* Posts by Michael Jarve

79 posts • joined 3 Jan 2008


High-speed broadband fiber in America: You want the good news or bad news first?

Michael Jarve

As the first part of the article alludes to, states, or even the federal government should start regulating broadband as a utility. Maybe not as solidly as the have for say, electricity, but actually put forward a grand scheme to get everyone connected. It worked for rural electrification, and, for most of a century, it worked for telephone service. Private industry investment is predicated on the investment/return ratio, and large, publicly traded telecommunications companies are not concerned with long-term, 20-50 year, return on investment. They're concerned with next quarter's earnings statements. Google, despite pocketing more per day in profit than any of 2000 (well paid by our standards, and combined) other people in my county will see in a year, is not immune to this. I honestly wonder if not for the REA and TVA, and the the quasi-nationalization of AT&T/Bell, whether even today electrical and phone service would be as wide spread as it is. My own great grandparents could not get electricity to their house, despite living less than a mile away from a hydro-electric dam until the REA, back in the 1930's.

With regards to municipal and publicly owned affordable, universal, and open broadband service, I think the first step is to try and coerce private companies to invest and comply. They will not do so, because it's perverse to look to the long-term gains to the well being of the company (or society); after all, once they declare bankruptcy, yet again, and are denied a despised government bailout, they can look forward to achieving success in the face of uncertainty by spinning out their most profitable and least profitable divisions and getting bought out in a lightly regulated merger with a former rival *cough* Worldcom *cough*. Once this failure is complete, despite the protestations and unfulfilled promises of incumbent providers, a municipality should have the right to build out a broadband network in lack of or in competition with a publicly traded or private company, if that is the will of the community. If profit cannot decide that such affordable universal access is necessary, perhaps utility can. I'd be happy to pay $80/month and have an additional $133/year added to my property tax for reliable 50-100Mb/s broadband, and I'd profit from it (compared to what I currently have).

National Enquirer's big Pecker tried to shaft me – but I wouldn't give him an inch, says Jeff Bezos after dick pic leak threat

Michael Jarve

I normally cannot abide the ultra wealthy/ celebrity and their scandals- it’s a waste of time and effort in today’s hyper PC atmosphere where anyone can be acused of anything, judged, tried without context, and hung by a envious public and more often than not absolutely deserve it. I’m just a lowly IT drone and I’m sure someone could find some long forgotten dirt that would hold me incapable of ever wielding admin privileges again (like the time I was 19, and wiped out a company’s Exchange store because I deleted all files named *.log before they were backed up, and the massive 7.2GB drive was crammed full. A delightful “Who, Me?” tale if ever there was one).

You might consider it scandal burn-out. Nothing surprises me any more. NPR ran a piece covering the NYT with the headline “We’ve almost lost the ability to be shocked,” though this was in regards to his Great Greatness, and not the world in general (I obviously apply it to the world in general). I feel the same way. The only thing that has surprised me lately is when a resolute Jayme Closs managed to rescue herself after 3-months captivity, and the murdering of her parents. I was further shocked that Minnesota based Hormel foods vowed to honor their bounty for her safe return by awarding it to her.

That, my friends takes balls. Not reporting on the affairs of billionaires or being a Teflon billionaire and deciding to fight such stories with the resources of a small nation. A tycoon having an affair is practically tradition. The only one I can think of in the past 100 years that might be innocent of such sin is Bill Gates, and I’m sure he is either waiting for the shoe to drop, or it will be revealed he’s still technically a virgin and that Pecker couldn’t write a puff- piece about Old Bill despite all his buggery in the industry.

US lawmakers furious (again) as mobile networks caught (again) selling your emergency location data to bounty hunters (again)

Michael Jarve

Re: Surprised?

A large part of this comes from the typical American’s apathy and ignorance of what the FCC does. Your typical US cititizen believes the FCC is who you complain to when your TV reception is poor, or you’re receiving robo-calls at dinner time. Unfortunately, most American popular media (the big three, and their cable company cohorts) seem unwilling to report on or question the FCC in fear that they themselves will be put under closer scrutiny in retaliation. The pot calling the kettle black and all that. Ever greater and power consolidating mergers won’t be approved or have expensive conditions imposed on them. Will no one think of the shareholders!?

Many of the most egregious (so far) privacy breaches occurred under Wheeler’s watch, but at the very least he was trying to right the course. American Pai doesn’t even offer the pretense of protecting consumers, regulating the industries he’s charged with regulating, or taking into account the will of Congress and the American people. People may look at the former head of the EPA and admonish his lavish, self aggrandizing spending, or that all the “adults in the room” of his Great, Greatness, the Best EVER, have been forced out, no one questions the little rich kid in the corner, with a runny nose and big mug of tax-payer cocoa, slurping on the lollipop nice aunty Verizon gave him, who actively doesn’t oversee the very industry he is supposed to regulate...

The telecommunications companies now control the vast majority of consumer facing media, and they’re not afraid to use their bully-pulpit to advance their own interests, or at least downplay the grievances of their foes, or more likely not report on it at all. Even stalwarts of journalism like PBS and NPR have become more timid on media’s ‘inside baseball’ news for fear of having a belligerent congress and FCC decide to revisit some objection from some constituent long ago. So, they report breathlessly on The Facebook or the latest Yahoo! breach ( which should no longer shock anyone- who uses Yahoo!?), but FCC policy is relegated to some headline without context with the vague, undefined Net Neutrality inserted as a buzzword.

Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to, er, merely True Neutral

Michael Jarve

Re: Depends

It’s true that like most “western” democracies these days M$ had decided the exchange of liberty is worth the cost of “security” for you. I fear that on both the software and political fronts, there is no turning back.

But I do have to say that living in a rural area, where broadband is usually considered anything above 56.6K dialup, Microsoft’s cloud-first and OSAAS is painful. Not everyone in tech lives on the west coast or major metro regions, where you can get 20-1000Mb/s broadband. Even where you can, the looming specture of metered billing hangs like the sword of Damocles over your head; do I do this month’s patch Tuesday, get Visual Studio, and download the October, er November, um January Service Pack Feature Update? Or do I download all the patches and updates for all the other software I run and have room left over to binge-watch a season of ST:TNG?

