* Posts by Michael Strorm

509 posts • joined 11 Feb 2008


HMD Global revamps infamous commuter-botherer, the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

Michael Strorm

Re: A Feature phone with a headphone jack & SD card slot?

> I didn't want them to send me a feces flinging Howler monkey

It'd be a refreshing change from the bobcats.

Apple drops a bomb on long-life HTTPS certificates: Safari to snub new security certs valid for more than 13 months

Michael Strorm

That's nice, but what does it have to do with the price of eggs?

Instagram influencer fools followers into thinking Ikea photoshoot was Bali holiday

Michael Strorm

Re: Good grief!

> Anyone lasting past the first minute of this, erm, person's outpourings and uncoordinated gesticulation is clearly missing a few cards from their deck.

I started watching it at work with the sound completely off in the first place- and I *still* wanted to mute it.

Former TalkTalk cybersecurity overseer rattles the tin to cover costs of equal pay dispute against UK ISP

Michael Strorm

Re: I'm torn on this one

> Asking other people to fund your suit when you've been paid £110pa

I dunno, £110 a year really *isn't* that much.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline

Michael Strorm

Re: Valves

> "I don't know why elapsed decades would render a story less relevant."

They don't, and I'm not sure why you thought I was making that point(!) It was just an observation that it must indeed have been a long time ago now.

I take your point about valves in general, though.

Michael Strorm

Re: Right cable, wrong hole.

You're a smeghead!

Time to check in again on the Atari retro console… dear God, it’s actually got worse

Michael Strorm

Re: Shouldn't be nearly this difficult

Despite the media's (and their own) habit of lumping together supposed groups of people with similar interests as a "community", I'm not sure that the people (potentially) interested in the new "VCS" is necessarily the same group as that which drove the Gamergate thing a few years ago.

I'm sure there's *some* overlap, but I wouldn't treat the two groups as synonymous. I mean, *I'm* discussing this here because I'm interested in 80s gaming and video games. But I really couldn't give a damn- or tell you anything about- anything remotely recent, or even most things released in the past 20 years, and I have sod all in common with the Gamergaters.

Michael Strorm

While I've seen various people dispute the fine details surrounding the development of the ST and the legal issues relating to the acquisition of the Amiga, this is- as far as I'm aware- broadly correct.

Something I forgot to mention in arguing that the ST was less the heir of the Atari 800 and VCS than the Amiga was is also that it was based more around "off-the-shelf" technology with less custom silicon than the Amiga. This probably helped its quick development, although the speed of its design is still generally considered impressive. (It also reinforces the comparison- in your other comment- of the ST as being somewhat the 16-bit equivalent of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum).

Michael Strorm

Re: Oh for the love of....

There's nothing "too good to be true" about the proposed console. In fact, there's nothing much good about it at all, it's just some arbitrary hardware using (presumably emulated) VCS compatibility as a selling point when you've already been able to do that on even the most underpowered computer for years now.

Michael Strorm

Re: Shouldn't be nearly this difficult

Pretty certain you're expecting too much and it's just going to be some poxy emulator-based thing anyway, not a hardware recreation. The only reason this is a problem is that they're designing a whole new modern console to run it on (which I've already ranted about in more detail here) despite the fact you could probably emulate the original VCS on anything more powerful than a musical Christmas card nowadays.

Michael Strorm

Re: No landfills this time around.

To be honest, even taking the piss out of them in this way reinforces their pretence that the modern "Atari" is remotely the same company as- or a continuation in anything other than name of- the one that buried the ET cartridges (and which made all those classic games and hardware).

Really, the sight of some minor subsidiary of the post-bankruptcy Infogrames-masquerading-as-Atari scrabbling to get funds for a completely pointless nostalgia exploiting console makes even Jack Tramiel's shoestring-budget Atari Corporation look good.

Michael Strorm

Re: Fools and their money...

