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Comments

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Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

cbhacking Re:Fission = bad, but not super-bad (216 comments)

I'm going to assume you meant to say "hundreds of thousands" and that English is not your first language. I'll give you the benefit of a doubt that far.
You're going to have to provide a citation for the actual value, though. According to the estimates that I've read, you're off by two orders of magnitude (that is, it's a few thousand deaths, not tens much less hundreds of thousands). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... (Estimates of human deaths due to radiation from Three Mile Island and Fukushima - neither of which killed anybody directly - are in the single digits.)

How do you justify the claim that mining accidents don't count, by they way? The extraction of the fuel is certainly a part of the cost - both in money and in lives - of running a power plant.

You sound like somebody who has made some assumptions, decided they are facts, made more assumptions based on them, and continued on until you have an entire encyclopedia of "knowledge" that has no basis in reality. For example, you appear to believe that mining, refining, and transporting uranium is dangerous. None of those are really true. Uranium mining per unit volume is comparable to coal mining for the same volume, but the volume of coal used by a single commercial power plant in a day is more than the volume of uranium fuel used by all the world's reactors in a year. Refining and transporting uranium is *expensive* (because people are so cautious about it, and so afraid of terrorists getting ahold of it) but not actually unsafe; until combined into fuel rods for insertion in a reactor assembly, fuel-grade uranium is safer to transport than, say, natural gas or gasoline (petrol). It's already obvious you didn't look up any statistics about Chernobyl, either; you appear to have just decided that "lots of people died" -> "lots" of deaths must mean hundreds of thousands -> "hundred[s of] thousands dead after [C]hernobyl..." May I recommend using facts based on observations instead of guesses in the future?

3 days ago
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Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

cbhacking Re:Fission is Dead (216 comments)

The other thing to remember about those reactors is they assume the availability of the ocean as an effectively limitless source of reasonably cool water. This influences aspects of their design from basic operation to last-ditch emergency measures in ways that just don't apply on land. Sure, you could build a bunch of them along the coast, but offshore construction on that scale is not cheap (and then you still need to get the power to the cities that need it). Worth investigating, but not an obvious win.

3 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

cbhacking Re:Replace rockets with something reasonable. (348 comments)

Some of the things that would be really great to launch - say, a "Project Orion"-style nuclear pulse rocket (NPR) - aren't feasible without a tremendous mass. NPRs can actually accelerate faster the more massive they are, because they can take the impacts better.

Putting 1000 tonnes in orbit - which would be a *small* NPR - would take about as many launches to build as the ISS did... if we can use the Flacon Heavy for each one. That's ignoring the cost and risk of assembling it in space (and the cost is high, because that means you need to get the equipment and people into orbit too, plus the infrastructure they require). The pusher plate of an NPR is, by itself, probably going to be too heavy for a Falcon Heavy, so it will need to be constructed in space... which would basically mean an entire orbital foundry!

Some things just don't break down into little pieces in an economical fashion.

3 days ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

cbhacking Re:great news. (407 comments)

My approach would be more along the lines of "convictions only stay on your record for a limited time". This solves the "basically serving a life sentence" problem that is so common in the US. Say you get arrested on a minor charge, convicted to spend three months in prison... and upon release if you go a year without any further convictions, your record is considered clean and you can legally claim you were never convicted at all. There might be some *specific* scenarios where the probationary term would need to be effectively your whole life, or where some things would always be present in your background (child molester trying to get a daycare job even forty years later, for example), but otherwise have the crimes simply disappear from your public record.

With that said, the system in the Netherlands does sound quite reasonable, and I'm not sure there's any need to reinvent the wheel. My approach is based more on the idea of demonstrating rehabilitation (the 1-year period in the example would probably vary depending on the sentence and possibly also on prison behavior, much as how the time behind bars itself is variable) than on strictly categorizing offenses, but either way is a lot better than what the US has right now.

3 days ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

cbhacking Re:Data centers? (407 comments)

Effort... and money. Never forget the importance of the almighty buck. There's been a little bit of progress in this area - some cities have finally realized that it costs society less to provide for the people on the very bottom than it does to leave them without any (legal) means of support - but by and large if you suggest something like this then all too many people (you know who you are) will scream "HANDOUTS! WELFARE QUEENS!" even though their *own* standard of living will increase if those people are taken care of.

