* Posts by Peter2

2086 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

'Mindset reset' contributes to £1bn extra costs and another delay – 2 years this time – for Emergency Services Network

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Who was the priority?

Of course both could be snooped, and were, which was the biggest problem.

Which sounds like a good cause for encryption kit on the next UHF handsets, rather than for creating a weird handset type running over the mobile phone network.

Tech ambitions said to lie at heart of Britain’s bonkers crash-and-burn Brexit plan

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: State Aid????

Income Tax in the UK is still an "emergency" measure to finance the debts of the Napoleonic war. The enabling legislation was so sure that it'd be going soon it was written with a sunset clause forcing it to expire every year unless renewed.

Hence why we have a budget each year authorising the taxation. :/

Northrop Grumman wins $13.3bn contract with US Air Force to kick off Minuteman III ICBM replacement

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: No more floppy disks?

Personally, I rather like the idea of nuclear missiles being entirely offline with guidence information being put on a storage medium that nobody can possibly tamper with. It's nice knowing that somebody couldn't feasibly be able to alter the guidence information with a laptop, and that firing the things requires two people with keys.

If there is one area where excessive paranioa should be encouraged then it's securing nuclear armed ICBM's.

I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Blackmailed

Yes, you generally make sure that you have a fairly good idea that somebody is guilty before extraditing them. If you didn't then you probably need new legal staff.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Blackmailed

In the USA evidence gathered illegally is not admissible as evidence, but in the UK evidence before the court is evidence regardless of how it got there, although it may open the person bringing illegally obtained information to criminal charges (it being used in court being an admission of guilt and all given that you've proven that you've got it.)

Technically speaking in the UK if you were a sole parent then I think they would just have jailed you for the term and if the children went into care then that's part of the "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime" approach we take. I don't think we allow for plea bargains where somebody who's been caught can not get the time if they decide to identify their accomplices.

But if the Americans did do that, then plea bargains are legal in America and so information produced as a result of one wouldn't be inadmissible in evidence.

Server buyers ask Lenovo for made-in-Mexico models instead of Chinese kit

Peter2 Silver badge

To be honest, given that China killed twenty Indian soldiers a month or so ago while trying to move a disputed border in their favour it's hardly surprising that Indians are trying to avoid buying from China. Can you imagine what people would be saying or doing if a country killed twenty of our troops in a border skirmish?

Here's some words we never expected to write: Oracle said to offer $10bn cash, $10bn shares for TikTok US – plus profit share promise

Peter2 Silver badge

Your right, the valuations on much of this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Were you around for the first dot com bubble?

Forget your space-age IT security systems. It might just take a $1m bribe and a willing employee to be pwned

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: A life is worth less than 1Million

And including faking the murder with the victim, so the "murderer" got paid the other half of the money before going to the police, apparently.

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: So not just about plain text email

"I'm sure I'm a tiny minority here when I say i host my own email"

You might be in a tiny majority on some sites but this is a site that aims at IT Professionals, power users, and people who aspire to be in the first two categories. You are probably in much less of a minority than you think you are.

I have hosted my own emails for a couple of decades.

Ex-Apple engineer lifts lid on Uncle Sam's top-secret plan to turn customized iPod into 'Geiger counter'

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Supposition!

I can think of a lot of useful uses of being able to wander around with an hidden Geiger counter. Bearing in mind that this is from 2005 and the whole Iranian reactor thing that's happened since it's not totally improbable and in fact it'd be a rather handy toy for nuclear inspectors to have.

In fact, it'd be a lovely toy to add to every iPhone to create a live worldwide radiation survey, with hot spots automatically flagged for investigation.

However, to be honest as you say once you've got an iPod modified to leave empty room for a payload then one imagines that it's not beyond the wit of man to modify it to contain a different payload. I'd imagine that the OS wouldn't know what you were doing with it; probably the most integration with the OS that you'd want is an on/off command.

Donald Trump thought-bubbles an Alibaba ban as Chinese clouds clam up about Clean Cloud plan

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: ban Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

Yes. He had the author of one of the most important works in the field as an advisor. If your interested in this area then you can read "The Strategy of Technology" online free of charge from one of the authors websites which explains the strategies and methodology behind fighting a technological cold war.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: ban Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

Nope. That strategy came to an end prior to 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.

