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26  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 10, 2014, 05:57:50 AM
Why does this sound familiar? Oh yeah.  Sad

And also because it should by now be obvious what the larger strategies are for people like Microsoft and the government.

The massively empowering personal computing phenomena is too "disruptive" to the powers that be and those who would profit by serving them.

[attach]

"So the time has come," the Walrus said, "to make it all go away."

After seeing the emergence of a technology that arguably had the single most profound effect on human society since the invention of gunpowder, there's a feeling in high places that it may be just a little too empowering to let it remain unchecked, or be left completely in the hands of the masses.

Hence regulated and heavily monitored "clouds" will replace the open internet; patents will continue to be used to stifle innovation and restrict future developmental efforts to approved and "trusted" business partners; and most importantly - the personal computer must be replaced by a locked-down computing "appliance" that gets it's software from a capriciously regulated company store.

And one way to accomplish that is to take away the ability to load your own software. Or posess your own copies. Both goals can readily be accomplished by simply taking hard media (like DVDs) out of the equation.

Adobe has already done that with their family of products. Microsoft is well on it's way to doing that for their entire ecosystem. And where the big devs go, the smaller will of necessity follow.

It won't stop the techno-hacker community from working to get around it. But it will be used to marginalize them. And if eventually made illegal, will also up the stakes drastically for those who continue to refuse to play the hand big business and Uncle Sam deals them.

It's the same old story. Those in power have no problem sharing power with those they hold it over. Unless those they empower decide to actually try and use some of it...

A computer is only as good as the software that runs on it. Without software a PC is just an inert box of electronic components. And the easiest way to regulate and control it is to restrict access to the software that runs on it. App stores and closed platforms are the first step in a larger transitional strategy. Moving everything up to the cloud is the next. Because once the capability to store your data locally is eliminated (or made illegal) you live inside a surveillance system that Big Brother himself would have envied.

Eventually the PC will go the way of the dodo unless this trend is reversed. Figure within 25 years or less at the rate things are moving.

Have a nice day! tongue Grin
27  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 09, 2014, 09:01:12 PM
I actually think Win 8 will be the last (ok maybe second to last) "for sale" as opposed to "for lease" OS Microsoft will do.

The whole point of their cloud initiative is to gain a steady and predictable stream of revenue. That is what O365 is primarily about. Any benefits realized by the customer (and there are in fact several benefits) are purely incidental to that goal. And getting people to regularly upgrade to the newest version of Windows or Office just isn't going to happen - as the long life of XP has clearly shown.

Microsoft can't afford, nor can it allow that state of affairs to continue.

I strongly believe that Microsoft will (at the very least) require the purchase of a software maintenance agreement in order to get Windows and MS Office updates after the first year of ownership. I also think they'll soon allow you to subscribe to Windows much like you can with Office.

Sometime around (or shortly after) the release of Windows 9, the era of being able to "buy" a boxed version of a Microsoft OS (or probably any other MS software product) will come to a close.

[attachthumb=#]

Brave new world folks! Brave new world...
28  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 09, 2014, 05:55:43 PM
^ *For some people.

Yup. Agree. But less so in my case when I bit the bullet and jumped ship when it looked like Win 7 threatened to become another train wreck like Vista was... Grin

MS pulled that one out of the fire rather nicely. I don't know what they were thinking when they did Win 8 and squandered all the goodwill and credibility W7 earned them.

Sad  too. Because stripped of all the BS Sinofsky and his team burdened it with, Win 8 is actually a very nice desktop OS. Probably the best MS ever developed.

29  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 09, 2014, 11:15:53 AM
I don't know if Heise's WSUS offline updater can still access Windows XP updates, but if it can it's probably worth installing a copy and downloading all those files to your own repository before they vanish from Redmond's servers.

The CT4Updater program  Kiss can be downloaded from here.

If anybody doesn't know what this extremely useful tool does for all current versions of Windows and MS Office, you can read about it here.

Here's a screenshot from an older version (the newest has the 2012 products) that pretty much explains what it does:

[attachthumb=#]

Click to enlarge.


