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1426  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: October 18, 2013, 02:58:10 AM
I had thought that zoology (the scientific study of the behaviour, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals of a particular region or geological period) used well-established, tried-and-tested scientific processes to arrive at its conclusions. Well, that may be so, but it apparently doesn't stop the BBC broadcasting staggeringly misleading content in a "documentary" on the subject: Mythical Attenborough Fail

I always reckoned that David Attenborough's work was the absolute last word in factual natural history documentaries, but this is the second instance I have read about/seen where one of his proggies was seriously "off" in the science department.
Look at the complaint:
Complaint Summary: ‘Tree of Life’ false, misleading and non-scientific
Full Complaint: The programme makes extensive use of a ‘Tree of Life’ pictorial device depicting species as branches on a tree, with the vertical dimension showing time. All thousands of branches are continuous and ultimately end up together in the present time. This is false, because we all know most species died out long ago (so the vast majority of branches shouldn’t reach the present). It is also misleading, as the viewer will think the present time is much richer in species than the past. It is finally non-scientific, using an antiquated metaphor long ago disproven by the likes of Stephen Jay Gould. Please insert a correction/disclaimer at the beginning of future broadcasts and for the rest of the first showing of the series.
Maybe the BBC is in the vanguard of the Post-Modern Science movement (aka "made up Science") that I posted about here: Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process (in Post-Modern Science ).
1427  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: October 17, 2013, 10:22:11 PM
...I only see one reasonable solution to put this to rest.
Yeah. Pass the ruddy bill.
1428  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage. on: October 17, 2013, 10:20:05 PM
This video tries to sum it all up: Tell Congress and President Obama: "Knock it off and stop the NSA surveillance programs

...Notably, the government is also arguing that no one other than the company that provided the information — including the defendant in this case — has the right to challenge this disclosure in court." This goes far beyond the third party doctrine, effectively prosecuting someone and depriving them of the ability to defend themselves by declaring that they have no standing to refute the evidence used against them.
The US government police/SS agencies probably didn't see that they had much option but to do what they have done. In order to fulfil their duty to "protect and serve", or whatever, they have had to override the constitution. It has probably by now been irrevocably broken, and there's not much likelihood of going back to the former status.
1429  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: October 17, 2013, 09:28:00 PM
...Though it is very hard for a lot of people to go back to learning. ...
If one operated on the basis that one did all one's schoolin' an' learnin' when one was young, and that's over now, then that might implicitly assume that one will not learn anything new from that point onwards.
That looks like a false premise to me. The human mind is an adaptable learning machine. Sure, if one unconsciously "turned it off" at (say) age 25 or so, then it might feel a bit rusty to make the effort now, but it doesn't necessarily preclude one's learning something new. I reckon that intellectual laziness probably enters into it as well.
I've always been an information junkie and what shocks me is how ignorant I still am and how much more there is to learn/understand/experience. A single lifetime won't have been long enough.
1430  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: October 16, 2013, 09:13:22 PM
Here's a fun site:
About Less Wrong
Interested in improving your reasoning and decision-making skills? Then you've come to the right place.
Less Wrong is a large, active website for people who try to think rationally. To get a quick idea of why rationality is important and how to develop it, try reading Your Intuitions Are Not Magic, The Cognitive Science of Rationality, or What I've Learned From Less Wrong.
It's kind of off-topic, but still relevant to the general topic of reasoning and logic.
I would suggest, given our natural human irrationality, that it is not off-topic at all.
We have to learn to use rational-critical thinking. It's not something we are born with, but a skill that we have to learn - like riding a bike. That's why they started teaching it as an "O" (Ordinary) Level syllabus in UK secondary schools some years back (better late than never). They found - perhaps unsurprisingly - that it was definitely a transferable skill and that it helped students to not only improve their grades in other "O" Level subjects, but also to be able to better cope with university 101 material.

