* Posts by JLV

485 posts • joined 4 Mar 2013

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

JLV
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Re: It's all about the developers

>most of their money from enterprise licensing fees not home users.

I'll take your word for that. But at the same time, how many corps have upgraded to 8x? Not many, I gather. They are slow and conservative at the best of times, but 8's massive consumer WTF must have rang big fat alarm bells at the retraining costs and productivity loss for users. I mean it took me 5 mins to activate the charms on 8.0 and I roughly knew where to look for it and that it was a mess to find.

You're nailed it that upgrades are likely not a big $ hit. And I think that's the key to Dabbsie's conundrum. Goodwill, much needed, at a cost most accountants would rate as negligible. New comps will still get the Windows tax. Companies will still pay MS corporate rates. Most users will buy new computers. And in one year, things revert back to pumpkins.

Now, if only Apple would apply the same cost/benefit analysis and realize locking their computer RAM earns them minimal extra money but much badwill from power users...

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Gay emojis? GAY EMOJIS?! Not here in Russia, comrade

JLV
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Goodwin

Really? Do you have data to corroborate that assertion on a generalized basis, not just as an anectdote? I know Hitler was aided into power by the Brownshirts, a number of whom were gay and in fact were liquidated during Kristallnacht. Thats in 33-34, gas chambers were 1940 and up.

Past 34? Who knows? Data, not rumor, is bound to be sparse if you consider the consequences of being outed. I certainly haven't heard of massive amounts of gay Nazis, I'd guess they'd have as big a proportion as any random group, but I welcome your insight.

Me? I find homophobia distasteful enough on its own, no need to drag in the old "jeez he's gay himself" chestnut. Though it does happen and can make for especially effed up bigots. A certain US TV preacher comes to mind.

Putin? Anything to make his electorate feel under external threat. That's been his modus operandi for a while now and the fools gobble it up.

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Hawking, Musk, Woz (and Riley): ROBOTS will KILL US ALL

JLV
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Re: Excellent

>*Hawking.

upvoted!

<insert sheepish icon>

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JLV
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Re: Excellent

Musk & Hawkings have both warned about AI risks. There is a strong relationship between a capable, non-munition, weapon (i.e. one that shoots, not one that is shot as per Lewis' examples) operating autonomously and pursuit of an aggressive to humans AI capability.

I believe they are correct to engage the debate but unlikely to have much success. If there is ever a significant US - China conflict, I expect drones to be a strong component of it, esp from Chinese end. They don't have the military expertise/tradition of the US, they do have the engineering and they have incentives to follow untraditional methods to bypass US dominance. Another form of asymmetric warfare but this time between top-tier opponents.

Ultimately we need to get better at not wanting to kill each other rather than hoping for weapon restraint doing the thinking for us. Though there are plenty of examples of arms controls working - cluster bombs, landmines, NBC.

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US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

JLV
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Unhappy

Hidden taxes and wastes of time

There are way too many silly cases of standards and legal codes that are meant for public consumption, but are charged by nominally neutral and public-interest parties.

For example, I find it galling that in 2015 we still can't access the mysterious ANSI SQL standards docs without paying a presumably large chunk of change for it.

Ditto having to buy a sample house owner to provider contract from my province's home renovation/construction professional organization. This was a while back and it was only $25, but what a waste of time. How many of these things do they sell anyway?

Anyone claiming to be an IT standards or public service entity should be shamed into being more open.

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Mozilla loses patience with Flash over Hacking Team, BLOCKS it

JLV
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Re: The best bit is....

>would you prefer a news service that hushed up stories?

No, I had not thought of that angle at all and I don't suppose the OP did either. I do understand support for the reporter however.

I don't mind the BBC's reporting in the matter. It's ballsy, if anything, not to sweep this under the rug. Kudos to the reporter and editors.

I do, very much, mind the fact that the BBC's IT department is clueless enough to still use a video technology that puts their users at risk and has been known to do so for, oh, at least 5 or 6 years.

DRM, as suggested? It's a news site, not Netflix. They produce and own the content. Besides, even if DRM is a driving factor, take inspiration of big html 5 video sites for content protection (and ad-serving). Or, start using the DRM support in the browsers, if you really, really feel like you need to (that is not me voicing support for DRM, especially not in the context of a news site).

But don't serve videos with Flash. End of story. The BBC, and CBC, are funded, at great expense, by the taxpayers of their respective countries. They have no business putting those same taxpayers at risk needlessly by following fundamentally insecure web practices.

I am sure the techies at BBC know how to ditch Flash (the CBC I am somewhat less confident about). So one can only suppose it comes from clueless top management and perhaps the legal dept not wanting to lose whatever control they think they get from Flash.

And, Flash ads? By all means, keep them if you wanna. That doesn't interfere with serving contents without Flash. Again though, it is 2015, and advertisers must know that audiences are gradually tuning outta Flash.

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JLV
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WTF?

Re: The best bit is....

I wonder why the downvotes. One category of websites which refuses to get on the html5 video bandwagon is news sites. BBC and CBC foremost. These are well-funded operations and surely they have the technology in 2015 to use something else than Flash, yet they persist in using it. Crib from YouTube if you need to.

I bet newsites are also one of the biggest reasons why Jane Average user, if she is aware of Flash's putrid security model, decides to stick with Flash after all. As soon as she turns Flash off she'll get all sorts of "not working" crud from news sites, that she trusts. So presumably she needs it after all.

