* Posts by Updraft102

1773 publicly visible posts • joined 31 May 2015

The end of classic Outlook for Windows is coming. Are you ready?


I'm ready!

My half century of not using Outlook is finally paying off. (Well, to be fair, it has been paying off to not have MS involved with email from the start.)


Re: POP3 is horrible

You can set Thunderbird to download all email locally for offline use with IMAP. There is no need to manually copy anything. Just get your mail like normal and it's all stored locally.

A path out of bloat: A Linux built for VMs


"Linux running on the bare metal is a tiny niche now. The vast majority of Linux servers are running on some kind of hypervisor, even if that's provided by another Linux distro."

Another distro which is running on bare metal, right? Seems like it is not really all that niche. And all of the IoT things out there are Linux on bare metal too. There has to be some kernel running on the bare metal... what else would it be?

Mozilla CEO quits, pushes pivot to data privacy champion... but what about Firefox?


"Why? Well, it was Chrome. Yes, I know many of you spit at the very name. Get over it."


Raspberry Pi Pico cracks BitLocker in under a minute


Re: A brilliant testament to analysis

That's just the thing. MS is pushing for passwordless authentication with Windows Hello, using a TPM to store the encryption key that would otherwise be derived from a salted, hashed strong password entered by the user.

Microsoft claims the TPM is about increasing security, but it really is about increasing convenience. Using face ID or other biometrics for authentication requires that the biometric data and the encryption key be stored on the unit that one is trying to protect, and they have to be on the insecure side of the wall to work. That creates an attack surface that would not otherwise exist.


Re: A brilliant testament to analysis

"failed to encrypt comms between CPU and TPM and thought "this is Good EnoughTM"."

The system is requesting an encryption key for the Bitlockered drive from the TPM, and it is being intercepted in transit. So if you propose for that communication to be encrypted, where is the key to encrypt the transmission of the Bitlocker key going to be stored?

The basic issue is that Microsoft and many others are pushing this idea that passwords are a thing of the past, but that invariably means that the keys and data used to decrypt and authenticate have to be stored on the same PC that one is trying to protect. That is inherently an insecure setup, even if Microsoft keeps saying that Windows Hello is more secure than using a password. It may be more secure than the way they implement a password, but there can be no doubt that a laptop that requires the user to enter a strong password/passphrase to unlock the encrypted volume(s) is more secure at rest when that key is nowhere to be found on the device.

That is not to say that other kinds of attacks are not possible, but if you simply have a stolen laptop with an encrypted drive and with the key derived from a salted, hashed, strong password that is not present anywhere on the unit, it is going to be rather difficult to extract the data. A keylogger won't help, since the unit is no longer in possession of anyone who knows the password/phrase. If the stolen laptop was then recovered, it would have to be treated as being compromised, not just returned to service as if nothing happened.

Windows keyboards to get a Copilot key – but how quickly will users jump?


They were called directories or subdirectories long before the iconic metaphor of a file folder was in common use. 'Folder' could not have been the "correct" term back then, obviously, as it wasn't a term at all in that context. The term that was correct back then was not just for the people who wrote Unix... it was widely understood across the industry.

When GUIs came along, the file folder was used as a visual metaphor for the intangible concept of a subdirectory, but that did not change or invalidate the term "subdirectory" or "directory." Words mean what they mean, and these words already had established meanings that are equally as valid now, as that part of a filesystem has not changed. The term "Folder" is a higher-level abstraction of a subdirectory within a GUI shell. The thing it represents is still the same it has always been.

If you're going to suggest that the GUI-related terms are somehow more correct than the established terms for which they are metaphors, then the term "directory" isn't something that directs anyone anywhere. It's not a term at all when it comes to GUIs. The GUI term for a list of files within a given folder is "file list" or something similar. Thus, if the term "directory" is used, it means what it meant before. The reason it was ever called a "directory" in the first place is neatly explained by the bit you cited. It still means the same now.

Canonical shows how to use Snaps without the Snap Store


"So, Canonical has to maintain Firefox $CURRENT for 5 or 6 distros going back 5-6 years, constantly."

