* Posts by Jeff

23 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

Windows 7 and the Linux lesson

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Taking lessons from Ubuntu - Ugh, no!

I'm no Windows fan, but comparing Windows and Ubuntu release cycles is silly, because all distributions of Linux - of which Ubuntu has the most regular releases, I think - feature vast improvements in multiple areas of system, most of which have not been contributed to by the distributor. Windows is an entirely in-house OS, and Microsoft can't afford to further frustrate its users by releasing system-breaking enhancements every 6 months.

Also, three times now I've upgraded Ubuntu via the update distro button, and twice I was left with a broken system. That doesn't bother me too much as I know what I'm doing, but your average prole is going to be left with an expensive paperweight.

BT chief: People don't need fibre to the home

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Wrong priorities?

Actually, there's no point in having fibre beyond the national backbone links (without a mesh infrastructure, at least) while it labours under current load. Virgin's 50mb service will be rendered useless by the crippling caps they've had since 2006. I'd rather have my 'obsolete' 8/24mb connection running at those advertised speeds, constantly, before they misleadingly increase them again.

Run Mac OS X on a PC


Re: The value of Time

"I'm always amazed that the Do-It-Yourselfers spend enormous amounts of time in trying to circumvent certain manufacturers and build, in this case, a Hackintosh.

Perhaps I'm just strange. My time has value! At my current billing rate to my clients (USD $87.50, €64.78, £50.03), if I were to spend, say, 15 hours assembling, building, installing a pirated copy of Mac OS X, testing, having the install blow up, re-installing Mac OS X, having the install blow up again, doing more research, re-installing Mac OS X, testing, etc., etc., etc, and then having a System that still doesn't work 100% - it'd be well worth my time to just purchase a Mac from the get-go. [A Mac can be had for less than £400, €513]"

Strange indeed you may be, as not everyone's time is worth £50.03 per hour. Unfortunately. :)

BBC fixes BT Home Hub auto-vomit bug

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A router that resets itself due to 'dodgy' data...

...is really the problem, not the servers that stream it or the clients that receive it. Assuming the client software isn't making unreasonable demands on the router, like opening up hundreds of connections (which would be a bug on the Adobe software), there shouldn't be a problem. If BT bought in shit hardware that doesn't work reliably under normal networking conditions, the fault lies with them, not the BBC.

It's just that in this instance, the BBC felt compelled to do a fix at their end because the crappy Home Hubs make up such a large percentage of the end-user router market, and that good ole' BT would probably take a year or two to sort this out.

Busts 4 Justice battles Bulgarian airbag tax


Extra costs

Forget about material costs - larger items mean increased storage and shipping charges (by weight and size), lost sales because they're occupying shelf space that could be used for regular sizes - and XL items DO tend to have a long shelf life - they're always the ones left at the end of the sales.

To be honest, retailers should be commended for not doing away with these sizes altogether - never mind charging a small penalty so the rest of us don't have to subsidise the engorged - they'd be making more profit if they did.

AVG fake traffic spares Google AdWords

Paris Hilton


What if the user clicks on something before LinkScanner has finished spidering the page and detecting possible crap? Surely this 'worst-case' scenario happens surprisingly often?

I assume there's the fallback of the on-demand scanner in that case, but the technology seems intrinsically flawed to me.

Paris because she's intrinsically flawed too, bless 'er.

Old Windows exploits dominate hack attack traffic

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Ah, the usual assertion that more RAM, more storage and more CPU power gives Microsoft a license to bloat. You obviously forget that disk seek times and transfer rates have been rising at a minimal rate compared to silicon, which nullifies that argument completely when an app isn't cached in RAM.

Oldham murders owl with whalesong


Lay off the rebranding consultants

Shoot the gravy train, not its passengers, eh? Ridiculous sums of money spent on trivial Photoshop exercises happen all the time, and it's always government (local or national) that is so willing to pay for it with our money.

The missing five-minute Linux manual for morons

Paris Hilton


Which BSD package has even a fraction of the out-of-the-box usability that Ubuntu does, especially with a broad range of hardware? I agree FreeBSD is a superior, sleek and uber-stable package for those with a modicum of UNIX experience, but user-friendly it ain't. And saying it can run anything Linux can is an outright lie!

Paris because she needs all the user-friendliness she can get.

Information Commissioner: Phorm must be opt-in only

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Phank phuck for phat

This is great news for the technically literate. Unfortunately it's pretty obvious that BT will now market this to the other 99% of its customers as an anti-phishing device unless it is compelled by the ICO to make very clear that it works via data interception... and this is bloody unlikely.

So it's probably up to the informed media (so that's the techno-illiterati at the BBC out) and competing ISPs to publicise this behaviour.

AJAX patent threat to giants under the hammer


I doubt

This has nothing to do with a 'sideband' communication channel. The AJAX mechanism works purely through HTTP, which is the ONLY communication channel in this context. The whole idea behind a sideband system is to provide an extra source of data that can be used while the primary source is in use, which again isn't applicable to web browsing. Somehow I doubt that Google's lawyers would have much trouble getting this thrown out.

Mine's the one on hook 80.

Phorm launches data pimping fight back

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"Irrelevant advertising"

This is what slimy ad companies simply do not get. If you do not click through an ad then any future instances of it become progressively more irrelevant. For me, certainly, repetition is more annoying than randomness. There is actually very little diversity of advertising across the internet - and to expect Phorm to never again show you the same ad (especially, if, as this character says, 99% of 'irrelevant' web ads are removed) is a risible idea. So Phorm has, at best, a trivially short term benefit for the consumer.

Fortunately the article shows this outfit for what it is.

