* Posts by Riccardo Spagni

28 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Mar 2008

So, these guys turn up with AK47s and offer me protection ...

Riccardo Spagni

Re: Plenty of nonsense here...

Oh I know that someone released one - it was called the Blaster, and was released in 1998 and pulled off the market in 2001 because they only sold a handful. For this interview to resurrect it 15 years later and claim it's presently available, in use, and relevant, is incredibly stupid.

Riccardo Spagni

Plenty of nonsense here...

There's a lot in this "interview" that is true, but there's also a lot of rubbish that I can only attribute to Mr. Hunt having been in utterly bizarre situations and exposed to weird small-town mentalities.

- Cisco has a SIGNIFICANT presence in South Africa, Juniper to a lesser degree. Cisco even has a Security Research division in South Africa: http://www.cisco.com/web/ZA/press/2014/110414.html. There's no shortage of enterprise customers, and a large number of world-class data centres. SMEs tend to buy cheaper brands like D-Link / NetGear / Belkin / Linksys, with TP-Link being quite the up-and-coming manufacturer in that segment. I've never seen a "Cisce" router in 15 years in the industry, and I've never heard of networking gear being "of questionable provenance".

- Amazon has the bulk of their EC2 admin and development staff in Cape Town (http://www.adccpt.co.za), which is unsurprising considering that EC2 was invented and built by South Africans: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-game-changing-cloud-was-built-by-some-guys-in-south-africa-2012-3 (who clearly also hadn't ever seen a "Cisce" router). Amazon also has a massive call centre in Cape Town that services the North American, UK, and German markets.

- Anti-hijacking flamethrowers aren't a thing. Nobody owns one, and nobody sells them.

- Small town business practices are the same all over the planet; people get complacent because nobody checks up on them. That lax attitude is not the same in Cape Town, Johannesburg, or Durban. To give you a small example: when collecting items from our post office in Cape Town, our staff have to show their identity document and have a company stamp with them. When collecting items from the post office at our satellite offices, they just scribble down their ID number and everything's cool and relaxed. People regularly collect mail for the wrong person, and it just somehow winds up at the satellite office eventually. It's a small town thing, not a South Africa thing.

- The only people I know that have failed their driver's license are those that didn't bother to read the K53 driver's manual, or thought that their driving instructor would somehow tell them everything. The test is strict, sure - you'll fail if your car rolls on an uphill start or you touch one of the posts when parallel parking - but I know of maybe 3 classmates among my several-hundred-strong matriculant class that failed their driver's first time. Regardless, you don't need a local driving license, you're perfectly fine with a foreign license.

- Nobody goes to townships except people that live there, or foreigners going on township tours. I've been to a shebeen a few times when I was much younger, but there's no real need - bars, pubs, and restaurants abound in every city, especially the tourist-focused places like Cape Town.

- The racial tension thing is going to take many, many generations to move past. America's civil rights changes happened in the mid-60s, and yet 50 years later there's still significant racial tension. The UK is by no means excluded from this global problem: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article1938523.ece - it's not something that just goes away. South Africa had a particularly skewed and horrid past, and the "old guard" on both sides needs to die out before any balance is returned. Nonetheless, most people born in the mid-80's and beyond don't care that much about the colour of one's skin, and the majority of us went to racially mixed schools in the late 80s/early 90s already.

Bloodthirsty Apple fanbois TEAR OPEN new Macbook, bare its guts to world+dog

Riccardo Spagni

Clearly pricing hardware is not Jasper's forte.

I understand that journalists nowadays are exceedingly lazy, so I've grown to expect a certain amount of nonsensical opinions spouted in their attempt to "report" things, but Jasper really does take things to a new level.

A Macbook Pro Retina is a workhorse, and among the few comparable machines (in terms of build quality and reliability) are the Lenovo W series and the Dell Precision series. If you take a workhorse like a Precision M3800 and spec it to match the Macbook Pro Retina, what would you expect to happen? A journalist as incompetent as Jasper would surely make some snarky remarks about the Apple tax and so on.

Here is the reality.

Dell: http://i.imgur.com/dmRk1r3.png

Apple: http://i.imgur.com/1DJyCrt.png

The Dell is $640 more expensive than the Apple at the same spec (in fact, the Apple has the advantage of a single PCI-e SSD instead of the Dell having a 512gb mini card and a 512gb SATA SSD). Oh, and the Apple includes their office suite, as well as iPhoto / iMovie / GarageBand.

