* Posts by Nick

64 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Oct 2007


ARIN heads off IP address land grab


not inexhaustible

Yes there are a huge number IPv6 addresses: 10^38

But if the block size they give out is too big then it might not go as far as you'd think.

Google got 2^96 adresses. If that's going to be the going rate then they can make 4 billion allocations.

Now that's a large number but it's not what I'd call astronomical.


NAT is not the answer

@Simon Painter

But you can't route to NATed address. That means IP telephony, video conferencing, etc. becomes more tricky.

Plus there are some other reasons that I remember being told about but have since forgotten.

Google inspires behavioral ad-zapping Firefox add-on


Re: Just a Mo.....!

> I thought cookie shit was something invented to fix something about the time fuck knows when. Surely in this brave new Web2.0 era someone should have got around to doing something better.

Flash local shared objects. Stores data on your machine. Isn't blocked by Adblock.

It's now the iPlayer remembers what you've watched

Did TomTom test Microsoft's Linux patent lock-down?


@AC 14:37

> > BTW I would have thought it should be easy to support ext3 or whatever on windows, just insert an auto run exe file[...]''

> What fs type will you use for the partition that contains this exe? You can't make it ext3 (or whatever) because the user would need to have the driver installed already, and you can't make it FAT for the very reasons we're having this discussion.


However autorun is a major malware vector so in a locked-down environment you won't be able to run the executable.

Intel sues Psion over 'netbook' trademark


@patent troll comments

trademark != patent

Unix world braces for geekgasm


On May 15, 2015 it will be ...


"There are some problems with your comment: A comment is required, in addition to a title."

El Reg pays tribute to father of Playmobil

Thumb Up


Simon wrote:

"But you guys, when are you going to make the images big enough so I can use them as my desktop background?"


Can you also group them as a sub-category in Odds&Sods please.

Exploding core counts: Heading for the buffers


Re: I don't get it

Kenny Swan wrote:

"I just don't get why some hardware can't be designed that automatically spread the load between different cores. Is it really that much of a problem to do so?"

Consider the loop:

for(i=1;i<n;i++) a[i]+=a[i-1];

Every iteration of the loop depends on the result of the previous iteration. It's very tricky to parallelize (if not impossible).

It's data dependency issues like that which bugger up your scaling. You have to take a step back and redesign your code to avoid them.

Brits allowed in to OLPC's 'give one, get one' scheme



I suggest you read http://radian.org/notebook/sic-transit-gloria-laptopi



Mark wrote:

"the system had to be made from more expensive components just to accommodate the pitiful attempts to get an MS OS down to size is a waste of money."

They added an SD reader. It cost a few quid and I'm very grateful because it means that I can run Ubuntu on my XO.

Mark wrote:

"OLPC is not a computer. It is a learning device."

This is very true. The XO with Sugar interface is a very good collaborative tool for teaching.

But what it requires for this to work is local infrastructure in terms of expertise, support, teaching resources, etc. Dumping in a bunch of machines does not make an educational program. The OLPC project seems to be relying on Open Collaboration to make this magically happen. But that requires nuturing by willing and capable people on the ground before momentum takes over.

What it is not is a Web 2.0 multimedia laptop experience. If countries want to use them as laptops in the traditional sense then I don't see any problem with that.

They're struggling to get enough volume to get the cost down. If they can sell twice as many by shipping Windows then that will bring down the costs of the Linux versions.

I'm sure that Microsoft is pushing as hard as they can but that's capitalism for you.

Astronaut space dump pong-bomb frag shower today


@William Old

Nick wrote:

"Even in orbit the gravitational force is still significant, it's just balanced by the centripetal force."

William Old replied:

"In this particular case, the gravitational pull of the Earth *is* the centripetal force that acts on said orbiting object."

I'll admit that I was rather imprecise with my language.

However, I wouldn't say that "the gravitational pull of the Earth is the centripetal force". One is a force, the other is a requirement for the orbital motion.

