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Topics - zridling [ switch to compact view ]

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There are perhaps hundreds if not thousands sitting out there. There are some that are still available on the web(!) in some form, such as VuePrint. Can you think of others that should have never died?

Non-Windows Software / Anyone using SnagIt for ChromeOS?
« on: August 06, 2014, 06:20 PM »
Although it's quite basic, it's a start and will get better. Members from the Techsmith team take the first 25 minutes of this podcast to discuss why they felt they needed a ChromeOS/Linux presence for the app:

Living Room / Trip down memory lane and how sexy computers once were
« on: December 23, 2012, 04:47 AM »
Eileen Brown posted a host of retro ads. Hey Jack, computers were fun back before everyone spied on you!




Living Room / Files aren’t property, says US government
« on: November 05, 2012, 05:46 AM »
So I guess this means your files are my files and my files are the government's. And those Hollywood movies might not be the movie studios' "property" after all.
KimDotCom is only one battle between the corporate state and us. My entire existence is now one of defiance -- to politicians, to wars, to god-believers, to climate deniers, and to a US government that at every turn is doing the wrong thing. Whenever someone does have the courage to call bullshit on them, suddenly they disappear into indefinite detention, lose their passport in a foreign country, or the government suddenly passes a new law criminalizing any form of dissent. I can "own" property, but only as long as it can used to incriminate me. And then some [slippery slope] excuse is made for why it's not really my property:
-- You shouldn't have put it in the cloud.
-- You shouldn't have put it on servers.
-- You shouldn't have put it in your email.
-- You shouldn't have put it on your HD (or any other storage device).

In case you haven't noticed, the internet is illegal according to your government. Enjoy it while it's still around.

Relevant links:
Files aren’t property, says US government

Megaupload and the Government's Attack on Cloud Computing

Richard Stallman Was Right All Along

The government maintains that Mr. Goodwin lost his property rights in his data by storing it on a cloud computing service.  Specifically, the government argues that both the contract between Megaupload and Mr. Goodwin (a standard cloud computing contract) and the contract between Megaupload and the server host, Carpathia (also a standard agreement), "likely limit any property interest he may have" in his data.  (Page 4). If the government is right, no provider can both protect itself against sudden losses (like those due to a hurricane) and also promise its customers that their property rights will be maintained when they use the service. Nor can they promise that their property might not suddenly disappear, with no reasonable way to get it back if the government comes in with a warrant. Apparently your property rights "become severely limited" if you allow someone else to host your data under standard cloud computing arrangements. This argument isn't limited in any way to Megaupload -- it would apply if the third party host was Amazon's S3 or Google Apps or or Apple iCloud.   

The government's tactics here also demonstrate another chilling thing—if users do try to get their property back, the government won't hesitate to comb through their property to try to find an argument to use against them. The government also seeks to place a virtually insurmountable practical burden on users by asking the court to do a slow-walking, multi-step process that takes place in a far away court.  Most third parties who use cloud computing services to store their business records or personal information are not in a position to attend even one court appearance in Virginia, much less the multiple ones the government envisions in its submission to the court.

Ultimately, if the government doesn't feel any obligation to respect the rights of Megaupload's customers—and it clearly doesn't—it's not going to suddenly feel differently if the target of its next investigation is a more mainstream service.  The scope of its seizure here was breathtaking and they took no steps to engage in what the law calls "minimization," either before its searches and seizures or afterwards, by taking  steps to return property to cloud computing users who it knew would be hurt. And now the government is trying to use standard contractual language to argue that any user of a cloud computing service has, at best, "severely limited" ownership rights in their property.


[Allen]: Strangely, there is no way to set the desktop as your default view (there should be).

The new tablet features in Windows 8 are particularly bold and innovative. A few minor issues aside, I'm impressed with its clever integration of a bimodal interface to simultaneously support both desktop and tablet use in the same operating system. I found the gesture navigation on the tablet to be quite satisfying and responsive. And in general, I find Windows 8 to be snappier and more responsive than Windows 7.

I did encounter some puzzling aspects of Windows 8. The bimodal user experience can introduce confusion, especially when two versions of the same application – such as Internet Explorer – can be opened and run simultaneously. Files can also be opened in either of the two available modes. For example, after opening a PDF attachment in Outlook from the desktop, Windows opens the file in Microsoft Reader, an application more suited for use on a tablet, rather than the desktop Acrobat Reader. A manual switch is then required to return to desktop mode. Thankfully, you can alleviate these switching problems by changing file and program associations in Windows, as I will explain later.

