* Posts by h4rm0ny

4539 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

You know who else hates Windows 8? Hackers

h4rm0ny
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Re: New proof-of-concept bootkit targets UEFI

"Now, does it need "root" or hardware access to be installed? If yes, why should an attacker bother with that. If he has root access he already won."

Because the attacker wants the malware to persist on the system and therefore it must be installed somewhere that it can be run and run again. The attacker does not want to trick the user into granting privileges (for a trojan) or have the visitor visit an exploit containing site every time that they want to subvert the purpose of the PC. You may only get one shot at the PC so you use that access to install your malware.

"The "invisibility", which is pointless as it's common sense to boot virus scanners from a separate removable disk, doesn't bring much advantage to the attacker."

It's not common at all to launch virus scanners from a separate removable disk, it's so massively inconvenient to most users that it also wouldn't be done and unless you're actually booting from the separate removable disk, then you only have the boot processes word that it is launching the anti-virus software on the other disk correctly. And if you are booting from the removable disk then who is to say that this wont get infected? All you have done is put your boot partition somewhere less convenient and gained nothing.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: That's not why hackers dislike Windows 8

"So how much code does it take to read an object of a pipe in power shell? How much code does it take in Pascal, or Fortran, or Cobol? Then think how much software supports the power shell?"

"object of a pipe"? The objects are what is passed. I honestly don't know what you're trying to say. Are you trying to say that Bash is better because there is less source code than in powershell or that the binaries are smaller? Quite possibly as powershell does some things that Bash cannot. But it's a strange criteria to assess things on else you might as well say that Bash is inferior to the Bourne shell because it's larger, even though it's a lot more capable. And really, why are you trying to find reasons why Bash is better than Powershell in the first place? You should look at two things and work out which is most suited to a purpose, not decide and then look at them to find ways to make them fit your conclusion. Or are you trying to say that you could emulate the object passing in Bash. I don't believe you can - not in any short, elegant or flexible way.

"The beauty of the Unix shell is that it is programming language agnostic. I can read the data with scanf in C or readln in Pascal without any extra work. It simply works with the standard input facility in your programming language. Nothing needs to be ported"

Bash has its own scripting language. That's all that you can use to write a "Bash script". When you call an executable from a Bash script or from the CLI, you're running an executable. That much is the same as in Power Shell. It's no different in principle if I write a script in Bash that calls Python or some other program, than it is if I write a script in Power Shell that calls Python or some other program. You're not under the impression that you wouldn't be able to pass a string with Power Shell, are you? What exactly is it you think can't be done or requires "porting" for Power Shell. And why is that a major issue for most people? It makes as much sense as me saying Bash is inferior to Power Shell because Bash doesn't have native support for .NET. Different environments, different user bases and in both cases, little to do with the relative merits of the shells themselves.

Seriously, where is this obsession with OS vs. OS and trying to prove Bash is better than Power Shell? A question was asked "name one thing that Power Shell can do that Bash can't". Well there are a number of things so I picked a couple of the more interesting. Now you just keep posting more and more bizarre stuff in an attempt to show Power Shell is inferior.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Secure Boot

"This is my point: Secure Boot is a solution looking for a problem"

There are whole families of malware that work by infecting the boot process and which Secure Boot protects against.

"Surely if the OS is secure, it will be impossible for something to write to the boot sector?"

If you make it impossible to write to the boot sector, how do you ever install or upgrade your OS? I note that you are replying to Richto's comment about Win8 RTM being immune to the exploit "CVE-2012-0159". I'm not sure how you got from that to never being able to write to the boot sector from within the OS.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: That's not why hackers dislike Windows 8

"My beef with PowerShell, regardless of how actually good the language is, is that it is often shoved in my face as the Microsoft answer to the Bourne shell common on Unix variants."

How is it "shoved in your face"? It's not being installed on any Unix or Linux systems so far as I know so it's only superceding cmd.exe and batch files on Windows. If you're one of the very small fraction that install cygwin, well, Powershell doesn't magically appear in place of whatever other tools you've installed. You make it sound as if MS are installing it in place of Bash. (And you keep referring to Bourne shells. - Bourne was replaced with Bash a long time since). If by "shoved in your face" you mean that Windows users are saying there is now something equivalent on Windows, well I'm sorry to inform you, but they are right.

"The two are nothing alike. Bourne shell is popular for one reason, it is everywhere. Just about every Unix and Unix-clone you can think of, will come with some variant of the Bourne shell."

No. Bash is popular because it's a good tool. And again, what has popularity to do with comparing the features of Power Shell and Bash? You seem to just want to indulge in OS vs. OS wars. Which is just damaging and unprofitable.

"By all means, include a "better" script shell. But for heaven's sake include something that is backward compatible with what everyone else uses!"

If someone can manage Bash, they can manage Power Shell. There's very little to be gained by trying to make a shell environment on Windows 7 and 8 backwards compatible with a shell commonly used on a very different platform. It wouldn't even be possible without limiting Power Shell from some of its nicest features (e.g. the passing of fully typed objects through a pipe).

