* Posts by Ken Hagan

4391 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch

Ken Hagan
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Scenario A

US Supreme Court demands that MS hand over the data.

Irish court demands that they don't.

MS hand over the data.

Irish court declares them in contempt and demands action.

MS takes no action, coz it can't.

Irish court seizes MS's European assets, mainly IP.

Windows becomes open source and free in the EU.

The US complains.

My heart bleeds.

An earlier poster was right. This is about obeying the domestic law of the country you are in. So Microsoft in Ireland *must* ignore the US court and if the US court throws a hissy fit then that's something for US business folks to take up with their political representatives. That *appears* to be roughly what is beginning to happen.

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FLASH! Aaa-aaah. 3D NAND will save every one of us

Ken Hagan
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Re: Please think about the poor backups...

I thought about them. ADSL2+ can apparently manage about 1.4Mb/s upstream, so that's perhaps 160KB/s. That's about 5TB/year, unless I've dropped some factors of ten, and assuming that you don't use the internet connection for anything else between now and 2016.

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How does the US government run the internet? This is how

Ken Hagan
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Yawn

"Governments across the world have been concerned that the US government could theoretically knock their individual internet registries offline."

The US has had this theoretical power for the last 30 years. They've never used it. Even if they did, it wouldn't stop dotted IP addresses from working and wouldn't stop people setting up alternative DNS nameservers that continued to dish up names for the blocked TLDs.

During that period they have invaded several countries and rattled sabres with several nuclear powers, so I think we can conclude that their reluctance to pull the plug on DNS is not simply a case of "We haven't been angry enough, yet.".

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This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

Ken Hagan
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Re: if this is what rain does..

I think it is generally agreed that there is no way to survive the big one (even now, and it will be a bigger big one the longer we have to wait) so the game is to make as much money as possible before it strikes.

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Microsoft pulls a patch and offers PHANTOM FIX for the mess

Ken Hagan
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Have we reached the de facto "end of life" for Windows 7?

This is hardly the first time I've had a Win7 box nobbled by updates and that's something that I could never say about XP, despite running the latter right up to its termination date. My impression is that the management at MS just don't regard Win7 as being "current". They'd much rather you upgraded and so if patches occasionally bork your system then so be it.

I feel a little sorry for folks who have only just migrated to Win7 from XP, in the reasonable-but-now-apparently-erroneous belief that they'd have five years of support ahead of them. My advice to anyone now would be to go all the way to 8.1. It's not that much harder and at least MS seem to be supporting that platform effectively.

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US Congress in cash freeze bid to DERAIL global DNS handover

Ken Hagan
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Re: groan

Ah, no. The *sadest* thing is that there are a lot of Americans who think the current US form of government is the one put together by their Founding Fathers.

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Ken Hagan
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Wouldn't it be funny if...

...the US lost all its influence on IANA simply because it was too clueless to retain it.

It's only a set of numbers and a few root servers, so the implementation isn't hard. Prior to ICANN's existence we just used Jon Postel's common sense as a policy framework. If we get to the end of next year and the US hasn't actually produced a credible option, control will pass to any entity that can persuade the rest of the world that it is vaguely accountable and responsible.

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Home Wi-Fi security's just as good as '90s PC security! Wait, what?

Ken Hagan
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Re: Is there a legal advantage to your neighbour ...

It depends where you live. In the UK, you'd probably be busted for negligently helping terrorists in some way.

Joking apart (hey, Mrs May, I *was* joking, whatever you might think) the main downside of this approach is that your neighbours will use up your monthly bandwidth allowance downloading stuff.

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Linus Torvalds releases Linux 3.18 as 3.17 wobbles

Ken Hagan
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Re: Linux future

"People used to ask the same about Jobs and Apple."

Then he left, Apple sank, then he came back and Apple rose again. Having done the experiment once, no-one seemed all that keen to do it again. I'd say the jury was still out on whether Apple is doing OK without him now.

