* Posts by Tannin

155 posts • joined 8 Apr 2012

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Buy a Tesla for the good of Australia, say country's dino-burners

Tannin

If every new car sold today was electric, emissions would go up - yes, burning petrol is bad, but we'd be charging most of those new electric cars on coal, which is worse. Naturally, where there is an opportunity to go EV and charge it using renewable power instead of coal off the grid, it should be taken. The point is that these opportunities are - as the article itself makes clear - quite limited at present.

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Tannin

I don't see any major market for electric cars in Australia in the near future. Not for Mr Ordinary. Thre are particular special circumstances which will suit a significant minority, of course, but we don't have the sort of major generation facilities (nuclear, in some places run-of-river hydro) which make overnight off-peak charging sensible. Here, overnight charging = mostly coal which is madness.

Best to focus on other tasks first and revist non-fossil transport in a decade or so when the technology mix and the cost reductions have both evolved a little furter.

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Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Tannin

Re: That is (hopefully) good news

"There needs to be at least ONE browser that delivers maximum power, not minimum UI."

There is. Its name is Seamonkey. These used to be another one which was even better, but it hasn't been updated for a very long time and won't be. The company (ir)responsible now markets a pointless Chrome clone under the Opera name, though nobody knows why.

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Tannin

"Firefox will soon be almost the only browser not using the WebKit rendering engine. "

Ahem .... Seamonkey and Pale Moon say hello.

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Google, Adobe barricade Flash against hacker hordes – we peek inside

Tannin

Re: Too complex

"A cut down version ... that could only play videos with no scripting ability would meet over 90% of user requirements."

Well yes, but I reckon you could safely say somewhere around 98-99%.

If you set aside Flash video playing and consider only the scripted stuff, on my (wild!) guess, it would account for some pitifully tiny share of the market and be dwarfed by even dead things like Silverlight.

Disclaimer: I am deliberately excluding areas of zero possible interest to the intelligent person, such as on-line games. They can have some other thing, with some suitably trendy name such as MutantSonOfFlash, based on the same lousy code as the existing Flash, and installed only by those who want it - i.e., practically no-one we care much about. Meanwhile, Flash can just play videos. Surely they could get that right. Couldn't they? Er ...

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600 MEELLION apps open to brute force account guessing

Tannin

AC wrote: "W3C, BSI, ISO ... *someone* should define a standard."

Oh, there is a standard. You just don't like it.

(For those who have forgotten, the standard is called "Do whatever the hell you like" and don't waste any valuable time on it 'coz it's not as if users mattter, let alone security, next question please". Everyone uses it - well, nearly everyone - but most people have a bit of trouble remembering the acroynm, which is DWTHLYD .... DWHYLC .... er ... can I have three guesses?)

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Microsoft to Windows 10 consumers: You'll get updates LIKE IT or NOT

Tannin

I've been thinking about upgrading my systems to Windows 10.

I'm not thinking about it anymore.

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LOGITECH - TECH = 'LOGI' ... that's non-Logitech tech, is it?

Tannin

Re: Now more people will get to feel the pain

The mice aren't too bad, but then any of several of the better mouse brands are just fine and go on doing exactly what you expect them to do for years. (Hint: stay away from the expensive ones, you really don't get anything from an expensive "luxury" mouse that you don't get from a plain basic model so long as it is of decent quality - anything made by Logitech (or for that matter Microsoft) in a basic OEM mouse is usually cheap, practical, and reliable).

It's the trackballs which drive me spare. Logitech make a line of trackballs which are head and shoulders superior to pretty much anything else from an ergonomic point of view. Once you get used to one you'll never want to use anything else. But they are absurdly expensive (which I can live with) and the damn things wear out very quickly (which is unforgivable in a product costing this much).

Compare with the Kensington Expert Mouse in the same broad price category which is built like a tank and lasts pretty much forever. Sadly, although the Kensington mechanical design and construction is first class, the ergonomics are not even in the same street as the cheaply-built, expensive Logitech product. So you grit your teeth and pay through the nose and buy yet another new one every couple of years.

In revenge, I make a point of buying non-Logitech OEM product for our mainstream products. Not that it achieves anything, but what can you do?

EDIT: I see that Kensington have redesigned the Expert Mouse and it's now a more sensible and practical shape. Time to try one out again, I think. If it's even half as well-made as the old model used to be it will be a winner.

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China's STILL holding up the full WD-HGST integration. Why?

Tannin

Who wrote this? A Western Digital employee? Or just someone cutting and pasting from a company press release? It is an absurd nonsense to pretend that reducing competition even further would lower prices. Good for China! Nice to see that someone (for whatever reason) is acting in the interests of consumers and businesses the world over instead of spinelessly caving in to oligopoly.Damn shame that none of our own governments have the balls to do their duty.

