* Posts by Tannin

227 posts • joined 8 Apr 2012

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Tannin

Re: Simple is best

This is your plan to rejuvenate the tourism industry then.

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Microsoft can't tell North from South on Bing Maps

Tannin

"Actually, Australia is moving at about 7cm a year, which is about double the rate of fingernail growth."

Actually, he said fingernails. Plural. So, taking the conservatibe view that the plural indicates two rather than some larger number, 7cm a year woud be about right.

(Just stand there for a year with your arms outstretched and your fingers pointing in opposite directions.)

(Try not to scratch.)

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Google AdSense abused to distribute Android spyware

Tannin

Well, that's the problem with Android, isn't it. No hosts file, at least not in the sense of something that you, the owner of the device, is able to control. It's seriously bad design. (Deliberately so, one presumes.)

(Disclosure: no axe to grind here, I understand that Apple kit is as bad or worse in this regard.)

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Turnbull's Transformers intend to test single sign-on to Gov.au on the offshore, public cloud

Tannin

Sense of proportion here please

Steady on there chaps. What's actually wrong with storing things in some murky overseas system beyond the reach of Australian law that most voters have never heard of anyway? After all, Mal happily trusts all those millions to a repository somewhere in the Cayman Islands so he should know. What could possibly go wrong?

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Adblock Plus blocks Facebook's ad-blocker buster: It's a block party!

Tannin

"Bucky 2 - "You have to have morals to claim the moral high ground".

^ What is there left to say after this? Nailed the whole issue in one short sentence.

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Mozilla 404s '404 Not Found' pages: Firefox fills in blanks with archive.org copies

Tannin

People aren't stupid

People aren't stupid, you know. They read the article, and the article is at pains to say that Firefox will redirect 404s to the archive. It does not, repeat does not, bother to make it clear that (according to various grumpy comments above which I have no reason to disbelieve) this isn't a redirect at all but a glorified error page that offers to serve the archive page instead. (A very different - and much more sensible - thing.)

Subject to who you are and how plausible your message is, people tend to believe things you tell them. When you are a writer for the Register, we tend to think you probably know your stuff and take it at face value. (Stand aside one loopy science malreporter, of course.) When what you write seems plausible (e.g., when you suggest that Mozilla management have come up with an ill-considered "improvement" of dubious value - just to pick an example completely at random), people tend to believe it.

In short, don't bloody criticise people for posting perfectly sensible responses to the (you would have thought) trustworthy news they read. Instead, criticise the highly misleading, headline-chasing article they are responding to.

Thankyou, Mr Grumpy and your friends, for pointing out that Mozilla haven't been as stupid (this time) as the article makes them out to be. (Assuming you have your facts right, of course, which I am happy to do.) No thanks for the manner in which you did so.

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Australia gets one-quarter of a minister for national infosec

Tannin

Oengus - "If I remember rightly ANZAC was 25 April 1915. What does our prime minister need assistance with for something that was over a year ago?"

What do you mean more than a year ago? This is a government stuck in the 1950s after all. There is plenty of time before the 21st Century starts.

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Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft's own metric – it won't hit one billion devices by mid-2018

Tannin

Re: The penguin struggles to reach 4% market share with a free product

I don't think it's just marketing that keeps 'nix off the desktop and Wiindows on it.I think people ignore a whole list of showstopper can't-run-X-on-'nix issues. That list of showstoppers includes things like Photoshop and Lightroom, popular accounting packages, and so on. It used to include a zillion games and the Microsoft Office package, but the games situation has improved a lot, and Microsoft's Office is gradually becoming a bit irrelevant because the alternatives are often just as good if not better. Nevertheless, until we have key applications like Photoshop on Linux, Windows is fairly safe.

Does Microsoft know this? Is there any concerted push by MS to ensure (for example) that Adobe doesn't port its applications to Nix?

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Tannin

Re: The sad thing is that Windows 10 is great and (etc)

It is quite absurd to walk around pretending that Win 10 is faster than 8.x. 8.x had a factory user inferface even worse than 10's, of course, but Classic Shell fixes that and it installs in less time than it takes Cortana (or whatever it is that they call that crud on the start bar) to start up and do anything.

