* Posts by John PM Chappell

134 posts • joined 7 Mar 2007


Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

John PM Chappell

Re: AMD Dreams

"The big gain in the move to x86_64 was the ability to directly address more than 4G of RAM. At the time ('05?) that was becoming important."

No. It was already and had been for a long time, possible to do that. Address lines rarely map directly to the the instruction size (they don't for the AMD64 current architecture, either) and physical memory addressing is orthogonal to instruction size. There is no "4G (sic)" limit. It's true that you need more than 32 bits for a memory address higher than 4 GiB but that's actually nothing to do with the processor's instruction size - 32 bit processors were addressing more than that long before people were worrying about it being a problem. PAE was the standard that addressed it, and it dates to 1995 (Pentium Pro), it also was directly extended to form the standard for memory addressing used in the AMD64 architecture.

You may be confusing the issue with a Microsoft *licensing* decision to begin restricting 32 bit MS desktop OSes from addressing memory at addresses higher than 4 GiB. A detailed analysis of that can be found here https://www.geoffchappell.com/notes/windows/license/memory.htm (no relation, as far as I know).

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

John PM Chappell

Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

Are you aware that you're quite wrong? I would have been gentler, but you chose to put yourself out there by seeking to correct someone else, and being in error as follows:

Oxford comma is not 'traditional' nor 'more traditional' (whatever that is supposed to mean). It's an innovation, and was assumed by many readers to be "an American thing", outside academics who were familiar with it from dealing with OUP.

American English makes exclusive use of -ze, even where it does not belong per the academic rule for its use. The 'modernization' was actually a 'fad' and is, in fact, the use of -ise over -ize (to look more 'French'). Incorrect is the use of zed in some -ise words, and any -yse words, full treatment of that topic being beyond the scope of a quick correction (and handled in detail online in several locations).

The OED is merely *one* dictionary of English, albeit my preferred tome, and it actually discusses both topic but does not prescribe -ize or 'Oxford comma'. It can't, after all, since they are, at this point, merely questions of style and there *no* language authority for English (for better or worse).

Legibility studies say it actually makes no difference, at all. We're basically in agreement, there.

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

John PM Chappell
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Re: I can't believe it was so easy.

I have to say, that was a nice day's work there.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

John PM Chappell

SteelSeries Apex here. No complaints, and if it ever dies, I'll be looking to replace it with essentially the same model, as far as possible.

That said, I had an IBM Model M back in the UK, that was my "daily driver" keyboard and long outlived the 286-AT it came with. The only reason it did not make it across the Atlantic was that I left the PC it was attached to there, and at the time couldn't see a good reason to ship it over. I'm sure it's still being used by my parents.

Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...

John PM Chappell

I almost backed it ...

... so glad I didn't.

I have a Kickstarter habit, much to my wife's chagrin, and on the whole it's paid off, though many projects have run late or been a little disappointing in the final execution. This one looked promising, though I never owend the original hardware, but it was just a little too light on details, and I questioned what exactly it was bringing to the table aside from a household name. I decided to pass but I remain on their mailing list. As the saga has dragged on, I am so glad I resisted the temptation. At this point, it is literally the definition of a scam, I am afraid; it even makes Star Citizen (another tempting proposition, but Roberts' track record made me hesitate, thankfuly) look above board.

If anything ever comes of it, I'll be moderately surprised, but I still think it will tank. Retro is all well and good, but what else does it have? No licences, too high a price ... sorry, this is DoA, if it ever even arrives.

RAND report finds that, like fusion power and Half Life 3, quantum computing is still 15 years away

John PM Chappell

"US Government"

A small point, but New Jersey is not "THE US government"; it's a state government, in the USA. You could technically it "A" US government, but it's by no means representative of the Federal government, and not necessarily representative of state governments, in general (though I wouldn't be amazed if it were, to be fair).

Amazon says it fired a guy for breaking pandemic rules. Same guy who organized a staff protest over a lack of coronavirus protection

John PM Chappell

Re: not believe unions are in the best interest of our customers or shareholders

The 'associates' in question *are* the employees. It's US Corporatese for "employee", designed to make everyone think "we're all in it together, you, management, we're all associates ... " and it's totally transparent to those same employees, of course.

