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Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Black Friday Deals 2015
« on: November 27, 2015, 11:06 AM »
VMware Workstation Pro is 40% off today - new licenses and upgrades.


Expandrive is 40% off with coupon code  HOLIDAYS15

Non-Windows Software / Re: linux mint newbie
« on: November 12, 2015, 08:12 AM »
My understanding is that with the release of Windows 10 there will be no further "versions" in the old sense. Windows is heading towards a rolling upgrade cycle where the OS just receives regular updates via Microsoft's update service.

It's not the prospect of paying for a subscription that scares the living daylights out of me about Windows 10, it's the idea that the user is at the mercy of Microsoft with no way to opt out of whatever they attempt to force down one's throat through regular mandatory updates to the OS.

This article discusses the specific problem of interruptions to workflow caused by Windows update forcing reboots, but the problem goes much deeper in that the security of mission-critical programs can be compromised by unannounced changes to the operating environment.

It's one thing for my phone or tablet to be kept up-to-date that way -- I'm not going to put anything I can't live without on those devices.  Like it or not, at some point I am going to have to bite the bullet and transition to Linux before Windows 7 dies of old age or just won't run on a newer desktop computer.

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Vivaldi: Promising yet.
« on: November 07, 2015, 07:58 PM »
Vivaldi looks promising, but not quite there yet.

In terms of performance, it is no different than the current version of Opera (33), which is to be expected, since they are both essentially skins applied to the same Chromium engine.  I had used Opera since 1999, and switched from 12.x to the Chromium version about a year ago, when it finally got some features that are essential to me, like print preview.  Vivaldi brings back some of what I missed from the classic version of Opera, like side panels, but many features in both Vivaldi and the new Opera are almost the same.

Vivaldi does seem to be more customizable and flexible than Opera, but there is absolutely no help or documentation at this time, so finding out what you can do is mostly a matter of playing around and seeing what happens.

The main reason I will continue to use Opera for the time being is that Vivaldi does not appear to have much in the way of privacy controls.  You can clear personal data, but AFAICT, you can't set to clear on exit nor to exempt specific sites.

Found Deals and Discounts / Re: GOTD XYPlorer Pro 15.90 [free]
« on: November 07, 2015, 01:59 PM »
Keep in mind that there's a free version of XY that gets updated periodically:

Of course it doesn't have all the features of Pro, but the ones it has are probably enough for many folks.
This page has a side by side listing of Pro and Free version features, with links to the online documentation for each so you can determine whether it is something you can't live without.  For example, Make Coffee is available only in the Pro edition.

Non-Windows Software / Linux and Internet security
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:49 AM »
According to today's Washington Post, "The Internet’s future rests with a man who calls most security experts ‘completely crazy’"

I'd agree that Linus can be obnoxious at times, but I would certainly not call him crazy, or even wrong-headed about security experts.  But then, I'm not a security expert.

Living Room / Re: The end of the hard disk
« on: November 04, 2015, 12:25 PM »
revisiting this topic...
ok, so 4TB regular hard drives can be had for about $200-300.
1TB SSD is over $400

The highest capacity 2.5" hdd available today is 2TB.  2TB laptop drives go for $100 and up, while 1TB laptop drives go for about $50 and up, $70 and up for high performance (7200 RPM) drives. 

Micron has just introduced a "budget" line of SSDs in the 2.5" form factor that is slower than top of the line SSDs, but still more than 10 times faster than the fastest laptop hard drive, at $149 MSRP for 512GB and $299 MSRP for 960GB.  That's 6 times the price for 10 times the performance.  The gap is closing.

I'd agree that I don't see SSDs replacing desktop HDDs any time soon for long term and off line storage, but I think they will mostly survive as external devices, either as portable drives or as NAS.

Added 11/6/15 - I've started to see 2TB laptop drives priced below $90, at the same time, the price of a Samsung 2TB SSD has dropped from $1,000 to $750.  Also, Micron has announced they will no longer make SSDs with less than $240GB capacity because they expect the market to move to 1TB and higher.

General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Announced
« on: November 02, 2015, 03:35 PM »
For those who want to stop Microsoft from trying to "upgrade" them to Windows 10, GWX Control Panel Version 1.5 was released yesterday.

Among other things, this version will find and optionally remove both types (~BT and ~WS) of hidden Windows 10 installation folders created by Windows Update.

Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements
« on: October 29, 2015, 05:32 PM »
The biggest problem is if you have a candelabra fixture where the bulbs are mounted facing upwards.  A traditional incandescent candelabra shines a ton of light downward, but this is not the case with ANY LED i have come across, and it's much worse with candelabra LEDs where the base inevitably blocks most of the light.

True, but candelabra fixtures are the least efficient way to light an area anyway.  The main reason to use them is for decorative purposes.  Candelabra chandeliers look more and more like relics from the past, but I have found that I actually prefer LED candelabra flame bulbs to incandescents in some wall sconces, for the very reason that the light spreads better horizontally than below the fixture.

