* Posts by Henry Wertz

56 publicly visible posts • joined 20 May 2007


Latest Vista SP1 tweak open to everyone with a week to spare

Henry Wertz

No command line...

"Now if they could only make Ubuntu as useable as Windows (i.e. no command line stuff at all, unless you really, really want to) then 'they' could be on to a winner."

One word. Registry.

A longer sentence.... Doing some fixes and tweaks under Windows won't involve the command line, but involves doing equally cryptic stuff involving the registry and the like. Just saying...

And I have to pitch in with the others saying it's daft for a service pack to need 3 reboots to install 8-).

Apple tells iPhone vendors not to reveal sales figures

Henry Wertz

Chinese iPhone, iphone opinions

"They probably produced a chinese made clone which will sot 30% of the iPhone, include better software (in the form of embedded Linux) and ship it out at almost cost to every retailer who'll stock it."

Yep, I saw an article about it months ago. The reviewer was amazed to see what basically looked like an iPhone, but was a bit faster, and allowed 3rd-party software to be installed -- developed within like a month or so of iPhone being released. (Yes it was running embedded Linux). It was starting out at basically 1/2 of the iPhone cost or perhaps less, with no lock-in to any particular service. The reviewer actually found it to be slightly nicer than a real iphone (it had MMS, had 3G I think, replaceable battery, supported more video playback formats, and again allowed 3rd-party software making it a true smartphone.)

@iPhone fan(s):

If you want to think the iPhone is best, you can. Here's why I think it's not:

No, EDGE is nowhere near as fast as 3G (no-one has non-HSDPA 3G anymore as far as I know). Or to compare with CDMA-technology (as used by several carriers here in the States), it's nowhere near as fast as EVDO.

Not having MMS support is kinda dumb.. people do send plenty of photos and the like as silly as it may seem. OK, it's possible to get along without it, but for that much money it should have it 8-).

3rd (doesn't apply in Europe but does here) AT&T is ranked pretty low in terms of customer support, network quality, etc.. I would not deal with them in order to get an iPhone.

Finally, iPhone is smartphone-expensive while not being a smartphone (smartphones allow the user to install their own software, while Apple has intentionally been breaking methods to install 3rd-party software with every firmware update.)

Polish teen derails tram after hacking train network

Henry Wertz

Yes, the light flashing for some stoplights is real.

So, yes, some cities do use a transponder system. But, others do in fact just use some kind of flashing light detector. A friend of mine about 10 years ago had a truck with one badly misaligned headlight (my state has no safety inspections so there's some real shitboxes on the road). He found he could flash it and it'd turn the lights for him every time -- until a policemen finally caught him at it, wrote him some ticket for that and a ticket for the misaligned headlight, plus probably some other ones.

I also can second reading about someone (briefly) commercially selling the strobe-boxes, until they were quite quickly pulled off the market.

Intel walks out of OLPC project

Henry Wertz

Subsidies and education

Regarding why Negroponte is so peeved at Intel: Because OLPC did the work of designing a low-powered, low-cost computer usable in third-world conditions. Intel saw there was a market based on the response to OLPC and made the Classmate -- which is simply a small notebook with a slow CPU, and is perhaps looking to sell it below cost. It doesn't have the features of the OLPC -- high-contrast screen, charger that works without electricity, the mesh networking, etc that make it more feasible in places without reliable electricity etc. -- but is taking away some limelight from OLPC by simply being cheap.

Education -- something like OLPC can sound like a luxury item, but if schools in these areas can't afford/can't get books etc., then having a machine that can DISPLAY books is an improvement over present conditions of trying to educate without books. "Guns and butter" (the economics exercise where some input can go to producing X units of guns or Y of butter) simply doesn't necessarily apply here -- that is, the $$$ spent on computers wouldn't automatically go to food, irrigation, etc. if it wasn't going to computers. Ideally it would but real-world economics don't exactly match the idealized ones.

Ofcom, US senators turn on to cognitive radio

Henry Wertz

I'd like to point out...

In this issue, I'd like to point out that the first system that was submitted to the FCC (vaguely equivalent to Ofcom) failed miserably. The Microsoft-designed device, backed also by Dell, HP, IBM and Google quite simply failed to leave in-use channels, spamming up clear and in-use channels alike.

Microsoft's claim was that the prototype must have been defective -- well, so what? If a defect causes the unit to start blasting away, interfering with TV channels, that's the very essence of a device that should not be manufactured and shipped out to millions of people... after all, devices do go bad in the field.

In theory, using white space is a great idea. In practice, it's going to really have to be made bulletproof (and failsafe) to be a good idea at all. By failsafe I mean things Including, for instance, detection if the antenna has been damaged that should disable the unit (since in that case it won't detect in-use channels properly.)

NHS frets over Brits' genitalia

Henry Wertz

Why not both?

Why not have both? Have the "full monty" link and the "other" link both. So, if people are like in some classroom where they are supposed to be learning about heart & lungs, they won't get all distracted and be all like "woohoo, look at that wang!" whereas people who want the full version can still get it.

I live in the US, and am bothered by the prudishness of people here -- I'd say for certain the full version should be on there.. it's an anatomy site after all. So if it really is only one or the other, I'd say the full version.

Dell spills its Guts over Ubuntu gear

Henry Wertz

The big risk..

The big risk Dell will have from selling Ubuntu machines is decrease in sales long-term. I mean, personally, I don't have ANY Windows machines any longer (I don't play many games, and most will in fact work with Wine).

In short term, if my notebook gives it up I will definitely buy a Dell w/ Ubuntu -- I'd be buying some machine and putting Ubuntu on anyway, I'd rather not have Microsoft get any of my money and count my purchase as a Windows sale.

