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* Posts by John Savard

1236 posts • joined 18 Sep 2007

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Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip

John Savard
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Underwhelmed

Somehow I can't get excited over Microsoft deciding it needs to slap a price tag on what should have been Windows 8.2, or, better yet, Windows 8.1 Service Pack 1.

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Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA

John Savard
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Interesting

I'd be more concerned if Vladimir Putin said that Google was worse than the NSA. That could have consequences for people in Russia trying to find things on the Internet.

Had Rupert Murdoch said that Facebook was worse than the NSA, then one could have a rational debate; the NSA eavesdrops on people who haven't first entered into a contractual agreement with the NSA, for example.

It's true Google is more ubiquitous than Facebook, but so far they only appear to be keeping track of our search habits to serve us advertisements. Of course, the NSA does absolutely nothing with data on most of us, so in one sense Rupert Murdoch is quite right.

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

John Savard
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Condition

It's all right with me if Microsoft brings out another browser with a new name.

Just start from a whole new code base, and omit the ActiveX support. Then calling it by a different name can legitimately be seen as not being an attempt to hoodwink the consumer.

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Orwell chap snaps in Amazon paperback claptrap yap rap

John Savard
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Lower Prices

It certainly will be a good thing when natural market forces lead to a lower price for e-books.

However, for Amazon to object to traditional publishers colluding to resist its demands to sell their product to it at a price it decrees, even if it has the antitrust law on its side, to me seems morally suspect, as it is using its own massive market power to get publishers to capitulate.

The proper function of antitrust law is to eliminate the role of market power in the playing field. If Amazon can impose terms on publishers, it should be broken up into five competing companies or something like that.

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

John Savard
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Problems Yesterday

Yesterday, I noticed that for some time I could not access Typophile or the webcomic Atomic Laundromat, but other sites worked properly. I don't know if that was due to this routing bottleneck or not.

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EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder

John Savard
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Re: PDP

Ah. When I saw that acronym, the first thing I thought of was the Digital Equipment Corporation Programmed Data Processor-8. The second thing I thought of was a spelling error for Pretty Good Privacy.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

John Savard
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Re: yeah but what about the jobs...?

If one looks at the history of the Industrial Revolution, one will see that the Luddites weren't so wrong. The introduction of machinery made ordinary working people poorer, and factory owners richer, because the value of labor, hence the ability of laborers to bargain and demand goods was reduced. Technology is good, because it improves the ability of humanity as a whole to produce more with less effort, but who can actually get what is produced is not something that can just be ignored or dismissed.

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eBay bans CD sales of metal band Burzum, citing offensive material

John Savard
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Language

Given the language in which Burzum means "darkness", clearly eBay was worried about being sued by the Tolkien estate!

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John Savard
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Re: I don't get the complaints about Mien Kampf

It is indeed true that there are lots of people out there who are childish and immature, filled with frustrations, and heedless of the sufferings of others - so what counts is not preventing the existence of such people, but making sure they cannot take the helm of a whole country, and lead it into aggression.

Now, we have Vladimir Putin and Russia to study, in addition to Hitler and Germany. Lenin and Mao, on the other hand, gained control of their respective countries in rather simple and obvious ways.

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US cyber-army's cyber-warriors 'cyber-humiliated by cyber-civvies in cyber-games'

John Savard
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What the world needs is a good operating system with no vulnerabilities and no exploits.

There's that provably correct microkernel that just got released into open-source recently; perhaps it's a start...

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

John Savard
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Wikipedia is Wrong

I think that Wikipedia's position is mistaken. Copyright law isn't like patent law, so just providing the camera is enough to own the copyright on an image. The macaque would have to be a human who didn't sign a work made for hire contract to shake that up. Anyways, Wikipedia can't afford to waste money on lawyers, and this is not a copyright issue of a sort that affects Internet freedom.

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African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

John Savard
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Right in the same country!

Aside from the 490 scammers, there's something truly abominable there - Boko Haram.

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

John Savard
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Joke

"Audited" the Internet?

But they didn't check the expense claims of the Internet. Let's see now, what other meanings does the word "Audit" have?

Ah - they've cleared the Internet of its engrams!

