* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Second-gen Surface and Surface Pro rumored to be minor upgrades

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Long game

I think you mean Stereotypy.

Surface for washing machines makes no sense. Plenty of people do not read word documents on their toaster. I cannot find a good reason for 8GB of RAM in my freezer. Writing a message to stick on the fridge is now called texting. If you need to read something while the bread is toasting, Facebook (or the Register) is on your phone.

Microsoft cars make about as much sense as Windows Phone. The carriers did not want to become Microsoft's slaves like PC manufacturers. The car manufacturers also know where Microsoft lock-in leads. If cars are going to have in-flight entertainment and navigation then they will use Linux, like the airlines.

My personal bet for the reason behind Surface 2 is purchasing commitments. I think Microsoft got good component prices by making commitments to order huge quantities. Even the excessive quantity of Surfaces manufactured might not have done more than put a dent in those commitments. Microsoft can either buy their way out, or release a product. A bit of negotiation could get them a CPU upgrade. Doubling the RAM per device burns through that commitment more quickly. Underclocking the new CPU (or racing to idle) gives them more battery life without upgrading the battery order. Surface 2 is about delaying have to admit to another billion dollar write off.

MPs blocked from ogling 'web smut' 300,000 times – while in Parliament

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

MP's should watch more porn

Anything to distract them from creating even more laws.

Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Ballmer's oracular statements

I can fill in one of the blanks for your. Ballmer was talking about accelerating Windows Phone's momentum. As the WP's market share is falling, Ballmer expects the purchase of Nokia to accelerate that decline. I have every confidence in Elop's ability to release a new phone that is less successful than Lumia. If he and Ballmer work at it together, they might even do worse than Kin.

Microsoft has been spending a billion a year to get into the mobile market. I think the budget just got increased to ten billion per year. The next flop is going to be spectacular.

Bionym bracelet promises to replace passwords with ECG biometrics

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Exercise

If you are tall and old, mild exercise causes the wave form shape to change to something more efficient before/instead of an increase in heart rate. Heart rate can be measured remotely by Doppler radar. Give it a year, and there will be an app for that.

WD outs 'Mini Me' Red label NAS drives

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Bring back 5¼"

If the sustained transfer rate remains unchanged, a 10TB restore from a mirror is under 20 hours. That is comfortably acceptable for my use case. If your MTBF is under a day you should move your disks to a less harsh environment.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Bring back 5¼"

A 5¼" made with the same tech as a modern 3½" would hold about 10 to 20TB. A pair of mirrored 10TB drives would be handy compared to a stack of 3TB as I do not need many IOPS from NAS. Also if they want to call it a NAS drive, it needs ethernet or even USB3.

Microsoft buys Nokia's mobile business

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Hand is up

I thought the Greeks had sailed home without bothering to loot the smoking ruins of Troy.

I expected this news six months ago, but thought its time had passed. Elop has done such a thorough job of burning Nokia and Ballmer poisoned carrier relations so badly that I expected Microsoft to leave Elop on his burning platform.

Scots council cops £100K fine for spaffing vulnerable kids' data ONLINE

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What does fining Aberdeen City Council achieve?

I assume it means moving some tax payers' money from one government department to another. The audit is a start, but that can only identify problems. There needs to be an incentive and a budget to fix them.

Look out ARM, Intel, here comes MIPS – again

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

No publicly available PowerVR documentation

Without documentation, only the manufacturer can fix the drivers. Even if the drivers are not broken now, they will break on a kernel or Xorg upgrade. When the manufacturer releases new hardware, they stop maintaining the old drivers. Most 3D acceleration hardware suffers from this fault.

For open source, changing CPU architecture just means changing the name of the cross compiler. Qemu detects the new target architecture of your application and the self run as usual. The way to get open source developers is to release proper hardware documentation.

Obama prepares to crawl up NSA's ass with microscope

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

"... reducing the risk of unauthorised disclosure"

Means "not getting caught red-handed again".

Microsoft Xbox One to be powered by ginormous system-on-chip

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

All hardware tweaked until open source drivers cannot use it

This is of vital importance. Just think of the number of users who would instantly drop dead from viral infection if they had the option to install software not selected by Microsoft.