Surprising nobody, lawyers line up to sue the crap out of Equifax

John PM Chappell

Re: If you visit the website and sign up for TrustedID,

The T&C were never enforcable, they were just giving it a go in case they can get an idiot judge. They know it's a non-starter, really though. You can only waive those rights with clear informed consent.

Passport and binary tree code, please: CompSci quizzes at US border just business as usual

John PM Chappell

Completely agree, patrickstar

I'd want to break out a textbook or at least an algorithm reference tome, since I have not tried to implement one in forever; in part for the reasons you gave and also because I just don't any professional IT anymore.

Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users

John PM Chappell

Cheers mate!

"My favourites include hitting Ctrl+Shift+T when a student quickly closes a browser window while doing "research", and Ctrl+W if they're not fast enough to close it."

I've been using PCs since the year dot, and browsing since there was such a thing, but I'd totally forgotten about those two. I mean, I was vaguely aware of them but I'd forgotten how hand they are. Have a (virtual) pint on me, and a thumbs up. :)

Smart guns are a neat idea on paper. They'll never survive reality

John PM Chappell

Most UK people are probably not even qualified to comment ...

... and I say that as someone who emigrated to the USA (Texas, in fact), from the UK.

Setting aside the smart gun idea, for now, let's address the ownership of weapons in a free society. The provision in the constitution, whose addition was initially resisted by the way (more on that, in a moment), reads in modern English as, essentially "Since a free society needs it's able-bodied citizens to be ready and able to defend it, nobody is to be prevented from purchasing and possessing weapons" - this concept taking its inspiration directly from the previous law of the land; English common law, which had long precendent of right to self-defence, and right to own, carry, and use such for it.

The "militia" is all able-bodied (and presumably, willing) men, as a body, for the defence of the community. It never required any formal organization. "Well regulated" doesn't mean what you think it means, because language shifts usage. It's close to "properly supplied and organized", in current English. It's misinterpretting the phrase "well regulated militia", whether ignorantly or wilfully, that leads to the bogus assertions that the Second Amendment is supposed to apply to the military, in some fashion (unlikely, anyway, there being no standing armed forces), and requiring 'regulation' in modern sense of restrictions and rules.

So, I said "more on that later", aye? Well, the reason it is an amendment and not in the original constitution itself, is that the "framers" considered it so obvious a right that they didn't see the need to enumerate it. The legislatures were eventually persuaded to add an amendment, over the same objection ("It's unnecessary!") because some states had begun to attempt to regulate possession and purchase of weapons, though it was mostly knives and swords, at that point, believe it or not. That's right! The second amendment never mentions firearms! It's about the right to be ARMED, in the first place, and they didn't feel the need to give special treatment to firearms.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in various ways on this, reflecting, as you'd expect, the political mood of the times. Most recently, however, it has specifically re-iterated that the amendment addresses an individual right, not something granted by membership of a group, per se ("militia of one"), and that the "well regulated" provision means that citizens should have access to weapons that would be useful in defence of person and nation (in other words, if it's good enough for the US Army, etc, it's good enough for a citizen, too). It has also ruled that the amendment is underpinning the right to self-defence, and that self-defence is thus a valid reason for possessing, carrying and using a firearm.

Now, for the UK issues. If you've never seen a firearm, you might actually be in a minority. I'd dare to suggest that either you've travelled very little, or you're extremely unobservant. In rural Britain they are quite common, in Northern Ireland (part of the UK, remember?) individual ownership of firearms, especially pistols, is common and often recommended to certain persons, by the PSNI (police in the province). British police have been routinely armed for at least a decade, closer to two, in fact, and not only at airports. Once, in very early 2000s, I was returning to my home in Stafforshire, shortly after a football game (unbeknownst to me, as I never paid attention to that game). As I went to step off the train at my home station, I walked into a literal wall of armed, and armoured, police (British Transport Police), all of whom had sidearms (9mm Beretta 92s, at the time), some of whom were carry MP-5 submachine guns. I was briefly questioned about my intentions, then permitted to leave - they were preventing travelling 'fans' from leaving the train to visit pubs and get more drunk. This story is only one of many casual encounters with police who were armed, and when I actually worked for my local force, I daily saw officers who were routinely armed, and no, they were not all members of the "Armed Response Teams". By the time I left the UK, in 2011, the police officers who walked their beat around my town center all carried sidearms.

