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* Posts by Dr. Ellen

109 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007

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Target IGNORED hacker alarms as crooks took 40m credit cards – claim

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

Bosses

As long as the guys in charge don't want to hear what they don't want to hear, this is the sort of thing that will happen. There are none so blind as those who will not see; none so deaf as those who will not hear.

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Life support's ABOUT to be switched off, but XP's suddenly COOL again

Dr. Ellen
Happy

You can have it all!

Drive trays. My desktop runs Windows 7. If I remove that HD and put another in the tray, it can run XP. If neither 7 nor XP are in, a third HD lets it run Ubuntu. Dead simple, and hard drives are not that expensive these days. Similar feats are possible on laptops, though they usually involve screwdrivers.

If I want to run older software that 7 doesn't like, it's on the XP drive, and vice versa for the newer software. Since there's only one drive in at a time, anything that happens to one is unlikely to affect the others. By and large, I simply change HDs and keep on going. Backups involve external drives that are usually turned off. If I suspect a Windows bug, I can connect the Windows HD externally, then use the Linux system (which probably isn't vulnerable to the same bug) to scan for problems.

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Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

Dr. Ellen
Big Brother

Re: Nothing new here

I've worked for museums. Sounds like the way they operate.

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Snowden speaks: NSA spies create 'databases of ruin' on innocent folks

Dr. Ellen

Amnesty?

If the US government ever offers amnesty to Snowden, they will be lying. He'll get home, and be disappeared into a deep hole, and whether he's dead or alive, nobody will ever see him again -- except perhaps for Attorney General Holder, who'll drop by occasionally to threaten him.

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Large Hadron Collider competition: VOTE NOW to choose the WINNER

Dr. Ellen
Pint

Choosing sides:

Shadowman for the Hero win, the hamster accelerator for the villain.

The hamsters could put out even more power if there were a cat behind as well as Hamster Treats (TM) before. For an even greater power boost, strap a piece of buttered toast (butter side up) to the back of the cat.

There is a Schroedinger's cat option, but it isn't worth the price. It only works half the time.

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How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

Dr. Ellen

Re: Duration of copyright protection is too long

Amen! Really good writing (movies, etcetera) will still be around when the copyright expires -- but everything else will have gone out of print and been forgotten. There are a lot of books that deserve better, but reprint is impossible because the copyright-holder is either unknown or unavailable.

Now imagine that happening to an algorithm.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Dr. Ellen

Re: Nice article

I *had* a Commodore 64. What I *wanted* was one of those portable SX-64 Commodores. I eventually ended up with a Kaypro portable CP/M machine instead, but that wasn't fun -- it was just useful.

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One-minute Koch-blocking earns attacker two years, massive fine

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Equal Time

How come all the outrage is directed at the Koch brothers? George Soros is at least as interfering a rich busybody, and funds just as many lunatics.

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Amazon throws Kindle sale party after FAA aeroplane gadget fondle ruling

Dr. Ellen
Unhappy

No Paperwhite

The offer is only good for some Kindle and Kindle Fire units -- not for Kindle Paperwhite. I'd buy if a Paperwhite was on offer ...

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Wait for it, waaiiit for it: We update an Atom tablet to Windows 8.1 Pro

Dr. Ellen
Facepalm

Mickey Mouse

I went to Disney World once, and got in line for "Pirates of the Caribbean". "The line isn't too long," I thought. I went around a corner, and there was an even longer line. Then I went around another corner. More line. Lather, rinse, repeat. It took for bloody *ever* to get to the actual ride. I have been told the Disney folks are the world's absolute best at making you think the wait is shorter than it actually *will* be.

Perhaps Disney and Microsoft are having a technology exchange.

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Microsoft warns of post-April zero day hack bonanza on Windows XP

Dr. Ellen
Devil

The Piranha brothers strike again

Nice operating system you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

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Win XP alive and kicking despite 2014 kill switch (Don't ask about Win 8)

Dr. Ellen

8, humbug!

Microsoft is trying to control *us*, not our computers. Let them try. They will get more pushback over this than they already have -- and they've already gotten quite a bit. But when the computers I have are already doing the jobs I want, why should I buy (and learn) their "improved experience", let alone buy new programs to replace the ones the improved experience won't run?

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IT design: You're not data, you're a human being

Dr. Ellen

I want what I'm used to! It still does the job!

