* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Xerox begins rolling out patches for jumbled-numbers copier glitch

Tom 13

Re: for the sake of a few hundred kilobytes.

It's not the kilobytes they are trying to save, it's processing cycles spent swapping the kilobytes every time it encounters the glyph. Memory is cheap, processing speed not quite as much. Especially when you have a fleshy standing at the copier who thinks it's all just an optical copy like it was in the good old days.

Still the worst kind of error to have: one that doesn't call attention to itself. Unless you are doing a careful line by line comparison, you aren't likely to spot it.

NASDAQ halts stock trading, citing data-feed glitch

Tom 13

My most important read from this event:

People are finally making marginal progress at regaining their senses.

I mean, the NASDAQ wasn't trading for several hours and no one panicked.

OK, some news outlets ran panicky headlines, but there were no actual meltdowns anywhere else.

Yahoo! web! traffic! BIGGER! THAN! GOOGLE! in! July!

Tom 13

Re: Is this even believable?

I've got a yahoo account for spam, never been bothered by their toolbar.

But then I have more than 3 neurons and disable toolbar installers unless it's one I really want.

Also, Yahoo News is getting a bit more attention these days. One article a week hitting Drudge is probably more than enough to drive their unique visitors count up.

Couple that with more and more people realizing Google hoovers up more information about them than the NSA and you'll notice some changes in behavior.

HP hammered in servers, storage, and PCs in fiscal Q3

Tom 13

Re: how does HP draw in the talent they need to complete their turn around?

That's a tough problem even without headwinds. The first thing you need are leaders who recognize talent. That doesn't come from bean counters. The second thing you need is a reward system that promotes talent. A the moment, as well as for about the past decade, HP seems to have been missing both of those items. Given it has been that way for about the past decade, there are significant headwinds. And the bean counters keep counting fewer and fewer beans.

Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

Tom 13

Re: Who will be the Elon Musk of nuclear power?

Can't be done because the problems aren't technical. They are purely political and fear driven. Anyone bright enough to do the technical work takes one look at the political mess and decides their skills are better used elsewhere.

Tom 13

Re: it's easy to say "No concerns!" when you're not the one living there.

I lived within a 30 minute drive of TMI at the time of its accident.

Yes, I had a serious concern: I was concerned that a chowder head like you would panic my mother into doing something stupid like trying to self-evacuate without knowing where she was self-evacuating to and what path to follow.

The possibility of radiation exposure? Not a bit.

'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail

Tom 13

Re: I bet they hoped they would get "good press" from this.

And they did.

Depending of course on your definition of the phrase "good press."

Firefox takes top marks in browser stability tests

Tom 13

@AC 21-Aug-2013 8:16 GMT

I find my limit is about 20. After that I have trouble finding what I'm looking for.

Tom 13

Re: Anon to hide my idiocy.

Just for the honesty you got a thumbs up.

Comcast court docs show Prenda copyright trolls seeded smut then sued

Tom 13

Hmm... This could get interesting.

So we now have a second branch of the organization involved in the same sort of extortionist tactics.


One or two more like that and you just might have enough to file a RICO suite against the rest of the organization.

Climate change made sea levels fall in 2010 and 2011

Tom 13

@Leslie Graham

The appeal to authority has never been the method of science. As I recall it was the method of a major world religion that put a few well known scientists on the rack.

Brazilians tear strip off NSA in wake of Snowden, mull anti-US-spook law

Tom 13

Re: Chinese start exerting their economic and political muscle against the US .

The problem with commie bastages is that they don't respond to either of those actions. If economic muscle were going to move The Big 0, he would have already changed at least one of his other policies. But he keeps on doing the same things.

Tom 13


No, actually I expect the UK government to act on the observation of one its most intelligent statesmen: it has no permanent allies, only permanent interests. To act in any way which is not in accordance with those interests is foolish - whether it be slavishly following US requests or slavishly opposing them.

Tom 13

Re: anything that goes through a US controlled satellite is slurped.

You were doing so well at being clueful, and then you blew it: ANY data that goes through a satellite is slurped. Doesn't matter who owns it, the transmission is radio waves and we read it. It might be easier to read the data from ones we control, but we slurp everything. That was the whole reason for the NSA way back when it was an unmarked road that lead to their headquarters.