I imagine Linux would suffer the same fate, for reasons that are superficially different but actually the same. Jobs' contribution to Apple was in defining what the consumer wanted and being quite brutal about rejecting everything else. I think Torvalds' contribution to Linux is more technical, but essentially it is still a gatekeeper role. (Going further back, it looks from the outside like young Billy Gates did something very similar at Microsoft and the rot set in when he stopped knocking down the egos and empire builders within his own ranks.)

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Snowden files show NSA's AURORAGOLD pwned 70% of world's mobe networks

Ken Hagan
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Re: T3C??

It's supposed to be read as T³C, but not everyone can type a superscript 3 easily.

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'Why do Register commentards get so frothy-mouthed?' Thus started WW3

Ken Hagan
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Headmaster

Two points...

What you call the Wooden Twig of Fail looked to me like a pretty nicely judged troll. Also, I *think* you will find that newbie-tard is hyphenated, not apostrophised.

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Crack open more champagne, Satya, XP's snowballing to HELL

Ken Hagan
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Re: Hmmm....

It's not *that* implausible. Let's assume that all the Server 2003 patches issued since April have been present in XP. Let's further assume that it takes the bad guys a month or two to weaponise a patch. That means there will have been a rise in malware targetting XP since mid-summer. As machines finally tumble, their owners discover that support options are limited and eventually they bite the bullet, open their wallets, and spring for a shiny new Win7 box, or Mac, or Chromebook.

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'Identity skills shortage' will be problematic for Verify ID. (So not the TECH FAILS, then?)

Ken Hagan
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Since there are such things as temporary NI numbers, I assume it is possible for a person to have more than one. Probably not a good choice of index field, then.

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EE's not-spot-busting small cell trial delights Cumbrian villagers

Ken Hagan
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Re: Most NIMBY's like me , don't have a 'Back Yard'...

So that's IMaFAN -- In My (approx) Few Acres, Now!

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By the Rivers of Babylon, where the Antikythera Mechanism laid down

Ken Hagan
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Re: This is seriously interesting. We may be able to discover more....

"this was made in a period when no such things were assumed to be happening."

By around the third or fourth century AD, there were toy steam engines. The basics of typewriting/printing are truly ancient.

But we do keep coming back to the economic and political arguments. The way society was structured, very few people participated in all of this and there was no economic system to let the benefits spread. By the sixth and seventh centuries, rather "inward" (being polite here) ideologies had taken root all over the classical world, the Justinian plague (late edit: that's the virus that infected all those PDF slaves!) had knocked seven barrels out of everyone, and (quite possibly in consequence) the unified society that we call the Roman Empire had been replaced by a few dozen chiefs in military competition with each other.

The Renaissance is our (at least) second attempt as a species to rise out of the dirt.

Going back further, there are the Greek Dark Ages, a period about which we've been unable to discover much. To me, that suggests there was quite a bit of darkness in neighbouring states at the same time, so perhaps this was an earlier stumble on the rocky road to modernity.

And of course there is evidence of urban civilisation going back to 7000 BC or earlier. Who knows how many times small communities really started to get shit moving but were unable to consolidate their position before some small eco-tastrophe or neighbouring thug spoiled everything?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: understanding political theory

My understanding is that both left and right meet up round the back and screw the little guy from both ends. The traditional view of left-right as a linear spectrum is a viewpoint held only by people lucky enough to have experienced only small values of left or right.

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'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Ken Hagan
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Re: won't somebody please think of the children!

"So pro-actively monitoring children's posts on social media are we? Perverts!"

Careful with that line of argument. There is plenty of case history on El Reg forums for the proposition that once you've posted on the web then it is public and you can't really claim a privacy breach if it is read by people who you don't know.

Also, you'd only be a pervert if the posting was obscene, although with the UK's silly laws you wouldn't know that until you'd read it by which time it would be too late. Oops!

