* Posts by John

71 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Jul 2007


Windows 7 early promise: Passes the Vista test


is this really a good idea?

"device vendors can customize what happens on connection"

would you like to borrow my usb stick......


I like vista too

It has provided me with no end of amusement over the last few years. All the comment's on el reg et el. slating it and bashing it have made me laugh. I've been Linux since '99 so I pretty much missed out on XP as well. Back then everyone was bitching about XP and now they sing it's praises, which makes me laugh as well. XP is still up there in the "most insecure OS of all time" league.

Seriously though, can MS do anything without getting a good bashing nowadays? I kinda feel that they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. I also feel that the user is screwed regardless but hey, Win7 could be really really good, we may all fall in love with their azure cloud thingy and drop flash for silverlight.......maybe.

Ho hum, ubuntu 8.10 out on Thursday :)

Microsoft unveils 'lightweight' Office for Web

Thumb Up

What about google Chrome?

Any word on their arch-rival's kick-arse new browser?

btw openoffice.org 3 rocks.

Cray, Intel, and Microsoft birth baby supercomputer


MS in our HPC?? What a joke!!

Oh my word, I had a laugh at this one. I think if I suggested putting MS on anything in our HPC facility my colleagues would cart me off in a white coat.

For people unfamiliar with Linux - learn how to use a computer!

Microsoft makes another play for UK schools


Get the schools on OpenOffice

All kids do is learn word processing and do some simple spreadsheets. Go OpenOffice and save a big wodge of cash that can then go into teachers salaries.

Give it a few more years ad when all those XP machines look like they need upgrading, move them over to Ubuntu - saving even more money which can go into teachers salaries.


Mozilla security chief: Apple should open up


If apple should open up, so should mozilla

Funny that one reg story is about mozilla telling apple to open up and another reg story is full of Linux people bashing mozilla for not opening up to the full glory of the GNU/GPL. Go ice-weesel I say!

Microsoft dishes dirt on IE8 'pr0n mode'



That nasty little hidden file that collects EVERY url cannot be deleted while you are using your account. Maybe IE8 will edit it, maybe.....

You have to log into a different account, or even boot to MS DOS prompt, or even better mount the drive under Linux, to delete it.

Have fear, even with porn mode on, the police will still be able to see every little kiddie website you wank over.

index.dat is the number 2 reason that I don't use IE. Number 1 is that I use Linux.

Mobile broadband: What's it for?


minicom for dummies

As some of us may have forgotten (glad to see the back of) all those unintelligible minicom commands, maybe a quick refresher for the Huawei E220 would be good.

Set it up using:

Serial Device : /dev/ttyUSBxxx; Bps/Par/Bits : 115200 8N1; Hardware: No; Software Flow Control : Yes

some useful commands:

AT+COPS=? -> List observable networks

AT+CIMI -> Get IMSI number

Stick the darn thing into text message mode with:


send a text with:


type you message and then CTRL+Z to send

To receive use:


for all else, man minicom.

@Peter Gathercole - Yep, BT has it all sown up. I was with Virgin and they said they couldn't transfer me across when I moved. Everyone else requires a BT line, so that's 18 months minimum from BT.

@daniel - Looking forward to getting a proper 8 MB+ broadband connection that plugs into my router via an RJ45 when I get to France. Thanks for the info.

@rick buck - Gutted, that sounds harsh.


@ Solomon Grundy

Hi Solomon,

I have no choice but to go for 3's pay-as-you-go. I can't get a regular broadband connection as BT want 18 months minimum contract. I am only in the flat for 6 months before I skip the country. BT are the only ISP that can serve my house. As I say, 3 are were the only provider to offer pay-as-you-go as of 2 months ago. Vodafone want 24 months!!!

Bit of a crappy situation, I'll see what the French ISP's are like in February.

If you have a choice about it, <u>DO NOT GET</u> mobile broadband, it's like going back to 2001 speeds.


