nav search
Data Centre Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes

* Posts by Chris C

671 posts • joined 6 Oct 2007


Malvertisers slapped by Microsoft lawsuits

Chris C

So remove the code

"Microsoft doesn't know the names of the specific individuals involved, by filing the civil suits in a US court it hoped to uncover the individuals responsible and prevent them from continuing to deploy malvertising."

Lawsuits will do literally nothing to stop this, just as they've done nothing to stop spam. As the publisher of these ads, Microsoft, and Microsoft alone, has the power to eliminate or massively reduce this threat (yes, I'm ignoring end-user methods such as NoScript because few "mainstream" users will use such methods).

1. Make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the banner is an ADVERTISEMENT.

2. Remove all executable code from the ad (Javascript, Flash, etc).

3. Remove all HTML elements (links, images, etc) which point to (or use as their source) executable content (.js, .exe, etc).

Those three steps would go a long way toward getting rid of "malvertisements". Unfortunately, it's extremely unlikely that an ad platform (MSN, Google, etc) would implement these measures because the ad revenue far outweighs the risk to the end user (and virtually no risk to the ad platform).

DARPA seeks orbital wheely-bin plan

Chris C

The best defense...

We've all heard the saying that the best defense is a good offense, and that's certainly true in this case. The best method for eliminate orbital debris is to not create it in the first place. In other words, pick up after yourselves. Don't toss the fridge out the nearest airlock.

@Mike Richards

"5km of Vapona fly paper in low orbit... Simple - that'll be $1 billion please."

If only that would work... You know they'll spend more than $1 billion simply discussing possibilities and giving pork to the aerospace industry. Then they'll spend $100 billion on a trial run before giving up and admitting that it's a hopeless cause. Then they'll continue to eject junk into space, generating more orbital debris.

Google Maps glitch tags shops with rival phone numbers

Chris C

But it's NOT optional

One of my clients runs a school fundraiser, and they have a website set up in the fundraiser's name. When you search for the name, Google will return the correct URL, but will show a map and phone number for a competitor (whose four-word name includes my client's one-word name) located in a different state. What is (to me) important to note is that my client has NOT set up a Google business listing.


"Google provides their mapping service for free and it's totally optional for anyone who wants to use it. Yet the businesses listed on it act like they are entitled to the traffic generated by Google and their various methods of searching."

Actually, as my client's case illustrates, it is NOT optional. My client does not "act like they are entitled to the traffic generated by Google". They simply want Google to stop advertising a competitor's address and phone number as the contact info for my client. They want THEIR address and phone number to appear, OR NONE AT ALL. And considering the fact that they never signed up for a Google business listing, there should be no map data associated with their URL.

A proper analogy would be calling your phone company's directory services listing because you want the phone number of Johnny's Pizza down the road. You tell the operator the restaurant's name, and they (intentionally) give you the address and phone number for John's Super Seafood three towns away. Are you saying that Johnny's Pizza has no right to be upset?

US gov opens Cloud shop to combat runaway IT costs

Chris C

Michael Moore

OK, I may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that Michael Moore was only joking when he recommended that we outsource the US government in his book "Downsize This!". Then again, George Orwell thought he was writing fiction when he wrote "1984". I shudder to think of the security implications of this (and similar) decisions.

Microsoft purges AutoRun from older Windows

Chris C

@tuna 1

After reading Olli Mannisto's post, I realize I may have mis-spoke. It was a while ago, so I don't really remember, but I do vaguely recall thanks to Olli's post. I think my issue was not really an issue, but more of an incredible annoyance. I think it was that disabling the shell hardware detection service prevented Windows from automatically executing autorun.inf upon insertion, but Windows still executed it when I double-clicked the drive in My Computer, Explorer, etc (whereas the NoDriveType and HonorAutorunSetting registry entries in KB967715 stopped execution in both instances). I'm nearly positive that's what my issue was. Sorry for the confusion.

Chris C


"'CDs and DVDs' - that's what a CD/DVD Player connecteds to your TV is for."

You don't "rip" your CDs onto your computer? Well, most of us do. I have well over 1000 CDs. I like having them all encoded on my computer so that I don't have to continuously pop one disc out and another disc in. Not only is it much more convenient, but it also massively reduces the damage done to the discs. I also like being able to listen to my music in my office without having to purchase an additional stereo and sound system. That doesn't even get into the issue of data CDs, multimedia/"enhanced" CDs, etc.

"'...pre-infested from the factory' - if that's the case, the installer or application itself may have a trojan, so installing it whether it autoplay's-or-not is irrelevant, you're infected anyway."

I believe what the original poster was referring to was the multitude of instances in which USB storage devices and media players had been infected at the factory (in other words, devices which should not contain executable content in the first place).

"Haphazardly plugging anything into your PC is no different than haphazardly surfing any web site. People are learning [usually the hard way] to take precautions when surfing. The same should be done with any other 'new' content regardless of where it comes from or how you get it onto your PC."

Actually, most of us browse previously-"unknown" websites literally every day. On top of that, every single visit is a gamble. The fact that a site or page did not contain malicious code during your last visit says literally nothing about your next visit, especially with the prevalence of third-party, dynamically-generated content such as banners and ads.

As for "haphazardly plugging anything into your PC", you're telling me that I should not plug a USB flash drive into my system unless I know what's on it. Fair enough. So how do I determine what's on it without plugging it in?


@fastoy re: AutoPlay

"AutoPlay only introduces a RISK if a user clicks on an icon that they don't understand. Period... Taking this away from those of us who think isn't right."

Most of us find AutoPlay to be one of the most annoying things Microsoft could have done, and we're happy about having the option to disable it. If you want to keep AutoPlay enabled, there's a simple solution for you -- don't install the update. See how easy that was?

Chris C

Autorun or AutoPlay?

"On Friday, Microsoft announced the availability of updates to the XP, Server 2003, Vista and Server 2008 versions of Windows that removes the AutoRun popup window when some types of removable media is connected. The change doesn't affect optical media such as CDs and DVDs, a shortcoming we'll get to in a moment."

What are we talking about -- Autorun or AutoPlay? People use the two terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. Autorun, as the name implies, instructs Windows to execute (run) a certain application. Said instruction is stored in the autorun.inf file. AutoPlay is the mechanism which detects the type of media and its content, and displays a list of potential applications for viewing such content. The above quote sounds like it's really talking about AutoPlay rather than Autorun. Autorun does not display a popup window, it just runs whatever the autorun.inf file tells it to.

@tuna 1

"Don't be fooled by the service's name, all removable media is still detected upon insertion, it just doesn't Auto-Run or open a pop-up annoyance window . Works on XP, Vista SP 1,2 & 7 with no adverse effects... unless opening My Computer to access the media is adverse?"

I wouldn't be so quick to make that statement. I had disabled that service a while back for this very reason, but I had to re-enable it because something wasn't working properly. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the issue was, but I do remember that it did have adverse effects, leading me to re-enable the service and use the registry modifications instead.

