* Posts by fung0

277 posts • joined 29 May 2012

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Winner, Winner, prison dinner: Five years in the clink for NSA leaker

fung0

Winner of The Blame Game

The Intercept certainly deserves some blame, but its people did admit their failing multiple times, starting immediately after Winner was arrested. What’s more, their error was an honest one – it just shows how difficult it is for even the most paranoid organization to be 100% secure. The Intercept takes stringent precautions to safeguard electronic submissions - what tripped them up was the rare inclusion of physical evidence.

"No, wait, only joking, of course it didn't: the Intercept is never wrong."

Of course, The Register is in a great position to scoff. It has for years been risking its reporters’ lives by heroically publishing leaked material, in a never ending fight against secrecy and oppression. With never a slip.

No, wait, only joking.

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You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

fung0

Slash 'Week'

I've been using the /week/ page, which gives me a compact, readable, sequential view of the latest news items. It still seems to work with the new layout. Please don't try to 'improve' it!

Just remember those words: compact, readable, sequential. Everything else is an impediment, and likely to drive me away.

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It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old

fung0

Re: Traditional stuff

"In general every other Microsoft OS sucks badly..."

I've used literally every version of Windows, and I have never experienced this flip-flop that people keep citing as fact:

Windows 1.0 - weird but interesting (what's "multitasking"??)

Windows 286/386 - considerably more usable, but still fairly weird.

Windows 3.0 - fantastic!!

Windows 3.1 - even better!

Windows 3.11 - and still more better!!

Windows 95 - nicer

Windows 98 - incrementally nicer

Windows NT - never crashes, shame about the UI

Windows Me - not exactly better (but not horribly worse)

Windows 2000 - stability of NT plus UI of 98 - what could be better??

Windows XP - Windows 2000 for the masses

Windows Vista - oops!

Windows 7 - Vista UI plus viable 64-bit - it's all good!

Windows 8 - WTF???

Windows 8.1 - WTF continued

Windows 10 - OMFG!!

No alternation of any kind. From version 1.0 through 98 Microsoft made steady, massive improvements - then introduced amazing robustness through the separate NT track. Windows Me and Vista were the only notable mis-steps, and they came several versions apart. Whereas the more recent Windows 8, 8.1 and 10, all hideous blunders, came one after another.

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fung0

"So really I dpon't know what everyone complains about. There are no issues with W10 that can't be solved by ... not using it at all."

Genius!

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fung0

Re: "time to step into the wonderful of world of Linux"

"They haven't cared about macOS for at least five years."

I'm not a Mac user, but I've felt that Apple was being smart enough to leave the Mac OS alone - to maintain continuity for fans who've come to love it and rely on it. (Exactly the opposite of Microsoft's Windows strategy, which has been to f**k up the OS and infuriate long-time fans as much as possible.)

Could you elaborate on what Apple has done to harm the Mac world?

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fung0

Re: "then it may time to step into the wonderful of world of Linux."

"I've not seen a real gearing up of Linux (desktop) for the Enterprise."

Nor will you. There's no overriding direction and no ultimate authority to dictate such a drive.

It's just a question of momentum and motivation. Plus a bit of time.

The truth is that it Linux is already a better client than Windows in every real sense. It's cheaper, with more than adequate functionality. It's easier to maintain, deploy, configure. It has all the software most cubby-hole denizens will ever need - even Microsoft Office, now available in a handy cloud format. And it's available from multiple vendors - something that big purchasers prefer, in every other product category.

Of course, enterprises won't switch without a compelling reason. What we're seeing right now is a sort of 'super-cooling' of the desktop landscape. Soon it will need only some tiny nucleus to trigger a sudden phase-change.

Recall that at the start of the 1980s, "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM," yet by the end of the decade the company had completely departed the desktop. Apple and CP/M similarly ruled the office in the late 1970s, but were barely a factor ten years later. Today, the unshakeable Intel CPU stronghold is crumbling under the onslaught of cheaper, faster chips built by multiple vendors based on the ARM architecture. Such shifts are always "impossible" - until suddenly, in retrospect, they look inevitable.

