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1426  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: 4.02 beta is up on: April 15, 2013, 10:14:08 PM
Looking very nice. Thanks.
Post-capture pop-up dialogue seems to be fine so far on my laptop (Win7-64 Home Premium).

Just a user question: Is it possible to copy a "solid" object on the screen without the OS GUI artefacts?
e.g., artefacts as shown in the SSC capture of the Calculator, below.

1427  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: April 15, 2013, 06:22:32 AM
...but what I found interesting and important was Professor Moriarity's discussion about the absolute requirement for peer review in the scientific process.  This discussion starts at about the 8:43 point in the video.
I work in an industry where opposition groups bring forth so-called "research" or "evidence" that has not undergone this peer review process, and don't seem to understand why our whole scientific process depends on it.

Psychologists do tell us that we seem to be an irrational species by nature, and critical thinking therefore requires learning and practice - i.e., because it doesn't come naturally to us. (It certainly didn't come naturally to me either - I had to work at it. Critical thinking is no friend to the ego.)
Thus, you may find that a lot of people might accept that some absurd piece of reasoning, or loudness or strength of opinion, was sufficient to prove something.
So the scientific method, whilst being something that is recommended for use in science, is not necessarily always used, whether by "laymen" or "scientists". Such people - assuming that they know about the scientific method in the first place - seem to sometimes choose to (say) consider it as being optional or de rigeur only, especially where, if they did use the method, then their pet beliefs/theories could be at risk of being debunked.

[attachthumb=#]   [attachthumb=#]   [attachthumb=#]

Of course, critical peer review is a very useful thing, but if the reviewers are unable to review something critically, or are not skeptical, or lack rigour in their critical/scientific thinking, or are of one mind with the author of the thing being reviewed - or some combination of these things - then you are as likely as not going to just get GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). The only thing that could generally and probably forestall this is the proper and rigorous application of the scientific method.

Peer review of itself has been shown to be unreliable for the elimination of any bad or fraudulent science.
For example, there is an informative report in Forbes.com (2013-01-09) with various links to investigations of published bad/fraudulent science (these links are all well worth a read), which would all presumably have had to get through some "gates" in a peer review process, before being published. The examples given in these links are quite egregious:
A Barrage Of Legal Threats Shuts Down Whistleblower Site, Science Fraud

The thing is that we generally seem to irrationally expect/assume/believe scientists to be good people and good scientists, incorruptible and upholding the highest standards of scientific integrity and following the scientific method at all times.
The vexing reality is that there have been many cases where so-called "scientists" have fallen far short of this  expectation, and have been seen to be sadly deficient, the facts showing them to be variously outright frauds or con merchants, or just severely unscientific, incompetent/misguided - regardless of their qualifications. The modern degree-mill universities would seem to have a lot to answer for, regarding the inferior and mediocre intellectual/academic outputs.

There has been quite a bit of discussion on some aspects of this in the DC Forum - e.g. here, and in my neck of the woods (Australasia) there has been a collection of very recently discovered examples of this in the case of the Australian CSIR (see post from The Age, dated 2013-04-12, copied below), and in 2010, NIWA (the New Zealand government's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research) suffered a legal defeat over the important matter of apparently falsifying some of its climate data ("tainted climate reconstruction") implicated in temperature data fraud - e.g., see here.

Here is The Age's report re the CSIR:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Call for inquiry as CSIRO comes under the microscope
April 12, 2013
Nicky Phillips and Linton Besser

Demanding answers: Science Minister Don Farrell.
Call for answers: Science Minister Don Farrell. Photo: Supplied

Confidential reviews of the CSIRO by some of the world's most accomplished scientists show that the once great institution is now unable to act in the best interests of advancing research.

They found the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation was being strangled by a bureaucratic labyrinth stifling innovation and persuading science leaders to abandon the 87-year-old institution, the reviews say.

One of Australia's most renowned scientists, who wished to remain anonymous, said the nation's peak research body had lost its way and should ''remove the S from its name''.
Critical: Former division chief Max Whitten believes CSIRO has lost worldwide credibility.

Critical: Former division chief Max Whitten believes CSIRO has lost worldwide credibility. Photo: Supplied

On Thursday night Science Minister Don Farrell demanded answers from the CSIRO after Fairfax Media reported that officials and others involved in a spin-off joint venture knowingly passed off cheap Chinese chemicals as their trade-secret formula.

In a deal believed to be worth $2.5 million, the venture sold the technology to the Swiss drug company Novartis, one of the biggest pharmaceutical makers.

