Still More Work To Do

Today, Walmart sent me an e-mail. It contained all kinds of links to wonderful stuff for Father’s Day. I am sad to report there is still very little choice of OS on their site… Of the hundreds of notebook computers offered, “7”, “8”, and XP were all over and there were just a few Chromebooks. No GNU/Linux at all. This is insane considering that they sell dozens of tablets running Android/Linux.

I sent them a hundred words expressing my disgust. I asked them why they don’t offer what their customers want. I shop a lot at Walmart but have never bought a PC from them. The lack of availability of GNU/Linux is the major cause of that. That’s their choice. They blew it.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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41 Responses to Still More Work To Do

  1. Bob Parker says:

    Ted “Firstly, I do not live or work in the US and I do not work for Microsoft in any capacity. ”

    I’m not going to try refute any stats. I will only say this. Tonight I went to Pantip Plaza Chiang Mai and briefly looked at what they had on offer. There were two Dell Inspiron laptops on sale, both with Ubuntu badges on them. The rest of the range was unbadged but had 2 price tags, 1 for Win 8 and one without. The Win 8 tag was +3000 THB, near enough to $USD100 just now.
    I don’t know if that is a MS discounted price for a legal copy of Win 8 or if it is compensation for the effort of installing a Chiang Mai $5 copy, nor do I care.
    This was a shop that sold me my latest laptop with Ubuntu installed by my request. No delay, no queries, just compliance with what I wanted.
    That shop is a successful business with a high reputation among the expats here. I very much doubt that this business is serving a 0.22% demand for Linux. I certainly would not provide any counter space for Linux if that was the real demand. I should note that CM is part of Thailand so maybe there is some local distortion here. I don’t know and I don’t really care, I’m just happy that I can but Linux computers off the shelf here. I’m also happy that I can buy a box without any MS tax on it and then install what I want on it.
    I’m sorry you consider that I’m insulting you by calling you a paid MS troll, but not very. If you do this stuff unpaid the insult would be way worse.

  2. Quibbly says:

    Last two posts under the wrong heading – my apologies. I think this new theme is getting to me …

  3. Quibbly says:

    Having done my best to follow Mr Oiaohm down his usual side-road, I’ll return to the main topic. Nobody here has answered my questions:

    Have you looked at the code?

    Have you determined how serious an exploit it is?

    If not, there’s no point in you even bringing it up as a slap in Microsoft’s face. Ormandy claims that it’s an escalation of privilege (I have more to say about this once we’ve cleared the basic hurdle of bringing everyone on this blog up to the basics, which are covered in my first two questions). But who can say it is? Scientific method, again.

    And thirdly

    Why are you seemingly hell-bent on defending somebody (Ormandy) who is clearly putting computer users at risk? I wouldn’t do this if he was demonstrating a Linux exploit. (Although I’m not spitefully anti-Linux in the way that many in the Community are spitefully anti-Microsoft.)

    It’s just the wrong thing to do. It’s immoral. Period.l

  4. Quibbly says:

    Bonus points for chutzpah, Mr Oiaohm. No, you cannot wriggle out of this:

    Why is someone with evil intent…

    (clearly implying that you agree that Ormandy has evil/malicious intent) by claiming that he deliberately released a non-working exploit.
    1. There is no evidence that he did this deliberately.
    2. There is no evidence that the exploit is unworkable. You haven’t exercised the Four Freedoms and examined the code, have you? As I told you (quite forcibly) the exploit is 49 lines down from the breakage. The breakage is intended to set the exploit up. There is no reason to suppose that a different approach will not achieve this.
    3.Consequently, “Ormandy’s public disclosure is not DOA.”

    Example is something that looks approximately right.

    It’s very well-written and well-commented code, actually. The odd lazy mistake, but so what? The example looks 100% right to me if we’re talking about the exploit. Perhaps you can exercise your abilities in C programming and explain to us all where it is not 100% right?

    It does not work on any version of Windows as is.

    Drivel, Mr Oiaohm, drivel. How many versions of Windows have you tested it on? None. How many have I tested it on? One. Neither number proves your assertion.

    If I had to guess, I would suggest that it works perfectly well on XP. The coding style, plus what little I understand of the HAL API calls, looks to be roughly of that era. I imagine “program boy” has a tool-chest of suitable XP code fragments and assembler that he uses to frame a demonstration such as this one.

    The right question being what?

    This is obviously a rhetorical question, which as usual you chose to answer anyway. With the usual random grab-bag of irrelevancies.

