* Posts by Lee D

833 posts • joined 14 Feb 2013

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Hardened Linux stalwarts Grsecurity pull the pin after legal fight

Lee D
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Re: "in response to an expensive and lengthy court case"

If no lawyer is willing to take up the case, there's probably a reason.

If no lawyer is willing to charge a price you can afford, there's probably a reason.

Additionally, if this is simply a trademark / passing off case, it's quite difficult to assert that they aren't using "grsecurity" code, or that they are somehow misrepresenting them. The GPL presumably applies to the code, so throwing your toys out of the pram for people using part of the code is really something that you should have accounted for when you started. Of course, people will take the code, tweak it, even reissue it under different names. You're providing them code under a licence that allows (and in some cases demands) that. The v2 licence of the kernel doesn't mention trademarks to my knowledge.

To say they are then misusing the trademark by saying it includes grsecurity code, and asking a court to do something about it... well, it does seem to be rather a complex and difficult thing to do. Is this any different to saying the code is "compatible with Microsoft Windows", "includes PhysX technology", etc.? There's a reason that places like that can't stop you saying that, or make you sign specific contracts before you CAN use their technology legally anyway.

What's the demand here? Are you after use of the trademark meaning you must update to the latest version of grsecurity with every product you use immediately upon release? Nobody would want to touch your trademark in that case anyway. They'd just take your code, rename it, sell it as their own, with no mention. Are they claiming to BE grsecurity? It doesn't seem like it. They're saying it's code grsecurity code in it and/or is based off grsecurity. Which appears to be true.

I think there's a reason no lawyer will touch it, even a law student or similar. Except without payment. They know they're going to lose or the "win" will be so minor as to be worthless.

I've had a couple of rows with this guy (I believe he goes by PaXTeam) on LWN.net too. His views are contrary to common-sense in just about everything and he has a way of rubbing everyone up the wrong way by "knowing better" than everyone else about... well... everything. It's a great product, and he's obviously a skilled coder, but the guy has no idea how to discuss things sensibly. I see this as an extension of his normal way of dealing with people - unreasonable demands and blown-out-of-proportion incidents focused around his unrealistic expectations.

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BT commences trials of copper-to-the-home G.fast broadband tech

Lee D
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Re: Silly...

@gerdesj: You really think BT are going to have anywhere near the same kind of rollout? There are still places that can't even get a few Mb of broadband, even with VDSL.

I just spent an instructive 18 months with BT. I work for a private school near a MAJOR town inside the M25. Our ADSL gave us 2-4Mbps. We had two business ADSL2 lines. We upgraded one to VDSL. We get "45Mbps at the property boundary" (technically "up to 75Mbps service", so they aren't lying about that). By the time it gets to where it's needed, we were getting about 10-11Mbps. Those are DOWNLOAD. Upload was laughable, and we wanted to run our own services.

Two years after a leased line order, we were still waiting and then got told that there was "no room at the exchange"... .this is AFTER they installed fibre tubing all over the site and down the local telegraph poles.

We're not in the middle of the damn outback, but we had to include such factors into every purchasing decision, governor's meeting and future plan because they were so hindering. And it just didn't matter how much money we had to throw at the idea, they just could not deliver.

In the end, we cancelled contracts while they were still trying to supply - even had them turn up on site after cancellation after not seeing action for 6+ months. Turned them away. Virgin Media were able to run a leased line to us in a few months with only legal hassle over who owns the bit of land they were digging up to delay them (literally, not even the Land Registry knew who owned the land, so they had to go through a special process to advertise it, claim it, allocate it to the borough, who leased it to the school, which finally let us give VM permission to use it).

Just because something exists does not mean you can buy it, it's priced sensibly, it's available in your area, that BT can deliver, or that it's even possible to get it to you in a way that doesn't degrade service to make it unusable. Hell, there is no mention of upload whatsoever. 300Mbps download is useless without at least 30Mbps upload (the sorts of ratio you see with ADSL and which still aren't good enough for non-residential purposes).

Hell, there are still places in Britain that you can't even get a phone line, let alone dial-up, let alone ADSL, let alone anything-to-the-cabinet, let alone anything-to-the-house, let alone this new tech that will need all new routers again. You might get maybe 40-50% of properties able to receive this in ten years of so, and almost all of them will be smack-bang in the centre of the big cities and sod the rest, Jack.

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Shingled drives get SpectraLogic archive down to 9 cents/GB

Lee D
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All very nice and all, but with prices starting at $34k and going up to $682k, it's likely out of the range of most people reading this, I'm guessing? If you're spending that much money, probably raw size isn't a huge worry.

To then have software RAID on that kind of hardware seems a little... out of place?

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Sysadmin ignores 25 THOUSAND patches, among other sins

Lee D
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Re: I don't think he handled this job at all correctly

Yep.

However, that likely involves reinstalling every piece of software in use. For a plain office shop, sure. For a system with lots of third-party software, that's a nightmare in itself.

It's one of those things you have to do, yes, but between that and just backing up and rolling out updates? I'll take the updates. Maybe roll out an image next year when you know what's supposed to be on the machines, etc. But you stand a chance of rolling back an update. You don't stand much of a chance of rolling out an image over existing machines without losing something - even if it's just a lot of time in reinstalling all their software.

First thing I did in my post above? Collect in every desktop and do a software audit. Useful for licensing but much more useful for "where the hell did that come from, why that version, who's got the disks, have we actually paid for this", etc. And, yes, in some cases we had software on every machine that they'd paid for a handful of licences for. I spent several £K just properly licensing what they had and thought they were already licensed for and couldn't live without.

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Lee D
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Sounds like you got away easy.

This is just for my present position, but I was hired by word-of-mouth as I happened to be in the job market at exactly the same time that a disaster befell this particular workplace. I was snapped up after they'd done most of the initial firefighting (please bear that in mind) and have thus far witnessed the following:

1) One server. Literally. One. Running 500 users. That setup was in the process of being replaced when I started by the following setup: One server running all the user stuff, another running the SQL server (including payroll), the print system and the phone system, and some shared areas, and backup software, all kinds of junk. Ironically, they had some of the most powerful servers I'd ever seen running Windows thin-clients - powerful enough to run 50+ user sessions. They never got used and everyone hated them, but the servers outclassed everything else in the server room (but were sadly quite old - floppy disk era too - and we just replaced them. Back in their day they must have been TOP of the line). They were sitting idle while the one-server did all the work until it fell over.

2) A set of data-recovered failed RAID disks, in a box. Previously resident in the single server. £10k to recover and they never got all their data back. User profiles and documents had been recovered from CLIENT ROAMING PROFILE COPIES! The recovered drives I had framed and hung on the wall with a plaque reading "Cogito Ergo Facsimile" (excuse the Latin - hopefully "I think therefore I make copies"?)

3) No backups. None. The guy was still getting emails about a freeware backup utility but hadn't even bothered to deploy that. There was nothing. No tape, no NAS, nothing except for what was on the server hard drive. And he had been there to ignore BOTH RAID failures. By the time I inherited it, there was some NAS boxes but also an illegal and unlicensed copy of Backup Exec on every server too.

4) No WSUS at all.

5) No client images (not even WDS, they just bit-for-bit copied existing machines!).

6) Exchange installed on the DC, thus making an unfixable and unsupported combination (officially, you cannot remove Exchange that's been on a DC because you shouldn't be able to do that in the first place - and demoting a DC server that's running Exchange is dangerous and likely to break both!).