That was 29 years ago. Many of these issues simply didn't exist 15 years ago so they couldn't have been connected.

Now you could claim that Russia (and China?) are probably running successors to those programs with considerable justification by observable evidence, but the version one attempt during the cold war concentrating on setting off car bombs in crowded streets and hijacking airliners etc was very definitely a failure.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Autonomous drone swarms

I've been thinking about these micro murder drone swarms that keep getting talked about.

Have you realised that they'd have pretty much zero payload, and need to reload and recharge frequently yet? If somebody ever does pull a huge drone swarm, you can expect an airstrike or artillery/MLRS carpet bombardment of the recharging and reloading location, after which it becomes a huge number of drones with flat batteries a short time thereafter.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: ban Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

Is anyone else seriously worried about the prospect of all this sabre-rattling nationalism leading to WWIII? Or is it just me?

Militarily, there won't be a fight any time soon between China and western countries. That'd only happen if one or the other sides could actually conceivably win something by doing so. Neither side can take land from the other, and Chinese trade would cease to exist the moment shooting started whereas western trade would be quite safe (from sheer distance from China and quantity of military forces defending it relative to the force China could possibly project to the other side of the planet)

What we have is the same situation as in the cold war, where the Soviet Union and the West are unable to win a shooting war and quietly attempted to make each other collapse.

The Soviet Union employed huge numbers of terrorists, and the West just quietly prospered through the capitalist system while taxing off 5% to pay for a military while building using our superior tech base to field things things that are ever more expensive to defend against. The Soviet Union topped 40% of their GDP going to the military and then economically and politically collapsed. The Soviet Union strategy of spending on terrorism to turn us into a hostile, mistrusting, divided bickering dystopian society did not succeed to any notable extent.

I would suggest that the strategy today on the part of hostile nations would be to interfere with our political systems by funding disinformation and hiring people to deliberately try and disrupt any form of normal human interaction between people who actually have little actual disagreement beyond the best way of achieving an aim that everybody agrees on.

By turning these things into huge partisan arguments with only two sides and then attempting to drive wedges between the two sides the intention is to ramp up tensions to the point that things boil over.

I suspect that the hope on the part of the funders is that people are going to start killing each other and we'll end up collapsing into a civil war.

So no, personally i'm not worried about somebody starting WW3 and the world ending in a nuclear holocaust: Our society being pushed to the point it collapses is a much more realistic and serious concern.

Former HP CEO and Republican Meg Whitman – who split HP with mixed success – says Donald Trump can't run a business

Peter2 Silver badge

Or eBay. Of course, buying Skype (and why did she do that given it didn't fit in at all with eBay...?) only lost them a few billion, which is cheap by the standards of what HP ended up losing in the infamous Autonomy acquisition.

Well, what are we waiting for? Three weeks later, Windows Embedded Standard 7 still didn't have the answer

Peter2 Silver badge

General purpose operating systems are beaten hands down by single use firmware, nothing particularly new there.

A telephone system I had which we only recently stopped using was bought in 1997, but the system design actually went back before that to the days where DOS was the mainstream operating system. In its service life it'd seen Windows 3.1, NT, 95 ,98, ME 2K, XP, Vista, 7 & 8 come and go and it outlasted all of them. It was ditched because we wanted to migrate off of it before BT discontinued the type of telephone line it used on our exchange; that's the sort of lifetime that a well put together tech product can deliver.

If it'd have been running on any general purpose operating system then it'd have had to go decades ago.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

Nope, I haven't seen that. I've just got a deep cynical streak from having spent too many years doing IT support.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Remember when there was talk of Windows in cars?

That's far to implausible.

If it were a Windows device you'd then find that the acceleration locked to maximum while disabling the brakes. You'd have to look up an obscure error code in the Microsoft knowledge base, and the solution would involve a passenger climbing out of the window while doing a hundred mile an hour along a road, opening the bonnet (thereby blocking the drivers vision) and disconnecting the battery (with a wrench you probably haven't got) to stop it. Naturally, you wouldn't have a passenger as nobody in their right mind would get in the car with you.

UK lockdown easing heralds the return of burgers... and bork

Peter2 Silver badge

I object to this strongly.

The typical roadside food van turns out far higher quality food.

As hospital-based infections set to rise, best not change the vendor behind the system that tracks them, hm?

