* Posts by David Wilkinson

233 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Sep 2007


Symantec, McAfee cough up $750,000 on auto-renewals

David Wilkinson

Good solution.

Anything that auto renews ... you should get a prior warning and the ability to cancel within 30 days of receiving your credit card statement.

Any company that won't agree to that is trying to exploit their customers. If the are selling a good product or service ... they don't need to trick their customers into paying for it.

I'd go so far as to say the same for month to month services when they increase the price. The customer should have 60 days to cancel service and get a refund for the price increase.

Actually I'd love it if it would be illegal to just recharge someone's credit card without their direct approval. If they wanted to get around that they'd have to have it processed as a special transaction type ... and your credit card statements would include lists of these recurring payments ... both the amount and the next time you will be billed.

You can contact the credit card company to cancel a deauthorize a recurring payment.

As an added bonus .. force companies to accept deauthorization as a valid method for ending an account. No more waiting on old to end a service!

Best Buy leaked memo spills Windows 7 upgrade details

David Wilkinson

I tried vista for a year.

It would have worked great if I had simple software needs and only needed the basic features of my drivers.

Instead I had 12 programs running in an XP virtual machine ... I'd have to restart my PC 50% of the time when I tried to switch from two desktop monitors to one monitor and a HDTV ... eSATA hotswapping would not work at all.

At the time I was doing a lot of computer repair. I'd say 33% of Vista owners has some issue that was best resolved by a reinstall of Windows XP.

Of those having a problem needing an OS reinstall ... 100% chose to downgrade to Windows XP when given a choice between that and Vista.

In fact I have no clue where my Vista Install Media went ... never had much call to use it.

When Vista works ... it works. If you have simple needs on new hardware it will meet those simple needs. Then again so would a Knoppix DVD.

Vista sucks plain and simple. Some people might not notice it sucks because they haven't run into issues themselves, but there are enough issues out there to make it a bad product.

If Vista didn't suck ... this would be Windows Vista SE ... instead its Windows 7.

Carnalpedia: PR possibly premature

David Wilkinson

Re A link too far?

Hmmm maybe the inability to find the one might be linked to the absence of the other?

Anyway its idiotic to hype new services, especially when they are going to take time before they grow into anything vaguely useful.

You see a bunch of stories ... check something out ... find it lacking ... never give it a second chance.

Instead they should cut the hype ... have a modest launch let it quietly grow into something useful then maybe hype its one year anniversary or something.

Note to employers: Better sex = happier workers

David Wilkinson

correlation or causality.

I have a lot of female friends who report dramatically decreased bedroom activity when their boyfriends/husbands are having a rough time a work.

It could also be that the same relationship skills to be productive at work, also carry over to your personal life.

Judge backs Halifax in Chip and PIN clone case

David Wilkinson

Given the cost of technology

How about a camera on the card reader that uploads a pic that is kept for 30 days.

I mean in the UK you are pretty much on video everywhere and don't seem to mind.

US Federal Trade Commission shuts down ISP

David Wilkinson

Good job for the FTC

I think this is within the FTC's mandate and they were acting appropriately.

I feel sorry for any innocent customers that got shut down, but that can happen for any number of reasons, technical incompetence, poor site security, fire, flood, bankruptcy, now you can add FTC violations to the list.

I maintain a couple unimportant websites and I still write shell scripts to dump the databases ... zip them up with all the files and FTP the archive to a 2nd hosting account.

You can get a cheap shared hosting account with FTP for $8/month. It took me a day to learn look up the mysql command line stuff and learn how to write a basic bash script.

Rule of thumb if its not in three places ... it doesn't exist!

Rumor mill coughs up $99 4GB iPhone

David Wilkinson

Actually apple got this one right.

I have no clue what the iphone is like, but I am still having a lot fun with my 1st gen 16 GB ipod touch.

I got 50-60 free games loaded on in 10 of which are actually worth purchasing. I can surf web pages, check my gmail accounts, use google maps, watch you tube, watch converted DVDs, and sometimes I use it to actually play music.

