* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

FOSS maven says $29 'Freedom Box' will kill Facebook

Tom 13

So, if there are lots of these projects around,

and none of them have ever taken off,


Might there be a good reason for that?

Windows 0day could allow complete hijacking

Tom 13

No, yours is.

In fact, all bug hunting depends on the convergence of a smaller user base approximating the real world as either time spent on test of the size of the test population increases. As either of those parameters gets larger, the frequency with which bugs are located decreases. Eventually the rate at which bugs are found in both sets are equivalent for practical purposes.

I'm not even a programmer and I learned that from the HP programming boffins back when HP actually HAD programming boffins.

Mozilla: 'Internet Explorer 9 is not a modern browser'

Tom 13

I assumed Matt89 meant he was doing the outsourced work for the Big Clients.

They might be standardized internally, but their public facing stuff has to deal with everything out there. Sometimes even the twit still running a copy of Netscape 3.0.

Haven't done the development work myself, just been the helpdesk tech in the room listening to the developer bitch about it. And cursing even more to myslef because I had to support the dev guy so he could test it.

Tom 13

AC 15th February 2011 22:26 GMT didn't mention speed or memory usage, only stability.

He followed it up by saying it is vomit, which is a far cry from your response. He deserves the downvote he is getting.

I hesitated before downvoting you because the actual text of your post is reasonable. I haven't seen the issues you have with FF crashing, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening to you. But you are attempting to defend a remark that was indefensible and that had to carry the decision.

Texas antitrust investigators request Google 'ad rate formula'

Tom 13

Yes it is a bad example, because there are no serious barriers to entry

for the food market and thus Exxom MegaBank of America would never be able to sustain reaping economic as opposed to normal profits. Because they could only afford to do it in one small town, plenty of competitors would continue in other markets. When EBMA started raking in economic profits, those companies would immediately move in because they could rake in slightly lower but still economic profits.

The question is whether or not similar barriers to entry exist in the search market. The claim being made is that Google's sunk intellectual capital constitutes just such a barrier. First off, I'm rather doubtful it is true. Anybody with an idea for a better search engine is free to crawl the internet and offer their results. But even if I yield the first point without proof, the second quandry is that I don't see the efficacy of denying people profits from their intellectual labor.

Dell to buy AMD?

Tom 13

IBM proper is completely out of the PC hardware business.

They spun off all those assets to Lenovo etc., ages ago. They want to be a service agregator in that market. So far they've done well with that. Why would they reverse course now? Yes, they still compete in the big iron, but that's a different market segment.

Boffins demand: Cull bogus A-Levels, hire brainier teachers

Tom 13

Anybody who majors in astrophysics and

expects to be employed in the private sector is not as bright as they think they are. I know, its what I started in. Granted the US system is different, but when I started I knew full well that after 4 years for my major, I could look forward to another 2-3 for a Masters, and then another 2-3 for a PhD before I would finally start fighting for a job work at a university.

Along about the end of the third year it finally penetrated my rather thick skull that arithmetic and I don't get along well and that while some logical thinking and geometry could get me through most of calculus it wasn't going to get me through differential equations, matrices, and vector calculus. At which point I transferred to my "get me the hell out of here" degree and went into technical writing. Did a stint as a desktop publisher and now work full time supporting computers.

Stuxnet blitzed 5 Iranian factories over 10-month period

Tom 13

I prefer to string up both MS and the idiot mis-using the software.

The MS software isn't simply failing because it is very generic. MS has made piss-poor security choices even given its generic purpose. Active X being a biggie that comes to mind, especially when it is supported by the browser with no intervening user control.

That being said, the idiot needs to be shot too, because the above hasn't been news since oh, about 1989.

Tom 13

I yield to your unbounded optimism sir.

Meanwhile I'll be stocking up options for AV software because PT Barnum not only said "never give a sucker an even break" he also said "never bet against stupidity."

Google open video codec faces second challenger

Tom 13

While what you say is legally true,

in the current environment a FUD attack must still be regarded as an attack. Granted it is a PR attack, and a good PR counter is to point out that they don't actually have a legitimate claim yet.

