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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Mystery of Death Valley's Sliding Rocks Solved on: Today at 02:39:51 PM
Ronald Reagan demanded harsher conditions, which caused some friction with the Russians, delaying the signing.

Well yeah....that and the fact he wanted to keep the those odd sigils seen on the experimental German WWII "Bell" device squarely in the hands of Majestic - even after the treaty was signed. The Sovs had a part of the inscription from old photos and previous espionage attempts. But they were missing several sigils on one side of the device that had never been recorded anywhere other than some MX-Ultra classified photos taken shortly after the device was shipped to the United States just before the end of WWII.

Apparently those sigils were absolutely critical for something as the "Kecksburg Acorn" incident in PA seemed to confirm about 20 years later.

 Cool Wink
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: Today at 01:25:01 PM
The Digital Reader blog has a nice little daily feature called The Morning Coffee which gathers a handful of interesting article links that should be interest to both actual and will-be authors and publishers. Perfect for...well...when you're drinking your morning coffee.

Add this URL to your favorite feed reader to get it:

http://www.the-digital-re...gory/morning-coffee/feed/

 Cool
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: My Stinking, Rotten ASUS Router Died Overnight! on: Today at 10:07:33 AM
this one caught me by surprise.

I know the feeling. Especially after getting careless on the one occasion where I inadvertently bricked a WRT54G when I got careless flashing it for DD-WRT. (RTFM Dude! They updated the software since last time you did it.)  redface

 Wink
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: Today at 09:55:44 AM
For a while, I was worried that I may have been unduly harsh towards the ALS Foundation with my previous comments. So I decided to do a little more research to see if an apology was due.

But now that I've looked at their IRS Form-990 filing and examined the information contained therein a bit more closely, I'm less convinced they're the best non-profit to be contributing to for ALS research.

(Those of you with a financial or accounting background might want to do a little analysis and read between the lines in a few places on that 990. Check out the salary and compensation section (p. 8 & 9); and the note on p.29 regarding the perpetual endowment whose earned income makes up part of the 28% going to research. Interesting huh?)

Their officially published numbers also paint a fairly dismal picture, with less than half of all funds making it to research (28%) or patient services (19%).

[attachthumb=#]

And while the public and professional education wedge seems to indicate a healthy 32% going to...um...education, I'm not sure how to interpret that since the government gives registered charities fairy broad leeway as to what to categorize as 'fundraising' or 'marketing' as opposed to 'educational' communications and publications. Something which has been a source of controversy over the years since much of what gets called 'educational' is little more than a thinly disguised fundraising effort.

So...bottom line?

I think ALS is a serious health issue that needs research and deserves our dollars.

But...is the ALS Foundation the best way to contribute to the effort? Maybe. But I'd like to see a little more of what they get actually going to fix the problem. My rule of thumb for charitable giving is a distribution breakdown where 75% or better of all monies received goes directly to the cause, and administration expenses are held at or below 6%.

But that's me. Wink
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: My Stinking, Rotten ASUS Router Died Overnight! on: Today at 05:44:56 AM
It happens. Probabky due to heat build-up courtesy of poor case  airflow and cheap power bricks. I've had all the major brands go toast on me at one time or the other. Including their top of the line models.

Since a waranty replacement is cheaper for them than an adequate QC & test policy, "risk management" calculations rule the day for consumer electronics. As long as it only rarely catches fire they'll ship it.

Luck! Thmbsup
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Mystery of Death Valley's Sliding Rocks Solved on: Today at 05:31:28 AM
@E - We come in peace! We only seek Ampegs for our young... tongue
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Mystery of Death Valley's Sliding Rocks Solved on: August 28, 2014, 09:58:14 PM
Cool.... smiley ...uh, no huh

Bummer!  Sad

I kinda liked it more when we didn't really know how it worked.  Cool

Some harmless mystery is always nice to have around. Grin
of all people!   cheesy

Wot??? You thought I actually wanted to have all the answers all the time? huh Grin
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Mystery of Death Valley's Sliding Rocks Solved on: August 28, 2014, 09:57:20 PM
That principle could well be in action with these "moving rocks" also.
Empiric method. Innit great?

You betcha! Saves endless speculation and "explanations" of how it had to be aliens and UFO technology that made it possible.

This rube has made a career of it:

[attach]
9  Other Software / Community Giveaways / Re: Orcs Must Die 2, Crusader Kings 2 (+2 pieces of DLC) and Terraria Giveaway on: August 28, 2014, 05:40:30 PM
Why didn't they play cards on Noah's ark?



