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* Posts by MacroRodent

735 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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UNCHAINING DEMONS which might DESTROY HUMANITY: Musk on AI

MacroRodent
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Re: So why didn't ancient Greeks progress?

Mental barriers are more significant. It has been claimed the Greeks did not bother with more machinery, because the hard work was handled with slaves, so why bother. Automata remained toys for the elite, and when wars and conquests destroyed the elite, knowledge was lost.

I fear the 20. century (and 19. before it) may have been exceptional. Shifting ideologies might mean science is de-emphasized, or crippled (worrying signs in U.S about some scientific knowledge being effectively banned from schoolbooks because of religion). Rising income equality may result in knowledge again being confined to the elite, why educate the plebs? The pool for new talent becomes shallower. We may also have already picked all the low-hanging fruit in science and technology. Certainly we have already mined the most easily accessible resources. Further progress becomes harder.

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MacroRodent
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So why didn't ancient Greeks progress?

"Progress is exponential not linear."

Until it hits some serious limit! Consider the ancient Greeks and the Antikythera mechanism. It took something like 1500 years before any mechanisms of comparable sophistication were constructed again. Why? If progress had been exponential, by now we would have colonies (complete with temples of Athena) on Gliese 581 C...

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MacroRodent
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Faust

"Remember Dr Faustus? The bloke who did a deal with the devil? Elon clearly remembers one part of the story, which didn't turn out so well for its hapless devil-summoning eponymous hero."

Goethe's version exonerates him at the end. Faust got thoroughly tired of carnal delights and started applying his talents to useful ends. So God ignored the bit about striking a deal with the Devil.

(Not sure if there is a lesson here as far as robots are concerned.)

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Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data

MacroRodent
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Re: In Switzerland, the Confederation says no to USA over reach

The Romandie seems to get its story from Berner Zeitung, in German. Link for those that read German better (like me, I almost learned German, but French overloaded by brain).

http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/schweiz/standard/Bund-traut-der-Cablecom-nach-NSAAffaere-nicht-mehr/story/30526870

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MacroRodent
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IS (Re: Europe: firewall your data)

Hopefully the spread of IS will be limited by the fact that its ultra-violence will turn everyone except lunatic-fringe islamists against them. Also there is the matter of resources. The narcotics cartels have a money-machine in the inexhaustible demand for illegal drugs in the US. But illegal oil is harder to smuggle and sell profitably (for one thing, oil is bulky), so that source of funds is easier to shut down.

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Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN

MacroRodent
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Re: Project Orion*

" But there has always been a bit of hand waving when it comes to the "shock absorber" needed to stop the crew becoming jelly when they switch the rocket on."

I believe they calculated that, and it was feasible. Or at least if you believe the BBC documentary about the ORION project you can find on Youtube. By coincidence, watched it a week ago. Highly recommended (about an hour long, worth it).

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

MacroRodent
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Re: Gimpd

You can always use Slackware if you prefer an old-school init. Haven't run it for years, but it was one of my first Linux distributions. As the Slackware philosophy is doing things the Unix way (see http://www.slackware.com/info/), they are unlikely to adopt systemd anytime soon.

A good distro, but not for newbies.

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MacroRodent
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Re: the "fun" part about systemd

"It's not like we reboot our machines all the time."

Servers, no. But PCs and laptops do get booted, because they are turned off. Some people claim they are capable of "suspending", but I have found it far too often results in a crash or odd behaviour (like wlan connection not getting restored) when the machine is supposed to wake up, no matter if it is is running Linux or Windows. So now I don't even bother to try, and use a proper shutdown.

I have come to the conclusion that suspending works reliably only in systems where the computer and OS have been designed together with power management in mind, as is the case with smartphones and pads.

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MacroRodent
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Go

So fork, then

What's the big deal? Freedom to go your own way is one of the great things about free software.

In this case it is a good thing, as it sets a nice experiment about which approach is better. Let the best init win!

Personally I have never liked sysv init much with its huge pile of little shell scripts sequenced by a funny naming rule. The systemd can hardly be worse. Haven't used it much yet, but it appears to be well-documented, and brings up my personal OpenSuse spin snappily. Investigations continue...

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

MacroRodent
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Re: Game changer

"For over 150 years all the life changing major innovations came from America"

So wrong I suspect you are trolling. But one thing U.S. did exceedingly well is putting ideas from elsewhere into practice. E.g. the first automobiles with an internal combustion engine were made in Germany, but Ford in the U.S. turned them into an affordable product.

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MacroRodent
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Re: To the skeptics...

