* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

Tom 13

The way forward for MS is actually pretty clear. They just keep denying it.

Form follows function. PC have a different function than phones and tablets. Therefore the forms will be different. Bifurcate the monolith and be done with it.

Maybe they can keep core code the same, maybe they can't. Take a stab at it and go. If they can't, then fork it. But they are going to need the revenue stream from both sets of devices.

Fine! We'll keep updating WinXP's malware sniffer after April, says Microsoft

Tom 13

Re: Maybe MS could try a new marketing approach ...

Some Intel VIP predicted we'd soon be doing that at a presentation I attended.

I think that was about 15 years back now and we're still paying for hardware.

Tom 13

Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

Unless you've really got a killer app, the consumer market only replaces PCs for one reason: they've had a hardware failure. Sure, back in the heyday of computing every new OS was guaranteed to move hardware. But that was because there were real new features. All those old XP boxes are going to be hell to get out of the market stream. They've made it past the infant mortality phase of electronics failures, so they are rock stable baring other catastrophes.

And frankly, Win 8 is a driver away from impulse upgrades on aging systems. Once again today I almost clicked on a good deal for an all in one. I was thinking about dropping it in the guest bedroom for visitors to use. And then I read it was a Win 8 system and stopped.

I've got an XP system at home that isn't going away. I have an old HP 1100 printer that uses a parallel printing port. The motherboard on my new system doesn't have one. Neither do any of the motherboards I might want to buy to replace it. I don't use the printer often so until everybody stops making toners for that printer, the XP box is likely to stay. I only boot it up when I need to print something, or when I remember that I really ought to let it download the latest bunch of updates.

Tom 13

Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

No need to worry. If you rarely use it, that means it probably could qualify for that Red Book cert MS was so proud of for NT4 back in the day: the system is rarely connected to anything that could infect it anyway. Stay away from the internet browser as much as possible when you do fire it up and you should be fine.

Tom 13

Re: actually a good move supporting essentials

It probably is, but not for the reasons you are thinking. It's essentially the same software they will keep updating for Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The marginal cost of manufacturing the sig updates for XP will be fairly low. The potential for a Cali judge to permit a class action lawsuit against MS for failure to maintain their anti-malware product on XP? Not a risk I'd be willing to take, even with the lawyers at their disposal.

Boeing bent over for new probe as 787 batteries vent fluid, start to MELT

Tom 13

Re: it only being vapour.

Yeah, I wonder about that too. I'm not familiar with the specifics of that chemical reaction or its failure modes, so I'm not sure what's in the vapor. I hope it's as harmless as the nuclear plant "smokestack" but worry it might be a bit more like burning plastic.

Tom 13


Given DAM's posting history, I think John is correct: it's supposed to be satire.

The problem is, he's got the rant down so well it is difficult to tell the difference between intended satire and an actual occupier post.

Tom 13

Re: which is a reasonable assumption to make

Generally good post, but I disagree on that point. I concur that it is a common assumption to make, but I'm not sure it's a good one. Any time you revolutionize a system instead of merely evolving it you need some serious test time with the real thing. Computer models help, but they only go so far. They don't test for unexpected interactions, the real thing will.

And frankly, I'd be happier if there was a fair bit more real test time on the evolving option too.

Oracle spoils your day with NEARLY 150 patches

Tom 13

Re: All the old gags about Microsoft

Except even Bill Gates wasn't arrogant enough to hold patches for 90 days.

Tom 13

Re: sweet jesus...

No, that's an Apple project.

Clink! Terrorist jailed for refusing to tell police his encryption password

Tom 13

Re: If you read the article carefully

Doesn't really matter. If you've tried the phrase and it didn't work, running permutations on other phrases he's used should be at the top of your "why don't we try this" list. I might not be able to work through the myriad of ways I might mangle 'Terroristjailedforrefusing" by hand, but a code breaker certainly should, especially when I'm likely using simple substitution encryption on the phrase.

Tom 13

Re: legal precedent as set by the courts over about a thousand years.

I wasn't aware we were in the 23rd Century.

As too where we got our ideas from, it was the result of abuses of justice and fairness even within the boundaries that existed at the time. Hence they are more protected under our unitary constitution. Part of the problem with the assembled bits and pieces in the UK is that it leaves more than sufficient room for word manglers to rework clear intentions.

Not that it has helped us all that much on this side of the pond. Here judges just ignore the plain meaning and substitute their prejudices when they see fit, then claim stare decisis when someone challenges their interpretation in subsequent cases.

