* Posts by MacroRodent

1177 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

MacroRodent
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Wading in late

Given the Missy/Master gender discussions in "The Doctor Falls", this should really have not surprised anyone. The interplay of the two incarnations of the master was really the most delicious acting I have ever seen in Dr Who.

I got into Dr Who a few years ago, at the tender age of about 52 (my Missy found some disks for our son to watch, and we were all hooked- in Finland, the Doctor was not on TV when I was a child). Probably a heretical opinion here, but I find the "new" episodes better than the classic ones, which frankly are quite dated, and not just because of their cardboard sets and primitive special effects. The acting is usually better in the new ones, which makes the totally implausible stories fly.

Eagerly looking forward to seeing where the thirteenth Doctor takes us.

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MacroRodent
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Im just waiting for the Doctor to bump in to the wife (Riversnog)

Obviously this turn of events was already in River Song's notebook.

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G20 calls for 'lawful and non-arbitrary access to available information' to fight terror

MacroRodent
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...surely if my sister Alice writes and encrypts a letter

That is precisely how clandestine communications were conducted before the internet. Various embellishments were also widely known and used, like photographically shrinking the message onto a tiny piece of film, and putting it under the stamp. Of course, counter-intelligence agents learned to look for these tricks.

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Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows

MacroRodent
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Re: Modified distro

Shoestring? I thought Linux was free?

It is. But enterprise distributions require a subscription for support and updates. CentOS, which is a recompiled RHEL, gives you the updates for free, like most non-enterprise distributions.

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MacroRodent
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Re: The city of Munich tried this

I'm in Munich next week - shall I ask them over a beer?

Please do, and tell us what is going on there!

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MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: Modified distro

Just use a "standard" deployment of LTS with specific packages,

Exactly! Unless your needs are very special, and you have immense technical talent at your disposal, do not even think about a making custom distro, or even basing your work on some less-known existing distro. Let Red Hat, Ubuntu or Suse deal with the base OS. (If on shoestring, just use CentOS. You essentially get the reliability and utterlly boring predictability of Red Hat Enterprise for free...).

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America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

MacroRodent
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Re: Last I read...

Odds are the initial blast will at least burst it open, leaving plenty for the subsequent fire.

Would not that mean the containment idea already failed? The rupture lets the pressure wave out, which may breach the hull.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Last I read...

no fire suppression system could effectively mitigate a fire inside the container.

Does it matter if the container is tight enough to contain an explosion? In a tightly closed container, the fire would eventually go out because of lack of oxygen.

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Researchers solve screen glare nightmare with 'moth-eye' antireflective film

MacroRodent
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First world?

What do you mean "first world problem"? Mobile phones are possibly even more important in the "third world", where they are used for a lot of things where first worlders might use a PC or tablet. Besides, in a sunny climate glare is an even worse problem.

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AES-256 keys sniffed in seconds using €200 of kit a few inches away

MacroRodent
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Re: I'm not even surprised.

The anti tamper mechanism will fry the workings in a rather spectacular way. At the national security level some contain thermite and others go for protective detonation.

Seriously? That sounds like the something out of Mission Impossible.

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Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

MacroRodent
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Re: Right, $50 of bars will stop a 4000lb car going 74mph.

>So you deliberately create a slightly larger hazard in the road on either side leading up to the crossing. That way, no-one can actually reach the crossing unless they are also able to cross it.

> (Or has some sociopath got a patent on that idea...)

Hardly. It would just be a slightly larger speed bump. I have also sometimes seen horizontal striped bars hanging from chains before unusually low bridges or underpasses, in the hope that the driver of a tall vehicle would at least hear the CLONK, before hitting the bridge....

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Microsoft admits to disabling third-party antivirus code if Win 10 doesn't like it

MacroRodent
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Pushing Edge

Windows 10 is naggy in a lot of regards (it seldom tires of saying how good Edge is), but proving it’s anti-competitive will be a very big chasm to cross.

That nagging is anti-competitive in itself. EU needs to revisit the browser bundling issue.

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

MacroRodent
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Glonass mandatory

Then there're BeiDiu and Glonnas which are freely available...

In fact, most new mobile phones and satnavs already support Glonass. It is a legal requirement if you plan to sell any equipment with satellite navigation in Russia, so cheaper to include it in all units.