"and that killed the last big international attempt"

Uh, isn't the ITER project still going on? Pretty big, and international.

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Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'

MacroRodent
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Windows

Re: Branding bugs

"Who are the 23% of Windows XP users?"

My guess: unsophisticated home users whose existing computers work well enough so they don't feel the need (or cannot afford to) upgrade the hardware. The same people who could be seen running Windows 98 still in 2008...

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MacroRodent
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Branding bugs

Seems it is obligatory these days to give major vulnerabilities cool logos.

The "XP not affected" bit was a let-down. Here I was thinking the major advantage of Vista and later was tightened security. Seems it was not.

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Shh! Bose and Apple ink SECRET deal to settle 'noise-cancelling' suit

MacroRodent
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Re: When

1978? If the technology is that old, it should be off-patent by now. Even if Bose patented it sometime in the 1980's.

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Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20

MacroRodent
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Boxed set

Netscape was the first an only browser I actually bought off the shelf in a computer store. I think it was version 3.0 and the year perhaps 1996. Wish I had kept the packing, it might be a collectible today. It definitely was the best browser at the time. IE was yet a joke compared to it and Mosaic was falling behind.

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'Bill Gates swallowing bike on a beach' is ideal password say boffins

MacroRodent
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Not compatible

I think using a long phrase is a good idea, Unfortunately, most places that expect passwords severely limit the length, and even if they don't may require numbers and special characters which may be hard to include naturally in a phrase, and may reject spaces. The example would have to be something like "Bill@Gates2swallowing#bike/on!a!beach" to be accepted in them.

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Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

MacroRodent
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Re: Or it would have if I'd let it...

This isn't about Adobe Reader, it's about Adobe Digital Editions

Nevertheless, my trust in the company vanished entirely after reading this article. I'm going to delete all Adobe software from the computers I have control over, as much as feasible (it may be that removing Flash plugins from the home computers could cause too much domestic disturbance...).

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Inflatables in SPAAACE! ISS 'nauts to enjoy bouncy castle spaceship

MacroRodent
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Re: Well this is fun but...

I'm really looking forward to the next bit of news about progress on Skylon. I realise it's very complex engineering,

I have always felt the concept of taking in air at Mach N+1 and liquiefying it in microseconds is something that makes even cold fusion seem plausible in comparison...

(But I hope I am wrong... the idea is cool if it works ;-).

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How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

MacroRodent
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Re: Microsoft scrapping WP royalties

Chromebooks are cornering the lower end of the laptop market

Tablets, actually, and big smartphones. I don't think I have seen anyone use a Chromebook, but my morning commute in the Helsinki local train is full of people staring at tablets and smartphones, with a sprinkling of laptops. They now clearly outnumber people reading newspapers, magazines, or books.

No wonder the paper industry is in difficulties.

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Nokia Lumia 735: Ignore the selfie hype, it's a grown-up phone

MacroRodent
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Crash!

Article: "This is the first Windows Phone to crash on me, reading a page on the Times website. I've clocked up thousands of hours with Windows Phones, and never experienced a crash before;"

Then you have been lucky. My Lumia 710 does crash occasionally. Granted, it usually is many months between crashes, so I'm not really complaining (my old Symbians crashed far more often). But I have decided never to buy a phone that cannot be hard-reset by removing the battery. Software is just too hard for mere mortals to get right...

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

MacroRodent
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Notes

" developing the Notes email system, "

Notes is not just an email, but also a document management system and database. "Groupware" is the term used at some point, I think. It did what "intranets" do these days (or at least that it how it was used at the corporation where I worked), but required its own client.

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Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

MacroRodent
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Re: Peak operating system?

Very true! The role of an OS is basically manage the hardware reliably, provide some common services a lot of programs use, let the user start the programs he/she really is interested in and switch between them, and otherwise STAY OUT OF THE WAY! Earlier OS'es often failed in some of these areas, so new versions were justified, but now all major OS'es cover the basics. Nobody (except a few nerds) is interested in running an OS itself, it is the applications that matter. And an OS upgrade frequently ruins the experience here. No wonder people stick with XP...

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MacroRodent
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Cliboard in proimpt (Re: Can't wait)

> i was lamenting he lack of clipboard support in the command prompt only yesterday.

Actually using clipboard with keyboard in command prompts does work in Windows 7, (and was in XP also). You need to enable "Properties" -> "Quick edit mode" in the window menu of the command prompt. The keyboard shortcut is unfortunately different from the usual Windows way: To get command window text into clipboard, you paint it in the window, then hit Enter. To enter text from clipboard, you press the right mouse button.