A nice post on his blog on a lot of things to be excited about Windows 8, and how it will eventually get better within a year as apps catch up. Should be interesting, as the wife needs to replace her old laptop that I wish would die already!

Living Room / Shit Apple Fanatics Say
« on: September 11, 2012, 02:54 AM »
"It's just a $50 cable from Apple!"

Part 1:

Part 2:


No-hassle computing. Based on Linux, ChromeOS is stripped down to eliminate hassles, and sometimes choice. It updates itself, it repairs and can recover itself. Google doesn't want you to get bogged down on too many options. Hook up a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, sign in to your Google account, choose a desktop background if you want, and away you go. Seriously, that's it.

1.9GHz Intel Celeron, (or an i5 chip with the I/O version). 4Gb RAM, 16Gb SSD (hard drive), and loads of connection options. If you want, you can pop the bottom cover off and upgrade the RAM to 16Gb and the SSD card all the way to 120Gb! I'm running it with a 24-inch ASUS monitor with ease using either Displayport (to HDMI) or DVI-D. You can run it either by wifi or ethernet; it has a cheap speaker, but works fine with headphones; Bluetooth 3.0; and six USB 2.0 ports, two of which are on front. The Chromebox itself doesn't get hot, and fits just about anywhere.

The latest version of ChromeOS looks like a simplified (Linux) KDE or Windows screen, with collapsible taskbar. Most everything you do will be in the browser, although you can work separately with Google Drive and some offline items. Google builds multiple versions of the Chrome browser for various OSes, but the version for Chromebox (and Chromebooks) is the same as you find on your desktop PC, using the same extensions, except that I found it renders text better and typing is faster inside of Google Docs. You can change its look with themes if you like.

One word: surprising! It's no PC, but remember, you're OS is not having to juggle a lot of processes, thus resources are devoted almost entirely to browser and video performance. From composing documents to video to music to having 32 tabs open in multiple windows, it doesn't slow down. It boots in 5-6 seconds, awakes instantly on Ethernet, and shuts down instantly. You can insert any USB drive to add, download, or access photos with the superfast image viewer included.

For a Chromebox (or Chromebook) to be a positive experience, you have to accept a slightly different type of computing. It's not a PC, i.e., a production machine. It's more like an powerful appliance, but one that needs little electricity to use, even if you leave it on 24 hours a day. I thought the 16Gb SSD would be too small, but I've yet to really use it and don't see that I will. The whole experience is fast, and I like that. And if you have someone in your family -- old person, or someone new to the web, or even a kid -- a Chromebox is unbreakable and needs no tech support! With each ChromeOS update comes the treats of more speed and more features. My own PC habits have evolved from Windows to Linux to a variety of devices -- tablet, Chromebox, PC, phone. I don't have just one set of needs at this time in my life. And since my browser settings and bookmarks are synced among devices, there's no setup among them. If you forced me to choose one device, I'd think very hard before turning this down.

Many of the negative personal reviews I've seen of Chromebox and Chromebook are demanding that it be something it isn't: a full desktop PC. I discount those, because that's not the purpose here. This is an internet machine; some call it an appliance, but it's not a PC. If you need a PC, buy a PC. But here are three:
(1) The Chromebook/box version of the Chrome browser has more security restrictions, preventing one from assigning a local home page. I've always used my own "start page" of links for years. I hate this, and though I can work around this by opening the document from Gmail and bookmarking it, it's not the same. Greater browser security, however, is not often a negative.
(2) File handling is different. You're not really working with a traditional HD, so files are mostly handled online by linking and copying. You can download them to Google Drive or even your SSD or a USB stick. But after a week, you won't want to because your habits will have changed. Thus, this only a temporary negative.
(3) The $330 sticker price. Although I agree with this criticism, it would be tough to build a mini for much less and have it work this well. The next generation should be interesting.

Hell yea! I not only would buy this again, I would recommend it to just about anyone who spends their PC time browsing, reading, viewing media, and social networking. It's just fun, and that's something often missing from computing.

