Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?
I went from keeping a simple and cheap paper lab notebook to just using MS-Word. Paper notebooks were fine in the olden days, I could tape in tables or diagrams from books. But paper is hard to search and organize and move from desk to desk and job to job.
I simply keep an MS-Word (or Google Docs) file where the document starts with several tables, such as charge codes, assigned staff contact data, assigned staff current assignment, and a To Do List.
Then I have a current to past date order where each date has a header with the date in Bold (using a style) and is followed by note lines indented to make each entry easy to spot and follow. When I read a document or reference a file, I add a hyperlink to the item in my notes.
With MS-Word i have active hyperlinks, I can paste in tables or diagrams, or Dilbert cartoons. Every three months I close the file, write lock it, and start a new one from the previous one. To shorten the file, I trim old entries from the current one because the original file is intact. Eery month I print the current one to have with me for reference. Each file ends up about 40 pages. I currently have less used tables at the end of the file.
My oldest one still opens and has its original file time stamp. If MS-Word ever announces it will obsolete a format, I could convert them to Google Docs or save in the new format. Lets face it, MS-Word is a defacto standard. It is used everywhere now. I have used these files on both Macs and PCs.
My method has saved my sorry ass many times. When did I talk to such and such about something? I search the files and I have dates because I record a brief summary of every discussion I hold with names. Personnel issues, I have notes. Document lost? I have links and the dates I read it, even if the link is broken, I have a record. Travel, I have a record. Meetings? I have a record with notes.
Do I want to trust a third party like EverNote, No.
Have I ever lost one of these files, No. I have them at work, at home, and on Google Drive.
The records have helped me trace missing circuit boards since recorded to whom and when I sent them.
I started using this when my manager, before I became one, would ask me if I was working on something. If I had no record of when we talked and what he said, I was at fault for not working on something. When I started keeping records, that problem ended.
FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital
The telcos are shifting from POTS to IP for the same reason you don't use a 56Kb modem anymore.
Storing Your Encrypted Passwords Offline On a Dedicated Device
The government uses key loaders and a unique rugged serial connector in legacy key loaders.
These are used with cryptographic and secure communication equipment.
Look up the KYK-14 and KIK-30.
I've even used paper tape key loaders, a long time ago.
Some more "modern" key loaders are based on legacy PDA hardware.
I haven't worked with these things in years.
These devices use numerous techniques to protect keys, a USB device with good protection would be nice and might be a good kick starter venture.
Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die
I've used MS Word since version 1.05 on MacPlus. It was everything that people here complain about.
People misuse MS-Word to create monstrosities of crap that cannot be edited.Companies use its bizaro features to make unalterable files and forms that defy logic.However, it can also be used to create actual documents using styles and formatting that lets people get work done. Google Docs is a poor substitute (I have a Chromebook and tried). None of the office tools I've seen are perfect and none ever will be.
I' like to see tools that use descriptive formatting as SGML intended, but every application of SGML since its introduction has been made by document professionals that are worse than Word. XML sucks.
U.S. Gov't Still Fighting the Man Behind Buckyballs; Guess Who's Winning?
Maybe this gang is too young to remember Dan Aykroyd and his SNL skits like:
Meat the Food of the Future
Back in my college days 1969+, we had Arthur C Clark as a featured speaker one year for the Science Fiction series. Yes it was a long time ago when he did such things.
One of his comments at a time when oil costs were rising, OPEC was rising, and the idea of global warming was just being introduced...
He mentioned that then new research suggested that oil could be used to make proteins and therefore it was a possible food or meat substitute. Hence he suggested we should be eating oil and not burning it. That is all I remember form his talk. So, now we are going to eat bugs. Maybe we fry them in petroleum?
That is all I remember from the speech. Leonard Nimoy also spoke one year and told us how he created the Vulcan greeting hand gesture. Another event featured Gene Roddenberry who told us why he hated Tucson, Az and had bad guys come from it in a Star Trek episode. Good memories all. Fast forward 40+ years and they still make Star Trek movies, Star Trek is on MeTV, and Leonard Nimoy is on Fringe. Some how it all fits together.
