* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Activist investors DESTROY COMPANIES. Don't get me started on share dealings...

Tom 13

Re: Both Apple and MS pay dividends

Only after threats from the activist investors force them to do so.

Tom 13

Re: @Spartacus (No many times its NOT really their money!)

If the company can borrow against benefits and pensions, the money never belonged to you in the first place.

Antarctic ice at all time high: We have more to learn, says boffin

Tom 13

Re: Lets try an experiment.

Except your experiment does not correctly reflect the data set. The data set is:

55, 55.1, 55.2, 55.3, 55.4, 55.4, 55.3, 55.4, 55.4, 55.3, 55.4, 55.3, 55.4

and you're throwing out all the 55.4s as outliers.

Tom 13

Re: with El Nino peaks removed

NO! NO! NO! NO! And I say again NO!

When you are doing REAL science you don't get to remove actual data that disagrees with your theory! This is the fundamental problem with your Warmist cult.

Tom 13

Re: "We have more to learn"

There's nothing cynical about telling the truth.

Although on a Page article that's brings out the Warmist trolls, you will collect a lot of downvotes.

Tom 13

Re: the extreme weather gets more common

Or not:



Tom 13

Re: Care to substantiate that with a linky?

The links provided don't even rise to the credibility of The Weekly World News.

Tom 13

Re: In short the climate models are a busted flush.

Only if by "busted flush" you mean two diamonds and one of everything else.

In fairness, given the hand is so bad poker doesn't actually have a name for it, I suppose I shouldn't quibble.

Tom 13

Re: What's the problem with this?

I've tried making fancy layered drinks a few times. They're darned hard to make without a heck of a lot of practice. And their viscosities are a heck of a lot different than sea water and fresh water.

Google AXES AndroidScript app used by 20,000 STEM coders WITHOUT WARNING

Tom 13

I agree about the Terms and Conditions, especially for a developer who has probably written his own terms and conditions for an app. Not so sure most people would think using the trademark name in the title was dodgy. But T&C is enough to limit my sympathy as well.

Tom 13

Re: There was no need to stop it.

Yes there is. The way the game is played is the Trademark Owner must start by saying "you're not allowed to do that, stop it." Then the offender responds "What would it take for me to be able to do that?" At which point you can discuss the license terms. I've been there with a small outfit and a no-name lawyer and they played it the same way as the super expensive lawyer. And the truth of the matter was, we were honored that one of the big boys was tipping their hat to our little convention. It gave us exposure no amount of advertising money possibly could have. If you're a gamer, chances are you've even seen the trademarked character, but probably got the order of appearance wrong. Convention came first, character second.

AT&T to fork out less than two days' profit in bogus bill charge flap

Tom 13

Operating Income =\= Profit

Yes, the fine is atrociously inadequate. That doesn't mean El Reg should stoop to the same levels as the telco almost monopoly.

Microsoft: Yeah, about that 50% post-Christmas customer price hike...

Tom 13

Re: "Home-Premium"

Yep, big difference between consumer and business pricing.

Another IT Fish Story

Incoming VP-type Fish says: I know the specs on the laptop I want here they are and hands them off to Pilot fish.

Pilot Fish takes specs, looks on approved vendor site. Approved vendor is Dell. System specs only match for an XPS laptop. But Pilot fish is contractor, not authorized purchaser, so he isn't looking on the approved purchasing portal site. So he calls vendor to find his assigned sales person. After 20 minutes of work he has name and email address so he sends specs only (not the device he found) to sales agent to request pricing and ordering information (not a quote, just the information). Sales agent returns a recommendation for a a Latitude 6xxx series laptop because the XPS is a consumer offering and not available via the approved purchasing portal. Final kick: Latitude doesn't meet one of the key specs, it's 1 pound heavier than VP-type Fish wants. In fact, there is another Latitude laptop that does meet that requirement and it is listed in the approved portal. Which Pilot Fish knows because we received several in the last few months.

Full disclosure: I'm not the Pilot Fish, I just sit next to him at work.

Tom 13

Re: Microsoft to come out on top on a cost benefit analysis

Sure, if one of their droids is doing the C/B analysis. But what if you're running a proper one that includes the retraining costs every time they shaft users with a new interface because they're bored?

Gawds I still recall some arsewipe standing in front of us when our small non-profit was migrating from Windows 3.11 to 95 and WordPerfect 5.1 to 6.1. "Once you learn how to use this new interface you'll never have to learn another interface again." Yet with each new version SOMETHING in the interface gets f*cked from the way you've been doing it for the last 3-5 years.

Revealed: Malware that forces weak ATMs to spit out 'ALL THE CASH'

Tom 13

Re: Baffled

The vendors do enable proper security. The banks just fail to implement them.

