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Comment: Re:Beta Fightback (Score 1) 108

by ITMagic (#46209051) Attached to: Mac OS X Bitcoin Stealing Trojan Horse Called OSX/CoinThief Discovered

Whilst I, like every else here, seem to hate the changes being made here, are all the people here who post complaints here totally IT incapable?

If anyone here reads /. using firefox, it doesn't take a huge degree of effort to edit the HTML 'on the fly', and strip out all the offensive code. Has anyone looked at the RSS feed lately? It is abominable!

SOLUTION: Install Stylish, and voila. Complete control to throw away all the crap.

We probably should set up a community-driven recipe that everyone can download without the hassle of writing their own recipe. I *might* try to get round to doing this in a day or so... No promises, though.

Comment: Re:No SINGLE solution for you... (Score 1) 420

by ITMagic (#45963835) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suggestions For a Simple Media Server?

It's a big question, and I don't feel that there is a single answer. But this is what I did...

I bought a Raspberry Pi, stuck XBMC on it, and am quite happy with it. However, what I did was wrong (at least, the approach was). However, I did it that way because I already had a Pi for other reasons, was playing with it, and I am a cheapskate that doesn't like buying hardware!

What you should do is decide what software you want to run, and your competency level of installing and maintaining it - and then buy the hardware to match.

I *really* wanted a simple DNLA Digital Media Renderer (DMR), rather than a DMC. Personally, I've never really liked GUI's, and wanted a simple backend just to play what was streamed to it. However, in the end, I could not find what I wanted, and developed an opinion that DNLA is a mish-mash of ideals that don't completely work in practice. So I gave up on that thread.

Had a brief encounter with the Apple TV. Didn't like it at all - not what I was looking for. The other retail consumer devices I had problems discovering that they wouldn't cope with all the potential formats I had, or wouldn't do what I wanted, or (more commonly) that I couldn't discover exactly what they were capable of anyway. I don't like locked-down platforms.

So I ended up with XBMC. It feels (to me) a bit bloated. Why would I need to view the weather on my TV? Or photographs? Etc... But the rest of the community seem to think that it isn't half bad, so that is good enough. But importantly, it works! I watch TV on a TV, not on the iPad (though the wife does) - and XBMC streams to it quite happily (so long as the format is correct - I've not bothered to look at streaming any .mkv files or transcoding options. And, if I feel the need, I can stream from the iPad to the TV (not that I do). Additionally, there is a very useful iPad/iPhone remote control app. It is my primary method of controlling it.

The annoyance (for me) is that I still need a keyboard plugged in to the Pi. It's not used much, and the plan is to ditch it completely, but I'm still tinkering with it. Also, I haven't got it to download TV schedules, or watch on-demand content from the web, or watch live broadcast TV, or act as a PVR, etc, etc. But that really isn't important to me. It may be for you...

Comment: Misinformation (Score 1) 290

by ITMagic (#44540535) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

I guess that the original post really doesn't understand what TPM is, and has subscribed to the 'conspiracy theory' brigade. What would be the reason for avoiding the chip altogether, when it is quite possible to disable the functionality.

As a self-confessed privacy freak, I'd love a TPM module in my home machine - sadly I have not located a source of the module at a sensible price. I did, however, have it on an old laptop, and (under linux at least) found its functionality very positive. Then again, it was under a non-commercial OS, and I had full control over it.

What I *don't* understand is UEFI - mainly because I have no hardware to hack with. However, that appears at first glance to be more problematic for me to hack, since it seems only MS are able to sign the bootloader. Not a problem with TPM.

In short, it is not the presence or absence of the chip that the OP needs to think about - it is the software that is installed and used.

Comment: Re:Zotero is good (Score 1) 87

by ITMagic (#43399723) Attached to: Mendeley Acquired By Elsevier

Another very happy user of Zotero here. I have tried Jabref, which I like for it's simplicity, but I find it lacks functionality. There was another on-line collaborative site (beginning with 'C'?) that I tried briefly, and abandoned. I have probably tried several others also - though this is the first time that I have heard of Mendeley...

To be honest, the only downside that I can think of about using Zotero is that it is a Firefox plugin, and we are (supposed to) have a purely MSIE environment on the workstations here due to IT policy. This is easily fixed using Portable Apps.

Other than that, there is nothing that I would want any bibliography organiser to to that Zotero cannot. No - on second thoughts, as I think it only comes with pluging for MS Word and Open Office, it could probably do with some 'magic glue' to integrate it with LyX...

Comment: Re:if you're ok with DRM (Score 1) 232

by ITMagic (#43147757) Attached to: Netflix Using HTML5 Video For ARM Chromebook

Sorry - but I think you are missing a major point here.

This is all about how media content is delivered to the consumer. DRM is *supposed* to be about Rights Management. The problem is that the media companies consider this to be achievable through copy protection. CDs, DVD/Blueray are fast becoming extinct - which annoys me greatly. From their point of view, copy protection doesn't work. For a consumer to hire a disc, then rip it before returning the product back to the store, is piracy - and shouldn't be condoned. For anyone owning the disc, however, the copy process is legitimate, and (in my experience) essential.

The media companies have lost this battle - so the tactics have changed. The new battle lines are to do with streaming media. If you subscribe to Netflix, iTunes and the like, then you own nothing. You are renting the service, not the media, and are locked into their T&C - which will probably prohibit downloading and converting to a different format if you subsequently buy a non-supported device.