Now, perhaps you believe the police should be armed, even if other citizens (they are just citizens, same as you, remember?) are not permitted to be. I pity you, but I left, so whatever. However, you'd be shocked, then, at just how many of your fellow citizens also have regular access to firearms, especially in rural locations. A shotgun licence, even when I left, was 50 GBP, a short form sent to constabularly, and a couple of follow up visits to make sure you had proper storgae for firearms and ammunition (plus a check in with your GP). Many, many rural dwellers have shotguns, most of them probably legal (but by no means, all - lots of farmers and other rural people never complied with the legislative changes and never registered their firearms). They're out in the country, though, so no problem ... how about the drug-dealing thugs in the cities, then? I was indirectly threatened with a firearm twice during my life in the UK, in both cases the person in question was a "convicted felon" as they say in these parts, and was known to be regularly armed. In the case of one, when he was no longer upset at the imagined slight, I had occasions to see the five pistols he illegally owned, all of which he assured me worked, and all of which were modern automatic pistols. No guns in the UK? Give me a break! Safer for it? I wish!

Ah, you say, "you've been unlucky, and I have never felt threatened". Well, if so, good for you. Didn't go out much, did you? Every weekend that I went out in my youth, and even into my late 20s and early 30s, I either witnessed violent assaults or was involved in them (usually, once older and less stupid, as an unwilling defendant). This was, and likely is, so normal for much of the UK, that when I initially came to the USA, I was a little scared. After all, I'm in Texas, where people have (relatively, though by no means as easy as some think) easy access to firearms. The first few times I went out, I was on edge, but never saw any violence at all. Eventually, as I continued to socialize, it dawned on me that while Texas does have far more guns, in all likelihood, than my 'home' in the UK, people are actually *much less violent*. Guess what? The crime statistics bear this out. Sure, US gun crime is much higher than UK (more guns, most of the legal, too), it's violent crime rates are mostly lower, in reality. Especially for violent assaults, knife crime, etc. More burglaries, in some states though :(

I'm now a citizen, and even before then, I purchased firearms once I was legally able to do so. Not only for defence, though in this state, I'm permitted to have firearms in my vehicle with no special "permit" required, but also for sport at the various ranges in the area. I have what we now call a "Licence to Carry", which permits me to carry a pistol, concealed or openly (subject to rules about being properly holstered) as I wish, in most places, unless they are a private business that expressly tells me I am not welcome to do so. I am almost always so-armed, and not because I am scared, but because I believe, along with many Texans, and many in the USA at large, that "An armed society is a polite society", and because in the unlikely event I need to actually shoot at someone, I don't want to wish that I'd brought one of my pistols with me, while I hope the police arrive before I, or someone else, is killed. I've "used" my pistol twice in the time I have been here, and both uses were to show that I was armed and state that I was prepared to use force if the behaviour did not stop. Once was an abusive visitor to a neighbour, the other was someone (actually a group of three) who approached me in a sparse parking lot (carpark) with likely intent to rob me; the first case caused the aggressor to resort to hurling insults, rather than attempting to continue closing on me with obvious intent to assault, before he went back inside, as I calmly walked away. Once he left, that neighbour thanked me for stepping in. The second time, the person approaching me realized I had clocked him (and actually I had clocked his two buddies, as well), stopped short then took off back towards the supermarket, his friends doing likewise when I turned to look at them. These kinds of incidents are what others are talking about when they mention "defensive use of handgun", and I reported neither incident to the police (there seemed no real need in the latter case, though it might have been a good idea, in hindsight, with the first incident, my neighbour asked me not to, since it would cause her personal trouble and he was already known to them).

In the UK, my options in case one would have been "don't get involved" or "call the police", unless I wanted to get into a fracas, and likely end up being assaulted, and facing counter charges of assaulting him. In case two, I guess my only option would have been "try to get to my vehicle before they get to it, or me". None of those options seem to be ideal, so I'll take my gun ownership, thanks.

Oh, to my friend in "Tejas" - you can drink while armed, you simply must not become intoxicated while in possession of a firearm. We drive everywhere, though, so you wouldn't do that anyway, would you?