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Yeah, if you could just stop writing those Y2K compliance reports, that would be great

MacroRodent
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Re: Time for Y2.1K

>I'm guessing you're not old enough to understand what the crux of the problem was.

Actually, I am, even fixed a couple of minor Y2K bugs back then. And after Y2K, I have seen applications again start assuming 2-digit years, just for convenience, only difference being they are now 20xx dates. Memory usage isn't really the problem, but the laziness of developers and users...

Besides, many Y2K fixes were really hacks that assumed 20xx after some cut-off year. They run into trouble even before 2100!

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MacroRodent
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Alert

Time for Y2.1K

2100 is in only 83 years, you know, I'm pretty sure some systems deployed now will still be in use then, unless our technological society collapses before.

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Voyager 1 passes another milestone: It's now 138AU from home

MacroRodent
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Tape

So the tape drive is still operating after 40 years in space?! Wow. I wonder what that tape is made of. Probably differs a bit from the one you got in VHS cassettes...

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Microsoft totters from time machine clutching Windows 10 Workstation

MacroRodent
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History correction

NO. NT 4 had the 1st version of NTFS (.sys) which blew up regular and often.

Actually, Windows NT 3.1 already had NTFS, it was one of the headline "New Technology" features. The consumer Windows 3.1 (no NT) used FAT, because it still ran on top of MS-DOS, which at that time didn't even support long file names.

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UK PM May's response to London terror attack: Time to 'regulate' internet companies

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

Re: Book stores.

> Try this library link:

OK, I stand corrected and humiliated. Got to reserve that one via the Helmet system... But common it isn't, the only Finnish copy I have come across was in the bookshelf of an old farmhouse, where it probably was acquired pre-war. Sitting there next to an edition of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", an almost equally infamous book.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Book stores.

> And book stores sometimes contain subversive material (Mein Kampf, The Little Red Book, Playboy. and the like).

Where I live (Finland) there actually are laws against hate speech. So no Mein Kampf or other Nazi propaganda at bookstores.

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Microsoft founder Paul Allen reveals world's biggest-ever plane

MacroRodent
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Mushroom

Re: Hang on... Nuclear

>Put a Project Orion craft outside the magnetosphere and said radiation wouldn't be a problem

Trouble is, you would need dozens of ordinary rocket launches to deliver the little nuclear bombs to your bomb-powered interplanetary ship. They would probably cause a of concern and protest, to put it mildly. I fear this idea will not fly, until you can manufacture the bomblets off-Earth.

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LIGO physicists eyeball a new gravitational wave

MacroRodent
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Re: Two solar masses (in energy) escaped

Interesting and mind-boggling question. I would propose that the energy did in fact not come out of the holes, but from the space-time itself, which got whipped around by the orbiting holes. Aren't black holes nothing but holes punched into space-time?

I really would love to hear an explanation from someone who really understands this stuff.

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Init freedom declared as systemd-free Devuan hits stable 1.0.0 status

MacroRodent
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Re: Happy with systemd? You won't be one day

So you immediately concluded the culprit is systemd, and not the particular Ubuntu version, or how it was pre-installed by the vendor? Personally, I would not trust pre-installations by Windows vendors like Dell at all...

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MacroRodent
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Re: Consider this: (was: No - systemd doesn't offend me)

And the choke point is controlled by whom, exactly?

Systemd is licensed with LGPL. So anytime the current developer tries to act up, and annoys enough users, it gets forked. Just like happened with Xfree86, MySQL, and OpenOffice, among others. That is one of the reasons for the existence of GPL and other free software licenses: Nobody has a chokehold.

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MacroRodent
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Re: No - systemd doesn't offend me

Maybe people who have actually used (as opposed to just flaming) a systemd-based system for some time, and got used to it?

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What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course

MacroRodent
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Re: But isn't the environment itself just as important?

It is also the case that fuzzing is no panacea. Nevertheless, it often does uncover interesting results. I have used a form of fuzzing to test a cross compiler I worked on. One more tool in the toolkit, but a wise tester should use others as well.

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And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin hologram ... Sir, it is only wafer thin

MacroRodent
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Size problem

Could someone explain how holograms would make sense in small devices? Real holograms don't "project" anything, they are more like windows that show the apparent 3D object, but this image cannot be larger than the substrate of the hologram itself. There are other ways to create 3D images that can be viewed without glasses from different angles, but these involve lighting up "voxels" in some medium, like mist or a translucent block, and these are not holograms.

