* Posts by Phil Koenig

143 posts • joined 26 Jul 2007

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BlackBerry joins the FREAK show

Phil Koenig

Re: Both Safari and BB Browser are built with Webkit

Most of the non-OS-specific vulns that apply to Webkit generally seem to apply to Blackberry 10's native browser.

The exception would be some aspects of the crypto library, which is unique to BlackBerry. (And FIPS 140-2 certified... though in the post-Snowden era I'm not sure that's something I'd be particularly proud about)

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Phil Koenig

Re: FREAK conquered.

The problem BlackBerry has is that they cannot push mandatory, timely updates to their users because they are all gated through carriers. For example, the VAST majority of US Blackberry 10 users today are on devices where the latest official OS is some variant of 10.2.1 - which is riddled with security weaknesses.*

BlackBerry has also been notoriously slow at releasing security patches - their announcement in this case is notable for being much prompter than is their usual habit.

The issue of having to rely on carriers to push updates is not unique to BlackBerry (Apple is one of an extremely exclusive club not burdened by this), but their current market position most likely means that the leverage they have over carriers to "encourage" them to do so is far less than the 6-10 vendors who sell more devices that connect to carrier networks these days than they do.

*(Yes, enthusiasts can violate Blackberry's terms-of-service, find and install unapproved leaked versions of firmware on their devices, but even at that, I'd estimate of the total installed-base of devices, probably no more than 10% - at most - do this on a regular basis.)

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Not even GCHQ and NSA can crack our SIM key database, claims Gemalto

Phil Koenig

Re: Its the system...

"There was obviously a reason why the Secret Service made Obama give up his iPhone for a not-so-cool custom Blackberry when he became President."

Tidbit: Obama's device is, among other special customizations, a older BBOS device on Verizon's network - in other words - no SIM card. :D

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Oh No, Lenovo! Lizard Squad on the attack, flashes swiped emails

Phil Koenig

Pity

I will admit, having hackable DNS for their core internet domain does call into question their corporate priorities.

It's a pity, because Lenovo is one Chinese company that I have historically had pretty decent faith in.

As a longtime IBM and Thinkpad user/recommender/supporter I was quite skeptical when the Lenovo takeover was announced. But over the years they have earned my trust for the most part. (Notwithstanding some of their product choices like not generally offering high-quality display panels on laptops these days)

Lenovo is not like most Chinese companies, they are highly globally diversified (in terms of ownership and workforce) - significant parts of top management are not native Chinese, with some important divisions outside of China - and they don't have major ties with the PLA or CPC. They also seem to treat their workers decently.

Thus I am inclined to think that this issue was mostly the result of attempts to squeeze extra revenue out of the mass-market product lines with the over-zealous use of "crapware", the impacts and implications of which were not fully grasped by the responsible parties. (Most likely, marketing types) Rather than some nefarious plot to spy on all their customers.

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I wish I'd leaked sooner says Edward Snowden in post-Oscar chinwag

Phil Koenig

Re: @Graham

IMG wrote:

"The US dropped two bombs on Japan to end the war. They intentionally targeted cities that had civilian populations. (Oh and of course some military value.)

But the truth is that it would be considered a war crime. Yet what would have happened if we hadn't dropped the bombs?"

The Soviets would still have marched into Berlin and defeated the Germans (at far great human cost to their citizenry than the USA suffered) and the war would have ended just the same.

Thanks for playing.

BTW, you spelled "Kool-Aid" wrong. Strangely, some of us drank it as kids without even coming under its spell. :)

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Are you ready to ditch the switchboard and move to IP telephony?

Phil Koenig

Re: All I call about is HD Audio...

All you have to do is have proper equipment and provider that both support HD (eg G.722) and then it should all be fine.

So this "we still have the same low quality..." complaint in the scenario you described to be poor choice of hardware/provider, no?

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Five years of Sun software under Oracle: Were the critics right?

Phil Koenig

VirtualBox is the only clear winner, to me

I hated what Oracle did with a lot of the Sun products, including pulling support and even the ability to download a BIOS ROM for old workstations without buying a pricy service contract - but VirtualBox has become (remained?) probably the most useful Oracle software product to me, particularly because it is still accessible to anyone without having to pay a king's ransom, and it works well.

