* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Apple fights off ebook suit with anti-Amazon defence

Tom 13

Major Nit: "...Microsoft was sunk..."

MS was NEVER "sunk" which is why those who are still around from the time of the fight reflexively spit whenever someone claims they were. It is also a major contributor to it's well earned nicknames: M$ and Microshaft.

On the Apple front, I think they win because the DoJ needs to prove actual collusion, not just market dominance or changes in pricing. So far as I have seen, even in the smears against Apple, their behavior doesn't rise to collusion. And I'm no fanboi. The only hardware I have ever purchased from Apple was a refurb iPod from Woot.

Student's Linux daemon 0-day triggers InfoSec Institute outcry

Tom 13

@Peter Gathercole re: something they include from a third party as part of a windows installation

Microsoft does not include third party apps in Windows, that would be the resellers: Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, etc. So again, no liability to MS for Roxio software.

Where MS gets into trouble is that they do include certain certain functionality in their "kernel" that more properly belongs on a different functionality level, like Internet Explorer.* They exacerbate the issue by including things like activeX to make programming easier, but that adversely impacts security.

*With more recent OSes MS have tried to make this differentiation in their reporting, but since it still all comes in one mostly un-editable package, I find it a less useful distinction than it is in Linux.

Google's Brin admits he under-estimated Chinese censorship

Tom 13

@JaitcH: Yep, that's exactly the sort of scenario

where a small dispute is prone to go all the way to civil war.

Tom 13

Re: ...from many geographically separated areas I hear of uprisings and riots...

And therein lies the root problem. While I am opposed to the totalitarian nature of the Chinese regime, I still must recognize their fear of their greatest threat: a small riot becomes a medium revolt, becomes a full-fledged civil war with casualty counts to make the combined Axis and Allies counts pale in comparison (and that's including the Holocaust in the total). And unfortunately, when dealing with something irrational like fear, it doesn't matter how logical it is to point out that continuing repression ensures that the civil war aspect is even more likely if you can't resolve it at the smaller levels.

Intel shows Apple how to win a trademark dispute in China

Tom 13

Re: Not comparable cases

While I concur they are completely different, I'm not so sure the Intel wasn't just a case of the more expensive lawyers winning a case (the tinfoil hat crowd would probably even suggest bribery was involved). Given that Intel doesn't make inkjet or toner cartridges, I see no overlap for the trademark even if the names are similar. 'Intel' in both instances is obviously a shortening of "Intelligence" and thus the name is subject to being derived by independent means.

FBI track alleged Anon from unsanitised busty babe pic

Tom 13

Re: Security Fail

No matter how technically simple the attack, anything that requires 100% perfection from humans to prevent is by definition difficult to prevent.

ISPs should get 'up to' full fee for 'up to' broadband

Tom 13


You still need a minimum fee to cover fixed costs, but otherwise, a workable solution.

Gartner snips 2012 IT spending forecast – again

Tom 13

However I do see an upswing for El Reg

proof-reading positions.

Publishing giants sue open textbook startup over layout

Tom 13

Re: On-line dictionaries next then...

Dictionary publishers are just as subject to plagarism laws as fiction writers. It's a bit trickier since by definition they are going to be more similar, but certainly example sentences, if provided, should be different from one work to the next. Also you will find differences in font selection, spacing, layouts, and possibly even word history.

Tom 13

Re: Brahms died in 1897

Even if the picture itself if out of copyright, if layout matches too much, and the text matches too much, and particularly if you left in the same grammatical and typographic errors as are in the original, it's IP theft.

Tom 13

Re: but the suit isn't about content is it.

If you write and sell software to create a blog, and you can't make it look different than wordpress or blogspot, you'd damn well better bet if I'm on the jury when they sue your ass, I'll be adding my boot imprint to it right alongside theirs.

Tom 13

@the downvoter of Robert Long 1

He's actually spot on about this. If EVERY page has the EXACT same breaks, it IS a copy pure and simple. One of the tasks I regularly engaged in when I did typesetting work was the careful editing of text and/or kerning or leading in order to cause the paragraph and page breaks to fall in specific locations to reduce page counts/empty space in the final piece. The two line flier onto the first column of the next otherwise non-existent page was a particular bugaboo.

