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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Microsoft 'Signature' PCs on: Today at 12:25:41 PM
In the Microsoft Store, you can buy Signature Edition PCs- PCs made by other vendors and sold with just the operating system and drivers and microsoft defender installed.  It seems that they have seen what I've seen- that purchasing a pre-build PC is an experience in frustration when you get home with it.

Not sure how long this has been going on- maybe I'm late to the show.  But it looks like a step in the right direction towards pressuring vendors to stop monetizing their consumers and make their money on the sales of their hardware instead of the sales of computer users' privacy and online safety.

Quote
No junkware or trialware

Some new PCs come pre-installed with programs, toolbars, utilities and screensavers that you might not want and may never use. This can slow down your computer and junk up your Start screen or desktop. When you buy a new PC at Microsoft Store, we ensure there's no third-party junkware or trialware installed.

There are offerings from Dell, HP, Asus, Toshiba, and there are some great deals.  I just picked up an HP Stream 7... as you might remember, I had a windows device but sold it.  But at this price point, I don't see how I can go wrong- $79 and a $25 app store credit and a free subscription to office 365.

There's also a section on Value Laptops that they're positioning to take on the Chromebook.

Looks like a good way to incentivize the industry towards going towards clean builds and clean installs, and hopefully stop things like the Superfish debacle from being a concern.
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ghacks is dying and needs your help on: February 27, 2015, 04:22:48 PM
I tried whitelisting.  But... there's a whole lot there that I don't know why it's there.  I'd suggest anyone going that route ask the questions about what these items are for- because even though he might not be doing anything, I don't trust those that he's trusted to serve his ads.

He gives Patreon as another option, and the option that I've chosen instead of whitelisting.  I do it with several things that I support as an alternative to monetization, and it seems to work.
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Leonard Nimoy, Dead at 83 on: February 27, 2015, 02:04:23 PM
I grew up on Star Trek, not in any way as a trailblazer of Sci-Fi on TV nor any of the stereotypes that it broke, but just as entertainment.

One constant, more than anything else during that time, was Mr Spock.  He was my favorite from the beginning- and the reason behind this was that Leonard Nimoy's performance embodied and defined the role.  No where is this more profoundly shown than in Star Trek II - the best of the best IMO.

Now, he's dead.

He leaves behind a great legacy.  And a great last tweet that shows, in some way, that great entertainers know how to make a great exit.

Quote

RIP, Leonard Nimoy.
4  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Why Do We Pay Pure Mathematicians? on: February 27, 2015, 09:35:00 AM
If I Reacted to Other People’s Careers the Way They React to Me Becoming a Mathematician

http://putitallonred.com/...becoming-a-mathematician/

 Grin
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / False Positives OpEd from WinPatrol on: February 26, 2015, 05:55:48 PM
At DonationCoder we've discussed False Positives and how they affect freeware/OSS developers.  It's good to see an OpEd from someone in the security side of the industry and how it affects them as a company.

Antivirus industry deluding itself

The one thing this doesn't address is the costs with submitting software for the "Trusted Source" initiative, both in man hours and money, and the fact that to people that don't make a living off of selling software, it can seem like this is aimed at squeezing out Freeware and OSS contributors.

In fact, if you look at the bottom of the announcement from Google, you'll see that this isn't just an idle fear.

Quote
So what are the next steps? We are looking to grow our collection of trusted software, if you happen to be a very large software development company you might want to contact us in order to share this data and help us mitigate the issue of false positives. Please note that this initiative is not open to potentially unwanted applications and adware developers.

And the bad thing?  The emphasis isn't mine.

So where does this leave you with google automagically blocking and deleting files that the user downloads if you're not large enough to be one of the trusted vendors?

Out in the cold.
6  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / XBox Live Gold for $39.99 on: February 26, 2015, 12:08:31 PM
Not sure how long this will last... $20 off via download of code, or card.

http://www.microsoftstore...2c3e8b832d67522a3d4067f13
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Beware of download sites on: February 25, 2015, 12:24:29 PM
^^ I guess that covers PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Software"), but not NSAware of course - because the latter isn't harmful per se.
Quote
"Do no evil"

Yeah, right.

All's fair in love and war.

