* Posts by BitTwister

253 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

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The protection's off, as Warner commits to Amazon

BitTwister

@Pie Man

> Between the four of us we only just managed to correctly identify the "standard" encoding, vbr around 190kbps, and even that was bloody good.

Quite. I'm reminded of a Quad loudspeaker advert of some years ago, where a (cartoon) reviewer is seated, scowling and obviously disapproving, in front of a curtain behind which is a live cello player. The point being - he'd been told he was listening to a recording played through speakers so that's exactly what he heard; rather like those who are convinced that insane bps rates make for a better sound than more realistic rates.

Last time I checked, data was still being streamed off a standard audio CD at 150kbps.

Bhutto murder used to spread malware

BitTwister

@kain preacher

> How did this become an anti Microsoft rant ??.

Perhaps because, as usual, Microsoft's software is STILL vulnerable by design. Maybe some people are finally beginning to ask "why should I have to keep dealing with this second-rate crap?". It's about time...

BitTorrenters seek sanctuary in Pirate Bay

BitTwister

@Kenny Millar

<sigh>

> Downloading copyrighted material without paying the fee is thieft.

A little test for you (the answer to it and your confusion lies in an earlier post): how about downloading copyrighted material for which there is no fee - like many Linux distributions. Is it theft if I then go on to share such copyrighted material through P2P?

"The orginal purchaser paid for the disc, then illegally made it available for file sharing." vs. the later contradiction "If you provide a service where people can find stolen goods for free collection then you are also comitting a crime."

Where are the "stolen goods", exactly?

BitTwister

@Kenny Millar

> I'm sure they can be tried and convicted for facilitating illegal file sharing.

How ridiculous - like Google (and every other search engine) should be prosecuted for "facilitating" paedophile activity, or "assisting" suicides, "encouraging" slimming to death etc. Like any library or bookshop carrying items which could be argued (by you, probably) to have "triggered" certain activities - say, an interest in chemistry leading to the gaining of knowledge about germ warfare. Well; there's an *obvious* terrorist in the making.

> doesn't make it right to steal the products instead.

Not stolen. That involves an item being removed from its owner's possession. I think you're confusing P2P with stuffing a CD in your coat pocket and walking out of the store.

> If you do, then you deserve to burn in hell.

Yeah yeah; hellfire & damnation shall surely follow them and their descendants for all of their days for yea and thrice yea, will they become cursed in the eyes of men. </thunder rumble>

New Jersey bans sex offenders from the web

BitTwister

@pctechxp

> automatic death penalty because they are sick beyond rehabilitation and cannot contribute anything to society.

And which people would this cover: those who are spotted taking a pee/being nude in public or those who are repeat offenders of sex-related crimes against very young children?

In your strange little monochrome world you'd string them both up as equally guilty. Or have you suddenly come over all Pavlovian and are just responding with the knee-jerk reactions the lower end of the media has trained you to give?

How to copyright Michelangelo

BitTwister

@paulc

> reason why you can't take photographs of old objects in museums.

It's a bit variable (in the UK, at least). The Natural History Museum has a 'photograph/video whatever you want, provided it's for personal use' policy, as does the British Museum - but the Royal Observatory at Greenwich forbids any recording at all of the *amazing* Harrison clocks held there. Same with Westminster Abbey - photography is permitted in the cloisters only (ie. outside), and expressly forbidden elsewhere. But at Ely Cathedral, you're charged a tiny fee for a photography pass - which remains valid for one year. (it's that sort of approach which makes me feel more inclined to donate to them, waiving my copyright, any worthwhile picture I might have taken there)

I'm Ok with the idea of a specific *reproduction* of a public work (emphatically NOT restoration) being copyrighted - but I thought we were already helping pay for our historic public buildings/artifacts through general taxation? Stopping me from photographing "my" property seems a bit steep.

(although I think you're right about Gates: given half a chance he'll apply the usual 'embrace & extinguish' techniques to anything within grasp)

Queen's Speech hits YouTube

BitTwister

@Dale Harrison

Nice try - it's gone now...