Tom 13

Haiving once worked in that industry,

you are dead wrong - the choices of fonts, styles, and layouts are some of the most protected aspects of graphic design, precisely because there are so many options available that it becomes obvious when a style has been copied.

Bacteria isolated for four million years beat newest antibiotic

Tom 13

So if this place has been

"...isolated from surface input for the past 4–7 million years..."

that would make it the perfect disposal site for our nuclear waste wouldn't it?




Thought not, so I'm not buying the "isolated" bit for microbes either.

Judge: Checking Facebook at work is not a crime

Tom 13

9th circuit again? This will be overturned in 4, 3, 2, ....

The relevant bit from the brief is this:

"...he convinced some of his former colleagues who were still working for Korn/Ferry to help him start a competing business. The employees used their log-in credentials to download source lists, names and contact information from a confidential database on the company’s computer, and then transferred that information to Nosal...."

That fundamentally CFAA, no ifs, ands, butts, or hyperactivist judges about it.

Apple trails behind world+Microsoft in 'Flashback' malware debacle

Tom 13

Re: stop producing their own release of Java

While that is a potentially helpful step, I think the greater damage has been Apple's promotion of their product as something where users, unlike those poor M$ plebes, don't have to worry about updating the installed software. Until that is corrected the problem will persist, although fluffing it off on Oracle will at least give them plausible deniability.

Tom 13

Re: Better hope OS X security is all it's cracked up to be

To which I will respond with a slight variation when the M$ shills went on about "you do understand it's IE and not the kernel don't you? We need to compare apples to apples.":

When you introduce it into your OS infrastructure and don't update it, IT'S YOUR FRICKING FAULT!!!

That goes double when you introduce the idea that YOUR system is IMMUNE to hackers so user don't need to worry about patching it as a marketing tool.

Teens break up with Facebook

Tom 13

Re: What about overall growth?

I never liked statisticians who quote rates of growth based on current company size.

He is more right than you, even if he used the wrong words. Both % are of the total teen market. FB got 7% more of the total market, Twitter got 8% more of the total market. That makes FB the better investment if you're trying to reach all teens, because they have 80% of the market and twitter only has 16%. That also plays into whether or not the "Twitter has more bang for your buck" argument should determine where you spend your dollars. Yes, if you've got a nothing ad budget you go with twitter, but if you want to reach the most teens, you still have to shell out for FB.

Tom 13

Re: Anecdotal

Maybe, maybe not. I'm not a twitterer myself, but I have friends who use it to follow some celebs. We've been to conventions where those celebs have been very approachable and more than happy to talk at length with their fans. I can envision them responding personally to a tweet they liked, possibly even forwarding it to their list. Doesn't mean there aren't others who don't use an army of responders or even bots.

Neutrino mass, dark energy measurements refined

Tom 13

Re: Blunder

Minor nit: I believe working the equations does leave an undefined constant, which should have been experimentally established. Einstein set the value based on what he thought the universe ought to look like rather than awaiting the experimental evidence. However, that doesn't change the fact that it was a "huge blunder", and being a basically honest person, Einstein admitted as much.

Malware-infected flash cards shipped out with HP switches

Tom 13

Re: Unknown unnamed virus-laden malware.

I wouldn't say reticence on the part of El Reg, more likely HP have just kept more tight lipped about it. They do pretty clearly indicate it is a Windows virus since they reference plugging into a PC.

Death Star dinosaur aliens could rule galaxy

Tom 13
Thumb Up


and don't forget the mice.

Tom 13

Re: Explains nothing

The odds of generating a meteor with specific chirality are assumed to be better than if it is happening in billions of places across the surface of the planet. If the meteor lands and those bits become the basis of the proteins and sugars for the planets, it is reasonable for the planet to have a homogenous environment.

All that being said, this is way out on the speculative edge - way way outside science and much more in mythology, except the boffins with all the letters strung behind their names don't like to admit it.