You didn't get the memo?  They ninja removed it a while ago.  This is the full blown evil Google generation.
8  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Logitech G910 Keyboard Review on: February 24, 2015, 06:37:01 PM
[attach=#]

Website: http://gaming.logitech.co.../rgb-gaming-keyboard-g910
MSR Price: $179.99

The Logitech G910 Keyboard, dubbed the 'Orion Spark', immediately caught my attention.  I've long before standardized on the Logitech series of peripherals after vacillating between several brands, and now have the Logitech G13 Keypad, G930 Wireless Headphones, G710+ Keyboard, and G602 mouse.  I have several other Logitech peripherals also- they've been pretty reliable with dependable and easy to use software (that comes into play later), and features that fully leverage the uses of the peripheral in question.

In general, because of my use of the G13, I don't really use the keyboard for anything but chatting/typing and anything I couldn't fit on my profile.  But for development, I've found that the feel of the gaming keyboards is better suited than most of the non-gaming class keyboards.  So I didn't really have that many needs or expectations going into this.  The primary things I liked were the lighting options, the romer-g switches, and the Arx control integration.  The Arx control is an app that you download on your Android or iOS device, and it communicates with your devices attached to your computer, to show layouts of controls, resources of the computer, and even control the launching of games and such.  It divorces the UI elements that they've been trying to integrate into devices from the device itself, which I thought was a good idea.

Unboxing, the G910 seemed a bit flimsy in construction compared to the G710+.  The G710+ feels really solid, and like it's built to last for years, the G910 hails back to the more flimsy construction of prior lower end keyboards like the G15.  It has only one cord, which was better than the G710+, but it has no passthroughs, so that explains the simpler connections.  But as I've never used passthroughs, that wasn't a concern.  Connecting it was a breeze as usual, but then I found that it didn't show up in my Logitech Gaming Software. After some research online, I found that they had made several updates to the gaming software, and one of them introduced the G910, so that made sense.  Downloading it, I ran into my first problem.  The site didn't let me download the 64-bit version of the software, and the 32 bit version won't install on a 64-bit system.  After some research, I found that it was mirrored on another site because this has apparently been a problem on the Logitech site for a few months now.  Troubling, but at least I got the software.

The software was all it said it was and more.  You could customize it to the nth degree- both hardware and software uses.  It added functionality to my already installed peripherals.  And the ability to light up regions on the keyboard in different colors based on the game profile- it made me think of using my keyboard more and my G13 less.

[attach=#]

The keys are strangely shaped, but I became used to it quickly- they have a beveled area in the center of the key, which really helps to increase my typing speed strangely enough, and give feedback that my finger is positioned in the key.  The switches themselves, I didn't notice much difference between them and cherry MX brown keys.  They do have an o-ring around each key, which gives a bit of dead space when the key is clicked, which I don't really like as I love the clickiness of mechanical keyboards, but I got used to it.

It seemed the perfect keyboard, but as time went on, I began to become less enamored.  It was more a function of the software update rather than the keyboard itself however. 

As I stated, you can program the game to respond to the profile that you have loaded, and color keys according to that profile.  But in the case that you aren't gaming, you have to go into the software and switch it from profile lighting scheme to  another scheme, or all of your keys won't be lit-up.  An annoyance, but with the SDK I knew I could program something that would take care of this, and it was pretty well detailed and simple, even if I was going to have to do a refresher on LUA as the scripting language uses it.

The larger issue was the memory usage/footprint.  Normally it ranges around 40M to 70M or so with the UI open for LCore.exe- the main program.  I was playing a game, and the game was all of a sudden responding less after an extended gaming session.  The LCore process was using 4GB(!) of RAM.  I found several references, both on their forums and on other outlets to this- it has been a problem since build 145 was released last year.  One was even in a review, though it didn't affect the final score as "they have to fix it at some point".  Apparently not, as they've barely acknowledged it, and refer you to a user workaround, which is a stopgap measure, and disables the use of the Arx control and resets your lighting profiles each time you use it.

[attach=#]

I've also tried my own workarounds- one was using Process Governor (great app, by the way) to limit the amount of memory that it could allocate.  I figured it would catch it, close, and I could just restart it.  It doesn't handle out of memory exceptions at all, and crashed my computer 3x before I gave up on that approach.  So I tried to create a batch file that would use pskill to kill it on demand, and then restart it.  Apparently, after restarting it, the memory leak is even worse, because I've noticed that actually starting the process, I can watch it gobble memory.  As a last resort, I coded something to use the memory level to trigger the restart, but that's when I found out how bad the memory leak actually was- once it starts getting higher in usage, the scale of memory loss is not a standard progression, and so it would shoot past my set limit before I could do anything about it.