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Firefox to speed up dev cycle, go multi-process, rip and replace UI – soon

Tannin

Wrong date

I am honestly gobsmacked. If you had printed this story on April 1st I'd have thought it a poor effort, obviously far too exaggerated, a parody which would take no-one in, and a failure because an April Fools Day story is supposed to be absurd and ridiculous ... but just sensible enough to be credible.

WTF are those tools at Mozilla smoking? When you are in a hole you are supposed to stop digging, not send out for jackhammers and a bigger shovel.

Are you sure about the date?

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iiNet warns NBN circuits too expensive in the Netflix era

Tannin

Half-past nine local time, and my Iinet connection is unusably slow. As usual.

I'd up-vote several posts above but I can't be bothered waiting 60 seconds each time for the page to reload. Sorry guys.

Since their idiotic Netfix deal, Iinet has become terrible - and this is nothing to do with local DSL problems or anything like that, I'm on HFC cable here which is technically the next best thing to pure fibre and perfectly capable of delivering high speed - indeed it has done just that these many years. The day Netfix hit . BAM!, it turned to carp, carp, carp.

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Tannin

Entirely their own fault

Iinet have only themselves to blame. Their idiotic decision to offer Netfix downloads quote-free to all their customers is the problem here. You pay for (say) 60GB a month and you expect that 60GB to be delivered reliably and at a decent speed. Generally, in the past, it was. Now you are still paying for your 60GB but the Iinet service slows to an unreliable crawl anytime after about 4pm and all evening long. Why? Because Iinet is delivering massive amounts of streaming video and doesn't have the bandwidth to spare to provide basic service to its customers who want to do other things on the web.

If you use Netfix of course you take advantage of the free, unlimited downloads. Who wouldn't? And if you don't, you are stuck paying the same amount for a much worse service. Whatever brainless twit at Iinet decided to implement this compulsory cross-subsidy of movie watchers by everybody else on their network should be put out to pasture immediately, or just sentenced to endure the same slow, unreliable Internet service Iinet customers are now putting up with.

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Wikipedia: YES! we’ve SAVED the INTERNET again!

Tannin

Most people have trouble taking Wikipedia's bleating about copyright in photographs seriously now - not since that organisation's disgraceful and utterly self-serving campaign to post-hoc justify the monkey photographs they stole.

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Subaru Outback Lineartronic: The thinking person’s 4x4

Tannin

"I'm told by my rural chums that the pick of the crop is the Outlander" - I think you mean OUTBACK. The Outlander is a Mitsubishi.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Tannin

Re: Am I the only one who likes the new keyboards?

"Am I the only one who likes the new keyboards?"

Quite possibly. They seem to get a lot of flack. I like them too, but I liked the old ones also. They are a bit different but I have no strong opinion either way. Thinkpads have always had excellent keyboards and that applies to both new and old. Nice to see the tradition continues. (Disclaimer: I mostly use external keyboards with the Thinkpad docked, so others will be more aware of the finer touches.)

It's nice to see another tradition not continue - the longstanding Thinkpad tradition of near-ruining an otherwise excellent machine with a dim, not-very-clear, generally horrible TN-film screen. Starting perhaps a decade back and up until ... oh ... maybe three or four yours ago ... Thinkpad screens were awful.Well, some were almost half-decent, many were awful, and not just the c heap ones. My much-loved T400 has a terrible screen. (My current T530 is much better.) All that seems to have changed now: the last six or eight new Thinkpads I've used for any length of time had screens which were at least decent and sometimes rather good. Are you listening Lenovo? Spend the extra $30 or what ever small amount it is. We will pay it and pay it happily if you give us screens as good as the rest of your hardware.

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Tannin

Pickle me grandmother!

Blimey! Does he mean a real screen? A proper one with a bit of height to it so I can do stuff? Work without scrolling all the bloody timer?

Count me in! Sign me up! Write down this credit card number!

PS: I don't especially care either way about the cosmetic stuff, and I don't fancy paying some insane premium for it either, but I'd kill my Granny for a proper screen on a Thinkpad.

PPS: Typed on my Thinkpad using the very, very last of the 5 x 4 format external monitors: 1600 x 1200, IPS, 20-something inches, old as the hills, and still vastly more usable than any new screen I can buy or borrow. If Lenovo wants to sell me another one only bigger, I'll strangle as many grandmothers as you please. (Or kittens, prime ministers, lawyers, Microsoft UI designers, you name it, I'll do it.)

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So what are you doing about your legacy MS 16-bit applications?