7) Every cable measured TO THE INCH to the patch panels and crimped by hand. And often going through the centres of the racks so you couldn't actually insert anything more into the rack without de-patching EVERY CABLE and re-patching it. For one cabinet we had to pull an all-nighter just to rewire 24U. And we rewired EVERY cable in there.

8) I found a switch hidden in a radiator cabinet powered by a socket inside the floor (near a cellar hatch). That switch ran all the main office and wasn't documented anywhere. The uplink for it was Cat5 over 150m using internal cable that went externally and was thoroughly destroyed by the time I got there. Apparently that had been in place for several years and nobody knew about it. Until it went off.

Needless to say, I got triple-normal-IT budget in order to fix the problems. We bought a proper set of redundant blade servers, spread them over the site, multiple backup strategies, proper backup software, full virtualisation and service separation, a complete re-cable (including redundant links around the site and to the Internet) and it's now... well, quite impressive.

My boss has also indicated that next month we will have a full, live, in-service failover test. I think because I've made all these assertions about what should happen on a modern system and he wants to see if it's true. As in, he will "pull power" (not literally, but simulated by turning off machines gracefully) to one entire server location in the middle of the working day to see what happens. We are merely expected to provide "business continuity" (i.e. We don't lose data and thus bankrupt the company! Shouldn't be hard! Shows you what kind of IT they had previously!) but I'm actually expecting "service continuity" (i.e. nobody but us notices that anything has happened).

But that's not even the worse I've inherited. Hell, I refused to touch one charity's network that I was invited to work on. I had to literally say to them "I can't touch that" and they knew I was doing them a favour by saying so. It wasn't fully backed up, the backups were at a remote site they didn't have access to, and nothing on the desktops was in a state where I thought I could safely play with it, and they dealt with the medication records of dying children, etc. Sorry, I have no qualms about fixing it for you, but it's really in your interest to get a proper firm in - because the responsibility with that, given the state it was in, was so bad you wouldn't have been able to afford the price I'd have to put on that responsibility. Start again, get a proper firm in, and get some ongoing support while you're there. It will cost the earth, but it will be nothing compared to continuing on that precipice you're on of losing that data. I did make sure they had at least one sufficient backup before I left but that was all I could do in the time.

I'm sure people have worse stories too, but by comparison some "neglected" server settings and a single non-booting server (sorry, your solution of a note not to reboot it is NOT a solution, even temporarily) is nothing.

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'Unexpected item in baggage area' assigned to rubbish area

Lee D
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Re: Fucking self-scan tills!

I don't use them.

I'm waiting for the companies that do to realise.

You put self-service into my bank. I still use the counter. But then I stopped paying in cheques to you entirely, signed up for an online-only account and you've had to send me all kinds of doodads to sign in electronically and maintain the payment app ever since.

You put self-service into my supermarket. So I stopped going in there on the most crowded evenings, fighting against people and/or repackers (depending on time of day), pushing stuff through checkouts myself (but, hell, even the normal checkouts I have to unload onto a conveyor belt, then repack, then wheel to my car, then repack into the boot, then unpack again when I'm at home! Instead, I get YOU to do all the packing and drive it to my house in the middle of peak hours and at my convenience, in a specialised refrigerated vehicle, pay you a pittance extra to do so and then use it as an opportunity to order 20 bottles of Coke at the same time which I'd never do if I was the one to have to unpack it. Hell, you have to bag it for me too. The odd substitution that I'm quite entitled to refuse is small-fry next to what you're having to do for your customer now.

I find this everywhere you go. Businesses are trying to push tasks that THEY used to do onto their own customers. I'm at a loss how this make their customers feel like they are getting good service. And it translates up to government level too. Now *I* have to sort the rubbish that I'm paying you to take away? So I've just make the hugest compost heap known to man in my back garden instead.

Sure, they might think they have "won" just as much as I have in most cases, through extra fees, moving of services, etc. but they have forgotten that they are supposed to be providing a service and that involves something more than the bare minimum to technically qualify. We just move elsewhere, where we get service we expect, and the infrastructure costs must be cutting into their profits like mad. How many self-service checkouts need their own dedicated person to stand there, check them, cope with errors etc?

I actually refuse to use self-service if that's all there is. If I need one item and there's queues on the "normal" checkouts, I might do it. But I tried to use the passport-control ones at Stansted once. Instead of a long-queue, a fleeting glance and "Where have you come from today, Sir?", I got a longer queue, stupid people not understanding the system, then when I got to the front it just refused to work for me (literally 5 minutes just standing still while it tried), then I had to talk to the woman who is there JUST FOR THIS EVENT (and was very busy with everyone it was refusing), walk back out, go back to the "normal" queues and suffer the same fleeting glance as normal. As such, I will never use them again.

I'm sure on paper it looks good, if you only look at one column of numbers. But overall they are losing my custom in all the places that try this rubbish on me. An option, yes. A cheque-paying-in machine in the corner is great when I don't want to have to queue. But MAKING me use it? No.

There's a reason that the large supermarkets are dropping profits. There's a reason that the banks are closing branches left, right and centre (and still haven't caught up with the 21st Century, or even most European banks, and do things like text you for EVERY transaction, for free). There's a reason that shops and supermarkets are losing out to firms that do things like deliver fresh food every week (Graze, etc.), or have a warehouse that stocks everything that you can order in one click online. It's not that Amazon are so fantastically wonderful. It's that it provides the service I'm looking for. And they get customer service when things go wrong. Have you ever SEEN the Amazon returns / warranty service? It's wonderful.

And, to be honest, I'd rather pay slightly more to get service than slightly less and be made to scan my own damn groceries in an inefficient and yet still-completely-untrusting way (You really think I'm going to put two oranges in the bag after scanning only one? Nice way to treat your paying customers of many years).

I've seen this all over, and the polarisation between "company that gets customer service" and "company that doesn't" that exists now is just making me change the way I do things more than ever before.

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Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell: El Reg on the hydrogen highway

Lee D
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I'm not at all sure how long it would take to produce several kg's of hydrogen "on site". Ignoring fossil-fuel generation methods (because that's a bit of a false start already), it would require several litres of water for every person, and quite a large amount of electricity, and quite a dangerous combination of electricity, hydrogen and oxygen in an enclosed space. There's a reason that fuel tank is built to survive 10,000 psi, you know.

Scale that up to petrol-station size, and you have, what? 2-3 customers CONSTANTLY on average over a day? 5 minutes per customer? Be conservative, call that 24 customers per hour, or 576 customers per day, or - at 5kg of hydrogen in each car, about three tonne of hydrogen at every petrol station? That's an awful lot of handling, power, and water / chemicals required. Not to mention transport of that stuff. And stockpiling it. Generating on-site at every station just isn't going to be practical unless you're next to Sellafield, a large lake and nobody cares about the risk.

According to Wiki, "In 2006, the United States was estimated to have a production capacity of 11 million tons of hydrogen." - so, we're looking at the US being able to generate about 3 million petrol-station days in a year. There are 10,000 petrol stations in the UK, at most. Which, handily, means the entire 2006 US production of hydrogen could just about run the petrol stations in the UK for 300 days a year. Not counting that most of that hydrogen generated is a by-product of coal, oil, gas industries, that already are one of the largest users of it for oil refining, etc. and that's where most of that stuff went to in 2006.