I know a writer who insists on using Word 97. That's how she writes, and it doesn't get in her way. I tried getting her to move to Open Office -- she tried and tried, and hated it. So I'm gradually accumulating systems that run Windows XP, because Windows 7 doesn't play nicely with Word 97. She shouldn't be stranded in a world where she can only get Windows 8+. It would ruin her livelihood.

This is where the market for refurbished computers shines.

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You've seen the Large Hadron Collider. Now comes the HUGE Hadron Collider

Dr. Ellen
Devil

If it's anything like the Large Hadron Collider, it'll be colliding heavy nuclei. Perhaps call it a nucleus nobbler instead of a proton punisher?

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NSA accused of new crimes ... against slideware

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

Art! Art! (Cue the Great Gonzo)

I looked at the NSA slide, and knew what it was talking about. I looked at the redesigned slide, and had to think. This is not an improvement.

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Google's Schmidt calls climate-change deniers 'liars'

Dr. Ellen
Pint

The Sky is Warming!

There's really little doubt Earth has warmed somewhat -- as it did during the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Cretan warm period ...

There's even a possibility humans may have a hand in it.

But whence the tooth-gritting, neck-tensing insistence that this will be a catastrophe? The Middle Ages were a happier place before the Little Ice Age settled in, and the Holocene Climatic Optimum was even better -- and warmer. The Sahara was green. We're a lot cooler now, and I see no reason a bit warmer world would be a bad thing.

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Ecuador: Let's talk about not having Julian Assange on our sofa

Dr. Ellen
Big Brother

Re: The American government has said it has no plans to charge Assange

"The American government has said it has no plans to charge Australian-born Assange nor has it made attempts to extradite him."

Complete and utter bullshit. If somebody nabs Assange outside the embassy, plans and attempts will be "devised and made" five minutes after the US hears about it.

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Bill & Jobs' excellent adventure: Steve's tech looked better than mine

Dr. Ellen
Happy

Kinda, sorta ...

I *still* use HP iPAQs, which run Windows Mobile. Keep four of them around so if one dies, I'm not stuck trying to find an increasingly-rare replacement. I'd be the first to admit they're not tablets -- but they're small, and they can handle most of my files. (I also have an Android tablet, a tower, and two laptops. One of the laptops has two hard drives set up to swap, so the machine can do either Windows XP or Windows 7 with purity.

I have an MP3 player, a dumbphone, and a plain ol' digital camera. The biggest problem with the mobile do-it-all devices is that if they break or are lost, you lose *everything*. So call me a troglodyte, but I'm perfectly happy with what Microsoft did before Apple created the iWhatevers.

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Brit horologist hammers out ‘first’ ATOMIC-POWERED watch

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

Does not compute full time

It'll get all bunged up when we have a leap second.

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Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Some people say 'different is better'. If they annoy you, just point to Windows 8.

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German court says nein to Apple's slide-to-unlock patent

Dr. Ellen
Devil

Patented -- or worse?

It could be worse -- patents have a limited life, but copyrights are forever.

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Hubble boffins: Incredibly old supernova could explain EVERYTHING

Dr. Ellen

"In one model, the explosion is caused by two white dwarf stars merging and in another, one white dwarf feeds off its partner, a normal star, until it greedily accretes too much mass and explodes."

I had thought the common *nova* was caused by a white dwarf accreting mass from a normal companion. Obviously more than one thing can happen -- but what determines the likelihood of going nova, or supernova?

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SOD Big Data! Most of what you're keeping is digital landfill

Dr. Ellen

Nine-tenths of the stuff you're saving could easily be thrown away -- if only you were sure *which* nine-tenths. There have been occasions I've found something I stuck away decades ago, and been very glad I've found it.

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Forget wireless power for phones - Korea's doing it for BUSES

Dr. Ellen

Shriek! Wail!

If you thought the fuss over powerline cancer and cellphone cancer was bad ....

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Tablets aren't killing ereaders, it's clog-popping wrinklies - analyst

Dr. Ellen
Pint

More Money for Amazon

I've read numerous posts where it's claimed Amazon just breaks even on selling e-readers. They make their money by selling e-BOOKS. While it's true the Kindle ties you to Amazon, and the iPad ties you to Apple, you'll probably keep on buying your books in the same old place even if you're using a tablet.

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Swartz suicide won't change computer crime policy, says prosecutor

Dr. Ellen
Flame

Business as is becoming usual ...

It doesn't matter what you did. It doesn't even matter if you did it. The only thing that truly matters is when a prosecutor (or his/her boss) decides you need to be Gotten. Even if you finally make it to court and prevail, you will have wasted years, spent all your money, and probably become somebody your friends no longer recognize.

