* Posts by Peter Gathercole

2924 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

BBC shifts some HD transmissions to 1080p...

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

I don't have FreeviewHD

and I get HD through Sky, but at the time, SkyHD was 1080i, so being the financially challenged person I am, I bought a perfectly acceptable not-a-known-brand TV that would do 1080i and not 1080p. This was several years ago, so I guess that you could say that I am an early adopter.

The TV still works find, but I would appreciate advanced warning if the Beeb do the same on Sky, because the TV won't handle it!

Mind you, by SkyHD box (a Thompson) is also a bit long-in-the-tooth, and I've had to fix it twice already (power supply and hard disk), so I doubt it would cope with 1080p anyway.

I also suggest to anybody who buys a TV in the sub-£250 price range to check the display panel resolution on their HD Ready TV (some of which I'm sure actually carry the "Full-HD Ready" logo). Chances are the panel does not have a resolution of 1920x1080 anyway, so it is a moot point.

I hate manufacturers being able to force new purchases on their customers.

Extragalactic black hole particle fountain awesomeness

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


It's to make it look like a Chris Foss book cover from Panther and Granada books in the '70s. Things like Children of the Lens, many of the Asimov books (the Gods Themselves would be appropriate, I think), and many other iconic images.

£1.1bn Royal Navy warship finally armed, sort of

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Yes I did miss it,

but you've got to admit that Lewis is getting to sound like a scratched record on UK defence matters.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Blah blah US weapon system blah blah helicopter platform blah could have been cheaper blah.

Keep the opinions down please. The facts speak for themselves, and (I admit) are not pretty.

Apple to support reps: Don't confirm Mac infections

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


I understand that read-only media is a potential solution, but you then have to worry about updates, as even an OS on a R/O media may contain bugs that lead to information leakage or access problems during the running of the system.

If you look at most Live disks, you normally have a degree of persistent storage, because the Live CD is normally overlaid by a UnionFS, often stored on USB memory device. This allows users to keep information after the system is shut down. If you have persistent storage, especially if it allows browser tools or extensions to be installed, then the system is still vulnerable.

And you also assume that you don't need to install printer, network card or display drivers. I don't know how often you use a Live CD, but whenever I have, I have found it a seriously disappointing experience, being slow, and missing support for anything that is slightly out-of-the-ordinary (like the non-free Radeon and Nvidia drivers to accelerate display performance or a lot of wireless cards).

Using Virtual Machines only works if you use fixed boot images (otherwise you are just exporting the problem into the virtual machine), and if you are talking about server farms, only in a large environment with some trusted support to maintain the infrastructure. It does not help home users, and would be seen as just another level of complexity to configure. And my point about persistent storage above is still relevant.

I have thought all of these things through, and with the current user expectation of control over their own PC's, none of them are really workable.

If we could have a highly trusted read-only image, that did not contain any bugs and also had everything that a user might want forever, then you could propose such a solution, but this is a Utopian view (and you know that Utopia means either "good place", or more likely "no place").

Google, with ChromeOS are trying this, but we need some more work exposing 3D graphics acceleration and abstracted sound and other device layers to be exposed in the browser to make it acceptable for even modest gamers. I am not going to hold my breath for a port of Crysis or BioShock onto Chrome OS.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Artic fox - But it is

*intrinsically* more robust than normal Windows instances up to and including Win XP, especially where the Windows users have been encouraged to make their normal users administrator accounts (like many, many pre-installed Windows PC's). That is a fact. People who deny this can't actually understand privilege separation.

But this story is about a social engineering issue, where users are being tricked into running something with enhanced privileges. It is not an unseen, unknown back door into the OS, but very visible and relying on user interaction, and as long as an OS has the ability to run something with enhanced privileges, can affect absolutely any operating system.

