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Comments

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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

cbhacking Re:Had a HTC Win6 phone (367 comments)

Probably the Touch Pro or Touch Pro 2. Yeah, those were great. I saw people using them well after they were obsolete, just for the good keyboard and decent (for the time) display.

The HTC 7 Pro was supposed to be the successor to that line, running WP7 instead of WinMo, but it had relatively limited availability and the smallest screen of all WP7 devices. None of the slider WP7 phones did well, although there were at least three model lines of them (LG had one, HTC had the 7 Pro, and Dell had the Venue Pro). As far as I know, not a single WP8 handset has a slideout keyboard, and there are few-if-any Android phones that have come out in the last year-or-so (same time frame since WP8 launched) with slider keyboards either.

4 hours ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

cbhacking Re:NO, all candy bar (367 comments)

My Samsung ATIV S (same hardware as the Galaxy S3) does this, except it will work for a little more than two days and it doesn't switch off *all* smartphone features, just the ones that run automatically in the background. You can still do things like play games on it, or *manually* trigger an email sync, if you're willing to accept the battery hit.

Of source, every single Windows Phone 8 device has this feature... The percentage of battery where it does this automatically is not settable (it's always 20% if automatic mode is enabled) and the duration that it can last when in Battery Saver mode will very depending on how much actual capacity "20%" is (the ATIV S had the largest battery of the first-wave WP8 handsets). However, you can manually enable Battery Saver any time you want to, and you can (as of the latest update) also exclude specific apps from the Battery Saver rules (so you could keep synching one vital email account but stop synching the others, for example).

I really don't understand why something like this isn't standard in all smartphone operating systems. It's an obvious, useful feature. Smartphone batteries actually last very long if the phone isn't doing anything except listening for phone calls or messages - my phone reports 21 days of battery life if I put it into Battery Saver right after charging - but the things that make a smartphone really useful eat a lot of that. My HTC One M8 is a much newer phone than the ATIV S, and can survive in "full smartphone" mode longer now than the ATIV can... but without third-party tools or a bunch of manual tweaking, it will die while the Windows phone still has about 28 hours left.

5 hours ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

cbhacking Re:equivalent to destroying nine rockets (131 comments)

In fairness, the SLS is supposed to be more powerful than the Falcon 9. On the other hand, an extra $400M would probably be plenty for SpaceX to get the Falcon Heavy flying, which will be capable of most of the things that the SLS is supposed to handle and at a vastly lower per-launch price even if they *don't* manage to make the launcher reusable. Hell, an extra $400M would probably go much further toward SpaceX managing to build their interplanetary craft (the one that's supposed to ferry people to Mars) than it will actually produce toward the SLS, and you'd get a more powerful (and probably *still* cheaper per-use) spaceship out of it, too!

2 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

cbhacking Re:So am I. Specifically, violated how? (872 comments)

I wasn't under the impression that the government making things that help (in the case of the TSA, that last word is highly sarcastic) a private industry render that industry public. If that were the case, any industry that relied on the interstate highways (or even just public roads) would seem to apply. Or anything involving oceanic operations (Coast Guard, NOAA weather stations, survey charts, hell even GPS). In many parts of the country, municipal water is government-run; does that mean that the government "funds" restaurants by making sure that they don't need to perform their own water quality testing before they can serve it to their guests?

Mind you, I'm ignorant of (and therefore not considering) any legal history which may exist around this issue. So far as I know, the gov does not actually directly fund airlines in any way and instead just has agencies who are responsible for making sure that planes don't fall out of the sky, crash into each other, or get hijacked for use as missiles... at least, not very often. I'm not sure how this is different from the government agencies which make sure that road signs are accurate, bridges can support the weight of a truck driving over them, and people aren't allowed to tear through residential neighborhoods at whatever speed they feel like. Well, aside from the fact that many (though not all) of the relevant agencies are operated by lesser governments than the feds.

Anyhow, if there's actually something that makes the difference, then I'm curious but accept that my understanding was incorrect. To the best of my knowledge, an airline agent is a public servant in much the same way that a cruise ship agent is - that is, not at all. They have authority within the scope of their employer (including the authority to evict you from the plane, assuming that in doing so they are not putting anybody's life in undue danger) but then, so does any restaurant proprietor if they have reason to believe that you are harmful to their business. They have the authority to call the police, but so does any private citizen for any scenario in which they think a crime has been or is being (or imminently will be) committed. They do not, to my understanding, have the authority to force the police to arrest anybody or indeed to show up at all, although given the nature of their job I'm sure they can convince the police to show up any time they want them to (at risk of crying wolf too many times). Again, correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.

