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126  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Probably the single most obvious reason why DRM doesn't (and can't) work on: March 20, 2013, 05:02:56 PM
You probably know the benefits of having an account with O'Reilly, but others may not.

Among them, the ability to add the ebook version of any of their titles you own in hard copy for an additional $4.99, and notification of updates to any of their titles you have registered with them.  Updates (e.g., from new printings) are free and new editions are typically 40%-50% off. Also, most of their titles are provided in epub, mobi and pdf format for a single purchase, so you can read them on any devices you own without jumping through hoops.

That said, I don't know that this model would work for the kind of books that people read once and discard, like popular fiction titles.
127  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Probably the single most obvious reason why DRM doesn't (and can't) work on: March 20, 2013, 12:43:51 PM
I remember reading an interview with Tim O'Reilly in which he made that claim, but I don't recall when or where it was.

But according to David Pogue, the NYTimes tech columnist, O'Reilly actually did a test with one of his titles and found that while removing DRM did increase piracy, it also increased sales of the book. 

In any case, there is no doubt that O'Reilly's anti-DRM policy has really paid off for them.  In the last year, they have picked up the distribution for ebooks from Microsoft Press and Wiley's Wrox and Dummies lines, among others.

128  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Probably the single most obvious reason why DRM doesn't (and can't) work on: March 20, 2013, 10:34:41 AM
There is in fact a good case to be made that piracy can actually increase sales. 

A recent study by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, a think tank that is part of the European Commission (can one get more establishment than that?), finds exactly that in the case of online music.

Also, Tim O'Reilly claims that removing DRM from their ebooks greatly increased sales.

Of course, this only works if what you are selling is something that people actually want to own.
129  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / VMware Workstation 15% off until March 22, 2013 on: March 19, 2013, 02:13:22 PM
VMware has a promotion for 15% off Workstation 9 (for Windows and Linux) and Fusion Pro (for Mac) until March 22, 2013, good for both new purchases and upgrades from earlier versions.   

Workstation licenses are good for both the Windows and Linux host versions. Although you can use your license on only one host at a time, you can transfer it between different hosts without restriction, which makes the high cost somewhat more palatable. You can also use the free (for personal non-commercial use) VMware Player to run stand-alone virtual machines created with Workstation on other hosts.  Player can create VMs, but not clone existing ones as Workstation can.

130  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Linkman 8.80 released on: March 15, 2013, 09:58:07 PM
I've never had any problems with Linkman, and have none with 8.80, but I do wish you would fix some longstanding irritations with the installer.

1) When updating an existing installation in a non-standard location, it should default to that location rather than always selecting C:\Program Files....

2) Installing Start Menu and Desktop links should be separate options, and if the Desktop option is selected, only a single icon placed there, not three.
131  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Amazon creepy ... on: March 09, 2013, 12:03:23 PM
How did they do that? And how do I stop it.

I know it is something to do with cookies but I didn't think all websites could access all your cookies or Google Search - but does Amazon actually have instant access to my Google seeach history!

There are many ways this can be done, but most likely you just have 3rd party cookies enabled. You need cookies enabled for most web sites to function, but in almost all cases, 3rd party cookies serve no useful purpose other than targeted selling.  You can disable 3rd party cookies without disabling all cookies in most browsers. Or install Ghostery, which can tell you who is using them and disable them selectively.

I use Opera for most of my general web browsing, but I use Firefox for online shopping, and clear cookies using Cookie Culler (My #1 add-on for FF) after nearly every session.  I sometimes use Chrome on my Android devices, but I don't have it installed on any PC, except in a VM.  When shopping on Amazon, I will often clear cookies several times during a single session, and always after making a purchase.  Amazon is simply amazing in the lengths to which they will go to track every customer--even more so than Google.

For a depressingly thorough look at the many ingenious ways advertisers track you online, I recommend Joseph Turow's book The Daily You.  Note that it may be somewhat too technical for many readers.

132  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommendations for a Host OS? on: March 08, 2013, 08:11:21 AM
Does anyone know how to create a Windows VM (or anything) in Proxmox VE? The docs are basically non-existant, and the ones that show you how to mount an ISO are way out of date and not applicable to v2.
You are making my point more eloquently than I did.