Pantone cranks up the whalesong

BitTwister

Hmm

That's about the same colour as a BSOD, isn't it? "Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic." Or maybe not with Windows.

"Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums" Deeper plums? <fnar>

Wishing you an EMF-free Christmas

BitTwister

*snork*

"This phone bag stops your phone receiving a connection from the network!!!", says the Phone Bag page, and for only $12.00. Tell you what; pay me $6 and I'll switch off your phone for you. For a further $3 I'll even remove the battery. It's a bargain, I tells ya...

Vista sets 2007 land-speed record for copying and deleting

BitTwister

@Iain

> [DirectX] only option for running on the 360; a far nicer platform to play games on than Windows.

Good point - better to use a dedicated games console with everything geared towards a good games performance, instead of stuffing a PC with expensive wizz-bang hardware only to have it sit there twiddling thumbs when not playing games.

BitTwister

@Finnbar

> If you know how to get all my lovely first person shooters to run on Ubuntu

(and any other Linux distro) - complain to the games writers that they really ought to support OpenGL instead of the one-horse system DX10(9,8,7 etc). Once upon a time Microsoft supported and contributed to the development of OpenGL but then the usual 'embrace and extinguish' rot set in.

Microsoft spits out final XP service pack, beta version

BitTwister

@various response

> I don't want Ubuntu due to it's feeble nature of lacking a root account

Rightly or wrongly, Canonical put quite a bit of effort into protecting ex-Windows users from themselves and their inherited bad OS habits - hence the push towards using 'sudo' instead of logging on as root all over the place. But, doing 'sudo -s' will likely get what you want. Or, edit the 'sudoers' file as required - or indeed, tweak the already-existing root account via sudo to allow a more conventional root account.

BitTwister

@Steven Hewittt

> Love to see something a little more solid than a snigger and a quote....

But you use Linux, so you should already be well aware that UAC is nothing remotely like the security/privilege structure of any *nix system and hardly qualifies as "being in line with *nix". At best, UAC is an annoying bolt-on masquerading (badly) as a root account. Someone here has already commented on its nuisance value (along with many other similar comments elsewhere). No surprise, considering how Windows users have had 'ease of use' (at the expense of designed-in OS security) drummed into them since Windows v1.02. The OS needs a rewrite to address *that* little issue but then, just about everything which currently runs would break. Microsoft seems to have shot itself in both feet with this one.

> yet to hear of anything reasonable in the comments of El Reg as to why Vista is so bad. Performance is bollocks (run it on modern hardware and it's fine (...)

Which rather neatly answers your own question, surely? Not everyone wants/is able to rebuild their kit to something which simply shouldn't have to be so high-powered in order to adequately run an OS. It's just a program launcher with some housekeeping/convenience tools built in.

> Once an application requires RAM, the less used components of Vista are taken out of RAM so there's enough free for applications. (...) if RAM is there then it should be used.

Well, it seems a promising sign that Microsoft's poor memory management is finally growing up. 'course, this is nothing new in *nix but I suppose Microsoft will still claim it as their own 'innovative approach'.

> give me some reasons why I shouldn't have upgraded my systems to Vista from XP?

I'm not really bothered what OS you run, to be quite honest. I'd only pointed out the ludicrous 'UAC brings Windows into line with *nix' comment.

> Cost is irrelevant

Although it's doubtless a contributing factor to why your Vista experience seems much shinier than the majority of Vista users.

> presumably as it's 'cool' to slate MS.

I suppose some do it for that reason but on the whole, Microsoft's inglorious track record doesn't exactly encourage shouts of unbridled joy from Windows users.

BitTwister

@Steven Hewittt

"UAC which brings Windows in line with *nix". Oh dear <snigger> that's just sooo funny <wipes tear from eye>

You are Bill Gates and I claim my $10.

