* Posts by Rainer

352 posts • joined 20 Jun 2008


Apple's Watch charging pad proves Cupertino still screwing buyers


Don't understand the rage

The Watch isn't a bargain-bin article to begin with.

So, it makes sense to price the charging dock accordingly.

Everybody does this.

It's probably as overpriced as e.g. any car beyond the sophistication-level of a Dacia Logan.

People spend insane amounts of money on car- (and motorbike) related purchases (and taxes, insurance) - and if you ask them, why they bought an Audi, a BMW or a Lexus or whatever they'll say something along the lines of "It's nicer".

Do you guys go to car-forums and flame the Mercedes and BMW owners (who, more often than not, haven't even bought the cars, but are leasing or financing them...) over their taste and their (assumed) lack of taste?

The Edward Snowden guide to practical privacy


Business journalist Jeff Bercovici lost nine years of Facebook data

Cry me a river!

He should rejoice.

And he calls himself a journalist?

Does he also weep when someone unfriends him on FB?

White box servers? We can do that, says HP Enterprise chief


Anyone actually used the HP "Cloud Line" boxes?

Our sales-rep didn't know much about them, other than you need to order 50 or 100 at a time (don't remember which).

Though, them being so new, the only thing that could be reported is probably the number of DOA-units ;-)

Would be worth an El Reg hardware-review, IMO.

Isilon software on Dell hardware – could it really be true?


Re: A welcome development

Isilon uses a customized FreeBSD + their own stuff as the software-basis.

So, it should be no problem (or very few problems) to run it on your own iron.

Haven't seen any of their filers and probably never will.

So it's pure speculation based on an article I read in the latest version of the "FreeBSD Journal".

Job alert: Is this the toughest sysadmin role on Earth? And are you badass enough to do it?


Yeah, but thank god I never set a foot into that land.


Do you have to pay tax there?

Do you have to pay rent?

I imagine, not being able to spend your money on anything would make for a decent saving-rate.

That said, I just can't imagine they'll be able to match my Swiss sysadmin salary...

I do wonder how HR filters out all the crazy-crazy applicants. You need to be somewhat crazy to apply for such a job - sane people wouldn't do that.

Also to keep in mind: during the winter there, there's no way to evacuate in case of a (medical) crisis.

Either it can be fixed there, fixed later or you face the consequences.

Red Hat buys Ansible for DevOps loveliness


Re: Hope for better consistency

RedHat uses puppet (as part of the Satellite Server 6 combo).

So this is an interesting move.

But they also bought CEPH, even though they already had GlusterFS.

It's probably their version of "Tick-Tock" or so.

EMC customers show distinct lack of Dell delight – research


I don't know about IBM.

It could always be that the thing you buy this year is sold to China next year....

Autonomy ex-boss Lynch tells of poisonous life within HP in High Court showdown


Probably some truth in there

Or why would HP be in the state they are in now?

Deluded Aussie geeks hail Turnbull's elevation to prime minister


Who goes to Australia for broadband anyway?

Enjoy the weather, mate.

Go to the beach, have a bbq. Drive around in the outback.

Who needs broadband, anyway?


Fancy a mile-high earjob? We've had five!


QC25 here, too

But I never fly. We've got a noisy office, though.

And I can use them to make calls with the iPhone.

I've downloaded an app that plays white noise (breaking of waves in my case) and that helps blocking the typical office-noise (that is hard to noise-cancel actually).

I've read a test in a magazine that concluded that the best results can be achieved by using in-ear NC headphones plus earmuffs on top.

Don't know how comfortable that is, but it sounds quite effective...

Sales up, profit up, but no champagne corks popping at Rackspace



Is there an actual advantage using Rackspace instead of Amazon (or Microsoft (Azure))?

From my (limited) point of view, all are US-based companies with US staff all bound to US laws. Even if some DCs are in Europe or elsewhere.

Or is it all in the support?

