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Comment: Re:Crusty Hardware (Score 1) 187

by qubezz (#48878663) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux

I specified and owned an EISA system, a rare 486-50 (not double-clocked DX2), with 16MB memory, $4000 or so spent.

EISA is a very odd beast, if you recall the original ISA bus that had jumpers you had to set on each card to non-conflicting IRQ, Address IO, and DMA values, then you will see the "brilliance" of EISA, which had a floppy disk config program for every card you bought to set the bus values. Seeing anyone that still has the matching and required EISA setup disks for their hardware is going to be the rare thing to find.

Comment: Re:Crusty Hardware (Score 4, Interesting) 187

by qubezz (#48878575) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux

This is also completely Microsoft's fault. In Vista they decided to kiss the ass of big media companies in order to play Blu-Ray content, which required encrypted end-to-end data transport, mandating the rewriting of the driver stack for everything from video and sound cards to imaging devices and audio mixing. They should have just given them the finger.

What Microsoft didn't have to do was just completely discard gameport support. Microsoft blatantly removed the code to support 15 pin gameports from the OS. In Vista 32 bit, it could be partially put back by driver hacks of old dlls, but that hack was made impossible in win7. You could literally buy joysticks at the same CompUSA that would not work on the Vista shitboxes they were selling.

Comment: Re:if it doesnt work (Score 4, Informative) 464

by qubezz (#48719495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Reading glasses, those off-the-shelf from a rack with a positive prescription, are not for those that need prescription glasses. They are for older individuals who still can focus at distance, but who have lost the muscles and lens plasticity to focus their eyes on closer objects.

The eye becomes able to focus on a smaller range of distances in older age, and for a person with good vision who has not needed prescription glasses, this might mean they can focus from infinity to 100 cm instead of infinity to 10 cm of their youth, making reading a book difficult.

The majority of those needing prescription glasses are myopic, or short-sighted, meaning that they can focus well on close objects, but cannot bring far objects into focus with their eye's lens. They will never be able to see far objects such as the stars clearly without optical correction. Unfortunately, after correcting the vision with prescription glasses, the same problem also occurs in older age, individuals can no longer bring closer objects into focus while wearing prescription glasses.

Simply taking the glasses off allows for seeing close objects again, but is suboptimal. First, the prescription glasses likely also correct for astigmatism, another type of distortion in the eye's lens or shape. Secondly, uncorrected vision in people that are quite myopic, such as myself at over -4, means that I can read a book when held a bit closer than would seem normal, but cannot focus on 2x24" monitors when they are 0.5m away, computer monitors are too far away to see. I would travel the world in a bubble where only things 15" or closer can be seen without glasses.

When the eye's lens becomes less plastic in older age, this may mean that the 0.5m monitor can neither be seen cleary with traditional prescription glasses or without correction. A second pair of glasses could be tuned for things 0.5m-5m away

The problem with bifocals and progressive lenses is that they assume you are looking down to see close objects. For those that do close-up work, from SMD soldering repair to dentistry as well as individuals working in front of monitors, they are not a good solution, as the work is directly in front of the eyes.

One practical solution for computer work is 40" 1080p monitors at a farther distance. This takes research when subsituting a television, because many HDTVs that one might try to use at 1920x1080 do not have clear 1 to 1 pixels as advertised, even with digital input.

Comment: Re:What's in it for consumers? (Score 1) 127

by qubezz (#48715251) Attached to: Bitcoin Gets Its First TV Ads

Bitcoin is a currency. Like all currencies, its usefulness is determined by the number of people that you can do business with using that currency. Pounds Sterling also do me little good in the US; limited acceptance depending on venue affects all currencies, not just Bitcoin. Further acceptance like is promoted in the BitPay ads will allow more people to easily receive bitcoins, and then spend them again without any currency conversion.

Bitcoin's value fluctuates against other currencies - that also is a trait of other monies. However, it does have a guarantee that other currencies don't - it won't be printed by the billions to pay off government debt and devalue savings.