I really love the keyboard.  But the software is killing it.  I'm comntemplating whether to return it (it was a gift, so doing so involves more than just taking it back), or just hoping that they fix the software eventually.  My personal verdict?  Give it a pass for now.

Reference to threads:

http://forums.logitech.co...gh-CPU-Usage/m-p/1347537/
http://forums.logitech.co...E-memory-leak/m-p/400788/
http://forums.logitech.co...GB-of-memory/m-p/1364183/
http://forums.logitech.co...k-fix-coming/m-p/1364612/
http://forums.logitech.co...ment-stalled/m-p/1365608/
http://forums.logitech.co...Memory-Usage/m-p/1359785/
http://forums.logitech.co...ing-Software/m-p/1303133/



9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Meshnets are happening (mini-Internets that connect to the Internet) on: February 24, 2015, 05:29:15 PM
My chance to be lazy  Grin

http://www.reddit.com/r/d...rn_virginia_mesh_network/

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...munity_networks_by_region

http://novamesh.net/
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Meshnets are happening (mini-Internets that connect to the Internet) on: February 24, 2015, 02:29:14 PM

That's what his metamesh link links to, right?  Or is that something different?
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: February 23, 2015, 07:53:06 PM
My favorite one...

https://www.reddit.com/r/...poitras_and_glenn/coupfs7

Quote
To Glenn, whatever happened to the "list of U.S. citizens that the N.S.A spied on?" You announced plans to release it, then nothing - can you tell us where that list went and why it was never published?
Source: http://www.washingtontime...st-us-citizens-nsa-spied/

Formatted for C# with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. function hasNSAWiretap(citizen) {
  2.  return true;
  3. }



12  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Conditional diary on: February 23, 2015, 11:54:14 AM
http://getorganized.fcorg...rm_your_plans_into_action

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LJnyVVJors

Those go into the Franklin Planning system, which is very similar to what you put forth.

When I was using it (I use GTD now as it's more compatible with Agile), I used Achieve Planner and PlanPlus, but they're not free.  But the Franklin System is pretty standard, so you should be able to find it with a good search.
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Internet Lynch Mobs on: February 23, 2015, 11:23:13 AM
from http://www.theguardian.co...-lindsey-stone-jon-ronson

Quote
'Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone

When a friend posted a photograph of charity worker Lindsey Stone on Facebook, she never dreamed she would lose her job and her reputation. Two years on, could she get her life back?

Scary stuff.  And at least some form of justification for the slightly paranoid way that I handle online identity.
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Conditional diary on: February 22, 2015, 09:51:41 PM
Any PIM that supports the Franklin Planner methodology of prioritization would support what Tomos was suggesting.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo on: February 21, 2015, 09:41:24 PM
I think I stand by this. I am making my own problems with upgrade woes but my current comp is custom built that we did as a project and when it's your buddy building it you know generally there's no weird stuff (initially!) on there.

I haven't found a practical way to assemble appropriate notebook PCs, but for desktop / server, have almost always gone with custom.


Same here.  It just isn't practical to assemble a laptop from what I've seen.  The desktop/server- because of the ability to choose individual parts- is practical for a build.  Laptops haven't seemed to reach that level yet.

And I do think it's only laptops that were affected by this...
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo on: February 21, 2015, 01:27:43 PM
Are you saying that you overwrite their OS with the installation media that comes with the hardware? 
If so, do they supply CDs, or do you burn them, or have another source?  If from Lenovo, these are clean unlike the PCs they sent out?

Just want to have a clearer explanation.
Clearly overwriting with Mint is another story.

Steven

Well, from a corporate standpoint, they have images that they have created that are licensed and install the exact same image onto each category (developer, analyst, etc) of user.

Personally, I don't buy laptops that don't include actual installation media that is certified bare bones windows.  In the case of those that don't provide the same, in many cases they provide computers without the operating system.

Some include restoration partitions that already have the crapware in them.

