* Posts by peter 5

80 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jun 2009


Mozilla slips SpiderMonkey into Dev Platform of the Future™

peter 5 Silver badge

C++ -> javascript

I've just been exploring whether we should move our C++ app to javascript, and I don't buy your argument. You're right about libraries. And I miss static typing available when a parameter can only ever be an int; but that's the paradigm. Namespaces are there via '.' Debugging is no worse than C++. It *is* irritating to have to do overloading by hand, and even more irritating to have to write 'this' everywhere. But set that against all the issues of building a cross platform C++ GUI app, and I know my recommendation.

Calling all readers: Want some new icons?

peter 5 Silver badge


attonis wrote:

«The 'I'll get my coat'/'Mine's the one with the...' - everyone who uses it thinks they're funny, and they really arent.»

Actually, that means it's *working*: just IGNORE thee comments with a COAT. Now I'll get mine - because, well, how could I not?

Opera embraces Google's open source JPEG killer

peter 5 Silver badge


I'm an Opera fanboi, but there's still no support for Object.create, Object.defineProperty, etc... will we get ES5 any time soon?

Interwebs stunned by musical atrocity

peter 5 Silver badge

Okay people

Time to admit the track you paused in order to listen to Becca. Consider it a spot test of your of musical taste. And no cheating either. My shuffle had reached Missy Higgins: This is how it goes.

Google copyright purge leaves Android developers exposed

peter 5 Silver badge

FUD? Not so sure any more.

That was my thought (see post above). But apparently, Google have replaced the LGPL GNU C libraries with their own "Bionic" Library. And it's the creation of these headers that is disputed.

I don't have access to the files, so I can't see what's in them. (Would it be too much to ask a journalist to look...? ;-) Maybe when people say "kernel headers" they mean "scraped the LGPL libc headers". Or maybe Google *have* scraped some kernel headers - after all, many of the POSIX function calls will be wrappers round syscall(2).

Anyway, according to Florian Mueller's (rambling) post:


simply replacing Bionic with Libc is not an option. And if the standard headers really do containe GPL material, then there is a need for Google to sort it out.

peter 5 Silver badge

kernel_headers != posix_headers || C_headers

/* Where's the kernel header in this program? */

/* First, a C library header: on GNU this is LGPL; on Bionic it's BSD (according to Wikipedia) .*/

#include <stdio.h>

/* Next some Posix headers; these are part of the library, and come with the same licence as the above. */

#include <sys/types.h>

#include <unistd.h>

int main()


printf( "hello world; I am process %u\n", get_pid() );

return 0;


/* Kernel headers are for things like ioctls, and it's perfectly possible to write a C program without ever using one. QED. */

The 64-bit question

peter 5 Silver badge

@doubling of register space

The ABI is significantly improved, too: with parameters being passed in register by default, and a pre-reserved "red zone" that eliminates the need for most "leaf" subroutines to ever twiddle with the stack. Unfortunately Microsoft limited their ABI to just four register parameters, whereas everybody else allows the first 6 integers and the first 8 floats to be passed in register. (And, as noted above, 64-bit mode uses XMM registers rather than the 8087) All of which contributes to the speed improvements. (The doubling of the register file is still a huge one, though.)

Govt working on 'browser-based' solution for new cookie law

peter 5 Silver badge

@displays complete ignorance of how broswers operate

Not only do temporary "session" cookies already exist, but sites can set an expiration time on "permanent" ones.

I dont't know, however, whether browsers prompt for session cookies when they are set to 'Ask' before accepting cookies, but switch your browser into that mode and you'll quickly be overwhelmed by requests.

Google ends Chrome hardware acceleration on 'old drivers'

peter 5 Silver badge

I agree

I have a header file listing drivers and the bugs I've found in each. It's a pretty long file.

Self-erasing flash drives destroy court evidence

peter 5 Silver badge


Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts; they were as worthwhile as the article itself.

Apple under siege: Antitrust probes and product delays ...

peter 5 Silver badge
Thumb Down


This would have been a neat summary of the situation - if there had been links to the sources quoted...

German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP

peter 5 Silver badge

"Only a lunatic would prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office"


And I am that lunatic. (But it's on a Windows XP desktop.)

HTML5 kicked into 2014

peter 5 Silver badge

It's like betting on snails...

...which will be ratified first - HTML5 or C++0x?

Google brings 2-factor authentication to Gmail

peter 5 Silver badge

UK banks

Natwest implement a challenge-response handshake whenever a new payee is added to the account, but it's done via a card reader: http://www.natwest.com/personal/online-banking/g1/banking-safely-online/card-reader.ashx I believe Lloyds-TSB make mobile phone calls in the same situation. So, yes, our banks have got their arses.

