* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Cisco: We'll open-source our H.264 video code AND foot licensing bill

Tom 13

Re: Bit weird...and by no means out of the woods

I don't expect MPEG-LA will level the lawsuit against Cisco. I expect they'll level it against whoever other than Cisco builds the blob. Which is why some people are rightly objecting to this stop-gap solution. It's a bit like Clay's 1850 Grand Compromise on slavery. It might hold the machine together for a little while longer, but it doesn't address the root problem.

Tom 13

Re: All because it's free

It's free as in beer, not free as in you can use it freely.

While I think Stallman's approach is communistic, he is at least logically consistent*. So long as people are willing to freely donate to his communistic GNU project I have no objection to him advancing his ideas. I only object when there is an insistence that his approach is best and therefor everyone will be compelled to comply with his ideas.

*I also think given the current state of IP law we need an alternative. I don't particularly like Stallman's alternative, but I don't see a practical way to implement an alternative I'd prefer. Until a large quantity of politicians come to their senses, his approach seems the only practical alternative. And I expect Hell will not only be serving ice water but a full selection of frozen girlie drinks before we get a large quantity of politicians coming to their senses.

Study: Arctic warming at 'stunning' rate – highest temps in 44,000 years

Tom 13

@ JCitizen

I like the story. Only I think you have the wrong names in there. I think you need Earth worshiper --> Bill Gates, Bill Gates --> Issac Newton.

Tom 13

Re: greenies are wrong about almost everything

Most of your postings have been utter bollox that I don't have time to bother with. But this little piece caught my attention:

And yes, they are tuned to match the past because (drum roll) we can't tuned in to match the future.

If it can only accurately predict the past, not the future it isn't Science. Science as we know it replaced Astrology, reading tea leaves, and throwing the bones precisely because it accurately predicts future events. Newton doesn't say "My model accurately predicts how objects have fallen for the past 30 years but can't tell you how they will fall tomorrow." It says they will fall at a rate of V0 + g*s*s and will always fall at that rate near the surface of the earth. So go read your tea leaves or throw your bones, but leave science to people who understand what it is about.

Tom 13

Re: easliy tapped into collective guilt of humanity

We are all Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

It's just that when that sermon was given He was at least a merciful and forgiving God. The current enviro-whackos have replaced him with a Gaia goddess who makes the Puritans look positively libertine.

Tom 13

If we really got cleaner, cheaper electricity with the Greens

there's no way the oil companies could hold them back. The problem is that not only do the Greens not produce cleaner, cheaper electricity than the oil companies, they can't even produce as much of it at 10 times the cost and pollution.

Tom 13

Re: This is how The Truth is determined in the Modern World.

A generally good post, but this line is a major nit.

The Modern World generally has no use for The Truth let alone a working definition of it. Between Heisenberg, Darwin, Hegel, and Popper The Truth went the way of the Dodo. To the extent it exists today The Truth is what the AWG proclaim to their fellow cultists. What Science does pursue these days are Facts. Facts which can be independently verified, tested, and repeated. These Facts are generally analyzed with proven statistical methodologies. Substitute "Facts" for "The Truth" in your post and I'd be in complete concurrence.

Tom 13

Re: You do understand how peer review works, right?

That's only how they want you to THINK peer review works. The truth is something entirely different.

I worked as the DTP for a respected (in its field) scientific journal (closed at the time because open wasn't around then, not sure what it is today but I expect still closed since that was the second largest source of how the NPO behind it got its money, the first being its standards book used by an entire industry). Standard practice was for the author(s) of a paper to recommend at least three people to review the submitted paper. They were the people who typically reviewed the paper for technical accuracy. We had very few papers that weren't published after the author was able to respond to or incorporate criticism from the review. After the paper was peer reviewed it underwent an "English" review. Usually this was fine and it was the equivalent of a literary technical review. I do however recall one paper where the last "English" reviewer rewrote the whole paper with the author. The editor only realized what happened 30 days before the publication date. It was temporarily held, got a cursory secondary technical review and was published.

I have a friend with a Masters in Mathematics who has written papers. He frequently remarks that the fields are so narrow that you always know who the relevant people in your area are. And there is no way to hide who the actual reviewers are when you receive their reviews even though the names are removed. So you can't either freely criticize or freely defend your study, you always have to consider the political implications of what you write/say.

In short whether the system works as an honest quality control or a Politburo censorship board depends entirely on what the intentions of the reviewers are. And that fundamentally is the problem with the politicization of AGW/Climate Change is. Because the money holders and the leading researchers are working hand-in-hand while engaging in the name calling of Denialists for skeptics reviewing their work they are most likely working like a Politburo, not an honest review committee.

Want to go to billionaire Sun kingpin's beach? Hope you're a strong swimmer

Tom 13

Re: The title deeds to property usually define easement and building set back requirements

You need to learn to read better. The whole point of his lawsuit is that the original deed came from Mexico, is incorporated into the US Constitution by way of treaty, and contains no such easement clauses. And since the treaty makes the Mexican deed superior to State law, no State laws passed after the deed was issued affect the rights in the deed.

Tom 13

Re: Try some other law

Doesn't work that way. One of the idiosyncrasies of the US Constitution is that all Treaties get incorporated into law as part of the Constitution. Since the Treaty with Mexico was signed and approved by the Senate, it's requirement to respect the land grants from Mexico trumps the eminent domain clause of the US Constitution and therefore any State/Commonwealt constitutions as well. And there's not much point in fighting it to SCOTUS because SCOTUS will probably rule 7-2/8-1/9-0 for the Treaty enforcement on it if they do take it.

Win XP? Your PLAGUE risk is SIX times that of Win 8 - NOW

Tom 13

@ Ebaneezer Wanktrollop

Along those same lines, I wonder how much of that malware would be eliminated if they were running IE9 instead of IE6 or IE8?

And given the number of corporate web apps that require IE6, maybe MS should release a version of it that runs side by side with IE9 but is restricted to only approved domain connections which are set by group policy. Still a kludge, but maybe a better kludge than what they have.

HP CEO Whitman: We've built the PC that GOD wants

Tom 13

Re: HP hasn't had an engineer at the helm since Dave Packard

Most good engineers aren't good CEOs. I don't recall how well the company was doing financially at that time but their products were all at least serviceable even when they weren't top of the line. And there were certainly more top of the line products than serviceable back then. But I think if you are a technology company one of your CxO types has to be from an engineering background, even if you have to create a new CxO title for him to sit with the CEO and the CFO. And the other CxOs have to weigh his opinions carefully. From time to time it may be proper to overrule him, but he can't just be a false front for the rulers of the empire.

Tom 13

Re: My IT pals moan and roll their eyes out-doing one another

Grasshopper, such was not always the case. Sadly the youth of today no longer remember when HP was a leading technology company along with IBM. To own an HP engineering calculator was the mark of a true geek. Of course that was also a time when they were more known for selling oscilloscopes, chromatography equipment (gas or liquid), as well as chemical supplies and lasers. The company today is not as it was then. What it is now is perhaps a shadow of a reflection refracted through a dusty lens.

Tom 13

Re: I own the top 1,000 people at HP.

Reading that remark in the way I hope it was intended as opposed to the literal interpretation which also raised my eyebrow it still reeks of hubris. I'm sorry, I have never met anyone who is capable of consistently evaluating 1,000 people and their fitness for a given position. Hell, I doubt I've ever met anyone who can say that about a mere 100 people. I'd say that number is about 30 max. After that you are depending on their good judgement to get you 900 over whom you have fairly direct impact, but they are still reporting to the guys reporting to you. After that things start to get diluted pretty quickly, even if you can fire any of them on the spot if they give offense to you.

Samsung is officially the WORLD'S BIGGEST smartphone maker

Tom 13

Re: majority of buyers simply won't care about any of the anorak factors

That's the key point right there. Many phone buyers care about the cost of the phone + cost of monthly plan to make sure it is in their budget. After that does it Google/Bing/Firefox/Opera to what I what I want, and can I be a Twitter/FB with my friends. Hell, they likely don't even call it the Internet. Or if you prefer a slightly different context: they just want their "XP Word program to write their damn letters" as my mother once told me.

RIP Bill Lowe: Father of the IBM PC no longer reading drive C

Tom 13

Re: The man who created a legend

Yeah I remember those days. I didn't mind too much when they put the serial and comm port on the MB, but when they added the graphics chip I do remember thinking "Great, now I'll have to replace the whole fricking MB if the graphics card goes." For the most part these days the only guys looking for a slot for a graphics card are hardcore gamers and CAD/CAM folks.

Want to keep the users happy? Don't call them users for a start

Tom 13

Re: I can't see it catching on

I had an interesting twist on that "business model" a few days ago. One of those phone scammer types called the house about an error they found on our computers. When I told him to put away the F***ing script and talk to me like a tech he kept on reading the script. Same thing the next day. And a couple days later the same guy called but said his name was Kevin instead of Martin. After saying, "Look, Martin, just tell me what the error code is that you've detected..." he hung up. I haven't heard from them since.

Tom 13

Re: ALWAYS from HR and Finance.

You forgot Facilities, although I suppose they might fall under Finance.

Worst problem child I ever had was in Facilities Management. He couldn't keep track of email for love nor money. At least once a week half an hour before quitting time we'd get a call to help him locate something in his email. Every week it took me 20 seconds to find it after using the Search feature in his MS Outlook. We had a user who was more inept, but the more inept user was always pleasant to deal with, called less frequently, and wished you a nice day. Tone from the Facilities person was always irritating.

Tom 13

Re: Perhaps when

I've always regarded that as a label of pride.

I think Users should do the same.

Tom 13

Re: "Turn a "no" into an alternative solution"

Agreed. Especially given their example of:

"Can I plug in my personal laptop and use it at work?"

"No" is the quick and easy answer and probably better than my alternative:

"Damn. What was your name again? Now that you've said that I have to report to your supervisor that you failed the IT Security Awareness Training and will have to take it again. You have no idea how much work you've just caused me and yourself."

In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake don't read this

Tom 13

Definitely not zero.

I'm not him, but I've met him. He could actually write working code while carrying on a conversation with me. And looking me straight in the eye while typing in the code on his PC.

Tom 13

@big_D 28-Oct2013 12:41

There are business meetings and then there are business meetings. At the first it is acceptable to periodically check your inbox or take a call. At the second it is unacceptable. I am frequently in the first one, almost never the second*. Sales pitch meetings are of the second type. The weekly gathering of the tech staff to review mundane management type things is the first sort. And being a tech who gets notified of emergencies by email and phone, that's the reason it is ok for me to check. If the world is coming to and end for one or more of the users I support, it is then appropriate for me to excuse myself to deal with the issue.

*In my work career of more than 15 years since such devices have been commonly available I'd count 3 RIF meetings and 2 Furlough/shutdown meetings for the second category. Nobody is damn fool enough to take me to a sales meeting. I tell the truth too much.

Space, digitisation and storage. Astronomy Legacy Project has it all

Tom 13


in absolute terms the stars have moved quite a lot since many of the plates were taken. It's just that on the astronomical scales being measured, we might not be able to detect it just yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook v Microsoft's Ballmer: Seconds out, round two!

Tom 13

Re: Quite - and ironic that far from being

Having never bought one, I can't speak to their usability on Linux, but as the tech stuck supporting them for the company in the XP variant (and being told to test upgrading them to 7) I concur they were a nightmare to support.

Doctor Who's 50th year special: North American theater tix on sale Friday

Tom 13

Concur about the 3D bit

but for a one off I might be willing to part with some cash to see it in a theater. Even at twice the standard ticket price. But ONLY for a one off. If they expect I'll take it up once or more a year, they'll learn otherwise.

Tom 13

Re: more palatable to the Yanks

Furthermore, I think you lost more of that British feel from updating it to modern England than anything we Yanks may have caused them to change since then.

Tom 13

Re: more palatable to the Yanks

Like the Beeb you've confused us Yanks for the idiots in Hollywood. I WANT Dr. Who to feel like a British production not a 'Merkin one. It is part of its charm.

Carl Icahn broadcasts his $150bn Apple shakedown effort to world+dog

Tom 13

@ Darryl

Dell was a company in free fall, Apple is a company with too much cash on the books. The two situations are not equivalent. Asset strippers don't help the first. They do the second as long as the board limits them to moving the cash to the investors, which is where the profits belong in the first place.

Tom 13

Re: Using your cash to buy back your shares already sends a bad signal to the investors.

While that might be a true statement, there is an even worse signal to send to investors: that you have no idea how to invest your cash reserves and aren't going to pay them either. Which is exactly what Apple have been doing and why they now find themselves being targeted by Ichan.

It's the '90s all over again: Apple repeats mistakes as low-cost tablets pile up

Tom 13

Re: An Interesting Conundrum

But knives have always been a must have accessory. I have my Buck with my all the time.

Tom 13

Re: When Whitman says Enterprise Management she means Android

No she means Enterprise Management. HP like IBM are moving away from the low end commodity market and into the service market. Agnostic about platform, selling knowledge more than hardware, but grabbing profitable hardware opportunities if they are low hanging fruit.

Tom 13

Re: early to mid-nineties, Apple had about 10%

Don't forget about the years the Fanbois all want to memory hole:

When fortunately for a nearly bankrupt Apple, the hated Bill Gates was so desperate to avoid being regulated in the US as a monopoly that abused its power he was willing to loan them enough money for a long enough time period that they could turn the ship around.

Tom 13

Re: But seriously, how often do you actually visit the 80s?

Twice a day Monday through Friday. Once on my way to work, once on the way home.

It's where I use my tablet the most because I don't even want to lug the laptop. I ride the train. I once bought one of those new-fangled 4G smart phones thinking I could hot spot it to my laptop and surf while riding. No such luck. Getting 3G signal was 50-50 and there were several spots along the trek where you can't even make phone calls. Severed the contract with the phone company. Bought a tablet with the refund for my hardware.

Tom 13

Re:the world is shifting to a place whereby you will want to have ONE device that does everything,

No, it's not.

Some people are, others aren't. I'm a multiple devices guy. Not that I like a fist full of remotes, but it's what I wind up with. I have a laptop which I use for somethings, a desktop for my power user work and a tablet for play on the train. The desktop cost me about $2000 when I put it all together many, many moons back. Lenovo laptop ran me about $700 from Woot two or three years back when my previous Lenovo finally died. Tablet was $49. If you were a vendor, which one of those would you want to sell me? I think it's safe to say the tablet would not be your first choice, even if I pick up a new one every year. I have a friend who has essentially the same assortment except his laptop and phone are from work. Oh, and I think he dropped about $3K on components for his desktop.

Tom 13

Re: iPads are expensive?

My $49 Android tablet (from of all companies Polaroid) is working pretty well for me. So well I bought my dad one the next time I saw it on sale on Woot.

Tom 13

Re: Actually its completely predictable.

And that's assuming Ichan doesn't look at the flailing company and see dollar signs. Goll'um, goll'um... Tempts us it does. Yes, Precious, yes.

Tom 13

Re: @ Chris 171

Eh, yes and no. Make no mistake about it, iPhones and iPads are intended to be tethered to iTunes for media consumption. Most people I know are all about their music/video library on their devices. You don't HAVE to do it, but it works better if you do. Phones in particular are a PITA to activate without iTunes. I don't own an iPhone, but I have to configure them for users at work. And work doesn't allow you to use iTunes. So I understand the process and avoid it when possible. It makes it really interesting when they want to deploy apps to the damn phones. Especially free ones that are simple if you are tethered to iTunes/the store

Tom 13

Re: you pick one of their tablets up and the quality is there to be seen.

Betamax went that route back in the 90s too. Better quality all the way around. VHS still won the tape war before DVD rolled in to dethrone it. And for essentially the same reasons: sometimes good enough at half the price takes more of the market than top quality at top dollar. I've heard people say similar things about laser disk players vs DVDs, although they will usually yield on Bluray.

Fearless slayer of lawsuit-lovin' patent trolls steps forward from shadows

Tom 13

Re: but not long enough that it's worth trolling over

Same abuse principles will apply, just slightly different semantics. In this case the big boys infringe freely on small players knowing they can run out the clock in court.

The crux of the problem is that it seems like there are no reasonable people involved anywhere in the patent to litigation gravy train.

Call yourself a 'hacker', watch your ex-boss seize your PC without warning

Tom 13

Re: dodgy and/or backwoods legal bodies let them.

Dodgy yes, backwoods no. That's coming from elected Congresscritters, even if they are protesting these days.

Tom 13

Re: seizure means ALL your assets

No it doesn't. Only RICCO allows all of your assets to be seized. He can still pay for the lawyer.

While concurring that he needs to be able to defend himself, I'd allow the seizure and copying of the hard drive. There is significant risk he would destroy evidence related to the case. But I'd insist on it being returned in working order within 24 hours as well as issuing a restraining order for destroying information relevant to the case on the computer. And I would not permit the plaintiff to access the copied data until after the defendant had time to argue the initial order was improper and submitted a proper warrant for the data sought. With the proper warrant approved, only the relevant data should be released to the plaintiff.

What a twit: Obama aide FIRED for anonymous gov-bashing tweets

Tom 13

@ Eddy Ito

This would have been a DoJ operation. It's a different branch of The Most Transparent Administration Ever (TM pending).

Icahn trousered $700m from Netflix stock sale?! Er, it would appear so

Tom 13

For once

I won't begrudge Ichan his profits.

If he made all of his money this way, I wouldn't begrudge him any of it.

Reply-all email lightning storm STRIKES TWICE at Cisco

Tom 13

Re: Hasn't something gone wrong in their admin

No, I'd put this one on failure to have a restricted send ability on the mail group.

For the BCC you are depending on humans to be infallible as well as having unlimited willpower. Restricting who can send to the mail group/list is a technical solution that IT can implement. Others have noted other mitigation strategies IT can implement to put breakers in the system, but for a cold hard stop, it has to be a restricted mail group. Restricted send should be automatic on ANY large mail group (I'd say 50+ recipients but YMMV) and should be a consideration for any mail group. Yes it is more of an annoyance to the mail admin to maintain (but that can be delegated from real mail admins to fake ones like me), but not nearly the annoyance of dealing with a mail storm.

Tom 13

Re: remove permissions to "send to"

That's a bit too limited. What you actually need is a way to specify the people who can send the list, not that they be administrators. Assuming of course when you say "administrators" you mean mail admins instead of secretaries. Oddly enough my work place has some ancient Unix system for the LDAP service which provides exactly that functionality. And I mean ancient as in the current real* mail admins are getting tired of trying to keep it running.

*I'm shown in the system as a mail admin, but I consider myself a fake mail admin. I create user accounts and mailing lists. I don't know the first thing about standing up an actual mail server.

Tom 13

Re: large attachment

Even with broadband that still happens. My roomie works in an office with a very limited mail space. They are expected to monitor mail, archive/download and delete for the server. Periodically secretaries for high level mucky-mucks send out "All Hands" type messages with html wallpapers, flashing GIFs, or overly large PDF fliers for upcoming celebrations. In fact just the other day her "funny for the day" comment when she got home was one such message had taken more than a fifth of her mail space that morning. Mind you, there are cases in which she is legitimately expecting largish images to be coming in so she can look at photos of stuff to determine failure modes of equipment.

Sueball-happy patent biz slaps lawsuits on 14 tech firms

Tom 13

Re: Here's a thought

Yes it is kneejerk not to mention unthinking and completely unhinged.

There are legitimate R&D people and outfits that legitimately outsource their legal work.

It is theoretically possible to fix the problem with changes in the law. First up, instead of allowing patents to be hidden land mines, you force companies to assert them the same way the law requires you to protect a trademark. Next up you require the company to make what a reasonable person would consider a reasonable effort to resolve the issue without resorting to the sueball first. That means exchanging a series of letters from one lawyer to another laying out the patent, the item(s) infringing, and an offer of a license agreement. All of which have to be presented to the jury if you do sue. And just to keep things balanced both companies would have something to lose in court. If the alleged infringer is found to in fact have infringed, treble or even quintuple damages would be allowed. But if the party alleging the infringement is found to have not bargained in good faith, the jury can award damages to the party answering the charges up to and including a free license for the product for the life of the patent as well as all legal costs associated with defending themselves.

The problem is, at the moment the political fundraising skids are greased by all the wrong people.

AT&T bags 363,000 new customers ... where did THEY come from?

Tom 13

New Contract =/= New Customer

even if New Customer --> New Contract.

Especially with wireless charges typically split from your broadband bill in the US, new connected devices like phones and tablets means a new contract.

Also there might be more companies signing up second vendors for site location fail-over plans. I know there was a big push for it 10-12 years back but a lot of companies didn't have the money at the time so they accepted the risk instead.

Netflix original TV shows gamble pays off... to the tune of 10m new viewers

Tom 13

Re: pricing for data delivery based on the KIND of data

The KIND of data do matter. I don't do much torrenting but when I do, +/- 10 minutes doesn't mean all that much to me. If you're talking about my VoIP phone +/- 10 seconds is unacceptable. Yet both are transmitted on the same wire. So there is some need for the infrastructure owner to be able to differentiate traffic and treat it differently. But it shouldn't be the disruptive sort of resetting peers because its a torrent and the infrastructure owner assumes just because it is a torrent it is piracy. My torrents are all either Linux ISOs (when I get the urge to try to play with it) or covered under parody fair use exceptions to US copyright law with a fair chunk of original work from the folks who've posted the torrent. And actually, I think even that one I haven't touched in over a year because the project went quiet.

Tom 13

Re: We are considering cancelling cable

In the US it is the broadcast over the airwaves bit that enables the government to have the FCC regulate broadcast TV.

There may be additional pressures from advertisers, but that blurb is pure fluff.

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