* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Someone PLEASE stop patent trolls' stroking their favorite tool, cries Google and friends

Tom 13

Re: Most of all we need to have each patent concidered for uniqueness

Gads! Next you'll be asking for honest politicians!

Tom 13


Good proposal. I might tweak it a bit and specifically give software patents a 7 year life, no renewal. And I might grant a bit more leeway on actual mechanical stuff, say by the same 3 years I'd cut from software.

Yes, I see the logic of having no software patents, but if the id ten T people are going to keep them there anyway, at least we can shorten the life span. Given the state of IT, I can't see any company needing a software patent for more than 7 years. Even Linux is evolving more quickly than that.

Tom 13

Re: they don't generally rely on dubious patent claims

While it might be true that they don't do it often (can't be arsed to check), the occasions on which they do more than compensate for the ones they pass up.

And I write that as a dedicated MS OS user for the last (scribble, scribble, scribble; My GAWD has it been that long?) well, let's just say almost as long as you've been coding.

Tom 13

It truly is a sad state of affair when the likes of

Google, Apple, and Intel can't afford to buy sufficient votes in Congress to get this passed.

KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Tom 13

I'm not sure a side landing appreciably improves your odds of a soft touchdown. Now you're trying to initiate a controlled tumble that stops exactly at the right spot, and you'll have engineering issues reinforcing part of the rocket that currently isn't intended to withstand that sort of stress.

Tom 13

Re: The ocean acts as a moderator for variations in atmospheric conditions

Yes, but except for a few seconds here and there every couple of decades, land doesn't go up and down in swells. Even that tends to be geographically concentrated, so not a real risk when trying to land.

Tom 13

Re: Not sure where they could safely launch and come down on land

Launch from Kennedy, land at White Sands. Yes, you still have to tow the equipment afterward, but only during development and test. Once the system is proven you consolidate to the Cape.

America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?

Tom 13

@Dana W

US military budget is 15% (610 billion out of 3.9 Trillion) of federal spending not 50%. Put I wouldn't expect that from a cretin who gets talking points about what TEA Party people believe from the DNC.

And what that means is that it's not 3%, but 60% of federal spending that is Unconstitutional wealth transfer from actual working people to those who don't.

Tom 13

Re: (Still?) no votes for them...

Baloney. Last time I checked they have 536 residents voting for them.

Tom 13

Re: Well, even cosmetic house improvements need to be checked

Those are the nominal reasons for the regs. The real reason is that any work you do to your house is likely to change it's assessed value, and that changes your tax base.

Tom 13

Re: never needs a loan has a "bad" (non existent) credit history.

For precisely the reason that they have no history. With no past history, you can't make future predictions. If you can't make future predictions, you put them in the highest rated risk group.

Anyone who lives here knows the goal is to have two or three credit cards on which you make regular purchases and pay off the balance due each month. I'm ALMOST there having spend far too many years with credit balances that were far too high.

Tom 13

Re:The IRS has nothing to do with this.

Yes and no. No, the IRS doesn't directly have anything to do with. Yes, being able to deduct house taxes from your federal taxes encourages non-federal taxing entities to boost their take from property taxes.

Tom 13

Re: there will be a Home Owners Association

Only if you live in one of the People's Republics. My parents house has no Home Owners Association. Problem is, the maggots that live in the People's Republics keep moving out because they don't like them, then vote to impose People's Republic rules in their new location. Kalifornia is one of the prime examples of this behavior.

Verizon FLICKS FINGER at Netflix with skinny à la carte-style TV package for fibre munchers

Tom 13

Re: Is it not possible

The problem in the US is that because of badly handled deregulation of cable tv back in the 1980s we wound up with a national cable monopoly (Comcast) which competes with a couple of morphed phone companies (Verizon on the east coast, forget the west coast company) and a couple of cable wannabes like Cox. All of them integrated cable tv, phone and internet services in large areas although is some places, they opted not to add some components (my Dad has FIOS for phone and internet, but they don't offer tv). So OTT services like Hulu and to some extent Netflix compete with their cable bundles. This is the real heart of the FCC issue at the moment. If neither Comcast nor Verizon had the cable portion of their business, you wouldn't see filtering for Netflix and the like.

Tom 13

Re: How can this be competing with Netflix?

People buy Netflix for the movies and stay for the TV and original content.