It was part of its high-security anti-counterfeit technology to protect hundreds of millions of injectable Voltaren ampoules distributed overseas. Voltaren is an anti-inflammatory.
Former CSIRO CEO Dr Geoff Garrett: Introduced the controversial 'matrix' management system.

Former CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

Novartis has confirmed it has begun an investigation into the affair and the federal opposition has called for an independent inquiry into the entire organisation. A dozen previously unreleased assessments reveal the organisation had become bogged down in bureaucracy, doubling the number of managers and putting excessive emphasis on basic paid consulting work at the cost of time and resources for real science.

Its focus on short-term projects was ''paralysing the ability of the groups to act creatively and strategically in the best interests of advancing the science''.

Former CSIRO staff, including division chief Max Whitten, said it was no longer recognised as a world-leading scientific institution, an accusation it vigorously disputes, citing a separate review by a former chief scientist in 2006.

One previously unpublished review, of the earth science and resource engineering division, reported consistently negative responses from all research groups it interviewed about the management model.

''The panel considers that this is … seriously undermining the quality of the research,'' the review says. ''In our opinion, the costs significantly outweigh the putative advantages.'' The sentiments were echoed in many other reviews, including the nutrition group which found its ''once world-leading laboratories have lost that position, and with a number of exceptions, are now followers of the best front-line centres''.

The reviews commend some areas for world-class research but repeatedly criticise the management structure, which it has dubbed the ''matrix''.

This matrix was incrementally introduced from 2003 by former chief executive Geoff Garrett, aimed at conducting more science targeted to specific problems facing industry, government and the community. Dr Garrett dismantled many of the 22 divisions. In their place he introduced entities called ''flagships'', which are more focused on generating revenue.

Critics say that while the goals of many flagships were worthy, it was inappropriate for the research of the country's leading scientific organisation to be tied to financial benchmarks because it stifled scientific discovery.

Under the present structure, the 12 divisions host the organisation's scientific capacity - its staff, infrastructure and expertise. But these resources are mainly used to service projects run not by the divisions but the flagships.

In the past, the CSIRO's reputation for producing highly valuable and independent science was based on its divisions, led by internationally respected scientists. ''Now CSIRO doesn't enjoy a good reputation in many areas,'' said Dr Whitten.

The reviewers found the matrix fragmented researchers among multiple projects and answerable to several managers. Reviewers of the land and water division found the needs and priorities of the flagship dominated decisions about what science to undertake.

Despite the criticism of the inner workings, staff scientists have achieved successes in the past few years, including developing a hendra vaccine and securing Australia as a co-location for the world's biggest radio telescope. The review's complaints also contrasted sharply with a review of the flagship program conducted by the former Australian chief scientist Robin Batterham in 2006, which praised the matrix structure. The deputy chief executive, science strategy and people, Craig Roy, rejected suggestions the matrix had increased management, saying the organisation had reduced its 27 divisions and flagships in 2003 to 23 entities now.

''In 2002 the organisation wasn't structured to focus on the big issues of low emissions energy, water, oceans, health, food. Those are the places where, in many cases, we're leading the national R&D agenda today,'' he said.

The organisation was also addressing criticism its divisional research was fragmented and researchers were too stretched. ''In the last six months we've been working … to address … [the issue] of fragmentation [to] make life easier for scientists so they can focus more on their science,'' he said.

The general manager of science excellence and standing, Jack Steele, said only a ''sliver'' of the CSIRO's work was contract testing for industry. ''Almost all of our activity has a component of discovery associated with it.''

In 2012 the organisation made $410 million, almost 30 per cent of its total revenue, providing services to the private sector, government and other research groups.

Do you know more? investigations@smh.com.au

Slashdot had a post referring to the above, on 2013-04-14, which adds even more unsavoury stuff to the pile:
Corruption Allegations Rock Australia's CSIRO
Posted by samzenpus on Sunday April 14, @12:38PM
from the say-it-aint-so dept.

An anonymous reader writes "Australia's premiere government research organization the CSIRO has been rocked by allegations of corruption including: dishonesty with 60 top-class scientists bullied or fired, fraud against drug giant Novartis, and illegally using intellectual property, faking documents and unreliable testimony to judicial officers. CSIRO Boss Megan Clark has refused to discipline the staff responsible and the federal police don't want to get involved. Victims are unimpressed and former CSIRO scientists are calling for an inquiry."
1428  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 13, 2013, 11:26:13 AM
As I said in our PM exchanges on this: if you don't like it, you should remove it. It's your living room after all, and it won't bother me.

I also said that I sit on the fence regarding abortion, and:
Well, it might be that I am a bit thick, but I actually hadn't perceived any religious or political aspect to it. It's just a trial for mass murder, isn't it?
All I perceived was censorship apparently making an ass of itself, and us.

