* Posts by Stuart Castle

551 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

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Microsoft's Azure goes TITSUP PLANET-WIDE AGAIN in cloud FAIL

Stuart Castle
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Loving he sponsored link at the bottom..

" Featured Webinar: Active Directory integration and extending on-premises identities to the cloud", at the bottom of an article about a lot of people losing Active Directory access due to their cloud provider going tits up.. Well done El Reg!

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Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Stuart Castle

Re: speakers should be seen AND heard

The problem is with a full surround sound system is not cost. As you note, you can get quite a decent one for about £400.

One of the problems is space. Do you, or your other half really want speakers all around the room, together with the relevant cabling (even wireless speakers need power)?

Another problem is, as I mention above, cabling. Do you want to have to bury your cable in the walls, or floor, or tack it to the walls? Do you want it trailing across the floor, or hidden behind furniture? If you have it trailling across the floor, it's a trip hazard. If you bury in in the floor, walls or behind furniture, or secure it to the walls, it still takes time and effort.

With a sound bar, you need one mains cable, one cable from the TV/STB and one for the subwoofer (which can be anywhere in the room as human hearing cannot accurately pinpoint the direction of bass sounds). Then there is also ease of use. With a surround sound system, you have to turn on the system and set it to the correct mode and turn on the TV and any STBs..

With a soundbar (or with mine, anyway), you turn the TV and the STB. The sound bar comes on when it detects an audio signal, and switches off about half an hour after the signal finishes.

You are paying (IMO) for a fairly decent sound system, but you are also paying for convenience. When I got my sound bar home, it was properly installed and working 5 minutes after I got it out of the box. I can also pretty much forget about it day to day. It does not sound as good as a surround sound system, but I don't need it to. I just need something that sounds better than TV speakers and works.

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Stuart Castle

Re: Am I missing something?

Depends what you want. When I was looking at improving the sound for my Samsung LED TV (40 inch "smart" one with no 3D), I considered going for a small Hi Fi like you describe.

In the long run, I went for a Samsung sound bar. Could just under £200 in a sale and had the advantage that it turns itself on and off as needed. I didn't need to faff around with turning it on, changing modes etc. In fact, beyond changing the volume and cleaning it, I don't need to touch it day to day.

OK, so the small HiFi would probably have sounded better (even with the sub in use), but try finding various remotes, turning everything on and ensuring it's in the right mode quickly when you have a grumpy 2 year old you are trying to keep quiet. Gets a little stressful.

Edit: Yes, I know it's a good idea to keep all the remotes in one place, and have tried to implement this several times, but my housemates (as well as the aforementioned two year old) do have a habit of wandering around the house with remotes.

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BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

Stuart Castle

Re: DT to take over BT

Can't see HMG allowing that. All GCHQ/home office/government/Army-Navy Air Force traffic delivered over a network owned by a foreign power; I don't think so!"

They don't seem that bothered that BT is using a lot of hardware designed and built by Huawei, A company suspected of spying for the Chinese.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

Stuart Castle

Probably give this a miss..

I will say, before I start, that I have never read The Hobbit, or the LOTR Trilogy, so won't comment on how true they are to the books.

But, I loved the three Lord of the Rings films. Wonderfully epic, where needed, and more personal where that is needed to.. I also thought the battle scenes were amazing.

So, it was with some excitement that I watched "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", but I came away thinking that while it was a perfectly competant film, it was lacking something. It was too drawn out. Peter Jackson seemed to be looking to create epic scenes where the story did not need them, and it seemed that a lot of the story was just padding. I never bothered with "The Desolation of Smaug" and probably won't with the new one either..

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Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

Stuart Castle

I'm in two minds about these in car menu systems.. I think they can be a good thing, providing easy access to things like GPS and also preventing the user from having to look at a phone screen should they want to call someone.

But, they need to be well designed, with an emphasis on safety instead of features. I would even go so far as to say they need to emphasise safety at the expense of features. I would not call any of the systems I have seen particularly well designed.

