* Posts by Altrux

45 posts • joined 24 Apr 2020

Russian media watchdog bans Google from advertising its services



Absolute imbeciles - do they actually think we're falling for Vladolf's nonsense at this point? They should be embarrased. Peskov is the new Comical Ali.

Russia bans foreign software purchases for critical infrastructure


Re: Best of luck with that mate

I'm claiming credit for that one. I did actually dream it up a couple of weeks ago, but it might well be a case of 'simultaneous invention' with others... :)

Next versions of both Fedora and Ubuntu head into beta


Re: Here we go again

It's a development release - of course there are piles of updates, every day. Once the final release goes out, it'll calm down to be more like Windows. Wonderful, eh?

The first step to data privacy is admitting you have a problem, Google


Re: Hey Google!

Listening not, they are.

GNOME 42's inconsistent themes are causing drama



GNOME = Gaaah, Needlessly Obtuse Mindf*ck Environment


Wheels to Reinvent

Modern UIs feel like they've gone backwards in the last 20 years. The Linux desktop I had back in 2003 (early KDE) was very pretty: easily themeable, nice 3D effects, usable and powerful. Now we've all just spent 20 years constantly reinventing wheels, changing things, changing them back again, then making a square wheel and reinventing that. The overall effect is that we've gone nowhere, or backwards. So much wasted effort on this nonsense, and a complete lack of genuinely fresh and better ideas.

SAP wins competition to replace own ageing system at UK council


You're optimistic!

Samsung updates its most popular smartphone range


Big Up the A!

After deciding to avoid any Chinese-made phones, I basically had to go with Samsung (made in Korea, India or Vietnam). I've been on the A-series models for a couple of years now, and can't really complain. Excellent value for money, still some Samsung crapware (though less than there used to be), regular software updates (I am running the Feb 2022 Android security patchlevel), and a camera system that has made several iPhone owners jealous. There are some niggles, but overall these are excellent phones for a sensible price.

Boys outnumber girls 6 to 1 in UK compsci classes


Bring back the girls!

My fledgling Raspberry Pi Code Club, at my son's primary school, has 11 attendees and 4 more on the waiting list. 100% boys. Seems we've achieved almost nothing on gender balance in the last 30 years...

Microsoft slides ads into Windows Insiders' File Explorer


Year of the Linux Desktop

It's now 20 years since I switched to Linux as my sole desktop OS. Brave at the time, an obvious move now. My "Year of the Linux Desktop" was 2002 - when is yours?

Lapsus$ extortionists dump Samsung data online, chaebol confirms security breach



Yeah, Samsung is better than it used to be, but still lots of unremovable junk. I have a Galaxy A, because it's an excellent phone and because it's not made in China, but I still wish I could have one with 'pure Android' on it. At least I would only have to sell my soul to Google, not Samsung too...

Linux distros patch 'Dirty Pipe' make-me-root kernel bug


RH kernels

Red Hat kernels apparently bear little relation to their headline version number. They backport and tweak an insane amount of stuff, so that kernel is probably no more 4.18 than my hamster's brain firmware is.


Re: Linux Bias / Android kernels

My Samsung A52, running Android 12, still has a 4.19 kernel. I've yet to see a phone running anything newer than 5.4, but I don't doubt that they're out there. Luckily, Samsung is quite good at rolling out monthly Android security updates for all supported phones. Many others are not so lucky.

One decade, 46 million units: Happy birthday, Raspberry Pi


Chip crisis

The Pi is a wonderful project to be proud of. But it's a shame you haven't generally been able to buy them for months now. That 45 million figure could have been a fair bit higher but for the chip crisis, which seemed to start almost overnight but which drags on and on....

Users sound off as new Google Workspace for Education storage limits near


Photo archiving

I just go to photos.google.com, download a great stack of them (which arrives as a ZIP file), then delete the same stack from the web interface. Job done. They go into trash then get auto-deleted after 30 days. But photos in trash don't seem to count towards your quota, which immediately goes up when you press delete!