What Surface RT flop? Nokia said to be readying WinRT slab for September

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Elop to be left to drown when Ballmer kicked out of Microsoft

Plan A: (Phone selling price) - (Phone manufacturing cost) = (Windows license fee)

For some reason, the phone manufacturers did not want to fall into the same trap as PC manufacturers and did not dive in head first. Selling phones requires the blessing of the carriers. Ballmer bought Skype and said all phones would use Skype to provide revenue to Microsoft instead of call revenue going to the carriers. The carriers rebelled. Ballmer could threaten manufacturers with a cut in marketing donations all he wanted, but that would not generate purchase orders from then carriers.

Plan B: Buy Nokia at bargain basement prices

His Billness looked at the deal around February and said 'No'. Nokia was so badly damaged that the deal made no sense. Ballmer took Microsoft's phone market share form 12% down to 4%. Bill said Windows Phone was 'irretrievably broken'. Ballmer will be running Microsoft with his hands tied behind his back, and Bill will not let him waste more money on Windows Phone.

Plan C: erm ...

Ballmer no longer has to power to bail out Elop any more. Elop has to come up with some plan on his own. The billion a year marketing subsidy depends on Nokia being a Microsoft shop, so Elop has a choice of Winphone, Windows 8.1 and RT. Nokia is not set up to do anything with 8.1 - and the margins are thin there anyway. Winphone support was poor (according to Elop) and will shortly be abysmal. The only advantage I can see to RT is it might make the board offer him money to leave quickly. That plan might not work - Elop fired anyone who disagreed with him. Nokia do not have anyone to replace him.

Microsoft's shares gained 10% when Ballmer announced he was leaving. Ballmer has done a good job of firing any likely successor. The idea of Elop running Microsoft was a joke. Microsoft's shares would drop 50% if they put Elop in charge.

Google cripples Chromecast third party replay

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Just like any other device

If you cannot download source code, modify it, distribute it, compile it, install and boot the result then the manufacturer has you locked in for the cost of porting your data to an open device.


Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Thanks, I was trying to think of a suitable replacement

Elop's work at Nokia is almost complete. Time to ship him back to Microsoft.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Wait until you find out who is next

I know it would be hard to find anybody worse but I am sure Microsoft will search diligently until they succeed.

Nasty BOFHses. It burns us! It burns...

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The other (com)mode of failure

The pipe in the basement gets blocked and anything put in it comes out at the ground floor flat.

Total cost of that axed NHS IT FIASCO to taxpayers: £10.1bn

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

There are lots of systems working well?

Examples of cost effective successful billion+ pound national IT programmes please.

Oracle launches paid support for 'free' NoSQL database

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What have you got against the de-tivoization?

AGPLv1 deals with patents in section 7: http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/License:AGPLv1 (It is based on GPLv2 and gets its patent language from there, without picking up the Tivo provisions of GPLv3.)

Tivo decided to use GPLv2 software in their devices, but to restrict those devices to software cryptographically signed by Tivo. This prevented Tivo owners from using software of their choice on devices they had bought. GPLv3 was created to deal with this (and other problems). Tivo could have obeyed the V3 license by allowing owners to install their own keys. Owners could then sign their own choice of software and delete any other keys to prevent NSA updates.

Jack Clark: The A in AGPL adds a requirement not to remove or work around code that distributes the source code of AGPL software to anyone using AGPL software - and 'using' includes visitors to a website generated by AGPL code. The purpose of AGPL was the prevent companies like Google taking GPL software and using improved versions of it internally without contributing those improvements back to the community. It is hardly surprising that Google is peeved when programmers choose to distribute their own work with the AGPL license. Keeping the source code distributed by AGPL software up to date with the software itself is hardly beyond the ability of programmers able to make improvements to a distributed database. I heartily recommend reading https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html instead of relying on the standard FUD written about free software licenses. The V2 licenses are quite short and clear. The V3 licenses are bigger and more detailed to deal with Tivo-like, Google-like and patent troll attempts to tax free software, or use it without contributing improvemnets back to the community.

Nokia's PHAB-ULOUS comeback attempt: Huge WinPho 8 mobe rumoured

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Four other choices, here or close

Tizen, Sailfish, Firefox, Ubuntu, CyanogenMod and Blackberry (delete any two).

Samsung's amazeballs 3D V-NAND SSD not THAT much better than predecessor

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Up to 20mb broad band

Please do not get fobbed off with 'up to' figures. 'At least' is useful, as is 'average sustained'.

UK mulls ban on tiny mobiles to block prison smugglers

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Second hand from a prison yard sale?