FD: I work at a regional (Swiss) ISP and support, speed, flexibility is probably one of our strengths.

Price isn't, of course.

I hope Rackspace doesn't try to compete with Amazon on price. That would be silly.

Wait, what? TrueCrypt 'decrypted' by FBI to nail doc-stealing sysadmin


Keylogger, plea-bargain or just XKCD 538.

In any case, that guy is an amateur compared to Edward Snowden.

I would guess that most of the files Snowden siphoned away from his work were accessed with someone else's user-id to begin with...

Heroic German rozzers rescue innocent lamb from sordid brothel


Same as with flying, right?

Where overweight passengers pay a premium.

The fatter their ass, the more they pay.


If it's a residential area, you can't keep livestock there.

Zoning regulations etc.

AFAIK - IANTGP (I Am Not The German Police).

Chancellor Merkel 'was patient zero' in German govt network hack


NSA probably got tired

of having their RAT getting thrown out by the Russian malware all the time.

Who can work like that anyway?

Private cloud is NOT dead – and for one good reason: Control of data


Re: Both are equally important

How funny would it be if Walmart would host their cloud-stuff at Amazon?

Open source? HP Enterprise will be all-in, post split, says CTO


Start by Open-Sourcing the HP Tools

to control the RAID-controller etc from the OS.

Not that we're running them now (a bunch of stuff that's closed source and running as root?).

Adult FriendFinder hack EXPOSES MEELLIONS of MEMBERS


I still remember when our new mailserver was misconfigured and the aff-notifications got stuck in the queue.

I was quite shocked about how many there were.

And our clients are mostly businesses (we're an ISP).

But hey, if you receive the messages on your work-account, your SO might will find out, right?

IN YOUR FACE, Linux and Apple fans! Oculus is Windows-only for now


How big is that market anyway?

There are lots of specialized use-cases (also mentioned in the comments above) - but is that really a market worth betting billions on?

While the gaming-scene is very vocal (and visual), the market in itself isn't that large, AFAIK.

And only a fraction of actual gamers will want to deal with this thing.

The "want"-factor is much larger than the "put-to-use"-factor, I'm afraid.

That and no Facebook, thanks, no.

Red-faced Germans halt NSA cooperation after Euro spying revealed


Re: Hell why have your own Secret Police

It's not really free - it comes at a great price :-(

Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday


Re: Remember when...

RHEL with Satellite Server 6 allows for a "WSUS-like" patch roll-out process (staged, staggered...).

The individual components of Satellite Server 6 are available as Open Source, allowing to also manage CentOS (and probably a number of other RHEL-clones) in the same fashion.

Google Foreman, Pulp, Katello, Candlepin

Public prosecutor waves big stick at German spies over NSA data slurp claims


Re: Only the naive...

Yep. They could always change the laws, if they think it's necessary.

But that has to be "sold" to the voter. So much easier just to look the other way...

While the BND alerted its governmental oversight-body of these requests by the NSA, nothing really happened until the so called NSA inquiry-board got wind of it and asked for specifics.

Turns out, it's thousands upon thousands of "selectors" over the years, mostly on high-ranking politicians from Germany, France and the EU as well as employees from Airbus et.al.

Now, the inquiry-board wants specifics (mainly the selectors) - but apparently our beloved German government has to ask the NSA first, which of the selectors the NSA wanted to monitor by proxy of the BND it can release to said inquiry-board.

Which really helps to drive home the point that in these matters, Germany isn't a fully sovereign nation. Never was and never will, unless it wants to risk getting fed intel-bits from the NSA's big pool from time to time...

The BND, as you might know, was founded post-war by a Nazi-general that held a similar job during the war and was able carry over a lot of intelligence about the Russian Army. So Uncle Sam looked the other way because that kind of information was direly needed in the new cold war.

(I think you might be familiar with this scheme...)

As such, it was always a sort of protegé of the CIA/NSA.