Honestly, it's not that hard to figure out: when every day is a struggle just to survive and you can't provide a phone number or address, getting a real job is nearly impossible. That's assuming that, by some minor miracle, you are healthy enough, educated enough, and have enough free time to job hunt. The cost of basic education, shelter, and healthcare for those people is *way* less than the benefits gained by giving them the opportunity to be productive members of society instead of a perpetual drain on public resources.

This particular idea, of having these former prisons serve as temporary housing and support for the homeless, has another benefit: those who want to employ unskilled labor for something longer than a summer job have somewhere to go and somebody central to talk to. Provide employers with a chance to find employees that have some stability in their living situation, and I bet a lot of them would take it.

3 days ago
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Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

cbhacking Re:About time...... (319 comments)

Am I willing to be held responsible for something my hypothetical kid(s) do? Yup. Of course, I don't have any kids right now... because I'm not so irresponsible as to have children that, at this point in my life, I'm not ready to care for. You seem to be struggling with this whole "responsibility" concept. My parents, my father in particular, did in fact get in some minor trouble for stuff I'd done. Minor trouble, because I hadn't done anything really terrible, but trouble nonetheless. He never blamed me for getting him in trouble, just for what I did (and he could be a really hypocritical asshole at times, according to my 15-year-old self, but in this instance it's nonetheless clear he didn't ever do anything worse to me than a minor guilt trip for the legal trouble he found himself in). You are responsible for your underage children, including for what they do while under your authority. It's part of the obligations you take on when you bring an immature creature into the world.

The rest of your post is meaningless bullshit. Parents don't go to jail when their kids egregiously break the law, they lose legal rights to those kids and end up beholden (usually financially) to make up for the kid's harm. The "as much vendetta as possible" bit is bullshit because the law *doesn't* punish the combination of child + parent more than it would punish an arbitrary adult who committed the same crime (in practice, it's very much the other way around); if your kid does something with a 10k fine attached, you (the legal guardian) are responsible for the fine, whether you take it out of the kid's piggybank or out of your own wallet being irrelevant in the eyes of the law (but you won't get fined *in addition to* your kid when they can't pay the fine).

The bit about "bad seed offspring" I hold to be false; the "best of people" would not be such bad parents that their child would have sufficient motivation to do such things, and even ordinary parents are responsible for controlling the opportunities their offspring have to cause serious harm. Remember, we're not talking about the kind of thing that can be fixed by returning the stolen merchandise with an apology... As for your last line, have you considered the fact that there are entirely too many really bad parents doing a piss-poor job of raising their children? I'm not talking about parents who tell their kids that evolution is a lie of Satan (though we could surely use fewer of those, too) but rather the parents who don't actually look after their children - maybe they didn't have enough money to have kids and have to work 16 hours a day, maybe they are addicts and don't care about anything except their next fix, maybe they spend all their time on Slashdot and never pay attention to anything without a screen, for all I know - and leave those children without any motivation *not* to go join a gang and maybe shoot some people...

Out of curiosity, do you also think that pet owners shouldn't be legally responsible for what their pets do? If you buy a bunch of Dobermans and leave them in your back yard with no training to speak of, are you saying you shouldn't be held responsible when they break down the fence and kill some passerby on the street? After all, you're raising dangerous animals in your home. Well, there is no animal more dangerous than homo sapiens. You want to raise one, make sure you can do it right because society will sure as hell hold you responsible if you screw up.

4 days ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

cbhacking Re:Replace rockets with something reasonable. (348 comments)

The propellant, by itself, is not costly.
The rocket big enough to launch a meaningful mass of payload when only 5% of what it carries actually makes it into orbit is absurdly, exorbitantly expensive.

Launching tiny payloads isn't that hard. It still costs a lot, per unit mass, but the absolute costs are affordable.

Launching small payloads (a few tons) is pretty bad, price-wise. You may be able to combine your launch with a few others on a medium-sized launch vehicle, but it's still not something that can be done lightly.

Launching medium payloads (a few dozen tons) is basically the state of the art. Actually, nothing flying today can loft even two dozen metric tons, and the best launch vehicles under construction right now can only manage a few times more than that. Even these barely-into-double-digit-payload-tonnage launches are expensive enough that a company can do well making a few such launches a year, while undercutting all their competition and plowing a ton of money into R&D. Governments and large corporations are pretty much the only clients.

Launching large payloads of over a hundred tons hasn't been possible since the Saturn V stack lofted an entire mobile-home-sized space station into orbit. We have nothing that could manage this today, or even on the near horizon; we might have such a thing within two decades.

