* Posts by keithpeter

804 posts • joined 14 Jul 2007

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Welsh council rapped for covert spying on sick leave worker

keithpeter
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Windows

Sudden Changes

"Rubbish. The teacher had an exemplary attendance record over nearly 30 years employment."

I'm suspecting (if the cause of the stress is actually work related and not something outside of work) that there has been a change of management recently and faces don't fit.

Teaching for 30 years implies a degree of resilience and the inspection regimes (both OFSTED and management 'quality assurance') are fairly stiff with the radically incompetent /just can't cope people generally managed out smoothly.

Not requesting any more information, just clarifying for the commentards.

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Armouring up online: Duncan Campbell's chief techie talks crypto with El Reg

keithpeter
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Horses for courses

"Consider who you're trying to keep secrets from when deciding how much extra effort to go to."

Yup: the LUKS whole drive encryption as built into the Debian and CentOS installers (and others I'm sure) will keep the offline saved copies of my emails about students away from the prying eyes of any petty thief who pinches my old laptop (or the civilian that finds it on the bus after I've had a Senior moment). Email is sent/received ssh/tls as direct snooping about Jemima's dental appointment and Enid's childcare problems probably not happening.

I might look at Truecrypt or similar for USB stick encrypting (read/write on windows and linux). Other suggestions welcome. 'Prying eyes' level only.

PS: Duncan Campbell was a hero when I was a (lot) younger.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

keithpeter
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Re: http://m.theregister.co.uk/

What I should have said was "any chance of getting the mobile version of pages linked to from the mobile page"

At present, links in m.theregister.co.uk lead to full fat targets even when m.theregister.co.uk targets exist. Seems like a bug to me...

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keithpeter
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Windows

http://m.theregister.co.uk/

As mentioned way up the screen the mobile site works rather well. I can tile Firefox with a terminal window side by side and browse while I wait for stuff to complete.

Any chance of forums/comments being available in same template?

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keithpeter
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Pint

large screens

How many of us use windows maximised on large screens? Just wondering.

(I personally use a left-right tile on screens of 1920 upwards).

+1 for redshift (mentioned many many pages up).

Pint icon for all as it is nearly the holiday up here in the dark North.

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keithpeter
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Re: Bring back the Print button!

"This would be one workaround. I just had a look at the page source, and indeed, a screenreader would have fun trying to find the content of the page."

Does your screen reader software not pick up the 'skip to content' link near the top of every page? I might get Orca running and see if it does pick up the link.

The style for the 'skip to content' link has been set to display:none so that it is not visible to people using ordinary Web browsers but I recollect is picked up by screen readers. This is a common convention for making a site more useful to non-visual users.

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keithpeter
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Re: Bring back the Print button!

"An unexpected use case of print icon. We'll have a think about this."

A single copy of JAWS standard isn't expensive. Gnome has Orca built in. Could you add a screen reader walk through to your testing routine?

Idea: Provide the print page in the same div as the skip to content link, so it has display:none style and visual users won't see it. Call the new link 'text only version of this page' or something and then explain the setting on your accessibility page.

http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/resources

Aimed at Colleges and Universities in the UK but the handouts might be useful.

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keithpeter
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Pint

Boxes floating on a grid

The wide monitor thing.

Just about ok on a small laptop. Daft on a large (27") monitor.

Can't you do the responsive thing with extra columns of content appearing on wider monitors?

PS: icon for the team that did the work even though people don't like it much.

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Cool technology: Submerged blade servers escape the heat

keithpeter
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Windows

Boggle our minds

"I have seen PCBs I cannot unsee."

Care to share a few or is it really that bad?

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Hipsters snap up iPod Classics for $$$s after Apple kills rusty gadget

keithpeter
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Windows

hard drive players...

...any other candidates spring to mind?

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Post Office: Here's £100m, Computacenter. Now get us up to date, for pity's sake

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: 100m

"...they didn't ask for keyboards which turn out to be £200 a pop from their exclusive supplier."

Does that happen in the commercial sector as well?