Sure, there are tons of other sites using Flash for various reasons. But not many have the level of average user visibility along with trust factor of news sites.

Really, large non-profits and government-backed public sites should be more responsible in phasing Flash out.

I will also nominate Google Finance to this hall of shame - "For the ubercool interactive charts, you need to install the Adobe Flash Player". d3.js, anyone?

p.s. El Reg doesn't really impress here either true, but not many users will re-activate a plugin to avoid missing ads. More like an unexpected benefit.

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Microsoft rains cash on OpenBSD Foundation, becomes top 2015 donor

JLV
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Re: Microsoft...

>totally insane rabid fanboi

You need a special kind of mental filter to believe that all those shiny macbooks that you see around would not, in a another universe entirely, have been Windows-running laptops.

In that sense, yes, Windows has suffered quite a loss on the consumer side of things. It hasn't lost much on the business side because Apple is pretty darn incompetent in the corporate world (upvoted that person, he makes sense, you don't).

To flip it around. This would be like arguing that Windows has not suffered from Linux because you don't see any Linux desktops/laptops in common consumer use. You don't but the hurt is coming from the server side and the phone/tablet side. It's still there and ask Ballmer, it hurt plenty.

This has zilch to do with whether or not one likes Apple or Apple's technical merits or lack thereof. It has to do with market share on the consumer side of things. I know, market share == totally horrible word to some techies, but for some of us it it has some relationship to our paychecks continuing.

15 years ago, consumer computing was Windows, Windows, Windows. Now it is considerably less so on PCs. Let alone phones & tablets.

If I had phrased my remark more specifically as in "BSD, thru OSX, is a threat to MS in the enterprise space" then, yes, you would be correct to state I was a drooling idiot. Did I do that?

Should I type more slowly, dogged? Going too fast for you on a Friday?

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JLV
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Re: Microsoft...

>BSD simply isn't a threat

Errr, it's a $700B threat, in the form of Apple ;-)

Albeit partially based on Next technology and not sure which flavor of BSD OSX most derives from.

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JLV
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Angel

Re: Strange bedfellows

Nadella had a low, if somewhat corpulent, bar to improve on, true.

I agree that they are making a lot of fairly nice moves lately. Whether or not Windows 10 will be success is another thing, but them coming to the realization that there will always a place for not-MS tech and not being so defensive about it is a good start to mending fences.

The world can surely accommodate Windows, Linux and BSD family. In fact, it'd be nice to see new OS paradigms, these 3 are really old tech though I don't mean that in a bad way.

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Microsoft starts switching on paid Wi-Fi service with latest Windows 10 preview

JLV
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Happy

Re: Feaping Creaturitus

>part of the kernel operating system

"kernel"

That there word don't mean what youze thinks it means, young Shannon.

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SatNad's purple haze could see Lumia 'killed'. Way to go, chief!

JLV
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Frankly, they don't have a choice

Phones are immeasurably more powerful now than they were 10 years ago and have emerged as a principal personal computing device. Healthcare IT, a long promised category, is looking to exploit the combination of sensors and CPU muscle. Tablets can serve a lot of vertical markets. Cloud server muscle + phone client is also a potentially interesting combination (I'd say synergy but ... buzzword). Yada, yada, yada...

MS may not like where it is in phones and tablets. And they shouldn't. Their phones may not be a total technical failure, but they are a marketing disgrace.

But MS also doesn't have much of a choice but to stick to it. Otherwise, in the long term, they risk becoming marginalized to the desktop category, albeit with a solid chunk of the corporate server market. However, if you look at a who's who of corporate servers 25 years ago, you'll see many gravestones now.

If I were a shareholder, I would not fancy them exiting. They should trim down all their other fat first and look at the long term. They have a big enough warchest and anything else smacks of short termism..

Last, if you were looking at committing to MS on any tech and they backtracked here, how would you evaluate your risks then? Silverlight and WinRT were bad enough, this would be a huge loss of credibility for any new undertaking of theirs.

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Decision time: Uninstall Adobe Flash or install yet another critical patch

JLV
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Channelling Mrs. Reagan sitting on Mr. T's lap**

Just say 'No', Fool*.

Many, many, sites do not use Flash. Many more will work just fine without you having the plugin. Yes, news sites like the BBC are still stuck in Flash land, but only for some of their videos. Just like Java applets, once you get rid of them, you realize how the risks far outweigh the benefits.

* Sorry, didn't mean to be rude. I did have to channel Mr. T too, hence "Fool".

** google "Mrs. Reagan sitting on Mr. T's lap". disturbing.

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Firefox to speed up dev cycle, go multi-process, rip and replace UI – soon

JLV
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my $0.02 - throttling

how about an easy, baked-in, way to limit CPU and memory use, on systems that support it?

That could be based on 'nice' on nix. Or whatever, really.

But FF has the tendency to gobble up >1GB ram (or page it). Ditto with 90%+ CPU, sometimes. I know that Chrome isn't much better (if you tally up its processes), but I would see that as a major improvement on FF's current offering to have a more realistic, noob-friendly way to throttle it.

In most usage scenarios, there is no reason for such hog-like behavior. A browser is not Crysis running maximised while you are eating cheetos and talking thrash to your buddies. FF should recognize that it is most likely to be one of several programs that you are using at that point in time and calm the heck down. Yes, it would be nice if OS support was better for throttling for user-visible tasks, but FF should do its best, including just in terms of documentation on how to configure throttling on the host OS, to address this issue.

