* Posts by Nigel Kneale

42 posts • joined 16 May 2007

Sinclair BASIC comes to Raspberry Pi

Nigel Kneale

Big deal?

If the author wasn't passing this off as a nextgen Sinclair BASIC and removed all Sinclair-related terms when talking about it, would anyone give a damn about yet another flavour of BASIC?

Pirate Bay judge cleared of bias by Swedish appeal court

Nigel Kneale

Another blow against armchair lawyers

Face it, freetards, when it comes to the law, you know jack shit.

Google's email goes titsup (again)

Nigel Kneale


"Without a proper SLA (or something like it) how can I and the service provider possibly work out if the service fits my needs"

You use your intelligence and intuition. With *no* SLA, assume the worst can happen and you wouldn't have a pot to piss in when it came to compensation.

" - and how can the provider be sure that my expectations are not too high for what they are offering?"

I'm sure the provider couldn't care less about your personal requirements if it's attracting enough sign-ups to its free lunch, I mean service.

Nigel Kneale


As GMail - have a look at the Terms. It's pretty clear you're on your own if something goes wrong.

4. Provision of the Services by Google

4.3 As part of this continuing innovation, you acknowledge and agree that Google may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services (or any features within the Services) to you or to users generally at Google’s sole discretion, without prior notice to you. You may stop using the Services at any time. You do not need to specifically inform Google when you stop using the Services.

4.4 You acknowledge and agree that if Google disables access to your account, you may be prevented from accessing the Services, your account details or any files or other content which is contained in your account.

15. Limitation of Liability

15.1 Nothing in these Terms shall exclude or limit Google’s liability for losses which may not be lawfully excluded or limited by applicable law.

15.2 Subject to overall provision in paragraph 15.1 above, Google, its Subsidiaries and Affiliates, and its licensors shall not be liable to you for:

(A) any indirect or consequential losses which may be incurred by you. This shall include any loss of profit (whether incurred directly or indirectly), any loss of goodwill or business reputation, or any loss of data suffered by you;

(B) any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of:

(i) any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any advertising, or as a result of any relationship or transaction between you and any advertiser or sponsor whose advertising appears on the Services;

(ii) any changes which Google may make to the Services, or for any permanent or temporary cessation in the provision of the Services (or any features within the Services);

(iii) the deletion of, corruption of, or failure to store, any Content and other communications data maintained or transmitted by or through your use of the Services;

(iii) your failure to provide Google with accurate account information;

(iv) your failure to keep your password or account details secure and confidential;

15.3 The limitations on Google’s liability to you in paragraph 15.2 above shall apply whether or not Google has been advised of or should have been aware of the possibility of any such losses arising.

Google auto-links YouTube, Google accounts

Nigel Kneale

"I go to some lengths to try and block Google from tracking me"

The answer's simple - if you don't want Google tracking how you use Google services, don't use them. Oh, and fool yourself into thinking that every other significant web service doesn't do exactly the same thing.

Pirate Bay loses trial: defendants face prison time, hefty fines

Nigel Kneale
Thumb Up

All together now...

Ha ha ha ha ha...

This is what happens when reality collides with a swarm of armchair lawyers.

Without typo-squatters, how far would Google fall?

Nigel Kneale

Sigh - more misguided Google-bashing?

"But whether Google has run afoul of the law or not, it's certainly enabling outfits that do. Judging from Edelman's study, Google could end 80 per cent of all typo-squatting if it would simply ban domain parkers from AdSense."

Bollocks. Typo-squatting happened before without Google involvement, complete with ads. Under that proposal, the money will be earned by another organisation and the squatters will still exist.

Google: 'We are Meltdown proof'

Nigel Kneale

Not recession-proof - by far

Whilst I believe that companies should use Google advertising only when it works for them (i.e. make more money on sales provided than it spends on the Google ad campaign), recessions more or less wipe out marketing budgets of any sorts, be it in print, on TV or online. The effectiveness or otherwise of Google's ads become irrelevant if you haven't got the budget to buy them.

Given that Google lives or dies by ads right now, all they're going to do is live off the giant pile of money they have under the stairs somewhere.

Google's IP anonymization fails to anonymize

Nigel Kneale

@Chris C

Guilty until proven innocent, eh? Classy.

Nigel Kneale


That would be Yahoo. All Google has done is filter search results - unless you can provide URLs saying otherwise.

Nigel Kneale

@IPB - You're not naive

Please, every Google-hater here, please list all the bad things that have happened precisely because Google keeps usage statistics. All I'm seeing here is fear and paranoia.

Microsoft, Novell shake hands on virtualization

Nigel Kneale

Simple reason why

Migrating critical Windows servers to Linux is less risky if you switch individual services to a Linux VM running on the same server. Once you have enough services running in the Linux VM, then switching over completely to a native Linux server becomes much easier.

