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Comments

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Google Serves Old Search Page To Old Browsers

cbhacking Re:Yes (152 comments)

Lol what, flamebait? Some mod was very confused...

Anyhow, it's a terrible idea *in general* to use HTTP for anything that is by default over HTTPS. Various reasons include:
1) As mentioned by other posters, we should be increasing the total encrypted traffic, right that decreasing it. Hide everything, even if you have nothing to hide. No good comes of letting everybody between you and Google (and their domestic or international spymasters) observe your traffic, but some harm may come of it.
2) Actual security risk: inadvertently exposing sensitive data. I would *hope* that Google is smart enough to use the Secure flag on all their sensitive cookies, but they wouldn't be the only Internet giant to fail to secure semi-sensitive cookies (ones that are not by themselves very sensitive, but can be used to launch more sophisticated attacks). Using SSL means that all cookies and other traffic is protected, sensitive or otherwise.
3) Actual security risk: SSL stripping. This is where an attacker tricks a victim into doing their browsing over HTTP (which the attacker is monitoring and editing) instead of HTTPS by re-writing any links to HTTPS as HTTP links instead (simple redirects from HTTP to HTTPS are silently completed by the attacker). This is a real-world attack for which freely-available and easily used tools exist. It relies on you going to an HTTP site first though; if you only use HTTPS the attacker can't get into your session to start the attack.
4) Privacy concern. A person's search history can reveal quite a bit about them. You can't keep Google from having it (well, except by using different search engines, especially the ones built for anonymity) but there's no need to make it *widely* available. You say you don't care now, but are you sure you never will? It costs very little to add some confidentiality to your online activities.
5) Convenience. As you note, you "have to" use a different and non-default search URL. That's silly. A minute of installing certificates could save you a lot of annoyance in the future

about two weeks ago
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Google Serves Old Search Page To Old Browsers

cbhacking Re:Yes (152 comments)

to avoid https (so I can use my filtering proxy).

That's a terrible idea. You are aware that using a proxy with HTTPS is entirely possible, right? Set up the proxy to automatically generate trusted certificates using an internal CA key, import the proxy's CA key as a trusted CA, and go to town. I've used both Fiddler and Burp in this way, and I'm sure lots of other software supports it too (automatically, even). Make sure the proxy still performs cert validation and warns you if the validation fails (it should do this by default).

There. Now you can have your filtering and secure it too.

about two weeks ago
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Hal Finney, PGP and Bitcoin Pioneer, Dies At 58

cbhacking Re:RIP, you cold cypherpunk (40 comments)

There's probably not much point in trying to fix the bodies anyhow; even without the freeze damage, the people are legally dead because their bodies were shutting down. In many cases, the freezing just finished a process of tissue damage that was already near-complete.

With that said, bodies (unlike brains) cannot currently be preserved without any freeze damage. Although some places will cycle cryopreservative though the bloodstream to mitigate the damage, others don't bother keeping the parts that can't be protected against freeze damage and only preserve the contents of the skull. Those people signed up for cryopreservation *knowing* their only hopes of revival were brain uploading or brand new bodies... and to them it was worth it. Why not? They were going to be dead anyhow.

about two weeks ago
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Hal Finney, PGP and Bitcoin Pioneer, Dies At 58

cbhacking Re:RIP, you cold cypherpunk (40 comments)

Some of those early adopters... you mean, like the ones who put their own money into launching the industry, and are themselves cryogenically preserved? I doubt any of them thought they would be restored by now - they knew, as well as we know today, that technology would need to advance to the point of either completely rebuilding their bodies or making bodies themselves redundant - though I suspect some of them thought (and I'm sure they all hoped) there would be more research in the field. In any case, I'm not sure how something is supposed to be a scam when the people launching it put not only their own money but also their own bodies into it. It's not like these were young people out to make a quick buck...

As for the "died before freezing", that's literally a legal technicality, at least in many cases. They met the legal definition of dead - that is, their heart stopped beating - but even back then we could resuscitate people from that state in most cases. In many cases, not for long; their bodies would need to be kept operational through artificial intervention. So yeah, the bodies are dead. But the brains aren't. Your brain can endure a few minutes without oxygen before damage even begins to occur. That's why cryopreservation focuses on the brain. So yeah, the people "died" - but instead of being "brought back" for a brief time (as now happens routinely in hospitals every day) the brain was filled with a chemical that prevents freezing damage and preserved at the temperature of liquid nitrogen until it can be "brought back" into a new life entirely.

about two weeks ago
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Hal Finney, PGP and Bitcoin Pioneer, Dies At 58

cbhacking Re:RIP, you cold cypherpunk (40 comments)

Yes, he was cryopreserved.