It came into my feed aggregator on http://www.breitbart.com/.
I was in a hurry (as usual) and didn't really notice that it was via some religious/Christian(?) blog, and I don't think I ever went to the latter to look at it (still haven't), but hastily googled the trial to get the gist of it. Made me feel a bit sick.

I suppose I can understand why a religious blog might post about it, but that doesn't in any way discount or detract from the hugely ironic and black humour of that photo. It really does speak volumes. It'd be a bit like holding the Nuremberg Trials in camera, if you see what I mean.    Wink
...I am a skeptic. I distrust and despise most politicians of all varieties, and religions, and the same goes for any religio-political ideologies and any associated cant and hypocrisy...
1429  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 13, 2013, 09:56:41 AM
^^ Yes, Mao's butt would seem to be a potentially  limiting factor for China.
A potentially bumpy ride for us all though, if the US$ is being incrementally removed from its mandated position as the primary currency/unit of global exchange. This rather looks like a first brick being removed from the wall.
1430  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 13, 2013, 07:07:17 AM
A picture worth a thousand words?
Photo: Empty 'Reserved Media Seating' at Abortion Doc Gosnell's Murder Trial


The trial that wasn't?
1431  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 13, 2013, 07:01:03 AM
Bitcoin or some other crypto-currency might yet be the place of calm in turbulent times. I would suggest this news (following) will further destabilise the world currency of the US$, and inflate Bitcoin prices:
Here It Comes – Australia to Abandon the U.S. Dollar
April 13, 2013 - 07:00 America/
The Trumpet

Australia’s announcement that it is abandoning the U.S. dollar for trade with China is the latest broadside in the global currency war. Starting April 10, Australia and China will no longer use the U.S. dollar for trade between the two nations. For the first time, Australian businesses will be able to conduct trade in Chinese yuan. No more need for U.S. dollar intermediation.

This is a significant announcement and key development for China as it continues its campaign to internationalize the yuan and chip away at the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard made the announcement during an official visit to Shanghai on Monday. She noted that China is now Australia’s biggest trading partner and that the direct currency trading would be a “huge advantage for Australia.”

She called the currency accord a “strategic step forward for Australia as we add to our economic engagement with China.”

(Read the post for more.)
1432  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 13, 2013, 04:21:46 AM
^^ Yes, people seem to be waking up to this, albeit belatedly.
For example: CISPA Amendment Proves Everyone's Fears Were Justified While Failing To Assuage Them
1433  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Get 50GB of Free, Encrypted Online Storage from Tresorit (offer ends 2013-05-20) on: April 11, 2013, 08:45:31 PM
Could be a great offer via Lifehacker Dealhacker: (I'm signed up anyway.)
Get 50GB of Free, Encrypted Online Storage from Tresorit
Melanie Pinola   

Windows (Mac, Android, iOS coming soon): There are a ton of online syncing and storage services, but not all of them locally encrypt your data for higher security. Just out of limited beta, Tresorit is a new Dropbox alternative with client-side encryption. The company offers 5GB of free space, but for a limited time Lifehacker readers can grab 50GB free for life.

Tresorit's biggest selling point is the strong security. Your files and folders are encrypted before they're uploaded to the cloud. To get technical about it:

Files are encrypted with AES-256 before being uploaded to the cloud. Additional security is provided before upload by HMAC message authentication codes applied on SHA-512 hashes. Encrypted files are uploaded to the cloud using TLS-protected channels.

The company is also putting its money where its mouth is: On April 15, Tresorit is inviting the world's hackers to try to break its encryption and win $10,000. So Tresorit is pretty confident in its security claims.

The Windows software (Mac, Android, and iOS versions coming before June) is also really easy to use. You can select any folder to be synced (as a "Tresor"), share folders with other users, and also adjust permissions of shared folders by user.

On the downside, there's no web-based access for your files, people you share folders with will also need the software installed, and it takes a few seconds longer for your synced files to appear on another computer (probably because of the encryption that has to happen first). Other Dropbox alternatives with client-side encryption, SpiderOak and Wuala, have more features, but Tresorit's interface is a lot more user-friendly. And it's hard to beat 50GB of free encrypted space.

If you want to try it out, you'll need to register via the link below to get the 50 gigs free. This offer is good until May 20.

Update: Some people are reporting only getting 5GB. Tresorit has fixed the glitch, so it should work fine now, but if you were one of these people, email support@tresorit.com and they'll set you up with the 50GB. Also, you can follow @tresorit on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when Mac and mobile apps are available.