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Trust the cloud with my PRECIOUS? You gotta be joking

Dr. Ellen

Want/need

There's data I *want* to keep, and there's data I *need* to keep. The former is on a RAID5 array. The latter has copies on three independent hard drives, plus a thumbdrive which I keep in my purse. None of it is on the cloud. If such a catastrophe strikes that I can't even take my purse with me as I escape, I have bigger problems than data loss.

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Arbitrators side with Foxconn in brain-damaged worker case

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

The only thing dumber than trusting a Chinese manufacturer is trusting a Chinese court or a Chinese arbitrator. At least Foxconn is paying *something*.

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FCC urges rethink of aircraft personal-electronics blackout

Dr. Ellen
Stop

Everything?

So what about my computerized hearing aids?

Governments shouldn't make laws that breed contempt. It only makes it easier to ignore the laws that really MEAN something. If an airplane is made electrically-invulnerable enough to live through a lightning strike, I doubt my MP3 player is going to cause problems. Devices with transmitters or speakers, now that is a different matter. With speakers, most of the other passengers will help enforce the rule!

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Microsoft STALKS YOU even more than supermarkets do, says dev

Dr. Ellen
Happy

Re: Firefox

My Firefox has NoScript and Ad Block Plus -- but I'm using Do Not Track Plus to fend off the trackers also. This seems to work, though since I don't see the ads, 'they' may well be sending targeted ads in my direction.

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Mars rover Curiosity gets ready to blast its first rock

Dr. Ellen
Headmaster

Re: Re: Language, language!

"Earth" is a word indicating a substance, as well as a planet. It's reasonable to say "trundle across the substance". But in that case, the word would be earth, not Earth. There is no substance-word for Martian soil as of yet.

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Dr. Ellen
FAIL

Language, language!

"...having now trundled across the Mars for six days..."

THE Mars? I've been seeing this linguistic abomination for some time now, everywhere I go. Stop doing it.

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Intel to take felon-foiling tech to phones, slates

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

This troglodyte says NO!

So they propose making computers that won't even BOOT unless they're connected to the Internet? That won't even let you at the BIOS? Meaning you're shafted if you're in a no-signal area?

I don't think I want one of those.

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Congress report warns: drones will track faces from the sky

Dr. Ellen
Flame

Watchbird

Reminds me of cartoons by Munro Leaf from the days when I was a child. The key phrase, repeated over and over, was "This is a watchbird, watching you."

http://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/index.cfm?postid=1404

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Scribe's mobe, MacBook pwned after hacker 'fast-talked Apple support'

Dr. Ellen
Facepalm

Backup

I do my own backup, on an external HDD. I have enough problems with my *own* mistakes -- why should I let the rest of the world help make mistakes for me? No cloud, not for me.

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Big biz 'struggling' to dump Windows XP

Dr. Ellen
Big Brother

Bah, humbug!

I'm getting together a desktop computer with a swappable HD tray for the OS. It'll be able to run anything I want. Right now, it's running XP, because some old, familiar applications do not play nicely with 7. My Windows 7 laptop runs Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office. 7 broke many of my applications, and I'll not give Microsoft a second drink from my wallet for new ones. The laptop's virtual XP powers are there, and are used. Fortunately, there's only one of me -- even as I sit in a room with six computers.

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Home Office doc 'not qualified' to assess McKinnon suicide risk

Dr. Ellen

The argument here is over *which* court decides.

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Firefox 14 encrypts Google search, but admen can still strip-search you

Dr. Ellen
Windows

Tracking - not

NoScript, AdBlock Plus, and Do Not Track Plus, with the 'do not track' flag set in firefox. Plus I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine, which promises it does not collect or share personal information. I don't see very many ads of any sort.

Of course the advertising industry will move on. Offense and defense have played leapfrog throughout history, in just about every venue.

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Door creaks and girl farts: computing in the real world

Dr. Ellen
Holmes

Belt and suspenders

I keep old stuff. Old media, old programs, old computers. I don't necessarily use the old stuff every day -- but I have a USB floppy drive and a USB DVD drive. (I gave up on the 5 1/4 inch drives some while ago, and have never messed with 8 inch drives.) So I can get away with a netbook, and still install programs from CD or DVD, or even read old floppies -- but I don't have to carry the drives around with me. For *that* I can use SD cards and thumbdrives.