Tannin

"Let me be clear here: use Google. Don't use Bing. If you try to use Bing to solve patch issues for Windows Server using KB numbers you are going to go mad."

Could you express that less ambiguously please? :)

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20 years ago this week, Microsoft just about killed Australian PC manufacturing

Tannin

Cheers J Cooper. I remember President Computers: they were worthy competitors and made good kit.

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Tannin

Re: Only assembled in Australia, not 'made in Australia'

"If I recall correctly, the Osborne branded displays were re-badged Philips units and the motherboards were made by Micronics, although I stand to be corrected"

Just so. And to their undying credit, their keyboards were rebadged versions of the matchless Honywell 101WN - to this day one of the best keyboards ever made. Even now they command a premium, I see here one advertised second hand for an astonishing $285 US - http://www.classicautomation.com/Catalog/ProductDetail.aspx?partnum=101WN638-1E - which seems too much even for that quality. Although I hoarded them and never failed to substitute an inferior new keyboard whenever I resold a traded-in Osbourne system unless I particularly liked the customer, alas I wore my last one out three or four years ago and now must make do on inferior modern units.

The only better keyboard I've ever used was - astonishingly! - one of unknown origin shipped new with (of all things) otherwise quite horrid little Amstrad 386 units. I still have two of those little treasures, much loved and still in daily use.

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Tannin

The missing bit

This looks to be an excellent article and I'll read it more carefully when I get a moment free, but on first glance it seems to miss the real key to the Osbourne story, which is this:

Osbourne grew at a fantastic rate at a time when computer prices were falling very fast. It grew largely at the expense of other Australian manufacturers and retailers simply by pretending to offer amazing prices, prices often below the cost price of the components required to build a similar system. Many competing organisations went to the wall at this time because Osbourne were undercutting them.

How could they do this? It was a simple trick: Osbourne took the money six weeks in advance.Six weeks was a very long time in the computer industry in those days, long enough to see prices change considerably, often by hundreds of dollars. (Typically, the retail price of a typical system wouldn't change so much, but the components would: you'd be shipping a 486DX/2-66 instead of a 486DX/2-50 as your most popular model, or upping the RAM or the graphics card, installing a 5400 RPM 850MB hard drive instead of the 4500RPM 500MB unit you using a few weeks prior.

Osbourne, in short, had found a way to sell into today's market at much lower future prices. By the time they actually delivered a system, it was about the same system at about the same price as most competitors were shipping on that same day, so they could break even or make a small profit - but most buyers were not awake to the trickery and thought Osbourne gear was very cheap. And, of course, Osbourne had had the use of the customers' money in the meantime.

Eventually, inevitably, prices stabilised for a little while and the currency moved the wrong way, leaving Osbourne with no competitive advantage, no cash on hand, and a huge backlog of paid-for orders but no stock to fill them with. They went spectacularly broke and their many gullible customers paid the price. I remember selling several $2000 and $3000 systems at this time to people who had already paid in full for an Osbourne and got nothing at all except an expensive lesson in shonky business ethics.

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No, Australian Small business AREN'T flunking out online

Tannin

Re: Rubbish

I largely agree about aggregation sites, aaaa, they are a bit of a scam as a rule. They do however serve a useful purpose for many, many businesses. My local car mechanic is a perfect example. He needs his customers to be able to find him with a simple search, and the aggregation site he is listed on is perfectly sufficient for that task. Yep, a small standalone site would be a little better (and I have offered to build one for him), but in his view not enough better to be worth the trouble and expense. If you want to find his number to book your car in for a service - and that's pretty much all you ever want to do bar maybe find out what his trading hours are - the aggregation site does the job.

Many, probably most, small businesses are constrained not by lack of customers - if you are any good you'll most likely have plenty of customers already - but by other factors. Sticking to the same example of the chap who services my car, he already works five and a half days a week and has zero interest in working Sundays. He already has four or five other mechanics on staff and three hoists and no room for more short of the vast expense of buying a larger site and building a whole new workshop on it. He has no intention of doing that 'coz he's not stupid. What would be the point of him getting a fancy new website to attract more customers? He's already got all the work he needs or wants, he'd just have to spend longer answering the telephone and telling people he's booked up this week, please call someone else.

This example is replicated across thousands upon thousands of small businesses across the country. Getting more customers in for many ( probably most) small businesses is simply not an issue. There are other constraints, such as space, capital equipment, availability of suitably skilled staff with the right qualities, and above all, time. Most small business people already work 50 hour weeks. Who the hell wants to have to work even longer hours? Or take on extra staff beyond a comfortable number and as a consequence incur nasty adminisatrative overheads such as (but by no means limited to) significantly more onerous Work Cover and insurance requirements and ever-bigger rake-offs for bloodsuckers like accountants?

