* Posts by AJ MacLeod

368 posts • joined 11 May 2006

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The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

AJ MacLeod

Re: Fix Thunderbird too!

Unfortunately Mozilla's "fixing" of Firefox has resulted in it using far more memory than before, not less. The usage is spread out over a plethora of separate processes which perhaps makes it less easy to see, but in my testing with my normal set of just over 20 tabs open it uses around double what Pale Moon does in identical circumstances. It's not even perceptibly faster, not that I found Pale Moon slow in the first place.

I agree that it would be lovely to see some real attention to cutting the bloat in Thunderbird, but I'm not holding my breath...

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AJ MacLeod

Re: PaleMoon

fishman: I wouldn't be in any rush if I were you. I also switched to PM a while back, over Mozilla's attitude on supporting ALSA and have been really happy with the improved performance and stability from PaleMoon. Having read such praise for this new version though I thought I'd give it a fair try, loading up both with identical sets of tabs and switching back and forth to feel the difference. The most obvious difference is that the new FF is a massive resource hog - it takes vastly more RAM than pale moon to display exactly the same content. To add insult to injury it is definitely not perceptibly faster at all on my machine (oh, and of course there's no sound.)

After a good start Mozilla lost the plot years ago and I won't miss them when they finally fizzle out completely - I just hope that others like Pale Moon can gain enough active developer support to continue their good work.

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Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

AJ MacLeod

Re: @Anthonyl

I'm pretty sure Picasa itself will run OK under WINE as from distant memory I seem to recall the Linux version was basically the Windows one bundled up with WINE (as is for example Teamviewer on Linux.) If it comes to the bit, Microsoft themselves are doing this now the other way round!

Image manipulation is not something I do much of these days, but I mostly hear Darktable and Rawtherapee mentioned in connection with this (or shotwell for much more basic requirements.)

Of course it doesn't matter what software you're coming from and going to, there will always be a learning effort required and rarely does one program excel the other completely in every area. When I moved from Windows about the only thing I actually gave up without finding a decent replacement for was Mathcad but overall the move was well worth that sacrifice.

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AJ MacLeod

@ubermik

Can you expand a little on which version of Windows is actually finished and ready for corporate use by clueless non-technical users? Windows 8, maybe? or 8.1? MS deposited an OS on non-technical users that looked completely different to anything they'd used before, dumped people into full screen apps with no visible way of getting out, etc etc etc. Now we have 10 - but which version of 10 is that? It's never finished either, always in flux.

There's nothing particularly good about Windows in this kind of environment, any more than there is anything particularly bad about Linux (which it's plain you don't really have any significant experience with.)

I support SMEs running both (and a few using OSX) and I can assure you I spend far less time per week supporting the ones using Linux on the desktop. Yep, they run whole companies with Linux on their desktop - companies whose business is nothing to do with computing, whose users are as ordinary and non-techy as you can find. Do you know what? It doesn't matter. After being shown how to open a web browser, word processor, spreadsheet and email client, 90% of their training is done.

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AJ MacLeod

@Anthonyl

If you really want to eliminate MS you will - I got sick of their utterly useless software over 20 years ago and as soon as I learned about Linux I switched; my Windows 95 drive was wiped less than a year later.

I am not even a programmer - at the time I was an engineering student, and proper mechanical engineering at that! Linux was ready for the desktop all the way back then, assuming technically competent user willing to think a little bit.

In any case, what's wrong with "workarounds" if they actually work? I must admit I don't use WINE for anything currently, but many years ago I did and it worked perfectly well for several applications.

Just a heads up on Picasa - it doesn't exist any more, like a lot of image handling software it's been replaced by online versions, for better or for worse... though these happen to work fine on Linux!

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Intel's super-secret Management Engine firmware now glimpsed, fingered via USB

AJ MacLeod

@Ole Juul

And as a bonus, you don't need your central heating on while the P4 is running...

