* Posts by bazza

2165 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

bazza Silver badge

Re: Bye bye.....

Another former Demon customer here...

For those that can remember that far back, one of the advantages Demon had was their own line to the USA - they'd rented their own bandwidth on a transatlantic cable. That made the internet a touch faster, as their traffic (most servers were in the US those days), didn't get mixed in with everyone elses, so it was as good as dial up could get.

What's the fate of our Solar System? Boffins peer into giant crystal ball – ah, no, wait, that's our Sun in 10bn years

bazza Silver badge
Mushroom

Boom!

Hmmm, a ball of white hot crystalised carbon with a sphere of solid oxygen in the core. There's plenty of scope for the mother of all chemical explosions at some point!

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit

bazza Silver badge

The choice of C is very peculiar. For a load of non-kernel root code handling critical data doing important jobs, picking a language where it's far harder to make mistakes with memory usage / handling would be less peculiar, eliminating a whole class of cock ups from the project.

Rust, anyone?

bazza Silver badge

Re: OpenBSD

Er, Pledge is a brand of furniture polish, gives one's desktop a lovely shine. Happy coincidence?!

This is the final straw, evil Microsoft. Making private GitHub repos free? You've gone too far

bazza Silver badge

Re: As ever

"If you're not paying the owner of the product for the product, you are the product."

Er, in this specific case you can pay for GitHub, as an Enterprise or Pro user. That makes this repricing of GitHub nothing more than a simple marketing exercise, to encourage future customers. Nothing particularly evil there AFAICS.

It's certainly very different to the change in WhatsApp price to zero when Facebook took over. It's looking increasingly like they're going to try and convert users of that into product. Facebook recently refused to guarantee that end to end encryption will be kept ad infinitum.

Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? Some insiders are confident it is

bazza Silver badge

Re: So now they know how it feels ...

OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully. This was because IBM licensed the source code from MS, so Windows on OS/2 was perfectly legitimatel.

I can remember articles about this, including one where the first thing IBM did was compile the code, just to see if they’d got everything. And they had, it worked just fine. However, because they’d used the Watcom compiler instead of the MS compiler, it ran quicker...

The real barriers to this being taken further was when MS started putting 32bit code in. The address space layout they went for required 2GB of virtual address space (note, not an actual 2GB of ram), whereas OS/2 was stuck with a maximum of 512MB per process. Can’t really blame MS for that.

Microsoft to rule the biz chat roost – survey

bazza Silver badge

Re: That's the theory

Never tried it myself. Is it a nice friendly text box one can type SQL into?

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

bazza Silver badge

Re: Google does it's usual...

All businesses close things that don't make money.

Not all businesses treat individual units as separate businesses that have to stand up on their own. Some take a big strategic picture view of their entire business, and tolerate a loss in one area if it helps makes a positive long term contribution overall. Speaking entirely subjectively, and therefore possibly unfairly (apologies in advance) this is more commonplace outside of the USA...

Google shutting down Google+, and indeed the whole way they've handled its introduction and forced promotion, indicates that Google is now separate business units, pursuing mostly independent strategies. That's not good for their long term future. Their users don't want to have to treat Google as a bunch of disconnected businesses...

Open Goal?

With Facebook rapidly becoming public enemy #1, and Google exiting the arena without a replacement too, one has to say that there's a good opportunity for someone else to butt in. Say a big company stood up a decent cross platform social media service, with an emphasis on not slurping data at all (so they'd need to be in another profitable business area already) and could promote it well enough, it might just get somewhere. If we all liked it, we'd all be liking them, a marketing manager's dream customer base.

Who could do that? MS?, Apple? Amazon? Oracle? OK that last one isn't serious...

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

bazza Silver badge

Re: Interesting idea

Molten salt is used for this purpose already, have easily handled temperature ranges and being plentiful (near the sea). Silicon heat storage involves much higher temperatures - so harder engineering - but is more efficient as a result.