EDIT: It seems to work OK:

1434  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / MS Excel Power Map (was “GeoFlow”) - 3D cartographically distributed data maps. on: April 11, 2013, 05:53:20 PM
Retitled - this initial opening post was originally entitled:
Public preview of Excel “GeoFlow” - 3D cartographically distributed data maps.

For a while now (since 2010-07) I had been playing with Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope, but I had not realised that it might lead to this "GeoFlow" exercise.
You can follow this up on the Excel blog, and you can get a download of the app via that route also.

Here's the post on the Excel blog which gives the background to the preview of this development. This looks like a bit of a statistician's "dream modelling tool" for presentation of data.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Public preview of project codename “GeoFlow” for Excel delivers 3D data visualization and storytelling
by Ari Schorr
on April 11

Today we are announcing the availability of the project codename "GeoFlow" Preview for Excel 2013, a result of collaborations between several teams within Microsoft. GeoFlow lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive "tours" to share with others.

GeoFlow originated in Microsoft Research, evolving out of the successful WorldWide Telescope project for scientific and academic communities to explore large volumes of astronomical and geological data. Researchers collaborated closely with the Office product team to usher GeoFlow from its research lab inception to this public preview availability in Excel. GeoFlow adds to the existing self-service Business Intelligence capabilities in Excel 2013, such as Microsoft Data Explorer Preview and Power View, to help discover and visualize large amounts of data, from Twitter traffic to sales performance to population data in cities around the world.

With GeoFlow, you can:
  • Map Data: Plot more than one million rows of data from an Excel workbook, including the Excel Data Model or PowerPivot, in 3D on Bing maps. Choose from columns, heat maps, and bubble visualizations.
  • Discover Insights: Discover new insights by seeing your data in geographic space and seeing time-stamped data change over time. Annotate or compare data in a few clicks.
  • Share Stories: Capture "scenes" and build cinematic, guided "tours" that can be shared broadly, engaging audiences like never before.

Unlocking insights within geospatial data like ticket sales is now possible with GeoFlow.

To learn more about how people are already using GeoFlow to gain and share insights in conjunction with existing self-service business intelligence tools in Excel, go the Excel blog.

Download the Add-in for Excel 2013 with Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus 2013.

Find out more about Microsoft BI.
1435  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Office Web Viewer: View Office documents in a browser on: April 11, 2013, 05:07:57 PM
Take a look at this Office Web Viewer (details in the post copied below). I have been playing about with it  bit. It looks very nice indeed - beautiful, simple, clean and powerful interface (i.e., the functionality it provides) in the Metro style.
Interaction seemed a bit slow on the connection I was using, so maybe there were a lot of IP node hops going on; not sure.
I couldn't get it to work in Firefox (probably too many things being blocked by my add-ons), but it worked fine in IE10.
Well worth a look though.
The implications seem to include that Microsoft may have just (rather belatedly) leapfrogged Google big time with this - Google having previously stolen a march on MS with their proprietary Google Docs document formats for some MS documents, and their now ubiquitous Google Docs Viewer for documents/files on the web.
It will be interesting to see how this develops.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Office Web Viewer: View Office documents in a browser
by Office Team
on April 10

Do you have Office documents on your website or blog that you want your readers to view even if they don't have Office installed?  Would you rather view a document before downloading it?  To give your audience a better experience, try the Office Web Viewer.
What is the Office Web Viewer?
It's a service that creates Office Web Viewer links.  Office Web Viewer links open Word, PowerPoint or Excel files in the browser that would otherwise be downloaded. You can easily turn a download link into an Office Web Viewer link to use in your website or blog (e.g., recipes, photo slide show, a menu, or a budget template).

Some benefits of the Office Web Viewer include:
  • You don't need to convert Office files for the web (e.g., PDF, HTML).
  • Anyone can view Office files from your website or blog, even if they don't have Office.
  • It keeps eyes on your website or blog, because readers don't need to download the file and they stay in the browser.
  • One link will work for computers, tablets, and mobile phones.

How to get started
To use Office Web Viewer, click this link: http://officewebviewer.com [Link not working or "service" discontinued?]
Then copy and paste the document's URL in the text box. It looks like this:

To make the URL yourself, you can use the link below, where <Document Location> is a URL to the document.
http://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=<Document Location>

Note: the <Document Location> needs to be URL encoded, and the document must be publicly accessible on the internet.

Here are a few examples of documents in the Office Web Viewer:
If your document is an Office document and is publicly accessible on the internet, then you are good to go.  Office Web Viewer links are a great alternative to download links because your readers don't need a special program to view your documents, and they don't have the interruption of leaving their browser.