Can't believe they call it broadband

I recently got 3's pay-as-you-go mobile broadband. £50 for the modem and £15 a month for 3GB. I went for this as I have a 6 month contract on my flat, BT have the area sown up, and demand 18 months minimum contracts. 3 is the only mobile broadband to offer pay-as-you-go, as of 2 months ago.

I can't believe they call 30KB/s broadband!! Sure I've had 100KB/s out of it occasionally, but I've also had it running at 3KB/s. The speeds are more like dial-up. Forget streaming anything like you tube or iPlayer. In fact, the BBC doesn't recognise me as being in the UK, so I can't get any of the clips or anything. Make sure you have an ad-blocker and seriously consider a flash-blocker.

Then there is the problem that on connecting it often gives you a DNS of which go nowhere. I often have to connect 6 or 7 times before I get a sensible DNS that actually works.

Grumbling aside, it is nice to sit in the park and have internet, not having to worry about WIFI and any associated charges (ala Heathrow).

I can happily report that the Huawei E220 modem works under Fedora 9 and Ubuntu 8.04. To get text messages you need to know a bit of minicom, but we all remember how that works, right?

Drizzle plans to wash away DBMS past


MS is irrelevant in the cloud

Damn straight they are,

I've been using remote farms and Grids for years now. Never ever seen them run on anything but Linux / UNIX.

Had a look at SUNs latest cloud - compile your code to run on Solaris 10 and then submit it to their batch farm. Pay-per-CPU-hour. Way of the future.

Microsoft 'proves' six degrees of separation theory


Flawed research from MS (again)

The biggest, and most obvious, flaw in this research is that not everyone is on MSN.

The number of degrees of seperation would come down if you include everyone in the world. I bet you know more people than you have in your IM contact list. I know lots of people down at my local who know lots of other people, but I drink beer and chat with them, I don't IM / email / facebook them.

Given MS's history of "research" I'm sure there were many other "features" of their methodology that wouldn't last 15 minutes in a scientifically peer reviewed process.

Black hats attack gaping DNS hole

Thumb Down

Bloody black-hats

Well this is a pain in the arse,

Guess I'll be doing an nslookup and whois on all sites before I give them any passwords or personal information.

K Desktop Environment 4.1 lands


KDE 4 is why I switched to gnome

I have been a KDE user for years and years, and was always of the opinion that gnome sucked.

Recently gnome has got very good, version 2.22 which comes with ubuntu 8.04 is excellent. I had a good go with KDE 4 but I'm afraid that I don't like it and am not convinced about the direction it's heading. On the other hand gnome seems to be getting better and better.

The new K menu has become so complicated that it's actually really difficult to use and easy to get lost in. I don't like the widget thing in the top right of the screen, and can't seem to get rid of it. I don't like the new oxygen theme (not keen on ubutnu's poo theme either). It doesn't integrate with compiz very well.

Saying that, I will continue to use KDE apps in gnome as amarok is better than rhytembox, Kaffeine is better than totem, K3B is better than Brasero and KDevelop is better than ajunta.

The KDE Vs gnome "war" will continue for years to come, but KDE4 is a real own goal. I for one, have changed sides (kinda).

MS products just too cool to comprehend, say MS geeks



Why do I need such a big system?

I have a 586 with 64MB of ram that works quite nicely. Damn Small Linux only takes up 24MB of RAM when it runs!!

Internet works fine (and safely), email no probs, OpenOffice for the documents, terminal to connect to 8-core 3GHz machines in the racks...

Re-jigged Intel mobile Linux stack dumps Ubuntu


Why I left red hat

One of the main reasons I left red hat and switched to ubuntu was to get rid of the RPM dependency nightmare.

Got an RPM, want to install it, no, you need these 12 other RPM's. OK found them, want to install one of them, nope you need another 4 RPM's. 3 hours later and the thing you want to install is a distant memory and you have a head ache.

or, sudo aptitude install ... easy peasy

Obama bloats Vista by 11MB


Ever heard of CVS??

