probes and tried them - and unfortunately, the results are so variable that no meaningful data could be extracted. The resistance read from the probe varies so much, that I simply can't tell the difference between a soaking wet pot and a half dry one. Also, the type of compost or soil will affect the reading, the soil temperature, and any chemicals or fertilizers present in the soil.

So although there are wonderful tutorials out there on the internet - in real life things just don't seem to work like that. Yes - those sensors work really nicely when inserted into a perfectly smooth and uniform material - for example reading the moisture of a banana (well - I couldn't think of another way to test them!) - but not so well in the garden.

Maybe some of the other solutions in this article work better.

I am still searching for a reliable way to test soil moisture - but what I've learned so far is that just reading the articles on the internet, or the manufacturers' claims, is not good enough.

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xj25vm

Re: Tamagochi in the real world

I am with you - up to a point. I have resisted using technology in the garden over the years - as I deal with tech all day in work - and I wanted the garden to be at least one place where I get away from it. However, there are three reasons why I have slowly changed my mind in the last few years:

1. As I accumulate more plants, try new fruit trees and vegetable varieties every year, the number of plants in my garden has expanded considerably. I find that in the summer, close to 95% of my time in the garden is spent watering. If I could at least partially automate the watering, I could spend more of my gardening time doing other (potentially more interesting or useful) stuff in the garden - weeding, mulching, replanting, cropping, cooking, grafting, research etc.

2. Having a busy schedule in work at times means that I might not end up with enough spare time every single day to look after the garden. If a week of dry hot days coincides with a spike of activity in my work, I risk loosing a good deal of plants in the garden because I didn't get around to watering them. An automated watering system would cover my back in such a scenario.

3. Holidays. This one is pretty simple - if you do fruit and vegetable gardening, you can't have a holiday during the growing season. However, an automatic watering system should be able to look after the watering of the garden just about well enough for a week or so - enough for me to get away. Also, it would be good to be able to monitor the moisture of the soil in at least a few places in the garden - and know for sure, remotely, that the system is working properly.

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Crooks are using proxy servers to build more convincing phishing sites – new claim

xj25vm

Re: "legitimate site would find it very difficult to detect these attacks against their customers. "

I see. So what happens if you get multiple purchases from a large internal network with a single public IP address? Such as a large company, university, government network? Or how about the fact that most (if not all) 3g mobile operators - in UK at least - use private IP's for their customers. Will you be banning everybody who shops/browses your website from a smartphone or 3G dongle then?

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EE TV brings French broadband price war to the UK

xj25vm

Re: Seems very complicated

"At the moment I get Broadband from BT - basically the same people who manage the wires, the street cabinet and the exchange. It seems to work okay. Why add a middleman (EE) with no Broadband delivery experience?"

Actually, not really. Since 2006 BT has been split between BT Retail and Openreach (and a few other subsidiaries) - and they all operate as independent companies. They might all be owned by BT Group - but they are separate companies - not only departments. BT Retail is a customer of Openreach, just like EE or TalkTalk or any other broadband resellers. And no - that is not just in theory - when you are stuck with a sticky broadband problem and passed around all BT departments, and wait for days on end for the "test results" to be in - you find out soon enough that the days when BT was one entity that was your direct supplier, and managed the "wires" at the same time - are long gone.

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Lenovo refuses warranty repair - what are my options?

xj25vm

Lenovo refuses warranty repair - what are my options?

I'm sure this is nothing new and many other commentards have been through this. That is why I'm hoping for some suggestions as to how I can move this forward.

I have a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E130 laptop which I've bought in Nov 2013. About two months ago the screws underneath towards the back (in the vicinity and under the lid hinges) have fallen off. When I tried to screw them back in, they wouldn't hold and kept on falling off. Because of this, the bottom and top of the case started to open up. Separately, the keyboard has been leaving scratch marks on the screen because - I'm assuming - it is rubbing against it when the lid is closed. I've noticed this within two weeks of buying the machine - and started to use a soft, thin silicone keyboard cover - which has slowed but not stopped the process.