HP TouchPad To Be Liquidated At Fire Sale Prices
I picked up a 32GB HP Touchpad at Walmart first thing Saturday morning. They had two in stock and had not sold a single one since getting them. If they were both the 16GB I was going to buy both and in retrospect, I should have anyway. One was going to be used as a $100 Kindle reader with color and then some. The other for hacking.
The darn thing fits perfectly in my iPad 2 cases. It is bit thicker, but all the controls and even the camera match up to one case. Could it be that HP was also afraid of an Apple lawsuit?
I played with WebOS and found it a decent tablet OS. It does not come with all the capabilities of the iPad, but it did include QuickOffice which I use on the iPad. Startup is slow and the initial setup is restricting, I had to disable my routers MAC address filtering to get it started as there is no way to find the MAC address without setting up WiFi and creating the WebOS account. Still,once going it is pretty nice. If HP wanted to make a go of selling them, the product was good enough, even if not great. There was no marketing and no promotion. I suspect the plan to doom it and the PC division was long in planning.
The biggest shame in the whole HP saga is Agilent should have gotten the HP name and the other company could have been named dumb jerks with no plan.
No Set-Top TV Device Market Domination For Google
In the unmentioned decades of my work with computers, most products are "rushed to market by a furiously masterbating manager in the corner of an office".
Bugs, HMI problems, hardware faults, failure to meet requirements, and even being of any use to humanity do not matter once money is committed by a company to build something on which someone's career rests. In my defense and that of SOME companies and SOME managers I have been associated with, I have been a part of teams building useful things or software that were successful. I hope to continue that tradition and given my current situation, I don't have to tolerate the "furiously masterbating" manager anymore nor will I. I have known some doozies!
Detailing the Security Risks In PDF Standard
Many years ago there was a standard in development called Open Document Architecture (ODA - ISO 8613) which defined a compound document standard which never became mainstream. Adobe's PDF was a proprietary product which became a mainstream standard encompassing content and presentation. The features described for a PDF are things some users will find a benefit. Good. What is upsetting is that these features are opaque. I don't know if everything dreamed of for ODA is in PDF, but PDF has solved many exchange problems with documents.
SGML (ISO 8879) offered a transparent document architecture which has been fragmented into HTML, XML, and its derivatives. A good set of SGML like tools should accomplish all of what is buried in a PDF but with transparency. We often confuse products, tools, standards,and technology and use the wrong product's technology as a tool. For example, I been given Microsoft Word DOCX files which would not work properly in Open Office and which could have been delivered as a PDF form or a simple DOC file.
There is nothing wrong with making the PDF file so powerful and providing simple tools (the reader) for people to open them. To me, the argument is over transparency. I may want to know what is inside a document that is being hidden from me. That is a matter of trust. The issue being addressed is trust and can we trust the PDF.
OS I'd Most Like To See Make a Comeback
I still miss DEC VAX VMS and even the DecSystem-20 OS.
DEC had great software and a complete line of support software, compilers, SCM, and everything. I wish there was a text editor as good as EDT. Laugh if wish.
Comcast Accused of Congestion By Choice
I use Netflix and Comcast.
We use a lot of Netflix and I've never had a problem with viewing movies anytime I want.
We have 2 iPhones, 1 Mac, a Wii, and 1 AppleTV all enabled for Netflix with 2 users and we both watch sometimes.
I measure from 5 Mbs (worse case) to 18 Mbs on DSL Reports at various times.
I also have the option of moving to FIOS and I have not because I never have trouble with Comcast.
Whatever the graphs show for a single congested connection does seem to be causing this user trouble.
These graphs do not measure my ability to download.
Excuse me, my 3GB XCode update just finished, back to work.
Comcast Disables VCR Scheduling In New Guide
I keep my VCR so there is clock in family room.
What else do they do?
I have stayed with Comcast even in face of FIOS availability. Why, because I can use Comcast with no set top box. When I want to record something off the "air/cable", I use EyeTV on the computer. I then convert the large file to more compact AppleTV format, and use Quicktime to remove commercials. The movies I end up with can be played on the computer, an iPod, the iPhone, or any computer with Quicktime. No DVR, no additional monthly fee. Yes, I have fewer channel options. But, no one changes the terms of service on me.
