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801  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2014 / Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck on: April 29, 2014, 06:32:35 AM
Disable and release with new fix's. ...

Hi all,
A bit of a random more general comment, I think it's a mistake to hold a release that has important fixes over one "tough feature". I think especially in this community we are pretty good at noticing new updates, so I approve of just "unloading" the interim build, which fixes annoyances, and then however long the killer feature takes it what it is. I'd think it might also reduce a tiny bit of cognitive load knowing that all the nuisance bugs are fixed and pushed, with only the "ornery feature" missing.

802  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: ImgBurn - full of OpenCandy and other crap on: April 28, 2014, 04:39:48 PM
I will say that the OpenCandy offers did seem to always have an opt-out.  I still don't like it because the offers always seem to be for junk that no informed user would want.  OC offers an opt-out, but are relying on people to not understand what's happening. Also I wouldn't be at all surprised if even when OC offers an opt-out that some of the stuff installed via OC ('by permission') will install further junk that doesn't get an opt-out option.

Oh oh! I know this one! We all played it in the 90's, that thing where you had to unclick buttons and not get wrecked! It was called Minefield!

Dammit, it stopped being a game!
803  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: ImgBurn - full of OpenCandy and other crap on: April 28, 2014, 04:34:58 PM
What really gets my blood boiling is that I have both donated to ImgBurn in the past and have recommended it widely to other people (and asked them to donate too). Now the finger is likely to point at me if those people's computers get infected when ImgBurn offers an update.

This is a big problem - you come to know an item, recommend it a couple of times, then they pull these kinds of tricks. I'm pretty sure I've seen other threads like it recently.

804  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Are there any simple graphic editors? on: April 28, 2014, 04:30:57 PM
Thanks so much! I will try these.

I'd like to know what you think of Real World Paint. It looks like it can do both your basics and a couple of the fancy things as well! But speaking of Simple, my use case is even more stripped than yours, so Vlastimil experimented with making a toggleable simple interface. One of the main features I discovered in Excel 2010 was a universal toggleable toolbar, so you put your favorite 9 things in a row.

I think he had to make mine by hand, but depending how long it took him and if he's still around he might be able to make you one too.

805  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: *NIX: Luakit, dwb, and other alternative browsers on: April 27, 2014, 10:54:50 PM
I've been using the Nix version of Pale Moon courtesy of 4wd's thread here.

Although it's FF-based, it doesn't seem to exhibit many of the annoyances of its parent. I've been happy with it so far. Knock wood... Cool

That's interesting because one branch of PaleMoon was supposed to be Windows optimized, so it's interesting that they are trying to do the same thing on the 'Nix side. Though I haven't seen any benefits, and at one point one of MilesAhead's tools BBSS only worked well on pure FF (though now it seems to have misbehaved on that side as well. At some point I'll post a note to that thread whenever I get the urge to bo bug hunting.)

For me the chief use is to run them both side by side as a minor technical finesse that certain sites with aggressive cookies can't see the other process, and also for aesthetic task management they are color coded on the taskbar.
806  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Cheap fountain pen shootout on: April 27, 2014, 01:03:28 PM
Funny little topic. Thirty years ago in Belgium I went through a phase as a child where I liked fountain pens - they just had a bit of an exotic feel to them, and at one point I think it felt like it was slightly easier to get better cursive because of the angles. My child's mind liked opening up the casing to replace/fiddle and occasionally make messes with the ink cartridges. I also used to draw mazes in grid notebooks. I think my brand of choice was something like $5 Reynolds.

Now I'm a ball point guy all the way - I had completely forgotten the things!

807  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 27, 2014, 08:30:07 AM

I happened to see this sentence in the article:
" We recommend applying a patch once available."

Uh... how is a patch being made available? Is it some kind of back door route via the government's support contract?

808  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Net Neutrality news from FCC today (4/24/2014). What do you guys make of it? on: April 24, 2014, 08:31:49 PM

I'm not sure what to think of this.  I don't particularly like it mainly because I'm operating from a "if it ain't broke" perspective.  I love the way the internet has been the past 15 years.

What exactly is this "fixing"?  What was the problem?
what part of the net is not neutral already?

Of course it is not "fixing" anything. It's just more of the politics-creep we are seeing semi-lately. In one way, it's been surprisingly long how long computing has remained sensibly stable and agnostic. Not counting Renny's delicate, subtle, soft touch to news events, it really is a bit of a late date for all these games.

