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Comment Re:Jumping the Sharknado! (Score 1) 475 475

Dunno 'bout the getting the original 16-bit version to run on modern OS, but you can always play the remake and sequel: Chips Challenge for Steam and Chip's Challenge 2

Before you get all hot under the color about how developers are abusing nostalgia for a quick buck, CC2 (and the CC1 remake) is written by the same guy who made the first and its only been held up these past two decades because of copyright issues.

If you really, really want the absolute original experience though, you'll probably have to resort to using a VM (DOSBox works too).

Comment Ahead of the curve (Score 5, Interesting) 316 316

This is exactly the sort of thing everyone predicted would happen with enforced automatic updating. It is exactly the sort of reason people argued against taking control out of users hands. I just didn't expect we'd see an example of it before Windows 10 was actually released though. For once Microsoft has proven itself to be ahead of the curve. Yay?

While Microsoft Update has generally been something good for Windows (and the Internet) by reducing the number of vulnerable machines, it has not been without its share of programs. There are countless stories of Update pushing bad patches and drivers, and quality-control at Microsoft has apparently taken a turn for the worse in the last couple of years. Nobody is arguing that Microsoft should stop pushing patches or even that the default - especially for home users - should be to automatically download and install the patches. But by removing the user's ability to ultimately accept or decline these patches benefits nobody.

But I guess Microsoft wasn't satisfied with just having a reputation for producing shoddy products that don't work as intended; now they seem to be working towards earning the reputation for creating a product that intentionally goes out of its way to break itself.

Comment For extremely limited definitions of "offer" (Score 1) 118 118

Sure, the ISPs offer it... just not to your home. Or mine. Or in 90% of the country. I'm sure many of the ISPs /technically/ provide the gigabit-speeds but the area where people can actually get it is probably very, very limited. This is just another fluff piece from the telecom industry hoping to make people believe America isn't as technologically backward as Europe, Japan or Korea; "Look, American Internet is as fast as in the rest of the world!". They hope to forestall government regulation enforcing mandatory speed minimums for all parts of the country by pointing out that their network technically has this capability... even if 99% of it can never achieve this sort of speed.

And that doesn't even get into the astronomical prices they are charging for the service.

When Farmer Bob can call up Comcast and have them deliver gigabit service at the same price as Sue-in-the-city, then they can start boasting. Until then the ISPs are seriously deficient in the service that they have been providing to this nation.

Comment The Nine Things (Score 2) 65 65

Here are "the nine ideas [for securing] our data, privacy, and communications"
(for those of us too lazy to RTFA)

- Add public keys to major services
- Build better random number generators
- Expand trusted hardware
- Add Merkle trees to the file system
- Build more block chains and extend them for others
- Add chaining to Internet interactions
- Build out cross-linked certified websites
- Add homomorphic encryption
- Add encryption

Details on what each of those thing actually MEAN are in TFA, of course

Comment Who wants what now? (Score 4, Insightful) 119 119

"Universal Windows apps are going to be written because you want to have those apps used on the desktop."

Wait, who wants universal Windows apps?

Certainly it is not the desktop users. Because they must cater to the "lowest-common-denominator" of hardware, universal apps tend to be underpowered and have interfaces poorly optimized for mouse/keyboard.

The developers have little care for Universal apps. There is no demand for the things, and requires an investment in learning new development methods. It is an added expense and complication that brings little reward for the extra effort.

I suppose there might be some demand from Windows Winphone users - all six of them - but even they might prefer a more functional app tailored to their desktops capabilities rather than a cut-rate smartphone app. I don't hear an overwhelming clamor crying out, "oh if only the mail app on my desktop worked just like it did on my winphone!"

No, there is only one party that is really interested in Universal apps, and that's Microsoft themselves because universal apps are sold through the Microsoft app store and they get a cut of the proceeds. It also gives them great control over what sort of programs users have access to (what are the odds they would allow a stand-alone Linux installer to be added to their store?).

So, other than some great desire to increase Microsoft's profits, what reason is there to develop or use Universal apps?

Comment Re:I remember... (Score 2) 208 208

Yeah, these days it seems the first thing I do after hearing about a new Firefox update is search for the appropriate about:config string to disable the new features.

And half of my add-ons these days are there simply to revert the interface back to something useable.

Between the too-frequent updates and the user-necessitated fixes to correct the developer's blunders, Firefox is approaching a required level of maintenance I only expect from Microsoft products.

Comment Maybe Microsoft Will Take The Hint (Score 1) 84 84

Maybe Microsoft will take the hint from this lawsuit and allow you to uninstall the built-in apps that come with Windows 10. Its great that they provide apps like "XBox" and "OneNote" gratis, but I've no interest in them and it bugs me that you can't uninstall them.