I had an Atari 800XL too and I feel *exactly* the same way. For all that I can get nostalgic about the system, loading games from cassette is the one aspect that remains stubbornly resistant to rose-tinted glasses.

I think it was particularly slow because the original Atari 800 was released back when 8K RAM was standard, and loading 8K at that speed would have been nowhere near as painful as the later 48K and 64K games were. I eventually bought a tape-to-disk thing which I wish I'd bought years earlier (since I had loads of tape-only budget games). Urrrrrgh.

Michael Strorm

Re: If you replace the haft and the blade is it the same axe?

Yes. And apparently Neverwinter Nights was released under the Atari name anyway. ("financial difficulties led to it being taken over by Infogrames, who released the game under their Atari range of titles.")

Michael Strorm

That's ironic, as the Amiga has far more claim in terms of lineage to be the "true" descendant of the Atari VCS- via the Atari 800- than the Atari ST does.

It shared several of the same designers- after they'd left Atari and formed their own company. (#) It had architectural similarities- the copper was arguably a more powerful version of the same approach taken by the ANTIC graphics co-processor in the Atari 800 (which had in turn significantly built on and improved the architecture and approach of the original VCS design). And much like the 800 when it first came out, it used lots of custom chips to create a machine that was both state of the art and expensive.

The Atari ST was created after Jack Tramiel bought Atari Inc's former computer/console division, sacked most of the existing staff and had his own people work on an entirely new design that was far more along the lines of "Power without the Price".

(#) The major design work had already been done by the time Commodore bought it in

Michael Strorm

Re: If you replace the haft and the blade is it the same axe?

tl;dr - Original Atari Inc. split in mid-80s after videogame crash, its two "successors" are both themselves long defunct, PCs weren't a major factor, and today's "Atari(s)" are just what used to be Infogrames.

Longer reply- Bits of that are right, but lots isn't.

The original Atari Inc. did well in the *early* 80s... right up until the 1983 North American video game crash hit and Warners' former golden goose started haemorrhaging money. *That* was what brought about the end of the "original" (and some would argue only true) Atari.

In 1984 Warner sold off the computer/console division to Jack Tramiel- forming the basis of his "Atari Corporation"- leaving behind the arcade division ("Atari Games"), which was sold completely separately the following year.

This site suggests the PC line came out in 1987, i.e. under Tramiel's ownership. I think it was a red herring, rather than the reason for even Atari Corporation's downfall- I don't recall it being that big a deal at the time, when Atari Corp. was enjoying success in Europe with the Atari ST.

It was more the decline of the ST and the failure of their later products (including the Jaguar console) that brought about Atari Corp's enforced demise in the mid-90s when (as you suggest) it had lots of money from litigation, but no products or future. It effectively died after its "merger" with JTS (a second-rate HDD manufacturer), which was little more than a mechanism for Tramiel to reinvest Atari's monetary value in JTS.

One can argue about how much of a "true" successor Atari Corporation was to the original Atari Inc. They continued the existing products, but got rid of most of the existing staff and the "Power Without the Price" approach of the Atari ST, shoestring operation and general philosophy of Tramiel's Atari was completely different to that of Atari Inc. under Warner's ownership.

Regardless, both Atari Corp. and Atari Games are themselves long defunct, and anything after that *is* just exploitation of the name and IP. As far as I'm aware, the current Atari(s) are just the descendants/subsidiaries of Infogrames, which bought the rights in the early 2000s and renamed itself "Atari".

Exploding super-prang asteroid to pepper Earth, trigger deadly ice age – no, wait, it happened 466 million years ago

Michael Strorm

Realistically, he probably didn't even remember whether it was a Tuesday or not

> On the other hand, "Tuesday", probably doesn't quite cut it.

It was accurate enough for M. Bison...

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am

Michael Strorm

"required you to be in the same state as the students that wrote it"

New Jersey??!

Michael Strorm

Re: Coding under the influence

Were you actually better, or did the "beer goggles^w headphones" just make you think so?