Now, can I share with you some of my prejudices about Hungarians? :-P

Facebook causes eating disorders in teenage girls

peter 5 Silver badge

Marcus Aurelius? Pah!

Ecc 1.2: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

'Tree Octopus' proves journos no smarter than 13-year-old Americans

peter 5 Silver badge


"It does raise questions about 11-year olds and whether they know that octopodes are marine animals..."

As any fule know: tree octopi are amphibious, start their life in water, and have a specially adapted skin which retains moisture in the damp, rain-forest environment in which they live.

Seriously, if an 11-year old was shown *only* the zapatopi site, then I'd expect 25/25 to succumb. And I'd expect a good few adults to fall for it, too.

Boffins squeeze a mesh onto Android handsets

peter 5 Silver badge

Unregulated spectrum

"More recently, we have Peep Wireless, which...is now busy raising money on the back of promises to make every phone a relay using...the entire electromagnetic spectrum."

Well, there's a region of the EM spectrum around 600 THz that's not well regulated. And every mobile phone comes equipped with the hardware necessary to generate and receive these signals.

Chaps tolerant of girl-on-girl cheating by other halves

peter 5 Silver badge

WARNING: Amrchar evolutionary psychology

When a man has an affair with another women, he remains sexually available to his original partner. But if he's dallying with other men, then the woman's probably out in the cold for good. So you could argue there's an evolutionary advantage to a woman disliking male homosexuality. Of course, there must be a ton of reasons why having homosexual men around is advantageous, otherwise they would have been eliminated from the gene pool.

Gov will spend £400k to destroy ID card data

peter 5 Silver badge

Putting into context

£400,000 works out as:

* £30 per card. [13,200 cards were produced - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/08/id_card_numbers/ ]

* 6 man-years at the pay rate of an ordinary back-bench MP, with the MPs taking four days to erase each card. [The salary of an MP is £65,738 according to http://www.parliament.uk/about/faqs/house-of-commons-faqs/members-faq-page2/]

I appreciate it takes a bit more than

for i in {1..10}; do dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/hda bs=512; done

but, even so.

Ace Reg reporter in career suicide shock

peter 5 Silver badge

Sorry to hear you're being demoted...

<---but here's one more towards the hang over. Good luck, and all the best.

(And I vote we get aManFromMars to fill the post - because I'd like to see him demoted into the MSM.)

Called 999 recently? They've got your number

peter 5 Silver badge

Expiration of data?

The issue here is that the police have kept records for 12 years. I only have to keep my tax records for seven.

Ofcom proposes UK phone numbers prefix re-org

peter 5 Silver badge

Nothing is free, except in Utopias (and Star Trek).

"...calls to 0800 numbers are free for the caller only because they are paid for by the company receiving the call, who will have to pay more to receive the call over a mobile network."

Yeah, but nobody gives a shit while it's consumers paying "up to 40 pence a minute". Once businesses start having to pay ("it's affecting our competitiveness") prices will fall.

Good on 'em to Offcom, and +1 to TeeCee as well.

Windows 7 really was some girl's idea, rules ASA

peter 5 Silver badge

@ Politically correct isn't a noun...

But *Player Character* is.

I'm a PC, and I'm a level 21 Fighter/Thief/Magic User.

The year's best... PC games

peter 5 Silver badge

Q: "Who doesn't have a soft spot for GW"?

A: Anybody who watched Warhammer destroy the British role-play gaming industry. And I speak as someone owning White dwarf in double-digits (i.e. back when it was good).

Mine's the one without polyhedral dice in the pocket - I went diceless.

Google defends native code Chrome play

peter 5 Silver badge

typo: s/dissemble/disassemble/

DisASSembling is what I'm supposing to be doing to now. Dissembling is what I'll do when the boss asks me how it's going.

Nick Cave smashes speed camera with Jag

peter 5 Silver badge


"...innocent tool of governmental oppression..."

"Our foremost finger-wagging journal..."

Both are brilliant turns of phrase; right on the money.

Network card rootkit offers extra stealth

peter 5 Silver badge

@The early bird catches the worm.

This is NOT a root-kit that runs on the local x86 CPU. It is NOT being "loaded in a completely normal way".

The NIC contains a "MIPS-2 instruction set" "RISC core", used for running custom packet filters. It has its own EPROM, and this hack targets that processors. It's the kind of thing the Security Services will be soon be using to monitor us - nip in and flash the network card while we're out.

