* Posts by conscience

116 posts • joined 6 Jun 2013


If at first or second you don't succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update


@AC "All that's left on windows 10 are games."

If they are Steam games, have a look at Steam Play. Using a Valve-enhanced version of WINE called Proton, you can now run your 'Windows only' games on Linux directly from the Linux Steam client. There's a whitelist of tested to be 100% compatible games, and Valve are working their way the entire back catalogue of 'Windows only' games so eventually they'll all 'just work' right 'out of the box' on Linux.

If you are one of the many gamers that is totally fed up of Microsoft and Windows, it's the perfect answer and it doesn't require any technical knowledge, special configuration or any other messing about.

All you have to do is enable the Steam client Beta from the settings, and then the whitelisted titles are shown in the Linux Steam client and can be installed with a single click. If a game you want to play isn't on the whitelist yet then you can turn on 'enable all games' for Steam Play from the settings and try your luck. Personally I've found many of the games that are not yet on the whitelist already work just fine, but YMMV depending on the game.

Enabling Steam Play couldn't be easier:

1.Click On Steam (in steam client, top left corner)

2.Click On Settings

3.Click On Account

4.You'll see a button that says "change" below Beta Participating

5.Select Steam Beta Update

6.You are all done

Mac users burned after Nuance drops Dragon speech to text software


@ Charles 9

"PS. Last I checked, I cannot run a Linux program in Windows, so I CANNOT just run anything I want. Switching to Linux mans sacrificing access to Windows-only software, especially games, and keeping Windows means losing some control over the inner working of the computer to a proprietary OS. And since I lack the technical expertise to roll my own, I'm kind of stuck."

Switching to Linux certainly does not mean losing access to Windows software, that is completely untrue just like all your uninformed 'Windows only software won't work on Linux' rants.

And yes, this works even with games and now it just works out of the box. Ever heard of Steam Play?

Valve are in the process of testing the entire back catalogue of Windows titles to run natively on Linux via Steam Play. The Steam Play feature uses Proton, an open source, Valve-enhanced version of WINE that is now built right into the Linux Steam client and which enables access to all Windows only games to run directly from Linux. Currently, turning on the Steam beta from the options gives you a large whitelisted collection of Windows games that have already been tested for full compatibility and which are already working fine on Linux. These games run natively using DirectX over Vulkan. You can also turn on the option on to allow all Windows software to install on Linux, even the as yet untested titles not on the whitelist, and all the ones I have tried so far work perfectly well. Any games that don't yet work will do very soon as Valve are working their way through their entire back catalogue of 'Windows only' games to test for compatibility which, once complete, will enable every single Windows game to run on Linux with no special configuration, technical knowledge or messing around required. All a user needs to do is click the install button exactly the same as from the Windows version of the Steam client. What could be easier?

I've been having great fun doing so and playing all my so-called 'Windows only' titles using Linux Mint. Using Steam Play is no different from playing Windows games on Windows itself - except you actually control your own OS and hardware without any of the hassle that using Windows forces on people.

Finally, someone takes a stand against Apple, Samsung for slowing people's phones. Just a few million dollars, tho


No excuse

Deliberate sabotage of items belonging to your own customers is about as unacceptable as it gets. Reducing performance to the point of making a device useless or a pain to use is surely criminal damage, reduced functionality is technically theft as they are depriving the legal owners of the full use of their product, and if manufacturers claim an update makes things better and it doesn't, or it makes it worse, then that is fraud too.

There is no excuse, even given the option of accepting an update like this nobody in their right mind would have agreed to it if they knew the full consequences.

Imagine a house builder returning every couple of years to remove the roof because they want to sell everyone a new one, or a car manufacturer replacing the engine with a set of pedals to force people to buy a new vehicle?

If this is to be stopped, there needs to be some meaningful consequences for this crime, a comparatively tiny fine like this will sadly make no difference for corporations as rich as the likes of Apple so the punishment needs to be far bigger. Maybe a fine equal to a large percentage of global turnover for each infraction, full refunds for all affected customers plus compensation would stop them ripping their customers off.

Intel finally emits Puma 1Gbps modem fixes – just as new ping-of-death bug emerges


Same old from Chipzilla

Intel making something that worked correctly would be bigger news. All I can say is that it is a good job they are good at marketing, what with the flood of articles around the net at the moment that talk about their "superior 10nm process lead"... that all fail to mention that it's only seen a very limited release because it doesn't actually work properly yet. Jim Keller appears to be their only hope for designing something that actually works as intended.

Microsoft's cheapo Surface: Like a netbook you can't upgrade


Once again Microsoft fail to understand the market, they really don't seem to have any idea about what people actually want.

