* Posts by Steve P

32 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jul 2007

Microsoft accused of 'ulterior motive' in Linux patent sale

Steve P

@frank ly

It's the mutually assured destruction defence. You're free to use these patents unless you use your patents against us.

It's as good as relinquishing all rights, but retaining some protection for themselves against others who have a less philanthropic view of patents.

But yeah, I definitely agree with the other posters suggesting that the patent system is broken.

Safe signals in Perl

Steve P



Microsoft expands languages with ESP

Steve P

Doesn't stop them overloading acronyms though

VSS. Visual Source Safe. Or Volume Shadow Services.

Sony sued for collecting kids' data

Steve P

As I understand it...

I am not a lawyer, etc.

It is Sony's fault if they collected the data without the obligatory 'you must be over thirteen' checkbox.

If the person lied about their age, Sony isn't at fault.

EMC remixes Decho and the Funnymen

Steve P

Great article

So what was Mozy again?

YaGoogleSoft! adopt voluntary 'code of ethics'

Steve P


Or possibly the more suggestive GooMiYa.

Opera scrambles to quash zero-day bug in freshly-patched browser

Steve P

I'd like to point out...

that both Internet Explorer and Firefox are planning to incorporate this bug into their next versions.

Malicious gossip could cost you your job

Steve P

I may be a bit dim, but

Isn't this just slander?

Spanish 'electronic tongue' to lick established techniques

Steve P


I believe it's the taste of MSG. Japanese food scientists discovered that it was actually distinct to the other tastes.

Re-jigged Intel mobile Linux stack dumps Ubuntu

Steve P


Whether or not apt is better or worse than rpm, it seems like one of the more trivial reasons to choose between quite different distros.

Gamers love in-game ads, ad industry-sponsored survey reveals

Steve P
Thumb Down

... and then

Free games with adverts, no problem.

Purchased games with adverts, no way.

Firstly, as others have stated, placing adverts in non-contemporary settings can kill the sense of immersion.

If we, the gamers, only reject the games that violate that immersion, then the publishers will respond by publishing games that are less likely to be rejected. That means more games in contemporary scenarios, and less games in the sci-fi/fantasy/just-plain-out-there arenas.

Given the relative paucity, already, of games that are not clones of Quake/C&C/EA (Sport) 200x/Last Year's Surprise Hit, this can only be a bad thing.

Therefore, I think we gamers must reject advertising in purchased games completely.

Apple's carpet-bomb Safari flaw can wreak havoc on Windows

Steve P
Jobs Horns

I always thought the risk was obvious

1. Name your nefarious app 'My Computer.exe', 'My Desktop.exe', 'Internet Explorer.exe', hell, 'Safari.exe' :)

2. Give your app the appropriate icon

3. Rely on users having hidden file name extensions

4. Profit!

EC takes own sweet time backing Microsoft ODF move

Steve P
Gates Horns

@Patrick O'Reilly

I figure it'd actually be the other way around - Office will import ODF OK, and may even save it in a compliant document - but when you try to save you'll get worrying messages about losing formatting, features will not be preserved, etc.

And the resultant document will almost work in OpenOffice. It won't look the same, there will be many little formatting and layout problems, and will have a whole load of MS-proprietary XML in it, so Office can pretend it can load it correctly.

Microsoft will announce that any shortcomings are limitations of ODF that aren't present if you use docx format (or OXML)

And some users will try to move away from Office, find that their ODF documents saved out from Microsoft Word need to be reformatted, will realise how much extra work that still needs to be done, so will go back to using Office, and the lesson they will take away is that OpenOffice and ODF just don't work.

That is how I expect it will play out. :(

Office 2007 fails OXML test

Steve P

@Chris Wareham

I think you might need to clarify your use of the word 'standard' in respect to RTF. Microsoft call it a standard, yet its specification seems to change in lockstep with Office releases.

Certainly saving an Office document as RTF is no guarantee that TextPad can display it as Office will.

Microsoft poised to unveil WorldWide Telescope?

Steve P

Such a shame

Innovation = Copy Google

The Photosynth technology looks pretty cool - it's a shame they've decided that they need to copy Google step-for-step with it.

Google in mass 404 land grab

Steve P

Besides which,

This is also the normal behaviour of Internet Explorer - if the error page is too small, it too displays its own page.

(Though whether or not it's 'right' for either to do this is a matter of debate - on the Microsoft side, the page displayed is intended to help. On the Google side, the page is intended to help, and make money for Google.)

Line up for full-windscreen satnav

Steve P

Sunny days?

Will it be much use on a sunny day? Or when you're driving into the sunrise or sunset?

It seems to me that anything that you need to put the visor down for is going to render it pretty useless.

Be cool if it works though.

Brazil bans the evil sold in EverQuest and Counter-Strike

Steve P

@Andy S

"presumably any halfway competant gamer can still download it via steam"

If the game is actually banned in Brazil then Valve won't sell it to you if they think you come from Brazil.