The underlying problem on both sides of the pond is that neither of our governments are fit for purpose under any except a religious people. Absent essentially immovable rights granted from an all powerful, just and sovereign God its all just words on paper that are easily re-arranged by other clever men. And if that fails, they can always just shoot you.

Tom 13

Re: The Golden Thread

None of which apply AFTER you have been convicted.

Tom 13

Re: how it can be legal to try and force someone to talk.

Legal is easy, you pass a law saying so, provided you don't have some higher framework law that prohibits said law. Fairness is a whole other issue.

That being said, even in places where you have those protections prior to conviction, once you've been convicted you tend to lose most of those rights. In the US which does have a higher thresholds against a number of these invasions, a paroled prisoner is subject to search by any law enforcement officer without the requirement that a warrant by issued. Similarly free movement is also restricted as is free association (hangout with other previously convicted felons will earn you a quick trip back to the pen).

Given the terror conviction, it seems reasonable that he lost the right to protect the data on the drive.

DOOMSDAY still just MINUTES AWAY: As it has been since 1947

Tom 13

Re: both sides are bit mocha

It's not the bit mocha, it's the religious factions that are still stuck around 400 AD in their world view.

Tom 13

Re: What I don't understand is what has happened

It lost the PR value. By setting it back to mere minutes before they once again get breathless "news" article spreading their Democrat/Leftist/Progressive/Fascist/Communist propaganda.

Amazon workers in Delaware reject trade union membership

Tom 13

Re: does the US have an "all or nothing" law?

Depends. Delaware being a Blue state, I'd bet on all or nothing. Red states tend to have right to work laws. The theory behind force unionization is that non-union workers shouldn't benefit for the negotiations the unions take on. The bit that ignores is the unions engaging in non-negotiation activities that they charge to everyone and lie about it because of the SCOTUS Beck decision.

Tom 13

Re: Why strikes down't work.

My maternal grandfather belonged to a union because he didn't have a choice. Every time the contract was up the union went on strike. It didn't matter what the offer was, a strike was called. The picket line went up for at least three weeks. During that time the union members drew strike pay which barely paid for groceries let alone the rest of the bills. Being from a impoverished family he went to work after he left the seventh grade. But he was able to calculate that the wages he lost in those three weeks were never made up in the extra raises they got over the life of the new contract. Mind you, this was during what is usually called the golden age of unions. They only people getting richer off those strikes were the union bosses who were lining their own pockets. Unions are and were every bit as corrupt as you accuse businesses of being.

Tom 13

Re: Why?

It's really simple. These days in the US, the only mode of operations Big Unions know is:

"Nice business ya got there. It'd be a shame if anything happened to it..."

Wells Fargo gathers bank 'n' gov bigwigs to discuss Bitcoin 'rules'

Tom 13

Re: likely them trying to work out

Well that's the most direct part. But there's a bigger part behind that. The reason WFB is now the largest bank in the US is because the government "asked" them to take over a number of failed banks during the liquidity crisis. But despite the bailout, the government never really fixed the root cause of the crisis. So WFB is holding a lot of bad paper that they can't let look like bad paper. And they're trying to come up with ways to prop it up. Bitcoin are a good candidate. As someone else has noted, if they fleece bitcoin holders, the government won't care. But at the same time, they have to have a government seal of approval for what they do so they don't get caught up in RICO laws the next time the government busts an international drug lord.

Google's Nest gobble: Soon ALL your HOME are BELONG to US

Tom 13

Re: Imagine Google allowing anyone access to Nest’s core hardware

Don't have to. My second real job was working for a company that had just that dream many, many years ago. They went bankrupt and for good reason. The idea sounds good until you start working through the details. Granted Google won't go bankrupt, but it isn't the utopia you think it is. Truth is, the system I worked on I'd trust more than Nest because I could have built it without the smart phone/internet access. I can easily see 4chan hacking access to the home owner systems and turning off the heat so the pipes freeze just for the LOLs. And that's before believing Google won't change the service to mine the data, or worse, get at it another way.

EU pulls out antitrust probe, prods Euro pay-TV contracts

Tom 13

Re: only certain states can get certain movie premiers

Not legal here. That's restraint of interstate trade which was prohibited even when we were a loose federal government as opposed to the tight one we are now.

This would be one of the places where I will side with the freetards: the labor market is international and workers can't escape it no matter how much they may wish to. The sales market should be the same. If you can make a profit selling it in China for 20,000 renminbi, you should be able to buy it in the US for about 3,300 dollars or 2,400 Euros, not 20,000 in each region with bonus profit for currency conversion rates.

Boffins: Antarctic glacier in irreversible decline, will raise sea levels by 1cm

Tom 13

Re: Sea Levels

Minor nit: 100 years, maybe 200. But even at that your primary point still stands: 200 / 4.5 million =~ 0 for all practical purposes.

