* Posts by Pheet

60 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Sep 2007


Google copyright purge leaves Android developers exposed

Dead Vulture

Pure FUD

This article is pure FUD. If it was printed on paper, I wouldn't even use it as toilet paper.

The notion that userspace apps that run on OS with a kernel created from GPL'd code must also be released under the GPL is complete rubish.

Particularly in the case of Android apps, which compile to a interpreted VM byte-code rather that linked against libraries and compiled to machine code. Something the author would know if they had an effing clue.

Android developers are no more "exposed" than any other developers of software that runs on an open source OS. Are Apple developers exposed to the BSD license because part of MacOSX is based on FreeBSD?

Google's shenanigans is "interesting", but in no way justifies the conclusion or headline.

The real question is Bill Ray being payed by MS, Apple, or both?

Wikileaks denies Tor hacker eavesdropping gave site its start


No surprise

Wikileaks is, by it's nature, very unpopular with governments.

At the moment, the US .gov is particular p*ssed off - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/07/wikileaks_arrest/

That stories insinuating connections betweenWL and Chinese (OMG the yellow peril!1!) now appear in the US media is unremarkable.

Do Google's search warrant police run IE6?

Dead Vulture


A company the size of google must hundreds of beancounters, lawyers, personel dept., etc. type of people who unless prevented will quite happily browse the interwebs with IE6.

That Google uses linux on it's servers and has released an open source browser is completely irrelevant.

Fujitsu workers picket London HQ


Pointing out the obvious

To those who say "change jobs" (and at least had to guts not to post AC):

Whilst it may in essence be good advice, it's not always practical advice. If you're saddled with a mortgage, have children of school age, have a partner that works, etc. upping sticks to another job isn't so straightforward. (And judging from the personalities of some of the commentards, you're going to be single and carefree for the rest of your days)

At least some people are trying to get a etter deal, rather than lying down and taking it (so to speak).

Apple cult leader emails outside world

Jobs Horns

Silly Laws and Bad Attitude

I think part of the problem is that in the US, if you don't actively protect your trademark (i.e. sue everyone in sight), you can lose it.

Apple could have come to agreement where they licensed the trademark to The Little App Factory for a nominal fee, thus protecting the trademark and without f**king them over.

I suspect Apple doesn't like the software as it's basis is that hardware failure happens, something Apple "Designed in California made in China" don't like to admit to.

Apple, with it's institutional control freakery as instilled by Steve Jobs from the beginning (the other Steve being the reverse), really doesn't like 3rd party developers.

As for the idea that changing the name is no big deal, it's plainly ridiculous.

Google Chrome OS - do we want another monoculture?


Not for the likes of us...

But there's a large percentage of the population that don't need a fully fledged PC (with it's attendant virii, hardware compatibility issues, DLL hell, etc). They just need a browser where they can access webmail, youtube, and facespace. A consumer device, rather than a tool.

I think Google has at least identified a valid market for this. I also think that limiting the supported hardware (ala Apple) is actually a smart thing to do for new platform. Lack of, or flaky, device drivers being the bane of both WIndows and *nix systems.

There is a definite shift to SaaS. How many people are using Basecamp for example?

It's of little interest (without hacks) to us IT geeks.

Man posed as teen lesbian to snare girl's nude photos


keeping it in the family...

The reason these type of stories receive so much attention is because it distracts us from the uncomfortable fact that most child abuse occurs within the family.

The idea of the "peado" as the stranger, the outsider, usually a loner, the 'other' is easier to swallow. The sad fact is that children (usually girls) are sexually abused by their father, uncle, mother's boyfriend, etc.

If one also looks at certain elements of our society, the sexualisation of youth (e.g. Britany Spears), that the "ideal" women as exemplified by supermodels is slim and shaven (i.e. appears as a girl not a woman), there's also something distasteful. Of course, it's easier to scream about sad bastards like the guy in the article than to have some serious reflection.

IE, Chrome, Safari duped by bogus PayPal SSL cert


Further consequences

This bug in the CryptoAPI also means:

a) It's not just browsers affected. Anything than connects over SSL/TLS, e.g. chat clients, mail clients, etc. Harder to exploit, though a poisoned DNS cache would do it.

b) Valid certs for international domains (e.g. ümlaut.com ) in the future will probably then be incorrectly identified as invalid - as I imagine the string containing the domain name will be UTF-8 encoded.

