* Posts by John Ridley 1

47 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Jul 2009

How do you copy 60m files?

John Ridley 1

robocopy ftw

File name length is actually not an issue for robocopy. It's a 32 bit cmd program so it can handle filenames as long as NTFS can handle. I use it for syncing large numbers of files often (though more like a couple million, this is only my personal fileserver and backup).

No one needs Blu-ray, says Microsoft exec

John Ridley 1

I'm skipping BR

I do buy BR discs for franchises that I want to support financially. But I don't own a BR player. I just download the MKV off usenet and watch that through my set-top media player. The BR disc never leaves the package, it just goes into a box in the basement.

I don't see any reason to buy a BR player. It's much more convenient to have all the stuff I own on a RAID NAS box, instantly accessible via remote.

Check Point kills scareware-style pop-up campaign

John Ridley 1

Too late

IMO You don't get a second chance when you show willingness to stoop that low. Belkin did something similar with their router firmware fiasco a number of years ago (probably 8+ years ago now) and I have not bought so much as a Belkin cable since then.

As a result of this news yesterday, a group I belong to discussed it and some of us are now recommending Comodo firewall, which some of us think is at least as good as Zone Alarm and is free for personal use. I honestly hadn't heard about it before yesterday but I'm looking at it now.

Craigslist to tell Congress why it cut adult ads

John Ridley 1

I assume...

it's because they wanted to drive both legitimate (hookups) and illegal (prostitution, CP, whatever) stuff back underground and make it a lot harder to track down by the authorities. No?

Amazon Kindle flunked by college students

John Ridley 1

I like ebooks, but not for textbooks

I read novels and such exclusively on my Sony reader, and love the thing, but I will admit, it's pretty useless for text/reference books, and also for poetry; things where you want random access.

This will probably be solved when we get rapid refresh displays, so that we can thumb through dozens of pages quickly, but on the 1 second per page turn now, it's just not at all viable. It may never really work for these purposes.

Best Buy opens first UK store tomorrow

John Ridley 1


BB is a mediocre, soulless big box store, and GS is inept at best, and immoral on average (see any number of documented cases of their "service"). I know the UK is no stranger to cruddy retailers, so this should give them some competition in the race to the bottom.

Nokia: digital SLRs are doomed

John Ridley 1

Meanwhile, Nokia engineers...

...are reading what this guy said, facepalming, shaking their heads and saying "oh, Christ, what a moron. I bet he's going to want us to do this now." I've worked for companies where the officers and sales people will talk sunshine out of their ass and sell absolutely anything totally without regard to whether it's even physically possible or not. I'm sure the engineers at Nokia are thinking the same thing right now.

MS sees Windows 7 leap, but XP workhorse refuses to die

John Ridley 1

I'm a stick-in-the-mud I guess

I actually had Windows 7 on my new PC - I used it for over a month like that, but ultimately I wiped it and installed XP. There was nothing about 7 that XP didn't give me (though I'm at the max - 4 cores and 4GB of RAM, that XP will handle (OK, it won't even quite handle the 4GB, but I'm OK with that)).

The changes to Windows Explorer just drove me nuts, and for my way of working, were simply not as fast.

In the end, I sat down to list pros and cons, and the only thing Windows 7 had going for it were support for hardware that I didn't actually own, and dancing clowns (cosmetics).

Victorinox offers hackers £100,000 challenge

John Ridley 1

emails the owner IF...

the person is stupid enough to still have autorun turned on. Turning that off is the first thing I do when setting up a new machine.

If that's the level of thinking that went into this, I expect they probably use ROT13 encryption.

Desktop refresh cycles: How long is yours?

John Ridley 1

6 years and counting

They gave me a new machine a couple of months ago, but it had Office 2007 on it, I tried for a couple of months but couldn't stand it. I put the old Jan 2004 machine back on my desk.

Our refresh period is generally 3 years but I'd already turned down two upgrades, since I didn't really need them. I only took the most recent one because they said they couldn't get parts (mainboard) for the old one anymore, and it had notoriously bad capacitors. Now I'm just taking my chances to avoid Office 2007 (specifially Outlook - I just run OpenOffice for everything else)

WD targets Win XP users to ease 4KB drive upgrades

John Ridley 1

This is news?