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Disappointed?

"Relationship between MS and manufacturers poisons the Forum."

Well at this point, you're just insisting on your case whatever the evidence. Even if MS wasn't on the forum with a dozen major-league hardware players, you'd insist that a commercial relationship made MS the shadowy controller behind it all. Presumably you also consider HTML poisoned because MS are on the W3C, renounce Javascript. I bet you even think Linux is poisoned since Microsoft have contributed to the kernel - I mean it doesn't matter how small MS's role in something is, if they're outnumbered and out-market capped by all those hardware manufacturers, they're on the forum so it's poisoned.

Honestly - someone says MS produce UEFI. I point out that it's actually an open project of numerous hardware manufacturers, but no - MS have poisoned them all.

"When you say this, it sounds positive to you?"

Yes it does. I want to see Red Hat and other distributions maintain security parity with Windows. Competition is good. If MS are willing to sell their signing services to Red Hat for cheaper than it would cost Red Hat to manage all the infrastructure and process themself, that is a good thing.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: most secure windows evar - BUT

"You really need to keep your systems up to date, otherwise you are sure to be vulnerable."

That's what it really comes down to. Ultimately, I would take a well maintained Red Hat server over a poorly managed Server 2012 every time. And vice versa. A little less OS-zealotry and a bit more recognition that no OS is perfect, would go a long way on these forums.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Disappointed?

"While UEFI is not a fatal block to installing Linux on a PC, computer manufacturers should have told Microsoft in no uncertain terms that while the basic technology to prevent boot sector viruses and the like is a good thing, no version of it would go into production that was not 100% operating-system-neutral, that didn't put Windows and any other operating system offered for x86 computers on an absolutely equal footing."

There are a number of fundamental misconceptions in the above. Firstly, UEFI is not the same thing as Secure Boot, any more than Car is the same thing as Steering Wheel. UEFI is a replacement for BIOS. Secure Boot is one of many features that the UEFI spec supports. UEFI is not a block to Linux. It actually provides features that Linux already takes advantage of, such as GUID Partition Table. This fundamental misunderstanding in your post makes me strongly want to tell you that you need to go back and read more about this stuff before you comment.

Another big misconception in the above is that Microsoft is responsible for UEFI. The UEFI Forum is made up of all the major hardware manufacturers and some OS representatives such as MS. UEFI comes from Lenovo, Samsung, Apple, HP, Toshiba, AMD, Intel and all these hardware manufacturers. Microsoft are merely one of the first to make use of Secure Boot. No Linux distribution is really taking advantage of it but they should. (Red Hat and Ubuntu are using it for their boot loader, but not more than that). Secure Boot is useful and contrary to your post, it is OS neutral. Any OS producer could go to any hardware manufacturer and get their software signed. Red Hat has gone to Microsoft to get signed because Microsoft will do it cheaper for them. Also, MS have required Secure Boot to be disableable by the user on x86 as a condition for Win8 certification. You may not like this, but MS's requirement protects Linux against being closed off.

"As that did not happen, government intervention will now be required."

Your initial argument is based on misunderstandings, so the above conclusion is not shown.

"But Linux doesn't make profits with which to pay for an antitrust lawsuit."

An antitrust suit would fail because it would be groundless. Secondly, Red Hat has an annual revenue of $1.1bn, I have no idea how much SuSE's owners make. Linux is profitable.

"bare-metal hypervisors, like ESXi from VMware, I presume, aren't locked out (or turning off UEFI is no issue for them because hypervisors don't get directly attacked)."

Both parts of the above show a serious lack of understanding of how either Secure Boot or hypervisors or both, work. Seriously, and politely, you don't have the knowledge to be commenting on this and should do some more reading on how it all works.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: That's not why hackers dislike Windows 8

"Name just one thing you can do with PS that you can't do with a standard UNIX/Linux equivalent."

Powershell has in-built support for digitally signed executables. I.e. it can refuse to run an executable if the signature does not check out. To do the same in Bash, I would (I think) have to write a bash script that pre-calculated and looked up the signature first. Essentially an executable launcher script. It's kind of an extra security layer on top of file permissions.

The pipe in Powershell is subtly different to that in Bash which probably wouldn't be apparent immediately but has some nice utility. The Bash pipe just passes bare output onto the next process (creating a separate process as it does so). Powershell is actually passing objects which can be queried as such. So not only can the receiving process that you pipe your output to query the type of input for verification that it's sensible, it enables you to pass complex structures to the next process. So I can have a process that spits out objects and pipes them to the next process which handles their attributes (or even calls methods on those objects). Whereas doing the same with Bash would involve a big mess of Awk to generate something functionaly equivalent where it were possible at all.