If so, it might explain why the young man in the shoe shop who sold me some boots today typed the trivial transaction on a lovely mechanical switch keyboard on his PC based POS terminal. Well solid clack. Sounded like Cherry blue. I reckon the keyboard was worth more than the pokey little monitor he had.

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Creating more harmony around end user computing

keithpeter
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back to basics

I work for you.

You give me the things I need to do my job.

If you want me to stay in contact when travelling for work related reasons, you give me a mobile phone.

If you want me to query/input data in any form, you give me a PC, either fixed or portable as appropriate.

If, from time to time, in extremum, you want me to interact with your systems when I am at home or about my own business, you give me remote desktop access so that you can sleep soundly knowing that I am not syphoning off your data and flogging it (not that I would do such a thing, which is why I will die poor).

If you want me to work with hydroflouric acid, you provide me with a lab, forced convection, leather jump suit, burns cream, latex and leather gloves, and a helmet with face mask. If you want me to work with FOOF or anything with more nitrogens than is sensible, I'm off.

Have I got this wrong? Am I just too old for all this?

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Buy Your Own Device: No more shiny-shiny work mobe for you

keithpeter
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Re: Buy my own device for work...

"If people need to get hold of me they can text or (shudder) phone me."

On what if you have given the work phone back?

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Skinny Ubuntu Linux 'Snapped' up by fat Microsoft cloud

keithpeter
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Windows

back on topic - small virtual linux servers...

Will anyone here actually be running tasks that need 100s of small dedicated virtual servers within Azure? What would one use a brace of these for exactly?

The CentOS crew have been talking about an absolute minimal CentOS 7 image for some time[1] (one of the Special Interest Groups) and Mr Singh seems to be quite keen to get one off the ground.

Is this a thing people see a big market for?

[1] http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-devel/2014-July/011629.html

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Whitehall at war: Govt’s webocrats trash vital digital VAT site

keithpeter
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Windows

Should we really encourage 17 year olds to drop out of College?

Is this really a good message to be sending to the youth?

Disclaimer: I teach in a College.

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Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

keithpeter
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Windows

Springseed - Re: Nice article

I rather like the UI of Springseed 2.0. Fits the 'pillar box' screens on laptops well.

But can't find how it stores notes (not in ~/.config/Springseed any more)

Contacting dev seems hard, issues on Git are ageing nicely...

I'll stick with cherrytree as mentioned for now,

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systemd row ends with Debian getting forked

keithpeter
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Re: Hurried reporting?

You do realize that the people who resigned did so because they were pro-systemd and their decision to quit had to do with the amount of bullcrap emails and massive bombardment and continuous sabotaging from the people against systemd.

Arguably. I was pointing out that the original article had not explained any of the background.

"People who haven't written a single line of code but can not stop trolling the entire internet day and night about how bad systemd is."

Perhaps we should be grateful that some(*) of the people concerned are not writing code. Can you imagine what it would look like if they did attempt to?

It just might be that a good solid non-systemd fork (or 'spoon' in the sense of Refracta) would make things easier for the main distribution. Think about it. No legacy rc.conf stuff, no need to support several init systems, cleaner dependency chains &c.

(*) I'm obviously excepting kernel developers and Debian packagers and such from this statement

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keithpeter
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Windows

Hurried reporting?

@thames and all

Article seems a bit rushed generally and misses some of the action (long time Debian developers resigning from Debian and Debian Technical Committee members resigning from the Committee after over-ruling Debian's systemd packagers over a dependency order issue). Interpretation of the actual developer General Resolution vote is contentious and would provide a good exercise in statistics, but around a quarter of those who voted (in turn just under half of the franchise of 1000+ devs) are not overjoyed with the direction Debian is taking. A minority but hardly a tiny one depending on your definition of tiny.

A couple of points spring to mind in addition to the one raised by thames...

1) Debian Jessie provides a choice of init systems, and provides systemd-shim for those who wish to use a rich desktop without systemd running as PID 1.

2) You can build a systemd-less dbus-less logind-less minimal X system with a window manager quite easily, but you will be using apt-get with the --no-install-recommends switch quite a lot and you will be using pmount to mount your USB sticks and sudo/pm-utils for shutting down. The fork seems to want to try to build a minimalist distro with less rich desktop environments, one hopes with automounting of storage &c.

