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Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

Merdalors Charts (292 comments)

If you're going to use the free Personal Ancestral File, don't forget PAF Companion for neat charts & reports.

more than 3 years ago
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Best Browser For Using Complex Web Applications?

Merdalors SVG? (347 comments)

Is SVG a practical option yet, or is it still not supported by enough browsers? Without a special plug-in, I mean.

more than 4 years ago
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Lenovo Trying Face Recognition For Logins On New Laptops

Merdalors ThinkPads suck (164 comments)

I wouldn't trust the Face Recognition technology. The fingerprint scanner on my ThinkPad T500 ceased to work after three months. No, my fingerprints didn't change, get burned, etc. It just stopped recognizing any of my digits. The twerp in tech support suggested I re-flash the BIOS. Yeah, right.

Oh, and the hard drive failed after six months. That was fun.

I thought I was paying for the best in order not to have any of these problems.

Never again a Lenovo.

more than 4 years ago
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Does Your PC Really Need a SysRq Button Anymore?

Merdalors Crappy disk drive (806 comments)

"fastidious scientists"

Really? I wish they would invest some of that fastidiousness in choosing better disk drives. The drive on my ThinkPad T500 crapped out after a mere six months. This after I paid for what I thought was top-of-the-line hardware.

I was backed up, but it took me several days to reload all the software and get running again. Very unpleasant experience.

Now I can't get Acronis True Image to mirror my whole drive. The last time I tried, my system seized up, I had to lean on the power button for ten seconds to shut it down, and when I rebooted I got a nice message saying "Your system may not restart". Wonderful.

Oh - and the fingerprint scanner stops working after three months. The twerp in tech support casually suggested I would have to "reflash my BIOS". Really? I see you don't user your PC to earn a living.

I never had such grief with generic black boxes.

more than 4 years ago
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Creating a Quantum Superposition of Living Things

Merdalors Quantum zapping (321 comments)

Great! Now we're going to infect another dimension with our viruses... Just what they need...

more than 4 years ago
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Dirty Coding Tricks To Make a Deadline

Merdalors 'One return' (683 comments)

The most common use of "goto" in that circumstance is to enforce "only one return".

Which is every bit the pedantic lunacy that goto-hate is.

Not necessarily: sometimes you need to free memory, resources, etc.

I don't use goto anymore, but back in the days of 16-bit and 12K stack, where we had to malloc() local variables, a 'one return' goto proved useful to branch to free() without excessively nested 'if's.

about 5 years ago
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Murdoch Says, "We'll Charge For All Our Sites"

Merdalors Volunteer Fire Brigade (881 comments)

The volunteer fire brigade is no longer necessary?

Not so. In rural communities, the tax burden of a paid fire department would be unaffordable. The volunteer fire brigade is a vital and respected part of the community.

about 5 years ago
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The Best First Language For a Young Programmer

Merdalors Re:Torn cards (634 comments)

That's "card reader", not "car".

more than 5 years ago
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The Best First Language For a Young Programmer

Merdalors Torn cards (634 comments)

Sorry, that hasn't been my experience. In the 70's I had a job writing Assembler for a Univac 9200 (32K memory, yes that's 'K'). The Master File Update program was 4,000 cards of source code. I would compile it a few times a day, and I rarely got a jam.

We ran the update once a day on the 40,000-card master file, using the 1,000 card/minute reader. There were a couple of jams each day. Once a wad of cards got caught in the pinch rollers: smoke started billowing out of the car reader. Good times.

more than 5 years ago
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Critical Flaw Discovered In DD-WRT

Merdalors Re:It's "homogeneity" / spelling (225 comments)