Salt has a virtuous benefit; with available energy you can get the salt by desalinating sea water. The salt goes into your heat store, enabling the generation of electricity, and the fresh water is likely a valuable resource in hot, permanently sunny areas suited to solar-salt energy schemes.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

bazza Silver badge

Re: Oh Homer - "work with anything other than Chromium"

Yep. Been using Firefox for ages now exclusively, current versions seem very good. Waaaaay better than Chrome(ium) on things like memory consumption, doing the things I want it to do, etc. Certainly not had any issues with it freezing up with YouTube....

Qualcomm lifts lid on 7nm Arm-based octo-core Snapdragon 855 chip for next year's expensive 5G Androids

bazza Silver badge

I'm Confused...

...I thought this was supposed to be a mobile phone chip. Every single spec point seems to be better than my current desktop machine.

BTW who has got the eyes to do justice to a 4k display on a phone? Superman?

Microsoft's .NET Core 3 is almost here, which means time to move on from .NET Framework

bazza Silver badge

BTW, I was mistaken about WPF being available on platforms other than Windows. It isn't (at least, not yet, not in .NET Core 3). Pity, that.

bazza Silver badge

Re: It's time...

@AC,

I don't think that the WPF component works outside of Windows, though - I seem to remember reading on a MS blog post that that was the case, due to dependencies on DirectX.

You're quite right :( I did a bit more digging, seems that those components haven't made it across. It is DirectX calls that are indeed the problem.

I wish that they would do a WPF implementation on another platform. It doesn't have to recreate all the fancy shadow / transparency effects, etc, it just needs to function.

bazza Silver badge

They're referring to applications developed in Visual Studio against frameworks like Winforms and WPF. Probably just like the ones you're writing right now, assuming you're using C#.

WPF on platforms other than Windows would be good news, which is presumably what we're getting with .NET core 3. WPF is actually pretty slick. Given the choice of that and bolting something together using GTK, I know which one I'd choose.

bazza Silver badge

Re: It's time...

I don't see any particular need to duck and cover...

I've occasionally had to worry about cross-platform desktop apps and Qt is a good choice. It even works on BB10... However I actually quite like WPF, simply because of the data binding you can do in xaml. Get that right and it's a highly satisfactory way of doing things. The fact that .Net core 3 has got this is fantastic news IMHO.

It'll be interesting to see just how much of MS's software uses .Net and could now become cross platform, just like that. MS might have succeeded where Java failed so spectacularly for desktop software.

STIBP, collaborate and listen: Linus floats Linux kernel that 'fixes' Intel CPUs' Spectre slowdown

bazza Silver badge

It's not just Intel AFAIK.

This whole sorry saga was kinda inevitable as soon as CPUs started having microcode; someone was sooner or later going to end up with a micro architecture that didn't really implement the advertised machine architecture.

OK, it was a way of getting better performance from existing software on new CPU designs, but we're paying a price for that now. Perhaps if microcode wasn't so opaque, perhaps if we didn't use it at all, problems like this would be more readily apparent before they got burnt into decades worth of CPUs.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

bazza Silver badge

Re: Arrested for being drunk

It's one of the very few use cases that seems to make any marketable sense to me. Pity they can't actually do that, nor ever will.

bazza Silver badge

Re: Plan A

The police here in the UK have nabbed a Tesla-twat who was resting in the passenger seat as the car was autopiloting itself down a motorway. BBC So they're getting there...

Linux lobby org joins with RISC-V bods to promote open chip spec

bazza Silver badge

Re: There is Another Open Source CPU...

I suspect a licence fee is smaller than the cost of setting up the fab to make a chip. Or at least, I hope so! Funding a foundation does have wider benefits, if that's the scale of the license fee.

A myriad variations on the RISC-V instruction set sounds fun, but could be a right nuisance; it'd be adding to the minefield of software dependencies.

