* Posts by Norman Wanzer

35 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Apr 2007

Steve Jobs uncloaks the 'iPad'

Norman Wanzer

Ah finally

A lightweight, portable, easy to use remote desktop interface for windows.

Beer drinking model to get caned in Malaysia

Norman Wanzer

Fact Check

Just want to add some facts that were left out of the article or ignored by the commenters.

*The part time model is from Singapore and was visiting Malaysia. She is Muslim, married with 2 kids.

*She pleaded guilty and has paid the fine. She WANTS the caning to be carried out in public to call attention to her belief that 'The law is a little bit wrong'

*The recipient is fully clothed and the flogger cannot raise his arm high. The blows are delivered using a thin stick, so that they don't break the skin.

*The law forbidding alcohol applies only to Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of the population. The country's Buddhist, Christian or Hindu population can drink freely.

*Malaysia's civil court does not call for caning for alcohol consumption only the Shariah court does.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/20/malaysia.caning/index.html?iref=newssearch

Earthquake-squelching, sonar-invisible 'active cloak' unfurled

Norman Wanzer

Oh Really??

Actually this is very much a Star Trek type cloak. EM fields (aka Shields) used to hide an object (Star ship). Their gripe about it being not ST like just means the researcher isn't a fan. I swear the researchers coming out of schools now days have no imagination....

Dell claims Latitude E4300 glitches 'fixed'

Norman Wanzer


I work at a University in the US. We are a Dell shop because of agreements with Dell to buy at a lower cost. So far we have had interesting issues with the E Series laptops - almost all revolved around the touch pad. The few E-4300s we do have all showed erratic behavior when using the touch pad with the Dell driver (even the latest one). In 50% of them reverting to the MS generic mouse driver solved the problem. In the rest, the touch pad and the motherboard had to be replaced. We seem to also be having similar problems with the 6400s. The 6500 have been ok so far, but we do not have many of them at this time.

The Dell techs that come to repair the things have all been complaining. Not about the failures but that the E Series is the hardest to take apart and service. Takes them hours to do a board replacement which on the older D series would have taken 20 minutes.

I'm sure once the issues have all been solved the E series will be just as reliable as the old Ds, but until that point is reached it is going to be painful.

Anti-mafia cops want Skype tapping

Norman Wanzer

Just talk to China

If I remember correctly Skype admitted that China had found a way to tap into their communications (though I believe Skype did it by request). Just have the UK censors talk to the Chinese censors and ask how it was done.

Apologies after teacher's 'Linux holding back kids' claim

Norman Wanzer

Your kidding right?

Wow. And I thought Texan's were just politically backwards...

Paris Hilton - the compromised candidate

Norman Wanzer



It is shocking that a person known around the world as a 'ditz' would come up with the obvious solution which both candidates have basically ignored. And while I can't say that I agree entirely with her ideas or her solution she has at least started the ball rolling in the right direction. The US as a country has forgotten how it was created. I'm not talking the revolution or all the fighting that followed. I'm speaking more about the group of men who sat together for days on end hammering out a document that we would follow for 200 years. They took opposing ideas and view points and came up with a working COMPROMISE. And that, more than anything else, is what both parties have forgotten how to do.

For the last 8 years we have heard nothing but 'We couldn't get that done because the other party would not compromise and do it OUR WAY' which is the same as saying we wouldn't accept any other way but ours. A compromise is usually defined as a solution no one likes but every one can live with. However, if you are a political party in the US it is defined as when the other side gives in, sees reason and does things our way. If we as a country are going to move out of our current crises then this has got to change.


Wünderbra! German policewomen take 'Action Brassiere'

Norman Wanzer

Ah Ha

The first Battle Bra. Just what you need to get the old battle axe for her birthday.

Windows Vista update 'kills' USB devices

Norman Wanzer

@Steven Raith

"Ubuntu = open Add/remove programs

Choose program. Ask it to install it.

It checks dependencies, informs you of any extras that are required, *then* downloads and installs.

I have yet to have that fail on me, really like it."

While I will agree that Ubuntu works well installing some applications, there are still some that do not install easily or well. For example, WinRAR, Flash (for firefox), and VMware. All require command line installs (app-get) plus tweaks to the install directories. In VMware's case, it required a patch on the kernel. After fighting with all that, windows installs are as smooth as glass.

