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126  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: June 17, 2014, 08:56:08 PM
I have for years used and currently use ScrapBook to capture and search specific web pages. I have a huge library of such captured material.
Quote
ScrapBook
About this Add-on
ScrapBook is a Firefox extension, which helps you to save Web pages and easily manage collections. Key features are lightness, speed, accuracy and multi-language support. Major features are:
* Save Web page
* Save snippet of Web page
* Save Web site
* Organize the collection in the same way as Bookmarks
* Full text search and quick filtering search of the collection
* Editing of the collected Web page
* Text/HTML edit feature resembling Opera's Notes

The reason I have stuck with Scrapbook is that there is nothing else quite like it. However, today I came across this:Chrome extension All Seeing Eye indexes all text in your Web history - CNET, and found in the Chrome Web Store:
Quote
Chrome Web Store - ALL SEEING EYE
Record All Browsing in Screenshots & Full Text. Search For Anything At Any Time. Never Forget Where You Read Something. 100% Private

How to use:
After installing, browse to a few web sites of your choice (e.g. yahoo.com, facebook.com, etc) so that the browser  creates some new entries  in your web history. After that go to Show All History from your browser's History menu
Every time you see a new page while browsing it will be saved as a screenshot and all its contents will be remembered so you can go to Show All History from your browsers History menu and search for things in your web history, with a visual interface that helps you find stuff.

NEW: you may now use tags in the Options tab to tell the extension not to capture certain sites.

What it does:
If you want to remember everything you see on the web and have a way to search your web history with full content then this extension will help you do just that. The normal browser history does not save the text inside the pages you visit so you can't search for anything except the title and URL. This extension saves and indexes all the text in all the pages you visit so you can find everything in your history with a few keystrokes. It also takes screenshots of all pages so you can locate to the right page with visual memory. It makes it easier to find stuff that you've already come across in your browsing, so you don't have to search for it again on the web.

I developed this extension to help me find information I come across much more easily than having to search for it again on the web. If it's in my history, I can find it. This has given me all seeing powers. You can have that power too, dear user.

This extension does NOT send any of your browsing info to the cloud or anywhere. It keeps everything on your machine. It will respect your privacy and not work in Incognito mode, so all your browsing in Incognito mode is never saved.

This extension is Open Source. If you're a developer feel free to examine the code and ask any questions or submit issues directly on Github: https://github.com/idibidiart/AllSeeingEye

Currently, only English is supported for searchable content. Other languages will added in the future.

If this were a FF extension, it would be potentially one of the most useful that I could imagine - with the "missing" functionality that I would like Scrapbook to be capable of, to better meet my peculiar requirements.
127  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Congressman asks NSA to provide metadata for “lost” IRS e-mails on: June 17, 2014, 12:12:47 PM
Very droll: Congressman asks NSA to provide metadata for “lost” IRS e-mails | Ars Technica
128  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Open Dyslexic font on: June 17, 2014, 12:06:42 PM
Seriously useful - OpenDyslexic - Firefox Facts

Ergonomically, serifed fonts were apparently the best fonts for recognition, speed-reading and comprehension.
Maybe the Open Dyslexic font changes that. I wonder how OCR copes with it?
129  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting Academic Blog: Overcoming Bias on: June 15, 2014, 10:23:55 PM
And he does seem to be willfully blind to the level of bias displayed in some of his own core set of 'givens' doesn't he? ...
Yes, I wondered about that too. Maybe it is there as a deliberate challenge for someone to argue against and get a bit of discussion going in the blog comments. He does say he likes argument.

...I always worry a little when these cross-disciplinary types start enthusiastically applying the tools of one discipline to an area they're not specifically designed or intended to he used in. ...
Yes, and then in many cases what happens is they seem to apply those tools incorrectly too - e.g., the abuse of stochastic method by people who have never been trained in it. I reckon a lot of the blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of SPSS. Suddenly, everybody's a half-baked wannabe statistician using half-baked methods, attempting to "prove" their irrational pet half-baked theories, and correlation becomes causality. Next, they go on to prove that black is white and get killed on a pedestrian crossing...(HHGTTG).

