* Posts by AJ MacLeod

306 posts • joined 11 May 2006

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Miguel de Icaza on his journey from open source to Microsoft: 'It's a different company'

AJ MacLeod

Re: "People flocked to gnome because it was better for them."

No they didn't - back then Gnome was almost repulsively ugly, fairly unstable and not even remotely close to KDE in terms of actually useful features.

Such people as did move to it almost all moved, one way or another, because of the QT licensing concerns. (Distros such as Red Hat making Gnome their default desktop certainly pushed Gnome adoption.)

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Pro who killed Apple's Power Mac found... masquerading as a coffee table

AJ MacLeod

From that brief period...

...where Apple seemed capable of genuinely excellent design and engineering, rather than simply fashion.

I was asked to remove the hard drive from one of these just last week and was impressed once again at just how nicely thought out and manufactured these are.

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Thunderbird is GO: Mozilla prepares to jettison mail client

AJ MacLeod

Other organisations he discussed Thunderbird with

..included The GNOME Foundation (thanks, but no thanks)

Phew!

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A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

AJ MacLeod

Re: Gnome2/Mate-like desktop switcher -- avaiable in unity?

I think quite a few people have come to this realisation over the past couple of years, me included. Since a year and more I'm back to using WindowMaker after a very, very long break and it's bliss. Many thanks to the team that have taken up maintenance of it again...

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What the world needs now is... not disk drives

AJ MacLeod

Too reliable? Not in my experience. In fact the trend is definitely downwards and has been for a long time. I can think of several properly old HDDs which still spin away happily if required (we're talking almost 30 years old.) yet I regularly replace laptop and desktop hard drives only to find them full of bad sectors and throwing read errors a year or so later. (Despite the marketing, I don't find enterprise drives any more reliable either.) There is no component which I find DOA more frequently than hard drives, and that's regardless of brand.

I can only imagine that the (admittedly quite impressive) storage density now achieved leaves far less margin for error - the old drives are physically the same size or even larger but only stored a tiny fraction of the data the new ones do.

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AJ MacLeod

Good riddance

The sooner we're rid of what has become the least reliable component in computing, the better. It's annoying how slow the likes of Dell are in offering basic SSDs as an option on their run of the mill business desktops - if they would do so the HDD figures would soon dive even further...

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Riddle me this: What grows as it shrinks? Answer: LTO tape

AJ MacLeod

I don't for one second believe that an LTO-5 drive of typical reliability cannot be made and sold for a profit for far, far less than 1200 Euros.

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AJ MacLeod

Well, thousands (or millions, for all I know) of smallish businesses who only have one fileserver, for starters.

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AJ MacLeod

It's a pity these drives are so expensive - another £1000+ onto the cost of a server may be nothing to big enterprises but to smallish businesses it can be enough to dissuade them.

Even LTO-4 drives are still selling for a small fortune - if older but sufficient models like these were available at a more reasonable price many more businesses might be persuaded to use tape backup.

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Remix OS: China's take on an Android operating system – but for PCs

AJ MacLeod

Dumb terminal?

There is a lot of rubbish spoken about Chromebooks, and the notion that they're useless without a constant Internet connection must be the most popular. I'd expected a Register writer would know better though...

Having happily used Linux as my only desktop OS for coming up 20 years the thought of Android on my desktop makes me shudder for many reasons.

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Microsoft adds 'non-security updates' to security patches

AJ MacLeod

Re: I'll jump in before everybody starts to state the obvious....

Funnily enough I actually saw a completely unrequested Win 10 install happen this morning at an office I was working in. Startled by the yells from next door I went through to be accosted by the panicked user demanding to know what I'd done to make their PC suddenly close all their applications and shut down (the guy was actually sending someone a message on his phone when it happened so it wasn't even a stray keypress that authorised it.)

I guessed what had happened but was obviously too late to stop the process, but spent the time waiting for the install to complete going round installing the invaluable GWX control panel on the rest of the PCs in the office.

