* Posts by Jon 37

530 posts • joined 28 Nov 2009


Enough with the notifications! Focus Assist will shut them u… 'But I'm too important!'

Jon 37

Re: It's not just the OS...

It's not the technology that was the problem, it was a series of boneheaded business decisions.

Microsoft has a reputation for introducing stuff and then cancelling it, including dropping support for already sold hardware. Especially in the Consumer Electronics space. Multiple phone projects, their MP3 player, ...

That in turn means you can't trust Microsoft when they introduce a new platform. Regardless of how good the technology is. So people don't adopt it straight away, so Microsoft decides it has failed and kills it. It's become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Also, Microsoft needs to not compete with it's customers. When Microsoft bought Nokia, that killed Windows Phone dead. The other manufacturers were not going to buy a key technology from Nokia, their major competitor. And just Nokia phones was too small a market for Windows Phone to attract apps, and apps are essential.

US expands efforts to hamstring China’s chipmaking mojo

Jon 37

ASML's equipment is in lots of fabs. Losing ASML would not affect that immediately. It would only affect the supply of new machines, and some parts. There would be time to deal with the problem.

Also, since ASML is very profitable, it's unlikely to go bust or be taken over by a new owner who makes major changes to it. And any chipmaker who tried to acquire it would fall afoul of regulators, since ASML is a monopoly.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

Jon 37

Re: Straightforward solution

If you have a web site that requires a log in, or a shopping site with a shopping cart feature, then cookies are a reasonable solution.

And by logging in, or adding something to a shopping cart, you should be consenting to cookies for those purposes.

But most sites shouldn't need cookies.

Former chip research professor jailed for not disclosing Chinese patents

Jon 37

Don't talk to the police

This is why you don't talk to the police.

The case against him was shaky, until he spoke to the FBI. At that point the original case was dropped, he'd given them an easy "lying to the FBI" conviction.

Microsoft accidentally turned off hardware requirements for Windows 11

Jon 37

There is a huge difference between "I can install it and it seems to run" versus "all the parts actually work and should continue to do so in future updates".

Microsoft breaking the install time check does not suddenly make all the rest of the OS work on unsupported hardware.

To the extent that Windows 11 has support for older processors, that is probably just because Windows 11 started off by copying the Windows 10 source code. Microsoft won't bother writing such support code when they change things in future. And they are likely to remove existing old processor support code when changing stuff in future - such code just makes programs slightly bigger, slower, and harder to test.

Foxconn factory fiasco could leave Wisconsinites on the hook for $300m

Jon 37


British "court orders" can't bind the UK government for years. They can always change the law, if they want to. It's pretty much a one-line law: "As an exception to the sanctions against Iran, the UK government can pay Iran the refund it owes for the cancelled tanks order".

And in those court cases, it was the UK trying to get out of paying. And then trying to get out of paying interest.

Regarding her being a dual national ... so what? She wasn't kidnapped because she had an Iranian citizenship. She was kidnapped because she had a British citizenship and lived in Britain and had a spouse in Britain and photogenic children in Britain. And she was female and photogenic. All of which made her an ideal pawn for negotiations. Her spouse could talk to the UK press to apply pressure to the UK government. The photogenic female victim, and caring spouse, makes it a good sob story for the UK press. The photogenic young children makes it an even better sob story for the UK press.

And a British government minister then made up a false story about her just being in Iran to ... do something that would have broken Iranian law. And announced it on TV as a fact. Like, how big of an idiot do you have to be to run your mouth on something like that, and give Iran a perfect excuse to keep her in jail.

Starlink's Portability mode lets you take your sat broadband dish anywhere*

Jon 37

Re: "If Starlink detects a dish isn't at its home address, there's no guarantee of service"

If you take enough Starlink dishes to the same location, they will run out of bandwidth. E.g. if you have a few thousand people turn up for a festival, and they are all camping in a field with their dishes, then there's no way Starlink can provide enough bandwidth. In that case, they quite reasonably prioritize the fixed dishes rather than the roaming ones. E.g. that means that the people in the village near the campsite can continue to work from home using their Starlink connections.

Regarding moving: One of the problems is Doppler shift. If a radio transmitter and a radio receiver are moving towards each other, then the receiver will see a higher frequency than the transmitter is actually transmitting. Similarly a lower frequency if they are moving away. This means that a moving dish will see different satellite frequencies than it expects, and will probably fail to decode them. This happens even at typical car speeds.

It is possible to correct for Doppler. And they must be doing that to account for the satellite movement. However, they likely design their correction system with the expectation that the ground stations were not moving.

