* Posts by Barry Rueger

1140 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Feb 2007


VR headsets to shift 30 million units a year by 2027, vastly behind wearables

Barry Rueger

For sure, this time! (I repeat)

I remember when everyone was going to wear glasses to watch 3D TV...

I remember when everyone was going to wear Google Glass...

I remember at least a few other companies flogging some kind of 3D VR goggles...

And most recently I remember when Facebook was going to change the world with Meta goggles...

Then Apple..

But surely THIS time!

Mastodon makes a major move amid Musk's multiple messes

Barry Rueger

Re: Shame about Mastodon

I'm liking Bluesky a lot, for the reasons, and people, that made Twitter so good. Thus far no nazis, and no trolls, but I'm still incredibly hard-nosed in curating my feed.

My big question is how the heck Disney corp seems to be Twitter's biggest advertiser.

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

Barry Rueger

Re: Pointless to complain.

Hate phone typing!

No, forget that, I'm blaming Google for the Android keyboard.

Barry Rueger

Pointless to complain

Here in rural Nova Scotia we've been trying for nearly a year to correct the name of our road from "Breakwater", which it's not, to "Lighthouse" which is what the sign reads.

We have failed, so every delivery includes special instructions for drivers, and new ones invariably phone us in confusion.

We did though convince Google to change the address for the 150+ year old lighthouse at the end of our road. We know the request worked because we received a notification that the "Western Head lighthouse has moved to a new location!"

Barry Rueger

Pointless to complain.

Here in rural Nova Scotia we've spent the last year trying to get Google to change the name of iur road

Twitter says it may harvest biometric, employment data from its addicts

Barry Rueger

If you build it - and don't fuck it up - they will come!

Google. Facebook. Twitter. All cases where a solid and valuable tool has become almost unusable.

When will our mighty tech gods learn the old lesson:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Wordpress sells 100-year domain, hosting plan for $38K

Barry Rueger

Nearly half the web?

I've heard this claim before:

as its software "powers nearly half the web"

Has anyone ever documented, or challenged, this claim? I find it pretty dubious.

I have one site still using Wordpress, mostly because it's super low maintenance so I only get annoyed by WP every couple of months.

Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business

Barry Rueger

Good old Pirate Bay

If what I want isn't on a streaming service that I'm currently paying for I have utterly no qualms about using Pirate Bay.

The greed of the streaming companies has reached the point where they get no sympathy.

Global Slack messaging outage cuts world off from colleagues

Barry Rueger

Cough... maybe we'll use letters and stamps next time.

Businesses will stumble around, either relying solely on outdated email, or switching to consumer-grade messaging services in an attempt to keep communication flowing.

I'm sorry, is this guy denigrating E-MAIL at a time when Slack is crashing itself? Is he suggesting that we shouldn't default to a system which seems to be 99.99% reliable and instead should twiddle our thumbs waiting for the latest Slack outage to get fixed?

I say nonsense to that! For me it'll be Threads... or maybe a fax.

Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings

Barry Rueger

Re: Real Sanitizers

My sister, caring for elderly mother over COVID, drowned every light switch in the house with disinfectant every day.

I got the job of replacing them all ..

Unidentified object on Australian beach may be part of Indian rocket launcher

Barry Rueger

Re: 7.6 long tons of Hydroxyl-Terminated Poly Butadiene

It's a well known fact that the "Bastions of Freedom(tm)" all use the imperial units. USA, Burma and Liberia.

Yo Buddy! And Canada! Sometimes, not all the time, but especially in construction, lumber yards, and baking.

Shoe and clothing sizes just pick a random number

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

Barry Rueger

Yet again, Mint

ChromeOS is a desktop Linux with the Linuxiness stripped out. No choice about partitioning. No weird dual-boot mechanisms. No choice of desktops or package managers. No package manager!

Mint: I buy a new laptop. Spend 15 minutes installing Mint, all defaults, disable Caps-Lock, I'm done.

Been doing this for ten or twelve years with no issues, no real change. It just works.

My wife's Apple on the other hand constatly does inexplicable things. On the odd occasion when I am forced to boot into Windows (yes Adobe, I'm talking to you.) it's dear god, what a mess.