IEEE finally approves 802.11n

Chris C

Slow is not necessarily bad

I've heard a lot of people give IEEE a lot of bad-mouthing because they took so long to certify the 802.11n draft into a standard, but why? If you're looking for someone to blame, blame the vendors involved. THEY are the ones who all have different ideas and likely don't want to agree or compromise. Also, when we're talking about a multi-billion-dollar industry, it's a good idea to take your time and make sure that the standard is properly laid out. Would you really want a rushed (and probably poorly-thought-out) standard simply because vendors didn't want to wait to release their products? Would you prefer that all specifications take the Microsoft OOXML "certification" route?

"This compatibility is achieved thanks to the last details of the specification all being options in the draft, so draft devices should connect seamless with their properly-compliant siblings."

Let me rephrase that for you:

'IEEE and the vendors involved were forced to make the last details of the specifications optional in order to maintain compatibility with pre-standard kit made by jackass vendors who felt they were too important and too greedy to wait for the standard to be certified.'

If you base your product on a draft specification, not a certified standard, you have no right to expect it to inter-operate with a standard-compliant product. If you bought your kit knowing it was based on a draft, pre-standard version of a specification, then you have no right to complain if it doesn't work with standard-compliant kit. There's a reason it's called a draft.

What your database needs is a good thermometer

Chris C


"Slow hard disks (5K rpm) 6 – 8 watts High Slow Cheap

Fast hard disks (15K rpm) 16 watts Medium Fast Expensive

SSD (Solid State Disks) 150mW Low Blistering Painfully expensive"

Sorry, but I lost interest and stopped reading at the inaccurate table of drives. When the details of a three-product table aren't accurate, I have no faith that the rest of the article will be, either.

"5K rpm" hard disks? Where? When was the last time anyone bought a 5K rpm hard disk? Searching my distributors, I could only find a few models still available in 5400 (5900 for a few Seagates) rpm. 7200 rpm has been the standard for a long time.

And what's the deal with the SSD info? 150mW? Where? Which models? The Intel X-25E uses 2.4W (typical) for the 32GB model and 2.6W (typical) for the 64GB model. The OCZ Vertex EX (60GB) uses 2W active and 500mW idle. Then there's the issue of "blistering" speed. Yes, read speed is good, but write speed is horrible, especially for random writes. The Imation S-Class 27519, for example, has 19,000 random read IOPS but only 130 random write IOPS. The Intel X-25E has 35,000 random read IOPS but only 3,300 random write IOPS. Many benchmarks have shown SSDs to be horribly slow at small (4K) writes as well. So, if you're going to call an SSD "blistering", you better qualify it by saying that it's only "blistering" for reads, as write speed will likely be far less than even a 5400-rpm hard drive on a write-heavy basis.

Todger-chop woman's sentence depends on hard evidence

Chris C

Yes, she IS guilty of a crime

@nickrw re: Understated Ouch

"I'd say she was having a good go at ensuring it couldn't be [reattached] by throwing it on the neighbour's roof, no?"

Probably, but not necessarily. In regards to John Wayne Bobbitt, back in 1994, Andrew "Dice" Clay said "He's lucky, he's lucky, I'm telling you. I mean, she could have threw it in the trash compactor, she could have flushed it down the toilet, she was nice about it. She hid it like an Easter egg."


@The Vociferous Time Waster re: "forced her into prostitution and beat her"

"yet she's the criminal?"

Uh, yeah. It's pretty bloody obvious (no pun intended) that yes, she IS a criminal. Instead of walking away from him, she decided, with forethought and malice, to cut off his penis. How can you NOT consider that a crime? I'm not defending him because IF what she said is true (yes, I still believe in innocent unless* proven guilty), he deserves to be in jail (or dead), but that does not nullify the criminality of what she did.

* Yes, "innocent UNLESS proven guilty", not "until". "Innocent until proven guilty" means you ARE guilty, and the prosecutor simply has not yet shown proof of guilt.


@AC re: "So, what about him being charged?"

"If what she says is true, why is she being charged with anything? Wouldn't that be a case of self-defense?"

Umm, no? How on earth do you equate cutting off a man's penis with "self-defense"? Was his penis attacking her and she couldn't get away from it? If he was attempting to rape her at the time, then I could understand possibly thinking of it as self-defense, but not in any other case. Even if it could be viewed as self-defense, she would still need to be charged until an investigation (if not a full trial) showed proof that it was self-defense.

Church altar smites devout Catholic

Chris C

People are funny

I will never understand why people who claim to be religious still insist on visiting a specific building in order to "talk to God". If your god is all-seeing and all-powerful like you claim, surely he will hear you wherever you are.

Keeping in line with the humorous nature of this, I do hope his life insurance policy did not exclude Acts of God.

Seriously, though, you do have to feel bad for those (if any) this guy left behind. Hopefully there was no one left behind, or if there was, those left behind are just as religious as he was (and thus will use their religion as a crutch to overcome this).

Philips waves farewell to point-and-press remote controls

Chris C

Egads, Brain!

"Navin Natoewal, General Manager for uWand at Philips, said: 'The traditional remote control, with its 50 or more buttons, simply isn’t keeping pace with modern interactive television.'"

Oh, sure, help those people who have to deal with a fifty-button remote control. What about me? When will you help me? I'm being forced to use a keyboard that has ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR buttons to type this message! That's too complicated!!

On a more serious note, Philips obviously overlooked the basics. Specifically, people throwing in a porn DVD and masturbating (will the volume keep going up and down?). Also at issue will be sports fans. You know the type -- people who look normal most of the time, but when they're watching their favorite team, they're on the edge of their seat, jumping up and down, clapping, screaming, high-fiving everyone around them -- basically looking like someone who needs to be committed (I'll leave that judgment to the professionals).

I'd love to know what the thought process was behind this thing. Channels and volume both go up and down, so how will those "gestures" differ? Will there be a microphone built into the device, and you have to shout to get louder volume and whisper for quieter volume? Back in 1994, a comedienne made note of how people were too stupid to program their VCR, so VCR+ was created and you just typed in the code for the program, but people were still too stupid to figure that out. And now Philips thinks people are smart enough to remember 50+ "gestures" instead of using clearly-labeled and easy-to-find-and-use buttons? I can imagine one or two gestures people might use (specifically, the single/double-finger salute), but that's about it.

This thing has "failure" written all over it. It really makes you wonder how Philips and Sony managed to create the Compact Disc.

Ageing Google supersizes its search box

Chris C

Get better coders

I don't use Google's home page, so I had no idea. To be honest, I haven't used their home page is a long time, so I don't notice a difference. However, Google really does need to get better coders. I would suggest someone who can actually finish a job without losing interest or falling asleep, and someone who actually knows HTML. I say this because Google's home page is not valid HTML. It ends with a closing script tag. There is no closing body or closing html tag. At first, I thought it may have had something to do with my FF extensions, so I used wget. Sure enough, the page ends with "</script>". It's good to see a web company that can't even put together a simple web page.

Google invites Amazon to resell its digital books

Chris C

But why?

"Although Google is a commercial entity, acting for a primary purpose of commercial gain, the settlement absolves Google of the need to search for the rights holders or obtain their prior consent and provides a complete release from liability."

