* Posts by Gordon Ross

118 publicly visible posts • joined 9 May 2007


Tesco store bans shopping in pyjamas

Gordon Ross Silver badge

Never been to Uni then ?

"Readers are invited to report on whether this is a purely Welsh phenomenon, or a nationwide issue"

Reg hacks have obviosuly never been to University. Happens all over the UK.

Verified by Visa bitchslapped by Cambridge researchers

Gordon Ross Silver badge

And this is surprising because... ?

For many years the credit card companies have been doing their damnest to put the blame on the customer (or even the retailer) They're doing their best to (legally) wriggle out of their legal responsibilites.

Can I claim a degree from Cambridge Uni, 'cause I worked out the lack of security in verified by visa years ago.

Korean bank dumps Unix boxen for mainframes

Gordon Ross Silver badge

Mainframes for Dummies ?

"it may be hampered by a lack of techies with deep mainframe experience."

I always wondered how you manage to get into the mainframe arena. After all, you can hardly pick-up a second hand IBM mainframe on E-Bay for £50. And I haven't seen any suitably titled books in the shops or on Amazon, Compman, etc.

Thai firm flies in early-80s style keyboard PC

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Been done before ?

I seem to remember something similar being available in the 90s. A PC built into the case of a keyboard.

Fanboi site squeaks on crocked iMacs

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Dead Vulture

Context ?

OK, so 280 Faulty iMacs have been delivered. But:

- How many of these were damaged in transit ? (Cracked screens could be due to either poor manufacturing, or poor handling in transit.)

- How many non-faulty iMacs have been shipped ?

- How do these numbers/percentages compare to other manufacturers ?

A bare number on it's own means nothing. Give it some context.

Vint Cerf: 'Google doesn't know who you are'

Gordon Ross Silver badge

@Jamie Jones

You mean there are people who surf the web without using FlashBlock (and others) ;-)

Gordon Ross Silver badge
Big Brother

@Bring Google cookies under control

My simple answer is to always set my cookies to "Keep until I close Firefox"

Twitter fanatic glimpses dark side of OAuth

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@Count Ludwig

"oh, I seem to have lost my token. Do you by any chance have it?"

It's in the ethernet

Credit to Scott Adams.

Bug in latest Linux gives untrusted users root access

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@David 141 - URL Typo

The correct URL is http://wiki.debian.org/mmap_min_addr

Google retrieves coder's Microsoft badge from rubbish bin

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Two sides to every story

Google weren't saying "You can't have this MVP because we don't like Microsoft" They're saying "You can't have this MVP because it puts us and you in a difficult legal situation"

Google are just trying to prevent accusations of impropriety. I believe google call it "Do no evil"

Google aren't the only ones to have this type of policy. The Civil Service has similar rules (obviously, they don't apply to MPs)

Orange saves callers pennies with iPhone tariffs

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Competition Commission ?

And where's the competition commission when we need them ?

Today marks 'least productive' day of year

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Count me out

It was lighter this morning when I caught my bus, and it was almost empty as there were no annoying sprogs on board. Office is quiet (People having time off to look after said sprogs)

Only downside so far, has been the larger queue than normal in town to get lunch.

Least productive day ? More like most productive day so far !

Apple confirms Windows 7 support for Mac OS X boot camp

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Pedant Alert

"Dual install coming before decade is out"

You do know that, technically, the decade ends 31st December 2010.

Arthur C Clarke knew this.

UK.gov prostitution proposals caught with pants down

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@Ross 7

"Especially as 99%* of your Sun readers have as good a grasp of stats as they do of hydrodynamics."

Fact is stranger than fiction. A journalistic friend once told me that when writing for the tabloids, your writing style should be aimed at a seven-year old.

Steve Ballmer's Windows 7 dance party

Gordon Ross Silver badge

Background Checks ?

I hope Mr Ballmer underwent the necessary background checks for working with children. After all, we wouldn't want someone who flies off the handle at the stupidest thing, to be working with children, would we ?


Cambridgeshire makes road charge last resort

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@M A Walters

"Don't get me wrong, cyclists are entitled to use the road notwithstanding them not paying road tax, but half the available road space? Come on - they are not tractors!!"

