* Posts by word_merchant

145 posts • joined 9 Jan 2017

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Microsoft PatchGuard flaw could let hackers plant rootkits on x64 Windows 10 boxen

word_merchant
Alert

It's good that the exploit has a cute name, but without a logo, no-one will take it seriously. Looks like the domain's still free too. Sloppy work, CyberArk Labs.

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Walmart tells developers to stay away from AWS

word_merchant
Happy

Re: There are alternatives

DaveN007 == Larry Ellison?

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned, says report

word_merchant
Happy

Re: Kalanick irrigation

Does that sentence need an additional colon?

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Microsoft admits to disabling third-party antivirus code if Win 10 doesn't like it

word_merchant
Happy

Re: Nothing new under the sun

I downloaded a driver for a HP computer straight from HP's website...

There are viruses that do less damage and consume fewer resources than HP drivers. Quite right for Windows to reject that. No excuse for uninstalling Classic Shell though.

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word_merchant
FAIL

Microsoft: from vindictive to cack-handed...

In its now usual cack-handed fashion Microsoft is possibly attempting to do the right thing here. We know AV software digs deep into Windows, patching hardened APIs and pulling all sorts of nefarious tricks to get itself embedded. To me, that is now an unacceptable risk. If Microsoft is spending time adding parameter validation and hardening the Windows kernel only to have that undermined by an AV tool patching and hacking it all away, then that AV tool needs to be blocked. If an AV tool can patch its way in to intercept whole families of calls, so can a virus.

But Microsoft is its own worst enemy here. The security model they introduced with NT was exceptionally fine grained, and so exceptionally complex. This baffled Windows developers who at the time were used to either a call succeeding or the machine crashing. So Microsoft had us run everything as Administrators and a generation of developers was let off the hook. Unix has a far simpler model, and, thanks to the success of Linux, had to quickly grow under very watchful eyes, whereas Microsoft bolted more and more cruft on: DRM, trust zones, group policies, the .net security model and code signing, assemblies, registry key security and more. Who the hell really understands how all of that interacts? It's no wonder that even now, the security model is badly and inconsistently applied by developers. Much easier to ask for everything.

Now the era of Gates and Ballmer is over (and thank God for that), Microsoft is far less vindictive; but SadNad has replaced the vindictive drive with lumbering cack-handedness and incompetence instead. Not really much of an evolution.

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Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

word_merchant
FAIL

Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

1. What they won't tell you - it's shit, unreliable, insecure and woefully expensive,

2. What you need to know - see 1.

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Months late, unaudited: ZX Spectrum reboot firm files accounts

word_merchant
Meh

In fairness...

I have lost £120 in far less entertaining circumstances than this. It's the price of a possibly decent meal out in London. I'm not going to fret too much...

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I still haven't found what I'm malloc()ing for: U2 tops poll of music today's devs code to

word_merchant
Thumb Up

Re: I mostly code to..

Big thumbs up to the Orchestra! Messrs Lynne, Bevan, Tandy, Groucutt, Kaminski, Gale et al. have probably been responsible for more good in this world, and the next, that they'll ever realise. Shame they fell out with each other so badly. Ho hum. And the rest of your list can hardly be considered shabby.

But if you absolutely need to churn out a lot of good high quality code, then melodic death metal is the fountain of inspiration, and luckily enough for us fans of the genre, there have been some astonishing recent releases from Be'lakor, Insomnium, Dark Tranquility, Omnium Gatherum, A.Toma, Countless Skies, Dark the Suns, Enshine, The Ocean, and many, many more.

Enjoy!

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BT's Ryan Reynolds helicopter Wi-Fi ads 'misleading', thunders ad watchdog

word_merchant
FAIL

BT Hub Wi-Fi has always been bad...

Every BT Hub I've owned (from 3 - 6) has had appalling Wi-Fi, from shoddy device and connection management through to actual range. For some time now, I just use the BT Hub as a basic router with a single ethernet connection to an Apple Time Capsule that does the real Wi-Fi, and very well indeed.

So every time BT talks about its 'best ever Wi-Fi' I think of it rather like Trump talking about his 'best ever policy'. How they're (both) allowed to get away with it, who knows.

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Oh snap! Election's made Brexit uncertainty worse for biz, says BT CEO

word_merchant
Happy

Re: Stability, certainty? v2.0

Oi! Who leaked Theresa May's new policy platform?

You mean she had an old one?

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word_merchant
Thumb Up

Stability, certainty? v2.0

Even less difficult with my plan:

1) Ask Trump whether we can be annexed to the US as a semi-autonomous state. I like the sound of Trumpania as a name.

2) Drop the pound, take the dollar. Conversion exchange rate: parity.