I have no doubt that this is what will happen, but the logical question is: why? This is a civil lawsuit between two groups and Google. This civil lawsuit does not have the power to change copyright law. The outcome of this lawsuit should have literally no bearing on how copyright law is enforced. The ONLY effects of this should be felt by Google and the two groups. Any person or entity who is not a party to the lawsuit should not be affected. In other words, an author, as the rights-holder for copyrighted material, should not have their rights under copyright law reduced or eliminated because a publisher decided to get into bed with Google. As the Right Guard commercials used to say, "anything less would be uncivilized".

US gov sites embrace GooHoo instant logins

Chris C

Talk about transparency

So now, whenever there is a security lapse at the Center for Information Technology (CIT), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and related agencies, or at Yahoo!, PayPal, Google, AOL, and VeriSign, or at any other OpenID- or InfoCard-based site, my highly-sensitive government-hosted information will be at risk? Woohoo! I think they may be taking "transparency" a bit too far.

No, I want my authentication to a government site to be used ONLY for that ONE site, not other government sites, and no non-government sites. And I want that site to accept NO OTHER authentication. Actually, that's how I want authentication to ANY site. It may be more inconvenient, but it's certainly more secure.

Fuck, why not just go all out and use our Social Security Number as username and birth date as password? Logins are used to SECURE the service. When you allow authentication credentials shared with other systems, you've just eliminated the security.

Tesco gets Flash of Silverlight in 'virtual DVD' deal

Chris C

re: And so...

"How long before the details of the deal emerge, 'Sorry, you need to use Internet Explorer to use Tesco Direct'..."

Not necessarily. It could use the .NET Framework plugin for Firefox that Microsoft installs without your consent or notification.

On another note, I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- if I want to watch a movie, I'll do so on my big-screen TV and surround sound system, not my small-by-comparison monitor and computer speakers.

German Pirate Party MP charged in child porn case

Chris C

Who's allowed to access it?

Something doesn't seem right (perhaps it's just me). This politician claimed that he was justified in accessing child porn because he was a law MAKER? I don't know how it is in Germany, but logic tells me that that should not be a valid defense. If he had been a law ENFORCER, or working WITH law enforcement, then that would be different. I won't judge him since I don't know the facts of the case, but being a law maker should not be a valid defense for committing a crime. Lawmakers make the laws. Law enforcement investigates and enforces the laws.

Adaptec bolts SSDs onto lightning RAIDs

Chris C

Accurate stats?

"The company's MaxIQ product uses an Intel X25-E single level cell flash module which, Adaptec says, offers 1.2GB/sec throughout and 20,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) with a 3Gbit/s SAS interface and a PCIe 1.1 connection... MaxIQ does a seemingly paltry 20,000 IOPS but costs $0.31/GB and $0.14 per I/O... The flash modules... will cost around $1295.00."

Something doesn't seem right. First, those advertised specs for the X25-E are far higher than anything I've seen. Intel says the X25-E has sequential read bandwidth of 250MB/sec; that's a far cry from 1.2GB/sec.

Then there's the price. Adaptec says the MaxIQ offers a cost/GB of $0.31. If that was accurate, then either the MaxIQ's true price is $9.92 (not $1295.00) or it has a capacity of 4,177GB (not 32GB). Considering the selling price of an X25-E SSD ranges from $400 to $900, I'll go out on a limb and say the advertised cost/GB is nowhere close to accurate.

iPhones get sun, leg power

Chris C


"Try to keep up - iPhone batteries haven't exploded. "Exploding" iPhones have all been dropped by their clumsy, undoubtedly-Windows-using owners. ... If you want to puke up more anti-Apple vitriol, at least try to make it accurate."

Oh dear, it seems I've disturbed a tried-and-true Apple fanboi. Imagine that.

Perhaps it wasn't evident to you, but when I said "or do I have to wait until more batteries explode", I was not referring specifically to Apple; I was referring to batteries in general, specifically when left in direct sunlight. Perhaps you would have understood that if you had actually read the rest of my comment instead of perceiving "anti-Apple vitriol" in everything you read.

@Allan Rutland -- You're not the only one; I had the same thought. Unfortunately, such logic is rarely experienced by designers and Apple fans.

Chris C

Can I laugh now...

... or do I have to wait until more batteries explode? A solar-charger case for your Apple-branded tat is a bold move considering that the manual for virtually every piece of electronic kit explicit states "Keep out of direct sunlight". And we all know how much lithium-ion batteries love high and low temperatures; that's when they're at their best, of course.

Database billionaire trampled by elephant

Chris C

No reason?

"Siebel told the paper the two men were watching the animals from a distance of 200 yards: 'There was no apparent reason, nothing that should have made it feel threatened,' Siebel said. 'It was quiet, and then the quiet stopped...'"

I do so love how, on one hand, humans say that animals are dumb and don't think like us and that's why we can kill them, and then on the other hand (like here), imply that animals do think like humans.

Newsflash -- just because YOU didn't see a reason to feel threatened doesn't mean the elephant (or anything/anyone else, for that matter) won't feel threatened. It may have been the presence of people (since the animals likely equate all people with poachers -- you know, like how most "Western" people equate virtually all people of Middle Eastern descent with terrorists), it may have been the weapon the guide was carrying, it may have been a sound, a smell, or anything else. The article didn't mention, but maybe there was a baby/young elephant in the group, and the charging elephant was being (over-)protective.

To put it into perspective -- how many people have killed animals (bears, mountain lions, alligators, snakes, etc) because those animals got "too close", even without the animal showing any interest in the person. And, of course, "too close" is relative to each person based on their fears, experiences, and tales from other people.

Apple Store pillaged in 31 seconds

Chris C

Second time?

So this individual store was broken into recently using the same method -- breaking the glass with a heavy object? I wonder if they're going to replace the glass with the same stuff again and wait for another break-in. After the first time, you'd think they would have been smart enough to use safety glass or bullet-resistant glass to ensure it didn't happen again.

EMC co-founder kills himself

Chris C

Most disturbing

What's most disturbing is that he had to shoot himself in order to reduce his pain. A country cannot call itself "civilized" when it forces the terminally ill to endure constant pain merely to protect the Christians' precious "sanctity of life", particularly so when the person suffering is not a Christian. Something is terribly wrong with your religion when suicide is considered a non-forgivable sin but murder, rape, and torture are forgivable.

If someone has a terminal illness, let them decide to die peacefully. Don't encourage it, but allow them to make that informed decision. Personally, I think this should be an option for non-terminally-ill people as well. I know that many in the medical and mental health professions disagree with me, but the decision to end your life is NOT a sign that someone is no longer of sound mind, especially when they are terminally ill. It simply means that they wish to end their pain.