MS to bundle 'broken' random number tool in Vista SP1

BitTwister

@Andrew

> Why should Microsoft conform to other peoples standards?

Firstly, they're not "other peoples" [sic] standards, they're everyone's standards That's the whole point of a standard: everyone knows how it works and everyone can make something to use it - so everyone can benefit. And contribute improvements to it if necessary.

Secondly, in relation to IT-related standards, Microsoft are playing amongst the big boys now so it really ought to learn how to behave and simply co-operate instead of attempting to embrace and extinguish existing, well-documented and well-used standard methods.

> Why dont Apple and Creative have conform to a common interface for thier mp3 players?

I think you miss the point here. Having buttons arranged in a certain way on a player can't really be defined as a standard in the sense of web page encoding standards, or (say) communication standards. Button arrangement is more of an aesthetic matter, and what a user needs to jab in order to play a track isn't really in the same league as a web page which is designed to render correctly on only one breed of browser. 'WWW' is 'World Wide', not 'Windows Wide'.

> Microsoft have become so successful at achieving lock-in that they're now a natural monoploy.

You seem to state this depressing state of affairs as if it's some sort of worthwhile and laudable achievement - but in reality it's just a suppressive tactic to crush fair competition by weight of numbers alone. Microsoft's "innovations" (the VERY few it can actually claim any credit for) are mediocre at best and if forced to play on a level playing field, it would likely have faded away long ago.

> Does this status mean they should be compelled to Standards other people set?

Yes of course it does, if Microsoft expects to play with others already using those standards. To do otherwise is merely arrogant and disruptive. Besides, there's nothing stopping Microsoft from contributing to existing standards or originating their own - but the recent debacle with its efforts to force a poisoned and proprietary document pseudo-standard into becoming an ISO standard illustrates very clearly why Microsoft MUST conform to standards. Yet even when it tries to launch a standard it demonstrates in one stroke that it has no understanding of an open standard and that it is only interested in its own agenda.

> they are a private company and they can do what ever they like within the law

Of course - but oafish bullying shouldn't be tolerated, and neither should clumsy take-overs of WWW standards which cause compliant browsers to render pages incorrectly.

> although standards are great they dont actually have much effect on most users.

Try telling that to someone creating Redbook-compliant audio CDs.

> For IT systems the big watch words should always be Quality Control

Which in any IT department worth its salt would include standards compliance - even if that only means conforming to an internal corporate standard of dealing with information.

> but not standards which dont matter.

Andrew, a global web standard DOES matter.

BitTwister

@Andrew

> gain some perspective about what is important in the world.

Well, here's some perspective for you about what's important in *this* world, the IT-related world:

S T A N D A R D S

You know - those boring & openly shared, discussed and approved details which ensure 'thing A' can work fully with 'thing B' irrespective of its source, and precisely the sort of thing Microsoft works hard to avoid so only *their* proprietary "standard" exists - and the rest of the world can either conform or go hang.

[Excised by Reg moderator.]

Fire stations too much like fire stations, says Govt

BitTwister

@Kate Menzies

Thanks Kate - nice one! :)

I'm surprised they haven't found a nice cuddly substitute for the word "fire" - surely there are children somewhere who someone should be thinking of?

Open Office standards row heats up

BitTwister

Oxymoron

"Microsoft's Open Standard". 'nuff said.

Opera hits Microsoft with EC complaint

BitTwister

@fon

> compatbility?? try this test, FF2 and IE& fail badly!!! www.webstandards.org/action/acid2/guide/

Fah. See the table on this page - more to the point, it gives you a better idea of Microsoft's commitment to standards. http://www.webdevout.net/browser-support

BitTwister

@Morely Dotes

> I don't mind IE being bundled with Windows; I object to the fraudulent "add/remove programs" item that pretends it can be removed.

Give that man a cigar! Some came close, some commented on the wholly outrageous non-standard "standards" which Microsoft push in peoples' faces as a means enforcing the use of IE - but this is the real and insidious aspect of bundling IE.

