* Posts by AlbertH

259 posts • joined 18 Jul 2012

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Putin's internet guru says 'nyet' to Windows, 'da' to desktop Linux

AlbertH
Linux

Next....

As we've said for the last 10 years (or more) - it's going to be the "Year of the Linux Desktop" Maybe this time we're right!

MS no longer have a viable business product.

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Virgin Media spoof email mystery: Customers take to Facebook

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Migrated from Google to it's own

The migration is nothing to do with it. They have sold email addresses of their customers since before they were Virgin Media. Friends of mine have recently been receiving spam ostensibly from my old Blueyonder email address - that hasn't been active for almost 10 years.

VM are one of the most disreputable showers I've ever had the misfortune to deal with. They believe that "Ethics" is a county near London.

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Want blazing fast Netflix streams? Book a flight to Northern Europe

AlbertH

No - you're not confused...

...you're a city-dweller! Out in the sticks, sub-1Mb connections are usual which will bring the overall average down significantly.

Virgin may have the highest average speeds, but they also have the longest down-times, nastiest "fair use" policy and highest prices.

There's been an outage in this area (London N10) that those cretins can't fix. They've been trying for nearly three weeks. They still can't understand why their customers are leaving in droves! At least with BT - and the other services they convey - faults are usually dealt with in a few hours (at worst).

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Don't touch that PDF or webpage until your Windows PC is patched

AlbertH
Linux

As if we still needed reasons...

There's nothing that MS offers any more that isn't fully covered in the FOSS world - apart from the massive security flaws, instabilities and sneaky forced "upgrades". MS have never released any properly working products - everything's always going to be fixed in the next release.... Free beer tomorrow!

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Is ATM security threatened by Windows XP support cutoff? Well, yes, but …

AlbertH

Not sure exactly what embedded project you were working on back in 1980. I wrote my first code for a hybrid VAX/VMS system (remember timesharing?) in 1976, and coded a 68000 SBC in assembly in 1985-ish. First time I coded a microcontroller I had no compiler so I did it in binary (don't do that).

My first embedded project (actually an 8-bit ASIC processor) was 1982 for a big Japanese electronics corporation. It was a very early example of microprocessor-based ASIC and derivatives of it still turn up in products to this day! The first iteration of it was written in binary. Once I'd demonstrated that it would work, they gave me time to write a compiler, a bootloader and several other useful tools (that are still in use!).

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Microsoft herds biz users to Windows 10 by denying support for Win 7 and 8 on new CPUs

AlbertH
Linux

Here we go....

M$ have finally made a decision that's SO bad that they're going to permanently - and probably fatally - injure themselves. At last it's Game Over for Windows in the corporate sphere!

We now have a number of very high quality Linux distributions that are supported - properly - for the long-term. Ubuntu, Mint, Suse are all perfectly usable by business. They're stable, reliable, fully supported and can even run legacy Windows software if it's really necessary.

The "learning curve" is now very shallow - my recent experience of training new users showed that it took just a matter of a few minutes to show each of them the "new way" to do things. All these distros have options for remote maintenance....

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Updated Android malware steals voice two factor authentication

AlbertH
FAIL

Re: Isn't it sweet...

Indeed: Once again you have to WANT to deliberately infect your device. Another non-story.

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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

AlbertH

Re: Smart?

Er - the "contactor" is a solid state relay. It's rated at 80A and it can be switched off remotely . The actual - ex-factory - cost of these things is in the region of £19 per unit, but the electricity companies are forced to pay almost £84 a time, plus installation. They will - of course - recoup that "investment" by overcharging householders for their power - even more than they do already!

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AlbertH

Re: Purpose

The purpose is to introduce the rolling power cuts - like we had in the 70s - when the demand exceeds the supply.

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American cable giants go bananas after FCC slams broadband rollout

AlbertH

It's much the same over here....

In the UK, we have one cable company. Just the one. "Virgin" - formed out of the ashes of two equally useless earlier companies. Their speed claims are (mostly) laughable, and their "fair usage policy" ensures that you can't download as much as a Linux distro without having your service throttled to one tenth of their already abysmal speed. Their much-vaunted "fibre" network is mostly ratty, cheap old coax, buried by earlier companies and generally suffering from various intermittent discontinuities and water ingress

The other options are ADSL and VDSL - all provided through British Telecom down their twisted-pair local ends, though there are several "resellers" who provide the customer-facing end of the business. Service is mostly sporadic - I'm sure that there will be some British readers who'll claim "wonderful service" from Virgin or PlusNet or whoever - but the truth is that it's over-priced garbage.