Individually they are not. But en masse... Have you not noticed how full the roads are with cyclists, now that term has started ?

Also, Hills Road is the main route from the town center to the rather large Addenbrooke's site - busy with cars, buses and cycles.

Parallels bares all with server hypervisor

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No bias or spin ?

"support as many as 64 processor sockets ... (VMware's ESX Server 4.0 hypervisor ... can't come anywhere close to this ..."

I suspect only the large IBM/HP/Sun boxes support this number of sockets, which isn't exactly mass market. I bet most people buy machines with 2-4 sockets.

"With the bare metal hypervisor, it is running right on the iron and it is in theory more secure..."

So there's been no security warnings about VMs under XEN being able to see other VMs on the same box ?

"...more reliable..."

And no-one's ever crashed one of these super-duper hypervisors, have they ? Oh I'm the only one, am I ?

"..and more efficient."

VMWare released a white paper a while ago comparing the speed of their ESX against a native/hardware virtualisation (i.e. using the processor extensions) Their conclusions: It depends. In some workloads the hardware virtualisation is faster, in others, the software is faster.

To be fair, it does seem cheap compared to VMWare.

Firefox 3.6 beta set to ship next week

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@Ground Rush

I seem to remember in the dim and distant past, that Firefox was forked from Mozilla 'cause Mozilla was too big and slow.

Now we're all complaining that Firefox is too big and slow.

So when's Firefox going to get forked ?

PS I do agree with you. It is getting a tad slow...

Flash goes native on iPhone

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Apple should only allow Flash on the iPhone/Touch once there is a version of FlashBlock for these devices too.

I like not having the irritating Flash gumpf on my iPod Touch.

Is Apple behind Intel's speedy optical link?

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But wasn't this the idea bethind USB & Firewire: To replace all those connectors on the back of PCs/Macs with a single connector ?

And where have we got to ? Machines have USB, Firewire, eSATA, DVI & digital audio ports. PS2 & RS-232 are often still found hanging on in there too.

Met steps up stop and search with mobile phone scanner

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@*#06# & @IMEI

#06# doesn't work on my Crackberry. (But you can get to the IMEI by other means on a Crackberry)

Govt report card logs UK hacking conviction success rate

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Comparison ?

How about a bit of comparison, El Reg, with other crimes ?

Rape: ~6% http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/more_or_less/8213670.stm

Terrorism: 12% http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8047477.stm

Cosmic flashbulb effect caused by 'black-hole invaders'

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Back to skewl for Lewis

My English isn't the greatest in the world, but did anyone proof-read Lewis' article before it got posted ? Go on Lewis, re-read paras 5 & 6 and see if it makes sense.

IEEE finally approves 802.11n

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@Chris C

I suspect a lot of manufacturers sold draft-N kit was because the standard was taking so long to get ratified.

Sure, there will always be bleeding-edge companies & customers who will go for early draft stuff. But the bulk of the industry, I think, started shipping draft-N stuff because they could see the standard was a long way away, and competitors were starting to gain traction with their early kit.

No more premium rate numbers for docs

Gordon Ross Silver badge

Oh no they don't...

"Many hospitals and surgeries use automated phone systems, which depend on 084 numbers"

Er, no. They have an automated phone system on a "normal" telephone number (01, 02, etc) then slap an 084 or 087 virtual number in front of it to make money from people.

"The BMA also called on telecoms providers to include 084 numbers in their bundled call packages."

Isn't that what the new 030 codes are for ?

Home Office shifts feet as vetting database looms

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Big Brother

@Missing masses

Even better: Why not make it law that before you become a parent, you have to pass the vetting process(es) ?

Army's £114m battle-comms net not up to Afghan demands

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Thumb Down

The other side of the coin..

"Thus it seems difficult to escape the conclusion that the £114m Cormorant system is simply not up to the job for which it was designed"

Or, it could be that the system (which would have been speced up nearly a decade ago) is already obsolete, as it's unable to cope with more modern demands ?

IT shops rank servers on downtime

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Breaking news alert

So, an outfit with highly skilled sys admins has less downtime then sites with less experienced sys admins.

