* Posts by Rick Stockton

47 posts • joined 19 Apr 2007

Firefox exploit sends Mozilla into 'high-priority fire drill' mode

Rick Stockton

Um, they finished the fixes YESTERDAY AFTERNOON.

Long before you ever posted this article... It's already in this morning's "nightly" builds on all platforms, and they've fixed Firefox 2 as well as FF 3.0 and all the Development versions.

Fire drill is long over.

World's power grids infested with (more) SCADA bugs

Rick Stockton
Jobs Horns

And underneath Areva's sloppy code,

It all runs on Windoze. Not the platform I'd choose for such applications.... Even Jack Bauer probably can't save us from a software stack like this.

Firefox 3.1 release date hampered by cheeky monkey

Rick Stockton

various replies.... (LONG)

Si, I was having big problems with FF3.0 well after 3.0b5 -- but most were related to sqlite database management on Linux, and updates to the Google-provided malware database. I'm really liking 3.1b3pre in it's current state. The following add-ons are *mostly* OK, although TabMixPLus (which I can't live without) is currently causing enormous slowdowns, once every 30 minutes or so, for about 10 seconds, within some of it's own javascript. It's not a TraceMonkey problem, it happens even when I disable the JIT. It's more likely falling into some new, CPU-intensive security checking code. OneMan is looking into it, and might have something soon. The others are all functional. Remember, this is LINUX:

[b]Generated:[/b] Fri Jan 30 2009 12:10:20 GMT-0800 (PST)

[b]User Agent:[/b] Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.1b3pre) Gecko/20090128 Shiretoko/3.1b3pre

[b]Build ID:[/b] 20090128213741

[b]Enabled Extensions:[/b] [52]

- [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=Shiretoko%20about%3Asafebrowsing]about:safebrowsing[/url] 1.0

- [url=http://adblockplus.org/]Adblock Plus[/url] 1.0.1

- [url=http://adblockplus.org/]Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper[/url] 1.0.5

- [url=http://autoformer.mozdev.org/]AutoFormer[/url]

- [url=http://blog.environmentalchemistry.com/2008/03/firefox-theme-classic-compact.html]Classic Compact Options[/url] 1.1.3

- [url=http://customsoftwareconsult.com/extensions]CLEO[/url] 4.0

- [url=http://binaryturf.com/]ColorfulTabs[/url] 3.4

- [url=http://www.blackbirdblog.it/progetti/connect-to-address]Connect to address[/url] 1.1.9

- [url=http://console2.mozdev.org/index.html]Console²[/url] 0.3.10

- [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/6945]Custom Download Manager[/url] 1.6c

- [url=http://downloadstatusbar.mozdev.org/]Download Statusbar[/url]

- [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5398]ErrorZilla Plus[/url] 0.4.4

- [url=http://ted.mielczarek.org/code/mozilla/extensiondev/]Extension Developer[/url]

- [url=http://customsoftwareconsult.com/extensions]FEBE[/url] 6.1beta

- [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8078]Find In Tabs[/url] 0.4

- [url=http://showcase.uworks.net/]Firefox Showcase[/url] 0.9.5

- [url=http://www.xuldev.org/firegestures/]FireGestures[/url] 1.1.6

- [url=http://flashblock.mozdev.org/]Flashblock[/url]

- [url=http://forecastfox.mozdev.org/]Forecastfox[/url]

- [url=http://www.botsko.net]Form Saver[/url] 0.9.0

- [url=http://www.greasespot.net/]Greasemonkey[/url] 0.8.20080609.0

- [url=http://users.skynet.be/mgueury/mozilla/]Html Validator[/url]

- [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=Shiretoko%20Java%20Quick%20Starter]Java Quick Starter[/url] 1.0

- [url=http://www.hacksrus.com/~ginda/venkman/]JavaScript Debugger[/url]

- [url=http://forum.softwareblaze.com]JSView[/url] 2.0.5

- [url=http://yellow5.us/firefox/linkification/]Linkification[/url] 1.3.5

- [url=http://www.mrtech.com/extensions/]MR Tech Toolkit[/url]

- [url=http://www.tom-cat.com/mozilla]New Tab Button[/url] 1.0.8

- [url=http://www.oxymoronical.com/web/firefox/nightly]Nightly Tester Tools[/url] 2.0.2

- [url=http://noscript.net]NoScript[/url]

- [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=Shiretoko%20Nuke%20Anything%20Enhanced]Nuke Anything Enhanced[/url] 0.68.2

- [url=http://openaddons.extra.hu]Open Addons[/url] 1.1.3

- [url=http://www.accessfirefox.org/Page_Zoom_Buttons.php]Page Zoom Buttons[/url] 1.1.1

- [url=http://space.geocities.yahoo.co.jp/gl/alice0775]PatchForLibrary[/url] 5.2pre

- [url=http://platypus.mozdev.org]Platypus[/url] 0.81

- [url=http://quickjavaplugin.blogspot.com/]QuickJava[/url]

- [url=http://rip.mozdev.org/]Remove It Permanently[/url]

- [url=http://rickardandersson.com/]Right-Click-Link[/url] 1.1.3

- [url=http://www.nu22.com/firefox/rssvalidator]RSS Validator[/url] 3.0.0

- [url=http://andy.5263.org/screengrab/]Screen grab![/url] 0.95

- [url=http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/xul/_viewsourceintab.html.en]Source Viewer Tab[/url] 0.3.2008120201

- [url=http://v2studio.com/k/moz/]Stop-or-Reload Button[/url] 0.2.2

- [url=http://tmp.garyr.net]Tab Mix Plus[/url]

- [url=http://www.cfavatar.com/textComplete.cfm]Text Complete[/url]

- [url=http://tinderstatus.mozdev.org/]Tinderstatus[/url] 0.3

- [url=http://codefisher.org/toolbar_button/]Toolbar Buttons[/url]

- [url=http://www.totalvalidator.com/tool/extension.html]Total Validator[/url] 5.4.0

- [url=http://chrispederick.com/work/user-agent-switcher/]User Agent Switcher[/url] 0.6.11

- [url=http://mozilla.queze.net]View Dependencies[/url]

- [url=http://mozilla.queze.net/]View Frames[/url] 1.0

- [url=http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/]Web Developer[/url] 1.1.6

- [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=Shiretoko%20YesScript]YesScript[/url] 1.4

[b]Installed Themes:[/b] [2]

- [url=http://arnolem.developpez.com/]Abaca classic[/url] 1.2.1

- [b][url=http://blog.environmentalchemistry.com/2008/03/firefox-theme-classic-compact.html]Classic Compact[/url] 3.0.9[/b]

- [url=http://www.mozilla.org/]Default[/url]

[b]Installed Plugins:[/b] (9)

- Adobe Reader 8.0

- Default Plugin

- DivX® Web Player

- Java(TM) Plug-in 1.6.0_10-b33

- QuickTime Plug-in 7.2.0

- Shockwave Flash

- Totem Web Browser Plugin 2.24.1

- VLC Multimedia Plugin (compatible Totem 2.24.1)

- Windows Media Player Plug-in 10 (compatible; Totem)

Lianfair's right on the money about hotmail-- one fix has been done, but there still seems to be a problem with compose. I don't know, because I have absolutely, totally no interest in using hotmail. ever.

