* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Cupertino man jailed for exporting tech to China

Tom 13

Re: Should have shipped it to the UK ...

I put this one in the same level of idiocy as a db admin who doesn't salt and encrypt his internet accessible PII.

New York tech firms form 'bucket brigade' to fuel flagging servers

Tom 13

Re: Err...

I'd take carrying the diesel over mucking out the flood waters any day of the week. A well defined an manageable set of risks over ones that are completely unknown. What exactly got into all that salt water as it flowed over the railroad tracks lifting off the tankers and other cars, through the chemical manufacturing plants in New Jersey and on and on.

Tom 13

Re: probably not covered by 'acts of god'.

They almost certainly do.

But regardless, the PR value of them doing this is enormous.

Tom 13

Re: only people that know basic physics are 40+.

and even then, if it isn't your day job, you likely have forgotten much of it. I forgot about the atmospheric pressure angle on the pump even though I do know how a barometer works and that mercury was originally chosen specifically because of its high specific gravity.

And I thank all those who did remember for their explanations.

As this story proves yet again, its awfully difficult to make something foolproof, because fools are so damned ingenious. Even the non-sentient ones.

Tom 13

Re: Harder to ignite...

You CAN do the same thing with gasoline. In both cases it is the fumes which ignite, not the liquid. It is admittedly much more difficult to do with a bucket of gas since it has a lower temperature for volatility, but it is possible. And yes, this would fall under the category of "Don't intentionally try this at home."

Tom 13

Re: you're warming up a decreasing supply of diesel

in a large container with an electrical item.

I smell a Mythbusters episode!

'We invented Windows 8 Tiles in the 1990s', says firm suing Microsoft

Tom 13

This could get amusing when MS rolls out their

Windows 95D (or was it C?) Active Desktop software...

Mozilla: Windows 7 browser bungle cost us nine MILLION downloads

Tom 13

While I think that to some extent users are suffering from download fatigue in

Round 2 of the 100 Years Browsers War, I can't help but think: If a cop gave me a ticket for going 65 in a 45 zone, I couldn't get out of paying it because of "technical errors." And if I were silly enough to try that angle in front of a judge, I'd probably wind up with a doubled fine.

'IE hit squad' helps ease browser babel on office PCs

Tom 13

Re: Chicken or egg?

Wait until you try Chrome....

Quarter of Eastern cell towers BLOWN down BY SANDY - FCC

Tom 13

Re: Oops.

Yeah, never pays to be pedantic.

Tom 13
Paris Hilton

Re: Sandy, Bedfordshire

I'm quite certain that is someone meant Sandy, Bedfordshire blows, it would have a whole different context.

Paris, cause she knows when it blows.

Tom 13

Re: If they didn't have all their electricity cables above ground...

Guess you missed the Con Edison briefing the other day.

A good chunk of NYC cabling is underground. It's flooded out too and will take 3 to 4 days to restore. First the conduit has to be drained of saltwater. Then it has to be flushed to remove whatever saline solution remains. Then it needs to be dried and finally it can be activated again.

Mast aren't likely to be the problem. Trees falling into the masts, or possibly electrical lines falling into the masts are. Oh, and the fact that if they avoided those problems, the masts are likely attached to the grid. Which is not functioning at the moment.

Tom 13

Re: UK site with international readership

Using "Sandy" in the headline should be sufficient for competent tech readers to localize the "Eastern" reference.

And, if you were going to engage in nitpickery, it would be the NORTH Eastern region of the United States. Eastern region basically refers to everything west of the Mississippi, which is much larger (geographically) than the large area which has been affected.

Disney buys Lucasfilm, new Star Wars trilogy planned

Tom 13

Re: The way I see it...

I'd say it's not so much the director angle as the money angle. It sort of acts as an editor: when you can't afford to do everything your mind's eye sees you have to cut the crap and keep only the good stuff. I think the same thing was true of the other big Star title as well. When Roddenberry walked as a god instead of just a producer who could be poked and prodded, the series suffered.

Tom 13

Re: And the books are canon?

Yes, but you forgot the last word: fodder.

Tom 13

Re: Obligatory...

Never tell me the odds!

Tom 13

Re: ANYONE have the bollocks and the money to take Disney on

Nope. As we can tell every stinking time the copyright is about to expire on the freaking mouse, they own Congress lock stock and barrel. But given that Disney started over a dispute about a mouse, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

Tom 13

Re: I am seeing light at the end of this tunnel.

Actually I think that's the end of a light saber and not the one you hold onto...

Google upgrades Gmail interface, now less 'drafty'

Tom 13

Hate to say it, but it sounds like Google have

finally caught up to Outlook 97, or as it would likely have been known in these parts Outhouse 97.

Forgetting Microsoft: How Steve Ballmer's Surface could win

Tom 13

I categorically reject the "Mobile is All" meme and any articles based upon it.

I've been in computers professionally since 1990 in one form or another. The meme has had many names including convergence, thin client, and cloud computing. It is always about the universal whatchamacallit. It's all horseshit.