3) Red Hat employ most of the systemd project developers. The Gnome project is separate but does receive sponsorship (I recollect) from Red Hat.

4) The drive towards systemd I gather is mainly containers/automated admin of VMs but I'll not argue that one.

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Calls for probe of UK.gov's DOESN'T VERIFY ID service

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: Net access as a Utility?

"...in the absence of free net access, how does a person suffering from extreme poverty, get access to them?"

People in that position need various forms of support: health; sorting out financially; accessing what benefits they may be entitled to; and sorting out with some kind of plan for the future if there is a viable one; help filling in forms due to literacy issues; and possibly just a square meal.

Sounds like a day centre/drop in with multiple services and a subsidised cafe as a safety net to me. You could run those as social enterprises. Some paid staff, some volunteers, some basic skills teaching from local colleges. Might save money in long term (ElReg's pet economist might not agree about that).

Alternatively, how about 50kbytes/sec free for all, faster when you pick a supplier and pay a contract? Then make sure Govt sites and basic education material is low bandwidth??

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Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: They're not alone

@Vector

Still crap, but it gets the basics done 'til I can replace my dead laptop.

Refurbished thinkpad of ebay. Core Duo less than 100 notes runs any Linux and a reasonable stab at Windows 7 (perhaps just over the ton for more RAM in that case).

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keithpeter
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Windows

Re: When crap hardware meets crap software

True 99% of the time but then again you always have systemd.

@adsf: Debian Sid on Thinkpad X61s with Wayland Gnome. I have you know the hardware is fine.

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Google DoubleClick goes TITSUP. ENJOY your AD-FREE WORLD!

keithpeter
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Windows

Visual Noise

Browsing Reg on Debian Sid with stock install, no blockers. Just really *noisy*. I find it hard to concentrate on the text.

How much per subscriber is made with ads? Just wondering.

ps: $ w3m http://www.theregister.co.uk

Well fast. Props for 'skip to content' links and accesibility for screen readers generally.

# apt-get install netsurf

# exit

$ netsurf http://www.theregister.co.uk

Pretty fast as well (Netsurf is a minimal graphical Web browser) with some GIF style ads. Do you make any money off those? (No Javascript)

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Forget 5G, UK.gov is making 2G fit for the 21st century!

keithpeter
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Windows

"There are some really good ways to make these things non intrusive."

Just wondering: National Grid. Reaches just about everywhere. Large metal structures striding over fields. Could Grid not be used to relay mobile to anywhere within a fraction of a mile of the transmission line, or if leaky cable not feasible on that scale, to within fraction of a mile of the pylons?

Am I being thick?

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Murder suspect charged after pics of strangle victim posted on 4chan

keithpeter
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Windows

The child

From the wording of the article, the 13 year old still has his Dad at least. That is something to hold onto during the earthquake that has happened to him.

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Branson on Virgin Galactic fatal crash: 'Space is hard – but worth it'

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: People die in railroad switching yards all the time.

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/eventlisting.php?showSearch=true&view=list

'sometimes' rather than 'all the time' but a railway interchange in the UK is pretty safe compared to (say) a motorway.

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keithpeter
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Re: Is it really worth it IN THIS CASE, though?

"I wondered about "We will cooperate fully with all the authorities involved in the investigation" - is there an option to not fully cooperate with the authorities?"

Lawyers will no doubt be checking the relevant statutes and regulations to see how much/little needs to be disclosed &c. Remember, this project is all private companies, no govt contractors, so no federal oversight unless provided for in some kind of licence or permission.

Apollo 1 fire caused a *serious* rethink at NASA after their own internal investigation, and the inevitable congressional committees. Hopefully same here.

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This time it's SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: Herding cats with long tails

"But of those, there are probably 50 to 100 dedicated committees, and a long tail of thousands who only contribute the odd patch. Some other metric is needed."

Rank contributing accounts in descending order of commit frequency then stop counting when you reach 50% of total commits? The number you get is some kind of indicator of the inner circle. Could use 75% if you just want to cut out the long tail. Might be fun to have the company allegiance if any of the most active committing accounts.

