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1  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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ltx1mMoneE
http://youtu.be/YtMR-2CNGgY

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. 
2  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.
3  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.
4  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.
5  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.
6  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.
7  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.
8  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!!!
9  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.
10  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.
11  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.
12  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.
13  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.
14  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."
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Android malware on: July 02, 2014, 05:16:19 PM
I received an email alert today from a credit union where I have an account warning me about a new variant of Android malware called Svpeng that seems to have the US banking industry very worried.

You can read details about Svpeng on the Kaspersky blog.

While I do use online banking, I have always avoided using any bank's Android apps, for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I don't trust any of them to enforce either privacy or security competently.  That now seems to be a wise approach.
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Programmers: What size monitors do you guys prefer? on: June 22, 2014, 10:02:36 AM
About a month ago, I went from a 24ā€ 1920x1080 monitor to a 27ā€ 2560x1440 monitor. 

While I greatly appreciate the larger work space, I had to increase the default Windows text size from Medium to Larger in order to be able to read much of what is on the screen.  This has made me acutely aware that support for large fonts is really inconsistent in a lot of software.  All too often, text in dialog boxes is cut off or nearly unreadable.  Iā€™d guess this problem would be worse on a 4K monitor.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: Android: (Wired) File Transfers from PC on: June 13, 2014, 03:06:54 PM
Another option, if the USB port on your device supports OTG (USB On The Go), is an OTG flash drive like this one.  It has a micro USB male plug in addition to the regular USB A plug and supports USB 3.0 on the PC side.  You can also buy OTG cables for less than $10 that allow you to plug any USB flash drive into the Android device.
 
You will also need an app like Stickmount (requires root) or Nexus Media Importer to read from the flash drive on the Android side.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: Android: (Wired) File Transfers from PC on: June 12, 2014, 09:26:50 PM
Wired transfers are a real PITA with most of the newer Android phones because Google does not want users to be able to access the file system from outside Android.  Wireless transfers are much easier because there are many Android file managers that allow you to browse a Windows network and transfer files in either direction.

Most of the time, I use the X-plore File Manager to transfer files to my Android devices.  

If I want to move a lot of files in or out, or back things up, I will load an ftp server on the Android device -  there are a number of them, but the one I've settled on is built into File Expert, another file manager.  Then I can access the ftp server from a PC and transfer files -- I usually use Beyond Compare for this.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Call to arms on net neutrailty on: June 05, 2014, 02:13:09 PM
So many people tried to post comments on the FCC Web site after watching John Oliver's very funny rant on net neutrality a few days ago that the site crashed.

There have been some complaints from the usual suspects that Oliver doesn't understand net neutrality, but IMHO, he has done all of us a great favor by bringing the debate to the masses in a way that the masses can actually understand.
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: May 30, 2014, 08:54:37 PM
In response to Secretary of State John Kerry's statement that Snowden is a traitor and a coward because he won't come back to the U.S. to face a fair trial, like Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon papers, Daniel Ellsberg commented today that:
Quote
Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: May 28, 2014, 04:56:38 PM
NBC News is supposed to air their interview with Snowden tonight.  In the meantime, the network has posted an excerpt in which he states that he was not a low level technician, but was in fact trained as a spy and did undercover work for the CIA and NSA.
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Nice guide to using a RAM disk on: May 27, 2014, 12:15:25 PM
TechARP has posted the RAM Disk Guide Rev. 2.0, a useful guide to when and how to use a ram disk under Windows.

23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements on: May 21, 2014, 09:17:32 AM
The Philips "lollipop" (as 40Hz dubbed it) design is supposed to provide an internal channel to circulate heat away from the base, allowing for a smaller heat sink, and thus a lighter and cheaper bulb.
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Hey Mouser... you still drowning in student loan debt? on: May 20, 2014, 09:15:10 AM
Here's some current statistical information from Pew Research about student debt and its socio-economic effects.

Read it and weep.

25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How long do hard drives actually live for? on: May 20, 2014, 06:46:11 AM
Backblaze has a new report that shows absolutely no correlation between drive temperature and failure, based on  data they collected from 34,000 hard drives.

In other words, keeping drives cool does nothing to keep them running longer.
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