On the plus side, knowing your own death is coming and being at a hospital already gives the best chances for cryopreserving the brain before it begins to degrade. You can get a "standby" watch as the time approaches.

On the minus side, ALS is a neurological disease. It affects the motor neurons, not the ones responsible for cognition, but that includes the "upper" motor neurons... including the ones in the brain.

Maybe we'll be able to repair ALS-damaged neurons before we figure out how to safely reverse cryopreservation. Maybe we won't, but life support systems will be good enough it'll be worth bringing him out anyhow. Maybe we'll achieve brain uploading and ALS will be irrelevant. Any which way you look at it, though, he's going to need some work.

That's actually one of the (many) problems with cryopreservation research. We can't bring people out of full suspension right now, so cryopreserving a living person is legally considered killing them. Thus, it can only be done to people already legally dead. Legally dead people tend to have died *of* something. There just isn't any point to bringing people out of cryonics until we can repair (or replace) their bodies.

about two weeks ago
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Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website

cbhacking Re:It's a complot (212 comments)

I don't deny this. The entire health insurance industry is a parasite on our economic ability to keep people healthy; it extracts value from the economy without producing anything of greater value. However, in the current environment, it's practically non-optional (actually, post-Obamacare, it's required even more so, but it was almost mandatory beforehand too). Healthcare in the US is phenomenally expensive compared to practically anywhere else in the world, and while I'll happily note that our doctors are excellent, they are *not* worth what they cost in most situations. Very few people set aside the kind of money required to cover the time when they *will* need it, and even those who otherwise would do so may find themselves unable to set aside that much if a medical emergency hits them young.

So yeah, universal health insurance (through mandatory patronage of for-profit insurance companies) is a sucky attempt at a solution. Sadly, it is *still* better than what we had before, for those who previously simply could not get such insurance due to pre-existing conditions or medical history.

about three weeks ago
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Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website

cbhacking Re:It's a complot (212 comments)

While I agree, in general, with the claims of how shitty Obamacare is...

I have friends who now have health insurance, and another who has finally been able to leave his old employer (to start his own company and become self-employed), because of Obamacare. Specifically, two of these friends are cancer survivors (throat and cervical), one has fibromyalgia, and one has a chronic autoimmune disorder whose name I forget. They wouldn't have been able to buy health insurance, otherwise; nobody was willing to offer it. So, for them personally, Obamacare *is* better than what they had before.

Of course, there are a lot of less-fucked-up ways of addressing that issue.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

cbhacking Re:Pick a different job. (548 comments)

That's *significantly* less than I made as a no-benefits intern (if you had extended said internship to a full year) with 3/4 of a Bachelor's degree six years ago. It's about 2/3 of the entry-level salary for a developer around here even if you aren't working at the good places, about half if you are, and that doesn't include benefits.

Are you sure that union is helping out? I mean, I assume your cost of living is a lot lower than mine - I'm in Seattle - but that is a seriously mediocre amount of money for this field. Are you saying that would make up the difference between what you make now and what you would be making working some other field?

Note that I'm not opposed to unions in theory. I just tend to think their implementation tends to have problems and sometimes is a significant net negative. There are fields where unions make a lot of sense - construction comes to mind, for example, and mining, and other dangerous jobs where one worker is largely interchangeable with another and consequently the workers have no power - but IT in general (be it support, development, consulting, or so on) are not such a field. I work 40 hours a week, have four weeks paid vacation a year plus paid sick days and holidays, can work from home when needed, make six figures plus bonuses, have a generous training budget, and get benefits. I'm 4.5 years out of college with an Engineering bachelor's, and took a six-month break in the middle of that. What would a union have gotten me that could possibly be worth its dues? That's ignoring the risk of the union making it hard to get rid of the people who sincerely need to go, and other such potential problems.

about three weeks ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

cbhacking Re:Linux will NEVER be a Desktop - Every Day OS. (727 comments)

1 - Right-click the network icon in the system tray (it's in the same place on all versions of Windows from the last decade, and XP too for that matter).
2 - Select "Open Network and Sharing Center" (if on XP, just go to Properties, but make sure you got the right network interface if you have more than one).
3 - Click on the network interface name (something like "Local Area Connection" or "Ethernet"; XP users skip this step because you already chose the interface) to open the interface status.
4 - Click on Properties and, if not already running elevated, go through UAC. This gets you where the XP users were waiting (for the 13 years since their OS came out...).
5 - Double-click on "Internet Protocol Version 4".
6 - Change IP.