The cost to businesses across the world of dealing with these unwanted downgrades to Windows 10 must be phenomenal, MS ought to have been prosecuted for their behaviour long before now.

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Flying blind: F-35's radar software fails in the air

AJ MacLeod

Re: Lockheed-Martin...

The F-16 was produced by General Dynamics...

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Who hit you, HP Inc? 'Windows 10! It's all Windows 10's fault'

AJ MacLeod

Re: Hardware quality also to blame

Having had buttonless touchpads for a few years now I would never go back; a good quality, decently sized touchpad is far more pleasant for me (Macbook Pro, higher end Dell XPS / Chromebook 13 etc)

Most of these do of course actually have buttons hidden under the bottom corners of the touchpad, but you can easily click and drag by doing a double tap but leaving your finger down at the end of the second tap.

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AJ MacLeod

Re: "(normally people buy a new machine to get a new Microsoft OS)"

HP hardware may have been solid up till the mid or late 90s but it's been generally dire since then (speaking consumer hardware here since that's the bit of HP in question.) I know of no other manufacturer whose laptops have such a propensity for cooking themselves, regardless of how mundane or flashy and expensive.

Even their printers bear no hint of the good old HP LaserJet III style engineering (though granted they are now generally very much cheaper to buy.)

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Panasonic Toughbooks are so tough they can smoke

AJ MacLeod

A few years back I was asked to configure something on a 17" MBP which was a bit bashed (though working perfectly)... on enquiring what had happened to it the owner confessed to having driven over it.

I am not an Apple fan but have to admit I was impressed at how little it had suffered... I would still rather a Toughbook if faced with an attacker though!

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Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

AJ MacLeod

Re: Tangent..

The best way of getting rid of it is fdisk

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TalkTalk confesses: Scammers have data about our engineers' visits to your home

AJ MacLeod

Re: This does raise a point though...

"I have been with the same ISP since they were delivering me a 512Kbps service. It's now a 80Mbps service, and I haven't ever been tempted to change. "

Until last week, I had been with the same provider since ADSL became available. Unfortunately however through numerous mergers and acquisitions they became TalkTalk business :( Actually their technical support team seemed pretty good right through, but billing became a headache and the final straw was when I wanted a price to upgrade to VDSL.

I wasted 20 minutes arguing with a moron over my own name! (Actually it was regarding my business name; although it was a business broadband account clearly at some point their database had got messed up and my own name was in the business name field.) I'd already told him my name clearly three times but he was insistent that I must say "my company name is" followed by my own name in one sentence; having told him my own name multiple times and saying that perhaps they had the account under my own name was somehow not good enough.

I haven't got the time or patience to deal with that kind of idiocy and have found another smallish ISP who have been excellent to deal with so far; I can speak to the same helpful person time and again if I wish to and they are capable of processing plain English without a computerised script doing it for them.

Yes, they're more expensive; TTB were very good on price, but getting rid of TTB has been worth every penny.

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Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

AJ MacLeod

Re: Hardly a surprise

"Apple did not design their phones to use sub par materials, that's why they cost so much."

Rubbish. Apple don't manufacture anything of any significance, they just get other companies to make stuff for them from the same Chinese made components that everyone else uses. The reason the devices are so expensive is that nobody would feel "special" owning one if they weren't and hence wouldn't buy one. Standard marketing stuff.

By the way, have you ever seen a cracked iPhone screen? Of course you have, every second one is broken. This is because Apple use sub-par materials for the application.

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US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

AJ MacLeod

Re: At time of writing, BoB was citing Genesis

I'm not aware of either of them supporting his position anyway...

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

AJ MacLeod

I have a customer who still uses his BBC B for word processing (he's an ex-teacher, naturally enough.) His wife does have a modern PC which he uses for Internet duties, but he can't see any reason to give up his BBC and nor can I!