The original netbooks were quite popular because they were functional computers that ran at a reasonable speed (running Linux) and, more importantly, they were cheap so they were considered a bargain. Netbooks only stopped being popular once Microsoft forced Windows XP onto them which killed performance and increased the price to almost the same as a far superior laptop, at which point there was no contest and laptops became seen as far better value for money so buyers opted for those instead.

The price of this thing is absolutely ridiculous! £379.99 4GB/64GB just for the base machine or £509.99 8GB/128GB for the upgraded version, which itself is too expensive for what it is, but then come all the extras on top: Type Cover £99.99 (black)/£124.99 (coloured), Surface Mobile Mouse £29.99 or Surface Precision Mouse a staggering £99.99, Surface Pen £99.99. On top of that you can add whatever the dock costs, and then you still have the problem this hardware is somehow expected to run that resource hog known as Windows 10. Considering the total price this will be dead on arrival, the cheaper version costs £609.96, or a whopping £834.96 with the 'premium' upgrades - and that is excluding the dock! I predict Microsoft will end up with another warehouse full of kit they cannot sell. It seems they will never learn.

This will end up being another failed Microsoft project that gets cancelled before too long.

Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android


Re: Hmm

What after-thoughts? And WTF do endorsements and pro gamers have to do with anything? Personally, I have better things to do than watch others game, don't you? Each to their own, of course.

There is no 'must have' platform anymore, each user has a viable choice of whatever they prefer. It's a good job too, as Windows never sucked as bad.


Re: Hmm


I don't know where you get your information from, but that is untrue. Battle.net runs just fine on Wine on Linux, and no, you don't get banned for just using Wine. Also, they never intended to ban Wine users it was a mistake they admitted to and fixed. It is true that a few users were temporarily banned when other software was detected that was initially assumed to be some sort of cheating, but once they realised it was Wine and no cheating was happening they rectified that, changed their detection systems so Wine no longer triggered a ban and unbanned the unlucky few gamers that had been caught out.

Updraft is spot on, there is more than enough of an ecosystem on desktop Linux to make it a viable alternative to Windows 10 - even with gaming. There are more native ports all the time, for example Feral have done some impressive ports such as Tomb Raider, Mad Max, Dirt Rally, Hitman, and others, and they're not the only ones releasing AAA games on Linux. Even the Windows version of Steam runs fine on Linux using Wine making many of the 'Windows only' games accessible. Just because a title isn't officially supported it doesn't mean it won't run. I have GTA 4 installed right now and it runs perfectly well from my Linux desktop.

It's been a long time coming perhaps, but Windows isn't needed for anything anymore. Whatever it is you want to do, be it basic browsing and email, watching videos or playing games, you can do it all on your phone, tablet, Linux or Mac desktop, Playstation etc. and all better than on Windows 10. Windows tries so hard to monetise users these days that it has the fans spinning faster on an idle desktop than Linux does when a game is running with the graphics set to the highest settings on a 4K monitor.

Intel’s first 10nm CPU is a twin-core i3 destined for a mid-range Lenovo


I am surprised Intel have even bothered with this

If this is the best that Intel can currently do on the new process then I really don't see the point of it, unless of course this is a shareholder appeasement move or PR strategy. This chip is never going to impress anyone and is far from the usual high-end showcase a new chip or process traditionally receive, it just serves to highlight the big problems that they are having.

It is definitely very revealing as to what a dire state Intel's 10nm process must be in right now. I'm sure I read somewhere that Intel won't be skipping 10nm because of all the money they have invested in it so far and they want a return on their investment. If that is true then this could be a huge mistake as it could leave them at a real disadvantage. They simply have to make 10nm work and fast, meanwhile their rivals move onto 7nm and beyond leaving them far behind.

When you also take into account the up to 30% slowdown from the Meltdown patches, it's no wonder that they hired Jim Keller! For the first time in a long time, maybe even since the Athlon days, Intel look decidedly second best and they're vulnerable, not only from AMD but also they have the ARM crowd to contend with.

What's up with that ZX Spectrum reboot? Still no console


Re: This is a trivial design...

The other problem with the Spectrum Next is the price. I'd have probably got one for under £100.

10 social networks ignored UK government consultations


Even if such a magic machine were possible, can you imagine the size of the thing? It'd never be finished being built!

According to a quick bit of Google-Fu, Facebook alone has 300 petabytes of data and adds another 4 petabytes per day, contains 250 billion photographs which grows at a rate of 350 million per day, has nearly 1.5 billion daily active users/2 billion monthly users and growing fast, etc. - which apparently all need scanning and judging automagically to somehow always agree with the government?

Oh look, a flying pig... Haha.

Intel outside: Apple 'prepping' non-Chipzilla Macs by 2020 (stop us if you're having deja vu)


Intel out, AMD in?

Intel may well be on the way out, but could that be because AMD is on their way in as they can offer more bang for Apple's bucks?