But to be fair, taken as a whole, 10 is better.

Better than Vista, anyway.

Well, mostly.

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Tannin

increasing customer delight

The fact that this turkey can talk about "increasing customer delight with Windows" says it all, really. Sure, it's not uncommon for a sales droid to be a litte out of touch with reality, but anyone who says that about the way people interact with Windows is, frankly, hopelessly confused.

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Ad blockers responsible for rise in upfront TV ad sales, claims report

Tannin

Re: Subliminal ads

"Who remembers when subliminal ads were banned?"

Don't remember it at all. Escaped my consciousness. Must have been a subliminal ban.

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Philando Castile death-by-cop vid mysteriously vanishes from Facebook

Tannin

How many Americans have been killed by terrorists this year?

Roj Blake asked "How many Americans have been killed by terrorists this year? Less than 50 is my guess."

That depends on what you mean by "terrorists". If you mean armed gangs who perform mindless acts of random murder with no discernable purpose other than to kill some people and make the other ones scared and traumatised (which seems like a pretty fair working definition of terrorism to me), then the answer is 506 and counting.

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400 million Foxit users need to catch up with patched-up reader

Tannin

PDFExchange for me. Small, fast, flexible, no junkware. Probably misses out on 1017 "must have" features I have never heard of and don't want.

I junked Foxit years ago. For a one-time small, good PDF reader, Foxit has done a wonderful job of turning itself into a great, bloated pile of (unpleasant substance).

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Liberal Party of Australia: why are you paying so much for ancient software?

Tannin

Gosh darn it

Gosh darn it, why doesn't anybody recognise the outstanding value of this package? It has five key advantages:

Fully supported

Reliable

Affordable

Useful to the client base

Developed for purpose

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'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared

Tannin

Re: Seriously...

"Actually, half the country has a below-MEDIAN IQ. #math"

Actually, IQ has a symmetrical normal distribution with a mean of 100 and a standard deviaton of 15. Always. In every population. because that's how it is defined. As with all such distributions, the median is equal to the mean. (And to the mode, for that matter.)

# psychology

PS: learn how to spell "maths".

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Shareholders rubber-stamp Ingram Micro $6bn sale to Chinese firm

Tannin

They will certainly be better at running the Giant Wholesale Schmozzlemeisters than whoever the current mob is. Well, they couldn't really be a lot worse.

Ingram Micro: for when you want a verdor that does wholesaling nearly as well as Adobe does security.

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Google is the EU Remain campaign's secret weapon

Tannin

Nevere mind the length, feel the width

@Nick Kew "Google can see if you return to its results page and try another link after 30 secs" and uses this to help adjust its rankings - sites people hand around longer on get upranked..

Now that raises an interesting point. (Slightly off-topic, but this is The Register after all.) Let's assume that Google is quite good at measuring the length of your visits that way (which shouldn't be too difficult). Well, it should work well for people who habitually use only a single browser window and seldom make use of tabs.

But what about those among us who habitually open most things in new tabs? There are quite a few of us (particularly amongst more technically inclined communites, such as this one) who will typically search on a phrase and then open as many links in background tabs as seems sensible before flipping over to read them or (if they don't have what you want) discard them.

Google has no way to tell how long we spend on those pages.

Well, it has lots and lots of ways, starting with their damn analytics webspam. I suppose the question is (a) how extensive and smart is their linking of these different information sources? and (b) should I go out and buy a tin foil hat before asking (a)?

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Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

Tannin

Re: Sue them

Any consumer protection law covers this.

(If you have something called "consumer protection law" in your jurisdiction and it doesn't even cover a basic "goods faulty, refund or replacement required" situation like this one, then it isn't a consumer protection law at all.)