In central London, I get (at best) 80Mb/s down and 12Mb/s up - on a good day, in the middle of the night with the wind in the right direction. They charge me >£45/month for this and tell me that I'm getting great service, despite half the 'net being "off-limits" to "protect" me!. The bastards use all sorts of DNS abuse to ensure that I can't go to where they don't want me to go....

As a comparison: My flat in Singapore gets >1Gb/s for $15/month, with no throttling, DNS-abuse or anything else nasty. Just fast, reliable service at a sensible price, down a real fibre!

Providing a proper interweb service isn't rocket surgery - it's just that in much of the world, the companies providing connectivity have no real incentive to actually provide anything truly useful, because they have no actual competition. The Telco monopolies exist everywhere. It's going to take massive political interference to get anything to change. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my proper web connections in Singapore and Hong Kong.....

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Got a pricey gaming desktop from PC World for Xmas? Check the graphics specs

AlbertH

Re: A place where fools and their money

Nope - they really do exist purely to sell over-priced crap to the >95% of the population who are idiots.

It's funny to see their "sales" - they reduce their prices to (typically) 60% of their normal retail price and STILL make a gigantic profit!

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iOS 9 kludged our iPhones, now give us money, claims new lawsuit

AlbertH

Re: Money market

Sadly, you've been fooled. Apple products certainly aren't "high end" - their computers are just generic PCs in pretty boxes, their phones are made out of rejected Samsung parts, and their software is just a shiny desktop over a BSD core. Their products have always been wildly over-priced, in a marketing ploy to make them appear to be "high end". They're actually very average, and the current iOS phones look positively old-fashioned when compared to the latest Samsungs.

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AlbertH

Re: It isn't just Apple

Frankly - if you're gullible enough to buy something as grossly overpriced as a Sonos, Bose or Apple system, you deserve to be ripped off. All these products do all they can to tie you to their ecosystem, and are all globally renowned for "updates" that make older equipment obsolete. It's a big part of their business model.

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Hackers add exploit kit to article asking 'Is cyber crime out of control?'

AlbertH
Holmes

Re: The world's nastiest exploit kit Angler ..

Does this Angler exploit kit run on anything else except Microsoft Windows?

Of course not!

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Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre

AlbertH

Be Prepared...

I always carry three lockout hasps and several padlocks in my toolbox!

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Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

AlbertH

Re: It's all about the blinky lights

Actually, it's more about "jobs for the boys" as usual. The usual suspects will be invited to bid for the Billions - anyone with any actual ability or experience will be excluded. It'll just be yet another inordinately expensive Government IT failure and lots of people will line their pockets for doing little or nothing!

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UK's internet spy law: £250m in costs could balloon to £2 BILLION

AlbertH

Maybe the fact that the costs are not yet known suggests that they are still unsure at this stage of the final extent of the scope of the bill. After all, this is draft legislation at the moment.

Errrrr no. The reason that they don't know the costs is because they're entirely clueless about anything vaguely technical. The amount of data they're proposing to store is gigantic, and will only massively increase in volume as we all start adopting "auto browsing" to keep our machines on the 'net 24/7 to screw with their stats.

I've just written some scripts for Raspberry Pi that will keep it seemingly browsing a huge range of sites continuously. Just add a couple of these to your home network (as long as you don't pay usage-related charges), and they won't have a clue about your browsing habits, and you'll massively add noise to their data collection system.

The sheer quantity of the data they're proposing to record isn't actually very practical, and it's our duty to make their data useless!

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At Microsoft 'unlimited cloud storage' really means one terabyte

AlbertH
FAIL

A perfect example....

... of "Vapourware"!

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VMware vs German kernel dev: Filings flung in Linux-lifting lawsuit

AlbertH
Linux

Abuse of Trust

The Linux kernel is provided as a boon for the whole world. That a commercial corporation suborns parts of the Linux kernel for pecuniary gain - without crediting the originator of the code - is a breach of the fundamental trust enshrined in the principles of the GPL.

VM Ware should be suitably ashamed. They should be ashamed to the tune of several million dollars, which could be donated to genuine Open Source projects

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Chaos at TalkTalk: Data was 'secure', not all encrypted, we took site down, were DDoSed

AlbertH
Alert

Are they for real?

A free subscription to identity theft protection by one of the credit reference agencies.

Bwahahahahaha!

These cretins should be paying significant (ie: £ks) to every customer and their senior management should be in Court.

