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26  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: September 26, 2014, 12:21:42 AM
IainB - I think what mouser and Deozaan are saying is that it would be better if religious and political humor that could be considered offensive by our members was kept out of this thread. (We have the Basement for that)
I don't see a problem with light-hearted "religious" humor, though, such as the following:

@app103: Thankyou, your opinions are always of interest, I'm sure. However, in this case I was merely responding to what was quoted (as above) and did not really need a third party to helpfully attempt an interpretation of what was written, nor was I inviting argument or debate, but merely pointing out and substantiating the conclusion which I led up to in the final paragraph, and which thus stands on its own two feet without my having to substantiate it further.

If @mouser or one of his forum mediators had simply gone [snip] with the comment, or maybe (say) asked me to delete it - because they didn't like it, for whatever good reason - then that probably would have been fine by me. It is @mouser's forum, after all.
However, if they instead leave the blessed thing there and then start to criticise and/or label me in pejorative fashion for their false assumptions/perceptions (QED) - for example, that I had (say) made a "thinly veiled religious/political insult" - then I would feel obliged to point out what I did, in my own defence.
I cannot passively stand by and accept that people may project their own ignorance or false perceptions onto me and as a result they then feel this justifies them making false/inaccurate written statements or accusations about me or my actions, in public - and this is a public forum.

Regarding the joke you tell above: I am very familiar with that joke, and it is not in my vast database of jokes simply because it does not get past my filter, viz: I don't blindly save in my database every joke I come across, but only the ones that make me smile or laugh, and that aren't too cruel to the butt of the joke, and that aren't too extreme (e.g. racism, sexism).

I am sorry to have to tell you that the joke you tell is an old (I think I was 13 when I first heard it), childishly simplistic and stupid joke, making a ridiculous sexual allusion about the practitioners (a nun and a priest) of the RC faith and whose faith forbids such sexual activity, and deliberately misinterpreting a scripture. I refuse to make that sort of fun of such people or deliberately misinterpret a scripture so as to ridicule a faith or a scripture. Perhaps if it were told in a self-effacing way by (say) an RC priest, I could find it funny, though a little strange. Otherwise, I'd leave telling that sort of thing, for example, to (say) religious people who might do it to hide their embarrassment about the strength of their own religion or religious conviction, or to (say) the more moronic practitioners of another religion - Atheism - who always seem to delight in mocking other religions with similarly stupid jokes.

Even if it might make a valid point, I do not like to poke stupid fun devoid of any irony, or that makes vicious criticism/derision, at any religion, nor do I encourage other people to do so - e.g., the so-called "art" of the Madonna in a Condom, or the Piss Christ.

The joke I gave a link to has just the right pattern: though we can see that it is not entirely rational, it is cute (clever), simple, ironically oh-so-true, and descriptive of the elephant in the room - which all goes towards making it qualify as good for a decent belly laugh.
I could, for example, (say) have linked to a joke about RC priests sodomising choir boys, or something, but I wouldn't, because that just would not have carried the irony of being true as a rule, since  - though we all know it goes on as a deviation/exception - there is definitely no RC law/rule permitting that behaviour.
27  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: September 25, 2014, 08:59:26 PM
My personal opinion is that in a thread about silly humor, we could do without the thinly veiled religious/political insult posts.
You may find it funny, but it's contrary to the spirit of this site.

My 12½ y/o daughter sent me this link. It's actually got some interesting and some funny stuff there on that site.
[Link removed]
Hi IainB,
I think that link was completely inappropriate, both for this thread and for DC at large. Further, I'd appreciate if you kept posts that single out and make fun of particular political or religious views out of the "silly humor" thread. Just because you find some kind of wry, sardonic humor out of it, doesn't mean it belongs in this thread. This thread is meant for lighthearted and fun humor.
Please help keep this thread lighthearted.

Sorry, I just now got around to looking through this thread and picked up the above comments.

There is a biblical prohibition in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:28) against what we nowadays would probably call "tattooing" - "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." (body markings were associated with paganism in the rabbinic period). This follows as a similar prohibition in the (much younger) Koran - which is soundly based on the Old Testament. Tattooing - particularly of women - had been apparently common at the dawn of Islam, and was similarly regarded as a pagan rite.

Western democracy is generally secular (not governed by or based on religion) and the same goes for the the prevailing laws. However, history shows that the earlier Western governments and laws were generally non-secular (governed by or based on religion - Christianity in particular), and one still sees the custom of (say) swearing under oath with one's hand on a Christian bible (though the Koran is now also sometimes used, I gather, in some parts).