A couple of comments talk about "can't edit the config file", or "my config is hidden in a database": prefs.js is pretty much unchanged, you CAN edit it with vi, but if you edit it while FF is running then all your changes will be overwritten when Firefox exits. Use Help-->About-->about:config to make changes while Firefox is running. "content-prefs.sqlite" contains only preferences dealing with specific web pages (such as "zoom level"). If you've got a specific configuration item in mind, please post back-- I'll try and tell you how to get at it.

Now, for anyone who is thinking about trying out FF3.1 -- the first thing you do is zip up your *ENTIRE* FF3.0 profile tree, so that you can go back in case something breaks. The second thing you do is backup your bookmarks to a JSON-type backup file.

If you run into a problem page, try this: Go into your "About:Config" as above. in the "filter" line, type "jit". this will leave only two prefs showing:

javascript.options.jit.chrome = false

javascript.options.jit.content = true

right-click on the "content" pref, and Toggle it to "false". You have just turned off Tracemonkey Just-In-Time, and your page might reload correctly. (Don't switch the chrome to "true", unless you really WANT to hunt for bugs inside extension code, and inside Firefox itself.... let the Firefox Devs squash the bugs which happen while viewing external pages first.) If the page then works, you have found a TM bug instance-- post your page over on http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewforum.php?f=23 and one of us "volunteer tester" people probably take a look and see if it's a match for one of the already-known bugs, or (gasp!) a new one.

Two last things: That very exotic, wide-ranging "patch to library" Extension is wonderful, provides fixes for a variety of "Places" nastiness which came about with FF3.1. But it's a "test" extension, you'll need to create an ID on addons.mozilla.org in order to get it.

Finally, stretching out the comment by AC @17:28: Be sure to also "pile on" the Adblock plus "element hiding helper", a great GUI for selecting and creating Adblocks right on the screen (the element you've defined blinks within a bright red rectangle.

I have another "absolutely indispensable" nomination for you all: FireGestures. Gotta have it!

If you want to try my entire stack of extensions, you can get them all in about 4 steps-- then delete the ones you DON'T want afterwards. But be absolutely sure, after you install my "Firefox 3+ "Powerpack", to search for updated versions immediately after the restart which activates them. And then restart again. Here, at the top of the page:


Boffin: Lost Stradivarius violin tech reverse-engineered

Rick Stockton
IT Angle

double-blind-test, and etc. (a follow-up)

The first thing which I want to add is: There is enormous variability among Strads, too. I've played a couple of "lesser" ones, in the sub-million price range, and was quite underwhelmed by both of them. Until his very last years, his workmanship remained impeccable, but the sound quality varies. Joshua Bell, discussed earlier, traded his "Lesser" Strad (and more or less mortgaged his life away) in order to buy the MUCH BETTER ex-Gibson I mentioned above.

Guiseppe Guarnerius, whose best violins are even more costly and more famous than Antonio's, was a famous drunkard-- a lot of his really bad efforts aren't much good at all. (OT: Great Strads tend towards that "liquid gold" sound; while Great Guarneris have a nasal but more powerful tone. Perlman, Heifitz, Kreisler, Vieuextemp, and Paganini all preferred Guarnerius violins.)

Now for the "meat" of my post: As with the cost between a genuine, 350 year-old Rembrandt oil painting versus a "perfect" copy, which may become technologically possible in the very near future, the "original" has a market-driven scarcity value. Even if the ONLY difference is the internal chemistry of the paint, and every bit of color and texture has been reproduced perfectly, the original will be worth 10s of millions and the copy will be worth only a few thousands. (He's dead and won't be making any more, the painting has a long "interesting" history of previous owners, and etc.)

Many years ago, I owned an extremely meticulous and accurate "exact copy" violin, made by a famous living maker (Roger Hargrave) who specializes in this area: the PERFECT duplication of old violins, with all the old scratches and wear-and-tear reproduced perfectly. A few years after I sold it to buy another violin with better sound, I read how one of the big auction houses (S. or C., I don't remember which it was) sold a certified-by-their-expert-as-genuine old Italian violin- for a price well into 6 figures (IIRC, well to the north of $200K). But later, when the buyer had the top taken off by a repairman to see if any internal work was needed, the repairman saw Hargrave's stamp on the inside....

And the violin was suddenly worth less than $50,000. (And maybe about half of THAT price was market-driven, i.e., "the famous violin which fooled the auction house expert". Mine was worth much less than half that much.) The Auction House refunded the purchase price, put it up for sale as a genuine "Roger Hargrave", and ate the resulting loss. How exactly had the Sound of the violin, and it's playing characteristics, changed when it's value fell by almost 80%? (Right-- not at all.) Hargrave's mark is like the chemical doping in "fake" saphires and rubies-- the saphires themselves are as good as natural (better, actually) and have all of the exact same properties; but they lack the "cachet" of having been obtained via horrible and expensive mining practices, and later owned by Maharajas in exotic palaces, and so on.

HOWEVER-- at the very top, the best Strad and Guarnerius violins have a sound which cannot be duplicated. Players like Perlman, Bell, Mutter, and Hahn can hear and feel this difference instantly-- it takes only a few notes to know that the "tool" you're using is partnering with you, to a level which lesser violins can never reach. I feel thse things, too, although my own playing is at a much lower level.

Violin playing is a bit weird-- unlike a piano, where you hear a sound quite similar to that of the audience, you actually feel the violin's vibrations buzzing your entire head through your jawbone, and you feel it vibrating in your fingers and even through your bow. The sound which gets to the audience is quite different than the experience of the player. The actual sound, for the audience in the hall, is noticeably different from one violin to another- but the differences which the players notice are usually a lot bigger. (They can also be misleading.)

Single-blind, double blind, and PHYSICALLY Blinded playoffs are are frequent event in the violin making world.

I've personally been the player in a couple of "double blind" fiddle playoffs, at adult-oriented summer music festivals. (I played whatever violins people wanted to volunteer, as best as I could, although I of course didn't have a lot of warm-up work up the "best" way to play each one.) The owners and other festival participants were sitting in the audience, of a pretty good concert hall, voting on the "quality of sound" results for the various fiddles. I "knew" only 3 of those violins-- my own, and two others I'd previously swapped with, for fun, in string quartets. The voters, of course, generally knew only their own violins, and were "blind" to the market value of all the others.

