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Comment "Remove" everyone. (Score 4, Interesting) 241

Years ago, I had problems with a FAX spammer who would send junk every night. We had to leave it on overnight because it was a transport company and we would receive bills of lading at all hours. This also meant, however, that we had a separate phone line for voice calls, which did *not* need to be left free all night.

Anyhow, all of these faxes had a removal number to call, which made you jump through all sorts of hoops. I noticed shortly after attempting it that it actually *increased* the volume of spam to TWO a night. The "removal" number was, however, toll-free. This gave me an idea.

I listened and noted the timing of prompts, and the associated menu options, for the "removal" service. I brought in an old modem from home, and set it up to autodial their number (on their dime) and start "removal" processes. This I did in two different ways:

(1) First my modem would call them and demand removal of a number. They were so helpful and asked if I wished to remove another, so of course my modem would say YES, and proceed to "remove" the next number in sequence. It would cycle through all 1000 numbers in a block before disconnecting, and each time it did this, it incremented the number of the block being removed (except for invalid ones like 555). This took about four hours, all of which they had to pay the charges for. Not long after (and possibly as a direct consequence), they started limiting the calls to three numbers before hanging up.

(2) My second iteration of the program would select a random number, go through the "removal" steps, but then when asked "are you sure?" it would hit the button for "NO", at which point the process would start again. It would pick a new random number and do this again and again. If the call was terminated, it waited five minutes and called again. Since it never completed the process, the three-number limit did not apply. I think this worked for three or four days before they implemented a fifteen minute cutoff regardless of what you were doing at the time. I didn't re-program for this at all, I just tolerated the 25% loss of efficiency at driving up heir phone bill and let it call back five minutes after being disconnected.

Finally I got an angry call, during business hours, demanding that I stop doing this. I flat out said "sue me." The person at the other end finally said "why would you want me to do that?", to which I responded "because then I'll know exactly who you are, and can sue you for each of the hundreds of faxes you have sent, which I have been keeping as evidence." He coughed and said "Look, just stop calling us, eh? Nobody else can call when you're doing this." (Did I mention they were in Vancouver?) I just said "I will cease the calls as long as you do."

We got another one two weeks later, but I could only run the auto-dialer at night, so I couldn't do anything right at that moment. I got a VOICE call fifteen minutes later telling me to please disregard and not start the remove-bot again. That was the last time I heard from them.

Comment Re:Solution! (Score 1) 386

If Microsoft really wanted to kill XP, they'd allow XP users to upgrade to 10 for free. Same goes for Vista. Of course that would require Aero-capable hardware. I had a bitch of a time getting 7 to run on a Compaq nc6220. No way it's going to run 10, the 915G chipset just isn't up to the task. So the portion of the market sticking with XP because they have pre-Aero-worthy video will not be helped by free Windows 10, but everyone else could be.

I use DisableWinTracking on my Windows 10 systems, along with Classic Shell (although the current interface isn't *awful*, I just prefer it to look/feel like 7), killing the Cortana entry field, turning off the Favorites and Recent functions of Explorer (I don't want to have to be that vigilant about hiding "compromising" files viewed), and using a registry tweak to make OneDrive disappear from Explorer. (It's already set up not to run, so it doesn't work anyhow. Why show it?)

Other features of Windows 10 are actually really nice. The extended info for file transfers is one of them. The graph gives a pretty good idea what's going on, and when things might have slowed down or recovered from slowing down. Text scaling and anti-aliasing being handled separately for each monitor is also really nice, especially if you have a large but low-PPI television next to a normal monitor. If you're wondering what it does when a window spans monitors with different text settings, it scales the whole window for whichever monitor has the largest piece. It also has multiple desktops that are easy to swap between (yeah, I know Linux has had this since forever), though I don't use that all that much with four monitors.

I have had *zero* problems with applications that ran under Windows 7 not wanting to run under Windows 10. Getting 10 to run correctly on my dual video card setup was a bit of a pain, but it was a bit of a pain under Windows 7 as well, and the trick is exactly the same. (Remove one card, get everything working right, then put the second card back in.)