For a lot of usage, Powershell and Bash (I haven't compared to other shells because I don't really know them and Bash is what people use), are going to be the same. Richto is correct to say that Powershell is more powerful and flexible than Bash. It could equally then be asked what can Bash do that Powershell cannot? But OS vs. OS flamewars are not helpful. Quite frankly, I doubt that we would see Powershell if there had not been the UNIX shells to study, consider and emulate. Every OS moves things forward bit by bit and that's good for all of us. It's not wrong that MS have taken the UNIX shell concepts and made some improvements on them. Other OS's will probably do the same in turn. Personally, I've started to use Python or PHP as a scripting language on Linux these days. (PHP where Python isn't available). Things move on.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: UEFI could have provided some security

"But MS has been so good to allow us to have MS built in to the firmware's security, or to turn it off. How nice of them. Now you want to have a feature that you, a mere user, can use as you see fit AND have it turned on at the same time? You ungrateful bastard."

How exactly are you supposed to sign an OS without the private key. And if the private key is public, how is the security of Secure Boot not compromised?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: "Quit spreading FUD!" says the chorus of astroturfers.

"The reality is that the competition now faces having to instruct the hapless user into doing extradoubleplus scary things in the bios before they can have a go at a non-redmondian OS. "

If Linux has now reached the point that disabling a "BIOS" option (clue: UEFI is not BIOS) is seen as "extradoubleplus scary", then it's dumbing down is complete. It's pretty much the same as swapping the boot device is and we all managed that for many years. Good grief.

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Microsoft: TypeScript isn't a JavaScript killer

h4rm0ny
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Re: debugger?

"These extended Javascripts are not going to fly until they offer debugger support in their languages and on most major browsers. The mental overhead of writing in one language and debugging in another is too high."

This exists for Chrome. I'm presuming for Firefox also. It uses a technique called "Source Mapping" which comes from Mozilla (which is why I presume it exists for Mozilla also). Here is the implementation for Chome:

TypeScript Source Mapping

It's very clever and it lets you debug the TypeScript source code from the running Javacsript. It's one of those things that makes me smile just to see such an elegant solution. The designers of TypeScript built the mapping into it for just this purpose, though as far as I'm aware, only Chrome and Firefox have it implemented so far. (Which should also help drive home to some of the more zealous anti-MS posters here that TypeScript is actually an open standard despite their paranoia).

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h4rm0ny
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"The problem with every highlevel language is that you can't know what happens inside the blackboxes you use to build the lego system application"

The output of TypeScript "compilation" is JavaScript. It's not so much a blackbox as a clear box that you can take the lid off and re-arrange stuff in.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Why don't they cover all their bases?

"What about the many developers that don't user windows at all, or not use a windows IDE?"

The very post you are replying to says that MS have provided it for vi and emacs. And it's an open standard. There's nothing to stop anyone on any platform coming along and adding it to their IDE.

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Microsoft-Netflix bid rumours feast on froth – and logic

h4rm0ny
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Re: Microsoft to buy another dying company

"The music industry is basically dead because of the way record labels handled, or didn't handle, advances in technology and a shift in user / customer habits."

You mean not paying for stuff?

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Apple's poisonous Touch silently kills the GNOMEs of Linux Forest

h4rm0ny
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I too would like to see more GNU/Linux presence. But I think the biggest rival to GNULinux adoptation on the Desktop, laptop and elsewhere, is actually going to be Android. Android has seized the territory that is the natural expansion area of GNU/Linux. There are even Android-specfic features now being back-ported into the Linux kernel.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

KDE is a fine piece of work. It's a more customizable than Gnome by the end user, too. The author writes that the transition from KDE3 to 4 was "bumpy". Well that wasn't the developer's fault. They brought out version 4 so that everyone could get started with it, learn it. It was a major overhaul so that was necessary. They explicitly stated that this was the reason to do so and that people should normally stay on three. And yet hundreds of angry people kept posting about how it didn't work for them or that it didn't have X or Y and that their system was broken. It made me angry at the time, and the idiotic whining of it still makes me annoyed today. KDE4 was a fantastic overhaul to KDE3 bringing in a really solid new foundation for a lot of future development. Gnome ducked facing that and continued with it's iterative approach. And as to Unity - a brave effort but it didn't manage the jump - ending up on neither side of the canyon but falling to its death in the middle.

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Microsoft opens Windows Phone 8 dev kit to world+dog

h4rm0ny
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Re: Big bucks?

"It's the only model Microsoft understands. If you want to develop software for Windows, become a well-funded business and buy the required proprietary software and annual licences**. "

Or in less hyperbolic terms, a copy of Windows, the free edition of Visual Studio and a small registration fee for the marketplace if you want to sell via that. If you don't like the free edition of Visual Studio, use something else. You don't have to use it, its just that most people do. You should check your facts before launching into a rant.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $8 (eight) for the introductory offer.

"Unless they pony up $99, in which case it's entirely unprotected. That doesn't protect anything from anybody, but it is a tax on ownership."

I wrote "users". Plural. Not a particular user. It should be very clear from what I've written what I'm talking about. US$99 protects users in general because it prevents the vast, vast majority of devices from being open to unapproved software. In a way that your tickbox does not. This is pretty much uncontestable. The entire history of malware on Windows illustrates that.

