* Posts by Malcolm 1

306 posts • joined 25 Jun 2009


Ooo shiny! First Visual Studio 2019 sneak peek here in time for Chrimbo

Malcolm 1

Re: wot?

VS Code has good powershell support.

Malcolm 1

My eyes!

Some nice improvements here but the new default "blue" theme is a fairly grim purplish colour that mostly reminds me of the C64 basic prompt.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

Malcolm 1

Re: +1 about the GUI ...

In my limited experience Linux UIs tend still to give the impression of being wrappers around console apps. Which is the Linux way of course (and provides the scripting superpowers) but doesn't lend itself to fluid user experiences which often require deeper interaction with the application runtime.

Malcolm 1

Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

Have you tried Affinity Photo? It's fairly amazing for about £50

You're indestructible, always believe in 'cause you are Go! Microsoft reinvents netbook with US$399 ‘Surface Go’

Malcolm 1

A good windows ink device?

I realise that looking for any positive feedback on a Microsoft product here at El Reg is a fool's errand, but I wonder how good this would be a digitial notebook? I've always been quite interested in the idea OneNote + Stylus combo for digital notetaking but lugging but a 13" tablet costing > £800 seemed a bit excessive.

Chrome sends old Macs on permanent Safari: Browser bricks itself

Malcolm 1

Re: Mavericks isn't exactly a spring chicken

Except for the need to maintain the codebase (ifdefs increase complexity dramatically) and to test it - which means mainting an obsolete and unsupported OS.

Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade

Malcolm 1

Keyboard shortcuts were unchanged with the introduction of the ribbon. They added a new way of navigating the ribbon using the keyboard, but the old shortcuts still work.

Industry whispers: Qualcomm mulls Arm server processor exit

Malcolm 1

Microsoft already have the top-tier ARM architectural licence AFAIK. And I can't see Qualcomm wanting to sell their design team any time soon.

Malcolm 1


CloudFlare seem to be going all-in for ARM. Naively I would expect them to have a sufficiently signficiant scale to cause manufactures to take notice?


Facebook gives its 007s license to kill M, its not particularly intelligent AI

Malcolm 1

I always wondered...

... what that random blue icon unhelpfully suggesting animated gifs was ... and now I know. Seems that particular "feature" may survive - shame.

Spy-on-your-home Y-Cam cameras removes free cloud storage bit

Malcolm 1

Re: Any IoT kit without a subscription...

Of course - but I was referring specifically to "IoT" devices which invariably require some form of cloud service to function (and therefore upkeep from the service provider). I probably wouldn't ever buy an purely cloud based security camera for all the good reasons outlined further up the comments, my point was that you'd have to be fairly naïve to believe that you could buy such a thing for an affordable one-off cost and expect the service to be supported in perpetuity. Where's the money going to come from to store your archive of home videos? Unless they just start selling your data of course.

Malcolm 1

Any IoT kit without a subscription...

...is a security hole or bankruptcy waiting to happen (if it's not already of course).

If they have a viable revenue stream then they at least have the means to continue supporting an patching the product. No guarantees of course, but I'd not put my faith in a cloud based service that requires a continuous stream of new users or built-in obsolescence to pay the ongoing costs.

EE drops packets but retains UK network champ's title

Malcolm 1

Light in air travels faster than light in a glass fibre.

Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists

Malcolm 1


My experience as a cyclist/driver/pedestrian would suggest that an AV is more likely to safer in an urban environment than the average driver.

I'm quite interested to see how behaviour will evolve around automated vehicles - if you know that an AV will emergency stop if you step out in front of it will everyone just wander into the road whenever they feel like it?

Your attention has value, personal cryptocurrency will advertise it

Malcolm 1

Re: Forgive me if I'm being slow

Thanks for the clarification - my morning brain managed to skip over the critical sentence.

Malcolm 1

Forgive me if I'm being slow

But how does a website (such as El Reg) gain money from this exercise? Is there an implict stage here where a website charges the advertiser for ad space (using normal money) by which the advertiser can place their ads and pay the recipient in BAT? Or is there some arrangement where a website receives a proportion of the BAT paid to the end user which can then be exchanged for beer and pizza?

Qualcomm is shipping next chip it'll perhaps get sued for: ARM server processor Centriq 2400

Malcolm 1


I was reading this Cloudflare blog article yesterday, some interesting benchmarks: https://blog.cloudflare.com/arm-takes-wing/

Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat

Malcolm 1

Relevant Article

On a similar subject - this article is an interesting read on two developers more used to modern development practices porting a relatively simple game of solitaire to from Windows to MSDOS, particularly the perf issues and what was necessary to address them.

Malcolm 1

Re: Android phones still hang

Of course we can. We (by which I mean the market) has decided that it's not as important as other concerns. Symbian required the developer to do more work to ensure memory and performance efficiency - the end result was a dearth of apps as the development experience was more difficult (and therefore more expensive) than alternative platforms.