Too small to fail: Obama signs Nontrepreneurs Act

Tom 13

Oh, they're only waiving SOX,

from the title of the article I thought it was something that actually protected investors. The only thing SOX has protected is the asses of the politicians who should have been booted for their involvement in Enron et al. As a protector of the typical investor it is a colossal failure. As an impediment to small businesses, it has been an astounding success. As for the fear-mongering over penny stocks and crows sourcing, I guess you've never read the start of a prospectus on any of a blue chip stock. Here's a hint: it's the same boiler plate. To me it makes more sense to have more people with small chunks of money they can afford to lose investing in these sorts of companies than one or two big hedge/venture capital outfits that will take a substantial hit on their balance sheets if it fails, which 2.5 out 3 will in the current climate.

Amount of ice in Bering Sea reaches all-time record

Tom 13

Re: I making an error somewhere?

All over the place, so let's start with the simplest one: from the peak of the current ice age, if you halve the amount of snow and ice on the planet you don't get a 50% drop in the albedo, because at most you've got about 32% of the surface of the Earth covered with ice. Then you factor in that clouds actually account for more albedo than ice, and ...

Yeah, it will contribute somewhere, but they don't even know how the primaries in front of it factor into driving the thing.

Tom 13

Re: but 3 years is 10% of the data set.

The size compared to the data set is irrelevant. The critical point is, how does the data set compare to the natural cycle length? Given that we can't even answer the question "what is the natural cycle length?" all the posturing truly is sound and fury signifying nothing. Which is sort of Lewis's continuing point in these articles.

Tom 13

Re: Is the tide turning?????

I wouldn't go that far yet. The True-Believers won't let Real Facts(tm) get in the way of Good Facts(tm) and are continue to become more strident. I hope that also hurts their credibility, but they've already successfully infiltrated too many of weather and environmental sciences to count of the Real Facts(tm) winning out absent articles like the ones Lewis posts.

Since I'm old enough to remember when the hippies were screaming about the coming ice age and how we'd all be out of oil before the end of the 1990s I'm a bit less tractable on this issue than they'd like. I'm all for continuing to study and record, but I really do want the politics out of it (that includes Hansen and Mann who are nothing but flim-flam artists shouting "Back off man, I'm a scientist!").

Tom 13

Re: Oh noes!

I'd say the younin's post above trumps yours: If the so-called record has less years than I do for something that supposedly has a several thousands (millions?) year cycle, it doesn't mean shit because it isn't long enough compared to the wavelength.

DoJ could start Apple ebook price-fixing lawsuit this week

Tom 13

Just one more lame attempt at intimidation by the DoJ

They have a huge burden of proof to meet to prove collusion and therefore illegal behavior. If I were Apple I'd laugh in their faces too.

'As seen on TV' claims can't be made about unbranded props

Tom 13

Here in The States

its a good indicator that someone has made a 30 minute infomercial about it, nothing about any kind of independent review.

Tom 13

Re: What does it in mean in the slightest...

As many posters have already noted, those of us with a couple of brain cells to rub together recognize it as a good flag for things to be avoided. Admittedly I do occasionally wander through the "As Seen on TV" store in the mall just to see what kind of junk they think they can make money from. It is a good time waster and generates a chuckle or two.

Woz warns that patent palaver will stifle startups

Tom 13

Re: Apple is the good guy

In a world of relativism and taken over the lifetime of Apple he is correct. Apple haven't been as nastily entangling and preventative as most of the others. And there's more than a little truth to the claim that to the extent Apple do it today, they do it because others did it to them first and now they are just a little bit better at it.

And I say these things as someone who has never owned an Apple computer, although I have bought a refurbished iPod that still mostly gathers dust in my house.

Speaking specifically of the US, I think all of our IP laws need a serious overhaul because they are now inhibiting the very things they are supposed to encourage. Problem is, I trust the people who would be the ones to reform it even less than the people who are abusing it.