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's personal MiG-29 fighter jet goes under the hammer

Michael Strorm

Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....


That's ironic! :-)

He's coming for your floppy: Linus Torvalds is killing off support for legacy disk drive tech

Michael Strorm

Re: Apple get too much credit for killing off the floppy drive

@deadlockvictim; Huh? Software distribution on CD-ROM wasn't merely the "way forward" or even commonplace by the time the iMac came out in mid-1998. It was *already* effectively standard by that point- at least on the PC- with floppies an obsolescent "legacy" option for software distribution by that stage.

The floppy was primarily there for the remaining use case that wasn't yet covered- non-read-only data transfer.

Crediting Apple for making a "statement" smacks of rationalisation of their wanting to have their cake and eat it. If they'd wanted to prove that CD *writers* or anything else were a sufficient replacement for the floppy, they'd have included it. The fact that they didn't- and the fact their users were all forced to buy floppy drives anyway- proves the exact opposite of the point they were trying to make.

Yeah, everyone knew that the floppy was due for replacement and that it could be dropped as soon as something better came along. But that "something better" wasn't cheap or universal enough at that point, and that's the only reason the floppy was still A Thing.

We didn't need Apple to figure that out.

Michael Strorm

Apple get too much credit for killing off the floppy drive

"1998's iMac courageously did not feature a floppy drive and within the decade the vast majority of PC makers had followed suit as CD, DVD and USB storage become more prevalent."

I've always said that Apple got way too much credit for their supposed forward thinking, or for killing off the floppy drive.

You know what you saw attached to virtually every first generation, floppy-less iMac? A bloody external USB floppy disk drive in matching translucent plastic.

You know why? Because, despite the fact the 1.44MB 3.5" format was already badly dated by the late 90s, there was still no alternative that was quite cheap *and* universally-accepted enough to replace it. (#). The impetus was there to replace it, but there was no candidate yet.

That wasn't Apple's fault- what *was* their fault was the choice to leave the floppy out- and to trumpet it as a plus point!- while providing no adequate alternative.

The original iMac only included a CD reader. (Writers were falling rapidly in price towards the end of the 90s, but clearly still weren't cheap enough to be included as standard in the 1998 iMac). The modem was far from a sufficient replacement when it came to file sharing- this wasn't the broadband/Dropbox era, it was the days of dial-up 56kbps access when the other person/computer having Internet access couldn't be assumed.

Pen drives didn't even exist until couple of years later, and took a few more to be widely adopted. (If anything finally killed off the floppy it was those).

So, external floppy hanging off the side it was then.

If the original iMac deserves credit, it's with it helping give impetus to USB adoption (which I already had on my PC, but didn't have much support at first). But killing off the floppy? Nope.

(#) No, not even the Zip drive, which was hugely successful by most standards, but still not something you'd find in the majority of PCs.

UK taxpayers funded Grand Theft Auto V maker to tune of £42m – while biz paid no corp tax and made billions

Michael Strorm

Re: Ah yes... the Big Lie that the English were subsidising the Scots

Oh, and the addendum I wasn't able to add within the ten minute limit...

The worst of it isn't just that Scotland's oil was effectively stolen and wasted, it's that the money was used to prop up the Tories that most of Scotland was- and is- actively opposed to, and to lead us down an increasingly right-wing, English-directed path that ultimately led to Brexit and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

That's what believing the lies of the Westminster government got us. An imminent, economically-damaging Brexit we strongly voted against led by a calculating, self-centred hard right Tory with an intentionally-cultivated air of "loveable" buffoonery that let him slip past the political radar with the English as one of their own "eccentrics", but which (oddly) Scotland doesn't seem to have the same anaesthetised tolerance for.

And it was all done to us with the help of our own money.

