* Posts by conscience

166 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jun 2013


GNOME 45 beta: Less buggy, more colorful, and still not your grandma's desktop


Re: Have they innovated a minimize button yet ?

But why on earth is it off by default?

There are always things to do when setting up a new OS installation, but having to go and find the minimise button shouldn't be one of them. 'User friendly' it's not.

In praise of MIDI, tech's hidden gift to humanity


Re: Did the very same thing

I used MIDI for my GCSE too, except I used Quartet on an Atari ST. The music teacher loved the idea and was keen to share it around the class especially once she realised the school already had the necessary equipment to do it with.

I still play with it a little, and highly recommend the Roland A49 MIDI keyboard if you prefer key/action quality over features you might not need like tiny drum pads, multiple rows of of sliders and knobs etc.

FTC wants to pause Microsoft's Activision Blizzard mega-takeover


Re: A ten year agreement

Good point about whether CoD will still be a thing in 10 years.

Remember the lawsuit by Virgin Media TV vs Sky over access to Sky's then flagship Sky One channel and all the popular programmes it showed? The court gave Virgin access to the Sky One channel on their own platform, so Sky just created a new channel called Sky Atlantic which Virgin didn't have access to and put all their good new programmes on that channel instead. Last I heard (some time ago), Sky One was still showing the same old repeats they were showing at the time of the court case! And while Virgin customers can now view it, the channel ceased to be an attraction the moment the judge's gavel banged. Virgin's mistake was asking for specifics, if it had asked for access to all of Sky's channels on an on-going basis instead of naming Sky One then Sky couldn't have weasled out of the judgement.

Same risk with Microsoft pulling the same trick, which I presume is why they are offering access to specific titles which can then be reworked and renamed to make sure nobody but themselves gets access to all of Activision/Blizzard's latest games, and with no agreement to publish any of them anywhere except Windows and XBox.

With no future updates, it wouldn't take long before CoD (or any other named title) was obsolete and worthless to competing platforms.


Re: No, please no!

Microsoft didn't develop Age of Empires or Flight Simulator, they bought them both from other companies.

Ensemble made Age of Empires, and both AoE 1 and 2 were already on sale several years before MS bought the company. Under Microsoft's ownership, Ensemble only made three more games - Age of Mythology, AoE 3 and Halo Wars - before MS disbanded them and their staff went elsewhere. They were still making Halo Wars when MS fired all their staff and offered cash to some soon to be fired developers to stay behind a while to finish it off. Nice way to kill your dev studio who sold 20m games worth half a billion dollars!

The flight sim was initially licenced from Bruce Artwick, who specialised in making flight simulation software. There was a top-selling version for the Apple II, and so naturally MS wanted it too and licenced one of their flight sims in 1981 to show how superior the graphics were on the 16-bit PC compared to the 8-bit Apple II. Atwick's new company was bought by MS in 1995 and renamed Ace Games Studio, who then further developed the game before they too were closed down around the same time as Ensemble, in 2009. MS sold the source code for the game to Lockheed Martin who now sell it for hundreds of dollars a copy.

Microsoft have always been greedy, but they were never good at making games, Microsoft is where good games companies go to die.

Export bans prompt Russia to use Chinese x86 CPU replacement


Russian Zen?

These chips made in partnership with VIA sound OK, but VIA were never known for being high performance.

How did AMD's partnership with Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Company (THATIC) work out? THATIC licenced the original Zen micro-architecture for use in Chinese produced CPUs, and AFAIK Hygon began mass-producing x86 processors codenamed "Dhyana" but I've not heard anything since then. Anyone know? If these Chinese Zen parts are now a thing it could go a long way to cover the gap in performance, and they could be a handy drop-in replacement for the Russians as well as the Chinese.

ZX Spectrum: Q&A with some of the folks who worked on legendary PC


Re: Thanks!

Ah, my beloved Spectrum. I had the speech unit too, though much later in its life when I bought a bundle to replace a broken computer. I tried using it myself and it sounded very cool, but I didn't have much software that made use of it.

I also once found a hex machine code magazine type-in that could sample a sound (via the cassette player) and then replay it from RAM. It filled up the entire Spectrum memory with about 6 seconds worth of sound IIRC. I was very impressed at my humble speccy playing sound samples, and it worked fine-ish up to a point. The only downside was the sample replayed a little slower than the original from the cassette tape so I think I was far more impressed than my non-techie friends were!

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop


RE Manjaro pinging...

