* Posts by aerogems

215 posts • joined 16 Feb 2021

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Burger King just sent spam receipts to customers

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: I'm surprised this hasn't happened more often

The problem with this is the way most receipts are printed these days. They will tend to fade after only a couple days and if you need to prove you bought something 6+ months later, good luck reading those receipts.

This is why I have multiple email accounts. One of them is my primary, another is specifically for places I figure will spam the crap out of me, but also will occasionally have something I want (like an emailed receipt).

Yeah, we'll just take that first network handshake. What could possibly go wrong?

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: The guiding principle

At a previous job I ended up having to deal with non-breaking spaces getting left at the end of text strings that I had to create a quick macro to get rid of them. Otherwise, the core SAP system would have no problems with it, but it would break BI reports. Apparently even at a company the size of SAP, specializing in making enterprise grade software, no one ever thought that maybe an HTML based reporting system would have trouble dealing with non-breaking spaces. Or they just didn't care.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: The guiding principle

This brings back memories of a COBOL class I had to take. Half the grade for any given assignment was whether or not the program compiled. So, once or twice I didn't have time to figure out why the program wasn't working properly, but it compiled. If you tried to execute it, however, it would immediately lock up the interpreter app (a 16-bit Windows app, and this was in the days of XP).

So, technically I met the first two conditions.

US-funded breakthrough battery tech just simply handed over to China

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FAIL

That sucks and all

But, big picture, as long as SOMEONE is making these new breakthrough batteries, we're all better off. Breakthroughs in battery tech, that are actually production ready, are pretty rare, so let's get cranking!

One way Bitcoin miners can make money: Selling electricity back to Texas

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Flame

Other ideas

These places should also offer to build heat pipes that pumps all the waste heat from the mining rigs to critical infrastructure. So the next time Ted Cruz feels like he needs to skip town because constituents are literally freezing to death, they can pump waste heat from these mining rigs to keep them good and thawed.

Post-quantum crypto cracked in an hour with one core of an ancient Xeon

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Joke

Easy solution

This is easy to solve, and the solution fits right in with our celebrated ignorance society of conspiracy theories and general bonkers nuttery so it should be easy to get political support behind it.

Solution: Ban math

It's both simple and elegant! If no one knows complex math, no one can crack the encryption, and everyone is safe! Problem solved and we can all rest easy at night knowing those terrorist mathematicians are in prison where they belong. Let's see how good differential equations are at preventing a shiv in the kidney, buddy!

Microsoft thinks there are people on 2G networks who want to use Outlook

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Release it everywhere

I don't really see what the problem would be in releasing this worldwide. So what if it's designed with specific markets in mind, if someone with a device sporting 12GB of RAM wants to use it, where's the harm?

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: "only 1GB RAM"

It's not what would be considered "full featured" by today's standards. Rightly or wrongly, people's expectations have increased and if you tried using an old version of Outlook Express or whatever preceded it, it wouldn't likely go well even if we don't consider the security issues that the software no doubt has. We were still barely into the Web 1.0 era at the time. A lot of emails probably rely on CSS and other HTML functions that simply didn't exist at the time.

Surprise! The metaverse is going to suck for privacy

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What's the surprise?

A company known for raping people's privacy to make a buck is going to continue raping people's privacy to make a buck. Where does the surprise part come in?

Psst … Want to buy a used IBM Selectric? No questions asked

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FAIL

At a previous job, I noticed that the company was using the free personal editions of AV software, which are explicitly not licensed only for home/personal use. What made it funny is that this company counted Symantec as a client. What made it doubly funny, is they weren't even using Symantec's AV software. For a whole bunch of other reasons, I didn't stay long at that company, and made a report to the BSA about unlicensed software after I was gone. At the time the BSA was offering rewards for ratting out companies, but aside from a couple of "gathering information" status messages, never heard from an actual person.

