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* Posts by Barry Rueger

247 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8

Barry Rueger

Re: Strong password to protect pictures of kittens.... WHY??!

Currently the weakest password that I use is in fact at my bank. They still insist that passwords are not case sensitive, and won't allow "special" characters.

But they do provide significant added security by demanding to know my mother's "maiden" name.

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Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS

Barry Rueger
Coat

Robertson Rules!

Any Canadian boy can tell you for just about any purpose, but especially if you're using some kind of power drill to drive screws home, the Robertson is the one and only choice.

I still can't imagine why the easily stripped and screwed up Phillips, or the "Whoops damn it slipped out of the slot" regular screw are so popular. Especially in the US of America.

Then again, a country that so solidly refuses to move into the modern age of screw technology would probably also refuse steadfastly to accept metric measurement....

On the question of the actual screwdrivers, I once worked for a guy who had a set of insane Swiss made screw drivers. Seventy-Five Dollars Each!

They NEVER slipped. Ever. And you could use them all day with no hand fatigue.

(Mine's the one with the red Robbie in the pocket!)

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CAPTCHA challenges you to copy pointillist painter Seurat's classic

Barry Rueger

Another Tech That Should Die

Am I alone in sometimes abandoning forms and forum posts just because the CAPTCHA is so stupidly useless that I can't be bothered?

Am I alone in finding that usually I have refresh the damned thing three or four times before I can even GUESS what letters or numbers it wants?

Am I alone in wishing that the idiots who use this technology would at least tell me if it's case sensitive?

I suspect that CAPTCHAs have become like copy protection schemes in the eighties and nineties - intensely irritating for end users, and useless against the people that you're trying to block.

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BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Barry Rueger

"The real question is, how cheap can they make it?"

Lithium is relatively cheap. Lots of it around, and it tends to be produced by very large operations who minimize production costs.

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The Pirate Bay opens mobile site

Barry Rueger

I want!

Seriously, I'll use this just to piss off my evil scumbag wireless provider.

Except that I can only use it with WIFI because the wireless data charges would be through the roof.

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Say goodbye to landfill Android: Top 10 cheap 'n' cheerful smartphones

Barry Rueger

BlackBerry claims ugly duckling Passport mobe is a swan in the offing

Barry Rueger

Re: thought I'd counter the inevitable outright negativity

@RRoker I'm with you. I use my BB for email, documents, and related tasks way, way, way more than I use it as a phone. Even though I have a lot of issues with BB OS10, the on screen keyboard, predictive text, and general ease of writing is not among them.

It's just brilliant, and I can see the wide screen making it much better.

I'm also with you on the sorry state of Google integration - I was very surprised how poorly the BlackBerry plays with Google services, and see this as a major weakness.

And yes, although you can sideload apps from the Play Store, it's really pretty hit and miss how well they will work. Beyond that, many of the BB native apps that I've installed are a version or two behind their Android cousins.

You simple cannot assume that you can just install and Android app and have it work fully and reliably.

Short of BlackBerry actually paying people to write good, up to date native apps, I can't see this situation changing any time soon.

Ultimately though the thing I've learned since getting my Z10 is to quickly differentiate between people who actually use their smartphone for business, and the teenagers who are annoyed because it won't do the stupid kid stuff that is so common with Android and Apple devices.

The world does not need more fart apps - it needs to be able to edit Word docs on the fly.

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BlackBerry's Passport will be the WEIRDEST mobe of 2014

Barry Rueger

Re: First Time Caller here...

Oh yeah, been through the Crackberry and Blackberry forums. Sum total of knowledge there is a) Restart your phone b) delete the group c) rest the phone to factory state.

Nothing that really addresses the underlying problem.

HOWEVER, only two days after tweeting them Blackberry Twitter support responded. I immediately replied, and expect to hear back in another two or three days.

In the words of Sloan, "I was underwhelmed, if that's a word."

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Barry Rueger

First Time Caller here...

About two months ago the spouse and I were ready for new smartphones, so we ordered up two BlackBerrys - a Z10 for me, and a Q10 for her.

