* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US Patent Office disputes crucial scroll-and-bounce Apple tech – Samsung demands patent trial halt

Tom 13

Re: "scrolling and bouncing" is patentable?

Sadly the following fix is necessary to reflect real world conditions:

Just because someone was the first to do something, doesn't shouldn't necessarily make it patentable.

Tom 13

Re: Patent nonsense

Minor nit: it was the politicians who made a joke out of the patent system. The companies are merely good at exploiting it. Yes, I know the companies lobbied/paid/bribed them to do so, but it was still the politicians who made the change.

Tom 13

Re: At the time...

During the time he was talking about, Japanese products were generally well described by a set of lines from an Al Sherman recording of the time:

"It's a Namichi. It has a thing with an ear plug on one end and a plug on the other that you can't stick anywhere because it's broken."

It was profitable for the Japanese based companies only because the labor costs were so low. Also at the time we did have some of the best quality products available in the world. But our companies were fat and lazy. They rejected Deming and his ideas about process improvement. The Japanese eagerly adopted them. Now like the UK we hardly manufacture anything. Well maybe onerous lawsuits, but I don't see that being a valuable export for the long haul.

Hot digital dog: A man’s best friend is still his... K-9

Tom 13

Re: Robots of renown

Twiki season 1 would give K-9 a run for the money on the good buddy front. For season 2 I have no idea what they were thinking in redoing the voice. So I'd have to give it to K-9 on the reliability front as he lasted more seasons. OK, for the most part I'd like to do away with Buck Rogers season 2 in its entirety.

Robbie was just annoying. Even with his berkness, I much preferred Will.

Tom 13

Re: Robots of renown

Although I am fond of KITT from the original show and not the gawd awful reboot, he in no way can be classified as a robot. An AI, yes, but not a robot. And once you move into AIs it's a whole different bucket of bolts.

No more Service Packs for Microsoft Office? HA! Think again, Ballmer!

Tom 13

Maybe my beard is more gray than I think it is

But the fast dev vs service pack argument never made sense to me. It's sort of like a backup regime. You want periodic full backups (monolithic service packs) and incremental backups (fast dev/deploy).

The periodic service packs give you an easy, stable, baseline development/build point. Not necessarily what you want to be doing every day, but an important milestone. The over the wire stuff gives you the critical security or update features that you need quickly. Granted MS have gotten better, but I absolutely hated the days of over the wire update, reboot, check again, and oh there are another 20 updates you need based on the last ones installed. Reboot and repeat with each iteration the number needed goes down 50%.

Hell, I don't even care if you call the SP a roll-up like they were doing with IE for a while.

Tom 13

Re: Web installers are great if you have a fast internet connection etc.

I wouldn't even go that far.

At work we have a huge pipe for a non-Internet 2 shop. I still dread download installers. I'd much rather I could just hop up to the network drive and run the appropriate installer, whether it is a service pack or the latest monthly java/flash/reader update. None of those take more than a minute or two to download and I expect half the wait time is actually the AV scanner.

US senator asks: Will Bitcoin replace Swiss bank accounts?

Tom 13

Re: You need to think a bit more carefully

No, you need to engage the brain before letting fly the fingers.

The most notable recent story about bitcoin is the demise of The Silk Road which was reported as a major drug trafficking route. All drug trafficking necessarily involves money laundering. Maybe not at the local pusher-doper level, but certainly at the distribution level. It's how you get your illegal money into legal channels for other use.

Tom 13

Re: I don't see the link between the anonymity of bitcoin and identifying contributions

That would make you an idiot sir, especially for a tech site that routinely covers stories about electronic fraud and identity theft.

The link is fairly obvious. Campaign contributions are by and large made electronically or via check. In either of these cases there is a quick means of verifying someone who is working through a regulated means of currency exchange and which theoretically provides a quick check against the donor. Under US law you are required to be a citizen of the US to donate to a campaign. Banks can verify that for checks, credit cards can do it automatically when you receive the card data. Bitcoin allows no such check.

Granted, there are still a myriad of ways around the checks, most famously The Big 0 not doing the expected point of origin check on credit cards during both his campaigns. But the system at least permits them whereas bitcoin does not.

I'm still ambivalent on bitcoin as a currency. A fool and his money are soon parted, and I see no sense in getting in the way of fools doing so. On the other hand, I would strenuously object to allowing campaign contributions be collected in the form of bitcoin, precisely because the relevant point of campaign finance law is to expose who is buying the politicians.

Tom 13

Re: Gold is freely tradeable

No, its not. And is in point of fact at the root of a somewhat infamous case on this side of the pond.

