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Comments

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Microsoft Brings Office Online To Chrome OS; Ars Reviews Windows Phone 8.1

donaldm Re:All I can say to that is... (66 comments)

Too right. MS Office is bad. Open Office is worse.

In what way? I have personally found that there is not much difference between the two since they are both Word processors. Of course if you want professional documents you could always go for LaTeX which is surprisingly easy to use since you only need a text editor or you can use a graphical interface as well, however there are commercial type setter software packages as well. It really depends what the user or organisation require (Note: I did not use the word "want", there is a huge difference) to get the job done.

Similarly, Photoshop is bad, and Gimp is worse.

Again how are these products bad? They both can do some quite amazing things with images since they are both image manipulation software.

Why is the open source community incapable of outdoing commercial de-facto standard apps with poor UIs?

I don't think it is a matter of "free open source software" (or FOSS) outdoing commercial software since it would be difficult for FOSS to match a commercial company in features and they also run the risk (especially in the US) of infringing software patents. However if a FOSS product will do everything that the user or organisation requires then why spend money on the commercial software,

As for poor UI's you should elaborate on that. If the UI does the job efficiently then what is the problem? What do you expect a "telepathic" or some other "magical" interface? :)

12 hours ago
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Titanfall Dev Claims Xbox One Doesn't Need DX12 To Improve Performance

donaldm Re:Problem with releasing an underpowered console (117 comments)

The reason people don't think 1080p is "next gen" is because PC gaming moved on from it years ago. If you look at most of the hardware review sites they test cards at 4k or 1440p with everything on maximum detail, way beyond the current crop of consoles.

I think people expected 1080p as the absolute minimum, since that's what PC gamers expect. Even low end cards can run most stuff on medium detail in full HD.

Most HDTV's have an aspect ratio of 16:9 and support 720p (1280x720 pixels) and 1080i/p (1920x1080 pixels). Now there are what is commonly called 4k HDTV's and most of these also have an aspect ratio of 16:9 so a little bit of arithmetic will give you 3840x2160 pixels or 2160p. at the moment 4k HDTV's are more expensive than 1080p HDTV's although the price is dropping, however while the difference between Standard Definition and HDTV is very obvious especially when screen sizes can be over 80 inches (16:9 aspect ratio). The difference between 1080p and 2160p content only becomes significantly obvious in very large screen sizes and only if the content is produced in 2180p.

When people buy a HDTV they normally watch content such as movies or other passive entertainment (ie, TV shows) and the rare some even play games. With the exception of BD movies most passive entertainment is still ether Standard Definition or 720p and that does not look like changing for years to come. Some fanatical PC games appear to want ridicules screen resolutions but eventually you reach the limits (we are not far off this) of what human vision and/or the human brain can process and then what?

3 days ago
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Titanfall Dev Claims Xbox One Doesn't Need DX12 To Improve Performance

donaldm Re:Problem with releasing an underpowered console (117 comments)

That BS. Microsoft and Sony fanboys mocked the Wii for targeting 720p. According to them they had all the games in glorious 1080p while Wii peasant didn't had real HD.

Correction: The Wii was 480p, not 720p.

Well if you live in the USA and countries that support the NTSC standard then "yes", however there are other countries that support the PAL standard which is 575i/p 768×576) so the Wii can output in higher resolution.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

donaldm Re:Farming (723 comments)

People can survive quite well without the care of physicians. Going without food is more difficult.

Very true, because without food all living creatures die. However if you have a community of people the most important people are "Waste Management Specialists" such as garbage collectors and people who can put in and maintain water and sewerage systems. Without proper sanitation you would normally have a local or even a worldwide catastrophe unless we all want to go back to our hunter/gatherer roots.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

donaldm Re:Slowly (450 comments)

Then run like hell!

Wile the AC made this into a joke it really is the best advice if you do this badly.

Rather than be the person who is going to be perceived as the one who pushes Linux into your workspace I would recommend getting in a consultant from a reputable firm and get written recommendations on "how" or even "why not to". If this is done properly then everyone looks good. A Professional Consultant could come up with relevant recommendations in less then a week (assuming a small organization of say less than 100) contrary to what some would say.

Another thing don't be the person who is going to be stuck supporting a Linux environment unless you really have had experience, one or more support personal and get paid accordingly.

about a week ago
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Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

donaldm Re:Well, his software career's ruined (444 comments)

Now he'll be relegated to solely open-source work - the lowest of the low.

The Troll is strong with this one :)

about a week ago
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Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

donaldm Re:Whatever you may think ... (444 comments)

Good luck with that lawsuit, what law was broken? There was no contract and no guarantee, implicit or explicit. OSS is generally "use at your own risk".

