* Posts by MrHorizontal

79 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jul 2009


404 Day celebrates the internet's most infamous no-show


Don't forget the moonshark

ArsTechnica's moonshark: https://arstechnica.com/moonshark

Politicos whining about folks' data rights ought to start closer to home


Loving it

I have to say I absolutely love the farce this whole Cambridge Analytica 'scandal' has created.

The biggest issue is that the only breach was by Dr Kogan when he resold data mined from Facebook to CA. But that's just a breach of contract in the license usage restriction from the data from Facebook - nothing criminal. And nothing anyone can really do anything about it.

Of course Facebook has a whole heap of other data breaches, particularly in the use of customer lists that they make their advertisers upload (and break the law in doing so), but that's beside the point. Of course, there'll be plenty more popcorn on Facebook's front once GDPR is in full force...

Basically, CA provided 'Machine Learning' to campaigning. Therefore is campaigning bad, or is the fact someone provided more intelligent campaigning bad?

Let the compute see the data... to smash storage networking bottlenecks


With Intel's 3D X-Point and their promise of non-volatile RAM, you will be able to use an 'in-memory database' safe in the knowledge that data is persisted. Then with just a caching mechanism equivalent, you just page it to a cheaper bigger disk. This actually simplifies computing dramatically and is a massive paradigm shift (the right place to use this term) in computing.

Browser trust test: Would you let Chrome block ads? Or Firefox share and encrypt files?


I generally flip between Chrome and Firefox depending on which browser has been behaving best recently. Currently Firefox 54 has the crown for fastest and best browser. Have no problem with the Firefox transfer thingy, but 1GB is a little mean.

Ad blocker in Chrome is a Google Gobble of Eyeo's AdBlock's 'allow some non-intrusive ads' scheme to control moar ads. What I'm most surprised by is that this hasn't launched an antitrust case against both Google and Eyeo, as this is a pretty blatant market control move.

As for whether I stop using Ad Blockers at all? Well that would mean that ad networks have to stop serving ads themselves and only allow publishers' servers to serve them, as they have no right to my browsing history - only the publisher.

Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues


The Illiberati

My definition for all these "liberal" campaigners, when as soon as the game changes and the argument becomes moot, they don't accept it and stfu.

Crash this beauty? James Bond's concept DB10 Aston debuts in Spectre


Re: Meh

Not so much Ford Puma. Reminds me more of the BMW Z8 used in Golden Eye.

Not that the Z8 is a bad car. But it's German and not Bond. At least the DB10 is English, but it's still not a Bond car, nor does its 'shark nose' look like any Aston I've seen, even though if you look closely it has some bastard offspring DNA of an Aston. But you have to squint and wince to notice.

Science Museum celebrates Ada Lovelace


Re: I apologise if I missing an important nugget of information but .....

It was actually Turing himself who recognised what Ada Lovelace had written, proclaimed her as the first programmer and that the Analytical Engine was Turing complete.

Vapourware or otherwise, I believe it's our duty to establish once and for all that Britain, in Babbage's Analytical Engine invented the computer (and not this usurper, Zuse who arguably created a computer roughly the same time as Turing created the Bombe), by building it a model of it and actually running Lovelace's Bernoulli program on it properly.

TCP is a wire-centric protocol being forced to cut the cord, painfully


Re: Multipath TCP?

MP-TCP on mobile doesn't make much difference. It only really comes into it's own when you have multiple connections aggregated. Although if each 1x1 Wifi and LTE stream is independent and multiplexed via MP-TCP, theoretically it would be advantageous, but since both already mux the streams, I doubt a layer 3 protocol would be an advantage.

A far, far more efficient and modern protocol to use would be Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP). SCTP has many advantages - it's inherently multi path like MP TCP, it can be used over a single UDP port to allow a user mode SCTP stack to be used in a transition phase, and can use any of the congestion control algorithms used with TCP (e.g. Reno) and maintain the same or even more advanced reliability of TCP as compared to UDP, but with the inherent latency advantages (assuming a good kernel mode stack) as UDP. Last but not least it would also make routing much easier since data could be routed through any given node (if allowed), making it more useful for mesh networking (and thus brilliant for mobile, though not so good for the spies).

SCTP is used in some VoIP situations as it makes RTP much simpler, but there's only one mature stack made by the BSD people, and it hasn't been properly adopted in Linux and Microsoft chose to ignore it entirely citing 'lack of demand'. When will these people realise that they will spur demand if it's supported. Idiots.

In the meantime, MP-TCP needs to be used as it's sort of compatible with traditional TCP, but it's a hack and not a proper solution.

Round Two in Sky vs Skype trademark scrap goes to Murdoch's men


Hang on...

...aren't there a bunch of Sky TV channels in Europe that have nothing to do with BSkyB or Murdoch?

Surely that's a bit more of a trademark infringement being in the *direct industry* BSkyB operates in rather than a name that spuriously alludes to 'Sky' and operating in a *totally different industry* as Skype does.