Comment But Google sends me false warnings themselves. (Score 1) 117

Every time I try to use YouTube or Google Drive through the latest and greatest Pale Moon, I am greeted with a page (or a ribbon in the case of Drive) telling me my browser is no longer supported and that I need to use the latest version. Umm, this is the latest version. When I choose to go through anyhow, everything works just fine.

They could afford to start a bit closer to home.

Comment Re:Any VGA? (Score 1) 158

I have four monitors in front of me currently, one of which would qualify as "thin and light" and thus be good for toting around. It has only a power cord, not a power brick. A laptop won't have its power supply integrated, but a monitor just might, and it doesn't necessarily cost extra to choose one that doesn't need a brick. On the keyboard side, go for something wireless that has a trackpad built in and you're good to go. Never take the receiver out of the USB port, and there's nothing to set up. NUC, power brick, monitor, HDMI cable, power cable, wireless keyboard. That said, something with an integrated display is still a better idea because all modern laptops will let you use an external monitor and the built-in display simultaneously, and you don't *have* to carry the wireless keyboard.

Comment Re:Any VGA? (Score 1) 158

I have an external optical drive, but I haven't used it in at least three years. It's so much easier to use SD cards and flash drives for the same functions. Faster, too. M.2 SSDs are more than adequate in storage capacity these days. If I'm going to use wired Ethernet with a machine that doesn't natively support it, then I'd most likely leave the interface at the site (work or home) where it is required, rather than hauling it around. The HDMI dongle thing is something the projector owners really should keep on hand, but I don't think it's unreasonable to take one along if giving a presentation using someone else's display hardware, any more than it would be unreasonable to take a DisplayPort adapter along if that's your output. If you don't know what they have, it is best to be prepared for anything -- but I'd still rather tote it separately as needed than have the machine enlarged to accommodate it the 98% of the time I don't need it.

Comment Re:Any VGA? (Score 2) 158

An HDMI-to-VGA dongle that goes right on the end of the cable is something like $4 on fleaBay. I bought one so I could continue using an otherwise perfectly functional Dell E173FP monitor that takes only VGA with hardware that only spits out DVI or HDMI. It splits audio from the stream as well, but I can divert it easily enough to the normal headphone output and have never used that function.

Comment Re:Serious question (Score 1) 1305

Or in my case, ~n followed by the Compose Character key. Now if I could somehow teach AutoHotkey to distinguish what website I'm on, it could replace that combination with ñ on this site alone, but that still doesn't get me superscripts, subscripts, letters with two accents, etc. Also, why should I have to write a custom script for a single website?

Comment Re:"7:30 PM" (Score 1) 117

Within North America, we don't use country codes, even when calling internationally.

Good trick if you can manage it. What do you use - owls?

We use area codes, and within NANP territory, these are country-agnostic. This is convenient in some ways, but also disastrous in others because someone can give me a number in the Bahamas where I'll get charged $2.00 a minute for the call, and it won't look any different from a call to another state or even within the same state. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to area code assignments *except* for the Caribbean, where they were generated based on three-letter country codes, and some very old assignments where they were given low digits and a 1 in the middle to minimize dialing time on rotary phones (like 212 for NYC and 213 for Los Angeles) -- but that doesn't make them look any different. A call to Sint Maarten and a call to Seattle and a call to Toronto are handled identically.

It may be unique to North America, but our numbering plan spans multiple countries as if they were a single entity. Thus it is not ingrained that calling across a border always means the use of international calling procedures.

Comment Re:"7:30 PM" (Score 1) 117

+1 and 1 are not the same, just as +52 and 52 are not. We don't write +1-xxx-xxx-xxxx because that would mean actually dialing 011-1-xxx-xxx-xxxx. +52 really means 011-52. 1 was always billed as "the long distance flag" so to speak, until area codes became mandatory for local dialing as well due to overlays.

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