I lot of places have wi-fi now and carrying an ipod touch is less of a hassle than a netbook or a full laptop.

In many ways I'd compare it to the nintendo wii in that its not really impressive on paper, there are more powerful alternatives, but its really really fun to use.

$99 for an iphone wouldn't interest me. I'd be much more likely to switch to an iphone if they offered cheaper plans.

Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

David Wilkinson

Quality of PHP Code ...

I'd also like to point out that good developers often write very bad code.

There are a lot of programmers who know how to refactor messy code and properly comment, document and test everything ... but are not given the chance.

In the real world sometimes its better to have 6 projects completed in a fast and sloppy manner than 3 completed by the book.

Its all about balancing priorities and compromises.

David Wilkinson
Thumb Down

Feeding the Trolls at the Register

Lets make an analogy. Lets say a guy with little construction skills uses a hammer to build a crappy dog house.

He's happy, the dogs happy ... but you are skilled construction worker and you are upset that he didn't use a nail gun, didn't get building permits, didn't hire a carpenter and a structural engineer.

In fact all dog houses should have a cement foundation, steal beams, .... you know this because you build skyscrapers and you know what you are doing and no one else does.

Grow up.

Hack suspect challenges privacy of Palin emails

David Wilkinson

The stuipidity of the victim is no exscue for the crime.

Its sad really. This 20 year old though of this as more of a prank. Had he done this to anyone else ... it would have been treated as a prank. The fact that it was a very unsophisticated, casual attempt also gives the appearance of it being less serious. The victim also was being a complete idiot using yahoo for official business, employing a easily guessed password.

Unfortunately despite all that ... its still a crime. Hopefully he gets a light sentence.

This would have been a lot funnier had it been done by a 13 year old.

Google accused of selling free clicks

David Wilkinson

Google is getting too greedy.

Real world analogy. Lets say a restaurant decides wants someone to hand out fliers ... so they offer this guy $.10 a flier to print some and distribute them.

So the guy they hire just stands at the front door and hand the fliers to anyone already walking through the door.

Resturant pays lots of money and gains zero customers.

Guy handing out the fliers tells the owner how many fliers were printed and compares that to how many people bring the fliers into his resturant.

The owner thinks the fliers are very successful and now offers $.20 for each one.

Google: Let us keep search data or die

David Wilkinson
Thumb Down

you want access to old data ...

From a data mining perspective ... they are right. You need historical data for the current data to make sense and you need raw historical data because you will be constantly refining your algorithms.

However their claim that their search results give invaluable medical information is laughable.

The data they are mining is useless. You might as well count the number of times the word flu is mentioned in news stories. Its just a huge echo chamber.

They have a death grip on their customers private information because they think it can make them slightly more money than respecting people's basic rights.

The whole .. .wouldn't it be great if you let companies spy on you in every way possible so you can get better ads is wearing a little thin.

Western Digital debuts 2TB power sipping drive

David Wilkinson

Buy 2

All my important data used to be on mirrored hard drives. One died ... I replaced it ... no big deal.

Now I switched to syncing once every 24 hours with an external drive.

When I have to travel I take my laptop and external hard drive.

They say if your data isn't in three places its already gone. Maybe its time for me to invest in NAS?

Sims 3 leaked two weeks before release

David Wilkinson

people will still buy it ...

Most people can't follow the directions to install a pirated game.

Most people can't take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of virus infection.

A lot of the people who have the necessary skills, get paid enough that they would rather just go out and buy the game.

So basically you got a bunch of teenagers and college students with lots of time and no money pirating .... and guess what ... most of them can't afford to buy more than a couple games a year anyway.

Heavy DRM always gets hacked ... upsets paying customers.

Light DRM always gets hacked .. rewards paying customers.

Oh and I refused to watch my neighbors leaked copy of Wolverine because I want to see it in the theater. My neighbor liked it so much he want to see it a second time in the theater. He is a big X-Men fan .. he will probably want it on DVD. He also buys CDs regularly despite having lots of pirated music.

The Sky is not falling!

Six months on, Macs still plagued by critical Java vuln

David Wilkinson

No one cares?

Apparently the criminals don't care.