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SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches

MacroRodent
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Re: Because the flaws were very different

The best solution would be to kill the function inheriting feature entirely. Other shells do not have it. Should try sometime what happens if I disable it, I suspect RHEL would still work fine.

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Bash bug: Shellshocked yet? You will be ... when this goes WORM

MacroRodent
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Too pessimistic

"Scan your network for things like Telnet, FTP, and old versions of Apache (masscan is extremely useful for this). Anything that responds is probably an old device needing a bash patch.

This looks like alarmism. As others have noted, embedded Linux systems usually use Busybox. Even if the shell feature from Busybox is not used, some light-weight alternative to bash as the system's /bin/sh is likely.

In addition, many network devices run some variant of BSD, which has never had bash as the default shell.

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

MacroRodent
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Re: Can you hear that sound?

I think the article answers this already when it says the dash shell in Debian and Ubuntu is not vulnerable. This is a Bash-specific bug.

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Bracelet could protect user herds from lurking PREDATORS

MacroRodent
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The obvious flaw

This assumes the user is more or less continuously typing or using the mouse. What if he just pauses to think? Or suppose the computer is used to monitor something and the user is normally expected to enter commands only occasionally.

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Will Europe's ISPs unmask anonymous IP infringers?

MacroRodent
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Lobbying

The voice of the media industry lobbying can be heard loud and clear here.

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Troll hunter Rackspace turns Rotatable's bizarro patent to stone

MacroRodent
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Re: Another feature I could live without...

"a form factor like the Nokia Communicator"

or like the Nokia N97 and some other Nokia phones, that can work both with touchscreen and the keyboard, because the screen is left outside when folded. I known the N97 is widely considered a lemon, but at least I found the the follow-on N97 Mini stable and a very usable after it reached the "fully patched" state a couple of years after introduction. I only stopped using it when the connection between the screen and the rest of the phone became unreliable, making it impossible to answer calls. The downside of having any hinges in the design...

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Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

MacroRodent
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models

Sorry, but to my eye the models in the space scenes in "2001" do look a bit clumsy now, like put together from an Airfix kit. (Despite this, it still is the best science fiction film I have ever seen).

Speaking of models, I recently learned that the "Eagles" (flying moon transporters) in the "Space: 1999" TV series from the 1970's were filmed in part using full-size models that could actually fly! Take that, Star Wars!

One of them is still kept in working order by an enthusiast (http://www.scifiairshow.com/ships-eagle4.html)

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Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

MacroRodent
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The market share in Finland

... will probably plunge after the re-branding arrives here. So far Lumia phones have done much better in Finland than anywhere else, due to the familiar name, and the wish to support the home team.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

MacroRodent
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Joke

Tan from Dolby?

So does it have an UV channel? IR channel?

Actually, having more colour channels could be a real improvement for simulating reality. Imagine the screen showing a scene in Sahara and actually feeling the heat...

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Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

MacroRodent
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The real agenda

Google search is popular because it still is the best. I occasionally start Bing because it is activated by the search key of my WP7 phone, but very often it does not find stuff that Google finds, or the results are less relevant.. And other search engines like "DuckDuckGo" are usually "meta searches" that ride on Google's back, and would be nothing without it.

Perhaps this is precisely the reason for the News Corp complaint: If search engines are crippled, they and other publishers can act as gatekeepers of information, just like in the good old days.

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Hawking: Higgs boson in a BIG particle punisher could DESTROY UNIVERSE

MacroRodent
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Hmm,

If some particle collision can trigger such an intergalactic doomsday, then it should already have happened, since the universe contains objects like black holes, supernovas, magnetars etc that spout more energetic particle beams than we can ever hope to generate. So I'm not worried.

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Snowden shouldn't be extradited to US if he testifies about NSA spying, says Swiss gov

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

Re: direct flight

>And Russia could retaliate by banning that country's airlines from flying over Russia.

It is rumoured that could happen any day anyway for EU countries, as a counter-sanction.

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Before I Go To Sleep turns out tense enough to keep you awake ...

MacroRodent
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tired plot device

"you’ll realise that the whole thing is one of those situations that depends on certain key individuals not saying anything about things you’d kind of expect them to talk about"

Sounds like the "Harry Potter" films then, where most of the messes could have been avoided if Harry, Dumbledore and others hadn't been so fond of keeping secrets.

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Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy

MacroRodent
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Re: Bang on

The people gawking at their screens all the time are not going to be too interested: a watch is too small. Hasn't Ive noticed the phones have been getting larger rather than smaller, to allow for a decent screen. A traditional watch has a different task, it just shows one piece of information so its "screen" can be small.