"I understand your post. You're just highly wrong"

The above comment about how a single user might pay US$99 and make their phone unprotected makes it clear that you did not understand what I wrote. Else you wouldn't have talked about the single user unprotecting their phone.

"and you're assuming by "developers" I mean "big software house that pays developers" and not "a guy who wants to make an app".

No I am not. Not even remotely. That's why I very clearly talked about a really, really small app. Something that one person could crank out in a month. Does that sound like I mean a "big software house"? I chose that example particularly because I wanted to be inclusive. My example was very obviously your "person who wants to make an app." And whether they are paid by an employer who shoulders these costs, or they're freelance and pay them themselves, US$99 is a mere incidental cost compared to others in developing even a simple app. Really, if you are that unfamiliar with the costs involved in a development project, then you shouldn't be trying to argue so stridently on this. Look again at my post. Firstly, you plainly didn't understand it as you addressed a point that I didn't make. Secondly, I provided illustrative figures which are real world figures. You've just skipped over them entirely because they're inconvenient to your point and introduced your own more emotive references to "toilet paper" and "a guy trying to write an app". Seeing as it'll probably take the more casual programmer a month before they're even ready to test on a phone, I'm just not seeing the issue. By that point, they ought to have a good idea whether they are serious about releasing their product or not and be able to budget the $99 if they want to test on a real phone (as opposed to the emulator which you keep trying to side-step as a solution).

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Woohoo!

"Standard API calls, allowing me to replace the library which handles those call. The same way I can pick-and-choose which CODEC library handles the decoding of a specific encode. Or which program gets called to handle the file I just double-clicked on (OK, that last one's stretching the simile a bit)."

All these calls are available to standard applications in WindowsRT. The complaint from Mozilla is that they don't have more advanced APIs available. They want to be able to fork processes for their plugins, they want direct memory access for the Javascript engine. This isn't about rendering HTML - these things you can do with the Windows RT libraries and actually do well from what I've seen. But the other things raise serious issues in terms of security and performance. With access like that it's a lot harder to effectively sandbox and manage an app. So who gets them? Eveyone - in which case a lot of badly written apps will turn your nice fast OS to mush. Or only the OS manufacturer who can restrict access to the a handful of programs that they directly manage. Should Mozilla be favoured with special access because of their brand name? Should people be able to pay a large fee to get access to them? Both situations sound unpleasant to me. Those are the reasons anyway, it's not about HTML rendering.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $8 (eight) for the introductory offer.

"So.. you have a tickbox, like Android. USB debugging disabled until the user specifically asks for it."

Again, you misunderstand. It is about protecting the device from the users. If there is a tickbox that the users can click, then the device is not protected from the users. Please re-read my previous post to save me just writing the same thing again in different words. I got it right the first time and I see no need to say the same thing again phrased differently.

"As to $99 being incidental, we're not all EA."

Your point becomes more ridiculous through repetition. Let us take a small application. Let us say that it takes one person one month to write. A very conservative example as a concession to you so you can't claim I'm using inflationary figures. Let us cost the developer time at £25 per hour. If you're employing someone then even if they're less than £20 per hour, you have costs as an employer on top of that. If you're self employed, then allow me to introduce you to things like unpaid leave, etc. Really, I'm being a bit generous with the £25 per hour cost. I have staff who cost me a lot more than that. Again, I just want to deny you any opportunity to say I'm using exaggerated numbers to win my point. The developer works thirty-five hours a week for four weeks. That's £3,500 in staff costs. For a month. And you are trying to say that US$99 for a developer licence is not an incidental. I haven't even touched on marketing, leave, equipment, utilities, office space. The point that was made was that developers would be dissuaded to another platform because of the $99 developer licence. That is absurd.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $8 (eight) for the introductory offer.

Just to add, I get where you're coming from. I remember when reading that you couldn't develop for Apple devices without paying for the privelge and thinking that was downright offensive. My primary Desktop at home was Linux at the time, though. Maybe I've shifted position over time, but I just don't see the $99 fee as anything I care about any more. And at least you still can develop for Windows without it. You don't need it for Desktop and technically you don't need it for the phones, you can use the emulator. If you already have a touch device, that should work.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $8 (eight) for the introductory offer.

"Really? I would think just a simple username/password attached to an admin account would work."

You misunderstand. The aim is not to secure the device from other people, but to secure it from the typical user which leads to masses of untested, unverified software going round everywhere. Effectively, there are two levels of cost - normal, and normal + $99 for the open device. Obviously *you* are happy with having the device open to unapproved software and that's a supportable position. But similarly there are consequences if it isn't. The entire history of Windows on the Desktop shows that quite clearly.

"That or just not lending your device to all and sundry. Don't make excuses for Microsoft trying to monetize the shit out of everything. A fee is entirely unnecessary to allow someone to do what they want with what they own."