Hydrogen is a long way off practicality still. The convenience of a filling station is ideal, I agree, but we just don't have the investment in it yet. You cannot buy a car that you can only fill up properly in three places in the country. Petrol may have started like that, but it didn't get anywhere near viable until there was a petrol station in nearly every town. Everyone before that was paying through the nose for the inconvenience of an impractical (and temporarily unworkable) idea in order to show off to their mates. Pretty much the same as hydrogen fuel cell cars today.

If we're going to live in fantasy land, it might be better to wish for a battery-less car that uses the electricity you charge it from to generate hydrogen itself and store that instead of a battery. No nasty lithium, probably lighter setup, but still in fantasy land with today's technology and economies of scale.

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So unfair! Teachers know what’s happening on students' fondleslabs

Lee D
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Been around for years.

NetOp, Classlink, there are dozens of these products, and many of them have mobile (Android/iPad) counterpart apps.

This isn't news, I've been using and installing them for over a decade at the very least.

The problem you have is all those VNC streams flying over a wireless network alongside all the other stuff you're doing, plus all the other mobile devices, in a bandwidth-limited, airwave-scarce area. I don't know how many times I've told people that the BEST wifi is equivalent to a single Gigabit cable. One gigabit cable per desktop, 20+ devices on the wireless, so even in ABSOLUTELY IDEAL conditions, they are getting 1/20th of the access you would normally get. With laptops and roaming profiles, this is a serious issue, with tablets you use only for web browser and the odd Google Drive doc it's not. But pushing multiple VNC over them is quite heavy.

@Robin - school has a different meaning in the UK - 5 to 18 year olds. And let me tell you, you use what we tell you, or you don't get on the school network. That's what RADIUS and things like network protection services are *for*. Uninstall our monitoring software and your connection drops like a stone. That may be harsh for 16-18 year olds but chances are they are NOT bringing in their own devices (that's a H&S nightmare when it comes to PAT testing, etc.), and on a school-owned device you do what you're told and run what you're given. BYOD and you sign a policy saying exactly what we accept and what you can use and what we will install, or you don't get on the network at all.

And, no, you can't just load up 4G and do it yourself. Because that's a policy violation in itself.

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Watch out, Tokyo! Samsung readies a 15 TERABYTE SSD

Lee D
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Maybe next summer, I work in schools.

I think even a 64Gb SSD would probably be cheaper and do more for the machines than even double RAM in every machine, if you buy in bulk.

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Lee D
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Natural evolution. Give it a couple of years, and I'll have one of those things in a laptop.

SSD beats HD in sheer speed, hands down. SSD are already capable of maxing out any standard disk interface already.

SSD are on a par with, if not now better than, HD in reliability. Firmware issues are the biggest problem and HDs never escaped that either (a few brands quite famously).

SSD are already in the same physical sizes as HD and even smaller.

SSD are already on a par, power-wise, and that will only get better.

SSD only falls behind on capacity. 1Tb is about the largest a sensible person could buy at the moment (yes, I have one).

As soon as 1TB SSDs become the norm, everyone will stop bothering with HDs at all. Hell, in my workplace, we only have a few hundred gig in the clients anyway. I could SSD them all in a year as part of rolling upgrades, no problem at all. The only block is the server side but, to be honest, there everything is either good enough already (i.e. limited by network speed before disk speed) or expensive anyway.

Roll on SSD. Why people are still even trying to make HD I find baffling.

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ZUCK OFF: Facebook nixes internship after student embarrasses firm

Lee D
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Gosh, an exploit for a poor security issue "violated your terms".

Well, it's not like those black-hat hackers would ever have done that, is it?

Idiots, Facebook.

Though when asking him to take it down, that would be a critical moment that may well determine his future - but we have only Facebook's word on his response to that, or whether he even received such a request.

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Stardock’s Start10 brings the familiarity of 7 to Windows 10

Lee D
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Re: You can't beat the free ClassicShell!

Gave deployed two entire Windows 8 networks with ClassicShell.

Rolled it out via MSI, configured defaults via group policy, let user choose which menu type they want (some have stuck with Metro too but they are in the minority), but it gives them (and me) the power to choose.

Even changed the start menu with the company logo and made the side-edge of the old-fashioned start menus have the company name on. Looks snazzy. Cost nothing.

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Lee D
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Sorry, Reg, but stop with the pay-for articles.

Classic Shell does this for everything from 7 up (and maybe even down, I haven't bothered to check) and has had Windows 10 support for several versions now. And, it's properly-free. As in nothing, nada.

And it's group-policy configurable, MSI-deployable and gives all kinds of options that Start10 doesn't have.

If you going to do this, do a round-up of products, not a pay-for ad for your "favourite".

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Red-stained Opera wants someone to hug it and whisper: 'No more pain, no more tears'

Lee D
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Re: People using Opera 12.17

Opera, by default, doesn't do an awful lot of the shit that other browsers do. Not saying it's invincible, but plugins can be made press-to-play by default and easily blocked - and it's been that way for years.

When exploits came out for other browsers, e.g. storing hundreds of megs of data in site-specific storage, Opera already had limits and UI for handling the situation that no other browser did (and could crash your other browser or reveal info or just plain stop everything working).

When you think about it, rendering HTML isn't much of a risk, security wise, if you just handle it as untrusted data. Worse that happens is you hit a resource limit, done properly.

Again, not saying Opera was invincible, but it was taking account of possible attacks years before it was revealed that other browsers all fell victim to them and had to be hastily patched.

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Four phone hijack bugs revealed in Internet Explorer after Microsoft misses patch deadline

Lee D
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Re: “There is not much you can do at the moment, except refrain from using Internet Explorer.”

September is going to be interesting.

Working in schools, it's the busiest time of year setting everyone up and dealing with the newbies.

Additionally, Chrome and Firefox are ditching old plugins and barely any content providers have taken any heed of their (years of) warnings. They will no doubt recommend that we "just use Internet Explorer".

Banks, however, are quite content with us being on Internet Explorer where junk like this happens every week and, yet, won't make their stuff work on other web browsers except through plugins and junk.

September is going to be fabulous. "Why doesn't this work? It worked last year!" "Chrome switched that feature off" "So, let's use Firefox" "So did Firefox". "So let's go to IE" "The browser we stopped using as it was insecure and causing no end of problems? And the one that's being retired soon in favour of the new Edge browser?".

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Windows 10 climbs to 3.55 per cent market share, Win 8.1 dips

Lee D
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Re: Autoplay Ads

Am perfectly capable of stopping them.

Allowed ads to run as, well, it's The Reg... they wouldn't abuse their viewers, right?

Has been fine for ages but suddenly three autoplay video ads, with sound, in one day.

This is WHY people use adblockers, Reg.

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Lee D
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FAIL

Autoplay Ads

Reg, just can in here to say:

STOP THE AUTOPLAY NOISY VIDEO ADS.

Just had two for Alienware laptops, am not impressed.

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Intel building Xeon into lapwarmers as designers, content creators call the shots

Lee D
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Re: I always hated self-propelled workstations

I did for a long time, and then I realised that laptops are the only "do everything" device.

Seriously, my last two workstations have been laptops. I don't use docking stations or anything of the kind. But for 5-6 years, I've just had a high-end laptop running my work side of things, take it home and play all my games and my entertainment, take it on the plane on holiday and watch movies, etc. and it's on for virtually the whole day.