There are many markets in computers, and desktop will always be a critical one. Personally I've always found least useful is invariably the HPC with built-in gaming, streaming, and DVD library support mobile phone.

US-CERT warns DKIM email open to spoofing

Tom 13

Re: A subpoena for what?

Fraud subpoena maybe, court trial doubtful.

Given his field, his reasons, and his actions, I don't think it rises to the level of "meant to deceive" required by fraud. He does appear to have been wrong in his initial assumption that it was a creative recruiting technique, but given that assumption, his response seems reasonable if unorthodox. Of course his biggest protection is that he performed other research and reported it to CERT.

Absent those, yeah, subpoena and time in the pokey would likely be in order.

DCMA angle is a tough call. It would certainly be easy enough to file the charges. But in this case because of the way the fraud charges would work, I think there would be as much risk to DCMA as there is to him. Oh, the initial trial might be a slam dunk for the prosecution, but the inevitable appeal might get DCMA declared unconstitutional.

Australian volcano starts to blow

Tom 13

Re: Don't tempt fate

I'd say given the fact that it is already believed to be erupting the statement is more true than your rebuttal. As I recall, none of the events associated with those volcanoes was associated with an active lava eruption. They were instances in which the relatively quieter lava eruptions weren't possible and the pressure simply continued to build until there was an Earth Shattering Kamboom.

Apple slips bomb into ITC filing: Samsung being PROBED by US gov

Tom 13

Re: How can you patent something that's "Standards Essential"?

In my post you can substitute manufacturers for vendors because they were. In fact if I were to name them, despite the fact that where I worked was a small American company that eventually went bankrupt, even in Europe you'd all recognize each of their names (and no, none of them were IT companies). The company I was working for was planning to derive all of its income from owning and licensing its patents: an upfront membership fee (probably about $300,000 a year in current dollars) and a small fee (3% of net profits IIRC, although it might have been gross revenue) for each device sold. Chump change for the multi-billion dollar companies we were dealing with, especially when they had a say in how the standards were implemented.

Tom 13

Re: The US DoJ

Minor Nit: depends on whose whim it is.

Tom 13

Re: How can you patent something that's "Standards Essential"?

Sadly (at least with regard to the US), it is nearly impossible to make a technical device these days without using/infringing on somebody's patent. Therefore when a standards committee is formed, they all agree up front to ignore who owns what patents and work out a system that works, after which all members of the committee which produced the standard are required to issue licenses for items covered by their patents under FRAND terms.

Of course what really happens is everybody carefully watches who has which patents in the mix and makes up technical arguments to either advance their own or bump off a competitor's patent. If the committee isn't stacked from the start, you usually wind up with something reasonably well balanced from the patent payment standpoint, and everybody agrees to lie about it being the best technical standard.

At the start of my career I got to be the fly on the wall at a firm working on just such agreements. It was going to be a private set of standards for some tech with only three vendors being licensed at any time for a particular group of products. The one that still stands out in my mind is the debate over whether or not the contacts for one interface between products should be gold or lead. Oddly enough at the time they both would have cost about the same per device to use. Even more oddly because of the way the plating worked and the fact that the contacts were for electricity, they were roughly equivalent on efficiency and life expectancy. (At least that's the way the two engineers managing the spec for the standards company explained it to me.) The only problem was that one major manufacturer was already standardized on gold while the other one was standardized on lead. The third hadn't built production facilities yet so they didn't care which one was chosen and the usual tie breaker was gone. So one firm was going to get screwed, another was going to get a bonus, and the third was odd man out no matter what.

Judge GIVES APPLE THE FINGER in multitouch iDevice patent case

Tom 13

@dajames: I'd give you 5 thumbs up for that thoughtful post if I could.

The system as currently structured does seem rather random. I ride the train with a guy who just applied for and won a patent for something that is a little inventive, but not exceedingly so. He's planning to develop it himself and working on production for it so that when he does eventually sell the patent it is a proven device and he can get more money for the patent. The key of course is that he is a lawyer, and knew lawyers who could do a quick and effective search, determine that what he designed had no existing counterparts, and could then afford the fees to apply for the patent. I don't begrudge him the money for his idea, he should get something for it, possibly even a nice chunk of change if it sells well. But if a similarly slightly inventive but not exceedingly so idea is introduced by either Apple or Samsung, it doesn't simply generate a nice chunk of change, it will likely tie up innovation along similar lines for years if not decades.

Tom 13

Re: With hindsight everything is obvious.

Even in hindsight, when I see something that is really original and clever, I say "That was really clever! Good job!" Hex wrenches and Phillips screwdrivers and their screwish counterparts come to mind. But now that both have been invented, the various star keys and other variations are just that: variation on the hex or Phillips original ideas.

Tom 13

Re: public loose on civil cases replete with legal and technical complexities

It's not so much that they let the public loose, it is that in general the lawyers are allowed to select those least able to deal with those issues. The case Apple won was an exception, but an even more biased exception than the usual know-nothing juries empaneled.

