* Posts by Vladimir

10 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Nov 2008

Red-stained Opera wants someone to hug it and whisper: 'No more pain, no more tears'


Re: Wow, all 4 presto fans in one place

Fell in love with Opera for it's plethora of "disables." Disabling everything from java, flash, even images was revolutionary on dial-up, as was Turbo pre-fetching.

I agree that recent desktop versions lacked the kit-car customization, but the mobile Opera (10.0.1xxxxx) on Android is so much better than Chrome, and 1/10th the size. It's also 1/5th the size of Thunderbird for Android. Opera is winning my heart and mind once again. Disabling image downloads is fabulous for my data usage.

I may have to load Opera on my desktops again and see what's changed...hopefully some new GOOD features.

iPads in education: Not actually evil, but pretty close


ebooks, maybe; tablets NO, applied concepts ABSOLUTELY.

I've long objected to publicly funded teaching of a specific platform or office suite. Even if you never use anything EXCEPT MS Office/Windows, the changes from version X to version Y instantly makes you obsolete. Though Apple has fewer frustrating changes with each version (at least since OSX replaced 9), I think any desktop in Linux is less transitory than either OSX or Windows.

And why on earth learn specifics of any software suite (even OpenOffice or LibreOffice) when that feature may be located in a completely different place next time?

Doesn't it make more sense to learn what types of things are possible, which menu is most likely to have that feature, and how to use the in-program help?

As for tablets: I love my tablet as a book reader, and 10" replacement for my PDA apps (calendar, contacts, taking notes.) I don't see that any young student NEEDS more than the ebook part. Unless the initial + maintennance + replacement/damage/service costs drop below books + desktops, I think it's foolish to even think of spending that kind of money.

The only justification I agree with is the insane amount of homework being dished out to young students. Are we trying to combat inactive lifestyles by forcing every student to haul twice his body-weight in books each school day? **

I would like to see high school (15-18yrs) and maybe junior high (11-15yrs) adopt ebooks if:

1) steep volume discounts are offered from nook/kindle (they ARE building a customer base)

2) steep discounts from textbook publishers (after all, their PUBLISHING cost is nill.)

3) more steeply discounted UPDATES for texts in rapidly changing subjects (like science)

** (Here's a recent example of school busywork run amok in the USA from s/f writer Orson Scott Card. http://hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2011-10-06.shtml)

FCC to TV broadcasters: Ready, set ... give your spectrum up


just forcing everyone into pay-TV

Since the switch to digital, nobody in rural areas can get antenna (free) TV. Even in populated urban centers, the reception is so spotty that most chanels, most of the time are unwatchable. Forget bad weather.

Pay-TV (cable or satellite) has finally found ways to force everyone to subscribe.

Jackalope gets jaunty with Ubuntu nip and tuck


slow-n-steady,, unlike Kubuntu

Ubuntu's slow-n-steady upgrades would have been a good strategy with its KDE sibling, Kubuntu.

Admittedly, the feature-shock of of Kubuntu 8.10 is entirely due to KDE4. The layout and UI and plasma/plasmoid mindset is as radically different as jumping from Win95 to Vista.

There was much I really liked in KDE4, and I wanted it to work. Even when I felt equally comfortable in KDE4 as I had in KDE3, the rapid changes made it too unstable for reliable use. Things that took far too long to research and fix, would often refuse to stay fixed. (The taskbar was especially prone to breaking.)

The deal-breaker for me was PIM synchronization. Even ignoring my symbian cell phone, I fought months of lost data, corrupted calendars, and munged contacts on my Palm devices before finally giving up. Evolution doesn't do it for me. Mozilla is close, but Kontact is my must-have, killer app.

I realize this is due to opensync being hopelessly behind schedule. HOWEVER, the whole purpose for a repackaged Debian (or Redhat or whatever) is to conveniently include all the stability of the parent OS with newer, popular software that might not make it into the stable releases or repositories. Convenient installation of proprietary drivers and software, especially.

I'm glad Canonical succeeded in this aim with Gnome and Ubuntu. They've failed miserably with KDE/Kubuntu--at least as far as PIM and synchronization.

I think Mepis has a good strategy while KDE4 is still suffering labour pains. They've stuck with KDE3. Another strategy might be a bridge or meta-package allowing the PIM and sync software from KDE3 to work in KDE4 until opensync catchings up and the whole mess with Akonadi/opensync/PIM can be unsnarled. (Libranet used this route constantly and successfully in its day.)

For now, I'll use Debian 5 (Lenny,) dual booting to Mepis and mourn my old friend Kubuntu...at least until KDE4 stops being too flaky to trust.

Obama CIO on leave after cuffing of former employee

Jobs Horns

Maybe investigate MicroSoft too...finally?

