* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Citizens rail against government data sharing

Tom 13

@irish donkey

I'm amazed a citizen of the land that produced Lewis Carrol would write such a post. Given the choice of picking between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, or as we here in The States put it between Tweedledum and Tweedledummer, does voting really make a difference?

If you really want to make a difference you'll need to get your hands dirty: get involved in whichever local party you want, and make that party reflect your views. Maybe even run for office yourself, because the only way to get somebody who isn't a bum in office, is if somebody who isn't a bum runs.

Global warming worst case = Only slight misery increase

Tom 13

The real underlying factor overlooked in

the economic analysis is that most of the people living in poverty on the planet don't live in poverty because of environmental factors holding back their farming capacity; they live in poverty because they live under more despotic regimes than wealthy do. When the increase in profits comes along, the despots will take more. Afterall, anybody making more than $250,000/year (162,000 pounds/yr) doesn't really deserve it now do they?

Why you subsidize Google's Soviet-style Net

Tom 13

Typical leftist claptrap

Artificially define costs and prices, then pit the masses against the so-called pigopolist.

I have plenty of problems with Google, and mixed feeling about net Neutrality, but this is utter nonsense.

Twitter 'airport bomb hoax twit' charged

Tom 13

I think this case is Exhibit 1

in the call for the restoration of some earlier forms of punishment. Unless he's got provable ties to terrorist organization, it seems more appropriate to sit him in the stocks at the airport for 8 hours each weekend for about a year.

Labour MP denies calling Tories 'scum-sucking pigs' on Twitter

Tom 13

Yo! Chowder head! Yeah, I'm looking at you David Wright.

(What's the point of being an obnoxious American if I can't be obnoxious?)

I think you would have been better off just admitting you sent the tweet. If you can't protect your twitter account, how are you going to protect other things that ought not be public information? Like all that personal information the government keeps collecting about its citizens.

Aussie ISP beats Hollywood on 'copyright' rap

Tom 13

Kudoos for a rare judge!

Now let's just hope his wisdom is upheld during the inevitable appeal.

Politico sues politico

Tom 13

Sorry about this one mates.

I'm not so sure this one is a case of bullying. Trademark laws on this side of the pond are insane, and if you don't make legal moves to protect your trademark you lose it. So it is possible that politco.com doesn't give a whit one way or the other about the results of the case, just so long as their mark in The States is protected.

Of course, it also isn't obvious that it isn't a case of bullying. And that alone ought to be enough to get the law changed, but that's rather more difficult when the ones making the laws are the ones profiting from them.

Manchester cops clobbered by Conficker

Tom 13

If they had to disconnect their subnet

me thinks they still didn't have the patch installed. I mean, otherwise they would have needed to plug the infected beastie into all of the computers now wouldn't they?

'Aurora' code circulated for years on English sites

Tom 13

I'd actually say the common use of code like this in smaller chips

argues in favor of it being China. They are known to be active in espionage for that hardware. Lift it from there and apply it to software. Simple, efficient, smart.

Tom 13

Beyond a reasonable doubt is for people you trust

like your own citizens. For people you don't trust the standards are much, much lower. This would be the case between countries.

NASA pegs Noughties as hottest decade on record

Tom 13

I wouldn't say NASA so much generally,

but Hansen more specifically. In particular his now thoroughly debunked "hokey [sic] stick." I expect this is more of the same.

Microsoft dodges multi-million dollar WGA payout

Tom 13

Re: WGA does not apply and doesn't present itself for download when using windows update.

Bull*hit! I worked for a business with a volume license copy, all of our images were built from them, and for every stinking one of them, if you went to either of the Mircosoft update sites WGA gets listed. The reason you don't see a problem is because you are using WSUS. We used Altiris to deploy the bulk of our patches, but still had occasionally a system would hang. With 500 systems supported, we usually had to patch about 20/month manually.

Clinton throws down the gauntlet to China over Google

Tom 13

Mrs C B-slapping her husbands and her campaign contributors in public?

Why, you'd think her party lost a safe seat in an election this week or something.

