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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Dr_Barnowl Re:Camel = Horse designed by committee... (638 comments)

It's more of a task-switching thing for me.

I have multiple contexts I work in during the day. Each time I change tasks, but don't want to close the windows for the task I was doing before, I move to a new desktop. That, plus one desktop devoted entirely to communications (email, social media, etc), and I can switch between contexts with one or two ctrl-alt-arrow key combos, rather than painstakingly reconstructing the window layout each time I switch.

Until the OS supports saving a group of apps, complete with window position, open documents, etc (which would require a lot of app support), this is the best solution to task switching I've got.

2 days ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

Dr_Barnowl Re:In space (450 comments)

Virtual audio is how I reconcile it.

As atmospheric creatures, audio is an important and highly optimized sensory modality for us. It makes sense for ultra-modern space avionics to simulate audio in order to utilise this sense.

3 days ago
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Emma Watson Leaked Photo Threat Was a Plot To Attack 4chan

Dr_Barnowl Re:So the thought behind this is... (590 comments)

The uninformed want to know.

There in your question lies the answer.

People don't know what they look like from behind. In particular, for a woman, her rear profile is ascribed nearly as much allure as her front. It's inevitable that any woman with an interest in her appearance is going to want to assess her rear profile, and it's only a short step between wanting to see it, and wanting to photograph it, these days.

about a week ago
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Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

Dr_Barnowl Re:Keep your important data on current storage. (113 comments)

it's basically a recording of the GDI commands.

There were a number of WMF exploits just because of this - because the WMF parser had insufficient bounds checking and you could pass malformed input directly to the Win32 API just by sending someone a picture.

This is also part of the reason that Microsoft Office Open XML isn't an implementable standard - because it contains a bunch of stuff that boils down to "call the Windows API".

about two weeks ago
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Apple's "Warrant Canary" Has Died

Dr_Barnowl Re:Obama is but a puppet (236 comments)

Like many others have stated when confronted with this topic - I'd love to see them make a dramatization of the in-between years of Star Trek - the time between the present (or the near future), going through to the time of Zefram Cochrane and the subsequent ascent into the civilization that birthed Starfleet and the Federation.

Of course, the real "secret sauce" there is presumably that FTL travel means that previously scarce resources become much more readily available, as starships can visit locations where they are abundant and bring them back. This presumably ushers in an era of post-scarcity economics.

If you believe that these technologies can be achieved with mere Earthly resources, then perhaps we may even live to see it...

about two weeks ago
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Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

Dr_Barnowl Re:Good (126 comments)

In addition to the notes that this is a minimal burden on most modern CPUs, Android L will offer much better battery life - on the same devices - owning to it's new execution environment, which will more than offset the additional cost.

I think it's a sop though - the problem, as demonstrated so well recently to a host of famous women, is not that your local device is terribly vulnerable. After all, we're talking one of the few pieces of data storage that most people will have on their person most of their waking hours.

The real problem is cloud storage. While much has been made of the tactics used to gain access to them, note that any sysadmin on the cloud services responsible likely has the same level of access. You'll only have "private" cloud when your device carrys a private encryption key that the service is not privy to - and this isn't going to happen on the big services (excepting MEGA, allegedly), because the reason they let you store your stuff on their cloud for free is because they can mine it for information. And could you really trust a "private" cloud client anyway? Who says the software doesn't leak your private key back to the author?

If you want private data, Free Software is really the only answer, and having your own private hardware would help too.

about two weeks ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

Dr_Barnowl Re:COBOL: Why the hate? (270 comments)

VB6 may have a similar status in a while. I refused to learn VB.NET because it would destroy my VB6 knowledge, because it's almost but not entirely completely different.

The things I can make VB6 do are both amazing and shameful..

about two weeks ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

Dr_Barnowl Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (270 comments)

That said ; it's also far harder for developers to actually communicate their rightness to other groups, like management and marketing, because they don't understand the language you're using when talking about it. Even if you break it down to the level where your primary school aged children could understand it, there will be people in positions of power that just won't grok what your project is about or why it's important.

At some point, you either have to finish the project just to justify that it should even exist... or do some sweet talking. And that's where a "professional" appearance comes in.