Let me ask you something. If asked in a pop-up to install something that suggests it will fix a problem (especially if it comes up because of a cross-scripting problem when accessing a Bank or some other trusted organization's site), do you think that your grandparents, or if you are old enough to be unfortunate and have lost them, your parents, can *sensibly* differentiate between what is really safe and what is not? I know that I am worried that my 82 year old father, who is a regular Internet user, cannot differentiate between 'good' messages from Microsoft Windows Update and 'bad' ones, even though my two brothers and I drum it into him at every opportunity. And I also have to dis-infect my two youngest (teenage) children's systems sometimes, even though they are old enough to understand the dangers.

Current OS's are just not suitable for purpose when given to non-technical users.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Whilst this may be a new instance, it's nothing to be surprised at. Any OS that allows you obtain escalated privilege to do something legitimate can be compromised like this, including all variants of *nix platforms.

Why it is more important is that Mac users, who have been lulled into a false sense of security by too many unfounded claims that OSX is immune from malware, will suddenly have to become much more aware of what they are doing.

In some respects, although I would suffer like everyone else, I think that sudo, UAC on Windows and whatever they call the equivalent on OSX (I know it's sudo under the covers), which make it easier to do things with escalated privileges, should be removed. This would make hoops that you must jump through to be able to do destructive things on a system cause you to really think what you are doing, rather than just clicking on "Yes" or asking for a password. But the hooks they use are built into all modern OS's, and even if they weren't supplied with the OS, they would still be there. And SELinux and Role Based Access Control (RBAC) only changes the problem, not solves it.

Of course, this makes computers difficult to manage by ordinary users, so will never happen. And if someone did propose a locked-down OS, then everybody would be screaming from the rooftops about too much vendor control over the OS.

I came to the conclusion some time back that all PC OS's are too complex to trust ordinary users to look after properly, but have not got to the next step of trying to solve the problem. This issue shows that even OS's with good security features are not safe if users do not understand what they are doing.

Maybe Google ChromeOS is the way to go. Locked down OS with a configurable application layer on the top (I just wish it was not in a browser). But I'm sure you will still see personal information being stolen, botnet clients and anonymizer proxies on this platform once the crackers start looking.

How to choose the right screen size

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Setup DVD

An alternative is to use a DVD or I believe BluRay disk produced with THX (like any recent Star Wars disk). This contains a setup tool called THX Optimizer

On the menu screen, move the highlighted area to the THX logo, and press enter or play. You should find several setup tests for resolution, contrast, colour balance, sound and a couple of other things. To get the colour right, you really need a blue filter of a particular pantone colour, but you can get an idea without it.

Dixons to flog off old 'brands' Miranda and Saisho

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Bad examples - Goodmans and Morphy Richards

You can add Bush, Grundig and Ferguson.

These were all recognised brands in their own right back in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. They were not badge-only brands, and did their own product development. When the companies fell into hardship, as they all did because they tried to maintain a UK manufacturing base when making things in the far-east became much cheaper, the brand name was bought by companies that specialised in generic goods made in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea and more recently China, putting the name on the product, and presenting them to patriotic UK buyers as if they were still made in the UK. Nothing illegal, but you can bet the "Made in Wherever" was in as smaller print as they could manage while not infringing Trading Standards.

This was to capitalise on the "Buy British" campaign that tried to keep wealth in the UK during this miserable period of austerity.

If you look at Bush, it's been traded between companies for years, and is now effectively an Argos brand name.

I used to enjoy trying to spot how many different brands a product could be spotted with. Made shopping with my parents much more bearable.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Can't even pop down to the highstreet to Dixons. It's not there, having gone web only half -a-decade ago.

All of the Dixons stores they wanted to keep were re-branded Currys.digital.

I always avoided Saisho as a brand, and - strange as it may sound - I was a committed Practika camera user, so never considered (not that I would have ) a Miranda camera.

Microsoft waves CentOS club at Red Hat

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


I think you are confusing concept and implementation.

