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In history, in case you think our times unique, Turkey banned the typewriter.  It made it too difficult to capture kidnappers from examining their ransom notes. :)

Living Room / Re: Looking for a newsgroup news reader
« on: May 29, 2009, 12:08 PM »
I still use Luu Tran's marvelous XNews. :Thmbsup:

[ ... snip ...]

I've tried all the big names out there: Forte Agent, Plucker, NewsGator, SharReader - and Pan and Liferea on Linux. But I always keep coming back to Xnews.

Me too.  I am a light user of newsgroups, I did a $40 bulk buy on BuzzardNews five years ago and I still haven't used it up.  Once you get used to an interface, its hard to change.  Xnews permits you to map any keys you use with Thunderbird into the eqivalent Xnews action, that may be a plus for you.  On linux I use Pan, the philosophy and interface is very like XNews. 

I heard the president's calendar is kept on a Honeywell COBOL program.

You need an app that doesn't run well under cygwin or virtual box. 

Thanks for clearly stating that condition, Josh.  Residential, ISP, email addresses won't work, nor will your work email if it is from a .com or .gov.


Living Room / Re: Another Verizon ETF Settlement
« on: September 12, 2008, 09:24 PM »
Ha!   How do I address the envelope with the 35 cent  :P stamp to claim my 50 cent share of the settlement? They'll probably want my email address to sell to spammers. :mad:  I don't participate in class action settlements and I don't buy products with rebates.

Living Room / Re: Has the LHC destroyed the world yet?
« on: September 12, 2008, 09:18 PM »
The LHC cannot destroy the world.  The attempted domestication of the cat destroyed it ages ago.

 :) If posting Student Only deals is OK here I presume it's ok to post US Department of Defense only deals.

As part of the contract with Microsoft to provide software to the Department of Defense, service members and civilian employees (sorry, not for contract employees) are eligible for the home use program.  This is also the case if your agency has not yet deployed office 2007 and is still using office 2003. You pay about $20 for  the case, shipping and handling and they throw in Office 2007 for free. (Just like EBay, but legit.)

Here is an Air Force announcement, your service or agency codes may be different.  I just  logged on to and gave my work email; Bill  :) mailed back the code I used to order.  Only $20 more than the price of Open Office.  A bargain at half the price!

AntiVirus and Firewall are downloadable from .mil addresses.  Download and burn to CD and bring home. I don't like or use these offers.  The symantec  products gave me hell.  Only install a symantec product if you are willing to reformat to uninstall it. 

I have ordered Dell hardware from below, but mostly I buy used equipment no o/s provided.  I've a couple of Win2000 and WinXP licenses, and, of course, an unlimited Debian license.

Title: Discount Software

Body: Here are the software packages available for free or at reduced cost through home use/employee purchase programs.
1. Authorized participants of Microsoft (MS) Home Use Program (HUP)/ MS Employee Purchase Program (EPP):
- AMC Active Duty Military; AMC Civilian Personnel; AMC Contractor personnel and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) personnel working with Government Furnished Equipment (GFE)
- MS Home Use Program is directly tied to employee’s primary government desktop license
-- Participants can purchase Office 2007 Professional for use on one personal computer
-- Must order from “.mil” address and use personal credit card to make purchase
--- To order Office 2007 Professional, go to:
--- Insert AMC Program Code: C3F524CBE6 and provide other requested information
-- Employees may only order software identical to what is loaded on their government computer (i.e. You are not authorized to order Microsoft Project unless your government computer has a licensed copy installed)
-- Employees may only use this software while employed by USAF
-- Software may not be sold or transferred
- MS EPP gives authorized participants significant discounts off retail pricing on MS products
-- Allows a qualified employee to purchase up to three (3) copies of any offered product
--- To order, go to:
--- Insert AMC Program Code: B898126B2A and provide other requested information

2. These products are for personal use only and may not be installed on a government PC
- McAfee Virus Scan Plus AntiVirus, Firewall and AntiSpyware – Available to all Active DoD employees
-- Go to
-- Certify that you are a current DoD employee, select Department
- AntiVirus with Symantec – Available to all Active DoD employees
-- Go to https://www.jtfgno.m...tivirus/home_use.htm
-- Click on the Symantec tab across the top of the page
-- Click on Client Products
-- Click on the latest dated Product on the Symantec Client Security for Windows table
--- For Mac machines scroll down to the Symantec Client Security for Mac OS X Version 10.3 or Later table
--- For Palm or Pocket PCs scroll down to the Symantec Client Security for Palm OS and PocketPC table
Note: Download authorized only from a “.mil” domain
- Altiris Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) by Symantec – Available to all Active DoD employees
-- Go to
--- Download this version of SVS for your personal use. The license never expires and you may use it on your personal PC without restrictions.