Parliamentary and governmental oversight was supposed to avoid repeating mistakes from (pre-) war-times, but the practice seems to be that during the last ten to fifteen years (at least), the BND has escaped this oversight at several occasions and politics looked the other way to avoid upsetting Uncle Sam.

Now, they have a nice PR mess they've got to "manage".

America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?


Re: House prices

There's a lot of land available here in Switzerland, too - but most people realize that commuting 4h a day is a waste of life!

What point is there about owning a house when you only see it in the dark?

A former co-worker moved (back) to the US and now works for TFB. His commute is something like 2h. One way.

That's insane. I'm 25 minutes from work. By bike.


Wouldn't work there, unless I planned on living there until the end

The IRS considers you a "US-person" (that has to pay taxes or at least fill out useless forms with potentially large penalties) for a couple of years after you've left.

That wasn't a big problem, until the value of the US-Dollar tanked so much that suddenly people who weren't millionaires at all (but exceeded the 50-ish year old (but never inflation-adjusted) tax-allowance ) owed the IRS money while at the same time, under the pretense of going after millionaire tax-dodgers with off-shore accounts in tax-heavens, regulations got stricter and pressure on banks around the world got much stronger.

So, people with a US-passport or with a Green Card now sometimes have problems actually getting a bank-account (unless they waive all rights and authorized the bank to basically dump all their financial data directly to the IRS)

And good luck getting a mortgage in some other country after your stint in the US...

Plus the bit he only glanced upon about the IRS taxing profits on private retirement plans overseas.

That money most likely was already taxed in the source country and you'll likely never see it again.

Is living the American way of life really worth so much? Because, last time I looked, the social security net in the US mostly doesn't exist.

And don't forget the cost of education of children.

Granted, most of Europe is a wasteland (regarding taxes), too, but at least you only pay taxes for your income only once, where you reside!

Because the server room is certainly no place for pets


Re: How do you virtualize old hardware?

You're right:

" The em device driver first appeared in FreeBSD 4.4."


But it took a while before it was as great a driver as it is now.

The 4.x and 5.x days are a bit hazy in my memory - and I didn't have access to Gbit technology back them (IIRC).

We do have one or two servers with FreeBSD 5.3 or 5.4. It's supposed to be replaced any time soon...

I didn't set it up, though. Almost all the servers I've setup over the years run a supported version of FreeBSD.


How do you virtualize old hardware?

First of all, modern version of Vsphere only really support a limited number of old OS versions (with maybe the exception of Windows).

Take the case of FreeBSD. Only the most recent versions support VMware's vmx network interface. Previously, you needed the emulated intel NIC. But older versions of FreeBSD didn't even have a driver for that.

(Though, in the case of FreeBSD one could just install 10.1 and the compat5 package and just use all the old binaries - but how many people actually know that?)

Then, the p2v-tools don't support anything but Windows and Linux (with a couple of restrictions, like that you can't virtualize a Linux software-raid. Or couldn't last time we tried a couple of years ago).

And who wants to virtualize old software anyway?

Of course, there's also the customer.

We've recently tried to persuade a customer (who's really a department of a much larger customer with _very_ deep pockets) to virtualize his stack of DL380G5 servers (purchased in early 2008).

But due to some overlapping plans with his software-refreshment cycle for the 3rd-party app they're actually running, they've now renewed their lease of these old machines. But at least, I'm re-installing them with FreeBSD 10.1 (I think I previously upgraded them from 6 to 7 and now 8). And at least, they can run 64bit software.

And we've only got to make them last for two more years.

Hoarding spares....

Then, there's the slew of customers with PHP5.3 apps (and some PHP 5.2 and some PHP 4, incredibly) where migrating the app to PHP5.5 would mean a complete rewrite (usually typo3-based websites with custom extensions). Because the customer often can't do the rewrite himself, he has to pay an agency. Obviously, the money for that is sort-of not coming forward. Sometimes, the customer is the web-agency, sometimes the actual customer.