On the other hand, every single time I install a Java JRE update, I am reminded of how much I hate Oracle, since they provide "fake" options to disable various annoying features which, like clockwork, re-enable themselves without notice every single time you do a bugfix update, or even before then. (One of my long-held pet peeves: SW that wants to "pre-load" itself and suck up continuous resources on a computer when it is not being used, simply because it makes the SW look less like a sluggish albatross when you eventually actually have a reason to use it and 80% of it is already sitting there in memory, playing "memory sponge".)

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NASA greenlights SpaceX and Boeing to carry crew to ISS in 2017

Phil Koenig

Re: Why was the original article replaced?

That is awfully strange, isn't it.

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ICANN CEO criticizes domain 'hoggers'

Phil Koenig

Take that to it's logical conclusion...

Yes, it's true that a large portion of ICANN's revenue comes from sleazy businesses that provide no value to anyone but a tiny handful of stupid opportunists.

Now that ICANN's CEO has just learned this obvious little detail, it's time to do away with the various ICANN policies that are anti-internet-user and pro-opportunist-value-destroyer.

Eh, where's my flying pig icon...

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If 4G isn’t working, why stick to the same approach for 5G?

Phil Koenig

Re: How about REAL 4G First?

@DerekCurrie

Actually there are some actual real deployments of LTE Advanced already in certain parts of the world, but not to my knowledge in the UK or USA yet.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Phil Koenig

Re: And it looks like...

Kudos on going to the effort to make those tweaks.

However unfortunately people often seem to forget that websites such as this one do not exist simply to provide a free service - they need to at least pay for their costs to produce it. And unless people want a paywall (highly doubtful), that generally means advertisements. So, removing all the advertisements everywhere they appear is not likely to happen on the default site for obvious reasons.

So, a good effort turning it back into something that looks straight out of 1994 (and believe me, I rather miss those days of straightforward websites that were 95% useful content that you could actually browse with Lynx without missing much), but let's not get our hopes up that the default site will look anything remotely like that any time soon.

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Phil Koenig

My criteria: RSS, Printing, Mobile.

The Register has always been somewhat simply designed, which makes it more attractive to return-to on a regular basis to read articles and news of interest without wanting to throw things at the screen the way I often do on other I.T. websites that are completely garbaged-up with pointless scripts, popup nag windows and miscellaneous non-textual content.

And so I noted in the latest missive about the redesign that "responsive" design will have to wait. As long as it's in the cards I can live with that for now. Especially if you do not resort to intolerant browser-sniffing tactics that penalize anyone who does not use the "Top Two" browser du-jour.

But since I often like to print out (or save to PDF) articles for future reference, I really mourn the loss of the "print" icon, or at least some sort of "read as single page" option, because printing ElReg articles is becoming more difficult as of late.

RSS is also important to me because this is the most convenient way to catch-up on news from my smartphone. However many of my mobile RSS apps struggle with the ElReg RSS content for various reasons.

As for the "brightness" thing - sure, one could use a stylish script or something to change that but that's a hassle in the long run. My fantasy is a button to change from the standard view to the "tired/hungover low-contrast view" on demand. (E.g., grey background instead of white. This is how I configure terminal screens on my systems.) Hope springs eternal. :)

When using the website, I historically used the "weekly" view here, it's just a pity that page is hidden by default these days - if I'm using a new system or device without a bookmark I have to dig for it.

Mea Culpa - looks like the link is at the bottom of the page now. Thanks.

Overall - thanks for your efforts to keep listening to your readers.

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Pitch Black: New BlackBerry Classic is aimed at the old-school

Phil Koenig

Re: Win

@Andrew

I agree it's incredible, but basically RIM fired 95% of the BBOS developers and had the QNX staff designing things they had no experience with, e.g. email, with little oversight from the few remaining BBOS devs. Ergo, they flubbed a variety of things, like basic RFC2822 email formatting errors and so on.

Luckily the most egregious of those errors have since been corrected over the last 1.75 years, but there are some omissions that remain. The Contacts app is one of the worst of those - clearly the devs had never designed any PDA apps before. At this point the only solution would seem to be completely abandoning the current codebase and starting over from scratch. I refuse to sync BB10 contacts with any other online/cloud entity (or even Outlook) unless I want a complete debacle on my hands.