It is quite clear that pretty much all of what you quote has been available for many OS's, with UNIX as one of them. For example, the segregation of authority has been in almost all multi-user OS's since computer-time began, and most implementations follow at least in part the Multics model. Ditto 'home' directories (and I can quote from direct experience VAX/VMS, RSX/11M, RSTS, PrimeOS, MTS, Harris VOS, AEGIS and Domain/OS [the earlier versions were UNIX like, rather than actual UNIX], and probably several I can't remember, and - of course - UNIX's from Bell Labs Version/Edition 6 onward and Linux)

In recent history, there has also been a common model of GUI, so I would not want to call whether GNOME/KDE was influence by Win95, with parallel evolution, or whether there is a common work-a-like (for example, whether both of them took anything from the Apollo/VUE/Motif/CDE developments). I certainly would not want to say that Windows 7 desktop was a copy of KDE any more than KDE being a copy of the Win95 desktop.

Many people who look at such things believe that the Genetic UNIX kernel (i.e. derived from AT&T code) has a number of fundamental deficiencies that need fixing by being replaced. Some, though not all, have been fixed in BSD derivatives and Linux, although both have other issues.

If you look at it, Rob Pike, Ken Thompson and Dennis Richie, all movers and shakers in original UNIX, have moved on, and developed (with others) Plan 9 as a replacement for UNIX.

Microsoft believed that they could develop a new OS from the ground up which would be better than anything then available. They did this by using IBM and people from other OS families (including Dave Cutler who was a VMS architect). Unfortunately, whether it was because of the short-sighted view of what it would be used for, or the requirement of backward compatibility with older OS's, Windows NT (new technology) and derivatives ended up where we are today.

If you look at the privilege separation, NT file system and multi-tasking ability compared with other OS's of the time (and Linux was not one of these), and integrated GUI, WinNT should have been quite a capable OS, but something important got lost along the way.

I blame the application model of being able to write where-ever you want on the filesystem (required for non-NT Windows application compatibility, and carried on to NT through poor education and practices by application writers) as the primary problem. If they had put a DOS/Windows 3.1/95/ME comparability mode that used something like chroot to isolate such application from the main OS, and enforced system directories that would never be written to by non-privileged applications for system libraries, utilities and DLLs, used specific User ID's (not Administrator) and directories as placeholders for applications, and made sure that nobody EVER installed NT using a FAT32 filesystem for C:, then I think that NT would have developed into a potent multi-tasking, multi-user OS. That did not happen and it's not where we are now.

BTW I am, and have been for over 30 years, a strong UNIX and latterly Linux advocate, but I do not let that blind me to the merits of other OS's, even if they are only potential.

Planet with British weather found 20 light years away

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Robert Long 1

It depends on what kind of earth-like life you are thinking of. If you think of bacteria or other single-celled organisms, then gravity is probably not too much of a problem. If you think of higher lifeforms, then gravity will be a big factor.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

How could it not be!

Can I press the button now, Teach.

Oooooh, that's nice.

Dropbox 'insecure and misleading' – crypto researcher

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


I can't remember what dropbox state as their business continuity model, but if they offer any form of backup at all, then they have to have some means of reading the data to replicate or copy to backup media. Even if they offer encryption, then unless it is client side (i.e. on your system) before being sent over the wire, someone would have the opportunity to capture whatever is needed to prime the encryption.

Let's face it, if you use somebody else's service to store your data, do you ever have anything other than their assurance for the security of that data? The only thing you can be sure of is what you do yourself, so either don't trust them with sensitive data, or encrypt it, just as everyone else is saying.

It's a no-brainer, really.

Comet owner boosted by closure rumours

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Buying and collecting

You can't have it every way. Either you pay a higher price for someone to hold stock locally, or you must be prepared to wait until it can be delivered from a central warehouse.

It is only in the very rare situation where you will find a local retailer with products in stock, that they are prepared to sell at the same price as the large chains.