OK, so there's more to ARM than one single instruction set too, but at least that's all quite well controlled. Only a few ARM licensees have the right to alter the ISA, but they don't really do so AFAIK.

bazza Silver badge

There is Another Open Source CPU...

AFAIK IBM make their POWER CPUs open source in some way or other. Which is a pretty big piece of very complete chip design available to all and sundry. There's the OpenPower foundation, and Raptor are doing a server that's completely open source, from the chips / firmware upwards. Very commendable!

So wouldn't it be superfluous to add too much to RISC V, to end up with two competing open source server chip designs running Linux? After all, it's not like POWER 9 is lacking much.

IBM's Ginni Rometty snipes, er, someone for being irresponsible with data, haven't a clue who

bazza Silver badge

Yeah, for a start, take away their beer tokens. There is no harsher sanction than that! It's the least they deserve.

Only kidding, El Reg. Were it possible to choose an icon for posts on your mobile website, this one would have the pint alongside it.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

bazza Silver badge

Re: Licensed Spectrum

Ah well, presumably your new 2.6 isn't turbo charged. My commiserations.

Stanley Hooker, he of Rolls Royce Merlin supercharger fames, points out that the effective displacement an engine is related to the volume and air charge pressure. He just happened to be very good at increasing the latter. However it's notable though that the Spitfire was at its very, very best when fitted with the larger RR Griffon engine, also supercharged.

[Hooker went on to do some of the finest jet engines there ever were (Olympus, Pegasus, etc), and was very complimentary about Whittle in his book "Not Much of an Engineer". Whittle had worked out some fine detail about compressors that took Hooker quite a while to appreciate; Whittle really was a very clever man.]

Today's 2.0 turbo diesels are very, very good at mimicking much higher displacements than their apparent size. You start needing something really quite large to match them for torque. As for why your 2.6 is feeling a bit weedy, that'll be the emissions target it's having to meet.

Mr. Honda used to say that there's no fundamental reason why a petrol engine cannot match a diesel for thermal efficiency (which can also be equated to torque for a given capacity). And indeed Mazda's crazy new engines with a compression-spark ignition + variable compression ratio petrol cycle are pretty much there. If my next car isn't going to be a turbo diesel or pokey hybrid / electric, it'll have to be one of those Mazda engines. Interestingly Mazda and Toyota seem to be getting very chummy recently, and Toyota have a new battery technology (solid electrolyte Lithium Ions) which promises to significantly alter the charge / discharge characteristics.

So we could be looking at a Mazda petrol engine with the driving characteristics of a diesel, coupled with a Toyota hybrid component using a battery with larger capacity and (apparently) super fast charging times. That really would destroy the old adages "there's no replacement for displacement".

bazza Silver badge

Licensed Spectrum

This is what happens when you put a highly optimised radio service running at high transmission power over lots of licensed spectrum up against another that's using the meagre amounts of open bandwidth, such as 2.4GHz on a limited transmission power.

You can't beat reserved bandwidth and power. As the USAians would say about their car engines, you can't beat cubic inches. Not in a straight line, anyway.

Pinching bits of bandwidth off the weather radars now and then (which is what 5GHz is doing) is kinda a hint that permitted "freeloading" is always going to be limited.

Still, WiFi is very useful though!

Talk about a cache flow problem: This JavaScript can snoop on other browser tabs to work out what you're visiting

bazza Silver badge

Practising Safe Hex

Yet another reason why running random, unattributed, dunno-where-it-came-from, I'm-sure-it'll-be-OK-really code off the Internet is a bad idea.

One day this is going to reach a point where it's indefensible for companies like Google to persist with Javascript as a technology. Many, including myself, think we're already there, and have been for quite some time...

Interesting to think that the large tech comanies are effectively one major browser breach away from unrecoverable reputational damage. That's a risk that they cannot wholly control - people use their browsers for more than just accessing (for example) Google services, and those other sites are potentially able to attack Google's services security without Google being able to control or even detect that.

