* Posts by Neil McAllister

25 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Aug 2012

Google hits TurboFan button on Chrome's JavaScript engine

Neil McAllister

Must be why all those X-Wings had such an easy time evading the Death Star's turbo lasers.

Docker and Microsoft unite Windows and Linux in the cloud

Neil McAllister

Re: Hmmm

If you check the article, you'll find the container running ASP.Net code was running on the Linux host, while the container on the Windows host was running Node.js code -- which is just JavaScript, so it's completely cross-platform. ASP.Net is likewise open source and can run cross-platform. So it may be possible to design these particular containers in such a way that the same container will run on either OS, and you could push either one to either host. I kinda doubt these particular containers were designed that way, and Russinovich did not demonstrate moving the containers back and forth between hosts, but that may be possible if you plan and design your containers that way.

I suspect the more likely scenario is that you'd use Windows Server to run images containing Windows native code in Windows Containers. You could still use Docker's tools to manage them, though, and you could use the same tools to manage your Linux containers on other hosts.

Microsoft's secret weapon in browser wars: Mozilla's supercharged Asm.js

Neil McAllister

Oh I dunno. Have you actually SEEN any Asm.js? It doesn't look much like stock JavaScript. In fact, the conventional wisdom is that coding by hand in Asm.js is too tricky for mere mortals. It requires the rigor of real assembly language, but because it's JavaScript you have a million opportunities to write bad code because of what you think you know about JavaScript. It's mainly meant as an output target for compilers. In other words, when you want a program to run in a browser as Asm.js, you'd write your actual source code in C.

This guy's page has a little sample of what output from the Emscripten compiler looks like: http://ejohn.org/blog/asmjs-javascript-compile-target/

Note that even that snippet has been "beautified" with indentation etc. Normal Asm.js output doesn't bother with any of that.

Is the syntax really like a processor's assembly language? I guess not. But the description still fits, I think.

Microsoft dumps ARM for Atom with cut-price Surface 3 fondleslab

Neil McAllister

Re: Errrr

Microsoft hasn't announced anything definite on RT. Its future certainly doesn't look very bright, though.

Claimed Home Depot credit card hack could be biggest retail breach yet

Neil McAllister

Re: The U.S. should move to chip-and-PIN anyway...

I've never had a problem using a US-issued credit or debit card overseas. Except in Japan, where with the exception of 7-Eleven pretty much no ATMs accept debit cards that weren't issued in Japan, and that goes for European chip-and-PIN cards, too.

One of my credit card companies just issued me a new card with a chip in it. That's the first time I've seen one from a US bank. The trouble is, it's "chip-and-signature." As in, the retailer can authenticate the chip somehow, but it needs no PIN to validate the transaction -- a signature will do. Based on what I've seen, proper chip-and-PIN in the US is still a long way off.

10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10

Neil McAllister

Re: Precise time?

Go to the Reg homepage and check the publish time on the article, you clever lad, you.

Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor

Neil McAllister

Re: I call excrement!

Unfortunately, you are wrong. Enterprise customers have until August 12 to apply the Update. Consumers have until May 13. After those dates, the ONLY thing that will come down through Windows Update will be the Windows 8.1 Update. There will be no further security patches for Windows 8.1 customers until they have installed the Update. Microsoft has been quite explicit about this and there has been no conflict in The Register's reporting of it.

Wanna build a module for Google's Project Ara mix-and-match phone? Here are your specs

Neil McAllister

I once replaced a screen on a BlackBerry 8100. I had two of them, one with a cracked screen and one with a fried main board, so I cracked them both open, took the screen out of the one and put it into the other. It required some delicacy but it wasn't all that hard, really. Looks like iFixIt thinks the new BlackBerrys are pretty easy to repair, too. http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/BlackBerry+Z10+Teardown/13445/

Are you willing to go that far to get what you want? :-)

Microsoft's Office 2013 Service Pack 1 slips out with fixes, features

Neil McAllister

Re: UK English please

American journo, working out of The Reg's San Francisco office. It used to specify these things in our bylines but a site change at some point got rid of that.

Google waves its Chromecast dongle in front of developers

Neil McAllister

Re: Optional

Nope -- from what I can gather, the Chromecast-enabled Plex App is an officially supported thing and was developed with help from Google. So that might be the way to do local streaming. I haven't had a chance to try it out because I'm not a PlexPass member so haven't had access to the latest software.


Apple's iPhone did not rip off Googorola's wireless patent – US appeal judges

Neil McAllister

Re: it all depends ...

Two points:

1. The very BusinessWeek article you cite has B&N CEO Michael Huseby saying he's committed to the Nook business, not "abandoning it" as you claim.

2. The price for the Nook version of "The Goldfinch" is currently $7.50, same as the Kindle version.

Guardian teams up with New York Times for future Snowden GCHQ coverage

Neil McAllister

"The uber smug New York Times was absolutely quivering with anticipation, as they are of course well remembered as the gleeful publisher of the Pentagon Papers..."

The Washington Post also published the Pentagon Papers.

Google's Street View cars venture inside TARDIS

Neil McAllister

I use the new Maps and was able to see it by clicking the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and selecting "Classic Maps." The switch doesn't seem to be permanent.

Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

Neil McAllister
Big Brother

Re: Soctt's quote is valuable here:

Funny about that ... Scott tweeted this today:


Stealthy, malware-spewing server attack not limited to Apache

Neil McAllister

Re: You're joking, right?

No, it's you who are joking, right?

If you have access to the source code to some software, it's trivial to insert a backdoor and compile a binary from your modified source. You couldn't do that with software for which you only have binaries. There's nothing inflammatory about these facts.

The question is, how did these modified binaries replace the legitimate binaries on the infected servers? Presumably that requires root access. How it happened is what we don't know yet. They thought it was a cPanel vulnerability at first, but that no longer seems to be the case.

Ultra-hackable Google Glass could be a security nightmare

Neil McAllister

Re: The difference...

I don't know. Why do you expect me to be able to answer these questions today? When someone answers them, I'll let you know. In the meantime, are you telling me you think the right approach is to ignore the issue? That attitude seems strange to me.

Neil McAllister

Re: <Insert scaremongering Sun headline here>

"Where did Google ever claim that the device was unhackable with physical access."

That old koan that anyone can hack your machine if they have physical access is logical when you're talking about a computer that by rights should be secured behind multiple layers of card key locks, security guards, surveillance cameras and iron cages. But Glass users are going to be taking their devices everywhere -- to work, to school, to restaurants, to bars, to other people's houses. By definition, different rules apply. Glass needs to be at LEAST as secure as an Android phone, but as you'll see if you read the article, at present it's not. Right now, it's hackable in the time it takes you to go to the toilet.

Neil McAllister

The difference...

The difference between the last story and this one -- and maybe I should have made this more explicit in the story -- is that while Freeman did root his device, he did it WITHOUT unlocking the bootloader. He does explain how to unlock it in his post, but that was NOT how he got into his Glass.

Office 365 - what's in it for you? Speak your brains

Neil McAllister

Re: Lame interface(s)...

I work with the Ribbon minimized so I don't think I agree with your criticisms there. It's not distracting; in fact, it's practically invisible.

You can skip the Start screen, too. It's there by default, but you can configure it to go away. It's the very last check box under Options->General. That was a must for me.

Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

Neil McAllister

Re: …And we still have no idea what these patents are

Rumor has it that all of these deals Microsoft has signed with device vendors involve patents on the FAT filesystem and later derivatives.

Presumably, Microsoft is not releasing this information because it wants the idea out there in the public consciousness that "Microsoft invented the technologies that Android uses." Also, by keeping the terms of its deal with one company vague, it can presumably negotiate a more favorable deal with the next company it goes after.

Could this be Google's slick new touchscreen Chromebook?

Neil McAllister

Post your comments here (don't ask, it's a bug)...

Microsoft offers 60-day free trial of Office 2013

Neil McAllister

Re: 700MB download

The Office 2013 Preview was actually a preview of Office 365 with Office 2013. The thing you get from TechNet is Office 2013 Professional Plus, the kind you get in a box from the store. It's a subtle distinction, maybe, because the apps are supposed to be identical either way. The only real difference is in the new download method, which you only get with Office 365.

It makes sense if you think about it. When the new Office launches, if you subscribe to Office 365, you will be able to download the final version of Office 2013 using Microsoft's application streaming, the same way you did with the Preview. If you buy Office 2013 Professional Plus, on the other hand, you won't need to download anything, because you'll have a DVD.

If, on the other hand, you plan to get Office 2013 from MSDN or TechNet, then what you're getting is an .ISO file of the DVD, so you need to download the whole thing at once, as in this preview.

Thanks ever so much Java, for that biz-wide rootkit infection

Neil McAllister

Re: The only use for java these days

The exploits are cross-platform, but the payloads only run on Windows -- so far, at least. So running Linux, for now, IS actually an effective shield. It would be more difficult to craft a payload that did anything harmful on Linux, too, compared to Windows XP, where everybody runs with administrator privileges.

Microsoft tightens grip on OEM Windows 8 licensing

Neil McAllister

Re: So...

I've had to re-activate Windows when I changed my hardware a few times. Once I had to do it on my mum's computer when I didn't change anything -- no explanation. In all cases, though, it was easy. They used to have you talk to a call center in India. The last time I read my key codes to a computer. In no case did it take five minutes.

Valve: Games run FASTER on Linux than Windows

Neil McAllister

Re: 2500 Apps in their app store

You're thinking too narrowly. Just because you play games on a Linux machine doesn't mean you have to do your spreadsheets on it also.

Making games for Linux desktop systems is the focus NOW, because that's what Valve is able to target today. But if Valve can prove that Linux is a viable gaming platform, the kinds of Linux systems most people end up playing games on could look very different than today's Ubuntu desktops.

Remember, Linux is free software. It runs on a variety of hardware and can scale even to very small embedded devices. Just like you don't care that your bank teller machine is running Windows Embedded today, at some point in the future you won't need to know that your gaming machine is running Linux. All you'll care about is that the machine cost less than the games you play on it.

The work Valve is doing today will definitely help toward that goal, IMHO.