* Posts by Meph

60 posts • joined 2 Oct 2008

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It's just 'Pro' now, guys: Microsoft gives Surface a subtle resurfacing

Meph

@AC

My apologies, I did indeed mean Win32 rather than something as generic as x86, I'm getting long in the tooth and I sometimes forget that computer architecture is slowly standardizing.

While I don't disagree in principle with your assertion about existing multiple platform support in a business sense, I was more talking about Windows plus Mac plus Linux/Unix. I'm a big believer in the SOE/MOE model, primarily because of the cost savings on the support side of the house. You can often sign a single hardware lease contract with some hefty savings built in for owning and maintaining a large fleet of computers with consistent configuration. The savings stack up because you only require one image (or at most a small handful of them), which cuts back on your data storage requirements, image management tasks, software packaging and patch testing & deployment. You can also have a very specialized team of support agents who don't rely utterly on your knowledge base to provide support. You also save money at the point of service request, because your support desk agent knows that the hardware is pretty much standard. They don't need to spend time chasing details on device hardware, OS and software specifics, along with changing mental gears to think in terms of the specific hardware or OS.

I'm aware that you can use technology to bridge many of those gaps, but the time spent implementing those technologies can directly be converted to money, so it still counts. There's also the fact that if you've dropped half a million or more on developing specific software tools for your business, you may have a hard sell with the board to invest additional funds converting that system in to a web based product on top of requesting the funds to invest in additional technology. On that basis, don't also forget the cost of training, when you suddenly need to provide it for multiple platforms (and often for the same software across those platforms, due to minor but important configurations).

Lastly, keep in mind that for many large enterprises, especially in certain industries, cloud based computing is not a viable option. I highly doubt you will ever find a Google mail appliance supplying comms for Government departments, especially in areas like health, education, law enforcement and defence.

I should also point out that I speak from a position of experience. I've worked in helpdesk and desktop support for tertiary education facilities that supported Windows PC and Macintosh environments, and I can tell you that every one of us in the tier 1 and 2 teams detested calls from users on the Mac environment. Admittedly much of it was due to the self-important nature of the callers, but it was also due to the time taken to adjust our thought processes for what amounted to less than 5% of our monthly call intake.

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Meph

@AC

The only problem is that for ease of support, many medium to large enterprises don't like having to deal with multiple platforms. You may save money on licensing, but the cost to implement, secure and then manage such a complex environment will eat into those savings fairly rapidly.

Keep in mind too that many industries have software requirements that wouldn't work well in the deployable app environment, not to mention any custom software apps developed at considerable capital outlay and written for existing x86 based infrastructure. You may well find that many will avoid upsetting the apple cart due to little more than inertia, and the fear of how much cost will be attached to forcing a change of direction.

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'The internet is slow'... How to keep users happy, get more work done

Meph

@JerseyDaveC

I'll place a fiver on "organisations that claim to follow ITIL methodologies without actually including some of the most important functions".

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Meph

Never forget the first law of IT

@AC

Don't forget rule number one, "Shit Happens".

I used to live in a part of Australia that, due to its remote nature, suffered from a bottleneck with the long haul data infrastructure. Three data lines left the city and all passed through one key location, after which they disappeared off in different directions. Two were major pipes, the third was a redundant government link that was tiny by comparison.

On the same day, the two major pipes failed, one due to a contractor with a JCB and a fast and free attitude to trench digging, and the second suffered a facility fire. The city I resided in at the time, a state capital no less, was without internet services for close to a week while they sorted it out.

Having said this, be careful of connecting "slow internet" with "broken internet". The two are often very distinct and separate issues.

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Trump signs executive order on cybersecurity, White House now runs the show

Meph
Alert

Re: seriously?

From the perspective of an outside observer with little more than passing interest in US politics, it looks like the current 180 degree turn is only the latest in a series without much evidence of any forward momentum..