Just over a month ago I contacted Lenovo support about the two issues above and they asked for photos. On receiving the photos, they immediately declared that it is customer induced damage (CID). Upon my repeated persistence, they accepted to have a look at the machine - and I shipped it at my own cost to their repair centre. Their 12 months warranty is "Carry in" - so they don't cover the shipping cost!

Since then, there have been many emails backwards and forwards trying to convince them that this is not customer induced damage - and it is either a faulty design or manufacturing defect or both. They wouldn't even acknowledge the screen scratches for a while - and then they say that they've cleaned them up! But they refuse to provide photo evidence. Eventually they accepted to open up the machine and have a look inside - and now they say I've caused the threads of the screws to be faulty by pushing the lid too far!

This is my own machine and I have been careful in using it - so I know it is non-sense. They are continuing to refuse to send photographic evidence in support of their nonsense claims. The alternative is that they repair the machine for £212.00 Labour + Price of Parts + VAT - which is completely ridiculous.

I have contacted Lenovo switchboard in UK - and asked for their Customer Services Department or their Complaints Department - but they don't seem to have such a thing! They gave me the email address of the assistant to the executive director - but I think even that is nonsense as she just forwarded the case back to the same technical support department - and ignored my further emails. Her email signature doesn't even have a title or further details - which is another suspicious sign.

Today they emailed and confirmed the machine is on its way back to me - as I haven't accepted any of their options.

What is the experience of Reg readers in these matters? Any useful suggestions as to how to move this forward? UK Trading Standards? Does Lenovo really not have any proper complaint resolution procedure? To add to the confusion, some phone numbers and email addresses are marked as IBM departments and some as Lenovo. After all this time the two companies seem to be still intertwined in a mesh of branding and department roles.

Any suggestions are welcome.

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Top Ten 802.11ac routers: Time for a Wi-Fi makeover?

xj25vm

Range

Can we have an similar article, but comparing the routers' range? I don't care if it is g, n or ac, what is the best router for range and coverage - line of site and through walls? Now that can be really useful in many real life situations - where top speed is not a priority.

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NOT APPY: Black cab drivers enraged by Hailo as taxi tech wars rage on

xj25vm

Monopoly

Another monopoly which has lasted under various pretexts for far, far too long. Detailed knowledge of the London road layout? I'm not a big fan of GPS navigation myself, but even my nose can detect the 19th century aroma right there. C'mon, it is getting beyond ridiculous. Years worth of training? Really? I can't say I've ever been able to detect it in the manner they drive or in how they treat their customers.

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Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again

xj25vm

Mozilla have completely lost their way

This is as far as it gets from the original days of "let's keep the Internet free from proprietary stuff". In the last few years, everything emanating from Mozilla has been more and more emulation of their "commercial" competitors - and that is, mainly Google. More and more muddling of why Mozilla exists in the first place. After receiving 300 millions a year from Google, they still nag everybody that they need more money. What for? To plaster more billboards throughout California promoting, err, themselves? Does it really take that much money to release one zillion releases per month which show no discernible or useful progress? Or maybe creating rounded tabs to match the ones from Chrome has been a massively costly exercise? I bet leaving Thunderbird, Lightning and some of their other projects aside, while singing "la-la-la" to the users who need them has really costed them a lot of money. And then there is all the muddling of lines between Mozilla Foundation the charity, and Mozilla Corporation the for-profit enterprise. Where exactly does the money, influence and branding rights go to nowadays - to which one of them? Here is an idea Mozilla - if you want to make some money, maybe it is time to get rid of some of that fat at the top - which is dreaming of more and more ways of being evil while telling everybody not to be evil. Oh, well, another idea you've borrowed, we all know from where.

