* Posts by Herby

2950 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

If this doesn't terrify you... Google's computers OUTWIT their humans

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Adaptive systems.

Bernie Widrow would be proud. Then there is someone who did stuff before making microprocessors.

All back in the 60's!!

File-NUKING Cryptolocker PC malware MENACES 'TENS of MILLIONS' in UK

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And why aren't they going after this group??

Oh, spam isn't that bad, and virus's can't hurt you. Wait until it infects something in Parliament/Congress and lots of congressional staffers have to pony up. Then we might see something about blasting this type of thing.

Where is the FBI/Scotland Yard when you need them??

Dell orbits Linux a third time with revamped Sputnik notebooks

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I see panes cracking here...

Broken windows to follow. Thankfully not mirrors, as we won't have bad luck.

Me? I'd scrub it and Fedora the box. But that is just me.

MANUAL STIMULATION: Whack me with some proper documentation

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Yes, Virginia, Documentation is Hard!!

Now days the only thing English majors are doing is a little "You want fries with that?". Given that we have collectively dumbed down our understanding of language, we continually strive for the lowest common denominator and we get absolute junk. Sometimes it is a single piece of paper that is written in "Chinglish" that describes the older version of the software and us users need to extrapolate the next set of commands that will make it work. Other times it is "obvious" when the author of the software wrote it, and lucky you get to be Captain Obvious (which doesn't always work).

A well written manual is a joy to read, and you will find this out when you actually see one in the wild. Most are relegated to museums now days.

Then again, I'm reminded about my "Klopper" which although I don't have the item, I do have the Ikea-type instructions.

As for icons, pretty soon Unicode will have code points for all of them.

Fukushima fearmongers: It's your fault Japan dumped CO2 targets

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So those are the options. Air full of carbon, nuclear power, or shivering hungry in the dark.

The problem is that those who expound the last option (rejecting the first two) are the LAST to embrace it. Here in the USA, I put Mr. Greeny Al Gore in that category.

BOFH: One flew over the PFY's nest

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Well where else would you go

When your flat is being painted? Sounds logical to me.

Fridays are becoming more complete with every BOFH story.

New FCC supremo: Sort out your cell unlocking, mobe giants - OR ELSE

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What is needed is a separate line item in your phone bill that is the "contract subsidy" value that you are obligated to pay over the (nominally) two year period. After that, you get discounted, and your unlock code. Even nicer would be an "automatic" feature that the provider sends to your phone when the time comes, and a note in your bill.

Takes the "customer service" reps out of the loop. A "good thing" in anyone's book. Not to mention saves some $$$ in the process by not needing people to handle the calls to do the unlock.

Look! GNOME 3.10 (with Fedora 20). Did we mention GNOME 3.10?

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Only one answer


No further comments needed.

The truth about mystery Trojan found in space

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Virus in space...

It might be interesting when something like "CryptoLocker" hits there. Goes wild and borks up machines on the network.

Quick, get me the unlock key.....

Now if they would find virus writers and lynch prosecute them...

'Daddy, can I use the BLACK iPAD?': Life with the Surface Pro 2

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Problem: Kickstand!

The kickstand is an encapsulation of the problem with the Surface thingy. A nice traditional laptop has its screen attached nicely to the base where the keyboard is located, and it hinges nicely all by itself. This works out fine for a device sitting on your lap (thus the name!). The kickstand on the Surface thingy implies that it should rest on a desk of some sort, not up at a nice angle like a laptop screen. Even with the nice detachable keyboard, it doesn't balance well.

On the other hand, the iPad lies flat on a surface or can be held in your hand. Rarely is it propped up and used "desktop" style as the kickstand would have you do. So, the iPad (and its Android cousins) are of a different breed. They are meant to be "held", not "propped". As a previous commenter mentioned this makes them a "Consumer of information" product.

The "market" that Microsoft likes to sell into is the "Generator of information" segment, and a laptop is the device of choice here. It can sit on a desk, or it can be used as a lap device. The Surface goodie is a poor intimation of a laptop in this segment.

So, all the dancers in the world can't make it any better, as there are other devices that have better functionality (and probably at a cheaper price). My wife for one is (in my estimation) a "consumer" and the iPad suits her just fine. The times she actually uses a keyboard are for entering her mailing address/credit card number to buy something. She doesn't need/want the complexities of an attached keyboard and composing documents isn't there. Why bother with stuff more complex than it needs to be.

It seems as though Microsoft is trying to do what Microwave Oven makers are still trying to do: Add more and more useless features to a pretty basic device.