[Vitaly Katsenelson]:
...a few weeks ago we sold our shares of Microsoft. Because we believe the stock is undervalued, that decision was not easy. What changed? When I saw Windows 8 demonstrated in early 2011, it looked like a very innovative, un-Microsoft-like product. Windows 8 was very important for Microsoft’s response to Apple’s iPad — a tablet that was deservingly stealing market share from low-end laptops. Windows 8 was supposed to take Microsoft to the next level, leapfrogging Apple and Google.... A few months ago Microsoft released the public Windows 8 beta, and I tested it out. To my shock, I found it to be a very confusing product. The interface was slick and visually very appealing, but I simply could not figure out how to use it. All the experience I had accumulated using Windows over the past two decades was useless with Windows 8, and the fact that Microsoft took out the Start button did not help, either. I found myself staring at the screen helplessly, clicking the mouse on different corners, trying to discover how to do basic tasks that we normally take for granted, like starting a program or running two programs side by side. Even figuring out how to shut down the computer was an ordeal.... The touch gestures that work well and are intuitive on tablets and mobile phones fall flat when you try them on a PC with a mouse — swiping, a very natural touch gesture, is simply cumbersome with a mouse.

I keep blaming it on this guy:


Linus Torvalds on NVIDIA, cued to the statement. The rest of the talk isn't bad either.

Living Room / What will be your next computer?
« on: May 18, 2012, 04:53 PM »

Built my last desktop a couple of months ago and figure it will last until desktops no longer exist (or are outlawed by "The Corporation"). Given the many OS and platform choices available, and the steady trudge toward appliance computing, I won't be spending big money -- i.e., more than I can afford -- for components ever again. Bought an ASUS tablet (T201/android) like the one above earlier in the year and was pleasantly surprised at how useful the device really was. I figured I'd use it rarely, but its utility has been unexpected, especially in the workplace when traveling. The first 25 years of my computing life was spent performing productive tasks and downloading terabytes of movies, porn, music, most of which I couldn't find on those discs if I had a month to do so. Now I barely save anything; all I do is read, research, and various social communications.


I keep hearing from friends and acquaintances who are leaving their laptops at home in favor of taking a tablet on the road, or more daring, just their phone. But those coders who can begin to make mobile computing more productive -- i.e., writing, blogging, even some spreadsheet editing -- will rule the next round of software.

[via OSNews]:
"By all early reports, Windows 8 is going to be a good operating system. Microsoft's hegemony may be crumbling in a mobile computing onslaught, but its core empire remains undimmed. However, whereas Windows 7 had three versions, Windows 8 will apparently be ballooning to 9 versions. According to the Windows 8 registry file, the nine versions are":

  • Windows 8 ARM edition
  • Windows 8 Starter Edition
  • Windows 8 Home Basic
  • Windows 8 Home Premium
  • Windows 8 Professional
  • Windows 8 Professional Plus
  • Windows 8 Ultimate
  • Windows 8 Enterprise Eval
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
I understand the ARM and Enterprise editions (and that Microsoft has traditional done this with Office, but why so many Home/Pro editions? Help me understand this.

It seems that consumer computing for the masses has effectively been reduced to the user picking an ecosystem -- either Google, Microsoft, or Apple. Once chosen, it will take you seven attempts* to leave, if you ever do. And to think, just a few years ago, it felt like we had it all. Now we're all dependent little corporate whores, like it or not. (I don't like it because someone else is in control.)

*I just pulled that number out of the sky.

Microsoft: We Can Remotely Delete Windows 8 Apps
Like Apple and Google, Windows Store will include a 'kill switch' to disable or eliminate rogue apps
"In cases where your security is at risk, or where we're required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for," said Microsoft in the Windows Store terms. "In cases where we remove a paid app from your Windows 8 Beta device not at your direction, we may refund to you the amount you paid for the license," Microsoft added. The company also noted that along with the app, it may also scrub data created by the app from a device. "If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored," Microsoft said.

General Software Discussion / Why I stand up for Stallman
« on: November 04, 2011, 12:22 PM »
Nice pieces by Jack Schofield and another by Dave Winer that get attention earlier this week:

"Stallman set out to write a free clone of Unix, single-handed, in 1983, and wrote the free Emacs editor, GNU C compiler and debugger and other programs -- a prodigious feat. He also founded the Free Software Foundation, and developed the GPL (GNU Public Licence) under which a great deal of free and open source software is released. GNU and the GPL have been hugely influential, and in this context, complaining about the fact that (say) Stallman likes parrots is ridiculously small-minded and conformist. Harmless eccentricities should be celebrated, not disallowed."