Although some management grok that developer ability is often reversely correlated with dress formality, a developer who groks that sometimes, it's worth suiting up, will probably be able to promote their own agenda. Even among the group of managers that get it, they will gain respect for the recognition that they have made an effort to speak the appropriate social language.

I agree that daily suit wearing just isn't comfortable or necessary, but for the right occasions having a good suit on standby is an excellent way to make a point - that you're confident about your ability. And heck, if you're confident, then other people should be, right?

about two weeks ago
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

Dr_Barnowl Re:Why does business exist? (324 comments)

The state does not wish to serve the people any longer. The state serves it's corporate masters, in return for scraps from their table.

The corporations don't want to serve the people, they want to profit from them. Any actual services or goods they provide are a mere incidental detail. History has shown us that if a corporation can get away with selling dirt instead of food they will do that.

When the media is controlled by a few large corporations, there is no free market. Free markets depend on perfect information being supplied to the consumer. There can never be a free market while there are large media corporations, but large media corporations are an inevitable consequence of the market.

As you say below, if the state stuck to their natural role of providing services that you cannot trust a corporation to provide, like healthcare, it would be fine. Instead, at the bidding of their masters, they manufacture wars to increase demand and exploitation opportunities, they engage in mass surveillance of their own citizens for fear that they may be deposed, they destroy effcient and functional public utilities so that corporations can buy them out and charge more for what was once reasonably priced for all....

The state is indeed corrupt ; but mostly because the corporations have worked so hard to corrupt it. We need a state that will protect us from corporations, instead of falling to their knees before them.

about two weeks ago
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The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading

Dr_Barnowl Re:Jesus H Christ! (120 comments)

More like CV Dazzle

A burkha will get you "profiled". Weird hair and makeup is a fasion statement.

about three weeks ago
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Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

Dr_Barnowl Re:power consumption? (208 comments)

Wasn't that the Nexus 4? As I understand it, they left a heat spreader out between the CPU and the chassis (and there are hacks to replace it with graphite tape out there online).

about three weeks ago
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Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

Dr_Barnowl Re: power consumption? (208 comments)

Phablets will have a longer battery life too because of the larger battery ; while the screen (and therefore it's battery consumption) increases with the area of the phone, the CPU, radio, etc, have fixed power consumption.

OK, so if you have a phablet, you may use it more... but that's the point, more *useful* battery life.

about three weeks ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

Dr_Barnowl Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (149 comments)

So you're saying that tax is unfair because rich people find loopholes to avoid paying it, and ways to have public money dropped into their hands, and you think the solution to this is to cut taxes?

Wow.

The tax-avoidance behaviour of the rich demonstrates very clearly the reason we need government, and public works, which is that corporations and more particularly corporate officers engage in behaviour that benefits themselves, at the expense of absolutely anyone else. Because the effect of money is to grant power, and the effect of power is to give you a greater ability to change the world according to your design, the natural outcome of this is.. well, the feudal system.

I agree that the squeezed middle and the poverty classes are suffering unfairly, but ithe reason for that is not that they are paying too much tax. The reason is the increasingly unchecked power of those who *don't* pay their taxes.

I say bring an ounce of honesty to it all. Since money is clearly a way to buy power, make it explicit. And *very* expensive. Deficit solved....

about three weeks ago
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You Got Your Windows In My Linux

Dr_Barnowl Re:The Future! (613 comments)

I agree that Unity had a teething period... but I spend most of my time using applications and terminals, not the window manager.

I actually like things like the HUD menu, where you can tap alt and type something and find a menu item buried deep in the tree with a few keystrokes. And the movement of the close button makes sense at the top left, if that's where your "open an app" tool is - it's usually the next thing you'll do. Windows puts it as far away as you can get, and OSX is barely better.

Especially if you learn a few key shortcuts, it's entirely usable. And shouldn't represent more than a fraction of 1% of your time using an OS anyway.

about a month ago
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You Got Your Windows In My Linux

Dr_Barnowl Re:What's wrong with Windows Server? (613 comments)

You need tools that futz with low-level stuff and insert hooks into the process, like procexp.

Having to use tools that do things that you'd ordinarily associate with rootkits isn't really a good answer.