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2015's horror PC market dropped nine per cent

AJ MacLeod

Re: Here's a suggestion:

"Google Chromebooks are impossible to find in this country with anything above a 1366 (technically hi-def) res. You can buy a full on Hi-Res one in America cheaper but they refuse to sell them here. We have to pay more for less in the UK as usual"

We certainly pay more for them but this Chromebook (Dell 13) has a 1920x1080 screen. There's also the Pixel if you're really desperate to burn money... I would certainly like to see a similar 15" model available too and would have bought one in preference to this, but as far as a no-hassle premium quality hardware device for the masses goes, this is a very, very nice machine.

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Rejoice, Penguinistas, Linux 4.4 is upon us

AJ MacLeod

Re: Until you don't need to pull up the command line for anything slightly administrative

You only display your ignorance; I regularly ask people to use a command line in Windows to get bits of information that would be much more tedious to get any other (GUI) way available.

I've also noticed that when working alongside other (usually Windows only) IT guys, the good ones will inevitably have a command shell open - many things are just faster and easier that way, especially when you deal with hundreds of differently configured machines.

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Google probes AVG Chrome widget after 9m users exposed by bugs

AJ MacLeod

It's a shame the way AVG seems to be heading steadily downhill. I always do a custom install and make sure to omit the web "tune up" component (I uninstall anything that claims to "tune things up" as a general principle - my experience is overwhelmingly that they make things worse)

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Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone

AJ MacLeod

Re: Kmail

I used and loved Kmail from the early KDE 1 days until the Semantic Desktop garbage ruined it :( Sylpheed isn't bad for me, but for people used to (or using) Windows it's nice to have Thunderbird around.

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AJ MacLeod

Re: Opera M2, please!

If it's anything like Vivaldi I'm not interested. Incredibly bloated and dog slow, with the usual chrome-ish tendency to hang around in the background after you've specifically told it to close... quite disappointing really.

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VDI comes to the Raspberry Pi

AJ MacLeod

Re: Remote support in a jiffy-bag

I've been doing just this ever since the original Pi came out. They make excellent thin clients with fairly trivial tweaking to make raspbian boot to a custom desktop with extremely limited menu and which opens remmina automatically (and reboot or poweroff if the desktop is quit.)

Initially used plain XDMCP like older much more expensive thin clients on site then FreeNX (which sadly looks like it's come to a bit of a dead end, more's the pity.)

I've only had one returned in a jiffy bag so far - less than brilliant PSU to blame I think.

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Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years

AJ MacLeod

Re: What will Windows look like in the future?

" tell me how they're all that different."

Well the second one allows much more flexibility in how you group and arrange things...

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Superfish 2.0 worsens: Dell's dodgy security certificate is an unkillable zombie

AJ MacLeod

I blame Microsoft.

Did anyone really think that MS' "secure" boot was ever going to be either good for users or improve security in any meaningful way?

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Dell PCs to be never knowingly undersold by John Lewis this Chrimbo

AJ MacLeod

Re: Fail

No, the pricing IS much better in the US - you may not consider it to be good, but it's still vastly better than here. I'm typing this on a (lovely) Dell Chromebook 13 but it pained me greatly to have to pay the same figure as the US price but with a £ sign in front.

On the other hand, it's a very nicely made machine with a great screen and quality feel which does exactly what I want fantastically well and is still half the price of the closest Apple product (which it's replacing.) I for one would rather Dell kept their current quality than cut their costs - there are some pretty cheap HP laptops out there right now but they also feel it. (I've also found Dell consistently massively better to deal with than HP on warranty issues on everything from cheap laptops to very expensive servers.)

In summary - just stop the blatant USD=GBP rip-off and I'll be very happy.

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Apple's design 'drives up support costs, makes gadgets harder to use'

AJ MacLeod

Re: This what I've been saying for years, now.

I agreed with most of your comment, but the upvote is for the bit about those stupid monitors - how to make the IT guy look like a bumbling idiot!

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AJ MacLeod

Re: But

"why is it, a 3 year old can pick up a ipad etc and just run with it, if its so hard to use?"