2 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

cbhacking So am I. Specifically, violated how? (872 comments)

What first amendment rights were violated? I'm absolutely serious about this; please point to any violation of first amendment rights anywhere in here.

While you do so, remember that the first amendment restricts the actions of the *government* - that is, it prohibits the making of laws that do certain things - and has absolutely nothing to do with the private sector. Here, let me quote it for you (emphasis mine):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, which law did SWAirlines cause Congress to pass that violated these people's first amendment rights? Go on, point it out please.

Or were you just mouthing off about stuff you don't understand, trying to get people riled up about an issue that doesn't even exist? Because that... well, let's just say it speaks volumes about your intelligence (and that of the person who modded you up). Volumes that I doubt you would ever read, since apparently you can't be bothered to read (or at least, understand) one of the most important *sentences* ever committed to text in the history of this nation...

3 days ago
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GOG.com Announces Linux Support

cbhacking Re:GOG discovers DOSBOX works on Linux (80 comments)

No offense, but that's a kind of dumb assumption. They explicitly state that they make the games compatible with modern systems. With a large portion of their catalog being 16-bit, and 64-bit OSes not able to load 16-bit apps, they *need* to be wrapping the games in emulators or the like.

Yes, the original game files - or very close, minimally-patched versions - are in there. However, the vast majority of their customer base wouldn't be able to do anything with those game files. Even if they were, it wouldn't be the simple and user-friendly experience that it is today.

Now, as a Linux user trying to run Windows software, you're pretty much writing off "simple and user-friendly" from the get-go (I've been gaming in Wine since 2006; it's better than it was but it's got a long way to go and the goalposts keep moving). Given that, maybe it would have been nice for the small portion of users who care if they'd provided a "here's the files and instructions you need for setting this up in ScummVM on the platform of your choice" option... but that's not their target market, and frankly it might actually be harmful to their goals (never underestimate the cost of support calls from idiots who think they know what they're doing).

Hence, while many of their games have been *able* to run on Linux since GOG released them, the really core portion of the service - the dead-simple installers and updates - didn't. That is what they're now changing.

4 days ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

cbhacking Re:OK MS bashers. (322 comments)

Yes, please! Hell, just dumping the lockdown (or rather, making it optional) should boost sales a good bit; there's a fair bit of recompiled code already available (jailbroken) RT. Something with RT's battery life and hardware support, but able to run "real" Windows software, is a desirable machine for many people... and as you say, there's also many who would like to put Linux on it, and get an ultra-portable Linux machine that can also run Windows stuff at need.

There's already a semi-functional x86 emulation (dynamic recompilation, more accurately) layer for RT. Considering it's the work of one hobbyist in his spare time over a few months, without access to MS source, I'm sure MS could do a lot better themselves if they wanted to. With that said, I can see the argument for not doing so after all. .NET binaries run as-is, anything MS owns can be ported, and perf impact of recompilation onto a less-powerful architecture, especially for something as complex as x86, is pretty heavy. (The current tool will happily run 2D games... from the late 90s.)

4 days ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

cbhacking Re:OK MS bashers. (322 comments)

What the [redacted] do you mean "go back to" promoting .NET? Honestly curious. I mean, you obviously know [redacted]-all about it (among other things, while it compiles to bytecode in the typical use cases, it's executed as native code thanks to a JIT compiler that takes it the rest of the way for whatever platform it's on) but I'm not sure how you've missed the fact that it's the primary platform for Windows Phone apps (WP7 only supported Silverlight or XNA - both of which are .NET - for third-party apps; WP8 allows native code but most apps are still mostly or entirely .NET), Windows Store apps (JS and native are both available, but .NET is very heavily used), client apps (it's rarely used in big apps, but widely used for small utilities), server apps (hell, the Server Core SKU doesn't have a GUI, just PowerShell... which is a .NET-based command line interface), and games (all Xbox360 indie games - there are many thousands of them - are XNA which is .NET).

They added native code options for Phone and WinRT because people wanted them for performance-sensitive stuff, but the vast majority of the software for those platforms is architecture-independent. Windows RT will run the same .NET binaries that Windows 8 will.

4 days ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

cbhacking Re:Microsoft Linux (322 comments)

Microsoft actually sold a highly-successful cross-platform Unix system for many years, back in the pre-NT days. You didn't think they ran the company on DOS, did you? They used Xenix machines extensively into the 90s, until NT was in a position to take over.

