* Posts by Richard Williams

19 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Apr 2007

Brits decline to 'think outside the box'

Richard Williams
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You missed...

that most horrible word, almost always used before a lengthy and complex explanation...


El Reg seeks top net neologism

Richard Williams
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The Rictus

I do like 'woot' very much, and certainly 'fucktard', but the one I'd give my support to is...


Borked stuff is my bread and butter, possibly the same for many other readers. Borked stuff is what we live for and earn on...

Microsoft's 'ordinary Joe' promises Windows 7 bliss

Richard Williams
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Faith and one-offs

I'm feeling like having a strange faith that MS might actually pull 7 off well. Whether it's just the fact that they'll make sure after Vista's RMS Titanic impression (icccce-berrrrrrrrg!) or that everyone's gotta have a car crash on occasion. We've all had that one day when we've accidentally clicked 'shut down' on a remote server, rather than 'log off' - and we curse ourselves reinforce the ability to think twice before clicking and get on with it, better than we were before.

Maybe Vista was a bomb just to really make 7 stand out. Maybe it's the big MS purchasers who are to blame for pushing MS for a release that Vista was never finished properly.

Oh and before Mac users bleat that Mac OS has always been great - you can't honestly say OS9 was good. Apple were in serious trouble with that Appletalk mess when Jobs rescued them with X. And I do like X very much and have supported both versions.

Hopefully, we'll see a renaissance for Microsoft desktop OS, something with the simple elegance of OSX and the same amount of attention and quality MS have put into their more recent server OS's and main apps.

Blimey, my cynical streak has taken a hit today! Sod it - go on MS, pleasantly surprise us! Please don't let us down this time, our hearts won't take it!!

Nikon D40 entry-level digital SLR

Richard Williams
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voice of experience

I've owned one of these, and I can safely say it is a fantastic beginner's or casual user's SLR.

I had not practiced 'real' photography for some time and when my compact finally died I realised it was time to get serious again. I bought a D40. It seemed a perfect reintroduction to my past hobby. It has enough guts for the interested amateur but easy and light enough for those not too (or not yet) interested in the more manual modes. I have to say I outgrew mine quite quickly and sold it on, upgrading to a D80 for various reasons that had NOTHING to do with the image quality of the D40 - I am now doing some semi-pro work. For the amount it cost me though, if I hadn't made a return to more serious photography, I would not have felt that the D40 purchase was a waste of money. Quite the contrary. Yes it's limited in the fact you can't put all of Nikon's lenses on it, but it's not aimed at people who want to do that!

For a good write-up on the D40 check out www.kenrockwell.com. This guy owns just about every Nikon camera going, and cuts past all the marketing cr#p like 'more megapixels is better'.

Asda declares baby's arse 'pornographic'

Richard Williams
Dead Vulture

Got a video recorder?

Why think about stealing someone's private cake order to get pictures of baby's arses when you can a) Record the Johnson & Johnson advert or b) even more easily (since all paedos are considered to be internet l33ts) GOOGLE 'baby's bottom' - I just did for comparison and you get LOADS of images. Seems a bit extreme to ban a non-public cake LOL. Oh whoops, I've admitted I searched for baby's bottoms on google. It's a fair cop, better go hand myself in...

Mr. and Mrs. Boring sue Google over Street View pics

Richard Williams
Paris Hilton

Spy Satellites

So are they going to start suing the US Government next for having 'homeland security' satellites buzzing over their house, the recruited teen geek ex-hackers who operate the systems getting their rocks off watching their daughters frolic in the lovely swimming pool?!

Paris, cos I think she'd gladly get all the coverage (with lack of coverings!!) that she could get!

Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers

Richard Williams
Gates Halo

What utter hogwarts

Now, I know that Creative do some more funky models of soundcard, and I always used to us them in the old days BECAUSE they were so well supported!

But this recent excuse of 'how hard it is to develop drivers for Vista' is such utter tripe. Every other audio manufacturer has leapt forward and managed just fine. The first thing I did when my Dell Core2 pooter arrived last year was to disable the onboard soundmax or whatever audio (even though it still did surround, had an optical out etc!!) and plug in my SB Live something-or-other. Death! BSODs! and that was under... Windows XP (did try it in Vista too). It seemed that past a certain point even the XP drivers wouldn't work any more and the Creative site had no 'latest drivers' for my model at all. I had originally wanted both soundcards active, one for my headset and one for speakers, and dilligently disabled the onboard thinking it MUST be that one that's bugged. But no. Even disabling my creative card didn't help. It didn't start behaving until I had completely removed the Creative from the system. I've been using Soundmax onboard ever since.

Bill with halo, cos it wasn't his fault this time...

Only Ubuntu left standing, as Flash vuln fells Vista in Pwn2Own hacking contest

Richard Williams
Paris Hilton

How secure is your OS?

It seems very much from these results that this is no longer the problem... As usual, fingers are pointed and normally falls to the OS manufacturer... It's like saying it's Microsoft's fault if a piece of hardware doesn't install properly...