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Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'

xj25vm

Playing with the fire

Or maybe, just maybe, Snowden was a better sysadmin (well, an idealist sysadmin by the looks of it) than he is a journalist and a political animal. The very fact that he is even attempting to question the ethics and politics of his own hosts raises some serious questions about his understanding of world politics. He is only there because Putin doesn't like the Americans and wants to annoy them. He is deluding himself if he thinks otherwise. I'm not quite sure he will be able to find some other comfy place in the world any time soon if he is sawing that branch out. And he won't be able to do much whistle blowing and world stage heroics from a prison in the US - or even worse, some gulag in Russia. I would have thought he would be wise to leave criticising the Russian mass surveillance programme to others - who don't happen to be honoured guests of the Russian regime right now!

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Delhi police forget passwords to corruption portal, ignore 600 crimes

xj25vm

Technical problem my a*$e

"The issue was finally resolved in January when two officers were summoned to the CVC to explain themselves. It then emerged that the fuzz hadn’t dealt with any of the complaints for eight years because they simply didn’t know the password or how to use the portal."

So we are talking about corruption complains - you know, the type which potentially involve politicians and other people in positions of power and influence. Sure, it really takes 8 years to ask for a password! Or, far more likely, they used any excuse not to do their job, while some of said persons exerted "influence" over them and asked them not to do their job.

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We're not talking, so PAH: Violin Memory's big dogs blank sacked CEO

xj25vm

Something's fishy here

For pete's sake. Are these violin people so important to such a large proportion of your readership that you have to trot out at least an article per week about their latest twitch and itch? What's going on here? Is somebody getting a back hander somewhere? If they want publicity so badly, can't they just pay for one of those annoyingly huge side adverts on El Reg? Or even one of those full page background ones that hijacks your browsing session as soon as you want to click focus away from an element.

Or is there a journo on the team who can't be bothered to look for fresh ideas and just recycles the same topic to infinity and beyond? Someone enlighten us please, or else forget about the whining violins and spare our souls.

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Cyanogen grabs $23m, will ship mod-installed N1 smartmobe on Xmas Eve

xj25vm

Where is the profit?

I'm a bit confused. Neither the article, nor the comments seem to be mentioning anything about profits. If Cyanogen has turned into a full bona fide business - what is the business model? Whom exactly are they going to charge (and what for) to make up those 23+7 million greenbacks? Anybody?

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Open source bods magic up Qualcomm tech to unlock Internet of Things

xj25vm
WTF?

IoT - WTF?

For pete's sake - when we called them embedded devices, at least us in the industry knew what it was all about. Now they came up with a new fangled name which means absolutely nothing to anybody. Reminds me of EE - another completely pointless marketing exercise. If you go about renaming something, at least come up with some clever and/or explanatory new term.

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Three offers free US roaming, confirms stealth 4G rollout

xj25vm

Re: 3 are great...

I'm not so sure. At least in the north west of England, Three has pretty decent coverage almost everywhere - and that includes 3G broadband. I've downloaded entire video episodes using my 3G dongle in around 20 minutes in places. I've even used 3G on Three in the Lake District in the forest. OK - coverage was missing in some spots in Lake District - but it isn't the most populated place there is.

However, down south it seems to be a different story. Every time I visit London, the 3G barely crawls during day time where I stay. However, past 12 midnight, it gets fast enough to watch BBC iPlayer. But all this time I get full signal on my mobile. It looks like their network is quite oversubscribe in London - and probably other places as well.

So their coverage and capacity does vary from place to place - but they are still tremendous value for money.

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Google lets users slurp own Gmail, Calendar data

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Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

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Windows 7 outstrips Windows 8.x with small November growth

xj25vm

Re: Er........

"Actually I should be zero since the oh so smart people using Gnuliban OS surely would know how to buy a unit WITHOUT a pre-installed OS."

OK - I'll buy this one. Like, for every laptop and desktop model out there, there is a version with Windows and one without, right? Might be different in other countries, but in UK you might be lucky to get a handful of pc models offered without Windows. I'm not going to buy some random hardware combination by some random manufacturer of some random build quality - just so the machine has no pre-installed OS. So yes - I end up paying the MS tax because I am quite specific about what laptops (in general) I want and need.