I don't need any games either. I just wanted to post something really lame! Grin Thmbsup
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Weird issue with computer: Volume spontaneously going to 100% at random on: August 28, 2014, 05:33:45 PM
"Keeps us humble" as my grandmother used to say. Wink
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Mystery of Death Valley's Sliding Rocks Solved on: August 28, 2014, 05:31:44 PM
Cool.... smiley ...uh, no huh

Bummer!  Sad

I kinda liked it more when we didn't really know how it worked.  Cool

Some harmless mystery is always nice to have around. Grin
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Weird issue with computer: Volume spontaneously going to 100% at random on: August 28, 2014, 01:36:58 PM
I'm pretty sure now that the problem was, embarrassingly, caused by an older version of my own program, Multi Photo Quotes.  Installing the latest version seemed to solve it.

Why is it embarrassing? You solved the problem. Job done! Thmbsup
13  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: GOG.com delisting 35 games on September 2, 2014 on: August 28, 2014, 01:32:46 PM
They also have DRM free movies now.  That was announced in that e-mail too.

Yup! Right now they only have about 21 indy documentary titles of a type that will mainly appeal to the diehard geek/gamer crowd. But hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg for GoG. TechDirt did a nice little write-up on it here.

GoG's announcement page is here. And the catalog of what's currently available is here.

Fingers crossed this really takes off for them. Thmbsup
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location on: August 28, 2014, 01:26:06 PM
Split zone DNS - which requires zero moving parts - would allow the target's name to resolve to the internal IP at the office, and the external IP when not.

@SJ - Sweet! Completely forgot about that trick. Thmbsup

But I think Ath's suggestion is probably more practical for the average deployment since access to the fw/router, hosts file, and DHCP server to create the external host zone might not be doable - or allowed.

FWIW I have the pro version of Network Settings Manager on one of the laptops I trundle with me when I go to client sites. Works the charm. And with no need to involve any of my client's IT people (yay!) once they give me the info I need to configure the settings. Recommended! thumbs up
15  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: GOG.com delisting 35 games on September 2, 2014 on: August 28, 2014, 01:14:22 PM
Thx Deo! Finally got off my duff and grabbed the two Black Mirror games and Amnesia since I've been looking at those three for some time now. I'm still waffling over whether I want to own Panzer Elite again. I'm scared that playing it now might destroy my fond memories of it from way back when...(which happened to me with the Ultima titles!)

But I have till September 2 to decide - so no worries! Thmbsup
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 28, 2014, 12:23:45 PM
Even among the most noble army of knights in armor, a troll will eventually make its appearance.

[attach]

This from TechDirt:

Quote
ALS Association Tries To Trademark Ice Bucket Challenge, Despite Having Nothing To Do With It Originally
from the trademark-shame dept


The whole Ice Bucket Challenge thing has become quite the story of the month of August, and it's certainly been fascinating to watch how this viral promotion has turned into a massive money raiser for research into ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -- sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease). If you somehow haven't yet heard of this (and I find it nearly impossible to believe you haven't yet), it's when people get challenged to dump a bucket of ice over their heads or give money to charity (though, mostly people do both things). While there's been some ice bucket challenge backlash (often for silly reasons), just from the standpoint of watching something go viral, it's been fascinating. Of course, whenever things get big, sooner or later lawyers are going to step in and things are going to get messy. It appears that the ALS Association -- by far the largest beneficiary of the Ice Bucket Challenge -- is now trying to trademark the term.

That seems problematic for a number of reasons. First off, the ALS Association had nothing to do with the Ice Bucket Challenge originally. It only later became popular in association with ALS. I first heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge back in early July when a friend of the blog, law professor Eric Goldman, did an ice bucket challenge as part of a lung cancer fundraiser. And research into the history of the challenge found that it was used widely for other charities for months before that (often cancer). And other, similar, challenges go back over a century.

The ice bucket challenge really only became associated with ALS much later. The first known connection of the challenge to ALS came on July 14th when a golfer did it for ALS (a bunch of other golfers had been doing ice bucket challenges for other charities for a couple of months before that). Pete Frates, the guy that many have credited as starting the whole "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" thing didn't actually get involved until the end of July.

While the ALS Association has certainly been a massive beneficiary, it had little to nothing to do with anything related to the challenge, other than getting a bunch of checks in the month of August. To now claim a trademark over it seems... kind of disgusting. It's also legally dubious. In the link above, by Erik Pelton, he highlights many of these problems with the trademark claim, but further notes how troubling this is:

    If ALS Association successfully registers the phrase, it could seek to restrict use of it for other charitable causes. That would be the biggest shame in all of this.

Hopefully ALS Association reconsiders or the trademark attempt is rejected. Not everything needs to be "owned," and it's a real shame that people have been so indoctrinated into myths related to "IP" that they immediately rush to lock up everything.

Pretty sad.