We've already seen a few big Linux implementations. (I think Schleswig-Holstein is still going open-source, though they seem to flip-flop every other week.) Microsoft will continue to make the Windows desktop increasingly problematic. And the US (ably led by Trump) will continue to make US spyware-infested technology less attractive. (Especially in fiercely independent economies such as China and Russia.)

In the end, Linux won't need a corporate cheerleader - it will simply become the default commodity option. It's hard to see any other possible outcome. Microsoft was a capable steward for desktop computing in the 1990s. Today, the company has clearly given up any intent of playing that role. The only other plausible option is Linux.

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fung0

Re: Not since 1998...

"Every time I debate this with colleagues, we come to the same conclusion: Microsoft don't care about Windows anymore. They'd be quite happy if you were connecting to Office 365 and running stuff in Azure from Mac OS or Linux. Cloud matters; desktop does not."

I wish I could give you more than just one upvote.

After interacting with the massive Microsoft contingent at a recent Linux conference, I came away convinced that Microsoft no longer sees any future for Windows as a 'serious' desktop OS. The company already makes most of its money on the enterprise back-end. I suspect they'll continue to dumb Windows down until it becomes some sort of 'lite' Android/Chrome-like platform for consumers to run 'apps' from its Store. Everyone who wants more than that will shift to Linux. (Or the Mac.)

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fung0

Re: "the Windows 7 hold-outs should finally feel able to make the upgrade"

" Anyone complaining about the interface when it's so easy to fix shouldn't be calling themselves an IT Pro."

You have apparently failed to notice that the author of Classic Shell has given up the project, stating that Microsoft has made it so difficult for him to maintain compatibility that he's certain he would not have been able to do it much longer in any case. This speaks volumes about Microsoft's whole approach - happily sacrificing consistency in order to reduce configurability.

By the way, I have used Windows 10 with Classic Desktop - it's still horrible.

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Happy 10th birthday, Evernote: You have survived Google and Microsoft. For your next challenge...

fung0

Software as a (Dis-)service

But I used the free version. because I can't justify the cost for the bit of convenience (almost £40 a year, every year)*. And then they changed the rules so that the free version could only be used on a couple of devices.

This is why after looking long and hard at Evernote, years ago, I not only decided to avoid it, but to avoid all 'software-as-a-perpetual-service' scams.

If Evernote had unbundled the client and the service, I'd have been fine with that. But I'll never commit to an application that wants to manage (i.e. control) a my documents but won't let me own it outright. Having the vendor unilaterally change the terms of the arrangement is only one of many obvious pitfalls. Being forced to accept 'upgrades' that may ruin the utility of the product is another. Having the developers abruptly decide to retire to a South-Sea island and live on their ill-gotten gains is yet another. (I'm still happily using ECCO Pro, 20 years after it was abandoned. Evernote users will never have that option.)

Users need to remember that the interests of the vendor are very different from - in fact, diametrically opposed to - their own. Signing a perpetual contract removes the only feedback mechanism (repeated purchase of optional upgrades) that gives the user any influence over the vendor.

I don't think it's a coincidence that applications that go to the SaaS model tend to either stagnate or backslide. I'm still using Photoshop CS4, and I've yet to see anything in Photoshop CC that would make me feel seriously envious. Despite years of endless 'updates,' Windows 10 (love it or hate it) still doesn't offer me any compelling reason to abandon my comfortable, reliable Windows 7 setups. And I don't expect it ever will.

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fung0

Re: "some design issues that prevents it becoming platform independent"

Actually, the design issue is in the Linux different GUIs and widget sets. No surprise a lot of big GUI application under Linux are written in Java to be portable - but that's of course have its downsides, while LInux applications ported to Windows usually looks ugly and out of place.

I think this is overstating the case. There are numerous large, excellent applications that work equally well on Linux and Windows. UI implementation is not rocket science.

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fung0

Re: @Terry6

I'm still using Office 2003, mostly Word. Every once in a while I look at the newer versions of Word, and inevitably conclude that I'm not missing out on anything. In fact, each newer version has struck me as incrementally worse than 2003, in ways large and small. I long ago gave up expecting actual improvement.

