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Comment Nokia 3410 mobile phone (Score 1) 313

I have two. One to charge one of the three spare batteries. The other to use all the time. The battery lasts for days. The LCD black/white screen is readable in direct sunlight, like a Casio digital watch. The feel of the buttons means I can operate it without hardly looking at it. I dropped it onto tarmac while cycling. The front and back came off. I snapped the three pieces back together and it still worked. If I do break it, another costs £10. The mobile reception is good so it can make calls when others cannot. When the numbers wore off the keypad, a new keypad made it look much better.

The Nokia boom mic headset HDB-5 is a little masterpiece, it fits neatly on the ear and it can be plugged in by feel alone. Yes, the wire gets tangled sometimes but with no battery to go flat, it is better. For cycling, the mic end in a small piece of black foam trimmed to shape keeps the wind noise out. The stopwatch, alarm clock and calculator are useful. Certain callers I have assigned custom ring tones to, so I know when certain people call without having to look. I hold down a number button to dial certain numbers, for example, I hold button 1 for voicemail and 2 for home.

The only problem with this phone is when the keypad is unlocked, if I start dialling a number straightaway it will 'forget' the first few digits dialled and then I have to try again. There is a delay of about 2 seconds after unlocking the keypad before a number can be dialled manually. If I use the speed dial eg 2 for home then this doesn't happen.

Apart from that, it is in my opinion an almost perfect design. I like the Unix philosophy of small tools, where each does its job very well. I see no reason to ever have any other mobile phone for calls and text messages.

Comment Cryptoprevent (Score 1) 181

The article says that the malware works by creating temporary .exe files in the folder specified by the %appdata% environment variable. Eg "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data". As does numerous other malware.

FoolishIT's "Cryptoprevent" utility uses Windows' "Software Restriction Policies" to try and stop .exe files from running in the %appdata% location. It is a good idea so for what it's worth, here's the URL:

Comment Knoppix Linux on an old Dell PC worked for me (Score 1) 334

This is what I did for my customer who wanted to use only email with no attachments via dial-up.

1. I started with a Knoppix 3.3 Live CD and an old Dell Dimension PC. I installed an Intel 536EP PCI dial-up modem card.
2. In Knoppix, I ran the script to install Knoppix to the hard disk. I chose KDE as the desktop environment.
3. Running Knoppix from hard disk, I downloaded, compiled and installed the Intel536-4.68 kernel driver.
4. Set up KPPP to access the dial-up Internet Service Provider.
5. Set up KMail to access the ISP's POP3 mail server and SMTP outgoing mail server.
6. Checked that the Konqueror web browser/file manager was able to access basic websites.
7. Installed an Epson C62 printer in the CUPS printer manager, which is accessed with Konqueror, using the URL http://localhost:631/
8. In CUPS printer manager, for the Epson C62 I chose Set Printer Options and Color Model: Greyscale.

An alternative to the Intel 536EP PCI card is a standard 56k serial modem, nice to have lights to look at while it is working. This lasted for 7 years with no problems, until replaced because the customer decided to do something else.

Comment How to organise a protest (Score 1) 49

From the article: "Chinese people can write the most vitriolic blog posts about even the top Chinese leaders without fear of censorship, but if they write in support of or opposition to an ongoing protest—or even about a rally in favor of a popular policy or leader—they will be censored."

That is interesting. I am glad someone has discovered this. So perhaps the way to organise a protest, is to use secret messages coded in the form of vitriolic comments. Eg, "Mao Tsedong is an idiot" = Meet at Tiannamen Square.

Comment Life is common, Homo Sapiens are rare (Score 1) 642

I speculate that when we look up at the sky at night, it is full of steaming jungles crammed with giant insects.

My theory is it takes a heck of a big whack from a comet or something like that to get a living watery planet from one stable ecosystem to a new more advanced one. The trouble is, it has to be a whack of the right size. Big enough to do the job, not so big as to wipe all the life out completely.

It's easy to think that evolution happens gradually, like drips in a cave building stalectites. Well, it does, but the real action is when there's a huge flood. All those dinosaurs didn't give over gracefully. Their time would've gone on forever if something big hadn't come along to end it.

Imagine building a pyramid, but you can only build the next level if you throw 10 dice and they all come up 6. How many dice throws is it going to take? A lot, but it's mathematically guaranteed to happen and even though it is pretty unlikely, in our case it has already happened and here we are!

Neutrinos have bad breadth.