Quite aside from the above mentioned Slurping, it would have been nice if SatNa had taken such things into account. But he has the Silicon Valley ethos of if we cannot have bread, let us eat cake.

Intel to finally scatter remaining ashes of Itanium to the wind in 2021: Final call for doomed server CPU line

Michael Jarve

I remember...

I remember attending an Intel channel conference back in the early oghts, when AMD’s hammer was mostly just slides and rumors on Tom’s Hardware Guide. Intel pushed Itanium hard, and even gave out processors and boards to dink around with. However, they lost the plot with the weak, afterthought x86 compatibility offered. Even in the late ‘90s, many were put off by proprietary archetectures unless it had some must-have feature. Itanium came to market 10 years too late, and Intel, ironically, had a lot to do with this. They made the Pentium 3/Xeon “good enough” that for your average small, medium, and gigantisaur customers, Itanium was just gilding the hood ornament. Since it’s official release, it’s been an interesting footnote with specialized use cases. It didn’t make Exchange or Apache run faster, nor did it run consumer applications run faster or more efficiently. Unlike MIPS, which could scale down, Itanium was almost, from the beginning, an architecture that only scaled up; unlike ARM, or MIPS, it could not find solace in embeded systems. Eventually, SPARC will suffer the same fate (if it hasn’t already- I don’t remember the last time I saw anything regarding SPARC); PowerPC has some life left in it only because for the past 60 years no one had ever been fired for buying IBM, and its ubiquitous use in embeded systems (I happen to know that the ECU in my Volvo uses a derivative of the Power PC 603).

The failure of Itanium is many fold: it was positioned as a replacement for x86 during the heyday of x86 clones; it did not provide an improvement in performance now (circa 2001-2002); it was designed as a high-end competitor to MIPS, SPARC, Power PC, etc, but was marketed as the the successor to x86; the fundamental problem it was envisioned to solve (effective super-scalar execution and parallel threading) had already been solved by their own hardware.

The VLWI theory behind HP/Intel’s EPIC architecture was effectively commandeered by nVidia and DAMMIT and put to better, more efficient use.

If HP had released their EPIC processor in the early 90’s and partnered with Intel to manufacture it, things might have been different for the novel architecture. At the time, any one of a dozen or more chips could go on to rule the world- IBM and Apple thought the way forward was PowerPC; Silicon Graphics and Nintendo and Sony thought the future lay in MIPS. Sun somehow convinced the world SPARC was worthwhile. ARM showed that CPUs could be cheap as chips.

Despite marketing, despite citing use cases, Intel could not do the same. The final nail came with (pardon the pun) AMDs Hammer, which showed that x86 still had life, a future, and more importantly compatibility. The last thing a CTO wants to hear when asking “will it work tomorrow?” is “perhaps, mostly, but slower.”

Plug in your iPhone, iPad, iPod, fire up the App Store: You have new Apple patches to install

Michael Jarve

Must be a popular one...

My iPhone 6 has been “Estimating time remaining...” for the past two hours, despite a reboot (in case something was stuck). Curiously, the OSK frooze as I originally posted this, but only in Safari. I’m not saying conspiracy, but...

Marriott's Starwood hotels mega-hack: Half a BILLION guests' deets exposed over 4 years

Michael Jarve


Que the standard "We'll pay for credit monitoring (by handing all your info to Equifax) for a year, and we take customer yada-yada seriously, also we have measures in place like not having the admin password '1234' to probably make sure this doesn't happen again; also since you used our website, you agreed to the T&C's, and individual arbitration, no class-action lawsuits, and so on. We strive for excellence and value our relationship with shareholders customers guests."

This is getting old...

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Michael Jarve

Re: Quid pro quo, Clarice...

In the US, at least, it would be a good option. If people were aware of their tax dollars being wasted in such a manner, they would vote the fools who support such a scheme (as proposed) out of office. Congress critters are, in their own way more vain than even the worst instagrammer, constantly trying to appease their supporters, and keeping an eye and a half on the polls (unless they’re going to retire, or run for another office). Look at how many times members of both parties flip-flop position on things based on popular sentiment in their district. “Not my tax dollars!” would certainly be the popular sentiment among conservatives, and liberals would invoke the fourth amendment. It almost, more or less, worked before after the Snowden revelations. In that case, though, there was only the carrot; now we need the stick.

Things might be different in Blighty, where the House of Commons, (realative to our WhoRes) is so diluted they may not care. We have one Rep on average for every 1-million people, to put it in perspective- IIRC, Britain has something like 10 MPs for every million people.

Michael Jarve

Re: Trying reasonableness?

True... many governments have stretched the definition to the breaking point. Some get caught out (extremely rarely), but that is where you have very ineffectual congressional oversight. At least in our case we have one senator, Ron Wyden, who is acting as a sort of canary and trying to alert people to an abuse of power; though at least ( not publicaly) it’s not as bad on this side of the pond.

Michael Jarve

Quid pro quo, Clarice...

If the government wants back doors for intercepting private communications, which they have in the past, without warrant, authorization, and against the law, they can offer something else, aside from “security” in return- uncompromising transparency. If someone has even a remotely legitimate reason to ask why they spied on so-and-so without warrant or authorization, they must provide a timely, well reasoned, and above all legitimate response or face the same dire consequences as their victims. Further, there must be sanctions for violating this principle, with real teeth- think multi- million dollar fines to the government, just as they would give The Face Book, Google, etc all. Ben Franklin, one of the founding fathers of my country famously said “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” This is as right today as it was then. The Brits may hold different views. Just remember that “....temporary safety...” more often becomes permanent in a nanny state.

Apple heading for Supreme Court showdown over iOS App Store 'monopoly' gripe

Michael Jarve

Re: There are alernatives...

It's a perfect analogy. Someone, doing something obviously unauthorized because it's "cheaper" to the end user, then getting upset that the original company will not support it. Install a Volvo 2.3 in your Buick in America and see if GM, or Volvo for that matter will support a warranty...

Michael Jarve

There are alernatives...