If you view the documents above and the interface controls, then you will see that they provide the HTML code that you need to embed those same documents in your website. Looks pretty straightforward.

Also, you may need to be aware of these:
  • Microsoft Services Agreement
    Especially (and to me, surprisingly) see item 2.1, which says in bold type:
    The Microsoft branded services require that you sign into your Microsoft account periodically, at a minimum every 270 days, to keep the Microsoft branded services portion of the services active, unless provided otherwise in an offer for a paid portion of the services. If you fail to sign in during this period, we may cancel your access to the Microsoft branded services. If the Microsoft branded services are canceled due to your failure to sign in, your data may be permanently deleted from our servers.

  • Microsoft Online Privacy Notice Highlights
1436  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: NoteZilla on: April 10, 2013, 10:59:52 AM
^ I think you are missing the point. Never mind.
1437  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: NoteZilla on: April 10, 2013, 10:46:18 AM
...Do you have any suggestions so that we can disable taskbar flashing button and at the same time not miss the reminder popup window...
No, not really. I am not a prospective or actual user of NoteZilla. As you said to @app103:
...Ok. We have only your request for this option. We will wait for some more demand for this option...
I would suggest you continue to "wait for some more demand for this option". That way, you might never need to fix it or offer that option.

I once went into a cake and biscuit-maker's shop in the UK and asked "Could I buy some gingerbread men biscuits?"
I was told "No. We don't have much call for that sort of thing."
I left the shop without buying anything, utterly confused.
1438  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 10, 2013, 09:15:56 AM
@tomos: I'm no expert. I was using the terminology and concepts explained here: About Bitcoin

Concise Oxford: Computing protocol - a set of rules governing the exchange or transmission of data between devices.

Operating the protocol occurs at an internal "clock" speed, which governs the rate at which it consumes CPU cycles. The output from the cycles is an object - actually a number - and that is the Bitcoin.
The velocity I referred to was the velocity of circulation of a currency, which, if it is scarce, might change hands faster to compensate for the lack of supply.
But since the protocol apparently has to be involved to exchange Bitcoins, then that might constrain the max velocity of exchange of Bitcoins in a Buy/Sell transaction.
1439  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: NoteZilla on: April 10, 2013, 07:49:27 AM
^^ Ahahaha. Very droll. Apparently unintended humour.
...Ignored/missed the point in 2009, and again in 2013.

@app103: I'm sorry, but you're not that unique. I had exactly the same problem in XP - my auto-hide Task Bar is on the LHS of the screen and about 2½ inches wide. I too lurved that flashing alarm, which was why I didn't use NoteZilla (which, I must say, otherwise seemed to be pretty good). I used Stickes instead - a great piece of software.    Thmbsup

Never mind. Hang in there. It's like maturing a good cheese: These things take time.
1440  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 09, 2013, 05:33:36 AM
...If somebody cleans out my bank account I have several very direct avenues of legal recourse....
Yes, well, maybe you might have - today, in any event - but this would seem to be inapplicable if you live in Cyprus/Europe.

The currency "backing" you perceive is just that - i.e., perceived. Modern money is generally created by things including credit creation, printing, and fiat, supported by fractional reserve banking (a virtual accounting myth) and enabled with stability of notional value through trust. Military or economic might do not of themselves "prove" or "command" money to have/retain value - as you seem to be suggesting - the USSR and China already tried that and failed (QED).
No, breach that trust and the whole thing collapses like a house of cards and the notional value evaporates.
So...guess what just happened in Cypress?

I am very interested in, but also ambivalent about Bitcoin and crypto-currency generally, but I do at least see that in Bitcoin the currency seems to be its own gold standard (as I wrote in a separate post), and trust seems to be made irrelevant and is substituted by the security and statistical authenticity inherent in the incorruptible cryptographic protocol. I would suggest the possibility that Bitcoin - or other crypto-currency - could be considered as a potential new "gold standard", against which all other currencies could be valued.
Nationa/International settlement and exchange could even take place through the medium of the crypto-currency, thereby reducing systemic risk. Forex trading could become obsolete.

