* Posts by Retron

24 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Apr 2011

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too


Re: "would often have included all of the library" @LDS

Hmm - Windows 3.1 had a registry (not as fully-fledged as 95, but it was there) and DOS lived on the C drive, along with Windows.

Namesco email 'scripting error' has last bastion of Demon Internet holdouts scratching their heads


Re: buy a real domain or/and use https://mailbox.org

Demon was exceptional back in the day. I once phoned them on Boxing Day to get tech support with a beta version of Windows 2000 (not expecting anyone to be there, or to be able to help).

Not only was there someone there, they helped me sort the issue even though it was something new to both of us.

It's a real pity the email addresses are going to be switched off, to this day I still get the odd email about software I wrote 20 years ago (and it'll always be floating around somewhere, I'm sure). For whatever reason my friends and family still email me there too, even though I've told them of my new address...

That reminds me - I'm still using my Demon address for El Reg. I'll have to update that!

Intel admits a load of its CPUs have Spectre v2 flaw that can't be fixed


"Most the CPUs listed above are oldies that went on sale between 2007 and 2011, so it is likely few remain in normal use."

Yeah, right. We've over 100 Wolfdales in daily use at the school where I work - and that's not unusual for schools in general. I guess they'll just carry on in their vulnerable state until they die...

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT


Can't believe any network would allow users to run stuff from %temp%...

It's just one of the things a network admin can do which helps lock the system down. From what I've seen (on a VM used for the purpose), malware from emails / web browsers invariably tries to run an EXE from the temp directory.

We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror


Works fine...

...for doing actual work, rather than faffing around with Metro apps.

In fact, it's less of a mess than Windows 8.1 is and I'll be switching my work PC to it as soon as the volume licensed version becomes available. I've been running the previews on my home PC and laptop since October and going back to Windows 8.1 at work is like a kick in the teeth each morning.

Games work just fine btw.

Note that this relates to traditional desktop/laptop use. I don't know whether it'd be any good on tablets but frankly I don't care - can't stand the things!

Brits stung for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband


This whole contract malarkey has passed me by. I started out with Compuserve, moved to Demon in 98, then to Metronet in 2005 when ADSL came along. Then when Metronet was bought out by Plusnet and service standards dropped, I moved to Entanet. In no case have I ever been tied to a contract - I always associated them more with certain mobile phones. Landlines and ISPs are traditionally paid monthly, with no minimum-length contracts.

It's quite depressing to see that people willingly tie themselves into 18 or 24-month contracts just to get a cheap router thrown in for free! Far better IMO to pay a bit more and get better service from a smaller ISP.

Welcome to Heathrow Terminal, er, Samsung Galaxy S5


That's reading way too much into it. T5 is for BA (and Iberia, part of IAG and the Oneworld alliance). The idea was to consolidate as many flights as possible from BA in order to make transfers that much easier. Unfortunately there's still some overspill - Gibraltar and Lisbon still go from T3 for example.

It's the way Heathrow is going, btw - T2 is going to be for Star Alliance airlines when it opens, T4 is for SkyTeam airlines and so on.

Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update


Re: As if this will make people happy!

FWIW, Windows 8 (and 8.1, and by the looks of it 8.1 update 1) has all the hallmarks of an unfinished rushjob.

Remember the Release Preview version of Windows 8? That still had Aero Glass, translucency and didn't look like something out of the 80s. That all got swept away in the few weeks before final release, because all the gloss and shininess made laptop batteries run down slightly faster. Gee thanks, that's really comforting to see on my desktop.

Windows 8 is an inconsistent mess. Let's see, whereas Windows 7 was pretty much consistent throughout and looked decent, we have:

* Vista icons

* Windows 7-style "shiny" Media Player, pretty much carried over as-is (minus DVD playing features, even if you have a codec installeD)

* A non-shiny port of the Windows 7 Action Center, Volume etc popups on the taskbar

* Metro-style Network popups on the taskbar, with functionality removed from the Windows 7 popup it replaced

* Some dialogs (but not all) converted to Metro, seemingly at random (for example, "This App can't run on your PC" if you try and run a 16-bit program on x64 Windows.