Aside from that, FF is not perfect, but I am happy enough with it. If the critics really have a big grudge, hey, complain in a reasonable fashion (looking at you, Mr Kill-Yourself) and/or move to alternative browsers - each platform has several of those. Enough departures will show FF the error of their ways and you didn't pay for it after all.

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JLV
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Thumb Down

>IF YOU JERK OFFS AT MOZILLA WANT TO DO SOMETHING KILL YOURSELF!

That's pretty effin uncalled for.

When directed towards anyone. But specifically to people, who whatever faults you find with it, do provide a free browser to many.

Way to motivate devs.

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Will rising CO2 damage the world's oceans? NOT SO MUCH – new boffinry

JLV
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Re: "rapid changes in an environment"

>Your anecdotes about current weather events have no bearing on global warming.

My anecdotes, as I acknowledged in the interest of honesty, are not individually proof of causation by global warming. However, the increased accumulation of "anecdotes" (Antarctic ice shelves breaking away, shrinking arctic ice cover, 2014 being the warmest year one record, the Midwest and Eastern seaboard aside*) do add up to a growing body of evidence that the 90%+ percent of AGW-leaning scientist might, just, perhaps, be on to something. And, no, they don't seem to think that your "decades" are worth the hot air you are using to spout them.

>do you actually believe the computer climate models can predict global surface temps to within 1C?

No, I don't. They may overshoot or undershoot. Your point?

You remind of the great and glorious general McClellan of the Union army. He wouldn't ever move until he had every last gun and soldier in place. By the time he did it was usually too late and he got his ass handed over to him time and again by Lee.

I suppose that, in your worldview, nothing should not much be done until every single bit of doubt and uncertainty is removed. Even if there is generally accepted scientific consensus that inaction and increasing emissions are putting us at risk. The uncertainties you point out do not affect the big picture all that much and you seem educated enough to know better. And that's why I did not have someone else in mind when I claimed cherry-picking.

I will grant you is that cutting emissions by X% on any fixed volume of our carbon emissions will be easier and cheaper to do in 10 years than now. We are, slowly, learning our way around the engineering and, yes, the science. And should not overcommit to any given technology until they are proven to work. We are also learning that Greens, and various political parties, do not always just care about CO2 and science, sometimes they'd like to hitch their preferred worldview along for the ride - GMOs, organic farming, consumption limitation, etc ,etc....

Those are real considerations in planning our strategies but it does not, in my opinion burying our head in the sand because every single iota of your questions hasn't been answered. We don't have "fixed slices of emissions", all of them are still growing and will take more effort to bring back down later on.

Last, one thing that many scientists seem to be agreeing on - while it may be difficult to limit CO2 emissions, CO2, once in the atmosphere will, in terms of your precious "human timescales" be essentially permanent. We do not at this point, have any credible large scale way to remove it and no natural processes will do it very quickly either. So erring on the side of caution would seem prudent.

* https://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/january/nasa-determines-2014-warmest-year-in-modern-record

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JLV
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Re: "rapid changes in an environment"

"are not rapid at all on a human timescale"

But extremely swift on a geological and evolutionary timescale, wouldn't you say?

"won't start to be evident to the average person until hundreds or thousands of years from now."

Oh, really? As I am typing this my usual clear West Coast coastal air is strongly reminiscent of a Beijing smog fest. After pretty much zero snow this winter we've had an unusually dry, clear and hot June. Lots of broken temperature records. Now we have about 50 ongoing forest fires within a 200 mile radius, an air quality warning with about a 3/4 mile visibility when I woke up and ots of sub 2.5 micron particles, precisely the crap that's associated with extra pulmonary diseases.

Add to this, what 1000-2000 deaths each in Pakistan and India due to heat waves in the last month, a pretty extreme drought in California and the Australian brush fire deaths of a few years back.

No, none of this is evidence of global warming causation. But those problems are clearly caused by increased local temperatures.

If global warming turns out to be real, and not the laughable hoax you think it is, we can expect more of these kinds of events, precisely because temperatures are trending up. And, again, it is worrying to see this development so early on. By any metric, even well-intentioned and effective climate change mitigation will take a long time to slow down CO2 increases and yet we seem to be observing some impacts already. That on the basis of 600-800 million historically heavy polluters in North America, Europe and Japan. To which we are adding hundreds of millions of newly-polluting Chinese.

Again, wanna bet that this will not cause any problems?

BTW what are you going on about "denialist"? Did I use the word?

I am all for funding for scientists who could disprove the A in AGW. Too much at stake to be censoring science. Science depends on contrarians to advance. And, granted, a lot of our current reactions have been laughably stupid: ethanol biofuels, German nuclear abolition and coal increase, GMO scare-mongering...

But that's not quite the same as being impressed by your arguments. Or giving the small minority of anti-AGW scientists the same weight in public policy and debate on the basis of "balance". At least, not until they've presented credible evidence that increased CO2 is not going to be a problem after all.

Science is not a democratic process where 2+2=5 if enough voters say it is. Give critical scientists funding sure, but keep a neutral assessment of the facts and evidence, unclouded by personal preference of how you would prefer it to be. If 20 data points say global warming is real, don't claim that a contradictory 21st disproves the preceding 20.