HPE has 'substantially succeeded' in its £3.3bn fraud trial against Autonomy's Mike Lynch – judge



I worked for these clowns back in the day (circa 2005). Serious culture problem, really grim atmosphere inside those shiny offices in Cambridge. Was very glad to escape, as just another sysadmin from the "burn them out like matches" disposable team. Lynch may be reaping what he sowed...

For first time in nearly 17 years, stable Linux kernel version has over 999 commits – but not everyone heard about it


Not quite 31 years

The kernel has existed for (almost) 31 years, but the -stable series as we now know it has not, I believe! Of course, on the regular Linux -rc releases, it seems there are frequently far more than 999 patches.

But, turning to the broader question, is this huge patch bomb a good or a bad thing? Have the kernel maintainers become highly proactive and super-productive, to find and fix this many issues in a fairly new 'stable' kernel? Or is this an indication that we have a quality control issue?

APNIC: Big Tech's use of carrier-grade NAT is holding back internet innovation


Re: ISP’s

Some of the big ones (including BT) have supported it out of the box for a few years now. Virgin Media is the biggest laggard I'm aware of. No excuses, but then they're fairly hopeless anyway. Speed uber alles, but reliable service? Forget it!


Re: That old chestnut

Either switch to a top-class ISP that offers static IP (such as A&A, worth the extra cost), or buy a virtual cloud server (£2/month) and use that as a 'hub & spoke' WireGuard VPN host. We do something similar on our commercial networks, and a single minimum-spec cloud server happily handles a stack of simultaneous WireGuard networks with 100 clients, without even panting.

Linux kernel 5.15 released with new NTFS driver plus an LTS sticker slapped on it


Re: 5.15 is an LTS release

Yep - now declared as LTS, though not an 'ultra' LTS like 5.10, so a shorter projected lifespan. I didn't think they were going to squeeze in another release before New Year! Hopefully this kernel will form the foundation of Ubuntu 22.04 and its offshoots.

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81



My life in computing began on a ZX81, as a young kid. That was eventually upgraded to a BBC Master 128, in the late 80s, and then my first PC in 1992. The rest is history. Who knows where things would have gone, back then, without Sir Clive's pioneering machines?

Windows 10 to hang on for five more years with 21H2 update


Re: okay...

I like the Cinnamon desktop, but it still has annoying bugs and memory leaks. I've switched back to XFCE now (still on Mint), which generally works really well and can be made quite pretty. But the default image manager is an abomination, so I still have some tweaking to do.

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why



So much this! We had it in the office the other day, when our relatively expensive Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) mesh system just decided to start flaking out. Even a power cycle of both APs didn't help; suddenly, the supposedly better 5GHz network just became mostly unusable; the 2.4GHz network still runs fine. Wi-Fi is such a wonderful technology in theory, but so infuriatingly "random" in practice.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G: Sub-$600 midranger makes premium phones feel frivolous


Re: Decoy

^^ Like they said, Samsungs are made in Vietnam or India (or some in Korea itself). Another good reason to buy one. No made-in-China dubiosity!


Excellent all-rounder

I bought a pair of these from Argos, for me and the wife (cashback offer, phone not wife!), and no complaints so far. Apart from the Upday News app - can *anyone* tell me how to disable its newsflash updates? I've tried everything! So yes, Samsungs still have cr*pware pre-loaded, but much less than the bad old days.

Hardware-wise, the phone is excellent. Beautiful, butter-smooth screen, fast and smooth, never skips a beat, and takes good pics with zero effort. It'll beat most 2018/19 flagships for 1/3 of the price. And the software is bang up to date: I got the June 2021 Android security patch update ... in June 2021. Incredible! This device should also be flagged to receive Android 12 early next year.