A while ago, I migrated the data off a Solaris10 file and mysql-server to a FreeBSD10 system. That Solaris 10 box hat close to 2000 days uptime. 2000 days without patches.

But patches with Solaris were always a bit of a hit-and-miss and after Oracle bought Sun, you couldn't download them for free anymore anyway...

Software doesn't age, but hardware does.

Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display


Re: Wait for 15 inch update or buy existing one

More and more manufacturers are moving to the "all soldered, glued and sealed"-model.

If you live by your above buying-mantra, your choice of laptops will be severely reduced in the coming years.

And it's not just laptops....

Telly chef Jamie Oliver in embarrassing infection double shocker


Oh dear... wordpress self-hosted


That usually doesn't end well.

People install too many useless plugins that usually come with security-holes right out-of-the-box and the site is almost impossible to clean - you have to start from scratch.

A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK


Re: 10 years old

Yep, got one of these, too.

With firewire and ethernet, too. But I don't remember if it's FE or GBE.

Unfortunately, it's 32bit only and isn't good at running anything in vmware at all.

Also thunderbird indexing my mail brings it to its knees quickly.

And is on its 3rd PATA-disk, which I can probably no longer source once it breaks.

As such, the product this article heaps so much scorn on looks like a perfect successor.

I just need to find a way to connect the new MacBook via serial port to my Alix board...


The only real criticism is the CPU

It's slower than the current Air.

But the lack of ports? - It's a laptop.

I do have USB and even a FW800 device on my MacMini and I'm thankful that it has four USB3 ports.

But for a portable system, I actually want it to be as portable as possible.

It's weak enough so you don't want to do serious work on it anyway (I don't think it will shine as a VMWare Fusion host).

If you need that, better get a CTO Air or Pro. That also comes with ports galore.

It looks like it might be a great machine for when you're on-call but yet want to venture outside.

The base version isn't even too expensive.

Of course, these days no article can go online without bashing Apple over the expensive Watch - mostly by people who wouldn't buy one anyway and are jealous of the people who can afford one.

I don't need one - but I can't judge the needs of other people.

Apple now has a line-up of half a dozen different laptop form-factors.

You can't have all features in all of them.

Apple drives itself round bend: Pities the fool who inks deal with carmakers – source


Mini Van makes sense

They are popular in China - even more so for high-end customers (who often pay a driver).

All the nay-sayers remind me of the Blackberry "Amateur-hour is over"-guys.

Or the Motorola CEO who called the iPhone "the west coast phone", because he didn't even want to use the name.

Or the "600 Dollars and it doesn't even have a keyboard"-CEO we all love to laugh about.

The reason why Apple is still alive and at the top is that even though they believe (probably almost in a religious sense) that their product is the best, they don't deny the fact that a better one can come around and they better be the one bringing it to market - even if it kills a product of their own in the long run.

In this case, Apple can go were no one else can go because they have nothing to lose (except a couple of billion dollars maybe), no product to cannibalize, no important partner they could alienate.

Just a lot of (rather loyal) users like me who think that it's high time that someone look at the "car-problem" with a pair of fresh eyes, without a vested interest and without a "we've always done it that way"-line of thinking. Because that "horseless carriage"-type of problem is what seems to plague current e-cars from "traditional" manufacturers.

If Apple can come-up with something new, I'll at least have a look at it when it can be bought.

And if you hate Apple products, you don't have to buy them. But don't transfer that hate to the buyers either. That's just not classy.

Apple CEO: Fandroids are BINNING Android in favour of IPHONES


Still waiting

for the 5S-sized 6S ;-)

I really want a 6 Plus (if only for the OIS) - but I don't really want to carry such a big phone.

Plus, while my current 4S is showing its age, it's still working nicely, although a bit slow.

Choosing an iPhone has never been so difficult, I tell you!