Partly because 3 year olds are fantastically competent at figuring out experimentally how things work, and...

"why is it there are more seniors and non computer users that ever in history using these devices?"

Because an iPad, as purchased, is a very limited system with relatively few functions - all of which can eventually be found by pressing one of a limited number of buttons on the screen. In any case, I've seen many non-computer users try an iPad for the first time and they generally don't find it easy at all to begin with. They are also less daunted by the form factor of the machine, compared to sitting down at a proper keyboard and screen alongside a possibly noisy and "dangerous" looking high-tech box with lights on it.

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How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year

AJ MacLeod

Re: Ha Ha

"In what reality does Windows 10 not support RDA? (That's "remote access" in case it's not on your astroturf script)."

This reality - supporting remote access is a bit pointless when your network connection no longer functions after the Windows 10 up(down)grade. A pretty common occurrence in my experience...

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Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

AJ MacLeod

The thing is, Chromebooks are not crippled cheap laptops - they're not like the later netbooks running either bloated or crippled versions of Windows were. They work superbly well for a significant percentage of computer users by providing just the features that are required, frequent and almost invisible painless updates, and neatly avoid a gigantic mountain of potential problems that plague the average clueless user. (Printing is the one thing that is less than brilliantly handled, but it does work with the right printer and you might be surprised at how little many people actually commit to paper anyway.)

I am hopeful that this rumour is rubbish, as ChromeOS provides a vastly superior solution to anything else available off-the-shelf for its target market; I am sure that most of its detractors either do not deal with that market or haven't seriously tested recent Chromebooks.

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AJ MacLeod

I rather thought it's the other way round... MS have been trying to make desktop PCs look like phones for the past few years. In any case, it's clearly not what people actually want.

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

AJ MacLeod

According to http://help2.talktalk.co.uk/oct22incident , "We are offering a year’s free credit monitoring for all of our customers"

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AJ MacLeod

I bet this has been going on far longer than just yesterday. I know I've had TalkTalk customers tell me in the past week or two they've been phoned by the "windows support" type scammers claiming to be from TalkTalk and able to provide all kinds of (correct) account information when challenged.

I wonder if this has also affected TalkTalk Business?

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9 cuffed over £60 million banking scam targeting UK businesses

AJ MacLeod

I like the way that we're told they were arrested in the towns of Ilford, Watford, Slough and... Scotland.

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Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests

AJ MacLeod

Re: "Brit vacuum-cleaner maker Dyson"

"Dyson did try for years to make the cleaners in this country, and it is simply too expensive"

Numatic (manufacturer of the ubiquitous "Henry") seem to have managed for quite some time now. Their products are genuinely well engineered, high quality, long lasting and easily repaired... quite unlike the over-hyped badly made and badly "designed" rubbish that Dyson import.

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Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse

AJ MacLeod

Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

"despite, or perhaps because of, it becoming the default init system in most major distributions, hundreds of basement-dwelling geeks are going to have a personal grude against poor old Poettering for the rest of their lives and will take every opportunity to express it in public."

If SystemD were his only disastrously implemented bad idea I suppose he should be cut some slack. Unfortunately however "poor old" Poettering has a considerable track record of such garbage and has shown himself to be every bit as much of a jerk as anyone else in the FOSS community. I can't think of anyone else at all who has produced such a heap of badly-implemented bad ideas, and SystemD is deliberately being made almost impossible to avoid; why wouldn't people who rely on the well proven software he's in the process of botching be infuriated by such an irritating character?

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Micron: Those dratted PCs, dragging down our revenues

AJ MacLeod

I blame the fact they completely botched the Crucial website a while back, making it unreadable and chronically slow (I'm not sure my having abandoned buying from them as a consequence is solely responsible for the downturn though!)

Oh - and the fact that their Quidco cashback tracking pretty much stopped working about the same time - that was a nice little extra in my pocket for a while.

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The last post: Building your own mail server, Part 3

AJ MacLeod

Re: a third way?

