* Posts by Tom

126 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Apr 2007


AMD to experts: Experts don't know jack


Pretty obvious: Analysts use Pentiums with FDIV bug

And they divided and got the wrong answer. All the analysts want to see is $$$$ nothing else. If you can't make money, they don't want to hear about it (unless you were a dot-com business in 2000, but I digress).

They will never learn about us "west coast" types until they shed their "suits".

Canadian runs up $85,000 mobe bill


Should have gotten "pulled over"

The phone company is really dumb! They play bandwidth police and let you speed away only to tell you the "fine" is cumulative. It is like the police issuing speeding tickets at the end of the month, after you have been speeding all month because you heard the word "unlimited". When he ran up a bill of over $1000 the first day they should have warned him about his activities (limited his access). The $85k in a month is STUPID, the phone company should know better.

Moral of the story: Don't mention "unlimited" very loud. At least without explaining it AND getting the customer to understand the term as it applies (difficult these days, I know!).

Dismantling a Religion: The EFF's Faith-Based Internet


Conclusion: DOCSIS is broken

Yes, it is broken, and the cable companies brought it on themselves. Their problem is that the "last mile" of wire is a shared resource. Since the cable companies have the problems, it is up to them to fix the problems.

Funny, the DSL people don't have problems with bittorrent clients. Yes, there are bandwidth problems (limited upstream bandwidth) but the DSL people don't go around hanging up my phone because too many other people are calling each other.

Google flaunts white space wireless magic


No it isn't guard bands, it is the "unused" stuff

You see they want to poke around and see if anyone is using the spectrum and then say "nobody here, I'll use it". The problem is that Google/Microsoft/etc. aren't the only ones who "use" the spectrum. In fact many wireless microphones (like the ones NFL officials use to say "Offside number 72 defense, five yards") hide out here. The signals start and stop all the time (get a spectrum analyzer out and have a look). Given that these are network devices, they send and receive at all weird times. The problem is that they are SUPPOSED to see if anyone is using the frequency. Good luck. Even if you can't hear anything (radio sense) doesn't mean that you won't interfere with something "vital". It just won't work!

We already have IEEE 802.11 devices that work quite well and have enough range to do the job. Why do we need this useless idea. Very costly, and little benefit!

Linux desktops grow and grow and grow


Critical Mass...

...is rapidly approaching. We see store bought machines with Linux pre-installed, and 'novice' users (geeks Mom & Pop) starting to find it acceptable.

One of these days large companies like Autocad, and Adobe will make Linux applications (Adobe already makes Acrobat reader). Then the decision becomes much easier.

Remember the real "Vista Killer" is Vista itself.

El Reg fires up online standards converter


Area standards

While the units are definitely "english" in nature, some "american" units need to be added:

Area: New Jersey's (the size of the state of New Jersey" (Rhode Island is used at times as well).

Time: Microfortnights are mentioned, thse need to be included (not really a US/UK difference, but necessary as well).

Force: Being from California, we need Arnolds, not Norris's.

Oh, well. Units abound. A handy link to the conversion when mentioned would be helpful. Perhaps to explain each conversion (popup window)

NASA's Messenger mission reaches halfway point


At least it doesn't use nuclear power

Solar panels all around. Should do very nicely. Nice and warm there around Mercury. Of course the global warming people will mention that it is a bit too warm around Mercury, and it is related to excess CO2 here on earth.

Americans clueless on NASA budgets


This is news?

Most citizens of the world are clueless about how much money is spent by their governments regardless of country. What the governments need to do is give an "annual report" along with the tax forms they send. It might even help let the taxpayers "have a clue"!!

Remembering the IBM PC


Intel would now be dust...

...if IBM had picked the 68000 as the processor. They would be still making DRAM and EPROMS as the name INTegreated ELectronics implies. Oh well. We're stuck with this decision for ever more.

At this point I can only dream of what should be. Such is life (*SIGH*)

Axe hangs over UK town's analogue TV signal


Think this is bad...

Wait until the USA switches off its analog TV. It happens ALL OVER the country (yes, all 50 states) in January 2009. Just in time for the new president to be sworn in, and AFTER the election. This is going to be a REAL interesting date.

Of course, it could be deferred (we can hope), but when it happens it will be a BIG DEAL. It will make this event seem like very small potatoes!

Firm pledges first 400Mb/s powerline product early '08


Please remember...

...wire is cheaper, and works quite nicely. It is not subject to problems that surge protectors and filters (common in computer installations) will cause. To me these devices are a waste of money.