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Tannin

Back to the future indeed! This is exactly how sleep mode worked on Windows 95 and 98.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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Telstra's confession to DNS-messin' explains broadband borkage

Tannin

Why were Telstra modems and routers resetting themselves at all? Surely this is not something that a real router (as opposed to those strange, firmware-hacked things Telstra uses) should be doing without a human's say-so?

Edit: I've been experiencing very strange intermittent DNS problems this last week or two on my (brand new) Telstra NBN connection. Possibly this is connected. (Not a new connection as such, it's just been switched to Telstra from Internode. When it actually works, by the way, it's a lot faster. iiNet's backhaul arrangements have never recovered from their ill-advised free Netfix blunder. Slow as toffee every evening peak. Telstra is vastly faster. But it has DNS problems. Should I muck about looking for a workaround? Or just assume that they will figure it out eventually and do nothing? Doing nothing is always tempting.)

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Is uBeam the new Theranos?

Tannin

Re: Look at the non-functional requirements: efficiency and safety

Oh dear. It "shows power transfer" measured in volts. Nuff said.

I am, by the way, 87 kilograms tall.

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Kill Flash now? Chrome may be about to do just that

Tannin
Flame

Off-topic (almost)

One nice thing about having Flash content is that you can tell your browser not to run it. This avoids all those shouty, distracting things. Once in a while, when you actually do want to see something animated, you can click to run.

Is there a simple, practical way to turn off HTML5 animation or make it click to run the way you do with Flash?

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Carl Icahn: Will someone rid my portfolio of this rotten Apple?

Tannin

Re: Good!

Just so. Wall Street has an amazing habit of running growth tech companies up to insane prices. Look at the history of Cisco for a graphic example. The current stock prices of the darlings of the Internet advertising boom (Facebook, Twitter, Google, and the like) reflect the view that their historical growth rate will be sustained for a decade or more to come, and that's not just unlikely, it's impossible. If you extrapolate their future earnings from their current prices, Wall Street expects each one of them to soak up the entire advertising spend of the entire planet .... which seems unlikely, given that there are several of these giant tech darlings and only one planet. Total world advertising spend (all media, print, web, outdoor, radio, TV, everything) is essentially static: it hasn't changed much in decades other than in (approximate) line with overall economic growth.

Now you might argue that one of them will end up with earnings on that scale. It's not impossible after all. But they can't all have 100% of the same cake!

Apple, like most (all?) of the other tech darlings will do a Cisco. The company will remain successful, will still generate huge profits, might even continue to grow a bit .... but not at a pace anything like fast enough to justifty the ridiculous share price. In the medium to long term, going short on all of the giant tech darlings (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and etc.) is a can't lose strategy. You might (might!) be wrong with one of them, even two of them, but you'll still be a mile ahead.

(Least likely to decline: probably Amazon, followed by Google. Twitter is walking dead; Facebook has hit the wall, Microsoft .. less said the better; Apple is well past its peak.)

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The case for ethical ad-blocking

Tannin

First questions first

Since when has ad blocking ever been anything other than ethical? People have blocked ads since long before there was an Internet.

Watching TV, most normal people look away, or turn the sound down, or get up to put the kettle on, or even change the channel when the ads come on.

Reading the paper, who amongst us even sees the ads? We filter them out. We flick past them. We pull out the advertising supplement sections and put them to one side, ready to discard. We turn the pages past the full-page ads and, five minutes later, or even five seconds later, don't even know what the thing we filtered out was.

The only thing that is new here is this pernicious notion - pushed you may be very sure by advertisers - that not looking at ads is suddenly a Wrong.Thing.

It isn't a Wrong Thing. It never was. And no amount of propaganda - no amount even of advertising - can make it so.

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Trouble at t'spinning rust mill: Disk drive production is about to head south

Tannin

Re: My old...

There was nothing wrong with RLL .... unless you were doing it with an ST-238! What a disaster those drives were. Worst hard drive ever ... well ... apart from the .... and of course the old ..... No. Let's not go there. We'd be here all night and it's time for my slippers and milk arrowroot biscuit. Goodnight nurse.