Leave Richard Stallman alone
by Jack Schofield

Why I stand up for Stallman
by Dave Winer

Living Room / Siri in a year [humor]
« on: October 30, 2011, 11:26 AM »
Siri in a year



Living Room / Common Hiding Places for Passwords
« on: October 24, 2011, 08:58 PM »
Yep. via LifeHacker.

When I was an IT admin, I had the pleasure of dealing often with people who would submit urgent service requests and then leave for the day, leaving their office empty and computer locked by the time I could get there to help. Fortunately, I was often able to fix their problem while they weren't there. Why? Their password was somewhere on their desk in one of these easy-to-find locations.

Living Room / Angry birds in the wild
« on: October 10, 2011, 01:05 PM »
These are some pissed off birds. Or maybe they just have indigestion, I don't know.


Living Room / Lady Geek -- Helping businesses sell technology to women
« on: September 29, 2011, 10:44 AM »

Lady Geek, among their services:
"Although teenage girls are using the Internet in the same way as men, they are FIVE times less likely to consider a technology rated career.  The situation is worse than it was 20 years ago. Lady Geek is inspiring young girls to consider a career in technology."
The more science and tech nerds there are, the better!

Living Room / Social Media's Hidden Truth
« on: September 23, 2011, 01:30 PM »
A simple graphic that is true for all of them, not just Facebook.



Carlo Daffara's well-argued and brave riposte to Richard Stallman's Android FUD attempt.
I hate FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) whether it is spelled from proponents of proprietary software or free software loyalist. I hate it because it uses half-truths, innuendo and emotional traps to prevent readers to form their own opinion using rational means.

Having said that, I have been already skeptical of the previous attempt of the FSF to declare that the GPLv2 is “dangerous” because it has no explicit reinstatement clause, piggybacking on posts by popular Android doomsayers that (wrongly) claimed that Android tablet vendors “lost their rights to the Linux kernel”. Now, RMS clearly aimed with bigger guns at Android, that is clearly irking to his freedom-loving personality and probably seen as a plague barely better than Windows. In doing so, he unfortunately reached the same level of his hated proprietary vendors, using a barrage of arguments that show little attention to the reality.

Given the fact that RMS cares nothing of me (I still remember the disdain when I suggested that “Libre” may have been a better word than “Free”) and I am tired of being hated only by academics, I would like to dissect a few of the points raised by our beloved Richard.

Ed Bott and Steven Vaughan-Nichols are debating the pros and cons of Windows 8 today at 1p EST. Go vote! After opening remarks, they'll make a rebuttal and then closing arguments later.


Living Room / When good tech ideas go bad
« on: September 20, 2011, 08:56 AM »

Katie Fehrenbacher has an excellent article on GigaOM today, When good tech ideas go bad:

Sometimes tech trends end up disrupting huge industries, like when the idea of Skype and free web calls, collided with the phone companies. However, sometimes tech ideas have all the makings of these kind of disruptions — complete with collective billions of dollars of venture capital funding, dozens of startup competitors, and enthusiastic analyst predictions — but ultimately end up flaming out because of things like timing, macroeconomic conditions, or fatal business model flaws.

Interesting argument if it sticks:


Google said its workers made Android binary and source codes available for download to foreign manufacturers, and neither code is available in any physical medium. The manufacturers then downloaded the codes, which "necessarily involves copying it - otherwise the code would disappear from the website after the first download," according to the brief. "Thus, foreign device manufacturers have to copy Android code before loading it onto their devices."

Google stressed the similarities between its case and Microsoft v. AT&T. The Supreme Court had reasoned that, because Microsoft "does not export from the United States the copies actually installed, it does not 'suppl[y] ... from the United States' 'components' of the relevant computers, and therefore is not liable" for patent infringement, the brief states. Van Nest, a partner with Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco, further argued that Android software remains an "idea without physical embodiment" and not a "combinable" component of a device until it is "expressed as a computer-readable copy."

Living Room / Six Levels of Apple Fandom
« on: September 07, 2011, 09:59 AM »
Kill me now. I'm surprised Steve Jobs hasn't filed copyright suits against these folks.


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