* Posts by dajames

398 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011

Page:

The Revenue achieved RECORD numbers of e-tax returns ... by NOT shifting to GOV.UK

dajames

Re: Did they hire the Barclay's designers?

Looks like they hired the muppets who have made Barclay's online banking so slow and barely usable.

No, the gov.uk site looks as though it's been designed to make Barclays look good by comparison. At least the Barclays site contains the services I need to use and I can find them with only moderate unnecessary faffing around amongst the draff.

4
0

Thecus N4310 4-bay: A NAS-ty beast for the budget-conscious

dajames

Re: Drive trays?

problem is drives aren't a standard size they come in loads of different thicknesses.

These are 3.5" SATA hard drives. There is a standard size and although there are now some thinner versions in lower capacities any drive worth putting in a NAS is typically going to be high-capacity and so the full 1" thickness.

There *are* caddy-less drive receptacles for SATA drives, and they do work very well in practice. I just haven't seen one in a NAS.

0
0
dajames

RAID6

It supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 and JBOD arrays.

Got any timings for RAID6 mode?

I wouldn't say that this thing really has enough bays for RAID6 -- especially not with a hot spare -- but it'd still be nice to know how fast it is.

0
0
dajames

Drive trays?

Do I read that right ... there are removable drive trays into which the disks must be installed (screwed in?) before they can be inserted?

It's not beyond the wit of man to build drive bays that accept bare drives, and they would probably be cheaper as well as more convenient for the user.

0
2

Ofcom can prise my telly spectrum from my COLD, DEAD... er, aerial

dajames

Re: "Broadcast is efficient"

Yep, broadcast is efficient given one important caveat: that there is a large number of people who want to receive the same thing at the same time.

Not necessarily "at the same time". I, at least, record most of my TV and watch it later when it suits me. The broadcasters may not like the fact that that enables me to skip the advertising (but it's surprising how much of an advert one takes in at x3 speed).

I wonder how many of the DTV channels are actually watched by a "large number" of people? Does anyone watch the "shopping and fucking" (or, indeed, "mass debating") channels? My possibly misplaced faith in human nature leads me to suspect that at least half the spectrum could easily be reclaimed without inconveniencing anyone who cares.

4
0

RIP Windows RT: Microsoft murders ARM Surface, Nokia tablets

dajames

Re: hmm

If you use the new Windows Runtime APIs ...

But why would you? Why would anyone?

If you're porting an existing desktop application changing the underlying API set is a major piece of work. Is (was) the RT marketplace big enough to justify doing that? Dunno, wait and see ... nope, doesn't like it.

If you're writing a new application from scratch you want it to have the largest possible market, so you write it to use the most widely supported APIs ... that means Win32 (or the 64-bit incarnation thereof) or maybe some cross-platform toolkit that targets Mac and Linux as well. You won't target the newcomer API unless and until it actually has some users.

At least there's now something to which the "burning platform" monicker really applies.

0
0

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

dajames

Links

A couple of things:

1. There used to be a red vulture link at the bottom of a page (in the forums, at least) that led straight back to the homepage without having to either scroll back to the top of the page or use a browser bookmark. I miss that.

2. I've sometimes found a desire for a link from the "Post Comment" page back to the article -- useful to right-click and "open in new window" to check again what the piece actually said. Could we have one of those, please?

1
0

Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

dajames

Re: You're a real PC if you run Windows.

AIUI, this Win10 is the IoT version, so command line kernel stuff only, no desktop.

No, AIUI it will be graphical ... but probably Metro and store apps rather than a desktop.

As it says in the article:

Although the desktop might not be available, the Windows build will support visual applications. “It is a headed device, HDMI primarily at the moment but then LCD panels in due course".

So, still not really Windows as most users understand it, then.

2
0
dajames

Netbooks (Was: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish)

Netbooks and ultra books are at opposite ends of the market, and do not compete.

That's what the marketing people keep telling us, but most people just see a notebook that is smaller and more portable than other notebooks. Those who can afford an ultrabook buy one, everyone else just bemoans the demise of the netbook (and probably buys a cheap tablet).