Another problem is that I believe that the ground stations shape the transmissions to go to the satellite. If they are aiming off to one side, and you drive around a bend, suddenly they are not pointing at the satellite any more. It is possible to fix this, with the right sensors on the base stations. But since Starlink are selling a fixed service, there is no reason for them to incur the cost of those sensors.

Putin threatens supply chains with counter-sanction order

Jon 37

Re: You want to play hardball?

I think one very clear thing to emerge from this is that nations need nuclear weapons to deter invasion from Russia.

As well as needing nuclear weapons to deter invasion from the US. (Compare the handling of Iraq vs Iran. Iraq didn't have nukes and got invaded. Iran probably doesn't have nukes but is very cleverly playing the "but we are close and could develop them quickly if we needed to" card).

Countries with nukes don't get invaded.

Joining NATO is a way to get the protection of US nukes against Russia, and the alliance with the US to protect against the US.

Elon Musk set to buy Twitter in $44b deal, promises stuff

Jon 37

Many of the shareholders will support the deal. They get to sell their shares for more than the pre-announcement price.

The regulators are unlikely to care much. Musk isn't a competitor to Twitter and there's no monopoly.

SoftBank aims to keep control of Arm after IPO – report

Jon 37

If it increases in value as the current semiconductor mess eases, then they will get some money now and more later as they sell off the rest of ARM over time.

They want some money now, so they can spend that money on something else. They think the price will go up over time, so by keeping part of ARM for now and selling it later, they think they will get more money overall.

Jon 37

Re: So the competition watchdogs

They probably wouldn't worry so much if Intel had a small stake in ARM. Intel wants to start fabbing chips designed by others, and that includes ARM chips. So a small stake- with lots of other companies to prevent Intel from abusing it - seems reasonable.

Obviously Intel buying 100% of ARM would be blocked.

ASML CEO: Industrial conglomerate buying washing machines to rip out semiconductors

Jon 37

No-one uses 4-bit or mask ROMs nowadays.

At minimum, they'll have an 8-bit or 16-bit processor with on-chip flash memory for the code.

Some of them probably have 32-bit ARM cores. The ARM Cortex M series are cheap, and there are several reasonably cheap microcontrollers that use them.

At the high end... well, my tumble dryer has WiFi and an app to tell you when it's done. Lots of computing power. (That I don't use, because why would I want the security risks of connecting my tumble dryer to the Internet).

Oracle already wins 'crypto bug of the year' with Java digital signature bypass

Jon 37

Re: User presents a certificate

There are trusted CAs that have ECDSA root certificates trusted by all OSs and browsers.

With this vulnerability, anyone can create certificates allowing them to impersonate any TLS server they like. This allows an attacker who is able to intercept traffic, to view and change your communications with any TLS server.

Atlassian comes clean on what data-deleting script behind outage actually did

Jon 37


It's not just GDPR. There are a bunch of laws that might require data to be really deleted.

Without those laws, the sysadmins could always do "mark as deleted", which can be easily undone when someone makes a mistake. Because of those laws, they had to add a "really delete this now" mode to the script. And when someone made a mistake and had used that option, there was no way to get the data back except restoring from backup.

OpenSSH takes aim at 'capture now, decrypt later' quantum attacks

Jon 37

Re: What's the problem?

> It's trendy to believe that the NSA only releases/approves defective algorithms that provide them with secret backdoors, but there's no evidence to that effect

Nice use of the word "only". Because we know that at least one algorithm produced by the NSA for public adoption, had a very clever back door.


The problem is that it is hard to find a back door. The easiest solution is, once an organisation has proven to be an attacker trying to introduce back doors, stop using new algorithms from them.

HP finance manager went on $5m personal spending spree with company card

Jon 37

There's no way she can actually make amends. But she can "try", totally unsuccessfully.

Trying to make amends is a mitigating factor in sentencing. So the lawyer is doing their best for their client, by publicly claiming this mitigating factor in the hope that their client gets a shorter sentence.

OVHcloud datacenter 'lacked' automatic fire extinguishers, electrical cutoff

Jon 37

But Cloud!!!

It magically makes computers easy, and I save money because I don't need to hire an IT department!


AMD confirms Ryzen chips' stuttering performance on Windows 10, 11

Jon 37

One real use of a TPM is whole disk encryption on laptops.

Used to be, if you encrypted the whole disk, then you had to type a password on boot, and that password would decrypt the disk.

If you just put that password somewhere, then a hacker would read it from wherever you left it.

With TPM, you can store the password in the TPM chip, and do "Secure Boot". The TPM chip monitors every step of the boot process, to ensure you're booting your normal BIOS and normal OS. If so, it decrypts the disk for you. If not, then it refuses to give up the key.

