* Posts by DrXym

4359 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Untamed pledge() aims to improve OpenBSD security

DrXym Silver badge

Pretty bad idea

It would be better to ship the software with a policy (signed of course) which says what the software wants to do. Then the administrator can choose to enforce the policy, write their own or throw it away entirely. That's how SELinux works for example.

Baking the "pledge" into the executable just seems a bit nuts because there is no way to modify it after the fact. An example of this happened to me recently when I tried to run a VPN with a cert which was in the "wrong" directory. Fedora's SELinux policy complained about what I was doing and prevented me from doing it. But it told me what instruction I could use to add an exception to this policy and that's what I did. If it were baked into the executable it wouldn't have been any good to me.

Royal Mail mulls drones for rural deliveries

DrXym Silver badge

So what does this driverless van do....

... when it's going down some windy country lane and it encounters a car coming the other way? Does it know to back up to the last point? Does it know the other driver should? How does it know there are points to pull in? How does it negotiate who should do what in each direction.?

And assuming it reaches a delivery point does it just disgorge some parcel on the side of the road, or some storage box? Or wait for someone (if ever) to sign for it? How do they authenticate?

Perhaps they're thinking of using them to automate the movement of packages in some very large sorting facility with a private road joining two bits of it. That's the only feasible use I can see for them.

UAV delivery seems pretty fanciful too. Perhaps it has a part to serve in delivering letters and small packets to remote islands. I don't see what problem it really solves on the mainland that can't be done for less effort by somebody in a van with a route.

Windows 10: Major update on the Threshold as build 10586 hits Insiders

DrXym Silver badge

Boiling a frog

I'm going to guess the first "major feature" is that the temperature has been turned up a bit - the exciting opportunity to pay Microsoft to overcome an artificial barrier they put in somewhere.

Apple’s TV platform just became a little more secure (well, the apps at least)

DrXym Silver badge

And in other news

By 2020, 36 per cent of all TV buyers will be dumb.

An expensive "smart" TV becomes a bitrotten, obsolete TV in a very short period of time. And while it's being smart I'm sure it's also gathering usage data and spamming you with targeted ads.

Chrome OS is not dead, insists Google veep in charge of Chrome OS

DrXym Silver badge

Re: yawn

I bet the large majority of people who get infected with malware are idiots who got their apps from warez sites and the like.

DrXym Silver badge

There shouldn't have been a need to merge

It's weird there were two different OSes to begin with. I suspect that Google like most large companies ended up with two in-house teams with similar but incompatible ideas for low cost devices and didn't have the guts to strategically pick one over the other.

Android is great for tablets but its mouse and keyboard support can be generously described as perfunctory. If Google had concentrated on fixing that and putting in a desktop mode then there wouldn't have been a need for ChromeOS. Android would have served both purposes.

Smartphone boutique OnePlus reveals another model you can’t get

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The dangers of glass phone

I used to use a Nexus 4 which had a glass back. When I put it on a surface it had the alarming habit of riding on a cushion of air and gliding gracefully straight off the nearest edge. Apparently LG fixed this issue by putting some dimples on the back to stop it but it came too late for my revision.

It's not clear this OnePlus X has any dimples so maybe it suffers the same issue. My current phone is a OnePlus One which has a somewhat weird felt-like surface on the back but it makes the phone stay put which is the main thing. I think the OnePlus X looks like a very nice phone though preferably without any suicidal tendencies.

We suck? No, James Dyson. It is you who suck – Bosch and Siemens

DrXym Silver badge

I suspect that tests are standardized and somewhat more rigorous than just "vacuum something".

That said, there is an obvious incentive for manufacturers to fiddle the numbers to get a better rating and either the test regime needs to change to stop them doing it, and/or trading standards should audit manufacturers by taking production models and independently testing them.

Any significant discrepancy should trigger a further test and if that fails, a full refund / recall at the manufacturer's expense to change their rating information.

Ex-Microsoft craft ale buffs rattle tankard for desktop brewery

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Re: Doesn't look that hassle free

"CO2 in cylinders? Pray tell, what part does that play in beer (or even cider) making? Bottle conditioning, that's the way."

For pressurizing a keg and ensuring certain beers like lagers are properly carbonated.

DrXym Silver badge

Doesn't look that hassle free

From reading the manual and watching the vids it also looks like a scaled down brewery with phases for mashing grain to create wort etc. so it's still a pretty messy and intensive process and still has plenty of manual effort involved. e.g. sanitizing equipment, disposing of grains, adding yeast for secondary fermentation etc.