My suggestion to MS is to raise the fact that:

a) Sky is used by other TV stations in Europe

b) Skype has nothing to do with TV.

Future imperfect: A UK broadband retrospective


Re: What is the right answer to how to run National Infrastructure?

The line rental is something that should be part of the price of getting broadband just like air fares have to include taxes. While it's less transparent it does cause ISPs to bite Openreach's ankle and ensure the line fee is low enough for them to offer consumers a sensible price, allow them to engage in "loss leader" practices to subsidize line rental and force Openreach to provide value for money since the ISPs depend on it for their revenue.


What is the right answer to how to run National Infrastructure?

BT's primary argument is that 'it's investment needs to be protected'. The problem with this statement is that the bit of BT that needs investment is Openreach that actually owns, installs and maintains the exchanges and lines in the UK - and that 'investment' is cross-subsidized by the entire industry and the government. BT like to confuse everyone by stating that when it comes to putting money on the table, it owns the lot, when in fact it is just servicing the requirements of BT Retail.

So the answer is we have to take Openreach away from BT. This has some merits, and some issues. The first and most obvious merit is that it's stupid and ridiculous name can be changed. But on a more serious note, is that all ISP's - TalkTalk, Virgin, Sky all the way down to tiny players like Andrew & Arnold would have equal opportunity to demand that Openreach satisfy theirs and by extension their customer's requirements.

Secondly there is also precedent in the industry: LINX. The London Internet Exchange is basically a nominated datacentre where all ISP's colocate their routers and provides extremely high bandwidth peering between ISP's, and works as a fairly democratic consortium of interested parties, all adhering to pretty sensible rules that they drew up themselves and self govern.

Of course BT is the biggest player in LINX, but the joy of LINX and BGP is because you may be a small player, you only need a peering agreement with another player who already has a peering agreement with BT and you get to use LINX.

Granted, applying LINX's model to the nationwide line infrastructure and exchanges is not exactly a 1:1 mapping and doing so would be too idealistic. But the principle remains: Openreach needs to be made so that it answers to a consortium of industry players and not one ring master - just like National Grid, UK Power Networks and Network Rail all have to answer to all the Energy and Rail companies equally.

While it's not 'nationalising' Openreach (although I appreciate it's pretty similar), you do want ISP's to have a relative 'voting power' on the board of Openreach so that it does have to react to private sector demands as they are their pay masters. Equally, if successful, the combination of Openreach being the 'last mile' carrier and the consortium driving LINX and backbone carriers do converge on their principles, meaning that 'National Backbone' for want of a better word would cover both last mile and backbone transit.

The issue no one has figured out is how do you get rid of the gratuitous waste when an infrastructure body doesn't have to answer directly to consumers - you only need to look at how tedious it is to get UK Power Networks to move your distribution box or remember what BT was like while it was a Post Office division when you wanted a new line.

Answer that last question, and you have the answer of what you need to do for *all* infrastructure. Full Privatisation doesn't work (see Railtrack with the fat cats pocketing the lot and running it into the ground), Full Nationalisation doesn't work (consumers would never get anything they want), Regulated Privatisation doesn't work (see Openreach as it is now), so I think the only thing we haven't tried is making Infrastructure a quango - a combination of a consortium of industry interests to be able to effectively lobby and demand how infrastructure needs to be provided and regulation, so as to avoid the ISPs becoming a cartel.

97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom


I only get 9 mbps... in central London

My exchange is fibre enabled. The other side of the road is served by a different cabinet and they're fibre enabled. Yet my cabinet hasn't been upgraded. Seriously how long does OpenTurd take to upgrade cabinets - it's been 3 YEARS since the exchange got glass!

Worse still, I'm willing to *pay* for FTTP from my cabinet, but I can't even begin to order because the cabinet has to be upgraded first. And there's no way I as a consumer can berate, take action against nor do anything to force the turds at OpenTurd get off the toilet and upgrade my cabinet.

Ofcom, are you listening?

Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then


Strictly speaking, if Google continue to trade in the EU, ie actually earn money and then do the double-dutch-irish-chocolate-starfish tax thing, then theoretically all EU-facing services of Google are subjected to the breakup...

I think this is more to do with tax, and somehow the EU is saying: "either pay up (tax) or break up (services)"

Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife


How to sort out DNS problems properly

Virgin Media's SuperHub is only useful for one thing: Ethernet to Cable modem bridging. Hardware-wise it's a pretty normal Netgear 802.11n router using a Broadcom chipset which is pretty much run of the mill and OK. However, VM's 'custom' firmware practically bricks the box.

I don't use either VM's DNS servers nor do I use spoofing DNS providers like OpenDNS or Google (spoofing means if a DNS record fails it shows a page of ads by redirecting). Instead you should use a non-spoofing (or ideally, a DNSSEC) upstream DNS server. Locally on your LAN you should also use either a full (Bind / Windows with Active Directory) or a caching proxy DNS (dnsmasq) server.