A couple of posters have noted "proprietary networks" and that's the way it OUGHT to run. But all too often a bean counter says "we're paying for high speed internet in that office, why can't we just use that." And an IT guy starts talking about VLANs and firewalls so it gets approved. Because that proprietary network at slower speeds will cost as much or more than the connection they already pay for.

Likewise the logging and the access controls. I think I was only ever called to work on an ATM machine a couple of times. But I was never required to log my access to the system. Yes, I did my work while an authorized bank agent watched. But they really had very little clue about what I was doing. If I slipped in a USB drive to run an authorized update and the USB had a silent trojan installer they never would have known. Worse, they wouldn't have been able to trace it. Fortunately I'm an honest sort of person.

Tom 13

Re: they run on their own private network, with no link to the Internet

In the vendor's literature maybe. In practice?


Not so much.

Tom 13

@ Robert Helpmann??

I will definitely confirm that stability angle. I started life as a DTP specialist. I got pissed off about a job and applied to the husband of a coworker for a tech position. For illogical reasons he hired me. This was back around the time 16x CD drives were just hitting the market. The very first week on the job (very first day IIRC) we got a call from one of his clients on the other side of DC. It was a bank and their Federal Funds PC had died the previous evening. For a bank this is a really big deal. By law they need to settle up with the Feds at least once every two business days and they'd already missed their first day. Boss says no problem. Calls up a supplier requests a courier drop of an IDE drive to the affected bank and asks the branch manager to call us after he gets delivery. Shipment came in the early afternoon and we headed over. Branch manager takes us to the machine. I looked at the case and commented that it looked really old. Baked white paint on heavy gauge metal old. We moved the monitor off it and confirmed it was an IBM style AT case. We opened it up. First thing we had to do was peel off a layer of dust from the inside of the machine. It lifted off just like a bed sheet. And that's when despair struck. It was and IBM AT with a 286 processor and a genuine MFM hard drive. There were no PCI slots to drop in an IDE drive controller. And the floppy was a genuine 5.25 low density floppy. Somehow or another we managed to rig a 3.5 floppy to it boot from the floppy and copy the data from the MFM to floppies. When we fdisked the drive it came back to life and we were able to transfer the data back to the drive. The bank made their Fed Transfers that night. We also told the bank manager he needed to replace the system pronto because you couldn't get MFM hard drives anymore. I understand this was no small prospect because the key component of the system was an encrypted modem card that cost more than the brand new IBM computer did when it was originally purchased.

Tom 13


Wow, so much garbage such little useful information.

Yes, the OS does matter. The point of this particular malware is to leave the machine operational so it gets restocked and hit it at random times. Probably uses a different install crew than pickup crew.

The whole point of an ATM kiosk is to be a COTS solution. That means either a CD or a USB port and no custom rolled BIOSes. Yes the machine should be physically secure and it should have video coverage of access to the locks on the ATM as well as cams on the front.

The only actually useful bit is that the BIOS should be properly configured to require booting from the installed OS device which probably ought to be a hard-drive, and it should require a password to modify. Of course those precautions are pretty much straight out the window if the thieves have physical access to the device anyway.

The big problem here is that these systems are typically installed on a lowest cost basis. It's been more than a decade since I did support work for a local bank. At the time their ATMS were running an almost out of date version of Windows with no expectation they'd be replaced soon. I can't remember anymore whether it was 95 or if they'd at least used NT4, but I'd bet it was 95. In theory the ATMs were secure because the access door was on the inside of the bank. This particular chain didn't have any kiosks in shopping malls or grocery stores.

Yes. Economists do love magical, lovely human selfishness

Tom 13


The one advantage economists have over Warmists is that they accept that the model is too complex to ever be able to accurately model. And some parts of the economy are well modeled. For instance, we know if you raise the minimum wage you lose jobs. Which is more than Warmists know about CO2.

Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

Tom 13

Re: shuttle relies on an atmosphere in order to glide

Who are you going to believe? The paid liars at NASA? Or the actual pilots who have flown the shuttle?

Tom 13

Re: requires a metric fuckton of energy.

Not necessarily. It could be done by warping the mass in from somewhere else. But that would take the episode in a completely different direction than the one they took. For the one they took, yes, yes it would.

Tom 13

Re: a totally inane story and premise.

Dr. Who can work with a totally inane story premise. But in this episode it's like they forgot who the characters were. The Doctor is acting more like the Master and they're doing the same thing to Clara they did to Ramana. I liked that Ramana was smarter and more mature than the Doctor when she first appeared. Then over the course of Key to Time they degenerated her into a clueless fawning puppy dog.

Tom 13

Re: Is Capaldi going the way of Colin Baker?