...Regardless, i always appreciate reading a thoughtful unique perspective on things.
Yes, me too, though I much prefer it if I also learn something new from that unique perspective - a good example would be Number Watch:
Quote
Number Watch 
 All about the scares, scams, junk, panics and flummery cooked up by the media, politicians, bureaucrats, so-called scientists and others who try to confuse you with wrong numbers.

Working to combat Math Hysteria.

"It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of the castle and to see the battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth ( a hill not to be commanded and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below."
From Of Truth, Francis Bacon.

- it is a site set up by one Professor John Brignell, an engineer and mathematician. The discussion forum is pretty good with some lively rational discussion - and humour.
130  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 15, 2014, 07:10:01 PM
... It wasn't particularly dramatic...I also tried to get it [ABS] to trigger on a regular road, but a hard stop at 35mph did not trigger it -- despite giving me whiplash and throwing baby cody from the back seat to the front seat, and so i gave up on that.
______________________________
It shouldn't be obtrusive ("dramatic") if it is working properly. It's pretty much idiot-proof and doesn't require any special changes to your driving for it to work effectively. Just forget about it.***
Probably too much friction when you were on the dry road, so there would be no wheels locking up. Try it in the rain on the same road when it is wet and you will probably find it engaging. Try braking in the wet whilst you are turning and see what happens.
Then go and ask your insurers for a reduction in your car insurance premiums because, statistically, your chances of having an accident have been reduced by this technology. On the same principle, I was promptly given a 10% discount (after I had asked) by my AA (Automobile Association) Insurers on my annual all-risks car insurance when I passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists driving test (statistically, IAM members have a reduced risk rating - i.e., a lower risk profile).

***Note: But for goodness' sake remember it when you get in to drive a car that has no ABS fitted.
131  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia on: June 15, 2014, 09:58:48 AM
I had recently been thinking "Why the heck don't Microsoft think to make it easier to export their documentation?", after having had to copy copious amounts of their info using the FF add-in ScrapBook.

Surprise!:
Taking TechNet Offline: Build Your Own Personalized Documentation
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Posted on: Jun 11, 2014
by  Ben Hunter

IT pro’s live and breathe information. You need accurate data at your fingertips all the time.  That’s why we are constantly creating new content just for IT pro’s to help you with tasks like Windows Deployment or Planning for App-V 5.0. We publish this information via TechNet Library which is a great resource when you are online but is not so great when not connected to the internet.  Our technical writers and support teams are frequently asked for downloadable versions of documentation from TechNet. Well you are in luck, TechNet has a little-known feature that allows you to create your own custom downloadable documentation from TechNet  with the click of a link.

Every page of the TechNet library has a link up at the top-right of the page that reads “Export.”  Click it and you’ll go here: http://technet.microsoft....en-us/library/export/help. This page explains how to build your own pdf or html document (.mht) from topics you select in the library.  That’s right, you roll up the content you want and download it.

Click the “Start” button and you’ll be taken back to the page you arrived from – the assumption being that’s a topic you want to export.  From there you can select all the topics you want to include in your personalized downloadable file.  Note there is a functional ceiling to the number of pages you can export at 200 topics.

Save your new doc set to any device and you’ll have it when you need it.  It’s that simple!

