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Topics - xtabber [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Mozilla shoots itself in foot
« on: May 04, 2019, 07:43 AM »
Firefox survives in today's Chromium dominated browser world mainly because of the wealth of useful extensions available for it, many of which have no Chrome/Chromium equivalent.

So today, many Firefox users woke up to find that all of their extensions had been disabled and could neither be used nor re-installed.  This turns out to be the result of a certificate checking bug at Mozillla.

ghacks has a good description of the problem here.

As I write this, nearly 12 hours later, Mozilla still has only a temporary fix involving enabling Studies in the Privacy & Security Options.

Living Room / Bill Godbout
« on: November 19, 2018, 05:24 PM »
One victim of the Camp Fire disaster in California earlier this month was Bill Godbout, a name that may be familiar to microcomputer old-timers as co-developer of the S-100 bus and founder of CompuPro, maker of some of the best computers in the early 1980's.

The Register has a good obituary.

According to this story in the New York Times, he may have died because he stayed to try and save his three cats when his family fled the fire.

Folk who flog software for a living should read this Ars Technica article about what’s wrong with how Microsoft develops and distributes Windows 10.

After a year using Windows 10, I much prefer it to Windows 7 generally, but find it remains too unreliable to replace Windows 7 on my primary working system. The problem is that with Windows 10, I can never be confident that something that worked one day will continue to do so the same way next day, even if I haven’t changed anything myself. 

One shouldn't use beta software in a production environment, but Windows 10 seems to be stuck in a permanent beta.

General Software Discussion / Et Tu, CCleaner!
« on: August 06, 2018, 06:38 AM »
CCleaner 5.45 has been pulled from distribution after a firestorm of criticism last week when users reported that the new version was collecting usage data and sending it back to Piriform.

Martin Brinkmann has a detailed report on the new "features" on ghacks and bluntly advises against installing this version.

This is the second major security SNAFU since Piriform was acquired by Avast.

As a long time user of CCleaner, I now feel it's time to look for a replacement.


XYplorer currently has a World Cup 2018 sale on a lifetime license at 50% off  - $39.95 instead of $79.95.

The sale is in effect for as long as England stays in contention or the World Cup is over.

England beat Sweden today to advance to the semifinals against Croatia on Wednesday, July 11, so the sale is good at least until then.  If England defeats Croatia, they will advance to the final on Sunday, July 15.

Found Deals and Discounts / Mailwasher Pro 40% off this week
« on: April 25, 2018, 03:05 PM »
Mailwasher Pro anti-spam software is on sale for 40% off this week.

Unusually for Firetrust, this includes a lifetime license at $59.97, making it about $6 more than the 3-year license.

Found Deals and Discounts / VMware Workstation 14 Pro 40% off today
« on: November 20, 2017, 02:48 PM »
VMware has a "Black Friday" sale today (Monday, Nov.20, 2017).

40% off new purchases of Workstation 14 Pro or Fusion 10 Pro.
30% off upgrades.

30% off new purchases of Workstation Player 14 or Fusion 10.
20% off upgrades.

Use Promo Code: VMWBF1120 at checkout.

Discount expires November 20th, 2017 at 23:59 PM (Pacific Time)

Living Room / Microsoft Surface Pro problems
« on: August 23, 2017, 07:38 AM »
Consumer Reports has pulled their "Recommended" designation from Microsoft's Surface Pro devices and now recommends against buying any Microsoft tablets and laptops, based on survey results that indicate that as many as 25% will experience problems within the first two years of use.

In this day and age, that is shockingly bad for any computer, let alone one sold as a premium device, as this opinion piece from Computerworld notes.

And if you think that Microsoft is the unwitting victim of circumstances beyond their control, it seems they have been cutting costs by substituting pairs of 512GB SSDs for a single 1TB drive in their top of the line Surface models.

9 is a service that provides streaming video broadcasts of live classical music concerts from a number of major concert halls around the world, as well as on-demand replays of many of them for several months.