DNSSEC is sort of like SSL for DNS - not so much encryption, but means the record isn't spoofed. Because spoofing DNS is easy it's normally the first thing ISP's like VM roll out to do their blocking of pr0n/piracy stuff.

There is a more honest use of spoofing that OpenDNS and Google employ by providing you with a more useful page (read ads) when a DNS query fails.

Either way, your laptop is having to talk to a server miles away that may or may not be spoofing your DNS, in order to find the IP address of each and every image and page in a web page. So don't use any of them: use your own DNS server, with trustworthy upstream DNS servers.

Upstream servers don't need to be super fast, because the speed is being covered by your local DNS server - the upstream DNS servers just need to be reliable and honest.

Sound complicated it really isn't.

So how to do this:

a) If you already use Active Directory (e.g. you log onto Windows with Ctrl+Alt+Delete), then you already have a DNS server. Configure your PDC and BDC's DNS servers (which are a requirement for AD) with decent upstream DNS servers and tell the DHCP Server to use the PDC and BDC for clients.

b) If you have a QNAP/Synology NAS, they also have DNS server capabilities.

c) If you have a spare machine or a VM able to use exclusive use of NICs for WAN connections, then install pfSense, and bobs your uncle.

d) If you only have a bog standard router, try to use DD-WRT and make use of it's dnsmasq server.

e) If you're still out of luck, there are plenty DNS servers available for Windows that run as a service or in the task tray.

The point is they're plenty available, and you will notice an immediate speed up of your browsing (particularly on Mac OS X / iOS) when using it.

So which DNS servers to use? Most people will say use Google ( / or OpenDNS ( / However, as I mentioned, they spoof DNS anyway (Google does support DNSSEC though).

The ideal servers to use are entirely dependent on your location, because the absolute fastest DNS servers will be the ones with the fattest low latency pipes to you. Thankfully, someone made a tool to do exactly that: DNS Benchmark.

1) Download Steve Gibson's DNS Benchmark: https://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm. No need to install, like any proper software, just run it.

2) Open it and click 'Nameservers' tab

3) Right-click on the main list of servers, check 'Test DNSSEC Authentication'

4a) If you've used DNS Benchmark before, skip to step 5. Otherwise click the 'Add/Remove' button

4b) Click 'Rebuild Custom List' at the bottom, and click the new button also called 'Rebuild Custom List'.

4c) Wait about 40 minutes for the tool to sort through about 4200 DNS servers.

5) Go back to the 'Nameservers' tab, click 'Run benchmark'

6) Once complete, select the fastest servers you want to use - if you want DNSSEC-enabled servers, they are marked green.

A DNS Server on your network should have 2-4 upstream DNS servers. Usually when they don't have a record in their local cache, they'll request from all 4 upstream servers simultaneously and return the first successful result. Most clients will just choose the first one.

And with that, you have fast and authentic (if you use DNSSEC servers) DNS solution locally and no Virgin Media snafu's that even when it's working 'normally' it's broken.

The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME


Re: Wot no SGI?

Totally agree with SGI. Replace the NeXT borg cube with any of the SGI's: Indy, Octane, Onyx.

And the PS3? It looks about as interesting as corrugated iron and is too fat, overweight, and hot.

Then you have the Tandem's with their huge size and the KITT heartbeat monitor on them.

But the absolute sacrilege? Not putting Bletchley Park's Colossus on the list. Not only one of the first computers, it still looks better than any pimped out gaming rig with all of those glowing valves...

Boffins use laser to move maglev disk


I wonder if this has the same properties as the coriolis effect (e.g. the direction of the water vortex down a plug hole north and south of the equator) when under sunlight, and that proximity to the equator will change it's behaviour.

Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction



Missing WOPR off the list was a pretty huge omission. I suggest updating the article with a whole page dedicated to it, because WarGames probably triggered more geekspawn than any other film I know - certainly true with me.

There's a pretty decent list of films on the 'pedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_about_computers, though not completely conclusive - for example, in anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion has the 3 Magi computers that run the entire society if we're going into Anime too.

Also, while not really so much as a 'character' in the film, the computers from Minority Report are still very influential in modern UI and interaction design right to this day too, especially with touch and gesture being so widely adopted.

ARM Holdings licenses big chunk of MIPS patents


You say it's game over for MIPS, others say it's an opportunity.

With ARM struggling to get into the server space, PowerVR being the GPU of choice in mobile, and MIPS having arguably an even stronger presence in the server space than Intel (in the form of the SGI/DEC heydays), it looks to me that Imagination is now actually a pretty serious threat to ARM's server initiative - given that supers these days are all ceepiegeepies, having MIPS+PowerVR is... another ceepiegeepie.

Also, don't forget that AST also has Intel as a consortium member.

