* Posts by Jack 4

18 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jul 2009

UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity

Jack 4

Isn't this...

...the way all the trouble started in Europa Report? It's all going to end in man eating, radioactive sand-sand squid I'm telling you.

Pollster charts rise and rise of the e-book reader

Jack 4

The future...

From what I've see with people I know or hear about on forums, Facebook, etc. most of the objections to the idea of e-books comes from people who haven't actually been exposed to the latest e-readers. I personally have converted several people from doubters into e-reader owners by explaining that unlike phones, an e-reader will go over a week on a charge, that e-ink has no flicker, that there are lots of sources for free and inexpensive e-books out there, etc.

While there will of course be some holdouts who refuse to read anything that's not on paper, I predict that as more people actually see an e-reader, (And, in places other than the US, as they slowly get the rights issues sorted out to make it easier to buy e-books.) there will be quite a few more converts.

Also, as more and more kids and young people grow up having always had access to a tablet computer, and having a lot of their textbooks winding up on one, the younger generation *will* wind up doing most of their reading on e-devices.

So personally, I see a big future ahead for e-books and readers and I don't see them plateauing out any time soon.

Internet therapy speeds chronic fatigue recovery

Jack 4

Re: Chronic Fatigue?

As someone who has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the last 15 years, I'd have to agree with this. Anything that tries to label CFS as being treatable by "cognitive therapy" is just another attempt to push the "all in your head" agenda, and does a great disservice to people who are actually suffering with serious, debilitating illness for which there is currently no cure and no real treatment.

Drone nerve centre malware was Mafia Wars' infostealer

Jack 4

I must ask again...

WTF are they *doing* running these things on what is pretty obviously a Windows platform, and why is their security so piss-poor that viruses can get onto these systems in the first place.

Now I can admit that Windows has it's place in the software world, but for something as critical as controlling armed military drones on what are likely often highly secret missions, that is *not* the appropriate place. Linux or other more secure software should have been used for an application like this. Something that is *not* compatible with every run of the mill virus out there.

(Of course if they had used a free OS, probably whoever was in charge of software procurement wouldn't have gotten their no doubt cozy deals with the vendor. So of course that couldn't happen.)

Linus Torvalds dubs GNOME 3 'unholy mess'

Jack 4

I'm glad someone is saying it...

Particularly someone with this sort of weight in the Linux community. Both Ubuntu 11.4 and the latest version of Gnome have had completely insane changes made to them and any complaints as a user that they're a steaming, unusable pile get met with, "If you don't like it, write your own," which is not a helpful attitude.

I'm running Linux because I want a *choice*. I don't want a sidebar, I want links on my desktop, I want to be able to configure my interface as it works for me, to store things how and where I want, to put tool bars where I like them, and to hide things that I *don't* like. Why they seem to have suddenly developed a case of Apple envy and have decided to lock down and dumb down the interface is beyond me, but if I wanted an Apple-like interface, I'd buy an Apple. But I don't and I didn't.

Anyway, Good for Linus for speaking up. Let's hope that it restores a bit of sanity to Linux user interface design. :)

Facebook quietly switches on facial recognition tech by default

Jack 4

Despite trying hard to keep up...

...with all the new ways that Facebook keeps coming up with to invade my privacy, this one had slipped right by me. I appreciate the heads-up this article gave me so that I could switch it off, and I'll make a point to warn my less attentive friends about it.

Acer boss quits after board disses his future strategy

Jack 4

Happy with mine...

I got an Acer Aspire One 10.1in netbook about 9 months ago. I've upgraded it with more memory, and just recently set it to dual boot Ubuntu and I'm delighted with it. The Ubuntu install was easy as could be and works great with no tweaking, and the netbook itself is handy and comfortable to use.

So, another Acer owner who's happy with their machine.

Bookshop swaps Kindles for real books

Jack 4

Yeah...not happening.

I got my Kindle shortly before the holiday, and since then, I've probably read more, (both free and paid for books), and spent less money doing so, than I had in the year previously, all without paying a dime for shipping (meaning more money went to the writer) or causing the death of a single tree.

The fact is that the Kindle has gotten the needs of the serious book reader (As opposed to the gadget lover.) down pat. It's as light as a moderate sized paperback, I only need one hand to hold it and turn the pages, the e-ink doesn't flicker and can be read in the sun, I don't need to charge it more than once every week or so, I can keep dozens of books on it at a time, and it wasn't much over $100.

The soul of a book is not in the paper, the soul of a book is in the words contained within. While I like the smell of books, and being surrounded by shelves of them, having something that makes it easier to access the words is no bad thing.

Ubuntu Wayland: Shuttleworth's post-Mac makeover

Jack 4

Time to move to a different distro...

I've been using Ubuntu for several years now, (Ever since I got sick of dealing with Windows crap.) but this move toward a "My Way or the Highway" set of desktop changes is likely to see me using a different distro soon enough. If I wanted to be forced to use someone else's locked down vision of how things should be done, I'd already be using a Mac.