Nathan Barnett, Technical Writer, Microsoft Corporation
132  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting Academic Blog: Overcoming Bias on: June 15, 2014, 09:45:38 AM
Yes, it is an interesting find.
Generally, I would recommend one looks at what a person's reasoning is in what he/she states in a written form, and the rationale, validity/truth of same.
One does not necessarily have to like the person or the way he/she puts things in order to appreciate their rationale (or lack thereof).
However, if a set of reasoning leads up to and/or supports a statement of belief, then that usually sounds the warning bell for rationalisation. It would be interesting if one found rationalisation in that website.
133  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: June 14, 2014, 10:13:44 PM
^^ Can surveillance be addictive? I hadn't known that.
To be snagged by something addictive - like a drug - one generally needs to have some susceptibility to it, a sort of innate natural dependency - e.g., smoking cigarettes, or alcoholism. Maybe there is something within us - a natural proclivity - to spy upon others. Maybe it is a survival thing - I mean, if one is spying upon others - potential enemies/competitors - then they can't be spying on oneself, and one knows more about them than they know about oneself, so one might have some kind of "powerful" feeling about it. Or maybe it's a form of voyeurism.
The nosy "twitching curtains" syndrome in small communities comes to mind.
134  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: June 14, 2014, 07:25:57 AM
I spotted this headline just now whilst skimming through the unread slashdot posts in my Bazsqux reader. I don't think this is "new" news, but the brilliant suggestion to help the NSA at the end of this was something I hadn't seen before:
US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Unknown Lamer posted about two weeks ago | from the bound-for-success dept.
Privacy 213

beschra (1424727) writes
"From the article: 'The U.S. Secret Service is seeking software that can identify top influencers and trending sets of social media data, allowing the agency to monitor these streams in real-time — and sift through the sarcasm. "We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that,'" Jamie Martin, a data acquisition engineer at Sioux Falls, SD based Bright Planet, told CBS News.'

Why not just force Twitter to change TOS to require sarcasm tag?"

Oh wait...that's sarcasm innit?
135  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: June 14, 2014, 06:41:44 AM
I recall having read something about this "new discovery" earlier this year with considerable skepticism, and wondering whether it wasn't just another case of rushing something newsworthy/marketable (good for raising research funds) into print in Nature before properly peer reviewing it - especially as some of the media reports had pictures of this attractive girly-girl Japanese PhD student in a white lab coat, surrounded by Hello Kitty memorabilia or something, in her lab/office. She had apparently made the discovery and was grateful that her professor had "believed" in her despite the rest of the department's scientists apparently thinking she was a harebrained crackpot, or something.

So I was somewhat unsurprised to read in slashdot.org:
Japanese Stem Cell Debacle Could Bring Down Entire Center
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
sciencehabit (1205606) writes
Shutting down the research center at the heart of an unfolding scientific scandal may be necessary to prevent a recurrence of research misconduct, according to a report released at a press conference in Tokyo today. A committee reviewing conduct at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, found lax oversight and a failure on the part of senior authors of two papers in Nature outlining a surprisingly simple way of reprogramming mature cells into stem cells. The committee surmised that a drive to produce groundbreaking results led to publishing results prematurely. "It seems that RIKEN CDB had a strong desire to produce major breakthrough results that would surpass iPS cell research," the report concludes, referring to another type of pluripotent stem cell. "One of our conclusions is that the CDB organization is part of the problem," said committee chair Teruo Kishi Kishi. He recommends a complete overhaul of CDB, including perhaps restructuring it into a new institute. "This has to be more than just changing the nameplate."
136  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 14, 2014, 04:56:15 AM
Now back to some real-life news:
Blind Followers Keep Dead Cult Leader in a Freezer, Claim He Is Just Meditating

Far out, man.
137  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: June 14, 2014, 04:48:56 AM
The Illusionist (2010 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Super little French-English animated film. Watched it with my 12½ y/o daughter (but was tired and fell asleep, so had to watch the rest later). I came across it in the "International" section in the video rental store, but she chose it as she had seen clips of it on YouTube and in searching up the art used in the film thought it would be worth watching.
138  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 14, 2014, 02:59:00 AM
Nice to see that Dan McCall's parody T-shirts have been allowed by the establishment, though not without a fight, it seems.
I think they are rather clever and make their point well.
It’s OK to parody the NSA | Ars Technica
Man who beat NSA in T-shirt parody case wins against Ready for Hillary | Ars Technica

[attach]

[attach]
139  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Favorite Sci-fi movies? on: June 13, 2014, 07:00:31 AM
For those who aren't sure whether they have seen all those Planet of the Apes movies/TV serials:

[attach]

I've just seen the 1968 one (it's hard to beat) for the nth time (refer "Three Wise Monkeys" as posted above).
The 2001 remake of that wasn't too bad and is probably worth watching.
(The planned 2016 remake might be worth watching too.)