Confusion, fear and growing pains: ICANN bigwig spells out gTLD headaches

Paris Hilton

Those millions...

they'll probably spend it all on booze, hookers and gambling.

After all, why else hold a conference in Las Vegas?

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Masala omelette


IT-angle: not only for a hangover

We had this at work, this weekend, to power us through a long mail-system migration.

It's ideal because it's hot and spicy and doesn't contain much carbs (which are a sedative, which you might know if you ever had spaghetti carbonara for lunch and subsequently had your head hit your keyboard while digesting them).

The smell of the garam masala keeps sticking around the kitchen and any room it is allowed to waft to. If that is a problem at your place of work: bad luck ;-)

So, these guys turn up with AK47s and offer me protection ...


At a previous job

we had a receptionist who was from South Africa.

She's mixed black/white and she said that after Apartheid was over, security went down and corruption went up.

I'm not sure I could live there for a prolonged time and not get shot.

Currently living near Zurich, where shops leave heavy stuff like flower soil out during the night because it's too burdensome and apparently nobody steals it anyway.

Copper gets stolen though and of course the cash and jewelry that people who don't trust the banks keep at home...

With reports like the one in the article, is it a fair assumption that South-Africa is basically a failed state where the government has lost control over at least some parts of the country?

I assume that in the above case, the police wasn't called to apprehend the two groups with AK47s.

Ex-Microsoft Bug Bounty dev forced to decrypt laptop for Paris airport official


They've probably captured her password now

A pinhole camera somewhere or just by grabbing the electromagnetic impulses from the keyboard.

Should have used a tin-foil blanket like Snowden in "Citizenfour".

Thought that he was a bit over the top with the blanket, but apparently not...

No cellphones in cells, you slag! UK.gov moots prison mobe zap law


They could just use jammers

But then, all mobiles wouldn't work anymore.

Including the ones of the guards.

If they only disable the "unauthorized" ones, then a helpful guard can still sell err... lease...I mean lend an inmate his personal phone so that the poor guy can call his daughter and sing "Happy Birthday", while telling her he'll be back from his business trip soon.

OnePlus vs Micromax: Dream of Google-less Android now further away


Personally, I'd say that the Open-Source, Google-free Android is as good as dead.

No commercial vendor will touch it.

They'll rather build Windows Phones.

Or rather, get out of the phone business all together.

Because while it gets cheaper and cheaper to build a phone (hardware-wise), it gets more and more expensive to build a good phone that lots of people are willing to spend more money on than a cheap Chinese Android phone costs.

Top Tier: Apple

Middle Tier: Windows Phone

Low-End: anything Android

In three years, nobody will build high-end Android phones anymore - simply by virtue of the fact that almost nobody wants to buy them!

Analysts claim itty bitty iPhone Mini to land next year


Waiting for it

It's not that I couldn't afford a 6 or 6 Plus.

(As my employer pays the contract and almost all associated costs, it's just the cost of the phone itself for me)

I just don't feel that I *really* want a bigger phone than the 4S I have.

I could live with a 5S/5C size phone.

If a new 4" phone from Apple emerges, it will indeed be interesting to see the price point.

However, I'd say that Apple-customers aren't that price-sensitive.

Not to say that Apple could charge anything.

El Reg's festive dating app guide, Pt. 2: The FEMALE perspective


Re: Guardian Soulmates

It's to weed out broke idiots. You still have idiots, of course. They're just not broke.

Similar to clubs that charge ridiculous entry fees.

I've had a subscription with an equally expensive site (which turned out to be useless nevertheless) for what must have been a year and a half or so.

But they had a nice forum (which was free).

And I got a nice psychological evaluation or myself.

Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'


Re: Bah!

Ah, I remember that!

I felt it was a big tragedy - but in reality, the big tragedy was still ahead.

There's a lot of information in that wikipedia article.


