* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

Tom 13

Re: Correction

And it was properly a D O S not an O S.

Tom 13

Stop telling lies!

software went on to bury established players like WordPerfect through a combination of user-friendly features and Microsoft's massive clout in the industry.

No it did not. MS did the same way they've borged everything else they've touched: by leveraging their monopoly position to undercut application software. In the US at the time the software was released WordPerfect was the dominant player having displaced the previous WordStar leader. The cost for a new copy of WP was around $400, $100-150 for an upgrade. MS introduced "the competitive upgrade" and undercut both prices at $99, but only if you turned in your WordPerfect disk #1. Wordperfect tried to counter, but without Microsoft's OS revenue stream couldn't withstand the monetary pressure.

AT&T and Netflix get into very public spat over net neutrality

Tom 13

Re: I don't like natural monopolies.

There are no natural monopolies. Monopolies are ONLY the creation of the state. All things run by the state eventually move to stagnation and death. It's sort of preview of the heat death of the universe.

Tom 13


Bad example out of the gate. Electrical companies in the US are regulated monopolies, so there are all kinds of distortions in that market. Not sure if it is only non-commercial or if that includes businesses as well. In the few areas where they've "deregulated" it, they've bungled the deregulation so badly the monopoly distortions look preferable.

In principle I agree with you, it's just there are so many forces at play in that market, it's like arguing about what sunglasses are best for our red supergiant sun.

Tom 13

Re: Attack on transit providers?

He used the wrong part of the analogy. Here's the corrected one:

It's like Royal mail charged the sender for full fee (home consumer for the internet) and then wanted the receiver (streaming media vendor) to pay to get it delivered in a timely manner.

Tom 13

Re: Am I missing something?

Yep. Brits seem to have a somewhat more rational theoretical basis for charging. You pay for bandwidth and data usage. In the US most big non-cell companies charge for bandwidth and not data. Cell companies charge for both at higher prices and significantly reduced speeds.

From the sounds of it, Brits get screwed over in the back room deals and with slow installation service even though their theoretical pricing is logical. Merkins just get bent over at every opportunity. I've been feeling bent over the last couple of months and I have better options than most of my countrymen. I have Comcast (infinity) and Verizon (FIOS) competing directly plus the possibility of satellite if I cared to explore it. There are places in the US where its only one of the two (or a Comcast look-alike) provides service and sometimes only DSL at that.

Tom 13

Re: Net Neutrality

The real problem that the cable companies can't get around is the appearance of conflict of interest since they are also service providers. You can't shake the nagging thought that they're penalizing Netflix not because it would cost more to build out their infrastructure, but because it competes with their buffet style television options. And with Verizon having entered the buffet style television market as well, they now count as a cable company in that respect.

I don't have a problem with ISPs charging more to consumers who use more bandwidth. I don't have a problem with ISPs implementing QoS that prioritizes phone calls > browsing > streaming > downloading > torrents. And I'm willing to negotiate exact order or allow folks to pay to reorder depending on their usage patterns.

What does make my blood boil is when I know how much I'm paying and I hear an overpaid exec saying he wants to charge me more through a backdoor.

Tom 13

Re: Pass the cost on?

You might be onto a good idea there. Netflix charges their base subscription fee which appears on the bill. Then they tack on the ISP peering fee for each ISP they have to pay (with the corresponding markup for Netflix profit margin) and total it up at the bottom. And wait to see what happens.

Tom 13

Re: Just don't follow the model used by

Too late. That's sort of what happened with AT&T and the Baby Bells. And why we're in our current mess. Well, that and the laws that capped modem transmit speeds at 56K.

Tom 13

Re: have the money, equipment and skills to destroy the incumbent suppliers

Because they don't actually have all of those. Heck, they might not have any of them.

And even if they did, they'd still be missing the one key thing that the big suppliers pretty much have locked away: the right of way to install the wires to the actual consumer.

I'll grant that with MS's failing business model, it's the one hail Mary pass they might want to try. Start small in the Redmond area and roll out from there.

Tom 13

Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

Then lobby the ISPs to provide pricing plans so that you pay for your usage and I pay for mine. Because as long as the big players in the US are marketing one size fits all plans, somebody is paying too much for their service.

According to the terms of service on my plan, I should have plenty of bandwidth to support my Netflix subscription without interruptions for "pleas wait - downloading" in the middle of a program.

ISPs' pirate-choking blocking measures ARE effective – music body

Tom 13

Re: It said that file-sharing had dropped by 11 per cent

No, at best the people you can see file sharing has dropped 11%. You have no idea how much file-sharing is taking place these days.

