* Posts by Alan Barnard

24 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Nov 2007

IE is tough on Flash cookies but ignores homegrown threat

Alan Barnard
Big Brother

Microsoft owns Silverlight

Microsoft owns IE. Microsoft owns Windows. Microsoft controls your computer. Why should you think that you have any privacy, any rights, any power?

A fifth of Europeans can't work out how much a TV costs

Alan Barnard

It didn't used to be like that

Once you have narrowed it down to PAYG by going to that section, there is only the choice of carrier. Why should I have to ask when I am quite capable of reading for myself? The great feature of Carphone Warehouse is that you don't get jumped upon by a sales droid as soon as you enter the door. Having to ask rather defeats their unique selling point. If the amount of information has really become too much to display in print, how am I expected to make a rational decision? I went into the shop to buy a phone - not to be sold one. </rant>

Alan Barnard

A trick question

The punters are right to be flummoxed. In a real shop the information given is designed to fuddle not inform. The real tickets would read:

"From €400"

"€500 - Up to 25% off"

Obviously the question is a trick one.

I went in Carphone Warehouse to buy a T-mobile PAYG phone. All the prices were "from", there was no mention of operators and no mention of how to get the "from" price. I walked out without a word and without a phone. It is not as though you have to go far to find another phone shop.

Ubuntu man responds to GNOME 'coattail' claims

Alan Barnard

'but Canonical doesn't do X'

What? Just the command line?

Disney sued for spying on kids with 'zombie cookies'

Alan Barnard

Re: black lacy things

Surely your daughters have their own accounts and do not share yours.

Alan Barnard

Between a rock and a hard place

Children simply don't have the experience to be able to give understanding consent. Parents barely understand how to work a computer.

iPod meltdown strands Tokyo commuters

Alan Barnard

10 minute delay

In Blighty, the statistics for late trains do not include those less than 10 minutes late.

BT boss brands Britain illiterate

Alan Barnard

Cynical responses

26,000 applications, 6000 'useless'.

1) No doubt the 6000 are applying for job after job - there is someone employed at the Job Centre to make sure that they do - they probably applied for the jobs at Tesco and M&S too.

2) BT, Tesco, and M&S are in business to make money, this is a regular whinge, they can have whoever they want if they are prepared to pay but they want graduate material at minimum wage. It is not surprising that they complain that the school-leavers are not good enough and the universities are syphoning off all the best brains.

Sneaky bin chipping still in the bag for UK.gov

Alan Barnard

I'm sorry...

...but it is an old one.

Cybercrooks befuddled by Icelandic volcano name

Alan Barnard


Cut & Paste?

Hotmail pulls Attach-Photo feature over security concerns

Alan Barnard

a dodgy ActiveX control

Should that be read as, 'a dodgy, ActiveX control' or as 'a dodgy ActiveX, control'?

Microsoft under threat from Linux - it's official

Alan Barnard

@Bob Gateaux

Did Vista come with a 64 bit WinModem driver?

CentOS back from brink of death

Alan Barnard

This shows the strength of free software

The failure of one link does not break the chain with FOSS. The fact that others were prepared to fork the distro and work around the problem shows the robustness of the model. Linux is now really too big for it to be allowed to fail. I am sure that IBM would not let it nor would Google and nor would lots of others, great and small.

Compare this with the closed model. If your supplier lets you down, where do you turn?

Rogue CA update bricks Win XP systems

Alan Barnard

This shows the danger...

...of running your anti-virus with root privileges.

Mine's the one with Tux on the back.

BBC botnet 'public interest' defence rubbished by top IT lawyer

Alan Barnard

Has anyone considered...

...that the BBC may have produced this programme without breaking any laws at all. The BBC paid money to criminals (all of which goes to fund terrorism, people trafficking, and dvd piracy) then proceeds to access other peoples' computers (in other countries like that arch criminal Gary McKinnon) for its own use (even if they did not inhale) - right? Perhaps wrong! Why would the BBC put itself in danger of criminal prosecution, extradition even, when all it needed to do was lie. Perhaps the whole programme was faked.

US woman says Ubuntu can't access internet

Alan Barnard

This woman has my sympathy.

She is young and I am past my best-before date. But apart from this, I would have just as much trouble changing my operating system. Before someone calls me a Linux geek, let me say that, since I installed Ubuntu, I have forgotten just about everything I once knew about Linux.

Suppose I had to buy a Windows computer. It would come with Vista, which I have never used (unless I got one with the obsolete XP). I have never had to go through the dreaded authentication process (my present computer is built from hand-me-downs from my children - I gather MS does not like this as my hardware keeps changing). I have no idea about anti-virus and anti-spyware. I did once manage to remove a copy of Norton malware from an XP machine but I doubt if I could do it again (that age thing).

I know that it is dangerous to visit certain Internet sites with IE and I must never accept sweets from strangers who send me e-mails - but I think that I am getting too old to change my ways.

What would I do if I went to a W3-compliant site and I only had IE? How do I read (and edit) my ISO-standard word processed documents? If I was a bit younger, I suppose I could learn these things. De-fragging, cleaning registries, my head hurts.

Take a hammer to your hard drive, shrieks Which?

Alan Barnard
Thumb Down

Solution to the wrong problem

If it is so important to delete particular data from your old hard-drive, was it ever safe to have put it on it in the first place?

RIAA won't sue, but will throttle

Alan Barnard
Thumb Down

The problem that I see is...

...who counts the three strikes? The RIAA finds the IP address of some downloaders and informs the ISP. The ISP puts an e-mail addressed to the offender on its server (assuming that it provides an e-mail service). The addressee may or may not collect the e-mail (he might be using a different e-mail service). Presumably the the ISP will know if the e-mail has been collected (and perhaps sent to the great bit-bucket in the sky by a SPAM filter).

The RIAA now continues looking for the IP address of downloaders. But supposing it finds the same address again. It now has to inform the ISP that it suspects the same address and has to ask if it is the same customer. The ISP now has to check. If the IP address has been reassigned, the RIAA has to start all over again.

This seems like a stupid, unworkable, scheme to me.

The netbook newbie's guide to Linux

Alan Barnard
Paris Hilton

Slightly puzzled

On the one hand, the author says, "...these devices aren't personal computers. The personal computer is a machine you work on." On the other, he says, "But all the SCCs I've seen come with Open Office..." Now OO.org does have a reputation for being a bit of a slug but, if it runs on all of these SCCs, surely we are talking about real, usable, general-purpose computers here. What more could you want unless you have real number-crunching applications? Computer manufacturers (and Microsoft) want to make a clear distinction between netbooks and laptops for obvious commercial reasons - but why does the author want to?

Paris? Because she has the only icon with a question mark.

OpenOffice.org welcomes gatecrashers to version 3.0 orgy

Alan Barnard

One small answer...

Merge it with Evolution and release it under the GPL.

Nothing in the LGPL or GPL to stop you.

He who gets the vision gets the job.

Research: Wind power pricier, emits more CO2 than thought

Alan Barnard

Let Virgin Media run the National Grid

They are, after all, experts on managing supply and demand on a network.

Suppose, for instance, that you opt for the Virgin XL Mains Package. This is advertised as giving you 230 volts and unlimited current.

You will find that this generally gives you about 110 volts and if you exceed your energy quota during a peak period, the voltage is reduced to 24 volts for the next six hours.

UK to fly the flag for OOXML

Alan Barnard

I hope this is a false rumour

There are really only two possible attitudes to DIS 29500. The first is to judge it on its technical merits - I thought that BSI had made a thorough job of this the first time round. The second is to totally ignore its technical merits and make a judgment purely on the basis of an anticipated personal pecuniary advantage.

MP accuses BBC chief of illegally championing Microsoft

Alan Barnard

It's the Internet

When the BBC makes its programmes available on a dvd, it adheres to dvd standards; when it makes its programmes available via analogue TV, it adheres to analogue TV standards; similarly with digital broadcasts. There is no question of having to buy a particular manufacturer's product; anyone who wants to make the equipment to view the programmes, can access the specification and (after maybe having to pay some licence fee) go into business making it. Thus the viewer not only has a choice of equipment supplier but, using that same equipment, has a choice of content supplier.

The BBC is claiming to make its programmes available via the Internet. But in order for anyone to view them - they are expected to buy a product from a particular supplier. And even then - they are limited to a single content supplier.

The Internet has its own standards, the BBC has to adhere to these standards to get the programme to its destination. Now these standards are available to all and can be implemented on any operating system. Whether you are using a Windows PC or a mobile phone is irrelevant - thus the argument about the relative proportions of Linux users is beside the point.

The BBC, having adhered to all the appropriate standards up to the point where the content is inside the viewer's computer, now attempts to add a completely non-standard layer to the process. It does not use a technology that is available to all, either at no charge or for a reasonable fee, but one that is dependent upon buying a particular supplier's product - not even a product for just simply viewing the programmes, but a complete computer operating system (and priced accordingly).

Some would argue that DRM is wrong, others that DRM is unworkable, others would point out that the programmes have been broadcast already - but notwithstanding all that, the BBC method of implementing it is fundamentally wrong.

Seagate's US customers get refund

Alan Barnard

This way lies madness

160GB is supposed to mean: 10000000000 [binary] raised to the power 3 then multiplied by 160 [decimal].

Well, that is what the plaintive is saying that it ought to mean.