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Visual Studio 2015 Supports CLANG and Android (Emulator Included)

JDG1980 Re: The only way MS gets more apps in their store (192 comments)

The problem though is going to be corporate customers. The ones with thousands of desktop systems that do pay. Big corps tend to be conservative about IT upgrades, and by giving Windows away MS would be sacrificing that revenue stream. They're probably reluctant to do that.

Of course, they could just drop the price of the Home Edition (or whatever they're calling it today) to zero and charge for the Pro one. But then they need to make the home edition good enough to be useful, but not so good that business would be happy using it. That's not compromise that's worked well for them in the past.

Actually, it's quite straightforward: the Pro edition can join domains, while the Home edition can't. This by itself will work quite well as a differentiator. Big businesses aren't going to give up Active Directory and Group Policy to save a few bucks on license fees, while home uisers (and some small businesses) won't give a damn.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform

JDG1980 Re:Desparate Microsoft pulls a "Sun Microsystems" (525 comments)

I'll agree that I haven't seen very much Qt out in industry, but I haven't seen much .NET either.

Maybe you haven't been looking very hard? The job listings I see are about 40% .NET and 40% Java. Nothing else comes close.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform

JDG1980 Awesome (525 comments)

This is very good news. ASP.NET is a great web development platform, far superior to the atrocious hack that is PHP. The only reason so far why PHP has predominated is licensing costs: until now, you needed a Windows Server to do ASP.NET properly (or else resort to unsupported hacks like Mono), whereas PHP is free. Now that the playing field is about to become more level, hopefully it will be the beginning of the end for PHP.

about two weeks ago
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Multi-Process Comes To Firefox Nightly, 64-bit Firefox For Windows 'Soon'

JDG1980 Re:Tempting (181 comments)

Would a 'friendly community' welcome a new boss who supported banning inter-racial marriage? No, and the oh but it's just a personal view nonsense wouldn't fly there either.

What you're overlooking is that Proposition 8 passed. You're not talking about blacklisting people for views way outside the Overton Window. You're talking about blacklisting people for taking part in an active political controversy where you don't like their position.

about two weeks ago
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Home Depot Says Hackers Grabbed 53 Million Email Addresses

JDG1980 Re:Okay then (99 comments)

According to an Oct. 1, 2013, report prepared for Home Depot by consultant FishNet Security, the retailer left its computers vulnerable by switching off Symantecâ(TM)s Network Threat Protection (NTP) firewall in favor of one packaged with Windows.

No enterprise installation should ever be relying on individual client firewall software for network security. At best, that should be a second line of defense. It is the job of the perimeter firewall to handle these kind of threats.

about three weeks ago
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Bounties vs. Extreme Internet Harassment

JDG1980 Re:Getting trolled (716 comments)

A week from now if someone does follow through on the threats is it still a joke? Seriously, sometimes threats do get carried out.

When was the last time an Internet threat by a stranger was actually carried out in meatspace?

Note that I'm not including cases where the victim already knew the perpetrator in the real world and the threat just happened to take place on an online service, nor am I counting instances where the entire crime took place online, such as DoS attacks or stealing personal information. I'm talking about some guy on the Internet making a threat of committing violence against someone they don't already have a personal real-life acquaintance with, and then actually carrying it out. Has this ever happened? If not, why shouldn't all such threats be disregarded as meaningless and empty?

about three weeks ago
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Bounties vs. Extreme Internet Harassment

JDG1980 Re:Getting trolled (716 comments)

Death threats are illegal, they don't become legal because they're On The Internet any more than an old technology should become patentable because it's done On The Internet.

The legality of death threats is actually not a cut-and-dried issue. This article discusses various U.S. court cases related to death threats, and what criteria the courts use to determine whether they are protected free speech or not.