Dredd movie review



I'm a 2000AD fan and totally despised Stallone's attempt. Mega City is a dystopia, and Judges are outnumbered, so how would you portray the world? The gritty, grotty dystopia portrayed in this film fits the bill perfectly as the gaudy shiny happy things that make other SF totally fail in my opinion, and makes them look, quite frankly, terrible. The film provides a perfect setting of Mega City One. Sure there could be a few more notions of 'future' put in, but that's just a matter of budget and in reality don't add anything meaningful to a film other than opportunities for product placement.

Yes, there are some things I would have made better. Dredd's bike could be a bit more of a monster - some hybrid of a Harley Davidson and the Batman Tumbler batbike minus the ridiculous gold trimmings in the comic would have been much more awesome than the Japanese tin that was used in the film. The lawgiver also didn't look mean enough to dish out Dredd law. That said, the crappy eagle and chain on the judge's uniform being removed and his general look to a more practical flak jacket, is actually worthwhile - even in the comic it looks unrealistic, unwieldy and crap. Similarly with the battle scarred helmet and dusty uniform just adds to how Judges are fighting a never ending battle - so I think 2012 Dredd makes him look better, more realistic and more potent as a result.

My view is that a lot of the aspects of the comic were well placed, and well thought out too, from the chopper posters, to the portrayal of fatties and so forth. The story didn't really lend itself to telling the story of Mega City, so only parting shots were shown to allow the viewers to concentrate on what's happening in the block. Tony Smith's view that Garland has pared down Dredd to any commando tough cop is ridiculous. What is Dredd other than the epitome of exactly that? The one liners were delivered, without being made into the climax of a ridiculous set piece as are cliches epitomised by Bond. Dredd delivers one liners in the dry, laconic and as a matter of fact manner we know and love, and that portrays his personality better as a result. The ending of the film is also typical Dredd: to paraphrase not to ruin it 'just another day in the office, ma'am' - short, sharp, succinct and 100% pure unadulterated Dredd.

Anderson's portrayal is admirable too. A slightly more fragile judge with a different take on the law than Dredd is apparent, and quite frankly great even though somewhat different (better IMO) than the comic. From the visit into the mind to the 'wait' sequence, she develops in the film from a fragile no-hoper to a deliciously mean mind fucker, and in the process begins to overrule Dredd 'He's a victim, not a perp'. Naturally Dredd mostly gets his way (third option: attack) that any other Judge wouldn't logically choose and only Dredd would, could and does.

As a big fan of Drive, the artistic breaks shown in the slo-mo sequences were brilliant to give the viewer a totally unexpected, beautiful and welcome break from the relentlessness of the film. The director kept it tight and sweet without any lingering, yet in the process the artistic violence makes John Woo's best look like Bambi. The story is deeper than a simple take the block, but the fact it is so tight and doesn't linger too long in back stories that will only confuse non-Dredd readers leaves it open to make Dredd the franchise that he deserves. That said, the story is complete, with plenty of points of views to keep it interesting. Garland has made a story that isn't Garland-esque and generally slow and boring, but genuine and relentless.

Again, I disagree with Tony Smith - this film has not been made for the mass market at all. You have to like violence and gore. You have to appreciate Dredd is a cornier toon than Dirty Harry. You have to appreciate beautiful cinematography and you have to be able to think outside of the comic and into an original perception of Dredd's world if your a fan. But I think it's all done so brilliantly, it's actually in my view, an even more gritty and realistic view of Dredd's world than the comic.

Lastly Karl Urban's intimate knowledge having grown up himself reading Dredd does give the character the treatment he deserves. In fact, as an actor he's got into Dredd's carcass so well this is an award-winning performance - you don't really need to say more than that. He never takes the helmet off apart from the aforementioned shadow shot where he's putting it on. The chin, the voice, the grimace and Dredd's single minded 'Justice' and dryness is all perfect.

So no, Tony, I totally disagree with your critique. Justice has finally been done on film to the ultimate law giver. It's gritty, relentless, beautiful and makes absolutely bugger all attempt to appease itself to the mass market by fully embracing the violence and gore deserving an 18. It is so unexpectedly good and so astonishingly exceeding my expectations it really is fantastic.

Lets hope something similar will be done to my personal favourite 2000AD character: Rogue Trooper.

Apple and Google in talks to end patent war?


Between the lines:

Samsung to Google: OK, we've got to pay these idiots in Cupertino $1b. If we have to do that, we will and we'll drop Android and go to WinPho 8.

Google to Apple: Oh s**t! Apple, what, exactly do you want us to do?

Apple to Google: Scrap Android.

Google to itself: Oh s**t! Everyone, eat a footlong with a big foot in it and then get a spade, we've got a big hole to dig.

This of course is what Apple wants.

What *should* happen though is this: Samsung, HTC, Motorola found guilty of infringing Apple. Apple found infringing by Motorola, Nokia and others for FRAND. All iOS and Android products injuncted off shelves. Congress goes 'oh s**t!', we've just let the patent system destroy our glorious icon, Apple. Patent system reformed, all cases appealed and back down. Everyone in the US still has a phone.