Islamic countries are called Islamic because they are based on non-secular Islamic law and may also be Islamic theocracies (rule by priests in the name of a god). Similarly "The Theocracy" was the commonwealth of Israel from the time of Moses until Saul became King.

It is customary and quite legal in Western societies for people to be tattooed in any way they want. The Maori Ta-moko (a tribal/pagan and customary tattoo) being a typical example. As above, however, this sort of thing is expressly forbidden today in the Koran and under Islamic law.

It is customary and legal by definition In Islamic law for men to marry girls of age 6 and upwards, and have sexual relations with girls (as their wives) under the age of 16 - what in the West is discreetly referred to as the "age of consent". However, this is forbidden by law in most/all Western societies, and the label "paedophilia" is despised and the act of a man or woman having sexual relations with under-age children or sodomising or sexually abusing children is a serious offence and punishable by law.

Any Westerner who would question, criticise or condemn the religious customs or laws of Muslims in the case of men marrying little girls would presumably be ignorant of the fact that their Western laws are much younger than those 1,400 year old Islamic laws permitting this.
Furthermore, they would probably be ignorant also of the facts that it is only Western psychiatry that has invented and defined paedophilia as a psychological disorder, and that has invented and defined a law against under-age sex, where previously no such Western concepts existed, and that apparently members of the British parliament (e.g., including, more recently, a woman member of the Labour party) have been supportive of movements related to the Paedophile Information Exchange and a progressive movement pushing for the liberalisation of "consensual" sex with minors. Thus the continuation of the criminalisation of the latter - in the UK at least - is by no means a given certainty.

I asked my daughter, did she think she was making either a religious or political criticism by pointing out that very funny joke to me?
She said categorically "No", and added that it was both very funny and true (and funny because it was true), but because it was true it was also an unfunny and serious matter to her, and especially to her very best friend Alia (not her real name).
My daughter and her BFF Alia have grown up and gone to school together for about 5 years at least. Alia has just turned 11 and is the daughter of the family of our personally very close friends and neighbours  - a man  (Alia's father) and his wife (Alia's mother), and another man (Alia's uncle). The two men are doctors, and they fled Iran, with Alia being born a New Zealand citizen. The two doctors knew that only one of them was qualified sufficiently to act as a doctor in New Zealand, and so accepted that they would suffer hardship in income and economic living standards as a result (which they have suffered).
It seems that, when they went back to Iran about 4 moths ago - for the first time as a family - to spend a month with relatives, a local man made a very insistent and persistent proposal to marry Alia (then aged 10), and would only desist after being flatly rejected by another of Alia's uncles who was a respected elder in the village.
The thing is, under Iranian law, the proposal was already supported by default, by virtue of the leading cleric (Khomeini) having decreed "Let not your daughter's first blood be in her father's house".

I am aware of these things, and you would presumably not be, but you can perhaps now understand why it would be incorrect to suggest that I was criticising a religion per se (I do not criticise it - it is a near-perfect system of laws), and ludicrous to suggest that it might also be a political criticism. It was neither  It was simply - as my adoptive older brother Khaled (himself a Pakistani Sunni Muslim) said, "A sad reality", and the joke was "Sadly, funny - the elephant in the room".
28  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Malwarebytes FREE and PRO/Premium - Mini-Review. on: September 25, 2014, 07:11:15 PM
EDIT 2014-09-26: Just updated the OP to clarify an important difference in the PROs and CONs regarding real-time protection of MBAM, viz:
 - Real-time protection cannot be enabled in the $FREE version.
 - Real-time protection can be enabled in the $PAID (Premium) version.
29  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: September 25, 2014, 12:18:47 AM
Toad makes a good point.
30  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Free Alternative to CopyWhiz (Piky Basket)? on: September 24, 2014, 09:39:46 PM
Yes, here at Wayback: http://web.archive.org/we...eptworld.com/download.asp
It downloads as file: PkySetup.exe, Size: 459Kb
- which seems to install just fine on Win8.1 ...
EDIT: But actually it doesn't - it should integrate into the Explorer Shell menu, but it doesn't.

Looks like could be quite a nifty proggy - darn it! (I would have liked to try it out.)

EDIT: Couldn't find it at Last Freeware version
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: September 24, 2014, 09:15:35 PM
...Wish granted! Look here.

32  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / "Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0)" by Randolph Lalonde. on: September 24, 2014, 07:22:56 PM

Mentioned the first (Book 0) in the Spinward Fringe series:
I rather enjoyed the Spinward Fringe book. Difficult to put down. Recommended!  Thmbsup
Now want to read the rest in the series...

