* Posts by Steven Hewittt

195 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Apr 2007


Brussels wants eID cards to work Europe-wide

Steven Hewittt

That's it....

Nothing else for it, I can't take no more. I'm going to have to go out an get seriously

seCUre ideNTity across borders lInkED

Asus announces 10in, HDD-equipped Eee PC

Steven Hewittt

Asus have lost the edge

There's nothing compelling about this line up now. The 701 was great, but to be honest with HP, Dell and the other big boys joining in with a better supply chain then Asus shouldn't have bothered really.

£320 ex VAT and other taxes is the base price - so really it's about £400 all together.

That gets you a 1.6Ghz, 2Gb RAM and a 80Gb HD.

A £400 Dell Inspiron has a Core 2 Duo T5550 (1.83 GHz), 2Gb RAM, 120Gb HD, 15.4" XVGA screen, a DVD-RW drive and Vista HP.

In comparison, where's the advantage of these new EeePC other than paying more and losing peformance for a slightly thinner/smaller lappy...?

Date set for next major PS3 firmware release

Steven Hewittt


The PS3 doesn't have these features already...?! WTF?! Jesus, I just thought the lack of rumble and decent games were a bad omisison when you think it's twice the price of the 360 Core / Wii but it doesn't have in-game messaging or achievements?! Bloody hell, any other key features it doesn't have that the competition have since launch?

Microsoft urges Windows users to shun 'carpet bombing' Safari

Steven Hewittt
Jobs Horns

Is this a suprise..?

Since when have Apple EVER written software for Windows that does along with documented best pratice? Have you seen the Bonjour service? The one Apple call "##Id_String2.6844F930_1628_4223_B5CC_5BB94B879762##" and you don't even know it's installed with no description or uninstaller? What about the iTunes interface? Not to useful bit, but the disregard to use the currently set Windows theme.

The fact that Safari doesn't use security measures that Windows provides to secure a desktop should come as no suprise when refering to Apple "developers".

Ofcom mulls BT Openreach price hike

Steven Hewittt

@ Mad Idea

Um, there once was a "British Telecom" who did that. Ask Mrs. Thather about that one..... :-)

NHS IT loses key contractor

Steven Hewittt


Um, actually I can't see what scale or integration has got to do with it.

A web client in .Net or Java and a well designed Oracle database in a cluster will do the job rather well. Integration with systems? Um, it's a DB. It's got as much "intergration" as any DB will have FFS. It's up to the trusts to get their systems in order to communicate via some simple standard (XML anyone?).

Can't see what more is needed actually... big fucking firewall and a fat pipe into the cluster?

Yeah, it's not a lunch-time job, but anything more that 2 years including full consultancy is a fucking joke. £5mill including all hardware. Bargin.

What they actually need is a bit more of a dictatorship from the head of IT for the whole NHS and a single supplier for the app, a single supplier for the network and a single supplier for infrastructure. (App can be any dev company worth their salt, network can be C&W/BT etc and Infrastructure can be Cisco or Juniper with software from RHEL or Win2k8)

Mines the one with the "consultancy" invoice in it....

Mozilla guns for Guinness world record with Firefox 3.0

Steven Hewittt


The OSS pin-up has been taken down. Opera or IE7 for me. I couldn't give a phlying phuck about your extensions my friend - I want a quick and easy to use browser to look at pages.

I don't really want toolbars to be included. I don't want my information to be piped out to Mozilla Corp. and I don't want to have 50 extensions just to browse the web.

As soon as FF got popular - say 1.5 (2005?) it sold out. Sold out to Google, done bugger all in terms of developing it for the masses, and is looking at flogging your browser habits.... Security has been nothing great. No better than IE on Vista and Opera still kicks it ass in performance.

Bye bye FF - Opera FTW!

Ballmer and Gates defend Vista, drop Windows 7 hints

Steven Hewittt


@ AC ^

Thought I was the only person that visited El Reg that's found Vista to be pretty good....? Am I missing some hidden sarcasm?

Anyway, Vista is a great OS. £400 gets you a Dell with a Intel dual core 2 at 2.6Ghz and 2Gb RAM with a 128Mb Radeon to boot. The whole hardware spec thing was dead 12 months ago. The spec's for Vista to run reasonably are a single core @ 2.8Ghz and a gig of RAM. That's not some huge overhead or massive spec in 2007/2008 - that's a normal cheap PC.

For anyone who is holding off until Windows 7 due some of Vista's bad press - DON'T. If your applications aren't written to use Windows development best practice (e.g. don't use un-documented API's, don't use hard-coded paths, test so that it doesn't need admin rights etc.) then it won't work on Vista. If it won't work on Vista, it's not going to work on Windows 7 either.

By all means skip Vista and stay with XP, but your going to have to get your lazy ass 3rd party POS/ERP developers to start coding properly if you want to use any future version of Windows.

Alternatively you can ditch it, start from scratch and then move to Linux or OS X - however tweaking current code is probably quicker and cheaper.