That said, I'm actually considering a Classic as a secondary device to replace my current secondary device, especially since my carrier never offered the Passport. I'm still a sucker for a BlackBerry. :D

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ICANN HACKED: Intruders poke around global DNS innards

Phil Koenig

Re: Good, the deserve it

@usbac: I always avoid companies with a viscous culture, too sticky for me.

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Snowden files show NSA's AURORAGOLD pwned 70% of world's mobe networks

Phil Koenig

@dan1980: In fact, studies have been done (ie this one by New America: http://securitydata.newamerica.net/nsa/analysis) that essentially came to the conclusion that the widespread warrantless data-trawling and "metadata" collection done by the spooks as enabled by the various fear-mongering post-9/11 laws have resulted in virtually zero capturing and prosecution of any bad guys they claimed it was designed to target.

Some of us are not surprised..

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Phil Koenig

Re: Well GSM was designed in the 1980s...

@Christian Berger: my understanding is there are various grassroots efforts going on today specifically to address this issue of cellular base station hacking / rogue base-station operation - often named for the devices most famously used to perpetrate this, the "Stingray" from US company Harris.

Including efforts by the platform vendors to include methods of detecting such rogue base stations right from the native mobile OS itself.

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Phil Koenig

Re: @chris lively

@tom dial: "...to a significant degree". Heh. I'll have to remember that handy phrase. :D

Making a lot of assumptions there about legality and appropriateness that I daresay you're not in a position to make. Unless you're truly a national intelligence insider with special personal access to details the rest of us do not have. The evidence *I've" seen - as just one of the perhaps slightly more informed than most riff-raff - suggests otherwise.

What Manning exposed was widespread breaches of both US/military policy as well as international law. The evidence *I've* seen is that this "embarrassment" was a good thing, and virtually no one in the domestic intelligence field, military or civilian sphere were physically harmed by those revelations either. As for whether or not it "promoted peace" - I'd say it certainly had some positive impact since revealing the duplicity of the USA in such matters is important for the other parties to know about in order to make sound decisions. And oftentimes those sound decisions do not go the way the USA would like them to go. Oh well.

Assange may as well have been be in jail for the last 2 years. The amount of money the UK spends making sure he stays there is surely at least a couple of orders of magnitude higher than what would be spent keeping him in prison, too.

The bottom line is that digital technology has been an enabler of many things, and a catalyst for societal paradigm-shifts in many areas, including law-enforcement and surveillance. Unfortunately the dimwits in the USA who write and enforce the laws are mostly either A) clueless about the serious societal implications about the implications of this paradigm-shift especially wrt to individual privacy and freedom and its effect on a democracy in general, and/or B) so indebted and/or entrapped by larger powerful military-industrial-political forces that they simply are afraid to say "No" to them. The net result is a disturbingly quick descent into the kind of dystopian society that was formerly only written about in science-fiction.

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Phil Koenig

Re: @chris lively

@Graham Marsden: In addition to the sweeping laws, we have the special "secret FISA court" that even if they were acting outside those sweeping laws, very few if any of us proles would even be able to find out about it. And if someone did, they would probably go to jail. Like Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, et al.

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ICANN creates 'UN Security Council for the internet', installs itself as a permanent member

Phil Koenig

Because the UN Security Council works so well...

At the UN, the primary qualification to being on the Security Council seems to be the fact that you possess lots of nuclear weapons.

I'd imagine in this scenario the "nukes" would basically amount to access to lots of wealth. Eg the "World Economic Forum", the true champions of the commonfolk!

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Spyware-for-cops Hacking Team faces off against privacy critics

Phil Koenig

Black Hats, White Hats

It must be so reassuring to live in a world where all the regimes on "our" side are good, and all the regimes on the "other" side are bad.

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Why solid-state disks are winning the argument

Phil Koenig

Data Recovery

A monkey could tell you that performance on most things improves with an SSD. That's the easy part.

The less obvious part is what happens when an SSD fails. As others here have mentioned, with HDDs you often get some kind of warning, and that can be in the form of SMART statistics, slower performance or just good 'ol "funny noises" emanating from the vicinity.