I'm guessing once the updates are no longer available, Heise will remove the XP selection as they did Windows 2000 previously.
30  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Help! USB 3 has left the building — I want it back. on: April 08, 2014, 09:09:27 PM
Ok...it was worth a try at least.

Take a look at this link and give the suggestions a try. I've had USB quit working on some PC's and the "reset the USB controllers" process outlined in the responses worked wonders. (Basically you go to the device manager (devmgmt.msc), remove all the USB controllers, reboot, and then let 'plug&pray' reinstall them.)

Luck! Thmbsup
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 08, 2014, 05:13:18 PM
Microsoft has basically adopted the ransomware model widely used by criminal hacking groups and increasingly popular with some allegedly legitimate cloud storage firms.

Microsoft will continue to provide support for governments and large institutions willing to pay huge sums to keep large numbers of XP systems safe for the next few years.  


It may really more like:

Microsoft will continue to provide support for governments and large institutions to keep large numbers of XP systems safe from being reformatted and having Linux installed on them for the next few years until it gets its head out of its butt and makes Windows 8 look and work just like Windows 7 does.
32  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Help! USB 3 has left the building — I want it back. on: April 08, 2014, 01:25:54 PM
If the driver has recently updated you could try rolling it back to the previous version as a first step.

33  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 08, 2014, 12:30:14 PM
@Tao - I tend to avoid suites and just install what I need. That said I've used BitDefender AV and found it to be a very capable. YMMV. However, I have several clients with organization-wide deployments of BD that feel the same way about it.  And they all have sufficient budgets that cost wasn't a significant factor in making their final selection.
34  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Logitech Revolution MX Mouse - Spring Cleaning on: April 08, 2014, 11:13:46 AM
I just miss having a good ergonomic Logitech mouse. For me the first test for a mouse is whether I can just drop my hand on it and everything is in the right place. Logitech's ergonomic designs are the only ones that ever seem to pass that test.

In that case you should be very happy with this rodent. One of the best Logitech ever made IMO. And they've had a lot of good models over the years.  thumbs up
35  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Logitech Revolution MX Mouse - Spring Cleaning on: April 08, 2014, 11:08:37 AM
Actually the batteries can (now) be found on amazon/ebay/etc for $5-$10.

Thats good. Mine set me back $18 plus shipping about 14-16 months ago when I shopped for one.  tellme

Still worth it though. It's a very nice mouse.
36  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Logitech Revolution MX Mouse - Spring Cleaning on: April 08, 2014, 09:19:22 AM
It has a rechargeable battery and will hold a charge for a only few days of heavy use before you have to put it back in it's cradle (if you are adventurous you can find instructions on the web for replacing the unusual battery).  This can be a pain

Yup. Been there and done that when my MX died. (Love that mouse!) It is a MAJOR pain in the ass to replace that battery. And not very cheap to do. thumb down
37  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Once again, magically expensive items are only different in your mind on: April 08, 2014, 09:10:35 AM
A friend who's father ran a farm said "big stuff" purchased for a farm is bought with one of two criteria in mind: (a) costly but built to last - or - (b) inexpensive but easy and cheap to fix.

I found that to be a good guide when making a major purchase decision. Cool
38  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 08, 2014, 08:58:51 AM
[attach]

And as long as there are VMs, XP will live. Thmbsup

Seriously, set one up fully loaded with the stuff you use most, take a snapshot, and have at it. Save your files to a USB key. If your virtual XP ever does corrupt or get infected, just shut it down and reload it. Grin
39  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: WinXP is officially dead! on: April 08, 2014, 07:47:09 AM
 [attach]
40  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Once again, magically expensive items are only different in your mind on: April 08, 2014, 07:29:51 AM
"existing audio formats are unable to adequately present a full range of tones"

The human ear isn't capable of discriminating between (or actually hearing) many of them either. Wink

While I applaud any attempt to improve the art and technology of music recording and playback, I think Neil might be suffering from some of the inevitable hearing loss 99% of humanity will start to experience at his age, and is now hoping against hope to find away to get around it.