Tom 13

While standards orgs do ordinarily take forever to produce new standards,

if all of the big money players in the room believe they face the inevitable prospect of rapidly losing market share, I expect they'll be able to move pretty darn quickly. I got to watch some of these battles a few years back when there were only 2 or 3 players in the room. It was always the sunk R&D costs of the competitors that drew things out. But they were arguing over markets they wanted to develop, not responding to an existing threat.

Amazon threatens Texas exit over tax bill

Tom 13

Not really.

More like a bunch of serfs already caught in a more repressive system and feeling envious of those who've shaken off the shackles.

Tom 13

No, its a confirmation that we did the right

thing with that little spat around 235 years ago.

Tom 13

Az doesn't get to collect the sales tax either.

Because the buyer is not in the state.

Tom 13


It's not a major presence, it is any retail presence. If its a distribution center they aren't responsible for collecting sales tax. Worked in a catalog store once upon a time. Not that it mattered much since it was a Monkey Wards.

Tom 13

The vote the tyrants out.

You do have a Constitutional Monarchy don't you?

Tom 13

What we need is fewer libtards

who think the federal government ought to be engaged in responsibilities the States have.

If the State wants to screw over businesses with a 10% sales tax, they deserve to have people leave.

Tom 13

No, it's still a sales tax.

Although in another blockheaded move, some states are attempting to impose it as a use tax. But it still has all the problems the original catalog case determined: You only have to collect sales tax if you have a physical presence. In the case of the old catalog companies like Sears and JC Penny's this point has become moot because they HAVE a physical presence in all 50 states. Amazon stuck with strictly catalog sales, and the rapidity with which the modern parcel delivery system operates moots the need for physical presence.

Tom 13

No, that's EXACTLY how sales taxes have worked

since the catalog sales decision went all the way to the Supreme Court way back before my great great great granddaddy was born.

Patent attack launched on Google's open video codec

Tom 13

It's the "collaborating to do down another competitor" that becomes the sticking point.

If you are getting together to protect something jointly developed (in this case allegedly patent-protected processes for handling compressed video) then you aren't engaging in an activity that violates anti-trust laws. This is useful for setting industry standards for manufacturing. What isn't allowed is getting together and saying "We'll if none of us price our goods at more than Y, we can drive company ZZ out of business. After they are gone, we take the price limit off."

Microsoft says exec took secret 'trove' to Salesforce

Tom 13

With appologies to Hamlet, there's something rotten in Redmond.

None of this adds up. Other posters here are right: corporations have policies (some of which OUGHT to be illegal but aren't) to protect their secrets. AA noted the internal procedures and sab0tage got the contract arrangements right. If this guy had access to truly sensitive information, those policies should have been in place. If he got info past those practices they aren't real practices. And yes, I know the sales guy usually pilfers the customer contact list when he goes. If the company being deserted is worth its salt, it won't make a difference.

First reports on XM-25 Judge Dredd smartgun in A'Stan

Tom 13

You mean more so than the lot that are already willing to blow themselves

up to kill civies while still maintaining sufficient control that they don't self-immolate where they are standing?

Realistically I don't think that's possible. They are already on the knife's edge of preparedness.

On the other hand, denying them known safe sanctuary might just cause what ever small number of them can entertain a rational thought to engage in that activity more frequently. In short, the WWII principle: the religious centers are off limits only in so far as they are not actively engaged in hostilities - taking care of sick people is fine, but proving a fire platform or weapons storage make you a legitimate military target.

Tom 13

Yanks have The Punisher,

Brits have the Judge. There is some cross-over, but the centers are the centers.

Tom 13

Sending the squad out with only paintballs would be a dolt move

but I actually like the idea of giving the ground pounders the option of having a few marking rounds. They could be useful for tracking back to actual hide outs and possibly even finding the bad guys who order the drones about the field. Not sure I'd actually want it to be orange or red, probably prefer something in the uv range so the bad guys don't know they are marked, but the concept has potential.

Evil grain-speculating OVERLORDS will starve us ALL

Tom 13

Actually I recall reading an article which showed the price increases

in wheat more closely followed the increase in the price of gas/petrol than its conversion to ethanol, and that the quantities of grain sold for food production didn't vary much.

