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Comment I Was There... (Score 1) 524 a consultant ON the IBM Team designing the first (floppy-based) "Personal Computer." But, there were already many companies on the market with their own "microcomputers." IBM didn't "invent" the personal computer, they invented the NAME "Personal Computer."

And, FYI, the first prototype had two floppy disk drives on one SIDE, so the "front" would look "clean." Then somebody noticed that the "return" on L-shaped desks--where they'd likely be installed--would block access to those slots, so the second prototype had just one slot...on the front. That's what went to market...with a monochrome green display. It wasn't until the "Personal Computer XT" (the second model) that they even put a hard disk drive (a whopping 10 MB!) inside.

Some people probably ought to consider reading Wikipedia (

Also, Microsoft created the first DOS operating system for the original PC, and has been responsible for all the buggy operating system software they've sold since then, up to and including Windows 10. That's the price we pay for an "open ecosystem," instead of the "closed ecosystem" of Apple products. We have access to a lot more software options in the "open" ecosystem, but we--as a consumer community--have never, ever really held Microsoft's feet to the fire of quality, and they've made a fortune selling broken products, then convincing us to climb aboard the "upgrade train," always with promises that "this time, it will be better." (See higuita's post, above.) Now, Microsoft has (recently) changed all their "User Agreement" terms (which you accept by using their products) so that we no longer have even that right!

Comment So Far, All the Netflix Content Is A Total DUD! (Score 1) 187

They're going to have to start upping the quality of content. Their rude rip-off of the Brits' "House of Cards" has been a long, drawn-out mess, with none of the political logic in the original...and Spacey is LOUSY as a corrupt politician. We watch a lot more British shows than we do Netflix, and what we DO enjoy on Netflix are recent series we wouldn't otherwise get (think Miss Fisher's Mysteries, or Doc Martin).

If they favor their own content, licensing will be cheaper, but they'll bear ALL the production costs, and with a corporate cheapskate like Netflix that means YouTube quality scripts, and production values.

Comment This is related to another HP Scam I've Identified (Score 3, Informative) 387

The very popular HP m451 is a Color Laser with a very attractive price, but the cartridges (e.g. the black CE410X) is priced at HP at $103.99 each. I was replacing that, and the three color cartridges about every six months. But, I got suspicious. So, when the messages started showing up on my computer about the toner being low, I decided to ignore them. Then the printer started demanding I press the "OK" button to print because, it claimed, the "Black cartridge is Very Low." After I punched the button, the next message suggests that print quality will be poor, and "could become gray."

However, I have now printed more than a ream and a half (about 750 pages) with not a single flaw in the quality of black printing without changing the cartridge (yet). It is clearly a scam.

I think there's a specific intent to delude customers into buying excessively-priced cartridges LONG before they're empty, as a means to increase HP's supplies income at the expense of customers. By charging excessive prices, and rigging their printer software to emit scary messages long before the toner is exhausted, HP is reaping huge income increases. Messrs. Hewlett and Packard are spinning in their graves, because the company has now sunk so low as to scam their customers with specifically designed software to encourage them to throw away still usable toner cartridges.

If others can share similar stories, this seems ripe for a class-action lawyer to file a legitimate case of fraud against HP for designing the software to try to scare people into buying over-priced cartridges when the existing cartridge is far from empty.

Comment Re:Why would you want tech companies in the downto (Score 2) 305

#1. Because they provide tax revenues from many businesses that otherwise would enjoy income only in the evenings (e.g., restaurants).

#2. Because they work inside existing buildings, without crowding out retail "frontage" on main streets.

#3. Because being together creates interchange of information and ideas, leading to even more new tech startsup.

#4: Because programming (aka coding) is becoming embedded in the mid-level jobs of nearly everyone working at a desk in that city.

#5: Because these four things improve Palo Alto's sales tax (8.75%) revenues, in addition to major local property taxes from those very businesses.

I suspect the writer of the original story doesn't understand the issues, and if there IS a "zoning regulation banning firms whose 'primary business is research and development, including software coding,' it's likely to be challenged, successfully, in court, on First Amendment grounds. The proof would be on Palo Alto city government to show the putative harm to University Ave. businesses. And, that their neglect of that ordinance for decades has been their own fault.