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Kaspersky cracks CryptXXX, throws lifeline to ransomware victims

Tannin

There is only one John Snow

But surely there is only one John Snow. He took 4/94 in his Ashes debut at Old Trafford, and destroyed a very strong Australian side at the SCG taking 7/40, including master batsmen in Redpath, Stackpole, and both Chappells. Accept no imitations.

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Thunderbird is GO: Mozilla prepares to jettison mail client

Tannin

Good thinking that tool

Yer, right. Good thinking Mr Tool. Take resources away from your useful, practical product in order to waste them on your slowly dying flagship.Yes, that one, the one you have been doing your best to wreck one brick at a time with one daft, unwanted UI change after another. yes, that's right, the one that more and more users are turning away from every month because you keep making it worse.

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Google yanks Chrome support for Windows XP, at long last

Tannin

Re: Chromium

Upvote just for still having and loving an R60. :)

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nbn special: See the FTTN and HFC cabinets coming to your street

Tannin

Re: Lost the plot

Cheers Simon, thanks for replying.

As we al know, politicians (and their servants in utilities, who have no real choice about it) love to pretend that a FTTN network is vastly cheaper than an all-fibre network, which of course it isn't. It is somewhat cheaper in the short term (estimates vary a lot but if you wanted to say around 20% I'd be happy enough to accept that as a working figure) but of course much dearer over the medium term (because it will have to be replaced with fibre sooner or later anyway).

The point here is that, having decided on a (not very) cheap FTTN network for a given suburb, they then offer individual true fibre connections at a huge added cost to the consumer, and cite this cost (typically several thousand dollars) as the "cost difference" between copper and fibre for the last kilometre - which of course it is not. This in turn is the "justification" for installing an inferior technology.

In reality, of course, the four figure "extra cost" does not reflect the difference between fibre and FTTN, it reflects the cost of installing a single, special-purpose link for just one customer. Nearly all of that "extra cost" has nothing to do with the link being fibre all-through or fibre plus copper, it has to do with the expense of doing a custom install, and it would be every bit as high if the custom service used wire, string, or well-trained hamsters instead of fibre optic cable.

It is highly misleading to talk about the "huge cost" of fibre connections when in fact, they cost about the same as FTTN ones.

Disclaimer: no sour grapes here. I'm perfectly happy with my new(ish) fibre connection, but my old HFC connection was quite sufficient to meet my modest needs. I just don't like seeing politicians' lies parroted unchallenged in what is supposed to be a technical publication.

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Tannin

Lost the plot

Simon, you have really lost the plot on this topic? Why?

Example: "You'll also learn why some homes will get fibre-to-the-premises at massive expense while others miss out."

Why did you write that? You know that there is no "massive expense" involved in a true fibre connection; you know that the "massive expense" is an entirely artifical pretend "expense" cooked up to make the Fraudband network look cost-effective and sensible, you know that the actual expense of a true fibre network is little or no more than that of the Fraudband network in the short term, and less in the medium term because the real fibre connection is cheaper to maintain and won't have to be torn up and replaced the way the Fraudband links will, and you know that El Reg readers are way too smart and way too tech-savvy to fall for this ridiculous spiel .... so why write it?

I used to admire and enjoy your work. Now I'm forced, however reluctantly, to doubt the veracity of all your other work as well - stuff I used to just take as gospel truith because I thought you told it straight and knew your stuff.

I was wrong. Sorry.

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Millions menaced as ransomware-smuggling ads pollute top websites

Tannin

Re: Checks for anti-virus?

In one word, yes. Millions of them. It is not difficult to remain malware-free if you have some basic skills. Anti-virus software is much less effective than simple good hygiene - never use Internet Explorer, uninstall chronic malware vectors like Flash, block ads, you know this stuff if you read El Reg. Or you should.

Edit: "basic" skills for any IT person, I mean. I'm not expecting your Granny to have them. For most ordinary users an anti-virus package is worth the cost. (Not really money, the main cost is the performance hit.) But you centainly don't need one if you have an IT clue.