As I've mentioned before, Apple's "walled garden" is a selling point for many, who have been burned by Android's lack of consistency or security, or Microsoft's utter lack of support. These customer's could choose an alternate platform, one that does not abide by Apple's rules and get, more or less the same apps. When my mother bought her iPhone 6, I told her that she could only get apps and what not from Apple (not that she uses many, beyond a default installation), and she said, basically, "Great! Only one website to visit!" She had started her smartphone odyssey with Windows Phone via Nokia (on my naive recommendation that MS would support it, since MS seemed to have a hard-on for mobile/desktop fusion at the time, and Mom owned a Windows 8 laptop), then moved to an Android Galaxy 4s (until she heard in the news that it could catch fire), and finally bought an iPhone 6. If my mother, ignorant of technology and business practices as she is, chose an iPhone, then if someone, apparently more savvy on both business and tech as the plaintiffs are also "chose" an iPhone than there is something rather suspicious about spending $700USD on a phone for some people... Simply, I smell a rat, and a multi-million dollar payout for 3 lawyers for a month's worth of work (I'm not counting the paralegals, assistants, secretaries, ect, who pretty much never see the fruits of multi-million dollar settlements/judgements, and who actually do the bulk of the work.

As the article implies, it might be different if the developer were the one bringing the suit, but even then I would have a hard time swallowing the argument. Apple has a minority of the smartphone segment. And they make no secret to developers or customers what the rules are. Developers know what they're getting into when they bed with Apple. They can choose Android, or (HA!) even Microsoft. If they don't like Apples' terms, then they can move to a different platform, one that is more popular, and possibly, has higher margins.

It would be no different than GM being sued because you can't put a cheaper Kia engine in your Cadillac, or Nintendo being sued because You can't install your Steam copy of Final Fantasy VII on your Switch. Are people going to start suing GM because they can't install a $500 Sedona engine in their STS and keep the warranty? If they do, are they going to sue GM, or Kia for that matter, when it doesn't work right? Where does it end, when you are given a choice? People are not forced to buy into Apple's ecosystem, or Microsoft's abandoned planet, when Android and it's multitude of vendors are in play, just as they're not forced to buy a Caddy, and can instead buy a sensible Camry.

I'm not currently fond of Apple, though I have been in the past, but this is obviously just digging for gold, and hoping to strike it rich for a couple lawyers, and as an Apple consumer, I knew what I was getting in to. Indeed, I think that the entire concept of class-action lawsuits should be re-thought. It never "benefits" the supposedly injured and only serves to enrich a couple lawyers, and maybe their personal assistants. When Yahoo, Target, and so on (which I had consumer ties with) were hacked, I, as an "injured party" literally saw nothing. Lawyers saw a Christmas bonus big enough to upgrade their 20-foot boat to a 45-foot yacht.

Sorry, Mr Zuckerberg isn't in London that day. Or that one. Nope. I'd give up if I were you

Michael Jarve

When El Reg...

....even makes the slightest indication that Apple could be in the right on something tangential to the story, you know you've gone over the line. On the other hand, the wild west that the Face Book, etc, have enjoyed for the past decade is ripe for taming. Mark and his ilk have made massive amounts of money monetizing and dehumanizing people, all in the guise of creating a digital utopia. To stay unanswerable for the consequences is unacceptable. In the past, when companies or industries have gotten too big or bold for their britches, the government has stepped in to (at least at first) bring some sanity about. It's true that many regulations and regulators have surpassed and vastly expanded their edicts, but that is another problem for another day. It would not hurt any of these companies to feel the real bite of law (if laws existed that governed them), nor hurt their "innovation" of making money selling ads to people. Some degree of genuine accountability is in order. The other side of the equation, of course, is over reaction by the government, but when applied to tech companies this has been either ineffectual or toothless in the long run, and thus not hurt them at all. A bit like telling your child to improve their grades or you'll reduce the data plan for their cellphone.

That amazing Microsoft software quality, part 97: Windows Phone update kills Outlook, Calendar

Michael Jarve

It’s a game...

Since the release of Windows 10, be it mobile or else which, Microsoft has been treating Windows as Bethesda treats an Elder Scrolls game- release it now, and we’ll fix it later. The difference, of course is that people rely on Windows operating correctly from day one (or at least reliably enough) whereas people playing Skyrim can wait 6 days or months for a mostly functioning version of the game through patches. It’s not really an important thing. This Windows as a service scheme is not suited to a consumer/semi-pro OS. It works for Linux, because Linux users tend to be more savy ( nevermind that many problems can be circumvented with config/command line mojo). Not to mention that most major Linux distros have a 3+ year LTS version with regular patches, but also have an army of user/developers who also contribute code, based on real-life scenarios and a now more polite overlord who demands the best (even if/when bugs get through), and MS’s new “throw it at the wall and see what sticks, we’ll fix it later” looks even more daft. Peter Bright, Microsoft apologist, recently wrote on another site about how MS’s OS’s were always crud out of the gate, and took a service pack or two to be considered good enough for deployment, and that the fix it as we go Windows 10 meant continual bugs improvements not seen in previous versions. What he failed to concede was that while, yes, the initial release was usually rubbish, the service pack, released a year or so later was solid enough to keep you going for 10 or more years, if you updated, because it was tested up the wazoo before release. The first version of anything is not as good as the later version. Companies learn from mistakes, and not only from the mistakes they made, but why those mistakes were made. Further, you could choose not to bork your system every 6 months with a service pack feature upgrade foisted upon you whether you want it or not.

What can I say about this 5G elixir? Try it on steaks! Cleans nylons! It's made for the home! The office! On fruits!

Michael Jarve

Greatful for what we get.

Living in a rural area, serviced by a WISP I helped get off the ground, I’d appreciate even 20mb/s broadband. The relatively meager 4mb/S (max; routinely only 100-200kb/s) I have now (occasionally supplemented by my phone’s 8mb/s hotspot speed with 8GB/month cap) is good enough for daily web use, but useless for streaming HD video, music, cloud use, etc. If I buy a game via Steam, I can either wait 20-30 hours for it to download (never mind patches), or burn through a month’s worth of 4G data in one go. And in the area I live in, this is typical. In order to get anything appreciably faster, I would have to pay, out of pocket, about $90,000USD, for “up to” 100mb/s internet, plus $89/month plus fees, etc. 5G, without meaningful reliability, service, elimination of data caps, or speed improvements is useless to me. If the government wanted to make things better, they’d stop throwing money into unicorn wireless systems and throw it into expanding rural fiber, or even bloody DSL. It really says something when I have to travel 15 miles with a laptop and glom off a dialysis center’s guest WI-FI to download any larger file, be it a game or a Windows 10 Service Pack biannual update.