I got a pair of these drives about 3 weeks ago, with the message. I jumpered one, ran the utility for the other. Both are working fine.

Google goes cycling

John Ridley 1

Would be helpful, if it had good data

It seems like it's just "avoiding highways". I just had it try to map a route between two points I've travelled before, and it did a crap job. It took all car-servicable streets, which is fine, but there are bike paths that cut over a mile off the trip. They don't have bike paths in the database.

I don't need GMaps to tell me how to get there on roads. It's finding the 2 foot wide shortcuts that the city has built through neighborhood parks that's a challenge.

It'd be nice if they allowed us to report new routes also, in addition to ones that are unsuitable.

Forgot your ThinkPad password? Get new hardware

John Ridley 1

good for them

When I install encryption software, I make a point of telling people "If you lose your password, you're just out of luck. There is no way to break the password, regardless of what you may have seen in movies. If the password could be easily broken, there'd be no point in having a password in the first place, would there?"

I tell them that a lost password = you just earned an erased hard drive with a fresh OS install on it, not your data back.

Web2.0rhea means ‘higher insurance premiums’

John Ridley 1


Just because I am not home does not mean that nobody is at home.

That said, I find it baffling that people allow FB that much access to their data. I spent about 30 minutes on Facebook before realizing what a huge data mining gem it was, and going in and locking down my account so hard that only people who I've already friended even know I'm there, and my account is set so if I locked it down one bit more even my friends couldn't see me. Also I have a special email account that is all that Facebook knows about, and which is never used anywhere else.

Google Buzz leaves privacy concerns ringing in ears

John Ridley 1


I am playing with Buzz. It doesn't seem to me to be any worse than Failbook - in fact at least it's pretty easy to tell if your data is available or not. Failbook has so many back alleys that can release your data that it's almost impossible to properly lock it down.

And it's easy to make your profile private, and it's trivial to totally opt out.

And GMail/Reader/other Google apps were web 2.0 a long time ago - AFAIK, the term is not synonymous with "social networking".

Office 2010 Release Candidate taps small pool of testers

John Ridley 1
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None for me thanks

I'll upgrade my Office install when they let me shut off the horrid ribbon interface and go back to standard menus and accelerator keys. I tried to get used to the ribbon for 2 months but it's horrid for my use; it forces mouse use to such an extent that it slows down my workflow considerably.

I mainly now use OpenOffice as a result, and for the one program I can't replace that way (Outlook) at work, I went back to using a 7 year old Windows XP machine that still had Office 2003 on it, shelving the brand new machine with Office 2007.

Somehow I doubt Office 2010 is going to return to sanity though. And it'll probably be unusable on anything less than a quad core CPU with 8GB of RAM.

Bloated Office 2010 kicks dirt in face of old computers

John Ridley 1
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None for me thanks

I got Office 2007 on a new PC they upgraded me to at work. Luckily they let me keep my old machine, because after a month 2007 was driving me so batty that I shelved the new PC and put the 6 year old machine back on my desk. It's slower, but it's a small price to pay to not have to run Office 2007. If they try to push Office 2010 onto me, I may have to get a gardening job.

Ex-AMD exec called own company 'pathetic'

John Ridley 1

sadly true

I'd been an AMD fan for many, many years, starting with their 386 clone chips back in the early 90s. Up through the last new machine I bought 4 years ago I stayed with them; the only Intel chip I bought was in a laptop where I didn't have a lot of choice.

This year though, I decided it was time for a new machine, and there was clearly no choice - I went with a Core2Quad. The thing smokes, the CPU and chipset are rock solid and the price was very reasonable. Sadly for my old AMD-lovin' self, it's probably Intel for me in the future.

Fail because AMD seemed to just stop working hard and allowed Intel to just leave them in the dust.

Police cuff citizens for videotaping arrests

John Ridley 1

simple solution...

mute the audio. Plug a dummy plug into the microphone input on the recorder. Or run the audio level to zero. no more problem. Most states STILL haven't caught up to the 70s, and only audio recording is covered by law.

If the officers REALLY want the video to be circulated without the audio, they're fools. I bet most of the time the audio give them more justification for their actions, rather than less.