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Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs

John Savard
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I don't recall my computer, when connected to the Internet, and with a flash drive plugged into a USB port, ever telling me that it wants to download an update for the software in the flash drive's controller. So it seems that there's no legitimate reason for the firmware on these drives to remain programmable once they leave the factory.

That ought to be a cure that is implementable at trivial cost.

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

John Savard
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In addition to proving the C source code correct, they've also proved compiled versions of the microkernel correct for a limited number of architectures - the x86 and ARM. So the fact that GCC might have bugs in it has been dealt with, at least for the most common systems.

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China in MONOPOLY PROBE into Microsoft: Do not pass GO, do not collect 200 yuan

John Savard
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Surprising

Requiring Microsoft to port Office to the Linux operating system would be a rather novel application of antitrust, given that programs are generally written to run on a particular environment. What next, Windows being illegally tied to the Intel x86 architecture?

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Russia: There is a SPACECRAFT full of LIZARDS in orbit above Earth and WE control it

John Savard
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Well, in the latter case, Russia would have to call on Hungary for assistance.

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

John Savard
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Well, of course!

Of course there will have to be 4K content for the sets to be of any particular interest. And apparently an enhanced Blu-Ray format that would permit 4K content to be distributed economically is not yet available.

But as soon as that happens, 4K sets should become of interest as soon as people feel they can afford one. Otherwise, they will be primarily of use to doctors viewing digitally-stored X-Rays.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

John Savard
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Odds?

I think that if the odds of a Carrington event were that high - 12 percent at every solar maximum - we would have had one by now. And it seems like there should have been several dinosaur-killer asteroids since the rise of human civilization as well. So I think that science hasn't yet put the odds in proportion of the things we are now seeing with better detection.

But just in case, the world's governments should build deep underground metal-lined storage areas... where the obsolete computers that people keep throwing away could be stored. That way we could rebuild civilization more quickly after something like that! Computers that are 10 years out of date sure beat the stone age!

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Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

John Savard
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Re: Again...I prefer to get the opinion of scientists...

Science does not require faith. It proves itself to work time and time again through the effectiveness of the technological miracles it wreaks in plain sight! Plus, its secrets are openly available to anyone who will take the trouble to learn calculus.

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John Savard
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Joke

Re: AGW == socialism

Absolutely, if the demand for "cleaner energy" is only generated by government intervention in the free market!

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John Savard
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The Answer

Go with nuclear power so we can increase our energy consumption and become wealthier while cutting our carbon footprint. Then everyone's happy.

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New Star Wars movie plot details leak, violate common sense and laws of physics

John Savard
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Gravity is a Conservative Force

But since it was the cloud city of Bespin, and not the space city of Bespin, yes, it does seem the hand would have had to fall down. Had it been an orbital base, for the hand to go into an elliptical orbit would just take a little push - and a hyperbolic orbit, sending it out into space, would just take a bigger one. Even in a somewhat downwards direction.

However, notwithstanding the laws of physics, that plot premise sounds immensely shaky.

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Intel teaches Oracle how to become the latest and greatest Xeon Whisperer

John Savard
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Interesting

Oracle was the company that was sued by HP to get it to continue supporting the Itanium.

Also, Oracle bought Sun; my take on that acquisition is that it was done primarily so that Oracle could get its hands on the Sun SPARC architecture, so that as a database vendor it could compete head-to-head with IBM. This happened just before Intel made the RAS features offered with the Itanium also available on some Xeon x86 chips.

Given all of this, I'm somewhat surprised that Oracle and Intel have this cozy a relationship.

Given that green computing is popular now, the ability to turn off cores just to save power when they're not being used - database systems can have variable loads depending on the business they serve - is relevant in any case. Since IBM does charge by usage on some of its hardware, though, it's definitely not impossible that Oracle is also seeking similar capabilities.

But I don't think one has to worry too much about Oracle using it to gouge customers, since cheap commodity x86 gear is so easily available.

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That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

John Savard
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Word order?

The one I understood was "Ad astra et ad tavernem". Yes, it doesn't follow the pattern of "Ad astra per aspera", but that's because it means somethig different (and hence it isn't breaking Latin word order) - "To the stars through hope" versus a more anticlimactic "To the stars, and to the pub".