Tom 13

Re: 1000's of years to measurable.

Nope. In fact, that was the reason for the article. After confirming the fact, they had to go back and restate the amount of ice loss attributable to warming vs the amount lost to simply being dumped into the ocean faster. And after they'd adjusted for the increased flow rate for lower friction, the component to heat dropped back to historical norms.

Tom 13

@ Symon: You're both right.

The Malthusian hypothesis is utter bollocks but it is still a bigger threat to us than AGW. In both cases, it's the cure we need to fear.

Tom 13

Re: cover the last couple of meters at best.

Meters? Really? Try maybe an inch, and that's being generous. The US National weather service was founded in 1870. There were still 10 states to be admitted before you've got the continental part covered. Which gives you the outer limit for records on our continent. While services in other areas could have existed before then you have real problems with getting reliable equipment. The barometer dates to circa 1640, the thermometer maybe 40 years earlier. That's the outermost limit on reliable data. Everything else is a proxy which is subject to unknowable variations.

Tom 13

Re: the collapse ... of human civilization in a few hundred years is tentatively on the table

Yes,yes it is. but 1) it isn't tentative, 2), it is more like mere decades away, 3) but it doesn't have anything to do with AGW.

Tom 13

Re: Y2K

I won't deny it. My employer and I made good money in the year before that running scans and shifting boxes in the year before the great catastrophe was supposed to happen. It was 70% crock. Fixing the actual critical systems could have been done for far less money than was spent. And the worst offender on that front was MS not issuing patches to fix DOS because they wanted everyone on Windows 98. But hey, at least everybody got spiffy new processors and roomy hard drives right?

Top patent troll sues US regulators for interfering with its business

Tom 13

Re: patent any male bovine excrement you wanted.

Yes, but it must first be properly polished and it helps tremendously if it is presented by a duly authorized attorney. And it must not look exactly like any other previously polished MBE which has been accepted.

Tom 13

Re: when anyone pulls out the First as their defence,

Maybe in the UK (although I doubt that), but in the US you'd better be prepared to receive a massive body check.

Regrettably, the patent troll is correct on this one. The First amendment along with the 5th protect you from having the government preemptively stopping your speech. The government has to file the charges and then the case has to be proven. Where it gets worse is that they will also be asserting they have the right to petition the courts for redress, which they do. And that part of the process the courts have outlined for bringing petition is that you have to have first made a good faith effort to resolve the dispute without involving the courts. Until it can be proven (in court) that the letters were not sent in good faith the court is obliged to assume they were.

You and I can look at the totality of what MPHJ have done and rationally deduce they are patent trolls. The presumption of innocence does not permit the same latitude to the courts.

Now where things do get dicey for them, is that after the government proves in court that the letters were not sent in good faith, a whole raft of entirely justified penalties can be invoked. They include piercing the corporate veil so that individuals of the corporation as well as stockholders in the corporation can be held personally liable for the damages. Furthermore the courts can (although they usually don't) assign ALL the costs of the litigation (including plaintiffs attorneys fees and all salaries and benefits incurred by the state for all of the employees of the court) to a vexatious litigant. And then you finish it off with a disbarment.

FCC net neutrality blueprint TRASHED by US appeals court

Tom 13

Re: Beware....

Ironically that's the worst part of the FCC's attempted power grab. The one power they do actually posses is to strike down the local government monopoly grants where they exist.

Tom 13

Re: If the FCC reclassified ISPs as 'Common Carriers', would it work?

That was my first thought until I did some checking: No. Congress specified the categories and didn't authorize the FCC to change them. That requires an act of Congress. Which interestingly enough, Congress opted not to do when they held the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate even though The Big 0 asked them to. So this really WAS an attempted end-run around the US Constitution and therefore properly struck down by the court. In fact, the margin of the DC circuit court decision should give some indication of just how far wrong the FCC was. Yes, the 9th circuit is probably more leftist, but not by a whole bunch.

Tom 13

Re: did, does and always will have, jurisdiction over, well, communications, see?

Actually, no they don't.

The original 1934 act only applied to telephone, telegraph, cable and all wireless communications. The word explicitly noted that it did not grant new power to the FCC, only re-organized existing powers under existing legislation. They were broadly grouped into separately regulated entities. The 1996 act moved to remove regulatory barriers to entry which were impeding competition. It also created a new category for information service providers. Since this originated with Congress, the FCC must comply with the Congressionally mandated provisions.

And yes, it was the continuation of dismantling that dirty commie FDR's monopoly producing regulations which treated the average person as just another mark to be shaken down by the well heeled and well connected.