If we're going to nit-pick then I would say that gravity *provides* the centripetal force.


Re: Disposal of space junk

AC wrote:

"Can anyone explain why this sort of space junk isn't propelled in the direction of The Sun"

Even in orbit the gravitational force is still significant, it's just balanced by the centripetal force. Achieving escape velocity would require a sizeable push (which will affect your orbit). And you're more likely to hit the moon or another planet than ever reach the sun.

Fujitsu wants NHS exit payment



If they didn't persue all options to get paid then there would be some very difficult questions from their major shareholders.

Common usernames get more spam


Well blow me down with a feather!

When hotmail.co.uk started I jumped in quick and picked up a couple of addresses which are my name. They pick up quite a few bits of spam even though I never got round to actually using them. Initials are just as popular.

Occasionally I take a peek to see what the spam-du-jour is and I noticed that the other thing that happens is that people randomly use that address when registering things or filling out forms. I sometimes reply if a real person then gets in touch, one of whom worked at a golf club and couldn't get his head around the fact that I was the wrong person.

I own a couple of spare domains so now everyone gets their own personalized version of my email address which is of the form:


Anything without "prefix." at the start gets "User unknown" which stops most spambots forging random From: addresses at the domain.

If I do get spam then I know who to blame and I can block that address whilst only affecting one person.

The random number removes the guessability factor if you know the prefix.

Intel stuffs Nehalem chips with joy


@ Laurent_Z

Laurent_Z wrote:

Can I now please also get a compiler (linux compatible, I don't do windows) that will allow me to magically transform all my "one-thread" softwares to miraculously multithreaded apps?"

icc -parallel

Intel wrote:

"Enable the auto-parallelizer to generate multi-threaded code for loops that can be safely executed in parallel.

If you're all OO then:

icpc -parallel

or if you're an old beardy:

ifort -parallel

Performance: YMMV unless you think about code structure, memory affinity, etc.

A third of Vista PCs downgraded to XP


Microsoft is laughing all the way to the bank

They're shipping with Vista so they can claim the good sales figures.

And people are buying two Microsoft operating systems instead of one.

So they're either:

Corporate customers who are already paying a shedload of money.

People buying machines with the expensive versions of Vista with the downgrade rights.

People buying machines with the cheap Vista and then buying XP.


Microsoft running on at least 220,000 servers


Re: Serevrs

Don Sample wrote:

"I know around 2000, Microsoft favored quad-core rack-mounted servers in their data centers."

I didn't think there were any multi-core processors around in 2000 that supported Windows?

Asus goes official on extended Eee PC line-up


Needs to break magic 200 pound barrier

I'm not going to spend more than 200 quid on a fourth machine.

I want at least a 9" screeen.

I want an Atom processor.

The Acer Aspire One promised this pre-release but ended up costing more.

I doubt these will hit that price point either.

CERN: LHC to fire first proton-smash ray next month


@Chrus Re: Re: Nothing Useful

I have a feeling you might need to recalibrate your irony detector


Re: Result storage...

Brian Morrison wrote:

"Analysing the data should prove interesting, apparently the LHC's experiments will be generating in excess of 700MB/s of data, so just getting it transported to where it will be analysed will be a feat in itself."

Already taken care of:


Ten Tech Toys for Travellers


Re: Nice List

Greg wrote:

"I wonder if someone makes a turbine you can attach to your car"

It would have a big effect on aerodynamics which will lower fuel consumption and cost you a lot of money. Much better to use the cigarette lighter.

USB 2.0 - or not?


@John Sims

John Sims wrote:

"I can't change my BIOS settings as Dell very kindly decided to password protect it on the BIOS update"

Try "Dell". If that doesn't work you can google "Backdoor BIOS Passwords". Or contact customer support.

Next Ubuntu LTS in 2010, unless Linuxes synchronize


efficient debugging

The point is not to make all the distros look and feel the same, it's more about commonality of effort.

