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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Slashdot (Score 1) 248

+1.

Damn, that's stupidly impossible to see on a whole range of monitors that I have here. I've complained to support, but I doubt they'll do anything.

It's like the Metro Start hover all over again - you have to play some kind of pixel-hunting adventure game the first time you do anything to work out where to go next.

I was LOOKING for it and couldn't find it. And why would you ever want the button to be the same colour as the bar it's in? It's there for a reason - to be pressed. Don't hide it from me.

Comment: Re:Slashdot (Score 4, Insightful) 248

No, I have Javascript enabled, have latest Chrome. It's just borked, and it only happened today (no updates to software between yesterday and today - same browser session still running in fact!) but the site now doesn't render at all nicely and it LOOKS deliberate, but I'm missing any kind of Post button at all.

Comment: Slashdot (Score 5, Informative) 248

Anybody else's Slashdot break today?

I've gone to this top-menu-bar thing, with no left gap at all, with no comment button at all (only Reply To This, sorry!) without warning.

Also, the content is trapped in the left-hand half of the page and won't stretch across.

Not only that, by on the same screen where I have "Ads Disabled" checked, I see an ad.

Slashdot, seriously, without a comment button, I'm gone for good this time.

Comment: Re:Gaming on Linux will matter... (Score 5, Informative) 182

by ledow (#49138405) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era

Sorry, but I could live tomorrow on Linux.

I only use Windows because it was "for free" because of my employer buying me a laptop.

But for five years, I managed and supported a 90% Windows network with hundreds of devices primarily using a laptop which had LibreOffice, etc. installed.

OS - sorted.

Office suite - sorted (sorry, but it is. I used to get people envy my LibreOffice setup, as I could do everything they could do, and manage their same files they managed, and also do things like open ancient foreign formats that people emailled us still).

General apps - sorted.

Games - 1/3rd of my Steam account "just works" on Linux.

For years, I didn't have Windows or Office, as an IT professional supporting users on Windows and Office. Sure, it would have been nice to have a native tool occasionally, but for the odd things I needed (e.g. AD admin tools) it was always safer to just remote-desktop into a Windows machine, or use VM's (Samba tools just aren't there yet).

For everyday use, personal and business, I used Linux as the base OS and for the vast majority of tasks. Only when I was doing something very Windows-specific did I have to load up a Windows tool and always did it from a Linux machine.

Comment: Re:Another carefuly planted article (Score 1) 274

by ledow (#49136715) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

Not about cost. It's about value.

For that cost, for the price of a couple of drones you could put another couple of officers, stationed permanently to do just their job. And thereby free up whatever officers would also, presumably, need to be present to enable the original drones to operate too.

Simplify the choice - one drone, or two officers (maybe an officer and a half) on the ground doing the same job and NOTHING else - and the value motive really comes to the fore.

Law enforcement isn't about what it costs. Hence why the UK police are still sitting outside the Ecuadorian embassy at the moment waiting for Assange to move out of his personal prison to go to an official one. But it's about value. One high-profile "celebrity" openly-flouting the law is enough to encourage a whole spate of lawlessness in following suit, and you'll have every shoplifter and petty criminal claiming asylum in embassies to evade the law within a month.

So the cost motive would mean we'd leave him in there and forget about him because "he's too expensive to care about". And also that we wouldn't bother to deport illegals.

The value motive says we stay there to dissuade this kind of activity in future and make sure it doesn't cost more in the long run. And that illegals are deported at huge costs to prevent being seen as "weak".

Funny how changing one word (cost -> value) can change the whole intention of your post, isn't it?

Comment: Re:I don't know... (Score 1) 484

by ledow (#49136455) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

And what's happened?

We have gone back to large, simple, flat icons.

We have gone back to a desktop akin to Program Manager (large square blocks of programs on a plain background).

We have gone passed through Active Desktop, only to have it ripped to shreds and reincarnate in the form of the (still loathed) Metro.

We have gone back pre-Start Menus and removed taskbars (in Metro at least), albeit with added features. Then we've put them back in.

The people who work in IT know that these fads come round in cycles and eventually you'll go back to how you were because some things work and some don't. At one point, Windows 95 was going to be "the last Windows OS with a CLI", now we've brought in PowerShell, etc.

And all because, at some point, Microsoft have this ego trip about never being wrong and knowing better. And all the IT guys want is an option. Do I want shiny new stuff, or boring old stuff? Let me choose. It's really that simple. You can put EVERYTHING you want into an OS. Just give me a switch (and ideally a Group Policy setting) to turn it back off if it's not what I want.

I don't want Metro to be thrown in the bin, I want my users to be able to choose whether or not they want to use it. And that means giving them years of both that they can choose between at a click. It takes THIRD-PARTY FREEWARE and faffing about to do that, which isn't the best solution when I've paid for the OS for all my users on an annual subscription.

Nobody cares whether you want new-and-fancy stuff or not. But inevitably, it'll go out of fashion, then come back, then go out. All I want is the option. It's not hard. If a freeware project can give you the option, why can't Windows?

(P.S. Why can't I make Group Policy use AD stored user photos as the Windows 8 login? It's almost impossible with lots of login scripts and downloading an image via third-party software into a particular location on EVERY machine that they might even log onto. Why can't I set a myriad of basic options that are there on the screen for my users, and why can't I *stop* them changing them just as easily? Why can't I just have "skip Metro screen" as an option in Windows to go straight to an old fashioned desktop? Really... it's not that hard).

