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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Farewell, Dr. Dobbs on: December 16, 2014, 06:51:52 PM
After 38 years of glory, the long run of Dr. Dobb's has come to an end.

To be quite honest, I was hardly aware that it was still around.  Although I had been a subscriber since shortly after it began, and remained so for nearly as long as there was a print edition, I hadn't looked at it in many years.

Nonetheless, it marks the passing of an era.
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading on: December 15, 2014, 08:52:30 PM
As I said, this would not be my ideal general purpose Android tablet, but for the stated purpose, you won't find anything that provides more bang for the buck, at least as of this writing.  And at two pounds, it still weighs less than most textbooks.

BTW, for $100 more, you can get a Windows version of this tablet which is slightly heavier but has better battery life, and an HDMI out instead of the built-in projector.  If you are going to be using it mostly for working with pdf files, that might be an even better choice.
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading on: December 15, 2014, 07:39:42 PM
I shouldn't just say that I'm looking for a tablet for e-book reading.  What I should say is that I'm looking for a tablet to read full-page-at-a-time textbooks and 8.x5x11 pdf journal articles.

But I am interested in a device for reading pdf papers which can show and let you comfortably read a page at a time from a pdf article, without scrolling.

For your stated purpose, the Lenovo Tab 2 Pro is probably the best device available at this time, although for some of the reasons in this review, it would not be my ideal general purpose Android tablet.
4  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals on: December 02, 2014, 06:32:48 PM
The VMware 30% off sale runs through December 5, 2014.  U.S. link is here.
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: VMWare Player 7.0 Released on: December 02, 2014, 06:29:24 PM
VMware Workstation 11 is also out. 

Gouging pricing is $250 for a new license, $150 for an upgrade from WS 9 or 10.  Upgrading from earlier versions requires a new license.

All VMware licenses are 30% off through December 5, 2014, but that's still pretty steep for upgrades.

Been using Workstation since Version 4 (2003), but VirtualBox is starting to look mighty tempting.

6  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals on: December 01, 2014, 02:59:30 PM
ExpanDrive is on sale today for 50% off.  This includes upgrades and multi-user packs.

Use coupon code HOLIDAYS14 at checkout.
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading on: November 25, 2014, 10:31:19 AM
The Nexus 7 (2012) is 1280x800 and works just fine for reading epub ebooks because text fonts scale to be readable on the small screen, so you don't notice the jaggies much.

The Nexus 7 (2013) has the same size screen, but the higher resolution (1920x1080) makes it noticeably better for reading pdf documents, which scale as an image rather than as flowed text.  Although some readers allow you to flow text in text based pdf files, all formatting is lost and I find it almost unreadable.

The Nexus 10 has 2560x1600 resolution on a 10 inch screen and I find it much easier to read most pdf documents on it.  But it weighs more than twice as much as the Nexus 7 (21.3 oz. vs. 10.5 oz.) which gets tiring after a while if you are holding it up while reading.  I tend to use the Nexus 7 to read epub books most  of the time.

I personally find higher resolution to be more important than screen size, but YMMV.  I just don't think that 1280x800 on a large screen would be a very pleasant experience.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / WinPrivacy on: November 24, 2014, 09:13:22 PM
Bret Lowry's Ruiware took over WinPatrol from BillP Studio earlier this year.  Now he is planning to introduce a new program called WinPrivacy which, as best as I can tell, will be sort of like WinPatrol for Internet connections with additional abilities to block some of the sneakier tracking methods.

WinPrivacy is expected to begin beta before the end of the year and to be available sometime in early 2015. Unlike WinPatrol, it will be sold on a subscription basis.  However, until the beta actually begins, Ruiware is offering a lifetime WinPrivacy license at 80% off to anyone with a paid WinPatrol Plus license.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Can anyone advise this developer on commercial licensing? on: November 18, 2014, 05:55:19 AM
My guess is that he uses components in his code that have restrictions on commercial use or redistribution.

He is located in Germany and I know nothing about German commercial law, but he seems knowledgeable enough to have consulted a lawyer.  If not, he should do so now.
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: location triggers for android on: November 07, 2014, 07:11:23 PM
I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to do with cell location, but Locale might do what I think you want.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Component return rates on: November 07, 2014, 11:23:22 AM
French web site hardware.fr has a comparison of computer component return rates.

The information was obtained from an unnamed major e-tailer. It ranks brands and models by name according to the percentage of items sold that were returned as defective.  Only models with a sample of 100 or more were counted. According to the author, the sample size for some unspecified items was in the tens of thousands.

The article is in French, but you don't need to understand the language to follow the return rate listings.

