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* Posts by Tom B

18 posts • joined 13 Mar 2009

WTF is … the multiverse?

Tom B

Good News and Bad News

First the good news: We're all living in a computer simulation.

The bad news: That simulation's running on Windows XP and support's about to run ou....

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I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

Tom B

Re: Now here's an idea

Nice idea, but it wouldn't work in the Window's culture. While someone like you and me would no doubt love it (I took a bog-standard Ubuntu and replaced Unity with another User Interface, KDE), I fear the common Windows user would only be confused by being given a choice. I can just picture myself asking an elderly relative which interface to use!

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Tom B
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Been There, Rejected That Already

I work pretty heavily in both the Linux and Windows universe, and I've seen all this "Metro" stuff before, in both Gnome-3 and Unity (those are two tablet-style User Interface designs similar to Microsoft's). I've been working in computers for over 30 years, and I know what makes me productive. The tablet interfaces may be fine on a touch-tablet, but they are unacceptable on a 30-inch non-touch-enabled system such as the one I use to work and play. And no, I will not change the way I work just so someone else can make money selling tablets and mobile phones. The sales challenges of Microsoft and Cannonical are *not* my problem.

I happen to think that Windows 8 has some wonderful features, and is a terriffic improvement over Windows 7, if only Microsoft would allow me to drop Metro completely, and continue working the way I want. I use a large monitor and normally work with at least four windows at once (some of which contain different virtual machines or remote desktops), so even the 33/66 sizing is a loser. It's clear that Microsoft wants us all to move over to Metro, so it can discontinue the Desktop interface completely. While I can understand the reasoning there, I refuse to go along with it. That's one "Game for Windows" I refuse to play.

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Tom B

Re: Already looking

You're doing it wrong, but it's a simple fix. Move your /Home directory to a separate hard drive partition. You'll still have to reinstall the apps that don't come with the OS (for me, the big ones are True Crypt and Virtual Box), but you don't have to touch your data files. I have over 1TB of data in my /Home directory, and I'd hate to back that up and restore it every time. Plus, in any Linux distro, a clean install is always a better idea. I've had mixed results with simple updates.

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Diebold demos cloud-based ATM

Tom B
FAIL

Diebold? Where have I heard that name before?

Isn't this the same company that did such a fine outstanding job on voting machines?

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Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'

Tom B

Thrice Upon a Time

This was the subject of a novel by James P. Hogan, called "Thrice Upon a Time". Interesting read, as is all of Hogan's stuff.

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Google versus Facebook: stop your photocopiers

Tom B
FAIL

Your Head In The Cloud

Ah ... no.

The problem with depending on the Web for everything is a matter of trust. Do you really trust these people with your data? With your day-to-day operation? I'm sorry, but I don't. Microsoft, Apple, Google, et al are all cut from the same cloth, willing to sell their own grandmothers (or your privacy) for a buck. I trust nobody but myself to look after my own interests. I keep multiple layers of paranoia between myself and the Web in general, and multinational, multi-billion dollar corporations in particular. And don't get me started on how far any *government* can be trusted.

The bottom line is that desktops and laptops are here to stay, and while the Web has become an integral part of the computing experience, it is merely a component of that experience, after the fashion of a Firefox add-on, and not the center of the computing universe. The industry "leaders" may have moved on, but the users haven't. What we've got now works very well, thank you.

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DARPA witchfinder-ware to SMITE America's IT traitors

Tom B

Obama Anti-Virus?

I don't know why everyone's having such a conniption over this. It just sounds like the next generation of anti-virus or anti-malware, with added smarts to detect the activity of potential threats before systems can be compromised. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Does anyone out there really want hackers mucking about with the power grid, water treatment plants, or even traffic lights? If this works, maybe it'll filter down to the desktop and make Windows more secure (although "FORMAT C:" works well for me).

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Microsoft Silverlight - now with hidden Windows bias

Tom B
FAIL

Drilling Holes To Let Out The Seawater

Microsoft has worked feverishly to turn WIndows 7 into a secure, world-class operating system worthy of resepect. But how can you expect to plug all the leaks in a boat, when you have the Silverlight people drilling more holes in the bottom? This I'm-ok-you're-ok-let's-share-everything-with-everybody philosophy is the reason Windows suffers so many security problems. It needs to be far more paranoid than it is. COM and direct file system access from the browser? Are these guys *serious*? I run a browser in its own Virtual Machine that always starts with a clean snapshot, completely sandboxed and cut-off from anything I consider valuable. The Internet is a dangerous place, and needs to be treated with the appropriate caution and -- yes, I'll repeat myself -- paranoia. Doing otherwise is like a half-naked woman standing on a street corner in the wrong part of town at 3am waving wads of cash in the air. It's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when". Silverlight is not a solution, it's the beginning of a new round of problems.

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What if you had a launch party and nobody came?

Tom B
FAIL

There's a "Danger" here somewhere.

All our software moves to a remote Microsoft server somewhere, huh? Sure, that'll happen. Microsoft has proven itself quite capable of handling that one. Pah-leeze. IT control freaks have been trying to tell us that Network Appliances are the "wave of the future" ever since the Mainframe lost the hearts and minds of just about everyone. If your data's important to you (and you like buying software instead of renting it), ignore this "Cloud" fad and hold on to your stuff using your own hardware.