I'm far from an expert, but that sounds like the Network Manager connectivity check, which simply determines your online status in order to inform you if you have lost your connection and keep the network status icon up to date. In this case, it's just pinging your own distro's servers to confirm your connection.


Valheim: How the heck has more 'indie shovelware with PS2 graphics' sold 4 million copies in a matter of weeks?


Re: Steam? Deal-killer.

seven of five: I wasn't specifically speaking about the Galaxy launcher being DRM in itself, like some other clients are, though some titles do require Galaxy to be installed to enable certain features like multiplayer. I know GOG have always said Galaxy was optional, but it seems not to be the case if you wish to enable full functionality of some of the games you buy. That is not the only DRM either... I've seen serial numbers, limited number of installs, always online connections, etc. Also sometimes accounts are needed for full functionality, such as a Battle.net account being used for full functionality and multiplayer on some titles too. PS Couldn't agree more about Paradox. :)


Re: Steam? Deal-killer.

Hi Ozan, I'm afraid I can't remember which specific titles I encountered that contained DRM and other restrictions as it was a couple of years ago at least. For whatever my word is worth, I can personally guarantee I have encountered DRM on GOG in the past though. I've seen serial keys, limited number of installs (Max 5 IIRC), mandatory accounts to enable certain features or multiplayer, mandatory always online connection etc. Not sure how wide spread these things are, or whether it only affects specific titles or publishers.

After a very quick search around their store, I encountered things like GOG Galaxy being mandatory to enable multiplayer (on Homeworld remastered, Northgard), Two Worlds requires an always online connection to dev's official servers plus a serial key for multiplayer. I didn't find an example of limited number of installs in my one minute search, but I have encountered it before. A Battle.net account can also be required for full functionality. There are probably many more examples.


Re: Steam? Deal-killer.

I used to be a fan of GOG too, but not since they abandoned their principles and decided to adopt DRM, limited number of installs, etc. on some titles. It seems their DRM-free ethics only stretched so far when (they say) it blocked them getting some newer - but still fairly old - titles. It's a real shame, because without being DRM-free, GOG is just a crap version of Steam.

Microsoft backs Australia’s pay-for-news plan, risks massive blowback over a lousy $3bn and change


Not sure what they do to be eco-friendly, but Ecosia say that they use Bing's results and advertising on their site.

Bloated middle age beckons: Windows 1.0 turns 35 and is dealing with its mid-life crisis, just about


I won't miss Windows either. Even Microsoft seem satisfied putting their once flagship OS product out to pasture, these days they see it as just another way to slurp user data rather than the future of computing.


Re: Celebrating!

@ Blackjack: The good news is that the days of being stuck with Windows if you want to play games is over. Steam's SteamPlay feature automatically takes care of almost all Steam games and runs them on Linux as easily as on Windows with a single click of the install/play button. For titles other than those on Steam, try Lutris which can automatically take care of pretty much everything else you might want to play from install discs to emulators and other launchers such as EA Origin, Ubisoft's UPlay, Battle.net, etc. Individual compatibility can be checked on protondb,com. Gaming on Linux has never been so good.

Microsoft brings Trusted Platform Module functionality directly to CPUs under securo-silicon architecture Pluton


Re: Smoke and mirrors

Smoke and mirrors is right, and I couldn't agree with you more. Nobody who values security would deliberately pick any CPU afflicted by this kind of nonsense. It is a terrible idea however you look at it.

Any DRM will be cracked wide open sooner or later, and if the user has no access then it becomes a massive security problem that can't easily be fixed. I doubt it would take long before the backdoored chip was being accessed on a global scale by *all* the security services and criminals out there - and not just the ones who helped design it.

And as for Microsoft doing security when they can't even manage to issue a Windows update without breaking their own hardware and software? No thanks!

You're testing them wrong: Whiteboard coding interviews are 'anti-women psychological stress examinations'


Re: Whiteboard coding - never done it, never ask anyone to do it

And I call BS on 98% of schools using IWBs, at least not in the schools I've visited. Just because a school trialled one that doesn't mean that's what they use every day.

A school may own one, or sometimes even several from failed experiments, but in my experience they rarely if ever are able to actually *use* them, for a variety of reasons. Some just don't work and never did, some need expensive repairs so are ignored as there's no money to fix them, some will only work with specific older software/OS versions etc. so quickly became obsolete, many schools were told that extra training to use them was not required but that turned out not to be true and so now nobody knows how to use them, some came with default sounds that couldn't be disabled or turned down which interfered with other students/teachers, etc. I have even seen traditional whiteboards and blackboards pulled down over these very expensive IWBs! In the vast majority of cases the IWBs that were present were just unused classroom furniture that were routinely ignored.

