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Comment: Clearing Cache Often, History Daily (Score 1) 308 308

My browser cache is cleared automatically every time I terminate the browser. Sometimes when I am having a problem viewing a particular Web site, I change some of my browser settings and manually clear the cache. Daily, I manually clear all browser history that is more than 30 days old.

Some of my computer files are encrypted using PGP. The passphrase -- more than merely a password -- exists only in my head. When I decrypt such a file to view or use it, I use a military-strength, multiple-pass file eraser on the decrypted file. I also use that eraser on old backup files before doing a new backup.

Comment: Re:Cannot Have Mine (Score 1) 123 123

I hung six from my loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica). Later this year, I will leave those that are towards my peach tree, hang about five from the peach itself, and one or two from the Australian tea tree near the peach tree. The grape vines will get their own, two or three on each vine.

Remember, timing is important. You do not want the birds to become accustomed to the flashing before the fruit is ripe.

Comment: Cannot Have Mine (Score 5, Interesting) 123 123

I save old CDs and DVDs. About this time of year, I take several and drill a small hole near the edge of each disc. Using kite twine, I then hang them from my fruit trees and grape vines to scare birds away. I have to do that shortly before the fruit ripens so that I can harvest the ripe fruit before the birds get used to the flashing of the discs as they rotate in the sun. I need a supply of discs because the silvering eventually deteriorates hanging outdoors.

Comment: Good Keyboards Under $100 (Score 1) 147 147

I am generally a "touch typist", having learned keyboarding on a manual typewriting more than 60 years ago.

When I bought a new PC from Dell, it came with a Dell keyboard with a USB connection. The keys were nearly flat on top with straight sides and little space between, which meant I had constant problems with positioning my fingers without looking down on the keyboard. Since the keyboard was black with white lettering (very poor ergonomics), I had to keep the lights on in my home office to see where I was placing my fingers; bright indirect daylight through the adjacent window was insufficient. The spacing between groups of function keys at the top was too little, which meant that I often hit the wrong function key.

I quickly replaced the keyboard with a beige Microsoft keyboard, again with a USB connection. This was purchased through The keys were tapered and concave on top. There was sufficient spacing between groups of function keys. Its design indeed met my needs. However, certain character keys were defective; quickly repeated strokes did not register. If I typed "11", for example, it would give me only "1". At first, this was merely an annoyance. Paying my bills via the Web through my credit union, however, I once paid a bill requesting $110.00 by sending only $10.00. Microsoft, the manufacturer of the keyboard, referred me to indicated they no longer stock that keyboard and refunded my purchase price and even said to keep the keyboard.

My wife's PC is several years old and has a KeyTronic keyboard that is even older, from a prior PC. I found KeyTronic on the Web at The most pricy item in their list of keyboards was under $100 unless you wanted a package of 10 keyboards. They have wired and wireless. The have PS2 and USB. They have black, light gray, and beige. They guarantee a keyboard for as long as you own it (as long as they remain in business). My KeyTronic keyboard is wonderfully noisy, letting me know when a key-touch actually registered.

By the way, I much prefer wired keyboard and mouse. I really do not want to deal with batteries. Too often, I have had a battery leak and destroy the device that used it. I now have two extra keyboards for anyone who want them.

Comment: A Problem and Its Solutions (Score 1) 29 29

It took quite a bit of searching before I could identify the specific root certificate involved. It turns out that root was already marked as "untrusted", which means I would not have been affected by this problem.

Also, the subscriber certificate involved is apparently marked as revoked in OCSP (Online Certificate Status Protocol) messages. Those who set their browsers to always confirm the validity of subscriber certificates via an OCSP server and who also set their browsers to assume a subscriber certificate is invalid if an OCSP response cannot be obtained are well protected from this problem.

Of course, for this solutions to be implemented, users must have browsers that allow root certificates to be marked "untrusted", that have an option to check certificates against OCSP servers, and that have an option to assume that a certificate is invalid if an OCSP response cannot be obtained. Mozilla-based browsers -- Firefox and SeaMonkey -- have all of those capabilities.

