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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: facebook tracing on: April 24, 2015, 07:53:53 AM
please understand it's not the location I live and I typed in fb when I opened the account, that got revealed, it's my actual location at the time of the conversation!

Your Internet connection provides geolocation information whenever you are online.

This is the case even if you turn off location services in your browser or mobile device (if you even have that choice), because all service providers capture this information and sell it to data brokers and online services.  If you connect through a mobile phone, your precise location is captured, at least in the US, because all mobile phones are required to provide GPS coordinates for emergency services and law enforcement.

Facebook makes your location available to advertisers to "enhance the customer experience" by informing you of sellers near you. 
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion on: April 22, 2015, 08:32:16 PM
In my experience, problems with USB 3.0 have come from the controller on the computer, or more specifically the drivers for the host controller.  It's worth seeing if newer drivers are available for the chipset on your host controller.

eSATA is very stable, but it will not work with drives >2TB on older computers that do not have BIOS support for large drives, whereas USB 3.0 (with a reasonably recent driver) will.

I have successfully used a U3eSATA USB to eSATA converter to attach a 3GB drive in an eSATA enclosure through a USB 3.0 port to an older computer that would not recognize it when connected directly to the computer's eSATA port.
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Simpler tax forms? Intuit says NO! on: April 16, 2015, 06:03:10 PM
Yesterday was Tax Day for those of us who live and work in the USA – the day by which you need to file your income tax return with the IRS.  If you wonder why the process is so complicated, don’t blame the agency, which would actually like to make it easier for most taxpayers (and itself).  It seems that the main roadblock to simplifying the way taxes are filed is a massive lobbying effort by Intuit, the makers of TurboTax software, which has spent over $13 million dollars over the past 5 years lobbying against reform.
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: pound symbol on: April 16, 2015, 05:28:52 PM
I keep a cheat sheet of symbols and foreign characters that I frequently need in a text file.  When I need one of those characters,  I copy from that sheet and paste into whatever I am writing.

You can also use the Windows Character Map program, which includes the GBP character (£) and most anything else you are likely to need on any Western keyboard.  Character Map used to be in the Accessories group in the Start Menu, but disappeared in Windows 7.  However, it is still included with Windows and you can call it up by typing "Character Map" (without the quotes) in the Start Menu search box.  It's a little clunky, but it works.

5  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: So, what pdf reader app is your fav? on: April 12, 2015, 11:12:02 PM
SumatraPDF is a great file viewer and the fact that it supports so many formats makes it a great tool to keep on hand, particularly as a portable viewer.  That said, it is too bare-bones to be my regular pdf viewer. A major problem for me is print support - pages cannot be resized or fitted to paper size. It also has no editing support and does not support forms at all, making it unusable in many situations.

Adobe Reader is now ridiculously bloated and larded with "features" that attempt to get you to buy additional online services from Adobe. I gave up on it after Version 9.5.  For several years, I have used PDF Xchange Pro, but the free version is probably adequate for most people.  It's not noticeably slower than SumatraPDF and actually performs better with very large and complex documents, in my experience.
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Why are car stereos so flimsy? on: April 03, 2015, 11:40:35 AM
The market for third party car stereos is fast disappearing.   Recent car models tend to use proprietary designs integrated with the dashboard and other parts of the electronic control system that tie into things like steering wheel controls and hands free phone systems.

Also, starting in 2015, all new cars sold in the US have to incorporate back-up cameras, meaning they will all have video screens in the dashboard. You can expect the audio system controls to migrate to that screen as well.  Apple and Google are furiously working to sign up auto manufacturers, so within a few years, all new cars will offer iOS and/or Android extensions for the dash screen. I'd expect Microsoft to follow suit.

Personally, I like having physical buttons I can use without taking my eyes off the road, but I suspect that voice controls will become a lot more common in the future.
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / MS-DOS Mobile on: April 01, 2015, 07:06:10 PM
I don't have a Windows Phone, but this would almost make it worth getting one.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What books are you reading? on: March 20, 2015, 11:11:27 AM
Just finished "The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere" by Kevin Carey.

http://www.amazon.com/End...Everywhere/dp/1594632057/

Like many journalists, the author does a better job of explaining the way things are and how they got that way than in predicting where they are going, but this should be a must read for Mouser!



9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading on: March 15, 2015, 04:20:16 PM
Sony has been selling the Digital Paper directly to consumers in the U.S. since last summer through their online store, but I'm not sure they are still making the device.  It's currently listed as "back-ordered" on the site.

Sony pulled out of the e-book market late last year and said they would not be making readers any more.  Whether that includes the Digital Paper is an open question.

10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Once-in-a-century Pi Day 03/14/15 on: March 14, 2015, 09:46:26 AM
Pi is an irrational number and can only be represented in decimal notation as an approximation.

In the case of Pi, rounding (3.1416) provides a better decimal approximation than truncation (3.1415).