Microsoft advertises Surface, Excel with maths mistake

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From the looks of it, this "vacation" is a last minute deal. If you want a hotel, lets say, and desire to pay $400/night, then you get 10 days. A $400/night hotel is pretty pricey, even in Hawaii. I stayed at a nice condo place for "only" $200 a night (it may have been less, I don't remember the details as my wife made the arrangements). The Airfare of $2500 (assuming round trip from Seattle, next to Microsoft) for two people comes to $1250, which is approaching first class/last minute fares. If you did your planning correctly, you could use your frequent flyer miles which would reduce that to $10 per person (lots of miles needed, but you DO have them!!). The rental car of $500 is also pretty pricey. We rented a car (with a tank of gas!) for about $230 or so.

All in all, this is one of those "Luxury" deals (lots of margin for the operator), or somebody's big dream. For that money, I could do a couple of vacations, and have money left over.

So, it is typical Microsoft, in the "let them eat cake" category!

Yes, my trip to Hawaii was back in September, so I don't think the prices have gone up THAT much!

New wonder slab slurps Wi-Fi, converts it into juice for gadgets, boast boffins

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Let's look at this...

I just looked at my router and its signal is specified as 17dBm, or about 50mw. Given the conversion efficiency of 33% (or so) indicated in the article, that gets you around 17mw. One problem here is that the traffic (and thus the transmission) is at most 50% and more like 10% (on a good day), so that gets you down to a time averaged value of 1.7 mw. Now take into consideration the dropoff (inverse square law) for the signal, and if you are even a little bit away from the originating antenna, you will get (I'm being conservative here) maybe 25%, which gets you down to MAYBE 1/2 milliwatt. If you think that this is 'meaningful' power you are sadly mistaken.

Moral of the story: Spend the $$$ on a battery. If you use the same amount of power as this system delivers (1/2 milliwatt on a good day) the battery will last quite a long time, and probably cost less as well in the long run.

BOFH: GOATSE? No, I said goat fetis... you know what, forget it

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Two weeks in a row!!

Simon must be on a roll!

Please keep it up. Us minions need some humor in out lives.

Spies and crooks RAVAGE Microsoft's unpatched 0-day HOLE

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Shocked, Shocked, I say...

There is a vulnerability in Windows, or its Office minions?


Of course, this is entirely a cruel joke, or is it??

Canadian Vultures shave bare for winter

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Difference between a good haircut and a bad one??

About three months.

Of course, the panic level between these events depends upon the presence of a Y chromosome.

You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

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Here in the USA, we have this silly thing called the 5th amendment. All the TV shows recite silly Miranda warnings:

You have the right to be silent...

Word of advise: Use it!. Shut up

On the other hand, since us IT people go through drives, it may just be handy to have an older drive that has random numbers written all over it. Unplugged and all that. Let them try to find out something from that Rorschach test.

The article begs the question: How does the author know all of these things??

Build your own mobile network for the low, low price of US$2,000

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Why not just...

Provide the simple 100mW "base" station. That ought to be enough. The GSM phones are easy to come by, just go to a local store and ask for a few "trade-ins".

Evil twin dreams of setting up small cell site to capture information.

A URL would be nice as well.

Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

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Re: 6502/6809's rool btw...

Just remember that the Penta (nee Pennsylvania Hotel) hotel STILL has the phone number Pennsylvania 6 5000!!

Google's MYSTERY barges floating off US shores: The TRUTH

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Pardon me sir...

...for mistaking me for someone who actually gives a damn.


Apple: How we slip YOUR data to govts – but, hey, we're not Google

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Can you keep a secret?

So can I!

Life goes on.

Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

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Interesting Pic...

They included the star "Altair". Fitting for ElReg.

As for finding life...

I heard a comment that it may just be that when a civilization gets to the point where it can communicate its presence to "outsiders" it doesn't have enough sense to contain its internal conflicts, and will self destruct before it actually gets the chance.

As to this happening here on Earth, it was postulated that we are close to a decision point.

As always, YMMV (See store for details), etc....

IBM menaces Twitter IPO with patent infringement BOMBSHELL

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And this is why...

Software Patents should be tossed out. Right Now.

It boils down to:

"Anything you can do, I can do better".

The arguments that follow "No you can't." and "Yes, I can." inevitably are a waste of time, money and effort!

Startups? Silicon Valley? SHELDONVILLE? It's the dotcom bubble again!

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What a concept. It may take off soon.

From an observer that has lived over 60 years in "sillycon valley".

BOFH: Is WHAT 'running slow'!? GOD

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Cause and effect unrelated. It happens in weird places!