I think if you look at propriety software you will also find that it is "use at your own risk" and "best effort" although it may be obscured with more legalese wording. Making any programmer or software house libel for any mistakes unless they can be shown to be malicious would effectively stop software development in the county that IMHO stupidly allowed this to be part of that countries law.

about a week ago
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NYU Group Says Its Scheme Makes Cracking Individual Passwords Impossible

donaldm Re:WTF? (277 comments)

Actually if a cracker wanted to get a user's password all they need to do is contact the target in a so called official manner stating that they think that their account has been compromised and they need their password to check. Surprisingly many people would actually fall for this so a cracker would prefer to use social engineering to get a password rather than try the brute force method which would normally raise alarm bells with System Administrators. Of course this assumes that the System Administrators of a targeted machine have some level of competence and integrity.

Actually brute force cracking is the stuff of Hollywood movies since most operating systems have a policy that is set to 3 or 4 strikes and the account is locked. Although I have seen sites were this was not enforced. Of course there are ways of restricting access even further such as one time passwords but the problem of security is still the weakest link in the chain and that is the user.

Maybe this is a great system, but the hyperbole in the summary is ridiculous.

Could not agree more.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

donaldm Re:Clean laptops (387 comments)

If you're looking for a gaming machine, don't buy Compaq/HP or Dell/Alienware. They load so much crap in there it isn't even funny.

I think serious gamers actually build their own machine and somehow "get" a version of MS Windows to install as their OS :)

If you're looking for a general use laptop, stick with the business lines for anyone save HP/Compaq (who still loads gobs trialware/demoware crap).

True, however business lines are usually much more expensive so the average person will put up with the rubbish or if they have some knowledge remove the crap, which is really not that difficult.

Personally I have never had an issue with HP machines and I have two working laptops that are 5.5 and 3.5 years old respectively that are running perfectly with Fedora 20 although originally I actually removed the pre-installed OS (MS Vista and Win 7 respectively) and installed the particular version of Fedora at the time I purchased each laptop.

about two weeks ago
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They're Reading Your Mail: Microsoft's ToS, Windows 8 Leak, and Snooping

donaldm Re:Bad summary (206 comments)

Much as I hate to defend Microsoft, the summary mischaracterises Microsoft's statement. Microsoft is saying that it already had the right to search the mailbox, so a court would not have issued an order.

This is such a grey area and I would be surprised if there is not some precedent in law that would classify reading someone's mail and private data as a serious offence without the express permission of the owner of that data or a court order requesting such access. Stating that we own the infrastructure therefore we have the right to do what we please is not a valid excuse.

Consider the following. Say a person owns the building that houses a post office, would they have the right to enter that post office and demand to read mail without proper legal permission? Why would private email be any different from private physical correspondence?

When acting as a System Admin on occasion I was approached by management requesting me to read other peoples email which I promptly denied stating that I would need a court order to do this. The reason for requesting a court order is mainly to cover yourself in case there were legal implications. The only thing relating to email which was acceptable was checking if particular email had been sent and where too, which required a check of the logs. Even then I required written permission to do this. Was I being overly cautious? Well yes since it may not be a good excuse in a court of law stating that I was ordered by management to do specific investigations without the proper legal authority.

Was Microsoft breaking the law demanding that the particular System Admin read certain mail for them? Well I would hate to be in that System Admin shoes right now since they effectively did the "break and enter" while management can sit back with a smug look on their face.

about three weeks ago
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Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

donaldm Re:Not the only reason..... (409 comments)

Both my private and work machines both have MSOffice on them and I still use Google Docs for the bulk of my writing. It is light weight, easy to use, accessible from anywhere, and easy to share with collaborators. Office 365 is a bit better in some of those regards, but still makes collaborating with external entities more difficult.

I have found Google Docs great however if you are moving around (think consultant) then depending on a product that is on-line only is IMHO stupid because there are may places that block outside internet access. Basically having an installed Office suite such as Microsoft Office or even LibreOffice is a much more reliable way of using an Office suite.

Personally I use LibreOffice under Fedora (it can be also be installed on a MS or Apple OS as well) and I have never found issue with interoffice interoperability. What is even nicer is that LibreOffice is free and is about a 210 MB download and since I use a Linux distribution any updates can be automatically (personally I don't recommend this) or manually updated.

about a month ago
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Sony & Panasonic Next-Gen Optical Discs Moving Forward

donaldm Re:Amazing! (250 comments)

300Gb of data per disc means I'd have to swap discs a dozen times to back up my current pile of data data. Not happening.