Their entire skill set is focused on infecting Windows and developing the skills necessary to target a new platform isn't too much effort for too little gain.

Apple doesn't care because no ever bothered attacking them. Yes someone put a Trojan into some pirated mac software, but the blame and the responsibility for that falls on the end user not Apple.

Mac User's don't care because they never had to worry about this sort of thing before and they are not going to start until something actually happens.

Chinese screw sex theme park

David Wilkinson

if you hate comercials

Do what I did 7 years ago and stop watching TV. Unplug the Cable.

You can still get decent TV series on DVD, you just have to watch them a year or two latter than everyone else.

Craigslist shutters 'erotic services' section

David Wilkinson
Thumb Down

waste of time

I have no interest in paying for sex, but I really don't care what other consenting adults chose to do in private.

Seriously ... of all the crime out there ... people having sex for money in private somewhere ... really doesn't rank high on the list.

Now instead of hooking up on the internet, it will be on some public street corner in someone's neighborhood. Our tax dollars at work!

This effort should have been put to use fighting more serious crime.

Koreans cook up glow-in-the-dark beagles

David Wilkinson

Or maybe its just a fluorescent flea dip?

I don't trust the South Koreans when it comes to the integrity of their scientific research, especially when anyone mentions the word clone.

Maybe the dogs were just soaked in a fluorescent dye. Maybe they just learned to use an exciting new Photoshop filter.

*yawn* wake me when they do something useful, peer reviewed AND with the results replicated by a respectable third party.

Adobe PSD pushes programmer too far

David Wilkinson

Very useful comments.

There is sometimes a period in which you are studying something and you truly can't tell whether you are just missing the big picture or if what you are working for is in fact a poorly designed, incomprehensible and incoherent mess.

Usually there is an ah-ha moment where you realize what the original designer was thinking, so you keep trying to wrap your brain around it, approaching it from different angles, all with the assumption that the designers choices were part of a rational, well though plan.

What would even be more helpful is if the creator(s) of the format would have dotted their code with comments such as

//This is an ugly hack, but I've been working 24 hours straight surviving on energy drinks

eBay scammer gets four years in slammer

David Wilkinson

Does ebay still get their cut?

If someone conducts a fraudulent transaction via ebay, does ebay return their profits?

Apple shareholders get 'say on pay'

David Wilkinson

What the really need is ....

The problem is that its really in a CEO's best interest to pursue short term profit even its its setting his company or the entire economy up for an eventual fall.

Maybe these guys with the $10 mil compensation packages should be given $500,000 a year plus 9 Mill in performance based bonuses held in escrow for 10 years.

Craigslist founder defends 'erotic' listings

David Wilkinson

Meeting via Internet is Safer than Real Life.

Some nut job meets someone via craigslist and commits a crime, they got an email address, the IP address he used to browse the site, the IP address he used to sign up for the email account, all the emails the victim received. Usually there is also an exchange of pictures and phone number prior to meeting.

On the other hand try tracking down a random stranger you meet at a bar.

What make these woman an easy mark was that their services were of questionable legality.

Sun says it's time for MySQL 5.4

David Wilkinson

re Jimbo

Lets say you build something with mySQL and suddenly its getting more traffic than can be handled by a single server. Clustering might be cheaper and quicker than switching to Oracle.

Maybe its supposed to be temporary, but then it gets the job done.

Pirate Bay judge and pro-copyright lobbyist accused of bias

David Wilkinson

RE AC and Neighborhood watch

The lobbyists are not trying to "fight crime". They are trying to change the law so that actions that they don't like turn into crimes. Its not law enforcement its politics.

This trial puts him in a position to interpret the existing law. There is obviously going to be a temptation to interpret in a way that's favorable to his political agenda.

Flying-rifle robocopter: Hovering sniper backup for US troops

David Wilkinson

Cheaper than a real soldier ...

Ignoring the value of human life (easy to do in warfare) .. a man on the ground is a huge investment in training, logistics, and potential medical care.