Yes, and they still do that, even after switching to Snap Firefox (adding yet another version to the total). It's in the form of a PPA now, the Ubuntu Mozilla Team PPA, but Ubuntu people still do the work. They haven't saved any labor at all.

Even it that was not the case, Firefox is one package out of tens of thousands that Canonical maintains for each Ubuntu version, and it's released more or less "ready to go" by Mozilla as far as the source code is concerned.

You mention that a given Ubuntu typically sticks with a given version of many packages, but that doesn't imply less work. It's more work to take a given older version of a package and backport the security and stability patches, then getting it to actually compile and work as intended, before you even get to the point of packaging the thing. The newest release of a given package from its upstream provider is already tested and subjected to some level of QA, but with backports, it's the distro's job now.

Clearly, Canonical is not doing the "Snap" thing to reduce the labor when all they have really done is added the Snap on top of all of the versions they were already maintaining, and are still maintaining. It looks much more like they're using it to try to make "Snap" happen, using maintenance as an excuse, and alienating a lot of Linux users in the process.

Ubuntu Budgie switches its approach to Wayland


Re: mature has become a bad thing

Libinput is still a dumpster fire of unusableness, though, and there are no other input drivers that work with Wayland.

Intel emits patch to squash chip bug that lets any guest VM crash host servers


Also Ice Lake and Tiger Lake.

Sorry Pat, but it's looking like Arm PCs are inevitable


Apple didn't really go to ARM because of some fuzzy idea about how ARM is the wave of the future. They wanted control over the hardware, and that means vertically integrating. If they are going to design their own silicon, what else would it be other than ARM? Apple can force ARM to work because they control the silicon, the platform hardware, and the OS, and they have users who are quite accustomed to being browbeaten into compliance with their arbitrary decisions. A market full of Stockholm-syndrome sufferers is a lot easier to force into a new, binary-incompatible new platform when you alone decide that there won't be any more non-ARM Macs made, nor will the OS support non-ARM Macs beyond the point that Apple decides to stop releasing the updates.

The PC market is a lot broader than one hardware company that also is the OS vendor and the silicon maker. Apple can force its captive audience into ARM, but Dell can't. HP can't. Lenovo can't. Asus cant, Acer can't, and so on. Each of them knows that if the customers don't want to go where they are trying to force them, they can just as easily get commodity gear from someone else.

Windows could hypothetically decide they are going to stop Windows for all platforms besides ARM, but that would mean telling a lot of their close "partners" in the hardware industry that some of the products they want to sell won't be viable because of an arbitrary decision by Microsoft. These OEMs are the largest buyer of Windows licenses in existence, which makes them big customers of MS, with big amounts of cash. Will MS willingly tell them all to get lost? I doubt it.

All of this also assumes that Intel can't match the power savings of ARM designs. Some of the engineering tricks to make them efficient are not any kind of secret... things like the big.LITTLE hybrid core setup and super wide data buses (which can operate at lower clock rates) are not secret. Intel has been using the hybrid setup since its gen 12 products, and it would be foolish to count them out and declare that with all of their expertise, they can't match what Apple has done. They've stagnated over the years, with no real competition to push them to innovate, and we've ended up with generation after generation where most of the performance changes come from incremental process node improvements, without substantial architectural changes.

The Mac market is not the PC market.

I am personally still in x86 (including the AMD64 variant) land even though these days I use only laptops. My desktop simply is not needed anymore, since a laptop with a large monitor (or monitors plural), external keyboard, and an actual mouse does quite well. Power consumption is important to me, as I do spend a lot of time on battery, but ARM is still a no-go.

As far as hardware, Apple is out of the question... I do not favor their business practices, especially their efforts to make their products unrepairable. Any laptop that has a non-replaceable SSD is ruled out straight away. Any that has a battery I cannot replace with basic tools in a few minutes, same thing. (And I also don't like MacOS, so there's that.) I don't care how great Macs may be on power... if I can't easily repair them myself for a reasonable cost, they are ruled out.

I don't like Windows either. Linux, of course, does have ARM versions, but a number of the programs I use are Windows x86 via WINE... so while I personally don't use Windows, the way the Windows market goes of its own accord has a bearing on the hardware I select.