    Let’s be honest about this, Mr Oiaohm: you would have stepped in anyway. Nothing on earth can prevent you from stepping in; not ignorance, not bashfulness, probably not even a third world war. Stepping in is what you do, goodness only knows why.

    And is this your final proposition?

    Does a Google Secuirty Expert have the right to post defective code about a discovered flaw to open mailing lists seeing if Microsoft is monitoring?

    That’s an, um, interesting spin on the episode. So you’re suggesting that
    1. Ormandy discovered a flaw in MS code.
    2. Ormandy (via his cohort) deliberately wrote broken code around this flaw.
    3. His sole purpose in publishing it was to check whether MS was monitoring every single open mailing list in the world on the off-chance that somebody had chosen to report an exploit without going through the regular channels. Which Google recommends.

    This is an extraordinarily tortuous course of action for Ormandy to have taken, and it doesn’t even prove anything. Let’s adopt your conclusion and say that “Microsoft failed the test.” So what? It’s a fool’s test in the first place.

    No, Ormandy should have disclosed the exploit to Microsoft first. (And the NSA if for some reason you consider that important. It’s a non-issue either way.) He didn’t, because he hates Microsoft.

    That is inexcusable behavior. Stop making stuff up and trying to excuse it.

  5. Quibbly says:

    “Do you think I would bother to see if I could find some way to block your copying and pasting and actually do it? I would have to write some PHP most likely.”

    God forbid you dirty your hands with programming, Mr Pogson.

    But, other than that, what on earth do you mean? I’m pretty sure that cut’n’paste is not Ted’s problem, although it might explain the efforts of your junior champion template’n’database wonderboy.

    Where did you get him from, by the way? I’ve never seen a WordPress template quite like this, so I’m assuming that he doesn’t work for one of the Dow Jones 100. I’m as charitable to blind programmers as the next man (in fact, I work with one), but that doesn’t mean I want to see a website that is designed by somebody who has no visual clue whatsoever.

  6. Quibbly says:

    No, seriously, does anybody here care about W3C HTML validation?

    I think I’d rather live my life according to the horoscope in the National Enquirer.

    You do realise that a “pass” just indicates that you (obviously not this blog, but in general, you) have abided by a set of random incomprehensible rules, don’t you? Otherwise there would be some other canonical validator, wouldn’t there? Which there isn’t.

    If the end result looks like the hind end of a particularly intractable donkey, then it doesn’t really matter what the rules say, does it?

  7. Ted says:

    “If you are the only one on the planet with that problem, how do you think it has anything to do with my site? ”

    But it’s *NOT* just me. Read Quibbly’s post.

    By the way, if it helps, it’s probably this;

    And again – Firefox 21.0, not IE.

  8. Ted says:

    “I really feel sorry for the slaves such as yourself living in the USA”

    Firstly, I do not live or work in the US and I do not work for Microsoft in any capacity. But if believing that dissenting opinion and disagreement is really all the result of the unethical practices of a vast and dark conspiracy, go ahead. I just hope Big C Extra sell tinfoil.

    Secondly, you seem to think you’re scoring a point by repeatedly (and tediously) stating that a Thai supermarket does not sell computers with Windows pre-installed.

    I show that it is highly likely that these computers are having Windows installed on them after sale, given the dominant position of Windows in Thailand’s web stats.

    Now, would you like to actually try to refute the stats I quoted (remembering that Pogson has hung his hat on StatCounter numbers for more than a few articles), or are you just going to give me your boring life story and call me names again?

  9. Ted wrote, “Stating that I’ve found a problem is trolling?”

    Sigh… If you are the only one on the planet with that problem, how do you think it has anything to do with my site? By what mechanism could I possibly make that happen? Do you think I would bother to see if I could find some way to block your copying and pasting and actually do it? I would have to write some PHP most likely.

  10. Bob Parker wrote, “I really feel sorry for the slaves such as yourself living in the USA who have to troll on behalf of Microsoft to get their monthly coffee money or food stamps as the case may be.”

    Chuckle.

  11. Bob Parker says:

    Ted I need to point out a few things:
    I am not a Tea Party member or a Microsoft troll. I’m an an old guy who lives fairly decently on an Australian pension in Thailand most of the time.
    I have no financial interest in promoting any form of Linux, I only do it because it works better for me. But yes I do boot Windows sometimes because there are 2 programs I want to use that only are available in Wonders.
    I really feel sorry for the slaves such as yourself living in the USA who have to troll on behalf of Microsoft to get their monthly coffee money or food stamps as the case may be.

  12. Ted says:

    “Ted, trolling as fast as he can”

    Stating that I’ve found a problem is trolling? What does that make submitting a bug? Incitement to riot?