For every business, there is a right size which provides the best balance between turnover, profit, long-term sustainability, and work-life mix. Mindlessly expanding beyond that size is usually the first big mistake small business owners make. The successful ones, the ones who stay in it for the long haul, usually learn from it and adjust their business model appropriately.

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Tannin

Plain sense

How sad that this article, which really only contains obvious plain sense applied to some recently-released statistics, must be rated as excellent. It is indeed an excellent summary by the standards of much else written on topics of this nature. Of course many (perhaps most) small organisations regard most of what happens on the Internet as nothing more than a time-consuming distraction from the core activities of doing business. Small business people - the ones who are successful enough to stay in business for any length of time tend to focus firmly, even ruthlessly, on the fundamentals of delivering their product.

If you are not involved in small business, you might be quite surprised to discover how little effort many concerns put into spruiking themselves (on the Internet or anywhere else). Very often, management is instead clearly focussed on actually dealing with the job in front of them - fulfilling the Johnson order, calling Smith back to make sure that last week's little problem has been properly sorted, deciding how many so-and-so parts to order this week, and the like. Fulfillment of existing orders at a profit and to the customer's satisfaction - as any competent small businessman knows - is the be all and end all of success. Get that right, and you will always have plenty of customers. Unless your business happens to be Internet-based in its nature (selling stuff on-line for example) the more time and energy you waste on updating your Facebook page when you have real work waiting for your attention, the less successful you are. If you have to spend a lot of time and energy on web pages and social media, either your business is one of the minority where this stuff actually matters, or else you aren't doing it right, which is why you need to keep on drawing in new customers because the ones who have bought from you in the past are going elsewhere.

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Factory reset memory wipe FAILS in 500 MEELLION Android mobes

Tannin

Simple

It's not hard. Just pretend you are a normal, rational human being and use the phone until it doesn't work anymore. At that point, it's worthless, throw it away. (Or destroy it in any manner you please if the data matters enough.) Along the way, you've saved enough by not buying unnecessary new dorky consumer tech-head gear every few months to treat yourself to a holiday at the destination of your choice.

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Hacker launches ransomware rescue kit

Tannin

sigh

Fond memories of the days when blank CDs cost 20c and you could fit all of your important stuff on one or two or three of them. Use write-once CD blanks (never re-writables) and every time you make a fresh backup, thow the older set into a shoe-box. When the shoe-box is full, put it in the shed and buy some new shoes. Result: an endless set of incorruptable backups, proof against anything bar fire, a maniac with a hammer, or your girlfriend having a little tidy-up.

sigh

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City of birth? Why password questions are a terrible idea

Tannin

Re: Choose a question (and answer) on car numbers

What was the registration of your first car? (Ans: PWT-377. Easy.)

What was the registration of your previous car? (Ans: I didn't *have* a car previous to my first car! Or maybe you mean the one previous to the one I have now. Easy: IOW:682.)

What was the registration of your red car? (Ans: GTE-221. Simple)

What was the registration of your father's car? (Ans: TJQ:710. I'll never forget that one.)

What is the registration of your current car? (Ans: Um ... hang on a minute .... I'll just go outside and look.)

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Tannin

easy to remermber? really?

Great post, Dan1980 but just one thing: "Bleeding obvious really - unchangeable, factual answers (like city of birth) are easy to remember but the easiest for someone else to find out."

Well, actually, no. I was born in .... well, sometimes that particular part of Melbourne is regarded as Elwood, sometimes it's East St Kilda, but people mostly save confusion and say Elsternwick (which is right next door and better known) or possibly St Kilda. On your power bill it might say "Elwood", but your electoral registration is "East St Kilda" .... and I haven't even mentioned the rates notice, which says "St Kilda, East". Then again, whichever way you think of it, it's part of the municipality of Caufield. That might be a better answer. On the other hand, maybe I should just say "Melbourne" as all these are suburbs of Melbourne. But that's too easy for third parties to guess - probably 70% of all Australiand living in Victoria were born somewhere in Melbourne.

Right: it's three years later and some stupid website is asking me where I was born so that I can get back into my account. Do I feel lucky?

(Disclaimer: I wasn't really born in the place(s) I mentioned, but in a different part of town with an equal multiplicity of possible names. Better not to menton these things on-line. At least not truthfully. Especially not when I don't even know for sure what the "truth" is! Should I just give a lat/long instead? Or possibly just go to a different website where the IT gnomes are slightly less stupid.)

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Airplane HACK PANIC! Hold on, it's surely a STORM in a TEACUP

Tannin

Please learn how to spell aeroplane.