Reason? Partly Canadian pride. Partly because she owns a bunch of BB stock. Partly because I use my phone as a primary computing device most days - especially email and text creation and such - and figured that BB should do that well.

Upside: I love the hardware. The on screen keyboard is so much better than my old Android phone that it's a true joy. And the predictive text on the Blackberry is stunningly good.

Downsides: Android apps work, sort of, sometimes, to various degrees. Native apps are few and far between. Integration with Google products is spotty and occasionally just plain boneheaded in how bad they work. I was REALLY surprised by that.

Biggest downside for me though is in support: there is none. Period.

BlackBerry does not offer ANY support to end users, Nothing, At All, and is explicit in saying so.

When a serious problem emerged (suddenly can't text message a group of more than ten people) I found that:

- There was no way to get support from Blackberry

- my wireless provider claims it's software bug, and not their problem.

- the company that sold me the phone will exchange it for a new one, but that's it - no other support.

I'm the first to criticize Google for lousy support, but this takes the cake. And at least with Android the core OS is more or less open sourced, so there is almost always someone who can fix something, or at least tell you why it doesn't work.

I'm not a big corporate customer, but I can't see me ever buying another Blackberry product.

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DON’T add me to your social network, I have NO IDEA who you are

Barry Rueger

Great article!

Lord yes, those endless and unstoppable LinkedIn emails!

a) Have a LinkedIn profile. May look at it once or twice a year to make sure nothing is significantly outdated. I don't know what actual use it's ever been to me, but as long as I keep unsubbing every time LinkedIn emails me it seems to be pretty low maintenance, and not likely to hurt me.

b) Have a Facebook page for our business, for sole purpose of providing an easy way to share pictures and videos of clients' dogs that we walk. Good for that, but not much else. We get business by word of mouth, not social media.

c) Deleted my whole personal Facebook account a year or so back and created a new one with a fake name and no details of any sort. Please don't tell Google or Facebook. Allowed me to silently lose about 100+ "Friends" who had already been blocked anyways, and invite a small handful of family and genuine "friends." Signal to Noise much improved!

d) No, I will not give you my cel phone number as a security measure.

e) And sure as hell NO!!!! I will NOT give you access to my e-mail contact list. By far the most evil thing ever invented.

f) Yelp? Seriously? Has anyone ever actually got business from them? Or trusted the reviews?

1
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New dashboard gives eagle's-eye view of Microsoft's security flaws

Barry Rueger

Reboot?

I guess I'm spoiled by several years of Linux, but does Windows still require reboots after installs and upgrades?

How 1990s........

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Barry Rueger

Palm Sync

One of the great things about Palm Pilots was that at the end of the day you'd sit it in its cradle, press one button, and the thing would sync everything on it with your desktop.

I would pay real money to have the same thing with my smartphone instead of relying on Google or Apple to save stuff to the cloud.

(Then again I'm using a Blackberry and a Linux desktop, which is complete waste of time.)

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Motorola Moto E: Brill budget blower with one bothersome blunder

Barry Rueger

Move Prices Out Of The Stratosphere.

When I started shopping for a new smartphone last month I had two specific goals: to pay something like $250 CDN, and to buy it outright without giving more money to our greedy wireless service provider. I absolutely refuse to spend the better part of a thousand bucks on something that will likely last me no more than 1 1/2 to 2 years.

The Nexus 5 was the number one contender, and the Moto G would have been if I could buy it directly in Canada instead of handing money to Bell or Telus.

As it turned out I got a good deal on a Blackberry Z10, which I'm liking an awful lot. The final deciding factor was a presumed likelihood that the BB would be good for writing e-mails and text messages, and generally being used for text communications as well as voice.

And it is - the predictive text is amazing - much better than what I've had in ICS or even Jellybean.

Ultimately though this story makes me happy - the Moto E is another phone that is more than adequate for most people, and priced sensibly. That will tend to force down prices from other manufacturers, and will encourage people to just buy a phone instead of locking into some wireless company's two year plan in order to get it for "free."

