* Posts by Tom 13

7608 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

World Health Organization: Mobile phone cancer risk 'possible'

Tom 13

Shouldn't the lede be

In a move that's sure to fan the flames about the qualifications of the World Health Organization to provide valid advisory recommendations for promoting health, today the WHO let a panel of so-called experts classify those ubiquitous handsets as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".?

Oh, never mind. I forgot the author hails from Frisco.

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Tom 13

Don't you mean

" l1k u no!"?

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Nokia gives up predicting sales

Tom 13
Pirate

Why would M$ buy soon?

Is there really anyone besides MS who wants them? If not, MS let's them drop the maximum amount before purchasing. I mean after all, there's no sense in taking the hit on your own balance sheet by purchasing a failing company too early.

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New Mac scareware variant installs without password

Tom 13

I've never worn a hair shirt, but

I have both built systems from the ground up and used system restore disks. Frankly, I cut my teeth IT teeth on Radio Shack PCs left the hobby for a while and then started learning it again with DOS 3.3.

Once MS realized the PR problems they were having because system vendors (and don't get me started on the early broadband providers helpfully setting accounts to auto-login admin users) were bypassing the account password setups they changed the OEM agreements to require the use of abbreviated setup screens where users are required to provide the passwords. So while the end user doesn't see the exact same screens as an OEM installer, they still answer the same questions. You can still enter a blank password, but it is an ACTIVE choice instead of a default.

I'm no MS apologist. Frankly if I had been the judge in the Netscape case they would have lost their shirts for violating their prior consent decree to not tie application sales to their OS, and it is possible some of their lawyers would have been turned over to the bar for ethics violations. But facts are important things and it is therefore important to keep them straight. And all of that is because of the number of times I installed their software for our OEM shop back in the day.

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Tom 13

95 and 98 didn't have admin accounts

nt, 2000, and XP did. If you ran the installation disk, you were prompted to set the admin password. The admin password was NOT blank by default - that was a choice made by the manufacturers who shipped pre-configured PCs. Lots, and Lots of Fail there, but not by MS.

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Tom 13

Yep. But I do understand why they did it.

The consumer market always makes a the tradeoff between ease of use and security to favor the non-technical consumer. Linux, not being as widely adopted for consumer market general purpose computer, doesn't make the same tradeoff. Because it tends to be used/deployed only by knowledgeable techs, the tradeoff is kept on the security side. I think once you see Linux more broadly adopted by the consumer market, you'll see similar issues there. The technorati will still have relatively secure computers but the masses won't.

I still think Linux is inherently better positioned to be configured securely, it is just that mass market deployments don't support security.

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Total Recall rehash – exit Martians, enter Jessica Biel

Tom 13

Similar thoughts from me.

After finishing the article my first thought for a comment was:

So, that will be less to do with the book than even the Arnie version....

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Ballmer: Time up for 'stuck in the past' Microsoft CEO?

Tom 13

You've got that bassackwards.

As CEO of a public company your job is to make money for your shareholders. Period. That can either be done by paying dividends or increasing share value.

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Apple admits scareware problem, at last

Tom 13

Shouldn't that be

"grab a beer and a pint mug, drink the beer and just slug the nearest combatant with the mug like everybody else is doing."?

Personally I'm of the opinion that while I know Macs are less vulnerable, they aren't invulnerable, but most of the comments from the Mactards even here on El Reg have tend toward the invulnerable. There have of course been a few notable exceptions. And this particular piece of nasty sounds exactly like one of the ones that has been plaguing Windows for ages.

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Engineering student cracks major riddle of the universe

Tom 13

But only for

a short while.

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Credit processors targeted in fight against spam

Tom 13
Joke

Don't need to tell the politicians anything.

Just tell the American people who the execs are that allow this sort of thing, and we'll find out just how "bullet proof" they really are.

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LinkedIn goes ballistic following IPO

Tom 13

Unlike Facebook and other social media sites

Linked in actually have a cash flow that can be made to work for them - corporate recruiters and corporations who pay for access levels on the website. I'd say they probably are OVER valued, but not that they are a complete puffball like many of the dot com era.

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Tom 13

Because of the inefficiencies of the US tax system

dividends make a company less valuable as a stock. The net effect of a company paying a dividend is that it pays taxes on its profit. Then the recipient of the dividend pays tax again on his income taxes. Therefore most companies funnel their profits into expansion, which is what sets off the boom-bust cycles. Fix the tax code so dividends don't result in a tax penalty then companies have an easier time making a choice about paying or not paying dividends. And companies that pay dividends under such a system will give a real indication to their stock owners of how well they are doing, which in turn will make stock valuations more realistic.