Anyway, I'm glad that my schooling included being taught to shoot a shotgun, at clays, when I was 7 through 13, in good old England. Where there are "no guns".

Anyway, wall of text, so thanks to those who read it.

Kids today are so stupid they fall for security scams more often than greybeards

John PM Chappell

Re: Scams?

Nonsense. Also, your pretentious attempt to seem more clever than you are falls flat with 'virii' - the plural is viruses, in English. In Latin, it'd be 4th Declension, and remains virus, but with different vowel values, in my opinion; the best alternative is vira, pluralizing in a way that is standard for neuter nouns. There is no true Latin plural, however, because in Classical Latin it wasn't a concept that could pluralize. At no time has 'virii' been correct, and it's generally seen used by poseurs who have discovered that some Latinate words pluralized by ending in -i but have no actual knowledge on the topic.

Police raid India call centre, detain 500 in fraud probe

John PM Chappell

Re: Neither have you

@Stevie - if only I could upvote you more.

Smartphones aren't tiny PCs, but that's how we use them in the West

John PM Chappell

Re: Cheques???

As someone who worked for the largest bank in the US; no. Cheques (or checks, as you prefer) are real and constitute a large part of daily operations. They even constitute the bulk of fraud investigations (guess what I did ;) ).

PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

John PM Chappell

Re: Far side of the Pond, watching.

Scot who recently became a US citizen, over here in Texas. Your analysis largely mirrors mine, and I *have* been following. It's been touchy speaking to my parents recently because they both have been spouting anti-immigrant UKIP bullshit, since last year, and we're determined that Scotland shouldn't leave the Union. *sigh*

At least I'll probably win that argument, now - pretty sure Scotland is leaving, after this debacle.

John PM Chappell

Re: leave here

You're repeating propaganda; assuming you're genuine, it'd pay to research your claims. You're especially wide of the mark regarding the respective legal systems, and their histories.

John PM Chappell

Re: > while older and especially retired people voted to leave.

I think you're a bit confused (understandable), for example; Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain. Not a single voting area gave a Leave result, most were not even close.

Tinder bans under-18s: Moral panic averted

John PM Chappell

It's not generally permitted for 16 year olds to be in possession of firearms, outside specific supervised situations. So, no. A better example, given this is a US thing, would be driving - I remain boggled by the notion that we should allow 15 year olds to drive, but not permit them to buy legal intoxicants, vote, etc.

The idea that you need to be 21 to buy alcohol is patently ridiculous. I don't even think 18 is a sensible limit for permitted consumption, on balance.

However, Tinder has to work in the social and legal framework they find around them, which means this is probably a smart move, even though they tried to do the right thing, first.

Sophos U-turns on lack of .bat file blocking after El Reg intervenes

John PM Chappell

Re: Hmm

Impressed as I am ... you're not going to get 64 bit Windows to run a 16 bit exectuable (.com) ;)

Would it be bad if the Amazon rainforest was all farms? Well it was, once

John PM Chappell

Old news, surely?

As other commenters have noted, this is not really new, although more study is A Good Thing (TM).

Also, no, clearing it wouldn't be disastrous, only those with no real understanding of the topic and some fairly naive 'new age / green' notions of 'Mother Earth' have tended to suggest so, usually with the totally incorrect assertion about supplying massive amounts of world oxygen. It would, however be utterly tragic, the moreso because we would really have no idea what we had lost (admittedly, if anything had been lost at all). This seems like a stupid thing to allow to happen for the sake of some education and economic inducements and Big Pharma actually agrees, on the whole, as they have seen interesting stuff come out of plants found primarily or exclusively in this habitat.

Of course, 'not disastrous' is by no means the same as 'no effect' and might well be disastrous for some in ways that are effectively impossible to model right now and thus, literally, unpredictable.

Story gone

John PM Chappell

Beast, really?

It's got a 2 GHz current gen i-7, so nothing special there, 6 GiB of DDR3 is admittedly a lot of RAM (though probably not that useful, in truth) and 900 pixels for the height is indeed FAIL on the screen (that's why people keep saying so) of a "17 inch" format laptop. Even the graphics is pretty mediocre, really, for the term 'beast'. Not to be a git about this but I'm typing from an M18X with 2x HD 6990M in Crossfire and a considerably faster i-7 and I'm still not close to the 'maxed' builds possible for the line. These machines and their competitors are "Beasts of a laptop" not this nice executive toy.