Wait, there's a new release version of the Win10 Preview. Maybe that's one of the things they've changed.

Nope, still can't uninstall. I guess Microsoft is really glued to the idea of making your desktop like a crappy smartphone...

Comment Re: Altough I agree (Score 1) 61 61

(getting quite a bit off topic here)

I disagree. I think that we are quite capable of sending a probe to Proxima Centauri.

We just aren't able to send a probe that will send us any meaningful results in less than a few millenia. But I think we could - were we to put our minds to it - develop a probe that could ride out the centuries and send back a signal when it go thtere.

Heck, if were ready to spend a few times the world's yearly GDP (and not let certain political issues like worries like launching large nuclear devices into orbit), we probably could launch an interstellar probe that would get there in a single human lifetime.

It hasn't been entirely TECHNOLOGY that has been limiting us to this single basket of eggs that we call the Solar System for a long time.

Comment Re:Brand Specific Frequencies (Score 1) 529 529

Brand-specific frequencies?

"I don't mind WiFi signals usually, but that 2.4GHz coming off Netgear routers really gets to me. And don't get me started on the 4G (700MHz) signals coming from my AT&T Android phone; that's why I have to use an iPhone on the US Cellular network!"

Yeah, I can see people believing that.

Hell, I can even imagine wireless providers /marketing/ to people like that. "Use our new HEALTHY-4G network, designed from the ground up for EM-sensitive users! Sure it costs twice as much, but isn't being able to use a phone without worrying worth the price?". The wireless providers could make a mint. It would be like marketing "organic" food, except without actually having to do anything. They may need to recruit the advertisers who work for Monster Cables first, though.

Comment I WANT a hackable car... (Score 3, Interesting) 165 165

Personally, I want a hackable car. What I do not want is a /remotely/ hackable car.

I want a vehicle where I, as the owner, can access all its bits-n-bobs - even the digital ones - to tune it as I desire. I do not want a car whose computers are so saddled down with "security" that the only ones who can access its electronic brains are "authorized" technicians who have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the appropriate software and hardware. Too often I see "security" being used by automobile manufacturers as an excuse to lock out the owners (or even ordinary mechanics) from modifying - or even diagnosing - the vehicle without first tithing to the manufacturer for the privilege.

Of course, only I as owner (or any I authorize) should be allowed to adjust my car in this way; obviously, I do not want any nefarious parties to alter my car's settings - especially not while I am driving! But while this is something the designers and manufacturers need to keep in mind, so far I am unaware of /any/ successful attempt to "hack" a moving car. Of course, if a nefarious individual gets access to the OBDII port on my car, there's no end to the damage he could do, but no computer (or car! think "cutting the brake lines") is safe if somebody has physical access to it.

So forgive me if I interpret these worried cries about how my car might be "hacked" less as an earnest warning about my vehicle's vulnerability to malicious actors and more as another attempt by the manufacturer to gouge the owner out of even more money just so he can continue to tinker with his own property.

Comment Re:I DON'T want windows 10 (Score 1) 96 96

I stand corrected. The functionality there is exactly as described.

I will argue that this is in no way intuitive; I don't consider myself a novice to computers or Windows but I like to think I generally know my way around PCs. But manually changing the width of a menu is so rarely done that it didn't even occur to me that it was possible (actually, that's not completely true; I know I tested it on an earlier version of the preview and it didn't work then. I didn't bother - or remember - to try on build 10130). I doubt regular users would have any better luck.

Nonetheless, I still maintain the Start Menu is a big step backwards, with reduced functionality and is generally little better than a collapsible version of the "start page" from Windows8.

And that's just one of many issues I have with the OS. Windows 10 offers me nothing I want and a lot I don't want. I see absolutely no reason to upgrade from Windows 7, even if it is nominally "free".

On the plus side, at least the weather app that comes embedded in the OS doesn't show you advertisements.

Comment Re:disable flash! (Score 1) 71 71

I finally removed Flash two weeks ago. Even with white-listing and Flashblock/Click-to-Enable, the few video sites and online apps that use it weren't worth the continued risk of having it installed. Occasionally I run across a site that requires Flash, but these are rare enough that I can skip by the site without too much worry (if I really /really/ need to access a Flash-enabled site, I'll just fire up a virtual image and install Flash on that).

Only downside is that controls for HTML5-video aren't quite as strict as Flashblock; there's too much video sneaking through these days. Flashblock isn't quite up to that task yet. Still, better that than Flash.