It isn't intended to claim that going to the pub makes a material contribution to getting to the stars.

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What's inside AMD's life-support machine? A big pile o' PlayStation 4s and XBox Ones

John Savard
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Unique

AMD, by being licensed to make x86 chips, has a unique advantage that other microprocessor makers do not; it can make chips that people want to buy, because they can be used to run Windows. Therefore, this ought to be something close to a license to print money.

Yes, Intel is much bigger, and so competing head-to-head with Intel is difficult, because Intel has the ability to make the best and most powerful CPUs that anyone can make, given the much larger amount of money it has to spend on the most advanced fabs. I'm surprised Intel isn't trying to pick up the loose change lying around by making better PowerPC chips than IBM and better SPARC chips than Oracle... or, at least, I would be if those markets were worth pursuing. As it is, Intel already has the Itanium to keep it busy.

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Hamas hacks Israeli TV sat channel to broadcast pics of Gaza wounded

John Savard
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Non-violent Resistace

Well, it might be that most Palestinians realize this already, and this is why there are no suicide bombers from the West Bank any more. Although the wall helped. But look at how Coptic Christians have been treated in Egypt: there is an ingrained tendency to look on non-Muslims with contempt, along with other factors, that make it almost inevitable that terrorist groups will find recruits.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

John Savard
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Famous call

This news item brought to mind the famous case of someone trying to cancel his AOL service, who was at one point, despite being an adult, asked to put his parents on the line.

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

John Savard
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Canada

Here in Canada, from 1968 (earlier with the nickel) until 2000, most of our coins were made of pure nickel. They're now made of steel, but they're still nickel plated. I'm surprised we don't have a big problem with this sort of thing.

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IBM's $3bn bet on next-gen computers: Carbon nanotubes, neuro chips

John Savard
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Well

It wouldn't be a bad thing if, when silicon ran out of steam, Intel was left in the lurch, and IBM - chastened by its old antitrust suits - roared back.

It would be inconvenient if Microsoft Windows had to jump from the x86 architecture to, say, the PowerPC, the way the Macintosh jumped twice, from the 680x0 to the PowerPC and then from that to the x86, but Intel's monopoly is a bad thing.

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Russian MP fears US Secret Service cuffed his son for Snowden swap

John Savard
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Cut and Dried

Obviously this is a legitimate police investigation of credit card fraud. The U.S. does not hold innocent people hostage, and the Russian MP is just deliberately lying through his teeth.

I'm just waiting for the day Putin stands before a court of law in Georgia or the Ukraine on the charge of aggressive war, and is sentenced like Tojo before him. All that will take is sanctions sufficient to get the Russian people to vote him out.

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Tesla trademark spat threatens Musk's China dream

John Savard
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Re: Typical China... stolen names and cheap knockoff's

But why should he need to? For a company to have a valid trademark in any country, it should be clear that one has to genuinely believe that trademark to be original. If someone else somewhere is using it first, registering a copycat trademark is an attempt at fraud, which is a criminal offence.

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VMware's super-secret MARVIN: It's software-defined war on future IT

John Savard
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Hardware?

Some of the other articles about Marvin have included speculation that VMware would start selling hardware nodes with VMware software preinstalled - including the new VSAN product - as part of it, since that's what the companies it is seen as competing with are doing.

But it seems unnatural for VMware to get into the hardware business.

There is a way they could get involved with hardware without actually selling any. Maybe they're planning to do an Android Silver.

That would probably also be insane, given that hardware suppliers are their customers, but it's an in-between alternative that I'm surprised has not been noted.

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John Savard
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Confusing

I see that VCE, named as a competitor of VMware along with Simplivity and Nutanix, is actually owned by EMC and VMware, like Pivotal, but also by Cisco and Intel. This is starting to get a little confusing. But I suppose it's a good idea for VMware to have its toe in the converged future.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

John Savard
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Re: Be careful what you ask for.