When I say reliable, I don't mean problem free (although that's nice too). I mean that I can rely on what software does, and how it does it. That in turn means adequate documentation, but also maturity and a user base that can be mined for solutions to the inevitable problems.

As for running on bare metal rather than a host operating system, that's asking for trouble, IMHO. Hardware vendors develop drivers for the host OS, not the emulation hardware in the VM. The VM provides drivers for its internal environment, but passes the results to the host, which uses its own drivers to access the real hardware.

If you are a Google or an Amazon, it definitely pays to build your own host environment and optimize it with your own drivers.  For us jes plain folk, relying on what OEMs wrote for Windows, or what the OSS community has developed for Linux, is the smarter way to go.

133  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommendations for a Host OS? on: March 07, 2013, 12:52:24 PM
You really need to think about what you are asking for.  You want to run Windows and other proprietary software in a non-proprietary and open environment, but you want the reliability and support that comes with proprietary software.  TINSTAAFL !!!

I'm not a big fan of Microsoft or VMware as corporate entities, but they do provide the most reliable and flexible working environment, which means I can get my work done while wasting a minimal amount of time trying to get everything to work together.

VMware runs on Windows, Linux and Mac (Fusion) hosts, but Windows provides the best host environment.  VMware Workstation 9 is a quantum leap forward over previous versions because of its virtual networking, which makes it dead simple to run a local network of VMs on a single host or over a LAN.  The virtualization manager in Paragon HD Manager Pro makes it easy to create VMs from physical systems .

I could probably get much the same results from a mix of FOSS elements, but life is too short, and there are other things for me to do with my time.
134  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: MS Office 2013 Home/Business - non-transferable (1 PC p.person) - Caveat emptor. on: March 06, 2013, 03:05:34 PM
Microsoft has backtracked because of the furor aroused, "customer feedback" in MS-speak.

However, they are still trying to force everyone into a subscription model - $99 per year for home users and $150 for business users, with up to 5 "devices" allowed per user.
135  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / eWallet at BDJ today on: February 18, 2013, 07:06:03 AM
eWallet for Windows is on sale today at BitsduJour for $7.98.

eWallet is a secure database system with a deceptively simple interface that can be used to store just about any kind of text information and lets the user customize most aspects of how that information is displayed. You can have any number of independent databases, any of which can be synced individually with the Android and iOS versions over a WiFi network.

I've been using eWallet since my Treo PDA -- before what we now call smartphones existed at all.  I use it to keep not just passwords, but nearly any kind of sensitive or important information that I may need to look up quickly.

If your only use for a password manager is logging into web sites, you are probably better off with something like Roboform or Lastpass, but as a secure information manager, I have yet to see anything that works as well, or provides as much flexibility.
 
136  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Yet another reason why I often wish I lived in Massachusettes on: February 05, 2013, 01:13:39 PM
I'd guess that within a few years, that will be the case with all states that have sales taxes, as it should be.

Am I missing something here?

As I noted, sales taxes are among the most regressive forms of taxation, and I personally think that they should be replaced with more progressive forms of revenue, like income, or preferably, wealth taxes.

But if a state does impose a sales tax, it should do so equally for all applicable sales. 

In every state that I am aware of that has a sales tax, if you make purchases and the merchant does not collect state sales tax. you are supposed to report this and pay "use tax" on the purchase.  That nobody actually does so (except for things like automobiles, where it can be enforced by requiring proof of tax payment in order to register a vehicle) just means that merchants that do not collect state and local sales taxes are helping people violate their state laws.

The solution to bad laws is not to allow some people to get away with violating them, but to replace them with better laws.  The same goes for taxes.
137  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Yet another reason why I often wish I lived in Massachusettes on: February 05, 2013, 08:51:33 AM
Amazon will also start collecting Massachusetts sales tax on Nov. 1, 2013.

I'd guess that within a few years, that will be the case with all states that have sales taxes, as it should be.