Mac installs are even easier. If apple can come up with a standard installer that works so smoothly with a linux core OS then what is stopping the Linux community from adopting it? Most of the people I have talked who refuse to use linux it has been about the application installs. It used to be the OS installs, but they have become easier over the years. If we can get all application installs for linux to be just as easy, then it will actually be a threat to MS. Until then, it is only the diehards that will use it.

Norman Wanzer

Just wondering...

Who in the IT field after having the issues we have had with Vista would be willing to try Windows 7? Personally, if it turns out to be nothing more than Vista with a face lift, I'm not interested.

I am an XP user (preference is win2k) and I have used both Windows and Mac on a regular basis. I think both have there pluses and minuses. I only choose Windows because it has more third party apps. (IMO, Linux still hasn't gotten easy enough for mainstream users yet. The app installers can be a killer.)

When MS goes back to giving people what they ask for and not what they think we want, I'll consider upgrading from XP.

Microscope-wielding boffins crack Tube smartcard

Norman Wanzer

New door opens

I was watching the video on how they found the encryption (link: http://www.hackaday.com/2008/01/01/24c3-mifare-crypto1-rfid-completely-broken/ ) and was struck by a scary thought. I wonder if they realize that they have also come up with a method that would allow reverse engineering of any silicon chip without the need of the photo templates. This could be bad for Intel, AMD, IBM or any other proprietary chip maker. While the dissection wouldn't yield a perfect copy of the design it would give enough data to reproduce the chip with just a little bit of digital logic used to fill in the blanks. Think of it as a logic version of hang-man. Couple that with the standard black box engineering probably already used and this could significantly reduce the reverse engineering time.

I can see the the patent lawsuits already...

Boffin says Astronomical Unit should be binned

Norman Wanzer

@ Luther Blissett

Have you been taking lessons from amanfrommars?

Will Microsoft parachute Windows 7 in early?

Norman Wanzer

@Steve Todd

Nope, nothing wrong with OpenGL. In fact I really liked it when it was used in it's pure form. It just seems most game houses program for Windows (DirectX) or consoles. To be able to get the market share that windows has and make it economically worth the time of the programmers a DirectX port would be needed. I know Cedega is an attempt at this, but it is subscription based and most are avoiding it on principle. Now if there was an OpenCedega (or similar)... I would be on Ubuntu by Saturday. :)

Norman Wanzer


"Please, someone make a linux distro which works out of the box, plays games, and introduces decent support for developers to create apps for the platform."

I think they call that MAC OS. As much as it pains me to admit it (I'm a windows guy). MAC might be doing for Unix/Linux what no one else has managed to do - give it a standard. If other Linux platforms can adopt the installer process, and someone can write a free DirectX equivalent for Linux or Mac I would switch to that OS in a second.

For me 2000 was the last ok windows. XP is still too bloated for my taste. I'm really getting tired of trying to defend windows to customers when MS keeps making dumb mistakes. I wish Gates hadn't given up control back in 2000. It seems as soon as he did the decline of MS accelerated. He might just want to make money but he also learns from his mistakes. An ability the current board seems to be lacking.

Toxic chemicals suit dumped on IBM

Norman Wanzer

re: Trial by media

I may be in the unique position of actually having worked at the endicott site before IBM sold it (in IT) and also read the Reg. While IBM may be able to show on paper that they took all precautions with those chemicals, the truth is they still made it into the ground water for the area. It doesn't matter if it was accidental or because someone wasn't following process. IBM is responsible. No other company in the area used those chemicals. To be fair, while statistically the cancer rates are a little higher, I couldn't say if it is directly related to that or not.

Some have speculated that this is the reason IBM decided to sell the site. It was the birth place of IBM. Some of the buildings are considered to be historical. The site was still turning a profit even though Gershner tried for ten years to close it by constantly cutting it's resources. Personally I thought selling was a big mistake (one of many they have made since that time) and they should have kept ownership of at least the Watson school. For those of you who used to work at other sites, the Watson school was the clock tower building image they used on the badges.

Anyway, it's an even bet that IBM will get out of the suite. They have a lot of money to work with. I also suspect part of this suite was caused by people still being angry IBM left the area.

AMD to experts: Experts don't know jack

Norman Wanzer


Ok, this is scary. Either amanfrommars really had something important to say or I have been reading his posts too long, but I understood that. I think I need to go lay down...