All of which is to say, why do Linux writers take such pride in the Grey-beard scenario? It benefits no-one, and surely does not benefit Linux.

Threads versus Twitter: Shouldn't we be happy the wheels are falling off antisocial social media?

Barry Rueger

Re: Freedom is an illusion

The downvotes on this post reflect the way that Americans have well and truly drunk the Kool-Aid, or have been taught from birth to believe their country's own PR.

This is the country that has a list of seven words that you can't say on radio, that extends copyright protection more or less indefinitely so that Mickey Mouse doesn't go Public Domain, and which accepts both horrendous rates of gun violence, and a truly abominable health care system for large swaths of the population, despite being what is classed as a developed nation.

And yet it trumpets its supposed superiority and freedom at every turn, ignoring a political system that that borders on insane, (seriously? Trump??) a military that is seriously many, many, many times what's needed, and a universe of social media that gets worse by the day.

I believe that America is on its last legs. There will be loud and violent outbursts, but the whole thing is crumbling before our eyes. Whether it's government, or corporations, Twitter or Facebook, I can see that it's all heading for a collapse.

I just hope that Usenet survives, and we can go back to the Good Old Days.

Free Wednesday gift for you lucky lot: Extra mouse button!

Barry Rueger

Hate it!

Simply select some text in any program, switch to a different window, point where you want it to go and middle click.

Mint, Dell laptop. I am forever inadvertently inserting blocks of copied text where I don't want them by accidentally tapping the wrong part of the trackpad.

More critically, there is apparently no way to disable the function.

Microsoft rethinks death sentence for Windows Mail and Calendar apps

Barry Rueger

And when your Internet goes down?

the web stack has become a ubiquitous standard for creating cross-platform user interfaces. You create it once and you have an app in the browser, mobile, and desktop. … It's here to stay and that's not a bad thing."

Unlike the guys in Redmond and SoCal, we live in the poorer part of a Canadian province where the norm is to have power and/or internet outages for hours or even days. And where mobile companies charge an arm and a leg for any decent data allowance.

That's why my email archive lives on my computer, available no matter what. It's also less prone to being encrypted and held for ransom by hackers.

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time

Barry Rueger


Just this week someone was expressing frustration at news writers who regurgitate Cop-speak.

The example used was "attended a motor vehicle accident" as opposed to "went to."

Also notable was the reporting of pedestrians being run over, referring to them being hit by "a vehicle" with no mention of the driver holding the steering wheel.

Thousands of subreddits go dark in mega-protest over Reddit's app-killing API prices

Barry Rueger

Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia...

On arriving in Nova Scotia we discovered a place where newspapers really didn't exist, many trades and businesses see no need to have a website, and where Google can't be convinced to get the name of our road right.

For us the choices for anything are: ask a neighbour, Facebook, or Reddit. There are literally no other options, and r/NovaScotia and r/Halifax saved us more than a few times.

Now both subreddits are locked up tight, and the only online option left are the bizarre Facebook buy and sell groups.

I was never a Reddit user before, but they've been invaluable in this place.

More and more I'm turning away from the Internet. The greed, the avarice, and the sheer stupidity of the people running sites like Reddit or Facebook have made it next to useless, and often frustrating to the extreme.

Reddit blackout planned over app-killing API prices

Barry Rueger

Just waiting for the inevitable collapse.

I can remember the early glory days of the Internet. Now I feel like I'm biding my time waiting for the whole damned thing to just collapse into a pile a steaming dying electronic trash.

Things like Facebook or Twitter, that used to be fun, and popular, now seem lost, with algorithms that just seem to get worse and worse, and rules and restrictions that sometimes defy all logic.

Tools that only a few years ago were useful, and even essential keep getting "updated" and "improved" to the point where the basic functions are almost impossible to use, with idiotic features and advertising overtaking everything.

Greed rules all, whether greed for money, or greed for power - or, lately, greed for assholery.

What so much of the Internet doesn't understand is this: people do have a limits, and one day they'll just say "to hell with it"

Metaverse? Apple thinks $3,500 AR ski goggles are the betterverse

Barry Rueger

For sure, this time!