I conclude therefore that next year's Pi day (3/14/16) will be a closer fit than this year's Pi day.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Need help guidance as a beginner of Android world on: March 11, 2015, 09:29:08 PM
There is no global undelete in Android and the Android OS is very aggressive about reclaiming memory and storage space.  If in doubt, don't delete things before you copy them somewhere.

You can backup photos and videos automatically by turning on auto-backup in the Google Photo app. See here for more information.

Google's backup service will automatically backup most apps and the data they own (but not external data you have worked on with an app like an editor or reader).  This is only useful if you do a factory reset, in which case your apps will be restored after the device has been wiped.  Check that "Backup My Data" is enabled under Settings/Backup and Reset.

For backing up data files in general, I recommend X-plore File Manager, a dual pane file manager that makes it very easy to copy files to and from other computers on your local network as well as backup data to various cloud services.
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interested in doing my own car maintenance.. Advice? on: March 11, 2015, 08:18:46 PM
Cars need a lot less maintenance nowadays than they used to, and a lot of the maintenance they do need is not something that you can do yourself.  It is often said that cars today are basically computers with wheels.  All new cars sold in the US since 1996 are required to have an accessible OBD-II port (On-Board Diagnostics). You can buy an inexpensive device to check the diagnostic codes if you get an engine check light, but the equipment you would need to do any serious troubleshooting or tuning can cost more than the car itself.

The most important thing is to follow the manufacturer’s schedule for changing oil, filters and other fluids, but given your projected usage, you (or your car) might die of old age before you need to replace a spark plug.  You won’t save much money doing the ordinary things yourself, but it can be interesting, at least for a while. 

I’d suggest looking for an introductory course in auto repair at a local technical school.  It will be well worth your while if you actually do decide you want to do your own maintenance.
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Vivaldi, the new Web browser for power users on: March 09, 2015, 10:17:20 PM
Opera has been my favorite browser for Web surfing since version 3.50, 16 years ago. Hard to believe now, but a single user license cost $35 back then!  Yet it has never been my default browser, if only because too many sloppily designed commercial sites simply don't work properly with it.

The new Chromium Opera is definitely faster, but at first was missing too many essential features to be usable.  That is no longer the case and it is now my primary surfing browser.  I haven't completely removed Opera 12 from my system, but I have unpinned it from my taskbar and haven't used it for a while.  Opera Chromium seems to work fine anywhere that Chrome does, without the snoopware and invasive baggage that Google builds into Chrome. Opera Chromium has a growing number of extensions of its own and can work with many Chrome extensions.

While Firefox remains my default browser on Windows, it is definitely beginning to suffer from bloat and weird UI decisions. If not for the Classic Theme Restorer extension, I might have dropped it.  I also use SeaMonkey on Windows.

I've almost completely abandoned Firefox on Android. It's become just too bloated and slow to be usable.  Chrome works best on that platform, of course, but I also use Opera for Android and Dolphin, which allow more private browsing without having to load an incognito tab every time I look something up.

14  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Leonard Nimoy, Dead at 83 on: March 08, 2015, 06:51:39 PM
He was a man of many talents.
And a quirky sense of humor, as evidenced in his photography.

I heard him speak at the opening of the exhibition of "Secret Selves" at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for program that can copy folder hierarchy with checkboxes and size est. on: March 01, 2015, 12:40:36 PM
XYplorer lets you list all files in a hierarchy as a single list with checkboxes and copy those checked to a destination folder.  If you don't want to preserve folder hierarchy, that's a little easier than Beyond Compare.

Both Beyond Compare and XYplorer display the total size of selected files in the status bar.
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for program that can copy folder hierarchy with checkboxes and size est. on: March 01, 2015, 10:49:23 AM
it actually looks like perhaps Beyond Compare, one of my most essential tools -- may be able to do this flawlessly.. Another victory for BC... with the added bonus that I already own it!
I was going to suggest Beyond Compare, which I use for that purpose.

What was not clear from the original post was whether you want to keep the folder structure or copy files from multiple folders into a single folder. 

I keep music organized in folders for each album within category folders, within overall type folders, so a specific track might be \Multimedia\MP3\Classical\Album_name\Track_number on my hard disk. I also keep a lot of identifying information in text, pdf and image files at various levels in that hierarchy, but don't want to copy most of that to the USB stick or SD card in a player.

BC preserves directory structure when copying and will copy only the files selected while creating the folder hierarchy containing them on the destination, starting from the base folders.  So if I set \Multimedia\MP3\Classical\ as base on the hard disk and \Music\ on the USB stick, and copy \Multimedia\MP3\Classical\Album1\Track1 to the USB stick, the track will go to \Music\Album1\Track1, with folder Album1 created on the fly if it does not already exist in the destination base folder.

This is the way I do it, but if what you want is to place multiple selected tracks from different folders into a single folder on the destination end, you would use the "Copy to folder" command from the Action menu, then enter the destination folder and select "Don't keep folder structure" in the dialog box.