And frankly, it doesn't matter how cleverly the Brazilians write their laws or try to build the system. Unless all of the communications are entirely internal to Brazil the point at which they interface with a non-Brazilian system is the point of intercept, either through mutually agreed monitoring or covert operations.

Spy operations don't exist in the nice, neat, and utopian world of court law. They live in the Burkeian world: dog eat dog, no holds barred, and the only thing against the rules is losing.

Marissa Mayer in Vogue fashion shoot

Tom 13

Looking at just her, she looks good.

Looking at her in context,...

Won't someone please rid us of the troublesome photographer who thought this was a good pose?

OK, she's working hard at turning around a company that has been failing and for the last ten years has turned into the standup comedians one sentence all-in-one-joke-and-punchline. So I can see where she'd be willing to try something different like interviewing with and posing for a fashion magazine. But in all honesty, I think women will only achieve real and functional equality when ideas like this one are assumed to be bad and need to be proven otherwise before women accept them. Yes if I was 20 years younger and 70 pounds lighter and I saw her at a bar I'd probably try to pick her up. But if she's coming to talk about tech and/or career, she shouldn't have to wander off into that territory.

US highway agency awards Tesla Model S record safety score

Tom 13

Re: Bitchy last line...

Or maybe in light of those issues, Elon should have kept his mouth shut instead of taunting Mr. Murphy.

Don't get me wrong, I hope Elon is correct. But only time will tell.

Green German gov battles to keep fossil powerplants running

Tom 13

Re: its common sense really

I have three words for you:

Three Gorges Dam

Only now you have to drop it in the middle of Europe.

Tom 13

Re: are low enough to be unprovable statistically,

We had this argument back at the start of the 1900s.

Einstein won. If you can't detect the ether, it doesn't exist.

Same thing applies to radiation health effects.

Tom 13

Re: It will happen here too.

Renewable policy is forcing other power off the grid when renewables aren't capable of picking up the slack.


Now maybe the power companies could have managed for another year or two under the current circumstances. But given that politicians tend not to react unless there is a crisis, the power companies have chosen to precipitate the crisis now when it won't wreck too much of the economy as opposed to later when it certainly will.

Apple sucking triple the phone switchers as Samsung – report

Tom 13

@Ben 54

I almost skipped your comment, but had to go looking to find the "apple tarts" post. So you got an up vote.

Tom 13

Re: just goes to show...

Toss in a dose of low self-esteem for which they need to compensate and you've got a highly toxic witch's brew.

New tool lets single server map entire internet in 45 minutes

Tom 13

A tool which automatically turned on updates on old forgotten junk

That Win98 PC isn't a forgotten old piece of junk. It's a vital piece of equipment handling a critical testing process. Getting the programming rewritten, and new hardware for it will cost millions of dollars. Oh, and did I mention it's running the pressure testing on the containment structure? So rebooting it at a random time could be exceedingly dangerous.

OK, so actually in the instance I'm thinking of you'd never get to patch it because it never touches the internet. But that doesn't stop the security gestapo from wanting to patch it.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak disses Ashton Kutcher's Steve Jobs

Tom 13

Re: Ashton Kutcher?

The only thing of interest I've seen from him was "Beauty and the Geek," first season.

I think it speaks volumes that he was unable to make an even marginally successful sequel to it.

Tom 13

Re: And his take on how Jobs dumped him.

That's one story I don't think any of us will ever read. We might read his wife's take on it. Or his kids's take. But on this side of The Great Divide I don't think we'll ever know what Woz thinks on this issue.

I don't know if it's class, loyalty or some combination thereof, but whatever Woz thinks about it, he's keeping it to himself. And I respect that decision, much as I'd like to know the juicy details. Sometimes other people being better does pull someone else up to a higher standard.

Legal bible Groklaw pulls plug in wake of Lavabit shutdown, NSA firestorm

Tom 13

there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate

Sure there are. We've just gotten spoiled and don't want to use them.

Regular mail is still protected.

And you can have face to face meetings.

But they are either not as immediate, or require planning and possibly money. You do of course still run some legal risks, but those are the established legal risks.