If the releases are synchronized then you can be fairly sure that when you're bug fixing before a release then the external developer you want to talk to won't be on holiday, at a conference, busy with other stuff etc.

They will also be up to speed and working on the same version that you are and it won't take them a day to build a new test system to replicate your problem.

It will also be much easier to organize other co-ordinated development efforts like "Bug Days"

ISP typo pimping exposes users to fraudulent web pages


302 or 303

Isn't a 302 (Moved Temporarily) or 303 (See Other) status code the least bad way to implement this (although how many browsers implement 303 I don't know).

It could then redirect to a page which is clearly under the ISP's control.

Personally I think it should be up to the browser to deal with it rather than the ISP but I guess they don't want to pass up a revenue stream.


Re: Don't use ISP's nameserver

fdg wrote:

"Use opendsn.org perhaps?"

Don't OpenDNS use exactly the same sort of advertising trick to fund their servers?

Microsoft kicks out third Windows XP service pack


Ubuntu lifecycle

Chris Curtis wrote:

"My memories of Ubuntu were having to install updates DAILY, and major releases were 6 monthly. Plus, the major updates were more often than not an excuse to reload from scratch."

You're not forced to install the latest version when it's released. Minor releases are supported for 18 months. The long term support (LTS) release is supported for five years (and the patch frequenciy will be lower if you're not on the latest release).

RM to push new HP sub-laptop to schools


Re: £300 is not a cheap laptop

Flocke Kroes wrote:

"XO has a screen you can read in sunlight, stands a reasonable chance of surviving being dropped, does not make you a target for muggers and is far cheaper."

The XO is also one of the slowest machines to boot up and launch applications that I've used in a long time.

Add in the fact that the Sugar interface will not be easily integrated with the rest of the school's IT framework (different applications, no email client, default web browser doesn't cope well with media rich sites, different ideas about file systems, etc) and it's not really a sensible solution.

HSBC pops thousands of customer details in the post


Re: I put this on the e-crime thread but figured it was pertinent here too

AC wrote:

"We've set them up password protected HTTPS upload functionality and SFTP connections but apprarently it's not covered in their current security documentation"

opening port 22 in a firewall for sftp leaves them vulnerable to bypassing the firewall using ssh port forwarding.

Also any encrypted traffic passing out of a network can't be monitored by the network admins so I'm not surprised that it's not allowed.

Kent bloke buried under 3,000 congestion charge receipts


Re: A slight mistake somewhere then..

Terry Bernstein wrote:

"Didn't anyone notice this and think it a bit strange?"

They'll be printed by machine and not seen by a human. 3000 is probably just a blip in terms of the total numbers sent.

The postman probably did but they have a legal responsibility to deliver them. Once it's in their system they can't stop it.

IBM gets back into PCs


@Why not Ubuntu?

Because Lotus Notes on Linux is only supported on RedHat and SuSE

Tool makes mincemeat of Windows passwords


Re: CD boot et al

Trix wrote:

"All you need is a CD or USB disk and BartPE + Sala Password Renew"

Jason Croghan:

"You insert the CD in the drive at boot time "

Both these methods assume that you can boot of a CD/USB and that it hasn't been disabled in a password-locked BIOS.

Yes, I know that you can reset the BIOS but that requires a screwdriver and a little bit of technical skill. And it might be tricky to get to on a laptop.

Bill Gates chuckles at Google Apps



"640K should be enough for anybody"

Bill Gates, 1981

"The Internet? We're not interested in it"

Bill Gates, 1993

Apple unearths Time Capsule


Re: Sever grade disk [et al]

The actual disk used is given elsewhere on El Reg and the "server grade" disk is a Hitachi Deskstar:


US government forces military secrets on Brit webmaster


Re: Guilty of receiving mail not addressed to him?