I suspect that a death threat accompanied by "doxxing" would be considered more serious than an isolated threat out of the blue in a chat room, since posting personal information would make it more likely that "a reasonable listener would understand [it] as an actual threat of violence" and not just rhetoric. But I'm not a lawyer, so I can't be certain of this. Of course, it goes without saying that the safest (and most ethical) course of conduct is not to issue any death threats at all.

about three weeks ago
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Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

JDG1980 Re:In bankruptcy, information is an asset (167 comments)

And no matter what the charter is, if they are liquidated the court will sell all of your data to the highest bidder to pay off creditors.

That is true if the user data is considered part of the bankruptcy estate. But that won't necessarily be the case. Under US law, everyone automatically has copyright for anything they write or compose. If the primary concern is to protect user privacy, the user agreement for the site could stipulate that users retain copyright to all their data, and the site has a nonexclusive, nontransferrable license to use that data so long as they adhere to the privacy terms. In the case of bankruptcy, the only "asset" would be the nontransferrable license – not the data itself, which would still belong to the end users.

I expect issues like this to come up once a few mid-size or large cloud providers go broke. I don't think the courts are going to allow the creditors to seize data assets belonging to customers in these instances.

about a month ago
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Windows 0-Day Exploited In Ongoing Attacks

JDG1980 Re:PowerPoint on a Server? (114 comments)

If your process involves generating Office, documents, it's generally the easiest way. The server automation tools for generation of Office documents are basically scripts and wrappers around.... Office. So if you want to generate some report that spits out an Excel file at the end, you can bet it was generated in Excel the first time around because the reporting tool actually called Excel to fill in the fields.

This may have been correct 5 to 10 years ago, but you should never do this in a modern installation if you can possibly help it. Microsoft's official position is that "Microsoft does not recommend or support server-side Automation of Office."

You should be using the Open XML SDK to create Office documents in your web application. The default classes and methods are somewhat opaque, but fortunately, there are a lot of helper toolkits that run on top of OOXML SDK to make things much easier. I used Simple OOXML, which hasn't been updated for a while and has limited documentation, but works pretty well, and is free. These solutions are not only much more robust in a server-side situation, but you don't have to devote an Office license to the server.

about a month ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

JDG1980 What about embedded systems? (700 comments)

This is going to be a real problem with embedded systems. At my last workplace, we had coin/bill vending units hooked up to PCs, which were connected using a FTDI serial-to-USB connection. I think the chip was legit – but how would I be able to tell? We purchased these vending units from a manufacturer, which in turn, I'm sure, bought the serial-to-USB chips (or even pre-made boards) from another vendor. What if that other vendor used clone chips without telling anyone?

And yes, we did occasionally install FTDI driver updates on these. If one of these units were to be bricked, FTDI is going to be open to some very substantial lawsuits. Arguing "unclean hands" won't work when the people getting hurt are about four steps removed from any actual culpability.

about a month ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

JDG1980 Re:The good news (700 comments)

Not going to happen, the same way that it didn't happen when DirectTV (or dish, whoever) bricked all of those pirate hardware years ago

No claims were made in that case because anyone who came forward would have to admit committing a federal crime. In contrast, there are plenty of ways that someone could wind up with a bricked device that they had no knowledge was not authentic, and could not reasonably have known.

about a month ago
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The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

JDG1980 Re:fuck ribbons (347 comments)

I actually like the Ribbon in Office, because the Office apps have so many features that regular menus/toolbars hinder discoverability. (I suppose I might feel differently if I had invested a lot of time into memorizing the Office 2003 menus, but I didn't.) On most other applications, Ribbon is overkill, taking up too much space (and vertical space is especially precious on widescreens).

about a month ago
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The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

JDG1980 Re:Please Microsoft... (347 comments)

Maybe I am wrong, but over the years I have noted an increasing condescendension of IT people over "mere users". I wonder why that is. Bear in mind that IT typically isn't the company's cash cow, but "overhead", making this condescension rather inappropriate imho.