Interesting, but was the sound fatiguing because of the high quality of the setup, or could it have simply been fatiguing because the highs were overemphasized (not necessarily by means of frequency response) as part of making the details of the sound audible? Or, conversely, maybe perfect sound is fatiguing, but that can be cured by rolling off the highs a bit, with the result then being an all-round improvement on ordinary hi-fi.

But then, it may be that audiophiles do find their high-end setups fatiguing, because I have seen articles by audiophiles where they talk about music as something special to be treated with respect, followed or preceded by railing against Muzak. So they may well make sure to be well rested before their brief music listening sessions.

In other words, since audiophiles did successfully discover transient intermodulation distortion, for example, the story may be complicated enough so that your experience doesn't totally discredit them.

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John Savard
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Re: Audiophile?

In order to determine whether or not The Register is redefining the term audiophile, I suggest you read some issues of The Absolute Sound or even Stereophile, and then determine if their editorial staff and readership, to whom the term 'audiophile' is generally applied, fit the new definition or not.

This is like asking whether Communists are idealists who believe in equal sharing, or supporters of a murderous political system that rests on slave labor camps. Are you talking about the original dictionary meaning of the word, or what the people called by that name actually are in the real world?

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John Savard
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Manger MSW

I'd never heard of the Manger MSW. I had thought that, say, Magneplanars were the next best thing to an electrostatic speaker like the Quad ESL-63. Now I'll have to go and check it out.

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John Savard
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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

That may be, but the better a job an audio system can do on square waves, the better it will do on clarinet music, the clarinet being an instrument whose sound is mainly made up of the odd harmonics.

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NSA, GCHQ spies have hurt us more than they know – cloud group

John Savard
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Security from Whom?

In the case of European companies, their potential legal liability, given European laws about personal information, may make even NSA and GCHQ snooping a concern.

For most companies in the United States, though, that sort of thing is the last of their security concerns, if it even comes up on the radar screen at all; they don't expect the NSA to pass on confidential information to their competitors, or, indeed, to risk disclosing its surveillance by using anything it sees - except for use related to their legitimate mission of defending America from war, espionage, and terrorism.

But data in the cloud is still more obviously potentially vulnerable to attack by hackers, and the computer industry's security record has been poor. So not everything is Snowden's or the NSA's fault.

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Speed of light slower than we thought? Probably not

John Savard
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It Could Be True...

If it turned out that gamma rays travel through space somewhat more slowly than the speed of light because they sometimes turn into electron-positron pairs, then the speed they had when they weren't in this state, but instead going their fastest... would be the speed of electromagnetic radiation in a vacuum, the ultimate speed limit of the universe.

So Einstein wouldn't be wrong at all if it were discovered that real-world light happens to travel slightly slower than the "speed of light" - especially if this effect were stronger for high-energy gamma rays, and so the limit for really low-energy long radio waves as they approach having no energy at all could still be measured.

After all, when Einstein came along, it wasn't as if Newton was wrong.

So even if this is a valid discovery, it's no threat to the foundations of relativity.

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Remaining Snowden docs will be released to avert 'unspecified US war' – ‪Cryptome‬

John Savard
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Dismayed

While I felt the U.S. government overreacted to Snowden's initial revelations, some later ones have included information that would tend towards damaging legitimate U.S. intelligence capabilities.

As I believe the U.S. is a democracy and not an aggressor, I find this distressing. This announcement that efforts will be made to cripple the NSA in order to prevent the U.S. from launching a war of aggression next month does not, therefore, strike me as either a good thing or justified. Instead, it seems to me that the cause of freedom is going to be harmed for the sake of paranoid fantasies.

On the other hand, if Cryptome was simply fooled by an NSA plant intended to discredit Snowden, that wouldn't exactly be something I'd have hoped for either.

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Cambridge's tiny superconducting magnet breaks strength record

John Savard
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Liquid WHAT?

Um, a high-temperature superconductor is one that doesn't need liquid helium. Liquid nitrogen is exactly what one does use to cool down the high-temperature ones.

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HP gets 'Playboy model and the ex-CEO' lawsuit kicked out ... AGAIN

John Savard
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Didn't Read it Carefully

At first, I thought Mark Hurd was going out with Jodie Foster, which would, of course be further ammunition for HP's defense.