3. Many other computer software and hardware vendors have realized the vast purchasing power of AF personnel and have established agreements to give AF employees (military and civilian and, in some instances, contractors) preferred pricing for products purchased for personal use.
- Obtain support for these products at the respective websites.
- Please note that any agreement you enter into is between you and the vendor.
- Dell Employee Purchase offer for AF employees:
-- Go to:
-- Enter: Name and Work E-mail Address
-- Member ID, DS15645360, is already loaded
-- Upon checkout, click on Proceed Registration and Checkout and create an account.
-- If you already have a Dell Preferred account, you can link it to your Employee Purchase account by using the same e-mail address and password.
-- To order by phone, call a Dell sales representative at 1-888-695-8133 to assist you with your purchase. If calling, please be sure to mention your Member ID: DS15645360 to ensure you get your special discount.
- Gateway Employee Purchase offer for AF employees:
-- Copy and paste the following: (must copy and paste URL and create account before leaving site first time)
-- Click on the picture of the product group you are interested in
-- Click on Create a User Account in the middle column (account name is defaulted to fedepp)
-- Create User Name and Password (6 characters)
-- Click on I Agree to the Terms and Conditions
-- Upon checkout, you will fill in shipping, billing and/or warranty addresses
-- Go to My Profile and enter Member ID Air Force
-- If you would like to make an EPP purchase by phone please call 877-485-1462 and give Program Code C06EPDOD1
- HP Employee Purchase offer for AF employees:
-- Go to: http://government.hp...=189&agencyid=19
-- Fill in contact information
-- Agency name is Air Force
-- Note: Account creation must be done on a “.mil” address
- Enter US7439 in the "company code" field. Please note that the company code is case-sensitive and must be entered as capital letters.

Professor Jaag says that micromanagement and low pay is better than merit pay for measurable results.

Hidden Teacher Effort in Educational Production:
Monitoring vs. Merit Pay
Christian Jaag∗
February 25, 2005
This paper deals with the optimality of teacher incentive contracts in the presence of costly
or limited government resources. It considers educational production under asymmetric in-
formation as a function of teacher effort and class size. In the presence of costly government
resources and convex effort costs, teacher monitoring – which is wasteful in principle – may be
superior to merit pay in order to induce second-best teacher effort; optimum class size is not af-
fected by informational deficiencies. If the government budget is exogenously fixed, optimum
teacher effort may not be affordable, which is shown to make the case for monitoring activity
instead of incentive pay even stronger.
Keywords: Education, Moral Hazard, Monitoring,Merit Pay
JEL-Classification: I21, I28, D82


Would a spreadsheet exported as XML work? 


General Software Discussion / Re: How do you manage your email?
« on: September 10, 2008, 01:13 AM »

Short version:

I delete as much as I can. Drag stuff to the calendar or task list.  Save each project in its own directory and save reference material in subject directories. I work the task list and calendar and keep the inbox empty. I, too, use Allen's GTD system.

Long version:

I believe it's real important to delete stuff.  The more stuff I delete the easier it is to find the reference and project material I've filed.  An empty inbox makes me happy.

I don't trust the outlook file system for project data and reference material. Almost all undeleted email is saved to its project directory or its reference directory on my usb drive. A macro builds a filename from some of the mail fields and saves the file as a *.msg file (which preserves attachments).

Email comes in through the company Exchange server.  The admins are great.  Only three or four commercial spams per year get through.  I do still have a bozo bin rule for two or three inside people and one or two subject lines that are annoying.

The first wholesale deletion is email that is not sent directly to me. I have a saved view that shows my inbox "grouped by recipient".  I don't like the preview window--too big-- but I display the first couple dozen characters of the message field.  Only a few cc's and "All department" mails are _not_ deleted.

I then toggle the view to my standard "group by sender".  I delete mail from my boss and his boss if it is trivial or not worth keeping.  If there's a quick response I do it and then go back to processing my in basket. Otherwise, I drag the mail to the task folder. If the action is going to involve other people or analysis time, or is a multistep process. I click a macro button that gives the task a project name and marks it as a project task. Another macro creates tasks with the same project name and I note the specific action I will need to perform.  Then I go back to processing my in basket.  Later, when I group tasks by project name (BillingInformation) each project and its related actions are in the same group.