There's a number of alternate ways though some of those steps. You can also short-circuit the whole thing using netsh, but it was implied that you wanted the GUI technique. Oh, and these steps work for the last four (arguably five) OS releases, on everything from the extremely basic Starter SKU to the highest-end Windows Server Datacenter Edition to even the RT versions. Care to give the steps for Ubuntu 9.04 (a mere five years ago), or for Kubuntu/Xubuntu/etc.?

about three weeks ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

cbhacking Re:Linus does not understand the size of the effor (727 comments)

MS creates a lot of generic drivers (think stuff like USB mass storage, generic monitors, SATA controllers, Media Transfer Protocol devices, anything like that where there's a standard that the hardware implements). You can get a basic (but functional, if you don't mind probably having the wrong video resolution) computer running almost entirely on Microsoft-written drivers.

With that said, the vast majority of Windows drivers (by count, not necessarily by usage) are developed by hardware vendors. Microsoft probably doesn't even have 20k people in the Windows org at all, even if you include test, PM, and management. They certainly don't have that many on the kernel and devices team, never mind the portion of that team which is actually developing (including designing and testing) drivers.

about three weeks ago
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Heartbleed To Blame For Community Health Systems Breach

cbhacking Re:Operating Systems (89 comments)

Wow, you didn't even read the *summary*? That's some impressive skill there. Hint: Juniper routers do *not* run Windows. They do terminate SSL though, and therefore see all the data that goes in or out. Which means Heartbleed can be used to extract all that data... including login credentials.

about three weeks ago
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Heartbleed To Blame For Community Health Systems Breach

cbhacking Re:Access restrictions (89 comments)

No, it's not a good point because you're missing the entire point of the Heartbleed vulnerability. Heartbleed lets you get *everything* SSL-related on a host. It's not "just" the private keys and such; it also contains passwords, authentication tokens, two-factor auth values, and so on. In short, it gives you everything that is required to successfully impersonate a legitimate user, and gain just as much access as that user does.

As for IDS, how the hell is an IDS supposed to recognize that this is an attack? Sure, if it could recognize Heartbleed requests that would work, but if the IDS had been updated since Heartbleed went public then surely the router would have been updated too...

about three weeks ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

cbhacking Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

I like how you didn't actually refute a single one of my points. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to be subjected to insults on my intelligence from people who can't even make a counter-point. The closest you came was failing to understand what an implicit bribe is. If the crash dialog message - the one that pops up when the program segfaults, the equivalent of Windows' "do you want to send an error report to Microsoft?" box - includes a button to submit feedback about this whole project (which just ate your file and wasted your time), most people will ignore it but some fraction will take the chance to vent some spleen. That kind of thing is easy to get added to a project if you have a little money to funnel to some coder, but will inevitably produce far more complaints than accolades. There's opportunities all over something like this for money to subtly make life better for those who complain.

But, if you want to take the concept of "bribes" more literally, remember my third point above. There are, statistically, many times as many people who are annoyed at this software as there are complaints filed; given the number of people involved in this project that's inevitable. People don't like change, they don't like needing to learn things, they don't like it when the new thing introduces even minor annoyances that the old thing lacked (and conveniently forget that the old thing had worse annoyances that the new one doesn't), and there's always the minority who honestly like even an inferior product. If Microsoft managed to identify even 10% of those people and give them the least bit of incentive to file a complaint, most of them would not turn it down. "Oh wow, sure, I'd love tickets to the football [soccer] game! ... Ha, you want to hear my thoughts on the software? Be ready for an earful! ... You know, I'd never thought about it before, but maybe if I complain somebody *would* notice..." Hell, just offer entry in a drawing for some fairly-cheap prize if people submit feedback and then only advertise the drawing amongst the disaffected...

I will readily grant that I'm surprised that so many people thought gothzilla's post was insightful, considering that it literally contains a fundamental flaw of reading comprehension: the inability to separate the hypothetical scenario from the statement of fact. I never implied, or even "ask[ed] questions" suggesting, that this had actually happened. I pointed out that it was *possible*. In fact, I explicitly pointed out that it was implausible. Did you think I was trying some weird reverse psychology BS?