Comment: Re:HiDPI (Score 1) 484

by ledow (#49135761) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Scaling is a one-off for the particular size of screen.

There's almost zero overhead in keeping the icons as SVG or similar, and rendering to a bitmap in the device dpi that you require, and then using that bitmap until the screen resolution changes.

Cache enough of them and after the first few resolution changes, you'll never have to render the SVG on that machine again.

So the "scalable has a cost" rules go out of the window, really. And even back in the 90's, did you ever see the stuff you could do with vector formats? Some of them were amazing even if they took 10 or so seconds to render on the machines of the day. Nowadays? Pah. Make it render in the background the first time you change resolution with a "Please Wait" screen showing while you do so. If it takes more than 20-30 seconds for extremely complex icons for the entire Windows control set on a modern machine, I'll be amazed.

There are issues, much like those that plague font sizing, where you have to "hint" at lower resolutions how you want the final bitmap to show (because you might want what looks like an insignificant single pixel to render as a single pixel no matter what the size to make it look right, e.g. cursors, etc.). But those are all solved problems.

Have you seen the speed and zooming size you can get on the MacOS bottom bar? It's fabulous (and I hate Mac with a vengeance). And I've seen it do the same speed on a VM with no 3D acceleration at all.

There's no excuse. This is just designer-pandering where "design" means "look", not functionality, usability, human interface guidelines, intuitiveness, etc.

I've often backed a return to the Windows 3.1 interface for even modern Windows because it was simple, plain, boring and worked, and the icons you could tell roughly what they did. But this is a STEP BACK from Windows 3.1 even. Urk.

And, yes, I have deployed the previews in VM's for on-site testing and, apart from the look-change, there's little of note there. I'd have been infinitely more happy with a 7 or even 8 clone with newer features.

Hell, I've used 8 on a tablet and on touchscreen PC's and each time it's easier to turn that Metro junk off and use it, and even then it's just NOT designed for proper touch usage.

Comment: Re:Where the economic system breaks down (Score 1) 249

by ledow (#49135151) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

1) Robots cannot replace all jobs. We've yet to make a self-fixing robot of any note. AI is NOWHERE NEAR capable of doing the simplest of paperwork or administration. Hell, we've barely automated anything of the IT departments, let alone anywhere else. All they can automate are mindless, repetitive, labour-intensive (and sometimes dangerous) jobs. Though that puts a LOT of people out of work, that's by far not the majority.

2) If robots do replace all jobs, the "money" comes from sale of goods just the same. Half the workforce are working and doing the work of the other half - the robots produce the goods / services, and the humans lounge at home. In fact, if anything, we'll have more money because we could produce more for less maintenance costs and have no union troubles - once the machine is in, it'll carry on working until the power goes out, effectively, and cost pence to run in the meantime as an "hourly wage".

3) The result of the above is that food and goods become so cheap and plentiful that the concept of "buying" them will seem old hat. If a government could pay for itself by selling goods to other countries still, then it doesn't really matter what you do - you could quite literally be paid to stay at home, if all you have to do to "do" the same amount of work is power up a robot and oil him once a week Mass amounts of automated robots also make self-sufficiency much more possible - imagine that you don't have to farm or buy goods, just let the same robot that works for Kelloggs loose on your land and it'll feed you for minimal cost.

4) This is all a pipe-dream. By the time you have that sort of automation, the only jobs left would be bureaucratic - and they'd realise they're the only ones working. Things would flip on their head.

5) Who cares? If you have no job and no money but food is so cheap that going an oiling a robot once a month pays for everything - wow... perfect life.

Comment: Re:Metadata (Score 2) 293

by ledow (#49126237) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

To protect the metadata of the recipient is daft. How are intermediary servers ever supposed to know? And if you and the other end of the connection both set up a connection and know who it's for, that blows out the "fact that a message was sent" before you start.

Message length is also stupid to try to hide. Sure, it may not be exact but if I send a 200Mb email and you send 20 characters, how are you supposed to encrypt those to be indistinguishable without literally padding to the nearest 200Mb? And padding might be able to be done on a smaller block basis, but it's exactly that kind of padding that broke open gzipped-and-encrypted data in SSL sessions for a while.

Timestamps? Who needs them - if someone's listening, they know what time you contacted the server and it'll be +/- a couple of minutes of when you wanted the email sent (i.e. immediately, in almost all cases).

Sender? Obscuring that while connecting FROM an email server that's trusted to be honest about only delivering mail for known local users (untrusted ones are spam sources and will get blocked no matter what encryption they use)... there's your metadata.

Metadata is, in and of itself, almost impossible to remove. The fact that you've connected to a target mail server is metadata.that you're probably sending an email to an email account at that server. Anything else is either between you and that first server (so forwarding is a pain, re-enveloping is a pain, bouncebacks are a pain, there's a stupidly high computing cost associated with receiving spam, etc.) or has to be announced somehow.

And that would all come back to entirely encrypted and obfuscated and peer-to-peer networking globally. You're talking about a Tor problem, not an email problem.

If you don't want people to read a message, encrypt it. If you don't want people to ever know a message existed, you have to be able to send it in such a way that nobody could ever know. And that's all-but impossible at the moment. The best we have is hoping that sending it in bits to a random selection of unknown strangers will protect you enough that they could never collaborate against you (Tor).

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