The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Tom 13

Re: Java (JRE) standalone?

I was thinking along the same lines. It and Flash are of course absolute security nightmares, but I expect in that sort of environment they will be expected. So best to take along offline installers.

Somebody above already mentioned CutePDF, I think its essential for people who don't pay Adobe for software.

Google pulls SCHAFT out of military honeypot, sprays gold at bot team

Tom 13

Re: One Thing to Rule them all

By your command...

It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Tom 13

OK, some days we're a little slow. Although I will say that for proper punnery, no explanation should be required (or point to it which is just about the same thing).

Tom 13

@Will Godfrey

I know this to be true cos it wos me!

And there's the difference between you and MS. MS would never admit that in public.

Tom 13


I wouldn't except

The whole point of the Vista and Windows 7 rewrites according to MS was that they were re-writing the code from the ground up to make it secure. And with that commenced the directive of making security Job #1. Which to me implies checking the code with all your security tools at each release. As an earlier poster noted, the absence of Word 97 or earlier versions doesn't mean the bug doesn't exist in them, only that MS haven't arsed themselves to test them. So it could be a 20+ year old bug, but it is confirmed to be at least a 13 year old bug.

Tom 13

re: known by Microsoft since the end of January.

I'll accept it might be a difficult to patch the bug, regression test it, and still get it packaged for the March patch release. BFFS, why didn't you announce the mitigation options earlier?

Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Tom 13

I think the suitable punishment for this is

that once the culprit is found men with rods should shackle him/her in chains and drag him/her a league at a time until he/she fathoms the mistake.

TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Tom 13

Re: speed of useful end product innovation and improvement

Not quite. I think the speed of innovation is about the same as it ever was. Granted in the early stages of innovation you are making more perceptible gains per unit of innovation, so that part is correct. But it overlooks two one time events in their respective industries.

First was the Y2K scare for computers. By and large in the PC market this meant everybody had to replace their PC in 1999 even if they'd originally planned to keep it another 3 years. Second was the conversion from NTSC/PAL to HD across the world markets. Both of these events created a surge in purchasing and it was a mistake to assume it was "normal growth" or ought to constitute a new baseline from which to project growth.

To some extent, what is happening now is an artificial depression because that equipment which would have otherwise aged out naturally was replaced prematurely so there's no need to replace it again so soon. My parents tended to buy a new color tv about once every 10 to 15 years. I think most people expect their LCDs will last about as long. Heck, the only reason I wound up with a second LCD tv is I adopted too early on the LCD wave and my "HD ready" set turned out to be not so "HD ready" because it didn't have HDMI inputs (they hadn't been invented yet).

NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

Tom 13

Re: a car is a sufficiently good Faraday cage

A car from the 1960s sure, probably even the 1970s. The 80s and 90s are 50/50. Anything today? Too much plastic or fiberglass to be a decent Faraday cage.

Tom 13

Re: Map & Compass?

What good is a geometry gizzmo for finding your way?

Haunted Empire calls Apple 'a cult built around a dead man.' Tim Cook calls it 'nonsense'

Tom 13

Re: Why was I stupid enough to stick my head into

Downvoted for two reasons:

1. Not only were you stupid enough to stick your head into the hornets' nest that is an Apple thread, you did it AGAIN.

2. So it won't feel left out next to your other comment.

Tom 13

Re: You are aware that Reg commentards themselves voted for the moniker

No, I wasn't. But within a few weeks of being here it was obvious it was expected. Soon thereafter, just like a jarhead would, I claimed the name with pride. But I will file that factoid away to be brought out on future occasions.

Tom 13

Re: What qualifies as "innovation" for you?

My count matches yours. But that's three more than MS or any of the other vendors in our markets. The problem is the warning bit that always comes with the prospectus: past performance is no guarantee of future performance. And what has changed at Apple is the idea man is gone. I've always regarded Jobs the man as a royal bastage when it came to dealing with people and products. But I've never doubted he had a unique ability to see things that people would want to buy in the scrap piles at other organizations. Sure he'd need to rework them a bit and polish them up. But he did that pretty well too. Eventually even those of us who didn't want to live in his walled garden benefited too. So I expect we will all be missing him. He left enough seed corn around that we might not notice it for the next decade, but it will happen.

Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk

Tom 13

Re: idiot

It's not just Windows 8. It's more pandemic than that. The ribbon in Office. The fiasco that was Vista. Missing the internet, then recovering by using their monopoly power to bury Netscape and lie about it in court. RT. Silverlight. VB to .Net. IE6 until Firefox was eating their lunch and starting to work on their dinner. (Heck, if Netscape hadn't mouthed off about replacing the OS as the primary point of programming interface they might still be around. Not that Netscape was all that wrong, just a bit too forward about what was coming.) And through it all the customer can't help but get the feeling he's at best an afterthought and most likely just feeling like he's being shaken down.