It has VM's for everything critical and more than enough oomph to run them all. It has enough gaming hardware to run GTA V more than comfortably. It can do video transcoding and has 2Tb of storage (not even counting that it has two SATA drive bays, with the option to poke out the optical drive to make three). It can run just about everything you throw at it, AND store it all, and do it all on the same login on the same machine with the same settings.

Just the absence of synchronising multiple devices is god-send in its own right. Phone call from work and X has gone wrong? Click, click, I'm in my work VM and connected to the VPN and have ALL the tools I need set up exactly how they are in work for no more licences. Even if I'm on holiday abroad (though, obviously, there's an extra cost there!). I have all my family photos, music, movies, subscriptions, licenses, software, utilities, scripts, passwords etc. and NO need to sync to some cloud-based thing to get them all or even have an Internet connection at all.

The laptop will never be the overclocker's dream, but for damn sure it's the best of ALL worlds. Hell, even if I'm in work and we have a power outage (we've had problems with a cross-phase in the past), the laptop just carries on going even if the UPS flakes out and gives up for its own safety. Or I can, quite literally, play GTA V on a plane if I wanted (I'd worry that someone would take offence, though!). Then I can take it round a friend's house, plug it into their HDMI and use wireless XBox controllers to have an impromptu gaming session if I really want. Or just sit and debug my hobby-project code if the party is boring enough.

The "everything in one place"-ness of such a device is inestimable until you try it. In terms of repair etc.? Sure. But a decent laptop should be lasting you at least several years and then onto the next model anyway. I've had to do that ONCE (I broke the hinges, my girlfriend broke the hinges on her exact same model the week after), and buy a replacement keyboard ONCE. But not maintaining several different devices meant that each transition is just literally "take out the drive, slap it in the new machine, re-activate as necessary" and, bam, all your old working methods back how you want them. I even have an 8 Pro Upgrade key that I could use at any time (came with the new laptop as an upgrade offer, "redeemed" into a VM, to test I'm able to do what I like with it), and that also presumably gives me a 10 key if ever I do want to upgrade.

And, no, I don't pay over the odds for my machines and go stupid Alienware-kind-of-prices. I just buy a half-decent laptop. The one I have is 6 core (12 HT), 12Gb, 2 x 1Tb (replaced one with a 1Tb SSD) and costs less than a full PC setup with monitor etc. and decent video card.

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Lee D
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Re: Odd combination.

Hate it when they sting you on the delivery.

Cheap so-and-so's.

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Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

Lee D
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Re: Probably air con fear

What if you don't tell them they're UNDER the aircon? Like you just tell them it's a vent to the outside world that's blowing and they can't see it? I bet they wouldn't even notice, and they'd tell you how much fresher it was.

Because, for sure, I think evolution would have found a way by now for people to not be immobile after a brief draught down the back of their neck.

I call "rubbish". All the comments I've ever received about air-con (and I work in schools so all the IT rooms are aircon, with parents, teachers and kids in them all day long) are - as far as I can tell - unfounded. I get half the staff sheltering IN my offices because they enjoy the coolness. And I get a handful of moaners who get overruled from the top (after I explain the consequences of no aircon with a brief demonstration of my rising-temperature-warning-system) and then never mention it again. And we pump aircon air all the way round the IT suites with dozens of little kiddiewinks in them all day long and not a peep, or pattern, even with a staff nurse to notice suchlike.

I've had people complain about aircon that is NOT ACTUALLY CONNECTED. Or is in maintenance mode so it's not doing anything because the fans outside are in parts on the floor. I've had people turn it off, open the windows and then complain that it's hot. I've had staff who regularly turn it off because they claim it makes them ill but yet - when it's on and they're NOT noticing that it's on, they're fine. And, no, never once resulted in stiff necks or even a day off. Is this like that French "tired legs" crap? Doesn't exist anywhere else in the world except for around the parts where people all say they have "tired legs" and get a day off work with it?

Air con is cooled, filtered air. It's cooled by the same tech that cools your fridge, so if it's introducing germs or similar, you REALLY don't want to be eating anything out of a fridge. That's it. It's not even recirculated most of the time, all the units I see bring in outside air and let the cooled air exhaust out of the building any way it can. It's absolutely rubbish to suggest it's doing anything - especially not compared to blowing fans in your face (or in empty rooms, mostly!), 2KW heaters under desks pointed directly at teacher's legs, or the pittance of moving air that comes in via a modern "safety" window.

But, I swear, if one more person tells me that my office is "too warm" in winter or "too cold" in summer (and variably throughout the year), when it's the same temperature to within +/- 1 degree ALL YEAR ROUND, I really will see what items to hand can be used to monitor their internal body temperature. Because, seriously, if you don't notice how variable people's opinion from minute to minute about the temperature are in a climate-controlled environment, then you have no idea why building managers just stick it on 20 degrees and leave it like that.

This isn't like fluorescent lights affecting people (though that unhealth-fad seems to have died off in recent years since they didn't notice that all their "old fashioned" bulbs had actually been replaced with tiny fluorescents for years) - I get that some minority of people might feel a bit funny because I had seen all kinds of weird colours come out of cheap CRT's, LCD's and fluorescent lights in my peripheral vision. That's "plausible" even if the people affected by any kind of serious effect from them are so in the minority, it's uncertain that we could/should do anything about it. Like photosensitive epilepsy warnings on video games - if you truly have that, you CANNOT play video games, or watch TV, or anything else. It's that simple.

But a bit of a cold draught crippling you the next day? Nonsense. And I used to be married to someone with a severe genetic condition that's mistaken for arthritis, and IS affected by temperature just like arthritis. If it really does that to you, don't sit directly under the damn vent (we're talking literally inches!) - that's why any decent air conditioner will aim UP at the ceiling and let you divert the flow left/right too - normally from the same damn remote control that you use to turn it off!

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Lenovo topples Apple from PC summit by declining less slowly

Lee D
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Re: classing OS X as a UNIX

The commands are the same as UNIX (not hard, given their base).

The C Language is the same as UNIX (not hard, given that it's C!).

System Calls as the same as UNIX (again, not hard, but try using them to interact with anything past the base system).

That's except for the missing NFS, sockets, X-Windows, etc. certifications that they DON'T have.

This does not make it "Unix", except by a very broad definition. Technically, even Linux isn't certified on those lists! And they are literally a handful of "certified" UNIX on those lists at all - AIX, IRIX, Solaris, and that junk that "The SCO Group" put out.

Having a command-line, syscall compatible interface doesn't make it UNIX. Or else Cygwin would be UNIX too (I have no doubt Cygwin could be made UNIX-standard compatible, but it's probably very expensive to actually get it certified? Have at look at their fee schedule!).

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Lee D
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Re: Microsoft don't want to crush Apple ...

I'd expect any developer worth their salt to understand virtualisation.

However, I think what drives MacBook sales to developers is more that you can ONLY compile Mac apps on a Mac if you want to put them on the app stores, etc. and the only legal way to run Mac OS X is with Mac hardware.

I can't imagine that accounts for even a fraction of one percent of the Mac part of the PC market, however. It's the same story - people buy Macbooks because they're Apple. That's it. There's nothing stopping a Windows developer having a VM (with Windows 8 Pro, Hyper-V is built-in, ffs!) with a Linux development environment.

And classing OS X as a UNIX is... well, stretching it somewhat.