Why do we need to clog up our bandwidth downloading the full dictionary?

There are a few changes. OK, just let people download the diff and let the windoze CVS equivalent deal with the rest. I'm sure if a proper version control system was employed this update could be brought down to a few hundred k.

To add the the pointless reboot debate(ranting), I was in dixons Heathrow the other week and looking at some vista laptop which had a processor switch for performance Vs stamina. I flicked it and vista told me I would have to reboot. Walked out of the shop laughing out loud, and a little shocked at just how crap that is.


What makes me laugh...

...is that the windows update doesn't even know if you are going to have to restart your computer or not. WTF! It's only a (very bloated) dictionary.

Guess I'm just used to only rebooting when I update my kernel.

The iPhone - yours for €1


I've spent £40 on my phone this year

When my £35 a month contract ran out in November, I went pay-as-you-go. I have spent £40 so far this year (all of 2008 so far) on my phone. Brilliant.

OK, it's a crappy sony ericson from 2 years ago and the camera don't work. The only things I need from a phone are:

1.) Voice

2.) Voice

3.) Text

4.) ..... nah, thats it.

British workaholics win EU opt out deal


The EU can piss off

If I want to work 60 hours a week and possible have a heart attack by the time I'm 40 then that is MY CHOICE. The EU can piss off. This sort of tosh represents the very worse of what the EU is about.

Some of these EU countries impose a 35 hour week on their workers. It's like a 4 day week over here, mainly because their economy can't grow and tons of people are unemployed due to over restrictive labour laws. Not that the French would ever admit that of course.

Come on Ireland, vote no tomorrow. Lets just have a free market, not a government of Europe.

Acer punts £199 Linux laptop


How much does it weigh?

Is it under 1KG? looks like it could be, if it is I might get one.

What Linux disto is it running?

Visual Studio update dents Silverlight development

Thumb Down

so am I just to twiddle my thumbs...

...and wait for M$ to fix this. Exactly WHY should we stop developing flash??

Sorry M$, people need to develop things today and make a profit by lunchtime

Becta asks EC to probe Microsoft school deals


Schools should use OpenOffice

IT lessons at school should not be about teaching kids how to use Microsoft products. Kids should learn how to use word processing, spreadsheets etc ... but not Microsoft specific ones.

It will save the schools a bundle of money that they could invest in something else, like teachers salaries.

If anyone says that the business world uses Microsoft Office and therefore kids should be taught real world skills, then look at the rest of the curriculum

Vista security credentials tarnished in malware survey


@Bob Bobson

good god man, you run a server with a head on it???? IT pro ???

Users are the main security issue and this PC Tools (never heard of them) is desperate for some business.

Microhoo! what's! going! on?

Jobs Horns

What! was! that! about! a! hand!-grenade!....!!!

Shuttleworth was right!, IMHO!. M$ is in a bad situation. Yahoo! is a shite!! search engine and offers a mediocre email service. Micros~1 is buying them to become No. 2, as no-one is using MSN live, as it's even shite...er!!

Yahoo! is BSD, which is going to put a MAJOR!!! spanner! in the works of any suitor foolish enough to run windows in any mission!-critical! sort! of! way!! ....hang on...

If they buy Yahoo! they will have too many staff devoted to getting windblows preforming half as well as BSD to bring out Windblows 7 anytime this decade. Looks like it's Fista, or more likely Linux or macOSX for us then.

If they don't buy Yahoo! (I personally hope they fail....I like competition) then people will write them off as pussys. I would love to see Steve Jobs tell Steve Balmer that he was a pussy. Chairs will fly, youtube has a field day......

Either way, Microshaft peaked at XP.......never to return......

SanDisk warns that unsecured flash drives are coming to get you


I've lost my usb drive

It's a green Kingston 2GB one, somewhere in London. It has a few presentations and the simpsons movie on it. Not encrypted or anything. Anyone seen it?