1
0

DAMN YOU! Microsoft blasts Google over zero-day blabgasm

dajames

Take security seriously

I can understand Microsoft wanting to wait for a convenient date on which a batch of fixes can be released as a single set of updates. No doubt this reduces the cost of production, management and testing of the patches ... and for minor bugs and shortcomings such an approach will be acceptable to most users.

Security issues are different, and deserve to be treated differently. The patches should be produced and released as quickly as possible, and should be independent of (i.e. not held up by) the scheduling of run-of-the-mill bugfixes. Yes, it costs more to do it that way ... but allowing security fixes to go unfixed for longer than is necessary is unforgivable.

90 days sounds an awfully long time to wait for a security fix ... and we should remember that if Google can discover the bug, so can other people. There was no guarantee that the bug would remain unexploited until Google published details. The correct time to release the patch was "ASAP" not "in 90 days".

5
2

TCL confirms plans to 'bring back' Palm – provided you tell it how

dajames

No going back ...

Palm devices were good - I used a couple of them between retiring my Psion 3c and getting my first smartphone - but I can now do so much more with my phone that going back to what Palm devices were in the day seems likely not to be a successful move.

I'm sure there's a market for a modern PDA that isn't also a phone, and is more pocketable than a 7" tablet ... but I don't know how big that market is. I suspect that if the new Palm is to be a success it needs to be a phone, and that brings it directly into competition with Android, IOS, and Blackberry.

I mention Blackberry in particular because they illustrate one of the problems that new-Palm will face: They have a solution that is in many respects technically superior to their competition, but a very small markety share because they keep getting dismissed by the press for non-technical reasons. It's a tough market.

0
0

Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

dajames

Re: choice . . .

I never quite understood the issue.

I've never thought the EU quite understood it, either.

If IE were "just" another bit of bundled software that came free with Windows (like notepad, as others have said), and one could remove it and install something else in its place and the rest of Windows would still chug happily along there would be no problem. The trouble with IE is that it has its hooks deeply embedded into various Windows system functions -- Windows Update, for example, requires IE to be present and uses IE's code (even if you install another browser).

What the EU legislated for was a tool to help users install another browser in addition to IE, but what I think they wanted MS to provide was a way to install an alternative browser instead of IE.

That, of course, would have forced Microsoft to re-engineer most of Windows's handling of internet connectivity, which I can't see them being happy to do. It might have led to a better-engineered and more modular Windows, though.

6
0

Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority

dajames
Black Helicopters

Re: So how will this work?

It doesn't really matter if the feds have the CA's private key. They still will not have *your* private key, so long as you are able to keep it private.

... but if the feds have the CA's private key they can generate a new keyset and issue a verifiable but bogus certificate that associates it with your identity.

Then they can impersonate you, and ask your friends and associates to send them encrypted data using the public key in the bogus certifiacte -- and they will be able to read the data (but you won't, because you haven't got the relevant key).

Then they can accuse you of collaborating with $TERRORIST and demand that you hand over your keys so that they can read your data and you won't be able to, because you haven't got the relevant key ... and they will lock you up and throw away the, er, key.

Of course, the CA will know that they didn't issue the certificate ... but if they admit it they will be admitting that their root key is compromised, so they may choose not to.

0
0

Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

dajames
Holmes

I was looking ...

... at the S5 -- I wanted waterproof, removable battery, and SD card.

Then I realized that the S5 doesn't have an FM radio ... WTF?

In the end I got a Sony Z1 Compact because while I think a user-replaceable battery is important, I've never actually changed the battery in a smartphone ... but I have listened to FM radio on both my previous phones (HTC and (older) Samsung). It was £200 cheaper than an S5, too.

1
1

'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

dajames
Trollface

Strange PDF ...

The letters u, v, w, x, y, and z seem to be displayed in a larger font than the rest of the alphabet throughout the text of the report.

I don't suppose that could possibly be caused by a payload (an experimental one, prehaps) of a Regin infection on the researchers' machines?