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US space-station crisis: 'We have enough of our own problems' sighs Russian deputy PM

Barry Rueger

The Perils of Off-shoring

Who on earth thought that it was a good idea to outsource the US space program to a foreign country?

Did no-one consider this possibility?

Further down the road I can see the day when Americans are SHOCKED, SHOCKED I SAY, to learn that they no longer produce computers, telephones, toasters, condoms, and tube socks, and that the Chinese consequently have them over an economic barrel.

Was it only a hundred years ago when governments thought that self-sufficiency was a good strategic move?

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We'd switch mobile networks, but we can't be bothered – survey

Barry Rueger

Explain please

I give up. What the PUK are MVNO customers and MNO customers?

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Quick Q: How many FLOPPIES do I need for 16 MILLION image files?

Barry Rueger

Old Storage media?

OPEN 15,8,15

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Boffins tag Android app privacy fails

Barry Rueger

Which Android versions?

My immediate question is: which Android versions, and how does this affect the security?

It's still possible to buy a brand new phone running ICS which will never, ever be upgraded. What does that do to the security of email, banking, and other information that is commonly access via a smartphone?

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Top tip, power users – upgrading Ubuntu may knacker your Linux PC

Barry Rueger

Re: my 2 cents

FWIW I did clean Mint install last month - new hard drive - and it was ridiculously painless.

It took all of fifteen minutes, including remembering how to disable Caps Lock, plus fifteen more to install the two or three non-default apps that I use.

I shudder to think about how much I used to dread the regular Windows re-installs back in the day.

1
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OnePlus One equals 'killer' new mobe running CyanogenMod

Barry Rueger

Normal Person Here

Like, oh, 95% of the people on the planet, don't care about the lack of an SD slot; have never changed a battery in a phone, ever; and can't think of any way I'd fill up even 16 gigs.

But I DO care about a price that's closer to $300 than $700. I'm of the firm opinion that we've been getting robbed blind when buying smartphones. Given their ubiquity the prices should be a lot, lot less than what is charged now.

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Commonwealth Bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL

Barry Rueger

Re: Foot, meet bullet

Or like Starbucks announcing that there are absolutely no rat-droppings

in their coffee...

One word for you: civet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak

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It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer

Barry Rueger

Anyone heard from a server admin anywhere yet?

admins of at-risk servers should generate new public-private key pairs, destroy their session cookies, and update their SSL certificates before telling users to change every potentially compromised password

Anyone heard from a server admin anywhere yet? I have logins at probably 50 to 75 sites of various sizes and shapes, at least some of which should have been hit by Heartbleed.

To date I have not heard from a single one of them to say that they've fixed things up, or telling me to update passwords.

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Will Yelp help 'Yahoo!' compete with Google? Search us...

Barry Rueger

Re: Yelp ain't a bed of roses either

As we speak Yelp is blitzing our business phone each day trying to sell us... well, I don't know what because I never answer calls from 1-888, can't be bothered to listen past the first ten words of their voice mails, and I sure aren't about to waste time phoning them back.

I'm honestly not sure that anyone really uses Yelp for anything. We've never seen a referral from them.

Then again I stopped paying them any attention when I discovered that a glowing review from one of our clients had been spam filtered by them, with no notification, and no apparent way to appeal the move.

That's the kind of crap practices that makes me lose all interest in a company.

1
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The long war on 'DRAM price fixing' is over: Claim YOUR spoils now (It's worth a few beers)

Barry Rueger

Re: Just great...

Silly me. I thought they could maybe FIX THE WEB SITE?

Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxx,

Thank you for your email. If you currently reside outside of the United States, but purchased DRAM during the class period while residing in any state or territory in the United States, you can still submit a claim. If you supply me with your mailing address, I would be happy to mail you a claim form. Alternately, there is the option to print a claim form from the website www.DRAMclaims.com.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thank you,

Claims Administrator

DRAM Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation

info@DRAMClaims.com

1-800-589-1425

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Barry Rueger

Re: Just great...

I just e-mailed them to ask how to do that, since their idiotic web form of course will not allow anything but a US mailing address.

Yes, on occasion people do actually LEAVE The Land Of The Free.