In long term -- hopefully Dell won't be shot in the foot by initial strong Ubuntu sales, followed by a dip from the purchasers never having to upgrade their systems. The requirements of Linux distros and apps has stayed very nearly flat over the years. My first Linux system in 1994, I ran on a 486-33 with 8MB of RAM. OK, that's not flat.. I was running text-only on there though. Once I started using graphical apps (Netscape 0.9 in particular) I ended up with 64MB of RAM and by later 1990's 128MB of RAM (in a K5/75, then a K6-2/450 then a Duron 900.) I could literally take these 10+ year old systems, run Xubuntu as-is, or Ubuntu w/128MB more RAM. Not bad! (I currently have Athlon 2200+ dekstops and a Celeron M notebook, but still 512MB in them; top will typically show 100's of MBs free.)

Compaq returns to Germany - as brand for bottom-feeders

Henry Wertz


Yep, Compaq really has no case for charging a price premium now. Both Compaq and HP's higher-end brands were previously able to charge some price premium due to innovative designs (in some cases) and good technical support (in others).

Well, first things Fiorna did when she took over HP was to cut technical support costs by outsourcing it to the lowest bidder, and decide that HP can just put together off-the-shelf machines and cut the R&D. So, really, what makes a Compaq worth a price premium over some random machine? Nothing really.

Now that she is out, it's possible HP can turn it around I suppose -- they aren't bankrupt yet by a long shot. But it'll take a while.

Anti-virus protection gets worse

Henry Wertz


Well, it's not worth refuting point by point, but you're quite simply wrong. For test purposes, there's nothing inherently evil or wrong with creating viruses. Releasing them in the wild is the wrong thing.

And, no, just because you have a self-replicating program does NOT mean it's going to magically get into the wild. It's quite easy to avoid in fact. After all, this is not like biological viruses, they aren't going to fly through the air to nearby computers; if the infected machine is offline and you're not sticking writeable media into it, there's nowhere for viruses to go. Wipe the hard drive with a CD when you're done and the machine is virus free. Simple as that.

I don't expect that c't is hiring some hax0rs to custom write brand new viruses, I expect they are just making simple alterations to existing ones to see if the virus scanners will catch them or not. That's the very essence of testing if the virus scanner's heuristics are good or not.

As for the poor detection rate -- I bet one reason it's so poor is quite a few antivirus companies continued view that viruses and spyware are two totally seperate things that need two seperate products to detect. There is of course historical precedent behind this, (and practical precedent) but when you have both replicating by themselves and spreading it does blur the lines for sure. I expect some of c'ts test items, the virus scanners that didn't detect them didn't because the company considers it to be a piece of spyware rather than an actual virus.

Microsoft wireless keyboards crypto cracked

Henry Wertz

This IS just to prevent keyboard conflicts

To those who are supposing this is to prevent keyboard conflicts, you are exactly right!

Probably 10 years ago or so, a story popped up about someone with one of the RF keyboards of the time, well, their computer started going crazy, they'd have random stuff typed into office, etc. It turned out, yes, they were picking up their neighbors keyboard. At this point, the RF keyboard vendors realized, hey! If the product actually becomes popular, they'll have neighbors interfering quite often. So they put on this synchronizing between the base and keyboard, using 8-bit code. It's just to avoid interference.

Rather than worrying about people getting your data over radio (which bluetooth worries about), I think they thought about this more the way the old portable phone makers did. With the analog portable phones, the phone and base would sync. But, this would just pick out the clearest channel, and set a code so your neighbor's phone base doesn't ring your phone. Your call was still in the clear, it was simply meant to avoid your phone and your neighbor's phone interfering as much as possible.

However, this certainly does bring to light the fact that keyboards really shouldn't use something so weak anymore; if people are going to pull credentials off wifi, they certainly could get them off keyboard streams. (usernames, passwords, etc.)

Rove investigator erases his PCs - to kill computer virus

Henry Wertz

7 pass wipe

Yup, this is certainly stupid of him. As a US'ian, I wish we had some true political choices. Too many people here will actually claim there are only two political partys (democrat or republican); they honestly both have nearly the same political views, when you throw out stuff like the neocons throwing off the republicans more recently. They're both corrupt as hell. Give me some good libertarians any day... I intend to vote for Ron Paul (running Republican but really he's a constitutionalist.. ensuring he will put recent unconstitutional stuff the feds are doing right to a stop), but most likely given the media not even mentioning he's running, the Reps will just vote some piece of crap to run for the Republican's bid for president; the Dems certainly will.

As for 7-pass wipe. Well, a DOD 3-pass wipe writes some "special" pattern in pass 1, then random data in pass 2, then zeros. The pattern is designed to help scramble things up on an MFM or RLL formatted hard drive. So, a 7-pass would be that 3-pass but with more pattern, zero, and random passes. Note, I have read that Gutmann (who developed the DOD wiping specs in the 1980s) now has the opinion with modern drives that 1 pass is fine, with the next step up being to physically destroy the platters. (The reasoning being, new drives aren't RLL so the special pass(es) don't do anything special.. and new drives won't mis-track and only partially overwrite data like they could in the past.. the tracks are simply too dense.. so the single pass will overwrite everthing a multi-pass erase would.) That said, where I work, they want 3-pass DOD on surplussed drives.. so we have all these drives boxed up waiting for quality time with the erasing computers.

Dell moves 40,000 Ubuntu PCs

Henry Wertz

I fully intend to get a Dell w/ Ubuntu

As the title says, I full intend to get a Dell w/ Ubuntu. Or the Asus Eee 8-). I almost ordered one a week or two ago when my current Inspiron (with Ubuntu 7.10) acted up -- but, it quit acting up, and when I went to cancel my order, it turned out I had printed the "verify your order" page instead of actually placing the order....

I have noticed getting the Ubuntu Dells will not save cash, which is a shame. But I don't want to send my money to Microsoft:

1) They'll count it as a WIndows sale (even though the copy is unused), and use that stat in the FUD against everyone else "Everyone is using Windows, so why get anything else?"

2) They have a bad attitude regarding resale. It's my copy of Windows, I'm not using it, I should be able to resell it. But M$ says no, and in fact I probably won't even get a usable install CD, getting some restore CD or worse a restore partition, instead.

