* Posts by AlbertH

305 posts • joined 18 Jul 2012

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Virgin Media costs balloon by MEEELLIONS in wake of Brexit

AlbertH

Re: They are a media company

4k STB which has probably just become 10% more expensive.

No it hasn't. The price from Taiwan has dropped by nearly 14%. The things cost almost nothing, and they're charging their customers £££ for them - they could go up by 200% and they'd still see a profit! All ISP services here in the UK are profiteering scams.

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UK Labour man Owen Smith: If you wanna be a leader, you gotta stop with that lens

AlbertH

Re: Demonstrating yet again...

... the PICNIC fault - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer

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Having offended everyone else in the world, Linus Torvalds calls own lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

AlbertH

Re: So, to sum up...

Marketing people are of course #1 on the list.

No - just above them should be "Project Managers". They are overpaid worthless parasites. They are the wasps of the engineering world - they have no reason to exist.

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UK's mass-surveillance draft law grants spies incredible powers for no real reason – review

AlbertH

Hiding messages is easy....

Steganographic techniques, one-time encryptions (often based on "book codes"), and huge quantities of legitimately transmitted data will allow the unimpeded and undetectable transmission of secret messages.

The decryption software tools and the hardware available to the "authorities" guarantees that they won't ever find any useful data - except through ineptitude or sheer fluke. They will, however, spend inordinate amounts of our money on this worthless effort.

They'll also create lots of jobs for the otherwise useless "graduates" being turned out by British universities.

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Brit network O2 hands out free Windows virus with USB pens

AlbertH

Re: How much do Geeks Earn...?

No - The old Morecambe and Wise gag was "What's a Greek Urn?"

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Here's how police arrested Lauri Love – and what happened next

AlbertH

Re: Although the burden of proof lies with Love

Obviously proving that you've forgotten passwords is difficult...

My run-in with Plod was made all the funnier because they'd never seen Linux before and made the assumption that I "must be hiding something" because I wasn't using Windoze or Apple. I steadfastly refused to provide passwords and pointed out that if their "computer specialists" were any good, they'd be in the machines in minutes.

When it got to Court, I demonstrated that the reason I used "something else" was to prevent any unauthorised access to my copyrighted work on my machines. I also demonstrated that breaking into a Windoze machine was trivially easy - which is why I won't use it.....

They were unable to gain access to my machines (except to a "Guest" account) and I refused to let them in. The Judge asked if there was anything that I didn't want revealed on my machines. I explained that there were details of my Bank Accounts, a lot of my work, and various private emails. The Judge asked if he could be allowed to have a private look at the contents - I acceded, on the understanding that it was restricted to him, in private. He had a quick look, concluded that there was nothing actionable on the machines and dismissed the case.

I received a settlement for unlawful detention and for the unlawful seizure of my gear - I don't need to work for a couple of years!

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Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

AlbertH

Re: Windows8.2=10 is a fraud and a scam!

Under UK Consumer Law, no version of Windows has ever been "fit for purpose". This is just one of the ways you can get your money back from the Windoze Tax you're forced to pay if you want a modern machine.

I've just received refunds for 124 copies of Windoze 8 that were pre-installed on to my new office machines. I told HP that I didn't want Windoze, but they insisted that I couldn't have the computers unless I took their pre-loaded crapware. I have a favourable pricing deal with them, and the computer specification was just what we needed (as long as it has our corporate spin on Ubuntu on it), so buying from them was sensible....

We tested two of the batch of machines with the provided OS and software. Both failed in one way or another within the first 20 minutes, so the OS and software was obviously not "fit for purpose". HP didn't quibble - in fact, they agree with us, and refunded us over 40% of the purchase price of the machines on the understanding that we'd delete the contents of the hard drives and not register any of the pre-installed rubbish!

Strangely, HP are beginning to offer Ubuntu pre-installs again......

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Play Store malware roots phones, installs an app every two minutes

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Play services

Bob Rocket

You're almost certainly running some poorly written third-party crudware. You need to examine all you've loaded, find what's running all the time and delete or alter the permissions of that application so that it doesn't automatically put itself in the background at boot.

You could try to load Windoze mobile on to your phone - it's unlikely to work (factory-installed phones don't work properly with Windoze mobile) and the "speed" would be laughable compared to Android.

Some of the alternative Android builds (like Cyanogen, for example) are truly fabulous. They make the phone behave as it should - fast and with great stability - and they make IOS and Windoze look like they're from 1995!