AC wrote:

"I, for one, suck in any e-mail addressed to nonexistent addresses on my domain, no bounces here, no sir. Though it doesn't get read, it just gets piped to /bin/true. You wouldn't believe the number of imaginary addresses spammers try, either."

Are they spam to imaginary addresses at your domain or are they bounces which used imaginary addresses from your domain in the From: field. I had lots of trouble with the latter because:

A spambot opened an smtp connection to my domain, sent a "RCPT TO:" for a random address, got a "250 OK" back and then broke the connection.

It then knew that all addresses at the domain are valid and wouldn't raise any flags with anti-spam.

Spambot then sent out thousands of spam emails using fake names at my domain, most of which bounced and ended up in my inbox.

If you're eating all your mis-directed mail then spammers may use your domain name to send spam. I doubt it will cause you any problems but I was worried about ending up on spam blacklists.

Microsoft dropped Vista hardware spec to raise Intel profits



Old Skool planning for the life-cycle of software used to be that:

1. On release it runs on high-spec hardware

2. Within less than a year most mid-range hardware will run it.

3. By end of life-cycle it will run on virtually everything out there.

If they designed for the machines that were around at the time then they might have to leave out some of the gee-whiz stuff that everyone loves so much ;)

The hardware people are happy because it drives sales, the software people are happy because they don't have to bother too much about efficiency.

This is all very well as long as the hardware is rapidly getting better but this is no longer really the case. The lastest machines are not light years ahead of kit which is a couple of years old.

The jump from desktops to laptops has probably lead to a decrease in average graphics capabilities.

Also for the first time there are low spec machines which are starting to give a half-decent user experience and the latest version of Windows won't run on them.

It takes a while for a lumbering giant to change direction. I'm guessing that they're working on something, perhaps even a cut-down version for the next release. When that arrives I might even prefer to run on it on my more powerful hardware.

Apologies for the slight tangent.

How Phorm plans to tap your internet connection

Black Helicopters

Re: Dumping Virgin

Ash wrote:

"I'm also using Tor (anonymous IP traffic through proxy and randomised encrypted tunnels)"

Yes, Tor is wonderful but it's not a magic bullet. It can slow down your connection and what happens when someone sets up a rogue exit node which sniffs all your traffic:


Network Solutions sued for price fixing


Re: Unanswered question

Chris C wrote:

"The only way this could possibly be necessary to "protect" their customers is if third parties were actively registering domains queried through Network Solutions' servers. And the only way third parties could get those queries is if there was a pretty big security hole in Network Solutions' servers."

It's just a http request so any network admin between your machine and their server can see it in the clear.

I haven't seen proof that Network Solutions sells the search data to third parties, but they would be within their rights to do so (and it's probably worth quite a bit of money).

And it's not just Network Solutions who can monetize DNS queries. Any big ISP running a nameserver could keep count of common mis-typed domain names which don't have a record and sell that information to squatters.

You can use command line tool like "host -a domainname.com" (or digg, nslookup, etc) to see if a domain is registered and this won't trigger the front-running. If it is registered then you can then go to the whois and take a closer look at who it's registered to and when it expires.

@Nick: No, they don't have to pay a fee for these registrations.

Elonex punts £99 Linux laptop


Re: Re: Here's more details...

I agree with John about the specs. I have an OLPC XO-1 which has (for what it's worth) a 433MHz processor and 256MB of memory. The lag starting applications is very noticeable (~10 sec), as is page load on graphics heavy websites. I think that the level of the Eee is about as low as you want to go with regards to specs.

Star Trek XI release knocked back to 2009


Reimagined, not prequel

I blame Ronald D Moore for this.

Since he "reimagined" Battlestar Gallactica they've been trawling the archives for things to resurrect: Bionic Woman, Flash Gordon, Sarah Connor Chronicles, etc

Initially I had my doubts about the new BSG but was won over because it was well made and had an edge and grittiness that the original didn't have.

Watching the teaser I can see some similar "less polished" look.