The part that grabbed my attention though was the following:

the Director of the American Technology Council will ask each agency for a feasibility plan for combining IT infrastructure for departments within 90 days. Agency heads will also, henceforth, give preference in IT spending to shared systems architecture

I know it's easier to protect your IT resources behind one wall, instead of many (Trump wall related pun not intended, I swear!) but they'll put themselves at risk of data loss if they put too many critical systems side by side with other less valuable systems. It would be far easier for an attacker to avoid detection by hacking in through say the US parks IT systems and then find a way to tunnel from there into the FBI, or other federal systems. Even if they make the system as secure as possible, the value of the target will attract black hats like flies, and it will only take one of them finding a small hole to exploit for things to turn ugly.

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The rise of AI marks an end to CPU dominated computing

Meph

Re: Characteristics of A.I.

While I don't disagree with the bulk of your comment, I'd only add the caveat that a Skynet class hostile A.I. is only a pipe dream until some well meaning engineering type starts getting a limited A.I. to start designing and building the next generation service droids.

What will ultimately doom humanity is the point where hubris and laziness intersect.

1
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US Air Force networks F-15 and F-22 fighters – in flight!

Meph

Re: Asset or liability?

@AC,

That largely depends on your available supporting assets, things like tankers and such.

Realistically, the pod will probably weigh less than an equivalent fuel pod when even half full. It may affect the top speed and turn rate, but probably not as much as it's already limited by the squishy component in the middle.

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Just so we're all clear on this: Russia hacked the French elections, US Republicans and Dems

Meph
Black Helicopters

Re: just getting started

There may be a much simpler explanation, which is that the most effective use of any weapon is the publicity surrounding it.

For those of us old enough, remember the nervous commentary surrounding the existence of the exocet missile, right up until the deployment of the phalanx system on US warships. In a similar vein, think on why the North Koreans continually brag about their capabilities and tests.

Perhaps the Ruski's want the world to know that they've found ways to successfully manipulate the masses, because what good is having a new toy if you can't brag about it to everyone else.

6
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Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

Meph

Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

@Grunchy

The fatal flaw in current democratic process, is that it's nothing more than a popularity contest. Political types make sweeping promises based on what they think the bulk of their constituents want, and frequently have no intention of following through. They will generally have a plausible excuse to hand so that they can be re-elected again and again.

I'd personally like to see politicians apply directly for cabinet positions. John Smith QC wants to be lord high bean counter, so instead of policy and promises, he needs to submit a document outlining his skills and experience in big business finance. The public can then vote on who has the best apparent skillset for each key position, and then perhaps the first runner up can be part of the wider ministerial pool, both for purposes of coverage in case of illness or incapacitation, and for the normal checks and balances that we westerners prefer. This would not only stifle the whole popularity contest debacle, but also potentially abolish party politics. I personally feel that you don't necessarily need to like the person running the show, so long as they have the skillset to run it well.

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Meph

Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

@Charles 9

I'll take the devil in that lineup. At least you can make a deal with a lawful evil type, and be able to expect that the deal will be upheld. Just be very sure to read the fine print!

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Mysterious Hajime botnet has pwned 300,000 IoT devices

Meph

Re: Hajime discovers devices on TCP port 23

There's a certain percentage of regular Joes that believe their web browser is "Windows" and that the screen is the computer. They have more network bandwidth available than they'll ever use, and will in all likelihood, never notice that their fridge, TV and microwave all moonlight as minions of a botnet herder, regardless of hat colour or orientation.

Educating the masses isn't even really a viable answer, because there are too many out there who convert information to white noise on the basis that they "can't possibly understand this technology", so they refuse to even try.

The coup de grâce arrives via the medium where a branded offering with all the appropriate security built in is invariably more expensive than the cheap 'n cheerful version that can be hacked with an etch a sketch. This results in good old Joe buying the one that makes his wallet cry less, and leaves the door wide open to exploitation.

Perhaps there's a way to resolve the issue with the power of those of us working in the world of IT, by making Telnet/SSH access through commercial ISPs an optional extra (perhaps even for a token fee). This way, only people who both know what SSH is, as well as knowing the risks they're taking will buy it, and it might force manufacturers to use other ports for their IoT devices to phone home. At the very least, it will remove remote admin access as a potential attack vector.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

Meph

Re: Several sorts of fail

@a_yank_lurker

Further to this, obsolescence\plain old bad timing. A prime example was the mini disk. The concept was good, and the design was clever, but the uptake of MP3 and corresponding non-volatile flash memory boom killed it in its infancy.

