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Comment: Re:beyond the realm of plausibility (Score 1) 146

by neilo_1701D (#48476107) Attached to: Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370

Have a look at this visualization of 24 hours of flights over Europe:

Now, as you watch that, think about what would happen if just one of those dots went dark.

It's a very, very hard problem if the planes stop telling us where they are.

Comment: Re:Explain it like I'm five (Score 1) 67

by neilo_1701D (#48416841) Attached to: Elusive Dark Matter May Be Detected With GPS Satellites

If you put two bar magnets next to each other, they tend to flip each other around so that they point in the same direction.

Wow. Where I come from, if I put two bar magnets together they flip around until they point in the opposite direction, with N joining S. But then again, I'm Australian: things are different in the Northern Hemisphere.

Comment: Re:It's only worth it (Score 2) 237

by neilo_1701D (#48385289) Attached to: Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

Some cities have quite nice and convenient public transit, and it can be even better if you live and work in the right places.

Yes, and they're all outside the United States. :-)

Really? I live in NJ, and work in Manhattan. My monthly PATH card costs $89; that $4.45/day, and my monthly MTA MetroCard costs $112; that's $5.60/day. I've a 5 minute walk to the PATH each day ad a 5 minute walk from the subway to my office. So for $5.02 a trip, I get from home to work on the (mostly) reliable PATH and the (somewhat more reliable) NY subway in an average time of 20 min (best is 15 min; worst was an hour).

The PATH is almost always clean (if a little packed in the mornings); the subway is the E line, which originates at WTC so the cars are cleaned and not so packed.

All in all, for my daily trip cost it's a pretty good service.

The alternatives are a taxi (good luck with getting one to cross from NJ to NY or the other way) or a car service. The times I've had to use a car service it was a $50 "mate's rates" fare one way, and took 30-40 min, thanks to the traffic in the Holland tunnel.

However, if there's an Uber or Lyft service that offers a one-way service from NJ to NY, can get me there in 15 minutes or less and costs less than five bucks, I'm game to try.

Comment: Re:Taking the Human out of Human Resources (Score 1) 185

by neilo_1701D (#48333591) Attached to: Big Data Knows When You Are About To Quit Your Job

This was covered in Manna (

The story is about how a burger chain installed software to "manage" employees by telling them to wear a headset and follow the commands given to them. Although not named as such, Manna was a realtime ERP system that managed employees in the most efficient way at any given point in time. The counter a bit slow? Reassign those employees to cleaning the restaurant, rest rooms, kitchen, whatever. Getting busy? More people on the cash registers & cooking.

Interesting story that goes off the rails towards the very end, but essentially a machine HR system.

Comment: Re:Windows 7 (Score 1) 192

Windows 8 is pretty good once you install something like Start8. They really have improved a lot of things. Aside from the Metro UI, use of which can be reduced over 95%, by using Start8 and setting your file associations right, what is so bad about Windows 8? It is a little bit less shiny, more boxy, but it runs fantastic.

Have you actually given it an honest try? Use it every day for two months, with a start menu replacement, and you will have enough time to realize all the good stuff.

I used Windows 8 for maybe 2 years; Windows 8.1 since I could install it. Then a few weeks ago wiped my machine and put Windows 7 back on. Much nicer. Windows 8 is a fine OS crippled by the UI.

But Windows 8 / 8.1 has at least one glaring fault: the remote desktop client.

If you have your screen set to anything other that 100%, the RD client screws up badly when connecting to another machine: it seems to miscalculate the font size for some Windows controls. The classic example is connecting to a terminal server running the Dynamics AX 2012 client: the left-hand side menubar blows up spectacularly, stealing far more screenspace than is needed - and, more importantly, it looks awful.

The solution is to use the Remote Desktop Connection Manager, which uses an older RD protocol that doesn't suffer from that bug.

Well, RDC Manager or Windows 7.

So the solution to making Windows 8 palatable is older technology.