    By the way, have you found the LINK I posted to the Thailand OS usage stats? Both you and oiaohm were asking, after all.

  13. Quibbly says:

    An interesting point you bring up about W3C validation, however. What is it worth?

    Now, here’s the thing. I googled for validators, and short of the standard crap you can download for “only” $20, there aren’t many. So we’re stuck with W3C. Which, having tested your query on http://www.thatotheros.com, does indeed churn out 555 errors (and warnings).

    I haven’t the patience to go through all of them, but an awful lot seem to fall under the following three categories:

    a) Not standard XML 1.0, although I don’t see who would care
    b) My validation barfed on your namespace
    c) You have failed to follow our incomprehensible rules on HTML element flow.

    Now, any or all of these might be important. And you’ll be pleased to know that http://www.debian.org passes with zero errors.

    On the other hand, who cares? HTML just isn’t that sort of protocol. See “the Robustness principle,” or if you’d rather Postel’s Law.

    http://www.microsoft.com is riddled with errors and looks like a perfectly normal website, as a direct consequence.

    The current incarnation of your blog looks like, if you will forgive me a religious metaphor, the thing that Jesus sat upon during his last journey into Jerusalem.

  14. Quibbly says:

    Well, I’ve tried that both backwards and forwards, and it comes out like this:

    Ted, trolling as fast as he can, wrote, “selecting text to copy/paste does not work correctly.”

    Here, I’ll copy and paste something just for you:“Your site is now so broken that somethign as simple as selecting text to copy/paste does not work correctly.”

    Ted June 8th, 2013

    Presumably we are in for a treat when you look up “something” in your 1913 copy of Websters.

  15. Ted, trolling as fast as he can, wrote, “selecting text to copy/paste does not work correctly.”

    Here, I’ll copy and paste something just for you:“Your site is now so broken that somethign as simple as selecting text to copy/paste does not work correctly.”

  16. Ted says:

    “Who’s reporting that and how did they measure that??? ”

    Scroll down. Reading is fun.

    PS. Your site is now so broken that somethign as simple as selecting text to copy/paste does not work correctly.

  17. Ted wrote, “Linux use in Thailand is reported to be 0.22% and Windows use is about 85%.”

    Who’s reporting that and how did they measure that???

    see Microsoft Loses to Linux in Thailand Struggle

    “To prevent Linux from running away with Thailand’s subsidized “people’s PC project,” Microsoft has dropped the price of its Windows and Office packages from nearly US$600 to $37. Other Asian countries are lining up to duplicate the Thai program. As a result of the events in Thailand, analysts have begun to predict the end of Microsoft’s long-standing “one-price-fits-all-markets policy.””

    Chuckle. That’s from 2003. GNU/Linux is very popular in Thailand despite M$’s wishes.

    Further reading:

  18. Ted says:

    “Ted because you are a normal MS troll.”

    “MS troll”? Are you implying I am in the pay of Microsoft to disrupt online forums? Really?

    I once worked with a guy who became a Microsoft “Technology Evangelist”. Guess what his job *didn’t* involve?

    ” So it most likely your numbers are from a super undependable source.”

    Numbers from Pogson’s new heroes – StatCounter.

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-TH-monthly-201206-201305-bar

    “Because you are too lazy to find quality numbers.”

    No. I just don’t make them up. Unlike some.

  19. Ted says:

    “The breakage is probably mine when I tried to tweak the CSS earlier.”

    Then undo what you did.

    You are aware of the concept and practice of backup copies, I take it?

  20. Ted says:

    “My expert took all of 15 minutes to change the theme and it immediately worked for me.”

    You need an outside expert to change a WordPress theme?

    “Perhaps you should stop using IE…

    Perhaps I shouldn’t use Firefox 21.0 or the W3C’s HTML validator, either?

    “I get “Validation Output: 13 Errors” most of which are “duplicate ID” messages. So, there is probably one problem somewhere cranking out duplicate IDs”

    Try validating the HTML instead. Badly nested tags, obsolete usages, un-closed elements…

  21. Ted wrote, “Did anyone think to test this before rolling it out?”

    The breakage is probably mine when I tried to tweak the CSS earlier. My expert took all of 15 minutes to change the theme and it immediately worked for me. Perhaps you should stop using IE…

    I get “Validation Output: 13 Errors” most of which are “duplicate ID” messages. So, there is probably one problem somewhere cranking out duplicate IDs…

    When I tried to validate microsoft.com the validator found 555 errors, so it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  22. oiaohm says:

    Ted because you are a normal MS troll. So it most likely your numbers are from a super undependable source. Because you are too lazy to find quality numbers.