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Aereo has to pay TV show creators? Yes. This isn't rocket science

John Savard
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I Wonder

"Congress could abolish copyright if enough people wanted it to. They clearly don't."

I wonder what the value of enough would have to be. I don't think the DMCA was brought in by Congress due to grassroots demand from ordinary voters.

I don't think that abolishing copyright would be a good thing, but it seems clear that the record companies and the movie companies pretty much dictate American copyright law at the moment; if copyright were seen in terms of its original purpose, as a voluntary agreement made by society in order to encourage more creation, requests for extending copyright protection would receive a lot more scrutiny and be much less likely to be granted.

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Cryptome pulled OFFLINE due to malware infection: Founder cries foul

John Savard
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Appropriate

If the malware can't be removed immediately, of course the site must be pulled until it is removed. No chance of infecting people's computers can be tolerated. Some complaint about how long it took might have made sense, but this reaction just makes the guy look like a loose cannon.

And, of course, I suppose the NSA would love to infect the computers of the people who visit Cryptome...

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Warrantless snooping on American man was LEGAL in terrorism case, rules US judge

John Savard
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Re: Only a lawyer

We can't expect the American courts to take the view that someone attempting to blow up ordinary American citizens is a justified freedom fighter instead of a criminal. This would be the case even if that were true. And there were times in the past - such as when Negro slavery was in effect - when it was true.

However, given the history of the Middle East - how the state of Israel came into existence because of violence against Jews, how its borders expanded each time as a result of attempts to drive it into the sea, how living under Muslim rule would likely have put them in the same situation as the Coptic Christians suffer under in Egypt - the notion that the current crop of terrorists has a legitimate cause seems to me laughable. Thus, I am unaffected by accusations of believing I have the "One True Worldview".

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John Savard
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Re: Well he would still be roaming the streets in the UK

Entrapment is strictly forbidden in the U.S. as well. However, the definition of entrapment is such that sting operations are permitted as long as the evidence establishes the staged crime was not something the victim was pressured into by the police, but instead something he could well have done himself by his own choosing if real criminals had instead approached him the same way.

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John Savard
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Re: Now THAT is what surveillance is for

It's certainly true that innocent people accused of terrorism have the right to a lawyer.

So we have to let actual terrorists have lawyers too, since one can't tell which is which without a fair trial.

However, the attempt to make this accused a free man on a technicality, when he indeed would have tried to blow up innocent people if given the opportunity, is exactly the sort of thing that leads to the understandable conclusion that something like Guantanamo is the only way to provide Americans with a reasonable level of security from terrorism.

Limiting people's Constitutional rights by common sense would not create a dictatorship, but apparently it would be very difficult to achieve.

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Oracle's IP lawsuit foe: We'll fight SAP tooth and nail in Europe

John Savard
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License Terms?

I know that the license terms for Windows don't allow me to disassemble it and then write patches that, say, add on the improvements Windows 7 made in copying multiple files and handling duplicate names to Windows XP.

So patching old versions of Oracle so that they're as good as the current version sounds like it would violate the licensing of Oracle if its license terms were anything like those of most software products out there. If Oracle's license terms were more generous to allow for the mission-critical nature of the software, and its use by responsible businesses, then this sort of thing may, at least, get them tweaked.

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You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

John Savard
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Value

Yes, other people can't decide that the Yo app doesn't have value to the people who bought it.

However, clean water and adequate food have value to the people who don't have them. I'm quite confident that I'm not making a mistaken judgment in saying that.

What the problem is, of course, is that those people don't have the money to pay for those things. And even if it is preferable that they have the means to earn the money they need, clearly redistribution of some sort is needed to start the change happening at a faster pace than it is currently happening without interference.

Why should the free market be immune to criticism when it fails to deliver a desired result? The fact that the legitimate criticism is that it's a screwdriver and not a hammer, that is, that it's the wrong tool for the job rather than a tool that needs to be improved to do what it's supposed to do better, doesn't mean that all criticism is unfair.

Unless, of course, if one believes that feeding the hungry - and getting results quicker than current rates of charitable donation are doing - and so on are not legitimate goals.

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