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Comment Re:No longer all the news that fits (Score 4, Interesting) 408

Elections are never a sure thing.

Absolutely true. But the NYT (and others) was not reporting the possibility of a Hillary win, they were debating the size of the landslide that she was going to win. That's why readers were so stunned. The NYT had not only not reported on the possibility of a Trump win, they had openly, and publicly, dismissed it.

This was a repeat of the infamous Pauline Kael line back in 1980, where Reagan's victory over Carter stunned the NYT, because "no one I know voted for Reagan". If a reporter cannot claim to have met a single person who voted for a president that wins in a landslide, they are living in a bubble and need to get out more. And that's the crux of their problem - they are living in an insular bubble, and they're only marginally aware of it. The lack of awareness alone damages their credibility.

For a news source that claims to be authoritative, not being aware of its' own shortcomings shows significant ignorance. And who's going to trust an ignorant news source?

Comment No longer all the news that fits (Score 5, Insightful) 408

The problem is that the NYT no longer meets their motto of "all the news that fits, we print" (apparently it's not "fit to print", but that's a quibble).

Rightly or wrongly (and I'd argue wrongly), they've embraced "advocacy journalism". Having a monoculture is never a good thing, because it renders the entire organization vulnerable to a common flaw. The NYT embraces diversity in every way, except in the most important one: thought. Politically, they are a monoculture, and that hurts them.

The problem isn't that lockstep ideology renders their editorial positions predictable; that's fine. It's the fact that it affects their news coverage, and it affects it negatively. When I'm reading a news story, I shouldn't be able to tell what the writer's opinions on the matter are, and yet in far too many cases, it's obvious. Worse, it's not only affected how stories are covered, but whether they get covered at all.

The most damning criticism of the NYT I've heard was a friend of mine who cancelled her subscription a few years ago. Her reason was that she was "tired of hearing people discussing controversies I'd never heard of". When newspapers decide not to report on a story because they feel it might empower their ideological opponents, they're not being reporters, they're being advocates. There's nothing wrong with advocacy, but you should at least be honest about it.

And, as the saying goes, "that's how you get Trump". How could an organization the size of NYT get the election so wrong? Because they were looking at it with blinders on. They may have put on the blinders intentionally, but their readers didn't. And yet their readers still suffered the effects of the blinders, too.

Comment Re:I still don't want it (Score 1) 280

No, I spend $100 back in 1989 (when it was called 4DOS) because it allowed me to do a lot of things that the DOS command shell couldn't. And then 4OS/2 came out, and I could use the same scripts on my DOS and OS/2 boxes. And then 4NT came out (before it evolved into Take Command), and I got that.

I said I prefer it, because it allows me to use the strengths of the platform I'm on. Things like korn and bash are great on Solaris or Linux, but ports of them to Windows are dependent on the underlying tools that come with them, such as Cygwin. I can do more, faster, in TCC on Windows than I can in bash on Windows.

If your uncle Joe is using the command line and Windows 10, switching to PowerShell is probably a lot more painful than switching to TCC/LE. There is a free lite version. It's not as powerful as the commercial edition, of course, but it's still better than the default command shell, and, IMO, better than PowerShell.

But it you want to continue cursing the darkness, go ahead. It's your choice.

Comment Re:I still don't want it (Score 1) 280

Out of curiosity, have you ever opened powershell and started issuing dos/cmd commands?


Personally, I don't use either PowerShell or command shell, much preferring JPSoft's far superior Take Command to both of them. However, when I have had to use PowerShell, I've often used the "help" command, which is markedly different from the command shell's.

In PowerShell, type "help" and then type "cmd /c help" and see the difference. For those who rarely use the command shell, switching to PowerShell will not make life simpler.

Comment Nothing but the name (Score 5, Insightful) 58

People salivating over this should remember that Nokia has already released an Android; the N1. That was two years ago. Was it a good tablet? By all accounts, it was excellent. Did it make a massive effect on the market? It barely made a ripple, and was quickly forgotten. And this is a spinoff of that Nokia.

People who are expecting Nokia to come roaring back are going to be disappointed. I'd love to see some new of the old Nokia magic myself, but like Ashton-Tate, Borland, Sun Microsystems, and the like, their time has sadly passed. Nokia was exceptional at making quality feature phones, and some really smart stuff went into their smartphones (I had a 5800 and loved it), but their skills didn't map to the mass market smartphone market. Like Blackberry, they were still selling phones with some computer features, while the rest of the market was selling hand-held computers that happened to make phone calls.