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Comcast 'Tweetgate' apology thrown back in face

Tom 13

I'll take the world in which none does.

The other will be filled with self-righteous egotistical twits who are always stabbing everyone else in the back.

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Tom 13

Actually, no, no, and no.

I've been involved with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. You can take money and/or other donations from corporate types and not be moulded into their line of thinking. In fact, our organization rather depended on walking that line. We needed their permission to show things and wanted their guests. At least while I was there we did a good job of keeping our goals intact and even slapped the industry upside the head when they tried to do the 800 pound gorilla on us. True the organization did a lot of nonsensical flag waving about putting in place a policy of not accepting cash donations from the industry whose permissions and product we needed, but realistically the money would have been less of a leash than not granting permissions to show their films or send the people involved in creating them to be our guests.

If you get money or donations, as a 501(c)3 you are required to report the amounts and your records are public. Most corporations give the donations for the tax write-offs, and that requires record keeping as well. Things can be done at arms length.

Frankly, Comcast would have been better off never sending money to Grrls in the first place. With a name like that and all the code words in their purpose statement they aren't going to help Comcast or the film industry anyway.

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Explosion in iPad factory kills two, injures more

Tom 13

It's not whether the other companies do it,

its the sanctimony of the Mactards that's in question.

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Media, industry and cops baffled as Qld Police return hack’s iPad

Tom 13

Ah! Here's the bit I missed from the original article:

ongoing public feud between hackee and hacker. That puts things in a bit of a different light.

Unless the hackee has agreed to allow his account to be used for the demonstration, he has been hacked, and the journalist is in possession of evidence of the crime. After that things get murky very quickly and I'd want a full team of lawyers to advise me before confiscating or returning the equipment. And one of the key questions there is unanswered in the article: is the hackee pressing the complaint.

I also think there's a good bit of confusion introduced by the changes in terminology for taking someone in for questioning.

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Apple to support reps: Don't confirm Mac infections

Tom 13

Well, that's certainly the bias of the article.

I thought about that as I was reading the article, and it is the simplest explanation.

But it is also possible that the lawyers have gotten involved and asserted that IF Apple confirms it is malware, or attempts to provide assistance for removing the malware they open themselves up to court claims.

I'm still leaning toward cover-up, not so much because I trust the lawyers as because the "Macs are immune to viruses" meme seems to be a critical part of their marketing. But it is a close call.

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Tom 13

Downvoted for being the kind of git

who doesn't understand why he got downvoted the first time. As in, it has nothing to do with standard best practices.

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Schmidt: 'Elites' not 'common men' fret over net privacy

Tom 13

I think the real reason most of the common people

aren't as concerned about their privacy as the elites are, is the asymmetrical aspect of maintaining privacy. If you are elite, you are specifically targeted. If you are the common man you just happen to be the unlucky sod who got caught in the scattershot malware attack. Not that the common person is any less violated when it happens.

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Tom 13

If you read El Reg,

you use Google. Google isn't just search and email. It's most important products are Ad Words and Google Analytics. I'm pretty sure I've seen the Ad Words line flash at the bottom of my browser. Which means we've both used Google today, and given them a bit more data.

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Tom 13

As I pointed out above

if you use the internet, you use Google whether you intend to or not.

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Why are Microsoft and Intel slapping and pulling hair?

Tom 13

One other point, it could translate as easily as

legacy apps can run under emulation, but with processors hundreds or thousands of times speedier than were available when the legacy app was written, who cares?

Frankly I don't think you need to dig too deeply into what MS said about the Intel presentation. If MS haven't themselves decided how they are going to do things (and they seem to be saying as much) for Intel to claim that they have made a decision is factually wrong. It is misleading because if people take Intel's claims as gospel and start planning for that direction, when MS goes a different route that causes disruption. None of that get into whether Intel is correct because they've already examined similar issues at the chip level or if they are just trying to force MS's hand on the direction they decide to go in order to facilitate other decision about what needs to go on the chip.

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Intel: Windows on ARM won't run 'legacy apps'

Tom 13

Even on the ARM, it will still be Windows.

Which means you'll still have that same 50:50 chance it will insist it needs to run in privileged mode. As for the rest of it (half-arsed code, backward compatibility) I'd say you still get to spin the programmer roulette wheel. Just because the OS people aren't making it backward compatible doesn't mean the Apps people won't try to bolt it on afterward.