* An acknowledgement that the Start Menu should have been kept - right click on the start menu thumbnail/start button and you get essentially the Windows 95 Start Menu minus the "Programs" cascading menu. The back-end of this is a nasty registry hack-job with some shortcut files for good measure, screaming "last minute add-on".

We still have legacy carry-overs - does Windows RT really need to bundle a copy of MS-DOS 8? I really doubt it.

In short - Windows 8 and 8.1 are an utter mess. Hopefully Windows 9 will actually show some polish, rather than being a hacked-up jumble of UIs.

Review: Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate


Caps lock?

"Even so, the caps lock key is the only really fiddly bit here, being so tiny, and has no status indicator; a must for passwords."

Really? I seem to manage just fine without looking at the Caps Lock LED on my keyboard, mainly because I so seldom need to use Caps Lock at all.

Could it be that the author is one of those who presses Caps Lock, types one letter, then presses Caps Lock again? That's quite common for some reason...

Happy 23rd birthday, Windows 3.0


Re: Real mode could run on anything up to a 286.

It's even more fun on an IBM XT at 4.77Mhz running in VGA mode... you can't use colour (as that requires a driver with 286 code) and you get to see the dialog boxes in eg Write draw before your eyes!

That was 20 years ago, mind you... I wanted a copy of Windows after using it at school and after finding one in the local paper it was most disappointing to see how chuggy it was on the PC I had.


Re: Thanks for the memory

"Not with SIMMs my friend. They had to go in matched pairs"

Not with 72-pin SIMMS on a 486, you could use those one at a time. I had 12MB just before I moved to a Pentium, 3x 4MB SIMMS.


Notepad was in Windows from version 1, FWIW.

Fried-egg sarnies kick off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge


I've (inadvertantly) followed this plan for two days of my American holiday. Day one saw no breakfast, a banana for lunch and nothing in the evening, whereas the other day had nothing for breakfast, another banana for lunch and a pack of Cheetos in the evening. Drinks are just tap water (bought a bottle of Diet Coke at the beginning of the holiday and then just refill it thereafter - the tap water seems to be safe to drink here).

Lotus 1-2-3 turns 30: Mitch Kapor on the Google before Google


What really sunk 1-2-3 was a shoddy initial port to Windows and OS/2, as they were putting all their money into the (decidedly old-fashioned) DOS version. Meanwhile Microsoft kept cranking out new versions of Excel and 1-2-3 simply got left behind...

Nvidia puts Tesla K20 GPU coprocessor through its paces



Of course, this recycled press-release details the reason why nVidia decided to sell a midrange graphics chip (the GK104) as a high end GPU. The real high-end chip has been held back for (far more lucrative) sale to supercomputer companies. Thrilling.

The daft thing is if it hadn't been for gamers buying several generations of their products over the past decade and a bit, nVidia wouldn't even have been in a position to do what they're doing now. Yet gamers get sold overpriced slops whilst what would have been a really stunning GPU gets sold for a completely different use.

OnLive goes legit with licensing downshift for virtual Windows


Easy enough to check whatever's running - just run Winver and that'll tell you (unless they've fiddled with the graphics embedded in various DLLs, which I doubt).

Also, although you can enable themes and Aero Glass on a Windows Server 2008 R2 box, there are some subtle differences between that and Aero Glass on a real Windows 7 machine. For example, hover over the minimize button on Win7 and you get a blue glow surrounding the button. Do that on Server 2008 R2 and although the button lights up, you don't get a glow surrounding it.

