* Posts by Alex 0.1

65 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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Windows 7 - the Reg reader verdict

Alex 0.1
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Overall decent

I've been running the RC since it was released and have just switched to final, 20 minute install from start to finish for me and as expected no problems of any kind with it - Haven't seen any major problems that some others are experiencing (either with RC or final), no slowdowns over time, when wiping the RC earlier the system was damn close to as fast as the day I installed it.

Just to address a few points made by Michael C though...

4) even LESS options for backup, including that now you can only keep 1 system image at a time

Not sure where this one comes from, the backup tool clearly gives you the option of only keeping one image at a time or making use of it's available space (it seems to max out at 4 images no matter how much space you give it so certainly could be configurable to allow a set number, but having more than one is a case of simply setting the option).

6) Task manager still sucks. they bought Sysinternals YEARS ago, yet nothing has moved from procxp to taskmanager yet...

Curious to know exactly what you're missing here - procxp's system info monitor is covered by taskmon's resource monitor (the resource monitor is actually much better than that included in procxp) and most of the process details provided by procxp are available in taskmon by simply enabling them (view > select columns) along with a fair bit of info that procxp doesn't give.

8) no equivalent to quick launch bar anymore

The fact that MS have removed this by default in favour of pinning is annoying, but it's very easy to put back to function exactly as it has on previous windows versions - Right click the taskbar, go to toolbars, select new toolbar, and add the path of the toolbar as "%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch" - Okay it, and bam, you have your quicklaunch bar.

13) still no automated checkdisk/defrag functions

Defrag tool has a scheduler built into it, don't quite know how it's possible to miss this. Automated chkdsk is still missing, but frankly i'd say this is hardly crucial.

16) still no virtual desktops, yet again staying at least 5 years behind all the other competitors.

Granted it's not embedded into the OS and available by default as it should be and it's functionality is a bit limited, but MS have had a sysinternals tool available to allow virtual desktops for quite a while, available at:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881.aspx

4 in 10 Brits feel lonely without a daily texting

Alex 0.1
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Is it wrong that I...

..really did lol a bit while reading the last sentence?

Archos punts 9-inch Windows 7 tablet PC

Alex 0.1
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@Too late. Too expensive

Too late compared to the TouchBook, which is currently on backorder with no known sight of when the product will actually ship, still running a beta OS? Compared to firm availability of the Archos 9 in a little under a month with a finished OS on it (before the anti windaz fanboyism, win7 *is* decent and *does* run very quickly).

The TouchBook's battery life also assumes the keyboard (aka supplimental battery pack) is connected, in which case you may as well just buy a normal netbook and be done with it - Without the keybattery, the Touchbook's battery life is nearer 4 hours, around the same as the Archos. Being as the purpose of the Archos tablet is to be a tablet that's small and light (at 28 ounces it's half the weight of the TouchBook) comparing battery lives without massive external battery packs attached is fair.

The archos may also not have an SD card, but having 60/120GB of internal storage instead of... uh.. none on the TouchBook makes up for that, imo.

A minor detail that el reg's prreview missed was that the Archos also includes a dvbt tuner and antennas, so that's freeview viewing and recording directly on the device.

Pretty much the only thing the TouchBook does have going for it really is the price, and when comparing the two devices fairly (as you havent) it's clear why it's so low.

The Archos does have it's minor drawbacks preventing it from being pretty damn perfect (no 3g being the biggy) but it's really looking like being the closest thing to a "real handheld computer" of a tablet that's come along in a very very long time.

Hands on with the Nokia N900

Alex 0.1
Stop

Re: "although typing on the iPhone is much easier than any of Nokia's Qwerty keyboards"

I'd partially agree with this - The length of time you use the device is obviously a big factor, if our reviewer owns an iPhone and is only using test phones for a day or two then the ease of use of keyboards is going to be skewed in favour of your own phone as it's what you're used to.

HOWEVER - a lot of (certainly more recent) Nokia's attempts at keyboards are just dreadful. The N97's keyboard is especially godawful, a lot of this can be attributed to the fact that it's a 3-line keyboard, and it's disappointing to see the N900 follows suit - It seems strange that nokia try to emphasise text input, but then add a shoddy cramped keyboard almost as an afterthought.

Compare these 3-line keyboards with the ones included on their E-series phones (either 4-line a-la the E75 or even 5-line as on my own E90) and you really see the difference, I appreciate that Nokia want to make the device more compact but the 4 and 5-line keyboards on their E-series devices really are in a world of their own compared to the pitiful N-series 3-line jobs.

As such, sure, the iPhone keyboard (which incidentally is 4-line) may be far better than the N-series keyboards but I certainly wouldnt put it above that of an E90 (which is a phone thats getting on a bit now), or even an E75.

