Monthly Archives: March 2015

Browser, Browser on the wall who is the best browser of them all?

Google’s Chrome Web Browser doesn’t like laptops.

Rather than do a whose best we thought we would look at at anything that gets missed in the usual tests. First one up is Google Chrome.

Google Chrome, a laptop and Microsoft Windows is potentially a very bad combination. It will reduce your battery life, and slow down your computer.

Chrome eats through your battery quicker than other internet browsers. The problem is down to something called the “system clock tick rate”. This is something that you wont hear about because its something that Windows uses internally. As soon as Chrome is opened it sets the rate to 1.000ms.  The Windows default is 15.625ms. The numbers dont matter but what is happening does.

In any OS like Windows, events are often set to run at intervals. To save power, the processor sleeps when nothing needs attention, and wakes at predefined intervals. This interval is what Chrome adjusts in Windows, so reducing it to 1.000ms means that the system is waking far more often than at 15.625ms. In fact, at 1.000ms the processor is waking 1000 times per second. The default, of 15.625ms means the processor wakes just 64 times per second to check on events that need attention.

Microsoft itself says that tick rates of 1.000ms might increase power consumption by “as much as 25 per cent”. It’s also a problem because, by its very nature, the system tick rate is global, meaning that one application is able to spoil everything, and because regular users don’t care about tick rates, most of us would never know this was a problem.

So, what about other browsers? Well, when you open the most recent version of Internet Explorer, the rate stays at 15.625ms until the browser needs to do something where the rate must increase. If you go to YouTube, say, and play a video IE will increase the rate to 1.00ms. When you shut that tab, and carry on with normal browsing, it will return to 15.625ms. In Chrome though, it is increasing the rate as soon as the browser is opened, and it keeps it high until you shut the browser completely.

Many people never shut a browser. It’s usually left open for very good reasons for example Gmail, Google Drive and just leave it open on a news page to return to later. So if uyou use Chrome then the browser is eating more than it needs to of battery power.

So apart from needing to re-charge your battery whats the problem? Well sasimply every battery has a limited number of re-charges before it needs to be replaced. An average battery lasts 2 years, now according to this it means you will be lucky to have a battery last just over a year.

If you couple in that Google has the highest security vulnerabilities, is know to crash on a regular basis, and is harder to unload because it spawns more processes, then you will have less than the ideal browser, it is fast but now you know why.

IUt’s worth pointing out that Macs and Linux machines don’t have this problem, because they use something called “tickless timers”. Microsoft might address this problem in the future, but it’s unlikely to be in a rush when other developers seem able to work around the problem.

So, what can be done? Well, not much. This bug was known a long, long time ago, and it’s been raised with Google via its Chromium bug tracker for a long time. It has, for the most part, been ignored. The first report was in 2010. If Google doesn’t take the problem seriously, then the bug will remain, and Windows laptops running Chrome will drain the battery faster than the same machine running Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Office Software – the nice thing about standards is there are so many to choose from, take Office for example?

Its a maxim of modern life, just when you think there is only one choice the world opens up to confuse you. Even brands compete with themselves.


Microsoft Office was great, simple even. in 1995 did you want the standard or the professional? The difference was which programs came with it. Professional had Access and PowerP

oint. Then  small business wanted PowerPoint but not Access so they introduced Small business edition.

Life was simple, pay you money, take your choice. There were competitors such as Lotus, Wordperfect, Open Access and many more but there was only one choice, it was Microsoft but with a choice of flavours, and the others with the exception of Ability, faded away.

What ruined that was the mobile phone, Tablet, Google and Apple. Google offered free programs, Apple did their own thing and the mobile phone needed cheap Apps to access Word & Excel. Suddenly the race was on to find something to access the Microsoft files, chuck in an opening of the format and the race was on, well who won? No body did but we all did, slightly.

Confused? well lets wind on to today, you can have your own Word and Excel like programs installed on your phone, PC, Cloud, Tablet, Mobile, Chromebook, Linux device, anything. The prices range from free to rip-off (I’ll explain that later as it’s relative).