I do wish LibreOffice would add a proper outliner/PIM. An open-source clone of ECCO would be ideal... Fortunately, my old antique copy of ECCO is still working as intended, a glowing tribute to its programmers.

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You're indestructible, always believe in 'cause you are Go! Microsoft reinvents netbook with US$399 ‘Surface Go’

fung0

Re: Now Micrsoft needs only to decide what UI to display for touch/pen use...

I'm using Linux Mint (Mate) on an Acer ChromeBook, and the touch-screen has always worked perfectly.

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Windows Mixed Reality: Windows Mobile deja vu?

fung0

Re: Developing for Windows MR and Hololens now

I have several big boxes full of Microsoft's great peripherals. Superb joysticks and SideWinder gamepads that no longer work, because they need a game port. The excellent 'Dove Bar' mouse. The early IntelliMouse, before they over-complicated and downgraded it.

I still use the Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard - the best keyboard ever made for touch-typing, by light years. Unfortunately, they do wear out, and each one I've bought over the years has tended to have more flaws than the last. Last time round, I got one with a flaky 'M' key... so every word I typed with an M in it was likely to be misspelled.

I guess MS mice are still not bad. However, these days I find 'gaming' mice (especially those from Razer) to be far more precise and pleasant to use over the long haul. In this, as in so many other categories, Microsoft has happily ceded the leading-edge position.

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fung0

AR is a great concept, but the current postage-stamp-sized AR field of view is far too limited. AR objects tend to appear and disappear as you look around, which is extremely disconcerting. This level of technology is fantastic for certain technical applications, but not exactly fun to use.

Unfortunately, delivering an AR display that fills the human field of view, let alone our peripheral vision, seems to be an intractable optics problem, not readily solved by throwing more silicon at it. I believe there is some promising work being done, but I've seen no word of any recent breakthrough. For now, the kind of technology people think of when they say 'AR' remains exclusively in the province of science fiction.

By the way, Epson has had an Android-driven product, near-identical to HoloLens, for quite a few years. So zero points to Microsoft for reinventing yet another wheel. (And then making it needlessly exclusive to Windows 10.)

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fung0

Re: Just the usual then ....

Terry 6: "Dammit. I once came as close as it gets to having been a Microsoft fan."

I came much closer than that. Back in the 1990s, people used to jokingly ask me if I was on the MS payroll. But that was when Microsoft actually listened to its customers, and delivered the latest technologies cheaper and faster than its competitors. Bill Gates' long-term plans were aimed at anticipating customer needs, as opposed to creating products no one asked for and then forcing them down the market's throat.

Today, Microsoft is entirely oblivious to customer need. It's driven by its own internal agendas... and, above all, by Satya's burning need to maximize his quarterly stock reports.

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fung0

Re: Mixed reality ?

Mixed-up terminology has become a Microsoft specialty. I asked a top holography researcher how he felt about Microsoft's appropriation of the term. He turned red and muttered "Don't ask!" And now, running literally years behind in Virtual Reality, Microsoft's response is to cook up yet another vague yet meaningless term.

Not a good omen. Inventing needless new lingo is usually a symptom of having one's head up one's corporate posterior. (Does anyone remember IBM's 'planar board,' 'pel' and 'fixed disk'?)

Also, a funny thing about Microsoft's 'mixed reality' headsets: they're not very good. (I've tried both the Acer and HP versions.) The vaunted 'inside out' tracking is about as accurate as you'd expect - i.e. equivalent to wearing a Kinect on your head. And hence nowhere near as precise as the laser-guided Vive or Rift.

Far from offering some superior 'mixed' experience, Microsoft-based headsets turn out to be no more than what they appear: a cheaper and cheezier alternative to the top-tier VR brands, that only works with Windows 10, and has only as much software support as it can borrow from Valve's generously open marketplace.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Workstation adds killer feature: No Candy Crush

fung0

Re: What Microsoft should have done

I use Classic Shell with Windows 7. It's the Start Menu upgrade we should have seen in Windows 8. Two version numbers later, the Start Menu keeps getting worse, not better. (Like most everything else in Windows.)

