* Posts by Ben Trabetere

32 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Nov 2012

The return of the classic Flying Toasters screensaver

Ben Trabetere

Nope to Flying Toasters, but....

I want modules for the Opus 'n Bill Bloom County screensavers.

Apple patched critical flaws in macOS Monterey but not in Big Sur nor Catalina

Ben Trabetere

This gets me in a 'glass half full' kind of mood

Looking on the bright side, I have contacts with several businesses and non-profits that have a habit of "upgrading" their macBook Pros when upgrading macOS proves to be troublesome. I am happy to take them off their hands. Most take to Linux very easily, and most go on to live happy lives at a non-profit that provides after-school activities.

Fisher Price's Bluetooth reboot of pre-school play phone has adult privacy flaw

Ben Trabetere

Re: Hmm ...

"For sales, dial 1...."

At least this phone has a dial. A few years back I asked my millennial nephews why people are asked to "dial" a telephone phone. Their response was a facial expression only a cow would understand.

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?

Ben Trabetere

Re: Dark Monitor

Or it could mean they had tested the monitors to the point where any problem that arose would be related to PEBCAK and other wet-ware issues rather than a hardware issue.

The Document Foundation updates LibreOffice Community to 7.1.1

Ben Trabetere

Linux users can use the AppImage

"A glance at the daily build suggests that enthusiasts might be better off rolling their own for the time being."

There are AppImages editions of LibreOffice starting with v4.3.7.2 up to the daily releases (currently at I have been using the LO AppImages exclusively for a couple of years, and except for a couple of nagging inconveniences I have been very pleased.

One thing I like the most about the LO AppImages is I can have and use four versions on my system at the same time: the current release, the stable release, the daily release, and the installed version from the default repository. I have never had one interfere with any of the others.


Here comes an AI that can predict hurricane strength. Don't worry, NASA made it so it probably actually works

Ben Trabetere

Re: Predictions are useful

>Camille in 1969 made it almost to Tennessee as a hurricane after coming ashore at the Alabama coast as a Cat 5.

Slight correction is in order - the eye for Camille passed over Pass Christian, MS. Katrina made landfall in the same area roughly 30-years later. Both Camille and Katrina touched the coast of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle hard, Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian took the full force.

Fun facts about Camille that rarely get mentioned

At Woodstock, The Band was finishing its set as Camille came ashore.

The official peak wind speed is 200mph, although some reports have it as "in excess of 200mph." The anemometers only went to 200mph, and they were destroyed in the landfall area.

The path took it through Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. It entered the Atlantic Ocean and started to strengthen. It almost regained hurricane status.

Although Camille is classified as a Category 5 Hurricane, the Saffir–Simpson scale did not exist at the time.

Related to predicting hurricane strength, the local meteorologists still would be unable to forecast Camille, 50-years after the fact. Not even if Nash Roberts was whispering in their ear and they could use the interwebs.

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar

Ben Trabetere

How long...

... will it take to turn into a drinking game?

Check out the night sky in all its X-ray glory: Everything from hot gases to supernovas and massive black holes

Ben Trabetere

I wonder what sharp turn religion would have taken if the ancients could have seen this for just one day each decade. Would that one-eyed skull thing with the over-sized grin be the face of God? Wars would be fought, that's for certain.

Parks and recreation escalate efforts to take back control of field terrorised by thug geese

Ben Trabetere

Re: Federally protected

"Why are they protected? "

I asked a coworker about that when I lived in Ohio and our office parking lot was being menaced by these chin-strap thugs. It was against company policy to shoo away or otherwise torment the birds, and harming one could get you fired. He said they were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

I argued that our geese were year-round residents and, as such, should not qualify as "migratory."

There was a retention pond next to the office, and the goose problem was temporarily resolved when the company rented a pair of swans from a fellow who rented them out as scaregeese. The swans paddled around the retention pond for a few days, and the geese went to menace elsewhere. The geese returned a couple of weeks after the swans were relocated. Not sure if that qualifies migratory.

Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?

Ben Trabetere

The smug, self-satisfied door hum from HHGTG

... might fit the general opinion of electric cars, but part of me hopes the 1KHz Square Sine Wave gets considered.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

Ben Trabetere

Re: 6.1.5 a spin

Why not take the AppImage(s) for a spin? There are AppImages available for Still (6.1.5), Fresh (6.2.0), and Alpha (6.3.x). If you are nostalgic about 2014, there are AppImages for older versions going back to

I have LO installed on my Mint system, but I have used the AppImage for day-to-day work for nearly two years. I have not had any problems running the Still and Fresh editions side-by-side, and the AppImages have never messed with the installed version or the flatpak (spit).


Download the AppImage, make it executable, and run. If you do not like it, delete the file and it is gone.

Foot lose: Idiot perv's shoe-mounted upskirt vid camera explodes

Ben Trabetere

No criminal charges?

The police blotter states "Investigation continuing." Here's hoping it lead to criminal charges, if only to make it (and his name) a matter of public record.

After all, he did confess to criminal attempt to commit voyeurism. And if he was stupid enough to talk about it with some of his idiot friends, they all could face conspiracy to commit voyeurism charges.

'No, we are not rewriting Office in JavaScript' and other Microsoft tales

Ben Trabetere

Re: A rewrite is long overdue...

"Now imagine that legal document is a word 95 document?"

I am almost positive Word 95 did not support line numbering. IIRC, in the anti-trust case the MS legal team created their documents in WordPerfect and saved them as a Word document.

PETA calls for fish friendly Swedish street signage

Ben Trabetere

Am I the only one who has an urge to eat veal every time the humaniacs at PETA do something like this?

Wow, MIND-BLOWING: Florida Man gets an earful from 'exploding Apple AirPod' bud

Ben Trabetere

Occam's Razzer, anyone?

Sorry, but I do not see charring or a battery failure. I see a busted set of AirPods and nullified warranty.

What does an AirPod look like when it pops from your ear, drops to the treadmill and gets stomped on?

Behold, ye unworthy, the brave new NB-IoT logo

Ben Trabetere

Re: That logo...

I see the busted tractor, but my first impression was more phallic. This logo will not look good on a business card....

Expert gives Congress solution to vote machine cyber-security fears: Keep a paper backup

Ben Trabetere

Re: Anonymous - why?

It is also to prevent the owner of a underpants factory from "urging" the gnomes to vote a certain way - rewards to those who voted correctly, penalties for those who didn't.

Then, with each gnome's verification in hand, the underpants factory owner sits down with elected officials for a nice chat over how much those votes are worth.

What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

Ben Trabetere

Is anyone else bothered about a scientist saying the moon "was nearly three times closer to Earth than it is today”?

Wouldn't 'the moon was approximately 1/3rd the distance to Earth than it is today' be a better choice of words for a scientist?

Blocking peeps on social media? That's a paddlin' for governors, senators, house reps

Ben Trabetere

Re: Meh!

"I mean if Sen. Al Franken were to block Anne Coulter from his account, do you think the Press would care? (Franken is liberal, Coulter is Conservative.)"

The Press has pretty much ignored politicians who block people from their social media accounts, so I think it is safe to assume they would ignore it if Sen. Franken were to start. The ACLU would notice, and he would be called to task for it.

I doubt Sen. Franken would block anyone. It is likely he would encourage Anne Coulter to follow his social media account, and he would be thrilled if AC were to inject her hate-filled drivel to the discussion. I am certain he would respond to her, and the response would have a distinct "Go away or I shall taunt you a second time" tone to it. He has dealt with her in the past.

Mi casa es su casa: Ubuntu bug makes 'guests' anything but

Ben Trabetere

Re: "We can only imagine the pointing and laughing"

@ Kurt Meyer

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that there is a distribution derived from Ubuntu, or perhaps I misremember."