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Tom 13

An observation about point b:

At some point their heads are going to explode anyway, might as well get it over with now and have a relatively stable edge for a year or three. And by "edge", I mean edge of the cliff on which the apps are perched.

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Tom 13

MS hasn't forgotten that. However, I think they have reached the point of PHB

nirvana: continuing to be beholden to legacy apps now has a business risk equal to the risk of dropping legacy apps. So they can do whatever they damn well please without being accused of taking an unnecessary risk.

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Gates defends Ballmer's Skype gamble

Tom 13

It does have a fair bit of revenue,

it's just that at the moment it has a fair bit more in the expenses column. Bill didn't say nuttin' about profits.

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Tom 13

I think the memory requirement was

from IBM, not Gates. Gates has created enough of his own baggage as a result of stupid mistakes without saddling him with one from IBM.

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Email in the cloud

Tom 13

I think you found the nub of the problem:

"If one good one gets traction in the market..."

For all that it sucks, MS Exchange sucks less than the other solutions for most businesses. I'm working in a shop that uses one of those *nix-based IMAP mail solutions. It's a mess and they are looking to move it to the cloud to save money. Originally it was going to be an in-house conversion to Exchange, but somebody didn't plan properly and at the last minute a reviewer pointed out a hole in the plan that killed it outright. No official word but I think they suddenly realized they hadn't planned for backup storage and nobody thought through trying to back up the user's local archives. I think they've finally gotten the server situation stabilized after standing up some new mail servers (upgrades had been on hold because they were supposed to be replaced by the new system).

The other obstacle is that Exchange has a good calendar client. We use an Oracle solution that is kludged to the mail servers. The whole thing sucks. They can't even tell me what the password rules are so we can inform users when they set their mail passwords. Just every so often when a user changes their mail password, calendar doesn't update. And don't get me started on the user interface. It's something only a command line guru could love, only it has a graphics interface and thus manages to offend both camps.

You are right, especially about the AV, archive, and data retention requirements. Current mail solutions all suck for these items and if someone can produce a solution at a price point businesses can swallow they will be the next Microsoft.

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LinkedIn thinks it's worth $4bn on eve of IPO

Tom 13

At least the prospectus

shows a profit last year and first three months of this year. Might be overpriced, but at least there's a reasonable probability of making money in the future. I haven't personally benefited from my membership, but then I'm not much of one for networking. Some people I know are, and they seem to get value from it.

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Hack attacks on US could spark military action

Tom 13

And I for one would have been more than happy to hand over Teddy Kennedy

and the other twits who were engaged in those activities. No extreme rendition necessary. But for some reason instead of being condemned for such activities, he seems to be one of the people most praised on your side of the pond.

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Tom 13

if you hear a heavily armed, commado-type strike team choppering into position

you are in real trouble - That's a Russia or Chicom team -- Americans now have whisper mode choppers.

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Winklevoss twins aim Zuckerberg case at Supreme Court

Tom 13

I thought it would be hard to dislike anybody more than Zuckerman

but these two are definitely giving him a run for the money.

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Aussie cops grab journo for reporting Facebook vuln demo

Tom 13

Anybody who hasn't cottoned to the fact that

Zuckerface is a pompous twit who stumbled upon The Giant's golden goose hasn't been paying attention. I use the service, but it is self-evident that it was not clearly thought through as an ongoing commercial enterprise or with regard to whether or not individual posters might some day recognize the value of the materials they post there.

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HP breakthrough to hasten flash memory's demise?

Tom 13

You are too late foolish one.

The one who was the first to welcome our kitty overlords is preserved in an ancient tomb in Mesopotamia.

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Tom 13
Coat

I think so, but

I am not certain...

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Student accused of posting bogus coupons to 4chan

Tom 13

manufacturing and distribution?

The punk and his parents need to be glad you aren't his defense attorney, who will be happy that they are only charging him with fraud instead of manufacturing and distributing materials to engage in an interstate conspiracy to defraud a major consumer company. That's the sort of thing that get you up on RICO charges right quick.

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Tom 13

I'm a 'Merkin and actually fond of Hershey's.

Grandfather actually worked in the factory. There's far worse available here on the American market. So much worse that I've thrown it away when its been given to me by friend or after I've mistakenly purchased it as a gift.

The reason for the specific taste of Hershey's chocolate is that old man Hershey went to Europe and worked in one (some?) of the chocolate factories there. He kept switching jobs to see different parts of the process so he could make his own. He was found out before he had the whole recipe. Not sure how he made it out, but when he got back here he took what he had gotten and guessed at the rest.