It's more like a hobbiest machine that would appeal to somebody who brews from scratch for themselves but is looking for something eliminates some of the effort. For somebody who buys a kit from Wilkinson (i.e. mix gloop with warm water and yeast) it would probably represent far more effort and expense.

From a cost perspective, you'd also have to use this thing constantly to get value out of it. Someone might have to brew a lot of beer, possibly 1000L before the cost of the machine, picopaks, sanitzing fluids, electricity, CO2 cylinders etc. brought the cost to less than just buying beer in a supermarket. Given it only brews in 5L batches you might to have it in continuous use for years to achieve that.

Laid-off IT workers: You want free on-demand service for what now?

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"I've forgotten how to do that"

That's what I'd say. Once I'm off a project for a while I don't bother hanging onto most of that information any more. And if it were my previous employers (those dicks who just replaced me with offshore workers) then I wouldn't exactly tax myself to remember either.

BlackBerry opens its Priv kimono just a little wider

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Re: It is

I like cyanogenmod's security and I really don't get why stock android doesn't support it.

I don't mind certain apps like satnavs from knowing my location but I totally resent other apps asking for it. And I hate apps that want access to my contacts or phone features for dubious and esoteric purposes.

Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

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Re: backdoor inflation

In the worst case it might mean a 49c chocolate bar becomes 50c but I suspect that for several purchases (as most purchases will be) it makes no difference. Retailers would have to round down for 1.11, 1.12 and round up for 1.13, 1.14 and so on.

And if you were desperate to avoid the difference, you could stick it to the retailer by paying with a credit card.

New Nexus 5X, 6P smarties: Google draws a line in the sand

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Re: It's a Nexus

"What were you expecting?"

Google has been taking the Nexus lineup upmarket so most people would be expecting more memory or at least a storage slot. Neither is unreasonable because 16GB is cutting it fine given the size of apps and the space required for photos & videos.

EA Games rubbishes Pastebin breach claim

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To be fair to EA

These could be people who've installed "aimbots" or other trojans aimed at gamers and found their details scraped off and collated somewhere. I guess if this pastebin is followed up with a larger leak then we'll know one way or another if its EA's fault or someone elses.

Noughty by nature: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Rock Band 4

DrXym Silver badge

Well recommended

The Uncharted series is a really good set of games and if someone hasn't played them then this is definitely worth picking up. Like most "remasters" it's more accurately described as a port but it's still a great series.

I'm really looking forward to Uncharted 4 after seeing some of the previews.

Microsoft's HoloLens: Here by 2016, mere three THOUSAND dollar price

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Price

"Perhaps a better price comparison is with Google Glass. That was $1500, rather more than Occulus, half the price of Hololens."

Yes and Google Glass took the world by storm didn't it?

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Price @DrXym

"You seem wedded to your initial post despite all the flaws in it. In response to your points:"

No I'm wedded to my initial post because it's a reasonable appraisal of where things stand.

"There are few people on this forum as stupid as you."

Grow up.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Price

"* The Oculus is a couple of months from launch. This is an early beta."

And it it wasn't when DK 1 and DK 2 were released. It's not a valid point.

"* The Oculus is small screens in front of your eyes connected to a GPU in your computer. This is essentially a super-light computer that you wear."

Oh you mean like a phone? It doesn't justify the cost. Furthermore, if it is more like a super-light computer it bodes ill for the retail price of this thing if/when it finally sells. It bodes so ill in fact that I wonder if this is Project Natal / Kinect all over again where the final product was severely gimped to make it affordable.

"The Oculus is a VR device. This is an AR device. These things are not the same thing. They serve different purposes and work in different ways and have different demands."

They might serve different purposes. I don't see how that conflates with the fact that the dev kit costs 10x as much.

* Approx. £2,500 is not that much for something focused on professional development houses which is what this is. The Oculus is being used for games right now and home hackers - it's essentially a pre-release product at this point."

That's not a valid excuse for a several reasons.

1) Microsoft is trying to pitch this thing at games - witness various demos they've made of it for that purpose, e.g. minecraft video. In fact they're on record as justifying buying Minecraft for hololens. And their plans include XBox One front and centre and it's hard to imagine that the device would possibly succeed or achieve mass market sales otherwise.

2) Denigrating the Oculus doesn't remove the point that their dev kit is and has been 1/10th of this thing.