And the whole "Vista SE" is no different to Windows XP being "Win 2k Pro SE" is it? It's all on the WinNT kernel....

Though to be fair, Vista is such a dramatic change under-the-hood from XP (UAC, file locations, IE7+, SuperFetch, default permissions etc) that to be fair a minor release may be welcomed! :-)

Internet censorship and mission creep

Steven Hewittt


Schools are places of education - not an arm of the police. (Although I have known a few which thought otherwise...)

Schools at best should be informing the parents and/or police if the child tells a teacher. If not, as harsh as it seems, it's nothing to do with the school. The same as if pupil A had a scrap with pupil B over the summer holidays. Outside of school premises and outside of school time.

The internet doesn't need to be censored. For a start it's nearly impossible to implement. And why should it be? Who is to say what I can and can't watch? Blanket censorship just doesn't work - it's a way to look like something is being done whilst leaving the root cause alone. Don't try to ban websites as their content maybe illegal. Turn up on the doorstep of the host and do some real police work for a fucking change.

Reg readers split on Vista readiness

Steven Hewittt

Windows XP SP3 Vs Windows Vista SP1 Feature Comparision


Hopefully people will read this before spouting there is no reason to upgrade to Vista.

Steven Hewittt

@Mike and @Jamie


Security, lower administration overheads, ease of use, desktop search, less 3rd party applications required, better power management, raft of out-the-box drivers, new collaboration tools, much better mobility.....

And it doesn't have to be new hardware, it just can't be 8 years old. Runs fine on my 4 year old PC at home. 1.5Gb RAM, P4 2.8Ghz and some old IDE HD's....

The planning part is no different than industry best practice regarding upgrading any OS. I wouldn't just shove on the latest version of Mac OS X or Ubuntu without reading, planning and testing first..... would you?!


The changes in Vista in terms of how to use it are minimal for the average business user. Sysadmin wise there's a few more. The Windows Vista start menu is laid out the same as XP's default (so no change), there is still a desktop, still a taskbar and whilst the explorer has a number of changes that help with efficency - there isn't fundementally much difference between XP.

The two explorers are here, side-by-side: http://img.zdnet.com/techDirectory/_EXPCOMP.GIF

I agree with Office 2007 though. The ribbon interface is a hell of a lot different and I've heard a couple of users who loathe it. The majoriy, as mentioned above, after a week or two of using it end up telling me how much more efficient it is. Not all - a couple of die-hards still hate it, but generally most people think it's OK, and some tell me how much they love it and can't go back to Office XP....

Office 2k7 is a shock, and it's pissed a lot of people off. But after a while they get used to it and generally find it more intuitive. As I said though, a few die-hards still hate it, but the majority adapted within a couple of weeks. I can't see where your coming from though regarding Vista - the UI hasn't changed that much....!

Steven Hewittt

Well done El Reg...

... a well written summary:

"There are enough success stories out there now, however, to suggest that Vista can actually deliver benefits, particularly in the areas of security and operational efficiency - but it needs to be implemented responsibly, and that is not a trivial exercise."

So Vista IS fit for business, but only if people know what they are doing and deploy it properly.

E.G. Not putting it on 6 year old hardware (or 4 year old cheap budget crap) and if your apps aren't already Certified for Windows 2000 or XP then TEST them first on Vista to ensure that the new security doesn't break it.

Other than that, make sure that the rest of your infrastructure is working OK (AD, WDS, DNS etc.) and it should be a damn sight easier to roll it out that any previous Windows OS, and should increase security, lower administration overhead and users even get a pretty new UI to boot. :-)

Considoring the traditional bias of El Reg toward open source (um, open season anyone...?!) then as someone who has been standing up for the unloved operating system since it's release I take it as something of compliment that the feedback isn't a resounding "it's crap". (Which is what I'm expect to see in this comments section)

Thanks El Reg for what maybe the first unbias Vista article i've seen on the site....! ;-)

National Grid computers locked-down in outage cock-up

Steven Hewittt

This is why Windows has a bad rep....

twats like these.

How on earth can you 'delete AD'.....? Surely there could only be a couple of people who have access to the actual database file itself. Are you telling me that they deleted the database from the cluster?!?!? WTF were they thinking!?!?!?!

Alternativley some pissed off employee decided to delete all the objects in the directory... which makes you wonder if they have heard of delegation or do they just give all helpdesk staff domain admin rights....?!

And how the fuck can it take more than a couple of hours to restore the database...? And as for email, all you should need to do is reboot your Exchange cluster once AD is back up and voila.....

Jesus - and companies pay these people millions to look after mission critical IT. You couldn't pay me trust them with a fucking toaster.

Transport Dept wastes millions on shared services deal

Steven Hewittt

@Seán / Open Source

Um, I think you'll find that HMG require consultations and of course 24x7 support. Linux and OpenOffice or Windows and Office makes no difference regarding cost once you compare open source ENTERPRISE licensing and support / training costs compares to Microsoft ENTERPRISE licensing and support / training costs.