Windows Start Menu not starting? You're not alone

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Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

It is a Good Thing(tm) in the larger sense. Even with these occasional cockups, it's still better than the prospect of millions of machines being vulnerable to a remote access exploit that requires no user interaction and then that system becomes part of a DDoS botnet and/or spam relay.

Software development is HARD. Computers are COMPLETELY literal and do ONLY what you tell them, to the letter. You don't realize just how many little assumptions we all make in a day until you start trying to debug a logic error with a computer program.

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day

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Long, long ago, in what seems like another life, I was working part-time at a fast food place. They had just gotten these fancy new LCD touch-screen POS terminals that were all tied to a server running in the back drive through booth. Don't remember how anymore, but I figured out if you tapped the upper right corner three times it would bring up a dialog box to change the date and time.

Fast forward to a day when it was rather slow and I decided to pull up that dialog on an unused terminal to see how long before someone noticed. Unknown to me, that was stopping all orders from showing up in the kitchen. As traffic picked up in the drive through, the people handing out the orders kept asking why there was nothing coming from the kitchen. The kitchen kept saying nothing was showing up on the screen to make. Eventually someone found the date/time dialog, canceled out of it, and pretty much immediately the kitchen was flooded with orders.

For my part, I just did my best innocent whistling routine and never said a thing to anyone about it.

As a side note, the server in the back room had a sort of ad-hoc messaging system. It would run a screen that was intended more for log output, but people figured out you could type in it without disrupting the program.

Is Microsoft going back to the future on release cadences?

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Re: The backward compatibility issue

Starting with WindowsXP (technically all versions of NT before it too) the OS enforces a prohibition on direct access to the hardware from software. You MUST go through the OS provided API or your app will not work. I think the only exception are Ring 0 apps like AV software which have a legitimate need to access hardware directly, such as scanning for boot sector viruses.

If you remember back to the early XP days and people complaining about App X (often a game) not working on XP when it worked perfectly on 98/Me, was because it tried to directly access the hardware.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Stability is something that has been missing from the Windows world for some time.

I know it's still fashionable to hate on Microsoft and Windows, but the reality is, a few missteps aside, it's gotten progressively more stable over the years. Anyone who used Windows 3.11 (or earlier) probably remembers the GPF errors that would pop up randomly. You could just be sitting there, not doing anything, and BAM, GPF error. With the move to 32-bit in Win95, allowing the use of protected memory, the GPF slowly disappeared as 16-bit software was replaced with 32-bit counterparts. Now in the 64-bit world, where 16-bit support has been dropped completely, the GPF should be impossible to ever see.

Then those of us who are old enough to remember the early years of XP remember how literally, every week, there was at least one new critical remote exploit found, most of the time not even requiring any user action to trigger. Remember the Messenger service spam, or when some knucklehead figured out you could reboot 2000/XP systems over the Internet? Remember all those email worms?

People complain about how Windows 10/11 force them to reboot to install security updates, but we saw what the alternative was when people just never bothered to install updates. It's easy to forget now that most of these problems no longer exist thanks to Microsoft's engineers plugging away at them over the years.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Stability is something that has been missing from the Windows world for some time.

NT was a whole other lineage, born from their work on OS/2 for IBM, and existed in parallel with the DOS versions of Windows until XP, where the NT line staged a royal coup and put the world out of DOS' misery.

Apple to pay $50m settlement for rotten butterfly keyboards

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Re: Ive

I want to say that I remember seeing a quote from Jobs just ahead of his handing over the reigns to Cook, that he was making it so that Ive couldn't be fired. Fortunately for Cook, he decided to leave on his own to start his own company and then they could just not renew any contracts.

aerogems Bronze badge
Facepalm

I had one of the "afflicted" models at a previous job. When I was issued my initial laptop the spacebar was completely inoperative. The key was stuck and wouldn't move up or down. I remember describing the issue to the company IT tech and watching as mentally they just checked out and started reciting a speech about how all they could do is try to use compressed air to blow out anything under the keys. It wasn't until I explained this was a different issue that any sign of life returned to their face.