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Riddle of cannibal black hole pairs solved ... nearly: Astroboffins explain all to El Reg

Meph
Alien

"How is that different from star one of mass X spiralling in to star two of mass Y?"

Armchair enthusiast reporting, so suitable disclaimer attached.

One would suspect that even though the nominal mass of both objects is broadly the same, the acceleration towards impact (once at least one of the singularities crosses the event horizon of the other) is likely to be significantly higher than if two stars of comparable mass decided to bump in to each other.

I'm only guessing, but I know enough to know that the speed (velocity?) of the impact contributes to the overall outcome at least as much as the size of the objects.

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Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

Meph
Black Helicopters

Re: MS sure has an interesting definition of 'privacy' ...

@Jeroen Braamhaar

There's one small problem with this. Considering the market share currently enjoyed by MS as desktop OS and business software supplier of choice, the cost of moving from a Microsoft dominated technical architecture would be astronomical. You may well find that some tier 1 governments consider MS as "too big to fail".

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Ombudsman slams Centrelink debt recovery system

Meph

The Government wonders..

They wonder why we don't trust them when they say that they know what's best for the citizens, and that we should just let them do what is necessary..

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Meph
Black Helicopters

Re: Sigh

@BillG

The issue is that many people seem afraid to try and understand technology. They get it in their heads that they can't possibly follow the rapid changes, so they blindly trust the vendor. While this is desirable in some circumstances, it makes people vulnerable to the modern day equivalent of the old-time snake oil salesmen.

By the same token, it's in the best interest of a large organization to separate as many people from their money as efficiently as possible. In this sort of environment, it's almost a valid business strategy, because if you don't do it, you can bet a large sum that at least one of your competitors is.

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Wi-Fi sex toy with built-in camera fails penetration test

Meph

Re: WiFi in a device inside pussy, a really bad idea!

@Anon

One would hope that they were smart enough to put the antenna at the base of the unit, but after reading how they managed the security aspects of the tech, I'm not willing to place any bets..

10
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So my ISP can now sell my browsing history – what can I do?

Meph

Re: "As yet I have no idea of how to achieve this,"

You could always try a decentralized browsing stream, similar to current generation peer to peer file sharing. If 0.5% of your browsing comes from multiple sources, then the tracking data won't be worth much. In suggesting this, I think I can already feel the ire of millions of programmers though.

The alternative would be to confuse the held data by randomly accessing resources with no discernible pattern. This might lead to some unusual adds being served though.

6
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US Senate votes to let broadband ISPs sell your browser histories

Meph

Re: Doesn't go far enough

@DNTP

"After all if they can't sell it, you're harming a business, and since businesses have the rights of people with none of those pesky responsibilities, that's basically assault and battery on a person."

The RIAA and MPAA have been banging on about it for years by equating "loss of sales/profits" due to piracy with "theft". I don't necessarily mind them hunting the almighty dollar, but the least they can do is stop contributing to the degradation of intelligence in society by calling it something more accurate.

I mean honestly, if I could 3D print a fully working car, you bet your arse I'd download one. I'd suggest too that anyone who wouldn't is either a fool or a liar.

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Dark matter drought hits older galaxies: Boffins are, rightly, baffled

Meph
Thumb Up

Re: Am I right in thinking...

@Long John Brass

| Collect, or perhaps manufacture.

Possibly even "distribute". It may take some time over the life of the galaxy to displace dark matter from the galactic core and concentrate it at the edges in enough density to cause the observed effects.

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Key evidence in Assange case dissolves

Meph

Re: The smoking gun..

You misunderstand me, I'm specifically curious to know that if the case is dropped before reaching trial, and presumably before Assange leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, would the charges of breaching bail be upheld, or dropped as well?

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Meph

Re: The smoking gun..