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TPG ups offer for iiNet to AU$1.56bn, includes clever cash kicker

Tannin
Stop

This is a disaster

This is a disaster for Aussie consumers. All iiNet customers will now be handed over to TPG - a company which would be famous nationwide for cheap and lousy service if only Dodo wasn't even cheaper and even lousier.

TPG promise that they will retain iiNet as an individual "premium" business. Yer right. That's code for "charge these suckers more, give them the exact same lousy service we give all our other suckers".

Australia has basically three sorts of ISP:

1: Major telcos with fair to poor service standards, highly questionable techical competence in some cases (e.g., the Vodafail mobile network, anything that has to do with Big Pond), long lock-in contracts, and very, very high prices. Telstra, Optus, Vodafail, various other-brand fronts for them such as Virgin (which is Optus).

2: Cheap price-price-price vendors with no technical standards worth mentioning, appalling customer service on a good day and none at all on a bad day, and prices that look attractive until you actually try to use the service. (Dodo, TPG, various others.)

3: Serious players in between those two extremes with generally reasonable pricing, and generally decent service. (Internode, iiNet (which now owns Internode), hopefully there are some others but I don't know who they are, if indeed there are any others left.)

Not happy.

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House of Cards UI central to Mozilla's plans for Firefox on tellies

Tannin
Coat

Looks sensible

On first glance, it looks perfectly sensible. This leads to the following supplementary questions:

(1) Am I too old? For a moment there I thought I'd read that the Firefox UI team did it. Time for my milk and arrowroot. Where did I put my slippers?

(2) Is it actually not nearly as sensible as it seems to be after all?

(3) Did all the smart Firefox UI people (yes, both of them) stop working on the browser years ago and switch overr to TV development?

(4) Does anyone actually watch TV these days anyway? Yes? Quite a few, you say. OK, I'll take your word for it. But how many of them are under 50?

(5) But what do I know anyway? My last TV blew up one cold, rainy Tuesday and I haven't got around to replacing it yet. Life seemed nicer without it for a little while, and seeing as it blew up near-on 20 years ago, possibly I'm slightly out of date on the TV tech scene. On the other hand, I've made my living tinkering with electronic machines I don't really understand for the last three decades, so who let that stop me now?

(6) What was the question?

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Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Tannin

Re: It isn't about efficiency.

"You are assuming that Singapore levies the same tax rate on all companies."

No. I just left that aspect aside in order to avoid too much detail not directly relevant to my main points. No objection to you raising it though: the Singapore-BHP scam recently exposed by the Senate enquiry was indeed gobsmackingly unethical, and we have no reason to believe that it was particularly unusual.

I see huge difficulties with your "no company tax" notion though. To make it work, you'd need to deal with two big problems:

(1) It's very hard to tax unrealised gains, which is what the value of a company is unless you close it down or sell it. How does one even assess them? And if one does - maybe by some formula involving market capitalisation - then that leads directly to horrible complications such as a company having to sell part of itself to pay tax just because its share price went up at an inconvenient time. And if you don't use market cap, what do you use instead?

(2) This would mean that foreign-owned companies could operate in your country without paying a red cent towards the cost of all the benefits that country goves them (such as roads, police, rule of law, educated workers, willing customers, natural resources, hospitals for its staff, and so on). Only the locally-owned companies would pay any tax. That's insane.

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Tannin

Two points to make here:

(1) Australia's corporate tax rate is frequently claimed to be higher than that of other similar countries, and quite wrongly so. Australia has a single corporate income tax set currently at 30%, where many other countries have a lower headline rate but don't count various other charges which, together, add up to about the same amount - especially when you count in the extraordinarily generous diiscounts and subsidies and assorted perks. ("Investment allowances", fuel subsidies, and a host of others.)

(2) Singapore is a special case. Like all tax havens, Singapore doesn't try to tax its own companies at anything like a sensible rate. Instead, it sets absurdly low corporate tax rates and encourages foreign companies to pretend to be doing business in Singapore so that they can avoid large amounts of tax they should be paying in Australia or the UK or the USA or France in exchange for paying a very small amount in Singapore. The Singapore tax economy, in other words, is parasitic on the economies of other countries.

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Tannin

Where does the value-add take place?

Some posters above claim that the tax should apply in the jurisdiction where the value was added. Let's try that idea out then, shall we?

In the case of Apple, it costs $499 to produce an iThing in China, the branch office in Taxhavenstein buys it for $500, and sells it to the branch office in Australia for $998. The consumer buys it for $999, and Apple makes $500 but only pays tax on $1. Neat trick if you can work it.

