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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Secure Your Parents' PC?

jd142 Problems? (408 comments)

What type of problems? Is she installing a bunch of ad toolbars? So many install in the user folder, so no admin rights are necessary. Some of the pop-up malware doesn't need to have admin rights to infect the pc. They drop the executable in the appdata folder or a subfolder with a randomized name and start up from HKCU\software\microsoft\windows\start so it is all in the user's area. Try firefox (or chrome) with adblock and change the shortcut icon to the IE icon. Migrate bookmarks and few people will notice the difference.

Does she just hibernate the computer and rarely reboots, so you get slowness because of memory leaks?

I'll second the suggestion to upgrade from vista to 7. From a user's perspective they are practically identical in look and feel. Only a few icons have changed and I'll bet you can find a skin for 7 to make it look exactly like vista.

I like the tablet suggestions, but if the person is really change adverse, that can be a big shock. I hate to say it, but windows rt might be the best way to transition her to a tablet. If you like the idea of a tablet, try a Kindle as a cheap way to test the waters.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Store Data In Hard Copy?

jd142 Re:Online backup (329 comments)

It's future proof for several reasons:
--A cloud service(I'll use Google Drive as an example, but there are many) is distributed, with backups, and will shift data over to new technology as needed. Pretend Google Drive started off 30 years ago. At the time, they'd probably store your data on tape(yeah, yeah, slow access times, but that's not the point of this example). Then they switch over to ide hard drives. Then they make the switch to scsi, then sata. 5 years from now they switch to SuperDuperSSD. From your perspective, none of that matters. From your perspective, you put data on Google Drive, you take data off Google Drive. The technology they store it on doesn't matter and is going to change and adapt as new tech comes on line. I put my money in the bank, I take my money out of the bank. I don't care what the bank does or how they store it, I just want my money.

--A cloud service is redundant. When Lex Luthor finally causes that earthquake and makes California slide into the Pacific, your data is still safe on one of the other server centers that Google has, just for that emergency.

--A cloud service is stable. A major cloud service like Google Drive is not going to disappear overnight. Unless something causes the government to seize all of their servers at once, with no warning, and in a way that would never let you get your data back. That is highly unlikely as of today. So even if Google goes bankrupt, you will be able to see it coming and get your data back from them before the cut off date. Besides, you said this is a backup of a backup. So your original storage place is destroyed, your off-site backup is destroyed, and Google is destroyed utterly with no backups and no way to access that data. All three of those things have to happen at the same time. If all three of those happen on the same day, you will have more to worry about because someone probably dropped the big bombs.

--Someone else takes care of operating the server room. In another response, you wrote: "if I put it on a server now, I have to keep that server going for the next 10 or 20 years." With a cloud based service, that isn't an issue. I don't know why any person(not company) today would bother putting up their own server, except as a hobbyist's exercise. Or unless you are insanely paranoid.

--Access from anywhere. Seriously, if your first two backups are gone and the entire internet is down for more than a day and you need the data immediately, either one or two things will happen. Either people will understand that something very bad happened and they will make allowances for that knowing that you can get the data when the internet is backup. Or they've dropped the bombs and your main concern is radiation poisoning and the hordes of mutant zombies.

--A cloud service has zero to no cost. You get gigabytes of data for free and you said this is under a meg.

Seriously, as a backup to a backup, you have really over thought this. Now if you want to do something as a cool thing to do, that's fine and good and proper. Pick the QR codes or whatever strikes your fancy. But if your concern is availability and future proofing, just stick it on a backup service. Doesn't have to be google. There are four or five top tier online storage companies that aren't going anywhere in the immediate future. And if you happen to pick the wrong horse, just download the file before they go under and pick a different one. Microsoft's live drive actually meets the FERPA standard for data security if that's a concern, but you said it wasn't.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Replacing a TI-84 With Software On a Linux Box?

jd142 How do you stand it? (254 comments)

A whole 5 seconds for a graph to be plotted. My god, I'm surprised you've been able to keep your temper in check. Having a violent fit and throwing your calculator across the room is the reasonable, adult response.