I think this SHOULD be prosecuted, but it happens so often in IT (and government) that I wouldn't bet large on the outcome.

The "non-profit" (yeah right) hospital that employes my wife (here in the states) used to have a very robust Novel network environment. Until they switched it all over to MS Exchange and whatever the latest name incarnation of NT.

Now, even 5 years after the switch, spam is pervasive and unfiltered, outages are more common and catastrofic.

I suspect that the CTO, CIO and the IT staff didn't get much voice. When the MS marketing team pays for the CEO and all the presidents of the company to party in Palm Springs, Vegas, or Monocco...how much will IT's vote count?

If not for outright bribery, I don't see how intelligent IT could choose inferior office suites, networking and mail server.

Again, I hope they bust him and go on to bust every bribed executive at EVERY company and government agency.

Experts trumpet '25 most dangerous' programming errors


A benchmark to compare from

Now that we have it, let's evaluate...

OS X and linux both brag about how few vulns affect each respective OS (and apps written for each OS.)

Redmond replies that it's just a user-share thing -- Windows has a bigger install base and therefore a bigger target.

Now that we have agreed-on standards. Let's compare, yes?

Oh, wait.

That might require actually looking at some code. Which would violate draconian EULAs, DRMs, and Gates-only-knows what-else. I don't think Jobs-Almighty would be too keen, either.

I guess we'll just have to TRUST the companies that won't open their source code. :-(

National Safety Council seeks total* cell-phone driving ban


Pissed-off yank replies.

My take from this side of the pond is:

1) nanny-state rides again. Legislators are easily persuaded to protect King and country...or maybe Obama and yo mamma. It's easy vote-getting. Little opposition. Who wants to protect druggies, drunks, perverts, reckless/selfish drivers?

We forget how easy it is to find ourself on the wrong side of the US and THEM line. Do Rush Limbaugh's painkillers put him on the "druggie" side of that line? One drink too many is all it takes to join the "drunks." Unless you ID every date, one night with a teenager forever brands you a perv.

I think my 20+ years of driving without accident means I drive well. But I bet dimes to dollars that someone sharing the road with me thinks I'm an inconsiderate jerk. Probably every day I drive.

It's just too easy to let US vs. THEM lead to bad, useless, draconian legislation. The U.S. seems hell-bent on it.

2) money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money $ money.

Just think of all the revenue that can be generated from cell-phone tickets! Look at this country's track record in other areas:

Seatbelt tickets started as add-on fees if the cop pulled you over for something else. (Something LEGITIMATE, in my opinion.) Now a seat-belt is reason enough to pull you over.

Cracking down on dead-beat dads was never about the kids. It was about the state recovery services charging a percentage off the top of every wage garnishment and state-arranged support payment.

Can you really believe photo-cop is about increased safety rather than revenue? Statistics published in Car And Driver show that cameras installed at intersections did nothing to reduce accidents. Many cities showed INCREASED accidents at these intersections...traced to changed light timing after the new revenue stream was in place. (Install camera, shorten yellow light, encourage violation, and VIOLA lots more money for the city.)


Most important is to let your senator or representative know how you want him/her to vote.

I think Dave and Raving Loony are on the right track. The cellphone is no more sinister than alcohol or music or conversation. Some can multitask well enough, others can't. Drivers should be presumed innocent (capable) until they prove otherwise, just like a DUI.

How difficult is it to check usage logs on a phone at the accident/ticket scene? I have no problem with banning cellphone use for those whose driving record indicates a problem. Anything more is overreaction.

Microsoft gives XP another four months to live


OS's compared.

I repair PCs and see lots of M$ operating systems. "Vista" is crap in every version EXCEPT the most expensive "Ultimate" version.

IF your hardware can run it, and IF you buy the Ultimate version, there are two things M$ has done right in Vista.

1) Security is improved. My firewall and antivirus tools don't have much to do in Vista Ultimate.

2) It looks nice...finally.

I don't consider these two gains to be worth the price of "upgrading" even to the cheapest Vista, and certainly not at Vista Ultimate prices. Instead of buying Vista Ultimate and hardware upgrades to properly run it, I'd save money buying Mac.

Both security and looks are better in OS X...and cheaper. Both are better and far cheaper in any modern Linux distro.