Comment Re:I DON'T want windows 10 (Score 1) 96 96

Even if you remove all the live tiles, the menu still takes up a huge amount of space.

Incorrect. If you remove all live tiles, you can collapse the Start menu to a much smaller space than the Windows 7 Start menu. Or make it any size all the way up to full screen. Your choice.

I am not seeing the behavior you described in the lastest preview version of Windows 10. Having removed all the Live tiles, I am still left with an overly large - and empty - Start menu. The behavior you describe - the Start Menu shrinking down in size as Live Tiles were removed - was a feature in earlier versions of the preview but this functionality was removed around March. It was possible to re-enable it for a while by editing a particular key in the Registry but even this was disabled in later versions of the preview. With the latest version (build 10130) removing the tiles leaves you with a huge, pointlessly huge Start menu.

Comment Re:I DON'T want windows 10 (Score 5, Informative) 96 96

I decided to install the Insider Preview on my laptop, as a means to evaluate Windows 10 before the final version touches my desktop, and so far I'm liking it.
I, on the other hand, did the same and detest it.

The "returned Start Menu" is a joke, and seems more an insult to everyone who wanted a Start Menu than an honest attempt to meet their needs. You can't rearrange the items on the menu; it's all alphabetical. The text in "All Apps" section is huge and absurdly widely-spaced, making even a short list of apps go on forever. Even if you remove all the live tiles, the menu still takes up a huge amount of space. Its absolutely useless as a Start Menu. Sure, there are third-party alternatives like ClassicStart, but most people aren't going to be using those utilities and I'm going to have to support them.

Then there's the fact that you search your files without the query being sent up to the Microsoft mothership. Searching for sensitive material you wisely stored locally? Microsoft is going to know about it. There are settings in the group policy editor to disable this, but - at least in the most recent preview - they don't actually work. Home versions of the OS don't ship with GPEdit either.

Windows10 is still pretty pushy with getting you into its online ecosystem too, although I will admit it is toned down (ever so slightly) from Windows 8.1. It's slightly easier to notice that you can make a local account without using hotmail, for instance. But from its prominent app-store, to its OnDrive cloud storage, to its mail client that doesn't support POP3, Windows10 requires you to use Microsoft online services to make use of any of its newer features.

Metro, of course, continues to be an abomination, made all the worse by the fact it still remains only half-heartedly integrated into the system. Dig one or two menus deep into the control panel (sorry, its called "Settings" now) and you'll be facing an old-style WindowsXP interface. The shift is jarring and likely confusing to many newer users, and more experienced users will dislike how all the superficial settings have been shuffled about and renamed for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, no third-party app can fix this.

Then there are the niggling minor loss of features. I'm not talking the removal of significant apps - like Media Center - but just little features of the OS that used to be available in older versions of Windows that have been inexplicably removed in Windows10. The ability to uninstall most of the default apps (try removing the XBox app or OneNote; you can't) that come with Windows, for instance. Or control over whether or not to install updates, as another. Individually, these are annoyances but combined they are a headache.

The back-end of Windows 10 seems reliable enough; it has the fast pseudo-start (really, just booting from hibernation since Windows hasn't do a clean shutdown since Windows8) that people like, and seems reliable enough (for Windows). But it doesn't bring anything interesting to the table, still has all the stuff I dislike about Windows 8/8.1 and adds a bunch of unwanted restrictions on top of that. I honestly would recommend Windows 8 over Windows 10 at this point (although if you had the option, take 8.1 or - preferably - Windows 7 if you can). At least with those your computer is still yours to do with as you like, and not as Microsoft thinks you might want to use it.

Comment Re:I want pictures of the newspaper... (Score 1) 162 162

I give the guy no credibility, but if people continue dying after the miracle drug, how is he going to explain?

"Ah, I see young Kim Yeongchol has passed on; this is truly a sad occurrence and all of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is lessened by the loss, especially when they are taken so young. Well, this is just a routine investigation into the cause of death; I understand you, his family, are troubled by grief and sorrow so I shall strive to make this as quick and painless as possible. Name, time of death, yes yes I have that all already... Ah, here is the only bit of information I need from you: the cause of death. Do you know what young Yeongchol died from? I see he had earlier been diagnosed with cancer, but then recently been given the Great Leader's miracle drug. Just as a reminder, dying from cancer, Ebola or AIDS is now considered treasonable and punishable by death. Like many similar crimes, the punishment will not only be used against the traitor, but against his family and friends.

So with that in mind, let's ask again, what was the cause of death of poor Yeongchol again? Ah, old age you say. Well, time takes its toll on us all, even those of us who die at 22. Thank you for your time, comrades. May the Great Leader smile upon you."

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.