I'd like to add to this a (my) brief review of that book:
"Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0)" by  Randolph Lalonde.    Thmbsup

As a veteran SF addict, I am often highly critical of new SF works, but I consider this book to be, overall, a good and enjoyable SF read.
I obtained it for FREE in the Kindle version, and it was evidently intended as a sample of more to come  - i.e., in the rest of the series.
I purchased a Kindle really just to try it out - a "suck-it-and-see" exercise. I was skeptical as to whether it could be an adequate or full replacement for all aspects of conventional books.
However, in the case of the "Origins" story, if I had not had a Kindle, then I suspect that I would probably never have bothered reading the story (even if it were available) in hardcopy. This is arguably a new dimension that Amazon Kindle has introduced to the book-readers in the publishing market, and is likely to lead to encouraging results for new authors like Randolph Lalonde, and more business for Amazon - so a  thumbs up for Kindle books there.

To my surprise, I found the Origins book to be hard to put down, due to it's having a good plot, good progressive development of the characters in the story (though sometimes a bit abrupt with the odd leap here and there, but that kept things moving), and lots of action, a love interest (just right, not too much), etc. - all "ticks in the box". The book is based in a future time, but is plausible - including, for example, the new future's science and technology invented by the author.

I read the Afterword by the author, where he summarises some of the trials and tribulations that he encountered in producing this book and developing it into a viable series. Very interesting, and I wish him the best of luck. I think he probably has a winner.
As a result of reading this first book I intend to follow it up with the next in the series.
33  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: September 24, 2014, 04:04:36 AM
I like my jazz one of two ways:  Ultra-traditional or way-out-wacked.  Guess which one this is?
You like that?  More here -> http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeStreetDive
Thanks. That was rather good.
34  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Tresorit - Secure, end-to-end encrypted Cloud storage service (FREE) on: September 23, 2014, 10:27:08 PM
Isn't Mega.co.nz supposed to be encrypted end-to-end?
There's also SpiderOak, which has been around for a long time.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I'm not sure whether they meet the suggested 2 essential security criteria, though I think MEGA probably does by now, if it didn't before.
I shall have to investigate and add them to the alternatives list anyway.
In light of @40hz's comments, it might be appropriate to review those two criteria and give them some more precise definition.
35  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: September 23, 2014, 05:14:02 PM
I felt a bit reluctant/shy about writing this, but decided to come out with it.
Music runs in my family. My brothers and sisters were variously musically and even artistically inclined. Since I was the youngest, I was kind of brought up in music, and I've always been fascinated with music, starting in childhood, where at the age of 5 or 6 I recall I would sit for hours, totally absorbed in an almost trance-like state, playing notes and chords and humming them - playing with the harmonics - using my eldest sister's piano (she later went on to study the piano at the RAM (Royal Academy of Music), but was not good enough to go professional, so used to sometimes teach music.
I have this tendency to sense pattern all around me, and I go into these absorbed states when thinking about or doing something that involves pattern - including things such as, for example, listening to music (as above), listening to or playing the drums, meditating by using a mantra, analysing or solving a problem, washing walls, ski-ing, driving a car, riding a bike, and walking in the hills and mountains. I discovered many years later that autism, Asperger syndrome and depression also apparently run in the family, and that depression is genetic and tends to not skip a generation. But these things were generally not properly appreciated or understood in those terms when I was younger. In retrospect, I think my whole family were/are probably "a bit odd" - eccentric.

Anyway, it turned out that my instrument was my voice, which my high school music teacher discovered when he was testing us for our singing ability prior to putting us (or not) into the school choir. Much to my music teacher's surprise and disappointment (I was probably one of his most useless and bored students in music theory), he found that I had been given the gift of perfect pitch. This was in North Wales (UK), and at about age 11½ I was conscripted into the choir as a soprano, and we sang at the school a lot - mostly in Welsh - and at the eisteddfod (an annual competitive festival of music and poetry held in Wales, UK), where we represented our school. I started to become proficient in sight-reading music and singing it, and loved listening to a good choir at work - e.g., the Welsh Male Voice Choir singing Ar Hyd Y Nos (All Through The Night) and the Welsh National Anthem - arguably one of the most beautiful anthems in the world. These pieces are always a pleasure to listen to or sing, and spine-tingling stuff, for me.

When I moved on to another secondary (high) school, I joined the choir there, and as I got older my voice dropped rapidly to tenor and then baritone, and then a bit lower, whereupon my vocal scope included first bass parts. By then my music sight-reading was more than adequate for my purposes, and, probably because I had had to become proficient in Welsh (my second language) I developed a natural facility with languages, which meant I could pick up a script written in one of several different European languages (as well as Latin) and sing/pronounce the words correctly whilst mostly understanding them as well (though I would probably be terribly rusty if I tried that today).

