* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Food, water, batteries, medical supplies, ammo … and Windows 7 PCs

Tom 13

Re: BTW have you ever installed Windows onto fresh hardware

Yes, quite often. On systems bought piece by piece and hand assembled by me. There were a few inflection points where the install was quirky, but mostly if you weren't installing 5 year old software on current hardware it just worked.

No, I haven't tried OpenSUSE recently, it may be just as easy. But some of the reasons people like Windows are things the Linux community doesn't want. To be honest, most home users a looking to have at least flash and possibly java installed so they can play their simple but entertaining internet games.

Oracle Java 'no longer the greatest risk' to US Windows PC users

Tom 13

Re: QuickTime update only for Windows Vista and 7

Nope Secunia takes that into account. Bought a new laptop for my mother last week and was doing the updates (now I can officially say I've worked with it and it's dog barf). After I finished MS updates I installed PSI and got a clean scan. No, I wasn't installing Apple related stuff, but they moved Flash into the OS as well, and it didn't show up in the Secunia scan.

Tom 13

Re: because they cost money

Nope, that EXACTLY why I have an EOL programs on my home system. It would be another $80 (every three years) just to fix something that OUGHT to be a utility in the OS. My monthly budget is down to my last $30.

Tom 13

Re: I remember having to give a presentation once

That's all on you, not on Windows. It was your job to make sure the machine was ready before you did the presentation. Yes, that includes making sure everything was up to date.

Tom 13

Re: Puzzled

Well one of the things that sometimes remains on my unpatched list for a while is LibreOffice. Secunia can't download and install the update so it waits until I have an hour or so to sit with the box and patch it (If I patch one thing the WHOLE damn thing is getting done including new scans until only EOL stuff is on the list). I'm not overly worried about it because even though I like the software, I know it doesn't have wide adoption. And I don't use browsers all that much. Truth be told, it's mostly a quick check of my gmail so it's a very low risk site from the malware perspective.

I know I've seen other things that applied to as well, but I can't recall what they were now.

I also sometimes see "update pending" messages for things that should have been patched. So I manually patch them instead.

Tom 13

@Bob Dole (tm)

I like Windows Update, or at least did when it was still publishing at least some details about what it was updating.

This x1000!

I'm not so sure about expanding it to other apps though. Because it's a service provided you take on risk for enabling the update and don't control the software. You could setup some sort of QA program, but then you wind up hiring staff who need to know a bit about the programs. At which point even if you can setup the Chinese air walls to comply with FTC regs, you still have the problem of vendors not trusting MS with any details of their software because of past behavior. Part of the reason it works for the driver market is those QA programs are already in place and the maker of the driver isn't selling the driver, he's selling the hardware the driver enables. He doesn't much care if MS knows his algorithms, only that his hardware competitors don't. Well at least as long as MS stays out of the hardware business.

Tom 13

Re: Similarly for Apple Quicktime. Nobody uses it, nobody cares,

Not quite. If you run iTunes (just about the only thing Apple really makes for Windows) you need Quicktime.

The updater is easy enough to leave in place and turned on, but it has a problem. Since Apple is accustomed to their drones living inside their walled garden, they just update the list of things your updater installs without asking. So if you only want iTunes and Quicktime to support it you still get iCloud and whatever else happens to catch their fancy that week. And when one of them breaks during an update you have to manually uninstall the whole fricking Apple stack to fix it.

I run Secunia's PSI. It's a decent tool. Configured correctly it will keep your system in the 97%+ current status excluding EOL software (yeah I have some, DVD burner software because I don't actually do it that often and I'm not paying for a new copy every 3 years). It does sometimes find issues that require manual intervention. I recall one dll problem related to one of MS's C+ modules that kept showing up on the scan as needing an MS update, but my when checking with MS update no update would appear. I had to dig down into the directory with the file and delete it.

Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

Tom 13


And he's full of crap.

I'm not a regular hunter but I've busted a few clays with some friends. If the drone never flew below 200ft, there's no way anything short of a slug took the drone down.

Tom 13

Re: flight pattern clearly showed it was flying through

That's easily dismissed. Even if

- yuv got your best shoot'n iron in an easy release rack on the back of yur pick-up

- it's loaded with the appropriate shot for drone hunt'n

- yur outside at the time of the flight

it still takes more time to get it, cock it, aim it, and pull the trigger than the drone would need to fly through your airspace in a straight line.


FCC under fire over TV, mobile broadband signal interference fears

Tom 13

Re: I'm constantly amazed at how many people

Don't be. It's what the cell phone companies want and Apple and Google have been happy to oblige.