Michael Strorm

Ah yes... the Big Lie that the English were subsidising the Scots

It was revealed in 2005 that during the 1970s, the Westminster government had deliberately suppressed research that showed how hugely valuable North Sea oil was, estimating that an independent Scotland might be as prosperous as Switzerland. Both Labour and Conservative governments conspired in this.

You can see why they might not have wanted that information to be accessible to the rapidly-growing Scottish nationalist movement.

Instead, the vast majority of the money went to England and was squandered to- in effect- subsidise the Thatcher government's deindustrialisation and cover unemployment benefits, making the Tory policies look better than they were, keeping a government that was damaging to- and hated in- Scotland in power thanks to voters concentrated in the South East of England.

Even if the allegations in your comment were true rather than the usual typical weasel-worded anti-Scottish "subsidy" smear/propaganda ignorant of how government funding actually works, any figures you could allege to be involved in *that* would be made to look risibly microscopic by the de facto theft of Scottish oil over forty-plus years.

I won't hold *my* breath waiting for that back. Even if Westminster wanted to, they couldn't even begin to muster the funds involved.

Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink

Michael Strorm

Re: Heats always worth adding

[Tim Hartnell was] "well known for his attempts to keep the ZX80 cool by balancing a frozen carton of milk on top of it"

Boffins find asteroid with the shortest solar year of any space rock in our Solar System

Michael Strorm

Duh-Duh. Duh-Duh. Duh-Duh. Duh-Duh. Woowoowoowoowowoo.

Reason you don't find many big ones nowadays is that they were mostly blasted into increasingly small chunks during the late 70s and early 80s.

Accenture sued over website redesign so bad it Hertz: Car hire biz demands $32m+ for 'defective' cyber-revamp

Michael Strorm

If you're referring to the Enron scandal that enveloped then destroyed their accountants Arthur Anderson- which Anderson Consulting/Accenture was a spinoff from- that had nothing to do with it.

Quite the opposite, Accenture is generally considered to have been *very* lucky to have avoided guilt by association by (coincidentally) changing their name at the start of 2001, just months before the problems at Enron became public and rapidly snowballed.

Wikipedia claims that this due to a court-ordered name change as part of an arbitration case that resulted in the final severing of ties between Arthur Anderson and AC/Accenture less than six months prior.

So, yeah, they were very lucky to have severed ties *just* before the scandal hit, but Enron wasn't the reason AC/Accenture changed their name.

China responsible for just, oh, 20% of global semiconductor revenue in 2018, no biggie

Michael Strorm

Re: ¥653.2bn ???

"The yen or yuan sign (¥) is a currency sign used by the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan currencies."

ZX Spectrum Vega+ 'backer'? Nope, you're now a creditor – and should probably act fast

Michael Strorm

Re: It was worth every penny...

The original (plug-into-the-TV) Vega console was successful, so it wasn't unreasonable to assume that this one wouldn't be.

There's also the fact that the Vega+ (like the Vega) was only ever meant to be an emulator rather than a hardware-level recreation anyway, so it was already a solved problem; there must be countless low-powered systems that can run Linux or Android and an emulator on top of that. If- as I'm guessing- there are companies in China use these as the basis of pre-existing cheap, generic handheld designs, then that's practically an off-the-shelf solution.

It's not like the Vega+ looks much like the original Spectrum (unlike the original Vega's bizarre parody of the original Spectrum design or the proposed Spectrum Next's "Plus"-inspired design). Stick a rainbow flash and "Sinclair" logo on an existing design and it would have worked within the £500,000 budget.

In short, there's no reason the Vega+ shouldn't have succeeded. Its problems had nothing to do with hardware and everything to do with business politics, power-grabbing, infighting and incompetence.

Want to know what 2020 holds? Microsoft has a little something for you

Michael Strorm

Re: Windows 10 is almost four years old...

> Edge will be killed because evidently its Chakra engine is a disaster (not a surprise, looking at the name)

Are you saying that Chakra, Chakra, Chakra, Chakra Can't?