D'oh icon because it's pretty close to how the person looked when I said I had an issue with the keyboard

Twitter sues Musk: He can't just 'change his mind, trash the company, walk away'

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Re: I'm saving my popcorn for the third act...

The third act will likely be Musk suing the banks he was debt financing the deal with, trying to force them to honor agreements that have since lapsed by Musk's own antics, and losing just as badly as he will against Twitter. And I expect you're right. Musk will lose, appeal, lose again, and then the next court up will refuse to hear his next appeal.

The fourth act will be the SEC having a word with Musk about securities fraud. A lesson he apparently needs a refresher course on after his "funding secured" Tweet landed him in the SEC's crosshairs. Reading the complaint Twitter filed, there appears to be several additional instances of Musk saying or doing something that could be considered market manipulation. Given the SEC already warned him about this sort of thing and let him off with a pretty light warning by making him step down as chair of the Tesla board and have a minder for his tweets, they likely will go for the maximum penalty under the law the next time.

If you read the actual complaint Twitter filed, Musk is one hell of a bad negotiator and wouldn't accept "yes" for an answer. He started off with terms very favorable to Twitter and then kept getting talked into even better terms for Twitter, all so he could have his shiny new toy Right Now(tm). Then it dawned on him what he had agreed to, in writing, and started trying desperately to get out of the deal. I wouldn't be surprised if Twitter wins on summary judgement.

Choosing a non-Windows OS on Lenovo Secured-core PCs is trickier than it should be

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Re: Yeah "Recommendation"

I strongly suggest you seek help from a qualified professional in your area for your issues with paranoia and delusional thinking.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Nice Strawman

Speaking of strawmen, any time someone brings up the VARES database you know they're completely full of shit and talking out of an orifice commonly associated with shit. That's a database that just collects every report someone files. It's not verified information. You stub your toe 3 weeks after getting vaccinated, and file a report in VARES, it stays in there despite being nonsense. You have no clue what you're looking at, let alone how to interpret it, but bravely carry on as if your couple months (charitably) of time with Dr. Google (the biggest quack on the planet) makes you more of an expert than people who have literally devoted their entire professional lives to studying these things.

And as if that weren't enough, you follow it up by a simple name swap of an old Soros trope which is rooted in antisemitism. Soros is Jewish, he invests in media outlets, the Jews allegedly control the media, so obviously Soros is an evil Jewish media master. All you've done is replace Soros with Gates.

Since in the space of two posts you've gone from just spreading dangerous misinformation to peddling in antisemitic tropes, I will end my involvement here and hope that El Reg does a little house cleaning. At the very least removing your posts, but if they want to also nuke your account, I'd support that too. Clearly you'd be happier on some Internet Nazi Bar site like The Daily Stormer, Truth Social, Gab, or Parler.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Here Is The Fix

Wow... where to even begin with this level of stupid.

For one, Bill Gates hasn't been at Microsoft for quite a few years now. Not even as Chairman of the Board. Second, Gates had nothing to do with covid vaccine development, so no clue where this nonsense about him wanting to inject people with tracking chips came from. You think a grain of rice doesn't seem very big, but think about the bore size of the needle that would be needed to inject it. You'd notice that. Then, assuming they did inject you with this thing the size of a grain of rice, how would they power it? If it's just some kind of passive NFC type thing, you're going to be limited to a very short distance for detection, making it kind of pointless. Making it even more pointless is that everyone already carries a far more potent tracking device with them all day long, and they PAY people for the privilege. It's called a cell phone. You get far more info from those than you ever could a tracking chip embedded into your arm.

Gates, like Soros, is just a target of these right-wing conspiracy nutters because he doesn't act like the typical rich person. He's not out bemoaning tax rates, he's not trying to hoard his wealth like some miserly old coot, he's slowly donating most of it to charity and setting up foundations that try to do social good. That makes right-wingers suspicious of him, so they target him with all kinds of nonsense conspiracy theories.

aerogems Bronze badge

Little Column A, Little Column B

It has long been the practice of OEM support reps to blame Microsoft/Windows for just about anything, and then for Microsoft support reps to pretty much do the same. Everyone points the finger at everyone else because SLAs are based on getting people off the phone within a certain amount of time, not about taking the time to actually solve the problem... you know, provide support.