Apple to dump Intel CPUs from Macs for Arm – yup, the rumor that just won't die is back

Michael Jarve

Same trick, new pony

As the article contends, this is not Apple’s first rodeo switching architectures. But, as capable as ARM processors are now, I think there is still arguments to be made as to X86’s superiority, especially if Apple wishes to keep its foothold in the creative/pro markets. Apple’s intimate knowledge of ARM not withstanding (they were early champions of ARM), many third-party developers are x86 houses for power apps, with a mere toehold in ARM. The Unix underpinnings of Mac OS are quite portable (compared to classic Mac OS), but if they are not abandoning the workstation market (as they seemingly have) they will need something more than “good enough” ARM. Unless they have a quite powerful ARM chip in mind, without cooperation from nVidia and AMD, any such adventure is doomed to fail. When Apple went from PowerPC to Intel, they were becoming [i]more[/i] compatible with market/ industry; this would be going back the other way. As innovative as PowerPC was at the time, ARM is still the economic/ecological solution to CPU’s and will remain so untill they have a real competitive desktop/workstation offering that competes with x86 on a performance and economy basis. In addition, it would screw anyone invested in a MacInSoft workstation and do away with any developer cred, absent some really awesome emulation mojo. I, for one, don’t look forward to a “PC” compatibility card of ancient times ( if, ever again an expandable Mac were to exist).

Apple to require privacy policy on all apps

Michael Jarve

Re: 4 Lane Privacy Highway

What you're seeing here is the difference between a services company, e.g. The Facebook, et al, and a products company. Google, etc. make their bread on the long tail of monetizing the consumer to other customers via behavioral profiling and advertising, whereas Apple's gravy is the immediate gratification of purchasing an expensive piece of jewelry that they profit from immediately. If The Facebook and sundry had an option/business model where they charged each customer $700-$1000 upfront every 2-3 years for their glorified BBS/email service, and did not make their money selling personal data to any comer, I'm sure they'd be just as resolute in their protection of intimate personal data. If Apple sold their cell phones and watches at a loss (hold your laughter) and made up for it selling the buyer's intimate details to any comer, they'd be singing a different tune.

As it is, it's different business models. There is nothing for nothing- pay for it up front, or pay for it with your privacy.

Samsung and its ilk are a bit different- some try to have the best (from the shareholder's perspective) of both worlds, buying into Google's data gorging operations for next to nothing, but also charging the up-front premium of Apple's walled-garden for their product. Good for them, I say. They have it figured out that in most cases you can get them coming and going. That said, there are some cases where I think Apple, being Apple, could say in their advertisements, in 72-point impact font "WE SELL ALL YOUR INFORMATION TO WALL STREET AND ISIS, AT AMAZING PROFIT!!!!!" and it would only increase sales.

Shock Land Rover Discovery: Sellers could meddle with connected cars if not unbound

Michael Jarve

I agree entirely. If it's some sort of authorized dealer sale, then yes, LRJ, Volvo, and others do bear responsibiliy to make sure ownership "truly" changes hands, but if I'm selling my Rover to Charles, here, who's job is it to make sure I hand over *all* the keys? Is it his, having researched the vehicle and deciding to buy it? Is it mine, having owned the POS and having become familiar with all its quirks bugs? Is it in fact LRJ's having no idea I've become disillusioned with their vision of luxury and instead selling my RR and buying a fleet of old-lady gold colored 1990 Toyota Camary's and not looking back?

Should it be easy enough for someone, presumably almost anyone, to defeat the "connectedness" of a modern car just to prevent someone else from taking over our 2.5-ton lethal projectile and causing embarrassment, inconvenience, or worse? Is there really some way to prevent some occurrence without constantly phoning home to Nanny? Or should we decide that out car really does not need to talk to our toaster or alarm clock, and that carrying a keyfob with the traditional "lock, unlock, panic" buttons is really not all that hard or traumatic. I know El Reg's readership tends to turn a more critical eye towards such things than readers of say Ars Technica's "Oh! Shiny Phone App until Privacy Breach!", but I suspect that even even Gitlin would prefer security and safety to adding yet another mostly useless app to their iTimepiece.

Then again, there is a reason the Rover (14,000 hard-fought miles) is saved for Friday nights and trips to the Cities and the 18 year old 940 Turbo (536000 miles) is driven daily. Not to mention that I live in northern Minnesota- the Swedes, at least at one time, knew how to make a car for our climate.

Michael Jarve

As long as they're still using Lucas...

...electronics, there should be little to worry about. Based on my personal experience with my own Range Rover, attempting to unlock the doors remotely will only result in the gas-cap cover opening, and attempting to remotely start it will just just cause a puddle of oil to appear under the engine. Pretty much, there is nothing a previous owner, or evil valet can do to those vehicles that's worse than what they already do.

I still remember the reassuring "click" of the safety belt the first time I drove mine off the lot, and the weird sensation of the fastener portion of the belt sliding across my lap and chest as it came out of its anchor about 2-blocks away from the dealership. Land Rover: Inventors of the self-releasing seatbelt.

Apple hauled into US Supreme Court over, no, not ebooks, patents, staff wages, keyboards... but its App Store

Michael Jarve

Conflicted feelings...

On the one hand, Apple's "walled garden" approach to the app store and exclusive delivery method is one of the selling points purchasers of iThings buy into- I know in the case of my mother, after having been crapped on by Microsoft with Windows Phone (Lumia 920), and enduring the Wild West of Android (Samsung Galaxy 4s), she very much appreciates the relative simplicity, continuity, and security of her iPhone. Since she got her iPhone 6, she won't even consider another phone.

On the other, I'm a geek spoiled for choice on what OS I want to boot up every day, many of which are open-source (and those that I don't are inevitably fired up in VMWare) on a PC I built myself (agonizing over parts selection sometimes for minutes on end), and I'm used to having things done how I want, when I want.

I wouldn't want MicrIntel saying to me "You can only run these approved programs purchased through the Microsoft Store on the approved OS on approved hardware."

Office 365 celebrates National Beer Day by popping out for a pint

Michael Jarve

To be fair to customers...