As for the "naïve" part, it's either that or simply ignorant of history. Microsoft, and various other moneyed interests on the other side of the libre-vs.-proprietary debate (Oracle, SCO-via-Microsoft, Sony, etc.), have a well-established history of throwing money are successful open-source initiatives and sometimes successfully making them go away. In what world is "Microsoft has money, Microsoft wants people to complain about the project, therefore Microsoft finds a way to buy complaints" not a completely obvious possibility to anybody who isn't the "oh, they would never do that!" category of naivete?

about a month ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

cbhacking Re: Surprise? (579 comments)

Maybe its a queue for Linux developers to pull their heads out of their asses

There's a line for that? Man I just thought we were supposed to do it on cue...

about a month ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

cbhacking Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

Reading comprehension fail?
First, I said there were ways it *could* happen, not that I thought either had occurred. So no, I don't "really, honestly" believe that...
Second, bribes don't need to be anything explicit - in fact, they rarely are, simply because it's so likely that people will report it - there just needs to be some kind of incentive. It doesn't need to be anything traceable to Microsoft; the people taking the hypothetical incentive never need have known from whence it came.
Third, there are always tons of people upset about any given change; with the years this project has run, MS has had plenty of time to find them and encourage them to complain. No need to bribe people to file false reports; just convince those who wouldn't otherwise have complained to do so (and maybe those who would have sent praise not to do so).
Fourth, I'm a security consultant. It is literally my job to be paranoid about potential attack vectors. That doesn't mean I think they'll happen - in fact, another part of my job is rating the risk of each threat coming to pass - but it's there.
Fifth, anybody who *doesn't* see that as the obvious answer to how MS having a bunch of money at stake could lead to this is (IMO) dangerously naïve. It's not complicated; it just requires asking yourself how you could generate complaints if you had lots of money and no morals.

about a month ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

cbhacking Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

In fairness, there are at least two ways that could happen:
1) MS bribes people to complain. Unlikely, but not impossible.
2) MS bribes the relevant officials to *say* there have been overwhelming complaints. I mean, there are inevitably going to be complaints; that happens any time *anything* changes. The question is at what point they become important enough to sway the overall decision.

With that said, I suspect you're right.

about a month ago
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Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

cbhacking Re:suitable for home use? (178 comments)

"Long-term" in this case meaning hours rather than seconds or minutes, which are typical times for a capacitor to discharge to an effectively useless voltage (though I admit to not having tried building a system that could use them). The system my parents use can run off stored capacity for around three days if needed (assuming typical usage but no charge for whatever reason), although the batteries would suffer damage from being drained (typically you don't want a nominally-12V lead-acid-chemistry battery to drop below about 11.5V if you can help it, anything below 11V and you're probably losing significant capacity; empty is around 10.8V).

about a month ago
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Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

cbhacking Re:suitable for home use? (178 comments)

Gel batteries are a form of sealed lead-acid, yes, although not the only such form. Another common one is AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat). I forget exactly why we went with gel instead of AGM cells, but there was some reason (and it wasn't cost; AGM is cheaper). In any case, there's some interesting reading about sealed lead-acid batteries on the mighty Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V...

about a month ago
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Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

cbhacking Re:suitable for home use? (178 comments)

Apologies, you're correct. You'll note that I used "energy density" later on.

Also, it may cast doubt on my knowledge (which is actually fair; that's a easy mistake but also a beginner or casual one) but I don't think it casts aspersions; you should look up what that word means. Anyhow, I'm a computer security engineer, not an EE or an electrician. I've only ever wired one large PV-charged, DC-stored home electrical system, and did it with under my father who *is* an EE. I'm guessing that's still one more than you, though, and the aforementioned system is still going strong some 12.5 years later (though the batteries did need replacing once and the charge controller got upgraded).

about a month ago
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Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

cbhacking Re:Define Troll (457 comments)

I'm not sure if the sarcastic approach was the right one here, but I agree with what I'm pretty sure you mean. Sarcasm has no place in rational debate, though; it's a tool to play on the emotions (humor for those who support you, anger in those you lampoon).

The concept of making a post endorsing the presentation of rational arguments via the use of sarcasm is... weird. You aren't going to get many people disagreeing with you that, objectively, logic and citations are goo things, so there's no need for satire, either. What gives?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Microsoft allowing WP8 users to get updates directly

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  about 10 months ago

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 5 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  |  about 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  |  about 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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