In fact, the BBC had a programme on the increasing tech in cars. I think it was shown as a Panorama documentary, but I cannot find it. They had several experts saying that they think the increasing use of tech in cars is a massive safety problem.

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

Stuart Castle

Re: Disruption from mild weather is not unique to San Francisco

I think the utilities and authorities in San Francisco are between a rock and a hard place here.. We have a similar situation in the UK. Namely that when it snows, everything grids to a halt. People blame the authorities for not spending enough preparing for the snow, but what happens if the authorities spend a lot of money on equipment, then don't get the chance to use it for several years because it doesn't snow that often in the UK? People complain the authorities are wasting money on equipment they don't need.

Don't get me wrong, I think there is a balance between being prepared and wasting money that the authorities in the UK continually get wrong (they don't spend enough), and I find it frankly embarrassing how unprepared our authorities are. An example. A few years ago, we were hit by relatively heavy snow. The roads out of the town where I live were closed for two days. The railway was inaccessible for 4 days. As such, we could not get into or out of our town, and, as a result of both that and our various supermarket's policies of maintaining the minimum stock possible, the town was running dangerously low on supplies.

That would be bad enough (although slightly more understandable) if I lived in a small town in the country, but I don't. I live in a suburb of London, about 10 miles away from Central London. The reason it took 2 days to get the roads open again? TFL did not have enough grit or lorries to grit the roads. The reason it took 4 days to re-open the railway? A tree had fallen, and National Rail only have one train in the South East that can clear fallen trees from railway lines. Bear in mind that the South East has a *lot* of trees and most stretches of railway track are near trees.

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Pop starlet Taylor Swift DUMPS Spotify: It’s not me, it’s you

Stuart Castle

I think the point is that even if you try and calculate the royalties per song on an album, if a person buys an album, you have their money. You won't get any more if they play every song 1000 times and you won't lose out if they don't play a single song. It also means that as long as you know you have a few good, commercial songs on an album, you can be a little less mainstream, and a little more experimental with the rest. Do it right, and you may come up with an acknowledged classic. IIRC, this is pretty much how Bohemian Rhapsody came about.

With Spotify, you will get more for SOME songs that people like but there may be a lot of songs you don't get money for.

I'm not specifically arguing against spotify here (on the contrary, I like the service, and I think it can help people discover new music), I am actually comparing any system that sells or streams music by the track with buying albums.

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NHS XP patch scratch leaves patient records wide open to HACKERS

Stuart Castle

Re: another example of copyright working against the public good

Your idea is fine in theory. However, to maintain the code, someone would need the knowledge, the time, the inclination and the tools. None of those is a given. Look at Open SSH. Open Source, so the code is freely available. I'd argue that plenty of people have the knowledge required to maintain it. It is, I believe, built using Open Source tools yet, somehow, despite millions of people having the knowledge, tools and source code to maintain it, very few people did. And this was for a product used at the core of *many* large organisations and international companies.

Having the source and the tools required to compile it freely available is no guarantee that someone will bother to maintain it.

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Apple blats WireLurker OS X, iOS malware – but fanbois aren't safe yet

Stuart Castle

Re: Secure iOS

IOS *is* more secure. If it weren't, there would be more viruses and trojans for it. Before you point out that hackers aren't interested in iOS because of lack of users, this isn't true. At it's peak, iOS had over half the smartphone sales. Last I checked, the iPhone still accounted for a large percentage of smartphone sales, and certainly more than any individual Android model.

iOS offers a huge market for hackers.

The walled garden approach Apple have taken has certainly helped, but so have various other things that Apple have implemented, such as sandboxing each app and minimising the network's role in distributing updates thus ensuring that the latest patches for iOS can get to the users rapidly, without being delayed indefinitely by the phone networks.

The security on iOS is not perfect. No OS has perfect security. In fact our old Software Engineering Management lecturer had a particular interest in security and always maintained that a perfect security system (Ie one with no flaws whatsoever) is practically impossible to achieve, and that the first person to do achieve it would become very wealthy very quickly.