[insert your favorite appropriate Shakespeare quote here. Today my choice would be "sound and fury signifying nothing" but I'm quite certain there are at least a few others.]

Microsoft will issue emergency IE patch on Thursday

Tom 13

@AC Wednesday 20th January 2010 23:22 GMT

Yes, designed. Although in this instance I think it would be by the legal department instead of the marketing department. If they had allowed IE to continue to be an application isolated from the OS, it would have been a slam dunk win for Netscape way back at the Browser War Legal Debacle. So I am still of the opinion that they moved some of the functionality to the OS then successfully obfuscated the deception from the judge who heard the case.

Poisoned PDF pill used to attack US military contractors

Tom 13


Um, using your secure email to connect to a non-secure email system violates security protocol. Therefore defense contractors tend to have at least two email accounts, one of which is not secure for general use. I say at least one, because they may work with multiple levels of security and the same rules apply for each increased level of security.

Please, use your head for something other than a mobile hat rack.

Windows 7 users to fly without SP parachute

Tom 13

No, Windows 7 really is Vista SP1.

Those things MS labeled "sp" weren't real service packs, they were marketing gimmicks to polish the turd.

IE6 exposed as Google China malware unpicked

Tom 13


If they were only using it for testing purposes, it should not have been compromised in an attack. For testing purposes you hit a defined series of sites, usually under your direct control, not general browsing. I suspect Joe Montana has the correct answer: too many internally developed aps that pre-date Chrome and don't run correctly in IE7 or IE8 except in compatibility mode. Which begs the question, is IE8 in compatibility mode subject to the same exploits? MS seems to be denying it, but they're the sort you check on even if they tell you the sky is blue today.

Hackers pluck 8,300 customer logins from bank server

Tom 13

@AC 13th January 2010 11:07 GMT

Go get in the healthcare queue to get your anti-psychotic prescription refilled.

"National" in the name of a US bank has nothing to do with size and everything with how it is chartered. It is a relic from when individual states still chartered banks.

Economics backs net neutrality, say researchers

Tom 13

Neither neutral nor metered are a panacea.

The problem is the misconception that method of delivery services is a binary decision. In a competitive free market, both would exist and serve different kinds of customers. The important bit, it that those serving the non-prioritized market would not be able to shaft their customers by secretly "de-prioritizing" certain kinds of traffic. As to whether it is the content or consumer who pays for prioritized service where offered, I have no objection to either of them paying it. Somebody has to. There certainly would be benefits to content creators to attract people to their sites if they pay. On the other hand some consumers would benefit if they are large consumers of certain content. I don't even have an objection to both of them paying.

Tom 13

@AC 13th January 2010 12:41 GMT

None at all. In fact if you look at early implementations of copyright law, this was explicitly recognized, as was the fact that no copyright at all holds back innovation. They therefore set limited periods of copyright to encourage innovation while at the same time ensuring it eventually became freely (as in beer) available. The problem with copyright laws today are that they have been extended from fixed time periods to unlimited.

Mini-asteroid sneaks up on Earth

Tom 13

Bruce Willis? I thought it was supposed to be Clint Eastwood.

Or is this supposed to be the one where they team up?

FCC seeks delay to US broadband plan

Tom 13

So let me get this straight,

They need another 30 days to "get right" a plan that they've been supposed to be developing since we got the Internet phone tax way back when AlGore was in the VP's office, and we're suppose to expect they'll be keeping up with evolving technology?

Microsoft airbrushes anti-Apple ad

Tom 13

So, the MS ad was accurate when made,

Apple responded and tried to spin it as MS behind the times. MS wins this one on points, even if it was a bad strategy for the near-monopoly shareholder.

But what they hey, anything to chum the waters for the inevitable fanboise comment wars.

Grenade, because there's nothing quite like tossing one into the crowd the way this article does.

ISP redesign unites the web in nausea

Tom 13

And the Epic Fail continues, although I have apparently been spared my eyes...

I get:

www.bethere.co.uk uses an invalid security certificate.

The certificate is not trusted because the issuer certificate is unknown.