3) I don't want to send money to a convicted monopolist when I'm not even using the product in question.

4) Dell has not screwed me over, whilst IMHO Microsoft has. M$ have set back computer science at least 10 years. Dell has treated me decently. Therefore, I'd prefer they drop the cost of the system, but if they don't I'll send the money their way rather than Microsoft's.

.... Or not. Like I say, if some other Linux box (or bare box) is a good deal I certainly will get it instead. Dell's pretty big though, they can certainly stay in that "good deal" price range if they try.

Linux desktops grow and grow and grow

Henry Wertz

@several people regarding wireless drivers

Yep, the big achille's heel to quite a few Linux distros is the Broadcom wireless drivers. The broadcom chips are very common, but not properly supported (due to broadcom refusing to provide programming information.) The bcm43xx driver supports older broadcom chips fully, and newer broadcom chips partially (they're slow, and have bad range with the bcm43xx driver.) My Dell's Broadcom 4318 is one of these badly supported ones 8-(.

However, those that are saying these distros are unusable because wireless doesn't work off the bat are being far too harsh -- try out a fresh XP install, or Vista for that matter -- you will have no working wireless!

Luckily, the solution at least in Ubuntu is very simple. Instead of having to know about ndiswrapper etc., what you end up really doing is picking "Windows Wireless drivers" off the adminstration menu. It lets you either pop in a windows wireless driver CD, tell it where you have a driver already sitting around, or I think download a driver automatically off the 'net. It's quite easy, and only has to be done once.

I certainly think Windows will be around for decades -- there's still stuff knocking about running DOS after all -- but I do think it's days are numbered as being the dominant OS rather than just being one among many.

Ring-back tones to carry adverts

Henry Wertz


Well, in theory, I guess it'd be OK to save some money on the phone bill (which is how I'd view it rather than viewing it as "making money"...) In reality, I expect it won't be long until the ads are like "Hello.... buy my product!" (making it sound like the other party has picked up, THEN pitching some product). They already do that here in the states when I'm on hold (calling tech support lines or the like).. instead of hold music (which I could put on speaker and ignore until it broke off with a voice) I end up getting hold music that breaks like every minute "Hello... please stay on the line, your call is important". Ugh!

Delay hits Microsoft's WinHEC

Henry Wertz

Ubuntu server..and drivers

"I always thought Linux will one day take over Windows, but the problem are always to do with support and drivers"

It's not as dire as it seems. I am working at a computer surplus where we recently started putting Ubuntu onto all machines sold (7.04 until recently, and now 7.10). (see note 1) In short, other than the odd wireless driver, everything seems to work out of the box.

Realistically the only weakness is wireless drivers. Most chips are supported, but unfortunately the ones that are not are pretty common. There IS a "Windows Wireless drivers" choice in the system menu, though, to let you pop in a Windows driver CD and install the driver via ndiswrapper. 7.04 blew up on a couple NetServers and the like (it could be gotten to work with a little command line hackery); 7.10 fixed this. I've thrown this onto a P2-350 through 3.0ghz P4 with hyperthreading; video, sound, and ethernet has worked straight almost every time (see note 2); it supports tons of printers, cameras, and scanners.. I'm shocked so much could be crammed onto one CD.

note 1: We were putting XP onto some systems, if they had the XP license sticker on them. However 1) We couldn't get anything in writing saying MS wouldn't hassle us for this eventually. As a second point, we were concerned about the licenses failing to validate even if we were legally in the right. 1.5) We aren't a used computer store, we're a surplus outlet, and so there's no tech support; despite that, people were breaking WinXP and then trying to get us to support them too much. It was even worse with blank machines; people would ask crap like why their Office CD wouldn't install Windows.... we don't get these questions anymore, I think these people simply don't realize Ubuntu isn't Windows 8-). 2) Everyone where we work now uses FreeBSD or Linux.. the remaining Win2K user found the games he played ran under Wine, and a bit faster at that, so switched recently. So, we wanted to spread the love. 3) TIME! It was taking over 1 hour a machine to run an unattended WinXP install (not including the bit where it stopped in the middle to ask for the license key.) Even when customized for a given model machine, it would not install stuff at times (for instance, wtih *12* sound drivers put on the CD for a given model machine, some would still install without sound support, requiring manual fixing after the fact...) The unattended Ubuntu install takes about 15 minutes on a slower machine, down to about 5 minutes on something quick like a 2.8-3.0ghz machine.

note 2: A few Dells had a BIOS that didn't set up the i865 video properly, causing Ubuntu to freak out. We found a WinXP install on these ALSO freaked out; I have no idea how the previous user was possibly using these machines without working video 8-).

How I wrote an iPhone application

Henry Wertz
Paris Hilton

@M Gumby and anon.

Believe it or not, Jobs and Co. have actively tried to break any and all hacks letting people install their own software onto their own devices with each new firmware release. Despite Apple fans calling it a smartphone, it is not -- the end user cannot install their own apps. Apple's official method to write apps "for" the iphone is to do javascript, html, ajax, etc.

As for XmlHttpRequest, on paper it's standardized. In practice I keep reading about people having to throw in hacks to make it work properly on various browsers.

Russian piracy crackdown targets the opposition

Henry Wertz

Looks like it's time for some open source

Looks like it's time for some open source software. Slap on Ubuntu or the like, use exclusively free fonts, and the gov't can "crack down" all they want, there's nothing for them to complain about.

With one bound, Apple is free of 54 security bugs

Henry Wertz


You're being way to defensive here. All the article says is the currently new batch of patches, errm, software updtes, fixes more security holes than usual. There's no "Apple bashing", no lies (it says straight up in the article that you have to be gullible enough to download and install software some site claims you need to get the trojan...), and no implications that anything suddenly changed. When Windows has had unusually big "patch Tuesdays" there's an article; if some Linux distro patches like 50 bugs at once, there'd be an article about it. Really, it's a lot of bugs to fix all at once and that's all there is to it.