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Want to download free AV software? Don't have a Muslim name

Lee D
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Up next - terrorists changing their names to avoid blacklists.

Next week - terrorists changing their names to those of minor celebrities, journalists, aid workers, etc. to cause as much damn nuisance as possible.

Until some idiot realises that a list of names is basically USELESS for this purpose.

And, as several prominent American politicians have pointed out - an export ban on software is basically pointless as they can easily download in other ways (false names, etc.), get it from torrent sites, and there's literally NOTHING that you can do to ensure they don't get hold of it. And, pretty much, if they want to hide data they aren't going to be using off-the-shelf US software in order to do so (well, some might, but let's put those in the "Too stupid to be classed a real threat" box).

Security theatre, all over again.

22
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Magnet-wobble wireless charging system dishes out a respectable 10 kW

Lee D
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Re: Transfer Efficiency?

So you want to have a huge magnet inducing currents by moving another huge magnet through a coil.

And you want this to happen on a bus, where the payment system works by holding a card that has an induction coil which, when a huge magnet waves near it, induces current enough to power the circuit?

Magnetic induction is SILLY. It wastes most of its transferred energy (by inducing a field around the 359 degrees (L-R) and other 359 degrees (U-D) that aren't what you intended to induce a field in), it's completely non-discriminatory in what it induces a field in (i.e. anything metal) and if it's strong enough to move a magnet that's 30cm away enough to generate electricity from it doing that, enough to power a bus - god knows what it'll do to that guy that runs over it to get to the bus from the other side of the road while carrying gadgets, cards, metal belt buckle, metal in his shoes, etc.

It's silly. Give it up. It's neat for toys and toothbrushes, and then it's just silly.

If you're that keen, just make a bollard with a connector that the bus can "dock" into. As the bus approaches, the driver can request the bollard if needed, and when charged it will tuck away before he drives off. Simple tech that WE ALREADY HAVE and have no need of fancy junk to join two bits of metal together to transfer a current.

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Lee D
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Re: "...a way to use this technology while the vehicle was moving,..."

MMmmmm... lots of metal embedded in miles of roads, just ripe for theft... Can't see a problem there!

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What can't sell Galaxy S6s and keeps going down on you? Samsung and its profits

Lee D
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iPhones are outsold 4:1 by Android devices.

They satisfy only one niche of users that Android users tend not to overlap much into.

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Lee D
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Maybe if it had had a replaceable battery and an SD slot, it may have fared something close to it's predecessors.

As far as I'm concerned, it was a crippled phone that I could never expand and would have to replace entirely in 18 months time when the battery died.

I'm sure the bean-counters did their maths and decided that's what they wanted, at the expense of actually mis-judging the demand for such a thing.

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Edge out rivals? No! Firefox boss BLASTS Microsoft's Windows 10 browser brouhaha

Lee D
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Re: And there's more!

Again, I'm not condoning this, but so does Apple.

Check out Apple Caching. You put it on any Apple servers in your enterprise and it will AUTOMATICALLY make all clients updating from your IP update from that Apple server instead. That server will download and cache updates, apps, and even purchases so that your clients don't have to go out to the net to download them.

Bloody dangerous in my opinion but - from the client side - there is NO WAY to turn it off. If your Apple device updates on a network, and Apple sees a Caching server sitting on the same IP, it will tell your devices to use the Caching server locally. I'm sure there's all kinds of certificate verification and whatnot, but it just sounds like a bad idea to me.

But it's been then since at least OS X's release, I believe.

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Lee D
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Did you ever actually buy the N version?

I know I have it for download as part of my VL with MS, so it exists and is available.

Just because you never asked for it, or even that no seller bothered to sell it by default, doesn't mean it wasn't an option. I *have* seen it as an option, a few years ago, on buying a new PC on one of those customised-dropdown-box things.

I'm far from a Microsoft apologist but it was the wrong solution to suggest they could put out an alternate version that would never sell, rather than unbundle it from ALL versions. Or at the very least, make ALL EU sales be the N version unless the end-user asks otherwise. The same kind of thing as Browser Choice... "Do YOU, the end user, want this piece of bundled software?".

But it exists. There's also a K for Korea version. God knows what's different in that, I wouldn't like to think of what that contains.

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Will the PC glory days ever return, WD asks as its finances slip

Lee D
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Stop making spinning rust.

Where are your SSD's?

Because the answer "We don't sell those" isn't going to be acceptable in a year's time. I can pick up 1Tb SSD's for in-my-budget range. Soon they will be in-the-mainstream pricing. And then WD etc. are dead in the water unless they can catch up with Samsung and Intel.

The fact that "WD" and "SSD" on Google only pick up a hybrid thing reads like Kodak and Polaroid's early (actually late-to-the-game) digital cameras to me. The "Let's stick our heads in the sand and pretend that's not happening" business model.

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Download Fest goers were human guinea pigs in spy tech experiment, admit police

Lee D
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OCR since the old days has been quite impressive in proper context. Given the increase in computing power available, it's not come on anywhere near as much as it was expected to. It's almost as if just doing more brute force with a simple algorithm isn't comparable to actual intelligent understanding of what you're looking at.

This is my point. A multi-million pound project, the country's security reliant on it, can't do one simple thing with one source image anywhere near reliably. It's almost as if it doesn't matter how much money you throw at it, you can't just "brute-force" intelligent recognition of image features. The image CAPTCHA is still the top human-test used - because getting OCR to successfully recognise anything is much more difficult that it sounds.

ANPR cameras advertise 90% recognition rates. I know, I've priced them up. That's with IR-cameras in the perfect frequency with filters for reflection for the plates, aimed at a static point that you have to pass at the perfect angle, with entire PC's of computer power behind them and HD cameras. 90%. ANPR on your local bobbies patrol car doesn't need to be any more effective to scare people into doing it because - well, how many tax discs were they checking before ANPR? It's a no-brainer to work out that even a bad ANPR system does a better job than checking a few dozens discs a day. And the real test is still the officer tapping in your details into a computer or asking the radio to double-check if they've pulled you over.

It's not as simple as "let's throw more money/CPU at it". It's a difficult problem not solved by brute force. This is why we "train neural nets" to do this stuff. That's AI-theorists code for "God knows what we should be looking for, we've exhausted all the stuff we can reasonably specify in a 10GHz computer analysis and come up with nothing, let's see if random evolution can find a pattern that works". If anything the best example of AI and the area of computer vision is the Kinect, and that goes wrong and is a gaming toy.

And face-unlocking a phone is a really bad example - how many other similar-looking people have you shoved in front of your phone and asked them to try to unlock it?

I have friends who designed the computer vision code for ATM's and suchlike, including those machines in foreign countries where you can pay in cash to your account using the machine. Pretty much, it's a handful of heuristics in a really closed-off number of possibilities, with everything in it's favour (UV-reflecting parts, specified sizes, etc,) and still it can't get near a 99% recognition rate.

The problem is not the manufacturer, the cost, the size, the project, the backers, or the method. It's that it's a ridonkulously difficult problem that's not solved by writing code to test possibilities or come up with statistical markers. We don't have systems capable of getting close. It takes the one of the world's most powerful machines to answer questions on a game show. Stick some random do-do in front of a dumb OED search engine and see how they do at the same task.