Comment: Re:She's.. (Score 2) 235

by neilo_1701D (#48245579) Attached to: Ex-CBS Reporter Claims Government Agency Bugged Her Computer

"And as I was typing and working on questions for a Benghazi-related story, the data started wiping kind of at hyperspeed"

Sounds like a scene from the first episode of Torchwood. In fact, the whole story sounds like a failed pilot TV show.

My favorite quote from the story:

But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.

"They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.

Documents magically being deleted at hyperspeed, other documents planted "deep in the operating system"... yeah, right.

Comment: Re:And... (Score 1) 347

by neilo_1701D (#48207939) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

It will have even less functionality than before. Because they keep trying to "simplify" things for the dumb users out there, by removing any type of "advanced" feature. Which means you will be stuck having to manually edit the Registry or gpedit or through some third party software that allow access to those now "hidden" features.

First of all, I agree with the general thread that the Windows 8 GUI had no business being on a server. Heck; even Server 2008 R2 had all the chrome turned off and ran as close to NT4 as it possibly could.

But removing all the "advanced" stuff? Like what, precisely? If it's a DC, all the normal DC stuff is there (buried under the "Manage this server" nonsense). Because I can remember setting up NT4 and needing to specify IRQ and base settings for things like network cards. Back in the day, it was easier to install Windows 95 and let it autodiscover all the hardware settings, note them down and then install NT. I'm really happy to see those "advanced" settings gone and things "simplified".

As far as editing group policy, I don't know there is a way to simplify that. There are just so many policies that can be set Microsoft have (wisely) left "simplifying" that area alone (although I wish I could search through group policies for the setting I want).

Comment: Re:Wait one cotton pickin' minute (Score 4, Insightful) 114

by neilo_1701D (#48204077) Attached to: Windows 0-Day Exploited In Ongoing Attacks

Visio charts, Project Gantt charts, Excel charts... it's actually a very useful technology, especially if you're pulling data from a live source (eg. query data into Excel, which generates charts). Much easier than querying the data in Excel, updating the graph, exporting (or copying) the graph as PNG then updating the PowerPoint.

Comment: Re:Make it less ugly (Score 1) 147

by neilo_1701D (#48152949) Attached to: Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

ModernUI is all about flat, there's no more 3D, so colors help you to identify different controls and areas on the screen.

So take the PC Settings screen, then. Just by looking at it, how are you supposed to know if something is a group label, text or button? You don't; you have to go discover that by mouse-over etc. Now granted, it's not the definitive screen in Metro, but to my eye it highlight's the problem with the OS: too much flatness.

Windows 3 had a flat look, but with enough screen hints as to what to do. The toolbars (circa Word 6 / Windows 95) were brilliant in that respect; it was really obvious what to do. But the progressive flattening from Office 2007 onwards into Windows 8 has, again to my eye, gone too far.

Comment: Re:Windows 7 (Score 1) 147

by neilo_1701D (#48152891) Attached to: Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

Win8 also has far better multi-monitor support than Win7.

In what way?

I currently have my Windows 7 laptop in a multimonitor configuration running quite happily, and an identical Windows 8 laptop in an identical configuration, and both work equally well. Sure, there's some software that doesn't play nice with multimonitor, but that's the software, not the OS.

Comment: Re:Open Source in commercial products (Score 1) 265

by neilo_1701D (#48143533) Attached to: Confidence Shaken In Open Source Security Idealism

Heartbleed and Shellshock show that nothing is really free.
Those bugs would have been found long ago if big companies had put resources into FOSS.

But that's special pleading.

FOSS is supposed to be an alternative to stuff put out by big companies; why is it suddenly incumbent upon them to be fixing security holes 20+ years old?

Comment: Re:Color Me Surprised (Score 1) 335

by neilo_1701D (#48093001) Attached to: US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

they can hack me without warrants, can I hack them without warrants?

Of course you can do whatever you want. But the real question is, can you convince hundreds of thousands of people to fight a war in your good name?

Offer every hacker 70 unactivated Windows 8 licenses to return to Microsoft for a refund?

Optimization hinders evolution.