As someone earlier mentioned, it's an ASN.1 string. It would be trivial to verify that the length of the string indeed matches what was specified. Slack programming at the best of times, but in a crypto lib, unforgivable.

Man beaten and stabbed by Gumtree scammers


Reading comprehension skills fail

"A 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old youth were arrested near the scene."

That means the police arrested 2 people NEAR the scene of the crime, that, one hopes, fit the description of the attackers. It means that the police have NOT arrested 2 people caught in the act, or directly at the scene.

It could be the perpetrators, or it could easily be 2 people being in the wrong place at the wrong time who vaguely fit the description given by witnesses (e.g. 2 blokes, one tall one fat).

Given that that they've been given bail, it means that have a verifiable address, and probable were not covered in blood or such, otherwise the police would be bragging "we definitely got them". Police arrest the wrong people all the time, that's why we bother with court cases.

I really hope that the commenters with the knee jerk reaction don't work as admins/programmers/engineers, and are only managers or such...

Japan torture flick sickens UK film censor

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A minor change is needed

The film certification process is basicaly useful, in that it allows people to have a rough idea of the general content of a film before watching it. Not just useful for parents, for example my SO doesn't like intense horror films.

The problem is that a film that is refused classification in the UK is defacto banned (appart for the private club loophole as someone mentioned earlier). What's needed is a new certificate, say NSMP for Not Suitable for Most People. Extra rules could be applied, such as top-shelf or by request only in rental stores, only shown after 9pm in cinemas, warnings to be dislayed. Thus people could make an informed decision. Banning is illiberal, and completely ineffective.

I'm not into torture films and I'm not planning to watch it. However, there's at least potential for justification of torture scenes. Art imitates life afterall, and the unpleasant fact is there are some sick bastards out there. The CIA & MI5 amongst others are torturing people for REAL (or are involved with such), which is infinitly sicker than a film with actors. There's a bitter irony about a state that's involved with real torture on one hand, and bans fictional films containing torture on the other.

Official: Toshiba to get in on Blu-ray Disc

Dead Vulture

@Tony Smith

"The DRM in HDMI is solely designed to stop people nicking the data by tapping it between the source and the screen. How is that inconvenient? It's nowt to do with file-level DRM."

Of course it is. It's part of the whole DRM package. The file part of the DRM being useless without it, and vice versa.

And DRM itself *is* inconvienient. Apart from the possibility of "computer says no", some people would like to make a back-up copy after they've paid £15 - £25 odd quid for a film to guard against small children/pet dog/own stupidity with coffee mug/etc.

It's not "nicking the data" when you've paid for said data either.

Is Google spending $106.5m to open source a codec?

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Fingers crossed

Here's hoping. The video tag is one of the most potentially promising features of HTMLv5.

It would be really nice if google release the codecs along the lines of

"You can use this technology royalty free, as long as you're not a patent troll, in which case you can't"

2. Buy shares in Washington State furniture companies.

3. Convert You Tube to use the new codec.

4. Watch the chairs fly!

5 Profit!

@Mosh Jahan - An open standard can't mandate a propietery technology that needs to be licenced (it would no longer be an open standard as there would be a barrier to implementation - money). This is why there's a debate. You're right that some of the current H264 patent holders are f**kwards.

BT's giant new faster broadband boxes blocked


Maybe they've a point...

Conservation areas mean restrictions mostly on residents. Boris Johnson had to get rid of his shed on the balcony pretty sharpish recently.

If people are restricted in what they can do with their own homes, then similar rules should also apply to private companies wanting to build in the area (What's good for the goose, etc.) . BT isn't motivated by altruism, after all.

The solution is for BT to design a new box * that matches the area (Victorian or whatever), and for the extra cost to be (partly) shared equally by the residents . The area remains conserved, people have access to faster internet, and BT aren't too much out of pocket. The alternative design can be reused in other conservation areas of a similar period, so it would make sense in the longrun.


(The contents of the box is the expensive part, and that doesn't need to massively change. )

PayPal moves to embed self in everything


Re: No one HAS to use PayPal

For making payments yes. For accepting online payments, it's a different matter.

The problem with Paypal is that it has no real competition. Google checkout is only available to US & UK sellers(and I suspect many people trust google not much more than paypal/ebay either). Amazon's Flexible Payments Service is yanks only, thus not that flexible really.