Needless to say, I entered anyway :-P

Chinese bride sentenced to hard labour for retweet

John PM Chappell
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Good on China, for once

Ignoring the fact that the service is "banned" (and how effective that really is, combined with the likely usefulness to the authorities themselves), the basic story here is "Citizen incites violence and criminal damage with a racist / nationalist agenda. Citizen is arrested and subsequently sentenced for the offence."

Perhaps if we were as fast and effective in the UK, for example with the morons in the recent so-called demonstration against tuition fees (which is busy peddling nonsense anyway and aye, I went to University too and still owe money for it) people would be less keen to smash property and assault members of the public and police.

US demands right to snoop the world

John PM Chappell

Indeed it is... so why make it yourself?

Recent US governments have been nothing but deceptive and self-serving, if not outright immoral and illegal. This affects the US people, too, of course.

The American people, however, did elect them, remember.

EU sues UK.gov over Phorm trials

John PM Chappell

"Loyal Commenter" FAILs at politics...

Sorry to burst your bubble but you were likely "down voted" because of your ignorance of the way the British system (such as it is) works.

Specifically, we do not vote for parties, even if a lot of the populace are pretty ignorant and just look for their favourite colour, we vote for individuals (in a rather flawed 'first past the post' style local election) who may or may not be a member of a political party.

Furthermore, once elected, these people are not "the government" they are members of our parliament which is collectively the source of our laws; "the government" is that group of politicians within parliament that band together so as to form a permanent majority. The leader of this group is the person "invited to form a government" by the reigning monarch in a nod to tradition and the essentially mythical idea that the UK is 'ruled' by a monarch, over time this person has come to be given the title 'Prime Minister' and reside in the same house in London whilst in this role.

John PM Chappell


I am going the other way, albeit not because I think the EU is a bad thing. Perhaps we can persuade the respective governments to do a swap? ;¬)

ToryDems nearly swallow Labour blueprint of equality for all

John PM Chappell
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High costs? Really?

The only people who stand to incurr a lot of costs are those who are not in compliance with the legislation coming in, most of which is pretty obviously wrong as it stand but which they have been able to get away with thus far because they could marshall a reasonable legal defence. That defence is going. My heart bleeds.

MoD labels Facebook Places a 'targeting pack' for terrorists

John PM Chappell

Nitpicking again, but...

"circuled" means what, exactly? ;¬)

More seriously, I have actively avoided Facebook and all similar applications precisely because the whole idea is pointless, for the most part. As pointed out above, anyone you really care about and who really cares about you, is already aware of pertinent information, like where you are, unless you don't want them to be. In either case, I fail to see how FaceBook and its ilk could help you there; it's transparently about gathering large amounts of information to sell, anonymized or otherwise, to businesses.

Ofcom imposes new rules on silent callers

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Bloke threatens BT with giant plywood cheque

John PM Chappell

Ah, but remember that legal tender...

... is not as simple as "cash please!" either. It's a specific term and doesn't even touch paper money (banknotes, etc); it details the amounts upto which someone is obliged to accept payment in certain coin denominations. For example, I do NOT have to accept your payment of twenty quid in pennies.

Hacker pledges to re-enable Linux on PS3

John PM Chappell

No tech stuff required, this is a simple and clear cut legal issue in the UK

The bad news, for Sony, is that they are ending the original sales contracts with anyone who bought their device in the UK and such customers are entitled to a full refund. No questions, no quibbles.

Alternatively, they can leave the device alone in the UK, without restricting or removing any current functionality (this would be problematic, to say the least but it's a legal option) but should they later roll out new features which they did not extend to UK customers, a fresh legal challenge would likely succeed in forcing Sony to extend such features to the UK customer base (that one would need to be fought as it is not a simple breach of contract, unless they wrote the T&C badly).

This situation is almost certainly similar to much of the rest of the EU, too, but I don't have the knowledge to address that at all. In short, they're fuct. It only takes someone to actually bother to follow it up (the more who do, the better) and it looks like a couple in this thread are. :¬)

I never bothered with the overpriced shite myself but I feel for those who did.