BTW: What is the name of the counterpart to SOCA who investigate humorous crimes?

New use for old iPhones: Watch your house get robbed in REAL-TIME

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

nsa/wiretapping/interception joke

When are the NSA going to offer unlimited free storage on their cloud?

Flash! Ah-ahh! Saviour of the universe? It'll save every one of us?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Why do 'portable PCs' still have spinning disks?

A small SSD can store everything but your video collection. If you are going on a long flight, you can copy ten films from your big NAS disks to an SDHC card. Hybrid and dual made some sense a few years ago and there may be a few niche applications now but those are going to get eaten by cheap rugged flash.

If Seagate are looking for market for their spinning disks, the obvious device is a full height 5¼" with ethernet and USB ports. If you do not want your own NAS, such disks will be needed for the NSA cloud storage facility.

100 million self-driving cars will be sold globally in 2035 – report

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

@Captain DaFt

Good plan - it will probably start on the popular routes that are easiest for autonomous aerial cyclic vehicles.


Legal bible Groklaw pulls plug in wake of Lavabit shutdown, NSA firestorm

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Politics is only broken if you believe it is

This is not (yet) a two party state. Vote for one of the others. Stand for election yourself. Write to your MP and tell him why you are taking your vote elsewhere.

Brits: We can stop trolling if we know where they live - poll

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Turn the plan upside down

Require social media site users to give a false name. If I decide I need to make a death threat against Prince Aristotle Descartes I am going to have a tough time convincing him I know where he lives. Also, if Flocke Kroes makes repeated threats of violence against him, I hope The Register would give the IP address to the police.

Microsoft: That $900m Surface write-down is smarting

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Restricted choice

I use my Linux laptop for business software, games, CAD and a load of other things. A quick web search still does not reveal a way to install Linux on a Surface RT, so my choices are restricted to all sorts of things except Surface RT.

UK.gov intros shiny CREST badge for cyber crime-scene cleanup squad

Flocke Kroes Silver badge


If someone selected by GCHQ had just checked my computers for malware, I would be confident that malware was installed, working properly and well hidden. It would be time to throw out the lot and replace it all.

Waiting for a Windows Phone update? Let's talk again next year

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Platform switch

12 to 20% market share for Windows Mobile (depending on where you look). 3 to 5% market share for Windows Phone. Certainly remarkable, but not something most people boast about.

Admins warned: Drill SSL knowledge into your Chrome users

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

A fairly common example

User gets an 'untrusted certificate' warning, and as Techy happens to be within sight, asks 'What does this mean?'

Techy: It either means that your employer is not properly maintaining their website or that this is not your employer's payroll website at all. Instead it is a copy controlled by criminals. If you log in, you will give you user name and password to the criminals, which makes you in breach of contract with your employer. The criminals will be able to divert your pay cheques to accounts they control. They will also be able to enter false time sheets, and when these are discovered, you can be charged with fraud. You should close this browser and contact your employer's payroll and IT departments as soon as possible. Tell them you saw an untrusted certificate warning when you tried to access their payroll web site.

Which is worse:

1) The user clicked through the warning and logged in.

2) No-one at the company who understood what 'untrusted certificate' means had the authority to fix it.

Apple wins Samsung import ban, loses 'Battle of Rounded Corners II'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Get the facts right

Motorola has standards essential patents. Microsoft wanted to implement the standard, so they are required to enter good faith negotiations with Motorola. Instead, they wilfully infringed. Motorola complained, and tried to negotiate with Microsoft - as is required for patents essential for this standard. Microsoft did not negotiate, and continued to infringe. Motorola won an injunction in Germany against Microsoft. Microsoft complained in the US about breach of contract. There is no relevant contract between Microsoft and Motorola, so the complaint is not valid under US law. The US judge is not an expert on standards, patents, or German law, so he ruled that Motorola could not enforce the injunction ordered by the German court. Microsoft then actually did what they were required to do: they made an offer to license Motorola's patents.

Motorola accepted Microsoft's offer. Microsoft cannot tolerate such mean and spiteful behaviour. Microsoft still have not paid license fees and they insist the Motorola pays Microsoft's costs for moving manufacturing from Germany to the Netherlands after the German injunction had been blocked.

Now please explain how Microsoft refusing to accept an offer that they made themselves when there wasn't even the possibility of the threat of an injunction is Motorola's fault.