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Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft's own metric – it won't hit one billion devices by mid-2018

AlbertH

Re: The penguin struggles to reach 4% market share with a free product

I don't know where you get your numbers (remember - 87% of statistics are made up on the spot). You have to remember that the entire Internet runs on Linux - making Windows a poor proprietary client for a Unix world.

Windows will become ever more irrelevant and as Microsoft fail to meet the universal standards set by the web - or, worse yet, try to set their own - and governments and businesses are starting to see this.

The UK actually has rules in place to ensure that all government departments will use fully open standards and open sourced software in the next two years. This will be the beginning of the end for MS as other countries will also do the same.

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AlbertH

Re: Perhaps ....

My slipstick is a nice "British Thornton" wooden one from the late 50s. I still use it most days.

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AlbertH

Re: Pulling dick moves has historically worked really well for Apple.

name 6 dick moves from apple

Suing their main component supplier for "copyright infringement" thereby putting up the prices of their components to levels that made their products entirely uncompetitive. That silly lawsuit nearly killed them off. Samsung are still laughing about the massive price increases they've managed to impose on Apple - that they're forced to pay!

Another five would be trivial to list. Their ineptitude will ensure that they're unlikely to survive the next five years....

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Microsoft won't back down from Windows 10 nagware 'trick'

AlbertH

Re: don't run windows update until august 1

Don't forget, the Windows 7 EULA *NEVER* gave Microsoft permission to FORCE! UPGRADES! (or updates for that matter).

Actually, their EULA allows them to do anything they choose to your Windoze install. Read carefully - they retain ownership of the software. You're just leasing it!

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Tech support locker scam poses as failed Microsoft Update

AlbertH
Linux

Back-up...... and delete

The entire fix for this mess:

Remove the HDD from the afflicted machine, connect it to another machine with one of the numerous recovery Linux distros installed. Recover all the (l)user's files. Back them up to a couple of different media. Delete Windows and install from a Linux Mint DVD. Copy all the (l)user's files to the Home directory of their new system. Spend 10 minutes showing them how to log in, locate their files and configure their Email. Job done. No further "service calls" from "Microsoft" and a computer that runs as it should.

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

AlbertH
Happy

An Amazing Childhood Experience

I remember being taken to see that station during its construction. My Father's friend was one of the Project Engineers, so he was able to show us around. I still remember being awestruck at the sheer size of the artificial cavern that they had created!

Truly amazing!

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IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Not worth the risk

You're between a rock and a hard place: if you DO update Windoze as MS want you to, you're forced into the lunacy that is Win 10. If you DON'T update it, you're certain to fall victim to one of the growing multitude of exploits that cause so much trouble....

You really should upgrade to an operating system and software that Just Works™. It doesn't suffer from malware because of its permissions structure (something that MS just can't get right), and it makes full and proper use of your hardware, without all the wasted resources that Windoze demands for its "security" software. In the first instance, move to Linux Mint - it installs in 10 minutes, asks you for your name and chosen password and then you're away.

Make the move - you won't regret it!

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Linux Mint to go DIY for multimedia

AlbertH
Linux

Re: UI changes

Exactly. Everything "Just Works"™ with Linux. I have NEVER installed Windoze and had all the hardware work. Even worse, many of the drivers supplied by major manufacturers are unsigned, so Windoze whinges about them. Canon are particularly bad in this respect (and don't provide Linux drivers for their hardware........).

Windoze is now just an irrelevant, slow, buggy, unstable proprietary client for a Linux / Unix world.

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'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

AlbertH

SAM Broadcaster? Forget it.

We used SAM Broadcaster - briefly. We found that it was rather unstable on Windoze 7 (though it wasn't bad on XP), and would spontaneously crash, often requiring a complete reboot. When the Win 10 nagware started, it became completely unusable!

We made the biggest change possible - we moved to Ubuntu and "Rivendell" for our 24/7 streaming service. It took a little time to learn our way around the new OS and software, and to integrate it with our record library (which has always used Ubuntu).

We stream using Icecast, and the results are superb. Quality is high, stability is perfect and the "live" option works flawlessly for programmes with live presenters.

There was a fairly steep learning curve, and there were a few configuration niggles that were sorted out with the help of the very active Users' Group. We now use entirely FOSS software and operating systems throughout our studio centre - saving us a fortune in licensing and support costs!

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Australia's Dick finally drops off

AlbertH

Re: Next on the list

Certainly not. Maplin seldom have actual stock of anything you might need in a hurry! I can get overnight delivery of components from (for example) Rapid Electronics in Colchester or even Tayda in Singapore far more cheaply than I can get anything from Maplin.