It would have been fine if they kept it to "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" (which they also filed for under SN 86375305). But it's not fine IMO to try and also claim the more generic phrase: "Ice Bucket Challenge."

From their application over at the USTPO:

Quote
Trademark/Service Mark Application, Principal Register
TEAS Plus Application
Serial Number: 86375292
Filing Date: 08/22/2014
To the Commissioner for Trademarks:

MARK: Ice Bucket Challenge (Standard Characters, see mark)
The literal element of the mark consists of Ice Bucket Challenge.
The mark consists of standard characters, without claim to any particular font, style, size, or color.

The applicant, AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS ASSOCIATION, a corporation of Delaware, having an address of
      Suite 250,
      1275 K Street NW
      Washington, District of Columbia 20005
      United States


requests registration of the trademark/service mark identified above in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the Principal Register established by the Act of July 5, 1946 (15 U.S.C. Section 1051 et seq.), as amended, for the following:

For specific filing basis information for each item, you must view the display within the Input Table.
       International Class 036:  Charitable fundraising



In International Class 036, the mark was first used by the applicant or the applicant's related company or licensee predecessor in interest at least as early as 08/04/2014, and first used in commerce at least as early as 08/04/2014, and is now in use in such commerce. The applicant is submitting one(or more) specimen(s) showing the mark as used in commerce on or in connection with any item in the class of listed goods and/or services, consisting of a(n) Portion of website bearing the mark in connection with identification of participants in the fundraising promotion

If granted, this would effectively give the ALS Foundation ownership and control of the use of the phrase "Ice Bucket Challenge."

Note in the application under MARK the following:

Quote
The literal element of the mark consists of Ice Bucket Challenge.
The mark consists of standard characters, without claim to any particular font, style, size, or color.

They are not requesting a tradmark on any specific graphic representation of the phrase as part of a logo or as a logotype. They are asking for a trademark on the phrase itself...

Did I say sad yet? undecided

17  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: August 27, 2014, 09:09:55 PM
I took a year of commercial graphic arts at 'that' school. Using Lorem Ipsum felt too much like cheating, so I usually wrote my own body copy. I got a few raised eyebrows and one tilted head, so I figure I won.  Cool

+1!

I always used to use Lovecraft's opening to The Dunwich Horror:

Quote
When a traveller in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of the Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean’s Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country. The ground gets higher, and the brier-bordered stone walls press closer and closer against the ruts of the dusty, curving road. The trees of the frequent forest belts seem too large, and the wild weeds, brambles, and grasses attain a luxuriance not often found in settled regions. At the same time the planted fields appear singularly few and barren; while the sparsely scattered houses wear a surprisingly uniform aspect of age, squalor, and dilapidation. Without knowing why, one hesitates to ask directions from the gnarled, solitary figures spied now and then on crumbling doorsteps or on the sloping, rock-strewn meadows. Those figures are so silent and furtive that one feels somehow confronted by forbidden things, with which it would be better to have nothing to do. When a rise in the road brings the mountains in view above the deep woods, the feeling of strange uneasiness is increased. The summits are too rounded and symmetrical to give a sense of comfort and naturalness, and sometimes the sky silhouettes with especial clearness the queer circles of tall stone pillars with which most of them are crowned.

Gorges and ravines of problematical depth intersect the way, and the crude wooden bridges always seem of dubious safety. When the road dips again there are stretches of marshland that one instinctively dislikes, and indeed almost fears at evening when unseen whippoorwills chatter and the fireflies come out in abnormal profusion to dance to the raucous, creepily insistent rhythms of stridently piping bull-frogs. The thin, shining line of the Miskatonic’s upper reaches has an oddly serpent-like suggestion as it winds close to the feet of the domed hills among which it rises.

As the hills draw nearer, one heeds their wooded sides more than their stone-crowned tops. Those sides loom up so darkly and precipitously that one wishes they would keep their distance, but there is no road by which to escape them. Across a covered bridge one sees a small village huddled between the stream and the vertical slope of Round Mountain, and wonders at the cluster of rotting gambrel roofs bespeaking an earlier architectural period than that of the neighbouring region. It is not reassuring to see, on a closer glance, that most of the houses are deserted and falling to ruin, and that the broken-steepled church now harbours the one slovenly mercantile establishment of the hamlet. One dreads to trust the tenebrous tunnel of the bridge, yet there is no way to avoid it. Once across, it is hard to prevent the impression of a faint, malign odour about the village street, as of the massed mould and decay of centuries. It is always a relief to get clear of the place, and to follow the narrow road around the base of the hills and across the level country beyond till it rejoins the Aylesbury pike.

Afterwards one sometimes learns that one has been through Dunwich.

 Grin
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Interesting response to a request for "work for free" on: August 27, 2014, 05:17:38 PM
Have you been asked to work for free in exchange for "exposure" or promises of paid future work?

