* Posts by timrichardson

33 posts • joined 16 Oct 2013

You GNOME it: Windows and Apple devs get a compelling reason to turn to Linux

timrichardson

Re: So, 2018 will be the year of the Linux desktop because of Gnome?

I'm a lot, lot less sceptical about Android on the desktop after being the owner of a recent Chromebook. Most reviews of Android on Chromebooks are lukewarm, and I didn't expect to find more than a curiosity, but the actual experience has been very good. Highly stable, and very usfeul.

timrichardson

Re: Text wrangling on windows

Both apps are great open source projects

timrichardson

Actually LTS users upgrade at 18.04.1

I think from memory that the LTS upgrade activates after the first point release of the new LTS, so 16.04 desktop users will move in mass when 18.04.1 is available, more like June than April.

Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release

timrichardson

Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

I'm an Australia and I used the ZX81 and Spectrum. My keyboard suffered from the conductive membrane being above the heat sink, I had to do repairs. So sad that the Spectrum got lost. My favourite program was a talking clock: my voice was sampled by the Spectrum to build the vocab, it was recognisable. The C64 was much more sophisticated but the Spectrum was arguable more educational because producing sound and doing something else required understanding multitasking, either using interrupts or co-operatively. The C64 had a real sound chip.

Feelin' safe and snug on Linux while the Windows world burns? Stop that

timrichardson

Servers are a red-herring, I think. Ransomware is mostly, I assume, an attack on desktop Windows machines, or servers running remote desktop. Probably the initial upload of the recent attack was via a compromised windows server at a Ukranian Windows software developer, but the overwhelming majority of infections would be on desktop machines infected by other desktop machines. And the most common vector of initial infection is via desktop machines too, typically via an Outlook attachment, of a download with some kind of Windows executable payload.

Keeping a fleet of Windows desktops updated is hard. How can you explain that the most commonly infected Windows desktop is Windows 7, which has pretty good update capabilities? I don't know, but I think we can say that for sure it is badly broken. I'm going to dump on Microsoft here. It is a very complex OS stack which is full of legacy code and truly incredible security holes (plain text passwords bouncing across the LAN; remote execution tools which basically default to high privileges), and an update mechanism which apparently doesn't work very well for the small business and consumer user base it aims to serve. Linux and to a lesser extent Mac desktop users have several reasons to feel superior: better quality software, security issues taken seriously for the last 30 years, not the last five years, with incomparably better update mechanisms, not to mention much more genetic diversity in the case of Linux. With a such a different mix of kernels and distribution configs, finding an exploit that can infect a critical mass of machines is really hard, I think.

Nearly all patches for Windows servers require reboots, a very different situation with modern Linux, and reboots on remote desktop servers are inconvenient, particularly for businesses which don't have dedicated admin staff. But we're stuck with Windows, so it's a smart choice to avoid it yourself if possible.

Windows 10 S: Good, bad, and how this could get ugly for PC makers

timrichardson

Re: Stuck on Edge

I just can't imagine an IT teacher telling people they have locked off the kids from Google. Parents are going to be negative about that.

timrichardson

Microsoft set benchmarks: it has to compete with Chrome OS in start up times, etc. The HP Stream can't.

timrichardson

Re: Offline

Like a plough pulled by a horse. And about as useful.

I just had three weeks in Java, much of it far from big cities. This is a country of about $4K GDP per person (Java would be higher taken on its own). 4G coverage almost everywhere. As every day goes by, the relevance of offline capabilities diminishes further and further. In Indonesia there are thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of businesses which run off mobile phones apps (including payments), so the traditional computer is fading away. This is an odd move by Microsoft, I can't believe it is getting much focus from senior management.

timrichardson

Re: Windows RT???