Similar playoffs are often conducted in Cremona, under more stringent conditions-- the player is blindfolded, and plays behind a screen (just like an audition) so that the audience of makers and dealers and violin-playing professionals cannot even see the violin at all. But in both of my play-off events, I played with my eyes open.

The winner of my biggest "playoff" was an old Italian violin from a famous maker, Gennaro Gagliano. (I'll SWAG it to be somewhere around $250-300K, maybe a bit more). But some other expensive violins by long-dead, famous makers scored a much worse than some excellent new ones did. Some of these nearly-new violins cost as little as 10% of the price for the old ones. A couple of guys with big investments in "fine old Italian Instruments" were quite distressed by the "tonal ratings" which all the other listeners, gave their $$$ violins. And these fiddles didn't feel better or easier for the player either-- I pretty much agreed with the listeners, in almost all cases.

For Neil: All violins, great and not so great, don't sound like ANYTHING until one of us players gets a hold of it. When it's f*****g awful, blame the player first :))

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

I'll toss a bucket of SEAWATER on this one.

"magical re-created wood preparation treatments" are not going to result in a great violin by themselves-- no more than any of the attempts at "magical re-creation of Antonio's Varnish's varnish" did. Most EXPERTS would agree that Strad and Del Jesu used certain low-tech procedures to "tune" their plates, which makers can now only attempt to approximate by applying "high-tech" acoustical measurements, density measurements, and resulting "adjustments" to the shapes of their plates.

Also, there are many contemporary violin makers who seem to be making really GREAT violins, at least with respect to the Sound in 'the' hall. But the differences are tiny, the "unique" properties of even superb Strads are often unapparent to even professional listeners. For example: One of the very best of all Strads, the "Gibson ex Huberman" (now in the very capable of hands of Joshua Bell), was turned in by the thief's wife in 1985, some 45 years after it was stolen. In almost 50 years of use by her deceased husband, a very minor NYC violinist, no stand partner or conductor or audience person or ANYBODY had ever suspected that he was playing a MAJOR "Golden Period" Strad.

So it's totally unsurprising that no "obvious" differences are heard within Nagyvary's "challenge CD" -- the CD tracks are DOMINATED by room acoustics, microphone placement, microphone characteristics, and etc., even before they any subtle differences are then totally obliterated by YOUR speakers or headphones.

I doubt that Mr. Nagyvary's "scientifically authenticated" violins are competitive with the best efforts of great modern makers, in EITHER artistic merit OR pure sound. (Just in my own country-- Gael Francais, Guy Rabut, Charles Rufino, Greg Alf, and several other fine makers come to mind almost instantly. These guys are often commanding higher prices than Mr. Nagyvary's mere $25K, too. ) If Mr. Nagyvary's put one of his "best" efforts in front of a fully qualified jury, such as AFVBM's, they might not be as respected as they are in front of purely scientific audiences, or less knoweldgable violin players.

Finally, it has long been known that many Italian violin makers provided oars to the Navy, and when they cracked and broke from all of the wetting/drying cycles (in salt water), asked that broken pieces be returned for "credit" towards new oars. A lot of those "unusual" salts, e.g. Borax, are usually MINED from old, dried-up ocean deposits. Such a cycle of wetting/drying over just a few years could have easily concentrated the presence of these molecular salts (Borax, CaF2, BaSO4) in those oars, without further "special" treatment by the instrument makers.

As most commentators already said, this almost certainly ISN'T what makes those old fiddles so durn good.

Mozilla delays third Firefox 3.1 beta

Rick Stockton


Could you PLEASE, PLEASE post the urls of your 13 tabs? I'm a "volunteer tester" of 3.1, and I'd like to check whether my "test" builds suffers from the leak you're having on an older Firefox. It's 3.0.5, right? (or "by design" high memory consumption, still a problem) you're having.

Nokia adopts LGPL for Qt popularity

Rick Stockton
Paris Hilton

LGPL (sic) is a very important license to know....

It is a FSF license, written by Richard Stallman (with legal advice from Eben Moglen, of course.) It has been revised twice. The need for this "Lesser" license was apparent immediately from the start....

In order to support the use of any "proprietary" software at all, a license granting the ability to call library functions (i.e., "linking") has been needed. For example, there are thousands and thousands of programs written in "C" and "C++" which call functions defined and actually performed within the library "glibc". For various reasons, usually but not always having to do with money, some of these Software Authors require that their Source code remain private. (Oracle on Linux is an example of this.)

To allow lots of for-profit companies and coders to use QT, they need the same right to keep their source code private-- even though it links to QT functions, and QT is "Open Source". Formerly, every such Software Developer had to get a separate and unique license from the TrollTech company-- a big hassle, as well as a big expense for everybody involved.

But now, with the pretty-much-standard LPGL grant of license to use, all of these Developers don't have to mess around with "commercial" contracts, or worry if the price will change next year: It will always be free to use, in thses "function calling/object inheritance" ways, from "proprietary" code-- without "forcing" that proprietary code to be made public, as the GPL would.

As Mr. Nystrom said, this change makes use of qt platform much more attractive, it's a very big deal. I'm very grateful to Nokia/Trolltech for this change-- they're giving up a pretty big stack of "commercial contract" money uncollected by providing their wonderful library of cross-platform, cross-language Widgets for free.

HP puts Linux on business PCs

Rick Stockton

until it's available in BIG-BOX RETAIL....

it's an obscure and difficult mail-order item, not at all relevant to Ma and Pa Kettle.

And wow, the price point is set to make the Windows equivalent look like you get Windoze for free. Hurd is still controlled by his "master", the Microsoft co-marketing gang, and probably won't ever channel a non-Windows box into retail. Ever.

Firefox plug-in Trojan harvests logins

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

a WINDOZE firefox trojan, but article doesn't say so.

It installs into Firefox, if you're stupid enough. But without WINDOZE, it can't even run-- the main work is done by the following file,

"%ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox\plugins\npbasic.dll"

And since it's trying to install into the PROGRAM directory, rather than the user's profile, VISTA provides a bit more protection than XP. But even here at the Reg, the darn article says **NOTHING** about the trojan being viable exclusively on Win32. Could you all PLEASE put this important information in articles like this ???? You go on for 5 paragraphs, and yet never say "WINDOZE".

Google Analytics — Yes, it is a security risk

Rick Stockton
Dead Vulture

google-analytics tries to run from THIS page...

And so does the googlesyndication ad server.

Maybe, if the Reg served up ads from inhouse, I'd be willing to look at them. But allowing "googlesyndication" creates tons of eye-hurt from everywhere, and I can't stand it.

Andrew Ness, it RUNS on the client box but the JS code is downloaded from the foreign server-- and so, pretty easily hacked DNS could actually be getting it from Russia, or Nigeria.

The big deal, though, is disclosing the fact that you've gone to talk at big government via the web, and Google now KNOWS this. Sooner or later, "evil gets done".

