* Posts by Tam Lin

143 publicly visible posts • joined 24 May 2007


HP customers claim firmware update rendered third-party ink verboten

Tam Lin

It's easy to see where they got the idea

When I worked for Xerox in 1970 we charged the 2024 equivalent of between $1 and $12 per copy, depending on the lease and copies per month.

Toner (very expensive), paper and electricity (lots and lots of it) not included, but maintenance was.

Israel to plow $3.2B into $25B Intel fab project

Tam Lin

JIT news to clinch the next PC buy as AMD ...

... but to be fair, Intel chips have been half the performance for twice the price for a while.

They, like Microsoft, are definitely not spending their money on R&D, just D&D.

How CIA betrayed informants with shoddy front websites built for covert comms

Tam Lin


It's always retired generals (or equivalent top-level government jobs) that get these easy-yacht-money contracts.

Oligarchs are universal, comrade.

France says Google Analytics breaches GDPR when it sends data to US

Tam Lin

Re: To be honest

They also use it to feed their <cough> search engine.

Say "soup bowl" analytics garner a high price as manufacturers of same enter a price war.

Coincidentally, a large number of searches for "spark plugs", "Paris schools" and "active shooter" all return Soup Bowls as the highlighted result.

You were supposed to be watching him. Letters from SEC claim Tesla breached deal to police Elon Musk's tweets

Tam Lin

Re: Bernie Madoff

Madoff was an investor / part owner / made-member of the SEC, while Musk is not (I'm a fan of neither of them). Like any mafia leader, Madoff was allowed / encouraged / expected / required to steal from everyone *except* fellow members.

The RS article is good, Harry Markopolos' book is excellent, but Godfather I has more accurate insights into the SEC.

License to thrill: Ahead of v13.0, the FreeBSD team talks about Linux and the completed toolchain project that changes everything

Tam Lin

Re: "we don't have one big dictator"

Yes. This is definitely yet another instantiation of the Python LoB skit of Freud's thesis on "Narcissism of small differences". Cringe-worthy when voiced without provocation.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative

Tam Lin

I recall this argument in print almost 50 years ago, around the time the new Altair computer kit was featured in Popular Electronics. Like "irony", it's dead. Long dead.

There IS still time to save some more recent thefts, e.g., "begs the question" and "due diligence", but they won't survive either. Idiots need "new" words to impress each other.

Ring, Ring, why don't you give me a call? Amazon-owned doorbells aren’t answering after large-scale outage

Tam Lin

My Ring works fine ...

... only because it's able to Ring the extant physical doorbell chime.

The Ring itself? It does not ring phone or tablets when pressed; instead, it bunches up all the rings and person-nearby notifications and spits them all out in two, maybe three bunches of a couple dozen per week. The dog has learned that a Ring phone-spew is nothing she needs to concern herself with, and I presume crooks have learned that Ring-equipped homes are full of equally ill-advised purchases of unfenceable Amazon crap.

Alexa, can you tell me how many Chinese kids were forced into working nights to build this unit?

Tam Lin

Chinese kids sure have it easy

I'm an American who just (should have) retired, and I picked tobacco at age 14 for American smokers, washed dishes and scraped grease from exhaust fans for fat American drunks at 15; at 16 I loaded 45kg bags of fake milk for calves into 60C boxcars for 10+ hours a day (summer), and assembled washing machine components (after school). To be fair, only the assembly work wasn't fun...

Another rewrite for 737 Max software as cosmic bit-flipping tests glitch out systems – report

Tam Lin

Definitely not all agencies. I knew someone from the NTSB in the pre-computer days who claimed to have investigated more FAA-caused crashes than pilot-error crashes. Keep in mind that the FAA is still the equivalent of Ajit Pai's Verizon-owned FCC in that they "work" for Boeing and the airlines and not for the flying public.

First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

Tam Lin

No aviation parts go directly from used to another plane. Everything needs to be refurbished, updated and/or recertified by an approved vendor.

