* Posts by Callam McMillan

260 posts • joined 7 Jun 2012

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Broadband routers: SOHOpeless and vendors don't care

Callam McMillan

Re: I dont know what to do

But when your product scores "1 out of 5 stars" and is called "quite literally the worst router ever made", are you going to proudly advertise that on the box of your product? Then you end up with those advertising they got a good rating - if they can be bothered. As for everyone else, you don't know if they're bad, or have just never been reviewed.

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Callam McMillan

Re: Advice?

Personally I favour Cisco routers, which can be bought used from eBay for the same sort of prices as a decent SOHO router. The upsides of them are a generally better (if not perfect) level of security, greater reliability, and a better build quality. Downsides are that they're generally bigger, noisier, and more power hungry; they don't generally have wi-fi on them, and they are more expensive. Finally they have no fancy web interface, so they have to be configured using a command line which means you need an above-basic level of knowledge to set them up.

I have a number of tutorials on my website about doing this, and given the number of messages I get from people that have never touched a Cisco router before, it's something more and more people seem to be doing.

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XenData’s storage Jurassic Park: PC tape backup is BAAAAACK

Callam McMillan

Great product, sort of a shame about the price

This actually makes a lot of sense for offline storage, but only in certain situations. I have been working with someone looking at getting into 4K RAW video production which means you're looking at data rates of 250MB/s. When you're talking about filling a £250 6TB hard drive with four hours of processed video, being able to move them to LTO6 tapes costing £30 each makes sense, even given the cost of the drive.

For those of us that aren't producing 4K RAW videos on the other hand, I see little benefit of using this for "personal" storage over a bunch of external SSDs.

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Callam McMillan

Take a leaf from the BOFH. Convince the boss to put some of these in your data centre, then actually install some posh(ish) looking cables and the difference becomes the expenses (beer) fund!

The funny thing is, they do look quite cool, and that would justify me spending perhaps £2 on a cable instead of the 99p a normal cat 6 cable costs on eBay!

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Big Data, empty bellies: How supermarkets tweak prices just for the sake of YOUR LOVE

Callam McMillan

Re: Price war...?

£41k and an Audi A4

I suspect they work them hard in return for a package like that though.

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Helium HDD prices rise way above air-filled spinning rust

Callam McMillan

I think the biggest price differentiator is that one is a Seagate, and therefore indistinguishable from a steaming pile of manure; the other is from a reasonably decent maker of drives that should be able to store your data without dying a horrible death.

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Adobe and software pals haul Forever 21 to court over piracy allegations

Callam McMillan

From what I can see so far, I'm sympathetic to Adobe and co. This isn't a student or a one man band that's being chased. When you become a multi-billion dollar company, you should spend a bit of time getting your house into order, stop being a cheapskate, and buy some software licences (or keep your current licences in order). I would also imagine, there has been opportunities for Forever 21 to make an appropriate payment to get themselves licenced without the need to go to court.

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Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

Callam McMillan

Re: I respect this ...

Difference is, here GCHQ does the monitoring for you!

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Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

Callam McMillan

Perhaps not, but the company is owned by the shareholders, meaning if nothing else, the CEO and the board that agreed to pay more tax than the absolue legal minimum is likely to find themselves down the job centre about 20 nanoseconds after agreeing to do so (If you can afford to pay extra tax then you can afford to give it to us [shareholders].)

Regardless of whether it's right or not, and whether there's a legal basis or not, there would also be lawsuits.

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Sony blames NORK The Interview cyber strike for delayed Q3 report

Callam McMillan
Coat

"Hackers took on Sony Pictures Entertainment for its film, The Interview, whose plot included the assignation of North Korea's people’s dictator Kim Jong-Un."

I wonder where Kim Jong-Un was assigned to?

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MAINFRAMES are SO NOT DEAD: IBM's launched a new one

Callam McMillan

It looks nice, but I'm kind of confused why they've put it in the lobby of an office rather than in a server room for the photography? Unless of course they're suggesting to all the BOFH's a new way to annoy the users - putting a noisy, but stylish mainframe next to their desks?