RHEL with 24x7 support and maintenance is about the same as Win2k8 with 24x7 support and maintenance.

Thanks for the trolling anyway.


The biggest problem is this insane want of outsourcing. No outsourcing company has ever done a good job ever. I used to work for Accenture at a Shared Service Centre for a very large travel agent.

Accenture did the IT Infrastructure, Finance and HR. Syntel (Indian dev company) did the software and "Pink Roccade" (i'm serious!) did the helldesk and desktops.

It's the biggest shambles I've ever seen. Nothing worked, we were using Windows 95 desktops on 10 year old hardware, there was no cross training, everyone was passing the buck....

It's just a joke....

MPs demand US spooks' guarantees on census data

Steven Hewittt


Not being funny, but how bloody hard can it be. Surely it's a case of a temporary office filled with a lot of temp data monkeys and a few competent IT guys.

I'll tell you what, I'll do it for a mere £400 milion. Minimum wage x 30 for the data clerks, and some cash for the IT guys. Rental of premises and then a couple hundred £k for the equipment.

Take 6 months to setup, and 2 years for all processing. Then presumably it gets sent to HMG for them to take a peek into our lives.

Far to much money being spent on it, and once again privacy is just an after thought.


The US Patriot Act as NO MERIT within the UK. We are a seperate country believe it or not and US Laws have no meaning within our boarders.

By all means let foreign companies do it - if we really have to outsource it - but I think you'll find that the DPA and contract law has a lot more clout than some "Patriot Act" from some foreign land does. Out laws should protect our data - surely some foreign law cannot superseed that...

<wakes up>

Sorry - thought I was living in a sane, normal world where the people voted to run the country give a crap about the electorate and their privacy.

FFS - get me off this island...

Is Vista ready for Business?

Steven Hewittt

@Levente Szileszky, @ Ed and @Richard tanswell

@Levente Szileszky

Other than discrediting a quote based on your own opinion, did you reply actually have any merit? Was there a point?

I deployed Vista on a new HP laptop in December 2006 for a single user. This was a test.

2 Months later after hearing nothing from him at all (yet his collegues were still calling the helpdesk as the usual intervals) I had a quick meeting. He loved it. The mobility, the performance improvements (yes that's right - it was quicker as we didn't need 100+ bits of a extra sys util crap installed as Vista does it all out of the box whereas XP needed drivers and 3rd party apps. Such as Bluetooth, finger print reader, wifi etc.)

After a fantastic end-user response, and the helpdesk stats of 0 calls (with XP he had an average of 3 a month) it was sold. It cost us nothing as we had enterprise agreements with MS with software assurance, and we replace our hardware every three years.

@ Richard tanswell

You are showing your ignorance regarding how Vista works. As usual you look at a little chart in task manager to see how much ram is in use. Congrats.

If you cared to actually look into the technology you are slagging off, Vista loads are much as possible into RAM. Free, unused RAM is pointless RAM.

Vista will load as much as it can into RAM regarding bit of the OS internals that are likely to be used as RAM is faster than virtual memory on a HD. As soon as I fire up Photoshop CS3 XTD Vista drops what isn't needed / used / required from RAM and loads up Photoshop instead.

It's a very efficient way of using memory. This feature is called SuperFetch:


Watching SuperFetch

After you’ve used a Windows Vista system a while, you’ll see a low number for the Free Physical Memory counter on Task Manager’s Performance page. That’s because SuperFetch and standard Windows caching make use of all available physical memory to cache disk data. For example, when you first boot, if you immediately run Task Manager you should notice the Free Memory value decreasing as Cached Memory number rises. Or, if you run a memory-hungry program and then exit it (any of the freeware “RAM optimizers” that allocate large amounts of memory and then release the memory will work), or just copy a very large file, the Free number will rise and the Physical Memory Usage graph will drop as the system reclaims the deallocated memory. Over time, however, SuperFetch repopulates the cache with the data that was forced out of memory, so the Cached number will rise and the Free number will decline.

There's also the ReadyBoost and various other technologies used in Vista to reallocate memory allowances to improve perfomance and give RAM centric applications priority when required. It's essentially a RAM optimsation technology.

I suggest you research the OS you are slagging off before simply pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL and assuming the worst.

Oh, and the box I'm typing this up on now has the Mcx1 (media centre) user, my account and my sons all logged in at at the sametime. I'm using under 700Mb RAM. (I have 1.5Gb)

@ Ed

Out of the box Vista uses less power. This is due to the new sleep functionality, dynamic processor power management and a new system that prevent apps from stopping a system from entering sleep mode.

Additionally, the new GPO's and Powercfg.exe utility allow admins to centrally manage the power settings of Vista machines on the network. This can be used in large networks to dramatically save power and thus money. This couldn't be done using GPO's in XP.

Power consumption & Managemnt: Vista Vs. XP


Steven Hewittt

@ Various


Huh? What feature is this?! The opt-in feature to provide feedback on crashes in applications, drivers and the OS or the HDCP features used in your Blue-Ray player?