Tom 13

Re: Screen Sizes

You know, if Phil Sorgen took just that last sentence from your post to heart they'd have a chance. It's the heart of their problem.

Tom 13

Re: Cycles ...

I don't even think we've gone to decay. I think we're just in sustained equilibrium. It's just that since the development and expansion of the computing industry was so dramatic from the 1970s until 2000 that we've come to assume exponential growth is the norm instead of the exception. I think phones and tablets are in a similar exponential growth phase, so we've mistaken them for displacing PCs. But that's always been the problem of projecting a life cycle based on less than 3% of the initial curve.

Tom 13

Re: server bringing most money

Not even sure MS would be tops there. Some of those supercomputer guys only sell a dozen or three servers a year. But man they have a cash flow. I think the definition is actually fairly constrained for their "most of" market. In fact, I think that's how they've slithered out of a few anti-trust cases.

Tom 13

I missed this bit in previous articles

But as El Reg previously pointed out, Sinofsky failed to tell anyone that all the APIs were incompatible, and delayed the release of WP8 software developer kit until the last minute.

Instead of one API that ran across PCs, slabs and phones – with minor tweaks for screen sizes – Microsoft introduced three largely incompatible APIs.

Developers had to write the same app three times.

But seeing it now I have only one question:

How did they f*ck this up?

The only point at which I could see you having something integrated across all device types is the IDE for application development. Set the switches to use the appropriate modules for the given device and it compiles the optimized code for the device. Even at that I don't imagine it would be easy to code the IDE, let alone use it to develop code afterward. But it's the only point of attack on the problem.

ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

Tom 13

I don't have an account with them so not my problem, but...

There's no suggestion that there's any problem with Santander's online banking system.

I'd say that's rather a bit of splitting hairs too finely. There may be a separation between the system that handles the transfer of electronic bits from one account to another and the communications system of the bank, but I'd regard them both as part of the online banking system, because they work together to support a bank account. Compromise the one and the chances of compromising the other go up considerably. What if, instead of it being a spam campaign it had been a carefully crafted spear phishing expedition. Good graphics and clean language with a fake call back number, ask them to call to confirm something, and you're well on your way to a compromised account.

Given their lack of action, at this point if I had an account with them I'd be looking to quickly move to a new bank. It's the only thing they'll understand.

Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Tom 13

Re: @Troy Peterson

It wasn't so bad when our networks weren't all connected to the internet. You could have the known insecure software installed as long as you had decent AV scanning your floppies for the bad stuff and still be reasonably secure. That's not true anymore. Java is even worse. Sure it's secure so long as you aren't running it in a browser. But really, when was the last time that cutting edge app wasn't running in a browser? Or even the kludgey old one that takes forever for the CCB to approve and then QA to test after the coders are done with their bit?

It's tough being in IT at any level without the resources and management backing to do things right. I get that. Problem is, the world has changed around us. We can't get by with slipshod practices anymore. All the best hackers are banging right on the enterprise door and some of them have government sized resources behind them.

Tom 13

Re: In the real world

Let me tell you something about the real world.

In the real world programmers who can't move to languages versions that are supported by the companies that released them are the single biggest security threat to the network, the integrity of the business, and possibly the future of the company. With 51 versions of Java 7 behind us, you lot are a bigger problem than IE6 and the coming implosion of Windows XP are.

I work at the user support coal face. Programmers like you who excuse the leads, managers, and CxOs who won't properly support the porting and testing of applications are my single biggest PITA. If I had my druthers, the CIO who hasn't at least moved you off version 5 would be taken to the front of the building and hung until dead while the staff watched. If that didn't motivate people the following month it would be the CEO and whoever reported to the former CIO. And I keep working through the chain until somebody got the message.

Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

Tom 13

Russian national arrested in the US? Flight risk?

Putin is doing his best Hitler/Stalin impression on the world stage and you think a Russian national who is safely ensconced in the US is a flight risk?

Heck a clever prosecutor looking for a quick confession might threaten to deport him if he doesn't confess immediately. With a carrot of once convicted he'll have a 7 year sentence at a minimum security club fed facility.

MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Tom 13

Re: its a big plane

Ah, but you sir are overlooking the critical importance of that volcanic island that was clearly on the satellite imagery the day the plane disappeared and which is no longer there.

Where's the icon for Sean Connery when you need it?