From memory:
  • The 1970 one was quite a good sequel and good SF, and flowed on from the 1968 one quite well.
  • I think I've seen most of the others (including most of the TV series) excepting 2011 and 2014, and what I saw was pretty nondescript but good fun if you are a fan.
140  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: June 13, 2014, 06:43:56 AM
  Aaron's Law sounds like some good legislation, if it gets passed....
Quote
The Internet and all those who care about Aaron Swartz took a big step forward today
Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Sen. Ron Wyden just introduced "Aaron's Law", which would fix some of the worst parts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), including those which make it a potential crime to violate terms of service agreements -- that fine print that nobody reads at the bottom of a website.
The CFAA is the law under which Aaron and other innovators and activists have been threatened with decades in prison. It is so broad that law enforcement says it criminalizes all sorts of mundane Internet use: Potentially even breaking a website's fine print terms of service agreement. Don't set up a MySpace page for your cat. Don't fudge your height on a dating site. Don't share your Facebook password with anybody: You could be committing a federal crime.
It's up to us to keep the Internet open, a place for sharing ideas, exploration and activism -- not for stifling creativity and criminalizing innovators.
As the bill's sponsors put it in a Wired.com Op-ed, "The events of the last couple of years have demonstrated that the public can speak loudly thanks to the Internet. And when it does, lawmakers will listen."
Let's make sure they hear us. Join us in calling on Congress to pass "Aaron's Law."
http://act.demandprogress...org/sign/aarons_law_intro

Related to the above, I received an email today from Lawrence Lessig, DemandProgress.org <info@demandprogress.org>:
Go to http://www.demandprogress.org/ if you would like to follow this up with your contribution.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
More than seven years ago, Aaron Swartz, the cofounder of Demand Progress, convinced me to give up my work on copyright and Internet policy, and take up the fight against corruption.
 
That fall, we started Change Congress, and for the next five years, we conspired on the best way to build a grassroots movement around this issue — because we both realized that was the only way we could ever win. Washington will not fix itself. We have to fix it for it.
 
Then a federal prosecutor distracted him. And then destroyed him. And the hope that I had — that someday he would return to this fight, and help us win it — was over.
 
All of us know how difficult that loss was. But when I had recovered enough to think, I resolved again to do everything that I could to win the fight that he had started me on.
 
I spoke at TED 6 weeks after he died, laying out the argument as clearly as I could for the reform we needed. And last March, again at TED, I announced the most ambitious plan this reform movement has ever had: that by Aaron’s 30th birthday — election day, 2016 — we would win a Congress committed to fundamental reform.
 
I’m writing you today to ask you to join this movement — now, because we now face a critical challenge that we must meet if this plan is going to work.
 
Our idea is to run this campaign in two stages — in 2014, with a pilot to test the strategy and prove we can win, and then in 2016, with a full scale campaign to win.
 
We estimate the cost of the 2014 plan will be $12 million, and we decided to raise at least 1/2 through a kickstarter-like campaign.
 
I set the initial goal at $1 million in 30 days.
 
We raised it in 13 days.
 
Now we have launched a second, and insanely more difficult campaign to raise $5 million by July 4. If we meet that goal, and I get it matched, then we have the funds we need to win the campaigns we need in 2014, on our way to winning in 2016.
 
We need your help. If you can pledge, please do. We will only collect you pledge if we hit the $5 million goal. And just as important, if you can spread this, please please do.
 
Very few believe we can do this. But I do. If we can get a million people to view our site, we will meet our goal.
 
You are part of the million person army that Aaron helped to build, and that the Demand Progress team now continues to grow. Aaron pushed me to make this my cause. Let me push you now to at least pledge.
 
Thank you for all you have done. And thank you especially if you can help us to do this critical bit too.
 
