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Comment We had this problem 15 years ago with AIM, MSN, .. (Score 1) 456

Back when there was AIM, MSN, etc., a chat program called Trillian came along and let people use the major chat platforms with one client. Then there was an open source one called Gaim, which was later renamed Pidgin. Then they tried to standardize it with XMPP and such, but that died down for some reason. Pidgin is still around, and supports Facebook messenger. We're back where we were 15 years ago. Now get off my lawn.

Comment Windows 8 is usable to me (not great, but usable) (Score 1) 1110

I ran the Windows 8 upgrade assistant, and had a much better experience:
  • * It presented the option to download the CD, which I took.
  • * The install CD lets you do a nuke-from-orbit reinstall of the system.
  • * While the installer runs, it shows you "the new way to use Windows" (i.e. how to get to the charms bar)

Also, knowing a few shortcuts will save you a lot of pain:

  • * You can use Alt+F4 to close Metro apps, and Alt+F4 on the desktop to shut down / sleep / hibernate / etc.
  • * You can search apps, settings, etc. by hitting the Windows key, then typing your search (though you still have to click the category to see the results).

For completeness, a a few bad things about Windows 8:

  • * If you set up a Windows Live-backed account (the default), it asks for an awful lot of personal information. Worse, you need an internet connection to log in to your computer. This problem is easy to fix: reinstall the system, and set up a local account instead.
  • * The control panels (not one, mind you) break continuity big time. If you open the charms bar from the Start screen and click control panel, you get a Metro-styled interface, but only a limited set of options. If you do the same thing from the Desktop, you get a desktop interface with more options. If you click one of the "advanced" links, it takes you to one of the original settings programs that have been around since '95.

I find Windows 8 to be usable. Not great, but at least usable.

Submission + - University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department ( 2

DustyShadow writes: The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save about $1.7 million. The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments. Students at UF have already organized protests, and have created a website dedicated to saving the CS department. Several distinguished computer scientists have written to the president of UF to express their concerns, in very blunt terms. Prof. Zvi Galil, Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, is “amazed, shocked, and angered.” Prof. S.N. Maheshwari, former Dean of Engineering at IIT Delhi, calls this move “outrageously wrong.” Computer scientist Carl de Boor, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and winner of the 2003 National Medal of Science, asked the UF president “What were you thinking?”

Comment Re:Open the Door Jeopardy (Score 1) 147

Alex Trebek: Very good ... 'His death and subsequent disagreement of heir resulted in the Battle of Hastings.' *Ken Jennings rings in, opens the door and steps through it*
Ken Jennings: Um ... uh ... um ... I knew it a second ago.

Short-term memory? It's more like he'd forget the question... err, answer.

Submission + - France Outlaws Hashed Passwords ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: Storing passwords as hashes instead of plain text is now illegal in France, according to a draconian new data retention law. According to the BBC, "[t]he law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded." If the law survives a pending legal challenge by Google, Ebay and others, it may well keep some major services out of the country entirely.

Submission + - Hackers Steal Kroger's Customer List (

wiredmikey writes: Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer with more than 338,000 associates, notified customers today of breach of the database that stores its customers' names and email addresses.

The company said incident occurred at Epsilon, the third-party vendor Kroger uses to manage its customer email database.

This breach follows several other similar breaches from email service providers including The American Honda Motor Co., MacDonald’s, and Walgreens.

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