It's an entirely different type of computing, requiring entirely different solutions that we do not have, and cannot describe, in order to solve. We can take stabs at it (and OCR, ANPR, Google Translate etc. currently are our best stabs at it - would you like to ask my Italian girlfriend how close Google Translate gets to anywhere near correct Italian, or how well the Italian voice recognition can understand her?) but we just don't have a method to solve it adequately yet.

P.S. I wrote a ink-handwriting-recogniser in Visual Basic (I think it was 2.0 but I might be wrong) when I was a kid. It's not that difficult to get "okay" results. Palm were doing for years before I tried. Fact is, it's STILL not possible to just handwrite on a tablet, even with orders-of-magnitude advances in CPU, RAM, etc. Hell, even cloud computing nowadays. We can crack 256-bit keys for a pittance, but we still can't get the address right from a handwritten postcode more than 8 times out of 10.

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Lee D
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There's never any comment on such system's effectiveness.

I know that, from a perfect, prescribed professional image of myself, the passport "fast channels" at Stansted can't authenticate my face as my face when I put said control image in an electronic format into it's brain and then tell it that the guy in front of it is me. It honestly can't even do a "yes, that's you" check, on a known image that I hand to it that it can verify belongs to the passport, with any amount of pre-processing of the image it could ever want to do. Last time, literally after 3 minutes and 2 retries of standing stock perfectly still staring at the point I was supposed to, it still refused and then a human had to do it for it (which is probably quicker, cheaper AND more accurate). I wasn't the only one. The success rate was pretty abysmal when I was there and there was no clear pattern as to why. Literally, the queue that handled those who'd "failed" the automated test and needed human verificaiton was basically as long as the queues for the manual gates, and there was a spare woman running back and forth shuttling people between the two. Give her a desk, teach her to look at a passport, problem solved.

So picking out random people from a crowd? Surely not a chance. The "77" detections of volunteers - how many volunteers, how long were they there, how many cameras did they walk past, how many times were they in shot and SHOULD have been detected? And how many of those were 5 or 6 detections in rapid succession and then nothing because they turned to the side slightly? Because I'm pretty sure that if I put some junky facial recognition software that I wrote fed from cameras at a festival for a whole day, I'd be able to successfully detect a known face more than 77 times with even the most useless of actual recognition code. Hell, I'd expect several hundred misdetections every 10 or 20 minutes or so for any reasonable number of cameras.

I honestly can't fathom why people think this stuff works. The controlled circumstances necessary and the myriad changes that faces undergo just by moving around under a camera, mean that the false-positive rate must be incredibly high, or the detection incredibly unreliable.

Hell, people are still receiving speeding tickets for other people's cars where the camera detects the plate incorrectly (the highly-specified, legally-required, highly-visible, regulated-font plate) and issues tickets that are then VERIFIED by a human and still has the wrong plate written on it.

There's so much junk around "AI" and terrorist-detecting technology at the moment. Dammit, we can't even get the damn bank machines to read a computer-printed cheque properly yet.

10
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MORE Windows 10 bugs! Too many Start menu apps BREAK it

Lee D
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Re: I have 600

I have over 1000 entries, including folders however, if I count everything in my Start Menu and All Users Start Menu.

My menu, however, looks pristine and happily fits on a 1600 x 900 screen. It's called folder organisation, people.

Accessories, Administrative Tools, Games, Hardware, Internet, Multimedia, Office, Startup, Utilities.

Inside each, more sub-folders (e.g. Multimedia contains Graphics, Music, etc.). Every program no more than 3-4 key presses away. Don't need no damn search to find anything, it's all there in categories. Classic Shell start menu to make it look like the menus of old (and search, if I ever need it and get rid of the Metro junk). And 99.99% (literally) of my games are not in Games, because they're all in Steam / GOG Galaxy / etc. and don't need extra specific icons for every damn one of them. Desktop contains 6 icons. But start menu has over 1000 files, easy.

I will test in work but I know that the default image has something like 100 folders on the start menu, under various categories, and each probably has three or so icons on average. Quite possibly I have over 500 shortcuts just in a standard roll-out image of Windows 8.

Whoever coded this literally could not have tested it on any existing system that's been upgraded, or on any system that gets actual day-to-day use. Hell, what's the standard Microsoft set of software to test against before a release? You're telling me that they don't have a list of 100 or more of the most popular apps that they have to install and test individually before any RTM version of Windows?

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SPACESUIT, once FOUND ON MOON: Crowd action saves it for the public

Lee D
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Is it just me that thinks that putting such charity payments to the "dig out your wallet" test is actually probably better for the public purse, and for those charities (including museums) that deserve it?

I have zero interest in preserving some stolen foreign work of art at humongous expense, or some state house out in the sticks owned by Lord-whoever who's given up paying for it, for instance, but would happily pay a little one-off to preserve a space suit, or Bletchley, etc.

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Reg reader casts call centre spell with a SECRET WORD

Lee D
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Re: Lawyer magic word...

Automatic termination of contract because someone said lawyer? I don't think so. They probably hear it a thousand times a day and further termination of the service in that instance would just get them into MORE trouble if they're already failing to deliver on their contract.

It's a matter of using it carefully, not just empty-threatening.

As someone who took the offered £50 compensation from a car insurance firm, and used it to initiate the small-claims court action for much more than that that I'd been threatening them with, I can tell you that crying "Lawyer" doesn't get any more action than usual, in fact. What gets action is that little document with your name and a court letterhead dropping on their Head Office's doormat. Until then, it's just a customer and empty-posturing, unless you have an incredibly large account with them.

But if you truly want a response (not really something you can do in a massive hurry), just send a recorded delivery or couriered letter that they have to sign for. That kind of shit has implications of "Shit, this guy's serious and our response to this will be read out in a court". Not hugely useful in the cases like this, but the only alternative is to set the lawyers on them personally but even a lawyer will tell you - phoning up to threaten the company, even their legal department, won't do shit unless they are co-operative by default (in which case you won't get that far anyway), or the paperwork lands on their desk.

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Lee D
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I have actually seen the bursar of a very exclusive private school on the phone to an ISP using the words:

"Look, what do I have to pay to get it put back on? No, seriously. I don't care what the problem is, I just need it back on. How much?"

Unfortunately, the ISP in question were far too thick to understand the question. It turns out that they'd installed two ADSL2 lines for the school years back. And then one day they just cut us off. When we phoned up to enquire (thinking it was just an outage), we were told "You're using more than your data allowance." When it was pointed out that we were a school, they said "Yes, sir, but you're using more data than an ordinary residential household, so we've had to cut you off."

After a long argument back and forth about the definition of business vs residential, that we were paying for business-class service, that we've been paying for business-class service for years, that we've ALWAYS been a school - even when their engineers took our credit card number, came and installed the routers, etc. we were a school then and we're a school now - and, OF COURSE, with several hundred kids we will be using more than an average grandma on residential broadband, they just said "Yes, but we don't do any package with higher allowance, even for business."

Obviously the worst kind of cheap-shit reseller that was buying BT lines at residential limits and selling them on as business lines to people. That was when I got bored of them and handed them to the bursar, who then proceeded to argue for forty minutes including the above phrase several times. They didn't understand at all. They insisted that they weren't CAPABLE of upgrading the line and that was their best "business" package (for reference, we'd done a few hundred gigs in a month, which isn't at all bad for a school). No amount of money could get us off the data limit block, back up and working, with them.