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Logitech: We're gonna brick your Harmony Link gizmos next year

AJ MacLeod

Glad it's not just me... often people are slightly surprised by my hatred of short-lived pointless gimmicky gadgetry (though obviously they don't see it as that!) and the complete absence of such from our house, despite my obvious happiness with working in IT all these years.

In fact, you can't even see a TV or electronics of any kind in the living room, even the screen and media player are hidden away in an alcove cupboard and only pulled out on their arm when actually wanted (the speakers are discretely hidden elsewhere in the room.)

I actually sometimes feel slightly nauseous when I think of the sheer volume of horrible toxic, non-biodegradable tat that gets churned out, bought and then ditched only months later.

Logitech make decent and cheap keyboards and mice, but for anything else I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole...

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Dell forgot to renew PC data recovery domain, so a squatter bought it

AJ MacLeod

@CAPS LOCK

If you mean Windows 10 then the licence is tied to the device (embedded in BIOS/EFI); if the machine has ever had Windows 10 installed then it will automatically activate if you install the same version (i.e. Home/Pro), it doesn't have to be from the OEM image and it doesn't have to be the same release of Windows 10 as was previously installed.

For Windows 7 you will mostly need to go through activation by phone carry on if you install from standard install media but it'll almost always be successful.

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AJ MacLeod

I now feel even more justified in automatically removing the Dell backup and recovery software from every PC I deal with... who'd want to reinstall a Dell factory image anyway? It's quicker to deal with missing drivers etc on a bare Windows install than to sit and uninstall 20,000 pointless bits of bloatware (and 7 different versions of MS Office in foreign languages.)

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BlackBerry Motion lurches into UK stores

AJ MacLeod

Re: @AJM

Thanks for the confirmation, that is good news... as I said I don't plan on ditching my current phone until it either dies completely or my phone company drop BIS, but it's nice to have some kind of plan for either of those events occurring! I am so fed up with the state of "smart"phones these days that I was seriously considering just ditching them altogether and going back to a featurephone if push came to shove.

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AJ MacLeod

If the fingerprint scanner really does work as a trackpad and works as well as previous BB trackpads, this would be the first Android phone I think I'd even consider. Especially if the touchscreen could be disabled completely...

Mind you, even then I'd only consider it if my seven year old 9105 died first - one day, perhaps, someone will make another smartphone with multiple-day battery life, easily replaceable battery, a proper numeric keypad and a touchpad instead of (or at least as well as) a touchscreen... probably not, but I live in hope!

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Wanna exorcise Intel's secretive hidden CPU from your hardware? Meet Purism's laptops

AJ MacLeod

Re: We need companies like Purism @Michael Habel

If someone's concerned enough about security and privacy to disable the IME I don't think they're very likely to be interested in running Windows of any variety.

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Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

AJ MacLeod

Re: Looks tempting

"Wayland: About time. Pushing all UI through a pipe/socket was good in its day, but the desktop needs more. X11 has had its time..."

So I keep hearing. Strangely though, my desktop doesn't need more anything - it works brilliantly, just like it has since the 90's in fact. I'm not quite so skeptical about Wayland as I am about SystemD though - as far as I can tell it's a far better idea and implemented far less badly; with proper, flawless backwards compatibility with X11R6 and equivalent, reasonably effortless network transparency I would be prepared to accept it. Not any time soon though... it just isn't necessary.

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AJ MacLeod

Re: I wonder why it's *still* not the year of Linux on the desktop

Nobody _needs_ to agree on the "best" distro or desktop combination, it's pretty much irrelevant... this has always been one of the major strengths of the Linux (or other OSS) desktop.

Frankly I wouldn't use Gnome 3 if you paid me to, WindowMaker has been my "desktop" of choice for work over the best part of two decades and works better than ever... consuming a whole 2599 kB of RAM at the moment.

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Azure fell over for 7 hours in Europe because someone accidentally set off the fire extinguishers

AJ MacLeod

Re: The insane thing about it is... (@garetht t)

A modest server hardly requires redundant A/C - but basically all the stuff in your list that actually matters in real life is quite readily achievable for even quite a small company with nothing more than a dedicated well ventilated IT room.