Re: Someone is going to prison for a VERY long time

Hopefully, they'll find somebody @SPE who is responsible for the gross neglect of data-security standards and IT best practises. Some laws were probably broken, too, the way all that (sometimes highly confidential) data has been handled.

If they desperately want to send someone to prison, they should start there.

That would send a message to CEOs and CIOs to take this stuff more serious.

As for the GOP - it might be true that they sit in a country that doesn't do extradictions...

Put me through to Buffy's room, please. Sony hackers leak stars' numbers, travel aliases


Or not.

Said IT-bods are now probably back at using paper and (blunt) pencil while Mandiant/FireEye staff together with a veritable train-load full of consulting-overspill from every "name" in the phonebook is running the show there.

The only reason they still have their jobs is probably because you need to have someone to blame at the end.

I would certainly *never* want to work in an outfit that gets hacked, doxxed and shutdown like this.

Even worse if I had "predicted" such an outcome.

Nobody likes to hear "But I told you so".

The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes


I really don't see how someone would use a cloud backup service for anything close to 1 TB - or even more data.

If the drive fails and the data isn't worthless anyway, you normally want to have access to the data ASAP. Usually a day later. Not a week. Or two.

If you have that much data and it's worth something, you need an enterprise solution.

If the data is not worth that much, then you need to segregate the important from the unimportant until you can pay for a sensible backup strategy that allows a restore in reasonable time.

A backup that can't be restored in reasonable time is almost as bad as no backup at all.


Re: Anyone using a single drive NAS i.e. without RAID1, 5 or better is franky naive

If you use ZFS for important data, you also need to have ECC-RAM.

Without it, it's a gamble.

So, unless your desktop has ECC-RAM, I'd think twice about using ZFS on it.

Kim Dotcom Dotcan remain on bail, despite Fed protests


His motto has always been: "Earn big, spend even bigger". He's been doing that for 20-odd years or so. When I started working, he had just sold his IT-security startup for a ridiculous sum (immediately before the Dot Com bubble bust). Then came a couple of other stunts, including the insider-trading gig that is the reason for his criminal record, which is AFAIK the reason he couldn't get citizenship in NZ...

Most "celebrities" are completely useless in every aspect of life except for maybe showing otherwise covered parts of their body in front of camera-lenses.

So, I actually have to give him the benefit of doubt here in that he has actually made something of his life....

Sony employees face 'weeks of pen and paper' after crippling network hack


In other news...

Productivity at Sony has skyrocketed, as people can no longer check Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, WhatsApp, three different private email-accounts, Tinder and the corporate email stream between typing three words of a work-related email that is sent to pretend they are actually working.

The Glorious Resolution: Feast your eyes on 5 HiDPI laptops


Ten years ago.

I got a Fujitsu Lifebook E8010. It has a 1440x1050 display.

I got it via eBay (was as new) and it only cost about 1200-something DM (which in todays money would be about 500 UKP). One reason it was so cheap was probably because it doesn't have a DVD-burner and just a lame Intel GPU.

I think it even came with a docking-station and a 2nd PSU and loads of other stuff.

It still works today (one of the PSUs died after a couple of years), though I don't use it very often anymore (and it's on it's 3rd HD, at least - as it's still got PATA, once that HD dies, I will have to see where I get a replacement). It only has 1 GB of RAM - but works great with OpenSUSE and LXDE. Just avoid Java, Flash and the full-text-indexing of Thunderbird...

The relatively high resolution is also nice for keeping a few x-terms open in parallel.

I was shocked when recently I tried to locate a decent 13" laptop not actually made by Apple - most that are cheaper than MBAs also have a crappier 1366x768 or so display.

Those with better displays are even more expensive than mid-level 13" MBPs or come in "strange" form-factors like the Yoga.

It's no wonder Apple are sucking in almost all the profit in that sector.

Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?


What about the Siemens SK65

I really miss it.


It was such a cool phone. With more or less a full querty keyboard.

These days, phones are much thinner - but so much wider.



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