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* Posts by Julian

13 posts • joined 18 Jan 2007

SanDisk launches Cruzer Blade USB thumblet drive

Julian

Not new, and even Sandisk themselves do smaller

Yup, I bought two of these in Argos months ago (around easter I think). They're OK but by no means the smallest. In fact Sandisk themselves do a smaller one.

For the one I keep on my keyring I bought one of the Sandisk 8GB MicroSD cards that comes with a tiny USB adaptor (http://www.sandisk.com/products/mobile-memory-products/sandisk-mobilemate-micro-reader) and that makes a pretty cost-effective and really tiny USB drive, about half the size of this supposedly new Sandisk offering, and I can always upgrade it as prices drop by swapping the microSD card for a bigger one.

On a keyring it's always tied to the bunch of keys so one can't really have a USB drive that's too small (i.e. easily lost). Works for me.

- Julian

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World's nastiest trojan fools AV software

Julian

Zeus/Zbot is a family not a unique thing

Scary. I just did a bit of research. The problem here is that all these "How do we detect it" questions are flawed because there is no "it". Zeus is a toolkit that a criminal buys and customises so there are hundreds, probably thousands, of variants out there. To put this into context, Kaspersky has discovered 6 new variants ...... since I last looked 30 minutes ago! Yes, that's 6 new versions of the Zeus/Zbot trojan in the last 30 minutes. They've discovered 13 new variants today (at time of writing this comment).

If anyone wants a link to Kaspersky info on this it's here: http://www.kaspersky.com/viruswatchlite?search_virus=zbot&hour_offset=-3

Looks to me like we need to know which anti virus software's behavioural algorithms will catch it because signature-based detection is having a hard time keeping up.

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Apple adds 'S' to iPhone 3G

Julian

I sort of get it

I use an HTC Touch Cruise and I love it but I'm seriously considering moving to an iPhone (3GS 32GB). If I look at the basic phone then it is definitely feature deficient vs something like the HTC Touch HD and, now that I've customised my Windows Mobile device (with stuff like Mortbuttons, Wisbar, AgendaOne, etc), I'm not that fussed about the iPhone UI which I've played about with quite a bit on friend's phones and in various Apple stores. Two things are swaying me towards an iPhone though.

Firstly, I want to combine my music player and my phone into a single device and, with 27GB of music, I need 32GB of storage. Once you add the cost of a 32GB micro SDHC card (once they become available) to the price of many other phones that use this for storage (e.g. the HTC range) then the iPhone doesn't look quite such bad value for money.

Secondly, and this is the big one for me; applications! So many of the apps that I use regularly on my HTC (e.g. eReader plus various games and utilities) are updating at a much faster rate on the iPhone and are now functionally much richer than their mostly stagnant Windows Mobile versions. The app store also seems to be driving even very complex applications down to amazingly affordable levels.

I have no love for Apple and I hate the way they so often refuse to introduce features because, in their mind, they are right and their customers are wrong, but for me I think I'm somewhat reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the iPhone is the right choice for my next device.

- Julian

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High-end Eee Box to gain HDMI, standalone GPU

Julian

Noise?

I see the spec says external 35W power supply. Is 35W low enough for these to be passively cooled (no fan)? I'm wondering if these really will be quiet enough to form the basis of an HTPC.

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Acorn alumni to toast tech pioneer's 30th anniversary

Julian
Thumb Up

Such great times.

I had the great privilege of working at Acorn from early 1984 until late 1987 and, even though that time included the near-bankrupcy of the company and the Olivetti cash injection(s), it was still the best place I've ever worked. So many amazing memories and Hermann Hauser was a truly inspirational leader (the only person I've ever worked for that I can genuinely say that about).

When I joined the company Acorn was still held up as the main player (along with Sinclair) in the "Silicon Fenn" phenomena, the UK/Cambridge's attempt to create a local equivalent to California's Silicon Valley. I remember being amazed at the number of TV crews that always seemed to be in the building to shoot interviews for various news items and documentaries, at least two a week for a while.

I've booked my ticket for the event and I know at least one person who is flying over from California especially to be there.

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Bugs casts shadow over Firefox 3

Julian

The reporting process is broken

Surely this is the problem (quote from the article): "The vulnerability was submitted to TippingPoint through the vendor's controversial Zero Day Initiative, which provides financial rewards to researchers who discover new flaws, just five hours after the release of Firefox 3.0."

As has been pointed out in previous comments, the reporter of the bug very probably spotted it somewhere in the pre-release builds and kept quiet until zero day for the money and/or the celebrity value of reporting a zero-day bug.

If they're going to offer money, and in a way it's a good thing because it shows that they do value security in FF enough to incur this cost, then surely a better way to do it would be to open a window a few days before release for this initiative. OK, it could play havoc with announced release dates if someone reports a critical bug and the release has to be delayed (but in some cases it might be possible to still preserve the release date by putting out the flawed release candidate as the basic binary but having it immediately download a critical security patch to fix the vulnerability before it would start up).

The benefit would be that glory-grabbers would now look stupid and/or selfish if they waited until zero day to report since that would show that they missed finding the bug a few days earlier when they could have got money for it and helped protect the wider community. The only opportunities left for zero-day reporting would be stuff that was genuinely missed in pre-testing or just enemies of FF that want to mess up their releases.

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Sky HD prices to tumble next month

Julian
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Remove the £10 extra sub first

Yup. I agree 100%. The price of the box is a one-off pain soon forgotten but the £10 a month for very little extra, especially now that FreeSatHD is available for no monthly fee, is too much.