Counterfeit Vista rate half that of XP

Norman Wanzer

Biggest Gripe

My biggest gripe with Vista (and XP) is that they are no longer Operating Systems. They are Operating Applications. An operating system is software that runs the hardware components of your computer and acts as an interface between hardware and applications. Windows is a massive set of applications that also acts as an operating system. Each version of windows since 2000 has been getting more and more application oriented and less operating system.

I believe this is part of the reason why each version of Windows has a progressively larger hard drive foot print - that and MS programmers tend to not write really tight code. Let’s face it; 7 to 10 GB of hard drive space is just wrong. I have an early linux build I use for a DNS server - 720kb. Runs off a floppy.

What I would like to see MS do is a modular build. The OS with a command line interface as the base and run on top of that a GUI module with DX10 support. GUI module would have nothing in it except system utilities (IE: the stuff in control panel) Each additional application would plug into the GUI module - regardless if it was written by MS or a third party. MS could still provide all the same toys they have integrated into windows - but you would have the option to not install them. OR, could add/remove them later as needed.

I know some will argue that Linux/Unix does this now - but until there is some kind of application install standard devised by the *nix providers that works for all flavors - I'm not interested. If MS has done anything right, it is the forced standard for application installation.

Most money for MS comes from business that use their software. Most Admins want a small easy to use OS that performs the functions they need and nothing else. MS used to understand this. It is sad that they have forgotten.

Dear customer: you owe us $211 trillion

Norman Wanzer

Right Idea, Wrong Customer

I suspect we will see something very similar to this to be issued to the US Gov by China in the very near future. Probably right after they dump all of their 'Dollars' for Euros.

Dwarfs threaten Kepler and Newton

Norman Wanzer

The Black Box

I have always thought that the idea of Dark Matter/Energy is just a black box construct for a system we do not understand. It allows us to explain something that we can see but do not know how it works.

I still believe that there is more to gravity than we have discovered. The pioneer probes slowing faster than predicted are one example of this. We don’t know why. It just is. For all we know there could be other forces of gravity - much like the strong and weak atomic forces - that are acting on objects far out from a gravity well. Truth is we won’t be able to figure this out until we can get a firm grasp of what gravity is and how it works.

African human-powered lighting plan announced

Norman Wanzer

Change is good?

LED light bulbs. If they truly use so little power, then I can't wait to see them available in America where we just started replacing incandescent bulbs with florescent. Now I get to spend twice as much on light bulbs to save almost as much on power. There is irony there I’m sure of it.

Jackie Chan records Olympic ditty

Norman Wanzer

@Graham Dawson

I can no longer see China as a pure communist country. As soon as they relaxed the control over privately own businesses allowing them a profit margin (admittedly slim), they lost their ideal purity.

Not that I blame them. Their economy has been booming ever since. However, I think they are just starting to see the down side of capitalism - the little bit of it that they allow. Back in the 1920's and 30's most of the western world had to deal with business owners trying to increase profits any way they could using any method they could think of to cut costs. A lot of these methods harmed the customers. The recent issues with Chinese export quality seems very similar to that era. China will soon have to create quality and safety laws to deal with the issue. Or they could go back to a pure communist view of business. I'm not sure they can do that any longer without facing an armed revolt. Profit can be very addictive.

Nanotubes offer self-mending aircraft wings, golf clubs

Norman Wanzer

Life imitating Art?

Sounds a little like a Structural Integrity Field. It can detect and correct a small anomaly in the wing structure. All it needs to do now is have a way to increase its strength and you would have perfect functional mimicry of the Star Trek device

RIAA aims lawyers at usenet newsgroup service

Norman Wanzer

Usenet Embeded

NNTP and Usenet have been around since the beginning of the internet (almost). It is unlikely that RIAA will ever be able to shut it down. P2P could have done it before the RIAA got involved just because it was so much easier. Historically Usenet is the most complicated way to share binary files which makes most of the people who use it among the best educated and computer savvy of all internet users.

So, I suspect that there will be a form of subject coding developed in the near future to hide the content of the binaries posted. Probably something similar as when we used to hide files on the college FTP servers... And just as it use to, the codes will have to change frequently to stay ahead of the admins (RIAA).

Does Gopher still work?? I thought it had died a few years ago from lack of use.