@ AC

"...Mike Nash, a corporate vice-president at Microsoft. He points to customers including Continental Airlines (CAL), Bank of America (BAC), Cerner (CERN), and Royal Dutch Shell which are installing Vista on thousands of machines, as evidence of the system's acceptance."

Plus the few thousand PC's I've upgraded at my current place and the 200 at my previous place.

@ eddiewrenn

I'm with you about the problems with getting Vista to see other machines / other machines to see Vista. The problem occurs as by default Vista tries to hide itself so that when your plumbed into a public Wifi you're more secure. Setting your network connection to 'Home' as the location will ensure that Vista works the same as XP. It's a security feature, which as most security it, annoying. However from a sysadmin point of view it's something I'm happy to live with due to the habit of our sales team using public networks non-stop.

..." Next"

SANS sounds alarm on Debian OpenSSL flaw

Steven Hewittt

Whoa there....

Hang on, this was raised internally in 2006 and has only now been released to the community at large / patched.

Um, I thought the advantage of open source is that it's peer reviewed so that once a weakness was found it was patched. This has been known since 2006?! Seriously?! Makes MS look like patching saints...

After the bashing about MS only patching things once discovered by external security people (rather than patching when they know about a hole), this looks pretty bad.

MS whips lens cap off WorldWide Telescope

Steven Hewittt


It's El Reg reporting on a Microsoft technology - of course they'll hate it / struggle with it.


I notice that the review didn't mention that this is a public BETA. This is NOT released of even RC software.

Secondly, I can't really find any problem with it. I'm looking at Messier 82 without any problem.

This tool is a research platform for school and college students. Stars, galaxies etc. have links to SIMBAD, Wikipedia and SEDS, and the search facility is pretty good too.

All in all, it's pretty decent. Runs OK on my P4 2.6Ghx with HT on 1.5Gb RAM Vista box. Very smooth, very intuitive and as mentioned above - pisses all over Google Sky.

It's not particularly original, but then again the majority of software isn't. Take a look at the new Fedora 9 release. Nearly everything new is straight from Vista...! :-)

Microsoft orders 65nm Xbox 360 graphics chip

Steven Hewittt


I haven't heard much about RROD's in the last year since Falcon. Sure you get some still - due to poor hardware or having the vents next to a rad or something - but still pretty quiet on the RROD front generally.

My brother and me both have 360's, and I then replaced mine to an Elite. Had one problem being the DVD drive was a bit flakey. (Shop replacement). No RROD's in the 3 in my household.

Frustration and joy - Microsoft's CTP in action

Steven Hewittt

@Kevin Bailey

Think you'll find VS is the most popular IDE used.

And I think you'll also find that the LAMP stack in question isn't beta - it's a full release. This is a CTP.

The day a LAMP developer spouts how easy it is to setup their environment compared to a .Net is the day I move to <shudders> Mac OS X </shudders>

Oh, and out of curiosity, your telling me that you can install a web server, database and IDE with a single command...? Not specifying default passwords, components, locations and tools? In a single command?

And a final point Mr. LAMP lover - you can install the .Net environments (DB, IDE, reporting suites, Framework etc.) all via command line as well. Just most people prefer ease of use when installing a new technology that's currently unreleased rather than obsecure commands. Saves on the admin overhead when your TESTING BETA SOFTWARE


HD media future may be Blu, but it's not rosy

Steven Hewittt


The reason media centre on your 360 isn't showing HD is because you are using XP MCE. Vista HP or Ultimate (e.g. the editions with Media Centre) output in HD as well as SD.

Spend £99 on an upgrade to HP and you'll have true HD streamed from your PC to the telly your 360 is connected to.

And in the near future you can purchase media centre extenders that act as a media centre client that plugs into your TV. (E.g. Wifi to HDMI connector that recieves media centre)

MS supplies cops with DIY forensics tool

Steven Hewittt


El Reg does love a good jab at MS.

MS did an article in TechNet Mag about this a few months back. The USB stick contains imaging software for a start - which takes a whole image of the HD's on the system.

The rest of the stuff is your pretty usual run of the mill utilities. (recovery/undelete tools, various password crackers etc.)

Department of Homeland Security website hacked!

Steven Hewittt


Your ignornace really shines through in that post. Your saying that patches for the LAMP stack all work to fix the holes, whilst the ones for the Microsoft stack are all introducting new holes...?

Let me tell you something, it matters not what your chosen implementation vendor is - it's how it's configured. Good database and development prevents this sort of thing - regardless of platform. PHP is riddled with bugs and security bad-practices, and mainly runs on Linux under Apache. (I run a Win2k3 server with it so I know it's a generalisation).

This particular attack does work on LAMP, it just so happens that MS SQL allows query stacking through webapps. This is easily changed, and good development techniques (vendor neutral in fact) prevents this sort of thing. You get a crap developer/DBA using LAMP and you'll see a similar, if not identical thing happening.