Android approaches 80% smartphone share as Apple's iPhone grows old

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Saling ships

The reason Nokia got harsh comments before was articles put Nokia's 'shipped' figures next to competitors' 'sold' figures. This time, all the numbers are 'shipped', so they are equally suspect. Androids and iPhones sell, so the sold figures will catch up with the shipped. Nokia's previous unsold stock, return rates and attempts at comparing pears and grapefruit make me wonder 'shipped there, back and somewhere else' counts three times.

I am sure Nokia sales really are up, but at prices even further below cost. I wouldn't bet on Microsoft's billions bailing Nokia again. This time Nokia will mortgage Nokia Siemens Networks up to the neck and call it phone revenue just like the sale of the head office in Espoo.

Nokia Siemens Networks to 'axe 8,500 jobs' amid biz gobble

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Windows Phone sales

Windows phones have a negative margin. An increase in sales means Nokia is losing money more quickly. The €900m transfer from NSN to Nokia is to hide the damage caused by increased sales just like when the sale of their head quarters was credited entirely to the phone division.

Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

There is always this polite and logically reasoned style:


Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Also defends against the else from the last if

// oops 1

········if (a)

················if (b) BOFH();

········else not_a();

// oops 2

········if (a) if (b) BOFH();

········else not_a();

// safe

········if (a) {

················if (b) {



········} else {



Flocke Kroes Silver badge

gnu indent is your friend

#! /bin/bash -e

sed <"$2" \

's!\([ \t]*__attribute__((.*))[ \t]*\)!/*OTBS<\1> */!;'\

| indent -st -npro \

-pmt -bad -bap -bbo -bc -br -brf -brs -bfda -bfde -c33 -cd33 -ncdb\

-cdw -ce -ci4 -cli0 -cp4 -ncs -nfc1 -nfca -d0 -di0 -hnl -i8 -ip0\

-l78 -lc78 -lp -lps -npcs -ppi2 -nprs -psl -nsaf -sai -nsaw -nsc\

-nsob -ss -ut\

| sed 's![ \t]*/\*OTBS<\([ \t]*__attribute__((.*))[ \t]*\)>.*\*/[ \t]*!\1!' \

| sed '

s/^) {/)\t{/

s/} else {/} else\t{/

/^[ \t]*if .*[^{ \t][ \t]*$/{N;s/[ \t]*\n[ \t]*/ /}

/^[a-zA-Z0-9_]\+($/{s/^\(.\{1,6\}(\)/\1\t/;N;s!\n[ \t]*//!\t\t\t//!}

' >"$1"

Upstart's 'FLASH KILLER' chips pack a terabyte per tiny layer

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

It will cost what the market will bear

PCIe flash is about £2000/TB now, so I expect in about five years, you could buy RRAM on a DIMM for £250/TB. The next product to expect is a combined SDRAM/RRAM chip that can go on a DIMM, SO-DIMM, in a mobile phone or (if there is a reason for having one) an iWatch. RRAM on a low power embedded CPU will be easier than on a hot server chip - the life time was probably measured by testing the chip at a range of high temperatures and extrapolating the graph down to sensible temperatures and long time scales.

If existing flash foundries can make RRAM, then I expect my entire DVD collection will be on a micro SDHC card in a pumpkin pi by 2020.

Child porn hidden in legit hacked websites: 100s redirected to sick images

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

KP distributors would not give the stuff out unless they expected to get something in return. These images being distributed for free suggests someone is making a statement. The source links being on NSFW sites shows some restraint about publicity seeking. The person responsible knows how to select easy targets and control them.

I suspect that if there is any evidence of who did this, it will point at TOR, some internet cafés, public libraries or Claire Perry. My guess is that this is about pointing out problems with the law. I would like to think that this encourages politicians to learn about how the internet works and the effects of badly drafted laws, but that is wildly optimistic. I am expecting shrill accusations aimed entirely in the wrong direction, and more ignorance and stupidity from government.

Microsoft morphs HPC efforts into 'Big Compute'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

They missed out the big selling point ...

... everyone knows how to use Windows on a cluster because the the seamless integration with Winphone and Windows RT.

Cluster manufacturers are clearly not showing Microsoft software in its best light because none of them require all data entry to go through a touch screen. All Microsoft have to do is manufacture seven million Windows BC super computers and distribute them exclusively from one Microsoft shop. After spending a billion on advertising, everyone will be queueing up to buy Windows BC because they can be sure that secure boot will protect them from installing unlicensed software. Don't forget - Windows BC is for non-commercial use only. You must buy an upgrade to calculate business spread sheets.