That said, there is a very competitive broker market in currently unusable parts.

Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

Tam Lin

There are no bugs, just unreasonable customers

Google/Motorola/Lenovo/Fi released Android 8.1 for the X4 Fi in April, after which, if you'd like to actually use the phone, requires all of the phone's security to be turned off (no password allowed, fingerprint scanner must be disabled).

Seriously, that's their official fix (Solution!). They've closed the bug report and harass anyone who re-reports it. I presume 8.2 will post the complete contents of X4s to a public GoogleDocs page.

Still, that's better than Microsoft's response when their "Insider" tag team techs trashed a Windows 10 install they were troubleshooting because it failed to (mumble)grade to 1709.

"Hmmm... <click>"

Ex-cop who 'kept private copies of data' fingers Cabinet Office minister in pr0nz at work claims

Tam Lin

Re: The issue I have with this

is that this was done on a work PC on a work network.

Not an issue.

Let me remind you that neither he nor David Davis works for the UK government or the UK citizens.

If the foreign government(s) that he works for cares, then those governments should apply discipline.

Seldom used 'i' mangled by baffling autocorrect bug in Apple's iOS 11

Tam Lin

Re: It’s simple to fix...

Where oh where did I read something similar before? I remember - in a Letter to the Editor ca 1950 (where I first learned of the faux "Socrates quote" berating youth 2,500 years ago).

Most people have always believed fake news, editors were as useful then, in situ, as they are now, in absentia, and kids have been annoying their elders forever.

Translation: you're already a narcissist, senile and/or were born w/o ECC and write-leveling NAND Flash.

How's this for irony? US Navy hit with $600m software piracy claim

Tam Lin

Re: Yada yada, manifest destiny, eminent domain.

Extrapolating my limited US Navy experience, there's at least one 2-star+ General/Admiral (retired, or if active, his or her brother-in-law) that has billed (and been paid by) the US Government for the $600m plus up to the usual 400% markup. Plus labour. And insisted that the contract be signed at their daughter's $90 prix fixe clapboard waffle house restaurant.

But $1 - $3 billion is still way cheaper than any of the many failed Navy software projects. My favourite bit is how the projects always move to and restart from scratch in different colour states/bases depending on which party is in power. If the palace guards don't miscount votes properly and declare Trump emperor, a lot of free-8-year-project-extention cards are going to fail to auto-renew (not that Clinton wouldn't renew them for a cut).

Seagate defrags 14% of workforce: 6,500 axed

Tam Lin

Re: Quality went to crap

I suspect Seagate'll come out with an OK Cupid-type app that locates the nearest defective drive of the same model as you have, asks both of you to walk the half block or so, meet up, and swap bad drives betwixt.

"Same procedure as now," Seagate can brag, "except quicker and you save on shipping charges!"

"Also, we no longer need the 6,600 people we've been paying to do that".

Michael Dell bought his PC biz for a bargain, must get checkbook out for stiffed shareholders

Tam Lin

Same thing happened to me

So the wife and I were getting a divorce. No big deal, except we had this damn house. The wife said it was worth £100K, but our lady realtor said we should sell it for less than £80K. My wife didn't believe it, so she sued me for selling it under market price because I was having an affair with the same lady realtor/appraiser that I sold it to for £75k. "One opinion against two," I na-na-na-na-na-nad. "Tough luck."

Unfortunately, the judge agreed with my ex and said I owed her £12.5k plus interest. Luckily, the judge also said I didn't have to pay any penalty or worry about being prosecuted for theft or breech or anything since I made sure everybody knew I was having an affair with the realtor lady. I have no idea where my barrister dug up that goofy precedent or earned some ancient favour he could call in, but it didn't come cheap.

Then again, I didn't spend anywhere as much time in bed with my wife and mistress combined as Dell spent in bed with Silver Lake, so it's not exactly the same thing. I.e., Dell get off lucky.