4
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Microsoft to push out penultimate XP patch on March Patch Tuesday

Barry Rueger

Fear Uncertainty Doubt

I am resigned to upgrading my Significant Other's XP box some time soon - probably just by just buying a new system.

What I dread is moving her files and such over from XP to Windows whatever we wind up with.

In particular Windows Live Mail. By which I mean, the Windows Live Mail that downloads and saves your e-mail on the hard-drive, not the Windows Live Mail that saves your e-mail in the cloud.

I still wake up with nightmares when I think of the horror show that was moving email from her old and horribly overstuffed Outlook Express (which honestly was just fine except that it was becoming unmanageable for some reason that I now forget but assume involved thousands of messages in her Inbox).

I'm assuming that moving her documents and email to a new Windows box will be anything but straightforward.

Seriously, I FEAR this job.

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eBay stockholders! There's MORE to COME, thunders Carl Icahn

Barry Rueger

Two Questions

There are still people who use E-bay?

And PayPal?

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HTC looks to cheaper phones as revenues wane

Barry Rueger

Cheaper phones? About time.

It's long overdue for a shake out in the smart phone market - no matter how I look at it the current $500-$1000 prices are way out of line.

Given how ubiquitous these phones have become, and how short the usual life span is for a bit of tech that gets carried in pockets and purses, and dropped regularly, I would expect prices for mid-range phones to settle in at couple of hundred dollars.

At that point I'd trade in at least once a year instead of waiting until my phone is well and truly dead.

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Facebook-for-suits biz LinkedIn shares drop on weakened 2014 outlook

Barry Rueger

Slightly More Useful Than MySpace

I've got a LinkedIn profile. Once every two years I even update it.

And I get no less than three or four e-mails every week from LinkedIn telling me something that I don't need to know about someone I don't remember ever linking to.

I honestly can't see the point of it. I know that I never came close to getting a job because of it. Or hiring anyone. I'm more likely to do either of those via Facebook or even Twitter.

I suspect that this is because I actually am drawn to content. Discussion. Thoughtfulness. Depth.

Stuff that LinkedIn can't or won't provide.

Besides - who in God's name wants to spend an afternoon reading other people's resumes?

0
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Android users running old OS versions? Not anymore, say latest stats

Barry Rueger

Re: JB? I Dream of JB!

Will check it out!

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Barry Rueger

Re: So why didn't you buy an iPhone?

Do they not sell or somehow block unlocked handsets in Canada?

Actually it's pretty much impossible to find a handset for sale except from the the cel providers.

You can order up a Google phone on-line of course, but aside from that you will have to look very long and very hard in Canada to find a company other than the big three selling handsets.

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Barry Rueger

JB? I Dream of JB!

About three months ago my Nexus S gave up the ghost. Called my cel provider (Telus in Canada) to see about upgrading to a new phone. I got the Nexus on a three year contract and actually felt it was a reasonable deal. I'm perennially short on cash, so I can live with the contract. Or could.

After WAY too much time and energy I finally pinned them down: in order to upgrade to a current (ish) smartphone I would need to pay $150 and accept a MINIMUM increase in my monthly spend of $20. For two years.

Which would mean that the new phone would cost me about $650.

Except that the "cheapest" plan I could get on a new contract was not the same as what I have now. I would need to pay extra to keep my 2 gig monthly data cap, and my full voicemail service (not the "free" one that limits you to three messages in your inbox.)

They finally admitted that in order to upgrade the phone to a current one would cost me $150 PLUS I would now be paying $98 a month, instead of the $50 a month I pay now.

Meaning, to get a new phone and keep the service that I have would cost me an added $1300!!!!!

Which is how I came to by a cheap as dirt $100 pay as you go Samsung Discovery. Never heard of it? Neither had I.

Which arrived three months ago with Ice Cream Sandwich, and with no hope whatsoever of an upgrade, and because it's pretty much unknown, underpowered, and mediocre, little likelihood of a Cyanogenmod implementation.

The camera sucks rocks too.