I suppose it begs the question: Did he break bail and therefore would be subject to arrest if it turned out that he no longer had a case to answer?

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Meph
Go

The smoking gun..

The smoking gun, now with less smoke.

Am I the only one who thinks this would all be really amusing if the case did collapse, after everyone had gone to so much trouble?

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Jury awards Apple $1bn damages in Samsung patent case

Meph

Re: Crapple's victory

That would be collusion, and I believe a great many governments would frown fairly seriously on that. I'm relatively sure that Apple's lawyers would get very fat and rich on such a diet.

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Techie stages 'strip down' protest at TSA 'harassment'

Meph
WTF?

Re: This gives me an idea

Less objectionable? are you serious!?

I'm pretty sure sooner or later, something will come along that needs scanning, and is highly objectionable.

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BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Meph
Coffee/keyboard

IT Archaeology

I see your box of random ancient IT gear, and raise you a matched pair of 512Mb EDO RAM in original packaging, _with_ the original installation instructions no less.

They were salvaged along with an ancient file server with 8 x 25Gb SCSI disks that had regrettably not survived their mothballing experience.

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IT staffers on ragged edge of burnout and cynicism

Meph
Black Helicopters

Re: stress, cynicism ?

Not so much mandatory attributes as a healthy survival mechanism. Show me anyone who has worked in IT for more than a year without learning the ability to externalise their frustration.

As for coping with PHB's? I shall continue with the military metaphor adopted by the article's author. I upgraded from frontline trooper to special forces. Now instead of being in the trenches with my superior officer, I'm about 400km away behind "enemy lines".

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Google goggles with Terminator HUD 'coming soon'

Meph
Terminator

Pre-existing tech

Tech already exists in the Apache gunship where the pilot and gunner's eyes are monitored so that the main gun is slaved to the eyeline of the controlling officer. If such tech could be miniaturised and built into a pair of glasses, you could pretty easily use blinks or other eye movements to manipulate the data.

The only problem I can see at this point (pun not intended, honest!) is malware that, when you look at some pretty young thing almost wearing something, automatically calls your wife and sends her the 3d video feed..

1
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Berkeley boffins crack brain wave code

Meph

Re: encode/decode the actual signals in the nerves.

Your words gave me a thought, how about they use a similar test to determine the type of "networking" used across the human nervous system. It would be interesting to know if the brain routes specific instructions to specific nerve clusters, or whether information like this is broadcast across the entire "network" with some sort of encoding to be recognised by the relevant target.

One wonders just how close our ideas of computer networking is to the inner workings of the brain.

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The Register to publish other sites' blacked-out content in SOPA protest

Meph
Coat

Never underestimate

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a van filled with backup tapes!

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Meph
Pirate

In homage to the ancient masters

My object all sublime

I shall achieve in time —

To let the punishment fit the crime —

The punishment fit the crime;

And make each prisoner pent

Unwillingly represent

A source of innocent merriment!

Of innocent merriment!

Methinks Sir's Gilbert and Sullivan were more prophetic than they realised. Long gone are my days of "extended software and film trialling" but I still class myself a pirate, if for no other reason than that listed above. Freedom to enjoy life is more important than living in a cage, no matter how gilded. Now, bring me that horizon!

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Fans lose grace with Star Wars MMO

Meph
FAIL

The Lost Continent

Seeing as Bioware seems to have forgotten that Australia was colonised by Europeans over two centuries ago, and left Australia off the beta test list, I think I might hold on to my cash and wait for something more worthy.

Tis a shame too, I was really excited by the preview movie they released..

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Jilted man swaps engagement ring for Halo suit

Meph
Pint

Thirty degrees, thirty two degrees

He could have spent it building a theme park, with blackjack, and hookers!

I bet he wouldn't have cared much about where the money came from by the end of that party

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Results in on why life, the universe and everything exists

Meph

Circular argument

The trouble with Douglas Adams's logic puzzle though, is that it rapidly becomes a chicken vs egg argument. If God created everything, but is nothing without faith, then what was his source of faith prior to creating everything?