Wannabe US bank robber fails intelligibility test


Why is there a writers strike on TV

This would be a perfect goodie for the Tonight show's "Headlines" segment. There have been others like this before. One that comes to mind is the teller that sent the would be robber back to spell the note correctly.

For those not in the USA (or where the Tonight show is played), it is a late night show that frequently finds humor it the most normal of places. The "headlines" segment shows silly stories and then comments on them. Some are misprints, others can be adjacent stories.

As for the writers strike, the late night shows here in the USA are currently in re-runs (normally produced the same day) till it ends.

Hack database, change school grades, go to jail for 20 years (maybe)


Need a better approach to do the job...

Back in my high school career, (in the late 60's) I "volunteered" to print up the rosters for "physical education" (an apathy to any good computer geek). As any good BOFH in training (I was only a PFY at the time) I made sure that my name was on the "excused" list the first year I did this task. The second year my name was totally absent. If you are going to do a hack, be very very sure you have all the bases covered. Thankfully in my case, the teacher I did the work for was so happy to have the job done (he was doing it manually, and it probably took a couple of hours each week to do) he went along with the game.

Amazing what you can do when you have free access to a computer when in high school. Even better when this is the late 60's and said computer access is 100% more than the school has (which was none at the time).

Always fun to get the BOFH training in early.

Carnegie Mellon wins the robotic Urban Challenge


Need to navigate a REAL town.

How about San Francisco (lots of hills), or London (do you have the "knowledge"). Hopefully they won't ding the vehicles the congestion tax. It will be interesting to have an "automatic" taxi. Then again does it have voice recognition for Piccadilly Circus please"?

SaveTheInterneters to save the internet from Comcast


Sounds like an oppurtunity to me...

...for the DSL providers to launch an ad campaign. Comcast had the silly turtles liking "slow DSL" lines, all they need to do is remind everyone who won the race, the Tortoise, or the Hare. Thankfully I've got very nice DSL, while limited in upstream traffic, they don't terminate TCP connections. The bandwidth is quite nice, thank you.

BOFH: Budget cuts


Better avenue for "revnue enhancement"

Order some of the ACER laptop kit. When the box of 5 comes for every one ordered, some money can be made on the "resale" trade. Ought to stock the petty cash (pub/bar tab) kitty a little bit.

Asus' Eee PC laptop so small, buyers sent boxes of five


Must be a BOFH angle here


I suspect that the "extra" would be split (probably 3 to 1) with PFY. Full box, boss, what full box. I saw only your laptop. Yes, I'll re-install XP on it, removing that buggy Vista.

Irish man rescued after falling for 419 scam


New contest...

Keep a running total of all the millions that you get offered in the 419 scams. Find out the monthly total. Given the amount of "lose cash" floating around Africa, we could just about settle all the debt they ever had. In a couple of years, the US debt could be put away for good.

Ah, wishful thinking.....

IEEE powerline networking group selects HomePlug AV


Broadband over powerline IS NEITHER!

Look it just doesn't work. It tries to use that nice power (mains) wires for something other than they were intended for. What happens is that they use the power lines as silly antennas which radiate all over the place, and pick up interference from every spark in the house. I've got a cooktop that has electronic ignitors that spark like mad (really screws up the TV). They do it about once a second when active, and the way my wife sets it even more. This will REALLY screw up things. In addition billg and company want to use the "white spaces" between TV over the air channels for networking. Solve the problem correctly, buy a spool of CAT5 wire (less than the cost of a couple of adapters!) and go to town. Much better, and even more secure. If you need wireless, go with 802.11a/b/g/n (or whatever they are using today), it has the range needed to fill a house.

Anything else is a WASTE OF MONEY, not to mention time, and RF spectrum.

DARPA selects 11 robotic grunts to take driver's license test


Traffic Circles??

Doing those is difficult for us mere mortals. If a robot can do it, I'll congratulate it with open arms.

For the next test, we sit the cars down in some REAL locale. I'd pick: San Francisco (lots of hills and traffic), London England (does it have "the knowledge"?). Rome, Italy (I was there this summer, and on foot I couldn't find my way "The Trevi fountain is which way?"), maybe Paris France.

My bet is on the Stanford team (they did the Mojave desert thing) to work it out. Nice team, had a chance to see the car after the run.

Mandriva bigwig (nearly) accuses Ballmer of b-word

Jobs Horns

Sounds like a 419 to me.

What they could do is sell the Microsoft licenses (they are worth something), and keep the Linux boxen. Some government official must be very happy.