I gathered from my reading that the idea for introducing it to secondary schools was partly because the results of tests on student intake to universities showed that they lacked (amongst other things) rational-critical thinking skills - so, to work around the problem, universities started teaching it as part of entrance foundation courses at university and then later addressed the problem directly by shifting the rational-critical thinking training to secondary level. That way, all children could thus benefit, whether they went on to university or not, and, as I noted above, they found that it was a transferable skill that benefited secondary student grades on other "O" Level subjects.

You arguably could not have a rational discussion about Peer Review and the Scientific Process if you were not employing critical thinking - i.e., reasoning and logic.
I have used that site you point to ( quite a bit, to check/help improve my own reasoning skills, and have pointed other people (including my then 11 y/o daughter) to it as well. It's rather useful.

To understand a deeper potential significance of this, consider The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28). In this case, the Intellect is one of our servants.
Why would we deliberately continue to squander, cripple or imprison our intellects in ignorance, shuttering it up, uneducated, in a dark box, throughout the duration of our lives, when once we can understand this simple truth: that everything of ourselves has been given to us - a gift of Life - and that it is up to us to make the fullest use of our gifts, and that it is never too late to start?

As I wrote above:
"However, the depressing reality seems too often to be that many people are so unable to think rationally for themselves that they seem gullible to this kind of barrage of logical fallacy. One's head would be full of a confusing and probably conflicting mass of invalid premises, with ergo no real knowledge or understanding of truth."

This is a very old idea and the stuff of wisdom. Fiat lux - literally, "Let there be light".
From the third verse of the Book of Genesis. In the King James Bible, it reads, in context:
  • 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
  • 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
  • 1:3 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
  • 1:4 - And God saw the light, and it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

I would prefer to exist in the light, and am still working on it.
1431  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: October 16, 2013, 09:33:05 AM
Email from DemandProgress:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
CISPA is back. Again.
Don’t worry, you’re not losing it. You didn’t just dream the past year and half. It all happened: We did kill CISPA in 2012. And we killed it earlier this year. Hundreds of thousands of you signed petitions. We forced Obama to issue TWO separate veto threats. The bill died in the Senate. Twice.

And when the Snowden leaks hit, everyone, even the New York Times, agreed there was no way a bill granting more invasive power to the NSA would ever pass Congress.

We weren't sleeping. But they must have been.

Because we learned this week that a group of Senators are pushing a new version of CISPA. Tell your Senators: the NSA has enough power, oppose CISPA!

Senators Diane Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, the Senate intelligence Committee leaders who’re behind the new CISPA, are also staunch defenders of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs.

Which makes sense: CISPA would make it easier for the NSA to see your private data, and provide legal protection for corporations that violate your rights, their user agreements, and existing law to cooperate with the NSA.

We have to act now. CISPA's supporters are already soliciting help from defense industry lobbyists to get this thing passed. Click here to send a message to your Senator.

Again and again the anti-privacy goons in Congress have circled the wagons to try and pass CISPA. And again and again, we have completely shut them down.

We’ve done it before. We will do it again. Click here to fight back.

Please urge your friends to take action by forwarding this email or using these links:
[fb]    If you're already on Facebook, click here to share with your friends.
[fb]    If you're already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the campaign: Tweet


Demand Progress Team
Paid for by Demand Progress ( and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

1432  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Core Internet Institutions Abandon US Government on: October 15, 2013, 08:03:37 AM
^^ Wot U said about the ITU. Yes, 100% agree.
1433  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Core Internet Institutions Abandon US Government on: October 15, 2013, 06:06:04 AM
Tech Dirt weighs in on the topic:
Always worth reading Tech Dirt, so no point in posting a quote.
Very interesting. Thanks for pointing it out. I had not got around to skimming the 186 posts in the TechDirt feed. I might have missed it anyway.
1434  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Core Internet Institutions Abandon US Government on: October 14, 2013, 09:48:27 PM
a new, trustworthy and international custodianship...
... and of course we've never seen a trustworthy custodianship usurped...
...and pigs might grow wings!
1435  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: October 14, 2013, 08:09:23 PM
If that part of the scientific process called "peer review" is per se not crucial, as it cannot and does not certainly establish truth (QED), then of what use is it?
From personal experience of having worked in a consulting environment where all one's technical reports had to undergo collegial peer review and standards review prior to going out to the client, my view is that peer review can be an extremely helpful process for giving one's output a final, rigorous sanity check. One is provided by a brief review report from each reviewer, which highlights any errors or omissions of fact or approach, which enables you to correct the report. We all make mistakes, so this was a useful checkpoint.
It was also just good risk-avoidance. As consultants, we were being billed out at a rate of (typically) $1,000 to $1,500 per day. A client might often make significant expenditure based on the recommendations/advice in our reports at the end of an assignment. If we gave duff advice, then we could have been liable for the consequences, so everything had to be rational, factual, substantiated and the potential errors/risks had to be stated. We had insurance to cover us for professional negligence or mistake, but if we ever had to claim against it, then the subsequent premiums would have skyrocketed and could have driven us out of business.

