* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

Tom 13

If keeping track of the two systems is too mentally taxing for Lord Geoffrey Howe,

perhaps his title should be removed and given to someone who at least meets the average mental capacity of a British citizen?

Look, I'm a 'Merkin. I've never had a pint, probably never will. (Not because I object to the idea, but because I'm a poor sod who is allergic to hops. And while a pint of beer is something the body can handle, a pint of gin and tonic has a somewhat more dramatic effect.) But even though this whole thing doesn't affect me in the least, it still irritates me when one of these loons takes to the public stage to pontificate such utter dreck.

Tom 13

Re: 7 pint gallon

It's still 8 pints to the 'Merkin gallon. Granted those would be 'Merkin pints.

Stuxnet ≠ cyberwar, says US Army Cyber Command officer

Tom 13

Re: ..so what WAS StuxNet if not a 'cyber-attack'?

I think he's working with the 'single campaign does not a war make' philosophy. I've seen other real generals post similar thoughts. They may have concerns about how cyber operations affects an actual attack, but unless the cyber attack itself generates actual human casualties, it isn't an attack. They tend not to attempt to address the "if patients at a hospital die as a result of a coordinated/state planned malware attack, does they constitute casualties" question.

I'm wishy-washy on this point. I see and understand what they are saying, and agree to some extent, but also think the concept of a cyber attack is a useful one in other contexts. It may be a bit like the old justice's definition of porn, we might not be able to define it, but we'll know what it looks like after the first one happens. Until then, they are pre-cursors and not real cyber attacks.

ASA tuts at TalkTalk over broadband speed estimator

Tom 13

Given the articles I see here about the ASA

Me thinks you'd all be better off if it were just abolished and you got to keep the penny/year in cost savings instead.

Tom 13

Re: Shouldn't it just be simple maths?

RFs is black-box voodoo magic. It's never simple maths. I'm normally the fly on the wall, but I remember a company having to hire an RF witch-doctor to get one of our boxes approved for FCC Section 15 code many, many moons ago. Recommendation was to add curly metal things to the internals of the box, then it worked. All the staff engineers were amazed it worked after that.

Antitrust probe looms over Windows RT 'browser ban'

Tom 13

The difference between Apple and MS vis-a-vie anti-trust law

is that MS is perceived as the convicted monopolist (not quite true) and Apple is perceived as the only viable commercial alternative. Behaviorally, there's not a spark plug's airgap of difference between the two.

Tom 13

Re: "Microsoft is a convicted monopolist"

Actually, they aren't. They should have been, but they weren't. And that matters a whole lot in this case.

What actually happened was they entered into a consent decree before they were convicted. And it was one of those "non-admission of guilt" pleas. What they were subsequently convicted of was violating the consent decree. But the consent decree is now long, long expired. And the subsequent violation dies with it. So any current accusations of improperly leveraging a monopoly are a whole new legal game.

Tom 13

it's not "more than just talk,"

it's "a trial balloon" so they can re-frame the issue if it doesn't poll well.

SpaceX and Bigelow sign deal for inflatable space stations in orbit

Tom 13

Re: oops

Nah, they solved that for the Gemini flights. Most places sell it today under the name Velcro.

Wolfenstein 3D shoots onto web

Tom 13

Re: S'not the same

Youn'ins! No respect for where the game concepts for the came from.

It was Castle Wolfenstein, and no it wasn't in 3-D, but it was the original. Just you, stuck in a room inside a Nazi prison camp. You somehow had wrangled a gun and 10 bullets and were now tasked with breaking out of the castle. Standard guards went down with one shot, but you could waste an entire clip on an SS trooper with a flack jacket. Only sure way to take them out was with a hand grenade. Which of course you got from SS troopers wearing flack jackets. I never did make it to the end of the game. And as far as I know, it was never released on the PC.

Tom 13

Re: S'not the same

I wanna play the really real original - you know, the one where the sound card was irrelevant because there weren't any and you had to select your screen resolution first. Okay, I may have made that last bit up. Apple always were anal about their hardware configurations, and I don't remember starting the game exactly, but I do remember watching it in pixelled amber, and always being amused when I was down to "1 bullets left." And yeah, I played it at a friend's house because we didn't own a computer.

Cloud data fiasco forces bosses to break out the whiteboards

Tom 13

Re: Reliable computing in a cloud - the ultimate in modern vapourware.