I remember when everyone was going to wear glasses to watch 3D TV...

I remember when everyone was going to wear Google Glass...

I remember at least a few other companies flogging some kind of 3D VR goggles...

And most recently I remember when Facebook was going to change the world with Meta goggles...

But surely THIS time!

Privacy Sandbox, Google's answer to third-party cookies, promised within months

Barry Rueger

Research time

I'll admit to sticking with Chrome just because it's easy and ubiquitous. This though looks like enough to get me looking at alternatives again.

Suggestions welcome.

Beyond that it feels as if there isn't a week goes by when I don't abandon some task because some previously adequate web site becomes inaccessible due to some arcane 2FA invention, or just because they've made some simple task stupidly complex.

The Internet us horribly broken, and I can't see a likely fix appearing.

Dump these insecure phone adapters because we're not fixing them, says Cisco

Barry Rueger

Re: Bit hard on the bright young things?

Exactly. Depending on the state of your hearing, and your genetics, a lot of digital recordings, especially streaming, can be really harsh and unappealing.

A well mastered vinyl LP can be much preferred.

Go ahead, forget that password. Use a passkey instead, says Google

Barry Rueger

<cough> Battery?

And again, what happens at the airline check-in when your battery goes dead?

Spain gets EU cash to test next gen network, and US 'scrum for 6G' already under way

Barry Rueger

" How much better do mobile networks really have to be by 2030-ish?"

Indeed. Over the course of 2022, while living in France, we enjoyed mobile service (Free Mobile if you must know) that cost us about 20 Euros a month and ran all of our calling, email, data, and even a full-on Zoom based teaching business. We had literally no need for anything else. Now back in Canada we're paying 4 to 5 times as much, and getting significantly less service - especially the paltry data allowance, which means we also pay for home Internet service.

I honestly didn't notice any great jump between 4G and 5G, and seriously doubt that 6G, 7G, or Oh-My-God-We're-Out-Of-Numbers-G service will make any real difference to our lives. A significant price cut would though.

And that, I think, is how I view every new tech development in the last decade - 3D-TV, AI, the Cloud, Slack, anything Google launches - whatever the newest flavour of the month might be. I look at it and ask: is this really a significant improvement on what came before, or just more marketing speak and a leap towards forcing me to dump my existing hardware for something new?

It's not that I don't love and appreciate tech, just that I'm weary of "breakthroughs" that are really just minor upgrades to what already exists.

Huawei replaces ERP with homebrew effort, claims it’s perfect and shows company will thrive despite sanctions

Barry Rueger

Re: ERP as moneypit

German things are great because of their culture: a dispassionate passion for technology. I doubt that China has the right culture, besides, their authoritarian regime tends to minimize innovation.

Nonsense. Any time spent in China quickly teaches you that as a population they not only love tech, they take it in directions that the West has barely considered.

Huawei masters the great vanishing act as UK sales evaporate

Barry Rueger

Re: A loss to end users

In Canada at least they've disappeared entirely under a sea of Samsung, Apple, and nothing else.

And, as noted, no Play store....

Barry Rueger

A loss to end users

Have to say that my Huawei phone was hands down the best I've ever owned. Features I wanted, few crap apps that I didn't, and rugged.

However, I understand fully that political posturing must take precidence over the best interests of mere mortals.

Firmware is on shaky ground – let's see what it's made of

Barry Rueger

Et Tu Brother

Ignoring my Mint Linux box, we are a household that strenuously avoids allowing updates to install themselves. Like most heavy users of computing equipment we've been hammered more than once by updates that break things.

The latest is our maybe four year old Brother MFC-L3750 laser printer. After ignoring the "Firmware update" prompt for months I finally gave in and clicked "install." I mean, it's a printer, what could possibly go wrong?

We now have printer, WIFI connected, that can only be printed on if your laptop or other device is literally in the same room as the Brother. If you're anywhere else in the house, despite a good strong WIFI network connection, it does nothing.

Or, more accurately, usually does nothing. Once every three days it will suddenly work fine for a couple of hours. Linux, Apple, Android.... same pattern.

