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Comment Problem solved w/ FreeDOS (Score 1) 211

A few years ago, I had gig that involved helping a company sell approx 600 hundred still-useful PCs. The catch was that they all had to be shown to in good working order to the buyers. Of course the drives were all wiped and licensing issues preventing them using Windows, so the easy solution was to install FreeDOS. Super fast install and they could all be shown to be bootable and in good working condition.

Comment A different view...of Windows 8.1 (Score 1) 982

OK, so this is a bit OT. I bought a laptop (ASUS 15" Zenbook UX51VZ) a couple of years ago that came with Win 8. I fully intended to reformat it and install Win 7 but I got a bit lazy and thought I'd give Win 8 a try for a couple of weeks. No surprise, the tiled "Metro" side of Win 8 was as bad, or worse, than I expected it to be, so I tried a couple of the utilities that restore the Win 7 style start menu, finally settling Start 8 from Stardock which was well worth $5. Once I had that installed and configured, it thoroughly changed my experience of Windows 8. I had fully functioning Start menu and the desktop worked just like Win 7. The result: I NEVER have to even look at the Metro UI - it effectively doesn't exist.

The best part is that Win 8 is considerably faster that 7, boots from a cold start in about 6 sec. and it's light years more stable than 7. I work it pretty hard: everything from coding and dev environments to 32 track music production and live DJing and it hasn't hiccuped once .How much of this experience could be replicated in Win 10? Hard to say. the telemetry reporting to MS and their desperate push for the Windows Store are major concerns. If all of that and the other issues with win 10 can be dealt with (with or without help from MS), it could be worth a look but I'm with those that don't find any compelling reason to to upgrade and for now I'm very content with Win 8.1

Comment Re:Gee, wonder why (Score 1) 381

I'm 65 and I'm also living on SS and a few short term freelance IT gigs. I'm barely getting by but I'm blessed with good health (physically and mentally). I started to get depressed but what turned everything around for me was finding something I could do to help other people. There are a LOT of people and organizations that are suffering or just need help. For me, it was volunteering at the senior center a couple of time a week, mostly with computer related stuff. You know. when your out there in the real world (low income, public transportation, generalized fear and anxiety) acts of kindness and compassion are few and far between and people are immensely grateful for help. You want a dopamine and serotonin rush? Help others will fix you up just fine, without loading up your body with system prescriptions.

Comment NSA Compliance has always been a problem (Score 1) 81

When the Snowden "papers" were leaked, I took the time to read through a very lengthy report by FISA on their court on their proceedings with the NSA which included a lot of transcriptions of the proceedings. There were multiple confrontations over the NSA's failure to comply with FISA mandated restrictions on the surveillance, including the overly broad reach of some of the programs. Some of these transcriptions included laughable excuses from the NSA: "x program is complicated, we haven't had time to figure it out" - [six months later] "x program is so complicated that we gave up trying to figure it out", "we complied but then x program reverted mysteriously to collecting unauthorized data - we don't know why". The FISA court seemed very patient for a while but finally gave the NSA an ultimatum that it would have to comply with restrictions by the next meeting or face forced termination of some of the programs but the NSA just stonewalled them again. Then there was the ruling that FISA court handed down that one of the email surveillance programs that was consistently over broad in capturing U.S. citizens email meta data was in violation of the 4th Amendment. The NSA just ignored it. Though not completely surprising, it was bizarre and infuriating to me to read this playing out.

Comment New insights into North Korea via Photo Journalist (Score 1) 192

This is a snippet from a book published (and translated directly from Korean to English) in North Korea that was purchased in Pyongyang from the Foreign Languages Bookshop. The book was named; “Kim Jong-Il – The Great Man”:

As to a successful nuclear test in the DPRK, the fellow countrymen in South Korea said with pride, "Great the great north Korea! The pride of our nation! The nuclear test is the exercise of great self-defense right of the north as a sovereign state with Juche character. Isn't it stately and above board national defence, not subservient and cowardly to any outside forces? Chairman Kim Jong Il of the National Defence Commission is really a man of gut. I congratulate north Korea on possessing nuclear weapon. How wonderful it is for the north, though small in territory to live with dignity, fighting squarely against the US, not losing national pride and sovereignty. Chairman Kim Jong Il0 had done really well. Great north Korea! Brace up! And win! I hope you will do what others cannot. It is the most thrilling, monumental deed since King Tangun founded Korea,"

This is part of a great series of photo essays by by an American travelling North Korea:

http://www.earthnutshell.com/1...
http://www.earthnutshell.com/1...
http://www.earthnutshell.com/n...

Comment Cable companies could do the same thing faster (Score 1) 74

The cable companies could do the same thing themselves with a huge added advantage over Google: the wired infrastructure needed to feed the last-mile wireless transmitters is already in place. If Google's main objective is to pressure the existing cable/ISP monopolies into upping their game and lowering their prices, then it's a great idea, as is their gigagit fiber program. Otherwise it seems like a vanity/marketing project.

Comment What about international shipping? (Score 1) 443

One of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels is international shipping via container ships. They use massive amounts of crude diesel fuel and emit large amounts of untreated, highly polluting emissions, with very limited oversight while the ships are in international waters. When we consider how much of the world economy is dependent on it, it will take a massive overhaul of the worlds supply of goods and the related economic system to change the shipping industry. It will eventually happen but it's hard to imagine that we'll see it in the next decade.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 527

Religious beliefs may have influenced that origin of various drug prohibitions but financial gain is what sustains it now: prisons that are run by private for-profit companies, law enforcement staff and salaries, corruption of law enforcement and politicians fueled by the black market drug suppliers. They need full prisons and everything to stay the way it is and they will fight any common sense efforts to legalize and regulate drugs.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 527

- In many states the prison system is now being a run as a for-profit business by private companies.
- A large number of federal, state, county and municipal salaries depend on the existence of a FULL and OVERFLOWING prison population.
- Large amounts of money are involved in the black market drug supply business, which fuels corruption of federal, state, county and municipal drug enforcement.

All of the above results in a massive incentive to maintain the status quo for the Drug War, no matter how stupid, damaging or irrational it may be.

Comment Re:Standard tactics (Score 1) 306

> Does the fact they run TOR mean that the cops cannot investigate?

That is backwards. There is NOTHING illegal about running a TOR exit node. So, NO they cannot investigate based on that alone. They needed specific evidence or probable cause that there was a crime being committed or likely to be committed by these individuals and that the evidence was on the premises for which they requested the search warrant. Simply running a TOR exit node doesn't fir the bill. The couple could sue and would very likely win.

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