I recommend maintaining a healthy skepticism toward any of the MSM (mainstream media) running TV docos or writing pro-Bitcoin or anti-Bitcoin pieces. They are arguably not doing this from the perspective of good journalism, since most of them don't seem to know the meaning of that term. So why would they be doing it? The answer is that, generally speaking, the MSM communicate only those religio-political marketing messages and propaganda that they are told to communicate (QED), and so the messages are dumbed down and NTR (No Thinking Required), aimed at the standard reading ability and/or mentality of a 13 or 14-year old.
1441  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google Stabs You in the Back... on: April 08, 2013, 09:14:43 PM
I thought I would nudge an update into this discussion thread with an interesting, potentially very useful and informative post at Cnet.com:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Bring back Amazon results to Google Shopping
With browser extension Shopping Enhancer, you can make Amazon and Google play nice when comparison shopping.
Matt Elliott
by Matt Elliott
April 8, 2013 10:16 AM PDT

Attention all shoppers. With the browser extension Shopping Enhancer, you can get Amazon listings back among your Google Shopping results.

You may not have noticed, but Amazon prices no longer show up in Google Shopping searches. According to the New York Times, last fall Google started requiring retailers to pay to be included in Google Shopping results, and Amazon opted not to pony up. As a result, to see pricing information for a product from the two e-commerce giants requires two separate searches. Unless you install Shopping Enhancer, that is.
(Credit: Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET)

Available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, Shopping Enhancer delivers Amazon results to Google Shopping. After installing the extension, simply conduct a search via Google Shopping and if Amazon carries the product, you'll see it listed among the results.

They have the add-in for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
I installed Shopping Enhancer in Firefox, and it seems to work a treat.    Thmbsup
1442  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 08, 2013, 07:22:16 PM
All this discussion seems to rather cloud the reality that Bitcoin started off as a very interesting kind of practical digital experiment in creating a crypto-currency, to test the theory as first described in 1998 by Wei Daito.
"b-money, a scheme for a group of untraceable digital pseudonyms to pay each other with money and to enforce contracts amongst themselves without outside help".

The initiator of the Bitcoin experiment went under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto. Towards the end of 2010 Satoshi apparently left the project saying he had moved on to other things.

However, the experiment continues unabated, and this discussion thread is tangible evidence that we have effectively become participants in it to some extent. Even if we are not directly involved in Bitcoin, we are all apparently part of the associated and influencing environment within which it operates.
Though the relative value of a Bitcoin in terms of exogenous currencies seems to be the most compelling factor for some, it is actually a by-product of the experiment. The current artificial and deliberate cap of about 20 million BTC numbers (objects) that can be created in/by the Bitcoin protocol is very interesting in that it is a control - it safely controls the experiment and caps the bubble that we see inflating/deflating (it is currently re-inflating after having had one major deflation).
This control affects/limits the endogenous money supply (M3) in this enclosed system, but not necessarily the velocity of circulation of the money. The latter may be theoretically unlimited, but in practice could be under a constraint set via a function determining the necessary CPU cycle time forced to be consumed in operating the protocol.

The discussion in this thread around Bitcoin's comparative US$ value appreciation worries me, because I have kinda "seen it all before" in other artificial bubbles, in stock exchanges and commodity exchanges in different parts of the world, and witnessed the financial outcomes for the real people (and their families) involved.
From experience and the study of real-life practical market economics and from econometric modelling and modelling the behaviour of traders in stock exchanges and commodity trading systems, I would strongly suggest extreme caution when considering committing any hard cash (or other assets) into Bitcoin.
As I said above:
For speculators to focus on the profits to be made from gambling in arbitrage trading, as a new market develops, would be a natural thing for any emerging market, and will generally assist in its development and stability - Bitcoin would presumably be no exception to that.

The rule-of-thumb for financial risk management in such speculative markets is: Do not risk more than you would be prepared to lose or could afford to lose.
$171.4/BTC now o.0
How I wish I bought them back in '12 when they were $5/BTC
Hindsight is a heartless bitch.
Don't let the glare of the potential gains dazzle you to the extent that you are unable to see the potential losses (statistical history: there's already been one relatively major deflation, don't forget), and be aware that fear is likely to be a primary motivator in your behaviours - fear of potential loss of an unrealised potential and intangible gain. This is or would be absurd/irrational. As well as being irrational and acting as an amplifier for our innate greed under these circumstances, fear is one of the most destructive of human emotions, and it is extremely difficult to remain rational whilst in a state of fear - and therefore easy to make mistakes.
Money can make a very good servant, but a dreadful master.
1443  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 08, 2013, 09:32:55 AM
...There were some duplicates in there.
Thanks for pointing that out.
It's very difficult and tedious to remove duplicates, as it all has to be done manually and is prone to (my) mistake.
1444  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 08, 2013, 12:00:34 AM
Lauren Weinstein's Blog has an interesting post on the "Inspector Clouseau" event I mentioned above - coincidentally, he also refers to Clouseau.
The post is France Threatens the Internet: "Censorship or Shackles!"
This is just an extract, covering some general points which concerned me when I read about the censorship - after all, that's my (and your) Internet they are forcibly censoring there, and this latest thing is just "signs of the times" (quote copied sans embedded hyperlinks/images):
Around the world, governments are attempting to remake the Web and the greater Internet in their own traditional images.

