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Comment Re:And why are those systems unpatched ? (Score 1) 476

...Or it's me, who long ago told WinUpdate to never attempt to "upgrade" IE, for the simple fact that I was never ever going to use IE (except to download FIrefox).

Every time Micros~1 updates IE, they fsck around with the defaults -- incorrectly, of course -- and I have to dive through half a dozen panes of preferences settings to bludgeon the thing back into submission. So, no, Micros~1, leave the damned thing alone.

(I also long ago uninstalled MSIE which, for some inane reason, is distinct from IE.)



Submission + - MythBusters Mishap Sends Cannonball Through House (sfgate.com)

ewhac writes: "The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the MythBusters accidentally sent a cannon ball hurtling in to Dublin this afternoon, punching through a home, bouncing across a six-lane road, and ultimately coming to a rest inside a now-demolished Toyota minivan. Amazingly, there were no injuries. The ball was fired from a home-made cannon at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb range, and was intended to strike a water target. Instead the ball missed the water, punched through a cinder-block wall, and skipped off the hill behind. Prior to today, the MythBusters had been shooting episodes at the bomb range for over seven years without major incident. It is not clear whether Savage/Hyneman or Belleci/Imahara/Byron were conducting the experiment."

Submission + - xkcd Creator Randall Munroe Nominated for Hugo (thehugoawards.org)

ewhac writes: "Easter Sunday saw the release of the nominations for the 2011 Hugo Awards. Among the many distinguished names was Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, nominated for the 2011 award for Best Fan Artist. The 2011 Hugos will be presented at WorldCon 2011 in Reno in August this year. (Be sure to fill out and return your ballot!)"

Comment Re:What I use and problems encountered (Score 1) 356

I have two TIVO boxes, one is high definition, both recording constantly. I have one system with 8TB of storage to sort/organize the incoming TIVO recording...

How are you able to get the hi-def programs off the TiVo and on to external file storage? Our TiVo sniffs derisively at us if we try to do that (depending on the show). Also, that must be achingly slow, since TiVo throttles network transfer rates.

Comment MOD PARENT DOWN (Score 1) 340

I may need to double check, but I'm 98% certain the author is lying. To my knowledge (and I have a fair amount on this subject), Amiga never had an autorun-style feature.

Amiga had a "disk inserted" event, which would often trigger programs looking for the event, such as Workbench, to look at the just-inserted disk to see what was on it. But except for initially booting the system, Amiga would never load and run code off a disk merely because you inserted it.


Comment Re:Flashback to the 80s (Score 1) 340

Autorun was one of the main reasons Amiga was the darling of the virus writers and Windows just carried on the tradition.

It's obvious why you're an AC -- you have no smegging idea what you're talking about.

Amiga had autorun to the same extent DOS did. There was a bootblock that contained a small snippet of binary code to get the machine booted and running. This bootblock was not accessible via the filesystem, and only specialized tools could write there.

In other words, it was exactly analogous to the bootblock/partition table that's on the hard disk you have today.

Yes, virus writers exploited this feature on Amiga, exactly as they exploited it on DOS and Windows.


Comment Interesting... (Score 1) 323

I was given a Barnes&Noble Nook Color for Christmas, an Android-based ebook reader that is trivially rootable. After having done so and briefly browsed the Android Market, it seems evident that there's not a lot of focused development on the platform.

Knowing nothing about iPhone/iOS, I can't say with any certainty why this might be the case. At a guess, I'd say it might be due to the wildly differing platforms out there -- different display sizes, different connectivity (3G vs. 4G vs. WiFi, vs. USB), different available mass storage, different UI elements (buttons vs. soft keys), etc. etc. etc. Writing software that copes with this vast array of capabilities isn't easy.

Another possibility is the childish restrictions carriers place on their various handsets. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you have access to the Apple App store. If you're on an Android, you may have access to the Android Market, or you might instead have access to a walled garden jealously guarded by the carrier. And the version of Android you're running might be laughably out of date (*cough*MOTOBLUR*cough*).

I'm also rather suspicious about their insistence on the use of Java. Google has does yeoman work to make their Java-compatible runtime tolerably quick, but you're never going to get performance-oriented apps out of Java, period. That means no new audio or video codecs unless they arrive from on-high, and games will always lag behind their native counterparts.

I installed Eclipse and the Android 2.1 SDK, and got the "Hello, Android!" app to run, but nothing beyond that yet. Maybe I'll play with it some more.

One thing Google could do immediately is figure out why developer.android.com won't display properly on Android-based browsers. You can't scroll down to view the entire page; you can only see one screen's worth. This is the case on both the built-in browser and on the alpha release of Firefox.


Comment Overly Elaborate (Score 1) 549

I imagine such an elaborate kluge could reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities.

You know what else could reduce drunk fatalities? Manual transmissions.