OK, that's funny. Well deserving of +5.
Indulge me here in a rant about spelling.
I'm sure we all agree that English spelling is hard and irrational. G.B. Shaw joked that "ghoti" is pronounced "fish": 'gh' as in "cough", 'o' as in "women", and 'ti' as in "nation". Story goes that English spelling was set in stone by the first printer who typeset an English manuscript: a dutchman who didn't speak the language.
Spanish did away with all that nonsense years ago. Words are spelled exactly as they are pronounced: "fotografia", etc.
Correct spelling is important for the following reason: it's a measure of your skill at observation. If you have been looking at the correct spelling of a word all your life, every time you read, how come you can't get it right?
When you get hired for a job, you will be expected to learn lots of things by observation; also you will be expected to pay attention to detail. Whether you can spell or not is a measure of your ability. It's a test of whether you understand the code, have had the proper upbringing.
Bad spelling means you are not able to pay attention to detail, and you're a slow learner. Does that sound like someone an employer would want to hire? Unless it's flipping burgers.
Poor spelling is like showing up at a hip venue, dressed in a 70's leisure suit: you just don't get it.
Caveat: English is not my native language (neither is Spanish), sorry for any typos.

more than 5 years ago
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Critical Flaw Discovered In DD-WRT

Merdalors It's "homogeneity" (225 comments)

We have to nip this in the bud: it's "homogeneity" (Webster, Oxford)

Sorry about that.

more than 5 years ago
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New Linux Kernel Flaw Allows Null Pointer Exploits

Merdalors "Assembler" (391 comments)

In my days (70's) of supporting a family by getting paid to squeeze code into a 32K "mainframe", everybody called it "Assembler" or "Assembler language".

more than 5 years ago
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Hands-On Preview of Microsoft Office 2010

Merdalors Re:A lot of effort and money (291 comments)

While I'm not a big fan of the latest versions of Office, I have yet to see a Web-based, on-line program that can handle two or three hundred-page technical documents, with automatic paragraph numbering, indices, cross-referencing, style formats, redlining, robust tables, etc. Heck even WordPerfect buggers up RTF.

more than 5 years ago
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Investigators Suspect Computers Doomed Air France Jet

Merdalors Re:Losers ! (403 comments)

"Twats"? "Cunts"? "Pricks"?
Sheesh! Make up your mind... Can't have it both ways.

more than 5 years ago
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Nielsen Recommends Not Masking Passwords

Merdalors Re: biometrics (849 comments)

Funny... I bought a top-of-the-line Lenovo ThinkPad a few months ago. At first, the fingerprint scan was fun. Then it stopped working reliably. I scan over and over and get that damn red circle. Now it's not worth trying anymore. And no, my fingerprint is not scarred, not wrinkled from being wet, not altered in any way.

I thought of re-scanning, but the Lenovo Support Tech said that, thanks to a quirk in their wonderful Client Security layer, I had to use my _original_ Windows password, not the password I had had the audacity to change recently. Needless to say I didn't remember my original password. Nor do I want to reset the BIOS (as he suggested).

Complexity dooms technology (see "Knob in the Shuttle window").

more than 5 years ago
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Microsoft To Banish Memcpy()

Merdalors Cumulative lengths (486 comments)

To accomplish that, use:

char *c, wk[512];
c = wk;
c += _snprintf(c, sizeof(wk) - (c - wk), "%s", someString);
c += _snprintf(c, sizeof(wk) - (c - wk), "%s", someOtherString);
...
etc

more than 5 years ago
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Virginia Health Database Held For Ransom

Merdalors Regulation (325 comments)

You forgot Amateur ("Ham") Radio, which requires licensing to insure fair use of limited bandwidth resource.

more than 5 years ago
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Comrade, You Are So Not Getting a Dell

Merdalors Ternary system (600 comments)

I read somewhere (long ago) that the ternary system is more efficient because it is the closest to base 'e' (2.71...), the most efficient numbering system for calculations.

more than 5 years ago
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Building a Better CAPTCHA

Merdalors Re:Youtube captchas are terrible. (197 comments)

Yes CAPTCHAs are stopping spam. We upgraded the CAPTCHA on our support site, and the spam went to zero.

Show me another way of deterring spammers?

more than 5 years ago

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