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How bin Laden thwarted US electronic surveillance

Tom 13

A few years back I did much of my work for a volunteer group the same way.

Download the mail to Eudora before leaving work, read and reply to messages while on the train, send messages when I got home. It worked really well until they decided email was too archaic and they needed a web message board. Yes visiting a different internet cafe for each transaction adds a level of annoyance, but not difficult. Even if you include time for configuring a client for the USB drive, I don't think it would be much more than 15 minutes to configure, upload/download, disconnect, and wipe the configuration at the cafe. Plenty of time to get back out before a tail is dispatched to catch you.

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MicroSkype: Andreessen settles accounts with Ballmer

Tom 13

What do you mean only 30 minutes?

There are many channels that are nothing BUT one long commercial.

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Tom 13

Here's the play I see.

They integrate Skype into XBox, Windows, and Live/Hotmail while allocating a small developer budget to keep what is now thought of as Skype working on other systems. At some point that will die of natural causes because so many people will drop Skype just because MS owns it. The make money from it by launching a two-tier approach. One free with ads, probably just one before each phone call. It suffers from all the usual problems that already affect free VOIP. They offer a second tier with QOS and no ads for say $5/month. It's a minimal add-on fee for the gaming subscription, but generate dependable yearly income - something MS is sorely lacking and which is the real drive behind SaaS. Even if they only get a 10% conversion to QOS that works out to about $1 Billion/year in revenue. And they overcome the usual Skype problem of how do you contact someone else because it is installed by default on all the XBox and Kinnect Systems.

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Tom 13

It's not free gambling chips.

If the BoD signed off on it, and it is a clunker of a deal, the trial lawyers will find a couple of shareholders and hoover up that $48 billion plus interest. Mind you, not that the shareholders will necessarily see any of that $48 billion, just that it will get hoovered out of MS, at which point they will no longer be M$.

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CERT warns of critical industrial control bug

Tom 13

So long as the word "ActiveX" remains in any sentence that includes

the word "SCADA" and which is not specifically stating there are no such controls in the SCADA system, it doesn't matter how many patches have been issued, it still isn't fixed. It is only fixed for the most recently publicly exposed vulnerability.

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Australia cuts solar subsidies, and not before time

Tom 13

Similarly, I wouldn't say the US has finished its correction.

One of the problems is that the banks are trying to avoid collapsing their own portfolios, so instead of foreclosing on non-performing mortgages (assuming they have their paperwork in order which is a whole other ball of wax), they are holding them. So there is a huge buffer of houses in the foreclosure queue. If anything causes it to spurt more houses on the market unexpectedly, we could be headed for another huge price drop.

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Steven Moffat fumes over Doctor Who plot leak

Tom 13

And a truly talented and entrepenurial author

would work with that insight to create even more demand for his shows. Sort of like JMS did with B5.

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NASA restores Pluto to league of planets

Tom 13

And was discovered by active telescope search

not by comparing photographic negatives. The original classification of Ceres as a planet is understandable when you recall that it falls where Bode's Law predicted a planet ought to be. Its subsequent demotion makes sense when you realize that many other objects were found in the same orbital range, and that those objects eventually became known as asteroids.

There are problems with the IAU definition of a planet as some posters have pointed out. At 170,000 years to clear the orbit, is it really clear? I Would Jupiter clear its orbit if it were at the distance of Pluto? Twice its distance? think ultimately the definition will need to be redone on a strict mass basis. Maybe Pluto cuts it, maybe it doesn't. But right now the definitions aren't nearly as clear as the IAU claims they are.

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Tom 13

Actually that would be

two orders of magnitude smaller by mass.

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IPCC report: Renewables can never meet energy demand

Tom 13

Don't know about "recent" but I found this article from the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3560433.stm

Given that the article points out that the peak in population growth was 40 years ago, and that current worldwide birthrate is only slightly above replacement rate, I happily conclude that Malthus continues to be as wrong as he was way back when. Lots of reasons for him being wrong, but nothing the deniers will ever accept, so I won't waste time detailing them.

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Tom 13
Flame

Good idea. How about

we start with all the warm-mongers.

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Tom 13

The press release says all you need to know in one line:

that by 2050 renewables will produce 3 times the amount of energy the US produced in 2005. Anybody stupid enough to put that in a press release let alone an "official" report needs to shot post haste. They are producing to much wasted carbon and need to be removed from the production pool.

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