Peter2 Silver badge


To be fair, the reports I have mentioned may be wrong: given the number of sites writing clickbait for views with no regard as to accuracy it's almost impossible to tell ignorance from deliberate disinformation. We won't know until a more measured post mortem is done on the whole mess.

But then if the reports are even half true then given the consequences then the repercussions are (rightly) going to be extremely profound for the people and organisations responsible.

Peter2 Silver badge


I think that a steady drip of "X people DIED from Covid 19 today", that later turned out to include people who'd been cured, released from hospital and killed by being run over by a bus probably annoyed people somewhat.

Counting every positive test done (even multiple tests on the same person) as a new Covid19 case probably also would not have increased public faith in the organisation. Did a case get tested, then somebody went "double check that result", then they decided to use that blood as a test for the three other different tests to confirm that they got the same result? Hey presto, five new Covid19 cases if some of the reporting is to be believed.

At the moment it appears that data from PHE that is at best badly flawed has extended the lockdown beyond the point measures could have been loosened up quite safely, causing both severe economic damage and untold numbers of suicides of people locked away from people who can't take it anymore.

If this is proven to be correct in the inevitable post mortem of how well the Civil Service handled things, then it's inevitable that either a very very serious re-organisation is going to take place or a vengeful mob of a small subset of the couple of million people who'd lost their jobs through their dodgy data is going to descend upon the place and burn it to the ground with the staff still inside.

Hence it's inevitable that a very through re-org and probably a rebrand will be taking place since the people working there at this point probably want it more than the general public for their own protection.

Foreshadow returns to the foreground: Secrets-spilling speculative-execution Intel flaw lives on, say boffins

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Question

That was my point. An on premesis server is not seriously threatened because by the time you can run this code on it, you can do far worse to the server.

Amazon S3/Azure instances however exist for the sole purpose of having untrusted code run on them hence why the clouds are threatened by this and our on premesis servers aren't.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Question

Has anyone actually heard about any successful exploit in the wild of Spectre or Meltdown? Every exploit I can remember reading has been in a research setting, not a production environment. Given the number of simpler vulnerabilities to exploit, including human error, I wonder how many people are really trying to use side channel attacks.

To be frank, my initial feeling is still unchanged a few years later. These attacks are simply not a threat to your typical on premesis servers. By the time somebody has the level of access to run them, they can do far worse.

They are however deathly serious to people like Amazon, Microsoft et al who give huge numbers of people access to run code on their hardware with nothing but software to stop them pinching details from somebody else.

If cloud vendors had been attacked with this, would you trust them to tell you? Doing so would risk the cloud suffering a monsoon and raining much of the cloud back into on prem servers.

China slams 'dirty' America's 'clean network' plan, reminds world of PRISM snoop-fest exposed by Ed Snowden

Peter2 Silver badge

Americans will wake up when their iphone costs $10,000, and their clothes cost $500 for a shirt.

That'd just price China out of the market and people would buy from the next cheapest supplier.

And if every import did cost that much, then it'd simply make onshore manufacturing viable again and Trump would hold a party as he tells Americans that he's singlehandedly saved the american economy from doom and destruction and secured jobs prosperity for everybody in America.

Hence why for the next 3 months China will carefully avoid any reaction that might help Trump out in a certain impending election.

Microsoft confirms pursuit of TikTok after Satya Nadella chats to Donald Trump

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: I Just Don't Get It

Umm... how can Microsoft buy TikTok if ByteDance does not want to sell?

Chinese owned company is doing well in the USA, but China bans US companies from existing in the Chinese market or requires "technology transfers" that allows Chinese owned companies to build a knockoff product.

The Chinese owned company has no particular intention to sell any ownership because it's doing well in the USA Market.

US President announces that he's going to eliminate any Chinese tech company from the US Market. The Chinese company suddenly decides that actually they might be interested in selling at any price to make some money before the ban comes in since otherwise they will cease to exist with nothing to show for it.

Legendary Li-ion battery boffin John Goodenough to develop gel power packs with South Korea's SK Innovation

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: I remember hearing about this a few years ago

Experience really does help, and when you've basically invented the field of research you probably know what doesn't work rather well from knowing all of the failed avenues that've been tried before.

He's probably also got an awful lot of people working with him, and frankly somebody respected who's been around the block enough to know what doesn't work can speed things up tremendously simply by steering the bright, energetic and enthusiastic younger workers away from expending their effort on things that have been proven to not work, meaning that immediately their efforts are more likely to achieve something.