But if the value-add is not in Taxhavenstein, where is it? This is Apple, remember. Most of it takes place in the mind of the consumer, who willingly pays $999 for a product functionally near-identical to other (non-i) Things selling for $499 retail, or sometimes as much as $599. The value-add, in other words, is located in Australia, and that's where the tax should be paid. (Or the UK, or New Zealand, or whichever other country is getting iShafted today.)

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Mozilla to whack HTTP sites with feature-ban stick

Tannin

The Firefox developers have gone totally ga-ga. They have committed more than a few stupidities over the last couple of years, but this is beyond ga-ga and well out there into completely insane. Is there no cure? Someone had better reach for the humane injection. And don't bury the corpse. Burn it to be sure it's not infectious anymore.

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Extensive 3D NAND drives very expensive to make

Tannin

Um. Last time I checked, CapEx on LCD screen production was much higher than CapEx on CRT plant. Clearly, LCD screens cost much more to produce and so can't be expected to take over the market: CRTs will remain dominant.

How was that again?

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Australia finds $1 BEELLION to replace No-SQL DATABASE

Tannin

Re: Won't somebody think if the Greybeards

^ Spoken like a kid with wet ink on his tech certicate who thinks the answer to every technical problem is a newer iPhone.

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Malcolm Turnbull proposes taxing Google and Facebook ads

Tannin

Re: A stalking horse

In one word, no.

First, the percentage of advertisers able to claim back their GST component is much smaller than your 99% estimate.

Secondly, there is usually a lag between the payment of GST on a supply and the refund of that GST via a periodic income statement. Depending on the frequency with which the GST payment is rendered by the supplier as opposed to the frequency with which the purchaser claims a GST refund via a periodic income statement, that money can sit in the ATO coffers for a considerable time, where it is (of course) used to generate interest. As I recall, large companies reconcile their GST obligations monthly, where smaller organisations do it only four times a year. So that alone adds up to enough income to be worth having.

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Tannin

Too little too late, but better than nothing. Sydney to a brick they bury this and nothing at all happens, more is the pity.

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Turnbull says no need to future-proof NBN

Tannin

Re: Demand for Labor's FTTP network: 38% at 12Mbps, 38% at 25Mbps

Two problems here:

1: takeup of faster speeds was always going to take time. In any case, most users aren't as fussed about speed (within reason) as they are about download allowance. People willingly pay more for extra download, but generally don't see the value in extra speed until they start having trouble maxing out their download allowance or see stuttering video.

2: FTTP is cheaper than FTTN. Once you average out the extra cost of replacing the cheapskate short-term upgrade Turnbull is building, over time doing it once and doing it right the first time is far more cost effective.

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Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers

Tannin

Re: Disabling javascript

With addons or without, none of the major browsers offers half the simple, practical functionality Opera ddid (real Opera, obviously, not the Chrome clone rubbish). Right click, edit site preferences, untick "enable Javascript". Easy as that, and built right in as standard. I've tried two or three of the no script addons (for various Gekko browsers) and though they offer all sorts of complicated bells and whistles, they don't come even close for simplicity and practicality.

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W*nkers of the world unite to SAVE THE PLANET one jerk-off at a time

Tannin

Re: Spelling

So what is the French term for "wanker"?

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Lenovo CTO: Hey, look around – we're not the only ones with a crapware infection

Tannin

Re: Just take off...

"Finding the drivers is the pain. Tosh are the worst, their site is all over the place."

You are not kidding. Toshiba's site is appalling. It's impossible to find stuff and lots and lots of vital things just plain aren't there. The best workaround is to ignore the official Toshiba site completely and go to toshiba.co.uk on the other side of the world. Toshiba UK isn't brilliant by any means, but you can usually find the driver you need. Eventually.

It's not just inconvenience, it downright dangerous. PC manufacturers who deliberately make their drivers hard to find because their only site design priority is flogging new kit are responsible for a great many of the crapware infections we all spend our days cleaning up. That DriverSupport scumware, for example. Users can't find the driver they need, so they Google for it and wind up with something very nasty.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Tannin

Surprising how little mention there has been in these comments of the morons who wrote that software. Are just accepting such stupidity as normal?

Are these new idiots? Or just the same idiots who used to write stuff that barely worked on Internet Explorer 6.0 and didn't work at all on anything else?

PS: not saying that .NET is always evil, just that it is patently the wrong tool for this task. Well, OK, it's only mostly evil. At least I'm sure that there are lots of good uses for it. Or at least a few. I can't think of any examples just now, but there is bound to be some. Most likely at least one. Probably.