In science, the (non-crucial) peer review part of the process would seem to have not only a potential (desirable) governing effect, but also could have an enabling effect on the (undesirable) propensity for inherent bias/error/fraud - and the latter might not become apparent unless you checked the science for falsifiability - which is crucial (QED).
This necessarily forces you back to the Royal Society's motto: "Nullius in verba/verbo." Literally, "Take nobody's word for it; see for yourself".
The signs of bad/bogus science are only likely to be revealed if you follow the Royal Society's motto - and remember, the rule is: science must be falsifiable.

Interestingly, this discussion thread mentions some evidence (as "bad science") to show that for a great number of years, parts of the scientific community may have been only too well aware of the potential of and propensity for inherent bias/error/fraud in peer review (above), and of how to use it to promote lobbying for preferred religio-political or other biased conclusions in their "science".

Checking the science for falsifiability would seem to be about the only real test that we have at our disposal, and where scientists seem determined to avoid the risk of research being exposed to that test (e.g., refusing to reveal methods, or refusing/obfuscating FOI requests), one can presume that something professionally unethical is probably going on.
"The rule of thumb is that, if a business process can not stand the hard light of scrutiny, then there is probably something unethical about it". - Sir Adrian Cadbury (Chairman of the then Quaker family-owned Cadbury's) in his prize-winning article on Business Ethics for Harvard Business Review circa 1984.
1436 Software / Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: Cannot delete single clips on: October 14, 2013, 01:16:30 AM
That's interesting.
I use PresetViews quite a lot and have experimented with them.
I just used Everything and discovered that there are unused PresetViews in the folder
C:\Users\{UserID}\Documents\DonationCoder\Clipboard Help+Spell\PresetViews
- which contains the files: (showing Created  Date, then Modified Date)
Formatted for Generic Code with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. ColumnCustomizer.preset      32 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  2. ColumnCustomizer.preset.dock 892 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  3. ColumnCustomizer.preset.grid 2911 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  4. Last.preset                  32 2011-01-11 01:46 2013-01-25 00:08
  5. Last.preset.dock             915 2011-01-11 01:46 2013-01-25 00:08
  6. Last.preset.grid             5086 2011-01-11 01:46 2013-01-25 00:08
  7. NewClips.preset              32 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  8. NewClips.preset.dock         892 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  9. NewClips.preset.grid         2913 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  10. NewClips.preset.groupnodes    15 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:52
  11. Standard.preset              32 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:50
  12. Standard.preset.dock         892 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:50
  13. Standard.preset.grid         2908 2011-01-11 01:46 2005-08-11 20:50