-Lawrence Lessig
Paid for by Demand Progress (DemandProgress.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

One last thing -- Demand Progress's small, dedicated, under-paid staff relies on the generosity of members like you to support our work. Will you click here to chip in $5 or $10? Or you can become a Demand Progress monthly sustainer by clicking here. Thank you!
141  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 13, 2014, 05:41:49 AM
It would generally be easier to set and conceal backdoors in proprietary encryption software, and for it to remain "undiscovered" because the software would not usually be open to scrutiny/audit by third parties who would thus effectively need to trust/use the software on blind faith.

Let's be speculative:
  • As above, maybe:
    Quote
    ...the TrueCrypt takedown was the result of being nobbled by the NSA (e.g., like the two encrypted email services over the last 12 months), then the TrueCrypt developers may have been left little option but to shut down, rather than be obliged to leave TrueCrypt fitted full of NSA backdoors like Symantec and Microsoft encryption have been rumoured to be.
    _______________________

  • Or maybe that's not the case. Maybe the backdoors had already been established for some time in TrueCrypt, so the unknown developers pulled the plug realising that discovery could be imminent in the aforementioned TrueCrypt audit project.

  • Maybe the developers and/or the auditors are effectively the NSA. Who knows? After what we have been allowed to learn or led to believe from the public dripfeed out of the SnowdenGate theatre (bring your own popcorn), anything's possible, but skepticism would seem to be recommended. One thing that was learned/perfected in WWII was that good military intelligence and the skilful dissemination of misinformation were essential ingredients to a winning strategy in a war, with the Nazis arguably setting the initial standards to be met. Out of this sprung our modern-day advertising, marketing and PR - even the terminology used employs military terms. And be in no doubt that we are involved in some kind of a war - a war in which every citizen is apparently a potential enemy and thus not to be trusted, so surveillance and the manipulation of public perceptions by whatever means deemed necessary would be mandatory (QED). This was where Mao's Revolution was so successful. Maybe the book "1984" does form an authoritative set of rules and guiding principles for the kind of increasingly totalitarian states that we seem to be finding ourselves inhabiting.

I had always been a fan of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption methods, but lost interest when PGP was acquired by Norton/Symantec as I figured it was thereby probably irretrievably lost as a definitively secure/trustworthy encryption approach/software - I mean, how would one know?

However, in the interesting case of Ramona Fricosu (January 2012) in Peyton, Colo., USA, Fricosu had been charged with conducting a fraud (a mortgage scam) and it was deemed necessary to access her Toshiba laptop to discover details about the fraud and her associates - but the laptop was secured using PGP Desktop Professional | Symantec, which the FBI apparently claimed to be unable to unlock.
So a federal judge ruled that she had to:
Quote
...decrypt the hard drive of a Toshiba laptop computer no later than February 21--or face the consequences including contempt of court.
Refer: Judge: Americans can be forced to decrypt their laptops | Privacy Inc. - CNET News

(Out of this came the use of a legal defence concept of "Plausible deniability".)

This was a civilian matter, not a defence matter. Maybe the FBI did have the ability to crack the encryption key, but were not about to reveal that potentially strategically and militarily important fact if it did not have to be revealed, and so forced the issue (apparently successfully) through the judicial system.
Maybe this started people looking with increasing interest at the backdoored Symantec PGP product, or maybe it wasn't backdoored. Either way, it wouldn't matter, because the public perception set by this display was that Symantec PGP is unhackable, and maybe that was desirable/necessary/intentional.

So the alternatives to TrueCrypt could be:
  • TrueCrypt software - presumed to be unhackable.
  • Symantec PGP software - "proven" to be unhackable.
  • Microsoft BitLocker software + hardware - presumed to be unhackable.

So maybe the NSA or other SS (Secret Service) cannot hack these things. Then again, maybe they can, or have already done so some time ago.
And don't forget that it has apparently already been established that the NSA would seem to have already nobbled the so-called "random" keys used in PKE (Public Key Encryption).
142  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt alternative on: June 12, 2014, 07:29:31 PM
I would like to see a report on the still-ongoing project to audit TrueCrypt (which project website apparently also holds a full copy of all the software and code) before pronouncing it as "dead".
Presumably it was not for nothing that Amazon Web Services some time back mandated the use of only TrueCrypt for its encryption, if you wanted to use their secure storage services. That mandate would presumably have been made for solid business reasons, and they would not have entered into it lightly. That alone could spell more for TrueCrypt's longevity than any recent unexplained closure of the TrueCrypt website.
The best alternative to TrueCrypt could yet well be TrueCrypt.

