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Comment Red Notice (Score 1) 338

"Red Notice" is a must read! This very current auto-biographical book by Bill Browder, millionaire financier, lays a foundation and then turns into a page turning deadly American-Russian thriller. When you are done reading it, you have a clear and very chilling view of Vladmir Putin and his coterie of murderous oligarchs. It is even more relevant given the ascendancy of Trump, and the Russian's desire to have sanctions lifted. The book tells a story of billions looted from the Russian economy, of murder, and of the consequent birth of the US congressional Magnitsky Act, authorizing sanctions against Russian oligarchs. I read a lot, and this is the most amazing book I've read in a long time! I bought a dozen copies for my friends, and I've never done that before! The author wrote it as his best shot at not getting murdered by Putin, as it would now be obvious to the world who did it.

Comment Re:Other than Brother... (Score 2) 387

My Brother laserjet (HL-L2360D) has a "setting" which will override the "cartridge is empty" message. That is to say, it will warn that the cartridge is empty, but it will keep printing forever. That is good, as shaking the cartridge and keeping an eye on it gives a few extra weeks worth of printing. It is not an obvious setting, but it is there!! Of course, a day will come when the printing starts to get light, and then of course, need to change the cartridge. But I am happy to take responsibility for a few wasted "light" pages in order to get many weeks more out of a cartridge than the warning claims.

Comment I distribute community event videos on DVD (Score 1) 385

I video plays, variety shows and other presentations put on by the members of our community, and burn the videos to DVD's playable in DVD players, so that the recipients can watch them on TV. I feel badly about using DVD's because the videos are at least 1920x1080 (and 4k capable), so they are dumbed down to 720x480 for the DVD's. But people like to play them in their DVD players and share their activities with their families, so they are very popular. I am planning for the future to switch to Blu-Ray, or even flash drives, but few in my group have Blu-Ray disk players yet. I have a printer which prints an image on the DVD's, so they look very spiffy, though I distribute them at cost. It is a fully volunteer effort. I might add that I use the PowerDirector video editing software which is wonderful for a non-professional, an unpaid plug :).

Comment Recommend "Clean Install" of Windows 10 (Score 1) 376

I "upgraded" my very fast Windows 7 laptop to Windows 10. I have an HP 17" Envy laptop with I7 8-core cpu and a 256 GB SSD (with 1TB HD). Under Windows 7, I always got a phenomenal 20 second full boot! After upgrading to Windows 10, my boot dragged out to over 40 seconds, and continued getting even slower. Worse, simple screens like the File Explorer or my photo editing program (Paint.Net) would take 15 or even 30 seconds to load. Under Windows 7, they had just snapped open. After several months of being disappointed by the deteriorating performance of my upgraded Windows 10 system, I bit the bullet, and went through all the hassles of a clean install of Windows 10 (downloading the ISO, reinstalling all my programs and data, etc). WOW!!! I got my 20 second boot back, all my programs just snap open, etc. Goes to show, the old wisdom that a "clean install" is just better than an "upgrade install" really applies to Windows 10 as well. This is significant because I will wager the vast majority of of Windows computers out there that were "upgraded" remain in the "upgraded" state, that is, very few (because of inertia or lack of know how) will have done the extra step of a "clean install". This would mean that the vast majority of upgrades are likely having a slightly to significantly inferior experience with Windows 10 than they would with a clean install. And most won't even realize it. This is admittedly a problem that will disappear automatically, as machines wear out and new ones come with Windows 10 installed. But it still affects tens of millions of folks.

Comment Good after my "Standard Windows 10 Protocol" (Score 5, Informative) 376

I'm a retired computer guy, and I support a couple of large communities of retired folks, basically old people with computers. Naturally most got upgraded to Windows 10, whether by choice or by MS trickery. I have developed a standard protocol after which Windows 10 operates much like an improved Windows 7, and it works very well, and is less confusing for my customers (and me :)).

* Local Account - Ensure a local account, preferably with no password, boot straight to desktop
* Install and configure Chrome (or Firefox) - Add ad-blocking, turn on and populate bookmark bar, make friendly for user (I use "Disconnect" and "Ublock Origin")
* Install Classic Shell - Friendlier Start Button
* Install Spybot Anti-Beacon - Turns off a lot of Windows telemetry (fancy word for spying on the consumer's dime)
* Hide Cortana and unpin Store from the Task Bar
* Install old Windows 7 style Games - Available from 3rd party sources, Spider Solitaire anyone?
* Turn off as much of Quick Access as possible, and unpin what's there, and change the Options to default to "This PC" instead - QA is not controllable by the user, try to remove a dead link, I couldn't. Using "This PC" is dead reliable.