Just running the LAMP stack is not sufficent to secure a website. The same as running any other webserving stack - it's the administrators (DBA, webmasters, infrastructure) that secure technology - not the technology.

Microsoft profits fall in Q1

Steven Hewittt


It's weird that last year people were very quiet on MS's "best quarter ever", which MS put down to Xbox and Windows client. (Vista). Yet now they bring in less cash than before and it's all due to Vista being crap.

Well I have some news people - Vista is being installed. People are using it, believe it or not - some people are even enjoying it!

The EU fine aside, you need to remember what your saying.... MS sell XP for the same price as Vista. (In relation to the version). So if more OEM Windows sell, MS makes money. It doesn't make a difference if it's Vista or XP - as MS still make a pretty $$$ out of each licence sold.

Microsoft's 'Vista Capable' appeal thrown out

Steven Hewittt

How is there even a case here?!

Vista is Microsoft Windows Desktop Version 6. if I buy a Vista capable PC, I can run Version 6 of Windows.... so where's the case?

And before people chip in about not having all the features, higher-end editions of Vista (e.g. Home Premium, Ultimate etc.) work fine on these machines - at worst you need to slap another 512Mb RAM to get good performance out of it. The only think these boxes won't do is Aero - which is a transparency effect on the windows and start bar....

Microsoft kicks out third Windows XP service pack

Steven Hewittt

is that it?!

Seriously, is that it? MMC 3 and MSI 3.1 have been out YEARS! Looks like MS have left all the new features for vista.

Sony posts PS3 firmware 2.30

Steven Hewittt

RE: AC / Nice..

"Pretty much the only thing missing right now, is in-game/cross game messaging and invites. Once that's done, it has everything the 360 has, and more."

Last I heard, you couldn't pay to download full PS2 games to your console, or download full movies in HD with surround sound.

PS3 is getting much closer, and with the blue-ray support against the 360's DVD I'd say that the PS3 is on top - however the cheapest model also costs nearly twice as much as the cheapest 360 which again puts MS's offering on top still.

Blue-Ray drive but no HD movie downloads / legacy game support, in-game messaging/invites and twice the cost of it's rival?

Think I'll stick with the 360 and look at a PS3 again in another year.

Wi-Fi spoofing sends Jesus phone disciples off the true path

Steven Hewittt

Theory is nice

But it's hardly going to have any impact on old Blighty. We can't even get propper 3G coverage, yet alone good enough public wi-fi to use a service like this.

Mines the one with the AA 2008 road map in the pocket...

Fasthosts' dedicated servers go titsup

Steven Hewittt


Can it possibly take this long to replace a switch?!

For a start, they should have redundancy on their switches, or at least enough capacity on other switches to place customers back on the net within a couple of hours. Maybe a spare switch onsite...?

Failing that, then you'd have thought they would have a 4 hour SLA with their switching vendor. (Juniper do one for under £300 for a 3 year, 4 hour hardware replacement with an engineer onsite). New kit in 4 hours, upload your backup config onto the unit and shove the cables in.


The missing five-minute Linux manual for morons

Steven Hewittt

It's usability

The problem isn't that quality of the OS, it's the stuff behind it.

As a tech savvy Windows user, I can happily walk up to a Mac user and give them support. Personally I can't stand the overpriced arogant pieces of shit (or the machine), but it's GUI is pretty good and the jargon used on a Mac is the same as what is used in Windows - English.

There's no "Yum". There's Apple Updater and Windows Updates. WTF is "Yum"?

And, my lovely Penguin hugging friends, average people like me do need to recompile Kernels. Had a great little XP box working till just over a year ago. It had a NetGear wireless card in and worked just fine. Thought I'd try out Linux (again, after the last time when it shat its "user friendly" and "out of the box it just works" CLI on my cause I changed the resolution!!!!).

No drivers, no way of getting around it. Then of course there is something called NDISWrapper but to be honest I'd rather look into quantum mechanics or something less geeky.

I want an OS that works out of the box, that when it breaks (through drivers, software etc.) I DON'T get dumped to some stupid command line, that doesn't have 400 different distro's and I don't want to have to reinstall the bloody thing every 6 months to keep up to date.

Linux is a great OS, and I love it for running websites and also for firewalls. Also rocks in purpose built-appliances (again, F/W, SSL-VPN devices, eeePC etc.).

But stop kidding yourselves. Until the community grows up with stupid fucking names for applications that Mac and Windows users take for granted (The update example) and have a decent way of recovering a system that's logical for most people to follow without having a piss-smelling, bearded geek connected using serial to Bash, then it's not going to take over the world.

MS's market share won't dip below 50% until at least 2018. You've been harping on about Linux on the desktop since 2000 and earlier. "This is the year" they cry. Each year a massive failure.

I'm not against the idea of it, but your kidding yourselves if you really think Linux is going to get anything more than a 1% growth in the next few years in terms of desktop market share.

Sort out the stupid number of distro's, remove the kiddy and geek names please, and for the love of God don't shove me into a fucking CLI when you crash. You're pretending to be Windows remember - Kernel panic, followed by a reboot, followed by a list of options (Safe Mode, Last Known Good Config, AutoRepair, System Restore).