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Cheapo telcos fined for their cheapo security: Financial records on 305,000 people spilled

keithpeter
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Windows

permissions?

Wondering if this was that one where you set directory permissions to be readable by a group, but then forget to make the command recursive thus not changing the permissions of the files underneath...

...used to be quite common oh, 15 years ago.

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Ubuntu's shiny 10th birthday Unicorn: An upgrade fantasy

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: The best thing about Ubuntu is...

"*BSD looking better by the day. "

OpenBSD 5.6 CDs arrived this morning complete with Apocalypse Now puffer fish graphics and a song (a sub-cultural thing I gather). Official release 1st Nov (mirrors go live with binary packages then).

Its..... not Ubuntu.

E.g. printing: install cups and then create _cups group, give _cups group ownership of the printer device (in my case direct USB connected) the set cups to start as daemon having added your user to the _cups group...

But interesting.

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keithpeter
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Windows

Re: The best thing about Ubuntu is...

"As a Unity (is the best thing about Ubuntu) user I understand how ignorant your comment is. As a Xubuntu user you will never know."

Load LibreOffice and type the following keyboard shortcut: Alt-IOF

Does the LibreOffice formula editor appear?

If so, I may once again try Ubuntu as I rather liked 12.04.

If not, well can we tell Mark to stop hacking the input manager?

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Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: Pulled off on MS Office? (@Mage)

"only the stupid can't figure out the "Ribbon". Only took a few minutes for me."

OK, what is the secret? I spent two working days recently chained to MS Office 2010 hacking out a series of Word documents of moderate but not outrageous complexity. Tonnes of googling.

One example: the command to select paragraph(s) of text and put a box around it(them) catches me every time, hiding in plain sight like a le Carré pavement artist.

The Management have recently installed OpenOffice 4.1 (why oOo and why 4.1?) to considerable rejoicing.

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keithpeter
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Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

"Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using."

When was that and what distribution?!

Most 'recent' (like Ubuntu 5.04 onwards) you just load a package manager and search for Firefox then type in your password (or root password if root account enabled).

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keithpeter
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Windows

Re: Windows 10 is fugly

"BTW, Windows 2000 may have been the best OS MS ever made. If only it had a firewall it would have been a great consumer OS."

I liked Win2k as well. I used a desktop with it on at work for a couple of years. Absolutely no drama, just cranking the work out (Celeron, 256Mb ram, large crt monitor).

So upvote for that

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: Gimpd

"http://www.debian.org/ports/kfreebsd-gnu/"

AFAIK it's in danger of being dropped.

Next?

OK, OpenBSD (Gnome 3.10 installable) and the other BSDs, and OpenIndiana (party like it is 2006).

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keithpeter
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Re: Gimpd

"Yes I'm testing Slackware too at the minute but I believe they are currently sitting on the fence regarding this."

The slackers are a pragmatic bunch not given to drama. I run it on my typing box (a boat anchor Dell E5240 laptop). As you say, Volkerding will roll in systemd if it becomes unavoidable when attempting to provide a decent desktop experience.

"From what I know, the only non-systemd committed distros (at this moment in time) are Slackware, Gentoo, Crux and Alpine Linux."

There are a couple of 'one dev and a git repo' Linuxes like Dragora (runnit).

Of course, there is CentOS 6 and the other EL clones (support until 2020).

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keithpeter
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Re: the "fun" part about systemd

"Hibernate is more problematic, as on Thinkpads it is necessary to have a FAT primary partition on the hard disk to contain the hibernate file."

X60, Trisquel Linux, no FAT partition at all just a few gig of swap (Linux swap / Solaris) and a / partition that is ext4.

Hibernates and suspends fine.

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'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'

keithpeter
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Windows

"Armenia has a culture of kludging things together and working to western standards was my biggest challenge."

Pretty resilient people the Armenians. Survivors. I wish we did more kludging and less globbing everything together into just-in-time cost reduced systems

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Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First

keithpeter
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Windows

Office Ribbon

"It even supports the old menu shortcut keys."