It's not so much that they bundle 'a browser' which happens to be theirs - that's a simplistic problem which should be easy to deal with: just remove IE and install any other browser - er, like everyone else already allows with browser choice. It's more that the visible browser component is just the tip of a very messy iceberg. Once, IE *was* just a browser but then Microsoft hit on the idea of nailing it in place by making far too many aspects of the non-browsing use of Windows dependent on IE remaining installed - some of the help system relies on IE code being present, as does Explorer. It's inextricably bound with and woven into the fabric of Windows. (but then Microsoft always has had a problem with the isolation of applications from the OS - which goes a long way to explaining the fundamental security problems with Windows itself)

So this cynical add/remove IE nonsense does precious little towards *actually* removing it: the front-end gets lopped off but that's nothing more than an interface to the pile of code underneath - which remains, along with its associated security issues. It has to: an unhealthily large chunk of Windows is dependent on it. Microsoft has made quite sure of that and, coincidentally of course - they made quite sure around the time of the Netscape "browser war".

BBC pinches hot new columnist from Microsoft

BitTwister

Pah

His Billness says: "Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs."

If only Microsoft would demonstrate any understanding of this. As I saw on a screensaver featuring a joke BSOD, the error address was: F0AD42696C6C

Police give up on lost CDs

BitTwister

@Peter

Many thanks; a nice summary of the *real* problems. Guaranteed to continue, it seems.

China pretty chuffed with lunar probe

BitTwister

@Anonymous Coward

> Now where's that PROOF?

Well, duh... Just curious - what *would* you consider acceptable proof for the manned lunar missions - a personal tour of the landing sites on the Moon, perhaps? Probably not - it would likely get dismissed as being caused by something "they" put in the coffee/implanted in your head.

Media player users beware: more vulns ahead

BitTwister

@One man's mead...

> If we could trust the general population to do this [not clicking on "suspicious" links] then we wouldn't have viruses, exploits and other malware running around the world like wildfire.

Surely the point is that if the software was properly written - even just *slightly better* written - then it wouldn't matter WHAT people clicked on. Even "suspicious" links. (whatever *they* are - do you have some way of spotting them in advance?)

Microsoft wins seven figure sum from distie

BitTwister

@Lee

> except that Microsoft sells tens of Millions of copies of dodgy software. should their fine be correspondingly larger?

Absolutely - especially when considering the damage and problems caused by the *huge* number of Windows-related "little nasties" flooding the net. Why is Microsoft still permitted to spin and bluff its way out of dealing with this mess? And no, it should NOT be up the the user to deal with it: it shouldn't happen in the first place.

BitTwister

Hmm

> "guilty of selling tens of thousands of items of dodgy software."

Isn't that what Microsoft already does?

Megan's Law snafu fingered in rapist's murder

BitTwister

@Charles Manning

> Surely the whole idea with sending someone to prison (...) the person has paid their "debt to society"

Yes, spot on. This seems to be a view held by fewer people every day (doubtless aided by a mindless, braying media), many of whom would quietly applaud a lawless, vigilante-style murder/tar & feathering of the "perv" after he's been dealt with according to law. Either accept that due punishment has been handed out or get the relevant legislation changed.

Western Digital drive is DRM-crippled for your safety

BitTwister

@DRM liability

> If the ISPs are liable for illegal sharing because their lines transmit the files, and hardware manufacturers are liable because their hardware can facilitate the transfers

No no - let's prosecute the power companies - THEY'RE the ones making it all happen. Ban electricity now! It's the tool of the devil...

BitTwister

GPL code

@scot stockwell

It's here: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=347 Just follow the fiendishly misleading link 'Software and Drivers', then select the product from the drop-down list. The GPL code is then selectable from another list.

@AC - see above before digging out the white sheets and burning crosses, Ok?...

BitTwister

@frankgobbo

> so long as you're comfortable compiling/installing libraries and software

<raises hand> I am, I am! Thanks again for the heads-up. All very useful stuff.