TechniSat Freesat set-top gets BBC iPlayer support

John PM Chappell

Let's not punt the god-awful and illegal Ethernet-over-powerline kit, eh?

Seriously. None of it, to my knowledge is legitimate it's simply that Ofcom are doing a pathetic job of enforcement so kit sellers are knocking as much of it out of the door as they can, while they can. There is a legal challenge proceeding to force Ofcom to actually do their job.

Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say

John PM Chappell

What a load of shit...

... mostly from non-smokers and the ever zealous ‘reformed’ smokers channeling their guilt and self-loathing into hatred of others. First of all, nicotine is not tar and to all intents and purposes isn't even present in the tar (we wouldn't bother smoking otherwise as the point is to breathe the smoke, extract the nicotine and exhale most of the rest). Secondly, the ash is a much bigger issue for computers and you have to smoke very heavily, very close to it and over extended periods to deposit significant amounts of it in the machine or else the machine has to be practically wind-tunnel like in its draw strength with a very cluttered interior or crap exhausting. Thirdly, the ash and assorted other rubbish is just the same as dust (more toxic, maybe even mildly radioactive if you have sensitive enough equipment but otherwise...) and the problems that occur with dust also occur with dust that is partly or mostly tobacco ash, I.E. this is absolutely routine.

I get that smoking smells horrible (it does to me, too and I smoke - hence I smoke outside and very occasionally in my car / van but always with the window full down and the fans on high to blow it clear of the interior) but you idiots are vastly overstating your case and aye, I have serviced many, many PCs including one belonging to an old mentor of mine who use to smoke unfiltered ‘Senior Service’ cigarettes at the rate of forty to sixty a day, and spent most of his day coding at the machine; the exterior was badly stained, there was about half an inch of ash and dust on surfaces that were horizontal when the PC was used and the fans were badly worn from pushing the extra weight around when spinning but there was no ‘gooey tar build up’ (get real folks, that doesn't come from cigarette smoke, it'll be vapourized fat or sugar) and some gentle directed air took it all off the board while a simple vaccum cleaner (remember those?) cleaned the case out. I didn't clean the exterior up, though, why bother?

Apple are probably stuffed on this, to be honest; it's not a biological hazard, it's not even a chemical hazard, really, and the warranty doesn't specifically exclude it, so I'd think it unlikely they succeed in court with an argument that smoking near the computer was the cause of the failure or that doing so was somehow an unusual or extreme environment. I also think the employee is on a hiding to nothing with the exposure claim.

As for mister “Smokers take death for granted” anyone who doesn't is in a for large, final and fatal surprise; death comes for you, too (barring some currently speculative medicine advances).

Fanbois Apple buyers howl over crocked iMacs

John PM Chappell

Overpriced shite shocker!

It's really not news to anyone with their eyes open, to be honest; contrary to the hype, Apple kit is nothing special and often sub-par but with a very distinctive styling (which I have never liked and therefore won't buy). Apple are taking this level of flak because Apple customers are often either naïve or zealous brand followers and tend to believe their own propaganda on behalf of Apple, about everything being better and higher quality, backed by excellent customer service, with better software, etc, etc.

In fairness to Apple, every company drops the ball now and then and the numbers are not huge but it's worth remembering that they built their entire business on the back of the ideas that their zealots spout and the claim that Apple kit ‘just works’, so when it doesn't...

Combat games disrespect war laws, report claims

John PM Chappell


I'm with another poster on here; Total War. Anyone who opposes me in any way, indeed anyone who doesn't unconditionally support me, is clearly my enemy and thus an ‘enemy combatant’ who's not covered by the Geneva Convention; ergo I can do what I like to them.

How can I make an old CPU SSE 2 compliant?

John PM Chappell


Custom interrupt handler is perfectly possible if the only way to run a piece of software is with SSE2 available and that software must be run on that CPU. In reality though, unless you fancy the challenge yourself or are prepared to pay someone to write it, you're looking at a much more sensible option of replacing the hardware or using other software.

Coin-sized nuclear isotope battery minted

John PM Chappell

Umm, Steve?