In my youth (the 60's) I have a wonderful dog that would complain when the food we served him was too hot. Usually this meant that he would bark at the food until it cooled, which it did in little time. I always relate this story to people when the supposed "cure" has nothing to do with the "symptom".

Yes, "Fats" is no longer with us. He was a 1/2 Basset, 1/2 friend of Basset (later estimated to be part beagle, part springer spaniel).

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If only

We could get the various tribes to fight among themselves in Afghanistan (or other unmentionable places).


Indestructible, badass rootkit BadBIOS: Is this tech world's Loch Ness Monster? VOTE NOW

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5 months premature.

Enough said.

SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber

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Bill Gates can afford to drop medical supplies from one. You never know.

Have you reinstalled Windows yet? No, I just want to PRINT THIS DAMN PAGE

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Real Printers...

Have ribbons and fully formed characters. None of this "inkjet", "laser", or "dot matrix" crud.

They also use nice green/blue bar fan fold paper in wonderful wide widths that people can write notes on the side.

Long live bands, chains and daisy wheels.

Do dishwashers really blunt knives

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Does it really matter?

It all comes down to "she who must be obeyed". No more, no less. So, I refrain from putting knives in the dishwasher, and use an oil stone to sharpen them at reasonable intervals. Between that, the steel works well.

Now, for a definitive answer one needs to try to get Mythbusters to do a complete survey on the subject. There ARE lots of variables: Water type, detergent, additives temperature, length of exposure, knife composition, just to name a few.

So, after you pay the Nordstrom's bill, keep them out of the dishwasher. Peace and domestic tranquility will follow.

FIERY DEATH awaits all who stroke mobes mid-flight? Nope, says FAA

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Cell phones at altitude...

...is like trying to have a conversation across a gabbing large room (or across a football (soccer) pitch). The only way you can do it (if you can do it at all) is by yelling quite loud. Fortunately cell phones don't have that much power, and the cell towers are telling the offending device to (as a previous commentard said) shut itself off.

The peace and quiet in an airplane is a welcome change of pace.

Google's new Glass: Now with audio connection INSIDE the SKULL

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Leftie version??

Maybe the "leftie" version is only sold in the UK, Australia, and Japan (and New Zealand, Simon!).

The big problem is that those of us advancing in age have this "feature" of the body called presbyopia which is ever advancing. There are problems with glasses being needed to read anything close at hand.

Then there is the problem of encountering a policeman who doesn't take kindly to being "watched/recorded" and invents interpretations of laws to give you a citation.

As for the citation: The same rules can be applied to having a TV turned off in your front seat. It IS a TV, and it IS visible by the driver, but it IS turned off (duh!).

Ohh! The PRECIOUS! Give it to uss. We WANTS it: Shiny iThings coming in 2014

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Apple Car??

Move over Mr. Musk.

NASDAQ exchange stumbles AGAIN after 'human error' snafu

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When you attempt to have sub millisecond latencies...

You have to cut corners. No way around it.

If they had standardized on one second trade resolution (all the trades take place AT the second tick) they could have built a better system. The problem there would be that the "high frequency traders" would be left in the dust looking for penny differences that weren't there.

Probably be better for all of us.

I do have some bias in this comment, but I'll just leave it at that.

RIP Bill Lowe: Father of the IBM PC no longer reading drive C

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Still living with the problems...

That were introduced with the first 5150 PCs. Of course they were later augmented by the AT's design as well.

These have their roots in IBMs design of the IBM1130 (the same team did both designs). On that machine the interrupts were dedicated and "really strange" (been there, done that!). I'm sure that commentators here could enumerate the flubs, but a few are:


Slot 8 (on the XT)

Using the 8088


8 bit data bus

640k (ought to be enough...)

Keyboard (on the XT/PC). Improved a bit on the AT. Then having weird keycodes for dedicated keys (Insert, Home, Delete, End, PageUp, PageDown, etc.)

Ctrl-Alt-Delete (maybe, maybe not).

(Add yours here)

Why did Nokia bosses wait so long to pop THAT Lumia tab?

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"Harlow told us that Nokia also wished to differentiate itself with its bundled software"

I thought that the "bundled software" that came with a windows p.c. was the stuff you wanted to get rid of, not keep around. Usually vendors throw all sorts of self serving junk in the "factory installation" just to sell stuff users don't need.

In this case?? Time will tell.

Cue up the "buy a keyboard" application (with dancing drones at the board room table)

US aviation watchdog approves $75K balloon ride into SPAAAACE!

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Paris Hilton

Add a rocket??

Instant LOHAN!!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Icon to match as well.

How to find OS X Mavericks' 43 hidden photogenic beauties

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Begs the question...