If your car has a stick, you have a built-in hand-eye coordination and competency test. If you fail, the car doesn't move (at least, not very well).

Comment What a Phenomenally Stupid Question (Score 5, Insightful) 107

Let me get this straight: You've been acquiring personal computers, integrating them into your businesses, and installing on them software products so monumentally shitty that it beggars the imagination that anyone with even the slightest sense of pride would admit to writing them. What's more, you were told by people who actually know what the fsck they're talking about that the products were shitty, both at a superficial and fundamental level -- and you systematically ignored them, and kept throwing bad money after worse money, all the while complaining when your systems crashed, your data was corrupted, and your networks infiltrated...

And you've been doing this for at least the last 30 years...

And NOW you suddenly claim to give a shit about platform integrity?

And I suppose the complete absence of any mention of WinCE or Windows Mobile in the article is sheerest coincidence.

What selective, partisan crap.

Comment Re:Uh, not really (Score 4, Insightful) 335

Every reason people used to give in favor of Firefox now applies to Chrome, times ten.

Incorrect. Chrome can't run NoScript.

And before you say, "Chrome lets you control JavaScript execution, blah blah blah," yes it does at a very coarse level. NoScript is much more fine-grained, and provides substitute scripts for sites that "need" to run crap from google-analytics et al.

It looks like this functionality may bring NoScript that much closer to Chrome.


Comment MS Tool Suites Have Always Sucked (Score 5, Insightful) 775

Below is a copy of a rant I posted to LJ a while back. In short, Microsoft does not, in any meaningful sense, make it easy to get started hacking on their systems.


Those of you who know me in even the most casual way may be shocked to hear me say: I want to do some programming in Windows.

One would think that one would simply go out and download a compiler and an SDK (a bit fat wad of compiler headers, link libraries, and documentation) -- or perhaps buy a CD-ROM containing same -- and you'd be completely set to develop any kind of Windows application.

You'd be wrong.

What's available is a hopelessly confusing mashup of tools to develop native applications, VisualBASIC applications, .NET virtual machine applications, Web applications (for IIS only, natch), database-driven applications and, if you're very nice and pay lots of money, Microsoft Office plugins. And, just to make it hard, all these tools are hidden underneath a cutesy Integrated Development Environment which passively-aggressively makes it as cumbersome as possible to figure out what's actually going on under the hood -- you know, the sorts of things a professional programmer would want to know.

Okay, fine, just give me the tools and docs to develop native C/C++ apps. "Oh, no no no," says Microsoft, twirling its moustache, "You have to pick one of our product packages." Packages? "Oh, yes, there's Visual Studio Express, Visual Studio Standard, Visual Studio Professional, Visual Studio Team System, and Visual Studio Grand Marquess with Truffles and Cherries."

After looking at the six-dimensional bullet chart of features, I think that Visual Studio Express may get the job done, since it comes with a C/C++ compiler and will compile native apps. "Quite so," says Microsoft whilst placing a postage stamp on a foreclosure notice, "provided you're only writing console apps -- you know, programs that run in a command window. If you want to develop full Windows GUI apps, then you'll need additional libraries which aren't necessarily included with Visual Studio Express."

Ah, so VS Express will only let me develop "toy" applications and, if I want to do anything more advanced, I should download and install the complete Windows SDK which, amazingly, is free. "Well, you could do that," says Microsoft after tying Nell to the sawmill. "But the SDK doesn't really integrate very well with the IDE. And there's still some link libraries which only ship with Visual Studio Standard or better."

Fine. I'll look at buying Visual Studio Standard. And then maybe I can get to improving this device driver. "Device driver!?" says Microsoft, blotting the blood spatters off its hat. "Heavens, no, that's not included with anything. You need to download and install the Driver Development Kit for that. And you may or may not need the DDK for each version of Windows you intend to support. Not to worry, however; they're all free downloads..."

*fume* And people wonder why I've avoided this clusterfuck for the last 25 years. Ever since the Visual Studio 6 days, I've been smacked in the face with this braindamage every time I've tried doing the slightest exploration of Windows development.

So: Can anyone with modest Windows development experience tell me what Visual Studio flavor to get and which addons to download if I want to:

  • Write native Windows applications and device drivers in C/C++,
  • Debug said applications and device drivers,
  • Not give a damn about "wizards" trying to write my code for me,
  • Not give a damn about database, Web, VisualBASIC, or .NET development.

Comment Re:Not entirely FB's fault (Score 1) 205

That's fine as far as it goes, but it fails to consider that Facebook "apps" are the undisclosed third party in the room, who can abscond with anything and everything on your profile.

You may wisely choose to never be friends with "SociopathicStalker53" and thereby keep your information away from them. But if they write a cutesy "quiz" that one of your friends decides to run, despite your precautions you're fscked anyway.

And this state of affairs is entirely Facebook's fault, because it's baked in to the underlying design.


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