Actually, it's not vapourware and it's not modern, the marketing drones just have a "modern" word for it. Bottom line is it is still outsourced storage technology. Maybe it makes sense, maybe it doesn't. That will depend on your contract (does it require disaster recovery abilities from the vendor), its precise details (does the vendor do a yearly disaster recovery test), and the how well the outsourcing contract is monitored (are you allowed onsite during the disaster recovery test). For it to work, that's all a heck of a lot of work, and the cost savings over do it yourself are likely to be marginal, not huge. If there is a huge price savings, somebody probably left out an important component.

Study reveals high price of porn addiction

Tom 13

Re: Cause and effect?

It's a chicken and egg problem. We know from biological studies that the endorphins released during sex are some of the most powerful and addictive that the human body encounters (just because they are natural doesn't make them safe). If that cycle is couple with an OCB personality, the results follow logically. Maybe the OCB would express itself differently if it hadn't encountered the sex endorphin cycle, but the sex endorphin cycle would certainly define that instantiation of the issue. Maybe it can be got at and resolved through other psychological methods, but I don't see that removing the sex component helps resolve the issue for the OCB patient.

Office 365 hard enough to penetrate US government

Tom 13

Caution, There's FISMA

and then there's FISMA. Sort of like the old RS-232 standard for those posters old enough to remember it.

Carriers, prepare to bleed: EU pops a cap on data roaming

Tom 13


Hey, if you think you could make money at those rates, get a bank loan, start the company and start raking in the cash.

Tom 13

Re: whilst on holiday

Unless of course you're traveling on business, in which case you're still on the leash.

Tom 13

Re: No sympathy

No need to be an economist. What free market? Government controls and sells the spectrum. Government controls and regulates how you make the phones. Government controls and sets the prices. Government issues patents and copyrights that grant the legal monopolies on new ideas and their implementation.

If you haven't got the money to bribe, I mean lobby the government government you won't survive in the highly regulated environment.

Now some of those things in small doses are good. But when the government effectively uses them to just shake down most of its citizens and blame somebody else, it is a whole different story.

Gimp because that's pretty much what the phone companies are in this case, even if they have a lot of money in the bank.

Tom 13

Re: infrastructure is already in place

Um, "in place" is not necessarily equal to "is paid for." Thieve from the guys who paid for it under the guise of "fairness" and nobody will pay for it next time around.

Tom 13

Re: t ridiculous illogical argument

Ah, so you admit to economic illiteracy then. Because companies have to make a profit, and if they can't make them from those charges, they'll have to getting them from elsewhere.

'Fake Carla Bruni' Twitter account spreads Thatcher death rumour

Tom 13

Re: I wonder

yeah, yeah. That always the communist/fascist rejoinder: real communism/fascism hasn't been tried yet, when it is everything will work!

Tom 13

Re: The whole incident illustrates ...

The "journalists" of the 1970s were no better than the thugs of today. Only difference is back then they were going after the people YOU wanted out of office. It's been documented that the systems Nixon used were installed by Kennedy, and that unlike Kennedy, he had the tapes archived, planning for them to be released after he was dead so historians could review them. Then came Watergate and the need to protect himself. Even then he didn't do what any politico today would: burn all the tapes.

Assuming the story as told is true (a big IF given some of the other matters swirling around at the time), I still don't see what the big deal is about having stolen campaign strategy documents. Someone playing at that level of politics ought to be able to protect sensitive information. And even if they can't protect it, if it was a good strategy for winning the election, it should have worked even with Nixon knowing it.

Swarm of investors crave 'more shares than Facebook is selling'

Tom 13

I wonder if the mole has a financial stake in the success of the IPO?

I get people signing up for Facebook, whatever its shortcomings. I even get that once the stock is public there are enough fools out there willing to part with their money that Zuckerman stands to profit as much as any snake oil salesman before him. But the investors who are in on IPO offers are supposed to be smarter than that. We really don't need to evaporate another billion or three from a stagnant economy.

Apache releases new OpenOffice build, promises faster upgrades

Tom 13

Re: every bit as useful as MS Word's.

No, no! We're looking for something USEFUL here.

Tom 13

Re: something that works nearly as well as MS Office 2000.