Also, the lighting fixtures for most ceiling fans now seem to require E12 (candelabra base) bulbs, possibly to prevent people from putting high wattage bulbs in them.  That's one situation easily resolved with E12 to E26 adapters -- you don't want flame bulbs there anyway.

Living Room / Re: Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements
« on: October 29, 2015, 03:48 PM »
Lumens measure light output and Watts measure energy input.  They are two different things altogether.

When you see an LED bulb listed as "60 Watts equivalent" that means that it puts out light equivalent to the light put out by a 60 Watt incandescent bulb, but that's rather imprecise.  Different bulbs can put out different amounts of light for the same amount of energy. Many manufacturers list light output in Lumens on their packaging, which is the most reliable measure to judge by, but perceived brightness depends on many other factors like light temperature (higher temperatures equate to cooler light which is brighter to the human eye) and color rendition index (CRI).

A very quick rule of thumb is that LED (and CFL) bulbs produce 4 times as much light as a tungsten incandescent bulb using the same amount of electricity, but that can vary quite a bit.  Here's a Watts to Lumens calculator, but it's only as accurate as the efficiency of the individual bulb, which as noted above, can be highly variable between manufacturers and product lines.

As for candelabra base (E12) and flame shaped standard base (E26) bulbs, I had a hard time finding them a year ago, but no more - there are now many choices available.  Searching for candelabra base LED bulbs on Amazon will bring up dozens, and they seem to be readily available at my local Home Depot and Walmart too.  You can also get inexpensive E12 to E26 converters to use standard base LED bulbs in candelabra sockets.

General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Announced
« on: October 23, 2015, 11:59 AM »
Woody Leonhard has been chronicling the development of a tool to stop Windows 10 "upgrades" in his InfoWorld blog.

I haven't tried it -- I don't trust Windows Update, so it has always been turned off on all my systems, but I would trust Woody's recommendation.

Living Room / Re: The end of the hard disk
« on: October 21, 2015, 03:55 PM »
Western Digital is buying SanDisk for $19 billion.

I guess I'm not the only one who sees a future without spinning iron platters.

General Software Discussion / Klingon Support
« on: September 25, 2015, 02:00 PM »
With version 15.80, XYplorer has added Klingon support.


Does any other software support Klingon?

Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo
« on: September 25, 2015, 12:04 PM »
Comparisons with Microsoft, Google and others are spurious in that those companies publicly acknowledge a business model that depends on collecting information for advertising and marketing purposes.  They also generally provide clear information on what they are doing and how to opt out, although warning that can reduce the functionality of their products.

Lenovo is a hardware vendor. They have no business collecting this kind of information unless they are reselling it to third parties, which would appear to be the case here. 

The fact that this latest spyware uninstalls itself after 90 days is a dead give-away that Lenovo was fully aware of the damage this could do to their already abysmal reputation.

Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: Clipboard Help and Spell - New Name?
« on: September 25, 2015, 09:35 AM »
I think the word "Help" is confusing in the name.  "Helper" would be an improvement, but "History" would be much better, IMO.

My suggestion would be "Clipboard History+Spellchecker" which would provide a good description of what the program does and why someone would want it.

"Clipboard History+Spell" would be nearly as informative and a little shorter.

Living Room / Re: Preloaded spyware, courtesy Lenovo
« on: September 25, 2015, 08:58 AM »
And yet again!!!

Lenovo insists that they have only ever loaded spyware on consumer products, not their business oriented Think line (ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, etc.).

That also turns out to be a lie.

I have CCleaner from Piriform's CCleaner Professional Plus running, but after half a year I still don't dare to run Defraggler! Piriform is saying that Defraggler Professional also works with SSD, but everyone else say "do not defrag a SSD!". What am I to believe? My laptop's old SSD is depressingly slow, so a defrag MIGHT help - or brake...

TRIM is a command implemented by the operating system to mark blocks on the SSD that should no longer be used and move any data there elsewhere.  It is only available in Windows 7 and later.  Although Windows should in theory detect an SSD and enable TRIM by default, that is not alway the case, so you should check to see if it is and enable it if not.

Many newer SSDs implement their own garbage collection routines and don't need TRIM, although some people advise leaving it enabled if Windows has enabled it.

Defragmenting a hard drive improves sequential access, but SSD access is always random, so it won't make any difference in read/write speed.  What it will do is increase the number of writes to the flash memory, which can reduce its useful life.  That's why you shouldn't defragment an SSD.

I use Defraggler on HDDs (and also in VMs before compacting them), never on SSDs.  If I understand Piriform's somewhat murky documentation, Defraggler checks the drive anyway and doesn't defragment if it thinks it is an SSD.  But why bother in the first place?

^ search answer number 1:

[ Invalid Attachment ]

Corsican is an internationally recognized language, but it is not supported by any version of Microsoft Windows or Office.

Windows users in Corsica are most likely using it in French, although some folk may be using it in Italian or other Mediterranean languages supported by Microsoft.

