* Posts by Terry Bernstein

29 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Apr 2007

IBM, PGP fill Bletchley Park's rattling tin

Terry Bernstein

Old Establishment/New labour

I've always felt that New Labour's heart was really pining to join the world of leather armchairs, cricket, shooting defenseless mammals and Always Coming Second in things. So all that nasty computer stuff, with its geeky technology doesn't really attract their attention.

Still, come Wednesday we'll none of us exist............

Vodafone says termination rate clampdown would hit the poor

Terry Bernstein

It's an ancient story really...

A long time ago in a far away place, (Er, No, actually in Britain) there was something called the Penny Post. Introduced so that people sending letters ( Or Pmail as it was known) had to pay for a stamp. Before that it cost money to receive mail.

It's a good time honoured principle- the sender of the mail pays to send it. It's their message, their decision to send it.

Wireless browsers shut out of the Olympics

Terry Bernstein
Paris Hilton

Online with WiFi

Just back from holiday. Could my family keep up with Eastenders using the hotel's WiFi on our laptops/Itouch etc.?

Of course not, we're outside the UK. But I've paid my license fee for a 52 week access. If the BBC is blocking my access when I'm on holiday I want a discount!

(Paris 'cos she's always available).

MS takes Windows 3.11 out of embed to put to bed

Terry Bernstein

Win 3.11 laptop

Back in 1999 we were being charged a small fortune by an assortment of "consultants" to protect our stuff from the Evil Millennium Bug. Orders From Above, Compulsory Millennium Bug training courses and emergency plans for when the lights went out, lifts plummeted etc. etc.

To avoid wasting all our limited IT budget "protecting" some spare kit I hid some of our older laptops away.

Last year I stumbled on one of these.

A quick charge-up and it was away. Win 3.11 ran beautifully. WORD allowed me to type up some documents I needed. Job done.

I bet > 90% of the work we do in our office could have run on it perfectly.

Instead we have these energy pumping XP PCs, barely using all of that power.

Skull and crossed bones in memory of those Millennium Bug "specialists"

Dell rapped for £60 delivery charge on £200 laptop

Terry Bernstein

ASA did something!!

The ASA are not known for their energy where IT companies are concerned. Hence the adverts that say things like "8mb Broadband £2.50 a month" then have "First three months" in small print underneath. And "12 month contract" in tiny print at the bottom.

DVLA, Tiscali, Barclays rake in phoneline cash

Terry Bernstein
Thumb Up

International nos

The international "calling from abroad" number on the back of your credit card is a normal geographic number. Just put a 0 instead of the 44 ( but I notice that Mint don't have one of these!)

Dixons admits 'it's even worse than you thought'

Terry Bernstein
Thumb Down

Last word?

I just tried to buy a TV from Curry's. Online and at a good price with a 6 month interest free option. Delivery was up to 28 days. No worries there, I don't need a new TV urgently ( just wanted one).

I tried to buy it but no interest free credit option appeared on the screen

One phone call, an explanation and it's no deal. They can't offer the credit on a delivery that is in the future.

Now, you'd have thought an immediate order, payment guaranteed and 28 days to deliver would be waht they wanted...

Terry Bernstein
Paris Hilton

Nothing new really

Even when I was a kid ( and I'm in my second half century now) Dixons were sucker bait.

I can remember, as a teenager, buying a replacement self-winding camera ( St. Annes Sq as it happens) for one that had been damaged. But the identical camera to the broken one at Dixons was a rebadged version, they didn't stock the original. That wouldn't have mattered, except that they'd replaced key items like the steel film drive cog with a plastic one that just didn't work. It looked like the original inside and out, I have nasty memory that it was priced like the original, it had the same specification and description as the original. But it was utter crap. The low quality components just didn't do the job. The film slipped off the plastic cog and didn't wind properly.

So nothing's changed over the last few decades.

Paris 'cos she's totally useless, but looks good, just like that ill fated camera..

Son of 419 victim contacts El Reg

Terry Bernstein
Paris Hilton

An IT Rag?

OMG. I thought El-Reg was a Paris Hilton fan rag!

Paris, because El-Reg is, well, er i thought.. erm...ah..Oh well.


BTW I vote scam

Windows XP SP3 sends PCs into endless reboot

Terry Bernstein

My two penn'orth

First off, some very silly comments here. For a start, if the SP3 install went fine, bully for you. That's what it's meant to do. Not even MS would send out an upgrade that didn't work on most PCs.

The defined problem is that in a certain set of systems the upgrade can't be installed safely. And that is the issue.

Using this problem to polish the chips on your shoulders isn't going to impress anyone. Finding out which systems didn't take to the upgrade and what the common factors were would be helpful/

FWIW I installed SP3 on two of my home machines. The INTEL based machine with Windows SP2 having come from a Windows disk supplied by the manufacturer installed with a bit of help and ran fine.

The HP AMD based machine with an OEM install of software including XP got caught in the endless reboot cycle. It's newish machine that's not had any serious tweaking, and I triedr removing the AV software first.

Kent bloke buried under 3,000 congestion charge receipts

Terry Bernstein

A slight mistake somewhere then..

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

Postman Pat would never have delivered that lot.

State Department workers snooped on all three prez candidates

Terry Bernstein
Black Helicopters

Free cd

"If it was in the UK....

By Stewart Haywood.......

they would just wait fior the free CDs to be distributed."

Yep. it'd be on the front cover of "Government Laptop Weekly".

DDR2 chip prices rebound

Terry Bernstein


So if $1 per 512 stick is the going rate at the factory door.. why is it £7 ($15) in the shops?