Opera 11 goes beta with extensions, stacked tabs

peter 5 Silver badge


Yeah, 10.5 was a shocking release, but the 10.6x series has been a lot better. I can't recall having a single crash in 10.63, and performance is certainly better than 10.5

Top Ten Retro PC Games

peter 5 Silver badge

The jester says, I have the key

My ten, in no particular order.

* DigDug, the CGA version that was a 64k .com file got so much wear.

* Command Keen. Why is there no 3D pogoing game?

* Lemmings - I only played the PC version; so I'm including it.

* Prince of Persia. The original. I got mine with my first VGA card. And I have played it all the way through without saving. Sands of Time is pretty original with a great story, too.

* Monkey Island.

* Tomb Raider. Nobody has brought it up, but I though it was revolutionary for the time, and the keyboard interface remains the best I've ever used.

* Alone in the Dark - for the atmosphere.

* Doom.

* Myst.

* Dungeon Keeper.

Netstorm: Islands at War, Magic Carpet, Seventh Guest, and various Duke Nukems and Nethack could have all got on.

Looking at everybody lists, what's clear is how uninventive the games industry seems to have become.

Boffins devise early-warning bot spotter

peter 5 Silver badge

@ (The risk of feeding a troll) JaitcH

And the problem with some commentators is they don't read the paper before hitting "submit", because the research is no help to bot network operators. (?botters)

Bots require unregistered domain names to host their command and control servers. That means the distribution of names they generate must always be slightly different to those of legitimate domains, and so they'll always be detectable.

In fact, the current generation of bots use name generators that are inferior to the best academics have cooked up, and the techniques in the paper can defeat even those higher quality name generators. So, even supposing your argument was valid, the scientists were safe to publish this time.

International Telecom Union drags self out of past

peter 5 Silver badge
Thumb Up


I didn't know El Reg had a bureaucracy desk. But I'm glad it does. Thanks for the reports Kieren.

Inside Windows Phone 7: ghost of Zune

peter 5 Silver badge

6502 vs VB

I'd rather program 6502 Assembler than VB. (And I'd rather program 6809 assembler, than either.)

peter 5 Silver badge

Microsoft & Multitasking

Yeah, but MS has form on this; it took them till Windows 95 to get preemptive multitasking. So don't fret, they'll have it sorted before they release WinMo/Windows Phone 95.

Perseid meteors 'thrill star-gazers'

peter 5 Silver badge

Very limited success.

I saw a couple at ~12.30am, despite heavy clouds to the east, and Perseus being only just above the trees; then the clouds moved in. Last year was better, despite the moon.

http://www.imo.net/live/perseids2010/ has just one UK hit: an observer at Glenarm Glen managed five minutes but saw 7 meteors.

Extreme porn law on the ropes

peter 5 Silver badge

@Re: what next, illegal to have a w*nk

Bouncing up and down in your back garden on a trampoline at 5am is also frowned upon.

*For the hard of remembering: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/30/naked_trampoline/

UK ICT classes killing kids' interest in tech

peter 5 Silver badge

My tuppence

Irrespective of the kit and courses, would you rather be playing with new technology, designing web sites, and coding applications or teaching kids to do the same (and then spending your evenings marking it)?

That said, if the local school offered a few hours a week I might be prepared to put some time in.

Microsoft should starve on radical penguin diet

peter 5 Silver badge

No they just need to make silverlight cross platform

As a LAMP developer, I curse every time I see an ad for ASP/.NET, but its immensely popular and those people are not going to want to relearn their skills (just as I don't want to learn ASP/.NET). So Microsoft need to put their effort into making the "Microsoft mindset" work on every platform. I have no idea what the current state of Mono/Moonlight is, but its clear Microsoft should be developing it in-house alongside Silverlight.

Acer beTouch E400 Android smartphone

peter 5 Silver badge

I AGREEE!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!

We needz!!! easyt!!!!!!!!11! access!!! 2 exclamation!!! MaRKs!!!!111!!!!!11!!!!!!!


UK.gov abandons 2012 rural broadband pledge

peter 5 Silver badge

@You might be better off

Well you are already subside postal and telecommunication services to these places. (BT and the Royal Mail have Universal Service Requirements. And even if you don't pay BT directly, your operator will be paying them on your behalf.)

And secondly, because once there is universal broadband, the government can provide on-line only services, with appropriate "savings".

Disclaimer: I don't live in a town and have >2Meg broadband if I want it.

Microsoft patches Freetard-by-design bug

peter 5 Silver badge
Thumb Up

Scrub the joke icon

@AC 7th July 2010 05:41 GMT

Spot on. That post should be issued as orientation to every wannabe commentard.

Beware of cold call scammers pushing rogue antivirus

peter 5 Silver badge

+1 more

They called my mum a couple of weeks back. Fortunately I was there. Again they claimed to be a Microsoft partner, and gave her a phone number to call back on when asked. Alas, I was too paranoid to have her string them along for more than a couple of minutes. :(

Why we love to hate Microsoft

peter 5 Silver badge

Long memory

When you talked about "dubious business practices" I thought you were going to mention DR-DOS and all the shenanigans surrounding Windows 3.1 That's how far back some of our memories go. But here are a few things they could do that would help me believe they've changed:

- port their stuff to other people platforms, and make it comparable to the Windows version;

- deploy other people's technology, where appropriate, rather than reinventing a Microsoft version;

- collegiately support existing and emerging standards (say by upgrading their OpengL stack to 2.1 and add VP8 to the default IE9 distro)

- embrace standards without then attempting to extend and extinguish them;

- decrease cost and increase quality.

Of course none of that will make me a fan. To do that, all they have to do is produce a must-have consumer gadget and have Anna Chapman advertise it - but I think she is going to be unavailable for a while.

Opera stomps on 'extremely severe' security holes

peter 5 Silver badge

@hisgest [sic] severity

No, Andrew's whining ( :-P ) about the four bullets listed below - you know the one's rated "extremely severe", "highly severe", "moderately severe" and, erm, "less severe", as per his article.

Personally, I'm glad they wait a few days before telling the black hats where to look. (Particularly as I'm using Opera@USB, http://www.opera-usb.com/operausben.htm, which can take a couple of days to come through.)

Oh, and the Reply/Report buttons on these forums are still invisible on 10.54/win. *sigh*

Apple not yet dominant enough for anti-trust action

peter 5 Silver badge
Thumb Up

I just wannna say...

...Nice article. Thanks.

Business leaders call for health cuts

peter 5 Silver badge

Translation #2

There are millions of unemployed people, so forget the old, the infirm, the sick and the skint bastards overseas - we're not going to be short of staff any time soon. What we need is for you to spend money on *us*. Because we're as bad at business as you are at government. And if you don't prop up our business then we'll be like, um, poor, too. And then our whole way of life will be recked. And that's just not fair.

[Source Forum of Private Business: "16% of respondents anticipate needing support" meaning they need "finance for training...working capital...assistance with legal compliance and...support on meeting tax requirements". http://www.fpb.org/news/2334/Rising_costs_and_fears_of_tax_hikes_hitting_confidence_of_small_businesses_ahead_of_Budget.htm]

Mass hack plants malware on thousands of webpages

peter 5 Silver badge

You don't even need to quote the params...

It's been a couple of years since I did any web programming. But if you bind the parameter to a placeholder, then it doesn't need to be quoted, e.g.

my $stmt = $dbh->prepare( 'SELECT name FROM users 'WHERE email = ?' );

$stmt->execute( $param );

You can do that in PHP, can't you?

Gadget tax needed 'to save US newspapers'

peter 5 Silver badge

Re: How is the guardian still in business.

You could equally ask how are the Times and Sunday Times carrying on with losses "twice" that level?

Modern newspapers have become vanity projects; the Guardian may not have an Australian oligarch behind it, but it's owned by a not-for-profit company (the Scott Trust) which exists to fund the Guardian, and measures its "return on its investment in terms broader than pure financial performance". (http://www.gmgplc.co.uk/ScottTrust/tabid/127/Default.aspx)

Financially, the Guardian Media Group made a stonking profit in 2007-8, and have been living off it for the last couple of years. The 2009-10 accounts are not out yet, but unless they've found some exceptional items, their accounts are going to be threadbare - although they've plenty of investments which could liquidated to ensure they keep Andrew's ire simmering. ;)

Captain Cyborg sidekick implants virus-infected chip

peter 5 Silver badge

Security experts

<<Computer security experts were quick to describe the experiment as an absurd exercise in scaremongering.>>

Adding, "That's our job."

Adobe man to Apple: 'Go screw yourself'

peter 5 Silver badge

@How does this stop...

// Yeah, like this:

extern char flash_app_data[];

int flash_interpreter(const char*);

int main() { return flash_interpreter( flash_app_data ); }

// run it through gcc and you have a natively compiled app...

Associated Newspapers, GMG to pool newsrooms

peter 5 Silver badge
Thumb Up

The best...

I was into the third paragraph before I twigged...it just seemed so plausible. Nice work.