The alterative of accepting payments online oneself is often unfeasable. Try getting a merchant account in the UK if you're a small startup wanting to sell on line. Or a developer wanting to accept donations for software - the high fixed costs (business account+merchent account+payment gateway fees) means you'd make a loss most months.

Alertpay comes accross as a bit dodgy, and moneybookers doesn't have the ability for customers to seemlessly pay by credit card. 2checkout charges more than paypal for each transaction IIRC (+ the initial $49 sign-up fee), and also "promotes" customers to pay via paypal now.

If there was a serious contender to Paypal, then they'd begin to sort their act out.

The new APIs sound nice though, lets see how it goes.

BlockMaster SafeStick hardware-encrypted USB drive


@AC 17:27 / Safestick Sales Weasel

1) Open-source != Free (libre) Software. It's possible to publish source under a restrictive license.

2) The source code of Truecrypt, GPG, and the older version of PGP is available. PGP is/was a relatively successful product. M16 use it (allegedly). As we're talking about public algorithms (AES), no major trade secrets are lost by releasing source. If there's a mistake in the implementation which means there's an effective key size of 64 bits for example, it would be good if it was spotted. For the paranoid, it's nice to know there's no government mandated back doors either. False sense of security is worse than no security, etc.

3) I didn't actually mention open-source, I said peer-review. If the source was given to, say , the top 5000 cryptographers (the Bruce Schneiders & Phil Zimmermans of the world) to evaluate, then I'd prob. consider this peer-reviewed.

4) Your paragraph about government & open-source doesn't appear to make sense gramatically.

5) My main machine runs FreeBSD :-P . The linux version (if it's not vapourware) *might* run under the compat layer, but I'd be suprised.

The website doesn't fill me with confidence, and I don't fancy being stuck on a mailing list for eternity in exchange for an evaluation stick either. Thanks, but no thanks.

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Nice but..

Nice idea in principle - hardware encryption is a lot faster than doing it in software as the test shows.

However, I'm not going to trust any security device/software unless the source code is available for peer review.

Also, the lack of cross platform support (no linux or FreeBSD, less functionality on Mac) makes it a no-no. The point of USB sticks is they're _portable_ and work across platforms.

Cloud power harnessed to dump unwanted Mac apps


So it's correct...

... what they say about Mac owners -

all a load of poofs*.

* Not meant to be in anyway homophobic, I'm just making a lame play on words and peoples' predjudices.

Getting real about Linux on the desktop


Migration psychology

Most users, unlike geeks, don't like *any* change. They'll complain about Vista after using XP*, or MS Office 2007 after using 2003. This is due to the fact that:

a) many non-geeks don't enjoy learning new things, esp. to do with bloody computers. It's hard work, it takes time, etc.

b) A lot of people learn to use a computer by rote, as apposed to learning the concepts, thus even relatively minor UI changes will upset them, and affect productivity.

Things that can help are:

a) Coincide the change to linux with new hardware. People expect a new computer to look different to the old one, and a faster machine will take the edge off having to relearn a few things.

b) Running Firefox and OpenOffice on windows before changing the OS.

c) New employees get Linux only from the beginning, where possible.

A lot of users only require web browser, email, basic word processing and access to the file server, which Linux provides adaquately. Also given the trend to SaaS and web applications,

the underlying OS becomes less important.

The hardest part of Linux (as with any OS) is the install and initial config, which in corperate environments isn't any issue.

Mozilla mauls Microsoft on IE, Windows 7 bundle

Gates Horns

here we go again...

Every time this story is covered there's always the same BS comments from the ms fanbois.

If anybody bothered to read Opera's original complaint for example, they'd know that it's

1) IE is bundled

2) IE con't be uninstalled

3) IE is NOT standards compliant

4) MS has a monoply position (which Apple & the various Linux distros don't)

_combined_ that is the problem. Point 3, which leads to all those broken "IE only" web site/apps (as mentioned in an albeit backward way by Adrian Challinor) is actually one of the biggest - even when the user installs another browser, they *still* have to use IE for some sites (often MS's own).

Also, anybody who thinks one needs a browser to download & install another browser shouldn't be even *reading* the reg, let alone make comments.

FreeBSD 7.2 joins BSD fest

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My OS of choice :-)

What on earth do you think you are doing, Darling?


@Sam Liddicott

"It's not (just) whether or not your employer can afford to pay the minimum wage, but whether or not the employee brings minimum_wage of value to the employer."