I live in New Zealand, where the game Manhunt is banned. I can't even get to the purchase page within Steam - it redirects me away to the main game list. Nor can I get to the games collection which includes Manhunt.

I don't know how this all works if you owned a copy of the game before the ban came into effect.

Nor do I know how 'deep' their detection is - it could simply be some setting in my profile somewhere. I've not really been that concerned about trying to find out how they do it - I don't actually want Manhunt, but I was interested in seeing whether they would sell it to me. :)

Perl.com sends visitors to porn link farm

Steve P

@Graham Wood

Er. Good point. Thank you Graham.

Steve P


I'm curious - do you distinguish at all between Perl.com - O'Reilly's site for selling Perl related books and conferences, and the Perl community?

And, it is possible to write a Perl script to check that one's web page hasn't been hijacked. Of course their page hadn't been hijacked - it was a trusted third party.

To anticipate your next statement, I'm not sure that it is, in general, possible to prevent scenarios like this. Advertisement brokers tend to require that a site link the scripts etc. directly from the broker's server, essentially bypassing the content provider.

This is done so the broker can update the scripts whenever they need to, and can help protect against content providers gaming the system.

However, once they are out of the loop, content providers have little ability to control what is displayed.

This problem has happened once in approximately 10 years, and yes, it is embarrassing for O'Reilly Media, but I can't really see what could be done within the current model of advertisement serving.

Steve P


Taint checks are a optional feature of Perl. If you weren't so intent on taking the quote out of context, you might have noticed that even if they were being used, it wouldn't have helped in this case.

Though, from the second paragraph, I suspect even if Perl.com had been running on IIS, written in C# talking to a SQL Server back end, you'd still say it was somehow the Perl community's fault.

US boffins create GM 'supercarrot'

Steve P

@Anonymous Coward

The farmer who got sued by Monsanto for having unlicensed GM crops in his field was Percy Schmeiser - his site is at http://www.percyschmeiser.com/

Unless you're thinking of somebody else in the same boat...!

World outlook worst since dot-com crash

Steve P


I hadn't seen any posts from amanfromMars recently, and had begun to think he'd crashed over the holiday period. ;-)

Honda shows off space-dwarf robot butler capability

Steve P
Thumb Up


Secondly, there was a truly disturbing suggestion that Honda intends its stunted spacesuit robots to serve other basic human needs.

"By the end of 2010s, we'd like to see these robots working at every street corner of the city," ...

Very clever, sir.

Tesco in X-rated Lawnmower Simulator shocker

Steve P

@Horridbloke, @Dave Thompson

Jeff Minter has a Hovver Bovver for PC - there's a demo, so you can get your nostalgia fix for free. :)


Microsoft offers $300m for web-washing ad campaign

Steve P
Gates Horns

Windows Live: the future of search!*

* We'll be bundling it in the next service pack so you won't get a choice.

Cox pulls a Comcast with eDonkey

Steve P


"Cox actively manages network traffic through ... protocol filtering. Cox does not ... discriminate against any specific services in any way"

Unless the service just happens to use a filtered protocol, I guess.


Are these ISPs offering 'all-you-can-eat' style connections?

And if there is a 'pay-as-you-go' option, do they still play funnies with the RST on it?

ICANN tweaks root DNS server

Steve P


Hopefully not a malware author or skiddie...

Travelocity accidentally books 1,458 trips between US and Cuba

Steve P

Going to Cuba

For someone subject to U.S. Law (i.e. a citizen or foreign national residing in the U.S.) they need to have permission from the Treasury department to travel to Cuba. (I looked it up late last year)

I went to Cuba at the start of this year, and Cuba does not stamp passports: apparently it causes trouble for people who then travel to the U.S., only to be turned away at the border.

I suspect the U.S. administration will stay 'annoyed' at Cuba until restitution has been made: Castro nationalised all U.S. company-held assets in a tit-for-tat trade retaliation, so some very wealthy U.S.-based families ended up losing lots of money. (The Bacardi family spring to mind)

Making open-source browsing safe for the masses

Steve P

It was always a Firefox problem

The problem was that Firefox registers the 'firefoxurl:' URL scheme and failed to validate the data they were getting through it. That they are not validating the data is what makes it a Firefox problem.

They are using the same mechanism that Real Player uses to register 'rtsp:', Media Player to register 'mms:', Steam to register 'steam:', your mail program uses to register 'mailto:', and your browser uses to register 'http:' and 'https:'.

With the variety of url schemes supported, it's hardly reasonable to assume Microsoft can really validate each type.

PHP takes aim at Radar

Steve P

PHP Eclipse

In the free and open source space, PHPEclipse http://www.phpeclipse.de/ is a better PHP plugin for Eclipse than PDT.

A serious browser vulnerability, but whose?

Steve P

is so firefox.. :)

But firefox is registering 'firefoxurl' as a uri scheme to pass info to...