Whereas not only is it less likely you'll get any advance warning of an impending SSD failure, when it does fail, what do you do? There is likely no expensive practitioner to send it off to to replace the controller board or swap the platters into another HDA and read the imperiled data that your hardware suddenly became incapable of interacting-with. If the NAND goes bad, I'd imagine in most cases you are simply SOL.

In the course of my work I have had many cases of data on failed HDDs being recovered in precisely that way, so this is not a theoretical question for some of us in the biz.

At the very least, I think it is more critical than ever to have an effective and tested backup strategy in place, if one is storing important data on SSDs.

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Good grief! Have you SEEN BlackBerry's SQUARE smartphone?

Phil Koenig

Some clarifications

No, it doesn't bridge with the Playbook (device was end-of-lifed last year) but it does BLEND with either an Android or iOS tablet, as well as Windows or OS-X desktops. (I've personally been waiting for Blend for a long while as among other things I really want to have a desktop client for BBM, which I believe it will provide)

And to the person who claimed OS 10.3 is running "ICS" - no actually, it runs 4.3, which is a version of Jellybean, and has one feature that even newer Android builds like KitKat do not: "App Ops", which allows selective revoking of Android app permissions - one of my longtime serious gripes about Android. (It's a 'hidden" feature but various tools exist in the form of free Android apps to enable this functionality)

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Vendor mouthpieces promise to stop spamming Wikipedia

Phil Koenig

"More from wikipedia than shame"

So what was that particular PR hack expecting, a nice fresh cookie on his pillow for being a fraudulent, deceptive twit?

I suppose when you've been covered in excrement for such a long time, your sense of smell stops working.

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Watch out, Yahoo! EFF looses BADGER on sites that ignore Do Not Track

Phil Koenig

What I particularly "enjoyed" was how these charitable advertising organizations developed a system to "opt out" of their industry's tracking.... but only by setting cookies in your browser, requiring cookies to be enabled, of course.... :D

Right now technology is running a couple of decades ahead of brain-dead politicians, who are either clueless about how they are allowing technology to invade traditionally-sacred personal/political liberties, or in such service to the monied interests that the result is the same.

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Phil Koenig

Re: Armor up

@Joe Zeff:

Did you just touch down from 2002?

Free software and lack of malware (even if only an illusion) does not have anything to do with website activity tracking.

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Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

Phil Koenig

Merkel's compromised phone not a BlackBerry

I believe the device she was using at the time was a Samsung, and a very poorly-secured one at that, it is rumored.

Not too smart.

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Just as we said it would: HP clamps down on server fixers

Phil Koenig

Whitman lives up to her reputation. Hello Lenovo...

HP has steadily become a stupider and stupider vendor for commercial products, and this is the final straw for me.

Most of the businesses I support are smaller businesses who inevitably have some hardware in use older than 3 years old, and who don't see the value in paying half the cost of a server every year for support which is mediocre at best. With the older stuff, we can just keep a used spare and swap it out if need be, far cheaper than buying a whole raft of new hardware every 3 years and re-configuring everything.

As soon as I saw the new generation of Proliants were designed with "pretty faceplates" like Dell used to do, I figured it was only a matter of time before Whitman completely ruined the enterprise products division. That day has come in my opinion.

This is exactly what Oracle did when they took over Sun's hardware division, and Oracle has been driving customers away from almost all of Sun's product lines ever since. I only wish I had seen the Reg article about this back in December.

Yes, companies like Cisco and Juniper do this, but they have outstanding products with unique technology that cannot be obtained anywhere else, and they do an excellent job of support if you're paying for it. But they also are not draconian about things like firmware updates, the restrictions are not designed to be bulletproof.

Excellent timing though - may as well light a bigger fire under Lenovo's rocketship, after their recent announcement about taking over IBM's x86 business.

I've never been much a fan of Dell or IBM servers, Dell because there's no engineering behind them to speak of and because its a stupid organization, IBM because of their convoluted and arcane bureacracy.

I was skeptical of Lenovo's buyout of IBM's consumer PC division but as it turns out they have done an excellent job with it. I think Lenovo has gained an early adopter of their new server products.