So we immediately cancelled all lines. The bursar never paid another penny on the contract (schools like that have very expensive lawyers who are perfectly aware of the phrase "breach of contract", so he ended up getting a lot more back too). We spent two weeks on 3G sticks that we bought from the local shops, plugged into our normal Linux router (which we had to tweak to up the caching, downgrade image quality, etc. to reduce bandwidth as much as possible), and nobody really noticed any difference apart from the morning of shouting down the phone.

Two weeks later, a BT engineer called, switched the lines from that ISP back to BT and we had business-level broadband back up again. Six months later, after much digging of roads and planning permission, we had a Virgin leased line because I'll be damned if we were going to stay on dual-ADSL2 after that, especially with BT.

When your customer is saying "How much to put it back on?", get a figure. Because, damn, who'd really be THAT stupid as to say "We can't do that". Hell, put in a business line JUST FOR THEM but don't tell them.

In the end, however, T-Mobile and the local Argos profited from the sale of an awful lot of 3G sticks and SIMs with limited data that we swapped every 24 hours...

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2015 Fiat 500 fashionista, complete with facelift

Lee D
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"Fiat has a radio screaming service"

That doesn't sound incredibly useful... and I already have a kid, thanks.

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Brit school software biz unchains lawyers after crappy security exposed

Lee D
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I work in schools, I can't say I'm one bit surprised. Not just Impero but any "educational" (though the buzzword is pedagogical nowadays) software. MIS software, in particular, scares the pants off me.

Bear in mind that MIS software will probably contain:

Salaries

Bank details.

Disciplinary notes.

CRB checks and details of passport, driving licence, etc. for all staff.

Pupil details (including parents names, numbers and arrangement for pickup)

Medical info (staff and kids, everything from long-term conditions to issue of sanitary pads, etc.).

Info on witness protection programs, child abuse records, Learning Support information, every minor concern about a child imaginable.

Timetables.

Events, including arrangements for transport, pickup, whether a child will be alone, etc.

Parent's banking details for fees, paying meals, etc.

And yet their "security" is some of the most lax I've ever seen. I've yet to fully push our MIS online because of these kinds of problems - the only MIS gateway available to us VPN's into our site to pull SQL information to their remote site, which then puts it into a "secured" web interface. I have paranoia over us executing SQL statements which ultimately originate from some random guy on the web logging into a website.

If I can crash your MIS software in a hundred different ways off the top of my head (everything from overflow, to not entering a number when required, to choosing one option before another) and you want to put that accessing my SQL data containing all the above into a web interface that parents and even children can log into to see their little darling's school report? You can think again until you tighten up your coding and security and at least integrate some decent error checking.

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SourceForge goes TITSUP thanks to storage fault

Lee D
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Re: It's a pile of poo

Dice have no idea how to handle what they've bought.

SF is dead now, in all but name. They tried to bundle the code in adware, trick you into false downloads, and all sorts. It doesn't matter the scope or limits they put on that, you can't do that on an open-source download site.

Slashdot has been on the decline since they took over. The code is still stagnant and doesn't support basics like a pound sign (how hard is it? £ ffs...), but all they've added is irrelevant and somewhat demeaning ads - EVEN IF you were a former subscriber and still have the "Disable Advertising" button. They went through many months of just not knowing what to post and facing user backlash from adverts posing as serious article.

Dice have basically killed two of the most famous IT sites by trying to turn them into shovelware/advertising sites.

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Your security is just dandy, Apple Pay, but here comes Android

Lee D
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It is not a good thing for consumers to be required to buy a specific manufacturer of device to make a credit card transaction, when the credit card number that had to be entered in the first place is in their other pocket.

Go abroad, your payment system doesn't work.

Battery dies, your payment system doesn't work.

iOS chooses a bad time to update/reboot, your payment system doesn't work.

The shop choose a rival system, your payment system doesn't work.

So you still have to carry the card anyway.

And, let's be honest, Apple know exactly who you are as they have your Apple ID on the same device. Just because they've not shown it linked in, doesn't mean they couldn't, can't, don't, haven't or won't. If you are authenticating the software on the device and the device is linked into an Apple ID account or course they know who you are. Whether they join the dots or not greatly depends on local legislation, not technical capability.

I'm actually much more interested to know how Apple will work at the business end. Because, for sure, every time I call them about the 100's of iPads my schools use, on the Mac Mini servers that we have, with the stupendously expensive MDM system we bought, they couldn't care less and literally do not want to know.

They are one of the few cloud providers to not provide an EU data protection guarantee for their cloud services (which technically means you shouldn't be using them in EU businesses like schools etc.). They are one of the least "business-friendly" companies that I've ever seen. Last time I rang up about a pupil iTunes account, it took 10 business days to reset and they were demanding original receipts showing the iPad serial number before they would touch it (despite being enrolled into our MDM and supervised by us) - security for home user, unnecessary hassle for verified businesses with tens of thousands of pounds worth of business with them. And we had to say literally dozens of times "No, we're a school, it's a school email, it's for a school pupil, it's a school device, we're a school".

I've also yet to see "other" payment systems that use the original credit card details separately in an auto-generated token with bank authorisation - that's the "new" thing, not that other payment systems don't exist (but, again, they aren't popular, even when they're cross-platform like the PayPal one I mentioned - I can show you any number of shops with the logo in London, but when you ask to do it, they have to go call the one guy who knows how and tell you "Never had a customer ask for this before", etc.).

Sorry, but even Android Pay is dead if you have to have it alongside Apple Pay etc. and you lock it to certain brands of phone. That's not a payment system, that's vendor lock-in. Either everyone has to take everything (e.g. like websites take Google Wallet, Amazon Payments, PayPal, WorldPay, etc.) or they have to take nothing.

And, I'm afraid, Apple just doesn't appeal to enough of the market to be the "one true payment system", no matter what gimmick they use, and they absolutely DO NOT co-operate with any other vendor whatsoever. They barely co-operate with some of their largest customers.

Like the whole "ID card" debacle... enjoy it while you can use your one type of phone in one particular location and look cool to your mates. Because, for sure, the next time you leave the city and travel outside, you'll realise that you need to pull out your card every moment still anyway.

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Lee D
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Fastest adoption rate isn't hard when the competition isn't released yet. It's easier to be "first past the post" when nobody else is playing. Betamax was superior, HD DVD came out before Blu-Ray, etc.

However, Apple Pay ONLY works on Apple devices. Android Pay may well be the same but, being software, it should be portable if necessary. However NEITHER are the real solution people actually want, and the biggest barrier to adoption is that you have to have one of those devices in the first place.

As the article states, Android enjoys four times as many users as the Apple competition before you even start. And "Apple Users Spend More" doesn't equate for me. It's like the Humble Bundle statistics that their Linux purchases voluntarily contribute more. Individually, yes. But en-masse the greatest amount of total profit comes from the much larger user base of Windows gamers each contributing less. (Technically, my owning an Android device instead means I have more money to pay the shops, because I haven't given it to Apple!).

As such, kitting out all your stores with Apple Pay and then having to replace it because it wasn't the most popular system is what will hold people back - as the article implies, adoption is years away. Hell, stores have been "able" to take PayPal on your phone for years now... nearly a decade? How many of them actually do it? How much of their transaction totals go through it? Nearly zero. So you spend all the money for the kit based on the manufacturer's promises and end up not profiting from it at all.