1
0

DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

dajames
Trollface

@Anonymous John

It's quite clear here that the direct debits had ceased and Vodafone sent in the bailiffs.

So ... Vodafone called in the bailiffs on T-Mobile's behalf ... presumably to embarass them?

I like your thinking!

1
0

Simon's says quantum computing will work

dajames
Holmes

It's harder than it looks

Quantum computing is certainly an interesting field, but it's a long way from being able to solve the sorts of real-world problems that it is supposed to be able to make trivial -- such as the factorization of RSA moduli.

There are three big problems: construction of a system with enough qbits to be useful, working out how to present the problem, and working out what the hell the output means.

This, for example:

http://phys.org/news/2012-04-largest-factored-quantum-algorithm.html

shows that progress is being made on at least the second of those problems, but systems with (say) 2048 qbits are still comfortingly (for those of us who would like RSA to continue to be worth using) far away!

0
0

LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

dajames

External battery packs?

I wonder how well most of the battery-powered external USB charger thingies currently available would actually work with the N6, given its high charge rate which must correspond to a high current draw.

I have a Sony Experia Z1 Compact, which charges remarkably quickly but at the expense of needing a high-current charger. I plugged it into the USB wall-wart by my bed -- one that came with some older piece of kit (the charger, not the bed) -- and it steadfastly refused to charge at all; 700mA was apparently not enough. Most of the USB chargers I've seen only boast of providing 500mA, or don't provide that information at all.

Can anyone provide any practical experience of charging a modern fast-charging phone from a USB battery pack?

0
0

The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

dajames

Re: it's optional

1366x768 panels will hopefully die out.

A man can dream ...

I suspect the 1366x768 panel will be with us until Microsoft or someone equally influential in the marketplace publishes a PC specification that calls for 1920x1080 panels as a minimum, or that prominently attaches the label "Low Definition" to 1366x768 panels.

3
1
dajames

But why?

The difference is productivity. On a desktop with a mouse and a full numeric keypad I can fill out a spreadsheet with data from three different sources, draw a chart, copy it into a document, format it nicely, and email it to twenty recipients. All within five minutes.

Maybe ... but how many of those twenty actually read the thing?

If the report is actually useful and necessary it would be more efficient for to automate its production rather than messing around with spreadsheets; if it isn't then it would be more efficient not to produce it at all.

I don't see any clear argument for a desktop PC here (though you will have to prise mine away from my cold dead fingers).

3
13

Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

dajames

Re: Utopian drivel

... not voting is a valid choice ...

You're right ... and yet you're wrong.

It is certainly important that one should have some way of expressing a preference for "none of the above", but there is a danger that if one is allowed to express that by simply not voting one's choice will be mistaken for apathy.

Everyone elegible to vote should be required to present themselves (physically or virtually) to make their mark -- this is a civic duty -- but the ballot paper should allow the opportunity for deliberate abstension.

0
0

Influential scribe Charles Petzold: How I figured out the Windows API

dajames

Re: Borland's OWL was a much sensible approach than MFC

I evaluated both OWL and MFC at the time, and OWL was clearly designed by someone who understood OOD, while MFC didn't seem to grasp the concept.

What you're missing is that MFC wasn't trying to grasp that concept.

MFC was not so much an attempt to build a good OO framework for C++ as a pragmatic approach to providing a framework that could straddle the gap between 16-bit Windows (and Microsoft's 16-bit C++ compiler that no support for exceptions or templates) and Win 32 (and their new 32-bit compilers that at least paid lip-service to some newer language features).

It wasn't lovely, but it was effective.

0
0

Intel bods to detail RSA birko crypto man-in-the-middle diddle

dajames
WTF?

So?

So ... there's a bug in NSS ... and it's already been patched. There's no need to make it sound as though there's anything wrong with the standard that that part of NSS implements (which there isn't).

It's good to have a heads-up about this, but it would be much more interesting to know HOW the explot works, and why NSS's less-than-rigorous parsing of ASN.1 leads to a vulnerability in the first place.