From CB I got more pompous than ass even though he was a pompous ass who evolved into a likeable character. The way they've written the scripts so far for Capaldi I'm getting more "ass" and maybe Valeyard, which now that he's got unlimited regenerations doesn't make sense.

Tom 13



There was so very much wrong with this episode that bit nearly got lost. I realize that being continuity editor on Dr. Who is a royal PITA, but they need to appoint someone and pay attention to what they say.

Tom 13

Re: nowhere near as clever as they think they are

Unfortunately, they are a bit more clever than they guy who put them there. He thinks they are as clever as they think they are.

Tom 13

The current guys have seriously lost the plot.

And characters and the atmosphere. In fact, it feels a bit like what happens when Symantec merges with some bright new IT software vendor.

Tom 13

Re: he's not a god and he doesn't want to be.

Actually he is, he does, and he's ranted on that very point in previous episodes. Specifically the Smith ones. Which is probably what makes the Capaldi incarnation so unbelievable. I could sort of buy the whole angry man thing when Eccleston had the role. He had just condemned his race to die to save the universe from the Daleks. But the Doctor just got done undoing that tragic decision before he regenerated. There's no call for being a constantly angry ass in the current incarnation.

Tom 13

Re: Can we have Matt back please?

Given the scripts, I doubt Smith would fare any better than Capaldi. In fact, given the scripts Capaldi is probably better able to handle it. If Smith were in the roll the character would be even more obviously wrong. It's like Clara should be looking for pods near the bedrooms because that ain't the Doctor.

Tom 13

Re: I haven't seen the episode yet, but...

No, if there had been a Pratchett influence it would have been more believable and funny too.

Tom 13

Re: shuttle relies on an atmosphere in order to glide

Er, no it doesn't. There's enough wing surface to enable stability and enable deceleration. But according to all the astronauts who've flown it, it glides exactly like a rock would.

Tom 13

Re: exacting standards for the perfect science fiction drama.

Not looking for perfect, just something passable. Maybe this episode makes some sort of sense if you're tripped out on LSD or some such, but other than that it doesn't even rise to the Robot plot level.

Tom 13

Re: 1.3 billion tonnes

What's worse is, I didn't run the numbers. Mentally I was only doing, "massively increased because it's causing tidal waves, wtf did the mass come from?" and it still ruined it. Because the whole egg thing really didn't explain it.

Tom 13

Re: it developed from there.

No, it didn't. From there it simply spiraled out of control.

There are two ways to deal with that budgetary problem:

1. Develop the story around it. What is causing the gravity to increase? How is that happening? The key bit here is the thing that is creating mass out of nothing or the thing that is transferring mass to the moon. Cybermen or Daleks could easily handle that with some technobabble about advanced gravitic machinery and a plot to destroy Earth. This particular Space Dragon and it's Deus Ex Machina ending? Not so much.

2. Review the old Tom Baker tapes and follow their lead. More specifically, ignore the fact that you ought to employ special effects for gravity on the moon.

Oddly enough if they had opted for 2 and stuck with a Space Dragon being spawned on the Moon, the rest of it might have worked. Although you'd need a new reason for the moral dilemma.

Tom 13

Re: It's Dr Who

They're doing so because either they have such poor understanding of science that they don't know better or because they have simply ceased caring in their rush to produce whatever character moment pops into their head.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Which tends to be incredibly insulting to your geek centric audience.

Tom 13

Re:Not a bad story line, not a bad set, not bad horror creatures

I think the rest of your post pretty much contradicts that opening line. Well, except for maybe the horror creatures.

..since the start of the episode he is being an ass.

That pretty much sums up what has been wrong since they regenerated the Doctor. I'm not blaming Capaldi. I think he's doing the best with the scripts he's been given. Somebody just needs to remind the writers that "the hero is an ass" is not a formula for a successful show.* Especially one that is supposed to be nominally child friendly.

*You can get away with it for an episode here or there, but not constantly.

Tom 13

@I Like Heckling

Disagree with you completely about Clara, but the rest of the post was so spot on I gave you an upvote anyway.

Tom 13

Re: What's happened?

I don't think it's Capaldi. I'm on the other side of the pond and am completely unfamiliar with the rest of his work, but just based on the little "Inside Dr. Who" snippets they insert in commercial slots I get the feeling he's a much better actor than the show is allowing. And you know, I haven't thought that since Sylvester McCoy had the role.

Tom 13

Re: growing solely due to energy collection?

No, this one was worse than Treknology. Treknology at least makes an attempt at explaining what was happening. This one made none at all.

Oh, and according to the episode there are no minerals on the moon. None at all. It's just a shell. With antibodies that look EXACTLY like giant spiders.