1) It's people at the bottom of the company that produce the most value. The higher up you get, the higher the salary with less value being produced - e.g. middle management (who often decrease value), till you get to the boardroom which get paid millions but contribute very little worth often. Mr Goodwin for example.

2) Companies that pay shitty wages cost the rest of us money, as people on low income need housing benifit, tax credits, etc. to survive, which is paid out of our taxes (less all the burocratic waste). If people got decent, livable wages in the first place, we'd all be better off.

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Half Good, but...

I agree whole heartedly that low income earners pay far too much tax, and that the majority of people pay more tax than the rich proportinatly.

Raising the allowance rate as suggested would help, not just those affected, but possibly the economy as a whole - all those people paying less tax would then have more money to spend on (essential) goods and services.

However, with out raising taxes elsewhere (e.g. on the rich), there would have to be cuts in public services (NHS, schools, etc.) which adversly effects the lower 50%+ , so much so that we'd be worse off overall. The rich have private healthcare, send their kids to private schools, don't use public transport, etc.

When tax is raised on the lower or normal income band, it's funny that we don't hear from economists and thinktanks saying that it won't work...

Other things that might help:

- Raising the minimum wage - at the moment it's a bloody insult. And it needs to be properly enforced, with stiff fines & prison sentances for employeers that break it. Companies that pay millions to their board can afford to pay more than a fiver an hour to their office cleaners.

- Reduce the basic cost of living. VAT is a grossly unfair tax, scrap tax on domestic fuel bills, and water bills are obcene in the UK. The big supermarkets need to be strongly dealt with - at the moment they're screwing both customers and producers (£1 in every 8 goes to Tesco FFS).

- Simplify the whole system. At the moment we have income tax with various bands, national insurance, VAT, council tax and on the other hand CT & housing benefit, working tax credits, child support, state pensions etc. I hate to think how much money is wasted on all the bureaucracy (and there's millions of pounds of support tht isn't being claimed by people that need it because the system is so complicated). Replace with an income guarantee & simplified income tax, for example.

My £0.02 :-)

GPS, swipe cards to monitor Welsh school kids



I'm sure kids won't steal or copy other people's cards, get their freiends to swipe their card when then want to skive, etc etc (I know I would've). Again, trying to use technology to solve a social problem.

It'd probably be cheaper (and not involve some database that's bound to be compromised in someway - Daily Heil "Peadoes gain access to school bus database - think of the children!") to employ a conductor/supervisor on the school bus. With this scheme, if the kids are being unruly on the bus, the driver can't do anything about at the time, only report it afterwards.

Oracle guru speaks peace, MySQL old-guard cautious


Oracle & mySQL

Hmm, obviously we'll have to wait and see, but at least theoretically I think it _could_ be ok. My reasoning being that:

a) Oracle is at least a (successful) database company*. They understand the "product", they have the experience and technical resources. In the public mind, oracle=database. I'd be more concerned for SPARC, Solaris & Java (in that order). Oracle's not a hardware co, or an OS company (despite desire to have their own complete stack).

b) mySQL & Oracle's DB don't compete with each other. mySQL's popularity for dynamic websites isn't just down to it's price, but because (with the default MyISAM engine) it's optimised for read often, write seldom which works well in this context. Clustering support is nice to have, but I suspect it's mostly used for high-demand web apps. Oracle's db is in a different use space.

Oracle _could_ provide uniform tools, SQL dialect compatiblity, etc. for a clean upgrade path from mySQL (say as an intern department db) to Oracle when the need grows for some big iron.

If it goes pear shaped, well, the source code is there, Monty is still around live n kicking, and there's alway Postgres (which for those of us that program with a db abstraction layer should't be too much work). MySQL 5 is already installed all over the place, and does what it needs to do in 99% of cases.

As the poster says, Stay Calm & Carry On :-)

* Yes I know closed-source, and over-priced, but reasonably technically competent AFAIK.

Brutish SSH attacks continue to bear fruit



I used to see this regularly in my logs (desktop machine, FreeBSD) before I was behind NAT.

Most of the IPs resolved to ISPs in China :-)

Not a problem with denyhosts - http://denyhosts.sourceforge.net/

Also helps if sshd is correctly configured - e.g. only members of the wheel group can ssh in, no root login. This is default on FreeBSD IIRC, but I've seen some Linux distros with slacker defaults. Limiting connections to permitted IP address is a good idea when feasible.