Stop harping on about it and fucking do it.

Linux - the little boys OS

Sharp unwraps 'world first' Intel Atom phone

Steven Hewittt


Vista runs fine on a 1Ghz with 512Mb as long as you don't have 400 3rd party apps loading at startup - which the majority of OEM laptops/desktops have.

My media centre (Vista Ult with Office 2007) is some archaic relic from about 6 years ago. 512Mb RAM and some crappy Athlon 1500+ (1.3Ghz) and some dirt cheap graphics from about a year ago. (£30). Runs fine. Have Aero on, do my email, word processing and web browsing on it fine. Also do a bit of BitTorrent but mainly use it for Media Centre. Better than any other freeview dedicated box I've come across.

Considering that this device has a better spec than than my media centre box - which runs fine - I'd pretty confident that it's going to run without a problem.

BBC vs ISPs: Bandwidth row escalates as Tiscali wades in

Steven Hewittt

ISP's are twats

FFS - There is no argument here.

ISP's offer me an "unlimited" connection to their network. That covers all costs including the connectivity to other networks. I pay for this.

The BBC pay for the peering they use to the internet.

Now if the BBC pay to place data into a network that is connected (via other networks) to my ISP's, what part of the data moving process hasn't been paid for exactly? The ISP's use my money to connect their network to other networks. The BBC pay to have their data accessible from various networks, and I pay a fee set by my ISP to transfer unlimited data between said networks.

Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but even taking into your account your stupid argument that it's not unlimited and is really fair use (which is stupid on the basis that ISP's sell it as "Unlimited"), then they should at least be able to maintain me having the full 5Mbps from the Beeb's site until I hit my fair use cap. (I pay for 8Mbps, but I realise due to technical constrains that it's actually 5Mbps). I have a 5Mbps (real speed) pipe to the ISP. They are shaping and limiting my traffic, and then during peek times my traffic speed goes down even further.

So "unlimited" isn't the real issue. Even with caps on at 40Gb or whatever, I STILL don't get the performance as the ISP cannot give me 40Gb's of data at 5Mbps during peak times as they simply don't have the infrastructure to support even that.

Let's not forget the fact that the few people here that support the ISP's are wrong. The vast majority of iPlayer traffic is STREAMING. That's NOT P2P. That's YouTube, Webcasts, movie/game trailers etc.

Personally, I would LOVE to see:

- No packet shaping

- No Phorm

- No DNS Hijacking

- UK based technical support

- Uncontended access

- Monitoring for botnets

- Network based AV (you can add yourself to the whitelist via a control panel if it's causing issues)

- Ignoring any request for disconnection unless it's from the Police with a warrant

- Wires only

- No port blocking

- ADSL Max

I would happily pay £40 a month for a 50Gb cap on the above. That would be great.

O2 PR calls Reg readers 'techie nerds'

Steven Hewittt


Well not that most of El Reg's readers would be too offended by the comments (I'm known in the office as "Steve IT" or Steve the Geek), but it may come as a suprised to the amazingly retarded O2 PR department that:

1. Geeks are the people that will wanting to use the web on their mobile more than most

2. Geeks, and in particular the informed El Reg readers, are some of the more likely people in business to decide whom their companys mobile phone operator should be.

Well at least that's removed one other operator from my shortlist.

DHS ponders microwave raygun missile defences at airports

Steven Hewittt

"sending the weapon veering off course"

Veering towards what? The control tower, or the terminal building?

This a late April Fools?

Dave Cameron pledges to Open Source UK.gov

Steven Hewittt

When will people learn

It doesn't make a blind bit of difference if it's OSS or closed source. I couldn't give a rats arse to be honest.

We have a mixture of RHES, Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 servers running on one network talking to each other fine. We use both OpenOffice and Office 2007. Appliances like SSL-VPN boxes running ScreenOS link in fine with RSA and AD for authentication.

Linux Works. Windows Works. If I need to download Adobe's Acrobat Reader or Microsoft's Word Viewer to read some 100 page "review" or "proposal" (e.g. lies and dictations) from HMG I'll download it.

Now if the Government / Shadow Government wants to impress me as a voter who works in IT, how about ditching the stupid mentality of outsourcing and do a few projects that actually make sense, done on time and come in on budget. That will impress me, not worrying if I can read the source code to your web servers operating system.


eBay pulls Vista laptop pwned in hacking contest

Steven Hewittt

re: Should eBay now remove all Vista listings ?

Or more accurately they should remove all systems that have Adobe flash player installed or anything by Apple - as they were the only two vendors that have exploits discovered at CanSecWest. (Not MS and not Canonical)

Fucking trolls

OOXML approved as international standard?

Steven Hewittt


I'm really not trying to start a flame war, but what is actually wrong with Microsoft's spec? Is it just that the ODF got there first?