If margins are lower for Apple Pay, that means that the risk of prices rising once it becomes mainstream is even higher. Not only that, if they are only doing it to "sell phones", the cost of that phone is actually part of the overall cost of the system. And I'm not sure I want a payment system that's designed to "sell phones" as the way to pay my bills, thanks.

This isn't blind anti-Apple sentiment. This is just early days of a single, non-cross-platform, still-has-flaws payment system. Nobody is going to leap onto it unless they are terminally stupid or incredibly rich and has a particular phone anyway.

No, wait... that last part WAS just anti-Apple sentiment...

14
1

Behold: Pluto's huge ICE MOUNTAINS ... and signs of cryovolcanoes?

Lee D
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What strikes me most about the various planets is quite how boring Uranus is in comparison to all the others. We now know that Pluto isn't just a dull sphere but an interesting, rock-like world with all kinds of activity and differences over its surface.

But Uranus? Go find a picture. It's never anything more than a blue orb.

I suppose, though, that one planet needs to be different, even if that means being different by being utterly boring. Uranus is the geek at the back of the class... :-)

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Samsung stuffs 2 TERABYTES into flash drive for ordinary folk

Lee D
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Re: GIMMIE!

Those caddies (and more usually, the cables they are plugged into) generally only support SATA II at best. They aren't ideal by a long shot.

However, some laptops do have dual-drives plus optical (like my Samsung), and I've just replaced one of the drives with the 1Tb version of this - it's flying.

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Lee D
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Because most people - like broadband uploads vs downloads - don't write a lot, only read.

This is not a server tool. How much writing do your home PC's do? Basically what you've downloaded and created that day, and that's it.

If you're assuming 10 year life, and downloading, say, 15TB a year, that's 15,000 GB or thereabouts, which is over 1000GB a month - I'll be more impressed with your Internet connection than where you're storing it all. I have a Steam account with 1000 games and it doesn't approach that kind of space. This is basically deleting and redownloading every game I own every single month.

Or your creation ability if you're churning out 1000GB a month of user-created content. Maybe video, but then you'll probably be better off with a more professional setup than one SSD by the time you get to that level of content-creation.

And, don't forget, reads are "free".

This is perfectly adequate for a consumer drive. No, you wouldn't want it in a 24/7 RAID5 config on a server. But then, if you did that, I'd call you an idiot just for trying that in a limited write-life device. This is not a server drive. This is a consumer drive. And for that purpose it's absolutely fine and way out of most people's reach, even most IT professionals.

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Windows Server 2003 support deadline is TOMORROW – but thousands don't care

Lee D
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Re: Opensource alternatives...

To be honest, I don't know that you'll save any money compared to even several hundred quid. The transition alone, and pain of migration or integration, will cost you more than that on even the tiniest of systems (I work in schools, and have worked from tiny primary schools with barely one server up to huge colleges with hundreds of VM's).

I'm just not sure what you think you're saving there at all. And Zentyal isn't free by the looks of it. The OS versions look about as helpful as you might expect from someone offering paid support for what is basically the OS project.

I'm not averse to open-source - have put Linux into hundreds of machines in schools, and taken it out, have replaced servers with Linux, install and use Linux for back-end tasks all the time, run schools on OpenOffice (before LibreOffice) and run any number of services on OS software on all platforms - but this sounds like you're building yourself up to a world of hurt in preference to throwing down a few hundred quid.

Anywhere that you need an Exchange server, a couple of hundred quid should be nothing more than a drop in the ocean compared to everything else you have to have to make it work reliably.

Personally, I think you'd be better off going managed hosting, and have you seen the prices on that? It's not cheap, but it is usually at least per-user which is a great saving for tiny shops.

I have happily told Microsoft et al where to go on many occasions and come up with better, faster, cheaper, easier solutions... but I think you're just heading into a world of pain thinking that OS will save you here.

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Lee D
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ARGH!

Honestly, how many articles are you going to suck out of one event happening? It's getting ridiculous, Reg.

At this point, anyone who cares has done something about it, and anyone who's left doesn't care.

My last workplace that used 2003 was taken from it nearly FOUR YEARS ago and that was a real hanger-on and fought to the last to stop me upgrading it (i.e. we were still using Windows XP!). The only thing I absolutely couldn't argue with was that they were still on permanent Volume Licences and thus had to move to the annual licensing if they moved forward (so I understood their reluctance). Still, I twisted their arm and moved them on to something sensible... FOUR YEARS AGO.

IT does not standstill just because you bury your head in the sand or "your boss said so". Get it upgraded, or you become the "support" for all the weird problems and lack of external support you'll start having.

Hell, how do you even buy new hardware that support 2003 any more anyway? Do they even still make RAID drivers for that OS? Just better hope your hardware never dies before you get onto virtualising it all (and why didn't you start that years ago with your 2003 machines?).

P.S. For those who don't get the hint, it's time to explain to your boss AGAIN why the IT can't just stay static for ever and ever and needs maintenance and upgrades and refreshes all the time.

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Samsung's latest 2TB SSDs have big hats, but where's the cattle?

Lee D
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I have a Steam account with 1000 games. They all update. They all save. They get a LOT of playtime

I have an Origin account. Same. I have Desura and GOG and all kinds of games.

I have a development environment for Windows.

I have VM's for Linux, Mac (cough) and Windows.

I have development environments in each of those two.

I have all the browsers.

I have updates.

I have every photo ever taken by me, thousands of games, even more emulators (a full MAME is easily hundreds of Gigs).

****ALL ON THE SAME LAPTOP****

I still don't get that amount of writes. You're not measuring the right thing or your computer is so drastically short of RAM that it's swapping constantly and you haven't noticed.

I certainly don't see where you're getting your numbers applying to the average person (this is a CONSUMER drive). Look at Internet download speeds and bandwidth caps. You just can't download that much as an average user, let alone write it to disk. Users are not "creating" this amount of data and not writing it as a matter of course just by having their computers on. And we're power-users here, not amateurs. I have networks putting Tbs of data every week at work, from servers and SANs capable of ludicrous write numbers. But for a standard SSD drive, you are NOT going to wear it out before a normal hard drive with even your usage - as said, the warranty would cover you for FIVE YEARS at your usage (not ten, as they may state, but your usage is way at the top of the bell-curve here).

Game "downloads", saved games, temporary Internet files and the rubbish about things "buffering video to disk" are just laughable, sorry. Video editing, possibly, but any amount of that veering into Tbs or writing is NOT every day usage and needs proper storage.

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Lee D
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Watching videos does not write.

Browsing the web barely writes (hell, I don't even bother with anything but in-ram caching nowadays)

Playing games does not write at all (maybe swap, but that's an indicator of an under-RAM system more than a drive problem).

Sorry, I just don't believe you've WRITTEN 2.5Tb in a handful of days. If you have, you are certainly NOT a normal use-case. This isn't a RAID or server drive, most people don't download or create 2.5Tb of new content in a WEEK. And every other type of write is incidentally, small and fleeting.

I use my computer 24 hours a day, effectively. When I'm not doing something, it is. But 150Tb would last me... years. Even you it would last 60 months, which is 5 years, at your claimed rates of writing.

To be honest, even one Tb a week is a constant, sustained data writing rate of 1.7Mb/s constantly, 24/7.

Either your maths is wrong, or whatever you're doing is WAY out of the scope of normal drives anyway.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Awoogah: Get ready to patch 'severe' bug in OpenSSL this Thursday

Lee D
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And if you're under an NDA.... can you actually report a security problem publicly?

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