This is a machine that worked stunningly well for years. Plugged it in, popped in the toner, and ignored it for months. Now it's bordering on useless, and I'm faced with probably hours on the phone with Brother to find out how to back out of the update.

The point of all of this is obvious: if you expect people to apply updates to remain secure, you need to properly test them to make sure they don't ruin the user experience or disable your product. Yes that will cost you money, but it's part of doing bjusiness.

How the Internet Archive faces potential destruction at the hands of Big Four publishers

Barry Rueger

Yet ... How is it that a first or second year textbook that easily sells ten times as many copies as a bestselling fiction release is priced at ten times the retail price of any commercial book?

Students are routinely robbed blind by textbook publishers.

Requiem for Google Reader, dead for a decade but not forgotten

Barry Rueger

Google Reader was the beginning for me

When Google shut down Reader it became obvious that the way forward was to lean heavily towards software and on-line resources that were't controlled by big, greedy corporations like Facebook and Google. Linux instead of Windows. LibreOffice instead of Office. And hosting my own web sites and email instead of Gmail and Wordpress.com.

Over the last decade it has become abundantly obvious that none of these mega-corporations give a sweet god-damn about the end users. They just want to monetize everything and everyone to the maximum amount possible. That's why using their products has turned into a massive steeplechase race with multi-factor identification, massive amounts of data collection, and with "upgrades" that remove much-loved features to the benefit of the people making the profits off of you.

The Internet in its early days was a simpler, easier, faster thing. Heck, I can even remember the long-lost days when a search on Google actually turned up what you needed, not dozens of advertisements, and spam pages of no value. Yes, in the early days the Internet wasn't endlessly annoying, cluttered, and often dishonest.

Despite being an early adopter, and despite having worked "under the hood" to understand how it goes together, I'm finding that more and more I move away from the Internet to tools that don't waste my time, don't demand multiple passwords, and don't insult my intelligence.

My paper datebook is better than Google calendar. My printed books are better than the Kindle. My bank answers phone calls instead of directing me to a phone bank in Malaysia. And shopping at the local hardware store is better, and easier than spending an hour on Amazon trying to find what I need.

Really the history of the Internet will be one of one great idea after another that eventually become crap when the people who started it managed to bury users with crap and un-needed features, and turned a lovely tool into an annoyance. Whether it's Google, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Slack, the pattern is always the same. Until these corporations learn that sometimes the best next step is to sit on your hands and just let the thing function we'll just be heading for the next big disaster.

Don't worry, that system's not actually active – oh, wait …

Barry Rueger

Re: pizza is the perfect food

White Western Star truck factory. Bake ovens for the paint shop. TV dinners

Good old days when painters spraying truck cabs didn't need silly things like face masks. And smoked.

At least until the collapsed lung....

Twitter algorithm to be open sourced 'next week,' says Musk

Barry Rueger

A crazy-ass solution.

Make Internet publishers legally responsible for every word posted on their web sites, and financially liable for damages resulting from the things that they publish.

These guys have had a free ride for far too long. Time for them to grow up.

Thunderbird email client is Go for new plumage in July

Barry Rueger

A good UI would confine inbox use to unread message Opening a message would remove it from the inbox. There should be another folder for current mail threads. After a period of inactivity; no further messages on the thread during the period would result in its being archived although there might be some sort of staging folder for recent but non-current threads. And the deleted folder is nothing more than a guard against those oops! moments, it will be cleared according to some sort of schedule.

Again, while this may look really cool and sensible to you, for a large portion of the email using community it would be a complete and utter disaster. Email messages should NEVER just disappear from someone's Inbox. Some users literally cannot handle such tings - they're the ones that find Gmail so useless and frustrating.

I make heavy use of folders, subfolders, and filters in TB, but they're under my control, not someone else's brilliant idea of what would be perfect for me.

Barry Rueger

Let's start be recognising that for the user the principle object of communication is the thread**, not the individual messages that comprise it; a singleton message is just a member of a thread which has, currently, no additional members.

No, lets start by acknowledging that some users absolutely despise the threadifcation of the universe, and find them annoying and counter-productive. I will happily argue that the principal object of an email system are the single discrete messages. I dread trying to dig a specific message out of the mess of some overly long thread.