When I set up dual boot of both Kubuntu Hardy and XP on a new HD recently, I was reminded of all the irritating things M$ KEEPS doing, and other OS's have outgrown.

a) ease of install:

OS install is not easy or simple for ANY computer NOVICE. However, linux is simpler, easier, and better explained. Hardware autodetection not only worked, but the drivers installed automatically, or after asking if I minded using a proprietary (nVidia) driver. I needed one reboot after copying the files and everything worked. Additional drivers (nVidia, and my scanner/printer) did not require any reboots. By comparison, I had to reboot my XP box after installing sound, graphics, network, printer/scanner. The NIC was the onlything that XP detected and installed on its own...but of course, it required a reboot anyway.

b) speed of install:

Even without all the time-wasting reboots for every 3rd party hardware driver, the Kubuntu Linux OS installed in half the time it took to get a grainy, VGA 640x480 XP screen so I could begin installing all the other drivers and software.

c) functionality out-of-box:

Installing XP I got: Wordpad, Paint, and of course Internet Explorer to make sure my PC did it's part in propagating viruses around the world. That's it. I lost count of how many 3rd party software installs required a reboot...

My Kubuntu install defaults with several (less vulnerable) web browsers, a choice of professional-quality office suites, security tools, encryption apps, multimedia playing and authoring tools, programming languages and editors for everything from C++ to HTML, and a wonderful software package handler that let me find, install, and upgrade anything the Kubuntu lads/lasses may have left out. NONE of these programs required a reboot on installing.

The software (both user-installed and out-of-the-box) is intelligently organized in the menus. All Office stuff appears in "Office." Ditto with Multimedia, Internet, Games, etcetera.

d) maintenance:

Kubuntu's package manager tells me when updated versions are available for ALL my software, not just OS service packs. I don't get pestered by every plug-in, the OS, the anti-virus, and every other piece of software one-at-a-time. It's all handled in the OS package manager. I can "hold" packages if I don't want to upgrade from a certain version...and never get pestered about that packages until I release the hold.

e) upgrades:

I've never seen a software upgrade from M$ or any other Windoze developer that was smaller and more optimized. They're always more bloated. It's rare to see upgraded Kubuntu packages take more space than the previous version. Often, the Kubuntu upgrades take LESS space. The difference is usually a matter of kilobytes rather than megabytes.

Recently, I replaced KDE3 (the desktop GUI) with KDE4. The new, slicker, transparent desktop interface is FASTER than KDE3. There are things I miss with KDE3; things I'm still getting used to in KDE4...and may NEVER prefer. It's different. Not all different is to my liking. But it's coded tight, and it runs faster even on my old 128m nVidia card when I've got most of the eye-candy turned on.


Micro$oft is losing all these areas. With the M$ money and influence there is no reason is should be lacking any ANY. While M$ bloats its code bigger and slower, Linux is optimizing and improving. Linux based netbooks recently achieved a 5-second boot (http://www.slashgear.com/five-second-boot-mod-for-asus-eee-pc-0618430/) on some of the cheapest low-end hardware currently selling. I much prefer this direction, rather than Redmond's mantra of "If we code big, they will (must) upgrade." Unless Windows7 starts to address all these flaws, Linux will erode more and more market share. As far as I can see, games like Grand Theft Auto are the only advantage Micro$oft still has.

MPs lost for Word over creaking Microsoft packages


why use M$: others are cross-compatible

I don't get the blind rush to use M$ Office. It's version compatibility issues have been problematic in every new release.

WordPerfect opened Word documents (all versions) better than M$ Word opened its own older versions.

I miss WP, but use OpenOffice rather than try to run WP in wine or an old linux package of WP6.

OpenOffice has all the bells needed, and no compatibility issues with its own past versions...or inability (refusal) to open other vendors' proprietary nonsense.

Academics warn of EU 'three strikes' back door plan


Possible solution...?

I think history proves how difficult (impossible) it is to ban something. Alcohol during US Prohibition, guns in Ireland and the UK, porn or music or books or drugs or Radio Free Europe or anything, really.


I have many albums on CD, tape AND vinyl. I have dozens of movies on both VHS and DVD. Now MPAA wants me to buy them again on blue-ray. OF COURSE I've downloaded pirate copies of some of these albums rather than convert from vinyl/tape to mp3 myself.

What if RIAA, MPAA et al agreed to provide "upgrades" to the newest format for 10 or 15% of the current retail price at any store that stocks the item? Goodbye piracy. Studios, agents, musicians, directors, actors and everyone gets a little more money. Think of the money from back-catalog items that rarely sell now. Think of the profit margins when you consider how cheap it is to press a disk. Studios wouldn't even need to reproduce the liner notes and packaging since you have all that from the first time you bought it.

In order to prevent abuse, I'm sure the industry would need photo ID, one new copy of each album/movie per person, and either trade in or mark the old format as "exchanged." (I like the "exchanged" mark since I'd hate to part with some of the gorgeous old album art.) Another bonus for the industry would be the targeted marketing they could do with the database of customers thus generated.

Waddaya think? Anyone got an inside connection with RIAA/MPAA?