Launching something huge - for example, anything even close to the size of the ISS, much less anything bigger - will require either an extraordinary breakthrough in rocketry or a completely new launch system.

The biggest human-built object in space right now is the size of a large house, and sleeps six. It took dozens of launches over more than a decade to get it this far, at a cost exceeding the GDP of many nations. It has almost no propulsive capability and is not self-sufficient over long periods. If we ever want to put something much bigger and better in space - even just as a series of small-to-medium launches, like it was - we are going to need to bring the cost to orbit *WAY* down.

Now, in fairness, SpaceX has a pretty good angle on that. As you say, the propellant isn't terribly costly. If we can avoid throwing away the entire rocket with each launch, that will have an enormous effect on the cost of getting stuff to space. With that said, though, we'll still be stuck with a max payload to orbit barely in the triple digits until we come up with a better way to reach orbit than relying on chemical rockets.

4 days ago
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Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

cbhacking Re:Windows 7 (138 comments)

Off the top of my head:

Per-monitor DPI settings, so things (automatically!) stay the same physical size as they move between monitors.
Options to have the Taskbar span monitors, and (optionally) show only the icons for programs that are actually on that monitor on that monitor's taskbar.
Per-monitor desktop background, or backgrounds that span multiple desktops.

There's a bunch of other ones in 8.1 concerning (Metro) app snapping and multiple Metro apps or both Desktop and Metro apps at once and all that, but those things are only relevant if you're already on Win8.

5 days ago
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Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

cbhacking Re:26 App Launches (138 comments)

Good point. If I open a bunch of tabs in IE or Chrome, it will launch a bunch of new processes... but odds are *excellent* that I already have the browser "app" open. If I used Firefox (well, Pale Moon) instead, it doesn't even launch new processes. I can spend hours of either work or play in the browser, opening and closing perhaps ten tabs per hour (on average, it peaks a lot higher), without ever launching a new window. Similarly, does it detect if I open a PDF, and it goes to the Foxit window that's already open? Technically another process did start there, very briefly, but it never displayed a window or anything. If I open a bash/cmd/powershell window, I bet that counts as a launch. If I run ten commands in one, half of which are actually launching different executables (the rest being shell built-ins), do any of *those* count, though, if they don't open new windows of their own?

If I've already got OpenVPN, Foxit, Outlook, Visual Studio, Burp Suite, Notepad++, OneNote, Pidgin, [Git] Bash, CMD, a couple of Explorer windows, and several different browsers open... I probably can get through an entire work day without "launching" any apps. At the end of each day, my machine enters hibernate, and every morning it resumes right where it left off. I almost never need to launch anything, unless it's counting things like actually invoking git (command line) or ssh (I don't usually use PuTTY) or gpg (Kleopatra is crap so I just use the command line) or opening browser tabs.

5 days ago
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Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

cbhacking Re:Windows 7 (138 comments)

Windows 2000, which had no firewall at all, no support for exploit mitigations (DEP, ASLR, etc.), no support for mandatory integrity control (so sandboxing an application was so hard that basically nobody did it), and so on? Do you even care enough about your computer's security to not run everything as Admin, in which case I am mildly in awe of your masochism for sticking with a pre-UAC Windows version for so long? Or does that all fall under "kernel/driver model" to you, in which case I suppose what you're actually asking for is Win10 (hey, if you're going to go for an NT 6.x kernel, may as well go all the way, right?) running on the

What about Windows Update requiring an IE ActiveX control, and the stupid file paths ("C:\Documents and Settings\<username>"), and no per-application volume control? How about instant search, so you can launch any program or system utility with a few keystrokes, instead of needing to navigate a menu or litter your desktop with icons?

Windows 2000 can't display a JPEG wallpaper without loading the Internet Explorer engine ("Active Desktop"). Does this sound like a good idea to you, running IE as part of your desktop? Actually, you can't avoid it; that version of Windows Explorer that you like so much? That also contains IE; it's how those links (typically on the left side of the window, though you can hide them) are shown and handled. Now mind you, combining a graphical shell, a web browser, and a file browser into the same thing isn't *always* going to end badly; Konqueror, for example, is both web and file browser. But, it has regular updates and good attention to limiting attack surface (no ActiveX, etc.) By the way, Windows 2000 can't run any version of IE newer than IE6 (that marvel of stability and security). Unless you want compatibility with newer IE versions fixed too, as part of your "games actually worked with it anymore" request... but you'd still need to re-write a chunk of W2K's Explorer, because it *assumes* an integrated version of IE and the newer releases are not so integrated.