During the depths of the Great Depression, FDR suspended trading in gold and made it illegal to own in the US. Coins which had been struck were ordered returned to the Mint to be destroyed. By happenstance one such coin ($10 face value I think) escaped collection and turned up in the hands of a Middle Eastern royalty. It was deemed legal for them to have owned the coin through some odd twist of the law. The last time the coin changed hands it was valued in excess of $20 million. About a decade ago it turned out that through happenstance there were 20 more such coins that escaped collection. However in this case the coins were deemed to have been stolen from the Mint despite a reasonable doubt and the government has confiscated them.

While the proponents of bitcoin tout it's detachment from governmental entities that is the precise point of conflict. Governments have legitimate causes to regulate the exchange of currency. Unless they are in some way involved in its distribution or creation that regulation cannot occur.

Ballmer: Microsoft stronger without Bing and Xbox tinkering

Tom 13

Re: Talk

I don't agree. There is some advantage in a diversified megacorp. I think Skype, properly utilized helps their core, and Xbox. Whether or not it will be properly utilized is quite a different issue. It could be the cornerstone for consumer grade videoconferencing where good enough can win the market over best of breed.

They do have to return to their roots and stop chasing the consumer tablet market, even if that's where all the glitzified brokers are gambling their stock money. A set of software that reliably does what businesses want it to do. Apple don't have it, and frankly neither does Google who keep selling GMail as business ready mail and calendaring solution. And to a large extent, that's where they went wrong with Windows 8 as well.

I think they do need to re-org though. Xbox goes to a consumer devices division along with tablets and phones. Windows stays in the business software division, and Bing goes into the search and advertising business. Bing gets a defined period of time during which it gets contributions from the profits of the other divisions (say 4 years) and then sinks or swims. Hotmail/Live/Outlook.com goes to the Bing division.

Codd almighty! How IBM cracked System R

Tom 13

Re: That building

Reminds me of my elementary school actually.

3D printing: 'Third industrial revolution' or a load of old cobblers?

Tom 13

Re: Yes, a "solution looking for a problem"

I'd say the big caveat right now is that our current 3d printers are the equivalent of Orville and Wilbur's first flight at Kitty Hawk. Not necessarily impressive except to visionaries. But after future developments we'll wonder how we ever got along without them.

KILL SWITCH 'BLOCKED by cell operators' to pad PROFITS, thunders D.A.

Tom 13


You want every telco in the world, plus all their police departments, plus the CIA, NSA, etc., etc. to have access to a huge database that turns off phones?

Like that won't attract some hacker's undivided attention.

Nokia's phone division burned us so badly we HAD to flog it, says CEO

Tom 13

Re: Could we see Nokia buying Jolla in two years...

Sure, just one small problem...

Buy it with what? As far as I can see, Nokia still haven't solved their profitability problem. We can gripe all we want to about Microsoft/Apple/Google, but at the end of the day they are raking in the bucks and can afford to buy other successful businesses. Nokia aren't and don't look to be.

Samsung v Apple: Titans await jury verdict on damages of MILLIONS

Tom 13

Re: Apple PAID for that look at the Xerox GUI ideas

Yes and no.

Yes they paid for a look. Yes, Xerox execs didn't realize quite how valuable their material was. But Jobs himself admitted they walked off with a hell of a lot more than was covered in their paid look see.

Delia and the Doctor: How to cook up a tune for a Time Lord

Tom 13

Re: crying shame that she never got the recognition...

Sadly, I think she has a great deal of company with respect to so much early Dr. Who.

GALACTIC YO-YO: Doctor Who’s trips to Earth... and beyond

Tom 13

Re: Lack of ambition

My recollection is that they were typically 6.

I didn't actually get to experience them the same way you did. I was watching PBS rebroadcasts. Long after the original episodes had aired I believe. They'd show them back to back, not even editing so it was continuous. So I'd see the cliff hanger, watch the closing credits, then get to watch them set up the cliff hanger for the start of the next episode before they ran the opening credits for the next episode.

It was sort of charming in a twisted way.

The ZOD FILES: Climate documents from 2007 'must stay secret'

Tom 13

Re: Traitors

I don't see any of the seven dirty words or their British equivalents.

So I'd say you managed polite very nicely.

Tom 13


Climate scientists in other countries would shun our own.

Any time there is shunning without a public trial and full airing of the facts there is corruption at work.

I'm thinking what we need here is sort of an Arnold Schwartenager version of Hamlet heading to the IPCC. You, know:

Announcer: He's back, and this time he's taking out the trash.