They've done side-by-side studies of various MP3 configurations using a broad range of (i.e. "sound pro," "audio enthusiast," "civilian") test listeners. The studies seem to show that most can't reliably differentiate much between anything.

Most could differentiate between a "good" (i.e. properly EQ-ed and mastered) recording and a bad one. But that's where the art of recording comes in. The technology itself isn't the issue so much as how it's used. How like so many other things in life, right?

One interesting aside. The FLAC format did seem to be slightly preferred by a very small number of listeners who said it sounded more "natural." So there might be some psycho-acoustical thing going down with FLAC that hasn't been clearly identified. One which some people might be hearing.*

Still, recorded music is all about serving the masses. So a factor that 1/10th of 1/10th of 1% of the listeners might hear isn't going to be something the music industry is going to devote many resources getting to the bottom of.

------------------------------------
Semi off-topic half-rant:

The full-time prima donna hipster audiophile invariably insists on "vinyl." Which is funny... because the sound of vinyl recordings isn't remotely close to "natural" or "live" if you look at the dynamic map or frequency spectrum. And most recordings destined for disk were heavily compressed during mastering to accommodate the physics of the disk cutting equipment.

And the entire style of sound mastering techniques has changed radically since the era of LPs. Digital has a larger dynamic range which has led to the trend of recording everything as loud as possible. And also using extreme amounts of EQ on most tracks. These things weren't possible with LP recordings. And they have a huge impact on the sound you hear.

There's also the fact that many people who are now mastering music (often their own) simply don't have the expertise (or taste) of the old guard producers and recording engineers of yore. Those guys (unfortunately no ladies back then) were artists who knew hundreds of ways to drag the absolute best out of equipment that would seem positively primitive by today's standards.

Today, it's different. This is the era of the "common man" and the "artist-producer-songwriter" in music. Any idiot that composes rambling blank verse, and owns a guitar, is now a "singer-songwriter" - although most very modestly tend to refer to themselves (and prefer to have others call them) "artists."

These same singer-songwriters have an unfortunate tendency to also want to master their own music so they can add "artist-producer" to their ever growing (many also write, paint, and choreograph too!) list of merit badges. We live in the Age of The Amateur.

And it shows...  undecided


So far from being "better" sounding (in an absolute sense) vinyl records merely sound different from CDs. Different technologies + a different mastering style + different personnel = very different sounding music.

People who grew up with LPs (like me) tend to prefer LPs. People brought up on CDs tend to prefer the sound characteristics of that technology.
41  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Dead Hot Chicks Boost Weather Ratings? on: April 07, 2014, 08:11:43 AM
@SJ - that's Henley.

Addenda: and crabby got in just ahead of me.  Grin
42  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: are wireless projectors just a bandwidth hog? on: April 06, 2014, 08:25:00 PM
Oh yeah, forgot to mention the UVerse set top boxes they sent us can also can be set up as wired via the RJ45 jack on the back.

[attach]
[attach]

The basic UVerse TV installation consists of 1 500GB DVR Base Unit. For wireless you receive an additional dedicated WAP for the set top boxes. plus up to something like 4 wireless STBs. (You'll pay a monthly rental fee for each.)

The user manual can be downloaded here if anybody is interested.

I'm frankly amazed how well it works considering who it comes from. Grin (kidding...just kidding!) Wink
43  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Dead Hot Chicks Boost Weather Ratings? on: April 06, 2014, 07:56:55 PM
Pretty tasteless if you ask me.

But then again, isn't that The American Way? undecided
44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Powertools For Free on: April 06, 2014, 07:50:43 PM
I just wondered if anyone else had any information either good or bad.

There was an earlier discussion about it here.
45  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Off topic but does anhyone know wherei can get a Guaranted real JAVA installer on: April 06, 2014, 07:45:56 PM
If you have (or fear you have) a totally compromised system, your safest bet is to obtain and boot from any one of those "live" Linux CDs.