(Error code: sec_error_unknown_issuer)

And Firefox does not display the site. Oh well, I would only have been a gawker anyway.

Firefox laggards offered security update

Tom 13

We are not laggards

We are using the version of software that works with the tools we need to do our work. I just fixed the Testing QA guys problem yesterday by pointing out he was using the wrong version of Firefox and his tool did not support FF 3.5.

US grants $47m for power grid smarts

Tom 13

@Simon 6

No need to blow it up, just fertilize the trees growing under the power lines. A couple years back one of those trees took out the power grid for about 1/4 of the country.

Still, not sure what the point is since they don't want to let us drill for oil, mine uranium, or build pipelines to supply natural gas. If you can't produce the energy in the first place, the grid is pretty useless.

Mozilla downplays risk from unpatched flaw

Tom 13

@Pete Spicer

A bug that causes a crash needs to be fixed by the end of the month. A bug that causes a security breech needs to be fixed by the end of the day. They didn't say they weren't going to fix it, they only claim it doesn't risk your data.

Second unpatched ActiveX bug hits IE

Tom 13

@Toastan Buttar

Good advice. Unless of course you're a Microsoft shop and have installed some of their software that requires the local user to have administrative privileges on their PC....

Been there, tried that, got my head handed to me on the proverbial platter.

Now go back to your Security Awareness class.

US State Dept. workers beg Clinton for Firefox

Tom 13

@AC 14th July 2009 07:19 GMT Re: Hands up if you've paid for IE

By my count, probably $500, possibly more for IE. Firefox on the other hand I've never paid a cent for. See, I don't count IE as free just because MS says it is, I figure I'm paying for it every time I pay for the browser.

Oh, and for all you whiners complaining about not being able to mass deploy FF, somehow or another we seem to be managing, including plug-ins we expect to be standard. No Group Policy or SMS required. And if an update were to "hoseify" a bunch of user systems, I'm reasonably confident I could get the browser removed from them in about 15 minutes.

Typed from my 3.x Firefox browser.

One last thing. While it is technically true that no software is free because they all cost something to support, Firefox has always struck me as a non-brainer for deployment. All those IE-only sites will still work. You just have to open IE for those sites instead, while Firefox can be used for the rest of the web. And you'll always be supporting IE, because even the EU isn't going to manage to force MS to build their OS the way it should have been built and therefore be browser agnostic. Until Opera put the web server component in, I would have classed Opera the same way. My preference is Firefox, but as a support worker I prefer, within reason, to deploy whatever tools make the rest of the company more efficient.

Microsoft spills some Office 2010 beta beans

Tom 13

What Dale 3 said!

Don't have to be a Linux zealot to object to Reg writers blithely passing along MS marketing. They "accidentally" hit the button? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Rosetta Stone rocks Google with trademark lawsuit

Tom 13

If you're reading this, go back and read James Butler's comments.

Everything after that is redundant, including this comment.

Joe, this beer's for you.

I can say that without a TM for Budweiser can't I?

Business throws cold water on gov hot air proposals

Tom 13

@Michelle Knight

No, you're not the only one. There are millions more twits like you out there who have voted the same way you did, and thus caused our current problems.


Two jailed for online racism after US turned down asylum bid

Tom 13

Who'd athunk so much misconception could surround any issue.

First off, they are British citizens, not US citizens. So the US is under no obligation to protect their rights, regardless of what you as an individual might think the origin of those rights are. We die in enough piss-holes around the world while protecting those rights for some people without committing ourselves to dying in every piss-hole where somebody says something that offends somebody else. Not that I think Britain is a piss-hole, in fact it is one of the few countries I would be interested in visiting some day. But establish 'protecting British citizens from their government' as a US responsibility would, at least if consistently applied, lead to us doing so for all the piss-holes around the world as well. Frankly given the gratitude we've gotten for doing so recently, I've had enough of that.

Next up, they did break the law when they came to the US, so their incarceration was entirely appropriate. They attempted to enter the country under false pretense, which is a crime. My problem with the conduct of my government on this issue is not how they handled these two people, but their failure to apply this solution more even-handedly in protecting the integrity of our borders.