The fact that both these exploits managed to utilise bolt-on software and that no-one bothered to try and hack the base OS on the first day is surely a wake-up call? All this mud-slinging about which OS is less secure is dried-up in the face of this?

Paris, because I can't pick on any of the OS Mugshots in particular and because the majority of people are as clueless as her to hacking PCs, myself included. I just spend my life being paid to secure the systems I support... hmm... Roll on vulnerabilities!!!!!

Cut to the Web Server Core: Windows Server 2008

Richard Williams

War huh! what is it good for!

Excellent - I'd hoped my post would generate some interesting replies so thanks to all. Both interesting and stuff to learn from. However, with people's brains being a massive overhead I still hold that a server should be easy to install and configure as well as efficient - surely that should go hand in hand? I mean, often someone's paying for my time... Why write stuff like Plesk and WHM for ISP's otherwise if it was enough for Linux to be 'efficient'.

I think a more config-file oriented approach a la linux is good to get real granular control - something windows lacks (for now?) - but for quick common functions and flow/layout a GUI is indispensable and I'd argue better for not missing lines in config files sometimes. Not always NECESSARY, but useful at times.

Just because Idiots CAN install servers doesn't mean they should. You should meet the guy who just 'fixed' my car... Making it easier for professionals to get on with their job is no bad thing though.

Oh and tardigrade - fair point, but yes I can use the windows recovery console - I started out on DOS pre WIndows 3.0 :)

Richard Williams
IT Angle

All this config file stuff...

I'm a Windows hack - I'll admit it. It hasn't stopped me wanting to learn to use Linux more proficiently though.

Despite disliking WIndows for all the reasons that things like LAMP are a great solution, I can't get past the fact that getting linux ready to use and actually using it are much more laborious processes. For someone that's spent years in IT and therefore not totally daft when it comes to computers, I find this whole 'choose the correct version for you distribution' followed by having to sudo to run the damned thing (because it's not politic to run as root) and type in some massive command line is all really unnecessary. Computers were designed to make life easier not harder. I will not deny the massive performance, security benefits etc. However this seemingly rigid elitist 'do it all in textedit' approach is frustrating. Why no MMC in linux or an equivalent out of the box? Why force yourself to trawl through lines of config files when it could all be laid out in a well-flowing console? Things like webmin and phpmyadmin are made to make management easier (once you get them installed) so why not make linux easier in the first place? Maybe I've missed a trick but if so, it wasn't easy to find. At least in IIS I can right click and get straight to the properties of a particular website. I think what I'm getting at is that Windows has many faults but its also very easy to miss the fact that it has been made more user-friendly at a faster rate than Linux ever has.

Richard Williams


To quote from the XAMPP website:

Many people know from their own experience that it's not easy to install an Apache web server and it gets harder if you want to add MySQL, PHP and Perl.

Now compare that to installing a Windows/IIS/MSSQL/ASP.NET server. OK there's a cost for licenses but are you getting what you paid for?!

BT pimped customer web data to advertisers last summer

Richard Williams
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I agree with Justin - I run a Windows 2003 box in my case that is my movie/music repository and a DNS server. Works great for me, I don't have to touch the ISP's DNS at all. Of course companies running even Windows small business server are required to have DNS for Active Directory. So in that instance as long as you go into the DNS Server and remove any forwarders (ie your ISP's DNS Servers) this provides the same.

Jedi to open Surrey academy

Richard Williams

good idea, bad name

I think it's not a bad idea- if they are truly promoting peace and order - hopefully not with a blend of Lucas-style capitalism. I say go for it, but I think the usage of the word 'church' is probably a bad idea. Not only does it suggest some hidden Christian undertone, it may turn people away by association of the word. Jedi Temple, being the description used within the star wars universe, would seem to me to have been a better choice.

Critics chuck MS 'friendly worm' plan on the compost heap

Richard Williams
Gates Horns

Only one thing to say

Friendly Worms? It'll make it even harder to tell the difference... and some hacker will adjust the worm as it propagates... Too obvious... Unless of course, there's some conspiracy here! Hmm, MS have just released their own antivirus products... ;)

IFPI wins Danish block on Pirate Bay

Richard Williams

Spending money on nails to close the barn door, rather than building a new barn

It really seems about time that record companies and the like quit this stupid war of attrition, spending money on court procedures and illicit 'legitimate' DDoS services to disrupt torrents.

Don't they get it? People are happy (although I tend to wait) to torrent low-quality versions of movies. Doesn't this say 'yes fine, sell your blu-ray discs in the shops to those who have no wish to use the internet for this service, and make a cheap lower-grade copy to download?' The BBC's iPlayer is a great example of how that could work - it's even FREE and it works! The picture quality is not that great (yet) but it's watchable for the majority of people who are not tied up on what'll come after 1080p...

