* Posts by YetAnotherXyzzy

123 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Nov 2021


Why you might want an email client in the era of webmail

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And if Thunderbird rubs you the wrong way, there is Evolution. Happy user here.

Twitter Spaces groans under weight of Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk's egos

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I just want to say how much I enjoy the first sentence of this article.

Ford in reverse gear over AM radio removal after Congress threatens action

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Re: Government promises to look into littering problem, still no cure for cancer

I was wondering why my prior comment got so many downvotes, and I thank you for taking a moment to give a good reason why. Have an upvote.

My snarky and laconic earlier comment did indeed give that impression, and I agree with your reply. What I meant (but didn't bother to actually state) was something else however: that in my opinion this isn't a minor issue but rather a non-issue entirely. Automobiles are transportation devices. They can be rightly expected to have features relevant to their purpose, and it is valid to legislate such features if necessary (seat belts, ABS brakes, etc). What doesn't make so much sense is to legislate features that, however useful, aren't central to a vehicle's purpose.

As an example, my truck has a small box with just-in-case stuff in it. There's a liter of water, some non-perishable food, a headlamp, duct tape, a knife...you get the idea. Those are things I added myself; the factory rightly didn't include them, no one mandates them, and I won't write my Congresswoman if I find out that you don't carry them. I simply happen to think that those things make sense for me. If someone thinks having an AM radio makes sense for them, fine, carry one, what's the problem? The mentality of "I think it might be useful for some people sometimes, so let's mandate it for everyone all the time" is well intentioned but sometimes gets silly.

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I'm so glad that the U.S. Congress has successfully solved all major problems and therefore has time for this.

This legit Android app turned into mic-snooping malware – and Google missed it

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I gave up long ago any hope of Google doing proper review of Play Store apps and now try to limit myself to (1) what is in F-Droid and (2) a quick web search on it does not turn up any obvious red flags. This is by no means fully secure but it is less bad than blindly trusting everything in the Play Store.

Atlassian says 'Don't #@!% the Planet' so it can keep making money

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As an end user (euphemism for victim) of Atlassian's products, I wish they would set down the greenwashing brush long enough to make good on their stated goal to don't #@!% the customer.

Apple pushes first-ever 'rapid' patch – and rapidly screws up

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I have automatic updates turned off, because Apple has burned me too many times before. And not only was this particular patch not installed without my knowledge, Nanny Mac isn't even nagging me about it. There's no accusatory red dot, no pearl clutching pop ups. I will (manually, thank you) apply it in a few days once it is a little more stable. Which is not to deny that Apple is indeed run by a bunch of control freaks and you are right to be concerned and vigilant.

Substack copied Twitter so Twitter is copying Substack

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So this is what a free speech absolutist looks like

"Twitter acted fast to suppress news of the upcoming feature, banning Substack links on Twitter and hiding news stories and search results that mentioned Substack."

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

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What I've never understood is why there was, and to a lesser extent still is, such wailing and gnashing of teeth over Google killing Reader. Mind you, I was then and still am now a heavy RSS user. But Reader was never the only tool in the toolbox, as Reader's own users must have known. I'm not saying this to start an argument; I'd really like to be educated.

Results are in for biggest 4-day work week trial ever: 92% sticking with it

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What a surprise. Not.

Campaign groups do a study. Study says that the campaign groups are right.

Mind you, I'd like to believe the study's results, but wishing it so doesn't make it so. Wake me up when an independent study appears.

Take the blue pill: Keanu Reeves has had enough of AI baloney

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Why is the opinion of an actor and celebrity to be given any particular weight?

Make Linux safer… or die trying

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Re: The problem is desktop components on servers

That depends on the distro. If you preferred distro isn't giving you an installation option that doesn't leave you with all that laptop nonsense, then it's time to try another distro.

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I agree with you... on my own boxes. On my technophobic wife's box, the alternatives are:

1. Try to teach her to do as I do. Ha ha, that's not going to work.

2. Tell her to always blindly accept the "updates are available" prompt. Which she rarely notices, so security patches go unapplied.

3. Set up autoupdates for her.

What you describe is the gold standard, but not all computers are administered by folks who agree. Let's autoupdate those boxes, without taking away the ability for you and I to choose.