While Apple's ARM chips may be more than good enough for the iStuff and their mid-range desktops and laptops, for the time being I can still imagine Apple wanting to supplement them with something a little beefier for their high performance models. It could make some sense for them to employ a big.little type configuration with their custom ARM CPU for less intensive tasks, but having a Ryzen/Epic (and Vega graphics) kicking in when higher performance is required. Also by not abandoning x86 straight away, this could also help give them time to further boost their ARM performance and allow the Mac developers to port their applications to the new architecture.


Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

@ GIRZiM - It sounds like you assume ARM earns more than they actually do. ARM profits aren't big enough to really worry about who owns it, we're 'only' talking a few hundred million a year not billions.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE


Foot meet hand grenades

It seems Microsoft aren't satisfied merely shooting at their own feet so they decided to take it to the next level.

Of course, MS being a joke is nothing new but this is one enormous screw up, even by their super low standards.

It is also not unheard of for Microsoft to deliberately introduce new show-stopping bugs into operating systems they'd rather people upgraded from. It was the exact same tactic they used when Vista was replacing XP e.g. SP3 broke popular on-board networking and sound on a lot of motherboards unless the drivers were installed prior to the service pack, otherwise the PC fell silent and had no networking no doubt convincing the technically illiterate that the actual hardware was broken and it was time for a new PC (and the latest version of Windows).

What are the odds that the official fix advice will be "upgrade to Windows 10"?

UK.gov unveils cyber security export strategy – only thing missing is the strategy

Black Helicopters

Re: wonder which of the promoted companies

If you meant the start-up accelerator that GCHQ is pumping money and expertise into, then these are some of them:

- - - -

Seven startups were whittled down from 50 entries in total, and these were CounterCraft, Cyberowl, Cybersmart, Elemendar, Spherical Defence, StatusToday and Verimuchme.

Verimuchme is a digital wallet for personal identification, while Cyberowl is an early-warning system for cyber attacks. Cybersmart automates implementation, certification and compliance across security standards. Elemendar is described by Wayra as a "collective intelligence platform that provides data visualisations to make sense of complex, uncertain, or volatile issues". Spherical Defence a "banking API intrusion detection system that uses deep learning to detect hacking attempts by establishing a baseline of normal communication".

StatusToday is a platform that uses machine learning to try to make sense of human behaviour in the workplace, including insider attacks but also defending against plain human error. Speaking with Techworld, StatusToday's cofounder Ankur Modi said that the incubator had been essential in advancing his business.

"The incubator was an interesting experiment for us," Modi said. "As a very young startup in the UK, we have been very keen to engage with GCHQ to understand how to mature the technology and the business.

"One of the things it's helped us with is we got access to very senior experts within GCHQ, both technical and commercial, who helped us refine the technologies. Our machine learning capabilities, I would say, certainly have improved as a result of the conversations and discussions we've had with them – around what are the things that really matter when it comes to threat and risk, and what are the things that don't have that big a damage impact."


- - - - - -

The second tranche of GCHQ-selected infosec startups has told the government that Britain should emulate the model it applied to encouraging the growth of homegrown fintech startups to cyber security.

Meet the startups

This is the second round of the joint GCHQ and Wayra accelerator programme, and the first time some of the startups will be hosted at the NCSC's location in Victoria, rather than behind the wire at GCHQ's headquarters in Cheltenham. The first cohorts raised £3 million in funding in total following the launch of the scheme in April this year.

The nine startups include a business that tracks the illicit trading of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin called Elliptic, a software-as-a-service learning platform designed to help developers write secure code called Secure Code Warrior, and ExactTrak, that provides tracking technology integrated at the chip level and counts AMD as a customer.

The other startups are Cybershield, Intruder, Ioetec, RazorSecure, Trust Elevate, and Warden, spanning spearphishing prevention, through to age verification for young adults and children online.

Wayra director Gary Stewart said that although the UK ranks an admirable third in worldwide cybersecurity investment, the NCSC and Wayra believe "we can do even better". The project is unique in that it is an open partnership with the secret services.


Windows Store nixed Google Chrome 'app' hours after it went live


Re: Obligatory

That is not true. Blizzard never had an official problem with using WINE, any bans because of WINE use were actually unintentional and the few bans that did happen were reversed by Blizzard who updated their software/policy so that it didn't happen again in the future. IIRC WINE was mistaken for some soft of unauthorised cheat software, which is what Blizzard do have a problem with.

No official support doesn't mean a game won't run on other platforms. Personally I have enjoyed playing many unsupported 'windows only' games on Linux without any problems. As far as I know (I don't play either game you mention), it is possible to run both of those games on Linux according to various web sources.