So, my personal guess is that Microsoft is simply recommending a particular setting, but Lenovo is then misrepresenting it as a hard requirement. Probably not even the fault of whatever poor sod told this researcher that it was something Microsoft was insisting on. Likely that came from several rounds of the workplace version of the telephone kids game where someone asked someone who asked someone else and so by the time the question got to someone who knew the answer it likely didn't bear any resemblance to the original, just like the response that came back.

Or, it could be a case of the OEM screwing up either intentionally or not. I remember back when XP SP3 came out, HP systems with AMD CPUs were having issues. Everyone was quick to blame Microsoft for somehow targeting AMD CPUs, but turns out it was HP who got lazy and was using the same OS image for Intel and AMD CPUs, which worked fine until it didn't.

Leaked Uber docs reveal frequent use of 'kill switch' to deactivate tech, thwart investigators

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Facepalm

That doesn't scream "criminal conspiracy" or anything

I mean... unless you KNOW you're doing something illegal, why would you even need a policy like this?

This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

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Some years ago I was on a job where the training consisted largely of trying to figure out which, of multiple revisions of documentation, having been squirreled away if different locations, was the correct one. As a result, I was traversing the filesystem when I stumbled across someone's SNES emulator and a number of ROMs stored on the company server. I strongly suspect the IT admin was either the one who was responsible, or at least already knew about it, because when I mentioned it to them they seemed surprisingly uninterested in someone storing pirated software on the company systems.

At a different job, where I was repairing customer computers for a retail chain, it never ceased to amaze me what people would leave in plain view. I could understand it if maybe the computer wouldn't boot and they weren't able to clean things up a little, but most times the computer would boot just fine and they would have obvious pirated software and/or movies just sitting on the desktop. Fortunately for them, I was told only to report it if it was kiddie porn. Fortunately for me, one time I had an excuse to watch a movie I wanted to see, which a customer helpfully downloaded, so I could "test" for a display issue they reported.

Elon Musk had secret twins in 2021 with Neuralink exec

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FAIL

Anyone else would have been fired

You can bet that if this had been any other two employees with the same kind of power dynamic, it would have resulted in one, or both, of them getting fired. For all Musk's claims of leading by example, he does a really shite job of it.

Tech world may face huge fines if it doesn't scrub CSAM from encrypted chats

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FAIL

I appreciate the sentiment

I think the vast majority of people would agree that child sex abuse is a Bad Thing(tm) and should be stamped out with extreme prejudice.... but this is not the way to do it.

Gtk 5 might drop X11 support, says GNOME dev

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Gnome devs who drank the Wayland coolaid...

By exaggeration you mean how under the mark you were, right?

FedEx signals 'zero mainframe, zero datacenter' operations by 2024

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Re: "where it hopes to save an estimated $400 million annually"

I'm sure the C-Suite will be getting nice fat bonuses deposited into their accounts, and probably the CIO was wined and dined quite extensively. And what do they care? In 2-3 years, tops, C-Suite executives will play musical chairs again and they'll be off at some other company when shit hits the fan at FedEx... probably dealing with the fallout of someone else's short-term decision from 2-3 years ago.

aerogems Bronze badge

Call me old fashioned, but

I always cringe at the idea of giving up control of your servers like that. If there's some kind of service outage, you're at the whims of someone else's employees to fix it, you're trusting that they won't exfiltrate sensitive data, and that they aren't just outsourcing the job to some poor sap from India who's effectively held hostage by a visa and likely is thrown into the deep end with training that amounts to being told "don't drown."