3) Take the US constitution as our law. Rename the Queen as Chief Mrs Lady Boss. In particular adopt US food standards, and let Monsanto run our farming.

4) Katie Hopkins as European negotiator. Show Jonny Foreigner who's boss.

5) Ban all media except the Daily Mail. Paul Dacre in charge of press and internet regulation, with the telecoms companies to police internet traffic profiling.

6) TSA to patrol all our borders. They have clearly demonstrated their worth time and time again.

7) Melania. Everywhere.

8) Stop those constant DFS adverts for sofas and that bloody 'added plusness' one (not strictly necessary, but I thought I'd get that in whilst I could).

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word_merchant

If I hear anything from anyone at BT who's not an experienced engineer, my first though is to wonder what the lie is this time.

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AWS launches celebrity-spotting-as-a-service: What a time to be alive

word_merchant
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Am I missing something here?

I think Kardashian is the the name of the latest generation Intel processors.

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Microsoft dumps docs.com cloud file locker, sets December death-date

word_merchant
Thumb Up

The Microsoft way

1. ${technology} is the best and will replace all ${previous_technology} immediately! use it now! now! now! We won't support our cloud/dev ops/collaboration/document storage/cloud/cloud/enterprise/universal fabulon/share price/manager bonuses/developers/customers with ${previous_technology}

2. Devs switch from ${previous_technology} to ${technology}. Have to re-write everything, often at a considerable cost, and lose functionality their customers love because it turns out ${technology} doesn't functionally replace ${previous_technology}, but instead adds a bit and takes away a lot.

3. Microsoft issues statement on how well ${technology} is doing and how it's the strategic future. Customers notice that not much improvement is going into ${technology}.

4. Major security problem found with ${technology} that did not apply to ${previous_technology}.

5. 1 year passes.

6. previous_technology=${technology}

7. technology=new excretion from the depths

8. goto 1

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From landslide to buried alive: Why 2017 election forecasts weren't wrong

word_merchant
Meh

For better or worse, this is a period of voters punishing incumbents

Trump, brexit, this election - the voters are doing the stick wielding. It would be interesting to know if it's the same general set of people who normally vote, or wither there's another section of the UK and US populations who's getting very pissed off with the status quo. Also how much of this is happening elsewhere too - the French election looks interesting in itself, and I suspect Merkel needs to remain very vigilant.

Like it or not, this is at least, very much democracy in action.

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My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

word_merchant
Thumb Up

You can probably get Microsoft to give you Windows 10...

Getting rid of it afterwards, not so easy.

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Windows 10 Creators Update preview: Lovin' for Edge and pen users, nowt much else

word_merchant
Thumb Up

What about the rest of us?

Linux, BSD, Mac OS.

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Meteor swarm spawns new and dangerous branch

word_merchant

We need to wipe out all the asteroids

I will build a triangular wire-frame ship out of unobtanium. It'll fire dashes and destroy asteroids. That'll do it. Schematic follows:

▷ - - - - - - - - - - ⎈

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Obama's intel chief says Russia totally tried to swing it for Trump

word_merchant

Re: Fake News ?

There is no such thing as fake news. The term is Marketing.

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Hotel guest goes broke after booking software gremlin makes her pay for strangers' rooms

word_merchant

Re: "when we reached out to her"

You should socialise that idea going forward.

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word_merchant
Meh

It's tricky...

On the one hand, the Hotel group clearly f**ked up badly and their staff haven't handled it well. They need to put it right or lose the ability to take credit cards. Lucky it was a credit card - I've always found both Visa and Amex absolutely excellent at dealing wth the occasional mishap.

On the other hand, she works for eBay, a company not always appreciated for its 'financial evenness' to its customers, so I find my level of sympathy for her strangely low. Plus she moaned on Twitter (or 'took to Twitter' as the Evening Standard and Daily Mail would say), so that makes her a bit of a whiny brat.

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Microsoft SCOM crashed some web apps, but the fix didn't fix it

word_merchant
Unhappy

Microsoft operates much like a franchise: as long as all the separate bits use similar branding and follow a few basic rules, they can do pretty much whatever they want. And they do.

There must a staggering amount of near-duplication in the Windows codebase; then slap .net on top. Crazy and uncontrollable. I haven't needed to develop for Windows for a long time, but if that's your living, how on earth do you decide what current subset of Microsoft APIs and technologies is safe to use?

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Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

word_merchant
Thumb Up

Bring back Lottie Dexter!

She knew about the codes! Lottie will save us!

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Kaspersky files antitrust suit against Microsoft

word_merchant
FAIL

So...

1. Anti-virus company produces shonky software that patches the Windows kernel and makes it more insecure.

2. Mictosoft cuts off this attack vector.

3. Anti-virus company decides it's cheaper to complain and howl than fix their product.

For once Microsoft is in the right here.

