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Comment Botnet? (Score 4, Interesting) 75

Having port 9100 open doesn't make my printer part of a botnet. It just allows me to print from anywhere. I often set the printer as the DMZ address on my network, because I'd rather have people sending crap at a printer than at my actual computers. This kind is crap is really annoying, not helpful. We COULD turn off external printer ports, but in some cases they are needed or desired. Wasting paper tellling me the port is open? Stupid. Pressuring printer companies to implement a way to only allow authenticated users to print to external ports? Knock yourself out.

(If your printer has the web configuration/admin page unsecured, or telnet config open - that's a different story.)

Comment Re:Flash? turn it off? (Score 1) 113

...because opening in browser (and saving to a temp directory, automatically cleared after I close the browser) is better than having the PDF saved to my downloads folder and then launch an entirely separate program before I can even see if the file is worth keeping. I have colleagues who pull PDFs of journal articles, glance, and then decide they didn't need it after all ... and end up with hard drives that are full because of the hundreds of gigabytes of PDFs in the downloads folder.

A simple PDF viewer like PDF.js is fast and does not enable a lot of the "enhanced" settings Adobe PDF products do, like internal scripting, which cuts down my vulnerability footprint too.

Comment Re:Microsoft is never going to get ahead (Score 1) 140

You have a few inaccuracies there. Last I checked, every Mac was capable of running the server extensions (no need to buy a special server-only version - there's 1 OS that does it all). And they all come with file server/web server functionality baked in (SSH/SFTP is baked in; Apache runs a huge percentage of the web, and every Mac has Apache preinstalled - along with a perfectly serviceable development environment, no additional installations needed unless you want to run non-stock versions of the most common programming languages). CUPS - the common Unix printing server - was purchased by Apple and is part of every Mac since OS X 10.2. XCode is free. Swift development language is free. I don't know what your issue is with user access controls, but UNIX permissions are a lot simpler to handle than the mess that is Windows (for example, why should I have to open an email client to make changes to a secure distribution group to manage folder access permissions?)

I'm a government employee in a large federal department. My federally-supplied work computer is a Mac. Yes, not all of us use them, but enough of us use them that there's a clear argument against the insistence that Macs can't ever fit into an enterprise environment.

Comment Re: most people already prefer listening to accele (Score 1) 296

To be fair, the Mona Lisa (a) isn't all that big to begin with, and (b) good luck getting within 10 yards of it thanks to the barrier, the crowds, and the thick yellowish bulletproof glass over the front... but yeah, I agree that cutting out a lot of the "irrelevant" stuff does take away from the purpose of watching the movie. If there's truly tons of useless filler, there are also tons of other (better) movies to watch instead.

Comment Uploading grants is literally my job. (Score 4, Informative) 256

I am an Administrative Official for a large organization. Uploading grants is literally a major part of my job. (As a research scientist, I also write my own grants - so I understand this from several angles.)

The argument that open standards should be used is a fair one, but it is missing the bigger picture here. The vast majority of grants (NIH, NSF, Veterans Affairs, DoD, etc.) are SF-424 NIH standard packages obtained through and submitted by an AO such as myself, not by the applicant. Very few grants require the person authoring them to be the signing official who agrees on behalf of the organization to administer funds if the grant is successful. The vast majority of the applicants therefore route grants through a corporate or University network, where Windows (and to a lesser degree OS X - I'm a Mac user myself) predominate. In all of these cases, the organization will be providing the tools necessary - Acrobat is handed out like candy in my organization. It's part of the corporate image for all computers. Using Acrobat forms streamlines and simplifies submission for 99% of the applicants. The government is not going to change this to address a few edge cases.

The suggested alternative - web forms - is laughable. It might be good for one person, but in an average submission cycle I am sending 10-15 grants with widely varying requirements including esoteric formatting issues, hard-coded naming conventions, and etc. - not to mention that the typical grant includes dozens of required components and attachments, each with set formatting restrictions. It is hard enough to comb through an assembly SF-424 package to check for errors prior to submission as it is. If I had to manually upload each of these grants, one at a time, one piece at a time, into a web forms system, I would not be able to do my job. Period.

Post-submission, forms are processed by a clunky system in eRA Commons, then get referred to for eventual routing to the reviewing agency. The system has a series of automated checks built in to verify that the package is complete before it is assembled. This requires the various bits and pieces to be separate documents, as they are in an Acrobat package (and it is a package, with embedded attachments, not a flat PDF). This process is flaky and fragile enough as it is. Web forms are not going to improve the process, but they certainly would increase the workload for the AO by about 1000% and would definitely increase the error rate. This is also ignoring the fact that the forms are modular, in that some sections (like the budget) are only inserted as needed, and the necessity of being able to assemble and pre-check these things offline precludes any kind of web form system. The article writer is being intentionally obtuse and a bit naive here to make a shallow argument in favor of open standards. Heart is in the right place but reality is being ignored here.

Tl;dr version: it's hard. We do the best we have with the tools provided. Just be glad didn't decide to use InfoPath instead of Acrobat.

Comment Re:Ask Comcast? That's rich (Score 1) 349

Connectivity issues and network lag for streaming, plus, modem wasn't getting any response from upstream servers, and was logging errors because of it. Tech wanted to send someone to the house to "do an update". I had to tell her that DOCSIS modem updates cannot be applied by end users and must be pushed down the network, from their end, so I wasn't going to take a day off work and pay a tech for a home visit when it wouldn't help the issue. Plus, it's my damn modem, not theirs. Tech was (a) shocked that I owned the modem - she didn't think we could do that - and (b) was unfamiliar with Roku, Netflix, and at least three other very common streaming devices/services. Plus she's telling me that network congestion was the problem with my streaming, as I was looking at the bandwidth test telling me the connection was wide open. This was just before Netflix blinked and paid Comcast for better speed. The company was flat denying any traffic shaping was occurring. Gee weird it works better all of a sudden.

Comment Ask Comcast? That's rich (Score 3, Insightful) 349

Last time I had to talk to anyone in the company I had to explain to the tech how DOCSIS modems worked. You will never get an individual from that company on the phone who knows enough to give you a real answer. Turnover is too high in call centers, and people who know the answer are not on support phone detail.

Comment Re: Long live openwrt (Score 1) 241

My WRT54G is a Rev. 1 model. Tomato, running strong. I use it as a secondary these days, with an Asus RT-N16 as primary (for gigabit throughput on the LAN). Also have a Rev. 4 set up, currently using it as an emergency backup should either of the others crap out on me.

The Rev 1 was picked up for $1 at a yard sale, the Rev 4 was a freebie from a friend. Never underestimate the possibilities older hardware can offer if you know how to dump the stock firmware.

Comment Well... (Score 5, Insightful) 547

The only possible way to survive is to develop a niche. Streaming services are usually pretty good for recent movies, but a lot of back catalogue stuff is hard to find. Specialize in the stuff that's out of print, rare, etc. But really, I'm hard-pressed to see how that business model would be sustainable as a primary income source in most communities. There simply isn't enough demand for the content, especially given the huge amount of material available through Netflix's mail catalogue.

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