The ones I use are not user-dependent and are in the folder
C:\UTIL\Windows utilities\FindAndRunRobot\Plugins\Clipboard Help+Spell\PresetViews
- which contains the files: (showing Created  Date, then Modified Date)
Formatted for Generic Code with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. .InfoSelect style.preset.dock         915 2012-01-24 15:06 2012-01-24 15:06
  2. .InfoSelect style.preset.grid         4677 2012-01-24 15:06 2012-01-24 15:06
  3. .InfoSelect style.preset.groupnodes    46 2012-01-24 15:06 2012-01-24 15:06
  4. CHS Original example.preset            32 2012-02-03 10:12 2012-02-03 10:12
  5. CHS Original example.preset.dock       915 2012-02-03 10:12 2012-02-03 10:12
  6. CHS Original example.preset.grid       4677 2012-02-03 10:12 2012-02-03 10:12
  7. CHS Original example.preset.groupnodes  38 2012-02-03 10:12 2012-02-03 10:12
  8. ColumnCustomizer.preset                32 2005-08-11 20:52 2012-01-24 15:07
  9. ColumnCustomizer.preset.dock           915 2005-08-11 20:52 2012-01-24 15:07
  10. ColumnCustomizer.preset.grid           4677 2005-08-11 20:52 2012-01-24 15:07
  11. ColumnCustomizer.preset.groupnodes      46 2012-01-24 15:07 2012-01-24 15:07
  12. IB 3-pane hide.preset                  32 2012-01-31 20:22 2012-01-31 20:22
  13. IB 3-pane hide.preset.dock             766 2012-01-31 20:22 2012-01-31 20:22
  14. IB 3-pane hide.preset.grid             4692 2012-01-31 20:22 2012-01-31 20:22
  15. IB 3-pane hide.preset.groupnodes        37 2012-01-31 20:22 2012-01-31 20:22
  16. IB 3-pane.preset                        32 2012-01-26 03:18 2012-01-26 14:51
  17. IB 3-pane.preset.dock                 762 2012-01-26 03:18 2012-01-26 14:51
  18. IB 3-pane.preset.grid                 4692 2012-01-26 03:18 2012-01-26 14:51
  19. IB 3-pane.preset.groupnodes            37 2012-01-26 03:18 2012-01-26 14:51
  20. IB 3-panel.preset.dock                 762 2012-01-26 03:23 2012-01-26 03:23
  21. IB 3-panel.preset.grid                 4691 2012-01-26 03:23 2012-01-26 03:23
  22. IB 3-panel.preset.groupnodes            45 2012-01-26 03:23 2012-01-26 03:23
  23. IB01.preset.dock                       915 2011-08-25 15:09 2011-08-25 15:09
  24. IB01.preset.grid                       4509 2011-08-25 15:09 2011-08-25 15:09
  25. IB01.preset.groupnodes                  53 2011-08-25 15:09 2011-08-25 15:09
  26. IBall.preset.dock                     915 2011-08-29 18:41 2011-11-20 12:56
  27. IBall.preset.grid                     4685 2011-08-29 18:41 2011-11-20 12:56
  28. IBall.preset.groupnodes                29 2011-11-20 12:53 2011-11-20 12:56
  29. IBimages.preset                        32 2011-08-25 15:09 2012-01-31 10:27
  30. IBimages.preset.dock                   915 2011-08-29 18:42 2012-01-31 10:27
  31. IBimages.preset.grid                   4680 2011-08-29 18:42 2012-01-31 10:27
  32. IBimages.preset.groupnodes              46 2012-01-31 10:27 2012-01-31 10:27
  33. IBold.preset                            32 2011-11-20 12:50 2011-11-20 12:50
  34. IBold.preset.dock                     915 2011-11-20 12:50 2011-11-20 12:50
  35. IBold.preset.grid                     4685 2011-11-20 12:50 2011-11-20 12:50
  36. IBold.preset.groupnodes                18 2011-11-20 12:50 2011-11-20 12:50
  37. InfoSelect style.preset                32 2012-01-24 15:06 2012-01-24 15:07
  38. InfoSelect style.preset.dock           915 2012-01-24 15:07 2012-01-24 15:07
  39. InfoSelect style.preset.grid           4677 2012-01-24 15:07 2012-01-24 15:07
  40. InfoSelect style.preset.groupnodes      46 2012-01-24 15:07 2012-01-24 15:07
  41. Last.preset                            32 2010-12-16 23:06 2013-10-14 18:47
  42. Last.preset.dock                       915 2010-12-16 23:06 2013-10-14 18:47
  43. Last.preset.grid                       4849 2010-12-16 23:06 2013-10-14 18:47
  44. Last.reset.grid                       4860 2013-05-24 13:48 2012-10-26 18:04
  45. NewClips.preset                        32 2005-08-11 20:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  46. NewClips.preset.dock                   915 2005-08-11 20:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  47. NewClips.preset.grid                   4685 2005-08-11 20:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  48. NewClips.preset.groupnodes              18 2005-08-11 20:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  49. OB deatil 3-pane hide.preset            32 2012-05-08 18:32 2012-05-08 18:32
  50. OB deatil 3-pane hide.preset.dock     766 2012-05-08 18:32 2012-05-08 18:32
  51. OB deatil 3-pane hide.preset.grid     4692 2012-05-08 18:32 2012-05-08 18:32
  52. OldClips.preset                        32 2011-11-20 12:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  53. OldClips.preset.dock                   915 2011-11-20 12:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  54. OldClips.preset.grid                   4685 2011-11-20 12:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  55. OldClips.preset.groupnodes              18 2011-11-20 12:52 2011-11-20 12:52
  56. Standard.preset                        32 2005-08-11 20:50 2011-11-20 16:17
  57. Standard.preset.dock                   915 2005-08-11 20:50 2011-11-20 16:17
  58. Standard.preset.grid                   4677 2005-08-11 20:50 2011-11-20 16:17
  59. Standard.preset.groupnodes              45 2011-11-20 12:56 2011-11-20 16:17