Also, also, I can't help but observe that suicide is irreversible, so if you are going to do anything then I suppose you ought to be pro-active rather than retro-active.

Also, also, also, didn't the Samaritans try this the other week and were quickly slammed for the idea. Now Mrs May thinks it should be law. Sheesh! Go figure.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Static addresses

"Sure, let them have this slice of the salami."

They already *have* this slice. You are going to look rather foolish arguing that this is where you draw the line, when power users have been paying with their own money for many years without complaint for services that provide the spooks with this slice. If you make yourself look foolish now, when it doesn't matter, you will be less persuasive later, when it does.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Static addresses

I think just about every ISP gives you the option of a static IP and in a few years time large numbers of people will be using IPv6 as their principal connection and so have a "static" IP without even asking.

It is interesting that both of these are currently seen as "up-market" options for geeks. Apparently Mrs May wishes to be able to track Joe Public with the same ease as she can currently track the geeks. (And yes, I'm aware that she vprobably can't track the geeks as well as she thinks she can.)

It is also interesting that no-one has ever queried the privacy implications of (nearly) everyone having "static" telephone numbers or postal addresses. Perhaps we should be careful which battles we choose to fight. This one looks like we could let it pass. Requests for deep packet inspection or "long-term storage of everything you send" look like more important battles to win.

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BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?

Ken Hagan
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Pint

Re: they "save" money

Sounds like the IT department needs to bill the procurement department for the difference in running costs.

The IT department getting hammered sounds OK, though.

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Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION

Ken Hagan
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Re: Hmm.

"Ivory tower bullshit that is completely out of touch with reality."

So what are they going to do instead?

Option 1: Vendors will design routers with a big off-switch on the firewall so that every device on the LAN side is directly addressable. Result: said vendors' customers are totally raped and burned within minutes of switching the device on and the vendors, along with any ISP daft enough to foist such crud on Joe User faces lawsuits for apocalyptic levels of negligence.

Option 2: Vendors implement UPnP for IPv6, or its moral equivalent. A daft idea, but no less secure than implementing it for IPv4. In both cases, a device (or malware running on the device) on the LAN side is able to bypass whatever firewalling restrictions are in place without the user's knowledge. In neither case, can an external host force its way in without help from the LAN side.

Option 3: What I said.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Default passords

I don't think "hard to set up" is the problem. It would be pretty easy to rig the camera so that it trusts the first person to connect to it but insists that they set a password before they get any video data. That's going to be simple enough that it will fit on a single side of paper, in big letters, just above a single paragraph that points out the wisdom of making sure that everyone else cannot use the camera as easily as you can.

For the terminally dumb, there is probably also space on this piece of paper to draw a picture of a foreign-and-pervy-looking bloke spying on the lady of the house padding about the house in her undies.

Get it right and you'll get *positive* reviews on Amazon.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Hmm.

"IPv6 wishes to solve this for you."

Indeed it does. Under IPv4, devices (and games, and whatever else) need to "punch holes in your router" and so many people simply enable the "let devices punch holes in my router" feature in their router. (Well, probably not. Actually, many people simply do nothing because their ISP pre-configured the router with this "on" in order to reduce its customer support burden.) This, however, lets *any* device punch holes, not just the one or two that you wanted.

Under IPv6, there's no need for such a feature to exist in your router, so people will get into the habit of using the router's firewall configuration instead and that ought to result in exceptions being made on a case-by-case basis.

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

Ken Hagan
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Re: Do I understand this?

"It costs money, but not that much money,"

So the free-as-in-beer part of the article's claim isn't true?

If it costs nothing to get the certificate, the certificate should be treated by browsers as worth no more than a self-signed one. After all, a bad guy mis-using that certificate has nothing to lose.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Do I understand this?

