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Comment Re:Cork?? (Score 1) 116

My girlfriend is still rocking an Alienware M11xR2. That damned thing is a tank and I've generally found Alienware laptops to be really well engineered and built. Last year I moved back from OSX to Windows by replacing my Macbook Pro with an Alienware 15. Point is; the M11xR2 is an 11 inch laptop that really lasts... I think it's around 6 years old now?

I absolutely love it and it's traveled quite extensively with me. Dell's most recent commercial ultrabooks are also really well made. My work gives me a Latitude E7240 (12 inch) and it's also been incredibly reliable. Takes a beating and is moved around all the time since I work on the road. Yeah, the case has picked up scratches and scuffs mostly from being slipped in and out of a backpack, and occasionally having stuff put on top of it... but almost 2 years in and so far it's rock solid. The screen resolution is pretty crap though, but it's workable.

If you want to go really serious there are also ruggedized laptops and tablets in the 11-12 inch size range. At work we recently demoed the Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet (also Dell) and while it's technically semi-rugged rather than truly rugged, that makes it highly portable and I doubt normal usage would cause it to even flinch.

Comment Re:10.5 years with out os updates? (Score 1) 332

Mostly because people wanted more than Btrieve and file services in their servers. They wanted web servers and more crucially a GUI. In addition, the surge in popularity of TCP/IP as a protocol of choice due to the Internet caught Novell off-guard who were still betting on IPX/SPX as their default protocol. All of this resulted in Netware 5, which frankly alienated a lot of those who worked on Netware for a living (I was a CNE way back in those days). I hated 5... the GUI was buggy and slow, but still Novell tried to push you to use it for various functions (thankfully if you didn't absolutely need it you didn't have to have it running) but the writing was on the wall. They really screwed the pooch with 5 trying to make it all compete with Windows NT instead of focusing on what Netware did really well.

In addition, the licensing became problematic for companies who all of a sudden were buying lots of servers, and it took until 6.0 before Novell decided to switch to a more logical per-user licensing model. But by then it was really too late. Windows had the market share because everyone was using it on the desktop... many figured why not also use it in the datacenter? Novell had no desktop equivalent so particularly for smaller business with little or no support, Windows NT/2000 became an obvious choice for a server.

OES was the last gasp of Netware and was actually pretty good, but by that point it was pretty much irrelevant. You're right though; it was the rock at the core of the network for many... and I loved working on it. I suspect my experience with Novell is why I transitioned so easily to UNIX and its variants as my preferred server platform to work with... but even back then I knew Windows would nail the market.

Comment Re:Is there such a thing? (Score 1) 189

A fan? No. But I can definitely be considered one who respects the platform.

My work phone is a Lumia 830. Honestly had I not gotten it for work I probably would never have bought a Windows phone. However, I quickly found myself quite impressed with the platform. Let's deal with a few negative comments, shall we?

- "There are no apps". Technically untrue... there are apps. No, there's no Tinder app or the latest or greatest games but you do have a pretty basic suite of apps that works really well. On a daily basis I use mail, calendar and the phone apps. There's an app for Concur I use for my expenses, and IE on WP is actually pretty decent. Beyond that, I have a messaging app, Skype and OneNote... and when I'm sitting waiting for something there's the News app that works really well. What more do I really need? For traveling I have Uber and Yelp. And that's about it. I don't care about most of the other apps... I even uninstalled the default Facebook app because I don't care about Facebook.

- "The app drawer is a wall of text". Yes, that's definitely true and is definitely a negative of the phone. However, note how many apps I actually use on this thing? They are all pinned to my start page where they can be resized and reordered as I see fit, and they all fit in that first screen with no issues. A little customization and you may never see the app drawer again... hell I can't remember the last time I opened it.

- "The flat UI sucks". Well that's a matter of taste. On my Android phone, icons often get lost in the shuffle because quite frankly my app drawer looks incredibly busy. And discoverability isn't helped when every few weeks some app changes its icon to something completely different. Have you never wondered why so many icon themes for Android try to neutralize the colour palette and make it less garish?

There are many others but I won't go into it... and no, the WP interface isn't for everyone. As I noted above my personal phone is still Android (CM12 at the moment) because I like to hack my phone and do stuff with it... but my Windows Phone does exactly what I need it to do and no more. I am definitely not a Microsoft fanboy but in some ways I find it easier to get stuff done with WP than I do with iPhone or Android... the phrase "It just works" applies nicely to WP but I don't feel it applies to either of the other big players. WP gets out of my way and lets me get to my data.