But I suppose many people find it more satisfying to blame it on ethanol. Not that I myself think ethanol is a good fuel additive (it actually increases certain pollutant emissions, reduces the energy density of the fuel, and primarily seems to benefit ADM, not the farmers producing the corn). I just prefer to keep my facts straight.

Google, antitrust, and the 'Copygate' hypocrisy

Tom 13

Actually, before Google became the 80,000 ton gorilla of search engines

one of the favorites was Dogpile, which did exactly that. For all I know they are still around. Now what was different between Dogpile and Bing, is that Dogpile explicitly claimed they were indexing indexes, and their top results took you to say the Yahoo search for "IT nitwits" or Bing search for "IT nitwits."

So it's not the meta-indexing that is at issue for me, it's the indexing of someone else's work and passing it off as your own that is problematic. For the consumer the problem is this: What if Bing becomes the number 1 search engine because of MS's monopoly power, but its search results are all pilfered from Google, and that as a result of the pilfering Google goes bankrupt?

Sony tweets 'secret' key at heart of PS3 jailbreak case

Tom 13

So that would be game, set, and match to George Hotz.

And he didn't even have to do anything.

And here I was so hoping Sony would manage to piss off enough people that we might finally rid ourselves of the DCMA monstrosity.

Employer settles with Facebooker who called boss 'dick'

Tom 13


Keep your personal life out of public forums and it won't affect your professional life. And yes, FaceBook is a public forum, no matter how much the marketers lie.

Tom 13

You'd think that, as well as most US citizens do, but you'd be wrong.

First off, you need to pay attention to the locus of both the case and the author. One is Connecticut the other lives in Frisco. Most Americans use the phrase "People's Republic of" when referring to either location. Both locations are owned lock stock and barrel by the most extreme wing of the leftists. And the way this decision has come down, the employee now has a guaranteed lifetime job. Well, at least until the county goes broke and files for bankruptcy.

Many of us Americans aren't happy about those realities, and want people to be responsible for their actions, but our betters have other ideas.

Critics slam feds for 'unprecedented' domain seizure

Tom 13

I'm surprised you Europeans are surprised.

With vocal European support, in 2008 the US elected its first barely cloaked Marxist President. Of course his administration is following Marxist policies.

You didn't see these kinds of seizures under the dreaded BushCheneyHaliburtonHitler now did you? Elections have consequences. Some of them are even foreseeable.

Hawaii boffins: Aerosols add to Amazon rainfall

Tom 13

Because 5-0 has gone new school

whereas Magnum has class, just like the old school 5-0 did.

Google v Facebook salary inflation riles Big Data startup

Tom 13

You haven't been paying attention to the problems in the US Housing market.

Being only 30% upside down on your house at the end of the next 5 years, even if you bought it today (assuming you could find someone damn fool enough to finance it), will be considered good. The foreclosures didn't stop because the market bottomed, they stopped because the damn fools didn't keep the paperwork straight and now nobody can figure out who actually has a right to foreclose on the houses. Once they figure that out the foreclosures will start again and the market will go down again. Especially in California, where the state government looks about like Greece these days.

World leaders meet to discuss cyberwar rules of engagement

Tom 13

Yep, same bunch of twits.

They also seem to believe the DCMA prevents pirating software and that outlawing guns deprives crooks the opportunity to shoot someone.

World shrugs as IPv4 addresses finally exhausted

Tom 13

I smell a new source of cash flow for MS and IBM

as they sell off some of their IP addresses to companies in desperate need of them.

'You don't even know what change management is'

Tom 13

Yes the BBC advert was a bunch of incomprehensible twaddle.

That it was a bunch of incomprehensible twaddle does not mean that Change Management, properly practiced, is also a bunch of incomprehensible twaddle. Understood an properly implemented CM practices go a long way toward helping organizations change without disrupting operations.

