Futurepower(R) writes: A member of an advisory group to President Barack Obama said about surveillance,
"There can be serious negative effects on other U.S. interests". — From the
Reuters article, Russian
researchers expose breakthrough in U.S. spying program." The U.S. National
Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made
by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the
means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers, according to cyber
researchers and former operatives."
In a democracy, citizens are allowed to participate in government. Secret government
projects in the U.S. make the U.S. less of a democracy and move toward hidden
Articles about secret agencies often assume there is good management. An employee of an
NSA sub-contractor, Edward Snowden, was able to copy huge amounts of data. What would
stop NSA employees from listening to telephone conversations of CEOs to find inside
information for profiting from buying stock, for example?
Futurepower(R) writes: There are thousands of complaints that Microsoft's Windows Media Center TV schedule guide (EPG, Electronic Program Guide) is no longer being updated. For example, see Microsoft's Feedback center.
3) Yahoo paid Mozilla Foundation to change the search configuration of Firefox without notice. I imagine that most people won't know what went wrong or how to re-configure Firefox. When people have problems with Firefox, they may switch to another browser, like Google's Chrome.
4) People may think they are using Yahoo search, but there is no such thing as "Yahoo search". Actually, without being notified, Yahoo customers are using Microsoft Bing search, and their search information is being given to Microsoft.
5) Microsoft pays Yahoo to use Bing. Yahoo pays Firefox to use Bing. Eventually, when the news about why Bing use is increasing is more widely known, people who don't feel comfortable with the situation may switch to Google Chrome. In effect, Microsoft is paying for a powerful ad campaign to get people to switch to Google Chrome.
6) Those who want to be paid by Microsoft must use Bing directly, not through Yahoo.
7) The trickiness and dishonesty may cause further collapse of Yahoo. In effect, Yahoo is being paid to decrease the popularity of Yahoo.
8) In effect, Mozilla Foundation is taking money to decrease the popularity of Firefox.
9) In effect, Microsoft is paying Mozilla Foundation to make Firefox less popular.
10) That may be a way to artificially increase search traffic, But It's Not Good (BING). To me, that's another example of Microsoft DIE, the Dastardly Insertion of Evil.
11) And, of course, all of that is bad for Microsoft's reputation, decreasing the popularity of anything from Microsoft. So, Microsoft is paying to decrease the popularity of Microsoft.
That is so WEIRD that I feel compelled to joke about it. (WEIRD = When Every Idea Rates Dumb)
Futurepower(R) writes: What has been your experience with the reliability of backing up data on Blu-Ray discs? Do you generate error correction files? Which error correction program do you use and why?
Futurepower(R) writes: We are seeing 4 kinds of problems with Windows XP today at 2 remote locations:
1) One kind of problem is similar to the one in this April 7, 2014 story about computers in Australia: Pop-ups irritate Windows XP's remaining users. Microsoft Security Essentials on computers in the United States give pop-up messages about the MSE service being stopped.
2) Computers are requiring far longer to start, perhaps 12 to 15 minutes. Then the MSE pop-up appears.
3) Microsoft Security Essentials now calls into question whether XP is genuine. These are all computers that have run without issues for several years. The customer bought licenses when Windows XP was first released.
4) We have seen problems with the Windows XP operating system detecting a key stuck down when no keys were pressed on the keyboard. That is a software problem, not a keyboard hardware problem. It causes the system to be un-responsive because the key being detected is not one actually pressed, but is actually a key combination. Again, that is happening on computers that have been trouble-free for years. That problem began happening after a Windows update.
"End of life" is a way for Microsoft to make more money. Governments and
big corporations are often influenced by people with no technical
knowledge. Because of their ignorance, governments have already paid
Microsoft probably more than it costs to fix the few security defects found each
year. However, the taxpayers of those governments will not be allowed to have the fixes.
It's like Toyota told all owners of older Toyota vehicles that the
vehicles are unsafe now and owners must buy new vehicles or pay millions
of dollars to keep them. Except its worse: Software doesn't have
This article contains tips about how to use any version of Microsoft Windows safely that can be shared with people you want to help. Unnecessary computer maintenance is an ugly way to make money.
Futurepower(R) writes: "What is the best software to organize and print a book? The software must order and format all the chapters, generate the table of contents and the index, and allow HTML links inside PDF files. Good documentation and ease of use for non-technical operators would be a big plus."
Firefox is a world-class asset. Firefox is extremely important partly because those who need to do a lot of research online depend on Firefox and Firefox add-ons such as Session Manager, Session Manager Export Tool, Mozilla Archive Format, Flashblock, Multi Links, and Tab Mix Plus. There is no substitute for the capabilities of Firefox together with Firefox Add-ons. (Add-ons are also known as extensions and plug-ins.) For those who do research, Firefox is simply the best browser. Firefox is literally a world-class asset.
Biggest flaw: Firefox is unstable. The first step in improving management would be to fix the instability of Firefox. There would be a huge additional advantage in doing that, as someone else mentioned. Investigating how Firefox can be so unstable under Microsoft Windows might reveal flaws in Microsoft Windows that make the OS so unstable when using Firefox.
Firefox instabilities are experienced most frequently by those who open many Firefox windows and tabs, and leave them open while putting the computer into standby or hibernation several times. That is the pattern of use of those who do a lot of online research.
An example of research: For example, in researching HDMI cables there are numerous manufacturers, distributors, online sellers, explanations of HDMI standards, explanations of the U.S. National Electrical Code, and online reviews. The research is made far more complicated by the many companies that try to take advantage of the ignorance of the average person about cables. Good research is important because HDMI cables are often embedded in the infrastructure of buildings. Poor cables may need to be replaced when video equipment is upgraded, sometimes requiring tearing walls apart. Equipment upgrades may be years away, but are almost certain to happen.
One condition of instability: Windows XP 32-bit with Service Pack 3, for example, becomes unstable when Firefox has taken all the available memory, and is beginning to require the OS to use virtual memory. It seems a reasonable guess that Microsoft will be slow to fix Windows instabilities since poor experiences encourage people to buy new versions. Microsoft requires payment of the full price for each new version of Windows. Microsoft does not allow upgrade pricing even when a previous version has had many flaws, as with Microsoft Windows Vista. The laws against unfair business practices of those who have virtual monopolies have had no effect on Microsoft, apparently.
Firefox crash info: Here are some links for those who want to discover more about the instabilities in Firefox.
about:crashes Put about:crashes into your URL bar and press ENTER. Firefox will then show a list of crashes of the copy of Firefox on that computer.
1) The lists of crashes are ONLY the ones that Firefox caught. The lists do NOT include crashes that don't start the crash reporter.
2) Version 7.0.1 sometimes stays in memory even though the GUI was closed.
3) The crashes are often preceded by rapidly increasing memory use. Firefox often corrupts Microsoft Windows, so that Windows needs to be re-started. When Firefox corrupts Microsoft Windows it often damages operations in Windows that are not connected with browsing.
4) The crashes and memory gobbling have been reported for more than 10 years, since version 0.9 of Mozilla Suite, before Mozilla began using the name Firefox. Firefox is still unstable even though the change reports for every version say there have been "stability improvements".
5) Versions 4 to 7 of Firefox were more unstable than the Firefox 3.6.x versions. Version 7.0.1 is more stable than the others, but still unstable. So there has been some improvement. This week's version, 8.0, is too new to have extensive statistics."
The European Commission is investigating both the Western Digital-Hitachi and the Seagate-Samsung hard drive division mergers. Apparently there is no action by the U.S. government concerning the mergers.
Will having only two major makers of hard drives make it easier to raise prices?"
Futurepower(R) writes: "We want to write an application that uses a database. What is
the best C++ GUI framework?
Also, what open source database applications are
good examples of coding using that framework? We are interested in the PostgreSQL v8.4 and/or SQLite v3.6 free databases.
The cross-platform Nokia Qt 4 framework is impressive, and the database classes look clean, but the license causes concern.
The Qt 4 license says that if any work was done with the free version
of Qt 4 it cannot be used in a commercial environment unless it is licensed as GPL. Technically that
means that someone experimenting at home could corrupt an application
written for commercial use. GUI design is done with Qt Designer.
Futurepower(R) writes: "Writing in the scientific journal Nature, seismologist Roger Bilham says, "Every possible mistake was evident: brittle steel, coarse non-angular aggregate, weak cement mixed with dirty or salty sand, and the widespread termination of steel reinforcement rods at the joints between columns and floors of buildings where earthquake stresses are highest."
About 15% of the more than 2.5 million people in Port-au-Prince were killed or injured and about 1.5 million people are now homeless, a consequence of many decades of unsupervised construction permitted by a government oblivious to its plate-boundary location.
"Calculations show a 1–2% chance of magnitude-7 earthquakes... before 22 February . Such forecasts are not an exact science... Yet there is no doubt that the recent shock has enhanced the risk of another earthquake."
"The catastrophic earthquakes that have occurred since 1999, in Turkey, Taiwan, Sumatra, Kashmir and Sichuan, demonstrate that elementary engineering guidelines for earthquake resistance in crucial civil structures (schools, hospitals and fire stations,) have been alien concepts to local authorities, or have been ignored.""