* Posts by Matt

26 publicly visible posts • joined 8 May 2007

Britain leads world in police state survey


Re: Wrong

Actually, you're failing to take into account the distribution of powers to the Scottish Executive that allow them to control certain aspects of their electronic monitoring. As such it is quite proper to split the UK by England/Wales and Scotland. Quite where Northern Ireland has gone is another question!

Windows 7 might rock up in 2009, says MS veep


@Robert E A Harvey and fluffels

Since when has a linux distro release been comparable to a Windows (or even OS X) release? Go check through the actual changes between distros and what's actually being updated. Sure the window manager is polished up, and they'll have rejigged the installation a bit, plus some changes to the control panel equivalents.

There'll have been next to no changes in the underlying X-Windows (or variant), minor tweaks to the kernel, nothing but bugfixes in most of the modules you'll be loading.

Why wouldn't such a cosmetic change install right over the top of another version?

You can argue that it only needs these realativley minor changes because its already stable and usable. Fair enough, but that just justifies that the distro releases are nothing more than window dressing + Service packs.

When was the last significant evolutionary or revolutionary idea added to a linux distro? And I don't mean in terms of changing the desktop experience, but in terms of changing the linux experience?

That last question isn't rhetorical, I'm not sure what the answer is. I'm hopeful someone, or even an reg article to the effect, will inform us.

US Navy orders new electric hyper-kill railgun


@Stuart Van Onselen

Oye, and there was me trying to be sarcastic and ludicrous! Still as John said, its all about the money to the contractors... why sell $5 shells when you can sell $50,000 shells!


Far too simple...

How long before the 'simple' iron slugs becomes heavily computerised course correcting beasties than can attempt to fly through the front door? You just know the US navy won't be able to resist the attempt. Yes I know any deviations would only be slight given the initial vector and lack of thrust on the slug but...

Well you know how these projects spiral out of control.

Mac flirts with 10 per cent web share

Dead Vulture

Can we have the full picture please?

I've no doubt the Mac is gaining market share. However, raw percentages don't really mean much here. For the sake of simple number, if there are 100 PCs in the world and 90 of them use Windows and 10 use OS X, then fine. But if the following month the figures become 105 machines, 90 Windows and 15 OS X, then the percentage change doesn't mean what you think it means.

Sure it'd mean that new uptake is primarily Mac based, which is still bad for MS. But it doesn't mean people are leaving Windows.

Yes, this is overly simple, just demonstrating a point. I'd just like to know something more than the headline percentages.

Microsoft says it again - no second beta for Windows 7

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You're all idiots...

They're not 'rushing' to get this out just because of Vista's low take up/problems. During the run up to the Vista release MS stated quite clearly that they didn't want to have another XP length lag between OS versions and that they expected the next version out in about 3 years. Vista was released to MSDN/Business in November 2006, public in January 2007. Three years after that would be November 2009 - January 2010. If they manage to get it out earlier, great, but they're hardly going all guns out to 'fix the vista problem'.

BTW, this doesn't mean I think Vista is perfect, that Win7 is gods gift or anything, just pointing out the often forgotten facts relating to the release date.

Beeb names new Doctor Who


RE: Sci-Fi


The real definition of Science Fiction is: Throw some funky tech at a setting, then stand back and see what stories flow from that.

I think the TARDIS fits the bill quite nicely. It might be melodramatic, but it /is/ Science Fiction.

If you can remove the Science bit and the story can still be told without much tweaking and changing then its either space opera or effects driven drivel (i.e. Battlestar Galactica, well you have to replace the cylons with double agent spy types or something I guess, but you get the point).

Virgin Media to dump neutrality and target BitTorrent users


What this will eventually lead to...

Look, ISPs don't get their bandwidth for free. They have to pay for it.

They ALL create speed pacakges with prices based on a mixture of what they can get away with and sharing that bandwidth cost across their users, proprotionatley according to speed.

Now, if ISP A can curently give a 24MB service with no limits, then they're obviously fine. But as their subscription rates increase they're faced with the dilema of installing new equipment, more connections to the backhaul and so on. That investment isn't tiny. When they reach that point they have to ask themselves... 'Do we invest, and possibly increase out prices to cover the costs, invest and hope subscriptions increase to cover the new cost, or just try and make the current bandwidth work great for the majority of our users'.