12  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DRM in your coffee maker, to stop you from brewing unlicensed coffees on: October 15, 2014, 12:02:27 PM
If you just want to use unlicensed pods in a Keurig 2.0, it is extremely simple to get around the DRM, as demonstrated in many YouTube videos like the following:


Keurig machines are great for places like offices and showrooms since they allow many people make single cups quickly with minimal mess, but for home use, I don't see any advantage. Aside from convenience, coffee has better flavor when made using the drip process than with the Keurig pressure system.

I prefer to buy coffee in the bean, grind small quantities for use within a few days, and use Melitta type filters, either in standalone cones or a drip coffee maker.  For single cups, a #4 cone works just as well as the "single cup" #2 cone, just use the right amount of coffee and water for what you want. 
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: September 30, 2014, 03:09:52 PM
Since the next version of Windows will be called Windows 10, Windows 9 might as well be free.
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for desktop calendar software that can sync with Google Calendar on: September 14, 2014, 10:11:50 PM
If you want to keep Outlook on the desktop, CompanionLink will do what you want at least as well as Google Sync.  Until a couple of years ago, I used Outlook as a PIM (I never used it for email) and found CompanionLink much better than Google Sync.

Since ditching Outlook, I have used EssentialPIM as a desktop client to keep a local copy of my Google calendar and contacts.  It's a solid program with a few infuriating design quirks, in particular, in how it handles multiple Google calendars.  I have also had occasional problems with synching complex situations, such as recurring events that have been modified both locally and on Google since the last sync.

I recently started using EMclient for its calendar and found it to handle Google synchronization much better than EPIM, but as a desktop client it is nowhere near as sophisticated. 

EPIM can be installed as a portable app and uses a single database file.  You can have as many databases as you want and put them where you want on your system.  You can specify when and where you want backup files created.  This makes it really easy to keep archives and to recover from problems.  It has a Year calendar view that I find useful for finding past events quickly and it seems to have no problem keeping data going back 3 or more years.

EMclient appears to use multiple files and provides no flexibility in where anything is located. While they do provide for automatic backups and export to iCAL or text files, they provide no information about what is what or where they put it, which makes me reluctant to trust them for archival purposes.  While the EMclient calendar is nicely done, the contacts module is, IMHO, too primitive to be useful.
When I get a chance, I'll probably give Vueminder a try.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Beyond Compare v4 Open Beta on: September 05, 2014, 06:30:42 PM
Beyond Compare 4 was released on September 1, 2014.

A list of changes from BC3 can be found here.

A list of features that also indicates the differences between Standard and Pro editions can be found here.
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / What Google (and others) know about you on: September 04, 2014, 12:02:33 PM
If you aren't already paranoid about  just how much information Google and others are collecting about you, this article by Woody Leonhard will probably cure you of your complacency.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Chrome and Malware detection on: August 16, 2014, 10:59:06 AM
Use 'autoruns' from the Sysinternals Suite before you install Chrome. Repeat this after Chrome is installed. There are quite some additions. One of these is Google Update. When using 'autoruns' to disable it from running when Windows starts...you just get a new entry of Google Update, that is set to boot automatically. Repeat ad infinitum.

Technically Chrome is not malware, but accompanying Google software behaves just like it. So....pot calling kettle black?
That's as major reason why I will not run Chrome, except in a VM.

I've recently been playing with Opera 23, which is based on Chromium and almost as fast as Chrome, but without the baggage.  Furthermore, it can be run as a portable app from a USB or a hard drive.

Opera 2x is still a work in progress, ,missing some critical features, like print preview, and some of the things that make Opera 12 such a joy, like the Wand password manager.  It is, however, noticeably faster than Firefox or Opera 12, so I'm using it more and more for casual surfing and reading, even if it isn't ready yet to become my main browser.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Diamond Editor, multi-platform successor to Crimson Editor on: July 30, 2014, 07:56:30 PM
According to the developer, the 32 bit version of EditPad Pro runs quite well on Linux under WINE.  Details here.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Top 25 Free Windows Utilities on: July 30, 2014, 06:00:17 PM
The slide show IS the list. You need to step through the slides to see the 25 items, along with Leonhard's comments on each.