As to the issue of whether or not they ought to be incarcerated in Britain I would say there are several competing interests here. First off, on a moral basis I do quite think they will eventually get what's coming to them, and that some number of years in jail is a mere down payment on their eventual punishment. But I hold that punishment will be delivered in the hereafter, not the now. In the here and now, I prefer a government which does not imprison people after the fact for extended periods of time for exercising free speech. I'm not sure there are actually any of those left in the world. As a practical matter, they have been tried and convicted by a court that I deem to be as reasonably constituted as can be expected these days. Therefore the trial itself is lawful, as is their conviction under it. Now as to the wisdom of that law... It seems to me that per capita, England in particular and Great Britain in general, has more Jew-hating radicals than the US, although it likely has somewhat fewer than Europe. At least some of these people have already been locked up in the same prisons to which these two scumbags are headed. So the odds are fair that two run of the mill racists can be radicalized into more effective terrorists than they already are. Only this time profiling, which is otherwise actually a decent tool for a first approximation on determining who the bad guys are, will be of absolutely no use. Welcome to The New Jihad.

Grenade, because pretty sound carrying guns won't be enough.

US edges towards mobile antitrust case

Tom 13

Oh goody, now the guvmint wants to control my cell phone too!

Damn good thing I don't pay for one.

Grenade because the "investigation" will be worthless while the cure will be worse than the disease.

US websites buckle under sustained DDoS attacks

Tom 13


The 4th was a holiday, so nobody was there on the 3rd to notice. The 4th was a holiday so everybody was still out of the office on the 6th because they were recovering from the holiday. On the 7th they couldn't get the email out about the DDOS attack because of the DDOS attack. By today they had finally mitigated the attack enough so the email would go out.

Warner Bros. nabs Mortal Kombat maker for $33m

Tom 13


One that didn't keep up with the times. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen any PC/Console games for Midway. All my recollections of their games are arcade. And both arcades that were a stones throw from my dorm room on campus are long closed. Oh, we've got D&B now, but it's just not the same.

CompuServe signs off

Tom 13

Alas poor Compuserve, I knew it well

My first Internet connection on a Commodore 64 with a blindingly fast 150 baud modem. But I was a poor starving college student, so it didn't last long. But at least it was sufficient to inoculate me against the entirely too cartoonish interface on AOL, whose CDs became even more prolific than those of Compuserve.


BCC calls recession bottom

Tom 13

Re: What shape

None of the above. It's going to be more like this:








And that's when inflation will kick in and throw all the economic models out the window.

IPO gives 'reputable' web pages prior art status

Tom 13

@British Library

If not there, then certainly in the Library of Congress on this side of the pond.

BTW: Any chance we could borrow this Micklewright chap for a couple of years? We could use somebody with some sense to straighten out our patent office.

Feds: Hospital hacker's 'massive' DDoS averted

Tom 13

@Chris C

You forgot the most important security consideration:

0) Decent background check on the people you hire for your facility, especially the ones who are nominally in charge of physical security. Too many minimum wagers as rent-a-cops here in the states. It's a serious job that requires serious attention. Security shouldn't be Walmart door greeters. If you want a minimum wage door greeter, fine--hire one and give him the appropriate title. Don't hire a rent-a-cop for it. Security should be professional, and focused securing the facility. Security begins with access, and physical access trumps all other forms of access.

Otherwise you're spot on.

Prof: People reject news which conflicts with beliefs

Tom 13

Imagine that, a bunch of psychologists have produced

a study that confirms their belief that people believe what they want to believe. Who'd a thunk?

@Steven Jones

The scientific method tries no such thing. Being a method, it tries to do nothing, it simply is and you either use it or do not use it. Furthermore, theories are never disproved, hypotheses are. Theories are complexes of hypotheses, and if a hypothesis is disproved the theory is broken, not disproved.

My personal experience is that natural scientists are the most opinionated of people I've run into, and that includes the political pundits I like to read. Engineers on the other hand tend to be reasoning individuals. Lewis seems to be an odd mixture of both.