Basically, it sounds like what you really want is a Windows-2000-esque UI over a fully modernized Windows core. I've heard stupider ideas (like what you actually *said*) but still, no thank you. The lack of Start search is, by itself, a huge deal-killer for me. I can't stand using legacy Start menus anymore; it's so fast to hit the Windows key, type a couple letters, and hit Enter that I can do it before the search list actually draws itself, and I do it automatically. On XP or older, this results in launching whatever random program or menu item is on the Start menu at that particular time and starts with one of the letters I hit. It's not literally random, but it *feels* that way, and it's certainly the very opposite of productive.

5 days ago
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Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

cbhacking Re:Windows 7 (138 comments)

USB3 support is not present in Win7. Third-party drivers are required to get it working at all, and you can't use it for low-level stuff (mind you, it's not like kernel debugging and such require a fast connection).

The reduced memory consumption of Win8 and later (partially due to ongoing optimization, but mostly due to page combining) is definitely a worthwhile upgrade, unless your machine is so ludicrously over-specced for its workloads that you never experience enough RAM pressure to matter (and remember, it starts mattering as soon as you begin having cache misses because there isn't enough "free" RAM).

Win8 also has far better multi-monitor support than Win7. That doesn't matter on my home system, right now - I'm currently using a single massive display - but it's something I wish I had at work. I'm not sure how good it is in Win10, but I very much doubt it's worse than Win8, which means it's better than Win7.

Also, your implication that Linux (even today, much less twelve years ago) has low-CPU-overhead support for cutting-edge graphics (I'll even substitute OpenGL for DirectX for you) is a joke. Even using the proprietary drivers, Linux still has some distance to go. In fairness, they're working on it - moving away from X11 and its designed-for-networked-thin-terminals architecture will save some CPU overhead, for example - but it'll be a while before the alternative display systems are standard.

5 days ago
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The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura

cbhacking You're just as wrong as he was. (181 comments)

Touchscreen smartphones existed for years prior to even *rumors* of the iPhone's development. The key differences in the iPhone's user experience were:

Technologically: Multitouch, rather than stylus or fat-finger+buttons. The tech for capacitive multitouch screens already existed, but it wasn't being applied to any kind of even vaguely mass-market device. Styluses provide better precision and can be used with minimal disruption even on very small screens, but you need a place to stow them (you'll lose them anyway, though) and resistive touchscreens don't do multitouch so intuitive gestures aren't an option.

Design-wise: Consumer-oriented UI, rather than trying to maximize productivity. Earlier smartphones near-universally had physical keyboards or some form of stylus-driven text input. They could do email (much better than v1 iPhones, in most cases), schedule conference rooms (and track your meetings), maybe edit documents. The iPhone could watch YouTube videos (even today, that is most commonly not a productive use of time; back then it was nearly pure entertainment) and play music. The other smartphones could browse the web well enough to look up technical documents or download apps. The iPhone couldn't run third-party apps at all, but it could browse the web well enough to use Facebook.

I do not personally care for Apple's products (OS X is fine aside from some quirks which I dislike no more than I dislike the equivalent quirks in every other OS/desktop environment, but I don't care for iOS or for their hardware design, and yes I've used an awful lot of MacBook* machines from their earliest days to their latest releases). I am actively opposed to the direction they are trying to take the computer market, where lockdown and "controlling the user experience" are the orders of the day. However, I will neither attempt to paint their introduction of the iPhone as the business-as-usual progress of the smartphone world, nor let lie unchallenged your bullshit claims and implications that "prior to the iphone... 5 to 7 tiny buttons [were] all you [got] to control the device." or that earlier [smart]phones were "vastly limited in their capabilities and features."