BitTwister

@foxyshadis

> it blocks all WMV and WMA files, drm or no drm.

Fair comment. And by blocking ogg files - a genuine 'no strings' open standard - they're bowing & scraping to *any* perceived threat from content "owners" and creating a problem for users. Plus, as has been pointed out, what a drive gets used for is of no concern to its manufacturer - or should they also be blocking all document formats, just in case they contain copyrighted material? Analyzing any image content, trying to detect naughty pictures? I doubt if many drive purchasers would expect it to come with its own set of moral standards...

BitTwister

@THE ANSWER TO THIS ISSUE!!

> It is NOT the hardware doing DRM.

Yeah, but how many Windows users will just be plugging this thing in and using it as-is? Most, I suspect - adding another set of handcuffs to the clanking mass already installed.

BitTwister

@wheres the storey?

> how is it any different than an ipod, or any other crippled DRM product?

No different, when used straight out of the box. But the difference and the story is that it masquerades as an external drive designed to share data - except WD seem to think that not all data is equal and they arbitrarily impose a restriction on users, branding anyone trying to share certain file formats as a wannabe thief.

BitTwister

@What is the problem here?

> Clearly WD are saying this: "If you want to share your illegal ripped DVD collection with the outside world, fine, just don't do it on our web service, ta."

Not true. They're simply *assuming* that if a file in a certain format is being shared, it's being shared illegally. At the very least that's arrogance.

BitTwister

@This is easy

> you have access to a normal, ARM-based Linux distribution, whereby you can install anything you want.

Excellent! So for some of us, this is actually going to be a *very* useful open-ended little box. There's a pile of stuff I'd like to set up/offload from my server/avoid adding yet *another* PC and that URL explains everything required. Heh - I might actually get one now!

BitTwister

The rot begins...

> Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the following file types cannot be shared

All this says is that the file types don't use Microsoft's DRM <spit>. I wonder how much more apparently standard hardware we expect to see which is crippled by being tied to Redmond?

But as others have said, the *real* solutions for what this drive "provides" are simple and much more useful. This is just a dumb product aimed at the dumb by the dumb.

German Wikipedia attacked over Nazi symbolism

BitTwister

@Ian Ferguson

> the 'Remember me on this computer' box is a great idea but doesn't appear to work - cookies on, Firefox 2.0.0.11 / Win XP.

Meh, works fine here with Firefox 2.0.0.11.

Net Asbo slap for boasting Bebo teen

BitTwister

@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

> then ADMITTED to them when, again unsurpringly, the rozzers came-a-calling. It seems that standard due process and punishment has followed from this admission

Bragging on-line does not constitute a legally useful confession to a crime, even if he did claim to have done something illegal. A legally useful confession is what's er, "extracted" at the nick when incontrovertible evidence showing he *did* commit a crime is presented.

> So I'm wondering what it is that you find so "police state" about that?

See above. He's been handed an ASBO for bragging about his "crime", not actually committing one.

[The Norwich newspaper link (posted in this thread) says:- PC Chapman added: “We got a DNA hit from the car he took, we searched his house and found the cannabis and on a targeted patrol we picked him up for the breach but the use of the internet was pivotal in this case.”]

Ok, "it's a fair cop guvn'r; I'll come quietly" - but then the surprise is that an ASBO was used for something more serious - an actual crime of car theft.

> not whole case here as he HAD actually comitted the crime.

Yep, agreed. It wasn't clear at first that this is what happened. (although I still find it creepy that the police are trawling sites looking for an easy boost to the arrest statistics)

BitTwister

@David Wiernicki

> tell me again how the US has less freedom than our friends in blighty

Sure - like when a student got Tasered multiple times for raising embarrassing issues at a student debating society.

BitTwister

@4a$$Monkey

> If you are stupid enough to brag about nicking a car on the web you deserve all you get, regardless of if you were making it up to impress your mates.