And vice versa, of course.

Google smears Chrome on 'sacred' home page

Nigel Kneale


Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel. Run out of ways to run down Google? Never mind, you'll think of some more soon.

Google restores Chrome's shine

Nigel Kneale

@Matt Bradley

I agree, even going so far as saying Macs and Linux too.

Especially considering Linux apps aren't as usable as they could be - having a more usable online equivalent Google app would be a very tempting choice.

The way to combat this? Develop better applications so people won't want to use the Google options.

Which is how it should be, really.

Google remodels top secret money machine

Nigel Kneale

You might not click on an ad...

...but someone else will. The percentage of clickers over viewers (and of eventual buyers over clickers) might be small, but for *any* ad campaign, if that percentage is high enough to cover costs and generate enough sales to make the ad campaign worthwhile, then these ads work.

It's like spam emails and Nigerian scams - their hit-rate is probably a fraction of one percent, but enough people respond to make it all worthwhile.

El Reg's coverage of Adwords, and most of the comments following it, reveal that very very few people here understand marketing strategies. Which of course is good for El Reg as it enables them to climb onto their anti-Google hobbyhorse and start spreading more FUD about them.

Nigel Kneale

Obligatory reminder of common sense:

If Google are making more money advertising your wares than you are earning from sales made through their adverts, then Google aren't the advertisers for you.

Go hire proper marketing people.

Calling Google evil money-grabbing bastards because their ad campaigns aren't good for you won't solve anything. Switch to someone who knows what they're doing.

Microsoft slaps another $100m on Novell interop pile

Nigel Kneale

Moonlight will never match Silverlight 100%

But then again, does Firefox support match MSIE support? OpenOffice and MSOffice? (that one's obvious) SAMBA and MS file shares? Mono and .NET?

Vice versa?

Each of those projects will live or die by their compatibility level. 100% will never be attained - the browser wars showed that.

90% might be good enough for most people. What's important is whether or not the remaining 10% could be lived without.

Nigel Kneale

Whither the FSF?

I guess all that chest-thumping from the FSF and followers about how MS and Novell are breaching the GPL by using these vouchers was just a load of hot air.

So, the GPL3 then...

* Software patents still a threat in certain countries regardless.

* "Tivoization" still happening.

* MS/Novell deal still blossoming.

What was the point of it again? Surely it wasn't just the FSF trying to appear relevant, was it? My that *was* a useful year of hot air, wasn't it?

Screwgle™ - Google's new ad revenue model

Nigel Kneale
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Don't like it? Don't use it

No matter what the merits of Google's revenues the fact remains that if a Google-based ad campaign doesn't provide a large enough return for you, then you should stop using it.

Let people use Google ads as it is if it works for them. If your eye is so far off the ball that you don't realise that the amount paid for Google ads isn't justified by the business it brings then whose fault is it really?

SCO ordered to pay Novell $2.5m Unix royalties

Nigel Kneale


Seems you've been so brainwashed by Groklaw so that you don't notice when SCO wins on various points in court. Let me guess - you believe that everything SCO claims is a lie, right?

Read the ruling. SCO Source licences was ruled to cover "SCO IP" - which doesn't cover SVRX as SCO doesn't have the rights to that. SCO misrepresented the SCO Source licence, but the licence itself is legitimate, although virtually worthless. So, Novell has no claim to that money, and the SCO Source licence had a get-out clause such that licencees couldn't get a refund if it was found to be worthless. End result: SCO keeps $17.4m out of $19.9m. Still think that's not a win for SCO?

I'm no SCO backer, but at least have the objectivity to realise that Novell only won on one single counterclaim out of many. Yes, SCO got toasted in SCO vs Novell, but Novell vs SCO went quite well for them.

Nigel Kneale


Read the ruling text. Novell only got $2.5m out of the $19.9m they were after. Novell got *no* SCO Source money and only a part of the Sun money.

Out of Novell's counterclaims, the only substantive thing they won was that $2.5m and that was on a single counterclaim out of many.

SCO kept $17.4m, *and* it had SCO Source declared OK - dodgy, but OK.

OK, so it's going to get wiped from the consequences of its original case against Novell when the hammer falls in the IBM case, but SCO vs Novell and Novell vs SCO turned out to be a non-event. Novell was confirmed to own the UNIX rights, got $2.5m for the Sun deal, and that's it.

Nigel Kneale


...bear in mind the Groklaw coverage over the past two or three years has been increasingly "editorialized" - it gave the impression that the counterclaims were a slam-dunk for Novell, instead of SCO winning most of the arguments, arguments which Groklaw's PJ ignored completely because of her biases in this matter.