Chrysler: the future's bright, the future's electric

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

yawn... Yet another 'concept cars', but never a PRODUCT

Every dollar wasted by these USA car companies on 'concept car' garbage should be deducted *TWICE* from any upcoming bailout proposal: Once for the directly wasted time and money; and then a second time-- directly from CEO and Board compensation, for the utter stupidity and juvenile irrelevance of building this stuff.

Vista SP2 beta could land within next four weeks

Rick Stockton
Jobs Horns

AC, I loved that ad (microsoft money, ad campaign versus software)

It's totally on target, and even funnier when you see Steve Balmer saying, "Well, sure, you smart ENTERPRISE customers can just wait until Windows-7." Kinda shoots the ad campaign in the foot for anyone who knows much of anything about computers. The company really knows that the product is utter sh*t, and it's developed multiple personality disorder from the stress of declaring it "wonderful" at the same time they fast-track a replacement. It's truly ME-II.

The thing which amazes me most about Vista is: When you're running as an administrator and pop up the file manager ("windows explorer"), it utterly refuses to let you follow symlinks to "sensitive" data. Doesn't give the pop-up about "Windoze needs you to confirm...", just REFUSES.

The only ways around it are (1) restart in "safe mode"; or (my favorite way) just shove the darn hard drive into my Linux box and DO MY WORK FROM HERE.

Microsoft's second Silverlight courts open-source coders

Rick Stockton

"Open Specification Promise", "supported on Linux"

Yeah, I'm sure that Microsoft hasn't ever cheated their partners or clients or competitors by breaking such "promises", and they'll CERTAINLY never do it in the future.

Mandriva Linux 2009 threesome outed

Rick Stockton

"Mandriva not due for a while"

um, David, this article was about the Mandriva 2009 *FINAL* releases....

Rick Stockton
Thumb Up

MDV 2009 talking here, with KDE 3.5.10/Compiz/Fusion

Now the main thing is, I like compiz/fusion eye-candy better than KDE4 eye candy. Here's how I did it:

(1) burn and run Mandriva-Free DVD. Or, as an alternative, you could install from the GNOME-ONE CD. But *not* the ONE-KDE CD, it (like "Free" and "Powerpack") contains only KDE 4.1

(2) when it comes time to choose a desktop, DO *NOT* select "KDE". Instead, install with GNOME or XFCE.

(3) After installation and restart, fire up the software manager from "Control Center" and install "task-kde3". It's a virtual package which gets nearly all of KDE 3.5.10 *WITHOUT* getting most of KDE4.

(4) Change your login manager from GDM to KDM (if you like point-and-click, as I do, you do this in the "boot management" part of "Control Center".) Go ahead and set auto-login if you're the only user, as I am. Restart. If you want to get 3d desktop, do it now (in MCC) and the correct KDE3 packages will be auto-magically selected for you.

I'm as happy as a clam! That Gnome "installation" is still present, but will never be used again. (You use GNOME too much, you get warts. Use KDE, no warts. *LOL* I won't even begin to talk about Mono, the disease you absolutely don't want to catch ;)

Rick Stockton

for Mad Dave---

I have some unexpected advice for you: The problem you had was related to the DKMS-Nvidia not matching the Kernel (Mandriva messed up bad on that one).

What I always do is install from "Free", not "ONE" or "Powerpack". Then, instead of depending on Mandriva DKMS, I just build the original NVidia package from NVidia. In order to do this, you need to get the kernel development headers whenever you do an upgrade, and rebuild it (follow NVidia instructions, basically make the file executable and then run it as root). The NVidia script does a perfect job modifying xorg.conf and any other conflicts or things which might be there, it just works. "telinit 3" before running the installer, of course. BTW, both of my boxes are NVidia, and one of them is an integrated 6150-- the same GPU and NVidia code as your 6200 card. I've got an 8400GTS in this one, and I always use NVidia's driver to make compiz/fusion work better.

Dial 'M' for Microsoft's new programming language

Rick Stockton
Jobs Horns

"democratize" and Microsoft... not in OSLO!

If you've been following the SC34 "OOXML" fiasco, then you'll probably agree that the words "Microsoft" and "Democracy" should **NEVER** appear in an article associated with anything Norwegian again.

Jeery Jerry loves Vista, y'know

Rick Stockton
Jobs Horns

I can see the new APPLE ads already....

PC: Hey Mac, I just got a new friend, Jerry Seinfeld. :)

Mac: That's wonderful, I know some of your old friends got angry about the Vista thing, and they're hanging out with Ubuntu and Fedora and Mandriva and me instead :(

PC: Yeah, it's great -- he used to be YOUR friend, but I gave him $10 million and now he's MY friend instead.

- - pregnant pause - -

PC: Um, Mac?

Mac: Yes?

PC: How much do you have to pay people to become friends with you?

MS preps 12 fixes for August Patch Tuesday

Rick Stockton

another "penguin fanboy" chimes in.....

And how often do my Linux boxen say, "you must now restart your system to complete activation of updates"?

Darn near NEVER.

And if you think that either is "fine", then your standards are really, really low. Or (perhaps) your usage is extremely simple.

IBM's eight-core Power7 chip to clock in at 4.0GHz

Rick Stockton

"unless you run java"

Sun's java on SPARC, *and* IBM's java on Power, aren't cost-effective in comparison with Sun's java on Intel. And havne't been for many years. The ONLY excuse for still using Sparc/Slowaris systems are Sparc-compiled applications,

NOT java.

SCO ordered to pay Novell $2.5m Unix royalties

Rick Stockton
Black Helicopters


I think that the Judge was wrong to use Microsoft's $2.5m license (for rights to use Unix WITHOUT making it's secret, proprietary portions public) as a model for the value of Sun's NEW license to open-source all this code. Sun ALREADY HAD a license with all of the rights of use which Microsoft purchased-- the new license was, IMO, entirely for the "release as Open Source" change.

But Novell's lawyers didn't spend any time to establish the value of this property, separate from other bits in the license. (They just asked for all the money from both licenses.) Novell's lawyers are very smart, and I think that they DIDN'T go after the money with careful documentation because there's a gentleman's agreement in place with IBM:

Don't kill Caldera/SCO right away, leave a more crippled company crawling away from this lawsuit for the Nazgul (IBM's lawyers) to swoop down upon, and utterly destroy. If Caldera/SCO had been made tits-up by the Novell judgement, IBM's suit would probably not be heard.

I think that IBM really, *REALLY* wants to make a caldera out of Caldera-- probably spending time to expose significant Sarbox violations as matters of "fact" in this Civil case, allowing a subsequent criminal case to use the evidence to throw Caldera/SCO's principals in jail, and to go after their personal property. All that will be left is a big hole in the ground, with burned bits of wreckage and a little smoke.

