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Wednesday August 05, 2015
New printers that come with refillable ink tanks?
We've talked before about the racket with inkjet printer ink -- practically giving away printers and then charging you an arm and a leg for miserly ink cartridges.
A recent article discusses Epson's new plans to offer consumers an alternative -- a more expensive printer built to be refilled with cheap ink.
Epson, the maker of my nightmare printer, has finally put an end to the horror of ink cartridges, at least for people willing to throw cash at the problem up front. The five new EcoTank series printers look like normal models, only they have containers on their sides that hold gobs and gobs of ink. How much? Years’ worth. Enough that your children—or at least mine—could go on a two-hour coloring-page-printing bender and you wouldn’t even notice.
Sunday August 02, 2015
Piecepack: The Flexible, Portable, Affordable Board Game System
DC member Edvard writes:
I was reading through Mouser's board game mini-review thread, and suddenly I remembered something I had checked out a few years ago, called "piecepack" (lower case intentional). It's basically a free (public domain) set of counters/chits/cards/ in pdf form you can download, print, and make up your own rules for. There is a board where you can browse and download different game rules, and there are game design contests where presumably, the cream rises to the top. Check it out:
What is a piecepack?
Flexible. Portable. Affordable. Public domain. The piecepack is a set of boardgame parts that can be used to design and play a wide variety of games. Anyone may design and publish a piecepack rule set. Any manufacturer or individual may produce piecepacks.
Tom Vasel in the video says the piecepack is best for abstract strategy-over-luck games, but because it is simply an open-ended system, you can make up your own story or theme, or simply make up your own pieces using the piecepack system as a base, or use the piecepack bits as an add-on to other games that may need a little "extra".
Mafia 1 and Mafia 2 - Atmosphere done right - Travel back in time to the 1940s
Mafia 3 has been anounced! Yay!
Here's someone talking about how Mafia2 gets a bad reap and how he hopes they don't listen too hard to the people saying that the new one has to have big changes:
This guy nails that game and talks about why Mafia2 was so special. If you're on the fence I encourage you to read it. Mafia 2 is one of my favorite games I've played.
Startups and the Big Lie
Often it feels to me like economic success is one big pyramid scheme... Here's an article about the central role lying plays in the startup model where companies raise billions based on a mirage of get-rich-quick success they create.
They have little choice. Funding is contingent on growth, but that growth can only happen if no one really understands the funding situation. Founders have to tell the lie – that everything is fine, that a feature is going to launch even though the engineer for that feature hasn’t been hired yet, that payroll will run even though the VC dollars are still nowhere on the horizon.
Lying is a requisite and daily part of being a founder, the grease that keeps the startup flywheel running.
Tuesday July 28, 2015
Security: Stagefright Vulnerability (Android)
Six critical vulnerabilities have left 95 per cent of Google Android phones open to an attack delivered by a simple multimedia text, a mobile security expert warned today. In some cases, where phones parse the attack code prior to the message being opened, the exploits are silent and the user would have little chance of defending their data.
Still trying to process what one can easily do about this (apart from disabling network access and turning off one's affected Android devices -- may be it's important to be careful about what one does after turning it back on too...).
Some related info:
Sunday July 26, 2015
Whole Room Watercooling
This is somewhat crazy and painful to watch:
Whole Room Water Cooling Project
They set up watercooling through multiple workstations and encounter lots of difficulties, as you can imagine.
It's a very ambitious project for a group of very committed hardware hackers. Cool to watch but painful as well..
Tuesday July 21, 2015
Security: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS15-078 - Critical
An important security update for MS Windows:
This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted document or visits an untrusted webpage that contains embedded OpenType fonts.
Saturday June 27, 2015
The joy of seeing a first time forum poster
The regulars on a forum like this one, make it what it is -- they create a tone and personality and make it a fun place to hang out. This place is a little family to those of us who spend time here.
But it occurred to me today that infrequent visitors may not realize how nice it is for us when we see a "first time poster" -- a person who has decided to make their first post on the forum.
It's especially nice for us coders when we see a new person post about a program we've written -- whether it's to say they like it, or report a bug or suggest a feature.
It's just always a really nice thing to check the forum and see that someone new has decided to join the conversation.
Friday June 26, 2015
Be prepared against ransomware viruses..
I got a call a couple of days ago from a relative in a panic -- all of their documents, images, etc. suddenly had new random file extensions and could not be opened. Did I know what had happened and how to fix it?
Unfortunately it was all too obvious what had happened and there was no easy fix.
They had fallen victim to a ransomware virus -- some variant of CBT, and the only real way to recover the files was to pay the criminals (they wanted ~ $600 USD) to provide a password to decrypt the files.
What made this attack particularly damaging is that this relative, who is pretty computer savvy and a heavy pc user, had a bunch of additional hard drives connected to the pc -- a few backup drives, some download archive drives, etc.
And the virus encrypted everything on all drives. Ouch.
And that's what brings me to this post.
Many of us who perform frequent backups may get lazy and leave our backup drives (with backup drive images, document backups, etc.) connect for prolonged periods.
This is a huge risk when it comes to things like viruses/trojans/ransomware.
While there are lots of things you can do to protect yourself from being attacked, one thing all of us who regularly make backups should do is keep external backup drives DISCONNECTED except when being used to update our backups.
Documentary film online: THOSE WHO ARE JESUS (2001) - 3 people with god delusion
Very interesting watching:
A documentary which presents four compelling individuals who have each had profoundly religious or revalatory experiences and have extraordinary stories to tell.
With a tolerant and inclusive approach, the film offers different positions of explanation of such experience by featuring such experts as Dr. Peter Fenwick (Institute of Psychiatry), The Very Reverend Colin Slee (Southwark Cathedral), Prof. Eileen Barker (Sociologist at LSE), Dr Trevor Turner (Homerton Hospital) and the Hearing Voices Network, alongside of the points of view of the subjects.
The result is an examination of conflicting and convergent discourses surrounding what psychiatrists term "delusions of grandeur".
Original page: http://www.pinkpink.demon.co.uk/paradogs.html
Sunday June 21, 2015
PixCalc - a handy pixel-to-inches/centimeters calculator
Here's a little program that would have been better for the NANY.
I made it for myself, but I like to share (for free), so here it is!
It is a handy dandy calculator for converting pixels to inches or centimeters and vice-versa. You set the dpi, height, width of your image and it will give you immediate results and automatically copy them to your clipboard. You can also drag-n-drop images onto PixCalc and it will read the dimensions and dpi for you.
It comes with a chm help file.
I'd like to know what you think!
Saturday June 20, 2015
Webassembly: Big four to develop binary format for the web
Mozilla, Google, Microsoft and Apple have decided to develop a binary format for the web. Called WebAssembly, this format could be a compilation target for any programming language, enabling applications to run in the browser or other agents.
Friday June 19, 2015
Rock Paper Shotgun: 25 Best Co-Op (video) Games Ever Made
I'm always interested in reading about co-op games, here's a nice recent list from one of my favorite gaming blogs, Rock Paper Shotgun. For me, the game of choice is Sniper Elite 2.
Sometimes you need a hand to hold, so we’ve compiled a list of the 25 best co-op games to play on PC with a headset-wearing friend or a muted stranger.
Whether solving puzzles, sneaking, shooting zombies or stabbing mythical creatures in the face, the existence of another player adds an element of unpredictability. The reality of your co-op partner constantly alerting the guards is drowned out by the experience in your head – the synchronised stealth takedowns, the perfectly executed plan – but both success and failure are more compelling when you can take credit for the former and blame someone else for the latter.
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