Besides which, even if any particular game didn't work, it isn't essential to own or play every single title. Every platform probably has their own exclusive titles, and maybe this matters to 15 year old kids or your beloved pro-gamers if they happen to play one particular title that has problems on other systems, but for the rest of us gamers there's still plenty of choice.


Re: Obligatory

I don't know why you keep banging on about "professional gamers", but I do think that you're overstating the importance and influence that is associated with it. Professional gaming is a drop in the ocean compared to the non-pro living room amateur gamers who spend considerably more money on a lot more games. I don't think it matters which system pro games use, the pro gaming scene is still a minority thing that has less people with a lot less money spent on it than ordinary arm chair gamers, and the numbers involved in it are tiny. Nor do the masses necessarily follow what the pro gamers use. From what I've read there's barely 150m people who regularly view these events, and a similar number who only occasionally view the tournaments (2017 figures).

I'd say professional gaming is totally irrelevant with regards to showing "you're something", showing you're something is more about either enjoying/doing well at the game (for gamers - pros and non-pros alike), or selling huge numbers of games (for the companies). As for the ordinary gamers, whatever OS they decide to use, be it *nix based stuff like MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Playstation 4, Nintendo etc., or Microsoft's Xbox and Windows, there are more than enough games to keep everyone busy for a very long time.

It is well known that operating systems other than Windows are more than capable of playing any game on the market, whether or not they are available on that system is another matter entirely but non-Windows OS game availability is improving all the time. While it is true that Windows is still dominant in the gaming space, largely due to inertia of the past, there are still hundreds of pages of non-Windows games available right now on Steam for both Linux and Mac OS. e.g. Mac OS has 281 pages of games (25 per page = over 7000 games), Linux has 186 pages of games (25 per page = 4650 games). Sure Windows has many more, but how many games can a gamer play in one lifetime?

"Pulling gamers off Windows" isn't really the point. The big game engines have added the ability to export to multiple platforms from Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and even web browser, and the number of games available for non-Windows systems is rapidly growing. The truth is that gamers are no longer tied to Windows if they choose not to be, and given that WINE allows me to install the Windows version of Steam alongside the Linux version, therefore allowing me to play all the Windows games that I own right there from my Linux desktop, it's the best of both worlds as far as I am concerned especially as I don't have to put up with Microsoft's shoddy software, shitty attitude, dodgy practices, untrustworthy patches, etc.

As always, each to their own.


Re: Obligatory

Isn't that a little contradictory, stating "Call us when [Linux, BSD/Unix] can do mainline games like Street Fighter IV or V (and no, the arcade versions don't use Linux, either--IIRC they use the Type X arcade system...which is Windows-based)" and then claiming "When it comes to consoles, the OS doesn't really matter"?


Re: Obligatory

"Call us when it can do mainline games like..."

You mean like Sony's PlayStation 4 uses Orbis OS, a fork a FreeBSD? Besides the kernel, much of the system software is also open source and UNIX-based. Though the console itself is not open source, even the SDK, compilers etc. are open source (LLVM). Much of this is also the case with both MacOS and iOS.

CellOS, the system software from the Playstation 3, also uses FreeBSD and much open source code.The Playstation Vita and more recent Nintendo Switch also follow this path.

When Sega tried to use a cut-down, mobile orientated Windows CE as their Dreamcast OS to try and pull in more developers, it broke them as a mass-manufacturer of hardware and nearly killed the company leaving them to transform into a software-only and IP licensing company to try and survive. Other than that, the only games console that doesn't use open-source UNIX-based software appears to be Microsoft's own XBox, which is hardly a great endorsement from the gaming industry.

Department of Work and Pensions internal docs reveal troubled history of Universal Credit



It appears they are all leaving as promises have not been kept, and the rest don't have a clue what they are doing or how best to do it.

According to the latest issue of Private Eye, GDS recruits were hired with the promise of training in "digital, data and technology skills", and many of these were fast tracked as "technology leaders", but "many are wondering what they are being trained to do and finding themselves in posts for which they are eminently unsuited".

"One fast streamer was given a job as a software developer, despite never having written a line of code in his life and knowing no computer languages. Others, again with no relevant knowledge of experience, were assigned jobs as network technical architects".

It appears the problem, besides the lack of proper training, is that the jobs themselves are not assigned by GDS but assigned by the civil service human resourcing unit, many of whom are "less than au fait with the requirements of the various job description templates".

"At the end of the scheme, fast streamers were promised jobs at Grade 7 level, the second-most senior tier of the civil service with significant policy responsibilities. Such roles, however, are proving thin on the ground. As a result, one fast streamer tells the Eye, they are leaving the scheme in droves - many taking their skills to the private sector. GDS, meanwhile, continues to hire in private contractors at extortionate pay rates to fill the technical skills gap of its own in-house team".

Sounds like a right mess.

