Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Lots of Luck (Score 1) 144

If this lawsuit reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, Google wins. There is a justice on the Supreme Court who used to head the U.S. Equal-Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While in that position, he sat on over 20,000 age-discrimination complaints until the statute of limitations expired. If he had been an attorney in private practice or a non-judge government attorney, he would have been disbarred. Who is he? Hint: Anita Hill was a side issue.

Comment Streaming Radio (Score 1) 316

I listen to streaming radio, plus one non-broadcast source. These are mostly classical streams; but I also listen to Greek, big-band, Irish, and news streams. A list of streams is near the bottom of my Web page at

I listen to streams without capturing them. Depending on the characteristics of the stream, I use RealPlayer, VideoLAN, or Winamp. To me, Windows Media Player® is an abomination; I do not use it. On vary rare occasions, I go to YouTube; sometimes I capture a YouTube stream and save it on my PC.

I have a large collection of vinyl, cassettes, and CDs. Sometimes, I play the CDs on my PC. The others I can only play when my wife is not watching TV since the cassette deck and vinyl turntable share speakers with the TV. I also listen to a classical radio station (KUSC) or a news radio station (KNX) in my car, but hills surrounding my house make radio reception inside my house problematical.

As for those who claim to be old (e.g., in their 40s), I will be 75 in less than two months.

Comment Public OpenPGP Keys (Score 1) 637

I download a public OpenPGP key from a key server. Each key consists of over 2,000 apparently meaningless upper- and lower-case letters, numerals, and the symbols + and /.

I select a 8-10 character string from within the key. Before using the result, I check to make sure that the special characters + and / are allowed in the password. If the string has those characters but they are not allowed in the password, I delete them and extend the string with additional characters from the key.

For more information about OpenPGP, including links to key servers, see my

Comment Protecting Against Loss: Local (Score 1) 229

To protect against loss, I use Acronis True Image to backup locally.

I have two physical hard drives. One drive is an SSD partitioned into my C-drive and B-drive; both of these are for software. I have Windows on the C-drive and try to install all non-Windows software on the B-drive. However, some applications insist they must be on a C-drive. The other drive is a spinner partitioned into my E-drive and F-drive. The E-drive is for data. The F-drive is a "recovery drive", which I hope I never have to use.

Once a week on a three-week cycle, I manually do backups. In week #1, I backup all of the C-drive and incrementally backup changes to the E-drive and B-drive. In week #2, I backup all of the B-drive and and incrementally backup changes to the E-drive and C-drive. In week #3, I backup all of the E-drive and and incrementally backup changes to the B-drive and C-drive. I retain all of the current three-week cycle of backups and the prior cycle of backups, deleting the older complete cycle for only one drive when I do a new full backup of that drive, using a disc-eraser application for deletion. The F-drive never changes, so I do not back it up.

I am using less than 20% of the E-drive, so I write all backups to the E-drive. I then use PGP to encrypt the latest backups, both full and incremental. I move the encrypted backups to a portable hard drive, which I store remotely from my PC.

I exclude photos from my weekly backup of my E-drive; I backup the photos separately, only when I have more than a few photos. The backup of photos is copied to the portable hard drive without encryption. I archive software installer files and files of fonts on a flash drive; this I backup directly to the portable hard drive without encryption when there are more than just a few. For both photos and software installers, I follow a four-phase backup (full, incremental, incremental, incremental) instead of a three-phase.

When I delete backups for a "drive" from my E-drive, I also delete the corresponding backups from the portable drive.

By the way, for protecting against malware, I have a anti-virus application always running in the background. Before installing new or updated software or opening an unexpected E-mail attachment, I scan the file with that application and also with two other anti-malware applications. I have Microsoft's software firewall enabled, and I have a hardware firewall in my LAN router. Nevertheless, I fell victim to a virus late in 2014, which required reinstalling Windows 7 and all my applications. Fortunately, my data were untouched; and none were lost.

Comment Minimizing Tracking (Score 5, Interesting) 206

The short answer to the original question is "Yes, they can and will track you."

However, you can making tracking very difficult. The following is what I do. This for those who use Firefox or SeaMonkey as their browser on a Windows system. NOTE WELL the exception.

1. Mark the file cookies.sqlite as read-only. For "smooth" Web browsing, I do want some cookies. To set or update them, I terminate my browser, mark cookies read-write, launch my browser to visit ONLY the Web site for which I want cookies, terminate my browser to eliminate session-only cookies, and restore the read-only setting for cookies.sqlite. Web site might act as if they were setting cookies, but those cookies are lost when I terminate my browser.

2. Disable geolocation. For all of my profiles, I insert the following into file user.js:
                  user_pref("geo.enabled", false);
  The semi-colon (;) at the end of the line is mandatory. You can insert an adjacent comment line indicating why you did this; just begin the comment with two virgules (//).

3. Install the Secret Agent extension from Each time I request a Web page, my outgoing Internet headers are different. Some sites that try to use those headers to determine my location have me bouncing all over the world. Every time I go to Panopticlick at, I get a different result. Two NOTES: (1) Because some Web sites require consistent user agents as you navigate through them, I disabled the extension's capability to vary my user agent string. (2) Because Firefox now requires extensions to be signed by Mozilla and the developer of Secret Agent refuses to submit his extension for signature, this cannot be installed in Firefox. Unsigned extensions can still be installed in SeaMonkey.

Comment Problem Is NOT In GPS But In the Mapping Services (Score 1) 622

With GPS, you can accurately tell your latitude, longitude, and altitude within a very few feet. However, commercial GPS mapping services often contain wrong data.

Visitors using GPS to locate my home for the first time from my address often travel up a collector street and then turn right. I am a left turn from that collector street. I have seen this happen with contractors and airport shuttle vans.