All this is the sign of a poorly run organization with excessive siloing. IT should be working with other departments, helping to streamline and automate their processes, making other people's jobs easier and less tedious. If people think of IT as "the computer janitors", your organization is throwing away a tremendous amount of potential productivity. It's bad for morale on both sides, too.

about a month ago
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More Eye Candy Coming To Windows 10

JDG1980 Re:Will Microsoft ever learn? (209 comments)

I wonder when Microsoft will learn that a lot of us would rather use our CPU and GPU cycles for something other than eye candy? While computers can be used for fun purposes, we shouldn't all be left with the feel that what we have is little more than a technotoy.

Windows has always offered the option to turn off animations. (System Properties -> Advanced System Settings -> Performance gives a bunch of checkboxes for this on both Win7 and Win10.) Flip it around: why shouldn't those of us with good mid-range or high-end desktops be able to use a small portion of our CPU and GPU power to make things look nicer? Why should we be hamstrung to what the crappiest tablet with a half-dead battery can handle?

about a month ago
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More Eye Candy Coming To Windows 10

JDG1980 Still more work to be done (209 comments)

This is a good start (assuming you can turn these animations off if you don't like them). Hopefully they'll bring back Aero Glass-style transparency soon.

There are also a lot more substantive flaws that need to be addressed. The Start menu (which is Win10's big selling point!) doesn't currently do DPI scaling properly. It's disappointing enough to see this flaw with third-party software, but for a core part of the OS, it's inexcusable. And there is still no way to remove the obtrusive Search and Task View icons from the taskbar. (Both of these issues have hundreds of votes on Feedback; hopefully they will be addressed.)

There are also a bunch of smaller annoyances – unlike in Win7, I can't get the useless "Homegroup" option to disappear from the left panel of File Explorer, even if I leave all homegroups completely. They also shove OneDrive down your throat. And if I rename "This PC" back to "My Computer", it displays under my preferred name in most places, but not in the tile half of the Start menu – it appears fine in the left-hand list portion, but the tile always says "This PC" no matter what it has been renamed to.

There are some encouraging signs, but this is definitely an alpha-class release in my experience. Glad I installed it in a VM.

about a month ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

JDG1980 Re:Mod parent up. (191 comments)

But all that means is that the user sees a yellow splat in the system tray. Not really a big deal. You can still actually access the Internet on Windows even if NCSI thinks it's down. The Belkin issue is a much bigger deal.

about a month and a half ago
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Bash To Require Further Patching, As More Shellshock Holes Found

JDG1980 The downside of the Unix Way (329 comments)

I know I'll get flamed for saying this, but it seems to me that the Shellshock bug represents a weakness in the Unix philosophy. On Windows, if a similar issue happened with cmd.exe or PowerShell, it would have only a limited effect, because the Windows shell is basically just an administration tool, and no one in their right mind would use it to pass untrusted input of any sort. In contrast, "the Unix way" encourages piping of shell commands to other shell commands, and the use of shelling out as a substitute for proper APIs. To me as a Windows power user, the idea that a basic feature like DHCP is using a shell script behind the scenes seems crazy. The better way to write re-usable code is to do the C/C++ API first, then build both the command line and GUI tools on top of that API. "The Unix way" is a clumsy hack in comparison – and it leaves the shell as a security-critical single point of failure.

Another way to think of it is that Linux is now dealing with an issue that Windows has been struggling with for over a decade: how to fix inherently insecure design decisions without breaking compatibility with a million different legacy applications in the process. Maybe they'll need to implement the equivalent of "UAC" whenever a program tries to shell out?

about 2 months ago
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Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

JDG1980 Re:Google has 20 apps? (427 comments)

I actually find myself liking google keep. I wanted a simple thing to make quick on-the-fly lists/notes.. and it delivers.