The bitcoin is international - it sees no borders and eliminates the extortive money exchanges required to buy goods in other countries. I can buy merchandise from Thailand or Peru on the Internet, and never have to worry about what their local money is. My Bitcoins will buy a coffee in a coffee shop in Kabul or Tokyo just as easily. Likewise, I can sell on the Internet without discrimination; I don't have to worry about fraudulent payments and can ship anywhere in the World.

The huge difference is that Bitcoin has a built-in money transfer mechanism that government-issued currencies do not. Government money requires third-party systems like credit cards and checks, which allow forgers and criminals to suck money directly out of your bank account, causing significant grief. The only way this system remains viable is that credit card companies pay for theft out of their profits or take the money back from the merchant that was victim of the poor security of credit cards.

Bitcoin does not allow Soviet block hackers or card-skimming waiters to take your money through simply stealing your credit card number. You must authorize and "push" every payment to the merchant. Making one payment reveals nothing about you and does not allow the receiver to take more unauthorized money from you. There is no bank to freeze your funds or government back door to empty your account. You are in complete control of your money.

The biggest impediments have been using Bitcoin software and obtaining bitcoins, followed by the capricious exchange rates. All of these categories have become better excepting the government war on exchanges, funded by bankers.

Comment: Re:practical-based certs hold their value (Score 1) 317

by qubezz (#48554291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

If you are working in a place that fixes computers and is an A+ shop, like using in their marketing, then they need to have 50%+ A+ certified techs. If the person hiring you only has an A+, then they might consider you in their club.

It's still just one more letter code that can be in an HR resume keyword search, and it's dead simple. It uses adaptive testing; I scheduled the first 90 minute test, and by answering every IRQ question and other bits of impractical knowledge, was done in about 15 minutes. The test administrator asked if I wanted to take the second of the two - another 15 minutes once the machine figures it can throw the hardest questions at you and get them answered. Computer repairman are going the way of stagecoach repairmen though, although it's one thing that can't be off-shored...

That being said, any single Microsoft IT test is cheaper, and just having one lets you say "Microsoft Certified Professional". If there is a closet of Microsoft stuff in a server room that would make this cert appealing to a company, I would dread the daily grind working there.

Comment: Adblock Plus selling advertising access to users (Score 3, Informative) 699

by qubezz (#48550465) Attached to: French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus
The part of this article that has not been mentioned yet is that the developer of Adblock Plus (forked from the original Adblock) has decided to take money in exchange for allowing "non-intrusive" advertising through its lists, pretty much against the interests of it's users who don't want any ads. This puts them directly in the line of fire when media publishers get irate enough to sue, as advertisers see them as a blackmailer. You can see the whitelist of allowed sites here: https://easylist-downloads.adb... - along with Google and it's Doubleclick network, other notables and other publishers and trackers not easily recognized have paid up. Adblock Plus got the install base and trust, then they change the arrangement.

+ - Starbucks testing mobile order and pay in Portland on iOS

Submitted by qubezz
qubezz (520511) writes "For those who just can't wait in line, Starbucks announced today that the caffeinated city of Portland will be the first stop in the roll-out of an app for ordering drinks from your mobile device (iPhone only, Android anticipated in 2015). Not a delivery service — it appears your pre-paid drink will be waiting at the end of the bar for the asking. The cost? The app won't operate unless you allow it access to GPS location services, potentially turning every coffee consumer's device into a tracking beacon.

For the rest, there's still the independent site mapping which Starbucks are currently open."

Comment: That language "13 and younger?" - because of law (Score 3, Informative) 52

by qubezz (#48522085) Attached to: Google Confirms That It's Designing Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Services

COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection Act is the law they are attempting to skirt through directed effort, which defines a child for the sake of all its protection as an individual under 13.