There should be very few members of the wheel group, and avoid obvious usernames such as "admin". Consider using one time passwords if possible (involves playing with PAM).

Distros that have ssh enabled by default should also install & enable denyhosts, and have a conservative sshd.conf. Running sshd on a different port avoids a majority of the connection attempts, but doesn't really solve the problem and shouldn't be relied on alone.

Phorm CEO clashes with Berners-Lee at Parliament


The name alone..

Ertugrul - Sounds like something straight out of Mordor (where the spammers lie...)

The pan-European Office for the Ecodesign of everything


Flawed Premise

There's the typical flawed premise that economics can quantify everthing, when it can only quantify something when it has been comodified, and thus is completely blind to various things, the environment being one of them.

For example, the air that you breath is completely worthless from economics' point of view, until someone bottles and sells it*, but in reality it's extremely valuable ("I'll cut off your air supply...").

"Rising productivity is thus the secret to rising living standards."

This only holds true when living standards is measured purely as the amount of material possessions owned, which for the majority of people isn't the case. There's lots of other factors for quality of life - stresslevel,amount of free time, friends & family, environment, etc.

Indeed, if raising producitivity raises the amount of pollution, living standards will actually decrease ( at least for those effected, which eventually is everyone), even if if economics can't see it.

The directive is there to rectify the economic system's myopic view of the world. The FUD that this will stifle innovation (so no-one will come up with an innovative energy saving idea then?), would appear to come from a "Free market"** -tard perspective.

"Tim Worstall <snip> writes for <snip> the Adam Smith Institute, among others."

Somehow I'm not surprised. I wonder if Tim has ever considered that belief in the invisible hand of the market is a bit like believing in the tooth fairy. Ok for kids, but no way to run a economic system in the 21st century.

Most forms of human activity are regulated (by laws, customs, social norms, etc.) for better or for worse, why should material production be exempt? Do you actually *want* more pollution?

* Which given the level of air pollution in the UK, won't be long.

** You can't use the adjective free with the noun market unless you're talking about about a collection of stalls where you don't have to pay for anything. What is really meant is unregulated market, and we all know how much of a sucess that is...

Opera sings praises of Microsoft-browser statement

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"my OS doesn't come with a browser, how do I download a browser?"

1) FTP - windows explorer works as a crude FTP client


2) Bundle the installers for the major browsers with the OS and let the user decide on first login.

@David Webb

1) It's not specified that any judgement would be applied rectroactively as you're suggesting (and I'm sure you know that)

2) "all our web pages are designed to be run with IE"

Well that serves the company right for using a frontpage kiddie instead of designing to the standards. Which is half of Opera's point.

3) "Don't be stupid, becaue Opera is an EU company!"

It may have changed, but last time I looked Opera was a Norwegian company. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it is a member of the European Economic Area (and Schengen).

Linux at 17 - What Windows promised to be



http://uptime.netcraft.com/perf/reports/performance/Hosters?tn=august_2008 (Windows share aprox. 16%)

Read, then shut the fuck up. Permanently.

I've not even going to bother pointing out that if desktop PCs came without a certain OS already preinstalled then the story would be different.

And for the record, I'm a FreeBSD fanboy :-)

Belated brithday wishes for GNU/Linux.

Sacked Indian workers beat chief exec to death



"No, no, no.... The fact that you had unions at all is why there is a car factory in Uttar Pradesh, and why Detroit has the highest unemployment rates in the US.

That's capitalism baby...."

No, no, no that's just the US with it's crappy employement laws, incredibley irresponsable CEOs ( and rampant union-busting). For example, Sweden aprox 78% of the work force are union members are there's relatively low unemployment (and their financial system is looking at lot healthier than the US's at the moement).

The laws, history, and political climate of the US is unique - don't assume its universal.

Well done the "outsid agitators"!

Cisco borgs Jabber


slight correction

"The Jabber protocol acts as a bridge between the firm's own XML-based chat and proprietary Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo IM clients "

No. There are plug-ins (oft 3. party) available for jabber servers (of which there are several flavours) referred to as gateways, which will bridge to other IM protocols (and other transports such as email).

There are _extensions_ to the core jabber protocol which define/advise on address translation (so for example fred@msn.com becomes fred%msn.com@msgateway.jabberhost.net ) and on service discovery of available gateways.