The broken terror systems that killed de Menezes

Henry Wertz


"The people responsible for terrorism and it's consequences are not the police or government but the terrorists."

I would say it's both.

The root word of "terrorism" is terror. Clearly terrorists are responsible for actual terrorism. They do the actual killing and generation of terror.

However, the secondary is when officials are terrorized, and come up with poorly thought through policies that are "tough on terrorists" or whatever but end up causing more harm and distress than they avoid.

As it is in the US, while flying I'm far more anxious over getting delayed by the overly elaborate airport security (let alone the frequency of stuff being stolen from luggage), than I am about actually being blown up. Similarly if DHS ever implements the kind of hair-brained data mining stuff they want, I'll be much more concerned about people getting picked up or shot for "no reason" due to data mining false positivies than about people being blown up.

Google petrol pumps debut next month

Henry Wertz

Not a mile of gas...

Modern cars are fuel injected. They don't dump in extra gas for a hot restart, and so you are absolutely not burning a mile worth of gas restarting the engine. I have heard the cutoff between idling and restart is only around 30 seconds idling. That said.. I haven't had to wait in fuel lines, but in other lines I tend not to shut my engine off either, unless it's waiting for a train.

Met Police guilty in de Menezes case

Henry Wertz


>The family are not happy and still want more costs in manslaughter charges.

>It doesnt seem like they will be happy till the police are broke or non-existant.

>Bring on the therapy for them.

Frankly, in the town I live, that'd suit me high. The police in the town I live in (in the US) have shot someone because they mistook a phone he was talking on for a gun, after breaking into his workplace. nothing was done. As for usefulness.. well, they were flat out told what bar a serial mugger hangs out at, what he looks like, and clothes, but did nothing; they did not put out anyone undercover despite all the muggins happening on the same street. They enforce speed limits at random but don't stop red light running. They hassle people for public intoxication as soon as they walk out of the bars at closing time (the student newspaper had people walk out stone sober and still get taken in.) In short, yes, in my town having the police taken out of the picture would only improve things. And, frankly, if they screw up as badly as shooting random people, maybe they should be.

Mandriva bigwig (nearly) accuses Ballmer of b-word

Henry Wertz

I feel bad for them...

As I say, I feel bad for them. XP is going to run like shit on a machine like this. I've run Ubuntu on slower machines and it runs well.. with 128MB it cuts the speed by about 25% due to swapping, but 256MB it's fine. With GBs of RAM, it can load each app off disk the first time you run it then basically never touch the disk again. Mandriva will be similar I think...

Apple's Leopard rejects latest version of Java

Henry Wertz

Sorry guys but...

Sorry guys, but this Windows versus MacOSX flamewar is just silly; they both suck nuts. 8-).


So, anyway, I would guess (assuming Java 1.6 even existed for MacOSX 10.4, which posters can't seem to quite agree on..) that Java 1.6 broke in 10.5 because of the new stack-smashing protection stuff in 10.5. I vaguely recall JRE having problems early on with the hardened linux variants.

Comcast busted for bagging BitTorrents (again)

Henry Wertz

@everyone who says Comcast is throttling

Comcast is not throttling (or, at any rate, not ONLY throttling.) If they were throttling, there'd be an article complaining about this anyway, but I'd join a bunch of you in telling the complainers to more or less STFU. However, Comcast is not doing something so innocent.

They are inserting false spoofed packets apparently from the peer you are connected to, (and apparently from them to you), a "RST" (reset) packet which is designed to force the connection to close. I don't know if my cable co throttles or not, if they did I would not give a crap, I don't need the umm.. legal content.. yeah, that's it... I download *right now* 8-). (Note, in fact I do use bittorrent to download Linux isos as well, besides other content.)

However, interfering with connections is simply not cool at all. Particularly if they are just interfering with any and all inter-modem connections as one poster said. And even more especially if they are interfering with some games and with Lotus Notes and the like -- those are unarguably legitimate applications for a high speed internet connection.

Erratic fleshies sabotage, wreck innocent flying robot

Henry Wertz

It's too big!

I am not a fan of ubiquitous unmanned drones, it's really too 1984ish. However, I think a 65-foot UAV is quite ridiculous, something that size should definitely have a pilot. A UAV that is like model airplane sized, bird-sized or insect-sized? Not so much. I mean, something like that could crash right into your head and not be a big deal. For just a radar and a camera, a 65-foot wingspan is kind of ridiculous.

Ubuntu goes 3-D

Henry Wertz

@Adrian Esdaile

If you haven't tried a distro in the last year or two they've made quite an improvement recently. I'd say even between Ubuntu 6.06.1 (from last year) and 7.04, the difference is huge. Let alone 7.10.

"Now, come on, let's get real here - NOTHING works properly. Ever. Every signle program is missing some feature, be it compatability, stability, usability, a UI that doesn't look like angry fruit salad. Apps are full of control panels that have a metric shitload of options, seemingly laid out by the same monkeys who are writing Hamlet."

Bullllllllllshit. I wouldn't review any OS and say *nothing* works right, even Windows. And again newer distros (at least Ubuntu for sure but I think others as well) have improved a lot on the metric craploads of random control panels.. which certainly was true at least. I know with an older version of KDE I used to have a control center, control panel, and settings menu. Who knows what was where? Even with my gentoo install this appears to have been pared down to a more reasonable number of menus at some point.

"You STILL need to be good with a command line (hey - I cut my teeth on Solaris 1, using Eagle) and have to know arcane command line switches that are more like D&D stats than useful options."

I've tried using Ubuntu just with strictly the GUI. Basically I've been able to do all I want strictly via GUI, other than the odd tweak on some system or other. When I've needed to do that, it's more a matter of finding a suggestion in the ubuntu forum and typing in what they say at a command line, rather than having to come up with your own command line to do what you need. Once you get to that point, I think it's actually easier to type (or even cut and paste) a command line than to try to click through a bunch of menus following some forum directions.