Not that the old fashioned way was inherently secure - people got software nasties through dodgy shareware, USB sticks, all sorts of vectors. But at least with those you were knowingly installing that software, or plugging in that free USB stick, or connecting to that public network with file sharing enabled, etc. Nowadays just a little light web browsing to even perfectly standard websites can result in someone somewhere getting code running on your machine, and hijacking your data.

OpenStack 2018: Mark Shuttleworth chats to The Reg about 10-year support plans, Linus Torvalds and Russian rockets

bazza Silver badge

Re: Beardbait

Didn't good old Monty Panesar have a decent beard as well? WG Grace of course had a beard of substantial dimensions.

I still miss Bearders...

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

bazza Silver badge
Angel

Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

Icon because it's nearest to kitty.

Nah, cats can be far more evil than that when they want to be. Naturally, all cats consider themselves to be a (see icon)

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

bazza Silver badge

Re: Whisper it…

Tesla used to be co-owed by Musk and Toyota, and the Tesla factory is an old Toyota factory but Musk started to make changes to the factory and refused to listen to any of Toyota's advice on car manufacturing. He even said that Toyota didn't have a clue about how to build cars and that he would 'school them on car manufacturing'. Toyota decided it wasn't worth dealing with an overgrown child and sold their shares.

I didn't know that, thanks for relaying it. I'm reading a book, "The Toyota Way”, and it's very clear that Toyota know more about car manufacturing and quality than Elon Musk. What I'd like to know is whether any of the remaining shareholders took Toyota's departure as a warning sign. I know I would...

Just a little heads up: Google is still trying to convince everyone that web apps don't suck

bazza Silver badge

Re: Security...

I can see no future security issues here with apps from a remote server accessing my local filesystem. Nope, none at all....

Hmmm, I sense sarcasm, touch of irony...

Android fans get fat November security patch bundle – if the networks or mobe makers are kind enough to let 'em have it

bazza Silver badge

BlackBerry are doing OK with patches

Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that's not macOS. Go on, git outta here

bazza Silver badge

Re: SecureBoot Bites Again

Presumably the lack of the MS cert will also stop Windows installs onto Mac too ??

It includes the certificate MS uses to sign Windows. It does not include the certificate (also issued to Microsoft) that everyone else has been using for Linux. The two certificates have broadly similar names!

Or at least, that's my reading of the situation. May be wrong!

Solid state of fear: Euro boffins bust open SSD, Bitlocker encryption (it's really, really dumb)

bazza Silver badge

Re: Really?

Be fair, the motherboard, CPU and memory chips are also hardware items that have to be trusted if one were to rely solely on software encryption. It's not unreasonable for MS to have assumed one has purchased good hardware.

In memoriam: See you in Valhalla, Skype Classic. Version 8 can never replace you

bazza Silver badge

Re: "rumuors of Microsoft embracing open Source"

@Andy Denton, 95Rune, LDS, et al

That's all fantastic insightful stuff, thank you very much. I consider myself well and truly edumacated!

The use of Electron is indeed not a ringing endorsement of their own frameworks. Or anyone else's for that matter, if one considers Electron to be the least bad option... Perhaps they've given up trying to make cash from development, participating only where it makes them relevant (eg slowly displacing Java on the backend with .Net Core), and are prepared to let The Internet Provide otherwise. OMG, what have I said?

bazza Silver badge

Re: "rumuors of Microsoft embracing open Source"

And if they released the code of Skype classic, Windows version, a lot of open source purists would cry foul because not a small part was written in Borland Inprise CodeGear Embarcadero Delphi.

Good grief. Yeurk! Er, are you sure? I remember reading (who knows where, it's a long time ago, so I may easily be in error) that it was written using Qt originally. It looked far too nice for Delphi as I remember it, or am I doing Delphi a disservice?