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Shove over, 2FA: Authentication upstart pushes quirky login tech

Stuart Castle

OK, so the description of what they actually measure is fairly vague (and probably deliberately so), so I may be wrong but the tech, as described, has some major flaws.

First, location. How does the system handle unexpected locations? You may usually use your phone on a Campus or in a town (as described) but what happens if you suddenly end up having to call someone while in the middle of a field in Cornwall?

OK, so it sounds like it will happily contact people in your contacts list, but how does it deal with IVR systems such as those in use by Banks (after all, I suspect most people have some sort of phone banking access now)? How does it work in the middle of the night? Does it phone your contacts at 4am? How would it deal with exes who's number you haven't got rid of? Would it phone them? Could be embarrassing. What if you have a lot of company phone numbers in your contacts book? Are they going to to get called asking you to verify your ID even though they are unlikely to have a clue who you are?

Also, the article mentions they use gestures. This can be a very good way of identifying a person as even if someone should see you making a gesture, the timing of each individual movement within that gesture is apparently very personal and is difficult for humans to replicate. However, how would the system cope with the disabled. Someone with very bad motor control or very bad movement is unlikely to be able to use gestures.

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REVEALED: Apple fanbois are 'MENTALLY UNSTABLE' - iShop staff

Stuart Castle

While some of the comments left by Apple workers are funny, it's worth remembering that if you talk to the the staff of *any* company that deals directly with customers, you will get some staff who love the job, some who think it's OK, and some that hate the job. Almost certainly all the staff you talk to will have some customers they don't like, and some they do.

I worked for Blockbuster when I was a student, and while I didn't particularly like the job, I liked the staff I worked with and most of the customers. There were some who acted almost as if they owned me because they had just paid £3.50 to borrow a video overnight, and they went on the hate list. Had I had access to something like the blog in this article, I probably would have posted on it.

While I think there are good and bad shopworkers, I think we, the customer, need to look at how we treat them. That Supermarket Cashier might have a face like thunder and be a little abrupt when you buy some food. He or She might genuinely be rude, but bear in mind they might also have just been on the end of a 20 minute rant from a customer because the can of beans they bought a week ago had gone off. I've been there. Done that. I've had customers shout at me because they aren't happy about something I have no control over.

Most people are at the very least polite to the employees they deal with. There are, however, a lot who treat employees like something they stepped in.

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City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub

Stuart Castle

Re: So basically...

If the city had a kebab shop, I'd be a little concerned about the contents of the kebabs... In my local town, in one row of shops, there was a pub, a kebab shop and a funeral director.. The pub was quite friendly and busy. The kebab shop was never visited by locals. Mainly because most of us are uncomfortable eating meat served next to a place where they handle dead bodies..

Never saw any evidence they were using bodies, but also never saw any cats around there either.

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Not even CRIMINALS want your tablets, Blighty - but if that's an iPhone you're waving...

Stuart Castle

Re: Stating the obvious

"But Shirley is the phone is in ones pocket then the thief can't know the OS it's running."

Depends where the phone was nicked. I travel fairly regularly on the London Underground and often see people hanging around the above-ground station exits (checking texts etc as they suddenly have a signal). All a thief would need to do is watch a station entrance, pick someone, follow them and quietly take the phone when the opportunity presented itself. It would be difficult for the victim detect they are being followed at some of the busier stations (especially in the West End as the thief would just appear to be one of the thousands walking up the street). Something that the Police do regularly remind people of.

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Apple, FBI: YES we're, er, looking into the NAKED CELEBRITY PICS. Aren't you?

Stuart Castle

titillation.

I love the way the media have gone for the titillating aspect of this (ie 'slebs showing tits) and largely ignored the more serious aspect of the story. Namely that using Find My iPhone, the hackers could easily have located the 'slebs and done things to them, maybe even killed them.

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EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday

Stuart Castle

Not so easy if you are mid way through your contract. It likely you will not be able to afford the early termination penalty, which for a lot of networks is paying off the remainder of your contract.