I expect that Intel will release more SoC designs that are increasingly good in terms of power, which doesn't have to actually match that of ARM designs to do well into the future. As long as it is perceived as relatively close, the ability to avoid a tumultuous platform change will mean it will likely remain the most popular option.

Not even the ghost of obsolescence can coerce users onto Windows 11


"The move to Windows 10 usually required the purchase of new hardware. It tended to be unavoidable – 7 could run on far lower-spec devices than later versions..."

I don't think this is the case. Windows 7 was heavier and more graphically intense (when the default Aero Glass theme was used) than 8, which dropped transparency effects, and was engineered to work on low-spec tablets and phones, which were less powerful and had less RAM than low-spec PCs of the day. Windows 10 (10240) was also meant to work well on low-spec mobile devices, and was indeed a close sibling to 8.x, one that worked quite well on the older machines I tried it on, like a Core 2 Duo laptop that originally came with Vista. Windows 10 on Windows Vista or 7 era machines worked well, or at least as well as Windows 10 ever worked in that period of time.

This is presumably why Microsoft adopted the strategy of offering free upgrades for consumers using 7 or newer, which they presumably would not have done if it ran so poorly that everyone took them up on their offer to roll Windows back to the original version. The goal of that strategy was to push as many PCs to 10 as possible and to hasten the demise of 7 and 8.1, not to create even more bad publicity for MS, which was already taking heat for the GWX adware debacle, the unwanted upgrades debacle, the uncommanded download of Windows 10 on metered connections debacle, and the debacle of the machines soft-bricked by the upgrade attempt (through no fault in the compatibility of hardware and OS; upgrades are just trickier than clean installations).

Personally, my objection to 10 was not that it ran poorly on my hardware, It didn't... it was (and is) just a crappy product in other ways unrelated to that. The UI is still (to this day) inferior to that of older versions on the desktop, and it still serves Microsoft first and the user second. There is insufficient control over updates, too much advertising (should be "none" on a product that costs money), too much spying, too little user control over many things, and back then, the unwanted feature updates for the sake of having something to talk about came far too quickly. That's why I moved to Linux in late 2015 and early 2016, a decision that I have only become more certain about as I have witnessed what Windows has become.

Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig


Re: "We do not believe that any classified documents were stored ... "

Nah, those were declassified. Classified documents are stored in a garage next to an old car.

Right to repair advocates have a new opponent: Scientologists


"My hunch is that the Scientologists think granting the hacking community permission to dig into their E-Meter software will expose the whole operation as snake oil,"

We already know.

New Zealand supermarket's recipe-generating AI takes toxic output to a new level


Re: Darwin!

No one said the person is necessarily preparing the food for him/herself, though!

Soon the most popular 'real' desktop will be the Linux desktop


Re: re: ""This computer is broken"

Correct. It demands an internet connection, and if there is none, it just sits there and continues to wait for you to give it one.

Once online, you can still install 11 with a local account by giving it a fake email address for the Microsoft account, then letting it fail to connect. After that it will let you set up an offline account. For now.


Re: functionality

"You cannot go to your local retailer or online and buy a laptop with Linux preinstalled."

I went online and bought a Dell XPS 13 with Linux preinstalled a few years ago.


Re: They'll try

BSD works when you have a limited set of hardware you need to build for. You build whatever hardware support that is missing for your intended products, and you're good to go. All the drivers and what not that you need can be built in-house when you have control over all of the hardware combinations that will be sold witjh the new os.

That will not work for Windows, which needs to run on every PC and with every bit of hardware. Linux is a whole lot closer to that than BSD, which makes Linux a better fit for a Windows-type product that needs to run on a broad variety of hardware.

The GPL presents some potential issues, but nothing that can't be overcome. History tells us that quibbles between FSF members tend to just evaporate, and MS is a platinum member now. Kinda helps sweep any such transgressions under the rug.


Re: They'll try

I have thought for years that they had some plan like this in the works. They did it with their browser, which no one would have believed 20 years ago. Any old bare metal OS can get you to the cloud, so if the cloud is the destination, why not let someone else handle most of the development and do the cloud thing the way they want to?


