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Comment: Re:*Please* don't use the old-style keyboard light (Score 1) 219 219

Because wiring closets are often poorly lit.

Somebody mod that up. I got no points when I need them.
I might add, lights also come in handy when servicing blackouts and your UPS's are gasping their last breath, and on red-eye flights.

Comment: Re:Fun with EM sensitivity (Score 1) 529 529

Old-style big-tube fluorescents can be annoying, but not for some dumb EM sensitivity - they cause headaches because they can hum and strobe/flicker at a just perceptible frequency, particularly when their ballasts are wearing out and/or in combination with viewing a CRT-style computer screen (which itself is also flickering). Your handful of people may have gotten conditioned by this. I can remember getting killer headaches pulling all-nighter code sessions on a library workstation with such lights buzzing away in the ceiling.

Industry experts acknowledge that day-to-day exposure to older, magnetically ballasted long tube fluorescent bulbs found mostly in industrial and institutional settings could cause headaches due to their noticeable flicker rate. The human brain can detect the 60 cycles per second such older bulbs need to refresh themselves to keep putting out light.

CFLs, on the other hand, refresh themselves at between 10,000 and 40,000 cycles per second, rates too fast for the human eye or brain to detect. I was skeptical of them at first, but since they colored down to soft-white, CFL's don't bother me in the slightest.

Comment: Re:More stupid reporting on SlashDot (Score 1) 192 192

At least MS isn't as bad as Apple where the literally force you to buy new hardware along with the new O/S (Ipad 1 anyone?)

A little harsh, there, don't you think? Apple's not literally forcing anyone to buy new hardware. My iPhone 3G (released in 2010, just like the first iPad) is working just fine, even though it's stuck at iOS 6. Pretty good for a 5-year-old consumer product. Do five-year old Android devices run Kit Kat? Any five-year-old Windows phones?

The upcoming release of OS X, just like the current one, supports machines all the way back to 2007 (that's a core 2 duo machine with 1GB RAM).
OTOH, my copy of Windows XP bitches at me every day that it's obsolete and dangerous, and now my Windows 7 machines are prompting me daily to sign up for the wonderful Windows 10 upgrade. To my recollection, no Apple product has put notices in my face like this.

And Microsoft has its own history of rendering hardware useless with each release. Windows 95 could just barely run on a 386, but required 4 megs RAM; windows 98 dumped the 386, and demanded 16 megs RAM and more disk space; windows ME and NT ditched the 486 and demanded 32 megs RAM (minimum) and more disk space; windows 2K required more MHz and more memory and disk space; windows xp required a 233MHz pentium, at least 64mb and 1.5gb disk space; Vista demanded an 800MHz processor, 512mb RAM, 15GB free disk and (dealbreaker for many at the time) a DirectX 9 graphics card; windows 7 bumped that up to a GHz processor, gig ram, 16 GB free disk space and the DirectX card. You could run Windows 8 with 1 GB machine (with the DirectX card), but would you want to?

Bashing Apple is all good where they deserve it, but every tech company leaves old hardware in the landfill. Also, the iPad 1 was a first-generation product; like the first iPhone or first Air, consumer-be-warned. The iPad 2 (2011), OTOH, is still fully supported and will run the upcoming iOS 9. Just sayin' call a spade a spade.

+ - "Einstein 3" Fooled By "Chinese" Hackers In Massive Government Data Breach-> 1 1

schwit1 writes: On Friday, Beijing responded to allegations from Washington that China was responsible for a cyberattack on the US Office of Personnel Management that compromised the personal data of some 4 million government employees.

The accusations, China's foreign ministry said, are "irresponsible" and "groundless."

The OPM breach is the latest in a string of cyber âincidents' that have coincidentally occurred in the wake of the Pentagon's new cyber strategy. Here's a recap:

Since the announcement by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the following cyber âevents have occurred': Penn State reports hackers have been stealing data from the university's DoD-affiliated engineering department for years (blamed on Chinese hacker spies), the IRS says at least 10,000 tax returns have been compromised (blamed on "Russian organized crime syndicates"), and, on Thursday evening, Washington reportswhat may end up being the largest data breach in history (blamed on China). As noted last month, these events represent a remarkable step up the cyber attack accusation ladder compared to Washington's attempt to blame North Korea for cyber-sabotaging James Franco and Seth Rogen last year.

Whether or not the most recent virtual attack on the US did indeed emanate from China or one of Washington's other so-called "cyberadversaries" (the list includes Iran, Russia, and North Korea) will likely never be known the public, but rest assured the blame will be placed with a state actor so as to ensure the DoD has some precedent to refer to when, for whatever reason, the Pentagon decides it's time to deploy an "offensive" cyberattack later on down the road.