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Stuart Castle

The problem is that once they have your contract, they have you for two years. Yes, you can leave if they continually fail to live up to expectations, but, TBH, they make this so difficult that a lot of people don't bother. A friend of mine had broadband with Orange. Even though his connection was consistently worse than advertised. Even though this was the case and Orange eventually let him cancel the contract early (as they are required to), they only did it after a lot of phone calls, a lot of emails and a few letters. The process also took several weeks..

Personally, I've been with T Mobile for a few years, and, up until this year, I've had no real problem with them. This year, the data rates and reliability of the network have (in my experience) been getting steadily worse.

Of course, my friends on 4G via EE have no problems, but I'm not seriously considering changing to a 4G tariff (and paying more for less data) on a network where I can no longer get a reliable 3G connection.

Then, having no data on 3G on Friday irritated the hell out of me, but the excuse staggers me. They are running a network supporting (potentially) millions of users on a single connection? I personally would expect just their London network to have multiple connections.

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Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel

Stuart Castle

Looks like someone took flappy birds and tuned it on it's side.

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EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore

Stuart Castle

Re: Twice the network

Actually, sure I read somewhere they don't have twice the network. They've been shutting a lot of base stations down.

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One in 12 Tweeps are bots

Stuart Castle

Twitter...

Surprised at the number of people looking down their noses at what can be a useful tool. For instance a lot of companies, including all the train companies and a lot of other transport companies, push out updates via Twitter..

That said, my membership of twitter is purely so I can "Follow" these companies. I don't actually tweet. As such, my twitter account is purely a handy list of "bookmarks".

Twitter has a huge amount of twats on it though. I remember during the riots looking for news about Bromley. According to twitter, Primark was blown up and utterly obliterated seven times during the night. When a journalist got up the next morning, photographed the intact (and undamaged apart from a smashed window) Primark and uploaded the photo, he got threats of legal action.

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Yosemite Siri? Apple might plonk chatty assistant on your desktop - report

Stuart Castle

Re: It doesn't like my northern English

I thought that was obvious..

After all, in Star Trek IV, the Mac ignored Scotty when he tried to use voice to control it.

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Microsoft fixes all those shaky GoPro vids nobody wants to watch

Stuart Castle

Re: Hours...

Maybe not soon, but technology advances and they have the algorithm now, so I don't doubt they'll be optimising it as much as they can. Combine that with the fact that computing power is increasing exponentially. I daresay the phones available in a decade will have near enough CPU power for this..

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DON'T PANIC! Satellite comms hacking won't be able to crash an aircraft

Stuart Castle

Re: VHF?

After all, any ILS beacon is designed to transmit, which would make it difficult to hide because you'd just need to look for the signal.

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EE rolls out London bus pay-by-bonk app – only fandoids need apply

Stuart Castle

Erm, OK..

OK, so instead of digging round my pocket for my oyster card which, should it get stolen, can be cancelled within a couple of minutes and replaced within a few days with no real hardship to myself (beyond having to pay for my journey home), I get to dig around in my pocket, bring out my £700 phone and hope that either it does not get nicked, or that my insurance covers the theft (on my daily commute, I have to travel through an area that is a bit of a bad area for muggings, so any insurance may not cover me). In the mean time, while all this is being sorted out (which might take weeks) I am without a phone, which I do, increasingly, have to rely on.

Even assuming that my insurance covers me, it's likely I'll end up paying with increased premiums.

Please, bearing that in mind, someone tell me exactly WHY having this ability on your phone is an advantage?

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'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece

Stuart Castle

Re: Not surprised, but...

btrower, I am personally happy to support change. I just have to be persuaded that the benefits outweigh the costs. No one has managed to persuade me that having my lightswitches and door locks hooked up to a cloud service will give me that though.

What you say is right, in theory, we do need to ensure that the IoT is properly secured. Bearing in mind that a lot of the products we buy and connect to the internet will be using proprietary software, or open source software that has been heavily modded by the manufacturer, who will be doing that? Do you really think any manufacturer is going to update products that are a few years old? The aformentioned door locks. If someone discovered a vulnerability (and it *will* happen, look at how many car locking systems have been compromised) when the lock was no longer being manufactured, do you *really* think the manufacturer is going to update the software on that lock? At best, they'll patch it so the vulnerability is not so easy to access.

