* Posts by Charlieman

5 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jun 2008

Microsoft's Windows Vista 'Capable' bill could hit $8.5bn


What does/did Aero mean?

MS partially fouled this one up by using the term Aero too loosely in their marketing. When Vista was in beta, Aero clearly meant the windowing scheme, the layout of the Start panel, search in window functionality etc -- all of which work in 2D mode. Aero Glass (the full Vista experience) adds the 3D effects and requires a different video driver model capable of DX10. MS handily provided sample images that demonstrated overlapping desktop windows: with Aero Glass, the overlapping area was semi transparent, and with Aero it was "flat" as in XP. When Vista was released, it was clear that Aero =/= Aero Glass.

Vista Capable meant that a PC could run Vista. Most beta testers used virtual machines or machine room junk for their evaluation, experiencing the Aero experience. When they wanted to show it off, they installed Vista on a PC with a meaty graphics card so that Aero Glass was enabled. But even the machine room junk was "Vista capable" -- I ran Office 2007, IE7 and (heavens forbid) SMS client with Vista Enterprise in an AD environment on an Intel 845 board.

I have little sympathy with the whingers who claim that Vista runs slowly on the PC that they bought last week. If the OS does not work, blame the PC manufacturer. I've just booted Vista SP1 into a virtual machine on a three year old PC that predates the Vista launch: i'd be happy to use that VM as my desktop system.

McKinnon UFO hack 'looked like cyberterrorist attack'


"It's your own fault"

"Ok, it's been said 1000 times already but if you leave your keys in your car or the front door unlocked then it's your own damn fault if someone takes advantage of it."

And 1,001 times this cretinous argument has been contradicted. Unlocked doors are not an invitation to walk in; I don't have a sign outside my house saying "please enter". When I leave my home, locked or unlocked, I don't expect to discover uninvited visitors on my return. The decison to enter my home against my will is that of the culprit; the ease with which illegal entrance is achieved is morally irrelevant.

Whitehall orders green paint for IT dept


Sorry, Arnold Lieberman...

Just turn the computers off. And automate PC startup for patching out of hours.

Computers are a very inefficient way of heating an office. By the time that you get a Watt of thermal heating, two or three Watts have been spent generating electricity in a gas turbine and in wastage on the power line. Electricity generally costs a lot more than gas or oil for heat purposes.

Whilst computers generate some useful heat in the winter, they also generate unuseful heat in summer.


Meaningful savings

An old but useful article that addresses energy consumption in use and manufacture; whilst PC technology has changed a lot, extracting and refining raw materials hasn't:


If a desktop PC is switched off sensibly, we can assume that energy for manufacturing is going to exceed energy in use by several orders of magnitude.

Remote startup: if you can configure wake on lan (WoL) securely on your network, most PCs you bought in the last five years will do it. If you have been buying recent PCs with Intel's vPro, that is an even better option. If we need to roll out patches, we just wake PCs earlier in the morning.

How much energy does a PC use? A small desktop system for office use with an Intel processor has drawn about 45W consistently over the last five years. Some processors and chipsets have been more or less efficient than that, but 45W is a reasonable assumption. TFT monitors draw about 15 to 20W. Efficiency gains have largely been offset by using bigger monitors.

Thin clients: Great for some things, but have you tried watching moving video on them? Plus you are simply shifting energy consumption from the desktop to the server. Yes, I have seen the VMWare presentations about how their clever server software optimises server efficiency, but I want to see some real world figures.

Energy consumption and encryption: This is a consideration with web servers, because more servers are required to deliver SSL than plain HTTP. For a desktop PC, where most of the energy is consumed, it makes no difference. When you are using a web browser, the processor will never go into power saving mode anyway.

Gov claims 'password protection' OK for sensitive docs


Official Secrets Act?

Will Hazel Blears be prosecuted for leaking?


"(1)Where a Crown servant or government contractor, by virtue of his position as such, has in his possession or under his control any document or other article which it would be an offence under any of the foregoing provisions of this Act for him to disclose without lawful authority he is guilty of an offence if—

(a)being a Crown servant, he retains the document or article contrary to his official duty; or

(b)being a government contractor, he fails to comply with an official direction for the return or disposal of the document or article,

or if he fails to take such care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the document or article as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take."

Incidentally, I have experience of securing systems on which Home Office data relating to criminal prosecutions is stored. And the rules clearly state that the device has to be physically secure (ie bolted to something big).