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Comment Re:Feynman and Crichton (Score 1) 251

Acutely summed up in this quote from the Crichton lecture:

In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

Comment Re:HOSTS file (Score 1) 415

I'd noticed long before Win7+ that once in a while my HOSTS file seemed to get ignored. Don't recall specifics offhand, but at least back as far as Win98 (at least, once TurboTax forcibly applied IE5.5, which also fucked up Win98's resource management. -- That was also the last time I bought TurboTax.)

Comment Re:Bureaucracy (Score 1) 275

Or maybe Sgt.Burke is really saying, "Not all of us want to store your data forever. But some do. So we compromise by dragging our fiscal feet to make it difficult to retain more of your data."

Let's see what happens at the next budget appropriations session in Oakland... then we'll find out who's on the side of privacy or bureaucracy.

Comment Re:I remember ..... (Score 1) 284

In my latest testing spasm, I found that there's far less customization available (at least as offered by the distro's tools) in KDE5, to the point that I could not get things sufficiently restful to my eyes, and that launcher-style menu just pisses me off. Didn't crash on me, but I only had the thing up an hour or so on the test box, running off a LiveCD (well, LiveUSB). Crashy would get it nixed here real quick too, tho.

I like KDE4 for the most part, and ... if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Comment Re:Linux Mint (Score 1) 318

Thanks for the recommendation; in my latest testing adventure, I'd overlooked this one. Downloading now. :)

One of my bugaboos from a usability standpoint is the common inability to set system colors that override individual apps, as we can do in Windows. Some KDE apps will respect system settings, but most don't... and that usual default white app background hurts my eyes after a while. And included themes tend to be not much better. So no long-term usage for me so long as a given desktop/app doesn't allow workspace colors to be set, or doesn't make theme creation stupid-easy. (Seriously, I don't know what the heck some of your widget *names* refer to; what's wrong with pick-and-click like WinXP-and-before colors does it?)

Comment Re:Linux Mint (Score 1) 318

Same here. Every iteration of Windows inspires me to a spasm of examining linux distros, but until now I've always gone away disappointed. Mint's current incarnation, while not quite up to the WinXP that's still my preferred Windows, is very encouraging. And while I still generally prefer the KDE desktop, Cinnamon is going in the right direction for everyday usability. I liked Mint well enough to install it on one of my frankenputers for further review. (Now if only GRUB hadn't committed suicide at age 2 days...)

So with the advent of Windows 10, I've been looking at lots of current distros via an Easy2Boot setup running them off a USB stick (so they all have identical resources to start with, and no waiting for either a DVD to load or an install to HD) and it was interesting to compare bootup and performance times. The system is a quad-core 2.5GHz with 4GB RAM, onboard video, and no hard disk. On average, startup time is around 55 seconds from boot to desktop (worst was OpenSuSE at 105 seconds), and LibreOffice takes 8 to 14 seconds to start. Shutdown time tends to be proportional. But Mint starts in about 25 seconds, and LibreOffice on Mint takes only 4 seconds, plus shutdown is RIGHT NOW, no waiting. Big difference, far as I can tell (not being a linux guru) is that Mint doesn't load near as much crap that really isn't useful for the desktop user. At shutdown, according to an included sysinfo tool, only one module was running, not 50 or 200 like the more typical distro.

Comment Re:Installed in a VM (Score 1) 284

By coincidence, last night I was messing with my "old" laptop, a P150 with 32mb RAM, wondering if it was worth spending $35 to get it a new battery (it's one of those damn Dells that has to have a battery with at least a little charge, or it won't finish booting up, and that original battery is half a breath from dead). It still works fine otherwise (tho the screen has gotten dim) and it's perfectly good for running DOS or Win95, or maybe Puppy linux.

Yeah, I can buy a whole new monkey that's 20 times as fast for the same $35, thanks to eBay, but I hate to ditch working hardware. :( And this'un is handy for testing IDE HDs, as it seems to support absolutely anything and everything (320GB? no problem) and the drive bay is a snap to get to.

Anyway I was using it to test a pile of old laptop HDs, and what should come up on one of 'em but WFWG 3.11. Sure is nice to have INSTANT responsiveness from the desktop!! Dang, been so long I almost can't remember how to run this thing... where's my right-click? that's THE feature that let Win95 steal me away in the first place!

Comment Re:I remember ..... (Score 1) 284

A few years back when I had one of my spasms of testing linux distros, the one I liked best was Mandrake 7.2 with KDE. Got it all tweaked up to suit myself, and was amused to discover I'd recreated Win95.

Seriously, you're right -- there's good reasons why the basic Win95 desktop not only took off, but dominated for so long. Personally I'm not happy with the recent shift toward the smartphone-style desktop, I find it completely unusable... please tell me KDE5 can be tweaked to be like KDE4....

Comment Re:I remember ..... (Score 1) 284

You could if you used the DOS startup hack, *and* the game had its own memory manager (eg. CWSDPMI). Even hacked for the system to start in DOS, that version of DOS did not support EMM386, and I forget the details but its HIMEM.SYS was also broken.

WinME itself ....Initially mine was so bad it didn't even crash properly; it would get hung up halfway and sputter-and-fart its way to an eventual graceless shutdown. But I applied 98Lite in default mode, turned off System Restore (which was the real culprit), and after that -- in the two years I had it up 24/7 as the media-playing and heavy-lifting box, it never crashed again (in fact, it never even required a restart). Only got retired because WinXP came out and had some better features.

I think the Vista devteam must have started life as the WinME devteam. A lot of it feels the same, same kinds of virtues (driver handling) and broken spots (interface quirks). Yep, that explains a lot.

Comment Re:Installed in a VM (Score 1) 284

I knew a guy who ran Win95 on a 16MHz 386 with 16mb RAM. He said it took 5 minutes to start up and was laggy as hell, but stable.

Back a few, er, a lot of years I had a 486DX4-100 that I used as a RAM-and-HD tester. One day when it happened to have 8mb in it, I hooked up the wrong HD and found myself watching Win2K booting up. It took about 5 minutes to get fully booted up, but once it got there, it ran well enough to be usable (a little sluggish but not particularly laggy). I was amazed.

Side note: I'd previously set that Win2K to have no swapfile. I tried letting it have a swapfile with this 8mb setup, and that made it run about 3x *slower*!!

Comment Re:That 1% can kill you too (Score 1) 89

Numbers of pathogens matter. In crude terms, one antibody unit kills one virus or bacterium. Your immune system can cope with a lot, but if the defenses it has to hand get "used up" faster than it can make more, that's when a pathogen will overwhelm you.

So if the number of pathogens in the water are reduced by 99%, or even by 90%, it's that much more chance your immune system has to stay ahead in this numbers game, and kill off whatever pathogens are still in the water before they can reproduce in your body (which is when you get sick).

This is basically how modern water treatment works to prevent the spread of disease. What comes out of the tap isn't sterile or pathogen-free. But it's clean enough that a reasonably-normal immune system has no trouble keeping ahead of the game.

Comment Re:LifeStraw (Score 1) 89

Folding a flat sheet into a cone is easy; anyone can learn to do it. A cone fits into the mouth of a plastic jug, which is a common way for these folks to carry water home from the common source.

And I expect it's a helluva lot cheaper than LifeStraw, which I've seen offered at around $13 a pop. We're talking about the daily water for millions of people here, not one guy on a weekend hike.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.