Chakra Can't? Chakra Can't? Chakra Can't?

Michael Strorm

"Microsoft has a little something for you"? Subtitle song reference opportunity missed...

"And we'll give you just three guesses to figure out just what it is."

Na na na na na na na na na, indeed.

I won't bother hunting and reporting more Sony zero-days, because all I'd get is a lousy t-shirt

Michael Strorm

Free exposure but no payment for The Oatmeal, ironically

"Payment? Never mind that! You're doing it for the exposure^w cheap t-shirt!"

Is this a wind-up? Planet Computers boss calls time on ZX Spectrum reboot firm

Michael Strorm

Re: This company being cunts doesn't have a lot to do with indiegogo.

> The campaign receives "Arrow certification", saying they have received a design review to ensure the campaign is ready for production. [Later] the "Arrow certification" that has been present since the 15th of October is revoked.

Now, *that* is potentially interesting in terms of liability, regardless of whatever attempted disclaimers Indiegogo has included in the small print.

Intel to finally scatter remaining ashes of Itanium to the wind in 2021: Final call for doomed server CPU line

Michael Strorm

@Phil Endecott; "There mist have been some very profitable locked-in customers somewhere."

From Wikipedia:-

"During the 2012 Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Oracle Corp. support lawsuit, court documents unsealed by a Santa Clara County Court judge revealed that in 2008, Hewlett-Packard had paid Intel around $440 million to keep producing and updating Itanium microprocessors from 2009 to 2014. In 2010, the two companies signed another $250 million deal, which obliged Intel to continue making Itanium CPUs for HP's machines until 2017. Under the terms of the agreements, HP has to pay for chips it gets from Intel, while Intel launches Tukwila, Poulson, Kittson, and Kittson+ chips in a bid to gradually boost performance of the platform."

And it's go, go, go for class-action lawsuits against Equifax after 148m personal records spilled in that mega-hack

Michael Strorm

Hence the grittily realistic stock photo accompanying this story, which shows the likely response of a typical law firm to the news.

Google faces another GDPR probe – this time in the land of meatballs and flat-pack furniture

Michael Strorm

Re: Lookalike?

Certainly looks like her, and she's not Swedish, she's Canadian.

Her name is Rebecca (AKA 'Ariana') Givens and she's the world's most famous stock photo model.

Court orders moribund ZX Spectrum reboot firm's directors to stump up £38k legal costs bill

Michael Strorm

Re: Two words for you ...

The Spectrum Next is a far more interesting prospect anyway. Unlike the Vega and Vega+, which are internally just generic ARM hardware running Spectrum emulators (#), the Next is intended to be an FPGA-based recreation (and expansion) of the original Spectrum design/architecture.

Also, the case looks nice.

Not saying I'd definitely buy one myself, but I'd certainly consider the possibility. It'd be a shame if its prospects were hurt by the entirely unrelated set of jokers responsible for the Vega+ mess.

(#) Since one could already do this on pretty much *any* generic hardware nowadays- Raspberry Pi, low-powered Android smartphone or generic handheld for example- many people (myself included) were questioning what the point of the Vega+ was even *before* the fiasco unfolded.

Apple hardware priced so high that no one wants to buy it? It's 1983 all over again

Michael Strorm

Re: Original iMac was a huge success at the time

I vaguely remember one design that featured a horribly mismatched combination of *both* translucent panels and the then-standard PC beige(!)

(From memory, I think it was an iMac clone, but it might have been a tower. The crapness of the combination- the epitome of obvious but clueless attempts to rip off Apple's design- was more memorable than the computer itself).

Michael Strorm

Re: It is an ex-parrot.

Just out of curiosity, if it was still working, wouldn't you still have been able to shift it for a few hundred dollars- i.e. a small fraction of its original price, but still enough to make it not worth chucking on a skip- even in the late 80s?