Why Apple Denied the Google Latitude App
This looks like an application specific front end (with compass) like APRS works for ham radio.
See aprs.fi and enter the call sign of a ham radio equipped with a GPS (like the Yaesu VX-8R).
It just opens the door to anyone and maybe adds a friends list.
AT&T Readying For the End of Analog Landlines
Faxes and modems can work reliably over VOIP if the on ramp uses V150.1 Modem Over IP. I am familiar with an application that depends on this and it works quite well with our modem equipped devices.
Cisco has a gateway with V150.1 and it works well.
I do not expect this to be widely implemented until people demand it once they know it can work.
Out with the Old
I have helped develop a VOIP phone and I always considered them a dumb idea for all but big installations for government and business. Made no sense for home users. But...
I just switched to VOIP this month after wondering for years why I am paying both land line and broadband. So, I cut out Verizon. The cost savings are marginal. Am not using FIOS or Verizon for broadband.
VOIP quality and reliability are maybe just ahead of that for the cell phone. So we do pay as much as the market will bear for lessor, but more convenient service. All I got for the switch is more phone features that would otherwise be priced a la carte by the phone company. What you used to get with POTS was high reliability, which will be and is being eroded over time as companies like Verizon push people to FIOS and provide no support to land line maintenance. The street side termination box for Verizon is often closed (by their people) with wires dangling outside of it. It always amazed me that my phone would still ring.
The security of the POTS line is history. Everyone is on their own.
Bill Would Require ISPs, Wi-Fi Users To Keep Logs
I remember the glory days of the Republican opposition to Bill Clinton where every federal law that imposed a requirement on local governments was termed an unfunded mandate. This is an unfunded mandate on all of us. Besides being just plan stupid.
Is this from the same guy that said the Internet was just a series of pipes? Heck, I don't think my shower keeps track of my water use, should it be doing that too?
Bankers turned out to incompetent crooks, the auto companies just plan fools, and too many Americans are out of work. But, what does congress worry about? Dumb asses.
DAM Pops Energy Star's Bubble
I've always known my 2 year old 42" LG TV uses a lot of energy for the TV Guide On Screen feature since the processor is never off. Reading this story made me find the box to see if it claimed an Energy Star rating, and to my surprise, LG was honest and there is none.
This model comes with a built-in DVR and its disk drive never spins down, you can always hear the hum when it is quiet. But, I figure it is no more wasteful than the DVR in my previous set top boxes.
Nice thing about it being always on is that I have my computer turn the TV on and off with its wake up, shutdown, and sleep modes using the serial port control. Can't have everything.
Interesting Computer Science Jobs?
Coding should not be more than 30% of a job. We need people than can read specifications, turn them into requirements, design an architecture, model solutions, code, integrate, document, and debug. I am sorry, but the talented and rewarded people are the ones that can do it all. The ones that can't code and prefer to administer systems are the easiest to replace.
Where I work, we do embedded software that runs close the hardware, operates in critical environments, must work every time, run for years, and be secure. The guys I give the highest performance ratings (raises) to are the ones that can design, code, re-use code, and solve problems.
I haven't coded in 5 years and miss it, so I came up with a project for home to keep me current and have fun with. I can see not wanting to do it 8 hours a day, but any true CS geek deep down enjoys it like solving puzzles and playing games. Coding is problem solving. It should be enjoyed and done well or not at all.
Using Speed Cameras To Send Tickets To Your Enemies
More about using a face photo and fake tag for tripping up someone else at a speed camera...
There was an episode of the old TV show Columbo (I think) where a murderer used their image from a speed camera as an alibi to prove they could not have committed the crime. Am accomplice held up the photo over their face as they triggered the speed camera while the crime was taking place. Columbo saw that the photo lighting wasn't right and as always nabbed the bad guy.
Still, the combination of a fake license and a holding a photo up over your own is a great way to mess up the process.
Gotta give it to the kids to come up with something. Now if only such thinking would make a new product we could have the .com days all over again.
The Wrath of the Apple Tribe
If you want to see people complaining about Apple, go to the Apple Discussions board. When there is a problem with a new release of software or a product, you will find open discussion there.
Of course, beyond a limit Apple will step in a squash a discussion. That's what freedom is all about in the 21st century.