* Posts by Michael Martin

34 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jun 2007

FCC questions ISPs' selective memory about data caps

Michael Martin

Re: Which century are we in? Data caps on residential connections?...

I pay $90/mo USD for 250 down, 10 up. That's with a 1.5 TB data cap. If I ever have to redownload my steam game collection to a new computer I'm going to go well over that, and if I backup my GOG collection it'll probably be the same. Not to mention any regular internet use and video streaming. The problem is that there really is only one broadband option in my area; when internet was initially built out, Telco lobbyists managed to convince local legislators that they needed a monopoly in order to recoup costs. Unfortunately that monopoly is still in place, which means I get subpar internet for premium internet prices.

My ISP is 'gracious' enough to permit me to go over the data cap one month out of each year without charging the extra, which simply means if I do go over, I straight up saturate my internet as much as possible for whatever benefit I can get as long as I don't go over again that year.

Ridiculously small Linux build lands with ridiculously few swears

Michael Martin

Re: Finally something small about Linux

You could always try something besides a kitchen-sink distro...

Let's face it, the reason that whatever it is you're installing is so bloated is because it tries to do everything under the sun instead of just what it needs to. If you want something that hews closely to the original ideals of Linux, you want something besides a default Redhat install, which tries to be EVERYTHING a business might need without having to install anything else. What it sounds like you actually want is a bare-minimum install with a good package manager, and you're not going to find that in Redhat.

Back when I started my Linux journey, I installed Slackware because it would require me to learn how to actually use Linux to make the best use of it. From what I hear, it's still an excellent lightweight Linux install; maybe you should look into that.

Firefox flaws make up 44% of all browser bugs?

Michael Martin

News: Study gives interesting results!

Not news: Results are intentionally flawed and misrepresented!

Fark: Results show the exact opposite of the intended message!

Seriously, the fact that there are lots of Firefox bugs reported is a GOOD thing. It means 1) the browser is getting used, 2) the people using it are interested in its success enough to report the bugs, and 3) the bugs will actually get fixed - unlike the bugs in IE which will get fixed when MS decides it's economically advantageous.

New Kindle: Wider, but still no broadsheet

Michael Martin

An inexpensive alternative

If you're really looking for a small, usable E-Book reader, I suggest... The Nintendo DS. Stick a MicroSD adapter in the cartridge slot (of questionable legality, but oh well) and one of the several homebrew E-Book apps out there, and you have a small, touchscreen-capable, easily-readable solution. And it plays games on the side, for only about $140-$150 US including the adapter and media.

Of course, you lose out on some of the extra Kindle functionality like the notation and integrated bookstore, but if you're really industrious you can use DSLinux and grab a text file version of anything you can find on the interwebs thanks to the DS's wifi capabilities (though it is, sadly, missing WPA). I read Mote in God's Eye that way, and it was actually a fairly pleasant experience.

Mozilla considers dumping Firefox support for Win2k, early XP

Michael Martin

Much ado for nothing

People, people, people! Come on, if you aren't posting on the USENET group that the discussion is taking place in, your arguments are all for naught. Go forth and post where you will be heard!

I myself am using Win2K at work, and XP at home. I highly doubt that anyone is seriously considering dropping support for XP, especially due to the momentum 'lite computing' currently has. I'd be sad to see 2K support drop, though, as a hefty percentage of the computers here have no XP license and Firefox is by far my browser of choice (despite, as mentioned further up, its gradual transformation into a resource hog).

Nork splash shot snapped by passing satellite

Michael Martin

Oh, you North Korea

I am reminded of a story about my sister-in-law, when she was very young, who followed her father into the garage. He immediately asked if she had her shoes on (as they are a requirement in the garage) and she stood there for a moment and said "No", a statement which was immediately proven false with a cursory inspection.

"Pyongyang, your satellite fell into the ocean."

".....No it didn't."

Steve Ballmer lies to my mother

Michael Martin

Sound off - working or not, and what ISP?

In an effort to gain some perfectly useless information, can everyone list what ISP you are using and whether or not you can connect?

Michael Martin

It may depend on the ISP

I'm using Qwest (unfortunately) and am still unable to access either Hotmail or Yahoo. However, my fiancee's parents are on Centurytel and seem to be having no issues. My workplace as well, which goes through Electric Lightwave, can access both.

More remote workers squatting next door's broadband

Michael Martin

Rationalizing bandwidth theft

Fortunately, as long as you don't saturate someone else's wifi (and as long as you don't put such a drain on it that you overrun their hidden download cap), you aren't doing any damage. I tend to justify my use of other people's wifi by having a public access point for when people are in a bind and -my- wifi is the convenient one.

Although I make sure my computers on the network are locked up tight, and the e-mail port is blocked to prevent spamming from my IP address... and if someone -does- saturate my wifi for any length of time, their MAC gets banned.

