* Posts by Alice Andretti

71 publicly visible posts • joined 18 May 2008


Firefox 'Do Not Track' header wins first convert

Alice Andretti

Yep, advertisers are digging their own grave.

"As said before the advertising companies are killing themselves"


And TV is the same. I used to actually *not* change channels when commercials came on, but when nearly all the commercials started that then-new fast-flashing bullshit about 10 or so years ago, I quickly turned into a channel-hopper (switching channels when ads came on). Never was before! A mini TV is always on, inbetween my 2nd and 3rd computer screens, thus always within clear sight, usually tuned to one of the ad-infested news channels. (Dunno about England, but on this side of the pond, ads come on every few minutes, all throughout the show, unless it's some 'public' station.) So now, that TV's little channel-changer sits perched on my main keyboard so channel changing takes a mere split-second even when I'm typing or editing something.

The fucking retarded ad agencies have killed the goose that laid their golden egg. They had a good thing going, but no more, and it's all their own damn fault. Much of their intended audience is now so royally pissed off (or at least in "avoidance" mode) about the content and quality of the ads, that we'll go out of our way to avoid their aggravating stupid-ass ads.

We, their intended audience, weren't always that way. We used to actually read/watch/listen-to and sometimes even enjoy their ads because the ads didn't used to be so jarring and distracting. The advertisers have brought this on themselves.

Separate issue:

"I take absolutely no notice of the ads"

Ah, but you still are getting brand-reinforcement even though you may not be consciously aware of it.

Perhaps years later you'll be shopping for something and one of the brand names will seem vaguely more-familiar somehow, skewing your judgment in favor of that brand just ever so slightly, because - even though you might not remember it on a conscious level - you'd seen it advertised numerous times years before. So even though you thought you weren't taking "notice of the ads", the ads can still have an effect. That is not necessarily a bad thing, that's just the way the human mind works and advertisers know that, but it's good to be aware of it.

Microsoft morris dancers upset Soho with Hotmail relaunch

Alice Andretti

Models often omit details

"Surely it can't be a resistor, there's no colour bands to indicate the value"

Yeah, but *if* it was a foam model of a resistor, as an earlier poster suggested (at least I thought that's what they meant), the creator of such an object likely wouldn't have been concerned about accurate detail and instead would have focused on just making a vague representation of the general shape of the object - just enough for people to kinda-sorta recognize it.

You know, like how casual artists and quasi-modelers often depict popular musical stringed instruments with the wrong number of strings (usually far too few, because it's easier to draw that way, and/or because the artist is ignorant) and the frets in the wrong places or missing altogether, bridge in the wrong place, etc. Or like how cartoon characters only have 3 fingers. It isn't accurate, but people can tell what it's supposed to be. (The lack of accuracy in musical-instrument drawings is one of my pet peeves.)

I still think it's yarn though :)

Alice Andretti

Resistor or maybe yarn

"is that a foam resistor at the bottom of that second picture?!"

That's what I thought at first too, which would be an interesting marketing angle, but now it's starting to look more like a small skein of yarn (still with the wrapper on, like some people keep them) with some knitting needles or something stuck in the middle. I can't make the picture go larger though, to see for sure, aside from zoom which doesn't do much (pixelated).

I like the resistor idea better :)

Terence Conran slams 'appalling' Olympic mascots

Alice Andretti

Numerology, base 10, leap years, etc.

"The first stone laid (breaking the ground ceremony)for the Pentagon was on 9-11-1941 (exactly 60 years to the day before 9-11-2001"

Not to be disrespectful or anything - assuming you were serious in your posts and not just fooling around - but it seems to me that, a couple of points:

1. Exactly-anything, WRT years and calendar dates, is a human invention. Remember that little thing about leap year and the 1/4 day or whatever it is? We humans have chosen to regard our calendar as having "exact" dates because we like to have that sort of thing be all neat and tidy - makes it easier for us to keep track of stuff - but the orbits and things keep their own schedules. Or maybe I'm remembering things wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's what we were taught in school (long time ago).

2. Base-10 numbers are another human invention. Numerology would be completely thrown off kilter if we happened to use base-2, or base-whatever, some other number system, instead.

Therefore, while it's tempting for us humans to try to make sense of the universe, and to try to make order out of chaos (that's what our brains are good at - that's why we see faces in clouds), I have to respectfully conclude that numerology perhaps isn't as meaningful as its proponents might wish.

That said, that doesn't mean that numerology hasn't been employed by humans as a way to assign order to a confusing/frightening universe.

Traditionally, various cultures *have* intentionally used number patterns for all kinds of things, including architecture and other things, in attempts to bring good luck or avoid some pitfall or other. However, tradition is not always founded in reality and it isn't always very useful.

However, there *is* the "power of thought" aspect of things, or the "believe it and it will happen" angle. It's easy to form *associations* with certain symbols, such as a particular number or whatever, based on one's life experiences or some other personal/historical event or something that a person or culture remembers in either a good way or a bad way - even animals form associations like that (that's why animals can be trained, via either positive- or negative-reinforcement) but - at least in my opinion - that doesn't endow the symbol *itself* with the good or bad thing. It's just people's *memories* and *associations* of some symbol or other. As such, that limits its scope.

I could be wrong :) and again I mean no disrespect to others' beliefs, but sometimes what we start out thinking of as a helpful thing (e.g., numerology or some other belief), can turn into a trap that rules people's lives, which is probably not what they thought they were getting into when they started. Some things are best to just not get started with. Habits can be hard to break. I speak from experience.

Just my two cents' worth.

(I half figure the OP was just trying to provide entertainment, but if not, my monologue ;) above applies.)

'Being fat is no worse for you than being a woman'

Alice Andretti

"Real work"

"They're just evolved to do things that aren't real work as is wanted by business"

Some would argue that sitting around at a desk all day, in the "business" world that you mention, could hardly be considered "real work" ;) in the traditional sense.

Perhaps this is why men (who are supposedly biologically evolved to be out hunting dinner and stuff) tend to have drinking problems, because they're unfulfilled with their roles and indoor jobs in modern society? Hardly a very evolutionarily-proper use of all those big male muscles, is it. No wonder some men get frustrated and take it out on their families (or whatever). Doesn't help that society tells men to not be expressive, not talk, etc.

Of course, going back only a hundred or so years, men were out working hard in their fields (farms) all day, before everyone got all urbanized living in cities with away-from-home "jobs" - the concept of a "job" is rather new, historically speaking. Eaking out a living via subsistence farming or whatever, isn't exactly an ideal lifestyle either though. So I dunno.

Nevertheless, you do make some good points. I obviously don't agree with all of it, but some of what you say is plausible - even though I suspect you were trying for a bit of a troll/flame-bait effect ;) there.

Alice Andretti

Doctors suck

"The reasons why women use so much more medication than men are unknown"

Oh boy. Sorry, but I have to go on a...


Women[*] have been programmed by society to "go to the doctor" if they feel something's wrong, whereas men[*] tend to tough it out and take their lumps. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes do more harm than good.

What happens when a person goes to the doctor, at least in the U.S., is that the doctor doesn't even bother to listen to the patient but instead immediately gives the patient a PRESCRIPTION to MASK THE SYMPTOMS.

Unfortunately, masking the symptoms is about as effective as sticking a piece of tape on your car's "Check engine" light so that you don't have to be bothered with that annoying light on the dashboard. The fact that your car engine will cease to function and become damaged after it runs out of oil/overheats/whatever after you've masked the warning light, isn't important. What *is* important is that our lovely U.S. doctors and pharmaceutical companies continue to make as much $$$$ from sick people, as possible. If doctors encouraged people to live healthy lifestyles, fewer people would be sick, and that would be the end of the medical system's cash-cow. Sick patients = cash-cow.

This is relevant here, because for instance, pain (in some cases) is the body's way of telling a person to *stop* doing whatever it is that causes the pain or damage will ensue. But when doctors instantly prescribe painkillers, that encourages/enables the person to CONTINUE doing whatever it is that previously caused pain, thus contributing to the deterioriation of the body. This is seen with arthritis and some of the arthritis drugs, which enable the person to go on blithely destroying their body's joints with no regard to the future. And yet these kinds of drugs are regularly prescribed (for those who *go* to doctors).

Why do you think there isn't a cure for cancer yet? Because the medical INDUSTRY makes far more money peddling cancer-TREATMENT drugs, than it would if they had an effective-against-all-types cancer *vaccine*.

It's all about the money and making the fat cats on Wall Street (the pharmaceutical companies) even fatter than they already are.

Such a system absolutely LOVES the fact that a sizable number of women[*] tend to run to the doctor for little things (assuming they have a job and insurance to pay for it, that is, for US residents anyway), because it keeps the fat cats happy and makes the doctors and big pharma rich.

It's not a sustainable system, but then neither was the US housing market. We saw how that turned out. There *NEEDS* to be an emphasis on *prevention* (keeping people well) instead of triaging things after they break. I suppose this is U.S.-centric - one would hope that other more-advanced countries have figured this out by now.)