Amazon affiliates nixed in two more states

Tom 13

@Chris C

Because local retailers are subject to ONE specific set of tax rules. Or to clarify by reversal, if Internet retailers are required to collect sales taxes from everybody based on where they live, why shouldn't local retailers be required to remit taxes to all the locations where their purchasers live?

Frankly, AC 2-07-2009 12:25 hits the nail squarely on the head. This is not an issue of fairness, it is one of the greed of politicians who've never had an honest job.

Conficker left Manchester unable to issue traffic tickets

Tom 13


Because despite their claims to the contrary, much of the software that runs under Windows still requires local admin privileges to run properly. All of our web developers, programmers, and accountants need those privileges to use the software they use for their jobs. And yes, when we rolled out XP so many years ago, we initially tried to follow recommended "best security practices" but it was simply impossible. And yes you read that correctly: the fricking ACCOUNTING system requires local admin privileges.

Masked passwords must go

Tom 13

The obvious solution

is to make this user configurable. Most of the time when I'm at work, there is no way for someone to shoulder surf my screen, so I could use non-obfuscated passwords. I'd probably stick with obfuscated ones because it is what I am accustomed to. When using a laptop in a public space or a kiosk I obviously prefer the password be obscured. On the other hand, on my last phone I couldn't set the password because the *&^%*#!@!@!!! touchpad kept putting in the wrong character or too many characters or something. And I couldn't tell because I couldn't see the password to confirm what I thought I put in was what the computer thought I put in. I might find the I-phone solution acceptable. But on phones obfuscation should ALWAYS be optional.

And personally, I still worry more about those thrice damned sticky notes with passwords. Doesn't even have the short duration of entering a clear text password.

Louisiana judge holds Dell in contempt

Tom 13
Black Helicopters

So, what we have here is

one corrupt manufacturer in New Orleans suing another corrupt manufacturer in New Orleans via corrupt and incompetent officials in New Orleans and even more corrupt lawyers who are licensed to practice roulette, I mean law, in New Orleans.

Or as they would say, just another day on the bayou.

Not an especially big fan of Dell, but at least their corruption would have cost the city less.

Defense-contract discs sold in African market for $40

Tom 13

@Clint and John: Fail to read often?

It said the information was about the contracts, not the classified material itself. Information about the contracts is rarely classified secret or better by the government. From the context of the article, it isn't even clear that it is government sensitive (aka 'For Governmental Use Only'), not company sensitive. As such it needn't be encrypted or require clearance.

AC 25-06-09 20:25 is closet to what ought to happen here. To be really secure the company has to wipe the disks before they leave the premises. That being said, there are reputable companies that are engaged solely in the secure destruction of classified hard drives. The gear to degauss then shred hard drives is pretty expensive. It is more efficient for most companies to contract to them for the certified destruction of classified materials. But such companies themselves ought to be secure against the kind of theft NG is alleging is the cause of the drive being available.

Still it is an Epic Fail by NG, becauase ultimately, they are responsible for the safety of the data, and that responsibility is non-transferable.

Wikipedia kills legendary journalist

Tom 13

Gotta agree with AuntFlo

I'm an absolute nobody in the grand scheme of things, with one letter to the editor published way back when I was in college, but I'm quoted on a wikipedia site (or was at some point) with my real name. If I deserve that level of recognition, surely a published author deserves an entry in wikipedia.

Panasonic patches cameras to block rivals' batteries

Tom 13

I think the US courts have already found this to be an illegal business tactic

In the case of HP and either their ink or toner cartridges. And in any event it is not subject to the DCMA.

Titsup TSA partner closes airport express lanes

Tom 13

I never have figured out the security logic behind these programs

I never understood how TSA could approve them in the first place. If I were of a mind to be piloting a bomb into a building, I think I'd try to get me and my team into one of these programs to bypass security.

Thankfully for the TSA, I'm with the people who'd be more likely to be shooting at the terrorists than with them.

Prof: Global windfarm could power entire human race

Tom 13

Harvard profs you say?

Reminds me of a physics problem I read about once. I don't recall the start of it, but the last part read "you may assume the horses are frictionless perfect spheres."

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