Tom 13

Re: Anti-monopoly laws should have prevented one industry from owning the telephone

It was the government that granted Ma Bell the monopoly in exchange for a promise of universal service. Think of it as the "net neutrality" issue of those days, which is why that will work out badly as well. Trevor's probably too young to remember the bad old days of nearly free local service, exorbitantly priced long distance, and government mandated corporate wealth redistribution (i.e. "fascism") of those days.

Tom 13

Re: Does that mean we can sue them for allowing attacks through?

While common carrier may provide that protection, in the case of the internet it is an explicit protection for unedited material.

Expecting the ISPs to filter traffic is a double-edged sword. Filtering means they have to be able to read it. If they can read it, is it still private? Probably not. Given that I have one foot firmly in both camps and am willing to live with the status quo.

Tom 13

Re: monopoly is when one firm has control of an entire market.

So you really are economically illiterate.

A monopoly or monopolistic competition (oligopolies, cartels, and differentiated markets [Apple]) occur when firms in a market can set the price to earn an economic instead of normal profit. It's the price setting power that is the problem, not the number of firms in the market.

But that very act creates the normalizing forces that will destroy them unless they have government protection. Since they have an economic profit, it behooves another firm to move into their market and undercut their price. The only problem(s) is/are potential barriers to entry in the market. Usual barriers are the amount of capital or labor needed or government regulation; of the three only government regulation is nearly impossible to overcome unless you are the incumbent.

Tom 13

Re: operates is an open poker tournament.

And in one short line you make the fundamental flaw of all redistributionist theories: The pie isn't fixed. Real economic activity produces new stakes. The guy who lost all his chips can go get more and rejoin the game. New players can enter the game at any time.

Tom 13

Re: Monopolies are not the norm with unfettered capitalism.

It was a quaint theory, but one which when we dropped the stones instead of accepting Aristotle's brilliance in logic, turned out to be wrong. Only governments can grant monopolies, and even then only within limits in within their boundaries. Yes, some businesses may try to form a Cartel. But without the threat of murder, they tend not to hold together or withstand new businesses arising that will undercut them. We saw this back in the 1980s with OPEC. Everybody thought they had us literally over a barrel. The Reagan deregulated the oil industry, Great Britain developed the North Sea and the ability of the cartel to control the price of oil collapsed. The regulatory idiots like you came back in and re-enabled the cartel's price fixing ability. Until just now fracking, in spite of the best effort of regulatory madmen, is once again collapsing the cartel's price fixing ability; even to the point that the normally-placid-because-they're-sitting-on-a-100-year-supply-of-oil Saudis are concerned that we will destroy their cartel.

In fact, the very oligopoly you are current decrying is a result of the the US government grant Ma Bell a telephone monopoly on phone service all in the name of getting it deployed to every house the the US.

Globalization is inevitable. We have fast travel and fast communication. The people living in mud huts who have a wireless connection and computer connected to their diesel powered generator are going to be able to compete with programmers in their brick houses in Toronto or Cardiff. Deal with it.

Not zero regulation, minimal. Only the amount necessary to prevent fraud or coercion. Not the amount that is indistinguishable from coercion.

Massive wealth gaps happen when we let governments over-regulate the economy while granting monopolies to their crony friends or other forms of outright corruption all being protected in the name of helping "the little people." Which is exactly what happened with TARP and the Fed's QE programs.

Tom 13

Re: the internet's direction has been good in any way.

Who died and made you God? Because only God can impartially make that determination.

Where I come from, since we generally don't agree about who is talking to God, we generally let the market decide. Given the growth in the market and the willingness of people to continue to buy it's service it seems to be going in a direction that most consumers consider good, regardless of your petty prejudices.

Tom 13

Re: The civilized world, on the other hand, prefers fewer monopolists,

No it doesn't. Sad but true. If it did we wouldn't be where we are. And no, American law does not allow the needs of some to outweigh constitutionally protected rights. Maybe they allow that in Canada, but I think even Old Blighty has similar levels of protection for people.

The court ruling in this instance is actually fairly narrow: the FCC was granted the power to regulate telecommunications, not internet or cable traffic. Congress could grant them that authority but hasn't. The FCC simply asserted they had the power. Which is the act of a tyrant/bully/charlatan.

And whatever good intentions you think you have will completely backfire by allowing the government to set Net neutrality rules. The real fix is in constitutionally granted powers: the Congress needs to step in and stop local governments from granting trade monopolies that interfere with interstate commerce.

