* Posts by wsm

316 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Aug 2008


Share your 2024 tech forecasts (wrong answers only) to win a terrible sweater


Microsoft and Apple create a better user experience gratis

The two giants work together to create a universal gain in security and ease of use without any necessary purchase of new hardware or services to implement.

Excel recruitment time bomb makes top trainee doctors 'unappointable'


Dr. House was British.

Mars helicopter to try for new speed record on Thursday


Re: Don't wear it out

There's an idea. Fly over Perseverance and get more out of both devices.

Google pays Apple $18B to $20B a year to keep its search in iPhone


What do all those billions buy?

For that kind of money, I don't understand why Apple is thinking they get something out of this by enriching Google who should be their competitor given ChromeOS and other attempts to keep people somewhere other than on Apple products. Apple could improve their own co-financed search engine, maybe even pick up the ashes of AltaVista. But it's probably must easier to just accept the Google dosh.

Not even the ghost of obsolescence can coerce users onto Windows 11


Re: Annoyances

PaintDoNet has done layers for years now. And a lot more...https://getpaint.net/

CDW data to be leaked next week after negotiations with LockBit break down


They don't have to be good

Everyone only wants something cheaper than the ransom.

Microsoft introduces AI meddling to your files with Copilot in OneDrive


Re: One Hopes

Microsoft sent me notice just this morning that if I didn't login again on my OneDrive account that they would freeze it and my files might disappear. One would expect them to take the hint after two years of non-use that I didn't care to participate in their file manipulation scheme and won't be using it again. This AI thing makes me determined to keep it that way.

Techies at Europe's biggest council have 8 weeks to pull finance reports from Oracle system


As we all know...

Threats and deadlines always fix any IT situation. Or, maybe they just lead to further complications and cost overruns. Isn't it always one or the other, but mostly the latter?

95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers


It's an improvement

From 100% worthless to 95%. Can they keep this momentum?

Those of us who didn't buy any of these things will remain amused, but relieved that reality has again intruded on another grift.

UK air traffic woes caused by 'invalid flight plan data'


Re: Resiliency – we've heard of it

I'll believe post #77 until it's proven otherwise.

Microsoft dabbles in self-repair with Surface devices now DIY-friendlier


Must be only for compliance

I heard that Microsoft was making the Surface devices easier to repair as a selling point to contract with Apple anythhing.

But with the right-to-repair movement catching some momentum, I wondered if they are more motivated by a foreshadowing of compliance mandates.

So, I read the subtitle of this article as "Replacement components available in US, Canada, France--only for now"

WTF is solid state active cooling? We’ve just seen it working on a mini PC


Nothing to see here

It's probably just a 5 nanometer fan

Microsoft finally gets around to supporting rar, gz and tar files in Windows


WinRAR had its uses

Before the advent of 7zip, WinRAR could compress a SQL Server backup file to one-tenth of its original size and unpack it before any of the contemporaneous zip applications could even get started. Defeating the payment nag was trivial once you found the free version.

After Microsoft began to include a compressed backup option in its Standard versions of SQL Server, the compression was only about one-fourth and recovery was slow, but predictable. So, no extra steps necessary and we lived with it.

Yes, it's all 7-Zip now if you roll your own file compression, on Windows at least. I just like to remember why some of the older stuff was great in its day.

First ever 64-bit version of Windows rediscovered … and a C compiler for it too


NT4 64-bit on obsolete Alpha systems

When I worked under a Microsoft support contract, answering the phones as Microsoft Tech Support, we had the occasional call for NT4 on an Alpha. Our callers would tell us that they would not give up their machines because of the 64-bit processing and the calculation rate being much faster for their large batch processing tasks, frequently performed with the assistance of custom applications.

One of the supervisors of the contract had a side hustle as a recycler of old circuit boards and harvesting the gold from them. Believe me, he made some cash that way. One day, he ran across an old Alpha system which had by then been discontinued. He brought it in and we could finally see what we were being described over the phone.