Fortunately, they appear to be making tentative steps. Maybe they'll come out with some cool features and give Samsung some competition. I hope so, but I'm certainly not expecting them to become one of the big three phone/tablet vendors any time soon.

Comment Re:Caps Lock used to power a huge lever. (Score 3, Interesting) 698

For those interested in making the shift key act like a typewriter, I use this snippet. Double tap (within 500ms) either shift key, and it enables shift lock; a single tap disables it:

      if A_PriorHotkey = Shift
            if A_TimeSincePriorHotkey 500
                  SetCapsLockState, on

      SetCapsLockState, on
      keywait, CapsLock
      SetCapsLockState, off

Comment Re:You Don't (Score 2, Informative) 384

(This is almost a universal truth. You can quit your job, and come back as a consultant and the same management will fall all over itself doing what you recommend. You just have to give them long enough to forget you recommended the same damn thing as an employee).

It's not always necessary to wait that long.

"Advice is worth what you pay for it", appears to be the rule.

I worked at a Fortune 50 outfit, working on choosing a vendor for a major contract. Since the contract would eventually be worth at least seven figures, we spent about 18 months doing competitive analysis and proper due diligence. Ten vendors (A-J) were whittled down to five (A-E), and then finally to two vendors (A and B), who each ended up running their systems on site in the final execution round.

Vendor A wasn't popular politically, but won on technical merit. Vendor B was a serious player, and had previously held 80% of the market in that segment, but (a) had fallen behind technically, and (b) their presentation had truly been Keystone Kops level bad, unfortunately. They simply didn't take it seriously; they expected to win on name recognition, so they basically just phoned it in.

Ultimately, my customer selected Vendor A. I had to write a competitive analysis for my boss to justify my rankings, and I wrote about 20 pages, detailing the scoring criteria I used, my observations and analysis, etc. Some of the vendors were extremely interested in this (vendor C, in particular, since they just missed the final round by a whisker), and my customer approved my giving each vendor a subset of my report. They'd each get the criteria used and the evaluation of their bid, but not of the other vendors. I added a recommendation section to each, of the "this is what you'd have to do in order to win the bid" variety.

Vendor B basically told me/my customer what we could do with this analysis, since "they were the vendor of record for 80% of the industry", and we didn't know what we were talking about, etc. Vendor C, in contrast, flew up two guys (one business guy, one tech) to take me out to lunch/dinner and get a Vulcan Mind Meld with me; their approach was "we came in number three, what do we need to improve to be number one".

A year later, Vendor B was sitting at 20% of the market, and unlikely to hang on to that, as both Vendor A and Vendor C had passed them. And so, they brought in a consultancy firm to do a competitive analysis. Said competitive analysis cost low six figures to produce, took a team to generate, and the report was passed around at their board meeting, before being sent down from on high to the troops.

A friend of mine was at Vendor B at the time. He compared my (free) analysis with the multi hundred thousand dollar report. The difference? Mine lacked "a leather binder, buzzwords, and spelling mistakes". The most important section, the recommendations, were now commandments from on high.

Comment Re:So when will the price come down? (Score 1) 267

Well, after years as a Nokia fanboy, I finally went out and picked up cheapo Android phone last summer. I grabbed the LG Optimus One for $99 (Canadian), and I use SpeakOut wireless as my provider. It's a "pay as you go" provider, so I pay 30 cents or so a minute for phone calls, plus about $1.25 a month for 911 service. The only stipulation is that I have to top up once a year for a minimum of $25. The phone has wifi, and since I don't use data, I disabled 3G, so I get about 5-8 days battery life on average. I've been told it's not "really" a smartphone, since I don't have mobile data. Maybe not, but this setup replaces my old Palm Pilot (PDA), MP3 player, GPS (NavFree is a nice free offline GPS that works quite well, at least in my area), and alarm clock. It also happens to make and receive phone calls and the occasional SMS people send me. You're right about email, though. A 3.2" screen is pitiful for a web-based mail client, and the whole pinch/zoom thing is a pain. It will do in a pinch (like when you're in a restaurant with wifi), but I certainly cannot see pay $50 a month for the few times I want to check email or something and there's no hotspot around.