US ecosystems basically unaffected by global warming, studies show

Tom 13

Re: hope this will configured into climate models ASAP

One would hope, but it would be a false hope. If you followed the fallout from the mail fiasco, one of the things revealed is that you either have models which use equations that describe the physical processes but don't work, or models that seem to work but whose mathematics don't correspond to known physical processes. The latter is okay if and only if you have a well understood system

MPAA boss: 'SOPA isn’t dead yet'

Tom 13

@Charles 9

And were it not for freetards loading up the torrents with so much pirated stuff that it is hard to find the legitimate uses when you look at a tracker, that argument might even play in public. But with the rampant theft anyone with a brain has to support some sort of rewrite of the law to bring balance back to the marketplace. The trick is getting the right balance.

Tom 13

Oh I'd say the problem has everything to do with greed,

the more appropriate question is: whose greed? The bastages at the MPAA who think they have a God-given right to collect money from you regardless, or the bastage freetards who think that just because they have a copy and can upload it to a torrent everyone else should get it for free?


If you answered "trick question, they both are" go to the head of the class.

Tom 13

Re: Overly simplistic

Google et al don't depend on you signing in for their services to gather data about you. They have lots of ways to get it, and they are some of the best at it. They get some data if you run a search from their engine. If you have an account, they get lots of data. When you visit a web page, they likely get data because there's a 90% chance the website is running Google Analytics to generate web stats. All without signing in, and all because the data is assumed to not be not only non-PII, but so non-specific that it couldn't be associated with you. But when you get enough of that non-specific data you can start to analyze, draw trends, and possibly even identify individual users from the data.

Internet privacy is dead, at least in the sense of, if it is worth finding you, someone can do it. The question for most people is: Is it worth finding me? For most of them the answer is 'no' so they are relatively safe.

'Don't break the internet': How an idiot's slogan stole your privacy...

Tom 13

Re: Gladly.

Don't knock the US supermarket tabloids! Some of them report more real news than the newsies (e.g. Monkey Business).

Besides, if people weren't making money selling them, we'd have a lot more unemployed English majors.

Tom 13

Re: With you in spirit

It seems to me there are two things which make the digital realm different from our usual physical realm and they are sort of inter-related.

The first is that when you break the law in the physical realm, for the most part you are living in the places where there are people who are understood to have the authority to take the appropriate action. To some extent you can get away in car, boat or plane; but those actions tend to take more planning and resources than the typical person has available, and thus constitute a small scope problem for authorities even if the impact of such persons can be large.

The second is that in the physical realm there are a relatively limited number of people who can commit those crimes against you, and they tend to take some effort.

On the internet all that changes. For outright illegal activities you are likely to be being attacked by somebody outside your country border let alone outside the jurisdiction of the local sheriff/constable. As to information gathering, the internet takes that to a level never before possible, so extending the usual rules breaks down. The local grocery chain could legitimately gather all kinds of information about my buying habits, but it was of limited value. It's only joining that data to everything else that makes it valuable. So in that sense it is a new area of law that does need to be carefully thought through. There are benefits and risks and so far nobody has thought deeply into those issues and their balance.

Windows XP support ends two years from now

Tom 13

Didn't I read this article about 2 years ago?

Should I expect to be reading it again in 2 years?

550,000-strong army of Mac zombies spreads across world

Tom 13

Re: @ Christopher Webb and Jim Carter

I'm a Windows users, but I recognize that Linux and Mac (BSD) are actually inherently more secure than my preferred OS, but, and this is a BIG but, any time you dwadle with patches for known security vulnerabilities, the malware bastages are likely to run by and give you drop your drawers. If you look completely oblivious they may even tie your shoelaces together before they drop your drawers. And the Fanbois* have been completely oblivious for the last few years.

*Mike, read your posts, you're NOT a fanboi.

Tom 13

Re: Please, stop arguing :)

I concur with everything except the "Please, stop arguing" bit.

Now I'm off to get some more buttered popcorn.

Tom 13

Re: Actually...

I didn't have to clean it up, but our Sr. Tech did.

Back in the early virus fighting days, Sr. Pilot fish installed really good AV that you can't get anymore (It didn't even trust updates it downloaded itself, and unless you'd granted explicit permissions to directories you couldn't write there either) on server for a client. Client got a virus. Virus said you the system was infected and could be cleaned, but the AV needed to be turned off first. AV was configured to quarantine, not delete and had been running for over a year catching many, many viruses and stopping them from infecting the system. Client dutifully turned off AV and proceeded to "clean" the infection. Which of course released EVERY virus from the quarantine.