Note: Usenet != Usenet.com

George Lucas announces Star Wars TV spin-off

Norman Wanzer

Would have liked

I would have prefered a Knights of the Old Republic spin off. That way there could be no tie with the 6 movie plot and it would have left a lot of plot space for origins of what we saw in the movies. From the little that has been written about the 'past', Jedi and Sith were 2 opposing views on how to use the force. As with all things, the truth got lost over time. The WHY things are they way they are no longer remembered.

Will Bungie jump from Microsoft?

Norman Wanzer


Good. Maybe this means they will finally be allowed to create a sequal to Bungie's first game release, Oni. The Halo series is good, but the ports to Windows still have that Xbox feel. Ick.

Vista Business sales soar like leaping dachshund

Norman Wanzer


MS seems to have moved away from a very important principle of programming ever since Window 2000. Keep It Simple, Stupid! Each operation system has in succession gotten more complicated. Not necessarily for the user, but for the IT tech or admin who has to set it up. Most admin's just want something small and simple that can do the job.

I'm afraid that MS ability to swap XP for Vista could end up being a marketing version of 'Whack a Mole'. They will spend a lot of money to get Vista working and in everyone’s homes and business only to find XP still taking a larger share after 2 to 3 years.

I should know. I’m one of those people who refuse to switch to a new OS for 3 to 4 years after its release. Hopefully by then it is working and stable. Ok, I’ll be honest I probably wouldn’t switch if it wasn’t for the compatibility issues that usually plague old OS with new hardware. Don’t fix it until it’s broke.

CERN BOFH needs a bigger storage array

Norman Wanzer

@James Chaldecott

I don't know why but after reading that I kept getting the impression that special relativity is just a way to explain things we have observed but still don't really know. Much in the same way we are able to build a mechanical device to predict the movement of planets from an earth centric point of view. It's wrong, but is able to predict observable facts. Sun centric is correct, but both will give you the exact time and place a planet will be in the night sky.

I have often thought relativity has the same flaws. The problem is we can't really prove it to be wrong or right - we just think it is right. Until someone actually tries to go faster than light we will never be 100% sure.

So many things have been guessed at in the last couple of decades that make me question just how accurate our 'mechanical device' (physics knowledge) is. We have dark matter, dark energy, strange matter and possibly strong and weak gravitation all to explain things we are seeing either in math or reality that do not fit with our current understanding of the universe.

It is best to keep an open mind. Do not hold religiously to our scientific beliefs because it could all be changed tomorrow with a new discovery. For all we know, we could discover there is no light speed barrier because there is no such thing as light.

@Black Holes - If such a thing could be created, it would likely evaporate into energy before it could do any harm.

Pentagon claims missile-defence success

Norman Wanzer

Beyond understanding

We have a successful ground based laser system able to take out high speed tank shells, yet we still insist on throwing rocks at missiles. Only in the US...

Three Gorges Dam an 'environmental catastrophe'

Norman Wanzer

Loss of history

I have seen stories about the loss of Chinese historical sites now under water because of the dam. I truly believe that when you loose your history you start to loose your identity. A revolution will come in China but it is unlikely to occur until the economy of that country starts to slow down. Right now more people are happy with the way things are than dissatisfied.

@Damn yankees

As a US American I can agree with most of what you said. Since G.W. got into office we have been living in an idealist state. The scary thing is how many people agree with and support it. In the end it has only benefited the people in government who own stock in the contracted companies sent to Iraq to ‘help’ with the recovery. Personally I'm thinking of moving to Canada.

As for teaching communism in US, if the students I have talked to recently are the norm then most do not even know what communism is. They will however, tell you that the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim without even realizing they are turning into the very thing they believe they are fighting against. It is sad really.


Ask the Australians about how much damage a few billion rodents can do. They get a flood of mice on a regular schedule. That's MICE not RATS.

Here is video about just one farm that went through it.


Strap-on stealth jetplane for special forces

Norman Wanzer

Been Done

Yves Rossy came up with this idea some time ago. He built a working model - with jets - and has been refining it ever since.

Here is some video of his test flights:


US outfit whips out mp3 vibrator

Norman Wanzer


If I remember correctly this is not the first MP3 Vibrator to be featured here. I expect The Register to be just as thorough as it is with all it's other IT gadget articles and post a review and comparison for all similar devices.