Et tu, Jasper?

Mobile money biz Fundamo founder moves on

Riccardo Spagni
Thumb Up

Lekker bly, en geniet jou vakansie.

Android users: More of them than fanbois, but they don't use the web

Riccardo Spagni

Re: that many people left it on desktop

Wrong, Android sets it to Chrome on Linux.

Riccardo Spagni

Re: Its hardly complicated.

Indeed - I said the same thing before I noticed your comment:) Be prepared to be downvoted to hell by the legions of Fandroids and apologists here.

Riccardo Spagni

This is quite obvious

All the fandroidism in this thread is scary - like the people saying that the statistics are skewed because of user agent settings etc. Seriously. Stop being imbecilic.

The only person I noticed pointing out the obvious is big_D in his candy bar comment. Average users are walking into stores wanting to get a new phone after theirs died/atrophied/got lost/needed to be replaced due to contract renewal. Have you seen many dumbphones in stores nowadays? And how many of those dumbphones get pushed onto the unwitting purchaser? Sales people in mobile phone stores occasionally (if not often) earn commission - they are going to get the unwitting purchaser to get the most expensive phone they can afford.

Enter Android.

Anecdotal evidence supports this conclusion, but the numbers in this article do too. We know there are a lot of Android devices out there, but they aren't being used to access the Internet. The reason is because the unwitting end user wants it to make calls, send texts, and maybe occasionally play some music or a game. Many of them won't even use the Google Play store, they will settle for whatever is on the phone, because they're so used to their previous phone having Snake on it.

Now Apple wants Samsung S III, Galaxy Notes off the shelves too

Riccardo Spagni

Re: Shocker

Whilst I don't agree with the approach Apple are taking, there are sound legal reasons for what is happening. Their initial filing excluded certain devices that were unreleased or unconfirmed at the time of initial filing. Now that they have the judgement, they have requested additional devices based on that judgement and based on which specific patents Samsung have infringed upon. In their latest filing they specify which patents these additional devices infringe on. From a legal perspective, it's hard to make a case against this new filing, as if we agree with the jury's finding, Samsung have indeed continued to infringe on their patents.

Again, not saying I agree with Apple's approach, but bear in mind that legally speaking this is a perfectly sound and logical path.

Apple: I love to hate, and hate to love thee

Riccardo Spagni

I see. So they took a device that you could really only operate with a stylus (and let's be honest, the WinMo phones of the time were all trying to be like the TyTN II) and that could do a wall of icons only if you were technical enough to install a third-party launcher (trust me - as a technical person I can tell you that it was beyond the capabilities of most)...and out popped the iPhone. A device wholly different to the TyTN II and other devices of the day, that had a capacitive (and not resistive) screen, and that was intuitively easy to use and operate.

I can't for the life of me see why you weren't asked to join Samsung's crack legal team.

Riccardo Spagni

I think you're confusing innovation with invention. Collins defines it as "to introduce something new; make changes in anything established." In fact, the word "innovation" comes from the Latin "innovatus, which is to renew or to alter. On the other hand, Collins defines "invent" as "to originate or create as a product of one's own ingenuity, experimentation, or contrivance." Can you see the difference?

Thus, I would argue that a great many of Apples products and services are innovative. Take multitouch, for example. As a technology, it already existed. Thus Apple did not *invent* multitouch. But they implemented the technology on a mobile phone in a successful manner - true to the Latin root for innovation, they renewed or altered the technology.

Whilst I respect that everyone has an opinion, your poor grasp of the English language coupled with the accusatory tone of your post makes you sound like an imbecile - or worse, a deluded fandroid.

Tesco in unencrypted password email reminder rumble

Riccardo Spagni
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Re: Oh dear!

Good reply. 9/10, would read again.

Second win for Apple as Galaxy Nexus sales banned in US

Riccardo Spagni

Re: What A Joke

Why why WHY are there so many ignorant morons commenting on El Reg these days? Samsung has infringed on a patent that covers Apple's "Spotlight" search. For those saying that Dogpile or Google has prior art, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. There are several sources of data on iOS, including emails, text messages, application names, etc. Just as Spotlight on OS X searches through more than just file names, Spotlight on iOS searches through those multiple sources. It is not an aggregator, which would be compiling the results of multiple disparate searches, but rather it is searching those multiple data streams and then producing a segregated output of the results. In the honorable Judge Koh's opinion, there is a violation of the patent on the part of Samsung. Apple only get the injunction once they've paid a $95 million bond, that they will forfeit if they lose the trial. I think the $95 million Samsung could potentially make if they win is more than the profit that the Galaxy Nexus would've made over its lifetime. Either way, this is a pretty clear infringement, and I find myself siding with Apple in this instance.