Sure, some of those are risks even with your own employees, but you generally have more legal options open to you if you're the employer vs someone else. Plus, if you are hosting things yourself, presumably you have a few admins keeping an eye on the underlings. Even if the contracting company has a few admins supposedly watching the grunts, they're having to keep track of probably hundreds of different clients and it'd be pretty easy for something to slip through the cracks.

Rufus and ExplorerPatcher: Tools to remove Windows 11 TPM pain and more

aerogems Bronze badge

And so it begins... again. There's a very predictable cycle with every Windows release.

Stage 1: Everyone hates it.

You see comments from people about how it's slow, or doesn't do Random Task X as well as the old version, or it doesn't offer any compelling new functionality, or Random Ghost Shift No-Name Cheap Chinese Hardware doesn't work, or Obscure Program Y doesn't work.

Stage 2: Acceptance

After a year or two of being out, and more people having either upgraded their computers and/or software/hardware makers having had time to update their products, and/or people having found various workarounds to issues, the complaints start to die down.

Stage 3: Love

This happens as soon as the new version is announced. Suddenly the previous, now current, version is the greatest release ever and people channel their inner Charlton Heston claiming Microsoft will have to pry it from their cold dead fingers. All previous transgressions are forgiven (or more likely forgotten) and the longer the previous version was around the more passionate the claims from people that they will never give it up as long as their current computer continues to function. A lot of times this is also accompanied by promises to switch to Linux as soon as their current computer finally bites it and they need to replace it. Spoiler alert: They never make good on those promises/threats.

This is more of a periodic case study in the psychology of change than anything else. People demand change, but then when they get exactly what they asked for, they waste untold amounts of time and energy complaining about how things aren't exactly the same, but better somehow, instead of spending all that time and energy on learning the new system.

aerogems Bronze badge

You don't HAVE to be on Win11, but you'd probably take a performance hit by going back to 10 on a 12th gen Core chip, and you'd lose the best feature of the 12th gen chips.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: After 12 Years....

There's a lot of things you can do when you are a vertical supplier who controls both the hardware and the software compared to just supplying software to a dozen or so different companies who may use one of a dozen different uEFI implementations, each with their own set of keyboard shortcuts for doing various things, and may allow the user to turn off networking functions at the firmware level for security reasons.

But you can do a network install of Windows. I just did one on a laptop I was repurposing to Plex server duty after buying a replacement. It's a little more involved compared to Apple's setup, but you can do it.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Interesting Tool

I did state it's not perfect, just better. There's still plenty of room for improvement, like being able to search for substrings of an app name, but even with the current system I can offload a lot of mental load to the computer which is far better at scanning through a bunch of similarly named items.

If/When the start menu is completely replaced with a search system and some of these issues haven't been addressed you're free to complain as much and loudly as you want.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: What about Windows Updates?

You can still create local accounts. It's a few extra steps, but it can be done. Then you just use the Microsoft account linked one as the emergency admin account or just abandon it entirely.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/how-to-create-a-local-account-in-windows-11/24c2e160-ac65-4748-a733-529e6507dfdf

I haven't personally verified, but I've been told by people who run some of the Insider builds that this should still be possible with the next update. If/When Microsoft eliminates local accounts entirely I will entertain people's complaints about it, but not before. Apple and Google already require accounts to make use of the majority of features on an iDevice or Android device, and plenty of people, even among those who complain, use their Apple/Google/Facebook account as a single sign on token. So, it's not like it's some kind of principled argument with these people. If they were even half as principled as they try to make themselves out to be, they would have switched to Linux years ago.

aerogems Bronze badge

Interesting Tool

Other people use their systems in different ways, I get that, but I'm telling you, after I trained myself to start using the search function for apps (and even settings) my world has been much better. It's not perfect, but as long as I can remember at least a few letters of whatever app I'm looking for, odds are I can find it, and I can go directly to some settings that are maybe 2-3 layers deep. No more having to spend time trying to come up with an organizational system and maintain it, no having to scroll through long lists. It's a pain to unlearn those years of muscle memory and develop new habits, but once you come out on the other side, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

And I would expect TPM to become a hard requirement in the not too distant future. Microsoft has hinted that they want to encrypt the contents of RAM, which is good, it improves system security. Without AES-NI instructions on the CPU, this would likely be a pretty decent sized performance hit, however, which could well explain the seemingly odd list of supported CPUs. The TPM enclave then makes for the most logical place to store the private key to decrypt the RAM contents when needed.