And you should get your eyes checked if you think only FIOS users is a small market.

Tom 13

Re: Only two problems.

For the moment, I agree. But not forever.

The first brick in the wall has already been removed. One of the major sports (can't remember if it was NFL or baseball) just stopped blackouts for games in the home team area if the stadium isn't sold out.

Tom 13

Re: surely the cableco has the power now to tell any one specific broadcaster to piss off now.

Meh. Depends on the channel. The Food Channel, sure no problem. ESPN, not so much. Even The Weather Channel can be a bit of a challenge, although in my area they have recently done that.

Tom 13

Re: so called "Custom TV" - this sums it up perfectly

Make it $35 for 35 channels I get to pick, with additional packs available at $10 for 5 picks and you might have a deal. Call it $5 a channel for premiums (I don't subscribe to any myself because they cost WAY too much) and you might even save the industry.

FCC hit with SEVENTH net neutrality lawsuit

Tom 13

Re: Surely the government is meant to be 'for the people' / 'by the people'.

Meh. You're just another special interest claiming you represent all the people.

If it what you were saying were true, the legislation to change this would have originated in the House, then passed the Senate, and finally been approved by the President. Instead what happened was The Big 0 made a Executive demand on a nominally independent agency, the independent agency jumped and asked "how high sir?!" while in the air, and the ruling was handed down as surely and as obnoxiously as anything George III did back in colonial times.

So at best we've got two groups of nobles trampling over the fields of the peasants in their fight for control of the internet.

Watch: Nasty JPEG pops corporate locks on Windows boxes

Tom 13

Dear El Reg

Could you kindly hire some reporters who speak English (or at least American) as their first language?

I'm getting tired of trying to parse nonsense like this:

that is true because they have Linux server you usually use Windows clients for connect to them

Some uploading portals so weak he says, malicious dynamic content will be accepted merely because it carries a .jpg extension.

Bank-card-sniffing shop menace Punkey pinned down in US Secret Service investigation

Tom 13


On a more serious note, there are edge cases such as the one I sited in a reply above. In addition to being a POS terminal, it functions as a web based lookup terminal for something else. Also, depending on the application, the POS terminals phone home the sales numbers for inventory purposes. Yes, it probably would be better done with a dedicated modem line, but that would probably just lead to a different hacking scenario.

But yes, for most instances you shouldn't. The thing is, today a cheap PC with POS software probably costs less than a dedicated POS terminal. So that's what you get. Since the PC comes with the browser, that's just a "bonus".

Tom 13


Haven't you heard? IE is an integral part of the OS on Windows. You can put a different chrome on it, but you cannot pull the innards without breaking the system.

Or so Microsoft claimed in court, and now they're stuck with it.

Tom 13

Why internet for card processing

Because that's actually the card processors preferred connection for confirming transactions. Remember, each authorization has to be confirmed at the time of sale. That means talking to the issuing company (usually via third party software) to confirm the transaction.

I have an edge case that absolutely depends on using the internet. Convention runs for three days once a year. The convention center doesn't supply phone numbers ahead of time, but you can provision for internet on a T1. System is only up for those three days, then gets put in storage. Given the window, and vendor supplied equipment coming in, it's actually fairly secure, even over the internet. Granted, even at that when I was there we only gave the POS server internet access, not the actual terminals. These days they also run a pre-registration database which does require internet access, so the POS terminals now have direct internet access. Not sure what if any other measures they added to secure the terminals, but I don't run it anymore.

LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

Tom 13

Re: We had 3 keypunch machines

A 3 key punch machine? Hah. That was the height of luxury where I came from. All we had was steel rods, some wooden beads and a couple of wooden boards. And we were GLAD for it too!

Tom 13

Re: Technology for technology's sake

Ah yes. I recall "hacking" the TRS-80 system they had in my high school my senior year. I took the class thinking I'd learn something. I didn't realize that the previous year working on their test machine with the permission of my probability and statistics instructor I'd learned 95% of what they'd be teaching. So of course I was always done with the assignments (thorough REM statements included) in half the time of anybody else in the class. Some of the teachers had been fascinated by a Centipede clone released for the TRS-80. And they'd let those of us who were finished play with it on the their console. But it was binary code from a floppy and so couldn't be loaded at the work stations, only the teacher's console. Eventually they got tired of me and a few friend tying up the teacher's console. We asked if we could download it to a station. They said it wasn't possible. At which point I picked up the manual, found the appropriate commands, and downloaded it to my student station. Which in turn was worse than me hogging the teacher's station because now everybody could see what I was doing.

Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

Tom 13

Re: Why a wobbly wave-tossed barge?

Safety reasons of some sort or other. Barge landing was all they could get approved.

Nope, doesn't make sense to me either. Solid land seems much better for this sort of test.

Tom 13


All very true. And yet, a carrier is nearly immobile compared to that little barge.

Yelp can protect critics in rough reviews row: Virginia yanks rug from under furious carpet biz

Tom 13

Re: Just a Stupid Idea

While neither of them are something I'd probably consult, they have their place and people use them successfully. My roommate/landlord did get a subscription to Angie's list because she needed to have a major remodel done on the house (new floor for the kitchen, new cabinets, extended the project into the foyer, and picked up the bathroom off the foyer). Not the sort of thing you purchase repeatedly and not necessarily the sort of thing your friend have done so word of mouth isn't as useful as you'd like it to be. Angie's list (and presumably Yelp) are attempts to extend that word of mouth effect.

As for only negative reviews, she picked the contractor based on his good reviews. So it's not all toads and snails.

Tom 13

@ dan1980 Re: Ever heard of "word of mouth"?

IIRC the claims from Hadeed were that on the dates posted in the reviews, none of the specific services were provided in the localized area identifiable from the review. That ought to be something a court can confirm. But first Hadeed has to be able to confirm the real name and address of the poster. Risk on the other side is the complaint is valid and Hadeed is just trying to strong lawyer someone they've already abused. Maybe the poster changed the dates so they couldn't be identified, maybe they changed something else for the same reason.

Complicated, messy. But you get that with real people.

Where I come down on this is that there ought to be a legal way for some sort of arbiter to confirm or force a retraction for the review. But it can't involve the company with the bad review getting the name of the reviewer until after the arbiter confirms it is a false accusation or at least that there is a reasonable expectation it can be successfully challenged in court. You know, the sort of thing Grand Juries were theoretically supposed to do.

Tom 13

Re: Ever heard of "word of mouth"?

Except that this business obviously doesn't know who the reviewers are, otherwise they would not be asking for the identities from Yelp.

I'm local to the area so I hear Hadeed commercials on the radio all the time. This case is a bit more complicated than you suggest. Not sure if the article I read was here on El Reg or elsewhere, but the details were that according to Hadeed, they checked the on the bad reviews in an effort to identify the customer to make things right. In reviewing their billing records they could not find any instances that matched the details of the reported bad service. Hence the claim of defamation.

I don't know that I believe Hadeed, but I think they've presented sufficient evidence to call into question the validity of the bad service reviews on Yelp.

The problem then becomes how to protect both Hadeed and the reviewers. I think the only way to resolve that is that the identities have to be revealed to a court appointed auditor (or whatever title you want to give them) who talks to the reviewer and the reviewer has to document the validity of his posting. If the reviewer finds sufficient evidence that the event is valid, the court rejects Hadeed's claim. If on the other hand he finds insufficient evidence, or evidence to the contrary then Hadeed should be able to proceed with the defamation case.

Lack of secure protocol puts US whistleblowers at risk, says ACLU

Tom 13

@ Hargrove Re: This should work well.

On re-reading my comments, I realize that I dropped some context. I work for one of those US government agencies as a contractor. (Since I'm not authorized to speak for them, it's bad form for me to say which one.) And I'm referring to entirely too many of their sites. I'm just a private in this fight, not even a corporal. But I can see crap as well as the next guy.

Also, I while hubris certainly contributes, I think there's an even more basic element. The whole thing is just too damn big. Nobody can hold enough of it in their head to have an idea of how it works. Add a bit of rushing, a dash of goldbricking, and maybe even a bit of featherbedding and you're doomed to failure even without the hubris. Yes, you can do a dive here or there and find really examples of horrendously shoddy work, but you can't build a picture of how it SHOULD work because there are too many rules with which to comply.

Tom 13

This should work well.

None of the sites can "afford" real certs so they'll self-issue. After that instead of using TLS they'll use SSL 2.0 or SSL 3.0 depending on WHICH critical flaw they've decided to defend against. At which point anybody with a properly patched system won't be able to access the site at all.