A couple of years ago, I needed to build - in a hurry - a couple of quite precise audio filters for a project. I decided to build the board on a Saturday, so hurried down to the Hammersmith branch of Maplin with a list of the parts I wanted, (mostly 2% polystyrene capacitors) complete with their part codes from their catalogue. I handed the list to to PFY behind the counter, and a few minutes later he handed me a paper bag and an invoice. I went to the till, settled the invoice and hurried home to build my circuit.

When I opened the paper bag, I found that instead of 2% polystyrene capacitors of 1n5, 1n8, 2n2 and so on, I'd received the same number of cheap polyester 4n7 capacitors - all the same value! I'd been charged the inflated prices for the 2% parts as well!

I phoned the branch up to complain, and was told that they no longer stocked the parts I'd ordered, so they'd substituted parts "that'll do the job"! That was the last time I bothered with Craplin!

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AlbertH
FAIL

Re: dropped off a *long* time ago

Right now in the UK, the same thing is happening (has happened) with Maplin. They started off as a small component retailer / mail order shop in Essex, selling components and kits to electronics enthusiasts. Years ago, I designed a couple of kits for them, and they paid quite generous royalties per unit sold.

Electronics construction is not as popular as it once was, and so Maplin "diversified" into all sorts of cheap electronic tat - sold at premium prices - in the mistaken belief that this would get customers into their shops again. They still can't see where they've got it wrong, trying to be Tandy. They've lost their core customers.

Their component prices are incredible: They charge the same for four cheap ¼W resistors as I pay for 200 of the same value from the Far East! Their range of parts has been radically reduced, and they seldom have actual physical stock of parts in their shops despite their computer system always insisting that they have lots in stock.....

Dick Smith - sadly - went exactly the same way as Maplin. I don't expect the English company to last much longer - they've already shut about a third of their branches - they're selling the wrong things at the wrong prices. Maplin are certain to suffer the same fate as Dick Smith!

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Your pointy-haired boss 'bought a cloud' with his credit card. Now what?

AlbertH
Coat

Re: Missing the real point

You have PHB's that stick around for more than 4 years at a time!

You're like me - suffering from "Seagull Management"!

They fly in, squawk a lot, cr@p over everything, and fly out again!

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Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond

AlbertH
Devil

Re: Microsoft Linux Container OS with NT kernel

Expect to see NT open-sourced

No chance. They really don't want to reveal the abysmal tangled spaghetti mess that is the NT kernel.

MS are just shifting their means of monetising their (abysmal) products: They make clear in their EULA that all you've bought is a "licence to use" their products - NOT the products themselves. They're clearly moving towards some "pay-per-use" model with remotely housed application servers. You can be sure that W10.5 will be (effectively) a thin client for their "App Store".....

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You can't dust-proof a PC with kitchen-grade plastic food wrap

AlbertH

Re: Lightning strikes are always fun

I remember a guy who used to work for me - back in the days when I ran a team of telephone engineers - who brought in a charred and generally crispy Line Card ftom a business telephone system. Attached to it was the usual red tag with a fault description of "F*c*ed by Lightning".

I explained that his fault description really wasn't appropriate and that it should say "destroyed by lightning - beyond economical repair". He duly changed the label.

Two days later, he was called back to the same customer's office, for the same kind of fault. This time the strike had been rather more powerful and had actually ripped the line card in half! This time, the red label tying the two pieces together read "Totally phuqued by lightning"!!

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

AlbertH

Re: MSDOS/Apple DOS prankage

Back in the days of pre-history, when terminal access to a computer was rare, we used to use "GE 635 BASIC PLUS". One of our guys wrote a neat little programme that emulated the "system screen", so "Library" commands would reply with the location of the nearest Public Library, "Run" would be met with "Please WALK in the corridors" and so on. Each command received a smart reply and did nothing. It frequently took users several minutes to realise that they were looking at the output from a programme, rather than at the actual system terminal output!

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Ransomware now using disk-level encryption

AlbertH

Re: Personally I prefer this

Problem is, what if that's your boss?

That's frequently the way. We've had malware brought on-site by people up to and including the Board. One clueless twerp brought three malicious payloads on to the network through his frequent surfing of "free" porn sites using Internet Explorer.

We now ban connection of anything "unapproved" on to the network on pain of instant dismissal. There is an "open" wi-fi for the (l)users if they're desperate to connect their personal gear to the interweb - this seems to satisfy them and has gone a long way to keeping our networks secure!

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

AlbertH

Paper Tapes...