Groupon grotty grotto rage forces Santa's chief elf to quit

Riccardo Spagni


If, indeed, 20 vouchers have been handed in and redeemed he will be able to get his $10 per voucher (less his portion of credit card fees and any local tax). I would imagine he's received at least $170, in that event. Despite the equivalent sales price being $940 on those 20 vouchers, that is before credit card processing fees. Also, many restaurants are notorious at having a 300%-500% markup on the food cost (and their overheads are not high enough to justify the disparity). If your friend didn't claim for the redeemed vouchers correctly, then I have no sympathy, but otherwise your story makes little sense.

Riccardo Spagni


You, sir, are a fool. Groupon have already been paid by the consumers that purchased vouchers. They only pay the Grotto their measly 50% (less credit cards fees etc.) of the face value on redeemed vouchers (the voucher has a check code on it that Groupon use to verify that the actual voucher has been presented). Groupon keep the money for breakages (ie. where a voucher expired without being redeemed). Thus, our "functionally illiterate" friend is correct - Groupon are laughing all the way to the bank. The only way for this to be righted would be for Groupon to be held accountable in court.

DIY crimekit brings advanced malware to Mac OSX

Riccardo Spagni
Thumb Up


AGREED - every time I open anything that I downloaded from a legitimate, trusted source, it complains that the software was downloaded from the Interwebz yesterday and am I *SURE* I want to run this. If the software runs and wants to do anything out of the sandbox (say, make permanent changes) I'm asked to put in my user name and password. Admittedly, wrapping it into a legitimate install of bogusware will catch a user unawares, but I suppose Apple circumvents that process a little with the Mac App Store that seems to be all the rage.

Microsoft confirms code execution bug in Windows

Riccardo Spagni
Jobs Halo


I switched to OS X recently when I got the new Air (the built to order 13", mind you, I need a bit more oomph under the hood) and am thus far exceedingly happy. Still, I find that I am constantly running a bunch of applications (for work) in Parallels, which means I now have to fork out the money for Magical Steve's next-big-OS-X-release, plus my Win 7 license, plus antivirus for Win 7. I guess escaping MS is impossible. For those intrigued (and I invite suggestions for tools that I can use to replace these, bearing in mind that the backend in the office will remain Windows/MS SQL/SAP based as I am the only Mac user here), this is what I'm forced to run in a VM:

- SAP Business One

- Remote Desktop (and PLEASE don't tell me to use VNC or the RD client that comes with Office for Mac, as they both fail pretty hard)

- Visual Studio 2005 (for developing SQL Reporting Services reports)

- Visual Studio 2010 (internal applications, many of which interact with SAP using the B1 SDK)

- SQL Server Management Studio (backend is all SQL 2005)

I was initially going to go XP in the VM because it's slimmer, but now I'm glad I decided to go the whole fat hog and run Win 7 - not least of all because I avoid exposure to this vulnerability.

Apple yanks Wi-Fi detectors from iTunes

Riccardo Spagni

Are you seriously that imbecilic?

You miss the point - they weren't illegal. They were using Private Frameworks that, from Apple's most recent move, are going to change in iPhone OS 3.2 or 4.0. Imagine this scenario: Apple's mildly technical staff (and mildly technical is a compliment, what truly gifted iPhone dev or even average iPhone dev will work for Apple approving other people's apps!?) get the task of checking wifi scanning apps. They all seem benign, they work, they're basically stable on the test hardware. They run it through some pre-baked Apple disassembly tools that don't spot the Private Framework calls because they're not looking for them or whatever. Apps get approved and are in the app store.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2010. The iPad is going into production and Apple are readying the next iteration of iPhone OS for it. They've made changes to CommCenter that, for example, improves wifi stability on the new OS release. During their testing of the iPad a tester installs some wifi scanning apps from the app store...and would you know it, they don't work. An investigation by Apple's higher-up technically competent staff reveals that the active scanners are using a private CommCenter framework call that has been deprecated in favour of a new one that improves wifi stability. So they REMOVE THE OFFENDING APPS.

If this is the way the scenario played out, can you blame Apple for letting the apps slip through undetected? Can you blame them for realising the framework calls were there only later? Can you blame them for fixing their error?