Windows 8: An awful lot of change for a single release

Tom 13

@Pirate Dave: No, there were still plenty of dumb people using computers back then.

It was just that because there were more things you needed to know to set one up, there were more garage mechanics around then only we called ourselves IT techs. And we could all get together and share information without violating NDAs, patents, and/or trade agreements. Even more pointedly, when we shared information we did so in plain ordinary English (pond side aside) because the more people who knew how to do it, the less harried we were. The secretary who could barely remember to type wp.bat for the C:\ prompt was as common as the person who doesn't know what the Start button is in Windows 7.

Gaping network port with easy-to-guess password? You ARE the 79%

Tom 13

That's all well and good, but here's what I think the real question is:

Given that we know most hacks are opportunistic on standard ports,

given that most home users aren't professional it techs,

and finally given that Verizon are one of the biggest suppliers of routers to these same home users,

Has Verizon stopped issuing routers with open ports configured to the standard defaults they know are being hacked?

Icon because I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

Oldest unreadable alphabet yields to 'tablet' computer

Tom 13

Re: I think you meant...

I think you added an extra 'o' and ' ', although to be honest, I've never been able to fat finger that combination myself.

Gates: Microsoft will merge Phone and Windows platforms

Tom 13

Sorry, Microsoft pt 2

Your attempt to embrace and extend phone OSes to the desktop will fail. People don't want to run a super light OS on their fully functional desktop. Don't try to sell a screwdriver to people who need a Swiss army knife .

etc., etc.

So in the end, not only will MS piss off phone users, they'll piss off their monopoly market too.

Tom 13

Re: If this is true...

I live in a Windows world and would never buy the jailware produced by Apple.

That being said, I recognize that Jobs (and even more so Woz) are geniuses with code and OS while Gates is at best a workable hack. If Jobs couldn't unify the two interfaces (and you know if he could Apple wouldn't have a different interface on a tablet/phone and PC), there's no way in hell Gates (or any of his teams) will.

Louis Sullivan had it right back in 1896: That form ever follows function. This is the law.

Can climate change be changed back again? Maybe, say boffins

Tom 13

Re: These People Are Nuts

I'll believe these people right after they successfully construct a small scale closed ecosystem.

Successful meaning a community of people lives in it for 10 years without requiring inputs (other than solar radiation) from outside the system.

Tom 13

@Ben Tasker

He didn't miss it, he deliberately ignored it. NomNomNom is the High Inquisitor for AGW. If it ain't in his bible, it doesn't exist and any who speak words not in his bible are a demon spawn who needs to be purged.

Tom 13

Re: ... and if current global warming theory is wrong and we cool our planet down too much.

At least their bobsled team will be ready!

Tom 13

Re: Inquisition....

I thought it was the Spammish Repetition?

Tom 13

Great just what I wanted!

Idiots who lie in their papers about what the facts are mucking about trying to fix what they claim is broken.

Skype for Windows 8 is coming: Always on, always in your contacts

Tom 13

@AC & @moiety

Opt out is not never an acceptable privacy or security policy.

Tom 13

Re: Translates as a ruddy nuisance.

Not to mention a likely violation of most government and some corporate IT security policies.

Windows 8 versions will confuse the punters, say OEMs

Tom 13

Re: I can think of many things that will confuse punters about Win8...

It may not be top of the list, but it will be the first.

Tom 13

Re: Just dumb

I think Otter out-dumbs them with their phone cases: Instructions for how to open the damn thing are on the inside of the brochure which is stuffed inside their case. But not by much.

Tom 13

Re: I don't think ordinary customers are as stupid

You mustn't deal with ordinary punters often. Every time MS does a paradigm shift I went into ctrl-F4 mode for almost every customer explaining how their old apps won't run on the new system.

Tom 13

Re: The versiobns are easy to explain...

No, there's a third:

3) American beer. Er, I mean pisswater.

Tom 13

Re: can't wait for the explanation.

I heard one of those 23rd hand stories about Win 8 yesterday. Somebody who got an early release of it installed it on a home system for his kids to try. They sat down, poked around for a bit and after 15 minutes went back to using the Windows 7 PC because that one they could figure out.

Tom 13

Re: Consumer confusion is what they are relying on..

This isn't Windows! It doesn't have Word installed.

US climate-change skeptics losing support

Tom 13

Re: Cut to the chase

Not to mention how you select your sample...

US accused of hypocrisy over cyber warfare

Tom 13

Re: looks like the US is getting pretty close.

Yes, and that worked SO WELL when Rome fell.

Tom 13

Re: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick' (Churchill)

You should at least get the speaker for the quote correct.

Tom 13

Re: Western defence strategies have for a long time been based on

And Europe got that way in 732 AD because before that, the Muslims were doing it to them for 5 centuries. When we finally started getting some minimal rights back in 1215 the battle lines shifted to England and France but the same principles applied. After we crazy 'merkins won our freedom you lot drug us through not one but two world wars. In the 25+ centuries of massed warfare, it's the proven effective strategy.

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