If the mail is something I want to keep and refer to later, I try not to keep it.  I delete it if the "refer to later" is only a "might" or "maybe".  Otherwise I then click the macro that names and saves mail to the file system.  If a directory for the reference does not yet exist, I reconsider saving it or, rarely, create a new reference directory. Oh, yeah, training information I post to my calendar on the Friday before three-day weekends and the week between Christmas and New Year.

After mail from my boss and his boss, I do the other mail pretty much the same way.  The end result is an empty email basket and one list of tasks to do. I have only two priority levels: 1)doit, and 2)maybe do it someday. I just scan the doit and choose by judgment.

This is pretty much the email part of the GTD system.  There are other steps and techniques that don't deal directly with email.


Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen $9 paperback.
Read the first two or three chapters and then the summary pages of the rest of the chapters.  Then start.  I had planned to go parallel with my Franklin Planner for two months, but dropped the Franklin Planner after ten days.

Palm organizer - How David uses his    Item #: 60603    Disclose email address and download.
I used a palm pilot and sync by cable to outlook 2003 until network security upgrades broke the palm pilot syncing.  Outlook Web access to the exchange server has replaced this for me. My blackberry is pretty much used as read only. I don't trust its syncing.

GTD and Outlook 2003 Item #: 10130 $15
This paper has good advice on how to ignore most of the task fields, how to use notes and calendar with Allen's system. After following the advice of this paper for a couple of months I wrote macros for repetitive actions.  Allen and others sells  outlook add-ins, but the trial versions didn't work smoothly. Most of the free macros posted on the web don't match my work style.   


How might I use a wiki or similar tool to compose two to ten page business reports? I recently referred to a wiki as an outliner in a thread about WikiPad. When I was corrected, it made me realize that something is missing in my understanding of wikis, outliners, mindmappers and related writing tools.
Would one of you converts from word processor only to word processor plus WikiPad (or a similar tool) describe the needed change in work habits? 

I am old enough to have worked with dictaphones, secretaries, and typing pools.  The transition to WordStar was tough.   I would compose on comment paper, enter the paper draft on the word processor, print, and then repeat (until done)  make markups, enter markups, print. 

You can clearly see that I didn't get it.   

I suspect that I don't get it with wikis. 

What is the algorithm for starting with WikiPad (or others,) moving to a work processor, and then emailing the result? Do I use a wiki as some kind of super file inclusion tool--using ideas instead of files? Isn't the writing process the organizing of a set of facts and data to a directed graph (wiki) of facts and analysis followed by a transformation to a linear presentation? Or do these questions show that I don't get it?   

Mini-Reviews by Members / Apologies: WikiPad is not an outliner
« on: February 01, 2008, 01:20 AM »
My apologies for any offense taken by my referring to WikiPad as an outliner.  I plead ignorance. I can barely tell the differences among text editors, word processions, and layout programs.  I'm so dull--I knew what CamelCase meant (after I Googled it)--but it took me three days to realize why the "Camel" is in CamelCase.   

Yes, it is the case that my work habits are preventing me from understanding how WikiPad can help me compose two to ten page business reports. I would like to know what work habits _do_ work with WikiPad. I am starting a thread asking this in a more appropriate place. 

General Software Discussion / Re: What is your boot time?
« on: January 31, 2008, 03:29 PM »
I don't know.  Whatever it is it's too long. I use hibernate when ever I can--even though, sporadically, it won't wake up .  I watch my startup reg entries with both StartupMonitor and Startup Inspector for Win. 

Based on what I've read,  I think if I could logon locally and connect later to the network things would speed up. ...need to experiment when I have time. (=I'll wait till someone else figures it out. :))

General Software Discussion / light
« on: January 31, 2008, 03:18 PM »
 :)... and  don't use blinking text anymore now that I've replaced my Hercules graphics card.

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: WikidPad - an IDE for your thoughts
« on: January 31, 2008, 03:10 PM »
Reviews and software recommendations are the reason I became a member. Please consider doing more of them.

I downloaded and tried WikiPad and I tried some others as well. I've decided that outlining is not for me as a writer.  I do use the outline view of msWord occasionally and that will have to do for now. I have had the same experience with mind mappers and literate programming utilities -- I cannot compose at the speed of thought. Paper and pencil mindmapping, when brainstorming, is faster.