I must admit that having lost our local Currys during the sharp intake of breath DRG had when the credit crunch started, and also having lost our Woolworths, I am starting to look very favourably to our local independent electrical retailer, just to try to keep them in business and local. Yes, they're more expensive, but so is petrol, and my time is also precious. They will deliver exactly when I want, and also offer far more help and advice in fitting, often for free, than I got after paying for an installation service for my last cooker from one of the Nationals.

Microsoft, Nokia, HTC fight Apple's 'App store' trademark

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Using app or apps as a contraction for application is as old as the hills, or at least the PC (although probably older than this, but I have no references).

I'm fairly certain it was in common use in the 1980s. It's difficult to find references, because the Internet didn't exist back then, and most things were documented on paper. Maybe someone could trawl Usenet archives to try and find the earliest reference, or go through the Personal Computer World archives to try to find the earliest example.

Student accused of posting bogus coupons to 4chan

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


yes and no. At the point of consumption, it has little to no fat, so qualifies as a low fat food, and definitely will not contain cholesterol (one of the reasons to eliminate saturated fat). But is seriously bad for the everyone except for the dentist!

Actually, conventional food science says that sugar is only converted into fat if there is a surplus of energy foods in the diet. If there is not enough other energy sources, it will be used to power the body. Still, it's not likely that someone consuming peppermint patties is short of calories in the rest of what they eat!

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

US Chocolate.

I'm fairly sure that I've heard in a TV documentary about Hersheys that the reason why US chocolate tastes so bad (or unique, as they put it) is because in earlier days, it was shipped around the US by rail in unrefrigerated boxcars in high temperatures, so by the time it got to it's destination, it was seriously past it's best.

People in small US towns across the US, being told that Chocolate was the height of confectionery in Europe ate it anyway, and got used to the taste.

When distribution got better, people complained that it did not taste the same, and so it was re-formulated to deliberately taste the way it does.

This could be an apocryphal story, but I believed it at the time.

What I found hilarious was a declaration on the packaging of some Peppermint Patties that came from the US that stated they are a low-fat food, which is true (only a very thin layer of dark 'chocolate' on them), but as they are about 60% refined sugar, the statement really is designed to mislead the US population about it's suitability as part of their diet.

RM reports first-half loss, nasty sales dip

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

It always worries me

when a company reporting poor part-year results, offers to increase the dividend return to it's investors.

It strikes me as a callous offer to try to keep share prices up, mortgaging future profits to make the company look better now.

But then there is so much in the shareholder-value-is-paramount led business model that I disagree with.

Stop the world. I want to get off!

In-app payment patent scattergun fired at small devs

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

"around 20 years"

I don't know where that came from. The filing date on this patent is 10th December 2003, although it is a continuance of other patents, the earliest being 07/926,333, filed in August 1992 (from the link in the article to the U.S. Patent office site).

IANA(IP)L, but I would assume that it is the filing date of the actual patent, not any precursor patent applications that have been abandoned, that is important.

Mind you, if there is a precursor patent application that was abandoned, and the technique is similar, does the abandoned application not count as a clear and unambiguous case of prior art!

'Upgraded' Apple iMacs lock out hard drive replacement

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


I know it was not shipped with the laptop, but IBM and latterly Lenovo have complete service guides for all Thinkpad models on the Internet, freely available, and easy to find.

Want to know the part number for the screw that holds the power socket into the case for your 1998 vintage T20? It's all there. And the strip-down guides are not just the easy to open doors and hatches, but removing every component that has an identified part number down to bare plastic cases, ribbon cables and screws.

That's one of the main reasons why I choose them for my workhorse laptops. The other reasons being easy availability of spare parts and general robustness.

Google Chromebook: Will the revolution be subscribed?

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

If this is how you see it

then it will become the Amstrad Emailer of the future.

US Navy produces smart, cheap 6kg fire+forget missile

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Jonathan White

I think that Macross (especially Macross Plus) is a better example in anime, but it is quite a common theme.