An afternoon with Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer

Tom 13

Re: I don't know how to fix it.

I do. Get the government out of it.

Most teachers barely have the budget to just stand there and talk. They're lucky to have the room and the blackboard, at least in the US.

DC, which according to its politicians has the worst possible funding formulas because it doesn't have a state to supplement its budget, spends almost $30,000/student/year. And they're one of the worst offenders with "teachers can't afford basic supplies for their classrooms." If they can't afford basic supplies on that kind of per pupil spending, something about its governance is badly, badly broken.

Progressive's hate the idea, but voucher's for students are the solution. Not only to funding to the teachers but the one-size-fits all mentality of the public school system. Make it a refundable tax credit, for 12 years your kid can use it for any school you want to send him to. What are now public schools get to compete for the dollars just like the private and charters do now. Some will specialize for smart kids, some will specialize for slow kids, and the bulk will specialize for the rest of the kids.

'But we like 1 Direction!' Rock gods The Who fend off teen Twitter hate mob

Tom 13

Re: William Shatner put it nicely...

Since you brought him up I'll have to ask...

If there's anyone out there who has listened to both this monodirection band and Shatner's album, which is better?

Beer if you can answer the question, because you probably deserve at least two.

Tom 13
Paris Hilton

Re: pretty, pretty boys

I thought they were all stuck at the Hotel California. I hear it's a lovely place.

Tom 13

Re: The Borg would pass them bye.

But A Boy and His Dog probably wouldn't.

Tom 13

Re: the publicists blame the TV station


I wonder if there could be a SCO like suit available there. Differentiated by having an actual legal basis of course.

Tom 13

Re: what area of the UK will they cover?

Playmobil reconstruction required!

Tom 13

Re: I particularly liked...

Remember, they're 'Merkins. "Pissed" over here means something quite different from what it means on your side of the pond. This side of the pond it means something akin to a one-person soccer riot, or as you lot call it football.

Tom 13

Re: I assume the plod are looking into this...

Look mate, while I agree with you in principle, even we 'Merkins don't have enough jails to hold them if we mete out appropriate sentences. So much as it pains me to say it, Pete taking it like a man is the best that we can manage. I wish we could do better by him.

Boffins claim Voyager has already left the Solar System

Tom 13

Re: They expect a customs barrier?

As far as I'm concerned it's all good as long as I don't hear a news report claiming "scientists say this morning's unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm."

YouTube Wars: Microsoft cries foul as Windows Phone app pulled again

Tom 13

Re: Unfortunately, it seems Windows Phone users are the ones left caught in the crossfire

I don't really see the problem here. The way I figure it, all 6 of them can go out and buy an iPhone or a Droid and the problem will be resolved.

More brutal PC numbers from Dell as revenues stay flat, profits sink

Tom 13

Re: Plenty of boutique makers

Rip? Hey! Rip! It's time to wake up!

These are the 20 teens, not the 1990s.

I haven't seen a boutique shop since about 2000.

Tom 13

Re: how do you think I found out about this?

If you are buying hundred of systems that need a BIOS update it seems to be you also ought to be in a position to be using the tools Dell makes available to automatically update the systems on your network. They are fairly easy to find on their support site, which is one of the few on which I can almost always find what I'm looking for. The notable exception being when they aren't supporting the OS I'm using on their hardware even though a working driver for the component might exist for another device in their inventory. But they have properly noted they aren't supporting the OS, so I don't regard that as reason to bitch about Dell, but my employer who insists we use the unsupported combination.

BlackBerry: It's the end-to-endness, stupid

Tom 13

Re: RIM's core business

Mostly agree, but there's an additional fly in the ointment.

Somehow or another (and I really don't understand how because it well before the NSA found itself in the spotlight) executives and government types everywhere decided the security of your comms wasn't important. Because if you were concerned about the security of your email, you'd still be using the archaic RIM system.

Also, while it would certainly be a niche market, if somebody marketed an American built, camera-less cell phone, they'd have guaranteed sales to the US military for classified work areas. I'd imagine you could probably work similar arrangements in other countries as well.