Hell, I've even been known to change subject lines just to break an overly long thread.

Much of this nonsense seems to have come from the young people who have only known the universe of Gmail. The fact that different email applications handle and display threads differently just makes it worse.

Barry Rueger

Fear and Trepidation

I'm the first to admit that Thunderbird really is lacking in many ways - it just feels very old, and not in a good way.

Still, I fear what new fresh hell will be delivered to us with the big update. You can count me among those who like Linux (at least Mint Linux) specifically because of the ways that it doesn't change from month to month or year to year. That's also why I stick with LibreOffice and happily avoid MS Word.

I will applaud any code warrior whose credo begins with the immortal words "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

That's not a TP-Link access point, it's a… vacuum?

Barry Rueger


Only one question: what happens when it runs over a cat turd?

User was told three times 'Do Not Reboot This PC' – then unplugged it anyway

Barry Rueger

Re: Content

Upvoted because I generally agree, but 2023 is the year when I have decided to call out stupid ageist people with extreme vengeance. If they're going to insult me based on nothing but age, I'll feel free to insult them back.

Barry Rueger

Re: Content

That would be true if the sentence was written in a way that could be universally understood, which is not the case here.

There is a world of difference between "universally understood" and "I understand it." Sadly there are many, many people in tech who will never, ever get that distinction.

It's why so many web sites are so horrible to use, and why the "Help pages" or FAQs are so utterly useless. Unless you're able to put yourself into an end user's skin you can't create useful instructions.

Barry Rueger

Re: Content

IBM Model M. A history.


Barry Rueger

Re: Content

although most people think the keyboard is a computer (especially those over 50),

Hey asshole. Computers, keyboards, and mice were fucking Invented by people over fifty.

We were using computers while you were in diapers.

Riding in Sidecar: How to get a Psion online in 2023

Barry Rueger

At least once a week I find myself thinking "Is this smartphone really an improvement on my old Palm Pilot?"

Ignoring the Internet, the answer is consistently "no". Calendar was better, contacts were better, and everything was so, so, so much simpler.

And, praise be, nothing needing 2FA.

Twitter 2.0 signal boosts Taliban 2.0 through Blue subscriptions

Barry Rueger

Yes, you DO have freedom of speech

Dear God I am tired of people complaining that Twitter, Facebook, et al are trampling on their "Freedom of Speech." They're doing nothing of the sort.

In most western countries you, as an individual, have every right to say more or less what you like, subject to local laws, to write and publish what you like, subject to local laws, and even to make web site with whatever you like, subject to local laws.

What you do NOT have is a right to force your harebrained or illegal opinions, videos, or attacks onto any and every web site on the Internet. The content placed on Twitter or Facebook or even El Reg is up to whatever the owners of those places decides is appropriate.

If that really bothers you so much your solution is simple: do what Donald Trump did and start your own web site, and post whatever your heart desires.

Of course by doing that you face two hard truths: it takes real work to develop a good looking and functioning web site, and you may find that your audience is much, much smaller than you would hope for.

New software sells new hardware – but a threat to that symbiosis is coming

Barry Rueger

Less is more

This week I needed to fill in a form from the Alberta Government. It was, of course PDF. One of those somewhat older PDF types that refuse to even display itself on a Linux box, or even in the on-line Adobe version of Reader. Reader of course is no longer available for Linux, so I ultimately had to reboot to a Windows box to fill in the ten essential lines, then print it.

All of which is to say I am very happy with Linux (Mint in my case), and with the Open Source programs that install with it, and with the fact that it all just rolls along year after year with few changes, and few problems like those described.

Yes there are times when you need a specific application like PhotoShop, or a specific version of Adobe Reader, but beyond that I really don't understand why anyone sticks with that horrid, advertising jammed mess that is Windows. Or even (IMHO) that wall of vendor lock-in that is Apple. I just cannot see the advantages to any but those with a specific narrow use-case.

All I know is that once I had that form printed yesterday I was very fast to reboot to Linux and safety, and thanked myself for having the good sense to spend fifteen minutes installing it immediately when I bought my system.