First world problem.

about 2 years ago
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Webhosting For A Large Art Project?

jd142 modwest (137 comments)

I've been very happy with http://www.modwest.com over the last 10+ years. Their basic plan is $7/month, but have more expensive plans if you need it. They have unlimited(within reason of course) because they know that only a small percentage of users come close to any limits they would set.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Data Remanence Solutions?

jd142 DBAN (209 comments)

DBAN, Darik's Boot and Nuke, will wipe a hard drive to any of several government standards. If they are fine with mere software disposal of data, then DBAN is the way to go. http://www.dban.org/.

If they insist on physical destruction, I'm sure there are companies in your area that will handle that for you.

more than 2 years ago
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Is ARM Ever Coming To the Desktop?

jd142 Re:Tabtop momentum building (332 comments)

I'm sorry but.....why? WTF would you want ARM on the desktop? Are you living in a mud hut in Zambundi and don't have any electricity to spare for a desktop?

Lets be honest folks, the big selling point of ARM is how cheap it is on batteries. Well guess what you do NOT need when you are inside? Why that would be a battery! See that plug on the wall right in front of you?

You know, it's just possible some people might want to conserve electricity. Or even shave a couple of bucks off the old electricity bill. Just because you can use a resource, doesn't mean you should. I have running water, but I don't just leave the faucet on all day in case I might want a glass of water.

I don't know, but if you had one of those little portable solar cells, could you just power an arm laptop anywhere?

more than 2 years ago
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Google+ Enters Open Beta

jd142 Wave (188 comments)

I know, let's all discuss this on Google Wave! After all, Wave has massive potential for business users, http://mashable.com/2009/12/18/google-wave-business/. With 19 Educational uses, http://www.soyouwanttoteach.com/the-power-of-potential-19-educational-uses-for-google-wave/.

Unfortunately, I can't find the uptake numbers for Wave. Of course, just because one product flops doesn't mean the next must too. It's just that one of the reasons Wave probably failed was that it didn't offer people anything they weren't already getting somewhere else and they were too entrenched to change. People who needed real time collaboration already had mature products available to them, Elluminate, Contribute (or whatever it was in 2009), Live Meeting, or even GoTo Meeting. For people who didn't need the collaboration, Wave was an answer to a question no one asked. Even in 2009, Facebook was "good enough" for people.

So what about Google+? Does the minor difference in features warrant changing off facebook? Probably not. Does it offer anything outstandingly new or innovative? Probably not. Are people even more entrenched in their facebook lives now than in 2009? Probably. Add to that the real name policy and the inability to work with non-european names and there's even less reason to move.

Way back at the dawn of time, when Google was just opening its eyes, it was competing with some really big search engines. Remember how big Yahoo used to be? Or AskJeeves? Google didn't bring anything new to the table, but they were able to compete by being better. And switching search engines is much easier than switching social networks. When they competed on the email front, they did it by giving people a ton of storage. When Hotmail was offering storage in the megabytes, Google was offering it in the gigabytes and even Hotmail had to play catchup. People hate to delete emails, and Google let them keep everything for ever and never clean.

The other two big products, maps/earth and image search, weren't really competing against an entrenched alternative. There was mapquest, but even it was new.

So my armchair quarterback position is that G+ will peak very soon then slowly decline until in another year or two we'll be talking about G+'s failure. Which will be right around the time Google announces G++.

more than 2 years ago
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Most People Have Never Heard of CTRL+F

jd142 Re:Keyboard shortcuts are for pros (567 comments)

Yeah, it's a real shame programs like Word 2010 can't use ctrl+ b, i or u. rolls eyes.

about 3 years ago
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Google+ Account Suspensions Over ToS Drawing Fire

jd142 Re:Is it time to disconnect from Google services? (560 comments)