Oh, and I'll bet you'd be even more surprised at the number who text each other rather than call.

Aussies' distinctive Strine down to drunk forefathers

Tom 13

Re: Bah!

I have to agree. I've never mistaken an Australian accent for Foster Brooks doing one of his routines.

CSC, NetCracker IT staff worked on US military telecoms 'without govt security clearance'

Tom 13


Can't. Even here in the US we don't have THAT many prisons.

Tom 13


US rules are different. If you aren't cleared you can't look at it. Not even under supervision. That's assuming of course it is some sort of secret clearance as opposed to the "clearance" of we ran him through the usual police databases and nothing turned up so he's ok to work here and Bob's Farcebook search didn't turn up anything either clearance. Given how they treat telecoms at my agency where I got the second type of clearance, I expect they really did need the first. And yeah, those cost a contracting premium.

Oh, and depending on your situation, that clearance might or might not transfer to a another project even if it is the exact same type of work.

Tom 13

@chris 17

Fear not. Those fines sound rather small in the context of these sorts of contracts. Also, given the size of CSC it feels odd reading they were the sub. Finally, as the companies can't be allowed to go out of business, they'll figure out a way to bill it back to the government on other contracts, plus a percentage for all the work of re-billing it through other channels.

So in a sense, your UK departments are saving you money because you won't incur the cost of re-billing the fines.

The only one in this fiasco who MIGHT be coming out with some money in his pocket is the whistle blower, and even that is a 50/50 thing.

WoW! Want to beat Microsoft's Windows security defenses? Poke some 32-bit software

Tom 13

Re: Why are "we" still using "flash"

Thanks for the input. I've passed it along.

Tom 13

Re: Why are "we" still using "flash"

So what development tools in a Windows environment do you recommend instead?

I'm not a web developer and don't pretend to be one. But as the front line I've recently been asked that question. Unfortunately all the rest of the web developers in our organization are on the Adobe wagon so Flash gets used extensively and that's the way they are likely to go even though it's a new project.

sidenote: as far as I'm concerned Adobe's new licensing, downloading, and installing regime for their paid programs is even more shite than their Flash end user software.

Whitman's split: The end of Fiorina's HP grand expansion era

Tom 13

Re: And the Magic is still missing

Apotheker - didn't get the IT thing. Its about the innovation ....

I'm not so sure about that. It's important to remember how we got here. It all started with IBM which at the time was a balanced hardware/software company. But by 2010 the hardware side of their business was gone. The hardware innovation was all happening at more narrowly focused companies, and lumbering giants like IBM and HP have trouble with that. You might even say Intel has problems with it these days, except AMD seems to have even more. But you do see innovation and synergies coming out of the software side of things. That's really what virtual machines and the cloud are: software innovations.

Now maybe he wouldn't have recognized a golden egg if the software people had given him one, but he at least foresaw that hardware was headed to commodity status. None of the rest of them did. And hardware being headed for commodity status wasn't exactly an unheard of idea. When the P4s were just coming out, I was at an Intel dog and pony show where one of their VPs posited the idea that in the near future PCs would be free or have negative value. Instead companies would be making their money on their service contracts. Things aren't exactly that bad, but he was more right than wrong.

Tom 13

Re: Managers

It's a tad more complicated than that. Companies run solely by engineers tend not to be around because they lose too much money. Companies run solely by bean counters tend to become zombie corps because they don't understand the project but know how to keep shifting the money around. To have a truly successful company you need one where the two groups are in balance. Sometimes, but very, very rarely, this balance is found in a single individual. At it's inception HP seems to have been blessed with two. But when they left the corporation didn't know how to find that balance.

Star Trek to go boldly back onto telly, then beam down in streams

Tom 13



Right over the top of your head.

Two in the space of as many hours. That's gotta be a record.

Part of the trope is that the red shirt was also always Ensign Expendable, not a main character. Guy played this wonderfully in Galaxy quest. Too many shows these days depend on their continuing characters having more heart rending experiences in an episode than most soap opera stars got in a season.

Tom 13

Re: You make it sound like dystopia is a new thing.


Right over the top of your head.


Tom 13

I hope it is less dystopian than the current trend

Nope, that was what the reboot was all about: bringing on even more teen angst than a a sparkly vampire tv show. I might, maybe, possibly have been able to torture myself into accepting their time is linear except when we need it to be timey-whimey for dramatic purposes plot point except for that issue.

Tom 13

Re: None are reboots

The Star Trek movie was filmed as, and sold as a REBOOT. Period.