Their Classic+ annual subscription, which provides unlimited access in HD on all devices, is 40% off at $113.40 instead of $189. Other subscriptions are $20-30% off.

Paragon Hard Disk Manager Pro is 50% off ($49.97) on BDJ today.

Paragon HDM Pro includes the functionality of nearly all of the various Paragon utilities in a single package - Backup/restore, cloning, OS migration, virtualization, disk & partition management, recovery media creation, etc...

Found Deals and Discounts / MailWasher Pro 25% off
« on: November 22, 2016, 06:42 AM »
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of MailWasher, Firetrust is offering a 25% discount on MailWasher Pro licenses.

Note that WailWasher Pro is licensed on a subscription model, with discounted renewals.  They offer further discounts on multi-year renewals, including a lifetime license.

Found Deals and Discounts / WinPatrol Lifetime Licenses
« on: November 18, 2016, 09:00 PM »
WinPatrol is selling lifetime licenses to all their products as a Black Friday sale.  I guess that means the sale runs through Black Friday (a week from today.

Google has announced that it intends to kill off Chrome apps on all platforms except Chrome OS devices.  New apps will no longer be allowed, beginning later this year, although existing apps can be maintained until 2018, when they will no longer work on any devices not running Chrome OS.

Developers are encouraged to migrate all Chrome apps to the Web.

General Software Discussion / Windows 10 - The gloves come off!
« on: July 30, 2016, 07:28 AM »
The “free upgrade” to Windows 10 has ended.  It is now time for Microsoft to reel in their nets and start processing the catch.

Step 1: Substitute Cortana for local search and prevent users from disabling it.
Step 2: Prevent users from disabling ads and forced installs.

This is far more invasive than Google, which mines what you store on its servers or search for using its search engine.  It effectively allows Microsoft to sell you things based on whatever is present on your PC.  Worse, it gives Microsoft the ability to replace anything on your PC with anything else it wants to.

I'm not saying that Microsoft will abuse these capabilities, but the fact that it is forcing them on nearly all Windows users is scary.

General Software Discussion / Utility to track boots and uptime.
« on: July 04, 2016, 05:25 PM »
To help diagnose a system (Windows 7 Pro x64) that has been rebooting by itself on what appears to be a fairly regular basis, I'm looking for a utility to keep a log of the date and time for each time it boots up.  Ideally, it would also keep track of the time elapsed between successive boots.

What I'm trying to find out is whether there is a pattern in the reboots or whether they happen completely at random.

Found Deals and Discounts / VMware 30% off through June 30, 2016
« on: June 28, 2016, 09:05 PM »
VMware's desktop virtualization products are on sale for 30% off through June 30, 2016.

This applies to new licenses and upgrades for Workstation, Fusion and Player.

Found Deals and Discounts / RightNote 50% off
« on: June 23, 2016, 12:18 PM »
RightNote is currently on sale for 50% off for "a limited time only."

Found Deals and Discounts / XYplorer Lifetime License 50% off
« on: June 06, 2016, 02:26 PM »
XYplorer lifetime license will be on sale tomorrow, June 7 2016, at BitsDuJour.

That's $39.95 instead of $79.95.  One user, unlimited devices, forever.

General Software Discussion / Origins of TrueCrypt
« on: April 01, 2016, 09:33 PM »
Interesting article from The New Yorker magazine on the origins of TrueCrypt.

General Software Discussion / Comparative review of password managers
« on: February 24, 2016, 09:44 AM »
Infoworld today has a comparative review of password managers.

You need to register for their "Business Insider" newsletter (it's free) to read the full article, which provides detailed comments on each program and a chart comparing their scores on various aspects. For those unwilling or unable to do so, here's the final takeaway:

Which of these password managers should you choose? Clearly, you have a number of great options.