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fung0

Price of Admission

"Perhaps that's worth the price of admission alone."

And perhaps not, since the actual price is not mentioned. (Also, shouldn't it be "Perhaps that alone is worth the price of admission"...?)

Incidentally, I've been staring at the enlarged version of that heavily-tiled screen shot for several minutes. I can literally feel it draining my will to live.

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And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows - it's going to cost what now?! €100m!

fung0

Re: It's obvious.

No longer true. I've played a number of my Steam games on Linux, very happily. The main games still missing on Linux are the dreary triple-A Electronic Arts/Ubisoft monstrosities, which I gave up on years ago.

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fung0

Spreadsheets...

This is a fair criticism. Spreadsheet power users still have good reason to stick with Excel... unfortunately. However, LibreOffice is probably well ahead of PowerPoint for presentations, and close to par for word processing (though it could be a bit snappier with very long documents). LibreOffice also gets the nod for flexibility (fully configurable toolbars, programmable in numerous scripting languages).

Also, you have to weigh the drawbacks of LibreOffice against the very real and ever-mounting drawbacks of MS Office. Installation of Office is malware-like and impossible to troubleshoot, with hundreds of Registry keys and intentionally mysterious system ties, and increasingly intrusive activation technologies. The user interface has become a disaster, emphasizing white space, ugly fonts and non-configurable Ribbons.

Finally, you have to weigh the importance of free and open source software. MS products contain an unknown but clearly non-zero amount of spyware and backdoors (if only for DRM purposes). They use proprietary formats, which Microsoft can and does alter on a whim. They're closed source, offering no opportunity for customization or vetting by the user base, making them less secure.

If I were running a government department... I'd put 90% of users on Linux+LibreOffice, and 99% of those users would never know the difference. I'd maintain a few cubicles with MS Office, for advanced spreadsheets and such, just down the hall from the two or three Macs that die-hard desktop publishing or graphics wonks would insist upon. Aside from the immediate savings on MS licenses (which might, admittedly, be offset by purchase of a commercially-supported Linux distro), I'd have a far more manageable system, a far more future-proof system, and a far more secure system - at equivalent, or probably lower, cost.

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fung0

Velv: "..., they are already locked into LibreOffice, etc and are paying the price to switch to an alternative... You may think because it’s a free world, open source, and not Microsoft that LibreOffice is the perfect digital independence option, but it is just as constrained as every other offering."

LibreOffice is open source and defaults to open and profusely-documented file formats. That means that even if it ceases to exist as a software package, documents remain accessible. This is the opposite of 'lock-in,' and clearly makes LibreOffice far less constrained than any commercial offering. (Especially MS Office, which Microsoft regularly 'games' for no other reason than to increase lock-in... for instance, by the creation of the needless, non-standard and incredibly obscure 'x' file formats.)

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fung0

Re: "in-house" "custom" of course it's difficult to support

I had not heard of WPS Office, but your mention motivated me to read all the reviews I could find (inevitably glowing but superficial), scan the WPS site, and browse the WPS PDF manuals and help site. WPS looks like a nice but rather lightweight alternative. I'd certainly stick with LibreOffice for heavy lifting... I've never found it to be "a pig" in any way, and never had any trouble reading Microsoft's idiotic 'x' formats. It's also free and open, and defaults to free and open file formats... features that should be mandatory for government use.

As for the 'bespoke' Linux... we don't really have any details. It could be as trivial as having created a few GUI customizations, or a selection of default apps. Not necessarily something onerous to support, and possibly no different from what most companies might do to customize Windows.