And that's before he actually starts doing any work himself.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: On helpdesk calls

"User has checked cables"

Yeah, right


They've checked them so much that if you ask them to unplug them, then blow on the end and plug them back in it always solves the problem.

Obviously blowing on the end of the cables does nothing and you could just say "check the cables are pushed in properly", but the users don't do that whereas they will unplug it to pointlessly blow on them, and plugging it back in then solves the problem.

Chinese ambassador to UK threatens to withdraw Huawei, £3bn investment if comms giant banned from building 5G

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: From the dept of redundancy dept

Oh, that's nothing. Don't forget the Chinese influence in other areas.

They hired senior former civil servants and former MP's to "advise", which one could look at as being an inducement to the people now in the post when they indicate that they are always hiring for more talent, but "We do feel really very strongly about X decision and would like you to reconsider".

Press agencies can obviously be bought outright, and universities basically ditto by signing up huge numbers of Chinese students because "we really value your higher education." [But only when you agree with and support our policies].

Fail to do so?: This is outrageous and we aren't going to let you evil imperialist monsters poison the minds of our students and so will not be allowing anybody else to attend! Hence, public support or silent acquiescence from academia.

And that's what's obvious. It would be interesting to see exactly how much Chinese support has been bought over the last couple of decades and exactly how much they can control our political decisions.

Spending on 5G to double despite the pandemic while legacy network infrastructure sector suffers – Gartner

Peter2 Silver badge

Except in the UK where we have to rip out most of our 5G in the next year.

Except in the UK where companies will be banned from buying new Huawei kit by the end of this year, giving them five months notice to place orders for spares and to stock up on kit they need for new deployments which they are then allowed to keep in service until 2027?

MI6 tried to intervene in independent court by stopping judge seeing legal papers – but they said sorry, so it's OK

Peter2 Silver badge

"In Substance" is defined as "Essentially", which basically means "In the important points".

Any tribunal is technically not a court, but is part of Her Majesties Courts and Tribunrals Service and holds much the same powers.

So what he's saying is that the tribunal is in effect a court in all the important points.

Garmin staggers back to its feet: Aviation systems seem to be lagging, though. Here's why

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: My weekend rides synced to Strava this morning

Oh my. And I thought I was hard done by having only just gotten shot of Server 2008.

My profoundest sympathies. I'd post you the 2008 discs and licenses, but alas I don't have anywhere near the number of CALS that you'd need. (and while you can do that in Europe, I don't think you can in the US...)

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: My weekend rides synced to Strava this morning

It wouldn't be possible since the malware would then need to be installed on every single computer in the firm since otherwise it couldn't decrypt the files transparently.

And the lockware thing doesn't take out any organisation that takes either security or backups seriously.

In order to get seriously hit with malware at the moment, you have to:-

1) Allow your endpoints to run any executable file received. (which is a fail even by the tremendously rudimentary UK Cyber Essentials standard; and preventing this costs zero given that it can be done using just GPO's)

2) You have to be allowing your endpoints to access any number of files on the network with no access monitoring, controls or restrictions. Users don't tend to legitimately start accessing every file on a network share unless they are copying them all to a USB stick or similar, and so Data Loss Protection procedures should be flagging if somebody starts systematically reading (and altering) every single sodding files on a network share well before they finish doing it.

3) You have to have no effective backups. The current fashion for online backups with no more than a single restore point because it's cheaper is obviously inadequate against almost almost any use case for backups beyond your office being burned down and staff accidentally deleting things.

What the duck? Bloke keeps getting sent bathtime toys in the post – and Amazon won't say who's responsible

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: As funny as this is...

Well, if you've told Amazon you don't consent to their processing your details and you want it removed then according to the letter of the law they are supposed to remove those details. If somebody else adds those details in without the consent of the person named then technically it is a GDPR breach as Amazon are holding details that you've told them that you have told them that you do not consent for them to hold.

At the moment if he tries to responsibly raise a complaint with Amazon it takes him a lot longer to raise the complaint than it takes Amazon to ignore the complaint. Once you've created a standard complaint to the ICO, it takes far, far, far less work for you to raise the complaint than it does for Amazon to respond to it.

Obviously it is a weak case, but that's beside the point, which is that Amazon's legal department will find it far more expedient to persuade their operations team to bring these capers to an abrupt halt than they would enjoy turning the ICO into a hostile belligerent when the ICO starts getting multiple separate and justified complaints a week.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: As funny as this is...

There's plenty the chap could do back if he was so inclined.

Firstly just tell the delivery driver that you hadn't ordered anything from Amazon and simply refuse to accept delivery on the basis that you didn't place the order.

If they try and dump the parcel on your door, simply point out that'd be fly tipping waste. I think Amazon would quickly get fed up with their time being wasted and would do something to prevent reoccourance.

If that failed, write them a letter saying that you no longer consent to having your personal data (name & address) stored on their systems. Then, next time you get something delivered put a GDPR complaint in to the ICO. That'd at least be entertaining, since it costs nothing for you to do and it's a disproportionate amount of hassle for the company to deal with compared to stopping the 3rd party having stuff delivered to him.

UK govt finds £200,000 under sofa to kick off research into improving mobile connectivity on nation's crap railways

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Am I missing the obvious?

The problem there is that you'd need an satellite dish that would track on the satellite to a reasonably high level of accuracy since houses don't normally move at a hundred miles an hour.

Happily, these are already available for ships that pitch and roll and aircraft which travel at high speeds.

One imagines that one or the other solution would probably work off the shelf with OneWeb and frankly it's probably a cheaper and more readily deployable solution than adding hundreds of new mobile phone masts.

Raytheon techie who took home radar secrets gets 18 months in the clink in surprise time fraud probe twist

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Nope

would-be adversaries should have to buy the weapons systems to find out what they might be facing

Um, yes.

During the Falklands war, the Argentenians were pretty convinced that they knew the performance of the newish Sea Dart missile, which was at the time advertised as having something like a 40,000 foot ceiling on hitting things. They thought this was right given that they had two ships fitted with this missile system, and had test fired it.

Somebody cruising along comfortably above this range was then somewhat put out to discover the hard way that they were in fact within very lethally effective range.

TLDR? Every country in the world tends to deliberately sell less capable versions of their hardware to foreign customers then their home forces are equipped with, if they admit it or not.

Bad: US govt says Chinese duo hacked, stole blueprints from just about everyone. Also bad: They extorted cash

Peter2 Silver badge

No, he's got a fair point. The USA in it's early years didn't recognise patents from other countries, and got big by reverse engineering competitors technology and then producing unlicensed copies and derivatives.

Just in things owned directly by the US government then the Springfield Musket was a direct copy of the French Charville musket, and Mauser forced the US government into paying royalties for copying their bolt action being a direct copy of Mausers, and the bullet design also being a direct copy.

Of course, now other countries are doing it to the USA then it's a problem.

Networking boffins detect wide abuse of IPv4 addresses bought on secondary market

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Unfortunate but not unexpected

Spammers etc probably buy a lot of addresses as the old ones get blocked.

They will then be seen as "good" customers by companies supplying the commodities they buy as a large and frequent single customer. They are therefore economically encouraged to turn a blind eye to any "alleged" misconduct by their customers. No company willingly blacklists their biggest customers from buying from them unless not doing so has bigger consequences than keeping them as a customer.

Incredible artifact – or vital component after civilization ends? Rare Nazi Enigma M4 box sells for £350,000

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: A fine piece of German engineering

Given enough sample data and probable plaintext sections the sole weakness, that a letter can't be encrypted to itself, allows you to crack it without exploring the full key space

But the real failure, like all security systems, is that it was mainly used by idiots

Apparently there was an unimaginative German post somewhere that always sent exactly the same status report every day saying basically "Outpost X; we're fine, no contact with the enemy etc etc etc".

Since as long as that German outpost could be relied upon to send exactly that message, it provided a massive shortcut to decode the days key. The German outpost in question was carefully identified and the occupants apparently enjoyed a very, very quiet war as a result, as the value to the war effort of keeping it transmitting the same message was much higher than the value of giving them any reason to change the message.

FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

Peter2 Silver badge

Doing the research costs money and the usual way of proceeding is that somebody produces something useful with the research and then licenses it to recoup the research costs. How do the costs get recouped if the research is stolen, and then sold on by the thieves?

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?