The trouble usually was that when NT4 had a new service pack, many of the older Alpha systems would not update. It seems that the firmware necessary for boot would burn in and not accept updates. We had to tell the Alpha people that we could not fix hardware, that they were stuck unless they could replace the relevant parts.

It's not always Microsoft that is at fault, they're just a convenient target because of their tendency to create faults.

Dell reneges on remote work promise, tells staff to wear pants at least 3 days a week


Re: Knew it

If you become your own company, you will discover that every one of your clients is your boss. It's not always the trade-off that you want.

Microsoft touts bigger, faster Azure VMs as data deluge grows


What happened?

Where did the backlash to The Cloud go? I heard briefly, most likely on this site, that some were awakening to the absurdity of The Cloud and paying by the minute and the byte for all server operations was not cost effective. Only those without the capacity to manage their own infrastructure needed the assistance of the Giants (Amazon, Google and Microsoft). Only feeble-minded management followed the trend of The Cloud, but the realization of the expenses and new points of failure were beginning to take hold.

Oh well, on to the next big thing. What is it? Globally managed block-chains for user IDs on subscription services for any device. Got to be a security related thing in there somewhere-and a fee structure, of course.

Chinese company claims it's built batteries so dense they can power electric airplanes


Re: I believe the word we are all searching for is ...

There is no doubt the batteries can power planes, but the question is, will the plane fly?

Europe wants more cities to use datacenter waste heating. How's that going?


Welcome to the Eighties - 1980's.

I worked in a shopping mall back in the day. I remember when a new large department store opened with the latest in energy conservation measures. Their claim was that the specially designed climate control system gathered body heat from shoppers to recycle it throughout the premises, thereby lowering energy consumption. All of the local media repeated these claims whenever the mall was mentioned in the "news."

The fact of the matter was that the store was in a desert climate and didn't need to be heated. With a daily high temperature of 104-degrees F (40-C) for over 100 days a year and the average annual low about half that, most commercial buildings had massive cooling systems and rarely used heating.

When the environmental pretense begins to take hold, what happens is that the claims of extraordinary and magical properties increase instead of the beneficial and practical stuff.

More ads in Windows 11 Start Menu could be last straw for some


OpenShell does indeed work with Windows 11, though a simple jpg file is necessary to replace the Start button if you want to open the menu with a click and not just the Windows key. Even older Classic Shell skins work with it, the ones that let you choose colors and fonts. It almost makes the rest of Windows 11 tolerable.

Microsoft mucks with PrtScr key for first time in decades


Re: As we suspected

Just so you know--I've got half a dozen Linux VMs for various services as required by the people I support. Windows 11, run by the institutional support people, is getting less and less use. It's just more stuff moved around into more places. Not what myself or many others wanted.


As we suspected

Microsoft owns your computer, keyboard and all. Any choice of what functions in what way is not your concern.

This may mean that I can only get screenshots like I want them from other operating systems. My work involves that often enough that Windows is getting to be less useful daily. I'll be looking for the registry hack fix for this or just stay on the Linux VM all day.

CAN do attitude: How thieves steal cars using network bus


Yet another unsecured network

I had no idea Toyota was producing cloud-mobiles.

Microsoft freaks out users with Windows 11 warning: 'LSA protection is off'


A mixture of anger, frustration, and anxiety

That about sums up working with Windows, or Microsoft in general. Is this news?

'Major' news: Microsoft slips Bing chatbot shortcut into Windows 11


No! Stop! Help!

Saying any of those things to Microsoft is like talking to the proverbial brick wall. Hopefully, Regedit.exe will fix these new features too.

It's official: BlackLotus malware can bypass Secure Boot on Windows machines


Vanity, thy name is Microsoft

Couldn't be that the MS people actually believe they make bulletproof software, thus preventing them from improving anything and eliminating this threat also?