3) Even if we were to say the hololens is more complex, that still doesn't justify the honking disparity in the price of the kit or that its a barrier of entry. And if this disparity carries over into production then woe betide them. VR will be a hard enough sell (which IMO will fail). Something costing more again isn't going to do any better.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Price

True but the Oculus dev kit is $350. It's hard to capture developer (or early adopter) hearts and minds if you make the dev kit so prohibitively expensive that they can't or won't buy it.

Google Chromecast 2015: Puck-on-a-string fun ... why not, for £30?

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Wifi reception

"Any chance that is because the Chromecast is sitting behind a big bit of metal and electronics?"

The thing was designed to plug into a TV and only works over wifi. If it can't do that then it is entirely valid to comment about its poor wifi reception.

The fact that Google have changed the design to increase the antenna size demonstrates the point that it was inadequate to start with.

DrXym Silver badge

Wifi reception

The wifi reception of the old device was the worst thing about it. There were occasions where my phone and tablet had absolutely no trouble seeing a wifi network and the chromecast was completely unable to. So if they've improved that then that's good I guess.

The thing that would make me happiest is if chromecast were able to work around dumb public / hotel hotspots that were protected by confirmation / registration screens. Even if that means shipping a stripped down browser that could let me sign onto the network. Getting it to work at the moment is a dark art and usually requires running through another device as a hotspot / bridge.

It'd be nice too if it natively supported MKV too. I don't see why this is a big deal to withhold - it's just a container that has to be demuxed - the audio / video / subs would still have to be the correct format.

Five things that doomed the big and brilliant BlackBerry 10

DrXym Silver badge

Re: I dug my PlayBook out of the cupboard the other day

I guess I'm lucky but the tablet still went back in the cupboard. I use the charger for my phone though because it has a nice long cable. The PB used to be my bedside tablet / alarm clock for a while though I never liked the browser much. The email client was the best thing about it.

Ironically RIM gave me the Playbook as part of one of their developer programs so it cost me nothing. I used it to port an android app over to their tablet which proved to be quite difficult because apps were packaged up differently and their store / approval process was excruciating.

DrXym Silver badge

I dug my PlayBook out of the cupboard the other day

It's remarkable how good the hardware is but the software is already showing signs of bit rot. It's a pity that there is no aftermarket way of flashing Android to it.

DrXym Silver badge

"Finally, I refuse to go over to fucking Android."

Why is that? Android does not dictate the user experience of the entire handset. If Blackberry were so inclined they could port the BB10 experience and the main apps (dialler, calendar, mail etc. ) and run it over Android. The main advantage is you'd become part of the the Android ecosystem and your handset wouldn't have to run a gimped Android emulation layer in order run those apps.

DrXym Silver badge

"QNX is the right choice for *all* phones."

There is no single "right choice" for kernel and nor do consumers give a damn either. Microsoft, Google, Apple et al use different kernels and yet all those handsets have produced modern, responsive, multitasking phone operating systems.

What matters is the application layer. People wants apps and modern functionality like wifi, multitasking, touch etc. That's what they care about and not how it works under covers.

Adblock farms out acceptable ad policy to independent reviewer

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The very fact taboola is allowed to sleaze its way onto the whitelist by paying $$$ tells you all you need to know about the acceptable ads policy.

Elon Musk unmasks Tesla's Model X – the $132k anti-bioweapon SUV for the 1%

DrXym Silver badge

Nice car

Just too expensive for the hoi poloi. Strangely though he seems to have invited a pack of howler monkeys to the launch judging by all the hooting in the video.

Today's Groupon offer to its sacked employees: 100% off your salary

DrXym Silver badge

I bet the majority of employees are sales reps.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Terrible business model

I definitely think restaurants who use the service are insane or desperate. It's basically a terrible loan - sell a huge quantity of vouchers promising to serve the same food for 50% of the list price and then Groupon will give back 50% again of that on some schedule. Strangely enough lots of restaurants who do this go out of business soon after because the cheapskates have moved onto the next offer.

A far better strategy for any restaurant is to produce a set menu (e.g 3 courses for £15) and write that offer up on a big sign plonked outside. The restaurant keeps all the money and can deliver better food which makes for happier, repeat customers.

DrXym Silver badge

Terrible business model

Groupon might have made its founders (long gone) a fortune but the business was unsustainable. They hyper inflated into new territories screwing businesses left and right and leaving a barren wasteland of broken / burnt businesses behind them.