"I install it, look at it, try to find a use for it, try to install Windows in WINE (whine?) so I can run my CAD apps that will NEVER be written for Linux, and find out, AGAIN, that Linux is still a toy."

By that logic any OS but Windows is a toy because it can't run some Windows apps you want. Hell by your definition, newer Windows versions are a toy for not running apps for older Windows versions (see 64-bit Windows and Vista incompatibilities with quite a few apps.) But, yeah, if you've got Windows apps you need and they don't run under Wine, that's a reasonably good reason to run Windows. I think wine would be a good project for someone (Novell, even perhaps Canonical) to fund, having ~100% Windows compatibility instead of ~90% would really be a blow against Microsoft.

Hitachi halves hard drive head size

Henry Wertz
Paris Hilton

Solid state

Solid state is sweet, but it's expensive as all hell. And, with fabs at or near capacity, just increasing demand isn't going to lower prices for a while at least. I'm all for solid state, but not if it's going to cost me like $2000 to get a TB of storage...

Dutch Consumer Association declares war on Vista

Henry Wertz


Sorry, but for those who are saying that people should check the hardware compatibility list, etc. -- ridiculous. Now, true, every new version of Windows loses some hardware that was compatible with the previous one. However, the extent of the loss with Vista is simply ridiculous -- and the inability of even getting drivers for hardware that is not on the DVD is further ridiculous.

I should point out, Linux has basically gained hardware support with every release with almost no loss of older hardware support. The Ubuntu 7.04 LiveCD will fire up on almost anything off the bat (as long as it's got at least ~192MB of RAM), sound, video, etc. all working. I haven't had wireless work in every case, but, it doesn't with Windows either -- it was just a matter of plugging in ethernet and it'd pull drivers for the wireless device.

Google says go-go-Gadget Ads

Henry Wertz

If Google does this, they are adblocked

Title says it all -- I hope they aren't seriously planning to put in noisy ads. I'm lenient, I don't just adblock everything like some people. But, two things I block -- the asshole ad sites that BYPASS popup blocking. And ads that make noise. I have seen ads that can make noise, but load muted -- that is fine. But, not ones that make noise on their own, hell no.

I wonder how Google is going to square this with people who put up Google Ads because they are fairly tasteful looking text-based advertisements? They might lose quite a few customers (that is, the website owners that let google put ads on their pages) if they go straight from text ads to the most intrusive available... I know at least 1 forum I frequent has switched ad providers because they "accidentally" let 1 noisy ad into the rotation.

So, google, don't do it!

O2 takes it to the EDGE

Henry Wertz

iPhone isn't ready for the US market either

iPhone isn't ready for the US market either. Or, at any rate, not any more ready than it is for Europe..

There's not much HSDPA (due to AT&T's glacial rollout), but on the CDMA side, there's quite a lot of EVDO. Verizon Wireless has seriously a lot of it, US Cellular has some, Alltel has some. (Since CDMA isn't used in Europe... CDMA-1X tops at 144kbps, a slow EDGE speed more or less... EVDO rev A tops at 3.1mbits/sec, although apparently rural deployments will top at 1.5mbits/sec due to the single T1 running to the cell sites... versus HSDPA supporting 1.8, 3.6, 7.2, or 14.4).

Apparently, Apple had asked Verizon Wireless to carry the iPhone first (and then would have made it as a CDMA phone) but VZW told them to take a hike; Apple wanted full control over the handset, and VZW did as well 8-).

Wyse strips down thin client computers

Henry Wertz


I'm not in a position where I have use for thin clients, and for damn sure not Citrix.. but these do peak my interest as just quiet low-power computers. Not the desktop so much, my current small form factors use much more power but are already quiet... and I'm not running dozens, hundreds, or thousands so I'm not worried about power use so much.

The notebook though.. It sounds like a crap thin client to me unless it was strictly used within a single building (perhaps carrying it around within a hospital?), but it'd be fabulous to have a notebook that draws 13W of power! That could bring back the days of 5-10 hour+ notebook battery life, which would be fantastic in my book. Just as Morely Dotes, I run Linux on my systems (gentoo on some, and ubuntu on any fresh installs) and, as he says, a 500mhz system is plenty; a 1.2ghz would be just great.

3 Ireland's broadband stumbles to its knees

Henry Wertz


3MB/sec? That is 24mbits/sec, I assume you are getting 3mb/sec. Quite nice though 8-).

Google launches US wireless crusade

Henry Wertz

Before you think USians are too crazy...

Before you think USians are too crazy for not just auctioning off 2100 for UMTS, realize the 2100 band being auctioned in the US is not standard anyway; the 2100 band used internationally uses a 1900mhz uplink, at least 10 years after 1900 was already in use here in the states for cellular phone service. So, the US 2100 band is going to be 2100/1700. So, even if the 2100 band is used for UMTS, it's going to need special phones anyway.

I'm personally technology agnostic, as long as my phone works. But, the big two are Verizon Wireless (with CDMA) and AT&T (with GSM). Well, I don't know what AT&T is doing, but it seems to be the norm for their service to garble, drop calls, have the audio just drop out, and have text messages be delayed hours to a day or more. (I have read that half-rate codec is hardly ever used in Europe; it has been turned on network-wide by AT&T within the last year or two!) The UMTS buildout is VERY limited so far, covering jujst a few bigger cities (and not a complete buildout in those cities as yet.) T-Mobile is supposed to be nice, except they have limited coverage; out of coverage, most likely you're roaming on AT&T. in the rural West, most GSM is provided by Alltel, who actually is a CDMA provider but has a GSM roamer network. Alltel's cell sites tend to be 10-12 miles apart, and apparently the way they have it tuned the GSM net will drop calls between cell sites. Other providers reportedly vary wildly in coverage, quality, and data speeds (some networks will somehow manage only 40kbps with EDGE).