This means that an attacker can't get the key to decrypt the disk easily. I mean, everything is possible if you have enough time and money, or if you have an exploit, or if the OS or software has been configured insecurely. Your security only has to be good enough to defeat a realistic attacker.

This is clearly not as good as typing in the long memorised password on every boot. But normal people didn't do that. And it's a lot better than an unencrypted disk or a post-it note with the password stuck to the laptop.

Russia mulls making software piracy legal and patent licensing compulsory

Jon 37

Re: Time to cut off all access

There is value in keeping the Internet communications open, so people in Russia can get news and information from non-Russian sources that don't have to toe the party line.

If you want the Russian people to vote Putin out and/or stage a coup, then they need to know what's happening. If all they hear is Russian propoganda, they would have no reason to do that.

400Gbps is the new normal for biz networks

Jon 37

Re: The eternal questions

It's not aimed at home users, it's for completely different worlds:

* As you get closer to the network backbone, network connections have to get faster. So an Internet provider who is aggregating multiple home network connections over a (redundant pair of) link(s), needs each one to be many times faster than the home network connections. This applies to connections within their network, and connections to their upstream Internet providers.

* In a datacenter that has a bunch of servers connected to top-of rack switches, which are connected to intermediate switches, which are connected to the core, then the top-of-rack to intermediate network connections need to be many times faster than the server to top-of-rack connections. And the intermediate-to-core connections may need to be faster still. The servers will be communicating within the data center, so their speed is not limited by Internet speeds. Modern servers will be connected to the top-of-rack switches at at least 10Gbps, and perhaps more, so if you have a rack of 40 servers that's theoretically 400Gbps, though you may be able to get away with slower connections since they might not all be sending data at the same time (depending on your use-case).

No defence for outdated defenders as consumer AV nears RIP

Jon 37

Re: Failure of capitalism

Unregulated pure capitalism does not work. People will act in their own interests, which will be to pollute the environment, make their workers work in horrible conditions with no regards for safety, sell defective products if they can get away with it, etc. This is all well known.

Regarding the antivirus market, the incentive is to scare consumers into spending lots of money, to have lots of tickbox features so you can "win" product comparisons, and to provide software that defends against most viruses. Making that software fast and compatible is not so important. Making that software unobtrusive so it "just works" actually works against the goals.

There is weak regulation and no way for a consumer to sensibly compare products, so that is what you get.

Now, Microsoft has different incentives. They want Windows to be fast and safe and easy to use, so they can sell Windows and Office and all their other software. Hence they give away a free, fast, relatively unobtrusive antivirus, to everyone who has bought Windows.

So while capitalism caused a mess in the "separate antivirus" market, in the overall "Windows antivirus" market it has worked. We ended up with a single free solution being the clear winner, which is good for consumers.

Intel chases after Bitcoin miners with dedicated chip

Jon 37

Re: If it's that good

Finding all bitcoins is not an end to mining.

You can optionally agree to pay a fee for your Bitcoin transfer to be processed. The miner gets that fee. Naturally, when choosing what transactions to include, the miner will choose the ones with the biggest fees

So finding all the bitcoins may well be the end of free Bitcoin transactions, but not the end of mining. Sadly.

France says Google Analytics breaches GDPR when it sends data to US

Jon 37

Re: Confusing GA with advertising

No one is stopping you from doing analytics. They are stopping you from using non-EU services for analytics.

Indian PM says digital rupee will facilitate creation of global digital payment scheme

Jon 37

Re: Digital Currency = collapsed economy?

The UK has "Faster Payments", a scheme for fast transfers between the banks that use it. Payments are pretty much instant. It's free, and is the normal way of making smaller transfers. (There is a limit of a few thousand pounds, so bigger payments have to go through the old overnight system).

Chip shortage: Buyers sign multiyear, no-take-back deals to secure supplies, says NXP

Jon 37

Re: "non-cancellable, non-returnable"

The issue is that customers did not place advanced orders for the chips they needed. Or, in the case of car manufacturers, they did but then they cancelled them at the start of COVID.

The chip manufacturers can supply whatever you want, given enough time to schedule manufacturing and if the deal is profitable enough.

However, given the shortages, the chip manufacturers don't want to waste manufacturing capacity on orders that will get cancelled or returned for a refund. Hence them wanting NCNR terms. And customers are desperate enough to agree to them.

Amazon stretches working life of its servers an extra year, for AWS and its own ops

Jon 37

Re: "servers have a useful life of five years"

The accounting rules say that you divide the capital cost of the server by its expected lifetime in years, and you put that cost in your accounts each year.

So you have to know how long the server will last.