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Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Callam McMillan

Re: The TV manufacturers really have taken us for chumps

I think the whole sound is attrocious thing is overdone. I have a 40 inch Samsung in an average sized living room running the onboard speakers, and it is perfectly audible at a wide range of volumes as well as going more than loud enough for watching any kind of TV programming.

BUT. While the sound is perfectly competent, it's nothing spectacular. You should look at it in the way that some people decide to remove the perfectly ok stereo from their car and spend a small fortune to make it louder etc. They didn't need to, but they wanted to do so because it's what they like. What you wouldn't say is that the car companies are taking them to the cleaners.

Oh, and I'm planning to install a 5.1 surround sound setup at some point!

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IBM Research wants laptop batteries to retire and slum it

Callam McMillan

If the laptop batteries I have disassembled are anything to go by (I'm not one for following the instructions not to disassemble them) then once you remove the casing, you are left with a series of AA type cells wired in series to a small controller board.

From what I can tell, what they're really doing is finding a reliable source of good-enough Li-ion cells, rather than reusing laptop batteries wholesale (I saw a picture of this the other day on another news site).

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Microsoft hikes support charges by NINETY TWO PER CENT

Callam McMillan

It depends whether this is a flat fee, if it is then it's not too bad. Many years ago, one of the Exchange servers where I worked crapped itself. We had a Microsoft engineer on the phone from about 3pm until midnight to get it all sorted out. Once you're talking about a full days work to fix a problem, $499 doesn't sound unreasonable.

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IEEE turns crank on new wired Ethernet standards

Callam McMillan

Why?

Instead of bringing in 2.5/5 Gbps standards, why not focus on getting the cost of 10Gbps ports down to something sensible?

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Callam McMillan
Pint

The Belgian equivalent of B&Q has just reported a massive run on pipe tapping kits... Meanwhile at the bottling plant, they can't seem to get any beer out the pipe, no matter how much the brewery puts it!

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80 PER CENT of app devs SUCK at securing your data, study finds

Callam McMillan

I don't suppose they've made the test public? It'd be a great way to waste a bit of time learn something on a Tuesday morning!

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'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator

Callam McMillan

Don't forget that around the fibres is an electrical conductor carrying 10KV DC to power the repeaters. Make a mistake cutting through that and you've probably written the plot for the next BOFH story... As others have said, doing it on dry land seems like the much easier method.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Callam McMillan

Re: But with 8k on the way...

Talking to somebody in the know, there should be regular 8K transmissions by the middle of next decade with the Japanese Olympics really showcasing the technology.

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Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs

Callam McMillan

Re: Not quite...

Plus with tapes, you can load hundreds of them into a tape robot without issue.

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BT FON fail: Telco CHARGES customers for FREE Wi-Fi usage

Callam McMillan

I have a really simple solution. Take the BT router and deposit it in the bin (or the back of a cupboard) then plug a proper router in.

Job done!

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BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

Callam McMillan

CCTV that can eavesdrop?!

I had to laugh at the idea that a CCTV camera will ever be able to eavesdrop on you. Yes it may be technically possible, but if you look at all the CCTV footage available on the internet, even if the person was holding up a placard with what they're saying printed like in the cartoons, it'd still be an unreadable blurry mess.

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El Reg is looking for a new London sub-editor

Callam McMillan

Re: Sir

I think you'll find that's code for "A bit rubbish"... Especially so if you work in Financial Services IT!

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Zuckerberg and other directors sued over GIGANTIC PACKAGES

Callam McMillan

Re: @Don Jefe

Yes and No. If you own a single share of the company and you are fighting the majority opinion, then yes, you have the right to sell your shares and shut up.

However, while you own those shares, you do in fact own part of the company, and therefore the board works for you. Therefore if you can control (or convince others to) enough of the shares, then the board have to do as you say.

That said, the fact he's resorted to the lawyers suggests that he falls into the first camp.