Maybe they could do what they did with Sky+ in the early days. When Sky+ first launched there was an additional monthly fee (also £10 I think) but after a while they changed the rules so that if you already subscribed to a sufficiently expensive package of channels (it was about £30 per month minimum channel subscription fees I think) then they waived the £10 Sky+ supplement and you got that for just the incremental price of the box.

- Julian

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Mozilla pilots second release candidate for Firefox 3.0

Julian

RC1 was a step backwards

As a long time FF2 user I discovered FF3 at the time of beta4 and I was amazed at how much faster it was and both beta4 and beta5 were 100% stable for me (on Windows XP Pro). I upgraded to RC1 as soon as it came out and I have to say that for me it was a step backwards, I have daily crashes with it.

Happily the decision was made yesterday to do an RC2 (at least that's my reading of the meeting notes that are up on the Mozilla wiki for everyone to see): "decided that there was sufficient need to do an RC2 - overall impact (see below for estimated schedule) to final ship date is about 5 days, as external dependencies would have kept us to 2nd/3rd week of June anyway". Estimated schedule for RC2 is QA signoff Thu 5th June by the way.

Not sure if I'm allowed to publish links but here are the weekly meeting notes: http://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3/StatusMeetings

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AMD grabs for the data centre with low-power server chip

Julian

AMD improving non-HE power specs?

Your article says: "The chip maker said that the high efficiency (HE) processors have a thermal envelope of 55 watts. That compares to the company’s other quad-core server chips that clock higher thermal envelopes of 105 watts or 75 watts."

Is that really correct? Is that a quote from the AMD release? If so then that "105W or 75W" statement is pretty significant news in itself because I thought the existing Barcelona (Phenom X4) CPUs were 125W (e.g. the 9850) or 95W (e.g. the 9650) and of course there's the 9750 wierdness where the retail version is rated at 125W and the OEM version at 95W.

Have AMD really reduced the power requirements on the non-HE lineup as well?

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Penguin goes electronic

Julian

Fantastic News (I hope)

Let me chime in here as possibly one of the biggest fans of ebooks ever. I am the total opposite of some posters here; once I discovered the convenience of ebooks about 8 years ago (on a Palm V) I now only read ebooks and am happy to pay the same price as a physical product just for the convenience, in fact if it supported the industry and made more major titles available in the format I wanted then I would even pay a premium for an ebook vs the physical product.

I now read my ebooks on my Windows Mobile smartphone (an HTC Touch Cruise) and the convenience of having your entire library in your pocket and always having a book with you if the train is late or even just if you catch a heavy shower and want to wait in a doorway for 10 minutes for it to pass is something that only an ebook gives you. I have no issues whatsoever in reading literature on my phone's 2.8" screen.

I do agree 100% with the first comment from Stuart though, DRM is a (the) huge issue. It's like the (mercifully now finished) HD vs Blu Ray format wars but far worse because there are more competing formats (eReader, Mobipocket, Microsoft and Secure PDF to name just a few). The format or formats that Penguin chooses will be hugely significant because it will be the ebook equivalent of one of the major movie studios choosing a high-def DVD format and we all saw how that finally resolved the DVD format war.

Even if Penguin choose some format other than the one I use (eReader) then I will at least take some comfort in the hope that whatever choice they make will help consolidate the market.

Message to TheRegister - please keep an eye on this story, I'm anxious to hear Penguin's decision on format or formats as soon as it is made.

- Julian

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HTC Touch Dual smartphone

Julian

No SDHC?

Your review says "Again as per the Touch you get a MicroSD slot good for cards up to 4GB". Is this really correct? If so then HTC must be insane to release a new phone that doesn't support the newer SDHC interface that let MicroSD cards get up to 32GB of addressable storage (although 8GB is currently the biggest with 16GB months away).

I have an HTC Touch Cruise and have an 8GB SDHC card in it. As soon as 16GB are affordable then I plan to get one of those and relegate my iPod to a cupboard (one less thing to carry around). Surely HTC can't be ignoring this usage for a mobile phone?

- Julian

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Toshiba Portégé R500 slimline laptop

Julian

What is it with optical drives in laptops?

I just don't get it. Why do so many reviews (including this one) seem to give plus points to laptops that incorporate an optical drive? For my pattern of usage an integrated optical drive is a negative point and, in my view, a bad design decision.

How often, especially in today's world of 8GB USB drives, do you actually use your optical drive on the road? If you really have software that needs a CD/DVD inserted to run then use something like Farstone's VirtualDrive (and also shame on whatever software vendor wrote the app that needs the CD/DVD in the first place).

I really don't want to cart about 200cc of dead space around the world with me for a feature that I might use once a year and even then I'll probably be with someone with access to a DVD drive who can copy whatever I want onto a USB stick so actually it's dead space for a feature I'll never use.

- Julian

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LaCie Ethernet Disk RAID 2TB entry-level NAS box

Julian

Comparison to Buffalo Terastation

I potentially question the review's closing comment "You'll be hard pushed to find a more-cost effective way of adding 2TB of storage to the network.". Yes, it's cheap, but I'm seeing the 2TB Buffalo Terrastation (well, actually I think they only do the "Home Server" version now, but it's essentially the same thing) for about 750 quid (inc VAT).

I don't think the Buffalo has the iSCSI stuff but, as a basic RAID5 NAS device, it looks to be every bit as competitive as the LaCie, if not more so.

I'd be really interested in knowing how the LaCie and Buffalo compare in terms of performance, noise and heat (probably in that order of descending importance). I'm seriously looking for a source from which to stream my CDs and DVDs. I'm not too fussed about write performance, it's a once-only operation so I suspect either of these solutions would be OK but on price the Buffalo seems better and the general concensus is that it's nice and quiet.

- Julian

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