Bit more research needed, or least should have been better phrased IMO.

Ubuntu documentation in shreds


Documentation quality not dependant on Programming methodology

FreeBSD has excelent documentation for example.

The documentation for many closed-source projects is piss poor too (and how well the source code is commented, well, who knows....)

"people will only reliably commit and work hard when they're getting paid"..

What a misanthropic (and inaccurate) world view.

Now Hollywood is chasing UK downloaders



AFAIR, balliffs don't have the right to force their way into your home (at least not initally). Don't open your door (talk through the letterbox), make sure ground floor windows/back door/etc are shut.

IP address shouldn't be sufficient proof in court (though prob. enough for suspicion to initiate the case) - unsecure wireless network, running a TOR server, etc., etc.

If you get a letter, get yourself a decent lawyer (hard to find but some exist) and have your day in court (if they'll take it that far - I suspect they're fishing). Copyright infringment is a civil matter, not a criminal offence.

Sun may or may not be about to obliterate Oracle and Microsoft


interesting but..

The part about transactional memory was interesting, the part where the author explains they're too thick/lazy to deal with concurreny (basic programming stuff, and how hard is using synchronized in java? ) not so interesting . Admittedly, the author is a CTO not a programmer thank goodness.

MS products just too cool to comprehend, say MS geeks

Gates Horns

missing the point

Mike, I think you've missed the point.

A new version of an operating system should be better then the previous version. That is, it should be more stable, and *more* resource efficient, proportional to _functionality_.

Vista (as an OS) doesn't provide much more functionality than XP. (In some cases, such as file copying (a basic OS function), it performs worse) However, the hardware requirements are drastically higher. This is why people say Vista is bad.

That you need 2GB RAM just for the OS to run decently suggests:

a) Bad sloppy code.

b) Dodgy deals with hardware manufacturers

c) Both

If you ran XP instead on your super-duper new machine (and think yourself lucky you can afford it), would your applications run faster or not? Probably yes, as there'd be more memory available for disk caching for a start.

You've a point about hardware vendors being piss poor with drivers, but that hasn't stopped MS Fanbois screaming "Linux is crap" because the vendor doesn't provide (or give the necessary info for) a linux driver for their hardware. MS is in a much stronger position to pressure vendors into providing decent drivers for their OS.

OEMs aren't entirely to blame either. Look at the class action lawsuit in the US over "Vista Capable" badged machines...

(FTR, I use FreeBSD. A pox on all your houses! :-) )

Happy Sysadmin Day!

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I got a huge chocolate cake, shapped as a computer (with keyboard and everthing). Shouldve made a photo before it got scoffed :-) Helped that I announces SysAdmin day 2 weeks previously (hint hint).

Google gives GMail always-on encryption


secure networks...

"so if you don't use insecure networks you may not want to bother."

Sorry to point out the bleedin' obvious, but unless you're accessing gmail from within google's LAN (i.e. not via the internet), you're using an insecure network. For example, my connection goes through c.a. 5 other networks + my ISP from my LAN to gmail.

What it should say is: "if the content of your emails is not valuable to a third party, don't bother". i.e. if you only get mail from Aunty Mabel & similar on your gmail account.

Ubuntu to get open-source Java heart implant


PHP vs Java

I program in both, and I like (and hate sometimes) both languages. They're very different languages, with different background and design intent. It's the old apples vs oranges thing...

PHP -> interpreted scripted language derived from Perl for dynamic web pages.

+ Fast development, large library, plenty of libs, quick to learn, free.

- namespace is a nightmare as someone pointed out earlier (getting bit better since v5 though), doesn't scale too well, though in its context of CGI not a huge problem (load balancers upfront, database pool on back) unless you're the size of yahoo/google/etc.

Java-> compiled to byte code, c++ influence, orig. for embeded systems, w/ sandbox for web applets.

+ Straightforward to learn if you've a C/C++ background, no pointer headaches, "complie once run anywhere"tm, large sandard lib, plenty of free code avail., free.

- Bloated VM and standard lib these days, verbose factory get instance create object stuff sometimes, slower development cycle, requires more resources.

I _could_ write a jabber client in PHP, and use Java to pull data from a mySQL DB and display it on a web page, but I'm not going to :-)

My ideal language would be Pascal with OOP and automagic GC, but that's just me :-)

Researchers release 'cold boot' attack utilities



Make sure that your BIOS is:

a) set to boot from internal harddrive first, not external drives.

b) Password protected.