@Mr. Larrington: I rather suspect that you are the sort of twit who has necessitated Change Management practices in organizations of all sizes. I recall the person who bitched the most about our CM process at the last job being the one who was always breaking shit because he neither talked to others about what he was planning to do, nor told them after he had. CM doesn't require an extensive process to add a name to a mailing list. It only requires authorization from the owner of the mailing list before adding a new recipient to the ml. Of course, if there have been administrative twits who've bungled the simple process, it is likely to get more complicated. Not because making it more complicated solves the problem, but because managers are prevented from taking the proper course of corrective action: firing the twits who are causing the problem.

Verizon: 'We're not throttling bandwidth except when we are'

Tom 13

Here we go again.

I don't like the vague language from Verizon. They should spell out exactly what level of usage is excessive in the T&C, not some constantly changing "top 5%." If they want to sell a package of say 300 MB of total downloads per month at a rate not exceeding etc, etc. that's fine by me. If they want to make more available at a higher cost, again fine by me. The problem here is that any given user doesn't know whether or not they've exceeded the limits until AFTER the fact.

Mexico demands apology for Top Gear outrage

Tom 13

Put a sock in it

you over-sensitive weenie. You must be French and not American. Americans can take a punch like that and roll with their British cousins.

Gates: Killing the internet is easy

Tom 13

You sir are sadly mistaken.

The US government CAN and does CONSTITUTIONALLY posses the power to have the military enforce our laws and government edicts. Congress passes a resolution declaring we are at war or in a state of rebellion at which point the CinC can do pretty much any damn thing he pleases including suspending habeus corpus. At which points military units are deployed to the choke points with the redundancies and the company officials can stare at the wrong end of a gun while being told to pull the plugs. Or the military just pulls out the big wire snips. Or the c4 if they are interested in making a big show of it.

Most people don't realize that because its only happened twice in our history. The big one was the Civil War, and most people these days focus on the ending slavery part for that one, ignoring some of Lincoln's harsh measures. The other one was a little thing called The Whiskey Rebellion that was personally put down by our very first President.

Mind you, in that situation a mesh isn't going to hold up well either even though that was part of the original DARPA design. But one of the key elements of that original DARPA design is that it wasn't intended to convey the volume of information the current structure does, only tweet like commands sent to field commanders, and submarine and ship captains.

All of which makes it rather more in our interest to make sure we don't arrive in a situation where the government would have justification for taking those actions. And keeping an eye on them so they don't lower the bar enough to get away with a false claim.

US lawmakers eye internet 'kill switch'

Tom 13

Nice to see all the strawmen coming out.

While I don't like the legislation, there is a case for having an internet kill switch.

Yes, you can protect some of the comms infrastructure from permanent damage by taking them offline before they are hit. Yes, you lose the functionality, but with everything down you have a shot at cleaning out the virus in a shorter time than it took to clean up that hospital El Reg was going on about last year.

Moreover, the comms infrastructure isn't the only infrastructure that can be protected by killing the internet. You have the power grid as well. Yes, I know critical infrastructure like that shouldn't be connected to the internet. But it is so planning needs to account for that. Furthermore, we know Siemens C&C systems are compromised (possibly by the same government now looking for a kill switch) and the bad guys have samples of that.

So the problems are real. And the solution while drastic will work. Which means pooh-poohing their efforts is only going to redouble their determination to move forward.

What is needed instead are proposals that increase the robustness of security for those critical systems on the internet. Given how much we'd all benefit from them and how inventive private companies can be, I'm not sure there are any out there. But if someone has some constructive and affordable solutions, I'm all for hearing them.

The future is analog (at least part of it)

Tom 13

Bewkes is almost certainly wrong, because his root analogy is fatally flawed.

AOL was killed by the US Congress. Oh, it wasn't named The AOL killing law. Or even The Small ISP Killing law. I actually don't recall what it was called. But it was intended to save an industry: the telecom industry. They had a pricing model that wasn't working anymore because of a new fangled invention that every geek had: a modem. These modems got on the wires and tied them up for hours at the cost of a local call, even if the eventual source of the data being retrieved was on another continent (which was a REALLY good cash cow before those thrice damned modems came along). So the big telcos went crying to congress, campaign cash in hand, and got them to pass a bill legally limiting modem speeds to 56K. Then the big telcos started to slowly build out the new and improved high speed internet. AOL lasted a little while longer. But there was no way they could generate the kind of cash needed to wire the country for high speed. And eventually the big telecos killed them. Because AOL was never about providing AOL generated content. They were always about connecting to the internet.