Has anyone calculated the time required to change all ones Banking details, passwords and Credit / Debit cards? Has anyone actually put a figure on what this will cost each customer? TT shouldn't just offer a worthless "subscription" to Experian (who are entirely useless anyway) - they should be paying serious amounts of compensation to EVERY one of their customers.

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TalkTalk: Hackers may have nicked personal, banking info on 4 million Brits

AlbertH
Mushroom

Why, in my mind, does this translate into 'all of our customer's data has been compromised'?

Why do you think lots of lawyers are carefully examining TT's Contracts. They're going to be sued out of existence!

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AlbertH
Paris Hilton

Re: What about ex-customers?

You can be absolutely certain that your data has been stolen. TT are clueless about security

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AlbertH
Mushroom

It's NOT the DDoS that's caused the problem - it's the SQL injections that allow the data theft. TT are stupid in that it wasn't encrypted and you can be sure that their OSs and software are several patches behind the curve!

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Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

AlbertH

Re: 10% in Error? BullShit!!! Every one of my PC's has attemped to install Win 10 Crapware!!!

Yes. That's certainly one approach.

Legal remedy? Trying to unscrew screwed computers that were wrecked by this "upgrade " has cost me about 30 hours. My time is charged at £850 / hour. MS can pay my standard rate. They can then pay a further £1700 / machine for my upgrade fee (usually to SuSe). That will come close to what this debacle has cost me. They should also make reparation for the distress they've caused and the training of the staff to use the new OS.

These clowns owe me the larger part of £85k.

If everyone else who was affected by this put in a nice bill to MS - and then backed them up with Court action through Trading Standards, MS would probably fold in weeks.

Their EULA is (as usual ) unenforceable outside the USA so they're stuffed!

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AlbertH

Re: Linux Mint

XMMS is pretty much a clone of Winamp.

There's plenty of CD ripper tools in the Linux world. Just look through your distribution's package repository and try a few of them - they won't cost you anything!

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AlbertH
Black Helicopters

Funnily enough, Ford, Citroen / Peugeot and most of the other car manufacturers are doing exactly the same as VW. It's the only way that they can pass the emissions tests in some regions!

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AlbertH
Linux

Re: A very useful clean-up and block script

Sadly, there's a lot of concealed "telemetry" that you'll never find and can't disable since it's baked right into the kernel. The only way to stop MS and the NSA abusing your computer is to flush Windows. You've already spent a fortune on brokenware - don't give these illegitimate offspring any more of your hard-earned. Apple are almost as bad, incidentally.

LINUX or BSD is the answer!

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AlbertH

MS is close to death now - they just haven't realised it yet.

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Good news: Adobe bangs out Flash patch fast. Bad news: Google's defenses were useless

AlbertH

Of course not - MS tells us that Windows 10 is perfect!

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Sky 'fesses up to broken fibre cables as cause of outage woes

AlbertH

It doesn't matter - it's only the North. Unless it's South of Watford, it doesn't count.

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AlbertH

Re: @Kubla Cant

Every competent IP network has redundant connectivity. That's one of the fundamental definitions of IP. The only time that there isn't redundant connectivity is to individual terminating pieces of hardware hung from the network - unless the network is done on the cheap, and the redundant loops aren't closed (as appears to be the case with Sky, Virgin, Talk Talk etc....).

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Confession: I was a teenage computer virus writer

AlbertH

Malicious network messages

The "ping of death" was always fun!

Two smart-suited salesmen were completely freaked out when they tried to demonstrate some grossly over-priced database where I used to work. Every time they started the programme up, their machines would crash after a few minutes. This persuaded our bosses that it would be much more sensible for us to write our own software!

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AlbertH

Re: Fake DOS

I wrote a little programme back in the late 70s that emulated the system commands and the prompts on a GE 635 Basic Plus machine. When you asked it to get a library file, it would demand that you appended the command with "please", when you wanted to "run" a programme, it would give you one of several randomly-selected messages: "no running in the computer lab" or "a walking pace is quite sufficient" and so on. It would actually pass your command to the interpreter, and it would be executed, but the prompts and warning messages were pretty silly.

The programme grew and grew over some months as the other students added their little bits to it, and we ended up with a completely wacky machine whenever this programme was running!

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AlbertH

Nuking a TRS80

The expensive "experimenters" version of the Tandy TRS80 had a built-in EPROM blower. A few Basic POKE commands could re-direct the higher programming voltage to other hardware in the machine's memory map - cue smoke and flames!

We installed and ran a little Basic program that did just that in many Tandy Stores! They withdrew the model variant after a while, because they were "always burning out when on demonstration"!