In further news, it has been revealed that the Pope, is indeed, catholic and that the species known as "Ursus Arctos" goes to the forest for....(you know the rest)

Startup makes thin clients look chubby

Gordon Ross Silver badge

How does it work ?

So, it has no processor, no graphics and no software. How the heck does it work ? The most generous thing I can come up with, is a custom ASIC. However, I suspect the marketing drones are out in force, and there is actually a small CPU in there with a small software stack.

How long 'till someone tries to boot Linux or *BSD on it...

Orange prices up LG 3G watchphone for UK

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Thumb Up

The next logical step...

I'm quite impressed that they've managed to make a 3G cellphone into a watch sized device.

They removed the keypad to achieve this size. But what if they removed the screen as well ? You could, say, wear it like a brooch. To activate it, you'd just touch it, and speak. e.g.

"Call Catherine", or

"Call James", or

"Call Jonathan"

Ads body cuts off Skype ad after pic quality complaints

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Double Standards

So, they ban the Skype advert for a giving misleading impression about the potential quality of the service, yet they still allow all these broadband adverts ?

Virgin hijacks empty pages

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Not cookie based

Just been to the opt-out site. When you opt out, it says that it applies to all computers on your connection.

Is LTO-5 the last hurrah for tape?

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Still a use for it

When LTO-3 drives came out, customers were warned about shoe-shine problems as HDs couldn't keep up with the speed of the tape/drives. That was back when LTO-3 was running at a mere 80MB/s. LTO-4 runs at 120MB/s and often came with a fibre channel interface as SCSI couldn't hack the pace. LTO-5 is projected to run at 180MB/s. The only things that will run at that sort of speed are expensive SSDs or expensive drive arrays. Are you really going to buy a shed load of those to back your servers up to ?

Sure, the seek time of tape is much less than a HD, but once it starts reading or writing, it really is fast.

Oxfordshire reveals ANPR traffic camera sites

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@Grease Monkey

If the reg is hashed with a date/time stamp, how can another camera match the reg ? The only way it could do it*, is to create the same hash based on the same information - which includes the date/time, which it won't know..

*OK, I'll ignore trying to break the hash

Facebook slaps faces on ads

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Am I the last person left..

..who hasn't uploaded their private life onto the 'net ? Call me an old fart, but I kinda like having my private life, well, sorta, private !

Cops and ISP in paedophile data mix up

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"very unfortunate error"

Paedophila is a crime which evokes *very* strong emotions in people. People accused of the crime find it hard to ever shake off the label, even if the accusation is based on incorrect facts (Anyone remember the nurse who had to go into hiding because her house was attacked when the local mensa squad discovered that she was a paediatric nurse)

I hope the police have done a lot more than just "apologise" to the poor innocent person. I also hope the poor sod has had all their details removed from all those databases that they were probably put on.

Vodafone and T-Mobile: 1800MHz bad, 900MHz good

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Paris Hilton

@Love Masts

I have it in the back of my mind, that under the terms of the GSM licenses, the operators couldn't share any infrastructure at all. With 3G, OFCOM (or whoever) relaxed the regs, and allowed the operators to share masts. I think this was done to lower the cost barrier to new players, and entice them to bid for the spectrum. I even seem to remember a company sprang up to sell mast space and make life easier for the operators (by sorting out planning permission, etc)

However, this could all be the result of a dream I once had.

Paris: 'Cause none of the stuff I've done with her has been a dream...

CRB drops fees ahead of expected vetting surge

Gordon Ross Silver badge

What about the voluntry rate ?

"This may assuage some of the unease about the cost to organisations, particularly voluntary ones, that will have to stump up for checks"

But volunteers only pay £6 for a CRB check, so why is the voluntary sector so upset ?

FAIL: 'Cause I've had to get a CRB check, even though I don't work with children or vulnerable adults.

Facebook price tag drops (another) $3.5bn

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Dotcom 2.0

Er, hasn't anyone remembered the original dotcom crash ? Y'know, the one where companies that were making huge losses, no traditional capital, and with no apparent way to make a profit, were being valued for ludicrous prices, only for the real world to kick 'em in the nuts ?