I have to say that Android is pretty much a hopeless mess, with every phone, from every manufacturer, and many carriers, being it's own little customized item, which leaves 85% of the Android population powerless to do anything but wait for some large corporation to bother to upgrade their systems.

Why this matters: smartphones now handle just about anything that desktop computers did five years ago - e-mail, communications, banking, shopping, bill payments, remote access by VPN.

One hell of a lot of sensitive and private data is flying around, and the end users not only don't have any idea how secure their systems are, they have literally no way of improving the security of their smartphones.

None of us would accept it if Apple, or Microsoft, or (insert Linux distro here) said "Here's your OS, and don't ever expect us to fix any security problems, or make any improvements, or make it possible to replace it with a new version."

So why do we accept that from the companies that provide the OS for our phones?

Surely one massive lawsuit is pending at some point.

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18

IBM reveals radical email interface rethink

Barry Rueger

Email = Text

Every time you add pictures, or great swaths of white space, to a page, you've decreased the amount of text that is displayed.

Give me e-mail client that makes text the focus, and which can display a large number of useful things on one screen.

There's a reason why the basic e-mail client presentation hasn't changed since pretty much the inception of e-mail... it works.

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Sony on the ropes after Moody's downgrade to junk

Barry Rueger

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Wow. I can remember when you bought Sony stuff because it was, simply, the best.

Gee... what other tech company is seen as untouchable, very shiny and cool, has a fanatical fan base, and is seen as having success and stock value that can't be stopped?

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MPAA spots a Google Glass guy in cinema, calls HOMELAND SECURITY

Barry Rueger

Why? Why?

I have to ask, who on earth would want to watch a videotaped version of a movie screening a theatre?

No, I've never bothered to download a camcordered movie, and doubt that I ever will. I can't imagine how it could be anything but awful, and (in my limited experience) I can't think of anything that I would want to watch that badly that I wouldn't just pay to see in the theatre - or wait for a DVD or screener to show up on Pirate Bay.

As an aside, a couple of months ago we saw an remarkably dimwitted woman arguing with the theatre employees when they busted her for videotaping the credits at the end of the movie.

I don't if she filmed the whole film, or just the credits (plausible enough), but standing in a movie theatre with a video camera AFTER THE HOUSE LIGHTS HAVE BEEN TURNED UP is about as dumb as it gets.

1
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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

Barry Rueger

Re: We did question his use of plywood

I will continue to malign cheapo Chinese plywood.

Here in Canada our mighty leaders have determined that the best way to grow our economy is to ship raw logs to China, then ship the finished plywood back for use here.

It IS cheap, but as if often the case with Chinese products, you get what you pay for.

When we painted the stuff the top veneer BUBBLED.

1
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Workers, guards clash in hours-long Samsung factory RIOT in Vietnam

Barry Rueger

Frist Post!

"having experienced its first work-related riots"

Wow! Just the thing that every potential investor wants to hear!

1
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BlackBerry CEO: I LOVE keyboards, so if you want them, you'll get them

Barry Rueger

Hurrah!

It's winter again here in Vancouver, and that means rain, and snow, and cold, and numb fingers.

All of which make touch screens nearly useless. Even after you seal your phone inside a ZipLock bag.

I will quite happily buy a smartphone with real buttons and a physical keyboard.

3
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Samsung whips out 12.2-inch 'Professional' iPad killers

Barry Rueger

Thin White Colored Folks

At least Samsung is willing to actually admit that computers are not really intended for coloured folks.

My amusement though is on reading "The Note Pro is 7.95 millimeters thick ...By comparison, Apple's 9.7-inch iPad Air is 7.5mm thick."

Is there anyone aside from oh so delicate Apple fanboys who would actually be able to feel a difference of .45 mm?

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DisARMed: Geeksphone's next high-end mobe to pack Intel x86 inside

Barry Rueger

Re: Not another smart phone?

I have to add one more thing Ted - regardless of whether you look at it as a "phone" or a "really small computer." (I'm in the latter camp, and do everything short of editing documents on my Android device.)

When will the boneheads in sunny California learn that 98% of touchscreen phones are next to useless outdoors, in the rain, and the snow.