UK: 'We're legally bound to arrest Mr Assange'


4 Options

A distinctly un-British affair this, who historically make it other people's problems.

Option 1: UK politefully requests that Sweden promises not to re-extradite Assange to US. Assange goes to Sweden for trial, problem diverted to Sweden (who want that problem), and we move on. Yes it'd be an extraordinary request, but isn't that exactly what diplomatic negotiations are about?

Option 2: Ecuador gives Assange diplomatic status, putting UK into legal quagmire as they have Vienna Treaty obligations and the Yvonne Fletcher act at odds (that 1987 act though is actually illegal and should be repealed). If Assange is arrested with diplomatic immunity, UK is in contravention of International law. If UK doesn't arrest Assange, problem diverted to Sweden, and we move on.

Option 3: Hague comes and out and say exactly why he is on a personal crusade against Assange. Details spill out that the US is indeed on a witch hunt, and is in fact paying for the Police overtime. Problem diverted to US, and we move on.

Option 4: Hague storms the embassy, and loses diplomatic status of all British diplomats the world over. We move on, but problem is brought squarely on Hague's shoulders with a newly impotent FCO (which I still call Foreign and Colonial Office).

Regardless of which option, we as the British have to ask this stooge at the head of the FCO: What the hell are you fighting for with all this bluster? IT IS NOT BRITAIN'S PROBLEM!

Drilling into Amazon's tape-killing Glacier cloud archive


Would be interesting to see how other cloud providers like Backblaze respond to this. Hopefully they will introduce a slightly more flexible service than using their proprietary client. Glacier is not quite as good a deal as Backblaze (being $5 or £2.50/mth), but Glacier will store anything.

Google Maps takes shelter from the British summer



I can only see one single use case for this... to tell Londoners who go to a Tube station they don't know particularly well which end of the platform the exit is nearest. Is that really worth the time and effort to map everything?

While I'd normally say only mad people would share floorplans of their houses, unfortunately it probably means 80% of today's society where common sense is a totally alien concept...

Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets


Where was the consultation?

I'm a resident of RBKC. I cannot find any consultation or method of objecting this decision which seems to have been taken unilaterally by this council without due process or authority.

I would much appreciate information on how to petition a formal objection on this decision.

Hey Commentard! - or is that Commenter?



El Reg is an institution, and we love the fact that Apple amongst many other over sensitive PR departments take umbrage.

Heck, I wouldn't be offended if reg called me a f**ktard for commenting.

Perhaps El Reg should start selling Polyfilla to fill those chips on shoulders?

O2 apologizes for 'unintended' number-leak cockup


Gonna need more than an apology...

It's pretty criminal if you ask me to so carelessly identify users like that.

I'd expect not only a whopping great fine from the ICO, but a renewed debate on Net Neutrality for mobile (should be no different to fixed) and also a kick-back to all O2 customers with a smartphone.

Given that it is worth about $17 for a website to know the identity of a user, tripling this to $51 worth of kick back to all smartphone customers should be the minimum. I'd expect that should be some a break from monthly charges, though O2 will probably think some free apps or other totally useless 'value-back' will suffice. It won't.

O2 should be in real trouble here.

Hold on a sec - leap seconds granted a last-minute reprieve


Wait a sec...

... both the status quo and the 'new' have it wrong.

First and foremost, the Gregorian calendar is wrong with the concept of a leap year. The earth takes 365.25 days to revolve around the sun. We can make an existing 'day' 1.00068493150685 days without too much impact. That fixes the February 29th every four years issue, and just never have it.

Now leap seconds. As has been said, the earth's spin on its axis around the sun causes the issue with leap seconds. The issue at hand is what 'time' sunrise and sunset happens. As we know full well in Britain, getting up in darkness and leaving work in darkness in winter is a spirit-sapping experience. The point being is while it will take a good 100 years before there is a noticeable difference, given that at some point in time in the future (granted, very, very far in the future) under the proposed no-leapsecond time you will go to sleep at 11 pm in the UK and the sun rises, it's not representative of 'time'. By this virtue, technology 'because it's easier' doesn't help solve the problem.

Personally, just state that at 12 midnight on New Years, the second that strikes is X+Y seconds, and if Y is a +2 second or we miss 1 second for a given year, it happens. The entire world is drunk out of their minds, so who the hell cares for +/- 1 second? Certainly not technology, if it's internationally proclaimed that all time is 'fixed' at a given point in the calendar, then technology can do what it's designed to do: serve humankind. And in the meantime, you and I can continue moaning about British winters, and in the meantime have to drink a little bit faster or slower by a matter of a second or two every New Years.

Does it matter? It's all relative. I say, cheers!

American search team fails to find women's G-spot


Pictures or it didn't happen.

I somehow don't see the 'spark' or 'chemistry'. I expect the general appeal of the scientist or the lab environment didn't help either.