I sometimes wonder where all these missiles are stored, especially in the transforming robot/planes that must have so much more gubbins under the skins, but if it were realistic, it would not be so visual.

Use of Weapons declared best sci-fi film never made

Peter Gathercole Silver badge
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The Mote in Gods Eye

Although it is one of my all-time favourite books, it's a bit long, especially as it is so fast moving as everyone is almost constantly in a state of disciplined panic. I'm sure it could be cut down, but would loose much of the background that is essential to the story.

I'd love to see the first contact with MacArthur tearing through the light sail and wedging the Crazy Eddie probe into the hanger filmed. It's a terrific bit of writing, and would translate to the screen really well IMHO.

I was really surprised that Oath of Fealty never made it into the lists. That would film well with a small principal cast and much that could be filmed without a huge CGI budget. It could also be marketed as a near future story to the mass market.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Andrew Garrard re: Enders Game

is one of the few books that I had to read cover-to-cover in a single session. But the tactics that made Ender so different would be almost impossible to relate on the screen, it would be just too confusing for most people, especially in the zero-gravity encounters when there is no 'up'.

If I remember correctly, there was only a single child death in Battle School (and a documented history of a few more that are mentioned, but not detailed), and this was not in one of the set battles, but a bullying incident that would not be too difficult to portray. In the battle room, participants are 'frozen' by immobilization suits and guns not that different from laser-zone guns instead of killed.

All of the 'real' battle scenes except the flashbacks to the first war were deliberately stylised so that they appeared like tactical exercises to the children. That would be easypeasy to film.

Hacker pwns police cruiser and lives to tell tale

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

PEN tests!

A major UK bank I worked at had some very good people (since made redundant) designing and building a customer facing environment in accordance with their quite rigorous security standards. One of the steps to getting it approved for use was a PEN test that was tasked to one of the organizations who are regarded as good at such things (if you think of the first name to spring to mind you've probably guessed who they are).

Halfway through the morning, a message got back to the admins from the PEN testers that went along the lines of "Could you please open up some of the firewalls and server ports to allow us to actually see some of the systems. We're having difficulty getting anything to respond to our probes".

You can guess what the answer to that was!

Peter Gathercole Silver badge
Thumb Up

"..simple home user"

I suspect that the fact that you know how to port-scan all your devices, and bother to do it proves your statement is not completely correct.

A "simple" home user will get someone in to get everything working, and not understand enough to even know what a port scan is.

I would suspect that you fall into the "talented amateur who gives a damn" category. A fairly rare person.

Powerline networking pops up in Parliament

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

I agree with the AC

If the files are corrupt, it is probably something other than the media or transport layer of the network that is at fault. If you are using TCP/IP, then you should get an error free stream of packets, because the TCP layer does packet checksum and retransmission. I suppose that it is just possible that a corrupted packet actually has the same checksum as the original, as the 16 bit checksum on TCP packets is not especially robust, but I do not know how likely that is.

Anybody any idea?

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Different potentials on the earth in a ring.

I don't know exactly how the rings were arranged in the building (I was a mere student, not one of the staff), and I admit that there could have been a wiring fault, but this is what we measured. It may also be that the neutrals of the different phases were not tied together correctly. The hall comprised of a number of different buildings up the street, so may have had separate single phase installations at some time in the past which may explain it not being a proper three-phase installation.

This was 30 years ago, and the building was a lot older than that. I have no idea about the current capacity of that situation, I didn't want to put a load across it to measure the current. It may have just been an earth-leakage problem in some equipment attached to one of the rings. It was close to the kitchen.

Each phase could also have a different earth, with no common connection through a conductor. The earth itself is not a conductor, so it is perfectly possible to get local variations in earth potential.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


I really doubt that many houses are on more than one phase. It can cause all sorts of earthing problems, some quite dangerous.