Microsoft says 'majority' of Windows 10 use will be 'streamlined S mode'


Desperate MS fail again

"Laughable desperation" is coming to define Microsoft these days.

When - not if - this ill conceived effort to get users to use their app store fails, will Sacknads get desperate enough to prevent users switching away from the S mode altogether? Or introduce a monthly subscription just to be able to use non-store apps and hope the general reluctance to pay gets them what they want?

Other than trying to copy Apple and Google there appears to be little point to this move. Their app store isn't even fit for purpose, and it doesn't have the majority of software that people want or need. The biggest software vendors with the most popular, biggest selling products will _never_ put their products in the MS store as there is simply no way they'd give up such a big chunk of their income to Microsoft when they don't have to.

Microsofties are stuck in the past and still believe that they have the clout to force their whims on the industry, but these days they are so far removed from reality in their echo chamber full of staff and fanboy insiders that they genuinely don't seem to understand users, the industry or their place in it. Removing choice and making things less easy to use will never win you any friends and eventually users will make alternative arrangements be that Mac, Linux or something else. The powers at MS don't even seem to have noticed that this exodus is already happening, and things will only get worse when Windows 7 support ends.

No sh*t, Sherlock! Bloke suspected of swallowing drug stash keeps colon schtum for 22 DAYS


I bet he wishes he'd never sharted this, by now I bet he's champing at the shit to get out.

Has this ever been dung before?

It sounds unbelievable, but it stool true.

(with apologies)

Talk about a positive mental pl-attitude: WD Ultrastars shed disks without hit to capacity



If only!

I have heard of drives lasting decades when they're never switched off, but more often it's the repeated on/off power cycles that kills them before the MTBF figure.


Re: They'll still be priced in multiples of 1TB...

Couldn't agree more RE cartel pricing. This is pointless for HDD customers unless the RRP falls below the current prices. If not, the only news here is WD/HGST's profits will go up.

Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons


Re: Unlikely ever to use Quantum

If you've not tried it, try Waterfox as it's more or less the same browser as Firefox but all the add-ons still working.

Open source turns 20 years old, looks to attract normal people


Re: Amiga

"[Gates] wrote a famous letter saying "the programmer deserves to be paid" a few months after he ripped off the author of what he renamed to DOS."

Indeed he did. And the first thing Gates and Allen did when they wanted to write their own version of BASIC was to go and get the DEC manuals to rip off Digital's own version of BASIC - then they had the cheek to talk about deserving to be paid for 'their' work.

"86-DOS probably infringed on Kildall's CP/M, but MS had nothing to do with that."

Probably? The software Microsoft renamed to MS-DOS then offered to IBM and sold to the public was just an unauthorised port of Kildall's CP/M that ran on Intel processors, there is no way that was that legal. Just because SCP copied it and not Microsoft directly, it doesn't change the fact it was copied without permission or stop Microsoft being guilty of selling something that they had no right to sell. It is the definition of hypocrisy when they then talk about piracy... a bit like the Hollywood story and how they got started by moving to California so they could ignore Edison's patents.

'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature


Re: Why we need faster MEMORY!

@David Roberts

Depends which GPU you are speaking about?

nVidia are susceptible and require patches to mitigate the bugs, but AMD GPUs are not affected.

Intellectual Property Office drops, er, patently cool cartoon to teach kids about trademarks


I wonder how many of those responsible for this silliness spent time in their youth taping songs from radio broadcasts, using a VCR to record a TV programme, photocopying anything out of a book, lending/borrowing books, etc.

NHS: Thanks for the free work, Linux nerds, now face our trademark cops


Re: "Roll on the next general election, and get these shower of bastards away from the NHS."

@ lorisarvendu

While you make a good point, AFAIK 'Yes, Minister' and 'Yes, Prime Minister' were meant to be a portrayal of the Conservative party and they way they worked at the time it was made, especially with regard to how the ministers were controlled via gentlemen's clubs, promises of directorships and other cushy future jobs etc. 'The Thick Of It' was supposed to be a version of how the Labour party did things, who (arguably) had less access to the above upper-class inducements as their rivals and so relied more on bullying as a means of controlling their politicians.

FCC drops idiotic plans to downgrade entire nation's internet speeds


I don't think Pai could be any more corrupt if he tried. Watchdog? Lapdog more like.

User had no webcam or mic, complained vid conference didn’t work


Why change the name of the column at all? 'On Call' sounds better than 'Who Me' IMO.

Destroying the city to save the robocar


Re: Pure fantasy

@ Spearecrest

While it is true that the privatised rail companies are price gouging, there are other factors. e.g. travel time. To make the same journey I referred to, it took from over 2 hours to about 3.5 hours each way, compared to 90 minutes in a taxi. For a same day return, worst case is that it takes as much as double the travel time and costs twice as much to travel by rail than by taxi. Besides, you know that when a taxi is the cheapest option you know there is something badly wrong with the rail network!