California cops don defensive headcams

John Ridley 1

New law required

I'd like to see a law enacted (I'm in the US) - any person in a public place is allowed to video record anything they like. It should be illegal for the police to even ask you to stop recording, whether they're talking to you or you're just a bystander. It REALLY bothers me when I see video of police forcing people to stop taping when there's something going on. You know, guys, that totally smacks of "we want to do something illegal now, and we don't want any record of it."

Data collector threatens scribe who reported breach

John Ridley 1

Sued for rattling doors

So, someone was walking down the street rattling doors on storefronts, and found one that had been left unlocked, though there was a "authorized personnel only" sign on it, there was no guard.

She told the company and a few people who have an interest in the company that the door was being left unlocked, then wrote a story about it.

So the company sues her for telling the world that they don't have their door locked? Brilliant business tactics, that.

Oh, and from personal experience, website testing is usually totally automated. All they do is to scan for open ports and what version of various software you have installed, and report potential vulnerabilities. They don't check for bad programming on your site; you could have any number of vulnerabilities in your own website code, they'll never find it. You need a human with some knowledge to take a peek to discover those problems.

Hackers declare war on international forensics tool

John Ridley 1

Only works if the forensics guy isn't doing it right

I know a guy who does forensics. The first thing he does is to carefully make a bitwise copy of all media on the computer WITHOUT booting the computer up. Then he mounts the drive in read-only mode, and has a peek around. At some point they may boot up the original OS, but only on a copy, and only after having examined the contents already.

This kind of thing is required for proper chain of custody for the evidence, apparently.

Fanbois Apple buyers howl over crocked iMacs

John Ridley 1


What a bunch of whiners. Everyone ships bad product once in a while. Bunch of crybabies.

You find crybabies on every product review forum. It's just that in Apple land there seem to be more of them.

National Security Agency beefed Win 7 defenses

John Ridley 1
Big Brother

Linux too?

OK, I'm running Ubuntu, but this stuff still could make it back along the source tree.

At least with Linux, there's a pretty good chance that backdoor code will be noticed by someone. I HAVE stopped building my own kernels though...

Netbooks 'not just a consumer fad'

John Ridley 1
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Cheap is just a bonus

My netbook is the laptop I've always wanted. I don't WANT a 15" laptop - I've tried several times, and laptops can never be a primary machine for me, it just doesn't work. I bought two laptops and they just sat around largely unused, because they were too big and heavy to carry around.

Given that, I want something light and trivial to carry. I'd have bought one years ago, but they weren't available, at least, not for any reasonable amount of money.

Macs not all that for reliability

John Ridley 1

I've noticed this myself

All my friends who have Apple laptops are always singing about how reliable they are...and forgetting that they've returned them for service twice in the last year. Seriously, most of them have had more trouble with their Apple kit than I have with either Dell, Toshiba or MSI. My old Compaq was a total loser, so that fits in with the horrible HP/Compaq rating here.

Having talked to friends (many of whom are consultants for businesses with dozens of laptops, so plenty of experience), when my kid needed a laptop to go off to college, we went shopping with "anything but HP" as the rule.

MS store staff in spontaneous electric boogie

John Ridley 1

And me...

I've been running Windows 7 for about 2 months...but I just switched to Ubuntu 9.10. I've used Linux for many years as a server, but have only toyed with it on the desktop, never permanently. I think 9.10 may be the one I stick with. Even for the few things I have to run Windows software for, the Windows software runs faster (and in some cases, better) on Linux than under Windows 7.

Hack slots hotspots into Windows 7

John Ridley 1

charging for connections

If I'm anywhere that I'm paying for a connection, I'm also going to reflect it out as an open hotspot for free. Now that all the hotels I stay at give wifi away, I don't have to carry a wireless router anymore to share the joy. It'd be cool to have the capability in my laptop so I could do it in the rare instance when I do come across a paid access point.

Apple Magic Mouse

John Ridley 1

But what about the important question?

Does it work in Windows?

Michael Dell: Netbooks go sour after 36 hours

John Ridley 1

Just the opposite

Until I got my netbook, every laptop purchase before that was kind of cool for a couple of days, then I was thinking "This thing is too big and heavy." I actually never used a laptop very much, they seemed like good ideas at the time but were too big to carry around.