Amusingly, teachers I've spoken to all preferred the old overhead projector... it is write once and works reliably every time despite being far older in age than most of the teachers. Maybe things have changed recently? I'm not that up to date.

TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader


Re: sad

I agree with you on that, Argus Tuft.

I like to come on here to read the thoughts of scientists, engineers, programmers and various experienced techie people with information to share and stories to tell... it really added to the reported stories and their comments were often far more interesting than the professional reporting*. Sadly, these days many commenters can't even be bothered to read the article properly before posting their opinions, or worse, they are being paid to 'deliberately misunderstand' things in order to misrepresent the truth and shift blame away from the large companies who are responsible for this fiasco.

My sympathies to you Ben Rose, clearly there was a problem with the companies involved here and the systems in use. Being charged for a product or service you have never bought should not be possible, that you used to own the vehicle is no justification at all. Despite the PR fudging at work, hopefully their systems are being looked at behind the scenes.

* No offence to El Reg's finest hacks intended.

Logitech G915 TKL: Numpad-free mechanical keyboard clicks all the right boxes


I've got a Cherry MX 3000 USB (G80-3000LSCGB-2) here that I'm fairly happy with, especially at the price of around £70 when I bought it a couple of years ago. OK it's not perfect or high-end, it feels plastic-y and clipped together and it's a bit too loud with Cherry's blue switches but it has the reliability with 50m key-presses and 80,000 hours MTBF. Best of all - no batteries built in or otherwise because it is wired so there's nothing to need charging, replacing or go wrong. The UK layout version is limited to black or blue switches which is a pity because I prefer the quieter brown ones. A decent budget workhorse considering most membrane keyboards just don't last long enough. There's more info and a data sheet here: https://www.cherry.co.uk/cherry-g80-3000.html.

It replaced a Roccat Ryos MK FX with brown Cherry switches and per-key RGB LEDs which cost far more, but the only thing I miss are the slightly quieter Cherry brown switches and built-in wrist rest. I've yet to investigate any of the new switches that are based on/knock offs of the Cherry switches since Cherry's switch patents expired.

OK Windows 10, we get it: You really do not want us to install this unsigned application. But 7 steps borders on ridiculous


Re: I will decide what I run on my computer thank you very much.


I don't have that game myself, but maybe this will help you play it without having to put up with Windows?


Some non-compatible DRM was added (Denuvo), but there was a backlash from users and so ID Software removed it. The DRM was totally removed with an update and AFAIK is now playable on Linux. ID say that if/when they try adding DRM again in the future they will make sure that it doesn't affect single player. Meanwhile Denovo say "Denuvo Anti-Cheat will have Proton support out-of-the-box for releases beyond DOOM: Eternal". https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2020/05/denuvo-anti-cheat-is-doomed

Ardour goes harder: v6.0 brings 'huge engineering changes' to open-source digital audio workstation


@142 - To be fair to the devs, lossy file formats are hardly conducive to creating professional quality audio. And like has been mentioned, there were patents to consider until April 2017.

Shunning lossy file formats in professional audio makes a lot of sense. You would try to avoid anything that lowered the audio quality. It is bad enough that your musical masterpieces can end up being replayed on staggeringly low quality audio equipment without you mangling the source track too. I assume the professional graphics industry shuns lossy file formats for the same reason.

I also don't think your text pasting analogy has any relevance here. This isn't about choice, convenience or saving a few MBs of disk space but about audio quality. Text cannot degrade in quality in any way when it is copied and pasted therefore it makes no difference where it is copied from or pasted to. The quality of the code depends entirely on the quality of the developer, it has absolutely nothing to do with this.


Re: Reaper

I'd second the Reaper recommendation. Despite the 'experimental' tag I found Reaper works great out of the box on Debian, Ubuntu and IIRC Mint as well.

They also state that Reaper runs well under WINE, but I personally found no need for that as the native Linux build 'just worked'. The trial version is fully-functional if you decide to take it for a spin.

That said, I've yet to try Ardour so I'm not comparing the two.

Microsoft drops a little surprise thank-you gift for sitting through Build: The source for GW-BASIC


Re: Only 45 years late?

Well spotted Vometia. There definitely is a connection between the original MS BASIC written for the Altair and DEC's BASIC. Gates and Allen have never tried to hide this connection AFAIK and have freely admitted it, though sadly I forget exactly where. MS BASIC was also written on a PDP, as was their 8080 emulator. In any case the link was definitely documented. I did find this:

"BASIC-PLUS is an extended dialect of the BASIC programming language that was developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for use on its RSTS/E time-sharing operating system for the PDP-11 series of 16-bit minicomputers in the early 1970s through the 1980s.