I worked at a REC (Regional Electricity Company) for a while, and it was explained to me that in most streets you end up with the phases being alternated down a street, so you are rarely on the same phase as either of your neighbours.

A single phase is quite capable of delivering the 60-100A that will be more than most dwellings need. You can tell by finding the electricity meter in your house. If you have a single meter with a single (normally red, and quite thick) wire connected on the input side, you are on a single phase.

I have PL set up in my house, and we have it working through the all three floors of the house, through several breaker boxes which are only connected together at the main live feed into the house. Some of the parts get better speed, however. Most of mine are eBuyer special 85Mb/s Turbo mode devices, about as cheap as I could buy.

When setting up some PA kit at my University hall of residence, we had a persistent buzz we could not get rid of. We traced it down to having different phases and earths on each side of the dining hall, and we measured more than 100V AC between the earth pins of sockets on each side of the hall. This scared me quite a lot.

Elgato Tivizen iOS Wi-Fi TV tuner

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

I wonder...

what the TV licensing people have to say about this.

If you use a USB dongle for freeview, you are covered by your home TV license with a laptop as long as the laptop is running on battery. As soon as you plug it in, you have to be covered by a valid license for the premises you are in.

The important thing appears to be that the receiving device is battery powered.

This thing looks like it is battery powered, so you can plug your laptop into the mains with impunity! I'm sure that there will be debate about this, but this is how I read it.

I also wonder how leakage into adjacent properties not covered by a license will be seen by the TV licensing people.

The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@AC re Caves of Steel

Not the radio version, the 1964 TV adaptation by Terry Nation, and starring Peter Cushing. Read the article on Wikipedia. Only a minute or so of clips remain.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Galactic Patrol would be great, and contains enough action to satisfy Hollywood's CGI lust. Imagine how you cool you could make Worsel the Valentian!

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


That means that I am definitely one then, because I recognise almost all of them, and have read more than half!

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Foundation was a trilogy

for many, many years, before dear old Isaac (bog rest his overworked imagination) decided to go down the future history route, and tie all of his series together. Hardcore Asimov fans don't think of the later books as canon.

It was interesting to see how he did it while the books were being first published, but in hindsight, I think it would have been better keeping R. Daneel Olivaw out of the Foundation stories. It all feels a bit contrived now.

Still, I think that it could be good, but would end up a bit slow for the Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer generations.

I wish the BBC dramatisation of "Caves of Steel" still existed somewhere. If someone has it, they would be a real hero!

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Thomas Covenant

Totally agree. Mind you, I learnt more about Leprosy from the first book than from the previous 15 years of education.

Calling all commentards: Want some new icons?

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Alien Doctor 1.1 re. chemical warfare attack

I did say "clean". I would be interested (in an academic sense - I have no dirty sock fetish) in finding out what made your socks such foul things. If you wore them for days on end, or paddled through mud in them, or maybe didn't wash your feet than I can understand. If your feet get wet, then maybe the choice of sandals was wrong in the first place.

Maybe I'm lucky, but my socks come off at the end of the day only a little more smelly than they were at the beginning, and even less so if I have been wearing sandals..

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Socks with sandals

I personally find that sandals with socks is far preferable to sandals and naked feet, bent toes, broken nails, cracked heels, corns and all.

As long as they are tidy and relatively clean, I can only find fashion reasons against wearing socks, whereas I can find many, many reasons for wearing them, and I am completely unrepentant in this attitude.

When it comes down to it, it really depends on how much a slave to fashion you are.

I've never grown a beard, and morris dancing has only a passing interest, but the rest applies!

Ubuntu 'Natty Narwhal' breaks the surface

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Does suspend and resume work OK on the T30?

I have serious issues with 10.04, with the state of the ATI graphics card not being restored correctly after resume, leading to corrupted screen.

Apple breaks location-storing silence

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Annihilator re. Cell tower positions.