Cloud power plant SAP closes 2011 on a high


Larry not happy

...with profit warnings for Oracle and with the TomorrowNow settlement and SAP still posts well, one can only guess what is happening in the higher floors of Oracle Towers.

Intel caught faking CES ultrabook gaming demo


Not defending Intel, but...

It does work, they just didn't get Mooly's machine updated with the proper demo in time: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5359/intel-confirms-working-dx11-on-ivy-bridge

Kodak heading to Chapter 11


It wasn't just predictable, but for Kodak it'd been relatively easy to resolve. They had so many options:


Kodak has the means and resources to take on 3M and TDK easily. BASF and DuPont might be a bit more troublesome, but credible chemicals could've been possible if they thought beyond film.

Digital Cameras:

What makes a digital camera. A CCD, some flash memory a bit of chippery to process it all and a fat arsed lens. The CCD world is dominated by the Japanese like NEC, Casio, Sharp and the like. Even NEC would've been fishfood for Kodak. For flash memory a little bit of passive investment into Micron and making IMFT or something like that a 3-way JV between Intel, Micron and Kodak would have been easy. Some chippery? ARM is pretty adequate. Lenses? Carl Zeiss, Leica, all fishfood.

Heck instead of making the constituent parts, Olympus is in a spot of bother too. Snap them up and have a ready-made credible camera business zomg! And what were Kodak doing when Japan was absolutely flatlined in the last 10-15 years with all the primary photographic competition coming out of there: Olympus, Canon, Nikon, Minolta all unable to get sufficient liquidity. Kodak cash rich... 1+2 = ?


Xerox was in trouble. Snap up Xerox, get PARC and all of the wondrous patents that came out of there, and with a combined Kodak and Xerox, HP would've become the world's best bricklayer overnight.

But no. Fail, fail more with a bit more epic McFail. Compared to others, even epic corporate failures like Olivetti seem well managed. It really beggars belief there is stupidity on this scale. Seriously, they probably revere Paris Hilton as a mind greater than Einstein.

Truly unbelievable.

Software copied functions, but didn't infringe copyright


Cheaper, Faster, Better

If you're not prepared for a competitor to come up with a cheaper, faster, better solution in technology, then you're going to go the way of the dinosaur. No tech company is safe from this idiom, so if you haven't planned for it in a business plan, you will become a tech dinosaur. Going to the courts is just band-aiding a gaping wound and just making lawyers rich. The only solution is to evolve and make an even faster and better solution or reprice it competitively.

SAS is just one of those dinosaurs.

VeriSign demands website takedown powers


Absolutely not

Verisign are officially the most untrustworthy entity on the Intertubes, and should lose all right to managing .com and .net domains, as well as all their root SSL CAs.

In fact the .com and .net registry should be allocated to different registries wherever the .com and .net domain is registered. So for UK entities who have a .com domain, it'd be nominet that manages it, not verisign.

Would you trust a dot-bank site more than a dot-com?



The actual domain name doesn't matter so much (though I agree that using a completely different domain like nwolb.com is just dumb from the bank's operations).

What actually matters is the registry that controls the .bank is not a US concern like the most untrustworthy entity of them all: Verisign. In other words, DNS and SSL need to be managed from a far more trusted source that is UK based, and one that has public oversight for this to be OK.

Google shoots Dart at JavaScript


What exactly...

...does Dart offer that JavaScript doesn't?

It looks to me to be an almost exact replica of JavaScript with a few PHP-esque extensions to it. What needs to happen is to make ECMA-262, or the standard behind JavaScript a little bit stricter, especially with a little bit more emphasis on strong typing and classes and bobs your uncle. The browser DOM could do with a tweak here and there too, but that's not the language's problem.

Anyway, Google have done the mistake of outing a language without going through the W3C or other recognised standards body - that is evil, Google. While too many lemmings do, not that many people who matter actually like or trust you.

Put down the Java manual

Thumb Up

"I found that the fact that I’d studied what really goes on in computers to a deep level got me out of some holes because I could more quickly pick up the new toy."

hear hear

Don't bother with that degree, say IT pros


Coders with no degree have a tendency to err toward spaghetti code. But they also continuously learn from their mistakes, are happy to admit they're wrong, adapt, become better. They also tend to have their eyes set on the goal, i.e. finish the damned project.

Coders with CompSci degrees suffer from another form of pasta code: Lasagne code. They layer and implement interface upon interface upon abstract class upon class it's almost impossible to find where the bloody meat of the code is! There is also no bloody way to change the point of view of a compsci student who has 'mastered' a particular design pattern. They have an awful tendency to become design pattern zealots for no bloody reason. They do however generally only have to write once and reuse the code over time, though.

So which one do you pick? Spaghetti or Lasagne?

Truth be told, you need a bit of both.


Totally agree

Generally if I see 'Computer Science' degree on a CV, especially if said person was in education after around 1995, then I treat them with a large barrel of salt.