BASIC-PLUS was based very closely on the original Dartmouth BASIC, although it added a number of new structures. It also included a number of features from JOSS concerning conditional statements and formatting. In turn, BASIC-PLUS was the version on which the original Microsoft BASIC was patterned.[1]

The language was later rewritten as a true compiler as BASIC-Plus-2, and was ported to the VAX-11 platform as that machine's native BASIC implementation. This version survived several platform changes, and is today known as HP BASIC for OpenVMS."


[1] Stephen Manes book "Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America" from 1993.


Re: Only 45 years late?

I'd be careful what got revealed if I was MS. Perhaps there are too many skeletons in their closet from code they 'borrowed' from others? Little of what they initially did was original.

I forget which of my techie history books it is in, but IIRC the first thing Gates and Allen did after deciding they wanted to write a version of BASIC was to go get the DEC BASIC manuals from the uni library and start copying them. NT also borrowed from DEC. MSDOS was just a rebranded QDOS which itself was an unauthorised rip off of CP/M-86 by Digital Research. The Windows GUI was borrowed from Apple after they themselves got it from Xerox PARC. Etc.

I'm sure there are many more examples of MS 'borrowing' whatever they thought they could sell.

Microsoft announces official Windows package manager. 'Not a package manager' users snap back


Teiwaz: - "Snaps are great if you absolutely need a particular app that'll only run on a set of libs that are a different version than your distro repo."

Is this a situation you find yourself in often? I get the point, but currently Snaps are miles away from ready for main stream use. I just don't like them because there are too many compromises involved.

In my admittedly limited experience with them I find them too big and too slow and I have had nothing but trouble with them whenever I've used them.

For instance, do they all need automatically mounting at every boot? Automatic mounting/unmounting when the Snap application is opened and closed would be far better, or at least an on/off switch for each Snap application so they can be activated as required. My boot time had shot up and when I analysed why it turned out I was waiting for the Snap files to be mounted. Needlessly extending boot time is unacceptable.

I also don't like the fact that it's possible to accidentally install Snaps rather than the regular version of the software. They need very clearly marking, in the application name/title perhaps, and putting in another section of the repo. There should also be a filter so you can exclude them from the repo if required. I have unknowingly installed several of these Snaps rather than the regular version of the software, and even worse I ended up with software from an unknown uploader rather than from the original developers whom I trust. It was my own fault, sure, I just quickly clicked on software I'd used before without reading the details, but I didn't think I had to. Now I am far more cautious in the repo than before just to avoid the Snap applications.

The most damning part is what made me first notice that I'd got any Snap applications installed: they don't work properly. I was having issues with applications that usually work perfectly well so I investigated why and found they were Snaps. I don't recall offhand what the apps/issues were as it was a while ago, but they were issues that all suddenly went away when I downloaded the non-Snap versions of the same software.

At best, I see Snaps as a very temporary solution to do a one-off job before it gets removed again afterwards. For more regular use then a VM or even a collection of libs to build against might be preferable (like Valve do with the Steam runtime).


I couldn't agree more. My boot time more than doubled with just a few snap applications. Naturally I nuked it from orbit, removing not only the applications but also totally getting rid of the Snap functionality from my system. Boot time is now back to what it should be.

It was an interesting idea, but not when it is done as badly as this.

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes


Re: Seriously though...

Same here. Back in the day I'd just use paintbrush. It had everything needed e.g. a line tool to paint huge red arrows pointing to highlight whatever users needed to interact with, and the text tool to give it a helpful caption like 'click here'. It's about the only time pbrush was of any use.

Could it be? Really? The Year of Linux on the Desktop is almost here, and it's... Windows-shaped?


Re: It's just so backwards...

@ theOtherJT

As well as having perfectly competent office software on Linux, you *can* run your Steam library with Linux. I know I do. Steam Play is pretty damn good these days, not 100% of games work, but most do just work. You can check compatibility for individual games here: https://www.protondb.com/. You'll need to make sure that Steam Play is switched on in the Steam Settings (Steam-Settings-SteamPlay- then tick both boxes to enable Steam Play for both whitelisted games and all other games). Once SteamPlay is enabled, most Windows games run on Linux as well as they do on Windows. It's that easy. Any games that have trouble starting - and there are not many - can usually be fixed with a launch option to use a particular version of Proton, D3D9, etc. You'll find everything you need on the protondb website to copy and paste into the Steam launch options.