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Mass Effect: Ten lightweight laptops that won’t bust your back

xj25vm

Price/practicallity

OK - maybe this doesn't matter to everybody out there - but recently I've been looking to buy a light and small laptop - but with as much practicality as possible. I need my connectivity - I don't want to carry a bucket of adapters around. Of everything that I looked at 11 inch, only two seem to fit the bill: the Lenovo E130 and the Acer Travelmate B113. They have:

1. 3 x USB ports

2. Full size VGA

3. Full size HDMI

4. Ethernet

5. Full SD card slot

Oh, and I like AMD as the underdog, but in spite of that, I have to go with Intel on a laptop. In terms of performance versus heat versus battery life, they are still lagging too far behind. I keep on checking their offerings every year, and like the progress they have made, but I'm sorry, it is still not good enough. Good prices though.

In the end I went with the Lenovo, as it had double the (theoretical) battery life and it seemed stronger built. I've had my Thinkpad E130 for almost two weeks now. Aside from the usual initial EFI bumbling, Slackware went on it without any major problems. I've added another 4GB of ram and pretty much everything flies. I couldn't be happier. The keyboard is fantastic, but the trackpad should really have been bigger - as they could have moved the keyboard to make some space. The speakers are strong, but unfortunately underneath (WTF?). The whole thing is rock solid. But I can't stand the "ribbed" feel of the trackpad - don't understand why Lenovo keeps on insisting on it.

Haswell sounds marvellous for laptops, but it is taking an absolute age to arrive. They still haven't released the ULV versions of the planned Haswell processors. Oh, and my E130 might have just an Ivy Bridge i3-3227U, but it set me back only £492 - I'm not going to pay £1500 for a laptop - sorry. (I've noticed it has dropped further to about £470 at some e-tailers)

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Dropbox joins Linux patent protection hit squad

xj25vm

Protection?

Hmm - sounds suspiciously like the old fashion protection racquet. Join one mafia group to be protected from the others. Pay us money so we protect you from the others suing you and claiming money off you.

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Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

xj25vm

Re: Is this a story?

"I think the reason journo types see this kind of thing as scandalous is that it's the first time they've ever actually been subjected to this type of work. "

Very well put. The first thing that crossed my mind when reading the article on BBC this morning was how the 23 year old journo sounded like a spoiled brat who's spent his time in uni smoking he-knows-what and having a good time while being supported by his parents - and now is shocked to find out that people in real world have to do real work for their money. FFS, it's not rocket science. You get paid £8.25 an hour for something that takes 5 minutes to learn. You want more money and more interesting work? Spend your youth (and in some cases, the rest of your life) finding something you have a a natural talent and passion for, Invest tenth of thousands of pounds and a good number of years in your education - and *don't* work as a stock picker. But don't make national news out of the fact that some jobs are more boring than others. Actually, the editors at BBC who promoted this piece of non-news to the front page have a lot more to answer for than the actual "under cover" journo.

Oh, and by the way, living in a big city, full of noise, and pollution, and having to finish stuff in work by deadlines, and having to put up with office politics, and shitty bosses, with screaming kids at home, and worrying about loosing your job and not being able to pay your mortgage, and, and, and ... well - pretty much everything is bad for your mental health. Welcome to adult life - get on with it and stop blaming big bad Amazon.

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Rare AutoCAD malware rigs drafting machines for follow-up attacks

xj25vm

Does it require admin privileges for initial infection?

See title. I couldn't work out from the article if the .FAS file can still infect a machine even if it is opened by a user with restricted privileges.

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Dell orbits Linux a third time with revamped Sputnik notebooks

xj25vm

Re: How could they find an SD-card reader....

I would have though the same - until the other week, when I was searching for a new laptop - and stumbled over the following bug report for Ubuntu on an Acer B113 - and obviously the card reader using the "tg3" kernel modules has some pretty crappy issues - go figure:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1099057

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I am a recovering Superwoman wannabee

xj25vm

Re: Not just women...