Anonymised search engine page found on 'kid-friendly' search site

Tam Lin

True, but a RUSSIAN storm in your tea-cup.

The Russians eat their children, and now they're trying to capture ours by code reuse - specifically, proven web-search cache technology. Since the chunnel, they can do that. No, it's true, I read it queued at Tesco. Or maybe I read it on-line at elReg.

Field technicians want to grab my tool and probe my things

Tam Lin

Re: Do not speak of what thou knowest little....

'72? I think that's the year I fixed my last TV. Never did figure out how anyone could actually sit and watch the damn things, though.

Over the next couple years I installed and repaired (non-TV) equipment in various places, including at least two television factories in the American midwest (Motorola and Philco ; I can't recall if Zenith built TVs in the factories I went to). They later sold out and hobbled up to but couldn't survive Reagan/Thatcher.

Motorola's old campus (not where they built the TVs) now houses Zurich Insurance's brand-new Cathedral (at least 30% of which taxpayers are paying for but of course don't own) to Default Credit Swaps.

VW’s case of NOxious emissions: a tale of SMOKE and MIRRORS?

Tam Lin

Conspiracy Theory

con·spir·a·cy the·o·ry

kənˈspirəsē/ ˈTHēərē/

noun (archaic)

Twentieth-century term used extensively by large criminal enterprises, corrupt governments, and their complicit homogeneous media. The term was commonly used as a means of falsely denying that large criminal enterprises and corrupt governments can and explicitly do keep secrets of illegal activities as a matter of course.

Hackers' Paradise: The rise of soft options and the demise of hard choices

Tam Lin

Re: If I could, I would ...

It's been a long time since I read Cliff Stoll's book "The Cuckoo's Egg", but the gist is that roughly 30 years ago, Unix, GNU, VMS, et al were being hacked into regularly (by the NSA and others), locally and remotely, with an ease roughly proportional to each software provider's hubris. I guess PBS/Nova made a sensational (in the derogatory sense) TV show based on the book called "The KGB, the Computer, and Me".

Later, a designer of one the above insecure systems was hired to architect Windows NT (now known to everyone as Windows 7/8/9).

Čas je šarlatán a věci sotva změní.

Windows users: You get a patch! And you get a patch! And you get a patch! Everybody gets...

Tam Lin

Finally - A 'safe' OS Microsoft that won't break or feature-strip any further

XP supports multiple monitors, nothing newer does (and it even affects the blind). XP doesn't ever forget to turn the monitors back on upon wake, either. Or BSOD when you plug in a new monitor.

XP does not crash on every update; I had 5 Server 2008 R2s lock up on the way down this weekend doing updates - a normal amount [1] - and that bug is at least 7 years old. The only 99% safe solution is to rip out TrustedInstaller and never update your Vista/7/8 PC/servers.

XP can do backups to any drive or share you'd like. Windows 7 won't. Microsoft promised to fix it (and TrustedInstaller) for years, before finally laughing manically and spitting in the faces of all the morons who believed them about that or anything else ... roughly the exact day the Justice Department looked away.

I could go on for a month, but just search for any of the billions of threads where an MVP answers with "No not bug. You have virus, run sfc /scannow, reinstall.", "No not bug. Thread delete." Yes, you can even find that style of MVP answer on the famous Drag and Drop intermittently breaks bug (a right cheerful bug now that he's old enough to drink).

Just make sure to download and save all the XP updates. Microsoft always 'accidentally on purpose' quickly turns its support and updates into UpdatesForSure.

[1] I know there are millions of "faithful believers" who will say that locking up on updates is the wave of the future, so what if you have to drive 45km in a thunderstorm/flood thanks to TrustedInstaller because it's not just all about efficiency anymore and being able to see your programs' windows on your monitor is such a dead paradigm and you must just be a fat old neckbeard for not being able to accept the progress that Microsoft has given us from on high, Amen.