An abysmal failure in my estimation as it pretty much destroyed everything Roddenberry put into it that made it Trek, but none the less a reboot.

And AGAIN, it's not a subscription series. It's a series that will only be available on their CBS All Access service, which is sort of a mini-Netflix for CBS at about half the price of Netflix. They advertise 7500 shows and movies.

Tom 13

Re: Reboots vs Extended Continuity

Nope, Enterprise was a prequel.

Like all things Trek, they fucked up the timeline and ignored the problems. Leaving Trekies to cobble together some false rationale for their abject failures in continuity.

Don't get me wrong, I like original Trek, a fair bit of TNG (but not the first season), and DS9. Spock was my second hero after The Batman. But the writers and producers ignored both continuity and essential human traits with some regularity. Take any episode where they had access to untold knowledge and didn't make a copy: City on the Edge of Forever, For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky, Spock's Brain. Frankly, City on the Edge of Forever is the WORST offender because it starts out with Spock doing exactly that, the episode revolves around it as the McGuffin, then ignores it after they return from their trip into the past.

Tom 13

Re: Also: Subscribing specifically to a series?

You've mucked that up rather badly even if you did get a fair bit of a helping hand from the author.

You don't subscribe to the series. You subscribe to the CBS service which they claim makes ALL of their content available to you. (Certainly true for anything currently on air and most of the stuff you'd find on the likes of Netflix et al that is true.) But the series will ONLY be available through the service.

Currently listing for $5.99/month in the US.

West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless

Tom 13

Re: The author missed the point completely

Nope the only one ignoring anything completely is you. The author covered that pretty well in the article. It was an abysmal failure.

Tom 13

Re: decades since the US and UK have done any research

Yep. That damn Hanoi Jane and one of her movies again. I'm sure LP has a long justifiably ranting article somewhere in the archives about how inaccurate the science was in The China Syndrome but ever since then you can't build a new nuke anywhere in the Occidental world except France. Not even sure they still build them.

Tom 13

Re: are eminently contestable in principle,

Actually they aren't, particularly with the current sentiment about IP in the western court systems and the US system in particular. The US government granted MS an uncontestable monopoly position vis-a-vie copyright. Through various legal mechanisms this effectively extends to all Western worlds. You can't do a clean room implementation of Windows and sell your product.

Tom 13

Re: water pipes in a city say.

The more I see the problems with the government imposed water monopolies in the US, the more anxious I am to see a city government privatize it and sell it off to at least two competitors so we can finally put a wooden stake through the heart of this meme.

Tom 13

Re: Old mines didn't have this, thus that river problem.

Right on the old mines, wrong on the thus part.

"That river problem" was entirely the fault of the EPA. They promoted a stupid plan as safe. While the situation pre-breach wasn't ideal, it was far safer than their plan. In fact a retired geologist predicted the plan would fail in precisely the way it did and almost to the day that it happened. I'm not saying the EPA planned it that way, but I can easily forgive the tinfoil hat types who think it was.

Tom 13

Re: Did I miss something?

Despite much bellyaching, there is no such thing as a natural monopoly. If you look at the historical examples of monopolies they were all local to a government which artificially created it within its confines. Cartels are even more difficult to maintain. Since China is selling RE's on the world market, by definition it isn't within the confines of their country.

As for the end of the article, you seem to have missed the bit where the attempts to force relocation failed miserably too.

Is there a problem with China processing all the REs? Probably. But it's not economic. The issue as pointed out upstream is that China is notoriously lax on pollution controls. Now, if you're a western country worried about that sort of thing there's a relatively easy fix: pass a law that says the purchasing of such materials is either taxed at 1 to 5 times (depending on the cost of implementing appropriate pollution controls) or comes from a facility that your government has certified passes the pollution standards (possibly with one of your government's inspectors being onsite to make regular or surprise inspections).

Insurance companies must start buying security companies

Tom 13


Yep, insurance companies are the ultimate freakanomics type statisticians. They don't really care about the gory details of how it happens, all they really care about is that there IS a correlation. If you pay out more in insurance for red cars, red cars cost more to insure. If you're more likely to die the closer you live to 42 degrees north latitude, the more expensive life insurance is.

So if the insurance industry isn't insuring for cyber-risk, what it means is either there are no good correlations, or there isn't enough history yet on payouts to build a business model. I'd give a slight edge to the latter for sole cause with a decent chances there's a fair bit of both.

We're getting kick-ass at seeing through walls using just Wi-Fi – MIT

Tom 13

Re: Is it just me?

Yes it is comrade. Let us take you to the re-education center to eliminate your fears.

