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Topics - xtabber [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Software longevity
« on: March 01, 2014, 09:46 AM »
The arrival of Beyond Compare 4 made me look back to see how long I have been using that software.  It would seem to be at least 16 years, since I found an email from Tim Thousand from February 1998 concerning a suggestion I had made for adding some features to BC 1.

That, in turn, made me wonder just how many programs that I still rely on have I been using on a regular basis for that long.  It's a pretty short list.

I've used Kedit and Opttech Sort since the 1980s, and while neither has been updated for years, they both remain essential in my work and are still maintained and sold by their developers.

I've relied on Quicken and Turbotax for financial matters since at least 1990, and probably started using them earlier than that.

I converted to Microsoft Word and Excel in 1994 and have stayed with them ever since.

My earliest licenses for the Opera browser (it didn't become free until several years later) and Treesize Pro date from 1999, and I may have used them before that.  I still use both on a daily basis.  I purchased Adobe Acrobat in 1999, and I guess that might count since, while I haven't used Acrobat in years, I do still use Adobe Reader.

I may have missed something, but looking at the dozens of programs I use regularly, no others have been around that long.

Living Room / ASUS routers hacked
« on: February 18, 2014, 02:33 PM »
Hot on the heels of the Linksys router malware revelation, comes news that ASUS routers have been hacked, making the content of any attached drives available across the Internet, among other things. 

Supposedly, this has been known for a number of months, but ASUS has just admitted to the breach and has posted new firmware for the affected models.

Living Room / Constant C adjustment to Moore's law
« on: February 16, 2014, 10:51 AM »
This is so true!

Living Room / What Google Plus is all about
« on: February 15, 2014, 09:36 AM »
A fascinating article in today's NY Times explains why Google is trying to force everyone to join Google Plus and Hangouts, even though the company has no interest in competing with Facebook as a social media site and is perfectly content to be derided as an also-ran in that area.

Needless to say, it ain't out of the goodness of Sergey and Larry's hearts.

Found Deals and Discounts / VMware Valentine's Day Sale
« on: February 13, 2014, 02:42 PM »
VMware's annual Valentine's Day sale started today (2/13/2014) and will run through tomorrow.

Workstation 10 is 20% off for both new licenses ($199.20) and upgrades ($95.20). 

It's still overpriced, given that VirtualBox is available for free, but I personally find Workstation the far better experience.

Code Sector has a 50% discount on all  of their Windows software (TeraCopy, Direct Folders, etc.) through January 7, 2014.

Living Room / OS Naming Rights
« on: September 06, 2013, 05:49 PM »
I guess it was inevitable that some tech company would sell the naming rights to a popular product, and that the first company to do so would be Google, whose revenue comes almost entirely from advertising.  Android 4.4, formerly known as Key Lime Pie, has now been renamed KitKat.

Nestle (which owns the brand) and Hershey (which licenses it in the US) must have paid a pretty penny for this.  They have already launched a promotion giving away Nexus 7 tablets with game cards in in KitKat packages.

KitKat has also released a hilarious commercial spoofing Apple's Jony Ives commercial, that ends with a shot of a Nexus 7 tablet, just in case you missed the point.

Found Deals and Discounts / 010 Editor 25% off through September 2013
« on: September 02, 2013, 12:12 PM »
Sweetscape is celebrating the 10th anniversary of 010 Editor by giving a 25% discount on new purchases and upgrades through the month of September.

This makes a single user license $97.46 for commercial purposes and $37.46 for home/academic use.

010 editor is not likely to replace your favorite text editor for programming (I continue to use Kedit and EditPad Pro for that), but the latest version is more than adequate as a text editor.  What sets it apart is that it can edit just about anything on one's computer, including binary files, disk sectors and even in-memory processes. It works well with, and converts between, many data types, and allows users to create templates to handle any it does not know.

It integrates nicely into the Explorer context menu and is very fast, even with huge files, which is why it has become my go to editor for most ad-hoc file viewing and editing.  Although I have only used it on Windows, it also runs on Mac OS-X and Linux (Ubuntu 10.4+).

Found Deals and Discounts / WinPatrol Plus Sale
« on: August 05, 2013, 06:29 PM »
WinPatrol is currently on sale for an unspecified "limited time:"

Single machine license:  $2.50  (regularly $29.95).
Lifetime family pack:  $10.50 (regularly $49.95).

Not quite free, but close.

Living Room / DOJ to Apple: all your iTunes are belong to us.
« on: August 02, 2013, 08:12 PM »
After winning their anti-trust suit against Apple for e-book price-fixing, the US Department of Justice has revealed their proposed remedy, and it is no mere slap on the wrist.

DOJ is demanding that Apple terminate the agreements with the 5 major publishing conglomerates that brought on the lawsuit. But it would also require Apple to cease and desist from any anti-competitive practiices, allow in-app sales by Amazon, B&N and other competitors for e-books, as well as for other media including music and video. It would also require an auditor to monitor Apple's compliance over the next 2 years.

Apple, needless to say, is calling this "draconian" and pledging to fight it, and of course, the court would have to approve any remedy, but it should be remembered that this judge has already ruled twice against Apple and has had very harsh words about their business practices.

General Software Discussion / ExtFS for Windows
« on: July 31, 2013, 06:09 AM »
Paragon Software has made their new version of ExtFS for Windows free for personal use. It claims to be the only solution that provides full read/write access to Ext4, as wells as Ext2 and Ext3.

As I inch closer to giving Linux a serious tryout, this has been a concern of mine, as I would want to be able to access stored data on portable drives from either OS. I've heard bad things about Windows ExtFS drivers in general, but I've used Paragon products for many years and found them to be very reliable.

I'd be interested in what dual Windows/Linux users here think about this.