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Lenovo haggling with IBM over price of System X... AGAIN

Phil Koenig

Lenovo is not a One-trick Pony

Among other things, I believe that Lenovo is now one of the largest smartphone vendors in the world, though we in the West don't see much of their products in that area because their target market is mostly in China.

But in a nutshell - I don't think Lenovo is quite as "wholly reliant" on the PC market as the article suggests.

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MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

Phil Koenig

Re: Concur with Stross. With a couple caveats.

And how much time do you spend writing, debugging and maintaining those scripts?

And when you don't have control over the nature of the input data, or the "automagic HTML converter thingy" creates some kind of HTML that modern browsers don't like?

This is like the software vendors who gush "Just press one button..."

Yes, after you've pressed 22 other buttons before, twiddled some knobs, moved various things around, scratched your head for awhile, did some test printouts, discovered a display incompatibility with your video driver, scratched your head some more..."

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Wikileaks FAILS to start Twitter bitchfight with Guardian hack

Phil Koenig

Re: I like Wikileaks. I think it serves an important function.

"Megalomaniac sociopath" eh? You been reading the script of "The Fifth Estate", have you?

Someone recently suggested that Assange is a "known disinformation agent". Which really got me LOLing, because regardless what you think of their methods, I have yet to see the US government (or any other government for that matter) dispute the genuineness of the material that wikileaks has published.

If publishing true facts in what we now call "disinformation", then Orwell was definitely right.

WAR IS PEACE.

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Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

Phil Koenig
Devil

Carnivore II

Re: "no access to our servers":

The infamous "Carnivore" system operated by the FBI which got so much bad press about a few years back, was simply a "black box" network sniffer that sits on the wire behind the ISP/corporate firewall and potentially sniffs and records every packet on the wire.

No need for "access to their servers" to do that.

Now if the traffic was not decrypted until it reached those servers (increasing amount of email is now sent via SSL/TLS), then they will have to invent a new set of weasel-words to cover up that snooping architecture. ;)

Neither is there any reason why the spooks would reveal their internal "project name" to Apple or anyone else, all they are going to do is say: "Give us access to this thing here, right now." Prism schmism.

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BlackBerry Z10: Prices pruned despite eager iPunter interest

Phil Koenig

Re: Latest firmware update

Many people reported the issue with bluetooth and notifications turning off was resolved in the recent software update. (10.0.10.85 in Canada and some other places, 10.0.10.90 in various European countries. Note those are the software "bundle" versions, the OS version is different and usually ends in a 3 or 4 digit number after the last dot.)

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Phil Koenig

Re: Z10 - Frustration beyond words

The edit cursor/bubble issue was resolved in the software update released over the last week or so.

Various other improvements were included in that update, ie battery-life fixes that for most people have been quite dramatic, improvements to syncing Google calendars, probably a couple dozen noticeable changes all in all.

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'New' Canadian BlackBerry security scare emerged in 2011

Phil Koenig

Inaccuracies and misconceptions

Re: this part of the article:

"The service, most often referred to as BlackBerry Messenger..."

Not true. Blackberry Messenger (or "BBM") is a separate service, a proprietary Blackberry-only instant messaging service. Whereas PIN-to-PIN messaging is basically Blackberry-specific email.

One advantage of these proprietary services is that in many countries (in the developing world in particular) they have been bundled into inexpensive "BIS" (Blackberry Internet Services) data plans, which is a key reason why Blackberry remains popular in countries like Indonesia and South Africa.

There have long been misconceptions about BIS, including the security of services like PIN-to-PIN messaging and BBM. While back in the days when BIS was new, even its low-grade "scrambling" was much better than the mostly completely insecure alternatives, these days encryption (typically using SSL or TLS) is becoming more the rule than the exception for online services, not least due to all the hacks and exploits that have become so commonplace.

The truly secure Blackberry communication system has always been its Blackberry Enterprise Service or "BES", and that remains the case to this day.

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Opera joins Google/Apple in-crowd with shift to WebKit and Chromium

Phil Koenig
FAIL

"Pointless task" - wha?

Rather bizarre to refer to the act of building/maintaining an independent browser rendering engine as a "pointless task".

Then again I suppose it's trendy these days for everyone to all jump on the same bandwagon for some strange lemming-like reason.