In a world where people are making a profit band-wagon of the environment, taking this non-evolutionary, neanderthal approach to file sharing is daft. Give the ISPs power to offer a slightly more expensive broadband line that includes a streaming/torrenting tax to cover the copyright? Anyone else who wants broadband for email/shopping can have a lower speed and would not be able to stream. I'd buy it!

BOFH: Carbon neutrality

Richard Williams
Dead Vulture


You're going to have a fight to become carbon neutral in three years, seeing as how it's 2008 already ;) Unless the PFY has managed to create an unstable time vortex in the sub-basement. Now THAT'D be a good place to get rid of evidence!

Technology is root of all evil, says IMF

Richard Williams

OK OK let's slow down here a minute

OK, it's great to see that pop culture and marketing affect the IMF too, not just us mere mortal consumers. I'm sure I'm not the only person thinking that technology is not causing the gap. The only way that technology can cause that gap is because everyone believes they need a smartphone, four different consoles etc. Facilitating IT in developing countries has been happening for years and they seem to get by with email and an Office suite. Oh, actually isn't that what most companies in the 'developed' (haha) world use their computers for? It isn't technology that is the problem, it's the convincing us to feel we need the latest and greatest to generate massive profit (And this comes from someone in the UK where even we have to pay 60% more for our copies of Office than the US). I know so many people who go out and buy laptops with gaming graphics cards that whack the price up. Will they ever play games on it? No, of course not. It's for surfing the web and writing letters.

It's no different to the cosmetics trade where they produce the best ever product then magically manage to come up with some even more outrageous ingredient to get ahead again. I mean, crushed pearls?! in a Shampoo?!! Their previous product worked great, according to their own adverts... They'll be putting grated iguana in next...

About that TV service, Mr Branson...

Richard Williams


I have long recommended telewest to customers for their homes and friends alike locally to me, as I have always found the cable broadband service more reliable than ADSL here.

Up until the start of this year I have been on 2Mbps broadband and found it fantastically good. No complaints at all. I do a little torrenting but nothing outrageous.


As this year moved on, the service has degraded and degraded. Much like many of you, my numerous calls to Telewest (and subsequently Virgin) were met with talks of over-provision, the 'top 5% spoiling it for the others' and frequent 'turn the modem off and on' as well as 'known issue, it's in hand'.

So finally I got fed up of paying for 2Mbps and rarely getting 1Mbps. A mate of mine said he had called up and moaned about the loss of Sky and they reduced his TV package cost by about £16.00. I called up and did the same, but instead of reducing the cost, asked them to offset the cost against going up to 10Mbps as a final try. I am aware that contention ratio issues would be unaffected just by increasing the 'potential' line speed, but I thought I might get at least HALF my 10meg, in the same way I was getting half my 2meg. I was WRONG.

Spoke to "Virgin on the ridiculous"... They suggested hanging in there as I'd get free upgraded to 20Meg soon. I asked what the hell was the point in that if I don't even get anything over 1.5meg on 10meg, considering I'm paying a fortune for it. The line went very quiet. That fatal standard response "I can only apologise" fluttered across the phone lines to me... "OK then", says I, "I want you to downgrade me back to 2meg, refund the 10meg costs (I was only using 10meg for two weeks) and terminate my broadband service" (which I know takes 30 days to terminate - not paying for 10meg in that period). The guy says OK.

A few weeks later, the bill comes through. I've been charged for the 10meg line... Phone call time, and the guy informs me that 'according to the notes on the account' my broadband upgrade to 10meg was a 'special deal' which cost only £1.50 so that's all they knocked off my bill! I pointed out the 'loss of Sky' deal I spoke of above and the Virgin guy told me that wasn't what they did and that I was still paying the full price for my TV package. I pointed out that either way there's a big difference in cost between 2meg and 10meg so there MUST be a reduction! They wouldn't have it. I asked to speak to a supervisor/manager and was told that wasn't possible. I asked to be transferred to the complaints dept and was told they could only be contacted in writing (delaying tactic?).

I called the termination team and cancelled the whole thing. I don't like getting a crap excuse for why my broadband service has magically degraded, I like being ripped-off even less. Very disappointed in this big change, and seems I'm not the only one...

Naomi Campbell MTV 'Minion' show canned

Richard Williams

Oh it doesn't matter you were bad, let's make you some money.

Am I the only person that feels the whole idea of this program is sordid?

I mean, she was brought to court and charged for assaulting someone. She gets away with a nice, hidden-away bit of community service even though Boy George was forced to serve his in public, took the whole brunt of the media and suffered the modern-day equivalent of the stocks (I mean, there's no point issuing fines to these people, it means nothing to them).

Then, after she quietly dusts off her court case and pays the whole $363 medical fees for the plaintiff, MTV (and maybe other companies) actually consider ostensibly patting her on the back for her actions by making a TV show fidn a new victim. That is truly sick.

I realise the show is potentially axed, but even considering it is like telling her 'hey it's ok you can treat the little people any way you like'. And we'll capitalise on it.