These days Groupon mostly sells crappy service deals - manicures, carpet cleaning etc. - where the business has low overheads and artificially inflates prices for a service to make the discount seem like a good deal. Not only that but there are dozens of rival coupon services selling similar deals. I'm surprised they've lasted as long as they have without imploding.

CHEAT! Volkswagen chief 'deeply sorry' over diesel emission test dodge

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Is this a surprise?

Perhaps emissions figures are nonsense but they shouldn't be. And if a company is deliberately manipulating the vehicle software to create a false impression of the emissions then that is outright fraud.

And in a country like the US this could trigger law suits galore, from individual states, owners the vehicles and from people suffering from respiratory diseases exacerbated by pollution & emissions.

BAN the ROBOT WHORES, says robot whore expert: 'These AREN'T BARBIES'

DrXym Silver badge

We have to act now

The sybian crisis is getting out of hand.

IPv6 is great, says Facebook. For us. And for you a bit, too

DrXym Silver badge

It's not just the packet size but how efficiently it's routed and packets reassembled. On top of that, IPv4 traffic might end up tunnelling over IPv6 so it's not necessarily beneficial to be using it between 2 random points on the internet. And for particular scenarios such as IPTV, live streaming it can be more efficient because multicasting is more flexible than in IPv4.

That said, IPv6 is a horrible protocol from a human standpoint.

PSST! You wanna iPhone 6S Plus? YOINK! You can't have one - Apple

DrXym Silver badge

Re: The thing I have in my hand is...

I got an invite to buy one but I have the original OnePlus One and didn't see much to differentiate the new model from the old. I'm also a bit cheesed off with the whole Cyanogenmod debacle.

Good handsets though and cheap. They demonstrate how much people are getting stiffed when they buy an iPhone or Galaxy S.

World finally ready for USB-bootable OS/2

DrXym Silver badge

OS/2 was a very good OS back in the day. While Microsoft was trying to foist Windows NT 3.5 onto people (complete with terrible Windows 3.1 experience), OS/2 2.1 delivered a fully interactive desktop called the workplace shell.

But as was typical for IBM they managed to screw things up right off the bat. OS/2 2.1 inherited a truly awful message processing queue from 1.3 that let a single rogue app take out the entire desktop. And workplace shell extensions were almost guaranteed to be riddled with bugs. And no OS/2 software looked like any other because IBM neglected to provide modern UI elements like toolbars, tooltips etc.

OS/2 Warp 3.0 cleaned up the desktop somewhat and came with a "bonus pak" but was plagued by bugs that it required umpteen CSDs to fix.

But the time they got around to making OS/2 functional, Microsoft by fair means and foul had basically rendered it irrelevant. It was confined to running print servers, ATMs and the odd airport baggage terminal.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Ahhh OS/2 Warp

IBM used to use a weird format on their OS/2 install disks to pack more information on the disk. Very impressive technically but a pain in the arse when you had to make duplicates. Even today getting OS/2 to work on a VM is hassle.

'Walter Mitty' IT manager admits to buying gun on dark web

DrXym Silver badge

Surprised it doesn't happen more often

People complain about the darknet - about drugs, child porn, guns etc. but it also provides opportunities for cops to arrest people interested in those things. The police can set up their own website, or covertly monitor one which already exists, or take one over. And then dangle a few hooks and see what they catch.

The net result is prosecutions. They also instil other users with a fear that maybe the darknet isn't as safe as its cracked up to be.

Microsoft's 'successful' Nokia slurp kills off Lumia photo apps

DrXym Silver badge

After "plays for sure" I would have thought that anyone with an ounce of sense would avoid purchasing any consumer content (music, books, magazines, videos etc.) which was tied to a single provider or service.

But people still do it. Look at all the people buying music, books, TV shows and movies from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Sony etc. through their respective vertical platforms. While it's less likely that some of the bigger platforms could fail, it still means platform lock-in and restricted choice the next time around when buying a device. It's just a bad idea no matter how you dice it.

Oracle laying off its Java evangelists? Er, no comment, says Oracle

DrXym Silver badge

Re: About Time

If Oracle dumped their evangelists I suspect it's because people pretty much know instantly if they need it or not. Java isn't over and done with, not by a long shot although it's unlikely to outgrow its existing roles.

Let's not forget either that if you had a reason to use another language it doesn't necessarily preclude Java since Java is both a language and a runtime. The JVM does support Python, Ruby, Javascript, Groovy, Scala and a raft of other languages.