A typical user with a 10, 20, 50MB connection primarily expects web pages to load really fast, download something from iTunes/Amazon quickly and so on. When they do this they get a good connection and maybe don't see max speed, but the DL is over and done with quickly and they feel justified in their service. Some even realise that max speed from a single site isn't possible if that site can't deliver at that speed.

Now, heavy downloaders expect xMB service to mean (xMB / 8) * 60 * 60 * 24 = Bandwidth per day.

Firstly, all domestic internet connections are contended and always have been. As such, you've no right to expect you max through put 24/7. Quite why ISPs don't make their argument that way around is beyond me, but still. Ultimatley I think its because contention management isn't very efficient.

This amounts to why no ISP should really ever say 'unlimited' downloads. Because they're all truly limited. What they should state is that 'We guarantee that you can download ((xMB / 8) * 60 * 60 * 24) / Contention ratio per day.

Just for a worked example, a 20MB connection is a max daily bandwidth of ~211GB per day. Obviously I'm ignoring protocol overhead here. If its a 50:1 contention ration then the guarantee should be: 4.2GB, and 20:1 = 10.5GB/day.

I'm not saying anyone ever will, but if they advertised like this, it would be honest, at least and should be the numbers their infrastructure is based on.

However, what is more likely is that they will move back to a pay per GB model. Which honestly if was done sensibly (ie, cheaply) wouldn't be so bad. Give everyone max speed and charge by usage. Some people pay a pittance for the 50 e-mails and 20 mp3s they download a month, others pay more for the constant bit torrenting.

Bandwidth management comes about more from the competition end of things as companies daren't try selling such products unless they all do it.

Browsers fail password protection tests


This sort of test

Is only really valid in a default state. So if Keychain is unlocked by default then that's the most appropriate state to test. Same with NoScript on Firefox. All this assuming that the average Joe is dumb (and let's face it, he is).

However, the tests would have been more credible if they had then tested them with the other options that are easily available to the default install.

Just for a flash from the past though, Windows XP was horribly insecure in all tests/attacks largely because its firewall was off by default and that wasn't changed until SP2. XP was appropriatley lambasted for that very reason, so I don't see why other software manufacturer's who have insecure defaults shouldn't be subjected to some derision.

Microsoft breaks IE8 interoperability promise


What a totally irrelevant rant

Can someone fire this guy?

You do know the difference between intranet and internet right?

While IE might only have 75%-80% browser share in the general market, in the corporate market that is going to be well over 95%.

Any corporation is only going to install a web browser if it doesn't break their internal applications and therefore costs them as close to nothing as is practical. Most internal corporate web applications are usually rarely updated, in house coded, and so on. Also they'll have been written specifically for IE because no Corporation is going to pay for cross browser compatability code when they can just say 'just code for this'.

The upshot of microsoft doing this is, therefore, get a better more compliant browser onto as manay machines as possible. Those corporate types browsing the internet will still view it in standards mode without their internal applications breaking.

If the whiney designers want to develop standards based websites they're free to do so only when a very significant amount of the internet uses said standards. Right now, they're just dumb creating pure stanadards based sites because 80% of their audience won't see it displayed correctly. Sure MS is out of line, but there's a big difference between an abstract standard set by some NGO and the effective standard that is actually used by end users.

Microsoft Mojave 'outs' secret Vista lovers


More tripe from the Reg

Regardless of Vista's flaws or glories, the fact is you can't call it journalism to say:

'That 180 million total is licenses sold and does not equate to end users, especially not when companies are downgrading to Windows XP and Dell is offering Windows XP ....'

Without saying what amount of those 180 million have been downgraded. It doesn't tell us anything. If a half million people downgrade, its a nothing story. If 90 million downgrade then its a whole other thing.

Or another example:

'A major block was the lack of third-party hardware or software support. '

Hrm, lets see, certainly from my experience the only things I had problems with regarding driver support were my sound card (Creative Labs) and a Canon scanner (that was 6 years old and Canon had already said wouldn't be supported in Vista). I can't help but blame Creative for the driver issues. Most every other hardware company I make use of managed to get drivers out. So again, if you've got no figures for what percentage of problems people had with lack of drivers, stop using it as a cudgel. It just makes you look silly and you only impress the slobering haters who would agree with you if you said Microsoft developed a time machine so they could support Hitler.

Without some sort of figure for the downgrade or stats for the hardware issues (or at least links to them), please stop using what amounts to anecdotal evidence to support a Microsoft bash.

I'm all for bashing any company you choose, just use actual facts to do it.

Microsoft EULA lands it with $175m Indian tax headache


re: So the question is...

Many large corporatons pay a little tax as they can manage, its true.

But regardless of the avoidance, what do they contribute? While I personally think the whole process is somewhat dispicable, its undeniable that the underlying activity of corporations is more help than hinderance to an economy. As you say, in the first instance there's the income tax from its employees. And of course there's the fact that those employees actually do have jobs and spend their money and so on. Then there are the jobs that product sales generate and so on. While they might not contribute directly to an economy, the reason they get away with it is because no legislator is silly enough to think that their impact isn't overall positive and pushing them into other states or countries is generally a bad thing. Its why lots of smaller or less developed countries go out of their way to offer tax breaks to companies to bring in their business - they know the net effect is going to be bigger than the actual corporation tax.

Unfortunatley, even the most evil of companies have some positive effect.

Also, does anyone really think Microsoft is doing anything but shrugging at a tax bill of $87 million?

And finally, for all the good OSS claims to do, what is its realy economic impact? (just to annoy the software for free bunch).

Vista SP1 downloaders bite back


The unsilent minority

I know a lot of people with Vista. And while a few of them don't like it (just a dislike of change more than anything), none of the manyfold 'problems' have cropped up - with the exception of the stupid copying time problem.

Perhaps the people, I know are just extraordinary, but they did stupid things when the bought Vista, like check if their hardware was compatble and if drivers were available for peripherals they had...

Every OS has its bluescreen moments (and yes, even linux -- I've run at least one linux box in some form or another for the last 14 years, ah slackware, I hated you so much!) And windows has more of them than most. But lets face, find another OS with as much driver support as windows, and drivers are the real culprit for most instability. Probably percentage-wise there's not much difference, but incident-wise, obviosuly Windows appears to have more.

Blame MS for a bad driver model by all means, but quit the 'I have problems so Vista is crud' comments.

Mac OS X Leopard - Time Machine

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An OS feature that needs extra devices...

Gee, for just the price of buying an extra device you can make use of a backup feature. Lovely.

Why not just have a RAID 1 system in the first place if you're going to run two drives?

And if you want to be able to look at previous editions of files or backup copies, why not have a system like Server 2003/Vista's Shadow Copy which is seamless, invisible and requires no extra hardware.

Or, if the OS fails, Windows has had since XP the ability to roll back before updates, boot last known good configuration and so on.

Hardly seems something to crow about!

Root-locked Linux for the masses


Great in principal

SSH for remote admin is great. I do so for many servers. But when you're talking about farming out admin to a host of various linux admin types, the ever increasing chance of your password/cert/whatever authentication slipping into dodgy hands goes up considerably. Of course, you can't simply have a random set of access codes for these things, they have to be maintained in some db or other. But how do you stop your admin user from changing it?

So many problems, I can't see it working.

Firefox hits 400m download milestone



W3c only releases standards. Standards are optional and non-enforceable. As such they're not 'rules'.

If MS had strictly followed the standards process you wouldn't have AJAX now, and how many of you are gushing at the very thought?

Browser usage stats are meaningless unless you know the sample of sites they were gathered from. For example, microsoftrules.com and Iwantfirefoxesbabies.org shouldn't be considered! Similarly 'designer' sites will haev a larger trend towards firefox, while sites geared more towards 'users' will have a higher prevalance of IE. You all know this.

But quite why designers keep designing for a minority product and complain their sites don't work on the majority product, is beyond me...

What's best is irrelevant, your design practices are what need looking at!

A US CERT reminder: The net is an insecure place


RE: Mozilla site 100% SSL

100% SSL has two basic problems;

1 - Increased bandwidth (encrypted data can be upto 4 times larger)

2 - No caching (especially a problem for image intensive sites)

These problems lead to the basic usage of SSL for login, then move to raw data afterwards.

MS tweaks Vista with minor updates



We all know people are idiots, but the amount of people ranting about Vista stability is not to be taken as any kind of measure.