Redundant power - UPS capable of handling several hours of outage is easy to get and even a small petrol generator could easily be kept on hand in the unlikely case of an outage lasting any longer than that.

Redundant Internet connections - Easy. (And even a 3/4G last ditch option would be plenty for an Email server)

Low latency links to backbone... hardly necessary for the majority of companies, especially if the bulk of their IT is based on one site.

Physical security... really?

Audited and certified systems and procedures... whatever. In practice, plenty of companies get along much better with just a bit of personal responsibility and good old common sense. If your IT staff consists of a handful (or fewer) of reliable, competent individuals that work well together they'll make sure that nothing too stupid is likely to happen.

You can keep your cloud, it's just your data on a pile of other people's computers managed by fallible humans you can't speak to and the whole edifice waiting to fall over when any one of the billion or so sequences of events occurs that wasn't covered by the "certified procedures"

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Downloaded CCleaner lately? Oo, awks... it was stuffed with malware

AJ MacLeod

@ Hans1

If you genuinely think that wiping a PC and reinstalling the OS and all applications (then manually overwriting their registry keys with old versions - seriously?!) - is an acceptable alternative to a quick clean up of accumulated temporary files, old system logs etc you should perhaps step away from the keyboard now...

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AJ MacLeod

Re: Hopefully el-reg readers are aware of...

Those downvotes are probably because most of those posts are written by ignorant people who think that CCleaner's primary use is as a registry cleaner.

In fact, it's been a good and hitherto reliable general cleanup program for Windows for years - I certainly share the general scorn of registry cleaners and have never ever used that part of the software.

I hadn't realised that it had been bought by Avast, otherwise I'd have thought twice about touching it again - I always hated their bloated and useless AV software and more recently they've completely ruined AVG too (granted, AVG had done a half the job for them in the past three or four years :( )

Does anyone know if the portable version also installed Malware on systems?

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Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air

AJ MacLeod

Weird timing

For some reason I developed an interest in hovercraft at the start of this week after realising they are the one form of transport I knew almost nothing about.

There's something really fascinating about seeing a large craft, apparently stranded on land, rise up and zoom off across water, ice, mud etc.

Unfortunately now I really want a shot of one but don't know anyone who owns a working one... I mustn't watch any more of those YouTube videos of that homebuilt Finnish craft in case I'm tempted to think building my own might be a good idea!

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It's happening! Official retro Thinkpad lappy spotted in the wild

AJ MacLeod

I hope I'm mistaken in thinking that's a Fn button on the bottom left where Ctrl ought to be... I wouldn't buy a laptop with the Ctrl key anywhere else, it's incredibly frustrating.

Those awful HPs with a full line of pointless extra keys down the left hand side are probably the worst offenders in history... thankfully they've nearly all cooked themselves to death by now!

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Microsoft's fix for web graphics going AWOL? Disable your antivirus

AJ MacLeod

Re: I have an easier solution.

I sympathise. I have no accessibility problems but tend to use the keyboard a lot for navigation simply because it's fast. I've noticed that since Windows 8 a lot of MS software has become virtually impossible to use without a mouse and is laid out in such a way that it would seem difficult for accessibility software to deal with.

I can imagine that using text mode / terminal based software could potentially be far easier for someone relying on a screen reader (if a decent screen reader were available.)

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systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

AJ MacLeod

Re: And this is why Linux will NEVER be a useable desktop OS

@Gordon Pryra

Your post is wrong in many different ways. For one, Linux has been a superb desktop OS for at least two decades now and I know because I've been happily using it all that time.

For two, "normal" users in the real world almost certainly wouldn't end up having to "do this" to get around the bug, because "normal" users don't use distros like Gentoo which allow you absolute control over build options - they are for people who know what they're doing, or at least don't mind learning as they go. "Normal" users will be using something either RH or Debian derived, built with bog standard options and hence slightly better tested.