By the end of high school I had become quite good on the Spanish guitar, liked to sing and play country folk and western with it most, but was only ever at an elementary level, at best, on the piano. I had also learned to play the bugle at an early age (9 or 10 I think) after my mother bought home a rather beaten-up used copper army bugle from a junk shop, to hang on the wall as decoration. I became quite good with it, and so my eldest brother bought me a rather worn, dented old, but (I thought) beautiful, silver-plated trumpet from a second-hand junk shop as a birthday present.
I had to fix it and get it to work bang on key before it was playable, so there was much poring over the Enc.Britannica and other reference books in music, acoustics, string and wind instruments, and tuning, after which I established that I could also tune a piano. I was obliged to teach myself to play these instruments - never had any formal lessons. I think I really enjoyed the bugle best though. It's a difficult instrument to play but very satisfying to master - bloody well seems to fight you all the time though. It's also portable and can put up with being banged around a bit (dents can be quite easily removed from copper), so I would take it with me in my rucksack on my many expeditions into the Welsh hills. The bugle could belt out a really cracking good sound as you played it, echoing back at me from the surrounding hills and scattering nearby flocks of mountain sheep, which ran about in alarm, having never heard anything quite like it before.
I found the bugle could make a thrilling sound - it could be piercing, stimulating, poignant and quite beautiful - e.g., Reveille, or The Last Post. When played properly, the latter can send shivers down your spine. I'm not sure I ever managed to play it perfectly all the way through though!

It wasn't till I was about 22 or so, when I was lecturing with a large computer company and studying computing, that I accidentally got back into choir-singing. One lunchtime, I heard a manager in a nearby office singing something to himself quietly. Peeking through his open door, I saw that he was reading a score sheet, and I enquired what the music was. It turned out that he was rehearsing a tenor part and was in the LPC (London Philharmonic Choir). I was seriously impressed, because it was/is a highly reputable amateur choir (meaning you don't get paid anything - unlike a professional  - though they would cover your costs for a nominal amount for DJ hire to attend dress rehearsals and performances).
On discovering that I was interested in choral music, he asked me to sing a bit from his score sheet, after which he immediately said I should go for an audition with the choirmaster (who was somebody famous), at the auditions to be held the following week. Overawed by this, I gave him a raft of reasons why I shouldn't go, because I silently thought it farcical to even think that I could be up to the necessary standard for the LPC - and I certainly didn't think I was anywhere near the grade. My mind told me that a musician I was not.

The guy persisted and said that the best judge of my ability would be the choirmaster - not me - and that I could find myself involved in singing some of the most beautiful music created by man, and that I should at least give it a whirl as, "nothing ventured, nothing gained".
I told him that I didn't really want to go back into a choir, and didn't see the need for it, it would require my time, and I was too busy, etc.

He then asked me if I was married (no, I wasn't), if I had a girlfriend (no, I hadn't), and then he said "Well, then you do have the time, and there - right there - is a good reason for joining the LPC!"

My response was, "Eh? How so?"

He replied, "The social life man! We have 50-odd female voices - all emancipated women - about 30 sopranos and 22 altos, the majority of whom are relatively young, unattached, available, and not shy about showing it, and not only do they have beautiful voices but quite a few of them are physically very comely wenches! Furthermore, we have around 25 men/male voices - 15 tenors, 6 first bass, and 5 second bass. Most of them are married. We never have enough male voices! We have to hire in professionals to make up the numbers at our performances. We desperately need more basses, and you'd probably be a first bass voice, and if you could only fart on key you'd probably get through the audition! But look at the ratios and the green field you have with all those women - 52 of them, say 35 potentially unattached and available - and about 4 or 5 unattached blokes for competition, and all the men quite a bit older than you! Why wouldn't you want to be a male singer in that choir?

I always felt that being numerate, and having been trained in accountancy and statistics, I had an advantage when it came to addressing numerical problems, and when he ran those numbers past me, I immediately saw the direction I needed to take.
So that is how I joined the LPC, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Over the approx 3 years I was with them, we did quite a lot of performances. Several were recordings for the BBC, with orchestra and one or two additional choirs (sometimes the BBC's own choirs). We sang at different venues, the two most memorable for me were at:
(a) The Royal Festival Hall: where we came on first (I think it was some of Berlioz's Te Deum), with the second part being a solo performance by a highly acclaimed Japanese lady violinist, so I got to hear her superb performance for free when ordinarily I probably could not have afforded to go.