For non-Steam games and other launchers, such as the Epic Store, UPlay, Origin, Battle.net and anything you have the installer files for, I recommend Lutris - https://lutris.net/. Once installed, it is as easy as clicking the install button and it's automatically installed and configured. Enjoy. :)

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution


This article has a very misleading title. "Microsoft's document formats and Word application are the bane of word processing" would be more accurate.

Hubert Cumberdale hit the nail on the head: The MS Word application cannot reliably round-trip a document with itself without causing formatting issues. That this still happens between machines when the version numbers of MS Word and Windows are identical and are both fully updated is as ridiculous as it is damning. You cannot get more closely matching versions of both OS and application than the mandatory upgrades that come with Windows 10 and Microsoft 365, especially when both are using the same licence!

It is not like this is even a recent problem. I first used MS Office sometime back in the early-mid 90s and these round-trip formatting bugs were present even back then. The fact that decades worth of updates did absolutely nothing to stop this from happening is quite revealing. After all, why would Microsoft change what sustains their lucrative office monopoly?

Microsoft have always used these formatting problems to their great advantage over the years, creating a wave of fear, uncertainty and doubt to scare people into using and routinely upgrading their inferior and more expensive products. On the one hand, other vendors' platforms and application products are always blamed for the messed up formatting issues, and on the other hand scare tactics warn that anyone who dares not to use MS Office will suffer much embarrassment, the loss of their professional reputations and business will suffer as others would simply refuse to do business with anyone who uses anything other than .doc/.docx! The 'our employees would down tools with any other office suite etc. etc.' bullshit that shills tend to wheel out whenever it comes up may work as a Microsoft sales and marketing scare tactic to influence the technically illiterate, but why it gets repeated on tech sites is a total mystery.


Re: Technical solution to a philosophical problem...

"they would without exception simply down tools and refuse to work with anything that wasn't Word / Excel / Outlook"

They can also simply be fired for refusing to do their work, which may be no bad thing as the company would be far better off getting rid of the problematic deadwood and replacing them with better staff who are more willing to do whatever the company decides it needs.

Sky Broadband is not the UK's cheapest, growls ad watchdog


It is just more snake oil by the sound of it. I am not a Sky customer, but IIRC it's something like if you pay an extra £5 on top of your broadband for a 'boost pack' which guarantees 3mbps wifi in every room, or if you don't get it then you get your extra £5 fee back which of course means you're still paying full price for no or slow wifi. Worst. Guarantee. Ever. There are a couple of other 'advantages' (they waive the extra fee for getting weekend/evening call out visits, but I suspect not the much bigger call out appointment fee, plus 2GB of mobile data is added to your Sky mobile account for unplanned outages but only if you're also a Sky mobile customer and with so many small print exemptions that make it pretty pointless).

As for their misleading adverts, they'll all keep doing it unless we see some significant punishments.

NUC NUC. Who's there? It's Intel, with a pint-sized 8-core Xeon workstation


Computers, like any new technology, cost far more back in the day and the prices always fall dramatically over time so you can't really compare 1979 prices to 2003 prices as evidence of a 'good deal' in 2020. You need to compare it with another 2020 option to judge value. In doing so, this NUC does cost too much compared to the alternatives: including VAT, the base unit is £1,680 (or £2,880 with graphics card), so I think AMD would still be the better option.

An AMD system would offer a cheaper price and likely come with better specifications too (depending on the hardware selected), as well as generating less heat and using less electricity on computation as well as cooling. It'd probably be more repairable too.


That price is ridiculous, for that sort of money you could have a far superior AMD build instead. Plus in a box that small with a power hungry Intel chip there are bound to be some significant heat problems, especially if the plan is to add a beefy GPU as well.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


Off the top of my head...

Shitzilla, Mankysoft, Microshite, Microbork, Microslurp, Microbroke, Weinersoft, Microspent Force, MicrOSSoft Extinguishers, MicrOSSoftware Killers, Trojansoft, Redmond Workflow Discontinuers, Microlast Chance Saloon...


Microsoft Turd, Microsoft Feckswell, Microsoft Taxess / Taccess, Microsoft Reams, Windoesn't, Winblows, Windozey, Edge of the Abyss, Towering Winferno, Clitty says would you like a subscription with that...

Tom Cruise to increase in stature thanks to ISS jaunt? Now that's a mission impossible


As predicted by South Park!