That said, sales taxes are one of the most regressive forms of taxation. To his credit, Governor Patrick has proposed to reduce the sales tax in Massachusetts and increase the income tax to make up for it.

Of course, you could always move to New Hampshire, which has neither sales nor income tax, but as a friend who moved there from New Jersey some years ago found out, they have many other ways of collecting from you (fees, excise and personal property taxes, etc.). He complained later that he was paying more overall in NH than in NJ, and getting far worse services to boot.

But, as a MA resident, who has also lived in CT, NJ and NY, I can assure you that Massachusetts does have a lower overall tax burden than those states, and generally better state services too.  So much for "Taxachusetts."
138  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: How much have I downloaded? on: February 05, 2013, 08:37:02 AM
If you have smartphones, tablets or home theater receivers, you may be downloading a lot more than you think, or than you can monitor from your working PC.  All of these devices can stream data from the Web, including in the background when they are not in active use.  The only way to measure total usage is where your network connects to the provider's network, which is at your data modem.  If your router doesn't keep track of data flow, you would need to insert something to do so between it and the data modem.

A VOIP phone from a cable provider may also count toward your data total (find out from your provider), but since it connects through a separate modem, will not be counted by your router, or any device inserted between it and the modem.



139  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: How much have I downloaded? on: February 03, 2013, 11:11:01 AM
My router (ASUS RT-N66U) has a traffic manager page that can show statistics for both incoming and outgoing network traffic on a daily basis for at least 30 days.  The image shown is the interactive real-time analysis graph, but you can also view the current rate, average, maximum and totals for each day, plus a summary for the past 30 days for each of the internet, wired, and wireless networks (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz separately).

140  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Who is still runnig XP? on: January 26, 2013, 05:49:59 PM
I still use some programs that won't run under Win7 and keep several XP VMs on my main (win7x64) system. One of these is a actually a virtualization of a physical XP system I used until late last year.  Others are dedicated VMs set up to work with specific software configurations.

Under the current version of VMware Workstation, each open VM appears as another computer in a network workgroup.  That makes it very easy to share programs and data between all running VMs and host systems.  Virtual networks save a lot on cables and switches, to say nothing of space and electricity.
141  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: PicPick vs FastStone Capture vs Screenshot Captor vs Jet Screenshot on: January 22, 2013, 02:21:10 PM
While PicPick is rated 1st, FastStone 2nd and Screenshot Captor 1st honorable mention, note is made that all three are similarly capable, so the ranking boils down mostly to personal preference about the interface.
 
It should be noted that PicPick is only free for personal (home) use, and that the "Freeware version may include third-party (sponsored) advertisements." according to the developer's website.  Also, FastStone Capture is no longer free, so even though the last freeware version can still be downloaded from the dottech web site, updates will not be available for free.
142  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Java Update on Tuesday on: January 18, 2013, 08:53:51 AM
The exploits in question only affect JDK 7, not JDK 6, which is much more secure, to say nothing of more stable.  Although Oracle is threatening to stop upgrades for jre6 in the near future, there is no reason that I can see for the vast majority of users to "upgrade" to jre7.

Also, these exploits only affect in-browser user, so there is no reason to dump any software that is written in Java and runs on your local system, rather than in a browser.
143  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Text post processing with KEdit, etc. on: January 10, 2013, 10:48:49 AM
Kedit, like XEDIT, the IBM editor on which it is modeled, is best thought of as an editable database of lines of text.  This has both strengths and weaknesses as compared to the more common type of text editor, in which the contents of a text buffer are a continuous stream of characters.  You can make Kedit do most of what you want using scripts written in KEXX (a REXX look-alike).  However, there are certain things you cannot do in this type of editor, like searching for a targets that straddle line breaks, which are easy to do in a stream-oriented editor.  Of course, there are also many things you can do in Kedit that you cannot do in any stream-oriented editor, which is why some of us continue to use it.

As I noted, I would not considered using Kedit as a word processor. Nor is it my only editor - I have always used at least one other editor for certain purposes -- currently EditPad Pro and 010 Editor, mostly.