Skim through the text versions of the filings, and especially the rulings, because PJ's analysis didn't see yesterday's ruling coming at *all*.

Google will anonymize YouTube data before sharing with Viacom

Nigel Kneale

A side thought: what's wrong with my idea?

First of all, assume the worst happens and YouTube gets whacked severely, and that YouTube et al are held responsible for content streamed from their archives.

How about this for a Plan B?:

1) YouTube et al are forced to clear out their archive and start again. (I know, I know, but bear with me...)

2) The old Google Video method is introduced - all videos to be pre-screened by site staff before being allowed to be published on the site.

Knock-on effect #1: The rate of uploads would need to be throttled. This could be managed by limiting the amount of active users at any time, ironically like UKNova does (did?). If a user doesn't upload anything for a month, then his upload priviledges are given to someone else (but his videos stay up on the site).

Knock-on effect #2: YouTube would have to employ staff to pre-screen videos. This could either be paid for by ads, or a small subscription fee paid by the uploaders.

Knock-on effect #3: YouTube wouldn't have the man-power to handle all of #2 at the current upload rate, so the effective YouTube monopoly would be broken by other video streaming sites being formed to take up the slack. Video search engines along the lines of the current Google Video search model would effectively unify them in the eyes of the video browsers. Even a unified commenting method could be introduced.

Knock-on effect #4: YouTube et al minimize their risks whilst also allowing people to upload their skateboarding dogs and blog videos and maintaining free speech.

What could possibly go wrong?

Asus blames lack of Linux Eee PCs on Atom hold-ups

Nigel Kneale
Paris Hilton

Makes some kinda sense

Throughout history there have been "must-have" products invented, but manufactured at a rate that was way below demand. So the product gets blazingly good reviews, and then terrible publicity and a backlash when people can't get their hands on one.

Asus got a bit of flack because of the 701 stock issues, but now they have some sales data so they can manage the issue a little better.

All these 901's will get sold - both XP and Linux versions.

The Linux versions will sell-out immediately (even if all the machines were Linux), so the bad publicity regarding understocking is unavoidable there.

For the XP side, I guess Asus did some sums and figured out that the selling rates of those will mean that the current stocks will last significantly longer on the shop shelves.

End result: anyone wanting an XP 901 will be able to get one, together with every XP 901 eventually being sold at full price. Everyone who uses and sells XP will be happy.

Linux users (like myself - plus I'm expecting the same issues when the Eee Box is launched) are in a no-win situation either way, relying on tracking stock levels day-to-day.

As Asus cannot make these things fast enough, this sales tactic is the best way forward in order to keep more market sectors happy.

Paris, because she knows that giving it all away on the first night is regrettable in the long term.

Patent violation, prosecution, acquisition: pick your top open-source project

Nigel Kneale

Forcing the issue is *good*

Sooner or later the (US) patent timebomb is going to blow, so lets get some case law on the books to use as ammo to get the laws fixed.

Hawkeye technology turns tennis into a cartoon

Nigel Kneale

Do as they do in Cricket for LBW decisions

Show the real video first immediately followed by Hawkeye.

I can't see what the problem is beyond adding a few seconds to the proceedings.

Xandros buys Linspire, says bruised ex-CEO

Nigel Kneale


"If you've used Xandros on the EEE, you'll notice that it basically IS Windows now."

I have, and it isn't.

The Full Desktop looks like any other KDE desktop (because it *is* KDE), and the Simple Desktop looks unlike anything I've used before.

Xandros have a good little product there: Linux for the masses.

Funny how the mere mention of Microsoft stops a lot of people around here being rational.

Sun picks away at NetApp's patent claims

Nigel Kneale


I don't think NetApp had a chance, PR-wise, being trapped in a no-win situation where they had to choose between suing, being sued, or paying massive licence fees for their own technology.

All Sun had to do was mutter the words "patent troll" whilst dangling ZFS in front of the "Free Software" crowd and all NetApp could rely on from that moment on was a favourable court judgement or settlement in order to prove their case to the masses.

A win for NetApp will harm the credibility of the "Free Software" movement as their morality-based arguments will be undermined by selling their soul to aid a greedy corporation whilst it attempts to crush a competitor.

Nigel Kneale

This case may be entertaining...

...but this will show that the "Free Software" types are able to be bribed to do your dirty work if you dangle a large enough prize in front of their noses.

Shame on you all.

Beeb's online music stations get rewind button

Nigel Kneale

Pity RealPlayer is getting droppped

I used to use mplayer to dump RealAudio streams to WAV files before converting them to MP3s.

UK Unix group vows to appeal OOXML ruling

Nigel Kneale
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Most people don't know this is normal

I'd take the anti-OOXML/anti-ISO commenters more seriously if they'd actually followed and taken part in previous ISO standards debates and approvals - and I'm not talking document formats here.