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Proposed PATCH Act forces US snoops to quit hoarding code exploits

MacroRodent
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Secret patching of Windows infeasible

Obviously GCHQ didn't know about it - otherwise they would have told the NHS

And what could the NHS have done about it on its own? It would have had to involve Microsoft anyway, which would probably have resulted in a patch for everyone.

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MP3 'died' and nobody noticed: Key patents expire on golden oldie tech

MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: I don't understand how it 'died'

Indeed. Finally even ultra careful Linux distributions can include MP3 software in their standard repositories, instead of requiring users to build them from source, or use semi-underground repos like Pacman for OpenSuse.

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Amazon may be using disk drives with hot-swappable components

MacroRodent
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Re: Amazing

Yeah, but ... Ever try to hop swap an ST-506?

As I remember it, you could not even move it to a different PC while cold, and expect to read the old data. (Tried it with my first two PCs). Some data was visible, but most was unreadable. The controllers evidenly controlled the drive in slightly different ways.

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MacroRodent
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Amazing

Not putting all the electronics into the same box with the mechanics? Who could have thought of it?

Sigh.

Wonder if the original floppy drives would be prior art? They had very few smarts, the microcomputer had to control them in great detail, which was one reason why in the old times, floppies from different microcomputers usually had different incompatible physical formats.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

MacroRodent
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Re: C5 any one?

Which C5? The Citroen C5? Chevrolet C5? (at least the Citroen one got a reputation as an unreliable car.)

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MacroRodent
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FAIL

Nomination: Philips DCC

Philips tried to redefine the C-cassettes as a digital format: Recording compressed audio digitally (some for of MPEG2-compression I think) on tape cartridges the same size as classic C-cassettes. This was supposed to be also backward-compatible: DCC recorders could play back (but not record) analogue cassettes, even though physically the cassettes looked quite different. The DCC cassette had a sliding tape protector, and was inserted only in one way, no flipping by the user needed. (It still had A and B sides, but switching between these was handled by the deck).

The sound quality was actually not bad, I owned a deck (probably still somewhere in the cellar) when they were in firesale mode. CD quality, as far as my ears could tell. But the format was harder to use than analogue cassettes. You could not just throw them in, and start recording, some formatting was needed. Also any dirt in the recording head killed it, and one way to get the head dirty quickly was to use the advertised compatibility feature and play back analogue tapes...

Also it had the problems of tape in seeking to a desired track. It could seek automatically, but it took time. The rival Sony MiniDisk did not have this problem, so it won, sort of.

Both formats were of course finally obsoleted by MP3 files on the Internet, and MP3 players.

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Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

MacroRodent
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Another way to look at the mess...

If NSA really needed to infiltrate some Windows machine on the net, they probably could do it with ease, at least up to now. Of course it is possible they also have other ways, not revealed yet.

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Google's cloudy image recognition is easily blinded, say boffins

MacroRodent
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Autonomous cars

My first though was this kills self-driving cars, until sorted out, because an image with noise added is precisely what you see through the windshield when driving while it is snowing or raining heavily.

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Code-sharing leads to widespread bug sharing that black-hats can track

MacroRodent
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Re: Duh!

That solution would be far worse than the original problem: nobody would dare to publish any code (apart from a "hello world"), and progress in software would grind to a halt, since everything complex is really built on earlier work.

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

Re: EFF Lawyers are EFF'n Stupid

> Putting a countdown in a computer window should count as a trivial and obvious extension, so not patentable.

Yes, in a rational intellectual property system it would. Unfortunately many existing software patents are of the form "implementing a <some well-known operation> using a computer".

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Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

MacroRodent
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I wonder if Vista activation

still works if I need to reinstall it? (have an instance in a VirtualBox, just for an emergency case a Windows is needed on my Linux laptop).

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Mark Shuttleworth says some free software folk are 'deeply anti-social' and 'love to hate'

MacroRodent
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So what else is new?

Noisy flamefests and trolls have always been part of the scene, unfortunately. Online, it takes just a couple of obsessed people to make a forum appear hateful. I'm surprised Shuttleworth was shocked by this. Mark: just ignore the noisemakers.

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Germany gives social networks 24 hours to delete criminal content

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

Getting sued as part of the job description...

if the deadlines mentioned above aren't met the social network's designated complaints-handler could be fined up to five million Euros, while the network itself could cop a fine of 50 million Euros.