On another note, fuck Storagezilla and everyone else using the "blah-blah American" moniker. There is no such thing as an Irish American, African American, or Asian American any more than there's an American Irish, American African, or American Asian. He was an American (or, more precisely, a USian), period. And yes, I do get even more upset when people describe a brown-skinned person as "African American" when there isn't even the slightest hint that the person is from any African nation. Some of my ancestors came from Canada, but I don't call myself "Canadian American". I'm an American. No, I'm not proud of that fact (just as you Brits should not be proud of being British, given that both of our governments are pathetic, Big Brother fascists), but that's the way it is. The desire to be "politically correct" has caused much inaccuracy and stupidity.

Internet Archive stares down Google book mine

Chris C

re: Then sue Google

"Violating copyright for commercial purposes is a crime in this country. I'm rather surprised it isn't in America."

It is. Unfortunately, as I often find myself reminding people, a law means nothing if law enforcement (read: District Attorneys) choose to do nothing about it.

NASA suffers rocket fail 20 seconds from firing

Chris C


"Jesus christ all, get off the spelling high horse. Im not going to waste my fucking time to make these little snippets perfect in spelling."

And you want the US to produce better scientists? I hate to be the one to tell you this, but scientists care about such pesky things as accuracy. I can just picture it now: "Uh, boss, I think I made a boo-boo. I told the beancounters to buy 500 gallons of liquid HG instead of HE. My bad."

More on-the-point, I do agree with you regarding education in this country. I too am deeply disappointed with the current situation. However, NASA is not the way to go. You want to increase people's interest in science? Great. But let's do it with science that may actually help us instead of wasting countless billions on worthless space exploration. Newsflash: going to the moon and/or Mars gives us literally zero benefits (aside from the economic benefits of employing people and buying materials).

Also, if you ask me, it's too late to do anything about it. We don't have a problem with "the kids" being stupid and/or not being interested in science. We have a problem with virtually everybody, all ages, being stupid. People who were once intelligent have become dribbling idiots unable to think for themselves. It seems to me that this started at about the time "reality TV" (Fear Factor, Survivor, etc) became popular (and, now that I think about it, right around "9/11"). Yes, a lot of people were stupid before that, but that's when I noticed it becoming a growing epidemic.

The biggest problem you see in the US, and the reason why we will likely never regain our status as a real superpower, is greed. Rich people (CEOs especially, but also entertainers such as athletes, actors, and musicians) feel this need to horde as much money as they can, far more than they could ever hope to spend in ten lifetimes. They will do literally anything to make more money. A CEO is applauded for saving the company money, with no regard or sympathy for the (tens of) thousands of people he fired to gain those savings. Banks and mortgage companies give mortgages to people they know cannot afford them, and when the people are unable to pay after their variable APR goes up, the banks act surprised and beg the government for handouts because, like individuals, they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

But going back to the moon is going to change all that. Right. We'll show the world! We'll prove how good we are, and get people interested in science, by repeating what we did (with a lot less effort and expense) forty years ago.

Doctor investigated for posting inkblots to Wikipedia

Chris C

Egads, Brain!

Egads, Brain, this means head shrinkers will have to TALK to their patients to gain insight into their minds. Oh, the horror!

Seriiously, these "professionals" are just upset because people might actually realize that you DON'T need to pay a psychologist or psychiatrist (tens of) thousands of dollars to help you solve your problems or deal with things. You just need someone willing to listen and help when they can. Back in my day, we referred to them as "friends", but that word doesn't carry much weight nowadays, especially since the arrival of MySpace and FaceBook.

Psychiatrists and psychologists think (and want you to think) that they're the only ones who can help people mentally just because they've paid fees for education and licenses. They're as protective of that illusion as the Church is of the illusion that you need to go to church in order to be a good Christian (if God is always listening, and always watching, then why do you need to visit a specific building at a specific time?).

4chan pwns Christians on Facebook

Chris C


It never ceases to amaze me how juvenile and immature people can be. Am I really that different? Even in my teenage years, I didn't badmouth or degrade people, I didn't spread rumors, and I didn't disseminate false information. I never thought it was "cool" or impressive to smoke, drink, or assault people physically or verbally. I DID play Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, and pretty much all the other FPS games at the time. And yes, I even watched the Faces of Death tapes (though I'm pretty sure they would turn my stomach today), though I never assaulted any person or animal (just the occasional wall).

What is it that people get out of this? What's so amusing about lying about people or harassing them? Why do other people think it's amusing (or even acceptable)? What ever happened to "live and let live"? It seems to have gone the way of "agree to disagree", "the golden rule", and "personal responsibility". There's far too much animosity and hatred in this world, especially for no reason.

Google annexes Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Chris C

Why not?

"'If Google can enable us to go faster and farther, then why not?' he reportedly said."

Why not? Maybe because of something called copyright. YOU, the librarian, do not get the right to say what can and cannot be done with the AUTHORs' works. And yet, that is exactly what is happening. Google is copying books in their entirety without the authors' permission. How is that NOT copyright infringement? For those claiming "but they won't show the whole book, and they're doing this to get people to buy the book!", ask yourself why Google is doing this. There is only one answer -- money. It's a safe bet that they'll get a commission on any book sold, thus financially profiting from their copyright infringement. But hey, it's Google, so it must be okay.

As an individual, I am not allowed to walk into the library and make a photocopy of an entire book. So why is acceptable for Google to do so?

I have no problem with Google scanning books for which the copyright holders have given them permission to do so. I do, however, have a problem with Google copyright someone else's work without permission. Sadly, it appears I'm one of the dwindling few who actually believe in copyright anymore*.

* For those freetards of you, you ARE aware that copyright is the only thing protecting your precious Linux kernel (and other GPL-ed projects), right? Without copyright, any company could use any GPL-ed work without sharing it (or even acknowledging it).

Health emails from US voters overload fed website

Chris C

@AC 6:29

"In an emergency room: if the headache was accompanied by something like having recently passed out, he would have had an mri before leaving the hospital. What you wrote about, sounded like a visit to a family physician. If that Dr had thought it was an emergency, he would have sent your friend to the hospital in an ambulance."

Don't be so sure. Here in Western Mass, my sister had sharp abdominal pains one night, too severe to wait until morning to go to her primary care physician, so she went to the emergency room. The doctor told her that he thought she had appendicitis. He then sent her home, without any follow-up, prescription, or antibiotics, telling her to call (phone) the next day if the pain got worse. That was after waiting 3.5 hours in the emergency room waiting room (in which there was only one other person).

Also, for those saying that your doctor determines what test you should have, that is not necessarily true, either. Many insurance companies now require you to get THEIR approval for any tests or referrals, and, of course, THEIR doctor's opinion overrides YOUR doctor's opinion. When there is a difference of opinion, you are not given approval because their doctor (who is hired explicitly to deny claims in an effort to reduce the companies' payouts) said you don't need that test or referral.

Another big problem we have in the States is that doctors, hospitals, and various other health care workers can charge whatever they want to whomever they want. They charge a different rate depending on who pays them -- each insurance company is charged a different price for the same exact test, and an uninsured person is charged the most. Yes, you read that correctly. An UNinsured person, paying out-of-pocket, is charged far more for a test or a visit then an insurance company is charged for that same test or visit.