Re: functionality

That would make it the worst desktop OS on the market. Phones and PCs are too different to be covered by a single UI. Hasn't the lesson of 8/10/11, Unity, and GNOME 3 sunk in yet?


Re: functionality

That was when I left Windows too.

I am not one who loves change for the sake of change. If it is change for the better, that's great, but change that doesn't improve anything is bad change, as is (of course) any change that makes things worse, as is the norm.

I used Windows from 3.0 in 1990 to 7 in 2015-6. What finally got me to move was the massive amount of change in Windows 10. Linux was in many ways closer to the pre-8 Windows than any Windows since has been. I use KDE, with the cascading menus and everything... much like the Win95 menu, but implemented much better. It's what it should have evolved to, and maybe what it would have if MS didn't keep reinventing the wheel for marketing purposes.


Re: functionality

Installing Windows 11 from scratch on a typically equipped PC won't even work unless you download the Intel RST driver and have it ready when Windows is unable to find any drives. Most PCs come with RST mode enabled and in some you cannot turn it off... and each of these will choke the moment you start the USB installer.

If you don't have a recovery partition (as you wouldn't when installing from scratch), all of the various drivers and what not you need to operate things will be missing. Your touchpad on a laptop may not work without the i2c drivers. Device Manager will be full of those horrible yellow bang symbols.

Once you get all that sorted, then you need to start undoing all of the stupid stuff MS puts in... the ads, the promos, the unwanted tie-ins and downloaded apps you never asked for.

It's quite tedious compared to installing Linux, which is straightforward and simple. It sees the drives without an issue, you pick one, start the process, it finishes pretty quickly, and then you use it. All the drivers are installed and working, and there are no ads or Candy Crush things to get rid of.

I used to use Windows, and I've been blissfully Windows free for most of the years since I left, but recently I had some experience with installing and configuring Windows (11), and... wow, it's really bad. Even once it's running and no longer has to be wrangled into position, I look at it and wonder how people put up with this crap.


Re: Linux isn't useful to the end user.

I'm an end user. I'm using Linux now to read this comment. Linux seems pretty useful to me.

Tesla's Autopilot boasts, safety probed by California AG


I don't think Tesla really had to program Autopilot to boast. It does not seem important in its role.

Mint 21.2 is desktop Linux without the faff


Re: Another

On my brand new 13th gen Raptor Lake laptop with M.2 NVMe + PCIe gen 4x4 SSD, Linux (Neon) boots significantly faster than Windows 11 if fast boot is turned off in the UEFI, which is generally what one does in a dual boot setup.


Re: "Pretty" Considered As Unimportant!!

Last time I tested them head to head, Mint Cinnamon and Kubuntu (based on the same LTS of Ubuntu, with Plasma 5.?) were equal on resource usage right after boot. KDE debloated significantly.


Re: "Pretty" Considered As Unimportant!!

Any DE that uses GTK+ is already crap right out of the gate. It's only going to get worse as GNOME continues to become more and more insane over time.


Re: The best

Most PCs, like the Dell XPS (13) 9310 laptop I am now using, have the ability to update system firmware from within the UEFI setup. This laptop came with Ubuntu preinstalled and has never been polluted with Windows... but for those rare times it is needed, like to update the firmware of the various components (not the unit itself), there's Win2USB.

I'm glad the web order form at Dell asked if I needed or wanted Windows.


Re: A toast

Of course. The new Ubuntu is pointless.

Samsung’s midrange A54 is lovely, but users won't feel seen


Re: Budget phones

I'd pay more for the one without the full-blown spyware.


Re: Reviews are pretty pointless these days

Headphone jacks remain a MUST on phones and laptops for me. It's an automatic NO if it does not have one, no matter what the other specs may show.


Re: Screen too large ...

Agreed. My main gripe about my current device is that it is too big at 5.7 inches. 4.7 inches would be a big improvement, but why not all the way down to the original iPhone's 4.0 inches? There are a million competitors for the "phablet" segment of the market. Not all of us are glued to our phones all day like a "zoomer." I carry mine around a lot but use it seldom... so it is reasonable to optimize it for being carried around more than being used.