What's up with IT, Doc? Rabbit hole reveals cause of outage

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Re: Ouch

Yes, encasing cables helps. I use a locally available thick plastic encasement that is marketed to bundle cables together tidily. What makes it work is not that it is tough, and indeed I had a rabbit chew all the way through coax, wire mesh sheathing and all. The encasement seems to work because its wide diameter and slick surface make it hard to get a bite of. Having chew toys on hand helps, too.

What doesn't work is pepper or citrus treatments. As far as I can tell, rabbits consider those to be condiments. Our rabbit's favorite chew toy is a home made creation of twigs and leaves from a lemon tree which has a lot more citrus punch than those silly no-chew sprays do.

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Re: Ouch

Rabbits are said to be house trainable, but what works in our household is to accept that they have chosen to do their business in corners X and Y and Z, and to put down litter boxes there. If you try to get them to change where they do their business, you will find that rabbits are just as stubborn as a newly hired CIO and have sharper teeth.

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Re: Ouch

"I bet said rabbit had never ever since approached any type of wire by less than 10 m ever since !!!"

I so hope you are right, but I fear you are not. We have a pet rabbit. Yes, that's not the wisest choice of pet for a WFH geek with plenty of kit lying around, but wisdom isn't one of my strengths. It's not the rabbit's strong point, either. He has chewed through eight (yes, I've counted, because guess who gets to replace them) mains power supply cables for my wife's laptop. As well as one extension cord that I thought was adequately protected. Generally we hear an audible pop, and if we're there to see it, a flash from a spark. The rabbit is eventually found quite alive but sulking, with singed whiskers. But he does like that spicy hay and he will chew it again.

Boeing bids the 747 a final, ultimate, conclusive farewell

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One of my earliest memories as a child was my family moving to the Pacific Northwest because my father, a Boeing lifer, had been transferred to the still-just-a-project 747 crew in Everett. I remember how excited he was to tell us about different project milestones, and family days at the plant. Many years later, full circle, I found myself taking my stepdaughter to a factory tour and telling her about the grandfather she never knew.

My father is long gone, but darned of every time I see a 747 I think of him. Rest in peace.

Global network outage hits Microsoft: Azure, Teams, Outlook all down

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I just want to thank the author and editor for quoting rather than (argh!) screenshotting social media messages in this article.

Microsoft to offer unlimited time off for US staff

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I've worked for employers with both types of leave policies, in multiple countries with very different labor laws and practices, and in my limited experience what matters is the company culture, not the HR policy or the law.

When I was a U.S. Federal employee, annual leave was quantified and very generous. It was also entirely hypothetical because no one was ever allowed to take more than a fraction of accumulated leave. It was made clear that requesting more than a few days at a time, or aspiring to use more than a fraction of your annual leave before it disappeared at the end of the year, was bad form. As I was leaving that position, I was told that (1) no I won't be allowed to take my accumulated leave before it expires, and (2) the effective date of my departure would be right after the use-it-or-lose-it cutoff specifically so they won't have to pay me its cash equivalent. Which tells you a lot about labor relations there and why I left.

My current employer switched from quantified to unlimited leave a couple of years ago. Here, supervisors have always encouraged employees to take leave, and that did not change.

So all this hand wringing over which policy is better seems to me to be misplaced. A good employer will do the right thing, and a bad employer will screw you, whatever the FAM or the HR manual says.

Second-hand and refurbished phone market takes flight amid inflation hike

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Back Market

For a couple of years now, refurbished seller Back Market has been my first stop for phones. Recommended.


With Mastodon, decentralization strikes back

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Re: Standards

For years I torrented because whoever owned the rights to whatever I wanted to listen to or watch couldn't be arsed to make it available to me in any sane manner. There were a brief enjoyable time in which I could get what I wanted above the board and I was happy to pay for it. The pendulum has swung back, and I'm back to torrenting.

The CES tat bazaar: Bike desks, AI-powered bird feeders, and the smelloverse

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Re: Smellovision

Wow, we were at the same screening then! My card was lost long ago however.

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"Remember Smellovision? The original system was supposed to release odors so filmgoers could "smell" what they see on the screen. It was only ever used for one film, Scent of Mystery, in 1960."

John Waters's Polyester (1981) also had it, albeit called "odorama".