Nope. I was actually using MS Wrd 2010 today for 6 hours or so doing a job on a deadline. Kept losing time looking for functions I can reach with Alt-keyboard shortcuts on MS 2k and on LibreOffice at home. That is *actual billable time* y'now. Around 10% as I had to break rhythm and use the rodent.

Scale that up over all of us mature members of the workforce over say the next 25 years...

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keithpeter
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Re: rant-like journalism

Ah... The peppered moth (Birmingham moth) rears its ugly head again. It is a clear example of natural selection, not evolution.

I live a couple of miles from the Birmingham sampling ground. Have a look at Of Moths and Men by Judith Hooper. Might have been a clear example of a bird-feeder (and I am a UK based scientist without any interest in creationist twaddle).

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keithpeter
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Re: rant-like journalism

"You do not understand how evolution works."

Would that be hardy-weinberg equilibrium or something deeper I should know about? Or simply that cognitive diversity may not have been linked to basic survival > 50kyr ago?

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keithpeter
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Re: rant-like journalism

"I hear some flavors of BSD are supposed to be secure...."

And OpenBSD runs surprisingly well on laptops that are not of the absolute bleeding edge shall we say. Three hours total to check out the source (1.2Gb of it) from the local public CVS (uk adsl over copper) and then compile the kernel, core OS and ports on a 7 year old Thinkpad (dual core). Have pre-ordered Version 5.6 as a donation even if I stick with Linux. Worth forty quid for the man pages alone.

But security can also be had by restricting the connections. See quote below from OA

"Basic things like "what programs are installed" and "what is the hardware configuration of your PC" are generally collected as part of operating system updates and/or automated troubleshooting systems because they provide clear technical benefits in solving technical issues. It would be pretty insane to say "don't collect this info, because NSA"

Could this information not be collected and kept in local storage (a la lennart and his binary logs) then be made available for upload when needed? Can you not ascertain the nature of the packets leaking out of the machine ( a firewall rule based in the upload url springs to mind).

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Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function

keithpeter
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Windows

Tinderbox

By the end of page 1 of the article I was getting slightly worried - I was thinking what might be on page 2. Add cards within cards, a powerful search function, a set of 'agents' that allow you to do things like 'list all cards with 'do this next week' in the title dated a week ago', hyperlinks between cards? A powerful scripted export template?

...but no Tinderbox is safe. The only reason I would ever run Mac OS again...

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I've got a new Linux box, how does it work... WOAH, only asking :-/

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: Desktop?

@Ross K

"How does it feel to know you're making Microsoft richer?"

Well, since you ask, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. A court case occured, arguments were presented, a settlement was reached. As I believe in the sovreign right of countries to govern themselves and in the rule of law, and as I generally support the market economy (with bits of regulation as needed) all this is fine by me.

I do find the way the US legal system works a bit odd, but then I imagine people who are used to America would find aspects of Britain a bit strange in just the same way.

I also like the fact that Red Hat is a $1+ billion turnover corporation making reasonable profits from selling services off the back of GPL licenced software. I really hope Canonical gets into some kind of actual profit soon. I believe that SLES does make money as well and that makes me glad. Good quality jobs, economic activity, competition.

Yes, I do have residual concerns over Red Hat's tidal pull on the open source world, and I do wish one of their senior people would sit Mr Poettering down and have a good long chat(*) about the need to stabilise the APIs and affordances for the software associated with systemd so the various upstream projects have a chance to catch up. But, hey, it all works and will do so for some decades, and, for edge cases and people who want to be different, there are viable alternatives.

Ace isn't it?

(*) British for 'sort him out'

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keithpeter
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Re: Linux is bad for everybody the way it currently is.

"The BSD's and Debian are ok for a server. But all the gui stuff contains so many linux features which end up having to copied by the BSD's (Which had a clean understandable consistent design up until not too long ago)."

Stock OpenBSD install with cwm set as window manager in the .xinitrc and netsurf(*) as a graphical Web browser on my testing laptop seems pretty clean to me. LaTeX and an editor for document production. mpg123 for music while I work.

Retro GUI could be in this autumn. Read about the tilde club as an example.

(*)Xombero for javascript use, needed to deal with those redirect based wifi access points you see a lot of.