The things you can do with all that money.

For conspiracy addicts: The US Stock market fell by over 300 points today. Coincidence? You be the judge. The money had to come from somewhere!

Ubuntu laptop clan trapped in hard drive hell


Catching on fire...

...probably comes from the battery starting the flame front. Yes, something as small as 5 watts CAN start a fire (there are things smaller). The controlling thing here is the dissipation of the heat product. Luckly a disk drive has a pretty reasonable heat sink (most are metal enclosures), so there is little chance of starting a fire. The part that catches fire is most likely a circuit board, but most of them are flame proof (FR-4 material). I suspect that the result of a fire on a disk drive would be some scorching, but I have yet to try it. Maybe one of these days I'll throw one on the barbie :-).

Domino's pizza prices may rise


Is the prelude to Friday's installment of...

BOFH? Surely it must be. Now if the price of beer goes up as well, we might as well go on strike.

Pizza, Beer, repeat!

Me: I prefer Round Table (USA brand) which may take a bit of looking for, but seems a bit fresher (my opinion). If you want to add the BTUs yourself, there is Papa Johns.

Virtual! stripper! game! targets! Yahoo!


Simple for Yahoo! to annoy

Make sure that the graphic has a Yahoo! logo somewhere in it (background, or in a corner). Then the id10t stripper program user will see that something is a bit amiss. Pretty simple if you ask me. All captchas should have something identifying where they came from. The surrounding text should have further instructions like enter only the letters (and the graphic has digits and letters).

Design needs to evolve!

World's most gullible supermarket chain falls victim to online scam


Incopentence as a crime....

While being an incompetent moron is not punishable (yet), our lawmakers here in the US strive to allow these people to continue to exist. It is encouraging to know that lawyers have also gotten into the act. The lawyers will sue anyone other than the people actually responsible for the incident (hot coffee spilled?). So the problem continues.

It has been suggested that we remove ALL the warning labels and let the awarding of Darwin awards begin. The sooner, the better.

BMW gives away 5 Series and $850k


Undisclosed receipiants (the clue)

You would think that only one prize of this magnitude would be offered. Then again, if there is more than one winner (based on how many emails went out) it would likely bankrupt the company. Now if Microsoft would send out these offers and add in $800k+ of loot to all the email addresses listed it might work, they DO have a bunch of cash.

Let's see: New headline: "Microsoft cash award might bankrupt company" Put your short sales in now. Stock will go down.

Ah.... two scams in one. Where is the PDF file and audio track.

Ballmer again: AT&T and Verizon should rule the airwaves

Jobs Horns

Microsoft doesn't???

Don't they own everything already? Why buy something they have. Windows will only work with something specific (probably not Apple or Google I suspect). Microsoft's motto: All your base belong to us.

Ballmer, go home.

Greenpeace: iPhone crit makes for more headlines


The lead NAZIs strike again

Just to grab headlines! They will be the first ones to conplain when the iPhone they are using grows tin whiskers and stops working while their silly boat is swamped. As mentioned before, Greenpiece ought to concentrate on getting Di-hydrogen Mono-Oxide (aka DHMO) banned for all uses.

Why not have nuclear power. It works quite well, and after the plant is built, the cost is the cheapest per unit (kWh). Oh, by the way it doesn't have too much carbon emissions to gripe about (if they do anything).

What is wrong with global warming? Without it, we would be in the ice age still, with snow covering most of the hemisphere!!

L1NUX number plate roars onto eBay


Silliness of plates on cars.

Over here in the states, most (if not all) of the states in the USA have personalized ones. You pay extra $$$ (every year) and you get a nice government issued official plate to put on your vehicle (all are made by the government). In looking up the rules in my state (see http://www.dmv.ca.gov) they allow 7 characters (letters and numbers). There are all sorts of silly rules (the number "69" can only appear on model year 1969 vehicles is one). I suspect that "LINUX" has already been issued in many of the 50 states (I have no facts, just guessing). Of course, the whole idea of a plate is to identify the vehicle when it zooms by you. My thought was to just draw numbers/letters out of hat to make up a random license plate. Confusing for the police to get a handle on.

Then again, I really wanted the plate "4900796" but they don't allow all numbers in custom plates (bummer). Bad reference to a computer of over 40 years ago.