Why not have a nice picture of the surf at Mavericks Beach over at the coast. Big wave surf is pretty cool.

San Fran tech hub wants hookers and hackers for Halloween

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Only in San Francisco!!

What a country!! What a city!!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program. Thanks for watching/listening.

Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

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An Obversation

If someone asks you to tell them a "secret", you query them:

"Can you keep a secret?"

Of course they will answer "Yes.".

The next statement should be: "So can I!".

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Why can's the likes of The Guardian ...

Find and leak secrets of those who really need exposing. I put such things as Iran and North Korea and Al Queida [sp?] in this regard. Those "secrets" would be especially helpful in these "interesting" times.

Sure, there are secrets some countries keep, but how about being an "equal opportunity leaker".

Fair is Fair!!

Apple's Hacker Princess really needs to stay away from Idaho cops

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Oh, sorry, that one is already taken.

Microsoft: You've got it all WRONG. It's Apple's iPad playing catch-up with our Surface

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If I wanted a laptop...

...I'd buy a laptop. NOT a silly surface goodie. By the time you add all the necessary things to make it "laptopable", it ends up being more expansive than a laptop.

Sorry, the device I want is a simple things that allows me to "consume" information, and the iPad is very good at that. If I want to play solitaire, I can do that as well. I have no need for a flappy, clicky, disconectable keyboard that dancers on board room tables want to play with.

Of course if I could load Linux on the beast, I might have a different attitude, but there are already android tablets for that function.

p.s. A touch interface is MUCH different from a mouse interface. Please do take note.

How to spot a coders comment

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If you were in the 60's

C Comments would

C Have 'C' in column 1.

C If you needed to elucidate the operator, it would be something like:





DARPA slaps $2m on the bar for the ULTIMATE security bug SLAYER

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Pretty easy if you ask me...

Analyze code: Boot up system

Find defects: Is it Microsoft Windows

Fix defects: Remove Windows, Install Linux.

Do I get the reward?

Microsoft boffins test rival 'Google Glass' geek goggles, say insiders

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But I'm far sighted!

Slowly advancing presbyopia is making itself know to me and I need +3 glasses to even see the monitor I use frequently. I talked with a guy who uses his pair of Google eyes and he indicated that the focus problem is one they need to deal with.

I guess this is for the young at heart!

Seagate: Fibre Channel? RAID? SATA? File System? All RUBBISH

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Approaching write once storage.

With the cost of "secondary media" dropping so much, and its density decreasing as well, the industry may soon approach the condition where everything is written out only once and it stays forever. You just buy more and more drives as you write more and more data, keeping all the "old" data as you go.

Sure there might be problems when going to higher density drives where you copy the larger physical storage media to the smaller one that has more room, but it comes close to the "what me worry" type of storage. You get a history of the data for free.

Of course keeping it all sorted out may be another matter, but that is just "programming".

RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

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Prices are interesting!!

Most of the mentioned keyboards appear to be less costly that the Microsoft offering. Maybe they have something there!

11m Chinese engulfed by 'Airpocalypse' at 4000% of safe pollution levels

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And Laws of the USA/Europe are going to prevent this?

I strongly doubt it. Yes, the pollution is pretty bad, but out well intentioned wonderful environmentalists here complain about the pollution we are creating here in the USA, and hobbling us with rules that will make the "clean" air just a little bit "cleaner" (think of the children!). They should expend their energies where it will do more good in those places (China among others). The problem they have is that China could care less, as the story pointed out, because those "in control" have their nice air filters.

Message to Al Gore: Expend your efforts in China NOW! We here in the USA have done quite a bit already.

US Veep's wireless heart implant disabled to stop TERRORIST HACKERS

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The range is pretty small

The design of the ICDs is pretty simple. They use VERY old technology (the one I worked on used CMOS 6502's, and that was 10 years ago), so they really aren't that sophisticated. The price they charge for them (I recall it was around $20k or so) usually includes a laptop for the doctor to communicate with, "thrown in". My understanding was that the communications between the laptop and the implanted device was done by an induction coil, necessitating a VERY close contact (less than an inch).

While it makes for a great story, reality is a bit more far fetched.

The use of "old" technology (around 25 years old) is because they are "medically cleared" and well characterized. They also need to have VERY LOW power requirements which limits their complexity as well. Over half of what is implanted is the battery, and it must last over 3 years!

Microsoft pulls Win 8.1 RT code which upgraded Surface 'slabs into BRICKS

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Testing, I've heard about it.

Apparently Microsoft hasn't.

I suppose they have the same attitude regarding security.

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