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Comment Re:I can assure you... (Score 5, Insightful) 642

I beg to differ.

I've been doing home computer repair for the general public for literal decades. I used to do it as a side job or for charity, but it's been my sole income for many years now. Bottom line: I've got a fair amount of experience working with equipment that's on the failing end of its life cycle, all of which has been entrusted to the tender mercies of your typical non-savvy user.

And I'm a pattern recognizer, too.

And nowadays the pattern is one of complete random events, for all classes of home computers.

I've got people with ten year old eMachines running XP who's hardware continues to run without the slightest issue, and I've got people with brand-new three-thousand dollar specialty machines who can't catch a break, with bad motherboards, PSU's dying and taking other components out with them when they go, hard drive failures of every stripe and color, and on and on and on.

I've decided that there's really no sensible difference in equipment anymore, so far as reliability goes.

It all comes out of the same factory in China somewhere, and none of us really know what the hell is going on over on that end of the production cycle.

It has become a crapshoot, plain and simple.

Used to be, more expensive, "quality" computers could be expected to last longer, but no more.

They're all using the same components from the same vendors, and if that's not enough, the batch-to-batch variabilities and imponderables are now completely impossible to keep effective or meaningful track of anymore.

And what once was a clear pattern of "quality" goods giving a nice return on investment, has now become random noise.

Nowadays any of it can fail for any reason at any time. May as well get the cheap stuff and try to cut your losses up front.

Comment Re:LOL (Score 1) 42

> I wasn't aware surfers were such violent degenerates,
> in addition to being the airheads they're traditionally portrayed as.

It's worse than you imagine, by far.

Surfers are dangerous thugs, and they will issue beatdowns at the slightest provocation, or even no provocation at all.

They roam in packs, speak in a near-incomprehensible dialect, and evade all duties to god, country, family, and work in a crazed hedonistic pursuit of some delusional "perfect wave."

The most cursory of examinations of surfing culture as exposed by media fact-finders will inform you that surfing damages its practitioners in some way that reduces their mental capacities to that of a troglodyte.

If you govern, you should always view surfers as an especially insidious fifth column. If you employ, never ever hire a surfer, as they are inveterate shirkers. If you're thinking of entering into a relationship with a surfer, do not, because they are completely unreliable and cannot be counted on to adhere to even the most basic of familial obligations. If you see them in the water, do not approach them, but instead calmly leave the area prior to notifying the authorities.

Despite its malevolent foundation, surfing culture has infected the minds of young people around the world, and seems to still be spreading.

To combat this pernicious infection, it is recommended that you boycott all things associated with surfing and surfers.

Do not buy surfing-related apparel. Do not watch videos of tanned bodies in the peak of youthful health flying as if on magic carpets though crystal blue dreamscapes of water. Do not fall prey to the seductions of charismatic groups of surfers, living lives that you can neither imagine nor approve of, as you perform your tasks as a good conscientious member of society.

Stamp out this virulent infection now, before it is too late!

Comment Re:Recipe for disaster (Score 1) 297

Where is the spot in Facebook where I tell it my deep dark secrets that I don't want to be shared with anyone?

It's where they interpolate between known datapoints and in so doing, create a more-detailed-and-accurate-than-you-might-like image. And it will be an evil thing, whether the image so drawn is even accurate or not.

I shall leave it as an exercise for the student to determine exactly how this might be so, and to further demonstrate with valid examples how this might be so.

Carry on.

Comment Re:Yell at them and make them feel like shit. (Score 4, Interesting) 157

This actually worked at the small enterprise where I take care of things. A user managed to get their machine mucked up with a bunch of spyware and adware by clicking in a forwarded email. I cleaned the machine and then management called a meeting a day or two later. Had every one of the employees in attendance. I gave the standard presentation about email safety, as well as general internet safety. I sat down. The director stood up and informed everyone in the room that the next time a machine needed to be cleaned as a result of operator error, the bill for my services (not cheap) would be deducted from the relevant employee's next paycheck. A sheet of paper was then passed around, with the same directive written on it, and all employees were instructed to either sign or lose their job. They all signed.

That was two years ago. Have not had a SINGLE instance of any malware on any machine, since that time. People now ask me every time they have any doubts about what they're doing, and I've headed off a few potential catastrophes since that started happening.

I'm guessing it's not a coincidence.

Feed High Security for $100 Laptop (

The security guru for the One Laptop Per Child program unveils his plan to make the rugged machines uniquely resistant to spyware and hack attacks. Ryan Singel reports from the RSA Conference.


Submission + - Is Microsoft getting paid for patents in Linux?

kripkenstein writes: "In an interview, Jeremy Allison (of the Samba project) implies that Microsoft is secretly getting paid for patent licenses on Linux-related products:

[Interviewer:] One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects.[...]

Allison: Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using [...] But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record.
If true, is this slowing down Linux adoption? Or are these just rumors — which may accomplish much the same effect?"

Submission + - Brazilian site contains great anti-DRM guides

drmbreaker writes: "In Brazil, far from the claws of the DMCA, a webpage has been written in English with straightforward instructions on how to break the DRM in iTunes, DVDs, and other sources, as well as on how to use BitTorrent, and how to download videos from YouTube and other video sites. The instructions are simple and step-by-step, down to each click of the mouse. Anyone can follow them, not just techies. Most people do not realize that DVDs can be ripped, copied, and mixed almost as easily as CDs. Everyone deserves to know how this can be done, especially given how many tools today make this very easy indeed. The site stresses that it does not support piracy, and that these techniques should be used only to back-up or transcode media that is already legitimately owned. Remember, making back-up copies and transcoding media content to enjoy it on different platforms is a legal right we all should protect and practice. Please spread this site's address around to as to weaken the grip of DRM even further."

Submission + - DirectX10 drops Hardware Acceleration for Audio.

shrewd writes: ""Imagine your surprise when you fire up one of your favourite games in Vista — say World of Warcraft or Prey — only to find your fancy EAX-endowed soundcard and 5.1 surround speakers are dribbling out flat, unenhanced stereo sound. Then, in a vain attempt to spruce up the audio by enabling EAX, you get a nice taut error message saying EAX is not detected on your hardware. What's going on? Welcome to the world of Vista audio. And a brave new world it is.""
User Journal

Journal SPAM: 'NYT' Reporter Who Got Iraqi WMDs Wrong Now Highlights Iran 3

Saturday's New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the "deadliest weapon aimed at American troops" in Iraq. The author notes, "Any assertion of an Iranian contribution to attacks on Americans in Iraq is both politically and diplomatically volatile."

What is the source of this volatile information? Nothing less than "civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies."


Submission + - Cartoon Network "Bombs" Sell for $1000

An anonymous reader writes: Shortly after the bomb scare in Boston, the "bombs" themselves are being put up on ebay. While many were confiscated, or put in locations unreachable without a ladder, a select few got into the hands of the public. After the media frenzy over the alleged "bombs," the items began to appear on Ebay for prices upward of $1,000.
A link to the auction can be found here: re-Aqua-Teen-Hunger-Force_W0QQitemZ300079642847QQi hZ020QQcategoryZ201QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: The Onion on Vista

Highlights from the article:

  • Microsoft Word's helpful paper-clip icon now blinks at rate of normal humans
  • Five new card-back designs for Solitaire
  • Something that Apple would never, ever dream up in a billion years

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