Web moguls ask YOU to stump up big money to STOP big money from winning in Washington

Tam Lin

Frat Pack - all shysters and politicans

With the exception of professional clown Steve Wozniak, there's not one person on that list that I wouldn't cross the street to avoid.

Patch NOW: Six new bugs found in OpenSSL – including spying hole

Tam Lin

Re: go Theo

OpenSSL: Where gross incompetence, kindergarten-level maturity and absolute corruption meet.

OpenSSL's latest success story? Intentionally, specifically, completely, proudly and possibly profitably withholding notification of this group of bugs from Theo, OpenBSD and LibreSSL.

That's gotta be worth another $2 million USD.

OS/2 a quarter century on: Why IBM lost out and how Microsoft won

Tam Lin

Microsoft won the way they know - dishonesty and fraud.

I was at the initial "OS/2 Developer's Conference" 1987, but it was no such thing.

In reality it was a Ballmer and MZ-led evangelical Windows pyramid-scheme marketing Conference. Gates, who had promised to appear, was always going to be there "soon". He never deigned, of course.

Ballmer's biggest lie was that Microsoft had written a program - always nearly finished - that would convert source code written for Windows to run on OS/2. He actually had most of the attendees believing "Write for Windows today, and you're writing for the OS/2 of tomorrow." Completely unfinished API notwithstanding.

At the conference end when they announced "free copies of Windows 1.03 for everyone!" 95% of crowd was cheering. Only the IBMers and a few of us who had dealt with Microsoft in the past knew that we'd been suckered into paying a multi-$1000 conference fee for a $100 toy program and the opportunity to help Gates become the world's richest psychopath.

Microsoft embraces ARM with Windows 8

Tam Lin

In defense of the author .....

Microsoft never really lifted a finger in support of Alpha, MIPS or Power (I can't speak for IA). What it did was sell those chip manufacturers the right to provide the equipment, engineers, programmers and support staff to do the work themselves.

When the manufacturers' porting was complete, the work that Microsoft had given vague assurances to complete (e.g., Office) wasn't done.

Obviously Intel gave Microsoft a big wad of "marketing cash" to pull another OS/2 on their paying clients.

This turned out to be a great investment for Intel; it helped to quickly bankrupt DEC, after which Intel ended up with Alpha's much-smarter chip designers - the designers who are responsible for everything from the Pentium Pro through i7 (except the failed Netburst (P4) architecture).

Intel would later give Dell and other screwdriver shops similarly huge quantities of "marketing cash" in an attempt to bankrupt AMD.

Mastercard downed by Anon-Assange-fans

Tam Lin

Another please don't

You can also donate - 100% tax free within the US, of course - to fund Suzerain Lieberman's primary home in the Israeli settlements.

F*ck you, thunders disgruntled fanboi Apple user

Tam Lin

What? No entiendo. Это не имеет смысла. Jag talar bara en fanboi dialekt av C.

Fanbois can't 'Jump' - it's assembly language (a verboten fanboi tongue).

Windows 7's dirty secrets revealed

Tam Lin

Well, Yes and No

1) "FTH will over-allocate memory, and keep a copy of freed memory so that attempts to re-read it will succeed." [I'm guessing this was done primarily for Microsoft and HP programs.]

2) So what is the point of UAC? "UAC is not an anti-malware solution. It is about one thing, which is about getting you guys to write your code so that it runs well as standard user."

Is there any way the above two "features" are not opposites? The first says "We encourage crap programming", while the second says "We demand quality programming from you, but, no, sorry, it's not actually going to help things because ... [I don't know why, I guess because programming is too hard compared to holding press conferences]"?

Free ProTip: When your employees go out of their way to "fix" security and stability issues by intentionally doing the exact opposite of what OpenBSD does, you should probably encourage them to recareer themselves.

MS exec gets shot down after 'inaccurate' Windows 7 spiel

Tam Lin

Is this a Monty Python skit?