I know that when you save a PresetView, it saves certain settings corresponding to that view, but I have not figured out how you can save a PresetView which blocks (greys out) the option to delete clips.
However, if Jesper Hertel's PresetViews have somehow been set to do this, then I wonder whether this could be an undocumented feature in CHS that we don't know about or have forgotten, or maybe the functionality to effect it has been removed in later versions of CHS.
1437  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / MaskMe extension - PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) on: October 13, 2013, 08:53:23 PM
I am very interested in the ideas put forward in The Online Privacy Blog re: How Adobe’s 2.9 million hacked users could have beaten the data breach
- and what they propose doing with the Firefox extension MaskMe:
A Password Manager That Protects Your Privacy
Create and manage secure passwords, and mask your email, phone, and credit card as you browse and shop on the web.

I would be interested in what he DCF members/brainstrust might make of this Firefox extension.

I'll start by suggesting that it seems like you would only have to trust this ONE thing to manage the others - a bit like "One ring to rule them all".
But is that one thing secure?
Is there anything else like this on the market (I haven't come across anything)?
1438  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Core Internet Institutions Abandon US Government on: October 13, 2013, 08:08:34 PM
^^ Yes. What @40hz said. Spot-on.    thumbs up  (Not bad for a turtle!)

The country which is presently the de facto guardian and custodian of the web infrastructure standards would seem to have demonstrated - for whatever reason - a gross inability/incompetence to perform the role with trust, and with responsible, detached, objective, rational, and ethical policies.
The change to a new, trustworthy and international custodianship can't happen quickly enough for my liking, though I would suggest that the thing will probably still be at potential risk of being hijacked or skewed by self-interested parties in (say) the US economic/commercial hegemony, or a totalitarian new world order, or other religio-political ideology - for example, as in those other international bodies, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the UN, the IPCC, or the EU.

If you need evidence to support this suggested potential risk you could probably spot the usual suspects as being behind the issues discussed in the other DCF thread Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates

Whether the end result of all this will be a better form of freedom and security on the Internet than at present is probably a moot question.
1439  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Google's Storage Problem on: October 11, 2013, 11:10:40 PM
There are a lot of discussion threads referring to the pros/cons/comparisons of different Cloud storage services of one form or another, and I wasn't sure which one to post this to, so here it is on its own. I thought it was potentially quite useful in making the points that it does:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Google's Storage Problem
A lot of people wonder what happens when you stop paying for additional Google storage. Google doesn't delete your files, but you're forced to delete some of them because you can't upload new files until you use less than 15GB of storage (your quota may be different).