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REVEALED: GCHQ's BEYOND TOP SECRET Middle Eastern INTERNET SPY BASE

Callam McMillan

Re: Well i got 3 months

...There is no alternative choice. You have Virgin Media, which runs over the co-ax network they already have in their pocket. Then you have every other ISP who lease the wires in the ground from BT... Who they have in their pocket.

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Callam McMillan

Re: I can...

Hence why I said it's unlikely that they have no knowledge. A phone call "Mr. CEO. We're tapping your lines here. Your staff don't tell anybody about it, you don't touch it, and if you do... Unfortunate things may happen" is still having knowledge...

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Callam McMillan

Re: TRAITORS

To be honest, if it's on The Register, then it's hardly top secret any more. You should be more disgusted at the laziness of modern intelligence gathering, if the only way to find out what is going on it the work nowadays is to capture everything and hope you find something useful, then the spies have a lot to answer for!

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Callam McMillan

"one report states, the tapping connections were installed in an undisclosed UK location and “backhauled” to Bude, in the technical language of the communications industry."

I can't imagine the tapping is done entirely without the knowledge of the cables owners. As I understand it, a TDR scan should identify the location of the tap. If I was the cable owner, I would then be making a massive public fuss over the tapping, plus, if it was tapped from a manhole somewhere... Sending staff armed with some wirecutters to do some snipping.

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Google Glass? Feh. Behold Dyson's 2001 pocket 'puter techno specs with own 'Siri'

Callam McMillan

Re: well very few products are competely new designs?

Perhaps they haven't? Maybe they're assuming nobody would be monumentally stupid enough to wander around while wearing something over their eyes... Then again that's a dangerous assumption to make, so I'm sure they're consulting their lawyers on making sure the disclaimers are watertight!

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Taipei's tech malls are less than sum of their parts

Callam McMillan

My second home

Going there in July to see the inlaws. Perhaps will have to visit this place and try the Boar sausage!

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Cyber crims smash through Windows into the great beyond

Callam McMillan

Re: @king of foo - Gnu/Linux?

That looks like a pretty fair assessment of the weaknesses of Windows. Ironically it is the same weaknesses that allowed them (coupled with some shady business practices) to capture over 90% of the market at their peak.

On the other hand, I upgraded to Windows 7 in 2011, since then, I haven't had so much as a sniff of a virus or any other malware. A little pragmatism goes a long way. It's just a shame that that lesson is so hard to teach people.

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Callam McMillan

Re: Gnu/Linux?

It's a combination of scale (more users = more profit opportunities) and openness. Things have got better since Vista with UAC (Password for privilege elevation) but unlike other operating systems, it's still possible for the user and the administrative account to be one and the same.

In answer to supporting the sales drones, this recent Dilbert came to mind... http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2014-05-19/

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Callam McMillan

Re: Gnu/Linux?

Funny that. In a previous job I was reviewing a build document for linux servers, one of the lines what that Antivirus was not required. I made a quick scribble through that with the justification that the cost implication is minimal. The servers will never run at 100% load, so there is no real performance impact. The install is automated so it's no extra effort, and having antivirus that is never needed is better than not having it (for no good reason) when it is needed.

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How about printing your electricity?

Callam McMillan

Re: It was all working perfectly until...

At least they're not using a Lexmark. Take the bloody paper... No, not two sheets... Why have you jammed you useless POS!!! *Printer leaves window at high speed*

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Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water

Callam McMillan
Mushroom

Campfire

I remember once we had a campfire going, and a little camping gas cylinder ended up in the fire. After the oh shit moment and we all dove to take cover behind various trees, there was a big bang, and on further inspection the campfire had been blown clean out. More importantly, it didn't reignite even though no cooling had been applied.

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Nvidia unveils Titan Z: An 8TFLOPS off-the-shelf supercomputer disguised as a gfx card

Callam McMillan

Surely this sounds like an application for the Tesla range of GPGPU cards rather than a graphics card?