(Explanation for people not familiar with South Park: https://southpark.fandom.com/wiki/Tom_Cruise)

Meltdown The Sequel strikes Intel chips – and full mitigation against data-meddling LVI flaw will slash performance


Re: If these exploits carry one

You're correct eldakka, that is exactly what I meant.

Thanks for the links, especially the first one which was interesting and then got very interesting when it said AMD has added an option to BIOS that appears to disable the PSP. I don't know many details, the reference ultimately linked back to Reddit where a screen shot shows an ASRock motherboard with a "BIOS PSP Support" option which can be set to disabled. Hopefully this is what it sounds like, and my MSI board also has this, I'll have to have a look later.

Does anyone know more about this?


Re: One day, not to far in the future,

@Captain Obvious

It depends which Call Of Duty game(s) or other games that you are looking to play. Some of the Call of Duty games do work with Proton, some don't. Game compatibility can be checked at protondb.com. See here for the Call of Duty games: https://www.protondb.com/search?q=call%20of%20duty

The first thing is to enable Proton for all Steam games in the settings as this adds a lot more titles. I have no idea why the suggestion was downvoted as it is the best thing to do. Not all games have been tested by Valve yet, so they aren't currently on their whitelist of tested to be compatible games, but the vast majority of games do already work with it so changing that option really helps.

And for when SteamPlay doesn't work, or it's a non-Steam title, I use Lutris (https://lutris.net/). Lutris is as easy as searching the game name and then clicking on the install button. Everything is auto-configured and if the download is available online it'll even download it for you, otherwise just point it at the installation file. Unlike Steam, Lutris can also install other gaming launchers such as EA Origin, UPlay, EPIC games store and Battle.net (which features some Call of Duty games). I posted more about it here (with some instructions): https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/all/2020/03/06/windows_10_insider_preview_19577/#c_3991434

You will need a Vulkan compatible GPU though, as this is used to run DirectX 10/11/12. Follow the instructions on the Lutris How to DXVK page for adding the latest drivers, WINE, and other common dependencies required for popular software.


Re: If these exploits carry one

Err... nobody told me anything. You have got the wrong end of the stick. I was actually suggesting removing these management engine features from the design of future processors. I am well aware that they cannot simply be removed from existing chips.

As for working around the IME and unbootable bricks, I've not really looked into it as I don't use any Intel chips. Dmitry Sklyarov, published his discovery of using an undocumented method to flip a bit to effectively switch off the IME, which according to Intel was the same switch they themselves flip for governments and the security agencies as part of the US government's 'High Assurance Platform' programme. You should already know this, you appear to have posted on the news thread about it right here on El Reg back in 2017 -


I know various people have been experimenting with removing IME, even Google engineers. No idea how successful they were, but with any luck Intel will disable it themselves if it helps make their backdoored processors any more secure than they currently are.

As for AMD, they appear to have made less mistakes than Intel have. Either way, I still trust AMD a hell of a lot more than Intel.


Re: If these exploits carry one

Not at all whitepines, please don't confuse me for a fanboy. You seem to assume I am a serial down voter just because I think Intel are up to their old tricks again? Don't you think they are? Or is it just coincidence Intel has once again funded 'research' that attempts to put their rivals names in negative security related headlines and make their current cock up every manufacturers problem, while getting themselves off the hook as the sole processor maker in trouble in the court of public opinion, and all right after they get eviscerated by the media for yet more severe flaws in their chips? Again. Call me a cynic, but I am suspicious of Intel's timing and motives, therefore I suspect the validity of their claims. I am sure if and when bugs in AMD's designs are revealed, they will come to light with proper, independent, trustworthy research, just like the Intel flaws did, rather than with the help of Intel's PR department and suspicious 'research' funding.

My answer to AMD's PSP is the same as the Intel IME, just get rid of it. I dislike all management engines/PSP or any security hardware the user cannot control, regardless of who designed it. It is just too risky and the consequences are too big for if/when something goes wrong. Obviously nobody is perfect, but AMD have had significantly less security disasters than Intel, at least as far as I know, so I tend to trust AMD's chips a lot more than those from Intel.


Re: If these exploits carry one

@big_D & the 'what about' types:

No, AMD do not have their own problems - other than Intel predictably funding 'research' as part of a defamation PR exercise to try to limit the damage done by the public hearing about yet more extremely serious flaws in Intel's entire range of processors. Intel always resort to this behaviour, it is exactly what they did the last time they were exposed for serious flaws being discovered in their processors. But if you look into it, you'll find all the accusations aimed at AMD and other rivals are as unfounded as usual, and all these data-leaking defects are specifically Intel processor problems, not processor industry problems.