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Ad-slinger Opera adds ad-blocking tech to its browser

Tannin

"Opera is best known amongst consumers for its pioneering web browser."

Yer right .... As you would know if you troubled to consult anything other than the in-house press releases, Opera hasn't pioneered anything for a very long time. Opera development was abandoned three years ago and the once-loved browser has vanished without trace.

(There is a rebadged version of Chrome marketed by what's left of the Opera company now, but it's certainly not Opera, and it isn't even remotely "best known amongst consumers" because hardly anyone bothers using it. What would be the point? You might as well just use Chrome - which is exactly what most people do.)

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No tit for tat, or should that be tat for tit ... Women selling stuff on eBay get lower bids

Tannin

Re: Study?

I'd love to see a proper double-blind study instead of this mickey mouse psudo-science.

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Flash flushed as Google orders almost all ads to adopt HTML5

Tannin

So, just ban all 3rd party Javascript.

Of course, this would have the side effect of scrambling a few zillion cut and paste, bandwidth-hogging, slow loading code spagetti websites built on barely-underrstood bloated rubbish library imports ...

.... so when you think about it, there is no actual downside.

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Map of Tasmania to be shorn of electrical, data links to outside world

Tannin

Re: Tasmania's world heritage wirelessness

This is no time for exploring Tassies magnificent outdoors, Winkeypop, it's all burning up at present - for much the same reasons as lie behind the dams being empty.

PS: though there is another reason for the empty dams: they ran them beyond capacity a couple of years back in order to game the carbon tax system in anticipation of a change of government.Now they are paying the price.

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Tannin

Re: Aussie slang

Maps of Tasmania are very rare these days. (Unfortunately).

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Oracle to kill off Java browser plugins with JDK 9

Tannin

Re: Isn't Ask Toolbar != Java plugin?

The link is quite simple, AC. It is called "money" and it's very unfair because somebody else has got some of it and Oracle wants all of it.

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Someone please rid me of this turbulent Windows 10 Store

Tannin

Re: What went wrong?

" I'm waiting for an XP-like skin or shell that returns identifiable structure to my desktop computing experience."

Hello? Earth calling lost astonaut? Hello? Classic Shell has been out for years, and well-known since Windows 8 was new. What are you waiting for? The boxed version on DVD?

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The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

Tannin

Re: @GrumpenKraut

BTW, Constitution is capitalized

No it isn't.

Capitalisation is for proper nouns and certain well-defined scientific terms. Other than when starting a sentence, "constitution" begins with a lower case "c" - except when the word forms a part of a proper noun. An example is "the Constitution of the United States". This is the formal title of a specific document and as such is capitalised if and only if you are using that exact form. When you write (for example) "the American constitution" or "let's amend the constitution", it is never capitilised.

This is the exact same rule you use to determine the capitilisation of organisational titles. The "chairman of a golf club" vs the "Chairman of the Particular Exact Golf Club", or "Dr Smith over there is a professor of physics at Oxford" vs "this is Dr Smith, Professor of Physics at Oxford University. In each case, the first is a descriprion, the second is a formal title, which is why you write them differently.

Clear? Too subtle a difference for you to get your mind around? Perhaps. You don't seem to be doing too well at subtle so far, but we live in hope.

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Telstra dominates NBN retail, but less than you might think

Tannin

Re: There's more to it than that (in my experience)

Very few, I should think. Certainly I have never heard of such a thing before. The normal case is that for the six months before and the six months after NBN rollout in your street, you are emptying the letter box with a wheelbarrow because of all the flyers from ISPs spruiking their NBN deals.

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What did we learn today? Microsoft has patented the slider bar

Tannin

Re: People still use Corel products ?

Corel have really buggered up the sulime Quattro Pro, but it's still vastly more pleasant to use than Excel.

You know what I really, really miss in computing these days? Companies who just made standout quality products as a matter of pride and habit - Borland and Word Perfect are the obvious examples.

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Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone

Tannin

Escape from Lemming Mode

Given that the Firefox developers have been operating entirely in Lemming Mode for the past few years, this must count as very good news for anyone who uses Thunderbird.