They always could. This is basically a self-signed certificate. Browsers that warn about self-signed certificates will warn about these ones, too. (Won't they?) I don't personally understand the point of the proposed service, unless they think that generating a self-signed certificate is currently "too complicated" and needs to be reduced to some button pushing on a web-site.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: A major obstacle to encrypting everything

So the killer application for IPv6 is "keepng the spooks at bay".

Excellent. Yet another reason to seek out 21st century ISPs rather than bottom-feeders.

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YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Ken Hagan
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Everyone has a price?

I assume that *all* sysadmins are familiar with this dictum, but let's think about it. What should that price be? Obviously you won't work again, so the cash needs to be equal to the rest-of-life earnings. Obviously it needs to be paid in such a way that the authorities can't stop you enjoying it. Obviously, it also needs to include some compensation for the lost years in jail.

So those three conditions together are the break even point in your cost/benefit analysis. And someone was willing to say in public that they'd jump for it? Huh! I'd sack them just for being so stupidly cheap.

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Ken Hagan
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"a formal HR process that is tested"

So have a few "practice sackings" then, repeated every so often and with role reversals so that everyone can play both sides? Sounds like it could be fun.

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EVERYTHING needs crypto says Internet Architecture Board

Ken Hagan
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Re: What I'd like to see is IPsec with opportunistic encryption, ...

That (RFC4322) isn't something I'm familiar with but if it can deliver on the promises in its abstract then I'd say it is possibly the most important thing vendors should be working on right now. Awesome!

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Ken Hagan
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Re: Great...

Nick, since you appear to living in my house (if not my body, which my wife thinks is rather rude), can I suggest that you place the phone underneath the radiator in the back bedroom rather than by the window? For some reason it makes a difference.

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NHS XP patch scratch leaves patient records wide open to HACKERS

Ken Hagan
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Re: 16-bit software

If we're talking about 16-bit software, but insisting that they are a migration headache, we're talking about a 16-bit *app* that nevertheless has been coded in such a way that it must run on a Server edition of Windows (since 32-bit Client editions certainly still exist).

So I think I'm still curious. WTF are these hideous crocks?

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Ken Hagan
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"a lot of the software running on them isn't compatible with 64-bit Windows"

I'm intrigued. Apart from the obvious but unlikely method of retrieving the Windows version string and copping out if you see the word "server", how does one go about writing 32-bit software that doesn't run on a 64-bit server platform's 32-bit layer. I don't think I've ever bumped into a program that didn't, so even if it possible I still doubt whether it is common.

And a follow-up question: With regard to all of the *technical* problems ... nearly all of the same problems must have been faced by all of the large enterprises that were using XP/2k3 ten years ago and which have since managed to migrate. So how did they do it? Is the NHS facing a qualitatively different challenge from big business, or are we just facing a severe case of "I only started thinking about it last year."?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: secure, portable patient records

USB sticks? Really?

Look at it from a doctor's point of view. You are about to recomend a course of action that might seriously harm some patients, but because you can trust the medical records you know that this patient will seriously benefit. Now let those records be the responsibility of the patient.

Look at it from an insurance company's point of view. How long would it be before we saw programs to let patients "correct mistakes" in their medical records.

No. I'm afraid centralisation makes a lot of sense for medical records. It just needs to be done securely. Sadly, most governments seem to look at our medical records as a cost that hasn't yet been recouped by flogging them onto to all and sundry, and maintaining our privacy as merely a way to preserve the value of those records prior to the sell off.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: And

Do you suppose those machines (in public areas) had an internet connection, or that the logged in user had administrative rights, or that there were exposed USB sockets still configured to autorun? Are you sure they weren't the embedded edition or the server edition?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: It all depends

"It's already paid for."

Do you mean that the Cabinet Office has already paid the money (out of their own budget) and is merely looking for as many NHS Trusts as possible to "sign up" and thereby transfer that cost from the CO to the Trusts, thereby saving the CO officials the problem of explaining why they spent the cash?