And svchost.exe can host the DLLs for multiple services at once... you can't kill the process without killing all of them. A terrible design, compensating for the heavyweight nature of Windows processes.

about a month ago
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China Gives Microsoft 20 Days To Respond To Competition Probe

Dr_Barnowl Re:And well they should. (79 comments)

It's true, but in the office suite space, the only programs that properly support open formats are currently OSS.

The standard version of MOO-XML isn't implemented by MS Office (it still only supports the "transitional" version).

MS Office does it's best to break ODF documents when possible as far as I can tell. It destroyed all the formulas in ODS sheets last time I tried editing one in Excel.

about a month ago
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

Dr_Barnowl Re: Fail (251 comments)

The 99% believe that there is no kind of talent or ability that makes one person's labour literally worth 10,000 times that of another.

Those kind of wages (I refuse to say "earnings") usually require either the direction of vast amounts of other peoples labour (and therefore represent a salami slicing scam where the productivity of that labour is being directed up the corporate pyramid), or intangible and imaginary "wealth" which in effect is just a massive confidence trick.

The 1% are bilking the rest of us. They live high on the hog by using their power to manipulate the system to deliver the fruits of our labours into their pockets. That's what the 99% actually believe.

Scamming some noob because they don't understand computers is morally no different, but a drop in the bucket in comparison.

about a month ago
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New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Dr_Barnowl Re:Already? (251 comments)

XP was 5.1

Windows 2000 was Windows 5 (and very stable, and really, really fast on modern hardware). Inevitably it was DRM that put paid to my attempt to keep using Windows 2000 until it was impractical... some of the games I wanted to play were depending on cryptographic components that didn't ship in Win2k.

So I "upgraded" to Vista.

I didn't have quite the same urge to hold onto that one as long as possible....

about a month ago
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New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Dr_Barnowl Re:Not worth it (251 comments)

MS do OEM and retail disks, distinct from vendor-specific OEM images.

The OEM release is intended to go on one machine ONLY and the license is bound to that system. Upgrading it will typically provoke different levels of incredulity from the activiation server.

The retail release is allowed to be on one machine CONCURRENTLY and you can move it between machines, and upgrade to your hearts content, although you may still get hassled into phoning a robot and beeping a bit at it.

The rules about selling the OEM disk are supposed to mean that it only goes to the manufacture of a new computer, but I've seen vendors bend the rules as far as they can go and sell the OEM disk to anyone that buys a new hard drive.

about a month ago
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New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Dr_Barnowl Re:Not worth it (251 comments)

MS do have a program for this, it's called the Microsoft Signature Experience - it's a selected range of hardware sold without crapware on it.

Alas, it only covers a tiny selection of hardware.

For desktops, I always buy parts and install Windows myself. For laptops, if it comes with a standard Windows medium, I'll bleach it clean and reinstall from scratch.

Laptops which make you burn your own recovery disks with the crapware on them are taking the piss.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Eric Schmidt urges regulation of mini-drones

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the CEO of Google thinks that drones should be regulated. Drones are certainly a hot topic, with appearances on both side of the divide in Cory Doctorow's novel Homeland — with the authorities using them to distribute riot gas, and the noble hackers using them to post the video of them doing it. Is Eric really concerned over how the public will use drones against each other, or is he more concerned that they might eat into Google's pie somehow?"
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UK Government - "Pay a £20 fee to acquit yourself of file-sharing (maybe)"

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the UK government plans to introduce a £20 fee if you wish to appeal against an allegation of copyright infringement, within 20 days of your accusation. Note that this doesn't guarantee acquittal, as only "excuses" covered in the Digital Economy Act will be valid even for consideration. This scheme could be in place as early as 2014, so John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union says "We urge ISPs to begin building their systems now and to work constructively with rights holders, Ofcom and government to get notice-sending up and running as soon as possible,". What are the thoughts of Slashdot?"
Link to Original Source
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EU Proposes HFT Transaction Tax

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about 3 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the UK opposes a proposed new tax on transactions with at least one end Europe. Why is this "News for Nerds"? The proposal includes tax on derivatives, an instrument the High Frequency Trading stories we've been chowing down on recently. With the proposed tax being 0.1% or 0.01% for derivatives, the story highlights the sheer volumes involved — it's speculated that the tax would earn some €57B a year ($78B), around 80% of it from the City of London. A transaction tax like this is something frequently proposed in Slashdot HFT discussions. The UK says that it will veto the tax "unless it was imposed globally" — should the USA follow suit and impose a similar levy targeted at the trading desks of the NYSE?"
Link to Original Source
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Sony to convert online bookstore to open format

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that Sony are to convert their online bookstore to the EPUB format.