To be fair to Microsoft, operational dependency on any single environment will result in a single point of failure it's the customer's fault for using their product, which is never a good thing.


This HTC U12+ review page is left intentionally blank

Michael Jarve

Stereophile has similar problems...

Almost since it's inception, Stereophile (and many others of their type) have encountered the same conundrum. It has been their position, though, to review what is given to them- except in the cases of something obviously damaged or defective- be damned.

If the company under review wants you to review a beta-quality product, then that is their prerogative. I remember Infinity being signaled out specifically because their loudspeakers might be revised two or three times between the time that the review set were sent to the magazine and the "final" version shipped to stores or customers. In effect, the magazine was accusing Infinity (and others) of having the reviewers beta-test their devices.

It would be no different than to delay posting a review of say, Windows, until it is EOL'd, and passing judgement only on the final, final version with all the patches and feature updates that it will ever receive. If they want you to review the final product, they should send you the final product- if they want you to review the beta, half-baked version, then that's what you do. Doing otherwise is dishonest.

Hey, Mac fanbois: Got $600,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Splash out on this rare Apple I

Michael Jarve

Of Apple's ~$10k gear...

Further embarrassment can be found in the $7500 Twentieth Anniversary Mac which spec'd out the same as a $2100 P'Mac 6500, and could not be upgraded to the same degree.

On the other hand, they also had the Mac IIfx, which was probably one of the fastest workstations of its day.

Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

Michael Jarve

An extraordinary man in extraordinary times.

Today would have been my father's 60'th birthday, if he had lived another 3 years. That was reason enough to be reflective. That Stephen Hawking passed away makes even more so.

Like many "nerdy" children of the 1980's and 1990's, I was enthralled by Hawking's celebrity and it encouraged me to pursue my own career in the sciences. Never mind his disabilities, his ability to think big thoughts and scale them down was more impressive to me. He made the most difficult physics and cosmology accessible to ordinary people, leaving them, if not more well informed (actually more likely baffled), then at least appreciative of the topics, which was in and of itself revolutionary. Einstein was similarly a celebrity scientist in his time, but was known more for his political positions and eccentricities than making high science science understandable. The only other champions of popular "hard science" I can think of are Carl Sagan and Niel Tyson.

Like many other intensely brilliant people (from all backgrounds) he will, regardless of his religious position, live on for eternity in L-Space (whether he likes it or not), just as Sir Terry does.

Let's go live now to Magic Leap and... Ah, still making millions from made-up tech

Michael Jarve

I eagerly await...

To read what amanfromMars has to say on the Matter. Boy, I miss him/her and wish he/She'd occasionally re-MicrosoftSurface.

Biz sends apps to public cloud, waves 'bye to on-premises server folk. NO! WAIT!

Michael Jarve

Babies and bath water

So fire all the cobblers because going barefoot in the summer is the trend, then complain, once winter comes, that socks aren't good enough and not a boot can be found. This hasn't happened before *cough* manufacturing *cough*.

Let's go live to the 3rd circle of Hell – and see what Comcast and Charter are screwing up

Michael Jarve
Paris Hilton

So, the moral of the story is that if, as Charter did, you fail to deliver on your promises, you will have to pay a fine, that later you will recoup with added fees, to do what you promised to begin with, if, indeed, you do it at all (just like Verizon)... Well done, New York, well done!! And if Charter does not indeed fulfill its obligations, it will be compelled to pay another 12.5 minutes of profits to "settle" it's breach of contract. Can I sell anyone here a bridge? We just built a new one here in Minnesota! Awesome deal. Only $186US million and if you don't make it back the first year, I'll only charge you $175US million, plus fees, surcharges, rentals, etc, etc! A bargain at only $499US million!!!!! (beware five exclamation points as per T. Pratchett)

I withhold judgement on whether Comcast is guilty of such mafia-like behavior, and it is a story I will follow with interest (on El Reg, if they do not loose interest). I do not doubt that they will be able to convince others with discounted service for the first 43 days factual arguments that they did not dig up their competitor's lines while installing their own. They were old, fragile, and near on failing of their own accord. Gophers are to blame as well as lack of regard for infrastructure maintenance and ordinary wear. Gophers can be very, very dangerous for business when you're a small company, without the resources to creatively and legally rip-off your customers.

But, lest anyone forget, this is what happens when a government, federal or local, not only allows, but encourages unregulated monopolies to emerge, and allows these monopolies to integrate vertically (NBC/Universal/Comcast, ATT/DTV/TW, etc.). Because these companies have actively and effectually lobbied to change the laws preventing their formation, with useless opposition, they in effect write the laws and regulations allowing their creation, again, both locally and nationally. The members of congress of both sides (with a couple exceptions) of both the Senate and the HoRes are responsible. To paraphrase the Orange One, this only happens because we allow it to (though he was talking of the generous tax loop-holes he routinely takes advantage of, not necessarily the creation of monopolies or conglomerates). Non-participation, disinterest, and disregard by the general public and lack of action informing the general public by so-called consumer protection groups (I'm looking at you, EFF and friends) is what not only allows this, but encourages it. Such "consumer interest groups" must keep in mind that that the average American does not read El Reg, Ars Technica or Vice: Motherboard on a daily or even ever basis.

Your average US media consumer will bellyache to no end about their high cost of their cable/satellite bill but will never have known that there may have been some regulation or piece of legislation that would have eliminated or reduced it, introduced by some idealistic first term representative from Montana's second district or junior senator who thought, naively, that they may make a difference. I remember when I was elected to student council (without even naming myself or running), and I was stupid enough to think it might have more say than planning prom or home-coming. I idiotically thought we could actually change school policy on a couple things that I didn't think made sense (lack of open lunch and adding a minute between classes for those who had to cross a busy street to get to classes for starters)). As for cable/satellite, I for one, gave up almost twenty years ago when The History Channel decided to refuse showing programs on history, and CNN stopped showing news programs. After that PBS News Hour and Nova were my TV's raison d'etre, and I cut the cable, saving almost $250/year. Even in rural Minnesota, I have a dozen channels to choose from just from the antenna, and, unlike cable/satellite, they're not 250 variations of a theme.

Paris, because only she and leaders of the free world, and in particular the free leader of the free world, would think this is fair and made sense.