End of Term - please empty your User Area. I wrote a little File Erase routine and fed it on paper tape to the Teletype. Upon prompt, I entered the requisite filename - a few seconds passed, and the "File Deleted" report came back.

Three times 'round, and the paper tape was starting to get tatty. I had dozens of files to delete: A quick re-write of the programme, to ignore EOF characters......

The DEC 10 never replied to confirm that the files were deleted..........

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Tired of Windows 10 phoning home? Maybe the special Chinese govt version is for you

AlbertH
Holmes

Further confirmation.....

.....that Windoze is chock-full of spyware with all sorts of malicious functionality.

The Chinese aren't going to sanction anything that they can't thoroughly control!

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Mud sticks: Microsoft, Windows 10 and reputational damage

AlbertH

Re: Windows 10 is the best MSFT OS yet

Windows 10 has performed extremely well

Ahh! You must be using the special "insider" version that's unavailable to the General Public. The rest of us had to put up with an unstable, inconsistent, unreliable mess.

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AlbertH

Re: Where are the facts no one likes Win 10?

not isolating it from the internet at large

That's actually funny - the kiosk software I had to write was to actually provide (restricted) Internet access for casual users, so disconnection for the "internet at large" wasn't an option. Nor was an OS that would arbitrarily decide that it was "upgrade" time......

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AlbertH

Re: Where are the facts no one likes Win 10?

For the average user, W10 is probably the only real solution at the moment, even with its faults, niggles, foibles and inbuilt telemetry. I'd say very few people on here are the average user.

Many of the readers may not be, but my Dad is pretty average as computer users go. His reasonably stable Windows 7 machine has been repeatedly wrecked by forced upgrades that he neither needs nor wants. Twice he's re-installed from his back-ups (OK - he's a bit less average in that he learned the hard way about backing stuff up when he lost half a book he was writing).

After the second failed Windows 10 "upgrade", he called and asked what could be done about it. I installed Mint 17.3 on his older machine and it took him about a day to adapt. I asked yesterday about reinstalling his newer machine with Windows (to get it working again), and he said "No - just put Mint on it like this one!".

He had resisted Linux for a long time - as he "knew" Windows - but the repeated foul-ups have finally alienated him. He's now recommending Mint to all his oldster friends on the obvious basis that it "Just Works"™.

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AlbertH

Re: Don't blame users for the UI

Yes, XP -> Win7 did involve training.

Strangely, W7 -> KDE didn't require any significant training at all. We just relabelled "Writer" as "Word Processor" and so on. The users got over their Monday morning shock by lunchtime!

It was only a week or so later, when the users realised how little time log-in took and how some of the "extras" we'd given them worked, that the general uptake of the "new system" was fully approved. The company have saved a potload on licencing and now employ a (smaller) support desk staff who are clueful and useful.

There has also been a mass migration of laptops - including many personal ones - as the users realise just how well their gear is supposed to work!

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How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest

AlbertH
Linux

Re: So f'kin annoying

The next time she complains about it, I'm buying her a Mac.

A quicker, cheaper and (probably) easier solution is the current iteration of Linux Mint. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the ease of installation and the quality of the OS and its applications when it's installed. Have fun!

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AlbertH
Linux

I recently rebuilt a laptop for a blind friend of mine.

Me too. We tried Vinux and Sonar and she still has both installed because she can't (yet) decide which one suits her better. Vinux has a brilliant speech synthesiser and Sonar has every multimedia codec you could imagine - she still can't choose!

She ditched Windoze in 2005 for Knoppix with a built-in speech engine, and has used FOSS ever since.

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AlbertH
Flame

Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

Most British Government departments are like that. They're entirely clueless and tied to MS by a very unfavourable contract that Tony Bliar signed (in return for a house in Belgravia - sue me if it's not true, Tone). They use Cap Gemini and Fujitsu etc. to "manage" their networks, and the level of service "enjoyed" by the users is truly abysmal.

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Met Police cancels £90m 999 call command-and-control gig

AlbertH

Re: You have to wonder

Not any more. British governmental (emphasis on "mental") contracts have not had penalty clauses since these were dropped under Bliar's government. Procurement processes now just have to show that there have been two or three competing bids and that they have been "evaluated". The practical upshot is that the bidders will get together, agree amongst themselves who's going to get the contract, then two companies bid insanely high prices and the third bids a smaller, still inflated price and "wins" the contract.

It usually costs more to abandon a contract part way through than to let it finish then reject the result!