All that Novell really wanted to establish was that Caldera/SCO sold licenses for property which wasn't theirs to sell. That's why they didn't even call SUN to the witness box. Anonymous Coward above (referring to LamLaw) also has an interesting point-- and might be right about Novell going after SUN instead. But it looks like Novell's lawyers have chosen to go after establishing the facts, not the money, and are happy to pull out only a slightly crippling (but NOT fatal) amount of money from the criminal enterprise.

It will be interesting to see if Novell quickly requests reimbursement of costs (lawyer's fees, mostly) in a hurry. That would imply that they ARE interested in getting SCO's money first, before IBM, and that they truly made a mistake in their Court tactics.

Fiorina threatens to get in McCain's antique cabinet

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

Not just HP --

Lucent was doing pretty badly under her "management", too.

ISO certifies Adobe's PDF

Rick Stockton
Thumb Up

For EDITING pdf's .....

OpenOffice 3.0 will read-modify-save them. (OpenOffice 2.x can only "export" a non-PDF document to PDF, it can't read them.)

Unlike so-called "OOXML", the PDF format specification is complete and sufficient. (All by itself, without needing to "license" additional proprietary secrets under terms to be chosen by a convicted criminal corporation.) This is a standard people can actually USE.

In the near future, use of PDF authorware might be much more common than it is today. Instead of trying to make glitzy fliers and other graphics-intensive documents from inside "text document" tools, native pdf editing might be a commonplace thing-- even in SOHO and Home environments, where no one is willing to pay $$$hundreds for Acrobat Professional.

Bugs casts shadow over Firefox 3

Rick Stockton

for @Jerry, angry about "zealots" changing his tabs...

OK, "they" changed it. But get over it, you can change it back! There's 400+ extensions out there, allowing you to customize FF to look exactly as you like. And I'm talking about point-and-click installations, not GreaseMonkey scripts.

For tabs, these three (combined) will make them do ANYTHING you could possibly want:

- Tab Mix Plus http://tmp.garyr.net (that is the one which supports the particular option you want)

- ColorfulTabs 3.1: http://binaryturf.com/ (make's it all a lot more viewable)

- - - - -

I use about 50 extensions, and like the "classic compact" theme-- it's more Firefox-2-ish. My favorite extension is GreaseMonkey, but it takes a little bit of practice to write scripts. These 3, in contrast, are pretty much install-and-go, pick your "options", done!

Brazil bitchslaps ratification of OOXML

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

India, too

India has also filed an appeal. The first round of appeals is answered by the same people who created the BRM farce (with the magical voting of everything, including the over 80% of issues never discussed, in one big lump). And with "not enough time" to discuss substantive changes, while giving HOURS of time ECMA speakers, non-NB people who shouldn't have even been there, for speeches full of irrelevant platitudes.

They will of course find themselves to have behaved flawlessly-- but the near certainty of sophistry, absurdity, and irrelevancy in the response will stink to high heaven.

All of that goes to the next level of ISO mgmt, the Secretaries-General, which will hopefully order a do-over of the "Steamroller-from-Microsoft-controlled-ECMA" process using the standard process (NOT fast-track). If they don't, well, then we will know ISO for who they have become.

Microsoft urges developers to tag sites for IE8

Rick Stockton
Gates Halo

actually, FireFox will probably LIKE this.

Right now, Firefox uses some tricky guesswork based on DOCTYPE and the specified DTD in order to guess whether it's a "WC3-compatible page", or whether it's a "criminal-monopolist-proprietizing-the-Internet-compatible-page".

Lots of pages are miscoded; and FF3 frequently has trouble when pages declare that they're "XHTML" but then do tons of scripting with un-escaped ampersands. (Worse than FF2, which itself isn't as good as Opera at handling criminal-monopolized-Internet pages).

People and tools which create nonstandard crapware pages SHOULD use this new tool, and make it easy for both IE8 *and* Firefox to realize right away that the so-called "web page" isn't a web page at all, and needs to be interpreted as the "quirks mode" garbage which it really is.

Mozilla pilots second release candidate for Firefox 3.0

Rick Stockton

Another list of extensions

BTW, I have all of these. Some are redundant. Many are enabled via "Nightly Tester Tools", and a few (including NTT) were downloaded in FF3-compatible "test-versions" from Extension Developers' Sites, rather than addons.mozilla.org. I'm on LINUX:

Generated: Tue May 27 2008 15:08:21 GMT-0700 (PDT)

User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9pre) Gecko/2008052622 Minefield/3.0pre

Build ID: 2008052622

Enabled Extensions:

- Adblock Plus http://adblockplus.org/

- Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper 1.0.4: http://adblockplus.org/

- AutoFormer 0.4: http://autoformer.mozdev.org/

- ColorfulTabs 3.0: http://www.thestasis.com/

- Connect to address 1.1.7: http://www.blackbirdblog.it/progetti/connect-to-address

- Console² http://console2.mozdev.org/index.html

- CustomizeGoogle 0.72: http://www.customizegoogle.com/

- Extension Manager Extended 2.6.4: http://extended.spanglerco.com/

- Flashblock 1.5.6: http://flashblock.mozdev.org/

- Forecastfox 0.9.6: http://forecastfox.mozdev.org/

- Form Saver 0.7: http://www.botsko.net

- Greasemonkey 0.7.20080121.0: http://www.greasespot.net/

- Html Validator http://users.skynet.be/mgueury/mozilla/

- JavaScript Debugger http://www.hacksrus.com/~ginda/venkman/

- Linkification 1.3.3: http://yellow5.us/firefox/linkification/

- Mozilla Quality Extension 0.1.5: http://quality.mozilla.org/

- MR Tech Local Install http://www.mrtech.com/extensions/local_install/

- Nightly Tester Tools 2.0.2: http://www.oxymoronical.com/web/firefox/nightly

- Nuke Anything Enhanced 0.68.1: http://www.google.com/search?q=Minefield%20Nuke%20Anything%20Enhanced

- Open Addons 1.0.4: http://openaddons.extra.hu

- Platypus 0.66: http://platypus.mozdev.org

- QuickJava http://quickjavaplugin.blogspot.com/

- QuietUrl http://www.quieturl.com

- Remove It Permanently http://rip.mozdev.org/

- Right-Click-Link 1.1.3: http://rickardandersson.com/

- RSS Validator 0.3.2: http://www.nu22.com/firefox/rssvalidator

- Sage-Too 0.9.1: http://sage.blat.co.za

- Screen grab! 0.93: http://andy.5263.org/screengrab/

- Searchbar Autosizer 1.3.8: http://searchbarautosizer.mozdev.org

- Stop-or-Reload Button 0.2.2: http://v2studio.com/k/moz/

- Tab Mix Plus http://tmp.garyr.net

- Text Complete http://www.cfavatar.com/textComplete.cfm

- Tinderstatus 0.2.8: http://tinderstatus.mozdev.org/

- Toolbar Buttons http://codefisher.org/toolbar_button/

- User Agent Switcher 0.6.11: http://chrispederick.com/work/user-agent-switcher/

- View Dependencies http://mozilla.queze.net

- Web Developer 1.1.6: http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/