KeePass, despite its occasional complexity, still tops the list of free and open source solutions, thanks to the breadth of plug-ins and its broad platform support. For those who want a free and open source solution, but in an implementation with fewer frills and less fuss, consider Password Safe. (That it comes with the imprimatur of a renowned security expert doesn’t hurt either.)

1Password takes the basic idea behind KeePass and lays on a veneer of commercial polish, making a good thing even better and easier to use, albeit at a cost. Dashlane is even sleeker, with a handy security auditing function, but unlike many competitors its Web version is available only as part of the for-pay package.

RoboForm, an app with a faithful following, has kept pace nicely with the competition over the years (by adding browser plug-ins, fingerprint authentication, and so on), and it offers a lot of functionality in the free version. The best part of Keeper is its mobile incarnation. Keeper is a product aimed mainly at business users, but it nonetheless provides plenty of utility for everyone else.

Finally, for those who want to tame a welter of website passwords, LastPass is an excellent place to start, considering its basic incarnation is a browser plug-in and a well-designed mobile app. SplashID is similarly designed, but much of what it does is executed better elsewhere.

This is a perennial topic of interest among DC members so plenty of older comments on most of these programs can be found by searching the forums.

General Software Discussion / Opera Browser being sold off
« on: February 10, 2016, 11:57 AM »
It was reported today that Opera is being sold to a Chinese technology group who plan to use it as a platform to promote their products.

Although Firefox remains my default browser, Opera is what I use most of the time for surfing and reading online. We'll see what the new owners do, but I'm not optimistic about the future.

Let's hope that Vivaldi gets its act together soon.

Today is Safer Internet Day and to celebrate, Google will add 2GB for free to your Google Drive if you sign on to your account this week and verify all of your security settings.

General Software Discussion / End of the line for VMware Workstation?
« on: January 27, 2016, 01:11 PM »
Monday, VMware laid off their entire U.S. development staff for Desktop products, which includes Workstation, Player and Fusion.

The company did say that they were moving development for those products to China, which probably means they will keep the products alive as long as they can charge for them, but I don’t expect much more than that.

Non-Windows Software / Dan Gilmor on moving to Linux
« on: January 06, 2016, 09:32 AM »
Journalist Dan Gilmor, one of the earliest bloggers and a long-time voice of reason in Silicon Valley, has a new post discussing why and how he moved to Linux. Nothing new or earth shaking, but a sensible and useful article for anyone trying to make the case for switching to FOSS.

InfoWorld has an interesting survey of data recovery & forensic tools. You need to register as an "Insider" to read the full article, which is well worthwhile, but here is the author's summary:

   Which recovery tool is for you?  PhotoRec and companion TestDisk have
   consistently been among the most useful, performant, flexible, and
   inexpensive applications available for data recovery.  They don’t have
   the breadth of options of some of the other apps examined here, but it’s
   almost impossible to go wrong with them as a first step.

   Sleuth Kit/Autopsy is more of a full toolbox than a single wrench or
   hammer, and for that reason might be intimidating to work with,
   especially if all you need to do is recover a particular file.  But for
   those who need the full toolbox, it is a great way to have one for no
   initial cost.  SystemRescueCd also rolls up a great many tools into one
   bundle, but it’s strictly for experts.  Those afraid of the command line
   shouldn’t even think of using it.

   Kroll Ontrack EasyRecovery Enterprise stands out with its RAID recovery
   function, and it’s recommended for those who need that capability.  For
   those who don't, many of its other features can be found in other
   programs, like Remo Recover.

   Remo Recover stood out for making it easy to save out image files from
   media, and for having some fairly exotic camera file types as part of
   its database.  CardRecovery supported a number of those file types as
   well, although its slow scanning and slightly clumsy interface worked
   against it.

   Finally, Recuva packs a lot of great features into one program:  fast
   scanning, a convenient interface, and useful details about what’s
   recoverable and what’s not.  It should be in every Windows user's

The main takeaway is that the best tools for most users are the free ones: PhotoRec, Sleuth Kit/Autopsy, Recuva and System Recovery CD.

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