Boom! Just like that the eSIM market emerges – and jolly useful it is too

bazza Silver badge

SIM. rental is pointless...

...if there's a whole bunch of you travelling together (eg a family). Renting a MiFi is more economical as everyone can use that, saves renting 4 separate SIMs. Rental SIMs often don't permit tethering, so running a WiFi hot-spot off one phone won't necessarily work.

bazza Silver badge

Re: If only...

The Napoleonic era French Empire?

bazza Silver badge

@AC,

Uhh...okay. So the fact you could only buy the original iPhone with a 2-year AT&T contract had nothing to do with Apple?

The original iPhone was AT&T because they were the only network in the US running GSM. Apple back then had hardly any money, and couldn't afford to do both a CDMA and GSM phone. Therefore they picked GSM so as to be able to sell to the whole world, not just the USA. Restricting sales to AT&T was of little importance in comparison.

Worldwide Web wizard Tim Berners-Lee sticks wellington boot into Worldwide Web's giants: Time to break 'em up?

bazza Silver badge

Re: Interesting point about Twitter

The problem with Twitter is the adolescent and immature run riot. No influence of any note stands in opposition, and they continue unchecked.

Absolutely. Worse still the social media platforms' business models rely on there being no restraints, no consequences for what users do. It's corporate greed that lies behind this.

BlackBerry KEY2 LE: The first budget Android QWERTY for years

bazza Silver badge

Re: DTek

I find it quite handy, with it's different way to view permissions. Shows you everything that's got access to a permission, not something that Android shows you itself AFAIK.

bazza Silver badge

Re: Close but no cigar

Dear phone makers,

landscape QWERTY. L-a-n-d-s-c-a-p-e.

This makes me so sad. All I've ever wanted since 1997 was a Psion 5 with a nicer screen and a decent modem built in. I don't even want the software changed, it was just fine as it was before Nokia got their hands on it and ruined everything.

I know people who used Psion 5s and IR connected phones for all their mobile business needs. Pretty cool, especially for the late 1990s. In Japan in particular, where the road warriors struggled from meeting to meeting lugging a heavy laptop around, being able to do the same thing with nothing but a Psion 5 in the suit pocket was showing off big time. And, this being Japan, you'd not need an overnight bag either. Psion never, ever thought to do a Japanese version, they'd have made it big time had they done that.

5.1 update sends Apple's Watch 4 bling spinning into an Infinite Loop of reboot cycles

bazza Silver badge

You mean, it's telling the correct time twice a day?!

Software driven watches just sounds like a complete clash. Mankind spent centuries perfecting watches both mechanical and electronic, and then someone has the bright idea of shoving one of our least reliable inventions (software) inside. What did anyone really expect the result to be?

Mourning Apple's war against sockets? The 2018 Mac mini should be your first port of call

bazza Silver badge

Tempting...

...but I'll wait for the iFixit breakdown.

EU Android latest: Critics diss Google's money-spinning 'cure'

bazza Silver badge

Re: Monopolist Often Don't...

Oops; looked up wrong figures for MS and Google quarterly revenues. Google out-earned Microsoft. Still, MS makes profits setlling things to users, and that's a consistently good business model. How come dusty old MS are competing effectively against hot, young and thrusting Google when it comes to cloud services provision?

Google don't sell things to users very well, almost refusing to do such a thing. We'll probably look back on that as a strange kind of blindness.

bazza Silver badge

Monopolist Often Don't...

...Give up their monopolist positions voluntarily. They have to be compelled. And eventually, even slow moving outfits like the US government get their act together to do something substantive (the EU is like greased lightning in comparison...).

There are exceptions. IBM managed to avoid it, basically by being very keen to demonstrate how good a corporate citizen they were, back in the 1970s. IBM was then very different to the company we see today.

Google seems to have no such intention. What Google don't seem to realise is that there's a fine line to tread when operating a near monopoly, otherwise corporate breakup is inevitable. Instead they seem hell bent on antagonising regulators, and even the US politicians are beginning to make grumbling noises. They are not operating an effective long term strategy.