Me, myself and Eric: Google delays social network effort, says report

Jack 4

Google fails...

I would welcome an alternative to Facebook that didn't try to come up with five new ways to violate my privacy before breakfast, the way that Facebook does.

Unfortunately, after their screw-up with Google Buzz where they gave everyone you happened to e-mail on gmail the names of everyone *else* that you e-mailed using gmail, whether you wanted them to know it or not, it's pretty clear that Google is not going to be the one to do it.

Google brews (another) Facebook rival, says report

Jack 4

Not using Google...

Actually, I'd have considered switching over to Google's Buzz as a option when Facebook started screwing with my privacy...if it weren't for the fact that Google showed themselves to be even worse and more clueless about privacy when they signed up everyone with a Gmail account and outed their entire list of mail contacts to the world.

I hope that someone realizes that there's an audience for social networking with *privacy*, but I'm pretty sure that it's not going to be Google who does it. They've shown very clearly that they just don't *get* it.

Council of Europe condemns teen-bothering Mosquito

Jack 4


...there is another method that has been proven (At least in the various articles I've read where it's been tried in the US.) to disperse young people hanging around shops and so forth. It's called playing classical music.

In the cases I've read about, playing classic music at a moderate volume outside of shops and the like where teenagers tended to congregate was sufficient to drive them off in search of another "cooler" location without risking anyone's hearing or putting off anyone who was there to do business.

Perhaps some of the places using this "mosquito" thing could try that instead?

Ubuntu Firefox shuns Google for Yahoo! search

Jack 4

Please, please...

...please tell me that this is April first.

Steve Jobs uncloaks the 'iPad'

Jack 4

Wanna bet...

Want to bet that the price will drop a few hundred dollars after a few months once Apple soaks the early buyers with a "Fashion Victim" tax, just like they did with the iPhone when it was first released?

US word czars unfriend shovel-ready toxic assets

Jack 4

A Twit is a Twit...

"First off, I don't see a problem with "tweets" or "tweeting" -- what would YOU call a message on twitter? Admittedly twitter is overhyped but this is a nice short term for a message via twitter."

That would be a "twit", named after the sender. You can't spell Twitter without "twit".

Second Life slapped with counterfeit sex toy suit

Jack 4

Here it goes again...

Anytime there's an article about Second life, I can be sure that the actual subject of the article will be completely ignored in the comments, which will instead be packed with posts by people slagging off Second Life.

Personally, I happen to be disabled, and I find logging in in the evening to hang out and chat with friends to be a superior way to spend the evening compared to passively soaking up whatever crap happens to be on TV.

PC repair shop caught trying bank fraud

Jack 4

Not at all surprising...

There is a reason that I built (And learned *how* to build.) my own system, which I know how to troubleshoot and fix if need be, and a reason that I'm running Ubuntu which I can also trouble shoot and fix if need be, thus eliminating the chance of someone lifting my personal info off of it.

I've known technicians who have worked at various repair shops, and according to them the first thing that they do when a new machine comes in, is to copy off any porn, music or movies you might be on there. [1] The ones I knew were ethical enough that they didn't record financial details, but as this report shows, there's no guarantee.

I've also heard personally from people who worked at a particular shop in the US, (Now long out of business, fortunately.) that the owner there made a practice of going through the computer owners financial records to determine how much he could get away with charging them for repairs.

Personally, I think that the current attitudes toward privacy on machines that have been brought in for repair are far too lax, and I'm not at all surprised that something like this has come up. In fact, I'm surprised that it's taken this long to start to hear about it.

I feel that there really needs to be a code of conduct for these types of businesses which states that personal files and information on a machine should be *absolutely* off limits, beyond the absolute minimum needed to actually fix the machine. (Which should be zero, 99% of the time.) This should include oversight of technicians to stop the currently winked at practices of copying off interesting files, and which would yank the business license of any shops that are caught doing this, even if there's no misuse made of the information.

[1] My own comment to them, that I was advising any friend who sent in their machine for repairs to entitle a folder, "My Girlfriend Nude" and fill it with octogenarian porn, was for some reason met with accusations that that I was in fact, "Evil Incarnate". Go figure.

Easter Island dirt may hold key to longer life

Jack 4

"Oh Noes! Population Growth!"

First of all, when this comes along (If it does.) it's likely to be expensive. Which means it's likely to be used only in the wealthier countries. Which, coincidentally, already have shrinking birth rates, and would already have shrinking populations if it weren't for immigration from other countries with higher birth rates.

Secondly, all that aside, *I* personally would like to have another 20 or so good years, and I would like my friends and already existing family to have that, and I think that most people are likely to feel that way themselves. If that means that people are going to need to learn to live with having only one or two kids instead of three or four or more, I'm perfectly fine with that.