You've lost the plot a bit there, mate. The potential danger here is pretty minimal, the potential gain quite large and radioactivity really does work the way Jason and others have pointed out.

One in three kids believe Google measures truthiness

John PM Chappell

I.E. not E.G. ;¬)

In the spirit of joining the fray, The Other Steve? You're doing it wrong. You want I.E. not E.G. whether you realize your error or not. HtH.

PC tune-up software: does it really work?

John PM Chappell

A few myths still floating around amongst the tech literate...

Disabling the page file can be done simply, safely and is worthwhile for many people. I've read Russonovic and he's wrong, it'd be tedious to go into explicit detail of why but basically he incorrectly analyses the information, rather than being incorrect about the overall technical detail (which is his real field of expertise, in fairness). In practice, most users with enough memory to be disabling the pagefile (it doesn't actually disable paging, by the way), which is just about any system made this century and many older, should probably just set a fixed and very small one, in order to avoid problems with some software that blindly checks for it instead of trusting the OS to do its job as configured by the admin. The specific gain is hugely increased response time, especially from applications you have minimized or where the machine was left idle for any significant period, as well better caching (it's now always in RAM and not occasionally paged out to HDD). The danger is that you manage to put together a working set which really does exceed your available memory and applications begin to get failure responses when making allocation requests. I've never seen this happen without actually deliberately coding it, for test purposes (but I run with 4 GB on my systems).

That brings us to the next myth... Windows XP, yes even 32 bit XP, can see 4 or more GB just fine. In fact it can see whatever physical memory is installed as long your BIOS can see it properly, you do NOT need a 64 bit OS to take advantage of a lot of memory but a 64 bit OS will make more efficient use of it in many ways (at the cost of some significant overhead, but you have a lot of RAM now, right?). The limitation is the number of unique addresses possible and Windows lies about actual address anyway (to put it simply) so that applications can be writing to the same location (if you believe the raw address) but are in fact not. There is also the 2 GB limit on continuous addressable memory, PER APPLICATION, which can be increased to as much as 3 GB with a boot switch (but there are side effects) and can be circumvented cleverly anyway.

Truly, if you guys are what passes for the tech elite or even the tech monkeys, these days it is no wonder products like these sell to your customers and friends.

CA auto-immune update trashes systems

John PM Chappell

This would be why ...

... I always retain user oversight of actions by such tools, when I even bother to use them; honestly, I run XP daily and I think the last time I was infected with anything was about three years ago when I foolishly attached an acquaintance's external hard drive to my own machine under Windows rather than scanning it from secure environment first. I've found that using Firefox with NoScript and only permitting scripting to run on sites that absolutely need it (and even then marking all ad domains and similar as globally untrusted) has kept my machine clean. I periodically run a full scan from a standalone AV tool with recent signatures to be sure but I found that permanently installed products, especially those using on-access scanning and auto-action were more trouble than they were worth.

Man gets 3 years in prison for stealing IDs over LimeWire

John PM Chappell

Come again?

@ babz - Some people don't lock their house up when they go out for the day, it doesn't mean we should let the burglars off to ‘teach them a lesson’, a crime is a crime and fraud is a relatively serious one, as is large-scale theft. I'm quite happy with treating offences where insufficient precautions were taken as less serious than those where criminals bypassed considerable security measures, indeed this a legal principle in Scottish Law but he's still a scumbag thief who thought he was being very clever.

All that said, using LimeWire ≡ FAIL.

Security elite pwned on Black Hat eve

John PM Chappell

Did we just get spammed?

(AC "Samantha” @ 5:26)

Anyway, Mitnick never impressed me but he's spot on about not putting important stuff online if it doesn't need to be immediately publicly accessible. There's a reason that I use encryption for stuff I really care about and keep anything that's not trivial on offline storage. *eye roll*

Sex Offenders returns to iTunes

John PM Chappell

Nevermind ‘people close to them’

The fact is that most child abuse and paedophilia involves the PARENTS of the unfortunate children, not simply people who know the children. Idiotic and frankly dangerous (as well as possibly illegal) campaigns, dissemination of information and commercial products like the ones mentioned here should be very harshly dealt with, in my opinion.

SEC: Magical stock brokering software was a fraud

John PM Chappell

Heavy Metal Trader?