The thing I still wish Microsoft would do, and I've been wanting this for years now... Is to lock the UI developers in a room and not let them out until they've ripped out every last legacy dialog box and whatever else, some of which have seemingly been lingering since the NT 3.1-3.51 days, and replace them all with new WinUI 3 replacements. Once they have the entire UI running on the new API, they could add some kind of theme system like GTK+ so that people like me can ride out Microsoft's latest flat and monochrome phase with some theme that isn't so fugly.

W3C overrules objections by Google, Mozilla to decentralized identifier spec

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Re: Since google pretty much control the browser market

Was just about to post something similar. What happens if Firefox and Chrome, which make up like 95%+ of the browser market -- including Chromium based browsers -- just refuse to support it? And if Apple decides not to add it to Safari in iOS/iPadOS, that probably brings the total up to around 99% of all browser users. It may technically be part of the spec, but no one can do anything with it unless they go out of their way to use a browser that supports it, and everyone else visiting that specific site also goes out of their way to find a supporting browser.

Then either the W3C goes back and addresses the concerns of the browser makers or just accepts that their pet project is stillborn.

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe

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Reminds me of an old job

Ober the course of my career I seem to have developed a reputation for being someone who actually bothers to think through designing a form that someone just slapped together as something of an afterthought.

Case in point, worked for a now defunct retailer doing PC repairs. Someone had created some real basic form for documenting repairs for the internal billing and everyone filled them out by hand. Trying to find something to write with was a challenge in this particular location, with people frequently stealing everyone else's pens, and it being next to impossible to order office supplies despite the retailer actually selling pens. Even better is that everyone just had a copy of a copy of a copy and so on for several generations. Every time someone ran out of forms they'd just get one from someone else, run off a bunch of copies, and then rinse and repeat the next time someone ran out.

So, I spent a slow afternoon one day redesigning a form I could fill out on the computer and then print off as-needed since they'd never let the printer run out of toner or paper. As an added bonus it could do things like autosums for me and I could hard code my employee ID and other info that never changed. I was also able to arrange the fields so that they would mimic the system I had to enter them into, meaning I could just move my eyes to the next field to the right instead of hunting all over the page for the info I needed. I was also able to use this to create forms for machines that had liquid damage or something and needed a repair estimate. Multiple people responsible for approving/rejecting the estimates commented on how my forms made things so much easier for them. They just had to look at the total, check either the repair or "crush" box, and sign it.

At another job I found myself using a form that hadn't been updated for about 2 major ERP updates, and amounted to someone just going through each section of a particular SAP t-code and writing down every field they saw. To make things even more fun it involved a lot of merged cells in Excel making it next to impossible to update and it was using some custom page size that couldn't be printed. I took control of it, ripped out all the fields no one actually used, color coded everything based on who was expected to fill out what bits of data, arranged fields based on how they appeared in SAP, used conditional formatting rules to draw out required fields, made liberal use of combo boxes to keep people from entering in invalid values, and made it so it could be printed since it was technically a document that could be relevant to audits.

Thunderbird 102 gets a major facelift, Matrix chat support

aerogems Bronze badge

Yes. Like 91.x before it, it's not being immediately distributed via the in-app update system.

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I just installed it and actually like the new look. Instead of just shamelessly copying Chrome, this time it seems they took a page from Vivaldi and have a sidebar with links to things like mail, address book, calendar, etc. It's more of a refinement of the 91.x UI than some massive overhaul.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

If it messes with my smoke signals Mozilla will be getting a strongly worded... oh wait.