Now that I have had a netbook for about a year, I still love it and I use it far more than any laptop I've used before. Of course, that still means maybe once a week,and sometimes not for a month at a time, but that's because IMO laptops still haven't replaced desktops for actual work.

Snow Leopard data-munching bug predates Snow Leopard

John Ridley 1

If you don't back up....

My opinion; backing up costs about $100 and about 10 minute's time, to buy an external hard drive, plug it in and configure backups.

If you aren't doing them, that's a clear statement by you that your data isn't worth $100 and 10 minutes of your time, so what are you whining about?

Surely there's nobody who doesn't know that computers can crash and lose data? Everyone from kids to computer-illiterate octogenarians know this, so there really is no excuse.

Volkswagen boffins turn staircase into giant working piano keyboard

John Ridley 1

Giant piano keyboard on a staircase?

Never seen one of those before! Oh, except in every hands-on science museum I've ever been to.

Beeb unveils new Doctor Who logo

John Ridley 1

My god that's wretched

It looks like some BBC exec's son drew it in a high school art class using some cheap software. Horrible.

Pluto still a planet, says Ronald McDonald

John Ridley 1

Can't have it both ways

If Pluto is a planet, then there are probably something like 20 or more planets, since there are other bodies out there that are at least as large as Pluto is. Either there are 8, or a heck of a lot, pick one.

If you want to claim it's a planet due to history, then there are still more than 9 planets, because the minor planets such as Ceres and Pallas were considered planets when first discovered.

Madmen cling to jet-powered merry-go-round

John Ridley 1
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Who said they ignored the warnings?

Your car is the most likely thing in the world to kill you, and you get into it every day. They should put a "this will definitely kill you" sign out that you can see as you're being born.

So gwan, have some fun.

Apple's move to kill Hackintosher suit denied

John Ridley 1

They DO care

""If I want to buy OS X and install it on my hardware, with the understanding that I get ZERO support from Apple, why shouldn't I be able to?"

Apple aren't stopping you doing this. Go ahead. They don't care."

They absolutely do care. It's specifically forbidden in the EULA. I would actually be willing to buy a copy of OS X to install, but I have friends who work for Apple and they've made it clear to me that the folks at Apple do NOT like this and consider it illegal.

I'm sure that they won't come after me or anything, but honestly, I have an OS that does what I want, if Apple doesn't want me as a cheerleader, screw 'em. I'll just keep recommending PCs. The only reason I was thinking about it is that I have friends with Macs, and I'd like to be able to help them, but if Apple doesn't want me running OS X without spending $1000 on hardware I don't need, I'll just tell my friends "Sorry, I don't know anything about OS X. You'll have to find someone else."

John Ridley 1

VW Miffed?

VW would be miffed if you bought their engines and put them in some non-VW car?

What, you mean like all the dozens of times other manufacturers have bought VW engines and put them in their cars? I used to own a Chrysler car with a VW engine in it. Made that way at the factory.

If you want to buy engines from VW, I don't suppose they care if you use them to power sewage pumps, as long as you're paying for them.

The bottom line is that OS X is the lever that Apple uses to charge $2600 for a machine that they can probably build for $500. I am currently building a machine that's fully OS X compatible and has the same specs as Apple's $2000+ Pro - and the parts are costing me about $560. I bought very good components all across the board too. I'm sure Apple could get better prices than I can.

They need to keep OS X tied to only their hardware, because otherwise they can't compete in the hardware business.

If I want to buy OS X and install it on my hardware, with the understanding that I get ZERO support from Apple, why shouldn't I be able to?

Mozilla plans to tie Firefox 3.7 pigtails in pretty Ribbon

John Ridley 1

Oh, bugger

I f*Ckin' HATE the ribbon. Yuck. I hope it's an option that I can turn off, or I guess I'll be stuck on Firefox 3.5, or I'll switch to Opera or something.

Swayze death exploited to serve up fake anti-virus

John Ridley 1


Is this even news anymore? This has happened EVERY time anyone vaguely famous died for the last year or two.

Trade body loses laptop full of driving conviction data

John Ridley 1

Encrypt or pay!!