As for the claim that a hospital cannot turn anyone away, that is legally true. However, it only matters if law enforcement enforce it, which they do not. People ARE turned away from hospitals and emergency rooms. At least one of the news shows (Nightline, 60 Minutes, etc) actually did a story showing how one hospital was sending people away in a taxi, to be dropped off on the street several blocks away. So no, you don't get to hide behind the "they can't turn people away" line. Using that logic, we wouldn't have any murders since murder is illegal.

The biggest problem we have is that nobody wants to deal with the real issues. By and large, the Republicans are against any reform because they don't want to pay for the low-income people, and the Democrats are against any system which reduces benefits for low-income people or requires them to pay anything, and neither side is willing to compromise or even enter a rational debate.

Chris C

@AC 22:05

"So you see the problem with the US, you have piss poor healthcare and nobody can afford it. It benefits the health lobby, and they want to keep their prices 5x the rest of the worlds, even if it means disrupting meetings and straw men arguments (like the one you raised)."

Would you please kindly inform we what "straw man argument" you think I raised? I know the US health care system is piss poor and that few people can truly afford it. I know it has a lot of problems caused by over-inflated doctor fees, hospital fees, pharmaceutical fees, etc. I know that some of those fees are because of this country's insane payouts in malpractice cases, making mandatory malpractice insurance for doctors and hospitals outrageously-priced. I know that the current health care system only benefits the doctors, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Personally, I find it ridiculous that an insurance company may cover a hospital but not all doctors located within, or that it may cover a doctor but not the hospital they work in. I find it ridiculous that when you go to the hospital, you get a bill from the hospital, from the doctor, and from the lab which did your blood work. I find it ridiculous that I pay $252 per month for insurance when my plan has a $2000 deductible, meaning insurance will only cover things AFTER I have paid $2000 out-of-pocket (in addition to the $252 monthly premium). I find it ridiculous that the insurance companies are allowed to raise their rates by any amount they want. Lastly, I find it ridiculous that an insurance company can refuse to cover treatment for a specific illness (such as cancer or HIV), claiming it's a "pre-existing condition".

In case you misinterpreted my point, I'm not against health care reform . Trust me, I'm FOR health care reform. My point was that the system this national plan is based on has nothing to do with reform, and everything to do with artificially propping up the insurance companies' finances by keeping the existing system, but forcing everybody onto it. My point was that any mandated health care system should not be run by private, for-profit insurance companies who only care about maximizing their profits.

Chris C

Why don't they want national health care?

For those people (especially the Brits) wondering why those silly Americans don't want a national health care systems, I can only speak for myself, but here's my take. I live in Massachusetts, the only state (that I'm aware of) which has mandated that all state residents must purchase health insurance if it's "affordable". They do not define "affordable". Instead, they ask you questions and then tell you if you can "afford" health insurance. If they feel you can afford it, you are forced to pay whatever the insurance company wants to charge you (the rates are not regulated). The last time I checked, the State determined that anybody earning $32,000 per year (about $16/hr) could "afford" health insurance.

Now, let's discuss finances. At $32000 per year, you'll pay approximately $8000 in taxes, leaving about $24000 for expenses. Rent will cost between $8400 and $18000 depending on where you live, leaving you with $6000 to $15600 for heat, electric, car payment, car insurance, car maintenance and gas/petrol, rental insurance, food, phone, cable, and Internet access. That, of course, assumes no entertainment and no savings. As a single person living on my own ($1000 rent, no car payment, and no cable), my expenses are about $24180 per year ($2015 per month) -- again, with no entertainment and no savings. The end result is that I have literally no money available for anything, but the State says I can "afford" health insurance, so I now have to pay a private insurance company $3024 per year ($252 per month). To add insult to injury, the insurance companies are constantly decreasing the prescriptions they cover (they won't cover a prescription if a similar product is available over-the-counter, even if the active ingredients and/or dosages are different). Let me take this time to point out that it's a federal crime to use medications in ways other than the directions state. So in order to get your prescription strength from an over-the-counter medication, you need to take twice the recommended dosage (or more), which is a federal crime.

One of the reasons I'm so against this is because the Massachusetts lawmakers forced this through by saying it would get more people off of MassHealth (the State-funded insurance for low-income people) while the actual text of the law explicitly states that MORE people will be on MassHealth (thus draining the State funds even quicker).

Another reason I'm against it is that people on the State-funded insurance get BETTER coverage than I get. Their co-payments are less, their cost for prescriptions is far less ($3 for a brand-name prescription, whereas I would be charged $50), and more services are offered on their health plan. So why am I paying $252 per month to get FEWER benefits than someone paying ZERO?

But the primary reason I'm against this is that I don't go to the doctor. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the doctor in the past 20 years. And yet, because the State wants to give the private insurance companies more money, I'm forced to pay them for receiving literally nothing. And yes, the law explicitly states that the purpose is to force people who would not normally buy insurance to contribute to the risk pool, thus easing the burden on the PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANIES' finances.

Actually, that last part is what bothers me the most. The State is using a State law to force me to give my hard-earned money to a private, for-profit insurance company. If this was a State-run or even State-regulated program, it might be different, but it's not. The State merely tells me that I have to give my money to the insurance company, and the insurance company is allowed to do whatever the hell it wants, and to cover (and not cover) whatever the hell it wants.

And THIS is the program that Obama wants to structure a national health care system after. I'm not opposed to a system such as that of Canada or the UK. What I AM against is the government forcing me to give my money to a private, for-profit company without sufficient reason. Some people may compare it to auto insurance, but it's not the same. If I fail to purchase auto insurance and I hit someone, then I have injured them financially. If I fail to purchase health insurance and I get sick, then *I* am the only one injured. If we have a national health care system, it should be run or regulated by the government instead of by private, for-profit insurance companies who can (and do) constantly raise their rates without justification (a 20% year-on-year rate increase is not uncommon).

Morrissey tells netdepressives to boycott his re-releases

Chris C

Yeah, sure, it's about the music

Well, here we have at least one artist explicitly telling us it's NOT about the music. Clearly, he does NOT want his music to be heard. All he cares about is the almighty dollar/pound. In that case, maybe he should not have sold his rights to the labels. He, like every other artist, voluntarily signed a contract (multiple contracts in his case). And now, twenty or thirty years later, he doesn't like the terms of those contracts. Of course, if it weren't for those contracts, nobody would know who he is and he never would have made any money from his music. Like so many people with so many things, he was happy when it benefited him, but now that it no longer benefits him, he's complaining. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

As for kaiserb_uk's brilliant comment above, you're absolutely right. Here we have an example of one single artist who does not get royalties from 20- to 30-year-old material. So surely that means that piracy doesn't hurt any artists. On a related note, I have never been physically assaulted, so clearly nobody else has either. By any chance, are you a statistician? As for your "when does he get [royalties from the Majors]?" question, it's a pretty safe bet that he got royalties when he said he did -- until 1992 from EMI, and until 1999 from Warner, as stipulated in the contracts he signed with them.