CCleaner v5.10.5373 (24 Sep 2015)  for download

- Added Corsican translation.

Seriously?  Everyone in Corsica actually speaks French.  Maybe this is meant as a symbolic tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte (although he spoke French too).

Should we hold out for Latin?

Should I still make a recovery image of my own? Is that better to do before or after I install all my stuff?

My current strategy so far is:
  • let all the Windows updates download and install over the next couple of days;
  • install drivers for my various peripherals first (monitors, printer, scanner, camera, mouse etc.);

When I set up a new system, I image the C: drive after each of those two initial steps.  Since there is little installed, it is reasonably fast and it gives me peace of mind that I have baselines to go back to if something gets really screwed up later in the process.

Actually, my standard procedure is to boot from a USB drive and image the entire hard drive as received before doing anything else.  Since I almost always repartition early in the process and do some other rearranging, this allows me to restore the system to its initial state if I need to return it under warranty or give it away at some future date.

General Software Discussion / Re: CCleaner Cloud
« on: September 22, 2015, 10:54 PM »
I guess this could be a good deal for an organization that supports Piriform's products on many systems, but for individual users, it doesn't seem to have any advantage over their standalone products.

Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: CHS is unusable on High DPI Screens
« on: September 13, 2015, 05:00 PM »
Wow!  That's a really FAST response!

Two improvements noted in the beta:

1) Text in the options box is marginally larger. Still too small for comfort, but at least readable.

2) The title bar for the memo pane now fits the text without cropping the bottom.

It's a little hard to test because as far as I can tell, I can't have multiple instances to look at side by side.  I won't be able to test screen fonts again until next weekend as I will be away from home until then and my laptop screen is pretty low res.

Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: CHS is unusable on High DPI Screens
« on: September 13, 2015, 12:16 PM »
I'm looking for a clip manager right now and just tried CHS.  This is definitely a problem that would have to be fixed before I could use CHS - it is completely unreadable on my 2560x1440 27" monitor.

See screenshot:Screenshot - 9_13_2015 , 1_00_22 PM.jpg

This screenshot was taken with Screenshot Captor, which is somewhat hard to read, but nowhere near as bad as CHS.  In particular, the SC options screens seem to use slight larger fonts than for those in CHS. Note also that the title bar for the Memo pane in the CHS main windows is not wide enough to fully display the system font which is set at 150%.

I didn't want to dilute the discussion of the Pale Moon/Firefox transition with talk of other browsers, but Opera (the original Opera) did not work successfully as a browser. It was based on their proprietary browser engine, Presto, and when users clamored for extensions to functionality, they were shot down. And down also went their popularity and, some would say, their usefulness.

So, there was much grumbling among the Opera devs regarding their browser was dying. The radical decision was made to move Opera to the WebKit browsing engine. Oh, yay. Another Chrome-like browsing experience...except without the Chrome-like extensions. Let's make a browser like Chrome & take everything that users love about Chrome...and not use those parts.
This is very confused and mostly wrong.

Opera was always at the forefront of browser innovation and a lot of their features were copied by the big guys.  The problem they faced is that it required simply too many resources for a relatively small company to compete with the big guys (Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Apple) and they did not have the clout to get their cross-platform Presto engine considered in the adoption of standards.

What they did was to stop development of Presto (which remains licensed to other software companies and apparently still maintained on various platforms) and start building a new browser based on the Chromium Blink rendering engine that powers the Chrome browser and is developed and maintained by Google.  This allows Opera to spend their own resources on browser UI while keeping up-to-date on security and standards, courtesy of Google's vastly greater resources.

I've used Opera since 2000 and loved many features that have yet to be added to the Chromium version, but there is no doubt that the company made the right decision to survive.  I've been using the Chromium Opera for about a year now and even though it still has some rough edges, it has become my favorite browser for Web surfing, although Firefox is still my default for many purposes, particularly if they involve printing or page capture.

I'd guess that the Mozilla Foundation is also taking a hard look at the future and that their announced plans, while upsetting to many of us who depend on current Firefox extensions, are part of a strategy they hope will keep them around for the next decade. Given the power wielded by Microsoft, Google and Apple, that's probably the only way to go for most independents.

General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Privacy Concerns
« on: September 10, 2015, 09:08 PM »
Microsoft has confirmed that it has been downloading the entire Windows 10 upgrade to anyone who has automatic updates turned on, whether or not they have indicated they have requested the upgrade

"For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

That's about 3GB of files surreptitiously downloaded under the guise of updating your current OS.

010 Editor is again available today at BDJ for $19.95 for home/academic, $49.95 for a commercial license.

Among other things, Version 6 adds full regex support across all find operations and a 64-bit executable.  It is also very, very fast, even on huge files.

As noted in my original post, this is not my main text editor for programming or writing, but it is an indispensable tool that I use nearly every day because of its ability to view, analyze and edit ANY file and its shell integration that makes it easy to do so.  That said, the current version is capable enough that I could use it as my primary editor if I were not wedded to Kedit and EditPad Pro after so many years.

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