Well that's a fair point. I'm just stating that if someone wishes to develop software, this cost is pretty much an incidental. And they don't even need to pay it until quite late in the process so it doesn't discourage the casual developer or learner. It's a small cost to a developer or company, but has a significant effect on the ecosystem. Good or bad, not 100% either, imo. But depends where you're coming from. I just object to it being waved around as some conclusive advantage for one platform over another. No remotely serious app developer chooses their platform based on a developer licence cost of $99. They do it on potential market, availability of expertise, niceness of the development environment, integration with existing projects sometimes. But not that fee. It's an irrelevance for the purposes it was used for in this debate. That's my point.

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h4rm0ny
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" The clue is in the word "express", and it doesn't mean fast... it means cut down..."

So if you're not happy with the very nice free version of Visual Studio (have you actually used it much?) then use something else. It's not as though you're forced to use Visual Studio. You can write Windows code in a text editor if you want to!

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h4rm0ny
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Re: @AC

"Not good enough. If you check the details on the offer you'll notice that you don't simply apply and pay $ 8,-. No, instead MS charges the regular fee of $100,- and will credit $91,- to your credit card. Sorry but that really doesn't appeal to me at the very least. Why all the hassle? "

It's hardly a big hassle. Make a payment once and forget about it. The result in both effort and cost is the same . $8 = $0 - $100 + $92. If some internal process makes that simpler for MS, I don't care. And I think only someone who is actively looking for objections would see this as a barrier.

"I'd be happy to apply for $8,- but that's not how it works."

It is to all intents and purposes so honestly, I don't really believe you.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $8 (eight) for the introductory offer.

"However, how is a 32" not-touch monitor going to emulate multi-touch? Or non-mocked GPS? Accelerometers? Gyroes? Cameras? Any of the myriad extra bits of hardware on a real phone or tablet?"

Then get a touch enabled monitor or device. MS are not going to buy your development hardware for you. Really, it's pretty much necessary that there be some barrier such as a fee, to stop anything being installed on a device by anyone otherwise the whole security model collapses. A development licence is one way to do that and $99 is a pittance in terms of development costs. I've charged more than that for just an hours work. Any professional has costs that render this insignificant. And for the amateur who just wants to dip their toe in, as pointed out there is a virtual environment.

"That and emulators have a tendency to run like frozen pigshit uphill in Winter compared with the real hardware. "

Really? You think a modern multi-core x86 computer with double or more the RAM cannot easily emulate a low-memory ARM device? I haven't used the WP8 emulator, but unless you have, I see no reason to believe the above statement.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $8 (eight) for the introductory offer.

"That to was register as a dev, not to unlock the phone. How much is it to unlock the phone?"

On the other hand, MS also provide a complete virtualised phone to develop against. So you don't technically need an unlocked phone to develop. Besides £90 is a very small part of the cost of developing new software.

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h4rm0ny
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"Microsofts own VS Express tools are free of charge. Third party and open source SharpDX, Orge, Unity, Cocos2d etc. available or promised. Not a bad start."

Furthermore, the Professional version of Visual Studio (not that you can't use Express), costs £500 which is a very low cost compared to the others you'll face in development. That's significantly less than the cost of employing one programmer for one week. Sure, it would be nice if the Professional version were free like the Express, but £500 is a small cost of business and if you're just doing RT or WP8 apps, I think you only have to have the free Express version.

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Windows Server 2012: We defluff Microsoft's 'cloud' OS

h4rm0ny
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I was at a presentation on Server 2012 a few months back and there were around maybe two-hundred people in the audience. When Hyper-V came up, the hands all started to rise and there were lots of questions along the lines of "we do this with VMWare - can this do that...?"

The answer previously has usually been no. But now the answer is 'yes'. I think there's a lot of people who were with VMWare because it was the only option. Certainly there was a very big buzz of interest at the conference. I've never costed up either solution for a big business, but technically Hyper-V is very impressive.

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Privacy group damns Ubuntu's Amazon search marriage

h4rm0ny
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Re: Gnome 3 started this

"'m an 'RPM hater' (for over 10 years now I've avoided any system that uses them) so couldn't possibly comment on RHEL/CentOS etc. But I feel confident in saying that there are better alternatives for the Ubuntu refugee."

Debian. It's what Ubuntu is based on. And I'm with you on RPMs.

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Forgetting Microsoft: How Steve Ballmer's Surface could win

h4rm0ny
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Re: Short Microsoft

Interesting advice. Are you yourself risking your money by shorting MS or is this just advice for other people's money? Because if the former, I think you're rather brave given the continued positive sales of Win7 and general positive feedback and coverage of Win8, RT and WP8. And if you're not willing to risk your money on this, do you think it's good to advise others to do so?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: > "Tech used to be exciting. "

"The exciting was that better tech arrived and got cheaper over time."

Really? To me the excitement has always been to see our species push the bounds of what is possible and the amazement that such things can become commonplace where once they were science-fiction. But you think "better tech" is not arriving and getting cheaper? How much would a device like the iPad cost you ten years ago? What were touch screens like just five years ago? If you don't feel the excitement of progress then you need to wake up.

"Now there is little appreciable benefit to buying a faster CPU/GPU/disk, for most people, except to run AV faster."