Yes, the iPhone was a game-changer. However, it was not nearly so amazing as you seem to think (do you not remember how absurdly limited the early iPhones were? No apps, limited to EDGE speeds even though other smartphones already used 3G, not even a copy/paste capability). However, it was targeted on the mass market, advertised to that market, and showed the other manufacturers of high-end mobile phones that the time had come to release a smartphone for the masses. Apple rode the wave of their initial success with updates that addressed many of the weaknesses of the platform, and gained the early-mover advantage of this new wave of smartphones. It made them rich, and it's an unanswerable question what the world of smartphones would look like today without Apple except that it would probably be both different and smaller. I daresay it would not only exist, though, but that somebody else would have realized the huge, untapped market opportunity. Maybe it would have been Nokia (something Maemo-derived?), maybe RIM/Blackberry (BBM is hugely popular in many parts of the world, even now), maybe Palm (remember them?), maybe even Microsoft, maybe somebody we've never heard of at all!

So yeah, I give Apple (and Jobs) credit - both good and bad - for the direction the smartphone market has gone... but they didn't create that market, the iPhone wasn't better in every way than the phones that came before, and the things you say are either ignorant or revisionist. Yes, I used smartphones before the iPhone. They had many bad points, but none of the things you said accurately described those phones. The jump to the iPhone from what was already available at the time isn't nearly as big as you imagine, though it was undeniably very significant.

about a week ago
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Eric Schmidt: Anxiety Over US Spying Will "Break the Internet"

cbhacking Re:Very easy to solve (179 comments)

An end to the enforceability of NSLs (ideally, an end to the entire concept) would help a lot. When US companies don't have to cooperate with the feds to the point of not even being able to reveal what's being asked for, the entire system is untenable. Remove the ability of the government to act in secret and with impunity, and things should get a lot better. Not perfect, of course, but it resolves one of the worst issues. We got by fine for decades without NSLs, and nothing I've seen about them indicates a need for them now.

By the way, when I say "fine", I am including Sep 11 in that. We did ourselves far more harm in our absurd overreactions to the attacks than the attacks directly did to us, including the economic harm that comes of things like NSA dragnets and so forth. It's not as if NSLs would have stopped the attacks anyhow; so far as I can tell, we had the info to prevent them, we just didn't put the pieces together because there was too much noise surrounding the signal. Adding more data from such excessive surveillance isn't going to improve the overall level of the noise and is unlikely to improve the ratio of signal to noise. "We had the pieces, but we didn't know to put them together" is just going to get worse and worse, not better, as a result of this BS.

about two weeks ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

cbhacking Re:Taping Conversations? (742 comments)

In many (most? all?) cases, the fact that they tell you that "this call may be monitored or recorded" gives you all the permission you need. I do sometimes mention it to CSRs anyhow, though.

about two weeks ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

cbhacking Re:We are not hearing the full story. (742 comments)

That is *NOT* what "right to work" means - you're confusing it with "at will [employment]" - but you're probably still right. That said, if you fire somebody *for cause* (as opposed to simply saying "I'm sorry, but you are no longer employed by this company") then they *may* be able to sue you over the cause.

Some companies try hard to avoid firing for cause in any but the most obvious cases (criminal behavior, for example) because it can get them in legal trouble. Others try to avoid firing in any case *except* "for cause", because then the former employee can get unemployment insurance payments (which costs the company money) and they have to say that no, he was not terminated for cause when anybody asks. Most are somewhere in between, especially in at-will states; you can terminate people who are not good matches for the company (and eat the costs of your insurance premiums going up as the cost of a bad hiring decision) without putting a black mark on their employment history or incurring (significant) risk of legal hassles, and fire others for cause whenever you can demonstrate a significant cause.

about two weeks ago
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Adobe Spies On Users' eBook Libraries

cbhacking Re:DRM vs. Pirating (150 comments)

Aside from all the people who invested their money and effort into authoring, editing, typesetting/formatting, publishing, distributing, and promoting that content which you oh-so-morally just take for free? Just because the incremental cost to run off another copy is close to zero doesn't mean there isn't a very real unit cost. Do the terms "up-front costs", "return on investment", "opportunity cost", "overhead", or "profit margin" mean anything to you?

By your argument, it's just fine and harmless and moral to sneak into a car dealership and take your pick, as long as you leave a wad of cash in the value of the car's bill of materials. After all, the manufacturer already had the assembly lines set up to build it, and the blueprints, and they've performed all the testing and certification already, and you didn't even take the time of any of the salespeople. What possible justification do they have to charge you more than the cost of the steel and rubber and glass and so on?

What the hell is wrong with people that makes them feel entitled to take the fruits of another's labor without compensating them for that labor?

about two weeks ago
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Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

cbhacking Re:Why? (549 comments)

No, in case *SOMETHING ELSE* managed to fuck* up our home planet and wipe out humanity. Does the term "extinction-level event" mean anything to you? Seen any (non-feathered) dinosaurs lately?