Just be thankful it isn't a video!!!
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Top 25 Free Windows Utilities on: July 30, 2014, 01:30:39 PM
Here's Woody Leonhard's list of his top 25 free Windows utilities.
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I'd like to get a Windows Tablet: help me decide. on: July 23, 2014, 04:24:48 PM
Hmm, yes, this seems to be the case for me.  I want a larger screen for reading, like paper size.  I was testing some pdf's on a surface this weekend...I don't know about you, but i liked it a lot better than android.  It's just so fast and snappy.  I also like the fact that i can use my software like pdf xchange etc, which i prefer over my android reader (ezpdf).  we'll see, i think i'll like it a lot barring any hardware bugs.  of course, that's what i said about the windows phone 8, and it sucked.
I tried ezpdf on one of my Android tablets and quickly removed it because it was slow and choppy.

What I use most often for pdf on Android these days is Mantano Reader Premium, which is primarily an ePub reader, but also an excellent pdf reader, much faster and smoother at rendering than even Adobe Reader for Android.  Mantano excels in both document and library navigation.  I also use Moon+ Reader Pro (also primarily an ePub reader that supports pdf), and Repligo, a full featured reader that many prefer to ezpdf but that seems to have been mysteriously discontinued last month.

While I do use PDFXchange on Windows, I can't imagine using it on a tablet because the menu and toolbar interface would be a nightmare on a touchscreen, even with a stylus.

I use two different Android tablets for reading, depending on the document.  For ePub books, which can reflow and resize text, I mostly use a Nexus 7 (2013), which has 1920x1080 resolution and is very light and feels like a light paperback when held in the hand. For larger documents, like 8.5x11 pdf papers, as well as heavily illustrated books, I use a Nexus 10, which has a 2560x1600 screen resolution. Both of these tablets have magnetic covers that turn the display off when you close them, making the reading experience feel even more like a book.  Also, both the Kindle and Nook for Android apps have now improved to the point where they provide a much superior reading experience than the Windows versions, when you are reading books purchased from those sources.

I have tried using the Android tablets for serious work with a keyboard and mouse and, while it can be done in a pinch, it doesn't compare to a Windows notebook.  I've looked at the Surface Pro and it is a really nice Windows notebook, but seriously limited and overpriced for what it is.  If money were no object, I'd buy one just for the fun of it, but I can't see it ever being either my primary working notebook computer or my primary reading device.
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I'd like to get a Windows Tablet: help me decide. on: July 22, 2014, 09:13:09 PM
I don't miss anything in my workflow by not using a tablet, except recently for one thing...reading.  So I want the SP3 basically to use as a reader.  Lol, i know it's overkill (aren't you guys used to me by now?). 

Anyway...I'm getting it this week.  Cool
I wouldn't call that overkill, I'd call it misapprehension.

I use my Android tablets mostly for reading and one reason I do is that the reading apps available on Android tablets are far better than anything equivalent on Windows.

There are a lot of very good reasons to get a Windows 8.1 tablet. Reading is NOT one of them.
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I'd like to get a Windows Tablet: help me decide. on: July 22, 2014, 07:34:04 AM
See my earlier post for my initial reaction to acquiring Lenovo's entry level 8 inch Miix 2 Windows 8.1 tablet.

Four months later, I remain very impressed with the potential of the Windows tablet, and also frustrated by the real world limitations of the environment.  If you need an actual keyboard and mouse to work -- and in most cases, you do -- you lose many of the advantages of a tablet. Also, the Windows desktop does not have the built-in capability of Android and iOS to resize or zoom the screen, which can make it difficult to read, at least for my aging eyes.

I consider the 8 inch form factor ideal for carrying around at all times, but the limitations of the Windows desktop display make it unsuitable for almost any purpose I would use it for. A ten inch or larger tablet is better, but you lose portability and still don't get much in return because of the way the Windows desktop handles screen resolutions. The Metro environment is utterly unusable under any circumstances, IMHO.

As of now, I see the Windows 8.x tablet as mostly an extremely portable CPU that can be hooked into a monitor, keyboard and mouse when needed.  Windows simply does not work as well as Android or iOS for tablet functions like reading, listening to music, viewing video and quick access to a variety of ad hoc utilities.  That means that I still need two devices when I really want just one that can do it all.

But I remain hopeful.

In any event, I would not buy a Windows tablet today that did not have both USB 3.0 and either HDMI or Displayport.
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / The Web Never Forgets on: July 22, 2014, 06:24:27 AM
If you value your privacy online, this paper from researchers at Princeton and Leuven universities will be deeply depressing.

One of the reasons I don't use the Chrome browser is that I've always assumed that Google had built persistent tracking mechanisms into it. -- Don't do evil! Don't make me laugh! -- But it now looks like no browser is safe from the relentless efforts of those who make a living by selling your eyeballs to paying customers.
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Facebook plays with your mind on: July 07, 2014, 05:30:23 PM
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a formal complaint today with the Federal Trade Commission over Facebook's "experiment."
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