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Vodafone to block its ads from appearing next to 'fake news'

word_merchant
FAIL

Most Vodafone ads are fake news already.

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Wowee, it's Samsung's next me-too AI gizmo: The Apple HomePod

word_merchant

Re: How the world changes

To some extent you have to train yourself to hear the difference.

Here I have to respectfully disagree with you. I reckon pretty much everyone who can hear can tell the difference between a £200 and a £2,000 and a £20,000 Hi-Fi, in the same way that everyone can tell the difference between a Mini and a Bugatti. I understand the law of diminishing returns, but many people I meet seriously undersell themselves when it comes to their ability to judge quality. A shame.

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word_merchant

The iBall surely.

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

word_merchant
Meh

In slight fairness to Apple...

They've finally remembered the iPad and updated iOS to make better use of it. The demos did look pretty slick (as demos usually do), but we'll see come autumn. The new iMac Pro is truly a beast in svelte clothing; I'm not sure many people really want to rack mount Apple kit anyway, so nowadays a super-powerful an all-in-one makes more sense. Sure it uses the same screen as the standard iMac - but they've further improved the screen, and it's brilliant, probably best-in-class. And High Sierra has some good changes under the hood.

But the 'Siri everywhere' bit leaves me cold, as does the HomePod speaker, as does the continued fiddling with the deeply ugly and dull Apple Watch. The augmented reality support could be cool, but you know that somehow it'll mostly end up being used to insert adverts into your photos.

But Cook's Apple is a very different company to Jobs'. For all his talk, I don't feel that Cook truly gets innovation or has any sort of vision like Jobs did. Jobs brought us the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone. Cook, the deeply dull Apple Watch and the identical looking Apple Watch 2. There wasn't so much cheering at this year's event, and even the (presumably paid for) whooping sounded rather forced. A lot is riding on the iPhone 8. Come September, we'll know.

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Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

word_merchant
WTF?

I would jail her parents...

For calling her Realiy. To make the punishment more thorough, I'd make them share a cell.

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UK PM Theresa May's response to terror attacks 'shortsighted'

word_merchant

Eadon returns?

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

word_merchant

Accretion, lethargy, inertia, accountants...

All big organisations (indeed all organisations) accrete IT systems through natural growth, takeovers, changes of directions, changes in regulations, ego clashes, inertia, lethargy and general risk aversion, so it's probably a bit unfair to single BA out here. You look at the IT system diagram for any large organisation - if such a diagram even exists - and weep.

Even with systems now, the fashion is that writing from scratch is bad, so new developments are a hodgepodge of what looked cool in the open source world, what sort of works now, and developer glue - all held together with the sort of build systems that would've once been deemed systems themselves. I've seen people download huge open source frameworks just to use 5% or so of the functionality; hell, I've seen multiple frameworks in use at once, because no-one took the time to the money to properly integrate.

No traditional company spends enough time, money or skill on IT. That's because the accountants who run these companies don't understand what IT does, why it costs, and why really skilled (which usually means expensive) IT people are a valuable asset. By outsourcing and downskilling, accountants see easy cost savings - and they're probably correct as long as everything always works perfectly and no outside influences or unforeseen events change this. There are no black swans in an accountant's world.

So BA is certainly not alone here - not that this excuses them for an avoidable f**k-up of epic proportions, mind.

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Enterprise patching... is patchy, survey finds

word_merchant
FAIL

Delays in updating software and operating systems are putting organisations at greater risk

Given the quality of recent Microsoft patches and upgrades, if you're a Windows shop then delaying patches upgrades sounds like a very sensible approach indeed.

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The open source community is nasty and that's just the docs

word_merchant

Re: I'm not surprised.

Re JBoss: I miss the epic Mike Spille/Cameron 'Peace' Purdy/Marc Fleury technical and ideological battles on theserverside.com. That got a bit heated from time to time. Wonder what happened to that lot? (But not enough to bing for them.)

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1

Who's going to dig you out of a security hole when the time comes?

word_merchant
Coffee/keyboard

There was a brilliant comment on The Reg a while back...

There was a brilliant comment on a Reg forum a while back - alas not made by me - that software was essentially finished some years back: we'd got all the functionality we really needed, we'd got the speed, we'd got the reliability. So everything added now has been simply gilding the lily, and software is generally getting worse as a result. I'm definitely seeing this in the Apple ecosystem. The same is happening with Windows, except the peak was never that high.

Added to this: a generation of very experienced developers who started at the beginning of the PC revolution - so they know the history, they know the pitfalls, they remember what it was like to code when efficiency, correctness and cleanliness really mattered - are now retiring, or being forcibly retired to be replaced by cheap off-shore code monkeys. And the code they produce is horrible. Agile methodologies just encourage this approach, penalising time spent on careful thinking, and rewarding the fast developers - who are often fast because they eschew error handing, or good design - by letting them win the delivery race.