Have an upvote on me! Too many articles on life/work balance take the one-sided view of "family above all - or you will be sorry on your death bed". Well, I'm exaggerating a bit here, but I find that the above attitude ends up being a fairly narrow minded approach which doesn't apply to everybody.

Not everybody is the same. Not everybody has the same priorities in life. Not everybody has the same priorities at different times in their life. Not everybody has the same emotional make up. Not everybody has a happy family waiting for them at home. Not everybody has the same past. There are many reasons why some people might enjoy work more than others. Then there is the reality that some of us spent more of our youth searching for a carrier which fits our natural talents and inclinations, while others walked into the first job they could find or which paid the most.

Or some of us just accept that it is impossible to do everything and do it well in this life, but it is quite possible to just do one or two things in this life and do them well. It is a compromise, but that's how it works. And some of us might have accepted to do just some things (i.e. work) and do them well - maybe because of our particular personal situation. And it doesn't necessarily mean we disapprove of those who might have different priorities.

But on the other hand, why would someone who chooses to enjoy more of their time with their family have the same career expectations as someone who might have chosen to forego those pleasures and put more time into work? No one can have it all.

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xj25vm

Re: The Need for Validation

"It's interesting that superwoman still needed "permission" from Sheryl Sandberg's book before becoming more at ease and "leaning back" a bit."

I agree - but only partially. In the sense that there is no need to follow some high flying business brass advice - it would be much more important to figure these things by oneself. On the other hand, I don't really agree that these issues are specific to women only - many of us face them with varying degrees of intensity on both (all?) sides of the gender line.

But the article only seems to scratch the surface of it all. We all behave in the way to we do for some quite complex reasons. We all have our motivations, some conscious, some less so. Trying to attain a deeper understanding of what makes one tick would be far more useful and long enduring, than just picking some quick-to-digest advice from the book of some business celebrity - even when that advice is right or it even works.

But overall, an article that is thought provoking and raises issues pertinent to all of us.

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Krzanich: NO new Intel 14nm Broadwell chip for YOU, world, until 2014

xj25vm

Hmm - a bit confused here. As far as I can tell, aside from Apple products, there don't seem to be many other laptops with Haswell (22nm) processors available to buy. Why would they introduce the next gen (14nm) in the first quarter of 2014 (never mind even earlier than that, as originally planned) - when they haven't started selling properly the current generation? Unless machines with Haswell processors are widely available and I missed on that?

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Cloud biz model 'unproven' as Amazon scares world+dog into competing - or ELSE

xj25vm

Re: Gee.

"Put another way, it's the pricing model that's proving attractive, not the technology"

Precisely. And the article is warning that the current pricing model is not sustainable - as the cloud providers are not making a profit. Which means that the prices will have to go up sooner or later. And then, all that attractive pricing model is gone. So, how much point will be then to have stuff in the cloud? I look forward to companies trying to wrestle their data (and infrastructure, in some cases) out of the cloud and back in-house. Should make for interesting articles on El Reg :-)

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

xj25vm

Re: Slightly fruity comparison

Thanks for that enlightening fact. In case you missed it, my point is that spreading a known quantity of radiation uniformly over the entire planet is very, very different from concentrating it in a 100 miles radius. And that is what the fruity statistic is NOT emphasizing. I could say that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs emitted less harmful radiation than the total sum of radiation emitted by some minor and frequently recurring event spread over the entire Galaxy (and I could also use the time dimension to my advantage - and spread it over 100.000 years as well - just to make sure) - and all of a sudden make those two catastrophic events look harmless and pale in insignificance. But that's just manipulating statistics to one's own advantage. And by the way, I don't see how that type of contortion of numbers to fit one's mindset and agenda is more of a clear-headed scientific reasoning than the scaremongering of the "NIMBY's". Sorry pal - you just have a different axe to grind - but axe it is.