While Facebook reinvents Sadville, we still dream of flying cars

Michael Jarve

Re: Flying cars? Pft.

Which is why we desperately need internet connected self-driving flying solutions that can only be started by signing on with the Face Book and can interface with my IoT juicer, so I don't have to suffer the trauma of using my phone to make juice while en route from work to home.

Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

Michael Jarve

Re: We've let you down...

I still have my quad-processor Daystar Genesis 466 box out in the garage. Absolutely smoked the PMac 9600 (Apple's top-shelf kit at the time) in the few multi-processor supported apps available then; it otherwise ran slower than my PMac 6500.

Aside from that, it's wise that the company is realizing its mistake in abandoning the pro/creative community, which (aside from education) is what kept the company afloat during the dark days of the 90's. I personally haven't bought a new "pro" Mac since 2004, when I laid down $3k for a PMac G5 DP 2.0. I do still use my older wind-tunnel G4 (maxed out) for Photoshop and Final Cut duty, where it's still perky enough.

Minnesota, Illinois rebel over America's ISP privacy massacre, mull fresh info protections

Michael Jarve

Re: Minnesotan here!

Ironically, the mythical Lake Woebegone was in the aforementioned district of Michelle "Nuttier than than a Snickers Bar" Bachmann.

Michael Jarve
Thumb Up

I'm very proud of my State.

Though far from perfect, I sometimes wish the rest of the country had the reasonable sensibilities of L 'Étoile du Nord (Michelle "Is she mad!?" Bachman not withstanding). We need more Arne Carlsons and Mark Daytons in office. It must be the hotdish and lutefisk, dont'chya know?

To Mr. Miller, I add that Trump's presidency might push California off the map (rhetorically, anyway), as they seem intent on continuing as if Obama was still in office regarding many policies.

Windows 10 Creators Update: Clearing the mines with livestock (that's you by the way)

Michael Jarve

No love yet..

The link to the links for the ISO just result in a 403 being thrown up. Perhaps it really was not meant to be released yet?

Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

Michael Jarve

Phorm is the new norm in Trump's America.

I've seen this coming for a while. Time was that something like this would have created such outcry, investigations and new regulations, even by republicans. Not no more. Indeed, it's been given the government's personal stamp of approval. As has been pointed out before, people may choose to use GMail, The Face Book, etc. but here in the US, where broaband monopolies are not only allowed, but encouraged, we're forced to use their services or do without. I can choose an alternative to GMail, but many in the US, even in large metro areas, cannot choose a (reasonable) alternative to Comcast or AT&T. So, all we can do is tilt at windmills and give up any notion of online privacy. As of now, I personally can't wait to serve our new monitization overlords.

Public IPv4 drought: Verizon Wireless to stop handing out static addys

Michael Jarve

Hello from

I still have a public static to my home, the legacy of an ISP I was involved with. I used to run my own servers on it, but they're now located at the ISP's NOC. Kept the address mostly as a convenient way to remote into my home PC's using RDC/VNC/ARD.

FCC lops off red tape around small US ISPs, y'know, things like having to own up about connection speeds

Michael Jarve

Having started a small ISP...

Having been on the ground floor of starting a small, wireless ISP back in 2000, I can understand the desire to cut through some actually burdensome regulations. When I left the company in 2010 we had just under 6,000 subscribers (this is rural NE Minnesota, so this was a lot), so the order didn't affect us anyways. Still, we were very upfront about speeds and costs. Every installation was preceded by a bottom-line quote for equipment, etc, as well as a site survey/audit. There were no extra fees to activate wi-fi that the customer already had or other B.S. Costs that we had to pay towns and cities for franchise fees or rental space on water towers and so on were already included in the price. It was not a case of advertising $29.99 a month, then tacking on $15 in fees and surcharges on the actual bill. When we advertised $250 installation, and $30 a month for service, that was what you paid. It was no burden to be honest with the customer, even for an outfit as small as we were. In many cases where we did not expect there to be satisfactory service, we told the customer "hey, we advertised 4mb/s, but you might only see north of 1mb/s, still faster than dial-up, cheaper and less latency than satellite, but still $30 a month" and let them decide- there was no pressure. If we, with a staff of only about 10, many of us wearing multiple hats, could do this, I don't understand why a large company (with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and perhaps hundreds or thousands of staff) could not also offer similar honesty.

That said, it is because of the underhanded way that these larger operations behaved that these regulations were put into place in the first place. If they were honest and upfront about the real costs of their service and the performance you could expect out of it, and other limitations (data caps, etc) it would not be an issue.

But, for much of our nation, it's a moot point: there is little by way of broadband competition in many areas, so there is no "informed choice" for a customer to make. You either get broadband through the local cable monopoly, or not.

Vivaldi and me: Just browsing? Nah, I'm sold

Michael Jarve

An addendum

One more thing to note with the v. 1.7 release: The Windows task-bar correctly activates when set to auto-hide, and Vivaldi is has a maximized window! When I was running the previous release under Windows 10, with the task-bar set to auto-hide, it would only intermittently display if I moved the mouse to the bottom of the screen. With Windows 7, it just would not display at all unless I minimized to task bar, or did a restore-down. Huzzah!

Michael Jarve
Thumb Up

The way it should be...

I've been using Vivaldi since version 1 was released, and it became my default browser this past summer. While most browsers seem to be dumbing down the UI, and taking settings away from the users, it's refreshing to use one that allows virtual micro-management of the UI and settings. When this morning I fired it up, and it offered v 1.7 I had no hesitation to download and install it.

It's stability has been the only sore point in my experience, with random, inexplicable CTD's, the built-in HTML 5 video player crapping out and requiring a page reload to get going again, and some other little odds and ends. It's snappy enough on my circa 2011 TOL DAMMIT rig, so I'm not sure why it would seem slow on Orlowski's much superior I7 system, although it does not start up as quickly as IE 11.

Frankly, it puts me back in the mindset of Safari back in the OS X 10.5 days, which I still use on a Volvo 240-like Power Mac G4. It's good to see power being handed back to the people who want it.

Did Oculus swipe blueprints from rival? Zuck takes the stand

Michael Jarve
Thumb Down

Many moons ago...