The categories should be wide ranging such as:

-Playback Quality/Audio Fidelity (both during use and just as a MP3 Player)

-High and low band frequency chart (like speaker EQ, does it vibrate more/stronger with bass or treble? Does it have a harmonic?)

-Software compatibility (both computer and, um... ergonomic)

-Hardware compatibility (does it work with an IPod?)

-Functional Quality (Is it good? Maybe a Time To Org [T.T.O.] benchmark)

Anyone else have ideas?

Vista's Long Goodbye strikes again

Norman Wanzer

@Bob and Pascal

Before the knives and guns come out I would like to point out that we have a mix of users here and different expectations. I have found that Vista for home use is ok. Not great, but ok. As an IT professional, I wouldn't touch it no matter how much you paid me.

I recently built a new PC for home. (AMD 64AM2 Duel Core, 1GB Mem, Nvidia 8500) While picking out the parts, the question of supporting Vista came up among the various family members so I decided to build it with that in mind. I have XP and Vista on 2 removable drives so I can easily switch back and forth. Next on my list is to get bench mark software installed on both. However, as it is right now I can tell XP is faster. Actually XP running a couple of apps is still noticeably faster than Vista running no apps.

For just home use I haven’t had any problems; however at work while testing I have had all sorts of performance issues – mostly network related. And let us be honest, for home users what is normally run? IE, Outlook, games, and maybe Word and Excel? For an Admin we need to use network and printer shares, worry about connecting to a domain and existing infrastructure. Vista just isn’t ready for that yet.

Us IT people tend to be really concerned about performance. It is a lot like the guys in the ‘60s and ‘70s who used to tune up their cars. If you had to add a turbocharger and a blower to your new car just to get the same horsepower as your last car, wouldn’t you bitch a bit too?

Microsoft promises less-annoying Vista OS early next year

Norman Wanzer

Request for Custom Vista

Ever since I first used Vista I have wanted to go to MS and commission a custom OS. I highly doubt they would be willing but I want to try. MS seems to have gotten away from supplying what the customer wants to telling the customer what they want. In short, the used car salesmen have taken over the company.

My custom OS would have only two requirements: Must have all the FUNCTIONALITY of Vista (really the same as XP). Must fit in a 1 Gb footprint on the Hard drive. The 1Gb footprint would hopefully force them to write clean and concise code (do they even know how?) and maybe rethink the idea of having a pretty yet somehow less functional interface. Personally I would be happy with a 2d monochrome GUI as long as it works (350MB memory to do nothing?? I think not). Let the Applications do all the fancy graphics. DirectX 10 is a wonderful thing but I should not need it to run my desktop.

I can imagine that Server 2008 will be just like Vista. But, does any admin out there really care if they have a nice 3d clock and local weather reports on their sidebar? Or, would they really like to be able to deploy applications, update user profiles, and run it all on the low end hardware they have to work with due to the ever shrinking IT budget? A lot of companies are shying away from Vista not because it is a dog (which it is) but because they can’t afford to upgrade all their hardware just to run it.

MS has forgotten that they build Operating Systems. An operating system is meant to control the hardware of the PC and act as an interface between applications and hardware. What Vista has become is a collection of applications that happens to also be an OS.

Republicans hammer Brit artist's Bush

Norman Wanzer

Every Right

Regardless if you agree with the material the portrait is made out of, it is a good likeness.

I would like to remind those people in the US who find this objectionable, that the artist has every right to express himself. Freedom of speech is something this country was founded on. Sadly, this is an understanding that has faded a lot since this president was elected. We as a nation have forgotten what was once said by Voltaire and adopted in spirit in our Constitution "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

US border patrol tests 98-foot networked radar towers

Norman Wanzer

Wrong Issue

Mexicans crossing the border has never been an issue for me. What scares the heck out of me is the fact that someone carrying a chemical or bio weapon can just walk across the border and no one would ever know until it is used.

There are large areas of both the Canadian and Mexican borders that are not patrolled at all. I know of one border crossing for US and Canada that isn’t even staffed on the US side. They have a phone you are supposed to use to call an office 20 miles away and say you are entering the country. It goes without saying that most people don’t even stop.

So every time someone complains about the cost of securing the borders and how unfair it is to the Mexicans trying to get into the country I just tell them to go look at the hole in the ground in NYC were the World Trade Center used to stand. Something that massive could happen again and we would have no one else to blame but ourselves.