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Mozilla's creepy Mr Robot stunt in Firefox flops in touching tribute to TV show's 2nd season

fung0

Re: Season Two Cliché

Perhaps the criticism simply wasn't worded correctly. Let me have a stab at it:

Mr. Robot was garbage right from the get-go. It's a show that makes almost no sense, follows a protagonist who is both unlikable and incompetent, along a story line that moves at a snail's pace towards a destination that isn't remotely interesting. It's s a mess of half-realized ideas, most of which don't belong together in a single show. Such meager popularity as it has enjoyed is based entirely on its artificial aura of being about deep an meaningful things, created entirely by the random inclusion of 'hacker' cliches, and not by actually saying anything meaningful on any subject whatsoever.

I think that about covers it.

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fung0

Re: Just when they were getting positive press from Quantum

After that, everyone at any level who signed off on this decision should be fired.

Absolutely. There should be consequences for gross incompetence, beyond just the need to issue a vague apology.

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fung0

Re: The profound hypocrisy of the left?

Facebook??? Say no more...

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uBlock Origin ad-blocker knocked for blocking hack attack squawking

fung0

No Thanks

If I hadn't already been a fan of uBlock Origin, this article would have made me one.

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US Congress mulls first 'hack back' revenge law. And yup, you can guess what it'll let people do

fung0

Re: erm isn't this what law enforcement is for?

This new law uses the same logic as arming children in order to protect schools from mass shootings. The only possible result is a bloodbath. And the only real motivation is to let the government dodge its responsibility to protect its citizens.

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Kill Google AMP before it kills the web

fung0

Only if you define "people" to include "advertisers," which is probably stretching the definition a bit too far.

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fung0

Re: Death to AMP

I occasionally use the !g, but it rarely gives me notably superior results to what DDG gave me in the first place. So I'm not seeing a huge edge for Google...

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fung0

Re: 100% funded by the UK government.

Russia Today, an organization 100 per cent funded by the Russian government

There may be many valid criticisms of RT, but this isn't one of them. There are numerous state-funded news organizations in the world, and (unsurprisingly) they tend to be no more biased than the corporate-funded ones.

and classified as propaganda by the Columbia Journalism Review and by the former US Secretary of State

It is to laugh.

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee refuses to be King Canute, approves DRM as Web standard

fung0

Re: Better than plugins

Unfortunately, DRM is demonstrably "bad," which kind of invalidates everything you've said.

Also, to your point 5... It's not about getting access to content. EME won't change that at all. There's shitloads of content now, and there won't be any more or less if we leave EME out of the HTML standard. (What exactly are you expecting EME to enable that you can't see already?? Fairies and unicorns, maybe...)

But by rejecting EME we will have made DRM look just a bit less acceptable. And we'll have kept at least one channel, the Web, fundamentally free of it. Of course, things like Flash will work as before, but they'll remain what they are now - obviously proprietary workarounds - rather than being endorsed as part of the Web's basic architecture. That's an important distinction, and it costs us absolutely nothing, other than having to show a bit of backbone.

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fung0

I hate to disagree with such a well-reasoned post, but paying the danegeld never does any damned good.

Giving in to the copyright industry on EME will not result in a greater availability of any material, because the copyright industry is in the business of limiting access to content, and it has chosen those limits to be exactly what they are now. They could have opened the floodgates as soon as Internet bandwidth was adequate, but they didn't, and they won't. They could have monetized a huge backlog of old material that's just sitting idle, but they won't do that either, because it would compete with new, overpriced material.

Giving in to Big Content never helps. Microsoft baked DRM into Windows (Vista), but it bought them absolutely no concessions from Hollywood. Because the publishing business today is all about control, and gives up none of it, ever.

As far as restoring reasonable copyright terms, you are absolutely right. But most forms of DRM aren't about enforcing copyright - they're about grabbing extra rights not actually provided under copyright. For example, preventing users from putting movies on a NAS drive, which would be perfectly legal in many jurisdictions. Or preventing paying subscribers from viewing Netflix content while traveling to another country. Or preventing a US consumer from playing a Blu-ray purchased while on holiday in the UK.DRM is very effective in these cases, but totally ineffective at its ostensible role of preventing copying of discs for public distribution.

Bottom line, there's nothing whatever to be gained by accepting EME in HTML, but a great deal to be lost.