Aren't all of them based on Ubuntu LTS? The affected versions are not LTS.

Man sues date for cinema texting fiasco, demands $17.31

Ben Trabetere

Considering the cinema was the Alamo Drafthouse, his actions may be justified. Alamo Drafthouse has a zero tolerance policy on talking or texting or using a cell phone, and is willing to lose the occasional disruptive customer to ensure everyone else has a pleasant time. Everyone who goes there knows it.

The penalty for violating the rule is severe - you are escorted from the cinema. If the AD staff had caught her, it is likely he would have been escorted out, too. I understand at some AD cinemas the egregious offenders can be banned from the premise.

And pity the fool who calls to complain about it. See


Email reply-all cat-nado drenches Cisco inboxes with pics, memes

Ben Trabetere

Sometimes your purpose is to be a warning to others

Many years ago a marketing VP for a major vendor got the sack. He was a first round B-Ark candidate, so few people in our little industry shed a tear. The only useful purpose he ever served was to keep contact lists up to date for everyone in the industry - he had email addresses for nearly everyone in the industry, and his mailing lists were organized by company. He didn't understand or use BCC, so it was easy to harvest email addresses.

One of his last acts as VP was (have someone) transfer his contacts and mailing lists to his Hotmail account.

He would be forgotten if he hadn't landed a job with another major vendor a few months later. The day he got the job he sent an email blast to ALL of his mailing lists ... including the very personal one for his viper ex-wife and her slither of viper lawyers.

She sent a Reply-All response congratulating him on his good fortune and hoped "this meant he would resume his alimony and child support payments." She intentionally clicked Reply-All. She was a viper.

Monitors and keyboards were soiled, mailboxes exploded and re-exploded, and B-Arker was fired for being stupid.

Seriously, stop claiming your two-buck photo app can detect cancer

Ben Trabetere

Re: And herein lies the problem...

While I agree the penalty should be much harsher for dubious medical claims like this, $17K could cripple a company like Health Discovery. I glanced at the financials (HDVY:OTC US), and to my untrained eyes it appears as if it isn't netting much of anything. 2014 showed a Net Profit of $200K on Total Revenue of $1M. Stock is at $0.015 and falling, and the cash flow is a trickle.

Google sues Mississippi Attorney General 'for doing MPAA's dirty work'

Ben Trabetere

I live in Mississippi, and Jim Hood is far outside the Good 'Ol Boy network - he is a progressive (or what passes for progressive in Mississippi) Democrat in a state that is filled with Bible-Business-and-Guns First, half-wit Republicans who compete to out-conservative one another. Jim Hood is one of the Good Guys in a sea of wretchedness.

From what I can gather, the Hood v. Google kerfuffle started over illicit drugs and expanded to cover kiddie porn. They were making progress, but it wasn't fast enough or throrough enough for Hood, and he tried to increase pressure on Google.

Then the MPAssA extended its slimey appendages into the fray as another pressure point, and the scope of the effort expanded to cover intellectual property. They became a tool in a bigger fight. But, in a fit of laziness, the AG allowed the MPAssA to control this facet of the effort.

He didn't consider that the MPAssA had its own agenda or that they would turn things around to the point where he became a tool for them.

SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

Ben Trabetere

Re: Google is coming to my town

""Here in NC our one-party state, having made disenfranchised about half the population through gerrymandering, enacted a law making new deployments of publicly-owned broadband illegal. "

Are you referring to the 100+ years of one party rule and the outrageous gerrymandering that went on throughout that period? Or have you conveniently decided to ignore that little piece of history for more recent history?

Talk about throwing toys from the pram. Typically democratic of you. ;-)"

You have a superficial understanding of the political system in the Deep South. There never has been a strong two-party system in the Deep South - it's always been ruled by the same party, the only thing that has changed is the name. Jacksonian Democrats lead to the Southern Democrats and Solid South, which lead to the States' Rights Democatic Party (aka, Dixiecrats). Which lead to Republicans and the Tea Party.