Re: "But at $450, outright, its flaws are easy to overlook"

$120 phone here (Moto G7 Play). While not so much as anything from Apple, these are disposable devices. Non-removable storage (a consumable item) means the device is meant to be used like a Bic pen... thrown away when it stops working. $450 is far too dear for a disposable.

Ubuntu 23.04 welcomes three more flavors, but hamburger menus leave a bad taste


Re: Ubuntu Cinnamon is better looking than Kubuntu

How a given DE looks out of the box is not a big concern of mine. I am not going to leave it like that, so while it would be nice to reduce the configuration burden on me by having sensible defaults, the main concern is still whether I can use the given UI options to get the UI into a configuration I like at all (without having to open up a text editor). Only KDE has gotten me close to that point.

I don't care about "bling," and I have all that stuff turned off. I like my UI rather plain, but in a very specific way. I am one of those who consider Windows 2k to be pretty much the ideal UI, and as such it is my basic blueprint when configuring a new Linux install. It's not about eye candy, but about the way information and UI elements are laid out and positioned. One very topical example would be a complete lack of hamburger menus. The horizontal menu bar has yet to be bested in terms of usability and information scent, and I insist upon it. The hamburger is not good enough, and neither is the Microsoftian Ribbon.

KDE gets me closer to being able to achieve my desired setup without opening a text editor than any other DE I tried. There are no transparency effects, wobbly windows, or any other "wacky" effects.

In the world of DEs, to me, there are two: KDE, and everything else. Windows is included in the latter.


"In the opinion of this jaded old vulture, the entire hamburger menu idea was a bad one in the first place, and they should have stayed on mobile phones – not that they're good UI even there."

A Proven fact.

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final


Re: "The Last Version of WIndows"

Yeah... the article author hints that it may have been a misunderstanding, as that is what Microsoft much later claimed as they attempted to retcon their original lore, but it was not a misunderstanding. A MS spokesperson claimed it was the last version ever, a statement that went viral and was widely cited by the computing public for years, and for all that time, MS did not contradict or amend it. That makes this the official stated policy of Microsoft for all those years.

Back in the early days of Windows as a Disservice, the support roadmap only listed the support period for the currently existing builds. Each new build was essentially a new version of Windows, with "Windows 10" serving as a platform name more than a specific product within that platform. I remember this, as I was regularly referring people to that page on microsoft.com when I was arguing against WaaS. Each time I cited the policy that I knew quite well (having mentioned it many times), I would go back and check the page to make sure my understanding was still correct... and one day, a conventional Windows roadmap was there, listing a 2025 EOL date for Windows 10 as a whole, rather than just listing the EOL dates for various feature releases.

They have tried to explain away the "last version ever" as one "rogue" employee posting on the company blog, but that does not cut it. If the company did not retract the statement, it stands as a statement from Microsoft, and the "you misunderstood" bit does not work when for years they had no EOL date for Windows 10 listed (which is what you would expect if 10 was "the last Windows ever."

Sick of GNOME, Snap and Flatpak? You might like Linux Lite, but beware rough edges


"That's a legitimate choice: kernel 5.15 is a LTS kernel and it's still getting updated, whereas 5.19 reached its end of life back in October."

They are both being updated. Kernel 5.19 reached the end of its updates on the mainline, but Ubuntu (like most distros) does not ship the pure mainline version in any of their releases anyway. The Ubuntu-ized version of 5.19 is still current, with the latest update being one month ago (five months after October).

Google halts purge of legacy ad blockers and other Chrome Extensions, again


"Basically, the existing extension platform, referred to as Manifest V2, was easily abused and allowed developers to create extensions that hogged resources interfered with Google's surveillance capitalism business model.

Edinburgh Uni finds extra £8M for vendors after troubled ERP go-live


I was not aware erotic role play was so popular!

Lenovo Thinkpad X13s: The stealth Arm-powered laptop


16:10 != 1920x1080

Privacy fail: Pictures cropped, redacted by Google Pixel phones can be recovered


Surely no person would be so foolish, in this day and age, to run any Google-branded anything... would they?

Microsoft and GM deal means your next car might talk, lie, gaslight and manipulate you


Re: The Inexorable March of Progress

Many gen-Xers do that.