Peter2 Silver badge

That was my first thought honestly. If they were expecting to make a quick buck then they shouldn't have bought a company for twenty years worth of its yearly revenue and ~64 times it's current yearly profits.

I frequently question these days if a lot of these people have any better idea what they are doing and should be doing than I have. :/

Next mistake; sell off a profitable company that will eventually make back the money you put into it to raise "working capital" to throw more money into WeWork & Uber, neither of which have ever made a profit.

Nobody else is going to buy ARM for anything like what they've paid for it if they have any sense, which is going to leave them having lost so much money that they would have likely been better withdrawing it in low domination notes and then burning it to heat their offices.

AMD pushes 64-core 4.2GHz Ryzen Threadripper Pro workstation processors

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: ARM will rule them all

AMD is not liked here simply because they aren't Chipzilla.

AMD is liked because they a very long history of creating innovative products and forcing competition on both speed and price going back to when Intel tried to wipe them out by refusing to license the 386, at which point they tinkered with the 286 design to the point it ended up with double the clockspeed of the original 386 while maintaining compatibility with the existing motherboards, meaning that one could simply swap the processor and have a "286" with double the speed of the early 386's. Somewhat handy if you were on a budget, given that computers back then cost rather more than they do now, especially if you take inflation into account.

This continued on to introducing the mixed 32/64 bit processors, and also multi core processors. None of these would be with us if not for AMD creating them. Intel is quite unlikely to have done on their own.

With no AMD competition we'd likely still be running single core processors in desktops and massively expensive Intel Itanium processors for servers. Companies only up their game through competition, and despite very well known anti competitive behavior AMD has provided that competition and repeatedly either pulled Intel forwards in terms of performance, or dragged their prices down.

Peter2 Silver badge

This is not just "a bit faster than the previous one". This is an entirely new level of power so monumentally massive that it's mindblowingly absurd.

AMD took us from single cores to double, then went to quad cores. We've largely been sitting between "do you have 4,6 or 8 cores" since.

A new option of "do you fancy sixty four physical cores in your desktop PC" is going to be quite popular with a certain market segment. Like 3D rendering and games designers for instance, where a single PC could now push more performance than a small rendering farm. Or possibly games designers if somebody wanted to produce a worthy successor to Crysis, which lest we forget was designed on overpowered hardware and nobody could play it on full detail and full resolution for about a century after it was released.

And this probably also gives notice that in the future AMD will be upping core counts quite a bit for desktops in the future, which will no doubt be greeted cheerily at Intel HQ this morning.

Intel's response has to either be to produce better processors to compete (in which case everybody wins) or reduce their prices from their current significant premium to be more competitive. (in which case everybody wins) so everybody wins even if they want to pay more for an Intel processor.

Pandemic proves just the tonic for PC sales as shipments shoot upwards

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: False Dawn

It is possible to stick your storage on OneDrive or whatever and then you don't need a VPN because your connecting to office.com via SSL and it's secured that way.

It wouldn't work for us and I can think of plenty of reasons why it's not worth doing, but it's certainly possible to do.

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: "restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels"

It's not in trouble.

IT devices have just reached a point where there is no point upgrading frequently for most people.

In 2000 if you had a 5 year old computer then it'd have been a 75mhz Pentium I. In 2000 the latest would have been a ~500mhz Pentium III, which would have been a ~650% improvement in processing speed. As a result, you didn't tend to hang onto old equipment for a huge amount of time.

In 2020 a ten year old computer could be a i7-970 which runs at 3.2Ghz with 6 cores. It's replacement from this year could well be a 3.5Ghz i9-9900K with 8 cores. While there is certainly some difference in performance over ten years, let's be honest; the older processor will still run the programs and take maybe a couple of seconds longer to load. As a result, the users don't buy replacement hardware because the existing equipment does the job perfectly well.

That just means that you have a mature market where the people flogging wares aren't offering enough value to the customer to cause them to part with their money.

Microsoft to pull support for PHP: Version 8? Exterminate, more like...

Peter2 Silver badge

The server configuration that PHP runs on is termed LAMP for good reason, and it doesn't have Windows in it.

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing

Peter2 Silver badge

Firstly, old tech works just as well (or in some cases better) than modern tech. Just because something gets superseded doesn't necessarily mean that the newer product is actually better for getting a job done.

Also, I was diagnosed with being dyslexic back when that was in fashion. Knowing people who are dyslexic, I think i'm something else, but I certainly have had serious problems with handwriting.