Perhaps what I need is a tutorial on using a software outliner. For example, msOutlook did not replace my paper PIM until I read the Getting-Things-Done book. I had to change my work habits slightly, but it was worth it.

Thanks again for your great work.

For old timers:

Manually punching in a phone number and instead of your girlfriend answering you hear the modem to your timesharing service negotiating a transfer rate with you.

passpack.exe (encrypted password list utility)

General Software Discussion / Re: TrueCrypt - FAT32/NTFS
« on: December 21, 2007, 10:53 PM »
The drive is formatted FAT32, the truecrypt drive is NTFS. 

TrueCrypt does not change the underlying file system.  Even TrueCrypt cannot see a partition or drive until it is mounted, it only sees the underlying file system, in your case, FAT32.

The drive you purchased was preformatted FAT32.  TrueCrypt wrote data on the FAT32 drive.  When mounted this is a NTFS drive.  When not mounted only information about the underlying file system, FAT32,  is available.

Living Room / Re: Laptop or Desktop — which are you?
« on: December 14, 2007, 07:57 PM »
uhhh. Both. Laptop, Latitude D600, and Desktop, Optiplex 270, and 6Gig microdrive to carry all my data.  From the coffee shop I can ssh into a linux box for data.  I'm working on VNCing to a windows box.  I've become data centric: the microdrive and the ssh box have my data and I try to make it not-matter which machine I'm using.

Living Room / Re: How do you tag (or even organize) your files?
« on: December 14, 2007, 07:40 PM »
I suppose I am a dinosaur.  I organize my files with subdirectories.  I even save Outlook eMail as .msg files, which perserves attachments.  The top level directories are Work and Reference.  Under Work is a directory for each client.  Under each client is a directory for each project. One directory under client is call Permanent and contains stuff that applies to more than one project. Under Reference each topic has a folder.

Life is a series of projects; everything goes in the project directory: Documents, Spreadsheets, completed Outlook tasks, eMail sent and eMail received.  I have a macro that saves the eMail with a filename equal to Subject + Sender + Receiver + SendDate/Time. I stopped trusting PST files when a new Outlook version would not read the old version's PST. When a subdirectory gets too big it might be split into two parts or perhaps an older, less-frequently-referenced part zipped. 

Completed projects are archived to CDs. I keep the CDs in a three ring binder and have been able to retrieve data more than a year old.

I have about 1.5 gigs of ongoing work, backups on the file server.

Retrieval--the only reason to file stuff--has only become a problem for one project that has been going on for years rather than the typical three to six months.  I used a utility call LS - File List Generator,  http://home.a03.itsc...tsuzu/programing/en/, to create html indices of the twelve subdirectories this project has generated--yes, there are duplicates and yes, there are filename conflicts.

I'm starting to have problems with version control. I am considering using ComponetSoftware, Inc. Document Management Suite, http://www.component...ucts/docmansuite.htm, it adds menues to Word and Excel--but I think this is being discussed on another thread, msg79452.

How do the utilities being discussed, here, address indexing and version control.  Are the data files kept by them editable?   

The website below hosts the windows apps cryptnote and PassPack.

I used a CSV text file and cryptnote until I had over 120 passwords sorted into 18 categories. A master copy was kept on my linux box; cryptnote works well under wine; I would ssh-transfer the file to work and to my laptop and my USB drive when it was updated.  Very tiny text editor that keeps decoded text file in memory. No find/search ability. Manual cut and paste. The remote copy is a good backup for the usb drive.

The same author has a app called PassPack.  I'm testing it out now.  This has a search function.  Effortless import of the CSV file.  The nth function key puts the nth entry of the record on the clipboard. My old CSV file was freeform--sometimes the password was 3rd, sometimes 4th.  Same coordination strategy. Displays using wine, but I'm having trouble with the function keys using icewm.


Living Room / Re: Applications Stealing Focus...
« on: December 14, 2007, 11:37 AM »
Biggest Offender:

Windows Update Restart notification window! I HATE THAT THING!

Yes -- and the default is OK.  ...and my mouse is set to point to the default reply when a window pops up.  I think I'm moving my text editor pointer, but I get a reboot instead.  

General Software Discussion / Turn off debugging messages in IE7
« on: December 13, 2007, 09:27 PM »
From the IE7 Toolbar there are two check boxes to turn off debugging.
Goto Tools-->Internet Options-->Advanced.
In the second group, "Browsing"

I think some of the MS tools, when installed, toggle them off.

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