(b) The Royal Albert Halll: at the last night of the Proms, where we joined with two BBC female choirs, and with several hired/professional male singers to bolster the lower registers, and 2 or 3 professional soloists, and performed Brahms' Deutsches Requiem.
I had only ever watched the Proms on TV before that, and could not really afford tickets even when I lived in London. Being a Last Night, it had a vibrant and exciting atmosphere. The audience really appreciated and enjoyed the music we gave them, and they were out to have fun and made a party out of it, and our conductor played to them magnificently.
The Albert has a huge organ, with some of the biggest organ pipes I have ever seen - the lower registers being the biggest. I was situated close to the lowest register pipes on one side of the pipe array, about 10 feet from the very lowest. In Brahms' Deutsches Requiem, there's a bit where he's descending into Hell and the low register organ pipes come in, almost stepping down to the gloomy Hellish darkness below. The sound from those pipes sends out a bit of a percussion wave towards the listener, but I was close enough that not only could I not hear myself think, but also that I could not stay still, as the vibration was literally jiggling me up and down where I stood. I was grateful when that bit ended and the music became uplifting and ascended with him to Heaven, the sound of the triumphal heavenly trumpets coming from "The Gods" - the uppermost balcony where they had been positioned.

When I emigrated to Aotearoa, I sung with a quite well-rehearsed company choir just at Christmas-times, going round the corporate offices singing Christmas carols and collecting money for charity. I think I still have somewhere a VHS tape of me in this choir, wearing choir-robes, singing in the historic old St Pauls - a lovely old wooden church in Wellington. Being made of wood, it had great acoustics. I also have (or had) a cassette tape of me singing a solo in 1988 - an IT version of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Nightmare Song from Iolanthe. I copied this across to disk as best I could, some years back, but it's got a fair amount of noise and hum in it, though the voice part is still audible, if using headphones.
The Nightmare Song (computer).wav (Sorry about the quality.)
The Nightmare Song (computer) lyrics.txt

As to music that I like and enjoy singing, it is music that generally could be seen as reflecting something of all that is good about humanity: rhythm, fun, harmony, love, the expression of humour, pathos, happiness, joy, empathy, that speaks of the yearning for freedom from bondage, the yearning for peace and for the ascent of the human spirit, and that shows our ability to climb out - even if only temporarily - of the hideous, irrational religio-political ideological cesspits within which we can sometimes find ourselves imprisoned.
I think sometimes that we do not realise - or maybe we forget - what incredible beings we are and with what amazing potential. For me, music can be an expression - a communication - of this, and a reminder.
Here are two favourite examples - quite different - of such music, from the public domain:
Weird Al Yankovic - Don't Download This Song.mp3
Remember Me.swf
36  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Funds for new film re Berlin Wall - Indiegogo fundraising ends Oct. 4, 2014 on: September 23, 2014, 09:00:18 AM
A new film "An Accidental Berliner" is apparently being made, with a New Zealand perspective, and I received the email below about it asking for contributions via Indiegogo.
Passing it on in case any DCF denizens might like to help.
We have a friend named Tony Forster, who was in East Berlin in 1989 on the night the Wall fell - and was just the third person to cross through Checkpoint Charlie to the West - to be greeted by thousands of people and the world's press on that historic night!

It was an extraordinary experience and he is now making a film about it - where he explores the impact of this event on himself and on Germans, both his own friends and numerous people he met at the 20th Anniversary and since. The film is almost complete, but Tony could do with a little bit of help.

Please take a few minutes if you can, and have a look at this website: 


- where you can watch a short video clip (about 3.5 minutes) – and see what you think.

It's a remarkable story worth telling and we, along with a number of others, have already helped a bit to get it to this stage. We are now  circulating this request on his behalf to help see it completed. . Every contribution, no matter how small, helps immensely.  If you want to, you can contribute anonymously.  And if you use the PayPal system, you can even invent a false name! - (apparently)

Our apologies if you think we may be stretching our connection with you to send a fundraising request - but these things only work if they are spread as widely as possible. So, we are just sending this off to everyone in our address book - friends, businesses, the lot - just to save time and spread it as widely as possible as quickly as possible. No targeting we assure you!! - this is a mass mail-out

But we will be even more presumptuous and suggest -  if you do know anyone who might be interested in assisting - please forward this email on to them.

Please Note: The Indiegogo crowd-funding site is in US$$ - so if you choose to help please allow that:   $10 US = about $12.50 NZ. (Sorry, they can only accept donations in US $) And note that Tony is offering various perks as well - check them out on the website.

And especially Please Note - the Fund Raising Campaign finishes strictly on October 4th !!!