And I wish I were joking. Within the last month I've had to inform some of our contractors who have been using vendor supplied laptops on our guest wireless network that they can't use the wireless for just that reason. After you configure the wifi, you're supposed to open a browser which redirects you to a website to log in with a user name and password. Yep, site unreachable for just those reasons.

Sysadmins, patch now: HTTP 'pings of death' are spewing across web to kill Windows servers

Tom 13

@AC Re: It "IIS" thing

You were actually doing pretty well there for a bit.

Then, with your very last line, you went and earned yourself a downvote.

Tom 13

Re: Don't like IIS?

The web server is a sunk cost

Oddly enough, that MIGHT be true if it were OSS, but not anything from MS or Oracle. As El Reg has been pointing out quite loudly with some of its headlines this last week, there's a lot of MS software out there that is EOL and MUST be replaced, regardless of whether or not the hardware is overloaded.

Yes added value is important, but you really should be sure of your footing before making that argument. If you don't you wind up not merely looking like a fool, but confirming the fact that you are.

Tom 13

@Hans 1

DAM used the alternate joke icon. How could you have possibly missed that big nuke?

Tom 13


Apology accepted.

Next time, just don't even post it. Too many trolls out there post exactly that sort of drivel with no joke intended and put on the joke icon so they can claim otherwise when downvoted. I'd remove my downvote, except the only way to do that is to switch it to an upvote. While I no longer feel you deserve the downvote, I can't go full opposite to an upvote.

Tom 13


Stuart Longland has the better statement in this argument. The kernel was the wrong place to put this part of the system. That SHOULD have been fixed when they did the "ground up" rewrite of code back in Vista. And this sort of parameter checking is coding 101, not some arcane dark art.

Yes, having found the bug they had to fix it. But this bug should never have been there in the first place and absolutely shouldn't be in the kernel.

Finally, Mozilla looks at moving away from 'insecure' HTTP. Maybe

Tom 13

@Charles 9

I'm not sure that it couldn't be secure and relatively easy to use, but then it would be expensive. I'm thinking something along the lines of when you buy a computer the price includes 1/2/4 certificates that establish your id and trace back to one of the current trusted CA groups. If the OS and apps are configured to allow easy selection and you use them to establish chains of trust it would be a hell of a lot easier than remembering 36 different passwords all containing all four character types with no (regular + hacker) dictionary words or easily identified number sequences and all at least 24 characters long.

SQL Server 2005 end of life is coming, run to the hills...

Tom 13


I'm sure many companies are running many instances of MSSQL Server 2005, but are there many companies running a business-critical instance of MSSQL Server 2005?

For those installs which do require high-availability

I suppose if you work in Big Data, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that high availability isn't the only criterion for business critical.

An extreme case of just this sort of data migration mess is a former employer. They bought a COTS badge printer that came with software that used an MSDE to store the data. This data in turn was exported through a complicated home brew of transformations into an internal employee directory. It also constituted the primary HR database for employees. Oh, and it was purchased when Windows 95SE was still the standard desktop. When we tried to deploy the app on a Windows 2000 machine, it broke. The original printer plus software setup cost around $3K. The replacement for the software alone cost $5K. So the best we could manage was to upgrade it to Windows 98SE and pray we had enough parts to keep it running as they failed. That machine was still running when I was RIFFed and they were debating whether it was time to move the desktops to Windows 7.

Why are enterprises being irresistibly drawn towards SSDs?

Tom 13

Re: Bollocks. The overwhelming majority of hard drive errors

Admittedly a very small sample size, but my personal experience suggests otherwise. Granted it was a solution dreamed up by a cheap CIO* on non-server systems, but 50% of our we've lost this system because of a drive problem were the results of bad data on both drives. IIRC it was 6 systems in two years with a user group of about 30 people. Part of the reason you're missing is point is you're being hyper-technical in saying "hard drive error". Yes, you're technically correct about that. But data corruption that gets replicated to both disks comes from other sources as well. The first is some damn fool who thinks holding the power button for 4 seconds is the same thing as Shut Down. Data corrupts on one drive as a result and gets copied to the other after reboot. The most common of course is a malware infection that corrupts the boot sector. RAID tech being what it is, even at the cheap level we were using (PCI IDE solution from Adaptec) this was immediately copied to the mirrored drive. So it wasn't just a matter of breaking the array then using the good drive to recover the system. I do think in all cases we were able to recover the data. And yeah, the cheap CIO was using it as a backup, not a drive failed protection. The previous backup solution was IDE from some now thankfully defunct outfit who couldn't properly engineer their tape back up to comply with the IDE spec.