That would certainly put an interesting spin on their "sky is falling" rhetoric.

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Judge: Terror bomb victims CAN'T seize Iran's domain name as compensation

Ken Hagan
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A pity

It would have been better if the court had decided that they could seize the domain. I think that would have led quite quickly to a fairly conclusive demonstration that the US doesn't control DNS. Such a demonstration would have been quite helpful for the seemingly unending debate over internet governance.

(For those who remain clueless: If some US-based entity started pushing out new DNS records for *.ir, how long do you think it would take for those in Russia, China and Europe to decide that this was a global-scale attack on the integrity of the DNS system and the best cure is to simply ignore DNS updates coming out of the US?)

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Philae healthier... beams CHEESE: Proud ESA shows off FIRST COMET SURFACE PIC

Ken Hagan
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Re: You should have linked the hi-res

"It's a lump of coal on a black sheet I tell ye!"

I don't care. It's still my new desktop background.

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Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

Ken Hagan
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Re: My 12 year old daughter

"I'll train her to over analyse it for the next series so she can be miserable too."

Brid-Aine's complaint seems to be the arbitrariness of the plot twists and inconsistencies of the characters' behaviour. She's asking for a coherent plot and plausible character development. If you teach your daughter about those, she won't be able to watch this season of Dr Who again, but as compensation she'll be able to appreciate most decent literature and scriptwriting. That would be a good trade-off.

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Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?

Ken Hagan
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I'm not holding my breath

HTML5 may prove to be that elusive cross-platform GUI toolkit that many people have tried to build over the years, but the idea that you'd run everything in JavaScript is no more sensible than the idea that you'd build an entire OS in the JVM.

Technically, there's simply no point. Cross-platform portability just isn't that hard for code that only processes data. Any app that performs device control will need some kind of native glue to the device, but not much (since many devices are just "our protocol over a USB link" or something similar). Most apps will need some sort of file and directory management, but that's just a few hundred lines of OS wrappers for each platform and has been done a million times before. The sockets API is supported on any platform that actually wants a non-zero market share, and through that API (and numerous RFCs and similar standards) you have myriad additional services in a standard form. The rest is your own algorithms.

You might as well choose the best languages for the components you are writing. The whole lot can be trivially cross-compiled to any and every target architecture. Insisting on JavaScript as an intermediate form and relying on each browser's (general-purpose) JIT to optimise your code serves no purpose.

The only domain where this argument falls down is the UI and whilst I might forgive the general public conflating "end-user-visible software" with "all software", it is rather disturbing to hear a CTO make the same mistake.

The GUI is a sticking point for portable software largely because we just didn't agree on how to do it. We had several different approaches that worked (X11, Mac toolbox, MsWin) and various attempts to make each available on other platforms. As APIs, they had strengths and weaknesses, but there was no clear winner. To be honest, we still don't have a clear winner in terms of capability, because HTML5 is a strait-jacket to anyone familiar with a native GUI API, but it offers "adequate for many purposes" in combination with "fully portable" and perhaps that will do.

And in any case, aren't we all going to be re-inventing the whole field of software engineering once we figure out how to make GPUs do anything except embarrasingly parallel number crunching?

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FTC tells 'scan to email' patent troll: Every breath you take, every lie you make, I'll be fining you

Ken Hagan
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Re: Bogus

"It may be the law but what idiotic Patent Office granted a Patent on a obvious process."

One that is required by law to issue a patent to anyone who submits the correct paperwork, and to leave any difficult questions like novelty and obviousness to a court.

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ONE FIFTH of Win Server 2003 users to miss support cutoff date

Ken Hagan
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Confused

"The types of apps that will pose the biggest problems are custom-built, in-house apps, especially where the authors have moved on, and apps that have been heavily customized. Typically these are data-intensive and mission-critical, like ERP."

"Three quarters of those that do have a migration plan have the cloud in their sights."