While this format still supports DRM, it's supported on a much wider variety of readers. Is this a challenge to Kindle? It's nice to see Sony opening up to the idea of open standards ; even if you still have reservations about buying a Sony device, you might be able to patronise their bookstore sometime soon."
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Google to release another open-source OS

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that Google are planning to release another operating system : Google Chrome OS.

This is apparently going to consist of the Google Chrome browser, running in "a new windowing system". The browser is the platform, much like it is in the Palm Pre smartphone, part of the intention being to provide a fast boot time.

They are setting their sights first on the growing market for netbooks, with ARM and x86 compatibility planned out of the starting gate.

A "browser OS" would probably do just fine for the majority of users, but I don't think I'm ready to give up my heavy client-side platforms just yet. What will be interesting to see is the Microsoft response to this — they have enjoyed an alleged "96%" share of the netbook market OS recently, so anything designed to eat into that will not be popular in the Redmond boardroom."
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EA releases license deactivation management tool.

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "Electronic Arts have posted a link to a SecuROM De-authorization management tool. Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system, and help you download their respective individual de-activation tools.

This isn't a perfect solution, since it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss, but since the announcement that this particular DRM system will be dropped for The Sims 3 , it would seem that EA has had a minor epiphany about DRM."

Link to Original Source
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British IRS loses database of every child in UK.

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "News breaking in the UK is that the HM Revenue & Customs (the UK version of the IRS) has lost in the post discs containing the entire Child Benefit database. Every child in the UK is entitled to receive Child Benefit, so this covers some 25M people (out of the UK population of some 60M), 7.25M families, and contains names, addresses, dates of birth, bank account numbers and national insurance number (aka SSN).

The lost data has failed to turn up under a search by HM Customs (famous for rooting contraband out of tight spaces) and the UK police.

This is data loss on an unprecedented scale. Many of the people questioning the Chancellor of the Exchequer at this moment are using the issue to raise questions about the UK government plans for a national ID database.

The data was apparently "password protected". The word "encryption" has also been used, but not in connection to the data, so it could well be something as simple as a passworded ZIP archive. The data was placed onto a couple of optical media and sent to another government office, for audit purposes, via the internal post system provided by a third party courier. This was not the first occurrence of the database being transferred in this way.

While there is no evidence so far that the data is being put to nefarious uses, this will cause total chaos in the UK banking system ; affected accounts are being flagged and mothers across the country will be phoning their bank in a panic."

Link to Original Source
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Swedish company trials peer-to-peer cellphones

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "TerraNet is trialling a p2p based mobile telephony system. Phones are used to route calls onto other phones, constructing mesh networks of "up to 20km".

The BBC reports the natural tendency of the big telecoms providers to want to squash this. I can see other problems though. The advantages in an environment with sparse cell coverage are obvious, but network effects mean that the number of connections in a heavily populated mesh grow exponentially. What happens to your battery life when your phone becomes a node? And while the company is optimistic that they have a viable technology model from IP licensing, the demand for devices supporting this is going to be proportional to the number of devices that it can connect you to.

On the plus side, it would provide some great experience with mesh networks."

Link to Original Source
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Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports in prose and in video that Robert Soloway, an alleged user of zombie spamming networks, has been arrested in Seattle. He will be charged with aggravated identity theft, the first such charge since the relevant law was passed in 2003.

While it's highly encouraging to see spammers brought to book, the spam level has not noticeably decreased since his arrest, testimony to the more prevalent spam output of eastern European and Asian sources."

Link to Original Source
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Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The CEO of Sun Microsystems blogs that "no amount of fear can stop the rise of [...] free software". While he avoids specifically mentioning a certain software company by name, he links directly to the interview in Fortune that started all this brouhaha.

He makes a special point that Sun "... decided to innovate, not litigate."

You have to wonder who else from the corporate world may pitch in at this point."

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