I can force others to be fairly conscientious when using my access point, but I'm the one forcing myself to be conscientious when I'm out and about. Those who 'borrow' others' wifi should all behave similarly so the public service doesn't disappear. If it's permitted, it's not theft!

Panasonic unveils web-enabled Plasma TVs

Michael Martin
Thumb Down

I fail to be impressed

WHY does it need internet capability? Haven't they learned that the lack of decent upgradeability and horrible controls spell doom for set-top web boxes? WebTV has already gone the way of the dodo. Let it die! Just get a cheap PC and hook it up with DVI->HDMI, then use a wireless keyboard & mouse - you'll get all the functionality and more!

Also, the bit about 'gamer mode' is utter BS. Synchronization does not reduce lag; quicker image processing, or less image processing and quicker painting to the screen, reduces lag.

This smacks of putting worthless bloat in the hardware to ramp up the cost by implying that it is actually capable of doing these things well, while in fact it is no better than the competitor's model (and defunct WebTV).

Watching the Earthrise over the moon

Michael Martin

RE: Moon Landing

AI am of the opinion that those seeking confirmation from the real/virtual/semantic web of their beliefs/fears/AIntellect that any view can be expressed and receive recognition. Is this not the beauty of the Virtual Existence of the Cyberworld? IT is how we SMART2 humans will Advance, Adapt, and .... ah crap, I give up. AmanfromMars is infinitely better at this than I am.

Haven't heard from that psychotic pseudo-spambot in a while - what happened to him/her/it?

Mozilla hits back at Firefox 3 quality slur

Michael Martin

@Andrew Norton

Umm, Javascript -is- supported natively in Firefox. It's just the java applets that need a virtual machine to run that aren't. And if Opera supports <i>Ithat</i> natively, it's probably breaking a law somewhere.

OpenOffice builds extensions for v2.3

Michael Martin

RE: Templates

Of course OOo doesn't support .dot templates. It's in an incompletely implemented format, since Microsoft in all its wisdom has never seen fit to release the specifications of the format. Can't you simply import the .dot templates and save them as OOo templates?

Also, you seem to be forgetting the popularity of WordPerfect. It was vastly more popular than Word was... until Windows came out, and Microsoft wrote Word for Windows - and (intentionally?) failed to give the WordPerfect programmers accurate documentation, causing them to have a late, buggy product as they attempted to figure out why things weren't working the way they should. If not for Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior, the office standard may have been WordPerfect. For a while, it nearly was.

Light Sabre wars for your Wii

Michael Martin

RE: The real question

I suspect a majority of it is 'tilt the wiimote up to block, swing it to attack'. It might even pay attention to which direction you swing it. With enough preset moves, they can make a fairly good approximation of what you're doing.

Microsoft counters VMware insanity with optimistic frown

Michael Martin

@ Eric

You're forgetting one more very important market:

Custom application development for internal software.

If you're a decent coder, it's always possible to wedge yourself in the IT department of nigh any size company as long as it has custom software that needs supporting. And sometimes they even pay well. You have to admit, the environment would almost by necessity be better than working as a M$ drone.

Build malware protection into operating systems

Michael Martin

@ amanfromMars

Were you only temporarily banned? It's been a while since I've seen one of your indecipherable comments and I was thinking (maybe even hoping a little?) you were banned permanently.

Back on topic though.... Jeez, weren't you even paying attention to the article? The answer isn't to make some magic virtual reality, the answer is to secure the OS kernel. If MS were to make your magic virtual reality and still made it bug-riddled with security made of cheesecloth, would that lessen the impact of viruses? I think not! And please, stop replacing every other word in a sentence with buzzwords.

Sorry, sorry, I know I'm feeding the trolls...

Discovery of musician on YouTube triggers loss of faith in American Dream and interests

Michael Martin

News: Lack of perspective gives comment-writers wrong idea

The 'lack of will to live' comment is extrapolated from a slightly out-of-context comment, folks. The guy isn't actually saying there's nothing interesting left in the world, he's saying there's no longer anything interesting about the MUSICIAN. According to Bob, a large part of her appeal was that she was new and virtually undiscovered, making her supposed discovery on Youtube something everyone could watch and applaud. But how do you observe and cheer on someone's discovery when they're already discovered?

Jeez... Where's my clue-by-four when I need it?

Shooting stars to dazzle in September...

Michael Martin

re: what r they??

First, dear Natasha, please learn to type properly. Double question marks are not necessary, and the first sentence in your comment does not require a question mark, but instead demands a period. Please capitalize the first letter of every sentence. I know the shift key is hard to hold down while pressing another key, but if you make the effort, your grammatical skills will at least appear to be much greater than they currently are.