By the way, BC works great over ftp, so it can be used in much the same way to manage music and ebook collections over WiFi on Android devices that do not have removable SD cards (there are many Android ftp server apps on Google Play).
17  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Total Uninstall 50% off at BDJ on: February 28, 2015, 07:19:12 AM
Total Uninstall is 50% off at Bits Du Jour today (Feb 28 2015).

Note that it requires a hardware footprint and does not allow re-installation on a computer if you move the license to another one.  As a rule, I won't use any program that imposes that kind of restriction on principle, but I like Total Uninstall so much that I have made an exception for it.  The developer is also quite responsive.
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo on: February 20, 2015, 07:00:23 AM
I feel personally aggrieved in this matter.  I bought a Lenovo Miix 2-8 nearly a year ago (before they began loading Superfish) and was pleasantly surprised at how well it runs Windows. But the screen is too small and low-res to use for any real work, so I was about to buy a Lenovo Yoga 2 10 inch Windows tablet. Needless to say, I will look elsewhere and expect to never purchase a Lenovo product again.

It’s pretty clear from their statements that the folk at Lenovo don’t think that they did anything wrong, just that they “messed up” and got caught.  The only way to teach people like this is to hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook.

I generally detest lawyers who file class action lawsuits, but I would suspect that Lenovo is going to face a bunch of them and this is one situation where I hope the predators get their pound of flesh.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo on: February 19, 2015, 11:31:47 AM
It seems that Lenovo has been preloading their consumer grade laptops with ad-injecting spyware.

Even worse, this particular spyware installs its own root certificate and serves fake certificates on the fly.

You can read more about it here.
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: The return of Clippy! Microsoft says more about their digital assistant Cortana on: February 12, 2015, 12:22:07 PM
Clippy and Cortana serve completely different purposes.

The money quote in the Microsoft PR release is this:  “She will learn your preferences, provide quick access to information, and make recommendations personalized for you.”

Translated into English, that means that the primary function of Cortana (as with Siri and Google Now) is to collect personal information about you to sell your profile to marketers.


21  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: February 03, 2015, 12:16:28 PM
CookieKeeper is a replacement for CookieCuller, which I've depended on for years to manage cookies on Firefox.

According to the developer, CookieKeeper started out as an attempt to update CookieCuller, but evolved into a complete rewrite, with many more features than the original, including an excellent cookie editor.

Very nice.

22  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: 010 Editor (hex editor) discounted today at bitsdujour.com on: February 02, 2015, 10:42:24 AM
If you know what you are doing, it is perfectly possible to use most any hex editor to edit text in certain files without "breaking" them.  For example, I have modified unencrypted messages in programs I used to distribute but which could no longer be compiled from source for various reasons.

010 is not unique in being able to do that, and much of its functionality is available in various other tools.  What it offers is convenience - a single program with which I can examine and, when appropriate, edit the contents of any file, text or otherwise, from an explorer right click. It can even edit disk file systems and in-memory processes directly.  One of the nicest features is templates which decode the header structures of many types of files.  The developer provides a library of these for commonly used file types (zip, pdf, exe, dll, etc.), but you can write your own.

Of course, as with any power tool, it's up to the user to be careful when using it.
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Memory lane for motorists on: February 02, 2015, 09:45:37 AM
I hate sites that provide only slide shows rather than letting you see a list of the items, and life is too short to step one-by-one through 100 slides.

For several years, I drove a 1974 Fiat 124 Sport Spider.  Lots of fun to drive, not so much to tune the dual points carburetor.
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Why phishing won't go away on: January 24, 2015, 11:07:53 AM
This is from the reply received in response to an email forwarded to the address Intuit provides to report phishing attempts.

Thank you for your recent message to the TurboTax Privacy Team.

We also thank you for reporting this e-mail to us as it is not legitimate. We are investigating now and will take action on it. We have the following support site article to help you understand phishing and what you can do to avoid it.

http://turbotax.com/support/go/-------    [case reference # removed]

When you suspect you are being phished :

1.    Do not click on a link in a suspicious email, but rather go to the company site and view the information. Even if a suspicious email is not requesting personal information, it may contain viruses that can retrieve personal information off of a computer.


You really have to wonder how Intuit's "Privacy Team" could be so clueless as to not notice the disconnect between the first paragraphs and the advice immediately following.
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: wireless networking and wifi printer help on: January 22, 2015, 02:54:23 PM
@xtabber - That's good news to hear. This was my first Brother multifunction appliance purchase (for myself) and I was a little leery of dropping about $250 on this type of device.

It's a good investment.  I paid $280 for my DCP 8080DN (not wireless) 4 years ago and have never had a problem.  Brother's network administration utilities are excellent, and they support both printing and scanning from Android devices too.  

My previous Brother printer lasted 5 years and was replaced with this one only because it needed a new drum and and it didn't cost much more to buy a newer and faster model than it would to buy a new drum.  As Stoic Joker said, most personal and workgroup printers today are designed to be disposable, so you don't want to spend time fixing them, but you also don't want to have to replace them before their time is up.
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