We have all seen management like this. They won't allow improvement since they only approve perfection. No changes necessary, ever.

Akamai to expand Linode into a cloud so good you’ll want your data to leave it



Sounds like they are still struggling for relevance with impossible promises of 90% lower costs. Not likely to actually happen. Remarkable that they can spend so much to acquire another unnecessary service.

FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried charged with fraud by just about everyone


Fraud but not fraudulent enough?

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to prosecute SBF, but where is the queue to return his political donations to the victims of his fraud?

Microsoft ships non-Surface PC: a cheap Arm box for devs


I've got one

It's like the Microsoft version of a Mac Mini. One mini-DP port, two USB C ports, one Ethernet port, three USB A ports and two different power buttons. One of those is for a UEFI boot and one is for a USB C device boot.

I hope the two power button options mean that I could run any flavor of Linux for ARM that I can muster onto a USB stick. By muster, I mean compile and abuse as I like.

Now to find the time to break this thing at work while I tell them I'm testing Windows 11 before we have no choice but to use it in our corporate environment.

Microsoft to spend $1 billion on datacenters in North Carolina


Strange map reading

All four data centers would be in basically the same place. Hickory, Conover and Maiden are all adjacent, and on the same Interstate 40, except for Maiden being just a few miles south.

The author might just take a look at a map. But this being Microsoft-based, maybe he used Bing...

Starlink decoded for use as GPS alternative – without Elon Musk's help



...a semi-useful application of Starlink!

More than 4 in 10 PCs still can't upgrade to Windows 11


Re: I wonder...

Answering for a friend, I assume?

Software developer cracks Hyundai car security with Google search


Good News/Bad News

Good news: Hooray! You can customize your entertainment system.

Bad News: You are still driving a Hyundai.

Microsoft readies Windows Autopatch to free admins from dealing with its fixes


Hours wasted by Microsoft

I'm not sure that any of this further automation of Microsoft patching will help anything.

Having been a sysadmin for too many years and having to run Microsoft domains for most of that time, I have often wondered how much of my life has been wasted waiting for Microsoft to patch their software, reboot my systems and keep me waiting at the spinning balls until the update completes at 5%, 23%, 74% and inevitably hanging at 100% for what seems like hours. Not to mention the unpatched defects, vulnerabilities and other unknowns that make me test every system for some basic functionality after patching.

I once thought of figuring out how many days, weeks or months it added up to over the years. I'm afraid to know the answer.

VMware reveals a swarm of serious bugs – some critical


Once upon a time

VMWare, even the free ESXI, was once much more useful than any Microsoft or Oracle product for virtual servers, especially for spinning off Linux web servers so you could do real sites without the cringe-worthy IIS. Now, Microsoft has learned from (or stolen from) VMWare, AWS et al.

Times have changed and, like everything else, not always for the best.

AMD: Our latest, pricier mega-cache Epyc processors leapfrog Intel’s


Hardware only option?

Given the great proliferation of virtual machines, I wonder if Amazon, Microsoft, VMWare or even Oracle will be able to emulate the performance of this 3D cache.

Better CEO is 'taking time off' after firing 900 staff on Zoom



Everybody can do better than Better. But I was looking for some mention that the firing was reversed until it could be evaluated along with the management culture.

That would not only be better, but the Best!

Engineers' Laurel and Hardy moment caused British Airways 787 to take an accidental knee



As if the name Boeing didn't have enough troubles. Now it could be coined as a new term for any aviation mishap. Maybe something like, "I Boeinged that one!"

Apple's iPad Pro on a stick, um, we mean M1 iMac scores 2 out of 10 for repairability


No keyboard replacement without losing a function?

Doesn't that eliminate the possibility of purchase of this thing in multiples for larger organizations? Keyboards are usually the first thing that users damage and replacing them is commonplace. But pairing the ID device with only the original keyboard is Apple gone arrogant again. Right to repair not an issue for them, then.