For three, Linux is not becoming more like a hobbyist OS, it's now mostly corporations who are contributing this kind of code and in particular the behemoth Red Hat is slowly winning in their attempt to "be Linux." I'd argue that the hobbyists generally produced a better result for end users...

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Feature snatcher Microsoft tweaks OneDrive

AJ MacLeod

Re: That's nice*. How do I completely uninstal OneDrive?

Yeah, you can uninstall it. Keeping it uninstalled is a bigger challenge...

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Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

AJ MacLeod

@Kev99

Even that (apparently faster startup / shutdown) isn't a good thing - it only seems faster because it isn't really shutting down properly, merely doing what used to be called hibernate.

Nothing wrong with that in itself (even if the title is misleading), but I've seen an awful lot of problems arise over time from Windows 10 machines not getting properly shut down regularly.

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Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

AJ MacLeod

Re: The Bible (@Steve K)

Nope, Cain's wife was either one of his sisters or a niece. No great mystery... it doesn't say that he found his wife in Nod, only that he went there (already married.)

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AJ MacLeod

Re: The Bible (@Steve K)

They had quite a few more children of both genders, that's what...

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Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

AJ MacLeod

"Anyone who uses tabs has clearly never found themselves having to read a script on a server where the only available text editor is Notepad."

I would argue that a server where Notepad is the only editor available is broken anyway...

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AJ MacLeod

Thank you Timmy B for pointing out what I have always thought the most obvious thing in the world, but which apparently passes clean over the heads of at least half the IT world!

I thought it very telling that the spaced out were not actually claimed to BE more experienced than Tab users, just that they were more highly paid...

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Windows 10 Creators Update preview: Lovin' for Edge and pen users, nowt much else

AJ MacLeod

Be fair now, it won't merely shuffle icons; it will also re-enable all the telemetry you've crippled, re-enable the Windows Application Experience / Customer Experience Program stuff you'd disabled, (re)install a pile of worse-than-useless apps, etc etc...

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AJ MacLeod

Re: Just to be clear

It wasn't Chrome that anyone had a problem pinning, it was bookmarks to particular sites.

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AJ MacLeod

Re: Fall Creators Update

People (paid by MS or just stupid? Maybe both) were saying exactly the same thing a few years ago about the fantastic new Windows 8.

I hope they're not missing their world-changing brilliant new UI too much, now that's a minor footnote in the history of IT blunders... I expect they're too busy getting excited about the new design language in the "Fall Creators Update" to remember though.

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NASA duo plan Tuesday ISS spacewalk to replace the mux that sux

AJ MacLeod

Unscheduled?

Maybe it's just too early on a Monday morning, but I'm struggling to grasp the concept of a scheduled unscheduled spacewalk...

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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

AJ MacLeod

This is where Gentoo shines - if you don't want systemd, or PulseAudio etc you don't have to have them, almost regardless of which packages you install (so long as the software itself doesn't have a hard dependency on systemd or whatever you're trying to avoid.)

Your entire OS and applications are built with the options YOU want, not what someone else thinks is best. It certainly does take a bit of extra time to get a system up and running but for systems you care about it's well worth it in the long run.

I'm happy to see Devuan making this release and I hope they gain some active users - if for no other reason than to give sloppy application developers less excuse for depending needlessly on systemd or related tentacles.

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Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

AJ MacLeod

Re: Developer stupidity

"* sound - So install PulseAudio. It's silly that we're in this situation, but is it that big of a deal?"

Yes. Happy Pale Moon user now because of this, and I've been a FF user since before it was even called that.

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Official science we knew all along: Facebook makes you sad :-(

AJ MacLeod

Re: Go on.... deactivate

Funnily enough just about this time last week I decided I'd had enough of being wound up by the idiotic rubbish other people post and logged out of FakeFace... haven't logged back in since and have very much enjoyed the peace.

Of course now I'm getting the manipulative emails from FakeFace trying to get me to log back in again, about all the messages that are waiting to be read from people I'm snubbing, the pictures I'm missing out on... maybe it's my contrary nature but it just kind of encourages me to ditch the whole thing for good instead!