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Plusnet shunts blame for dodgy DNS traffic onto customers' routers

Callam McMillan

Re: For me there is a basic question

When you say a Cisco router, do you mean a Linksys by Cisco router, because I don't know of any issues like that with my big arse enterprise grade cisco router I have?

As for Plusnet, I love them, I get 72/19, use my Cisco 3845 to shift bits and I never have any reliability issues with them.

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

Callam McMillan

Damn, you beat me to it.

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Hot racks and cool customers: Colocating in the capital

Callam McMillan

Re: With that amount of diesel..

Given that it'll be red diesel, I think HMRC would have a bit of an issue with it. Not that annoying the revenue isn't fun, but you want to do it in a way that doesn't get you nicked!

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Apple investor Icahn backs down on share buyback plan

Callam McMillan

I think you mistyped the a... I'm pretty sure it should be a u

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Woz he talking about? Apple co-founder wants iPhones to run Android

Callam McMillan

Actually, I could see the market. As much as I hate to say it (I hate Apple stuff) they do seem to make nicer feeling stuff than Samsung. I hold a Samsung phone in my hand and it feels like I'm holding a lump of plastic, not a premium device. The reason I wouldn't have an iPhone is I don't like the walled garden it locks you into. If I could get an Android powered one that didn't need iTunes, I'd be very tempted.

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STRIPPED DOWN and EXPOSED: Business kit from the good old days

Callam McMillan

So the big question is

Can any of those bits of kit tell you the number of the local skip-hire company... EIther that or theres some ebaying to be done!

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Syrian Electronic Army: We hijacked FACEBOOK ... honest, guv

Callam McMillan

So they didn't actually hack Facebook

In fact they tried (and failed) to hack the registrars DNS records for Facebook. That's a lot different to actually hacking Facebook. It's annoying when the normal news gets it wrong, but the Reg should be getting it right!

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Rivals attack Google's antitrust search settlement deal with EC

Callam McMillan

Succinctly put. Well done!

Personally I'd prefer they did the latter, but then there would be less competition for Google which means that more shit would come there way in the form of the competition lot.

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Callam McMillan

Sour grapes

This seems like a stupid decision made for stupid reasons. Unlike Microsoft for instance (Windows/IE/Bing as standard), you're not forced to use Google's search product by default (Android phones excepted admittedly). So I cannot see how there is a competition issue for the other companies to bitch about? The closest thing I can compare it to is Tesco moaning that Asda wont stock Tesco Baked Beans...

Looking at other tech companies, the dominant player tends to become bloated and fairly static, allowing more nimble companies to lead the innovation and overtake it. I think the complainents have become upset that Google is still innovating and there is nothing they can do about it!

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Boffin dreams up smart battery gizmo for Raspberry Pi fiddlers

Callam McMillan

Re: Where's the incentive @John Bailey

Chris, I could ask much the same thing of you... You contribute £x to the project, which in return, gets you a product that will retail for £x+£y. You have therefore saved £y over buying the product retail when it goes on sale.

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BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

Callam McMillan

I appreciate that, I was more making a joke at BT's expense. Then again, unlike Virgin Media, they haven't combined the modem and router into a single device that you HAVE to use and the BT modems are pretty damn reliable.

I can't speak for their routers though as I don't use them!

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Callam McMillan

Yes actually, I don't expect it to try catching fire! Yet, amazingly, the engineer that came to install my internet connection told me that that's what happened in one house where their Infinity modem was on the floor and it got covered over by something!

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Three-yaarrgh! Major UK mobile network's data goes down

Callam McMillan

That would explain why I had a strong signal, but no data. Most irritating.

Given that your phone has to register with a cell tower, I wonder why they couldn't send you a text telling you that there is a problem when you enter the affected area?

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EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

Callam McMillan

Re: What? You whiney lot get routers??

40Mb, Awwww I feel sorry for you now, we get 72/19 in our house, for less than £30 / $50USD per month. So I think I can put up with not using the crap router my ISP sent me!

I joke, but when you look at the state of internet access in America, we really cant complain too loudly!

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