Quality is a now thing of the past. Understanding the basics of building a reliable system is seen as pointless knowledge - just download more Javascript libraries, just grab something open source. That'll do.

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Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

word_merchant

Re: So... we should do the opposite...

Very few will go out and buy a Big Mac for that money.

That was rather the idea.

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word_merchant
Thumb Up

Re: So... we should do the opposite...

That's the great thing with the tax system: the state can use it to guide rather than dictate. If a Big Mac is taxed so it costs £30, this isn't a ban. This isn't totalitarian. It just encourages people to eat other things, where tax breaks can be offered. Re risky people paying more NI: why not? This after all is how traditional insurance works. If you're travelling to Syria for a holiday, your travel insurance premium will be somewhat higher than for my trip to Spain.

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11

Samsung's Bixby assistant fails English, gets held back a month

word_merchant
FAIL

Typical Samsung...

They spend so much time and effort trying to copy and rush to beat Apple that they spoil everything they do by releasing way too early out or just lathering it in crap. Bixby is just another example. If Samsung could've spend another 6 months developing this phone, it would've been amazing. But no: stupid fingerprint scanner positioning (screen not ready), non functioning poor man's Siri (software not ready), pointless Android bloat. They never seem to learn.

Apple is taking its time for the iPhone 8. It'll be more conservative than some of us might like, but it will actually work.

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Microsoft's cunning plan to make Bing the leading search engine: Bribery

word_merchant
WTF?

I just assumed bing was an xslt script on top of google. I now find out it's a real search engine. Who else knew this?

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Edinburgh Uni email snafu tells students they won't be graduating

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Thumb Up

Re: Classic Outlook suggestions failure

Better than asking for a picture of Mike Hunt.

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Boffins spot 'faceless fish' in strange alien environment

word_merchant

That Theresa May gets everywhere doesn't she?

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Does Microsoft have what it takes to topple Google Docs?

word_merchant

No.

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4

Much-hyped Ara Blackphone LeEco Essential handset introduced

word_merchant
Paris Hilton

Gorgeous

Very sleek and I love the display. Hopefully Apple copies this well for the iPhone 8.

0
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Love bots lecture thrills room full of Reg readers

word_merchant
Unhappy

(/./'|'\.\)

why do we automatically assume sex robots are going to look like, well, us?

I guarantee no sex robot's ever going to look like me. Not if they want it to sell, anyway.

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Google can't spare 113 seconds of revenue to compile data on its gender pay gap

word_merchant
Happy

Re: Sorry Dave, I can't do that for you

They could perhaps bing it?

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Defend yourself against ISP tracking in an Trump-era free-for-all

word_merchant
Unhappy

I think the battle has been lost

The only way to be not tracked on the internet is to not use the internet. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

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BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding

word_merchant

My sympathies are with the passengers caught up in this...

Like many (all?) commentators here, I get the feeling there's a lot more to this than a simple random act of God power surge type event. And I also get the feeling we'll be seeing more and more of this as companies that don't consider themselves as IT-reliant refuse to invest in keeping their systems up-to-date with the demands placed on them, outsource vital support to far away and cheap lands, and generally believe that fizzy TV ads and pastel coloured websites are more than enough to keep the bad things at bay.

People who work at these companies are getting fed up with being treated like dirt, the people in the far away lands (fill in the applicable country yourself) are starting to appreciate what being called a 'low cost environment' really means, are starting to appreciate their importance to the company, and are starting to quietly down tools at critical moments. This will only get worse as every company engages in a desperate race to the bottom.

But my sympathies go out to all the passengers caught up in this nonsense - air travel is horribly soul destroying and stressful at the best of times, so to add to the misery almost feels criminal. But alas it's going to take a major air catastrophe before we see any sort of real improvements.

7
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Sainsbury's IT glitch spoils bank holiday food orders

word_merchant
Happy

Thank God it wasn't Ocado

I'd hate to see Islington burning.

6
0

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

word_merchant
Boffin

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

"Prepare to turn left."

...

"Take the next left, signposted Python."

...

"You have reached your destination."

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Industrial Light & Magic: 40 years of Lucas's pioneering FX-wing

word_merchant
Thumb Up

Industrial Light & Magic

Officially the best named corporation ever.

5
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Windows is now built on Git, but Microsoft has found some bottlenecks

word_merchant

Re: GVFS sounds super dumb

I too thought of ClearCase when I read this, with rather mixed memories. I do remember working on a large team where ClearMake really came into its own though, pulling in libraries on the fly that others had compiled. I wonder whatever happened to it... but not enough to google and find out.

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