I've been watching a marathon of the old Flash series from 1990 aka before modern computing really got going, and the writers really struggled a bit to write for the smart doctor character. But not one went into this political territory. It's a pretty pure snapshot that computers "just did" whatever they did.

Maybe about the time of the Matrix did we really get the first meta-comments that political forces could be brought to control computing.

809  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014) on: April 22, 2014, 09:40:42 PM
AVG!? - Heh surely you jest!?

No thanks. Long story short, they recommended white listing windows folder and signing all apps so that their heuristics wouldn't tag/kill/quarantine false positives.

The kicker.. their heuristics db/engine would "forget" that files xyz were safe and on later updates would tag/kill/quarantine files that were submitted to their engineers (they assured wouldn't get tagged by future updates). 5 Years of that BS was enough (stuck on contract).

AVG - Consumer version and enterprise version.

Naw, I wasn't going to go with AVG - something else. I'm still not sure yet.

810  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 3D Printing Under Attack on: April 22, 2014, 09:08:50 PM
The technology seems to be really improving:


It turns out, this simple, mechanical design provides Jose with more day-to-day functionality than his far more expensive myoelectric prosthesis.  If a part does break, I can easily print a new one for him in a matter of hours.

More at the link.

Yeah I saw Slashdot's copy.

Way down in the comments a prosthetics expert posted a note that in this exact case the $50 hand worked better, but that across the board they do tend to be that expensive because the cost includes custom fitting and rehab therapy appointments.

811  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: The Best Security Suites (2013/2014) on: April 22, 2014, 10:21:54 AM
Windows XP was first released in 2001. Why stay with a 12-year old OS? When XP just came out if someone asked you advice on how to stay with Windows 95, what would you tell them? And there was only a 6 year span between those OSes!

Modernize, please. You don't have to go whole hog and upgrade to Windows 8.x, but at least move to Windows 7. If you have half-way decent specs in your PC with a decent graphics card you'll enjoy better performance than you did with XP. Once Microsoft officially drops support, you're going to start seeing your favorite programs dropping support as well & some will release new versions that won't even be able to install on XP any longer.

But to stay on the topic of this thread, which is security, even with the latest patches Windows XP is not as secure as the OSes that have come after it.

But here we are. There are millions of us who can't yet afford the time, software, and potential hardware risks of upgrading. My project machine from 2006 *might* be able to run Win7, but it's a long shot push.

Meanwhile MS seems to be saying they're copying Apple and not supporting an OS more than about 3 editions back so depending how they count, Win7 is already one step old.

I am holding on hard for Win9 to (re)define the landscape, to give us some desperately needed context to all of this. After all, Win7 was Vista's escape route, and a new CEO is at MS, he probably needed to shove 8.1 out the door, but I am hoping at the engineering level he makes Win9 the new OS to jump to.

812  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: web hosts on: April 22, 2014, 08:12:03 AM
Thanks for the input all, getting a nice little list of options to mull over!

I'm still here representing Seraphimlabs.

At the moment my own site is down indefinitely, it is in dire need of an overhaul and redesign that I just plain haven't gotten to. But I do have servers still active, and can set you up with an account.

I appreciate the offer, and if it was just me I'd probably jump on it. For present purposes though it's probably not what we're looking for. We're generally deploying 1-3 standalone client-owned sites per month and my parent company is going to require a service with a more obvious support structure to lean on when/if things do get bumpy.

Hi Allen, my other winner of my survey that I actively support is Charles Decker of Decker Services (known in some forums as Deeplist.)

They're both as sharp as they come, and I've worked a bit that at worst they can tag team a little on each other's issues on the rare chance they need a consulting tip.

By now you're a "Smart Client". Web Hosting has suffered in the last few years since Facebook - people don't post pictures of cats on their webpages anymore. But if you need stuff, either of those guys can do you well.



813  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: web hosts on: April 21, 2014, 09:11:40 PM
I'm still here representing Seraphimlabs.

At the moment my own site is down indefinitely, it is in dire need of an overhaul and redesign that I just plain haven't gotten to. But I do have servers still active, and can set you up with an account.

Yeah, don't play the "Judge Book by Cover" game here. Seraphim Labs won my exhaustive survey of free-yet-donation-appreciated hosts.