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Evil CSS injection bug warning: Don't let hackers cross paths with your website

Tannin
FAIL

Just another IE bug

Two points:

1 If you have something to say, please say it. As things stand, the article hints at a few things and skates glibly over a few more, but doesn't actually say anything of substance. At least not that I can detect. Has any other reader managed to figure out exactly what is being said here? (If anything.) One is left to trawl the links looking for the bacon in the sandwich.

2: Having learned (I think) what the vulnerability is (no thanks to the vague Reg article), I'm damned if I can figure out what the excuse is for calling it a "CSS vulnerability" instead of what it apparently is, just another IE vulnerability which (so far as I can glean) applies only to a version of IE so ancient that one might as well write up new bugs in Netscape Navigator 4.

What is the excuse (if any) for calling an IE bug a "CSS bug"? I am left to presume that the only purpose is to scam a headline few clicks, 'coz an actual CSS vulnerability would be important must-read news, where finding another bug in the long-obsolete nine-year-old Internet Explorer 7 is like finding a lump of horse poo in a dungheap. It's hardly news.

PS: If there *is* in fact some substantial backing to justify the rather hysterical headline, and it *isn't* just another ancient IE bug, please have the goodness to tell someone about it. You could start with Reg readers.

3
1

Kyocera: Torque among yourselves on our unbreakable ruggedmobe

Tannin

Re: Kyocera

"Kyocera: Didn't realise they also made phones, I though they were just photocopiers, solar panels and kitchen knives"

I thought they made MFM hard disc drives. In fact I still have a couple of them.

Guess my age.

1
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Industry research claims over half of internet users open to new domains

Tannin

Re: What a load of bollocks that was

Every now and then, you read a comment that stands out like the dog's proverbials because of its clarity, understanding of the issue, excellent sense, and fluent, simple expression. This is one of those times. Well posted sir!

2
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Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock' – report

Tannin

Or do it the easy way

Or you could just use Opera. (Real Opera, not the third-rate Chrome clone one.) If an ad doesn't bother you, fine. If it gets in your face, right click and select "block content". Up to you whether you want to block just that exact content or (more often) all content from that source. (There are also fine-grained choices you can make here but mostly you don't need to bother.) Well-behaved advertisers get to show their stuff (which is harmless and easy to ignore), pushy morons who shove flash animations in your face or play distracting videos get blocked forever. Much, much easier than buggerising around with add-ins and extensions and proxy servers, and it works like a charm.

Sadly, Opera isn't being updated anymore and won't stay viable for much longer. Vivaldi and/or Otter may yet provide useful replacements, but neither is ready for prime time yet.

0
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Opera Jon weaves a brand new browser

Tannin

Re: @moiety

Opera - and I mean real Opera, not that Chromeified rubbish they pretend is "Opera" now - doesn't have a NoScript add-on because it already has that functionality built in from scratch, and has had for years.

Straight out of the box, it provides easy global settings if you want them, and fine-grained control over any desired individual site if that's what you are after. Nothing to install, just click "site preferences" and set it the way you want it. While you are there, you can add individual per-site custom CSS if you like. This is seldom needed but can be really handy. For example, one site I visit frequently doesn't like you disabling scripting and obscures half the content with a faux helpful "Javascript is disabled" notice. No problem. In Opera (real Opera), you go tools > quick preferences > site preferences > user CSS and slip in a ".js-warning {display:none}. Try doing that in any other browser.

(I dare say it's possible in at least some of the others, but certainly difficult. I remember spending a couple of hours once bloating out my Firefox with any number of extensions in the hope of teaching it to do what Opera knows how to do straight out of the box, but without success. I got sick of mucking about and went back to Opera 12.x again. It just works. Bliss!)

Will Vivaldi ever approach Opera 12.x's best-of-breed user interface and peerless flexibility? Probably not - it took many years of work to get Opera's UI to the state of near-perfection it reached with 12.x, and it's unreasonable to expect a new project to manage that anytime soon, but good luck to them and every success.

4
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Australia to conduct national cyber-security review

Tannin
Gimp

Who'd a thunk it?

Strewth! What a coincidence! Who'd a thunk it?

Just at he very self-same moment that Abbott is being hammered every day by headlines all across the nation about his "no cuts to the ABC" lie the night before the election, just as he finally has to admit his failure to get the massively unpopular unfair budget passed, just as his mob is about to get right royally smashed out of office in the Victorian state election .... guess what?

By an amazing coincidence, Abbott's generals happen to suddenly break their months-long policy of military secrecy about everything to make a big announcement about dropping a lot of bombs on somebody rather nasty in Iraq. And today, by an even more amazing coincidence, Abbott pops up to make a big headline motherhood announcement about nuking some even scarier-sounding somebodies out there in cyberspace. Hey, it's got the word "security" in there, so it must be threatening and important!