'External force' fractured French iPhones, says Apple

Alex 0.1

@I'm With Apple

Agreed that it's a good bet a fair few of these reports are probably just people aiming for a free replacement, however whether these screens are shattering spontaneously or not still suggests to me a pretty severe weakness in the product.

From your own tale of dropping your phone from 2 feet and having the glass cover exploding away from the phone, that really suggests to me the phone is unacceptably weak or the screen is stressed very badly for such a slight knock to shatter it. A 2 foot drop would barely even be noticed by almost any other phone, let alone its' screen shattering completely, and this is especially bad when the entire purpose of the glass layer is to protect the screen underneath it (from shocks as well as scratches).

Of interest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqB4UdpUoGM

As the above shows, a certain well-known manufacturer that does properly test its phones requires that they be able to survive a 5 foot drop onto concrete.

Parallels juggles servers for John Q. ISP

Alex 0.1
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@AC

>> "Parallels other products suffer from similar issues its all down to very poor quality control."

This is true and not true. The key point here is that Parallels' OWN products are very well supported, but ones they buy in and take over from other companies are not. Helm and HSphere are prime examples of this.

If you want the reason though, ask yourself why you think Parallels, a company who provide their own very well maintained hosting control panel system in the form of Plesk, might buy up 2 of the big 3 competing control panel products (the remaining one being cPanel) then effectively all but EOL them? Could it be they simply wanted to remove the competition, and didnt actually ever have any intention of maintaining full development of the platforms that directly compete with their own?

Very similarly, ask yourself why Parallels might have bought psoft (the developers of Site Studio) then effectively shut down development of that, when they provide their own Plesk sitebuilder tool.

The answer is equally staring-in-your-face obvious. It may be shit and it may be underhanded, but buying out the competition to remove it isnt anything new, Parallels just continue to provide the products without significant further updates (while maintaining an actually very good update cycle for their own core products) instead of shutting them down completely.

cPanel, Netgear and Linksys susceptible to nasty attack

Alex 0.1
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Feature

I dont see how the issue (as far as cPanel is concerned at least) can be the fault of a "bug" in the system - As the reply from cPanel notes, it's an intentional feature that cPanel will accept commands from logged-in users, to allow various billing/manipulation scripts to be able to communicate with the system.

cPanel does (and has for years) provide several perfectly easy ways to mitigate/avoid the feature/vulnerability (delete depending on paranoia level), the most straightforward being to enable it's own security check to only accept commands from requests that have a referrer, and have one matching a domain/ip on the system itself. This breaks the above script integration, but it also means the problem discussed in the article vanishes, unless your XSRF attacker fancies getting into the realm of having to compromise an account on the system in the first place just to launch the attack. The option within cPanel even perfectly clearly states that enabling it's a good idea to help avoid XSRF attacks. And suddenly not having this option enabled that's existed for quite some time is a massive newly-discovered flaw?

Here's a blog post from cPanel in may 2008, over a year ago, discussing their knowledge of the possibility of XSRF attacks and the introduction of the referrer checks:

http://www.cpanel.net/2008/05/cpanel-security-update-advisory.html

Second way to avoid the issue - Don't be a muppet. Baily goes on about how CSRF is such an under-appreciated problem, but appears not to mention (or at least doesnt get quoted in the article) that those big useful logout buttons in pretty much every authenticated system on earth that most users are too bloody lazy to use are there for a reason.

The article mentions logging into cpanel as root (though the same non-flaw would exist for any non priviledged user goes for their own account at least), if you're a sysadmin logging in as root standard good-practice should tell you not to be surfing around elsewhere while managing the system, and to explicitly logout when you're done (thus wiping out the session both ends and, again, removing the possibility of the attack), whether the specific possibility of an XSRF attack exists or not.

Those logout buttons happen to exist in linksys/netgear routers as well. And online banking systems. And pretty much everywhere else. Press them, and you're no longer an authenticated user, and so can no longer be used to launch the attacks. Simple.

Ads watchdog bows to iPhone's might

Alex 0.1
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Split a bill?

"Or figure out your share of the bill for a table of five, there's an app for that"

Funny, every one of my (non apple) mobile phones owned over the past decade has had a calculator built in, and I didnt even have to go hunting for it on an app store and install it, not to mention pay for it.

Apple iTablet a (virtual) certainty

Alex 0.1
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Re: I hope they do

In terms of wanting apple to bring out a tablet purely to act as a flagship for kickstarting low-cost (better) tablets, they've pretty much already been beaten to the punch by Archos.

The upcoming Archos 9 seems to be heading to market relatively quietly (likely because exactly as said, the tablet market is currently tiny/nonexistant) however with a 9" resistive touchscreen, wifi, bluetooth, dvb-t, windows 7, and a pricepoint of £450 for the smaller drive option, it's looking to be a great introduction to more widespread tablet use.