Thunderbird is clunky and full of weird usability gotchas, but it is still the benchmark email client.* Castrating the chaotic current Thunderbird UI by applying Australis-style "fixes" could only make things worse. Under new, non-suicidal management, perhaps we will see a Thunderbird renaisance. At very worst, we will see nothing much happen, which is non-ideal but at least a lot better than letting the Australis morons wreck it.

* Footnote: the fact that clunky old Thunderbird is the unquestioned benchmark email client says a very great deal about all the other email clients, and none of it good.

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British woman loses £1.6 million to romance scam love rats

Tannin

Re: Small change?

Hit the nail on the head there. There is nothing here to indicarte how much 1.6b was to her. We are all assuming it was most of what she owned, a very large slice of what she owned, or even her entire fortune, but we have no evidence to back that. It is entirely possible that she could drop 1.6b the same way that I could drop $50 on a steak and a bottle of red, and feel it just as much.

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Tannin

Re: Please tell me...

Daddy.

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Tannin

Re: "Victims of this fraud must understand that they are not foolish "

Just so. Foolish is as foolish does. It was very dumb.

(I, of course, have never, ever done anything foolish in the name of love.)

Well, hardly ever.

OK, not very often.

I mean not regularly.

Not more than a few times.

Well, OK, quite a lot.

Can I go now?

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Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!

Tannin

Re: imap

Re Mark 85: "As long as they don't tell me to kill my HOSTS file, no sweat. I'll generously turn off adblocker... and just keep updating the HOSTS file."

^ Good thinking that man. You might like to start with, oh, just to put something completely at random:

0.0.0.0 yahoo.com

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Horrid checkbox download bundlers drop patch-frozen Chrome

Tannin

Re: Google being "the internet" is part of the problem

"it seems that the users wanted to install RealPlayer and downloaded it from the first hit from Google."

Hmmm ...

Real Player. They wanted to install it.

Oh dear.

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NBN mulls capacity charge revamp

Tannin

Re: The only thing that needs to happen

Spot on Paul. Would you buy a bottle of milk that promised to contain "up to two litres"?

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How to build a city fit for 50℃ heatwaves

Tannin

White paint is good. But there are indeed more effective materials - and they don't use silver so far as I know. See, for example, http://colorbond.com/learn/articles/thermatech-solar-reflectance-technology

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Opera Jon's sparkling Vivaldi proves the browser isn't dead

Tannin

UI still needs important work

Love the idea, all strength to it. Sadly, there seems to have been too little progress on the UI front.

There is still no single tab close button - all versions of real Opera up to and including 12.16 have this; so does Sea Monkey, so does Pale Moon, so does Firefox (albeit only via extension since the Firefox UI wreckers went mad on Australis). For many power users this is a use/avoid level feature. (Count me amongst them.)

There is still no obvious way to get a clean page without that annoying and useless panel bar down the left-hand side of the screen - you can move it but I can't find a way to get rid of it.CORRECTION: there is a way now, but it's not obvious - you have to find a little icon in the bottom left corner. Once you do though, it apparently works fine. All that's needed to complete this improvement now is put that setting where it belongs: in settings -> panel.

I won't list more minor things as the improvements are coming along nicely and I'm confident they will be sorted soon enough.

Without a single tab close button (i.e., an option to have the control to close the current tab always in the same place where it can be used automatically and without conscious thought - nothing worse in a UI than having to search for basic controls that move around) I can't view Vivaldi as a possibility for prime time use yet, but this latest version seems good enough now to replace Chrome as the 5th-choice browser on my machine. (And yes, I do use all five.)

Very keen to see Vivaldi progress: it's got nearly all the parts in place now.

PS: get it right - that means a modern browser with a UI as good as or better than Opera 12.x - and I'd be happy to pay cash money for it. I know they are looking at other ways of funding it, nevertheless, for many of us our browser is the single most-often-used program on our computers. If it cost $100 to have a better browser, I'd pay without an instant's hesitation.

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