Thanks for reading,
37  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for a new Anti-Virus and need you guys to help! on: September 23, 2014, 08:11:27 AM
I have to agree with Iain on these points. Turn on Defender at least for now, and worry about specifics later.
To be more specific, I think the user of a new Win8 laptop will find that Windows Defender is "On" by default, but the AV component (formerly MSE) is what seems to get fully disabled by the OEM AV proggy install, leaving just the Windows Defender Firewall component enabled.

This confused me greatly at first, as I was previously unaware that Defender had been made a consolidation of the two components in Win8.    embarassed

What I noticed in my case was that whilst Norton/Symantec AV was persistently nagging (nagware) the user to buy the software as it was "at the end of trial period", the user was blocked from enabling the Windows Defender AV component, until the OEM AV product was completely uninstalled/expunged. That would be unlikely to have been accidental. I consider it to be sharp practice. That sort of thing really gets my goat and is just one more reason for my loathing Norton/Symantec AV - which otherwise is an excellent AV ($PAID) product, as far as I am aware.
38  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for a new Anti-Virus and need you guys to help! on: September 23, 2014, 07:47:54 AM
Ah, here it is. I knew I'd seen something that had already been way down this path before: GEGeek - a whole new IT category index discovered in The Library of Utopia

The relevant link is in the GEGeek section You're Infected ?: Antivirus⁄Mal ware. A veritable mine of information at that link.

Sorry for not coughing this up sooner, but I got sidetracked and have been rather preoccupied with some urgent work.
39  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Excel thingy... Tip for using OFFSET() function to restrict a droplist. on: September 23, 2014, 05:23:12 AM
Ah, I see why you use it now. Yes, of course.
I just might have a use for it actually. I may be required to develop a person lookup for an Excel database of a few thousand members of an alumni group that was set up a few years back and has now grown quite large.
40  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: September 22, 2014, 12:04:44 PM
...C.S. Lewis has been one of my favourite authors for a very long time. His Christian apologetics never venture into the territory of being nasty or cruel or anything of the sort. He's simply one of the finest authors to have ever lived. Our love of the Narnia chronicles is a testament to his skill.

Amusingly I only knew him mainly for The Screwtape Letters and his sci-fi trilogy which I think I read at about age 12 or so:
  • Out of the Silent Planet
  • Perelandra - Voyage to Venus
  • That Hideous Strength

I had not studied him, and it was years later that I registered that he was an atheist who had converted to Christianity, and who was also the author of the Good v. Evil themed series - The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Narnia, etc.
I was intrigued and wanted to understand and find out how his reasoning stood up to his religious conversion. It seemed like he would have been a most unlikely candidate for conversion. That's when I read his Surprised By Joy and other essays.
He's a person I would have liked to have met in real life.
41  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia on: September 22, 2014, 11:06:42 AM
Eh? Um, yes, I kinda understood that the physical records had not been deleted...I mean, it was quite clearly the case that they hadn't been deleted, wasn't it?
I used the word "forensic" advisedly - as in "forensic data analysis".
"Access", you say?
I didn't really consider that access was likely to be a major issue - a temporary inconvenience, yes.
You see, I was/am curious to know, if/when the data is restored, how one would be able to verify with absolute certainty that all has been restored exactly as it was before.

Oh, never mind.

Still, it looks like good news, nonetheless.
42  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: September 22, 2014, 09:18:57 AM
After coaching my daughter in her maths homework, I sat up late reading on my own and did some TV Channel-hopping - simultaneously watched some overlapping late-night Sunday TV suspense movies out of interest (everyone else was in bed so I had the con and could scroll the channels to my heart's content).
My perceptions:
Poison Ivy: The Secret Society (2008)
  • Badly produced.
  • Poor acting.
  • Flimsy and confusing plot/story.
  • Bad points somewhat alleviated by some occasionally nice flashes of attractive mammary glands.
  • A seemingly pointless movie (or possibly too subtle for me to see the point).

The Dark Knight Rises (2012):
  • Really good interpretation and dramatisation of the classic comic character.
  • I thought it had a good plot and story-line, with all the right bits to keep the viewer's attention, even though I had seen this movie before.
  • Well-acted parts.
  • Some quite good bits of gratuitous violence.
  • Watch-able, though a bit formulaic.

Quarantine (2008)
  • Very poor plot and acting.
  • Amateur doco-style camera-control induced motion sickness and was also distracting and annoying.
  • Deadly boring and predictable.
  • Switched it off and went back to reading my $FREE SF story on Kindle instead: Origins (Spinward Fringe Book 0) by Randolph Lalonde.

I rather enjoyed the Spinward Fringe book. Difficult to put down. Recommended!  Thmbsup
Now want to read the rest in the series...
43  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: September 22, 2014, 08:22:16 AM
...What's even more surprising is AC since then. Along with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Brian Welch of Korn, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden, and Dan Spitz of Anthrax, and Blackie Lawless of WASP, they have all converted to Christianity. THAT bit in a documentary I would like to see.