Net Neutrality is as much a Bad Thing for the Southern Republicans as it would have been for the Jacksonian Democrats - it's the workings of elitist city-types trying to tell us what to do. I live in Mississippi, and I have pressed my representatives to support Net Neutrality. My senators and my congresscritter are both opposed to any form of Net Neutrality; the one senator considers the common carrier regulations to be "outdated" (which is odd, seeing as how Mississippi was one of the biggest benefactors of that regulation) and questions whether it is in the "consumers' best interests," and my congresscritter is a Grover Norquist acolyte who thinks government regulations are the reason for the high price and low quality of internet service in his district.

Antarctic ice at all time high: We have more to learn, says boffin

Ben Trabetere

Re: Antactica is melting too


"Name one freshwater river in Antarctica.

That would make a good pub quiz question... :)"

Onyx River. It is a glacial meltwater stream, roughly 20mi in length, and empties into Lake Vanda. It has flowing water only in the summer months.

Now, which ones of yous owes me a beer?

USA to insist on pre-flight mobe power probe

Ben Trabetere

Every time I hear of a 'prove it works' requirement I have a fond chuckle remembering the social experiment Penn Jillette proposed in his PC Computing column. He wondered what would happen if someone inserted a few lines in the autoexec.bat that would display something on the lines of....

Arming, please wait.....




8, etc.

Democrats introduce net neutrality legislation in Senate and House

Ben Trabetere


Many US politicians also confuse 'politics' with 'law.'

While I'm pretty sure my Congresscritter knows of the 22nd Amendment, I would not be at all surprised if sometime prior to the 2016 elections he blubbered something along the lines of 'we can't afford another four years of Obama' or took steps designed to prevent Obama from being re-elected. Sadly, the people who keep electing the ijit would see both as worthwhile endeavors.

POST COMMENT House rules

Highway from HELL: Volcano tears through 35km of crust in WEEKS

Ben Trabetere

When I see or hear a phrase like "liquid hot magma" I am reminded of broadcast banter between Pete van Wieren and Skip Cary during an Atlanta Braves baseball game. Pete described an athlete as having "a real physical body." The ever-acerbic Skip snarled, "As opposed to what?"

Google 'disappoints' US congressman over Glass privacy controls

Ben Trabetere

Re: Simple explanations are more often the correct ones.

Joe Barton used to be my congresscritter, and I assure you he's much more than a technoboob. He's a self-serving, self aggrandizing, chest thumping, all purpose boob. His antics are good for a laugh ... until you realize he's not a comedian and his antics have serious consequences.

Trust me, Joe Barton's disappointment will fade when the first campaign contribution arrives.

Global warming fingered as Superstorm Sandy supersizer

Ben Trabetere

Re: 60mph

The ONLY reason? By nearly every measure Hurricane/Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy was an exceptional storm. For starters it was big - the storm bands extended roughly 500 miles from the center, and the effects were felt as far west as Michigan and Wisconsin.

Also, it was a slow-moving storm, with some of the affected areas experienced hurricane conditions for two or three days.

The wind speed is only part of the destructive equation of a hurricane - the more destructive part of the equation is water. Rain, storm surge, and in the case of Sandy ... snow. And Sandy offered up too much of all three. Most areas experienced at least 5-inches of rain, and the extra-high tides at the time made for an unusually high storm surge.

Where were the bullet holes on OS/2's corpse? Its head ... or foot?

Ben Trabetere

The really sad thing about OS/2 is it wasn't necessary for IBM's survival. OS/2 was a rounding error, and treated as such. I was a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth OS/2 User Group - for a while we met at the IBM Innovation Center, which gave us access to some truly amazing speakers and some disappointing insight into why OS/2 was doomed. I think it was at one of Paul Giangarra's presentations for what would be Warp 4 that someone asked, "This is exciting ... has IBM developed a strategy to kill it, yet?"