Engineer's $30m windfall from Nintendo 3DS patent spat SLASHED by beak

Tom 13

Re: Confused

The Japanese engineer owns the American patent. The Japanese company sells the game to Americans which is where the patent is held. It logically follows the suit should be in an American court.

And since both parties are 'dem fereingers, it's going to be the closest thing to an honest decision you can get.

Tom 13

@ Kristian Walsh

That's a crap argument and any jurist making it should have their law license summarily suspended for a minimum of 3 years. Any jurist approving it should have their law license summarily suspended for life.

The correct calculation is: how much per device should it cost? If I license an MS codec for a phone it doesn't matter whether or not every user makes use of that codec or not, I still owe the license fee. If you didn't negotiate the fee up front, you take your chances on how much that's going to hurt your company. That puts a bit more oomph in making sure companies don't ignore patent laws until they are taken to court.

Yes, yes. I know you're arguing law not what ought to happen. But law always ought to be about what ought to happen without fungible excuses like how profitable a certain division of the company is.

Bitcoin laws are coming: US Senate launches virty currency probe

Tom 13

Re: Hmmmm...

Yeah, that's what he thought too. Judge said differently. Probably after cackling like Yosemite Sam in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Tom 13

Re: Not really interested in when

Easy. The same way they regulate sales and property taxes from businesses. And they've already got them under control. Well, except for the illegal ones. Which is part of why bitcoin have been adopted by the illegal ones as a medium of exchange.

Your encrypted files are 'exponentially easier' to crack, warn MIT boffins

Tom 13

Re: I am not a cryptographer but...

But what if you combine the Captain Crunch Decoder ring, ROT-13, and THEN apply the Caesar cypher?

Tom 13

Re: But the *unencrypted* data never looks like noise.

So, make the unencrypted data look more like noise before you encrypt it.

Maybe something along the lines of XOR each byte and append that as salt after the data byte. Add more random salt to the noisified file. Then encrypt the data.

Xerox admits there's no fix yet for number-fudging copiers

Tom 13

Re: The obvious question

Follow this link for a detailed from an AC who claims experience with the compression algorithm in question:


Based on the level of detail and tone of the message I accept his claim of expertise.

Tom 13

Re: /FacePalm

If you were following the issue there was a quite good explanation in a previous column.

It starts with they are compressing for data manipulation speed. It gets mangled with an algorithm that has more variations than RS-232. And it sounds like it has a library of sharp images that they use based on detection from the mangly algorithm.

Yes, to me the non-programming tech who is the first guy to catch flack from the users, it looks like they should simply turn off the compression while they get it fixed and take the performance hit. But since I'm not the programmer, I'm willing to believe them when they say it is a bit more complicated than that.

Tom 13

Re: It doesn't sound much like it.

I wouldn't count on that. I'm still not sure the implications have sunk in. People assumed it was an accurate copy and proceeded. If they don't have cause to check it, they probably won't. Hell, the mass transit center next to where I work that was supposed to go into service 6 months ago is still in legal limbo because somebody could follow directions or confusion with blueprints. In fact if faulty Xeroxes are anywhere in loop on that one, I can pretty much guarantee the subcontractor will be reaching for that defense.

Make or break: Microsoft sets date for CRUCIAL Win 8.1 launch

Tom 13

Re: The idea is that PC is dying,

Yeah, start with a flawed premise and everything after that is pretty much crap. Doesn't matter how bright or dim you are.

Tom 13

Re: Touch on the desktop? A ways off, I'd say

Never I'd say.

I expect the touchscreen will be a dead-end in computer evolution. It makes sense now on tablets and phones. But what we are seeing with the Wii and the Kinnect (sp?) on Xbox seem to me the more likely path for in the future. You put the motion sensor on the desk, use the interferometry to turn the entire cube of space into your work area, and start doing things in the air and they are reflected on the screen. Avoid the whole problem with smudgy screens, probably has far more flexibility as well. Maybe touchscreens still make sense on phones because you don't have enough separation between the sensors, maybe they get sensitive enough phones adopt them too.

Tom 13

Re: but adding a tiny black square to them.

Not quite. It's a pack of black dye so you can do it yourself at home. Somehow they consider this an improvement on the Henry Ford meme "You can have any color as long as it is black."

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