Comment: FUDD (Score 1) 224 224

(FUDD = fear, uncertainty, doubt, and disinformation)

Money-transfer businesses are already regulated in California as the result of several such businesses failing. The proposed law merely adds bitcoin-transfer businesses to that category. This is a consumer-protection proposal in an attempt to prevent another Mt. Gox.

Comment: World of Warcraft Not Affected (Score 1) 224 224

The proposed law specifically exempts gaming pseudo-money. Section 26000 of AB 1326 states: "Virtual currency shall not be construed to include digital
units that are used solely within online gaming platforms with no market or application outside of those gaming platforms."

Comment: Re:As stupid as bitcoin is (Score 1) 224 224

I believe PayPal is already registered. Any company in the business of transferring money must register. Existing California laws require this in response to a number of cases where money-transfer businesses received payments but failed to transfer them, either because they went bankrupt or were just plain frauds. The new law merely proposes to include bitcoin transfer businesses within that same regulatory framework. This is NOT blocking bitcoin transfers; this is protecting consumers who want to transfer bitcoins.

Comment: Take Immediate and Thorough Action (Score 2) 230 230

Send a postal letter to the CEO of the financial institution. Explain the problem. Give the institution a deadline for action. Since I found no actual disclosure of information in my case, I gave the institution a month. In your case, a week should be the maximum.

If you do not hear back in a week, send a postal letter to the government agency that supervises the institution (e.g., SEC, Controller of the Currency, FDIC). Send a copy to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Postal addresses are available online for such agencies.

It helps if the institution's privacy policy indicates such disclosures are not permitted. In that case, insist that the government agency enforce the institution's privacy policy.

Comment: Wireless Disabled (Score 1) 57 57

I have a Netgear N300 Wireless Router Model WNR2000v2. I have no WiFi devices.

In the router manager Web pages, I unchecked the checkboxes for "Enable Wireless Router Radio" and "Turn Remote Management On". I also unchecked all of the checkboxes under "Guest Network Settings", "Wireless Settings", and "Wireless Repeating Function". The wireless LED indicator on the router is not lighted.

Therefore, I expect this is not a problem for me.

Comment: Postal Letter to the CEO (Score 1) 141 141

When I have a problem dealing with a U.S. company over the Internet, I go to This site will tell me the names of the top executives and the corporate postal address of a company whose stock is publicly traded, even on the most obscure exchanges. If the company's stock is not publicly traded, I then resort to Google. Sooner or later -- yes, with some effort -- I find out who is in charge and where to mail a letter.

I compose a non-threatening, literate letter to the CEO or president of the company. I explain in layman's terms what is wrong and why I won't do business with them until the problem is fixed. While the executive likely does not even see my letter, someone in his or her office will see it -- someone who has authority to correct the situation. Occasionally, the situation is indeed fixed.

After sending the letter via the U.S. Postal Service, I wait about a week. Then, I create a Web page re-creating my letter. Yes, I name names. The situation might not be fixed, but the problem and the company are now public. I carry a significant level of liability insurance.

Comment: Frankfurt Second Worst on My List (Score 1) 91 91

I have flown to and from or changed planes in 26 airports. Frankfurt Airport (Rhein-Main-Flughafen, FRA) was the second-worst next to the armpit of airports, which is Kona International (KOA) in Hawai'i. Flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to Budapest (BUD) my wife and I had to change planes in FRA. With 12 security stations, only four were open. It took us over 30 minutes in line to reach a security station. Some passengers booked on our plane to BUD missed the flight because they were still stuck in line at security. No, they did not arrive at the FRA airport late; they too were merely changing planes. If you already passed through security at a prior airport, you remain within the security "shell" when changing planes in a well-designed airport and are not subject to another security check.

See my "Avoid Kona and Frankfurt Airports" at

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop