* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

'Bet Lynch' types BANNED from zoo for upsetting not-so-wildlife

Tom 13

Re: Colourblind

Animals do not pray, they are prey.

Krebs: Lexis-Nexis, D&B and Kroll hacked

Tom 13

Re: allows 3rd parties to pose as authenticated and trustworthy

Depending on the sophistication of the breach, it might also allow them to monitor the number and types of inquiries legitimate companies are making. That could be used to improve your trading positions in the securities markets with less risk of exposure than direct fraud.

Either way, despite my other humorous post, this is cause for concern for all of us.

Tom 13

Whew! D&B = Dun & Bradstreet

So I'm safe then.

If it had been Dave & Busters I'd be more concerned.

Oracle sued over $33,000 bill for SaaS: STRIPPERS as a SERVICE

Tom 13
Paris Hilton

Re: never met the owner of the Black variety.

About 10 years ago when I was handling the finances for a non-profit we were offered a Black card from Amex. We didn't apply for it because we figured $1000/year charge was a bit steep for our little organization. But I did read everything that came with it. If I had that kind of money to burn, I would certainly have one.

Paris, because she actually has that kind of money.

Tom 13

Re: American Express isn't a credit card

Strictly speaking yes. But Amex does offer cards that are credit cards (Amex Blue). Not sure I'd depend on that distinction for this case.

But frankly when I looked at taking them for a group where I volunteered, the sole reason to prefer Mastercard and Visa was the ease of setting up both accounts and the manner in which fees were charged. MC/Visa only charged if the transaction went through. Amex (and Discover at the time IIRC) both charged per transaction regardless of whether the transaction was approved.

Tom 13

@Grogan: You clearly have no idea how charge cards of any sort work.

Any time you accept a charge card, you accept the risk that you won't get your money. The card could be stolen, or the user can dispute the charges. That's the protective side for the user of the charge card. The user can then refute the dispute claim by providing documents which prove the authorized user used the card to pay the bill.

If the club has filed charges, Oracle and the card user are most likely both claiming the card was stolen and they are therefore not liable for the charges. American Express is preferred by some card holders because they come down hard on merchants who don't abide by the terms of the card. I knew someone (may he rest in peace) who once complained to Amex because the hotel at which he was staying wouldn't accept his card even though they clearly had the logo on their door. While he was at the hotel, their agreement with Amex was terminated and someone from Amex showed up with a razor blade to remove the sticker from the door.

Tom 13

Re: more to this - ie. alleged fraud perhaps?

My thoughts as well. If it was simply a matter of an employee put dodgy expenses on the card, the company pays the bill, fires the employee, docks the employees severance pay, and if necessary files suite against the employee.

So I'm thinking the card was reported stolen, and the charges disputed. The club filed suite because they think the employee holding the card is trying to defraud them. I don't have a clue as to whether the card was actually stolen or is an employee trying to duck the fees.

iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating

Tom 13

Re: Horseshit indeed.

I expect the average person did actually know how to set the clock and that's just an urban legend.

Probably to make certain overly sensitive geeks feel superior.

Tom 13

Re: Horseshit indeed.

One-brain-celled-rednecks don't live very long. If you ever encounter a real life redneck you'd better remember that. I reckon they've got more brain cells than you pampered city boys.

Tom 13


Kind of makes you wonder if the company making the study is a shell corp owned by Apple, doesn't it?

Tom 13

Re: To be fair, the authors did state:-

You can't claim fairness when you were the one who committed the foul.

There were two iPhones. Samsung probably makes sense for the customized Android. A Nexus should have been the other phone. Why? Because none of the phone suppliers mess with the Apple design. So no matter what you buy, you get their design. A fair comparison therefore requires you look at Google's intended design as well.

Besides, it's easy to rationalize just about anything after you've picked the best target for your slanted study.

Tom 13

Re: Can you spell horseshit?