Nvidia shows off first 'Kepler' GPUs

Thumb Down

Those with eagle eyes will have spotted that the 680 is based on GK104, which would suggest it would otherwise have been released as the 660 - just as the 460 used the GF104 and the 560 used the GF114. There's no sign of the "full", 384-bit memory bus GK110 GPU - I daresay nVidia are holding that back for the summer, having benefited from selling an ostensibly mid-range GPU at a premium price.

Swedish political party pledges War On Wolves


Sweden got an absolute rollocking from the EU commission earlier this year for their wolf hunt - which was deemed illegal (wolves are strictly protected under the Bern Convention, to which Sweden is a signatory). They've ended up having to draw up plans to import wolves from Russia to broaden the genetics of their current population, which is dangerously inbred: the population of wolves in southern Scandinavia is pretty much cut off from the rest of the world.

As such, this party will have pretty much zero impact.

The IBM PC is 30


Re: Can it run Windows 7

I had a both 5150 and a 5160 (a PC XT) back in 92, when my dad's company threw them out. We ditched the 5150 (MDA display and no HD.. and yes, I regret that now!) and upgraded the XT to VGA (from CGA) and a full 640K of RAM. I tracked down a copy of Windows 3.0 and by gum it was slow... it'd take a couple of seconds to draw the font select dialog box in Write, for example. It wouldn't run in 16-colour VGA though and it was only years later I found the colour VGA drivers used 286 code. Pah.

The XT is long gone but I kept its keyboard as a souvenir, it's even better (and louder) than the well-known Model M AT keyboards. One day I'll buy an XT to AT (and PS/2) adapter box for it and hook it up to a modern PC...

Game graphics could be 100,000 times better


All been done before...

Yawn. By "atom" they mean "voxel".

Nothing new here, except the level of detail. Voxels were popular a while back (there was a notable game, Outcast, which used them) but they fell out of fashion partly as they couldn't be hardware accellerated.


Not new

By "atom" they mean "voxel".

There's nothing new here other than the level of detail. Voxels went through a cool phase in the mid 90s, when DOS games reigned supreme. They were used in things such as Shadow Warrior (Cool! Stuff that doesn't spin around to face you when you move!) and notably in Outcast, which looked gorgeous if you had a fast CPU.

And therein lies the killer - voxels weren't hardware accelerated, weren't able to be hardware accelerated and quickly faded away once Windows gaming became the norm.

For voxels to be a success again there would have to be hardware support and even if NVidia and AMD were to start today, it'd be years before cards hit the market. In 10 years time? Who knows, but the last company that tried something different (NVidia, with its NV1 chip) ended up abandoning it in favour of the status quo.

Gamer claims complete console collection


No Intellivision

No Intellivision console - or any of its successors or clones.

Give the Met Office £10m, says Transport Committee


Last winter's forecast...

...is not surprising. The amateur weather message boards were predicting a marked cold snap too, based on the ECMWF charts and Met Office data. That chart shown on the "not a forecast" page is only one tiny piece of the jigsaw. The Met Office also use the ECM 30-day ensemble data heavily (which for weeks was pointing to an exceptionally cold spell - those of you who read the MetO 30-day forecasts would have seen it) as well as predictions for the NAO (based on SSTs in May). Low solar activity and the trend for blocking due to southerly jets also enhanced the chances of cold - all factors the Met Office would have used in their forecast to the Government.

Sadly a lot of people moan without knowing the facts.

Binary dinosaur drive found alive and breathing fire



I had a 5150 machine back in '92, which my dad asked for (and got) when his company chucked it out in favour of a new-fangled PS/2. It only had a mono screen (MDA), had two floppies and no hard drive. It couldn't play many games and thus was thrown out a couple of years later when we got a 486.

If only I'd kept it!

(I still have the clicky Model F keyboard, which I kept because it was great to type on and I thought I might be able to use it with newer PCs. Hah! I also have the floppy controller card, as it has an external floppy drive connector - I've never seen anything that could plug into it, but it seemed interesting enough to keep).