I realize this is slashdot and all, but you don't have to run your own server and deal with the hassle. For the price of two Starbucks coffees a month, just get your own LAMP server through a hosting service. $8 a month is small price to pay for the convenience of knowing that you control your email. And since you get command line access, you can still install whatever webmail reader you want if you don't like the built-in version. I still prefer Thunderbird to webmail(but I dislike version 5) but if I wanted, I could drop in pretty much any webmail client on the server.

more than 3 years ago
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Groupon Deal Costs Photographer a Year's Free Work

jd142 Re:Good chance to up sell (209 comments)

Yes and that's been true for decades. I remember my folks going to a couple of those stupid timeshare talks just so they could get a free cheap gift. They knew they weren't getting the big prize(if anyone ever does, which I doubt) but they'd take the crap prize.

And my mom still collects all of the dead tree coupons and does triple coupons with rebates for brands she'd never normally buy but can get for near free. Once the coupons are gone, back to the regular brands and stores.

So this isn't even a GroupOn thing. It's been around for decades. Anyone see the sequel to A Christmas Story where the mother is getting the china dishes from the theatre(or trying to anyway)?

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do I Give IT a Login On Our Dept. Server?

jd142 Re:Everyone seems to be forgetting something here (1307 comments)

Don't forget the possibility that IT actually offers this service but the person is not aware of it. Or it is offered in a way other than a native iPhone app.

If I had a nickel for every time someone said we should implement X when it actually has been implemented, documented on the documentation site, with training offered for years. . . .

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is the Recycle Bin a Good GUI Metaphor?

jd142 Re:You're the worst type of admin (465 comments)

Amen to storing files deleted from a network share. From a user's perspective, a file is a file (which is as it should be) and hitting the delete key should work the same regardless of where the file is actually stored.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is the Recycle Bin a Good GUI Metaphor?

jd142 deleted items (465 comments)

I know an Outlook user at work who uses Deleted Items as a place to *store* emails. We've always been tempted to ask him if he stores his lunch in his trashcan.

more than 3 years ago
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Chrome May Drop the URL Bar

jd142 lynx? (343 comments)

So basically google is making a version of lynx that will show pictures and text formatting? Oh, wait, even lynx has a basic interface that makes it, what's that word...useful. That's it. Chrome is already too minimal for my tastes. It's ok to have a few buttons up there. Honest.

What's funny is that we're seeing a reverse in computing ability. I remember back when a 14" monitor was standard. When we got those 17" crts(15.75" viewable) we marveled at the screen real estate. Now at work we have either dual 19" or dual 21" monitors. But the trend actually seems to be towards smaller screens. At our school, 99% of the students have laptops or netbooks with the same physical screen size as the crt monitors we trashed almost a decade ago. If you asked us in 2001 if we'd give up a 22" widescreen for a 14" or even 10" screen we'd have laughed you out of the building.

Just give in and make a tablet/netbook version of chrome and a full featured, full interface version for desktops and laptops.

more than 3 years ago
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Mozilla To Release Firefox 4 Next Month

jd142 Re:meh - Status Bar (266 comments)

There are a couple of status bar add-ons you can pick up, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/235283/ worked for me.

more than 3 years ago
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Did Google Go Instant Just To Show More Ads?

jd142 useless and I never see it (250 comments)

Since ctrl+k gets me right to the search box in FF, I never go to the google home page. And even if I log out of my google account it still routes me to igoogle anyway. When they did that funky logo follows the mouse thing a while back, I actually had to go to google.co.uk to see it. That was easier then blasting the cookies anyway.

I did actually try this out though. I'm a fast enough typist that it doesn't matter. And I am *not* that fast. I can see if you are someone who types with an index finger one character every few seconds then maybe it will show you results before you are done typing.

more than 3 years ago
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Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

jd142 Re:Open Notes & Well-Designed Exams (870 comments)

Taken to the absurd extreme, then no one knows anything because every relies on someone else. So what if I can communicate with everyone else if everyone else is an ignorant moron. No man is an island, but what if we're marooned with Gilligan instead of the Professor.

