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Comment Re:My preference and a follow-on question (Score 1) 359

You know that Dexpot's licensing is *not* free for commercial use right? That's why I went with VirtuaWin at work; it's GPL. Plus after 15 min of configuring it properly it works wonderfully. I didn't even bother installing it or any of the others on my home rigs simply because I don't have more than a couple windows open... At work I would suffocate in all the clutter without multiple desktops.

On to your question: I had the same question and went hunting around for a piece of software to do just that. I couldn't find anything online and was complaining/talking to a friend. He basically said that if you are or want to run individual desktops on separate monitors, you're probably doing it wrong. Think about it. If you reorder your workflow you'll realize that that functionality is completely superfluous and can be accomplished much more effectively by using what you have: multiple monitors, multiple desktops, one desktop open at a time, quick changing to another desktop, and quick moving windows between desktops. YMMV but I found that he was right for my work, and that I am probably more efficient simply tweaking my workflow a bit than I would by running individual desktops on separate monitors. More than that once you grow accustomed to the new workflow it'll feel completely natural and no longer like you're struggling against the software to get stuff done. I'll admit its an odd story and sounds kind of like I was brainwashed or something but...

Comment Re:Military the first one, huh? (Score 2) 301

Did you watch Cowboys and Aliens? Stupid movie I know but that is another reason: rare elements like gold, platinum etc that are only made during supernovae (or according to wikipedia particle accelerators and nuclear reactions, but at a very high projected cost.) Of course they probably wouldn't just come to earth for the gold but more like sweep through a lot of solar systems and planets in a round trip.

Also, I agree that if they have FTL and are out hunting for gold (or whatever else) they'd squash us like a bug. I'm told that there is potentially a lot of gold in the earth's core, making our destruction a done deal, if they had the appropriate tech for that also. Not trying to sound like a UFO nut here, honestly don't believe we'll ever contact the buggers even if they do exist. It's just to unlikely, but can make for some stupid fun movies.

Comment Re:I don't understand the purpose (Score 1) 451

And a TV or radio alert that nobody watches anymore that doesn't technically even work that couldn't possibly tell every individual what course of action to take and even if it could it will never be technically prepared to do so is going to do what? Jack all shit that's what. Look, this is pure unadulterated theater. Also, I admit that it's useful for alerting regions (states and cities) that they need to evacuate or whatever for some purpose. But short of a foreign land invasion across the entire US simultaneously there is absolutely no reason for a national alert system given this sole lonely reason: it can't tell anybody what to do! That at the very least would need to be done on a state (more likely city) basis. Basically in order for this federal boondoggle to ever be at all remotely useful it would need to be ripped out wholesale and redesigned from the ground up. Bonus points if the technology you design it with is even still relevant (unlike this one) by the time its designed, implemented, tested and fully working. Which is to say this one is a complete and utter waste of time.

That being said, the only part of this that really makes me sad is that people don't realize this is Security Theater(tm). The part about it wasting money: that kinda money is a rounding error for the Feds. The part about it being a non-functional security system: ya, we don't really need it anyways, and even if we did it would never be useful.

Comment Re:DRM rocks! (Score 4, Informative) 434

No he's probably not lying. I've had the exact same problem. I'll explain it as best I can (I don't know why it happens):

Your computer is connected to the 'net with steam running. You shut down steam, disconnect from the internet completely, then restart steam. Then steam does all kinds of weird shit like it claims it's updating itself or "connecting"... after a while it finally pops up and says I can't connect to to a steam server what would you like to do? 1) Retry 2) Start in Offline Mode. Select option 2 (obviously) then steam says it's "connecting" (sigh) again, then it says something like could not connect to a steam server at this time. The only option is to close the window.

As far as I can tell the workaround to play in offline depends on the game. For all games this was required: start steam with a working internet connection, select go/restart into offline mode while connected to the internet, then quit steam, then disconnect from the internet completely, then start steam in offline mode normally at your leisure. That worked for most games but it was also incredibly annoying; the buddies I LAN with don't have a 'net connection and I forgot to go through this process before going over once or twice.

For some games (The Orange Box falls into this category) I had to have the game updated, then start the game while connected to the internet IF it had been updated since it was last played, then go through all the normal stuff I listed above. If I didn't do all of this the game would not start in offline mode even if steam would. Yet more games completely refused to start and I never figured out how to workaround that (none of the above worked.)