I particularly like the called out quote on this count:

"Take any recent top-of-the-line smartphone, and you are likely to get a well-designed, fast, pleasant to use bit of hardware: fluid operation, responsive interaction, fast graphics,"

For work I've configured a number of Blackberrys and a number of iPhones. For personal use I once bought an HTC from Sprint. On both the Blackberry and iPhones that supported touchscreens, I had a bitch of a time typing. The HTC 3000 was perfectly fine. I suspect that has a bit more to do with hardware than software, probably sensor density on the touchscreen. I no longer have the HTC because I just didn't use the phone enough to justify the exorbitant cost. But if I were looking for a smartphone, I'd be looking for something like the HTC.

Boffins explain bizarre here-one-month-gone-the-next 'third Van Allen belt'

Tom 13


"But it was the humans who torched the sky."

I'm sure the system would work. But this is one instance where I'd like a good bit more study before we change anything. I have a gut feeling those belts do more to protect our environment than we know. I'd be more comfortable with a system that made a temporary hole that could close again after we were finished with it.

Hardbitten NYC cops: Sir, I'm gonna need you to, er, upgrade to iOS 7

Tom 13

Re: Disable Find my iPhone?

It doesn't matter if he's selling it for $20, $50 or $250 dollars. The point is, he probably doesn't know what kind of phone it is before he mugs you. He just wants the phone to sell to a fence. The fence is the one who disposes of it. Maybe he know the technical details, maybe he doesn't and sell it to a guy who does. Maybe the guy hacks it, maybe he turns it into parts to resell. Either way you're still out an overpriced iPhone. To me this smells of the same Kabuki theater in which the TSA is engaged.

I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Tom 13

Re: His theory is that we work and have money because of scarcity.

That's not his theory. That's the basics of all non-utopianist economic theory. Capitalism is all about maximizing the output of scarce economic resources. The political troglodytes just don't like the allocations that result from it.

And you should be careful. People who are looking for "the final solution" tend to miss that things have already gone sideways.

Tom 13


The most important experiment in this utopianist fantasy thinking was conducted about 385 years ago by a group of Englishmen. It has been assiduously ignored by commies and other parasites ever since. It proved that all redistributionist fantasies are ultimately doomed to failure because they do not account for rudimentary human behavior. When the masses can take without producing they do so to the point of threatening the destruction of the societal group engaged in the redistribution. You might have heard of it, but not thought it through. It was called the Massachusetts Bay Company and it founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Given that they were Puritans they really should have known better. The Bible clearly lays out that part of the consequence of original sin is that man must work by the sweat of his brow for those transgressions.

Leaked docs: NSA 'Follow the money' team slurped BANK records, CREDIT CARD data

Tom 13

Re: why do the Feds need those kind of fishing expeditions

Actually, most of this stuff on finances is all pre-9/11. In theory it was put in place to locate money laundering associated with drug smuggling, prostitution, illegal gambling and other activities of organized crime. With the tools mostly already in place it was easy to extend them to National Security after 9/11. Even now I could see police looking to be able to track the money transfers to mules who empty bank accounts as a result of identity fraud.

Tom 13

@ James Micallef

No hacking is required, and your government likely agreed to it either through direct treaty, bi-lateral agreements, or secret memorandum of understanding.

NSA issues one of their special warrants under the Patriot Act, the banks hand over the data. Whether on tape, disk, or via a direct feed. NSA filters the data stream for what they want and file it for further research as needed in the future. Probably no humans involved in looking at even the filter stream except for quality control purposes. Because the simple fact of the matter is that once you get much past 100, no human reads that much data randomly looking for connections.

Tom 13

@Dan: The article says no such thing.

In fact it hints at the more probable truth: the slurping is going through channels that have been legislatively approved, requested by the Executive branch, and approved by the Judiciary. Both Visa's statement and the low number of stored records given the daily volume point in this direction.

You may think the laws should say otherwise, that the executive branch should be more circumspect, and/or that judges should be more protective of Constitutionally protected natural rights; but it looks to me like all of the processes have been followed and the slurping is not surreptitious. Which might make it even more outrageous, but is quite something different than the supernatural boogieman slurping everybody's data that Snowden et. al. are trying to paint them as.

Meet the Unmagnificent Seven: The critical holes plugged in Firefox update

Tom 13

Re: not sure what happened to make it what it is today

One word: Chrome

As to why, that I'll never understand.

Tom 13

Re: Confused

You haven't been paying attention Dan. The Chocolate Factory re-wrote the rules for versioning. Every time you update you now do a full number increment.

If we were following your rules we'd still be back at about version 6. The last update under the old rules was 3 point something. They inexplicably jumped to 6 for the transition and it's been going up a full increment about once a month since then.

Icon because like you, I remember when the numbers were somewhat meaningful.

'Kissing couple' Trojan sent to slurp fanbois' data... Syrian Electronic Army fingered

Tom 13

Re: do NASA only use old computers and operating systems

It's got less to do with the bugs that the other testing surrounding the installation of various systems. IIRC the problems you expect to encounter in space before the first experiment are well understood and mitigated. What turns out to be the most difficult issue is usually overlooked: vibrational issues from the stress of launch. Also older, higher voltage systems provide more stability once you are beyond the protection of the Van Allen belts.

You thought slinging Photoshop into the cloud would fail? Look who's laughing NOW

Tom 13

Re: Don't gloat too hard

Also, I'd bet at least one of those companies has insisted that Adobe put the relevant source code in escrow so that if Adobe goes bankrupt their rights continue and they are then entitled to use the source code to continue their product development. I mean hell, if HP put those conditions on the company I worked for back in the late 1980s when we co-developed a product, I can't see any way the legal hounds would sign a contract without it today.

Tom 13

@David Austin

The creative types typically don't care about costs except MAYBE as it affects their paychecks.

One of the reasons Adobe software in general has been so hideously overpriced is the cater to these types who once upon a time were willing to pay thousands for a single typeface on their typesetting machines. Given that each font family has several typefaces and any creative types were going to demand hundreds of font families, we're talking millions. Granted for most punters these days I'm talking prehistoric times, but that's where it came from.

Microsoft relents: 'Go ahead, install Windows 8.1 on clean PCs'

Tom 13

Re: As long as Windows 8.x looks like crap

Yeah, it looks like the sort of interface I'd design.

The difference being I know I'm not competent to even become an apprentice to a user interface designer.

Tom 13

Re: reason for almost all otherwise unfathomable Microsoft restrictions

and the few that are leftover after that stem from their defense in the IE anti-trust litigation.

Remove those two reasons and they might be able to build a decent user experience again.

NSA spooks tooled up with zero-day PC security exploits from the FRENCH

Tom 13

Re: Oldest, not closest

And for once in his life Kerry would be correct. Since the foundation of the US starts with our Declaration outlining our grievances in the then ongoing war with Britain, by definition the British can't be the first. And since France were US allies in that war they are truly the first. But the British are likely to always be the closest allies.

Amazon cloud goes down in Northern Virginia

Tom 13

Re: Friday 13th.

But I thought the billions we've invested in anti-virus software not to mention the architectural changes we've made to the systems eliminated that virus years ago!

Private Dell: We will not suddenly try to cut out the middleman again

Tom 13

@ Tom Samplonius

Direct works if all you are selling is hardware, preferably of a specific type. The problem with that is you become a monoculture. And while a monoculture can get big as Dell 1.0 proved, if something changes the environment for the monoculture, you're toast. And something ALWAYS changes the environment for the monoculture.