However I think less fans of the original aren't going to excuse any major rewriting of the canon, but the producers are probably aiming to try and bring new younger fans in the right demographic who haven't seen the original.

London Congestion Charge becomes CO2 tax


Re: Re: Family cars will be EXTERMINATED

Mark wrote:

"You're in LONDON!!!

What the hell do you need a Zafira for?"

If you want to fit three child seats in the back then you'll need need something that size.

Cable cutter nutters chase underwater conspiracies


Re: "self-healing" strand of fiber?????

AC wrote:

' "self-healing" strand of fiber????? '

marketing speak for redundancy

SCO details bleak future


It can't abandon it's court case with Novell.

Having read some of Groklaw then as far as I can tell it can't abandon it's court case with Novell.

The judge has ruled that SCO collected revenue on behalf of Novell and took a cut.

SCO hasn't released all of this money to Novell yet and the pending court case is solely to determine the actual amount of money involved.

Legally it's actually Novell's money which is being held by SCO rather than being money SCO owes to Novell. This is an important distinction because it puts Novell at the top of the list to get their money, in front of the taxman, lawyers, other debtors etc.

They filed for bankruptcy just before the court ruled how much of Novell's money SCO has and got the hearing delayed. It can't go into liquidation before that hearing is concluded (starts at the end of April) and SCO gives Novell it's money back.

NEC goes Back To The Future with XP for biz users


Re: end of support

Sir Runcible Spoon wrote:

"does that mean they will stop issuing security patches?"

No, it will go into extended support for 5 years which includes security updates and paid support (but no hotfixes, design changes, feature requests, warranty claims etc).

Intel makes MacBook Air processor available to all


skinny laptop needs skinny os ...

... and they'll be attempting to shoehorn Vista onto them

Et tu, Gmail? Simple hack defeats last barrier to decades-old attack


Re: RE: More excuses...

Pie Man wrote:

"There are workarounds for all these excuses."

... apart from the fact that ISPs can't proxy content on SSL websites.

So, either you host your images on a non-SSL server which will pop-up browser warnings about mixed secure/non-secure content or you serve them on an SSL server within your domain.

For sites like Gmail where most of the content is personal then this may not be a major issue but for an e-shop like Amazon then this would be a big factor. Given the number of "304 Not Modified" messages I see in my access logs this would increase their bandwidth costs by orders of magnitude.


Re: Re Shock. Horror.

""Oh dear, what shall we do?"

Save your attachments on a CD-Rom and stick it in the post of course."

I think the correct procedure is to print out the attachments, photograph them, put the images on a CD-Rom and then post them.


Re: Why?

Matt wrote:

"So why don't they enforce SSL? What's the overhead to them? I suppose it takes a little CPU to run the encryption algorithm but surly not that much."

HTTP is stateless therefore once it's served a page it's done. Each webpage is a separate transaction.

SSL is a session, so it has to keep the connection alive until either it's closed or times out. Too many concurrent users with a long timeout and you could run into problems.

You can't proxy images on SSL sites.

Matt wrote:

"I also thought SSL had a side effect of slightly compressing the data so you save on bandwidth."

Standard HTTP can be compressed on the fly if server and browser negotiate it.

New Bond movie is Quantum of Solace


Where's the indefinite article?

The only thing I find mildly irritating is the grammar. It should be:

"A Quantum of Solace"

A quantum is a noun and so grammatically it should have an article before it. It also makes it roll off the tongue a bit more easily (at least for me).

ER thesp joins Doctor Who



I'm more pleased that Steven Moffat is writing it, he's done most of my favourite Doctor Who episodes: Blink (with the statues) and The Empty Child (the kid with the gas mask face)

Apple cripples Sun's open source jewel


DMCA anti-circumvention legisaltion

The fact that you have to modify the application will ensure it falls under the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA (in the US) if it's used to bypass DRM, whereas using an unmodified application supplied with the machine would have been less clear cut.

It covers Apple's backside legally and leaves your's open.