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What could possibly go wrong? Banks could provide ID assurance for Gov.UK – report

MacroRodent
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Re: Meh

" Not being able to access the government's website using your bank login details is correctly known as a 'minor inconvenience'."

Well, it could mean queuing for hours at an actual office that has cut the staff to a minimum because everyone of course uses the internet service.

This is also a matter of principle. Private companies should not be allowed to act as gatekeepers to governement services.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Meh

Yes, it works, but the downside has been that the Finnish banks (being commerical operations) are very reluctant to provide net banking credentials to people with credit problems, who nevertheless have a need to access governement services like everyone else (or even more). This turns it into a human rights issue.

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Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

MacroRodent
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Re: Some valid points ...

"different high-entropy strings for each website and just store the password in your browser"

Who in this day and age uses the new from just one device? Granted, some browsers have "cloud sync" features, but that opens its own can of worms...

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MacroRodent
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SOME password strength validation still useful

I mean, if you don't stop people from using reportedly common choices like "123456", "password" or "qwerty" as their password, even the online attacks have a good change of success. But I agree torturing people with rules like "must contain uppercase, lowercase, numbers and punctuation" should be stopped.

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Is that a 64-bit ARM Warrior in your pocket? No, it's MIPS64

MacroRodent
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Re: RISC, not IRONIC

"And while code density is less of an issue now than ten years ago, [...]"

I recall compiling some programs for MIPS and some other CPU:s back in the 1990's, and the MIPS exes usually turned out to be around twice as large as the i386 or VAX ones. But this was not a big deal even back then.

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MacroRodent
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Boffin

RISC, not IRONIC

From article: "Ironically, MIPS and the new ARMv8-a (PDF) instruction sets are conveniently similar: for instance, they both have a fixed register that always contains a zero value, they both have tons of general purpose registers, each instruction is the same width, the program counter is not directly accessible, and so on."

I don't see anything ironic here. These are the features that actually distinguished RISC processors from CISC in the first place. Every real RISC architecture implements at least some of these, especially the fixed-width instruction format and the large number of general-purpose registers.

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SHARE 'N' SINK: OneDrive corrupting Office 2013 files

MacroRodent
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Windows

Re: lol, "tight integration."

"The question is, why is the OS messing with the data at all?"

Indeed. I always thought OneDrive is just a bit store when used via the syncing feature, but Microsoft seems to have "added value" to it. I use OneDrive (hence the icon) but approach it with Windows7 and LibreOffice, and have not seen any corruption so far.

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Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality

MacroRodent
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the bug

Wonder what it was that time? Probably not feet vs metres confusion, like in the missed NASA Mars probe, since both the ESA and Russia are thoroughly metric.

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Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store

MacroRodent
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On a phone, the Interface formerly known as Metro works pretty well. A small touch screen operated by fumbling fingers is a low-resolution input device, so the "Fisher-Price" approach is actually sensible... But it is indeed mysterious why Microsoft thought it would make sense on a desktop.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

MacroRodent
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Re: So what is wrong with...

What's wrong with EDLIN? Well, if I remember correctly, EDLIN could deal only with one 64k block of text at a time. To handle a larger file, you had to manually switch between the blocks. One reason why in the MS-DOS era, I always installed MicroEmacs to any new PC I encountered. At one time had a personally customized version of it that fixed some irritants in the original (possible since it came as C source).

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MacroRodent
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Get a distractionless wp

I recall once seeing a review of some "distractionless" word processors. The idea is that the word processor offers just one text window with minimal decorations and other distractions, meant for writers that want to fully concentrate on the text.

Too bad I cannot right now remember where I saw it. (Thought it was lwn.net but nothing turned up when searching there).

None of them were household names, which is not surprising since their users are a rather specialized group. I think the idea has merit.

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TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

Re: I thought I recognised this as previously debunked junk

What gets my BS detectors going about emDrive is that the proposed machine is so simple that replicating the results should be feasible even by fairly modest laboratory equipment, and it shouldn't cost much. Get a tunable microwawe source, then do some metal bending. So why don't we get a flood of success reports?

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Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE

MacroRodent
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Re: Scanning Photodisk

"Full frame camera with a macro lens. It won't be cheap."

Yes, something like that. Or just any kind of digital camera that can take macro shots. The disk negatives probably have less than 5mpx worth of image information. The negative is just 11x8 mm. Too bad my current Canon compact camera (SX230HS) cannot focus that close.

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