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Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

Stuart Castle

Re: EVERYTHING translates back to monetary value.

" Why save CO2? Atmospheric CO2 has been rising steadily these past 17 years, but global temperature has remained static. We've been misled that there is a definitive link."

A friend of mine is doing climate research for Imperial College. He said a few years ago that the way the media has presented the concepts behind Climate Change is wrong and has simplified the problem too much. CO2 is apparently far from the only cause of Climate Change. Our weather system, along with many others in Nature, is incredibly complex. As such, IMO, it's entirely possible that the CO2 is too high, but that the system is compensating in some way.

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Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers

Stuart Castle

Re: What century are these guys in?

The problem with enabling autoupdate is simple. A patch may break something. This is annoying on a personal level, but usually fixable.

On an enterprise level,it could be devastating. If that patch broke a system the company relied upon, it could bankrupt the company. You can blame (or even sue) the manufacturer or distribution provider all you want, but that won't bring the company back.

This is why, as a sys admin, you test every change or patch repeatedly and as thoroughly as is possible. Preferably with multiple testers. This is why patching costs a lot.

The other problem is a lot of companies run legacy systems, These systems may require something only offered by a particular version of a system component. However, the company may have no access to the source code for those systems. Even if they have the source code, they may not have access to a development system that can use that source code. Either way, they will be unable to alter the system.

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Google went behind our backs and really HURT US, squeal upset porn kingpins

Stuart Castle

Ok. Fair enough, it's Google's choice who they allow to use Adwords, after all, it's their service, and we don't automatically have a right to any privately owned service or company.

Bearing in mind this new, apparently moral based stance on who they serve ads to, I take it we can look forward to them refusing to serve ads to weapon manufacturers, tobacco companies, alcohol companies as well as any other industry that has some links with killing people?

No?

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ANGRY ALIENS hit by BEBO SPAMGASM probably don't exist

Stuart Castle

Poor, innocent aliens..

They were looking for intelligent life, received the transmitted Bebo messages. Thought that the Universe is fucked when a race that can develop the technology required to send a message between planets uses it to send a load of narcissistic crap like that posted on Bebo and promptly removed their own planet from our plane of existence.

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USB charger is prime suspect in death of Australian woman

Stuart Castle

Re: More official advice completely divorced from reality

" Both have completed safety tests, both their own and those dictated by regulations in all of the places they sell them".

That is a massive assumption. Particularly if she bought the charger in a cheap shop or market, although the chains have been fooled by clone products from time to time.

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Google Nest slurps your life into the Matrix? The TRUTH

Stuart Castle

Re: "a thermostat which could tell when a person was on holiday"

Or, if you have a combi boiler like mine, just switch the boiler off.. The termostat can do what it wants then, it won't be able to heat the house

Ok, it means that you come back to a cold house, but my house warms up in a couple of minutes even when the central heating is cold started.

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Code Spaces goes titsup FOREVER after attacker NUKES its Amazon-hosted data

Stuart Castle

Something to be said for tape..

This is the problem with a lot of these free or even cheap services. They save money by not having adequate backups in place. After all, backups cost a lot of money and if everything is working properly, you'll never use them, so they don't contribute anything to the bottom line right?

We have network accessible storage areas at work, with limited space for each user (and quite a low limit). I am a sys admin, but don't have responsibility for that side of the network, so when a user asked me why their space was so limited, I checked with the sysadmins who are, pointing out that storage is relatively cheap. Apparently the problem was not purchasing the storage, but the cost of backing up (we use a full multi-generational backup system with on and off line backups off site, at least two of which are not even in London) and storing the tapes.

It does apparently cost us a lot of money to do the amount of backing up we do (even though we really back up the bare essentials of what we need to, so could spend a *lot* more), but we've balanced that against the amount we'd lose if we didn't backup. It's unlikely we'd be able to continue trading if there were a major disaster or failure and we had no backups.