I seem to remember that a few years ago, Ars Technica did a piece on the Virtuix Omni, a VR peripheral that, at the time, actually made VR seem worthwhile. The story, as well as one of the first stories that Ars did on the Oculus Rift showed that even then there was a close connection between ZeniMax (by proxy of ID Software) and Oculus. One of the first games mentioned in the Rift story was Doom 3 and one the use cases for the Virtuix Omni was walking around in Skyrim. Back then Oculus was a hardware company looking for software to showcase their technology, and I'm sure that without the help of ZeniMax/ID it would have taken longer to develop the Rift or the software to showcase it. ZeniMax may not have created the Oculus, but I have little doubt that some of their code or technology made it into Oculus' own when Carmack joined up; John may have developed and written the code, but if he wrote it and developed it while still at ID, then it belongs to them.

I also find the Zuck's assertion that he never before heard of ZeniMax disingenuous at best: how could he not know about the company founded by the husband of Wonder Woman? Implying that ZeniMax is just an opportunistic IP troll is laughable.

Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

Michael Jarve

From my own experience...

I had been using Windows 10 on my main gaming/daily driver desktop for over a year- until earlier just this month. That system is going on 6 years old (the last upgrade was a new video card in 2013), and Win 10 ran pretty smoothly on it- better than Windows 8/8.1 on the same hardware. Through third-party utilities, I managed to get the UI more or less how I wanted it, defeated Cortana (every time she re-appeared, searchui.exe was mysteriously renamed c*ntana), made sure deferred "upgrades" was active, and so on. In all, I managed to mitigate most of what I found to be the most egregious sins and trespasses pretty well. The forced ordinary updates that actually caused some sort of problem were few and far in between, and could often easily be fixed. Many of the under-the-hood improvements in security and performance were welcome (at least relative to Win 8/8.1).

Back to earlier this month: on or about the 15th of December, when I shutdown the system (a real shutdown- I disabled quick-start or whatever it is) I was not surprised to see that the system was once again installing updates before going to bed. When I booted up the next morning, the system would appear to hard-freeze shortly after loading the desktop, and after about 5 minutes, would give me the condescending "Something has gone Wrong :(" BOSD and reboot. Of course, MS removed the traditional F5/F8 safemode startup, and it's pretty hard to tell the OS to boot into safemode by restarting it when it's locked up, so there was nothing else for it. The system was well and truly borked, and needed reloading.

At this point I very nearly decided to install one of the more consumer friendly Linux distros. I'd used Ubuntu in the past on a Compaq laptop with excellent results- I could do pretty much everything I needed with it, easily and efficiently. I fired up my ancient, trusty Wind-tunnel G4 PowerMac running OS X 10.5, and started downloading Ubuntu and Fedora's latest and greatest. Either would support a good deal of what I did on that system, except one very important caveat, and indeed my Windows system's very reson d'etre: Gaming.

Were it not for that, I would have gone ahead with my plan. However, it was a sticking issue, and I was compelled to go out to my garage in sub-freezing temperatures, climb into the loft, and dig out my Windows 7 restore discs, and begin my 5 hour odyssey of reloading the OS, downloading service packs and updates, finding that Windows Update (under Win 7) wasn't working, diagnosing, resetting, downloading updates to update the updater, changing registry settings, ad naseum. I still do not have all the programs reinstalled that I need (though I was pleased to find that, unlike under Windows 10, my copy of Adobe CS2 launched like a charm). I would have had to do similar with Linux, save for reinstalling Steam and all my games (when you only have a 4Mb/s internet connection, Fallout 4 with all the trimmings takes a week to download). That said, it did make me appreciate how "Mac-Like" Windows 10 was in that, after installation, Everything Just Worked™ (at least to the point where it didn't).

Still, I am not, at this point, keen on reverting back to Windows 10. Windows 7, at least as of now, handles everything I need without the need to "fix" it. And it gives me control over my OS (privacy, updates, etc) instead of the other way around. If Linux had broader gaming support (either internally or with software publishers), I would have ditched Windows. At the very least, if the games that I played were well supported with WINE or similar, it would have been viable. I mentioned that my other system is a vintage Mac, and while many newer games are being released for OS X, this rather excludes my old G4 system, and would require purchasing a new, expensive system.

Dyn dinged by DDoS: US DNS firm gives web a bad hair day

Michael Jarve

Live from Minnesota

13:05 CST: Ars Technica updated their post on this occurrence to say a second wave of attacks began at about noon EST. As of right now, sites like Wikipedia, The Face Book, Twitter, and the like are not accessible, at least to me. Other sites like Ars Technica, and El Reg are much slower loading than usual.

Official: Windows 10 has hit the 400 million device mark

Michael Jarve

Re: Windows 10: Fine for the elite, but caution against the unweary.

"Why would you do such a thing? That's got to be the wrong direction surely."

A matter of perspective, surely. At that time it was getting on 9 years old, but what necessitated the replacement was that she literally vomited on it. She was experiencing end-stage kidney failure and became violently ill. A $400 Dell from Walmart was a quick, cheap replacement that kept her playing solitaire and checking emails without the wait and expense of a new MacBook. As an aside, she's still on dialysis now, waiting to get on the transplant list, but doing relatively well.

Michael Jarve

Windows 10: Fine for the elite, but caution against the unweary.

I've been personally using Windows 10 since its official release last year. For the most part, I much prefer it to 8/8.1, but I don't like many parts as much as I liked Windows 7 Pro. For me, the sore points have mostly been the lack of privacy controls (or automatic default opt-ins for MS services), automatically forced updates/patches, and the idea that since Microsoft "gave away" the OS for free (for a time) we somehow exchanged our privacy and marketing information for a "free" OS and defaults you into their data gorging operations. I can almost tolerate the forced updates, but nowhere did I expect the OS to be so intrusive.

Fortunately, for the computing elite, there are ways to mitigate what I consider to be the more egregious aspects of Windows 10, at least for now. I've managed to stop Cortana's siphoning of data to god-knows-where (at the expense of the OS constantly vomiting into the Application and System logs), and can at least postpone forced OS service packs Updates until they've been thoroughly re-beta tested by those less fortunate or knowledgeable. Back in the good-old days of ordinary Patch Tuesday, I'd let other chumps download said patches first, scour the web for things that were pooched, and by Thursday would know whether I wanted in on the fun. Classic Shell even allows my Start menu to work and look as I've come to expect it. In short, I can get around my hangups in Win 10 with effort and knowledge, or the knowledge of others.