Firefox 3 beta is live


Firefox for developers

For web developers, Firefox is the only way to go... the FF developer toolbar and Firebug are invaluable additions that you simply can't get on Opera (which I agree is the best user-end browser ATM - it's fast and very well thought out for a monolithic application).

IE is useful insofar as it tells you how much to bang your head against the wall when you view your site -that works perfectly in compliant browsers - now produces a dozen JS errors with elements scattered randomly all over the screen.

Dallas man accidentally shoots self in head



You overestimate international common sense. If idiot Brits had legal access to guns, this would happen to the same degree in this country too. Not that it would be a bad thing.

Becta exec admits mistakes on education IT


@Andy Davies and MikeWW

I'm not sure whether the quango does anything useful, but it should certainly be lobbying the network providers and the government into upgrading our second-rate national telecommunications infrastructure.

Compared to practically every other European nation ours lags behind in capacity and speed. Once we get to widespread ADSL2 in 5 (read 10) years time, we'll have no choice but to get everywhere connected via fibre, as that's the limit of what can be done with our obsolete copper technology. It's one of the very few areas where I feel a government subsidy would be justified. I don't like to envision a future where all our IT infrastructure is connected at foreign datacentres, but if our networks don't improve that's the way things will go.

Brighton professor bans Google

Dead Vulture

A response to low scores, no doubt

Ideally universities should place no restrictions on a dissertation/report/essay's sources and instead hand out marks based on the quality and depth of information of each one - i.e. if a student uses wikipedia exclusively, reward him with an F. Banning Google, especially in regard to current events (that take a couple of weeks to appear in academic journals and months/years before they appear in books) is just too heavy handed.

Of course, all but the most prestigious universities cannot afford to hand out large quantities of these grades to maintain their positions in league tables and so on, so I can see why SOME lecturers might want to do it.

Small mainframe vendors huddle against IBM


Re: The Future is Brighter without being Blue?

Perhaps futile to reply to a half-bot, but mainframes have a lot of life left in them yet. They're about physical consolidation, centralisation and reliability over the power of convoluted cluster solutions which have never been in the interests of (stupid) corporate IT directors.

Virgin Mary appears in Google's Iowa data center


Re: So nothing Google does is worth anything? Is that right?

Hear here. The construction industry by definition lives on temporary and medium-term jobs, and datacentres of that magnitude don't pop up overnight. But let's not let that fact preclude a good old-fashioned Googlebashing.

Mac OS X firewall blocks Skype and online gamers

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Making assumptions about application behaviour...

...is exactly what broke hundreds of apps under Vista. Personally I agree that a self-altering binary is a silly idea unless you want to very specifically distribute a single-file application. Of course OS makers can encourage better practices by creating incompatibilities with (in the majority of cases) silly ideas, but, for example, where's the scope for altering the contents of a self-extracting archive in Apple's idealism? The OSX could do is prompt a user that the file's contents have changed or pop up a warning icon somewhere.

Fasthosts customer? Change your password now


Re: Web hosting is a low margin business

"When Fasthosts are charging as little as £3.99 a month for 1.5GB of space and unlimited traffic doesn't it occur to anyone for that kind of money you'd need to sell 500 months worth of web hosting to even buy a cheap HP or Dell server. I mean you'd have to sign up for 41 years to even pay for the box it's hosted on. You get what you pay for and costs have to be cut somewhere. It never seems to occur to many people that they're actually not paying enough for web hosting."

That's a very naive determination. Big managed web hosts build their own web servers in bulk, and stuff them full of customers' sites. If you think about it, 1.5GB is nothing when a cheap and nasty set of 300GB hard drives in a decently robust RAID config wouldn't cost more than £300. And a company can easily afford to put 50-100 low-traffic sites (no business or high-traffic site would ever go near such a cheap solution) on a single box. If everyone's paying that charge, then the hardware is paid for in a month or two.

RIAA hits paydirt: wins first music-sharing jury trial



"This case’s appeal is going to put a busted ostrich egg in the face of both the judge AND the RIAA. The instructions were clearly outside of the scope of the law, and on top of that, the RIAA never actually proved that DAMAGES occurred. Also, why has no one argued that the DOWNLOADER is responsible for infringement rather than the person “making available?” In the real world, if you make a copy of a CD for someone else, you’re infringing, but if someone makes a copy of a copyrighted item that you, the library, or a rental chain like Blockbuster lends or rents to them, THEY have committed the infringement. There is no feasible way to defeat this analogy."

I hate the RIAA as much as most, but that analogy is rubbish. The music content was specifically linked to (even if from a BitTorrent or P2P site) and made available to a global audience, with the implicit intention of BT/P2P as making a copy for oneself. Blockbuster, as far as I know, does not advertise content that's for the intention of copying. Furthermore, Blockbuster et al have a special license to rent out copyrighted content - consumers do not, hence the 'you may not copy, rent or publicly show' message that accompanies all videos and DVDs.

Firefox-Google marriage on shaky ground?



Users have a right to render the things they want on their screen. The idea that they are thieves is insulting to anyone common sense.

Equally, web site owners have a right to select who visits their site - there's no fundamental conflict between the two at all.

However, they're the ones fighting a losing battle - a future version of adblock might, for example, load in ad content, modify the HTML as it streams in and just render it inside an invisible html element. Since it's ostensibly impossible for a site to see if a bit of content's being rendered correctly (as opposed to loaded) this 'solution' is temporary at best.

Mobiles can upset hospital equipment, after all


Re: don't quite understand it

Why would life-support equipment be hardened against EMP when they can be disabled by someone tripping over the power lead?