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fung0

Charles 9: "Trouble is, it's ultimately THEIR content."

Trouble is, it's not. It's ultimately OURS.

Copyright law acknowledges that every new work is built on all previous works, and that all creative content therefore ultimately belongs to civilization as a whole - 'the public domain.' In order to allow creators to go on creating new works, copyright grants them strictly limited rights, so that they can reap a reasonable profit. But at no time do they own the content. We all do.

Publishers have framed the debate these days so it's all about "creators' rights." But we, the public, are supposed to have the more extensive and fundamental rights. We might do well to remember that.

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fung0

Re: Any Restriction Placed on the Internet

Charles 9: "Their content, their rules. Take it or leave it.

My browser, my PC, my money. So... leave it. Definitely. Obviously. Content distributors need us a lot more than we need them. We need the open Internet, and control over our own PCs, WAY more than we need their paid content.

DRM intrinsically needs to be closed and proprietary, and that sucks. There's no logic in weakening open standards just to make DRM suck less. DRM is - by definition - a way of making your device, your software, work against you. That's always going to suck.

The right way to distribute DRM content (if you must) is through a proprietary app, and preferably a dedicated, airgapped device that can only do that one thing. Not in a generic Web browser that wants to be an integral part of my system.

The chief impact of EME will be to force people like me, who have zero interest in watching paid 4K video content in our Web browser, and who never install Flash, to run a Web browser that's capable of watching paid 4K video content - by virtue of incorporating malware-like DRM hooks. A secondary effect will be to help sanitize and validate the concept of DRM, and encourage every Web site on Earth to start encrypting its HTML content.

Where do we see any upside to this? Nobody has even suggested any way EME will make anything simpler, easier or cheaper for users. The pitch just boils down to: we have to do this, because otherwise those mean old movie makers will get mad with us. Well, screw 'em. If they want to get mad with their own customers, they can go ahead. Whoever replaces them will know better.

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Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious

fung0

Re: What do you expect?

Mozilla's current disastrous direction predates the departure of the "religious" guy.

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fung0

Re: Tab groups

I tried Vivaldi early on, but it felt like a straightjacket compared to Firefox. Been meaning to try it again - I hope it's evolved a bit. But so far, it's looking like I may be relying on an older version of the FF codebase forever.

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fung0

Re: I think developers, and users, define "speed" differently.

David 132: Whereas when users talk about "making FF faster" they mean: "I really hate the way it drags like a slug through treacle as I scroll down certain web-pages."

Absolutely agreed. Most "browser" benchmarks measure the execution speed of JavaScript - the very first thing I turn off in my browser. (And wow, does it ever run faster after that.)

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fung0

Re: Still using Firefox

phuzz: Oh woe is me for having an easier life.

UI changes that make things different but not easier are a net loss, no matter what kind of arithmetic you want to invent.

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Brave idea: Ex Mozilla man punts Bitcoin adblocking browser

fung0

Re: 'Taint gonna work...

Eyeo - creators of Ad-block Plus - guesstimate the advertising value of a regular visitor as being on the order of 1 Euro per month. Would you donate that much to, say, your dozen favorite sites? I know I would. Especially knowing that it would help increase their independence from corporate support, and reduce the need for intrusive user tracking in general.

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fung0

Re: generate the bitcoins based on dwell time

Flattr Plus already uses this model. I'm sure further evolution is possible.

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fung0

I'm already not seeing ads. But I'd still like the option of easily supporting sites I feel are deserving of it.

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fung0

Re: Why Bitcoin ?

I'd certainly like to have more choices. Maybe even the option to set Bitcoin as the default for less-trusted sites.

But most of the sites I'd want to support are ones I'd readily trust with my Visa payment. What's more, it's generally only the payment processor that sees your details, and PayPal already has mine.

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fung0

I hope so. If sites like The Reg won't lead the way, who will?

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fung0

Choices

Many sites would love to reduce or eliminate their dependence on ads. This includes most 'magazine' sites, which always have to worry about losing their objectivity - or being accused of losing it - based on the revenue they get from the very companies they need to cover.