And for the record, I am getting quite tired of the sonic screwdriver being the equivalent of Harry Potter's wand. All of the Doctors up to the new series used other gizmos besides the sonic. In fact, when the sonic was first introduced, it was exactly what it's name implied a fancy screwdriver that didn't care about the head type on the screw. We could do with a bit more of that in the current series.

Tom 13

Re: Now try typing "How old is the Moon" into Google...

Except that's irrelevant because by the episode it was a sudden shift not gradual. Indeed if it were gradual you wouldn't see the sorts of tidal waves that were supposedly happening on the surface of the Earth. Those things only happen with SUDDEN shifts.

Tom 13

Re: thats all, just plausable.

You can even make it exceeding dodgy and damn near implausible science, but when you do the character actions must be completely believable. When both are implausible at the same time the whole thing falls apart exactly as this episode did.

The very first episode of Dr. Who I saw was Tom Baker's Robot. I was flipping PBS by the PBS channel on a Saturday afternoon (back when you did it with dially things instead of digital remotes) and it caught my eye. It was well into the episode and practically ended. I watched it to the end. It was incredibly campy with incredibly bad special effects but wonderfully acted. And I dutifully sought it out on the schedule so I could watch the next episode. PBS was blocking it so I could watch all the parts of a show at once.

Strange tale of an angry bean counter, Comcast and a shock 'firing'

Tom 13

Re: Just for the record...

You're right of course. But at this point in time, telcos aren't telcos either. As far as I can tell, for all practical purposes there are no differences between Comcast and Verizon at this point. It's only a matter of time before the law catches up with that fact.




The PDF shows 2013 estimates that POTS service in the US would be down to just 25% of users.

Meg Whitman: The lady IS for TURNING. HP to lob printers'n'PCs OVERBOARD

Tom 13

Re: great printers, shit software

Someone in our office decided we should switch from Xerox to HP. We just got our first two new HP printers in the other day. My first reaction after we have one out of the box and powered up:

this thing is built to break under ordinary use.

It wasn't helped by the idiots who placed the order. Basic printer, no scanner/copier, no large capacity tray to replace a Xerox floor unit that loaded three sizes of paper with one spare for the primary paper. In fact, the most recent Xerox we got in had 6 paper bins not counting the manual feed.

Tom 13

Re: HP or MS just can't bob and weave anymore.

A good point. However if you look at their current business strategies, they aren't counting on bobbing and weaving anymore. They've counting on buying politicians and getting lock-in contracts one way or another. And that's something those slow corporate bureaucracies turn out to be very good at doing.

Tom 13

Re: Splitting is the wrong thing to do

They are in the unique position to build a truly unified network. Some ideas I had:

And right there is HP's insurmountable problem. If they are uniquely positioned to see and build this Killer App and haven't done so while you who are not uniquely positioned to see it can, they're sunk.

Or you could be talking out your ass.

Or maybe even both.

Tom 13

Re: the anti-HP people who usually respond to these articles.

We're not so much anti-HP as anti-theiving from people off the reputation of the old guard who are now long, long gone. We remember when they made good equipment, especially printers. But that was before Carly's stint in the CEO's office.

Tom 13

Re: new consumer division will wallow in a sink-or-swim

Undoubtedly with a bit of a push from an inadvertently heavy debt burden that was offset by some alleged "brand value".

Tom 13

Re: oh, and your laptops

There may have been a time when HP made really good computer equipment. Unfortunately it was about 20 years ago. At the time they were quite out of my hobbyist price range so I was never able to purchase any and therefore cannot speak from practical experience. But they did make damn good printers back then. I expect the Laserjet IIISi I used at my first job would still be cranking out the pages if HP had kept up the spare parts.

Be nice to the public, PC Plod. Especially if you're trying to stop terrorists

Tom 13

Re: in the UK, there was NO causal link

Not sure I'd claim that. In fact I'd say that looks like a possible causal link. Only that the causal link shows crime goes down when the perps think the odds of their targets being armed are higher. Oddly enough a fellow wrote a book about that a decade ago using US crime statistics. So you're right, nothing to see here. Nothing at all.

JPMorgan CYBER-HEIST: 9 US financial firms snared by 'Russian hackers', says report

Tom 13

Re: Time for a re-think?

At the banks? Hell yes.

First thing they need to do is tear out all the internet connections and replace them with modems. We didn't have these kinds of data breaches when everybody was using modems.

Verizon punches RED button on Redbox Instant video-streaming service

Tom 13

@ Ross K

Is that 34% of ALL traffic or 34% of all STREAMING traffic?

Granted I'm usually good for an hour each night, sometimes 3 or 4 on a day of the weekend.

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