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xj25vm

Re: Slightly fruity comparison

That's the problem with b***cks statistics. You pick and choose random numbers as you please - and all of a sound make something look exactly the way you want it to. What the frigging hell does the entire planet eating bananas have to do with radiation from a damaged nuclear power plant? I'm sure that will warm up no end those Japanese people who live in the proximity of it and risk developing various forms of cancers down to their 10th generation. You and your family and loved ones, go and live close to a facility which is farting at the seams contaminated materials every other week - and than we'll see after a while how keen you are on academic-but-irrelevant numbers on a paper. Relevance - that's what is missing. Just jumbling up some numbers together to make up a blingy statistic is not enough - the bigger picture is what matters.

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BT rewritting email standards? No hyphens allowed?

xj25vm

BT rewritting email standards? No hyphens allowed?

I've just had a call from a client trying to setup their BT Vision package, and after much faffing on the phone with BT support, it turns out that BT systems won't allow him to input his existing email address because it has a hyphen in the domain part. Apparently the BT account interface claims hyphen is not a legal/allowed character. We are talking about inputting their existing email address - not about creating a new BT one. BT "kindly" offered to endow him with a free BT email address!

I also found this post, which seems to confirm that BT's systems can't cope with hyphens in email addresses:

http://community.bt.com/t5/BT-SmartTalk/Cannot-create-bt-com-login/td-p/864248

And I've also been told of another person who can't login into the wifi on some hotels because they have a hyphen in their email address. They have to use another email without a hyphen. I know BT manage many public paid-for wifi nodes on behalf of hotels etc. - I wonder if that is why this third person can't login into these wifi AP's?

Anybody else stumbled over this?

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ZTE Open: This dirt-cheap smartphone is a swing and a miss

xj25vm

"In all seriousness let's see what it's like in 2015."

There might not be any in 2015. I wouldn't have imagined it is easy to convince large electronics companies to keep on ploughing significant investment in a platform - unless you manage to attract and maintain enough initial interest. From what I see in the article - that appears to be doubtful.

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xj25vm

Biased but some good points in there

Yes - the constant and repeated comparison with the iPhone, as others have remarked above - is somewhat irrelevant, not fair and tedious after a while. However, I think the article has some point with its criticism (at least in between the lines, if not directly) in that:

1. It is a good number of years since the iPhone and Android have been launched. Even if some Reg readers might think that is is only "fair" for the first Firefox mobiles to have such faults - the rest of the market is unlikely to forgive them when they have plenty of other choices of far better quality for either the same or very similar price. I'm not sure they can *afford* to put out such low level of quality directly to consumers - and burn any potential initial interest they might have (which is little, lets be fair - with all the competition out there).

2. I agree with the concept of cheap of cheerful in general. But I would have preferred they stuck to a limited set of functions and done them well to begin with. Trying to do pretty much everything other smartphones do - and failing pretty badly at even simple stuff (contacts searches, general usability, touch sensitivity etc.) - well, I don't think that's the way to the hearts and minds of whatever niche of consumers they were hoping to woe.

3. To those who say this is "just" version 1.0 - there was a time when version 1.0 meant just that - not "beta". I would have been fine with it if half of the expected functionality was missing completely - but for half of the *present* functionality *not* to work properly or at all - that is a completely different matter.

I personally don't like much either iPhones or Androids - for a combination of technical and philosophical reasons - so some healthy and different competition would have been welcomed. But so far, I am not convinced that Mozilla stand much of a chance if that's how they are trying to impress those few consumers not corralled into the competition's (by now) entrenched camps.

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Intel touts 2-in-1s, the 'new' reincarnation of convertibles

xj25vm

Re: 2 in 1

"Suppose for instance the guts of an MBA 11 are placed into the screen section and a detachable keyboard section contains extra battery, extra functions, and the two sum to the same weight as at present. What is lost from the 2 in 1 version compared to the current version? Zero."

I'll tell you exactly what is lost: strength, robustness. Heck - even hinges on normal laptops sometimes give up. Those attach-me-dettach-me latches will give out just past the one year warranty. No thanks - I like my portable machines to be able to cope with being "ported" about.