US teen clocks up 14,528 text messages

Riccardo Spagni

Re: Yet she still has friends?

Ja no - this is quite the interesting debate.

Let's face it: communication has "evolved", due to the accessibility of electronic mediums, to a point where teenagers no longer rely on voice-based communication. I remember when I was 16 and would phone my (first!) girlfriend every day to chat for fifteen minutes. It was a landline-to-landline call. We didn't have cellphones, but we both had email accounts. I had an early Yahoo! mail account at the time, but I was only able to check that when dad dialled up to the Internet (think NCSA Mosaic and WinSock).

Nowadays I spend a LOT of time out with friends. When I organise a movie night at my house, or dinner at Sevruga, or drinks at Barazza, I invite 50-60 people. Not all those people are on email (or access it regularly). Fewer still are on Facebook, or are active in checking their Facebook accounts. A handful are on Twitter. Yet if I send an sms to all of them it takes me a few seconds (groups on my iPhone rock), and I'm guaranteed to get the 10 or 20 people I want there. This is MUCH MUCH faster than phoning 60 people. It's also MUCH MUCH more impersonal, and that is why many of those invite messages go unanswered. I don't get offended if people don't reply, their lack of reply is an indication that they are busy and will probably not be able to make it.

There is a distinct time dilation advantage to text messages, that has been alluded to already. If one of those people that I invite has a serious boyfriend or girlfriend, or is married, they may need to check with their partner before accepting. So the cost of 1 sms from me, plus 1 sms in response from them once they have checked with their significant other, is inconsequential when compared to the cost of me phoning and putting them on the spot, having to hear them stutter whilst they try check their diary, and then them phoning me back later once they have their thoughts organised and are more consciously aware of what is going on in their lives.

I arrange between one and three social gatherings a week. I send around 700 sms's a month. I do not spend an excessive amount of time sending those, because the vast majority of them are group sms invites, or bulk sms directions, and the like. Text messaging has its place, and is rapidly becoming the way that young people choose to communicate. In fact, the impersonal nature of it may be PART of the appeal to them. If you're a teenager sending text messages, It's easier to deal with issues, it's easier to ask someone out, it's easier to tell someone a secret. Personally, the fact that a possibly-permanent record of a message lives on somebody else's phone always tempers the content of the messages I send, but that's because I PREFER hearing the tonal inflection in someone's voice when I'm having a REAL conversation with them..

The world is a-changing. As experts, hobbyists, or merely those vaguely interested in technology, we either shift our expectations along with it or we get left in the dust.

Wikipedia plumbs the filthy depths of plumbing

Riccardo Spagni

Yet Another Humorous Wikipedia Article


Did give me my morning lol, though.

Google restores Chrome's shine

Riccardo Spagni

Re: No AdBlock? Workaround. & @Bill Gould

AC/Greg, a better one that I've been using for quite a while (AdBlock?? What's that??!?! :-P) is at http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm - they also reroute spyware hosts and all sorts, and it's updated more often than the Everything Isn't one.

Now...Bill, pray do tell, since when is ActiveX useful? I've never needed ActiveX support in FF or in Safari. In fact, Lynx works just fine without ActiveX. As for mouse gestures - I'm a little old school and very keyboard bound, so I have to admit to not seeing the necessity of mouse gesture support. Tab, shift-tab, ctrl-tab, ctrl-shift-tab, the cursor keys, page up and page down are still (mostly) what I need. I rarely need to use the mouse when I'm browsing. Are you an iPhone user, perchance? Or perhaps you like TouchFlo and Surface? I browse 20 or 30 times faster than my mouse-bound colleagues, because all that I need is at my fingertips. Just my opinion, anyway:)

As Gates strides into the future, we wallow in the past

Riccardo Spagni
Paris Hilton


In the clip Gates says "ozs two"...I've always pronounced it owe-ess two. Surely it's an initialism and NOT an acronym?

Paris, because she says owe-ess. True story.

Available to buy: your own frakkin' 7ft Cylon

Riccardo Spagni

Of Numbers...

Hmmmm...Stargate SG1...Vega 4...Babylon 5...Blake's 7...Mystery Science Theatre 3000...The 4400...

I smell a rat.