Adobe opens Photoshop for freetards


quit your freetarding you hypocrites

Why is el reg using such derogatory terms for FOSS users, especially when netcraft.com says that el reg's server ( is running Apache/2.0.54 Debian GNU/Linux.

Nice one, bunch of bloody freetards. El Reg - taking tech news tabloid.

Intel and Microsoft dump $20m on researchers to avert software crisis


I can't beleive Micros~1 gave Berkeley $$$

What the hell are Micros~1 thinking. Throwing money at these commies who make BSD. God damnit, BSD release all of their source code and let any goon modify it and redistribute it!! Bloody FOSS people and their webservers which have uptimes measured in years!!

BSD are going to use this money to make some sort of usable multi-core framework and then release it under their freeBSD license. This means that anybody who uses it has to provide the source to their program. Can't make propitiatory code using this.

What the hell are Micros~1 thinking????? Has their cheese slipped off their cracker??? Has Linux-friendly Intel pulled a fast one???? Does Mircors~1actually want BSD to work even better, so when they finally buy yahoo!(almost exclusively BSD) they can have a webserver OS that outperforms anything they can come up with???

Arthur C. Clarke dead at 90


Thank you Arthur

You have inspired me many times over and lead my imagination to places I never thought possible.

Red Hat releases Enterprise Linux OS beta


a free(beer & speech) RHEL is available

...it's called scientific Linux. The physicists at CERN and Fermilab got pissed off paying for RHEL a while back and now recompile it from source with their own branding.

...I really wouldn't recommend it for the average user though, all the power is under the hood and at the command line (there are some fantastic tools). KDE and gnome are so old and out of date on RHEL. An average user should use (you guessed it) ubuntu.

Microsoft's Yahoo! takeover faces technical challenges


anyone with a memory?

"Microsoft has mostly grown organically rather than by acquistion" - WTF????

Asus to offer Linux-less Eee PCs globally


XP won't fit on 4GB

I know, I just reinstalled XP home on my PC. After the install I removed as much bloat as I could - outlook express and friends. That took up 3GB. Then I did the painfully slow update process and after countless reboots and several hours XP home was munching up 5.5GB of disk space.

I would like to say that it is significantly slower after all the updates than it was when freshly installed. However it is way better than it was before the reinstall.

No way will XP fit on an eeeeeeee, Linux all the way.

Nine Inch Nails cracks net distribution (maybe)

Thumb Up

Listening to it now

Just paid my $5 = £2.50!! for 36 tracks. Downloaded at my 260 kb/s limit. Sounds very experimental and good so far. Here comes track 5......

....well done Trent.

Microsoft emails its staff to reassure Yahoos


Here's an interesting article

I think that the eWeek/Linux-watch people offer an interesting insight into this deal:


This deal will be catastrophic for MS in the medium/long term, I'm all for it.

Wikileaks judge gets Pirate Bay treatment


Great site

Wow, wikileaks is a great site, got some really interesting stuff on it.

Cheers to the judge and el reg for making me aware of it, I've told all my friends about it.

Archos TV+ launched in UK

Thumb Up

My sisters boyfriend has one

and it kicks arse. This is a seriously nice toy. Runs on Linux.

The stand has 2 scart sockets so you can record live TV ala sky+ and watch films at the same time. You can surf the web on your TV and if you play a streaming video (youtube) it will show it full screen on the TV. It's also an mp3 player.

I want one.

Beeb iPlayer gets Firefox-friendly


To all the ex-pats and jonny foreigners

Learn about proxies

Thumb Up

Works on Linux !!!

I have just watched "Have I got News for you" full screen on my TV through my Linux PC. Brilliant. BBC has finally got it's act together. Quality isn't the best, but then thats streaming for you.

I remember trying the download service ages ago on XP and it took forever and the quality was poor. Much better to get stuff from the torrents if you want to keep it.

I just wish that they could put match of the day on it......

Euro lawyers see tortuous road ahead for Microsoft's Yahoo! bid

Jobs Halo

Let them have it

Let Micros~1 waste a large chunk of their war chest buying a crap search engine I never use. That'll make two shits into one. Fine by me. Fines from the US and EU to follow by 2010.