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

AJ MacLeod

Still haven't finished copying that file yet!

I have hated MS products in general for several decades and they deserve virtually all the flak they get, but... I have always stood up for Vista when people start going on about how terrible it was.

The experience of using it in the first year or so was indeed pretty terrible, but it mostly wasn't actually Microsoft's fault for once - it's just a pity it took the rest of the industry until 7 was released to finally begin to catch up with sorting out their dire drivers and badly written, run-as-root applications (of course the more thousands of pounds you've paid for your essential business software, the more likely that they STILL haven't sorted that out!)

The only real bug that was a regular major pain and definitely was MS' fault was the ridiculous file copying bug where a simple copy operation would stick forever, claiming hundreds of days remaining!

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

AJ MacLeod

Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

Mozilla's problem is not that Firefox has ever been a bad browser, or even any less good than Chrome (I use both daily and have always found FF consistently more responsive and less RAM hungry than Chrome)

No, Mozilla's main problem is that they have long ago lost sight of the fact that without users of their products they have no purpose at all - and they have made it clear time and again that they are not in the least interested in what those users actually want.

For example: users on every platform are crying out for a truly good email client - Mozilla decide to abandon Thunderbird altogether because email is not fashionable. A certain IT-savvy userbase loves FF for its amazing customisation and extension capabilities - Mozilla decide to chop all of that out and dumb down the browser, aiming at a particularly dumb Chrome clone.

I have borne with this kind of rubbish for a few years now, sticking to the ESR versions; but in the past month Mozilla have finally managed to push me, a two-decade supporter and promoter, overboard. They can find the resources to buy up pointless rubbish like Pocket that nobody uses, but they apparently can't find the resources to maintain basic ALSA support on Linux! Mozilla's response to the stream of pleas from users to rethink "fixed" by locking down the bugzilla item...

Anyway it's not my problem any longer as I've finally switched to Pale Moon and it's perfect for me. Long may it last!

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Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it's an open-source gift from Dropbox

AJ MacLeod

Re: Affirmations

This new plague of "Reaching out" must be brought under control. Dropbox were, funnily enough, the first company I noticed using it in ridiculous ways but it's spread all over the place.

No, I didn't "reach out" to you, I sent you an email. I wasn't pleading, enticing, grabbing... I just sent you an email about Dropbox!

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We don't want to alarm you, but PostScript makes your printer an attack vector

AJ MacLeod

Re: Maybe I'm thick... @Chemical Bob

Maybe they are finally getting the message:

https://chromeunboxed.com/chromebooks-getting-local-printing-options/

There is also an extension that's been around for a while which allows you to do local printing to many network printers (I forget what it's called, sadly didn't work with my Brother AIO though I believe it works with its replacement model.)

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Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

AJ MacLeod

Re: Ah, but what about those who use Vim scouring powder.

Always preferred Flash myself. Now there's a sentence I didn't think I'd ever write on the Register!

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Raspberry Pi Foundation releases operating system for PCs, Macs

AJ MacLeod

Re: Those were the days

It has to be said that while you are not totally wrong you are coming across as just a bit whiny which doesn't exactly inspire anyone to help. You're not totally right either - Even back when Windows 98 was current, the early versions of KDE were in a different league altogether for real productivity and convenience - some of these features eventually appeared in XP or even later, but they were there in Open Source Software first.

The main point is that with open source software you have myriad choices of GUI, and you are free to experiment or make your own. On the other hand if you don't like what Microsoft or Apple provide (I know I don't, especially with everything post Windows 7 so far) you're pretty much stuck with them.

Personally I've gone back to an old favourite, WindowMaker, which doesn't work very much like any Windows or Mac GUI but suits me almost perfectly.

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Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

AJ MacLeod

Re: O rly...

It may suggest that BT's routers are to blame, but I've also seen this problem on third party routers in the past few days.