Tom 13

Re: Another interesting hypothesis

I'm voting for sharks with fricking lasers myself.

Tom 13

@Psyx Re: not going to make the plane a safer place.

You know the sad part is, I can picture a bunch of pols in a room arguing his points instead of yours, and then enacting them into law.

Tom 13

Re: Maybe low to the ground

Except of course that's exactly how they took down one of the hijacked 9/11 flights - passengers got calls on their cell phones.

Moreover, if there was a sign of trouble I expect at least one passenger tried to phone home. Which means no awake passengers saw signs of trouble.

Tom 13

Re: Accident or Malicious?

That's It!

It was Alien Muslim Nazi Jews from the dark side of the Moon!

Assisted by Bimbos from Outer Space and of course the Killer Tomatoes.

Tom 13

Re: I'd've thought that any airliner being detected

What are you smoking?

I'm a crazy redneck 'Merkin and even I don't have that expectation about a non-US flight outside of US airspace. As far as I've heard, we wouldn't even have asked for the background papers on the passengers for this flight.

Tom 13

Re: what measures can you think of

Make him take poison before the take off with the promise that he'll get the antidote on the other end?

Tom 13

Re: From the horse's mouth...

Yes, but speculating about this isn't nearly as obvious as debating about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Tom 13

Re: done with an almost total loss of thrust

That it was an exceptionally skilled and miraculous feat does not in anyway affect the fact the conditions were effectively benign.

Neither does the fact that the conditions were benign negate the fact that it was an exceptionally skilled an miraculous landing.

Tom 13

Re: why landing on the open sea is harder than that

For one of the key reasons* landing on an aircraft carrier is harder than landing at Heathrow:

the landing surfaces moves.

I'm not a pilot and I can recognize that difficulty.

*And the shorter stopping distance and requirement for a tailhook. But even when they first started trying to land aircraft on a ship that moving landing strip was a real obstacle.

Tom 13

Re: good international English

Excellent point. And in this context "highly technical" doesn't necessarily mean "technical" the way we IT people think about it. It's any area that has developed somewhat specialized terminology to describe things.

Ran into this with anime conventions. You can hire an expert translator who would impress any seasoned diplomat, yet they have trouble effectively communicating between Japanese guests and American fans. Meanwhile the amateur who has learned the specialized language accurate communicates even though he stumbles through things the professional would handle with ease.

Tom 13

Re: @Martin Gregorie

So long as were going all weird theory here, what if instead of a serious fire it was a problem with one of those new battery packs? Enough damage to the electrical system to take communications offline, plenty of toxic smoke to kill the passengers and crew, but maybe no actual fire. Or is this the wrong type of plane for those batteries?

We're being royalty screwed! Pandora blames price rise on musos wanting money

Tom 13

Oh noes! El Reg has opened Pandaroa's box!

And on the internet no less.

Tom 13

Re: @Nordrick Framelhammer

The RIAA has everything to do with the collection of royalties in the US music business. Every year I helped our non-profit that was always on the checklist of question before our big annual event. Yes, we were skating a very, very thin grey line. Paying protection money to the RIAA kept us legally defensible on the rest of it. Even now I'm not sure we would have won if mounted a defense, but at least we could put one up.

There are plenty of factual stories about well known artists who got screwed by the record labels and went bankrupt. Try Google sometime, or DuckDuckGo if you don't like Google.

Expenses at record companies are just part of the shell game used to screw the artists. You can't charge the prices on merchandise that they do an not make money. Yet to this day even for a well known band, the best way for them to put cash in their pockets is a tour, not a record. That means the system is either broken or corrupt. If it was broken, it would have gone bankrupt a long, long time ago.

Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

Tom 13

Re: 30 years later...

Aaah! Please be careful with those comments. I don't want to see a 30-year older Carrie Fisher in another bikini. Please lord, no!

Tom 13

Re: Star Wars: Episode VII

Sequels aren't necessarily bad. Indiana Jones pulled off a good one, so was the first Reeves Superman movie. If I thought about it I'm sure I could generate more.

The thing is, when you create a new universe you set in motion a new set of rules and a new logic. Once you do, you need to follow that logic. Where things go wrong is when you break that logic. And it is nearly impossible not to break the logic unless you are exceedingly careful. There are two ways to handle it: Treknology/timey-whimey or rigorous adherence to the new rules. If you try to split it straight down the middle it is always a disaster. Midichlorians were trying to split it straight down the middle. Possibly an even bigger mistake than the whole Kessel run fiasco. He should have left the Force as a non-scientific, metaphysical construct with real world implications. Magic works best that way.

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