Comcast busted for bagging BitTorrents (again)


This is a basic problem with a shared resource (the cable)

The basic problem is that comcast provides as its "last mile" a shared resource. The cable they use has a finite bandwidth. They allocate it as a BIG pipe in the downlink path (to the consumer), and a smaller pipe in the uplink path (from the consumer). Then we get all these P2P services that clog up the uplink pipe (not to mention the comprimised machines emitting spam), and they must limit the bits moved in the pipe. Try putting up a web server on the end of a cable modem. It won't get very far (most likely because it against the terms of service, as well as consuming uplink bandwidth). The P2P people do this just by being there. It is no wonder that a finite last mile shared pipe has problems. While DSL has problems, its "last mile" is dedicated service (not shared). Really much better. Other services with similar sharing (satellite providers come to mind) have similar problems. If you decide to plug up THAT pipe, you will find that a 56k modem might be faster.

Besides cable based internet is more costly.

The first rule of Reg Club is...


Better words for "bitch slap"

I refer to the mavens of NPR (USA National Public Radio) commonly refered to as "Click and Clack". Their term is MUCH better. It is called a "Dope Slap". At times it can be self inflicted (and needs to be sometimes). Please refer to the V8 juice commercial shown on TV ([Wack] You/I could have had a V8).

BOFH: The bastard wants to know


Programming Languages...

Pre-date the VCR. Maybe the last should be something like:

Fortran II on the IBM 1620 (a long time ago for me!). Then again I'm dating myself...

Fire service may charge for shifting fat people


This is pretty easy if you ask me....

...A chainsaw works wonders to remove an exterior wall. Works quite fast as well. I leave the repairs as an exercise to the (fat) homeowner. Of course the rental of the forklift might be an added expense.

As to the sharing of the "HEALTHCARE" costs is another matter. Socialized medicine remove the personal initiative to be healthy. Maybe a tax on BMI (body mass index) is in order. Legislation of "good behavior" is a losing battle. It never works, and usually has unintended consequences (think prohibition in USA).

Teen accused of hacking emergency 911 system


Non-Emergency number

The "non-emergency" number is designated to be "311" in the NANP. Some towns have this implemented (San Jose, California is one). There are other "N11" numbers in use as well.

311 Non-emergency police, etc. (as mentioned)

411 Information

511 Traffic (at least in the San Frnacisco Bay area)

611 Repair. This is very system specific. Try to use your cell phone to get repair on your land line is a bit difficult.

711 Unknown to me

811 At times has been the "Business office". This changes quite a bit and is locally very different.

911 Emergency (usually life threatining). Expect someone at your door (ready to bash it in if necessary) very soon.

It used to happen that some "portable" phones would dial things as their batteries wore out. Typically "dial pulse" (make-break) style dialing. Sometimes it could do 911 which caused ALL sorts of things. Other times (it has been documented) that a dog got tangled up in a phone cord of one of those phones that had nice big buttons to dial an emergency number. Of course in the tangling up of the cords, the dog got the phone to dial the police. They came to an empty house and recued the dog. Wonderful story re-created for a TV show. Operator: "what is your emergency", Dog "Bark Bark...".

Serial typosquatter settles FTC charges


Why not do the same for SPAM?

Hit those guys in the pocketbooks!! Given that a bunch of them are for mortgages (usually sub-prime) maybe that was the cause of the credit crunch in the USA.

Wishful thinking I suspect. Oh, well.....

California court tilts towards mandating web accessibility


Firefox & Opera equal access??

If this ruling makes those sites that are "Internet Exploder Only" bad, I'm all for it. Not every blind person has a windoze machine. Maybe if you make your web site correspond to W3C standards it won't be ruled as anti-ADA. That might be the proper thing to do. The problem is that many government run sites are IE only, and hopefully these are ruled against.

Then again, the blind people might demand that they be given a human reader for their computer access (look it could happen with the courts these days!). One never knows.

I am reminded about a company that had to do special programming for WebTV (now a Microsoft company). They stated that for the number of people who had WebTV (I think it is called something else now), and used their site they could buy each a computer. The WebTV population was that small. A few years ago I interviewed for the company, and wasn't impressed to much. The internet just doesn't scale to a TV too well. With resolution of 640x480 (on a good day, with flicker) and a remote control box for a keyboard it gets blurry very quickly.

Ought to be an interesting case in any event.

TV giants lock horns with Microsoft and Google over white space wireless play


White space wireless is SO wrong!!