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Virgin Media boss AND ex-Murdoch man: BSkyB broadband is 'lousy'

Stuart Castle

Re: I can confirm...

"Braindead support is braindead though. Be had excellent support lines, even the Bulgarians were super knowledgable and could fix any time I had issues."

True, and you can have the best and most reliable products or services on the market, but if you give your customers a bad experience when attempting to fix any problems, you aren't going to do well..

I've never dealt with Sky, but I am a long term VM customer, and found that *if* you can get through to an operator who knows what they are doing, and *if* you can get them to send a techy out, then they can be good. Having said that, when I got them to upgrade cable, the techy they sent to change the box happily disconnected the rest of my AV equipment and just hooked the new box up to the telly. Took me hours to get it all connected and working how I wanted it, and I have spend hours on the phone trying to persuade the customer support person that my slow download speeds where a result of their bad networks and not my computer.

The less said about BT the better. Suffice it to say, I needed the main socket in my house replacing once. They told me they'd do it free. I asked for a Saturday appointment (couldn't get time off work) and asked if it would cost me anything. They said no.. Engineer turns up on Saturday. Apparently they'd already done some diagnostics on the line and determined that the socket needed replacing (I had not told them this). The engineer replaced the socket and a few minutes later was gone. I got a bill for £110 a few days later.

Regarding Be, I used them as an ISP for a while . Couldn't fault them. When I had the Be modem installed, BT initially refused the order to enable ADSL on my line. Be could not tell me why this was, as they were not informed, but they told me who to phone and exactly what to ask them. As it turns out, when BT installed my phone sockets a few year ago, they did not update some database somewhere (something they repeatedly failed to do during the several visits I had to fix problems with the line in the intervening years as well), so, when I ordered ADSL, the system refused as I was not down as having phone sockets. BT corrected the database and allowed the order. Anytime I had a query with my Be service, it was dealt with efficiently and politely, and any problems were solved.

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IoT cup claims 'instant' identification of what's in it

Stuart Castle

The difference between Starbucks and coffee..

Just glad I am not the only one who can spot the difference between Starbucks and decent coffee.

Don't get me wrong. I like the odd Starbucks, but it *is* massively overpriced for what you get..

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The cute things they say

Stuart Castle

Some of the things I've heard..

I work in IT support for a major Uni, dealing primarily with students, and here are a couple of my favourites..

Student: Your server is down.

Me: Which server? (We have a lot of servers students may need to access depending on what they need to do).

Student: My website is not accessible. (Again, we have multiple webservers the students can access depending on what server and technology they need to use for their courses).

Me: Which server?

Student: Your web server.

Me: OK, Show me what you are doing..

Suffice it to say the student was trying to view the site using a file:// URL pointing to the local hard drive, which of course meant that none of the actual PHP script for the site was being run..

Another time, I was emailed by a student who said their site wasn't working and their lecturer told them the server was misconfigured. I'd not heard anything about a server fault, and this server hosts thousands of student website, so if it was misconfigured, I'd have heard, even though it was a Saturday when I got the email.

I logged on to the server, went through the student's code and 5 minutes later, found a missing comma. Replaced it, and the site worked fine..

Another one.. We used to have a lab where every computer had a VHS/Mini DV combi VCR so students could digitise video tapes. I had a student come and see me to say the computer had taken their blank CD, did not recognise it and would not give it back. I was busy, so another techy went up to have a look. She came back down and confirmed the student's story, so I went to have a look.

When I got up there, they had both stuck the blank disk in the VHS slot of the VCR, apparently not noticing that the computer was a tower unit under the desk.

One final one. When I first started working here, we had a lecturer run in the office panicking. When he calmed down, he said that we'd had a few PCs stolen. Obviously we take that seriously, and I ran to the lab with him, expecting to find a mess of broken security cables (we do lock everything down).