But the genie for digital music won't so easily be killed off. Too many little people have access to it now. Time-Warner might eventually die because they haven't figured out how to monetize the digital stream. But the digital stream will go on because its already been monetized by the telcos.

Google exec 'missing' amid Egypt protests

Tom 13

The revolution you hope for

has already been strangled in its cradle by the Muslim Brotherhood, a Hamas-like group of thugs that predates Hamas.

Yes, Mubarak was a strongman, but he was the best chance for eventual liberalization in the region. He was promoted as a result of assassination and has survived 6 subsequent attempts. That sort of thing tends to color one's outlook, particularly when the reason your predecessor was assassinated was because he sought lasting peace.

The way this thing is shaping up, Robespierre is going to come out looking like a moderate. Look for the big mushroom clouds in the Middle East real soon.

Iomega SSD 128GB USB 3.0 drive

Tom 13

This is the pricing on the tech that is supposed to bury

Seagate's HDD empire?

No thanks.

Microsoft hits autistic Xboxer with cheat evidence

Tom 13

Didn't see the earlier article so I didn't comment on it.

Good for MS for trying to work with the autistic kid. Bad on the mom for knowingly going public to further the lie. Mom should have to do community service for slandering MS (which in and of itself is a notable accomplishment with the bar being so low and all).

Court orders seizure of PS3 hacker's computers

Tom 13

Restraining orders are not punishments.

Punishments can only be rendered after trial. Restraining orders have been and will continue to be useful and effective tools of the law to protect citizens from criminal activity. The clearer example is the spouse who obtains a restraining order against a violent soon to be ex. But if the law is to be fair to all, that has to extend beyond that example. Another example would be the restraining issue ordered by the Illinois Supreme court that the Board of Elections could not proceed to print ballots without Rahm's name on them until the court had heard the case. Without the order, irreparable harm could have been done to Rahm's case before the verdict was rendered. (Personally I'm of the opinion that the final verdict was wrong, but even before hand I grant that the restraining order was legally in order and necessary).

Tom 13

Price dumping is when one competitor intentionally sells their product

at a loss to drive other money making competitors out of business. According to popular sentiment, none of the game console manufacturers sell their console at a profit, so no money making competitors are driven from business. Also none of them have gone out of business or even suffered significant markets share loss as a result of pricing behavior.

This is what is known in the industry as a loss leader. Loss leaders are particularly common practice for things like grocery stores or supermarkets where the retailer voluntarily takes a loss on a couple of sale items in the store hoping to draw in customers and make up for that loss by the volume of other sales they make when the customer stops in for the special sale item. A prime example of this in the US would be the sale on turkeys around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Tom 13

Nope. You shouldn't have dropped the class after the introductory session.

The hardware may be yours to do with as you please, and that part of DCMA has never and likely never will be tested. The violation is that he PUBLISHED the results of what he did with his hardware and INCITED other to do likewise. This is what DCMA prohibits because it defrauds the COPYRIGHT holders of the software sold for the device.

You don't have to like it, but you do have to understand it.

Apple $10k winner hangs up on 'prank caller'

Tom 13

You might be smoking something,

but the Federal Taxes don't change from State to State and all winnings are taxable as normal income. After that, state taxes are applicable as your state determines. This is simple stuff, not rocket science. Now, what I'm not sure about is whether or not gambling losses can be used to offset gambling gains. They certainly can't be used to offset normal income.Territories etc. might be different.

Tom 13

Good thought except,

you'd probably find another of those hidden Jobsian requirements for an app sold in the app store is that it cost less than $50 or some such nonsense that would prevent you from cashing out the 5,500 (convert to British currency or after paying the US taxes, your choice).

Tom 13

Not so much.

Cynicism about such phone calls is equally prevalent across the pond. Most of us suspect them of trying to engage in ID theft or worse, that they are really selling a timeshare.

The cost of beating Apple's shrewd screws? £2

Tom 13

I think that's why The Doctor carries a sonic;

much easier than changing heads all the time.

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