1
0

EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else

dajames

All or nothing

"Also of the binary blob that Google wants people to implement? Why not have that in open source format?"

Security for one, exposing the authentication systems contained within might put customers at risk perhaps.

Not a valid reason. "Security through Obscurity" is no security at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_through_obscurity

Also (and this is more likely) the DRM systems for apps and music/video content, compromising that would negatively affect their relationship with rights holders thus making it harder to licence content for streaming/download.

Yes, that is a bit more likely. Any DRM in a software-only system is itself no better than security by obscurity -- DRM just doesn't work -- but the copyright holders are grasping at straws.

I suspect that the real reason why Google wouldn't want to Open Source their blob is that it would make it easier for OEMs to pick and choose which bits they bundled. The blob is indivisible (and terms won't allow reverse engineering it)

2
0

Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?

dajames
Childcatcher

Re: I don't get Britain these days

I reckon if Teresa May ...

It's quite instructive to look at

http://www.tmay.co.uk/

and then (but not while at work) at

http://www.officialteresamay.com/

I wonder whether you can spot the difference?

0
0

Apple iPhone 6: Looking good, slim. AW... your battery died

dajames
Facepalm

Kies? Does anyone actually use that?

... as for that unblievably kludged mess of garbage they call "Kies", the less said the better ...

The only thing to be said for Kies, as far as I can see, is that it's very slightly less unpleasant to use than iTunes on a PC. Fortunately you can use a Samsung phone without ever having to touch Kies, and once I discovered that I got rid of it (Kies, not the phone) as quickly as possible!

4
0

Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets

dajames

Banks ...

These things need to be run by banks, not by mobile operators, and not by equipment manufacturers.

It's not that we trust banks any more than we trust the others, just that the banks already have our identities and our money and we're not going to be losing any more privacy or suffering any more risk by using a payment system they operate.

I do think a single bonk should not be regarded as sufficient authorisation to make a payment, though, even for trivial amounts. I'd like to see a PIN or a biometric required as a secon factor in all cases. Anything less will only encourage misuse.

11
2

'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator

dajames
Holmes

Logic dictates ...

"It is a physical impossibility to do it without us knowing . . ."

Fair enough - no argument there, but that hardly proves it didn't happen, only that you weren't ignorant of it if it did.

No, no ... if it's a physical impossibility to do it without their knowing then either it wasn't done, or it was done and they know about it but aren't telling ... but they could be wrong about the physical impossibility bit.

So, actually, all this tells us precisely nothing.

3
2

Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars

dajames

Re: And I say there screwed by Symbian

... the full C++ extension semantics ...

... C++ exception semantics ...

(that's what I get for posting late at night).

0
0
dajames

Re: And I say there screwed by Symbian

A bit harsh. At the time EPOC32 was conceived, they had no choice but to use some kind of Embedded C++.

They had choices ...

Psion's previous OS attempt was SIBO, the OS of the Series 3 series, in which they had had great success interfacing to their ROM code using the TopSpeed C compiler, which supported pragmas that allowed them to specify the passing of function arguments in particular registers, ready for the ROM call. This led to very efficient calls into the ROM from C.

When they came to write EPOC they tried the same game, but this time they specified that the ROM entry points should have the same ABI as the g++ of the day, to make it easy and efficient to call into the ROM from C++. That would have worked well if the g++ ABI had not changed, but the 9.1 binary break -- when the ABI was changed to enable stack cleanup after an exception -- destroyed that easy compatibility between the compiler ABI and the ROM..

Psion must have seen that coming -- they must have realized that the g++ they were working with could not be updated to support the full C++ extension semantics without an ABI change. It appears that it was more important to them to get something working, albeit with a bodged error-handling mechanism, than to get support for development on their platform using a standard language. As C++ moved forward they were left behind with a ROM that could only be interfaced with by an obsolete toolchain, and they lost the support and sympathy of developers. That was their tragedy.