It is not so much 'we' who are removing the coal fired power generation, it is the generating companies who are closing them earlier than contracted to because the financial consequences for doing so are minimal. As for Hinkley, it is laughable idea. As part of the government bribe to get it built, the cost of the electricity generated there will be outrageous and customers will be paying way above market prices for their energy for decades to come, in what many are calling the worst deal for tax payers in history. Also, the chances of the pretty much bankrupt EDF ever laying a single brick to build it nevermind completing the project to completion are minimal, they just can't afford to build it regardless of any Chinese investment. Why do you think that with the 2025 completion deadline fast approaching they have hardly started building it? Currently EDF have something like 19 (IIRC) nuclear power stations to decommission in France with spiralling costs and little to no money to do it with. The truth is that EDF simply cannot afford to build anything at Hinkley regardless of the PR, and no doubt all the decommissioning costs will then fall onto the British tax payer. The French government are only preventing EDF from going bankrupt as otherwise the whole decommissioning bill for their own nuclear programme will land on them and the French taxpayers, currently Hinkley is their best chance of passing those costs on to the UK. I also wonder how long the French imports will continue as their own generation capacity falls with their own decommissioning programme ongoing?

Coal may not be perfect, but whatever crap is emitted is certainly less than with biomass and is far cheaper and much safer than the nuclear option. I'm not getting into global warming here as I've seen no evidence that it exists outside of the earth's natural heating and cooling cycles.

It doesn't have to be trams or rail, but finite available space and rising population does suggest that mass transit is the way forward. The only true 'rule of the road' is that the number of cars will always expand to fill the available road space no matter how many roads we build.


Pure fantasy

Safe, cheap and reliable autonomous electric vehicles any time soon is pure fantasy. It's all just hype.

Regardless of how much the tech companies salivate at the thought of selling x hundred million pieces of software, hardware and a bewildering amount of sensors, the technology isn't even close to existing with which to build reliable and safe autonomous electric cars. The environment isn't remotely suitable, and even the cities would apparently need redesigning. Parts of the industry are finally being honest and confessing to this, but nobody seems to have informed the UK government who are too busy right now enjoying appearing to actually understand anything technological to notice!

The UK doesn't even have enough electricity to power such a plan, the government already pay large electricity users not to use any at peak times and run power station car parks full of diesel generators at peak demand while many coal-fired power stations continue to close years earlier than planned with no viable replacements even started to be planned or built. There aren't even enough roads to handle any more cars and the cost would be astronomical. Who is going to pay for all this? It's nothing short of crazy, especially in the time frame being suggested.

While it wouldn't be a bad plan to reduce the number of petrol and diesel cars on the roads for reasons of public health, wouldn't the money be far better spent on improving public transport systems that all could benefit from?

Here in the UK public transport options are currently abysmal, especially if you don't live in a big city and so don't have access to various subsidised discount fares. e.g. I had a journey to make last week of approx. 75 miles. I ended up getting a taxi for £80 each way (£40 each for the two passengers). If I came back same day the return was free (so less than half the price of a train, plus £12 per hour waiting time), or next day return which involved a second journey for the taxi driver with a round trip of 300 miles which cost £160 in total (or £80 per passenger). However, this was still cheaper than an anytime return ticket on the train once the very limited number of subsidised tickets were sold out, and that doesn't take long especially if you're travelling at fairly short notice. The equivalent train price was approx. £173, so with two passengers that travelled that would cost £85 each. How come an expensive taxi is often still the 'cheapest' way to travel?

If we're going to modernise and go all electric, a system of trams feeding a much hugely less expensive rail network seems like a far more sensible idea that would benefit far more people. Other nations seem to be able to manage it, so why can't we do this on a national or even a global scale?

Intel AMT security locks bypassed on corp laptops – fresh research


Re: @ conscience - Staggering

@ RobHib

Good post. I knew about the maths bug, but I didn't know about the lookup table. Sounds like a typical Intel screw up/shortcut, not that anything they do surprises me. I completely agree with you about Intel's 'design philosophy' being all about the money. They'll do absolutely anything to boost performance by any means in order to compete/appear to beat their rivals, regardless of any consequences no matter how bad they might be for anyone. They originally started off trying to make RAM but that didn't work properly either. It says it all really...

The only things Intel are any good at are PR, hiding behind NDAs to cover up their many mistakes, and using their mountains of cash to portray themselves and their substandard products as the premium choice while crushing the competition.



Another ridiculously embarrassing screw up by Intel.

Isn't it obvious to them that there should definitely be some security on such a privileged tool as the Management Engine?