Impressive - I hadn't known about that - though perhaps these were not as spectacular conversions as the academic and atheist C.S. Lewis' self-conversion to Christianity:
"The most dejected, reluctant convert in all England" C.S. Lewis in Surprised By Joy.

Interestingly he did not convert to RC though.
44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: September 22, 2014, 07:50:03 AM
My 12½ y/o daughter sent me this link. It's actually got some interesting and some funny stuff there on that site.
45  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / US courts agree to restore 10 years of deleted online public records (PACER) on: September 22, 2014, 06:38:13 AM
Some good news!
When I first read about 10 years worth of online public records being deleted in the US, as a result of an upgrade to a computer database known as PACER, I was dumbfounded - simply couldn't understand it.
To make some sense of it, I figured that maybe someone had to have a real powerful reason for rewriting history by scrubbing those records, and I wondered what morsels of skulduggery a forensic search of them might have shown up in that regard. Something to hide, maybe? I mean, after Watergate, the government (IRS) must have surely set the modern precedent for deleting large amounts of inconvenient data, apparently to conceal evidence of state skulduggery.

It evidently wasn't all the US lawmakers who wanted this material expunged from online access though, since they were also apparently the group that objected to it the most - and hence the reversal by the US courts (bureaucracy?), those bastions of constitutional support and truth.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
US courts agree to restore 10 years of deleted online public records | Ars Technica
The restoration comes after pressure from lawmakers infuriated over the purging.
by David Kravets - Sep 19, 2014 9:35 pm UTC

The US bureaucracy agreed Friday to restore a decade's worth of electronic federal court documents that were deleted last month from online viewing because of an upgrade to a computer database known as PACER.

The move by the Administrative Office of the Courts, first reported by The Washington Post, comes amid a fierce backlash from lawmakers who urged it to restore the data that is among the few methods of delivering court documents to the public. It's a paid service, costing 10 cents a page, and has long been criticized as a deeply dated system that already does too little and charges too much for online access to things like judicial orders and court briefs.

To be restored are, combined, about a decade's worth of court dockets and all manner of documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.

At the time of the purging, the agency said that those records were maintained on "locally developed legacy case management systems" and weren't compatible to be culled into the new PACER system being built.

The deleted records are available for physical viewing at their respective courthouses in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. The bulk of them should be available on PACER by the end of October.
46  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for a new Anti-Virus and need you guys to help! on: September 22, 2014, 02:29:53 AM
The OP (opening post) says: (my emphasis)
I had McAffee pre-installed on the new laptops and now they have run out of their free trial...so I have uninstalled them because I don't have the funds to pay for it...so I am looking for a good free alternative...I used to swear by AVG but not sure if it is still worth it!
So...What do you guys think?  I currently have no AV installed, but do have MalwareBytes installed on both laptops and am using Windows Firewall for both in the meantime (As well as a router level firewall).

My general thoughts are these:
  • There are several possible and perfectly good alternatives for $FREE AV (Anti-Virus) products in the market.
  • I have probably trialled approx. 80% of what is available in that regard, and they all have their good and bad points.
  • The OP seems to be asking for advice as to what to do in a specific situation where a $FREE AV is required for new laptops, and where the OEM installed AV had been McAffee (now at end of free trial).
  • What is "good" or "bad" about AV software product alternatives is not necessarily an advantage or criticism of the AV software per se, since it will generally depend on one's individual requirements criteria and the extent to which the AV software meets those requirements.
  • One generally does not know what one's requirements for AV are until one has had the experience of a "suck-it-and-see" of some of the alternatives, which helps one to formulate one's requirements.
  • From experience, there seems to be no definitively "best" AV product, since (as above) the requirements criteria would generally need to be used to establish suitability and fitness-for-purpose in any given case.
  • The case for AV requirements will tend to differ not only between large organisational networks (e.g., corporate WANs), but also between smaller user-group networks.
  • Win8 OEM installs generally include a third-party proprietary AV product on "limited free trial", because the OEM gets a $commission for doing so.
  • This is despite the fact that Win8 comes with a Firewall (the Microsoft Firewall) and AV (MSE - Microsoft Security Essentials) already bundled as discrete, integrated components, consolidated into the Microsoft Windows Defender product.
  • The AV bundled in the OEM install takes priority in the system and the MSE product is necessarily disabled. This is not done for the advantage of the user/buyer of the laptop, but (as above) for financial gain - $commission - for the OEM.
  • Not having an AV product running on a laptop or other computer that is likely to be connected to the Internet (or to other computers that may or may not be so connected), opens up one's system to potentially serious, but largely avoidable risk of computer virus infection.
  • This risk will generally be  time-related - i.e., the longer the risk is there (the longer the window of opportunity for a virus threat is left open), the greater the chance of the potential risk occurring.

