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Comment Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 167

Storage may be cheap, but that's hardly an excuse for being cluttered.

Ask yourself: When are you ever going to read all those email again? When is *anybody* ever going to read them again. And the more you have, the less likely it is that they ever will be read, because the more you have, the more time it will take to go through them.

And don't tell me that doesn't matter because it's easy to run a search -- the same still applies, and you'd only bother running a search if you had something specific you wanted to search for. Is there anything in your 2003 email archives that you are likely to want to search for? The answer to this question may well be 'yes'; you know your archives better than I do; but I'll tell you this: if you haven't found the need to search an archive over the last five years, then the odds are diminishingly small that you'll need to in the future.

My advice is to keep your archives, but take the time to filter out the stuff you really don't need or want any more.

First, sort the list of emails by size.
This will give you all the ones with attachments. The odds are most of the big stuff can be deleted. Most of the stuff you want to keep you'll already have extracted from your email and saved somewhere else. So feel free to delete them. There will also be obsolete software, video and flash attachments that were funny five years ago, and other junk. Deleting all this stuff will free up a substantial portion of your disk usage.

Next sort the list by name of sender.
This might sound odd, but it's a very quick way to see who you were talking to all those years ago. There might be a few surprises in there. People you'd lost touch with an virtually forgotten about. Maybe this is your chance to remind yourself to get back in touch? If so, then the exercise has been worthwhile even if you don't delete anything. Or maybe you know you don't want to talk to them. In that case, you do really want to keep those old emails from them? Get rid of them. It's cathartic.

Next, check if you've been subscribed to any mailing lists over the years.
Possibly you'll want to keep some of those archives, but equally there can be a lot of pretty mundane chatter on these things, and the bits that are relevant are often only relevant for the moment. It depends a lot on the individual lists, but my experience is that content five years old or more is unlikely to still be of much value. And in any case, most good mailing lists have their own archives online. So your own copies in your archives may be pretty pointless. Be ruthless and delete them.

My guess is that if you followed that advice, your email archives are now about a quarter of their original size. And nothing of value was lost.

In fact, doing an exercise like this every now and then can actually be helpful. Not because it saves disk space, but because it means that you do actually go back every now and then and look at what you were doing a few years ago. It's remarkable the things you forget over time. Sometimes its good to be reminded. Other times you may not want to be reminded, but that's what the delete key is for; delete it, and you won't need to be reminded of it again when you do this same process next time.

Comment Re:Javaception (Score 2) 234

So you could write a browser that supports JavaScript in Java, and then run the browser in itself?

And if you run it in a modern browser, it would still run faster than javascript in IE8.

Comment Re:Don't you have anything better to do? (Score 4, Informative) 393

There are good reasons for the two layouts. They're lost in the mist of time, but they are good reasons.

Calculators derive their layout from a strictly mathematical perspective, and is probably the most sensible layout to work with if you want to practice your muscle memory.

The phone layout is that way due to the mapping of letters to the digits, which was defined back in the days of rotary dial phones. Putting the 'ABC' key at the top of the keypad made it easier to read. In addition, the in old pulse-dial system, the zero digit actually represented ten, not zero, and on rotary dials it was placed at the end after nine. That also helped to make the chosen key layout for phones seem more logical at the time, both for the phone manufacturers and for users who were used to rotary dials.

One thing you certainly aren't going to achieve is to get calculator or phone manufacturers to change their layouts. Both layouts are highly ingrained in the collective consciousness of their users, and no-one is going to buy a product which deviates from the norm. You may as well try to persuade everyone to go and buy a Dvorak keyboard.

So the short answer to your plea is: no. It ain't gonna happen.

But I can see hope for you: Smart phones.

While you aren't going to get calculators to change, smart phones have touch screen interfaces. I don't see any reason at all why there couldn't be an app that displays the phone keypad in calculator-like style. It may be the opposite of what you're asking for, but it would achieve the consistency that you're looking for between the two.

The only problem then is if you ever have to use someone else's phone to make a call....

Comment Pointless half-way house (Score 1) 990

The suggestion as it's been put in the main article is pointless.

The fact is we already have UTC (or GMT for those of us who still insist the British invented it so we ought to get to keep it), and it's perfectly easy for anyone in any country to use it. If you want to communicate with someone in another time zone, you are perfectly free to use UTC as a common reference point when deciding what time to meet.

But while it does indeed work very well as a common reference point, it doesn't solve any of the practical issues of communicating between time zones. If I want to talk to someone in another country, we have to arrange it at a time when we're both going to be at the office -- or at the very least, when we're both going to be awake.

The simple fact is that physics dictates that different parts of the world have different daylight hours, and biology dictates that people prefer to be awake during the daylight hours. There is nothing you can do that will change this; no amount of meddling with the time system will make it any easier to talk to someone on the other side of the world.

Regarding the suggested adjustment for DST simply meaning that everyone adjusts their schedule by an hour while the clocks stay the same.... I can't even begin to describe how wonderfully naive this is. If it were really that simple, we wouldn't have invented DST in the first place.

Comment un-american?? (Score 1) 1173

So let me get this straight.... the objection to having roundabouts is that being nice to other people is un-American???

Great. That really makes me want to go out and meet more Americans.

Wow. This is coming from the land that makes saying "Have a nice day" into a national slogan.

Comment Re:Damned if you Do, Damned if you don't (Score 1) 555

Are corporations websites *that* badly coded that a minor change in browser *version* would cause it to not work? I can understand from IE6 to IE7 to IE8, due to all the usual IE BS

Right. So you can understand that a business would be cautious of going IE7 -> IE8, but you don't get it when they take the same approach with FF4 - > FF5.

The whole point of major version numbers is that they're ... uh... major versions. Big things have changed. By bumping the version number, Mozilla is telling the world "hey, this is a big thing we've done here, with lots of changes!"