The upgrade to full Windows will be free initially, informed by the Windows RT debacle. So mislead consumers will be mollified, this time without refunds. But it makes you wonder what the point of the exercise is, since once updated to full Windows, Windows Store and Universal apps will be as irrelevant as normal, and the laptop will be just another laptop.

timrichardson

My niece goes to a Catholic secondary school in Albury: they switched to Chromebooks a few years ago. I can't see why they won't catch on here; the Windows environment my son puts up with at his primary school is horrible.

timrichardson

Fundamental contradictions

Windows RT and Windows Phone failed because there were no apps. Microsoft had a grand strategy: we will offer all these users + desktop users as Universal App customers. But one by one this fell away: Windows RT and Windows Phone failed, and Windows 8's draconian effort to force Universal apps failed too. Now, Microsoft is trying again, but without Phone. So customers who understand this will be reluctant to engage. So reluctant, that Microsoft says you can turn it into full Windows for free, and they all will, which means there is still little incentive for developers. Microsoft needs a base of captive users who will get Windows S deployed without them being able to choose, and hopefully that market will be enough to kickstart interest in Windows Store apps, because customers are never going to voluntarily spend $1000 on a laptop that probably on balance does less than a Chromebook. Microsoft will fail; the barriers to success are even greater than they were at the time of Windows RT: not only does Microsoft have less to offer, but Chrome OS is now close to dominant in the only niche which gives Microsoft any chance of success, plus sooner or later Android apps will be viable (I guess within 12 months). At which point Microsoft is selling a more expensive, vastly inferior solution which it can only sell be giving customers a free or low cost escape route. Above all, it's hard to see what the incentives for Microsoft are. It's a low margin laptop with a low margin OS. The only thing it can do is drive sales to the Windows store, which makes margin for Microsoft, at the expense of application developers using traditional sales channels. There is almost no angle from which this makes much sense to anyone.

If in fact Microsoft hopes that this will expose the future generation of users to Teams to kill Slack, as the article says, they must be terrified at what Chromebooks are doing to Office.

You only need 60 bytes to hose Linux's rpcbind

timrichardson

are you sure port 111 is open by default on AWS? Everytime I've made a new ubuntu server on AWS, no ports are open by default, not even port 80

Ubuntu 17.04 beta FACT: It's what's on the inside that matters, not looks

timrichardson

And Nvidia Optimus has PRIME Sync working ... no more screen tearing on the laptop's panel if you're using Nvidia Optimus. At the moment this needs xserver 19.1.3 from a staging PPA and a tweak to a config file, but it works, at last. This is a big deal for Optimus users. Fingers crossed X 19.1.3 makes it officially to 17.04 because then we can expect it in 16.04.3

Oi, Mint 18.1! KEEP UP! Ubuntu LTS love breeds a laggard

timrichardson

Just as with Ubuntu 16.04.1, kernel 4.8 is there if you want it. In a week when 16.04.2 is released, 4.8 will become Ubuntu's default kernel for desktop installs... this is the new model in Ubuntu 16.04, which means each point release will include a new kernel version, and the old point version is then unsupported. The 4.4 kernel will be supported for five years, but that's aimed at servers. So Ubuntu LTS is basically a rolling release for desktop users, at least when it comes to the kernel and some other key infrastructure, but it is a very conservative rolling release: the point updates come after everything has been tested on a six month release. I don't know what Mint plans to do about this because from the sounds of it, they need to get everyone on to 4.8 so they get the benefit of what Ubuntu is doing. A desktop distribution based on 16.04.1 is out out of date when 16.04.2 is released on Jan 19. This is different from 14.04 LTS where Ubuntu supports every point release until end of life (2019) (too hard; now they support only once point release at a time). For Ubuntu desktop users, it sounds pretty good, particularly if snap takes off, meaning an easy way to keep current with the applications you care about.

For example after 17.04 is released, Ubuntu 16.04.3 will arrive hopefully with xorg 1.19. This is why I reverted to xubuntu: it's a very good story if you are using Linux on a modern laptop as your money-earning-it-must-just-work OS.

Arch Linux: In a world of polish, DIY never felt so good

timrichardson

Re: What's the real advantage

A big advantage of Arch is the community. It's very strong technically. The documentation is very good and I've found it a very helpful community.

Four reasons Pixel turns flagship Android mobe makers into roadkill

timrichardson

Google likes to cut out the middle man? Since when? It's entire business model is based on triangular relationships: search is bringing visitors to advertisers, Android been 100% partner-based since it's beginning.

It very much remains to be seen if the Pixel phones will be any more successful than the Pixel laptops. I give them h a 20% chance of surviving four years. Launching high end phones into a saturated market with no distribution experience, with enormous capacity pressure from manufacturers who can make a lot more phones they can sell, and one of the weaker OEMs who may have been expected to drop out, helping over capacity, has in fact just been thrown a lifeline. This won't even rate in India and SE Asia, and something so cloud dependent as Google's added-value software won't even launch in China. It seems like madness.