I can't believe that Ballmer is prepared to pay $44m to come in 2nd. LOSER.

Polished NetBeans means Ruby


KDevelop all the way

I use it for everything I do, C++, java, fortran (yes I still use it), python, perl, html, LaTeX.

Eclipse changes all the time and is bloated.

Apple on the lookout for one million unlocked iPhones


It's my phone

I'll do what the hell I want with it.

Scottish Government to block wind farm plan


Give them nukes instead then

If the people of scotland don't take the wind farms then they should end up getting nuclear power stations instead.

Gotta make the energy somehow. This is typical "not-in-my-backyard" nonsense. I bet the majority of people who wrote letters complaining are in favour of green renewable energy, just put it off the coast of Essex.

Apple cripples Sun's open source jewel

Thumb Up

Challange to all MAC users

Who will be the first MAC user to recompile DTrace without all of the apple bollocks?

Who will be the first to circumvent itunes or dvd software?

Ready, steady, GO.......

OOXML marks the spot, says research firm


Does anyone remember last week

when el reg called MS SP3 draconian as it didn't let you view your older MS office files. As far as I can make out, MS is going to roll this out with SP3 and you will really have to know what your doing to stop them shutting off access to your old docs.

They've done it before, they're doing NOW, and in a few years time, they'll do it again.

Think VERY carefully before locking yourself into any MS format

'Draconian' Microsoft promises to make Office work again

Gates Horns

The only vulnerability is ...

... to MS profits. Lets face it, word is a glorified typewriter with a spell checker, they got that right with word 97.

Draconian is the correct word to use, whats to stop them doing this again in 2012, "your Office 2007 product is causing a serious vulnerability to our profits and is deemed unsafe (to future MS operations). Please bend over once again and buy Office 2012."

I will watch again with dismay as governments and corporations lock themselves into the new format.

UK gov sets rules for hacker tool ban


stupid nuLabour

What a bunch of morons. This will actually make people less secure.

I use nmap to make sure that only the ports I want are open on my PC's and use kismet and ethereal to moniter whats going on with my wireless and wired networks.

Start making this stuff illegal because Jackie Smith is scared that people might acually care about their own security and we'll all be part of botnets by the end of the year (at least my windows users anyways).

First mobile Intel 'Penryn' processors to launch in January


Moore's law moves sideways

3 Ghz chips have been around for years now. I guess there must be major obstacles to getting 4+ Ghz.

So as to keep Moore's law, Intel and AMD are moving sideways and adding more cores, this is good, but faster cores would be better. The multi-tasking is improved but if you have a decent scheduler (aka Linux or mac(bastardised unix) ) then this isn't a problem.

How many people know how to write multi-threaded programs? It's difficult even within a good framework. Many software vendors are going to have to redesign the internals of their programs if they want to keep up.

Moore's law stays for now....but I bet most vendors would rather faster single cores.

Mozilla rubbishes IE Firefox security study

Gates Halo

One of Microsofts best surveys yet

Of course its got flaws in it that a G.C.S.E. maths student should spot, but when compared to previous "MS is more secure than Linux" surveys it actually looks like they used a statistics book when then did this. Never mind that they would have probably got an F.


Dell moves 40,000 Ubuntu PCs


My dell laptop

has a windows XP sticker on it, XP got wiped (waste of disk space) and ubuntu is running. Same for everyone else at work (10+ dell laptops).

The 40,000 number does not represent the number of people running ubuntu (or other Linux) on dell machines.

Windows random number generator is so not random


Use TRandom3

Random numbers are impossible to generate on a computer. The only random things in nature are quantum mechincal based, like the momentum of an electron emitted from a radioactive decay.

Probably the best random number generator on the market at the moment is TRandom3 with a large period of 2**19937-1, found at:


However, as with all the best tools, this has been GPL'ed. If you need a RNG, try TRandom3.