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Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

AJ MacLeod

Just the usual ignorance on display

I do appreciate that it's customary in journalism (sorry, this is the Reg - "journalism") to vociferously slander some chosen party (Jews, asylum seekers, Christians, Apple) whilst maintaining complete ignorance of said party's actual beliefs, but this is ridiculous.

You'll note that it's the evolutionist author of the study who is actually surprised by this result - standard creationism REQUIRES rapid speciation. I think creationists will quite happily take any evidence going to support it...

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Toblerone's Brexit trim should be applied to bloatware

AJ MacLeod

Re: Bah!

The equation editor is (or at least, was) actually a separate application - MathType. From distant memory, the MS Word equation editor is/was a cut down version of that application - I remember people buying MathType for more complex work (in my academic days.)

I preferred using LyX... far less prone to random page numbering / formatting resets midway through documents, or crashing and fatally corrupting large documents.

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AJ MacLeod

Re: Mars

The only people who eat the aforesaid vile substance are Americans... their tastebuds have been trained to expect that kind of "flavour" since childhood and hence they actually believe it's something nice. Of course, there are a lot of Americans hence the continued existence of the unmentionable product... you won't find many people outside of the US who can tolerate it.

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Nuke plant has been hacked, says Atomic Energy Agency director

AJ MacLeod

Re: News at 10

They did indeed - I can still remember the cover, with (presumably) a man in anti-radiation suit and Gieger counter...

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Nokia crawls towards comeback with new phones announcement

AJ MacLeod

Re: @AJ MacLeod

Funnily enough, my current phone is also a Blackberry (9105) and ticks all the boxes (admittedly the camera specs are rather unimpressive compared to today's offerings but it works perfectly acceptably.) It's still working as well as it did when I first got it six years ago - I did replace the battery this year, a brand one cost me a whole £1.50 including delivery!

It's sad that Blackberry committed suicide in that most idiotic way - by taking away the things that made their existing customers happy, and instead offering bland, identikit phones which were more or less exactly the same as what everyone else was offering but slightly outdated and at stupid prices.

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AJ MacLeod

If there's a touchpad for cursor control, I might be interested although I really don't particularly want Android running my phone (and I've happily used Linux on the desktop for almost 20 years)

There is a real dearth of choice at the moment with phones - millions of the things to choose from so long as you're happy with an oversized greasy glass slab.

I want:

Real, well laid out physical buttons

>=3 day battery life on one charge

touchpad rather than touchscreen cursor control

device focused on 1) phone calls and 2) email.

camera is very handy, but it doesn't need to be 40 billion megapixels, just have a semi-decent sensor and lens.

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Windows 10 market share fell in September

AJ MacLeod

A fair number of the "Windows 10 purchases" are actually running Windows 7 Pro, whether preinstalled or re-imaged before use. It would be interesting to know what percentage of machines sold by the likes of Dell are in this category (certainly all the desktop PCs sourced by me for clients.)

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Apple is making life terrible in its factories – labor rights warriors

AJ MacLeod

At least with white goods customers still have a choice; say Apple roughly equates to Dyson, we still have the Miele option.

With higher technology, there really isn't a Miele option to choose from and that's the problem. I personally make a point of buying well designed and manufactured goods from the UK if possible (actually manufactured here, not just from UK brand names), failing which Europe or the US, even if the initial purchase cost is significantly higher.

With the majority of high-tech goods, there is effectively no option - I couldn't care less what brand name is on the boxes, if Foxconn is making them anyway it makes no difference whether it's Apple or some unknown Chinese name on the outside.

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Linux malware? That'll never happen. Ok, just this once then

AJ MacLeod

Re: How is this a Linux issue?

Yes, in principle running Windows as an ordinary user without admin rights is quite straightforward. However in the real world (and particularly in the SME world where most work actually gets done) people have to run applications... not just Office and Internet Explorer, but horribly written monstrosities of programs often ancient in origin and specific to particular tasks or areas of industry.

Nine times out of ten these pieces of junk will simply not work without full admin rights, or if they do they don't work correctly.

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