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Comment Upgrade for free license, but then restore back... (Score 1) 982

To satisfy your fiscally conservative side, why not backup your current Win7/8 system, do the free upgrade so you get your free Win10 license, and then restore back to Win7/8? That way, if you decide you really want Win10 in the future, you'll at least have acquired the license while it was free.

Comment There is innovation in Chinese smartphone market.. (Score 1) 197

There is seemingly more innovation in the Chinese smartphone market right now though certainly there is a lot of copying and catch-up, too. But some of these Chinese manufacturers release new models many times per year instead of just on an annual refresh cycle. They have been trying things like multiple displays, cameras with changing orientations, dedicated hardware buttons for instant photo snapping, huge batteries, etc. Overall quality is picking up, too, but for sure, there is still a way to go. But nonetheless, these companies are probably more agile and willing to take some risks vs. Apple, Samsung, etc. LG at least seems willing to try something new once in a while.

Submission + - TSA body scanner opt-out no longer guaranteed (twitter.com)

codguy writes: Up to now, airline passengers have been able opt-out of the TSA's Advanced Imaging Technologies (AIT) whole body scanners, and request a physical pat-down for their security check. But ProPublica journalist Julia Angwin points out that a rule change on December 18, 2015 now allows the TSA to compel some passengers to use these scanners instead of giving them a pat-down. The updated rule says that "While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers," (source http://www.dhs.gov/sites/defau...). Of course, the criteria for when this can happen is completely unspecified, and one can easily imagine them abusing this by deciding to compel anyone who requests a pat-down to go through the scanners for some reasonable cause from their perspective. Guilty until proven innocent?

Submission + - Rematch--Newegg beats patent troll over SSL and RC4 encryption (newegg.com)

codguy writes: After a previous failed attempt (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/11/26/1927254/jury-finds-newegg-infringed-patent-owes-23-million) to fight patent troll TQP Development in late 2013, Newegg has now beaten this troll in a rematch (http://blog.newegg.com/newegg-vs-patent-trolls-when-we-win-you-win/). From the article:

"Newegg went against a company that claimed its patent covered SSL and RC4 encryption, a common encryption system used by many retailers and websites. This particular patent troll has gone against over 100 other companies, and brought in $45 million in settlements before going after Newegg."

This follows on Intuit's recent success in defending itself against this claim (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/14/06/26/1353216/intuit-beats-ssl-patent-troll-that-defeated-newegg).

Submission + - Better, Faster, Stronger--the Onion Omega (the next IoT enabler?) (onion.io)

codguy writes: Looks like the Onion Omega (https://onion.io/omega) could be the next cool IoT (Internet of Things) enabler out there. It's just 28mm x 52mm, but is a full 400MHz OpenWRT Linux computer (i.e. programmable in Python, Node.JS, PHP, Ruby, Lua, etc.), 64MB RAM, 16MB flash, built-in wireless connectivity, 16 GPIO for actually doing things. And again, all this in a tiny ~3cm x ~5cm package! I want one, no wait, I want many! It's supposedly heading to Kickstarter soon with a public release planned for Q3 2015. Let's hope the price is reasonably low so it becomes ubiquitous!

Submission + - "Augmented Reality" Sandbox using MS Kinect (ucdavis.edu)

codguy writes: From the Wish I Had This When I Was a Kid Dept., some UC Davis scientists have built an incredible, "augmented reality" sand box that shows a shaded relief/topo map and other special effects like flowing water superimposed in realtime over the actual sandbox! An MS Kinect monitors the sand box with a computer projector providing the visual overlay. Incredibly cool--would keep me occupied for hours! See http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okrey....

Comment Re:The problem with FOSS office suites (Score 1) 266

This is so true--I really want to use open source software, but it simply doesn't cut it for some things. This is painfully obvious with some packages more than others, for example, LO Calc is just ridiculously clunky and slow compared to MS Excel. I use Excel almost every day of my working life to look at data sets, usually as scatter plots. Even with several thousand data points to plot up, when you click Ok, Excel basically displays your plot immediately. In turn, LO Calc can take many seconds up to minutes to display a plot, and this is with even small sets of just a couple hundred data points. Every time there was a new major or even minor release, I'd go back to OO or LO hoping that they would have this under control, but no dice. I had to stop holding my breath for this a while ago.
Android

Submission + - Google Play App history cannot be deleted (google.com)

codguy writes: Your history of downloaded apps at the Google Play store is untouchable--you can't delete apps from your library/history list even if you are sure you will never want to install them again. While the idea of having an app library/history list is good (like for setting up a new device), the lack of basic functionality to remove unwanted apps/cruft also makes it somewhat useless, and also a privacy concern. Supposing you are a serial app tester, your app library/history list will grow and grow and grow with no way to trim it back. So when you actually need to load up a new device, you have to sort through hundreds to potentially thousands of apps, which makes this essentially useless. Others have mentioned privacy concerns--say you installed that silly fart app, or you were exploring apps that you would rather others like your spouse or children not know about. Sorry, no way to delete them from your history. While your app library/history list is not publicly available (please don't tell the big FB about that lest they try to "fix" it), nonetheless, it seems absolutely absurd that Google has not included basic functionality to manage it. This issue was reported back in mid April 2012, and there are some 1200 irate comments about it. Google has done nothing about it, nor have they announced that this policy will be changed. I call it "policy" because it is certainly not a technical limitation. Take a look at the issue report at http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=28964.

Comment Alternative pat-down (Score 1) 560

I've been doing quite a bit of traveling lately, and every time when confronted with one of these machines, I've chosen the alternative pat-down (it's your right, you can request this). Why? I simply don't trust them for the radiation exposure despite the claims that they are safe. I have NEVER seen them allow an infant through these systems--they just wave the mother/father around the device with the infant in their arms (and with no alternative pat-down for the parent...). If the TSA will not allow infants through the system, obviously they don't think the exposure levels are completely safe. So anyway, sure, the alternative pat-down is super-invasive, but at least you avoid accumulated exposure. I only travel 5-6 time/year max., but for folks that might travel several times per month, I can imagine the accumulated exposure over many years will not be completely benign. A side effect of requesting an alternative pat-down is that it seems to throw the system into convulsions. They start radio'ing around about needing somebody to deal with the "refuser", and waiting for someone to arrive can be either fast/immediate or slow (like 5+ minutes). For being a "refuser", besides the pat-down, you seem to obligatorily get swabbed/analyzed for explosive residue. All in all, if just one person every few minutes were to request such an alternative pat-down, it would overwhelm the system. The problem with this is that they then just start waving people through to avoid clogging the pipes. So these people get a metal detector only--not a pat-down nor the full-body scan. If they just let people through like this, well, what is the whole purpose of this anyways???

Comment Re:Right on Adobe! (Score 1) 731

Apple could certainly take the high road, and actually allow Flash, but not in the default configuration. Thus, end users would have to get it from the App Store knowingly. If it turned out to really be as bad as Apple claims, end users would be quickly saying, "hey, why the heck has my machine slowed to a crawl, and the battery life dropped to two hours?" Apple could put a prominent FAQ on it's website or make it the first scripted answer from support--"If you are experiencing sluggishness and reduced battery life, and have installed Flash via the App Store, please remove it, and check if your problem is solved before complaining more." Word on the street would be "Hey, don't install Flash because it cripples your iDevice." This would clearly shift the burden to Adobe--or they pick up the ball and run with it (i.e. engineer Flash from being a cpu/battery hog and security risk), or they loose brainshare/marketshare because they cannot do so (as Apple claims). Apple's actions are far from the high road even though they present them as that...

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