Now, are there things I would like? Sure... I'd love an OwnCloud client so I can attach to my files more easily. OneDrive integration is nice but I don't like OneDrive. Having my OneNote notebooks on the go is great; many of them are hand written notes on my Venue 11 Pro Tablet and being able to bring them up on my phone for reference is actually really cool. Exchange integration is obviously fantastic, and I really do like the more simplistic UI. Battery life is amazing on this phone... I get 2 days without a charge quite often... and I'm using it a lot. So there are one or two apps I could stand to have that I just don't... but since it's a nice-to-have and not a need, I fail to really care. At the moment I just have a script on my home PC that copies my most recent critical documents from my OwnCloud to my OneDrive... I have long since realized that a file more than a month old is archived so my script keeps only files less than a month old synced with my OneDrive. Since I'm not editing them on my OneDrive and just referring to them it works out really well and only needs a one-way sync!

I can also say the build quality is better than most of my previous phones, too. My Android phone has been dropped once and then replaced because it broke (insurance, thankfully!), but my Lumia has been dropped frequently enough that the metal of the case is a bit chipped... but the glass has remained unaffected and the phone itself works great.

Comment Re:Same setup for MacBook, except for online backu (Score 1) 132

This. I do this too using S3CMD. You can upload to S3 more easily than Glacier... so far a command-line based Glacier client is sorely lacking. Still, I upload to S3 and then have my S3 data set to archive to Glacier after 24 hours which it does automatically. That means the only files that are in S3 are the most recently changed or new.

Like you I have a script that locally encrypts with my own private key before upload. That private key I keep in my Owncloud.

Comment Re:Mail Consolidation IMAP (Score 1) 177

Become your own provider; set up your own IMAP server either in-house or on a cheap hosted solution like Linode then import your data. If you want to get really complex then use scripting with S3CMD or some other tool so you can now back it all up to S3, then configure your S3 to archive to Glacier after 24 hours or so. Yeah, that means some costs but there are ways of mitigating that too.

One possibility is have a server at home with all your mail... make it a VM or a PM... whatever. Import the data through IMAP and it's all available.

I went one step further and grabbed Zimbra which has a MySQL metadata database. Gives me a nice web GUI and really good search capabilities. Stores my mail going back almost 20 years and does it in ~20GB of hard drive space. You can use your own imagination to figure out securing it and stuff like that.

Of course, there are myriad options. Mailarchiva is really solid too with fantastic search... I've used it at a few small companies for mail archiving and it's brilliant. It all depends (a) how much work you're willing/able to put in, (b) how much money you want to spend and (c) how much functionality you really need. I like my Zimbra setup because it's nominally free (I already have the server, so spinning up a Zimbra VM is effectively zero cost) and gives me loads of functionality. I have an OpenVPN network for my private computers so I can access the IMAP ports, and I have the web interface published on a private web server so I can use it at machines that aren't mine... though typically I don't need to do that because I nearly always have a laptop with me and can use my phone in a pinch.

Comment Re:MailStore Home is the Answer (Score 1) 177

Functionally there's not a lot of need, though the database search features of Exchange are kind of nice.

Myself, I actually use Zimbra which is open source and free for personal use. I have that in a VM on my home server and connect using IMAP and when on the road I can still access it via the web. It uses Postfix for email on the back end with a MySQL database that contains all the mail metadata. Yeah, Zimbra uses Java heavily which kind of sucks but it's really not too bad. As of today I have email going back to 1998 or so in my Zimbra archive and the entire VM eats up ~20GB of hard drive space give or take. It's also still a live email server so I receive new mail all the time. For a client I can use any IMAP client I like or hit up the web interface. I can even use Z-Push (also open-source) to connect it up to my phone using ActiveSync if I choose, though in truth I managed to break that about a year ago and just haven't gotten around to fixing it yet.

I don't publish any IMAP ports on the public Internet BTW... there are in fact zero open ports on that system... technically. I have an OpenVPN network set up among my personal computers, and if I'm not on a personal computer I have my own web server on a Linode that uses NGINX to proxy back to my Zimbra server across that tunnel. The SMTP data coming in hits a Mailcleaner VM that I have set up as well that does all my mail filtering before being passed to Zimbra.

Is this all overkill? Oh hell yes; but I do this sort of stuff for fun anyway and doing all of this taught me a bunch of skills. Bonus; on another VM I also host OwnCloud that's proxied through NGINX in the same way as Zimbra is so I have ~300GB of data I can selectively sync to my various computers... and I host email and OwnCloud for my son and girlfriend as well. Backups are all done through s3cmd to push the data to S3 where my S3 account is set to archive to Glacier after 24 hours. I think my entire backup of critical data costs me maybe $10 a month... then I pay $20 for my Linode. But all of that is sunk cost anyway because I'm using it for other stuff anyway. Plus, there's the learning aspect which is really valuable to me.

Comment Re: online orders? (Score 1) 239

It's not got so much to do with cash as it does have to do with the upper management at a corporation. I've seen this play out a LOT of times recently.

First, the CEO gets a Surface Pro because he thinks he needs it. No, his use case doesn't really support it, but the IT department buys it because the CEO says he wants it. The CIO, CFO and COO all see the CEO carrying a Surface Pro and then they decide they need one too because they want to be just like him. Granted in some cases they actually do use them (the COO is often one I see properly using a Surface Pro in a meeting... ironically it's rarely the CIO). Then the managers below them decide they want them and IT is forced to buy them and so on.