Once you get into the sort of integrated systems Dell 3.0 is looking to sell, you need channel partners. Your channel partner knows the clients, knows what they need, and establishes the one-on-one not-an-account-number-only relationship you need for the long haul. Yes, it might be more profitable if the sales organization grew that way organically and was all under the same house. It would also be more profitable if I could sell unicorn farts to power your car with no CO2 emissions for a whole year. And those two resource live right next to each other. Back here in Walgreen land you need a channel partner for that kind of integration. Dell will still be able to sell direct to small outfits that don't need that level of integration, or who have somehow landed a genius team to run their IT Support. But the channel were never going to pick them up anyway, so they aren't irritated by that the way they would be if Dell went after their customer list.

What I think you are going to see is a couple of quarters, possibly years, of Dell running losses or at least even more paper-thin margins than they have in the past while they re-org the company. That's the kind of thing you can't be on the exchange and do. You take a 1 to 3 year hit on the profits so you can more quickly get to your full channel goal, then run the next 10 years in a profitability range that makes taking the hit worth it. Gutsy and risky. Wall Street likes the first, but is even more averse to the second than vampires are to garlic and mirrors.

Dominant web ad giant (Google) possibly 'weeks' away from Euro slapdown

Tom 13

Re: Last Chance

USD, Euro and Mexican Peso only?

I wouldn't think any of those would be acceptable. I'd think we'd be talking Gold, Platinum, or Cut Gemstones.

Senator halts Google's taxpayer-subsidized executive jet fuel deal

Tom 13

@doctor dodongo

It's a sweet deal for Google. A little too sweet for my taste. I think they should be paying full retail for the fuel. I'd let the have the write-off on the rent.

That being said, the other part of the question should be: will we get more out of the government making them pay that than it cost for Grassley to investigate it? Much as I think we need some sunlight on these kinds of deals, I'm not sure those numbers balance out.

Microsoft reissues September patches after user complaints

Tom 13

MS seem to have achieved the first certifiable AI.

It is sufficiently complex, that a given set of input produces completely unexpected results in a non-repeatable fashion.

One day we'll look back and say this was the end of the software platform

Tom 13

Re: Nearly managed it!

I wouldn't say "well", but he at least had a thesis I was willing to doubtfully consider.

It seems like old companies will try to move to a combination of software and hardware that lock in the customer. The problem is, once the customer is set free, he rarely wants to return to his cell.

Tom 13

Re: History repeating

Being cheap and "good enough" built MS's real competitive advantage: Ubiquity. If you send somebody a Word/Excel/PowerPoint document, they can open it and read it. Most of them because they are running Windows with Office installed, some because the niche players were forced to implement the MS "standards" for their programs. The irony is, that ubiquity now makes progress more difficult for them. They have to move the whole base. And when the base doesn't want to move, it doesn't.

Flying in the US? Remember to leave your hand grenades at home

Tom 13

Re: And yet *all* the 9/11 flights were *internal*

Yes, but not all of the subsequent close calls were. And the relevant factor on 9/11 is that they were all cross-country flights with the planes taken over on take off. The point being to have the most fuel available for destruction when it crashed. Which mean international flights are other prime targets.

Now, having said all of that, I think 9/11 was pretty much a one trick pony. Up until 9/11 we were all told and trained to obey the hijackers and chances were good we'd all come out alive. And being good little monkeys we all played along. As of 9/11 we now all know those rules don't apply anymore. Which means from hear on out, when you stand up to announce the hijacking the immediate response is going to be a plane full of pissed off people intent on taking you down no matter what. And that is what pisses me off the most about the Kabuki theater of airport security.

Tom 13

Re: one of four types of people

Sadly in a true perversion of the law, according to a SCOTUS ruling, a convicted felon who has been released form jail can refuse to answer questions about carrying weapons and you can't hold it against him. Otherwise its constitutes self-incrimination.

Tom 13

Re: plastic grenade made of plastic explosives?

Those are supposed to be caught by the explosives detectors, not the metal detectors.