Re: The Inexorable March of Progress

The man that became Michael Knight was not a billionaire. He was the guy they picked to be their operative, that's all. He was officially dead in his former life, if I remember correctly. Been a long time.


I would not tolerate a car that had any kind of connectivity with the outside world/internet. That would have to be disabled! The car needs to be airgapped, and have no data logging capacity, nor any sensors that could capture information that is not needed for the immediate operation of the vehicle.

My vehicle's ECU can sense vehicle speed, engine RPM, mass airflow rate, air temp, coolant temp, barometric pressure, EGR valve position, throttle position, exhaust gas oxygen... I think that's it. I may be forgetting one or two, but if so, they are all related to the task of operating the engine. It has no idea about anything else. Its job is only to determine the fuel injector duty cycle, spark advance, and intake air bypass to control the idle. Oh, and at WOT, it turns off the A/C compressor. Nothing more, nothing less.

To me this is the best of all worlds... electronic enough to get better gas mileage and have better driveability than a carbed car, but primitive enough that it can't be used to datamine me.

How to get the latest Linux kernel on your Ubuntu box


"At least one Ubuntu remix, Tuxedo OS, already has it."

KDE Neon also.


No need for PPAs or third party tools

Just use the OEM kernel in the regular Ubuntu (updates) repo. No need to add any PPA or use any third party installer (though I do use Mainline for testing sometimes too, nothing wrong with it!).

Look for linux-oem-22.04c in the Jammy repo. The Ubuntu OEM kernel is what my Dell XPS 13 "Developer's Edition" came with preinstalled (though with focal). It's just an Ubuntu kernel (with the usual Ubuntu modifications, AFAIK) based on a newer mainline kernel, perhaps with some vendor-specific modules (for various vendors) added by Ubuntu before the modules are able to be upstreamed. If you are not using a device that matches those modules, they are irrelevant to you anyway, and what you are left with is a newer Ubuntu kernel.

Ford seeks patent for cars that ditch you if payments missed


Re: What about the buyers?

"But it's frightening the amount of data that Ford (and I guess the other manufacturers) collect and store about you."

Not mine. It has no data logging except for two digit trouble codes, and you have to have access to the underhood connector to read them. The car has no GPS receiver, so it has no idea where it is, and it has no other sensors that are unrelated to engine stuff that would have any use to data-slurping spy companies. There is no means to flash the firmware, with the model number of the ECU having exactly one program (different programs would mean different models), and the ECU has been using the same program for over 30 years and a quarter million miles (original unrebuilt engine, still works very well!). And it truly is only an ECU... it controls only the injector pulse timing and duty cycle, the spark advance, the idle air bypass, and that's it.

I don't need or want any more than this. There are certainly some nice things about newer cars, but messing up the ideal balance my car now has between EFI drivability and old-car autonomy from Skynet would not be something I would take lightly. I'd have to have some mitigations against that stuff.

"My only hope is that it has a 2G or 3G SIM card as those systems are getting shut down within the next year or so."

If it has one of those, could you not just remove it? Or better yet, remove the connection to the antenna. Full airgap.


Re: What about the buyers?

If the car's behavior can be changed by a simple firmware update, one that requires in-person access to its OBD II port, that's bad enough. The car could be updated without your knowledge or consent any time you have it in for servicing.

If the car's behavior can be changed by an OTA firmware update, where it could be done while the car is at home in your garage, without you even knowing about it, that's much worse.

If someone other than me has the technical ability (whether or not they choose to use it being a separate issue) to change the behavior of an item I own without me giving the go-ahead order (for that update specifically, not just in the "you agreed to the EULA, and it says we can do anything we want" sense), then I am not interested in that item.

Microsoft begs you not to ditch Edge on Google's own Chrome download page


Re: When a product is better, people will naturally switch to it

It actually wasn't better. The tape run times were too short, and Sony's licensing was too onerous. VHS was the better product. It's a common trope that Betamax was the better product that lost, but it wasn't.

Sick of smudges on your car's enormo touchscreen? GM patents potential cure


How about solving it by not having a touchscreen in a car at all?

If you can't operate it by feel, replace it with something that can.