Arnold: To be or not to be?

special effects: insert large, loud explosion

Arnold: Not to be.

Supreme Court can't find barge pole long enough to touch NSA lawsuit

Tom 13

Re: he Supreme Court is the supreme judical institution within the US, now isn´t it?

Yes and no.

Section 1 specifies there is one Supreme court for the US. But Section 2 says:

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

So Section 2 explicitly gives Congress the power to make exceptions to how cases affecting public ministers are handled. The logical extension is that the NSA are acting as public ministers in their official duties. As such, Congress might have the authority to create a separate court chain to hear national security cases. The tension between these Sections has never been challenged. What we have at the moment is something close to that with FISA hearing all the national security cases. But since SCOTUS has not explicitly ruled on the subject there is sufficient ambiguity that they might hold for only one Supreme Court.

For myself, I can't see having two Supreme Courts, one which hears only national security issues and one which hears everything else. At some point one or the other must yield. But I wouldn't bet a dollar of my paycheck that you can't find a lawyer to argue you can and that SCOTUS wouldn't see things his way.

Tom 13

@ DrJaymansLoveCookie

Except of course that the "journalist" who wrote that lied.

SCOTUS decided not to hear the case and made no comment. Talk to any thinking source and they all predicted this would happen. First up, you have the problem of standing to bring suit. Normally this requires evidence that you have been injured to bring suit. The whole problem with the FISA regime is that no one can prove they are on any such lists, so no one has standing. Secondly, the EFF chose to bypass the lower courts on the theory that only SCOTUS could hear the case. SCOTUS wasn't likely to take a case the lower courts haven't either heard, or denied cert and explained why the cert was denied. That sort of play reads more like a PR ploy than an actual attempt to hear a case.

If I were a lawyer attempting to overturn this I'd scan the Snowden files and find a regular citizen* specifically named in his documentation. Then contact that person, use the released records to bring suit for him and go from there. If Snowden is actually releasing the kinds of data everyone claims he is, that information will be there. And the damage will be there as well. At that point you have an actual case.

*No, you probably can't use a politician, even the Pope. The truth is, everybody spies on everybody else. Bring suit on that front and you're more likely to embarrass your own government than the one against which you brought suit.

Google SO CAN scan ALL BOOKS onto its sites - judge

Tom 13

Re: Fair use automagically excludes COMMERCIAL use.

Codswallop and Bollocks!

The obvious counterexample is that in a book review printed for commercial purposes I am permitted to quote a section of the book before lauding or evicerating the author.

It has to do with the extent of the copying and the extent of the offered copies.

Tom 13

Re: Historical Google Books

A historian eh?

Odd then that you've not heard of inter-library loans. I recall getting several books sent to my high school library from out of state libraries when I was in the 10th grade. Of course this was back before the Internet was a gleam in Al Gore's eye.

Tom 13


You say "whole songs".

I say "excerpts from albums" legally bought and legally scanned under the Google precedent. And like Google excerpts you had to search for each excerpt separately.

At least if we accept your theory.

If on the other hand we accept the Napster theory, that it is the act of wholesale distribution of excerpts/songs for profit or other corporate benefit that is illegal, then things still work.

Tom 13

Re: Why is it so hard for people to understand that copyright

Not difficult at all.

What seems to be impossible however is communicating to freetards what the difference between "excerpt" and "wholesale copying" is. Google engaged in wholesale copying. And they are engaged in wholesale distribution, even if they only serve it up one excerpt at at time.

This decision will be appealed and will be overturned.

Look, I don't particularly like US copyright law as it exists at the moment. The Mouse has made a mockery of the concept of a time limited monopoly. I'd like it moved back to the old standard: life plus 25 years if the entity holding the copyright is a fleshie, 50-65 years if it is a corporation. That doesn't mean we should allow one US judge to substitute his prejudices for the law of the land.

Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

Tom 13

Re: Your first doctor is YOUR doctor

Same for me except I was in my teens. I think I caught the end of the episode and then I began to search for it.

The local station only ever showed Tom Baker episodes and I thought he was the only one. I discovered the others when I got to college. Later I managed to record all of the episodes on VHS tapes, which I still jealously guard. Still waiting for the BBC to come to their senses and release fairly priced collections on DVD. At least a full season of classic Doctors per set although I'd really rather it were by Doctor.

Tom 13

Re: Tricky

My rankings:

1 - Tom Baker

1.01 - Pertwee

1.02 - Smith

1.03 - Troughton

1.04 - Hartnell

1.05 - Tennet

1.06 - Davidson

1.07 - McCoy

2 - Eccleston

2.1 - C Baker

Tom 13

Re: The best one?