For the GPs sake: I managed to fix the issue by uninstalling steam then nuking the contents of the steam folder on the drive. But it still does some weird shit but w/e. Also I haven't bothered reporting or complaining because I have heard that Valve ignores complaints about offline mode not working so...

Comment Re:I don't understand the purpose (Score 2) 451

The purpose is security theater. When something bad happens they activate the theater (or it doesn't need to be activated, as in a passive system or something that by its very nature is an always on system) and then they point at it and say "see we did something so you can't blame us." Instead of you know, actually improving security.

Honestly, the best thing for 99% individual normal citizens to do in the event of a threat to the nation, or attack on our borders, cities, military installations, what have you is don't call the police, don't speed, don't get into a car accident, don't rob a bank, don't murder your cheating spouse etc. In other words stay out of the hair of the people actually dealing with security till they sort it out. All this system would do in the event of an attack on NYC or LA is induce massive panic creating more damage...

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 800

I never was particularly fond of voice recognition systems for customer support until this happened:
I had a problem with my cable internet service. I checked all the normal things on my end and couldn't come up with anything. So I naturally assumed that it was a problem with the ISP. I called, was received by the computer, spit out my info, said continue through all her stupid restart your computer and router menus... (probably 3-5 items) then, she said its probably a problem on my end are you using the cable service to make this call? No, then I'll restart your service (whatever that means, I'm guessing renegotiating an IP lease with my modem...) and then check it. Boom it worked, I was on the phone for a total of ten minutes or less and what was a lot less than dealing with a human where I could not have skipped straight thru all the restart your computer BS. So when done well, voice recognition support can be wonderful, it's no excuse to have a crappy system that doesn't connect me with a human when it should tho... OTOH you are what you eat errr buy.

As far as this system goes, I think it's being overly criticized by /., and overly hyped by the media like this gent in forbes... However IF Apple is able to eventually morph this system into something that can do any task on the phone that could otherwise be accomplished via the normal UI, interface with other programs on the phone and completely control them also not just Apple programs, turn into an always listening system when necessary (driving), greatly reduce how many simple commands need a network connection, improve voice and speech recognition, support multiple languages, and finally improve the semantics and context then yes this would be insanely awesome. Doing all those things are definitely possible if Apple has the stomach to pursue them and support the R&D. Apple could then extend the system to help you control your tv, laptops, desktops, home automation system, car... all from just your phone. In short you could turn it into JARVIS from Iron Man. Ok, not completely, but still pretty impressive if it's coupled with all the other things made possible by other tech. It's pretty sad that most geeks can't understand the realistic manner in which this could be improved and the implications therein.

N.B. I will probably never buy an Apple product because I think they are overpriced, put form over function, and unnecessarily limit what you can do. However I highly respect Apples taste for good design and ability to take tech that was already invented and make it usable/accessible to non-geeks. Sadly enough, that is not a given with tech companies. I don't think if I'm even disagreeing with you, just sharing my opinion without the BS.

Comment Re:Getting harder to find non-mega beers (Score 1) 840

Here in Wisconsin, micro-brews have risen in popularity quite a bit over the last few years. I'm told by the older folk the trend started more than 20 years ago, but it has really picked up in the last 5 or so. Quite a few good microbrews around madison and milwaukee, fun to tour too. What is your area, mainly so I know to stock up if I'm out that way... :)

Comment Help the End Users along a little (Score 1) 213

Here's a list of things that I wish the major consumer OS's especially the desktop ones would do, and they'd be fairly easy to implement:
-push hardware vendors to use full disk encryption by default with a hardware managed key
-password manager built into the OS that logs in when the user logs in and "integrates" with the OS/browser well, and automates most of the bullshit picking new passwords and so on, so users actually use it and use it properly that is no longer use weak passwords, reuse passwords etc
-two factor authentication to log in
-update automatically in the background system that requires no user interaction to run updates, doesn't noticeably slow down the system, and doesn't require the software to be installed from the OS's "app store" to work, and doesn't require user interaction to add new programs to the list
-No list is complete without: not run admin by default (but this one has been repeated a thousand times)

Things I wish they'd do that would take a little more work:
-push software vendors to use ASLR (and to really take advantage of that, push them to make 64-bit versions of their programs)
-push software vendors to use DEP, with these two I am specifically talking about, the major web browsers, browser plugins like flash and financial software like quicken

Overall, I guess it's still a young industry and these things take time. I think that security will hugely improve once the hardware underneath stops evolving, at least quite so quickly. OTOH that won't happen for the forseeable future so stuff like this could go a long way towards helping.

Also while I'm asking for diamond studded saddles for my herd of ponies, get the government to abolish the SSN system. Stupid friggin system. And they have the gall to investigate other entities for poor security practices, gimme a break.

Comment Re:Utter and complete stupidity (Score 0) 1008

So did you run out of rum to drink and beatles' songs to listen too, and then promptly decide to post to slashdot? No seriously:

and the super wealthy really are out to get you. It's what they do all day.

and even better:

all I can say is God Damn the JFK'ers. There are real conspiracies against the working man. Lots of them. ... any right wing think tank...

So let me get this straight, there are folks who can afford private jets, expensive vodka for those long flights, expensive strippers for the same, and a huge ass boat as the destination but they sit around all day trying to figure how to screw welders, carpenters and the like? And amongst these vast numerous conspiracies against the common man, some are in no small way perpetrated by the Kennedys' or their followers, who are also right wing. Say whaaaaat? I mean holy shit dude, just damn.

Comment Re:Uplinks (Score 1) 102

Ya I wouldn't be too optimistic about upstream bandwidth or any other decent service from them until they get some competition. For what it's worth, my cable provider is pretty darn good in all respects except one: upstream bandwidth. I get a decent price, fast down speed, high reliability so far, quick resolution when it does go down, and they even showed up on time to install it. But VNC or RDP into the home box from the lab is painful. Ah well, good things take time right?

Comment Unflattering (Score 1) 58

In the real world this will be unflattering to people watching how fat they are on screen. Better idea: 3D online shopping. You can get a 1:1 (for small objects like clothes, toys, consumer electronics etc.) 3D object model of the product you're viewing. Of course you'll need a 3D monitor etc. Even better is that it works for all products, not just clothes. Anybody know of a site that supports this tech? I don't. hmmm.

Comment Ahead of the Curve (Score 1) 69

Seriously, should they not already know how to organize a scientific community for sharing/publishing/researching/peer reviewing stuff? It's not like the field has been around for a while... Also, let's play a game. It's called spot the problems with this statement from the perspective of the scientific method, "One guy has already run simulations ... finding that a group of 65,000 chemicals has a good chance..."

Overall /. editors are busy being morons again, or this was a horribly written article, or a horribly organized event.

Comment The Secret to Secret Questions (Score 2) 284

First off, if your machine is controlled by your adversary your probably fucked one way or another regardless of what your bank does if you give your attacker enough time. Also I run windoze 7... feel free to troll me.

With that out of the way I highly recommend using keepass or something similar, not only do you get the obvious benefit of stronger and unique passwords but if a form wants answers to secret security questions, just pick a question, any of them it doesn't matter, and use a long random hex key as the answer, then store it in the notes section of that key entry in keepass, or don't store it at all, your choice. In short, bank security could be better, there are a few creative ideas above me that could be offered on their end like the firewall between your account and other accounts idea, but there are smart things you can do to avoid the pitfalls of these stupid ass "security" questions.

Also, if you want to sync the database across machines, but are worried that your password may not be strong enough in the event that your online service for syncing is cracked into do this:

1) set up a keepass database with both a password and a key file for encryption
2) share the encrypted database through your favorite online syncing service, personal home server, dropbox, whatever
3) set up syncing with online service on each machine you want to access the database
4) put the key file on each machine you did in 3, if you want this to be more secure than just a password you CANNOT share the keyfile through the net, but it literally never changes unlike the database so copy pasta across machines with a usb key or similar manually is easy enough
5) additional note: this will save your password database for a non-trivial amount of time if someone has both your online service's password and your keepass password but cannot access the key file, hopefully long enough for you to realize what happened and change your passwords.
6) as a corollary to that: if your machine is hacked and the hacker is smart enough to search for the keepass database and the key file then your screwed, note that naming the file cleverly, using a clever file type extension, or putting it somewhere obscure does not help since keepass "remembers" where it is, so all the attacker has to do is find where keepass stores that info and the easiest way to do that is simply start keepass...

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