On the other hand, Verizon Wireless has at the best very clear call quality, and I have seldom had a bad sounding call.. When I had AT&T GSM (when they always used full-rate) it sounded at least as good as Verizon Wireless at it's best, but as I say, full-rate isn't used much anymore. I've roamed quite a bit on other CDMA providers, and basicallly they tend to have good call quality and fast text message times too (although, certainly, a few do not.) The 1X data these have will get around 80-128kbps. EVDO will do 2 or 3 mbps, and Verizon Wireless at least is installing it at a fairly rapid pace (they don't have it yet where I live though 8-( .)

I wouldn't give a toss if we did go all GSM, but only if they keep up to the reported quality of the European GSM providers, not the low quality of the US GSM providers.

UK plans surveillance for Earth-menacing asteroid

Henry Wertz

Re: 2038 bug

"You actually expect 2038 to be a date problem?

We have 31 years, to develop software that either totally avoids this problem or move up to 64-bit integers for time_t.

Oh noes crisis! Lets all run around like a headless chicken because The Friday The 13th bug will do what the media promised would happen with Y2K in 30 years time!!!


Yep, I expect it to be a problem. A big part of the Y2K problem was programmers in the 70's, 80's and even 90's saying there was plenty of time before 2000 people said "hey, 2000 is not for another 30 years". Therefore, all kinds of kludges, replacements, and fixes had to be worked in at the last minute.

I fully expect around 2037 or so, there will be all these 32-bit embedded systems still in place, and all these PHBs (pointy-headed bosses) will be like "oh snap! 2038 bug!" just like the 2000 bug.

As for what that has to do with an asteroid... *shrug* well whatever.

FCC to fine network operators who can't find customers

Henry Wertz

Oh yeah

Oh yeah, I'm not surprised by US Cellular and Alltel not being able to locate 95% of customers.. they both still have areas that are analog-only! (Note, it is mostly very rural areas, but still.) People in those areas either tend to have analog bag phones, or a "tri-band" phone (I don't know why it's called tri-*band* since it uses 2 bands, but these support CDMA 850, CDMA 1900, and AMPS 850 in areas that are still analog-only.) The FCC is allowing providers to shut down analog by early 2008, and these companies have not even finished putting CDMA up throughout their networks yet, let alone GPS etc. They apparently are both now at 95+%, but just didn't get there by the 2005 deadline.

As for Sprint-Nextel.. well, apparently, Nextel rolled out a bunch of phones with GPS, which it turned out needed a software update to work for E911 purposes. The phones last forever, and Motorola iDen phones (what Nextel uses) are not fancy, so people haven't upgraded, or brought the phones into the store for the software update. Well, they have, but not enough, since Sprint-Nextel is apparently now only at 94.7%.

SexSearch.com gets off on user's underage romp

Henry Wertz

missing the point

John A Blackley, you're missing the point. She said she was 18, on a sex site (where I certainly would have assumed ages were verified...) In the case of these people in Texas they were in bars where ages ARE supposed to be verified.

What "normal precautions" do you think people should take? Profile says 18. Check. "Are you 18?" "Sure baby." "Lets see your ID." *whips out a fake*. Do tell, how would you then check?

In short, this guy should clearly get off umm.. Again... Since he had good reason to think she was 18 (unless of course there's aspects of the case not mentioned and he did know she was 14.)

Boy racer cuffed for 140mph YouTube jaunt

Henry Wertz

Works in the states

Regarding Ian Cleary's comment, it works in the states. There's been at least one case here where someone got convicted (after a fatal crash) based on some kind of computerized black box claiming they were going 80MPH or so. The defendant pointed out he had non-stock wheels, tires, and gear ratios, and the speedo (and therefore black box) were completely inaccurate. No dice -- the judge was like "the box says 80, you were doing 80" ignoring the facts of the case. Given the extremely non-stock gears and tires, he was really doing more like 40MPH -- he still was speeding and would have been convicted, but this judge threw the book at him due to not understanding how speedos work.

London man coughs to 172mph Porsche jaunt

Henry Wertz


"Use to be in Cali doing 100 mph on the freeway would get both you and the car hooked and impounded. Now cops write 100+ tickets so often its now just a ticket. I've have had friends that got a warning for doing 100 in a 75."

True that. Californians love to haul ass 8-). Around 2002 or so I was driving a 1985 Chevy Celebrity with 2.5L 4-cylinder. It only had an 85MPH speedo, but on flat ground would top at about 112MPH. Well, going across on the I8 to San Diego, traffic slowed from 100MPH to about 85MPH for the curvy bit within San Diego that was marked 35MPH. Going up on the I5 (marked 65 or 70MPH), I was doing around 105MPH in the slow lane (full throttle, but not perfectly flat) and EVERYONE was passing, probably doing 110-120MPH. I certainly didn't mind, it took like half an hour to get up to southern Los Angeles.. but then another hour at least to go the last 10 or 15 miles. (Yep, traffic drops from 100+MPH to 5-10MPH once you get into LA proper...)

NSA surveillance and the dream police

Henry Wertz

This is the problem

"other than that they have been surveiled illegally (and thus perhaps had some constitutional / legal rights abrogated)?"

This is just the problem, this does cause harm. I mean, by the same argument, the police could come by without a warrant and search my shit, and unless they manage to punch me or break stuff while they're doing it, no harm was done and I could not sue. This is simply ridiculous. I know this is the argument the gov't is trying to make, but it's ridiculous nevertheless.

US rules vote swapping legal

Henry Wertz

Not too cynical

Nope, you're not too cynical. I could see democratic AND republican parites both doing this, and then using some weasley logic to argue that there's no law against lying about a vote swap, so therefore nothing wrong was done. I would expect it more likely to see the reuplicans doing this, but honestly, the deomcratic party is corrupt as hell too.