Seriously though, at some point you have to actually know what you are doing without relying on help. You *will* have to answer a question when your friends are on vacation or when you are in a meeting and can't check with them. Who wants to tell their boss that they have to ask Fred the answer to a question.

about 4 years ago
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What To Do About CC License Violations?

jd142 Define Commercial Use (437 comments)

It doesn't look like there is a good definition. http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Defining_Noncommercial.

At what point does the use become commercial?

Many people have google adwords on their blogs and they might get a few bucks each month because their traffic is so low. Say I have a blog that has adwords. If I use the picture to say "I'm on vacation," as it was in BoingBoing, is that still commercial? The picture isn't specifically used in an advertisement or to promote the blog or to specifically sell anything at the blog. But my blog does bring in a few bucks each month, so in that sense the entire blog is commercial.

Do you make a distinction between a commercial use and an non-commercial use within a site? Say I have a site discussing my passion for Fenton glassware. I don't make any money from the site. I use the picture. Ok, all non-commercial.

Now let's say I use my following as a blog to write a book about Fenton, but my blog still makes only a few bucks each month. Do all of my blog posts now become commercial and I have to remove the picture from a post that happened before I wrote my book? What if I also use the blog to talk about my pet rabbits, but I don't have a book about rabbits out. Can I use a non-commercial picture in a post about rabbits? Someone might read that post, then see that I wrote a book about Fenton, which brings in money for me.

Let's say I'm the CEO of Toyota. I can't use the picture in an ad in Car and Driver, that seems obvious(to me at least). Can I use it for an internal only company newsletter? I'm a commercial entity, but the use itself is non-commercial. Can I print it out to hang in the break room?

Taking a very brief read at the creative commons site, it looks like there isn't a good consensus about the definition. When you are writing a legal license for people to use, you shouldn't have to take a poll to decide what the definition of a word is, you put it in the license. Here's what they wrote at cc's wiki: "In 2008-09, Creative Commons commissioned a study from a professional market research firm to explore understandings of the terms “commercial use” and “noncommercial use” among Internet users when used in the context of content found online. " I think that's the wrong way to go about it. All it does is cause situations like this where the creator thought non-commercial meant one thing but the user thought it meant something else. How does the user know what the creator meant?

more than 4 years ago
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Computer Competency Test For Non-IT Hires?

jd142 Basic Computer Skills (369 comments)

At least once a week one of us has this conversation:

us: Right click on the desktop
them: Left click?
us: no, right click
them: where?
us: right click on the desktop. The background you see when you don't have anything open.
them: Ok. Click twice?
us: no, right click once
them: Ok.
us: now left click on Personalize
them: with the left button?
us: Yes
them: just once?
us: yes, single click

Or the even better copy and paste

us: highlight the text
them: how?
us: click and hold and move the mouse
them: I clicked and moved but nothing happened
us: Did you double click?
them: Oh, just click once?
us: yes, click once, hold, and move the mouse
them; Ok, it's highlighted. Oh, now its not
us: did you click again after you highlighted?
them: yeah
us: click, hold, move, release and nothing else
them: ok
us: now hit ctrl+c
them: At the same time?
us: yes
them: where's ctrl?
us: by the space bar
them: at the same time?
us: yes, ctrl+c at the same time
them: ok
us: now click where you want to paste it.
them: Double click?
us: no, just once.
them: I double clicked and it highlighted a word.
us: just click once
them: ok
us: now hit ctrl+v
them: at the same time?
us: yes, same time
them: ok

us: hits head against wall until the pain stops

more than 4 years ago
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Steve Jobs Recommends Android For Fans of Porn

jd142 Re:Walmart (909 comments)

Hooray! I can bitch and moan then. Censorship is one of the many reasons I don't go to wal-mart. They won't sell Cosmo but they will sell you a gun. They censor their music. They break unions. They treat their employees like crap.

Thanks for the invitation to complain. I didn't know you could do that on the internet.

more than 4 years ago

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