And in perfect seriousness do try writing with an old fashioned dip pen. I started because I got into reenactment and wanted a bit of practice outside of using them at events. I ended up coming to the conclusion that Biros are evil things that encourage if not require poor handwriting. They allow people to hold the pen improperly. Holding the pen improperly largely causes bad handwriting. Did anybody tell you that at school? No? Me neither.

With a dip pen, if your holding the pen at the wrong angle it simply doesn't work. That forces you to hold the pen at the right angle, and that means an instant and significant improvement in the quality of your handwriting. As you get used to it, it gets steadily better, especially if you do a few sheets worth of copperplate calligraphy instruction pages then you'll discover that your handwriting suddenly goes from being abysmal to being somewhat better than most peoples.

Hence my desk at work now has several inkwells (you can get beautiful antiques for a pittance because your one of the the only people in the country interested in them) and a collection of dip pens with different nibs. (each gives a different effect when writing) If you have trouble remembering to take your hand off of the paper and move it, just put less ink on the pen. It'll run out and force you to move your hand to dip the pen in the ink again. You'll get used to moving your hand after a while, and fully dipped a fine tip can easily last a page of A4. IMO dip pens have a undeservedly bad reputation.

Lastly, if you do decide to go down this route, get yourself a mini hot glue gun and a wax seal from ebay. Wax sticks fit a hot glue gun, so if you are required to fill in forms then you can fill them in with a quill, fold the form and wax seal it shut and then snailmail it just to make a point to people that they are being overly archaic in not allowing you to email it, and that you can play too.

If you can act, you can also then quietly mock green types (who still use biros) when they ask why your using a quill by pointing out that the feather (or wood) holder is bio degradable, the nib is replaceable, the inkwells have an age greater than the combined total age of everybody in sight and unlike them you aren't using a single bit of single use plastic. (and did they realise that a biro has four bits of single use plastic that go in the bin when replaced? The outer case of the pen, the ink in the tube is in a plastic tube, the cover and the bit on the end of the pen; all of which go in the bin every time you get a new biro)

You can get near endless entertainment out of being slightly archaic.

If there's a lesson to be learned in these torrid times, it's that civilisation is fleeting – but Windows XP is eternal

Peter2 Silver badge

As you say, as long as it's not on the network then it's not really a problem.

I decommissioned an NT4 box that was running the site voicemail at the beginning of this year. It's only external connectivity was communicating with the onsite PABX via a pair of 4 port modems imitating phone lines in a very, very old application. It ran 24/7 from ~1997 to 2020. In that time, it required one replacement PSU in (IIRC) 2007. After that, it had a yearly dust to keep it in good condition (I think a decades worth of dust did for the first PSU) and it ran pretty well.

My additions to the setup was configuring it to logon automatically after power failures (it wasn't on a UPS) and having a script that ran that automatically started the voicemail application if it rolled over and died, which it did usually one every few months in it's last few years due to the hardware having started getting somewhat defective.

In a funny note, the replacement VOIP system is universally considered to be a step down in functionality, usability and flexibility compared to the 23 year old system it replaced.

Euro police forces infiltrated encrypted phone biz – and now 'criminal' EncroChat users are being rounded up

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear

Yes. I'm sure lots of Journalists and Defense Lawyers were spending 3 grand a year on a contract for a phone.


Spying on defense lawyers is illegal, and even it is done then no details gained via it could be revealed to the prosecution (they'd be obliged to tell the court or end up never, ever being able to practice law again anywhere in the western hemisphere) so that's pointless and won't happen. Working in legal IT I can say that it's not something we are concerned about given that discussions with clients happen in person, not over the phone because that sort of paranoia is cheaper, and evidently more effective.

Shall we ask if El Reg buys all of their journalists 3k per year phones? I doubt it, somehow since they'd only be good communicating with another person using the same comms channel and a £3k a year bill per user is going to put off pretty much everybody. Even if they did do that, it'd be pointless given that if I wanted to phone them instead of just emailing the tips address then it'd be no more secure than phoning another mobile.

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: There is no price...

Just a ridiculously poor design. The firmware on the docks tends to match the quality of the connector too.

Are you assuming that the design goal was to produce something of high quality that would last a long time?

If you build something that breaks often then you sell lots of them.


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