Also - I've not tried the face recognition, but the in-screen fingerprint doodad works perfectly for me. Very handy, in fact (no pun intended)!

Happy with your existing Windows 10 setup? Good, because Windows 11 could turn its nose up at your CPU



What about AMD chips then? Is this the excuse I need to go out and buy my Ryzen 5000 at last? No, it isn't, because I haven't run Windows as my OS since 2002. Still, I think it's time to buy that Ryzen anyway :)

Planespotters’ weekends turn traumatic as engine pieces fall from the sky in the Netherlands and the US


Re: Efficiency vs Reliability

The PW4000 is a very old design, going back to the 1980s. The 777 variant of it is early 90s, like the aircraft itself. So this is not a cutting-edge engine. Plenty of newer engines have excellent records, including the Trent XWB and the newer GE90s, etc. So overall I don't believe there's any systemic issue with cutting-edge engine tech, at least not yet...


RR not perfect

RR have had their own problems, especially with the Trent 1000. And there was the Trent 900 (A380) "she go boom" issue in Singapore a decade ago, which very nearly imperilled the aircraft - major damage. Generally I like RR and the XWB (A350) seems to be doing pretty well. But they need to get back into narrowbodies!

Showering malware-laced laptops on UK schools is the wrong way to teach them about cybersecurity


RPi 400

We've donated a stack of Raspberry Pi 400s to my son's school. That's everything a primary (or even secondary) level child should need. For under £100, a fully functioning computer kit with a whole basket of funky pre-installed software (and much more available with a few clicks), that can connect to any monitor or TV - something even most poorer households will have. No need for Windows and its malware nightmares, no need to be shipping out fragile, vulnerable laptops, and no need to be importing far eastern junk. The Pi's are designed *and* built right here in Brexitannia!


Re: Money making middle men

Oh yes, we've had exactly this issue with some 32GB cheap laptops used at remote sites, which were an 'unfortunate' purchase by the director, trying to save a few quid. Windows 10 simply is not usable in so little space: the updates constantly fill the drive and kill the machine, no matter how much you try to disable them. Microsoft always wins. We had to give up and replace the machines as they were not readily upgradeable.

Debian 'Bullseye' enters final phase before release as team debates whether it will be last to work on i386 architecture


Re: I'm finding this hard to believe...

Yes, my understanding is that it won't build for anything older than i686 (i.e. Pentium Pro, Pentium II or later), unless you take special measures of some sort!


Re: I'm finding this hard to believe...

My RPi4 should come in at about the same cost. It's only running PiHole/DNS, and sits at 3.7W according to my plug-in energy meter. So that's about £5.50/yr at 17p/kWh, I reckon. For a quad core 64-bit capable machine (albeit running a 32-bit OS for now).

Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'


Flakey software

Their software is a nightmare, particularly the Linux client. We are pretty heavy users of their business subscription, and when Dropbox decides to have an arbitrary meltdown, it sometimes takes literally /days/ to re-index the 200,000 or so files in our repository. It clearly cannot cope with what it's designed to do - after all, we're using less than 10% of our total space allocation!

Linux developers get ready to wield the secateurs against elderly microprocessors


Re: As long as

I tried to recompile the kernel on my PDP-11, but estimated it wouldn't finish until 2073 :)


Re: So what?

I'd have thought an entry-level 2GB Raspberry Pi would do the job even better - and probably at lower energy cost, so it would even pay its enormous £35 cost back eventually! Mine burns around 3.7W at steady state, running Pi-Hole and providing DNS magic to the whole network.


Re: People still make these older CPUs last I checked...

Happy memories - I had a good old DX2 66MHz back in the mid-90s. Seemed incredibly fast at the time, compared to the 386 that preceded it. It certainly ran 4k demos (remember those?) very nicely!

Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1



I've been using Mint for many years, even though I'm notionally a power user. It does the job nicely: it's Ubuntu with a prettier skin and some handy extras. Although I generally preferred Cinnamon, it still has annoying issues - particularly the file manager (Nemo), which slows down over time and struggles with big directories full of photos. So now I've switched to the XFCE edition, which I would highly recommend. XFCE has everything most people need in a desktop, without the frills and the bloat. It looks decent enough these days, and is snappier than most of the others. So it's Mint XFCE for me, at least until Debian 11 arrives later this year, perhaps...

Microsoft will release a web browser for Linux next month. Repeat, Microsoft will release a browser for Linux – and it uses Google's technology



Internet Explorer for UNIX returns! Surely you haven't forgotten that one? Yes, it really is true that Micros~1 once made a browser for Solaris and HP-UX.

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC


It all started with the Am386

For me, it all began with the mighty Am386. My first PC had the 40MHz version of that, which Intel couldn't match at the time (1992). Later, I had a tasty Athlon XP and Athlon64, before reluctantly reverting to Intel in the Core2 era. But now, the Ryzens are looking very tasty, and are pretty sure to be in my next machine.

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


The New Borg

WinZilla / OffZilla365? TweedleDumb?

Speaking of which, is AWS now officially CloudZilla?

Outages batter UK's Virgin Media into wee hours as broadband failures spike 77% globally


VM always unreliable

We have Virgin's 500Mbps mega VOOM service in our main office, and it's famously unreliable. If we can go a week without an outage, I'll call it a win. Luckily the shared building has another WiFi network we can use as a fallback. We're now going to add a BT fibre line as our own secondary link, and sort out some sort of failover. But ironically, given the nightmares that BT have caused us at our remote sites, their network actually seems far more resilient than Virgin's. My BT link at home has had one brief known outage in 2 years, and I've never experienced a slowdown either. It just flies along, day and night, quite happily.

Work from home surge may work in Wi-Fi 6's favour, reckons analyst house


Re: Wired every time

I thought that, but using the new ASUS 802.11ax twin-pack mesh routers, it really is a massive performance leap. I've benchmarked the 'mesh' link (between Gigabit wired computers connected to each mesh node), and consistently recorded 940Mbps (using netperf3), so that's actually hitting the theoretical 'real world' maximum of GigE. If you use 'jumbo' frames you can get it a bit higher. So the claim of multi-gigabit 802.11ax mesh backhaul speeds might actually be true. Whatever it is, even with 'traditional' WiFi client devices, we're getting excellent coverage and performance all over the house and garden. I've been making some 12-way Jitsi Meet video calls without a hitch, from the other side of the house to the nearest mesh node. I mean, it's not Blenheim Palace, but still, the system really works dramatically better than our old single WiFi5 router.


Dunno - I have one of the new ASUS mesh WiFi products, with twin 802.11ax routers, and it works brilliantly. It genuinely has solved the coverage problems, and the whole house and garden now gets reliable coverage, without a hitch. I've measured the 'backhaul' mesh link at over 900Mbps, using netperf3, so the Gigabit Ethernet serving the wired devices actually becomes the limiting factor, which would have been improbably with any previous WiFi product.


Re: another Pink Elephant

BT Infinity supports full IPv6 out of the box, without a hitch. Mind you, they provide a dynamic /56 prefix, so you still don't get any advantages of static IP.


ASUS mesh WiFi = good

We already have partial WiFi6, via one of the higher-end ASUS mesh router products. It works very well, even though for now, the clients (i.e. phones, etc) are connected using traditional WiFi5/4, since none supports 802.11ax yet. But I've measured the WiFi6 mesh connection speed, between the twin boxes, and repeatedly recorded an impressive 940Mbps using netperf3 (with the boxes around 8m apart, in neighbouring rooms). This was between two hard-wired computers, one plugged into each node. This actually suggests that the GigE connections (which top out around that level, minus the overhead) are the limiting factor, and the mesh link really could be achieving gigabit-plus speeds (it claims up to 4.8Gbps on the box).


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