Also, the moving lights are satellites.

Toshiba's burning desire for HD DVD

Michael Martin


If it's running Microsoft Vista, does it actually have the capability of playing full-on HD content? 'Cause if so, it will be the FIRST system I know of to be capable of actually jumping through all of Vista's utterly ridiculous encryption hoops required to play full-on 'premium content'...

Wikipedia clarifies steam pipe menace

Michael Martin

Re: Sometimes explode

No no no, your article needs to be factual! I have never heard of an exploding mouse.

Now, power supplies and monitors on the other hand...

Student's suspension for IM buddy icon upheld by US court

Michael Martin

Ads in comments now?

Will someone please nuke Neil Anderson's comments wholesale? They're nothing but a single line to provide a space for his 'signature' which consists entirely of a link to his website where he's selling his book. In other words: KILL THE SPAM

Boffins go dotty over quantum teleportation

Michael Martin

re: amanfromMars

I am more and more convinced that amanfromMars isn't a user in the normal sense, but is, in fact, a carefully crafted method of transferring secret information encrypted in what looks like gibberish, readable only by those who the message is intended for.

Or he could just be on crack.

How furry is it?

Michael Martin

RE: Mhmmm...

There was an article recently in Damn Interesting on sanity vs. insanity and how it relates to perceiving the world as it ACTUALLY is.


Escapism isn't for freaks... It's for people who don't want to go absolutely fruitcake.

Incidentally, I attended Further Confusion as a volunteer staff member, and what I enjoyed most about it was the gathering of artists. A lot of the artwork is very, very good, and having unusual subjects makes the art unusual as well. It takes some real talent to make a 'furry' character look good.

I view the conventions as a 'creator's convention', where people share costumes, artwork, or just characters they've created. It's a fandom subculture, not an alternate lifestyle subculture for most people.

Dell cleans up crapware

Michael Martin

re: Better than third-party

Face it, David... Any time you get gripes about Windows or anything Windows-related, you'll get Linux and Mac fanboys saying 'LOL just use a Mac' or 'Linux is a real OS too, honest'. As for Ubuntu being a glorified *nix distro... How can it be glorified? That's what it IS. And it doesn't actually destroy good commandline work, the terminal is still right there and perfectly usable. The GUI stuff all accesses the commandline programs anyways - just invisibly.

Google calls for court to tighten Microsoft's anti-trust leash

Michael Martin

RE: Blah @ SpitefulGOD

Look up the definition of Operating System. Anything that does not fit that definition is an add-on. Microsoft Vista is an operating system with a set of tools packaged with it, much like how find/grep are applications that run inside *NIX operating systems. It should be JUST AS EASY to run a competitor's product, because SEARCH IS NOT INTRINSIC TO AN OPERATING SYSTEM. Microsoft is overstepping its bounds by making it MORE DIFFICULT TO RUN A COMPETING PRODUCT.

They tried to do the same thing with Internet Explorer, and they succeeded. IE is, in case you couldn't tell, integrated completely into the operating system of Windows XP and its ilk. If you managed to completely rip out Internet Explorer, you would cripple the operating system. I doubt it would even boot. Google is simply trying to make sure that its product (Google Desktop Search) which was PREVIOUSLY easily integratable remains capable of competing. Microsoft tried to prevent it by closely tying it in and preventing anyone else from making it as easy to use a competing product.

Incidentally, all those things you suggested are entirely possible in Windows XP with the exception of Task Manager, and in fact, all of them SHOULD be possible. (In fact, I find Process Explorer phenomenally more useful than Task Manager.) Competition lets products continue to improve.

The issue isn't Google coming up to Microsoft, handing them their code, and saying 'Make it work!' The issue is opening up the possibility of making sure Vista is modular enough that Microsoft doesn't HAVE to integrate someone else's work - the program creators can do it themselves. Nearly any programmer worth his salt will tell you that in most instances, hard-coding is a BAD IDEA. It kills flexibility. Modularity is one of the prime things that is catapulting Firefox into the spotlight as a real competitor for IE. If Vista had that sort of flexibility, it might actually be a worthwhile product.

Windows Vista aligned with good management practice

Michael Martin

Vista, new PCs, and the common user

You're all neglecting to mention the real travesty here.

Microsoft is forcing distributors to sell computers with Vista, correct? Businesses still have a choice thanks to a huge amount of indignant squawking, but the common user gets either Vista or nothing for a regular PC like all their friends use.

They purchase a PC with a specific set of hardware because their friends say it runs great and it isn't horribly expensive, and the vendors are continuing to sell hardware at the same price it was before Vista was released.

Joe User takes the computer home, boots it up with its whopping 1GB of RAM and a decent processor, expecting it to run nice and fast, *just like their friend's computer*.

Instead, it crawls along like a dying slug.