I was so glad I wasn't Sr. Tech that day.

Tom 13

Re: use their own JVM to ensure that it is compatible

Yep. You don't want to get me started on programmers working on critical apps that depend on Java versions that Sun stopped supporting 2 years before they sold out to Oracle.

Windows 3.1 rebooted: Microsoft's DOS destroyer turns 20

Tom 13


Some good points there too, especially vis-a-vie third party drivers, which truth be told were still the primary causes of crashes under 95 too. I remember the Sr. Tech telling me to replace the sound card on a system that was having NIC issues. I was all 'WTF?!? It's a NIC issue not a sound card issue.' Of course Sr. was right, the audio card driver was conflicting with the NIC driver and replacing the audio card was the simpler solution.

In the end it wasn't any ONE thing that gave MS the market it was a bunch of them. I just still happen to be of the opinion that a few too many of them were underhanded even if there were legitimate ones like the apps development angle.

Tom 13

Re: networking?

Yep. You could get it to work with 3.1, but it was a DOS kludge running as a TSR under the 3.1 skin. It was one of the things QEMM was better at managing than memmaker.

Tom 13

Re: How did it win? Simple economics

It was simple economics, but not there. MS won when they finally got around to leveraging their OS monopoly to undercut the apps vendors: $99 Competitive Upgrade to Word If You Have a WordPerfect License! $99 Competivie Upgrade to Excel if you have a Lotus 1-2-3 or Quatro Pro License!

They also got a boost from a bad PC Magazine review of OS/2. The review complained about the impossibility of installing it from the 17 or more floppy disks (1.44 hard cases actually) about 3 months before MS released 95 on its 22 plus floppies. MS was fortunate in that the CD-ROM drive was just becoming popular when they released their OS, and they were able to quickly move their installation to that instead. Ah those were the nightmares: create a bootable DOS disk that would recognize you CD-ROM so you could install Windows 95 directly from CD.

Tom 13

Re: MS still the underdog then

Yes I have to agree it was more 3.11 than 3.1 that changed things, particularly because of the network support for Novell.

I'm probably one of the few people for whom Windows 2.0 and higher were becoming necessities not toys. I started doing DTP work in Ventura 1.0 DOS/GEM. By the time Win 2.0 was out, Corel had released their Draw program (2.0 for me) which was very helpful making illustrations for Ventura. Windows 3.11 finally made it all work together. I owe my current IT support job to that work. I assembled the manuals, printed them, and stored the files to disk for later output by services. The Novell Network admin got tired of me breaking the network because my print jobs had filled all the available disk space on the network. So he made me a print queue operator and taught me the basics of watching available network space, adding saved files to the print queue, and reordering jobs so I wasn't holding up other people's work. Years later when I was working elsewhere that knowledge, combined with the fact that I wasn't afraid to turn off the Novell server when it had crashed eventually landed me my first real tech support job.

Tom 13

Re: memmaker

Not memmaker, QEMM which had better memory management tools. And which was obviously the target of MS's ire at the time because they broke it with every .x.x.x upgrade. And of course to get support you had to disable it and run memmaker instead.

Viacom's anti-Google copyright case rises from the dead

Tom 13

Re: anybody (in significant numbers) who really watches complete movies...

Depends on your definitions of "significant numbers" and "complete movies or TV shows."

Felicia Day and The Guild have a running series posted primarily through You-Tube with a fair number of subscribers. It's a legitimate use of the mass distribution channel for entertainment purposes, not an infringing one. Frankly, I'd say that IS a threat to Viacom et al, but one that is explicitly allowed under law. Not so much because less than a 100,000 people watching The Guild threatens their cash cow, but because as other artists begin direct marketing to their fans Viacom's cash cow will shrivel up and die.

The problem with blocking all content for a given media company is that infringing material won't necessarily have fingerprints and will certainly be uploaded from multiple sources.

Browsium rescues HMRC from IE6 – and multimillion-pound bill

Tom 13

Re: totally reliant on Microsoft IE6?

MS made it easy, and the first hit was free.

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