Anyway if you are sending in a bunch of men on the ground ... and you fly in a bunch of robot helicopter snipers ... its a good thing if the enemy is shooting at the robots instead of the guys in the ground. Both in human and in monetary terms.

Jobless Apple pumps profits 15 per cent

David Wilkinson

I hope apple does huge ipod touch

I am not sure if I could afford one, but I'd love it if apple's answer to the netbook is a giant ipod touch.

I sometimes use my ipod touch to surf the web, im, check mail, when I don't want to carry a laptop.

If it was larger, had usb and display port and ran a full version of OSX it would make a great mobile computer platform.

Judge sends Blockbuster to court over Facebook Beacon Borking

David Wilkinson
Thumb Down

Online contracts are a farse ...

It can't possibly be legal to say ... by doing business with use you have to agree to be bound by a contract that we get to change in any way we want as often as we want.

I once agreed to an AT&T long distance plan with no monthly fee, because they said it wouldn't cost me anything unless I used it, and I might need it in an emergency. Only they change the plan to add a monthly fee.

Oddly enough there was always a plan that was 100% identical to what I originally agreed with but with a different name.

I switched to that and they pulled the same crap with zero notice accept the bill. Yeah its only $5 but I still question its legality and read the various agreements.

Basically they could charge whatever they wanted, change their service to whatever they wanted, post it online somewhere and then only inform me when the bill was due.

Theoretically they could have made it $500/month and unless I sensed a disturbance in the force and looked for changes on their website ... well I'd have to pay it.

Verizon to prosecute anons for communications sabotage

David Wilkinson

I am surprised this doesn't happen more often.

I have really been expecting something like this to happen. It usually takes a lot of effort to get to at the lines, but there is also usually zero security.

Since no group has taken credit it was probably someone pulling a prank. A prank that affect 911 calls, medical/police/fire communications ..... can easily cost lives. Not to mention the actual losses both financial and personal caused by this.

Hopefully such sites are going to suddenly sprout motion detectors, infra red IP cameras .... then they just need a guy at a PC to get the alert, check the most recent footage and call the police. Maybe turn on some flood lights for a better picture, have a nice chat.

Researchers dissect world's first Mac botnet

David Wilkinson

Missing the point ...

The new here is that for the first time a criminals are actually actively targeted MACs in a real world attack.

There are vulnerabilities there to be found, there are people who can have found some in the past with little effort, but up until now one was actually targeted MACs.

This Trojan exploited a vulnerablity found between the keyboard and the chair ... MAC users have historically assumed that they need not worry even when downloading from the least reputable sources.

Now they have to worry.

Conspiracy theories aplenty as Amazon delists gay books

David Wilkinson

Its sex in general .....

I tried finding a few sexually themed books I have looked up before ... and the problem is definitely not specific to books with homosexual themes.

If this was intentional those responsible are not against sex in general rather than gays in particular.

I wonder if this is some sort of censorship/filtering gone wrong.

Google throws secret auto-updater to open sorcerers

David Wilkinson

unecessary ...

Firefox checks for updates when I start it, as do many other programs. Usually they ask before downloading and installing an update.

If you use a program a lot, you are certain to keep up to date. If you hardly ever use a program ... no resources are wasted.

This type of behavior is at best annoying.

Google should switch to each program managing its own updates. If they want to offer an uber updater ... fine, but make it optional and easy to turn off.

That said I love using google pack to install software. You select what you want and it downloads, installs and updates. I'd love to see it expanded to include hundreds of popular free/open source programs for Windows.

Last time I used it the updater program could be easily stopped from loading with Windows.

Also last time I checked instead of adding software, they removed Sun Office.

I think this only applies to Chrome users.

Arizona teen's mobile shops him to cops

David Wilkinson

this is great

Right up there with the guy who stole some unidentifiable electronic device only to discover it was some sort of monitoring equipment featuring GPS that gave a constant update on its precise location.

BT blocks up to 40,000 child porn pages per day

David Wilkinson

Why they probably just return 404...

There is a real problem about being considered guilty until ... well until forever once an accusation has been make about this sort of thing.