IBM settles age discrimination case that sought top execs' emails

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If, in the US, corporations like IBM are considered people then they should be held to the same standard for criminal liability as we meat bags. Obviously you can't put a fictional entity in jail, but we could say that the corporation is banned from conducting business for however long a meat bag person would be put in jail. Or the entire C-Suite is offered up as collateral and will serve the prison sentence on behalf of the company.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: The direction the US is going, they'll sign up the zygote and fire her when she's born.

Maybe not in the fantasy world you live in, but here in the real world it did.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: The direction the US is going, they'll sign up the zygote and fire her when she's born.

The Warhammer 40K universe was meant to be this dark deeply dystopian place where life is cheap, usually short, and brutal. They do things like sacrifice 1,000 people every day to keep their god from dying completely, and people are literally chained to work areas in giant factories and then if they have kids they are immediately chained in their parent's place when they die as their inheritance. These were meant to be shocking in their brutality, but lately we've actually managed to surpass a lot of them. During the height of the covid pandemic, anti-vaxxers were dying at rates well over 1,000/day and they cheered, and now this makes it seem like we're not 38K years (give or take) away from people being literally chained to a desk and their kids are put to work basically from birth. All so a few elites can live in opulent luxury.

Windows 11 22H2 is almost here. Is it ready for the enterprise?

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Re: MS dropping peripherals support - AGAIN

Which set of users? People who think exactly like you? People who think like random bloke on the street? Enterprise users? And what happens if the only way you can make something more secure is by breaking compatibility?

Think of it like the evolution of restrictions on software. First there was the DOS days where every app had full and complete access to the entire system and could directly access the hardware. This is good for game developers, since the closer to the "bare metal" they can get, the faster they can make the game run. However, this also made it really easy for malware authors of the era to practice their craft. So along comes Win95 (we'll ignore the NT line for now) and Microsoft starts strongly encouraging developers to use this shiny new driver model instead of directly accessing the hardware. They can't actually enforce that rule, because the DOS underpinnings of the OS won't allow it. So, a lot of developers just sort of ignore it and keep on doing what they've been doing, and malware is still able to spread pretty easily. Then comes XP, where Microsoft finally took the DOS line of Windows out behind the shed and put it out of its misery. XP is based on the NT lineage which was intended more for the enterprise and enforces the "thou shalt not access hardware directly" commandment with an iron fist. Now all of a sudden all the apps that would bypass Windows and access hardware directly won't run. Microsoft has been telling them for the last 3 or so Windows releases to expect this change, but they chose to ignore it, but of course all the end user sees is that they upgraded their OS and now all of a sudden Favorite App X doesn't work, so they mistakenly blame Microsoft when they did everything they could (within reason) to keep app devs from doing that sort of thing. Along the way since then, Microsoft has made further refinements, which sometimes means breaking things. You can't replace the insulation in your house without ripping out the walls first.

Also, it's good to remember how things have progressed. In the DOS days, device support was generally built into the app. So you might get a new printer and then find that WordPerfect doesn't know how to communicate with it and you're stuck either going back to the old printer or shelling out for an updated version of WordPerfect (assuming there was one). Then comes WindowsNT and 95 and the whole effort to get people away from directly accessing the hardware resulted in the driver model as we think of it today. Now even older apps could potentially use newer hardware, but it also kind of shifted the burden of driver development from app makers to hardware makers. As ne'er do-wells are prone to do, they've found ways to exploit this privileged access over the years and Microsoft has spent a lot of effort plugging those holes, but sometimes you have to just rip everything out and start from scratch, which is largely what they did with Vista and part of why everyone hated it so much. All that cheap ghost shift hardware from China suddenly didn't work. It's sort of like having your wisdom teeth pulled. It's a painful and deeply unpleasant experience, but one that is ultimately necessary.