Comment Been using Joomla for 8 years (Score 1) 222

I've been Using Joomla since the pre-Joomla 1.5 days, so have seen the arc of development. The current 3.5 version is light years ahead of the 1.5 era, especially in terms of the user experience and upgrades. I am a retired computer database admin, but do not have MySQL or PHP skills. If I was well experienced in those two languages, I might be a lover of Drupal. But without PHP background, Drupal is daunting. So that took it off my plate. I rarely get into the PHP code, though I've dabbled in replacing a line now and then. Mostly, I use and revel in the menuing system, which like Wordpress, lets the entire edifice be managed.

It is worth mentioning that Wordpress is the most popular CMS in the world, at 26.4% of the entire Internet (gazillions of sites), that Joomla is second at 2.6% of the entire Internet (millions of sites), that Drupal is third at 2.2% of the entire Internet (millions of sites),and the rest come in at or under 1%. Wordpress is a blog-specific CMS, while Joomla and Drupal are general purpose CMS's.

If I were upgrading a 1.5 site to a current 3.5 site, it depends on how complex the site is, specifically how many articles. If less than 100, I would do it manually, and copy each article by hand. Larger than that, and I would use a migration tool. Look here: That being said, I have wasted a lot of time on migration tools, and I usually opt for a manual rebuild. Ultimately, it is faster and much cleaner. Think of a Windows "upgrade" vs a Windows "clean install". Similar experience. Easier but clunkier :).

What I love about Joomla 3.5, over 1.5 is that the upgrade process has gone from ugly to good. In Joomla 3.5, you simply look in two places, the "Joomla Component" to upgrade the Joomla Core, and the "Extensions/Update" manager to upgrade all extensions. To upgrade, simply click the "Upgrade now" button, and "Voila", the upgrades are completed within a few seconds. Light years ahead of the manual processes needed in Joomla 1.5. This means ongoing administration is quick and simple. It is worth mentioning too, that Joomla 3.5 is completely designed to be automatically scalable from Smartphones to Tablets to PC's, where Joomla 1.5 was strictly PC's.

Manually, I would first create an empty 3.5 site. I would then install a current template and try to configure it to look as much like the original as I could. This actually will be the hardest step, and the most artistic. Then I would first create and copy over all the articles and categories as needed, then later the menues. The BEST way to copy articles is to switch to the HTML view, and copy the pure HTML code. Trying to copy the wysiwyg view is never satisfactory. Articles can be copied at the speed of CTRL-C, CTRL-V, which is pretty fast. Then I would create the menu structure and assign the articles and categories, as in the original. Finally, I would examine all the addons, the components, modules and plugins that were added to the original. It will be necessary to find the 3.5 equivalents. Install each one, and configure it as close as you can to the original.

I usually copy the images for the "image" folder lock stock and barrel to the "images" folder on the new site. While Joomla 3.5 does away from the need for the "stories" folder (it was required in Joomla 1.5, not needed but ok in Joomla 3.5), it will still be true that the copied over articles all point to the "images/stories" folder. So unless you want to modify every image link in every article, you can just leave them as they are.

I might add that the two extensions that I always insist on are the JCE editor component and the Akeeba backup component. Both are free, and superb. Good luck however you go.

Comment Good for the Blind (Score 2) 35

It came as a great surprise to me when a friend who had become totally blind was using an iPhone. The smooth featureless surface seemed the last thing that would be useful to a blind person. But there is a whole subculture of apps for the blind for the iPhone, which, "surprise", were voice activated. He could use the phone to navigate the streets in his neighborhood when going for walks. He could order books for the blind over the phone, delivered to the phone, and listened to over the phone (using Bluetooth headphones). An amazing app is called "taptapsee", to identify objects. He just pointed the phone's camera at an object, double tapped the phone, and it spoke the name of the object!! Another app lets the blind person leave "notes" for himself. There are apps that will tell him what color an object is, using the camera of course. With one amazing app, he can point the phone at paper money, and it will tell him the denomination! I don't know if Android has all these capabilities, but why not? (A funny thing happened with my friend. His iPhone went completely blank, ie, the surface display refused to come up. This didn't bother him, but his wife couldn't see what was what. Turned out that it is a "feature" of an iPhone that if you triple-tap the surface, it will turn the surface display off! Took two trips to the Apple store to discover that one.) Bottom line, there are ten times as many apps for the blind for the iPhone than for the Android. (I counted 125 apps for the blind for the iPhone on one site, and could only find a dozen or so listed for the Android - a quick and non-scientific search :)). I seriously hope this will be the beginning of a surge so that Android can catch up. I am a very happy Android user, myself.

Comment Re:Contradiction (Score 1) 62

A built in ad blocker would be the ONLY reason I would ever try Edge. It seems designed to sell MS products and ads. I will remain forever wedded to Firefox, and if it goes away, then Chrome. With good strong protection from tracking and ads of course. I am of the belief that ads try to replace my own reasoning with the reasoning of the ad. I find it intrusive and offensive, unless I have sought out the ad.