Though Seraphim, a tip, smash up a dumb site just so people have something to look at that resolves before Crabby's cats in the humor thread take them away again. : )  You know, 2003 style. You've been good by me, so don't crush yourself with a dead site. Just make it "Hosting by request. Submit ____ in this form here and we'll talk". Should take you three days tops given the near-genius you are.

Basically anyone here is way beyond the junk guys at that we all grew up on.

814  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: web hosts on: April 21, 2014, 12:08:12 PM
All right DC brain trust... my company is in need of a new web host for our clients, as Hostgator has been in a significant state of decline over the last couple years. Ideally we're looking for shared hosting plans as VPS managing/reselling has proven to be more trouble than it's worth for a shop as small as ours.  

I can read feature lists and prices as well as the next guy, but what I'd really like is recommendations based on real experience--especially if you've used a host for a long-ish time and are happy with them. Obviously reliability is important, customer service being a close second priority.

It's been a while, but if nothing else but for education, a few years back I did a slightly unorthodox survey of free (but payment greatly appreciated!) web hosts from

The point is, a while back I wanted some simple hosting for my own projects and got tired of fake outfits folding in four months at a time, so I set out to find a couple long haul guys.
(Tip - scroll to the end of the thread to post - you likely don't care about my multi post history to get there)

Of my four winners, the two I recommend are either Seraphim Labs or Decker Services. By now both have been in service for some 5+ years. Post in the thread to say hello and get some basic info to sign up because that forum saw a rash of fake signups but once they see you with my referral they'll know it's a different league.

Once you request hosting aka it's easy to prove you are not one of the junk spammers taking over that service area, you have a good shot at either. And they have decent techs to solve problems. At the total worst if you tell them TaoPhoenix sent you, you can get the other one to spot help any rare problem that pops up on the other's service, which is pretty rare.

815  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Overclock help required ! on: April 21, 2014, 12:01:21 PM
You didn't say what OS you are running. For Win Vista/7 and maybe Win8 there's a system setting to "tune to best performance" that tells it to quit wasting time on drawing Aero/esque beveled edges and stuff.

You should define "which program exactly do I want to run faster". So if it's just point-and-click, that's one fast and easy trick. If it's not a game, what else do you need to run faster? Aka why are you doing this?

816  Main Area and Open Discussion / Non-Windows Software / Re: The Selinux coloring book on: April 19, 2014, 07:40:56 AM
That's epic and even a humanities ... uh ... type like me sorta understands!

817  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 18, 2014, 12:30:46 PM

Yeah, nice Shades. While the timestamp on my copy is a little strange, apparently it did clear up a few dead index entries and stuff.

So let's hope that helps me.

818  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 18, 2014, 06:08:10 AM
Please ... Take the time to run chkdsk C: /R completely (Don't make me beg damn it!). Because there is almost never only one error - there may only be one bad sector ... But there will be quite a bit of stuff riding on it.

Iceberg tips should not be ignored.


Okay, I found time to do that last night. I don't know what it fixed because it rebooted after it was done, but I'll trust it did whatever useful things it wanted to.

819  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 18, 2014, 06:05:49 AM
I have seen it let people down time and time again. The only reason it enjoys the popularity it does is because it's free.

There was also that little matter over the last few days where a defs update killed most XP boxes (and some 2003 servers too), no effect on Win 7 or 2008+ servers.  (That's System Center Endpoint Protection, which is MSE plus reporting.)  I couldn't help but wonder if there was a little "nudge" built into that.

Yikes! I didn't hear about this! I haven't downloaded new defs in a while - so I should avoid it?!!

820  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 17, 2014, 08:57:29 PM
To comment on the original topic, friends don't let friends use Microsoft Security Essentials. Seriously!

I have seen it let people down time and time again. The only reason it enjoys the popularity it does is because it's free.

Well this is a bit of a surprise, I thought it was supposed to be at least decent. But now it's "yelling at me" about the end of OS support so for that reason as well as it's been saying "service stopped" several times now for the first time ever, I'll probably switch it out kinda soon.

821  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 17, 2014, 01:25:10 PM
As far as I know, a defrag will not do much for you with regards to bad blocks. Checkdisk does move blocks of data around after it cannot repair bad blocks on your disk and marks these so the filesystem will not use them anymore.