AVG disguises fake traffic as IE6

Riccardo Spagni


Why is this "feature" enabled by default? I know that bandwidth is cheap in much of the western world, but not every home user wants to have their bandwidth cap reached prematurely because some bright spark thought it would be awesome to pre-scan things. Even FasterFox has pre-fetching off by default - it's an optional extra, not a requirement. I have to agree, too, with other posters; it is unnecessary to put a tick or a cross next to a link. FireFox 3 has an intermediary warning for "Reported Attack Sites" that allow users to find out why the site was blocked, get out of there, or ignore the warning.

On an aside, @Daniel Brandt, great idea...but there are two problems. Firstly, if one idiot in a company of 500 turns LinkScanner on and everyone else has it off, the firewall/proxy outgoing IP gets included in your list. Same applies to someone browsing at an Internet cafe or at a WiFi hotspot. Secondly, many DSL connections use dynamic IP addresses, and Mr. LinkScanner may go through 10 different IP addresses in a week. Even if you age IP addresses on your database, the statistics will still be poorly skewed.

Personally, I'm still a big fan of Nod32 as an antivirus scanner. Either that or it truly is time to start moving the general populous to FreeBSD...

South Africa launches formal objection at OOXML

Riccardo Spagni
Paris Hilton


Eeeek, boet, please don't go proving everyone right and showing your complete ignorance. VeriSign was *NOT* started in South Africa. From the Wikipedia article (I'm too lazy to go hunt through their site to find their history, this will suffice):

"VeriSign was founded in 1995 as a spin-off of the RSA Security certification services business."

They went on to aquire Thawte Technologies from Mark Shuttleworth in 1999. Thawte originated in South Africa and was started by Shuttleworth. As an aside, RSA Security has nothing to do with the Republic of South Africa. Rather, the RSA bit was "named for the RSA public key cryptography algorithm, which was in turn named for the initials of its co-inventors: Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Len Adleman."

An all I did was a bit of research on Wikipedia (you may have heard of it) and I didn't even need to check on Google (you may have heard ot if).

Paris, because she might've Thawte that VeriSign started in the RSA too. Confusing, ne?

Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

Riccardo Spagni

Win+Tab in XP...Easy!

"so far, the only thing I have missed is the enhanced application switching mechanism in Vista, i.e. the Alt-Tab and Windows-Tab functionality."

Microsoft's Alt-Tab tool has been mentioned already, but WinFlip provides 3-D flipping functionality that mirrors Vista's Win+Tab.

The fire thingy...because WinFlip is pretty hot;)

El Reg decimates English language

Riccardo Spagni

@Red Bren

[Red Bren]

"Evolution is only a theory!" - Creationists don't understand what a theory is

[Riccardo Spagni]

I'm a little confused, and WITHOUT getting into a creation vs. evolution debate (please no), from what I understand neither the theories of creation or evolution have valid scientific PROOF. They both have EVIDENCE, but none of it empirical. Therefore, they are BOTH theory's as per (heh heh) Wiktionary's definition:

3 (countable) (sciences) A coherent statement or set of statements that attempts to explain observed phenomena.

"There is now a well-developed theory of electrical charge."

Correct me if I've misunderstood?

Alien, just in case alienists are right.

iPhone may sidestep rubbish caller ID suit

Riccardo Spagni
Paris Hilton

@Dana W

"I agree, if you liver in a country that is so small that it can be hidden in one midwestern US state and if driving more than 500 miles takes you into another countries phone exchage, by all means feel free to NOT buy an iPhone, we won't miss you. Promise."

My liver very rarely goes anywhere without me. Although there was this one time in band camp, but that's a whole different story.

Also, please note that the entire world (except the United States, Burma and Liberia) use the Metric (SI) system of units. Since you are obviously Burmese, we will ignore the narrow-minded reference to "500 miles" and assume you were referring to the song.

I must additionally protest your reference to the phone "exchage" (sic) used in other countries. Even third-world countries have made the move to a phone exchange...quite impressive, hey!

Finally, I have a feeling that, just as you won't miss us for not buying the phone of the blind-leading-the-blind, I doubt we will miss you for not posting your shockingly insular views of the rest of the planet.

Paris, because she measures her intelligence in miles-per-gallon.

Canonical fires up box Landscaping business

Riccardo Spagni
Paris Hilton


Decimation Tony - that is about the funniest I've read all year, as I'd *just* finished reading Lester's article - thanks for making me snort coffee through my nose and all over my keyboard...thank goodness it's a Thunkpad;)

Paris, because she makes me snort coffee too. But for entirely different reasons. Erm.