Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Monday, November 21, 2011

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 24
technology

Finally Admitting Their OS Weak, M$ Will Ship Anti-Virus With “8″

Cutting out the middleman, M$ intends to cash in on the lucrative anti-virus market by cutting out the industry M$ created by shipping an OS with no inherent security for decades. “8″ will include anti-virus.

Fortunately XP and “7″ will be around for a decade or more so the anti-virus industry will be around a while longer. Consumers wanting a single point of failure can now choose M$ with confidence.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux which has few problems with viruses.

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 0
technology

Why Governments and Business Should Not Use M$’s Stuff

There is a story that is now told describing the legacy of insecurity that is M$’s operating system:

  • malicious software involved was used in targeted attacks focused on governments, political organizations and the defense industry
  • the attackers have used known techniques to bypass the Microsoft Windows code signing security model

The attacks hinged on use of 512-bit RSA keys that have been readily cracked 12 years ago. Why didn’t M$ slam the door on this route 12 years ago? Was it an inconvenience for M$’s installed base of suckers? Was it inconvenient for M$?

Rather than keys being stolen, Michael Sandee of Fox-IT provides strong evidence that the keys were simply factored so that the attackers could use them as they wished. One did not even have the flag for “digital signature” but was in the wild anyway suggesting M$ failed at multiple levels to protect users from this threat which should have been obvious to M$.

Even I, who have been called an amateur/incompetent etc. by the trolls here knew a decade ago to use huge keys for encryption/signatures since 2005. How incompetent is M$ for using/accepting 512-bit keys six years later to verify software to run on the world’s PCs?

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. They use two methods of signature, both with longer keys since 2001.

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 39
technology

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

“There is going to be a crowd that is just too cool to use something that looks really slick and there is nothing we can do for them.”, said Mark Shuttleworth.

There are two things wrong with that,

  1. Mark Shuttleworth does not get to define what looks slick to me nor anyone else, and
  2. fortunately users have other choices and will make those choices.

Clearly, “slick” on a smart phone and “slick” on a wide-screen monitor with accelerated mouse are totally different concepts. We are naturally tactile and can use our fingers but the best tool for the job is often not a finger. It is fine to use one code for all devices. It is not OK to use one user-interface for all devices. I want a keyboard for everything, even a smart phone. Others may have tiny fingers and sharp eyes and never want to use a keyboard. I want an accelerated mouse to pick out fine details on a cluttered desktop without me having to use too many calories. I am right-handed. It makes a lot of sense to me to have windows controls at the top-right of windows. It makes sense for me to have windows (you know, rectangular regions of the screens reacting with some process, and I do have a ton of processes running).

Shuttleworth, don’t be stupid. Admit that diversity is a good thing and live with it or you will soon be obsolete like that other OS.

My Desktop. It’s messy, but it’s mine, all mine and you cannot have it without using XFCE4.

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 0
technology

Apples and Oranges in IT

I like how M$ spews impressive numbers when it compares itself to Google. The numbers are impressive:

  • one copy of M$’s office suite 2010 sold every second
  • $5.6 billion in quarterly revenue

But, look at the units. Google is selling 5000 businesses per day on Google Apps. There are a lot of users per business so Google is likely taking away many sales of that office suite per second. If M$ is getting $5600 million per annum revenue on 31 million per annum units, they are down to $180 per unit from the good old days of $hundreds per unit. Google is selling $150 million per annum at $50 per person so it’s the same number of units per second, 1. ie. Google is probably cutting M$’s take in half for a very small expenditure. Google doesn’t even have a channel of partners pushing the product. Imagine the impact if they did hire some salesmen… Google is breaking even on Docs while M$ is still losing money on search. Chuckle. M$ cannot compete on price/performance but relies on monopoly to pull them through. It used to work but no longer.

see NY Times – Mixed Results as Google Enters Microsoft’s Turf NY Times does not bother to convert apples to oranges to compare…

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 1
technology

Kindle Fire is a Tablet PC

Ars Technica claims Kindle Fire is not a tablet, but they are wrong. It has a setting to allow installing other software so you can extend the limited Android/Linux distro Amazon installs on it or put GNU/Linux or a full version of Android/Linux on it. Amazon has released their full source code so getting root access and playing around with the internals is easy. It’s only a matter of time before othe distros of GNU/Linux appear on the Fire.

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 3
technology

Wave of Tablet-Buying

In February 2011, Changewave surveyed US consumers and found 5% were thinking of buying a tablet personal computer. In November the result is 14%. That’s phenomenal but also important is the target. In February, 82% of those thinking of buying a tablet were thinking iPad. Now it’s 65%. That’s a huge change in mind-share. Kindle Fire is top of the non-iPad list followed by Samsung Galaxy Tab. Imagine how the momentum has changed in less Apple-friendly regions like China… 2012 could be the end of Apple’s tablet monopoly. No wonder the lawsuits. Apple was trying to preserve the monopoly one way or another. It’s not working.

see The Register The title is misleading, “Kindle Fire demand hits iPad rivals not iPad”. A drop of 21% of mind-share in 9 months is a hit. Kindle Fire runs Android/Linux so it’s no hit for Android/Linux that Kindle is catching fire.

  • Nov 21 / 2011
  • 3
technology

2012 Will be The Year of Quad-core ARMed Devices

“HTC is also developing another quad-core smartphone, the HTC Zeta, which will be powered by a Qualcomm 2.5GHz CPU and equipped with a 4.5-inch display, 8-megapixel camera as well as Beats, HTC Sense 4.0 and complete cloud content, the sources added.”Digitimes.

A few years ago that would be a decent 64bit AMD CPU. For those wanting powerful devices 2012 will mean ARM is “there”. Lest you think 2.5gHz is a typo, check the specs on Qualcomm’s Krait. 20 DMIPs/milliwatt. So this baby uses only 500milliwatt going flat out.

So, Quad-core will be the standard to beat in 2012 and Android/Linux on ARM will be there. This will be a must-have for top-end tablets/smartphones and Apple is not there yet. By the time “8″ comes out, Android/Linux on ARM will be all over low to high-end ARMed devices. Prices keep dropping with low-end ARMed tablets now available for less than $100 this Christmas.