They have significant resources that can be brought to bear, especially when they succeed in redefining Internet-based freedom of speech as national security risks. Shackles, cells, even firing squads and other lethal methodologies are at their disposal.

Increasingly, we see vague and often highly suspect claims of "cyberwar" being bandied about as a predicate at least for vast diversions of power and money to the "cyberscare-industrial complex" -- and even as potential justifications for cyber or physical retaliations against the designated enemies of the moment.

We see this same class of fear tactics being deployed to justify government scanning of private computing and communications facilities, demands for purpose-built surveillance of encrypted communications systems that actually make these systems more vulnerable to black-hat hacking, and a range of other demands from authorities. Since the big cyber-security bucks are now in play, it's understandable why authorities would prefer to concentrate on theoretical computer-based infrastructure risks, rather than the very real risk of explosives in some empty desert area being used to bring down critical high voltage transmission towers.

With cybersecurity as with so much else, "money is honey."

In context, it's obvious that whether we're talking about overbearing government security services apparently using China and North Korea as their new operating paradigms, or the 21st century version of traditional power and money grabs via fear tactics deluxe, we can't help but return to the fact that governments are trying on various fronts to maintain their old authoritarian models of security and censorship in the new world of ubiquitous Internet communications.

And while today's story involved France and Wikipedia, these are only really placeholders of the moment that can be easily substituted with other countries and other organizations -- or individuals -- going forward.

The best of times, the worst of times. We dare not permit the distraction of seeming clowns in the foreground to blind us from the sharp and shiny falling blades of censorship and surveillance lurking just behind, aimed directly at our figurative (and in some horrific cases perhaps quite literal) naked necks.
1445  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 07, 2013, 03:50:15 PM
Understood. I would like to thank you for being a gracious host. I feel that I must bid you goodbye. Please know that all my best wishes are with you.

We cannot control events that affect us, but we can control our response to them.
In New Zealand, that kind of response would probably be termed "spitting the dummy".    Wink
Chillax @Renegade.
1446  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 07, 2013, 03:41:25 PM
I would really like this forum to avoid anything related to discussing investing or making money on markets -- it's just not the place for it.
It's one thing for us to discuss the concept of something like bitcoins -- but when we start showing charts and talking about making money and when to buy and sell, etc.. that has no place here.

Yes, and there seem to be plenty of alternative forums to engage in or discuss these things.
However, because of its digital nature, it would seem to be relevant to discuss Bitcoins in the DC Forum, but not necessarily in the manner it predominately seems to be being discussed at present.

It is worth discussing because: To a student of economic theory and practice, Bitcoin is something that seems to break theory by peacefully offering a new, artificial, common, potentially safe and unregulated/uncontrolled (by any government) alternative to any and all national currency, and thereby potentially enabling the consumer to avoid the use of the banking system.
The potential implications are tremendous, apparently including, for example, transformation of the global money supply and associated inter-bank Forex and payments/settlements systems, greater freedom from taxation (forced State theft) and from compulsory/proprietary usury by the banks. Bitcoin would seem to have the potential to defeat the system of fractional reserve banking, which is a major means by which governments effect their State control over the voters.

For speculators to focus on the profits to be made from gambling in arbitrage trading, as a new market develops, would be a natural thing for any emerging market, and will generally assist in its development and stability - Bitcoin would presumably be no exception to that. However, there is some irony in that, where the trade profits are being measured in a State's currency, the new thing is being measured in terms of the old which it could eventually render obsolete. Bitcoins could potentially become the new Gold Standard and the major/only global currency, where the thing being traded (Bitcoin money) is the standard - a modern digital form of gold coins.

There are other forums on the Internet specifically set up for discussing and learning about mining and dealing/trading in the supply of Bitcoins - a good start might be, for example, the Bitcoin Forum - http://bitcointalk.org
1447  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 07, 2013, 12:36:26 AM
Meanwhile, ArsTechnica reports that the French police/SS (Secret Services) have been giving an amusing demonstration of Internet censorship and obscurity on the Internet, coupled with the Streisand effect:
Wikipedia editor allegedly forced by French intelligence to delete “classified” entry

...The entry had existed on French-language Wikipedia for many years, but recently came to the attention of officials in France's Homeland Intelligence agency, known as the DCRI (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur)...    Grin

According to Wikiscan, which publishes statistics about Wikipedia.fr, the “Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute” entry is currently the most-viewed page in french-language Wikipedia, broadly beating “The September 11th Attacks” and “Jérôme Cahuzac”, France's chief tax collector who is currently embroiled in a tax-dodging scandal.    tellme

Beautiful. You couldn't make it up.