Hopefully the time it takes to open the machine and physically reset the BIOS means there's insufficient key material left in the RAM.

Chris' idea of turning off the quick test sounds like a good idea too.

There's prob. no substitute for proper physical security while the machine is on/hibernating.

MS UK kills mystery 'Live to Code' site


re: Stupid pedantry.

AC, you must be a manager, or other form of PHB.

Real IT pros (programmers, sys admins, etc.) know that small details are important, and can have an asymmetrical effect.

Maybe if the person at MS had been a bit more pedantic, they wouldn't have foobared the .co.uk site...

Red Hat scurries away from consumer desktop market

Gates Horns

A FreeBSD Fanboy writes...

I think *nix is now usuable on the destop for most users. The problem is installation and initial configuration (and I've had some tricky experiences installing windows too, average Joe or Jane user would also have problems).

A desktop PC, which has supported hardware, pre-installed with Ubuntu+FF+OOo is not more difficult to use than the windows equivalent. If everybody had to manually install Windows+IE+Office everytime they bought a PC from Dixons/etc, then they'd be on a equal footing.

It's at least equivalent with Windows for user-friendlyness. Real life example: Friend running WinXP (no SP) buys USB webcam. The software refuses to install without SP2. Dowload SP2 - won't install because of vendor bootsplash screen. I have to edit boot.ini in notepad (as per MS's KB article), and reboot before the SP will install - yes, editing config files by hand....

The problem is hardware manufactors. Buggy or properietry implementations of "standards" such as ACPI (yes, I'm looking at you Mr Dell), flaky BIOS's and USB controllers, and proprietry drivers (c.a. 50% of wireless cards for example). Apple gets around this (despite MacOSX's BSD/Mach base) by using very specific hardware. I think it's a fallacy to blame open-source OSs for bugs in firmware, or for the lack of device drivers - that's down to the manufacturor. Compare Nvidia that releases drivers for Linux & FreeBSD for their graphic cards, with ATI that doesn't (yet).

I use PC-BSD (www.pcbsd.org), nice GUI installer, sensibley pre-configured, and has a nice easy GUI Push Button Installer system for most software (that also avoids dependency hell). I've installed and configured on totally non-technical friends' machines, and it's not a problem. They click on the FF icon to websurf, .doc files open in OO Writer, etc.

"Insert a USB drive into your Linux box. Where is it in the file system? You and I both know it's buried under /mnt somewhere. But what about a normal end-user? They'd have no clue. None. At least Windows pops up a little window and tells you where the hell it mounted the device!"

Err, on my machine KDE also gives the nice pop up box (and the USB drive icon appears on the desktop). And it's mounted under /media. I don't see the difference from a user-freindly POV.

"In my humble opinion, Linux as a Desktop is superior to both XP and Vista, for most users"

Personally, I think they're pretty much on a level these days. Main difference is in price and security.

Pregnant man to hit Oprah with ultrasound


@ Richard

Ahem, yes I should have written XYY, not YY. (There's also various other uncommon sex chromosome combinations, it's not just XX or XY)

The Y chromosome doesn't take effect until ~week 10 of development IIRC, thus the embryo is at least genderless prior to this point - my "mutate" expression was a Valerie S. inspiried polemic :-) Thanks for the correction though.



A lot of people seem to be confusing biological sex with gender.

Gender, e.g. what it is "to be a [real] man" or to "be a [real] women" is a social construct. Some cultures have a 3rd gender, for example. Anyone can see how the concept of mascalinity & feminitiy has changed within W.european culture in the last 60 years or so.

Quite a few people also seem to have been skiving from biology lessens at school too. People can have YY chromosone combination (e.g. Kray twins) as well as XX and XY. Remember also that, technically every foetus starts with XX (bilogically female), and ~50% *mutate* into XY later during gestation...

There's also a certain % of people born heamaphrodite (innie AND an outie to use a previous poster's terminology) - though normally the effin` doctor will perform a quick bit of surgery to "fix" this, often without telling the parents...

It's news because it's an unusual situation, also that American culture is generally extremely conservative and there's a scandal aspect. Going on Oprah, well, I hope they're getting paid enougth to pay for the kid's education later...

dervheid: "I'm with the genetics... "

Yeah, there was a bunch of people in Germany a few decades ago who were big into genetic determinsm too...