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keithpeter
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Re: It's gotten better.

"(Eventually I got a Linux-owning friend to explain to me that you fix problems like this by logging in from a remote computer, su root and issuing the command e3fsck -f -b 8193 /dev/hda1. How's that for intuitive?)"

These days for most distros you just boot from a live CD and work through a repair menu. Worst case 'touch /forcefsck' from the single user mode prompt.

But I do take the point...

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keithpeter
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Windows

Desktop?

Seriously, you are crowing about desktop figures?

The Linux kernel runs billions of phones, and the Linux kernel with the GNU userland runs a huge range of devices from your router, HDTV up to and including supercomputing clusters, not to mention Google ChromeOS and backend, F**book, Ebay, Twitter &et Al.

And you worry about *desktops*? You are as bad as that boy Lennart.

PS: running Trisquel Linux on an X60. Cheaper than a Chromebook. Haven't had to use a command line yet except for R. The forum is civil and welcoming to newcomers but being a fully libre distribution without proprietary drivers or blobs, OP would almost certainly have to use a USB wifi dongle (Netgear WG111v3 or similar) to be able to connect.

P2S: If Shuttleworth ever pops the Ubuntuphone out I'll be in the queue. I mean the one you can dock and it switches userland so you can do your Office work on a full sized monitor and keyboard. One device. Many uses. See the Rob Pike Setup interview...

http://rob.pike.usesthis.com/

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What’s the KEYBOARD SHORTCUT for Delete?! Look in a contextual menu, fool!

keithpeter
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Windows

Keyboard commands for select, copy, paste and find

I've drunk a lot of free coffee and gained a (totally undeserved) reputation as a clever chap from showing people CTRL-A, CTRL-C click in the other window CTRL-V.

CTRL-F has helped out many a colleague trying to find a student by name in a long list ordered by reference number. I have brightened people's days with CTRL-Z.

Strange isn't it?

PS:do journalists still have to learn teeline?

(Typing this on the Calm Window Manager on OpenBSD on an old laptop, all keyboard driven. I'm the beginner again in BSD land.).

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Universal Credit CRISIS: Howard Shiplee SHIPS OUT of top job

keithpeter
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Windows

Basic concept fine...

...just the ongoing farce of implementation coupled with IDS announcing 'smartcards' for claimants that would restrict their spending (what could possibly go wrong with that?)

<ranty bit>

I think that if you have *paid taxes* for (say) 20 years then loose your job, you damn well should be supported at a reasonable % of your past income for some period of time before dropping to a safety net level. I don't like the rhetoric coming from IDS and his colleagues. Being (suddenly) poor is not actually a crime as such, and I don't see why the Conservative Party is becoming so downright Stalinist in this way. Hayek would be amazed at the micromanagement of people's lives involved in these policies.

</ranty bit>

Back on topic, an actually functioning UC system could make it easier to manage a benefit system with a contribution based element.

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: have an upvote

"...being a fan of "real" music (ie with very very few exceptions nothing after 1900 - no not a typo 1900)"

Fashions in home listening change, as do fashions in performing. I found

http://www.charm.rhul.ac.uk/studies/chapters/intro.html

absolutely fascinating (especially the piano chapter). The database of transcriptions of 78s will keep you going for a month or so.

PS: should you decide to venture into the 20th Century, try some Peter Warlock songs and pieces. 'Modern' in structure but 'old' in sound world.

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A Norsified Linux for Windows and OS X wobblers

keithpeter
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Windows

Re: 6 Months Worth of Use

"And I'm glad you agree regarding it definitely being beta - now imagine me using that between the hours of 9am to 6pm Mon - Fri for 6 months doing work. It mostly works, it just happens to screw up on the days when the whole world is imploding around me!"

I do try out testing/sid/unstable releases on an old laptop that I use for typing notes on the train. I have a live USB stick with Debian stable in the bag for emergencies so I can get to files on the hard drive and use an RDP session to talk to the work box. I also play around with distros on a spare 2.5" drive. I use recycled Thinkpads and spare caddies are a fiver. Unscrew one screw, pop the drive out, pop the other one in, and you are away.

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