Here's how to remotely take over a Ferrari...account, that is

Barry Rueger

Re: Chinese Threat......But Then There Are Other Threats......

@AC is exactly right. Why in God's name would anyone assume that Western government agencies are less sneaky and underhanded than their Chinese counterparts?

Stolen info on 400m+ Twitter accounts seemingly up for sale

Barry Rueger

C'mon folks, it's Twitter...

I like Twitter, and have always found that I can manage it to be useful and not too annoying. Miles ahead of Facebook for instance. However...

I guess it's the result of several decades on-line, but I have come to accept that nothing on-line is ever entirely secure. No matter how careful you might be, you're relying on other people to run the back-end, and you have no real way of knowing how honest or competent they are. Or who will buy out the company next month and destroy it.

Consequently I have some things, like banking, that get big-ass complex passwords that I'm confident won't likely be figured out. Others, like the electric bill get something more mid-range. I mean seriously, if someone hacks into my Nova Scotia Energy account what can they really do?

Beyond that the stuff like Twitter and Facebook get easy to remember, recycled passwords. I've had multiple Facebook and other accounts over the years, and there are no social media sites that I wouldn't happily nuke if they got taken over by some evil-doer.

And all of this is handled at my end, from my brain, not by hackable outfits like LastPass. Of course I also pay attention to what kind of information is posted to various platforms. Things that I'll exchange over email do not get posted to Facebook or Twitter.

All of this reflects a belief that none of these companies really care about my privacy or security. 2FA and fingerprint scans are nice, but none of them represent a real change from password practices of two decades ago. They are all still a single point of failure, and one that will inevitably be defeated. The best that we can do is keep the really important stuff off-line, even on paper, so that it can't be stolen.

And that, ultimately, is the point. Anything that you store on-line is by definition out of your control. You are trusting a person or corporation to take care of your best interests. Thinking that you're being secure is at best naïve, and at worst a recipe for disaster.

Look like Bane, spend like Batman with Dyson's $949 headphones

Barry Rueger


Surely these will appeal to those last, determined Segway riders!

Fancy some fresh Linux Mint? 21.1 enters beta, should be here by Christmas

Barry Rueger

Hurrah! They've finally changed... Nothing!

I install Mint Cinnamon on my boxes, and aside from disabling CapsLock, run it totally stock, out of the box.

In a world of constant, swirling, and often pointless change it's a great comfort to know that at least my desktop OS remains the same year after year.

Killing trees with lasers isn’t cool, says Epson. So why are inkjets any better?

Barry Rueger

Nonsense, he wrote

This year I abandoned the horrible Google/ Apple / MS online calendars for a good old paper version. It sits on my desk for easy reference, doesn't update or lose things, and it's easy to add notes, addresses etc.

And the battery never runs out

Tucked into the front of it are print outs of my plane ticket, French visa renewal, and a couple of paper-only odds and ends that would surely be lost otherwise.

The problem with paperless is the fundamental assumption that both batteries or the Internet will always be there. That's surely nothing more than pure fanrasy

Epson zaps lasers into oblivion, in the name of the environment

Barry Rueger

I Call BS

In a nutshell, our big Brother laser does two sided printing, scans, etc etc and used two batches of toner cartridges each year, at maybe $80 for the quartet of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. (non-Brother of course) I think I bought the printer for about $500 CAD on-sale.

While in France last year we picked up a cheapo Epson inkjet. Maybe 80 euros. The cartridges though, dear god. We averaged a 100 euros a month, and sometimes twice that. A mid-range laser printer would have saved us hundreds. And that's not even considering the hassle of "Damn, we need a cartridge. Who wants to drive to the store to buy one?

I will never, ever buy another inkjet machine.

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech

Barry Rueger

But, but VR!

Nonsense! Just wait til Zuckerberg convinces us all to use voice commands in our VR Meta space goggles!

Who needs keyboards!

IT manager's 'think outside the box' edict was, for once, not (only) a revolting cliché

Barry Rueger

Re: Cardboard was the solution

Brand new Dell laptop. Yesterday. Spotting all the little strips of plastic took ages.