Its not about the software, its about the document

What has happened is that the standard has become the document, not how you access it. We all want to edit, create and read word Documents or Excel spreadsheets. It doesn’t matter what we use to do this and that is back to the Smartphone, Tablet, Google, Apple influence. The reason is simple, its no longer the how, its the what.

Now we have established that you can use anything lets look at the choice. Its simple its where and cost.

Where and cost?

The “where” is simple, on your device, PC, Laptop, Tablet, SmartPhone or on the “cloud”, (horrible term, it just means someone else computer). The advantage of the cloud is that it is “cross-platform”, you can use it on anything, but if you have a program installed on everything then that is cross platform for document access anyway. So this doesnt really matter, despite what you are being constantly told, If you can create, read, edit on any device anywhere then the how becomes irrelevant. Irrelevant is a bad word actaully, it becomes confusing. Confusing because of the next item, cost, there is a mad rush for Office 365, for many reasons, all of which are usually wrong, as you will see.

Free software means that it is free to use and distribute, it also means free to alter and for more information you will need to understand the term “Open Source” which I will not go in to here, it’s a whole new set of blogs on it’s own.

There are many free programs that have trundled along in the background and they have now come to the fore. These are OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Oxygen office. These allow you to download on anything that they work on any time. Some work like the Old pre-ribbon office and some have gone thier own way. Don’t be put off by saying it works differently, so does every car heater system but you soon get the hang of that, until you change your car.

Car heaters and why everything is new to begin with

Car heaters send heat up, down and forward, the airspeed differs and some have extra cold or hot booster and some have fancy dials, but that’s all they do, they just do it differently, same thing with Office suites.

Paid for packages, You can buy a Microsoft work alike package called Ability for £30, its been around in the background for years and its the only real paid for Microsoft Office alternative.

Office 365 is probably wrong for you

That leaves us with Microsoft Office. There is a push be Microsoft to get everyone on the cloud, That way they can take more money from you over fiver years. There are lost of sales reasons to go 365 but I can trash them all:

I get 5 licences, yes you do, for 1 user on 5 devices, I get the latest version, yes you do but as Office is only updated every three years and still does the same thing how does that help? I spread the cost, its only £x monthly, OK add up all the x weekly’s where x is all the cloud software you pay for, now calculate it over five years. I bet I can lease you your own server for five years at less cost. The killer is why pay for 365, there are good Google alternatives and remember Isaid that brands compete with themselves? Well there is a free version of Office 365 called Office online, go on, Google it (Oh the irony).

We get paid more money for every Office 365 than selling software in a box, so the drive for any reseller is not your needs but their pocket, follow the money, it leads to Office 365 and that’s where a Windows operating system is heading, more about that in another blog.

There are other alternatives and we will write a blog on them all, but talking to us is easier, we listen then advise, now how many people do that in IT?

Talk, just don’t take anyone’s word, it might be the wrong one.

Put simply, you pays your money, or not and takes your choice or not. Just talk to an IT expert such as us who wants you to have the right product, for the right reasons.

I have just sold one business £3,000 of Office Home & Business, based on a three minute discussion. I wrote this blog for them, at the end of the day if they can’t be bothered to read this and save money and gets what right then I have still done my job by showing them the clearly better alternatives, I can only try can’t I? I know he drives a Merc, maybe if he heard me he could afford a Bentley or a Roller as well.

On Wednesday 13 August 2014 the Internet broke, “Told you so” – cmx specialist

How can the Internet have too many routes and not enough addresses? As IPv4 runs out of space, attempts to get around the problem could make things even worse

Recently some older routers and switches stumbled when the Internet’s table of routes surpassed 512,000 entries, the maximum they could hold in a special form of memory called TCAM (Ternary Content Addressable Memory). The event drew widespread attention, though it was actually the third time in this young century that the Internet had broken through such a threshold. The number of routes exceeded 128,000 around 2003 and 256,000 in 2008, each time causing problems for some outmoded gear.