And not being funny guys, but people (in particular OSS fanatics) are contstantly going on about Microsoft and lack of standards. MS get approval of a new standard by the International community, and now your slating the standards procedure.

How about you make up your mind?

is it really any wonder MS have always just made up their own standards when this is the grief they get after trying to do it the "propper" way.

Mac is the first to fall in Pwn2Own hack contest

Steven Hewittt

@Alan Wray

Um, that exploit is a firewire exploit. As in it also works on all platforms - and unless Mac's don't have firewire, that includes Apple's glammed up paperweight too.

Vista SP1 customers get free support

Steven Hewittt

<Insert Title Here>

Nope, your not the only one. The vast majority of people are having no problems at all. (We finished rolling it out to over 500+ boxes this weekend). However you are reading El Reg remember.... ;-)

Note: the only headline is that MS is offering free online chat and email support for OEM customers. Retail customers get it free anyway.

And to Andy (first poster): The price difference between OEM and Retail is the support contracts and packaging. Vista is £50 cheaper (roughly taking it to £50 for a copy of home premium) on OEM - meaning retail customers are paying £50 for support.

Mozilla CEO blasts Apple for putting security of the internet at risk

Steven Hewittt
Jobs Horns


It's just spyware and an attempt to get the great unwashed to use their crappy browsers that's still in beta. (Or it was a couple of months ago - could be RC or final now)

The difference between Microsoft and Adobe and others is that the updates are security updates for products you have installed. Apple are using the patching mechanism to install new software - that is (I think) beta.

This is a very low and typically Apple-like distribution method.

Another reason not to use a Mac.

Vista SP1 downloaders bite back

Steven Hewittt


Maybe it's just the case that Windows has such a vast array of various hardware configurations that it could run under.

Linux has issues when you try to install it on weird and wacky hardware, and sometimes pretty standard hardware causes it pain. OSX Leopard had issues if a 3rd party application was installed on it. Vista SP1 has issues if you have particular hardware installed too.

I've seen hundereds of machines (530 at work plus a shit load of other peoples systems) with Vista on it that run fine. SP1 has been on about 80 machines for the last few weeks. That more than covers all of our hardware variations as well as my own home systems. It works fine for 98% of standard hardware.

Oh, and Win98 was as shite as Win95.

95 Shite

98 Shite

ME Shite

2000 Good

XP Better

2003 Better still

Vista Superb

Just have compatible hardware (e.g. anything in the last 3 years or so) with the latest drivers and everything works. Actually I've got boxes that are 5 years old running Vista without issues.

For me personally I'm very, very happy with Vista - as I was with XP. It's essentially XP with a much more professional look, more intuitive and a ton of new features. On a big system (2Gb RAM, Dual Core processor, 10krpm SATA etc.) it runs faster than XP, and on more lower end systems it's about the same as XP. (Though 512Mb and a PIII is a no-brainer - XP!)

What is all the moaning with Vista? It's under £100 to upgrade, and the hardware requirements for a home user / office user are about 1Gb RAM and a P4 or better. There's no graphics card requirement (other than to have one) to run Vista, just for the glass effect (Aero). Christ, my media centre PC was running Ultimate with an Athlon 1500+ and 512Mb!!!

So what actually is the issue with Vista? It can't be stability, features or cost. (It's as solid if not more so than XP, has more new or improved features than the change from 2000 to XP and it's under £100....)

Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

Steven Hewittt


If the hardware isn't good enough then run XP. Vista is a superior operating system to XP in nearly every single way - however it takes a little more horsepower to run.

I wouldn't try to power a Bentley with a 999cc engine, but I would a Nissan Micra.

It's also worth noting that laptops are often less powerful than desktops. From 1st hand experience I can tell you with confidence that Vista will run smoothly on any desktop purchased in the last 3 years or sometimes even more.

I'm writting this on a Vista Business x86 powered Dell Latitude D820 using a Core 2 T7200 (2.0Ghz) and 2Gb RAM. And it runs like lightning (after about a years worth of heavy IT type work on it)

HP Compaq 2710p tablet PC

Steven Hewittt

Still cradling the OSS fanatics

"Perhaps importantly for an OS that still suffers from instability, tablet use is improved by the inclusion of a dedicated Ctrl-Alt-Del button"

You have used Windows since 1999 I take it? Or maybe your one of those 'technologists' that because you write about technology you demand admin rights on your machine - filling it with crap till the applications run riot and remove any chance of a well performing or secure system. E.G. your average Windows user.

Windows has been as stable on the desktop as any other OS for the last 8 years. Stability and reliabiltiy on the server i'll have to hand it to the *nix crew (not a huge amount between Linux and Windows, but fair enough Linux still has the grown) - but touting Windows as have instability issues in 2008 is pure fanboism. (Be it *nix, Mac or Windows - fanbois are the ones talking crap that will cater for the masses / audience regardless of facts.)

Asus to offer Linux-less Eee PCs globally

Steven Hewittt

RE: Highlander

Um, maybe Asus wanted to provide their new toy with the worlds most popular desktop operating system on it as the Linux ones were only being brought by a few cutting-edge educational places and geeks....?