Features are easier to sell than performance and efficiency sadly. You can see also see this approach in mobile hardware specs where unnecessarily large core counts are the flavour of the month when in fact you'd probably be better off spending that transistor budget on L2/L3 cache and higher clock speeds (like the iPhone in fact).

Facebook and pals to US Senate's Russia probe: Pleeease don't pass a law on political web ads

Malcolm 1

Re: You are shitting me

Not only is he quoting George Galloway, but he's quoting George Galloway from an article on Russia Today.

How to make your HTML apps suck less, actually make some money

Malcolm 1

Re: 'PWAs need to be fast, engaging, and work offline'

Yes, but presumably you already have Chrome (or Safari, or Edge) installed so you get to reuse that functionality and obviate the need to install a separate app without having to "install" anything.

Compare this approach to various cross platform apps such as Slack or Atom which include a complete (and possibly obsolete) copy of Chrome to use as an application run time.

I'm not saying this is more efficient than a bespoke native application (it's almost certainly not) but the developer overhead is much reduced and may permit apps on more platforms than might otherwise be possible. And the "cost of entry" is practically zero so you don't get bounced to an app store to install an app to get back to the content you were actually interested in (or giving up instead, which is perhaps more likely).

As a real-world example, mobile.twitter.com is a PWA that does practically everything the fat client app does in a fraction of the space. It doesn't necessarily scale to more complex apps (yet) but for a decent subset it's a nice solution.

Malcolm 1

I will prefix this with the proviso that I have never written an iOS app but my understanding was that they still require bitmap assets in many different sizes for all the various iPhone/iPad screen sizes and resolutions. I think they used to also require 32 + 64bit universal binaries, but I thought that requirement had ceased with the recent iOS release.

Android has always used more resolution independent resources due to the vast potential differences, so not such a big deal there (although it paid for it in terms of UI responsiveness for many years).

If I'm completely wrong I'm sure someone will be along to correct me shortly - this is the internet after all...

Google slides text message 2FA a little closer to the door

Malcolm 1

Re: embrace... extend... bloat?

I think I have this enabled on my phone (I certainly get that sort of 2FA prompt when logging into google services). But I don't have the google Authenticator app installed so I think it must be part of the "Google" app or similar.

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

Malcolm 1

Re: Maybe if they collected less insects, there would be more around...

"Similarly, a lawn which has been left to develop "naturally" always has quite a few daisies and 20-30% clover which ranks towards the top of the bee, butterfly, etc "wishlist".

Thanks - I feel much better about my laissez-faire attitude to lawn maintenance! It certainly as a healthy diversity of clover and daisies...

Support team discovers 'official' vendor paper doesn't rob you blind

Malcolm 1

Re: The story is ...

..or possibly that barcode scanning tech has improved in the last twenty years?

SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

Malcolm 1

Re: Getting bored now

It's the wide angle shots of the landing that get me - they look like something straight out of classic science fiction. Can't wait for the Falcon Heavy trial - synchronised landings! (or a large explosion - either way, quite exciting).

Facebook ties JavaScript code together with Yarn

Malcolm 1

We recently migrated from npm to yarn - no regrets so far - much faster and more reliable than npm (on Windows at least).

SpaceX nails two launches and barge landings in one weekend

Malcolm 1

Re: Even old curmudgeons are happy!

NASA's vote of confidence in SpaceX (and money) saved the company from bankruptcy in its early days. I get the impression they do as much as feasible within the strictures of a political governance.

LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth

Malcolm 1

2FA migration

I can sort of see the appeal of this, given the proliferation of sites supporting 2FA. You can easily imagine a situation where most sites require 2FA and we've just moved the "too many passwords" problem somewhere else.

Having just recently bought a new phone, had it develop a fault, and send it back I've had to go through the pain of migrating about ten 2FA registrations three times and it is a complete pain, even when most sites use compatible mechanisms. Seems there's a good opportunity to make it easier to transfer these in a secure fashion without storing them in the cloud.

The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

Malcolm 1

Windows on ARM

Microsoft actually did quite a lot of groundwork in this area a few years ago to support Windows RT across multiple SoC vendors. I managed to locate a Sinofsky-era essay on the subject - search for "Booting the core of Windows"

In essence it brings the x86 model to ARM - providing the necessary UEFI and ACPI interfaces that the OS can use to bootstrap itself. It would still need drivers of course.

It will be interesting to see how much of this survives in the upcoming Snapdragon 835 based Windows 10 devices.

Amazon is to install its R&D brainboxes in Cambridge

Malcolm 1

Re: Ah

Impossible to park is practically a given anywhere in Cambridge, why do you think everyone cycles?

Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Malcolm 1

Re: chrome is google spyware, and I've seen a lot of crappy software that tries to install it

Given that both Chromium and Firefox are open source, why would malware authors choose Chromium so overwhelmingly that it could affect these results significantly?

How Ford has slammed the door on Silicon Valley's autonomous vehicles drive

Malcolm 1

Re: I can imagine

Do you realise you can already do this? We've got Ford Sync 2 (I think) on our car which can control Spotify (or presumably any other media playback device) via bluetooth from the in car controls media. It's basic next/previous track stuff rather than searching for music of course.

Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

Malcolm 1

Re: GPL?

Nope - the Windows Subsystem for Linux is entirely proprietary. Everything running in user space is unmodified from that which ships with Ubuntu.

Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Malcolm 1

Re: Boy....

Yes. If you're not building a Supercar it's probably best not to try to take the styling cues from one. "Noddy's first Ferrari" springs to mind somehow.

India orders 770 million LED light bulbs, prices drop 83 per cent

Malcolm 1

Sounds like a bit of a "niche" market

Something useful from Cupertino?! Apple sees the light – finally

Malcolm 1

Re: Obviously a definition of "new" that I was previously unaware of

Except Adaptive Brightness != Night Shift. If you'd said f.lux or Twilight you'd have been a bit nearer to the mark.

Google Project Zero reverse-engineers Windows path hacks for better security

Malcolm 1

Re: Sniping apart..

I suspect most utilities will actually crash (although I've not tested this hypothesis). The other good ones are (non-ascii) unicode characters in paths or recursive junction points.

Your xenophobia is killing us, Silicon Valley warns US Congress

Malcolm 1

This is just referring to travel visas (ie for holiday or business), not H1-B working visas.

LG’s modular G5 stunner shuns the Lego aesthetic

Malcolm 1

Forward compatibility?

Although some of these add ons look vaguely promising, what's the chances of them continuing to be compatible with future handsets? It's going to be tough enough building up a market for 3rd party add ons for such a relatively niche player, even tougher if you have to redesign it again 12 months time for the G6,7,8 etc and convince people to buy it again when they inevitably upgrade.

LastPass in 2FA lock down after 'fessing up to phishing attack

Malcolm 1

Re: F**k LogMeIn

The potential for this sort issue to occur has existed forever, certainly long before the LMI takeover. The LastPass UI has always been a bit of a shonky mishmash of browser prompts that would lend themselves to spoofing. But then again, what other facilities are there for a browser plugin to display UI? I've always felt that Chrome should do a much better job of distinguishing "trusted" extension UI from general internet content. The only visible difference is the URL which is hardly obvious as this attack demonstrates.

I see no relevance to LMI takeover, apart from your obvious axe grinding. FWIW I prefer the refreshed UI.

Microsoft wants you, yes you, to write bits of Windows 10. For free

Malcolm 1

Re: The other way round

I look forward to reading your thoughtful critique of their architecture and coding standards...

Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Malcolm 1

Re: Does it still hate the user?

It did the last time I tried it (last year I think). There's clearly a lot of great functionality in there but I can never get past the awkward and ugly UI reminiscent of 90's Windows shareware written with Borland OWL. Shame. If I had the time it would be an interesting project to try to "fix" the UI.

I have exactly the same issue with Inkscape (although all vector editing tools, regardless of provenance, seem to be either far too simple or have weird UI conventions).

Blender always did have an esoteric UI model, but it at least appeared to be well thought out and consistent. I've witnessed people with a high degree of proficiency in Blender and it all seems to make a lot of sense once you get up the learning curve.

Windows for Warships? Not on our new aircraft carriers, says MoD

Malcolm 1

Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

What with Microsoft buying Sysinternals some years back it's available directly from Microsoft themselves: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897558.aspx

Microsoft extends Internet Explorer 8 desktop lifeline to upgrade laggards

Malcolm 1

Is that even possible? It seems that someone might have got their version numbers muddled and it should have read Windows 7 with IE8. Which seems a more plausible combination for an upgrade-averse organisation.

Predictable: How AV flaw hit Microsoft's Windows defences

Malcolm 1

AV has always been a potential risk

Outside the basic OS services, I would wager that there are very few other commonly installed applications with the system privileges enjoyed by a virus scanner - it has system hooks everywhere (almost by definition). It's also the first in the firing line for any code of dubious origin (also by definition).

Now you'd like to think that all AV products were crafted by the finest, most security aware development teams in the known universe, but the evidence often indicates otherwise. If I was a malware writer I think AV products would be very high up my hit list so this sort of attack seems entirely unsurprising.

Dell: How to kill that web security hole we put in your laptops, PCs

Malcolm 1

Plug in alternative

I assume this is a rather cack handed solution to the problem that they can no longer rely on activeX or Java browser plugins to deliver auto detect the service tag. So some genius decided that a MitM attack would be a convenient cross-browser fix...

£2.3m ZANO nano-drone crowdfunded project crashes and burns

Malcolm 1

Backing != Pre-ordering

While I can appreciate the disappointment, I'm continually surprised by the reaction of backers when a kickstarter project is unsuccessful. It is mentioned repeatedly when backing a project that backing is no guarantee of, well anything, really. If all goes well you might receive the promised product or service but it is an inherently risky proposition, especially with hardware where the complexities of product development and production seem to frequently trip up even the best intentioned projects.

Skype founders planning non-drone robodelivery fleet. Repeat, not drones

Malcolm 1

Did they not see what happened to hitchBot?

And that wasn't even carrying valuable goods....

hitchBot decapitated


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