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Comment Re:Uhhh (Score 4, Insightful) 136

A 3-pack of good-quality CFLs costs about $6 at Wal-Mart. Still about 3x the cost of the same number of incandescents, although the CFLs last a lot longer, and use sufficiently less energy to pay for themselves over their lifetime

As good little consumers I know that's what we're supposed to think, but:

1. my experience has shown that CCFL's need replacing much more frequently than incandescents ever did.

2. they only consume less energy if they're left on for long periods (> 30 mins or so) as they have quite high start-up currents until they come up to operating temperature (1-5 minutes).

3. they output much higher levels of UV than incandescents, aggravating some skin conditions and causing retinal damage with some people.

4. they also contain hazardous chemicals such as mercury, complicating their disposal - our local city council has no *legal* means of CFL disposal yet, with most people just throwing them in with the regular refuse.

I think that our (Australian) federal government having "phased out" incandescent bulbs is a premature action. I'd rather see LED lighting get traction but, again, hazardous chemicals.

Comment Dymo LabelWriters (Score 1) 188

We've been using Dymo LabelWriters (both 300 and 400 series) under Windows and Linux for printing oil sample labels for quite some time now. Even in a workshop environment they seem quite reliable. I'm not a big fan of the printer drivers under Windows (they're prone to causing exceptions in .NET land for random reasons), but the CUPS drivers under Linux seem fine.

Comment Re:AI problem? (Score 2, Insightful) 291

That's only a reasonable indicator if the two copies of the same image you are comparing are also the same resolution. It's not hard to have a higher resolution image consume less disk space if the compression level has been bumped up. Also, different programs usually produce different JFIF streams even when set to the same compression level and using the same *uncompressed* source image, making the DCT size approach even less reliable.

Comment Re:Mouse wiggling not that unusual, surprisingly (Score 1) 655

This is a feature. If there is no mouse input to a window, Windows decides that it is a background process and assigns it a low priority so that it does not disrupt the performance of interactive tasks.

Windows doesn't actively change the priority of running tasks. The priority is generally set to "Normal" whenever a new process starts and then can be changed by the running process itself, or by the process when it starts new threads, or as you noted by way of the Windows Task Manager tray applet.

The problem in the Domino case was traced to stupid event-driven code in the Win16-based setup executable. Moving the mouse around generated more events to be fired at the main window's event handler and thus caused the time between file-copy operations to be reduced.

Comment Re:How about cutting the dead wood? (Score 1) 210

I didn't finish reading the article, but I hope one of their proposed solutions was to fire the incompetent people who can't deliver on-time or within budget.

You probably should have finished reading the article. How I read it was that the contractors responsible for building the new (and SiRF-III upgraded) satellites (ie: Boeing) have been letting go of the people with the necessary knowledge to stay on-schedule with their commitments because they've too busy buying and merging with other companies instead.

Comment Increased penetration (Score 1) 987

Free versions of things help to bring you to your audience. It's more likely to increase sales rather than hinder them - more people will be exposed to your book than would otherwise have been the case. If they don't buy this one at least they know you're there and what you're on about, and that makes them more likely to purchase your next one. It's advertising that you don't have to pay for.

If this wasn't the case then why do software companies, and game companies in particular, routinely release free "demos" of their products before the final "pay for this" release?

Comment Could the movie industry be behind it? (Score 1) 793

Hate to through a conspiracy theory amongst the pigeons, but the bill (http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A02455) proposes taxes on "video and DVD movies" - there's no mention of Blu-Ray. Encouraged upgrades, anyone?

Seriously though, if the real intent of this bill is to reduce childhood obesity then the taxes should be applied to childhood things: snacks for kids; G-rated movies, videos, DVD and Blu-Ray titles; *INDOOR TOYS* and the like.

Comment Cost of anti-virus software is not the problem (Score 1) 405

The cost of anti-virus software is not the problem - there's plenty of free anti-virus alternatives in the market already, some of them much better IMNSHO than the paid-for offerings. If cost was the problem, everyone would be using free anti-virus software. And yet, there are still computers with no anti-virus software on them.

I think that many (corporate, in particular) anti-virus solutions are overly greedy on their CPU and memory usage. People notice this on their machines at work, or hear about it from friends and think, "my home computer's slow enough already, I'm not putting that crap onto it."

Content Control/Filtering solutions are also a desirable piece of software to have on home PC's. And yet when the Australian Government tried to give away NetNanny to anyone who wanted it, not a single person took them up on their offer. Not one. I don't know whether that says anything about NetNanny, or whether it shows that people don't trust "free" things from the government, but it must mean something.

Comment Re:Really Smart (Score 1) 408

Hate to tell you this, but images are less a part of the HTML format than script - whilst script blocks can be embedded amongst the HTML code, images can only be referenced from HTML.

Images are, in fact, a security risk - there are known JPEG image exploits, for example. All major browsers I've ever used also have the ability to disable loading images. If I turn off images am I protecting myself or creating an unauthorized derivative work through contributory copyright infringement? What if I'm using a text-only browser, like Lynx? What if I'm blind and am using a text-to-speech browser?

People have a choice in how they browse the internet. It's their right to choose. If they want to turn-off script and ads that's their choice, not yours and not the web pages author's. Putting site-specific rules on top of that is no different.

If you want to push he contributory copyright infringement argument I'd suggest that you start talking to the governments of a number of countries that are actively blocking content "on behalf of their citizens," such as China, United Kingdom and Australia.

Comment Re:Good thing (Score 3, Insightful) 408

Funny, I thought that all Mozilla (Firefox/Thunderbird/Sunbird/etc) add-ons are already, in effect, open source.

The .xpi files that they come in are just .jar/.zip files containing all of their Javascript source code, styles and images. The NoScript author in this very case actually went out of his way to obfuscate the code in the content/noscript/MRD.js file just to make it harder for people to see what he was doing. Luckily, there's an easy way to decode it (credit to the Matt McCutchen who posted in the article's link):

mkdir tmp; cd tmp
wget http//software.informaction.com/data/releases/noscript-1.9.2.xpi
unzip noscript-1.9.2.xpi
unzip chrome/noscript.jar
perl -np /dev/fd/3 3MRD.unescaped.js s/\\\\x([0-9a-f]{2})/pack q{c}, hex(\$1)/ge EOS
less MRD.unescaped.js

It shows, unfortunately, that even open source software can be malicious. It's just easer for people to find the nasties.

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