What about how they get smaller, using less power, enabling you to do one a phone all day what you couldn't do on a Desktop plugged into the wall just twelve years ago? And what about those other than "most people". Isn't it cool that I can now run Postgres on a system with six cores and 12GB of RAM at home. Isn't it awesome that I can rent a few servers for hosting and modern virtualization technology integrated into the CPUs enables the company at the other end to just press a few buttons and create those instances for me, rather than actually needing a real machine? Leading to massive efficiency gains and far reduced maintenance costs and increased reliability?

"While a larger-than-27"-screen is possible, it isn't easy to fit on a desk and becomes a bit overwhelming for normal work."

Who cares? You can't look at something like the HP Z1 All in One, or the new iMac and not think: "woah". Not if you have any feel for technology or not.

"I don't know of anyone who's considering 128bit cpu's."

There's a lot more to CPU development than the size of the registers. And we're not just talking about CPUs any more. AMD is going down the APU route and these have positive implications for portable devices and cheaper graphics power with better efficiency. I've not much interest in games, but they continue to get more and more amazing with every year.

"We could get better GPUs for realtime photo-realistic rendering but that isn't needed by most people "

I don't think we could, actually. Real time photo-realistic rendering is way beyond current technology. But it is wanted by people - better graphics will be for a long time. GPUs get more and more powerful and games take advantage of that. Again - it's exciting just to watch the pace of development.

"Software is incredibly bloated. I downloaded MS' ATI driver the other day - 9MB. ATI's own download came in at 150MB and their "detect hardware" didn't work on an old X1600 system."

WinRT is customized to the hardware to an impressive degree from what I've seen. Same with WP7. Win8 actually runs faster and tighter than Win7 on my same system. And if you really want lean, run Gentoo or some other compile-your-own Linux distribution. You can strip it to nothing. And if you think download size equates to memory footprint, you're mistaken. A module installed but not loaded into the kernel to run has an almost impercetible difference on the size of the kernel and the running code. Just because you got a 150MB download (which is a tiny fraction of modern storage), doesn't mean 150MB is loaded and running in your system. Also, modern GPUs are massively more sophisticated than those of yore.

"Now the excitement is in cheap, less capable things - ARM chips and putting things in new places - phones etc. Even GPS and motion sensors are old hat."

You are so fucking jaded. Read into this stuff in more depth. Technology is amazing.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: I use Bing because I prefer the layout?

That's an interesting one. You quoted the first five links on each page. Three of the five on each side are duplicated on the other with two different in each case. I've just tried your search to see what the rest of the page is and one of the ones missing from the top five ("Assay joins Canonical...") is present in the other just

not in the top five and one of the ones you list as not showing up in the top five actually does for me. Which might be regional differences (I'm in the UK for reference).

I'm not sure if you were posting to agree with me or disagree with me or just for interest, but it seems for the top five results on a page, we get a a lot of duplication, which rises if you go beyond the first five results. For instance, all of the five you listed for Google show up on the Bing page (with the exception of a story about Matt joining Strobe) and Google has all of the Bing ones except for The Channel link which it is missing. Again, I'm not sure if you were making a specific point or just commenting, but it seems to demonstrate what I said: if I'm looking for stuff on Matt Assay, I get all the major links in both search engines' first page. Just not necessarily the same ones in the top five (though three of them are).

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h4rm0ny
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"Tech used to be exciting. "

It still is. It's just some here are more interested in hating company X or Y to see what cool stuff they are doing.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Consolidated Microsoft?

"I thought that's just what they've already done - dump its hardware partners or delivery people as they're known in Redmond"

You may not have noticed all the brand new devices and designs from Lenovo, Toshiba, Dell, Acer, Asus, probably others.You may also not have noticed that MS have produced a quite limited number of Surface devices. Just looking at devices like the Samsung Ativ SmartPC it's obvious that it's been developed in close partnership with MS - you can't roll out a device like that at the start of an OS release without long-term and very active support from the OS producer. MS obviously have not "dumped its hardware partners" nor is it in their interests to do so. Your impression is very much at odds with the facts.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Baahhhaaa

That's interesting. They certainly both remember some stuff. But do they actually use previous searches to influence new searches? Genuinely interested if so in how that works.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Business business business

"I can't see Microsoft making serious inroads into the consumer space with the Surface - the price is just too high."

I really don't think they want to. If that was the plan, they would have made more and would be more bullish about extending the line. The Surface is almost certainly focused on two main goals. The first is to provide an impressive demonstration platform for the new Windows 8 and Windows RT OS. The second is as a pace-maker to the OEMs to get them to raise their game. The real question is not really whether they make inroads into the consumer space with the Surface, but whether they make inroads with Win8 and WinRT in general. And this encompasses not just the Surface at their given price point, but all sorts of other products from Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Toshiba... pitched at different prices and with all sorts of different capabilities. It's the biggest thing to shake up the hardware market in years. Looking at designs like Dell's hybrid (with it's weird but cool swivel screen), Samsung's Ativ Smart PC (awesome active digitiser from what I've read), Lenovo's Yoga, the Surface itself, it feels like we're living in the Cambrian era prior to the mass extinctions. A massive array of wildly different lifeforms all competing to see what works and what will take off. If Surface only sells out its first run and they never do a second, MS will probably still be fine like that. Unlike Google with the Chromebook or Amazon's device which subsidize hoping to lock people in to buying more content for a long time afterwards, MS are making a healthy profit on each unit, I should think. Total Surface sales numbers are a small part of how things play out.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Baahhhaaa

"@harmony - You're using a different bing to the one I occasionally visit then. Bing is pretty awful at returning relevant results. All that's a failure given that all the SEO's are gaming google."