Go ahead and vilify the RIAA and the labels. They certainly have a lot to be ashamed of, including unethical contracts and illegal price-fixing. But the artists voluntarily signed the contracts, so they have no one but themselves to blame. As for the price-fixing, people still voluntarily purchased the product, so people obviously still felt it was worth it. Let's not forget that if it wasn't for those "evil" labels, most of us never would have heard any of the music we have in our collections. The Internet is giving artists an outlet to self-promote and self-publish now, but that wasn't an option in decades past. So while we may hate the labels, let's not forget what they're brought to us for the past 70+ years.

Crystal ball torches woman's flat

Chris C


I don't know how it is in the UK, or even all of the US, but I can speak about my own renter's insurance policy. I'm paying a couple hundred dollars per year, and if I need to file a claim, it will almost surely be denied. The reason? According to the fine print, you must have a receipt for everything you claim. My greatest (and most expensive) loss would be my collection of CDs and DVDs, many of which are priceless to me since they're long out-of-print, but I'd get nothing for them since I don't have receipts for them. This does, of course, raise the issue of whether or not the insurance company will cover items received as a gift, since you obviously won't have a receipt for a gift.

Adobe tries to rub out LibDem airbrush claims

Chris C

I hate people

Am I the only one here who thinks this is a complete non-problem? If "children" have such a problem with self-esteem and these "airbrushed models" really are convincing them to look a certain way, then maybe education would be a better idea. I'm not "perfect" and I never will be, but I've never been traumatized or even disappointed in myself because of an advertisement or because of the image of another person (in reality or a picture).

Here's just a short list of non-natural things people do or wear, thereby covering their "natural beauty": hair bands/clips/barrettes/pins, any hairdo other than straight (or curly if your hair is naturally curly), wigs for people who lose their hair, cosmetics, jewelry (including wedding rings), braces (to "correct" your teeth), dental work (fillings, caps, crowns, implants, etc), eye surgery (muscle surgery or LASIK), shaving (any part of the body, including men's faces), and visiting tanning salons (or using a "spray-on tan"). And those are only some of the non-controversial things. Then we can get into things such as tattoos, piercings, breast enlargement or reduction, botox, face lifts, etc. Oh, and let's not forget clothing. People aren't born wearing clothes, so clothing is not natural. And for a perfect example of accepted non-natural clothing, look at all the shoes in a woman's closet. Look at all those high heels which change a woman's height and the shape of her legs. Completely non-natural, but we accept that. Hell, women love it! And don't get me started on brassieres and how they artificially lift a woman's breasts, thus creating a fake image which is impossible to attain naturally (especially push-up bras).

Has anybody thought that maybe, just maybe, the entertainment industry doesn't airbrush its models in order to influence society, but rather they airbrush the models because that's what sells more? Now, try to keep an open mind, and ask yourself "why does it sell more?" The answer: because that's what people want to see. The industry isn't telling us we need to look this way; we are telling the industry that this is what we want to see (probably because we can see realistic images anywhere, so we want to see something "better").

Look, I know we have our problems. And I know that young women do attempt to emulate models they see in entertainment. But that's not a problem with entertainment, that's a psychological problem that needs to be addressed through education (and, in some cases, therapy). Also, note how it's mostly women affected. Most men are overweight and/or not in shape, despite the fact that all male models you see are quick fit and trim.

I'm so sick of this anti-everything society we live in. Live your own damn life, and have a strong enough backbone to be secure and comfortable in who you are.

Fraud groups ding Bing for illicit pharmacy promos

Chris C

Counterfeit in what way?

"The researchers tested a sample of a drug that one of the online pharmacies claimed was Cialis and found it was counterfeit."

Can someone please clarify what is meant by "counterfeit"? i would never encourage anyone to buy drugs online, quite the opposite, but this is an important question. Is it counterfeit in the sense that it is a generic version of the drug being sold under the brand name, or is it counterfeit in that it is something completely different? The former is definitely an issue to take seriously, but the latter is a major health problem which is much more serious.

Seagate closing Singapore plant

Chris C


So, in the midst of, of shortly after, a reportedly massive failure rate of Seagate's hard drives (specifically, drives made in China, not drives made in Singapore), Seagate decides to close down their Singapore plant, the plant which they claim makes all of their "mission-critical" drives. Maybe I'm just a naive ignoramus, but if I was running a company, I would want to keep open the plant which makes the best drives, and does so with a low failure rate, and close the plant(s) with high failure rates. But then, I'm just a lowly tech with no company to call my own.

Fake ATM scam rumbled by Defcon hackers

Chris C

Idiots and more idiots

First off, there seem to be a number of idiots commenting on this, smugly pointing out that an ATM technically is a PC. Well, duh. The point is that the location where the camera should be was empty. In other words, there was no camera. Tell me -- of the ATMs you use, how many of them are missing the camera and have the PC visible?

Second, the people who put the ATM at a DefCon conference are idiots.

Third, the people who used an ATM at a DefCon conference are idiots. What's next, using an ATM at Black Hat? I have no doubt that both of these conferences attract their share of white, grey, and black hats, so trust nothing (and no one). Why ask for trouble?

Fourth, the hotel/casino staff (especially security) who failed to notice the ATM are idiots.

Fifth, the hotel/casino owners and management are idiots for not placing (and pointing) cameras at the hotel security entrance. In a hotel/casino, every entrance and exit should have full video coverage (with audio, if possible), and every entrance and exit to/from the security room(s) should have full coverage.

@zerofool2005 -- "But a bodged up ATM wouldnt be able to debit banks accounts. I think this was just a broken real ATM." -- If it was an ATM without a camera, then no, it's not legitimate. Not to mention the fact that if it was legitimate, the casino management would know it. Your statement only makes sense if you mean "broken" in the sense of "stolen, modified by scammers, and installed at a different location". As for debiting people's bank accounts, most ATM cards are now MC or VISA debit cards. Use the ATM to capture the card data, retrieve that data (either physically or via wireless), and use a separate system to issue capture transactions against the cards.

Taiwan hits Dell with $30k fine in pricing saga

Chris C

Payment? What payment?

"Customers had paid for the goods and, they said, it was a contract and Dell had a duty to deliver the bought goods at the price displayed and paid."

Is there any proof that the customers actually PAID for the items? Or, put into the language of Mike 61's comment above, is there any proof that "[Dell] accepted payment for it at the price advertised"? No article I have read on this issue has claimed that Dell actually charged anybody's credit card. Being given a credit card number is not the same as accepting payment. The customers expressed an interest in a product and they OFFERED to pay the advertised price. Unless Dell actually created capture transactions with a CC processor, then there were no payments accepted. Period. No payment transaction means no sale and no purchase.

As for the comments about bait-and-switch, advertising fraud, etc, you might want to read up on various laws a bit more. There are many places in which companies are not held accountable for such typographical errors. Specifically, to be held accountable, a customer must reasonably believe that the advertised price is valid. In these two cases, the customers could not reasonably believe that Dell would give a 90% discount on a monitor and a 70% discount on a notebook.