Tom 13

Re: the night before an early morning flight,

Right there is where you run afoul of the questions and regs at check-in. One of the questions they ask is whether or not you packed your bag and whether or not it has been under your control since you packed it. In this case the truthful answer is 'No' even though he thought it was. Yes, it is a hyper-legal point; but it's what they'll nail you on if you fight them. No, I don't like it any more than the rest of you do. I'd rather we did away with the theater show and had real security.

ATTACK of the ROBOT BANKERS brings stock market to its knees

Tom 13

Re: Salon had


I completed my Buzzword Bingo at the halfway point. Anybody else?

Shareholders tell Mike 'Just Do It': Dell to go PRIVATE for $24.9bn

Tom 13

Re: the profit margins are crap.

I expect that's true on the consumer side. Business, probably not so much.

Businesses try to cut costs, but they understand their vendors need to make a profit too. The overall relationship is critical to the business culture, and a long term, stable relationship with quality merchandise at low but not cut-rate prices will usually be better for both parties in the long run.

Facebook stock-spaffers officially LOSERS: Stock hits all-time high of $45

Tom 13

Re: How the hell

If you played the timing game and bought when they dropped and held until now, you made a tidy profit.

Of course, if you hold it in the expectation it's going to be the next Apple...

Corel re-animates zombie brand for patent case

Tom 13

Re: Glory days

Corel Draw was a great product. I preferred it to the hideous Adobe Illustrator. And they did OK with Ventura Publisher for a while. It was my go to product for document production back before MS homogenized the hell out of everything. Ventura only went to shit when they decided to ape Adobe, which was not what I wanted. Of course, trying to drain me of too much money to frequently didn't help either.

Tom 13

Re: Lots of prior art, surely.

I expect Google will recognize that while it might be cheaper to pay off a single suit, opening themselves to constantly paying Dane Geld is a losing proposition, and it's better to make as big an example of the first troll that comes trawling as is possible.

Everybody Loves Rayman: Legends dethrones Mario

Tom 13

Re: ...a trick that actually owes much to God of War.

Guess you never played Robotron back in the day.

NIST denies it weakened its encryption standard to please the NSA

Tom 13

Re: Infidelity

What all the chicken little posters on this thread are ignoring is that the NSA, like most government agencies, has a fragmented personality. They aren't all engaged in spying on people. Some significant portion of them are engaged in protecting government assets from being spied on. Their mission is to put out the most secure code possible. And they pursue that as aggressively as the spies pursue theirs.

Biz bods STILL don't patch hacker's delight Java and Flash

Tom 13

...rarely needed to use most websites. Despite this advice, ...

Please engage your brain before writing this kind of nonsense.

Businesses are engaged in the process of making money. They have no interest in deploying software for which they have no need. If Java is deployed, there's a pretty good chance they need it. If the browser helper is installed, there's an even better chance they need that too. No, it's not going to be for a public facing website. It's going to be one of their intranet sites, which probably also generates one of those invalid certificate errors* every time you visit it as well.

Erik posted a good start on reasons why businesses behave this way.

*Yes it's that time of year for me to be annoyed about this again. Because once again, the very first thing I had to do before taking the mandatory IT Security Awareness course was ignore one of those errors.

Torvalds shoots down call to yank 'backdoored' Intel RdRand in Linux crypto

Tom 13

Re: Compromising randomness is likely a far harder proposition.

Yes. I noticed the original article was very careful to say 'circumvented or broken' (or words to that effect). And all the articles since then have, umm, edited for shortness. Yeah, that the ticket! Edited for shortness, not edited to enflame and/or mislead.

Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Tom 13

Re: can I report Linus to the police


And after they knock on his door you don't mind if we link Anonymous to your link her at El Reg do you?

Tom 13

I think people who can't distinguish

between real threats and hyperbole are threat to the existence of the human race and should be eliminated with all possible speed and dispatch.

Tom 13

Re: make a point without losing your cool

I suspect Linus lives a fairly stress free life:


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