Comment Re:Eh (Score 1) 461

I certainly did, as did most of my friends. I contracted at IBM from 1990 to 1992, and I remember helping several co-workers set up home internet access. Being IBMers, they were familiar with internal email, but the internet was something new, something that they could use to connect with non-IBMers.

At the time, most international email was done though BBSes, although even as far back as 1990 or so, internet email was accessible though those gateways at those BBSes, such as Canada Remote Systems (I was user 283 :-) and Rose Media.

By 1993-1994, everyone I knew was messing with various versions of WinSock, and using FTP and Telnet. And once O'Reilly started selling their "Internet in a Box" kit, it provided one stop shopping for non-technical users to get online. At that point, Microsoft and Apple were jumping online by adding native TCP/IP and phone dialer support in their current operating systems, so pretty much anyone buying new PC, or a copy of Windows 95, was online in some capacity.

It wasn't like today, where everyone has a 7/24 connection. Most people with dialup had 20 hours a month or so, but for most non-technical people, that was enough.

Comment Re:Why update? (Score 1) 270

For things like my PC operating system, I do updates, for security reasons. But I also have an image backup of my C: drive, so if the update bricks my systems, I can unbrick it.

Other devices, such as my WDTV, O!Play, or Asus Transformer, I do not, unless (a) the update has someone thing I really, really want/need, and (b) the update is at least a month old, and I've seen positive feedback. Both Asus and WD have had firmware updates that bricked units, and the solution was to get an RMA number and send the unit back to the factory. And what benefit would this firmware update have provided, anyway? In one case, I believe it was Hebrew subtitle support; in another, support for some hard drive model I don't own. So a simple risk analysis shows that to get features I wouldn't (or can't) even use, I have the potential of breaking the existing system.

A pet peeve I have is my Asus Transformer occasionally will blithely announce that it's going to do a firmware update, and I can delay it up to three days. Then I read on forums where X% of users have bricked their units by the update. Nice, really nice. Especially when you read nonsense like "we've improved the update process, so now we actually check the MD5 of the downloaded file before reflashing the OS". You mean you didn't before?

Comment Re:Shocked. (Score 1) 851

I am on Speakout, and I should point out that they do not have, nor do they advertise, unlimited data. What they have is unlimited browsing. Only ports 80 and 443 are open, so applications other than web browsers don't work. You can read your Gmail on the gmail web site, for example, but the GMail application (with push notification doesn't work).

At this point, any number of people will rush in and point out that there are numerous proxy applications for Android (and for non-Android OSes, as well). And that's true. People do root their phones with Cyanogen (which is required for any of these proxies), install the proxy, and get it to work. I know a number who have. But I also know a number who've rooted their phone, installed the proxy, and only "sort of" got it to work. I know one guy who got his data plan working, but disabled his GPS in so doing. When he reflashed the pre-Cyanogen mod, he restored his GPS, and lost data access again.

I'm not trying to say it doesn't work, by any means. But when people say that Speakout has "unlimited data for $10 a month", it's misleading; it makes it sound like SpeakOut is offering a supported, out-of-the-box solution. It isn't. If you're comfortable rooting your phone and configuring a proxy, it can be a great solution. But of course, SpeakOut won't help you with it, the phone vendor won't help you with it, so you're pretty much on your own.

Let's be honest, if SpeakOut was selling the same thing for $10/month that Rogers/Bell/Telus are selling for $50/month or more, it wouldn't be the obscure MNVO that it is.

I should also mention that PetroCanada sells the same service, except their annual minimum is $100 compared to 7-11's $25. But if you use more than 300 minutes a year (not counting texting), you'll be spending $100 a year anyway, and there are a lot more PetroCan stations than their are 7-11s.

There's a discussion forum at for those interested in finding out more.

Comment Re:Skewed perceptions (Score 1) 960

They changed our anti-virus from Symantec, which ate about 10% CPU time when checking, to McAfee, which eats about 40%. I/O heavy processes that used to take around 2 minutes now take 8. They got McAfee free in a bundle - it's a shame about the cost to our productivity. The snoopware that checks every path on your drive - including ones inside archives (yes, including jars - we're mostly Java developers) will thrash your disk for about 20 minutes and then will consume a whole CPU core for another 10 zipping up the list to send back to base. Since the change of antivirus, reading all those files of course also thrashes the CPU. This grinds some of our machines to a halt so well that you can watch the display being rendered, one raster line at a time.