Why would you use 300GB disks to backup your data? The reason to use CD's, DVD's or BD's and now this proposed media is to archive specific data that you require access at a latter date. As long as the disk has a device that can read it then your archived data can be read unless the disk is damaged so any archived media needs to be preserved (minimum of two copies) and checked periodically.

It must be noted that there is huge difference between a "backup" and an "archive". If you only use HDD's to "backup" your data you are not really doing a "backup" you are effectively mirroring your data disk(s) at a specific moment in time and you would need multiple HDD's to do this if you are seriously considering any backup strategy which for home use can be expensive. As for "archive" you could consider a HDD to do this however HDD's are much more prone to failure than passive media such as tape, CD, DVD and BD.

One important thing to consider when archiving is to decide what data you really need to archive and in nearly all cases it is personal data which you would consider irreplaceable and a video collection while inconvenient does not fall into that category.

about a month ago
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Confirmed: Earth's Oldest Rock In Australia

donaldm Re: I wonder what was underneath the rock they fou (74 comments)

It's an older rock, and they are saving it so they cab reveal it next year

Now if you had moved your finger about 3 mm to your right of the letter b the sentence would make more sense. :)

about 2 months ago
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Internet Shutdown Adds To Venezuela's Woes

donaldm Re:He's s shill probably (194 comments)

Welcome to Communism. Totalitarian leader. Oppressive regime. Total economic collapse. Continuous propaganda internal and external.

Err! were does it state that Venezuela politics is communistic? although the major parities do have those type of leanings but basically the people do have the right to vote with the voting age starting at 18. If you stated that the political party has leanings of Fascist-ism then I may agree with you however the truth is much more complex. If you look at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V...> Wiki you will find out that "Venezuela is among the most violent places on Earth. In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes." This is mainly due to the high crime rate and rampant corruption.

I will leave this to the citizens of Venezuela to elaborate further.

about 2 months ago
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Internet Censorship Back On Australian Agenda

donaldm Re:All *might* infringe ... (109 comments)

Lately there have been so many shitty movies out of hollyweird that I can't find anything worth downloading. It's a massive waste of bandwidth. I finally figured out that is how they are combating piracy now. The films suck so bad that no one wants to watch them even if they're free.

I fully agree, I have not watched a Hollywood movie in years.

Actually from the article Attorney-General George Brandis is the one who has flagged the changes, however he appears to agree and criticize the Copyright Act stating

"I firmly believe the fundamental principles of copyright law, the protection of rights of creators and owners did not change with the advent of the internet and they will not change with the invention of new technologies."

then

He described the Copyright Act as "overly long, unnecessarily complex, often comically outdated and all too often, in its administration, pointlessly bureaucratic".

In the article there is a statement:

Australians are among the most avid users of pirating websites in the world. For example, Australians accounted for 16 per cent of all illegal downloads of television program Breaking Bad.

Having never watched "Breaking Bad" I did a quick search and found it is a TV series which anyone with a Personal Video Recorder can actually copy if they wish to do so however this show is not a so called Hollywood movie and many people who have missed one or more episodes can actually catch up by going on-line and watch the shows at selected legitimate sites (a quick search will find them).

Of course you can download via torrent (no money changes hands) which I think the government would like to stop but there lies the problem, without snooping programs which can determine if a torrent download infringes copyright you have no way of knowing and ISP's would not be happy running this type of software since it would take up resources all for the sake of possibly catching an "illegal" down-loader. This type of thing would not be a vote winner.

The problem is that many TV shows can be caught up by going on-line and watching them at "legitimate" web sites. Bringing in legislation to block so called illegal torrent downloading will have an enormous voter backlash which no sane government in their right mind would want.

about 2 months ago
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Why the Internet of Things Is More 1876 Than 1995

donaldm Re:2014 won't be the year of Internet of Things (142 comments)

Why on Earth would your refrigerator have to be online to keep track of food expiration dates? Can't you use a tablet, phone or PC to keep track of that?

Err! wouldn't it be easier to write on the packages or containers if they don't have expiration date. Or just take a tentative smell on a regular basis and throw-out the foodstuff that has gone off or has mould growing on it ;). Having a policy of cleaning and checking your fridge at least once a month can save an embarrassing trip to the toilet or in severe cases the Doctor and it definitely beats maintaining a database/spreadsheet of your fridge.

about 2 months ago
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Is Whitelisting the Answer To the Rise In Data Breaches?

donaldm Trusted program, untrusted use (195 comments)

What is someone breaks in, gets command line access and uses trusted commands to send the data elsewhere. The hacker used trusted programs to do the breach so white list would not stop it.

Well your machine is now compromised. You now have to ask the question "What can I do". Normally in a case like this you should do a fresh OS install from a trusted source (eg. bootable CD/DVD, USB key) followed by appropriate customisations then updates from a trusted source. You could do a recovery from your OS backup but if you have been compromised I would not trust this.

Obviously you may need to recover your user data if that has also been compromised but if are looking at an enterprise system or even just a home PC, initially you may not need to do this until all interested parties (eg. DB administrators) have checked for issues since you cannot be sure if your backups have not been compromised as well. This is why an appropriate documented disaster recovery plan needs to be in place whether the system is a multi million dollar Enterprise system system or a home computer.

about 2 months ago
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Is Whitelisting the Answer To the Rise In Data Breaches?

donaldm Re:Do it in ROM (195 comments)

You should always set-up your file-systems in such a way that the OS part is completely separate from user data such that it should be a simple matter to recover or even install and update just the system file-systems. Unix and now Linux has always recommenced this type of layout although you can even do something like this for Microsoft Windows.

I have Fedora 20 running on my PC's and I make sure I document my system layout, application requirements, customisations and of course my security files which I save. If on the off my system gets compromised I can easily 1) Do a system recovery or 2) Do a fresh install and update without compromising my /home or archive data.

The fresh install takes me approximately 1 hour then 15 minutes for customisations then about 1 hour for the update although during this time I can fully use the machine. It must be noted that a recovery from backup would most likely take me about 20 minutes for 10 GB to be recovered (over 2000 packages), however if you have been compromised it is usually safer to do a fresh install.

It is possible to have a read-only system file-system for a Unix/Linux but this would be a stupid idea since you have /var which contain logs and update information that is required to be read/write. Even / (/ and /usr) needs read/write on occasion. The same is true for a Microsoft OS. The best you can do is have a tested disaster recovery plan and surprisingly it need not be that elaborate but you do need to cover most what if's.

about 2 months ago
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New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists

donaldm Re:I'm wondering... (193 comments)

You'll pry classic from my cold dead hands.

Nice off-topic comment If you don't like the Beta you don't have to use it.

reddit This is a site which you think has a better layout than /. Beta how?

If you want to be critical of the new Beta fine but make that constructive criticism not what you are doing now which is not insightful especially when you criticise and basically insult Slashdot moderators who have generously marked you as that. Sure some the moderators may not be happy with the changes and even myself had problems with the Beta reply system which required me to switch back to the Classic.

On a good note at least you aren't swearing which allot of posters (mainly but not all AC's) appear to be doing so there is room for constructive dialogue.

about 2 months ago
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New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom

donaldm Re:FUCK BETA (222 comments)

I don't know what your beef seems to be with anonymous posting. Why not try judging people based on the content of what they post instead of what name they chose to post under? If you have a problem with the content of a post, then say that. Choosing to post anonymously or not has nothing to do with whether someone has something legitimate to say or not other than there might be a few more off-topic AC posts (and even that's not exclusive, there are plenty of off-topic and silly posts coming from non-ACs).

No my beef is not with AC's in general since some do produce quite good comments and as a moderator I will mod them up. My main beef is with AC's who spam this site and what they are doing at the moment is spamming or if you like, writing ridicules amounts of "off topic" comments. Yes there are off-topic and silly posts coming from non-AC's but they are normally moderated as such.

You do notice that I am responding to you since you have an account and giving you the curtsy of a reply explaining why I am annoyed with the AC's who are IMHO spamming, however it appears that some AC's are being quite nasty with no reason given except a child's reply of "F**k You" but I suspect I have ruffled some feathers which is fine with me since /dev/null works perfectly on my system.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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donaldm donaldm writes  |  more than 7 years ago

donaldm (919619) writes "A few months ago I once said jokingly to some of my colleagues that it won't be long before someone sues Nintendo for patent violation on their Wiimote. Well unfortunately I was right as the following Arstechnica article shows http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061208-8385 .html

My next crystal ball prediction will be a patent case on accelerometers which are used by Nintendo and Sony in their contollers. I really hope I am wrong but with the sad state of patents (rumble anyone) I won't be surprised."
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donaldm donaldm writes  |  more than 7 years ago

donaldm (919619) writes "SecurityFocus columnist Mark D. Rasch, J.D looks at the license agreement for Windows Vista and how its product activation component, which can disable operation of the computer, may be like walking on thin ice. Read the following http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/423?ref=rs s for the details (two pages).

To quote Mark " Does the Microsoft EULA adequately tell you what will happen if you don't activate the product or if you can't establish that it is genuine? Well, not exactly. It does tell you that some parts of the product won't work — but it also ambiguously says that the product itself won't work. Moreover, it allows Microsoft, through fine print in a generally unread and non negotiable agreement, to create an opportunity for economic extortion. "

Now could be a good time to look at alternative OS's."

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