*In fairness to the cheap CIO, he was saddled with a horrendous system by the CEO of the company. The CEO had sold a government agency a solution for using a statistical programming solution running on desktops instead of on a proper server. Yes it was true when the department was 3 people, but not once they got to 30.

Credit card factories given new secure manufacturing rules

Tom 13

Re: tl;dr

El Reg says:

Rogue networks must be detected,...

Any WiFi in the area is obviously a Rogue Network and must be detected. Nothing there implies WiFi is allowed. They would however be the most likely source for Rogue Networks.

Rand Paul puts Hillary Clinton's hard drive on sale

Tom 13

Re: recording everything to TAPE...

Not since Nixon.

Tom 13

Re: You keep saying "democrat" when you should be saying "politician".

Nope, the facts say otherwise. Nixon? Resigned when confronted by members of his own party. Trent Lott, gone. Bill "the rapist Clinton"? Yep, that's right, Dems circled the wagons and denied he even committed perjury. Same thing with a whole raft of Hillary issues starting with Whitewater billing records and cattle futures, but never, ever ending.

The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Tom 13

Re: brings about greater unhappiness in the general population,

If you can't think of any, that means you're one of them. Anyone who cares to observe with unbiased eyes will see plenty of examples on both sides of the pond.

Yes, the agitators are all sychophants. The sychophant part is more important than the agitator part which is why it is the focus. Someone in power mutters "will no one rid me of this troublesome _____" and the sychophants set out to do so.

Tom 13

Re: So much of what they sell is a snack

Pure prejudice from someone who has probably never actually set foot in a Walmart.

The last time I was in a Walmart (admittedly some time ago) they had plenty of fresh vegetables and meats in and open format section of the store instead of the aisle format. The meats and cheeses are typically along the outer wall, so tend not to look as large as two or three rows of boxed goods. My friends and I tend to stop for the prepared fruit, cheese, and vegetable trays before heading off for a weekend get together (usually a proper US football game in Beaver Stadium).

Tom 13

Re: Inheritance

How onerous inheritance taxes are depends quite a bit on the type of business. The prime and possible only example of this currently is farming. While science can do a lot to advance the productivity of a given plot of land, you still need a lot of it for farming. Which means farmers tend to wind up with a lot of wealth, but not necessarily a lot of income. Hitting them with high inheritance tax usually means selling off the land. Maybe it stays as a farm, maybe not.

China weaponizes its Great Firewall into the GREAT FIRE CANNON, menaces entire globe

Tom 13

Re: I thought I understood what was going on...

Ok, like ads I skipped the diagram until I got to your comment (it being the third such at the time I was reading comments). Now that I've gone back and looked at, I'm confused too.

PHYSICS APPLECART UPSET as dark energy disappears, Universe slams on brakes

Tom 13

Re: I like this scenario much better than entropy.

So did Einstein, hence his creation of the "Cosmological constant" which he later called the worst mistake he ever made. The problem is, based on what we think we understand about physics, the observations just don't support it. Of course, from a Cosmological viewpoint, our observation baseline for physics is even worse than the climate baseline is for AGW.

Tom 13

Re: And I could be the first one to have an up-vote for a non-sensical comment

Have an up vote because I'm in a contrarian mood at the moment and you have two down votes. But give the free beer to some random person. I don't drink the stuff. Much more than half a glass and I'm ready to hurl the technicolor yawn.I much prefer Gin and Tonics. Those I can suck down by the 32 oz Moose cup.

Tom 13


I won't pretend to understand what some idiot thinks they wrote on Jimmy-Bob's wonder.

From my time at uni, the simplest explanation is:

Having calculated the speed at which various objects appear to be moving, and having determined that we all seem to be moving apart (everything observed so far has a red-shifted spectrum), when you calculate the mass of the universe based on our observations, all of the objects exceed escape velocity for the mass density of the universe.

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