Gmail shoves 'on behalf of' feature to one side

Chris C

Spoofing and spam

So people were sending messages through Google's SMTP servers with FROM headers set to a non-gmail address, and they're upset that Outlook shows that? I'm sorry, but Outlook is behaving correctly in my opinion. They could be more accurate in the wording by changing it from "From On Behalf Of" to " Sent By (or Via)", but the basic principle holds true -- mail clients SHOULD display both headers (FROM and SENDER) so that you know who the message really came from.

On a related note, mail sent through a gmail SMTP server with a non-gmail FROM address should immediately be flagged as spam. You do have an SPF record on your domain, right? If you do, and you set Google's SMTP servers as authorized for your domain, then you're an idiot because it allows anyone sending from Google's SMTP servers to send spam from your domain, and you explicitly authorized it. If you don't use SPF at all, then you're an idiot because anybody can spam from your domain. Yes, anybody can send spam from any domain at any time, but every reasonable mail admin will be checking SPF for all incoming messages and flagging SPF failures as spam.

cPanel, Netgear and Linksys susceptible to nasty attack

Chris C

re: Site problem, and browser problem

"CSRF absolutely is a bug on the server side. Mitigation techniques have been around for years, but none of these vendors implemented them."

I'm afraid I just don't see it. Could you please explain exactly how this is a server-side bug? The way I see it, the server tells the browser that the site is protected by user authentication. The browser asks for a username and password, sends that info to the site, and the site authenticates the user. Subsequent requests from that user contain that user's authentication information in the HTTP headers, so the server processes those requests as the authenticated user. How is that a bug?

Maybe this is a bug in HTTP, I'm not sure. I haven't read the HTTP specs, so I can't say either way. But I remain convinced that this is a browser problem. If a browser allows code (HTML, Javascript, Flash, or anything else) from one page to access a protected page at a different site, without even doing so much as throwing up a warning, then it is insecure by design.

Chris C

Browser problem, not site problem

To be sure, this definitely is a problem, and we've known about it for a very long time. However, contrary to what these "experts" claim, it is NOT a problem with cPanel, Linksys, or Netgear. This is a problem with BROWSERS. It is the browser which is not protecting an authenticated session. It is the browser which is allowing a web page from one domain to make/redirect requests to another site, especially a protected site. And it is the browser which allows this redirection to be executed via Javascript.

One might argue that sites should be allowed to make/redirect requests to other domains, and I would be open to that argument. I do not, however, understand why browsers do not protect authenticated sessions. By requiring authentication, you (the website) are telling the browser that the site is protected by user authentication, so why do browsers allow other domains to make requests to the protected site? If a request for the protected site comes from any site other than the protected site itself, the browser should, at the very least, alert you to that fact and prompt for your authentication credentials again.

Personally, I never understand why you can't treat each browser window (and now tab) as its own session, separate from other windows and tabs. This is, once again, a problem in the way browsers access a website, which is something the website has literally no control over. If the browser wants to share the user's authentication status among all open windows and tabs, there's not a damn thing the website can do about that.

Philips Cinema 21:9 56in LCD TV

Chris C

The problem

The problem with televisions is that nobody can agree on an aspect ratio. Even film studios (or the director, or whoever decides the aspect ratio for a film) can't agree. I've seen movies in 1.77:1 (16:9), 1.85:1, and 2.35:1. Then we have 1.33:1 (4:3) TV standard for all of our television shows up to 2004 or so (which includes all of our favorite shows on DVD).

What I find most interesting from the television's specs is that it lists the panel resolution as 2560x1080p, but the highest "computer format" resolution it allows is 1920x1080p (using HDMI; 1360x768p using VGA). I would seriously question why you lose 25% of your usable resolution when using a PC, but not when watching a movie.

Opera chief: history will silence Unite doubters

Chris C


1) Actually, is an international site. The fact that it is a domain does not change that. If you really think this is a UK-only journal, then please explain the plethora of US-centric articles and US-based journalists. Incidentally, El Reg used to have a separate site ( which omitted the UK-specific articles, but that has long been removed and now redirects to Also, since you're apparently too thick to understand it, I used Comcast and Verizon as examples of popular ISPs because many (if not most) ISPs have similar restraints, at least in the US, Canada, and Australia, from what I'm told.

2) You can stream your music folder to your work PC and listen in decent quality? Gee, wow, you're right, I must be wrong. Your statement only serves to show that your connection can upload a fixed-rate audio stream to a single computer. That's quite different from answering simultaneous requests from multiple users, especially when such requests want the data as quickly as possible, not in a fixed-rate stream.

3) Closing Opera (thus closing your web server) kind of defeats the purpose of having your own little web server, doesn't it? Also, thank you for showing superb ignorance by implying that this won't be a problem simply because you don't understand how it could be. Are you also one of those people who say that everyone who shows displeasure with Vista is obviously doing something wrong because it works for you?

4) The always-powered-on requirement is a requirement unless you know exactly when people will want to access your site. That's quite different than "Only a requirement if you know people who want to look at it every minute of the day." If you don't know when people are going to try to access it, then you'll need to leave it up all the time. The method you imply, and really the only way I see this being of any use, is for you and your visitor to arrange a time for them to access the site.

Lastly, you're a completely, ridiculously, absurdly moronic idiot for claiming there is no security risk. Any time you open a path for someone to access your computer, it *IS* a security risk. And yes, when people are accessing files on your computer, they *ARE* "on your PC". There are two words which have gained popularity over the past 15 years or so. They are "vulnerability" and "exploit". You might want to read up on them before dismissing something as having "no security risk". As the saying goes, the only secure computer is an unplugged (powered off) computer.

Chris C

Ah, yes, truly revolutionary

"But if you're technical enough to do this from Apache or anything else, one, there's no problem with that, and two, you're probably not going to understand Unite anyway."

So... If I'm smart enough to set up an Apache server, then I'm too dumb to "understand Unite anyway"? That sounds remarkably like Apple's marketing department.

"What we're trying to do is take something that currently is very difficult and make it easy. We're tying to give you something that you can describe to your parents or even your grandparents. And I believe we've achieved that."

So did Geocities. And look what happened to them. I'll just point out a couple of reasons this will spectacularly fail:

1) Most ISPs (such as Comcast and Verizon) explicitly state in the Terms and Conditions that you are not allowed to run servers of any kind.

2) Upstream speeds. Most ISPs provide people with relatively little upstream speed (1Mbps for Comcast cable, 128Kbps for Verizon DSL), so anything hosted on your system will be displayed to your visitor very slowly. This will be exacerbated when you have multiple people trying to request data from you simultaneously.

3) VoIP. Go ahead and host your files on your own system, then wonder why your VoIP connection is choppy and poor quality.

4) Always-on requirement. Most people don't leave their computers powered on all the time, so trying to connect to their "website" will be hit-and-miss. Some people may choose to leave their computers powered on all the time to combat this, but will probably change their minds once they realize the additional electric cost (and heat) this will cause.

5) It failed before. People don't care where their files are stored as long as it's easy to make a "home on the web". And there have been many software apps and companies that made it easy for people (Geocities, Netscape, AOL, every ISP I've ever had, etc). The thing is, it's a gimmick. People stick with it for a while, then they lose interest. Then again, considering the global dumbing-down of people in the last 15 years, this point may be nullified.