How ridiculous. Last time I checked bragging about something illegal wasn't in itself illegal unless evidence backed the bragging - when of course, that evidence would be used to prosecute under somewhat saner legislation than the ASBO vote-reaper.

> and an ASBO is not sufficient!

Ooh look - the Daily Mail pair of tiny brain cells has fired. Yep, hanging's too good for 'em, bring back the birch, give 'em a spell in the Army etc. etc.

BitTwister

@What if...

> I'm curious how deep a sh*t hole TB dug for you.

Deep, *very* deep. Around 800 years' defence of freedoms deep and it's *still* being dug.

World's Dumbest File-sharer megafine gets DoJ thumbs-up

BitTwister

@oligarchy

<sigh> All so true, and so sad...

'Swiss DMCA' fears overblown, says copyright authority

BitTwister

Pah

Ambiguous wording in legislation - the fig-leaf of incompetents and wannabe tyrants.

Auction watchdog says eBay is illegal in France

BitTwister

@Here, here !

Where, where?

"Hear, hear" originated in 18th century British parliament as a contraction of 'hear him, hear him' and is often used to express approval, although calling "here, here" might get a dog running back to you...

Counterfeit Vista rate half that of XP

BitTwister

@Norman Wanzer

> My biggest gripe with Vista (and XP) is that they are no longer Operating Systems. They are Operating Applications.

Spot on - and my my, isn't it *really* beginning to show with Vista? The whole WinBloat thing has become an inane happy-clappy multimedia experience which by chance, happens to run some software too.

Nokia jumps on mobile ad-wagon

BitTwister

@re: Suggestion for advertisers everywhere..

> Out of interest, how much do you donate to El Reg each month since you block their revenue stream? Oh you don't... what a numpty.

Er, I rather thought that a contribution to the revenue stream was generated only when the on-page advert was actually clicked. Otherwise, surely ElReg will be earning irrespective of whether I see an ad. or (don't) click on it.

Presumably therefore, you slavishly purchase every item you see featured anywhere in an ad. because otherwise you'd be blocking revenue streams too...

BitTwister

@Suggestion for advertisers everywhere..

> I now avoid commercial TV and radio channels, block web ads at firewall, proxy and browser level (and block tracking and demographic analysis tools too

Absolutely right - I do the same thing. I'm totally sick of seeing this time-wasting mindless drivel - and being subjected to the idea that by flashing some silly advert at me I'll go all Pavlovian and rush out to buy something. Won't ever happen.

P2P file-sharing recognizes no borders

BitTwister

@Olly, Olly, Olly...

> Is "spelt" a word? I thought it was "spelled".

As I understand it, either "spelled" or "spelt" can be used - rather like "burned" or "burnt".

Or maybe not. I'll get me lead apron anyway.

Linux desktops grow and grow and grow

BitTwister

@KarlTh

> I think a lot of people are getting the impression that they do. [Linux users expecting Windows users to transfer]

Ah yes - that's likely to be certain sections of the media at work, busily quoting fanboy hype as fact...

> A constant problem on Windows forums is Linux Fanboys telling everyone that the solution to every problem they have is to "install Ubuntu".

Yep, that drives me mad too! But these rabid fanboys pop up on SUSE-related groups saying the same thing so they're just trolls - not even fanboys.

> XX this - I'm going to install Linux!" - because, unfortunately, the Fanboys have made them think that they won't have driver issues, bugs, problems to solve and so on on Linux - that it will "just work".