Have a look at Citadel ( http://citadel.org/doku.php )... very, very little configuration required and that can be done through a GUI.

It's been around for a very long time, though it's not particularly well known.

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'A word processor so simple my PA could use it': Joyce turns 30

AJ MacLeod

Re: Amstrad PC

The difference between the screenshots on the back of the F-19 box compared to the 4 colour mono CGA was pretty astonishing! (Of course the 1512 wasn't actually limited to standard CGA but effectively nothing supported the proprietary 16 colour mode.)

Returning to the PCW, I learned touch typing on one as the Office and Information Studies classrooms were kitted out with these (computing was BBCs and eventually Mac SEs! (edit - having Googled I see they were actually Macintosh Pluses with external hard drives)

They were very productive machines - no distractions from Fakeface alerts, email or YouTube, just a very decent Word Processor. I also liked the 3" discs, they seemed very solid compared to the 3.5 and 5.25" competition.

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AJ MacLeod

Re: Even now, I still get..

"Yet, cannot be taught anything, particularly if it involves any technology newer than steam... Also total impatience and wanting to know everything now, without going through the initial learning steps first.

All the attitudes that she would not accept as reasonable from a pupil !!!"

You have just described the typical teacher - in my experience most of them are like that, especially when it comes to technology!

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Falcon 9 fireworks display grounds SpaceX

AJ MacLeod

Re: Debug Question ?

I haven't worked in this field, but I would imagine that they have a huge amount of sensor data streamed back right up until the instant of destruction which should help to indicate where things have started to go wrong. But yes, it does seem impressive how quickly they can come up with a comprehensive statement on what happened and how they hope to prevent it happening again.

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Dropbox DROPS BOX as service GOES TITSUP worldwide

AJ MacLeod

In any case unless you have only ever used the web interface (which is unlikely) or have deliberately only "selective sync"'d certain parts of your Dropbox contents you'll have a complete copy of your files on a machine you own.

I'm immediately sceptical of anything "cloudy" but Dropbox does generally work pretty well for some businesses who haven't the resources to run their own solution.

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Travel back to the 19-Z80s this weekend

AJ MacLeod

I discovered this the other day when someone asked me to check the contents of some old floppies. It's only a month or two since I ditched four or five of the things, thinking that they'd be ten a penny on eBay if I suddenly needed one in the near future... oops!

Still, I dare say a rummage in the various piles of antique hardware lying around will turn up a suitable machine with one already installed.

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Sysadmin ignores 25 THOUSAND patches, among other sins

AJ MacLeod

An hour left...

...and so he decided to reboot an old server to see what would happen? I think those of us who have been in similar situations before would have known more or less exactly what to expect, and would at the very least have stayed well clear of the power switch!

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Slippery, slimy find: LEGGY, WRIGGLY fossil shows SNAKES weren't legless. Or ARMLESS

AJ MacLeod
Facepalm

Re: Nice!

Yeah, yet more brilliant evidence of increasing complexity and new features arising - oh wait, no.

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PALE, MALE AND STALE: Apple reveals it has just ONE black exec

AJ MacLeod

So?

Why shouldn't Apple hire and promote whoever they think will be best to fill any particular position? It's their business - if you don't like it, start your own employing mainly black female Asian men from Latin America and their much discriminated against budgies.

Businesses should be able to hire and fire who they want and gender, religion, or family tree are completely irrelevant in the vast majority of cases.

Disclaimer: I am no fan of the Apple corporation and don't think much of most of their products (though I'm typing this on a well abused MBP which was probably the best machine available at the time of purchase - they have done good things occasionally.)

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Chrome trumps all comers in reported vulnerabilities

AJ MacLeod

Re: Trusteer

IBM's free end point protection(formerly Trusteer), can make a big difference too...

...mostly in ruining its responsiveness though. Not a fan of bloaty shifty software that isn't really documented - being hawked by the banks doesn't increase my confidence in it much either.

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