You've skipped the part of my post where I asked for a few examples of search terms that returned relevant results in Google but not in Bing.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Baahhhaaa

"Really? Did you just put Microsoft's services onpar with Google and Gmail, seriously????"

Bing and Google seem to return similar results to me. I use Bing because I prefer the layout. I only switch back to Google if I want to search newsgroups, which I haven't done in some time. Do you have examples of search terms that return relevant information in Google but not in Bing? If not, then your comment is mistaken. As to Outlook.com vs. Gmail. What makes Outlook.com inferior (genuine question)?

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h4rm0ny
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What an enormous pile of unsupported conjecture.

Statements that would require a bit of support in any essay.

"But owning the desktop is like being the sexiest nun in the convent"

Global PC shipments were 351 million per year in 2010 according to Gartner. And it had been rising year on year up to that point. Has it abruptly nose-dived in the last two years, then? Probably not. So actually owning the desktop is less like "being the sexiest nun in the convent" and more like "being the provider of hundreds of millions of products to enterprise and home use every year." I feel that the original analogy therefore doesn't quite work.

And note that whilst laptops have been increasingly taking away from desktop machines, that's not yet been the same market segment as the tablet market (as tablets haven't yet filled the productivity requirement for most people). So if you want to extend the discussion to laptops, it doesn't really take away there either as MS have the lion's share of that market too. So a nun that is sexier than it's non-nun friend as well, I suppose. Analogies are not an argument. Particularly bad ones.

What else ? This :

"Microsoft put on a good show last week at its Windows 8 launch, but the only thing that really matters is how well Windows performs in mobile device markets."

The only thing? Hardly. MS are establishing an integrated ecosystem both in business and in the home. Success with home gaming and media, e.g. via the Xbox, obviously matters because this provides a big incentive to people to go down the MS route with their mobile devices. Smartglass is really impressive. MS's presence in the corporate market also provides a big enticement to go down the MS route with mobile devices. Everywhere you read "SkyDrive" you can substitute your corporate cloud service if you choose. MS have a really strong business set up for BYOD which is one of the next big things with this. Both of these areas feed in massively to the success of mobile devices. And that ties directly into the success of the Surface and OEM Windows 8 / RT devices too. What the Hell does "only thing that matters is... mobile devices" mean? Desktop, entertainment (games, music, movies), MS Office, services (Azure, Office 365, Sharepoint), server market (Server 2012) all matter enormously to the success of MS and also stimulate the mobile devices market. The "only matters" statement is worthless.

"Given Microsoft's continued reliance on an outdated, licence-based revenue model, Microsoft may have an uphill battle winning in mobile"

Outdated? It makes them over fifteen billion annually. It works and will continue to work for a long time. And what's the replacement models? Software as a service? Okay... Office 365, Azure... MS are doing this already. Or is Matt Assay arguing that the revenue model is outdated by Google's ad-based model. Riiggght. I can see Google out-fitting and supporting a massive IT roll out through ad-supported. Matt talks about selling devices "free hardware") through selling of content. Great - I'll have a five-hundred touchscreen laptops for my company, please. I can't promise that they'll be used to buy many ebooks or games, though. You're alright with that Amazon and Google, yes? Matt's statement shows a staggering lack of contextual awareness.

"And when that happens, Microsoft (and, eventually, Apple) can kiss goodbye to the developer ecosystem critical to winning over users. Developers go where the volume is, and that volume is Google's to lose."

Again, unsupported and lacking in understanding of basic market economics. Sellers (developers in this case) don't go "where the volume is", they go where the sales are. Different things. Matt should look up "market segmentation". There is a massive install base of Windows - their mobile device ecosystem overlaps with their entertainment and corporate presences which is hardly the case with Google and Apple and they have the resource to stay the course for decades to come. MS isn't going anywhere as a market. Even if MS only got 30% of the market, that would be more than sufficient to provide an incentive for developers. Even 10% would.

Vegetarians make up approximately 4% of the UK population. By Matt's logic, supermarkets would not sell specifically vegetarian-marketed food because "they go where the volume is" and yet I see shelves of Quorn, meat substitutes, vegetarian cheese. Garages would not stock parts for porsches. By Matt's logic, Android could never have got off the ground because at the time it appeared, the "volume" was iOS. A market doesn't have to have more than 50% to make it profitable to exploit. If you can see the flaw in any of my examples, then you can see the flaw in Matt's logic. I use the word tentatively.