A downside of Google's shared storage system is that it affects both Gmail and Google+ Photos, not just Google Drive. Gmail used to offer 10GB of free storage, Picasa Web/Google+ Photos only 1GB and Google Drive - 5GB. Small photos (< 2048x2048) and short videos (less than 15 minutes) uploaded using Google+ Photos, as well as the documents, spreadsheets and presentations created using Google's Drive apps don't count towards your storage limit.

"If you exceed your quota limit, you'll receive warnings in each product and you'll need to correct the issue as soon as you can. Otherwise, you'll be unable to upload additional items to your Drive or photos to Google+, and, after a period of time, incoming messages to your Gmail account will be returned to the sender and you won't be able to send new messages," explains Google.

Now that Yahoo Mail offers 1TB of free storage and "includes email storage that expands to provide you with as much storage space as you need", Gmail's 15GB limit doesn't look that impressive. Maybe Google wants to encourage people to use Google Drive for uploading files, instead of using Gmail attachments.

Yahoo's Flickr service offers 1TB of free photo storage. "No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat." Suddenly, Google's photo offering is less impressive: you get unlimited photo storage, but only if you resize the photos.

It looks like Google no longer has the edge when it comes to free storage. Gmail offered 1GB of free storage when its main competitors only included a few megabytes of storage. Now roles are reversed.

Posted by Alex Chitu at 10/10/2013 01:41:00 PM
1440  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: October 10, 2013, 07:01:07 PM
I thought it was rather accurate. The top row keeps churning forward...and the bottom row keeps praying they don't blow up the planet in the process.
Ah, I see! I had not put that interpretation on it.
1441  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: TrueCrypt Audit on: October 10, 2013, 06:20:59 PM
From the discussion of this that I've seen, there isn't really any reason to suspect that there's a problem. It's just that people want to *prove* that TC is secure, and hasn't been compromised.
On the other hand, it could be the old IBM trick of deliberate spreading of FUD - fear, uncertainty, doubt - on a safe and uncrackable decryption system, by...hmm (I have no idea)...which might cause people to consider it "unsafe".

I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that, of course... undecided

Yes, an audit could help to "prove" things, but then you'd need to audit the other crypto-g schemes (MS, Norton/Symantec, etc.), as a basis of comparison, to establish a level playing field.
Of course, you'd be able to trust the results as no-one would rig the results of such an audit. That would be like suggesting that some government agency spies on our every communication on the Internet and wants to continue doing so, unhindered. A laughable idea.
1442  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: October 10, 2013, 05:59:45 PM
We had a power outage last week.
My computer, television and game console immediately shut down.
It was raining so I couldn’t play golf.
All I could do was talk to my wife for a few hours.
She seems like a nice person.
1443  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: October 10, 2013, 05:48:42 PM
+1 Nice one, @wraith808. Very droll.

^^ @Giampy: That is unnecessarily unkind.   Wink
Mind you, some of the scientists seem to be praying for worse weather, nowadays...
1444  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Office 2013 drops cleartype, fonts a disaster. Any way to fix it? on: October 09, 2013, 02:00:39 AM
Btw, if you spend any time on linux (ubuntu), you may have realized the freetype rendering is superior to cleartype anyway. Fortunately there's a way to get freetype on windows:
I use it and it improves chrome's rendering quite a bit.
I only this week got around to trying MacType out. Results below.
I tried it 4 ways: (System is HP ENVY 14 laptop with Win7-64 Home Premium.)
   1. Appearance: Ordinary system (ClearType ON):
   2. Appearance: Ordinary system (ClearType OFF):
   3. Appearance: MacType (ClearType ON) Default setting:
   4. Appearance: MacType (ClearType OFF) Default setting:

See samples below:
  1 and 3 look the same. ClearType ON in both cases seems best for the eyes.
  2 and 4 look the same.