Michael Strorm

Original iMac was a huge success at the time

Interesting, but I think you're dismissing the original 1998 iMac way too easily. Aside from what others have said here, and whatever one thinks of it, it was *hugely* successful at the time. (Remember everyone wanting to copy its translucent turquoise appearance around the turn of the millennium?)

More importantly, it was the machine that launched Apple's comeback upon Steve Jobs return- after years in the doldrums when it looked like they might even disappear- and paved the way for the iPod and then iPhone.

The '98 iMac may later have been overshadowed by the even greater success and influence of those two (and by Apple's shift in focus away from computers), but even an 800lb gorilla is going to look small next to King Kong!

Michael Strorm

Lisa, it's your birthday...

Happy birthday Lisa!

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!

Michael Strorm

Re: national security but without explaining what

> I once had a colleague that submitted his FB profile as a 102yr old woman.

Since this sort of thing was far from new even when Facebook started (#), I have to guess they figured out long ago how to spot and flag accounts with probably fake information then determine as much as possible about the real identities of the people behind them.

Facebook's defining characteristics are their desire to find out as much about you as possible and a pathological disregard for your privacy, alongside the clear ability to tie together disparate pieces of information (including that collected via your "shadow profile"), so I suspect that would-be-clever tricks like supplying bogus information do nothing more than giving a false sense of security if you use Facebook enough.

IBM to kill off Watson... Workspace from end of February

Michael Strorm

AI, AI, Oh.

> nothing more than a 'built from the ground up' collaboration work space, with some Watson words sprinkled in

As far as I'm aware, "Watson" has been reduced to little more than a brand that IBM slap on anything they they want to associate with "AI", regardless of whether or not the underlying technology is related to that of the original Watson computer whose name recognition they want to exploit.

And yes, claiming that anything and everything has "AI"- even when such capabilities are often little more than iterations of existing technologies that most people wouldn't consider true AI- seems to have become a major fad recently.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Michael Strorm

Re: netcom.co.uk

That rings a bell. IIRC I had to mess about setting up a script manually to get dial-up networking running when I first went online with Linux in 1999...

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

Michael Strorm

Re: Collapsible comment tree?

Ah... nice one!

Michael Strorm

Re: Collapsible comment tree?

One odd aspect of the newly-introduced threading I've noticed is that it works on older comment replies that were made long, *long* before the upgrade- even ones that were posted literally years ago, like these from 2012(!).

The obvious implication is that although the forum only displayed comments at two levels- one for original posts, and another for anything that was a direct *or* indirect reply to it- it was keeping track of the full threaded reply structure all along.

Razer offers freebies to gamers who descend into its coin mine

Michael Strorm

"Reference to TV series that finished over six years ago" or "Old meme is old"

"Razer won't be pocketing the cryptocoins directly from the app, but rather taking a cash cut after passing them along"

I guess you could say that Razer will be...

(puts sunglasses on)

...taking a cut.

YEEEAAAAAA.... oh, wait, you *did* already say that.


Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

Michael Strorm

Re: In what is likely to be more cock-up than conspiracy,

"why do Microsoft get the luxury of innocent until proven guilty?"

MS lost anything resembling the benefit of the doubt in my mind when they started trying to coerce and force-upgrade users into installing Windows 10, ignoring or resetting user preferences that contradicted this, using "dark pattern" design on dialogue boxes where use of the "close" button was taken as "accept" rather than the implicitly (and widely-accepted) meaning of "cancel" and intentionally overriding tools designed to *force* MS to pay attention to a user's preferences and not upgrade (whose necessity already showed that MS had gone too far in the first place) using techniques that even bland, conservative mainstream publications like C|Net were comparing to that of malware.

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention

Michael Strorm

Re: Canadian

More specifically, according to Wikipedia, "Canadian" bacon appears to be the American name for a cooked version of what everyone else- Canadians included- refer to as back bacon.

Quite why Americans would feel the need to pre-cook back bacon in particular beats me.



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