That's an unfortunate end result because although very many Windows problems simply don't exist in Linux (and for most users requiring 'ordinary' email/browsing etc. it *does* "just work"), there may still be the odd tweak required - witness the situation you commented on about the garbled display. Certain manufacturers don't help much by anally refusing to issue any details on their chippery (yes Broadcomm, I'm scowling at *you*) which leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the newly-converted Linux user - the very last person who should suffer from this deliberate information drought. The solution is simple, but I can appreciate that for a Windows user who would have this support built-in (since Broadcomm won't speak anything *but* Windows) it would seem an additional complication to apply the sideways step of having to ask, find and install the wrapper which make the Windows drivers work under Linux. (once past that, the Wireless setup's about as quick & dull as it is with Windows)

> which they won't if they've got an SiS chipset, a PS/2 mouse

Hmm - quirks with various SiS chipsets seem to pop up all over the place. There was a similar thing with the early SATA implementations too, unless the motherboard used a particularly well-documented chipset (the name of which escapes me now!).

> Presumably the next thing they do is buy a Mac. Or a Speak and Spell.

Well I'm sure you've seen Mac fanboys trumpeting the life-enhancing aspects of the Mac in Windows groups - they're a regular "attraction" in Linux groups too. But I can't say I've seen any Speak-n-Spell fanboys. Too busy thumping the keys with their knuckles, I expect :)

> there *are* some Linux users who enjoy parading their superior knowledge rather than actually helping.

Absolutely; they're a royal pain in the sit-upon. Er, but I've known more than a handful of MCSE's who like to tell us how *easy* it is to just click a button - they're generally silenced the next time the wheels drop off the (Windows) print server and an office floor is left without printers.

> There are newbies, mostly from Windows, who have swallowed the crap and start acting like divs when they find that *they've still got to learn how to use it!*

This is by far the most difficult obstacle I've encountered, and I often feel like sticking pins into a little Gates manikin for being responsible for a whole generation of computer "users" who have been encouraged to have absolutely no understanding of any aspect of it. But they always seem to forget that once, they had to learn how to use Windows...

> The question is, then, how to tone down the Fanboys, since they're the root cause

My weapon of choice would be a flame-thrower, but I can't find an IP-enabled one.

> We need to make people aware that Linux is *not* a Windows replacement

Absolutely, if all they expect to do is flop down in front of the keyboard and assume everything will be identical. Much of it is very similar (same with switching to a Mac, really) but they still need to be aware that although it's just a tool and they can make it do everything they're used to doing with Windows, it's still a different tool which needs a modicum of re-learning to achieve the same ends.

Hmm well, do everything except games - but they're heavily wrapped up in the proprietary DX9/10. Once upon a time MS was all behind Open/GL: how different things would have been if they'd continued. Which, of course, explains why they didn't.

> But if your idea is a PC which works *out of the box* to play music, watch telly and surf the web, then actually I'd point at a pre-installed Vista Home Premium (with Firefox, naturally ;) )

Heh - Firefox GOOD! Actually (and having fairly recently installed WinXP), I'm amazed at just how *bad* a Windows new installation experience still is. On the same hardware I'd installed KUbuntu and aside from supplying a few bits of LAN-related information, I didn't have to provide anything else before being rewarded with a 1680x1050 24-bit desktop with my three sound cards, Bluetooth, DVD/CD writers etc. all working perfectly. For the "domestic" user, there will always be issues with immediately playable commercial DVDs because of the licensing situation wrt CSS: with Linux being open-source, there's no company with which to strike a deal and have the support built-in. Distribution suppliers will probably always fight shy of including it by default (especially in the USA and Germany, where to do so would be illegal) until the media pigopolists finally realise they're shooting themselves in the foot. But... it's a simple download and a right-click|install to add the necessary support to play commercial DVDs.

> But enough musing. I've got to try to build this bleedin' thing I need on OpenSuSE now.

Nah, it's easy! All you need to do is make/make install and then edit the... Oops, sorry!

Thanks for the chat, and have fun with Linux.

UK database of children delayed

BitTwister

@John A Blackley

> As I live abroad, can someone tell me if this 'child database' is to be compulsory?

Not sure about the compulsory part (quite probably, though) - but it's certainly already covert. Witness reports of kids being coerced into providing fingerprints without reference to parents, so they can use the school library. (reported here on ElReg, IIRC)

Once upon a time a card provided by the teacher was enough for library use.

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