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Meph
Alert

What is Time?

You're joking right? Time is simply a man-made construct, used to measure how something changes. To use your analogy, to measure movement.

If you have no frame of reference, how can you truly understand how something is moving. When you walk from one side of a room to another, do you instantly occupy both locations simultaneously?

To understand the concept of a time continuum, blend the two concepts. It takes time for you to move from point a to point b, thus at a given point in time, you were at a given position in space. Assume for a moment that you have absolute control over the value for time, you can then move backward (or for that matter forward) in time to view the position and status of said object.

In short, if time (regardless of what you call it) did not exist, you could hypothesize one of two truths, either nothing would move, or everything would simultaneously occupy every point in space. Neither seems to be particularly desirable.

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The life and times of Steven Paul Jobs, Part Two

Meph

Some confuse great with good

Thank you for a most interesting and insightful article.

I have to say though that a great many people choose only to acknowledge someone's greatness if they are also universally held to be "good".

Personally I don't agree with the walled garden principle myself, and its a well documented phenomenon that nice people rarely make it in big business.

To reject someone's impact on an industry, and indeed the world at large, simply because of this view seems somehow spiteful though.

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Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is dead at 56

Meph
Mushroom

Before the iPhone..

He achieved a cheap, affordable and innovative smartphone that was comparatively light and much more user friendly than others available at the time.

At the time, no mobile phone operators in Australia offered smartphones on a $0 up front plan, and I didn't exactly make enough money to afford paying $800 up front for them.

The release of the iPhone did two things:

1. provided a smartphone for the masses that anyone (and i do mean anyone) could pick up and use without much prompting.

2. forced other companies to follow suit, leading to the genesis of the Android platform and its varied host hardware platforms.

I emplore the reader of this to stop for one second, discard all your preconceptions, prejudices and hubris and think what computing was like a mere 25 years ago. Once you have that image firmly in your mind, pull your smartphone out of your pocket and have a good hard look at it.

Like it or not, Steve Jobs influenced its creation in one form or another, so show some god damned respect!

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Meph
Pirate

I need a holiday, a long one..

One of the original godfathers of modern computing has moved on. Whatever else he was, his fingerprints will forever be imprinted on the future of IT.

God speed **Salute**

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Ballmer: Uninspiring performance and a small package

Meph

I think you misunderstand the idea..

.. behind big corporate business.

MS is beholden to its investors, which is a fancy way of describing its shareholders. From them comes the big bucket of money that MS uses to make things in the hope that their customers buy it, thus offering a return to the investors. You will never see a floated business put the client before the shareholder, to do so would simply not make good business sense.

MS has lost their dominance simply by re-hashing the same product over, and over, and over again. Sure there have been a lot of technical modifications under the hood to improve performance and stability, but to the luddite, Windows appears no more than cosmetically different than it did when Windows 95 came out.

Where MS can go from here is to find something that no-one has yet thought of, and make it. They failed with Bing because they were trying to play catchup with Google. They failed with the Zune because they were trying to play catchup with Apple. Instead of constantly chasing the ball being held by (arguably) more nimble competitors, they should be finding their own innovations. Microsoft needs to build something new and exciting, this will bring the customers flocking back, regardless of how they personally perceive the company.

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The iPhone 4S in depth: More than just a vestigial 'S'

Meph
Go

Are you suggesting..

.. that you don't really want to have your very own "Jarvis" AI butler, ala Iron Man?

for shame!

1
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Turnbull storms Paris with NBN’s doom

Meph
FAIL

Never let the truth get in the way of a politician

Its the Australian political way, regardless of whether or not the incumbent government has a good idea, tell the world that its a terrible idea and take the exact opposite stance as your policy.

What I've never managed to understand is how people from the political party that is *NOT* the government, spends so much time and money on meeting with foreign dignitaries, and spouting opposing political views at international conferences.

Let the government (right or wrong) govern, and if you oppose them, then present your alternative ideas to the people at the next election. If they like your ideas better, you get to be the government etc.

This international grandstanding is frankly embarrassing..