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Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership election

AlbertH

Re: i for one, welcome... (actually I don't but that's by the by)

Well you can be sure that they won't be getting any proper education! The last thing a socialist ever wants is an educated populace - it's too easy to see through their lies, obfuscations, and evasions if the voters are educated.

If you want proof of this, compare the literacy and numeracy standards of school pupils across the world. There is a precise correlation between socialism and poor educational standards.

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AlbertH

Credible? No. They'll just be a sub-standard sixth-form level debating society. All the other lot need to do is to point out who Corbyn's friends are.....

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AlbertH

Re: @TheVogon - Pyhrric victory

Mr Marsden:

In just the same way that the horde trying to cross the Channel from Calais are not refugees, the vast majority of the claimants for Social Security payments don't deserve them. It's just that claiming is easier than working. The British "Welfare State" was a Soviet-backed scam to bankrupt us.

"Socialist" governments have always been bad for Britain: The Welfare State, endless strikes, comprehensive "education", rampant inflation and the highest taxes in the world.

When Blair got into power, it was funny to see a neo-conservative trying to herd the socialist cats! Blair's "answer" was to generate over a million non-jobs in the NHS, DHSS and other state-run organisations, and to print money to pay them. We're still suffering the results of his and Gordon McMental's mismanagement and abuse of the economy.

The election of a hard-left nutter like Corbyn will finally show Britons that the lefties are finished - particularly now that they won't get support from Russia any more - and that we need to sort out the Welfare State, the remnants of the Unions (we don't send children up chimneys any more), and stop the PC brigade in their tracks.......

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Lottery chief resigns as winning combo numbers appear on screen BEFORE being drawn

AlbertH

Re: Scratchcards ? "Diagnosing" winning cards!

There was a brilliant scratchcard scam that involved x-raying cards to find winning ones! A newsagent in London and his radiographer brother were convicted of this particular one.

This led to the scratchcards being "metallised" to prevent them being x-rayed. It didn't work - you just need a slightly more precise x-ray unit!

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

AlbertH
FAIL

Re: Free you say?

But someone has to talk sense.

You're right - someone does have to. Unfortunately, it's not you.

You conveniently overlook the small print in the Windoze 10 paperwork - they (as usual) reserve the right to change the charging model at any time. As usual, the large print advertising blather gives, and the small print takes away.....

Win 10 isn't quite as bad as Win 8.X, but it's even less backwardly compatible. Corporates won't be happy with having to purchase all their applications again.

10 is bloated, unstable, insecure and certainly not ready for the mass market. It's just as virus-prone as its predecessors, still vulnerable to the same old exploits, still uses the broken BSD IP code that was "borrowed" for NT back in 1990, still has the mish-mash of bits that have always been the cobbled-together kernel of all the NT-series of OSs since Cutler threw together the demonstration version that Gates shipped......

Win 10 is also designed to be an advertising medium. You'll certainly have to pay a subscription to some other M$ service to cripple the irritations!

Sadly, the fragmented Linux culture isn't ready for prime-time either. "Mint" and "Ubuntu come close and "Fedora" is a pleasing display of what's possible, but as long as you have to go to the hassle of "Arch" to get truly stellar performance, it's not ready.... Guys - get yourselves together!

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AlbertH

Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

They seem optomised for Bass and loudness

They are horribly distorted at any level. It's as if they've been manufactured to impart 30% thd to anything you feed them. All you need to know is that they're manufactured by "Monster" - the very over-priced cable manufacturers.....

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Norton for Windows 10 is NOT a box-borking beta, insists Symantec

AlbertH
Linux

Strange that this bloated rubbish-ware even still exists. It's never worked - it's trivially easy to write "virus" code that does malicious things but isn't detected by this snake-oil (or any other "anti-malware" junkware). Infection methods are many and various, and -short of simply disconnecting your machine from the outside world - there's no way to secure it.

The ONLY option is to use a less-vulnerable OS. The solution is obvious....

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

AlbertH

Re: Speed of electrons

You're STILL being suckered at £50 speaker cables. Nice mains twin flex (25 - 50p / metre) works perfectly well as speaker cable - and there is NO measurable difference to the £50 or even £500 cables frequently bought by audiophools.

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Brit school software biz unchains lawyers after crappy security exposed

AlbertH

Re: A few problems here

You can be absolutely certain that the tabloids will promulgate some bizarre sensationalist blather - and the company will collapse within a week or two.....only to rise - phoenix-like - with a different name, re-selling the same old crap-ware to schools under a new product name from a "new" company.