This is not a time to procrastinate. As a paranoid, I would therefore strongly recommend that, if you do not have an AV product on the laptops, then install any one of the more popular $FREE products ASAP, and worry about whether it is the "best" one for you at some later point - when you are (say) better able to define/articulate your requirements criteria.

The reason I described MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) as a "no-brainer" is that, in Win8, once you have expunged McAffee/Norton/Symantec or whatever was in the OEM install, it will not take more than 30 seconds to go to Defender via the Control Panel, enable the AV component (MSE), and for MSE to set about updating itself (the AV "engine") and downloading the latest virus signature database. From memory, this may not even require a restart of the PC/laptop.
The important thing is to close the risk "window" ASAP. The quickest route to there in Win8 is to enable MSE, as described. Any other approach is likely to take longer and thus prolong the risk exposure - a risk which I was acutely aware of in my own situation (similar to the OP).

Whatever $FREE AV you end up using, do make sure that the OEM installed AV is expunged first though, as it may otherwise leave hooks deeply embedded in the OS and Registry, which could interfere with another AV product's successful installation/operation (QED). This seems to be especially so in the case of Norton/Symantec (for which there is even a special removal tool, discussed elsewhere in this Forum - since the AV product is highly tenacious and persistent, almost like a malware/adware/virus in itself).    mad

For expunging:
In the link I gave in a comment above, I used RevoUninstaller on setting 4 or 5 to scrub Norton/Symantec from the system, and then CCleaner to delete all the obsolete references to Norton/Symantec in the Registry, and search Everything to locate and delete all residual files/folders relating to Norton/Symantec in the file system.

After this you can trial $FREE MSE and all the other $FREE alternative AVs to your heart's content. Sorry I cannot suggest which might be "the best" though, and I don't engage in "pissing contests" about AV or other software. It is a pointless exercise since we all have different (and often unspoken/unarticulated) requirements criteria. "One man's meat is another man's poison".    embarassed

Hope this helps or is of use.    smiley
47  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for a new Anti-Virus and need you guys to help! on: September 21, 2014, 05:54:41 AM
New laptops? If they are using the Win8 or 8.1 OS, then Windows Defender includes Firewall and MS Security Essentials (already fully integrated and at no extra charge). You just need to enable it after expunging McAffee.
See also: Experiences of using Win8-64, updating to Win8.1, then upgrading to Win8.1 PRO.

Otherwise, if Win7, then download MS Security Essentials by itself from MS website, for $FREE. It's sort of a no-brainer really.
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: September 21, 2014, 05:39:59 AM
That cyclist incident is an incredible shot. He looks like he may have injured his right arm (or the sleeve cloth is just torn). He must have been impacted by some thing(s) - at least a bit - at some stage, but soo lucky. The front wheel of the bike seems to have copped a blow, probably spinning him around anti-clockwise by the look of it.
Is there any info about his condition afterwards?
49  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Pledge & Release: Image Grid on: September 20, 2014, 11:18:22 AM
As a result of reading this:
For combination of many images, or for combining images into grids (as opposed to rows or columns) see the excellent standalone free tool "ImageGrid" made by dc member vlastimil: http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=29464.0
- I would just like to say that I downloaded ImageGrid out today, purely for a test/trial, and this is how it went:

The task was to take 10 images, in 10 sequentially numbered .JPG files, which were segments of a larger image, and stick them together to replicate the larger image.
  • STEP 1: Run ImageGrid.
  • STEP 2: Select the 10 image files and drag and drop them onto the ImageGrid canvas. (Required no rearranging.)
  • STEP 3: Save the composite image as a file.
  • Time taken: Not more than 10 seconds.
  • Result: Worked a treat.    Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup

Rather impressive bit of software, that. One of those tools that you may rarely need, but will probably have great difficulty finding when you do need it.
There are some alternatives given in the post referred to above: Combine Multiple Images In A Single Canvas Using Image Grid:
If not this, then try these free software to join photos.
- but I haven't tried them out.
50  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Excel thingy... Tip for using OFFSET() function to restrict a droplist. on: September 20, 2014, 10:20:26 AM
Thanks! That's rather nifty if you need to set up (say) an efficient data input form for a user.
Otherwise I would usually use Tables and Filters nowadays.
Hmm, but I wonder whether you could use Regex in there...    smiley
Excel is a pretty powerful tool.
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