Amazon announced a change to how long the server lasts *for accounting purposes*. While this has to be based on reality, it may be based on changes to replacement cycles that have happened gradually.

Another US president, time for another big Intel factory promise by another CEO

Jon 37

Re: Wishful thinking

Yes. Because Chinese wages are too high, and Chinese sweatshop safety standards are higher (and therefore more expensive) than in those other countries in SE Asia.

No, I'm not joking. Wish I was.

Buy 'em by the punnet: Raspberry Pi offers RP2040 chips in bulk

Jon 37

Re: I assumed they were doing this already...

Yes, they had reels available for their partners. Now you don't have to be a partner, anyone can buy a reel off the shelf.

Multi-day IT systems outage whacks umbrella biz Parasol Group amid fears of a cyber attack

Jon 37

I don't think the problem is the details they wanted.

The problem is using email. Email is unencrypted, and the data is likely stored unencrypted on the recipient's systems.

Support specialist Rimini Street found in contempt of court for continued Oracle copyright infringements

Jon 37

Well, of course it's copyright infringement. The customer has a licence to use the software on one pc. If they send it to you, they are distributing copyrighted code, which probably breaks the license terms. If you run it, that is almost certain to break the license terms. If they want a second person to be able to run it, then someone has to pay for another license.

If that bothers you, you are welcome to stick to free software. But if you choose to use proprietary software, you have to follow the license terms.

The inevitability of the Windows 11 UI: New Notepad enters the beta channel

Jon 37

I like Pluma. Not sure what happened to gedit. One moment gedit was a decent text editor, the next Ubuntu release it was a straight Windows Notepad clone with no features whatsoever. Hence someone forking the decent version and calling it Pluma.

Dutch nuclear authority bans anti-5G pendants that could hurt their owners via – you guessed it – radiation

Jon 37


I have to laugh.

But, I have to add a warning too, there are a LOT of stupid people out there:

Do not do it. It will probably kill you.

It will generate a lot of gas in your tummy. At best, you will be continuously burping and/or vomiting for a bit. But probably the gas will be generated so fast, you will not be able to burp/vomit quickly enough, and your tummy will literally explode. That would probably kill you.

Insurance firm Admiral fails to grab phone location data of 'fraud' claimant's mother

Jon 37

But, the article says that Admiral were applying for a court order to get the details from Vodafone. So doesn't that mean that Vodafone REFUSED "to give up someone's call details to a random barrister without a court order"???

After deadly 737 Max crashes, damning whistleblower report reveals sidelined engineers, scarcity of expertise, more

Jon 37

Re: In Case of MCAS: Logical Reasoning, Calculus

They couldn't do that easily. The rules say the aircraft must have certain control characteristics. The rules do that to try to make it easier to fly. With the new engines on the same frame, the Max failed that rule. They added MCAS so they could persuade the FAA that they comply with that rule.

Without MCAS, the plane would need significant changes to the airframe to fix the aerodynamics to fix the control characteristics. It would be effectively a new plane. It would require retraining the flight crew, too. That's a lot more expensive to design and test than what they did. It would also have been better and safer, but "cheap" won.

Jon 37

Re: "scientific testing" of safety is done by the manufacturing companies

For Grenfell Tower, an architect signed off on the fire safety without even checking. They stuck in some words copied from a computer program, and signed it, since "that's what everyone did".

They were not prosecuted.

If we actually wanted safe buildings, the best and easiest way to do that would have been to throw him in prison for 20 years for fraud and manslaughter. And then go back through building applications and throw lots of other people in prison for a month each for fraudulent statements. That would have made architects actually check the buildings are safe before signing off.

ExoMars parachutes just about good enough to land rover safely on the Red Planet

Jon 37

Re: time schedule seems difficult

That might be assuming that they analyze the test results and decide it's fine. If they have to make changes then the launch date might slip.

Intel's mystery Linux muckabout is a dangerous ploy at a dangerous time

Jon 37

RPi explained the MPEG decoder unlock. It's to pay for a patent license for the MPEG patents. If you're not going to use it, you shouldn't have to pay, so they don't include those charges in their board prices. And if you are going to use it then it's the patent holder's fault you have to pay. RPi don't make any significant money on the unlock codes, they mostly just cover their costs.

The rocky road to better Linux software installation: Containers, containers, containers

Jon 37

Re: Cleanly uninstalling is impossible

If you have a whole-system installation, used by multiple users, you can't delete all the per user settings in your uninstall.

Though that applies to Linux as well as Windows.

A 'national security' issue: UK.gov blocks Nvidia's Arm deal for now, inserts deeper probe

Jon 37

In the medium term I agree with you.