Yes, Tom Baker just _was_ The Doctor. And much to his chagrin he had trouble finding work afterward for just that reason.

Really, I like them all each in his own way. I'd say Colin Baker was my least favorite followed be Eccleston. Oddly enough in Eccleston's case I think if he'd stayed another season he might have become my favorite. At the front end he was working too hard to create a new doctor. Toward the end of his run, the part was working its way into him and he was becoming The Doctor.

If there was anything I hated about the show it tended to be either the writers or the production values. Frankly, by the time you get to McCoy I couldn't help feeling there was someone in the bowels of the BCC who hated the show as much as The Master hated the Doctor, and like him was trying to destroy the show. I don't think I've seen a home made You-Tube video with worse production values than they put in some of the McCoy episodes.

Linux backdoor squirts code into SSH to keep its badness buried

Tom 13

Re: >>> Goalposts shall not be moved <<<

There are no fixed points in computer security, not even the goal posts. Everything is constantly evolving, even the maxims by which we determine what our current measurements of security are.

That's what makes it such a challenging environment in which to work.

Boffin says astronauts could hitch to Jupiter on passing asteroids

Tom 13


Chemical lift to orbit, once at a safe distance for Earth, start the Orions.

If you are using an asteroid for the capsule, you might even be able to engineer it for an internal parabola for the detonation chamber to maximize thrust while minimizing radiation output. You would of course need sufficient rock to shield the 'nauts.

Whovians, your Doctor needs you: Take back the Day from One Direction

Tom 13

Re: then I remembered the TARDIS is bigger on the inside.

Yes, but if you were really clever and had just a bit of luck, you might be able to lead them to the lost battalion of Centaruans who are still roaming the halls, then lose them both again.

Microsoft, Cisco: RC4 encryption considered harmful, avoid at all costs

Tom 13

Re: Old versions in extended support don't get new features.

Yes, that is current accepted practice.

But the question is: in light of what we know now, should it be?

I for one am quite tired of the licensing disclaimers that the vendor isn't liable for anything beyond the price of the software if it is found that the software is not fit for purpose. MS and all the rest of the software vendors sell their ware on precisely the claim that it is fit for purpose. When problems in manufacturing are found which are well beyond the capability and licensing restrictions of the software, the manufacturer should be liable and should be expected to produce fixes. Just like GM, Chrysler, Ford, BMW, etc.

Blighty's banks prep for repeated kicks to cyber-'nads in Operation Waking Shark II

Tom 13


It'll be ok. They deleted all the backdoor passwords.

Tom 13

known knowns, known unknowns, etc.

Perhaps "published" threats would have been a more precise phrase but we know what he meant. Basically the sorts of incompetence we gripe about all the time here: failure to install the Adobe/Oracle/MS/*nix repository patches that have been published for at least 6 months, plus a raft of 101 stuff that is a bit beyond basic patching. (Not that basic patching is necessarily an easily accomplished task in a complex environment.)

Facebook makes Adobe fans change their horrible, horrible passwords

Tom 13

Re: password streangth

Not quite.

Forty to sixty bits of entropy is fine if you only need to enter the password once or twice a day. Make it forty or fifty times a day and your average user needs less entropy. Right now my typical passwords are in the 16 to 20 length range at work where we are forced to change them every 60 days.

It's one of the few things where I could see speech recognition actually being useful. People could easily remember and speak long phrases that are too long to type. Of course a nearby recording device negates the process. So you're sort of screwed no matter what.

Of course lockout are another important part of the security regime. Even if you assume 6 attempts then a 15 minute lockout, the time to crack becomes too long for the attack to be effective.

Microsoft's EAT-your-OWN-YOUNG management system AXED

Tom 13

Re: Or is that too socialist for you?


Pay for performance. The catch is, you need objective performance criteria. Easy to do in manufacturing and usually in sales. Not so much in tech development.

Tom 13

Re: more interested in why this was announced by the VP of HR and not Ballmer himself.


The decision is coming with enough second guessing having been announced by the VP of HR. If this had been announced by Ballmer himself, Alcoa couldn't make enough aluminum foil for all the hats the posters on IT Tech sites would need for their hats. So even if the idea had originated with him, somebody else had to announce it.

Ten top stories from New Who

Tom 13

Re: everything that happened up to 1996 is still acknowledged in the current run.

But it is mostly done in a reboot sort of way. UNIT is no longer constantly firing ineffective bullets and/or nuclear missiles. The monsters have all been redone in a reboot sort of way. Exactly like Star Trek did with Klingons and their makeup (and that was before we got old/new Kirk/Spock/etc.). In fact out of the list you have, the only thing that felt exactly like it did in the old show was Sarah Jane and K9. Sort of like Nimoy's appearance in new Trek. Which is why I say even though it hasn't been sold as a reboot, if *feels* like one.