Cassini to make third Enceladus flyby

Henry Wertz


What the hell Webster Freaky? This probe is already launched and out there.. the main costs are already sunk. Firing some guys that run the probe and retreive the results, that is not going to affect AIDS, alzheimers etc. or feeding people one bit -- the guys that get fired aren't in the medical field and are not going to research AIDS etc. instead, and the cash would probably get wasted on the military or something if it wasn't going to NASA.

Also, global warming is not bullshit. I think some exaggerate how fast it's going to happen but it's not something that can just be dismissed.

When 'God Machines' go back to their maker

Henry Wertz

NOT a smartphone

I don't know why this degenerated into a iPhone versus Windoze flamewar. The article was a bit biased, obviously he REALLY didn't like the iPhone, but he gives good reasons why he doesn't like the phone (actually using it as a phone is clunky, and texting is difficult), along with a bunch of crap reasons (he doesn't use a phone browser anyway, therefore it's supposedly useless, etc etc...). Two points:

The article doesn't compare the iPhone to Windows Mobiles.. at the very end he says it can compete with them and Blackberries, and that's it! The Treo comparison he links to, they run Palm OS, NOT Windows, so even the link doesn't mention Windows. Some "Wintel bias" that Apple fanatics like to bring up simply does not apply... he simply doesn't like the phone!

Second, the iPhone is NOT a smartphone. It's a very expensive and fancy phone with a nice browser. A smartphone by definition allows the addition of 3rd party software, which the iPhone does not.

Sprint boots 200 American patriots for using their phones

Henry Wertz

re: Roaming Trolls

You're mischaracterizing the issue -- there are very few roaming trolls, mostly there are companies that provide service where otherwise there is none.

Alltel has the largest network in the country, perhaps 50% coverage, but it covers basically the southeast and the wstern desert -- they have consciously avoided the higher-population areas where bidding wars tended to break out. Verizon Wireless probably has the second biggest, but probably only covers like 30% by area at best. Cingular is probably 3rd. I would say Verizon & Alltel put together might have 60% coverage at best (there's a good amount of overlap in the midwest). Sprint, by area, might cover 10% by area, if that (but, over 90% of the population) -- they have licenses for every license area in the country, but have whisper-thin coverage along interstates, and in-city coverage. It's not trolling to provide coverage for the other 40% of the country that the big boys do not want to cover.

"However, the military folks may be encountering another "interesting" issue, associated with ALL major cariers: there are "secondary carriers" - meaning small, one-horse operators - that, through politics, bidding for specific sites, etc., get the "rights" to put up a call tower in a specific location. These are usually next to areas like hospitals, military bases, beaches...you get the picture?"

Both cellular and PCS companies did NOT bid for specific locations -- they bid by MTA or BTA, which are in general a good sized fraction of a state, but are at least a whole county in size. Sprint, in particular, has a license in every single block nationwide.. they just haven't built most of it out. But, Verizon Wireless, Cingular, etc., all also have tons of area they have the right to build out in, but just don't. So, OK, some mom & pop built there -- but otherwise, they'd have a phone that says "no coverage".

"These "secondary" cariers then effectivly block signals from the primary carier with very strong signals, and "capture" any phone that is set to automatically roam. Once on their tower, they charge exorbitant rates - usually borne by the customer, but sometimes absorbed by the primary carrier through roaming agreements. Except that these "secondary" carriers don't have agreements with major carriers, except CASH ONLY."

They don't block signals, period. That's illegal, and they'd be fined out of business by now if they were doing it. There's 2 cellular and 6 PCS bands; the small provider has a separate block from the "primary" carrier.. the small one can put out as much juice as they want and they are NOT going to "block" the primary's signal, they're on different bands.. And, most phones will hang on to the slightest, crappiest hint of signal from the primary provider before they roam (unless the user forces roaming), so simply having a stronger signal will not force roaming in any way. I can't argue with "cash only" roaming.. when I roam off US Cellular, it does take 2 months for it to show on my bill, so I'm sure Verizon is having to do things pretty manually, since other roaming I've done showed up within a day or two on my online bill.

"There have been "scams" where a group of folks associated with the "secondary" carrier will subscribe to a major carrier, then roam for hours in the "secondary" cell, simply to drive roaming revenue to the tower owner. Think of this as the cell phone equivalent of a click bot that cranks revenue through a web site by hitting a pay-per-click site repeatedly."

Maybe. Verizon Wireless does NOT have a 50% roaming rule, and I have heard of plenty of people that live in Alaska getting a phone down in the lower 48, getting the bill mailed down there somewhere, and moving back up to Alaska -- since Verizon Wireless' rates are like half of Alaska Digitel or ACS' rates, and they'll roam on them for free. That's not the phone company itself though.

Apple emasculates the iPhone

Henry Wertz

Not a workaround!

"You can surely manage the music manually"

Well, apparently not, that was the complaint he made was that he couldn't.

" - and what does that have to do with playing back through someone else's iTunes? "

Nothing. These were two separate complaints brought up in the article.

"Apple has never encouraged using multiple computers to sync to any iPod type device - stick with one computer to sync"

Umm, I don't want to? And neither does the article writer. I want to move music on and off any computer, not "sync" it. Apple can disapprove all they want.

"If you want to be DJ, plug straight in to computer speakers or carry the correct cable or stereo system connection - it's so simple!"

Not as simple as having the on-computer music and ipod music seamlessly appear in one list, if the computer already has speakers hooked up to it.

To both ed and fluffy, it is NOT a workaround for the complaints the article brings up to just say "too bad, do it the clunky way anyway" and then justify why it's not a big deal to have to do that. That is simple fanboyism. I'm not going to get an iPhone, but here's hoping Apple fixes these problems anyway!

iPhone hack bypasses AT&T

Henry Wertz

Illegal? Bull.