If they had a special page returned for blocked sites ... well then anyone who goes to a blocked site needs to be investigated by their school/work. Even if they are cleared its still on their record that they were investigated.

Wolverine leak claims first victim?

David Wilkinson

Free advertising.

I forgot that movie was coming out!

The probably should have leaked it themselves for the promotional value.

I can't imagine anyone who was going to see this in the theater not going because they can download it and watch it on their computer screen. Even if they have their PC's hooked up to some serious home theater equipment its not the same as going out to see a movie.

As for the reporter getting fired, I really have strong issues with our news being owed by big corporations. We need independent journalists not corporate lackeys.

Workplace dispute laws change today

David Wilkinson

I'm confused by the right to request flexible hours?

I am an American so the whole employees having rights beyond the freedom to find employment elsewhere is a bit foreign to me.

Surely you have the right to request anything you want? I am guessing there is also some corresponding obligation to satisfy the request for flexible hours?

iPhone VoIP tussle heats up

David Wilkinson

Proper labeling and advertising ...

AT&T needs to be forced to call their service "restricted access data plan". That would be fair. Then people signing up for a long contract will know that they will only have restricted access to the internet.

Some services need to be neutral, phone, electricity, gas.

If an electric company wanted to cut off services to a factory that provide parts for a competitor ... that would be wrong even though its their power lines and their services agreement ...

If your phone company decided to block call to and from their competitors that would be wrong even though its their equipment, and you agreed to their terms when you signed up for their service ....

I think that internet access should be treated like any other basic utility. It needs to be provided in a neutral fashion. When its not it needs to be labeled properly.

US judge bars teen 'sexting' charges

David Wilkinson

Common Sense

Common sense prevails.

Unfortunately the law doesn't officially allow for that.

The laws need to be changed so that if its legal to be naked with the person its legal to have a naked pic.

Tou need a new law that covers minors sending pics to adults ... as clearly the minor should be punished, but clearly it needs to be a lessor offense.

Plus the laws should be changed to explicitly redefine possession so that if you are accidentally exposed to something illegal you can either immediately delete it or immediately report it.

This is probably how it works out in the real world in 99.9% of the cases, but only because judges and prosecutors chose to exercise some common sense.

Or course any politician who tried to make this sort of thing legal or less legal would probably be thrown out of office.

After all anything less than a knee-jerk zero tolerance policies is actively condoning the activity.

Police union leader calls for 'killer games' sales ban

David Wilkinson

Even without guns ...

You don't need a gun, as proven in Rwanda in 1994 a well motivated person with a machete can get the job done.

Actually its probably good that killers are drawn to violence. More passive form of mass killing would probably yield higher body counts.

Aussie ISP pulls out of firewall trial

David Wilkinson

only a court should get to decide ...

Only a court of law should get to decide what is and isn't illegal.

I think freedom of expression is a basic human right.

There needs to be accountability.

How about $500/day per illegally blocked website? More if the owner can prove real financial harm.

So, what's the f**king difference between a Netbook and an ultrathin?

David Wilkinson

where the flow chart on why I don't have a date?

I want a 2nd flow chart to answer that question.

Phorm CEO clashes with Berners-Lee at Parliament

David Wilkinson
Thumb Down

Their verion of Opt Out is a joke.

Its like having the mail man open every letter and photocopy it. If you don't like that ... they will still open every letter and photocopy it ... but they promise not to look.

As far as it being anonymous ... just looking at the url's in my browser history you can figure out my myspace and facebook and my home address from maps.google.com.

And of course the government is ok with it, because once data about you is in a 3rd parties hands they can simply request it from them without involving you.

Giving up your privacy for a false sense of security is just wrong ... giving it up so ad brokers can charge 10% more for their ads is beyond ridiculous.

iPhone 3.0 gossip lassos MMS, tethering, cut-and-paste...

David Wilkinson
Jobs Horns

Apple has ego issues.

They can't admit to any mistake, oversight, imperfection. The more people complain about lack of feature "X" the more apple will come up with justifications on why "X" is a bad feature.

Its just part of the Mac culture.

Also you have to realize that apple is more about style than substance. They don't so much sell products as *end user experiences".