Trust no one!

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Microsoft plays ads-funded Office 2010 Starter gambit

Tom B
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Sorry, No Sale

Having struggled with Office 2007's ribbon interface, I'll stick with Office 2003, thank you very much. As for putting Office 2010 starter edition on a new PC, it will be one of the first things I remove, along with the idiotic mini games, Norton/McAfee, and other bloatware that gets installed on a new machine. I would never use click-to-run, as I prefer to have a physical disk on the shelf to serve as a master backup. If a physical disk is not available, the purchase price better be heavily discounted. So, that's *another* couple of gigs I'll have to remove from the new hard drive.

In the final analysis, the version of Office I have right now suits me fine. Besides, it's not that long ago I got rid of Office 97, and my wife is *still* using her copy. So don't rush me, ok? Ask me again around 2015.

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Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services

Tom B
Alert

Caveat Pasco

And some people wonder why I insist on blocking all ads and most scripts in my browser. Not only are many of them annoying, but you have the possibility of them being carriers for malware.

"Let the browser beware"!

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MS and Sophos incompatible over Win 7 XP Mode

Tom B
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Then Why Upgrade to Win7?

If you have to maintain the virtual copy of XP just like a stand-alone machine in order to run your older programs, with all the bother and expense that entails, why upgrade at all? I mean, the main reason to use Win7 is the added security. If none of that penetrates through to the XP Virtual Machine, then might it not be a better idea to stay with XP until there's a better reason to change? In fact, I still have a machine running Windows 2000, not because it's incapable of running XP, but I can't think of any reason to upgrade (it doesn't use the internet, for example). Just because something is new, doesn't mean you need to use it.

Oooo, shiny!

Ah, sorry. I need a better reason than that if I'm going to disrupt my life.

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Firefox 4.0 flashes lusty leg at Windows lovers

Tom B
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Epic Fail

I haven't used Internet Explorer since version 5.5, so why would I be interested in (or even tolerate) something "familiar" to IE8 users (both of them)? As for the tabs on top idea, the browser isn't the be-all-and- end-all of my computing life, so why should it look different from everything else on the computer? The browser ought to blend in, not stick out like some sort of multicolored clown car at the circus.

Smaller, faster, secure, and standards-compliant. That's all I want and need in a browser.

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Microsoft retires AutoRun (kinda, sorta)

Tom B
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Everyone Should Turn Off Auto Run

First of all, there is no excuse in the world to have Auto Run activated on your Windows computer. It is too big a security risk, used by big companies (e.g., Sony) and malware authors alike to abuse your trust and violate your security. It's not worth the tiny convenience.

As for U3, the company has a utility that can remove the faux-CD partition. This partition should be removed from all new thumb drives as it is a huge security risk, and probably a violation of company rules if used in that environment. Again, it's a bad idea whose utility is outweighed by the risk.

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Gnome answers Linux critics with 'big' vision plan

Tom B
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You're kidding me, right?

First of all, Gnome is fine just the way it is. It doesn't need a redesign.

Hopefully, by the time the development team decides to make major changes to Gnome (read that as: clone the Vista UI. Arrrgh!), KDE 4.x will finally be feature-complete and stable (around KDE 4.9, just before they rip the whole thing up again. Double Arrrrgh!) so that there's a good alternative to what I expect to be as big a mess with Gnome as happened with KDE 4.0.

Here's a tip for you, guys: No matter what the voices in your head tell you to do, don't send out a public beta as a "release" version. We're your (hopefully loyal) users, and not your guinea pigs/lab rats. Make it feature-complete, and make it stable. Anything less is ... well ... something less.

-- Former KDE user.

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Microsoft: Judge us by our deeds on open source

Tom B

Actions Speak Louder

Microsoft will be judged by its actions, and its actions with regard to patents belies its pretty words on interoperability and community. Microsoft has shown -- again by its actions -- that it cannot tolerate *any* competition in the computer software arena. Historically, it has used every weapon at its disposal to destroy every competitor that has dared to "steal" its rightful market share of one hundred percent.

Interestingly enough, it is the actions of predators like Microsoft that demonstrate the danger software patents are to innovation. These actions do not serve to advance the way people get work done, but merely increase the profits of a known monopolist. That the FAT patents are considered valuable IP by Microsoft would be laughable if the current lawsuit didn't threaten the jobs and the livelihood of a company far smaller than the Redmond giant. Make no mistake, TomTom cannot settle the lawsuit. If they do, they break the GPL and cannot use the software. If they lose the lawsuit, they will face massive payments to Microsoft. Either way, they will be out of business.

So, yes, judge Microsoft by their deeds, not their words. But judge them on *all* their deeds, and not just the ones their PR department would like you to focus on.

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MS packs yet more tweaks into 'near-ready' Windows 7

Tom B
Alert

Been There, Done That, Been Burned

As a software developer I can appreciate the pressures that cause a product to be released with untested last-minute changes. But I can tell you that *every single time* I have done this, I have been burned. Badly! Rules and recommendations exist for a reason, and you ignore them at your peril. Unfortunately, release schedules aren't made by developers or Q&A, they're made by the PHB who believes that an extra round of testing is a waste of time and money. Their motto: "Quality is job 1.1" (or, "We'll fix it when enough people complain").

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