And as for your suggestion about letting people toggle some kind of switch. That would just end up being exploited by ne'er do wells. You might use it responsibly, but what happens when driver makers just get lazy and decide to tell everyone to enable this option to make their hardware work? Driver development is usually outsourced to the lowest bidder of an outsourcing firm anyway, which is why they usually look like the sort of thing you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And unless you could somehow sandbox the entire process, which would probably break functionality, it'd have to be an all or nothing sort of proposition. If even one device needed that enabled, it would have to be enabled for all of them. Which makes your system open season for ne'er do wells. So, again, you may use it on some air gapped computer in a back room somewhere, but can you say for absolute certain that every other computer user would do the same?

I understand your position, no one likes having to toss out perfectly functional hardware that they had to mortgage their first born to buy, but Microsoft has to take a much more expansive view than just your particular use case and try to find a balance between a large number of competing desires and requirements.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: MS dropping peripherals support - AGAIN

Counterpoint: Microsoft needs to be able to make changes to the driver model to address concerns such as security or increased functionality. USB didn't even exist until around the Windows95/98 transition period, AGP SATA didn't come along until after that, PCIe after that... It's Microsoft's job to publish the necessary information people need to write/update drivers to the new API, which they have done. It's then the device makers who need to take that info and make sure they have working drivers.

However, since drivers tend to be something of a black hole for device makers, who make money off selling hardware, not writing software, it frequently happens that the company doesn't want to sink money into updating the drivers after they stop selling that particular bit of hardware.

However again, if Microsoft never updated their driver model to address new types of hardware that didn't exist previously or security concerns, people would complain about that. If malware authors could exploit security flaws in the driver model to get ring 0 access to the system, people would rightfully be upset about that. So, which set of competing concerns should take priority? What is the proper balance to strike between all of these interests?

aerogems Bronze badge

I'm committed either way

I just got a shiny new 12th Gen i7 system, so I'm committed to the Win11 ecosystem like it or not. I'd probably see a pretty significant performance decrease and lose access to the primary selling point of the 12th gen Core chips. Guess it's a good thing I really don't mind most of the changes to Win11. I actually like some of the file manager changes, like putting cut/copy/paste/delete functions as easier to access buttons at the top of the right-click menu. I wish they'd add the functionality for it to remember which virtual desktop it was on when being restored, but I only tend to reboot to install updates, so minor annoyance. The rest doesn't really bother me. I was using the Ctrl-Shift-Esc keyboard shortcut to get the task manager for so long I never even noticed the option in the taskbar until seeing El Reg mention it. I almost never use the start menu, having trained myself to use the search function which has come a long ways since Win8. A lot of people might be happier pinning Windows Tools to their start menu.

What I want to see more of, however, is Microsoft ripping out elements that have been around since the NT 3.1 days and put in native WinUI 3 replacements. I'm not a fan of the current visual style, but once you have everything running on the same graphics API you could add in functionality akin to GTK+ themes to change the visual appearance without messing with underlying functionality.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: MS dropping peripherals support - AGAIN

Kinda sounds like the device maker stopped updating their drivers for Windows. For you the end result is the same, but it's not really something Microsoft has control over. You can yell and scream at Microsoft all day, but it's kind of like yelling at a goldfish for losing a foot race.

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Local account

Can't say for sure if this will go away in the update, but at least on the current Win11, you can create a local user once you've installed and then just ignore the other account, or use it as the backup admin account. It's an extra couple of steps, but if you're already ripping out the ethernet cable, you're clearly motivated enough to do this.

Bipolar transistors made from organic materials for the first time

aerogems Bronze badge

Re: Transistor disorder?

As groanworthy as that comment was, it was also pretty clever, and accurate to boot, so a begrudging thumbs up for you my friend.

aerogems Bronze badge

Wake me when it's at mass production

First off... awesome story image. Serious kudos to the person who found that image.

That said, history is littered with cool things someone managed to do in a lab but then couldn't be scaled to industrial capacity, so until this is out of a lab and being integrated into some actual tech, it's just a cool research project for some German researchers.

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