Tell me when either of them get to a version that works nearly as well as WordPerfect 5.1 did and I might get excited. If you want to guarantee my excitement, it has to work as well as Ventura 4.0 or 5.0.

Did dicky power supply silence climate-change probe Envisat?

Tom 13

Re: recycle

You forgot one: Either a government or private entity still owns it, and if you solve the technical problems of capturing it in orbit, and recovered it, you'd likely be told to turn it back over to the owner with no reimbursement for your troubles. Sort of like the guy who found that wreck a couple years back and then lost it all to Spain.

Microsoft makes good with a 23-fix Patch Tuesday

Tom 13

Re: I cant imagine why you were downvoted

Could be someone who can't believe he's "still using that M$/Micro$haft crap" or possibly just someone on a rampage. This El Reg after all.

Tom 13

@Darryl: that'll fix 90% of them.

The other 10% you need to worry about. It can be indicative of a patch not installing, and that means something else is broken on the system. Probably an incomplete update for something else, but also possibly malware, especially on XP SP3.

Tom 13

Re: once a month?

No, I've gotten the notice more than once on my home system a couple times in the last 6 months. Given that I normally log on to the system once a day, if they all install at once that shouldn't be the case. Still, if you are hitting the Shutdown button on your way out the door, it shouldn't be an issue, even if it is downloading 23 patches from that huge update they did about 2 years back.

Tom 13


With as many times as he's bounced it off the floor, there's almost certainly damage to at least one of the electronic components. chkdsk c: /f won't fix a broken component. Given that it is a laptop, best thing to do is replace it.

Tom 13

@jason 7

I did a clean install of Vista on a home built system. It was total crap and still would be if it were still there, so stop with the bullshit. Vista didn't have near the driver support it should have, and only slightly better software support. Windows 7 is much improved and is stable.

While I concur most of the vendors install crapware that slogs down the computer, that doesn't necessarily mean the underlying OS is decent. And frankly, if you're talking about the 64-bit versions of the OS, getting apps that run properly in a secured environment is still nigh unto impossible. Whether it is networked printer drivers, high end programs you would expect to be optimized for a 64-bit OS (Yeah Autodesk and Adobe I'm looking at you), or games on the home system, the programmers just don't seem to have any idea who to write and support them.

Tom 13

Re: @Silverburn

Or unhappy he doesn't understand what the phrase "unsupported" means.

Secret's out: Small 15K disk drive market is 'growing'

Tom 13

Re: non-technical users are vague about the distinction between memory and disk

I'll second that. Every time my dad thinks he's found a deal on a PC he calls me up to ask about it. He always gives me the drive storage capacity as "memory." Fortunately with the difference in sizes these days, I never have to ask for clarification.

Solar quiet spell like the one now looming cooled climate in the past

Tom 13

Re: Beeswax Bosons

So I guess you didn't notice NomNomNom's very early post saying that there is no influence from the sun on climate back oh, about three pages ago in the comments section.

The so called 'denialists" have a pretty consistent argument: the baselines aren't long enough, the science isn't mature, and obviously critical inputs are blindly ignored by alarmists. But when the alarmists criticize the 'denialists' they contradict each other.

Tom 13

Re: So if you run a Bayesian analysis on Astrology predictions

can you get reliable data out of it?

Tom 13

Re: Are we dumbing down science?

Apparently not enough to get through to the Sun heats Earth denialists!

Tom 13

Re: are a fake by god to test our faith!

No, the sites are Hellishly authentic, but God permits our testing just as he did with Job.

Tom 13

Re: Sponsorship and journalism

You get that when you use Google Ads to select advertisers.

Tom 13
Thumb Down

Re: It's just a fact that the Sun's output doesn't vary much.

You know, it's the funniest damn thing that warmists throw that out there like it's gospel fact, and then when you do a simple Google search on 'variation in solar output 1900 to current' you can quickly find the following website:


where low and behold, the "not much variation in solar output" looks an awful lot like the "alarming temperature rise" since 1970, plus includes the global ice age scare they were running back then.

Tom 13

Re: Oh dear.

Not in the least. I am as doubtful of the predictions about the coming solar minimum as I am of the coming meltdown, and for somewhat similar reasons - The use of proxies and that I'm not certain they have a sufficiently long data collection period vis-a-vie long cycle variations in solar sun spots.