We suck? No, James Dyson. It is you who suck – Bosch and Siemens

Tom 13

Re: This is easy to check...

Maybe not as much as you might think.

Remember, The American Tobacco Institute for years did not lie that they passed certain tests with regard to tar levels in cigarettes. The lie was that the bits that caused differentiation in the tests would also cause differentiation when used by actual smokers. The reduced tar levels were primarily attributable to little holes in the paper on the filter which functioned properly in tests, but which smokers cover with their lips when smoking.

Ransomware victims: Just pay up, grin, and bear it – says the FBI

Tom 13

Re: Blame the victim

While the major blame always falls on the criminal, sometimes it IS appropriate to blame the victim. If you know you have to walk through the seedy part of town, you don't dress up in your best tux and adorn yourself with diamond studded gold cuff links/finest silk evening gown and best pearl necklace.

The thing is, in physical space you get that separation between the good part of town and the seedy part. With the internet, it all comes right to your doorstep including the worst drug dens of seediest part of the seediest town on the planet. If you aren't willing to deal with that reality, get off the internet.

Tom 13

Re: you should do a fresh, full backup of everything

And ensure the malware that got you in the first place is now part of your recovery process?

Yeah, I know you mean after you've cleaned up the system, but how can you be sure you did that successfully? Sure you can build all the new systems from scratch, but at some point you have to get he data from the infected system to the clean one.

Yes a merely competent sys admin should be able to recover you from a ransomware threat just by going to the backups. I'm just not convinced that even an excellent sysadmin can get you a clean system after a bad one has been compromised.

Balloon-lofted space podule hits 30,000m

Tom 13

Re: Football Stadium?

Well, if you're looking at size, then a proper football stadium WOULD be the ones over on my side of the pond.

According to Wiki your prized stadium in Wembley ranks a mere 19th on the world size charts. I spend at least one game a year at number 3 on the list.

Tom 13

Re: Wi-Fi and a bar?

I understand your WiFi gets better the more bars you have.

Have we lost so much as humans that we aren't excited by things like mind-bending views of our planet?

No, but you will need to post them on Farcebook or Tw@tter.

Tom 13

Re: Helium

Cost, pure: $5.2 per 100g


No price listed for bulk helium. Hard to tell from the balloon canister ads.

Tom 13

@Allan George Dyer

Probably even cheaper and easier to just go for one who is certifiable.

Tom 13

Re: hydrogen is *Bad* in balloons (because "Zeppelin") but *good* in cars

Last I checked, they were pushing methane for the Green cars not hydrogen. Granted I wouldn't want to hit/be hit by a vehicle powered by either, but the differences are important.

Tom 13

Re: Helium balloons

You must be a riot at a kids birthday party.

Finally, with W10, Microsoft’s device strategy makes sense

Tom 13

That's some good shit you're smoking.

You sure it's legal?

‘Dumb pipe’ Twitter should sell up and quit, says tech banking chap

Tom 13

Re: Bah!

Phone or desktop?

Like you I have one that I have never really used. I tried to use it primarily from a PC. I understand from a friend who is/was into it big that you need a phone/tablet to really benefit from it. Although even for him the shiny, shiny bit is wearing off.

Tom 13

Re: Twitter's ineptitude is users benefit

It doesn't.

BUT it does have to be driven by SOME revenue stream.

So far, advertising seems to be the primary driver of most web based sites and is certainly the only driver for free ones. (In the case of Google you usually happen to be the product not the paying consumer.)

Tom 13

Re: What Twitter is for

Yes except for one rather important detail....

At the end of the day, you have to make enough money to support your infrastructure and yourself. Twatter can't do that yet, have no plan for getting there, and seem to have no clue that they NEED to get there.

Tom 13

Re: Twitter’s management themselves don’t seem to realise why people like and use Twitter

Twitter is the Pet Rock of the current decade. If you got in on the ground floor you stand to make a bundle as long as you get out soon enough. Don't ask why you made a bundle, just take the money and run. Don't try to repeat it, you'll lose the money you had when you ran.

Bacon can kill: Official

Tom 13

Re: Eat bacon, you die

You die, she dies, everybody dies!

Tom 13

Re: All the flavour without the risk

I'll stick with the eBacon. I see no point in paying the premium just to get rounded corners on my fake bacon.

Tom 13

Not bad as articles go,

but I think it really needs more of a Lewis Page AGW treatment.

Tom 13

Re: You Don't Win Friends With Salad

These days in the US, eating salad is actually more dangerous than eating bacon. Our last couple of e. coli outbreaks came through salad contents not bacon.

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