I simply cannot fathom how CompSci grads can come out of university not knowing practically anything about the hardware or any system knowledge. How on earth can you call yourself a programmer if you don't know how to fully exploit the hardware you're given (in my case an absolute joy as we control the hardware we supply our systems on, not dissimilar to Apple - *this* is a luxury few devs can afford!)

These are questions CompSci grads couldn't answer in my interviews:

1. What is the difference between the heap an the stack?

2. How and why would you implement a semaphore?

3. What is a register in the computer?

Tell me honestly, are these questions ridiculous? Because the amount people I've turned away beggars belief.

Seriously, if you don't know a little bit of C++ to take advantage of say SIMD optimised matrices in addition to your general high level language, i.e. Java/C#/Python (delete as appropriate), then as far as I'm concerned you'd be a liability to the team.

Haiti study: Mass mobile phone tracking can be laudable


Still no excuse

This still is no excuse for mandating it in law. You can have an app that does that, but only tracks in the event of a disaster, ie survivors still alive start the app. Dead people have all the time in the world to be recovered.

HP murders webOS tablets, phones



Will the spin off of the PC business be called Compaq or Digital Equipment Corporation or something nondescript like Lenovo?

Apple eyeing Hulu acquisition, insiders say



As others have said, there's no need for Apple to do this, they have the licenses to the content already, it's just in a different delivery format. It's not Apple's business to stream ad-supported media like Hulu as there are no gigantic 30-40% profit margins in that model that Apple looks at.

What absolutely would make sense and become an absolute powerhouse to be reckoned with is a combined Hulu+Spotify. Hulu needs Spotify's European customer base and expertise and distribution mechanism, both services are complementary to each other, both are freemium services, and both have the blessings and indeed seen as the darlings of the content owners.

That would also take both services to the next level and compete with the AGA conglomerate (Apple, Google, Amazon).

Duke Nukem flack eats words over threat to reviewers


You think games PR is bad

try dealing with Ferrari as a motoring journo:


A peek inside Apple's iCloud data center


Web Objects

But from another perspective, I don't think the hardware is the issue here - it really depends on what and how iCloud runs in terms of software.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were using some whitelabel servers running Mac OS X. After all iTunes is largely a web services platform running on Apple's Web Objects - not a bad platform but not exactly a hugely mainstream platform either... and really what is iCloud but iTunes store on steroids? Wouldn't it be ironic if they were indeed hackintoshes?

<3 Teradata.

Apple embraces 'n' extends messaging


Antitrust shenanigans

What is interesting is all this walled garden movement, evangelised by Apple today will inevitably lead to some sort of antitrust suit.

In regard to iMessage in particular, SMS needs to die or become free. The one good thing about SMS is it's interoperable amongst any mobile device. It's problem is that paying 8-20p for a 160 character message in today's connected world is ludicrous. It still has a life if it became universally free. But that's also leads to a problem with these anachronistic dinosaurs aka the carrier networks believing they are anything more than a big fat dumb data pipe.

iMessage is also a direct copy of BBM. Problem is that the iPhone doesn't have any credibility as a secure device in front of the BlackBerry, and aside from being free, that's also a major factor in people's use of BBM. Furthermore it's the kids who are using BBM more than anyone else - a 16 year old son of a friend of mine actually was given a choice of what phone to get, including an iPhone and he chose a BlackBerry purely due to BBM.

However, as the article discusses, this is about the walled garden versus the open standard. This is irrelevant. Any standard - open or otherwise - isn't worth the paper it's written on if it's not adopted, and in the case of an open standard the onus is even greater as it needs widescale adoption to tilt the point of critical mass. Skype is as much of a 'standard' VoIP protocol as SIP is, though one's closed and one open.

It's more about antitrust and specifically, vendor lock in. Apple will eventually get done for antitrust - this a given and a matter of time - but it does require those damned regulators with their snouts in the corporate trough to wake up! At the moment, there's only a very tiny amount of self-regulation where vendor lock-ins upset a bigger player - see the Adobe v Apple fight over Flash v HTML5 - even though it's Google who stands to gain the most from HTML5 being widely adopted.

Vendor lock in is a rife problem in the tech/telecoms industry and somewhat a form of modus operandi of giant tech / telco companies. But it just shows how and why there needs to be regulation in the form of a new set of dentures for the various Competition Commissions around the world.

BT network goes titsup up north



Blame Bob Crow :P

App Store II: Steve Jobs sucks Mac's soul


Both a good and bad thing

To be honest, the Mac App store is in general a good thing, but it also shows a couple of other facts:

1. Why doesn't VersionTracker or MacUpdate produce a store of their own with more lenient terms of use?

2. If I were a developer, I'd simply release a differently-named version of the software (if it is compatible with store's guidelines) with an RRP of 130% of the original product. If I had to bastardise my software to pass the guidelines, I'd strip out the offending parts and sell a 'lite' version that doesn't have such terminology in it's name. In other words, if a consumer has the nous to use the web to find the original software, they can save themselves 30%, and the developer sees the same revenues regardless.