Irrespective of where the attack originated, it appears obsolete technology was ultimately to blame, because as Bloomberg reports, "Einstein" wasn't much help in preventing the intrusion.

Via Bloomberg:

The hackers who stole personal data on 4 million government employees from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management sneaked past a sophisticated counter-hacking system called Einstein 3, a highly-touted, multimillion-dollar and mostly secret technology that's been years in the making.

It's behind schedule, the result of inter-agency fights over privacy, control and other matters, and only about half of the government was protected when the hackers raided OPM's databases last December.

It's also, by the government's own admission, already obsolete..

Over the last several months, U.S. officials have said that perimeter-based defenses such as Einstein, even backed by the National Security Agency's own corps of hackers, can never prevent break-ins.

Like banks and technology companies, government agencies must move to a model that assumes hackers will always get in, specialists said. They'll need to buy cutting-edge technologies that can detect intruders inside networks and eject them quickly, before the data is gone.

Of course that likely won't be possible, because after all, no self-respecting bureaucracy processes important initiatives expeditiously and no modern US lawmaking body actually legislates.

Given the slow pace of government acquisition, the inter-agency rivalries and budget fights, though, the initiative may take several years or more to implement, leaving the possibility that the new technology will be old by the time it's installed.

Congress has yet to act on the personnel agency's Feb. 2 request for a $32 million budget increase for fiscal 2016, said Senator Angus King, a Maine independent, in an interview.

"Most of the funds," the agency said, "will be directed towards investments in IT network infrastructure and security."

The latest intrusion points to the need for Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. He stopped short of saying whether the measure would have prevented the OPM breach.

That looks a bit like an attempt on the administration's part to put the blame on an ineffectual Congress, which would seem to be counterproductive at a time when there is clearly a need for less pettiness and more compromise. Some lawmakers were quick to acknowledge this and moved swiftly to rise above Presidential finger-pointing by ... pointing fingers back at the President.

"It's too early to determine at this point what precisely would have prevented this particular cyber-intrusion," Earnest said Friday at a press briefing. "What is beyond argument is that these three pieces of legislation that the president sent to Congress five months ago would significantly improve the cybersecurity of the United States, not just the federal government's cybersecurity, but even our ability to protect private computer networks".

"Where is the leadership?" said Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican. "The federal government has just been hit by one of the largest thefts of sensitive data in history, and this White House is trying blame anyone but itself. It's absolutely disgusting."

As you can see, everyone appears to be on the same page here as both the Executive and Legislative branches look set to work together on a comprehensive, bipartisan approach to preventing cyber intrusions. Fortunately for the millions of federal employees who are now left to wonder whether or not their personal information is safe on government servers, Defense Secretary Ash Carter may ultimately take matters into his own hands by consulting someone who knows a thing or two about using technology to co-opt personal information:

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spoke to technology leaders in Palo Alto, California, in April, tossing around ideas for recruiting engineers for temporary missions in government and meeting with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

Have no fear America, Facebook will cyber-protect you from belligerent foreign governments.
Link to Original Source

+ - "The Rock" to Play Jack Burton in "Big Trouble" Remake

WheezyJoe writes: rants that by casting Duane Johnson to play Jack Burton in an upcoming remake of 1986's Big Trouble in Little China, Hollywood has taken things too far. Whereas Kurt Russel's Jack Burton was as ordinary as any regular American dumb-guy could be, "the Rock" Johnson is a human behemoth for whom Chinese fighting potion is simply excessive. "The reimagining of Jack Burton as The Rock is only the latest development in a much more insidious plot devised by Hollywood to brainwash us all. It is the problem of The Impossible Man. Average dudes looking for hope, you can shout 'Dad Bod!' all you want, but once Chris Pratt whipped his Andy-the-everyman physique into certified hero-body shape, your argument blew away like a handful of creatine powder."

+ - Options after Google Chrome discontinues NPAPI support 2 2

An anonymous reader writes: I've been using Google Chrome almost exclusively for more than 3 years. I stopped using Mozilla Firefox because it was becoming bloated and slow, and I migrated all my bookmarks etc. to Chrome. Now Chrome plans to end NPAPI support — which means that I will not be able to access any sites that use Java, and I need this for work. I tried going back to Firefox for a couple of days but it still seems slow — starting it takes time, even the time taken to load a page seems more than Chrome.

So what are my options now? Export all my bookmarks and go back to Mozilla Firefox and just learn to live with the performance drop? Or can I tweak Firefox performance in any way? FWIW, I am on a Windows 7 machine at work.