Exactly, there's nothing illegal here. To cover people that buy a phone that is subsidized/get a free phone, unlock the phone, and port to another phone service, US providers charge a early termination fee, typically $175-200. There's no law against unlocking any phone. The iPhone is not even subsidized so there's particularly no reason for anyone to complain about it. Companies may not like it, but reverse engineering is completely legal. Patents can cover reverse engineering a product just to make a copy of it, but I have complete rights to hack the hell out of anything I own, and companies may not like it, but they will not take these rights away from me.

Furthermore, I have used DeCSS numerous times. Legitimately. I do not own a DVD player, and in fact do watch DVDs on my Linux box, as I'm sure DVD Jon does; I will not purchase a DVD player that won't skip ads and menus when I want it to, when I already own a DVD drive in the computer. And I for damn sure don't have certain monopoly-produced OSes on my computers.

I must agree with some posters, though, I don't see the point of the iPhone. The interface looks pretty, but a giant touchscreen is pants for typing, no MMS, and AT&T is IMHO the worst phone provider in the country. You should look in howardfourms -- data outages, slowdowns, "all circuits busy" messages, garbling and dropouts in phone calls and dropped calls are the norm for them, while still being more-or-less tied with Verizon Wireless as the most expensive provider. If I were to get an iPhone I'd certainly unlock it and take it to IWireless (local T-Mobile affiliate.) I'd lose visual voicemail I guess but it'd be worth it.

Russian copyright wars to continue despite AllofMP3 shutdown

Henry Wertz

Quite.. Allofmp3 was legal

Quite so. Allofmp3 was legal. Music, under compulsory license, was paid for through ROMS (Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems), paying them at roughly 15% rate (a bit over 1 cent for a track they charge 9 cents for). Compare this to the true leaches, the RIAA.. they demand 65-80 cents per track and pay the musicians under a penny per track.

The RIAA bitched and moaned that they weren't getting money from AllofMP3. This is true. However:

A) AllofMP3 wouldn't pay them, ROMS would.

B) ROMS pointed this out, and RIAA affiliates REFUSED to even collect the money they were entitled to. They aren't technically lying when they say ROMS hasn't paid them anything, but essentially they are lying because ROMS tried to pay and they refused payment! They made a poing of refusing payment, just so they could argue they weren't getting paid. How cheeky is that!

Now the remaining russian sites are ALSO paying royalties to NP-FAIR. I bet the RIAA just refuses royalty payments from them too, so they can bitch about not getting paid. Musicians should individually let NP-FAIR and/or ROMS know they are happy to get cash from them, since they'll get more than they do from the RIAA.

MPack malware exposes cheapskate web hosts

Henry Wertz


Hewittt, your post was OK until the last paragraph. You're quite right, PHP must have some crap code if someone was able to root it.

Every application is NOT secure. Obviously some Apache/PHP combination isn't secure 8-). If it was they would never have had this problem. Also, not commenting on recent versions, but old IIS versions for instance, were assuredly NOT secure. The administrator could in fact turn of insecure features within IIS, it'd tell the admin they were off, but would actually run about half way through those code paths for those features before checking if they are "off" or not.. plenty far to hit multiple buffer overflows in these supposedly shut off features.

Quite simply, best practice for securing a Windows machine is FAR more complicated than locking down most other systems. These guys couldn't even properly secure a Linux box, which is quite sad 8-).

Unwanted e-card conceals a Storm

Henry Wertz

I'm with Hamish

"Windows isn't perfect but at least when it does get a virus the average end user stands a good chance of removing it." That's simply not so. Hamish and others wouldn't be making a living removing viruses from fully patched and updates systems if the owners could do it themselves. "When Linux gets a virus (despite popular belief it does happen) the average user can't get rid of it." This is also true, the average user wouldn't be able to pull a Linux virus either -- except, by default, you won't get a virus under Linux. Distros default to having no open ports, and web and e-mail software won't haphazardly start running executables.

"In the meantime rather than blame Bill Gates each user needs to take responsibility for their own computer. System administrators in particular need to take responsibility for those who are unable to take responsibility for themselves."

Umm, I should crack into neighbor's machines and fix them? Most of the virus problem is from home users, honestly.

"No system is perfect and it's a difficult task of risk management but if a system gets a virus it's a shortcoming of the system design, policy implementation, user training and ultimately a sign of a lazy, unmotivated or just poorly trained system administrator not Bill Gates."

I blame Gates and co. After all, Microsoft did the system design, and default policy, which the average user is not going to change. Administrators should be able to harden the system (remove I.E. and Outlook, that'll do most of it), but the system should be virus-resistant by default; most systems other than Windows are.

I'm with Hamish -- thanks Gates! Any time I need spare cash I can find people with virus infections and charge to clean them.

3 looks to Brew up applications

Henry Wertz

regarding brew

Interesting. "Traditionally", Brew has been coupled with the rest of Qualcomm's CDMA infrastructure. 3 is intending to have 3GSM Brew handsets?

As for the other poster's questions: the "big V" as it were here in the states tries to lock down phones such that ringtones, screen backgrounds etc. all must be purchased... not too successfully. It's still easy to load 'em on with a data cable. Other u.s. providers that use Brew don't lock things down, 3gp, mp3, etc still can be loaded via bluetooth, browser, data cable without any tricks on those phones.

As for increased GPRS usage... Naw. Using this system, you go into a "Get It Now" app, it pulls a little data for the list of apps, and then it downloads the app when you choose to buy it or get the free trial of the app. Getting ring tones etc. via these apps, it downloads a list of tones, downloads a sample if you can preview the ringtone, and pulls it down if you purchase it. That is, data use shouldn't be any higher than non-brew.

Red hair bullying cases could end up in court

Henry Wertz

Isn't this racist?

I would think if "racism" can be used to avoid hassling people based on skin color, it could for hair color too. I mean, isn't red hair color, like black skin, also a genetically inherited trait, which originated in a fairly localized area? (That is, a racial trait?) I don't see how one could be included and not the other.

Note, this is the first I've heard of gingerism.. In the states, we've just got (despite it being illegal) some remaining racism against blacks.