Funny. 15 years ago, I remember my Nokia 2110 (1st generation GPS?) phone reporting the post code of the nearest tower in the UK. I think that the info was part of the transmitted stream from the cell tower.

Not that useful, but then phones were not that 'smart' back then, and could barely handle text messages.

Hubble celebrates 21st with gorgeous galactic 'rose' snap

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Ahh.. Amazing.

The problem is that it only looks this good from a distance. It probably looks a bit like the Milky Way from inside.

That's not a reason to not go, though!

Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy look-and-feel

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

That's uncanny

but as well, I think that HP ought to look at Palm's IP that they obtained with the buyout. There's several devices in the portfolio featuring touch screens, curved corners, rectangular grids of icons (on rectangular backgrounds), hard keys at the bottom etc.

Palm were never so keen on the shiny chrome, preferring the brushed metal look, however.

BBC 'would not kill off the internet even if it could'

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

You were behind the times

I was using AltaVista almost from it's launch in 1995.

How is SSL hopelessly broken? Let us count the ways

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


and you know the 'phone number you call is good because...?

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Self-signed certificates

allow you to have the benefit of SSL encryption without the need of purchasing a certificate from a CA.

You loose the benefit of a trusted third party vouching for you, but you maintain the security of the encrypted link, so it's not all a waste.

I personally would want to use a trusted partner for my Webmail, but I may myself be happy for a self-certified certificate for services I expose on the Web for my own use.

Also, the problem of using a CA on a closed Intranet can be a serious issue without either setting up a local CA, or using self-signed certificates.

In either of the last two cases, having Firefox bitch about self-signed certificates is less than helpful.

GNOME 3: Shocking changes for Linux lovers

Peter Gathercole Silver badge


Because sometimes, after a really hectic day, when I have 30+ windows open (today is a quiet day, I've only 24 windows open) with different terminal sessions (currently 12 different systems on the network), browsers (this one, and a separate window with two Nagios status pages, and two multiple tabbed HMC windows onto 16 different HMCs in the environment - it's a big environment) , document readers, configuration windows, notification windows, mail clients, it's nice (especially with a "Minimise All" button) to clear the desktop without having to worry about loosing your carefully arranged windows positions.

I appreciate alt-tab, sometimes it's takes too long to work out which xterm is which.

And yes, I use multiple desktops to reduce the clutter, and yes I have automatic setup of windows when I log in.

Also, in your case, sometimes window B is completely obscured, so how do you click on it?

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

I'm depressed

As a long term UNIX user and more recently (13 years seems recent to me) Linux user, and having been taken through Sun View, OpenLook, twm, vtwm, Motif, CDE, fvwm, and various releases of KDE and Gnome, as well as many different experiments with the less well known desktop managers like Afterstep and Elightenment, I'm finding The World moving further and further away from what I want to use.

All I want is multiple overlapping windows, with a focus policy that I can change to what I want, and a quick way of starting any of the applications I use in a constant and consistent manner that does not conflict with selecting already opened windows. Multiple desktops are nice, and starting up a walking menu, either from a fixed point on the screen, or from a button press over the desktop is all I need. I can cope without drag-and-drop between folders and onto applications, and I can live without using the 'desktop' as a drop area to hold files (all this does is make you messy and uncaring about where on the system your files actually are).

I'm thinking of giving up completely on computers, grabbing a broom, and applying for a street sweepers job.

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

@Cam 2: At the risk of re-starting the Editor wars...

...there speaks a real emacs user!

Punter bags 500GB SSD, finds 128MB Flash inside

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

ChiPod mp4 player

Mine was physically labelled as a 16GB unit and reported 16GB in the FAT, but was actually only 8GB minus a bit (presumably the firmware). But I was able to format it to the correct size, and it worked quite well until the NAND memory wore out. This was about 15 months of quite hard use.

I informed the seller, and was offered a refund, but I thought that even at 8GB, it was worth the ludicrously low price.

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