When I got to the lab, I realised what had happened. For the computers I mentioned above, we had separate monitors used for previewing what was on the tape(s) in the VCR. Even though these looked nothing like PC monitors (they were actual video monitors and actually looked like portable TVs without an aerial socket), he had assumed they were PC monitors and, when he found no PCs, thought they'd been nicked.

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Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant CANCELLED

Stuart Castle

Re: And who will not be happy

Having said that, producing tar presumably isn't very environment friendly and neither is obtaining the feathers... :D

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Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

Stuart Castle

FFS

Some people need a sense of humour. Apart from his mention of a girlfriend in the title, those comments could apply to *anyone* in a relationship, be it with a man or woman.

Hell, the comments could apply to a lot of people I know, and I'm certainly not in a relationship with them.

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Patch NOW: Six new bugs found in OpenSSL – including spying hole

Stuart Castle

Re: @ Andy E Quick to fix in Open Source, but it leaves questions.

If you buy in a closed-source piece of software, the law affords you certain protections. Namely that the product is fit for purpose. Failing that, the act of purchasing gives you a target for any legal action.

Open Source is a good thing, and can be, theoretically, more secure than closed source. Simply because more eyes can, again theoretically, see the code. The fact they can, unfortunately, does not mean they do.

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PCIe hard drives? You read that right, says WD

Stuart Castle

Re: The 1980's called

I remember one company I worked for had one of those. When I saw it, I thought "32 meg? Wow. How am I ever going to fill that?". How times have changed. The browser I am using is probably using more than 32 meg of RAM while I'm typing this.

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It's Google's NO-WHEEL car. OMG... there aren't any BRAKES

Stuart Castle

Will this launch anytime soon in the UK?

The reason I ask is because I am under the (possibly wrong) that UK law requires that every car have a manual braking system (incase any electrical problem takes out the power assisted brakes).

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Privacy International probes GCHQ's mouse fetish

Stuart Castle

Re: @ obnoxiousGit

The industry has always done this... I remember way back in the dark ages of the 90s, when I was doing my degree, I heard of a trick ICL used to pull on their mainframes.

They launched a range of mainframes, then, offered an expensive "upgrade" that doubled the disk space available. Do you know what the ICL engineer did while "upgrading" the disk storage? Flicked a switch that enabled the read/write heads on the other sides of the existing disks.

Going back to the subject of what GCHQ has asked the Gruaniad to destroy, it may just be nothing more than them being over zealous and ordering the destruction of *anything* that might have cached even part of the data.

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JJ Abrams and Star Wars: I've got a bad feeling about this

Stuart Castle

I think the problem with Star Trek: Into Darkness is simply that the Wrath of Kahn worked so brilliantly. Ricardo Montelban wasn't a great actor, but he played Kahn brilliantly. He conveyed the impression of being menacing, but intelligent. The story also gave him a reason to hate Kirk.

Also, the final battle between Kirk and Kahn works brilliantly. The SFX are excellent, as is the music, but the way it's directed is excellent as well. Especially the way that, although both characters are in command of powerful ships, with good crews, it comes down to a battle of wits between two men. Well, one man and a genetically enhanced man.

Star Trek:ID was a good summer blockbuster, but I didn't have the same feeling of awe that the Wrath of Kahn gave me when I saw it.

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We'd switch mobile networks, but we can't be bothered – survey

Stuart Castle

Would I change networks..

Yes. When my contract ends, I always look at the deals available at the time. I've been on O2 and T Mobile twice, and Vodafone once. My current contract ends in August, so I dare say, I'll be looking for the best deal around then. Yes, I do factor in network availability and reliability in the areas I am likely to visit.

Regarding switching phones. Before I had an iPhone, I always switched to the best phone for me at the time, whoever manufactured it. With the iPhone, it's been a little different. While I do actively look at Android phones from time to time (indeed, I am thinking I'll probably move to Android come the end of my contract), but I've spent a lot of money in the past on iOS specific apps and media. While there are equivalents available on Android, I've been a little hesitant to switch as it has felt like I'll be writing off an awful lot of money. This time, I've been thinking I'll keep my iPhone, but use it as an iPod..