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Faster-than-light back with surprising CERN discovery

Meph
Thumb Up

Why is bad reporting bad

"Because it encourages a simplistic and ignorant understanding of $Topic among the general public."

Allow me to extrapolate your (precisely correct) observation into a law of society.

Regrettably too many "news" organisations use bad reporting. This is why I read El Reg almost exclusively. All the boys and Girls at Vulture Central seem more interested in telling the story than trying to rickroll us with "shock and awe".

Keep it up people!

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Why was Duke Nukem Forever s**t?

Meph
Coat

did they not know what Duke Nukem was or something?

You hit the nail right on the head. 17 years in gestation, and the current crop of "x-boxen, Wii, PS3" Gen Y gamers out there have taken over the demographic. I suspect from interactions with many of the generation, they don't appreciate the same kind of humour us old Gen X'ers do. I suspect the Duke will follow other such comedy icons as the Two Ronnies and Monty Python into the mists of time, to be fondly remembered by us surviving old timers.

Can someone please pass me my coat and walking cane? I have to go tell some youngsters to get off my lawn!

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Gravity wave detector gets more sensitive

Meph
Thumb Up

You Sir

Are a scholar amongst gentlemen. I have a shaky grasp of quantum mechanics at the best of times (being no more than a turbo-nerd and armchair enthusiast of science), but I think I actually understood it the way you explained it.

I doubt I would have had so easy a time understanding it straight from the minds of the men working on it.

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Apple's ex-cop and the case of the lost iPhone 5

Meph

@AC

With all due respect, but you just described capitalism.

Consumer lock-in is a wet dream for any big IT business, so you can hardly blame Apple for using the same business model as Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, etc etc.

In other words: Don't hate the player, hate the game.

0
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CSIRO opens Cape Grim pollution data

Meph

Odd..

There appears to be an odd correlation between spikes in CO2 and Methane and roughly september each year. I'm not even an armchair climatologist, so would value some technical input as to why that might be occuring.

Anyone have any thoughts?

0
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Spielberg flung Fox from Transformers 3

Meph
Coat

Dumb as a rock, check!

You guys are missing the point, calling the director "hitler" on a movie where the executive producer couldn't be any more jewish, is about as smart as walking into a new york police station and shouting about how awesome osama was.

No matter how good she looks, your average central heating unit has a higher IQ.

3
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Middle England chokes on Nice Baps

Meph
Thumb Up

There's a...

There's a nice little burger joint in Queenstown NZ called Fergburger. The food there is mighty tasty!

0
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Silicone implants that generate 'leccy invented for US spooks

Meph
Coat

There, I fixed it for you

Install this in every man and woman over the age of 18, buy several thousand stairmaster's and set up a rolling schedule for round the clock workouts.

I just solved the obesity *and* green energy problems in one fell (foul? :P) swoop!

Ok, ok, i'll get my coat :P

0
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Oz anti-censorship site is censored

Meph
Boffin

The trouble with Tribbles..

I'm not sure how it is for you lot, but for us southern colonials, we require some kind of reasoning to rent a domain.

Relevant clause below snipped from: http://www.auda.org.au/policies/auda-2008-05/

SCHEDULE C

ELIGIBILITY AND ALLOCATION RULES FOR COM.AU

The com.au 2LD is for commercial purposes.

The following rules are to be read in conjunction with the Eligibility and Allocation Rules for All Open 2LDs, contained in Schedule A of this document.

1. To be eligible for a domain name in the com.au 2LD, registrants must be:

a) an Australian registered company; or

b) trading under a registered business name in any Australian State or Territory; or

c) an Australian partnership or sole trader; or

d) a foreign company licensed to trade in Australia; or

e) an owner of an Australian Registered Trade Mark; or

f) an applicant for an Australian Registered Trade Mark; or

g) an association incorporated in any Australian State or Territory; or

h) an Australian commercial statutory body.

2. Domain names in the com.au 2LD must be:

a) an exact match, abbreviation or acronym of the registrant’s name or trademark; or

b) otherwise closely and substantially connected to the registrant.

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