3. While certainly not all, a lot of the decent Mac software has a number of kexts, control panels or wraps open source software within it. Think Growl (Control Panel), Viscosity (OpenVPN), or Airfoil (Audio HiJack kext), so it's a pretty ridiculous exercise to deny such apps the distribution they deserve.

4. The biggest problem though is that the Mac is used for serious apps, not the average level of crap that's available on the iOS store. I can't quite see myself buying Photoshop at full RRP on the Mac store, but I can see myself hunting around retailers to find the best price.

Apple threatens Java with death on the Mac



In all likelihood, Apple wasn't exactly releasing Java updates as regularly as Sun did, and I think they've just given up the ghost on maintaining it themselves. Don't forget the most salient point of this Java update is that it allows for other JDK's to be installed in the process.

Seems to me that they just want to palm off the responsibility to Oracle and be done with it. As to whether they've given Oracle their Aqua integration stuff as well is entirely a different matter, but if I were Apple I'd do that and maintain the ability to run it.

After all the Mac is actually a really, really good platform to run Java on - intended consequence or not.

People have no bloody idea about saving energy


Hot countries are more eco friendly than colder ones

As someone who grew up in the mediterranean, we have oil heating (ie the most expensive type) for winter and we have air con in summer when it's cold. We also have water shortages aplenty and we have to think of ingenious ways to get rid of rubbish generally, because if left out in the sun it stinks to high heaven.

What's different between hot and cold climes is that while we have central heating and aircon, we NEVER use it ALL the time. We only put aircon on if it's above 35 outside or during a heatwave, otherwise simply closing the shutters and keeping the house dark is a remarkably efficient way of keeping a house cool in summer. Opening the windows wide open is possibly the worst thing you can do to keep cool. Similarly in winter, we don't need the central heating on at all. Just a few short bursts (2 hours between 6 and 8pm for example) is plenty heat for the entire night. Needless to say if you have the aircon on while in bed, you're pretty stupid as you'll wake up with a chill, and if you have your heating on while asleep too, your duvet isn't good enough or, quite frankly, you're not heating yourself up making passionate love. Yes, sex is a pretty good way of keeping warm!

Rubbish in hot countries has to be picked up within a day before it gasses the street. Seriously perishable stuff is usually biodegradable anyway, and mincing it up and putting it down the drain is a better bet (provided your drains can handle it). Then what's left is plastics, glass, paper and aluminium, which surprisingly is all recyclable and doesn't stink.

Furthermore, when I explained to my (English) girlfriend that there was a water shortage one summer, she balked at the fact I left the bathwater in the bath and scooped it up and threw it down the toilet instead of using the normal flusher. Old soapy bathwater is perfectly good enough to flush away last night's curry (and the soap helps ward off the nasty niff emitting skid marks left in the old bowl).

Finally practically everyone over there knows that heating stuff up is the most expensive thing to do. So the amount of crap that resides on top of an oven (because everyone cooks real mediterranean food needing HOURS of cooking) is amazing - kettles, hot water bottles, coils for outside hosepipes linked to the outdoor shower and so forth. Last but not least the ubiquitous solar panels to heat up water is almost everywhere.

The point of it all, is just using PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE and a little bit of LATERAL thinking pays a huge dividends - that's why my typical energy bills come in on average at on average, one sixth of mates' bills, and I wouldn't particularly call myself eco-conscious at all (I certainly don't bother unplugging my stuff, and I like my light!).

RIM tries to placate everyone


In other words...

RIM have implemented a proper encryption policy on their devices between customers handsets and customer's servers, and their servers merely route messages.

I think all communications should be done this way. If police need to tap a line or access messages, they have to get the data from customers' premises in the country the server is located in. In other words, if you need access to customers' private data, sort it out with a customer, don't ask a middleman like an ISP, network operator or phone maker.

Oracle sues Google over Java in Android


In some ways C# is more open than Java

While C# is an ECMA standard, when MS submitted it, it also submitted the CLR to ECMA as well, so it's as open as the other big ECMA standard, JavaScript. Java on the other hand has it's JVM exclusively controlled by Sun and now Oracle, and has never been 'open' in the same way, so it does surprise me that Java is perceived as an 'open' language while C# is perceived as 'proprietary'. For once MS did the right thing there...

Sure, mono and other C# / .NET derived projects aren't quite as enterprise ready when used away from Windows, primarily because only MS and Novell really drive C#, while Java has Google, Oracle, IBM and practically every other house supporting and contributing to it. Similarly OSS foundations like Apache, while incubating some C# projects, haven't made all of their projects C#, and that's the only thing IMO other than odd .exe and .dll binaries on a *nix platform when using mono that really stall C#. Credit to MS for producing it, because it's truly a wonderful language.

On the flipside though since I mentioned Apache, they've proven to be a very good house for incubating and even things like the relatively basic apache commons project establishes Java as a richer environment than most. I say that Oracle hand over Java to ASF and be done with this nonsense.