Naturally, Abbott's new cyber security task force will take months to figure out what the problem is, many more months to figure out how to deal with it, and even longer to actually do anything about it, by which time that particular problem will have long since been sorted, forgotten, and replaced on the radar of working techs by three or four new and different ones, which we will deal with as and when they arise, same as always. That - clumsy and belated action to fix last year's problem - is the down-side case. The upside case, of course, is that the new committee will meet once a month for a year or two, drawing a nice fat fee meanwhile, and do absolutely nothing, same as usual.

Isn't life full of nice little surprises?

2
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Fake antivirus scams: It's a $120m business – and alleged ringleaders have just been frozen

Tannin

Too little too late

So a few of the scum are being prosecuted. All very well, but WTF have the authorities been doing for the last two years? FFS, this scumware has been around and widely known to anyone in the trade - certainly anyone working on the front line of support and security - for a very, very long time, and nothing whatsoever was done about it. It's good to see the scum merchants shut down, but this is IT, it is the 21st Century: we need to see action against this sort of large-scale fraud on a reasonable timescale. 18 months doesn't cut it.

0
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'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Tannin

a couple of misconceptions

Overall, a very sensible, rational article. I won't pass comment on the details of UK administration, but those are not important to the overall thrust of the piece.

On a carbon tax, two or three misconceptions seem to be floating around.

First, it doesn't matter where you place the tax, it can be anywhere at all in the supply chain and the effect on prices, consumer behaviour, and manufacturer behaviour is the same. Economics 101. Same with any cost or any tax. (Of course, there may be practical differences of implementation: naturally, you place the tax at the point in the chain where it is easiest and most efficient to administer.)

Second, it is vital to avoid the mistake Australia made. Australia exempted imported goods, which was madness. The carbon tax became a powerful incentive to close down your local plant and import stuff from China, which at that time was a relatively high-carbon economy. Result: pain at home and less carbon abatement than there might have been. (I should note that even so, the carbon tax significantly reduced emissions in a remarkably short time. Sectors exempt from it (imports, motor fuel, agriculture) continued to increase emissions, but many other sectors improved a great deal. Since the tax was abolished they have started to get significantly worse again.)

Third, it does not matter in the slightest what you do with the money raised by the tax except insofar as we all have an interest in taxation income being used to some worthy purpose. The main benefit of the carbon tax, just like that of tobacco taxes, isn't the income the government gets from it, it is the expenditure on the part of economic actors like consumers and manufacturers. Because high-carbon goods become more expensive, consumers find ways to avoid the tax by buying cheaper, low-carbon substitutes, and manufacturers find ways to cut their costs doing things in a more efficient way. As pointed out in the article, the government does not and should not specify how manufacturers and consumers avoid paying the tax (and thus produce less carbon), the market figures that out. Markets are really, really good at doing that. It's what markets do best.

Still on the third point, once we understand that spending the funds raised by the carbon tax is largely irrelevant to its purpose, we are at liberty to do anything we like with the money. It still works just as well to reduce carbon regardless of whether we spend it on schools and hospitals, fighter jets, income tax cuts, perks for politicians, education, research, paying down debt, building wind farms, foreign aid, buying a billion tons of boiled lollies, or even just shred it and bury it in a big hole. There are individual benefits and problems with each of these possibilities, of course, and we are free to debate the merits of each one, but the key point is that these don't matter so far as the benefit of the tax is concerned. If you want to spend the tax on solar PV collectors or whichever other renewable technology you prefer, that's fine, but it will still work almost as well even if you go the boiled lolly option.

Fourth, once we understand that the tax income is fungible, we can immediately see that there is no "right" level for it. There is a minimum appropriate level, which depends on how much high-carbon activity you are aiming to take out of the economy and replace with low-carbon substitutes, and on how fast you want that transition to happen, but provided only that the total tax take as a proportion of GDP remains where you want it (at the current level, for example) there is no particular maximum appropriate carbon tax. Set it as high as you like, provided you reduce or abolish other taxes to compensate, and also provided that you don't ramp it up so fast that it disrupts the whole system. Economies can cope very well with change, especially known, expected changes, but very large, sudden changes tend to cause trouble, so phase it in over a few years, increasing a little at a time until it's where you want it.

Personally, my preference would be to start removing other taxes one by one as the carbon tax increases, starting with daft ones like (Australian) payroll tax (a tax on jobs! How dumb is that?) and working through as many of the others as possible. What is your most-hated tax? VAT? GST? Income tax? Poll tax? No reason we can't get rid of it and have a carbon tax instead.

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