Others more cynical than I might suggest that, if the TrueCrypt takedown was the result of being nobbled by the NSA (e.g., like the two encrypted email services over the last 12 months), then the TrueCrypt developers may have been left little option but to shut down, rather than be obliged to leave TrueCrypt fitted full of NSA backdoors like Symantec and Microsoft encryption have been rumoured to be.
It's all a matter of trust.
143  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google Search Results Removal on: June 12, 2014, 05:21:07 PM
Looks like it could potentially be yet another classic case of "Power Corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely".
SNAFU.
144  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 - Mini-Review on: June 11, 2014, 11:34:13 PM
2014-06-12 1631hrs: Added details about current Amazon pricing for this headset to the review, and made mention of my suppliers (who are pretty clued-up).
145  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Science fiction book - "A for Andromeda". on: June 11, 2014, 01:34:19 PM
As I mentioned here, my 12½ y/o daughter "...is studying the category of Science Fiction in her English class.".

She's just read A for Andromeda, and written a review about it. I had never read the book, though I well recall having seen a recording of the BBC's serialisation of the made-for-TV script (the book was written after the serialisation).

Here's the review. It's not too bad, doesn't give the plot away, and made me want to read the book.
______________________________________________

[attach]
From Andromeda comes a message unlike any other. What is it? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure, you will enjoy reading this book.

Written by two fabulous authors Fred Hoyle and John Elliot in 1962, A for Andromeda is about a group of scientists at a new satellite base who pick up a mysterious code from another galaxy. Follow them and their gripping twelve chapter journey trying to solve the code in A for Andromeda.

The book begins with the young scientist Dr Fleming at a newly-built British satellite research base. A few days after its construction, a mysterious binary code is picked up by the base, coming from the distant Andromeda nebula. Over a few months, Dr Fleming deciphers the code. Surprisingly, it is a set of instructions to build a supercomputer unlike any other. Once built, the computer is examined by the British prime minister. The computer is started by the prime minister and the code from Andromeda is fed into it. Fleming and the other scientists wait for hours, but nothing seems to be happening until – to their relief – after ten hours, a string of messages asking several questions is printed out by the computer.

Answers to the questions are fed in to the computer, and, uplifted by the initial success of the computer, the scientists wait with bated breath for the next instructions. Soon the computer gathers an unprecedented level of knowledge about life on earth. Then it gives instructions on building a life form of its own specifications. Dr Dawnay, a friend of Fleming’s bosses, is ordered in to help with creating the life form in Fleming’s lab. A simple creature is made a few months later. Its insides and skin look like green gelatinous goo. The creature has one distinctive feature - a small orb at the top of its body that acts as its eye. The scientists, especially Dr Fleming, dislike the creature and name it Cyclops. Fleming grows slightly suspicious of the computer and tries to limit the amount of information fed into it, but his colleagues refuse to acknowledge his concerns and continue to think up new ways to utilise this marvellous computer. Fleming is extremely angry and frustrated. This quote is from when the scientists try to create Cyclops:
Quote
Pg.81:
The cell elongated into two lobes which stretched and broke apart, and then each lobe broke again into two new cells.
“It’s reproducing!” Dawnay leant back and watched the screen, “We’ve made life!”
Fleming was standing up watching the screen intently. “How are you going to stop it?”
“I’m not going to stop it. I want to see what it does.”
“It’s developing into quite a coherent structure.” Reinhart observed.
Fleming clenched his fists up on the table, “Kill it!”
“What?” Dawnay looked at him in mild surprise.
“Kill it while you can.”
“It’s perfectly well under control.”
“Is it? Look at the way it’s growing.” Fleming pointed at the rapidly doubling mass of cells on the screen. “Kill it.”
Fleming looked around at their anxious unyielding faces, and then back at the screen. He picked up the heavy container in which the tea had been brought and smashed it down on the viewing plate of the microscope. A clatter of metal and glass ran through the hushed room.
The viewing panel went dead.
____________________________