Gov: Smart TV bods must protect users from smut-riddled badness

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

This problem was solved in 2003

Next time a politician wants something like this, refer them to RFC 3514

Climate change even worse than you thought: It causes war and murder

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

anthropogenic climate change

Easy to explain: they got the causal relationship backwards. Violence causes global warming! Just look at all the violence in Africa and central America, and compare it Greenland and Antarctica. If the pornofilter gets expanded to block violence and any reference to increasing temperatures then we will never have to worry about global warming again.

Apple files patent for iPhone enabled auto-adjustable auto interior

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Lies or idiocy?

"I think that Apple can do this in a unique way and better than anyone else."

unique: cannot be blocked by other people's existing patents

unique: Apple's prior art will block others from patenting the same thing

better than anyone else: others will not be able to make this, so patent injunctions not required

better than anyone else: others will not be able to make this, so no patent revenue

What was the point in buying a patent?

Terror cops swoop on couple who Googled 'backpacks' and 'pressure cooker'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Not the first two who sprang to my mind

Be wairwy quiet, I am hunting teworwists.

I did! I did taw a teworwist!

Did Linux drive supers, and can it drive corporate data centers?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

FreeDOS server market share

Until very recently, buying a computer with Linux pre-installed involved searching hard and paying extra for cut down hardware. If you went to the trouble of buying pre-installed Linux, the third thing you would do (after backup and hardware check) would be to replace all the vendor supplied software with your own image so you could be sure the machine would match others at your site, and would restore to a known state if required.

Most distributors would not sell a computer without Windows and crapware. Some would sell with FreeDOS, and pretend to Microsoft that it wasn't a Linux sale. People who knew one end of a screwdriver from the other could bolt a Linux box together from parts. People who wanted the crapware discount bought a Windows, and replaced it with Linux before it could say 'Do you accept this 50 page EULA?'

Linux 'market share' figures have always been tiny. The installed base has always been large - if not huge. Microsoft delivers 20% of web sites by host name - far less by gigabyte as the biggest sites are Linux. Ballmer's new strategy is to switch Desktop Windows users to legacy prices and focus on the 'Servers and tools' business. I am sure the next Gartner report will tell us Microsoft has 95% of the server market share and is set to increase by 10% over the next year.

No fondleslabs please, says Microsoft as Office 365 hits Android

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

RT 2

Bundling (cut down, non-commercial) Office drove the price of RT tablets so high that they never sold. The only reason Lumia's losses are not so damaging is because Nokia hardly sell any. If Nokia have to pay a license for pre-installed Office, they will have to discontinue Lumia to stay in business.

I guessed Office for Android was on its way. I did not expect it so soon. Ballmer really is restructuring Microsoft. Next guesses:

Winphone 9 = Android on Nokia

No Office on Android tablets -> Office on Android tablets pretending to be a phone -> Office on any Android device

Windows desktop/laptop license cost to double every year

How did Microsoft get to be a $1.2bn phone player? Hint: NOT Windows Phone

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

My guess

Last year, it could have been "pay for these invalid patents or you cannot distribute Windows". Next year, it will be "pay us back or we won't distribute Windows".

AMD's newest chip: Another step toward 'transformation'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

eleventy squillion x86 developers?

I know some people work on compilers, debuggers and emulators. Perhaps some of them only work on x86. For years I have had no real need to look at assembly language. These days only difference I see between ARM, x86 and MIPS is the name of the compiler if I am cross compiling. Qemu is so seamless that I do not even notice if the self tests are executed by an emulated CPU.

Are there really (m)any more x86 developers than ARM?

Selfridges dreaming of a snot-themed Christmas

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

In theory, copyrights eventually expire


If you want to 3-D print something without getting sued, the Yellow Kid does not own enough senators to change copyright law.


Microsoft introduces warning on child abuse image searches

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

It could be worse

Imagine what David Cameron would say if his censorship actually worked:

"Parents can rest assured that when paedophiles want to look at naked children, they cannot look at pictures at home on computer screens."

Kids LIE about age on Facebook, gasps Brit ad watchdog

Flocke Kroes Silver badge


The salesman at Maplin asked for proof of age when I bought some glue. He is not blind or clueless. He has to ask _everyone_ because that is what his employer requires.

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