I can't imagine the likes of Tim Berners-Lee would find these developments positive for the ecosystem. Sure there are obvious cost advantages for Opera to take this new path but they've been struggling with the same Catch-22 for years in terms of usage/popularity. The tech press comes in for a good share of the blame in my book because they have been practically criminally ignoring Opera for many years now, despite the fact that many of the most important and innovative features introduced in web browsers over the last 15 years were introduced by Opera first.

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I watched Excel meet 1-2-3, and beat it fair and square

Phil Koenig

Not exactly a slam-dunk

While I give Microsoft credit for doing a decent job with its Office products overall, starting back in the DOS days, it's not all down to their competitors dropping the ball.

I don't know if any of you remember this, but there was apparently an old adage at Microsoft that ran something like this:

"DOS isn't done until Lotus won't run"

I believe there is substantial credible evidence that Microsoft has historically engaged in some highly questionable tactics to make their application competitors look bad or throw roadblocks at their apps running on the OS platforms Microsoft controls. Particularly back in the DOS days and the early days of Windows when vendors of traditional DOS products had a serious developmental disadvantage compared to a competitor who had intimate knowledge of and resources pertaining to this brand-new platform.

Novell had some particularly damning material that they were planning to use in a lawsuit over exactly that - but Microsoft settled that case with a large, secret payoff to Novell literally the day before the case was scheduled to go to trial. I believe Attachmate (Novell's new owner) is apparently interested in reviving either that case or a similiar one, so these very detailed allegations may yet see the light of day.

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Astronaut yells FIRE ... from SPAAAACE

Phil Koenig

Re: Cameras

NASA bought nearly a dozen D3S's shortly after they came out. As well as a bunch of high-end Nikkor lenses, reputedly at least 7 14-24mm Nikkors to add to their other collection of top-of-the-line Nikkors. So I'd guess it's a D3s. Though they'll probably bring D4's up there pretty soon as well.

http://nikonrumors.com/2010/07/08/new-images-from-space-captured-with-nikon-d3s.aspx/

Which makes sense because at the time (and probably still today), the D3S was the best DSLR in the world in low light conditions, and NASA has been using Nikons for decades. The Russians are apparently using them in space too:

http://www.nikon.com/news/2010/0614_energia_01.htm

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Foxconn calls in the cops over supplier bribes claims

Phil Koenig
Holmes

Selective vision

It's rather obvious to me these last few years how the Chinese authorities clamp a hermetic seal on any news of labor disputes or allegations of heinous working conditions when it comes to locally-owned companies, but *strangely* let the spigot run free when it comes to foreign-owned firms like Foxconn.

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Samba 4 arrives with full Active Directory support

Phil Koenig

Stuff should just WORK

Kudos to the Samba team for getting this done, even if it did take some "coaxing" from the antitrust authorities to make it happen.

And while Jeremy Allison's comment about source code availability is important to some people, and there are organizations where the cost of M$ software is not a significant limiting factor, cost is indeed a factor for many organizations. (especially in these economic times)

But to reiterate what someone commented earlier - I view one of the biggest advantages of an OSS solution to be independence from the usual commercial pressures that push organizations to spend lots of time/money constantly replacing things that work perfectly well, with new buggy junk just because you won't get the time-of-day from them if you don't.

I had a Netware 3.2 server at one client years ago that ran 2.5 years without a single reboot. No web/java/flash/complex document renderers/etc etc etc to make the box exploitable, no need to keep patching it, it just sat there and served files and queued print jobs for something like 1,000 days straight. I keep saying basic I.T. stuff should be like a toaster or a refrigerator - just sit there and do its job, leave you to spend time/money on more important pursuits, until such time you decide you truly need something the existing system isn't providing you. Not just because Evil Vendor Du Jour has proclaimed that stepping off the continuous I.T. Expense Treadmill of Doom is prohibited by the EULA.

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85% of Windows 8 users wield the desktop on day one

Phil Koenig

Re: Was there a survey?

"Counting registrations" does not give you information like how long it took before you accessed some particular feature, or how many tiles you added to the Metro interface.

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Phil Koenig
Stop

Re: Was there a survey?