And somehow you expect businesses to just shrug their shoulders and run the upgrade? Riiiight.

Firefox (and Chrome for that matter) are either being disingenuous with their version numbering, or else they are being arrogant with dropping support for older versions too soon.

Personally, I say they're being both. I'm getting fed up with this now. A few short months ago, I was dead excited about the future of the web, where we might finally have some good standards compliant browsers and sufficient people using them that we could write good standards compliant sites. But now I'm starting to get pretty jaded about the whole thing: it's the browser wars all over again: this is how it started the first time, and I for one really don't want to go through that again.

Comment So what about a big solar flare, then? (Score 1) 386

This article deals with what happens when GPS is disrupted due to a localised jammer. Sounds like some serious chaos.

So... what happens when we have a major solar flare that disables a few GPS satellites entirely? Can we expect entire nations to suddenly lose their ATM networks, shipping navigation and air traffic control?

Oh goody. I can't wait for the solar cycle to get going again. And there was me thinking the only thing we had to look forward to were better aurora. :-/

Comment Re:Access password with no ACLs ? (Score 1) 136

You say: "very few people should be allowed to view credit card numbers".

In fact, for them to be PCI compliant (which I would assume a company the size of Vodaphone must be), no-one should be able to access customer credit card numbers. Its shockingly bad practice if they're even on their database, let alone widely accessible.

Comment Re:!doesn't bode well (Score 2, Insightful) 186

I think taking the software down is a very boding/bodeable/bodeful/whatever thing to do.

I completely agree. The guy who posted the original story was just wrong to say it "doesn't bode well".

By saying that, he was basically condemning Microsoft's actions before they'd even done then. I dislike MS as much as the next guy here, but - please! - what have they done in this case to warrant not boding well? As soon as they found out there was a potential problem, they pulled the software so they could investigate. Absolutely the right action.

What would you have preferred them to do? The only two other options were (a) ignore the problem, and (b) release the code. Ignoring the problem was clearly never going to happen -- even MS isn't that arrogant. And while I'm sure we'd have loved them to have just released the code, they would certainly need to check it first, because there's a very high probability that it also contains code which is licensed in a way that can't be released (especially since this is a DVD tool). So pulling it while they investigate is the right thing to do.

The most likely scenario I would suggest is that MS will re-launch the tool in a few months with the GPL parts replaced so they don't have to release any code. Not what the masses of slashdot would want, but likely to be the most sensible and pragmatic way for MS to deal with it.

The Internet

Submission + - Who's (still) wasting your bandwidth? (

An anonymous reader writes: Using the Royal Mail price finder on behalf of an ebay customer today, I noticed the layout of the HTML was poor (probably because it's formatted to work on IE only — yes, I've asked them to fix it). Unable to let any problem lie I took a look at the source and was appalled to see how much redundant whitespace was being served with the page. After 10 minutes tidying it up I discovered that where it might reasonably serve 12k of HTML data it was actually serving up 20k. Around 8,000 pointless bytes are being transmitted every time someone wants to price something up with Royal Mail. When we all used dial-up the issue was page latency; with broadband it's one of download limits. Luckily my ISP doesn't impose one and 8k is not exactly a hill of beans in these gigabyte times, but can anyone beat 40% wastage?

Submission + - ISO reform proposed: response to OOXML shenanigans

qcomp writes: In the aftermath of the irregularities surrounding the recent vote on Mircosoft's standard proposal OOXML Freecode CEO Geir Isene questions whether ISO is "prepared for a politicized process" and proposes ISO reforms "to safeguard future standardization and to ensure that the processes scale in the face of increased pressure" and calls for an "investigation" to determine if OOXML "was unduly put on the ISO fast track." There's interesting commentrary on the proposal over at Ars Technica.

Submission + - Samba 4 has reached Alpha Stage (

DaMattster writes: Samba4 alpha1 is the culmination of 4.5 years of development under our belt since Tridge first proposed a new Virtual File System (VFS) layer for Samba3 (a project which eventually lead to our Active Directory efforts), and 1.5 years since we first released a Technology Preview. We wish to allow users, managers and developers to see how we have progressed, and to invite feedback and support.

Submission + - Patenting laws altered to achieve a landmark (

An anonymous reader writes: The Innovation Alliance, a group representing Qualcomm and many smaller technology companies, said Friday before the vote that it would "radically alter" the patent system "to mitigate the potential litigation costs of the few wealthiest companies in the world." tent_reform_house;_ylt=AmrgtqINgOKM22uynkzqh7eKfD8 C

Submission + - FAA gets a big-screen touch screen

Matt writes: "Northrop Grumman best known for missile systems and other military gear for many years has been selling the TouchTable as part of what it calls an "integrated collaboration environment." They delivered their TouchTable to the Federal Aviation Administration last month and will showcase their technologies next week at a defense conference in London. There are two versions of the TouchTable; one with an 84-inch screen (1600x1200 resolution), the other with a 45-inch screen (1920x1080 resolution). Moving a hand across the surface pans the display, two fingers moving apart zooms it out, and two fingers moving together zooms it in. This simple interface allows users to easily change a view from miles above the Earth to a detailed layout of a single city block."

Submission + - Electronic Wallpaper 'Grows' From Your Photos

instar writes: A Swedish scientist has developed what he calls "Autonomous Wallpaper." Using a bluetooth cell phone, you can upload pictures to the wall, where they will be transformed into one of 6 predefined flower shapes. From Discovery News: "A prototype software program converts pixels from cell phone images into unique flower shapes and then uploads them to a wall. Once on the wall, the flowers become autonomous agents, grow and interact with other flowers, and then eventually die." I'm not one for flowery wallpaper, but it's a neat concept.

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