(1) IN GENERAL.â"It is unlawful for an operator of a website or online service directed to children, or any operator that has actual knowledge that it is collecting personal information from a child, to collect personal information from a child in a manner that violates the regulations prescribed under subsection (b). ... and it continues.

I wonder how they expect to monetize or indoctrinate this audience. As long as they don't violate the terms of the privacy law (which got iOS contact-stealing app company Path fined $800,000, in part for collecting on children) they can run a kid's site. This means that as long as they aren't wantonly scarfing details, they can still pitch sugar cereals.

Comment: Re:The full res article (Score 1) 38

by qubezz (#48450435) Attached to: NASA Remasters 20-Year-Old Galileo Photographs of Jupiter's Moon, Europa

The NASA article is a government work and not subject to copyright, so I can save you from doing any clicking whatsoever:

The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa looms large in this newly-reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. This is the color view of Europa from Galileo that shows the largest portion of the moon's surface at the highest resolution.

The view was previously released as a mosaic with lower resolution and strongly enhanced color (see PIA02590). To create this new version, the images were assembled into a realistic color view of the surface that approximates how Europa would appear to the human eye.

The scene shows the stunning diversity of Europa's surface geology. Long, linear cracks and ridges crisscross the surface, interrupted by regions of disrupted terrain where the surface ice crust has been broken up and re-frozen into new patterns.

Color variations across the surface are associated with differences in geologic feature type and location. For example, areas that appear blue or white contain relatively pure water ice, while reddish and brownish areas include non-ice components in higher concentrations. The polar regions, visible at the left and right of this view, are noticeably bluer than the more equatorial latitudes, which look more white. This color variation is thought to be due to differences in ice grain size in the two locations.

Images taken through near-infrared, green and violet filters have been combined to produce this view. The images have been corrected for light scattered outside of the image, to provide a color correction that is calibrated by wavelength. Gaps in the images have been filled with simulated color based on the color of nearby surface areas with similar terrain types.

This global color view consists of images acquired by the Galileo Solid-State Imaging (SSI) experiment on the spacecraft's first and fourteenth orbits through the Jupiter system, in 1995 and 1998, respectively. Image scale is 2 miles (1.6 kilometers) per pixel. North on Europa is at right.

The Galileo mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Additional information about Galileo and its discoveries is available on the Galileo mission home page at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galileo/. More information about Europa is available at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/europa.

Comment: Bitcoin users also MITM by exit nodes recently (Score 2) 126

by qubezz (#48224783) Attached to: Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware To Downloads

There have been several reports of Bitcoin users that use online wallets and exchanges, even over https, getting MITM attacked when using Tor. They visit the wallet site, get bad certificates but continue anyway, and poof, their Bitcoins in the service are gone and their passwords are known by the attacker. With recent SSL vulnerabilities or clever redirection, the cert errors could be avoided also. For other sites, users can be piped through a "universal phisher" to steal any credentials.

Clearly Tor users are under attack by exit nodes, many of them running automated tools against many web destinations.

Comment: Re:"not so much as a default wallpaper" (Score 4, Informative) 110

by qubezz (#48216807) Attached to: Ubuntu 14.10 Released With Ambitious Name, But Small Changes
If you want a significantly modernized UI that hasn't been designed for dummies, have a look at KDE Plasma 5. Kubuntu was simultaneously released in 14.10 flavor, and there are tech preview ISOs available now with the new desktop. It has a new wallpaper, also.

Comment: Re:As it is designed to do (Score 3, Insightful) 147

by qubezz (#48151929) Attached to: Data From Windows 10 Feedback Tool Exposes Problem Areas

It works as designed, however it works against the interest of the user. A perfect example is the unmovable and unremovable search button next to the start button that opens Bing search. Just like on Windows phones with a physical search button made useless because it cannot be configured to do anything but open Bing, this is just another operating system iteration that does what Microsoft wants, users be damned.

The best reply and what every user actually wants: "be Windows 7 after I disable all the bloat and UI garbage, libraries, and homegroup cruft you put on that OS".

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