Also, don't forget that ad-blocking will keep sites honest. Taking ad revenue and Brave revenue isn't one of the options - the choice is between taking zero ad revenue from blocked ads vs taking what Brave can collect. Many sites will embrace this, and offer ad-free browsing to Brave (or other solutions) that provide them with similar (or better) revenue.

I predict this model will catch on quickly. However, I'm not willing to change my browser to do it. I think Flattr Plus is a better approach - an add-in to whatever you're already using. I expect there will be other choices very soon.

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fung0

Re: So what's the difference...

What's different is that with a typical 'protection racket' you don't have a choice. In the case of Brave, your payments are voluntary. For many users, that's preferable to being traced and infected by ads.

I'm on a tight budget, but I've sent donations to a few of my favorite sites. If that process could become easy and automatic, I'd do it even more.

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Latest Intel, AMD chips will only run Windows 10 ... and Linux, BSD, OS X

fung0

Perspective

I don't think anyone here is against the idea of change - let alone progress.

This is more like a messy divorce. I'm happy to be building a better future with Linux. But I still hate Microsoft for destroying our long and productive relationship.

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fung0

Re: @Windows 10

Marty McFly: "I am not for sale."

I'm definitely for sale. But so far, there's been an extremely disappointing lack of buyers willing to meet my base price.

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fung0

Re: Microsoft continues to destroy the PC

d3vy: "Get a grip."

It's clearly an exaggeration to say it's all Microsoft's fault. What is certainly true, though, is that Microsoft has failed to give anyone a reason to want a newer PC. Windows 10 doesn't let you do anything that you can't on Windows XP.

But what's truly ironic is that in attempting to force everyone onto a single version of Windows, Microsoft has smeared out the number of versions even further. Windows 10 has failed to accelerate the decline of Windows XP. Windows 7 - by most benchmarks - remains the most popular OS in the world. Windows 8.x is declining, but not so much that it can be ignored any time soon. Even Windows Phone was not fully replaced by Windows 10, further splitting a mobile market that was already minuscule to begin with.

Altering the hardware will worsen this situation still further. We'll see a continued demand for older CPU generations, as well as a growth of fixes and hacks to support older versions of Windows on newer chips. Because it's the continuity that people are addicted to, not Windows as such. And newer versions of Windows fail to offer any advantage that would compensate for a reduction in that continuity.

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fung0

Re: Bloat

AC: "Endlessly adding backwards compatibility to the latest stuff just adds bloat."

What you forget is that the only real value of Windows over any other OS is exactly that bloat - the ability to run 'legacy' applications from 10 and 20 years ago.

Windows is simply not special in any other way. It's not as flexible, or secure, or manageable as Linux. If I didn't care about running my old Win32 software, I'd be 100% on Linux by tomorrow morning. And so would everyone else.

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Arthur C Clarke award won by Adrian Tchaikovsky

fung0

Re: Mysterious World

Toltec: " I rate Jack Vance, Larry Niven, Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny more highly, to name a few."

I enjoyed Larry Niven's work a lot when it first came out - and continue to revere his short stories. However, I recently tried re-reading Ringworld, and was astounded to realize that it's not just bad, it's absolutely dreadful. Shallow characters, ludicrous plotting, very few interesting ideas or concepts. Shows how mere novelty can cause something to seem better than it really is.

But at least authors like Niven and Zelazny were trying to be entertaining. (And succeeding at least some of the time.) These days, a lot of award-winning SF has too many objectives other than entertaining the reader. With endless pages of verbiage where a single sentence would be sufficient, these books are just way too much work to read. And their Big Ideas tend to be far too small to justify the effort.

Another big chunk of SF is really just fantasy set in space, with endless soap-opera plots and no real point. Frank Herbert was a prime offender. Dune is a great work of SF, but the sequels are just progressively weaker fantasy. That model has become dominant. I shudder whenever I see a new book subtitled "Part One of an Epic New Series." Why don't you see if you can come up with one decent book, before you try to sell me several more? Might as well head over to the Perry Rhodan section...

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