Comment BART Engineer Anecdote (Score 0, Offtopic) 474

My uncle (Willard Matthews) was one of the design engineers during construction of the BART system. This is a completely non-BART related anecdote, but as a young man I spent the day the US landed on the moon (July 16, 1969) at my uncle's house in Oakland, California, and we were mesmerized watching the moon landing. It seemed such a magical event. For folks who weren't fortunate to watch that, one of the great uncertainties was whether the astronauts would simply disappear under countless feet of regolith fluff. They didn't, but it was a great unknown until they actually landed. He was very proud of his work on BART, and remained with the system as an engineer for his entire life.

Comment Don't want ads doing "reasonable thinking" for me (Score 1) 317

The best definition I've heard of ads is that they are the advertiser trying to substitute "their version" of reasonable thinking about a product (Wow, it's so incredible I have to have, like any reasonable person would!) for my own reasonable thinking. Most modern folks are so used to having their thinking hijacked by ads that they don't even realize what is going on. But when it sinks it, it is disgusting and immoral. I can do my own thinking, thank you. And I am good enough at Internet searches to find what I want when I want. So ad blockers are just preventing advertising from hijacking your thinking to their way of thinking. Good riddance! The personal cost to me of having my precious attention hijacked by advertisers is not factored into their thinking, but morally, it should be. I ought to be able to spend my attention where I choose, not where they choose.

Comment Re:Somewhere... (Score 2) 231

PJ!!!! Live in Peace, and I worship the ground you walk on. You were such a light in the darkness, a blazing beacon, showing us the way, a rallying cry for sanity and clarity against the FUD from every evil corner of the world (SCO, Microsoft, etc, etc). You were the center of our world for years, and we miss you, but glad you are in the world! Thank you forever, and we all drink a giant toast to you, hear hear!!! :).

Comment Re:Hire some new coders...EVERYDAY READER ALSO (Score 1) 1310

Just wanted to add that I also have been an everyday reader since the late 1990's. My deepest regret is that I couldn't remember my login from then, so I had to make a new one about 10 years ago. Darn :). I haven't made many posts, but love this site!!!! I agree with almost all the comments here on what makes this site so compelling. I like posts about FOSS, Linux, etc, and issues surrounding them. (Glad SCO died the terrible death it deserved!!). I enjoy articles about cutting edge issues and tech, and hope Slashdot lives long and prospers.

Submission + - SPAM: Ancestry to Retire Family Tree Maker

C0L0PH0N writes: After more than 20 years growing an avid genealogy customer base, is abruptly discontinuing their flagship desktop product, "Family Tree Maker". Arguably, this product and its integration with has been one of the most powerful engines of the growth in popularity of genealogy in recent years. Here is their startling announcement, giving users very little time to come to terms with this (announced Dec 8th, takes effect Dec 31st), and offering virtually no advice or guidance on how to cope:

"As we strive to provide our customers with the best experience possible, we are constantly evaluating our services and product offerings. True to this focus, we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide new content, product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015 ."

What is obviously up to is trying to abandon the desktop for the cloud. This decision has brought a firestorm of criticism on the company's "blog" comment platform, with nearly 4,000 negative comments in the first 7 hours! The "blog" is here: [spam URL stripped].... Competitors are wasting no time, the (seriously quite remarkable) family tree software by Legacy, for example, is already courting Family Tree Maker's abandoned customers, and this has all happened today (Dec 8): [spam URL stripped]....

Comment Find a Retired Computer Guy in the Neighborhood (Score 5, Interesting) 193

I'm a retired computer guy (71), and I do a ton of work for my senior citizen neighbors. I suggest a $20/hr "donation" to the R&R fund for me and my wife, for an hour or two of services that would cost them $80-$150 at any computer shop. If the person is really poor, or doesn't tumble that I accept "donations", then I just do the work for free. I go to their homes, and fix their problems (all over the map :). I am viewed as a local treasure by all the old folks I know, as most of them haven't a clue how to fix their problems. I don't advertise because I get enough by word-of-mouth to keep me as busy as I care to be, as I do other things too :). But if your parents have a retired computer guy in their neighborhood, perhaps they can establish a relationship with him/her. I would work for free, as I don't really need the money, but on the other hand, it gets old, and the $20 helps pay for a dinner out or a movie for me and my wife. She used to complain about my being gone, so I came up with the brilliant idea, I split the money with her. So if I'm gone for a 2 hour computer call, and I come home with $40, she gets half. Now when someone calls for help, she smiles and says, "off you go". Bottom line, a little bit of money makes everyone happy :).

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