For that matter, back then NT had a POSIX subsystem and could run most Unix software with little more than a recompile. In case you're curious, by "back then" I mean "until Windows 8.1"; the POSIX subsystem is still available in Win7 and Win8. It's not a great Unix, but it's better integrated into Windows than a VM or CoLinux, or even Cygwin, and it does the job... or did. When MS discontinued it, they also cut support for the most-used software repo, and staying up to date currently means manually updating or moving to a different package manager.

4 days ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

cbhacking Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (322 comments)

Win8 (especially 8.1) already does this, to a small degree. Buttons and menu items are bigger on touchscreen systems, and I think the default state of boot-to-desktop-vs.-Start-screen is already input-hardware-determined. It certainly doesn't require any new APIs, much less new drivers!

With that said, yes, Win9/Threshold/whatever will be a more dramatic example. It's not new, though.

4 days ago
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No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

cbhacking Re:Stephen Elop... (282 comments)

Nokia was struggling quite badly before Elop. I'm not dismissing your claim that Microsoft devoured it, or that Elop was a major part of that, but if you take off your rose-tinted glasses of Nokia past (which was excellent, undeniably) and look at the Nokia of just a few years ago, that company was in major trouble.

Now, they *could* have made a run at being the next Samsung, and gone with Android. Or they *could* have put real resources into Maemo/Meego/whatever-they-were-calling-it-then, brought out a really modern successor to the N900, and tried to compete solo. Or they *could* have canned everything else and pushed Symbian as far as it would go.

But they had to do something. They were hurting, badly, and showing no sign of an actual path out.

about a week ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

cbhacking Re:"free market" (290 comments)

It's a $300 phone. That's "cheap" only by comparison to the high-end models; it's actually more accurately called mid-range. You can get vastly cheaper (less than half the price) smartphones that have better software/firmware. Their specs will be worse, but - and this is the whole point of the article - nobody will notice the shitty software and firmware before they buy, whereas a bad spec list makes a phone look bad (and cheap) even if the actual experience of using it is pretty good (most people don't come close to really using the full power of their phones).

about a week ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

cbhacking You have to show the score so people know it. (290 comments)

No. The solution isn't that somebody needs to rate phones. It's that the rating needs to be obvious and visible. If I go into a store and look at a line of phones, they'll all tell me their screen size and their CPU speed and usually what OS version they have, plus usually one distinguishing feature, but that's about it.

Compare that with, say, buying a game or other piece of software. There will be review scores (and actual reviews, if I go looking, but the scores are prominently displayed), there will be awards given, there will be indications of the actual *quality* of the item. Not flawless ones, of course, but a hell of a lot better than getting nothing but a short list that tells me this is a RTS game, supports up to 8-way multi-player, runs on Windows XP or newer, requires 20GB of storage, and features a campaign with multiple endings depending on the decisions you make in game (or similar "cool but you have no idea how well that works" feature).

Of course, nobody *wants* to display a bad score on something they're trying to sell you... but they'd happily display a good one. The idea is to make such review scores sufficiently widespread and usable (which requires decent accuracy) that people will actually A) pay attention to them, and B) notice when they are missing.

about a week ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

cbhacking Re:...The hell? (290 comments)

I actually found it interesting, exactly *because* of the comparison to things like the Lumia 520 (the only really-low-end smartphone I have any experience with - I've done a lot of security review on them - in the last five years). The 520 is an unabashedly low-end phone. Rear camera only, no flash, 5MPx (for Nokia, this is low-end indeed). 480x800 used to be pretty good for a 3.5" screen, but these days it's pretty meh. 1GHz CPU, even though it's dual-core, is about as low as it's possible to find in a brand new smartphone, at least in the USA. No 4G, no NFC, etc... but the radios it does have had good firmware. The software runs well within the confines of that hardware, and doesn't have any bugs that I found which its higher-end brethren fixed.

about a week ago
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

cbhacking Re:Not if you use the Virtuix Omni (154 comments)

My roommate still uses DDR (OK, technically Stepmania) as his workout routine. I tend to go with Dance Central on the Kinect instead, but... yeah, they're both amazing workouts.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

cbhacking Re:Are they just shutting their Cell Phone divisio (383 comments)

MS brought in about 25,000 Nokians, so it's about half of that. 50% cuts is huge, but part of the problem Nokia was having before (Pre-Elop, even) was a massively overinflated headcount of redundant positions. Add to that the fact that Nokia really does have a lot of redundant people now (MS already has marketing folks, sales folks, legal folks, etc.) and I can believe that they're getting cut by a large measure without it being crippling to the phone division.