Dump IE 6 campaign runs afoul of dump IE 6 campaign

Gates Horns


Just put the script in after the pointy haired client has approved the design and you've uploaded.

Ive put used

<!--[if IE]>

<a href="http://www.spreadfirefox.com/?q=affiliates&amp;id=211203&amp;t=219"><img border="0" alt="Firefox 2" title="Firefox 2" src="http://sfx-images.mozilla.org/affiliates/Buttons/firefox2/ff2b80x15.gif"/></a> | <![endif]-->

before :-)

Keyboard PC design recalls Amiga era

Thumb Up


From the FAQ:

"What happens if there is a liquid spill on the Zero-Footprint-PC™’s keyboard?

Since the keyboard matrix has a metal tray, this protects the electronics in the PC. However, the key matrix will be damaged and in need of replacing. This damage is not covered by the warranty, so please contact Cybernet for cost details."

I quite like the look (being a former Speccy & ST owner), less cabels all over the place and such, but I don't like the touch pad.

Considering how weak the US$ is at the moment, it sounds like a bit of a bargin, depending on postage costs...

British youths think Churchill went to moon


Not so bad

That at average age of 7, they recognise the name of a dead politician (who died prob. before their parents were born), and that he was significant in modern history, albeit the wrong event (off by 2 decades).

"Where Churchill was concerned, the association appeared to be with a talking nodding insurance dog"

Well that's hardly suprising, how many times will they have seen the advert vs. watching a history program? Replace TV adverts with short "did you know" style facts?

The history of WWII is usually taught at secondary school level, for good reasons - e.g. I still remember watching footage from the liberation of Belsen and it's not something I'd show to most people under 12 years. Comprehending the background, causes, and after-effects, with analysis, is also beyond most 7 year olds, unless you want reduce it the base level of "goodies" vs "baddies" (which is historially inaccurate).

As for Churchill being a role model, don't forget to teach the history of how Churchill sent the army in to murder striking miners, his role in the general strike of 1926 and how he was resposnible for the f**k-up of Gallipoli in the first world war, etc. (Madra, please drop dead.)

@reg I demand a "Churchill with a green mohawk" icon :-)


Russian serfs paid $3 a day to break CAPTCHAs


Social, not technological

That CAPTCHAs are being broken, either automatically or by sweatshop (or more likely a combination - simulated neural net in software, use the sweatshops to train it & when it can't answer correctly) is no surprise.

CAPTCHA and similar concepts are are an attempt of a purely technological solution to what is a social problem, which of course, fails sooner or later.

Technological solutions only work for technological problems.

The solution is social - educate people to stop buying from spammers (fat chance), stop organised crime (again fat chance), etc.

Slightly OT, I feel there's a pervailling false mentality that technology is a "quick fix" for problems - witness how our government is trying to force through biometric ID cards, allegedly to fight against "crime" and "terrorism".

American-German biometric database share deal inked


Stassi 2.0

What the article ommits to mention, is that the last people to take scent sample of disidents* was the secret police of the DDR (East Germany).

An important cultural reference I feel - it caused a bit of a scandal in Germany last year.


In the DDR, people who wanted a bit more freedom than allowed in a authoritarian state. Not terrorists.

Now, anyone concerned about climate change, global poverty, dodgy big business, etc. Not terrorists.

Germany to Nokia: Give us back our subsidies


@spleen II

If you're unable to get work because of ageist attitudes, it's another matter entirely, and I'd be sympathetic (though if I was you I'd reflect on my attitude a bit - you don't come accross as much of a team player for example). BTW, if you're currently unemployed, what are you living from? Accepting money from the evil socialist welfare state?

As you're getting nearer to retirement age (guessing from what you said), you should be concerned when large amounts of public money is wasted as bribe to large companies, instead of being used for pensions and the health service - those hip-replacement operations aren't cheap you know.

Arguing that companies should be able to fire people willy nilly, despite public subsidy, so you (theoretically) would have a better chance of getting a new job is ignoble.

Also Sweden has a completey different attitude towards imigration (and intergration) than Japan, so the aging population problem (as all countires in western Europe) shouldn't be as extreme. A bad comparison to make.

Mozilla reaches stage 4 of Firefox 3 beta endurance test


"a new memory allocator reduces fragmentation"

I hear that they're using the new malloc implementation from FreeBSD.