How typical it is of Intel to try to drag everyone down with them so that they don't look quite so bad in comparison to their rivals, rather than directing their attention to actually fixing their processor designs. The truth is that Intel's chips are totally broken; they are insecure, much slower than advertised and they are getting slower all the time due to all the defects that are leaking private data everywhere like a leaky bucket. AMD's only 'problem' will be manufacturing all the extra chips they will need to steal some more of Intel's market share.

All this underhand propaganda really shows is the enormity of Intel's desperation and it highlights that Intel are trying to hide the fact that their own chips are slow and insecure garbage compared to those from AMD. Intel would absolutely love everyone to think this affects all processors so it won't affect their sales, but other than non-techie consumers, us techies and those who know about these things will never believe it.

'Unfixable' boot ROM security flaw in millions of Intel chips could spell 'utter chaos' for DRM, file encryption, etc


@Ian Johnson

This doesn't need to interact with your OS at all. Dodgy software can attack the Intel management engine, which is a full-blown computer that resides inside your CPU and which has it's own OS and direct access to RAM, storage and all the rest of your hardware. By the time your PC gets as far as the BIOS to start the boot up process it is already game over - and there is nothing you can do to stop or fix it without getting a new, non-Intel CPU. This affects just about all the generations of the Core family, as well as various Xeons, Pentiums, Atoms and Celerons.

'Optional' is the new 'Full' in Windows 10: Microsoft mucks about with diagnostic slurpage levels for Fast Ring Insiders


@David 132

I can't speak about enterprise use, but as a fellow Mint user I can tell you that gaming is pretty damn good on Linux these days, and I don't miss Windows at all either for gaming or in daily use.

You say Linux games support is not good enough, and Steam/WINE are not the same, but on the whole it might not be as half as bad as you think.

As you know, Valve's SteamPlay is included with Steam and allows many/most Windows games to run with a single click of the play button, just like on Windows. Compatibility of individual games can be checked on protondb.com, which is handy in the unlikely event that the game needs a slight tweak, but most games are fine without any manual tweaking. Things tend to just work for most games, with the odd exception. It's not quite perfect, but it's pretty damn close to it.

For non-Steam games, and even for some Steam games if you prefer, there are things like Lutris (https://lutris.net/), which make one-click installs of pretty much everything else, including things like Battle.net, EA's Origin, Ubisoft's UPlay, the EPIC games store, as well as many other individual games whether online or from CD/DVD. It's as easy as a search for the game name, either on the website or within the Lutris application, and from there it is a one-click Install button and it is all automatically installed and configured for you. There is nothing I've come across so far that doesn't work (750 games between my friend and I), and if you already own the Windows games you can try it for free. It's so reliable I've even started purchasing Windows games again to use exclusively on Linux.

Their download page has instructions how to add the Lutris repository to your system, and all the other instructions I needed (IIRC) are contained on the links on the Requirements section of their 'How To DXVK' page... it is just a copy and paste job into the terminal from each of those links contained on it, in turn. https://github.com/lutris/lutris/wiki/How-to:-DXVK

I was quite happy just using my Linux games, but this way I can have it both ways and enjoy gaming without having to use Windows anymore. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking to ditch Windows to use Linux full time without losing access to any of your games.

Computing has never been so much fun. :-)

Microsoft's latest cloud innovation: Printing


I couldn't have put it better myself, Piro.

This is absolutely insane, so it is very typical of Microsoft. But what's the point?

Besides relieving you of the monthly subscription cash, the only real reason I can think of for this is that Microsoft want even more of your data to slurp.

There are more downsides than upsides to this. No doubt people will now be able to look forward to watching in horror as they can't do whatever they need to do because they will lose all print capability every time they lose their net connection... thanks Microsoft! Have MS learned nothing from the recent debacle on Windows 10 when local search broke because Bing was borked? And how is replacing a tiny local printer driver with a full blown local printer proxy application a better way of doing things?

It is no wonder manufacturers like Canon are interested though, they probably can't believe anyone would be daft enough to sign up and pay for this lunacy, but if it is successful Canon would be absolutely delighted to rent you their printer drivers on a monthly basis in the future - and for the rest of time! *shakes head*

HP Ink: No way, Xerox. We're not accepting your takeover. Well, we'd never say never. Maybe even maybe? Hello, you still there? Please?


Re: Sorry for the ink sales drop

I ditched them too. As I have infrequent and quite variable printing needs, I was sick of their crappy printers clogging up with ink or simply breaking, so I grabbed an impressive Oki mono laser printer instead. I find it is miles better and saves me a fortune, and which with one spare refill is good for 140,000 pages. Plus Oki have Linux drivers on the website.