That's called cherry picking and that's precisely why I lack respect for your opinion. Disprove them all and sink AGW and I will be very grateful - this global warming stuff is a ghastly inconvenience.

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JLV
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Meh

"one of the basic engines"

Good news, in this case, but the operational word is "one".

Are you a betting man that all essential cycles will not be disrupted? That's the problem with this global warming bit. We don't know exactly where we are headed.

https://xkcd.com/1379/

It doesn't mean that I like greens a lot. I don't, and I would probably prefer to have a beer with Lewis than with Naomi Klein or her ilk. But rapid changes in an environment are cause for worry.

At least one other engine looks shaky: we are having large die offs of oysters in Vancouver Island. The current suspect is CO2-caused acidification of the seawater which complicates shell formation. This is not news, as a theoretical risk, but actually seeing the first possible signs of it, fairly early on in the current climate change cycle, is worrying.

Ocean ecosystems have a lot of unexpected couplings.The kill off of all the sea otters here led to increased sea urchin populations who ate up a whole of kelp which shelter fish. End result was less kelp and less fish.

Who'd have thought removing one fish-eating predator would let to loss of fish stocks? No one, until it happened.

So, good to know about plancton surviving, but let's not assume we'll dodge all bullets.

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German gets 4 years in clink for $14 MILLION global ATM fraud

JLV
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In a US court 4 yrs is a slap on the wrist. 4 yrs for at least $14m? Hardly a deterrent and ironic in a country where shoplifting a pizza can get you life courtesy of 3 strike laws.

All for reduced incarceration for minor crimes, but large scale white collar crime is too lucrative for such leniency. Risk vs reward and all that.

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

JLV
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Re: my killer app

Not sure about the Kobo, got it for my daughter.

But the basic Kindle does has white on black, black on white and sepia. Fonts can be dialed up or down and the adjustable backlight level also helps a lot if your eyes are tired. Depending on the situation, I find myself varying the settings quite a bit to suit.

Also, backlit e-readers a la Kobo/Kindle are much, much, less disruptive to my sleep than a tablet or a PC.

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German army fights underground Nazi war machine hidden in Kiel pensioner's cellar

JLV
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On the other hand I dunno if I'd be so happy to have a neighbor with a torpedo. Unless, of course the explosives had all been removed by a bomb squad.

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JLV
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Re: Pity it wasn't a French tank

IIRC an Archer wasn't so much a tank destroyer as a motorized anti tank gun with escape capability. Ambush, shoot, scutter away. And, repeat.

AT guns were good at first contact but would not do well against sustained infantry or artillery attacks once they were spotted and were stuck on location. The Archer was meant to avoid that. No idea how well that weird idea worked out but AT guns were pretty much gone by the 60s.

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Microsoft: Stop using Microsoft Silverlight. (Everyone else has)

JLV
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Happy

Good boy, MS, good boy

Now, if our favorite broadcasters would just dump Flash video as well...

Looking at you, BBC, CBC. Especially daft when you see 'install Flash' on a mobile that doesn't support Flash %-((

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Crowdfunded beg-a-thon to bail out Greece raises 0.003% of target

JLV
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Re: Ignorance of the issue

>>You're complainign that the bonds' risk was priced incorreclty, but it clearly wasn't.

IIRC correctly, before this all blew up, circa 2007-2008, Germany's bonds were at 3.5%. Greek bonds were at 4%. So, you take the small borrowings of a generally solvent, big, fairly dynamic exporting country with a large economy which had been getting more competitive recently. Then you compare it to country which does not export much, has already borrowed huge amounts of money, is not, to say the least, at all dynamic and well run. And you price that at an extra 0.5%?

Now, I know what you are saying. EU ended up covering. But that is not the whole story. When Argentina defaulted, a lot of banks had been lining up loaning them more money because they had forgotten that Argentina is default-prone. Sovereign-country bond risk is generally priced low, but historical stats do not fully support that risk assessment, only medium-range amnesia about past defaults coupled with short-term greed.

You are saying that they were priced correctly because they knew the EU would pick up the pieces. But look at things like the Madoff affair, CDO risks leading up to 2008 mortage crashes, the Iceland banks. These show that banks often operate on rosy assessments and against basic economic wisdom even when there is no obvious exit strategy. So, no, someone is not exercising due diligence.

And then, if is bad enough, then the taxpayer steps in. Which they kinda have to, by the way, bank runs are disastrous.

What we need is a mechanism where there is a clear and direct line of responsibility in case the problem gets bad enough that taxpayer bailouts are needed. At that point, the top, decision-making, level of the banking executives of the bank in question need to lose their job for incompetence. There needs to be special legal clauses that cancel their golden parachutes and significant government contingency funds to combat any defensive legal action. Furthermore, we already have mechanism where convicted criminals cannot work in the financial industry. Those need to be adjusted so that those executives are also barred for life.

And what about the bank that was getting US federal bailouts and then turning around and paying big bonuses? Bailouts should mean an automatic cutoff of the bonus spigots for folks over a certain pay threshold.

I do not dispute the need for banks. And I don't have a huge chip on my shoulders about bankers. Honest mistakes can be made and it is not the government's job to nanny everything. But in almost any private sector industries, failure is less cause for systemic concern and is more limited in scope. And has generally resulted in more heads rolling. I mean, you'd have to look at things like HP buying Autonomy for $10B to see something as stupid as 4% Greek bonds or Madoff and I am sure a lot of those guys have been tarred and feathered, kinda.