* we're adults here, or at least this is the Internet and you can pretend. Swearing is OK

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

cbhacking Re:MS did this before with MS Word (644 comments)

Similarly, the very first NT release was Windows NT 3.1, to match the then-current 16-bit and consumer-focused Windows 3.1 version number. As with Word, that's not so much a competition with outside products as it is a matter of keeping up with the version numbers of similar products from elsewhere in the company.

about three weeks ago
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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Steps Down

cbhacking Mod parent up (142 comments)

Just after my points expire... *MAD* props to you, irq-1!

about a month ago

Submissions

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Microsoft allowing WP8 users to get updates directly

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  1 year,5 days

cbhacking (979169) writes "In June of 2012, Microsoft announced that they would be providing a system whereby "registered [Windows Phone] enthusiasts get early access to updates" without waiting for carrier approval and broad distribution. For more than a year, that has been an unfulfilled promise, and for many users, updates have been delayed or may even still be unavailable. Today, coinciding with the release of WP8 Update 3 (a.k.a. GDR3), Microsoft is allowing "developers" (anybody who has enabled app sideloading on their phone) to opt into a "Windows Phone Preview" program to allow updating immediately.

Like the update itself, this is likely a move in response to consumer demand and comparisons to iOS and Android, as there is little in the update which specifically interests developers. However, the program does warn that participation may invalidate your device's warranty; this may have been required by the carriers to relieve concerns of high support costs in the event of a botched update. While only the Microsoft portion of the updates (as opposed to driver firmware or OEM customizations) are available through this program, participating phones will also continue to receive public updates as they are rolled out."
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Zune 3.0: Wireless Purchase, Games, 16GB

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cbhacking writes "Microsoft released the Zune 3.0 yesterday. The device firmware has been immensely upgraded: it now supports connecting to wireless access points, sampling and purchasing music through a built-in store interface, playing games, and several other new things. You can read Microsoft's blurb on what's new at zune.net.

The Windows software has also been improved, etter integrating the social features.

Additionally, zunes are now available in more colors, the 4GB flash player is being discontinued for a 16GB player, and there's now a HDD-based 120GB model."

Link to Original Source
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CrossOver Games released for Linux, OS X

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cbhacking writes "CodeWeavers, the company that supports the open-source Wine project that allows running Windows applications on UNIX-like operating systems, has released CrossOver Games for Linux and OS X. The launch includes a considerable list of supported titles, including such popular (and graphically intensive) games as EVE Online, Counterstrike: Source (and other Steam games), and World of WarCraft.

A trial version is also available for download."

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft .NET source to be available for viewing

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cbhacking writes "A post on the blog of Microsoft's Scott Guthrie has some exciting news for .NET developers: with the release of Visual Studio 2008 later this year, the .NET Framework 3.5 source code will be released for reference purposes. Most of the libraries, including System.Runtime, System.Security, System.Windows.Forms, and System.Web will be made available with the release of VS2008, with more some additional non-core libraries coming later. The code will be available for either standalone download and viewing, or as debugging symbols with associated source for integrated debugging with VS2008.

There's a catch though: although the license abbreviation used in the post, MS-RL, usually refers to the copyleft and OSI-approved Microsoft Reciprocal License (which allows modification and redistribution), the license actually explicitly mentioned and linked to is the Microsoft Reference License, which prohibits modification or redistribution. Although an open-source release of the code would be great, this is still likely to be very helpful for debugging, examining behavior of the libraries, and selecting the correct methods or algorithms for a given situation."
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Iraq Whistleblower Imprisoned, Tortured

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cbhacking writes "Forbes.com has a telling story on the fraud and corruption that has plagues the Iraqi reconstruction efforts and, more frighteningly, the harsh penalties faced by whistleblowers. Many have been vilified, demoted, or fired outright. Now, the story has come out of Navy veteran Donald Vance, who was working as a civilian in an Iraqi company. After reporting to the FBI that his company was making illegal sales of military weapons to customers ranging from State Department workers to Iraqi insurgents, Vance was held without a trial for 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad. During his time there, he was subjected to "that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over."

Vance is now back in the USA and, along with a colleague who helped him gather evidence and was treated similarly in return, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics "reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants.""