Seriously, I got so fed up with being unable to even answer a phone call that I took to carrying my phone inside of a Zip-Lock plastic bag.

As nice as touchscreens can be, there are simply some times when you NEED mechanical buttons. Answering calls would be one. For me, entering text would be another.

0
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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Barry Rueger

Palm Sync

"The one-button data sync with a desktop computer made keeping things up to date easily"

This month I've been looking at options to sync my desktop and smartphone data - options that don't involve sluicing everything through Google.

Bit by bit it is getting sorted, but at the end of the day I really, really miss the simplicity of Palm software - one button - everything synced. I would pay real money for an app that would do that with my Android phone.

1
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OpenSUSE 13.1: Oh look, a Linux with YOU in mind (and 64-bit ARMs)

Barry Rueger

Re: I want to quit my addiction to Microsoft products...

Truth is if you can find your way around Windows, you'll be fine in any of the common Linux variants - Ubuntu, Mint, SUSE... the basic idea of desktop + toolbar + menus is common to all. And any major distro will be 99% sure to just work out of the box.

Try it out via a live USB drive or CD first - nothing is installed and you can play to your heart's content.

Regarding MS Office - yes, older versions will run under Wine, and I did that for a while.

In practice I get by just fine with LibreOffice and tend to send most things out as PDFs, which LO generates utterly painlessly. Again, if you know MS Office, LibreOffice is similar enough to be an easy learn.

The one program that I do need to run in Windows is our accounting package - it just won't work under Wine.

So for that, and an older version of Photoshop that gets used maybe once a month, I run VirtualBox. Once Windows has been installed inside that it runs just fine on my not too recent machine, and both of these programs run just fine. For my money it's much easier than Wine.

1
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'High impact' Gmail password security hole blew accounts wide open

Barry Rueger

Been There. Didn't Do That.

I believe that e-mail hit my in-box last week? Ignored it of course.

3
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Winamp is still a thing? NOPE: It'll be silenced forever in December

Barry Rueger

Audacious

I've been using Audacious on Linux for a while - what I take to be a Winamp clone? I really can't understand why you need behemoth of a program just to play tunes. http://audacious-media-player.org/

Like Winamp did on Windows, Audacious does on Linux and Windows - gives you a really simple music player.

Seriously, why do the people designing music players feel the need to i-Tunesify them and make large, cumbersome, and confusing?

4
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Acer's new Haswell all-flash Chromebooks sip power for less than $200

Barry Rueger

Right Wing Logic

Ah, the right wing logic always amazes me.

The item in question costs £14+ more in the UK than in the US even after VAT has been added to the $US retail price. (£199 - £185).

Right wing droid declares "You're "getting fucked out of" £14.60 at most. Not a big deal. Blame the government.".

Hate to burst your bubble, but that extra £14 is being grabbed by the capitalist whores at Acer, not by the government. But hey, what's a little 9% premium if it keeps Free Enterprise humming along....

0
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Netflix, YouTube video killed the BitTorrent star? Duo gobble web traffic

Barry Rueger

Netflix all the way

We have a Netflix account (that thinks we're in the US, not Canada). $10 a month roughly for all that we can watch. Cable would run some $75-100. Not a hard choice to make.

If you like British detective series and foreign films, rather than NFL and hockey at least. If your life is only complete when you can watch TONIGHT'S NEW EPISODE OF (some mediocre American sitcom), then yeah, Netflix won't do it.

What Netflix doesn't have I will pull off of Pirate Bay - maybe once or twice a month.

At the end of the day Netflix has demonstrated that people will choose to buy legal content if it's priced reasonably.

Note: Bittorrent traffic maybe a smaller percentage of the whole, but does that mean that they are generating less traffic? Or just that Netflix etc are doing much, much more than previously.

Note 2: Do not under any circumstances watch the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Movie after the full TV series.

3
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FLIGHTMARE! Inflight cell calling debuts, dealing heavy blow to quality of life

Barry Rueger

Please Mr. Al-Qaeda, Save Us!

There's an obvious and simple solution to all of this.