There is no mention yet on whether the Wikipedia entry on the top secret Maginot Line is to be similarly expunged.    Wink

EDIT 2013-04-07 2005hrs:
Wikipedia's Maginot Line article and the Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute article are both still there as at this date/time.
I've made an archive copy of both if anyone wants, and if either gets deleted in the next few hours (just PM me).    Wink


Looks like Inspector Clouseau or his descendants may be alive and well in the French police/SS.

1448  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Gadget WEEKENDS on: April 06, 2013, 11:46:31 PM
Kill-A-Watt (see attachment in previous post)
Plug this gadget into a wall outlet and then plug your appliance or other gadget into it...
Thanks for posting this.
Spotted this rather interesting mod at adafruit:RaspiWatt: discover power consumption using a Kill-A-Watt & Pi

Now, where's my soldering iron?...
1449  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 06, 2013, 10:05:25 PM
Another example of **AA prescriptive/censorship activity on the Internet being challenged:
IsoHunt Wants Jury to Rule on Free Speech Issues in MPAA Case
April 6, 2013

Last month BitTorrent site isoHunt lost its appeal against the MPAA, meaning that the site has to continue filtering movie and TV related terms from its search engine. However, isoHunt founder Gary Fung is not giving up just yet and has asked for a jury to decide on the case. In a petition filed this week isoHunt argues that, among other things, the Ninth Circuit decision chills innovation and threatens free speech online.

mpaa isohuntFor more than seven years isoHunt and the MPAA have been battling in court, and it’s not over yet.

In 2010 the District Court ordered the owner of isoHunt to start censoring the site’s search engine based on a list of thousands of keywords provided by the MPAA, or cease its operations entirely in the US.

IsoHunt hoped to overturn this ruling in an appeal, but last month the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision of the lower court, ruling that the website does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the DMCA.

For now this means that the keyword filter stays in place, but for isoHunt founder Gary Fung this is not the end of the matter. This week isoHunt’s legal team petitioned the court for a re-hearing before a jury.

Among other things, isoHunt argues that the current verdict chills innovation and threatens free speech on the Internet.

“Fung contends that many of the items of evidence cited by the District Court should be protected as Free Speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution and would be inadmissible at trial. As a result of decisions herein, impermissible burdens are being imposed on Fung’s speech and on the speech of other Internet users,” the petition reads.

The MPAA used quotes from isoHunt’s founder dating back to 2003, to argue that he was aware of and liable for copyright infringing use of the site. As evidence the MPAA cited the following statements made by Fung in a forum thread discussing the RIAA.

“Agreed. they accuse us for thieves, and they r right. Only we r ‘stealing’ from the leechers (them!) and not the originators (artists),” Fung wrote.

IsoHunt’s founder later updated the IRC announce bot to say: “Files… are now being indexed for isoHunt.com…We completely OPPOSE RIAA & Co., so do not be alarmed by our indexing activities.”

In its petition for a re-hearing isoHunt argues that when these isolated statements are used to determine liability, without any connection to direct infringements, this could “severely chill free speech” and threaten innovation.

“The effect of decisions herein is to make sarcasm directed at copyright enforcement or statements in support of file-sharing a reason for later imposition of liability. Cautious individuals will practice self-censorship. Outspoken individuals will avoid certain areas of technological development,” isoHunt’s legal team writes.

The free speech concerns are not the only issue raised by isoHunt. The petition also contends that there is no evidence that isohunt’s founder promoted or facilitated direct copyright infringements.

In addition, the petition protests the ruling that Fung should not be entitled to safe harbor protection under the DMCA because he knew that isoHunt users were sharing copyrighted material. According to isoHunt’s legal team this goes directly against verdicts in other cases, such as the dispute between YouTube and Viacom.

With a re-hearing before a jury isoHunt is confident it can win the case as that will provide an opportunity to counter specific allegations of copyright infringement. If this request is granted the case is expected to continue for a few more years, perhaps making it to its 10th anniversary in 2016.
1450  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 06, 2013, 09:58:59 PM
Why wait for the enactment of Bills from Congress, when you can trust the players with vested interests to "self-regulate"?
YouTube’s Deal With Universal Blocks DMCA Counter Notices

Hmm. Methinks this might rather be bypassing the interests and objections of the Internet citizens and users.

"Do no evil."
Yeah, right.
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