I'm starting to wonder if there is anything they bothered to design correctly?

Sueball smacks AMD over processor chip security flaw silence


Is this a twisted PR stunt?

I'm no financial wizard, but this seems ridiculous to me.

The investor spent $257,040 buying their 21,000 shares at $12.24 each. Today the AMD share price is up (again), and the value of those 21,000 shares currently stands at $12.18 each, or 6 cents less per share with a total value of $255,780. This is only $1,260 less than the initial purchase price, and considering AMD's share price is on an upward trajectory right now I see no reason at all to take any legal action? If this legal action has any effect at all it would only lower the share price and make the investor's own financial situation worse!? If the aim of the investment is to make money, rather than make AMD look bad, then this is a totally pointless endeavour at best and at worst financially damaging to the investor personally.

The cynic in me wonders if someone connected with Intel bought these shares just so the media would report that AMD are now also getting sued over this? Intel do seem rather keen to erroneously paint AMD as being in exactly the same boat as themselves with regard to the Meltdown and Spectre bugs and potentially considerable performance issues involved in fixing them. An anti-AMD PR attempt by Intel is the only thing that appears to make any sense.

Security hole in AMD CPUs' hidden secure processor code revealed ahead of patches


By the time you've gained access to the motherboard and rewritten the flash, arguably it's game over anyway for any security mechanism as your computer is physically in the cracker's hands. Besides, bypassing TPM/secure boot is surely a feature, not a bug? :)

And what would Intel give right now for their CPU problems to be so easily fixed?

I suppose the bright side is that perhaps CPU makers will sit up and take notice of this, finally reducing some of the needless complexity and with any luck kill their internal 'security' processors completely.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign


Re: Phew!


You mean like Intel's Management Engine? I'd much rather have AMD, at least they work as advertised and (as yet) aren't known to be full of security flaws like the Management Engine is. Obviously I'd rather have no 'security' processor whatsoever inside my CPU, but given the known bugs with Intel's Management Engine I'd still rather take my chances with AMD.

Ryzen is already a far better deal than Intel's offerings, especially when you factor in this latest flaw that makes Intel's chips run even slower than advertised. Intel trying to flog buggy, half-working hardware is getting beyond a joke.

Microsoft Surface Book 2: Electric Boogaloo. Bigger, badder, better


No doubt Microsoft is a money making machine, but regardless of any rankings list I sincerely doubt that their brand is seen as 'better' than the likes of Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Disney etc.

It would be interesting to see how those rankings were calculated, and whether there were any corporate sponsors who funded it.

EDIT: Didn't Microsoft do exactly that with the original XBox, and leave the Microsoft name off the console and packaging?

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered


Another reason BIOS should only be stored in read-only ROM chips, or at least have a physical write protect switch.

The cynic in me wonders if this was deliberate by Intel in an attempt to prevent people removing or neutering their Management Engine?

5 reasons why America's Ctrl-Z on net neutrality rules is a GOOD thing


Re: Replying this far down...


My thoughts exactly RE the article headline.

While I don't know about anything about US politics, you'd have to hope it is a temporary situation and that somebody steps in to resolve this and fixes the mess that the FCC have created.


Re: Replying this far down...

I don't think anyone was blaming Microsoft for this, though the Windows shortcut is probably what most people know it for these days.

CTRL + Z was a control key to suspend the currently running process to the background in the C shell (csh) in the late 1970s BSD kernel, while CTRL + Z being used for undo was first done at Xerox PARC not Apple.

Last week: Microsoft accused of covering up rape claim. This week: Microsoft backs anti-cover-up law ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Re: It's a start

Congratulate them? It was Microsoft themselves who imposed the arbitration clause on their employees, and who failed to show the least bit of concern for the victim even to the point where if the female staff member legally obtained and enforced a restraining order against the attacker then it was her who would have to move and not the attacker!

This is nothing more than an attempt at a PR whitewash, and I doubt anyone will believe that them backing this proposed new law has anything to do with doing the right thing, when it clearly has more to do with the class-action court case being brought against them and the bad publicity (and potential for lost sales) that it is generating now it is in the public eye.

Intel to slap hardware lock on Management Engine code to thwart downgrade attacks


Re: This is false security

@ Kiwi

If the firmware code was done right in the first place there should be no waiting for replacement ROM chips to ship, and given the cost of doing so it would undoubtedly focus the minds of the manufacturers to put more effort into getting things finished and tested prior to release. The replacement option would only be to bail them out in the case of a monumental screw up. The trouble with downloading and installing something as important as firmware is that it just isn't very secure, especially when it can be done from within the OS, and there is nothing to stop a skilled malware writer adding in their own dodgy code or ME for their own purposes.