That is at least the concept behind it. But often the capabilities of the software falls short and you have to resort to 3rd party software. HDSentinel, HDDscan (and for real pro's: MHDD) come to mind.

I ran part of a chkdsk and it did delete one bad index entry. But for the full scan I think the file check will take a long time "step 4 of 5" so I'll try to remember to run it all again before bed one of these days.

822  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 17, 2014, 09:52:21 AM
Only after these more pedestrian causes have been eliminated should we start looking for signs of Ziggy Stardust's Uber hacker spiders from Mars.

But doesn't everybody do those first before running over to the PC security blogs?
And yes indeed, it does sound a lot like a HD just might be starting to go...

Well, not that I ran to a blog - it was more an off the cuff question based on general confusion. So if a couple of opinions are coming in re hardware failure, maybe that's "the lesser evil" but it's also where my skillset drops off a cliff. Meanwhile it's still okay as of today. I'll try a couple of those checks to see what's up. Maybe a defrag will move stuff off a bad sector too.

823  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Cute jokes' thread on: April 16, 2014, 07:12:47 PM

I like to occasionally post a joke note from some totally unrelated thread over here. Over in that sorting thread, Randall Munroe of xkcd made a guest blog on Reddit.

And then he coined an awesome little phrase:
"Locust Locus". And for some reason that struck me as a perfect little project for someone with time to burn to do to the Locus Plague of the Old Testament!

824  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Scary Driveby Attack / Mysterious failure / Other on: April 16, 2014, 06:56:57 PM
Okay, today was a weird day.

For no apparent reason while surfing what I think are safe sites, about 2PM my computer suddenly quit responding! Well, whatever etc, time to reboot. And then upon rebooting, processes started failing to load at very low levels! It was easy to tell that both mouse and keyboard were working, aka not a simple bad battery. But what was really scary is the comp didn't want to accept the function key to choose boot modes! (I think it's F8) to go into safe mode! Then when it did boot up (partially), it worked for like five seconds before doing anything would lock it up!

Has anyone here had their comp used in a botnet? What does that look like? That was my guess, though I was thinking virus, or hard drive dangers (though the pattern felt wrong for that one), and a couple other things. The suddenness and "thoroughness" were unnerving because the usual sequence of Go-To tricks weren't working. No easy Safe Boot. No easy System Restore.

I got a break when I went to the Bios and turned off Quickboot, and some logo setting, and something else. Then that slowed the machine down long enough to get the F8 boot menu to show, and Safeboot with networking worked, and it stayed there. So I made some copies of some important data to the spare internal drive. And I had browsers, so a vague memory led me to check the web and remember msconfig, where I turned off a bunch of stuff, a couple of which looked rather fishy. I went for a System restore to a couple of days ago, and that partially worked. Then on a boot in debug mode and a couple other variants, something finally gave way and MsSecEssentials sent a different notice "this process has stopped. Restart the process?" and then it's been fine since (though I haven't rebooted since all that!) So I still don't know if it's completely fixed.

Yeah, I need to do all those virus scans and stuff, but I think that can wait a little since it all seems to be back and I need to have my energy up for all that to concentrate. But it's leading me to think, is MS isn't officially doing security updates on XP anymore, how long before someone finds something really nasty and just goes mass comp hunting?

825  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft dropping support for Windows 8.1 on: April 16, 2014, 12:26:42 AM
Ya know, computing in the 80's with everyone's first starter machine just wasn't this hard. "Company sold products. Consumers took their pick of five that they wanted. Then the deal was done".

Are you kidding me? Back then if you needed a patch for your OS or agame...or a device driver you were either on the phone paying Ma Bell out the butt for long-distance charges or you were on an online service like CompuServ paying $6/ 300 baud!

Even then there was no guarantee what you downloaded was going to fix your problem. And if it didn't, you were still out the money.

Naw, not kidding at all. A better way to put it is that without these multiple semi-redundant blogs/services, news simply didn't get out at all. Our family treated each machine like a disposable commodity - it either did whatever it did or three years later the newer flashier one had it baked in. It was a far different "paradigm" from what is going on now.

Another way to put it is that as a family pretty heavily on the Mac track early on, we didn't know about complicated 30 day prerequisite timelines to 0.1 Update 1's to early OS's. They just did whatever they did. So update to System 7 - yay. Then by the time you cared about System 8 (and Apple's Dark Period) a new machine already gave you all that goodness.

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