These may not be the exact regulations that are needed and I am sure there are impracticalities.

But, if we don't introduce an element of personal risk, skin in the game, to making very bad banking decisions at scale, we will just be doing the same thing again in a few years for a different crisis. This isn't from a desire for revenge, just my perception that bankers, who are very smart guys, need to be incentivized to pay way more attention when they commit their companies to strategic directions that can result in ruin.

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JLV
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Paris Hilton

Re: Ignorance of the issue

> The banks all got their money back, rather proving that they didn't make a mistake here.

You are 110% correct.

I was naively thinking of a world in which bankers performed their essential function correctly, were remunerated handsomely, but reasonably, and were held accountable for their business decisions. As in "get fired, like everyone else does, when you screw up badly enough".

You know, banking being a regular business, not tails-I-win, heads-taxpayer-loses.

Sorry, gotta go. My unicorn is calling from the garden.

p.s. Not sure that the EU will do whatever it takes in this case. In years of following international news, I can't remember seeing diplomats and politicians of nations that are not at war be so publicly acrimonious towards each other. Oddly refreshing but that level of distrust will make it hard to reach a deal, regardless of the merit, or not, of aiming for one. Not to mention that Tsipras has worked his electorate into a frenzy and they are now in the loop as well.

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JLV
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Re: Ignorance of the issue

>Don't blame either the Germans of the Greeks, blame the loonies than lumped them in the same box.

Blame the loonies that loaned them money at (nearly) the same rate for years. Bankers were so lazy in chasing extra returns that they didn't properly rank risk. The bailouts to date have had the results from transferring risks from banks to EU governments, and ultimately taxpayers.

The Greeks have suffered hugely but still haven't nearly gotten their heads out their asses. 67 retirement age by 2020? We've had that in Canada for years now and we don't have demographics that require it nearly as much. Shows what sufficiently stupid voters, essentially electing governments that spend beyond their means through up and down economic cycles, have too many public servants, tolerate corruption and promise mathematically unsustainable benefits, will achieve. France, with 30+ years of not balancing one single budget, might wanna think about that.

With all the contempt that is their due, it remains true that any tinhorn country out there, a la Argentina, would have its debt reduced because they couldn't pay. Simple as that. Greece has had the farce that everyone pretends to believe that their stupidity can be fixed and that the stupidity of their lenders does not deserve haircuts.

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

JLV
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Facepalm

Re: If you can't be a good example..

shades of circa 2000...

'Yes, our users need VBA auto-run for incoming Outlook messages' scripts. Not having it would be a major loss of functionality".

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Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

JLV
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reminds me of visiting an MS store near SF

You know how in Apple-land, the hipster salespeople are outnumbered by the salivating fanbois? And how it is sometimes difficult to get any attention?

In MS-land, there was no buzz whatsoever, the sales staff significantly outnumbered the few bored browsers and they were all over us trying to be helpful. We left with a free SIM card which I was vaguely thought of putting into my Z10 and activating. Their phones were also incredibly cheap, some around $50 unlocked IIRC.

Overall, didn't get the impression that they are getting any respect and I felt sorry for the salespeople. Kinda.

Keep in mind - whatever MS's flaws, the world is not going to benefit from an Android/Apple duopoly.

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Microsoft's curious Sway comes to iPad and iPhone

JLV
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Re: Oh the silly names. My eyes! My eyes!

Jammer = "too bad"

And the following may enlighten you re a certain photo sharing apps, from the root "fikken", I believe. Applies to German as well.

echo Flicker | sed s/i/u/ | sed s/l//

echo Flick | sed s/i/u/ | sed s/l//

Sorry, slow Friday ;-)

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Yahoo! displaces Ask in Oracle's Java update crapware parade

JLV
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Re: Who the hell uses Java nowadays?

Well, alright, I dislike Java just as much as the other guy. And I wanted HD DVD to win as well (mostly because I am not a fan of Sony).

But hating on a physical disk system because its players can run a Java subsystem? The whole thing being totally, blissfully, hidden from the end user*, especially as there are probably tons of DRM-related reasons why you can't muck around in the player anyway?

Seems like you might as well hate Java because the sky is blue. Which is fine, your choice, but still...

* though... I wonder if the teething problems of early-generation Blu-Ray players, where all sorts of disks would not play because your firmware did not support version X.Y.Z of BD spec were not Java-caused. In which case, I retract all of the above snarkiness and agree fully with you. Kind of settled now, but I originally bought a PS3 just for BD playback because it had a good reputation about keeping up with the moving BD spec targets which was not the case for many 2007-vintage players.

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Buh bye fakers? Amazon tweaks customer product reviews system

JLV
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Re: Why would a reseller police positive reviews?

That's a fair question and I'll try to address it from the profit motive.

Because Amazon has reached such high volumes. They are the top dog in online retailing so they have the furthest to fall.

Because online retailing is all about trust and tolerating obvious leeches is a reputational risk.

Because Amazon has a huge stock market valuation and even higher P/E ratio. That P/E is justified by the belief that Amazon can extend into more offerings. Few new Amazon ventures will be safe from a perception of sleaze tolerance.