The user did not get the experience they paid for, because they didn't pay TWICE AS MUCH to get the SAME QUALITY EXPERIENCE. If their computer had 2GB of RAM and a high-end processor, then their computer *might* run as fast as their friend's computer with XP. And even then, their software that they purchased a year ago won't run, their printer they purchased two years ago has no drivers... Need I go on? Remember, this is after paying twice as much for hardware that will actually run Vista at a decent speed.

How is this fair to the consumer?

Simple answer: It isn't.

Businesses who are forced to go the Vista route will suffer the same issues as well - productivity will go down the tubes because the OS takes twice to three times as long to do anything, unless every single user that is forced to migrate to Vista receives a *high-end* computer instead of a mid-range workstation computer.

There are two people in my company who have moved to Vista. They both work in IT so they can fix their own problems, and they both still keep an XP computer right next to them in case things go south. Anyone else would be floundering, wasting the time of IT, et cetera.

Microsoft is being cruel for forcing Vista on everyone. Cruel to pocketbooks and cruel to whoever has to support the users.

Torvalds slams Sun over Linux intentions

Michael Martin

RE: 2 Egos = 1 Alter Ego, IDyllic Superego ....etc


FBI logs its millionth zombie address

Michael Martin

Re: Network detachment for infected lusers

Cox Cable actually does disconnect infected users. I ran across this once, being the only techie in a home with four college guys. One of the roomies brought in a computer, and within an hour, bam! Our network was cut off and everyone trying to access the internet got a "Your access has been revoked" website. We called in, the drone checked our account and noticed it had been flagged. It's possible, and most T&Cs will have clauses stating that if any illegal activities or percieved hacking attempts are detected from your IP address, they will cut off your access. Most bots/bot viruses immediately attempt to infect other computers, which counts as both illegal and a hacking attempt.

Microsoft clarifies Windows Server virtual licensing

Michael Martin

RE: Robert Hirst

You fail to realize that The Reg targets the IT sector, which tends to consist largely of people with Grammar Nazi tendencies, no matter what country we are talking about.

I, for one, was grateful for the brief grammar lesson. That particular rule is one I was unfamiliar with, though it makes logical sense.

Newegg turns to tech publishing

Michael Martin

Speaking of user reviews...

Is it just me, or do the comments on this page resemble the user reviews of Newegg? Some of them are well-thought-out and informative, or at least decent arguments, while others are OMG SUX. With typos.

Of course, I should be careful what I say, or I'll make a horrendous slip-up later with my spelling/grammar and someone will make me eat my words...

DIY kits dumb down phishing

Michael Martin


So now we just need to bomb Hong Kong, right? Maybe we can use nukes - that way all the phishing sites will be distinguishable by their radioactive glow...

On a more serious note, this is starting to look like all a browser needs is a little notification on the status bar at the bottom that states what country the domain registrar is in - it would catch almost half the phishing sites right away. In fact, maybe I'll write up a Firefox add-in right now. That would be useful to a lot of people for more reasons than just avoiding phishers.

Boffins demo wireless electricity

Michael Martin

RE: MAGNETIC field to recharge a laptop?!?

Ooooh yeah... There's a very good reason I set my CRT monitor to have a refresh rate of at least 75Hz. It gives me a headache to watch that obnoxious flicker that only becomes more pronounced in my peripheral vision. Just imagine having a constant 60Hz wobble on the screen.

In regards to the hard drive though, I suspect the magnetic field is not as strong as you think. The entire reason it affects the pickup coil is because it's at just the right size for the frequency of the power signal to get picked up. So though it may decrease the overall life expectancy of any data on a drive due to the constant low-grade magnetic fluctuation, it will not immediately wipe it clean. The platters aren't conductive, and even if they were, they wouldn't be the right size to pick up on the signal as effectively as the pickup coil.

Pirate Bay founders host paedophilia site

Michael Martin

You're missing some details

First off, there is no mention of actual pornographic images being hosted, as I'm sure the moment that happened, PRQ would drop the site like a hot potato and probably report them. Second, there's the idea that by hosting their website, there is in essence a repository of identities of people who would be watched carefully, thus potentially preventing actual instances of child abuse.

It is also completely within the realm of plausibility that their commentaries on the websites fall under free speech. As long as they are expressing opinions (as loathsome an opinion as that may be), they are not breaking any laws. If PRQ wants to maintain an image of being an impartial host, they have to permit this sort of thing - and then they can point out that Pirate Bay isn't as bad as this one other site they're hosting, and the cops aren't on their backs about the other site...

Four-core Opteron box fiasco crushes Cray's 2007

Michael Martin


I probably shouldn't mention this, considering The Reg probably makes a lot of its advertising on ads, but...

Firefox + Adblock Plus = No Dell banner ad.