I'm struggling to reconcile these two statements. If you are still on 2k3 because of app-compat, how the hell is the cloud going to help? Either you can find a supported OS for those apps or you can't. Running on virtualised hardware isn't going to help.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Incomplete...

" Any non-trivial software will always need tweaking to make it work in the next Windows version"

Even that is overstating things somewhat. The usual reasons for needing to tweak are a dependency on a device driver or some integration with either the Windows shell or something like Office. If you avoid those, nearly all properly written apps written for WinNT will still run on 2k12 or Win8.1.

In fact, *most* commercial software lists a range of Windows versions on the box and if you've truly supported "XP/Vista/7", you've probably got very few portability horrors left in your code.

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Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks

Ken Hagan
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Re: The country

"Isn't poor mobile coverage one of the natural drawbacks of living in the country ?"

If the country in question is Theresa May's United Kingdom then it certainly will be one of the drawbacks in the near future. The Times is reporting this morning that she's decided that decent mobile coverage aids terrorism and should be stopped for the sake of the children, or something.

It's been a few years since a Home Secretary went native in quite such spectacular fashion. Maybe her head decided it was Guy Fawkes Night and it ought to blow up or something. (I reckon that Norman Baker chappie got out just in time.)

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UK superfast broadband? Not in my backyard – MP

Ken Hagan
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Three days at 9600 baud is enough to download a quarter of a gigabyte. So how slow was this connection and how big was the "program"?

Of course, if the "program" was the Win8.1 update, it would take about a month to download at that rate. And you'd only be running Win8.1 at the end of it. That *would* be irritating.

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Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

Ken Hagan
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Re: Just maybe...

Why don't you substitute "straight" for "gay" in your post and see how it reads?

I think you'd be hard pushed to prove that gays are more likely than straights to make public displays of their sexuality. They start younger, too. The average secondary school probably sees boy-girl snogs on a daily basis but hardly ever a same-sex kiss.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Cheap dig

"Really? How come we lock up paedos then?"

Because the law, common sense and (after the victim has reached adulthood) actual experience tells us that children cannot give informed consent.

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Improving JavaScript: Google throws AtScript into the mix

Ken Hagan
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Wrong on so many levels

Point one: You can't fix an inelegant language by adding features. Just about every widely used programming language ever proves this point. One of the good bits about HTML5 is its attempt to kill off some abusive contructs by saying "OK, the browser has to accept this, but the validator doesn't and it isn't HTML5 unless the validator says so".

Point two: JavaScript already has "types and classes" in the form of duck typing and prototype-based objects. That's actually a powerful language feature for small scale programming. Adding C++-style objects to the language will spoil the system for those who like it and fail to satisfy you because the old stuff will still be there. AND you'll have to produce a detailed specification for how the two systems relate. (Oh joy!)

Point three: If you want a classful language for writing client-side, platform independent web apps, be aware that it will probably never catch on. Java already exists, is well-specified and up until a few years ago it was almost universally deployed. Even with that "head start", it failed to catch on. Why should your new language be different?

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Windows XP market share FELL OFF A CLIFF in October

Ken Hagan
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Re: Why Split Windows 8 - misleading

"Because they are different O/S versions and not just a simple service patch."

Not according to Microsoft. Not only is 8.1 a free upgrade, but for support purposes it is treated as a service pack and so 8.0 actually goes out of support in 2016.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: The truth hurts

"Even the reviled Windows 8 market share is orders of magnitude higher than Linux or Mac."

Actually we don't know that. The missing market share (XP's drop minus Win8.1's gain) appears to have ended up classified as "Other". That's probably Android or perhaps "people configuring their browsers not to say". (If the latter, the sudden surge in privacy-conscious users is much to be welcomed. Perhaps the stories around ShellShock and Poodle (or whatever the name is) have reached a wider audience.)

But it could, theoretically, announce the arrival of Linux (or BSD) on the Desktop.

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