Devices that don’t have room for all the routes may reboot themselves or fail to route some traffic, but the affected gear was fairly old. Cisco Systems says all the routing products it’s sold for at least the past two years have had enough room in TCAM for more than 512,000 routes. Routers designed for the cores of carrier networks surpassed that long before. Juniper Networks, Cisco’s longtime router rival, said it updated its gear for this problem more than 10 years ago. Alcatel-Lucent said its routers use a different memory architecture from the devices that got hit with the problem.

Because almost all the addresses defined by IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) have already been handed out to Internet service providers or end users, the number of routes allocated under that system may not grow much more, according to Cisco engineers. That would be one silver lining on a cloud that’s hung over the network of networks for years.

“IPv4 cannot grow forever. We already reached a certain limit, so we personally wouldn’t expect it to grow much larger,” said Sasa Rasovic, incident manager at Cisco’s Product Security Incident Response Team.

However, another danger remains, and it comes from the address depletion itself. With fewer IPv4 addresses at hand, users or service providers may want to split them up into smaller routes.

By common agreement among Internet engineers, the smallest accepted route on the Internet today points to a block of 256 consecutive IP addresses. (Using private addresses, companies and service providers can hook up many more devices behind those globally unique ones.) Now, some network operators want to break up those blocks so they can satisfy more customers, said Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn, a traffic management company that recently acquired Internet analysis firm Renesys. Then, instead of one Internet route to reach the 256 addresses, there would be two.

“People are trying to do more with less,” Cowie said.

Along the way, some may also be putting profit ahead of the Internet’s ease of use. IP addresses officially are handed out free by nonprofit regional authorities, but their supplies are mostly gone. The mad dash for IPv4 addresses has led to some unseemly practices by those who already got their addresses.

“As the IPv4 address space is now depleted, a few smaller routes … are being sold to other entities. Apart from a number of other more serious issues this is causing to the Internet community at large, this also has potential to cause a growth of the routing table size,” Cisco’s Rasovic said in an email message. “It’s hard to predict just how fast and how big of an impact this will have in the future.”

If some service providers start to split up the smallest blocks into even smaller ones, that could even affect whether all users can reach everyone else on the Internet, Dyn’s Cowie said. Other operators might filter out the smaller routes, keeping their own routing tables a more reasonable size but not offering access to some addresses, he said.

And though it’s impossible to say how many new routes might result, routers would continue to face a growing number of them. Like new party guests who want a piece of the same pie, Internet address holders could cut the IPv4 address space into ever smaller pieces, and it would fall onto the routers to keep track of all the slivers.

Dave Schaeffer, CEO of ISP Cogent Communications, thinks the routing tables will keep growing just from new addresses coming online.

“There’s still a big, dark pool out there of IPv4 addresses in the hands of service providers that can be routed, that are not routed (yet),” Schaeffer said.

Migrating to IPv6 would eliminate the address shortage, because the newer protocol has an almost unlimited supply. Few users have adopted IPv6 even though most systems and networking gear have long been equipped for it. The IPv6 routing table still only has about 20,000 routes in it, Cowie said. That’s what makes it feasible for Cisco to suggest, among other things, that network operators reassign some of the memory in their routers that was automatically set aside for IPv6 routes and give it to IPv4 routes.

But the short supply of older addresses and the expected growth of the Internet of Things eventually will bring more IPv6 addresses into service, Cowie said. That will raise issues of its own.

“Now that IPv6 has been introduced, more and more devices are going to be connected,” Rasovic said. “The tables are different [in IPv6], and they’re managed differently in memory.” It’s hard to know how many IPv6 routes there could eventually be, Cowie said. Those routes will all take up more memory, because an IPv6 address is much longer than one from the older version. Network engineering groups are already trying to figure out how to manage IPv6 routes, according to Cisco.

Conscientious ISPs may aggregate their own routes to help bring the tables back from the limit, but the reprieve will only be temporary, he said.

“We may, for a short period, fall below 512, but inexorably, the trend is larger tables