They’re FAT. They’re ROUND. They’re worth almost a POUND. Smart waaatch, smart waaatch

DrXym Silver badge

Same old problems

Here's a picture of the first watch I owned as a kid:


This magnificent watch was ridiculously chunky, had a battery life that measured in days and it turned its display off to conserve power. So basically like today's smart watches.

Farewell to Borland C++: Embarcadero releases Delphi and C++ Builder 10

DrXym Silver badge

Re: We miss Borland..

I remember buying Borland C++ for OS/2 and running into horribly frustrating runtime bugs with their port. They released 2 or 3 major patches and I swear that the situation became even worse. Things like threading APIs went from glitchy to crash-your-machine-non-functional. Then they discontinued support altogether.

I never trusted Borland after that and it was very frustrating considering I scrimped and saved from my meagre post-University bank account to buy their software. Fortunately I switched to IBM CSet++ and despite being command-line it worked as advertised.

I used JBuilder for a bit after that but was happy when Eclipse appeared and I didn't have to any more.

Google makes it official: Chrome will freeze Flash ads on sight from Sept 1

DrXym Silver badge

Won't mean much really

While Flash has outlived its usefulness the reality is that advertisers can implement the same annoying behaviour in HTML5 and now its competing in the same thread as the rest of the content. So if anything performance is more likely to suffer with all-HTML5 ads than it would with a plugin.

Win10 Insider build 10532: Avoid if you run Chrome 64-bit

DrXym Silver badge

Fix their rotten drivers

I have a laptop and a tablet both brough low by absolutely lousy synaptics drivers. I've tried disabling driver updates. I've tried hiding the synaptics driver from windows update with a support tool. It still installs these sodding things over and over.

To me it simply demonstrates that auto update simply cannot work. Microsoft won't do sufficient testing and nor with some of their partner vendors. People will just keep being saddled with shitty broken drivers over and over with little to fix them.

Oh and Windows update in general stinks. If I'm to receive an update, even a mandatory one, it would be nice to state specifically what it's about. Not some vague knowledge base article saying it's an "update" but actually technical description right there in the dialog.

Spaniard claims WWII WAR HERO pigeon code crack. Explain please

DrXym Silver badge


Get Bruce Schneier on the case.

Amazon UK conditions 'exhausting', claims union

DrXym Silver badge

Re: "I'm not sure about a title yet."

My nearest IKEA has an enormous warehouse at the end with shelves up to the ceiling. Despite that, there is more ground area with nothing on it than area with shelving. I reckon maybe 30% of the warehouse is actual shelves and the rest is aisles and area for other other things. So it's entirely possible the figures could be for the same thing, particularly if large chunks of an Amazon warehouse have spaces for forklifts to run around, packaging and assembly areas and so on.

DrXym Silver badge

Not the Amazon he knows?

Bezos has had a reputation for years of being a micromanager and a control freak, attempting to optimize absolutely part of his business including the humans within it. Nor is it the first time that the staff in his warehouses have spoken publicly about the dehumanising experiences they suffered while working there. Nor is it the first we've heard from the office staff about the arbitrary, backstabbing and oppressive culture that has been fostered to keep everyone on their toes such as meeting attendance records and emails arriving at all hours demanding instance responses.

So I really don't believe him. He knows full well what he has created. The least he can do is stand behind it rather than deny it exists.

Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

DrXym Silver badge

Start handing out fines

Kardashian is clearly shilling for some firm who paid her a lot of money to tweet this guff. The FDA should be slapping her with a hefty fine instead of a stern warning. Make it clear to all celebs that the rules concerning the advertising of drugs, diet pills and snakeoil apply equally to their tweets as it does for other forms of paid promotion.

Moronic Time cover sets back virtual reality another 12 months

DrXym Silver badge

Re: And 2 seconds later

I suggest you put a bucket on your head, dance around, jump, twist turn, and see if you can grasp the point I was making. If slipping on water is too much for your mind to comprehend then you may replace it with a wire, a bit of lego, the pet dog, a 2 year old, the corner of the table, or anything else that you cannot see because you are jumping around like a lunatic without any awareness of your surroundings and increasingly disorientated.

The consequences of VR that requires players to stand are entirely predictable.

DrXym Silver badge

And 2 seconds later

The guy slips on some water in his bare feet and breaks his neck.

VR will have very serious problems reconciling what you see or do in a game with reality. The only games I see really working are those where the player is seated - flight sims, racing cars etc. If the person is supposed to stand, or worse use motion sensing then it's going to get disorientating fast, particularly if the game can't reconcile their real position with the game..

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