One reason McPhee has always used Kedit is that a friend at Princeton wrote a number of programs (probably in KEXX or REXX) that interact with it to structure his research. He is not concerned with formatting his own writing.

If you want to experiment with this kind of editor, there is an open-source freeware editor based on XEDIT and Kedit, called The Hessling Editor.  It seems to have most of the functionality of the DOS version of Kedit, with some additional capabilities. I don't believe it has a native Windows GUI.
144  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Smart Edit (for Novelists & Creative Writers) on: January 09, 2013, 10:35:27 PM
In an article in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine, John McPhee says that the only writing environment he has used since beginning to use a computer in 1984 has been the Kedit text editor.

Kedit has been my favorite editor for even longer than that, and Kevin Kearney is indeed, as McPhee describes in the article, a delight to talk with, but I will admit that Kedit is not what I would choose for writing. But then, I can't write like John McPhee.
145  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: An interesting article on tablets on: January 09, 2013, 10:11:12 PM
The author seems to miss the point about what a tablet is for.

Huh? And what would that be?

IMHO, a tablet is for whatever you want to use it for, not for what someone has decreed it should be used for. 

And that is exactly what the article author discovered empirically, although his expressed desire to have Apple redesign the iPad Mini to be more useful to him indicates an inability to reject his own preconceived notions, even after he himself had seen that they were wrong.  That is not schizophrenia, but rather a well-known cognitive effect that has been the subject of much research lately in experimental psychology.


146  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / An interesting article on tablets on: January 09, 2013, 02:08:31 PM
This article from the Economist magazine illustrates why Apple may not be the future of tablet computing, and it's not just a matter of price. 
147  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Learn C (and other things...) the Hard Way on: January 06, 2013, 02:51:47 PM
The essential online resource for Regex information is the Regular-Expressions.info site maintained by Jan Goyvaerts, the author of RegexBuddy, RegexMagic, EditPad and PowerGREP, and co-author of O'Reilly's Regular Expression Cookbook.

Among other things, the site includes a good tutorial, detailed references and comparisons of the Regex implementations for most of the programming environments in use today.
148  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ubuntu Linux smarthphone coming this year? on: January 05, 2013, 08:03:39 AM
It makes a good deal of sense for Linux distros to develop smartphone versions.

When you buy a new smartphone, the only thing that happens to your old one is that the phone service is de-activated by your carrier.  The device remains perfectly usable in every other way. It just becomes WiFi only.

Most smartphones are purchased on a 2-year contract, and the big surge in Android phones began 2-3 years ago, which means that we are starting to see a large number of advanced mobile computing devices sitting around, no longer being used as phones, but available for anything else.

Android runs a Linux kernel and the Ubuntu smartphone Linux supposedly uses existing Android device drivers.  I'd guess that within a few years, there will be quite a few Linux distros available for Android devices, and Linux developers porting their software to the platform.
149  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Zentimo Pro 30% off until January 1, 2013 on: December 31, 2012, 02:59:23 PM
Crystal Rich has a 30% off New Year's sale on new Zentimo Pro purchases until 1/1/2013.

They also have a lifetime license again (they did not when I last upgraded), which costs about twice as much as a one year license, although those who remember how the developer handled USB Safely Remove lifetime licenses may not be swayed by that.

If you need to upgrade an existing license, the upgrade price is still a little better than 30% off.
150  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DRR ?? - Like DVR only for FM broadcast radio? on: December 24, 2012, 08:40:28 PM
I use Total Recorder Pro to do this. It has all the features you are looking for and a lot more -- it outputs many file types on the fly (including MP3, and flac), a scheduler for unattended recording, and an excellent audio editor.

My radio source is a stereo receiver connected to a PC through a sound card. To get high quality sound, I use an M-Audio Transit USB sound adapter, which is no longer made or supported, but you can get a Behringer UCA222 for about $30, which should do just as well.  If you are not concerned about audio quality, you can connect any radio to the line input of your computer sound card.

Tune-In Radio Pro ($0.99) will allow you to record Internet FM stations, as will a number of other Android and iOS apps, but you won't get the quality you get by recording from an FM radio using Total Recorder and a good sound adapter.
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