Google and Microsoft not withstanding. This is a really bad idea. Lots of existing things use this space. Wireless mics and the like for one. If they want to do "better" wireless, the 900MHz band is already there. Lots of room. If that doesn't work, why not use the analog cell band (where channels 70-83 in the USA used to be). That isn't being used any more. There are already some public service people using chunks of the TV band already. Oh, detect them and don't use it. Not bloody likely. Some of the uses are intermittant in this area, and so is the wireless proposal. It is almost the same as letting bicycles use the unused parts of the freeway (I-280 here, ir the M1 over there). There is lots of room, why not.

I'm sorry this is a really DUMB idea. I'm with the networks on this one.

Besides most of the wireless stuff only needs to go across the house. IEEE802.11b/g/n works fine for this.

Boeing delays 787 Dreamliner


Still... It's Boeing, or I'm not going...

None of this 500+ seat planes that take hours to load (arrive how long before takeoff), then take hours to get your bag. Bummer in all ways.

The 787 is a much better way to go. Even is efficient.

Ballmer: All open source dev should happen on Windows

Jobs Horns

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

Microsoft: If there is a patent violation, put up (and sue us), or shut up!

Maybe they have a patent on chair throwing...

Law & Order takes on Second Life


One interesting action

Was when the web people made the sun rise a bunch of hours early. Something along the lines of "This is going to freak out a whole bunch of people". Somehow it is easy to have the sun rise at midnight in a computer. Can't do that in the real world.

Good story line in any event. Always at the top of the TiVo priority list.

No icons here!!

Geeks and Nerds caught on film lacking geeky nerdiness


You pay with peanuts...

...you get monkeys.

Unfortunately, the "average user" doesn't know squat about how their computer works, or what is going on (thus the needs for these idiot servicemen). Go on over to techtales and listen to the ID10T users and the tech people on the phone. It is a very rude awakening.

Nothing new. Microsoft mentality.

Boffins: Dark times for application development


Remember that this is from...

...the same person who gave us "hungarian notation", and took a vacation in space.

Need I say more?

Didn't think so.

Yahoo! Teams! With! eBay! And! PayPal! To! End! Phishing!


Simple solution

No HTML email. None. Only plain text. Can't disguise anything in plain text. No pictures, no nothing. It is very obvious.

Why this isn't obvious to everyone is beyond me. If you can't put the URL's in plain text then you can't obliterate the URL and disguise it somehow.

Thankfully El Reg sends plain text emails.

RIAA hits paydirt: wins first music-sharing jury trial


Appeal grounds

"Judge Michael Davis ruled the labels did not have to prove the songs were transfered for Thomas to be held liable." Wrong, very very wrong.

Australian court rings to the sound of satisfaction


It happens...

When I working on a bunch of lab machines testing TCP/IP I had set them all up with a "finger" daemon. When they were "fingered" the local response was a quick (2 seconds if I recall) moan. Then I was doing some testing, and decided to "finger" all of the rack (about 10 machines) in sequence. It was great! Then some politically correct idiot decided that this wasn't the best thing to have emitted from the machines, and I was "persuaded" to remove the sound. What a bummer. Oh, well - live and learn.

The other incident was my Tone & Voice pager (in the early 80's) in a movie theater. Mad scramble to find the button in my coat before I got kicked out of the place. Thankfully (as others have mentioned) now we have "vibrate", and "off".

Somewhere there is a BOFH story here. Simon??

Boy beats Reaper at 20,000 feet


Body disposal made easy...

Of course, this was a story line for an episode of (USA)Law & Order (CI variety) about 1.5 years ago. Interesting that the falling corpse landed on the beach under the flight path of the JFK (Idlewild for those of us old enough to remember) airport.

Google proposes 'crumbled cookies' in privacy pledge



Microsoft says: "[T]he deal would put Google in control of 80 per cent of the market for both text and banner adverts on the internet.". Why should there be any shame in that. Microsoft is in control of over 90% of the desktop market and doesn't have a problem with that!

Pot, Kettle, Black...

CERN BOFH needs a bigger storage array


More "elementary physics"

Scotty... We need to get going, where are the warp drive engines. Don't you have the di-Lithium crystals up and running yet. Get that anti-matter working!!

Don't we have this problem solved already?? They did it on TV years ago!!

Skype founder quits


Danger Ahead...

I read an article in the paper today about a company doing voice recognition on telephone calls as a way of targeting ads. While it might not be here yet, even talking about it makes it scary. Mention the word "pizza" and you get a delivery bloke ringing your doorbell before the call is over. Gets real scary!!

Be afraid, be very afraid...

Data for 800,000 job applicants stolen


We should all use George Burn's SSN

The running joke was that it was "one".

Good night Gracie!!