Run for the tills! Malware infected Target registers, slurped 40m bank cards

Tom 13

Re: I'm considering myself lucky

Even if you are trying to do it well and safe, you're still on a budget.

But I concur the number who try is probably smaller than the number who do the bare minimum required by law.

Tom 13

Re: Who said the POS system has internet access?

No, clearly the POS system was the primary target otherwise they wouldn't have all the Debit PINs. The online system was just collateral damage.

Tom 13

Re: back-end systems should not have Internet access.

At least one back end system of necessity has internet access: the one that contacts the credit/debit card vendors to authorize the credit/debit transaction. The days when that was all done by modem are long gone. Yes you can double home that system so the POS registers aren't directly exposed to the internet, but I'm not sure how much that really buys you in the long run. Yes you only have one system to keep properly patched and secure instead of 15 or 30, but if you compromise that system chance are you still have access to all the POS systems through it.

Now the scarier part here is that Target and Nieman Marcus are chains with relatively large IT budgets. So they may (not necessarily are) have more recent OS systems for the servers in a POS location. Think about all the fast food stores with POS systems on a shoestring budget.

I have a friend who does that kind of support work for a small chain. They had been putting a single w2k server in a store and hooking up their POS terminals to it. Not sure what the underlying POS system was, hopefully proprietary but that's not a smart money bet these days. I think they may have finished upgrading to 2003/8 in December. Each one of them is a cookie cutter image of the first. Once you own one you own them all, it's just a matter of re-iterating your exploit on each subsystem. Oh, and odds are decent the registers start at 1 and count up, at each store.

So even if you aren't Target or Nieman Marcus, if you have anything to do with retail POS systems, you should probably be crapping concrete block sized bricks right about now.

Ex-Oracle manager claims he was fired for asking to give Indian staff equal pay

Tom 13

Re: Dunno about the

He is technically correct. In practice not so much. First you have to know it is illegal for the company to tell you not to. Then if you get fired, you have to be willing to fight it which will likely take years. If you win, you're stuck working at a place you probably hate as much as they hate you. Easier to just find a better job elsewhere, even in this lousy economy.

Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Tom 13

Re: Where is `Knowledge Graph'?

Now that you mention it, I don't recall seeing it either. Did a check, nope don't see it. Running Firefox, no add ons. Could be filtered upstream from me. Will check again when I get home.

Tom 13

Re: MS shouldn't make anything other than OS and Office

Given that I haven't had a decent word processor since they leveraged their OS to kill WordPerfect, no. They should only be allowed to produce an OS. In fact, I was just thinking about the fact that back in the day there were a number of charts I could rip out lickety split with Harvard Graphics, and these days there's not a program on the market that will do the same thing.

The relevant point is that they shouldn't be able to leverage their government granted monopoly in one area beyond the reach of that area. I like the free market. The more free the market is the better. But we don't have much of one anymore. Damn government has its hands in everything. And once they're in it things get hideously distorted if you aren't careful. Which they haven't been. The government has been greedy and that spreads to the corporations. Or maybe the other way around. Either way evil is always attracted to locations of power and extends its fingers from whichever ones it already controls.

I get what you're saying. Google needs to be able to compete with other businesses. But you're overdoing it on the ideology. They need to be able to compete, but that also implies there has to be competition, not simply Google rolling over everybody else on the planet because they have a license to print money via Ad Words.

Tom 13

Re: winters were less cold, and stairs were less steep?

Absolutely NOT!

Why when I was a lad, during the winter you had to wear your long johns even when you were IN the building. Stairs? You have stairs? All I had was 20 feet of rope and a grappling hook with two bent tines!

But yes, money was proper, we knew our places.

And the sheep were scared.

Report: Prez Obama kicks Healthcare.gov contractor to curb for web disaster

Tom 13

Re: "Obamacare" hasn't failed

With 5 times as many people booted off the insurance rolls as have signed up for it?

Yes, yes it has. And that's before we even get to it's stated purpose.

Tom 13

Re: A lawsuit might shed some light.

No, no it won't. That would just cost the taxpayers even more.

I wish it would. I really do. But it won't.

Tom 13

Re: What's the problem?

Lots of them. But here's one that caught my attention:

You have to provide all your data before they let you start browsing for plans.

Think about that. Think about how just about any retail site you have ever been to works.


Yeah, that's bad.

Oh, and I think they changed the plan for this particular aspect of the site design about half way through the already too short development time. With no* plans for integration testing. It was all just going to magically work.

*OK, technically they allowed 2 weeks. I'm not a professional programmer, hell, I'm not even an assistant project manager. But I KNOW that in multi-system, multi-Department programs like this one, two weeks is equal to zero for all practical purposes.

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