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So WHY does Huawei's enigmatic boss shun the West's spotlight?

xj25vm

"During the privately held corporation's first European media day, held in Stockholm, Watts told reporters that recent reform in China had led to a desire for fewer state-owned enterprises. He was keen to stress that “Huawei, of course, is not a state-owned enterprise”."

Yeah - like that stopped NSA and whoever else sticking their fingers, (allegedly) planting backdoors or slurping data from the systems of the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook. None of them are "state owned enterprises" either.

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Intel reveals 14nm PC, declares Moore's Law 'alive and well'

xj25vm

What's the point of all this?

Yeah - Intel developing great technology and fantastic processors. What's the point of it all - when the marketing departments at both Intel and OEM's manage to screw it all up for us. Five years ago I bought an 11.1" laptop with:

1. 5.5 hours battery life

2. Optical (DVDRW) drive integrated

3. Excellent and loud speakers (for a laptop).

4. Solid chasis

5. 1.4 Kg weight

6. 2 full size usb ports, full size SD card slot, full size VGA slot

7. Removable battery

8. Usable (1300x700) resolution

9. Just about fast enough processor (Intel U2500 at 1.2GHz)

10. Full size ethernet integrated

11. Sane price (£499 reduced at the time)

The above is what I call a highly functional, portable and usable configuration at a decent price point. Five years later, I have been searching incessantly for even a slight upgrade to this laptop - without having to drop key aspects of its functionality. Not a chance:

1. I still use optical drives quite a bit. A BDRE drive would be even better. Not a chance below 12" size (even there they are very rare).

2. Most small laptops/ultrabooks skimp on connectivity like hell. MicroSD instead of full SD (if you are lucky to get anything), no integrated ethernet, mini VGA and/or HDMI (if any).

3. I could have just about managed with a netbook - but they had to screw the resolution on them - keep it at 1024x640 - so nobody can do proper work on them!

4. Atom Z2760 might be really good on power consumption (and pretty much the same as my old processor above) - but it is 32bits only (not a huge deal breaker) and doesn't have virtualization extensions. And has not Linux support. Thanks a lot Intel!

5. Removable batteries - well, they went out the window a while ago. But even worse - they bundle skimpy 2-3 hours batteries with small machines nowadays. Screw the darned thin edges - give me a square blunt edge and bundle a decent 10 hours battery in there - for pete's sake!

6. Intel has some pretty good processors - the "Y" from Ivy Bridge - with excellent power consumption and features. But they are so expensive, that you can only find them in £1000 plus machines. The rest - they are still putting out Sandybridge Celeron's in ultra portables to keep prices down. That's ridiculous.

So yes - keep on inventing cool and fantastic technology - and then make machines good for playing with only. Seven years ago we could buy full featured ultraportable sub-netbooks at 11.1" screens with every imaginable feature and port, excellent processors, optical drives and solid construction - nowadays - back to stoneage. 'Cause none of us need to do work any more - we are all kids and watch cats on Youtube all day long. Great.

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Bin half-baked Raspberry Pi hubs, says Pimoroni: Try our upper-crust kit

xj25vm

Re: Insufficient USB power

That still leaves the question if they are capable of providing more than 500mA *per* port to USB 2.0 devices. Just having a decent power supply might not be enough - if they stick to the official USB 2.0 spec - in some cases.

I can't work out so far from reading around if USB 3.0 hubs will offer 0.9A power to all devices connected to them - or only if they are detected as USB 3.0 devices - to keep within the spec?

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xj25vm

Insufficient USB power

This has been problem plaguing USB hubs and USB devices far before the Pi arrived. I have a number of computers backing up to portable/bus powered USB hard-disks - and after a few months of use a lot of them start to conk out in the middle of a multi-hour data transfer. The solution for me was a Targus USB 2.0 4 port desktop hub. This particular model (you can find it on Amazon - not sure if allowed to post links to products here) has two out of the 4 ports which provide 1 full Amp of power. This might be outside of the USB spec (500mAh) - but it certainly gets around the problem that some devices (specially bus powered portable hard-drives) need just slightly more power than the spec allows for - specially as they get a bit older and during prolonged data transfer sessions. No more problems for over a 1.5 years now and about 15 usb hard-disks and 4-5 hubs involved.