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Web firms, DON'T PANIC: The Euro Google 'right to be forgotten' isn't a problem

Stuart Castle

A sad fact of life

It's a sad fact of life that there are those seeking to profit from this, as much as there are those seeking to profit from our (sometimes) private information.

I looked at the ruling and, TBH, I never thought it was intended to do anything but ensure that the big multinational companies remove our details from their systems should we ask them to. But, it's in the interest of these lawyers to perpetuate the myth that it applies to every company. After all, the Ambulance chasing market is pretty much saturated with lawyers, so I suspect there are a lot of them not doing much.

It's a fair bet that 99% of company owners and CEOs will not read this report, so they could be easy pickings for the snake oil salesmen that run these legal advice firms.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against lawyers as such. They can be good, although I have some reservations about the lawyer who handled my mum's estate when she died. He had us do all the leg work (including form filling and any research required), talked to us for about 90 minutes and charged us for 4 hours work at £190 an hour.

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Cisco reboots PC with $1500 'Scandafornian' Android fondleslab

Stuart Castle

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

Personally, I don't know if it's any worse for you than (say) typing at a keyboard for 8 hours a day (which is, admittedly, bad for you).

I don't, however, think it's that comfortable to use (especially at first), which is a major consideration for a consumer when buying a new piece of tech. Remember, as a checkout operator, you are paid (probably minimum wage, based on my experience of working in Sainsburys) to be sitting at that machine 8 hours a day. A consumer would be paying to use this tablet.

Plus the photo makes the device look, to put it bluntly, fugly. Something which some computers get away with because they are insanely powerful, but this being a (admittedly large) tablet, I suspect it's not insanely powerful.

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Apple, Google: WE SURRENDER ... to each other in patent war truce

Stuart Castle

Re: eh

They also beat Samsung in South Korea. Surely that's Samsung's back yard?

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/12/11/apple-gets-court-win-in-south-korea-as-court-tosses-samsung-patent-claim

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Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Stuart Castle

Can I patent something?

Can I patent an idea for an office, where multinational corporations can register even the most vague or stupid of ideas? This office will do minimal checking of the idea, including whether it describes something that has been done or registered before, or is even possible.

This office will then allow said corporations to sue anyone who does something even vaguely similar to the registered idea, for billions if necessary.

I ask this because clearly the fact it's been done before does not bother the US Patent Office.

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Dell charges £5 to switch on power-saving for new PCs (it takes 5 clicks)

Stuart Castle

Where I work, we used to build our own PCs. We were able to do it relatively cheaply, and they were normally better spec than PCs we bought it.

The trouble is, where I work, the company likes to buy things in because that gives us all sorts of protection in the event something goes wrong (warranties, legal rights etc), and, in the event something really goes badly wrong, someone we can sue.

That and the fact that we are increasingly buying Macs, and we have to obey the terms of any software licences we use, so Hackintoshs are out (the OSX licence forbids running OSX on hardware that is not Apple branded).

Regarding what Dell are doing, I am not defending them because I think what they are doing is at best wrong and at worst, a con, but they aren't the first computer company to do this. I read a story while doing my degree that to upgrade the storage space on one ICL mainframe, you needed to call an Engineer. All the Engineer did was flick a switch and activate the read heads on the other side of the discs.. Another example of how the computer industry can sometimes scam people. Where I work now, we used to have a lot of Sun workstations. To replace the CDRom in these usually cost around £500 to £600. These were generic CDRoms with a different firmware and slightly different interface (IIRC). Had we been able to use normal CDRoms, they would have cost us about £150-£200 at the time.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS

Stuart Castle

Re: Lizard People?

"Where the funniness of the lizard thing is lost is that it's based on a misunderstanding on the technical point: You don't revoke the fingerprint!"

You do realise humour is often based on a misunderstanding? See the Four candles sketch from The Two Ronnies for an example.

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Stuart Castle

Re: Biometrics...

I'd say the same. I use self service tills regularly and have never been asked to re-scan a barcode.

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