"This came from a Microsoft employee who was not involved in any aspect of designing Windows 7"

Calling Windows 7 "designed" is even more off-the-wall than calling Vista "stable" ... so am I to assume the next bit is where Inspector Fox of the Light Entertainment Squad walks in and hits them both with a hammer?

Murdoch threatens to yank News Corp. from Google News

Tam Lin


The easiest way for Murdoch to monetize his serial fiction sites is to have his six-bit-witted minions MLM subscriptions to each other at their Chamber of Commerce rituals. I can picture them now, pensively choosing cable TV-like intertube packages, basing them on their personal favorites such as Soldier of Fortune.com, Tractor Pull Interactive, and Fox News.

Don't panic over the secret copyright treaty

Tam Lin

Democracry: DNF

Paraphrasing Khrushchev, "We will bury you, and your lawyers will explain away the shovels."

Naked Win 7 still vulnerable to most viruses

Tam Lin

UAC Security Theatre 3000

Just like the US's tragicomic TSA, UAC is brought to you by incompetent sadists enjoying your pain.

Google finds voice to respond to FCC

Tam Lin

Dial no evil

If you heard that NN means paying money to directly to hacks rather than to at&t, I can see why at&t are upset and you're happy. However, I regret to inform you that these dodgy rural kickbacks benefit political hacks only - no other species of hack gets a dime.

China accuses Google of 'malicious' censorship

Tam Lin

I hate to be a language cop, but

hypocrisy is not irony. The irony (verbal division) is in the title (People's Daily), while the hypocrisy is in the content. To further illustrate, here are two others using the same formulae: New York Times, The Economist.

Ares I: What's the point?

Tam Lin

Skunkworks to doesn'tworks: 50 years of NASA

I've known NASA engineers from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Using a spreadsheet to extrapolate - something we learned from Columbia that current engineers are incapable of - their skills forward, NASA engineers of the 2010's won't be able to accelerate themselves out of bed in the morning.

Windows 95 to Windows 7: How Microsoft lost its vision

Tam Lin

Is the author 14 or senile?

The Windows 95 that amazed him so was actually a shell running atop Windows 3.11 (and a poor copy of then-existing 3rd party shells, to be precise), as any developer in those days will remember - I still have the disks. The identical process, in fact, to the jump from NT 4 to 2000.

The bulk of non-eye candy developments took place within a version: 3.1 and 2000, with lesser amounts in 98 and XP after 2000's SP4. The slow, measured, semi-reliable, constant improvement cycle of XP was actually a good thing.

Microsoft programmers aren't really as slow and incompetent they seem, they're mostly just off on projects trying to capture new markets with monopoly rents (and failing) - but that would be illegal, so Microsoft says they were all working on Vista SE.

Internet Archive uncloaks open ebook dream machine

Tam Lin

Rent to eLose

Buy the timeless. Borrow the useful. Renting is for crappy American style 'entertainment' - movies and diet/NYT best-seller books - where automatically losing it is beneficial.

Hitachi Data Systems fingered in Sidekick disaster

Tam Lin

So I take it "El Reg" is not backed up either?

It is absolutely trivial to wipe out data in any RAID or SAN/NAS. Simply tell it to consider an empty or foreign drive as part of a set/volume, and it does the destroying for you. Force load a corrupt or empty configuration. Plug in a drive that spits out "impossible" responses that were never programmed against. Seen it done manually, automatically, even done it myself.

It is also customary to store data in effectively non-recoverable scattered and compressed format (e.g., Microsoft Outlook PST, although that was done for vendor lock-in).

Company-saving backups are NOT the responsibility of a T&M vendor. Data copied to a different area of the same <whatever>, while useful, is absolutely in no way a backup. The only valid reason I can think of not to have several tested backups is that Ballmer had them destroyed as favor for one of his T-Mobile-competitor friends.

Seriously, whatever data you have at Google, Amazon's cloud, Microsoft, etc, is probably NOT backed up, merely replicated. This can protect against certain hardware and network failures, but your data is always just one programming error or one tired technician away from complete destruction.