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Brit online property bazaar Zoopla ponders BILLION-pound flotation

xj25vm

Valuation

50 times the earnings? I'll have whatever they are smoking. One would have thought that after everything that has happened in the last decade and a half with the stock market, people have managed to scrounge some sanity back into their heads. Hmm.

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No Choice but Windows 8?

xj25vm

I know this is a rather old post - but in case others are looking for Windows 7 machines as well (and from what I see - there are few of us out there) - it looks like more and more OEM's have decided to offer again Windows 7 pre-installed. Look especially for business machines - as OEM's are allowed to pre-install Windows 7 on Windows 8 Business/Pro machines. A quick look online suggest Fujitsu, HP and Lenovo have a good number of machines for sale with Window 7 Pro.

In case it helps

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Windows 8.1 to freeze out small business apps

xj25vm

Re: Intune IS for smaller businesses

Well - maybe you should choose more carefully the "experts" you hire.

And from what I've seen so far - it doesn't have to be necessarily Doug, the Linux guy. It could very well be Johnny, the Windows guy - who's been clicking buttons all his "professional" life - and has no clue what FAT stands for, or what is the difference between bits and bytes - and is completely lost when things don't work as the manual says they should work.

And big companies can be just as incompetent as little guys. When you don't give a shit about the quality of your product - and spend all your budget on marketing, and pandering to shareholders, instead of making your stuff work - it doesn't matter how big you are. I've lost track of the number of crappy software, hardware or solutions coming out from all corners of the industry. Hell, we get news of hundreds of millions worth of IT contracts failing almost every day - here and everywhere else in the world.

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xj25vm
Thumb Down

Re: Intune IS for smaller businesses

Well - why do anything by yourself and have control over your hardware/software/systems - when you can trust someone else to do it for you - and rip you off blind in the process?

That is in case you weren't just being sarcastic.

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Intel's Avoton Atoms give microservers muscle – and Xeon-class features

xj25vm

"Don't get the wrong idea. Intel doesn't like to have a complicated product line."

Are you sure about that? Is that why they are rehashing and rebranding the hell out of their desktop and laptop processor lines - that is impossible to tell which is what nowadays? Two or three generations of Core i3/i5/i7 on sale at the same time - each of which with at least 5-6 models, revive the old Pentium brand, but this time they are not flagship processors, but previous generation Core processors as Pentium B, resell hell-knows-which processors nowadays as Celeron. It just goes on and on - and all of them on sale at the same time - we are not talking about historical products here.

It gets to the point where nobody knows what a processor can do or how fast it is supposed to be without constantly checking benchmarking websites. Absolutely ridiculous, all in the name of market ultra-segmentation - so that people buy more stuff without having any clue what they are really buying.

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PC market hits the ropes, but Lenovo's still standing

xj25vm
FAIL

Re: Where did people get the idea that only Lenovo offer Win7?

"Dell and HP both offer Win7 Pro on even the most basic models in their Small/Medium Business stores."

Maybe they do - but when I was looking somewhere in the spring online for some Win Pro machines which came pre-installed with Windows 7 - Lenovo was pretty much the first manufacturer that started to ship Win 7 again (if they ever stopped). HP just started doing that with their SME machines recently - and last time I checked Dell in the UK they weren't offering yet Win 7 Pro pre-installed for their retail business machines. So is it a matter of Lenovo listening a bit more closely to their customers - instead of just believing the BS coming from upstream suppliers?

As to "grasping at flimsy straws" regarding Win 8. Yeah well, you keep on listening to the violins on the Titanic deck with the head firmly stuck in the sand. I've nothing against those few people who might like Windows 8 - but it seems pretty clear that the market has spoken and those of us who use computers to do useful stuff - not just to toy about - can't find any sane reason to adopt Windows 8 (except for the fact that it is the "future" - whatever the f**k that means without any rational, supporting argument).

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