To celebrate the 2013 Open Source Convention, O'Reilly is discounting all programming Ebooks & videos by 50% until July 27, 3013.

Go here to browse the titles and get the discount code (CFSCN13).

General Software Discussion / Teamviewer mobile support
« on: July 18, 2013, 10:05 PM »
For some time, Teamviewer has had an app that allows one to control a remote PC from an Android device.

They have now introduced a new mobile app called Teamviewer QuickSupport that allows a user to control certain Android devices (Samsung, Sony and a few others) from a PC.

The app is remarkably flexible, allowing not just remote control of the device, but file transfers in both directions through a 2-pane file explorer, screen captures and remote process control, among other features.  Some quick testing on my Nexus 10 (Samsung) showed that everything worked smoothly.

They also have a much less powerful version for iPad/iPhone, which I haven't tried, since I have no iOS devices.

General Software Discussion / Microsoft 'retires' TechNet
« on: July 02, 2013, 03:10 PM »
In yet another sign that Microsoft has decided the future lies elsewhere than the desktop, TechNet subscriptions will no longer be sold after August 31 2013 and the TechNet support site will disappear on September 30, 2014

My take on this is that small consultants will need to seriously start talking to their customers about switching to Linux, because that may soon be the only desktop OS for which they will actually be able to get support.

Living Room / On today's Internet, EVERYONE knows you're a dog!
« on: June 17, 2013, 03:29 PM »
This cartoon references the NSA,, but much the same could apply to Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., as well as most of their advertisers.

O'Reilly has a sale on all Microsoft Press eBooks until 5 PM PST, June 7, 2013.

Living Room / Celebrate 'Day Against DRM' today
« on: May 03, 2013, 08:27 AM »
Today is  International Day Against DRM.

In celebration, O'Reilly is offering every ebook they publish or distribute at 50% off until midnight tonight.

O'Reilly has long opposed DRM for ebooks, and Tim O'Reilly claims that this is a major part of their success.

Living Room / Google data centers
« on: March 25, 2013, 09:44 AM »
Today's Washington Post web site has a series of great photos of several Google data centers.

Gives a whole new understanding of the expression "Big Data."

VMware has a promotion for 15% off Workstation 9 (for Windows and Linux) and Fusion Pro (for Mac) until March 22, 2013, good for both new purchases and upgrades from earlier versions.   

Workstation licenses are good for both the Windows and Linux host versions. Although you can use your license on only one host at a time, you can transfer it between different hosts without restriction, which makes the high cost somewhat more palatable. You can also use the free (for personal non-commercial use) VMware Player to run stand-alone virtual machines created with Workstation on other hosts.  Player can create VMs, but not clone existing ones as Workstation can.

Found Deals and Discounts / eWallet at BDJ today
« on: February 18, 2013, 07:06 AM »
eWallet for Windows is on sale today at BitsduJour for $7.98.

eWallet is a secure database system with a deceptively simple interface that can be used to store just about any kind of text information and lets the user customize most aspects of how that information is displayed. You can have any number of independent databases, any of which can be synced individually with the Android and iOS versions over a WiFi network.

I've been using eWallet since my Treo PDA -- before what we now call smartphones existed at all.  I use it to keep not just passwords, but nearly any kind of sensitive or important information that I may need to look up quickly.

If your only use for a password manager is logging into web sites, you are probably better off with something like Roboform or Lastpass, but as a secure information manager, I have yet to see anything that works as well, or provides as much flexibility.

Living Room / An interesting article on tablets
« on: January 09, 2013, 02:08 PM »
This article from the Economist magazine illustrates why Apple may not be the future of tablet computing, and it's not just a matter of price. 

Found Deals and Discounts / Zentimo Pro 30% off until January 1, 2013
« on: December 31, 2012, 02:59 PM »
Crystal Rich has a 30% off New Year's sale on new Zentimo Pro purchases until 1/1/2013.

They also have a lifetime license again (they did not when I last upgraded), which costs about twice as much as a one year license, although those who remember how the developer handled USB Safely Remove lifetime licenses may not be swayed by that.

If you need to upgrade an existing license, the upgrade price is still a little better than 30% off.

General Software Discussion / Fixes for Windows 8 TIKFAM
« on: December 13, 2012, 06:18 AM »
Infoworld has a review of 9 programs to replace TIFKAM (The Interface Formerly Known As Metro) with something more usable on the desktop.

I haven't looked at W8 too deeply, nor do I expect to have the time to do so for another couple of months, but I have seen enough to know that TIKFAM is an absolute non-starter for me as a desktop environment, which is where I spend much of my time.

Microsoft seems to be interested in fostering software innovation among outside developers-- the degrading of Explorer in W7 led to a profusion of excellent file managers.  I look forward to the software that smart people come up with to get around the flaws in W8.

Living Room / Quo vadis Microsoft?
« on: November 06, 2012, 11:41 AM »
At the risk of beating a dead horse (at least among DC folk), I submit the following opinion piece from PC magazine calling Windows 8 a "Desktop Disaster" along with Robert X Cringely's guess as to what Microsoft may actually be up to.

I suspect that Cringely may be putting the cart before the [dead] horse, but his idea makes as much sense as anything else in this regard.

Living Room / Windows 8: Yes, it's that bad
« on: August 15, 2012, 09:30 PM »
"Windows 8 review: Yes, it's that bad"

"Windows 8 is a failure -- an awkward mishmash that pulls the user in two directions and ends up as a desktop OS for tablets and a tablet OS for desktop."

"Windows 8 is guaranteed to disappoint nearly everyone."

These harsh words come from Woody Leonhard, of all people, writing in InfoWorld today.

Not having tried Windows 8 yet, I'll reserve my own judgment, but while I have read good things about the underlying engine, there seems to be almost unanimous condemnation of the Metro Modern UI.

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