Amazon has been hit in the press before, from the perspective of how easy it is to conduct transactions to buy reviews. And they are taking the review brokers to court. But in this case, Amazon came off as the aggrieved party. They couldn't exactly know exactly what was fake and I will be the first to say that the risk of nuking real reviews by mistake is a good defense for not just going medieval on anything that smells like a rat (like the guy further down who says he disregards anything above or below a 3).

However, with obvious, repeatedly reported upon, fakers that are still operational, Amazon is a lot more visibly in the know. The products in case are, objectively, scams. The reviewers are all shills and visibly so. Customers have complained about it, been acknowledged, posted about it and you still see the scammers. And Amazon's own cross-referencing system makes it easy to follow the sleaze. If you go to the "Customers Also Bought Items By" on the author's page, you can see the other vendors that are using this pool of the same reviewers and drilling into those products brings up the same disgruntled 1 star reviewers asking why this is allowed to go on.

This is not in need of some fancy undercover investigation on Fiverr.com. Out of a court of law's burden of proof, this is damning evidence of neglect by Amazon.

To put it differently, if, like your question is asking, the neglect is due to a profit motive, rather than say legal uncertainties about how to proceed, then this is a bit like Lenovo's recent problems. How much money are they making from low volume, but obvious scammers, versus how much do they have at risk if it blows up in their face?

Benefit to risk ratio seems overwhelmingly to favor at least getting to plausible deniability, which means shutting down obviously cheating vendors. Purely from a tooth and claw capitalist point of view, not altruism in the least bit.

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JLV
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"Ruby Programming Professional Made Easy 2nd Edition: Expert Ruby Programming Language Success in a Day for any Computer User (Ruby, HTML, C Programming, ... C++. C, C++ Programming, Computer Program) "

Sam Key - author

Mouthful, eh? Gotta get all those keywords in.

Basically, this guy (and others) are gaming the review system. Put a lot of fake lipstick on your pig and watch the suckers bite because they are buying a 4.5 star, 60+ review jewel (they are "legit" reviews, confirmed purchase and all that).

The first chapter is reasonably well-written. That's after all what will be in the sample download. Past that, it stops abruptly. In this case, book didn't even cover IF THEN logic in Ruby.

Amazon knows this is a scam and does nothing. I don't expect or want them to police the fake reviews. I want them to ban the author entirely, he's just a clever 21st century snake oil salesman. If vendors were punished for using fake reviews, then it would stop pretty quickly (albeit perhaps with new games of spiking fake reviews onto your competitors to get them banned).

This whole Amazon initiative smells like a whitewash exercise to my cynical self.

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JLV
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Re: BS, there is no will at Amazon, tech won't help.

Sorry, that link leads back here :(

Google

Sam Keys amazon.com

instead. Eye opening.

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JLV
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Black Helicopters

BS, there is no will at Amazon, tech won't help.

Amazon has lots of good tech to analyze posting history already. For example, they started un-counting reviewers who too-frequently up-vote, or downvote, the same other reviewers years ago. To avoid fanboi effects.

But they have a serious problem with dodgy merchandise reviews and they are doing very little to correct it. 6 months ago, I would have said "sure there are fake reviews, but it's hard to spot reliably". After all, it will be pretty difficult to know if a review was brokered somewhere, right?

Then I bought a book by this guy which totally blew my mind on fraud. The patterns are right there, in Amazon's review system and blindingly obvious. And Amazon does nada.

Sam Keys, he of 52 "programming in a day" books since... Sept 2014. Including, I kid you not "C++ In a Day" and "Android Programming in a Day".

http://www.amazon.com/Sam-Key/e/B00QUBQWQ4/ref=la_B00QUBQWQ4_pg_5?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_82%3AB00QUBQWQ4&page=5&sort=date-desc-rank&ie=UTF8&qid=1434904593

Pattern is always the same:

- book comes out. gets 30-40 reviews in a day or two, right after publication. All 5 star reviews "gosh I am starting to program, this book was a big help".

- 30-50 page book, about $3 typically. Low enough for you to walk away. Contents are amazingly shamefully lightweight - things like no sample app on an Android book.

- If you look at the "customers also purchased" link you will see those reviewers typically have reviewed 4-5 other books by Sam.

- Those reviewers have odd posting patterns (often in the dietary supplement field too). They will nearly always post 5 stars ratings, except for the odd 1 star (slag a competitor for pay?). They won't post for months but then they'll do 3-5 reviews in a day.

- Some time later real reviews start coming. "All those upvotes must be fake. Didn't even have a sample program/conditional logic/example". So now the book has 95% 5 stars, 5% of 1 star reviews, nothing in between.

But here's the clincher. I, and other reviewers, have contacted Amazon customer support about Mr Keys and notified them of this abuse. They did get back to me, told me they would investigate but could not comment and ... left things just as they were.

So, bullshit on the idea that Amazon needs smarter algos to flag what they know already but don't want to clean up. Either because it ends up making them money or because their legal dept have told them it would constitute refusal of sale to the publisher and could not stand up in court.

I still buy from Amazon, but they've definitely lost my trust. I noticed this pattern for this publisher, sure, but once you are aware of it, you notice how pervasive it is. His reviewers, and others just like them, are touching many, many products and those are only the really obvious cases. And I really can't forgive Amazon for knowingly looking the other way.

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Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

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Unhappy

we've been here before

Once again, Apple is caught with its pants down despite being based on a BSD OS. As a customer (most certainly not a fanboi), I find this very concerning.