Read-only ROM chips could do the same job as firmware stored on rewritable flash - either option would just be storage space for the code. I don't see why read-only ROM chip functionality would necessarily be any more limited than if it used rewritable flash for storage?

A physical jumper or write-protect switch would be a very good start.

As much as I'd enjoy the profits from my own chip fab, I'm no expert hardware guru (and don't have a few billion dollars to spare). The manufacturers just seem to be in too much of a rush to actually finish their products before selling them. Though Intel seem to have more problems than most, I'm not specifically having a pop at them either, e.g. AMD's Ryzen has also seen (too) many updates for things like faster memory compatibility etc. when that could and should have been finished prior to release. Same story with the software industry. Not sure they'd get away with it in other industries, would you buy v1.0 of a car with only one wheel? But hey don't worry, v1.1 will see the rest of the wheels added and we hope to add brakes in v1.2!


Re: This is false security

@Richard 12

Infinite? Maybe if you are Intel! If the system is too complex, then it shouldn't be too hard to break it into into smaller, more manageable pieces that communicate securely with no way to do any real harm.

In my opinion, hardware/software contains so many serious bugs these days primarily because manufacturers have the option to update it later (assuming the device/user has net access), so code and hardware is often rushed out without proper testing with an irresponsible "oh nevermind we'll patch it later" attitude. Trouble is, they don't always bother because it's cheaper and easier not to, or they simply don't have the in-house talent to do so.

I'm aware of Intel's microcode, in Intel's case they would first have to get the hardware right then concentrate on getting the code done right. Not trivial for Intel, who don't seem to have adequate skills and so make more than their fair share of blunders, but it's been done before and other processors have been hard wired correctly before being sold. Intel would just need to avoid so many mistakes and do the job properly.


Re: This is false security

I'm not sure you understand. You can't update a system to be ROM based, it would be built that way. You wouldn't be able to upgrade or downgrade anything, but there wouldn't be any exploits in properly written, fully tested, finished code so no there would be no need to change the firmware - ever. That's the whole point of read-only firmware. Any potential exploits would have been found and fixed prior to the first release so, no, you wouldn't be stuck with any vulnerabilities. Having the ROM chip plug into a socket instead of soldered directly would facilitate swapping the chip in case of the odd accidental programming oversight, but it would deter manufacturers from rushing out untested code as there would be a significant cost involved other than writing the fix (manufacturing a new ROM chip plus a product recall to fit it).

Getting the code right prior to release would be essential of course, but it's more than possible. If any manufacturer isn't able to write good, secure code without security bugs then they should hire someone who can do the job properly for them. Having rewritable firmware is just an excuse to ship unfinished, inadequately tested, poor quality code, as well as a cracker's wet dream.


Writeable firmware is a terrible idea that wouldn't be necessary if Intel (and others) could be bothered to get their code right prior to shipping.

We never had this trouble with the old ROM chips. Plus, if the ROM chips were socketed, there would still be the option to physically swap the chips if emergency updates were needed without leaving everyone wide open to attack and snooping. Anything has to be better than the current arrangement.

UK.gov told: Your frantic farming of pupils' data is getting a little creepy


It's all just too creepy, and inflicting it on school children who could then be affected throughout their adult lives is unforgivable. It is a bad idea to collect so much data in the first place as it can never be guaranteed to be kept secret, and the bigger the database the more attractive it will be to hackers (or anyone who finds a government laptop left on a train). Besides the obvious "for money" answer, why on Earth would this supposedly confidential data be shared with anyone? There is simply no excuse for it.

Kaspersky dragged into US govt's trashcan as weaponized blockchain agile devops mulled


"Anybody else read this sort of thing and thinking about buying Kaspersky antivirus?"

Yes. If Kaspersky had a version for Linux I would definitely be interested in buying it.

Trump to NASA: Fly me (or some other guys) to the Moon


One way trip

Maybe the best place for Trump is for him to join Willzyx and Tom Cruise on the Moon.

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander


Microsoft desperation

We all know that Microsoft are very desperate indeed to get into mobile after so many failed attempts, but I can't see this changing anything.

For a start, $600-$800 for a netbook is way too much, it's not worth even half that price. Rather than a selling point, always on mobile data is a terrible idea especially knowing how much data Microsoft like to slurp from their users - this could get very expensive very quickly. Add in the very limited hardware that slows down to almost half speed while running emulated x86 code, and their crippled Windows 10S OS that's tied to their failure of an app store, and this is almost a guaranteed loser.

Then when these overpriced, crippled netbooks fail like all Microsoft's previous attempts, they will inevitably discontinue it and demonstrate (once again) that they cannot be trusted to stick around and support their own products regardless of whether it leaves their customers screwed.

ARM in netbooks, laptops and desktops is a good idea that has it's place, I just don't believe that Microsoft will benefit from it as they don't seem to have any clue what people want.


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