In the longer term, I'm hoping it will encourage a switch to RISC-V, which is a truly open instruction set not owned by any one company. That promotes competition between RISC-V core designers, driving down prices and driving up performance and capabilities. A widespread adoption of RISC-V, replacing ARM, would be good for consumers and enterprises. (Though obviously there are short-term costs of the transition itself).

SAP patent not inventive enough to get legal protection, judge rules

Jon 37

Re: "There is no inventive concept that provides something more than the abstract idea itself"

A patent is basically a law. It says that only company X, or people they approve, can do this thing. Anyone else has to pay a fine to company X, and stop.

Going to court to contest a patent claim is just not possible for most people, only the largest companies can afford the cost.

So I strongly disagree with your claim that the patent office shouldn't ensure that the patent is completely valid before granting it! They are making a law that normal people will not be able to fight. So they should treat that with the seriousness and great care which it deserves. They should ensure the patent is clear, and is genuinely a novel invention worthy of patent protection.

(But they don't)

Microsoft accidentally bricks Insider HoloLens 2 devices

Jon 37

Expected for "Insiders"

To be fair, if you go out of your way to sign up as an "Insider" then you should know you're testing alpha quality software and this sort of thing can happen.

If you want to limit yourself to beta quality software, stay on the MS default release track...

Oregon city courting Google data centers fights to keep their water usage secret

Jon 37

They said it was an average across all their sites. Large rainy sites will be more, desert sites will be less.

Jon 37

The return of the turbo button: New Intel hotness causes an old friend to reappear

Jon 37

Can you just turn it off?

Is there a way to just disable the slow "E" corrs permanently, and just use the fast P cores?

Windows Subsystem for Android: What's the point?

Jon 37

Minimum system requirements

> Microsoft must have its reasons, but it appears that many of these restrictions are artificial and can be bypassed

As a software developer: We choose a minimum spec, and test our software on that spec. It may run on lower-spec PCs, at least most of the time. But then, after months of use, the user might find some part of the software that their PC is not powerful enough to run. They will then complain that our software is faulty. Err, no, the problem is that your PC doesn't meet the specs. "But it works, everything else runs". Err, no, if it worked you wouldn't be calling me.

And we may be conservative in our choice of minimum spec. If lowering the RAM requirement from 8GB to 4GB is only going to allow a few more people to run the software, but will cost us time testing and time optimizing code in future, then someone will make a business decision whether it is worth the cost of doing that for the small amount of extra revenue.

Also note that, over time, as the proportion of 4GB PCs drops, the extra revenue will drop but the cost of squeezing our code into a 4GB system remains, as we can't drop support for the existing users with 4GB RAM. Much better to spec 8GB minimum right from the start, so our code has room to grow as we add more features.

Informatica UKI veep was rightfully sacked over Highways England $5k golf jolly, says tribunal

Jon 37

Maybe not. The article says it was deemed a bribe under US law, not UK law. The company paying the bribe was US owned, so US law applies to the company. The person receiving the bribe was a UK government official, so US law doesn't apply to him.

We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs, servers, mobile incoming

Jon 37

Re: I want a piece of this.

RISC-V is an open standard for the instruction set. Anyone can design a chip that uses it. This is like how both Intel and AMD make chips that use the x86 instruction set. Most programs for x86 will run on any sufficiently-powerful Intel or AMD chip, and most RISC-V programs will run on any sufficiently-powerful RISC-V processor from any manufacturer.

You can't invest in "x86", but you could invest in Intel or AMD.

Similarly you can't invest in "RISC-V" itself, but you can invest in the companies who design the chips. One of whom is SiFive. No idea if they have publicly-traded stock, though.

(Standard disclaimer: This is not investment advice. If you invest your money, you may lose all that money).

Software Freedom Conservancy sues TV maker Vizio for 'GPL infringement'

Jon 37

Re: I smell a fight coming on

Legally, that's nonsense. The DMCA is irrelevant here.

Vizio distributed copyrighted code without a license. That is not allowed, so they have to pay damages for copyright infringement.

The only defence they might have would be to claim they had a license, the GPL. In which case, they will be asked why they didn't comply with it's terms.

Jon 37

Whether they modified the code or not is irrelevant. If you distribute GPL'd code, you must offer to distribute the corresponding source code.

Not just deprecated, but deleted: Google finally strips File Transfer Protocol code from Chrome browser

Jon 37

Re: "frankly, Google and pals would rather users opted for a dedicated transfer app"

They have HTTPS, a secure protocol that can be used for file download. They don't need FTP as well. And browsers supported FTP for file downloads, not uploads.



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