I don't know how HP's laser printers compare, but with their reputation being as bad as it is with their inkjets, I wasn't even interested in finding out. I'd say HP are doomed.

Microsoft's coding for noobs hits 1.0, decompiling to C# in Visual Studio, and Windows 10X makes its debut... on Mac


Not sure which versions of BASIC you are referring to? In just about every version of BASIC that I ever saw, the PRINT statement output things to the screen, not the printer.

'Developers have lost hope Microsoft will do the right thing'... Redmond urged to make WinUI cross-platform


Re: Oh, no!

Yes, I do remember being able to swap out Program Manager for alternatives. Maybe if MS still allowed that, or offered a MATE/Cinnamon option for Windows users, then they might have avoided some of the (non-privacy related) backlash against Windows 8 and 10.

I don't recall if I ever used Norton's replacement, but I do recall trialling a few alternatives. I quite liked Star Office's replacement desktop on Win 95 (I think it was).


Re: Oh, no!

That is exactly what I thought. No other platform would even want this metro/modern/awful 'flatso' Windows mess of a GUI. MS should be looking to borrow an open source, cross platform GUI library not the other way around, and while they're at it they can borrow a decent desktop environment too.

Google begs for US Entity List exemption to let Huawei use its mobile services – report


Re: Oh wouldn't it be funny....

I agree it would be better for Huawei if they did exactly that, it is a great opportunity for them to stop being in Google's pocket and it would be a good USP for anyone who doesn't care for Google's data slurping. I'm actually in the market for a new phone this year and I was looking at Huawei, so I hope they don't end up giving up their USP to be just another spyware-ridden Google Android clone.

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it


Re: re: Why?

I'm all for local storage, but unfortunately the Windows 10 EULA makes even your local storage Microsoft's domain. Microsoft can make whatever changes they like and you agree to let them and not interfere or try to prevent them from doing whatever they like. I, for one, won't ever play ball with that.

EA boots Linux gamers out of multiplayer Battlefield V, Penguinistas respond by demanding crippling boycott


Re: Few things jump out

Why wouldn't people use Linux for gaming?

Maybe at one time in the past Microsoft could hold PC gamers to ransom with Windows/DirectX compatibility being the standard for many popular PC games, but those days are long gone.

In my Steam list of 500+ titles, I don't even always recall which are native Linux versions and which are Windows games that automatically use Steam Play's Proton (WINE+DXVK). There is no differentiation anymore, all the games are listed together and all play with the simple click of the Play button, the platform doesn't even really matter any more but at least with Linux there is no substandard Microsoft software. Linux frees users from the buggy adware OS that is Windows 10, and from Microsoft spyware. Even if Linux isn't perfect, Microsoft's blundering makes gaming on Linux the best option.

Also, the last time gamers got banned for using WINE and/or DXVK it was Blizzard and Overwatch in 2018, but once Blizzard were contacted and understood that the unrecognised software detected by their anti-cheating system was not an attempt to cheat, then it was all considered a mistake and gamers accounts were reinstated with apologies. I'd expect a similar response this time.

Step away from that Windows 7 machine, order UK cyber-cops: It's not safe for managing your cash digitally


Re: Upgrade from Windows 7

@Charles 9 "Does that include their new Proton library? I'm tempted as it is, but running my library through their database still yields too many Borked ratings. Plus there's the matter of hardware support, especially for more esoteric things like label printers."

The Steam database only lists what has been tested by them as working, but that doesn't mean that is all that does work. Having enabled Proton for all titles (an option in the preferences) I can tell you that I have yet to find one that doesn't work. In fact, out of the approx. 500 games I have, the only problem I have ever encountered with Proton was with Civ 4 which was missing a few MS libraries, but that was fixed some time ago and now 'just works out of the box'. You should try it, it works better than you think.

If your favourite games requires label printers you must be having lots and lots of fun.... :¬|

ReactOS 'a ripoff of the Windows Research Kernel', claims Microsoft kernel engineer


Re: It's an opinion.

You are right, Microsoft did not invent anything and their BASIC was a direct copy of DEC BASIC. Just like Microsoft's unathorised copy of CPM and NT (which was also taken from DEC), none of it was new or original. At the time all of Microsoft's stuff was copied from other people's work, so to hear them or anyone else complaining that others are taking their ideas and/or code is as shallow as the Hollywood movie companies complaining about infringement when they are only based in Hollywood in the first place so they could circumvent the legal rights of others.