A vulnerability that allows peeking into a password manager? Can't get much worse than that, can we?

They are after all a $700B+ company. Surely, locking down their systems entirely, and not pulling a "geez, hard to fix it, man", like they have been doing with rootpipe. Or doing a mid-90s Microsoft and claiming that integration and ease of use trumps security. For example, let me disable Keychain, at least for certain apps until this is fixed.

Start with the premise that anything that involves authentication or authorization, and does not come from the BSD core needs to reviewed with the most extreme paranoia. Well, the BSD core too, but that's been out there longer.

That would be worth a $1B or 2, surely. Lots of tasty bounties for example.

Rather than splurging $3B on a maker of flashy headphones with questionable acoustics.

Awww, what do I know? Just a dumb user.

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Apple to tailor Swift into fully open-source language – for Linux, too

JLV
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Happy

thoughts on Swift as a general language?

(good news, always nice to see more language options available, though most peter out quickly enough.)

I keep on meaning to check out Swift myself but haven't gotten around to it.

For those who have wrestled with it already, how is Swift's support for namespaces/module/package names? Had a talk with someone claiming it wasn't very good compared to C#'s. Saw some verbiage claiming both ways on SO, none the wiser for it. Can you differentiate moduleA.someclassname from moduleB.someclassname and use both those classes, easily?

And on a more general note, what are the design features that you disagree with? (besides Apple's parentage if that's not your thing)

Basically, I expect that, like for any software, any documentation will concentrate on Swift's virtues. Any be somewhat silent about its shortcomings.

Sometimes it is good to follow along while knowing which weak points to pay attention to rather than finding out dead ends later.

p.s. Could we have a less disturbing nicer pic of Taylor? They do exist. Still no need for an audio option on this article however ;-)

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Closet Queens, Quicksand and Book of Numbers

JLV
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Well, to be fair, there are many a book for which I would have benefited from reading such a scalding review. As in, not reading them. Life is short and one doesn't have to be a builder to observe that a roof is leaky.

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Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

JLV
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Re: stealth cyclists

maybe he was a fan of Stephenson's protagonist in Zodiac - "if they can't see they can't hit you" school of thought.

I'd like to know how the google cars compare, statistically, to human drivers for same mileage & same conditions. And let's not forget statistical confidence, mostly wrt sample size.

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Bethesda all out for 'Fallout 4', fallout for global productivity foretold in countdown

JLV
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Happy

Re: Beyond Hope

Or watch Rambo I again ;-)

Bloodborne & Fallout 4. Bliss. That PS4 may yet come to pass.

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VirtualBox 5.0 beta four graduates to become first release candidate

JLV
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re. the easy answer

at the risk of surprising you, most of the tools I end up using on my Mac are pretty standard LAMP stack stuff, very little in the way of extra tools.

Macports put most of theml in, not very different from apt-get. You could use Homebrew if that's your thing.

- postgres, virtual box, vagrant, chef, python, git, firefox

My main interaction with the system is the bash shell and the editor and to tell you the truth, I barely notice the difference between a Ubuntu ssh session and being on the Mac.

I did splurge on a text editor, Sublime (also available on Linux), Affinity Designer ($40) - a vector drawing tool and ForkLift, to improve on OSX crappy file manager. And Kaleidoscope, a diff utility. Had I wanted, I probably could have stuck to open source tools for those as well - they can also be installed here and I have vim already.

True, when my trusty ol' 17" 2011 MBP needs to be retired I do not look forward to paying Apple's outrageous extra RAM costs and the like, seeing as everything is now soldered on permanently on their newer systems. Or downgrading to a 15" retina.

But otherwise it has been a good purchase, including the hardware holding up quite well despite some significant physical whacks given to it. At this level of hardware, I think the Apple overpricing is about 30% which is tolerable. Well-equipped Windows laptops, starting with 1920+/17" screens, are not cheap by any means.

So, no, your easy answer is not applicable to me. Not to begrudge you your choice of systems, of course ;-) But the assumption that a Mac is lacking in command line usefulness because has a pretty GUI, or because it's primarily marketed to hipsters is not always correct.

p.s. vagrant + virtualbox, now that's is a nice combo.

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It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft

JLV
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about the different Windows editions...

(I originally had a question about whether I could go 8.1 Pro to 10 Pro, because this article wasn't very clear about that aspect)

These guys have that info:

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-upgrade-to-windows-10-for-free-from-windows-7-or-windows-8-2015-6

I probably won't wait till day 364 to upgrade my laptop, but I won't rush into it either. Cautiously optimistic that they've learned from Windows 8 but others can take point.

p.s. what's with the wording around reserve your copy of Windows 10 bit? are they going to run out? Seems like a fairly transparent ploy to get everyone to upgrade ASAP, possibly quicker than caution warrants.

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Password reset sites expose crackable PeopleSoft creds

JLV
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Excellent work.

Some questions do come to mind. If by password recovery, you mean the user password recovery pages, does that mean we are talking about using PeopleSoft in stand-alone authentication mode, i.e. its own internal _User_ passwords?

Because it does make sense to hive off authentication to an LDAP server. And I am sure many sites do that. Now, that in no way excuses any of this, but is LDAP mode affected as well is what I'd like to know too.