Google Keep is nice. Sucks that there's no public API, though.

about 2 months ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

JDG1980 Re:Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (546 comments)

Obviously, people doing low-level systems programming do need to have the background to understand this stuff. But that doesn't really matter – there are a hundred application programmers for every systems programmer. It's like saying all programmers need to be able to write in assembly and count cycles, just because some embedded work still requires that sort of stuff.

about 3 months ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

JDG1980 Re:False premise (546 comments)

Most coders don't actually program. They just write some lines of code that connect libraries together. They wouldn't know where to even begin if asked to write the libraries themselves, or write the networking protocols, or the operating system, or the compilers, or the GUI frameworks, or the browser, or even a simple scripting language.

Converting business requirements into executable processes that a computer can understand is programming, regardless of what language or API is used. There's nothing noble about re-inventing the wheel just to prove you can do it; it's just stupid and inefficient.

More to the point, organizations don't care about hiring well-rounded Renaissance Men. They want people who can get a specific job done. Whether that job satisfies non-customers in some far-off ivory tower is completely irrelevant.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Microsoft Finally Relents: Start Menu Returning in Windows 9

JDG1980 JDG1980 writes  |  about 8 months ago

JDG1980 (2438906) writes "Microsoft's announcements at today's Build conference indicates that the change of leadership just might be having some effects on the company's flagship product. It looks like Windows 9 will bring back the Start Menu that so many users missed in Windows 8. It won't be exactly the same as the Windows 7 menu (there's a live tile section off to the right), but it will be a lot closer, and won't hog the whole screen.

Another common complaint about Windows 8 is that the full-screen paradigm for Metro apps – while it may work OK with a tablet or phone – doesn't fit well on a multi-tasking desktop with a large screen. To fix this, Microsoft will allow Metro apps to run within a window on Windows 9 – similar to what can currently be done with Stardock's ModernMix."
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Krita 2.8 Released

JDG1980 JDG1980 writes  |  about 9 months ago

JDG1980 (2438906) writes "Krita, an open-source graphics editor, has been around since 2005, but no stable version existed for Windows users — until today. With the release of Krita 2.8, full and stable support for Windows users is finally a reality, thanks to input from KO GmbH and Intel. Krita brings some things to the table that GIMP does not: 16 bit per channel color support, adjustment layers, and a name that won't set off red flags at HR, just to list a few. You can download the Windows version here. Might be worth looking into, if you're tired of the lack of progress on GIMP and don't want to pay monthly "cloud" fees to Adobe."
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Google Buys Nest

JDG1980 JDG1980 writes  |  about 10 months ago

JDG1980 (2438906) writes "Google just announced that they will be purchasing Nest, a company best known for their "smart" thermostats and smoke detectors, for $3.2 billion in cash. What will this mean for Nest devices going forward – greater integration with Android, perhaps?"
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SSD Manufacturer OCZ Preparing for Bankruptcy

JDG1980 JDG1980 writes  |  1 year,13 hours

JDG1980 (2438906) writes "OCZ, a manufacturer of solid-state drives, has filed for bankruptcy. This move was forced by Hercules Technology Growth Capital, which had lent $30 million to OCZ under terms that were later breached. The most likely outcome of this bankruptcy is that OCZ's assets (including the Indilinx controller IP) will be purchased by Toshiba. If this deal falls through, the company will be liquidated. No word yet on what a Toshiba purchase would mean in terms of warranty support for OCZ's notoriously unreliable drives."
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Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

JDG1980 JDG1980 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

JDG1980 (2438906) writes "According to CNET and various other sources, CS6 will be the last version of Adobe's Creative Suite that will be sold in the traditional manner. All future versions will be available by subscription only, through Adobe's so-called "Creative Cloud" service. This means that before too long, anyone who wants an up-to-date version of Photoshop won't be able to buy it – they will have to pay $50 per month (minimum subscription term: one year). Can Adobe complete the switch to subscription-only, or will the backlash be too great? Will this finally spur the creation of a real competitor to Photoshop?"

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