We really need laws on the books requiring encryption of all machines that ever leave a secured environment, with significant financial penalties for failure to do so (say, $5000 per person whose data is exposed due to losing an unencrypted data device with their info on it).

Encryption is FREE, TRANSPARENT AND TRIVIAL TO IMPLEMENT. There is NO EXCUSE not to encrypt. NONE. The only explanation is pure laziness and complete lack of concern for the security of the data on the machines. Seriously, go download a copy of Truecrypt, full boot drive encrypt, done.

How to hack a Sony Reader

John Ridley 1
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@Gerard Krupa: re PDFs

If your reader isn't rendering PDFs well, make sure you're running the latest firmware. I agree that the firmware that shipped with my 505 was hopeless on PDFs, but since getting the new firmware I read quite a bit in PDFs and it's totally fine.

Since PDF is a page-description format, it's really not suitable for ebooks, and it's foolish for people to publish ebooks as PDFs, but if that's all you have, then reflowing like the new firmware does is about the best that can be done.

Apple nabs 90% of all 'premium PC' dollars

John Ridley 1


Yes, and when you go to replace that iMac, you have to buy another new monitor.

Even with a monitor, a PC is still half the price of an iMac.

And I don't actually like machines where the monitor and the box are one unit. I know very few people who do, personally. They're horribly non-expandable. And to get into an expandable machine with Apple, you need to spend > $2000. For that kind of money I want 3 machines WITH monitors.

AT&T profits slip on iPhone investments

John Ridley 1
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for MacRat

VOIP solutions need not apply. We are without power for probably on the order of 3 or 4 days a year, and the instant the power goes out, so does the internet, even when I use a generator to power up our in-house equipment.

Even my neighbors who buy their VOIP services from the cable company, who have supposedly battery backed routers and VOIP boxes, report that they lose dial tone the instant the power drops.

If the cable companies ever come to understand what the phrase "life critical service" means, I'll think about it.

John Ridley 1

Landlines still rule in our neighborhood

I live in Michigan, and there's practically zero coverage at my house; if I go outside I can MAYBE get a call through. Texts take up to 2 hours to get through inside the house (15 seconds if I'm in town, 4 miles away). There are large areas of Michigan with little to no coverage, and the same goes for many other areas of the US. It's easy to forget that if you live in a city and travel to other cities. There are also a lot of areas where you can't get broadband, either (except via satellite which is not a great option IMO).

We still have a landline, and the way things are looking, we will for a good long while yet.

Amazon cuts cost of Kindle

John Ridley 1

Attn Amazon:

Remove the DRM and all the crazy remote shut off switches, and open your format up and support other readers, and your business will really take off without your having to lower prices.

Amazon may plug in-book advertising into Kindle

John Ridley 1

Free versions of classics are the best

I bought a Sony reader and got a "free $100 in "classic" books" offer. Everything in the list is PD stuff that's available from Project Gutenberg. I had a peek at a couple of Sony's editions on a friend's reader, and they were totally uninspired. Cruddy formatting, clearly just slurped down and dumped into a LRF file (while adding DRM to a PD work!).

I went to mobileread.com and found the same collection and hundreds more, all lovingly formatted into various formats by volunteers. All free, and of much better quality than what the commercial places are charging money for.

My fear is that someday they'll get something written into law giving them "temporary" ownership, or at least format-specific rights to, PD works. Then of course they'll get those rights extended until it's essentially permanent.

No interest in Kindle, if for no other reason than that Amazon seems to be trying to corner the eBook market, and I'm not interested in helping them. Since they have eBook rights, if they started providing downloads in other formats, they might start getting some of my money, but they're locking everything up in Kindle format.

Firefox 3.5 patch coming soon as Mozilla cranks up downloads

John Ridley 1
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That's why I USE Firefox

...the weekly updates. At least they update when there's a bug. IE, OTOH, just lets exploits sit for months without doing anything about it. I'm happy to see the browser updating. They've made it almost totally painless, I just get a small delay on startup once in a while for patch installation.

I don't mind this kind of behavior either (shipping with known bugs, patching later). These are not show-stopper bugs. If you held a ship for every bug, you'd never ship anything; there are ALWAYS known bugs. The difference is that other vendors wait until the next major release to fix them instead of giving them to us when they're available.