"Microsoft could pull an Apple and sell a consolidated device like the Surface. I mean, really pull an Apple and dump its hardware partners."

No they couldn't. Doing this would immediately drive their partners to embrace Android and Linux en masse in sheer desperation. MS loves its partners, is tied to them, and quite frankly wants them to do well. That's obvious from their behaviour with the Surface.

"Apple is happy to occupy the premium segment of the market, even as Google's Android takes the mass-market lower-end"

You can buy high-end non-Apple devices. Always have been able to and they sell well enough. And as seen with the Surface, MS can produce something just as high-end as Apple. As to the low-end, MS are happy to compete there too. I have the Lumia 710. Got it for £160 SIM-free and it's even cheaper now. Great litle device and cheaper than many Android devices. And there are still WP7 devices being released so it's not cheap because it's old, it's targetted at this segment.

Almost nothing in this article is actually supported. It's just random statements, usually in contradiction to the actual facts or history. How can the author of this essay be "Vice President of Corporate Strategy". I think he actually just writes these articles in order to pick up clues from all the better informed people who respond. If that's the case, then clever, clever Matt. You can hire me as an actual consultant directly if you like. This post is a freebie.

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Nokia primes Lumias for Windows Phone 8 push

h4rm0ny
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Re: Meh - 2010 specs - no thanks.

"I'm fairly sure that most of the open source browsers are compiled using GCC for Windows, although I welcome being corrected on that because I'm not 100% sure on that point."

I've just looked at the compiler information for Firefox running on my Windows 7 box (you can get this from Help->Troubleshooting information and rooting around), and it looks like Visual Studo was used to me. Also searching for compile instructions for Firefox all returns Visual Studio. I can't check Chrome directly as I don't have it installed on this machine, but the build instructions at chromium.org are for Visual Studio. Am not a Windows programmer so don't know whether to be surprised by this or not. If I'd had to guess without looking I probably would have said GCC just because...well, Open Source.

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Apple turns off Siri’s potty mouth

h4rm0ny
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Hmmm... One downvote from someone who obviously doesn't like Doctor Who. Davros, is that you?

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h4rm0ny
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Coat

A little obscure but there is also Mentos in the Doctor Who audio adventure: "The One Doctor" (link) which contains the classic exchange:

Computer: "I am Mentos. The ultimate repository of knowledge. There is nothing that I cannot answer."

Doctor (Colin Baker): "I bet I can ask you a question that you can't answer."

Computer: "Very well. But so long as it's not one of those tricky fox-the-computer questions like 'if my next statement is a lie...' sort of thing."

Computer: "Because I can answer those."

Doctor: "Oh."

Mines the one with pockets. ;)

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Hmm, I think I'll order an iPad Mini on Amazon ... Oh no I won't

h4rm0ny
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Joke

"A retailer comparing devices and cost instead of litigation?"

Competition - the one thing Apple don't have a patent on.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Both products are a big fail.

@Gussy2000 (or other Kindle Fire owner).

As you have one, can you tell me how open the device is? Personally both the iPad mini and Kindle Fire look like fun devices. But the price differential makes it obvious that the Kindle is subsidized with the expectation they'll make more money from content purchases. So how open is the Kindle? Can you play movies, get books, buy music from anywhere or does it have to be via the Amazon store? Any gotchas with it of that nature?

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Pre-ordered a Microsoft Surface? So SORRY it's late, have a voucher

h4rm0ny
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Re: Article in brief.

"Real geeks don't go near Microsoft products,"

Geek is a bizarre cultural export from the American school system where people can't think outside of stereotypes of athletic types and weedy but smart comic book readers. Whether "real geeks" use MS products or not, has little bearing on what professional programmers and IT experts use.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: $50 compensation from from Microsoft Must be spent at

How is it a scam? They sent people $50 worth of credit at their store, good for a year. Scams cost you something. This gives you something.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Ah Microsoft,

So?

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Microsoft's 'official' Windows 8 Survival Guide leaks

h4rm0ny
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I can see why they removed the Rate This Article option.

I'm sure it looks funny to the author, but to those of us who manage fine on Windows 8 and don't find it confusing or disorientating, it just seems contrived.

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Salesforce CEO Benioff: Win 8 is 'the end of Windows'

h4rm0ny
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Re: For someone who lives in a big city

"Well Linux is versatile. Android has very little to do with the Linux you would want to have on your desktop. It's dumbed and locked down, and only uses Linux as a kernel for it's own Java-based system."

However, it's influence is so great now that Android extensions are now being back-ported into the kernel.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Microsoft agrees.

"Yes. That would be products like Microsoft Small Business Server. It isn't available to me. It has been cut. They are pushing cloudy products like Office 365. It appears (from my small corner, which is small business), to be the end of Windows."

Yes, they're pushing the new products, but you could just get Server 2012 for your business, yes? That does everything that Small Business Server did (and more) doesn't it? And you can still buy non-365 Office. That's not going to go away any time in the forseeable future. MS will still sell you products that meet all the functionality of previous products.

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