Of course, I haven't bought a laptop in years... so not sure if it's possible to buy a mainstream without the OS now.  But in that case, you'd have to purchase the OS separately and install it.  I had to do that on my last laptop.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo on: February 20, 2015, 11:48:07 AM
If you overwrite, you're fine.  I received that link from my IT department (we use Lenovo's), and they do the same thing.  When we get them in, they overwrite with a standard image.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: email notifiers (whew) on: February 20, 2015, 10:31:49 AM
I use Checker Plus for Gmail (and for Calendar), and it works well.

http://jasonsavard.com/checkerPlusForGmail

I've not paid for it thus far, but am considering it if that gives any indication of my level of endorsement.  But that's more of a level of comfort of it just works.

The only issue I've had with it thus far has been the fact that when I login via mstsc vs directly, the notification doesn't adjust very well unless I close the browser and re-open it.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo on: February 20, 2015, 10:20:05 AM
You can check to see if you're affected: https://filippo.io/Badfish/
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft OneNote - some experiential Tips & Tricks on: February 19, 2015, 08:06:02 AM
The manner in which I use it day to day is to have it on my secondary screen, partially transparent so I can see the actual apps on the second screen beneath it without switching back and forth.  As it just displays images, you can change up the display size also in order to make it as small as you want, and therefore take up as little space as you want.  I need to get back to it, because I was going to add the option of a global hot key to advance the image, which I've found would be useful.

Just an idea that I thought to posit when I saw your pop-up screen.
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Cell Phone Questions on: February 18, 2015, 04:09:27 PM

I'm not one of the cool kids... what does that mean?
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft OneNote - some experiential Tips & Tricks on: February 18, 2015, 04:08:10 PM
^ you might also do this with ROT, so you don't have to use a hotkey or dismiss it.  Just a shameless plug smiley
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Cell Phone Questions on: February 18, 2015, 01:50:15 PM
My main questions were answered...

Are there phones that can be used only when necessary?  No

Are there bare-bones phones?  No camera, no touchscreen, just a phone?  No

Those answers are incorrect.  You just have to look at more "senior-friendly" phones.

You can also take a look at Consumer Cellular: https://www.consumercellular.com/Info/Plans

Quote

Voice Plans   Minutes   Monthly Fee
Anywhere Casual   0   $10.00   Select
If you rarely use a cell phone but want the comfort and safety of owning one, then our Anywhere Casual plan is the one for you. Under this plan, you pay the lowest monthly fee possible ($10.00) and only pay for minutes if you use them (25¢). Most customers on this plan use 20 cell phone minutes or less per month, and sometimes none at all. This plan is ideal for emergency or casual use. Of course, you may upgrade to a different plan at any time.

Not sure if there are any other phone services out there like that... but it comes out to what Mouser was saying earlier... about $120 a year.  They don't have phones without a camera... but it doesn't have any of the other stuff you didn't want.  And they have bring your own phone plans.

And tracfone has phones that are even more barebones than that... surprised that it wasn't mentioned.

http://www.tracfone.com/p...3280P_EN&title=LG3280

But in general, in order to not have to use a phone for more than 90 days, it's going to cost you a bit over $100 a year.
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Destroying your hard drive is the only way to stop this super-advanced malware on: February 18, 2015, 10:45:08 AM
Yes. Mr. Bond and all. But will Americans still be making jokes about this five years from now ? Two years before when I arrived here for school I thought I would like to stay. I am less sure I want to now. What is done by some in your country good name is terrible. And most here wish to not know about this if they can. I have concerns about saying things like this since I am a guest here. I did not feel that way before. Your game has changed for all of you. And my self too.

Hello Mr. Vortext.  Let me introduce you to Mr Basement.  It's an unsavory place, but we discuss such concerns there over your favorite alcoholic beverage (to numb the pain).

I've found it's best only to visit... and not to stay (per the Read In in that section).  But it is useful for discussion, though some choose not to go there as this isn't the purpose they visit DC for (or other ... reasons).

You're always welcome, however- here and there.  Grin

(and as an aside, sometimes, humor is the only medicine for such truths)
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Destroying your hard drive is the only way to stop this super-advanced malware on: February 18, 2015, 08:43:59 AM
That's convoluted and asinine enough to be believable. It does, however, have one major flaw. Nobody in the intelligence business thinks that far ahead. Technically, you could say we have no intelligence agencies - just counter intelligence, and only in the most literal sense.

BWAHAHAHAHAAH~!

Yep. Pretty much! cheesy



What renegade said.  And I bow to the master.  I mean... master of intelligence.  I mean... counter to the counter-intelligence.

 Grin Thmbsup
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