Whether this is a good or bad thing depends mostly on your point of view. I mostly enjoy the new show. Typically my grouncing only commences when someone actively asks me to compare them. But they are different; a difference most often attributed to a reboot. This one just happens to be a soft reboot instead of a hard reboot or worse the in your face reboot like they did with Trek.

Tom 13

Re: Ok, but....

I don't recall watching Gridlock.

Concur that Pandoirca and Silence should have been in the top. Not sure what I'd drop. Maybe being The Doctor and all, they should have gone with the top 13 - one episode for each of his lives.

Tom 13

Re: everything that happened up to 1996 is still acknowledged in the current run.

I disagree.

The new show does feel like a reboot and rarely references the original. The time war acts as the reboot mechanism. And will likely be used in some way to get around the problem of the 13th doctor, whom we've already met and who was described as an embodiment of evil every bit as nasty as The Master except that with The Master he might win whereas the best he could do against himself is a draw.

Tom 13

Re: Daleks and stairs

Sorry, I'm sticking with the button popular at sf cons well before these fixes were put in place:

Real Daleks don't climb stairs: they level buildings.

Netflix, YouTube video killed the BitTorrent star? Duo gobble web traffic

Tom 13

Re: Artificial scarcity

It's not just the studios. Despite harmonization, different countries still have different IP laws. And the studio may have only paid union actors for distribution in a given region. If the union smells blood in the water it can kill further distribution. This scenario is exactly what kept Heavy Metal off video tape for so long. They'd signed the rights for the film, but not video. And the music groups couldn't come to reasonable terms with the studio to release it. By the time they did, there wasn't a whole lot of retail value left in the franchise.

Yes RIAA/MPAA are afflicted with too much greed. But they don't have a corner on that particular market. And while most people are quite willing to pay a fair price for streaming video there are a small number of greed afflicted freetards willing to prove the RIAA/MPAA aren't simply tilting at windmills.

Tom 13

Re: What about hiding bittorrent traffic...

You'll get some effect from that, but I think the knock on effects of asymmetric and non-pc devices are bound to reshape the traffic. I have Netflix on my Blueray player. Most of the time it is easier for me to call it up and download an Episode of Eureka or Warehouse 13 than it is to go to my wall of DVDs, find the right disc and load the player. So even though I have all the published seasons of both shows, Netflix will generate streaming traffic for that.

Whether this is a good thing for the interwebs is left as an exercise for the reader. For advanced credit after completing that exercise you can do it again for the telcos.

Internet Explorer 11 for Win7 bods: Soz, no HTML5 fun for you

Tom 13

Re: their own kool-aid that they've gone collectively bat-shit insane.

I suspect you need to have done that well before you are considered for an initial management position let alone something near the top of the company.

Google makes Gmail EVEN NOISIER, or should that be nosier?

Tom 13

While marketing is important to Google,

they need to move them back to their basement cubes where they belong and stop letting them muck up what use to be clean and easy to use interfaces.

These new button options don't annoy me nearly as much as the new cryptic grid that replaced the easy to read labels that once graced the top of the gmail interface. I've also noticed the minimalist Google search page seems to be dying. All too frequently these days it has some other special thing going on.

Google to web: SHUT YOUR MOUTH or Chrome 32 beta will do it for you

Tom 13

Re: Or...

I don't have a problem with them making a big block for the video on the screen. But the damn thing should start paused and not run until I click on it. And not just in the frelling ads, in the main screens as well. Sometimes I'm just trawling for the text not the massive gobs of wasted bandwidth for a vid that isn't going to show me something that couldn't be put into words and use less bandwidth.

No where's the old fart with the "you kids get of my lawn" icon?

Which Who to view? Pick one from two: Doctor Who twin trailers hit the interwebs

Tom 13

Re: Where did the subtleties go?

In fairness, when you don't have the money/tech for the special effects, you have to concentrate on the story.

Not that this is necessarily a good thing.

Microsoft Excel fingering, Captain Jack Sparrow clog Minneapolis election

Tom 13

Re: Pen and paper

Minneapolis has moved beyond that level of troglodyte racism.

'Weird' OBJECT, PROPELLED by its OWN JETS, spotted beyond Mars orbit by Hubble

Tom 13

Since it's a B&W image I can't tell...

Does anyone know if those flares are green?

Although I would have thought it should be coming from a different direction.

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