The fact is that the ISO has acted totally consistently compared to previous approvals. Their critics are trying to force rules on the ISO and their voting members which simply are not there.

All these "experts" wanting to take all these standards agencies to court aren't experts in the right field - they need a lot more previous experience with the ISO processes, and they don't appear to have it.

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter if there's more than one ISO standard when it comes to document formats - take a look at the other ISO standards out there and you'll find there's countless examples of overlapping and competing standards.

It's *normal*.

Just pick the standard you want to use according to your own requirements.

Google keeps killing penguins for money

Nigel Kneale

"Coming up next on BBC News Channel...

...Private company keeps one of its competitive edges secret to maximize profits. But first here's Sindy with the weather..."

OLPC and Microsoft punt Windows-only XO laptop

Nigel Kneale

Reality bites

A bit of due-diligence at the start of the project would have revealed that most govts out there won't make significant cash outlays on non-MS IT systems - not unless you've got a *really* good salesman who can understand and calm their fears. Mere FLOSS advocacy isn't enough.

OLPC sweet talks Microsoft

Nigel Kneale

Must admit...

...with bespoke hardware *and* software, attempting to redefine how a computer is supposed to be, I can't help thinking about the QL and the SAM Coupe.

Both were meant to be revolutionary, both used specialist hardware, and both died on their arses because little companies with small budgets run by inexperienced directors attempting to do big new things mean that so many corners have to be cut that the end result loses its appeal.

A bigger company with more talented staff could have pulled this off.

And other companies will do so.

BBC vs ISPs: Bandwidth row escalates as Tiscali wades in

Nigel Kneale
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Why just the BBC and not the others?

So what's going to happen when YouTube et al offer high-definition videos instead of the current low-def offerings? Are UK ISPs really going to expect US websites to donate towards their costs?

Sun sues NetApp, take three

Nigel Kneale


...that NetApp only sued in the first place because Sun sent them threatening letters demanding millions in royalties for use of Sun payments and NetApp wanted a ruling confirming their rights.

Then Sun draped itself in the Free Software flag, brushed over the fact that it backed SCO's lawsuits, and the rest is history.

SCO bags $100m to fight another day

Nigel Kneale

Groklaw's already found the Microsoft connection.

But then again yesterday they found the Microsoft connection between their toast being burnt and their breakfast ruined.

Perens: 'Badgeware' threat to open source's next decade

Nigel Kneale

Re: Busybox

Busybox is central to the embedded Linux market. However, Perens abandoned the projected several years ago, and Rob Landley et al (no Perens involvement, apart from claiming the credit) rewrote it to make it the tool of choice for embedded devices.

Nigel Kneale

Before OSI and the FSF...

...was general public domain which was evolving in that direction anyway as more source code was published and one-off licences were written that basically said "here's the program, here's the code, do what you like, but remember to credit me and publish your version."

If you believe the hype then Perens invented open source and Stallman wrote the first free-of-charge C compiler. Those who were using public domain code and utilities the decades before they appeared on the scene know that these practices and utilities already existed.

If the OSI and FSF didn't exist, something very similar to their work would have been formed in their place. They're not visionaries - they're certainly not leaders - they just try to claim the credit for the collective work done by coders like you and me.

The history of public domain software in the 60s/70s/80s/90s is an interesting one, and well worth looking into if you don't fancy the fawning that follows the cults of Stallman and Perens et al.


GPL whiz Moglen nails Web 2.0 O'Reilly on 'frivolous' charges

Nigel Kneale

I like the FSF

I love the way the FSF assumes that companies that rely on GPL'd software should be told how to run their business, all in the name of freedom.

Microsoft vouchers undercut patent claims

Nigel Kneale

Questionable logic

These FSF claims rely on a few questionable assumptions:

1) That MS is a distributor by selling/giving vouchers for Linux support. The FSF is now saying that anyone doing this now has to obey GPL3, even if they never copied or even touched code released under it. The FUD risk is immeasurable: "Have any business with GPL'd code and you'll lose all your patents!"

2) That the coupons will be redeemed and not cancelled/replaced.

3) That Novell won't turn around and say "ah, but those vouchers are only for the latest GPL2 versions of everything".

It's #1 I have real problems with. I cannot see how any company can be party to the GPL, or can be shown to have accepted the GPL, if they're not copying GPL code and giving it out to other people.


Pipex to shutter UK Bulldog call centres

Nigel Kneale

Nothing changes

Pipex has been for sale officially and unofficially for at least four years. The infrastructure is shoddy, the management more than a little cliquey, and have only been buying up other companies to buy time and make their bottom line look good to potential buyers. I'm glad I stopped working for them - in fact working for them put me off working for corporations for life.


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