This article is a good read for anybody who is freelancing or running their own business. Although it involves a designer, this same sort of solicitation often crops up with coders and other technical professionals.

Quote
... it's not just designers. I received a ton of responses from writers, cartoonists, architects and people in other professions who get asked to work for free. I don't know what it is. Maybe people think that if you went to art school you don't understand money?

 Cool
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 26, 2014, 09:33:34 PM
Wondering why I bothered posting this now...

Most likely because you felt it was worth sharing ... And many of us liked it.

^+1

At the end of the day, does it really matter how something worthwhile got done so long as it did?

People like me should simply be ignored - or told to "lighten up" when they're being crabby. smiley
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: August 26, 2014, 06:11:52 PM
One of my favorite things about Elementary are the fact that they were not afraid to take certain parts of the mythology, and completely turn them on their head.  And I love the primary actors.


Don't get me wrong. I very much like Lucy Liu. But most of the turn-on-its-head "twists" (can it still be a "twist" if dozens have proposed them all before in various essays and fanfics starting back in the 70s?) don't really add much IMHO. They're just 'different.' Much like the newer "alternate universe" StarTrek movies - they're mainly different for the sake of being different.

I suppose it gets the writers out of having to come up with something original within (that's the hard part) the established framework and story universe. But to my mind, it's sorta cheating. Like entering some blank verse in a sonnet writing contest.

Now...if Elementary had been structured as a completely original sleuth series without all the Sherlock Holmes references, I think I might have enjoyed it. But all those labored Holmes allusions just hit me as contrived, and ultimately, more distracting than intriguing or entertaining.

But that's me. And as I said, I know fellow Baker Street Irregulars that positively love the Elementary series. So what do I know? Grin
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Talents and talent shows on: August 26, 2014, 02:03:19 PM
LOL...Somebody HAS to do this just for the sheer randomness of it!

Be careful what you wish for....


[attach]
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: August 26, 2014, 01:52:15 PM
^+1 on the RDJ movies. They weren't bad at all. First instalment storyline was far better than the second. But I still can't imagine what they were thinking when casting Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. Seriously?

Elementary doesn't work for me. Tried liking it (oh how I tried!) - but I just couldn't. I really didn't care for the characterization and backstories for the lead roles. And a lot of the storylines seemed more like fanfic "alt" pastiches than anything else. The sort of things Holmes fans write on a bet after one too many drinks. It started out ok. But in typical American TV fashion, it just started getting sillier and more obvious and contrived as time went on. After several "Oh come on!" moments I gave up midway through the finale of the first season. Haven't been back. Tried the first episode of season two and chucked it. YMMV

(Note:  Gentle Readers, some fellow Holmes fans I hang with positively LOVE Elementary. So don't put too much weight on my opinion of it. Be sure to check it out for yourselves.)
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Movies or films you've seen lately on: August 26, 2014, 11:30:28 AM
Sherlock - Season 3 Thmbsup

Latest instalment in the BBC re-imagining of Doyle's supersleuth Sherlock Holmes.

The only other Holmes worth watching was the period and (mostly) canon correct Granada production which featured the incomparable Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. If you want a near perfect realization of Doyle's historic Sherlock Holmes, look no further than Brett's performance. Mark it as "done" while you're at it. It doesn't get better than Jeremy Brett.
[attach]

Which brings us to Sherlock.

[attach]

Depending on where you stand on the Sherlock Holmes Canon, this is either one of the best - or one of the worst - Holmes treatments ever done.

IMHO it's the best to date. It borrows themes and moments from the original stories without directly copying any one. The twists that bring the technology and story elements up to our present time work quite well. And the stories are clever and well-acted. I think this series is a genuine addition to the ever evolving world of 221B Baker Street and it's most famous resident.


Recommended. Thmbsup


24  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Weird issue with computer: Volume spontaneously going to 100% at random on: August 26, 2014, 09:31:45 AM
I'd suspect prankware as previously suggested - or some program that has an audio alarm or notifier feature like a clock calendar or email app. I've seen that happen with a alarm clock app on my Nook. Every time it checks for an update it dimes my volume setting whether or not it updates. I think it may be the dev doing a CYA volume reset since it's usually better to be annoyed by a too loud alarm than not to hear it at all.

Also +1 w/Miles. If you have a hardware volume knob you're better off using that and just leave your system setting up all the way if it's not causing distortion. I hardly ever adjust speaker volume in software if I have a choice. Gimmee a knob any day!
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: August 26, 2014, 06:17:14 AM

That's just one of my pet peeves.


@R - Out of curiosity....just how many of this pets do you have? It must be hundreds.  tongue Grin Wink
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