Comment Re:Come the fuck on (Score 1) 366

Despite your vulgarity, there are another options: I always keep one of my three backup drives in the trunk of my car (the second is standby, the first is connected, and I rotate them regularly). The car is almost always with me, and the first thing I'd do in case of fire is to get the car out of the garage.

If that's not adequate, you can rent a cheap safety deposit box at your local bank. I did that for years, especially when the data included a lot of client data on them (I'm now retired).

Comment Microsoft Has Abandoned Quality for $$$ (Score 1) 405

I've used Linux and Windows (and Unix, and OS/360 and IBSYS, etc.) for years, and have several clients on Windows.

The key issues for them are industry-specific software products at the core of their businesses which, without, they would have a significantly smaller number of business opportunities. These products are often poorly maintained, or not updated very often, and so require very strictly-configured Windows systems. Wine (or other attempts to emulate Windows) is not a solution; it merely introduces even more problems that need more frequent attention.

I've always argued for Windows over Apple, because, my reasoning was, Windows is an "open" ecosystem, while Apple is a "closed" system. Now that M$ is closing up its' systems, giving us less stability, and forcing updates we don't want or need (e.g., "telemetry," which is just a cover word for "spying"), that distinction is significantly eroded.
The "one-size fits all" approach to Windows maintenance leaves me scared, and unhappy.

We still need stable operating systems, delivered by honorable people trying to do their best in a constantly-moving field, and I fear that we (and include myself) have let M$ corrupt themselves and their products by flocking to them despite rampant, unmitigated bugs and defects accepted without rebellion. For instance: Look at the sad state of affairs in the inability of huge fractions of the Windows 7 and 8 customer populations who can't get Windows Update to run reliably

The market is ripe for a new commercial (not open-sourced) operating system that can become the new standard bearer, because I doubt Microsoft will reverse their trend; they're capitalizing on past success, and tempting future failure.

I would prefer an open-sourced solution (for security reasons), but time has proven that there is little incentive for improving and stabilizing products that are good, but not rewarded with huge income. While I appreciate the Linux movement, and the common source of kernels, there is too little invested in pre-release testing, because there's no money...and it's been so successful, M$ clearly decided, last year, with Windows 10, to follow that same lead. M$'s twist is to make revenue from the final product. So far, not one of my clients (and I) have found a need to move to Windows 10, largely because of Microsoft's changes in licensing agreement, and their abandonment of insistence on quality in their paid-for and delivered products.

Fortunately (for me), I've decided to retire at the end of this year, so I'll stick with my existing infrastructure at home 'til they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. My clientele are fearful, because the alternatives they've interviewed to take my place are generally unskilled, and barely able to change batteries in their laptops. So, part of the problem is the acceptance of these declining standards Microsoft USED to uphold, by the self-proclaimed "techies" who are too brainwashed to understand the problems they have to get around to keep business systems running, all the time.

Comment Re:I don't understand the text security angle (Score 1) 46

Only an A.C. can make this claim. Fully one third of people DON'T want or need a cellphone, and of those, about half can't afford it. Further, as others have noted, many people don't even KNOW HOW to enable SMS on their cellphone. This is gubmint bureaucracy at it's worst: MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY system design. They can use email, and anyone who access My SSA through the internet has an email address...or can get one, free.

Comment Braindead SSA (Score 1) 46

I've tried to address this issue with SSA: One-third of Americans have no cellphone service. That's all SSA will allow!

Most banks do this with an eMail account: If they're uncertain (e.g., you've been offline for a long time), they'll send you a random string of digits you must provide back on the login page, so they know you're YOU.

But, the SSA decided that if you don't have a cellphone, you don't deserve access to My SSA at all.

My guess: The contractor they engaged to implement the recently mandated two-factor authentication made a side deal with AT&T or Verizon to get extra money by only implementing something from which they financially benefit!

Please write to SSA and tell them this is not a way to treat citizens...they MUST implement the email option in their two-factor authentication, in my opinion.

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