Hire a brown skinned passenger (aka "Terrurist") to carry a cel phone filled with something that goes "Boom."

Once the TSA nabs him you can be sure that phones will be added to the list of stuff that you aren't allowed to carry on to the plane.

4
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Backup software for HDD and Cloud

Barry Rueger

Re: I use...

Wow - I used Second Copy about ten years ago to sync Palm files and calendars between two systems on our home network (Windows something) and really liked it. One of those little gems that Just Worked, and which let you do what YOU wanted, rather than what THEY wanted.

After a foray into Apple, then settling on Linux, never used it again. Good to see it's still around.

0
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Have you reinstalled Windows yet? No, I just want to PRINT THIS DAMN PAGE

Barry Rueger

Non-Cryptic Printer

A great mystery is the "free from Craigslist" HP 4315 Inkjet printer beside me. Mostly just used as a scanner because even after installing HP's Linux driver bundle it never exactly works right.

Specifically: It refuses to print the Guardian Cryptic Crossword Puzzle.

It will print the clues, and all of the numbers, but will absolutely not print the lines and black squares that define the actual grid.

Actually it gets stranger. If I choose the "Print Version" of the puzzle, it won't print. If I "print" it to a PDF, then print THAT it's fine.

1
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Google and Samsung bare teeth in battle for LANDFILL ANDROID™

Barry Rueger

Value vs Features vs Price

My trusty Nexus S has died finally, so I'm shopping. Probably I'll find a used Nexus 4 on Craigslist, or maybe go one further and pay Google $350 for a Nexus 4. I'm tied sufficiently into the Googleverse that using hardware that's also predominantly Google makes sense.

However....

In the interim I'm using a cheap and crappy Samsung Discovery, running ICS, with no hope of ever upgrading to the beauty of JB - much less KitKat. It's slow, and kind of ugly, but I only paid $100 for it - new - and it runs everything that I use adequately well. You might call it a "landfill" phone, but for 90% of people it would actually work just fine.

If an adequate phone can be had for $100, why would I spend $700-1000 for new Samsung or Sony device? (The asking price from any of Canada's network operators.)

For that matter, how come the Nexus 5 which sells for $350 on Google's web site is being offered for $500 by the Canadian telcos? (Greed of course, pure unfettered greed)

The thing that allows this level of price gouging is obvious: it is more or less impossible to buy a cel phone from anyone other than a cel provider. Whether you're paying the full (inflated) price up front, or going for the the "free" (inflated price) phone with a two year contract, you're pretty much stuck with buying from the greedy cel companies.

The reality is that virtually no-one will know about or buy a phone from Google, because they are awash in advertising from the cel companies that imply that you have to buy from them.

Ultimately what we in Canada need is a big enough, tough enough retail operator who will specialize in selling unlocked name brand phones at good prices. Someone with enough marketing budget to blast through the wall of cel company advertising.

Until we can separate the hardware from the phone service we're going to continue to get screwed.

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Hate data fees but love your HD slab? Here's a better way to pay for bytes

Barry Rueger

Two problems actually

Oh Canada! Where the current MINIMUM plan that comes with new phone costs $70 a month, and includes - hold on! - 250 megabytes of data. If you want more than that you'll wind up paying a nice round $100 a month.

OK, so we get robbed blind by the monopolistic triumvirate that runs Canada's cel networks. I accept that.

The real problem is apps that refuse to let you limit their use to WIFI.

Our local library has been flogging the Overdrive app for e-books and audio books, and I was using it on my Android phone for the latter. It's actually one of the worst apps I've encountered on almost every level, but I like our library, support them, and where a good option exists, actually try to obtain media legally.

Because I am not independently wealthy I had specifically set Overdrive to only download via WIFI.

Last month Overdrive updated their app to add some flashy but generally useless swipey junk. And REMOVED the WIFI only setting. And removed the control that let you pause a download in progress.

The next time I went to download a new audiobook the damned thing gobbled up a month's worth of data in a couple of hours.

So Overdrive, I'm gone back to using Pirate Bay for audio books. Better selection, faster and easier downloads, and they don't expire after two weeks.

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