That being said, they are at least on solid ground for having established the frequency of the short term solar cycle at 22 years (with min/max occurring twice per cycle for a complete migration of the solar magnetic poles). They've also got a somewhat longer baseline for observations. I don't recall having seen anything about Copernicus's weather observations, but his astronomy observations are pretty well documented. So I'd give them a slight edge on whether or not their longer term cycles are right.

I'm also a bit more comfortable in that they aren't predicting 'DOOM! DOOM! DOOM!' if we don't change our ways to comport with their political leanings.

Java jury finds Google guilty of infringement: Now what?

Tom 13

Re: Actually, I would dispute that Google has to seek profit and increase shareholder value

And like SCO you would lose.

No matter how large your controlling interest, you still have a fiduciary responsibility to ALL the shareholders. If any one of them sues and can prove in a court of law that you have not acted in their best financial interest, you personally will lose a LOT of money. And that 'Lot' will be even by Page, Brin, and Schmidt standards.

Tom 13

@Lee Dowling - Re: Misleading

Your facts may all be correct with respect to the impact on the industry, but they don't matter in a court of law. There are some pretty well known and well liked decisions that overturned a hell of a lot more industry than allowing copyrights on API.

The judge has very obviously been trying to avoid ruling on exactly that point. If the verdicts on the 3 points Oracle won had come back the other way, ruling on copyrighting APIs would have been moot. Now whether them judge is just naturally reluctant to be the first to speak to the issue, or whether he's trying to avoid it because if he has to rule it will be for copyrighting APIs and he recognizes the damage that would do I don't know.

Tom 13

Re: Mr. Orlowski, justice is not about who you like and who you dislike

Sun put themselves on the auction block to avoid going bankrupt. Regardless of whether you like or dislike either Schwartz or Larry, I'd say that Schwartz's tenure was therefore objectively catastrophic.

Tom 13

Re: It seems simple...but it never is

Except that they couldn't really do that either. Sun open sourced most of Java, but kept a small part of it proprietary in an attempt to retain control of what they open sourced. So at least your remark about not waffling holds. If Sun hadn't waffled, we wouldn't be here either. Of course if Oracle had made a clear statement, Google might have worked a bit harder at making sure their path was legally clear and perfectly clean room. And on the third hand, Google ought to have done that even without a clear Oracle statement "out of an abundance of caution in exercising their fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders." Or at least I believe that is the usual legal mumbo-jumbo associated with such undertakings.

Tom 13

@Anonymous Dutch Coward: No, no

somebody want to have Tea and No Tea at the same time.

Tom 13

Re: Copyright does not require registration.

Major Nit: While your statement is technically true, it misses the larger point. If you have properly registered your copyright, the existence of your copyright is assumed and must be proven to have been improperly awarded if some other entity objects. If you have not registered the copyright you have to prove it is a valid copyright. This tremendously shifts the burden of proof in court. Moreover, given the negligible cost of registering a copyright with the US government ($25 last time I heard), it looks really negligent when the million dollar a year lawyers start arguing that case.

Tom 13


Keep up that kind of ranting and SCOTUS will rule to copyright the API. SCOTUS is beholden to no other court when determining American Law. I thought we settled that dispute back in the 1770-1820 time period.

Tom 13


Not sure it matters how Alsup rules on this. Given the size of the egos and the markets in this lawsuit, I expect it to go all the way to SCOTUS. Of course, Alsup producing a well-reasoned ruling will help, but ultimately I don't think he makes the final call. Frankly I'm not sure I want SCOTUS making the final call either. Except of course that having Congresscritters decide it is even less appetizing.

Old-school Mars rover water findings confirmed

Tom 13

Percival Lowell was right!

Mars Needs Women Now!

'ACTA is dead,' says Europe's digital doyenne

Tom 13

More smoke and mirrors from the apparachik in Frisco

On the day the Lieberman-Collins Internet Kill Switch Bill will be voted on in the US Senate do we get an article about the very real danger associated with it passing?


No, we get another yawner about ACTA. Understandable perhaps if written by someone in London, but Frisco? Really?

Investors queue for chance to glance at Zuck's FACE

Tom 13

Re: ...that the company has many years of potential growth ahead of it.

I suppose technically "centuries" does count as "many years", but I thought investors generally had a shorter horizon for returns than that.

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