Therefore, by default (and whether you like it or not), by subscribing to any of these streaming services you are supporter of DRM. You are also contributing to the demise of the physical product.

Comment: Re:Violation of the Data Protection Act (Score 1) 338

by ITMagic (#37751692) Attached to: Facebook Is Building Shadow Profiles of Non-Users

How is this not a violation of the data protection act? I quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Act_1998)

Firstly, because the D.P.A. 1998 is *UK* law, which (as far as I can see) has no relevance to FB (usual IANAL applies). Try looking at the D.P.A. 1988 & the Amendment Act 2003. If you're interested, keep your eyes posted on the outcome of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner's report into FB.

Secondly, if you believe that the Data Protection Act has anything at all to do with the *Protection* of your personal data, in regard to it's distribution to other parties, then you are a complete and utter naive fool. At least as far as the UK Act is concerned, it serves to

  • legalise the practice of data retention and distribution;
  • Allow recourse for you to correct inaccurate data; and
  • allow the Government to make money by "registering" any company that needs to store data.

Forgive my cynicism, but it is simply another method of extracting 'Tax' from companies who need to store client details, and does almost nothing about protecting the availability of data that you may consider to be personal.

Comment: Disappointing Device (Score 1) 56

by ITMagic (#36747374) Attached to: Google eBooks-Integrated E-reader Out On Sunday

Although I can't comment on the iRiver Story, I do have the Cover Story. For anyone interested, these are my thoughts on it:

The technical specs were (for me) pretty much perfect. It was most definitely a purchase made on specs, rather than having the product in my hand prior to buying it. But I have a lot of niggles - which renders the device somewhat less than perfect...

First, the good stuff. DRM is not an issue - for me, at least. That is an Adobe thing, and I don't have any DRM'd PDFs. The device should handle most of the (normal) formats you can throw at it. It is touch screen, with WiFi.

But that's all. Forget the "Open Source" crap. Sure, it's linux. But the download link is an odd .jpg of the GNU preamble, with an iframe for the actual license text. The links to sources are odd javascript, pointing to old versions hosted god-knows where. I can't see the tool-chain and anything else required to actually compile a working binary. Not that that would help, because I haven't worked out how to gain root access - which you need to. The fonts installed are useless for anything other than standard US English (major complaint).

What else? Crap battery life. Turn off the WiFi, and you might get 24 hours of reading time (but I can't). I know some people complain about the touch screen, but I can live with that, just.

All in all, the average user should avoid this device like the plague. Hell, I'd even recommend the kindle above this, at least for usability (despite the kindle/1984 intrusion). *If* someone manages to write a HOWTO about jailbreaking it, and compiling user software (or iRiver have a more helpful attitude), then it *might* be an interesting toy. DRM on this device is so insignificant a problem that you can ignore it - I suspect that Google would not really want to promote this ability, anyway. It's the encrypted kernel firmware that gets my goat.

Comment: Which doesn't answer the question ... (Score 2, Insightful) 370

by ITMagic (#31350282) Attached to: Technical Objections To the Ogg Container Format

... of what format *should* be used in its place.

It is all very well claiming one format is not particularly good, but overall rather pointless if you don't argue an alternative.

So the question any .ogg user will have (since they probably chose this slightly obscure format over the more 'normal' .mp3 alternative due to the reputation of being better to listen to from an audiophile POV) is what to use instead? FLAC is fine if you have the space, but sometimes you want to compromise in order to save storage space...

Comment: So, what's new? (Score 1) 311

by ITMagic (#31102106) Attached to: Armed Robot Drones To Join UK Police Force

Let me see, now...

"Armed Robot Drones to Join UK Police Force"

Since most of the current ones seem to be mindless automatons who shoot to kill innocent civilians, I fail to see how this will be a change to the current situation... With the possible exception that, of course, it would be ludicrous to put a machine in the dock before declaring that there was no case to answer...

Comment: Re:No surprise because of the dosage (Score 1) 403

by ITMagic (#30596678) Attached to: Ginkgo Doesn't Improve Memory Or Cognitive Skills

You either have not read the article, or have no concept of pharmacology (or, possibly, both).

The quantity of 240mg per day is meaningless. What we are interested in is: 240mg *of what*? Try taking a daily dose of 240mg of Foxglove extract; or Ergot infected wheat. I think you'll find quite a profound effect!

This particular study used "Ginko Biloba Extract". All well and good - but what, precisely, was extracted (and what was, therefore, thrown away)? From the manufacturers website:

One ton (1,000 kg) of the dried leaves yields only 20 kg of EGb 761® Ref.

contains approximately 24% flavone glycosides (primarily quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin) and 6% terpene lactones (2.8-3.4% ginkgolides A, B and C, and 2.6-3.2% bilobalide). Ginkgolide B and bilobalide account for about 0.8% and 3% of the total extract, respectively. Ref.

Therefore, by my maths, this study used an extract equivalent to 12 gram of dried leaf per day; a pretty reasonable dose - certainly considering that the same company sells 40mg capsules of EGb 761®. More importantly, patients received a *standardised* extract; We're not talking about Holland & Barrett bargain cheapo tea-leaves here!

It's a rather interesting article. Rather less surprisingly, the manufacturer of the product used in the study has not updated their "latest News" section to include these results!

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