I personally have been using Vista x64 since release and have found it stable and pleasant. Performance issues I've had have been directly related to driver issues. While I could say that that is microsoft's fault for changing the driver model, sensible people have to put the blame at the driver provider (nVidia in this case). However, nVidia got their fixes out in reasonable time and things are just great now.

Of the 8 or so people I know who have installed Vista, only one has reverted back to XP and that's because HP aren't releasing drivers for his printer and scanner on Vista and replacing them isn't an option.

The only reason we haven't upgraded at work is because we have a boss who likes Windows 2000 and is just accepting XP. Not for IT reasoins, just for ludite ones....

Google flirts with online OS


Forget Microsoft...

And even forget google.

When ISPs regularly loose days worth of e-mail, when numerous companies expose data to anyone online, why would anyone trust the primary storage of their data to an online service?

Sure, users lose data all the time for a host of reasons (from stupidity to hardware failure), but that's life. You screw up, you learn to make backups. Ad what happens if/when google's income stream dries up and for once they're not ahead of the curve in changing their business model and they have to scale back, start charging or charge more. Where does that leave people?

Its a bad idea for so many reasons. Regardless of if you use linux and openoffice or windows and ms office, at least the fate of your data is in your own hands.

Microsoft's Silverlight gets Linux treatment


Since when?

Was C# a non-microsoft language?

Just because they passed it out for ECMA approval doen't stop it being theirs.

Forget the typos as being bad journalism and editting, lets get the actual facts of a story straight first please?

Jobs chucks Leopard titbits to Apple masses


Re: What really annoys me...

OS X is based in Job's work with Nextstep, so yes it /is/ BSD based ultimatley.

Also note that since 2001 (About when WinXP was released) this will be the 5th OS X release, so the $129 a pop amounts to a fair bit more than what MS has charged an individual customer for OS's in the mean time. Infact, alot of (an no, not all) the 'new features' are the kind of things that Microsoft release in Service Packs for free.

I'm all for fair comparison, but lets actually have fair comparison.

Finally, lets not forget how few machines out there actually run OS X. Its a far lower percentage of actual in use PCs than the amount of media coverage gets. Jobs must do much more by way of journalist freebies than Microsoft. Nothing else really makes sense...

Jobs: one more thing... a browser war


I just wish...

That people wouldn't call AJAX a 'standard'. Its not. Its just a jumble of technologies that, while really useful, don't actually mean anything. Even the guy who coined the phrase Ajax said its not an acronym, even though people insist on claiming it!

By the logic this 'reporter' is using a stanadard is something thats heavily used out there. In that case then IE /is/ the defacto standard and everything else is incompatible. Obviously thats not the case.

Vista and IE 7 to receive 'critical' fixes on Patch Tuesday


For those interested in counting...

Before you start bitching about Vista and IE7 go count the security patches released for Firefox, OS X as Linux in the last few months.

Its about time reporting of these things (and peoples comments) reflected the fact that the products the anti-microsoft minority (yes, you really are a tiny minority, you just have loud voices) would foist on us really don't offer anything actually any better right now.

Virgin Media still claiming no usage limits


Ok, who's really being disadvataged here?

By my very rough calculation, a 10MB connection running at full pelt for 30 days would give you somewher ein the region of about 2.5TB of data.

Taking a gross averaging of 8hours of 5MB in there that gives you about an 8.3MB service, running to around... 2TB.

Now, if anyone can show how they're really losing out because of this throttling, could they please demonstrate?

You can only call it a cap if it actually limits how much data you can download, surely!

I use my 10MB connection fairly extensivley and I don't hit more than about 100GB per month most of the time.

And lets not forget, that you're not entitled to your 10MB connection 24/7 ANYWAY. Its a contended service.

Boffins develop synthetic human blood


Biopure = cow blood!

Just FYI Chase ;)

This stuff is all synthetic (apparently), where as the biopure stuff is just pruified cow blood. I'm sure it works, but its not the same.

Virgin throttles national cable network


You're idiots

Except the guy who mentioned the contended service.

You're no where guaranteed any level of service. Many of us are used to getting pretty much our full speed because we were the early adopters. We have had a charmed life.

Contention means we share our bandwidth with 20 - 50 other people. Consequently the types of speeds people are getting after throttling really isn't so bad.

If stop and think about it, throttling is a whole lot fairer than just running as a first come first served grab at bandwidth.

And just remember, you other choices are ADSL... which is only better if you live next door to your exchange.