This is one of the key reasons I have not been inclined to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon, besides the fact that I see little technical benefit to it for non-touchscreen users, and actually several steps backward.

In order to use a many of the new features, you have to create/register an account with Microsoft, one of the key purposes of which is clearly to compile all sorts of data on every person using that OS.

I'll pass, thanks.

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Nokia RIM shot: Seeks royalties after winning wireless patent spat

Phil Koenig

No one probably would have cared if it weren't for the fact that analysts have been upgrading their outlook on RIM lately, and WP8 hasn't exactly been taking off like wildfire.

RIM these days is the primary competitor of Nokia and WP8, they are going to fight for the #3 smartphone spot, so it's no big surprise Nokia is eager to shoot them down any way they can.

What I'm curious about is what they are asking for these ancient patents, and whether they're going to claim RIM has to pay them for every device they've shipped since 2003 or not. Because if it's only for currently-shipping devices, considering RIM's current marketshare, I'd imagine that paying a royalty on a few thousand devices wouldn't be so bad. ;-)

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German city dumping OpenOffice for Microsoft

Phil Koenig

Re: Is there a decent wordprocessor

Office 2003 also is not inflicted with the ribbon. That started in Office 2007.

I thought the email exchange posted by the Reg 1-2 days ago, by the Microsoftie who was arguing w/ Sinofsky about sticking the stupid ribbon onto Windows Explorer, was very entertaining. ;)

As far as other alternatives, look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_office_suites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_office_suites

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Phil Koenig

Re: OO and LO - meh, not so much

TBH I put it behind me and moved on and don't remember the details right now.

As far as format compatibility - if you claim to be compatible, be compatible. Don't pretend to open the file, perform a ROT13 on the content and then proclaim "But see, we opened it!"

There were things ie in the spreadsheet or writer app where it says "Do X, and Y will happen", so I do X, and then either Y doesn't happen, or instead I get D(*FUDJFDF.

I will try to find my notes on it.

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Phil Koenig

OO and LO - meh, not so much

Like many other commenters here, I *wanted* to like OO/LO. And I'm not a very sophisticated office productivity user.

But in addition to the disastrous formatting disparities when trying to share docs/files with people elsewhere that are using the MS products, just doing basic tasks was wrought with bugs and peril, in my limited experience. Things didn't work the way they claimed, help was not available, etc. And some tools (like the presentation thingy, forget what it's called) are extremely rudimentary functionality-wise. This was with version 3.4.x I believe.

That said, there are actually tons of other low-priced commercial office productivity suites out there. It's not as if there are only 2 choices, OO/LO and Microsoft.

FWIW, I also keep a copy of LO on one of my laptops, for simple tasks and sentimental reasons, but if I have to do any sort of serious work, I'm afraid I revert to MSO 2010.

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Evildoers can now turn all sites on a Linux server into silent hell-pits

Phil Koenig

Re: Maybe its time...

It's not necessarily a matter of guessing login credentials, it's a matter of buggy software that allows itself to be exploited and give up access whether or not the attacker has valid login credentials.

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Phil Koenig

I assume something like Tripwire or AIDE could prevent evil doers (or at least warn about them) trying to exploit your kernel with malware like this?

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Acronis reveals plan to bust out of backup biz, thrust growth sideways

Phil Koenig

I agree with the comments about Acronis support and lack of transparency.

To me, the A-1 most important factors that would weigh in my decision about a commercial file storage service are the kinds of factors that Acronis has a poor reputation at: reliability, privacy/security and support.

The last time I purchased a server system image product I went with Symantec because even if the product has inferior functionality in some ways compared to the Acronis equivalent, and even if Symantec support isn't the greatest, Acronis support and reliability are the worst. It's great when their stuff works, good luck to you if it doesn't.

And that's not even mentioning the sales team - who remind me of used car salesmen.

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Sophos antivirus classifies its own update kit as malware

Phil Koenig

Re: Easy to fix, even after quarantine...

Tried it, no joy. Same 25010 error. Still no response from Sophos 1.5 hrs after sending them diag report..

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Phil Koenig
Facepalm

It gets better..

Now they're just hanging up on you when you call the support line after entering "4" then "2" for Enterprise Products. Did it 4-5 times in a row to me now.

Sigh.

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