But for my Mom, and the remaining 90%+ of the computing consumers, things are not so simple. Mention gpedit, and you get a look that would not be out of place on a concussed kitten. These are the people that are baffled when their free subscription to Office 365 expires and they can no longer create "letters" even though it worked fine yesterday, it must be the new Virus they heard about on the news, just take a look at it, why are my pictures and screen saver not what they used to be... etc. They are also the people that seemingly don't care that their computer is hoovering up their personal info and habits and shipping it off to Redmond in the hopes that they'll click on the ad for discount airfare to Minneapolis, what a coincidence, they just did a search on their own computer for paper that included the words "Winter Carnival", don'tcha know, or are suddenly seeing ads for alcohol abuse treatments on every site they visit after researching "liver failure" in Bing, the default search engine on the default browser on the default OS.

More is the pity, as many of Win 10's underlying improvements are just that: Improvements. Features that benefit the computer and the end user, but are largely invisible, or, for those that know about them, overshadowed by the OS's stalker-like behavior. On my 5 year old hardware of my daily-driver system, Win 10 is as speedy and more reliable than Windows 7, no matter how much I liked it.

There are many of a technically inclined sort who advocate an alternate OS, particularly Linux. Linux, especially the more consumer-friendly forms like Ubuntu, are compelling. Linux could handle 90% of what I do under Windows, without most of the hassle, but there is the hassle right there- Performing a wholesale change of OS is itself a hassle, and trying to get the remaining 10% of what I need to do (which, when you can't do it seems like 100%) is impractical. Further, that does nothing to help the majority of consumer users who are not going to go so far, for love nor money; it was hard enough replacing my Mom's OS X iBook with a Windows 8 Dell Laptop!

No wonder we're being hit by Internet of Things botnets. Ever tried patching a Thing?

Michael Jarve

Is patching even a good idea?

Given how little thought goes into thinking about security in the first place, I would not doubt that in many cases the cure might be as bad as the disease, at least from the standpoint of end-users. When Microsoft can force an service pack, update, Anniversary Upgrade that can bork whole classes of devices in one go, foisted upon the world whether they want it or not, I hold little hope that the 12 monkeys writing code for (to join the zeitgeist) IDIoTIC devices will not merely add to the Chaos.

Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

Michael Jarve

Fine for some...

I "upgraded" to Win 10 when it was launched with my (at the time) 4.5 year old desktop PC (Asus mobo, GTX780 video, AMD Phenom II x4 965BE, 12GB RAM). The BIOS hasn't been updated since 2012. Surprisingly, everything except the sound worked right out of the gate (the sound issue was resolved by lowering the sampling rate). This past June, I installed the first service pack November update, and again, experienced no issues. This is even after three previous in-place upgrades (Win7 Home->Win8 Pro->Win10 Pro). I'm anxious to see how my luck holds out with Service Pack 2 Anniversary Update.

My mother's Dell laptop, two years old this summer, with straight Intel hardware fails completely and has to be restored to Windows 8, then updated to 8.1. Go Figure.

Theranos bins two years of test results

Michael Jarve

""Excellence in quality and patient safety is our top priority..."

If that were the case, and not being obsessed with becoming next multi-billion dollar unicorn, they'd never have to take their ".... comprehensive corrective measures..." This is playing games with peoples lives strictly for profit.

Magic streaming beans? Sure, have my cow - music biz

Michael Jarve

One other elephant in the room (at least for the U.S.) is the specter of metered billing. Even low-res steaming can eat up a good amount of bandwidth in a month, especially for cases when streaming is used as a substitute for radio. In a world where every gigabyte counts downloading whole albums at CD quality or streaming the same isn't quite a convient option.

Microsoft throws Kinect under a bus, slashes Xbox One to $399

Michael Jarve

This, I think, is a good thing, and I hope that Microsoft learns from this. With XB1 and Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to force the market and consumers to follow Microsoft's vision instead of offering consumers the products needed to realize their vision; Microsoft's history of vision has not been successful, especially in areas where their customers mostly want what they already have, but "better."

Microsoft tried to sell Kinect and Touch where people just wanted Games and A Reliable OS. Trying to foist what should be a compliment to the main experience is like a restaurant trying to force it's customers to eat the sweet potato fries and coleslaw when they really just want the steak.

Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Michael Jarve

Well, even Apple's transition from Classic to OS X was not as abrupt. You still had the conventions of the desktop, hard drive, applications folder, etc. Changes were largely cosmetic, not functional, much the same way that Windows 7 is different from XP. Then, when iOS was released, they didn't force the same thing on the desktop- the contemporary OS X at the time was largely the same as the previous versions. 10.8 is closer to iOS, but it's been a more gradual transition, and I dare say that Apple recognized (and continues to recognize) that while iOS is a great touchy OS for phones and tablet, it would be frustrating bordering on useless on a keyboard/mouse based desktop or laptop system, and vice versa.

Microsoft, in their zeal to not only catch up, but appear as a leader just went too far, and certainly too quickly; further, they never even accomplished the goal of unifying WinPhone/DeskWin/Win RT, which is the only reason that makes sense to force TIFNAM on desktop users. They put the cart before the horse, and are now trying to drive backwards in the hopes of fixing the situation without admitting that they screwed up (royally) to begin with.

Michael Jarve

800MB and all I got

Downloaded an 800+ MB patch expecting the triumphant return of the Start Menu, and all I got was the Store app pinned to my taskbar. Well done, M$, well done...

Official: America now a nation of broadband whingers

Michael Jarve

Missing the mark

This "article" completely misses the mark. The Ars piece points out that what is perceieved as a duopoly is actually a monopoly. Fiber is non-existent in most of the country, DSL is laughable, and the other "alternatives" are a non-starter. In my neck-o-the-woods, the choices are Cable (bloody expensive but intermittently fast), DSL (reliably fast, but limited to town centers), WLAN Wireless (reliably mediocre), satellite (ha!), or dial-up (HA!). This leaves cable with the "broadband" monopoly. I've had to settle on WLAN Wireless, with speeds that a Japanese or Swedisd phone would consider an error. I ask Andrew to come live in North-central Minnesota for a week and carry the same tune.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019