Now, the average user gets forced into a Surface Pro because IT wants to standardize. It makes deployment, repair and imaging a lot easier if you have lots and lots of the same computer. Updates pushed out to their users become simpler as well and so on... it's a trickle down effect but yes to the average user in a company it DOES tend to look like IT is forcing it because they want to.

On a side note, it's worth noting that IT departments aren't necessarily flush with cash but aren't really all that poor either. Yes, most consumer grade laptops are cheap, but a company with its head screwed on straight never bought these anyway. I've rarely seen corporations spend less than $1500 on a laptop for any users because they go with larger memory, faster CPUs (mostly because of all the security software they need to install to be compliant with the corporation), then they buy 3 or 5 years of support instead of the 1 year that your sub-$1K laptops come with. Consumer grade laptops do NOT last very long in the hands of salesmen for example... trust me I've seen plenty of examples of companies who end up spending more on their consumer-grade replacements over 3 years than they would've spent on a good business-grade laptop in the first place.

Surfaces are really well made and reliable. They are business-grade and are priced as such.

Comment Re: Surface is great (Score 1) 239

Tell that to all the schools and corporations I work with on a daily basis who are buying Surface Pro and Surface Books by the truckload. They are perhaps the hottest selling single item I've seen in years on the client side.

I'm glad I don't get paid on client though... the margins on that stuff are shit.

Comment Re:Cracked solder joint (Score 1) 226

When I drove a 1960 Dodge, I put cheap lead substitute into my engine to protect the valves. Why are aviators so special that they can't use lead substitute? Tolulene? Isooctane?

Because that stuff acts differently in different engines. A car engine is very different from an airplane engine despite the cosmetic similarity. Typically they are very large bore cylinders with a really low operating RPM (they produce peak power very low on the rpm range and don't rev as high as a car engine). This means the physics of intake and exhaust are VERY different which means the same solution won't necessarily work for both. It's also worth bearing in mind that the mean intake temperature on an airplane is significantly lower and leaner (less oxygen) than a car due to altitude.

It's also worth noting that aviators aren't "special"... rather they're aware of the fact that an engine failure is a much more serious problem in a single-engine plane than in a car... one that can kill you and does frequently. Since this also extends to piston-powered helicopters an engine failure becomes very likely to kill you. One can't really blame aviators for being conservative about what they do with their engines :)

Comment Re:Wait, they shipped the private key? (Score 1) 65

And then Dell's software re-enables it, or reinstalls it if you delete it. And if you remove the software that does the reinstall and ever factory-reset your PC, it in turn gets reinstalled. It's like malware, except that it's from a commercial vendor.

Unless you... you know... follow the instructions Dell provided to remove it properly or get the update that fixes this bug.

Definitely a real dumbass move on Dell's part, but this happens in all big companies; someone thinks they're doing a really great thing by simplifying some process without giving any thought to the security ramifications.

Comment Removal Instructions (Score 1) 92

1. Go to your Services... either run "services.msc", "compmgmt.msc" or "Open Services" from Task Manager.
2. Stop the Dell Foundation Service
3. Browse to c:\Program Files\Dell\Dell Foundation Services directory and delete the Dell.Foundation.Agent.Plugins.eDell.dll file
4. Launch Certificate Manager by running "certmgr.msc"
5. Browse to "Trusted Root Certificates \ Certificates"
6. Locate the eDellRoot certificate and delete it.
7. Restart your Dell Foundation Services. Voila... doesn't come back after a reboot.

Comment Re:Test your system. (Score 1) 92

It's worth noting that my Alienware 15 and my E7240 don't have any such cert on them. Both are still OEM builds... though the AW15 has been upgraded to Windows 10 while the E7240 is still running 7 (because I actually like to get work done on that :)

Just also tested my Venue 11 Pro and it DOES have the cert. Interesting.

Comment Re:St. Louis (Score 1) 464

That's fair, but I can name a couple of fun places around there like Scarecrow (nice pub, great food and drinks), Miller's Crossing (a bit further up Olive) and now there's Charlie Gitto's there too... though that's usually not one of my go-to's. There's also Clancy's a bit further down Clarkson (Kehr's Mill and Clayton) that is a fantastic little pub to go drink at and order enough pork to make you not want to eat for a week.

I do agree Maplewood is good too... love the Crow's Nest, but I prefer The Grove or South Grand most of the time. I have found the Loop lacking recently; it's had the heart ripped out of it by too-high rents resulting in most of the actually cool places shutting down and being replaced with strip-mall specials. Even some of the old buildings now have been razed for new multi-use ugly pieces of crap so even the architectural heart has been ripped out of it. A few mainstays remain like Blueberry Hill, but the last couple of times I've been there the food has declined a lot in quality and the place feels like it's on a slow decline to shuttering as well.

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