Sneaky Gugi banking trojan sidesteps Android OS security barricades

timrichardson

which many people in Russia do, to access cracked apps at pirate app stores.

Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

timrichardson

Re: Why Google's luck is about to run out

All the appeals court can do is ask for another jury trial on fair use. I suspect the court will be reluctant. Google did disclose the previous technology for porting Android apps to Chrome OS, so it is not news to Oracle that Google planned to port Android apps to Chrome OS: to me, this sounds more like a change of technology, but the destination is the same. Chrome OS has a tiny share of desktop OS anyway, which is probably why Oracle ignored the previous implementation. The new implementation is still in development so it was obviously a very immature technology at the time of the trial: what could anyone have shown the jury anyway? I would be surprised if this one argument is enough to cause a jury retrial.

Originally we suspected that Oracle was pursuing this to get control over Android, but Google has now moved to OpenJDK and is in full compliance with the open source requirements, so the only real outcome is a settlement, which will be delayed for years in the courts even if Oracle wins something.

Oracle campaigns for third Android Java infringement trial

timrichardson

Re: Google are switching to OpenJDK...

It's not the code, it's the licence. Until Nougat, Google did not accept or use an open source Java licence. Neither did it get a Sun licence. Since Sun holds copyright in Java, or now Oracle, this was a breach of copyright. Well it was, until Google won a fair use argument. Now Google is complying with copyright since it has accepted OpenJDK, but this doesn't change history.

Google tells Android's Linux kernel to toughen up and fight off those horrible hacker bullies

timrichardson

Re: Patching speed is probably the issue @Planty

My Nexus 2013 tablet still gets updates.

timrichardson

Re: Patching speed is probably the issue

I got four Android phones in the family, oldest is HTC m7. Other three are Samsungs. They all have stagefright patches (even though the m7 is stuck on Android 5, it still gets security patches). All were bought from Telstra, an Australian tell, which is supporting them. So mainstream users who buy phones from a good network provider should be OK for patches.

Crash Google Chrome with one tiny URL: We cram a probe in this bug

timrichardson

turns out this was first reported in May but that bug report was hidden as a security bug. But not fixed.

Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

timrichardson

idiosyncratic

A compromise between a useful shell and learning something which only has value on windows, a platform of declining relevance to the world of servers, is bash. Git for windows comes with bash and it's nice to have one common shell as I move across os x, linux and windows. powershell looks very interesting but I have not been able to justify learning it yet. For more advanced admin python on windows works well and once again there is not a new learning curve. I wonder if the new Microsoft would have done something as idiosyncratic as powershell.

iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?

timrichardson

An unsually poor article

Firstly, Apple's pricing is very high and leaves a lot of margin room. Apple simply can't make the volume to change this; or rather, it would be too risky to do it. Apple doesn't need to change strategy, but there is a lot of volume which means a lot of money left on the table.

Secondly, OEMs don't need to command such high margins as Apple since their costs are much lower. It's a different business model. PC manufacturers don't have anywhere near the margins of the Macintosh, but there are a lot of PC OEMs. Thirdly, wearables are a new high-growth sector. Apple's watches don't work without an iPhone, which means they have left the very large Android installed base to Android manufacturers. If the rate of innovation in wearables and mobiles continues, Google's added-value will be important. The undeniable fact is that if you want to make mobile hardware, you need Android, unless you are Apple. Microsoft will spend a few more billions dollars before it is forced to concede this; everyone else has worked it out already (vale Tizen).

Fourthly, how does this theory explain the rush of PC OEMs into Chromebooks, which are low-priced, low margin and also run a free Google OS? Because OEMs make money on low margins. This is what they are good at. The idea that only Samsung and Apple make money from smartphones is wrong. It may be that some manufacturers can't move with the times on this, but plenty will rise to take their place. At this point in the lift of microcomputers, Dell, Asus and Acer didn't exist yet.

Fifthly, you gloss over the middle of the market as if this is a bad place to be, but in fact it is where most of the money is.