Musk bans private-plane-tracking @Elonjet on Twitter, threatens legal action

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Re: stalker

"If someone would do that to me, I'd certainly be pissed-off..."

That's because you are a private person. When someone has a history of actively seeking publicity and attention, he can hardly complain when he gets it. Bonus points to @Elonjet for doing so using only publicly available information.

ChatGPT has mastered the confidence trick, and that's a terrible look for AI

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Re: It doesn't stop impressing me

"curious how google will merge ads into its replies"

Perhaps tack on "brought to you by Carl's Jr." to the end of everything.

Microsoft reportedly mulls a does-everything 'super app' to expand mobile search

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Re: Microsoft: Reinventing the Past, Badly

Oh, you mean they want to copy Apple?

Apple brings DIY fix-it store to Europe, UK – with gritted teeth

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Re: No Mention Of "Planned Obsolescence" -- Why Not?

Agreed. All our household computers are refurbished Dell business desktops or laptops. They hold up just fine and are easy to open up and work inside, unlike my disposable employer-issued MacBook Pros.

Musk's Hotel California erected at Twitter HQ, as some offices converted into bedrooms

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Re: Finally!

In a previous career I opened and ran a restaurant. Not a chain, no outside investors. Long hours, often no money left over for me, often tired. I had a hammock that I could string up in the storeroom/office, and I used it a lot. (Alone, so stop that snickering in the back.)

Which was okay because I was working for myself. It would have been less okay if it were for some billionaire who regularly talked trash about the work my colleagues and I have done.

ICE data dump reveals names, locations of 6,000+ asylum seekers

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US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) "erroneously" posted names and other personal information belonging to more than 6,252 individuals... The data dump happened on Monday morning during a "routine" website update...

Why the quotation marks around erroneously and routine? If the author has evidence or a well founded suspicion that this was a deliberate act, then that evidence deserves to be shared.

CT scanning tech could put an end to 100ml liquid limit on flights by 2024

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Ask my wife, stepdaughter, and mother-in-law. They simply cannot travel without all sorts of liquids, creams, pastes, and gels that I neither understand nor wish to, but that I am assured are of the utmost importance. Insert shruggie icon here.

TikTok NSFW if you work for the South Dakota government

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A good start

Not because TikTok is turning the children of South Dakota into Manchurian candidates, but because it's a time waster unrelated to the employees' jobs. My wife is a government employee (not of South Dakota) and at her workplace all kinds of time wasting nonsense are blocked, simply because the taxpayers would appreciate it if their public employees would do something other than watch videos all day.

She is told that the public affairs office has a pass. Which makes sense because those folks are paid to create time wasting nonsense.

The anti-commie rhetoric is a bit silly, but they're politicians. When the electorate is silly, it's pretty much a job requirement to say silly things.

Submarine cable damage brings internet pain to Asia, Africa

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Although the article describes the cable's route and thank you for that, adding a map as well would have useful. I'm not geographically challenged but some people are.

(I'm tempted to add something snarky about less useful embedded tweets, but that horse left the barn years ago.)

'What's the point of me being in my office, just because they want to see me in the office?'

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Re: If everyone is back in the office..

Some people love WFH (/me raises hand). Other people hate it. My wife's job can be mostly performed from home but she thrives on face to face interaction and really hated the enforced WFH her employer did for a bit. She was first in line to get back to the office.

I wish for everyone's sake that the extremists on both sides (control freak managers ordering everyone back in just to show who's boss, and those who seem to want lockdowns to last forever) would all chill out and accept that different people have different risk calculations and different preferences.

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

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Re: Oh sure, inkjets are "green". Pull the other one, it has bells on it.

"I probably wouldn't go with a Samsung again..."

Sadly, you can't, at least not new. HP bought Samsung's laser printer division and killed it. When my trusty but old Samsung laser printer finally died, all of the local sources for Samsung printers and parts and consumables had replaced them all with HP. So I bought the only thing available, a new HP laser printer. I learned the hard way that HP's laser printers are no longer what they (or Samsung) once were, and I cannot recommend them.

Commentards speaks highly of Brother laser printers, so that's what my next one will be. Even though they are not distributed or serviced in my country, the hassle of importing one will likely be less than the hassle of putting up with HP's junk.