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Users enraged by Cisco's cloudy 'upgrade' to Linksys routers

Dr. Ellen

I am starting to collect old hardware and software -- so old that none of the makers are bothering to update it anymore. And I'm keeping one computer off the net so they can't even sneak in and try.

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Japan still in love with the fax

Dr. Ellen
Pint

Security

There's another reason to use fax: security. As another elReg article of this day notes, "the internet never forgets". But the telephone isn't the internet. (Your telephone may vary.) I write the message, I fax the message, you get the message. Our faxen hang up. There are two paper copies, but unless our phone has been tapped, there is no electronic copy to be found twenty years later by some geek halfway around the world.

Of course sooner or later assorted governments will tap and record everything, and that security will be gone. But at least the person you're looking to get a date with, or a job, won't have it.

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Crazy Geckos: Nitot on Mozilla's post-Firefox mobile crusade

Dr. Ellen
FAIL

Bull!

As long as the telco controls what will run on their network -- and it *is* their network -- they will insist on control over what runs on the device in your hand that *connects* to their network. And hey-presto, an open-source OS is forked.

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Wannabe-human bots face 2012 Turing Test in Turing's old office

Dr. Ellen
Pint

Machine Intelligence?

People have been talking about machine intelligence for at least half a century. This usually includes statements to the order of "If a machine can do (such-and-so), then it's intelligent. And quite a few times, machines have done (such-and-so) competently, and the judges have simply moved the goalposts.

The question is not whether machines may become intelligent. The question is whether humans will admit it when they do.

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Look back in Ascii: Computing in the 1980s

Dr. Ellen

Re: Seeing green

Silly wabbit! Monochrome monitors came with a number of phosphors. I remember green, orange, and a kind of bluish-grey.

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Dr. Ellen
Meh

TRS-80 Model III

I first programmed on an IBM 704. It had vacuum tubes. But the first computer I took home was a TRS-80 Model III. It was either that, or an Apple II. And the TRS already had a monitor, and didn't need a silly add-on for capital letters. The cassette tape storage was miserable, but it worked, and eventually bought a Model IV and switched over to floppies. Novels were written on those computers. They're still with me, having been ported to CP-M and then MS-DOS.

The most miserable part about the Model III was that you could not trust it to save your files if you had more than 32k of memory. Radio Shack wouldn't believe us. We eventually cut the memory from 48k to 32k, and it behaved just fine after that.

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Windows XP support ends two years from now

Dr. Ellen
Happy

Bah, humbug!

I like Windows XP. I like Windows 7. But 7 breaks a lot of programs I'm fond of. Worse, the current versions are expensive. So I keep two machines, one for each, and intend to continue that. Why go to the fuss of upgrading the XP box, or the fuss of recycling it, when I have the room and the power strip for it?

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PLASMA GERM BLASTER GUN invented for cleaning skin

Dr. Ellen
Holmes

Violet Ray

The Violet Ray machines popular since the 1920s did exactly this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_ray. They provided a mixture of ultraviolet light, ionization, and ozone on the surface of the skin.

This machine may be a new implementation, but it's hardly a new idea.

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Climate-change scepticism must be 'treated', says enviro-sociologist

Dr. Ellen
Flame

Re: @Bill Neal re: Climatology and Scientology

Meh. I'm seventy now, and white, and for all my life have been told by assorted Black Spokesmen (Al Sharpton is the current pinnacle of the bunch) that I, like all whites, am racist. I don't think I agree, but so many authority figures tell me so ...

So now Professor Kari Norgaard comes along and calls me a denier. I'll live with it. It'll probably go neatly alongside the Scientologists' opinion of me.

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CD: The indestructible music format that REFUSES TO DIE

Dr. Ellen
Thumb Up

Durability

Long ago, when vinyl was king, I'd buy vinyl -- then transfer the music to a cassette tape, and store the vinyl in a safe place. If something happened to the tape, I'd just make another. These days it's a CD and a computer or MP3 player (or both).

In no case can the seller reach down my ISP and take away the music. Which, if I'd bought the soundtrack to "1984: The Musical" from Amazon, might turn out to be important.

The reproduction of music just keeps getting better. Who but an extremist needs anything better than a CD? My ears aren't that good.

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Child abuse suspect won't be forced to decrypt hard drive

Dr. Ellen
Trollface

Another viewpoint

Forget the password and the encryption. Where did [he] get a laptop with five hard drives?

"...the suspect allegedly refused to supply the passphrases for five of his laptop hard drives and five external hard drives."

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