After creating Cyclops, the computer quickly progressed to growing a human. A strikingly beautiful woman rapidly develops from a baby born in the lab, modelled on the likeness of a co-worker who died a number of months ago, under suspicious circumstances. They name the woman Andromeda, and she is given schooling, and the scientists soon find that her mental capacity is larger than most humans, and she soon soaks up whatever she is taught, like a sponge. Realising that Andromeda is genius-level, certain people wish to use her advanced skills.

Soon, other nations find out about the computer and become fearful of this alien technology in the hands of the British government. Some nations decide that the only way to reassert their global dominance is by the use of scare tactics, but the British government decides to utilise Andromeda’s intelligence to demonstrate their power.

With Britain looking to become a world power once again and thus with an increasing reliance on the strange supercomputer, Fleming begins to suspect again that the computer is not all that it might seem to be. It may perhaps have other more cynical ideas for the human race.

Fleming sets out to destroy the very programme he helped to create, but the supercomputer is not going out without a fight.

A for Andromeda is a story about another intelligence, alien to ourselves, and about what could happen if we did make contact with such an intelligence from a distant part of the universe.

It also deals with themes such as mankind’s increasing reliance on technology, and his never-ending quest for dominance and power, and also the ideas of First Contact, and good versus evil.

A for Andromeda is one of the best science fiction books I have read in a while, and I warn you that this book will have you hooked until the bitter end. It uses some sophisticated language and some description which helps the story along. Overall the plot was excellent.

My only negative point would be how time does not seem to exist in this story, but that bit you will have to find out for yourself.

My overall rating of A for Andromeda is four and a half stars out of five.

The computer and genetic technology described could have been difficult to believe at the time when the book was written, but is more readily believable today as we have moved towards having aspects of that technology now anyway. The science in the story seems accurate (one of the authors, Fred Hoyle was a scientist), except it glosses over the impossibility of communicating with a galaxy some 200 lightyears distant.

I would recommend this engrossing book for all people of 13 and over.
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146  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: June 11, 2014, 01:08:18 PM
@40hz: Now that is interesting. Thanks.
147  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 - Mini-Review on: June 11, 2014, 01:02:13 PM
Oh thanks @mouser. I absolutely agree about the updating thing. When I started writing mini-reviews on DCF, it was with the intention of keeping them updated, because I had found that the usual time-stamped one-off reviews rapidly become dated/obsolete in the relatively fast-changing IT scene and then were of limited use, and I didn't wish to squander my energies duplicating that approach.

It takes a bit of effort to do a reasonably decent mini-review, but relatively little extra effort to perform the incremental updates necessary to keep the thing current, and that seems to me to be more useful/helpful and a much better use of my time. Takes a bit of discipline though, sometimes...    embarassed
(e.g., I still haven't got those correct $ values in...buried the receipt somewhere...)
148  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: using OpenDNS or other free dns servers on: June 11, 2014, 12:42:54 PM
Whilst you are setting up the OpenDNS primary/secondary DNSes in your modem/router, you could do a lot worse than consider making OpenDNS even safer/more secure using their OpenDNSCrypt software - OpenDNS + DNSCrypt - Mini-Review.

Like OpenDNS, it is free and requires no special account.
149  DonationCoder.com Software / Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: Is Ctrl+V hard-coded or can we customize the paste method on: June 11, 2014, 12:36:47 PM
I had a similar problem.
Fix/workaround described in the discussion here: CHS tip - retain last clip's formatting with an AutoHotKey workaround script

Hope this is useful/helpful.
150  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Antilock-breaking (ABS) vs Stabilty Control (ESP) vs Traction Control Video on: June 11, 2014, 12:21:05 PM
Very droll.
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