0
0

Behold our SPINNING DATA GRAVE: WD carts out 6.3TB cold storage drive

dajames

Re: Short warranty for Archive drive?

Sounds odd giving a 3 year warranty for a drive aimed at archiving. If they sold an archive drive with a 10+ year warranty, that'd be more like it.

You can get optical media with a 100-year warranty ... for all the good that does. If you find the disk isn't readable after 99 years they're hardly going to hop into the Tardis and go back and make another copy!

The point of a warranty in these cases is to give you some feeling for the manufacturer's confidence (or their insurers' confidence) in the longevity of the product. The fact that hard drives are available with 5-year warranties doesn't encourage me to choose a drive with only a 3-year warranty for long-term storage.

3
0

Don't bother with Apple's 9 Sept hype-day: Someone's GONE AND BLABBED IT ALL

dajames
Meh

NFC?

I'd also love to know why people are downvoting me ...

I didn't downvote you, but had I done so it would have been because you're going on about NFC as though it was something to get excited about.

If I want to buy a coffee I'll dig into my pocket for some small change rather than waving several hundred pounds-worth of phone around for all to see, thanks all the same.

2
1

Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

dajames

Re: um... no

Then they clone your card ...

While it's easy enough to clone a magstripe card, a chip card is another matter.

0
0

Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

dajames

Re: Personally ...

If you are an author you don't need to care about layout - that's what you have publishers, editors and cover designers for.

It's like saying a composer should use a mixing desk because they need to know what level of compression will be used when they music is played on Radio3.

No, it's more like saying that a composer should not compose at the piano because he's there to write the music not to play it.

It overlooks the fact that while some composers may be happy to write straight to manuscript paper without playing or hearing the work as they go, others will want to play passages through, listen to them, and maybe solicit the opinions of their friends and families; and that some composers go on to perform their works in public themselves.

Just as some writers write only text that is later edited, laid out, and published in house style by a publisher while others want to see and review their text laid out (not necessarily in its final form) and ohers again may be publishing their own work and have to perform the tasks of writer, editor, and typesetter themselves.

There's more than one way skin a cat!

No animals were harmed in the production of this comment.

0
0

The Register Monopoly Pubcrawl Mobile Map: VODAFONE WINS VOICE

dajames

Are you sure?

Three falls back to "Tmobile" on 2G ...

Three certainly used to use 2G fallback on another network -- I believe it was Orange, not T-Mob -- but I'm led to understand that Three are now sufficiently confident of their own network coverage that there is no longer significant (if any) use made of this facility.

0
0

Chromebooks to break out of US schools: Netbook 2.0 comeback not just for children

dajames

Storage

I have a Chromebook -- an Acer C720 -- and it is a very nice little browsing machine. I bought it knowing that I could turn it into a sub-£200 linux machine if I didn't like ChromeOS, but I haven't felt the need to do that yet (I have another laptop running Linux when I need it).

It'd be my lightweight PC for taking on holiday if it had some serious storage. I use my laptop to back up the photos from my digital camera and RAW images take a lot of space. It's a pity the Chromebook didn't come with (say) 128GB for that ...

3
0

Microsoft throws old versions of Internet Explorer under the bus

dajames
Facepalm

Seamonkey

... Debian stopped carrying it in favor of their spinoff called IceApe.

Iceape isn't a "spinoff" ... it's Seamonkey with Mozilla's (trademarked) branding removed.

1
1

Why no one smells a RAT: Trojan uses YAHOO WEBMAIL to pick up instructions

dajames
Facepalm

Re: Another reason

The browser choice option should have meant when selecting to use a browser that's not IE, that all the working components of IE are permanently removed from the system.

Yes, absolutely. I'm sure what the EU really wanted to demand was that it should be possible to remove IE completely from Windows and that all Windows's internal web communications (for things like Windows Update) should be made to work using third-party browsers; not simply that Microsoft should make it easy for users to install a third-party browser in addition to IE on a freshly-installed Windows system.