As a dev with some admin skills on PS I have seen passwords imbedded in the app and wondered about the security implications thereof. Granted, lots of them seem to be somewhat single-purpose technical connection settings, but surely they are better locked down tightly anyways with no risk of privilege escalation somehow.

When you have lots of them used for different things in many moving parts with different technologies, chances are always that an overworked sysadmin doesn't catch, or isn't aware of, all of them. So a production system in which some types of passwords are still still set to the vanilla database? Not surprising at all. A checklist of things to lock down/reset would help.

Airing this out is a good thing. Just because ERP systems are not quite as widely used as consumer-facing tech or network tech doesn't mean that they don't need to be secure. Quite the opposite given their payload (imagine blackmailing a big corporation with a release of the everyone's pay for example).

I hope Oracle takes this in stride, displays some humility, plays nice, listens and... fixes.

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Celebrating 20 years of juicy Java. Just don’t mention Android

JLV
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Re: Java's only impact.

Upvoted (what's with the OP attributing Pattern necessity to the JVM???), but let's not jump to conclusions too quickly.

Language does matter. If you can, say return function pointers, then you may find whole categories of problems for which Strategy is overkill. Factories? Great, when needed.

Design Patterns holds a special place in my esteem. Reading GoF's book was the first time I truly got how OOP was supposed to work. Most of the other books I had read either started getting lost in deep OO theory without clear rationale for their approach or else immediately fixated on explaining inheritance one more time. First book that clearly got me to think in terms of composition instead.

But, and I believe it might even have been said in that book, do not implement a Pattern lightly. Well-done, it solves a problem. Done willy-nilly, just because everything looks like a nail complicated to your mighty hammer Patterns, it creates horribly messy and convoluted code.

Did some debugging on a failing enterprise SOA-style expense processing system. 1 expense report, with 1 expense line in it => 20 MB trace, 500+ function calls, dozens upon dozens of objects being instantiated. And many, many, Patterns of all stripes, factories foremost. Impossible to track what was going on. (I never did figure it out but ending up diff-ing a successful run log with a failed run log and caught the issue - failing external API call - that way instead).

It wasn't in Java, but OMG did it have Enterprise Java Programmer Here written all over it!

Code composition, which is a lot of what Patterns are about, is an extremely powerful technique. But there is a tension between very clever dynamic code and easily readable code. Stupid fixed procedural code may be dumb, but it can also be easier to read.

Read this guy's "hacker code" vs. "clever code" for example. Wasn't meant to be ironic. If you need the complexity, fine. If you don't, please think twice before reaching for that hammer. Maybe think it through with a unit test instead.

http://csis.pace.edu/~bergin/patterns/ppoop.html

Personally, my main beef with Java is not so much the language itself, as the perception that its culture is not one that values simplicity.

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Russia will fork Sailfish OS to shut out pesky Western spooks

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regardless of NSA crimes and misbehavior

Is anyone, especially people living in Russia, going to benefit from using a Putin-sanctioned OS?

This doesn't condone NSA & fives eyes spying in the least, but let's be real, this is like putting the big bad wolf in charge of the little lambs' nursery.

A pox on all their houses, NSA, FSB, Great FireWall of China. And I really would not think much of any OSS organization that in any way collaborated with this lot. Theo de Raadt had the right attitude when the told the US authorities to take a long walk off a short pier in piranha country some years back.

Now, as to a collaboration with more accountable and less aligned governments, such as India or Brazil, for example, yes, I think it would be a good idea not to put all our eggs in the US basket.

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Doom is BOOM! BOOM! BACK!

JLV
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Re: This sums up the problem:

ah, yesssss a good dig at Call of Duty.

Took me about 2 hrs watching my health meter regenerate mysteriously, as long as I was patient, to realize that CoD would never equal the visceral paranoia that a Doom or Dark Souls game will engender. Nor the despair that you may not, this time, quite be able to beat the boss in the area where you keep on respawning with almost no ammo.

Ditto Assassin's Creed. And even Skyrim mostly did not measure up to Baldur's Gate in lethality.

Get those kids offa my lawn!

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Hacker 3D prints device that can crack a combo lock in 30 seconds

JLV
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>The exploit used was old when I was a kid

+1 for seems to be a judicious use of Anonymous Coward ;-)

and informative too.

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World of the strange: There will be NINE KINDS of Windows 10

JLV
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???

so... I bought a gaming laptop with Win 8.0 Home on it.

Which I upgraded (via MS's hard-to-find upgrade-for-windows, not at all like it belongs in the App Store anywhere...) to Win 8.0 Pro.

Then to 8.1 Pro via update.

Do I get a Win 10 Pro free as part of the throw Win 10 to the adoring masses? Or do I get a Win 10 Home free?

Not to mention (a pet peeve of mine) that, if I were to have a system failure, my Asus laptop would rebuild itself (one hopes) to Windows Home 8 from its system-recover partition. Because I won't have a Win 10 Pro install-capable media.

i.e. all these version certainly make sense, from a revenue point of view. I don't begrudge them, that's a commercial MS decision, take it or leave it.

But they also make it very confusing to track where exactly your particular situation is located in the grand MS master plan if you are an existing customer.

Linux and OSX are much clearer on getting from A to B, in general. And they also don't leave you much guess work on where to start if you are rebuilding a system from scratch after a failure.

MS needs to work on transparency, user rights (as in, what am I entitled to with my past purchase(s) ) and install-from-scratch capable media.

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