The problem lies within the maps used by the GPS services, not with the GPS satellite system. This is quite understandable since Web-based mapping services have similar errors.

Comment Books (Score 1) 238

I can suggest two books.

"The World of Mathematics" is a four-volume set edited by James R. Newman. This might be somewhat dated, but it should still be relevant. Besides mathematical essays, the set also contains biographies of mathematicians and histories of mathematical concepts.

Any book by Martin Gardiner, who wrote the monthly "Mathematical Games" column for "Scientific American" magazine for 25 years. See and

While some of the contents of either recommendations might be beyond the understanding of your nephew, he will still understand some of each and find them interesting.

Comment It Depends on Why You Are Using Hash Codes (Score 3, Informative) 87

For use in encryption or for verifying that a file is authentic, SHA1 and MD5 should definitely be avoided.

When transmitting a file over a LAN, WAN, or the Internet, however, SHA1 and MD5 are still useful to ensure that the file has not been corrupted (e.g., packets lost). Also, those two hashes can be used to determine if two files in the same system are the same.

Comment Users Can Make Tracking Difficult (Score 2) 127

I use the Mozilla-based browser, SeaMonkey. Anyone using Firefox should also be able to do the following:

1. On my PC, I marked cookies.sqlite as read only. Web sites might think they are setting cookies, but those cookies disappear as soon as I terminate my browser. For sites where I want to keep cookies, I terminate my browser, change cookies.sqlite to read-write, start a new browser session, visit only the one site, use the Cookie Manager to delete unwanted cookies, terminate my browser, and change cookies.sqlite back to read-only.

2. I installed the AdBlock Plus extension for my browser. I do not use any of the subscription sets of filters. Instead, I create my own filters.

3. I installed the Secret Agent extension from for my browser. This sends ever-changing request headers when I request a Web page. Each time I request a new Web page or reload the current page, the Web server thinks I am a different user. This often makes Web sites respond as if I were in a different nation.

4. I occasionally capture the response headers when I request a Web page. If I see responses from unrelated domains, I check the Web site's privacy policy. I successfully made a bank and a credit union remove hidden responses to Facebook that violated their privacy policies. For the credit union, I had to file a formal complaint with their federal regulatory agency to get a satisfactory response.

5. I often use anti-malware applications to scan for tracking cookies, deleting any that are found.

Comment Clear Out Files You Do Not Want Exposed (Score 1) 324

1. Backup the data files to a single backup file.

  2. Encrypt the backup file using an OpenPGP application (e.g., PGP, Gnu Privacy Guard). Software should not have sensitive data so it does not need to be encrypted.

3. Upload the encrypted backup file to a cloud service whose servers are in a nation that will not respond to a police warrant from the nation whose police worry you.

4. Use a strong eraser application to erase the original files, the backup file, and the encrypted backup file on the laptop.

Comment Leap-Seconds Existed More Than 45 Years Ago (Score 5, Insightful) 291

Leap-seconds were properly handled in computer software before most of today's software engineers and programmers were born.

Back in 1969, I started working on a software system that already handled leap-seconds quite smoothly. At that time, keeping UTC aligned with the rotation of the earth involved introducing fractional seconds and also having UTC seconds NOT the same duration as atomic seconds (TAI). In 1972, this was simplified by having UTC seconds exactly the same duration as TAI seconds and (after an initial fractional leap) introducing only leaps that were full seconds. The software in the system on which I was working DID NOT HAVE TO CHANGE!!.

Internally, the system on which I was working -- which evolved and continued in use to operate military space satellites for over 20 years -- kept all time in TAI, which never has leap-seconds. A relatively small routine converted in either direction between UTC for displays and TAI for internal time. Another small routine converted from UTC to UT! to sidereal time, the latter more closely reflecting the rotation of the earth, which is gradually slowing and also has predictable periodic fluctuations. The purpose of all this was that we needed to know very accurately the spot on the rotating earth directly under the orbiting space satellite. The position of the satellite was known in TAI while the surface of the earth was rotating very closely to sidereal time.

Also note that the network time protocol (NTP) also accounts for leap-seconds and has done so for decades.

I can only conclude that the current attempt to do away with leap-seconds is a result of lazy software "professionals" trying to shift blame for their ignorance about leap-seconds.

Comment Re:Not for Windows? (Score 1) 132

I only use those stratum 1 servers that (a) either serve my geographical area or are worldwide, (b) that have "open access", and (c) do not require me to notify them that I am using them. Also, I only use those stratum 2 servers that meet the same criteria.

The "Rules of Engagement" state: "There are many scenarios where the above rules may not apply, especially ... clients with intermittent connectivity ..." Given that I disconnect from the Internet whenever I walk away from my PC and I shut down my PC whenever I leave my house or go to sleep, I am indeed a client "with intermittent connectivity".

Comment Re:Not for Windows? (Score 2) 132

The Windows capability to synchronize my PC clock depends on a single time server. The default is Microsoft's own, which is not always up.

SocketWatch does not tie me to one particular time server the way the Windows capability does. SocketWatch has a list of servers, which I have edited. My list now has over 200 entries. Per my option settings, SocketWatch queries the top five entries from the list hourly, scoring each entry primarily on how quickly the server responds. The server with the best (lowest) score is then used to reset my PC clock. During that process, the servers in the list are sorted according to their latest scores with the lowest score at the top. Thus, a time server that was in the top five but has problems is replaced with a server that has a better score.

My list includes some stratum 1 servers, which are atomic clocks. Microsoft's is a stratum 2 server, which means it is not a clock but instead is a server that gets its time by synchronizing with stratum 1 servers. Thus, I can get synchronization more accurately than provided by Microsoft's default server.

Slashdot Top Deals

VMS must die!