XP Home OEM is £50 through a retailer for your average Joe. If your buying it from MS on that sort of scale then the price would probably be in the region of £20-30 per licence. If that.

More than likely MS aren't making a profit on it, but I doubt it's free to Asus either.

Microsoft cuts Vista price

Steven Hewittt

RE: Crikey!

The reason that Vista is £91 more expensive that OS X is that no other operating system expects the end user to pay for a service pack. 10.5.1 is £85, but 10.6.1 will also be £85. As will 10.7.1.

Vista is Windows 6.0 compared to XP which was Windows 5.0.

Leopard is OS X 10.5 compared to Tiger which was OS X 10.4.

Going from OS X 10 to OS X 11 will cost you a lot more than going from Windows 5.0 to Windows 6.0.

HMV blames rival for PS3 PlayTV pre-order puzzle

Steven Hewittt

Nice try

If you have a PS3, and no DVR solution already, it's a solution to a semi-problem at a reasonable price.

However if you already have a DVR, or don't have a PS3 it's not going to make me want one.

I happen to have a Windows Vista PC at home already, as well as an Xbox 360. I paid £40 for a dual freeview tuner PCI card and I have the functionality as well. Personally I prefer this method, as if my 360 dies on me or if I want to play a game I don't need to worry about the content. Plus the capacity is however big my HD's are on my PC rather than a closed console system.

But it's useful for some people in some circumstances - just a shame it's a bit over priced.

@ Greg - Um, the 360 has the biggest HD at the moment in terms of games consoles. No doubt Sony with release one with 160Gb, then MS a 200Gb, then Sony a 300Gb etc.... But at the moment the 360 has a 120Gb HD which trumps the PS3 - but again it's probably only short term.

Vista SP1 kills and maims security apps, utilities

Steven Hewittt

Where the problem?

Um, out of all those apps 3 of them don't have an update or patch to resolve the issue.

Why has this issue been caused? As people have been coding using non-documented methods. You code for Linux? You write for it. You code for OS X? You write for it. You code for Windows? You write for it.

If crap developers want to ignore MSDN (free reference rather than the subscription one) for the past 10 years where the documented coding references have been then it's their problem.

And for the love of God please STFU about Vista already! Honestly, from someone who actually quite enjoys MS's technology - I wouldn't recommend people shell out new hardware to run it. It's not worth it.

But if you get it on a new system then it's a fine OS. XP with better security, better management and a much more grown-up UI. Other than that there is nothing 'special' to make me want to go out and get it, but for a £99 upgrade I think the security changes alone are worthy of the cost.

Would I spend £10,000 upgrading 1000 PC's to run it in an enterprise? Would I fuck. Would I spend the time and resource to upgrade them if the hardware is capable (which every PC in the last 5 years is) and I have software assurance on my Open or Select agreement? Yes I would.

There's far more benefits of ugprading compared to the negatives (which now are pretty much non-existant). Only time this isn't true is if you need to ugprade your hardware - just wait for the next hardware cycle (3 years) and run the latest Windows then.

Microsoft splits Server 2008 for SMB

Steven Hewittt

RE: @Common Myths of SBS

That's only if they're too stupid to read the documentation on TechNet

Redmond puts key Vista update on ice

Steven Hewittt

RE: AC, Morely Dotes and Giles Jones


£50 is ok to have bugs in, but not expensive software right? Well I have news for you, all software has bugs. From monolithic Unix installations through to Ubuntu, Windows and OS X. And Vista upgrades to Home Premium are £99.99. Not free, and not £50 - granted - but under £100 isn't exactly extortionate.


A BSOD that won't let you get into safe mode is 99.98% of the the time the result of hardware. Regardless of OS (generally) if your RAM is f*ucked then you'll struggle really. And in this instance safe mode will work fine.

And the brave Anon Coward:

I am not defending this flawed update. MS f*cked up. They released a patch that has a big bug that crashes some machines. Nobody, not even a fanboy can defend that. Shit does happen though, and it's not exactly rocket science to repair. I assume you mean 2 hours to roll back your entire client base rather than per machine. If it takes you 2 hours to do a system restore then maybe look at another career?! ;-)

My point was defending Vista as a whole rather than the update. Sorry to hear about the problems with your clients. Obviously large companies have the luxury of WSUS and update testing, but I do feel your pain.

Although I do think you maybe need a screw tightening if you went out and spent money on a new system just to run Vista. It's not worth that. Run Vista when you get / need a new machine or upgrade if your hardware will run it - but don't bother buying a whole new box just to run it.

Generally speaking, Vista works. It's not "expensive", it's not unreliable and it's not buggy. Driver support from 3rd party was shit when it was first released - however this is now resolved. Any new PC today will run it without a problem. (In fact any PC in the last 2 years at least will run Vista without performance issues).

As of today, I highly recommend Vista for most people, Ubuntu for my nan or people that need just web browsing (price is the main selling point there) and XP for very old machines.