I tried some of the other settings in MacType, but they didn't make for any improvement over the Default setting with ClearType ON.
Interestingly, OneNote gets different errors with its OCR (AltText). I have put the AltText below the image of each of the 4 samples (see below), so you can see the errors/omissions yourself.
MacType didn't seem to play very nicely with some of my proggies and they kept crashing.
I think I'll stick with the ordinary Windows system + ClearType ON, and just put up with the glary "flat" design of the MS Office and OneNote GUIs.
(Click image to expand it.)
1445  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Am I the only person that has a real big problem with software like this? on: October 08, 2013, 05:47:03 PM
It's one thing to have an explicit agreement with your young kids that you are going to be monitoring their online/mobile activity in exchange for them getting such a device.  But doing it secretly seems like it's teaching them some wrong lessons.
Well, that might be true if you told them about it, but not if you kept it a secret. True?

In any event, whilst I used to be ambivalent towards the idea of "spying" on one's children - because I could see points on either side - from personal experience I would have to come down firmly on the side of the case for spying. I do mean spying, and that implies that it is to be kept secret.

(See rest of post - here.)
1446  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Adobe admits 2.9 million customer accounts compromised on: October 08, 2013, 02:19:14 PM
At a bigger level Adobe is supposed to be "reputable", aka not a "cheap 2 bit op". Skipping all the zero day stuff, presumably their raw customer logins were supposed to be "standardly protected".
So I'm getting increasingly grumpy about the "Cloud" - "create accounts, good for only X years before they get hacked!"
Start of rant:------------------------------------
Yes, it is a depressing reflection on the technical capability of the service suppliers how common a failing this "hackability" seems to have been. The evidence is there as plain as a pikestaff: the techos implementing these systems that get hacked - and hacked with such frequency and apparent ease - are clearly failing to implement sometimes even the most basic/elementary security procedures, never mind the appropriately more sophisticated security procedures.
The thing about good IT security is that it should employ a proactive and pre-emptive risk-averse approach to potential risk/threat.

I am thus wholly unimpressed by the Adobe blog post (linked to at the ZDnet link given by @tomos, above), where it says this:
Important Customer Security Announcement
Posted by Brad Arkin, Chief Security Officer on October 3, 2013 8:08 AM in Executive Perspectives   

Cyber attacks are one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today. Given the profile and widespread use of many of our products, Adobe has attracted increasing attention from cyber attackers. Very recently, Adobe’s security team discovered sophisticated attacks on our network, involving the illegal access of customer information as well as source code for numerous Adobe products. We believe these attacks may be related. ...
...We value the trust of our customers. We will work aggressively to prevent these types of events from occurring in the future. Again, we deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause you. If you would like additional information, please refer to Adobe’s Customer Support page.

This would seem to include:
 - argumentum ad populum (appeal to the people/consensus, popular sentiment - appeal to the majority; appeal to loyalty);
 - argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority; conventional propriety);
 - argumentum ad misericordiam - appeal to pity; to arouse pity for getting one's conclusion accepted);
 - argumentum ad baculum (appeal to fear);
 - argumentum ad ignorantiam (forwarding a proposition without any certain proof) - we are not offered any evidence as to the "sophistication" of this attack.

That is, there's not only an implicit:
"Hey, everyone knows that security can be a BIG PROBLEM - right? I mean, heck, it's not like it's MY fault, #sshole - I mean, like, it's a bad, bad world out there - y'know?"
- which could be a classic rejection of responsibility for the success of the hack attack and a pathetic, anticipatory whining self-defence, but also, the phrase "sophisticated attacks on our network" could arguably be a massive spin/euphemism for the truth, which could perhaps be better interpreted as:
"We were wholly unprepared for this hack attack, which was far more sophisticated than we had been prepared for with our hopelessly inadequate, immature and unsophisticated security systems. We thought we'd be able to get away with minimal spending on that part, but I guess we got screwed anyway. Oops. I guess calculating the statistical probability of risk was never one of our strong-points, eh? Oh dear, what a pity, never mind. Sorry about that. Well, this has certainly been a learning experience for us, and I promise we'll do real good now and start thinking ahead a bit. OK? So stop being all bitter and twisted about it, see?
Oh, and in case we've not already covered ourselves with explicit ZERO LIABILITY for this sort of thing, we will soon, 'cause we're already reviewing our Terms & Conditions to make damn sure of that one, and we'll unilaterally change it all, as necessary. So you can go suck on that."