We have a similar situation. On "Virus Wednesdays", our MacAfee scanners go hog-wild, and our. pee. cees. slow. to. a. crawl. A 40% drop in performance would be nothing. Twenty minutes? These scans usually take 18 hours or more. On our build machines, the virus scan takes upwards of four days (Wed, Thu, Fri, and often part of Saturday). A normal two hour build takes over a day.

More importantly, our core application - that which we are employed to build, sell, enhance, and support, in other words, the reason for our business' existence - cannot be run, because the serial and network connections all time out. We have about a 500ms window for comm traffic, and normally it's in the 100ms-200ms range. When the virus scanner runs, those packets can take 8-10 seconds each to process, so we have a timeout rate of 100%, with resultant application failure. It's like trying to test a new web browser when the network is disconnected. And this is in loopback mode, I might add.

Initially, developers were using task manager to lower the priority of the scanner so it didn't cripple the machine. IT discovered that their end of week reports were showing that the development machines weren't completing the scan by the expected time, so they locked the process such that developers couldn't change it. So, developers started rebooting their PCs to escape the process. The next step was to have the scan restart after every reboot so that it was inescapable.

Not a day goes past without my colleague cursing because his machine is doing the bidding of the IT department instead of compiling his code.

We have the same. Since my company is currently in one of those "efficiency initiative" drives where staff can suggest to management ways to improve the company, it was suggested that maybe these performance-sapping scans could be run, like, overnight rather than in core hours? Or on a weekend? Some in my department did the math, and showed that the performance hit was effectively the same as four full time developers in terms of hours being chewed up uselessly.

The IT director's response was "since the development department is showing that they are still able to make deadlines with the virus scan running, an alternative cost saving would be to move the virus scan to non-core hours, and terminate four positions from the development department". He put that in writing, in the "efficiency initiative" wiki.

Management is now scratching their heads, inquiring as to why suggestions have dried up, and no one seems to be submitting any new ideas for efficiency savings.

Of course, management is starting to take notice, because a major customer made an urgent request, and made the mistake of asking for it on a Tuesday. Of course, the "we must ship by Friday" edict ran head first into the "virus scan on the build machine means the build can't complete until Saturday" problem, which hopefully might escalate the problem to the point where it's taken seriously. But it's a shame that it had to negatively impact a customer deliverable before it's given serious attention.

Comment Re:Delete it (Score 4, Interesting) 619

It's not your problem. Don't make it your problem.

I have a personal domain which has the same problem. My domain name is a four letter latin word (not wanting to slashdot my poor server, I won't mention the name). There's a Belgian rock band with the same name, a video game with a similar name, and at least one medical ward in a Boston hospital which uses a typographical variation.

I used to be inundated with (a) Flemish grunge fans who were indignant that I had "stolen" the name of "their" band's website (fans, not the band itself), (b) people asking/demanding help in the game, and (c) confidential reports from the hospital. And when I say inundated, I mean I was getting between 3,000 and 7,000 spam/misdirected email a day. Probably 50 of those a day were misdirected emails that weren't flagged as spam.

Ten years ago, I used to send back a boilerplate "this isn't the web site you're looking for" response to these guys (I set up a script in the Bat mailer I was using at the time). The results I got for this were:

a) the grungers demanded I give "back" my domain to their favourite band;
b) the gamers told me "I'll never buy another one of your effing games again"; and, for the win
c) the hospital types said "you have illegally intercepted confidential medical data, we're going to sue you into the ground"

To be fair, there were a number of "oops, sorry, thought you were the other guys" apologies (and one rambling email in Portuguese from a woman who wanted to know if she should marry her boyfriend whom she didn't love, and should wait for Mr. Right instead)

Nothing ever came from it, other than my deciding to say the hell with it. Most of it was nonsense, but it could easily become a time suck.

More recently, I've started getting "confirmations" from companies that my application has been pre-approved. This isn't spam, it's actually some bozo using my email address, despite giving different address/phone information when applying. The fact that he's getting these pre-approvals says something about the approval process, to be sure. I called the first few, thinking maybe my account had been hacked, but it's just someone else (it's always the same address he gives) who doesn't seem to know his own email address.

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