None of the above companies would fail to backup their own company-critical data, but neither T-Mobile nor their business nor their customers nor their lawsuits are any more critical to Microsoft than your Hotmail spam folder.

Did the FCC bribe US carriers on net neutrality?

Tam Lin

Crap, I thought this was a poll

You neglected to add the part about where the FCC turns off the neutrality fogger after giving their friends our spectrum in exchange for seven figure jobs (eight if talking dollars) when they leave the FCC.

[x] E. Yes to All of the above

US commission urges broadband socialism

Tam Lin

Al Gore school & library pact redux

But it is nice to see companies other than Blackwater, Goldman, Mobil, Northrup and General Dynamics feeding at the trough - it's like springtime in the government corruption industry again.

Amazon coughs $150k to student over lost notes

Tam Lin

Napoleon Gawronski

I guess this means he's moving into the farmhouse with his lawyers.

Ammo rationing at Wal-Mart as panic buying sweeps US

Tam Lin

For everything else, there's Mastercard

Colt 45: $560.00. Box of Wal-Mart ammo: $89.00. 3000kg fake-armor SUV: $65,000.00. Petrol from Alabama to Gettysburg at 5km/l: $727.00 ($1615.00 from Idaho). Civil war that wipes out a large percentage of dimwitted, mouth breathing, bible thumping americans at the 150th anniversary of their first one: Priceless.

Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome

Tam Lin

IE8 is the new IE6

You might not know this yet if you are 8 years old, or if you are senile, or if you live in the US, or if you come from another planet, or if your IQ can be expressed in two decimal digits, or if you suffer from Downs, Aspergers or Williams Syndrome and are therefore too trusting.

This Has Been A Public Service Announcement

Microsoft protests $290m Word judgment

Tam Lin

No proof?

Since there's no proof that Microsoft employs anyone that understands programming, they may win that argument.

Texas Instruments aims lawyers at calculator hackers

Tam Lin

The Blackwater of high school math

The calculator division of TI has one function: government contracting. Day after day, they are forced to take school board members on golf outings, NFL games, $200 lunches, symposiums in Hawaii, &c. All of this grueling labor is necessary if they want to be able to continue forcing kids to pay $150 for $15 worth of badly programmed Chinese parts.

Now that's the American way, and that's why the DCMA was written.

Amen (required by Texas law)

EC probe costing Sun $100m a month

Tam Lin

Typical lazy bureaucrats

With just a little more effort I'm sure they should be able to cost Larry "God" Ellison a more appropriate $200 million per month. 100 million isn't even a fortnight's supply of deck cleaner for his yachts.

Apple sends iPhones into 'Coma Mode'

Tam Lin

Apple was very fair about it

Even us lowly iPod users were invited to the party. iTunes 9.0 effectively erased my 90% hard drive iPod classic - nothing to do with the iPod code (which wasn't updated). After synchronizing properly, it turned on the iPod, zapped it senseless, and refused to recover it (unexplained error). It was only recoverable by installing the copy of iTunes 8.x installer I'd saved.

Since my 8GB of music was now useless in iTunes 8, I simply cemented the earphone jack shut, copied my 60GB of data back on, noted the additional 10% to write off on taxes, and vowed once again never to buy another apple product. That's really the only fix.

Alabama judges take hard line on dildos

Tam Lin

The bible says girls should have sex with their fathers

And so, presumably, does Alabama's judiciary. And really, what Alabama father wants his daughter ruined by these ungodly, oversized dildos?

So sayeth Genesis 19:30-36 (and therefore applies to all licensees, co-marketers and affiliates of the Hebrew bible, including the USA).

Japan gets to grips with train-grope websites

Tam Lin


Armed this time with the type of 'knowledge' that the internet seems to convey best, 'ingrained' is my overriding observation as I reread the thousand-year-old, noblewoman-penned Japanese classic novel "The Tale of Genji" (Royall Tyler's 2001 translation).