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

cbhacking writes "Previously, searching for 'Powertoy Vista' has been a quick road to failure. However, Brandon Paddock, a MS developer, has independently produced and is maintaining a very handy tool called Search++ that adds all kinds of capabilities to the built in desktop search.
Some of the standard features are things like typing 'g <search string>' to launch a Google search, or 'play[artist|album] <name>' to find and start playing music. Another, very nice for those of us who start almost all programs in Vista from the Start menu, is the ability to start programs with elevated permissions via 'sudo <Program>'.
The basic features are great and very easy to use, but Start++ is also extensible and user-modifiable. You can even import additional search tools (called 'Startlets'), and export your own Startlets.
You can download Search++ and additional Startlets here."
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cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cbhacking writes "ABC News has a well-written review of the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite, which has been shipped to manufacturers. Representing the first major upgrade since 2003, Office 2007 has an incredible and instantly visible collection of new features, including an innovative new interface. For those who downloaded the public beta (all ~5 million of us), Office 2007 has already shown itself to be an amazing software suite.

The review includes overall impressions of the new version, plus ratings of the most common individual apps. It is mostly positive, from the easy learning curve for the new interface and the capabilities it offers, to the number of things Microsoft finally got RIGHT, to the good migration tools.

In addition to the many tools and tips the review mentions, I would add the ability of Word to (via plugins) read/write ODF and to export to PDF and Microsoft's new XPS format."
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cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cbhacking writes "The Pentagon is currently considering options for developing "the ability to strike targets around the world within an hour." According to Space.com, there are several main options being considered: an "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon", placing weapon payloads on small space launch vehicles, fitting missile submarines with a new design of ballistic missile with a conventional payload, or placing conventional warheads on the (traditionally nuclear) Trident missiles our subs currently carry.

Aside from the coolness factor of an autonomous hypersonic vehicle which achieves suborbital altitudes but for the most part flies towards its target like an aircraft, the main advantage of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon seems to be that it wouldn't be confused with a nuclear launch. Several prominent people, including Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens, have suggested that using Trident missiles would be dangerous as it may cause other countries to believe we are launching nuclear warheads at them. However, it appears to be the option involving the least re-invention of the wheel, and could be operational "before the end of this decade."

The option of weaponizing space launch vehicles seems to already be facing significant opposition. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is receiving some funding, but re-arming the Tridents is out at least until completion of a report on — among other things — the military and political issues.

Is it just me, or aren't there any major reasons the other weapons couldn't be equipped with nuclear warheads anyhow? Do we actually need a different weapon for everything?"
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cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cbhacking writes "The Windows Vista Team has posted a blog about the "Express Upgrade" program. Basically, if you buy a new computer with XP, Microsoft will make the upgrade to Vista available for a relatively low price.

The edition(s) you can upgrade to through this offer vary by what edition of XP you have. For example, Media Center will upgrade to Vista Home Premium, and Professional or Tablet to Vista Business, for a nominal cost. XP Home can be upgraded to either Vista Home Basic or Premium, for a 50% discount off the normal upgrade pricing. Enterprise and Ultimate are not offered in this list. Note that the upgrade versions of Vista will already cost less than the full retail versions; this program reduces the cost further for people who purchase a PC just before Vista comes out (or shortly thereafter).

It seems that very few people actually upgrade the OS; they simply buy a new computer with the new version. Maybe this program will increase the Vista install base in its first few months?"

Journals

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Another major music store offers unrestricted MP3s

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  more than 7 years ago

When I started the RealNetworks Rhapsody software this morning, I discovered a cause for some celebration by anybody who supports DRM-free music purchases: the Rhapsody store is now offering some unrestricted MP3 downloads. At present only about 5000 albums (roughly 50000 songs) are available, but that is just an initial offer - I haven't even found an announcement anywhere - and they claim to be working to increase the number of MP3 tracks available.

The MP3s are encoded at 256kbps, and cost no more than the standard DRM-crippled music (which is also 256kbps) at 89c/song for subscribing members, or 99c/song for non-subscribers (the subscription gives the ability to listen to streamed music on demand, starting at $13/month). Prices are US dollars, and I don't know whether the service is available internationally.

The bad news: downloading the music requires running the Rhapsody player software (version 4, just released) and at present it's only available on Windows. Online streaming is available to other OSes through http://rhapsody.com/ (works in Firefox, via a plugin) but the cross-platform Real Player software cannot access the music store, and last I tried it wouldn't run in wine.

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