Whether or not it survives a few more years, though... can't say. The 8.1 update finally brought a ton of stuff that people have been asking for since basically day one (unified notification center, one-touch control of settings, ringer volume separate from the app volume, etc.) and while some would say it's too late, there are parts of the world where 8.1 is actually fairly common (over 10% market share). That's enough of a foothold to carry on if they don't wreck the things they have going for them.

about two weeks ago
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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

cbhacking Idiot and/or liar (you and whoever modded that up) (346 comments)

ArchieBunker either has no fucking clue what he's talking about, or is just trolling. Not sure which. To set the record straight, though:
1) You can't move the pointer (one assumes that's what he meant by "CURSOR") with your finger. Anybody who has used Windows on a touchscreen knows this. You can move it with the stylus, and you can do gestures with fingers, but you can't move the pointer.
2) Moving the mouse to the upper right corner brings up the Charms bar, just like the little animation shows. You can disable that behavior if you want to, but it's enabled by default whether you have a touchscreen or not. It is a ridiculously blatant lie to claim otherwise.
3) Anything you can do with the mouse in Win7 or below, you can do with the mouse in Win8. Sometimes the exact form it takes is different - for example, right-clicking in Metro-style apps brings up a context-sensitive app bar instead of a context menu - but it's there. You can operate menus, launch/minimize/restore/maximize/snap/close apps, scroll documents, and so on.

Sadly, at least one moderator fell for it. Or maybe they have an agenda and don't mind spreading... is it even FUD when it is blatantly , easily provably false? Spreading lies, because spreading FUD wasn't quite good enough, I guess...

about two weeks ago
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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

cbhacking Re:What's the big deal about win8? (346 comments)

WRONG!

The Start button was always there. It was hidden, in the same sense as the "Hide Taskbar" feature that's been there since what, Windows 95 or maybe 98? Mouse to the corner of the screen, button appears. Left click it, get Start screen; right click it, get admin menu. In the meantime, you get a bit more space on the taskbar.

Mind you, it'd have been nice if they'd made that *optional* (the way that Hide Taskbar is optional), but considering the Windows setup process - either on a new machine or on a clean install - spends like 5 minutes explaining this to you with really repetitive animations, it's pretty sad that people were *that* up in arms over it.

about two weeks ago
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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

cbhacking Re:Microsoft is wasting people's time (346 comments)

What MS could have done to make it a bit better is to allow the standard vertical scrollwheel most mice come with nowadays to scroll the start screen; down = right, up = left (because you always started at the TOP of the start menu, naturally you'd scroll DOWN for more, while the start screen starts at the LEFT, requiring you to scroll RIGHT for more).

What the hell's wrong with your system? That's exactly what it does, at least on 8.0 (haven't "upgraded" to 8.1 because they cut a feature that I regularly use). My mouse wheel is not capable of side-scroll, but I just tested with vertical scrolling and it works exactly like you describe.

Of course, the reason I had to test that is because it's not something a sane person should ever need to do. You have a keyboard, right? Type the first few letters of the program name (or type the file name), hit Enter, and behold the launching of your program. Just like you've been able to do for the last 7+ years, since fucking Vista (to say nothing of Win7).

about two weeks ago
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First Release of LibreSSL Portable Is Available

cbhacking Re:Happy to let someone else test it (101 comments)

The sad thing is, NT itself has (or rather, had) a POSIX API. Up through Win8 (but not 8.1) you can actually get a basic but functional *nix environment running on NT natively (or as natively as NT runs Win32 at least, which is to say it works pretty much seamlessly and nobody back a handful of hacker-types care about the underlying guts). Shells, libraries, utilities, GCC-based build toolchain... pretty nifty, and it integrates better with Windows than Cygwin ever has, while also being faster and supporting things that Cygwin doesn't (setuid, etc.)

However, Microsoft has seen fit to stop funding the maintainers of the package repo for it (there are third-party repos - NetBSD has one, last I checked - but SUACommunity/InteropSystems was where you went for most of this stuff) and to discontinue the POSIX subsystem entirely as of NT6.3 (Win8.1). Very irritating. They say to use Cygwin instead, which is technically a viable option for most of what I use SUA/Interix for, but it's not one I'm happy about needing to take (and move everything over to).

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Microsoft allowing WP8 users to get updates directly

cbhacking cbhacking writes  |  about 9 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  |  more than 6 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 6 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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