VMware refreshes desktop hypervisors, adds Apple Silicon support

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Although Fusion 13 adds nothing I really need, VMware is quietly EOLing Fusion 12 in mid-december. So to keep getting security fixes, I have to pay to upgrade to 13.


Evernote's fall from grace is complete, with sale to Italian app maker

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You beat me to my recommendation of Simplenote, so have a beer. It doesn't have the many many bells and whistles of Evernote, which to me is a plus but might not be what others are looking for.

Wells Fargo, Zelle slammed by Liz Warren over rampant online banking fraud

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"It's easy to have bank accounts at credit unions. However, the big banks really do have better credit cards (at least in my experience)."

YMMV. I've had both, and my experience has been that credit union cards are better: lower APR, better fraud detection, better customer service, better online tools, and more generous cashback or other rewards. Which is not to deny that other people will have other experiences at other banks and credit unions. So shop around.

China's first domestic single-aisle jet, the C919, scores 300 orders

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Yes, there are lots of aircraft now in service, and more that are (or could be returned to) working order that have been retired and are sitting in boneyards. Some people deplore what they regard as the aeronautical equivalent of e-waste, but what is driving this is fuel efficiency. A 25 year old commercial aircraft could be perfectly safe to fly but it's a fuel guzzler compared to current models. So whether an airline wants to decrease emissions or simply control operating expenses, it makes sense to replace those old birds with new efficient ones.

Multi-factor auth fatigue is real – and it's why you may be in the headlines next

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Re: Limit access before MFA

We do it the other way around: I need MFA to get into to the company VPN. MFA is via a 6 digit code, so no stupid push messages bugging me on my phone, and no chance for me to tap on Allow when I meant to tap Deny.

Microsoft mulls cheap PCs supported by ads, subs

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I'm as appalled by everyone else by this idea, but it just might work, at least in selected markets. After all, it's the same idea behind crappy entry level Android phones subsidized by ad-slinging bloatware. They are lousy phones that give a lousy experience, yet at least where I live most buyers go for those.

You're Shipt outta luck: App sued for treating delivery workers as contractors

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I've worked as an employee and as an independent contractor at different stages of my life, doing what best meets my circumstances. What the Washington AG calls an "unlawful scheme" I call a sometimes ideal opportunity to make some money on my own terms without messing with a micromanaging employer. Thanks for nothing AG for making it harder for people to make a living, particularly those who historically find it harder to be hired for traditional employment.

Samsung, TSMC in US patent infringement investigation

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"According to media reports, Daedalus Prime is a non-practicing entity..."

AKA patent troll.

Bill Gates' green investments to shift from tackling climate change to mitigating impacts

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Re: Yep

Nope. A free market goes for whatever the market wants to buy. And never mind what people say, what they *buy* is usually whatever's cheapest. *That* is why, yes, regulation is sometimes needed.

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Re: Yep

If what you are saying is, we need to abandon this harmful cronyism that misleadingly calls itself capitalism, remove subsidies of all kinds and the anti-capitalist individuals who set them up, and have real capitalism, then I entirely agree with you. A properly free market wouldn't be subsidizing fossil fuels or anything else bad for the environment.

Firefox points the way to eradicating one of the rudest words online: PDF

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I've never understood the benefit of baking a PDF reader into a web browser in the first place. I prefer each of my tools to do one job well, and the current trend of bloating browsers into 100-bladed pocket knives that do everything but nothing well does not impress me.

Broadcom to spin VMware takeover as creating 'more competition' in cloud

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More competition all right

For once Broadcom is telling the truth, if only accidentally. Its pending takeover of VMware already has customers dumping it for the competition.

Infosec still (mostly) a boys club

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Re: Complain, complain, complain -- Gomer Pyle, USMC

In just five years, the percent of women in the field more than doubled, yet the author calls that "pretty dismal". I'd call that not only a success but also an opportunity to learn what worked so well in those five years and to keep doing it.

Microsoft leaves the Office, rebrands everything as 365

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Microsoft 365, Office 365, just plain Office, Outlook 365, Outlook on the Web, OWA, Outlook.com, just plain Outlook. It's the antihero with a thousand faces.

Sony, Honda collaborate on 'premium' electric vehicles that are born in the USA

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Playstation on wheels? If Sony is involved, it will more likely be a rootkit on wheels. Maybe they have learned their lesson, but better safe than Sony.