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New iOS malware targets stock iPhones, spreads via App Store

AlbertH

Re: attack vector

Has your "anti-virus" ever done anything useful? The answer is certainly "No" - AV products don't and can't work. This is the dreadful truth that the AV industry tries to hide from the suckers who buy their rubbish.

It takes minutes to write a piece of malicious code. It can be unique and can have an unusual method of promulgation. There is NO AV product that has ever been made that can prevent an infection from a "new" piece of malware. It's only possible that it can be detected once it has become widespread - the AV Vendors still rely on "signatures" - their "heuristics" are complete nonsense.

The number of compromised Windoze machines is truly staggering. The prevalence of DDOS attacks shows a small part of those legions. Now it's possible (relatively easily) to abuse Apple phones....

The only real protection is a properly hardened OS with a rigorous permissions structure and education - the biggest common vulnerability is the stupid, wilfully ignorant user......

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Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Perfectly understandable

JJ - how wrong can you be?

All the biggest commercial websites on the planet - and the companies or organisations behind them - use nothing but Linux. If it's good enough for Governments, Amazon, Google, IBM and every other major corporation you can name, your protestations are simply silly.

The big data things that I do using Linux servers and Linux clients just aren't possible with Microsoft products - and everything I have to do HAS to be scalable. MS are several years behind the curve, and drop further behind with every piece of shiny nonsense they release. They simply haven't got a clue.

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Anti-cyber-attack biz Staminus is cyber-attacked, mocked by card-leaking tormentors

AlbertH
Holmes

Hubris always gets you in the end.....

Ha Ha Ha Ha.......

These clueless snake-oil salesmen didn't realise that their systems had been compromised for almost 24 hours. They stored user names, passwords and Credit Card details as plain text. What part of "totally, criminally incompetent" don't they accept?

Dazzz may be right - their (l)users may well sue them. You can be sure that they'll go out of business well before the writ lands on their doormat!

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Reprogrammble routers axed by TP-Link as FCC bans custom firmware

AlbertH

Re: TP Link

I've used to C8 and several others of that range, and found that they're all good quality, well constructed, reasonably priced and perform well. The web interface is a bit clunky, but no worse than Netgear or Linksys. They perform just like the other brands but are 20 - 50 % cheaper.

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AlbertH
Stop

Re: But it's my router, I've bought it

Unfortunately not. You should conform to the frequency and bandwidth rules to prevent interference to other users. Power is less of an issue as receiver sensitivity is actually more important.

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Microsoft adds 'non-security updates' to security patches

AlbertH
Megaphone

Re: As many PC users think IE is the Internet...

The clueless majority believe that "Windows is essential to computers" and "Windows came free with my computer".

Sadly, like Socialism, such fundamental stupidity is difficult to eradicate. No amount of explaining, cajoling, educating and malware infestations will change this in the near future. When MS engage the second part of their new "business model" - charging per use for software and charging per day for their "operating system" - a few people will start to realise that they've been taken.

It really is going to be fun when MS start charging.....

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Microsoft wants to lock everyone into its store via universal Windows apps, says game kingpin

AlbertH

Re: Oh dear, It would appear that nobody is doing any thinking.

MS will just laugh at any anti-trust suits brought against them. They have (effectively) unlimited funds and all sorts of malicious sanctions that they can apply!

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AlbertH
Linux

Re: Do bears shit in the woods?

MS' new business model is to rent software to end users from "the cloud". The "free give-away" Windoze 10 is to get the end users dependent and then start charging per use for software - this will be wonderful for business users: their "rental" charges will be gigantic.

This has been MS' policy for the last 20 years - it's just now that there's sufficient connectivity to make it feasible.

There has never been a better time to migrate away from proprietary software and "Operating Systems"!

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Electrified bird bum bomb shuts down US nuclear power plant

AlbertH
Coat

Sounds like....

....birdsh¹t to me!

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North Dorset Council hit by ransomware, flips the bird at miscreants

AlbertH

Re: A role for the ISP's here?

Certainly not! ISPs should interfere with data as little as possible. The governmental snooping act will fail. "Phorm" only have their claws stuck into users stupid enough to connect through Virgin (On The Ridiculous).

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 3

AlbertH
Linux

Re: teaching computing to kiddies.

It shows the kiddies that Windows is just a poor proprietary client for a Unix / Linux world. It also amply demonstrates that there are real alternatives these days.

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Dan Kaminsky is an expert on DNS security – and he's saying: Patch right God damn now

AlbertH

Re: I have a retina iMac

I'm smug but am I safe?

Not if you're smug!

However, you are an iMug for paying outrageous money for cheap commodity hardware with an expensive badge stuck on.

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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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