If facebook aren't making a profit out of 300 million members, how many people do they need to join to turn a profit ? I can imagine the chat down the local bank:

You: "Hello Mr/Mrs/Miss. Bank Manager. Can you lend me X Billion pounds/dollars/Euros to setup a new website. It'll be really cool."

Bank Manager: "And how long before you make a profit ?"

You: "Oh, we'll only need just shy of half a billion people to use our website to break even"

Bank Manager: "Looks like a sounds business plan to me. Here's the money"

Yeah, right..

Brothel funds NZ lad's Olympic dream

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Thumb Up

Excellent Example

"Selection takes into account not just performance but also the athlete's ability to serve as an example to the youth of the country."

I think that this guy should be immediately selected to represent his country. He's obviously got initiative & a good entrepreneurial head on his shoulders, which will stand him in good stead when he eventually retires from his sport.

The funding manager, however, needs to take a running jump. If the business is legal, what's wrong ?

OpenSSH exploit rumours swarm

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No s**t Sherlock

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux ships with OpenSSH as a component and may therefore need upgrading"

As does just about every other *nix based system.

Top British judge suggests ban on 'cruel' killer roboplanes

Gordon Ross Silver badge

Did he mean with or without human control ?

In the quoted extract, Lord Bingham doesn't say whether he means totally computer controlled drones, or ones which are under the command of another human.

The decision to end another persons life is not one that can, or should, be taken solely be a machine which has just run an algorithm. It should only be taken by another person. (I've never had to make that call, and I hope that I never have to.)

Should machines that make this live or die decision on their own without human input be classed as cruel ? Maybe not cruel, but they shouldn't be allowed. The ultimate authority must be another human.

Opera Software reinvents complete irrelevance

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Dead Vulture

Probably the worst article in the world ?

Is this the worst El Reg article ever written ? It feels to me, to be more like a bloggers rant, rather than a skilled journalistic work of art. There's little discussion of "facts", just sarcastic innuendos. No looking at the story from different angles, just criticism.

I understand that this may be an opinion piece, rather than a normal story, but surely even opinion pieces have to have some basis with facts ?

Apple security is 'struggling,' researcher says

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@raving angry loony

"But at the core MacOSX is still based on OpenBSD, currently the most secure of the 'nix systems"

Er, no. MacOSX is based on FreeBSD with a Mach micro kernel



Storage world asks: Is a copy a backup?

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Dead Vulture

Eh ?

"Its creation, ageing and disposition is managed by an application, and it is in a different format from the source files"

Why ? Surely having the data in a different format makes restoring the data harder ?

Unless you're making the novice mistake of confusing backup with archive, whereby you will want the (archived) data in an open, very plain, easy to read (i.e. non-proprietary) format.

Intel hit with largest ever EU fine

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@Am I missing something here....

Yes, you are missing something here.

Intel paid companies not to sell computers with AMD's chips in them. AMD couldn't do anything about that, being the minority player in the market,

AMD are saying "Here, have some free chips". They are using a standard loss-leader tactic to try and build market share. (Whether it will work is another issue)

Intel says new PCs will cost you nothing

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Better yet, re-install Windoze

An even cheaper alternative, in my experiance, has been to re-install Windoze every 6 months or so. It's surprising how just a Windoze re-install will improve the speed of a PC.

I've done it numerous times, and people are amazed at the speed increase it gives.

Jobless Apple pumps profits 15 per cent

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@I hope apple does huge ipod touch

When I bought my iPod touch, I never thought I'd use it as a web browser. However, I often use it for doing some quick browsing of sites. Yeah, it's a bit small, but the biggest attraction ? Instant on.

DARPA wants 'clandestine' 3D building-interior mapping kit

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Paris Hilton

How unfair

"our adversaries have adopted asymmetric strategies such as hiding"

Get away ! It's just *so* unfair when the baddies hide from the American good guys.


Paris - 'cause she never hides anything.

Police ad urges: 'Trust no one'

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McCarthyism in the 21st Centruary

Sounds like Joseph McCarthy is alive and well here in the UK..