Chromebooks to break out of US schools: Netbook 2.0 comeback not just for children

timrichardson

The Gartner chart showing the fall in Windows market share (consumer USA) is amazing, coming on top of the slow PC market. No wonder OEMs are targeting Chrome OS. apple has been eating windows at the top end and now Chrome OS at the low end is getting ttaction; wait until Chromebooks run Android apps and get launched outside the US

Google in NOT EVIL shocker: Bins student email ad scanning

timrichardson

Or pay via Apps for Business.

timrichardson

Re: Is your privacy worth nothing?

And in return for reading your mail, they block unsolicited mail and warn you of frauds.

timrichardson

Google doesn't root through all email. You have always been able to turn it off for Apps for Business and for Education. The change is to remove the option to turn it on.

Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style

timrichardson

And from an actual user of the S5...

It's my first galaxy. Last phone was the htc one m7.

The fingerprint scanner is ok. It does need two handed operation, although that's pretty much given for general use on such a large phone. Apparently you can register a Apart from that, it works well. The phone is much better for it, and I'm happily using it. It's a bit fussy, but it's fast. Biometrics is a joke for security since you can't change them, but it's convenient. Touchwiz is fine. I haven't used it before and apparently it's much better this time around, I can't compare except to std android and to sense. It's ok. I use Nova launcher. The built-in calendar app is good. The stock keyboard is good. The camera is very good. The display is excellent. The pulse reader works. Battery life is radical compared to the m7, but the m8 also has a big improvement. It's not as nice looking as the m8, but it's lighter, it's waterproof and the battery is swappable. This means I can expect a long useful life for this phone in the hands of family members, since the battery has a much short practical life than the rest of the phone. The audio latency is much better than the m7. This is a little thing which no one has ever mentioned in a review, but I find it classy (it means you can use key clicks, hopeless on the HTC One, they are way too late). I'm pleased to be using it.

HP’s ENORMO-SLAB: The Slate 21 MONSTER tablet

timrichardson

Re: Google knows what it is doing

Chrome is basically linux so it does come cheap. That is in effect Microsoft's problem: the OS has become commoditised, there is no added value. Windows desktop lives on because it is the gateway to the best applications ecosystem, but when that doesn't apply, there's no point in paying for it. Of course, there is highly valuable IP in all the years of Microsoft OS R&D: that's why it gets about $5 per Android device in licence fees for a few years until those patents expire.

As for rotating disks: There are chromebooks with disks, but SSD performance is vastly superior. I think that's the main reason SSD chromebooks have taken over. Low-end Windows laptops avoid SSD for price reasons, not because magnetic disks are better. Chromebooks basically put the savings from avoiding a Windows licence into better hardware, assuming you regard a small SSD as better than a 300GB magnetic disk.

Lumia 2520: Our Vulture gets his claws on Nokia's first Windows RT slab

timrichardson

Re: Windows RT

It's weird: iOS and Android upscaled from a phone OS which meant apps from day 1. Microsoft targetted the iPad while the market moved to smaller tablets; Windows RT has so many battles to win. Basically, the devices are too big and there is no software. Meanwhile, Windows Phone will be ready in the next 12 months for larger screens. Then RT is going to be very confused. I think this is why people see no future for it. While on the one hand Microsoft appears to believe in hybrid hardware (like the Surface Pro), it offers very specific and incompatible OS solutions: a user with a Windows Phone, an RT Tablet, and a Surface Pro would use four different operating systems (assuming Microsoft's dream scenario where the Surface Pro is used in both desktop and tablet mode).

These will be converged but it sounds like it's 18 months away.

But it runs Office. Sort of. That's it. The existence of RT is based around this differentiator: if you want Office (crippled) on an ARM device, you need RT.

Windows RT seems like a bad decision. If Microsoft really had become more nimble, it would not have been so slow getting Windows Phone onto larger screens.

Kids hooked up with free Office subs at Microsoft-addicted schools

timrichardson

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

I think you missed the talking paper clip. And pivot tables.

timrichardson

This is a defensive move, not an aggressive move, as Office moves further along the path to commodity software. There are no official Office clients on 95% of the tablets or phones, and the browser version is hardly better than Google (in fact, in collaboration capabilities and third party integration it's worse). This is why Microsoft has to give it away. But schools are switching to Chrome OS not because Google Docs is better than Office , but because the hardware and OS is more cost effective than Windows on a laptop. Any ICT teacher knows that there is no point teaching kids Office; Office 2013 skills are not going to be very relevant to employability when they graduate.

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