I'm equally sure that the reason they stopped short of that was that Microsoft (once again) argued that their own browser's code was so intimately embedded in the core of Windows itself that it could not be extracted without surgery from which the patient might not recover. (MS may also have felt that third-party browsers might be insufficiently bug-compatible with their own browser's HTML and JS implementations or their own websites' reliance on ActiveX.)

I can't help feeling that the answer to that should have been that if Windows was so poorly coded that the internal browser logic couldn't be removed without breaking it then perhaps it didn't deserve to live.

Or as Arthur Ransome put it:

BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN.

9
4

Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

dajames
Angel

This is silly.

If the virus code is capable of writing registry entries with non-ASCII keys -- and of getting Windows to access these keys -- to effect an infection then it must also be possible for anti-virus code to look for these keys (or any suspicious keys in critical places) and disable them.

If regedit can't access these keys then that's probably just a limitation of regedit's GUI.

As with any new virus, the anti-virus products will have to play catch-up until a working remedy can be made available, but the fact that the infection here uses the registry rather than normal files changes nothing.

Many current malware scanners already scan the registry for entries that identify spyware and andware, so this is nothing new.

14
1

Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

dajames
Headmaster

Not so ...

... Latin - a subject I never studied at all being just a poor plebian

The vast majority of the population of the Roman Empire was made up of foreigners, slaves, or freedmen. To be one of the plebes -- the lowest rank of actual citizens -- you would almost certainly have been Roman, so your native language would very likely have been Latin.

... or perhaps you were just being ironical?

3
0

Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS

dajames
Boffin

Re: Poor Bug Fixing

The first law of thermodynamics says you can't win.

The second law says you can't break even.

And the third says you can't quit the game.

I've always heard that stated as:

1. You can't win, you can only break even.

2. You can only break even by quitting the game.

3. You can't quit the game.

(where quitting the game equates to reaching absolute zero)

0
0
dajames
Angel

Re: Poor Bug Fixing

... the one that says all complex programs evolve to the point where they can read mail?

So, the NSA is a really complex program? I suppose that figures ... they certainly seem to give complexes to a lot of other folk.

0
0

Military-grade bruiser: Getac F110 rugged tablet... is no iPad

dajames

HOW Rugged?

Where's that guy who likes testing phones with high-velocity rounds when there's a real challenge for him?

0
0

El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

dajames

Re: Eglish mono-speakers ruining the world for the rest of us

In Montreal ... a Japanese restaurant ... The name of the restaurant ...: Fukyu.

There used to be an "Eastern Fusion" restaurant in Battersea named Ho Lee Fook. I don't recall any complaints ...

3
0

What is it with cloud computing? Engage VM, disengage brain?

dajames

Re: Trevor, could we have that in PDF ?

But you know management types, if it's not in a PDF, it's not serious.

My! Management have come on a long way ... time was that it took a PowerPoint presentation to convince them that something was serious.

1
0

Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant CANCELLED

dajames

Re: Renewable is OK but...

Not when you go destroying some VERY nice parts of nature to do so.

"Nice"?

I think perhaps we can do without "nice" if the alternative is inexpensive and emmission-free electricity for the foreseeable future. What we can possibly NOT do without is the loss of biodiversity in the areas that would be submerged, the loss of CO2-absorbing forest, and the human impact.

As some others have pointed out, though, the decision here seems to have been motivated more by political concerns than environmental ones.

0
1

SLOW DOWN: Insecure-by-design software on road

dajames
Boffin

Re: @frank ly (was: An interesting project)

You can find your world's largest LAN at 127.0.0.1

I think you'll find ::1 is larger ... if you can find it at all ...

1
0

Stephen Fry MADNESS: 'New domain names GENERATE NEW IP NUMBERS'

dajames
Alien

Re: Ansible etc

When we figure how to make Ansibles the IPV6 space isn't big enough.

It's enough to give a /64 to every inhabitant of around 2,500 million planets with a population of similar size to our own ... if there turn out to be many more planets than that within range of an Ansible we may have to limit them to, say, a /32 each.

Probably enough to be going on with (he said, complacently).

0
0

Page:

Forums