But then again Google's management has never been good at strategy, with their one track mind on how they operate. Their Android strategy has been woeful (China, updates?). Their services strategy has also underperformed (China again). It's going to take some imagination to survive intact, and I don't think they've got it. This is the price they're paying for their skewed corporate constitution, whereby wiser more experienced investors can inject management wisdom by influencing the board's composition. Instead the voting rights distribution amongst shares is guaranteeing that the management will drive the company off a cliff edge.

The UK's Digital Services tax could be the sort of thing that breaks the company too, if the idea spreads. It's easy for other countries to copy it, and 2% can be easily scaled up. And they cannot avoid it because it's based on taxing something that can be measured externally; the ads they display. And the tax man can always compel their customers to disclose how much money they've sent Google's way too. Basically playing an under-reporting game with such a tax could be criminally dangerous.

As things are I see nothing to suggest Google is going to be a consistent cash cow, like Microsoft are. MS out-earned Google by more than 3:1 last quarter. Google are going to fail, unless they face up to the fact that everyone will one day be fed up with them and will be prepared to break them up and tax them into the ground.

Watch closely as NASA deploys the world's biggest parachute at supersonic speeds

bazza Silver badge

Re: Impressive

Absolutely! And if I may be pardoned a small pun, nice to see them slowing up progress significantly.

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

bazza Silver badge

Re: But *Why* did they buy them?

I'm fairly convinced that it's because of who uses RedHat. Certainly a lot of financial institutions do, they're in the market for commercial support (the OS cost itself is irrelevant). You can tell this by looking at the prices RedHat were charging for RedHat MRG - beloved by the high speed share traders. To say eye-watering, PER ANNUM too, is an understatement. You'd have to have got deep pockets before such prices became ignorable.

IBM is a business services company that just happens to make hardware and write OSes. RedHat has a lot of customers interested in business services. The ones I think who will be kicking themselves are Hewlett Packard (or whatever they're called these days).

bazza Silver badge

Someone in IBM doesn't like systemd

IBMer thinks: "I don't like systemd. If I were in charge, I could close it down".

Pauses. Reaches for their Internal Memo pad (for this is IBM afterall), and sharpens their best, most impressive pencil.

Next thing we know it's giga-cheque books at dawn, and some gleeful looking IBM wonk is in charge of systemd.

Seriously though, this does mean that IBM will also control the CentOS project. Nothing particularly wrong with that in my view, IBM have been good friends to Linux over the decades, but it is a whole hunk of consolidation of a sort in the market.

This two-year-old X.org give-me-root hole is so trivial to exploit, you can fit it in a single tweet

bazza Silver badge

Re: Thanks for making this public

The CVE was raised back in July. The tweet was yesterday.

Perhaps you'd be advised to keep an eye on the CVE lists if you're concerned, not everything there gets tweeted.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

bazza Silver badge

Re: "Quality" is a structural attribute, not a bolt-on

@Adam 1,

Oh, Agile if done properly is fine, but it rarely is. The money men don't see the value of rigour regardless of whereabouts in a programme it crops up. Agile too readily gives them an excuse for dispensing with rigour altogether.

Also one of the tenets of Agile seems to be to embrace failure, let it happen, deal with it when it occurs. That might be fine for a Web IM service, where a day or so offline won't matter, but not elsewhere.

If you want to rent AMD Epyc bare-metal boxes in the cloud, Oracle hopes you see red

bazza Silver badge

Re: I wish I had $3K to spare...

Well, there are worse things to do with 3 grand....

I'm quite impressed with AMD of late. Good architecture, well executed, keenly priced. Good processor performance too. It may or may not be luck or judgement that meant they avoided the worst of Meltdown / Spectre, but avoid the worst they did (Meltdown made Intel look silly). They're on my shopping list.

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