Taiwan consumer org 'froze' Dell bank account

Chris C

re: Disclaimers and E&OEs

"However, if they SELL a TFT panel for $15, which has happened in this instance, it's a different matter. The contract has already been made, and one half of it has been completed (the purchaser has transferred money to the seller). Dell are then required to fulfill their part of the contract."

Actually, if they corrected their typo within eight hours, they most likely did not SELL anything. Customers may have PLACED ORDERS, but that is quite different than selling. Before a placed order becomes a sale, the seller must process the order and take payment. Neither of those steps is alleged to have occurred in this case. The customer offered their credit card information, but that does not mean that any money was transferred. It just means that the purchaser has given the seller authorization to procure the funds from the purchaser's account. Before money is transferred, the seller must process the transaction with a CC processor, and must "batch" the day's transactions. If either of those steps is not taken, then no money is transferred, and thus there is no sale.

In your scenario, where the contract is completed as soon as the purchaser places the order, then the seller would be obligated to ship the merchandise even if the purchaser's credit card is rejected (for example, due to insufficient funds).

I hate Dell as much as the next guy, but they are "in the right" here, morally if not legally (in Taiwan).

Microsoft offers EU choice on Windows browsers

Chris C

No IE? Yeah right.

"Microsoft has also promised a mechanism for PC manufacturers and users in the EU to turn off its browser, IE, and to make IE unavailable from launch. ... IE would not be turned on through anything other than user action, and there won't be any icons, links, or short cuts in Windows to download or install the browser."

I'll believe that when I see it. Maybe IEXPLORE.EXE won't launch explicitly without user action, but Internet Explorer most certainly will. It's tied too closely to Windows.

1. Windows Explorer (EXPLORER.EXE) *IS* Internet Explorer. Open Windows Explorer, go to the address bar and type in a URL. Once loaded, go to the Help menu and see "About Internet Explorer. Now open Task Manager and notice that IEXPLORE is nowhere to be found. So, what, you're running Internet Explorer, but not really? Is Microsoft having a 1984 moment?

2. Internet Explorer is the engine used for Windows' help system.

3. While not directly Microsoft's fault, let's not forget the thousands of apps which use Internet Explorer via OCX/DLL linking. A vulnerability in IE can be exposed through any of these apps as well.

Also, if there are no "icons, links, or short cuts in Windows to download or install the browser", does that also mean that IE will not be updated via Windows Update? After all, if you're installing an update, that clearly indicates that the product is installed (as we all know it will be). But if you do not at least allow the user to install the updates, then you are leaving the system vulnerable to known problems.

Startup crafts DVD-Rs for the 31st century

Chris C

Possibly good idea, stupid implementation

There are a two killer problems I see with this product:

Problem 1 -- DVD? Seriously? As in 4.7GB (4.3GB usable) single-layer, 9.4GB dual-layer? That's not even good enough for archival usage today, nevermind in the years to come. That's not even good enough for home-use backup/archival today, nevermind corporate use.

Problem 2 -- As the second page of the article opened with, but was never answered -- "Readable by what?" Some of the early commenters here use their own assumptions about the future as the basis for the product's usability. Comments such as "[W]e will always know how to make DVD players, even if they are not in widespread use, so if the data needs to be read, we can just build a dvd player and read it." are so absurd, it's laughable. If you honestly believe that, then find me someone with the knowledge and ability to build a drive to read an 8" floppy or a MFM/RLL hard drive. I'll make it easier for you -- go to Texas Instruments and find out how to build a device to read the data stored on magnetic audio cassette tapes by the TI 99/4A.

Note that in those three examples, I'm only talking about technology that was created within the past 30 years or so. Do you really think anyone will know how to make a drive to read an 8-inch floppy disk, an 8-track audio tape, or a QIC-40 data tape fifty years from now? Commenter Rob Dobs said:

"Considering that CD-ROM has been around for almost 30 YEARS already, and that all DVD players and now BlueRay players will play both DVD and CD-ROM discs. I think it is pretty safe to assume that with all the data that is stored in these formats currently that a KEY aspect of any replacement technology going forward will be backwards compatibility."

Actually, CD-ROM (High Sierra, ECMA-119 / ISO 9660, Yellow Book) only dates back to 1986, so it's only 23 years old. Regardless, how you can be so naive as to assume that future technology will be backwards-compatible with CD/DVD-ROM? Do you actually expect that a future-made 5PB reader/writer will be backwards-compatible with a 700MB CD-ROM or a 9.4GB DVD-ROM? If you do, then you're delusional.

Products made today don't even read data from previous generations in their own families. For example, look at the Quantum DAT 160 (DDS family) tape drive. It only reads DAT 72 and DDS-4 (not DDS-3, DDS-2, or DDS-1). Similarly, the LTO-4 drive does not read LTO-1 media. Likewise, the SDLT 600 drive does not read DLTtape IV or earlier generation media. If these drives can't even read the media from previous-generation drives in their own families, what makes you think a future-technology drive will be able to read CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs?

Let's not forget that when reading these discs in the future, in addition to physically reading the discs, you'll also need to be able to parse the information. In other words, you'll need to understand the file system. In the case of CD-ROM, that means High Sierra, ECMA-119/ISO-9660, UDF, and Joliet at the very least. I'm not sure if the DVD format supports multiple file systems. While we're at it, let's not forget that you'll also need the decryption software if you've encrypted your discs. You *DO* still have that TPM module from the computer you disposed of 900 years ago, right?

Iran blocks Wikileaks

Chris C

re: That will not help them

"Word will get out (and into Iran), no matter what- oppression never made it in the long run."

Is my satire meter not working, or did you actually intend that as a serious statement? If it's the latter, then I would point your attention to China. Oppression has been working there for quite a long time, and appears to be extremely effective. Meanwhile, the rest of the first-world nations turn a blind eye to the human rights violations. As long as they're willing to work cheap, we don't care what happens. That's what Iran needs to do -- allow itself to become an exploitable nation for cheap labor. If they were willing to do that, they'd be our new best friend regardless of local or international politics (including export restrictions and sanctions).

Cocaine-smuggling golfer fails 'what's your handicap' test

Chris C


I'm surprised no one (as of the writing of this comment) has mentioned Office Space...

On a side note:

"She pleaded guilty to attempted drug smuggling, and was jailed for four years at Manchester Crown Court last Thursday."

She was jailed for four years last Thursday? That must have been one hell of a long day. Either that, or she was sentenced to four years. But I like the original way better.

Dubya surveillance exceeded warrantless wiretaps

Chris C

re: John Ashcroft

"History will remember [John Ashcroft] as the brave guy lying on his bed on the point of death who refused to be bullied by Gonzales."

History, perhaps. I, however, will always remember Ashcroft as the puritanical twat who wasted $8000 of taxpayers' money to hide Lady Justice from the public. And by god, it had to be done! After all, we all know how offensive the female breast is. We need only look at the infamous Super Bowl halftime saga to remind us of that.


The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing