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Today Is Record Store Day 2011

fracai Free Vinyl? (108 comments)

It'd be nice for record stories[sic] to give away tons of 7" vinyl promos.

Yep, there's no better way to attract new customers than by giving away a product that no mainstream customer actually cares about. There's a significant portion that wouldn't even stop by for free CDs.

more than 2 years ago

What's the Oldest File You Can Restore?

fracai 30 PPT files, 3 versions, 3 OSs, and an emulator (498 comments)

I recently "recovered" around 30 PowerPoint files that I put together about 17 years ago. None were critically important; just some crude stop motion movies, homework, and other horrible "paintings", but they're a neat part of my childhood.

At they time, I had put them together using PowerPoint 2.0 (maybe 1.0, but I doubt it) and modern versions have long dropped support for those files. As I researched, I found that a straightforward conversion was impossible. There were specific conversion components for some versions (I think there was a v2 plugin for v3) and support for older formats seemed to be quickly dropped. By investigating installed files and old software reviews, I learned that v3 or v4 would do fine with the v2 files that I had and '98 or 2001 would upgrade the converted files to the "modern" binary format, it didn't look like 98 could read v1 or v2 files. Any of the more recent versions could upgrade those to the new XML format.

So I assembled my tools; I actually already had access to archived installation images for 2001, had installed 2008, and amazingly still had floppies for v4 and even found a *nix box with a floppy drive. I've previously played around with SheepShaver, but running the old Microsoft products proved to be difficult. I don't remember the exact issues, but installation or execution failed consistently when trying to run version 2001. A thread on the SheepShaver forums indicated that running under Ubuntu might be successful, but I didn't have any luck. I did find success running SheepShaver under Windows, and of course running 2008 under Mac OS X 10.6 was just fine.

In the end, my conversion chain looked like this:
10.6 > SheepShaver > MacOS 9.0.4 > PowerPoint v4 - v2 files to v4
Windows 7 > SheepShaver > MacOS 9.0.4 > PowerPoint 2001 - v4 files to modern binary data
10.6 > PowerPoint 2008 - binary files to XML

The only degredation I've noticed is that one file seems to either be using a font I don't have or perhaps the spacing or size was lost as the text doesn't quite line up correctly.

I suppose I should also take a pass through my other files and upgrade any Microsoft data to more modern formats, though nothing goes back as far as these did. Or just print them out to PDF. It's not like I need to actually edit any of these.

What strikes me most is how transient version support was even for Microsoft's own formats. I'd think at the least that Microsoft could keep a basic conversion product going for modern OSs and all the old formats. Not that I actually expect this from them.

more than 3 years ago

Bank of America Buying Abusive Domain Names

fracai Re:They can't afford them all (249 comments)

Not .org? I suppose they would leave that out as they aren't a non-profit and are strict about these sorts of things.

more than 3 years ago

'Jeopardy!' To Pit Humans Against IBM Machine

fracai Re:Question: What is the last digit of pi? (164 comments)

Missed opportunity:

I'm about 90% sure it's not 6.
and about 50% sure it's not an even number.

I'm going to have to go with 6.

more than 3 years ago

Google Wants To Take Away Your Capslock Key

fracai Re:By Accident (968 comments)

Phhht, Spazeroid.

more than 3 years ago

WePad Tablet Will Use Linux To Rival the iPad

fracai Re:Just stop it (536 comments)

Maybe the WePad will include a USB port so you can attach that 18 button OpenOffice mouse.

more than 4 years ago

Ubuntu One Gets iPhone App For Contact Sync

fracai Re:AGPLv3? (115 comments)

Then why do you have to accept the GPL before downloading the iPhone app?

more than 4 years ago

Ubuntu One Gets iPhone App For Contact Sync

fracai Re:AGPLv3? (115 comments)

Is that it then? The license applies to the protocol and not the app? Seems very odd.

more than 4 years ago

Zune HD Twitter App Censors Tweets For You!

fracai Re:Zune + HD + twitter? (155 comments)

"HD" refers to "HD Radio".
No kidding, remember that poorly promoted, FM interfering, not actually any higher quality, radio standard that requires new equipment to use while offering minimal extra benefit to the user? That's what the HD refers to regarding the Zune.
Well, it may also refer to the ability to output 720p content to an external device when used with an appropriate adapter, but the Zune screen itself is 480 x 272.
"272p" is not HD in my book.

more than 4 years ago

Zune HD Twitter App Censors Tweets For You!

fracai Re:Ugh... (155 comments)

Quote from Samuel L. Jackson's new movie, "Profanities in a Post"?

more than 4 years ago

Judge Orders Permanent Injunction Against Psystar

fracai Re:Backwards.... (242 comments)

Because Apple didn't tell Psystar that they could sell OS X machines as long as they didn't sell Windows or Linux machines as well. They just said, "You can't sell OS X machines."

This has nothing to do with monopolies or anti-trust.

more than 3 years ago

Swiss Geologist On Trial For Causing Earthquakes

fracai Re:Damages? (258 comments)

Village? Basel city has a population of about 170,000 [...]

There, fixed that for you. Damn commas, always jumping around and hanging upside-down.

more than 4 years ago

Are Sat-Nav Systems Becoming Information Overload?

fracai Re:Headup display (186 comments)

I'd prefer not to have to read the map upside down (bottom of the phone facing is closest to me) or backwards (phone is rotated around so the top is closest to me).

more than 4 years ago

GIMP Dropped From Ubuntu 10.04

fracai Re:Where does this leave GIMP? (900 comments)

1> But, what does GIMP stand for?
2> GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program
1> And what does GNU stand for?
2> GNU stands fo-
3> I'm gonna stop this right here.

more than 4 years ago

Fear Detector To Sniff Out Terrorists

fracai Re:Bogey (342 comments)

...except for me and my primate. -- Lennon / McCartney (approx.)

more than 4 years ago

Iraq Swears By Dowsing Rod Bomb Detector

fracai Re:Insightful (652 comments)

Presuming that those "tiny ferrite dots being pumped around" are iron in your blood, you're wrong. Blood iron isn't ferrous.

Divining has long been shown to be explained by the ideomotor effect, environmental cues [1], and confirmation bias. It isn't any better than chance.

If you think your abilities are genuine, allow me to introduce you to the 1 Million Dollars that must be waiting for you over at the JREF.

[1] Cues that anyone can pick up on, nothing that is unique to dowsing or dowsers.

more than 4 years ago

How Dangerous Could a Hacked Robot Possibly Be?

fracai Re:More or less irrelevant (229 comments)

Right, because no one would ever do something purely for the challenge and then release their work.

more than 4 years ago


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