  23. oiaohm says:

    Ted reported by who numbers.

  24. Ted says:

    “I have a world-class PHP/database expert available ”

    I would suggest that someone who knows his way around CSS (or even just plain old-fashioned HTML) might serve you better.

    This new theme is riddled with layout errors, and the markup the PHP is generating is so broken that the validator starts treating your *content* as markup, and later actually GIVES UP on the page – “Cannot recover after last error. Any further errors will be ignored.

    Did anyone think to test this before rolling it out?

  25. Ted says:

    “And still at Big C Extra in Chiang Mai Thailand there are no Windows laptops or desktops on offer at all.”

    If you’re going to keep repeating this, it’s only fair I should point out that Linux use in Thailand is reported to be 0.22% and Windows use is about 85%.

  26. ram says:

    One only has to look at the collapse of sales of Dell and other “Microsoft Partners” and compare it to venders of Linux platforms. Clearly Microsoft 8 and UEFI is an epic fail.

  27. gewg wrote, “It’s my blog
    Nice attitude there. Bye.”

    “blog

    (Commonly “blog”) Any kind of diary published on the {World-Wide Web}, usually written by an individual (a “blogger”) but also by corporate bodies. Blogging is regarded by some as an important social phenomenon as it contributes to the easy exchange of ideas among a large and growing international community (“the blogosphere”).”

  28. gewg_ says:

    @Pogson
    I have visitors
    Well, you have -some- visitors.
    Doing things that grate on actual advocates seems foolish.

    It’s my blog
    Nice attitude there. Bye.

  29. Maou Sadao wrote, “Why does Mr. Pogson not “develop” his site himself?”

    I have a world-class PHP/database expert available who can zip in and change the site in major ways before I could even read the code. I have developed many sites in schools and could do my own but there’s no way I could do it better or faster. I kid you not. This guy has more than a decade of experience and was placing well in national competitions when he was a teenager.

  30. Bob Parker says:

    Fortunately there is no Walmart in Chiang Mai.

  31. Maou Sadao says:

    Why does Mr. Pogson not “develop” his site himself? It’s just a standard WordPress site. Hardly any “development” necessary.

  32. bw says:

    I guess the Thais have to go to Wal-Mart in Chiang Mai instead!

  33. Bob Parker says:

    And still at Big C Extra in Chiang Mai Thailand there are no Windows laptops or desktops on offer at all.

  34. gewg wrote, “Inverting the display order of comments from the normal temporal order is illogical.”

    There are two kinds of people in the world, those that like lists forward and those that like the lists reversed. I like the latest messages at the top of the list and it’s my blog. I agree, in principle, that it should be an option of each user but I don’t give out accounts. I have visitors instead. It’s my blog.

  35. gewg_ says:

    @Pogson
    From my point of view the site is exactly the same.
    Top-posting that is displayed dozens-deep is NOT the same.
    Inverting the display order of comments from the normal temporal order is illogical.

    My PHP-developer has been planning change for a long time.
    If any change was going to be made, the only one I would judge worthy would be to show -threading- (who responded to whom); it is done that way in many (better-crafted, IMO) blogs.

    The alt-text for smilies doesn’t appear for me either–though I do see “alt” in the source code.
    (I routinely block all images.)
    Apparently, your guy never heard of “Degrades gracefully”.

  36. JD says:

    Anyone else notice visual elements in the theme that are similar to M$ metro and its icons? 🙂

  37. ram says:

    Walmart is another retailer heavily dependent on “push money”, similar to most large grocery chains. They really don’t need customers, they need suppliers to keep paying them to put stuff on their shelves. As long as those suppliers can borrow money that is just “printed up” by the bank this kind of “economy” will continue.
    Pity about the resulting inevitable hyperinflation and destruction of the real economy.

  38. bw wrote, “Presumably this is in response to the sour puss who complained of the ancestry of the penguin graphic.”

    Partly. My PHP-developer has been planning change for a long time. Motivation was there but this was a trigger to action. The image in question came from a “stock photo” place. We are not sure it was legitimate. Proper records were not kept…

    Basically, this is just a change in theme with new customization. From my point of view the site is exactly the same.

  39. bw says:

    Looks like newer comments go before older ones. That was unexpected, but I like it better than the other way. Please leave it like this.

  40. bw says:

    Presumably this is in response to the sour puss who complained of the ancestry of the penguin graphic. I like it better than the old one.

  41. Maou Sadao says:

    More work to do? Indeed. Work on your website you have needlessly broken.

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