- YesScript 1.3: http://www.google.com/search?q=Minefield%20YesScript

Disabled Extensions: [1]

- Leak Monitor 0.4.2: http://dbaron.org/mozilla/leak-monitor/

(works, but WAY too disruptive unless I'm actually looking for a leak on a particular page)

Total Extensions: 47

Installed Themes: [5]

- Classic Compact 3.0.7: http://blog.environmentalchemistry.com/2008/03/firefox-theme-classic-compact.html

I use Classic Compact. I also have:

- Default 3.0pre: http://www.google.com/search?q=Minefield%20Default

- LittleFox 1.8.30: http://www.geocities.com/alfredkayser/mozilla/littlemozilla.htm

- Walnut for Firefox 1.8.30: http://www.geocities.com/alfredkayser/mozilla/walnut.htm

- null: http://www.mozilla.org/

Installed Plugins: (3)

- Default Plugin

- Java(TM) Plug-in 1.6.0_05-b13

- Shockwave Flash

I also have FEBE and CLEO, but I use them only to create enxtension cleo-packs: I don't think that FEBE has yet been updated for FF3, and it might not save all of the new "sqlite" files when creating profile backups.

Rick Stockton

RC2 *WILL* happen.

I am NOT involved in Firefox development, but I have been ivolved as a "dedicated user" in some of the bugs.

They just decided (earlier today) that there's too many fixes to go straight to a "final". Now, even WITH these fixes, there's still some issues, and a few users might want to stay on FF2... waiting for larger-scale improvements to be done for a 3.1 Release (probably in the fall). Here's my thoughts (LONG!):

Flash still breaks sometimes, but it depends on the Version and type of FlashPlayer you use (for example, Version 9 versus V10 beta), and whether the movie itself is encoded in one of the newer file formats. Linux players (both "free" and adobe-provided) are more risky.

There's performance issues with both the malware database (it's huge, and is currently still updating way too slowly) and also with the "places" database, which used 3 writes of "history" stuff to the disk for EVERY page change in RC1. (Your "history" is now kept in the "places.sqlite" database. RC2/Final changes this to 2 writes, but it's still a problem, especially on Laptops and on Linux ext3 filesystems.) The malware database problem seems to be PRIMARILY something in the Google Servers, not in Firefox code. So that can be probably be fixed independent of Firefox code release. Re-working "history" so that the updates are "batched" to disk, instead of writing immediately, is too major a change for 3.0.x -- It'll almost certainly wait until 3.1

The layout and painting of screens has had large changes "under the hood", and fixing bugs. But some web pages with graphical backgrounds now paint horribly slow, and cause 100% CPU when you scroll them. (You can reduce this problem by using the scrollbar to "click" and move an entire page at a time, instead of scrolling). On my Linux system, the combination of FF3-Cairo-Compiz is very slow, but it's mostly slow within Compiz/Fusion-- I've got incredible amounts of eye-candy going on.

As I mentioned above, Laptop users might suffer battery drain from the "history" data being forced to disk so often. There's a new "preference" to disable the flush-your-cache process, but it has some risk of increasing the likelihood of "lost my bookmarks!" problems-- leaving the database broken in a power hit. 3.1 might introduce new code to both "batch up" the history writes AND detect database corruption, allowing you to use a backup database if the places file has been corrupted. (It will probably write them automatically, in the same manner that FF2 currently writes backup copies of "bookmarks.html".) But that's a 3.1 scenario, too big to add to 3.0 at this late date. If you're running a portable PC on battery and find the disk I/O for "history" kills your battery life, you might want to stay on FF2 until FF3.1 is ready.

The new layout engine will cause many grossly-miscoded sites to display in a way different than the authors "intended", so feel free to open "evangelism" bugs and ping the webmasters to fix their code. Most often, the pages which I see "broken" have declared themselves to be "XHTML Transitional" but break the rules badly. VERY badyly. But FF3 can almost always display them as intended if the DOCTYPE is changed to "html 4.0.1 transitional" with the "loose" DTD, this signals Firefox to invoke "quirks mode" interpretation and try to imitate IE's mistakes.

I'm NOT a Mozilla dev, these are all SWAGs and OPINIONS from a "dedicated user" who has been taking part in some of those bugs. So I can't speak for mozilla.org or FireFox developers, but I think that it's ready for Release: as long as the extensions which YOU need have been updated, FF3 is way better than FF2, and you should switch. If there's an extension which doesn't work yet, just give your extension developer a little more time to "catch up" before you upgrade.

BTW, I'm not on RC1, I use "Tinderbox" builds which already contain nearly all of the fixes intended for RC2/Final. (Compared to what I'm using, there might be 1-3 changes before RC2 is cut.)

Boffins sound exam cheat warning on brain enhancing pills

Rick Stockton
IT Angle

Do I take the RED pill,

or the BLUE pill?

Is Vista ready for Business?

Rick Stockton

For Admins, Hell-Desk Personnel and IT Directors alike...

It truly is Windows-ME-II. Just as ME offered almost nothing over 98-SE, but introduced weird stability and 'gotcha' problems all over the place, investing a lot of effort into a Vista migration is just a mistake.

As with WinME, if you let your vendor(s) force you into a stupid migration with excessive hardware costs, software migration costs, and training costs, with NO BENEFIT, you're not working smart. Just stay on XP, keep using the Enterprise-licensed security stuff you already have, and wait for Vista's replacement. A few extra years license cost of NIS is way cheaper than the migration, even it if WAS possible to perform a Vista migration without major headaches. (And it definitely isn't.) And you'll need those security tools anyway-- Although the OS is more secure, IE and Outlook are pretty much the same as they are on XP, needing protection if your network isn't locked down tightly.

Just like the smart people stayed on W98 until their firms could actually enjoy ADVANTAGES by upgrading into W2K and/or XP. Vista has no advantages, not at this time; and, like ME, it's likely to be very short-lived. (You'll only be migrating again 3 years from now.) MS Developers are probably on a death march already, trying to create a product with actual VALUE.

White House admits non-existent email backups

Rick Stockton
Dead Vulture


"They" almost certainly voted for the genuine war hero in 2004 (and by the electoral college, not just the popular vote). BUT, I think that a bunch of those hackable-on-purpose Diebold voting machines were used to magically create and destroy whatever votes were necessary to achieve a Bush victory in Ohio.

The people did OK-- it's the #^$%@#$ machines. (Dead Vulture is most applicable.)

The terror dam of doom that looms over Boise, Idaho

Rick Stockton
Paris Hilton

EEK! Please don't send them here....

I live at, and am typing from, the border between California and Nevada. (More or less-- I'm a few of miles West of Reno, NV).

BTW, Brits will be amused: we just had ANOTHER little earthquake, about 3.8. We've had three 3.0+ shocks in the four days, and a bunch of smaller ones. But none of these little quakes really release any energy, we're still in for "the big one" sometime.

S**T for brains to keep living here, we've all decided to ignore the obvious and live in happy oblivion. (Paris lives in a similar neighborhood.)

AT&T waves goodbye to 4,600 staffers

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

AT&T was not a RBOC, just an acquisition.

AT&T was never an RBOC; the RBOCs were created by the breakup. What remained as "AT&T" was basically long-distance, Bell Labs, and some equipment manufacturing. The company which calls itself "AT&T" is still SBC/Pac Bell. When they bought AT&T, they changed their name to that of the small acquisition, because SBC's reputation is.... (ahem) well established, and not good.

This is SBC-type behavior, definitely.

WaSP gives browsers 'fail' grade

Rick Stockton
Black Helicopters

My Firefox (from ONE HOUR AGO) gets only 68

So my 'hourly smoketest' build is a couple of points worse than the version Chris tried (above). It might be because I left my "RIP" extension in place, and something important is getting RIP'd, and a mere 2 points isn't much.

OTOH, if code like *this* is causing errors, maybe they need to type better:

<p> <strong/> Parsing Test </strong> </p>

</strong> is a block-level element, and isn't self-closing.

Firefox updates, blitzes trio of critical bugs

Rick Stockton
Thumb Up

Nice of mozila.org to publish fixes WHEN IT'S READY,

instead of "holding it back" and leaving users vulnerable for additional days or weeks (as Microsoft does). As Microsoft does. I guess it saves them lots of money to update their "Windows Update" process only once a month, instead of doing it as needed.

My roughly-equivalent Linux feature, "Mandriva Online", checks for and finds updates every few hours-- for EVERYTHING, including application programs. Much Faster and Nicer to use, too-- a regular User can run it with their limited permissions password, being restricted only to the Update Sources which I have defined as being appropriate for automatic updates.

- - - - -

This all leads to the question, is Microsoft Windows really ready for the desktop? Their whole software maintenance design and implementation is a God-danged mess, and doesn't even handle any applications at all.

EU investigates Microsoft's OOXML campaign

Rick Stockton

slightly ON-TOPIC, for a change....

I'm not thrilled to read posts by IDIOTS trying to redefine "Web Browser" as an operating system function, just because somebody pays them to shill here. (Firefox and Opera are clearly just application programs, and do a far better job than IE.)

Now back to the topic of the article: The really weird and unfortunate thing is that after all of these months, with the committee no longer able to do *ANY* business at all because they can't establish a quorum for voting on any non-OOXML proposals, (because these new "members" don't take part in anything except OOXML)---

Why on Earth hasn't the ISO taken action *by itself* to correct this ballot-stuffing, committee-destroying problem? It's THEIR organization, THEY should defend it from this crap.

- - - - -

BTW, my country (USA) voted *for* OOXML in spite of the obvious fact that it can't be "implemented" by anyone except Microsoft now, because the "standard" depends on VAST amounts of undisclosed proprietary information. Microsoft is also free to implement "extensions" to the standard whenever they like, guaranteeing that nobody elsewhere who attempts to follow the "standard" will inter-operate successfully. My ISO "expert representatives" blithely ignore these facts, being either dumber than the average Jr. High School student *or* OWNED by Microsoft. (BOTH, I think... they aren't qualified to hold High School Diplomas.)

Remembering the Cray-1

Rick Stockton
Thumb Down

I DID IT, and "IT" wasn't comfortable.

(The Nap, that is; I never got lucky at work.) I worked for Cray. On a particular all-nighter, which ended too late to bother with going home, I tried to curl up on the cushions for a couple of hours-- the lounge and offices had only chairs, and I really wanted to be HORIZONTAL for a few minutes.

But it sucked. First of all, With the room full of other computers as well (Data General, DEC, IBM) we had a COLD hurricane of air conditioning blowing hard-- very cold, and very noisy. And although the padding was OK to sit on, for a moment, it wasn't thick enough to lie on-- my hip and shoulder bones complained a lot when I tried. And finally, there's a lot of vibration-- I don't know if the "shaking" parts were mostly power supply related or freon pumping related, but it wasn't at all relaxing. I shortly crawled back to my office and slumped into my chair until morning officially arrived.

Yahoo! and! Adobe! sign! ad-packed! PDF! pact!

Rick Stockton

nice-- download a PDF,

you've got a Trojan phoning home with "keywords".

Google funds hold Firefox fate (for sure)

Rick Stockton

Ads? What Ads?

I've no idea what you're all talking about. :))

(APB, *plus* RIP/Greasemonkey, kills everything I don't want to see. If you really want to control the layout, then you really need to add RIP too.)

Why Microsoft vs Mankind still matters

Rick Stockton

Everyone buys WINDOZE....

Because the Bush/Ashcroft "judgement" terms have allowed Microsoft Inc. to maintain nearly unlimited monopoly pricing power. Can I buy or even see a Linux box at CompUSA, or BestBuy, or CIrcuitCity, or Sears? NO. The so-called "remedy" said that Microsoft cannot charge different OEM's different prices for Windows (OEMs of approximately the same size), but did nothing to control Microsoft's ability to reward "partners" with vast amounts of "co-marketing" money. These Rebates/Kickbacks are totally unlimited and uncontrolled. Microsoft gets to financially reward and punish it's OEMs and retailers however it pleases-- the "remedy" really did nothing.

Your article TOTALLY DOESN'T GET IT, pretending that Windows 100% domination of retail x86 is due to deficiencies in the only viable non-Apple competitor. This is why HP, Acer, Lenovo, and all the big box stores continue to be TERRIFIED of Microsoft's monopoly power-- if they offer Linux boxes, Microsoft has the power to severely reduce or totally eliminate their "co-marketing" kickbacks. They __are not__ free to sell competing systems, except as Microsoft chooses to allow. And try to find Dell's Linux products on their website-- it's awfully hard, and saves no money at all.

Margins in the PC business are tight, and these kickbacks maintain a Windows stranglehold in all the retail stores where people actually buy the vast majority of PCs.

BTW, I think Mr. Hewittt hasn't seen a modern Linux desktop-- not Beryl, not Compiz, not Metisse. "Shit UI" ??? If a retail customer actually had a chance to see Compiz Fusion in action at the store, Vista's primitive (and expensive hardware-eating) 3d features would be laughed at, sort of like trying to sell a Commodore-64 in 2008.

- - - - -

"Live" Distro Linux versions can run really great on a lot of systems, changing NOTHING on the hard disk, and it "costs" nothing to burn as many of them as any store chain would like. If only people had a chance to try them, they might like to buy a "naked" or Linux box at an appropriately reduced price. And Samba does a pretty good job of file sharing with Windows machines. And NTFS-3G does a pretty good job of reading/writing Windows drives within the same computer. (The reverse direction, writing to Linux filesystems from Windows, is EASY because Linux actually documents their filesystems and lets you look at, or even change, the code.)

To the extent that Linux machines have problems accessing data and applications on Windows machines within "Microsoft" networks, these problems are CREATED by Microsoft. Microsoft has been ordered by Courts in both the USA and EU to document their APIs and wire protocols YEARS AGO, but the convicted criminal monopolist company hasn't complied. In the USA, they are above the law, and that is why there isn't competition.

Acer CEO talks up Chinese expansion

Rick Stockton

If they want to MAKE MONEY....

They should offer *both* Linux *and* Windows XP systems.

The CEO has whined about Windows-Vista costing them business, but has *done* nothing to solve the Vista problem.

Among large vendors, only Dell offers Windows XP (on just one low-end "home office" model, but also on the ENTIRE "Vostro" business line). They are happy to sell Vostro computers one-at-a-time to individual customers. But some people don't like Dell's use of nonstandard connectors and nonstandard parts, and would prefer to deal with another vendor.

Acer or Lenovo? Whichever one of them DARES to pull up their corporate pants, and stops letting Steve Ballmer "have his way with them", is gonna be the winner.

Bush to gong top US boffins of 2006

Rick Stockton


I'd accept invitation to the ceremony but POINTEDLY refuse to shake hands with GWB.

Dell promises 'radical,' two-year metamorphosis

Rick Stockton

The BEST removal of 'crudware' in the Vostro line....

Is VISTA itself. I looked at a few of the cheaper desktops and notebooks, and saw something REALLY NICE: Dell allows the buyer to choose Windows XP, instead of Vista, at no increase in cost. On these cheaper computers (with lower power CPUs and less memory), it's a far better choice.

I'll pretend to have no idea why competitors, such as HP-Compaq and Gateway-Emachines, won't do this. The lower-income people I work for can't afford to get a "Vista" computer with enough memory and CPU power to run decently. Even more important, lots of their old games don't work on Vista.... and replacing all those games with Vista compatible versions, even if were possible, is way too costly for them.

I've been unable to recommend a NEW computer from any of these mgrs since February, when the last XP computers "with Upgrade CDs shipped later" were sold. I don't know (yet) whether modern Dell machines use standard power supplies, but if they do, I'm gonna HAVE TO start recommending them.

VIsta's DRM, incompatibilities with older games, and humongous requirements for memory and CPU power really make it a nonstarter for people like these. Dell has made a BIG changed the OEM and retail marketplace by offering the choice of XP again, and I hope that others follow.

Microsoft tells Ultimate Extras fans to 'hang on'

Rick Stockton

Just hang on, it'll all be fixed in 'Windoze InterGalactic'

Foolish people who jumped onto Vista ALREADY are like pet hamsters... Microsoft's got them on a treadmill, right where MS wants them.

They'll promise to fix all of your issues, but it's gonna be like this (again): "Announcing Windoze InterGalactic, our finest, prettiest, and most secure Windoze ever. If you're el33t, you've GOT to have this before anyone else does!"

After all these years with the exact same tactic (Win-ME, W2K, XP....) you Vista buyers still IMAGINE that Microsoft will deliver a product to come within light-years of matching their hype, without making you pay for a whole new Version?

Some people never learn. Maybe they've got no more brains than hamsters, and won't EVER get off the wheel to stop sweating for MS $billionaires. (Heck, even Mikey Dell can't stand banging the drum for Vista anymore, but real MS fans didn't even notice....)

Fake flash player site used to spread malware

Rick Stockton

REAL flash player site distributes malware

I downloaded some software like this, from a site called "adobe.com".

Now my PC keeps infecting itself with advertisements, they're so LOUD and JUMPY that I sometimes suffer convulsive attacks. (Wear sunglasses!) And most of the web sites suddenly start using weird menus they don't work and I can't figure them out.) And my dial-up connection acts like I've fallen from 56KB back to 300 baud.... maybe even 110.

Bad Malware.

On the Office format wars

Rick Stockton

RTF *is not* portable

Even if we ignore the basic fact that "Rich Text" is grossly insufficient for modern documents, there is a very basic problem: implementations of RTF are so different from one another that you often find the document unusable in a different application. Try opening a USA-English ".rtf" with ANY formatting information, created by Wordpad, in OpenOffice.org (or visa-versa). Each displays the other's document as total hash. Other "RTF" word processors, such as K-Office, also result in incompatible files-- the SAME problem we have with "*.doc" MS-Office files.

The RIGHT way to do get "open formats" is to require ODF. Faced with such a requirement from many customers, MS can easily support this format. Unlike everyone else, constrained by undefined BLOBs and lack of documentation for proprietary elements in so-called "open" OpenXML, Microsoft has unfettered access to the ENTIRE specification of ODF documents, and an unfettered license to *ALL proprietary technology of SUN which is necessary to *IMPLEMENT* ODF.

The actual implementation of OpenXML, in a manner fully compatible with MS-Office, is IMPOSSIBLE without access to additional Microsoft technology which is NOT available under an open license. "OpenXML" is a sneaky trick.

'Please read this important email: you are being shot'

Rick Stockton

Guys, it *was* a clip-loaded assault weapon

Chris #1 is simply CONFUSED about the handgun in question. Chris #2 at least asked the right question, "was he using an assault rifle with a 30+ round magazine?" but then assumed the WRONG answer.

This was Glock model #19, clip-loading "handgun". In spite of the small weapon size, it's assault weaponry, enabling a single "soldier" to deliver a nearly continuous barrage of rounds with almost no interruptions. Since the USA doesn't even have a limit on the # of bullets in a "clip" anymore, he may have been using "high-capacity magazines containing as many as 33 rounds in each clip." But even if he was using the "old-style" 10-bullet or the more popular 19-bullet clips, (which *is* more likely, surviving witnesses say that he did pause to reload at least once), you can reload this gun in only 1-2 seconds. (Resulting in no less than 10 more ready-to-fire bullets.)

And he DID have a "regular" .22 to shoot at "rushing heroes" during the 1-2 second reload period. "Heroes" stood absolutely NO CHANCE of getting to this guy, unless at least 6 magically coordinated their attack....

Clip ammunition is needed only by people who want to shoot large numbers of PEOPLE without being "exposed" during short re-load periods. Deer, Targets, Squirrels, and other USA __game__ animals aren't smart enough to "charge" while you're reloading, you're only threatened with a response by intelligent PEOPLE who don't want to die.

Make no mistake, the small size of this weapon DIDN'T MATTER. The un-interruptible delivery of LARGE NUMBERS of bullets into your victims is the capability which made this tragedy unstoppable. Until the USA controls clip-loaded weapons, there is NO avoiding risk of more incidents just like this one.


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