Hard to picture anyone wanting that complaints handler job. Probably the only way to survive is to immediately take down anything complained about, which then causes its own problems.

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

MacroRodent
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And yet here you are, on a device connected to the Internet...

It's unavoidable when the purpose (or part of the purpose) of the device is to communicate world-wide. But my fridge, door-lock or boiler have no need to post to The Register.

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MacroRodent
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Happy

Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

either having both the device and the phone talking out through the firewall onto some suppliers server, or else custom building a load of hardware myself.

The first is unacceptable to me on security grounds, and the second is more hassle than I want to get into.

Sounds like a business opportunity for someone who can package the home automation server into a device for installing at your own location easily!

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

MacroRodent
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No problem for banks, sorry

such as a near-immediate threat of ID theft and breaching of anything we would like to control such as Internet banking and Internet shopping

Actually there would be no effect on banks, they can encrypt the communications between them and the clients all they want, but as an organization a bank is already compelled to keep records, and provide them to investigators if ordered to do so by courts.

The law enforcement types are really only after end-to-end encryption between individual people, or people and shady organizations.

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Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern

MacroRodent
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Render CSS?

>Right now, for example, any CSS file in the head of an HTML document must be downloaded and rendered before a page can be displayed.

I don't quite get this. CSS files aren't rendered, instead they affect how the HTML is rendered. I suppose you could load them incrementally, but since each CSS file can override the previous, and there are also default rendering rules, wouldn't the effect be that of the the formatting of the page twitch and shudder strangely, until all CSS has been loaded and interpreted?

(Actually I have already seen that happen if the CSS for some reason loads slower than the page).

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Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

MacroRodent
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Re: How many Onedrive users run Linux?

As noted, free storage, especially earlier you could easily get a larger pile than from DropBox, without paying anything.

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MacroRodent
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Windows

Re: so why not just use Dropbox?

For me the reason has been than MS provided a pile of storage for free. (Due to various grandfathered offerings, it is currently 40Gb with no payments - will not apply to any latecomers, nyah nyah). But if MS starts being this evil to Linux OneDrive users, I guess I will reconsider.

Btw there also exist programs for using OneDrive without a browser on Linux to sync directories, but so far I have been too lazy to find out how well they work.

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NetBSD adds RPi Zero support with 7.1 release

MacroRodent
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Re: More choices onf the Free OS shop shelf

The downside is you then really *have* to learn about those configuration files and scripts, before getting anything done. Also to get beyond the spartan base system, you have to install lots of software from the "ports". This is fine for experienced users of unix-type systems, and for those with lots of motivation to become one, but for others the learning curve is a bit too steep. Installing NetBSD now is an experience similar to installing one of the first Linux distributions in early 1990's...

(Having said that, I might well give NetBSD 7.1 a go on one ten-year old PC I have at home, which currently has an old OpenSUSE Linux on it, and might not have the power to run the latest version so smoothly...).

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MacroRodent
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Happy

More choices onf the Free OS shop shelf

And why would I do that?

For some embedded purposes, NetBSD can be a good choice. Among other things, it is generally leaner than Linux, and has liberal (non-GPL) license. But you probably do not want it on your desktop, unless you really love Ye Olde Unix style of doing things.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

MacroRodent
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Happy

Life imitating art

The weapon is a beam-combined fiber laser,

Just like the Death Star in the film, except there the beams seemed to combine in front of the weapon, instead of inside an optical cable.

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Microsoft kills Windows Vista on April 11: No security patches, no hot fixes, no support, nada

MacroRodent
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Updates, what updates?

"Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft,"

So there were supposed to be recent updates? I have a Vista inside a VirtualBox VM on the personal Linux minilaptop I lug around (just in case a Windows is needed, but it has not actually seen much use), and updates stopped working on it over a year ago.

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Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

MacroRodent
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.home alone

> .home is used by routers. Not all but enough that it will screw with ISP.

Yes, I recently found out by accident my home router is doing this on its own for my HP multi-function printer, which I guess it auto-discovers (pnp? Bonjour?). Both devices came with so skimpy documentation (as is the fashion today) that I am still discovering fun things about them... I just cannot understand why it was mentioned nowhere that the printer has a useful web interface that can be used to change settings, or even use the scanner, without bothering with HP's bundled programs, or the printers built-in panel.

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