Not all the blame can be placed on the doctors etc., though, because it's a sad fact that our modern society expects instant gratification; hard for people like me to believe but there are actually millions of lazy people who PREFER to pop pills (prescription meds) instead of having to actually *do* something or expend any effort on their own part (such as lifestyle changes - oh the unimagineable horror) to improve their condition. Not everything can be purchased; some things have to be worked for and require effort - a shocking/unacceptable concept to many :(

Back to the topic, to summarize my point: women[*] are more inclined to go to doctors, for reasons already mentioned. Doctors prescribe pills to hide the symptoms, instead of digging deeper to find the underlying causes, which allows the condition to worsen and the pills themselves often have side effects, all of which requires even more pills, and so on in a downwards spiral effect.

If these women[*] would take the men's[*] approach and just wait-and-see for a little bit (within reason), and do research on finding lifestyle changes that might improve whatever's ailing them, chances are the body would heal itself on its own, without getting messed up by shitloads of prescription drugs to make things even worse.

It's my hypothesis that men[*] stalling and *not* going to the doctor as soon or as often, allows the men[*] to heal on their own without harmful prescriptions that often cause undesirable side-effects that cause even more problems than the person originally had. Also, women[*] tend to have crappier lives and more stress, lower-paid jobs, more stress about personal physical safety, etc., which probably contributes to women's[*] health issues.

(I've purposefully avoided the often-cited stuff about reproductive functions running up medical bills, because there are lots of people nowadays who don't have/want kids; pregnancy and its complications used to be a major contributor to women's medical bills. But, it's not the 1950s anymore - fewer and fewer people are having kids.)

Fuck, all this serious talk is giving me a headache - I better dial up my doctor (hahahaha) and get a prescription ASAP ;)

P.S.: For the record, I'm female but I haven't set foot in a doctor's office, or an E.R. or any other medical facility for that matter, in 14 years, and I like it that way. I'm not fat either, just in case you wondered :)


[1] Obviously, there are exceptions. Depends on how the person was raised.


Mountain View delivers Google Analytics opt-out

Alice Andretti

I like the RequestPolicy add-on

"Just add google-analytics.com to HOSTS as and you don't have to worry about anything, no need for a plugin."

I use RequestPolicy <https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9727/> to inform me of, and allow me to selectively block, various things including Google Analytics. Although RequestPolicy isn't really for the casual Joe/Jane Average Surfer and it's not something you'd want to install on your grandma's computer ;) because she'd just complain about "all the internet is broken" or whatever.

However, for people who want to know what their browser is *really* connecting to when it visits a particular website, RequestPolicy is quite informative. It can also be annoying to deal with (but that's only because so many sites these days secretly connect you to a bunch of other sites), but I find it useful and I'd rather *know* what's happening, even if it means I may have to make a few extra clicks (or lots of extra clicks) when visiting websites I haven't been to before.

I didn't know about the host file thing that "46Bit" and a/c mentioned, but that sounds useful too. The hosts file is one of those mysterious things I've heard shadowy references to for years but never really understood what it was for or how/why to use it. So, thanks for the info :)

Most browsers leave fingerprint that can ID users

Alice Andretti

Fake user-agents (Linux)

@ "No Linux users"

I use Linux online, but I usually change the user-agent so that it appears I'm using a different OS as well as a different browser. I feel (note I said "feel" ;) there) that it might give me a slight edge on the security front... or not... but I figure, why give possibly-hacked sites any more info than they *really* need to have. (Yes, of course I use NoScript too, and I only rarely allow any pages to use JavaScript and only where absolutely necessary which it usually isn't.)

I'm lazy ;) and I like to be able to switch user-agents instantly and easily without having to re-type a bunch of stuff over and over again, so to change UA in Firefox, I use the User Agent Switcher add-on: <https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/59/> . It lets you use standard user-agents or you can just make stuff up (unique, and I suppose you'd want to change those unique UAs often if you're worried about privacy).

Occasionally I run across a site where I have to use my real UA in order to make the site work correctly, probably something to do with dumbf*ck lazy-ass webmasters who write pages targetting specific browsers or something, who knows.

<rant> Seems to me that *real* webmasters should make the extra effort to write *one* version of their pages that will work in *all* friggin' browsers, rather than relying on browser sniffing and browser-specific hacks to make their lame-ass pages work right.</rant>

Anyway, it can sometimes be revealing to see the different pages that some sites serve up, depending on what you've got your user-agent set to. Like one time (can't remember where it was, long time ago) I found a webpage that served up Macs-are-great-and-PCs-suck material when my user-agent showed I was using a Mac, but 30 seconds later when I switched my UA to pretend to be a PC, that very *same* URL served me up a Macs-suck-and-PCs-rule type of page. Interesting insight into the webmasters' head, there.

Slightly off-topic note:

Yes, I'm aware that for Linux users to falsify their browser's user-agent to show a non-Linux OS, doesn't do the Linux 'cause' any good... but my viewpoint on that is, my security takes precedence over the general good. ;) Hey, it's the *only* reason I use Linux in the first place, certainly not because I particularly like Linux (I don't), although I'm slowly getting used to Linux's weirdness and finding other marginally-likable things about Linux - although sometimes it's not easy! I'll never be a 100% convert, but I admit that Linux is certainly useful. :)

And back to the topic here, it's handy to be able to hide your true browser and OS via a false user-agent - assuming you haven't enabled Javascript which I guess allows websites to collect more data about you. My view is, websites don't need to know jack shit about me, *real* browser and OS included.

School secretly snapped 1000s of students at home

Alice Andretti
Jobs Horns

Apple patent DEFEATS tape/cardboard

"I taped a little square of cardboard cut from a cereal box over the the lens of the camera on my MacBook. If the combined legions of Bill Jobs and the surveillance state can defeat that to see me surfing with no pants on, then good luck to 'em."

Apple is a step ahead of you, with "a flat-panel display that doubles as a camera". Reg article "Apple patents all-seeing display" here:


Snippet from the above Reg link: "Essentially, the patent describes a flat panel in which each display element (pixel) is accompanied by an imaging element (sensor) with either a fixed-focus or zoomable lens. The display can thus act as a traditional display while simultaneously imaging an object - such as your face - in front of it."

The U.S. Patent website (linked to in above Reg article) says that "the integrated sensing device can not only output images (e.g., as a display) but also input images (e.g., as a camera)."

Good luck turning *that* kind of camera off - anytime you can see the screen, it can see (and record images of) you.

I hope Apple never implements this creepy technology.

But (hand me my tinfoil hat, please) what's to stop *other* companies from secretly implementing a similar technology and just not bothering to tell the customers? Seems like it could have potential for, oh I dunno, industrial espionage or something... or not...

Woman finds Romanian living in shed

Alice Andretti

Shelters vs 'independent' living

"doesn't England have any homeless shelters? If not, why not? If you do, why don't they have enough beds?"

Sounds like England has so few homeless people that stories like that are newsworthy?

Here in many parts of the States, homeless people are everywhere, crashing in just about any unused building or structure that they can find. If they're lucky and they play their cards right (and if they don't stay for too many weeks at a time), they can do so without anyone knowing or being unduly bothered by it (sanitation issues notwithstanding).

Many specifically *avoid* homeless shelters because, I've heard many times, they don't want to "pick up critters" - yes, you can get lice from cushions, bedding, etc., and it's quite common in some of the shelters. Plus in shelters they have to listen to strangers snoring probably an arm's-length away, have to breathe airborne diseases (TB is not uncommon, as well as more everyday infectious agents such as colds/flus from strangers coughing and sneezing all night long), get woke up constantly by the guy with the bladder problem who has to pee every 30 minutes, or else they *are* the guy with the bladder problem and the shelter's bathroom is too far away (shelters take a dim view of keeping a chamber pot beside your bunk). Not to mention the crazies, and the bible-thumpers (if your god is so damn great, then why are *you* still a drunk?), and people freaking out going through the DT's because it's been too long since they've had a drink, etc.

Besides, some homeless are rather stubborn and proud, and they like to find their own places to crash for the night. They view the shelters as being for the lost-cause late-stage winos that pass out in the middle of the sidewalk, who are too feeble or feeble-minded to find their own safe place to sleep. The more 'independent' homeless don't want to be associated with that.

Third of UK students would strip their way through college

Alice Andretti
Black Helicopters

Professional strippers seem happy, but drugs are a problem...

... or maybe drug use is the *reason* they seem happy (temporarily anyway).

AC wrote:

"I'm experienced. I worked briefly in the industry as a 'driver' AKA bodyguard back in the 90s. To me the girls seemed relativly happy with the arrangement"

I agree. I spent some time doing deliveries to more than a dozen different strip clubs (*female* strippers) in a major U.S. city, and sometimes I'd have to wait in the office for a while to pick up a payment (check) to take back to my boss. While waiting, sometimes the girls[1] (the strippers) would be on break or would stop by to talk to their manager or whatever - they seemed extremely self-confident and sometimes even a little stuck-up when speaking to each other *and* to their bosses (I'm trying to avoid use of that 'other' "b" word which some people would apply to some of those ladies' attitudes). The girls were nice enough to *me*, but in my work clothes I wasn't much competition ;) for them either. Point is they didn't appear to be in any great misery or anything.