Granted at £450 it's still not quite down to your average netbook price and it seems to not provide 3G for completely mobile net usage, but it's still half the price of what few other tablets that're available start at, and who'd want to take bets on an Apple device being released that costs less than 4 figures?

Riot police raid birthday barbecue for 'all-night' Facebook tag

Alex 0.1
FAIL

Unsuprising

Pretty much sums up the police and bureaucracy in general these days, though I would have loved to see the birthday guy take a stand and refuse to pack up - Would be interesting to see how long an arrest for "quiet orderly conduct in a private place" stands up with the IPCC involved.

Boffin calculates cash value of memories

Alex 0.1
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Who wouldnt?

"It also noted that 51 per cent of men and over 33 per cent of women would sell off memories for hard cash."

Who wouldn't?

1) Sell memories of wedding for £6 million (3 million each)

2) Have new big extravagant wedding for substantially less than £6 million (cant remember the first one any more, so the new one will be just as good, memory-wise)

3) Pocket £5,950,000 ish.

MS names ship date for free security suite

Alex 0.1
Stop

Re: "have to sign up to the hated Windows Genuine Advantage."

"One would think that the point of this whole package is to limit collateral damage caused by pirated and not secured Windows machines attached to Internet (i.e. zombies), but this does not seem to be the case."

Why would one think that would be the point of it? Limiting collateral damage to the rest of the world (though if the rest of the legitimate world keeps their systems secure in the first place, all you're limiting is collateral between pirates, the opposite of what MS want) is all well and good, but what possible business sense is there in spending development time producing addon products for a product people illegally refused to pay for in the first place?

"Ah yes good day sir, I see you stole that car - Here's a voucher for a free advanced driving course and test, paid for by the manufacture, so you can joyride in safety." I dont think so.

What's the best open source Windows back-up app?

Alex 0.1

Another basic choice

Another basic choice would be Karen's Replicator - As with robocopy it's not open source but is completely free:

http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp

Similar to robocopy it's basically an rsync style tool that'll generate an exact replica of your source files/folders but does provide a very straightforward UI and will only backup changed files (as with robocopy there's no option for genuine incremental backups though) as well as deletes from backups when source files are deleted, though you can enable/disable that, and uses its' own scheduling to allow your backups to run automatically as long as the program's running.

Tories don black cap for ID cards

Alex 0.1
Alert

Re: Others

"Cameron - you do not impress me. Battling in the house or publically announcing the conervatives intentions is one thing. Making public bullying announcements is a nasty, unpleasent tactic."

Why is it? Opposition or not, the party are stating a fact, and trying to save this country some money - Despite Waqui's blinkered insistence that some ficticious majority of people want ID cards we all know we don't, and with a bit of luck the conservatives will go ahead and scrap it when (hopefully) they get elected.

I see nothing wrong with the party having the balls to come straight out and tell vendors that they wont accept poison-pill contracts that will screw the taxpayer out of potentially hundreds of millions of pounds, when those poison pills have absolutely no legitimate reason to exist other than labour trying to screw the conservatives (and incidentally the country, but heaven forbid we'd put that minor thing over party politics) over, and the vendors trying to screw the taxpayer out of some free money on a silver platter.

I take no issue whatsoever with the conservatives attempting to bully either or both of them into putting a stop to it.

Re: Why against ID cards, per say?

Frankly I imagine very few people are against the idea of an ID card as such, it's just that anyone with a brain is against the idea of *our government* having access to and controlling the database that sits behind it.

It's absolutely incontestable that the government simply cannot be trusted to keep private information private (or trusted about anything else, for that matter), they've proven this many times over the past few years, what makes anyone think that the card databases will be any better managed (or hell even the cards themselves, whoever told the government that rfid is secure must be laughing all the way to the bank with his massively over-the-top consultation fee).

Next time it may very well not be a council's employment records, or navy recruitment records, or even a few million benefit records that go "missing", it might just happen to be biometric data on everyone in the country along with their police records and whatever the hell else the government plan to track through the card database. Oops.

Mobile directory made legal threats to get personal details

Alex 0.1
Alert

Interesting development

At the time of the original articles about this "service", it was only possible to opt-out by texting them (at your cost) or phoning them from the mobile from which you want to opt-out (at your cost), while allowing you to register the number in the first place simply via their website (free, of course) - Seems the company has picked up on the obvious fallacy of that, as there's now a way to remove your number from the directory via their website, at:

http://www.118800.co.uk/removeme/remove-me.html

That is, of course, assuming the page isnt really just there so that they can validate for themselves that numbers are real and in use, and re-sell them on as a "higher quality" list of working numbers. Going from the laughable way the "we've found too many people matching you" message discussed in the previous articles on this would suddenly find you after entering random bullshit information and so is clearly just in place to harvest additional details to pad out the database, it wouldnt much suprise me.

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