Grumble all you want the real truth is ... people really enjoy the iPhone. They take pleasure it its design and use. After playing with my friends iPhone, I went out and got an iPod Touch as my MP3 player. It may not be as "useful" as other devices in its price range, but its more fun.

Conspiracy theories fly around Norton forum 'Pifts' purge

David Wilkinson

Hidden Folder

From what I read the folder is simply hidden, not rook-kit type tricks. If you have explorer set to show hidden files and folders you can see it.

What I don't understand is why Norton is deleting all the forum posts. That's a guaranteed way to draw as much attention to the issue as possible.

I imagine people are also going to monitor changes in privacy statements and EULA's, so see what if anything they were doing that they don't want their customers to know about or discuss.

Fanboi co. punts half-price Mac mini memory

David Wilkinson

This is not common knowledge .

Anyone who builds their own systems, repairs systems or is in general a hardware geek is going to know that memory and hard drive upgrades are often grossly overpriced when buying a new system.

But there are really a large number of otherwise sophisticated computer users who of people have never priced memory online, and would have no clue to how to upgrade their hardware.

The plug for iFixIt is well deserved. Everytime I have to take apart a Mac I get instructions from that site.

When you have to remove 70-92 screws to get replace a hard drive its nice to have 17 pages of directions and a screw guide that where you can tape the various screws.

Conficker gets upgraded with defenses

David Wilkinson

Make it legal to fight infections with infections

Its 50,000 randomly generated domains per day not just 50,000. Its suddenly got a whole lot harder to check and see if anyone registered a domain and is hosting updates/instructions for the bot net.

What we need is a law passed so that the FBI or some other government agency can legally hijack bot nets to install code on infected machines which will then remove the infection.

Any of these researchers could do it, but hacking an infected computer to remove the infection is still illegal and if any damage was done they'd also be subject to lawsuits.

US cops called to McDonalds menu cock-up

David Wilkinson

People are idiots.

A large percentage of calls to 911 are not emergencies. A call like this really doesn't put much of a drain on police resources. In a situation like this they will show up no faster than if she called the non-emergency number.

The real issue is that she tied up an emergency dispatcher. They don't just answer phones, they also provide emergency first aid instructions. When someone has a child who stopped breathing the last thing you want if for them to be on hold because its a busy night and some idiot is unhappy with their fast food order.

Part of the problem is that there is no single nation wide non-emergency number. Most of the time people are not being stupid so much as too lazy to look up the proper number, or too cheap to pay for directory assistance.

Obama wants to wring fat dollar from mobile operators

David Wilkinson

We already spent the money ... this is just the bill.

The USA has been spending more than its taking in for a long long time. You can't keep spending more than you take in forever without consequences.

Everyone is going to have to pay more in taxes.

For years the amount of wealth produced my this country has grown and yet the average income was shrinking. Too much money accumulating at the top of the system. A healthy economy needs consumers who can afford to purchase the goods and services the companies they work for produce.

The distribution of wealth is largely controlled by the tax system. Working class people pay 33% tax on their income while the owners of the companies they work for pay less than 20%.

Pirate Bay prosecutors get jiggy with charge sheet - again

David Wilkinson

how much money do they think they would make?

Where is all this money they are supposed to be losing due to p2p?

Are people suddenly going to eat less, drive less move into cheap efficiency apartments, drop out of school so that they can afford to spend all that money on music that the industry think it is losing?

Seriously. There still seems to be an oversupply of people trying to be rock stars, and tons of money being dumped into big Hollywood movies. I don't see a huge problem here, certainly not one big enough to criminalize a large segment of our population.

Small ISPs reject call to filter out child abuse sites

David Wilkinson

Censorship is not a good idea ...

The cost in freedom far outweighs any societal benefits.

New in-the-wild attack targets fully-patched Adobe Reader

David Wilkinson

how about a warning?

Considering 99% of the pdf's out there shouldn't have any scripts running, how about having scripting off by default and a popup asking if you want to enable scripts for a particular document.

Or better yet keep pdf's passive documents and use a new extension for executable pdf's.