However, that said, I did notice a lot of illegal-looking drugs and obvious drug paraphernalia scattered around in the back rooms and offices of at least several of those strip clubs, and they didn't even seem all that concerned about hiding it - it was right out in the open, in plain sight. I always *literally* looked the other way when I spotted something like that because *I* didn't want to get blamed if they got raided by the cops or something. ... my attitude was like, See something? What? I didn't see anything, no sir, nothing there to be seen, I'll be on my way now, see you next week for your next delivery...

So it's apparently not all rosy, working in a place like that - those were one of the few types of places out of many thousands of different businesses I delivered to in that time period, where the drug use was so out in the open like that - gives more credence to the oft-heard statements that people who work in "those kind of places" are more prone to drug use... er, I was trying to avoid the overused phrase "crack whore" but I seem to have not done so. ;)

Of course that's just my, what's the term for it, "anecdotal" observations which don't mean anything scientifically - for all I know maybe there are strip joints that are totally clean where the employer does random drug-testing on their employees as a condition of employment (although I rather doubt it - if I'm in error, please advise).


Some of the female strippers couldn't dance/move very well either, but *some* of them were quite excellent - I learned a few things :) as to movements etc., from my glimpsing their work on the way in and out of the clubs - not all of the clubs had back delivery doors (all-too-common in certain types of poorly-designed buildings), so I'd sometimes have to go through the main public door, with a good view of the strippers and their movements.

Girls don't turn me on (I'm straight), but some of their work actually was artistic and beautiful on its own merits, nevermind the "arousing the guys" aspect of things.


[1] I use the word "girls" in the same sense that people call men "boys" - I do not view it as disrespectful in any way.

Alice Andretti

The (male) ones I saw were scrawny and couldn't dance

Yes, I know, the survey was of female students, not male ones. But why? Aren't there any male-stripper places over there in England? How odd.

Anyway, the male strippers I saw looked like they'd been in the "starving student" category for a bit too long. I went one time only, talked into it by some of my female co-workers who insisted it would be "fun." It wasn't very interesting, rather sad actually - now if the guys had been more healthy looking, it might have been more entertaining. The *audience* was another surprise - a good percentage of the audience looked like frumpy probably-neglected middle-aged housewives - maybe that's why the place hired lousy college-student strippers, because neglected housewives probably aren't very demanding.

Interestingly, the bouncer carded (checked the I.D. of) literally *everyone* before entry - no exceptions even for obviously-old customers so they weren't just checking for legal drinking age - it seems that they wanted to ensure an all-female audience (men weren't allowed in), to prevent guys-in-drag from trying to get into the club, or something. (The town already had plenty of gay bars to service that type of clientele.)

Greenpeace fears clouds will turn earth brown

Alice Andretti

Hydro can't keep up w/demand, in WA

"Pacific Power get their electrons from Hydro, just as pretty much all of OR, WA and Vancouver BC does"

WA has a coal-fired power plant also (in Centralia).

And a nuclear power plant too - there's an electricity-producing nuclear reactor, now called "Columbia Generating Station," which is still operational and online. It is supposedly "a reliable energy producer" and has a generating capacity of "approximately 1150 megawatts" (is that a lot? I dunno) according to:


The thing is, the population in WA is growing too fast (transplants from out-of-state etc.) and hydro can't keep up with the demand for electricity.

Sad fact: if all the greenies were to buy environmentalist-approved ;) electric cars, the demand for electricity will go even higher... just something to think about. One wonders how many acres of new wind-turbines and other renewables that are already being built in the Pacific Northwest, would be required *just* to recharge people's electric cars.

The real solution there, is for healthy able-bodied people (specifically, Americans) to stop being lazy and spoiled ;) and get the hell out of their damned cars for a change. Maybe that way more regions would have incentive to develop better public transit (the public would demand it, if they didn't have cars) - speaking from a U.S. viewpoint, where in many regions public transit is an afterthought (or for the low-income and the desperate and the drunk-drivers who had their license yanked). Too often the existing transit systems' quality/quantity/frequency is such that 'normal' people (car owners) would rather take a bullet in the head ;) than have to ride a bus.

<sarcasm>Or, better yet, people ought to stay the hell home where they belong and watch TV while wrapped in a blanket (thermostat turned down low) or grub around in the backyard tending their home-grown tomatoes and weed (no that's not intended as a verb), instead of galavanting around all over town going to restaurants and sporting events and protests and the opera (no, not the browser) and such. </sarcasm> Oh, but that would be bad for the economy... well I guess that's out, then.

Booby-trapping PDF files: A new how-to

Alice Andretti

I thought it said *boob* trapping...

... and was expecting to read about the new bra features in Adobe Reader.

Welcome to the out-of-control decade

Alice Andretti
Jobs Horns

Can't even keep convicted killers in prison for long.

"Helps law enforcement arrest Bad People before they even know they are bad"

Only one problem. Here in the U.S. we can't even keep our current crop of known convicted murderers and sex offenders and cop-killers etc. off the streets for very long - the whole judicial system is a revolving door, with people who are designated "at high risk to re-offend" quickly RELEASED from prison where they hit the streets to resume their former activities, or often worse. (Why do they keep letting them out?)

So unless one has annoyed the wrong official in local government, or visited terrorist websites, or...

...if Firefox has visited bad websites all ON ITS OWN via the lovely little "prefetch" thingy that most normal people don't know about - of course you and I know that be turned off in about:config... oh well...

Devil Jobs icon because, well, you know, 1984 and Apple computers and all ;) ... as I sit here with my trusty (no, not rusty) old Mac which is still happily humming along accompanied by its modern (and much more quiet) Windows and Linux companions... Also, my proper respectful apologies to that reader (can't remember their name) who dislikes the phrase "you know" :)

Y2.01K bug trips up Symantec

Alice Andretti

"Symantec" and "quality" in the same sentence...

Their quality has been MIA for well over a decade. :( That also includes a recent interval where I foolishly gave them a second chance, this time with their Windows version of stuff only to end up ditching Norton again, this time permanently.

Yes, yes, I know, no software is perfect, but sometimes it seems that Symantec isn't even trying. Maybe they figure the typical grandpa Norton user (or whatever) can't tell the difference, who knows.

Does Symantec not pay their employees enough to get quality work, or what the hell *is* the problem there anyway?

Ladies put off tech careers by sci-fi posters, Coke cans

Alice Andretti

Bad teachers vs good role-models etc.

I still remember my high-school basic-electronics class, where the slimeball oldschool teacher had the class memorize colors of resistors by using a well-known traditional mnemonic jingle - this is the version that we were taught:

"Bad Boys Rape Often Young Girls But Violet Gave Willingly"

Not surprising that sort of attitude didn't attract girls in droves, for a variety of reasons including at least two flaws in the basic premises of the mnemonic itself. In that particular class, I was literally the only girl in a class of about 30 male students, which made me feel like a freak at first. The other students were cool (nice), just normal people, but some of the old-guard *teachers* had attitude problems and they tried to pass on their worthless/harmful attitudes to new generations. (I guess I went to bad schools, up until college anyway.)

I stuck it out because, at the time, I liked the subject matter itself well enough to ignore traditional dumbf**k attitudes, but more sensible ;) girls stayed far away from such classes.

Not everyone would be as motivated though - I have a bit of a stubborn streak.

@ Asgard:

"People who are not interested in the subject of IT are already primed to dislike that subject."

Possibly, but it's also true that many people have never even *heard* of IT (it's not exactly a common acronym among the general populace), therefore such people would have no preconceived ideas about IT one way or the other.

"women who are in IT and science often show a self confidence to not be so influenced by the superficial concerns of the Histrionics."

Good points, what you wrote about Histrionics.

My dad (who was an excessively-nice-looking guy and an extreme workaholic), always said that "Anything that's popular, is probably no damn good" (partly there he was referring to *himself* in his younger rakish years - he certainly had no lack of women's companionship before marrying at a relatively older age), and then he'd launch off into stories of lemmings and "herd mentality", complete with scathing denunciations of the fashion industry, "face-paint for primitive mating-rituals" (his term for women's makeup), recreational-drug users, draft-dodgers and "hippies", "new math" etc... he was very opinionated about some things!

(Note that this was many years before personal computers, so his anti-lemming stories were *not* related to any modern OS-based lemming diatribes that one may have heard, y'know the usual Windows vs SomeOtherOS thing.)

Point being, it's not surprising that a kid who's heard that sort of thing zillions of times since infancy, might end up with "non-traditional" career interests.

I suspect that many other women in non-traditional lines of work, probably also had some similar strong influences in their lives that gave them the idea that you don't necessarily have to do what society or "peers" (lemmings again) tell you to do. Be interested in things for their own merits, not because of following fashion/style/bad-peer-pressure or whatever. If something interests you, then go for it, work hard, do a good job, be successful at it. If despite your best efforts you can't hack it (no pun intended), then find something else that you *are* good at and work hard at that too.

Having a workaholic mentor/role-model probably has something to do with it, too, because it makes one less inclined to be discouraged at going against the tide (dealing with naysayers etc.).

A lot of traditionally male jobs, are in fact *difficult*, either mentally or physically - that's probably one of the reasons that the pay is often higher. Many people - men as well as women - aren't well-qualified for those jobs and/or aren't interested in that kind of work (whatever it happens to be) in the first place. People (men or women) who get into those lines of work just on a lark, and who don't apply themselves or who spend their time goofing off, are apt to fail or be mediocre. If there is something 'unusual' about the person, their failure will stick in people's memory more.

Side note:

I once worked in an all-girl shop (quite a change of environment/culture from the usual mostly-male workplaces I'd worked at previously). The boss made an exception one time and she hired a male. He turned out to be lazy *and* a thief ($$$$) and he got fired, and ever after that, the boss swore up and down that she would never ever again hire another man because she'd hired that *one* man that *one* time and he was no good (that bosslady had good technical skills, but she wasn't very people-smart). She kept her word for the entire time she was in charge of that shop, another 4 or 5 years or so. "One bad apple"... I see similar things with regard to mostly-male workplaces that dare to hire females - some of the females are good workers, some aren't, but the bad ones stand out more because they were already different to start with, thus reinforcing already-existing stereotypes or whatever.

Just my long-winded ramblin' two cents there :)

Stolen bank data mixed into list of French tax dodgers

Alice Andretti

I thought it said French todgers...

... and was expecting a Playmobil scene.

You British have corrupted me ;)

New York Times pwned to serve scareware pop-ups

Alice Andretti

"unauthorized advertisement" my ass.

Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions here, but...

Lovely how the NYTimes spins it to make it sound less serious, changing the scenario from a hacked website that could potentially put visitors' safety at risk, to merely an innocent-sounding "unauthorized advertisement."

They'd make good politicians. "No, that enemy ICBM didn't land in Los Angeles killing the entire population; instead it was merely an unauthorized detonation."

Would be nice if some of these not-accountable-to-customers corporations would fess up to their own security problems instead of trying to downplay everything. "Oh don't worry dear public, everything is alright." I think not.

"But it would scare off our customers" - well if enough customers got scared at enough different websites, maybe people would start taking security seriously and DEMAND CHANGE as far as how website security, IT etc., is handled. It'll never happen as long as these lazy companies continue to shift the blame to someone else.

Snow Leopard arrives with meow, not a roar

Alice Andretti

Double standards, eh?

"You sound like a whore or a man pretending to be a woman who thinks he knows what women say - either way it's disturbing."

So she touched a nerve with some readers, did she? (Anticipated response from some readers: "No, but I'll give you something else she can touch" etc.)

Funny how it's fine for men to say slutty things about women ("Yeah I'd like to get that bitch in the sack" or "I wouldn't fuck her if she was the last c*nt on earth" or some of the disgusting Paris comments that regularly appear on this site with alarming frequency), but when women say something slutty about men, it's "disturbing" or she's a "whore" or a "man pretending to be a woman". Puh-lease.

Just because some woman expresses that she finds a particular man or group of men to be totally non-sexy and unattractive for whatever reason, and she chooses to express that sentiment by saying that she "wouldn't want to sleep with" them, does not automatically make her a whore. She might be, or she might not be.

It's more likely that she's just chosen a rather tactless and incendiary method of expressing that she finds the men in question to be unattractive for whatever reason.


My observation of humans has led me to believe that some of the trashiest-talking people, can sometimes be the ones the *least* likely to ever do any of the stuff they talk about. So when men, *or* women, make off-color remarks of a sexual nature, it doesn't necessarily provide much insight into their actual lifestyle.

People learn from example and osmosis:

Any natural-born woman who's spent any time working around a bunch of men (this *is* an IT site, after all, and IT is still predominately a male-dominated job), such a woman has likely assimilated quite a few of the speech patterns and thought processes of her male co-workers - including trash-talking about the opposite sex.

Rude and troll-like: probably. Whore: doubtful.

Sorry to disappoint anyone who *prefers* whores ;)

Apple and Snow Leopard take-downs - just say no

Alice Andretti

Regarding Apple NDA...

Apple made me agree to a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) before they'd honor one of their own *warranties*. I guess they didn't want me squawking to the rest of the world about the precise nature of the problem I'd had with one of their particularly troublesome pieces of hardware. That was all *after* many months of going 'round and 'round with them to try to get things resolved in a more peaceful manner.

I have kept my end of the NDA in that I have not publicly divulged any *specifics* as to the exact problem and the exact piece of hardware.

But there was nothing in the NDA that prohibited me from making vague non-specific statements of general dissatisfaction ;)

Unsurprisingly, I have not bought any new Mac hardware since that time. What good is a warrantee if you have to threaten legal action to get them to honor it?

However, I still do very much *like* my *old* pre-return-of-Jobs Macs, which I'd purchased prior to that ugly little incident with the modern Apple company. I'm still using my old Macs and probably will continue to use them until the last little essential parts for them are no longer available on the used market. (I do have a stash of spare parts, but it will be depleted eventually.)

But anyway, as to Apple shooting itself in the foot like people are discussing in these Reg comments here, it was Apple's insistence on my doing the NDA thing that is *the* first-and-foremost reason why I bought my first PC a few years ago - for internet stuff etc., mostly with Linux nowadays - (webmasters, nevermind what my browser user-agent says, it's fake :) for security purposes). Anyway when faced with the choice of buying a new(er) Mac or a new(er) PC, that bad taste from the NDA was a prominent reason I chose the PC instead. Lo and behold I discovered that Windows wasn't the nightmare I'd been led to believe it was, having never tried Windows before. (However, my first Windows virus - which didn't take long! - prompted my move to Linux for everything except DTP and printing.)

Prior to that, I'd been an avid Mac supporter and a bit of a non-zealot Mac evangelist too. But I have my limits as to what I'll tolerate as far as corporate abuse of customers, and Apple crossed the line.

Back to the topic here:

Apple will eventually need to get a clue and quit sh1tting all over their own [formerly] loyal customers. So far, Apple doesn't seem to be too concerned about such things, probably due to Apple's clever marketing strategies etc. there's been a steady stream of newbies ready to sign up and buy new Apple hardware. So why should Apple worry about retaining existing customers when they can just get new ones to replace the dissatisfied ones? "Customers are a dime a dozen..." :(

Linux guru: interface innovation is the challenge

Alice Andretti

Useful features ignored because "too much like Windows"

"X11-based systems are a whole lot more configurable."

Maybe for geeky things, but for simple everday things, I'm not so sure. Several examples come to mind.

Example 1. You can't drag-select multiple items in list-view in Ubuntu (Gnome, Nautilus), and none of the developers seem to care.

Nearest workaround I've been able to find is the clunky idiotic click-shift-click workaround, but for Christ's sake, I've been able to drag-select list-view items on my old Macs for almost forever, and Windows has that functionality too, so why can't Ubuntu do it? Ubuntu allows drag-select in icon view, so why can't they do it in list view too? (And who in their right mind uses icon view anyway, unless it's for pictures or something, but I do all picture-editing stuff on my old Macs.)

Is it too complicated for the non-paid hobbyist programmers to figure out, or are they just being stubborn because it would be "too much like Mac" or "too much like Windows"?

I've actually *seen* one instance where a developer actually cited "too much like Windows" as a reason for not including a different (unrelated) much-requested feature that many Linux users wanted. He even came right out and admitted that yes the requested feature would be useful and good, but since it might remind people of a Windows functionality, it would be uncool for Linux to have it too. Nothing to do with copyrights or patents or anything, just plain foolish pride. Cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Seems to be one of the drawbacks of not getting much/any financial rewards from their efforts, is that evidently many developers don't give a rat's ass what users want. Must be an ego trip or something, why they even bother to write software in the first place. Or, just boredom, aka something to do.

Example 2. In Ubuntu + Gnome, or in KDE for that matter, how does one adjust the height of window title-bar thingies, and size/height of menu items, etc? I can easily do all that in Windows XP Pro (I like to make most of those things tiny, to give me more room on my already-big monitor or "just because"). Is it just something I missed in Linux, or is there an obscure command-line way to do that, or is there in fact *no* way to custom fine-tune such GUI things in Linux? It's easy in Windows, only a few clicks.

Although I suspect that most Windows users never change any of that stuff and probably aren't even aware that it's possible (some users have so sense of curiosity and never poke around in menus etc), but for those who do want to customize such things, it's nice to have the option. But as far as I can tell it's *not* configurable in the Linux distros I've tried.

Example 3. Last I checked (a few months ago), I still could not find a mere-mortal-understandable way to make keyboard shortcuts (for opening apps) in Ubuntu *except* for the very limited number of things that appear in System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. It would be nice to have an easy quick way (as in Windows XP Pro) to make keyboard shortcuts to open gedit or Geany or even the silly Gnome solitaire game (which seems to be much more winnable than the Windows version, hmm), or the System Monitor or whatever else. Yes, it allows me to set keyboard shorcuts for browser, calculator, email (useless since I only use webmail), log out, and a whole sh1tload of useless audio stuff (I don't do any audio whatsoever on Linux - again that's what my old Macs are for), and a few other minor things. One time, somewhere, I read of some arcane convoluted complicated way to make keyboard shortcuts, complete with other users complaining that such things shouldn't be necessary since it's ridiculously easy in Windows - I seem to recall that when I read the instructions, my eyes glazed over and I fell into a stupor ;) and haven't pursued it since.

But once again the too-often heard open-source attitude seems to be "STFU you whiney moron lusers, it's either our way or the highway, write your own if you don't like it, or go screw yourself and quit complaining, or go back to your loser PC or preschooler Mac" or whatever. :(

So much for open-source innovation and Linux GUI improvements.

Example 4. Screenshots. Why do I have to jump through ridiculous hoops just to get a screenshot of a pulldown menu? If evil horrible Windows ;) can do it automatically, why in the hell can't Ubuntu?

Seems to me that some open-source developers (Windows as well as Linux) are just being stubborn and *deliberately* withholding useful asked-for features in some sort of sadistic passive-aggressive attempt to spite the users.

A couple of years ago I spent quite a few months (almost a year I think) using KDE, and it seemed rather needlessly idiotic too, although for different reasons which I don't remember now. I found myself cussing at the damn thing quite frequently.

Never did understand the "KDE is like Windows" thing - didn't seem that way to me.

KDE seemed kind of dumbed-down and not very configurable at all, and I only used it out of desperation when a Windows virus made me all paranoid about Windows.

So, because of all the above (and other things) I have yet to be convinced that Linux is "more configurable" than other OSes. Compared to, for instance, XP Pro, Linux seems far *less* configurable in the things that matter to ordinary users.

Also, trying to get rid of all the bloat (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager) to delete crap that is absolutely useless to me, such as all the stupid Evolution and Pidgin space-wasting stuff (that Linux partition is fairly small at the moment, and besides it's the principle of the thing), is an exercise in futility besides wearing out my hand from way too much clicking on stuff only to find out it's part of something else which probably shouldn't be deleted.

I'm sorry, but as to rolling my own Linux, I'm not a genius, and unless I can go to the library (or find online) a COMPLETE and 100-percent ACCURATE and highly detailed STEP-BY-STEP instruction-manual-for-dummies ;) on how to put together my own Linux thingie without all the bloat, that will remain out of reach.

What's with all those frickin' dependencies, anyway? And why do I have to keep *all* the Gnome games when I only want *one* of them?

I haven't yet got up enough nerve to see what happens if I delete important sounding stuff such as "ubuntu-desktop" - sounds rather serious, and at the moment I'm not in the mood to have to reinstall the whole damn thing again.

Although, to be fair - at least Linux complete reinstalls are much faster than Windows reinstalls, but that's only because I don't have to install very much in Linux, since it's only used for browsing, downloading offline Windows anti-virus updates ;) for the Windows box, quickie webpage edits if I'm too lazy to transfer files to one of my other OSes, and that's about it (seeing as how Photoshop and Corel Painter don't run on Linux, and my printer doesn't work with Linux either).

The only reason I was ever interested in Linux at all, is because I needed a modern OS for online stuff, and I don't regard Windows as sufficiently secure (even when tweaked, running under a Limited account, etc.). So I put up with Linux crap, for the time being anyway, because I haven't yet found any other satisfactory semi-secure alternatives. (Or, at least the *illusion* of security, not sure which it is.) After way too much experimentation with different distros, I 'settled' for Ubuntu (which is still awful, although not as bad as it used to be) because it was the only distro that had good hardware support for my silly little old PC - at least the video works at the proper screen res without having to fight the damn thing (unlike other distros), so it's not *all* bad :)

I *still* would like to be able to drag-select items for copying to a flashdrive though (sorry to harp on that again), to transfer to other machines. But the legendary Linux configurability (or lack of) makes such a simple take-for-granted-on-other-OSes thing *not* possible. Yes, it's trivial, but...

It's all the little things that add up to make a complete picture as far as usability and user happiness ;) and - as an extension of that - probably OS marketshare too.

Now, what *I* want to know is, why isn't there a Reg icon for a Devil Penguin? There's a Devil Bill Gates icon, and a Devil Steve Jobs icon, but no Devil Penguin... hmmm... Is it because it's "not fair to pick on the underdog"? I suppose that's a good a reason as any...

US Dems fill inboxes with 419 scams

Alice Andretti

Not surprising

For what it's worth, my observation of my friends and acquaintances[*] leads me to believe that Democrats don't put much emphasis on either security or preventing crime in general, nor on punishing criminals afterwards (the modern American "catch-and-release" revolving-door judicial system). One could speculate for years on exactly why that's the case, but I won't do that here :)

I read something the other day (can't remember where it was), where some British person had got the two main American political parties mixed up - he said:

"Tell me again, which party is the evil one, and which party is the stupid one?"

That seems to sum it up pretty good ;)

(For those who don't know, it's the Republicans that are evil ;) and the Democrats that are stupid ;) )

All of 'em can be extremely annoying and hard to reason with, at times.

* The aforementioned friends and acquaintances consist of a fairly even mix of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, etc.

Firefox 4.0 flashes lusty leg at Windows lovers

Alice Andretti

Re: Early Learning Centre (aka dumbed-down crap)

"Can everyone stop adopting all these Fisher Price interfaces. Just coz Apple did it doesn't mean we all want patronising Teletubbies bouncy icons and graphics!"

I agree completely.

Let's just hope that Apple has patented those goddamned pinstripes, lest they hopelessly infest other OSes or apps.

If Firefox or Windows or Linux ever turn up with mandatory pinstripes everywhere (shhh, don't give them any more dumb ideas than they already have), that's where they and I will part company.

<rant>The UI designers of these companies are shooting themselves in the foot with those idiotic dumbed-down designs. They're driving away serious users and pandering to the worst of the lowest common denominator. I would have got a new Mac years ago but I can't stand the apparent lack of user-configurability in OSX, so I keep the old "classic Mac" (therefore Apple is losing money from lost sales of new equipment) because the *old* OS has a calm, subdued appearance that doesn't distract from whatever work you're trying to get accomplished. The focus should be on the work you're doing, not on worthless eye candy that serves no purpose except to make you want to throw the damn thing out the window.</rant>

- user of nice old "classic Mac", modern Linux, and XP Pro, not necessarily in that order, and sometimes all at once :)

Feminist org declines nude calendar cash

Alice Andretti

<bleeping title>

AC wrote: "There is so much talk of women being sexy, and whether it's good for them to dress provocatively or not, but there is almost no way for a man to dress in such a manner."

Men are inherently sexy and there's no need for them to go very far out of their way to "dress provocatively." A little bit of nice exposed arm muscle (roll up those long sleeves a couple of inches) and other attributes can be tantalizing enough to get a lady's interest, although she may or may not let you know about it depending on other factors. (Probably different in warmer climates though, where everyone runs around half-naked all the time anyway... I'm thinking more of the cold northern climates I'm accustomed to).

I think the problem is that too many men are unaware that *men* are sex objects too, in a good sense of the word. At least they are for women who are in tune with stuff like that.

Also, too many men seem to have been brainwashed by religion into viewing their own (male) bodies as somehow "dirty" or "bad", where sex is "dirty" etc etc blah blah, not helped at all by centuries of religious/societal conditioning that the human body and its functions are somehow shameful or "sinful" or whatever. (Well, I suppose it depends on what you're doing and who/what you're doing it with - if you're out screwing farm animals and hookers you'll probably get diseases, so yeah that would be "dirty," but otherwise, not.)

But anyway you get my point - as to opportunites for men to be "provocative," it's more about attitude (humble, not snobs), confidence (but not braggarts), and, um, fitness for purpose ;) rather than a specific type of "provocative" attire or lack of. Needless to say, drinkers/smokers/lardballs/scumbags/abusers don't stand much of a chance regardless of how sexy their bodies might be, unless they're seeking a woman (or whatever their prefs are) of similar attributes and interests.

All that having been said, I saw some male strippers at a club one time (got talked into going by some lady coworkers) and quite frankly (no pun intended!) those dudes didn't even really know how to dance. They were lurching around like Frankenstein (seriously!), not very attractive... poor starving college kids I guess, trying to make some extra cash. Those particular dancers could have benefited from some, oh I dunno, meditation or kickin' back with some good mellow reggae for a few months or something, to learn how to loosen up and move/dance in a better manner, but then they probably wouldn't be doing public stripping if they were into that mode, so...

Huh... what was the topic again? Oh yeah - calendars, feminism etc ... (been a long day, sorry) ... how about people-ism... men need 'liberated' too, y'know ;) ... no, I did *not* say lubricated! ;) ok I'm going now...

Amazon may plug in-book advertising into Kindle

Alice Andretti

But can we read the *ads* out loud...

...without being sued for copyright infringement? ;)

But seriously, the more I find out about Kindle, the worse it seems.

Women coppers eager to drop trousers

Alice Andretti

I thought the article would be a Playmobil scene...

...where women cops giving naughty men spankings after said men drop their trowsers :)

Shame, shame, *bad* Reg and Mr. Haines <spank! spank!> for pandering to page-views like that :)

Alice Andretti

Front-pleated pants that look like big dicks

(oops, is that too lewd a title? hope not)

The Moderatrix wrote: "Any woman can reduce or increase the apparent size of her arse by several percent according to what she wears. It's all about creating optical illusions."

Sometimes the optical illusions built-into some men's clothing, are not so good for women. For a little while I had to wear a company uniform which had allegedly-unisex (men's, basically) pants that had heavily-starched stick-out pleats and extra fabric in the *front* which bulged out (nothing there but air), making it look like I was walking around all day with a big huge dick.

Sideways view in a window or mirror was like, OMG WTF, <pat pat> smooth down the fabric, take a few steps, stupid pleats pop up the fabric again. Mind you my height/weight ratio is fine - this was a designed-in "fabric malfunction" ;)

I got tired of it - wasn't quite the image I wanted to project to my customers and the public, so I snuck in my own un-pleated look-alike pants (same except for no pleats) to wear for work. It was a fairly loose-run company, no formal inspections or anything, so I was able to get away with it (the bosses didn't notice, and I didn't tell them) - problem solved. It would not have done any good to complain or demand special clothing, so I didn't bother, instead just solved the problem on my own.

Ordinarily men's casual clothes like jeans, shirts, t-shirts, etc., are fine, but it's not so good (at least for women) when they start adding stupid stuff like stick-out pleats that make it look like you've got a giant unit in front down there.

For the record, in case any of you men readers are wondering: my arse size is just fine thank you very much :)

250kg Russian drops healthy 2kg sprog

Alice Andretti

@ "she shouldn't have to worry about buying milk"

Obesity only adds fat to the areas surrounding the actual mammary glands, unless I'm mistaken; it does not make the glands themselves larger. Fat itself can't produce milk, at least that's what they told us in biology class, so I don't think her being obese would in and of itself increase the capacity for milk production.

People are probably confusing it with a related unnaturally-large area on certain commonly-seen domestic livestock, but those have been specifically hybridized for greater milk output unrelated to body fat.

BTW thanks Paul Webb for the "Lost father" comment - it was quite funny :)

Fellers at Dell ditch Della?

Alice Andretti

Della site was lame. Good riddance.

"...perfectly able to choose, buy and use technology without all this pink, fluffy patronising nonsense?"


One wonders who was in charge of Dell's marketing. Was it outsourced to someone living in a time warp? "E for effort" at trying to reach out to new customers, but still a fail (oh alright, failure then). So if Dell has realized their mistake and corrected it, that's good.

Besides that, it's still true in some cases, products marketed specifically towards women, can tend to be of inferior quality (one can debate what *that* means some other time) - such as shoes that fall apart if (heaven forbid) a woman actually uses said shoes for walking (wow, what a concept), clothing that's shoddily sewn (and no pockets!!), of course all at twice or three times the price of similar men's attire. So I wouldn't have trusted a Dell "women's computer" because I'd be concerned that Dell might be using second-rate parts that barely passed QC figuring that it would only be used for light-duty looking-up of the maligned "recipes" etc., not for serious use.

Geeks make least selfish lovers: Official

Alice Andretti

Females have no lack of opportunity

"When sex isn't easy to get you try harder when you get the opportunity. Same reason ugly birds give the best blowjobs"

Not to be argumentative or anything, but there's a slight flaw in your reasoning there, at least as applied to the "birds" you mention. Because just about all *females*, regardless of how unattractive they are, can get sex whenever they want it - there is basically *no* lack of "opportunity", thus no reason for them to "try harder". (Whether the sex is any good or not, is probably another topic.) I've seen this in numerous places I've worked - ugly fat chicks consistently having several dates each week, and - to my surprise - not all of the guys were gross disgusting losers either.

Anyway, the only people who have to *work* at finding sex are the males of the species, who presumably become pretty good at dealing with rejection. A sad-but-true fact of life for males.

Alice Andretti

Programmers are sexy :)

A good-looking guy I used to know was always trying to get me in the sack by declaring that since he was a programmer, he was "very technically oriented", with further hints that he would take the time to make sure that, um, all the bits and bobs were properly addressed :) as opposed to 10-seconds-and-go-back-to-sleep or whatever.

He was a hot guy, well-mannered too, but I never got around to taking him up on his offer to see what his technical skill level was ;)

I do think programmers are sexy though. Well, some of 'em anyway. Depends on the person, their attitudes, etc.

Apple patents all-seeing display

Alice Andretti

@ Peyton, about command+tab

"...Apple's implementation of command+tab sucks imho"

I take it, then, that there's no OSX equivalent of the excellent old Program Switcher by Michael Kamprath? I've used it on pre-OSX Macs for many years, still using it in fact, even before I knew of such things as alt-tab in Windows. I wouldn't be able to get anything done on my Macs without it. <off to do research>

Okay looks like Program Switcher morphed into something called "Keyboard Maestro" which supposedly has application-switching and window-switching:



Both of which sound much more complicated than the old third-party classic implementation that I use, but I don't have OSX to test the new stuff to see if it's any good or not. Might be worth your while to try Keyboard Maestro though, maybe it will be an improvement over Apple's cmd-tab?

Sophos punts anti-virus for Klingons

Alice Andretti

Re: "...forced to eat horrible pasties..."


Yes, yes, I know... sorry... one of those "Chiefly British" things - http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=pasties&search=search

Alice Andretti

Re: "Maybe they should take the time to structure html better..."

I'm guessing it's Sophos' attempt to get us to poke around in the page's source code for further amusements. The source says: "Don't forget to comment this out before going live!"

And if you keep reading the source, there are other tidbits:

"How about a picture of Picard? He's way cooler than Worf - Bob"

"he's not a klingon though, and this is KLINGON anti-virus. Not picard anti-virus...- Edward"

"Maybe we should do a Picard version? - Bob"

"no one even likes picard -Edward"

"I do :( - Bob"

"Klingons do not fear malware. Only the dishonour of falling for Win32 Beverly-Crusher-A. - Matt"

"this will need optmising for search engines!! - david"

"How are you supposed to optmise for Klingon??? - Bob"

"need a button!!!!! - david"

"Only those marketing losers have Photoshop - Bob"

"use gimp fool-david"


Methinks in some twisted way that all that, including the initial "error", is *part* of Sophos' marketing strategy. I mean, after all, "normal" ;) people aren't going to be interested in Klingon versions of things so they'd probably not visit the page in the first place, whereas abnormal ;) people like us :) are more likely to delve into the source code to see what causes things like the "error" on the page. :)

Now watch Sophos change it and remove all of the above :(

Mozilla invites all comers on post-tab future

Alice Andretti

about:config "browser.tabs.tabMinWidth"

They're fine the way they are. However, I *hate* the standard/default *wide* minimum-tab-size - it's stupid.

Fortunately, in Firefox's "about:config", in the "browser.tabs.tabMinWidth" part, you can set the tab size to a smaller minimum width, to fit more tabs on screen before you have to scroll them.

I set my "browser.tabs.tabMinWidth" to 56 which is quite small, but it's fine for me, and very useful when lots of tabs are open. At that width and with my current screen and browser window size, I can get literally 30 tabs visible (you know, the title/top-part) per window *without* having to scroll them.

In combination with the "favicon" icon thingies that most websites have nowadays, it works fine - the icons identify which little groups of tabs belong to what website, and if I need to see more of a certain tab's title (seldom - I usually just remember them by location) I just hover the cursor over a tab and the whole title appears without having to click it. It works fine and maybe I'm just a Luddite, but I don't see much need for changing it.

At least, all that works fine for sighted people - don't imagine it would be of much use for the sight-impaired though (do they even use multiple tabs? I dunno).

One would hope that Mozilla doesn't start changing stuff *only* for the sake of change, working too hard at inventing reasons for so-called "improvements" that don't actually "improve" anything, trying to stay ahead of the competition with bogus unwanted "features" or whatever. There is already far too much software that does that sort of thing. We don't need even more of it to aggravate and annoy users - unless that's the developers' intent. ;)

Adblock developer offers 'please unblock me' tag to sites

Alice Andretti

"Freetards" etc

I wonder how many of the alleged "freetards" are also hot-linkers, trying to leech off of some other private individual's bandwidth without permission (stealing images or other content) *and* seeing nothing wrong with it or why anyone would think it's wrong. "But gee, it's on the internet so it's free, right, I just linked to it, what's wrong with that?" Sigh.

Thank God for .htaccess <evil grin>

Firefox passive-aggressives adjudicate Nerd Law

Alice Andretti


Should have been "duel", not "dual", in my earlier post. My bad ;)


Alice Andretti

Smart people sometimes temporarily turn stupid

People use the tools that they are good at using, to smight their enemies. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that a programmer would use programming to get back at an enemy (or whatever).

What would one rather have them do, dual it out in the streets using guns or knives?

Wait.... that NoScript dude is supposedly into martial arts... hmm... and he's Italian too... <cue popular stereotypes about the Mafia etc> ... hmm...

Anyway, the only reason (sort of) that the story is/was news, is because innocent bystanders (users) ended up getting involved in the fray.

FWIW, I accept the NoScript author's well-worded and apparently sincere apology (<http://hackademix.net/2009/05/04/dear-adblock-plus-and-noscript-users-dear-mozilla-community/>).

I can totally understand how he apparently developed sort of a "tunnel vision" where he (at first) didn't fully understand the possible implications of his earlier actions. Seems to me that he basically got reeled in, provoked, by the AdBlock developer. IMO, at the end of the day the NoScript author has shown greater character in all of this, despite his earlier poor judgment in certain things.

That's not to say that I now trust NoScript - I don't completely trust *any* software (not even Firefox itself, odd how Firefox sometimes tries to connect to the BBC for no reason), even though I've been using NoScript for a long time and I will continue to use NoScript as long as no further misdeeds are discovered. (The important word there being, I suppose, "discovered".) Among other reasons: NoScript has no viable competition, and the alternatives (or lack of) aren't very appealing.

Sometimes the smartest, most highly-trustworthy people, can suddenly and temporarily "turn stupid" and make the most idiotic mistakes in judgment, or 'judgement' for you British types :) ...I know, I've been there, done that, although not with regards to programming. When that happens, it's almost always a one-time occurrence and they quickly get a clue and they don't repeat such stupidity. Not to mention the fact that everyone's now carefully watching the person's every move, at least for the next few months/years until memories fade.

I intend to donate some more $$ to NoScript when I get around to it, if NoScript continues to function correctly and if the author continues to behave himself. I have no problem with paying for software that I find useful, *AS LONG AS* it's done at my discretion and when/where I choose, not sneakily or whatever. As to ads on the NoScript site, if more people would be thoughtful enough to make even small $ donations for "free" software that they use, such authors wouldn't be tempted to use ads in the first place... seems like.

Microsoft: Windows 7 release in August '09

Alice Andretti

Virii (I'm being a pedant now)

Not to pick on Michael Walsh or anything, but supposedly there's no such word as virii :)

For what it's worth - maybe not much - Wikipedia says this, about halfway down their long-winded and incomprehensible-to-normal-humans ;) webpage:

"The form virii is impossible as a plural of virus, since we only find the suffix -ii in the plural of masculine and feminine words ending in -ius. For instance, radius is pluralized by removing -us and adding -i. The -ii ending of the resulting word radii is not a real suffix: it is simply the consequence of adding i to a stem that has an i as its last letter. An example of this in English is adding the suffix ing to the word ski, resulting in skiing. Thus the plural virii would be that of the non-existent word virius."

Above quote is just a brief excerpt of a much longer dissertation (most of which I confess I don't understand) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plural_of_virus

Anyway, hey Michael, I *do* get your point, and agree with some of it :) and besides, we all know how language is - if enough people use a certain word (or new word) in a certain way, it becomes "correct" eventually because, well, because that's how language works... and that's a good thing otherwise we'd all still be saying thee and thou and stuff like that, depending on how far back one wants to go. Nevertheless, I felt like being silly and nitpicky today about the virii thing :)

Now... on to more important things ;) such as what's the plural of a computer mouse: mice? meese? mouses? The word "mice" just doesn't seem appropriate for a non-animal device...


Oh, sorry... what is it again that we're supposed to be discussing here, um, Windows 7 or something? ;)

<back to the topic now>

Symantec hit by massive goodwill impairment

Alice Andretti

How can *any* AV company properly defend Windows?

I used to be a Norton customer, going back many years (off and on), and at one point I was actually quite happy with Norton - but not anymore. I'm not a Norton-hater, but I just don't use their products anymore.

Some of the blame for Norton's problems can no doubt be attributed to Microsoft for creating an OS that seemingly can't be adequately protected regardless of users' safe-computing habits (not running as admin, not visiting dodgy sites, not using IE, using Firefox w/NoScript, etc.). Thus causing a growing number of users to abandon Windows altogether, for some other OS for which Norton offers no AV apps. Maybe Norton should get into the Linux AV market ;) to recapture some of that lost revenue ;)

And/or blame the alleged "organized-crime" highly-motivated black-hats who are trying really hard to make money for themselves by compromising your PC (botnets, spam zombies, whatever).

Minor blame goes to Norton itself for irritating buggy products, although their current products are much better than some of their older stuff, IMO. (At least NIS 2009 didn't use 100% CPU, however I'm not sure NIS 2009 actually *protected* against very much, either, if the Norton forums are any indication.)

Bottom line: I just don't think ANY company, Norton or anyone else, is up to the task of defending modern computers. Or, at least, modern Windows. Not so sure I trust Linux (or modern Macs) very much either, with the possible exception of certain Live CD's that have been set up for better security, but even so...

Pig plague 2.0: Can't spell 'pandemic' without 'panic'

Alice Andretti

U.S. no paid sick-leave a problem

AC wrote: "The biggest problem in the US is that people with no or limited healthcare don't go to the doctor and you miss the early stages on the spread which makes containing it and treating it harder."

The other thing is, many of the millions of low-income or minimum-wage workers keep on GOING TO WORK every day for as long as they possibly can in the early stages of things, because they have *NO* PAID SICK-LEAVE and they can't afford to miss any pay by taking time off from work just because they felt a little woosy or what they thought was just a cold (to *start* with, before it gets worse).

But from what I understand (generally speaking) they can still be CONTAGIOUS to everyone around them since those viruses are airborne and harder to avoid (as in, breathing).

The worker pops some cheap generic "cold medicine" (kept on hand for such occasions) to help mask the initial symptoms, you go to work and try not to let on that you feel like crap even though you're about ready to fall over, and do your best to make sure the boss doesn't notice, because you don't want to get sent home and lose a day's pay. You might be able to pull that off for some time. So you spread contagious *airborne* viruses to your CUSTOMERS and the rest of the general public - thinking of restaurant jobs, hotel/motel workers, some cashiers and the many other low-paid or minimum-wage "service" jobs that typically don't have any benefits such as paid sick-leave. It's common.

It could become a problem if a nasty enough airborne-contagious virus was involved. You'd just have to breathe a few whiffs of the same air as one of those early-stage sick workers, then you take the virus/disease home with you and spread it to your own family, friends, neighbors, your own coworkers, etc., and it goes on from there.

In the case of some new quickly-spreading highly-contagious airborne virus, seems like it could be a problem. The government tells sick people to stay home, but they go to work anyway (as far as possible) because they need the money.

I also wonder about the more urban tightly-packed populations we have now, which would speed up transmission, compared to (at least in the U.S.) the still comparatively less-urbanized populations at the time of the 1917/18 flu. You'd think we modern humans, as descendents of survivors of the 1918 flu (I lost some ancestors to that), would have some built-in genetic immunity, but maybe it doesn't quite work so neat and tidy like that, who knows.

Firefox devs ask navels when to curtail Mac OS support

Alice Andretti

That was why I bought my first Windows box

"marc" wrote: That is why I stopped using Macs. Having to upgrade an whole OS to get the latest browser or Java release... I'd rather use Vista."

I totally understand.

Mac unsupported browsers (going back to problems with IE 5 Mac version, which had *previously* been *great* - worked just fine, nice browser, *until* certain website developers stopped supporting it - grrr!) and also lack of compatible printers was the exact reason I bought my first PC (XP Pro), whereas prior to that I'd never even touched a PC.

However even after buying the PC, I kept the Mac anyway because I didn't feel like shelling out another $600/whatever for Photoshop, $500 for big Wacom tablet and more $$ for extra Wacom pens such a stroke etc., and another minimum of $2000 to replace all my Photoshop 3rd-party plugins and another $400/whatever for Painter (Painter sucks anyway, but it had no competition, "only game in town" kinda thing)... and whatever would replace BBEdit (no equal that I've found yet, tried 'em all). I can certainly see the tempation to pirate software, although I wouldn't do it because of stability concerns.

However the Mac gets far less use these days, as gradually, slowly but surely, I'm methodically migrating things away from the Mac and towards whatever other OS is capable of handling them gracefully. I see no point in buying a newer Mac, as the Mac OS *comparatively* short life-cycle would soon put me right back where I started, everything outdated, after spending thousands of dollars to replace everything. Pointless, and I'm not rich to justify it.

Apple sort of shot itself in the foot with that, because after my first taste of Windows, I quickly came to appreciate the much longer Windows life-cycle (well for XP Pro anyway), the amount of time between having to ditch-all-the-hardware and buy all new hardware & apps which had really pissed me off on the Mac side of things after too many years of it.

Incidentally (off-topic) I also quickly found out that Windows is actually pretty nice to work with - I'm *not* talking about what's under the hood in Windows (I'll defer to the experts who say Windows is crap; they're probably right at least judging by Windows' perpetual security problems even when locked down), but just you know just talking about moving files around and browsing through cheap-n-nasty ;) Windows clipart (useful after much modification) and just normal stuff, what I see on my screen as an everyday user and the ease of setting things up, customizing the appearance, and basic simple functionality (like being able to drag-select multiple items in list view, which Ubuntu stupidly can *not* do as far as I can tell, but XP does with ease, and Macs have since at least the mid-1990s and maybe longer), and the ease of making stuff work in general. Bearing in mind I'm not all that smart these days ;) and money doesn't grow on trees either ;)

Alice Andretti

Divide the workload among different OS's

"Mike Flugennock" wrote thusly: "...Linux (I forget which variety) on a machine at a friend's place and remember thinking it seemed slick enough, but (deep breath) can I get Adobe Creative Suite for it, or QuarkXPress for it, or FinalCut Pro, or..."

No, but if you're sufficiently desperate (like me) you can keep a dedicated Linux machine to do *only* browser-related things (except for maybe printing; save files and print 'em from a non-Linux machine, that's what I have to do) and just keep using your other machine for Adobe, Quark, etc.

Set-up the two machines' respective screens and keyboards in a quasi-L shape if you have the space, and after a few days adjustment period (and some furniture rearrangements/additions) you'll barely even notice when you switch from one to the other, it just becomes automatic like changing gears in a car or something - aside from minor inconveniences with file transfers (just use thumbdrives to transfer files as needed, or I suppose network 'em if you know how to do that). Not so sure any of that would go over too well for larger offices though, but for smaller operations it's something to consider.

All that, of course, assumes you don't mind a bunch of extra hardware cluttering up your work area, and that you physically have room for extra screens etc., (and probably buying yourself another and/or bigger UPS to handle the extra wattage) and the ability to acquire said items (second-hand works for some of it). I've read, but haven't confirmed, that Linux doesn't necessarily play well with those switches that people used to use for sharing monitors/keyboards between computers (because of some technical reason which I didn't understand), and besides it's more useful to be able to see/use both/all screens/keyboards simultaneously anyway.

"Mike Flugennock" also wrote: "Linux is noble and revolutionary and all that jazz, but right now it's still an OS for guys who, in a simpler time long ago, would have instead been filling their entire basements with model railroads."

LOL yeah I know what you mean, but some of it depends on the distro. Ubuntu seems to be the most idiot-proof (and I should know!) and even though I despise Ubuntu's dreadful inefficient GUI, I use the damn thing anyway because it has the fewest problems, compared to others. KDE (Kubuntu and all other KDE's that I've tried) totally won't work at all for me on any of my new flat-panels *or* any of my big old CRT's - no video whatsoever and I have no idea how to fix it (already tried changing the monitors settings using Windows, then plugging the monitors back into the Linux machine and booting it up, no dice).

I asked about it, politely, at a Linux place one time and I basically got a carefully-disguised weasely-slick equivalent of 'go screw yourself if you're too stupid to figure it out on your own or write your own fix for it' which wasn't helpful nor did it give a good impression of the whole Linux thing. (Experiences like *that* make a person sometimes want to see Linux die die die just because of some of the users', erm, incredibly-arrogant and self-defeating attitude problems).

So anyway I can certainly understand your viewpoint.

"A Gould" wrote: "If they want it so much... why don't they learn objective-C and do a 10.4 port themselves."

Haha, but thanks for making my point for me ;) - monkeys would type the encylopedia faster than many people, including myself, could ever learn C, and yes I've already seriously tried, and seriously failed. It's beyond many people's capabilities.

Alice Andretti

Fault, and OS longevity

"Peter Gathercole" wrote: "I do take your point about applications, but this, again, is not Linux's fault."

Well, I see what you're saying - but whose fault it is, really isn't relevant to the user, as far as whether or not their apps function and whether or not the person can get their work done. If a person needs to have certain specific apps, and if those apps don't work, then that's a deal-breaker, regardless of whose fault it is that the apps don't work.

"Peter Gathercole" wrote further: "If there was a Linux port of Adobe Creative Suite, QuarkXPress, or FinalCut Pro, maybe more people (such as you!) would see Linux as an alternative"

Absolutely! I completely agree with you on that, and the other points you made along that line too. I have no problem whatsoever with paying fair-market value for 'specialty' or 'high-end' software that works really really good, if all the required functionality is there, and if it isn't going to go extinct or become unusable in 6 months time ;) or whatever. By "fair-market value" I mean the same $$ as whatever they charge for the same app(s) running under other OS's.

Now if someone would just fix Gnome (they could even charge $$ for it, I don't care, just make it non-dreadful, and I'm not talkin' about colors either), and make my printer work, *and* port Adobe apps to Linux with *no* reduced functionality, and a few other things like that (I'm not a programmer; I can't do it), I could ditch both my Mac *and* Windows entirely :) and I'd be more than happy to do so. Whatever works, and works well, and doesn't make the user want to throw the damn computer into the lake in frustration ;)

"Anonymous Coward" wrote: "Why is it that most new Windows programs run on W2K or even Win98 but support for old versions of OSX disappears so quickly,..."

It's always been that way, and I've always hated that ever since I first noticed it (which didn't take long) - going all the way back to the System 7.5 era when I bought my first Mac and began the often-futile task of trying to keep up with all the changes.

The thing is though, the Mac OS changes so fast (moving target?), they're always tweaking stuff and changing stuff, inventing (or otherwise acquiring) new stuff and discarding previous ideas, and 3rd-party developers quickly drop support for older versions because, well, presumably 1) it's too damn much hassle to write for a bunch of different versions, and 2) there aren't enough Mac users to make it worth the developers' time & trouble to maintain older stuff for a handful of paid customers (or free customers, in which case there's even less incentive for developers).

I *agree* though, that aspect of it, totally sucks, for people like me who could care less about state-of-the-art or "oooh, shiny, new" ;) and who just want something that is *reliable* and that *works* - year after year. Without having to constantly re-buy all new software and all-new hardware to run said new software and new OS's. I'll refrain from speculation on just exactly who profits from all that, but from the practical user's point of view, it's a big liability.

"Fraser" wrote: "...when they say not supported, do they mean it isn't going to work, or that they won't support it?"

*Best*-case scenario (guessing) probably no more security updates for any newly-discovered security holes that someone might find and publish for miscreants to exploit. If a person likes to live dangerously maybe it wouldn't matter.

Mac and Linux Bastilles assaulted by new attacks

Alice Andretti

Presumably then Live CD's are safe?

"Your best solution is to run your apps from a read-only device"

You mean like Live CD's? I like those. :)

I periodically do a cold start though, just in case something's living in RAM or whatever... I don't know if things in RAM can survive reboot in Linux though, or how such things would get there in the first place... just playing it safe I guess, maybe it's not necessary?

Unfortunately, I'm not smart enough to figure out complicated configuration stuff in regular versions of Linux, and no amount of study and reading is ever likely to change that unless it's spelled out, step by step, in idiot-proof instructions for total dummies (that's me).

Also, and I realize that this shows my other-OS backgrounds, but the dearth of real-time monitoring software (normal real-time anti-malware stuff) for Linux makes me feel less than confident with using an actual installed-on-the-HD (writable) Linux. So the Live CD's, to a dummy like me anyway, seem like a good way to go.

Right now I have one entire computer whose sole job is to let me do normal surfing and check email etc using a variety of different Live CD's (haven't decided which one I like best yet). My Windows machine hasn't been hooked up to the internet for a long time now, after some earlier malware problems which I had a hell of a time getting rid of (it had infected my backup disks too), and the extremely-legacy ;) Mac is too old and slow to bother with trying to surf with it anymore.

Maybe I just have a false sense of security with the Live CD's... if so, please advise. Otherwise, it's not much hassle at all to use them (except I had to hook up a CRT monitor 'cause they don't like my LCD screens for some weird reason), anyway provides some peace of mind... or at least the *illusion* of peace of mind...

Alice Andretti

Seamstresses sewing seeds of doubt

"sew the seeds of doubt"

I tried that once for a beading project, but doubt-seeds are really small and the sewing needle was too big to go through them, so I just glued them on instead ;)


Amazon sued by cable TV giant over Kindle ebooks

Alice Andretti

Re: I'd have a lot more sympathy...

Ru wrote: "I'd have a lot more sympathy if Amazon hadn't done their fair share of patent trolling in the past."

I agree, about the lack of sympathy thing. As far as I'm concerned, companies who sues Amazon are doing their part to help ensure that karma is carried out ;) For instance, Amazon made a substantial number of enemies for itself, with its absurd no-read-aloud thing. If Amazon gets their pants sued off, even on totally unrelated matters, so much the better. That's what they get for being greedy and stupid.

Germans announce: Revenge is inefficient

Alice Andretti

"Don't worry, be happy"

Some "happy" people are simply too stupid and dense to ever realize they've been screwed over, so of course they never engage in revenge. "Don't worry, be happy" works just fine for them. They often go through life as complete doormats and they're too clueless to even realize it.

As to the article's assertion about "negatively reciprocal vindictive types" and "managers find them difficult to motivate (unlike positively-reciprocal sorts, who respond to bonuses or free company drinks by working harder or longer)" that a bunch of bullsh*t - in REALITY there are people who are both excellent workers (self-motivated, highly efficient, not slackers, work WITHOUT having to be told or supervised, don't pad their timecards, AND get along just fine with their co-workers, have plenty of friends, etc), AND who don't put up with any crap. So the whole premise of the study is flawed.

That article seems like typical worthless academic tunnel-vision, considering extremes that don't fit with reality.

Intel chip flaw gets double exposure

Alice Andretti

Chip goes malignant on Thursday, eh?

"Security researchers are due to publish research on how an Intel chip flaw might be used for potentially malign purposes on Thursday."

The chip will be used for malign purposes on Thursday? Does that mean we're safe if we just just shut off the affected equipment at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and don't turn it on again until 00:01 a.m. Friday? ;)