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Rampaging fox terrorises rural sports club, victim sustains ‘tweaked groin’

AlbertH

These "Club Members" are lying

I know foxes. I have a family of them living in my garden. I've seen five generations of them. They're no problem at all (they're city foxes incidentally) and enjoy the scraps that the neighbourhood willingly provides for them.

They're very timid - they shy away from humans. The last thing any of them would do - even if cornered - is attack. That's why I call "BS" on the story. The old soaks in the club probably wanted a few extra snorts and didn't want an earbashing from their "better" halves, so claimed to be cornered in their drinking den by a fox......

Our foxes are not "tame" - they visit gardens and forage for scraps. They dig earths (I have two beneath my shed) and are good parents to their next generation. They tend to have cubs at the end of February, but you don't see them about until June or July.

City foxes suffer a high rate of attrition (mostly by meeting vehicles the hard way) and seldom live beyond two or three years. They're beautiful animals, cause no nuisance, and should be allowed to get on with their lives. They are certainly NOT vermin!

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Linux Mint 17.2: If only all penguinista desktops were done this way

AlbertH

This is the one for me!

I've just downloaded and installed Mint 17.2. I've resisted the move from Ubuntu (usually Kubuntu) for too long!

This is the first distro version that really feels "easy to use". The installer is simple to operate, the selection of provided software is sensible (and there's plenty more available from the repos), and the installed system is quick and responsive, and everything Just Works™.

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

AlbertH

Re: F**king Madness

MAC filtering by default is just painful especially with family visiting. Looks like it might be time to look at DD-WRT and sin bin all Microsoft OSes into a guest network.

That's exactly what I do. The guest network is deliberately throttled (after an incident with a relation's laptop that was spamming the world). It's trivially easy to do, and keeps the network usage sane

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Stealing secret crypto-keys from PCs using leaked radio emissions

AlbertH

I would have thought that the low cost of the equipment would make it of more interest to hobbyists

Not at all. We demonstrated the "TEMPEST" type of attacks nearly 20 years ago using a cheap(ish) Sony 7600 portable radio and a laptop. If you built a small resonant loop aerial (like often used for long distance Medium Wave reception) you could get it to work over some tens of metres. However, if there was more than one computer in the target area, decryption became almost impossible because of the interference from the adjacent machine. If you want to secure yourself from this type of exploit, just run a few machines in the same room!

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MOUNTAIN of unsold retail PCs piling up in Blighty: Situation 'serious'

AlbertH
Coat

Everyone I know that was using an XP laptop has upgraded now to Linux Mint. It Just Works™ and has all the application goodness that today's users want. Most people are very happy to discover the massive performance increase that comes with getting rid of useless anti-this and anti-that snake-oil that encumbered their Windoze installations, and the performance boost means that they can hold off a hardware update until their present gear actually dies! Domestic users don't want to have to buy new hardware in these financially difficult times.

Business users are a different case, but since MS have (effectively) shot themselves in the foot by offering a mobile phone OS as their flagship product (Windows 8) and rendering their principal business product (Office) unusable, corporate users are beginning to look elsewhere. MS no longer have a viable product, and Windows 10 isn't going to fix that.....

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At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

AlbertH

When will they be made to advertise truthfully?

The crazy "up to" speed ratings have to stop. Virgin (on the ridiculous) offer an "up to" 165Mb/s service around here. The reality is that it's (generally) below 45 Mb/s down (they blame "heavy local use" - I blame insane contention). They claim "unlimited": the reality is that as soon as you hit their arbitrary "fair use" cap, your already sub-standard speed is reduced further.

VM and BT have some strange DNS manipulation going on, preventing access to sites and services that they don't want you to have. These are easily circumvented, but always at the expense of reduced speed.

The prices charged in the UK are scandalous. Why can't they be directly proportional to the actual data rate that these thieves can really achieve? Why don't the toothless idiots at OFCOM ever do anything about the abysmal state of service provision in the UK? Is it just another "government" organisation collecting their brown envelopes at the expense of the rest of us?

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Microsoft says its latest, dodgy Windows 10 build is good for (almost) everyone

AlbertH
Facepalm

Brokenware? What a surprise!

Win 10 does some peculiar "phoning home", which is incredibly network-intensive. It certainly doesn't "play nice" if run in a virtual machine, and is more unstable than a Californian backyard in the rainy season. It's also incredibly picky about the hardware it's run on. It's dreadfully slow, when compared with "7".....

Now... back to the Real World™ of FOSS where it can be mended if it's broken!

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