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up


Ai or AL?

At first, I thought that this was a story of yet another artificial intelligence gone rogue, similar to what a PFY might do.

Funnily enough, no, infosec bods aren't mad keen on W. Virginia's vote-by-phone-app plan


Could I vote?

On this plan, on my phone? Maybe I'll even vote twice (or more, if it helps).

Oracle's JEDI mine trick: IT giant sticks a bomb under Pentagon's $10bn single-vendor cloud plan


Just a few points

1) Oracle said that JEDI “virtually assures DoD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more” Ummm, the cloud technologies are a service. I doubt any vendor would be able to sustain a "legacy cloud" as hardware and software would change without regard for this single contract, though it would be like the Pentagon to find a way to make that happen.

2) Oracle, the company which has kept licensing and costs so structured as to keep their clients on decade-old versions, said “stated objectives of flexibility, innovation, a broad industrial base, and keeping pace with evolving technology,” Really, Oracle? Really?

3) Oracle again: “stated objectives of flexibility, innovation, a broad industrial base, and keeping pace with evolving technology,” See all of the above. The cloud will change. The Pentagon will (slowly) change. Having a single source for services most likely won't alter either party to the contract.

4) The DoD “has little idea what type of cloud services will exist in 2025,” Oracle said. And neither does Oracle. JEDI is a contract for services that can give the Pentagon a place to go without forcing endless bidding and quibbling, like Oracle is attempting to ensure happens now. Hopefully, even the government will realize that Oracle is in decline and newer, more efficient data services are likely to come from somewhere else. Any cloud services provider will be able to keep up with those improvements. That is, if the Pentagon doesn't contract with Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Could, run out of a basement in Cleveland.

Security world to hit Las Vegas for a week of hacking, cracking, fun


Hackers conference?

So, who is going to get arrested this year? Another Marcus? Just saying it's a possibility.

How hack on 10,000 WordPress sites was used to launch an epic malvertising campaign


legit web ad ecosystem?

Doesn't exist.

This is the contract you've been looking for: Pentagon releases JEDI bids


Let's see...

Pentagon contract, check, lots of terms and conditions that can be endlessly quibbled, check, length of contract most likely negotiable, check, additional unforeseen expenses, check.

Final bill for taxpayers: $100 billion to $1 trillion over two decades or more. By that time, the original purpose and goals will be completely forgotten and one of the alphabet soup agencies will have hundreds of permanent staff to manage the contractors.

Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks


Re: Poetic Justice?

They may be a criminal class according to the facts and figures, considering the high rate of those convicted of crimes or resigning just before being arrested.

We call them unindicted co-conspirators or persons of interest until such time as they are actually serving a sentence, but why quibble over details.

Google unwraps its gateway drug: Edge TPU chips for IoT AI code


Is that so?

I understand why Google wants own the IoT (global domination of all things that tech can touch, and more) but what makes them think that people want the internet on everything?

If given a choice, I will always want my appliances simple. I don't want a toaster that talks back or reports to Google that I burnt the whole wheat again.

Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt




Software engineer fired, shut out of office for three weeks by machine


Re: California???

I could have sworn this was one of the quangos I have worked for. if that wasn't all in the past, I would post as an AC.

RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds



"...aggressive actions, such as punching, stabbing, shooting, kicking, and strangling."

Sounds like an average day at the park with my 5-year old nephew. If his friends are with him? Add any other sort of mayhem.

But in an ordinary crowd, I have no confidence in any surveillance technique other than trained observers with mirrored sunglasses and walkie-talkies.

AWS outage killed some cloudy servers, recovery time is uncertain


Not just Virginia

Other regions had their EC2 instances so slow as not to allow most data traffic. Since our proud cloud-first management had mandated the move of the authentication and authorization SSO systems to the cloud less than a month ago, the entire organization had a holiday from web services for most of the day.

Interesting how the art of conversation is suddenly revived in such circumstances.