It's bad enough, but at least it's understandable if/when people accidentally and without thinking use logical fallacies in a discussion/debate - because we're only human after all. However, if/when apparently fully-considered public statements/propositions are made by responsible and accountable people whilst in damage-control mode, and if those statements/propositions contain logical fallacies, then this could presumably be deliberate. That is, the truth could be being deliberately twisted in an attempt to avoid liability and shape public perception in a desired manner. This is the world of marketing and politics where "Perception is everything". It is BS.

The antics of Adobe over the years in consistently pushing and manipulating the market for its various ubiquitous and sometimes crappy offerings - e.g., including .PDF and Shockwave/Flash - had already put them relatively low down in my table of expectations, but by this latest foul-up and in particular their response to it they have just placed themselves smack at the bottom. Avoid.

End of rant:------------------------------------
1447  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Run a security check on your Gmail account - if not already done on: October 08, 2013, 12:12:16 PM
You can also turn on 2-stage authentication.  It works really well.
+1 - absolutely - kudos to Google - that's why I wrote:
The hack attempt apparently had been noted as it came from an unusual device (one we had not used before) and it failed one of the (very useful!) secondary verification challenges that has been introduced to Gmail since we set up the account.
1448  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Run a security check on your Gmail account - if not already done on: October 08, 2013, 02:38:42 AM
A reminder to run that security check.
I revived this thread because something similar just cropped up. Some years back, I had set up a Gmail account that is shared with several other users. It was a bit of an experiment and is used like a Google Group for us all to communicate on issues of common interest, but avoids all the fussing-about with administering a Google Group. Security is not a real issue, and the password was unchanged from the original - a string of several numeric digits, based on part of the phone number of one of the members.

This is the sequence of events:
  • 1. Email warning received today from Google accounts admin.:
    Hi XXXX,
    Someone recently used your password to try to sign in to your Google Account This person was using an application such as an email, client or mobile device.
    We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt:
    • Monday, 7 October 2013 14:11:58 o'clock UTC
    • IP Address: (
    • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
    If you do not recognise this sign-in attempt, someone else might be trying to access your account. You should sign in to your account and reset your password immediately.

  • 2. I signed in to the Gmail account. A similar warning popped up recommending a password reset because:
    03:11 Application/device sign-in attempt (prevented).

  • 3. I checked "recent activity" on the Gmail account (per the procedure described in the opening post). The hack attempt apparently had been noted as it came from an unusual device (one we had not used before) and it failed one of the (very useful!) secondary verification challenges that has been introduced to Gmail since we set up the account.

  • 4. I generated a new and much higher-strength password, using LastPass, and set that PW.

  • 5. I logged out of all sessions.

  • 6. I Logged out of the Gmail account and then logged in again to check it had all worked OK.

  • 7. I checked WHOIS and made a note of the email address (from WHOIS screenclip) at the ISP to notify of the hack attempt from an IP address in their domain.

1449  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: October 08, 2013, 01:23:39 AM
Obamacare gets some attention from the medical professions:

The American Medical Association has weighed in on Obama's new health care package. The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve. Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!" The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow. The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter". The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea. Anaesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the #ssholes in Washington.
1450  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Adobe admits 2.9 million customer accounts compromised on: October 08, 2013, 12:46:31 AM
Heh, yes, I got am email from them telling me to change my account password. Being a bit paranoid,  I don't have any personal details saved in that account, so am not worried.
But what a palaver to get the account password reset! It took ages, and then just hung, so you had to restart the process. I kept at it, because from experience I knew Adobe's website tended to be somewhat constipated, but after 30 mins wasted time and getting nowhere I gave up and will try again sometime later.
I think their servers must be getting hammered. I would guess that their operation is probably not scaled up enough to cope with the peak load that is hitting them at the moment with people trying to reset their account passwords.
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