That's a total mark-up of 1500%

MoD coughs to laptop triple whammy

Terry Bernstein

3 levels of password protection

Low Level - can be guessed

Mid level - requires some processing power

High level - a Post-it on the top of the screen

Celebrity spam gang whips up a storm

Terry Bernstein

Protecting users

A good many XP home users don't know that they have an admin account - or even that one exists.

They certainly wouldn't cope well with having a different log in to install stuff from.

Added to that, there is some pretty badly written software that will only add itself to the start menu of the current user, so it's no good installing it from an admin account. Then, the fact that most users don't want to do anything to their computers whatsoever, and the machines are actually sold as commodity items, alongside the vacuum cleaners, why would they take any notice of computer security tricks..

And also there's stuff that only runs from an admin account anyway.

Personally I fond it hard to believe that the multimillion $$ industry can't find ways to track down the spammers and deal with them and their lousy customers.

Friends Reunited considers dropping pay walls

Terry Bernstein

Friends unreunited

FR was good when it first started. Folks could say what their old school was really like, share memories etc. It was slightly cosy reminiscences and maybe a bit of gentle revenge. It was never a social networking site. That idea hadn't been invented. It was a forum, if anything.

But then they ( the original owners) got nervous or something and took away all the fun bits.

At which point I stopped paying my *£5* a year.

PC World feels the Vista pinch (again)

Terry Bernstein

Selling hardware

Even if the user in the street doesn't know that Vista is a waste of space, the point is that by definition, neither then do they then think that Vista is worth buying a new PC for. And since the users who do know what the are doing aren't leading opinion towards Vista as a "must have" there's no route for the unknowing to follow them to an upgrade.

(PS I got bitten with a Packard Bell from them many years ago - once!)

Fasthosts customer? Change your password now

Terry Bernstein

Remembering passwords

Even expecting users to use strong passwords is probably a bit of a losing battle, let alone changing them all the time. People don't usually have strong memories so they have weak memorable passwords.

The average owner of a password is an ordinary person trying to do something with a computer - and they have to use dozens of passwords. But for 95% of the sites they visit the password and username is veiwed as nothing more than a nuisance. So they choose one that is easily remembered, and probably stick with it for every web site they log in to.

Swearing at work 'good for business'

Terry Bernstein

Profanity? Surely that's not quite what you mean..

Quote; Dictionary.com

characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.

Would this be sloppy journalism?

Giants carve up broadband punters

Terry Bernstein

Customer Service ?

I have no real issues with the quality of my "up to" 8mb + phoneTiscali package deal.

But the "Customer Service " is astoundingly poor. And mean minded and usually incompetent.

How they can think it is acceptable to keep me hanging on an 0870 number for ages and then give me seven kinds of run around each time I call, for weeks on end, to resolve the issues which they caused when they've screwed up my account. It beggars belief.

When I found a person who actually did what he said he'd do things resolved almost instantly. But before that I had people who'd deny there was a problem. Or who promised to pass it on to the department that deal with these things, or promised that they would resolve it themselves, and then did nothing. Often there was not even a record on their system, next time I called.

They actually make money on the 0870 number, to let me speak to them on a phone line I'm already paying to rent from them, to fail to resolve their own errors.


Oh, and of course they don't answer e-mails.

(But then which customer service departments ever do, even from companies that have e-mail contact only! But that's another issue.)

OpenOffice builds extensions for v2.3

Terry Bernstein


I'd convert to OO tomorrow,if it wasn't for one little thing. I have lots of useful .dot templates in Word and OO doesn't support these natively.

The reality, Microsoft haters notwithstanding, is that Word was the first generally available WYSIWYG word processor and there's an awfully big pool of users.

Tiscali: breaking DNS for fun and profit

Terry Bernstein


The 0870 number just adds insult

They didn't pay me to put this thing on, why should I pay them to take it off.

Eden laptop theft sparks ID theft fears

Terry Bernstein

nine till five

Of course, Staff who can work from home as part of their contract should have a secure access. For the rest, if the employers didn't require staff to work well beyond their contracted hours they wouldn't be taking the stuff home to work on.

Why is Hotmail so bad at spam?

Terry Bernstein

SPAM (tm)

Hmm. I wonder. Would anyone still remember their brand if not for.......

Fancy an earful? Click here for tech support

Terry Bernstein


We've established that the download link isn't a working link: So the lovely Rufus was sad as well as bad.

But, the other point missed by Rufus' rather misguided defenders is that a web site is a means of communication.

If the users don't get the information that they need, then it has failed.

However much you want to blame the stupid users, it isn't their fault . The site didn't do its job well enough.

So what's in a URL? The Reg URL?

Terry Bernstein


Seems to be a consensus here.

I'll go with that too.

.com sounds corporate megacorp American.

It's for people who sell washing machines and cars

Security analogies: the key to educating laymen

Terry Bernstein

Just needs the " kiss"

i.e. Keep It Simple Stupid. (Nothing personal)

Analogies are fine: But all that's really needed is to remember that it's no good using geek speak if you're talking to non-techies

Funnily enough the article almost hits that point; it's what you leave out that's important

Freeloader portable solar energy charger

Terry Bernstein

Solar charger

Frankly, I'd be happier to find a simple, reasonably priced, solar battery charger; One that I can stick a couple of spare batteries in when the sun's shining, and then use them when I need them. It'd be Ideal for taking with the camera on holiday etc. Just stick it on the balcony and get it later when it's ready.

Significantly, my garden has a whole row of those LED lights, bought from my local Homebase DIY store and all powered by just such a device. And costing around a fiver (£5) each, complete.

So why, among the rows of battery chargers at the checkout ,are there none with the same solar charging capability?

The 800lb Googilla in the boardroom

Terry Bernstein

For Google - ethics

If there's one area that needs to be at the forefront; remembering that Google isn't an advertising agency, it's more like a news agency, I'd say they should remember about "Publish and be damned".