Since you're not running Windows once you do, you'll have a fully functioning computer that should be totally immune to virtually anything Windows is vulnerable to.

Once in Linux, download whatever Java installers you need from the official download site at:  http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp

Save the downloads to a USB key. Those should completely untainted and ready for installation.

Luck! Thmbsup
46  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: are wireless projectors just a bandwidth hog? on: April 06, 2014, 01:06:49 PM
^We have two HDTVs both connected via wireless.

For UVerse programming and recording you'd never know it wasn't hardwired. I'm guessing they did some network tweaks and optimizations with the Ciscos they provide. And I'm sure they give their own services top packet priority on their network. The DVR is handled by the main box AFAICT. So regardless of where you told it to record from, it streams it anywhere. Never had a hiccup. Yet.  Wink

As far as compression goes, that's one approach. But there's other tricks you could use such as intelligent preemptive caching, QoS tweaks, and buffering too. But don't expect AT&T to tell you much about how they do it. That's their little competitive secret.

And yes, it will always break after a point. Which is why they only support three or four (I forget) wifi TV routers per account. So figure 4 TVs max. There doesn't seem to be a published threshold for wired however. But that would likely be whatever your network topology would allow on 1GB Ethernet. I never tested it, but inbound seems to run near T1 speed on the WAN end.
47  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: are wireless projectors just a bandwidth hog? on: April 06, 2014, 10:33:54 AM
You could always put the projectors on their own wifi network by adding an additional access point. That's what AT&T does with their home UVerse setups. Your internet wifi goes through your main residential router. Your wifi TV boxes use a separate access point plugged into your main residential router.

This arrangement won't increase available bandwidth on the WAN side. So if you're regularly sucking down heavy outside media streams you may need to pay your ISP to increase your download capacities.

But on the LAN side it should definitely help since it restricts all projectors to a single port on the main router so it won't saturate the WAN side or the main LAN - but it will still give the projectors their own full capacity wifi network.  

If you have dual-band installed you can always just give one band to the projectors too. Most places that have dual-band wifi only use one band. The other is either left unused or set up for guest access.
 smiley
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 05, 2014, 06:02:37 PM
I also used to like a small program called Papel as a text grab bag sort of thing. It seems to no longer be in development and is now found on some of those less respectable shareware download sites.
49  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 05, 2014, 03:52:18 PM
I'm telling you, I f---ing love this program.

Agree. Thmbsup  I just bought a copy last night. Didn't even wait for my trial to expire.

That's not something I'll do all that often. smiley
50  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple on: April 05, 2014, 02:50:25 PM
"And I don't find mind maps all that useful for the way I work."

Again, neither Scapple nor the two other applics mentioned by Andus above are mind map creators, and whilst not bothering you with replicating my lengthy developments of the difference between MM/outlining/horizontal outlining(Warnier) and then just scribbling ideas on paper, and putting them into various groupings/connections (I did that both in the UR and in the outlinersw fora), forgive me to contradict you, decidedly, on both plans:

- Scapple et al. (or sheets of paper) are in another category than MM/etc. (MM being for presentation purposes, above all other possible use)


Um...I think I may have figured that much out already. Which is the main reason why I'm looking at it to begin with. Wink

-------------------
I understand your point: Don't over-develop further projects, instead of realizing your current ones. But then, don't discard any possible idea for those further projects. Btw, that's differenciating a CEO (or then, his head of strategy) from his staff: He'll never have to wait fore implementation chores, before creating something new - and that's why maximized delegation possibilities, for creative people, are of utter importance.

And...that really wasn't quite the point I was making. I was saying not to let the tool become the end rather than the means to accomplishing it. Regardless of whether something gets completed by someone, or simply delegated to others to further develop or complete, there is still such a thing as "superfluous preparation" to do something. Much like the person who is endlessly refining and improving his/her workshop, but somehow never getting around making anything with it.

The same goes for software. Many of these 'thinkertoys' can take on a life of their own if you're not careful. That was the point I was trying to make. Cool
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