+ - Lt. Uhura Hospitalised in LA After Stroke

WheezyJoe writes: The Register tells us that Nichelle Nichols, who played the lovely Lt. Uhura, communications officer of the original starship Enterprise (original series and animated series), has been hospitalized after a mild stroke. She is reported to have undergone a CAT scan and MRI, and was awake and eating as of Thursday evening. Nichols has shown minor signs of loss of mobility but otherwise no signs of paralysis.

Comment: Re:REVENGE! (Score 1) 229 229

Sounds like you got it right. Antennas are hit and miss. I'm one of the lucky ones because I live in an area with pretty decent coverage, and my coax cable that used to feed to Comcast goes through my attic where the splitters are. When I dumped cable, instead of hooking up an antenna right next to the TV, I patched the antenna into the coax in the attic, figuring the height would improve reception and I could place it wherever. That did the trick. With decent coax, an indoor antenna can be placed anywhere in the house you get the best reception.

Comment: Re:REVENGE! (Score 1) 229 229

I would actually pay MORE to cut my channels to just the local broadcast stations. What a scam.

Try an antenna to get your broadcast stations. If you're in a region with decent signal strength, you will be happily surprised at what your TV can bring in... for FREE!

You can even re-provision the coax cable you use now for the cable service to hook up the antenna!

Comment: You say COMMUNIST PLOT? (Score 1, Funny) 830 830

Metric is NOTHING! Do you realize that fluoridation of water is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?

A foreign substance, introduced into our precious bodily fluids, without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice... that's the way a hard-core commie WORKS!

I first became aware of it... during the physical act of love. A profound feeling of FATIGUE... a feeling of EMPTINESS followed... loss of ESSENCE! Women, women sense my power, and they seek the LIFE ESSENCE. I do not avoid women... but I DO DENY THEM MY ESSENCE!

+ - Disney Making Laid-Off U.S. Tech Workers Train Foreign H1-B Replacements 1 1

WheezyJoe writes: The NY Times brings us a story on the Disney Corporation laying off U.S. tech workers and replacing them with immigrants visiting the country under H1-B visas. The twist is that the immigrant workers are not your nice local visiting foreign guy from the university who wants to stick around 'cause he likes the people here... they are employees of foreign-based consulting companies in the business of collecting H1-B visas and "import[ing] workers for large contracts to take over entire in-house technology units." The other twist? The U.S. tech workers are required to train their replacements before vacating their jobs, or risk losing severance benefits (excerpts of the Mouse's layoff notice are included in the article).

Comment: Seriously Nice Desktop UI (Score 4, Interesting) 155 155

The youtube link was not so much a review as a quick runthrough of the new Cinnamon's look, feel and features.
And it's looks really, really good, like it strikes that weird balance between giving you all the control and features you want (that commercial desktops and some gnome-based desktops lack) without over-complicating the interface with a rabbit-hole of settings and interfaces (my biggest gripe with other linux desktops, esp. KDE).

Kudos to the Mint team for going the extra mile on this. It's not easy to get a desktop right, and everyone else it seems has given up on account of the mobile craze (looking at YOU, Microsoft). I think Mint just set the gold standard for a DE. and it's free.

Comment: Re:*shrug* (Score 1) 387 387

OS/2 preceded Windows, so I'm not really sure how your history makes sense. Windows was Microsoft stabbing IBM in the back and making a clone of OS/2.

Windows 1.0 was released 20 November 1985.

OS/2 version 1.0 was announced in April 1987 (about the time Windows had reached release 1.04), and released in December of that year.

Windows 2.0 was released December 9, 1987.

As to the whole backstabbing thing:

The collaboration between IBM and Microsoft unravelled in 1990, between the releases of Windows 3.0 and OS/2 1.3. During this time, Windows 3.0 became a tremendous success, selling millions of copies in its first year. Much of its success was because Windows 3.0 (along with MS-DOS) was bundled with most new computers. OS/2, on the other hand, was only available as an expensive stand-alone software package.

Volumes have been written about this, but key was that Microsoft had more at interest than selling Windows - Microsoft was selling a platform for its Office products, and maybe a chance at file format lock-in for business applications. That meant they wanted as many copies out there as possible. IBM, on the other hand, wanted to sell overpriced PS/2 machines, and had no interest in cannibalizing this by bundling OS/2 with the likes of Dell, Gateway, Compaq, and Packard-Bell, whereas all of these companies desperately needed someone to supply an OS to complete a turn-key product. Microsoft did a simple business assessment, and concluded they could team up with the clones and blow the doors off the market if they weren't bound somehow to promoting IBM's hardware.

One person's error is another person's data.