"He allegedly mislead his clients to invest their money in EIMT by claiming he had proprietary trade brokerage software which generated returns of about 3.5 per cent per month with little risk of loss." should be 'misled' with no ay, unless you're suggesting the involvement of heavy metals.

'Vista Capable' plaintiffs seek class action revival

John PM Chappell

@ James O'Brien

With a name like that, have you considered that you might be elligible for an Irish passport? ;¬)

IIRC Irish grandparents is sufficient (I am likely to claim my own passport on the same grounds, UK is not the shining beacon of hope some yanks imagine).

Windows 7 fast track alarms technical testers

John PM Chappell
Gates Horns

Wasn't impressed

I wasn't impressed by the build I was invited to test, so I can't say I am surprised. In my opinion it's doomed because of underlying decisions that go all the way back to the introduction of Win95 (e.g. workarounds to permit buggy applications and broken drivers and hardware to function).

Unisys threatens Itanium with death

John PM Chappell

Victim of its own success?

In many ways Itanium peaked too early; it's arguably a superior 64 bit architecture to AMD64 but the way that AMD was able to match or even better the performance of comparable 80x86 processors running 32 bit code and also run 64 code pretty much killed a lot of Itanium's potential (since its emulation was significantly slower than native code and usually far slower than an 80x86 processor at a similar price point or even native performance point).

Satellite-hacking boffin sees the unseeable

John PM Chappell

@jake & others

I see Jake has backed down now but I'm going to observe that this is fuel on the fire of "teachers are pretty crap today" as I appear to have a better grasp of the maths and technical details and I *don't* attempt to teach others about the topic.

As for the NSA, they can trivially crack some of the piss poor 'encryption' systems but they are stuck, like everyone else, when it comes to brute-force attacks on truly secure systems.

The GCHQ bloke was making a (quite old) joke, they don't monitor every phone line, etc, to do so is unfeasible anyway. GCHQ really does monitor the entire RF spectrum, however and I have one of the pieces of kit they used to use, sitting in the room where the rest of my radio equipment is. Needless to say they haven't stopped listening, just updated the kit.

This 'white hat' crap gets up my nose, though, it has to be said and playing with satellite dishes is really, really old hat.

Intel to put internet in your pants

John PM Chappell

Umm... didn't we already try this?

I mean, it's potentially impressive, what with transistor counts always climbing and better power management but a small screen and impossible to use input devices are why we don't rely on very small devices for more than a diversion or a very rudimentary piece of work.

My Pocket PC can do quite a lot but most of the time it just runs TomTom or a scientific calculator - I have a laptop for real 'mobile' work and a fully kitted out tower for a 'workstation' when I don't need to carry the work around. If someone needs to do serious work, they have the time to sit down and at least use a laptop, the idea that we're all going to be 'doing work' on the bus or something is just plain stupid.

Dear Obama: Please consider open-source a waste of your time

John PM Chappell
Thumb Down


myxiplx has it right, still I wasn't being productive anyway, just drinking my tea before the day starts. Oh, for the MS zealots who always seem to turn up; I use predominantly MS software (that's just how it is in Windows development) so don't bore me with some pseudo-religious strawman about how we all hate MS because they are successful or something.

IWF confirms Wayback Machine porn blacklisting

John PM Chappell

@Andrew Crystall

Kindly stop talking out of your arse; your lack of expertise in and understanding of the technical, legal and philosophical aspects of this issue is showing and your repeated trolling is getting boring.

In practical terms, you can tell your ISP that you do not wish to be subjected to filtering, especially not the IWF list and that if they are not prepared to remove it you will change providers (there are ISPs who don't use it at all).

The wider issues ought to be obvious; some people genuinely want to have some filtering in place so that they are very unlikely to ever see anything 'offensive' but there are products (even free ones, I recall) for precisely that purpose and nothing to stop ISPs from offering an opt-in filtering of certain categories of website (I don't like this but customers are customers and businesses make money meeting their needs and desires). Everyone else wants to be able to access any computer with a routable IP address on any protocol they choose, without interference, the ISPs could do with being reminded of that fact, alongside the well established principle of they not being accountable for the use of their infrastructure in an illegal manner, especially wrt content.



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